Thursday, 30 April 2009

LQ's 2nd Birthday - Monologue in Pictures

LQ celebrated her 2nd birthday on Wednesday 29th April.

She had a birthday play date

She received her documents to show that she is officially a US citizen

She had a wonderful birthday dinner of hotdogs, olives (her favourite) and mini cupcakes

With lots of presents after.

Of course, after all the sugar, she was up WAY past her bedtime - and her father's bedtime for that matter.

Google THIS

That's IT!! I have had ENOUGH!

It's just too much information for one girl to handle.

Goodbye World Wide Web. I am no longer in love with you.

When did it become ok to not only give me the information I seek, but also provide me with at least three other things that I should be doing? I used to think this was a cute little quirk of the internet. How wonderful.... I get more information than I asked for. Oh goody, now I know I am not supposed to be brushing my child's hair a certain way. Lucky I happened across that one while I looked for good toddler activities.

Don't you see, internet, that you are slowly pushing me into insanity? I try to fix one problem that you have told me about and instead of helping me fix that problem, you tell me of more things that I may be doing wrong.

Today I learned that television MAY not be good for children under two. I have heard that one before, so thanks for verifying it, dear internet, but couldn't you have stopped with that one? That one I could have handled on its own. But you kept going. You told me studies reveal that late talkers are most likely to have apraxia (whatever THAT is).... but hold up... here's someone telling me that late talkers are most likely genuises. Ok, so I'm over the apraxia. What's that you are telling me now? I should still see a specialist? Alright... I'm on it.

But wait - there's a link here that may help me with those activities I was after. Ugh, I've been tricked again. It turns out once my child turns two, I should be thinking about lowering her fat intake. No more full cream milk - 2% all the way and make sure that all the food in your house is no longer tasty. Does that mean I should be on low fat foods too? Google it. Eeeek! Google thinks I may be obese.

I'll leave that one alone.

After I have uncurled myself from the sobbing fetal position that I am currently in.

No, I'm sorry WWW. That useful link is too late. The low fat foods has sent me over the edge and I am no longer your friend. I am keeping away from you for a few days. Don't text me.

Monday, 27 April 2009

A Post for LQ

My darling 2 year old.

I have seen so many blog posts over this past year. Many of them relating the love that other mothers have for their children. Other posts lament the inevitable hard times that visit each mother. Others have even written to their children on their special day.

Amongst the many posts that I have written about the drudgery of motherhood, I want to insert this one. This one has all the gooey trimmings. But for all its trimmings, all I really want you to know is that I love you. You started a little lower in my body, but have made your way up to my heart rather quickly. It beats just a little less when I am away from you and a little quicker when you give me a scrunched nose smile or when you take my face in your little hands to direct it back to where it should be - looking at you.

I am sure that from the moment you were born you have been determined to take a laid back approach to life. I have a feeling that this is you giving those doctors the middle finger - you know the ones that gave mummy that awful medicine that "encouraged" labour? How dare they make you come before you were ready. By golly you have shown them!

You have certainly given mummy and daddy time to think as you took your time rolling over (5 months), crawling (11 months) and walking (16 months). And now we wait with bated breath as you amble up to your next milestone - talking.

As I look back on earlier movies that we took of you, I can't help but smile with a lump in my throat. Your cute round face, always lighting up as we played drums with you, bounced you up and down on our knee, had you kick a ball. The only time you wouldn't smile was on the carousel at Disneyland. I guess nap time was just as important back then as it is now.

So much in only two years.

I can't help but worry what the following years will bring. Will you be happy? Will you grow to be a self confident young woman? Will I live up to the challenge of raising such a wonderfully cheeky person? I watch you play with your puzzle, saying thank you as I hand you each piece, proclaiming your success ("ta dah") as you place each puzzle piece, and I somehow know that despite my fumbling attempts at motherhood you are going to be one special human being.


Saturday, 25 April 2009

Speaking of Sewing...

Remember this give away? Where I mention that my readers may be worth it, but I just couldn't be bothered making a Quiet Book?

Well, it turns out I may be a bit of a sewing savant. After weeks of carting a daggy bag to church with a slew of toys, books and our Quiet Book to keep our nap deprived LQ's head from doing a 360 degree turn, I said "Enough's enough". I wanted a cute little bag that would compactly carry all the things I needed to keep LQ entertained throughout church (or on the many flights that we take) including her quiet book.

So I designed and created my own quiet bag. Features include: a pocket for books, pictures, stickers and colouring pages with a detachable crayon pocket on the front; a pocket for a plastic container to hold snacks or if you are going on a long trip (like our last flight) it can hold playdough; and a built in quiet book with pages that can come out. So when I have more than one child I can hand crayons to one, a quiet page to another and a different quiet page to another (3 children is enough for me, thanks). I made one for LQ and had enough material leftover to make another (more streamlined) bag. I have made it for my niece, but she doesn't know about it yet, so... shhhh! Here it is.

and some of the Quiet Book pages

I really enjoyed making the bags, so I thought I would make some more. Just for you my reader (well, one of you). I haven't quite finished it yet, but here are some pictures for you to get an idea. I just have the crayon holder to finish.

