Monday, August 27, 2007

Knit, knit, knit

6.5st is a blogger who knits and sews and creates the most marvelous designs. She recently wrote up a pattern for a delightful wrap cardigan for babies and after umming and ahhing about it, I plucked up the courage, bought the pattern, bought some wool and started knitting.

That was two days ago. Look at how far I've come!

Not a cardigan yet, but one sleeve and the start of the main body. I'm pretty proud, especially considering I've never been a big knitter - usually the patterns flummox me. I'm much better at scarves or blankets (plain squares!). But I used safety pins as stitch markers, as suggested by my friend Anna (thanks!) and they have made it so much easier. I spent every spare moment I could on Sunday and stayed up till the wee hours knitting. I just couldn't put the needles down in my enthusiasm. I want to make this so that my little girl can wear it (and hence I want to complete it before she outgrows it or the weather negates the need for cardigans... it was a glorious 27°C here in Sydney today - and it's winter!).

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Stitches and Craft show, and how NOT to parent

I went to the Sydney Stitches and Craft show today, with my mother and mother-in-law. We had Elora with us as well, which made for a lovely girls' day out! Of course I spent too much money, but the important point is that I didn't spend A LOT MORE. Elora charmed everybody with her gorgeous smiles, but got hardly any sleep, the poor thing. She was in bed by 6pm tonight - I'm yet to find out if she'll sleep through the night!

But, it was a lovely day out. I'd been looking forward to it for a few weeks, after I'd made the decision to go. I've spent the last few days thinking a lot about fabric and quilt designs (also fueled by the parcels I've been receiving recently)...

<enter confession mode>
So yesterday afternoon after I finally got E down to bed, I was busy sketching a design and calculating sizes when the phone rang. It was D's school's After Care coordinator. She was calling to let me know that he was there even though he's not usually booked in on a Wednesday and the teachers had a meeting and sent him down...

"Oh, ***!" I exclaimed (not into the phone).


Who's the worst mother ever?

Yep, you're looking at her.
</end confession mode>

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Elora's half birthday

My little girl is six months old today! She's getting better and better at putting herself to sleep, although you may not have known it today. Ack! Everyone was tired and cranky today from our late night last night - dinner at my brother's place to celebrate my niece's 8th birthday - and the rain keeping us cooped up inside.

But back to Elora...

She's almost sitting up by herself now, and will happily sit in the high chair at the dinner table while we eat... for a little while, anyway. Gets annoyed when she drops her toys, which happens a lot. She's loving her solids - I should start giving it to her twice a day now. She loves her brothers and gives Dante the happiest smile when he gets home from school in the evenings. She's getting really good at grabbing things with her hands, including her feet. Loves her baths. Can roll over from her tummy to her back with ease and almost the other way... I have to be more vigilant!

She's quite ticklish, under her arms and on her neck. Enjoys it when I lightly brush her face with my hair. Likes playing peek-a-boo, especially with Goong-goong (my father). Her legs are getting stronger and she likes standing up all the time - won't be long before she'll be chasing her brothers around the house!

Also has a good set of lungs and can make the walls shake with her cries and shatter glass with her squeals. And melt hearts with her gorgeous smiles.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A bit of relief

My parents came back from their latest overseas jaunt this morning. Yay! I was looking forward to seeing them, but was a lot more relaxed about it compared to last time... went next door and welcomed them home but left them alone for most of the day to recover from the uncomfortable overnight flight. (They didn't sleep much and have both got a bit of tummy trouble, plus suffering from being back in the cold weather!)

I always surprise myself when they go away. When they start planning the trip I start getting nervous and worry, "How will I ever cope?" but then they leave and I cope. Not only cope, but actually manage! I feel so much more confident in my parenting abilities, although there certainly are times when I really wish they were here.

This time I feel like things are even better. Elora is now sleeping in her bed and the crying has virtually stopped... the controlled crying has done the trick, as I knew it would, however difficult the process. For two nights in a row we have had all three children in bed by 8:30pm, and are amazed by it... last night I almost felt at a loose end. Almost. I also cooked proper dinners several times while my folks were away (instead of getting takeaway or just having pasta) and we ate the leftovers from those meals a few times, too. I survived having my entire family over for a day. We didn't run out of clean clothes. I managed to write blog posts. Even got out of the house for a little bit.

Yeah, I feel like I'm finally doing things properly, being a "proper" parent. After six and a half years and three children! I know I've still got a long way to go, especially as Dante gets older and harder to handle... (I'll talk more about that another time) but I think I'm on the right path.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

< insert verb >-ing thing

I love the way that kids make up words when they don't know the correct language for them. Atticus has an interesting way of describing objects - he uses their action to name them.

