Saturday, August 30, 2008
The basic plot of the movie is a retelling of the story based on the book 'Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence'. Its the true story of Molly Craig, a young black Australian girl who leads her younger sister and cousin in an escape from an official government camp, set up as part of an official government policy to train them as domestic workers and integrate them into white society. With grit and determination Molly guides the girls on an epic journey, one step ahead of the authorities, over 1,500 miles of Australia's outback in search of the rabbit-proof fence that bisects the continent and will lead them home. These three girls are part of what is referred to today as the 'Stolen Generations.'
It was a very moving movie. Since we have moved here, there have been countless discussions (I am sure there are stronger words to use if you ask people from around here) about Australia's responsibility to the Stolen Generation. By watching the movie it gave a sense of the desolation that is the other side of Australia. And the sadness a misinformed government inflicted on many many people.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
John B came into Sydney and stopped over for dinner tonight. After chatting thru dinner, the boys of course have to play their traditional Madden '08 on the Wii.
After 2 plays, John is now leading Jim 15 to 0 (yes as in nought, nil or zero). Not sure if he will be invited back next time.l
Except he likes my cooking, so maybe I can handle the compliments while Jim gets his American Football butt kicked by an Aussie!
Monday, August 25, 2008
So, upon rising at 5.54am this morning, he crawled into bed with me (Jim was already in the shower for work) and proceeded to tell me all that ailed him. I desperately tried to convince him to go to sleep. When that didn't work, I nicely suggested that he go out and watch the closing ceremony of the Olympics which we taped for him. That did work.
When I finally got up (to make breakfast because 'WE ARE STARVING') he not to subtly asked me if he had to go to school when he didn't feel well. I said I would make him an appt to see the Dr. (which usually has him running for his uniform and heading off to school) and he heartily agreed. Hmmm.... maybe he isn't feeling great.
Got him in at 11.30 to see Dr. Ratner. She agreed that his left ear was plugged, but the right looked great. And not to do anything until we see his brains running out of his ear. Or maybe just ooze. Who knows, but basically what I figured all along. Not much can be done for tubed-up ears until they leak. If they don't get better by Thursday, I have to call the ENT (who we coincidentally saw on Saturday at Maggio's having coffee -- should have had him take a look then!)
Got home and had enough time to start the turkey legs cooking for some homemade 'chicken' noodle soup. That should help with the illness, right?
Then we had to play Trouble! Sorry! and read a few books. He even did 3 pages of his math extension book. And then played Webkinz. Bored and running out of stuff to do before picking up Emme from school....
Not that sick... By 2.30 he admitted his ear did bother him, but his wiggly (and sometimes bleeding) loose tooth was a large portion of his problem. So, that means off to school on Tuesday. And this can officially count for his one sickie this year.
Needless to say, this lovely mess on the wall is the result of a leaking washer hose in the laundry room. Didn't notice anything was wrong until I went into the LR in my socks and walked into a puddle.
Who knows how long this has been going on, but it has definitely been going on long enough to grow my own year's supply of antibiotics on my favorite pair of sandals. Also soaked and molded my three aprons and one of our chip-board shelves.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
You go crazy like the kids did today and jump in the water down at the private beach below our house. You start with just a toe or two in. Then you go up to your ankles. Next thing you know you are jumping off of planks and a floating block of concrete and soaked to your armpits.
(Nevermind that the water is a boiling 17C or 62F!) It made my skin hurt just watching them go in. But as long as the sun was out, they thought they were warm. In fact, they started out with alot more layers, but as they played (and got wet) they kept removing layers!
Kinda makes for a cold walk back up in soaking wet blue jeans the 50+steps to the house. Maybe that is why all the kids stripped to their skivvies for the hike!
Saturday, August 23, 2008
I glanced over (and giggled quite a bit!) and felt the motherly need to correct the boys... it's the symbol for diving. The correct characters are shown below... :)
Friday, August 22, 2008
Anyone who knows me knows I love(d) Winnie the Pooh. Ever since I was little enough to remember. At least as far back as my second, 3rd birthday. I carried that pooh bear around with me everywhere. Much to the chagrin of my parents when I managed to leave it behind at motels. (Or so I was told!)
So, when we found out that we were having a baby, it was a no brainer to be Classic Pooh for a theme. (Mind you -- BEFORE Classic Pooh was popular by at least 18 months) Emmalee was destined to live Pooh. In fact, her favorite character ended up being Eeyore. She still has the little guy.
So, where am I going with this? Seems like that little black rain cloud from the thousand acre wood has followed us here to Australia. Last year half of Emme's soccer season was rained out. Then this past summer there was hardly a weekend where it didn't rain, so the beaches weren't an option usually. That would be due to the run-off due to poor sewage systems and therefore contamination in the water. It seems to rain during the school holidays (remember our soggy trip to Nelson Bay -- or the week mom and dad kept the kids while Jim and I went to Hayman Island!). Now the kids have been dealing with wet weather postponing their athletics events at school.
