A typical day….

Just a record so I can look back and know that I did actually teach my kids, and that I was actually very busy!

7:00 wake up and nag children to do jobs and brush teeth! Have coffee made every morning by Derek and have a chat.

9:00 start formal homeschooling with #5. Other kids do independent work.

10:30 ish start #4 mummy time

12:00 ish start #3 mummy time and get lunch while he does dictation/reading aloud. Everyone have lunch….usually on the go at varying times! #4,5,6 all finished and play outside.

1:30 #2 mummy time.

2:30 check in with #1. Do dictation or help with something….

3:00 collapse and have a cup of tea. #6 needs me by then and we read books, sing songs, have a tickle and cuddle or on ‘those’ days, watch tv.

3:30 start dinner prep and basic clean up. If day has gone smoothly I may put the tv on for a little while. Kids have free play outside. #1 usually finishes schooling around 3/4pm.

5:00 bath and silent reading/tv (if none until then!) ready for daddy to come home for dinner.

6:30 daddy home…..this time varies a lot! Dinner when daddy gets home.

7:30 bed for #4 and 5

8-8:30 bed for #1,2,3

Around 10 #6 bed.

Well, this is what a day looks like if everyone gets everything done happily and efficiently! It pretty much never happens (well maybe once a fortnight!). Usually I have one or two kids who don’t want to do something or who haven’t finished work…. Sometimes I am schooling until 6pm (with a break in the middle) because I am waiting for someone to catch up after being distracted most of the day! There always seems to be one. Luckily they learn and it is usually a different child on any given day :-). Currently I do 11 individual lessons with kids in a day. That’s a lot….probably too many.

And I take heart in that as they get older, they become more independent. #1 is totally independent of me now and I plan to have #2 there in about a year….the others will quickly follow suit…hopefully.


#7 …..13 weeks

#7 due 30th December 2013, or maybe a few days earlier! This pregnancy has been weird so far. Morning sickness started early at 5/6 weeks and very intense for a few weeks. Around week 10 it started to ease up and I got all excited and reduced my napping. Then it came back, not as bad as the beginning, but still yuck. So now at 13 weeks, I am back to napping everyday and trying to do minimal outside the house, which is very unlike me. I’m feeling like it is getting better…but who knows ūüôā I’m hoping it is all over by 16 weeks.

My tummy has popped out, but I’m still in normal clothes which is nice. I hate maternity clothes! They never seem to fit right, and then they do but they change after a couple of weeks as I grow! I have kept very few items of maternity clothes for that reason! Don’t want to weigh myself, bit scared about what it will say, but I also don’t really care ūüôā

I have had major food aversions this time. I don’t feel like eating anything. Even the things I am craving, I eat with disdain. I have craved citrus fruits, milk, iced coffee, icecream and green or pink lady apples this time round. Weird I know. Especially the milk. I usually go off milk products totally during pregnancy. I can’t drink straight water without needing to throw up, but can stomach small sips of fizzy water with a touch of orange cordial in it.

With all that information, I wonder what sort of personality this little one will have. Can’t wait to find out :-).

Kids playing together



Life in 2013 so far!

Long time no blog! 2012 has been a whirlwind and we are ¬†finally getting to slow down a bit this year! ¬†Kids did Vac swimming for all of January and so homeschooling went on the¬†back burner, we needed a good break. All the kids did very well in vac swim. ¬†#1 made it through to level 10, #2 to level 7, #3 level 6, #4 level 4 and #5 will be enrolled in level 3 or 4 depending on his skill level in¬†October¬† ¬†#5 is an exceptional swimmer, learning how to do freestyle with breathing in five days! #6 is very confident in the water and¬†thoroughly¬†enjoyed swimming after his cast was removed! He is able to swim¬†independently¬†under water and is beginning to take his own breaths. He even tried to do freestyle arms courtesy of #4’s teaching!

After swimming the kids have been enjoying the first season of the Brady Bunch borrowed from the library. ¬†It’s been the first ‘sitcom’ series they have watched and we are all enjoying it immensely. ¬†#4 is learning a lot about how girls interact and behave among each¬†other¬† ¬†A good lesson I think ūüôā

We have also enjoyed numerous playdates with cousins and friends.  Holidays always means playdates, especially with those who go to school and the kids have been enjoying catching up with old friends and meeting some new homeschooling ones who live up the road!

