Thursday, September 28, 2006

Dante's school project

Dante's very first homework project was due yesterday. The kids were given 10 days to make "a place they know". It could be a park, a house... anything, as long as it was somewhere they've been. At first Dante wanted to hand in a little playground he'd made a couple of weeks ago for his teddy bear (it was a little swing, made out of toilet paper rolls, boxes and string. He did a pretty good job, with only a tiny bit of help), but I thought that was cheating, since he'd just done it for fun before they were given the project. In the end he decided to make his bedroom. He drew the plan on a piece of paper and then proceeded to cut up a box and bits of cardboard and made this wonderful little room. I am so proud of him!

He made a little person which fitted into a slot he cut into the bottom of the box, and I helped him put a blanket on the bed. The person (which represents himself) is able to lie down in bed, too. The squiggles in the middle of the floor are his train tracks (which used to be downstairs but got moved up to his room). He has little picture frames on his dresser and a poster on the wall. He omitted the windows, and we ran out of time to put in his bookshelves, but I think it was a pretty top-notch job for a 5½ year old!

The other kids' projects were cool, too. Parents obviously put a lot of work into a couple of them but I was impressed by the others. There was a soccer field - Aust. vs. Brazil, a putt-putt golf course, quite a few bedrooms and a fish and chip shop. Neat!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

What have I become?

On Saturday morning I did the usual breakfast-get-the-kids-dressed routine... got out some clothes for Dante to get changed into, then a little later dug up some clothes for Atticus.

About an hour, or maybe two, later, I looked at them and realised, to my great dismay, that I had dressed them THE SAME. Well, not exactly the same clothes, but the colour schemes were identical! Ack! I was shocked that this could have happened without me noticing. And then, of course, had to take a picture of the phenomenon. The worst part is that this is not the first time I've done this!

I wonder if I could put it down to the most splendid weather we had on the weekend. It obviously put me in the mood for some bright colours :)

Monday, September 25, 2006

This is just what I need

I just found out about a book called Speed Cleaning - A Spotless House In Just 15 Minutes A Day by the wonderful authors of Spotless.

This is exactly what I need! Rarely do I even dedicate 15 minutes to cleaning the house... except for cleaning up the dinner table after the kids have been at it. The state of the house does drive me crazy at times but never quite enough to get me up to attack it all in one go - little bits at a time work much better for me.

Hooray! I'm sure it will be extra useful when the "nesting" phase of my pregnancy sets in.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A Weekend of Dante activities

Saturday afternoon: Gymnastics "Rewarding Day".

Did I ever mention that Dante has started doing gymnastics one afternoon a week? There's a gymnasium close to home - it used to be an old cinema (that's what my ma told me) but has been a gym for as long as I've known. In fact, I remember that we went there for sport when I was in primary school. I remember this because I still, to this day, remember falling into the gap between the two beams and hurting my side.

Anyway, Dante absolutely loves it. We were meaning to go for quite a while but it wasn't until the older sister (8 years old) of one of Dante's friends invited us along. "You should come along to gymnastics with us," she said to me one day. Then proceeded to tell me all the details... "It's just near your house". So we went along! It didn't take long for him to get used to it. He was a bit nervous at first, and scared of the beam. What an amazing change after only four weeks! At the "rewarding day" he scored 10/10 for the beam :) I don't think he got 10 points for any other apparatus, but then again he's only been doing it for a short time. His school friend has been going for almost three years!!

Sunday morning: Tennis lesson

The sports centre at Uni had a tennis "Come and Try Day" today, with a free lesson for kids. Dan took Dante this morning and he quite enjoyed it. We're thinking about enrolling him in regular after school lessons now.

Sunday afternoon: Visiting Dante's school friend

The mother of one of Dante's friends invited us over to their place for an afternoon "play date". It was a lovely afternoon, although hot and windy. Atticus was very much at ease and played with the younger sister, as well as eating up a storm (we'd brought snacks for him). The boys had a great time, too!

