Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Yo Gabba Gabba

We've recently discovered an excellent kids program called Yo Gabba Gabba. A hip-hop modern music show for kids. It's so much fun!

The songs/chants are completely entrancing and get stuck in your head all day. The dances are silly and fun. And the kids love it, of course. It's a hugely welcome break from Hi-5!

Here's an excerpt (Youtube, 2:01)

My favourite part is the "Cool tricks" segment. Every episode they have someone come on and demonstrate their cool trick. One girl does gymnastics. One man plays the theramin. One boy stacks cups. You get the idea? All sorts of random stuff and people.

The boys have really taken it to heart. They talk about what their cool tricks might be. Atti said his is stacking blocks. Dante's not sure about his at the moment. Elora's is falling off things. Hmm... I'm not sure about that last one!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The winner is me - Part Two

Lady Luck seems to be shining on me. I won wool the other day, and yesterday I won a lucky door prize at our local Apple shop re-launch party!

It was a good morning. Went to the Lost Property sale at Uni and picked up a cheap pair of sunnies and a bunch of cheap calculators. Then popped over to the computer shop and had lots of delicious snacky cakes and my favourite Lady Grey tea. After a while Dr Karl (a regular, favourite customer) called us to attention and started pulling tickets out of a box. First up, three lucky winners of iPod shuffles, two of them one number away from mine! Then, incredibly, my number was called. For the grand prize!

I won an iPod Touch (8Gb)! Can you believe it? Not one week after I got my hands on my very own 16Gb version. The most delightful hostess, Sandra, was beside herself with joy, so glad that a friend had won.

But no-one was happier than me! Off to buy a lottery ticket now.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The winner is me!

Rose Red, a craft blogger and fellow Sydney-sider, had a "Blogthday" competition earlier this month and I won! I was incredibly amazed, as I always am, at the generosity of the craft blog community out there. It's not the first time that I've won a give-away, but I'm still astonished when it happens.

The lovely parcel arrived yesterday and I tore it open with excitement (and help from little fingers). Hmm... lovely Fleece Artist sea wool sock yarn (Blackberry, 1 x 100g skein) and fair-trade dark chocolate from the Oxfam shop (I know this because I bought a block of it the other day for the new parents and almost didn't let it go because it looked so delicious. Karma looked down on me and brought the chocolate back to me). Yummo!

I couldn't wait to get stuck into it (the wool) so on my day off from work today (from paid work, I should say) I undid the skein, draped it over the back of a kitchen chair and started winding. It went swimmingly. I got half of it done in no time at all. The kids were busy playing, interested but not hazardous (or so I thought).

Until disaster struck:

In the blink of an eye a little blur came past and yanked the wool off the chair. That's all she did. One swift movement. Ack! It took my mother and I the rest of the afternoon to get that ball wound. A good four hours at least. Blargh.

Ah, but it's done now and I've started knitting a cover for my iPod which I've been contemplating since the moment we got it (and even before it was mine). Luckily enough, the most wonderful aforementioned Rose Red did exactly the same thing and wrote up her pattern. I've started it three times now, trying to get the right size, but I think I'm right with 44 stitches (I used the "Magic cast-on" on circular needles to knit it in one piece with no seams to sew up (which I hate doing)).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Little bite marks

The result of a little girl trying to eat an apple.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Party, party, play, sleep-over

An exhausting and busy weekend.

Saturday morning I took Atti and Elora to the 3rd birthday party of a girl from child care. It was a nice affair - the mother was totally stressed out by it (I can completely sympathise!) but everything went splendidly. A good handful of kids who knew each other, lots of sunshine and excellent food.

She did a great job with the party games. The kids loved them.

The first: Treasure Hunt.

She had some gold coin chocolates and showed an example to the kids. "There are these treasures hidden in the garden. When you find them, come and put them in my basket."

That was it. No competition to get the most. Just fun finding the treasure. The cunning part was that she kept walking around redistributing the "found" treasures so that everyone could have a go at finding them and they weren't put in too difficult places. It was incredibly successful for a bunch of 3 year olds! And at the end she divided the coins up evenly amongst the kids so that no-one missed out.

The second game: Pinata.

Just a bought pinata that all the kids had a go at bashing. Nothing too strenuous or complicated. The best bit about this was that it was actually a "string-pull" pinata so (once she worked this part out with some advice form moi) once all the kids had had a good go with the stick, she simply pulled the string and let them scramble for the goodies. Excellent stuff!

The chocolate truffle birthday cake was gorgeous. Elora made sure she ate her share. Atti was too busy picking out the pinata lollies that had been trampled into the grass (ack!).

