Thursday, March 30, 2006

It's only Twenty past Eight?

Dan came home early with us today - although by the time I got myself and the kids collected and organised it was after 4pm. Anyway, it was so nice having Dan home with us. The kids were pretty tired, overtired in the younger one's case. So we cooked dinner and fed them, then had play time for a while. The boys were so funny to watch. Dante was running around and around the dining table and Atti thought it was the most hilarious thing ever. He even took part in the running at some points, all the while laughing hysterically. I wish I'd had the video camera.

Anyway, they had a lovely bath together and then we put them to bed. They were exhausted, the poor things, and went to bed so well. Afterwards, Dan and I sat down in front of the tele with our computers (as we do), relaxing for the evening. When we looked at the clock, we were completely astonished at the time. We'd managed to get the kids to bed by half past seven! Unprecedented! And wonderful! We've watched, so far tonight, two episodes of Commander in Chief, and a bunch of Whose Line Is It Anyway? (UK version with Clive Anderson). I was laughing so hard I was crying! The internet's a wonderful thing.

Well, it's been a very entertaining evening and now I'm going to bed!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Well protected shins

Dante needed shin guards for soccer so we went to the Sports shop yesterday afternoon. When we finally found them they were only $5! Cheap as chips! We opened the packet and put them on him to check the size. He was so happy.

"Kick me! See, it doesn't hurt!"

And then refused to take them off. So we let him wear them. He wore them all afternoon while we went to the shops, and then all evening until finally he had to take them off to get in the bath.

At least we know that he likes them. I hope he wears them to soccer on Wednesday!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Party success!

We hosted Dante's 5th birthday party yesterday - a Star Wars party. And it was a great success! I am so happy. The most stress-free party we've ever had, I'd have to say. Many thanks to Grandma and Paw-Paw for all their most incredible work, helping with the food. We seem to be getting better every year - we should be all set in time for his twenty first!!

We had about 10 kids come along. Two Darth Vaders, at least three Princess Leias, one storm trooper and a wookie. And Dante came as Luke Skywalker (he had a Jedi cloak, but decided not to wear it since Luke didn't have one). Dan made kid-friendly lightsabres out of foam swimming pool "noodles", but into thirds with duct tape around one end as the handle. They were a huge hit! (Literally!!) There was enough for one each, in blue, green, red and purple. We had a pass-the-parcel made up for the party, but we never got to play it because the kids were too busy fighting with their lightsabres.

We had a couple of other activities. First we had some colouring-in (Star Wars pictures that I got from this wonderful site), then Dan held Jedi Lightsabre Training outside in the backyard (he blew bubbles while the children tried to bust them with their swords). We had a table set up in the middle of the room and gave them a proper sit down lunch (party pies, sandwiches, chips, cocktail frankfurts etc.), and then the most wonderful cake made by my Ma - a Millenium Falcon cake (Lego figures supplied by Dan). They loved it!

It was the best party I've ever hosted, I'd have to say. We had a set time, so people left after two and a half hours. The kids all had a great time. We didn't have any lollies out (hooray!) but I did put some in the party bags. There weren't too many people, so it was really very manageable. I'm so pleased. And the house is pretty clean now, too. Dan said (before the party) that we should pretend that we're having a party the first Saturday of every month because we do a really good job of cleaning the house! heheh...

Friday, March 24, 2006

On top of the world

We climbed the Harbour Bridge this morning. Yippee!

Dan had bought a couple of gift certificates for me for Christmas, 2004. However I was 8 months pregnant at the time and unable to climb. A year went by and they were about to expire, so I got them extended for another 3 months. Then March came up, so I thought we'd better use them! We booked the climb, and both took a day off work. Dante was at school and Atticus was at home with my folks. It was a daytime climb, 11:15am (wow, they take groups of 12 people up every TEN minutes, all day long! What a business!).

It took us three hours from walking in the door, to walking out the door, including getting into safety gear and all the rest of it. But it was great! I was expecting it to be quite strenuous, but it wasn't. There was even a 74 year old man (two weeks older than the bridge itself) in our group (he reminded me of Cliff Young who won the Sydney-Melbourne ultra marathon in 1983, aged 61!). This guy, Michael, had done 137 marathons in his life. He put the rest of us to shame.

