Friday, 27 June 2008

Alexanders Outing

"Alexander the duck lives with his family in the beautiful Botanical Gardens in Sydney. His mother is bored and takes her ducklings for a walk, past the bottle tree, along Art Gallery Rd and across College St. They arrive at the park, but Alexander is not watching where he is going and ends up falling into a hole. How will he get out? A variety of people visiting the park help out and Alexander and his family are able to return safely home in time for tea. A lovely book for anyone familiar with Sydney and told in Allen’s usual great to read aloud style for young children."

Kirra Louise has a book by Pamela Allen called "Alexanders Outing". We were all excited to see where Alexander and his family went on their outing, so we set off on Thursday to visit Hyde Park (the place where Alexander gets stuck in the hole). We took took the train into the city, which Isabel particularly enjoyed. She was swinging around the poles in the train, trying to walk around everywhere. Just pretty much showing off her waddling skills.

Our exciting train ride ended at the Museum station, which incidentally has no lifts to the ground level, so we had to carry the stroller up the stairs to Hyde Park. Right outside our the station is the Anzac War Memorial that is being renovated for it's 75th Anniversary. We took a few photos in there and looked at some of the old war memorabilia (a pair of old boots that were worn during the battle of Long Tan) - pretty neat stuff.

Then we were off to the Archibald Fountain at the other end of the park. Kirra Louises' book failed to depict the fountain in its correct form, so when we arrived at the fountain, we were quite surprised to see statues of naked men and scary monsters being held by the naked men. It's a majestic fountain all the same, so we got a few photos in front of the Archibald Fountain too. I'm sure the Kuhns aren't used to having so many photos taken of them, one of the many delights of going on an excursion with a Petersen! (LOTS of photos).

From there it was only a hop, skip (much skipping from the girls) and a jump to the Sydney Opera House where more photos were taken. We managed to arrive at a particularly beautiful part of the afternoon when the sun was setting behind the Harbour Bridge. It made for some spectacular (or what would have been spectacular) photos.

Although at this point, you may be wondering if we had any sort of destination in mind, I assure you - there was food at the end of all the walking. That's what kept Isabel and me going. Dan and Robyn were kind enough to pay for me (and Isabel) to accompany them on the sunset dinner cruise. The great news is - Isabel, Sophie AND Kirra-Louise all ate for free! Isabel particularly liked the breadroll and her booster seat. She was able to sit at the table like a big girl. Unfortunately, she didn't really ACT like a big girl, so mummy had to take all the cutlery away from her place setting. Mummy also ended up clearing most of their side of the table of anything remotely interesting, because most of it would have ended up on the floor. Isabel was called a boy a couple of times by the waiter, but we didn't mind because they managed to give us six full meals for the price of three!

Everyone was really tired after we got back into the harbour, so we quickly made our way back on the train and home. Straight into our pyjamas, stopping only for a drink of milk and straight on to bed.

The Kuhns are here, so let's go to the Aquarium!

While I spent my entire day looking after Eloise on Wednesday, Dallas, Isabel and the Kuhns (Dan, Robyn, Kirra-Louise and Sophie) all went on a day trip to Darling Harbour and in particular the Sydney Aquarium. This is Isabel's second trip to the Aquarium in just under a month - but this time she was apparently an angel.

There were no whiny noises and when it was time to take a nap, she was out on cue. It seems Dallas gets all the luck! Of course a day at the Aquarium wouldn't be complete without going to the Lindt cafe to get a chocolate sundae.

Kirra-Louise couldn't wait for the shark exhibit, Isabel was mesmorised by the huge fish and Sophie... well, I'm sure Sophie just chattered the whole way through.

Isabel LOVES having the girls here to play with, even though it gets a little overwhelming sometimes. When it does get overwhelming, she just gets a cuddle from mummy and then she's able to continue playing.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

On a sunny winter's day

Tuesday was spent cleaning up the house and fixing it to be nice for when our friends the Kuhns came to visit (Tuesday evening). I don't know if I've told you, but I can't get enough of our backyard. I absolutely adore the fact that we have one and we don't have to share it with anyone else. It may be small, one of the fences may be falling down and the little garden shed may be on its last legs, but it's mine (kind of) and I will love it forever.

Because of my undying love for our backyard, I have taken the job of mowing the lawn upon myself - the fact that Dallas would prefer to pluck out his chest hairs one by one than mow the lawn has nothing to do with it. As previously mentioned, we have been doing a bit of creative budgeting and as a result ended up buying a non-motorised mower (one of those push mowers). All I can say is - Thank goodness we only have a small yard!!!!

