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.  

Monday, May 05, 2014

Spies Are Us

It's only taken...ooh...about eight and three quarter years for Harriet to finally take up my suggestion to read Harriet the Spy.  I'm not too sure exactly what it was that spurred her on at this moment, but in the last couple of weeks our house has been on high spy alert.

You may recognise this famous cover by Louise Fitzhugh.

Alternatively, you may have been in Newtown on the weekend and have deja vu because you happened to espy our very own spy - Harriet the spy:

Ted, inspired by the dressing-up aspect, the creation of the glasses and enamoured with the concept of wild solo exploring, also decided to take up the job of Teddy the spy post haste.

Harriet and Teddy explored, clambered, whooped and ran.  James and I pottered, chattered and made like civilised types do.

Unsurprisingly, Harriet thought little of Ted's attempts to fulfill his spying desires. The disdain is not only visible but was also palpable.

The sun went slowly down and the two went off to investigate all sorts of natural oddities together.  This hollow tree was 'discovered' by Ted the spy and he invited everyone to investigate it with him.

Ted's version of investigation was a little more hands-on than anyone else's.  He enjoyed this little nook for quite a while, poking his head out of the top, sticking his feet out of the bottom and at one stage being covered in sawdust, wood chips and tears as a misplaced foothold gave way.  Ah - all's fair in spies and hollow logs.

And whilst Teddy explored the innards of a tree, Harriet explored the outer branches - literally.  She was having a great time climbing all over the delicious expanded arms of this low tree.  Perfect climbing for the newly adventurous. 

We were given the thumbs-up on parenting by the local audience, who entreated us to allow our children to climb trees and play in dirt.  They were also most amenable to having their photo taken, friendly fellows that they were.

Harriet the Spy.  We've waited a while for you to appear and you did not disappoint one little bit. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

LARP It Up, Fuzzball!

So, how were your holidays?  Over here we didn't do much at all.  I say that a lot, huh?  Well I'm sure it's no secret since I bang on about it all the time, but boy oh boy do my children like to stay at home.  Every day I'd try to leave the house to go on a fun adventure with them and every day they'd stamp defiantly, as if leaving the house was a first step on the way towards...well...doing something I guess.  Which it was.  Because I was going out of my mind with boredom.

I had one week cross-over with the children's holidays where I was still at uni.  I guess their adventures on holiday care left them wiped for the following two weeks.  They both had a total blast going out sailing on their first day though so I guess that's something.  However with these two there is just no competing against their imagination.

James took off a couple of days from work to spend with them during my uni week and  by all accounts they seemed to spend the time at home doing little but playing pretend games and bouncing off the walls.

So - time to put that imagination to some good use.  To this end James unveiled a role-playing game for young children-type involving fairies and pixies and all manner of imagination-rich activities.  Ted volunteered to be our 'fighter' (unsurprisingly) and during the start of the game he leapt up, found the foam sword and cried out "And then I run up and attack him!", rushing the playroom with five-year-old vigour and brandishing foam aloft.

It turns out this is called LARPing (live-action role-playing).  If I had different children I may never have found out this acronym existed.

The story was based around the Jack and the Beanstalk fairytale and we managed to complete it with only one set of tears towards the end (when Harriet only had one 'spirit' left - basically HP equivalence for those RPers who know of such things).

 Teddy even found the ginger cat that Jennie gave to Harriet when she turned one to be the cat lying with the giant ("What's his name?"  "Ginger Bing" replied Teddy with nary a waver of hesitation).

Sorry, did someone say "ginger cat"?  Because we've got one of those.  Oh boy, do we ever.  He is still beyond gorgeous and sweet as sweet can be.  He routinely performs what I call the 'kitten arabesque', where he moves from this position...

 this one in a single fluid, graceful motion.  Don't you just want to lean through the screen and feel the velvety softness of that belly fur? 

And this holds no relationship to anything, but is just something fun to show the children.  Make sure you pop it on full screen.  

Tuesday, April 08, 2014


Well we finally did it - Harriet finally found her little ginger tabby friend that she's been searching for.  We were wandering through Marrickville markets and there he was.  As is his wont - lying back, resting, chilled out, but with enough of a sparkle in his eye for us all to sit up and take notice.

He was due to have his vet visit the following Wednesday, so we went back the following weekend to pick him up, fill in the Maggies Rescue paperwork and officially become his new family.  He is a perfect fit.  He is confident, affectionate, energetic, adorable and even gets along well with Squeezmo.

See?  Here's the proof!  Squeezmo and Hobbes have now even become friends.  The other morning Hobbes jumped on my head while I slept and miaowed frantically at me.  I woke up in a blur and realised what was going on.  I sat up and found out what all the fuss was about - Squeezie Boy wanted to go out the front door and Hobbes was waking me up to make it happen for him.  Adorable!  But also - let the damn mother sleep, cats!

And it's all very full on over here in the house of new cats.  The end of term sees everything due in and what has been dubbed the 'week of horror' starts next week, where everything is due for every subject. So if next time you see me I've become two inches shorter and am wearing inside out clothing, remember - it's not forever.  Well, there's at least five days between the end of assignments and the start of prac where you might find me looking less than exhausted - that's about all I can commit to. (But still loving it,  people).

Monday, March 24, 2014

Faces While Dying

 Yesterday, while Harriet and I were trying out new poses to balance each other's body weight against the other's (what?  You don't do the same on a Sunday afternoon?), she spontaneously announced we should embark on a photographic shoot together.  She labelled it "Faces While Dying".  These are apparently the faces one might expect to experience when dying.  And as much as I am loathe to do what seems to have become a blog standard and post a whole pile of photos without text, in this instance I think it's warranted, since that was what Harriet intended.

