30 November 2009

I wonder!

My mother, my sister and I have long known that every now and then, babies go crazy and become very difficult. When they emerge from these stages, they are doing a little more, understanding a little more and are slightly more grown-up than before.

But until Mrs Accident commented, I had no idea it was a "real thing."

She commented:
"Is he having a wonder week? Apparently these developmental weeks, when the kids go nuts and regress badly, are explained by health nurses to mums in almost every other state except Queensland. I reckon you should google it. It doesn't make him sleep better, but at least you know that it is a phase, and when to expect them!"

and I googled and found (from here):
Recent research has shown that there are predictable times during the first few years of a child's life when the child may be more demanding (fussier) than usual. These fussy times have been called the 'Wonder weeks' by some writers, because it is during these more difficult weeks that babies are making big steps forward in their development.

Thanks Mrs Accident, I have hope! That's exactly what I've found in the past. The problem is that once I've worked out that a baby is having a "Wonder Week", I promptly forget what the grouchy period usually means, and get surprised by the next one all over again. My brain is so small, and can only hold so much.

I think the term "Wonder Week" is brilliant. Because when you're in the middle of one, you WONDER how you will ever survive it.

Sometimes, things sail along nicely. Sometimes, it all gets hard at the same time. And that would be NOW.

I am still recovering from last week when Mr de Elba was away, but finding that during the days when he is at work, the deal is pretty much the same. And that's the way it should be, I guess. I am glad for his job and that he is so good at doing it.

But as many of you could relate to, when my husband is away, I am the sole receptacle into which the children pour their words, their words words words (my, these children can talk!)

I am the sole carer and the sole person who deals with every cry, every problem, and every whimper (except for the ones I choose to ignore.)

I am the sole audience for every fight, every tantrum and every cute thing that is said.

I am the sole cleaning lady, the sole nanny, the sole cook and the sole event manager.

I have poured myself out for the children, and the children have a tendency to take my availability and squeeze me out further. Then they twist up the remaining shreds of me and wring the final drips of sanity from my tortured soul.

Well, it's not quite that bad. Or is it?

As well, the dog is killing blue-tongued lizards, rats and blind worms that come in our yard (yay! about the rats, boo! and eww! about everything else.)

And Joseph continues on his Path to Wonder.

If this was a paid position, I'd qualify for stress leave. But to qualify for removal of responsibilities and allocation of time to rest from my current position would only come after some dastardly act of insanity, say, if I roamed the streets naked and shooting people at random dragging a little wagon of small, dirty, unfed de Elbas behind me.

But that sounds like a lot of hard work.

Instead, I'll hang on until things are easier. Nat and Anna-Lucia will cool off a little, and the dog will be wearing a muzzle 24/7 (if I have anything to do with it.)

And sweet little Joseph? He will be fully Wondered Out.

29 November 2009

Briefly ...

Mr de Elba is home! All is great. Except for the mess and the laundry!

Joseph not is sleeping well. I'm thinking he has been spoiled (yeah, I once heard someone say that a baby can't be spoiled. Well they can pop over to my house every night and cuddle the baby to sleep all jolly night, just the way he likes it.)

Although he has been a great little sleeper, he sometimes falls asleep in people's arms and now he's having great difficulties sleeping by himself in cot. Especially after 2am feed. Which sometimes happens at 1am.

Therefore I now no longer have time to myself at night to blog beccause I am trying to squeeze in as many hours of uninterrupted sleep in (4 is good) before I hear Joseph cry and shout out "ging, ging" which is what he says when he's upset.

So please tell me, dear gentle reader, is this just a phase? Will I ever get six blessed hours of sleep in one night again? Will Joseph learn to sleep again by himself in his cot?

Or should I leave home right now and run into the woods and live on nuts and berries?

27 November 2009


Oh hai!

