Thursday, June 28, 2007

I live for Thursdays

On Monday, Tuesday and Fridays I have Atticus at home with me. He goes to child care on Wednesday and Thursday each week but I have to pick up Dante from school at 3pm on Wednesdays for soccer practice.

But Thursdays... Thursdays are MY day. Well, I still have Elora to look after but she's just one kid - a breeze! Each week when I think of things to do I say to myself, "I'll do it on Thursday". When I want to arrange to meet people or go somewhere, Thursday's the best day. I have so many plans and Wednesday evenings are wonderful when I realise that the next day is Thursday. It's a bit sad that this what my life has come to...

Today, however, I was cranky. I shouldn't have been, but I couldn't help it. Dante kept complaining ALL morning that he had a sore stomach - didn't even eat his breakfast. So I decided to let him stay at home. Oh, how annoyed I was that he was going to ruin my day! I hope I wasn't too mean to him. No Playstation or other computer/console games. No TV. No junk food. Just staying in bed all day (reading allowed). I mean, he was sick! I didn't want him getting the idea that he can fake illness in order to spend a fun day at home. The day had to be as boring as possible.

I think I succeeded in giving him a boring day. I finally relented on the TV side of things at lunch time and gave in to the Playstation after 3pm (I mean, school would be finished by then in any case).

Anyway, he didn't complain about being sick the next morning so things must have been okay!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Remember this?

Found this today - Dan and I always sing it to the kids.

Anyone else remember it? What a classic. Atticus loves watching this clip over and over.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Baby times

Today we went to the christening of my friend Rosie's son, Christian. It was certainly a display of this current baby boom - there were two pregnant women, four babies born this year, four toddlers, two pre-schoolers and two six-year-olds. Wow. And it wasn't a particularly big gathering...

Our boys did very well, even considering that it was well past Atti's nap time. We had a lovely time - the food was delicious and the company excellent. Even the rain clouds kept away at the appropriate times. A very nice afternoon.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Rain, rain, rain

It has been bucketing down with rain this week. It has just been incredible after all this time of drought. The best news is that a significant amount went into the Sydney Catchment Area which means more water in our dams (an extra 10%)!

Poor Atti has gone a little stir-crazy being cooped up inside and was tired and completely out of sorts today. Thank goodness it's the weekend tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Eat, eat, eat!

My folks took me to a smorgasbord/buffet lunch at an RSL club nearby today. My father was sooo excited about it. I mean, as much food as you can cram into your belly! For just one price! Two dollars off for seniors!

Admittedly, the food was pretty good for this sort of thing. I wasn't expecting top restaurant quality stuff by all means but it had a good Chinese barbecue section run by Chinese chefs as well as the usual deep-fried, pasta, soup and salad sections.

Papa was so happy to be there! He kept talking about who would get their money's worth if he brought them. "Your brother, Tim, would lurve it. And Ben [my nephew] would definitely do well..." When Dan happened to call, my father had to grab the phone to tell him all about it. He can't wait to bring him and the boys one day so they can eat more than their fill. Hehe. (Interestingly, the rate for children under 12 is scaled: $0.80c x age (years). So Atti would cost $1.60 and Dante would be $4.80.)

Anyway, we ate until we had loosen our belts and our stomaches hurt. We were the last patrons to leave (but we did have Elora to slow us down).

Monday, June 18, 2007

Today's excitement

We were eating lunch when we heard a very loud noise - a helicopter was overhead. We could hear sirens as well, so assumed that there was a police chase or something happening. The noise of the helicopter stopped pretty quickly so my mother went out to investigate, and came running back to tell us that it had landed in the park and all the neighbours were out to sticky-beak at it.

We quickly grabbed the camera and hurried Atticus out the door to show it to him. It was a CareFlight chopper. At first we thought that maybe it had had to do an emergency landing, but it turned out that it needed to pick up a doctor to take somewhere urgently. A police car pulled up soon afterwards and out hopped two guys with big backpacks who quickly got into the helicopter.

