Friday, December 29, 2006

Another year almost over

As amazing as it seems, 2006 draws almost to a close. It's certainly been an interesting year here... lots of things have changed, but plenty is still the same.

Our highlights: that wonderful holiday in Victor Harbor in January, Bethany starting school and having such a great year, Ryan's great year at school, the quick trip to Black Point,

Photo: Someone put Hannah- Barbie's arms on the wrong way

getting to spend so much time at Ikea (after seeing family off at the airport so often), having Huck join our family for a while, Sophie turning one, Hannah finally being able to hear again, and today, Sophie weeing in the potty for the first time (see how I snuck that brag in there? She's only 18 months!).
Our lowlights: well, who wants to live in the past? :) In a few ways, 2007 will be better, I'm sure.
Things I'm looking forward to: Our 'snow holiday' (details to be determined), a new laptop (hopefully), some new furniture and bits and pieces, Bethany having a year with Mrs Haines, watching Ryan mature another year, Hannah starting kindy, watching Sophie grow into herself (and therefore starting to emerge from baby-world myself), welcoming a new nibling into the world (thanks Beth M for creating the word! - I hope I get to use it and can't still get away with 'nieces').

As always, I am grateful for the continuing good health and great natures of those I hold dear. I am truly so lucky to be surrounded by such lovely and caring people (and that means you!). Roll on 2007!

Photo: Bethany displays her make-up skills courtesy of a present from Aunty Marilyn.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Hark the herald angels

We went to the Gawler Christmas Carols last night. It was lots of fun. So much nicer with kids this age to go to a small country event rather than the big one in the city. There was room for the kids to play and run around, during 'Away in a Manger' and 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer' all the kids were called up to the stage and almost all had a turn at the microphone (none of the Feuerherdt/Stomaci clan got a turn though. Perhaps they had been warned in advance...), at the end, Father Christmas turned up and sat every child on his knee (including Ryan!) and gave them all a present. It was just nice. The weather was beautiful too. We walked/rode/scootered there and it was good fun heading home at 1030pm. Mum and dad headed most of the way home with us, so it was the whole posse making our way home in the dark. Sophie had stayed home with Paul (awake for most of the time, oops), and the other three kids did great (and weren't even overly grumpy today).

Photo: Bethany, Hannah and Ella looking angelic

Photo: Ryan on
Santa's knee

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Most mornings I end up with one or some or all of the children in my bed before we finally get up for the day. This morning it was Bethany and Hannah. We were just lying and talking and stuff, when Bethany asks Hannah 'Hannah, do you know how much I love you?'. Hannah thought for a second and answered 'So much?'. 'Yes, that's right!' exclaimed Bethany, 'how did you know that?'. 'Because that's how much I love you', was Hannah's delightful reply.

Photo: Sophie getting her first ever face-painting at the Gawler Christmas Street Party a few weeks ago.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Another step forward

Today in the mail we got a package from the preschool, letting us know Hannah will be in pre-entry in Term 1 next year. When I got the package and realised what it was, I actually got quite sad. To the point of actually having tears well up. That is not me. But for some reason I just can't believe Hannah is old enough for kindy. She still seems like such a little sweetie, although I have noticed her conversations and observations improving in maturity over the last little while (her behaviour too!). And I'm going to miss her. It will be very weird not having her around to help me in so many little ways as well as just her constant chatter. I think too, the thought of just having one child at home is quite strange. Always by the time one of the others has gone to kindy, I've been pregnant or actually had a new baby, so I've always still had two at home. How strange. I'll certainly enjoy the time with Sophie though. Although not the trek back and forwards to kindy again. And if Nicole and Raff end up moving elsewhere in Gawler then it probably won't even be worth sharing the pick-up duties.

Today too was Bethany's end of year concert. They were very clever in the junior primary this year as they kept it very simple. All the classes (6 or 7?) learnt the same six songs. Each class dressed up slightly differently (Bethany's class had giant cardboard bells around their neck - apparently so they matched Jingle Bells, Ryan just informed me. Other classes had reindeer ears for Rudolph etc). All the classes were up on the stage and all of them sang the songs together. There were lots of parents there! Ryan's class and the rest of middle primary came to watch too so that was cool. I will try to put a bit of the video on youtube although it's all a bit blurry.
Ryan is in the major production in a couple of weeks time - the sequel to the production two years ago (they had a break last year). It's called 'The Queen's Revenge' and as usual it should be of excellent quality. Tim Purvis the drama teacher is very good - even having his own production company who put on performances shown in the Fringe (using school kids of course).

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Hannah's operation

Yesterday Hannah had her procedures: bilateral myringotomy and tube insertion, adenoidectomy, bilateral antral washout and cautery to inferior turbinates. This basically means she had tubes in, adenoids out, sinuses flushed and mucus membranes inside nose cauterized. Yum.
She was a trouper as always. We had to be at the hospital at 8am, but we were late, by the time we off-loaded the other kids at Nicoles. After the usual hospital check-in routine, we were hurried to our room as the nurse had just put 'Over the Hedge' on the tv system. We had a double room but there was no-one in the other bed. Hannah lay back in luxury on the bed and watched tv.

Photo: Hannah watching tv before surgery. (taken on my phone)

I had to sit on the chair as she wouldn't share the bed! I thought Over the Hedge was funny but I think a fair bit of it went over Hannah's head. After the movie finished we skipped through the channels for a while, but the poor thing was hungry (fasting since midnight of course), so it was hard to keep her interested in anything for long. We wandered the corridors for a while (Central Districts being a small hospital, we were never far away from our room), until finally the nurse came to find us. Hannah was very pleased to get driven into surgery in the Big Red Car (which I remember from Ryan's surgery years ago - he wouldn't get into it, I had to carry him). She sat happily on my lap in the operating theatre, breathed deeply in the mask and was out like a light. It threw me for a little while as her eyes stayed open even when she was laying down, although they eventually closed. I was talking to her long after they said she was out of it! Then I got to go back to the room and wait. I didn't pay attention to the times, but I think she went in about 1030, and came out about 1130. I got to read Dean Koontz in peace for an hour... I was a bit concerned though that she'd wake up in Recovery totally freaked out (since parents aren't allowed in there) but I reminded her a few times that I wouldn't be there and she seemed okay with that. I did keep an ear out every time I heard a crying child as I thought that's how she'd be when they brought her in. At about 1130, the nurses came in and said they were just going to move her bed to another room, one where there was a nurse all the time, rather than our room where the nurse has a bunch of rooms to look after. (Can you interpret that? It's a nice way of saying intensive care, or in this hospital's terminology, the High Dependency Unit). They explained that because she was so little and they had to do obs every 15 minutes, and the doctor had said her tonsils were so large, they wanted her there to keep an eye on her. Whatever. They emphasised it was just the nurses idea, not the doctors. Later at shift change, I overheard the one nurse telling the other about Hannah's apnoea in Recovery, so I'm guessing she stopped breathing a time or two, or at least snored in her usual way. Don't really know why they didn't tell me that in the first place, I'm sure I don't look like the nervous type. Anyway, the HDU at this little hospital only had room for three beds. There were only two in there - us and an older guy who'd had some sort of leg surgery but had had chest pains that morning so they put him in there for closer observation.

Photo: Hannah after surgery. No, she's not putting that face on, she was like that for about 20 minutes before she realised she actually felt okay.

Hannah was dozing when they brought her in, but woke up straight away. She was a bit sad and listless at first, as you can see from the photo, but I soon had her sitting up to have a drink of water, and then she felt much better. She had a drip in her arm, giving her 'special juice' to make her feel better, and a pulse-oximeter clipped to her toe. She perked up very quickly and said she felt very good. She said she could hear better, and breathe better. I'm not so sure about the breathing as she was still pretty snuffly sounding. Later she started to get clear/bloody mucus dripping for a little while but that cleared up. She's still snuffly though. I'd say she can hear better, she's talking heaps quieter! She laughed at her voice, said it sounded funny. We hung out for several hours in the HDU. At one stage Hannah had to go to the toilet, so they undid her drip and we headed to the toilet. I also made a couple of calls, since you weren't allowed to use your phone in the HDU (of course, using it just outside the door probably has much the same effect). Hannah was delighted to be free, and ran around the whole hospital dancing and skipping. Nothing wrong with her. Then we went back in, and she was clipped up again like an invalid. We brought five childrens books, fortunately most of them were long, so I only had to read each one three times. We had long promised Hannah jelly and icecream at the hospital and I had ordered that for her dinner. When it came, she didn't like the taste of the icecream (that cheap metallic taste) nor the jelly, but fortunately wasn't too concerned at not actually eating them.
We'd planned on spending the night as we weren't sure exactly what was happening, but most people we spoke to there said we would get out, but later at night, 7 or 8pm. The doctor came around after he finished surgery about 4pm, and said we could go home after dinner. So, about 6, we were out of there. We went back to Nicole's, where the other children had demolished a pile of tacos and were just about to destroy the fruit salad. Hannah and I joined in, enjoying the icecream there a lot more than the hospital's. All home and to bed no dramas at all. (although Hannah woke a couple of times to pee out all the saline they'd pumped into her). About 530 Hannah woke up crying and retching. She vomited up a little bit of liquid but then settled back down again to sleep, waking again at 7 retching. After that, she was quite happy, ate breakfast okay and was happy as anything all day. Just now in bed she's been coughing badly, so I've given her some water and she's settled down again. The only complaint she'd had while in hospital was that her throat was sore, which was no doubt due to the tube the anathe/aneath/ the guy who put her to sleep put down her throat. I'm guessing tonight's coughing is due to that irritation. The vomiting this morning I suppose was probably a reaction to the anaesthetic. Hopefully by tomorrow it's all gone. We see the doctor again in two weeks or so. Oh, she's not allowed to blow her nose. Good thing she doesn't know how to!