For instance, a texta is a "drawing thing". The thing you use to hammer wooden pegs is a "hamming thing". And the trampoline is known as "the jumping thing".


Monday, August 13, 2007

Cooking skillz

After reading Karen's post about making wontons I've been keen to do the same (not necessarily with the kids, though)... so today I finally had a chance to make them for our dinner tonight! I'd had the ingredients since last week but only had time to actually put it together today (and a bit on Saturday).

They turned out really well. I was delighted by the "Oh, yum!" exclamation from Dante (and echoed by Atticus) when I put them on the table (with noodles and soup). I didn't do it exactly the same way as Karen did - made with prawns and pork, ginger and water chestnuts, boiled, not baked. I even worked out how to fold them properly (after a few tries). As you can probably guess, I'm not that great a cook - don't try new things that often (and with a mother-genius-cook right next door I've never really needed to). So, I'm pretty proud of my effort tonight. And the fact that I know how to do it now!

Wonder what I'll try next. *grin*

Sunday, August 12, 2007

My ears are ringing

What a crazy chaotic day we had today! After tennis (fortnightly family thing - I don't actually play... too uncoordinated), the entire clan came over for lunch. Twelve kids (two extras) and eight adults. We were outnumbered 3:2. Thankfully my brother Chris had the foresight to pick up some bread rolls and barbecue chooks as we didn't have much to feed them all. By the time we got it organised, the younger ones were howling for food (Atticus and Lorien happily sat themselves at the table and grabbed whatever they could!).

After lunch the kids got busy with the blocks and then the playstation - Guitar Hero. I couldn't help laughing as I watched them from the doorway. The two older boys were fairly good, the three middle ones sat entranced in front of the TV, slightly nodding their heads in time, and Atti sat further back on the other couch, looking delighted. When Ross (friend of my nephew) finished his song, Atti called out "You rock, Dante!" and clapped his hands. Then Ross asked me to demonstrate my awesome skills... the two boys exclaimed appreciatively and afterwards said "O.M.G. Auntie Jenny. You're really good!". Boy, did I feel cool (and slightly embarrassed at the same time).

Meanwhile my brothers and Dan got out their laptops and we swapped mp3s... Nice to see that Macs outnumbered the PCs.

Anyway, I'm completely exhausted now, for some reason. I looked at the clock earlier and had a double take. I was sure it was something like 11pm but it was only 9:30pm. But I think I'll go to bed early anyway.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Another goal

Wow. Our son is finally getting into his soccer. He scored another goal today, the only one for our team this week. It was just beautiful and so quick. One minute the ball was in the pack, and then suddenly it got kicked over to the side where Dante just happened to be standing, and into the goal! The goalie didn't even have a chance to blink. Dante couldn't wait for us to tell everyone, especially Jaime & Shannon and Tancred & Evelyn overseas. (Hi guys!)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Teaching babies to sleep

I had a nurse from Tresillian come over on Wednesday for an "outreach" visit - they come to help you settle your baby. Elora hasn't been too bad on the sleeping side of things. She first slept through the night (7+ hours) when she was seven weeks old but in the last couple of months she has started waking again, and we always had to rock her to sleep.

So, we embarked on a controlled crying regime (also called "controlled comforting"). The last three days have been very trying and wearing of my nerves. Elora just cries and cries and cries. She cried for over an hour on Wednesday morning. Then got better each other time I put her down. Yesterday during the day she only cried for 10 minutes before putting herself to sleep. Then I stuffed things a bit by going out to the supermarket, then met Dan and the boys for dinner at the noodle house. Elora was tired but I kept her up, and she cried for over an hour before I eventually patted her to sleep.

This morning she was okay, but then we went out (took Atti to play with his cousin Abigail - they had lots of fun!) and it took her an hour to get to sleep when we got home after lunch. Now I'm trying to get her to sleep again and she has been at it for an hour and a quarter! This is the record! She just seems to be getting worse, not better. I guess I've made things worse by not putting her to sleep as soon as I see that she's tired (I had to cook dinner and had Atticus clawing at my legs... tiresome late afternoon/early evening).

It really is quite exhausting, this crying. Or rather, listening to her cry and not being able to go in and cuddle or comfort her. I'm amazed at the physiological effects it has on me. My heart is racing, my hands are shaking and my head is spinning. I feel lightheaded and weak (but obviously I'm still able to type). I can't smile. I can't concentrate. I feel sick in the stomach.

It's a terrible thing and yet I put us through it. I did it with Dante and with Atticus as well. I don't know if it feels the same this time as with the boys or whether it's worse because she's my little girl. I just know that it feels awful and I just want to stop. I hope she falls asleep soon.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Question from Dante

D: "Mama, what's a swollen whinge gland?"

Me: "I'm sorry, what?"

D: "A swollen whinge gland. What is it?"

