Archive for March 2006

 

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OAM

31 March 2006

In January, my father announced that he had been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM). Today we attended the official ceremony at the beautiful Government House. It was a really nice ceremony. Typically, there were lots of officials, speeches, hand shaking, brass band, the national anthem. But it wasn’t too long-winded or overly sacred. And it was casual and friendly enough to make it feel wonderfully… Australian?

At the end of the event, my dad was handed a pack. It was like a medal showbag, full of medal goodies. It had 4 different versions of his medal – a full-sized one, a miniature, a ribbon bar and a lapel pin. A certificate, display box, instructions on how to store and clean it. And a little handbook with meticulous instructions on how to wear it and when and where he can wear each version of the medal. It was all pretty complicated, but interesting!


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Catch Up

30 March 2006

My sister was back in Perth for a week. It was really good to see her and hang out again, even though she spent most of her time laughing at Callum’s antics and poking Sean’s belly.

It was actually quite cute to see them become “friends”. Callum is not keen on people who talk to him like a baby – but when you talk to him like an adult in an iNTerEsTing voice, he’ll be your best friend. My sis did pretty well, and I think the friendship was sealed the moment my sister said “Thomas the Tank Engine?”.

I left the kids at my parent’s place for an hour while I dashed out to the dentist. Apparently they watched Jem and the Holograms and drew pictures of ME! Hahaha.

Mum made a huge plate of yummy fried noodles. Callum made Aunty Christine laugh with his chopstick skills. And Sean snoozes in his car seat, still holding onto his Action Man figurine.


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A typical Friday night

24 March 2006


The kids are in bed. The toys packed away. The tv is off. Our home is still. My evening has arrived.

I pour myself a glass of red. Merlot. Turn on some music. Whitlams. And nestle into the pillows of my couch.

I chat to my husband while he does the dishes. We swap stories and gossip about our day, the kids, work, and a bit later, find ourselves discussing the ecosystems found in bromelias, underwater stereoscopics, animation showreels and Kylie Kwong.

I float happily on the wine and start the first chapter of my book.

I’m happy, mellow, exhausted, satisfied.


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Sean’s Birthday Part II

23 March 2006

Had [another] combined birthday party for Sean and two other kids from my mother’s group. This time we PAID for everything – cake, balloons, party food, play gym, music, entertainment.

And at the end, we simply stood up and walked away from a room littered with gift wrap, floor pounded with chocolate cake, tables smeared with tomato sauce and seats dripping with orange juice.


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Sean’s Birthday Party

19 March 2006

We had a birthday party for Sean (and my husband) on the weekend. It was a huge family bash/children’s party thing with 50-60 people! It was the first time we had a party of that size in our house – and I was surprisingly relaxed. Not enough chairs? Meh, people can sit on the floor. Not enough food? Haha, I have sliced bread in the freezer!

Unfortunately I only took 3 photos throughout the whole party. I was too busy being Miss Social Butterfly and the Hostess with the Mostest. At one point, I handed my camera to my sister, and she switched it to MOVIE mode. So I have these short 2 second clips of everyone going “HAPPY BIR–” and “DON’T TOUCH THE CA–“. Did I mention she just stepped off the plane from Japan? Oh well, lots of people have promised to send me their pics, so I’m not too fussed. We got lots of video footage though!

I made these little HEALTHY lolly bags – with a small packet of popcorn, pretzels, jelly snakes (from The Natural Confectionery Company) and a couple of balloons. Callum helped me decorate the bags with stuff we found in the park, and he helped me pack them too! He was so funny, going – “popcorn for the bag, popcorn for my mouth…”

I completely copped out on the cake – which I feel a little guilty about. The first born child got a ONE cake, then a DUCK cake. And second born gets a SQUARE cake… with Easter eggs? It was supposed to be a chocolate ONE cake, but I woke up that morning and thought, meh, I don’t feel like cutting up the square. I mean, 3 days of cleaning the house, that’s got to be a valid excuse for a square cake yeh?


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Floors and Rugs

17 March 2006

Did I mention that my wood floors were done? Yay! No more house renovations! It took a little longer than expected, due to some tricky bits — like, the walls weren’t PARALLEL and the floor wasn’t LEVEL. Not to mention the young children running around gnawing on bits of foam.

My husband did an amazing job! From pulling up all the carpet, cleaning the floors, levelling it, cutting up all the underlay and wood and laying it all down. Ok I helped a bit. However, after I gashed open the top of my big toe, I decided to stop helping. He was sawing a bit of wood, and how was I supposed to know that when he said, “Hold that end of the wood.” That I should HOLD, AS IN, STOP IT FROM FALLING, the end of the wood…

Anyway, the other week I celebrated by buying some yummy new rugs. We already have two Persian styled rugs – one was a given to us (ages ago) by my mother in law, and I was hoping to find two more rugs that matched it. So when I was in the store I saw a very similar rug and asked the guy how much it cost. He looked at me and in an almost embarrassed tone whispered “$6000… it’s silk…”

Gaaaaaaah. It didn’t even occur to me that the reason my mother in law’s rug felt so nice was because it was SILK. Ooooh maaaan [shakes head] the number of times my children have puked on that rug…..

