Archive for December 2005

 

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Marking the end of a wonderful year

31 December 2005

We were sitting in our lounge room, when suddenly the light outside turned soupy, goldeny and sparkly. We rushed outside, sat on our driveway, watched the sun set and took funny family photos. Felt like we were transported to the time of yellowed photographs. We saw a whole 180 degrees rainbow too! Hoping this is a good sign for everyone’s new year!


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The Christmas Madness

30 December 2005

Our Christmas week was lovely. Despite all the activity, it was all low stress. We figured that everything didn’t have to fit into our usual routine – that it was ok if the kids went to bed at 10pm every night; or if the only thing Callum ate for lunch was a bread roll; or that we converted the car into a change table / wardrobe / pantry / rubbish bin because we were driving around so often.

On Boxing Day, we went to a small house party held by one of my husband’s colleagues. Gorgeous renovated house. Full of people we’ve never met. While we were socialising in the backyard, Callum decided to go into the house by himself, make himself comfortable at the buffet table and eat ALL the soft cheeses and crackers while watching the drunk party-goers dance to Neil Diamond. Oh and on the way out, I found a cool mirror in the hallway and took the picture above.

The day after, we went to Fremantle for lunch. We took a peek at the Clippers. Paddled at the beach. Ate ice cream. It was a beautiful day. Then we headed off to dinner at friend’s house. Callum got into a full on shouting argument with another kid, about who touched the garden wall first. It stopped the entire party. Everyone thought it was very entertaining.

The day after that, a couple of my web designer mates came over for a late breakfast. We cleaned the grease, grime and cockroach eggs (just kidding) off the BBQ and had a delicious cook up of bacon, eggs, sausages, tomatoes, salads and orange juice, while lazing around in our backyard. Oh come on I was kidding about the cockroach eggs ok!

Blahdy blah. Yeah, it’s been pretty much day after day after day of something happening. I’m so over it. I need a real holiday.


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Christmas Eve

24 December 2005

We hosted a dinner for my side of the family. I made the whole roast turkey dinner with trimmings, but on a very small scale. My mum is on a holiday. And my sister is in Japan. So it was just my dad, my brother, his wife and the four of us.

My typical-Chinese, mafia-leader dad [slight exaggeration], who never, ever cooked a meal for us as kids, who I was suspicious couldn’t cook 2 minutes noddles, turned up with a plate of scrumptiously grilled frankfurters, carefully skewered and wrapped in bacon – that he made HIMSELF. Very funny to see my dad, in the absence of my mother’s kitchen tyranny, bud into quite the culinary genius. Scary too.

I figured I’d mess with tradition and let the kids open one present. It didn’t seem to make sense that they couldn’t enjoy their gifts during the whole party/celebration. No surprise Callum opened the biggest present – a very large cement truck. Man, he was SO HAPPY AND EXCITED. He, cement truck, instant best friends. The last time he was glued to a toy, was when I bought him that rake.

(Note for photograph – Notice the SCREAMING PINK WALLS? I can’t believe we lived with them for 2 years. Well, they are no longer!!)


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Sean – 9 Months

21 December 2005

Sean has this new trick.
It’s called LOOK MUM I CAN STAND UP WITHOUT ANY HOLDING ONTO ANYTHING. ARE YOU FREAKED OUT YET HUH HUH??

Currently, 7 seconds is his record. I try not to encourage him, but he knows there’s something special about the air up there. He’ll stand with a huge goofy grin and break out into chuckles.

Actually, I think the word “standing” is a bit too… irrevocable. It’s more like, well. A flukey balancing trick. Yeah that’s it. Can you tell I’m in denial?

Yes, I am completely freaked out. I’m amazed by how quickly he’s developing. How quickly time flies. How in a blink of an eye, my second little baby is becoming a BOY.

The other day he learnt how to wave BYE. And then he said “Buh buh”. But I think that was a bit flukey too. Because other than “Ma ma”, that’s all he can say. (Callum muttered “Da da” first, so you all know who I’m going to love more now, don’t you?)

