Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Time

We had a really nice Christmas spent with one of Audrey's friend's whose family kindly agreed to 'put us up'. They made us a lovely meal and the warm day meant that we could enjoy a bit of traditional back-yard cricket as well.

As always the kids revelled in opening their presents and were happy with what they received. Highlight (for the umpteenth time running) was the bubble goo stuff which makes its way into the Christmas stockings every year.

We watched our fair share of Christmas films, the Muppet Christmas Carol and Elf being regular favourites and the kids both patiently worked their way through the advent calendars sent by my Mom (despite the lack of chocolate).

We also had great fun with a number of board games - the kids love Cluedo at the moment. It's a nice bonus of the kids getting older that they understand and follow rules for board games now.

Here's some pictures

always a winner on a Christmas morning

Dude Perfect t-shirts all round

Saturday, December 24, 2016

House Lights around Christmas

Not our house but there's an increasing number of houses decking their houses with lights every year. A group of them in Kambah didn't take part this year (which was a shame) but there was still plenty others to choose from and we cruised round to see them all.
Audrey is super-keen for us to follow suite. She asked me on Christmas eve whether I'd put some up with a conversation which started with "I know it's probably a bit late this year, but...."

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Bent wing Micro Bats

Three years ago as part of National Science week I took Eli to a bat night on Black Mountain. He talked about it for (literally) years afterwards. It prompted me to get in touch with the Australian Bat Society and they very kindly put me in touch with a guy from the NSW department of environment who monitors microbats in their habitat.

So it was we met up with Doug, and followed him the 80km or so out of Canberra to Wee Jasper. We've camped in the area before and I knew it was full of limestone caverns. In one of the caves Doug explained was a 'nursery site' where at this time of year bats give birth to their young. The cave was one of only three in southern NSW (the others are at the coast and in Goulburn).

Doug had clearly been to the site many times before and quickly set up his infra red camera and workstation. He was able to monitor the calls, the humidity and temperature as well as film the bats. Afterwards he takes the film back to the office, where a software program allows him to count the number of bats flying out. Doug explained that in this particular colony there were around 25,000 bats.

The bats started emerging from the cave around 9pm and we watched them for over 40 minutes. Doug told us a different spot to stand which meant that the bats were flying over our heads (and all around us) it was a fabulous experiece.

Most Micro bats roost in trees, but the Eastern Bent-wing is one of the few micro bats preferring caves. The kids loved the experience as much as me.

Afterwards we headed back through the dark back to Canberra. We spied a wombat on the way and loads of kangaroos which hopped skittishly besides (but not fortunately in front of) our car.

It was a lovely night out and one we'll remember for a long time to come.

The bats emerging

I didn't take this photo, but it gives you an idea of size

the kids watching the monitoring

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Audrey living the life

Audrey sipping an orange juice at a friend's party the other day. It was a nice cool evening and the heat of the day had dissipated - the perfect time for a float.

It's cherry time!

Christmas is a time for stone fruit - the markets are full of nectarines and peaches and ubiquitous cherry stalls.

We bought 2 kilos on Sunday and we'll munch our way through them during the week. Here is a picture of the kids eating them (they do stain their t-shirts pretty badly and the pink is pretty hellish to get out out!)

Eli's fanclub heads to high-school

I picked the kids up for what was their last day of the school year. The culmination of year 1 for Elijah and year 3 for Audrey. Both the kids have done really well this year and I was so proud of their efforts. It's lovely seeing them learn, develop and question things around them. They both have great imaginations and I hope they hold onto them as they get older. 

I'd be lying if I said it hadn't been a real struggle at times getting school work done, school clothes bought (occasionally patched) and washed. Combine this with getting the kids dropped off and picked up or safely transported somewhere and it becomes pretty tricky juggling everything. Both A&E have had really supportive teachers and the school community is pretty strong. I'm also grateful to our resolute babysitter Maree who contines to help out with pick ups twice a week and without whose help I would be completely sunk. There's no doubt that parenting is definitely a two person job and the many kids at the school who have grandparents as back-up are particularly lucky. Unfortunately my two are just stuck with me.

As we left school an entourage of girls descended on Eli. They were all leaving the school and heading to High School next year and although they were going to miss each other most of them seemed to be crying about the fact that they wouldn't see Eli on a daily basis any more. He cuddled nearly all of them and left red-eyed and teary. 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

ABC 666 Giving Tree

We went along to St.John's in Reid who were organising 'The Giving Tree' an initiative for Canberra's poor and disadvantaged community. Part of it was a Christmas wrapping competition which the kids entered (and won!) Here is a pic taken by ABC 666. The kids were interviewed on the radio and gave a great account of themselves!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Australia v New Zealand day-night cricket

I picked the kids up from after school care and on the short drive home (listening to the cricket on the radio) we all decided to head to Manuka rather than back for dinner and bed.

Australia were playing (and beat quite easily) New Zealand and we arrived in time to watch pretty much the whole of the New Zealand innings. I had to talk my way into the ground for the three of us (I didn't want to buy a ticket which were pretty pricey) and when we were inside the ground I explained to the kids that this is called 'blagging' an important lesson learnt methinks.

They loved the atmosphere as there was music after every boundary - a few beachballs bouncing around amongst us, several Mexican waves and a beer snake. The kids feasted on pink ice creams.

It made for a late night (I think we got home about 10.15pm) and the kids were wrecked the next day for school, but it's pretty much the end of what has been a really long term, so I didn't really mind knowing that they would probably sleep-walk through the next day of classes.

enjoying an ice cream

The stunning sunset
pink sherbet ice cream

Saturday, December 3, 2016