Archive for July 2006

 

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Our House Guest

31 July 2006

Image from Getty ImagesThis past week, we’ve been having a friend stay with us. She just returned from a 18 month hitchhiking trip around the world, and she’s crashing with us till she sorts out a place to rent.

Most people I’ve mentioned this to, reeled back in horror at the thought of having a non-relative live with them for an unspecified length of time. But we *LOVE* having house guests. And she is simply fantastic!

She’s an awesome cook, keen to wash the dishes, great to talk to, full of cool stories, really easy going, she’ll sit through my [tragically appalling] choice of DVD, make + share freshly brewed chai soy lattes in the mornings, eat chocolate with me at night, she’ll even take the kids for a walk while I prep dinner. She’s fabulous with the kids. It’s been soooo great.

She also pointed out some rather amusing couple-habits we have. And bless her for being so polite about it, because if I had to live with people like us, I’d go insane.

Apparently while watching tv, we have this habit of suddenly turning off the volume, so we can talk and rant about whatever random thing we want – the size of Angelina Jolie’s breasts, whether the Dockers will stay in the final 8, video footage from Lebanon, sky rocketing house prices, stupid plot devices and inferior casting choices. We would be lost without our mute button.

We snack a LOT. We eat so much bread. I bake a new loaf twice a week. And tea. All kinds of different teas. We drink so much tea.

Also. I sweep a lot. I hate dirty floors. Dirt. Sand. Grass. Hair. Crumbs. Ugh. I can’t stand it. I must clean.

But in the same breath, I don’t mind dirty dishes. We have a tendancy to pile the dishes into a futuristic city of towering crockery next to the sink. I swear you have to be some kind of Chinese circus juggling artist to disassemble it all. Ah, it’s funny what you look past when you have young kids.


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Callum in the Garden

30 July 2006


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Living

28 July 2006

The rainy days have brought a gorgeous warmth to our house. The spaces seem smaller. The rooms feel cosier. The corners glow with intimacy.

However, after being stuck indoors for 2 days, everyone starts to get a little stir crazy. And with every crack of sunshine in the clouds, we slap on the gumboots and throw the kids outside.

This afternoon, we all walked to the park. The creek was filled to the brim. Water rushing noisily over rocks and reeds. Spilling out over the banks. It was twinkling. We made leaf boats. And we sailed them till they tangled over and sunk. We threw gum nuts and watched them bob dizzily in the water until they crashed spectacularly over the waterfall. We got wet. We got muddied. And we got rained on.

Best. Afternoon. Ever. Even though we all smelt like algae.


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Zooed

26 July 2006

Despite the threat of rain, we went to the Perth Zoo today. Ordinarily, the zoo is not my first choice of family winter entertainment, but a friend of ours gave us free tickets. Which was very cool. Because it gave us a really low “dollar value = expectation of fun” outlook on the day. Resulting in an absolutely fantastic afternoon.

We loved the crocodile! It was HUGE. Callum was completely mesmerised. He stood and stared with his mouth hanging open. Asking the typical kid questions, Why isn’t it moving? What is it doing? A Zoo Guide plodded over and started to tell the crowd various crocodile facts, like they can sleep underwater for 2 hours and that they EAT LITTLE CHILDREN!! (I kid you not. He actually said that!)

We had a good run with the animals. They were all out and about and showing their faces. We saw all the big attractions. The tiger said hi. The elephants were eating. And painting! The lions were roaring. The kangaroos were grazing. The giraffes were galloping about. And the orang-utans were playing peekaboo with people.

We had a lovely (but over priced) lunch. Next time I’ll pack my own lunch, and take more snacks. Sean sat quietly in his stroller and nibbled on biscuits for most of the day. He was definitely too young to enjoy the animals. At one point, I lifted him up to see the painting elephants. He stopped wriggling and sat still in my arms. I thought he was utterly enthralled, until I realised he was staring at moss growing on the wooden fence. Anyway, like I said earlier, we had a great time. There were no crowds. No waiting. No queuing. No children running and screaming. And no obnoxious little kids banging on the glass and hogging the best viewing positions. I completely recommend going if you have bigger kids (3+), during non-school holidays and on a day with a forecast of rain!


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Hello. I’m Not On Holiday.

24 July 2006

Last Wednesday, I had a crazy day. My in-laws, who were staying with us, were leaving. I had a zillion errands to run and things to do before we left for our trip. And I had to tidy the house for our house-sitter.

Late in the afternoon, after all my errands, I stopped by the shops to pick up some food for dinner. My husband was working back late, so it was just me and the two boys tonight. I bought three yummy chicken kebabs from the oh-so popular local poultry shop.

