31 January 2010

Blog Template D-R-A-M-A!

I have enjoyed fiddling with my template for Killing A Fly, but at the moment, I am letting it sit so I can decide if I like what I've done with it or not.  I decided to fiddle instead with the template of Anna-Lucia's personal blog (the one that's a bit of a secret which is why you haven't heard of it.)

Well!  After fearing I'd ruined the whole thing, I managed to cut and paste a template that was working for me at Killing A Fly, then put some jpgs I'd made with http://www.scrapblog.com/ and Photoshop into the HTML code and I was mightily relieved I hadn't ruined the whole thing, afterall!

Behold, the fruits of my labour:

Oh my.  It is so pretty, I love it so much!

I wonder if I should use http://www.scrapblog.com/ for Killing A Fly as well as the Photoshopping I'm doing?  I might lose the dull edge that it's got going at the moment.

Once I've revamped Nat's and Joseph's blogs, and finally decided on something for my own, I will get back into some seriously interesting blogging.

Oh, and once something seriously interesting happens over here, that is!

30 January 2010

Australia Day Food

Really, the company was better than the food.  However I won't post photos of the company, not to protect their identities but because I didn't take any.  Having your photo pop up on someone else's blog might make you feel a little bit unsafe anyway, and I didn't clear it with them first.  Needless to say, lunch with David and Victoria was delightful, and Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz were perfectly behaved.

We ate:
Roast lamb

with potatoes, pumpkin and sweet potatoes

and garlic bread and steamed veggies, some of which were green and gold,

green and gold drinks,

and green and gold jelly with ice-cream.

David and Victoria brought green and gold lollies
and then there was lots of this (below), even after the company left:

Our vocalist lost us lots of points.

And that was Australia Day 2010.

Here's the 2010 Lamb on Australia Day ad by Sam Kekovich.

I collected previous years' here.

29 January 2010

Want to read something funny?

I've had a few posts ready for you but none of them has given me that satisfied feeling that makes you click "Publish."

One of my posts discusses an issue in the news this week regarding some of our highest politicians.  I'm sure many of you would agree with me, but just in case anyone didn't agree, or thought my post was about their politics instead of what they've been saying, I didn't post it.  I have no guts like that - I can't stand it when people tear apart what I think with their bare hands.

Another post was detailing the food we ate on Australia Day, but the company was better and we didn't get photos of them (nor ask if they would feature on the blog) so I've put that on the back-burner.

Another post was written in haste today after I picked Nat up from school.  I had a lovely conversation with the Crossing Supervisor on the way in, and on the way out she said something to my son that made me come home, switch on my computer and compose a post that started with "Dear Crossing Supervisor," and went downhill straight after that.  I didn't post it, but neither did I kill the Crossing Supervisor, so the unposted post served its purpose.

Tonight I read a post by Mama Kat that made me laugh out loud.  It's funny, and I wish I'd written it, but not had the experience that led to it.

Go on - there's nothing exciting happening at Killing A Fly tonight - head over to
and read that instead!

28 January 2010

Flat Out

School - afternoon tea - play - dinner - bath - bed.

I've been wondering how this will work.  At the moment, it's NOT.

Like many Prep kids, Nat gets pretty tired at the end of a hard day [playing].  And of course this happens:

Today he fell asleep in the middle of a tantrum as part of Exhausted Cranky-Butt Disorder at 5:00pm.

Now to confuse the issue, at 6:00pm Joseph refused to sleep, so I kept him awake until about 7:00pm.  Anna-Lucia was raging on a little late too, and I was wrestling her to bed at 8:00pm.

And that's when I saw Nat - emerging from his room bleary-eyed but certain to wake up fully.  (Oh, I was so tired, and I could taste freedom, with Anna off to bed!  I forgot to mention that Mr de Elba was working very late too, so I was flying solo.)

It's now 9:30 and I don't think he will sleep again before 10:00 at the earliest.  That'll be great the night before another day at school.

I was wondering how to avoid this particular vicious circle [I started wondering this during the last year when Nat was at kindy], and I'm still wondering. 

If you have any suggestions, I am sure to have tried them already.  I most probably have already found that they work about 30% of the time. 

And then there are days like today.

