Sunday, 29 April 2007

A bunch of two year olds

Doo Dah got his 4 month injections on Monday morning and woke from his big sleep with a hacking cough. The fun of the colds began. Nugget's started the next day, so for the past couple of days we have had two sick boys and have been unable to go anywhere or see anyone who has a child. I began slowly developing a case of cabin fever. Nugget too was feeling hemmed in, so we broke the rules and went out for some walks, to the shops for a bit of retail therapy and to Doo Dah's MG (at a cafe).

On Saturday, the 28th April (yesterday) we went to D&R's house for the combined two year old birthday party. We had arranged a mobile petting zoo and for a photographer to come and take family photos (a portrait party. See It was loads of fun. It was great to get everyone together and to see all of the Dads and the 'workers'. Most of the other kids absolutely loved all the animals, especially Alana and Jess. Nugget didn't show much interest but he did feed one of the goat's some bread and patted a baby chicken whilst sitting on his Mum's lap which seems an improvement on the recent trip to the Royal Easter Show. He played happily with some trucks and cars in the garden and played together with Michael on the slippery slide and Hannah on the trampoline. Everyone had a feast of sausage sandwiches for lunch.

I was really looking forward to having the family photos taken as I had been meaning to arrange this since Nugget was born. I took effort getting the boys ready to make sure that their outfits would be cute in the pictures and that they would be matching in with us. I thought we were ready to set the world on fire with the level of our gorgeousness! When we actually had the photos done however, neither of the boys were up for smiling for the camera (hopefully the photographer captured a couple of little smiles) and their noses ran the whole time. Geege and I spent all of our 'session' wiping little noses and trying to cajole smirks and giggles out of N and D (compare this to the F's before us who had to drag Phoebe away because she was loving the camera so much!). We have to wait one week to see the final product. I will keep you posted.

Hannah wasn't able to make it. Instead, J organised a combined house-warming and birthday party for Hannah last week and invited a large crowd. Unfortunately the weather was not very friendly and it rained all afternoon. This meant that the house was chockers with people, many of whom were very large, and there was nowhere for the toddlers to, well, toddle. This resulted in a very tense and busy environment. The fact that the rugby league was playing on the TV instead of having some nice, relaxing music didn't really add to the ambiance. I had Doo Dah in a sling and he was squirming around and I got more and more flustered as the afternoon progressed. D&R kindly assisted me with getting drinks and food for self and Nugget, but in the end the crowd got to me and we bid them adieu. I was disappointed because I love J and wished that things had turned out more smoothly for her.

Hannah is 94cm tall, so if the height predictor calculators are correct will be 188cm (about Geege's height).

R&G came for poker last night. Geege won. It was an interesting evening -G poisoned me with her moreish curry, so I spent some of the evening on the loo, Ruby (dog) farted under the table, Nugget and Doo Dah played tag waking every hour or so, G&R competed 'til the death over hands that contained nothing and the R and Geege got rolling drunk. All fun and games.

Monday, 23 April 2007

The Biggest Loser Finale

We found out on Thursday that we had tickets to the Biggest Loser Finale on Monday the 23rd April (thanks to R from MG who is one of the directors). Life had to be rearranged quickly to ensure that I could go! Last year, R, K and D and myself from MG all got together for "the big watch" of the final, so it was only fitting that the four of us were able to go to the real thing this year.

The Geege had to take a day off work to mind Doo Dah and pick up Nugget from daycare so that I could go. It was great fun, but a very long day. We met a few interesting characters in the queue (we were sandwiched between Chris' trainer and Greg's wife). We clapped excessively, whoo-ed on command and got to see the amazing transformations first hand. It really is incredible that people can lose that much weight in only 3 months. They really are inspirational. None of us were terribly impressed with the winner however. He did lose nearly half of his body weight (and at 6 feet 5 was only 79kg) but he was such a wooden, awkward character. There's no replacement for a personality now is there.

We were supposed to be at Global Studios from 12.30 to 5, but it went until 7.30 (and we left before they filmed Damien Leith). I had expressed a feed for Doo Dah and bought some formula pouches, "just in case". Geege had great trouble giving him the EBM bottle (at least an hour he said :( ), and he barely touched the formula. I was absolutely bursting by the end of the show. I thought I was only going to miss one feed, but I missed two because it went so long, and I didn't have a breast pump so the boozies were about to explode by the time I got home. Luckily Doo Dah woke when I arrived home and he had a good feed and we all felt better and he slept until 5 in the morning!