We reorganized the playroom and the library and so the house is easier to clean! The smallest things make the biggest difference.  #1 now has his own study area in the library which is the first step up he takes in homeschooling this year.

#1-4 have been enjoying playing with the snap circuit set we have.  What a wonderful toy!  Even though we have taken a break from formal learning they have been doing science all month.  #1 and #2 have invented new circuits and come to a new level of understanding electronics, I am finding hard to keep up!

All in all, a fantastic month, renewing and fun, readying us to face the new 2013 school year.

First day in Zermatt

What an amazing part of the world this is! So beautiful, so untouched, so quaint, so peacful (except when the kids are awake!) just amazing!

Today we went into town to look for snow gloves and pick up some food for dinner.  Mum and Dad stayed at home, the memory of the walk back the day before still on their minds! We managed to buy three pairs of very expensive snow gloves, really happy we decided to pack the other snow gloves last minute! We came back for lunch and then set off for the moutnain peaks and the snow.

Unfortunately the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, the highest peak in Europe and the place we were looking forward to visiting is still shut for this season, so we had to ascend to their second highest peak Trockener Steg at 3000m. I underestimated how unerving the cable car ride would be…and how exciting it would be. ¬†The first cable car we took could hold about 30 people and was a bit like riding on something from the royal show! It took us to Furi, the first station where we changed to a smaller car and so had to separate from mum and dad. Mum was amazing and was anxious at first but by the end of the trip could actually look down and out of the car! I have to say, that I loved the cable cars. It was very different to begin with but by the end of the trip, I didn’t notice the swaying and speeding up at parts. ¬†It even stopped a couple of times on the way back with us in the middle of the trip and it didn’t phase me…in fact it gave us valuable marmot spotting time, which we used to great effect. J was the official marmot spotter even seeing ones I couldn’t see (but the others could!)

We got to the top and found some snow (on a piste that was open) and spent quite a bit of time having snow ball fights, building snowmen (Derek and Z), making huge snowballs and bricks (C and E), making a snow model of the alps (J), building a snow cave courtesy of Bear Grylls (I) and sleeping (N). Mum and Dad stomped through the snow and watched the kids and collected snow in a bottle to bring down the mountain!

We had to rush down as the last cable car was leaving and we had to be on it! The trip down was lovely though steep! We had to walk back to the apartment which was a very steep walk but we got to a small park and let the kids have a play. Derek, dad and I had a go on the flying fox (not all together!!), E caught a bird (and we let it go!) and mum and I went to a small shop and got us icecream to eat. A lovely stop after a hard walk.

Got home at about 5pm, nice and early and had a lovely dinner and chocolate for dessert and I got to blog – yay!!!

From Paris to Zermatt

Today was quite stressful. ¬†We had to go from Paris to Zermatt via train which included boarding three trains with all our luggage! ¬†We had to catch a taxi to Gare de Lyon (which I had to book beforehand!) at 6am¬†which¬†meant we had to wake at 5am to get kids ready. We finished repacking at 1am the night before so we were pretty exhausted! The train for Geneva didn’t leave until 8:11am but I was paranoid about the taxi not arriving for us and so we left extra early so we had time to go by metro if we needed…thank God we didn’t have to, the taxis arrived right on time so we got to the station very early!

Derek was amazing. He loaded all the luggage onto the train pretty much by himself, with mum, dad and me organising the process of it, but not actually doing much lifting. The kids were fantastic, helping cart the luggage around and helping mum and dad with their luggage.  I love watching them all pushing the luggage through the station to our destination. I have so many photos of it!! Even Z pushes (and then rides!) a small suitcase.

So we arrived at the station at 6:20am ready for our departure at 8:11am….time for coffee, pain au chocolat and chocolat chaud for me! The train ride to Geneva was lovely because we all had a sleep, well Derek and I and the kids did, mum and dad were sitting in another cabin…not sure if they did or not! ¬†I was formidable as I got through the 31/2 hour journey without travel medication, though I felt quite queasy at the end of it.

