Tuesday, 18 December 2007
Being back at work has been good. I have changed jobs! No longer a speech pathologist but an Education and Training consultant in the health service (Learning and Development unit). I am loving the change - I surprisingly do not miss my old work one little bit. I have to work 4 days a week but I have been doing one day a week from home, so that has been fun.
The boys are great. Doo Dah is one today! What a big boy. He is such a great little kid. Still not really a great sleeper at night (but I no longer have to breast feed him at night so that is an improvement). We are seeing a chiropractor with him at the moment.
I think I told you about the big bruise on his head when he was born? Well it seems that his coordination has been affected and he has been slow to move (started crawling only a few weeks ago) so we are having some work done. It seems to be working well, although he screams his lungs out when we are there (as does Nugget who cries in sympathy).
Nugget has been great. He is sleeping well at the moment. Many times a week he sleeps through the night!Miracles never cease. Geege and I still wake up every night because Nugget and Doo Dah seem to have bad nights on alternate nights, but we are all getting more sleep on the whole.
Nugget has grown so much lately. He looks about 3 1/2, has become more confident, tells stories about his life, chats to people he doesn't know very well and sings like a little angel. He is hysterical.
Nugget has adopted all of Doo Dah' s birthday presents as his own. Poor Doo Dah will have to fend him off when he gets big enough.
Geege and I have been doing a few renovations. He has put a deck on the back of the house and some paving. Our very sloping back yard is now much more functional for entertaining and for little boys on their bikes. It has been fun making improvements to our home. Geege probably thinks differently seeing as he has done all of the hard work!
We are spending Xmas with my family. Christmas eve we will sleep at the inlaws place and Santa will visit the kids there. Then we will drive to Sister B's place (she has moved 20 minutes from us to St Ives) and all the fam (and a few extras) will be there. It will be crazy - 6 grandchildren under 4 plus another little boy who is about 18 months old. Chaos. I'm looking forward to the celebration and the little holiday. I have 2 weeks off over Xmas/New Year. Geege will be busy with the tours, but he is having 4 or 5 days off with us too so that will be great. I plan to get to Nowra at some point (my friend S has just had her third child - Fleur- so I want to give her a big cuddle!).
Tuesday, 11 September 2007
The article includes ten lessons that can be summarised as follows:
1. Make it real - Let kids see the whole picture, not just spending money on a credit card in a shop. Sit them down when you are doing your bill paying, and show them how much it costs. Get them involved during the grocery shop to find the cheapest tin of tomatoes. Give them their pocket money in coins and use the good ol' piggy bank to 'save'.
2. Pocket money - Give kids pocket money so they can practise saving and spending. For teenagers, work out an allowance for clothes and entertainment to help them budget.
3. Save, save, save - Quarantine some of their pocket money, or when they start part-time work encourage them to get into a regular savings pattern (20% of earnings is good). It is a great habit to get into and they can enjoy the joys of compound interest!
4. Track spending - Help them learn that it is small spendings that can erode their savings. A 'money book' can help, where they write down everything they spend.
5. Plan purchases - The whole necessity vs luxury chestnut. If they absolutely still need it after two weeks, help them work out what they need to do to get it e.g. save up 5 weeks pocket money, how many days of work it equals. Then teach them how to shop around for the best price.
6. Set goals - Help your child calclate the cost of buying stuff and plan towards it. If they want a bike, take them to a bike store and price the one they want. Once you know how much it will cost, sit down with them and calculate how long it will take to save for the purchase. This will put the value of things into perspective (especially if they are 'earning' five dollars a week!)
7. Talk about the future - What money guide would be complete without a word on superannuation? This isn't directly suggesting that kids put money away for retirement but encourages parents to talk about long-term goals and 'set a good example'. By showing them separate accounts for holidays, private health insurance, one-offs that you have to save for, you can show them that without savings you have to borrow money.
8. Foster responsibility - Let older kids pay their way (I like this one!). If your teenagers insist on calling friends on their mobiles from your land line, make them pay for it! Putting bills on the fridge might help adult kids to see where the household money is going.