While I was mowing on Tuesday, Dallas took some fairly loathsome photos of me. He said it was to document our humble beginnings - so when we are sitting back in our deck chairs by the pool while we watch our gardener tend to our vast garden, we can reminisce on old times. I say he only took the photos as a form of torture - but in the interest of record keeping, I am letting you have a look at some of them.

I want to ride my bicycle

Isabel had her first taste of "wheeled" freedom the other day. And it felt.... backwards. While Eloise was taking a nap (I LOVE when Eloise takes a nap), I threw Isabel on Eloise's toddler push bike to see if she could even grasp the concept. It was so fun to watch. Isabel certainly got the concept and absolutely LOVED pushing herself around the house. She is, however, yet to master the art of steering (some say I am yet to master that art, also) and of going forward. She scooted backwards around that house like a pro, but couldn't bring herself to enjoy going forward when I pushed her. As a result - she got stuck in a few corners.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Caterpillar Update

I went out to check out my caterpillars the other day, only to find there seemed to be two more fat caterpillars hanging around - plus a few baby ones. I decided then that I'd probably have to get rid of them, it seemed like an epidemic. On the upside, one of them had built itself a cocoon (which was very exciting).

However, the next day brought some sunshine and a big surprise. No more cocoons and no fat caterpillars! Methinks the birds were enjoying the sunshine and had themselves a fat caterpillar feast. Hooray for mother nature!

We have a Seagull in our house

Despite being given a crap load of her own food, Isabel will always seek out other people's food (especially ours) and stand waiting, looking at the said person and their food until she is "thrown" a morsel. It doesn't matter what she is doing, there is nothing too fun to distract her from the fact that someone is eating and she isn't.

So as Dallas and I sit down to eat our unhealthy "fast" food, Isabel will tear herself away from her blocks/books/dvds/tv/phone/recycle bin, do her "gollum" crawl to where we are sitting and do all sorts of funny, whiny faces until she gets what she wants. We try not to indulge her too much as I don't want to get mummy guilts too often - I've seen those shows with all those obese children.

I just need to point out that Isabel is wearing different clothes in each shot - we didn't feed her all this crap in one night, let alone one week.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Snugglers v Huggies - PG rating (Nudity)

The Petersens have recently had the opportunity to do a bit of creative budgeting. Because we planned so many vacations this year (when we were a little better off financially), we've had to resort to a few canned meals. As a result of our creative budgeting, we've changed the brand of nappies (diapers for the americans) that we place on our little cherub's bottom.

Our previous brand of nappy was Huggies, which we've been very happy with. They are, however, the most expensive brand on the market. In the interest of tight money, we switched to snugglers (more nappies for the money). The change has been uncomfortable - to say the least.

Snugglers are less absorbent and give Isabel terrible nappy rash - and we have to use more nappies per day than we would if she was in Huggies. I have documented her latest nappy rash and added a full frontal nude photo of Isabel just for kicks and giggles.

Edited:  Got a bit scared when I saw someone had arrived at my blog searching for "Naked two year old".  Yeah, I've deleted these pictures.

You can't plant me in your penthouse, I'm going back to my plough

This is a special post to say a final goodbye to the Johnsons. They made us feel very welcome when we first moved to Sydney. Now they are leaving their Potts Point apartment with the fabulous view of the Sydney Harbour (much to the chagrin of most of Enmore Ward!) and planting themselves in Cleveland, Ohio.

We went to their goodbye party last Saturday night. We did take our camera, but being the egotists that we are, managed to only get two photos - both of them of ourselves! So that's what this photo is from, we hope that Misty posts some more photos of the party once she's got herself settled.

SO - goodbye Johnsons!! We will keep an eye on your blog and hope we get to see you again.

love, the Petersens

While you were blogging

While I was creating my last post, Isabel started to do a new trick that I haven't seen before.

Whenever I or Dallas is on the phone with our mum's we usually hold the phone up to Isabel's ear so she can talk to Grandma (Jill or Julie). The phone is then swatted away by Isabel's chubby hand and there is usually an attempt to eat the phone. Isabel must have been craving some granny chat because she pressed the talk button on the phone and put it up to her ear.

Apparently you can hear through your eye

And now it's in the mouth - where it should be

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

What's eating ........ my Parsley?

