Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Crawling is old school

Right, so, Elora has just started crawling, right? Not satisfied with this new method of locomotion, she has begun working on the next stage... Standing, and then eventually, walking.

It's unbelievable how quickly she is developing. She's pulling herself up to stand now. She's a bit wobbly on her feet still, but she's definitely getting there. The look of pure delight and pride on her face when she does it is hilarious! Kids! Amazing creatures!

P.S. Did I mention this before? She has three new teeth up the top now, bringing the total to five. And she's making more "talking" sounds, too.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bye, bye car

We have two cars. The big new car and the small car which I bought 9 years ago - the first car I ever bought with my own money (instead of inheriting my brothers' cast offs). It's been good to us, but too small for three child seats (hence the big car). And it has been very handy this year having the two cars since I've been at home on maternity leave.

A couple of months ago I noticed that our small car had a dent on the front side of it. Neither Dan nor I knows how it got there - some <insert expletive here> must have hit it while it was parked. Anyway, I wasn't sure if the damage was worth claiming on insurance (because of the excess) so I took it to a smash repair to get a quick quote. Hmm.. he reckons it was worth claiming. Fair enough.

Then I asked about the few small dents from hail that the car got many many years ago in one of Sydney's huge thunderstorms. He inspected the car more closely and delivered the bad news. Those dents were actually quite deep and all over the car. It would cost thousands to repair!

"Oh bugger!" I thought to myself. I wondered aloud if it was too late to claim on insurance. The man reckoned that it would probably be okay. I sincerely hoped so.

I put off calling for a few weeks, dreading the possibility of a negative response. Last week the rego papers arrived (due in two weeks) and I finally made myself ring the insurance company.

What wonders! They were really nice. I couldn't remember the date of the incident but I did remember that I was out seeing a Billy Bragg concert because of the sound of the hail on the tin roof of the theatre, and I remember that my sister-in-law came and babysat Dante for the very first time so I could go to the concert. So I looked up his tour dates online and picked a date. The lady on the phone didn't seem to mind too much that I wasn't 100% sure. We are talking about six years ago! The car was insured in my mother's name back then but that didn't seem to pose a problem to them at all. I was so pleased.

Yesterday Dan took the car to the assessment centre after we cleared it out entirely. And today we received the news that we were half expecting. The car is being written off. And they will pay us the sum it was insured for... but because the incident was so long ago, it seems they are going to pay us what the car was valued back then, which is roughly double what it is worth now. I'm astounded and astonished.

And bloody happy!

So, we are back to being a one car family. It will make for interesting times when it comes to picking up the kids on Wednesdays (I usually pick on D from school early because of his piano lesson and Dan picks up Atti later in the day from child care), and I'm not looking forward to being stuck at home when Dan takes the car to work. We are trying to decide if it's worth getting another car. Dan thinks it is. Just a small cheap second-hand one.

Anyway, I am a bit sad that the old car has gone. I guess the main thing that annoys me is that it is still in good-ish condition. I just put new tyres on it (not even retreads). It drives well enough. Not too big. We were both very comfortable with it. Our mechanic knew it well. Now that they've written it off what will happen to it? I don't think they're allowed to fix it and sell it second-hand any more. Will it just go into landfill? What a terrible waste of resources :(

Oh well, there's no point worrying about it now. I'll just wait for that cheque to arrive.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

To market, to market

We needed to get out of the house this weekend, so we bundled the kids into the car and went to visit Grandma and the second-hand markets at her local school.

We got off to a bad start. Elora had an extra long nap so we left later than planned... getting into Atti's nap time. Dante got into a silly, unhelpful mood and then had a tantrum because he'd forgotten to bring his wallet. Then, the traffic was appalling. A ten minute trip was doubled but at least Atti had a bit of a nap.

The markets were a little quiet (there was a fete and another market down the road) but that actually made things a little easier for us, pushing the big double pram around. The kids were very good after we had a bite to eat and a cup cake each. Didn't buy much - just a couple of books, a dress for Ellie, some roasted almonds for my folks. I think Grandma bought more for us than we did for ourselves!

The strangest thing, though, was that Atticus was absolutely terrified of the dogs that were there. Strange because he hasn't really been that frightened of animals before. In fact, I thought he liked them. His favourite toy is a dog! It didn't matter what size the dog was, either. I didn't blame him for getting freaked out by the Irish Wolfhound but there was a gorgeous little puppy that he ran away from! Poor kid. I guess it's just the age he's at?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Washing fabrics

I've been in a laundering frenzy. I haven't really been in the habit of washing my quilting fabrics prior to use, but was inspired to do it after reading Jade's blog and with the terrific weather lately. So, I sorted them into colour groups and washed and washed and washed. It's amazing how much fabric I've collected and not used!