9. Show them shares - Once your kids have a few dollars in the bank, help them buy shares. Managed funds are great, but owning shares means they become interested in looking up their share price and follow the fortune of their companies. This doesn't encourage diversification (what guide would be complete without a word on diversification?) it could be a great, and fun lesson. Use an online broker to keep the trade costs down. Tax, I hear you scream, but not to worry says Debra, because can earn $1667 tax-free a year, which equates to an investment of roughly $30,000!
10. Explain credit - Should credit cards be renamed 'debt cards'? The big lesson here is that delaying payment of credit cards will lead to interest and the interest bill can eventually be higher than the original purchase amount. Be a good role model. Pay off your credit cards at the end of each month.
There is a lot of food for thought there for me. Many of the points are for older kids, but always good to be armed with knowledge and know what is ahead.
Friday, 7 September 2007
I am back at work. It hasn't been as bad as I expected (it rarely is) but I am not overly excited about things. There seems to be a new pecking order and a whole new team dynamic. I don't seem to fit in at the moment. I will have to bide my time until something new comes along, but in the meantime, I will just keep my head down, see my clients and make the most of the situation. Doo Dah has chosen this week to be sick again, so add some serious sleep deprivation to the mix and life is pretty hard at the moment.
Today is the APEC holiday. George W is in town making ridiculous speeches (eg. calling APEC, OPEC and the Australian troops the Austrian troops). The whole of Sydney has evacuated the city except Geege who is taking tourists around the place in a traffic-free dream. I hope noone decides to bomb the conference...
What I really SHOULD be doing on my day off is my Masters - finishing those last couple of assignments before I complete the degree. But it seems to be too hard to find the motivation to do that. And it's boring. And I don't seem to have any time because I am too busy with Facebook! But I had better go now because I have a couple of Ebay bids I need to check...
Sunday, 19 August 2007
Things have become a bit more about me again lately. Dicky Nees has settled into himself a bit - he's eating well, having less boozie juices and, nearly, sleeping through the night. Nugget is even doing better with the sleeps - he skips the odd day sleep, still takes a billion years to fall asleep at night, but he is pretty much sleeping through the night too (most of the time). Geege and I don't know ourselves on those mornings when we wake and have had more than 6 hours of straight sleep.
The things you take for granted before you have kids!
So anyway, back to me (that is the problem when you are a Mum, you never get too far away in your thoughts from the children)...
I am going back to work. Very soon. 3rd September to be exact. I have very mixed emotions about it. I am excited to be returning to the workforce. I actually really enjoy working. I get real satisfaction from completing tasks, helping people and contributing to the community. Earning your own money is nice too.
The down side is the job that I am returning to. I have always liked my job as a speech pathologist. Some may even think that I love it. Really it is not the job that I am not looking forward to, but MY job. There have been a lot of changes in the workplace in the past couple of years. All of my pals have gone - Candice has a new job, Sarah is on mat leave, Liz left to work at the uni and Danielle left me ages ago for the greener pastures of Canada. So the first problem is that I don't really have any buddies at work.
And then there is the new boss (who got the job over me) who isn't really very inspiring (if you ask me, which you didn't, but I am telling you anyway). I am not bitter about her getting the job over me. REALLY I am not. It was the right decision for the organisation. I didn't even like the job when I was acting in it last year. It is just that the department isn't big enough for both of us. I know it and she knows it. She doesn't want to share the administration work, and I don't want to only do clinical work (my job is 40:60 anyway).
So, when I called her to tell her I was coming back to work, there was no "great!". Rather it was all about the locum in the department who she will have to tell is out of a job. Not overly welcoming.
And then there was the "I will be getting you to do the nursing home visits" comment! The way things worked when Liz and I lead the adult team, it was a case of "I thought I might do this, is that cool with you Liz?". She really never told me to do anything. I don't think she felt she needed to.
I don't think there will be much fun to be had under the new girl. I am not just being paranoid or neurotic (I did have a certain amount of dread about going back to work after having Nugget last year) but rather I think this is a genuine case of "poor team fit". *Sigh*
Hopefully I will not have to be there for long. I am applying for secondments into the world of health management (which I would be VERY excited to get). I will let you know how it all pans out.
On a brighter note, I still have two glorious weeks with the boys before I have to go back. Here's hoping we have an absolute ball!