Crazy Sister has given me an idea. She's made a LOLkidz over at her blog:

and it reminded me of when I made some LOLNats when Nat was little:

Apologies to Femina for that last one. I am hoping she is busily writing thousands of words instead of reading my blog, but something tells me she just read this and got a bit of a fright at the sight of Jaz the attack collie purporting to have just eaten a kitty. She didn't. It was just for the LOL.

So they don't always follow the rules of the LOLcat, but they're fun to make.

I was wondering if we could all do a post on our own blogs with a LOL? Would you like to do that? You can do a LOLkid or a LOLhusband or a LOLboyfriend or a LOLdog or LOLcat or a LOLgerbil or a LOLhouseplant ...

If I was REALLY clever, I'd set up a Mr Linky so you could all put the URL of your post in and we could visit each other that way. But as yet I am NOT THAT CLEVER, and as I have been awake since 2:00am this morning, I thought I'd better get to bed instead of learning how to do Mr Linkies.

Would you like to make a LOL, post it on your blog and leave me a link in the comments? If you need a LOL generator, try:

I'd love to see what you come up with. In the meantime, just to show you that I'm not after anything too awesome or clever or funny, this is the best I could do on the sleep I had:

All I want for Christmas ...

...is one of those laser-beaming slide projector thingies that make you Forget It All Happened, as featured in the closing scene of Jack-Jack Attack, kindly brought to my recollection by my cool readers:

I have had two very difficult, non-sleeping babies before, but never until today could I claim to have woken for the day at 2:00am.

So on that note, and just before I fall asleep on my computer keyboard: Good morning! And how are you all todaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazzzzzzz.

26 November 2009

Sailing on the Solway Lass

Oh people, thankyou for your kind words but I really didn't make it sound the way I wanted to!

I love that Mr de Elba can go away on these amazing camps. Yeah, sure I don't get to go myself often, but I love that he can. I feel like I'm a part of what he does in his work, and so I feel a part of the fun that his work involves!

I just sometimes like to wryly point out that he is sailing around the Whitsundays while I'm worrying about the Mud Mess in the yard, or he's gone to the Global Leadership Summit while I'm doing the Mummy Thing at home.

But deep down, I'm glad that on our behalf he can go and enjoy the perks of his job. (Can I stress that in most cases leaders pay their way on SU camps? Don't want it to sound like we're freeloading or anything.)

Well again it's late and I'm aware that if in the morning I am so smashed I fail to get out of bed, Mr de Elba will not be there to save Joseph from crying so hard he will burst into flames. So off I must go.

Good night.

25 November 2009

He loves me

Today was challenging. Especially the late afternoon, when I noticed that Anna-Lucia hadn't slept a wink all day (a first for her) and Joseph was getting very tired.

Nat and his little friend were playing so nicely, each sitting on an end of the glide swing and chatting.

I left the big boys to their playing and chatting and decided to bath the little kids. Anna-Lucia was her usual strong-willed self (did you know that if you lift her into the bath, she will protest strongly and climb out, just so that she can climb back in again by herself?) and screamed "Let go-a-me!" repeatedly as I washed her hair. I did however get her and Joseph clean, but half-way through the bathing process, I noticed it was quiet.

Too quiet.

How quickly can you bath and dress two small children? I knew something was wrong, and indeed, it was MUD. I won't go into it. But it was (and still is, out there) BAD.

After the playdate (thick brown water settling in the bath as I type) I discovered that my three children had all uncovered the secret of perpetual motion. When usually on a Wednesday, they would be falling asleep dirty and unfed before their dinner and bathtimes, today they kept going and going and going ... and going. And going.

I don't know how they kept finding their second wind and their third wind and their fourth wind. But as I felt my own energy flagging to dangerously low levels, all three of them showed no sign of slowing down.

In an attempt to attend to the crying Joseph as quickly as possible, I tried to slam down a banana muffin. I gave myself a case of hiccups so violent that once I'd got Joseph happily drinking milk, he was unable to drink or settle to sleep at all.

