Friday, December 30, 2005

More on Christmas

Okay, so I'm of Chinese descent. I have black hair, dead straight. And for Christmas I asked for (and received) a hair straightener. My sister-in-law laughed her head off when she was told that I wanted one, and really didn't believe that it wasn't a joke. But I did want one, and that's what I got! "Why?" you may ask. Well, my wonderful hairdresser, Nathan, once used the hair straightener to give me the most incredible voluminous curls. They were bouncy and wavy and I loved them! Anyway, I've tried to do it myself with my own device but didn't have much luck - just ended up putting big kinks in my hair. I'll have to practise some more, or ask Nathan to show me next time I see him.

On the more geeky side of things, Dan got me a 300Gb external HDD for Xmas. It's got a USB 2.0 connection as well as a card reader (for all sorts of types). Hooray! I've been running out of room on my PowerBook (like, only a couple of Gb left) so I'll finally be able to move my iTunes library off the machine... once I'm sure that the HDD won't die completely. I mean, how do you back up that much data, cheaply?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Big Spenders

Well, it didn't take us long. We went to Bing Lee today and bought a new TV! I really wanted an LCD or plasma screen - so thin! so light! so less dangerous for kiddies (I'm particularly worried about TVs falling on young children) - but they were so expensive, especially to get one about the same size as our current (dead) one. I was looking at the 76cm widescreen LCD which was on sale for $1900. Dan convinced me otherwise... for that much money we could get two CRT TVs as well as a Mac Mini!! The possibility of a new computer was too much for me. We got the cheap tele ($400). Even entertained the idea of getting two ("It's within our budget, considering you wanted the LCD", said Dan), only for about a second, though.

Then we decided to go to Ikea to buy a proper TV cabinet. Currently the tele sits on a couple of cheap Ikea "LACK" tables and I'm not too happy about the arrangement. The new set up will be all-in-one with shelves so we can stop piling things on top of the TV and video/DVD stack. Plus you can bolt the TV to the bench. Hooray!

Anyway, the credit card is feeling a little hotter after today's outing (especially after Ikea - they have so many little nifty things that are so cheap... but let me warn you, they add up! d'oh!) and the wallets are a lot lighter. But, hey, we would have got the stuff eventually. It's just that we bought it all on one day. Right? Right??

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Huzzah! Pressies!

Merry Christmas one and all.

Boy, it's not even 10am and I am exhausted already. We always have our traditional Burn family Christmas on Christmas Eve - works great for the in-laws (which is me). It was a stinking hot day yesterday - 35 degrees (C) by 8am and I think it got up to a maximum of about 38 or 40. Argh. We were madly trying to clean up the place as well as keep the kids cool. I was going to go to the Markets (at Flemington) to buy some nice fruit but my Ma said to go early. Seeing as I didn't get to sleep until after 2am the night before (wrapping presents) I changed my mind and decided not to go. Instead I just went to the local shop. Mama went early (8:30am) and she said it was a mad house. Cars everywhere, people everywhere, huge queues. I was a bit concerned because I needed to get stuff for dinner! Well, lo and behold, by the time I got going (after midday) the place wasn't that crowded at all! Plenty of parking, no queues. Amazing. I guess everyone had the same idea as Mama - go early to avoid the crowds! d'oh!

Inspired by Karen, I decided that we would make our own labels for presents. No time to make Christmas cards (no, I haven't even written them, let alone send them out... It's always so busy leading up to Christmas that I usually only get time after the event. I've sort of decided that this will be my usual modus operandi from now on!). We spent a happy couple of hours cutting, pasting and drawing. Dante was great! He was the "Assistant Vice-Principal In Charge Of Stickers" and did a really good job. He got a bit bored by the end but that was quite understandable. We were all a bit sick of it, I think. After all, there were over 60 of them to do!

Anyway, thankfully it cooled down in the afternoon. Incredibly, actually. It was 38 degrees at 3:30pm... by 4:30pm it was a pleasant 27 or so - fantastic! Lucky for us, too, since we were having a big roast for dinner and noone feels like eating when it's stinking hot. Dan's mother (with a bit of help from everyone, esp. Paul) cooked up a feast of roast chicken with orange gravy, roast potatoes, mushrooms, pumpkin, tomatoes, Yorkshire pudding (I made that!), and a really yummy beetroot and watercress salad. Yum! Grandma is a fantastic cook. Dessert was equally good - creme caramel, plus gelato, jelly, rockmelon and chocolate profiteroles.

