WOW full-on day. Madly getting stuff together for the party the whole time the Non was at school, and then of course there was the finishing off to do.. with the added benefit of the Non poking and dislodging everything I'd prepped so far. Wasn't soothing on tempers but I guess that's what pre-party hours are for. Lillian came round early because her mum needed to go out (and of course with Neil out in Tasmania at the moment leaving kids at home while you go and do some counselling is not an option).
Meanwhile, the fantastic news came through that the SECOND grant had been approved, this time from the NHMRC for no less than 455K over three years!! Fantastic. Now he can actually hire some people, and have a lab, once the university get round to giving him some space. Did you know that we've been here nearly a year and they STILL haven't even started on ripping stuff out from the old lab?? Seems incredible. Luckily he's been pretty busy obtaining the grants in the first place, and doing his teaching and even (recently) getting to do some labwork in Pete's lab but I wonder what the next few months will be like. Pete's coming back after Christmas and there might be more people in the lab, and overcrowding is never a good thing. However, so far so good and the news of the grant is BRILLIANT.
And boy was it mayhem. Started off quite tamely with Pass the Pumpkin (passing round a little pumpkin hollowed out with sweeties inside – music stops and you get to choose a sweetie). By the end of this and a little bit of noshing, most of the kids had arrived so decided to go for the balloon popping game. This is a game which sounds simple enough – you tie a balloon to the ankle of each child, then on the command of ready steady Go they all try to pop each other's balloons – the last one with an unpopped balloon is the winner. Woah you wouldn't believe how wrong it could go.
Fistly, it took longer than expected to tie balloons to the children's legs, what with not many people being able to tie knots, scissors going missing, children going missing and general mayhem. Secondly, during the course of this a lot of kids ran about (some of them shouting 'soccer, soccer' at the tops of their voices and bashing their newly acquired balloons about) including going up and down the stairs with said impediments firmly attached – were lucky none of them broke their necks in the process. Thirdly, once it started and they found out what was happening, several immediately decided to sit it out as being too scary (and actually I don't blame them.) Fourthly, the balloons were WAY too tough, and just wouldn't pop. There were incidences of children sitting on them and bouncing up and down on them still to no avail. Then there was the problem that the string used to tie the balloons on started slipping tighter round their ankles, and some had to be cut free in a hurry. Then finally, the last few left got into an utter frenzy, and things suddenly deteriorated to Jaymie, Lara and Lucy all bawling their heads off because it was all just too much. Well, tissues, sweeties and cuddles all round, after five minutes it was all back to normal and we decided on a quieter game next but I know I won't be playing THAT one again in a hurry!
What else. We did Pumpkin Penny Toss (give them all some pennies and they aim for the pumpkin – if they get it in they get a sweetie) which was a relative success as again it went smoothly and everyone pretty much ignored the 'prize' concept and just picked up a sweetie after their turn anyway, much to everyone's satisfaction. We did Wiggle Worm (groups of kids in two rows, front person pass hands between their legs to the person behind, who gives them one hand and does the same for the one behind, then wiggle away and see who moves the fastest) which worked surprisingly well for a while. Can't presently remember what else there was but it was quite action-packed. Food was quite fun as well, I'll see what pic the Mr managed to take. Of course, I was too busy with directing kids to be taking many pics on this occasion.
Feel quite exausted just writing about it. Considering the mess left, it didn't take too long to clear up in a more-or-less sort of way, they which we were very grateful for. Still, all in all, a success, and it fulfilled its function.
Dicky and Phyll tomorrow!