If you have a real problem with spiders maybe you won't want to click on this next link but we keep it on our desktops for quick ID and treatment advice. I am certainly not an authority on spiders but maybe could be called an admirer. If I ever kill a spider I'm wracked with guilt and feel just terrible for ages.
Spiders do rule here, funnel webs, trapdoors, wolf, mouse, redback and window spiders - and the children have learnt that shoes are necessary in the evenings out of doors. We all grew up in funnel web country along the eastern edge of Australia, and when I think about it now I realise what freedom my parents gave me, and that I gave my children, to explore and be enthusiastic naturalists. Now that I'm a grandmother I'm much more concerned about the spiders but we collect everything that moves, have a good look and identify if possible, then let them go. I have a collection of already dead-when-found spiders in a bottle of gin, just so we can remind ourselves what a funnel web looks like when we fish one out of the swimming pool. Trapdoors, basically harmless, are unfortunate in that they are hard to identify when they are on the bottom of the pool and I think quite a lot meet a sticky end because they look pretty much like a funnel web. Spiders don't just fall into the pool and drown - they are often quite stroppy when they come out of the pool and you have to be careful not to get on the biting end. Most spiders aren't deadly but many have a good bite which can be painful and best avoided.
That's enough about spiders. I think there have to be some Christmas photos of the children, just to even up the score. Christmas was a delight for the two little girls, and the red-headed boy just enjoyed the attention.
A new tutu for Christmas for the big big sister
A Christmas dress for the little big sister
First Christmas for the little red-headed boy
Christmas with children was magic, followed by new year fireworks reflected in water. Beautiful. Now it's time to settle down and get our lives back on track. But we must never, ever, forget the magic.