But, we eventually made it home and managed to get Atti down for his nap. Elora fell asleep in the car and then woke up when I tried to put her in bed (typical!). The rest of us tried to have a quiet afternoon and I finally got her to bed at about 3:30pm... and then had to WAKE her so we could go to our next party!

Dan's sister's 30th "B" party (B for Bec).

Dante went as "Ben 10", Dan went as a buccaneer, I went as "a Billy Bragg fan". About as much costuming as we could muster. Elora had her ballerina skirt and Atti wanted to go as Spiderman (or "Bider-man" as Dante insisted we call him) except that he refused to wear his costume when it came to it.

We had a lovely time. Grandma was there and another boy dressed as Ben 10 (son of some of Bec's friends). Lots of littlies, too. The kids had a ball. Elora almost demolished all of the cucumbers from the snack plate before graduating to the fruit platter (blood oranges, mandarins, kiwi...). It took two of our friends (Anna and "Red" Bec) to hold down Atti and put his shoes on when it came time to leave. He was Mr. Hyper.

And it was a very late night for us. The kids were not in bed before 10pm. Yikes! Not so good because the next morning we picked up Dante's school friend Luke who came over for a play and a sleep-over last night.

He's the middle child with an eleven year old brother and five year old sister. He can sometimes play a bit rough but his manners are exemplary, he eats anything and is generally a mild-mannered, patient boy. I was truly impressed at the way he was able to handle Dante's bossiness and outbursts. Even more impressive was the way he made sure that my niece Jasmine (who was over with her three sisters while her parents went cycling) was included in most, if not all, of the play. The general noise coming from the lounge room or wherever they were was full of cackling laughter and excitement with only the occasional argument. It was lovely to listen to!

This morning we dropped Luke off at home on the way to work. I have to say, it was a relief to get into my office this morning and sit down for a while!

Friday, July 18, 2008

iPod-y Goodness

Woohoo! Dan got his iPhone today (and it actually works, too... I've been reading a lot of stuff around saying that people are having trouble getting theirs to work with their particular provider. Dan's worked first go! edited to add: Dan corrected me here. It certainly didn't work first time. "I was fighting it all day," he said.) which means that...

I got my iPod Touch tonight! (Okay, so it's a hand-me-down but only five or six weeks old and all mine! Mine, mine, mine!)

I haven't really played with it much yet - it's still got all his stuff on it, but had to share the joy anyway :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Conversation between two boys

Boy 1 (age 7): What's your name?
Boy 2 (age 3½): Atticus.
Boy 1: What's my name?
Boy 2: Dante.
Boy 1: Okay, now you ask me what my name is.
Boy 2. Dante.
Boy 1: No, say "What's your name?"
Boy 2: Atticus.
Boy 1 (getting frustrated): No. Ask me what's my name!
Boy 2: Dante.
Boy 1 pauses. He's getting very annoyed.
Boy 1: Say after me, "What is"
Boy 2: What is
Boy 1: "your name?"
Boy 2: Atticus!

<Background noise> Parents laughing heartily, trying not to be heard or seen.</background noise>

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Great kids clothes!

Walking the streets of Newtown at lunch time today I stumbled upon a wonderful kids' clothing shop on one of the side streets. Gorgeous hand made dresses, jumpers, shirts, pants and beanies. They also have a nice selection of baby shoes and some fun toys. I bought a dress for Elora. Of course. How could I not? Though, it was in the "Sale" bin. And one size too big.

The clothes are all locally made and designed by the owner of the shop. Simple "retro" designs but the thing that really got me drooling was the choice of fabrics which she used. So lovely! Nice fabrics + simple designs = gorgeous and cute.

Anyway, if you're in the area, check it out. Support local! One day I'd love to have a place like that (heh... after I learn to sew straight seams) so I like to support local businesses.

243 Australian St

Monday, July 14, 2008

That newborn smell

Our good friends Joe and Ellie had their first baby yesterday. Right on his due date! Amazing! How many babies do you know that actually arrive on the date they're expected (excepting scheduled caesarians)?

I couldn't wait to go and visit him today. The hours until 2 o'clock just dragged on. And he was just lovely. I had a nice extended cuddle and was very reluctant to hand him back. He was so gorgeous I even entertained the thought of having another baby... holding him and smelling him brought back such wonderful memories. Dan helpfully reminded me that we had both learned our lesson and we AGREED that there'd be no more.

Anyway, welcome to the world little John Haven. Isn't he sweet? And a brilliant name, too!

(That's me holding him in the photo above, not his mother!)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Cleaning up

My husband did the most wonderful thing yesterday. When it came time to take Dante to his piano lesson, he took the other two kids along as well to play in the park while they waited. And then afterwards took them all out for lunch. I had almost two hours free to myself! I napped, showered and then got stuck into the sewing room/study.

