It is that time of year again. When we say good-bye to the things that we have done in the past year and say hello to the things we hope to do in the year coming. Therefore, it is time for me to reflect on what has happened to our little-big family in 2009. A lot has certainly happened, when I think about it! Here is a month-by-month reflection for my own good, as well as yours!

In January, we were still living in Gladstone, a little town in Central Queensland. We happened to be living at my Nana's house (she, sadly, passed away 2 years ago now) and having a ball, even though we didnt have much space inside the house. Fortunately, the yard is MASSIVE and the kids found solace in knowing that they had that to play in each day instead of spending their time inside. The summer was hot and sometimes unforgiving, but we got through it without a front door and the breeze that it would have provided, IF we were able to open it! Nana's stuff was in the front room, ultimately blocking the front door...bad mistake that one! I spent some time outside under the trees up the back crocheting a jumper for Weez - my first big crochet project, besides a blanket! *Once my old computer is fixed, I am going to HAVE to find you the photo of it! It is just gorgeous and Weez LOVES it!!*

January was also the month that I was accepted into university! Yep - I am finally on my way to my dream job - a nurse! I have hit a few bumps along the way (which will become apparent in just a little while), but I finished my first year with no failures and I am quite proud of myself and my family!

The beginning of February saw us packing up, once again, and heading off to greener pastures here in Rockhampton, Central Queensland. We lived with Pete's Mum for a little while in her little house while we looked for a house to buy up here. After a couple weeks of looking at run down pieces of crap that needed a heck of a lot of work, we stumbled across this house, which had just come on the market the week before and wasnt even advertised yet! I fell in love straight away (mainly because the boy's room was so big) and it took Pete a little to see it's potential, too. But we are here and we have many, many plans for this place!

But that is not all! Our move meant that the kids had to start a new school! One of the things I love about this place is that it is just across the road from a primary AND high school, so it was easy to just slot them in there. With us living this close to the school and the university, Pete also suggested that I should take on full time study! That meant 4 subjects per term! I wasnt sure how the kids would cope with the extra responsibility of picking up where I left off most mornings, themselves, but I thought it was worth a try, at the very least!

March saw Bubba Pete turn the big 4 and Will turn 1 (my babies are growing up!!). All the kids settled in well to their new schools and daycare and I settled into uni life as best I could (for a 'mature' student).

In April, I was half way through my first term at university (VERY excited!) when I suffered, for the first time this year, an 'incident' with my back. You see, in October last year I was struck with a problem, where I could not move very much at all. I thought that it was my sciatica playing up again and didnt think much of it, until I had to borrow my friends computer (I was doing the STEPS course through CQUniversity) and headed over to her house with 6 kids in tow and ended up perched on her couch while lying down...unable to move another inch because of the pain. The doctor that I saw in the emergency ward referred me to get a CAT scan done on my back, which revealed a bulging disc between L5 and S1 (down the bottom of my spine, between the freely moving bones and the 5 fused bones that eventually lead to the tailbone). This pushes on my sciatic nerve, causing the pain that runs down the back of my leg and up under my foot. Ultimately, this episode was caused from sitting on my butt and studying at the computer!

In May, my 'baby' girl turned 12 and I finished my first term at uni. The break between terms did not feel that long, however, since I had a couple of exams the 2 weeks following end of term! I did, however, pass all my exams (thank goodness) and I now look at my family in a different light - I no longer feel the need to exclude myself from 'life' anymore because of my kids - yes, I DO have a couple more than most, but they WILL get in together when needed and do things TOGETHER!!

June saw my other 'baby' girl turn 6 and, with renewed energy and faith in my family, I enrolled, once again, in full time study at university. This term, I started 'Prac', where I had to go to the hospital and 'work' a certain amount of hours in order to pass a subject. I was placed at the Mater Hospital on the other side of town and did not have the option of working morning or afternoon shift, like so many other students. Morning shift it was, so I headed off at 6:15am on my scooter (our new addition to the family) to make it in time for my 6:50am start. It was interesting, to say the least! I soon learnt the politics of a hospital is no different from anywhere else! My original placement was up in womens/maternity (why oh WHY do they make women who are in labour go UPSTAIRS to get to the labour ward???). I was told that I was basically useless there, because I could do nothing for or with them (we arent meant to do anything more than what we have been taught at the uni). A couple of times I was rostered on with a 3rd year student and, of course, she is able to do much more than I, but there was also a lot of women going in for 'women's' proceedures that I could have been helpful with! So I found myself taking blood pressures, emptying linen skips, etc, etc, etc......basically until I thought that I would die of boredom! All because they could not get out of their little box and give me a darn chance! Well....that is my thoughts, and that's that!