Then of course there were the presents. The Burn family Christmas is always plentiful, not just in food. We spent the several hours going through and opening presents. Even though there were only 7 of us, the amount of gifts was tantamount to 20 people! Of course the kids faired extremely well. Dante's first present was a "Jedi Accessory Pack" which contained a cloak, light sabre, belt and hair piece. He could have not received any more presents for the rest of the night, he was so happy with it!

The poor kids got to bed very late - Dante was even asking to go to bed! I was up 'til 2am again, cleaning up. Hence my tiredness this morning. Over all, though, a fun time was had by all last night.

Today is my family's Christmas gathering - 19 of us this year. It will be chaotic and loud, but that's the way it's meant to be, right? I have a feeling it will be much bigger than previous years. There are three new kids (well, Abi was 9 days old last year) and the others are older. Should be fun!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Disaster strikes

Oh no! Our TV died this morning - just as I was leaving for work. And just before two weeks' holiday from "school"!

Actually I don't know whether to be happy or sad about it. I'm already worried that Dante watches way too much tele and that's partly due to our laziness - not spending enough quality time with him. So having a TV that's dead will be good because it forces all of us to do other activities.

On the other hand, the TV is dead! None of my favourite serials to watch (I'm watching "Grey's Anatomy" at the moment), no "Play School", no DVDs. boo hoo!

Luckily my parents have THREE in their house (and there's only two of them living there). I'm sure they'll let us come over to watch stuff there. What a relief!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Best website ever.

My friend Ben passed this on. Fantastic!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Hey, Hey, We're The Wiggles

I took Dante to go and see The Wiggles live on stage at the Entertainment Centre today. Wow, it was fun!

I picked him up early from childcare, which was exciting enough in itself, then told him that I had a surprise for him. All the other kids were bouncing up and down and begging to know what the surprise was as well. It was cool :) THE POWER! (maniacal laugh ensues.)

Dan picked us up and took us into town and I told Dante where we were going while we were in the car (I was running late, as usual). We got out at Chinatown and I had to restrain Dante from running over the light rail tracks. Inside the Entertainment Centre were hundreds of over-excited young children with Wiggles balloons, light sticks, glowing cups, Wiggles t-shirts, Dorothy tails and anythings else Wiggles-related. The atmosphere was incredible. We took our seats and after about five minutes the lights dimmed and the Wiggly Dancers came onto the stage. The screams were deafening! Then they appeared - four men in coloured skivvies riding in a big plastic red car. Parents cheered as well when they saw that Greg was there. I heard on the news last week that Greg had been sick and was in hospital for an hernia operation, and there'd be a fill-in for the live shows. But he made a special effort to appear for his home crowd! It was very nice of him.

The show went for about an hour and a half, I think. There was lots of activity throughout the theatre - both on stage and off. It shows how well they know their audience when the lights were only slightly dimmed around the seats. Lots of kids were pretty wrecked by the end - even Dante, who was one of the older kids, was getting a bit tired. We wandered down to the floor afterwards (he wanted to see the stage) and I saw one woman pointing to her child prostrate on some chairs, fast asleep, lamenting "Gee, I'm glad I spent that money on tickets...". Poor thing! They weren't cheap!

The Wiggles themselves put on a great show. Boy, they have a lot of energy. No wonder Jeff keeps falling asleep (although I'm sure he just has narcolepsy. He should see a doctor - there are pills you can take for that). Greg tried hard to restrain himself, but Anthony more than made up for him.

Overall, it was a great experience. I'm glad I took the boy. I think he was just the right age for this sort of thing - not too old to feel self-conscious dancing and singing, but old enough to stay awake throughout the whole show! We had a fun time, even though we didn't have the best seats (at the front of the back section, to the left side of the stage). Perhaps in a few years I'll take Atticus (if The Wiggles are still doing live shows by then)!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

That time of year

Ah, the silly season has arrived. Wow, we are so busy at the moment. Every weekend this month we have had something on, both days. It's crazy! Yesterday was the work Christmas party. Man, we put on a good party. Lots of good food and nice booze. I had a good time. Even had a couple of drinks (over the course of the afternoon).

