Thursday, August 31, 2006

Symphony amongst the sandstone

Last night my brother and I went to see The University of Sydney Symphony Orchestra perform a "space" themed concert at The Great Hall at the Uni. They played the fanfare from Also sprach Zarathustra by Strauss, followed by a composition by an Australian composer whose name I can't remember now (so sorry! It was very good!), and then after the intermission was Mars, Venus, Uranus and Jupiter from Holst's The Planets.

It was a great evening. My brother picked me up from work (and Dan took the kids home) and we had a leisurely, child-free dinner before wandering over to the Main Quadrangle to see the concert. The music was great. The violin soloist for the Australian piece was incredible. The thing that struck me most about the members of the orchestra was their age, including the soloist. They all looked so young! I really felt my age. The orchestra is a student club, self funded and run by students trying to complete their degrees at the same. How do they have the time, I wonder?

I really enjoyed watching the musicians play their instruments. I wish I could play the violin - was almost inspired to take it up. I did learn the viola for a year in high school, but it was a mistake. The instrument was just too big for me - I couldn't even hold it with my chin. But I was attracted to its portability (since I learned piano for years and years) and deeper sound (than a violin). The highlight, though, was watching the conductor. This one was quite energetic and bounced up and down and waved his arms everywhere. Cool. My brother was taken with the percussionists up the back. The pieces chosen all used a fair amount of percussion... he loved watching them run around and beat those drums!

At the end of the concert, they performed an arrangement of The Church's "Under the Milky Way", in keeping with the theme. I was looking forward to it very much but unfortunately was a little disappointed - it just had a little too much "high school band" sound to it and I reckon could have been done in a much more interesting way. But then, I couldn't have done anything half as good so I shouldn't complain!

Yay for a bit of culture.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Soccer Final, and Happy Birthday Alex!

Dante had his last soccer match for the year this morning. His Auntie Bec was kind enough to take him for a sleep over the night before so we met them at the park, with a happy Atti in tow (he loves being outdoors, and loves parks, and loves kicking balls - soccer matches are right down his alley!).

The match was underway when we got there a little late. It was surprising that the score was 1-1. Rare that our opponents are able to score against us!! The other parents kept screaming out at the ref - some of our kids kept running onto the field when they were meant to be "resting" and they were complaining about the uneven numbers. I was a bit shocked by their behaviour - they are only 5 and 6 year olds after all. We even had a goal declared void because there was an extra kid... Not really fair considering Dante kept sitting down and not paying attention during the match!

Anyway, it turns out that apparently this was the Grand Final, although I'm not too sure that they really take score for Under 6's soccer. We won, of course, with our last goal just a minute before time ran out. The final score was 3-2. We doubled the number of points scored against us in the entire season, except for the first match when we lost 6-nil! The kids were all presented with nice little medals afterwards - both teams. They were pretty chuffed. Dante is very proud of his!

Afterwards we drove almost an hour to get to my niece's rock climbing 7th birthday party. The gym was full of kids climbing up the walls with their parents belaying them from below. There were two parties being held concurrently, plus the usual assortment of Saturday morning crowds. We had to wake up Dante to take him inside - he was pretty excited about climbing, but as he tried his first climb he was overtaken with fear and wouldn't go higher than adult head height. His cousin tried hard to encourage him and was very keen to "show him how it's done". And I'm proud to say, with his father's patient encouragement and praise (and the promise of chips in the party room upstairs), he managed to complete about two thirds of a climb, higher than his father could reach!

In the evening we went to my brothers place for dinner with all the family. The kids had a great time playing "Twister" (the present we gave her - glad she liked it!). The food, as usual, was delicious. The noise levels were deafening. And it was all topped off with a wonderful gelato cake, made of chocolate and mango. Yum! My boys got really stuck into it - Atticus would NOT let me help him eat it which resulted in large amounts of mess, of course, and much hilarity.

A busy busy day but much fun was had!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Atticus - update

As I sit here watching a wonderful documentary about the life of Mozart, I feel like I should update you on Atticus' escapades this week. Or rather "How Atticus got sick again and we went to the hospital twice in 24 hours".

(This also explains why we've been so tired lately).

On Monday this week, Atticus was finally well enough to go back to child care, and me to work after almost two weeks! He wasn't exactly himself, but that was to be expected as he was still recovering from his illness.

On Wednesday, just as I was about to meet Dan for lunch, I received a phone call from the child care centre. Atticus had had another convulsion and they had called an ambulance. Panic stations! I ran down to the centre, luckily only a couple of minutes away from my office, barely able to breathe by the time I got there (darn asthma!). The poor teachers were nervous wrecks and Atticus was lying asleep on the change mat, having come out of his convulsion and now in his post-ictal sleep. He looked pale and unwell. I was shaking with anxiety (plus asthma). The ambulance came very quickly after that and the paramedic bundled us into the ambulance and decided to take us to the Children's Hospital. The scariest thing about it all was that Atticus did not have an elevated temperature. The other convulsions he's had have always been febrile (with a fever).

