Dinghy Rally

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So often these days kids are drawn to screens to play in virtual worlds. That’s part of the reason we enjoy boating so much – they are forced to enjoy the great outdoors. These school holidays we were rafted up on our boat with another family and the familiar whine of the kids proclaiming they were bored led us to make up a rally.

My husband and I did a reconnaissance mission to work out clues for the kids, then we put them into cryptic clues.

There were three dinghies each with two kids; a driver and a clue solver. Once the item was found they had to take a photo on their phone. This provided hours of entertainment (particularly as one of the yachts we had given a clue to find had sailed away after we wrote the clues!)

It was great to see the teamwork with the kids out independently cruising around in their dinghy, having to use their brains to try to work out the clues. My favourite clue was that they needed to find a mooring with three yachts on it. They were all obviously looking for three yachts rafted up together, but the name ‘3 yachts’ was actually written on a mooring. They had to cruise around and look at every mooring in the bay before they found it.

When they returned they all received a small prize for participation (in order to soften the blow that there was only one winner), and a small cash prize went to the winning team. The photos that were offered up for some of the answers were a stretch of the imagination for the clue, but for the most part they all found the majority of the answers (except of course the missing yacht).

The kids all had fun and we had fun watching them head off on wild goose chases when they misinterpreted clues. If only we’d insisted they had to find everything on the list, we could have had hours of peace and quiet until the missing yacht returned from its sail!

We’ve told the kids that next time they can write the clues and the adults will try to find them. I can just imagine their clues will be referencing pokemon characters and minecraft instruments just to leave us as bewildered as they were with some of the cryptic clues we gave them.

(Image courtesy of Simon Howden, Freedigitialphotos.net)

Double Jinx

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I was delighted and relieved that we made it through our annual winter ski trip this year without the need for any x-rays. The past three years have resulted in injuries to our kids. I actually gloated to my husband that our family had survived unscathed and that bad luck comes in threes, so we were out of the woods.

Yesterday, wanting to fill in some time, I decided to take my youngest two kids to the local ice skating rink. My fateful last words were ‘have fun, but don’t break anything!’ My daughter and son were having great fun racing each other and creating challenges for one another. They even participated in games organized by the ice skating rink staff. My greatest concern was that as a spectator my extremities might require amputation as I felt like frostbite had well and truly kicked in – I guess hypothermia is the price of keeping your kids entertained in the school holidays.

With ten minutes left in the session, my daughter fell and instinctively put her arm out to break her fall. She came off the ice in pain and declared she thought she had broken her arm.

I rushed her to the closest GP who after a 30 second inspection sent us to the local hospital for an x-ray. Lo and behold the x-ray confirmed our suspicions of a fracture and my daughter now has her arm in plaster for a few weeks.

I take full responsibility for tempting fate – not only did I jinx the situation by boasting that we had survived a year without an x-ray, but then to verbalise that my kids shouldn’t break any bones was too much. Fate is sitting back sniggering at my naivety that we were out of the woods.

Sometimes you wish you could wrap your kids in cotton wool, but experiences like this are going to happen regardless of how protective you are! Actually, to be honest, I think my daughter may be secretly happy to have her first cast, as she took no time at all to bust out the permanent marker so we could all sign it!

Image courtesy of praisaeng, freedigitalphotos.net

End of an era

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Today my eldest daughter has started her last week of school. I feel a bit like I blinked and suddenly she is all grown up.

I still remember the little blonde haired girl who cried and clung to me as I dropped her off to preschool, the same little girl who a few years later bravely started school in her little uniform and wide brimmed hat that seemed so large that she resembled a little mushroom. Fast forward a few years and she moved schools. I think back to the bribe of a new outfit and dinner in a fancy restaurant as a reward for her bravery to start afresh at a new school where she didn’t know anyone.

I think of the countless sporting carnivals, music recitals and awards ceremonies we have attended, proud of the effort she was putting in to her education.

I recall the ups and downs of her being a tween who lived through the dramas of friendship changes and issues that at the time that seemed insurmountable, which today she would be hard pressed to remember in any detail.

I think back to the day she was inconsolable over missing out on a place on the exchange program at school, although she had gone above and beyond to do all she could do to qualify. The flip side was the amazing trip she went on to China and the friendship she formed with a Spanish girl that she met over there that led to them doing a small private exchange. In hindsight, I think she actually was better off the way things worked out.

And now she is going through the routine of school for just one last week. It is going to be a huge week with muck up day, leaver’s ceremony and then the formal dance to finish off the week. Within a few months all her exams will be done and then she can focus on the path she chooses to start her life.

Although I’ve looked forward to this time, I also can’t believe it is already here. My little shy girl has grown into a confident lady and I’m so proud of the woman she is becoming.

I’m not sure where the years have gone, but as they say, time flies when you’re having fun!

Photo courtesy of stockimages, freedigitalphotos.net