The first is my favourite.  Look at them nice and big.

Edited to add:  For some unfathomable reason Blogger is applying a sepia to the bottom two.  I can't seem to work out why and I would hope you would know that sepia is not part of my standard MO.  Will work on the why and rectification of this horror as soon as I can.

Edited again to add:  Well it turns out that uni has impacted on the blog! The reason for the sepia effect (mmmm....) was the Google account I had to create for a group assignment had a photo enhancing mechanism turned to 'on'.  The internet is scary.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Star Wars...Again.

*sigh*  Well at least he's being creative with it.  This is the stop motion animation Ted made tonight.  He needed a guiding hand from James just to make sure he remembered to keep the camera in one place, but other than that it's all Ted.  The jumping around and sudden reanimation of Greedo is due to Ted's waning interest in sticking to his original plot points.  After all, today was the first day he's been home before 6pm in a while.  The poor child is exhausted.

We are all adjusting to the brave new world of me doing full time study.  It involves a lot of waiting around for buses, we've found.  Most afternoons we are waiting for about 40 minutes for the bus.  Nope, that's not an exaggeration or an exception.  The $12 all-day student parking near the children's school is looking mighty appealing.

 The other activity we have found joy in has been our weekly catch up with two other families for the evening meal of a Monday.  With six rambunctious children and five talkative adults (well, perhaps the double Js aren't quite so much in that camp), it's never dull or quiet.  In fact it's all sorts of pleasant and social.  I'll be quite sad when the weather forces us to change our routine.

The thing I love about this shot is that Ted asked me to take a photo of him with his friend.  They were walking over to the wall, preparing to stand their with their arms around each other.  Sweet.  Then A's big sister comes over and enthusiastically 'styles' them.  She managed to actually pose them like this and then they stayed in position for me to take the photo.  She was awesome!  I love this shot.

Meanwhile James has been away for three days for his MBA residential.  I have about four assignments due in as many days.  The children are exhausted from the ineffciencies of the public transport system.  But it's actually all working out.  It's none too shabby.  Ted has a toe that's about to be horribly infected, but other than that we are all eating well, (mostly) getting along - the exception being Harriet snapping at Ted but that's due to tiredness - and I'm even getting to run regularly.

Plus I should probably mention that I am loving my course.  OH MY GOD.  I love it.  LOVE. it.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Finally - I'm Back!

Well it's been a long hiatus I will admit.  Not intentionally mind you - I have acquired a new phone (did you know you can use a phone now that can access the internet?) and that meant I was offline telecommunications-wise for a little while because we changed providers over a weekend (which I wouldn't advise).   I then needed to find a quiet time to set-up my voicemail and since that took about ten days, I haven't been able to access voicemail messages until about an hour ago.

I also had the Photoshop/Bridge uploader issue of 2014 (otherwise known as The Month My Visual Life Broke) and then, in the last week of my break before uni starts I have had an unprecedented number of contacts regarding shoots before my photography business has a break.  It turns out that when you say you're on a hiatus, it's absolutely the best marketing tool.  Who would have known?  Well, I guess the ubiquitous, perpetually closing down carpet stores have known that trade secret for a while.

So - life has been busy but also sort of rambling, slow and relatively easy.  A lovely combination, to be honest.

On the weekend just gone we decided to get out and about in nature.  It had been a little while between long green drinks to fulfill the soul and we were all feeling it.

The children insisted on bringing their swords and we insisted on not carrying them.  The children were fine with that since, as it turned out, there was much exploring and clearing of forests to be done during this expedition.

Harriet brought along her 'explorer' bag and what has since become her 'explorer's outfit' - a bag stuffed with a notebook and pen, magnifying glass, torch on a long rope, scavenger's notebook (from Keri Smith) and I'm sure a few other items I am not privy to.

As Ted ran ahead with the whoops and cries of a Medieval frontline, Harriet ambled, observed and noted.

And let's just pause a moment to consider how these disparate approaches may impact on a family group, shall we?  Ok, let's move on.

We had been to this location before, maybe about eighteen months ago.  We had made it about halfway around one circuit last time we arrived - this time we managed to complete the other three-quarters of the 4km trail,  The children enjoyed scrounging around in the scrub, climbing, observing owls in trees, being horrified by spiders about the size of a frying pan and triggering potential cardiac issues by refusing to adhere to the 'stay on the left' rule when sharing the trail with enthusiastic mountain cyclists.

Looking at this photo, I really want to pop some big googly eyes on that rock, to complement what looks like a huge smile near its base.  What a happy rock!

We stopped for some lunch at around 4pm, where the clearing we surprisingly found ourselves in presented the ideal environs for a spot of jousting (minus the horses, of course).


Of course all that this means was the children had a focus to their running around. That focus being they held a sword aloft as they ran.  The remainder seemed to be as per usual.

We started to make moves back towards the walking track and we stumbled into Tirade Harriet.  We really didn't mean to bring her along with us, given the enchanting environment we found ourselves in, but it turns out she popped along inside that explorer's bag we think.  

The exploring fun of Saturday left the children at a slightly loose end on Sunday.  They were too tired to enjoy their own company and Harriet was particularly fractious.  Turns out that the real problem was that she had too much hair.  So we got rid of it.  See, that's the offending pile on the floor, there.

It came from here. 

And this was the result.  Harriet was most adamant that she wanted to look like a boy.  She was thrilled.  I received many stomps and tears when I inadvertently mentioned she also carried off the chic Parisian look with hair this short.  Note to self: don't compliment daughter.

And there has been a birthday!  Teddy turned five!  I will be back to write about that magnificent milestone very shortly.