We had, on several occasions, done some big clean ups in there but lately it has become a big pile of ironing and mending waiting to be done. And piles of fabrics that I'd bought and washed but not ironed and put away. So I requisitioned some shelves that weren't holding anything important (whose previous contents are now in a box under my desk) and got to it. I even got to continue during the afternoon while Atti and Elora slept.

Here's the result.

Work in progress, obviously. Ignore the tangle of bias binding on the left - it'll get rolled up nicely once I've finished pressing it. I've still got about the same amount again of fabrics waiting to be shelved, but I already feel liberated by what I've done so far. I can see what I've got now. Huzzah!

One day I'll have something more creative to show. One day soon, hopefully!

Friday, July 11, 2008

That's not very long

Sitting in front of the tele this evening when a news break came on.
"Gough Whitlam's ninety second birthday party" the newsreader announced.

The immediate thought which came to my head was "That was quick!"

When I realised what they meant (he is an old, old man) I laughed my head off, and yes, there was even a snort.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

From the archives

My mother found a bag of loose photos the other day, recovered from my paternal grandmother's place after she died. Mostly pictures of my brothers when they were kids but more recent ones as well. This is one of me and my two second-cousins born the same year (April, May and June). We're standing outside the family home, where we live now. It must be Chinese New Year since that was usually the occasions that we got together, plus it's summer. I'm guessing that we were about 4 or 5 years old.

That's me on the right. I love the pose and look on my face. I seem to be saying "Have you finished, yet?". I'm amazed that I'm so much smaller than the other two girls (there's only a couple of inches height difference between us now).

I love looking at old photos. I'll post some more soon!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The poor bub

Elora's sick, the poor thing. She has an outer ear infection which means that she has to have ointment put in her ear and nostrils (to prevent the spread of more germs) but yesterday she came down with conjunctivitis (or something similar - 100% certain that it's related to the other infection) and now has ointment for her eyes as well. What a regimen we have for her each morning and night with creams and cotton buds and what-have-you. She screams and screams during it all :(

But anyway, I'm home after half a day at work (couldn't leave them completely in the lurch for two days - tomorrow's my regular day off) and finally got her to sleep. It's so rare that I have time to myself at home with no kids under my feet that I'm giddy with nervous excitement. What to do with this time?? Must do something that I can't normally do or am usually too tired to do! Not housework! Pah! Too boring! There are so many crafty projects I want to start, but really I should complete the many that I have unfinished, lying around gathering dust. Oh, the dilemma!

But I think some major cleaning up of the study/sewing room is in order first. Piles and piles of ironing and clothes awaiting repair, and the aforementioned unfinished items. I have a basket of pre-washed fabric waiting to be ironed and folded and stacked nicely on the shelf. My mother-in-law asked me why I'm bothering to iron them if I'll probably iron them again before I use them. Good question. Perhaps just folding to do, then.

Time to stop writing about it and get started! Wish me luck!


Edited to add:
She woke up after only one hour. I managed to clean one shelf, iron some fabrics (I know I wasn't going to iron them but they were really crushed and I like ironing, especially on a cold day), fold and stack them, and started a new knitting project (a baby shrug for Elora). But no sewing, which is what I would really like to get stuck into!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I am Mojo Jojo!

The kids (mainly Dante) have been getting stuck into The Powerpuff Girls recently, a cute little cartoon about three superhero girls. I've always enjoyed this show, since I first saw it years before the kids came along.

Last night we watched an episode called "Mo' Linguish" which focussed on the wonderful super villain, Mojo Jojo, the talking chimpanzee with a grossly over-large brain (and a Japanese accent akin to Monkey Magic).

Mojo Jojo has a very... verbose way of speaking. In this episode he teaches the citizens of Townsville to speak in the same manner. Chaos ensues until the Powerpuff Girls step in to save the day (as usual). It made me laugh so much! The scriptwriters of this show are geniuses!

Then while searching the web for an excerpt, I found this blog entry which expressed everything that I felt about the episode. He also linked to the full transcript of the episode. Pure brilliance, in my humble opinion.

He also mentioned my other favourite episode:
I am not Bubbles! Bubbles is not who I am! I am the one, the only, single solitary doer of dastardly deeds! Purveyor of pestilence! Interloper of lawlessness! Menace to mankind! I am bad! I am evil! I am Mojo Jojo!
(Watch the excerpt here.)


Monday, July 07, 2008

Total brutality

An interesting thing that Dan pointed out to me this evening. My work building, which is is ugly, brown and starts on Level 2, actually is a prime example of an architectural style called Late 20th Century Brutalist.

Heh. Who knew?