We got to Geneva and had to find out where and when the next train to Visp was leaving from, and how we could get on it. ¬†We couldn’t reserve seats on this one so I was a bit anxious about how things were going to pan out….it worked out perfectly! ¬†We left easily on a train to Visp and then onto Zermatt¬†which¬†was another 31/2 hour journey. And what an amazing journey that was. ¬†We climbed into the alps and travelled until we got to Visp. I slept through most of this as the medication took affect. Poor Derek was left to deal with kids and dirty nappies…and me!! ¬†I woke up and was ready to go when we arrived in Visp and changed trains ready for our trip to Zermatt.

This leg of the train was incredible. It was the first time we had seen real mountains and we were all in awe. I stayed awake the whole time and didn’t even feel queasy! Even the photos in this post don’t convey the granduer and beauty of this place. So awesome!

We were met at the train station in Zermatt by the company tha manages the apratment we are staying in. ¬†The apartemnt is lovely. Such a difference from the one in Paris. ¬†It has four bedrooms and two bathrooms and three toilets! ¬†But ht ebest part of all is the view from the balcony at the back…we open the doors and can see the most amazing view of the matterhorn and the town of Zermatt. Just spectacular.

We took a walk into town to get supplies and then decided to walk back up the mountain to the apartment…what a walk! ¬†The kids met a gorgeous beagle puppy in the field which was J’s best¬†part¬†of the day! The kids went to bed very excited about playing in snow the next day.

Our last day in Paris

We had a lot to jamb in on this day. ¬†We hadn’t had a chance to climb the Eiffel tower (which I really wanted to do) or go on a river cruise or see Sacre Coeur or go to musee D’Orsay so we decided to do all of it! We started out early, trying to get to the Eiffel tower before opening time at 9:30am, but got there about 10ish. I looked at the queue and thought that we were never going to get to go up. ¬†We walked a bit further on and realised that the queue everyone was in was for the lift that would take you to the second level…and we wanted to climb, so we went to the queue for the stairs¬†and¬†got in in about 5 mins! The climb was great. ¬†The kids loved it and Z trekked up the whole thing himself! When we go to the second level we had a short queue for the lift to the top. The view was amazing and a¬†great¬†way to end our trip. ¬†We spotted everything we had visited during the week. The wind was blowing strongly¬†and¬†was cold so we sheltered on the side that was slightly protected from the wind. ¬†We had a snack and then made our way down. Derek and Z had a race and the others went down¬†ahead¬†of us. I was quite surprised at how¬†easy¬†the climb was. ¬†I expected it to be near impossible, but it was actually quite¬†manageable¬†and enjoyable! ¬†My legs were wobbly at the end though! Mum and Dad waited at the bottom, got very cold and waved to us on the way up!

We then walked over a bridge to a carousel where the kids had a ride and then had lunch in the park next to it. We then decided to find ut about river cruises and chose one that took us up to Notre Dame and back in an hour.  It was great to see the city from the water and great to see a lot of the places we had been to during the week.

We were pretty tired by this stage, but went to Musee D’orsay which is a museum that houses mainly impressionist artwork. ¬†We were able to see some Monets, Renoirs, Degas’, Van Goghs and Manets¬†among¬†others. ¬†Well worth¬†going¬†to, but nothing on the¬†Louvre.

We left there at about 5:30 to go to the basilica of Sacre Coeur for mass. ¬†The basilica was beautiful, on top of the highest hill in Paris. We had to get the funicular to get there which was fun. Mass was okay. ¬†It was in French and we were all very tired so it was hard to stay awake. ¬†N was very noisy and so I took him out only to be told to be quiet numerous times by a person at the back telling tourists to be quiet as they viewed the church. ¬†I was a bit annoyed at this as the man was quite rude about it even after I explained that I was actually there for mass. ¬†I didn’t end up going to¬†communion¬†as N was being way to loud! I cam out of there quite tired and cranky!!

Absolutely knackered and knowing we still had to pack, we made our way home.  I think we may have pushed ourselves too hard on this day, but it was worth it!

Our first day

*Scroll over the photos to read the titles*

We arrived at the hotel.  The trip there was lovely.  When we got out of the plane it was still light and by the time we arrived at the hotel it was dark. The owner of the hotel was the man who drove us and we mentioned that we would like to return to the airport so we could find our way to FieraMilano City, the congress centre in Milan, in the morning. He told us his daughter was a team leader of a group of volunteers involved with WMF and that is exactly what she was doing at the Malpensa airport! What a blessing!  The hotel was amazing.  They arranged everything for us.  Julia, the daughter, arranged for us to catch a bus directly to Fiera which meant we didn’t have to catch the triains and transfer at the stations! We can really feel God working on this trip!

