Sunday, 6 February 2011

A first Birthday party.

 What an absolutely perfect day to celebrate a first birthday with a party at the Salthouse overlooking Emily bay, Norfolk Island.
There was no fighting to get the best picnic spot as there are so many around Emily bay, we had the whole headland to ourselves.

The party guests started arriving, Jasper seemed to know just what to do with his presents, he had some practise at Christmas time.

 Cousins Liam and Nate ready to party.
Daddy kept the BBQ fired up all day with sausages and chicken kebabs, Jasper helped. Mummy cut up cold watermelons and rockmelons.

 The older brothers and sisters played in a nearby rockpool at low tide, they all said that it was like a warm bath.
Don't you just love Sienna's bikini?

 Jasper's cow cake, full of his beloved MOOOOO's.
Gotta love artificial colour free smarties and 100's and 1000's (we blew it later with the jelly though ☺)

 Never a proper family photo in our family.
 Jay Jay not happy, he wants the cake!!!!
 Yay! Happy now.

After cake there were some sand castle competitions, with 6 teams of the older children, they were all fantastic so everyone received a freddo frog.

Just before leaving, we all had a cold stripey rainbow jelly, perfect for a hot summers day.

 With party officially over, it was time to play with Jasper's new toys under the shade of the Norfolk Island pine trees.
 Beautiful Emily bay was too nice to leave, so we stayed all day. Shifts of friends came and joined us all day long.

 Being a 1 year old party boy can be so tiring!

I got to go for a snorkel while the kids were having a chill out time. Look at my beautiful fishy friends.

We eventually stayed for so long that friends who had left in the morning returned late in the afternoon after their lunch and rest time.
Here is Sienna and Wilkie greeting each other again like long lost friends!
What a magical, wonderful day!

Thursday, 3 February 2011

what to do after school?

After school is out here on Norfolk Island, we have over 4 hours of warm sunshine to enjoy.
These afternoons are our favourites, so instead of rushing home to do homework, our kids come down to the beach and can swim, surf, snorkel, fish, ride their bikes and just play on the sand for many hours to unwind from a day in the classroom.
After Sienna's first day at Kindergarten, we came down to Emily bay for a walk and a swim before heading home.
Teddy and Sienna decided to go for a walk across the headland that looks out to Phillip and Nepean Islands, I asked if they wanted me to come with them, Teddy replied " we're o.k Mum, we are just going to have a little brother/sister time" he held his sisters hand and looked after her on the rocky walk. I think he is very proud of her starting school, it was very sweet.
We walked back around to Emily bay where we played on the sand, Brandt joined us there for a swim.


 The next day, we took our bikes down after school and rode to the Kingston pier. Some fishing boats had come in and were filleting the fish.
The fishermen throw the fish skins and carcasses back into the water for the food chain cycle.

It is usually at this time that we see a whole lot of sharks (bull or bronze whalers, not sure which) and maybe a turtle coming in close for a feed. Today though the tide was so low that the sharks couldn't get through the reef (niggerhead) so we were treated to a show of all the tropical reef fish coming to the surface for a fish feed.
There were these amazing long trumpet nosed fish, they seemed to change colour from soft blue and grey to deep purple and blue.
There was another family there waiting for their charter boat, they were taking their son and his friends out to the Phillip Island fishing hut for the weekend as it was his 12th Birthday, what an amazing party idea!

We enjoy our life here on the island so much, we are so grateful to have the opportunity to live here where fun isn't always expensive like going to theme parks and malls and electronic gaming arcades, instead it is about the simple pleasures and discoveries and natural wonders and healthy activity choices all only 5 minutes from home.
It won't be long before afternoons start filling up with all those extra curricular activities like horse riding and my dance class for littlies and Tahitian dancing and ukulele lessons, but in the meantime............

We still have another 2 or so months to enjoy this warm weather by coming to the beach after school or in the early evenings, quite often we will stay for some alfresco dining, by ourselves or with friends. Either way it is always pleasant.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

A five year journey to school.

Today is Sienna Rose's first day at 'big school'

First time for uniforms and classrooms. There is so much yet to learn but we think this smart little cookie has been ready to go for a while.

When Sienna turned 3, she attended Banyan Park playcentre 2 half days per week, then last year at 4 years old I decided to keep her at home with me after the birth of Jasper.
We spent the year together doing crafts, reading stories and having lots of playdates with our friends Wilkes, Abi and Matilda from the babysitters club.