Two Fridays ago they should have had their carnival (Aussie for competition). There was so much water on the sports oval there were ducks swimming in puddles. It has been postponed till the 5th of September. Today they have their athletics olympics (which the kids have been practicing for for the last two weeks) to raise money as students for the school. Day after day they have been coming home from school talking about doing the long jump, the javelin, hammer throw and more. They have been getting pumped up as if they are in the Olympics themselves.
So, what do we wake up to this morning???? Thunder. Rain. Threats of hail. And 52 degrees F. Nice sporting weather. Hopefully they will be able to compete under cover in the hall and the hallways at school. Not exactly the optimal sporting environment, but better than to dissapoint the kids AGAIN.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Last week I brought him a few books to keep him occupied -- one being Good Night Chicago. Another one was Clifford the Big Red Dog meets the firemen. Tim is a BIG fan of firemen -- so I thought it would be a cute book for him to borrow. I brought the Chicago one because I could tell him the story and talk to him about where I came from. He remembered the Navy Pier ferris wheel from my blogging in July. Too funny!
So, no matter what I have going on during the week or how I am feeling, I know that someone is looking forward to a little 'coffee' date with me on Thursday mornings.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
No Playdates afterschool (or before but no one has ever asked) without Planning in ADVANCE.
So, this week is going to be a boring week. Nothing has been planned in advance for Monday. Tuesday is swimming. Our first pre-planned playdate is scheduled for Thursday with Kyle and Rachael. On the other hand, we have two plays already planned for next week. Guess it might be working better than I expected.
Now they just need to behave or the play is cancelled out. And let me just say, Andrew is on 2 for not so exceptional behavior. I am thinking of putting of headphones so I don't have to hear any issues and have to hold fast to what I have said.
I just finished the yearbook this afternoon. The logo has been done for the last month or more and the website is started up. Now I just have to finish up the website.
I just have found it is a bit hard to be motivated to work when I am not doing it very much. Must be the same reason I really haven't tried too hard to find design work while I am here. I am awfully involved with the kids and school, so that is a large part of the reason. But I think that by not being 'active' in designing, it is harder for me to get into a groove to get work done. It used to come so easily and now it really is 'work'. Something that would take me 20 minutes to zip thru is now taking an hour or more.
I know I like doing the design work -- it is still interesting being creative and I love when what I am imagining in my head appears on the screen. But it is just alot harder. Maybe that is why I am not looking too hard for freelance work. I don't want it to be 'work'.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Anyway, the kids were waiting and waiting and waiting for him to return and his bus was late, so I put them to bed. But, they stayed up waiting for him. I think Jim was secretly excited that they waited up for him. As soon as his headlights hit the driveway, I could hear Emmalee announce 'Popsy is home!!!!' Then when the front door was opened, he was greeted with the pittering and pattering of little feet running to meet him.
After getting them back to bed Jim broke out the event gifts for me to put together while he ate dinner. He got a digital photo frame (preloaded with photos of the event no less) and brought back fudge for me. Three types (ok, twoish for me and oneish for him-- passionfruit for him, macadamia nut and the other was a type he couldn't remember the name of just that someone told him it was good).
I put together the frame and sat down to download a bunch of photos for him. Now the last few months worth of decent photos will flash by on his desk.
Frustrating that the digital frame is that is EXACTLY what I brought back for Jim for Father's Day or Christmas. I am a little mad since that is the one present Jim has asked for -- and he never 'wants' anything. I thought I was doing well getting it and bringing it back for him. Now I have to figure something else out.
Monday, August 18, 2008
So, being the literal little creatures they are... wait until 7.00.30 to come in whining and complaining about WHATEVER. 'Emmalee kicked me in the shin' Andrew spit in my face' 'She is sitting too close to me' 'He threw my dolls' etc. Not to mention general running around and being really loud.
Tell me, how can a person be expected to have a happy disposition when her morning starts with yelling and screaming? I am not even counting the sleep I sometimes lose the night before due to snoring and tossing and turning. This just hasn't been my week (oh wait -- month) for my sparkling personality to shine thru. Grumpy grumpy grumpy. Grumble grumble grumble.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Tonight we dropped the kids off at the Fords and we headed out for dinner. Started with a drink at the Belgian Beer Cafe. Have decided that Campari and Lemonade is not my drink of choice. Had a couple of people tell me it was good. Not so good according to my taste buds. I am thinking it is too much like licorise or something. UGHCK! Jim made a mistake and ordered a white beer, too. A bit too pale for his liking.