27 January 2010

The first day of school: tears and tantrums

Nat was up early and in his uniform.  He explained clearly and slowly to Joseph what school was all about, and then told his baby brother that he would have to wait for five years before his big day came, and that he, Nat would be doing it all FIRST.

The whole family went off to school and met Mrs Watson.  We saw Nat put his bag on his hook, give the teacher half his school supplies and put the rest in his blue drawer.  We watched as he found something to play with and kids to chat to.

Then we said goodbye and the remaining four de Elbas went to the car.  That was when it all fell apart.

When she realised we were going home, Anna-Lucia wailed.  "I wanna go at gool!" she cried all the way home.  "I wanna go at gool! - I wanna go at gool! - I wanna go at gool!" she repeated.

Once we got home, she found her wrap, sucked it and sobbed for a little bit.  We did some gardening, she played in an empty box, and now she's watching Shrek the Third.

Funny - as I was leaving the classroom, the Teacher Aide said to me, "Now you go home and don't worry!"  I had no idea what she was talking about.

Now I get it.

25 January 2010

It's great to be us!

"What's going on across the road?"

"Oh, it's those de Elbas."

"What about them?"

"That great lady plumber and two blokes with a ditch digger are there."

"It's sure making a mess of their lawn."

"Sure is.  Story goes, for the third time since they moved in nine months ago, they got a damp patch of ground.  Out the back this time.  And the damp patch turned into a bog and they knew they had to call the plumber.  Again.  That's five times now - three burst underground pipes and twice for a dodgy toilet."

"So why the ditch digger?"

"They decided to replace the whole pipe from the meter to round the back where the main intake is."

"Sucks to be them."

"Certainly sucks to be them.  They've had the water off for three days now, only turning it on for a few minutes at a time to flush the toilets, have showers and fill up the kettle and their water bottles."

"Let's hope it's fixed now, keeping the children out of the bog wouldn't be all that easy."


"I bet the children are watching that ditch digger at work out the back."

"Well if they are, I bet the little girl has her hands over her ears."

"They're nice kids aren't they?"

"They're great kids."

"Hm.  Maybe it doesn't suck to be them."

"Maybe not."

23 January 2010

Numerous and Various

October 2007, Nat was 2 years 7 months.  He was getting tired and emotional but it was nowhere near sleep time so I decided to calm him down with some TV.  I said, "What would you like to watch?  We have Wiggles, Noddy, Bob the Builder, Peppa Pig, Veggie Tales ... actually, we have VARIOUS!"  Nat began to cry.  "I don't LIKE "Various!" he stormed.
And so on with the Numerous and Various.

1. Nat's holiday uniform (remember Aussies say 'holiday' when Americans say 'vacation.' It's not like we're still having Christmas.)

2.  Anna-Lucia's holiday uniform

3.  Nat's nearly-back-to-school-time uniform, worn each day and to bed for two nights this week, and to the shops on Saturday morning.  I am liking the orange!  Unique!

4. Veggies

5.  Somebody should brush that little girl's hair

6.  Raspberry Tiger, arranged so it looks like an orange Brilliant is aiming to crush its spirit.

7. Gold Bunny, cruelly broken from the main plant by an unco-ordinated woman taking the dog for a walk at 5:00am, who tossed the newspaper towards the side gate but missed the mark and took out a new long stem of the Gold Bunny instead. Goodbye to the new growth and four of the five buds I was so looking forward to. (The unco-ordinated woman was me, in case you missed that.)

8. Double Delight, arranged haphazardly, stood in front of my computer screen with the skylight above, some slight soft focus and saturation of colour in 'post' (Picasa, because I'm too tired for Photoshop.)
I would have loved more black around the edges, but my computer screen is only so big.  I'm sure that Tracy P could clone some black though, and put it onto an increased canvas size.

9. Plumbers and doctors: Yes, you did read right. In a town where I cannot find a lady doctor, I have myself a totally awesome lady plumber. She's great. And my man doctor is turning out okay too.

10. To "veiledturnip" - firstly you have the best screen name I've ever heard. Secondly, I did call Koinonia Medical Center twice in the past but their books were closed ... hmm. Maybe they were just closed for ME? Maybe you've had more luck than I have, and recently? Maybe you ARE Dr Alison Brown, and are offering to have my family on your caseload? Hm? If so, thankyou! How kind.