Anyway, a highly enjoyable experience was had by us. Something I definitely recommend to all. The only downside was the cost of the thing, especially if you want a keepsake of yourself on top of the bridge. You get a group photo with the entry price, but other photos cost a fortune. About $20 each! Bit of a rip off, if you ask me. We got them anyway, though. We had $40 credit from the gift certificates. I'll post them as soon as I get around to it.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

I am now officially a Soccer Mum

Yesterday was Dante's first soccer (football) training. Hooray!

It was so much fun. Dante was very excited about it all - he had to choose his "soccer shorts" (we'll get proper ones when they have their first game), and then we ran around the corner to the park. There they all were, 10 boys (and one girl) and their two coaches. They looked so little! We introduced Dante to the coaches and off they went, kicking the ball running around.

They started with some basic training - kicking the ball around witches hats (Dante wasn't too bad - not very good, but not too bad!) and running around. Dan and I hung around with Atticus, and Auntie Bec popped over, too (she needed to do some Uni work on Atticus). Atticus loved being out in the park, wandering all over the place and watching his big brother. He was too cute!

Then they had a trial game, with witches hats as the goals. Dante volunteered to be a goalie first, but really had no idea what he was meant to do. He just spent the time kicking over the witches hats. They swapped positions and he became part of the "pack". He was pretty good, getting a couple of kicks in every so often. The other kids seemed to be much more knowledgeable about the sport. We really have no idea! He got kicked a couple of times and lost some enthusiasm for a while - sat down away from the group. But then decided that he enjoyed kicking over the witches hats and thenceforth spent the rest of the time running around the field kicking them over (while the coaches repeatedly put them back). Dan, Bec and I were killing ourselves with laughter, trying hard not to let Dante see (so as not to encourage him). It was the funniest time I've had in a while.

Anyway, he's now officially registered and here begins the "Mum's Taxi" time of my life (or so I'm told!).

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Gannets! Two of them!

My boys were a little hungry this afternoon when we got home from school/childcare. Between the two of them they ate one banana, half a dozen slices of cheese, numerous biccies, a heap of grapes, a cheese sandwich, two glasses of milk... and I can't remember what else. And that was BEFORE dinner. They both hung around (clinging to my legs in one case) while I tried to prepare food for a proper meal (Dante was opening jars and peering into containers and asking if he could eat everything and Atti was trying to get the dry pasta out of my hands while I was trying to put them in the pot - don't worry, I didn't let him anywhere near the boiling water!), and both ate all their dinner as well. I don't know what got into them this afternoon. My father was very amused (as anyone who knows him knows, he loves to feed people).

Tomorrow afternoon should be interesting - Dante starts soccer training at our local park! (which is just on the next block.) I'm so excited about it. I hope he likes it. I never played when I was a kid, and still have no idea about the off-side rule no matter how often people try to explain it (and I had no idea even when it was explained in Bend It Like Beckham: "The offside rule is when the French mustard has to be between the teriyaki sauce and the sea salt.") Oh well, perhaps now I'll finally learn.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

A night out

Hooray! We went out last night. Without the kids. I can't remember the last time we did this together. Had to be at least a year (definitely not since Atticus was born). Our friends Jaime and Shannon had a combined Bucks/Hens night at the Lowenbrau Keller in The Rocks. It was an entertaining evening - 1L mugs of beer and schnapps aplenty. Plus a rocking Oompa band. We had a fun time! I even dressed up, which happens very rarely. I thought I'd better make an effort since it'd been so long.

Prior to the night out the guys had an afternoon at an ice rink playing Ice Hockey (Shan grew up in Canada). I wish we could have gone, too, but I think it was enough that we were going out that night. It sounded like a great time for all, except perhaps for poor Bez, who fractured his ankle and had to go off to hospital to get it put into a cast. He still came out to dinner afterwards, though. What an effort! He got the loudest cheers of the night when he arrived.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

My Five-Year Old Boy

age: five
height: 112cm (approx.)
weight: 19kg

Today my little-big boy turns five. Already. I cannot believe it! We're having a big party for him next weekend (Star Wars theme, of course) because we weren't organised enough to do it this weekend (and Dan and I are going to a bucks/hens night tonight (first night out without the kids since Atticus was born!)). This picture is of him standing next to The Measuring Wall. He's grown about 6 inches in the last two years!