Saturday, 21 July 2007
Thursday, 19 July 2007
For safe measure, we ran his name by the 8 and 10 year old niece and nephew. Figuring this would be the age of playgroup taunts at their best, if it got past the 8-10 year thought police, we would be on a winner. They didn't come up with anything too rude and obnoxious. Goal!
Nugget has had another idea.
While his language development is very good for a boy of his age, he has some very strange sound substitutions. "n" for "l" is one of them. I have gotten used to "I nike it" and "I nove you Mummy" and even "Nugget Nees".
But his latest attempts at Doo Dah's name have me a little stumped - "Dicky Nees". Who'd have thought that I'd be the parent of Dicky Knees?
Two year olds are priceless.
Has your two year old put their own stamp on their siblings name? Cute? Or Nasty?
Friday, 6 July 2007
Friday, 22 June 2007
R&G have finally done it! They got married on the beach at Port Douglas (PD) on Saturday the 9th June at 3pm. It was a lovely affair. Planned to the last minute (of course), it went off without a hitch. But let me rewind.
We left for PD on Thursday the 7th June. The flight went at 7.05am, so it was a very early morning for us all. Nugget decided it was time to catch the plane at 12.30am when he woke up, and could not be convinced that we still needed to sleep for awhile before we could go, so it was a VERY early morning for us. Grandpa drove us to the airport (bless him), and we flew out with B&R and Finn, Kat and Matt, and Sister B and her crew. Apart from the terrible turbulence (I really was tossed out of my seat and the whole plane let out a collective scream at one point) caused by the lightening storm, it all went swimmingly. Nugget was a little bored with his cars after a little while and was pegging them around the cabin, but we managed to avoid any lawsuits with our very understanding fellow travellers.
We arrived at the house in the afternoon, after an extremely slow bus ride from Cairns on a bus that was about as old as I am. The house we stayed in with Sister B, Billy and the kids was amazing. Spacious and glamorous and easy to clean and right on the golf course. It had a pool, pavillion style accomodation and a fabulous outdoor barbeque area. Very nice. We were all very proud of ourselves for finding something so nice and so close to the Sea Temple too (where the wedding was being held). That night we had a BBQ at home and enjoyed the surrounds of our abode.
On Friday, the Geege and I got up early with the boys and went out for a walk. We found C&K's place (another gorgoeus home right on the beach). We sat around with them reading the paper and walking on the sand. Doo Dah had the world's longest sleep, so the Geege and Nugget headed back to our place, while I had a shower in the indoor/outdoor shower (awesome) and waited for Doo Dah to wake. The Geege played golf with the lads in the afternoon. All the golf widows and their kids came over to ours for a play. We had a lovely time. We provided beers for all on the 5th hole (which was right outside our door) and it was the first time we had seen the groom since our arrival. That night we went to Rob and Sam's rooftop for a BBQ. We caught up with all of the guests and had a great night of banter and shenanigans. Sister B and Billy minded the boys so we were free and easy.
Saturday was the big day. The Geege was off early in the morning to help R and the other groomsmen get themselves ready for the day. Doo Dah and I went to breakfast at G's. We then spent the remainder of the morning racing around getting the tables adourned, borrowing a car to get to the ATM to get money for the babysitter (I still didn't get enough out either), and then getting home to get Nugget down for a sleep before the babysitters arrived. Nugget went to the beach with the Sister B and the cousins. We managed to acheive all we needed to acheive, and I managed to get myself to the boardwalk in time to meet R's Dad Lother to take him to the wedding (he was in fact late, most unusual for a German).
The ceremony was lovely. G was the most beautiful bride I think I have ever seen (I mean that, she looked amazing). They wrote their own vows. They made us all cry. It was tremendous. The reception started with drinks and canapes in the villa, and was followed by a buffet on the verandah. The Sea Temple is a gorgeous resort with Asian style furniture, a pool that occupies most of the space not occupied by apartments, and a very impressive level of service. It was a superb night! I had a few too many drinks (poor ol' Doo Dah was over the limit again) and got into a fight with Uncle J by the end of the night, but apart from that... I had a swell time. The best bit was the awesome DVD that we made for the bride and groom (the one surprise in the whole night!) with a series of their life's highlights! It was hysterical.