He seems to be keeping up with his big brother too. They play really well together. It makes me so happy. I often see Sean copying Callum, or Callum copying Sean, and the both of them will make each other laugh and laugh. There have been lots of tears, fights and accidents too. Especially when Callum means no harm, he’s just experimenting with how to play with Sean. For example, when he decides to wrap a balloon string around Sean’s neck. Or draw on Sean with the pen. Or make Sean eat the mud cake.

The weirdest moment I’ve had recently was when I dressed Sean up in Callum’s old clothes. Sean is much bigger than when Callum was 9 months old. Most of the hand-me-downs don’t fit, or are from the wrong season. But for the few items that do fit…
It’s a mix of : OMG, you’re my second little person to wear this.
And, OMG time is evaporating before my eyes. Where is it going??
And, these clothes are drenched with such happy memories, is it possible that even more can be made??

It was a lovely moment. Frightening. Beautiful. Bitter. Sweet.
And most definitely sappy.


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Christmas Craftiness

20 December 2005

Callum and I spent the afternoon making Christmas cards.
I was surprised at how keen he was – especially since our last attempt, which ended in Callum curled up in a ball and throwing up chunks of glue and coloured paper – oh I didn’t mention that one? Well. There you go. He was banned from glue for a while.

So yes. I had a lovely afternoon cutting out silly little shapes, passing them to the glue master, giving him a few hints on where to paste things, bursting out randomly “AARGH! DON’T SNIP YOUR FINGERS WITH THOSE SCISSORS!!!”, and secretly adjusting a few gluey stars. Callum did a great job. He wasn’t too steady with the scissors, being left-handed and all. But I was impressed!

I suspect they’ll arrive in letterboxes around the world a little late. But at least someone – ie. you – will get to see them before Christmas!


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Sugary Happiness

19 December 2005

Yesterday I brought Callum to a church Christmas party. He had SO much fun. In fact, I don’t think I have EVER seen him so happy in all his life. Happy, as in… UNCONTAINABLE EXPLODING BUM SHAKING GLEE.

I think it was most likely the combination of balloons, games, prizes, streamers, presents for everyone and fun-sized chocolate bars… not to mention five tables full of deep fried finger foods and desserts. He was in kid heaven. I decided to let Callum enjoy himself and not be too strict on what he ate. I figured, meh, once a year can’t hurt.

The program was designed for much bigger kids (6 -12 years), so for most of the evening, Callum and I just doddled around, watched and chatted about stuff. He was good sport, excellent company, and genuinely interested in everything that was going on around us.

At one point he found some other kids his age and they ran around like giddy lunatics. It was nice to watch.

When I was a fired up youth, I used to organise these kiddy Christmas parties. One of my tasks was to make the lolly bags for the kids to take home. I remember that I used to arrive at the warehouse discount lolly shop and think, “What’s the COOLEST and YUMMIEST lollies around, and how many can I stuff into this lolly bag?”

Over the years, I filled those bags with plastic sherbert guns. Little mobile phones with candied coins. Necklaces with lolly beads. Fruity sour jubes. Fizzy coke bottles. Warheads. Jelly pythons. Bubblegum tape. Milk bottles. Strawberry creams. Fruit sherbert. Jelly cup things. Chupachups. Marshmallows. Chocolate dipping things. Toffee apples. Red Skins. Caramello koalas. Freddo Frogs.

I KNEW the kids would love them. After all, I was a kid once.

But here I was. A parent. Listening to Callum squeal in the car as he dug through his lolly bag. His toes wiggled with delight. I cringed as he pulled out item after item. Each, no doubt, coated with every imaginable sugary chemical, food colouring, preservative, additive, thickener, and synthetic enzyme.
“Look mum! What’s this??” He held up a packet of fizzy sherbert.
“Um, it’s… stuff.”
“Good stuff?”
“Uhm. Hey look at that big green truck!”
He didn’t hear me. He went all sparkly and tinkly and ooohed and aahhed with reverence and wonder. I saw it in his eyes…. oh god, what have I done? How am I going to get rid of all that shite without him noticing?

It has come full circle. Surely, I was being punished.


