Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Shocking fuel prices

I couldn't believe the price of fuel when I picked up Dante from school this afternoon. Yesterday they were a mere $1.24/L but today they had risen to $1.439/L. It's amazing how the prices vary so much during the weekly cycle. Here in Sydney, Tuesday is usually the cheapest day and Thursday is the most expensive. I've seen prices increase by 16c/L but never by almost 20c. They did say on the news that prices would hit $1.50/L but I didn't believe them. I wish I had a hybrid car (but unfortunately they don't make hybrid people-movers yet).

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The bane of the PS2

Don't know if I've mentioned this before, but Dante is really into playing the Lego Star Wars games on the PS2. It's quite interesting to watch him and his friends play, but frustrating at times. So I started my own game and have been playing on and off for some time now.

Until recently, when I found an online walkthrough guide. This tells you how to get all the special pieces for each level. I'd already solved all the levels before I found this but wanted to complete them as well (there are two modes - Story Mode and Free Play. You have to complete Story Mode in order to unlock Free Play...) Anyway, the point of this post is that my life has become nothing but Lego Star Wars. I have been going through each level and completing every last bit of it whenever I can. Obviously not when Dante's around (such as during the day on weekends) but most evenings after the kids have gone to bed you'll find me sitting in front of that darn machine. I am even getting a bit of RSI in my wrist because of it. Worse still is playing while breastfeeding. It's an illness, I tell you.

Well, tonight I almost completed the Empire Strikes Back levels, and I'm 80% of the way through the game. Now, I just want to finish it all so that I never have to look at it again. Of course, I could stop any time... any time I want.

BTW, is it cheating to use a guide to help you through it? I get bored of these things quite easily. Have never been a terrific puzzle solver. Too impatient. Oh well. Do I really care if I cheat or not? These guides are good in that they tell you the basics of how to get that "kit piece" but in the end you still have to actually do it yourself. I also figured that I've been watching the kids play for so long that I have been picking up all the hints from them anyway. Right? And I can stop any time I want...

Friday, May 25, 2007

Yay! They're back!

My folks came back today. Hip hip hooray!

I was waiting all morning for the sound of the taxi pulling up and their front gate opening. When I finally heard it I said to Atti "Want to go next door? Who's next door?" I've been deliberately avoiding mentioning those two four letter words for the past two weeks so that he doesn't miss them too much. He's been pretty good and has only bashed on their back door three or four times since they've been gone.

Anyway, his face lit up when I mentioned "next door". He immediately stopped what he was doing and made a beeline to the back door. We put on his shoes and he ran out to the back yard and across the path to their place. My father was still at the front gate with the luggage. He called out when he heard us and we went around to the front. As soon as Atti saw my father he burst out laughing with a huge grin on his face and ran to him with arms wide open. It was a glorious moment. I don't know who was gladder, grandfather or grandson.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Brr... Winter's almost here

Wah! It's getting cold! I'm so sad. I don't like the cold weather, much.

Having said that, I don't mind Sydney winters. The days are usually dry, sunny and bright, and not too cold in the sun (oh, the wonders of lying in the sun on the lawn outside my work during lunch...). The nights are cold but it's a great excuse to get one's cosiest clothes on. That means my wonderful dressing gown has come out again, as well as warm socks, flannelette pyjamas and fluffy slippers. Hmmm... cosy.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Peter Pan and Neverland

Watched Finding Neverland on TV tonight, even though it meant missing out on Spicks and Specks. The main reason I was so keen to watch this film again is that I have just finished reading the original Peter Pan book by J.M. Barrie.

What a terrific story! It is definitely worth the read. So different to any of the films except, perhaps, for the one that came out in 2003 (for which, incidentally, my father went to a casting for a pirate role. He didn't get it).

It's a children's book, but the writing is so eloquent. Lots of long words, too. Would kids back in the early decades of last century have had trouble reading it?

Anyway, I highly recommend it. And tonight's movie. Anything with Johnny Depp has got to be brilliant.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Busy weekend

What a great weekend we had! Extremely busy and non-relaxing, but fun.

Saturday morning was the usual soccer-piano lesson routine. They lost the soccer match, but not without giving it a good try. The team is a bit short on numbers this year (it's the "B" team) but this has been great for D as he is one of the "better" players in the team! His skills are starting to come along. Also, Dante's piano teacher wrote "Excellent!" on one of his pieces (that last minute practising paid off for once!).

