Our Year 7 Life

I’ve toyed with whether or not to write this post because all I’ve seen is gushing posts about how easy the transition has been or how wonderful people’s daughters/sons have been but…..our experience of transitioning to High School has definitely not been that way!

I should start by saying that Ella absolutely loves her new school , has made new friends, has put herself out there in applying for, and succeeding in being made a Year 7 ambassador for the school, has embraced extra-curricular activities and is settling in well, according to her tutorial teacher.

She was full of enthusiasm in her first few weeks, getting up early to be sure she was ready, enthusiastically telling us how her day went as we sat together to have dinner.  These are some photos from day 1:

But that is where the fun stopped!  On any given day I don’t know which Ella I’m going to face when I walk in from work but usually it’s not a warm interaction.  I’m definitely public enemy #1, closely followed by everyone else in the house.  It’s emotionally exhausting.

Sometimes the yelling is so extreme that our neighbour offers supportive words and checks in that everybody is ok.  I find this very embarrassing but Ella doesn’t care.  If I say “no” to anything at all, however trivial, that’s enough to set her off.  It’s a fine line between setting boundaries and giving in for the sanity of everyone else in the house.  Just last night I said yes to a sleepover at her friends place, although her behaviour absolutely didn’t warrant it, just so we could have a peaceful evening after a super busy weekend. Does that make me a pushover for giving in?  Or am I simply picking my battles at this point?  I really don’t know the answer….but the peace was fabulous.

I’m thinking I need to let her learn from her own mistakes.  Should I care that she’s lost the second set of house keys in a matter of weeks?  Should I let her deal with the school consequences when she forgets things she needs for class?  At the moment it feels like I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t because if I remind her then I’m being “controlling” but if I don’t remind her then it’s my fault when she forgets stuff.

If you haven’t seen any of the ABC show My Year 7 Life then it’s definitely worth a look, so many kids dealing with the transition in their own way.

I love Ella dearly, but so far this has not been an easy process.  Anyone who tells me it’s all been plain sailing…..I’m not sure I believe you!


Our Year 7 Life

Charlie’s Birthday Hike

Charlie turned 11 a few weeks back but this year he celebrated it a bit differently.  In lieu of a party, he and Alan asked a couple of his friends and their dads to go on a hiking adventure.

The first night was spent in Tawonga in the comfort of an airbnb!

The next morning they drove up Mount Hotham and set off on their hike along Razorback Ridge.  Reaching their camping spot late in the afternoon there was time for a rest and refuel before a further evening 2k walk to the top of Mount Feathertop to watch the sunset.  An awesome effort by everyone…..especially the boys carrying fairly heavy packs on their first hike!

The next morning they hiked down to Harrietville.  Lunch in the fabulous Bright Brewery and a swim in Sinclair’s waterhole near Porepunkah before the long drive home.

Charlie was super tired but very happy when he got home, telling us all about it…and asking Alan when they could go on their next one!

Dad & Son packed and ready to go

A swim in Bright on the way through….

Celebrating his birthday on the first night

Next morning…..here we go!

On the Hike

Camping Ground

Evening Entertainment….yes you guessed it!

Down to Harrietville

Lunch at the Brewery

Waterhole Fun

Self-decorated cake on his actual birthday 🙂

What a cool way to turn 11 – HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHARLIE!



Charlie’s Birthday Hike

Growing on Up

What a big week we’ve had for Miss Ella. Seven fabulous years at our very special primary school, SKiPPS, and she shared a lovely graduation celebration with her classmates, teachers and family on Thursday night. We’re very proud of her!

She’s lucky to have a close group of very good friends and, as they go their separate ways next year, we hope they can lean on and support each other as they find their way in Year 7.


Growing on Up

It’s Oh So Quiet….

……because ALL of the kids are on school camp this week.  I know, unheard of, to have all of them away in the same week!  Big thanks to whoever it was at school who made that decision.

You’re probably wondering what the big deal is?  That might be because you have family, perhaps grandparents, around who willingly give you regular time out or it might just be because the challenges of juggling 4 kids is hard to comprehend unless you’ve lived it.  I could count on one hand the number of times we’ve had this opportunity in 12 years of parenting…..woooohooooo!

Ella left on Monday and as I waved Charlie, Ruby & Poppy off on the buses today I felt a mix of excitement for them and liberation for me!  I know they’ll have a fabulous time with their friends and I’m relishing the lack of routine and schedules.

We’re lucky that they all went off with big happy smiles.




Charlie (when he stood still for 2 minutes!)

On the buses

It’s such a bittersweet milestone of parenthood to see them go off on their first school camps (for Poppy & Ruby this year).  I’m sure the time will fly so I fully intend to make the most of it…….It’s oh so quiet!


It’s Oh So Quiet….

That’s a Wrap…

As the mass hysteria of Richmond’s Grand Final win continues to grip Melbourne, I thought I’d do a post on our footy season wrap.  Through no cajoling, pressure or crazy parenting, all of our 4 enjoy playing footy and they each had their own little achievements this past season.

This year was Ella’s first venture into footy, playing in the inaugural U12 girl’s squad for our club.  She trained well, played her hardest, dealt with a few injuries and at the end of the season was awarded as Most Improved Player.  This very happy face says it all:

Charlie played his third season with South Melbourne and was his usual consistent, go at it like a bull at a gate, self.  He finished the season with 3rd Best & Fairest.

Ruby & Poppy didn’t play outside of Auskick this year.  Being too young for the newly formed girls’ squad, they opted to wait until the 2018 season.  This didn’t stop them stepping in to bolster the numbers in the end of season Lightning Carnival.  Onward to next year for them!

It was another busy season and we’ve enjoyed a few Sunday mornings off….before Athletics starts this morning!


That’s a Wrap…

Turning 12

Turning 12….a big milestone for Ella!  Half way through her final year of primary school, gaining more independence every day and growing up so fast.  How can this be the last year before “teen” creeps into her next 7 birthdays?  How have we gone from playing with my makeup to applying mascara before we go anywhere that doesn’t involve sport?  How are we navigating tricky friendships and body conscious conversations already?  Well, we’re doing it because Ella is lucky enough to be surrounded by a supportive, grounded group of friends, family and teachers who help her navigate the other stuff.

With the end of primary school fast approaching and the reality that her classmates are moving on to various schools next year, we decided to have a join party with AJ, one of her best buddies, where all these kids could hang out together.  They wanted a disco party so that’s what we did – they danced, laughed, played jokes on each other, sang at the tops of their voices and had fun.  Such a great bunch of kids, she’s a lucky girl!

Thanks to AJ’s mum we have some fabulous photos to share:

Birthday Girls



Every party Needs Balloons


Photo Booth Fun!

Dancing & Singing







The After Party!




Turning 12

Thanks Dad

Yesterday our family, alongside students and professors from the University of Edinburgh, paid thanks to our dad and all the other brave, selfless people who donated their bodies to medical research this past year.

Was it emotional? Of course. Was I proud? Absolutely.

We heard Tom Gillingwater, Professor of Anatomy, describe the donors as the Silent Teachers of our medical students.  He described the ability to study the complex structures and infinite variations of anatomy on a real body as key to students understanding the real human body, much of which is difficult to teach in lectures and via text books. 

It’s made me think and I wonder if I could do the same? I don’t know the answer to that yet but I’ll be forever proud of my dad.


Thanks Dad