Suck suck suck ... eyes shut ... suck suck ... HIC! Frightened eyes open. Darn.

Again and again and again.

And then I got a text:

"Sailing into the sunset on 'Solway Lass'. Turning phone off now. I love you!"

Well. He loves me. That's all that matters.

The Solway Lass


Co-incidence or providence?

The day after the light above the dining table blows, my new light from Buyster Lighting arrives!

Providence, I think.

24 November 2009

Day Two of Mr de Elba's Schoolies' Week sailing around the Whitsundays!

What happened to day one? I forgot to blog. Sorry.

You may remember that last year, Mr de Elba was a leader on a SU Schoolies camp at the Whitsunday Islands. Well, he's doing it again! And while I'm a little lonely at home, I am so thankful that my man can have such a great job, enjoying weeks away like this (at a price!)

(Schoolies Week ~is approximately equal to~ Spring Break)

Nat said before he left, "I am so sad that Dad's going on camp!" and I had to say, "How wonderful that our Daddy enjoys his job so much and it gives him opportunities to do fabulous things like this, and come home rested and relaxed and ready to play wtih YOU!" And it's true!

In lieu of a real blog post, I will share with you a thought that came to me at the local supermarket.

Question: What does a True Lady do when she spots a gentleman from church at the shops, minus his family, and in the company of another woman and her children?
Answer: Keep watching, for otherwise there would be no opportunity to learn that he was in fact not in company with them, but merely in the same aisle browsing similar products.

22 November 2009


So it happened like this:

Shrek said that Ogres have LAYERS. Donkey said that onions stink, and what about cakes, because cakes have layers and everybody likes cake. Shrek said he didn't care what everybody likes, and that Ogres are not like cakes. And Donkey suggested that everybody loves parfait ...

Anna-Lucia watched it a thousand times and now says countless times a day that ogres like onions, and they don't like cakes, "but WE DOO!!!"

Nat said that it was that ogres ARE LIKE [similar to] onions, not that they LIKE [enjoy eating] onions, and conversely that they ARE NOT LIKE cake. Because he can't leave well enough alone.

And Anna-Lucia went on undeterred about Ogres not liking parfait, even though she didn't know what parfait was.


I decided that we needed to research parfait, because you never know, we [Mummy] might learn something. We looked up parfait on taste.com.au and found the pictures for many recipes. We discussed the ingredients and the different LAYERS that each parfait had.

And now, parfait dominates our thoughts, menus and grocery shopping lists.

Picture an impossibly tiny two year old girl wolfing down her dinner, and as she puts the final mouthful away she declares, "I'm finished! I can have parfait now!" Easy for her to say. First I heard about parfait for dessert!

Well. Long story short (oops, too late) this is what we had for breakfast this morning.


A layer of mango yoghurt, a layer of banana, a layer of mango, a layer of strawberry, a layer of kiwi fruit and another layer of mango yoghurt.

"Num num num, can I have more parfait?"

Oh sweetheart. I think I need a little lie down.

21 November 2009


Summer is the time for ...

A lizard to take a dip deep down in a bromeliad

My first Mr Lincoln

Swimming in our wonderful "pool"

And falling asleep in the hallway, for that is where you were when you became so tired you couldn't take one more step.

And guess what? It's not even Summer yet!

20 November 2009

I can hardly contain my excitement!

One of our local shopping centres is undergoing renovation. And guess which section is now finished and ready for use? (Oh boy, this is good!)

The new-look K-Mart? Nope.

The new-look food court? Nope.

The new-look specialty shops? Who cares about those?

No folks. Check out THIS!

Come one, come all. And bring your camera.

19 November 2009

Who were those two boys?

You were amazing! I just can't see resemblances and similarities, so I think you're quite *magical* to be able to get most of your guesses correct!

Joy was so near, yet so far - she got 8/10, only mixing up numbers 5 (who was Nat) and 10 (who was Joseph). The clue in number 5 is that the baby is sucking a flannelette wrap. Little did I know it would gravitate to this:
It seems that the worry is not that the little sister will copy you (for she certainly will) but that the dolls may pick up the fabric-sucking habit as well.

