Friday, January 09, 2015

January 9th

Good god today was hot.  I don't know what the temperature was but when you have no air conditioning, half of your house is made of a window that lets in all-day sun with no curtain and you still haven't got around to making a curtain for your kitchen window which receives all the afternoon sun...well, let's say that huddling in the lounge room in a bag of ice sounds like a great idea.

Today Ted had one of his best friends, A over.  Ostensibly this was to be a playdate.  Instead, poor A found it to be more of a watchdate.  Teddy decided to write up his own Star Wars comic, seen here.  And let A watch.

He then moved on to making a stop motion animation using his Star Wars cake toppers...and let A watch.

And then, right on schedule, when A's father arrived to pick him up, they found their playing together groove. 

Notice those big bags under Ted's eyes?  Oh no, no WAY is he tired.  Not at all.

Tomorrow night I'll be living it up out of home, so no blog post until Sunday night - hopefully full of delicious escapades around town.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

January 8th

See, here is the after shot.  Not quite what I would have done with it but hey, I'm taking what I get in this sphere of domestic life.

Remember today?  It was the day of no photos, because Teddy and Harriet were off to Luna Park with their cousin and grandparents.  Oh yes, the grandparents are certifiable.  Mad.  Crazy.  But off they trotted with James to the train station at 8am and there I was, all alone in the house for a whole day. 


First port of call was my computer.  I know it sounds strange, but I have been hankering for some nothing-booked-for-this-time-but-still-have-energy moments in order to...hold on to your hats...tidy up my computer bookmarks.  Oh yes, fun times.  You see, during 2014 when I barely had time to raise my head above water, I was marking sites left right and centre that looked interesting or had great ideas or offered a different perspective.  They had some vague form of archiving system but essentially it was a mish-mash of unit titles, prac areas of study and loads of random, floating bookmarks.

And now?  Ooh baby.  Clean as a whistle.  There are even sub-folders in my bookmarks (yes, you can idolise me as you need to).  And so I decided to celebrate by heading out to drop off some items at the op-shop.  I also happened to browse around and found a few choice items - a dress and some pants for work this year, a Star Wars role-playing book for a certain couple of nerds in the house, and some clothes for Harriet.  Bonus!

While I was out today I noticed a few things about my day without children - most notably, there are many things I seem to be able to do that my children are incapable of.  I provide you with the list below.

I can:
  • walk to the car with my shoes on and therefore remove the need to complain bitterly about the temperature of the footpath
  • wait outside of the car until the windows are down, thus abolishing the need for screaming about the heat inside the car, or leaving sweaty handprints of anguish on the windows
  • listen to FBi without crying
  • handle waiting the three or maybe even four minutes that it takes for the car's air-conditioning to create the desired effect in the car, meaning that I failed to fill the car with screams as if I was being burnt slowly by the fingers of Dante's Hell
  • choose wherever I want to park the car without worrying about the need for sufficient obstacle-free space on the footpath side (eg: trees preventing doors from opening), or even worrying about how close I was parking to the destination (in fact I could even park as far away as I liked to enjoy the walk!)
  • walk to the destination without simultaneously sobbing about how cruel I am to park three whole blocks away, or even walk to the cafe without demanding food through screamed anger or falling to the ground
  • sit and order at a cafe while staying seated upright the entire time
  • pour water cleanly from jug to glass
  • use cutlery
  • eat without needing a floormat or eating jacket to collect the detritus 
  • have food and a drink all for around $15
  • sit quietly and read while eating lunch
  • sit quietly and read after eating lunch
  • sit quietly and read for as long as I damn well please
  • choose when I want to walk away without having to turn it into a game or have it turned into a game for me by an enthusiastic five year old
  • walk - not run with pulled arm or amble so slowly I may as well walk backwards
  • stroll past shop windows and look at the items I'm interested in for as long or as short a time as I choose
  • walk into a bookshop and not walk directly to the children's section upon entry (well ok I could do this but I didn't.  Sue me.)
  • walk out of the bookshop whenever I want to
  • change my mind about where I'm heading without the need to offer up a five minute explanation 
  • pick up fragile items
  • put down fragile items
  • look like a customer that might be welcomed into a shop

I could list more, but I'm sure you get the idea.