Saturday, 21 April 2007

IVF success story

Doo Dah and I went to M-E's baby shower today at her place in Berowra. It was really nice to see her and to catch up with some of the speech pathologists from her work. Not to mention having the opportunity to play those terrible baby-shower games that I loathe (but secretly quite like) and eat lots of scrumptious tea-party delights.

The last time we saw M-E and M (in January) she was barely showing. She is now 32 weeks and looking much more pregnant (as you would expect). Nothing like a developing baby bump to mark the passage of time.

I still can't believe she is pregnant and how smoothly the IVF thing went for them. She said she would be pregnant in October, and dang it. She was. I don't know if it was the confidence with which she tackles life that makes things go so well for her, but it certainly seemed to fall easily into place. Compared to the horror stories that you hear, she has had a very good run. We gave them a cute little pink outfit (I had so much fun picking out the pinkest thing I could find).

Here comes little L...

Friday, 20 April 2007

A glimpse into the future?

Our mate Jack turned 3 today so we all went down the Clontarf Reserve for a play at the park to celebrate. It was a great playground and Nugget had the best time under the supervision of the Geege. Doo Dah met up with some of his aged crew too - little Ted S and Baby Hannah M, so I got to do some baby talk about poos, breast feeding and sleeping, so everyone was happy.

Jack's Mum,K, had some new friends there - Milly from England and her three boys. Milly was a lovely lady. She has three children, each 22 months apart. She sure is busy. I had to take a small moment to gather my composure as I looked at her little family and pondered the likelihood of it being me, in another couple of years.

Is my fate three boys?

Am I doomed for another quick pregnancy?

I am in two minds about it. On one hand I thought Milly had a lovely little set up. Over and done with. Who can complain about that? On the other, the practical side of it all seemed very hard. Three little boys all nagging at her. Needing her. I'm just not sure. Always good to meet people who give you a reality check though.

I took Nugget for a nudey swim (him, not me) at the beach before we were due to head off and he thought he was the ants pants. He jumped and splashed and sang out. There was some difficulty getting him to come out of the water however- you have got to love the temper on that kid. More fluorescent cake was eaten by all.

It is always nice to see The Ms and their family and friends. They are a great bunch of people and always good for a laugh.

BTW. We finally managed to measure Nugget and he is 91cm. All going to plan he will be about 184.5cm (6 feet 1) which will be lovely. We will just have to see if the calculations are correct.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Party at Wiggles Play centre, Seven Hills

We planned at trip to Wiggles Play centre as a quasi party for Nugget's Birthday. While I think that a two year old really doesn't need a party, I figured a fun day out with his friends was in order. He has only ever been to one of these indoor play centres before, when he was about 16 months old, and while he enjoyed himself then, I suspected now was a better time to go. I was very right about that!

We went yesterday. All of his cousins came and some of the Mother's Group (MG) gang (Phoebe, Alana, Jess, Darcy and Natalie), as well as Jack M and Charlotte S.

The place is incredibly intense to say the least. A massive room full of slippery dips, ball pits, mirrors, jumping castles, big red cars and lawn mowers to push, all in Wiggles theme. Nugget was in Wiggly heaven. All of the children were. His big cousins, A and AJ, took him on to all of the play equipment and he was more adventurous than I have ever seen him.

The Mums were cursing me. The noise and level of activity was enough to stimulate anyone! The cake that I arranged from the centre was fluorescent blue and green and full of chocolaty goodness. Nugget was covered from head to toe. We all sang happy birthday and everyone had a turn at blowing out the candles.

It was a major extraction to get Nugget out of the building at the end of the party. As it turned out, I left my keys on the roof of the car and the car open the whole time were in the centre. We were very lucky though, the birthday gods were still protecting us.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

The Royal Easter Show 2007 Edition

On the 17th of April (Doo Dah's 4 month birthday) we went to the Royal Easter Show with Nan and Grandpa. Nugget was rather impressed with the fast cars in the main arena and was completely enamoured with the Thomas the Tank train ride (he got to go on Henry with Grandpa), but the animal walk was less than exciting for him. He was happy to look at the piglets having "boozy juice", and interested in the cows being brushed with a "bacuum cweaner", but he didn't love the other animals at all really. Nan, on the other hand, loved all of the baby animals and insisted that we complete the entire walk. Both the Geege and his Dad were pretty over it by the end, and Nugget fell asleep on his dad's shoulder (a first for more than a year!) watching the dog judging but Nan, Doo Dah and I had a great time. Nan and I managed to disappear into the food hall to look at the vegetable pictures and slipped in a bit of wine tasting with George whilst we were there. We also chased through the show-bag hall and picked up a couple of beauties. Sadly, the wood chopping was over for the year so I didn't get to see my favourite event, but there is always next year.