Hippomanic Jen got 4/6 right. That's still better than I would have done. She just mixed up the little faces in numbers 6 and 9.

Tracy P and I just sat by and watched the rest of you amaze us with your baby-recognition skills.

The Accidental Housewife was close too! She didn't hazard a guess at which group of pictures was of which baby, but she was completely right except for Number 9, who was Doe-feff looking a little slimmer in the face, like Nat.

But the amazing Rachie-Rach won the day with 100%. I can't wait for her to begin her own blog. In real life she is one of my closest friends, and in my bloggy world she is my most loyal and dedicated lurker. I am extremely chuffed to have my second comment from her!

Pity she didn't comment yesterday. She could have won a light.

Two Boys

To me, they are so similar. To you, they will probably have differences I can't spot because they remind me of each other so much. I gave you a hint in 2 of them by including their sucking object of choice.

So - which 5 photos are Nat and which 5 photos are Joseph? I can only tell because I know my photos and my photos know me ...

Click to enlarge.

(I don't however lay down my life for my photos.)

18 November 2009

Giveaway Winner!

I had hoped to pick a winner this morning. I thought that 48 hours after posting was plenty of time to wait. However today was pretty horrible, from the 3 hours 45 minutes sleep I got overnight to the dead blue-tongue lizard I found in the backyard, helpfully chewed into three pieces by my dog, my stupid stupid dog who I no longer love.

And the baby who has decided that as of last night, he now needs only a quarter of the sleep that he has previously needed, and will only nap when I have to deliberately wake him and put him in the car to do a kindy pickup. And who now cries as he lies on the floor, 'playing' with his toys.


A winner.

How to pick a winner?

This is my first blog giveaway, and it's been positively shocking to see how most of my Australian readers have all run under rocks to hide.

What are you afraid of? It's only a giveaway for goodness' sake. It won't bite.

Are you afraid of winning $50.00 to put towards the purchase of lighting from the kind folk at http://www.buysterlighting.com.au/?

(Or is it the actual lighting you're afraid of?)

(PhobiaList.com tells me that Photophobia is a fear of light, Photoaugliaphobia is a fear of lights/glaring, Brontophobia or Karaunophobia is a fear of lightning and thunder, Selaphobia is a fear of light flashes and Auroraphobia is a fear of Northern lights. So which is it?)

Whichever way you look at it, it's terribly embarrassing. Still, I will pretend that I received HUNDREDS OF ENTRIES and had to pick but one winner, for the sake of my dignity.

So how does one pick but one winner from a pool of HUNDREDS of entries? I have seen other bloggers do this a few different ways. One way is to use random.org to generate a random number and then pick the entrant whose comment in the list corresponds with that number.

The other popular way is to place each entrant's name on a small slip of paper, place all the slips in a bowl and ask one of their children to pick out a slip at random. They usually post a video of the draw, and it's always terribly cute.

I have been thinking about new and exciting ways to pick a winner. I wanted to find a way of selecting randomly, and I wanted it to be de-Elba-specific.

One idea I had was to place the slips of paper around the yard overnight and to check in the morning to see which was the closest to the spot where Jaz did her morning ablutions. Then I stopped myself. I realised that instead of an innivative, random, de Elba method of selecting a winner, I was subtly rubbishing the winner. And perhaps not being random enough, as Jaz has her preferred abluting spots. And being Just. Plain. Gross.

See? A little sleep deprivation (depravation?!?) and I lose all Appropriateness Filters in my brain.

I decided to abandon that innovative approach and to ask Nat to draw a name instead. There were two things wrong with that though:

  • 1. Nat spent all afternoon having a playdate with a small friend, and I didn't want to leave the small friend out or place his photo on my blog. Nat is now asleep.
  • 2. Seriously? With the HUNDREDS of entries I received, I don't think I have a bowl BIG ENOUGH to accommodate all the slips of paper. Seriously.
So here I am, with random.org, picking a winner from this massive pile of entries in the most prosaic way possible. And wasting a lot of blog space doing it.