Well, I end up with two rugs that – had gorgeous colours, VERY washable, felt lovely and soft, and sold for twelfth of that price. I’m very happy.


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I wish I had a telescope

15 March 2006

I once had a boyfriend who bedazzled me with the size of his telescope. (Now tell me that wasn’t that a great line.)

Anyway, one night he showed me Saturn. I peered into the end of the telescope, into the sky above, into the blackness. I saw a tiny tiny ball of light. And when I looked closer, I saw rings! The rings of Saturn! It was cool!

I felt small. I felt that the world just got smaller. That, yes, the galaxy existed. And it was big. It was very cool.

At first it looked a bit fake. As if we were peering at the neighbour’s Christmas lights. Or as if someone put a little light at the end of the telescope. It just looked like a fuzzy, blurry ball of light with a ring around it. I stood there thinking, I could so easily recreate this exact image in Photoshop, but no one would believe me because it just looked so… fake.

So the last few nights of warm evenings and clear skies, our little family have been parking our bums on the driveway to watch the full moon rise. We watch it slowly peek over the trees looking mysteriously large and breathtakingly golden. Then it shrinks as it makes a path across the sky, turning silvery white. Beaming down on us, adding to the shadows cast by the street lights.

Callum exclaims, “That’s not the MOON. The moon is s’pose to be like a BANANA!”

My husband and I try our hand at taking photos of it. To no avail. “No worries,” I say, “I’ll just Photoshop one.” Haha, what do you think?

(Moon photo taken by John French. Other cool moon pics here.)


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My Little Car Alarm

14 March 2006

Sean is a screamer. As a baby, he used to do this high-pitched squealing which we called his baby taradactyl impersonation. Imagine you’re on the set of Aliens, and the baby aliens are hatching from their eggs with a gurgling, squealing, breathless hiss, “EEEEEEEAAAAAAAAKKKKKKKK!!!!”. Sean was just like that whenever he wanted to get our attention.

Lately. He’s developed a more… resonating and controlled scream. However it’s still so high-pitched, that it rattles my teeth and gives me an instant headache. And I swear HE KNOWS how irritating it is.

He’ll be tearing at the pages of a book or something. I take the book away. He’ll look at me. Pause. Then. Still looking at me, at the top of his voice, he’ll go off like a smoke detector “EEEAAK EEEAAK EEEAAK EEEAAK EEEAAK!!”.

Instantly the sound is boring holes into my brains, my eyes are watering, I’m down on my knees, covering my ears with my elbows, grappling for the book and I hand it back to him, while standing as far away from him as possible until the sound goes away.

Lets hope this is just a phase he’s going through.


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Pre-Kindy : Day 2 without mum

13 March 2006

My almost 3 year old was so excited about going to “school” in the morning. He packed his school bag, put on his Spiderman underwear, his special dragon tshirt, his shorts and sandals all by himself. He chatted away about his teachers, his new friends, the cool lego cars and the rubber crocodile in the playground.

But the moment we stepped inside the pre-kindy, he burst into tears again. It wasn’t an explosive-tantrum crying. It was more a sad-puppy-dog crying. He clung onto my leg. He tried a bit of “OH NO I FORGOT MY HAT!! Sob sob sob. Oh, it’s on my head. Sob sob. Oh woe.”

When I came back to pick him up, he was bouncing with glee. Happy to see me and Sean again. As he scooted around gathering up his things, I asked his teacher, “So how’d he go?”

She said, “Fantastic! He did really well!” Then she paused. The expression on her face indicated that she had something very serious, very astonishing and incredibly, life-threateningly important to discuss — she said, “Callum is.. really smart.” And the way she said SMART, made it sound like no other child in the world had EVER been smart before.

So at that moment I felt like someone poured honey on my heart. Warm, glowing and beaming. I was sooOOOOOoooOOOOoo proud. I wanted to blurt out, I KNOW!!! AREN’T I THE LUCKIEST MOTHER ON EARTH? But instead I swallowed back the lump of happiness in my throat and mumbled something pleasant and thankful in return.

I decided to keep the bragging for my husband. Oh, and my website. Heh.


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Because I’m Nice?

12 March 2006

I went to pick up a couple of jewellery pieces that I had ordered a couple of weeks ago. Not for myself, just some additional thank you presents for some friends. And in my moment of glorious selfless-ness, my unstoppable generosity and er, my unfortunate weakness for pretty necklaces… I bought a little something for myself too.


