View From My House

View From My House

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Adventures in Aqua Culture (A Comedie of Errors)

We decided that it was time to do the pay for the fish you catch, just to make sure the kids could actually land a fish or two. Well, that was the intention anyway. As they say, the road to hell is pathed with good intentions :D

Well this is how it went. We drove for nearly an hour and a half, some of this time was dedicated to actually going the wrong way (or so we thought) so we double backed and decided to try again following the signs. I think we got lost twice. If we had of kept going less than 5 minutes we would have found the turn off (roll eyes). So that added time to the journey, on a rough dirt road with whinging whining children (the darlings). So, we actually found the place.

Then we had gotten all our gear ready, buckets, rods (we actually have a cute little rod which is minature of an adults that works!), and paraphenalia, and started on our little adventure. It was so sweet! The children's area was three small ponds, perfect with Raven's minature fishing rod. (We overshot the mark a few times onto the other bank). Dante landed a trout almost immediately, it was an OK size, he was pleased. Then it was Raven's turn, he with a little help from Mum, landed a bigger fish, and he was so proud! Then I began to help Labryinth to catch one, but even though they were jumping out of the water she was just too impatient and kept losing them. While this was going on, Andrew had the boys fishing in another area, and Kai landed Fish no 3, the biggest of them all!

I gave up on Labyrinth, or rather defered to Andrew's experience and expertise and allowed him to try and show her. It remained unsucessful with her. I then hooked a fish of my own only to have it free itself from my line, (oops!)

I happened to be watching over Kai, Raven and Monika soon after, when the real adventure began!

Raven, being the curious boy he is, decided to try catching a fish by hand, I only had my eyes of him for a few seconds and PLOP! He's in! So I hop in to save him from drowning and I'm submerged up to my waist! So we walk, embarressed and unimpressed back to the car while the others continue to fish. My shoes were sodden, and so was I. Poor Raven though, was completely dripping wet! And he lost his favourite gumboot with Thomas the Tank Engine on it!

It got better when they all came back. No one had been able to catch any more fish, and Labyrinth was very down on herself because she didn't catch any fish. Andrew was able to laugh though, and called the day a comedy of errors and no one was seriously hurt so we were OK. Did I mention there was no change of clothes for me or trousers/shorts for Raven??? So I was partly naked as well. He has been so down I was lucky this happened today and not yesterday or the day before!!! Mental illness is certainly not fun.

So, come what may. I'm happy and relieved that Raven is still with us to fight another day. This is the second near death experience for him, last time involved a speeding car and his runaway antics. I really need to keep a firm eye on him! That was last August, and I was heavily depressed having a super bad pregnancy.

Well, I guess I love my kids more than my pride/dignity whatever. I hope we will be safer next time.

Signing off today, Q.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Parasites are the PITS!

Been suffering these little buggers for way too long! We've all had the horrible cat. 2 antibiotics and none of us are the best now. Very sore and sick! Funny how the symptoms are now the side effects of the drugs! Our last day, today!

We might feel 100% after this. I really really hope so. I cannot remember the last time I was normal, must have gotten them while I was pregnant with Monika. Raven has now been treated twice. Given the kids no lessons because they are simply not up to it.

Found a really cool site though for large families, a forum called which seems in it's infancy, but looks like it may take off! Another forum I often frequent is the Tasmanian Cichlid Scene, while I do like Cichlids, I LOVE anabatids. But currently have only cichlids, lots of baby acara's, and two baby angels with a bristlenose. I do have a black ghost knife to call my own, but I do have a few anabatids - a betta boy and a betta girly and a blue gourami. I think anabatids are pretty special, they can breathe air for using a unique evolutionary device they alone have developed - a Labryinth organ. So they can survive long periods away from water as long as they remain damp. Which is a good thing as betta splendons have been known to jump from their prisons (ie small torture chambers). I like to keep them in a community because to me they are happier that way.