And it was terrific seeing the clothes line hanging with red, or blue, or green with each load of washing. So pretty! I couldn't resist taking a picture.

Now to the ironing. And then, the sewing!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Super Dante and Action Atti

It was amazing. The two boys actually played together nicely the other morning. I was astonished. It was delightful.

They played superheroes. Got stuck into the dressup box and caped it up. The toys also got capes. Dante gave them superhero names.

At first they ran around the house killing the bad guys.

"Kill, kill, kill!"
"Hey, Dante, super heroes don't go around killing people."
"But it's just the bad guys."
"No, they just arrest them and put them in gaol. It's not nice to kill people or things. You know, super heroes do other things, too. They help people. Rescue animals. That sort of thing. Please don't teach Atti to kill things."
"Okay, Mama... Hey, Atti! There's a cat stuck up in that tree! We need to fly there and rescue it!"

So then they ran around the house rescuing cats from trees. Much better.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Forward movement

For the past two weeks or so, Elora has been getting mobile, by rolling, wriggling and pushing herself around with her hands (generally backwards). I first mentioned it earlier this month. Well, yesterday she finally worked it all out and crawled forwards! The whole proper hands and legs moving in sync!

It's very exciting for all of us, especially Elora who can now get to her brothers' toys left lying everywhere. Won't be long before she's cruising (walking holding on to furniture) and then walking. Scary thought.

P.S. Last night Dan, Elora and I went out to dinner to celebrate our friend Yen Li's 29+ birthday (love that idea!) and we discovered that she has another two teeth! One is still just coming out. Two at the top (next to the middle teeth, which haven't come out yet). Explains why she's been waking at night recently and has been generally out of sorts.

Friday, October 19, 2007

She's a tough one

It's funny, the differences between the kids. I can't remember if I've talked about this before, but it's so interesting, watching the different personalities emerge.

Dante is very sensitive when it comes to injury. The slightest brush will cause him to howl in agony. He played soccer like he was on the Italian World Cup team. He is able to turn on the tears in an instant over virtually nothing. It's quite annoying, actually. Perhaps it's an eldest child thing? I noticed yesterday when I was babysitting my nieces that the eldest one was similar (and at other times).

Atticus, on the other hand, is as tough as nails. He will climb and jump off things, fall and hit his head hard on the wooden floor, sit up and shake his head and then continue with his game. I've noticed countless bruises on his legs (and at one point he had constant bruises on his forehead) but hardly any complaints. It's quite astonishing and amazing to watch, especially compared to poor old Dante.

Now Elora seems to be up there with Atticus in the toughness department. She hasn't had many occasions for injury yet and on the few times she's fallen over (and off the couch twice), the shock of it has been more distressing than anything else. Lately she's suffering a little more brutality from her brother (got a ball kicked right in the face at the paediatrican's surgery on Wednesday and an elbow in the forehead this morning, both accidental) but has taken it all in her stride. I guess she's got to get used to it - many more years of this to come!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wearing her new cardigan at last

I said that I would post a pic of Elora in her new wrap cardigan. (Pattern from six and a half stitches.) So without further ado, here 'tis!

Ain't she cute? (She's scrunching up her face 'cause it was pretty windy outside today). I'm pretty happy with how it came out. My very first attempt at knitting a garment (scarves don't count as garments, do they?). I used cheap-ish wool cause I thought I'd stuff it up, but now that it's done I don't mind the look of it. Used Amy Butler Lotus fabric for the flap.

Also, check out her gorgeous socks that were a gift from some friends. So cute!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Rescuing a baby bird

Dan took Dante out for a walk this afternoon and came back telling us to come to the park.

What for?

He found this at the bottom of a tree!

It's a baby Australian Noisy Miner bird, obviously fallen out of its nest. Its parents swooped down upon Dan as he tried to rescue it. We couldn't get it back into the nest but at least it was off the ground in the fork of the tree, safe from dogs (but perhaps not cats).

I hope it survives. Such a cutie!

Ahh, that's better

Phew! Just finished cleaning the kitchen. What a relief! The dirty dishes certainly do pile up quickly with everybody at home and me cooking up a storm. Well, not really a storm, just dinner! I'm not the best housekeeper - don't wash the dishes on a daily basis. Saving water, I say. There's lots of other things I don't do regularly that I should, too... but who really wants to hear about that?