I am thoroughly exhausted now.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Ballroom dancing for kids

Dan's gone to see Placebo with his sister tonight, so I'm having a quiet evening on my own at home (the kids are here, obviously, but asleep in bed, thank goodness!). Actually, I'm amazed that I'm still awake since this time last night I was fast asleep on the couch (and then I woke up and stumbled upstairs to bed... not an uncommon occurrence these days!).

I just watched a documentary on the ABC, called Ballroom Babies. It was the story of a bunch of kids who compete in ballroom dancing competitions at quite a serious level. The eldest was a 15 year old girl, who looked like she was twice that age when she was on the dance floor, all dressed up. The youngest was a 6 year old girl.

Oh, it was such a delightful show to watch! I spent the entire time grinning. The kids were absolutely gorgeous. They were enthusiastic and happy and cute. Of course there were the expected pushy parents, but not all the parents were pushy. All the parents were incredibly supportive, but you'd have to be when your kids are training several times a week and going to competitions all the time. The show culminated in the Australian Championships where some of them won or placed and some didn't. I thought it was quite well done. A good show to watch.

And it reminds me of when I did ballet at the local RSL club, many many years ago. There was a ballroom dancing teacher and class, and I'll never forget the "star" couple of the class who were brother and sister, I think. Maybe they were twins - they looked very much alike, anyway. I was fascinated by them and they were always getting their pictures in the newsletters and in the local paper. I can't remember their names anymore. I also remember that the mood was very intense. I was just mucking around with a bit of ballet but these other people were so serious! Hey, I also just remembered that there was a girl who did rhythmic gymnastics in my ballet class. She went on to compete for Australia in the Commonwealth Games one year. I don't know how she went. She was an amazing contortionist.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Why we haven't mown the lawn

One thing I love about Spring! Our front lawn turns into a wonderful field of freesias. They look delightful and smell heavenly.

I took this photo a few days ago. I have to say that it looks even nicer today now that a lot of the buds have bloomed. We got a new lawn mower last weekend and Dan is threatening to mow the lawn - I've given him stern instructions to do the backyard and driveway ONLY. No mowing these little beauties. Not while they're in flower, anyway!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Lunch boxes!

I really really want one of those Laptop Lunchboxes as seen on Kiddley the other day. I've seen them before somewhere, I can't remember when or where, though. Oh yes, that's right - at the Vegan Lunchbox (which up until about June this year was just photos of the wonderful lunches this person made for her child... I think this part has stopped because it is summer holiday time in the US).

I had a look at the Australian retailer of these products. They are great, but the cost is prohibitive. The lunch boxes are $40 each! Considering I baulked at the idea of paying $12 for Dante's lunch box at the end of last year, you can imagine my response to this. (By the way, I'm really hoping that his lunch box survives until the end of the year - the lid is cracked significantly and one of the hinges has been snapped off...)

But then, I look at the different sites (you can see them linked off Kiddley (see above)) with wonderful photos of people's lunches (not just for kids) and I can't help but drool and be inspired by the healthy fare on display. Last weekend after looking at them all, I went shopping and went crazy buying lovely green veges and others to feed my flock. Yum. So, now I'm considering buying a lunch box, not for D (I just can't bare the thought of him losing bits or putting cracks in a $40 lunch box), but for myself. And having nice healthy vege-filled lunches every day.

I think I'll have to wait a while, though. Remember, I just spent all my allowance on maternity clothes?? Plus, next year I'll be mostly at home so I won't need a lunch box until maybe the year after that. Perhaps they'll be cheaper then!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Happy Birthday Lori!

My delightful little niece turns 1 today. The time sure has gone by quickly. She is a cute little girl with chubby cheeks and an ear-piercing squeal. Atticus adores her and is always so happy to see her. Thankfully she feels the same way as he does!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Clothes shopping

I've been trying to avoid having to buy maternity clothes, but I am just getting too big too quickly. It's so funny how much sooner one starts to show with each successive pregnancy. The first time, I managed to make do with big t-shirts and bigger sized shirts until about 7 months when I bought a couple of items. The second time, I survived until about 5 months and then bought some maternity clothes.