A quiet afternoon was had, and then Dan's sister and her boyfriend arrived to babysit the boys so we could go to a 50th birthday party for a work colleague. The boys were so excited to see them. They behaved wonderfully, although they were a little overexcited. This is the first time Atti's been babysat by someone other than my parents, and I'm so glad that he did well. I was a bit worried about bedtime, but apparently he was terrific!

The party was fun. It was nice to get out at night-time. We realised that we haven't hosted a "night-time" party since before Dante was born. Can it be true? We've had people over for dinner - does that count? No, not really. How many more years before we can fob the kids off onto other people and have a bash?

Anyway, it was really good to see my work friends, especially Regina, who has been on maternity leave since August/Sept last year and whom I've been meaning to visit. She brought her daughter, Amelie - the most gorgeous creature, her "mini-me". Also, they had a jukebox machine instead of a DJ. What a great idea - with MP3s you can get a lot more songs and you don't have to pay someone per hour. Except that our songs kept getting skipped. Dan wasn't too pleased with that! And he got accused of putting on "Bob the Builder". He didn't... but everyone sang along to it anyway.

Sunday morning was tennis, our regular fortnightly thing. My parents being overseas, we ended up hosting the kids for lunch. It was good to have them over, but then we really had to rush because we had a prior appointment to visit one of Dante's school friends, Luke, and his family. We finally got there at 4:30pm but had a pleasant enough evening and stayed for dinner. The boys made a HUGE mess in the "playroom" and Luke's mother was so calm about it all. I was quite impressed with her easy-going nature. A single mother with three kids (two boys and a girl, just like our family... Dante's friend is the equivalent of Atticus). Atti had a great time hoeing into the snacks, as well as playing with the little sister and following around the big boys. We got home very late - well after 9 o'clock. Dante was the only one to fall asleep in the car and got put to bed in his clothes.

So, that was that. We are quite exhausted after all that. My folks come back in four days...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Antibiotics for Elora - third time lucky

Poor Elora. She has had a bit of a skin infection around her belly button, armpits, behind her ears and now behind her knees. The first time was during the school holidays and she had a course of antibiotics for six days. It started getting better, then started getting worse again! Two weeks later she was on a second course, and the same thing happened. Well, guess what? She's on a different antibiotic this time - hopefully it will do the trick (and won't cause her to stop bowel motions for two weeks). Thankfully she's young enough not to put up a fight when we administer the medication!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Birthday shopping

It was Dan's birthday yesterday, but he had a big meeting at work so he took the day off today, instead. We spent the day at the shopping centre. We went and saw Becoming Jane, which was a very nice film about what Jane Austen's inspiration might have been... had lunch and then just hung around window shopping. Dan had to go and pick up the kids (Dante had soccer practice after school) so I stayed and then they all came back to pick me up. We had a great time in the toy section of David Jones (and I enjoyed looking at the baby clothes - they are so gorgeous, but so expensive) followed by ice-creams all round.

A nice day out.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Three boys and one girl

I have a few school friends whom I keep in touch with - ever since we got back into contact at our ten year reunion. We talk via email and try to meet up every six months or so.

It's funny how we seem to do things at the same time. Just over three years ago, half of us got married (me in Nov, one in Jan and one in March)... (actually, that was a busy time for weddings for Dan and I. We had about seven of them in six months!) Now it's baby time. When we met up last September we discovered that three of us were pregnant and one couple were trying. Well, Evan was born in January, Elora was born in February, Max in March, and today I found out about Christian, born last Tuesday!

It's so fantastic - we have our own little Mothers Group now. I hope the kids will grow up to be great friends.

Incidentally, today was my first day completely "solo" (with my folks gone overseas). I'm amazed at my ability to manage and cope when I need to. There were some difficult times - Atticus has been wheezing and coughing and a friend of ours thinks he may have whooping cough (to be confirmed when he gets his blood test results later in the week) so I had to take him to the doctor this afternoon. My brother recommended their own doctor who is five minutes away from here and thankfully I was able to get an appointment (which happened to be just after my niece's appointment with the same doctor). It was a mad rush to get there - the kids were fast asleep and I had to wake them both but we were still a little late. A bit of a struggle. But at least Atticus doesn't have pertussis - just a viral infection thingy.