Monday, 16 April 2007

Running late as usual...

A quick note before I duck out to get a pink slip for the car and visit a friend's brand new baby...

It has been a busy couple of weeks for the 4 of us.

Easter weekend (Wednesday 3 April - Saturday 7 April, 2007)
We went camping at Booti Booti NP (near Forster) with some mates (M&N, N&S, M&S, and M's brother H and his partner, S). It was a fantastic! Despite the rain, we managed to have a fabulous time. We had swims at the beach, walks in the bush, and lots of hands of poker and Uno.

Nugget had lots of fun meandering around the campsite, playing with "Rusty" and his tractor, playing in the mud, sand and puddles of water and bullying young A, N&S's little boy.

Doo Dah was somewhat out of sorts for the first couple of days (the switch to 3-days between poos has made him a little more irritable at times!) but got right into it thereafter. Not too bad for the poor little thing's first camping adventure.

We four all slept in the tent quite amicably - it is surprisingly roomy and, thankfully, waterproof. Listening to the sound of the rain on the tent was a wonderful way to go to sleep at night.

The mossies were pretty horrendous in the daytime. Their bite wasn't as itchy as one might expect - lucky because the two boys were covered from head to toe.

The wildlife was a little friendlier than expected - especially the monitor lizard that S decided to feed on the second day. It was I who had to save the campsite from the lizard when everyone else went down to the beach for a swim (I was babysitting). The Geege's thong was flung from one end of the communal tarp to the other with perfect precision, and managed to land on the lizard's head. I have never seen a goanna move so quickly! We didn't see or hear from him again.

The Geege and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary on Good Friday night. We all went down to the Paradise Palms Recky for a meal, a beer and some rugby viewing. The Geege and I had a "how's your life" moment. It was nice to mark the milestone but bizarre to think about how different life has become in the past couple of years.

Easter Sunday
Egg hunt at Casa Chalker.

Easter Monday - Friday 13, April
Trip to Nowra with the boys. The Geege worked all week but caught the train down to Wollongong on Friday to drive back with us. We picked up Pops at Waterfall atation on the way down. Apart from the fact that Nugget only slept for about 20 mins, the trip down was uneventful.

The weather was tops all week - barely a cloud in the sky. Gotta love autumn. We took full advantage of blue skies and sunshine with a couple of lovely walks along the beach at Huskisson. The Tuesday walk was just us, but the Wednesday we took Pops and Gran and their neighbours (C, F (2), and B&L (6 months)). It was a fantastic way to spend the mornings - refreshing. Nugget and F had a swim at the beach too which was fun and exciting for them. Nugget wanted more "fwops" as he calls the act of being flung into the water. It sure was nice to have the sand between my toes again so soon after the Booti Booti trip.

We also caught up with school friends S (with M (3) and W(18 months)) and T(with J (2) and S (6 months) during the week. They are always fun to be around and the advent of children just adds to the enjoyment. All the kids fought over the Uncle TICH truck - even as kids we know a good antique when we see one. Lucky for us, Uncle TICH's truck lives at Gran and Pops's place, so Nugget got first dibs. We went to T's place on Tuesday afternoon and saw the Silly Billies on Thursday with S. The Silly Billies is a musical entertainment group for the kids and, quite frankly, was the definition of atrocious. Nugget didn't even manage to get off my knee for one minute which gives you an indication of just how engaging they were. While he showed absolutely no interest in the whole thing whilst we were there, Nugget has been talking about the Silly Billies since. We won't be encouraging that little obsession.

T, Mum and I went out to the movies on the Thursday night (poor Pops got stuck babysitting). We saw Disturbia, a teen thriller flick lightly in the vein of Rear Window (a generous comparison). It was pretty ordinary but entertaining nonetheless as I haven't seen a movie at the cinema in some time.