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A Year Gone By

11 March 2006

So… guess what I was doing this morning, 1 year ago?

That’s right! Sean is ONE YEAR OLD! This picture was taken when he was only a couple of hours fresh. All chubby and crinkly and floppy and with that new baby smell.

I flipped through my baby album, looking at pictures of Sean all bundled up, Sean in the bath, Sean being dwarfed by his nappy butt, Sean being carried in my husband’s forearm… and I went all weepy and gooey and clucky again. Completely forgetting about the uncomfortable pregnancy, the labour, the drug-free pain, the mastitis, the sleepless nights… haha does this mean it’s time for another baby?

(We’re organising a kid’s birthday party for Sean next week!)


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Holy Guacamole! Pre-Kindy Begins!

9 March 2006

So the ‘Terrbile Threes’ seem to have disappeared as suddenly as it appeared. My wonderful, funny, little guy is back!

Anyway, our big news is that Callum has started pre-kindy. Already! I know! My little baby is growing up!

It took me ages to do all the research, ask around, check out the facilities, ask questions, go for trial sessions – the whole process took about 4 weeks. I checked out 3 recommended pre-kindys that were in our area. And settled with the one I liked the most, based on their learning program, set up, people, atmosphere. Actually, all of them were pretty good and it was hard to spot the differences between them. In the end we chose the one that was a 5 minute walk from our house and offered a 4 hour session once a week.

In Western Australia, pre-kindy is for kids aged 3 and it’s completely optional. They are privately run centres, with most of them offering 2 hour classes twice a week. And like everything to do about parenting, there are different schools of thought about pre-kindys, and whether kids really need it or when is the best age to start etc.

Initially, I observed the kids do puzzles, painting, craft, play-doh, drawing, singing, dancing… and I thought, “Uh, I do all this stuff with Callum AT HOME. Is this really necessary? Do we really need to pay for this? Isn’t this why I’m a stay at home mum??”

During the ‘Hokey Pokey’, I had to keep reminding myself and walking through in my head WHY we were doing this (pre-kindy, not the hokey pokey). And basically — it’s the right time for Callum to develop some social and interaction skills, independence and self-confidence, to do all the above mentioned activities without me hanging around, to experience some structured learning, get him happy and comfortable with the idea of “school”, and to do all these things outside the context of his home – where he rules the roost. Oh, and to give me some alone time with Sean.

Before we had kids, when we decided that I’d be a stay at home mum, I never planned to put my kids into any day care or private care. Mainly because I was in a [truly blessed] situation to have heaps of family around me who were happy and willing to look after the kids. So the idea of “paying for strangers to look after my child” was one that I struggled to get used to.

I definitely braced myself for it. I already know, heard and read of mums who are stricken with guilt and trauma when they first leave their children in day care. That, it is SO hard in the beginning, and that it always gets better. That, after a few weeks, the little buggers can’t wait to get rid of you at the door and run off to play with their friends.

So we went for a few trial sessions and I stayed and saw what the kids got up to. I loved it. Callum loved it. The kids. The activities. The teachers. The food. The toys. Oh the toys.

But on the third session, I finally had to leave. He didn’t really cry. He just looked at me with teary eyes and peeped, “Please don’t go mummy.” Then after a few moments, after I unsuccessfully convinced him that I DO have to go, he cried. In fact he howled! One of the teachers had to pry his fingers apart, which were clinging to my leg and pull him away to another room with his arms still reaching out for me. The expression on his face said more than his howling. Don’t leave me alone with these people! How could yooooooou! Mother! Nooooooooooo!

Oooh it was hard. Ooooh the guilt. The awful guilt. My poor little Callum. I felt soooooo bad. Like I betrayed him. Deserted him. How would he ever trust me again?

I walked home. Sean had a nap. I did the washing. I mopped the floor. I prepared lunch. I scrubbed and polished the oven with a toothbrush until it shone like a glistening spaceship and smelt like a pine forest. Never has my oven been so clean. Never has my house sparkled with the blood and sweat of guilt.

When I picked Callum up. I peeked through the door to his room. He was fine. Happy. Playing. Giggling. Like I knew he would be. My wonderful, funny, little guy.


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Escaping The Heat

7 March 2006

The weather has been hot. Really hot. And we have fallen into a nice little afternoon routine – slapping on the sun cream, bathers, hats, filling up the paddle pool, splashing around in the garden and eating fruit.

Water makes the kids so happy. Water, sand. And some empty milk bottles. It still astounds me that such simple things can keep the kids busy for hours. Especially when I sit back and watch them explore and play on their own.

Sean has suddenly reached a stage where he and Callum can just PLAY. As in, run away and entertain themselves for a while. Make each other laugh and giggle and fight. It doesn’t last very long, but it’s a good start.

