Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Few Quick Snaps of Life

Girls goofing around at "Hungry Jacks" (Burger King)
         A few weekends ago we had all five girls and it was raining!  Nooooooo!  All our plans of getting some much needed yard work done with the girls after Es's gymnastics class and then rewarding them with a nice cooling (and tiring) swim at Wendy's house were ruined!  So instead we rushed to the video store after Esther's class and rented some movies that might entertain them... Needless to say it was a loooong day that ended with dinner at Australia's version of Burger King, "Hungry Jack's"... and yes, they do have the Whopper and the Whopper Jr.  :) 
         I have this new theory about Australian kids in particular... I think that when it rains they go completly NUTS.  For example... Mick is always comming home after a rainy day at work talking about how awful the students were acting that day.  And then when we have the younger girls it's the same... Mick agreed immediatly with my theory and said, "ofcourse they do!  It's because they aren't use to it" ...  Exactly... I really think the idea of not being able to go outside and swim or surf or sunbath etc is just torture for sun-loving aussies.  Mick has asked me what on earth we do during those winters when it is snowing buckets outside... or just raining?  what on earth do we do!!!????  Hahah... I laugh and I just tell him... "we play games Mick... we play games, watch tv, and eat good food..."

Mick taking a quiet moment after feeding the masses.

Ok all my Yankee friends... I got a particular kick out of Hungry Jack's chosen style of decor!  Haha 1950's American Diner.... Gotta love it!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Elliptical Maddness!

             So after much deliberation and thought... Mick and I finally came to the conclusion that we should buy an elliptical machine.  I had grown to love them while living in Oregon and going to the gym, it had always been my favorite machine to use.  Mick wasn't quite so sure, but after we arrived at the store and he tried one out for himself, he got off after thirty seconds and was sold.  Just like me, he appreciated how quiet they are and how gentle they are on the knees. 
            We ended up shopping around of course, going to several different retailers to see who had the best quality machine for the best price etc.  Lately as a family one of our favorite shows to watch with our two oldest girls is Australia's Biggest Loser.  And Mick took notice right away of the company that they get their machines from, and so of course we had to pay "Workout World" a visit.  In the end and after extensive shopping around, by which time Mick knew that we needed a large "fly-wheel" and I new I wanted at least an 18inch stride...(hahaha) We had decided that Workout World had definitely been the most impressive. 
              In the end I must say that Mick and I could not have been more impressed... I do give some huge amounts of credit to my amazing husband and his ability to drive a hard bargain...  So sexy Mick, so sexy.  As he was able to get the manager of the store to drive the price of the machine down significantly as well as have him throw in a free medicine ball and mat for the machine to go on, as well as delivery and set up!  Nawwwwce! 
           And so it was a few days later that the very charming and nice delivery guy showed up (from New Zealand apparently) to set up the machine.  It only took him an hour and a half to get it all up and running...  But hold your horses!  The most impressive part is yet to come....  As he was leaving I had hopped onto the machine to give it a go and right away heard a very unpleasant scraping noise every time the fly wheel turned.  Mick ran out and got the guy to come back. 
           In the end their service was just wonderful....  The guy came back the next day and worked at it for two hours trying to solve the mystery of the odd scraping noise.... and to no avail....  I felt bad for him, and frustrated as well.  When he couldn't figure it out he called the manager and then later that night they both came and tried to solve the problem, when they couldn't they set up an entirely new machine and took out the old one...  It was pretty funny by then because we had all our girls sitting in the living room watching the new "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" as these two guys drilled loudly and made casual conversation with me and Mick about the creativity of Johnny Depp and how we had five daughters!  It turned out to be quite fun, and they let me take a few photos of the whole ordeal.  In the end, Mick and I finally had our new elliptical machine... no scraping noise, quiet and a great workout!  We are very happy.

The Initial Delivery

Yep, two single guys, giving up their Friday night to set up our machine!

Girls in the living room watching "Willy Wonka"

Saturday, March 12, 2011

a day in the life of mick

My day starts with roll call at 8:35am. I have 24 grade 8 students to mark present before actual school starts. They are full of energy.
so i have 10 minutes to read notices and mark the roll before the bell goes and they go off to their various classes.

Now depending on which day it is will depend on the classes i have for that day. So each day is different. so to give you an over view i teach a total of 6 different classes. that amounts to about 120 students. So if i get your name confused and call you Richard Cranium at Christmas time please don't get up set.

