Monday, December 31, 2007

Noisy damn things

Third post for the day, I know.

When I was a kid, backyard fireworks were the norm. I remember sitting on the back steps of my auntie's house watching my uncles/cousins/brothers setting off fireworks in the back yard. I also remember the pair of socks still on the washing line catching fire. Heh. One of the reasons I guess that they were banned not long after.

Now suddenly it seems that the ban has been lifted. I'm sitting here at home and there has been non-stop "boom! ka-pow!" since about half past eight this evening. Elora was terrified of them but was so tired that she fell asleep anyway. The other night our neighbour even let some off in his back courtyard, directly under Elora's window (and we were just putting her to bed).

Anyway, I shouldn't complain. I love fireworks. Weird considering I was terrified of them when I was little. More specifically, the red fire crackers that accompany lion dances during Chinese New Year. Ever heard them? They are incredibly loud. But I really like the "crash ka-boom" of fireworks and the bright flashing lights and colours. And the smell of them. That smokey chemical smell.

I'm a bit sad that we haven't gone to see the fireworks here in Sydney for the second year in a row. We're just watching it on TV. Last year we were down in Kiama but this year the logistics of it all are just too difficult with two young kids (and one a little older). We let the kids stay up to watch the "family" fireworks at 9pm. Always so lame compared to the midnight ones! We promised Dante that we'd go out next year instead. It will be easier with an almost four-year-old and almost two-year-old. I think! I hope!

I've spent most of the evening feeling reflective about the past year. Didn't get as much done as I'd hoped... except for the MAJOR thing of having Elora. This was definitely the highlight of my year! I'm astonished that another year of our lives has gone by in the blink of an eye and I worry about the year to come. We are that much older, and my parents are that much older. The kids just grow so fast. What will the new year bring?


Forgot to add:

Have a Happy New Year, y'all! May 2008 bring you joy, prosperity and all that. We are looking forward to good times in Oz with our excellent new Prime Minister.

December run-down

Unbelievably, the month of December has finished already and there are a million things I wanted to write and post about! This day is usually reserved for a run-down of the year that's passed, but I thought I'd better write about the month that just flew by first. Just a warning - this is a long post!

Papa's 75th

I mentioned earlier that we had a big party here/next door for my father's 75th birthday. It went incredibly well. I was sick the two days leading up to it, which was most annoying since I wasn't much help to my parents... thankfully I put Atti in for an extra day of child care so that he wouldn't be in the way.

My folks hired a massive marquee for the backyard. 7.5m x 9m. The weather leading up to the party was disastrous. Hot, humid and stormy in the afternoons. The day the marquee was installed it bucketed down all morning and the backyard flooded in one section. My brother quickly went out and bought fake grass carpet to put over the muddy parts. It also poured the night before the party. We were very worried. However, Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny. There were a few clouds but they were the white fluffy kind, not the dark ominous ones. And then 3pm suddenly arrived. The weather held up. The guests arrived. I eventually got ready and joined the party. The food was plentiful. (It wouldn't be one of our parties if we didn't over-cater). My father was in his element. The children were boisterous, but happily stayed away from the other guests (mostly) in our backyard and driveway.

So many of my cousins were there. It was wonderful to see them and their children! I wish we could get together more often, and perhaps next year we will make more of an effort, especially since so many of us have children. Time for some picnics and such. Email makes contact so much easier (and facebook, too)! My father was so grateful to my mother and us kids for organising the party. Yay! It made it all worthwhile.

Family dinner

The following Tuesday night we went out to dinner with my Uncle Johnny, Auntie Robyn and Jacob and Tameka, their two eldest grandchildren (my mother's brother down from Thursday Island). Went to a restaurant in Chinatown and had food that was too fancy. The kids were surprisingly subdued, even as they ran amok. I think the absence of Dante and Alexandra (at his Auntie's and her grandparents' places that night) made a big difference. We only lost Atticus once - he'd run outside (into the shopping mall that the restaurant was part of) and we found him watching the dancing game at the Arcade. So cute - he was stomping along, having fun joining in.