Photo: Paul's store, at day 3 of closure. Today is the final day closed (of 7) before the grand opening tomorrow as Coles - any surprises he's not home from work yet at 10pm? It all must be Just So.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

All roads lead to...

Caught up with Grandpa and David today. Yes they had a visit a few weeks ago from 'the man' telling them that some of the property will have road over the top of it in a few years time. It seems like the road will run somewhere right along the back of the property, so they will lose from 35m to maybe 120m along the back, depending on the exact final alignment. Grandpa thinks it works out to be about 3 or 4 acres. He's not particularly bothered about it, just wants to make sure that he gets compensated for the loss of the land, plus the value of the lease of that area, plus for the fact that he will no longer be able to subdivide (since he's only allowed to subdivide in 10 acre lots, and he has 20 now, so when a bit is taken out, he won't be able to split it up). The people who live almost directly behind him on the end of Bain Road will be losing their house, so I guess he is just glad that's not happening. David said there are a total of 49 houses that will be lost, which is not really so bad given the scale of the project. I do shudder a bit to think of how much good farming land will be lost, just for the evil car. It's not like they can just pick up and farm further north...
Both Grandpa and David are well - David had to head to work, but we stayed and chatted to Grandpa for a while, Hannah very pleased there were white chocolate frogs to be had, Sophie excited by licking the cream out of several biscuits. Grandpa had surgery a couple of weeks ago on his wrists, sounds like it was carpal tunnel problems, not necessarily arthritis related. He started having problems moving his hands about a month ago, went to see the doctor and then got into hospital pretty quickly after that. He's very happy with the way his hands are now.

As I blog I keep hearing a low rumbling sound - I thought it was something in the computer, but I've finally worked out it's Rufus snoring just outside the window! He seems quite happy here - is very kindly using only one corner of the garden as his toilet, and otherwise being his usual placid self. The cat has wised up to how slow and deaf he is, and is even brave enough to drink out of his waterbowl on occasion!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Sleeping with the enemy

Over the last ten weeks I have not turned down any catering job. I've done breakfasts, lunches and dinners, short notice meals, all sorts. Nicole has helped out, mostly with kid-watching, sometimes with food, but mostly it's just worked out okay for me alone. This week, with the end of solo-catering just about in sight, I've had to turn down *two* jobs. How ironic. One was this Monday night at 6pm. Just when I'm getting home from work. This one was Gawler Council who rang at about 11am that day (should know better!) and I suggested that they try Viva just down the road who apparently did come through quite well (but not too well, or too cheap, I hope!). Then another call from the council this week (who have a new mayor for those who have not been keeping up with the news... Brian Sambell). They were after a nice big lunch on Sunday, 50 people. Unfortunately Hannah has her surgery on Saturday and I think she will be staying overnight (mixed messages from dr and hospital), so I will be too. And since I can't predict how she'll be feeling on Sunday, gotta say no. If it were 10, or even 20 people, I might take the gamble that I could work around her misery, but not with 50. So once again they have to find an alternate caterer. Again, I hope not too good, cheap or friendly! I'm very glad we've built up a good rapport with the main orderers at the council.

This week with big fanfare, the proposed route for the Northern Expressway was released. It seems a bit redundant to me, but the press has generally been good. It's a big road that heads from somewhere around Gawler down to Port Wakefield Road, north of the Waterloo Corner Road intersection. Supposed to take a load off Main North, and all those little back roads people take (like Curtis, Stebonheath). I guess it will probably chop another 10-15 off my trip to Port Adelaide (if I'm still there by the time the thing's actually built, they're saying 2011 completion). Anyway, it seems to me from the maps I've seen that it cuts right through the back of Grandpa's property. On the map I linked to, it's between points 3 and 4. I couldn't find a more detailed map on-line, but they had one at the shopping centre. The new road goes right between Frisby Road and Andrews Road. I'm not too sure about how far back his property goes, so I don't really know if he's affected. I tried to call around there today to chat to him but he wasn't home. If he is affected, I gather he would have already recieved the information on the compulsory acquisition. Changes the whole vibe of the place having a freeway in your backyard...

Friday, November 17, 2006

Hey now, you're a rock star

Those of you who didn't recognise that line as the first line of the chorus to 'All Star' by Smashmouth obviously haven't been living in close proximity to Ryan for the last few months. I made the grand mistake of printing the lyrics off the internet, and putting the song on my phone. Ryan spends all his time singing this one song loudly and tonelessly over and over.
Tonight we had the school disco and Ryan was very hopeful that they would play his song. He even brought his own cd of it just in case they didn't have it. But getting him up to request it was extremely difficult. He didn't want to go up on the stage to talk to the dj, because 'everyone would be looking at him'. Even pointing out that it was behind the speakers with all the lights in front didn't help. He ended up going up with his friend Lachlan, and Lauren Jakeway. The dj had the song and promised to play it 'next'. He didn't of course. Then he got to the very last song and

Photo: Sophie disco bunny

announced it was a request and started to play... not that song. Ryan was extremely extremely disappointed, but after literally 5 seconds of deep moping, he snapped out of it and started dancing along. I was incredibly impressed with him doing that. Then the lights came up and as everyone filed out, the dj played 'All Star'. So we had to stay behind while Ryan sang along very happily to his song. I should see if I can put the video on youtube.

In general the school disco was lots of fun. R-3 disco was 4-5.30, which was a very good time - not too late in the day, and just long enough (and only the littler kids which was nice too). Vicki had an appointment in the city so we had Sinead and Lauren after school and took them to the disco with us, then they came home afterwards and had dinner with us too.
The adult-child ratio was almost 1:1 at the disco, I'd say, with most of the parents staying, and plenty of teachers too. The dj was great, really aiming it at the age group. We did the Hokey-Pokey, Locomotion, Time Warp and Macarena (obviously things have moved on from my day as there was no Madison or Bus Stop, sigh). Hannah got right into it, dancing with Lauren for most of the time. Sophie was way into it too, dancing hard for most of the evening. Bethany and Sinead had dressed her in a little ballerina outfit while they were getting themselves ready, so she looked very cute too. Not surprisingly, Bethany wore Sinead's clothes, and Sinead wore Bethany's. All the kids got a turn dancing up on the stage which was fun as well. Oh, and the canteen had set up a table in there and was selling lollies, a major attraction.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Star trekking

Today we did the grand circuit of Greater Adelaide. I had to go to Lonsdale to the Pram Doctor to get the wheel fixed on my pram (bye, $55...). Man, it's a long way there! The kids were really good. While we were waiting for it to get fixed, we visited Colonnades shopping centre which has had a big revamp. Funnily enough, it looks pretty much just like Elizabeth. All the same shops - I didn't spot a single shop which wasn't a franchise. A very pretty food court, whoops I mean 'Diner Life', and everything zoned (fashion, fresh food, electrical). After we picked up the pram, we headed over to Cheltenham to exchange my Bessemer pans. Then to Officeworks for some bits and pieces. Then back to get the kids from school. A big day, and petrol was right down at 106.5 when I left (but didn't get it) and back up to 118.9 when I got home (and still didn't get it, although I really need it - can I go a whole weekend without travelling far?).