James had told me that Teddy was acting like a tired loon before even arriving at the grandparents' apartment at 8.30am.  My trepidation about his state upon return was completely and utterly justified.  He screamed and cried for...ooohh...about an hour or so in fits and bursts.  He refused to even try the shakshuka I'd made but finally succumbed and ate the whole thing (refused to eat the egg but did enjoy the 'pasta' [ie: albumin]).                                                                                                        

In an attempt to calm him down before bed (he was hysterically insistent, of course, that he wasn't tired), we decided to crack open the surprise new SW Rebels -twenty minutes of  mind-numbing fun.  As you can see, he was kind of interested.

As for sleep - well, he finally managed it around 9pm and Harriet still was getting up from bed at 10pm, so tomorrow's playdate is looking like an exercise in patience - from everyone. 

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

January 7th

So here's the truth - I live with slobs.  That's right.  Slobs.  Try as I might, I am but one lone anal retentive scurrying around after three lazy bums who think it's perfectly ok to leave piles of rubbish (yes, rubbish - that's what it becomes if you don't know what's there, don't need it or look at it for months and let it accumulate dust mice) next to their computer (James), leave food exactly where you finished/didn't finish eating it (Teddy) or just leave things to pile up with no sense of what you want or need (Harriet).  

To stem the flow of these dirty (James), filthy (Teddy) and hoarder (Harriet) tendencies, I do put my foot down occasionally.  The days where I get cranky and just start flying around the house on a broom mean everyone else better follow suit or there will be painful consequences of...well of nothing really but my eternal wrath. Today was not one of those days.  I had actually planned (ah, plans.  I remember the days where they actually meant something!) for us to go for a trip to Centennial Park, take up Ted's bike riding tutelage and then head back to the city.  However the children were feral after a few quite late nights.  Last night Harriet managed to stay awake until 11.  So today ended up with significantly lower expectations.

That set of drawers you see up there?  They are Harriet's drawers.  They are the first thing your eye lands on when you walk into the children's room.  And her penchant for acquiring op shop figurines is slowly doing my head in. I routinely ask her to clean up the top of her drawers and she routinely attempts subdued efforts to quell my angst at clutter.  But still it remains.

Today, however, may have seen a break through.  We discussed the in/out cycle of goods.  How things should only enter one's house if they are of purpose or deep connection.  That to constantly have to go back through goods and discard them is wasteful.  We've talked about it before but not specifically in relation to her own things.  I saw lightbulbs going off.

Harriet, without supervision, then proceeded to clear out her tubs and clean down her drawers.  As in - actually clean them.  I didn't manage an 'after' photo, but will do tomorrow.

It was then time to travel into the city to meet up with the grandparents.  They arrived late afternoon from Perth and were brave enough to want to see the children so soon after their long flight day.

Harriet spent time putting her hair into a bun (this is a newly acquired skill of which she is most proud), choosing an outfit (this is one of the dresses we chose the other day) and bringing along her latest reading love (Withering-by-Sea, a Christmas gift from Kate).

Ted?  Ted had to be cajoled into clothes to start with. He spent the short train ride alternating between sprawling over the seats, walking over the seats, lying over the seats, writhing over the seats and making adorable, witty observations about life that endeared him enough to prevent exasperation.  I mean, check out that style, would you?  T-shirt, belt and shorts all courtesy of Harriet.

Ted then held my hand to run almost the entire distance down to the apartment (note: this is only a couple of blocks.  Don't be impressed.) and we met up with Nana.  Ted and Harriet almost immediately fell into a hole of shyness and their exhaustion was suddenly and immediately evident. 

However this didn't stop them from leading the way to a room they'd never been to before.

There was hanging around in the air-conditioned comfort of the hotel room to be done.  As you can see, Harriet availed herself of the bed, while Ted decided to compare the sprawling-qualities of the lounge chairs with the train seats.  Soon after this photo was taken, the seats and ottomen were lined up for a great game of leapfrogging to the bed and rolling off.  It was so entertaining that Ted proceeded to severely injure himself on the sharp bedside table.  It was quite the impressive wound and definitely no-one with an inferior bent for self destruction could have achieved it in such a benign room.  Kudos to Ted for his kamikaze ingenuity!

For many years James and I had driven past in the bus and admired the Thai restaurant on George St - Crocodile Senior Thai.  What a name!  And how it enticed us!  Was there a geriatric reptile kept in the back of the restaurant?  Was there a connection between crocodile soup and a Seniors card that they offered?  We had to find out.

