Archive for November 2005

 

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Now this should be interesting…

29 November 2005

My husband is away for work. In Denmark. FOR A WEEK!
It’s the first time I will be looking after the two kids by myself.

So far so good.

The airport was a lot of fun. We wheeled luggage from the car. We watched planes speed along the runway. We sipped coffees at the cafe. And we said our goodbyes and swapped cuddles at the gate. It was all very exciting. However, I doubt the kids understand that happy dad isn’t going to be here to make them breakfast at 6:30am tomorrow morning.

So here I am. Sitting with my cup of tea. It’s 9pm. Kids are asleep. TV is off. House is quiet. And pardon for pointing out the obvious, but I really miss my husband. Part of me feels like such a wimp. He’s only been gone – what 6 hours? And I’m already wishing he was back sitting on the other side of the couch, our toes touching, him chatting about his adventures in Copenhagen, and me hassling him for the assorted Princess Mary of Denmark souvenirs I asked for.

Yes at this moment I’m finding it weird to be suddenly alone.
It’s so… lonely. Yes. I thought about giving him a call (however, I have no idea where he is right now) but I know he’d say something like,
“If you want some company, you can always wake up Callum…”

On a more serious note, I’m determined not to get bored, weary or lonely… so I’ve booked myself up with a heap of activities. Busy week ahead! Yay for activities.


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Spice Magazine Launch

28 November 2005


This evening we went to the launch of a new WA magazine, Spice. A magazine all about FOOD! With a distinct West Australian flavour and focus. It was awesome!

The launch was like a cool little fair. There were local wines. Local beers. Local breads. Even a local band! Local prawns were sizzling away, next to the local lamb chops. There were local chefs cooking up a storm, where people were allowed to wander through the kitchen, talk to the chefs and sample little portions of this and that. And outside, there were local pizza-makers making fresh pizzas in local woodfire ovens. Yummo.

There was a very warm, friendly, passionate and open atmosphere surrounding the launch, the people and the magazine. I found it wonderfully refreshing and inspiring. When I received the invite, I knew very little about the magazine itself. I didn’t know anything about the story behind it. Or the people who dreamt it. I don’t even know anything about the local food or publishing industry!

However, standing under the stars on the clear summer night, munching on a lamb chop with its juices dripping down my arm, listening to a humble man who had an idea and an ambition – made me realise something I’ve always known… that hard work, determination and a bit of faith, really does make a dream come true.


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Fashion Show

24 November 2005

My husband and I were invited to a fashion show last night.
It was Curtin’s Fashion, Textile and Jewellery Design graduation show. Actually my husband got the invite, and I – not being nearly as cool as he – had to pay for a ticket like all the other mere mortals. Ha!

500 people. Great show. Fantastic production. Very glitzy and glamorous. Lots of big wigs – I think? Not as much media as I expected though. Very cool clothes – most were amazing non-wearable garments.

I was so inspired by all the beautiful fabrics, styles and cuts. There was a wonderful mix of handmade art and glitzy fashion in all the pieces. From a design point of view, it was all very, very cool. It made me all jittery with excitement and crave to delve into fashion design!

The floor was packed with people. Like sardines. We were chit chatting to various people when I realised that we were slowly being pushed to the back. So just before the show started, I left my husband to continue chatting, I wiggled my way to the front, and stole some guy’s VIP seat right up the front. Hence the cool pics. W00t.

I had a good time after the show too. We stood around and chatted to people – I met the [very relieved] designers. I chatted to some my old lecturers. I talked to heaps of old friends who I studied with, and caught up with all the local design gossip. So fun! It was a really nice night.


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Weekend Moments

21 November 2005

We went to visit some friends on the weekend. Just a casual visit for afternoon tea. Usually, I like turning up with a plate of freshly baked cookies or something. But I didn’t have time to make anything.
So instead we snipped some gorgeous trumpet lilies from our garden and bundled them up in… newspaper – lest anyone thought we were trying too hard to impress someone.

Callum and I started our new project – restoring some cute old wooden school-yard chairs. We found them by the side of the road while we were on our daily walk through the park. They were in mint condition – but they needed a new coat of paint. We gave them a clean, a quick sand, and slapped on a base coat of white.

Callum found some empty cicada shells clinging to a tree. He poked at them with a stick and yelled “Wake up bug! Wake up!”. I picked one up for him and tried to explain how insects shed their exoskeletons, got half way, he didn’t get it, so had to explain “they’re like clothes… for bugs… but they are too small for the bugs to wear now…”

Sean is at that pre-walking stage where he’s INTO EVERYTHING. And it’s hard work trying to keep up with him. He’ll eat anything from dirty shoelaces to wisteria flowers to dried up snail shells. During our restoration painting session, he scampered over to my herb garden and yanked out six parsley plants before I managed to stop him. It’s a miracle he didn’t get any paint on him. Sean’s teeth are coming through again. Along with the high temperatures, rosy cheeks and a very grumpy disposition.