After speaking with my supervisor, I was transferred to the surgical ward, where they had HEAPS for me to do! I found myself busy making beds, taking blood pressures regularly and generally learning a heck of a lot more off those nurses than I would have up in womens/maternity! A couple of the nurses that I spoke to about my problems upstairs just looked at me and gave me a quizzical look. It wasnt until one spoke up and said, 'Well, they are a breed all their own up there.....they think they are special, because they bring life into the world and we dont' that I understood. Sort of makes me think twice about becoming a midwife. is late and I am rambling and making HEAPS of mistakes with my typing! I had better head off to bed and finish this tomorrow. Until then....Goodnight! And Happy New Year!!
I had a great day yesterday, sewing with Pete's cousin! She is visiting from Mackay for a few weeks (camping at a little spot just near Yeppoon) and decided to make her granddaughter, Mack, a Christmas dress. Since it had been nearly 20 years since she last sewed (or so she says), she asked if I would be willing to help her out. Of course, I told her that I would be delighted to give her a hand! So she came over yesterday morning, looked through my patterns and picked this one:

Just lovely, isnt it? I think I got it from an op-shop a little while ago and havent been GAME to use it! Now, I reckon I is quite simple!

Next was a trip to Spotlight, where we discover that they are having 75% off Christmas stock! BARGAIN!!

So we get back to my house, set up, but before we can get into tracing the pattern (was cut out for size 7 and we needed size 3....none of my girls are size 3 any longer, so we decided to trace instead of cut to ruin the pattern itself!), Lee brings out some sarongs that she has been wearing tied at the front, but has been too afraid of them opening up with the first sign of a breeze! So, not wanting to scare the other people at the beach, she asked if we could work out how to sew them like another that she had that was pre-sewed (sewn??) shut in the front with a little bit of elastic in the back, sewn into a casing. "Looks simple enough!" I exclaimed and immediately jumped at the chance of working out how a 'simple' little thing was designed and made!

With both of us working on different ones, it took us about 1 1/2 hours to work it out and the 2nd took only a smidge of that time to make up! I was proud of our efforts, so I thought that I would share it with you guys, here! I will apologize for my bad pictures straight up.....I didnt even THINK of taking photos of the process while we were doing it during the day! So these photos are taken under fluorescent lighting and flashy from my camera....I have picked the best ones! I hope you can see them properly!

Materials needed:
Sarong (The good thing about using an already made sarong is that you dont have to worry about folding over the edges, coz they are already hemmed for you!)
Length of 2.5cm wide elastic
I would not recommend using a flimsy that is a little heavy will do the trick for a long time.
XL - 25cm (10")
L - 22.5cm (9")
M - 20cm (8")
S - 17.5cm (7")
Safety pins

Here is mine untouched, folded in half lengthways.

Decide which long end you would like to have at the top of your sarong. Fold down this top edge 3cm, pin and sew close to hemmed edge to make a casing for the elastic.

Sew another line close to this line to reinforce the casing.

Fold the material in half, marking the middle.

I did mine with a pin through one side of the reasons will come apparent soon!

Put the safety pins in each side of the elastic and insert elastic into the casing.

Push through elastic to the half way mark and secure the middle of the elastic to the middle of the sarong's casing.

Measure the required distance from the middle of the garment towards both ends and mark.
XL - 35.5cm (14")
L - 38cm (15")
M - 40.5cm (16")
S - 43cm (17")

Push elastic back through the casing on each side and secure with a pin (and you thought I was being silly asking you to put safety pins on either end of the elastic!). Sew securely in place (I put at least 3-4 lines over it, because this will be under a lot of pressure).

Put the short end of the sarong together. Measure 23cm (9") from the top and 15cm (6") from the bottom and mark. Sew between these marks and reinforce with a line of stitching across these lines close to the splits.

And there you have it!! The front can be tied through a shawl holder or tied by itself. I am thinking that this will become my favourite hot weather thing to wear! I have never worn it since I received it as a present years ago....because I loved the pattern and material....but mainly because I just KNEW that I could do something else with it!!
We have recently celebrated Moo's graduation from Primary school and Bubba Pete's graduation from Kindy. Brings a tear to my eye to think that they are getting older and growing up, but I have found that there is no kind and gentle way to keep them young, so have resigned myself to the fact that they will and there aint nothing I can do about it! Well here they are.....Moo ready to go to her graduation dance (all dressed up and looking grown up!)....the awards that she raked in this year (one VERY proud Mum, here!)......and Bubba receiving his little certificate from the daycare Director - kitted out in a little grad hat with tassle that they made for them (very very cute, dont ya think?).

I also ripped out my sewing machine and used some of the pillow cases that I have had stored for AGES....just waiting for me to do something with them! All girls now sport new jammies (Moo lacks pants....they are still to come). Needless to say, they love them! Corky is particularly proud of herself, because she sewed the straight edges on hers. I did the fiddly bits and the hemming and waistband of her pants (she has them on, you just cant see them - makes this little jammie set available for next year, I reckon!)......but she is VERY proud of what she did!