Alas, alack, our curiosity was too slow.  As we approached the shopfront we realised that KFC had appropriated the space of our yet-to-be-beloved-but-sure-to-be-beloved restaurant.  We are now left to forever wonder - why?  Why that name?

So we made do with the Thai place next door (it's Sydney after all, there's always a Thai restaurant within sight of any other one).  While Ted cried, laid down all over me, kicked Mike in the head and generally made himself insufferable (it was all to be expected since he hadn't eaten for quite a while and I should have pushed him down to eat earlier), we ordered and received our meals.  Oh, except for Jan.  Entrees came, mains were eaten and meal.  And when it finally did come the potatoes were cold.  Ergh!  Whilst the food was otherwise quite delicious, the service was not what we expected from Senior Crocodile standards. 

We headed back to pick up our bags, managing to grab a sneak peek at this delicious sunset between the buildings. 

Then it was quick smart on to home, because tomorrow they children are off to Luna Park.  With the grandparents.  While James is at work.  Oh yes, people. Tomorrow it's a photo of a cup of tea and my computer screen for you all.  School prep, here I come!  Woot!

Well, ok, maybe you could twist my arm to head out for a coffee and cake if I have to.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

January 5th and 6th

 On the morning of the 5th we decided to go to the cinema.  We saw Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day - and it was truly excellent!  I enjoyed it, the children enjoyed it and most importantly there was no time where I had to escort a crying Ted from the cinema.  This is twice in a row we've scored well with family cinema experiences - on Christmas Eve we saw Paddington which was also much loved by all of us (although it did require me escorting Teddy outside a couple of times during the film, but it was when Nicole Kidman was on screen so it was perfectly understandable).  Alexander wasn't too schmaltzy (caveat: it was a Disney film), the actors looked to be enjoying themselves and the film actually showed a mother being promoted and spending more time away from the family as ok because the dad was going to be able to work from home and be the primary caregiver.  Will wonders never cease?  What is this brave new world we're entering into?

After the cinema not much happened until we went to the Gledhill's in the evening for pizza, a swim and, of course, wonderful conversation.  However the conversation definitely had no input from me.  I started feeling cold and shivery at one point, and crossed my legs.  It was then I became acutely aware of the pain in my left big toe and when I squeezed it...BAM!  Pus city.  And after I opened the floodgates I could barely sit upright.  As everyone around me continued to converse and engage in witty repartee, I was forced to grimace, pretend I was following the conversation and nod and smile with little more awareness than a deaf mute.  It must have been a wonderful sight.  I even gave up on the pretence and ascended to my friends' lounge room where I curled up on their lounge, covered my body in throw cushions and waited out the family.  Ahh...these are true friendships.

Hence - no blog post for yesterday.

So this morning I was to be found curled up and shivering in my bed, while everyone else was doing their own thing: James was off on his annual pilgrimage to the SCG, Harriet was playing an imagination game and encouraging Ted to do the same.  Slowly I came out of my infection-fueled horror daze of fever and by about 3pm I was compus mentus enough to not sob with self-pity when Teddy asked me to set up MakeyMakey.  It was not quite the optimal frame of mind to be in to set up a high quality learning environment, but we did what we could.  We had a cherry tomato bongo set up, and then some cherry tomato keys for Tetris and finally some coins for playing a cardboard guitar.  It was fun, but I was challenged to even follow directions, let alone be experimental and creative. 

Luckily the children have that creative stuff figured out all on their own.   Their imagination games carried them over for the entire day, freeing me to lie down and contemplate my pillow.  Here, the toys are enjoying a geography lesson from Ted.

And here I managed a sneaky snap of them sharing a class for their toys.  I started feeling better about 4pm and was able to return to some degree of normalcy - making dinner, attending to my under-the-weather-returned-from-cricket husband, holding basic conversations and, finally, writing blog posts.

Addendum: Harriet just told me that she went through a book called 'The Blue Balloon' and edited the multiple grammatical errors in there.  Gosh, I couldn't be prouder.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

January 4th

The January PAD was thwarted before it began this year.  We were camping down in Eden and as we were walking down towards the fireworks, I picked up my camera.  And it promptly ran out of battery.  Thrusting frustrated fist at sky, I had to await our return to civilisation before being able to return to the project I have come to rely on in order to document my little family over the years.