11.  To Emily Sue - I had made vague noises late last year of being on the creche roster at church, but decided against it as A-L didn't even want to stay in creche when I was in there with her!  What a waste of time!  Church probably checked their records and saw that she'd attended approx 10 times, but didn't know that she'd made it to the end only once or twice.  I'm just saying though, to receive a roster in the mail would have been softened a little if it had an accompanying note saying "We see Anna-Lucia has attended ... At our church it is usual that parents of children who attend are on the roster ... We've taken the liberty of putting your name down ... Is that okay?"  And while we're at it - why is it automatically the mother?  Why don't they put fathers' names down, or "Father/Mother", to give us the option?  But no, only women have to miss church to look after children, like we never get a chance to have kids around us the rest of the week.  "Hey You - you've got saggy breasts - you can do the job."  Ugh.  Why did I start on this topic?

12.  To Boomer - I've been on various BP medications for nearly two years now, and the particular med changes according to whether I'm pregnant, breastfeeding or not.  Never fear, I am being looked after!  Sometime my body asks for a change, that's all.  "Creche" is the nursery at church, yes.  And it wasn't really sadness/joy at seeing Nat go off to school - it's joy-joy-excitement-pride-joy!  He can't wait, as evidenced by his non-stop school uniform wearing the week before the first day of school!  What a cool kid.

13. To Tracy P - Yes, it was tremendously cathartic to write it all out.  As soon as I hit "publish" I had the strength to make a doctor's appointment, get out of the house while the water was off, and combine the school-uniform-buying trip with the doctor.  Blogging is great!

14. To Crafty Mummy - You asked if you could help.  Hmmmm ...  I'm two centimetres away from asking if you'd make an art smock for Nat for school.  Would you?  I'd give you some $$.

15.  To Scurrette - Do you travel to Greenslopes from your current home?  Wow.  That's dedication.  But when you've got a good doctor, it's great to keep him/her.  My old one offered to keep me on, she said it was only an hour down the highway.  And how many times have I nearly going to see her since moving up here?  Heaps!  Push has never come to shove though.

16. To Hippomanic Jen - Yes, we have often lined our Worry Horses up in the past, haven't we?  It takes time for a doctor (or speech pathologist) to build up a consistent caseload, and as Dr Mwilambwe said to me the other day, until a doctor gets a fair number of elderly or chronic patients, things can be a little quiet.  Reminds me of my own working years in between the baby-raising years.

17.  To BB - you are wonderful!  I will really try to do these 2 times on the roster, who knows, it might be just wonderful!  But my suspicion is that A-L will always call the shots to up & leave ... however if she were to be allowed with your big girl and Nat in their class, I'm sure A-L would stay until the end, every day!

18. To The Working Mum - you make a good point.  A fear of dying of a stroke in the middle of Boyswear is a little irrational.

19. To Crazy Sister - I like that particular horse in light blue.  Good choice.

20. To the rest of you - glad to give you a smile.

22 January 2010

Friday Worry Horse Handicap

AND they're running! 

  • [Please, for the love of all that is good, read this first, otherwise you'll think I'm so crazy you'll never come back to Killing A Fly ever again.]
'Blood Pressure' and 'Lack of a Doctor' came out very strongly, followed by 'Churches Just Want You To Fill Their Rosters' and 'I Don't Want To Die.'

'Troublesome Plumbing' and 'Haiti and Smith' still looking very worrying on the rails; 'Husband Back At Work' close behind vying with 'Nat's Starting School And I Haven't Bought His Full Uniform Yet' on the outside.

What's this? A surprise horse has broken through a barrier and is running alongside the others - it seems it's from a neighbouring stable and is called 'Periodically Leaking Breasts' and is currently edging out 'Husband Back At Work' for seventh place.

As we turn the corner into mid-afternoon, a quick trip to the friendly and reassuring Dr M caused three horses to lose their footing and drop back in the field ... 'Churches Just Want You To Fill Their Rosters' and 'Troublesome Plumbing' leading the field now while 'Blood Pressure', 'Lack of a Doctor' and 'I Don't Want To Die' bring up the tail.  'Periodically Leaking Breasts' has given up the chase and leaves the field without finishing.

Husband spent the day 'working from home' so 'Husband Back At Work' is no longer a contender for the cup, better luck next time to the horse from The Stables of Paid Employment.