Cheers all, Q.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

And now for something a little different

I've been checking out other peoples blogs, and I like what I've seen. It's quite interesting, and sometimes quite a bit challanging or insightful.

Not been doing any "schooling" as such, but we've been getting things done. It's taking longer than I'd like but... the flip side is its going to be so much better :)

My baby acara's are now nearly big enough to give them to new owners, YAY! Then I can fill it up with other kinds of fish. What a concept! I have two angels and a bristlenose catfish in there but I can start thinking about a few other types of fishies now.

Well the world has spun on its axis just one more time, and I know something I didn't know yesterday. My hubby is happy, more content than he has been before. I knew he doted on Monika (baby), but its much deeper than that and that's so great.

We're all a little sick. We've had a parasite a protozoan much like it's cousin Giardia. It sucks, it's made us all unwell with diahrea, stomach cramps and fatigue. Now we're on the medication for it which has given us the same symptoms plus one, nausea. Funny, isn't it? Not really, but I've heard of people having worse side effects, and we're only half way through. I am starting to feel more well now though. We've cut down the children's dosage to only twice a day too, as they really have been a bit off from it. But since I eat muesli and yogurt and fruit for brekkie daily (and they usually have milo or wheat bix by choice) I think I might have an advantage.

Well signing off. Monika demands attention. She's such a smart little girl.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pocket Money, disappointment and a wonderful day!

Well, first thing this morn we were meant to pick up our husky puppy, but the people had already sold him. The children were very disappointed. So were we, honestly, but I thought I'd prefer to get one from a more reputable breeder anyway (with papers). So, that was that really. Some people!

So, the children got extra pocket money and we got some homeschool resources instead. We brought the cutest minature real working fishing rod which is perfect for Raven! We have a Thomas learn to tell the time train (if you put the hour/minute in the right places Thomas goes for a circuit). We got some resources on the human body, and some other books. Dante finally got the toy he's been hankering for - Dinosaur Explorer. Kai, more magnetix for his collection. Labyrinth got the DVD of Bratz babyz superheroes (not the best really, but its what she wanted!) and a Bratz activity book, at least that's educational.

Andrew brought some good quality arrows. We spent quite sometime outside trying it out. Labyrinth was doing well with her bike riding (shes got it down pat now) and we looked at some bikes for Dante (for his birthday). They got to play at both Hungry Jacks and Macdonalds and we ate at Macca's too. The kids like it there and there are a few options I don't mind there, such as salads and Turkey rolls etc. I liked their Chai teas in winter too... mmmm

We'll be going fishing tommorrow, and exploring the rock pools at the beach. Looking forward to it!

So we've started more sorting!

We decided to move the study around more, otherwise we'd have been finished by now, but that means the entire place will have been overhauled by the time we're done. Unfortunately the children won't be acessing the net from their computers for over a month (they'll have to go wireless), so it will be on Andrew's and my computer they will have to use for that. Its been worse so it shouldn't hurt too much... :(

Actually started reading with the children again, or rather, they've been reading to me and anyone else who walks through our front door! We also had an impromptu spelling lesson, it was suppose to be a reminder of sounds instead of names of the alphabet, but it kinda morphed. Which is one of the things I like about homeschooling, its flexible and organic and dynamic!
They have been putting the pressure on to start learning again (of course other children are madly enjoying their holidays and freedom - such as it is, but my children would rather start learning again, they already enjoy that kind of freedom and obviously enjoy learning as well.) Sweet as!

Yesterday we had an old friend visit, actually an old friends dad but I get along well with him. He's actually a principal of a primary school (and before that high school for some 30 years) and he was curious about our homeschooling, our methods, the why's and the how much they've progressed etc. It wasn't intimidating it was great to explain and actually have him reaffirm that we're doing a great job. Labyrinth read him books (way way to easy for her but she chose them so...). She read very fluently though and put emphasis after the exclamation marks so I was really proud of her.