We spent all afternoon at the hospital Emergency Department, and were well looked after by the most wonderful pediatric resident! Atticus slowly came back to his normal lively self and devoured a vegemite sandwich during our stay (but not neglecting to spread vegemite all over the bed sheet and my clothes!). At one point, when we were almost about to go home, one of the nurses remarked "Is that boy sick?" as he was happily playing and laughing and being generally adorable.

Atti will need to undergo more tests (including an MRI) to try and determine the cause of his convulsions, and in the mean time he has been prescribed an anti-convulsant medication. Having sorted this out, the doctor let us go home.

We fed the kids (boy was Atti hungry!) and put them to bed and I went to bed early, exhausted after the stressful day. But then Atti woke up again during the night... I settled him a bit and put him back to bed but he wasn't quite asleep. A short time later I heard him call out and then his breathing started sounding strange and raspy. I rushed to him and he was having yet another convulsion. I couldn't believe it.

The ambulance took us back to the Kids' Hospital where the rude and abrupt male nurse made me feel like it was all my fault because I hadn't filled the prescription right away (but I was under the impression that this wouldn't have made a huge difference in such a short time span). I was not very happy with him. He plonked us in the waiting room (at 4 o'clock in the morning! He could have at least given me a bed to put the sleeping child down) for two hours before the doctor saw us. She checked Atti over, gave him a dose of his medication and told us to go home. At least Atti was feeling a lot better and did manage to sleep for most of the time we were at the hospital.

Since Dan was at home with the car, and it was close enough to peak hour that I didn't want to ring for a lift (it's a good half an hour drive in off-peak time). So I ended up catching a bus to child care and waited for Dan to pick us up from there after he'd dropped Dante at school. The carers were very relieved to see that Atticus was okay. He was actually really happy to be there, and immediately started playing with all the toys, and when morning tea came out he was the first to the table and the last to leave (after eating four serves of baked beans!).

Since then Atticus has been fairly well. He has had some elevated temperatures, but no convulsions, thanks to the medication. I am still recovering from the long night in the hospital but am almost there! Hopefully Atti will be well enough to return to child care tomorrow. And boy am I grateful that my work has been so understanding and flexible.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Number Three. Coming soon to a theatre near you.

Breaking news! I can now happily announce that we are expecting our third child! Oh my goodness, I hear you say. It's terribly exciting, as well as stressful. The shock of it has started to wear off a little now, and the realisation that we will have another baby to look after is hitting. Mainly because Atticus has been so sick lately, and very clingy because of it. We are both exhausted, run down and unwell and not feeling too great in general. But happy to be finally completing our family!

I wrote a few posts from the time that we found out that I was pregnant, but obviously haven't been able to post them until now. You can see them here:

Third time lucky

Erk. Sick

Two weeks until we spill the beans

A successful family lunch

I think one of the causes of it finally hitting home and becoming less of a fantasy is the act of actually telling people. When we were keeping it a secret just between us it didn't seem completely real. But now that we've told people, we've started thinking about the hard work ahead... I know that on occasion I've thought "What am I getting myself into?". However most of those occasions have been when I'm completely exhausted and upset because we've had a bad day with Atti, and have not been terribly common!

This morning we had our ultrasound to check for Down's Syndrome. It was great to see the baby actually inside me, with a good heart beat and very active. She was moving around, kicking her arms and legs. It was so cool! We don't actually know the sex of the baby at this early stage, but forgive me if I refer to her as "her"... we are hoping for a girl, after all!

Anyway, that's all for now.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Snow in the city!

Wow, yesterday afternoon the most amazing hail storm hit the inner west and city, and it looked like it had been snowing. The picture above was taken by an Honours Student in my building at work. A great view of the local area.

Dante and I went grocery shopping after school yesterday. When we entered the shopping centre, it was a little dark but certainly not storming - not even raining! A bit over an hour later as we walked through the car park pushing our trolley, we saw two cars that had thick layers of white "snow" on top of them and in the space between the windscreen and the bonnet. I was astonished! We looked outside and it was pouring with rain. When we drove out of the car park, the streets were icy and had piles of white along the edges of the road. The big park nearby looked like snow fields, it was that white! Dante and I were quite amazed and excited by it all. I've never seen a sight like it before in my life!

Read more about it in the Sydney Morning Herald. The photo galleries at that site are wonderful, too! Here's one and another. Note the latter link has a photo submitted by my brother.

Some more great photos can be found on Flickr.

Monday, August 14, 2006

A successful family lunch

We had the family over last weekend for lunch, but I haven't had a chance to write about it. I'd organised it with my mother a couple of weeks ago and we managed to pull off the surprise quite well! Unfortunately Dan's mother and sister couldn't make it but we told them the news before and afterwards.