Friday, July 04, 2008

Ice weather

My goodness it is freezing today. The current outside temperature is 13°C (about 55 °F). We are not cold-weather-loving people! Brr.

By the way, Happy America Day to those of you celebrating that thing.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Squeek, squeek

It appears that we have rodents lurking in our pantry. I discovered a muesli bar with a hole eaten in one end, then some easter eggs and little black pellets. Plus the headless corpse our cat left on the lounge room floor the other day. Bit of a giveaway.

We'll have to do a major clean out this weekend. I'm not looking forward to it. Worse, though, is the thought of catching those cute little creatures. Poisoning is dangerous with small children and cats around. Mouse traps are cruel and icky. What else is there to do? Stop feeding the cat and hope she catches more? I'm not even sure that she caught that one the other day - we suspected the kittens caught it (next door - not really kittens anymore) and our cat just nabbed the remains. I don't really care which cat gets it in the end, as long as they don't leave them as "presents" around the house.

Don't tell my sister-in-law (I'm looking at you, Mark) - she won't set foot inside the house again!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

To dye or not to dye

I've been noticing a fair few more grey hairs lately. I've had them since I was about 16 or so, but just a couple of hairs here or there which I usually pull out as soon as I find them.

But these days the number of greys has increased a fair bit. I'm getting to a point where I have to consider the possibility of dying it black. Not quite at that time yet but it will come soon.

I don't know what to do. Once you start dying hair you've got to keep it up, don't you? Regular visits to the hairdresser or show roots. Or, should I just stop yanking them out and let my hair change naturally?

I guess I've got a little bit of time to think about it some more. I'm sure my hair dresser will have an opinion! What would you do?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

That amazing girl

I'm sorry, but I'm about to brag...

Elora is 16 (and a bit) months old now and, boy, is she incredible. Every day I am amazed at the new things she has learned. Completely floored, more like it.

Today we had parent-teacher interviews with the carers at child care. Atti's was fairly straight forward - nothing we didn't know. Elora's session was full of us (parents and teacher) saying "Wow!" to each other when we talked about Elora's development. I think she's a bright one, all right.
  • Her language is fantastic for her age. She knows lots of words.

  • Her understanding is beyond her years - she can follow instructions ("Put the shoe away on the shoe rack in the lounge room", "Can you give Atti his hat?").

  • She is putting together two word sentences ("no poo").

  • She knows when she's dirtied her nappy (usually) and wants us to change it ("appy").

  • She has a great sense of humour and laughs with delight (tonight the funniest thing was pouring a bucket of water over her head in the bath).

  • She is affectionate and gives kisses and hugs to us, her cousins and even a friend at child care!.

  • She cuddles soft toys and loves to play "Row, row, row your boat" with people or toys!

  • She's starting to count (up to six but she knows "nine")... well, not exactly counting but she knows to point to groups of things and recite the numbers.

  • She certainly can communicate what she wants with a combination of pointing, grunting and words.

  • She loves her toy beaver (called "Beeper").

  • She knows the noises of several animals: "baa" (sheep), "woh woh" (dog), "meee" (cat), "ee ee" (mouse), "ooh ooh ah ah" (monkey), "duck" (duck), "neigh" (horse), "snorting noise" (pig)... and so on.

  • She loves it when her brothers play with her, and loves copying them and playing with them, e.g funny walks, hiding behind curtains, playing chasies.

  • Can point and say the names of her immediate family, plus my brother, "Mar-k".

  • Loves Hi-5. Will try to press the spacebar on the keyboard to get it playing on the computer in the kitchen (it worked once!). She'll ask for them, "a-fa".

  • Also loves music and dancing generally. Toys that play music at the touch of a button are great hits.

  • She is particularly attached to my mother ("Paw-Paw") and father ("Doo-Doo" for "Goong-Goong"), will ask for them, run into their arms, and cries when they leave (but sometimes will happily kiss them goodbye).

  • Knows body parts: ears, eyes, nose, mouth, arms, hands, legs, feet.

  • Loves looking at books, especially those "My first word/dictionary"-type ones.

  • Tries to put clothes on by herself - especially shoes and socks!

  • Fiercely independent eater, even if it means using her hands to eat yoghurt.

  • Likes riding the toy bikes in the backyard but much prefers Atti's tricycle (if only her legs were long enough to push the pedals down...)

  • On the down side, she doesn't sleep much. Only has an hour nap once, but sometimes twice per day. But lately putting her to bed at night has become easier. She has learnt the method of climbing into her cot (but not quite got the hang of it).

Okay, well that's a fairly comprehensive list there. I think I got a bit carried away. It's just that I adore the little creature so much! I am so truly grateful that we had her :)