Sunday was a day of recovery. The Geege wanted to spend the day at home by our pool, so I left Doo Dah with him (he was cranking out 2.5 hour day sleeps - probably to make up for the lack of sleep in the night) and Nugget and I headed into the PD markets. We had a quick look around (and bought a little pressie for super sis, Auntie B), but spent most of the morning until the shade of a tree looking out into the ocean, near the big pier, overlooking St Mary's Cathedral (or whatever the church is called there). We also had lunch with C&K and Jack at the Courthouse Hotel and met up with Welsh Sal and her parents and B&R and Finn. It was a lovely way to spend the day. When we got back to the house, we all went to the resort to see everyone for a quick drink by the pool, before heading home again. We babysat Maxi-Taxi and Capers that night and caught up of a bit of TV.
We had breakfast at C&K's on Monday morning. I also went past the resort for a swim in that amazing pool. Brad accompanied me and we managed to circumnavigate the entire pool. It was divine albeit a little nippy to begin. We concluded the swim with a glass of Cockfighter's Ghost at Amanda's place. A lovely way to spend the afternoon. I left at about 3.15pm and we had to be back at the reception to catch the bus at 4.05pm. One speed change later... we were travelling into PD to see George the Groper and have a lovely meal with all of the wedding party. It was a superb way to conclude a great few days in FNQ.
The Tuesday was pack up day and a bit more time on the beach with C&K and Jack. The Geege and Doo Dah went to the resort to say goodbye to everyone but I stayed at the house to help Nugget have one more sleep before we had to get back on the bus, back on the plane, in the car and home. Nugget was awake until the car trip, so he was a little beside himself on the plane. It was a looooong trip home. We arrived home at 11.30pm.
Nugget started chucking at 2.30am, so it was on for young and old. The Geege had to work on Wednesday morning, so it was up to me to deal with the two beds that had been vomited in, as well as the still vomiting child. Fun and games. We got through it. And then I got sick on the Friday, and The Geege got sick on the Sunday. It is now Friday and noone has been sick for a good few days now. Maybe we have finally rid ourselves of the dreaded virus...
Thursday, 14 June 2007
The weekend away was lots of fun though (I think I touched on this in an earlier post?). I think we have put the two friends who do not currently have children off from having any. There were about 7 children under 3 there and they made themselves known. None more than our very own Nugget who was found at midnight riding the ride-on lawn mower (long story but what does a person do?????).
Apart from that, the grown-ups all got some play time when the kids went to sleep, except Nugget (see above). We have a history of banning boardgames with our friends, due to fights. Risk, for example, is banned. But I hadn't seen the need to ban Cranium before. There have certainly been times when people have gotten a little "Monica" from Friends during the game, but this was something else. Needless to say, I will no longer be condoning Cranium. Looks like we are left with Poker only for games nights.
The other social things that have been happening are R's Buck's party and G's Hen's night. The Geege disappeared for a couple of days at R's function. They tell me they went to the races, then to the pub, then to the Cross, but really, what happens at a Buck's, stays at the Buck's so they could have been up to anything. The Geege came home in the same clothes that he left in and still had all of his pubic hair, so I was happy with that.
G's function was a lovely lunch down at Pyrmont wharf. It was all love and happiness with a good helping of fine wining and dining thrown in. The boys and Geege played at B&R'so that I could feed Doo Dah in the middle of the event (he still won't take a bottle). It all went well, although Doo Dah may have been a touch over 0.05....
Wednesday, 6 June 2007
In the meantime, I have a plethora of good reading material around the place. I thought I would write up some key points, rather than have to keep the paper-cpoies. A way for me to refer to them, without having to physically locate them. This house is getting way too small! Please note: if you are not me, and you are reading this, I am NOT a financial adviser and I take NO responsibility for whether or not these tips are helpful. I am just jotting them down in my own way so that I can refer to them again and make a decision about their usefulness.
So my first attempt at this comes from an article by Terry Ryder, published in this month's Australian Property Investor magazine, called (aptly) Investing on a Single or Low Income.
There are plenty of options for wannabe investors whose incomes present barriers to getting into the property market (I'm listening, Terry...). Investing is challenging for people on a single or low income, but not impossible. Especially if you have equity in your home. Low income earners cannot afford to take big risks and the reality is they have smaller borrowing capacity, but that doesn't mean you can't put together a property portfolio over time. It won't be high-end property, or even middle-of-the-road property and you may not be able to buy lots of properties, but you will be able to create a property portfolio. (Still listening Terry... get on with it).