And finally, at the daycare Christmas party recently, the boys saw Santa! The look on Mickey's face when Santa came out was priceless and I missed taking a photo of it! With money a little tight this year, this will probably be the only photo of any of the kids with Santa that we will get!

Exciting times to be had over the next couple of days! I have a lot of plans for things to make and do over the coming days, leading up to Christmas! Tomorrow will be more sewing with Pete's cousin coming over and borrowing my machine to make her Grandaughter a little Chrissy outfit and I still have a couple of pressies to make! Sometime in that, too, I have to go and brave the shopping crowds and get the last few little presents that Pete kindly reminded me of tonight! I thought I was finished and could relax! DOH!!
In an effort to make this Christmas as 'cheap' (but not nasty) as possible, I set off with my crochet hooks a couple of months ago and started to craft up some goodies for my friends and family.

Every year, Pete's family has a 'Secret Santa' list (not so secret when everyone gets a copy of the list!) that needs to be filled with monetary amounts allocated against each name. Each year, I feel like a cheapskate for not spending that full monetary amount on who I am supposed to buy for, but I have decided NOT to feel that this year, since I have basically spent next to NO money on the presents that I plan on giving out! Most have been lovingly handcrafted by my hands from my stash (I will admit to buying a couple of things when Spotlight had a sale on balls of yarn recently) or bought at an earlier stage at sales and kept in a box, just waiting for a time like this to come along.

Here is what I have managed to make so far:
A nice, soft lapghan for my Dad

Nice and easy lapghan for my niece and nephew
(Pattern can be found here)

And a little shawl for another niece (modeled by my beautiful daughter, Weez!)
(Pattern can be found here)


A beanie and scarf set for my brother
I used a plain dark blue yarn and added white sewing thread while crocheting.

Slippers for one of my besties. I made some a little smaller for her daughter in purple and pink, but I have already wrapped them! hehe. These were so easy and quick to make! I got the pattern from a crochet mag I usually buy. More to come, since they are so easy!

I plan on getting a few more things made before Christmas. My sewing machine will be coming out and I will be whipping up a few things on that, too! Better get my butt into gear, hey? LOL

Time to introduce you to our house, methinx! Well.....this is it! It aint much, but it is home and we love it......well almost! There are just 3 bedrooms. Pete and I share (funny that, hey? For a married couple! LOL) the bit larger than average sized main bedroom. The girls are sharing their average sized room, but the clincher for us buying this house was the boys room! having 5 boys has been a problem in the past....trying to fit them into an average sized room has been a pain! No longer, though! Their room is massive! At just over 6m long and a little under 3m wide, there is PLENTY of room for all of them in there!
Of course, with Pete and his passion for 'improving' things, the front of the house doesnt look like that right now......we dont have any grass out the front! Pete decided not long after we moved in to 'fix up' the front yard and got a bloke in with a bobcat and levelled everything out. Hence no grass. The back yard is the same, but for totally different reasons! There just has not been enough rain lately to water the grass! And sprinklers can only do so much.
Inside needs a bit of fixing, too, which is being done slowly but surely. I kept complaining about not having a linen cupboard, so Pete fixed that by taking the wall out in the hallway, taking a little room from our room and making a large cupboard! It is excellent! I thought that it would become a junk cupboard, but it hasnt! Next on the list is to fix the girl's bedroom.....or will it be the bathroom.....or the kitchen...? I guess I will find out when he gets to it, hey? LOL
Yes...this house is a fixer-uper, but it is home for the moment! Convenient to schools (right across the road), shops (5 min walk to the nearest supermarket) and just around the corner from uni!
Well it seems that I have totally neglected this blog! Time for me to revive it, methinx!

There is simply no excuse for me writing here! All it would take is a couple of minutes perhaps a couple of times a week and I can vent my frustrations, furies and anguish over posts!

I fell into the facebook trap a little over a year ago and that has become my place to catch up with old friends, family and neighbours. That was soon after we shut down our business, moved house from my lovely patch in Boyne Island to Gladstone and, subsequently, back up to Rockhampton, where Pete is now working for his Uncle again! All for the better this time, I feel. Things seem to be happening up here! We now own a house (right across the road from a primary AND high school) and I am going to university! All that has taken up most of my time! I am studying a bachelor of nursing and did the first year full time (4 courses over each term). It was pretty full on and they say that it wont get any better from here, so it looks like I will be heading into part time study and applying for plenty of jobs for next year!

The kids are growing up soooo fast! Bubba Pete is heading off to Prep next year and Moo is heading off to high school! Lenny has just turned 14 and J-Man 10 (makes him too old for Santa in this house...hehe), Corky 11, Amy 6 (and excited to be heading into grade 2 next year...doing REALLY well with her school work, too, I might add!), Mickey is 3 (NOT looking forward to Bubba Pete heading off to school next year, coz they are soooo close!!) and Will is 18 months! they grow up WAY too fast!

And that is about it! Just a quick catch up today! I have HEAPS to talk about - kid- and crafty-wise!