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Distracted

21 November 2005

So I was actually on a shopping mission, trying to buy a totem tennis set for the kids – you know, it’s a pole… with a rope and tennis ball attached to one end… and you bash it round and round…


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My new indulgence

17 November 2005

My 8 month old just LOVES his bath time. He’ll just sit in his baby tub and splash splash splash splash splash splash splash splash splash splash splash splash splash until all the water is gone.

I’m slowly introducing him to the shower. Purely for selfish reasons – so that I can have a loooooong hot shower, wash my hair, shave my legs, use my apricot body scrub… oh and wash a kid.

I found it funny that Sean learnt how to CRAWL before he learnt how to sit STILL. But he’s getting better at it. He can now sit on a shower mat without slipping and banging his nose on the tiles. Heh.

And I have to keep a close eye on him, because sometimes I think he’s lying on his belly and enjoying the massaging shower spray on his back, but really he’s happily lapping up the water (and soap) off the floor.


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In The Playground

16 November 2005

“Callum. Please don’t throw sand at people. It’s a bad thing to do.”

“Mummy, I’m not a bad boy.”

“Of course you’re not sweetie. You’re a good boy. But sometimes you do things that are bad… like throwing sand.”

“I’m not bad. I’m just miss-tunder-stood.”

“Misunderstood huh?”

“Yeah.”

“Did daddy teach you that?”

“Yeah.”

“Well daddy’s a really bad boy.”

“Uh oh.”


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Busy (Designing)

15 November 2005

I’m in the middle of a new poster/flyer design for my toy library.
My idea was to feature some of the toys we have, and hopefully dispel the idea that toy libraries only stock old, worn out toys.

I’ve been having so much fun with it. I like the idea of having the toys “march” across the poster, and am currently trying to give it a bright, cheery, colourful collage + scrapbook feel. However, it’s still a work in progress and I’m missing a toy (notice the hole?) – I need to think of another “more girly” toy to plonk in and balance the range.

I thought about illustrating the toys – to convey a homey, handmade feel (to reflect the values of our toy library). But I also wanted the toys to look slick and glossy, just like a toy shop catalogue. I figured that illustrating every single toy would take too long – so slick and glossy it is!

So hopefully the design will jump out at people while they’re standing around waiting at the doctor’s surgery, or looking at the for-sale board at their local supermarket. Fingers crossed!


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Because I’m sweet enough

13 November 2005

My husband is amazing when it comes to keeping his word. It puts me to shame.

Ever since he survived cancer, he’s followed a NO ADDED SUGAR rule. And oh my god, he went completely cold turkey on ice creams, flavoured yoghurts, chocolates, biscuits, teaspoons of sugar in his tea, muffins, juices, flavoured chips and any kind of sweet dessert or cake.

I guess I’ve definitely reduced the amount of sugar I eat now. I don’t have any sugar in my tea or coffee, I have smaller slices of cake, less blocks of chocolates in one sitting, and I tend to go for the sugarless option when I’m given a choice. But like I said, he puts me to shame.

Anyway, it’s a real eye opener when you’re trying to cook without sugar. There are all these products that you’d never think had added sugar in them – salad dressings and mayonnaise, gravies, sundried tomatoes, canned chick peas, kidney beans, most canned tomatoes and corn, some tinned tuna, countless bottles of asian/indian cooking sauces, every breakfast cereal imaginable and even breads!!

So I’ve been buying the more natural versions of these products, or making them myself without the sugar. I simply LOVE making my own salad dressings and cakes.


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Date and Walnut Loaf Recipe

12 November 2005

One of my favourite cake recipes is the Date and Walnut Loaf. I varied the recipe – omitting the sugar and added a few other yummy things. Ok, I know dates have lots of natural sugar in them, but considering the original recipe asked for 1/2 cup of white sugar, I think I did quite well.

It tastes AMAZING. It’s like a nutty, bready tea loaf, with the smell of roasted walnuts, sunflower seeds and the chewy crunch of burnt bittersweet sultanas.