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Print Out Toys!

18 December 2005

A friend of mine sent me a link to Readymech. A site where you can print out super-cute, little paper robots and build them yourself. SO CUTE. My favourites were Papercut of Death and Brain Sucker. Haha.


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Advertising / Design Goodness

17 December 2005

There was a time I LIVED AND BREATHED advertising. I was fully immersed in it. I was OBSESSED. I would wake up brooding over my ad projects, deconstructing the ads on the cereal box, the ads on the bus stop, the ad I saw on tv last night and how it was an exact rip off of an ad that ran in the UK in 1986. I collected great ads like they were leaves of gold, and I pinned them all over my walls.

It was a crazy, intense and consuming industry. I loved it. I hated it.

Anyway… the other day I found a blog, Advertising/Design Goodness, showcasing ads from around the globe, and with heaps of links to other ad sites for advertising addicts.

I guess it was a nice trip down memory lane. Reliving the thrill of browsing through the awesome, the beautiful, the heart-breaking, the hilarious… And damn, it great for wasting time.


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End of a long week

16 December 2005

I’ve been in a “searching” mood these last few days. Not sure what I was searching for though. Inspiration? Ideas? Energy? Thrills? That little push to get my ball rolling?

However I do have some exciting news! (Exciting for me, anyway.) My husband and I have been discussing it for months. I’ve booked a flight to Sydney for five days! Just me! In February. I’m going to stay with friends. Hang out with them. Visit more friends. Eat too much food. Buy too many things. Look at too many art galleries. Enjoy the Aussie summer. And basically chill! Yay!

I was tempted to fly to Singapore – but the dates we chose turned out to be the weekend after Chinese New Year. And good lord, I wanted a quiet chilling-holiday. Not a festive one. So Sydney it is! And besides, I wanted to visit some of my very close friends who are living over there, and sit in a sunny beachside cafe and eat chicken salads.

So yes, my flight is booked. Dates are confirmed. And I’m SO excited!


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Time for another shopping post

14 December 2005

Found some super cute stuff from one of my favourite shopping sites, Urban Outfitters. Too much yummy stuff to list!


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The things that don’t change

13 December 2005

When I was a kid, every so often my parents or relatives would fly over to Singapore or Malaysia. And for some reason, they had this “thing” about buying shoes for all the kids back in Perth. So the night before they’d leave, each kid would get a sheet of paper, a pen and instructions to trace an outline of our feet. Both left and right. With our names written neatly within each foot outline. It seemed so dumb. But failure to obey brought on a wrath none of us were willing to explore.

I guess in a way, it made sense. Considering the differences in numerical shoe sizes between different countries.

However, the other day my dad announced that he was going to Singapore for a business trip. I said, “Great. Could you get me a 256MB Compact Flash Card for my digital camera?”
He said, “Sure. Just write down the details, and oh draw me an outline.” “Dad, you don’t need an outline.”
“Yes I do.”
“No you don’t.”
“I need an outline OK!? Just in case.”


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Interpreter

11 December 2005

“Mum, Sean wants a chocolate biscuit”

“He told you that did he?”

“Yeah. He said ‘Goo goo ga ga chocolate biscuit’ ”

“Oh really….”

“You should give it to him before he cries. No wait. I mean… give it to me… and I’ll give it to him. Yeah.”


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Your turn to change nappies – for the next six days!

8 December 2005

My husband came back from Denmark yesterday! Yaaay! Ok he’s a bit spaced-out and jet-lagged, but it’s SO good to have him home.

Before he left, I did a bit of “research”. From the dozens of mums I talked to, there seemed to be a general (although, reluctant) agreement that : things are easier when the husbands are away. Ha!

For months I was dreading Andrew’s conference trip. Away for 6 days? You mean I have to bath BOTH kids, cook dinner, feed BOTH kids, put BOTH kids to sleep AND wash the dishes? Not to mention all the OTHER STUFF I have to do with them during the day!? How was that supposed to be easier without my husband??

Firstly, I had to make myself get used to the idea – just grow up and adapt Karen!

