Sunday, October 09, 2011

A Weekend of Little Things

Last weekend of the school holidays.  Boo!  I love the school holidays.  I also love the school term since I get a chance to just hang with Ted, get to know him more and have a chance to share in adult conversation in a way I just can't do with Harriet around.  BUT - I love school holidays.  For example we got to make these snail gardens together.  Ted enjoyed 'watering' the top more than actually doing anything with the snails I suspect.  Harriet, however, gave each of them a family role, discussed their responsibilities, looked up what they eat and layered her little micro-environment with much thought and detail.  Those lucky snails were delivered nasturtiums!

Yesterday James wanted to take the children out to the Australian Museum; we have an annual pass but haven't used it half as much as I thought we would this year which is a shame.  It was hard work getting the two children to leave the house (given an opportunity these two would stay at home, swing and put on shows all day without leaving their pyjamas or the front door), but by late morning James managed to pull it off.  And what did I do?

Hee hee, I just did my own thing!  I made a birthday present, finished off Harriet's skirt, and appliqued a t-shirt for Ted which had been sitting there for eons. Then after a busy couple of hours I made myself lunch and a cup of tea and started to read a book.  Let me just say that if you'd like to read a book that's a bit pick-up-put-down DO NOT start reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

When the children returned home, James brought in Ted crashed in his arms.  Turns out he had been completely exhausted for most of the excursion and just fell dead asleep in the stroller on the way back to the car.  (Quick aside - stroller?!  Yes, after eschewing the stroller existence we have had to acquire one [from freecycle of course] because Ted is just. too. heavy. to pick up and carry on my back.  On anyone's back really.  He's huge.)  But yes, back to Ted - he was asleep and exhausted, but we had to wake him to ensure he didn't get too much sleep and fail to go down at a decent hour later that night.  You can see here just how thrilled he was with the concept of being awake.  You may also spy (if you look closely) the evidence of babycino consumption at the Museum cafe.

There was a lot of pottering - checking on our bountiful strawberry patch that has already given up some deliciously sweet berries and just check out what there is to come!  That's just one plant too, and we have about eight or so that are similarly endowed.  Woot!

And as happens every year around this time, we place our ladder in the far back corner of our yard and attempt to contort our bodies into strange positions in anticipation of reaching the mulberries that grow next door on an incredibly huge, laden mulberry tree.

This year we can reach quite a few fruit, and they are ripening in a couple of decent batches - last year they seemed to ripen over a really protracted time, meaning there was no bumper crop.  I'm thinking about making jam with them but not sure how to get rid of the stalks that extend down inside the body of the fruit - will have to Google, unless someone on here has some good advice?

And still on making stuff - James is taking an interest in cheesemaking after a chance carparking adventure in the mountains the other week.  Yes, you read that sentence correctly.  Anyway, it all coincided nicely with my trip to Spotlight, the purchase of muslin and an extra litre of organic milk.  The addition of organic paneer pakoras to any dinner is surely a bonus?  Yum!
When Harriet went to the museum there was some time when Ted and James were eating in the cafe and she went around the corner and down into a different area to play with the stuffed animals there.  She was so excited about doing something 'on her own' and 'out of sight' that you'd think she was kept in a Gulag camp.  In fact we're constantly encouraging her to engage in activities where she is on her own, out of sight but of course she will only do them when she's ready.  

In the evening when she brought it up again, I brought up our first discussion of 'stranger danger'.  It's such a fine line to walk, trying to tell your child that if a stranger approaches them and asks you to "look for my lost puppy" or "have you seen my little daughter?  Hold my hand and you can come with me over here" or tries in any way to lure her away from the main group then she is to yell/scream.  Loudly.  That it is much better to be embarassed about yelling inappropriately than it is to not see her again.  I think we must have approached it in the right manner though, because she didn't get scared, or worry, or say "That sounds scary" which has been her latest thing to say in response to anything that sounds slightly upsetting.  She took it all very seriously and we went over the finer details so that, we can feel as though we've dealt with that level of awareness as much as you can.

But having said, can I just take this moment to say how much I freaking LOVE Sydney?  I love leading up to summer in Sydney - the warmth, the harbour, so many little nooks and crannies filled with things to see and do.   I love that when we go to a party on Sunday morning we have the view you can see in the photo above of Harriet.  How beautiful is that?  Love it!  Oh and that's the skirt I made for her.  She chose the fabric and I hemmed it with some old sheet material that I love.  Actually about 80% of my fabric stash is composed of vintage sheets that I love, so that hardly narrows it down.