Dan and I are trying to get our present buying done a little earlier this year. We're sick of leaving it to two days before Christmas - things aren't on special by then. A good trick we've done in the past is to go into a big bookstore (Dymocks, usually) with a list of people and just get all the presents in one go. One can never have enough books, in my opinion. (That reminds me to start sorting out our Library.) In fact I'm having a wonderfully quiet evening tonight because Dan has taken Dante to Auntie Bec's place for the evening while he goes out late-night shopping (not that late, though - the shops still close at 9pm. I think that will change next week). Atticus, the little angel, is in bed and so I get to spend some quality time with the lounge-room computer!

I also decided that the dots in the background were making the text hard to read, so I've changed the blog template. Much better! Also added a link to my home page. I haven't completed updating it (is that ever possible?) but at least it's up and working again. It didn't get transferred when the servers at work were replaced while I was on maternity leave. But I've finally managed now, so all is well.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Getting ready for Big School.

Next year Dante starts "big" school - he'll be in Kindergarten. It's very exciting, for me as well as him! We've been to the school for some introductory transition mornings and he's taken it very well, although we were late most times (doesn't bode well for next year!). I'm a bit nervous about it as well, I have to admit. I guess it's natural for parents to feel this way when their first-born starts school - it's a whole new era. Someone at work told me that our lives will be ruled by school holidays from here on in.

Today at childcare they had a "lunch box and uniform" day for the kids starting school next year. It was so cute! The boys and girls looked so grown up and yet so small in their oversized tunics and shirts. They were happy comparing their clothes, swapping hats and looking at the different school emblems on their shirts. Two girls who will be going to the same school decided they were "twins". I wish I'd taken a photo of them all, or even Dante!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Water skills for the Burn boys

I enrolled the boys into swimming lessons today. I'm so excited. They'll be going every Sunday in first term. 9am - I hope we can make it. I think it should be okay since we'll be doing it for school. And then Dan can have his morning sleep-in. I will be going in with Atti and Dante will be in a class of four on his own. I'm really looking forward to it. I've also enrolled the big boy in "Summer Intensive Lessons" which start at the beginning of the year (3rd Jan) and are four days a week for two weeks. I'm really looking forward to it.

My niece, Jasmine, has been going to lessons and my sister-in-law has had wonderful things to say about them. At first Jazzy was a little scared but the teachers were patient and kind and now she's brilliant in the water. I can't wait for Dante to be happy in the water, too. I mean, he's okay as long as we are around. We bought him a big floatie ring and he loves that, but still screams when water gets splashed in his face - even the tiniest bit. There's a lot of trouble when the two boys are in the bath together because Atti loves to splash.

Anyway, that's all our Sunday mornings 'til April!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

A stroke of genius

My eldest son is into Star Wars at the moment. He has lost his Thomas the Tank Engine obsession and moved on to a bigger world. My husband is quite pleased about it. "Divine retribution", he says. He was an avid Star Wars figure collector when he was a child. Another reason he's happy with Dante's latest interest is because he's able to answer the boy's questions.

Like "What are Obi-Wan's parents' names?".
Daniel gave brilliant answers: Obi-Quiet (father) and Obi-Hayve (mother).

Lots of thinking

I've been reading and reading the archives of Karen's blog this evening. She's such a pleasure to read. She has a very positive outlook on life, even through some very difficult times, and has a really nice way of expressing herself. I wonder just how huge her readership is - she's been winning some awards and getting a lot of publicity, so it must be pretty big. I found out about her through the SMH and I'll certainly pass her url on to people who I think will be interested.

It must feel weird to know that there are so many people out there who read about your life, look at pictures of you and your kids. That's one of the most endearing things about her site, though. She's quite candid and forthcoming about things. Makes me want to me more creative, too. That must be a nice thing - inspiring people to think and create. I know that's what she's done to me in these last couple of days. I mean, I'm awake in bed with my computer on my lap, typing these words, when I really should be sleeping so that I'll have the energy for my boys tomorrow.

I wish Atti would sleep through the night. It's getting to be a bit dull, waking up so often.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Karen Cheng

Yesterday there was an article in the Sydney Morning Herald about a recent blog competition. I haven't looked at the winner, but was interested in the one that came fourth, Karen Cheng - Snippets of Life. I started reading it and can't stop now. I'm so impressed. She has a large readership. Her blog is cute, funny and fun.

What strikes me even more is that her situation in life seems to be so similar to mine. She's an Australian Chinese woman in her late 20s with two gorgeous Eurasian boys. I can relate to so much of what she writes. Except, her blog is so nicely designed - she's a graphic designer after all! She's inspired me to work on my web pages once again, if I have time some day!.

Anyway, have a look at her blog. It's great!