Thursday, September 30, 2010

Regional Cuboree

Well, we both survived the cuboree.  Just :)  Billy had an absolute blast - he was completely exhausted by the end but still raring to go!

Each area was separated into their own sub-camps - our Lower Hunter district had about 80 kids.  They slept about 4 - 5 to a tent.  Each of the 6 or 7 areas had to set up a 'base camp' with activities around the pirate theme - the groups rotated around the bases over the 2 days (with about 1.5hrs on each base).

As a parent helper, my job ended up being helping on our base.  It meant I spent about 4.5hrs on the Saturday teaching kids to fold pirate hats, and about 3hrs on the Sunday teaching them how to make a pirate bowling game (we had a session off each day).  Plus I helped out around the place whenever I could.  I was completely and utterly stuffed by the end of it!

It was all good fun though - and the kids loved it all!  I didn't get to see many of the activities, but I know they did things like rock climbing, a flying fox, lots of water games, making pirate accessories like guns, spyglasses & hats, more water games, laser tag and heaps more!  They watched a magic show on the Saturday night.

Considering the number of kids there (about 600) it was all very well organised.

Mess tent where meals were eaten - the cooking was all done by a QM team for our group.  The kids were responsible for washing up their own plates etc (note the washing up stand in the foreground).

This was our sub-camp - kid's tents on the right hand side and in the middle, leader's & parent helper's tents down on the left hand side.

Lining up for meals!  With about 80 kids and about 20-30 adults to feed, each meal was a big production line!

One of the activities on our base - air powered cannons shooting tennis balls at targets.

Rock wall

Flying fox

Jollybops Science Show

Last Friday we went along to a science show that had been organised by a homeschool mum from the Central Coast. It was really informative, and very funny (or should I say 'punny'!).  It was presented by 'Dr Popoff' and 'Rusty the Robot'.

Natural Phenomena and Energy – for Yr 3- Yr 6 (1 hour)
This show delivers a barrage of high energy experiments. Visually dynamic demonstrations are used throughout the show to show transformations of energy. Students will learn about the explosive fuel of the future, hydrogen, see many items freeze and shatter under the stress and strain of the super cold liquid nitrogen, watch materials burn, watch air crush an aluminum can, learn more about the properties of solids, liquids and gases. The material is presented in an entertaining and engaging manner. Comic interplay between the two characters, The JollyWizard and his humorous sidekick keep all students totally engaged, without compromising the scientific integrity of the highly informative scientific content.

Lots of dry ice which always makes for a fun show :)

Making slime..

Smoke rings with a 'smoke ring maker' (garbage bin filled with smoke with a hole cut in the bottom and a sheet of plastic on the top)

Trying to burn a balloon filled with water..

And the best fun - igniting a balloon filled with hydrogen gas!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I haven't made it back to my novel yet, but I have been doing some cathartic writing just for myself.  I made it back to last night and dashed off a flash fiction entry for that day's competition.  It had to be less than 300 words and use the words clay, list and nose.  I spent less than an hour on it, and thought it was pretty cute in a limited time span.

ETA - What do you think?  I had a comment that it was a bit too subtle and I needed to make it clearer who the character was.  

What was I thinking?!

Tomorrow I'm off for the weekend as a parent helper at Billy's regional cuboree - a Cub camp for kids in the region.  It's a big region.  There are about 800 kids going.  What was I thinking???!!

This will be Billy's first camp ever and my first camp in about *cough* 20 years...  We've had to go out and buy sleeping mats (thank you Aldi for having them on sale today), sleeping bags and various other bits & pieces - we will be all set up from now on though!

I have no idea what my duties will be yet.  Whatever they are, it should be an experience :)

Hopefully I'll survive to blog about it!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Our week of learning - 19th Sept - bits and pieces


Current Readaloud: "Grim Ghost (Roman Tales)" by Terry Deary

Audio books:  Not sure what he's been listening to

Independent Reading: -  "Selby Snowbound" by Duncan Ball

Other: He wrote a letter to a friend.

Maths: He spent time using Timez Attack.

Science & Technology: A couple of b'day presents were played with - we finished putting together a solar car, he set up and played with some nanobugs. 

