Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Two Sides To Every Coin!

Anyone who knows me knows that I am pro Australian Made...even more so WAHM (work at home mum) made.

I like the idea of supporting Aussie families, giving our young'uns jobs and helping mums to be able to afford to stay home with their kids.
After all, I am one of those mums, and my kids will all too soon be those young'uns.

And then there's the fact that many of the overseas factories that mass produce the cheaper products on the market use child labour and waaaaay underpay their workers, and I definitely do NOT support that.

But lately I have been thinking a little bit about the other side of the coin.

What about those children and families over in China and other countries?  They may not get paid much for the work that they do, but what they do get paid puts food on their families' tables. 
If I boycott all overseas manufactured products, will that change their plight? NO!  
If all of Australia, all of the Western World boycotts these products, will that make a difference?  Maybe, but would it be a positive one?  I'm not sure.

If these factories close and these families become unemployed then who will put food on their tables?  Certainly not their governments, and humanitarian agencies are already stretched to the limit.

So what is the be honest I have no idea.

As I said I can NOT support child labour, but neither do I support child Australia, in India, in Africa, in China or in ANY country.

Kinda makes you think doesn't it?

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year 2013!

Well the new year is here, but here at The Zoo Train, new years day kinda takes a back seat to Grub's birthday.  Today he is 2 and while he will always be my baby, he has officially left his baby days behind him.

But we've had a pretty cruisy day...

Once daddy was up we opened presents...

My favourite was his new baby from Mama28 Dolls!

Then I spent most of the morning pottering in the kitchen...which is okay, it's where I belong, where I am comfortable.

We had some of my family round for lunch...

And icecream cake...

...some of which I got to wear...

Thanks Bubba M!

And once it got a bit cooler, the Geek upgraded the sliperydip for them and they had an awesome time :)

Followed by baths, leftovers for dinner and of course beloved bedtime!

Happy New Year Everybody!!!

How was your day?

Monday, 31 December 2012

It Is Well! (New years resolutions)

Well Christmas is done and dusted!  We went away as planned and came back early as Bear didn't cope very well. 
The trip home was HORRENDOUS, save for a little visit with The Bumpiest Path and a dunk in their pool.
WA is having a bit of heat wave at the moment so it was HOT and the aircon in our car died long ago.  There are no spare seats in our car so the kids were crammed up with each other and we took the dog with us so she took up about a third of the boot space which meant the luggage encroached into the back of the car too.
We got home late so everything was just dumped into the house and we got to bed late and the little ones didn't sleep too well (and haven't really since we got back) so I woke up the next morning tired beyond all belief and with my house...which I went to great lengths to clean before we left...pretty much trashed.
With the heat we have had this last few days the kids have been unable to play outside, so they are cranky and still tired from the trip and all the hype building up to Christmas so I have found myself feeling very discontented with my lot in fact I've been downright CRANKY!

Then we went to Church yesterday and they showed a little slide show about a man named Horatio Spafford.

Born in 1828, he became a prominent lawyer in Chicago.  He married Anna Larsen and together they had 5 children...4 girls and a boy.  In 1870, they lost their only son to pneumonia. 
The following year they invested heavily in real estate but lost it all later that year in the Great Fire of Chicago.
In 1873 they decided that they needed a holiday and Anna and the girls boarded a ship for England, with the view that Horatio would follow once he had tied up all his business in Chicago.  On the voyage, the ship sank taking 226 lives with it...including all 4 of their daughters.  Upon receiving a telegram "Saved Alone" from Anna, Horatio set sail for England to be with her...and as they approached the place where the ship had sunk he went down into his cabin and wrote the words...

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

(Refrain:) It is well (it is well),
with my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pain shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

And Lord haste the day, when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

 What on earth have I been through that can compare with THAT!!!


So my new years resolution this year is to be more content with what I have cause my life really ain't so bad :)

The Spaffords went on to have 3 more children, one of whom also died.  They continued in the Lords work running soup kitchens, hospitals and orphanages during and  after WW1

Friday, 28 December 2012


Over the last few months I have seen other families get so busy that "family" goes out the window.

In one, they actually gave away their kitchen table because they never had time to sit and eat together anymore, a sad thing when the children are only young (aged between 2 and 8).

I've seen life become so full of other "stuff" that the kids no longer have time to just go outside and play.

I've seen a mum who works shift work, who is at work from before the kids get home from school until late, and is still asleep when they leave in the morning, so if she works for 4 or 5 days straight then she doesn't see her kids (3 of whom are still in primary school) for that period of time.

Now I am not passing judgement, not at all, I know these families really well and they are just trying to make ends meet, and to make it through.  But when I think on it, it makes me extremely thankful for what I have in my life.

We seem to have been busy here too but we have been so blessed to have been able to wind things back a bit and still make time for family.

There are a lot of things that irk me about living in a small town, but there are also a lot of things that I love and I think the thing I love most is the size of our yard.  We have a half acre, and while it's not real flash...actually there's still a LOT of work to do...there is so much room for the kids to run and play and I take a huge amount of pleasure just watching them at this time of year doing things like...

having an after dinner game of cricket (and I use the word cricket very loosely...I think any cricket player worth his salt would NOT derive the same pleasure I do from watching)...

slip sliding on the slippery dip...

jumping on the trampoline...

playing in the sandpit...

or in the blow up pool.

And of course our recent purchase of the MacGyver box set makes for hours of family time.

Mahjong is also one of our favourite family passtimes, which has admittedly taken a little bit of a back seat this year with 2 toddlers in the house! (but I am planning on trying to dig it out this holidays)

I am looking forward to swimming lessons being over (which start next week) so that we can have a couple of weeks before school goes back just to be at home and I am extremely grateful for the time that we have together.