The picture about is my Year 10 woodwork class. They are making trinket boxes and are just finishing them off by putting on hinges.

Next i have 2 Engineering classes. One year 12 and one year 11. They learn how to weld and fabricate metal. They make various projects from a simple meat mallet to a tool chest.
Students learn how to cut and bend and fold metal as well as use metal lathes and milling machines.

This is my favorite class as it is what my trade is in. I left high school and got an apprenticeship as a welder / metal fabricator.

I get two 40 minute lunch breaks which are taken up with either play ground duty or detentions with misbehaved students. I also teach a grade 9 graphics class in which students learn to draw technical drawings using both a drawing board and computer.
My day normally ends around 3pm when Brookie comes and picks me up. I love my job as each day brings on new challenges. There are not every day satisfactions however when a student finally gets or learns something and they get excited that is when i get my reward and think it is all worth it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Our Weekend With the Girls... and the Age of the Notorious "Pizza Wars"

Esther practicing on the uneven bars...
                So this last weekend we had all five of our beautiful girls.  It began a bit worrisome as the forecast called for rain every day and a house full of five bored little girls and two tired parents does not a good recipe make...  Our Saturday morning began as usual rushing off to Esther's gymnastics class to watch her balance and climb, leap, and jump.  It never gets old.... no really... it's pretty fun to watch. 

Girls playing "HQ"... yes... very intense stuff...

                In the end it was a very good day, with the girls playing their funny game of "HQ" as they call it... short for "Head Quarters" which they have set up in our outdoor eating area, with official signs, and name tags, and assignments.  So far from what Mick and I can gather, HQ consists of the girls running around the perimeter of our house "spying" on us, or some bird or a passing lizard and vigorous bouts of Biggest Loser-inspired workout sessions...  Needless to say, we were so happy they kept themselves entertained for a while, and it was pretty funny to watch. 
Mick... the Pizza War Master
               Sunday after the mad rush to church and then pious hours of quietly sitting we came home for another tournament of what we have begun to refer to as the "Pizza Wars".  It all began when Mick and I decided that frozen pizza, any you can find in Australia, is total crap, and any that you can order costs pretty much an arm and a leg... and still you wonder if it was really that worth it.  So we began to make our own pizzas.  It has now become one of our favorite things to make for dinner and no two pizzas have ever been the same.  We love to always try new things and new weird, creative ingredients.  In the end it has inevitably become a competition between Mick and I to see who can make the BEST freakin pizza.  I must admit... that Mick's style carries with it a certain disregard for traditional "pizza-making rules" and a sense of reckless, daring, abandon... (it's probably the Aussie in him...) Where as all too often my downfall has been in sometimes being a bit too conservative and not pushing the pizza making limits far enough.  And so it is that I readily admit that yes, Mick has rightfully so won the pizza making wars... But, I have had my moment or two....  Now we have gotten to the point where the girls have become our judges to officially taste our creations and vote on whose is the best.  Knowing of course that certain biases exist we do not let the girls know whose pizza is whose... It has been pretty fun and they feel pretty darn important.  The last time they voted, Taylah and Carsen hands-down voted that my pizza was the best, but Lucy and Esther adamantly agreed that Mick's was the clear winner... As Lucy put it, Mick's pizza had "so many flavours that made it more interesting and complex"... well said sweety... In the end I agreed with her and Mick won.... once again...  Sigh... I married a pizza genius...

Mick adding his magical touch...

Trying my hardest to beat the Evil Genius

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

This One's For My Mom...

Mom with all the girls
              Well today in the States it is my mother's birthday and so I thought I should put up a few new blog posts for her to read as I know she loves to hear what's going on and how everyone is doing.  First of all though I just wanted to wish my Mum a very happy birthday.  I know that all my siblings would join in with me in saying what a wonderful mother and woman she is.  How many times she has stayed up with each of us... especially us five girls... on hard nights when life felt bleak and we needed to cry and someone to talk to.  Even though she may be tired and has work the next morning she has pretty much always been there to listen.  I don't know how I would have gotten through some of the darker times in my life if I hadn't had her there to make sense out of the confusion or her amazing ability to somehow make the heaviness I felt somehow lighter and more bearable.  She is also one of the funnest people to be with and can turn even just a simple trip to the grocery store into the funniest experience of you life.  She is a great mother, wife, and grandmother.  I realise this is all sounding very saccharine and cheesy but I meant every word... I love you Mom!  Happy Birthday!
Grandma with Carsen and Lana
My mom playing at the park with the girls