'Haiti and Smith' falling behind as we come into the home straight, possibly indicating what a self-absorbed prat I've become.  OH!  And a terrible fall there for 'Nat's Starting School And I Haven't Bought His Full Uniform Yet' - it seems a late trip to Big W and Mum has bought three pairs of shorts and ten (ten?) pairs of socks!  So Nat will go to school fully clothed, and this worry horse, for one, will fail to finish ... The officials will enter the course now and erect a discreet screen ...

Coming up to the finish line now, all medical and death-related horses are far behind, 'Troublesome Plumbing' and 'Churches Just Want You To Fill Their Rosters' are digging deep for first place, it's neck and neck, the financial horse struggling to gain supremacy over the bottomless pit of ministry involvement, but, no, it's 'Troublesome Plumbing' by a nose, 'Troublesome Plumbing' wins the Friday Worry Horse Handicap, very narrowly followed by 'Churches Just Want You To Fill Their Rosters' for second and 'Haiti and Smith' finishing strongly and rounding off the trifecta.

Possibly a disappointing finish for 'Haiti and Smith', I'm sure that many would have hoped for a big finish for the other-centred horse today.

Here in the Worry Horse TAB lunchroom, we're not too sure about the form of 'Blood Pressure' and 'Lack Of A Doctor' - depending on how things go with Dr M and a higher dose of medication, these horses may eventually be scratched from future races. 

'I Don't Want To Die' is certain to be rested now, but will surely make another appearance in the future - keep an eye out for that one.  'Periodically Leaking Breasts' may be legitimately entered in a future race but only when 'Troublesome Plumbing', 'Churches Just Want You To Fill Their Rosters' and 'Haiti and Smith' have run their courses.  Whenever 'Periodically Leaking Breasts' does run, the jockey is sure to wear colours that show up the wet patches.

Thankyou for joining us for Friday's Worry Horse Handicap.  Please join us next time.  Until then, Goodbye.

The Worry Horse Handicap

Adrian Plass once described a number of Worries he had as lining up like horses in a race.

That's what happens with me from time to time.  One minute you're turning 33 and having a great day, the next minute you've got your very own Worry Horse Handicap lining up.

Worry Horse Handicap

Number 1: Haiti and Smith (red cap, blue vest) Jockey: Compassion Australia
It will be a long time before Haiti is rebuilt and the emotional wounds will linger for generations.  It will be weeks or months until I know whether my boy Smith is okay.  I can't believe it happened on my actual birthday, Haiti time.  12 Jan has such happy connotations for me.

Number 2: Troublesome Plumbing (mud-brown cap, mud-brown vest) Jockey: Tamara the Plumber
An all-too-familiar story.  A damp patch of ground turned into a boggy patch of ground, and I called in the plumber.  AGAIN.  This time, the leak wasn't easily found and based on the facts that this is the third such leak and leak number 2 seems to have burst again, we have elected to replace the entire pipe from the water meter to the main intake at the back of the house.  (Can't be done until Monday afternoon.)  A few hours after this, I receive a letter from the council to alert me to the fact that excessive water consumption at my property has been noted, and the possibility of leaking underground pipes should be considered.  Ha.

Number 3: Blood Pressure (green cap and purple vest, for something different) Jockey: Some doctor, hopefully nice
As is common after I've had a baby, my blood pressure is up.  I need to get a new prescription for my medication anyway so now seems like a good time to review the dosage.  Problem is, I don't have a doctor.

Number 4: Lack of a Doctor (yellow cap, pink vest) Jockey, Absolutely No One At All
When I moved last April I made about twenty phonecalls to find a new doctor.  I only had a few criteria:

  • 1. A woman would be best, as I tend to stress at the doctor's, sending my BP up.  I am more calm with a woman than a man.
  • 2. I had to be able to pronounce her name, and I had to be able to understand her accent.
  • 3. She had to be affordable
  • 4. She had to be taking new patients.
After months of finding that nobody in my new town fit the bill (usual problem was criterion 4), a newspaper advertisement alerted me to a new female GP starting up in a practice not too far from home.  We hit it off.  I loved her.  Then six months later, she left.  Even the receptionist didn't know where she went - it was a bit sudden even for the practice.  Weird.