Dinnertime. The kids didn’t touch them. They ate their rice. Their lettuce, tomatoes, snow peas and capsicums! But not the chicken! So I sat back and feasted on all three. Yummy tasty chicken.

That night as I went to bed, I felt… cold. So. Cold.

The next morning I felt fine. My husband went to work. I kept the kids entertained. I set about cleaning the house. I planned a list of things to pack for our holiday. I planned a shopping list of things the house-sitter might need. Food for the trip. Clothes to wash. Floors to mop. People to call. Etc etc. But as the afternoon approached, it all went down hill.

I was sick. I couldn’t think straight, act straight, or talk coherently.

And it was only until the boys were fighting and shouting so badly in the garden, some part of my brain thought it was a good idea to give the boys a new activity – full reign of the craft box – in the nice clean house, so I could crawl into my bed for a few moments of peace from the nuclear bombs going off in my head… and then I even found myself shouting (moaning, actually) warnings and instructions from under the blankets as I heard the crying and fighting again…

“Make sure you guys play nicely…”
“Callum share the pencils…”
“Hey… stop all that fighting and shouting…”
“Sean don’t eat the glue…”

“Callum can you climb up onto the kitchen counter and bring me the telephone handset?”

He did. I called my parents. Thank GOD for my parents. They were over in 15 minutes. I think. They must’ve arrived, assessed the situation, packed a few things and took the kids away. Because I kinda blacked out and awoke 3 hours later. Awake! Vomitting! Food poisoning! That damn chicken!

I stumbled into the lounge room. Mess everywhere! A tornado or paper, confetti, macaroni, matchsticks, glitter glues and pencils. Dishes unwashed. Clothes strewn everywhere. Chairs upturned. I don’t know why I even cared. I must’ve been really sick. But I cleaned. Oh I cleaned like my life depended on it. I even scrubbed 2 day old spaghetti stains off the tile grout in the kitchen.

Then I put clean sheets on the visitor’s bed, and sat on the couch.

At that moment my husband came home from work. Two minutes later, our friend the house-sitter arrived.

I exchanged a few pleasant words. Then I excused myself and crawled back into bed. Where I stayed for the next 3 days.

I was really sick.


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Weekend Consisting Of…

16 July 2006

Bored and incredibly posey photographs of me in my new hot pink silk cami, followed by some photoshop magic to make me forget about my bad skin week.

A family outing to the river. We took bikes for the boys. We strolled along the whole stretch of the river shore, enjoying the big blue skies, warm sun, meadowy fields, glittering river and spectacular skyline. We stopped for a picnic. Paddled on the beach. And we felt like millionaires.

Lots of little odd jobs done. Like washing the car. Installing fire alarms. Three loads of washing. Cleaning the patio. Clearing out old junk. Donating a whole lot of stuff to charity. And getting the spare bedroom ready for visitors next week.

We had a movie night on Saturday. We watched The Island, which I quite enjoyed. Scarlett Johansson was hot! I usually make my own popcorn. But I ran out, and the shops only sold the microwave buttered stuff. Pffft. Hence, I burnt all the popcorn.

My husband and I went on a “date” where we talked and talked and laughed and talked for 3 hours non-stop! It was very cute.


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Thoughts on Parenting : Two vs Three

14 July 2006

My 3.5yo and 1.5yo boys seem to be settling into an easy-to-look-after stage. Most parents of two say that it just gets easier. They play together. They eat the same food. They bath together. They sleep at the same time. We pretty much manage them as one unit, so it’s like looking after ONE kid.

Our life in general and the whole bringing-up-kids aspect, has settled into a nice balanced routine. And I like it.

Each week goes by. There seems to be just enough time for my husband and I to have plenty of one-on-one time with each of the boys, for us to spend time together, alone and with friends, AND for all of us to hang out as a family.

But I’ve always wanted three kids. I’ve grown up in a family of three kids. My husband grew up in family of four kids. I like big families!

We’re up to that stage where we are considering the actual implications of having three children.

If we have another child… how will it tip the balance? Does someone always get left out? Does noise, work and happiness multiply by three? Will we NEVER have time for ourselves? Will we forever be utterly family absorbed individuals?

Is it possible to have a balanced, non-stressful life, outside the family, while being a fulltime mother with 3 kids?

Or will it zoom by so quickly, that having two or three kids is pretty much the same?

I suspect that my worry and uncertainty is fuelled by the fact that I don’t have any friends who have 3 kids. Thus I haven’t quite seen 3-kid family dynamics in action (from a parent’s point of view), how they function, how the parents are coping and living etc.

