Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My week

It's been an eventful week of friends, family, fine food, travel and some work excitement (for me). It started Sunday 20th with a wonderful lunch at Murrumbateman to celebrate Jennie's big birthday and her "retirement". I had a (tiny) opportunity to photograph her beautiful grand-daughter Annabelle. she was a bit sleepy from the long drive from Moe, but I was happy to get this one as it highlights her glorious halo of curls.
Sister Ros, from Sandy Beach arrived late Thursday for a few days of quality time with Ez (& us). There was lunch for 10 on Friday at Babar's and then lunch at Jerrabomberra on Saturday (so all the working boys could catch up too). The three little kids had a brilliant time, with Ella enjoying every moment, keeping up with (and demonstrating her affection for) the big boys.

Thursday night I made a date with Jeni and Irene to see Young Victoria. We started at Jeni's beautiful home at Manuka for champagne and nibblies before tackling the 2 minute walk to Greater Union. We all loved this beautiful film, exploring the first 20 or so years of Victoria's life with her beloved Albert.
Saturday night us girls braved the freezing, wet conditions to head for our favourite Parlour Room Wine Bar to enjoy an in depth catch up, a few of our favourite cocktails and some high class tapas in the comforting, girl friendly ambiance of the wine bar. We missed Claire being there. She needed her sleep after a week of less than perfect health. Ella came prepared to join us on our night out (wearing her mummy's pink beaded shoes) and was quite disappointed when Daddy took her back home for a home cooked meal and an early night.

On Sunday Rob and I headed off for Brisbane so I could attend the Stronger Smarter Summit at the Sofitel Hotel while he stayed a few days at Sunnybank having some quality time with his Mum. Brisbane was enjoying some mild, clear weather after the terrible dust storms of the week before. I enjoyed the gentle warmth, my walks along the river and the relaxed friendliness of the city.

The two day Summit was really inspiring and enervating. It was pretty thrilling to be there to hear deputy PM Julia's announcement of 16.5million federal funding (over four years) for the Stronger Smarter Indigenous Leadership Institute - great news for Indigenous kids and schools all over Australia, because the work of the Institute, under the leadership of the charismatic Dr Chris Sarra, really seems to be making a difference.

The leadership program I've been working on here in the ACT with my colleague Irene funded 4 other ACT school leaders to attend the summit. We got this picture of two of them, with Irene and me, under one of the Strong and Smart banners. We'd had fun the night before at the Summit dinner sharing laughs and stories with some of the local (Brisbane region) Aboriginal elders. They were about my age. I loved their capacity to laugh, in amongst dealing with their complex lives and considerable family responsibilities.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Springtime Ella

It's always good to have a wardrobe update in Spring. Ella has finally agreed to wear her jeans now they've had a bit of Springtime bling added from Spotlight.

But the lady beetle boots get a bit hot when you race around the garden in those pink, patchwork hippy shorts from Bali.

Making a girl very vulnerable to attacks by biting ants.

After the past three weeks of feeling very low from my killer flu virus I feel like I am slowly coming to life again, just like our Springtime garden. Rob has been piling on the cow poo and the pea straw and the beds are looking much more healthy (maybe that is what I've been needing too!).
After a few weeks of sleeping on the floor on her new big girl mattress Ella slept in her big girl bed for the first time this weekend. It was her Daddy's bed once too, so she is all set to dream some new dreams to add to all her Daddy's old ones about fast cars, fast wheels and fast hockey pucks.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Back to earth

In amongst all the excitement of our Father's Day get together - and reunion, with all the grandparents now back in Australia, I tried to get a group shot of all the little kids....
You can see I had mixed success, although this little series of pics does show the hilarity that goes along with anything they are involved in together. Ella continues to adore Ollie and finds Angie intensely funny, but a bit scary at the same time. She is Miss Business to his Mr Business, but in every other way they are at opposite ends of the gender stereotyping continuum.

This is Ella with her new favourite person especially since she presented Ella with her vintage (early 80s, mint condition) Strawberry Shortcake dolls (one black one white).

We ate & drank, talked, played and sang non stop, in between hearing all about London, Cheshire, Dave & Cath, our Bali/Lombok travels and Erin's Melbourne preparation plans. The girls all had fun trying on and making their choices from the suitcase full of Topshop jersey tops that Maxie brought back courtesy of London Cath. Our London Cath's jersey tops' department is now the biggest selling department for Topshop. The sales figures just sound astronomical to us. She is obviously a bit of a girl wonder.

Just to add to the mayhem Maxie downloaded a recording of the very ancient Chicka-boom song by Guy Mitchell, from Youtube. This is currently Ella's favourite song and we had to play it over and over and over again. Even Granny K. had to join in a little impromptu dance.

On a less positive note quite a few of the grown up girls are still nursing horrendous viruses, affecting various ears, throats, sinuses and eyes. I have felt sicker this week than I have for about 50 years, with the flu, a middle ear infection and conjunctivitis. Has there ever been a worse end of winter season for flu bugs in Canberra?