I like the way it says, "Too many options?" down the bottom. Hrmph. I can do without the sarcasm, thankyouverymuch.

The upshot of this post is that we have a winner! From the GIANT POOL OF HUNDREDS OF WORTHY AND DESERVING ENTRIES, each one of which I have read, random.org has selected

The Accidental Housewife

as the winner! Congratulations Mrs Accident!

Let me introduce you to Mrs Accident. She lives 1300km north of me and enjoys hotter weather than uwe do. I love her blog. She says she "never meant to be a housewife, but it's growing on [her]." I think she's doing a great job! She is married to Mr Accident and they have a gorgeous baby girl.

All she wants for Christmas is for Mr Accident to be home and safe (read her blog to find out why he often isn't), enjoying his baby's first Christmas with his family. She says that the following wouldn't go astray either: her great aunt's world famous brandy sauce (which sounds so tempting I may have to ask for a bottle to be sent down here. Or a crate of bottles), some dark blue nail polish, and some more thread for her sewing machine.

Mrs Accident, please email me at ukulelefly@gmail.com so I can organise for this Gift Voucher for you.

And everyone else, stop by her blog, check out that too-cute lil girl of hers, and leave a big Congratulations there for her.

She deserves it. She ...er-hr'm... beat incredible odds!
As well, don't forget to head over to http://www.buysterlighting.com.au/ - they were kind enough to donate the gift certificate! Thanks, Buyster Lighting!

16 November 2009

Let there be LIGHT! And a Giveaway too.

Sometimes on Monday, I have what they call "A Case of the The Mondays."

But today, I don't. I'm pretty excited, despite the fact that Mr de Elba is away overnight at St George and Nat has gone with him. Sigh. This is why a mother's heart can be broken so easily, so little pieces of it can go west in a car with her husband and son while another piece is in the cot with the baby and another piece can be chilling out on the couch watching Shrek with the little girl.

Oh dear. No pieces left over to reside in the kennel with Jaz. If you think that makes me heartless, you'll understand now that I AM -literally- heartless. All the pieces of heart are already accounted for, and currently in use in their scattered locations. Maybe I'll have to find a little broken bit on the floor for the dog.

Today I am excited because the kind folk at buysterlighting.com.au are offering me a free light to try out for my home and also a gift certificate for a Giveaway for YOU!

Now as buysterlighting.com.au (which is part of buyster.com.au that looks after -er- lighting!) is an Australian online store, they only ship to Australia. This means that it's really only worth entering if you live in Australia. But if you DO ... it's WELL WORTH entering!

This is the table lamp I'm looking forward to reviewing:

If you live in Australia and would like to enter this giveaway, please go to http://www.buysterlighting.com.au/ and have a look around at the lighting, fans and lamps there. There are even some iPod speaker lamps I've got my eye on for Nat!

Then come back and leave a comment!

Because I LOVE CHRISTMAS, I want to hear what's on your wishlist this Christmas - what friends or family you'd like to see, what food you'd like to eat or what little gift you'd like to receive to celebrate Jesus' birth!

Have a think about that, and leave it in the comments.

A random winner will be selected and will receive a $50 gift certificate to put towards the purchase of something illuminating from buysterlighting.com.au!

(To my lovely readers from the USA, I am sorry that this giveaway doesn't suit you, but I am hoping to run another one sometime that will be suitable for all my readers!)

15 November 2009

Okay, maybe I don't have Sand Regret. But maybe I should.

Thanks so much for your encouragement after yesterday's post. I've always said that I have a great broom, and the children only have one childhood.

Let there be SAND!

