Dress for Success

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My daughter recently finished her high school education and attended a formal dance held to celebrate her cohort’s graduation.

In the months leading up to the dance we were busy with preparations. We purchased a gorgeous navy blue sequined gown that she loved, but a few weeks out from the event, she learned that several other girls were planning to wear navy blue dresses that were similar.

She hurriedly purchased a new dress – a long, vibrant red backless gown, so that she would look unique on the evening.

On the day of the formal she looked stunning. Not wanting to sound biased (although realistically of course I am), she looked like a model that had just walked off a catwalk. We are so proud of her achievements and the amazing lady she is becoming.

After the evening, my daughter looked into selling the navy gown she hadn’t worn. She found a Facebook page where not only can you sell dresses but you can rent them out as well. She has since sold the navy gown and has rented out her red dress twice, covering the purchase price for both dresses.

I’m thrilled that she has been so proactive and that she has made money from items that would otherwise be gathering dust in the wardrobe for years to come. I have never thought that dresses were assets from which you could draw an income – maybe there is a business model there to be exploited?

It makes me wonder what the future holds for my entrepreneurial daughter when she is able to use a dress for success!

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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

The Grass Is Always Greener

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Flash back to six weeks ago and I was looking forward to the kid’s school holidays. I’d had enough of making lunches and encouraging (nagging) my kid’s to leave for school on time. I was sick of ensuring the kids had all their homework done and then confirming that they remembered to pack it to hand in the following day. I was also tired of being mum’s taxi shuffling kids to their extra curricular activities. I was ready for a break from all that to enjoy our winter school holidays.

The first few days were heaven with the kids relieved to have no school commitments. I enjoyed lying in and not worrying about what the kids would have for lunch, until almost lunchtime. But after a few days of relaxing the kids missed their friends and we were launched into frenetic socializing with school friends. My mum’s taxi route didn’t end; it just altered to collecting and dropping off kids for play dates.

Fast forward to today, the last day of the school holidays, and I can’t wait for the kids to go back to school so I can get my days back to myself. I’m longing to not have to hear whining about how bored the kids are and can they just have an outing, a friend over or some type of junk food. These holidays it actually seemed that the more organized a special outing was, the more the kids whinged about how bored they were. The best times they had these holidays were when they were left to come up with their own game or way to fill in time. They actually managed to devise some creative ways to entertain themselves.

So on the eve of the kid’s return to school, they are looking depressed at the looming term, whilst I’m the one trying my hardest to not do my happy dance in front of them. Tomorrow I may have to take back the responsibility of getting the kid’s into their school routine again, but thankfully I will be able to return to my normal routine as well (which includes more blogging and writing). But ask me in six weeks time and I’ll be craving school holidays again, because as they say, the grass is always greener on the other side!

What do you prefer: school holidays or school term?

Image courtesy of Clare Bloomfield, freedigitialphotos.net

Teacher’s Kids

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I have often wondered how kids whose parents are teachers at their school, feel about this arrangement. Of course it would be cool to have your parent at school any time you need a form signed or want canteen money, but from a social perspective I wonder whether it is difficult.

All my kids have friends whose parents teach at the school and I know from their experience it becomes awkward knowing what to call these teachers. They struggle with calling them by their title (Mr or Mrs) at school and then calling them by their first name in a social setting outside of school. It leaves them tending to not address them by any name for fear of either being too formal or too casual.

I think it is also a tad difficult for parents who teach at their kid’s school to make the same kind of connection with other parents as they are always held in a different regard – like anything said to them could end up being discussed with the school principal.

I have spoken with teachers who shop half an hour away from their home so that they don’t bump into kids from their school. Not only do they feel they are being stalked by the kids like they are paparazzi but they feel like the parents judge them by what is in their shopping trolley.

Of course I understand logistically it makes life easier if, as a teacher, you are positioned at your child’s school as then you get to see all their concerts, assemblies and carnivals, however maybe it is actually better for the child and the parent to go to different schools so that they can both have independent identities away from school.

What are your thoughts? I’m sure there are a lot of teachers out there that would have an opinion on this subject!