Me: "Umm..." Thinks for a minute. Light dawns. "Oh, did Daddy say that your whinge gland is swollen?"

D: "Yeah."

Me: "Well, 'swollen' means that it's bigger than normal. And the whinge gland is the part of you that makes you complain..."

D: "Oh, okay."

That wacky husband of mine.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Crocheted blankie - done!

I started this blanket of crocheted granny squares over a year ago when I found out that a friend of mine was pregnant. The initial square making went ever so quickly but piecing it together (sewn together with a wool needle) took me ages, as did determining the pattern in the first place (I'm not one for planning ahead very well).

But now it is completed. Well, actually, I've still got to sew in the ends... but it is essentially done now that I've finished the edging.

What do you think? I like things to be crazily colourful. Perhaps it's a bit much, especially with the black, but I like it.

Now I just need to finish the last bit and deliver it. The baby in question is rapidly approaching her first birthday, but I'm sure she won't mind my tardiness!

Sunday, August 05, 2007


'Twas a glorious winter's day today so we rugged the kids up, put Elora in the pram and went for a walk along our local bike path in search of a different playground.

The sky was a magnificent blue, the sun poured down upon us so we had to strip off our outer layers and the water in the canal sparkled and shone. The boys had a wonderful time running up and down the hills, Atticus singing the "Thomas the Tank Engine" song to himself. We managed to avoid being run over by cyclists several times, and eventually came to a nice playground not too far away.

The boys had a wonderful time, enjoying the different equipment. Atticus was incredibly bold (in my opinion, and definitely compared to Dante at this age) climbing up the ladders and round spirally thing and coming down the slide. Dante valiantly tried getting up to the monkey bars but they were just a little bit too high for him to reach. Likewise with the flying fox, and he got stuck half way across. Elora enjoyed just watching them and staring at the branches of trees above swaying in the wind.

We stopped by the local shops on the way home and picked up fish and chips. Poor Atticus missed out on his lunch, though, falling asleep in the pram just around the corner from home! Elora fell asleep in my arms as well, so the rest of us enjoyed a quiet, peaceful meal and afternoon until the two youngsters woke up a while later.

What an enjoyable day. Nothing too strenuous or stressful. A bit of sunshine and exercise. We will try to do this as often as we can now that the weather's getting better. Yay!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

A solid start

Elora's now five and a bit months old and we have decided to start her on solids. A little bit earlier than recommended, but the paediatrician said it would be okay.

Speaking of paediatricians, we took Elora to see Atti's doctor on Monday. She's had a recurring skin problem and nasty looking rash on her head (not cradle cap!) which caused us to confiscate her hands (mittens) and give her her fourth course of antibiotics since Easter! On top of that, the doctor wrote out a comprehensive list of things to do (such as moisturise her entire body twice daily, bath every day in Pinetarsol bath, hydrocortisone cream to inflamed bits of skin, etc). It's been tiresome work but the results have been amazing. She's been given her hands back! Her scalp doesn't look like it belongs to an alien from Doctor Who!

Anyway, back to the solids. Yes, I can't believe that we are already at this stage. My little infant is growing faster than I can type (or so it seems)... and the thing is, she really loves her rice cereal! She knew what to do straight away. Well, actually at first she thought I was about to give her a dose of antibiotics and started to get upset, but when she tasted the food (rice cereal mixed with expressed breast milk) she lunged forward for more and gobbled it up in a pretty good imitation of eating.

And so starts the love affair with food, just like her brothers!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Overseas again!

No, not me. I wish it were!

Those old folks next door have gone again... you know, my parents. Jetsetting around the place like they have no worries in the world. Abandoning their only daughter and her husband to fend for themselves and look after their children ON THEIR OWN. For two whole weeks (almost). Ack!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Parcel in the post

I got a parcel in the mail yesterday - something I ordered online and was awaiting with great anticipation...

Fabric from the Fat Quarter Shop. I couldn't afford to buy big lots so opted for a several charm packs (5" squares) which means I get a much larger selection! Ooh, they are so wonderful. I have a few ideas of what to make with them but nothing definite, yet. I really should write these ideas down in a notebook so I don't forget them, I guess.

I also bought a couple of books recently, Denyse Schmidt Quilts and Modern Quilt Workshop, which came incredibly quickly from Amazon. Yay for internet shopping!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Went to see the new Harry Potter movie today. Dan took the day off and we went to the "Babes in Arms" session (after he took the kids to school). It was quite a good rendition of the book - hard to fit everything into a two hour movie. Elora enjoyed it, too!

Have you seen it? In the Harry Potter world, people in photos move and talk. One of my favourite parts of this film were the plates mounted on the walls of Umbridge's office with pictures of kittens on them. They were so cute! Wish I had some of those :)