Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Concert in the Sydney Town Hall

Tonight Dante performed with his school's Junior Choir on stage at the Sydney Town Hall. The concert was the Dept of Education's Primary Proms and consisted mainly of a huge choir made up of kids from Yrs 3-6 from various schools. However, interspersed between their songs were performances from particular schools... I think about 5 of these special acts.

Amazingly, our little Junior Choir won one of these places. Judging from the wording (and the number of exclamation marks) on the note from school I think even the choir teacher was surprised! I didn't realise what a feat this was until we were actually there tonight.

When we first arrived, there were hundreds of children milling about outside, lining up and all dressed alike. These were the "Primary Proms Combined Choir" kids. And then I spotted our little group, in their bright red school uniform shirts. There were only about a dozen or so of them and they were clearly a lot younger than everyone else.

The concert began and most of the groups were from late primary school. Then they announced our guys. Our Year 1 and 2 kids trooped onto stage in their costumes. Some looked confident. Some looked terrified. Some looked shell shocked. Dante was in the last group. Their teacher sat at the piano and started playing. And they sang! And performed their actions! And (in my totally unbiased opinion) they stole the show. They received the loudest cheers of the night (but maybe that was because I was surrounded by our parents). We laughed and were so proud.

You know, it was weird to see Dante looking small. He's so BIG in our house! It's good to have reminders that he is still just a little boy, really, once in a while.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Toilet training begins!

We've been a bit lax about toilet training, but last week Atti's teacher at child care told me that he's been sitting on the toilet there, so the time has come for us to toilet train him. You'd think I'd know what to do since I have an older son. Heh. You're wrong! Dante was toilet trained pretty much entirely at child care - we didn't really need to do anything! One day I went to pick him up and they said, just as an aside, "Oh, by the way, he's wearing undies." I was flabbergasted! And that was that.

So, now that we've recovered from our short excursion, I figured we'd better get to it. Today was our first day. Atti was actually very cooperative and happy to sit on the loo. I was very nervous about accidents on the carpet so we spent most of the day outside or in the back dining area (wooden floors). He had three accidents, one of them when I was putting Elora to bed. Not too bad, I reckon. We'll see how things go.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Canberra fun

I've spent the week hiding from the online world - my RSS feed items numbered in the hundreds and email piled up. The trip to Canberra completely exhausted me and I've only just recovered. But now that I've caught up with it all I can finally regale you with the tale of our trip. WARNING: this is a long post.

After an extremely busy day last Thursday (incidentally my niece's 2nd birthday), taking the kids to school, visiting work colleagues for morning tea, having lunch with a friend in the city, walking all the way back to Uni to take Elora for her immunisations, picking up the kids, driving home, feeding and bathing them, and packing, we finally left home at 9pm. My mother decided to come with me for the drive as she was worried about me doing the 3 hours by myself. It was about two hours later than I'd planned, but that was due to my immense procrastination the night before, not packing or preparing!

At first the drive wasn't too bad - D fell asleep fairly quickly and so did the little girl. Atti didn't fall asleep until about 10:15pm! He was so overexcited. About two hours in, at Goulburn, I decided to stop for a quick break. Big mistake. The lights in the car woke up Elora, who started screaming her head off and woke up A. Dante was wonderful - he just put his pillow over his head and slept through it. She screamed almost the entire rest of the way to Canberra... and we finally arrived a little after midnight. The boys shared a room and were so excited that they didn't fall asleep until well after 1am. Ack. Total disaster. I was completely zonked.

The next day Atti woke up at 6am! Of course he woke up Dante as they were in the same room but thankfully there were televisions in all three rooms in our apartment so I put on ABC Kids and went back to sleep. Eventually we rose - Dan rushed off to his conference and the rest of us had a leisurely breakfast and prepared for the day. My mother had to catch the train back to Sydney at midday (the last one for the day) as she had a function on Saturday. What a pity! She didn't see anything of Canberra at all. I felt really sorry for making so much trouble for her.

After dropping her off at the station we went to Kingston for lunch - it is a suburb that I know a little as my brother lived there for six months in the mid-90's and I stayed with him for a week. It has some nice cafes and restaurants. Of course, the boys saw the Pizza Hut and demanded pizza for lunch, so that's what we had. It was a terribly cold, windy, rainy day so my plan picnicking in a park by the lake was dashed. Instead we parked behind the High Court and sat in the back of the car! The rest of the day we spent napping in the hotel room and watching cable TV.

Saturday we met up with my cousin Cecelia and her son Seth (almost 2) and we spent the day at the Questacon. Oh what fun it was! I highly recommend it to one and all. The "MiniQ" section is particularly great for under 6's. It has a climbing gym, home corner, dark cave section, construction area, space-themed room, water play as well as a baby section. The water areas were terrific fun and they even provide apron/paint shirt thingies so your kids don't get completely drenched. The boys loved it, although Dante couldn't wait to see the "Big Kids" sections of the museum (he had to wait for Dan to join us at lunch time). Even Elora enjoyed watching the lights and playing with the water. At lunch we bumped into a distant cousin whom I'd only met in April at an extended family picnic!