(Image courtesy of isosphere, freedigitalphotos.net)

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

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Our kids’ school has a program of outdoor camps that all high school kids attend each year. The camp in year 10 is considered the hardest of them all. It really puts the kids out of their comfort zone camping in wilderness areas without amenities where they have to trek, carrying all their gear and supplies.

Our second daughter just returned from her camp and immediately burst into tears. She was not physically or psychologically ready for the stress of the camp and she returned exhausted, bruised, hungry and tired.

I tried to buoy her spirits by sprouting words of wisdom like ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’, ‘it’s character building’ and ‘it will be something you will remember for the rest of your life,’ all true statements, but at the same time a voice in the back of my head was thinking thank god it wasn’t me, because over my dead body would I want to hike 30km in the rain with a tent and supplies on my back.

Our eldest daughter had a similar experience, but had no tent; she had to sleep under a tarp and was so cold that she and her best friend shared a sleeping bag in order to share their body warmth. She did caving where she had to squeeze through a crevice called the ‘birth canal’ (where one of her teachers was too large and had to reverse up the cave and hike overland to meet the group at the other end). She returned home saying it was the worst experience of her life, however now that time has passed she is a bit more diplomatic in her description.

Don’t get me wrong I do think it is a great program that teaches our kids resilience, perseverance and an appreciation for all the comforts they have in life – I’m just glad I don’t have to do it!

(Image courtesy of vectorolie, freedigitalphotos.net)

BACK TO SCHOOL

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They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but I’m hoping to prove that wrong. Today I started saxophone lessons at my kid’s school. After searching for a tutor, I asked the kids’ school music teacher if she could recommend someone appropriate to teach me. She suggested I get lessons from one of the private tutors at school and assured me that I would not be the only parent going through the school for tuition. Thank god I’m not expected to don the school uniform to attend!

So today I fronted up with my saxophone in hand and wandered the halls looking like a lost student in search of my new teacher. I eventually found my tutor and the appropriate room and unpacked my gleaming new saxophone.

I thought as I learned flute as a teenager, it would be easy to just start playing the saxophone, but it was humbling to sit as a student and learn to play from scratch.

It’s a weird experience to walk the halls of my kids’ school as a student, have a lesson and be given actual homework, but I figure you are never too old to learn and that with passion and dedication anything is possible.

Whether it is publishing a book (by the way, my latest book ‘Music Score’ is available at Amazon – sorry for the blatant cross promotion) or learning to play the saxophone, I want to make sure that I cross as many items off my bucket list as possible. I hope that instead of just preaching to my kids that they can achieve anything they set their mind to, that I can lead by example. I may not ever be a saxophonist in a jazz band, but I hope that in the not too distant future I will be able to belt out a few Kenny G tunes without the emanating sound being mistaken for a form of torture!

(Image courtesy of nuchylee, freedigitalphotos.net)

IN THE WAKE OF THE STORM

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Last week we were hit with a severe storm that saw major damage to people’s property through trees toppling over, water damage from driving rain and king tides and high winds literally tossing boats up onto the shore. Thousands of homes and businesses lost power as trees were uprooted and infrastructure was devastated.

We were in the lucky few that didn’t lose power, however the kid’s school was closed for two days. My kids were in seventh heaven! I guess it is akin to those in the northern hemisphere getting a ‘snow day’, although even more rare, because in my living history I don’t ever recall schools closing because of a storm.

Our home became a revolving door for people (those who weren’t trapped in their homes because of fallen trees) to shower, recharge electronics, refrigerate food and do washing. We averaged 16 for dinner each night and had multiple people bunking down to sleep. Whilst it was an anxious time with everyone on high alert as to what damage might next occur, my kids were largely oblivious to the carnage mother nature had caused and instead saw it as a mini-holiday with a house-full of guests.

Other people told me how it had brought them together as a family as they had to interact without electronics and play old-fashioned board games by candlelight due to the lack of power.

The local SES (State Emergency Service) workers and those working for the local power company worked tirelessly to clear fallen trees and reconnect power and services.

It was nice to see that when times were tough, our community pulled together to assist one another.

From my kid’s perspective however, they would have preferred if the school’s power could have been left disconnected for an extra few days!

(Photo courtesy of George Stojkovic, freedigitalphotos.net)