We arrived at Fiera at about 11am after a lovely breakfast of croissants and Italian toast, nutella and great coffee. ¬†The kids were very patient and helpful in getting the luggage to Fiera. ¬†The pushing of luggage is still a novelty…wonder how long that will last! ¬† We were very well welcomed. ¬†The congress didn’t start until the next day so we a had a whole day to¬†familiarize¬†ourselves with the venue and the kids got to be some of the first to play with the equipment. We registered and collected our kits and meal and travel tickets and then decided to find out about our¬†accommodation. ¬†That proved to be more difficult than we anticipated! ¬†We had a couple of¬†volunteers¬†help us make phone calls to the¬†organizer¬†at the parish we were staying at and still couldn’t get in contact with them! ¬†After a while¬†though, we managed to check our emails, get a mobile number and we were on our way to a nearby parish via taxi phew! ¬†We arrived at our parish and were greeted¬†profusely¬†by the priests and¬†parishioners. ¬†They had been waiting for us! We felt so, so welcome. We are staying in a three bedroom apartment above the parish centre which is perfect. ¬†We are able to¬†participate¬†in the parish¬†activities¬†when we are there. ¬†What a community. ¬†When we arrived, at about 4/5pm, there were children playing in the soccer and basketball fields and so we went down to meet them. ¬†The parish has a¬†playroom¬†set up with toys, a playground area for children and their sports, soccer tables, and grandparents (i nonni) group, a bar…. ¬†People¬†come in after school and filter¬†through¬†until sunset which is at about 9:30pm. ¬†If only parishes in Australia were like this.

Had pasta and salad at home for dinner after exploring the supermarket down the road and then we crashed!

We arrived at the airport at 3:20 am after having to turn around and get a forgotten bag we left behind the front door at home!  I was quite stressed and at the same time well and truly ready to leave.  The kids we’re very excited.  They had had about 8/9 hours sleep and we’re ready for the day!

We had great seats for this flight.  Right up the front of economy with lots of leg room, lots of room to spread our mess!  The kids were given great little packs containing puppets, dress up soft toys, colouring in, pencils and books.  They were in their element with that and the screen in front of them!  I’ve decided that the best way to prepare kids for travel is to bring them up in a deprived screen media environment!  Our kids sat glued to the screens for ten hours….

We got to Dubai really smoothly and so I thought ‚Äėokay here comes the hard part‚Äô.¬† I struggled to stay awake in Dubai, We wondered around the airport for a bit. The kids were very tired as they had watched their TVs the whole trip and not actually slept. J and I fell asleep on the chairs waiting for our flight to board.

It boarded and we told the kids they had to have a nap and they mostly did‚Ķand then they played games/watched tv!¬† By this leg of the trip, N had learned that he wasn‚Äôt allowed to run around and so sat quietly or fed. I don‚Äôt think he got the concept that we were on a plane at all. He kept saying ‚Äėbye bye plane‚Äô to all of the other planes! He was fascinated by them. When he was getting to antsy we would take him for a walk up to the back of the plane and he charmed everyone by saying ‚Äėbye bye‚Äô to them.¬† One guy wanted to take him back to his seat with him‚ĶN didn‚Äôt want to go!

We arrived in Milan at 8:30pm Milan time. The hotel picked us up at 9:30pm, 24 hours after we had begun our journey at home! I was exhausted. We all were. I was amazed at the kids. They had done a 24 hour plane trip with very few tantrums (Z had one when we woke him one hour before we landed in Milan, to put on his seatbelt…but that was the worst of it!).  I hadn’t touched any of the toys/activities I had brought for them to do. Mum and Dad were great, though very tired.  We were very excited and kinda proud to have arrived in Milan…the dreaded plane trip was over and the kids passed with flying colours! On exiting arrivals, we were greeted by volunteers from the World Meeting of Families (WMF). We were in the right place!

Only 24 hours to go! ¬†We have spent the night doing a bit of paperwork and packing the last of the suitcases and I think we are ready to leave!! ¬†The kids took forever to settle tonight with only 2 sleeps to go. ¬†Don’t know how they will fair tomorrow night :-). Better go to bed now, it’s 3am. ¬†The¬†final¬†countdown is ON!