The pilot asked us to move away and they prepared to take off. Atticus was so excited. Mind you, so was my mother and I! We sat there in the cold, waiting and waiting. Atti and Mama chatted about it flying up, up and away. Then, the propellors started moving, faster and faster. It got windier and windier where we were sitting. Eventually, the noise of the engines picked up and away it went. It hovered directly above us briefly and we felt like we were going to be blown away!

As it flew away, Atti called out "Bye-bye helicopter!" and when we got home we called Dan so that Atti could tell him all about it...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

32 and counting...

Oh, happy day to me. I turned 32 today.

I haven't been too thrilled with the thought of this birthday - instead of being "just thirty", I'm well into my thirties now, and thinking, "Where did the time go?". I think I must write a post similar to this on every birthday!

However, I must say and I had a terrific day today. I got a bit of a sleep-in this morning, then got up to be given wonderful presents from my boys. They got me a Nintendo DS lite (a pink one) with a couple of "games"... the Brain Training one and another called Picross (I'd actually asked for the first one - it wasn't a comment about my mental state :) as well as a book of Jane Austen's letters and a playstation game (Buzz Music quiz).

Then a special phone call from Jaime and Shannon in Canada (Thanks, guys! It was so lovely to have such a long chat) and some SMSes from friends. Sometimes I feel so lost and lonely banished out here in the 'burbs while our friends are in contact at work and living in the inner-city, but today I felt lurved and remembered, and not so out of the loop. It was lovely.

My mother cooked a big lunch and invited all my brothers and their families and my mother-in-law over. One of my brothers said, when he arrived, "What's the occasion?" but considering they have three girls at home to look after - the four year old, a feisty almost-two year old and a 12 day old, I forgave them! After all, it was quite an effort to get here and that was the best present I could have got.

It was a lovely afternoon. Ten grandchildren running about (well, except for the youngest three). All my family. I think I'm getting more and more like my father when I say that all I want for my birthday is to be surrounded by my family. Although the presents were fabulous :)

Lots of great photos taken, especially of the three babies. They were pretty good but after five minutes of flashes in their eyes they began to complain. I love this follow-up to the photo of the bellies.

Afterwards we got out the playstation and played the Buzz Mega Quiz which allows up to eight players at once. The kids were all right into it even though they couldn't answer many of the questions. My niece Alexandra had an amazing ability to guess the correct answers. Incredible!

Well, anyway, this has to have been one of the nicest birthdays I've ever had. I just wish my eldest brother could have been here today. He died almost nine years ago and never got to see nine of his nephews and nieces. He used to call me up at the time of my birth (or as close to it as he could get) to wish me a "Happy Birthday" and would have loved gatherings such as this. I really missed him today.

Friday, June 15, 2007


One of the nice things about living in the suburbs near a park, after years of living in the traffic-choked, smoggy inner city, is the wildlife. Specifically, the feathered kind. It's so lovely to see and hear the occasional kookaburra, or the numerous black crows with their terrific calls.

We also get big flocks of cockatoos who sometimes descend on our mandarin tree but at the moment are feasting at the water-logged playing fields in our park. It is deafening when they fly above us. One of the locals also breeds racing pigeons and every afternoon (when it's not bucketing down with rain) you can see their huge flock circling above.

At other times, the noise from the brown songlarks as they chatter away on the power lines is amazingly loud. They fly around, in and out of the trees at the front of our house and make an incredible racket, especially considering their size. My mother said that they remind her of musical notes when they sit there on the wires (excuse the dodgy photo stitching):

This morning I was fortunate enough to see a black-faced cuckoo shrike sitting on our clothes line out the back. It was pouring with rain but it just sat there surveying the territory. It eventually moved off, much to my relief. I was worried about it getting soaked! What a beautiful creature it was. Not too common around here.

The set of Gould League bird posters I received one year for Christmas has proved invaluable in helping to identify these creatures. I have one on the back of the toilet door, and must remember to put the rest of them up in useful places!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Crafty inspiration

I discovered another crafty blog in one of my mother's quilting magazines and I am so inspired! They make gorgeous "softies" (soft toys or cloth dolls) and quilts, too. The thing I love most is the fabrics that they use. Just gorgeous!