Five years ago today I was in great pain,
trying to deliver this bouncing baby boy.
Our lives changed forever that day
and never will be the same.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Mama, Atticus said "Heather"

Dante has an interesting way of interpreting Atticus' babblings... but then again Dante has an interesting way of interpreting many things, being almost five and all! This morning he woke up complaining of having a "sore dream"... a combination of a sore head and a bad dream, I think.

Atticus can also (apparently) speak in quite complex ways.
"Atticus said 'Hello'."
"Atticus said he wants the fish."
"Atticus told me to do it."
"Atticus said 'Lightsabre'."
"Atticus said 'antidisestablishmentarianism'."

(Actually, I made up the last quote... that's one of my favourite words.)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Oh! How I Hate to Get Up In The Morning

Oh! How I Hate To Get Up In The Morning,
Oh! How I'd love to remain in bed
For the hardest blow of all is to hear the bugler call:
'You've got to get up, you've got to get up,
You've got to get up this morning!'

Someday I'm going to murder the bugler
Someday they're going to find him dead
I'll amputate his reveille and stomp upon it heavily
And spend the rest of my life in bed!

A bugler in the army is the luckiest of men
He wakes the boys at five and then goes back to bed again
He doesn't have to blow again until the afternoon
If ev'rything goes well with me I'll be a bugler soon!

"Oh! How I Hate To Get Up In The Morning,
Oh! How I'd love to remain in bed
For the hardest blow of all is to hear the bugler call:
'You've got to get up, you've got to get up,
You've got to get up this morning!'"

Oh, boy! The minute the battle is over
Oh, boy! The minute the foe is dead
I'll put my uniform away and move to Philadelphia
And spend the rest of my life in bed!

Words and music by Irving Berlin
© Copyright 1918 by Irving Berlin
© Copyright Renewed
International Copyright Secured
All Rights Reserved

Saturday, March 11, 2006

All's quiet on the home front

My two eldest boys (father and son) have gone to Brisbane for the weekend for another launch of Grandpa's book, and Atticus and I are having a lovely quiet time at home.

We both slept like babies last night - I was so tired that I went to bed at 10:30pm! We slept in a little this morning, not getting up until half past 7, had a lovely breakfast and then spent the morning playing in the lounge room. Atti is at such a wonderful age now. He's so happy strutting around, exploring the world. He loves looking at books, turning the pages and opening and closing the covers. He especially loves books with flaps and fold outs. Grandma bought him a book that folds out to 2 metres! And has flaps! It is the best thing, ever.

I was sitting at the computer, reading the paper online and checking my email. At one stage he decided to come over and see what I was doing (as you do) amd tried to squeeze into the 15cm space between the computer table and couch to get to the back of the computer. Why oh why? He had about 20sq.m of space to roll around in and he chooses that gap. I guess that's just kids for you, right?

Anyway, then we popped next door to visit for a while. Atti was stuffed with fruit be my folks ("nana, nana" = banana) and I lay down on the couch... just for a minute. I woke up half an hour later! I didn't even think that I was tired! I didn't realise how much the last couple of months have taken out of me. Still tired now. Thankfully Atti's napping right now.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Dan's Lego Room

Dan's Lego Room
Originally uploaded by jen.
I can't remember if I've talked about Dan's Lego habit before, but I finally got around to taking some pictures of it.

Dan was very much into Lego when he was a kid, helped by having the Lego Centre at Birkenhead Point shopping centre within walking distance of his house (but it was shut down a long time ago). He won competitions and built fantastic models. But he grew up, as boys do, and the hobby went by the wayside. Until the mid-late 1990s when the company brought out Star Wars Lego. Oh my god. Two of his biggest childhood collecting habits combined into one! How could he resist? And so began The Lego Collection (Adult edition).

It just started with a few of the coolest sets, then a few more, until he had to have them ALL! Then came the searching through the secondhand markets at Glebe and Rozelle for bulk stuff. The pickings were great for a while, but I think the whole Star Wars Lego revival didn't affect just my husband. The entire world seemed to become Lego collectors. And the markets dried up. For us, at least. Either because people realised that they could get way more money for it on ebay, or we bought it all.