And, well, I managed! There wasn't too much screaming and the kids got fed. Pretty good, in my opinion. Just 12 more days until my parents come home!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day

I think I've had the most tiring Mother's Day yet.

This morning my parents went overseas for two weeks! Ack! How am I ever going to cope without them?

Atticus has been coughing all day - he spent his entire nap time spluttering and coughing, after vomiting up a large proportion of his lunch.

Dante spent the most of the day playing on the Playstation. Dreadful, I know, but we were too tired to object. At least he cleaned up the lounge room and I managed to vacuum it.

I did three big loads of laundry.

Dan's mother and sister and her boyfriend came over for dinner. Dan and his mother took Dante with them to buy groceries. I am grateful for that, except I could barely cope with the two kids while they were gone. Things made worse because Atti was overtired and unwell.

I did receive some nice pressies - a book called Little, Big and the RocKwiz DVD. Dan was wonderful with the kids this morning.

And the best pressie? It's a sign of what I've become after being totally immersed in bringing up this small baby that I think this is wonderful... Elora finally moved her bowels after 19 days. That's right. More than ⅕ of her life!

And I discovered that I haven't been receiving email notifications of comments to posts in this blog. Sorry everyone! Check back - there were quite a few.

Anyway, back to trying to get this girl to sleep. Sorry for the disjointed post. I am just so tired.

Friday, May 11, 2007

International Nurses Day

Happy International Nurses Day to all the nurses out there, especially our own favourite, Ellie :)

Thanks for everything that you do for us patients, and I have to say that the midwives at the RPA Women & Babies Hospital (in Sydney) are tops!!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Today's lesson

Don't try to chase a vomiting cat out of the house. She will run the OPPOSITE way to the one you want her to, leaving behind a trail of... mess (to put it nicely) which requires much cleaning than if you'd let her finish in one spot.


Saturday, May 05, 2007

Pascale Gabriella

Pascale in the sling
My new niece now has a name and we celebrated her Mun Yit (one month birthday) today. My brother and sister-in-law took us all out for an early dinner at a nice Chinese restaurant. I was quite worried about how the kids would behave - hoping that they wouldn't run amok, disturbing the other diners. And, amazingly, they all did really well! There were 9 children there, including the two babies. They made lots of noise but mostly stayed seated during the evening. My father was impressed with how my two boys ate... so was I. They did so well! They tried everything and had a very good feed.

Putting the cake together
The best part of the meal was the most amazing cake made by big sister, Abigail, with help from her cousin, Owen. They used a whole bunch of different colours to make a glorious rainbow "volcano" cake that was also really delicious! The kids were delighted with the look of it (iced with pink icing and 100's and 1000's) and gobbled it up. Abi was very proud of her achievement, happily telling everyone "I made the cake" while picking at the the icing. Not bad for a two year old, don't you think?

Detail of colourful cake
Here's a detail of the cross-section of the cake. Every piece was different!

(Photos stolen from Priscilla's flickr account.)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Atticus and Elora

I can't remember if I've told you about how much Atticus likes his little sister. He has really surprised us. I was worried that he would be jealous of her but he has shown only love and kindness to her.

On days when he is at child care he can't wait to give her a big cuddle when he gets home. He usually squashes her a bit while he's doing it, but she doesn't mind. We constantly find toys in her bassinette which he has put there for her to play with. If he is eating a biscuit or a piece of fruit he often tries to share it with her (she once got pear squashed into her eyebrow... it's the thought that counts).

The other day I put Elora down on the play mat for a little while. As soon as he saw her there, Atti immediately stopped what he was doing, crawled under and lay down next to her (and sort of on top of her until I moved him). He was so happy to be next to her, reaching over and giving her one of his whole-body hugs.

One evening I decided to save a bit of water and just washed Elora in the big bath with Atti (but before Dante got in). Atti was delighted to have her with him and got the cloth to wash her face, and poured a cup of water over her head. He was trying to help. Elora wasn't too excited about the water but didn't mind the attention from him. I look forward to when she's old enough to actually play with him!

I just hope things stay this way for a while (but am resigned to the fact that it won't last forever)...