We have road tested it on LQ on a short 1.5 hour flight and we didn't get through half the stuff we had brought along.

So do you want to win the bag?

I need to you click on this link to my husband's movie review blog, Celluloid Space, and make a comment on one of his reviews. He's the writer in this relationship, so if you already read (and like) my blog then you will definitely like his. I think Dal is needing a little motivation to get back into it, so leave a little encouragement if you can.

I suppose if you absolutely fell in love with his blog and wanted to blog about it yourself I could probably give you another entry. Just let me know in the comments on this post or in your comment on his blog.... whatever.

Hmmm... let me think. I think I will give this competition a week and a half to run its course. So I will close it at midnight Wednesday 6th May 2009 (Again, Australian Eastern Standard Time). I will announce the winner on Thursday 7th May 2009. I will be using LQ's randomness to choose the winner.

Friday, 24 April 2009

I'm a lady and I do lady's things

Meet Emily Howard

She is the world's worst transvestite according to the show "Little Britain". She makes sure everyone knows she's a lady by announcing to anyone who will hear her "I'm a lady and I do lady's things."

I thought I would let her introduce this post because I am a lady and I am going to post about lady's things today. So if you are a man (or woman) and don't wish to know about my lady's problems let it be on your head if you read any further. You have been warned.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Although Emily Howard likes to think she is a lady, I am sure she has never had to experience the excruciating pain that can accompany the monthly period.

From the second time I got my period I have had the "pleasure" of curled-up-on-the-floor-crying back pain that would get so bad I didn't know whether to crunch up in a ball or do back flips in an effort to abate it.

After missing a few school days and checking out of life for a while (not in a bad way), I have learned that there are only two things that help me crawl out of the pain induced fog.
  1. A semi-truck's worth of midol. I understand that I may be on the verge of overdosing each time I take the stuff, but good grief.... what's worse - a self induced coma or period pain? I leave you to be the judge.
  2. A good heat pack. Ideally two good heat packs. One for my back and one for my ginormously (that word's for you DeNae) bloated stomach. I have a wonderful wheat heat pack that I put in the microwave for two minutes and it stays hot long enough to ease the pain until I get back to sleep.
With these two things, I crawl back into bed and hope for the best. The good news is I don't get the pain quite so often as in my adolescence. The bad news... well.... the pain is the bad news.

So what happens when I am woken at four in the morning by the stirrings of another fantastic pain episode only to find that I have maybe packed my wonderful heat pack away?

I make one

Here is the aftermath of my early morning Midol hazed sewing frenzy

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

400 Pictures Later

Since receiving my Nikon for Christmas, I have gone a little photography crazy.

If I am taking a photo of LQ picking her nose I will end up with 30 pictures that seem to be identical - some are a little blurred and others LQ has her eyes crossed.

With this photography disease I took our camera on our recent Easter holiday to Brisbane. On our arrival back home I realised I had in excess of 400 pictures from the five days that we were all together. I managed to cull it down to about 260. So from that 260 I give you 36. That should give a snapshot of the fun we had while we were away.

If you would like to go to a bigger version of this slideshow, click here.

Friday, 17 April 2009

An Alternate Identity

There was never a great desire to have children.

I would look at my mother and all I could see was a shadow of her former self. Her self pre-children. I had seen photos and listened to stories. Somehow those photos and stories didn't relate at all to what my mother was in my mind. The last thing I wanted was my own carefully and painfully obtained identity to just melt away to leave me floundering for another.

And yet here I am over two years after a momentary lapse in judgment. Struggling to find a new identity that includes reconciling laundry, dishes, Mickey Mouse and a two year old that can fill me with unimaginable love one minute and screaming frustration the next.

Heather from the Extraordinary Ordinary wrote this post this morning that got me thinking. She writes:

"The slow chipping away, the grinding and shaping of a person, is always painful. There are parts of myself being revealed on a daily basis that I'd rather not see. But this chipping away is the biggest blessing to my life, because it comes with Miles and Asher, and hopefully leaves a better version of me behind. Hopefully."

I realised the chipping away, the grinding and the shaping happens to any mother wanting to be the best she can be.... including my mother. What a revelation. My mother didn't lose her identity, she became a better version of herself.

Although I am sure I am nowhere near as refined as Heather, I know that while I serve my child (or children when the time comes) that refining fire will shape me into a less selfish version of my former self. And surprisingly, I am glad I have shaken off that identity because this new identity will have been well fought for with just as much pain and care taken to obtain it.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Just don't tell me

Do you want to know one of the projects that has been keeping me away from blogging?

Here it is.

I made the invitations for my brother's surprise 30th. Have I told you that my brother's name is also Dallas? Yep.... keeping it in the family.

Keeping this secret from Dallas was easy enough.... he lives in a different state. Dal (my husband - called Dal P. for clarification) slipped up just a little when we were staying with my brother and sister-in-law, but with a nudge and a few furtive words, the suspicious phrase was forgotten by Dallas.

I haven't had much luck with secrets. One particular brain freeze moment still makes me cringe when I think of it.