Instead, I'll talk about my growing obsession with craft and sewing. I'm not actually doing much sewing, due to time constraints and general laziness. But I have tonnes of plans in my head. And now I've discovered that Japanese craft books are fabulous and can't wait to head into Kinokuniya to try and find some! Or pondering upon whether I could bother my Japanese friend Fukuyo to get me some? Of course there's that eternal problem of paying for all this lovely stuff... but we'll deal with that later.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sending kids away

We're nearing the end of the school holidays. I don't know whether to feel happy or sad about it. I think it's more the latter... It's been lovely having Dan at home almost every day. Dante and I, however, are driving each other crazy. The other day my sister-in-law (recipient of the pin cushion) offered to take him for a sleepover. I was a bit concerned about how he would behave for them (she's got three girls (4 months, 2 and almost 5) to look after as well) but Dan said it would be good for him to get out, and for us to spend some time away from each other! Oh well. So Dante is off and we had a nice quiet evening (and will have a quiet day tomorrow, probably).

Atti went to child care today (and tomorrow, as per usual). I feel a bit bad that we send him to child care when the rest of the family stays at home... I always feel like we're abandoning him, leaving him out. You'd think I'd be used to this by now since we sometimes leave him behind when he's napping, provided grandparents are available to keep an ear out! The thing is, we are so much more productive when we shop without him. Dante can get annoying, asking for things constantly, but can also be very helpful depending on his mood. Atti will sit in the pram for a short while but after that time expires he needs entertaining (i.e. chasing after or feeding snacks)... cuts into valuable shopping time.

Today we went out to Ikea in the afternoon. Went a little crazy. Bought a wodge of stuff, none of it really that expensive... but it certainly does add up! I bought a bunch of fabrics. It's getting to be a bit of an addiction these days. A yard here, a metre there. The new fabric section of Ikea is so nifty! The usual piles of fabric, but you get to measure and cut it yourself (and then the staff put the price on it afterwards). They didn't even check to make sure it was right! Anyway, I'm pleased as punch and can't wait to plan out new sewing projects.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Pyramid pin cushions

On Sunday morning my sister-in-law happened to see me hand some pins over to my mother and was reminded that she'd lost her pin cushion. She asked if I had a spare but unfortunately I didn't. So told her I'd make her one!

I decided to go with a pyramid shape, perhaps because it was easier? Dan and I used our Pure Maths degrees to figure out the dimensions (I wanted it to stand roughly as high as the base was wide)... 2.5" square, 2.5" x 3" x 3" triangles. (Yes, I know I'm using silly imperial measurement instead of proper metric, but that's what the quilting world uses and all my tools are measured in inches).

Once I cut out my template, it didn't take long to put the thing together. I even chose the fabrics in a flash. I was enthusiastic about this new, simple, fast project and wanted to get it done before they left in the late afternoon. It came out beautifully and I proudly presented it to appropriate awe and delight.

Anyway, I was so happy with how easily and simply the project went (and how much Elora enjoyed chewing on it) that I decided to make myself a couple more. Cut the pieces out on Sunday night, sewed them together yesterday afternoon, stuffed and finished them off tonight.

And, wha-lah! (How does one spell that?) Here they are.

Yay! It feels so good to complete something, especially when I've got so many projects planned, or in progress... Things have been getting away from me lately and I've been feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. It feels good to make things with my own hands. Speaking of which, Elora's cardigan is pretty much done. I've just got to find some ribbon to sew on (instead of button holes) and that's it. The fabric flap is on, the buttons sewn. I'll take a picture of her in it soon.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The kids - update


  • 6 and a half and nearing the end of Year 1.
  • Has lost three "baby" teeth - one almost a year and a half ago (and it has come out twisted), and the two bottom front ones (one is starting to come through).
  • Current obsession (for it does not come in small doses): Ben 10
  • Has almost finished his first two piano books. Still has trouble remembering notes but can play simple pieces with both hands fairly satisfactorily.
  • Hopefully is nit-free at last.
  • Is currently reading "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" on his own after demolishing the first one in four weeks.
  • Talks incessantly.
  • Likes music (of any kind, really).


  • 2 years and 8 months.
  • Not really obsessed with anything, unlike Dante.
  • Pretty good at kicking a ball around. Can throw and catch okay, too.
  • Still has his anti-convulsant medication twice a day.
  • Talks fairly well, still having trouble with is L's. e.g. "Baby Law-a" = "Baby Elora".
  • Has the most delightful, infectious laugh and isn't afraid to use it.
  • Knows how to manoeuvre furniture to get to things, whether it be chairs or tables!
  • Adores his sister and is starting to get better at not squashing her.
  • Looks up to his big brother and copies everything (good and bad) he does.
  • In the process of toilet training, and doing very well.
  • Naps once a day, usually around 2pm for two hours (or more) at home.
  • Loves his toy doggy.