Tonight I got a call from Nana. She said that Rosalie's banana leaf christmas card had also been confiscated by the thin blue line, but hers had made it through. So perhaps we can add everyone's name to that one...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

It's all relative

Talking to Bethany in bed tonight, she asked me how we got snot. I talked a bit about mucous membranes and such and then mentioned how there is hard snot and runny snot. 'The hard snot is yummy,' she said. 'But don't you think it's a bit gross to eat it?' I asked. 'No, eating someone else's snot is gross'. Well, I guess she's right.
And of course, I guess I can't really talk, as I was squirting breastmilk into all the girls' mouths tonight as well (sorry for that mental picture!). They all thought it was hilarious, especially Sophie.

Monday, November 13, 2006

How embarassment

Today I recieved a letter in the mail from the Government, with a big blue sticker on the back which said 'Important Quarantine Documents. Open immediately.' Inside was a nice little letter from Quarantine telling me that there was some really bad stuff in a parcel that had been sent to me (from Mexico, hint hint) and it needed to be gamma-irradiated to be safe. This would cost $42.50 and may destroy the item in the process. Or I could do nothing and they would destroy it in 30 days. It appears the offending item is a card and envelope made of banana stalk (which, unfortunately, will now be destroyed in 30 days, sorry mum!). The rest of the parcel had arrived a few days ago (with an 'Opened for inspection by Customs' sticker on it). I guess with bananas still at $12/kilo they thought I might try and eat the card instead...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Village fair

Today was Remembrance Day and the Village Fair. We arrived at the fair just in time to hear the service for Remembrance Day. Ryan was very excited to see some real soldiers. The Village Fair was as it always is, although, I thought there were less stalls than usual. Talking to some stallholders they thought the same thing. I noticed particularly that the Breastfeeding Association wasn't there. No-one was serving pancakes! Ran into Justin Frick and his (pregnant) wife, so that was a pleasure. The kids took some of their pocket money and delighted on spending it all on lollies and lucky dips. It was a good chance to discuss with them how all the money we spent there went towards community organisations, so it didn't really matter if your lucky dip sucked or I didn't win any raffles.

Later in the day, I noticed a tiny baby bird outside. We get quite a few this time of year (just like last year), they are starlings I think. I guess they either fall out of the nest or are just really bad at learning to fly. This baby bird was near the dog's bowl, and I also noticed an adult bird nearby with a piece of dog food in its mouth. Normally I try to put the baby birds under the trees as I figure they might be a bit safer from the cat. Today I was quite pleased as I realised the cat wouldn't come anywhere near it due to the dog (she will grudgingly skulk from the back door to the laundry to eat, but not through the cat door, only if you actually open the door for her). So I called the girls outside to see the bird. We all huddled around it to examine it. Rufus came to see what we were doing. Then ate the bird. Oops. The girls didn't need to see that. Actually, he just put it in his mouth, so I yelled at him and grabbed him and got him to spit it out. Sophie and Bethany started crying, though it was me yelling more than the dog eating the bird that started them. Hannah just delightedly described everything that was happening. 'Rufus is eating it! He won't be hungry now!'. I grabbed hold of Rufus to keep him away from the bird while I calmed the girls down. The bird died while we were watching it and talking about nature and nests full of other baby birds. I don't think Rufus actually killed it though, it didn't look quite right anyway (some strange thing going on with its neck) so maybe the parents ditched it. Of course we buried it with full ceremony. Later I found another dead baby bird on the lawn - the other's 'grave' didn't appear to be dug up, so I assume there were two. I didn't mention that one to the kids...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Last one standing

Nicole, Raff and clan headed off to Kangaroo Island yesterday, leaving us as the only Yacoumis off-shoot in Adelaide. That's okay. We just live vicariously through the blogs. And we've got the dog, turtle, cat and fish as hostages if you all don't come back!
It was very exciting to get a 5 minute, $20 phone call from Cuba today, even if it was only to discuss purchasing T3 shares (just like all those ads...). We also got a mysterious parcel from Mexico that the children are just itching to get into.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Testing times

Ryan got the results of the Literacy and Numeracy test this week. The school as a whole did really well, the principal was saying at council meeting. In Year 5 in Literacy, 70% of students were in Bands 5 and 6 (the top two bands). That's pretty amazing, since the average is Band 3. There were no students below Band 3.
As Ryan is in Year 3, the scale only goes up to Band 5. Any guesses for where Ryan scored? :)
Overall Numeracy: Band 5. Number, 5. Measurement and Data, 5. Space, 5. Overall Literacy: Band 4 (I know!). Reading, 5. Spelling, 5. Writing, 2. It seems that in the writing section they had to write a narrative in a structured way with correct grammar and punctuation. Since he writes extremely well, it's surprising he did so badly. He says that he had trouble thinking of something interesting to write about, which I can totally picture. I can just see him trying so hard to be different and interesting, that he got writer's block. Oh well. He still scored above the minimum required standard, but it would have been nice to have straight fives. He's not too concerned about it, and I don't think there will be any consequences or follow-up.

Photo: Ryan and
Hannah share a hug.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Pageant party!

Today we had a few people over to watch the pageant. A week or so ago I had one of those 'oh' moments where I realised mum and dad wouldn't be here for the pageant. Neither Nicole or I were up for taking all the kids, and though Ryan voted for one of us taking the older kids and the other staying home with the babies, we weren't that excited in that option either. It was funny to think that last year, mum, dad, Adam, Eva and even Paul Y were all there with us...
We had Nicole, Ella and Charlotte (of course) plus a bonus guest of Rufus, Jacki, Jarra and Arusha, and Vicki and Sinead over. (there's hopefully a photo on Nicole's camera that she'll put up - I couldn't find mine). So it was lots of fun for the kids, and us grown-ups had fun chatting too. Ryan of course didn't have any friends, so that was unfair - his friend Lachlan was away, and Lauren had other plans so he didn't even have her to play with. The kids (even the babies) started off well captivated by the tv, but very quickly the lure of first the food (too much as always) and then the toys drew away most of the children. Ella and Ryan lasted through till the end. I think the fascination for Ryan was much more about keeping track on the pageant poster about which float was next, rather than the actual floats themselves. They tried to get the other kids enthused but they barely even spared a few seconds to glance at Father Christmas.
Later, after Jacki and her kids left, Vicki headed off to do some things, leaving Sinead, and Nicole headed home to put Charlotte to bed and do some things too (another inspection tomorrow), so we had Ella and Sinead for the rest of the afternoon. It worked out great - Ella and Hannah made one family, Bethany and Sinead the other, and they kept visiting each other's houses for cups of tea. Scarcely a niggle to be had. Then when Nicole arrived to take Ella home, Ella was extremely insistent that they leave - wouldn't even let me and Nicole chat!

Rufus settled in well, although the cat is not that sure. All the children have spent much time brushing out his fur, it seems like that is the latest zen craze here. We did have one little hiccup, when Vicki came to get Sinead, she came around via the fodder store/railway station, and arrived asking if we were missing the dog, since there was a big black one wandering around down there. We hadn't even noticed, but one of the children must have left the gate open at some stage. Paul headed off with the leash, and sure enough, arrived back with one very exhausted old Rufus. Hopefully that is the only escape he makes!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Double doctors

Today we visited two doctors. First in the morning, we visited Dr Anthony just to check up on Sophie who'd had a croupy night. I still had some of the medication left from her very scary croup in March, so I gave her that at midnight and then did the steam, but she took ages to quiet down. She was fine by the morning but I took her in anyway (hey, we haven't seen Anthony for months, it was about time). He just said to give her another dose of the meds tonight and otherwise she seemed fine. Also told me off about not having got her vaccinated just yet.
The funny thing was going into the surgery, and finding Nicole there waiting to see him. She was the appt before us.
The second appointment was finally Hannah's ENT specialist. He was very nice. Hannah had been certain he would be a girl, despite me telling her otherwise. Even when Anthony said earlier in the day that she would like Dr Krishnan as he's a very nice man, she remained convinced he was tricking and the dr would really be a girl. While we were waiting to see him, he came out about four times to call other patients, but when it was our turn, she was still hoping he would turn into a girl. When he came out and called her and was still male, she threw herself on the floor screaming. He was very good though, told her all about how good he looks in a skirt. :) He was very patient at distracting her and buttering her up. Apparently the referral letter said 'please take good care of Hannah as she is my best patient'. She liked that.
She let him look in her ears and nose, and remembered in great dismay later that he had forgotten to look in her mouth like I'd said he would. As we expected, he is going to put grommets in and take adenoids out. He is also going to cauterize her nasal passage which sounds really fun. He said she will still get some mucus production, but not so much like she gets now, and that will help prevent the fluid build-up in her ears.
I asked about her tonsils, but he said that most likely once he gets rid of the chronic infections (oh yeah he also mentioned clearing out her sinuses), her tonsils will reduce in size, but he'll keep an eye on that over the next few months, and if they still give her problems he'll take them out too.
So she is going to have the surgery at Central Districts on Saturday 25 November.
The neatest thing about that, is that we now are basically looking at the home run into when mum and dad get back - we just about have plans for every weekend between now and then, and it doesn't seem so far away. Pageant this weekend, village fair next weekend, garage sale probably the weekend after, Hannah's surgery, Christmas street fair thingumy (doing some catering for that), then they're back! Woo-hoo! Not that we miss them or anything...