Our routine has been a blessing during these hot spells. Not to mention, watermelon and evaporative air-conditioning.


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Making Waffles

5 March 2006

Check out this beast! We went to a birthday breakfast on the weekend and I was in charge of making the waffles. I borrowed my mum’s trusty waffle maker – which was as old as I was! Ain’t it grand?

I just love the way it spews out the batter if you put too much in the pan. And the way all the nobbley bits go all crusty and crunchy and crispy. Yummmm. The waffles were to die for.


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Late night shopping with the husband

3 March 2006

We were on a mission to buy my husband some black pants. And have you seen the men’s formal pants section? Gawd, it’s just rows and rows and ROWS of blaaaaaaaaaack, greeeeeeeeey, naaaaaaaaaavy, brooooooooown. No wonder men hate shopping. It was so boring. I was the one standing around twiddling my fingers, tapping my toes, looking at my watch, discretely checking out the other guys looking at pants, and going “Come on already! They’re pants! They’re black! Let’s get outa here!”.


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Interviewed

2 March 2006

The lovely Paty from Zancada.com, an online magazine for Chilean women, asked me to do an interview. She translated the questions from Spanish to English, I answered in English, and she translated it back to Spanish for the site. I was just going to link to the interview, but after I ran it through an online translation tool, I laughed and laughed. It brought a whole new meaning to “lost in translation”. It’s very entertaining! Thanks Paty!

1. Which is your disc of head (a disc that you like completion, of the first song until the last one).
Massive Attack, Mezzanine.

2. If they made a film of your life, what actress would play your role?
Ziyi Zhang? But that is a little obvious.

3. As it was your first televising love?
Leonardo Dicaprio when he was small and it left in a foreign series.

4. As it was your first-first work?
Medical instructor of graphical design. (I actually said, an intern graphic designer)

5. Which has been the concert more freak to the one than you have gone?
I went to a AC/DC concert, was surrounded by men grandiose, peeled, places setting of tattoos, with t-shirts of skeletons and horrible boots in the feet. (I guess they don’t wear ugg boots in South America)

6. That magazines purchases?
I like trashy fashion magazines, and related to computation and the design.

7. That you are engaged in of your trips?
It enchants to me to buy magnetos amused for refrigerator, that represent the escencia of the trip, to stick them and that jumps to me at sight each time that bag something of the refrigerator.

8. What you would like to receive from gift?
Master to receive books. And any shining pretty thing and. Ah, and flowers.

9. What music was listened to in your young house when eras?
Elvis. Beatles. Neil Diamond.

10. Which is the best invention of the humanity?
Central heating.


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All Smiles

1 March 2006

It was hot and humid. The kids and I were playing in the backyard. Splashing in the paddle pool. Digging in the sandpit.

The kids were in a great mood. Callum rode his bike while wearing [only] his Spiderman underwear. And I chased him while pushing Sean around in the baby bike.

Callum made me play this game where I was a princess who was tied to a tree by some bad guys, and he was the superhero that was coming to save me and cook me dinner.

And it was so funny, because he wouldn’t let me slouch and relax against the tree, I had to be sitting upright with a scared look on my face.

Later in the day, my dad came over to babysit while I drove about town running some errands – bank, appointment, sort out health insurance.

On the way to the bank, I was stopped by this really good looking guy who opens with “So what’s a gorgeous girl like you doing on a day like this?” He gives me a stupid smile and whips out a Red Cross Charity clipboard.

He knew he was being dork. So I went with it and jokingly said,
“Ah, I guess it depends on what you’re doing later on.”
He laughed and waved his clipboard. “Haha. Well the truth is I only want your money. I’m kinda shallow you see.”
I cracked up. “Honesty usually goes a long way for me, but today I’m afraid you’ll have to settle for $10.”
“What only $10?!? I would’ve thought that a girl of your stature would be worth more than that.”
“Hmm. Ok what car do you drive?”
“A Ford…”
“Ah well sorry, $10 is the best I can do for you. Besides you look a bit young for me…”
“You’re a tough chick.”

So there we were dishing out retarded pick-up lines to each other, until we were laughing and completely mocking each other. It was very entertaining. Which must be a sign that I so need to get out more.

However, yes, I must admit that I was completely sweet-talked into handing over $10. But it was for a good cause!

Anyway! My real story is. I need braces! Akkk!
I went for an appointment with my orthodontist. It appears that my front bottom tooth is making a slow run in the wrong direction. It doesn’t look that bad right now, but it’s going to get worse over time. And the sooner I get it fixed now, the less time I’ll need to wear the braces. He thinks 3 months should make me perfect again.

I assumed that the waiting list would be months, so I asked him how long I would have to wait to get them done. He replied, “We can put them on next week!” I almost choked, then said that I’d need a bit of time to think about it.

Looks like I’m going to be Miss Metal Mouth! AGAIN!