Dante showcased his artwork to him (that is a strong point for him he's lightyears ahead of his peers there). All of this initiated by the children, and of course, Anka's interest in what they had to say and do. Raven was even not shy enough to repeat the 1-5 numbers in spanish (he's so muscial that he's learn everything like that by song - english alphabet phonetically and by name, numbers up to twenty in english and up to 5 in Spanish, he's been able to do the alphabet since he was 1 and 1/2!) That's obviously the key to his ability to learn!

Kai wasn't interested, so he just watched TV, which is fine by me! We'd done Jounalling that morning about the wonderful adventures we've been having fairly regularly. (So that's reading, writing and art). Plus spent a fair amount of time doing the study (obviously) and later on we ate our dinner outside and did a few ends of archery (we all did), and the children played on the swing set and jumped on the trampline, and rode their bikes, and Monika played like an angel the whole time on a blanket. She's quite quick, she'll be crawling before long.

And for some ground breaking news (for our family anyway), we will be buying a Siberian Husky baby tommorrow, so that is another baby in the family, but we're all prepared for it and we are well aware of it's needs and have prepared well for it. Of course we've researched very well and we're confident well be good Alpha parents to him. The hard part is giving him a name! I better post pics soon.

Enjoy life!

Monday, January 21, 2008

So Close it hurts!

Nearly done! Still breaking it up to go fishing and playing etc, but getting it done.

Yesterday was great, the children really enjoyed exploring the beach and rocks, found seaweed, shells, mother of pearl and various creatures like shrimps while Andrew and I fished. We made it an evening of it and ate at the park nearby as well. This is the life! The children also threw rocks into the water (Ok not ideal but it is what they wanted to do for a while).

Raven was even able to find me in the female toilets! By calling and responding. That's an achievement for him, even if it isn't the best place.

Andrew did have a bad day yesterday. He's been very depressed. Its sometimes very difficult to understand, but we still ended up enjoying our night out (even though it was suppose to be a day out). He is also going through something that has to do with his past so that isn't helping at all.

We also made a decision to take all the children out of care once and for all. They went twice a week last year to a veteran homeschooler's family day care centre, so it was very much a rich learning environment for them there. We thought we needed the distance from them (because of Andrew's condition), but during the holiday's we found even when he was depressed/manic, we didn't really need that time at all. Plus the days coincide with varying homeschooling meets with other groups. So it had to go!

Its going to be their very last day next monday, so they can have a good-bye party. I feel a bit sad about it but I am looking forward to a more smooth and better homeschooling year this year.

We begin some educating tommorrow, like reading/writing/gardening etc. Rehauling the house took more time than I liked, but we're so organised I feel fantastic about it! YAY!

Well, until tommorrow then.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Still Nutty, but getting Sweeter

We've now gotten to the stage that we've nearly been through every little thing in our house. Its a good feeling. I think by Monday we will be well sorted. We've even given away a new TV.
(Free Cycle). If you don't know what free cycle is I will let you in on a little secret, its all about giving and recieving, if you no longer need something give it away! If you do, you may well recieve it.

Which is what has happened to use today. We've given a TV and gotten a nearly new dishwasher in return (no, not a child!) I've really been wanting one for some time now, it will make life a bit easier, less work more learning and much more fun!

Besides working out selves to sleep every night, we've also had a family BBQ, and did some fishing. Its not all just hard work! But its very rewarding not having to wade through rooms of clothes anymore because they have been rearranged and sorted into clothes the children can actually wear now (as opposed to what they've outgrown, and they do that so quickly!)