Halloween today here. After last year where all the families in the street got organised and went trick or treating together, my kids wanted to do it again. None of them understood that because it hadn't been organised (due to the prime organiser being away on holidays) and the neighbours forewarned, there would most likely be no lollies to be had. I tried to impress on them the fun aspect of wandering around in fancy dress, never mind the lollies. We (well I) thought it might be nice to do a reverse trick or treat, where we gave lollies out to people. The kids dressed up as a rabbit (Hannah), a unicorn (Bethany) and a zombie (guess who). The zombie outfit was created at the last minute, with a too-small shirt and holey kneed jeans destroyed in the making. Paul played face-painter, painting a beautiful bunny face as well as a ghoulish zombie face and guts hanging out. We wandered around giving out lollies to the neighbours, only scoring lollies back from the three houses closest to us. Despite discussing/arguing about the whole 'why are we bothering if we're not getting lollies?' attitude, we had fun, and I hope the message penetrated a tiny bit. Later we had a trick-or-treater come to our door so that was exciting too. Never mind he was lamely dressed in just a fake plastic Crows guernsey, and I suspect was out more for the lollies than the experience.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Full house

Yesterday we had Ella and Charlotte over to play for the whole day, so Nicole and Raff could get ready for their inspection today. Of course they were no trouble at all, and everyone had lots of fun. I don't think we had any arguments at all. The injury count was way down too. One stubbed toe (Ella), one bumped head (Charlotte), one bitten finger (Ella - Bethany was biting her finger to make sure she wasn't dreaming (?!), and did it way too hard). Luckily Ella decided that auntie cuddles were just as good as mummy cuddles (but not better! can you believe it?).
The bigger girls took responsibility for the younger ones, with Ella and Hannah making sure Charlotte knew where the toilet was. They took her in, moved the stool into place, put her toilet insert on the toilet, helped her up, kept her company on there, and Hannah even wiped her afterwards! (then washed her hands of course). So funny. Ella slept over as well (Charlotte probably could have, she went down for a sleep in the afternoon very easily and probably would have at night as well). We had a little midnight drama, as I'd promised Hannah that when Bethany was asleep I'd move her (we'd had some sleeping position dramas). So Hannah came in to me at 11.30 saying I had to move Bethany, which I did. Bethany was sharing with Ella and had just about pushed her off the bed. Of course she woke up when I moved her, very grumpy saying she would move back, so we had a middle of the night argument about that. Then Ella woke up and started crying for her mum. No amount of cousins would make her happy, so she ended up coming into bed with me, where she promptly fell back asleep. Some time later, Bethany also wandered in to join us, sleeping at the bottom of the bed. To complete the trifecta, Hannah came in about 5.30. Then of course it was Sophie's turn. So it was a cosy full bed for a while there.
1. Hannah at gymnastics
2. Bethany at gymnastics
3. Ryan in tae kwon do uniform
4. Hannah and Ella helping Charlotte on the toilet

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Born optimist

Tonight at dinner, Hannah was eating out of her pony bowl with her pony spoon (her special My Little Pony set she got at Easter from Adam and Eva) and happily chattering away a mile a minute. Somehow she managed to knock the bowl off the table, sending rice pudding everywhere, and smashing the bowl into several pieces. Not even blinking, she exclaimed happily 'my pony spoon isn't broken!' and continued on merrily chattering while I cleaned up the mess. Now that is what I call looking on the bright side.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


I finally got organised and booked Bethany into gymnastics for this term. She's been wanting to do it since last school holidays. The first session was yesterday (Friday) at 4.30pm. She was already pretty tired from being back at school, so it was always going to be a big ask to make it through a new class as well. She did okay though. When we got there, I noticed there were a couple of kids who looked a whole lot younger than 5 (the class was meant to be for 5-9 year olds). I asked the lead instructor and she said the littlies had done kindergym and were there to try out to see how they went with the real stuff. She said if Hannah could listen and follow instructions she could join in too. Of course Hannah was extremely pleased with that. Sophie had stayed home with Paul and Ryan, so that left just me on the sidelines to relax and watch (and giggle). [Side note: Sophie was asleep when we left at 4pm, and didn't wake until 9pm, just to feed and back to sleep. She's been pretty sick with gastro, the vomiting has stopped and she's moved onto diarrhoea, apparently this hangs about for a week or so.] The girls did great at gymnastics; the leader split them up into three groups by age, so Beth and Hannah were in the same group. They got to use the tramp, balancing beam and mat. The all time best effort was watching them try to walk backwards doing backwards high kicks. Absolutely classic (try doing it yourself, it's not even that easy for an adult). Oh, and Hannah's jeans falling down as she jumped along the trampoline, but still holding her hands up high in the air as instructed. At the end, they said Hannah did great and could join in. She was rapt. Bethany said she didn't want her to as she was annoying, but that was definitely not the case. I did feel a bit bad for Bethany as it would have been nice for her to have an activity that was just hers, and I suspect Hannah will be better at it as well, but perhaps we'll find another activity for Bethany later.
They get a t-shirt with Starplex Gymnastics on it as well so they are pretty pleased with that. Next week I'll try and remember to take my camera.

I did my own version of gymnastics today too, when Nicole and I attended Jacki's yoga class. Jacki is being assessed as a yoga instructor so needed to put together a class to teach. It was good fun, very enjoyable. I thought she was very competent. Raff had all the kids as Paul was at work. As we left, he was trailing them all outside with plastic bags to participate in the fun activity 'getting all the dog poo off the back lawn'.

Oh, have to shout out to Google and my ads on this blog. I think I earn a cent or something every time someone clicks on one of the ads. Since you don't get any money until you have $100 in your account, I think I'll be waiting a long time. Not even allowed to click on your own ads, darn it. :)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Visiting grandpa

On Sunday we went to visit grandpa to give him a copy of all the blogs. It turns out that David has been printing them out anyway so I didn't need to. But at least mine has the photos in colour.
Grandpa had just finished making strawberry jam so the house smelled great. We didn't get to take any home, but we got to pick a bunch of strawberries and eat them there, they are such great tasting strawberries. Ryan and Bethany had fun hanging out with David, picking beans and eating them from the garden, although I picked a bunch and brought them home and used them in dinner and Ryan ate everything but them.
A little while back we'd heard that David's car had caught fire while he was just sitting in it listening to the radio, but I hadn't realised it was actually at the house; I guess they were pretty lucky, the downpipe on that side of the house was all charred from the flames, and there was a little tiny bit of charring on the eaves. I think David put it out himself but then got the fire dept out just to double check no embers had gone up on the roof. The house insurance is going to cover the contents of the car as well as fixing the downpipe etc, so David's happy about that. Of course the car itself is not insured but he managed to pick up two (!) other cars cheaply somewhere so it all worked out in the end.
The sweetest thing was Hannah running up to Grandpa to give him a big hug when we left.

Photo: Bethany in Ryan's clothes doing 'Ryan' things

Fish frenzy

Today Hannah, Sophie and I headed to Big W. It was very exciting as it was Hannah's second only big ride on her bike. Every other time, we've not made it to the next door neighbour's driveway before her legs are too tired to continue. But something must have just clicked - on Sunday she rode down to the service station to get bread (not alone!) and then today she made it all the way into Gawler and halfway home before sitting in the pram. Anyway, as we headed past the aquarium shop, Hannah said we should get some fish to feed Huck. We got four feeder fish (Hannah chose how many). On the way home, I looked in the bag and noticed a couple of little tiny fish as well as the four bigger ones. I figured the fish lady must have scooped a few little ones in by mistake. By the time we got home, there were about 20 little fish, and they were bigger than before, almost growing by the second. One of the big fish must have laid them (or given birth, or whatever they do). We put them into the tank when the kids got home from school; I thought they might last a couple of days, but Huck made it his mission to seek and destroy. Two of the big ones found hiding places under the rocks, but that only meant they lived for an extra hour or so. We put in a plastic container to make a sort of cave but the silly fish didn't find it. Currently there are no big fish left and only about six of the littlies. These ones are smart and staying close to the bottom where it's hard to spot them amongst the stones. It will be interesting to see how long they last.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Facing the music

