Saturday with the Hippit Family

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Kellie, Jackson, Jasmin and Zoe came over for a play, brining me a fabulous birthday present.

After some drawing and some other play which was rather more rowdy, we all walked down to AllbarNun for pizza and chips for lunch.

There was a fair bit of "Eye Spy" action while waiting for food, then much enthusiastic engorging of chips.

Afterwards we wandered home and the boys played in the trees, supervised by Jasmin, while Zoe got her lunch.

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Saturday morning occupations

The boys have been pursuing separate occuptations this morning…

Jude was drawing balloons…

Zac was pursuing his favourite occupation (which doesn't involve Nemo or Maisy) – playing with his train tracks…

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…and Sebastian was practising his kicking- aiming to kick as high as the roof (which apparently he did 40 times).

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Thesis update: Submission!

So, the day finally arrived when all the writing, editing, thinking and rethinking came to an end the thesis was submitted. I haven't had it hard bound yet – we'll do that once it is back from the examiners and the corrections (if any!) are made and it is all completely and truly over. But it has left my hands, and should be in the hands (or in the case of the US ones, on route to the hands) of the examiners by now. 90 000 words and over 650 footnotes and around 20 pages of bibliography, it is all done.

Big thanks to everyone who helped in one way or another – by proofreading, sharing conversations, hosting me while I researched and provided encouragement and support. Hopefully in 2-3 months, we'll know what the external examiners think!

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Prizewinners at Tarago Show

Sebastian and Jude, with the assistance of their Ga, entered into a number of categories at the Tarago Show. At home they prepared their lego creations, decided to enter some of their art works from Sculpture Garden Sunday and collected autumn leaves for collages.

At Ga's house, they cooked and iced up at storm.

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There were decorated gingerbread men and arrowroot biscuits, packet cakes baked and pikelets made. That was Saturday.

Sunday was the day of judgement. Here are some of their works on display…

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They returned home triumphant. Many prizes were won and much acclaim gathered. sebastian and Jude are now both prize winning pikelet makers, gingerbread icers, artists and constructors.

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And to top off a fantastic (and victorious) day, they had their faces painted (Jude's like Spiderman – wow) and got show bags full of knights.

What better way to spend a weekend?

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Sulking

Zac decided to have a bit of a sulk at his grandmother's house on the weekend. He managed to resist lollies and cake to stay in this position for about 20 minutes. Note the distinctive head drop, shoulder slump, downturned mouth and jutting lower lip. One thing we have to give him credit for is his determination to maintain his pose of dissatifaction.

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Atlas: Mongolia

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Having looked at the range of recipes available for Mongolia, and learning from Wikipedia that Mongolian BBQ isn't, in fact, Mongolian, we had feared that it may not have been the culinary highlight of the year, and that it would definitely have been a let down after Cuba. However, as is often the case, the food surprised us and it all turned out extremely well.

We started with a variety of buuz – "steamed pockets" – one set filled with lamb and the others with beef. Rachel, being our resident dumpling expert had made some, as had James. We later had the deep fried version supplied by Bronwen. Then there was stirfry with appropriate Mongolian sauce, barbequed chicken, shulla – lamb and chick pea stew, a noodle and lamb dish and tofu and noodle soup. For once though there was no dessert – but we had all eaten enough that dessert wasn't really necessary. No one did go as far as the making of milk curds.

The children stuck with sausage and carrots and while the weather did choose this as the only day in 6 weeks to rain, it cleared up enough for us to spend some time standing on the deck. we all admired Burke's mid-life crisis hair cut and young Zoe's constant even temperedness, and at the end of the night Cat undertook some Maisy book repairs. So all in all, a very pleasant evening.

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Displaying one’s creations

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Once you have gone to the trouble of creating art, there is a need to display it. James took on the role of chief curator, ably assisted by Sebastian, as they tried to ensure that the boy's art from Sculpture Garden Sunday is displayed to best effect.

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Crikey – Questions for the NHMRC on behalf of pregnant tipplers – Questions for the NHMRC on behalf

If the NHMRC has no valid medical or research based backing to support its recommendation that woman who presumably are in the fertility age range drink ever just in case (well, it seems to be nearly that bad), why indeed would they make that recommendation? Couldn't possibly be because of moral judgements about what constitutes a "good" mother could it? Or perhaps just good old fashioned control of a (pregnant) woman's body perhaps? Just like in The Handmaid's Tale perhaps what women are is vessels for carrying the sacred fetus – our behaviour should be dictated only by what is suitable for that – which provides another "legitimate" excuse to control woman and their behaviour. It is interesting that this whole discourse about the primacy of the fetus appeared to come out of the mid eighties, well originating with The Silent Scream movie which was touted about by anti-abortionists in the early eighties. Prior to Roe v Wade issues around abortion were focused on women's health – but, unfortunately, as soon as that battle was won, we as feminists took our eye of the ball a little, moving on to other battles, and allowing the right to graps supremacy in that particular battle. The shift in discourse has impacted on everything about childbirth and pregnancy, it infuses the entire way we look at pregnacy nowadays. The preferences of the woman must be put aside in favour of the needs of the fetus. Now I'm not suggesting that reckless behaviour should be condoned when women are pregnant, but this extreme notion of sacrifice to the greater go(o)d that is the health of the fetus does need some limits. And an occasional drink or two during pregnancy, particularly as there is no scientific basis for banning it utterly, is certainly one of those limits!

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Sunday in the Sculpture Garden

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Sunday was a beautiful morning and we took ourselves off to the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery for their children's art morning, appropriately named "Sculpture Garden Sunday."

It was extremely well organised with enough art opportunities and helpers to ensure that the kids did not have to wait long (if at all) to participate in any activity and there was heaps to try and do. To the accompaniment of jazz music we wandered about the various opportunities to participate. Kellie and Rachel came along, bringing Jackson, Jasmin and little Zoe, though Zoe was less interested in participating than having a look about…or sleeping.

Our first activity for the morning was painting. Jude took to this enthusiastically.

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While he was busy with the brush, Sebastian used the giant blocks to do some construction…

…before he got into some painting of his own.

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Next was a more conceptual form of art – the children had sticks to decorate any way they wanted. This took lots of time and concentration, and quite a bit of adult assistance with scissors and sticky tape and other fiddly bits.

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 Everyone then needed a little break and Kellie had thoughtfully brought hot cross buns, so it was time to sit and listen to the music and have a bit of a snack – and show off art work.

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After leading four small boys to the toilet like a hygiene-obsessed pied piper, I then led them to the next activity, which was decorating panels for a large sculpture. Everyone had fun for this, especially when Zac was not being tempted by the tantalising pool of water…

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The final activity we had time for was clay moulding. while the idea was that the children draw inspiration from the Henry Moore sculpture nearby, Sebastian's inspiration came from a slightly less erudite source as he informed me that his sculpture was Yoda.

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After a long busy day….

…it is easy to just fall asleep on the couch

…and hiding in the corner there, Sebastian doesn't look far behind his little brother.

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