So now I need a new one.  And lo, there existeth yet another newspaper advertisement telling of a lady doctor starting a practice.  But do I want to try her, given that the last time I tried this, it ended in tears?  Maybe I should just go to the brusque, incomprehensible and male Dr M at the old practice?

Number 5: Husband Back At Work (Blue cap, green vest) Jockey: Mr de Elba
Oh how I miss having him around the house.  I miss being able to say, "You hold Joseph, I'm going to ..." and I miss the way he could spend hours with Nat and Anna during the holidays.  And I am sad that after 6 days back at work, he's "over it."  Poor me.  Poor Mr de Elba.  Poor us.  Boo hoo.  Sob.

Number 6: Nat's Starting School (and I haven't bought his full uniform yet) (Royal cap, orange and blue vest) Jockey: Nat
Against all advice, seeing Nat in his new school uniform did not make me cry.  Why would it make me cry?  He's been looking forward to this his whole life, always straining for the next stage, always wanting to be a big boy.  No, seeing Nat in his uniform shirt and hat made me so excited and proud.  And it reminded me that the uniform buying is not done.  See - people need pants.  Specifically, Nat needs pants.  And I need to buy them.  Soon.  So, rather than adding this to my Worry Horses, I should be at the shops buying pants.  But I'm not, and WHY? ... Read on.

Number 7:  I Don't Want To Die (from a stroke at a young age) (black cap, black vest) Jockey: Me
It occurs to me that if you have long-term unmanaged high blood pressure, you are at a higher risk of a stroke.  But I don't have long-term unmanaged high blood pressure (see Horse Number 3).  Every time it's a bit high, I go to the doctor (see Horse Number 4) to sort out the right medication that will bring it down to normal.  So once Horse Number 3 is sorted out by Horse Number 4, Horse Number 7 will be scratched.  It's just that in the meantime I don't want to get started on things like Horse Number 6 because I really don't want to have a stroke at the shops.  Which I won't.  Oh bother.  And it's not like Horse Number 2 is helping much - I am trying to live without plumbing so we don't waste too much water in the meantime.  ("In the meantime" means "before the pipes are fixed on Monday", not "before I die.")

Number 8: Churches Just Want You To Fill Their Rosters (blue&pink cap, yellow&green vest) Jockey: Me, of course
Anna-Lucia doesn't like going to creche at church.  I've tried a number of times and she's not into it.  So just as I was about to ditch the whole idea, a letter comes in the mail with a roster for minding the children in creche, and I am on itTwice.  So what am I supposed to do?  Be involved in a ministry that I have no involvement in, save my appearance on the roster, of course.  Story of my faith life.

18 January 2010

Get your screen resolution right

Last Sunday, Mr de Elba gave the message at a church in the Lockyer Valley.  His slideshow was preceded by a professional-looking title page bearing the title of his topic: "Blessed are the Poor in Spirit."

Unfortunately, the tech people had the screen resolution wrong and the right-hand side and the bottom of the slide were chopped off.

As his title displayed on the screen, it read, "Blessed are the Poo."

Which just goes to show, you must always pay attention to your screen resolution.

17 January 2010

Earthquake to flippancy?

I have a flippant thing to post, but it seems wrong to put it straight after my post on Smith, living in Haiti.

I keep praying for the people of Haiti and they remain on my mind. 

Please bear this in mind when I put my flippant post up tomorrow.

14 January 2010

Hoping and praying

Every time a country goes through a natural disaster, my heart is heavy for the people.  I don't know them, I haven't had them on my mind until the news of the disaster, but my heart is heavy anyway because they are all precious people - special to somebody, if not to me personally.  So very special to God, too.

But this time, following the earthquake in Haiti, it's different.

Joseph's little sponsor child, 4½ year old Smith lives in Haiti.  He lives near Port de Paix (not near Port au Prince, as I first thought) so he's further from the epicentre, but we have no way of knowing if Smith and his family are okay.  I have felt alternately hopeful and sick with worry for him.

I suspect it will be weeks if not months before we find out.  God knows, but we don't.  And that's hard.  In his recent letter to us he said it was "a gift from above to have you as friend."  It nearly makes me cry.

We are praying for him and his family - that they are safe and well, and that his country people have access to food, clean water, blankets and hygiene.  Please join with me.