On the homeschool front we've devised a cunning plan. We've invested in a laminator which we've put to good use, we've got a blank fortnight and lots of laminated words that say such things as "reading", "maths", "family outings", "fish tank maintenance" etc that we'll stick on the times/days we actually did that kind of learning formal or not (we do formally teach the basics). I hope it works. I'm going to scrap book those fortnights and make a pocket for the little words. We've also put together a chart for "brownie points" where the children will earn their tokens to put onto the chart for the fortnight, and they can cash them in for money or treats. The "tokens" are made up of images of things the individual child is known for or has an interest in, for example, Labryinth loves cats and horses, Dante has sharks of differing varieties, Kai has army vehicles and Raven has Ravens and musical notes.

I also got into University of New England doing a bachelor degree in Communications. Yes, I lead a busy but fruitful lifestyle.

Lately we've had some trouble from the children next door throwing rocks and abuse at our kids. Some of which stems from the fact they are homeschooled. Its the only thing not to like about living in the area I do... The views are wonderful we have a big back yard, we have a small but functional space, and we love things like the dolphins who cruise past in spring and summer, and the black swans who live in the river down from our house. We have been taking special note of the cygnets, and how they've grown and how they are changing. Whats not to love about that? But the kids next door get on my pip a bit. They seem to think they need someone to pick on to be happy and that is sad. I also don't want my children getting hurt either, of course!

O'well, baby Monika is demanding I give her a drink, so off I go... until next time adieu.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Getting Organised, Going Insane

Yes, its that time of year again! I'm rearranging my whole house because I want a fresh start. Before I had children that usually meant moving house, I did it very nearly every 6 months, yes sounds unstable but it very nearly drives me crazy not to. My hubby likes to stay put. We've been in the same house now for 18 months, but we have lived in a house for 2 years. So instead of moving I rearrange, sort out, toss out the unessentials and generally it helps to make me feel like I'm losing alot of unneeded baggage.

I now have my hubbies old desk, much bigger with lots of shelves, plus another table right next to it I use for scrapbooking. Its nearly sorted out and we started yesterday, tommorrow the bedrooms and then the next day the rest of the house. It clears the mind, it really does. Plus it helps to keep things managable when you have so much time with young children under one roof that you are totally responsible for (in a sense). They have much more autonomy than either my hubby or I had when we were being brought up. Most importantly they have the right to choose to learn exactly what interests them at the time.

Its a crazy time in our house, we are acting like we are moving and being unsettled a little in the process. My toddler and baby seem to be quite disturbed I'm not spending the same quality time with them as I usually do because I'm so busy (I like to get it all done in one go if I can so its done and we can get on with life!) So I get a bit of the guilts about it but realise, hey! I've achieved SOOO much I should be proud and a few days out of the lives of my children will not hurt them at all, but probably do them good (I still am spending some time with them, just not enough!)

I have all the new books for the children, labelled and ready. We are using real art diaries this year as journalling (make it real), and when we go on excersions we have clipboards we can just paste in the drawings/writing etc they do there. We all scrap together, we also have writing books they can write whatever they want in (practice really). They are going to have their own pencil cases this year too, and own scissors etc so they don't have to steal mine all the time! And my daughter has a real digital camera so she's madly been taking photos (some quite good) that we'll print up for scrapping.

It feels good, not quite finished our study/library area yet, but only a few more hours...

Sooo excited to get on with it, I'm afraid thats going to be it for now!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Amazing Sea Monkeys!

Today young Dante discovered Sea Monkeys! That's what we'll be buying for him next time he gets his pocket money. Yesterday, Daddy and Dante went fishing at a place called Blackman's Bay - great place for rock pools etc. Dante explored and caught some shrimp, hoping to put them in a tank when he returned home. They also got a whiting. We've decided to plan a homeschool outing down there and make up a native salty tank and try and keep them alive at home.

As his shrimp didn't last the night :( a very sad Dante inspired us to tell him all about Sea Monkeys. Now he wants them. We did some research and found that a varient species called Sea Dragons, and you can also get tiny snails to go with them. We'll probably be getting all three species and putting them into a sea monkey aquarium. Dante likes the underwater sub, however, we may just have to buy that from the net if he really really wants it.