Today Harriet and I were on a shopping mission - to acquire dresses and skirts.  Harriet has decided that in 2015 she would like to embrace more fashion that offers opportunities to twirl.  Not that twirling itself is to occur, mind you, but just that the opportunity to engage in such twirling may be available at any given moment.  She also bought a hairbrush, an Alice band and watched High School Musical the other day, so the waters are getting murky as we enter Year Five.

Together we traversed the escalators at Myer, explored seed, ate a delicious dumpling and of course Harriet chose her favourite food court food - the baked potato.  Afterwards we even dunked various chunks of food in melted pools of chocolate. is to know.

It was a genuinely beautiful day spent with my fascinating daughter.  Watching her grow older and wiser, observing and (hopefully) guiding her in new experiences and considerations, is simultaneously wonderful and terrifying.  Like all parenting, I guess.


When she came home, Harriet put on a fashion parade.  At one point this involved Ted walking out in his special disco shirt from last year, an old Harriet skirt, balancing a flourescent rock on his hand and shining a UV torch onto it.  He totally rocked that skirt (which Harriet never really wore because it kept falling off her), wearing it all afternoon and evening.

Tonight was the night we decided to introduce the children to Back to the Future.  I can't tell you quite how trepidatious this made me.  BttF was/is one of my all-time favourite films.  I saw it twice, I think, at the movies.  I was a huge (HUGE) Michael J Fox fan (can anyone say "non-threatening boy crush" ten times quickly?) and know a ridiculous amount of trivia about the production of the movie.  I even managed to surprise James with how much I knew - just when you thought there were no more surprises in this relationship!

Ted was fine with the time travel.  And fine with the difficulties of having your mother fall in love with you rather than your father, causing future conception issues.  However the intricacies surrounding the thwarted car scene between Marty and George (when Biff comes in early) required explicit description.  This didn't stop him (and Harriet) from loving it almost as much as I do and composing enthusiastic songs about the Doc on his ukulele afterwards.  At one point near the start of the film Harriet said "He really will go to the future", to which Ted replied thoughtfully. "One can only hope so, Harriet".  Indeed.

As Ted lay on his bed at 10pm he was busy telling me just how difficult he was finding it to go to sleep.  In less than three minutes after that sentence was completed I walked out of the bedroom in order to allow Harriet to start her meditation.

With no plans tomorrow, I can only guess at what imaginative time traveling madness may lie in store for us all.

Summer is Back - and so am I!

Yes, yes, I've been away from the blog.  For too long, I know!  We have just returned from a camping holiday and some much needed down time after a busy, productive 2014.  I am doing the PAD January project however just before the stroke of 12 on the 31st of December, my camera battery died.  Now let's not jump to conclusions and assume this is a portent of photographic doom, but it does mean I'll have to work for a couple of days into February this year as well. 

I'm currently awaiting photo upload and then tonight it's action stations.  To Blog - and Beyond!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Smiles and Glasses and Knights and Floors and the Very Late Post

This was our kitchen.  Those vents blow mighty cold air during a winter's evening!  I was hoping to find some bones of interest, or at least some colonial crockery under there.  No such luck.  Even our excavated floor is white bread.

 But before our kitchen was a window to the earth, in fact a very long time before that, we had a special guest come to our house for the day.  Ted's best friend came down from the mountains for a one-on-one day of friendship fun.  It was his first solo venture and we were thrilled to be the people he chose to play with.

 The three of them set up a fantastically industrious enterprise in the backyard.  There was a commercial focus, a true market economy based around...actually it was based around lunch.  And Harriet soon learned that it is hard work to pitch lemon and orange juice against corn cakes with tomatoes when your customers are hungry.  The lovely thing about it all was that they all produced something using food picked straight from the backyard.

 It's been so so so long since I updated the blog that you'd be safe in assuming that I'd given it up for dead.  It's not the blog that has died, just my free time.  You see my free time is now much more likely to be spent being out at night (doing fabulous activities like going out for wine and cheese and then the Opera House to see Jeanette Winterson speak for example.  It's a hard life.) or working furiously on an assignment for uni, or finishing my ongoing burning need to read.  Read a LOT.  During the school holidays I set myself the challenge of finishing a book every 48hrs.  I had to give a little in the last few days because I was reading a book where i got bogged down in the middle (but I did end up finishing it - huzzah!). 


And I also had a load of fun spending a morning out at White Rabbit with my beautiful friend Alina.  And then, at the last moment, another friend of mine managed to come along unexpectedly as well, so I was surrounded with witty repartee and lotus tea.  A charming combination, I'm sure you'd agree.