12 January 2010


Today is the twelfth.

Twelve.  12.

We could add those up.

1+2 = 3.

Three.  Nice number.

Three children, for example.

That's pretty awesome, wouldn't you say?

Put two of them together though ...

33.  Wow.

I've never been 33 before.

But I am now.

It doesn't hurt as much as I thought it would.

This birthday has been wonderful!  I had so many lovely friends and family members who sent cards, presents, emails or texts, and also to Hippomanic Jen and Swift Jan who gave me a virtual birthday party!

My parents-in-law looked after the children tonight so Mr de Elba and I could go out for dinner.  We started by heading to the pool to do some laps, and then had a lovely Italian meal - pasta and risotto with gelati for dessert.

Mr de Elba is a pretty good present-giver.  He has been enjoying my home-made pizzas so decided to get me a pizza stone.  I unwrapped it at about 8:00am, and had a pizza on the table for lunch.  This included time to knead and rise the dough, and get some groceries.  Here is the pizza - it's no longer on the stone in this photo, but on the cutting board.
The base was perfect!  This time I used roasted pumpkin, red onion, blanched spinach, capsicum, pepperoni and ricotta.  Delicious!

Among the other lovely presents was something you might be interested in ...

Ta-DAH!  My very own domain name!

This means that now you can find my blog at http://www.killingafly.com/.  No need to mess about with "dot-blogspot", nor with "friendlyblackandwhitedog" which was chosen without much thought back in 2007.

Please update your bookmarks!  And stand back and admire the simplicity that is http://www.killingafly.com/!  Now to keep working on my new template.  Want a sneak preview of something that may not even be the same when I finally decide on what I want?  Here is a post divider that I made (imagine it minus the black border, if you can):

Well it is past 10:00pm (the hour of my birth) and although this makes no sense, I will take that as my cue to logoff and go to sleep.  Thankyou all for helping make this a great birthday!

11 January 2010

Conversations at the end of the lane

Mum and I went to the pool yesterday.  I was taking advantage of a time when everyone else in my house was asleep except Nat.  I told Mr de Elba where I was going and snuck out so Nat wouldn't notice.  Upon returning, I was greatly "noticed" by Nat and the now-awake Anna-Lucia, and their disappointment upon seeing that I went to the pool without them and enjoyed myself hugely was a real downer.

So instead let me tell you about the fun Mum and I had doing laps.

At one point, an older man ambled towards some seats and proceeded to undress down to his swimmers.  Unfortunately for us, they were "Speedos", also known as "DT's" or "Budgie smugglers."  If you don't understand exactly what style of swimwear this is, check out the term on Urban Dictionary and see if there's a description that may help you understand.  Unless you have delicate sensibilities.  The Urban Dictionary is no respector of delicate sensibilities.

These particular Speedos were predominantly white.  Oh my, avert the eyes.  The gentleman came to swim in the lane next to the one Mum and I were doing laps in. So in order to pay him back for wearing his white budgie smugglers, we treated him to absurd conversations every time we finished a lap together.

Me: Yes, you were right!  There was only one bobby-pin down there!  I thought it was more!

Mum: No, there were two of them there!

Me: Really?  I thought there was only one and the rest were rusty spots from bobby-pins in the past.

Mum: No, there were two, and this time you have to tell me whether the two bobby pins and the linked paperclips on the bottom of the pool make an equilateral triangle or an isoceles triangle.

Me: Okay.  Off we go.

And then after the next few laps:

Me: Equilateral!

Mum: I thought so!  Now your next question:  See all that stuff on the bottom of the pool that looks like snail poo?

Me: Yes, I saw that!

Mum:  Well, can it really be snail poo?

Me: Err, no idea.

Mum:  Okay this time have a really good look.  And if it's not snail poo, tell me what you think it is.

Me:  Oh, I'm gonna have no idea.  Okay, off we go again.

And then next time:

Me:  No idea.  Probably snail poo.

Mum: Well, I thought it might be little pieces of the rubbery grout between the tiles.  Maybe it's come out and curled up on the floor of the pool?  That'd look a bit like snail poo.

Me:  Maybe you're right.  Anyway, I spent the time thinking, and I've come up with a solution to your tandoori salmon problem ...

And on and on we went.  I'm guessing most people say nothing, or they talk about swimming.  Meh.  How boring.