Friday, 30 November 2012

The Conversation!

Yesterday we had a meeting at the high school about Bears transition (I should add that trying to communicate with this high school is like beating your head against a brick wall)

Anyway during this meeting there was a conversation which I felt pretty much sums up the past (almost) 11 years...

DCP Case Worker - You have to remember that when working with Bear you are not just working with an autistic child you are also working with a severely damaged child, those years of abuse and neglect would have left him with some level of Post Traumatic Stress.

Head Teacher - Well is someone working with him for that?

Case Worker - No.

Head Teacher - Well why not?

Case Worker - Because basically no one really knows where to start!

Thank you!

Have I mentioned that we have the BEST case worker!

actually I really mean that!  When Bear first came into care he used to have contact with his Mum at one of the local daycare centres and at that time our case worker worked at that daycare so she has actually cared for him HANDS ON and seems to REALLY understand that when we say "this is what is happening" then we mean that "THIS is what is happening" and I can't thank her enough for the support she has shown since she started working for the department :)

Sunday, 25 November 2012

The Christmas MacGyver

Last year I REALLY struggled to find the Christmas spirit and while this year I have been able to feel a small tingle of that familiar excitement underneath all the stress for the most part the stress has taken over and the Christmas spirit has remained just a tingle.

Until about a week ago.

Our kids are growing up and it is a constant battle to find tv programs for them that are age appropriate but not the CRAP that they seem to spew out  by the truckload, full of attitude and disrespect for authority so the Geek and I had discussed it and had decided that when our family tax benefit went in this year we would buy the full 7 seasons of MacGyver on DVD for the kids. 

So we did, and it arrived a couple of weeks ago and come Friday night we decided to have a "Macgyver night" complete with popcorn and fizzy drink for some "quality" (?) family time.

Well what a blast from the past and the Geek and I both had a good old chuckle at some it but with all of our family (even Bear came and had a looksee) gathered together and enjoying each others company I really felt the spirit of Christmas.

No there was nothing Christmassy about those episodes of MacGyver that we watched but the feeling of togetherness and family is what Christmas should be about...aside from the obvious of course...the birth of Jesus...and it really did turn out to be QUALITY family time.

Since then our kids have become real Mac fanatics and with Tiger being a bit of a science nut I do worry that we are going to find things being "MacGyvered" all over the place but I guess as long as he doesn't blow anything up we can probably cope with that :)

So Christmas here I come!

Sunday, 11 November 2012


Life at the moment is tough!

This last couple of months it has been one thing after another, after another, after another. 

There have been several big things going on in our lives...Bear's high school transition - HUGE!  It affects everyone in our household and I am expecting the fallout to last at least a year...not to mention that the special ed teacher at the high school just seems to have no idea (or doesn't care) and won't include us in the process!

Closing down the business - HUGE!  There were lots of deciding factors and we put it off as long as we could but once the decision was made we just wanted to get the stock sold and get it closed.  So when the time came to announce our closing I wrote a nice little blog post about it and did a nice expensive promoted post on facebook, so what happened next?  Gremlins attacked our website and it crashed...about a dozen times in the first 48 hours of our closing down sale!  People were messaging me left and right saying they wanted to buy from our sale and couldn't get on the site...many asked me to put their orders through for them, which I didn't so much mind, except the toddlers could feel my stress and got crazy cranky, Chicken somehow managed to chip her front two bottom teeth and need to go to the dentist (easier said than done when you live at least 50km from anywhere) and then of course Tiger and Monkeys birthdays were coming up and we had a big double party planned so I had heaps of baking to do too! 

Ducky (now 19) is having a really rough time.  She is struggling to find her place in the world and I can tell you now that there are very few things in this world that are harder than standing back and letting your children make their own mistakes.

And then of course there is Christmas sneaking ever closer...We are heading on a 700km road trip with 6 kids, 2 of whom are under 2.  This in itself is something I am DREADING, along with the fact that we are staying at the geeks parent's place (as we usually do without a problem) only this time the geeks brother and his family are staying there too and the house just isn't big enough so I really worry that Bear is NOT going to cope, especially after everything he has been through this last 6 months.  But not only that.  Because we are going away for Christmas we are having my side of the family's Christmas get together about 3 weeks early.  At first I was really looking forward to it, even when it was decided that it would be at our house.  But my Mum has taken over and started "planning" and "inviting" and this thing is going to be bigger than Ben Hur!  I've gotten to the point where I don't even want to think about Christmas cause I just can't deal with one more thing.

But for every thing that's gone wrong over this last couple of months there is 1000 blessings.  Every giggle that comes out of our toddlers is a joy and a miracle (even if they have us pulling our hair out most of the time), we have a comfortable home on a big block in a fantastic neighbourhood.  I can't even express how grateful I am for this.  That the kids have space to run and play and when they want to ride their bikes up and down the street it is safe to do so.  I have my garden, okay it has a few more weeds than I would like at the moment, but it's also the time of year when the flowers are starting to bloom and they are beautiful.  We are planning lots of baking projects with the kids this Christmas and I am REALLY looking forward to just being a mom again.  To spending more time with our kids and just spend more time as a family.  We are blessed that as poor as we have felt we have never gone without, there has always been food in the house and the bills have never gone unpaid.  The Christmas shopping is more than half done and will probably be finished within a couple of weeks.  I have an awesome husband (even if he has me pulling my hair out most of the time hehe) and healthy children and a God who is bigger than all our problems! 
And I am thankful, sometimes I need to remind myself, but yes I am thankful!