Most people I know are absolutely resolved on having 2 kids AND NO MORE. And there’s this certain unspoken view of madness about upgrading to 3 kids!

Lots to think about.

In the end, our final decision WON’T be based on “whether I can dash out for a quiet hour in a cafe”. We’re going to give ourselves a year or so of soul searching before we make any decisions.


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My Two Boys

11 July 2006

Today I had a very spooky moment while playing in the lounge room, snapping blurry pics of the boys.

Left is Callum at 17 months, taken Sept 2004.
Right is Sean at 16 months, taken today.

Okok they’re not identical. But I was definitely struck by a series of tear-jerking movie-style flashbacks.


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My Birthday Dinner Party

9 July 2006

We had a birthday dinner party on the weekend. I invited some good friends over. Everyone brought food. I made satays. I poured wine. I lit candles. Other than that, I was a bit of a princess. And I loved it.

Sean went to sleep quite early on in the evening. And we let Callum stay up late (in his pyjamas) and join us for the dinner, dessert, cake and coffee + chat. He did really well. And I think everybody enjoyed his company.

My husband and Callum made me a cake. Callum was Chief Egg Cracker, Mixer, Chocolate Icing Taster, Little Silver Sugar Balls Installer and Overall Artistic Director.

My husband didn’t actually count how many candles to put on the cake, and simply went for the over-burdened candle look. I personally thought it was a tad unsubtle… haha! But I was so happy that someone else made the cake this time!

Eeek I’m 28 everyone! Thanks for all your birthday emails!


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Teaching my son how to be Asian

5 July 2006

Yesterday during our dimsum lunch, I asked my 3 year old,

“Hey Callum, you want to try my most favourite food in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD??”

“Yeah!!! Sure!!!”

I casually slid the plate over to him.

He stopped jigging with excitement. He stared at it.

“Mum…”

“Hmm?”

“It’s a… foot.”

“Yeah. Isn’t it cool?!?!”

He bit into it. And I mumbled something about spitting out the bones. That he might taste a bit of chilli. And that he really should swallow it if he was truly my son.

He LOVED it. He smiled with glee. He wanted more. And one of my dreams had come true – that I would one day have to fight my children for the last piece of chicken foot.


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Turning 28

4 July 2006

My boys (all of them) performed a birthday song for me this morning. It was SO cute. I almost died from cuteness overload. I wanted to squeeze them and squish them and mush them up until they formed a play dough ball of looove.

We had cheesey scones for breakfast.

We out to lunch with my parents for dimsum. I taught Callum how to eat chicken feet. He LOVED it. I beamed with Chinese pride.

We ate a lush blueberry birthday cake with ice cream.

In the evening, Andrew and I went out for a long exquisite dinner. Fine European gourmet at The Gala. Then watched a movie.

It was a happy tingly toes day.


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Afternoon Tea

3 July 2006

An old friend of mine was in town for a few days, so he arranged to drop in for a visit. I haven’t seen him in about 13 years! We used to gut fish while our dads fished off jetties. Play with his crazy dog. And he taught me how to do fireballs in Street Fighter.

It was so cool to catch up and share stories to fill in the gaps of the years gone by.

He brought stories of studying in Beijing, holidaying in Singapore, working in Milan. But most importantly, he brought cake. Lots of em! Immaculate little patisserie things, which turned Callum into an angel.

I was in such a hurry to cut them up – in case Callum impaled his bug eyes on the chocolate spikes – that I forgot take pictures of them. (So I stole some pictures off the web instead.)


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My big night out. Ok not really.

2 July 2006

It’s my birthday on Tuesday! So I’ve been in the mood for some partying.

We went to a friend’s birthday bbq on Saturday. We brought the kids along and it turned out that we were the only couple with kids. Oh well. At least they were really well behaved.

Sean just woke up and he was so spaced out. He spent most of the evening sitting quietly on people’s laps. Callum was a darling. He ate all his dinner + salad without a fight. Happily chatted to strangers, then explored the garden and house, occasionally asking for food from the snack table.

I didn’t get to chat to as many people as I had hoped. But I did have some interesting conversations about soccer, scooters and scuba diving.

Later they served hot homemade apple strudel with cream, ice cream and custard. Callum and I were in heaven. You should have seen our eyes gleam. Haha, we’re so alike. Or rather, I’m such a child.

We dropped the kids off at my parent’s place for an overnight stay. Then we headed off to another party. There were beers, balloons, babies, nice people to talk to, a funky jukebox and a birthday cake in the shape of a Guinness. I loved it!




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