10 January 2010

Talking Carl

Here's a great iPhone App.
He's red, he has a huge mouth and he's called 'Talking Carl'.  He copies everything you say in his cute little growly voice.  He giggles if you tickle his tummy and he yelps if you poke him in the eye.

The game usually starts with a little voice pleading, "Daddy, can I please talk to Carl on your iPhone?"  And then we load him up and it's on:

Anna-Lucia: Hello, Carl!

Carl: Hello, Carl!

A-L: Hello, Carl!

Carl: Hello, Carl!

A-L: (giggles)

Carl: (giggles)

A-L: I am Anna!

Carl: I am Anna!

A-L: No, I am Anna!

Carl: No, I am Anna!


Carl: No, I AM ANNA!

A-L, angrily: Your name is 'Carl'!

Carl: Your name is 'Carl'!

A-L: No, your name is 'Carl'!

Carl: No, your name is 'Carl'!



A-L: Ooh, let me tickle you!  [Tickles Carl's tummy.]

Carl: Ooh, let me tickle you!  [Giggles.]

A-L: No, I will tickle you!  [Tickles.]

Carl: No, I will tickle you!  [Giggles]

A-L: Okay Carl, I will poke you in the eye.  [Poke.]

Carl: Okay Carl, I will poke you in the eye. OW!

A-L: [Poke.]

Carl: OW!

A-L: [Poke. Giggle.]

Carl: OW! [Giggle.]

A-L: [Poke. Giggle]

Carl: OW! [Giggle.]

There's something weird about a two-year-old poking the life out of an animated character's eye just for the laughs.

09 January 2010

Ramblings of the Sleep Depraved

This will be quick because I am trying to be ASLEEP before 9:00pm.  This is my second attempt.  Last night I realised I'd probably FAILED when the clock said 2:00am and I hadn't slept a wink.  Since my last post on bad sleep, Joseph has slept like a little angel, but I will not tell you what sleeping position he has adopted in order to achieve this.  No, I won't.

He was a bit restless last night, and I don't think I was ready for it.  I ended up sitting in the rocking chair, gazing unblinkingly into the darkness, mentally writing my obituary.  I'm not sure why, it could be in response to the fact I'd just hissed at my baby that he would be going to sleep that instant, for my next journey into his room would be to kill one of us, probably me, and I would be making him watch.


My obituary.

I found that when I'm sleep depraved, I get really pessimistic.  I can't see any good in anything.  (Probably not the right mood in which to enter one's child's room with a half-baked plan to kill one or other of you.)

My obituary went something like this:

Givinya de Elba's early life was unremarkable, as were her teenage years and adulthood.  She struggled in vain to get her children to sleep well as babies, and hated having milk sucked out of her.  She couldn't sing, couldn't run, couldn't sew and couldn't have cared less.  She never wrote anything of note.  Oh there was a blog or something.  She died at her own hand, driven to despair by her young son's crying.

Ridiculous.  Joseph didn't actually cry last night, he just had periods of moaning as he inched around his cot, periodically bashing his head into the bars.  My two big children 'slept through' from 8 months and have been pretty good sleepers since.  And hey, I HAVE milk there, so what's the big problem getting it sucked out of me.  Besides the obvious, of course.  If I could sew, I'd spend lots of money on fabric, if I could sing I'd get put on every church worship roster and if I could run, my boobs would get saggy.  -er.  Saggier.

But no: in the darkenss, it was all moan, moan, moan.

Pretty amazing, the things you think when you're sleep-depraved.

Now off to bed for me.  I have 20 minutes to shower, dress, read, pray and fall asleep so I make my 9:00pm deadline.  Hopefully I won't be so sleep-depraved when milk is demanded of me tonight and hopefully one day I will feel awake enough at 5:00am to walk the dog before the children wake up.

And I promise that if Joseph has another bad night, I won't even start thinking.  The brain does not deserve to be unleashed until 8:00am at the earliest.

06 January 2010

Smiles, Encouragement and the Garden

1. Smiles  It's funny, isn't it?  For the first few weeks of your baby's life, you can't wait until they smile.  Then they get to that age when they start giving the first little smirks and you hold out for every single one.  And then your days are full of this:

2. A Special Type of Encouragement  I am messing around with my blog template, trying for a fresher, cleaner look.  And I know from when I was pregnant with Joseph that the orange-yellow-green theme can make a gestating woman terribly nauseous. 