While looking at their blog and related flickr group I found other flickr groups and blogs that are about quilting. It's wonderful to look at all the pictures of the amazing creations people make. I really want to get myself organised so I can finish some of my current projects, and start new ones as well!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Getting out of the house

It was the Queen's birthday holiday today. Yay! A long weekend! That means Dan and Dante were home on an Atti-day.

We really needed to get out of the house. We've been cooped up inside all weekend, although Dan did take the kids out for a walk yesterday when the weather fined up to see the "mighty river" (the storm water canals near our house) and the fallen tree in our park. We had our niece, Jasmine, over for a sleepover on Saturday night (to give her parents a bit of a break, since they have a five-day-old little girl at home)!

So we took the kids to go and see Shrek the Third this morning and hung around the shopping centre for the afternoon. The movie was quite enjoyable. The kids were transfixed. Even Elora was fascinated by the lights and sounds. Grandma met up with us afterwards and we had lunch and window-shopped a little bit... I love looking in the kids clothing shops, especially now that I'm can buy girls' clothes. But I find that I am able to refrain from spending since I have loads of pink now.

Anyway, poor Atti didn't get to have a nap AT ALL today. And he did amazingly well, considering. We had a tiny bit of trouble wrestling the Shrek doll away from him in the department store but when I pointed out that it was broken (some of the stitching was coming undone - dodgy workmanship) he begrudgingly gave it up.

The upside of the long day with no nap was that we were able to get the kids (well, the two boys anyway) down to bed much earlier than usual and had the evening to ourselves. Woohoo!

But I should have used the chance to go to bed early and catch up on some sleep... yawn. Oh well!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Worst storms in 30 years

Wow, it rained down all day on Friday and Saturday. The wind was howling and unceasing. It was the most incredible weather I've seen in a long time and boy was I glad that we were safe and warm(-ish) at home.

The news was awful - a bunch of people died in the floods and winds, including a family whose car was swept away when a road collapsed. Absolutely incredible that it happened - I can't help feeling shocked and horrified by it.

And to top it all off, hardly any of the buckets of water fell where we really need it, in the catchment areas of our dams. It was such a shame to see all that good drinking water come down and know that it is just washing out to sea and not being harvested in any way.

Friday, June 08, 2007

It's icy out there

The weather outside at the moment is amazing. I can't believe I said that Sydney winters were dry and sunny. It's cold, windy and wet outside today. Yesterday morning we were woken by the most incredible, bone-rattling thunderstorm (and then went back to sleep because it was so dark and everyone was late for work/school).

According to my Degrees Down Under dashboard widget (Mac users only) the apparent temperature here is 7.9°C. I had plans to go to a farewell function at work for almost the ENTIRE admin section of my building (bar one person) but I don't dare step outside... not even to go next door! I've just managed to get both kids down to sleep and hopefully the cold and dark will help them sleep for a while.

It's times like these I'm glad we don't live in tents.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Favourite books

Over Easter, I was asked by Karen to suggest ten of my favourite books that I might recommend to others. It was a long and thoughtful process, taking the entire long weekend, but I finally came up with a list and I'm so happy with it I'd thought I'd share it. If you have any particular picks that you wish me to read, please leave a comment!

Mind you, I'm not wanting for books to read by any means... we have a huge collection of books, supplemented by my brothers' books (since we have the space for it). I'll write more about our library another day.

The books, in no particular order:

Across the Nightingale Floor - Lian Hearn
The first of the "Otori" series of books by this author. A great tale of love, war and ninjas set in an older style Japanese-like world.

The Princess Bride - William Goldman
The movie is a classic and one of my favourites... The book is even better!

Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
I studied "Persuasion" for my final year of high school but P&P is by far my favourite Austen.

Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
A truly excellent read - Sci-Fi, but don't let that put you off. The first time I read it took three days and not much sleep. I just couldn't put it down!

Dinotopia - James Gurney
The concept is wonderful and the artwork in this children's book is simply gorgeous.

Imperial Purple - Gillian Bradshaw
Recommended to me by my Latin teacher in school, Sister Philippa. A great insight into what life may have been like in Ancient Roman times.