Thanks to the recent month of rain - my herb garden has revived itself. It was doing quite nicely up until a few days ago when I noticed that the tops of the nice bushy parsley had started to disappear. At first I suspected our overzealous neighbours of jumping the fence and stealing my fantastic parsley. This thought didn't last long as I realised that there was really no way two sixty year old Greeks are going to be that hard up for parsley.

Then, as an outing out of the house today, Isabel and I decided to have a closer inspection of the parsley. It came as quite a shock to find a FAT caterpillar a little too close (to my fingers) for comfort. On further inspection, I found a second little moocher!

So the question is, what do I do? I couldn't bear to kill the little devils because they are so fat (like Isabel) and green (unlike Isabel) and could turn into beautiful butterflies (what am I, a hippy??). And let's be honest, my herb garden was close to death before the rain anyway..... BUT I so desperately want to succeed at growing ... something!

While I was taking the photo, Isabel decided to destroy the rest of my herbs

Friday, 13 June 2008

"Saturday is a special day"

We love Saturdays. Not only does it mean one more day until we get to spend the entire day with daddy, it is also music video day. On a rare occasion when I need a bit of noise to keep me company, I'll turn on the tv on Saturday morning. The only thing that is on the box on Saturdays is music videos and cartoons. When the cartoons get too annoying, I'll switch to the music videos. Of course, because there is so much going on in the music videos, Isabel is mesmerized. She also LOVES dancing, so she keep the beat with her little body while she watches. We've been lucky enough not to be accosted by the half naked dancing ladies ones yet.

Look at the length of that hair! We could almost style that!

On another note, I think Isabel has been in the recycling again

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Just call me spiderwoman

I had a blonde moment today - hard to do while I'm brunette, so when it happens it's usually a big blonde moment.

I looked after Eloise today. Eloise is 2 and LOVES to talk. Eloise likes to think she is the Eloise on TV, so she introduces herself like the TV Eloise "Hello, my name is Eloise and I am SIX!" Isabel came along, because Isabel likes Eloise even though Eloise likes to boss Isabel.

So when an Austar Salesman pressed the Unit 3 buzzer, I had two little girls and a lot of blocks surrounding me and the last thing on my mind was how to answer the door. If you open the front door of unit 3, you can see who is buzzing. So, not knowing exactly how to buzz someone in, I opened the front door of unit 3 and before I knew it, the door had shut itself behind me, promptly locking the deadlock.

Slight panic was my immediate emotion. I had just locked myself out of an apartment leaving a two and one year old in there to fend for themselves. Who knows what would happen to them. Isabel was due for a nap and therefore not going to last long (or so I thought) without her mother and Eloise..... well Eloise can CLIMB! Lucky Postman Pat was keeping them subdued. I also had my mobile phone with me, so I immediately called Dallas and asked him to call Rae (Eloise's mum) to see if there was a spare key around.

Not wanting to just wait around for a call from Rae, I decided to scope out the back porch to see if it would be possible to climb up. Unit 3's lounge room is one level up, but the ground has a slight incline, so as I walked toward the back of the block of units I got a little closer to the porch. I was still far away from getting anywhere near climbing up to the back porch, so I borrowed a large garbage bin and managed to get a hold of the wall. At one point, I was just hanging mid air. If you know anything about me and heights, you'll know that we aren't the best of friends, but it seems adrenaline and motherly instincts kicked in and I scaled that wall like a pro.

Once I was on the back porch, I thought I was in like flynn. Unfortunately, flynn wasn't there and all the doors were locked like the front door. The only difference now was I could see the girls and they could see me. I stood at one of the large glass doors and started to talk to Eloise. She, however, was more interested in Postman Pat and completely ignored me for quite some time. Isabel thought it was quite amusing that mummy was outside talking to her through the door and she stood at the other glass door banging her little fists on it and laughing hysterically. Finally Eloise tore herself away from Postman Pat and announced to me that the door was locked and she couldn't open it. It seemed I had only made the situation worse.

I did eventually find a window that was open a crack. I procured a stick from an obliging tree and managed to manipulate my arm and stick through the crack and flick up the dowling that was preventing the window from opening any further. I crawled through the kitchen window to the squeals of delight from both girls. Both of them none the wiser.

Rae only received my message as she was pulling into their driveway. The upside to the whole ordeal - I was able to give Rae and Murray a detailed analysis of their burglar weak spots. I hope they appreciate it because my fingers hurt!

"Oh your fingers hurt, well now your backs gonna hurt too, Grandma, because you just pulled landscaping duty. Anybody elses fingers hurt?!"

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

I know it lowers my IQ, but I watch it anyway.