Secondly, I was very aware of the possibility of me drifting into a “low” [read: depression] if I didn’t have anyone there to point it out to me. So I arranged for babysitting, activities for the kids, or someone to come over for dinner… almost every night. Goodness. I was so busy.

And I guess in a way, it was easier!

Especially when it came to my daily time management. Usually when my husband got home from work, we’d spend ages chatting, laughing, talking about each other’s day… then we’d weave a plan for the evening, taking into consideration each other’s mood, feelings, energy levels, plans, homework, suggestions, blah blah… y’know the whole wedding vow thing. But with my husband away, I made ALL the decision about everything right there. I saved so much time! It was unbelievable!

Kids were walked, fed, showered, storied and in bed by 7:30pm. And the dishes were always done by 7:45pm.

It was actually really cool. Heh.

However.

(Yes, this is where I insert what a softie I really am.)

Eargh, I missed my husband so so sooooo much. I didn’t enjoy sleeping in a cold bed. I missed having someone to listen to my daily stories and blabberings. I missed his humour. His voice. His smell. His presence. And um, I think we have rats in the ceiling, honey.


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Duh mummy!

7 December 2005

The other day I bought Callum a secondhand Ninja Turtle outfit (for only $2!) It was huge on him. He looked like a deflated pea. Or a sumo turtle on a diet. But he LOVED it!

Anyway, I was determined to take some photos before he got bored of it. So I asked him to pose like THIS — I leapt into the air, bent both knees, cocked my head to one side, lifted and bent my elbows with my palms stretched flat in a spectacular, frozen, martial arts pose.

To which he burst out laughing and proceeded to “teach” me how turtles REALLY pose. Yeah yeah.


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4th in Australia’s Best Blog!!

6 December 2005

Big congratulations to Jodi Rose of Singing Bridges for winning the title of Australia’s Best Blog and $10,000 in cash!

Her blog is a travel diary, creating a “sonic sculpture, playing the cables of stay-cabled and suspension bridges as musical instruments” and her blog was announced as “an excellent example of the unlimited nature of blogs”. How cool!

The winner and finalists :

1. http://www.singingbridges.net/diary
2. http://www.loobylu.com
3. http://www.ausculture.com/blog
4. http://www.karencheng.com.au/
5. http://www.problogger.net
6. http://www.trollhattansaab.net
7. http://www.thepodcastnetwork.com/tpn
8. http://www.hearye.org
9. http://www.browncardigan.com
10. http://antonyloewenstein.blogspot.com/
11. http://www.camwheeler.com/wine/

There’s an article at the Sydney Morning Herald and commentary about the awards and judging process at Razor (The Age).


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Christmas Carnival

4 December 2005

I dragged the kids to a Community Christmas Carnival.
A friend handed me the flyer and I thought I’d check it out. It was absolutely fantastic! There was a merry go round, bouncy castle, camel rides, jumping bungee thing. There was live music, cute performances, face painting, kid tattoos, balloons, animals to pat, drinks and ice cream.

And it was all free. FREE. I kid you not.
They were giving away FREE ice cream! To kids! The madness!

I arrived, completely prepared to spend a fortune. In fact I WANTED to spend a fortune – ANYTHING to keep the kids entertained. I even stopped by the bank to draw out some cash. But they didn’t want my money. I kept looking for signs at the stalls, and kept asking people how much things cost…

Thus I was really suspicious. What was the catch? Were they going to hand out little red Bibles? Were they going to shepherd everyone into a hall to collect a donation? Weren’t they even going to take down our email addresses?

Callum went on some rides, patted some animals, ate a hotdog, gawked at the camels, got a tattoo, a floating balloon, a balloon ladybug, and an ice cream. Sean sat happily in his stroller for the whole time, watching the world go by.

The sun began to set. The crowd grew bigger and bigger. We found a tree, a little way from all the action. We sat and ate our ice creams. Sean chuckled at the ladybug. Callum turned to me and said, “Hey mummy, I’m having so much fun. Thank you very much! I really like ice cream. I’m really happy.” It melted my heart. It was truly a lovely moment. And there was something really nice about the whole carnival – beyond the free stuff – I just couldn’t put my finger on it.