After that, he got sets for every birthday and Christmas (and still does). He prefers the Star Wars stuff but also likes the Knights and Vikings, amd some of the Harry Potter pieces. He went to the UK in 2003 and had a great day at Legoland. Came back with a big cup of "Pick 'n' Mix" swords and wolf heads. His latest ambition is to build a goblin army using the heads of "Dobby" from the Harry Potter series.

When we living in our terrace house in the inner city, things got pretty tight. We have a lot of stuff, and a lot of that is lego. It was everywhere! Every shelf had a model on it, and even my piano was crowded with them (which made it hard to play). When we moved to our current house, with its seven bedrooms, we decided that it would be best to dedicate one of the rooms to his collection. There are still some pieces in discreet areas of the house, but the majority of the collection is the room. You can see some more pictures at my flickr account.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Part-time is wonderful

Had my first part-time day yesterday. Besides the stress of trying to do all my work in two hours less, it was great!

Picked up Dante from school - the playground was really quiet and uncrowded as the older kids (Year 3 and up) were at the school swimming carnival. I wasn't quite organised enough to properly leave work so we had to go back to my office to get all my stuff. Then slowly made our way in the 33°C heat to the car and childcare to pick up Atti. He was in a lovely mood after having a terrific day with the carers (he's settling in so well now - no tears again this morning). And then to add the icing to the cake, we picked up Dan from work early!

When we got home we did the usual "sit around and relax" routine before we thought we'd better do something about dinner. On a usual night it would be almost 7pm by now. But no, it was only 5:30pm. Cool! I cooked dinner (spaghetti and meat balls) for us and my folks... not too bad. Bathed the kids and put them to bed. Sat down to relax again, expecting it to be after 9pm. It was only a quarter past eight! We had the entire evening to ourselves! Did we spend the time wisely? No! We watched the Oscars on tele. And then I did some work on the computer. But that's beside the point. It was just so great to have so much time in the evening. I'm very happy with this new arrangement.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The weekend is over already!

Wow, the weekends fly by so quickly these days. Yesterday we went to the Macquarie Shopping Centre and bought the kids some shoes - my sister-in-law recommended a kids' shoe shop there called "Shoes and Socks". They actually measure the children's feet and make sure that the shoes are a good fit. The prices aren't too cheap, but the service makes up for it.

We went swimming again this morning and then went to tennis after that. Dante spent the afternoon playing with his cousins, and Dan and I played Risk with my brother Mark and nephew Ben.

Now it's just about dinner time and then the week begins again. Wow, that was quick.

Anyway, here's a photo I finally got around to taking of my new haircut!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Happy Birthday Chris!

I'm blogging in bed tonight. Ah - the wonders of modern technology (laptops and wireless networks). Where would we be without them?

Today I had my hair cut. I only go to one hairdresser, highly recommended by my friend Rosie, and he's absolutely wonderful. Just before I came to bed I was actually admiring myself in the mirror. I mean, I was happy with the way I looked. How often does that happen? Not too often, let me tell you... years of growing up in this society of supermodels doesn't help one's self-esteem.

Anwyay, it's so nice getting a little bit pampered every once in a while. I only get haircuts once every 8-10 months - I'm lucky that I've got thick, long hair and don't really need to cut it very often. Plus, I save money! Today I got a slight fringe, a side-swept thing, and some layering and shaping around my face. My hair feels so light! But still half way down my back.

What else is making me happy tonight? My weight is down to less than what I was in year 11! I've still got this slight tum (from having babies), so I don't know where the weight has gone. Muscle tone, I guess, now that I've stopped rowing. I will have to get back into it at some point. Too late for this season (it's the tail end of it now - too late to get into it... everyone else is super fit and toned so training sessions are heaps harder!!).

I'm officially starting reduced hours at work from Monday! I'm so excited. I can't wait to sign Dante up for some extra-curricular activities, like piano lessons, joining the local soccer club... We'll actually have time to do homework of an evening, and I plan on cooking meals a whole lot more. Ah, the grand plans!

Anyway, I'm feeling tired but happy and needed to share the joy. Plus, happy birthday to my dear brother Chris (no.2).

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Blargh - busy busy

Things have been hectic, busy and chaotic. Work is go, go, go. I'm getting used to waking up at 6:20am every morning. And feeling very sleepy later in the day. My memory is suffering a little bit, though. It can't all be down to old age!