We ended up staying there until 3:30pm when I finally took the two youngest home for their naps. Dan stayed on with D and we went over to my cousin's place for dinner. They live in a "new" suburb, right on the edge of the city. It was quite spooky driving out there. On one side of the road were houses and lights and on the other side it was pitch black. "That's the 'Limit of Maps'," Dan told me.

On our final day we decided that we'd brave the crowds and visit Floriade on the grounds of Commonwealth Park, beside Lake Burley Griffin. For once the kids slept in a bit and we took our time packing up the room, only to be grumbled at by the house maids who wanted us out right away! Dan had already cleared a late check-out with the hotel but it was annoying to be rushed like that.

We parked across the lake, near the National Library and walked across the big bridge to get to the flower show. The big fountain (apparently called the Captain James Cook Memorial) was in full force, much to Atti's delight. The wind blew the water spray quite a distance. Cool!

Floriade was, as one would expect on opening weekend, crowded with people and flowers! We walked around, Atti pointing out all the colours and the rest of us just enjoying the show. The hyacinths were especially fragrant. Dante had fun with the "living statue", who produced lollipops from his pocket when money was given. The boys were entranced by the Victorian-era dancers while we queued up for lunch. Elora wanted to eat everything (flowers, hats, you name it)!

We popped in to the Art Gallery on the way home, but unfortunately Dan's favourite artwork, the Fog Sculpture, had been turned off by the time we got there. So he hung around in the gift shop instead while the kids and I found a kids drawing exhibit which kept them busy. Also bumped into a family friend from Sydney who was visiting the town. What a small world!

Well, we eventually left Canberra at 4pm with our two cars in convoy. I had all the kids and Dan was in the small car. It was okay until we got to Goulburn again (what is it about that place?) when we stopped for a walk around. Thereafter Elora screamed and screamed, and Atti screamed back (especially when she would drift off to sleep) for about another hour while I fumed and tried to get in touch with Dan to pull over. I had stopped but he drove straight past, not seeing us, so then the rest of the time was spent trying to catch up and find him on the highway. I sped way too much for my liking. At least I was in no danger of dozing off, the adrenalin was pumping so hard.

Finally I managed to call him and we met up an hour out of Sydney. Elora was beside herself. Everyone had a good stretch and I transferred Atti to Dan's car. The rest of the drive home was wonderfully peaceful and relaxed.

And we were so glad to be home.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Toothy pegs!

Elora had a bit of a raised temperature on the weekend - I assumed because she'd just had her vaccinations... however, there was another reason for it! She cut her first teeth! I noticed the first one (front bottom left) on Saturday night and had to ring my folks right away. Then, amazingly, I discovered the adjacent one (front bottom right) yesterday.

Two teeth in three days. Poor tike.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A tonne of wontons

After last time, I've been wanting to make wontons again, especially since I have the know-how now! So on Sunday afternoon Dan took the boys out for a walk, Elora slept and I mixed and folded. It's quite therapeutic, making these little parcels. They tasted okay, too. And my parents liked them.

We're going to Canberra tomorrow evening for the weekend - should be interesting... Looking forward to taking Dante to Questacon and hopefully will get a chance to catch Floriade. Dan left this evening for his conference and we'll meet him there.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Rollin' around

Elora learnt a new trick last night. She is rolling from her back to her front without any help whatsoever! She was so pleased with herself! And every time I've put her down on the mat or on the couch she immediately starts rolling around. From back to front and then back again. It's so funny to watch! She is getting really good at reaching for her toys (and gets very frustrated when she can't reach them).

Gorgeous little thing :)

I'm not biased at all. Not one bit!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Relaxing day

Dan took the day off work today and I took the opportunity to catch up on some much needed sleep while he took Elora for a lovely long walk. They had a wonderful time together and he took this gorgeous picture of her playing peek-a-boo!

I need more days like today.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Day for Dads

So, I've been busy the past few days working on a crafty project for Father's Day and now that Dan's received his pressie, I can show you what I made!

It's a Father's Day book, which we will add to each year. There's some pictures of the kids to start and then a couple of pages from each of them, including their hand prints. I got (stole) the idea from Jody who got the idea from Kirsten and after some deliberation got to work. I just used an A4 Visual Arts diary which I covered in fabric (it had a horrible black plastic cover with the brand name stamped on it and a plain cardboard back). The spray adhesive was tricky to use!

Trying to organise the kids to get handprints was also a little tricky, but we managed quite well. Elora got red paint all over her, but luckily avoided eating any. Dante drew characters from his current favourite TV show, Ben 10. He finished just in time as Dan was walking down the driveway. I told him not to mention it, but he couldn't resist saying something... what a funny kid! As Dan walked in the door, he'd just finished putting away his textas and said, "Hi Daddy. Oh, I was just drawing some pictures, but just on normal paper, that's all." Thankfully Dan didn't notice anything unusual.

He was pleased with the present when he received it... impressed at the effort I made :) plus I was so pleased with my handiwork, he couldn't not like it!