30 November 2010

Say 'Cheese'!

29 November 2010

Signs that your life might be ever-so-slightly sucky

My Mum came over briefly today and greeted me with what was a very insightful question.

"So - have you done anything exciting today?" she asked in a voice dripping with thrilled anticipation.  "... Any washing?"

I realised that Mum was absolutely right.  Like a sister-in-arms, she was standing with me in this life that has come down to this: either I have no excitement in my life, or I do washing.

The saddest part of it was that today, I didn't even get around to doing any washing.

28 November 2010

We have a worm farm!

Which is a bit like having 1000 new pets.

25 November 2010

Time for an extreme makeover

Me, entering the bathroom: Okay Jessie, time to hop out of the shower.
Jessie, who must have had her eyes shut: Who is that?  Is that you Dad?
Me: What?!  You can't tell from my voice?!?

It reminded me of the time that a man on a bike cycled up to me, stared at my face and said, "Hello, Richard."

24 November 2010

Grandpa Bob's Treasure Map

Buzz: Hey Mum, look at this picture. Did Dad draw it?

Me: What is it? (Sees that it is a complex geometrical problem:)

Me: Oh, that would be Grandpa Bob. Definitely not Daddy.

Buzz: I've traced over all the lines.

Me: Good on you.

Buzz: It's a treasure map. Why did Grandpa Bob draw a treasure map? Where is it? What is in the treasure? How does Grandpa Bob know about the treasure?  Was he the one who buried it?

Me: Wha? What do you mean, it's a treasure map? How do you know?

Buzz: Because there's an "X" there.
Me: Ah.

23 November 2010

Epic Fail

I knew that I was going to cut a corner with tonight's meal.  The only question was which corner was I going to cut?  Was it going to be the family favourite Bacon Pumpkin and Pesto Pasta, or was it going to be the rare-but-inevitable-during-a-week-like-this McDonalds?

I had all the ingredients for BP&P pasta and decided that really, I should cook it.  It's probably slightly healthier, and besides, I'd already asked Buzz if he'd help me.  But although he's been cooking lots of our meals recently (with everything pre-chopped, the recipe meticulously explained and still given careful supervision,) today he said, "Nah, I'm too tired."  Way to go buddy.  Love to see a good work ethic in my kids.

When it came time to start cooking, I chopped the pumpkin and started roasting it.  My next step was to mow the lawn.  Apparently, I am prone to the odd domestic non-sequitur.

The pumpkin, inevitably, turned black.  Sigh.  McDonalds after all.

It was funny announcing this to the kids though.  Buzz, Jessie and Woody had spent a few hours in the back yard making "wombat stew" out of tank water, sand, grass, dirt, gravel and leaves (but thankfully no wombat,) and had graduated to play in the waterlogged sandpit.  They ended up filthy, so by the time the dinner decision was made, they were all showered, in their pyjamas and watching Shrek.  It was in this position that I found them to deliver the news about dinner.

I pressed pause.  "I thought Bacon Pumpkin Pesto Pasta would be good for dinner..."

Jessie's eyes lit up, and Buzz's head fell onto the couch and his eyes closed, signalling his unavailability to cook.

"... but I burned the pumpkin."

Jessie's expression fell, Buzz opened his eyes, curious.

"So I guess we'll have to go to McDonalds."


Mummy is a hero, but it's still a nutritional epic fail.

22 November 2010

For better or worse

It's that time of year again when Mr de Elba goes away on a super-amazing camp of a lifetime and I am at home holding things together at this end.  This particular camp is not one that I have a great hankering to join as a leader, but it still is such a fun time for those who do go that I sometimes have to work hard at seeing the higher purpose in holding the family together back here at home.

I do this by mentally re-writing my marriage vows.  I do this not to remove clauses and renege on previously-declared promises, but to give greater clarity to the selfless sacrifice that sometimes one makes so the other's ministry can have greater effectiveness and so that one doesn't run the risk of losing a small child off the edge of a boat.  Here is how it has turned out this year:

I, Mrs, take You, Mister, to be my husband.
To have and to hold, for better or for worse,
For richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health,
To love and to cherish; from this day forward.
All that I have I will give to you:
While you are relaxing with school-leavers in a resort on Long Island*, I will continue with school dropoffs and pickups,
As you while away hours in a lagoon at Airlie Beach**, I will attempt to reason with small children bent on my emotional destruction,
While you sail a tall ship around the Whitsunday Islands***, I will suffer abject humiliation at the shops.
I will accept demands for early dinners and subsequent aggressive refusal of those early dinners
At the hands of small tyrannical children bearing your physical likeness.
This is my solemn vow.

* Random picture of a Long Island resort from here

 ** Random picture of a lagoon at Airlie Beach from here

 *** Random picture of the Solway Lass cruising around islands from here but don't click on it if you don't want a million crazy pop-ups ruining your day.

20 November 2010

Buzz - half as old and terribly cute

Some of you notice that my kids are growing up fast!  I tend not to notice because I see them day after day, and the changes happen without my knowing. But I've been going through my photos and videos to back them up, and I remembered this one video that was taken when Buzz was half his current age of five and a half - he was two years and nearly nine months.  This video took me back to the little baby voice he had, and his capacity for memorising large chunks of text that we'd read to him hundreds of times.

Enjoy this.  For my U.S. friends, when Buzz says, "Whales don't go to slayp (sleep)", that's just a weird vowel he used, it's not some twisted weird Australian accent going on there. And his reading of the final page wasn't entirely accurate, in case you were wondering what manner of weird sect we might belong to.

19 November 2010

Daisies and Ants

Dad took us to a field of daisies to take photos of us.
We all played in the daisies.
We all were happy.
Until we noticed the ants.
The end.