Sunday, April 15 - Nugget's second birthday.
Nugget, Doo Dah and I spent the morning down at Bobbin Head with G (sans R), B&R and baby F (9 months). The Geege had to work because Helen is away in Albury visiting her sister who has just had a baby. We had a lovely morning picnic and catch-up. Nugget spent most of the time playing with his new trucks and trains (he is obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine). R also took him to the playground for a run around, slippery dip and swing. He was a happy little chappy who sung 'happy birhtday' to himself most of the day. I'm not sure he is fully up on the meaning of birthdays, but he sure liked the presents! In the afternoon, he played in the sandpit at home with his Dad while Mum and Doo Dah did some gardening out the front of the house. The rockface is almost visible again, but my hands are full of blackberry prickles. All in all a low-key day for the boy who turned two.

We have another few activities of "Nugget fest 2007" organised with a trip to the Royal Easter Show and a play at Wiggle Playground. I will let you know how all of that goes.

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Household tips #1 - How to have a clutter-free home

Not sure where it came from, but I have this Family Circle magazine from January (Sister B probably gave it to me while I was in hospital with Doo Dah or something). Anyway, there is this great article in it about How to have a clutter-free household by Karen Heinrich. She divulges some fantastic tips, and, as you know, I am always looking for ways to improve my organisation skills and improve the functionality of the home. So here are the key points that Karen recommends:

  • Think in acheivable chunks. You will procrastinate forever if you think of the house as a whole, so set realistic goals. One room at a time. Karen suggests doing one room per month and allowing a day per room.
  • Don't forget to maintain once you have sorted!
  • Make yourself a timetable.
  • Use visualisation - make a sketch of the room concentrating on how you would like it to look. Use this as your motivation.
  • Make two action lists - things you can do now (such as organise the CDs) and long-term aims (budget a save for a new wall unit).
  • Use the four-box method for organising as you go. Grab four boxes and label them: TOSS, DONATE, UNSURE, KEEP. Pick up every item in the room and decide which box it goes in. Be ruthless. When finished, put the TOSS into the bin (don't forget to recycle!) and take the DONATE to the local charity. Put the UNSURE in the middle of the room and vow to deal with them before the day is out. In the meantime, reorder and find a place for the things you decided to KEEP. Anything that doesn't belong in the room you are decluttering, move it out! Once you are finished, return to the UNSURE box and re-sort it. Be ruthless, just because you have more space now doesn't mean it needs to be filled!
  • Ideas for specific areas of the house
    • Children's rooms - devise a system that works for them and they'll be more likely to maintain it. Crouch down to your child's level and see what they see. Their most used items should be low and within their reach. Too many toys? Pack some away for a few months and one rainy day, swap them for other toys that have lost their appeal.
    • Living room - Storage. Storage. Storage. e.g. Frame doorways with shelving or invest in a coffee table with drawers or under-unit storage. Store loose items in baskets in wall units or bookshelves.
    • Kitchen/dining room - Make use of any space that you have. Mount your microwave on a wall bracket. Fit your sink or stove top with an appropriately shaped cutting board to extend your work space. Use adjustable tables that can be extended or minimised depending on your needs.
    • Bathroom - free up floor space by using wall-mounted shelves over your sink or toilet,, hooks for towels, and a narrow, high cabinet and adjustable shelves in a spare corner. Put your make-up and other, small loose items into boxes and store them on shelves or in cupboards.
    • Bedrooms - Keep a small box (or a bedside table with lots of storage) next to your bed for mags, books etc. Store spare bedding in vacuum-sealed bags under your bed.
    • In the wardrobe - Make sure that everything you use often is in view. Try hanging canvas shelves, storage boxes for last season's apparel, hanging rather than folding clothes, shoe boxes and drawer dividers.
  • Day by day - make the art of de-cluttering a daily habit (involve the family)
  • Never leave a room empty handed
  • When you get something new, TOSS or DONATE something you already have e.g. books, newspapers, magazines
  • Develop an official household routine e.g. twice daily "pack-away" ritual
  • Get the right gear - upright magazine boxes, display books for recipes, folders with insert pockets for bills, archive boxes for storing documents you need to keep for tax, filing cabinet for recent documents, in-tray for urgent documents, CD boxes, shallow storage boxes for under-bed storage, clear plastic boxes and divider trays.
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