Sunday, February 23, 2014

Action Plan

My bathroom is really the central goal hub of the house!  My shower has my 2 A4 pages of annual goals displayed.  On the door hangs the vision board, and the mirror regularly has motivational items on it!  Anyone might think that I spend an eternity in there!  I actually don't, but it is a place that I go to a couple of times a day, and spend a few minutes there, so it is a good spot to contemplate life whilst showering or cleaning your teeth.

Following on from the healthy life theme for 2014, reduction of work related stress or rather life imbalance has led to the me writing up 'Find new job".  Now the universe often works in mysterious ways, so I went back a few weeks later and amended it.

I was worried that I would be shuffled sideways, but still have the same issues, so the revision was my way of restricting.  It caused much amusement when the partner took to the mirror and also wished for the same thing! 

Fast forward a few more weeks and a surprise restructure has landed me on the redundant list!  I had three options on my plan, and that was number two, so not so bad I guess.  But it does mean that I have to find a new source of income, so it has spurred along the job seeking from passive to very active.

For the partner, the most promising news thus far on future options has already began to surface, so fingers crossed for her that we can tick this action off sooner rather than later.  I can't wait to see what we put up for the next item on the action plan!

Saturday, February 22, 2014


Lovely picture, shame it was taken on a plant INSIDE MY HOUSE!  Looks similar to one that greeted me at the hall way only a few days ago.  Despite the shock, I simply entered the house from an alternative door, carrying a broom.  Flicked it into the garage, but then didn't actually see it leave the garage!

It certainly was a shock when I was opening the window just above and looked down.  If it was the same fellow, you would have thought he would have seen that broom coming...AGAIN!

2014 Swim Carnival

At the last school, life was easy and trying was not something that the youngster had to really do.  This year at the new school the swim carnival was very different to the past few years.  The facilities are stunning right across the school, and the sports complex is no exception.

25 metres free style, back stroke and breast stroke.  Similar to the last school, except for the starting blocks!

Despite cutting a fine figure upon said starting block, when the gun went off the height of the block became all too scary!

The balance of the field had a good head start with the hesitation, dismount and then slither into the pool.  And thus the 25m freestyle even was blown.  The breast stroke event had some sort of issue and we forget about breast stroke and thought freestyle would be much quicker.  Which it was, but didn't help the ribbon situation!  Back stroke was fairly uneventful in comparison.

At the conclusion of the day, the youngster was very unimpressed with her performance. This would be the normal time a parent would say something about it is important to try your very best.....but for us it was actually an opportunity to talk about the increase in requirements in settling into the new school.  In truth, the whole school is many levels above the old school. 

We already had additional swimming lessons planned as part of the 'you have to do something athletic' mantra.  Swim lessons are at 7.15 am and there would have to have been 50 girls in the pool.  Very serious school this Somerville!  In saying that, I was approached by the classroom teacher at pick up recently, and she said she was really amazed at Maddison's progression over the past few weeks.  Turns out have expectations to live up to, are encouraging the youngster to try harder, and for this I couldn't be prouder. 

In addition to swimming, we enrolled in additional violin lessons.  I did try to register her into speech and drama lessons, as I had continuously tried for the past three years.  Big fat negative on that one until.....20 out of 24 girls go to speech and drama.  Nothing like peer group pressure to get the little one involved.  I quickly signed the consent form for that one!  The extra cost of the new school has certainly been worth the results all round, including a much happier child. 

2014 Vision Board

The vision board for 2014 is now done and proudly hanging on the bathroom door.  The past 8 months of horror from the work schedule have contributed to the themes for this year.  I am going to continue to look at the diet to see how it effects the AS.  I am actually going to make this a family wide activity of healthy eating and exercise, and return to the more simpler life we love, regaining balance.

The effects of stress are compounded with a toll on the body, it impacts the type of parent and partner I want to be, and it significantly increases my medical expenses!

Past years........

First year the partner joined in the process.

First Day of School

When I first saw the school uniform, I remember giggling on prior occasions as a 'a frog' moved passed.  The bright green is fairly famous amongst the city residents.  That said, on the first day when the photos were being taken, I did think she managed to pull of the colour just fine. 

The first day of actual class, and we were both a bit nervous.  With a delayed start to the day, I took her into the office with me for a couple of hours.  Somehow she managed to spill her hot chocolate all down the front of the dress.  Much concern from both of us given the distance to home.  Luckily the water sorted most of it, and we had time for the dry out.

The classroom drop off was certainly an enlightening experience in itself.  Thankfully I had been in the office, so I was wearing a suit, but I almost felt under dressed for the occasion with the other mothers, and even the teacher.  Wow, there is certainly an image to uphold at this school.  Of course I picked the school for its facilities and impressive educational track record.  Yes it is an expensive school, but it hadn't entered my brain about the image expectations for parents! 

Suddenly a small epiphany about our visit to the school clothing store earlier in the year.  The shop assistant was attempting to guide me into only purchasing essential items.  I was confused at the time, if a school lunch box with a frog was something the youngster took delight in, then I was certainly willing to fork out for it, in any attempt to make the transition easier.  It was Summer, so I had cargo shorts and a polo shirt, and now looking back, I am sure that the assistant may have thought I was unemployed! 

For the first time I became aware that I have to hold up my end of the bargain now, otherwise my actions may impact on her.  Thankfully my BMW does not look out of place in the afterschool pickup process.  It is a procession of money, Audi, Mercedes, BMW, and even a Porsche.  The most interesting thing is that the mothers picking up are not likely to be working.

It will be a delicate balancing act.  I do want her to enjoy all the experiences that this facility will provide, but I don't want Maddison to pop out at the end of school with an elitist or entitled attitude.  At then end of the day at pick up I was interested in what her reaction would be.  I was preparing the talk about change being difficult, and we just need to give it a try.  The child bounded out of class, skipping and jumping.  She loves Somerville!  And it has been like that for weeks.  It is really pleasing to see that my decision to move her has been a good one.

School Transitions

After perservering with for 3 years with a local Catholic private school, I have decided that their mediocre approach to education is not in line with my expectations.  This of course resulted in more than a few discussions with the youngster desperately trying to cling on to her known circle of friends.

I think the child is brighter than the school gives her credit for, and that their refusal to believe in this concept has led the child to paddle below average, as there is no expectation from the school that anything else is required.  I am fairly sure that her desire to not be in the spot light causes this behaviour, but after consulting with a child psychologist, I need the school to assist in overcoming whatever issue resides in the classroom.  This years teacher has been teaching for around the length of time I have been alive.  But in the parent teacher interview, she agreed the child is bright, but that she didn't know how to reach her.

With a series of interviews and visits to one of the elite all girls schools in Brisbane, we were accepted in.  To her credit, she humbly accepted that she was moving schools without much fuss.  Although I do think that the specialised art centre with clay work was enticing for the creative one! 

We settled into their vacation care program over the summer holidays, to get a head start on meeting some new friends, and developing a new routine to make the start of the school term not as daunting.  The welcome from the vacation care team was over whelming, and some instant bonds were developed between them, which was fantastic to witness.  Although the program is marginally more expensive than the last school, this team was well organised and had a spectacular range of activities.  The craft work was very cool, the girls cooked each day, the went bowling, to the movies and even to Dream World.  Check out tie dying shirts day.  All children splashed their colour on, but mine made hers into neat little lines, and the end result was very cool.