We had Paul's court hearing this week. He had wanted to apply for an adjournment for as long as possible, as he has his store's conversion in a few weeks time (when they close for a week and then re-open as, ta-da!, Coles Greenacres). We went and saw a lawyer who said it would be no problems, you just need to say you want to seek legal advice and they have to give you an adjournment, no guarantees on how long it will be though. The court day was one of those interesting spectacles, lots of people who know very well what they are doing (lawyers, clerks), and lots of people who have no idea (defendants). After the lawyers all had their turns pleading for adjournments for various people, Paul was the first (only?) defendant standing alone to request an adjournment. The magistrate essentially said 'All you're going to get is 12-15 months suspension and $700-$1000 fine, is it really necessary to see a lawyer?', which the lawyer had warned might happen, but Paul just repeated his request and got a new court date of 21 December. He was very happy with this, as it gets his conversion finished (they open Nov 27 I think) and also the bulk of Christmas trade. The lawyer we saw also said that to her knowledge, they are taking all the time since the offence into consideration when working out the suspension, whether or not you have been driving in that time. She also told us about the Alco-link or whatever it's called, where halfway through your suspension you can fork out $1500 and get a breatho fixed to your ignition and start driving again. With these two things in consideration, Paul will probably not spend any more time without a licence (if suspension of 14 months, 7 months since offence). He's pretty happy about that. His car lease also fortituously runs out on 20 December (the day before the hearing), so he will likely buy a new car (since he wouldn't be able to get the alco-link put into the lease car). In the end I guess it's worked out okay for him.

The world record-holder is...

Ryan got the Guinness book of records for his birthday yesterday (thanks Nic!). During the course of reading it, he shared the fact that the record for eating a raw onion is 1 min 29 sec. Paul, who loves raw onion, declared he could do it quicker. So, armed with a raw onion, bottle of water and stopwatch, he started. Much moaning and pacing and swigging of water later, we checked the stop watch. 1 min 25 sec! How exciting. Ryan was besides himself at the thought that someone in our family might be famous. He wanted to log onto the Guinness website straight away to register for the record, but Paul thought it might be a wise idea to see how the onion settled, to see whether he would be game enough to repeat the feat. Other than everything else tasting like onion for the rest of the day, and some fairly vivid belches, he survived okay.

Friday, October 13, 2006

"Best birthday party ever!"

Although it's not actually Ryan's birthday until tomorrow, we had his 'party' today. After much discussion and negotiation, we agreed that he could have two friends (Nik and Lachlan), since the activities he chose were free/cheap. We headed off pretty early in the morning, first stop Old Adelaide Gaol. I've never been there before, it was pretty cool actually. It's run-down and the displays are pretty lame, but it's interesting anyway.

Photo: Child prisoners at the gaol.

We were there fairly early and there was no-one else there so the kids got to run around and work off some of their excitement. Lachlan got a little bit spooked at going into some of the cells, and was sure the people were keeping secrets and there were really prisoners still behind some of the locked doors. We learned about the only woman hanged in SA (Elizabeth Woolcock, for poisoning her husband) and stood in the hanging tower on the trapdoor that drops to hang people. Yay.
After that, we headed into Adelaide itself for a space display at the museum. Only it wasn't at all what I (and Ryan) thought it would be. Fortunately he didn't get disappointed - rather than being space artifacts it was a hands-on Investigator Science thingy. Interesting, lots of things to play with, even for Sophie. We wandered around some more of the museum as well, there is a new Edicaria display (world's oldest fossils from Flinders Ranges). It's interesting the things that hold children's interest at different ages; Ryan was very interested in the different minerals this time. Sophie loved talking and growling at all the stuffed mammals.
We had lunch at DJs food court, since the kids all decided they wanted Subway (how exciting). I talked them out of it though as the line was very long, and the thought of trying to get four different subs made was just too much for me. Lachlan then chose sushi and the others pies. Bethany waited until last and then I was feeling game enough to brave Subway, so she got it after all. Sophie had sushi too. :) Funny how kids have different tastes - Lachlan loved his (raw) salmon and avocado sushi but wouldn't even look twice at the muffins I made this morning. Oh, the muffins, I felt like such a 'good' mother this morning when I realised we didn't have any snacks, so just decided to whip up a batch of muffins before we headed out. How Supermum of me. :0 They were tasty too.
After the museum and lunch, we headed home then out to the skate park (phew, exhausting just typing it all out !). The boys had brought their scooters (Lachlan's bought especially this week just for today), and Ryan had his bike. The skate park was the best part of the day. You know they had a good day, as we were leaving each thing, they said 'that was the best thing so far!'. But the skate park really did win. The girls climbed up and slid down things (even Sophie), and the boys scooted and rode and slid. After that, home to play Ryan's new computer game (from Lachlan) then off to Hungry Jacks for dinner (all the way to Elizabeth as Munno is closed for renovations). Then home for cake, then dropping boys off.

Photo: Ryan cutting his cake. His request: chocolate mud cake with a gooey caramel centre (cake cut in half and Top N Fill added), with a yin yang on top (last minute alteration from skull).

Of course, the boys couldn't live further apart, Nik at Evanston Park and Lachlan at Hewett, but that's the way it goes. Ryan continued to thank me for the day, saying he didn't know what the strongest word was to use for how good the day was. It was brilliant, excellent, great, fantastic and terrific. So nice he had a good time. The kids were all great, the only little niggle was on the way home from town, the boys had a bit of an argument and Ryan sulked most of the way home but snapped out of it quick enough. Tomorrow Jeannie is coming for a visit, and Bethany is going to a birthday party (Claire's, at Starplex pool).
Photo: Ryan looking somewhat, um, unmasculine. The kids all swapped clothes and took photos of themselves being each other, here Ryan is dressed up as Hannah.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Hannah is sick again

Hannah has been doing pretty well lately - still congested sounding, but no runny nose and actually able to hear. The last few days though she got sick again, complaining about headaches, earaches, sore body, and having a raging temperature for a couple of days. Today she was supposed to go to childcare but I didn't take her - she had been in my bed all night and was really hot, so I thought a rest day would be good. Not that it was a rest day, really. The kids are on holidays so I had the day off work and we went rollerskating at the rec centre (also had a catering job in the morning so it worked out well that I had organised the day off already).
I mentioned before that Hannah spent the night in my bed. That's because she POOED in hers! That's right, I went to take her to the toilet at 1030, walked into the room thinking it didn't smell right, and her pj's and bed were, well, gross. Not diarrhoea, just normal, but she was so sound asleep and wiped out from being sick that she didn't even notice. I stripped her off and took her in the shower. She wanted me to come in, so there we were, in the middle of the night, standing in the shower. We stood in there for ages, I think it was nice for her headache and temperature (I think she was asleep standing up). Then, such a sweetheart she is, as I was sorting out the new sheets etc, she was trying to help, going to take the dirty ones out to the laundry to soak, wanting to help change the quilt cover, I fixed the sheets first and got her to lie down while I sorted out the rest, but then when I was done, she was still awake and wanted to sleep with me, and that's okay, of course. Poor sick baby. She is much better today though, no headache and a lot more energy.

Photo: Last week we went into town and did all the free fun things, including rolling down the steep grassy hills behind Government House

Sunday, October 08, 2006

We did it!

The Wedding was last night, and it went great. Thanks to Nicole and Lee, it went without a hitch (well, except the bit where the earwig climbed out of the toothpick holder and dived into the sweet chilli sauce while people were choosing food off the plate). We got lots of compliments on the food and there was more than enough of it (could have had at least 100 pieces less, I'd say) although there was that mid-service panic where all the first hot food had been served as well as all the cold food, and we were waiting for the next hot food and all the people were 'starving'. Like I said, in the end there was plenty of food though. We had an early drama when we couldn't get the oven lit, luckily the racecourse staff were around setting up for the Barossa Cup the next day and managed to get the thing going - it was very nice to have a huge double gas oven to work with (actually, Nicole worked with it - between her doing all the heating, and Lee doing most of the serving and dishwashing, I mostly got to just walk around looking lost). Did I mention how great they both were?
Kids all were okay - apparently Sophie was a bit difficult to get to sleep for Paul, but she slept through to 6am so that was nice for me. I was home in bed by 10.30 (one of the advantages of living 2 streets away from the function). I was very glad that Nicole was motivated enough to get us started doing dishes during the quieter times, as there was hardly anything to do right at the end of the night.
The food took a long time to serve, even with such a big oven. We served the first at 7, and were still putting food out after 930 (and that didn't even include the sweets).
It was extremely satisfying, as well as incredibly UNstressful for the most part (I was only stressing that I must have forgotten things because it seemed like there wasn't much to do).