Here's a short-list of important considerations for you if you are in this situation:
- Have realistic expectations of what you need: aim for lower-end properties. You don't need 100 properties, just a couple will do if you can sit on them and let time do its thing.
- Check out 'ugly duckling' suburbs: every city, including Sydney, has areas with affordable homes. But don't just stick to cities, the whole of Australia is your market. Ugly duckling suburbs have cheap homes but also tangible reasons to grow and evolve into better locations. It may not be near where you live, or indeed somewhere where you would like to live, but it will be cheaper and will have better returns. Also think about units and townhouses, rather than a free-standing house.
- Find positive cash flow property: try to find property that earns enough rent to cover the costs of owning it (positively geared) or close to cost neutral. Apparently it is still possible, although not as easy as it used to be, and will help with securing cash from a bank. This is not without its risks though. Most of these properties are in one-industry towns (like mining towns) where values are dependent on the longevity of the resources boom, and the entry prices are now becoming steep. Studios and one-bedders in the city often attract 7-8% returns in major cities, but they are hard to get investment loans for. Banks are reluctant to lend on properties under 50 s.m.
- Understand what matters to financiers: It is not how much you owe on credit cards that matters, but the total limits of all the credit cards you have. Get rid of unnecessary credit cards and pay out any other loans. The less debt you have the better when applying for an investment loan. You don't need a 20% deposit but this will impact on your interest rate and the fees the bank charges. And there's stamp duty, mortgage insurance and legals to consider. Remember, you need to be able to pay back the money you borrow. Don't get in over your head. You need a regular, steady income.
- Consider a shared equity loan: These are pretty new to the market. Buyers can acheive a purchase for less than the full price, they also have to forego a chunk of capital growth when they sell. The bank retains 10/15/20% share of the property but receives up to 40% of the capital growth. These are complicated loans but may be an option if you have no others available.
- Consider low-doc loans: These loans allow you to state your income and sign a declaration to that effect. The lender then bases their assessment on the stated income figure. Mainly for self-employed people who don't meet usual lending criteria. You need to have been self-employed for 2 years with an ABN. You need to provide 20% equity for low-doc (and 30% for no-doc loans). You can go higher but the interest rate increases too. Use this cautiously though. It is not meant to be a way to borrow more than lending criteria would allow or more than you can pay.
- Take a longer term to lower payments: 40 year loans are out there and these can springboard low income earners into the market. Longer terms lower the minimum payments on the loan, which may mean you can borrow a bit more, while still having the flexibility to pay back extra on your mortgage (should your situation improve). This may be a stepping stone to a standard-length mortgage after becoming established.
- Buy property with others: Thought about partnering with a friend or family member to buy property? It is becoming more popular. Partnerships will distribute the liability, but are not without their issues. Address contingencies and I mean ALL contingencies (such as payment of rates, how the property will be managed, how maintenance costs will be paid and what happens if someone decides to sell out). You will need a tenants-in-common agreement. You don't need to have equal shares, one can take 40 percent and the other 60 for instance. You can finance your shares separately, but the partners are jointly and severally liable for the debt. All of it. A split agreement, where you are in control of your part, and they are in control of theirs is best practice. That way you can pay off your share at any rate you wish. Note: this sort of deal can restrict your future borrowings.
Wednesday, 23 May 2007
Tuesday, 8 May 2007
We were given cousin AJ's old bed which we set up in Nugget's room around about the time of his birthday. The Geege and I had been telling Nugget that he would be going to the big boy bed when he turned two. Nugget liked reading stories in the bed before getting in (and out!) of the cot for sleep. At this time he also started to use a pillow in the cot. Nugget took well to the pillow and even started to keep his blankets on. Unfortunately, the transition to the bed has not gone as smoothly....