Date and Walnut Loaf Recipe

225g (8 oz) dates
pinch of bicarb soda
150ml of boiling water
75g (3 oz) butter
75g (3 oz) caster sugar – which I omitted.
1 medium egg
225g (8 oz) SR flour
75g (3 oz) walnuts, chopped
handful of sultanas
handful of sunflower seeds

1. Heat oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Grease and line the base of a 1kg (2lb) loaf tin.

2. Chop the dates, add the bicarb soda and pour the boiling water over them. Let it sit and cool.

3. Cream butter, add the egg.

4. Stir in sifted flour and nuts. Stir. Add in dates.

5. Place mixture evenly in the tin. Sprinkle top with sunflower seeds and sultanas. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes until firm and skewer comes out clean.

Note : Sultanas are supposed to be burnt and caramelised.


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Sean Update – 8 months

11 November 2005

Two weeks ago, Sean stood up and walked, while holding onto the sofa. He plodded along, grabbed onto the window sill, and then proceeded to walk along the whole length of the window. I can’t believe how quickly time flies. Wasn’t this guy doing his swimming-turtle impersonations a couple of weeks ago??

Sean wakes up at 6am. At 8am he’ll nap for an hour. Then at 1pm he’ll nap for 2 hours (same time as Callum). He’ll eventually go down at 7pm. Sleep. Wake up for a bottle at 11pm. And sleep through till morning.

We’re trying to get him out of the 11pm bottle feed. So that he sleeps through the night, ie. from 7pm – 7am.

How we’ve done it in the past, is to use controlled crying. Basically it’s a technique that teaches the kid to put himself to sleep – by letting him cry it out, while checking on him every 10 – 30 minutes.

I’ve heard so many people say all kind of things about this method – that kids will grow up with a low self-esteem, poor attachment issues, feeling rejected by their parents. But I’ve heard lots of really good things and success stories too. I believe as a parent, you should just go with what you feel is right, keep an open mind to new ideas, and be aware that all kids are different – if it doesn’t work for your kid, then move on!

We first heard of the controlled crying technique when Callum was 9 months (and still waking up 3 times a night). We decided to try it, and we had to let him cry for 1 HOUR (with a couple of checks) before he finally went to sleep by himself.

I remember it was 4am, Andrew and I were in the next room, completely shattered and wrecked with grief and guilt. We felt like we were starving him. We thought that he was going to grow up with mental problems. We felt like SUCH bad parents. But he took to it well, and was immediately sleeping through the whole night from then on.

I haven’t pushed it that hard with Sean, because he’s been such a good sleeper from birth. And I noticed that on the occasion he does sleep through without a feed in the night, he wakes up SO FRANTICALLY HUNGRY AND HYSTERICALLY NEEDING MILK NOW DAMN IT! Which puts him off his breakfast, and makes the rest of his meal times out of whack with the rest of us. Haha, it’s true – the second child just has to fit in with our already established routine.


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That Skin Crawling Feeling

10 November 2005

image from getty

I’m one of those people who do their grocery shopping with the kids.

I’ve heard of lots of crazy stories about what kids do on shopping trips. They tear open flour bags, pour liquids out of bottles, rip open pasta packets, squeeze out the shampoo, poke holes into the mince meat, and get stuck into the ice cream etc.

But thankfully, I’ve trained Callum (from a very young age), to sit quietly in the basket, munch on a bucket of hot chips, and arrange all the bits and pieces into size and shape categories. It’ll only last an hour though. Then he’ll get restless and start demanding a strawberry smoothy.

I also go first thing in the morning. So that I’m first in line to get a new supermarket trolley – a super specky shiny one with new baby buckles, no crap smudged between the bars, no rusty twisted bits of metal sticking out, and with all four wheels that move in the SAME DIRECTION. There’s nothing more I hate in this world than trying to push a bashed and broken shopping trolley.

So today, we began our cruise through the shopping centre in our prized new shopping trolley. After a few minutes, I felt a tingling sensation in my hands. Ugh, poor circulation. I flick the feeling away. Then my arms and elbows began to tingle. I thought I should find a seat and sit down, in case I was about to faint or something. Then my upper arms and shoulders began to tingle too, and I started to get worried.

I looked down at my hands, and my hands were covered in ANTS. HUNDREDS OF THEM. EVERYWHERE! CRAWLING OUT FROM THE TROLLEY HANDLE! EEEEP!

I flung my hands around, smacked, brushed and waved my arms in a frantic flurry of panic. Then I looked at Sean, and HE was covered in ants. So I frantically brushed and smacked him too. It must’ve looked ridiculous. I was trying not to draw too much attention, but Callum was so shocked, that he started shouting “HELP! HELP! BUGS ARE EATING SEAN!! BUGS ARE EATING ME!! GET ME OUT OF HERE!”