Now, I'm only 15 weeks in - 3 and a half months - and I'm already digging around for my maternity clothes. The only problem is that I can't find a bunch of them... I think I must have lent them to my sister-in-law. I hope I did! I don't know where I would have put them otherwise!

Anyway, I really didn't want to spend too much money on clothes, since this is the last time I'll be using them. But it seems there's such a greater range of stuff available these days! I remember desperately searching for a maternity clothing store somewhere close, five and a half years ago. Now, they are everywhere I look, including some great cheap stuff in Target and Kmart.

I found this great accessory - the Belly Tube. It is basically something you wear under your regular shirts to extend the length a bit - it looks like you're wearing an extra layer underneath (but you're not). And the other thing I've ordered is a Twist 3/4 sleeve T-shirt which can be worn during pregnancy and then afterwards during breastfeeding! There's also a short sleeved t-shirt and a dress in the same style... I'll see how much I like the top before I consider getting more. They're not really that cheap.

I can't wait for my packages to arrive!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

What did I say about Spring?

I can't believe it. My last post was about the glorious weather we were having... Last night it all turned on its head. It rained, no, bucketed down last night. There was almost 100mm of rainfall on Sydney from 9pm to 5am this morning. The September average is only 68mm! We broke the record in only 8 hours!

And today is freezing cold (well, not quite - but it's only 16°C which is close enough for me). It's such a contrast. I'm flabbergasted (but obviously not lost for words).

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Spring is sprung!

Ah, what a glorious start to the month, and the season of flowers, sunshine and hayfever! We've had magnificent weather - sunny and warm. A far cry from the "snow" we had a couple of weeks ago. Dan is always reminded of this ditty that his mother taught him.

Spring is sprung,
The grass is riz.
I wonder where the birdies is?

The birdies is upon the wing
But that's absurd!
The wing is on the bird!

We've had a delightful weekend. Went to dinner on Friday night at a Mongolian BBQ restaurant. Have you ever been to one of these? You put your chosen raw meat and vegetables into a bowl, coat them in a variety of sauces of your choice and then the guys inside the fume hood cook them on a big round metal hot plate with giant chopsticks, right in front of you. It's nifty - and you can eat as much as you like!

Dante had another sleep over with his Auntie Bec (so we could go out), and didn't get home till lunchtime on Saturday, so we had a lovely leisurely morning. My brother Tim and his family came over - they are going on a big bike ride in Queensland this week and have been coming over as a stop off point to use the numerous bike tracks in our area (getting in some training). It's great that they've been spending so much time over here. The kids get along so well, except for the fighting and screaming. Atticus adores his younger cousin, "Lori" and is so gentle with her. I'm glad that he is comfortable with my brother and his wife, too. It's sweet!

Today the rest of my family got together for Father's Day, and we also visited my brother's grave. The cemetary is less than ten minutes away from home, but it took us nearly half an hour to get there today - the traffic was appalling, and it was all around the cemetary. The place was packed out. I've never seen it so crowded with cars. We had a huge lunch (cooked by my superhero mother) and the kids had lots of fun running around in the yard of my parents' place.

Dan and I also got the spring-cleaning bug this weekend. I did seven, yes, SEVEN loads of washing. (And it all dried! Yippee!) We vacuumed the entire house (which is not often done and not a small job). We cleaned up the kids' craft table (which is usually a disaster of paper and textas and other miscellaneous bits and pieces, caused by Atticus - a.k.a. "Messicus"). And even more importantly, we did the dishes. Wow, there is actually a kitchen underneath all those cups and bowls. heheh...

And I've uploaded some photos to Flickr, and backdated some posts on this blog :)