When I got home, I looked up the organisation on the web.

Communicare is a 100% Western Australian charity that relies on the generosity of community members to help support disadvantaged individuals and families in times of crisis.

Man… I felt sooooo bad. We are hardly disadvantaged. And no where near a crisis! What was I doing eating someone else’s ice cream? I was humbled. Grateful. Indebted. And slightly embarrassed.

The site doesn’t really say how to donate, but there’s something about a Christmas Appeal that I’ll definitely look into. Hmm, that’s a nice idea. I wonder how I can teach Callum about “giving” this Christmas…


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Wine and Indian Food

3 December 2005

from Merchants of Bollywood site

I went to watch the Merchants of Bollywood last night. A girlfriend bought a bunch of excellent dress circle tickets at the Regal. I couldn’t possibly say no to that!

It was great fun. But it was FULL ON. It was LOUD. I felt like I spent hours in an insanely hardcore dance club. The doosh doosh-ness is still ringing in my ears.

The dancers were so… energetic. Actually no, the word “energetic” is far too understated. They danced like they were on speed. It was quite spectacular. I’ve never seen a Bollywood show before. So this was my first. The storyline was silly, costumes were dazzling, choreography was spectacular, women were beautiful… and omg the guys were incredibly hot. Like deliciously dark, chiselled, full-body-sculpted hottness.

I am so shallow. I am so hungover.


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Too early in the morning for good behaviour

2 December 2005

This morning, at 7:30am, Sean started to moan and grumble.
I woke up. I made up a bottle of milk. Threw it into the microwave. Pressed GO. His moaning stopped. So I left the slightly warmed bottle in the microwave and hobbled back to bed to wait for him to start up again.

Suddenly it was 8:30am.
I hear sounds in the kitchen. Holy crap, someone’s in the house and stealing my baking trays! Oh. I crawl out of bed, lumber into the kitchen and I see Callum.

He had changed out of his pyjamas – taken his bedtime nappy off, put it in the bin, put on his daytime tshirt, shorts AND underwear.

He had helped himself to his water bottle and snack box (which I leave in his day pack) and was having a little picnic in the lounge room.

He had read a few books, played with a couple of jigsaws, and brought every plastic chinese take-away container out from my kitchen cupboard – in which he placed all his lego pieces, sorted by colour. He was in a good mood. A very good mood. In fact, he was HUMMING.

In my morning bleeriness and blahness, I ask him what he was doing with my baking trays.

“I’m baking a cake.”
“Why?”
“Because it’s my birthday.”
“Uh…… sorry to tell you this, but it’s not your birthday.”
“Oh. It’s Sean’s birthday?”
“Nope.”
“Oh man. But I want to sing happy birthday.”NOTE : Callum does NOT do this every morning. Most mornings I have to engage in yet another game of suggesting, pestering, nagging, outwitting, convincing, and growling at him to do half the things I mentioned here. Perhaps I need more evil-Callum stories.


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Driving Along – A 2.5 year old monologue.

1 December 2005

“Whoa what a big truck. A very dirty and yucky truck. Inside is full of big long dirty yucky things like cat poo, dog poo, Sean poo, yucky mud, stuff that falls on the floor. I don’t like dirty trucks. I like clean trucks. Clean trucks are full of ice cream. Big chocolate tasty ice creams. I love ice creams. That crane went up up up. So very high in the sky. That man is walking along. He took off his tshirt. He must be too hot in the sun. Mummy says, make sure you wear sun cream or you’ll get burnt. I take off my shirt too when I’m hot. Also when I have a shower or go swimming. Sometimes my hand gets struck in my tshirt and I call help help. That girl is riding a bike. She’s a big girl with long red hair and a helmet. I have a dolphin on my helmet. Dad has a red helmet. Bob [the builder] has a yellow helmet. On tv this morning Bob shouted stop stop. Crash bang. Yeah. Wendy was so sad. It made me sad……”

I swear he just talked and talked and talked and talked and talked like that for the whole time [eternity] it took to get to my parent’s place.