(Picture taken from a video, hence the poor quality. Will try to get a better one soon).

  • 7 and a half months.
  • Has two bottom teeth, very quickly getting bigger and bigger.
  • Sleeps through the night most of the time. Sometimes had trouble getting to sleep by herself and screams the house down (until I give in).
  • Can get around on the floor pretty well, by rolling and pushing herself backwards (the toys get further and further away).
  • Likes to stand up a lot (being supported).
  • Can sit for small periods of time unsupported.
  • Is currently doing that hands-and-knees-rocking-back-and-forth thing. (Precursor to crawling)... so funny to watch!
  • Loves eating cruskits and bread, and pretty much anything else. Tried ricotta cheese for the first time today. Loved it.
  • Has the most incredible ear-piercing shriek/squeal thing which is not limited to when she's upset. Sometimes she does it for fun (judging by the cheeky grin she gives).
  • Is the cutest girl on the planet :)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Cardigan update - almost complete!

I didn't mention last week that I finally finished the knitted portion of the wrap cardigan I began a little while ago. Tonight I got around to stitching it up (instead of folding washing... priorities!) and I'm so happy. It looks like a garment! All I need to do now is sew the fabric flap and some buttons and she'll be done.

Just in time for summer, eh?
(Apparently the forecast for tomorrow is 34°C... yikes!)

Monday, October 01, 2007

It's going to be a hot summer

30°C today, and we're half way through Spring. Doesn't bode well for the coming summer... It was a reminder of how much I hate the upstairs of this house on hot days. I think we have what's called a gable roof, with three dormers. The front faces north and the roof tiles act like heat sinks. The air inside the roof space heats up incredibly, and half the upstairs walls are adjacent to this area. We have some access doors and when you open them, it is like opening an oven door. Means that the temperature upstairs is always higher than downstairs and sometimes hotter than outside! It can be utterly unbearable. A real problem.

Anyway, today was a kick up the bottom to get my act together and do something about it! I've got some ideas of how we can cool the place down without air conditioning, but I think A/C is inevitable, much to my dismay. Since Atti had his convulsions, I'm extra cautious about the kids overheating.

However, having said all that, it was lovely to spend some time outside in the warmth (and get the washing dry even though I didn't hang it out until after lunch). Dante has gone to a friend's place for a sleepover tonight so we had an unusually quiet evening (although Atticus tried very hard to make up for it). Tomorrow we'll take him and his cousins to a movie.

School holidays starting

School holidays are suddenly upon us yet again. Ack. That means we're in the last quarter of the year. I'll be back at work before we know it. Not really too keen on that idea.

Anyway, I'm super happy because Dan has decided to take the entire two weeks off from work so we can have nice family time at home! Yay! I might have time to catch up on the billion little tasks I've been meaning to do since I went on maternity leave! And do some sewing, too!

The past weekend has been nice. On Friday my two nieces Jasmine and Lorien came over for the day. Atti was a little out of sorts, tired from two days at child care, I think. He absolutely refused to go to the toilet (even though he had NO accidents at all on Thursday) but I didn't force the issue. My mother cooked a lamb roast for dinner. Yum! I made a zucchini slice and the kids devoured it! I was so happy - a great way to get veges into Atti.

Lorien's second birthday party was on Saturday (two weeks delayed). My brother brought over a wonderful jumping castle and the kids pretty much spent all day on it, except for lunch and dessert time. Everybody had a wonderful time, and we probably ate way too much, as usual.

While this was happening, my brothers and I anxiously worked on getting together family photos (including scanning in old ones) to put together a photo book for my parents. There was a freebie in a magazine that we wanted to take advantage of and stupidly (but not unpredictably) left it to the last day to finish off. We had photo albums everywhere and were using my parents' scanner and computer all day, coming in and out of their study. And we were trying to keep it a secret from them!! Well, we got it done, after a bit of stress. I can't wait to see it. Dan and I made one for his mother as well. I was desperately trying to put one together for ourselves, too, but ran out of time (I assume the offer expired at midnight). Oh well. It was fun looking through the old pictures. In fact, here's one of Dan and I a long, long time ago. Back in our previous lives (pre-kids)!

Now, off to bed.