The Lorax - Dr. Seuss
A really nice book to read to the kids to instill in them the dangers of over-capitalism (is that a word?) and not thinking about the environment that suffers because of it. Especially relevant these days with all the talk of climate change!

Boy and Going Solo - Roald Dahl
I was a HUGE fan of Roald Dahl when I was growing up. I even wrote him a letter and received a reply! Of all his books, these I love best - the true story of his childhood and young adult life.

Why Cats Paint: A Theory of Feline Aesthetics - Heather Busch & Burton Silver
Teeheehee! This is the funniest mock-non-fiction book.

Motherguilt - Ita Buttrose & Dr. Penny Adams
I recommend this book to every new mother I meet! So many things in it rang true for me. It didn't stop me feeling guilty about everything I do, but at least it helped me to understand the reasons behind the feelings and made me realise that I'm not alone, either.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

She builds houses out of bricks

My new niece was born this morning just before 7am! Yay! The third little pig has arrived. Congrats Tim and Janet - we can't wait to meet her.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Plane milk

Once the kids have gone to bed in the evening, Dan and I usually have a late dessert or snack while we're hanging around before bedtime.

Tonight I just wanted a glass of milk, with nothing on it (I often have Milo on top).

Dan went out to the kitchen to get it. He was taking quite a while in there... and five minutes later came back with this. Filled with milk.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Happy Elora

My family came over today (the usual fortnightly Sunday tennis) - chaos and noise as per usual. My eldest brother Chris and his family also made an appearance, which was great as he doesn't play tennis like the other two bros. The kids had a great time, although Dan took Dante to our friends' farewell barbecue at Coogee in the afternoon. I would have liked to go as well, but the thought of chasing after Atticus in the cold and wind instead of him having his nap was too much.

Anyway, we put the two youngest cousins down on the playmat for some photos and managed to capture this terrific image of Elora's happy face. She is such a happy, smiley baby and this photo is a wonderful representative of this! I love her wide-mouthed smile, her shiny eyes and her outrageous hair (her hairdo does remind me of a Dilbert character).

I'll put up some more pictures of the girls on flickr.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Mums are special

I didn't mention on Mother's Day that Dante bought me a helium balloon when he went shopping with Grandma and Dan. A shiny red round balloon with the words "Mums are special" written on it. When he presented it to me I was busy hanging out the washing, so said "Oh thanks - give it Atticus". Dante exclaimed "No! It's for you! He'll just lose it!" and was quite upset about the whole thing. But I was too busy to take much notice and insisted that he take it inside and let Atti play with it (Atti loves balloons).

Afterwards Dan told me the story behind the balloon. They'd gone to the department store and there was a lady selling these out the front for $1. Dante really wanted to get me one so Grandma bought it for him to give to me. He was so happy.

However during the sojourn through the shop, probably overexcited by the toy section, he accidentally let go and the balloon sailed to the ceiling far above. Dante was devastated by this and burst into tears. He immediately demanded that they get another one, and he offered to pay for it himself with his own pocket money, because he knew that it was his fault for losing it in the first place. So they bought it, and he was very pleased to be able to give it to me.

And I was the most horrible, ungrateful mother ever.

I felt SOOO bad when Dan told me the story afterwards. What could I do? I thanked Dante for it again, but it just wasn't the same.

Anyway, it has turned out to be a really long-lasting helium balloon. Normally these sort of things deflate within 12 hours, but it has been two and a half weeks and it is still afloat. I took that picture this morning!

So on the weekend I was standing underneath it and called Dante to me. "Hey, Dante, look at my Mother's Day balloon! Isn't it wonderful? It's still floating! What a great present that was!"

Dan said that the grin on Dante's face was priceless. He was so proud and happy. And I felt so relieved that I'd made him feel good about his present.

At times I am just the most awful mother - when I'm tired and cranky I just pick on all the little things and unfortunately Dante bears the brunt of most of it. "Sit properly! Stop shouting! Don't use your fingers to eat dinner! You're not a barbarian!" Ack. I hope that the nice moments will outweigh the bad ones and he'll remember me fondly in years to come.