It's time I came out and admitted - I watch Big Brother. I have no rational explanation about why I watch it and yet I find myself watching it each and every evening. It could be that the only other options are "Home and Away" or "Two and a half men". But even when there is something else on, I have this strange urge to watch Big Brother instead.

This isn't really a problem when I'm enjoying it in the privacy of my own home, because no one can see that I am doing it. But when I'm out socialising with others (which isn't all that often), I go and lower people's high opinion of me by wanting to discuss the offending show! I am fully aware that this show is lowering my IQ every minute I watch it - but it's my way of relaxing so I'll keep doing it.

What's your secret tv show?

Monday, 9 June 2008

The Life Aquatic

Before J&J left to go home, we visited the Sydney Aquarium. We think that Isabel may have been scared of the dark lighting and those googly-eyed fish, because she spent most of the visit making a constant "uh-uh-uh" whining noise (see video below). She did, however, LOVE the little penguins - who doesn't? Here's a few photos.


I've been meaning to put a nice little post about my wonderful trip to Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road on here for a couple of days now. Unfortunately it all kind of appeared in the form of an abusive post about Facebook. The photos were posted underneath a scathing (yet short) diatribe of the evil that is Facebook.

So, here's my effort at amending that. My "quick" story about my wonderful birthday trip to Melbourne.

Dallas' Mum (Julie) and sister (Juliet) - J&J - were able to visit from the US for 11 days and as part of the visit we spent about three and a half days in Victoria. We left Sydney on Wednesday afternoon, arrived in the "Jetstar Shed" and were soon on our way down the Great Ocean Road. Our plan was to drive halfway to the 12 Apostles (Apollo Bay) and then the next morning continue on to the 12 Apostles. The drive was GORGEOUSLY BEAUTIFUL! I couldn't rave enough about the beauty of this place.... it is by far in my list of top places to visit.

The hotel we stayed at is called the Waterfront Inn. Dallas managed to procure a spa room for all of us (J&J and the Petersens). Instead of breaking my back by leaning over the HUGE spa "wall", I decided to take a bath with Isabel. We were having such a fun time until mummy (me) decided to try something different. Thinking I could kill two birds with one stone and have a relaxing spa bath as well as bathing Isabel, I turned the jets one. Unfortunately, I hadn't filled the spa with enough water (I was conscious of not drowning my child) and Isabel's face was directly beside one of the jets. An almighty scream was released from my little baby's mouth as a stream of water hit her eye and all her cruel mother could do was giggle maniacally. My dear husband ended up being my hero and pressing the button to turn off the jets. A quick cuddle and I had Isabel's forgiveness.

The next day was another beautiful day of driving along gorgeous coastline. We had the pleasure of stopping to take photos of the 12 apostles and then it was on to Melbourne. We stayed in Chinatown (an omen of things to come?) in the Punt Hill Apartments (yet another good deal for our travel agent). While in Melbourne we visited Melbourne Gaol, The national Gallery of Victoria, the bakery where brodie and I bought some some "little boys", LOTS of stores and of course celebrated my birthday on Friday 30th May. Richard and Patrice came along with us to a Tepanyaki restaurant. And what a fun time it was.... eating deep fried prawn legs, egg being thrown at us, catching a stack of bowls, having our eyebrows singed and trying to keep Isabel awake and happy.

All in all, we had heaps of fun and Isabel got to spend plenty of time with J&J! - See photos below.

Facebook should DIE - oh hang on, it already has

Ok... my subject line isn't very charitable, but I've just spent the good part of my evening trying to upload recent photos of my birthday. I have already tried this task twice before only to be unsuccessful. So this time was the last straw. Poor Brodie, all she wants to do is see the fun she missed out on - and I can't seem to give it to her.

Well, just for Brodie, I am going to upload a few photos in this post. This means this post will be a little long. My apologies. I hope you enjoy the photos, though.

Tepanyaki people like laughing at their customers, so they put a bib on them

Then they throw egg at our faces

Isabel was a couple of hours past her bedtime

At the 12 Apostles

Another photo at the 12 Apostles
Isabel found a friend in Herman the lamb

The hotel we stayed at in Melbourne even turned down Isabel's "bed" - CUTE!

Eating the deep-fried prawn legs - During my tepanyaki birthday dinner

On the City Circle Tram

On the Great Ocean Road

We took a few photos at this spot - I was honked at while making my poses

Isabel did really well on our LONG car trip
We stayed at Apollo Bay along the Great Ocean Road
Near the ocean - surprisingly