The babysitters club was formed a few years ago by my good friend Eve and myself so our children could be minded in a homey atmosphere with a like minded friend while we both worked full time.

We would have each others children one or more days per week and then stay for dinner. It was a great arrangement. While I was away in Sydney for 9 weeks having Jasper last year, Abi and Matilda's families joined in to help.
these photos were taken last October for fun.

Best friend for 4 years, Wilkie.

Halfway through last year after relief teaching at the brand new Montessori kinderhaus, we decided that it was a wonderful place for Sienna to attend but there was only day available so she became a kinderhaus student for 6 months and loved it.

On her end of year report card her teacher Rauni wrote 'Sienna has showed particular interest in role play and theatre as well as arts and crafts and dancing'. Yes, she is a chip off the ol' block.

We are sure that she will keep her teachers highly entertained this year, though I am feeling a huge sense of de ja vu , there are so many things that she says that could have come straight from me or the way that she acts is so familiar to me.

My brother Mike saw these photos of Sienna starting school and commented that it could have been 1979 with me starting school. Then my sister Jenni sent these photos of my first day at school plus a few others that I hadn't seen before.

We are not that alike in looks, some similarities perhaps, BUT the photo that blew me away was this one below.

The photo could have been taken yesterday with Sienna doing the exact same thing.

Have a wonderful time at school darling girl, I miss you already and the house is so, so quiet without you chatting and singing all day.
Jasper has been crawling through the house looking for her all day and called out 'hello' in in Sienna's bed to see if she was there, I think he misses the year long happy noise in his life too.

Here is the article I wrote for Norfolk online news.

Back to school

A new school year began for the Norfolk Island central school students on Monday the 31st of January, 2 extra days seemed like such a long wait until their big day for this years Kindergarten students.
Each Kindy student had a best start assessment over those 2 days where the teachers could personally assess each child’s skills to know which group to appropriately place them when school started.

So their big day did finally arrive on Wednesday the 2nd of February, there was anxiety and excitement as the children were getting ready in their new uniforms for the first time (well probably not the first time as the uniforms have been worn in this house all school holidays long while playing ‘schools’).
My daughter was the first to arrive after dropping her brother off by the 8:50am bell, she was then not very impressed when I informed her that she would have to wait until 9:30am when the kindergarten class will be met my their new buddies, she dramatically burst into tears telling me her “whole day was ruined!”. It was just too long to wait for another 40 minutes.

Slightly appeased with a photo shoot in front of the school sign while her friends started arriving one by one in their sparkling new uniforms and very neat hairstyles, groups of girls greeted each other like long lost friends whom they hadn’t seen in a very long time, in reality they most likely saw each other all weekend at Emily bay or the day before at Foodland as on Norfolk Island, the majority of the class already know one another from their families being a part of this community for the 5 years before starting at school.

It is most likely that all the rest of infants, primary and secondary school students all know the new kindy kids as well.

One other mum told me that her daughter had dressed and undressed 3 times before actually getting to school unsure whether she wanted the day to come or not but was fine when seeing so many familiar faces in the same boat. I am sure that the few new children who have just moved to the island will find friends quickly as you are never a stranger here for long.

At the meeting place outside the canteen, the well organized teachers had the ‘buddies’ all ready to greet their kindy friend with a name tag and a smile ready to hold their hand and lead them to their new adventure. The buddies were chosen last year during a 3 day school visit, so they knew each other already.
Most kindy’s disappeared out of sight without even a ‘bye mum’ and there was not a tear to be seen.

The school principal, Mr. Solomon invited all the parents up to the library for tea and biscuits where parents discussed how their child handled the morning. There were a few sniffles, but plenty of relief of the smooth transition that took place turning our pre school letl salan into big school children.

We wish Mrs Pedel, Mrs Brown, Mrs Hayes and Ms Delaney well as they begin the new school year with a new concept of 4 multi age classes which include kindergarten, year one and year two’s together in the same home room, Thankyou for all the time you give to give our children the best start in their schooling.

This years kindergarten is a large class with 29 children starting together, we wish them all every joy and happiness that will be experienced as they begin their educational journey together and to find strength to face every challenge during the next 11-13 years at school.