Thanks for your suggestions. I forgot to say in yesterday's post that I most certainly DO have a cover for the sandpit - I made extra sure I didn't get the sand before getting the shadecloth to cover it. I still want to make it a more permanent cover rather than a giant piece of shadecloth to toss over the sand, but that will take a long garden stake, twine, chalk, scissors, a sewing machine and some medium-sized pebbles. Or maybe instead of the pebbles, some broomsticks. Or maybe even some occy straps and hooks. I still don't know what's best, but I'm sure that the sewing machine step will have me completely flummoxed.

Flummoxed. There's a word I hadn't expected to use today.

Now another thing - being as much a hater of sand/gravel inside the house as I am, I most certainly filled a bucket with warm soapy water and got the children to wash their feet and hands thoroughly before coming inside.

The sand on the floor was the sand dislodged from:

  • little upper arms
  • little upper legs
  • little knees
  • little elbows
  • little shirts
  • little shorts, and
  • inside the little nappy.

Thanks for your suggestions on how to remove sand before the children come inside, but short of setting up a shower just outside the laundry door, there's nothing MORE I could be doing.

Well it's getting dark so here I go to cover up that sandpit! Can't trust Jaz to wake up and do some patrolling if a cat comes along in the night. Apparently can't put a cork in the bum of each and every neighbourhood cat either.

14 November 2009

We Have Sand

When I first moved in to this lovely new house, the previous owner offered to leave his sandpit for my children to play in. I thought to myself, "No way! I don't want sand through the lawn, through the house and in the beds!! Accepting this kind offer of a sandpit will only end in regret. Sand Regret." And so I politely declined the offer.

Soon I realised that a four year old boy must play, and if there is no sand, he will play in the gravel that lies on a few places in the yard. And lo, there was gravel in the lawn, gravel in the house, and gravel in the bed, if you can believe that.

And I found that afterall, I had Sand Regret. I began to want a sandpit, to stop the endless playing with gravel.

I thought long and hard about where to put a sandpit and how to do it, being a puny girl myself. I decided that rather than use some prime real estate on the lawn, I'd be better off using a corner of the yard that was already set aside, but being used for nothing at the moment.

I thought so. And if we were going to make the yard a fun place to be in, wouldn't it be good to fix up the old swings?

The problem was it was going to be a big job for a Mum whose hands were often filled (quite happily) with my little Joseph. What to do?

I decided to ask my brother how I should go about the job. I thought he'd be a good Sandpit Consultant. And he was. Last Tuesday morning there was a ring at the doorbell and there he was, having travelled 1700km to surprise me and help with the sandpit. What a champion.

I had offered him a free dinner if he'd help with the job but he was unavailable to collect on that, as he was catching up with some ladies as well (ooh la la.) I had also offered him a free dessert if he would do the job in a hard hat, but he forgot to bring a hard hat, so there goes that.

He got straight to work. First he attached the new seats to the swing set.

Then he started on the sandpit. He completed a frame, took out some little trees, did some thinking about ways I could finish off the sandpit and then he helped me do some other jobs around the garden, like re-planting one of the little trees.

My father helped me work out how much sand I'd need. I can't estimate quantity and he's a mathematician, so I get him to help with things like this. 0.6 cubic metres. Thanks Dad.

Then this morning Mr de Elba helped me finish the job. We went to a sand place, bought our 0.6 metres of sand ...

... and shovelled it into the sandpit.

A few weeks ago I bought these sand toys to help motivate me. Here they are in the finished sandpit. Okay, so there's an eggbeater in there. I didn't buy that specifically for the sandpit. My children use it to play with so often, and I don't use it to beat eggs, so it seemed like the place for it.

The final step was to add children. Very happy children.

And tonight as I walk through the house, I am feeling sand underfoot. Sand in the bath, sand on the floor, sand swept into piles waiting for me to remove it, sand, sand, sand.

And I find that despite achieving this long-term goal with help from the men in my life, when I should be 100% happy and satisfied that the job is done, instead ...