18 November 2010

What does one do in a blogging slump?

The first thing that becomes evident during a blogging slump is the guilt.  Oh, the guilt, the guilt!  I owe it to my blog, I owe it to my readers, I owe it to myself ... woe, woe, woe, boo-hoo.

Each night I log on and I read what you lovely people have been saying.  So many wonderful blogs,so many stories and pictures!  I love jumping into your lives and seeing what is interesting your typing fingers today!

I've been Google-Talking with some of you too!  That's fun (especially my typos.  They get worse as the night wears on.)

I have also been spending an inordinate amount of time on ABC iView - the site where you can watch recent ABC TV programs.  I am still unable to corral myself in front of our actual TV and sit still to watch, but I have been enjoying watching on the computer screen.  The Sherlock Holmeses have come to an end for the time being, and now I watch QI because I'm an Alan Davies fan, Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow because I love comedy, The Librarians because oh my goodness Pearl has moved in with Frances and Terry, and Media Watch because I love seeing someone sticking the boot into someone who has done a bad job in media and current affairs.  I watch Gardening Australia so I can learn what I'm doing wrong in the garden, and I was watching Can We Help until they started that segment with the po-faced doctor who tells everyone not to eat anything yummy.

I SHOULD have been backing up all my photo files into my Dropbox, but I haven't.  Naughty me.

So that's what I've been doing during my blogging slump.  But most of all, it's the guilt.  The terrible, woeful guilt.

I will leave you, and particularly Tracy who likes my photos and said I'm her therapist, with this one picture.  I'm running out of ideas to stimulate the little brain which runs around in a pink-clad body and will continue to do so aimlessly for the next 74 days until pre-prep starts.  So there's been games with Buzz's flashcards, letters and sounds during nighttime stories, and also a bit of this, below.

Annie Apple - Noisy Nick - Noisy Nick - Annie Apple - Hyphen - Lucy Lamplight - Uppy Umbrella - Clever Cat - Impy Ink - Annie Apple.

17 November 2010

A Little Bit Weird

I've been trying a bit of straw-bale gardening. It's where you get some straw bales and ... plant a garden in them.  Well, it's a bit more complex than that, but that's the idea.

I got two bales for my first attempt.  I decided that if all else fails (which it isn't) then at the end of the growing season I can take the bales and spent veggie crops apart and let it improve the soil underneath.  I've put them in a place where I would love to have veggies next year, but currently has quite poor soil.

I've put in cucumbers, capsicum, rocket and some little carrots which will certainly fail because the bales have proved to be too rich in nutrients.  The carrots see no reason at all to put down big, fat roots in search of noms.  Everything else is growing well though, and I've decided that you can't have everything.  I also put some pumpkin seeds into the ends of the bales and then had to decide which of the resulting plants were to be allowed to spread their vines out along the garden from there.

There are some tiny capsicums and cucumbers appearing ...

... and the flowers are making it look quite joyful.

But there's one weird thing.  When I started this little straw bale garden, I put the two bales standing up here in my garden ...

... with barely the space for my hand to fit between them.  Sure, there's been a lot of decomposing and squashing-down, but it also appears there's been SLIDING.  And that is totally weird.  In the picture above you can see the two bales covered in Green Things Growing, and then an expanse of dead grass clippings in between.

And that, I believe, is a Little Bit Weird.

08 November 2010

Things that are painful with a burned belly button

1. holding children
2. driving
3. washing
4. folding
5. showering
6. wearing shirts
7. kitchen work
8. sitting at desk
9. rolling over in the night
10. bending over to pick things up.

The list above describes a usual day for me.  Sigh.

07 November 2010

Don't say it can't get worse - there are still 3½ hours in the day

I am absolutely furious.  It's been "one of those days" and I'm afraid I made it through with all my loved ones alive only by the skin of my teeth.  I've been fuelled by a lot of food-related and fat-related aggression moments, and only being allowed 10 of my 20 minutes of power-nap in the afternoon did not help at all.

As we closed in on tonight, Buzz and Jessie's fighting has reached insane levels.  The most frustrating part of the sibling rivalry has been that it is punctuated by long periods when they play beautifully and show that they are, after all, very good friends.  Woody has maintained an "Arsenic Hour" pattern of whinging in the late afternoons until bedtime ever since he was a newborn, and that has made everything worse.

My pants are a teensy bit tighter.  This, along with associated issues, makes me hopping mad.  (How many calories does one burn through hopping while mad?)

Woody needs to understand that I would be more favourably disposed towards him if he didn't throw lettuce from his plate around the kitchen, and Jessie needs to understand that the past participle of "wink" is not "wunk" and that trying different vowels gets her no closer to the correct word.  (Please, for the love of all that is good, do not try different vowels at home.)

There's a motion-sensitive noisy toy trapped somewhere in the living room and I'm not sure where it is.  It makes its annoying little noise periodically, and if I don't find it by bedtime, I'm done for.

Anyway.  As if it could get any worse, I was breathing a sigh of relief after Woody had fallen to sleep, Mr de Elba was reading to Buzz, and I had finally wrenched myself away from Jessie and her interminable requests for stories and songs and can-you-sleep-with-me-Mummy, and I made myself a cup of tea.  I could literally feel the stress of the day floating away as I put the teabag in, the kettle boiled, and I began to pour the water into my cup.

I must have been feeling particularly flaccid after the onslaught of the day, because as I leaned my tummy against the bench, the kettle slipped off the lip of my cup and spilled boiling water on the bench, and thence onto my waiting tummy.

I now have an angry red scald mark - across my tummy - and deep into my belly button - which is becoming more painful with each passing minute.