Then Sean started to cry. The ants crawled into his mouth. I was still smacking the ants off his head. And I could feel them crawling up my neck and hair. And not to forget the bites, the dead ant smell, and the layer of dead ants smudged on my palm. Eeeeeew. Oh yes, it was a disaster.

It took me ages to get the last of the ants from my hair. We ditched the trolley. We sat on a bench. We cleaned ourselves up and calmed down. Sean stopped blubbering. Callum slurped happily on his smoothy. And I decided to go home, because I think being eaten alive by ants counts as too much of an adventure for 8am in the morning.


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Impulse? Me? Never!

9 November 2005

Tee hee. Today, Kevin sent me a link to Etsy, an online shop of handmade things. And eeeeeek after 3 minutes of browsing, I couldn’t resist! I bought a couple of super cute rings. I got the ones on the left and right. I didn’t manage to get the one in the middle though – sold out. The one on the left was inspired by a Japanese woodblock print of koi. So cool! I’m so excited! Maybe I need to get out more.


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For my readers…

8 November 2005

Eeep. Lately I’ve been getting heaps of emails from my visitors.

People asking me all kinds of questions, and topic requests for posts. Lots of people want more kid photos and stories. More fashion and jewellery photos. Advice on kids and pregnancy. Lots of people want to know how I met my husband. How did he propose. Whether I can post up my wedding photos. Whether I’m going to have more children. How do I cope being a stay at home mum. How did I lose my pregnancy weight. How do I feel about giving up my career to be a mum. Whether I ever dated Asian guys (hahaha!). What Australia is like. What Perth is like. And lots of design and web related questions.

Anyway… I’ll try to answer most of your questions. I’ll probably weave some of them into my regular posts rather than interview style, after all much can be said for subtleness.

(Ha! Subtleness! – Says she who posts pics of herself on the net.)


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Therapy

6 November 2005

I drove out to the city this afternoon. By myself. Sun shining on my shoulders. Music blaring from the speakers. I had a sudden craving for some alone time. So I left the kids with my husband. I felt a little bad.

I had already been out to dinner with some friends on Wednesday night. We chatted, caught-up and laughed about random and inane things. We shared a huge platter of various tandooried animals and garlic naan. It was gooooooood.

And then my husband and I went out on Friday night. Dinner and movie. The Proposition. It was fantastic – beautifully crafted. Loved it, even though I’m not a Nick Cave fan.

So there I was. Parked on the street. Sitting in my car. Waiting for my song to finish. And… I felt really really happy.

Not because I was away from the kids. Or that I was about to go shopping. Or that I just created a somewhat spontaneous, slightly excessive, couple of hours for myself.

I think it was because my chi had finally settled.

These last few weeks I’ve been battling a constant spell of gloominess, depression, frustration, and overall emptiness.

I know it’s purely the roller coaster ride of post-pregnancy hormones. And I know our life is pretty sweet at the moment. And if I think about it, my week was actually filled with lots of happy, positive stuff.

But… eh, who can know the answer to the mystery of women.

Anyway, I found a super cute shop in the city. Bought a nice vintage top. A mini skirt. A couple of other things. Replenished my makeup supplies. And who knows if retail therapy actually works anyway. As long as the men believe it…


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They say, never work with kids

3 November 2005


We organised a fundraising idea for my toy library – Christmas Calendars with a photo of your kids, and monthly tear-off pages. (Through CrazyCamel.)

I figured it would be a great present for my parents and grandparents. And I’ve been planning for ages to take a nice photo with both boys in it.

Easier said than done. It was unbelievably hard work!! I was pulling my hair out by the end of it. I don’t know how pro photographers do it. I got sooooo grumpy and frustrated. I promised chocolates and ice cream. I waved annoying, squeaky toys. I made stupid googly faces. I trying to engage them in 2 year old conversations. No wonder Anne Geddes works with newborns who SLEEP. Grrr.

Seriously though. I must’ve taken hundreds of snaps. And NOT ONE of them had both boys looking at the camera with a decent expression on their face. In the end I decided that I AM A VISUAL DESIGNER. I CAN MAKE THIS WORK. And settled with two pics, with similar background, pose and portrait composition – which I’m going to plonk together side by side. Phew. Thank God for Photoshop.


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Overheard – The 2.7 year old Interpreter

1 November 2005

Sean : “Uung uh ahhh da da da”

Callum : “I’ve got a pooey nappy”

Sean : “Aaahhh nah nah nah nah nah”

Callum : “It’s so yucky and squishy”

Sean : “Nuhhh uuh uh dah daaah”

Callum : “My bum is really sore”

Sean : “Aahhh eeeee”

Callum : “I stink”