Funny though, it's done now and it was such a mental milestone for me that I keep thinking that now it's time for mum and dad to come home. But they're only a third of the way through! But of course it will go quickly - Nicole and Raff are going to KI in early November so we will get Rufus then, which is two-thirds of the way through, and then next thing we know it will be December and they will be back! (sorry to speed it up that way, guys).

Friday, October 06, 2006

Invader makes the news

Well, the excitement last Friday at least made it onto the front page of the Bunyip.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Leaps and bounds

Sophie is right at that age where she amazes you with the things she learns. Paul was away for three days, and in that short time, she learned the following things:
- to open the cupboard, get out the oven mitts, put them on, and walk around saying 'hot, hot'
- the words 'cheese', 'book', 'baby' and, most disconcertingly, 'I do' (as in 'I want to carry this bag that is twice my weight and I will crack a big fruity if you try and help me')
- to come and get you saying 'ee' if she did a wee with no nappy (and I swear, she told me today that she did a wee when she had a nappy on)
- to say 'quack' and do the sign for 'duck'
- remembering where she put something (as in 'Sophie, where are daddy's keys?' and she can lead you into Hannah's room and show you them under the quilt)
- to do the mountain yoga pose on command (hands and feet on the ground, bum in the air)
- to wear a cap backwards and cross her arms, hands pointing down when you say 'yo'

The term ends with a bang

Today was the last day of term 3. The kids were full of news. According to Ryan who spoke with great authority, there were three men at the school with knives, and one had a grenade. Bethany said a man bashed in the window. The real story is somewhere in between. In the early afternoon, the assistant principal went out the front of the school to talk to a person who had been loitering outside for quite some time. He was a youngish teenager, no older than 15. He pulled a big knife and told her to get inside. She did, of course, and set in train the lock-down procedure. It was just on lunch and all the kids were heading outside. Fortunately, just the week before, the school had done a lock-down drill so everyone knew exactly what to do. Ryan's class has to hide in the classroom under the window (so someone looking in can't see them). Bethany's class hides in the hallway between the classes. The crazy (high?) teenager wandered around the school for a while, with the principal trailing him to see what he was doing (and also looking for any stray children). He caught sight of her as she ducked into the junior primary building and wasn't very happy she had been following him. He tried to kick in the door of the art room (right near where Bethany's class were sheltering). Fortunately the glass was reinforced, so it shattered but didn't fall out. He sort of gave up and wandered around until the police got there (10 minutes it took from the first incident). As you can imagine, stories were flying thick and fast (hence the three guys with the grenade), but it was handled very well by the teachers. The school had their assembly as planned at 1.3o which also acted as a debrief. The principal spoke to all the parents who attended after the children had returned to their classrooms. It all turned out extremely well really, although the assistant principal and principal were understandably quite shaken. Very lucky that they had had a practice just the week before, and also probably a good thing that it was the last day of term (because even in that short hour, the story got bigger than Ben Hur, it's good to have a couple of weeks for it to die down). Our kids of course thought it was a big adventure, even Bethany who could hear the guy kicking the glass and other kids upset. After school they wanted to check out the broken glass, which we did, and Bethany even re-enacted the scene ('He stood right here, and went like this' (kick kick)). Took it all in her stride.
I was glad though, that the 'teenager' (apparently our family's new synonym for 'bad guy') chose the school rather than the childcare across the road to attack. I don't think they have a lock-down procedure, and the kids are a lot less compliant (and there are a lot more windows).
Still, all's well that ends well, as they say.

Mission accomplished!

I am so pleased with myself today. After procrastinating and mulling over for a few weeks, today I pulled it all together and iced and assembled the wedding cake for next week's wedding. I know I'm biased, but I think it looks great. The mudcakes themselves turned out well, moist and tasty, the icing worked out well (just royal icing), the stand looks good (I bought a pink plate with lace around the edges but it wasn't flat like the others so it didn't fit in), and I think that all together it is simple yet classy. So then I pulled it all apart and froze it all, ready for next week.
Oh, but I learned something. Even if you think you will need it in just a minute, NEVER leave the lid off the food colouring when there are children around.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Indonesia at home

Tonight we recreated the Indonesian cooking sessions from school. There had been some satay sauce left over at school that I brought home to use. The kids wanted to show Paul what they had made, so tonight when he got home from Clare we had an Indonesian feast. Sate (satay/chicken shaslicks) and gado-gado (vegetable salad) covered in the very spicy sos (or sauce) was a big hit. Afterwards too, we had the pancakes (dadar gulung). But, as the Feuerherdts do, instead of making them a subtle green colour, we chose different colours. And made them very bright. Here is a photo of the kids mixing their batter. As you can see, traditional indonesian pancake colouring. Hannah's pancakes were so black you couldn't see them in the frying pan! But we all had fun making (and eating) them, and that's the important thing of course. Ryan was even the keenest to make them, getting all ingredients out and measuring and mixing (with Hannah's guidance of course, as she knew where everything was).

Enjoying the finished product.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Milkshakes before school

Today I had some breakfast catering to deliver, nothing major, croissants and fruit, but it had to be delivered at 8am. I primed the kids the night before and they were so good about getting ready early, that after the delivery we went to Java Hut to have milkshakes (I hadn't bribed them beforehand or anything, just treated them afterwards). We had a lovely time, they all sat very nicely and chatted to the staff. Hannah chose a choc-mint shake, Bethany strawberry, and Ryan couldn't decide between a hot chocolate or an iced coffee (he went with the iced coffee - heaven forbid he just followed the others). Sophie finished off all the dregs from the others; what a different diet she has compared to the others at this age!
Today also, Bethany's class had Indonesian cooking. Nicole had the littlies so I could help out. It was lots of fun. I got to help the kids make pancakes (hooray!). For some reason we added food dye so they were a lovely shade of green. They were rolled with a coconut filling, very very nice. The other food was chicken satays and gado gado. Tomorrow is Ryan's turn.
Then tonight was ED and Council catering night. Paul is away for three days at one of these bonding conference things at Clare (I think tomorrow is rock-climbing, which he's really looking forward to), so the kids went to Nicole's for dinner while I did the delivering. Ryan and Raff went to tae kwon do (which they are both enjoying a lot, although Ryan is still hanging out for his uniform, I might get him one during the holidays). The girls just happily played for a couple of hours in their pyjamas.
The food went well, I get a buzz from getting it all cooked and organised all by myself. There was a beautiful orange sunset on the drive home from Nuri too.
I like mum's idea about the cleaner, I think I will organise someone to come to do the floors and bathroom. But there's no need for mum to feel guilty about not being here to help, I'm enjoying it. Should feel guilty about not taking us all to Central America though.

Photo: Someone told me about turtles getting soft-shell and dying so we are paranoid about taking Huck out for a walk around once a week or so.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


As I go about day to day, I am full of thoughts of things that I make a mental note to blog, but never get around to, or else I think 'Oh, must tell mum that', but of course, in three months time, these things will not seem important (and I'm sure that even now, they will not seem important compared to the amazing things seen in Central America).

- We have been going well on Monday mornings getting up early and going to childcare. I think the fact it is only once a week helps, but the kids do really well. Work itself is great - it seems silly to say after such a long time at the same place, but I really enjoy this job. My day there is like a little island; I drive in peace for an hour, float along doing peaceful enjoyable work, get to wander down to the shops at lunch time without dragging any children around. Just a shame mornings and nights are such chaos, otherwise I'd work every day!

- Catering is going great. I'm getting a real buzz out of being organised and prepared for all these things. Of course, it's only week two, ask me again in another nine weeks or so! The biggest buzz so far was putting on afternoon tea for 50 people on Sunday - Paul kept the kids amused at home, Jackie and family happened to be out for the day, so it worked out really well, I got to prep in peace at mums. The food was very well-received as always; it's nice to know that I am capable of putting on something like that by myself. Of course, it's still using things that are in the freezer courtesy of mum, but I'm making sure I keep them replenished as well. Everything's on track for my big wedding in a couple of weeks time. Paul is currently Regional Manager for a month or so (basically until he loses his license, unless he can get an adjournment to move his court appearance from Oct 12 to later this year or hopefully next year) so he won't be working Saturdays so he'll keep kids occupied, feed them and put them to bed (he actually put Sophie down for her nap the other day, will wonders never cease?!). Talked to Lyn at the bakery so I have a plan for the cakes. It's all good. Although I won't mention the lunch we did on Monday that Nicole delivered, where I forgot to do up a plate of sweets. And then got the guy's name wrong when I apologised. Oops. :) I'm also not sure what state my house is going to be in in 10 weeks time, since I currently use the excuse that I've got cooking to do to avoid doing any housework other than the necessities (so the kitchen is clean but the rest of the house a total mess).