This is the elephant t-shirt I made for Ted during my little sewing morning. You may recognise it as the same elephant I had on a shirt of his from when he was about one - I traced it from a Miffy book and Ted really does have a little love for the great pachyderm.  And yes, you may notice he's wearing his 'Jay pants' yet again - seriously, if they are clean, he wears them.  He just loves them and if given a choice (which he is usually given) he will always choose these pants from Jay.  ANd why not?  They're uber funky!

So I jumped Saturday night there, which wasn't wise - because on Saturday night, the children didn't go to bed until 11pm.  ELEVEN!  In the post meridian!  Argh!  I had even put Ted in the car and driven around for twenty minutes around 8 because he was so tired (remember how he couldn't stay awake at the museum?  Huh?  Remember that?  And now I'm talking nine hours later!)  So when they finally went into bed (still insisting they weren't at all tired) James went to sleep and I...*sheepishly admitting*...I stayed awake voluntarily to read the rest of The Road.  Come on!  I didn't know when I would have a chance to read it in one big go again and I loved being absorbed in that bleak, bleak world.

Mmmmm....this is the start of the yummiest of yummy pear and rhubarb crumbles that there ever have been.  It was delicious when eaten after dinner in what some may call 'dessert'.   I distinctly remember when Harriet came home from Transition one afternoon and asked "Mama do we ever have a dessert?" and I said no and asked her why and she said they were talking about it at school and she had no idea at all what was going on because it was all in the context of Masterchef too, which even further compounded her befuddlement.

So Ted had to sleep.  Truly.  After running around like a look at the party in the morning, and consuming refined sugar, there was no real option.  So it was with crossed fingers I laid him down for around thirty minutes.
Harriet, James and I have been playing some Uno while he sleeps - that is, if Harriet hasn't already cajoled James into playing another game of chess with her.  He taught her the basics about two weekends ago, has played a few games now and loves it. I overheard her saying during her second game - so the pawns, I get what they're actually for.  They're to protect the more important pieces - I thought it was pretty cool that she was working out the nuances of strategy already. And she has already proved to be a worthy opponent for Jimbo too.  
And in the afternoon we just hung around.  So lovely to do too.  I deliberately didn't do any washing (not too sure if it was quite as deliberate as James) and spent the afternoon playing, chilling out, watching my children's faces get covered in various food items (here Harriet is modelling pasta sauce as face paint), and pushing Ted on the swing. 
This is the other member of our family.  Squeezmo loves lying on the concrete blocks we have set out for our bbq purchase.  He's going to be sorely disappointed the day it's covered over with bbq (but we won't be!).
Tomorrow it's back to school.  This evening the children went to bed.  James had a media blackout on so he could watch the rugby after they went to sleep.  I've finished my book and am now going to tackle a skirt pattern (yes, an actual pattern!) for Harriet. But I really should just go to bed.  Maybe I will...
And I leave you with a view I have many, many times a day.  Ted.  Naked.  And on the swing.  Don't you just want to squeeze that little butt?


Kimberley said...

I LOVE mulberries! I'm known to contort myself in anyway I have to when I see a mulberry tree that needs harvesting :)
I have never learned to play chess, I'm impressed that Harriet can...

jay said...

what a wonderful weekend of little things.i was actually going to text you over the weekend as Ilo will only wear two pairs of pants, some owl pants i made him and Teddy's apple pants. Seriously the other day the apple pants came in off the line and he literally did a little dance and stripped off his clothes and then put them on immediately all the while singing "Apple pants, apple pants", Scott and I were in hysterics.
So many adventures, so much delicious produce, go James with the paneer, it has been on my list of things to do for a very long time. Oh you have inspired me.
I read The Road when Ilo was just a baby (not a good idea looking at this tiny vulnerable baby, and reading this story full of birth hormones). But oh my goodness what a story, so compelling. Love to you all. xxxx

Kristy said...

Hi Cass! I love touching base with your blog, catching up with your family. We are all well. Ellie has had her final GA/scope and given the all clear to wean off medication. James is a lovely 3 year old and so much fun. We moved to Gerringong 4mths ago - best decision, we love it. Hope to see you one day soon. Love Kristy X
p.s. I LOVE your backyard, it looks amazing.