... I have a little bit of Sand Regret.

(I've done the right thing, haven't I?)

13 November 2009

Then & Now

11 November 2009

In the middle of the night ...

... I heard Anna-Lucia whimpering. I woke up and could feel her little body lying on our bed between me and Mr de Elba, down near our legs and partly lying across mine.

Poor little lamb. A few times recently, she has half-woken up, wandered around a little disoriented and fallen asleep on her bedroom floor. I'd need to take her back to her warm bed and snuggle her down.

In the darkness, I wrapped my arms around her little tummy. I tried to lift her, but she wasn't easily moved. A sleeping child is quite difficult to carry sometimes.

I tried again, putting more effort into lifting her. But still she didn't move. I heaved one more time - no luck.

It was about then that I realised my arms were not wrapped around Anna-Lucia.

They were wrapped around my husband's thigh.

However I didn't realise this BEFORE I patted around northwards of her "torso" to see if I could find her head ...

Pat, pat, pat.

Oh. Sorry.

10 November 2009

I love my children

But frankly,

I'm getting a little sick of this rot:

09 November 2009

Dogs get put down for less

Hi! I'm Joseph. Check this out:

This here - get a closer look:

We all know what makes that sort of mark. That's a bite.

The way I see it, the reason why I have such a bad bite on me at this age is simply that I have a bigger brother and a bigger sister.

So at 6:00am SHE's in my cot with me and we're chilling out together quite happily, then HE gets in the cot too and starts picking me up because he can't leave well enough alone, and SHE gets all screamy because we were having a good time and then SHE gets so mad at HIM that SHE bites ME. Because that makes sense to her.

And then she's all "I'm sowwy Doe-feff" but I'm still not so sure.


08 November 2009


This is gonna be a funny post. I'm guessing you'll all think I'm crazy because I am doing a step-by-step coooking post on how to prepare our favourite breakfast - porridge (oatmeal). Everyone knows how to cook this and the inclusions are pretty basic, so who really needs a step-by-step post showing how to do it?


So why do it at all? To test out my new camera of course. To see if I can take pictures of food that don't make you want to 'pass', and head down the local fish&chip shop instead.

Not that you'd have fish & chips for breakfast.

But I digress.

I also want to show you how we like our porridge, because a lot of people don't like porridge. Swift Jim, for example. He says it's just gruel to him. And I have to admit, a steamy pot of this is not all that appetising:

But think of all those unsweetened complex carbs - too good to waste surely? We go through a lot of oats at our place, and this is what we do with them.

You'll need:

Step 1 is pretty important. If you stuff this up, you'll only be correcting it later on. It makes perfect sense to do this right the first time.

You have to spoon some porridge into the bowls so it can cool down while you do the next steps. But it is quite important that you spoon it into the RIGHT bowls, and have the RIGHT spoons waiting. In this example, we have the Bunny-Rabbit bowl and the Bunny-Rabbit Spoon, and behind them we have the Stripey bowl with the normal dessert spoon. Very important.

Next you need to mash up a ripe banana. We go through a lot of bananas at our place. See how yummy? See how yellow? It is my belief that the more you mash a banana, the sweeter it gets. I think this is most probably incorrect and stupid. But I still like to think it.

The children are used to waiting the extra 5 minutes for their breakfast, but they still get a bit bored, sitting at the table while I mash banana.

Add the mashed banana to the porridge with some sultanas ('raisins' in the US). We go through a lot of sultanas at our place.

Mix it up well, and add a sprinkle of cinnamon on the top. Smile at young children's pronunciation of cinnamon. We go through a lot of cinnamon at our place.

And now for the Grace.

"Thankyou for the world so briiight...
Thankyou for the stars at niiight...

Thankyou God for ...

Please bless the food,
Thankyou for the food...

And now for this bit:

Ah yes. Very good Mum.
And I of course am irrationally proud of myself for getting those complex carbs into them, using only fruit sugar to sweeten it. Yummo.