The other night I spent hours playing around in Photoshop and then inside the HTML code of my blog and I did some exciting new things, surprising even myself!  Mr de Elba looked at it, paused for too long, and slowly said, "I would have made it this tall," indicating about a third of the height of my new header. 

Bowled over by that withering barrage of praise, I went to bed.  But I am still working on it!  ("The template or the marriage?" you ask.  Well, the template involves less negotiation, but the marriage doesn't involve HTML code.  I wonder which is easiest?  I know which is more worth the effort!)  Here's a dead fly to keep you going until I change the template for good:

3.  Gardening!  I am enjoying my little garden!  The fun of growing tomatoes...
...the promise of planted seeds (shallots here)...

...and the manic chaos of a border collie chasing a tennis ball.

It's great being outside.

03 January 2010

My New Christmas Jumpsuit

Hi. I'm Joseph.
I had a lovely time on my first Christmas.
People gave me some lovely toys and clothes.
Grandma gave me this cute little jumpsuit. I really like the patterns.
I'm just not sure about the positioning of this mushroom, that's all.

02 January 2010

Sand in my Swimmers

There's sand in my swimmers.  That's a good thing ... isn't it?

Sand in my swimmers usually means I have had an AWESOME time at the beach (one of my all-time favourite places.)  This time, I'm not so sure.

I've loved swimming at the beach (usually at the Sunshine Coast) since I was small.  My Dad would take me out deep and wait for The Perfect Wave while I lay on my tummy on our inflatable raft, and then The Perfect wave would come and he'd give the raft a huge push and ... !! Wow!

I can't describe the joy and exhilaration I felt as my raft skidded over the water as I rode it right to the shore.  Up I'd hop, grab my raft and head back to Dad, who was busy squandering his own personal swimming time on finding more Perfect Waves for his little girl.

I remember catching the three Most Perfect Waves of my life at Kiama when I was a teenager.  The water was rough and choppy that day, so it was only because of Dad that I could actually catch any waves at all.  The first part of the ride was spent with me up on top of the crest of the wave, wondering if the wave would slip out from under me and leave me behind.  But then, as I pushed the nose of my raft (or board, by that age) downwards, I moved to the front of the wave and fell flat downwards the meter or so to the water below (bump, bump!) and continued to be pushed along by the lower part of the wave, all the way up the beach.  And there was my Dad, squandering his own swimming time so he could cheer me on.

I swam with Mr de Elba at the Sunshine Coast when we were engaged and I swam with him again on our Honeymoon.  I swam with him when I was pregnant for the first time.  We always caught as many waves as we wanted to. 

All my life, I've stayed out in the water so long that my lips went blue and I got sand all through my swimmers.

Swimming at the beach is a little different now.  I have just come home from three lovely days at the Sunshine Coast, staying with Mr de Elba's sister and her family.  I thought my three children loved the water, but this time, I noticed a distrubing trend.

The Pool:

The Beach:

The water was perfect!  So warm, so inviting!  But my firstborn required a lot of encouragement to get into the water, my secondborn kept moaning "Can we go home?  I don't yike the beach!  Its not quiet!" and my thirdborn put on his Scared Eyes and started crying when he felt the water swirling around.

I remembered my own dear Dad* who squandered his own swimming time on finding Perfect Waves for his little girl, and this time at the beach, I squandered my own time doing the same for my little boy.  And it was wonderful.

Mr de Elba did arrange for a few minutes of child-free swimming time for me though, and I dashed off quickly before he could change his mind (or I could hear any of my children crying!)  Bless His Heart! He knows what I love!  Could I ride in three good waves?  I was desperate to try.

I caught one wave, and rode it nearly to the shore.

Then the clouds came over and it got choppy and rough

I got dumped by one wave.

Then I nearly got killed by about ten waves.

Then the surf patrols found some sharks and closed the beach.

Still, there's sand in my swimmers.  That means I had fun ... doesn't it?

* Speaking fondly of one's parents in the past tense can sound like they are deceased, as I discovered during proof-reading.  In this case however it is not the situation.  My own dear Dad is still available for riding in more waves, which I hope to do with him one day.