So, off to dinner we go. Chose a place out the Entertainment book somewhat randomly. Didn't have any idea of where or what to eat, so we just chose something that had a decent looking menu. Our choice ended up being a cute little French restaurant in Neutral Bay -- Mrs. Top. We entered and were greeted by Bonsoir. Got a cute little table in the back near a heater.
Started out with Escargot and French Onion Soup. I think it was the best FOS I have ever had. Yummy! Then we chose to both get the special of the night -- King Island beef fillet with a red wine reduction. The waiter told us KIB is THE BEST beef available.
Jim & I agree completely. It was definitely the right choice -- and some of the best beef I have had, especially since moving here. Now I definitly know what to choose when I want perfect beef to serve.
King Island has the ideal conditions for premium beef production. Lying midway between Victoria and Tasmania, the island has a temperate climate, abundant rainfall, nutrient-rich pastures and is one of the world’s cleanest and most natural environments.
King Island Beef is world renowned for being consistently succulent, tender and full of flavour. To ensure our product achieves these characteristics, all cattle are carefully selected from farmers on the island who have a longstanding relationship with the King Island Meat Company.
Grassfed beef has a superior beef flavour and is a super healthy alternative for those who seek the ultimate healthy lifestyle. Grassfed beef is very lean and contains high levels of nutrients such as vitamin B12, zinc, iron and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids that actually reduce cholesterol and help protect against heart disease.
After dinner we walked to a little gelato stand to share dessert and a cappuccino. We had a double scoop of toasted macadamia nut and classic chocolate gelato. YUMMY!
Then we walked miles (ok kilometers -- 1 or more) to the Orpheum Theatre to see The Dark Knight. $32 later (see why we don't want to pay for a sitter!)
What an intense movie. I think it was the best Batman yet. Didn't see much of Heath Ledger in the Joker and sure didn't see the humor that Jack Nicholson had in the 1st movie with the Joker. But it was REALLY REALLY good. Plus, knowing it was filmed in Chicago and seeing all the familiar sites made me feel a bit homesick.
Fourteen years ago, on this night. (August 16th, 1994) In a little town called Sheboygan. At some bar. After the BoDeans played a great show at Sheboygan's Lake Fest.
I met my future husband. Little did he know (or did I know) that when I introduced myself -- or asked him if I knew him from Marquette. AND HE WAS RUDE! Like he didn't want to be there (ok -- was explained waaaaaaaaay later that his friend Dave had ditched him). But still, a single girl walks up and talks to him and he didn't act all that interested in being approached. (Didn't he know his future wife was walking into his life?)
So, as the single girl I was, I took the hint and took off.
But as fate would have it, we crossed paths again in Mid November. Again in a small Wisconsin town (Appleton). In a small bar. Each of us there with the same people. (Jim with Dave, me with Leah).
I impressed him with my flirting skills (well, actually he was just excited that I had the potential to be a cheap date-- wasn't drinking anything but water!) But still, I left that evening without a phone number. Or plans to talk again.
Had to leave it to my detective skills to persuade a mutual friend to get me the number. Not without some hurdles (the guy wouldn't just give over the number -- had to ask Jim's PERMISSION!!! what guy does that??) Then I didn't call him right away after I got it. Had Jim thinking the request for the number was a joke.
But I guess the joke was on us. Four years of dating and ten years of marriage later, I know I wouldn't change a thing. He is still the guy I would introduce myself to. He is still the guy I would persue. And he is still the guy I would marry. All over again.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Let's just say, something did the trick. All five pairs of jeans were definitely DRY. No need to iron them (as if I ever did) since they have the uncanny ability to STAND ON THEIR OWN!
Monday, August 11, 2008
Andrew came home from school this afternoon really excited. Today Ari lent him the 2nd book of the Captain Underpants series. He already had the 1st one (The Adventures of Captain Underpants (1997)) from the library and has finished.
So, Ari evidently thought that he would lend Andrew #2. (
Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets (1999))
In fact, Andrew said it is due in 2 weeks. As if Ari were a library! How funny is that?
Sunday, August 10, 2008
In freezing cold wind, no less. Because the sydney harbour kayak store was open until 5pm. And Jim wanted to check them out.
Let's just say that despite it being sunny all day, the water was FREEEEEEEEEEEEEZING. You could see it in his eyes as he had to step into the water to push off and to bring the boat in. Not to mention all the water splashes from the paddling... (Needless to say, I quickly declined to even think about trying it out. Too damn cold for me!)
Saturday, August 9, 2008
So, this morning while watching the parade of nations, we played, "Where in the world is..." and he got to find the countries as they paraded past. I am amazed at how much he already knows. From either playing with the globe or looking at maps. He is going to get the travel wanderlust just like his dad, I can already tell.
If he didn't know where a country was right off the bat, then he would ask for a clue and usually could find it right away. Unbelievable!