Photo: Hannah in her new just-right apron we bought today. Note the sunhat and the slippers. That's Hannah.

- some yucky news here, a 4 year old girl was sexually assaulted in the tunnel under the big slide at St Kilda on Sunday. Plenty of people around, out of parents' sight for only a few minutes. How horrible.

- Ryan's getting excited about his birthday in a few weeks time, although he's in a bit of a dilemma because he's only allowed one friend, to go do a fun activity of his choice and then out to dinner. He really wants his two best friends, so I said he could have two friends, but then only do either an activity or dinner, not both. How mean am I?

- Sophie woke up the other night all covered in blood from a blood nose. I hadn't noticed it when I moved her into my bed at 4.30am and there was blood in the cot, in my bed, all over her and all over me. Ick. It was still bleeding when we got up at 6 (or I started it off again when I cleaned her up). It was still trickly but mucusy when I dropped her off at childcare at 7.30 (yes it was a workday of course). It settled down after that and she wasn't bothered at all, her nose didn't seem at all sore. All I can figure is she must have rolled over and bumped her nose in the night, although Bethany's teacher suggested maybe it was as simple as overheating, as it has been warm here at night.

- Got my hair cut and coloured yesterday. I like it. I went to Vicki's salon, figuring she could look after the kids for me. As it turned out, it was Paul's day off so he had Hannah, and I took Sophie up with me (he offered to take her too, but I knew Vicki would be very sad if neither of the girls came with me). She was like a doting grandma, taking Soph around all the shops to show her off.

I think that's all that's come to mind this week. Everything is going along nicely, although of course there are my standard niggles and issues, but I'm working on them. :)

A new toy

Today Hannah and I bought a new Kenwood bench top mixer - model KM002 on this link. I think Hannah was more excited than me! We got a great deal at Harvey Norman. The RRP is $799, and they had a bonus offer of a food processor attachment. Then it turned out the display model was the last one they had in stock so she knocked it down to $700. This is the model that scored highest in the Choice test. It's fabulous. And huge. Mum will have to design her kitchen to fit around it! (It's not really that big, don't worry!). We haven't used it yet, but Hannah is looking forward to licking the beater, which is really big and in the shape of a K. There are some really cool attachments available, including a potato peeler (basically I think an abrasive type bowl that spins the potatoes around and scrapes the skins off). There is of course the food processer that we got (with thick and thin slicing and grating blades as well as a chipping blade), a mincer, pasta maker, juicer, blender, spice mill, and a grater attachment (where the grated things come out a chute so you're not restricted by the size of the food processor bowl). It also came with a lovely glossy cookbook (because we don't have enough of them already) and a little video. The video was real food p@rn at its best. Non-lingual, and six minutes long, it had one of those non-descript music soundtracks, lots of shots of well-manicured hands switching knobs and feeding food into apertures, close-up before and after shots of processed food, and laughing people eating the prepared meals.

The machine is stainless steel (matt, so no fingerprints) with a stainless steel bowl with handle. Just way cool (as Hannah kept saying 'How cool is this!').

Friday, September 15, 2006


How exciting, we had an early morning call from Mexico! Kids were very happy to hear from Nana and Papa, except Bethany, who wanted them to be Adam and Eva instead. The kids wanted them to 'talk in Mexico' which I think means 'say something in Spanish'. Nana and papa were happy to oblige. After the phone call finished, I explained that it was nearly bed time for nana and papa. Hannah was surprised and enlightened: Oh, they have beds there!?

Photo: Look what was on sale at Coles!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Broken record

That was me today praising Hannah. Is it possible to compliment a child too much? I know I'm a mum and not allowed to have favourites, and of course all my children are special and precious and have their own (big) place in my heart, but, gee, that Hannah...

Today we made little spinach and ricotta triangles. A fiddly, time-consuming job. Hannah was helpful and interested the whole time (Sophie was kind enough to sleep for most of it). She brushed the filo with oil each time, brushed each triangle as it was finished and placed them into the container, chatting happily away the whole time. Towards the end she wanted to have a try at folding her own triangles - we had those ones for lunch. :) She made 10, 4 for me, 4 for her and 2 for Sophie (she decided herself how many we needed). Sophie's she made a special shape (squished roundish, as opposed to ours which were squished longish). When she counted them and there were seven, she knew straight away she had to make three more. So helpful, happy and a genius. :)
Later, we hung clothes and nappies out on the line. Hannah hangs things on a metal clothes horse that she can reach. Later, without prompting, she went out and checked the nappies she'd hung. They were dry, so she brought them inside and folded them and left them on the table. What a child!

Picture: Hannah with her triangles.

So I don't know how many times today I told her how wonderful and fantastic she is, what a great helper, how much I enjoyed my day with her, all those lovely positive messages.

Then tonight as I write this, she keeps waking up and crying in her sleep for no known reason. Bad child!

Picture: Sophie has discovered
the cereal shelf in the pantry.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Another one bites the dust

Not quite in Irwin's league, but the Bunyip reports that Gordon Andrews died this week.

Here is Sophie in triumphant boxing mode.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Of course, it had to be said. Our Steve is gone. Everyone here is taking it stoically, brave on the outside while shattered on the inside. In all seriousness, it's terribly sad to see the death of a man full of such vitality and enthusiasm for life and living things. And of course leaving behind some young children.

Yesterday at school was 'wear-what-you-want day', oops, I mean 'casual day', they renamed it because you can't really wear what you want; amongst other things, it has to be sun-safe (read: collared shirt) and apparently according to Ryan, not scary (so just about every single one of his t-shirts was out, due to skulls and scorpions galore).
Bethany chose a tribute shirt, here is a lovely pic of her in her Steve Irwin t-shirt.

Hannah's moment (there's always one). Today we headed to mum's to do some catering for the first time since they left. As we approached, Hannah asked if nana would be there for a while before going to work. Before I could remind her, we came around the corner and she saw the station wagon in the driveway. 'Nana is home!' she cried. 'Ah, no...' I started. 'Papa, then!', even more excited. When I reminded her they were actually on the other side of the world, she took it well. 'Silly me, I forgot. But I get to teach Jarra how to feed the chooks!'.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

What she said...

Photo: Kids and grandparents at the airport
Yes mum and dad left today. Check out Nicole's blog for the story. My kids were not too sad, Bethany didn't even cry 'because she knew it was not for a very long time'. We of course will all miss them, at times it will seem to be forever until we see them again, other times we will look in amazement at how fast the time has gone. At all times we will be envious of the experiences they are having! Love you guys.

Photo: Sophie at Ikea all tuckered out from saying goodbye

Techno-child moment: Later at home Ryan looked like he was up to some mischief, I asked what was happening. 'Nothing' was the answer, then, 'on second thoughts, check out to see what I'm doing'. Ha ha.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Show weekend

I had my first A&E lapse over the weekend when we were planning going to the Gawler Show - in my mental planning I thought mum needed to invite them to join us. Only a little glitch, but still one of those 'oh' moments. But even without them we still managed to have fun. All the usual show things, rides, clowns (and those disappointing prizes), dodgems (Ryan: That was so worth the $4!), donuts and a few new things - a big pile of foambubbles pumped out onto the ground for the kids to play in, and the Gawler Gymnastics tent set up for trampolining and balancing.

Hannah remembers too

Driving with Hannah the other day past Parafield Airport, we spotted a light plane. 'I think that's the plane Adam and Eva are on!' Hannah exclaimed. I reminded her they had got off the plane and were in a different country. 'Oh yeah, how could I forget that they are in Ukraine now? Yeah, Ukraine...' and she descended into Hannah-revery. A little later in our drive we passed a construction site. She pointed at the crane on the site and asked 'Is that a Ukraine?'

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Turtle showcase

As I type, Huck is cowering shivering in the corner of his tank, muttering over and over to himself 'the children! so many children!'. Yes, today was show-and-tell day at school (or 'hotel day' in Hannah-speak). First the turtle was trapped in a circle of 26 squealing five year olds, then transported in a box only to be trapped in a circle of squawking eight year olds. He did perform well, and was rewarded with some extra food afterwards.

Added picture: Bethany's interpretation of Huck at school. Note the circle of children, some with blue and some with yellow tops. The two arrows point to me in the middle of the circle, and Bethany as part of the circle. I don't doubt that each person in the drawing relates to a particular child in her class as well. The text on the other side of the picture reads "Hava a grat time at your holadae OOOOOOOOOOO Love love love love love I hop you hava a grat holadae I LOVE YOU!"