Dante's school Musical

The following day Dante's school put on a Musical - each class put on a short performance. I managed to get to the matinee show and was so glad I did! The school has an excellent music program and teacher. The production was seamless. The Year 6 MCs were confident and well spoken. It was terrific.

"Hive" Christmas Party

Saturday (15th Dec) we had our friends over for our annual Christmas gathering. Thankfully the house and backyard were still relatively tidy from the previous weekend so it was an easy party to host. Barbecued some meat, prepared some salads, put the beer on ice. It was a nice easy-going afternoon and I was reminded of what brilliant friends we have. I don't see them very often these days, but when I do it's like I was never gone. They are always happy to see me and the kids. It's so nice. I did miss those of us who are overseas, though. They were certainly there in spirit and not forgotten!! Hi guys!

One nice thing this year - we usually do a kris kringle present thing but this year we decided to put our money together and donate it to charity instead. A really nice gesture. We had enough money that we were able to buy a bridge from Oxfam. How cool is that??

Abi's third birthday

The following day, Sunday 16th, my niece Abigail turned 3 and had a bit of a party at her grandparents' place. The weather didn't hold up so well with it raining a little, but that didn't stop the kids having a grand time. My chocolate crackles were a huge hit!


Then we hit a bit of a downhill slide. Elora had a fever that weekend, which Atticus and I duly caught later in the week. Thankfully Atti failed to have any convulsions, even with 39+° temps, and reduced medication (he is slowly coming off it - should be done by the end of this week). I was a complete wreck. Muscle aches and shivers. Panadol and Nurofen flowed freely this week. And we missed the child care Christmas party on Wednesday :( I made some lovely aprons as gifts for the teachers (will post pictures another day).


And then suddenly school was over for the year and Christmas just around the corner. To add to my sickly month I came down with a killer migraine on Sunday evening, so lay in bed moaning and waiting for the painkillers to kick in instead of wrapping presents or cleaning up. (Housework had built up due to the week's fever induced lethargy). The in-laws came over for Christmas Eve dinner and presents (yay! My mother-in-law and sister-in-law's boyfriend took over the kitchen). The kids had a grand time. Atti really knows about presents this year! Even Elora had a marvellous time. I made her a new Christmas dress and she looked gorgeous. (Will post pics of this that day, too). Of course the kids were incredibly spoiled by their grandmother, but I was, too, so I can't complain!

Christmas Day with my side of the family next door. Predictably noisy and over-catered as usual. My sister-in-law's best friend made the most incredible ginger bread house which was eventually demolished (extremely well constructed and required a hammer to deconstruct). The kids gorged themselves on the lollies, so much that they all voluntarily ceased eating soon after. I was amazed. They barely touched the ice-cream cake.


We've been lounging around the house ever since. Dan's on holidays for another week, and then Atticus starts back at child care four days a week. I'll miss him, I think, but sometimes I just can't wait for the day to arrive. Elora will start in three weeks, and then it's back to work for me. I'm so dreading it! She's not ready to start. I don't know what to do. I'm still breastfeeding her. And then there's the whole issue of getting her to sleep! Not looking forward to it. Dante's on school holidays now for four more weeks. It will be hard to keep him occupied. Our rule of "No piano practice = No playstation" is working really well. He's practised almost every day so far!

I did manage to get out post-Boxing Day to the Spotlight (chain fabric store) sale and got some nice Japanese fabrics and some background fabric so I can start taking part in this quilt-along (six weeks late). Hopefully. Also made Elora a pair of bloomers/pants to match her Christmas dress. Pics will come soon.