Friday, August 8, 2008
After dinner the men played darts (to keep in Olympic spirit of GAMES). Jim came out #1 again (YEA! Jim).
Everyone actually stuck around to watch the opening ceremony even though it didn't even start till around 9pm. Normally I am a pumpkin (alseep) by then, so I could tell it would be a late night when everyone hunkered down on the couch and got comfy! Andrew immediately passed out on my lap. The rest of the kids hung tough for a while, but by 11, most of the young ones were alseep. Emmalee, Anthea, Rachael and Kyle seemed to be ready to make it the whole night. Luckily the parents' common sense prevailed and we all were able to get the kids to bed shortly after 11.
It was alot of fun -- dinner was filled with stories from everyone. It was really nice since not everyone knew each other, yet I think we blended a great group.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
I found this really great web-site that has all sorts of bible story related lessons and activities. I was able to do a sequencing story activity that let the kids order the events and then retell the story in their own words. A great way to see that they are listening and possibly absorbing.
Then, there are great coloring in sheets, so I dashed off 25 of them and took them in as a reward to the kids when they leave class. It seems like when they get a coloring activity, they are even more interested (except for the stickers).
Speaking of stickers, they are a great bribe -- I mean invention. I have set up a rule that the 1st boy and 1st girl to arrive into the classroom and sit down get a sticker to start the morning. Everyone ends up getting one at the end of the lesson, but it sure is a great motivator to get them into the room right away!
So, being the ingenious mom that I am (ie -- want him to get back to bed, thought he was stalling) I told him that when he got dressed in the morning to put on two pairs of undies to pad his backside.
Well, he took me seriously. I noticed a double padded butt walking into the room to get dressed this morning. I about fell over. Didn't mention it to him, though to spare him embarrassment from his sister, who would no doubt broadcast his attire to all of school if given the chance.
Have to see if it really helped out afterall...
Monday, August 4, 2008
So, afterschool all five of us hop in the car and head to the house with questions about who gets to play Wii first. Usually its only Andrew and friend that ask, but now that Emme has the Dance Dance Revolution and High School Musical games (plus Hannah Montana -- but its only a 1 player game) that makes the Wii a bit more desirable for her, too!
Being the mean mommy that I am, I MADE them play outside for a while first. Then after careful consideration, I let the girls play first, setting the timer for 35 minutes. To be fair of course. Because the boys were itching to play Wii Lego StarWars. Emmalee and Olivia HSM sing alonged for the whole 35 minutes. Cute but LOUD.
The boys got their turn at LSW. Played until the timer beeped. But actually shut it down without a fight.
If only it was that easy every time...
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Me on the other hand, not so excited. You see, if they start up with b-ball, that means weekly practices (for each child since they are in different age brackets), weekly games and weekly pushing and prodding to get the kids excited to go to either. All done by moi! After last year's soccer, I am not looking forward to pushing the kids to do any 6 month long seasonal team sport. If it was a more casual sport where it wouldn't matter if they didn't make it to a few games, then I might be more inclined to be up for it. But baseball will involve us from the beginning of September through Easter. With only a break for school holidays. UGH!!! Six months of 2-3 days a week of involvement. Too much for me.
We showed up for the open day/sausage sizzle (everything here in AUS has sausage sizzle associated with it!). Emmalee got partnered up with a girl whose father & mother both had to push her to even put on the baseball glove, let alone throw or catch the ball. Of all the people she could get matched with... a girl whose dad had to stand behind her to make her arms catch or throw the ball. Andrew on the other had had a great partner -- just one without very good aim!
All was going just fine until I see Jim carrying Andrew over to where I was sitting with Teesh. Andrew was crying because he had a bloody nose from being hit in the face with a baseball shot out of the pitching cannon while looking into the sun trying to catch it. Brave little guy tried to do it, but the sun got in his eyes. So much for baseball after that. Hopefully we'll get him back next week to avoid the fear, but fingers crossed -- no joining the team...
Friday, August 1, 2008
So, we get a table and set about to do the ordering. Jim of course orders sushi. I order a chicken katsu meal with rice for the kids to share. I get a combo bento box -- trying to cover all bases in case someone doesn't like their meal. When the miso soup comes out, I offer it to Jim since I am not too fond of it. Emmalee tried it and LOVED it. Had to order her another bowl.
When the meals came out, Emmalee bravely tried the cucumber sushi from Jim and liked it. Enough to eat 3 or 4. Andrew enjoyed his katsu. My bento box was ok, but nothing to write a blog about.
Amazingly, no complaints were heard from any of the peanut gallery. AT A SUSHI RESTAURANT -- when the kids supposedly HATE SUSHI!!! So, I would say the evening was a success.
An update to the post -- the kids have been begging to go back to SUSHI MASA. They keep asking when we can go back to the restaurant. We may have found a new Friday night place to add to our repetoire.