Photo: Unrelated to turtles and school, this is a photo of 'Winterlicious' at Port Adelaide. 'Crap' as declared by Ryan. 'Crap' as confirmed by mum. A little mound of snow that we queued 50 minutes for to play on for five. Woo-hoo. At least it was sunny and there was a guy selling rainbow sno-cones. And donuts. Don't forget the donuts.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Made redundant

Today is Sophie's second day at childcare. I didn't post about her first day as I didn't take photos, but after forgetting to take photos today as well, I faced up to the fact that she will probably be at school before I remember to bring the camera, so a thousand words will have to do instead.
I'd hoped (kind of) that today she would be a bit sad that I was leaving her again, after the uneventful first day she had, but in true Feuerherdt child style, because the children were sitting down eating fruit, she practically jumped out of my arms, pulled out a chair and started commanding and gesturing to the staff that she wanted a bowl too. My departure was a mere annoyance, interfering with the consumption of food (including oh so precious bananas - so that's where my fees go!).
She really has settled in very well, probably because Charlotte is also there Mondays, and Hannah stays in the baby room for a while too, so she is surrounded with familiar people, as well as being so familiar with the centre anyway.
So I'm enjoying today child-free. Of course, I'm used to it to a degree, as mum and dad have the kids on Fridays, but I work then! Today, I'm just working at home, cleaning up the debris from the weekend. Oh, and writing interminable blog entries.

Turtle fishing

When we inherited the turtle it came along with a big green net that my brother bought to catch little fish in the river to feed to the turtle. Notice I said he bought it for that purpose, not that he actually ever used it for that.
Ryan found a good use for it, as 7 year old boys do, namely catching bees. As we have a big row of lavender bushes along the front of the house, there are always plenty of bees to feed this hobby. Once he's caught them, he puts them in a bottle and leaves them lying around the house like everything else. He believes he is immune to bee stings as he 'got stung once and it didn't hurt'. Knowing my son's pain threshold, I beg to differ. I think a bee might have accidentally lost its stinger somewhere near the vicinity of his finger. When he gets stung for the first time, I'm sure we will hear about it loud and clear.
The time came, as was inevitable, that merely catching bees wasn't enough. He wanted to catch fish to feed the turtle, because that's what the net is actually for. Finally he wore me down and we went down to Clonlea Park yesterday to see what we could get. Fortunately Sophie (and Bethany) stayed home with Paul as that reduced the number of children in close proximity to water and therefore reduced my stress levels. After much fruitless swishing of nets in water (we knew there were things in there to be caught, after Ryan's class excursion to the very same spot this week, where the yabby nets captured yabbies (of course) and some sludge-suckers or other such fish), I finally emerged triumphant! A tiny, almost transparent, shrimp-type thing. Success. I managed in the end to catch two of these minute creatures. Standard response from Ryan was of course disappointment that he wasn't the one catching them. Following on the heels of the unsuccessful day fishing with Papa the day before, he was concerned he was losing his fishing prowess.
But, of course, we took them home, tipped them in with Huck, and he ate them. A bit of excitement because one lasted almost 10 minutes before he saw it (yes, they were that small) but nature ran its course in the end.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Midnight snacks

Recently we adopted a turtle, well, I guess more accurately we have fostered a turtle. My brother and sister in law have headed overseas for a couple of years and we are looking after not-so-little Huck for them. He's pretty easy to take care of, feed him when you think of it, clean the tank if it gets really dirty, drop the odd snail or slater in for a bit of entertainment. Ryan loves having a turtle, particularly since the fish tank got retired (after the seventh fish died I thought it was time for a break).
Adam said we need to feed the turtle four squares of turtle food once a week or so. To increase the excitement factor, we thought we would feed him one square every other day. Ryan has taken this seriously. The other morning he came into the bedroom at 2am, whispering some long story that my weary brain couldn't compute. I asked him to state in three words what he wanted. 'I need to feed the turtle' he said. Well, at 2am that is not my priority so we told him to get back to bed.
Apparently he didn't, he went out to the kitchen, got the turtle food, cut it into pieces and fed the turtle. The next day he said he had been very worried because we had missed a day feeding it and he was worried it would die of starvation before he woke up in the morning. Given that my brother had fed Huck when he remembered, even forgetting for as long as a month, I suspect that wasn't an imminent danger. However, Ryan is a very caring child (at least when it comes to turtles).

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A tale of two Hannahs

Actually, that would be Hannah on the right and my cousin (so Hannah's second cousin I guess) on the left. Bella is about a year younger than Hannah I think, but it's kind of spooky how alike they are. They have the same wispy white-blonde hair, the same eyes and cheeky smile. Same body shape (scrawny). This photo was taken on Easter Sunday - we all kept mistaking them for each other. Something to be said for genetics I guess.

Not to offend anyone...

For those finicky parents who hate the whole Barbie thing, here is a refreshing alternative.

Spotted in a shop in Hahndorf, on a fun day with mum and the kids in the school holidays.

Bethany's first day at school

The title says it all really. How can she be possibly this old? And she has a wobbly tooth too! Where oh where have the last five years gone? Somehow it seems more unbelievable that B is at school than it did when Ryan started. Perhaps that's because with him being the first, I tended to focus more on every little thing and so was acutely aware of each stage as it approached and passed. With Bethany, I guess I've been a little distracted (to say the least!). Older and younger siblings help diffuse the attention so it seems to have just sneaked up on us. But she seems to be loving it, despite the tiredness that comes from suddenly attending five full days a week.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

A night away from home

Only not in a good way. Yesterday afternoon Sophie started with a runny nose. By bedtime she was a bit noisy in breathing, and I reflected on how with her last three colds (yes so many colds are unusual in a breastfed baby, but she does have three siblings and spends a lot of time visiting childcares, schools and preschools) she has gotten wheezy and noisy, but not bad enough for me to even get to the steamy bathroom stage. This time, she woke up about 8pm, in ‘acute respiratory distress’. And oh boy, it was. She was crying, I guess because her throat was painful, and exhaling huge amounts of air as she wailed, only not able to get in the same amount of air on the inhalation as her airway was so restricted. Her lips were turning blue, she couldn’t calm down and wouldn’t nurse at all. Finally got her a little calmer, but the tell-tale pull in the throat and under the ribs as she tried to take each breath sent me scurrying to the hospital. Good call, as it turns out. Straight away they put oxygen on her (well, I had to hold the tube near her nose as they had no paediatric masks in Emergency) and then some prednisolone. Her O2 stats went as low as 79, not really what you want to see in a baby. Fortunately the pred worked its magic nice and quickly, but not quite quick enough for the doctor, who began talking about having to intubate her and mentioning that they don’t have the facilities for doing that to an 8 month old at our lovely little country hospital so it would mean a trip down to the big city an hour away. That’s really what you want to hear, with three other kids sleeping peacefully at home and a husband who has to leave for work at 5.30am.

As it was, she settled quickly enough (with a slight setback as she vomited the Panadol/Tylenol along with her dinner and possibly some of the pred, leading to that fun experience of a painkiller suppository). However, as you may have guessed by the doctor’s threats of sending her to Women’s and Children’s, he was a bit nervous about her. He admitted her and ordered her to be on oxygen all night, with obs done every hour and O2 sats three times overnight for 30 minutes a time. That lead to a nice peaceful night, with her hyped up from the steroid, bugged by the nasal tube taped to her face (I took a photo with my phone but the darn thing won’t download to the computer) and annoyed by the nurse all the time. Not to mention sleeping in a hospital cot, not snuggled next to mum like she is used to. All things considered, she slept okay, and only succeeded in finally ripping off the nasal tube at about 730am. I sneaked a bit of sleep too, and managed to end up feeling only very exhausted, not quite totally wiped.

Since Paul was unable to find someone else to cover for him in the morning, my mum as usual saved the day. She came around at 530 so he could go to work, got the kids dressed and ready, took them back to her house for breakfast, prepared and delivered the breakfast catering job we had, popped in with the kids to the hospital for a quick visit, and then dropped Ryan at school. She is truly an amazing person. Did all that with a smile, too.

While she was at the hospital with the kids, the doctor called in to see what was happening. Only, as luck would have it, it wasn’t the same doctor from the night before, but our regular doctor, the wonderful Dr Anthony. He was, as always, a pleasure. He sent us home with a two day course of prednisolone and a few jokes.

My wonderful mother took the older girls to her house so I could take Sophie home for a sleep and a long hot shower (shower for me, sleep for her). As of now, she is doing fine, a runny nose still and occasionally coughing, but otherwise quite happy.

Here's to a better night's sleep tonight!