All those days and nights of furious reading have meant I've finally managed to secure myself some glasses.  Yay!  And what better way to model them than through my children?  These photos say so much about each of them.  And if you've met them in real life then I don't need to say any more than that, really.

 I quite like this one of Harriet as well.  Those darn red cars!  Just so that all owners of red cars are aware of it, photographers all over Sydney damn you daily.

    Translation:  Ted's resting spot.  Rules: Girlfends can com in at eny time.  1. No jumping 2. No running 3. No cuming in if not sed so

     Is it just me, or does it just warm the depths of your heart to see Ted using the possessive apostrophe without discussion, prompting or definition?  No?  Ok, it's just me then.

    The Megasketcher is in constant use.  It is a seriously wonderful addition to any playroom and if you don't own one then get thee to a toyshop now.  Alternatively if you know of a family that has a two year old or so, and they don't already own one, then buy them one.  Wonderful for pencil grip, literacy, art, *everything*.  We love our Megasketcher.  And to think of all the paper it has saved!  Ours has been in constant use since Harriet's second birthday.

    No winter would be complete without a visit to Winterfest - home of the brave!  Ted relished his chance to wear chainmail.  Harriet finally got the chance to participate in a woodworking workshop with the dagger you see before her, and Teddy did what Teddy does best.  And that is ran around with bucketloads of over-energetic enthusiasm and gusto, coupled with mini-meltdowns every hour or so.

    Both children were captivated by Feldergast the Fool, a magician who performs the most mind-bogglingly brilliant feats of sleight-of-hand less than five centimetres away from your body.  The man is incredible.

    And this is here because it makes me happy.  Go on - smile!  It's making you happy too, isn't it?

    Sunday, June 29, 2014

    Putter Up!

    Like everyone who is a parent I guess, one of the joys that comes with the role is the chance to be constantly surprised with your offspring.  Surprised at their abilities, their foci, their energy - for me the latest thing I've been surprised at has been Harriet's latest interest.

    It is, my friends, nothing other

    Ah yes, I too shared your dropped jaw and enlarged pupils of surprise.  In fact so impassioned is she that she even convinced James to purchase a set of golf clubs for her.  She also now attends a golf clinic on the weekend.

    I know, right?

    So of course this meant that we had to take advantage of the latest round of warm winter weekends and hoof it out to Ryde, where a delightfully hokey little Putt-Putt exists.  The children were enamoured. The oversized polystyrene animals. The miniaturised gaols.  The themed courses.

    The entire day was quite delightful.  Apart from one moment where we had to stop - I was grabbing a golf club from Ted before he whacked me with it, Harriet was hysterically screaming and waving her own golf club around and we had to stop playing and wave through the family group playing behind us - yes, apart from that incident it was, all-in-all, a wonderful excursion.

    Nope, I'm not being sarcastic.  They both totally lost their cool when they realised that they weren't going to be playing one of the courses that day.  And when we talked them through it and calmly gave them their options (cease and desist on the entitled attitudes and move on, or we leave then and there), we all managed to move through it and spend the remainder of the afternoon laughing and enjoying each others' company.

    Wonders.  Not ceasing.

    There were a few holes-in-one.  At about the third hole we played I hit about...oooh...fifteen? All holes are par two.  But then I totally redeemed myself by hitting so well in the later holes that I managed to come second. Woot!  It should be noted that my hand-eye coordination has always been less than exemplary.  Anything vaguely resembling the ability to complete a task (let alone actual ability) is to be marveled at.

    Harriet practised her skills.  In what looked like a whole lot of standing and swinging a club, she worked it.  Did I mention she took her own putter to the course?

    Oh and scores.  Oh people.  Such mundanities matter not!

    And to top off a wonderful day, we drove to Lakemba.  Because we hadn't really had any lunch we needed somewhere that would provide.  Such a place would be an incredible Lebanese restaurant in Lakemba.  A place where, for $37, we all walked away groaning.  A place where $10 of that total was spent on drinks.  A place where the owner came out and wrote down Harriet's name in Arabic for her when we mentioned how much she loves Arabic script. 

    The children pronounced it "the best dinner" and immediately starting planning for our next meal there.  After having to cajole and harangue them into actually trying it to begin with, this was a welcome pronouncement.


    And James totally rocked the Batman sunglasses.