Our Funny “Normalcy”

I have decided that March is the best month in Australia.  If any friends or family read this, come visit in March!  Someone better come next year—I’m warning you!  😉  Anyway, the heat and humidity ease off; the mornings and evenings are cooler and the weather is simply gorgeous—aahhh!  I just want to be outside every single second.  At the beginning of the month we were still experiencing our two plus weeks of pretty constant rain, which was starting to make me very crabby (in some ways I think dealing with snow is a lot easier and more pleasant, but then in some ways not…), but since that ended, March has truly presented itself in all its glorious-ness.  It gives me spring fever—even though it’s fall! 

Life has calmed down for us, as calm as I think it can ever get for a family in our stage of life, and I have been relishing it.  We took advantage of that first rainy weekend after moving to finish settling in, so that’s all gone well, done and dusted as they say here.  We successfully had a third birthday party for Zach last weekend, which I feel was quite an accomplishment.  I even made a cake in the shape of a race track that turned out pretty darn well.  I also made my Mom proud by actually handing out party bags for the first time ever.  They were brown paper lunch sacks leftover from when Drew needed them at preschool and consisted of candy the boys had received for Christmas that I didn’t want them to have, little toys that Steve brought home from work one day, and some other cheapo little party supplies—we even had car stickers to put on a few of them, so some of the kids may have been fooled into thinking we had a theme!  I also had a few decorations thanks to having some of the tiny jars of bubbles, balloons and noisemakers left over from the party bags—yay me.

 I put Steve in charge of a few basic running races for the kids (and he was clever enough to make use of that same package of balloons), and Drew and his friend were in charge of the “pass the parcel” game.  This game seems to be a staple at kids’ parties and while it seems familiar, I know we don’t have it in the U.S.  I think it reminds me of Hot Potato.  You pass a wrapped package (or parcel, if you’re nice and proper like the Aussies) around while music plays, and then whoever is holding it when the music stops unwraps a layer.  Protocol dictates that person should receive a lolly (candy) of some sort.  The person who is lucky enough to open the last layer gets to keep the present. 

It all went well and again showed me how quickly I have come to cherish the incredible friends we have here.   And sweet Zach, just the opposite of his brother, was so shocked and excited that people actually brought him presents (Drew would be at the door asking where his present was, just as his mother did in her younger days) and was so humble and proud at all the fuss made over him.  It was a fun day. 

With that out of the way, this week I was finally able to accomplish a basic To Do list and really get us all settled here.  This included signing Zach up for more swimming lessons (Drew is enjoying swimming as PE at school, although it still feels odd to me that I really have no idea what they do during the class), and I FINALLY ordered a transformer and it will be here next week!  This will enable me to run my kitchen aid mixer properly and finally use the crock pot that I denied my friend that wanted it and shipped all the way over here only to find out I couldn’t use it last winter because the voltage is different.  I have been running my kitchen aid anyway, even though I shouldn’t have been, but now I will be all set.  Can’t believe it took me so long to get that minor task done!   I have now moved with young children three times really in 18 months.  I think it’s ok for me to feel quite proud of that!  Of course, move number one was the hardest, so now anything else really just doesn’t seem that big of a deal. 

I was a bit sad to realize this week that similar to Valentine’s Day here, the kids are left out of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.  So, no green crafts or parties at school, just adults getting drunk in pubs.  I don’t understand why they don’t let kids in on these fun holidays!  They cherish children and families here so much….so,…..another one that’s up to me.  I made the boys little shamrocks out of green construction paper to put at the breakfast table tomorrow morning, and also made green mint chocolate cookies, green milk and green butter—so pah!  We are set! 

At the same time I found out that I am expected to make Drew an Easter bonnet for school—-huh?!  Now last year here, I did see signs on school marquees advertising their Easter Bonnet/Hat Parades and I asked Steve what they were.  He told me the kids make funny little hats in class and wear them for a parade the last day before the school holidays start.  I thought that sounded adorable and have been excited to get to see one this year, especially with my little cherub taking part in it.  Then, he brings home a note telling us to “get started on your child’s Easter hat now!  Be creative—use eggs, chickens, colored paper….” !?!  How is someone that’s never seen one of these darn things supposed to make one?!  Now I have actually felt mommy pressure here to make my kids’ birthday cakes in cute shapes—something that had never once even occurred to me before, and I feel this same mommy pressure (or should I say mummy) to make an adorable Easter hat—and for a boy, too—of all my bad luck! 

I decided it would be funny to whine about it on Facebook, and that really generated some interesting responses.  Turns out some Aussie Moms also feel it would be a pain to have to make it themselves and not have it done in the class.  One of my cousins in Miami actually googled it and sent me links to Australian and UK websites that give instructions and ideas on how to do them—I think we can make something work here!  Thankfully, the child is still 4—he doesn’t have the highest standards, so who cares about the talented super moms.  But my favorite idea of all was from our Kiwi friend who has lived in Minnesota for at least 10 years who told me to put him in a hood and if I get any questions about it say “Oh!  In America, the bonnet is known as the hood.”  Love it, love it, love it! 

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