The first two nights he got in and out of the bed umpteen times until he fell asleep on the floor at about 10pm. The next couple of nights, The Geege and I took it in turns to stay in the room with him until he fell asleep. Then we went back to him getting in and out randomly throughout the night. He is waking all throughout the night. He is back requesting company for sleeping (and getting it sometimes when we are too tired to resist anymore). The day sleeps have been non-existent too. The kid is a machine! How can he be surviving on so little sleep? I watched him falling asleep the other night after a full day of play and no daytime sleep. He had long blinks for more than an hour before he finally succumbed to the z's. He is able to resist sleep better than anyone I have ever seen.
Daycare suggested I try a reward chart (I thought he was too young for such a strategy - he only seems to respond to bribes in other aspects of his life e.g. "Eat your dinner or there will be no Wiggles"), so yesterday I set up a sticker chart with matchbox cars as rewards and the ultimate goal being a new train for his Thomas collection. The chart is pretty damn cool (even if I do say so myself). He loved looking at the snake chart. He loved looking in the box of cars to see what is available. He loved looking at the train. He was able to recite the rules to his Dad upon his return from work. But did he stay in the bed? Nope. Today's day sleep has been no better. This parenting thing is so frustrating at times. If they weren't so damned cute...
Sunday, 29 April 2007
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 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
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
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
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
Monday, 16 April 2007
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.
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
- 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.
Friday, 30 March 2007
I have kept a paper diary for the past 20 years. Not every day or anything, just the significant stuff (and the mundane sometimes too). I thought it might be a good time to bring myself into the 21st Century and try it this way for awhile.
I guess if you were going to pigeon hole me at this time in my life, the main things that occupy my headspace are: practical parenting tips, child development, work stuff (health management), traveling on the cheap, movies and TV, music, gardening and home improvement and learning more about how to be a more serene person. I'm a pretty typical ex-urban hippy, Gen Xer living in the 'burbs of Sydney.
We are a family of four - The Geege (Dad) is a tour guide in Sydney, MultipleMum (Mum) is a speech pathologist who is currently on maternity leave, Nugget (2 in 2 weeks) and baby Doo Dah (3 1/2 months).
My husband is the best guy in the world who makes me very happy (although he frustrates me too - more on that later).
My two sons are unbelievable - I didn't know I could be a mother until they came along and brought out all the Mumsy in me.
Nugget is a cheeky chops who is getting into the spirit of toddlerhood in a major way i.e. he is adorable, whingey, busy and fussy.
Doo Dah is barely a person at all yet, but I have a good vibe about his personality. He has always had a gentle way about him, and the best smile in town. More on him as this blog progresses and he grows into himself.
We are an ordinary bunch, doing ordinary things.
Today was another ordinary day:
- we prepared for our upcoming Easter camping trip (which involved Nugget destroying the camping store in Chatswood)
- we picked up Nugget's big-boy bed from his Auntie M's. Nugget fell in love with cousin M's "big car" (one of those little car's that kids can sit in and push around with their feet) and spent at least an hour putting cousin AJ's matchbox cars "niddle cars" into the back of the big car. Nugget replaces all /l/s with /n/s which makes it pretty hard to decipher his speech at times (lucky I am a speech pathologist and can therefore act as interpreter for the Geege and will be able to fix his phonology if need be in the future)
- Doo Dah looked gorgeous in a little Bondsie and managed to grab the dog that hangs on his baby gym long enough to put it into his mouth! Milestone!
- The Geege and Nugget mowed the lawn (The Geege with a real mower and Nugget with his toy one, a very cute site) while Multiple Mum gave her mother (B) directions using the Street Directory over the mobile phone. B got herself lost in the back streets of Marrickville trying to get herself from Tempe to Undercliffe where she is staying at Sister A's friend's house because my brother TICH broke his leg in three places at the football last Saturday night (how's the oesteoporosis?)
- The Nugget discovered that he has "twins" - two identical hands - whilst taking a bath.
- The Geege and Multiple Mum contemplated the career path of The Geege (a recurrent theme).
1. Firstly, I heard half of a review about a film that sounded interesting that has just come out on DVD on the radio today and it prompted me to think about the films that I saw in Germany in the early 90s (they were terrible) and I wondered if they have gotten any better (although Run, Lola run is a German film and one of my favourites so they aren't all bad).
2. And secondly, I really need to brush up on my German skills and think this may be a good way to start the ball rolling (either this or enrol in a German language course which is another thought from today that I would quite like to remember).