He achieved his IT badge for cubs.

He learnt how to do more using RPG Game Maker XP and extended his game.  He watched several episodes of Lab Rats.

HSIE (Human Society and it's environment): We watched several episodes of My Place together and had discussions about the issues raised - including the Vietnam War, Depression and boat people.

Creative & Practical Arts: Drama and "Wind in the Willows" rehearsal.

PDHPE (Personal Development, Health & Physical Education): Martial arts.

Life skills (cooking, gardening, housekeeping): Caring for the garden that we planted a couple of weeks ago.

Other fun stuff:

Saturday, September 18, 2010


that's just how I feel right now.  Completely wrung out, drained of emotion and energy.

The funeral was yesterday.  It was a full Catholic Mass, as was her wish, conducted by a priest who has known the family for about 30 years.  I managed to get through a reading with a minimum of tears and wobbly voice (I wasn't quite so composed once I got back to my seat though!), two of my brothers-in-law did a wonderful eulogy.  The wake was catered for by friends of my sister-in-law and was very lovely.  About 250 people turned up at the church to celebrate her life, and the chatting & remembering lasted many hours.

Pete had to leave for a trip to Sydney last night, so Billy & I stayed over at my parent's house.  It was wonderful to just have some pampering for a night, and a distraction for Billy.

We're all ok - getting there anyway.  We've had a lot of tears this week, lots of cuddles, lots of questions with few answers..  I feel like I've been twisted and turned until every last drop of emotion has been wrung out of me.  I've been sitting in the sun for the last few hours, just reading a book and trying to recharge.  I wish I could do it for a few days..

Thank you for everyone's support and well wishes.  They've meant so much to us.

Monday, September 13, 2010

You know what they say about the best laid plans?  A few days after my last post, my mother in law went into hospital and subsequently passed away yesterday morning.  I haven't had the concentration to write much at all - be it emails, blog posts or let alone on my story.  My thoughts have been choked with grief, my concentration span minimal.  For the last week, we knew she was dying, it was just a matter of when her body would give up the fight.  Every phone call would make my body tense, my heart start to race.  As callous as it seems to say it, when I answered the phone at 1:30 on Sunday morning, knowing what the phone call had to be, the main reaction was relief.  Relief that the journey that had been so hard on everyone, was finally over. 

So now my mind has cleared again (until the funeral on Friday anyway), I need to get back into the habit of writing.  I'm not going to stress about word count at the moment and I've given up on the idea of entering anything into the STALI this time around.  I think I need to just journal for a while, get my thoughts out and get back into the habit.  Forget about the novel and just journal.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hold on tight to your loved ones..

Just eleven short weeks ago, my mother-in-law went to the dr with stroke like symptoms - she was having trouble with words and memory loss. They sent her for tests and she was given a diagnosis of a brain tumour.  A week later, after an operation, it was determined to be an aggressive brain tumour - we were told the average life expectancy for that type is 12 months.

4 weeks ago she started on a round of 6 weeks of chemo & ray treatment.  Two weeks ago, on the Monday, she ended up back in hospital unconscious.  The drs didn't think she'd make it through the night.  They pumped her full of steroids to reduce the swelling on the brain, and over the next four days, she gained full awareness and some speech.  Physically she was paralysed down one side, had to be fed on pureed food and had a catheter. The drs wanted to do another MRI to confirm their suspicion that the cancer had grown even with the chemo / ray.  She took each of her children aside and begged them to support her decision, then refused the MRI and any further treatment.  They stopped the steroids on Friday last week.

She passed away this morning about 1:15am, 8 days later.

I'm very grateful that we had the time with her that we did. 

I'm grateful that we made the best use of that time, and spent a lot of time with her.

I'm grateful that the last time we saw her out of hospital was to share a cake for Billy's b'day. 

I'm particularly grateful that I got a lovely photo of her & Billy together on that day.

I'm grateful that we had time to say goodbye and our last words to each other were 'I love you'.

Hold on tight to your loved ones. 

You will be missed so much, Val - you were a great Mum, Mother in law and Ma.