While Daddy and Dante enjoyed their fishing exploits, Labyrinth, Kai, Raven and I had our own fun at home. We did various games and activities on the computer, and then we all built magnetix together and had lots of fun, we even attempted a housing structure! We spent some time with Monika outside (she lays on a blanket having tummy/back time - shes confidently rolling now), while Labyrinth continues to learn to ride a bike without training wheels. Raven and Kai played on the trampoline and Kai had a go on a hopper. Usually when the whole family are out in the afternoon in the yard (too hot and too lack of ozone to do it in the middle of the day) we do archery practice as well. But not today.

I have been organising our home to work more efficiently. I have alot of scrapbooking materials that never found a home, so we brought a large multi basket structure on wheels, but it cant take the weight of all my supplies! So we'll have to be ingenious and make it work somehow.

I have baby Blue Acaras that are now big enough to survive in other tanks and on Friday I brought two baby angels, a black lace and a silver, to go with the remaining babies. We have odd laws on fish keeping in Tasmania, so I can't simply give them to shops to sell or trade them away or even give them away so I'm not sure what I want to do - I don't want to kill them! I have about 20!

Better go, baby Monika calls :)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Where we are the same only different

My family is the classic nuclear family. I have a husband and I have five children. I live in a standard house with a cat and some fish. We wear clothes, sometimes fashionable sometimes not. That is probably where our similarities either end or begin.

My hubby and I are crazy, madly and deeply in love. True. He may frustrate the hell out of me sometimes but that isn't his fault.

We practice attachment parenting. We co-sleep with our babies, I breastfeed as long as they want to (oldest to date was nearly 2). And we homeschool them. My hubby has bi-polar. I've got PND.

My eldest child, my daughter Labyrinth (8), has an undiagnosed condition, possibly a precurser to bi-polar. We won't be putting her on any medication anytime soon. She loves Bratz, she does scrapbooking and likes writing and lying (OK she tells a good tall tale).

Next oldest is my son, Dante. He is a mad keen fisherman, plus he loves marine sciences and he keeps his own aquarium. He is 6, and he has had this obsession since he was 2, kid you not. This is a lifelong thing, mark my words. Oh, he likes to catch fish, but he doesn't eat them.

Next is my middle child, Kai (he is 5). He loves learning about armies and guns. We have gently steered this into archery and he will start learning how to use a gun as soon as the law allows. He isn't silly about it at all. He may grow out of it, he may not, but the important thing is he likes it now so thats cool with me. He likes making models too.

Raven is my 2 and 1/2 y.o boy. Ironically he's got a condition known as albinoism. Its not the type you can automatically notice (pink eyes/stark white skin), but he is pale, and his eyes are a very light blue. His hair is very pale white. He can't stand being outside because the sun actually hurts his eyes (and they can be damaged because of sunshine and exposure to bright light). When he as born he screamed until the lights were turned down alot. Otherwise he's a typical toddler who loves fish, Thomas the Tank Engine and Dora the Explorer. Hes fairly bilingual.

And then there's Monika. Well here's our black sheep. Her given names are Monika Belatrix. It means fair and just, white beautiful warrior. She is my only child with black hair and brown eyes. (The others are blonde of various shades and have either blue or green/hazel eyes). That's not the only difference, she is our only thumbsucker, the only one born by ceasearean (emergency of course - she got stuck), she settles herself without any imput from anybody, and she can drain my breast in under 5 minutes (the others used to take over an hour). Though, that isn't the biggest difference. She is the biggest baby I've ever had, and I don't mean fat! She is, on the Australian percentile, off the charts being tall! All, except Dante who is 60%, are on the 25%ile. And she is only 4 months old (or very nearly).

The other thing is I'm a uni student, Creative Writing (or Communications). We're doing it all the other way around, have kids then get the career, and homeschool in the mix too.

I am going to enjoy doing this blog. I hope that IF I get readers, that you'll enjoy it too.