As the year winds down it is getting more difficult to maintain motivation with our lessons. The girls finished their maths for the year a few weeks ago and while I could push them to start on next year's work, I think they would be just as happy to wait! This week we spent staying cool and catching up on some reading. I have nearly finished 'Understood Betsy' (an e-book I picked up for free a while back) and we finished off 'The Secret Garden'. I read the latter when I was young and it was really nice to visit the garden again. Unfortunately I purchased the abridged version and it seemed quite a watered down story to the one I read as a child. We have also been listening to lots of audiobooks including 'James and the Giant Peach'. I didn't really get into Roald Dahl when I was young but I really am enjoying his work now. This is actually the first story we have read then followed it up with the movie. The children have been comparing the movie to the book ever since and have come to the conclusion that the book is much better. We discussed how this is probably always the case when books are made into movies as words can describe so much more than what a camera can capture.
On Thursday we were home during the worst storm I have even experienced. It started off as a bit of fun watching the wall of water approach and we thought about putting some containers out again to collect some rain water to drink. A moment later hail the size of soft balls began landing and exploding in the front yard and on the cars. We rushed inside and I looked for a safe place to sit it out. During the worst of it the children and I sat on the lounge together and I tried so hard not to be scared but oh, the noise! The girls were sitting either side of me and Henry was on my lap. Both girls were screaming next to me and I couldn't hear them above the sound of the hail, wind and rain on the house. It was like cannon balls hitting the house, and not just coming down on the roof - it was hitting the side of the house and smashing windows! When it was all over we went outside to assess the damage, thankful everyone was ok. And thankful for the very old house we live in that has probably seen worse than that over the last hundred years. The whole suburb and surrounding suburbs have suffered lots of smashed windows and cars along with many uprooted and torn apart trees. We were very fortunate only to have a few broken windows and a few dimples on the cars. The power was back on in less than 12hrs and we were able to spend the day on Friday cleaning up. Heath's office and Nana and Papa's place was inundated briefly so we used up nearly every towel in the house trying to mop up the mess. The next day we had a small rain storm and Lily came running to me saying 'Is this just a regular storm Mummy?'. I wonder how long she will think of that storm every time it rains heavy.
Our Little Flower Lily turned seven yesterday. Every family has a spirited child and Lily is ours. She made noise the moment she was in this world and has not stopped since. When I first met Heath and saw his amazing eyes, Lily is how I pictured his baby would look like and I am so thankful she is mine too. We have had many ups and downs with Lily though I think this year being at home with us, she has changed. The meltdowns, while still happening are not as furious or as often and I am able to negotiate with her more. It could be her age and maturity or the fact she has much more attention at home than at school or a combination of all life factors that has created this change but we are all getting along with her much better and life is much easier. Lily is our negotiator of the family. She can play with older kids as easily as younger kids and has patience with everyone beyond her years. As long as she doesn't get too hungry (and hangry!) she can play for hours with her siblings. I am so proud of my Lily Pilly Girl and I am fascinated with watching her grow and wondering what she will do with her life.
It wasn't Lily's turn to have a real party this year so she chose to have Jemima and Olivia (our wonderful neighbours/pseudo cousins) over for their first LAN (local area network) party. You might remember a time before kids when Heath used to have more than a dozen friends over with their computers and play games for 12 hours straight together. This was pretty similar though they ate chocolate and chips and I made them get off every hour or so to run around the house. Heath and his friends used to drink beer and not move from the computers until the pizza arrived. We had pavlova chosen by Lily for afternoon tea before our friends left and Japanese curry for dinner. They were even in bed at a decent hour and Heath and I were left reminiscing about our beautiful little baby, Lily.