The lunch went well - we ate lots of food and everyone was suitably rowdy and happy. Atticus threw up all over me at the dinner table, but aside from that things were seamless... until we brought out the delicious gelato cake which I'd ordered previously (hmm.. yummy. Chocolate and passionfruit. Divine!).

My sister-in-law, Irene, immediately caught on.
"Hey, you've got a cake," she exclaimed. "There must be an occasion for this. Do you have an announcement to make?"
She looked questioningly into my eyes. I looked at Dan and we both couldn't help but smirk. A huge grin spread across her face. Suddenly she called out to everyone.
"Hey, everyone! Come on, come over here. There's a cake, and an announcement!" and she wrangled the troops over. Everyone quietened down and looked expectantly at me.

I had had several weeks to prepare for this moment, but still couldn't think of what to say. So I said, "Irene's got an announcement to make!" and sat down, grinning. Proud of diverting the attention for a moment. She laughed and said that she and my brother had decided not to have any more children (but we all knew this already) and then handed the reigns back to me.
"Okay," I said. "And I'm twelve weeks' pregnant!" I shouted out.

Everyone was astonished, and happy. They congratulated Dan and I and the kids wanted to know where the baby was.

Dante was the cutest of all. We hadn't told him beforehand, thinking that he'd probably spill the beans before we got a chance. When Dan explained to him what was happening, he exclaimed, "That means Atticus will be a big brother - and I will be a MASSIVE brother!".


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Almost back to normal

I've been silent on this blog for almost two weeks now - sorry everyone! I've had a good reason... illness. First it was Atti's ear infection (which caused the fever which caused the convulsion). He was on antibiotics and seemed to be getting better, although the first night back from hospital he cried, no, howled for almost two hours during the night. Nothing we did could calm him down until we gave him some panadol for the pain.

Sunday morning he kindly vomited all over his bed, and thereafter was a vomiting/diarrhea machine. We thought that maybe it was just the antibiotics, until Daniel came down with it on Tuesday morning. Then that night so did my mother. Then me (well, I managed to avoid the violent excretions (from both ends) but had the pain and nausea and utter exhaustion). Then I found out that two of my nieces had it (the family were over for a big lunch on Sunday). I think we must have picked up some nasty, very contagious gastro bug when we stayed in hospital - nasty, diseased places!!

Poor Atti just got worse during the week. He couldn't hold down even water at one stage. We had to limit him to the tiniest sips and he complained quite a lot at times because he was really thirsty. However most of the time he just slept - up to 17 hours some days. I was terribly worried about him. Meanwhile we adults were feeling miserable and ill as well. Thank goodness Dante managed to stay afloat during the week, and my father too.

Thursday evening Atti started perking up. He managed to eat some more and keep most of it in. We took him to the hospital for an EEG in the morning (and he threw up in the car on the way to Dante's school) but by the afternoon he was ravenous! He was walking around (somewhat unsteadily) and demanding "more, more" of everything. It was such a relief to see him like that. I went out for drinks (meant to be dinner but I couldn't stomach it) with some old school friends that evening. I was terribly worried about Dan and the kids, but they managed very well and I had a good evening out... I needed to get away from the kids for a couple of hours!

Friday and today, Atticus seems to be making up for lost time. He has been eating constantly. "Bis, bis" (biscuit), "rin" (mandarin), "boota" (water), "minna" (dinner) have been his staple words today. (He's still working on his consonants!) The only down sides to the weekend have been that my father finally succumbed to the lurgy yesterday afternoon, and Dante is now showing signs of it!

If things go well, Atti should be ready for child care on Monday. I think he'll be happy to go back as he's getting bored at home. I know that I'm ready for him to go to child care! Not so sure about going to work myself, though... *grin*. It's been nice (even through the illness!) being at home for the last week and a half. Although I have been getting a bit stir crazy and cranky these last couple of days!

Oh, and in other news, we ended up not entering the City to Surf (which is on tomorrow!), quite fortuitously it turns out. We meant to, but the day I was meant to give our forms to my brother was the first day that Atti was sick and I wasn't able to meet him at work. Even though Atti is on the mend now, I really don't think we could have handled the 14km walk in the morning!

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Just a quick post before I crash out. We're home at last. After Dante's fever on Monday, Atticus came down sick on Tuesday evening. Wednesday I stayed home with him and he ended up having yet another febrile convulsion (that's three now!). So off to the hospital we went, and had to stay overnight for observation. Blargh. The poor kid. Dante was picked up from school by Auntie Bec today and had a miserable day - he was so quiet that he actually got an award card for it!!

So now we're home. I'm going to have my first proper meal in 24 hrs and then off to bed, I think. And it looks like I'll probably have two unhappy, unwell kids at home tomorrow!