Guy and Joe's picnic

Saturday we went to a picnic/bbq thingy in the park at Newtown for our friends Joe and Guy's birthdays. Atti was so excited to be going out for a "picnic park party". Again, a relaxing time was had... so nice to have the kids looked after and played with by others! We won't be going to the NYE picnic/party tonight, methinks. Dan and Dante have gone out with my bro and his family to see The Golden Compass (which I really want to see, too). I've had to stay home with the tykes... who have been napping wonderfully (but are just starting to wake up).

Anyway, this essay of a post must come to an end. I haven't even sent out my Christmas cards yet. Will do so today, though. I really hoped I'd manage to get them sent early this year. I was thinking and planning to do it. All the illness took its toll. Next month, next year, I will be more attentive and diligent. Promise!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What lots of people need to learn

Yes, things have been busy here as usual. We had a get-together here on Saturday for our friends' annual Xmas shindig. 'Twas most civilised and delightful. I do enjoy hosting these things! Sunday, my niece Abigail turned 3 and had a kids' party at her other grandparents' place. Jumping castle, tonnes of toys, chocolate crackles, cocktail frankfurts. Atti had a brilliant time!

I've been busy trying to finish the presents for Atti's carers at child care. Almost half way there. The Xmas party is tomorrow afternoon so I'd better get cracking...

But the main thing I wanted to write about today is this post from Breed 'Em And Weep which is delightful and insightful. I wish everyone in the world would learn the lesson that her two girls did. Things would be a lot calmer if they did. I will definitely try to explain religion to Dante this way, although he does have a vague understanding of these things. It's just so nicely written. Read it!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Facebook addiction

A little while ago I was coerced, persuaded, convinced to join Facebook and it's been a downward spiral since then.

Well, no, it's not that bad. There's so much going on and I wouldn't have a clue as to what half of those applications mean or do. Like, the Vampire one. What happens when I bite someone?? I can understand the gift giving ones - they're a nice gesture.

One of the neatest things about it, and I guess why it's so popular, is that I'm finding lots of friends, old and present, and I like the idea of being able to contact them again one day and see what they've been up to. I've found a few cousins and old school friends, too. I meant to go to bed about an hour and a half ago, but I started browsing through people's lists of friends and now here I am instead.

Oh well, it's interesting to see how things will go on. I'm sure one day Dante will be up there, certainly sooner than I will expect. All this is really making me feel my age. Thirties, huh? How did it happen so fast?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tickets, yay!

Oh, I forgot to mention the happy exciting news, for me at least!

My all-time favourite musician, Billy Bragg, is coming to Oz next year and I bought tickets yesterday to go and see him! Boy howdy, the prices are exorbitant these days. It cost me nearly $150 for two tickets. But, I've booked baby sitting with my mother already - hopefully I'll be able to offload the boys to various aunties to lighten the workload.


Bit of a blog break

After the daily posting of November I needed a bit of a break from this 'ere blog. Things have been hectic (and not) so far this month. My niece's 5th birthday party on the 1st of the month, the tennis Xmas break-up party on the 2nd. Preparing for my father's birthday party all last week, until I got food poisoning on Wednesday night which put me out of action, mostly, for two days (that's the "not hectic" part).

On Saturday we had about 100 people over for my father's 75th! It went splendidly and a grand time was had by all. I will write more about it soon. One of my uncles from Thursday Island came down for the party (with my Auntie and two of his grandchildren). I was feeling a lot better, too. On Sunday we took them to yum cha. I think I overdid it with the rich food that day. I couldn't resist. We had tonnes of leftovers, including yummy trifle (which I made!) so I had to have some since I avoided it on Saturday.

Yesterday I was sorry for the overindulgence. I'm back to being sick again with stomach pains and the like. Back to eating plain biscuits, toast with vegemite (no butter!) and gastrolyte. Back to feeling weak and lethargic. Argh!

Hopefully I will be better in a few days. Work Xmas party on Friday. Friends coming over for our seasonal get-together on Saturday. Another niece's birthday party on Sunday. Childcare Xmas party the following week...

'Tis the season, as they say.