Being in a different country to Dal P's family means that getting to know them has been a slower process than usual. I try to take the opportunity each time we visit to chat with each of my in-laws in the hopes of making up for lost time.

Christmas of 2006 I was five months pregnant. I never reached the moment in pregnancy that some lucky women get to - the moment you become happy in your pregnant state. Both Dal and I were looking forward to the infamous second trimester when, as urban legend has it, you are supposed to be injected with happy hormones. LQ is almost two, and I am STILL waiting for my injection of happy hormones. I am considering searching the black market for the stuff. Do you think they have an ebay for the black market?

Slow, pregnant Hel and Dal and his family all visited California for the Petersen annual Disneyland visit. For the most part Dal and I spent our time walking to and from our hotel room, so little old me could have the naps that kept me happy - remember, no happy hormones for me. Dal's parents occasionally kept us company and on one such occasion Dal's mum told us all about her plans for her youngest's sixteenth birthday. Plans included a trip to LA and tickets to Wicked, among other things. Dal and I were lucky enough to see Wicked in New York while on our honeymoon, so we were excited that Mom and Daughter were finally getting to see it.

Later that day we were summoned to dinner with the family at the Mexican restaurant located near the shooting gallery within Disneyland. As I had the walking pace of an injured whale, we were inevitably late to dinner. Most of the family had eaten and our entrance gave half the family permission to scamper off to the various rides that were still accepting patrons.

I sat down opposite my youngest sister-in-law (the one that was about to turn sixteen). Parents, soon to be sixteen year old, Dal and I all had a nice chat together. And then...... I was left alone with "soon to be sixteen year old" (SSYO).

SSYO and I don't really have that much in common. The lack of commonality and the 10 year age gap leaves me with little to say to SSYO, but in an effort to learn to love and impress the SSYO I felt it essential that I start a conversation with her. My five month pregnant brain, which I am sure resembled potato mash more than a brain, reached back through the archives in a desperate bid to find something we had in common. It didn't take long for the mash to come back with something.

"So SSYO, I hear you are going to see Wicked soon." Even after saying it, no warning bells went off... the mash was performing true to form.

"I don't know. Am I?" SSYO looked confused.

As the mash took in the confused look and the words that were spoken it sent a panicked look to my face. There was no way my potato mash brain had enough wit to cover my tracks. I was in a state of confusion. My eyes were shifting from side to side, anxiously looking for Dal. Maybe he could help. But Dal was nowhere to be found. I was sick to my stomach with guilt and so I said the most clever thing my brain mash could think of.

"I mean.... shhhh.... no you're not."

The stricken look on my face must have been of the same ilk as that poor old deer turning her head slowly toward the headlights. SSYO couldn't help herself.... the laughter resounded around the empty table. I desperately pleaded with her to act surprised in January when her birthday came around.

As far as I am aware SSYO kept her promise and my mother-in-law is still none the wiser.... unless she reads this post*. Sorry Julie!

*chances are she wont read this post. Julie once told Dal that she doesn't read the words on my blog, she just looks at the photos of LQ. I think I'll put a nice photo of LQ at the top so she will stop reading before she even starts.... good strategy? We shall see.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009


Guess who has fallen in love in with a certain spanish girl who loves yelling her demands (and everything else that comes out of her mouth) at me?

There is a certain swooshing sound that starts the opening credits of Dora the Explorer. LQ was playing shapes with me this morning while we had the tv on for background noise - I don't do well with silence and LQ. With her back to the tv, the swooshing sound had barely finished when LQ looked at me with excitement in her eyes and exclaimed "DORA!"

I blame Easter weekend tantrums and a lack of sleep. All I could do to get some peace was throw on Dora. Don't judge me - the constant shouting of Dora is punishment enough.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Back home

You have heard of the travel bug

Here is the travel pesticide

Monday, 6 April 2009

It's not dead

I guess I should clarify for you all - the previous post was DEFINITELY NOT an obituary for my blog.

I am addicted to blogging and have been suffering because of the lack of posting ideas. But once DeNae gave me a few ideas, I was back on the horse (so to speak). I have written my ideas down.

Be prepared for wise musings on important subjects such as my mummy tummy pooch and why it is important to change speech patterns when talking in America (thanks for that one DeNae!).

You will have to wait, though. Too many tiny Audrey schnuggles to be had - we are in Brisbane visiting Audrey C.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Death of a Monologue

Blogging back in 1938

You can blame Dal.

And a considerable time spent with him in a car or in bed (ewww.... don't think like that! We don't do that sort of thing in bed!)


A few weeks after our arrival into Sydney, I realised that I was on my own. Dal went to work and to university and I was at home with a 2 month old, and not much to do but eat and sleep. Which suited me fine to begin with. I would occasionally facebook it and there was a brief love affair with ebay - it ended abruptly when only one piece of clothing (out of the five) that I bought actually looked good on me.

But, as any good child tends to do, LQ continued to grow. And I was forced to rearrange my sleeping and eating schedule. Facebook got a little old and my RS president said in no uncertain terms that I should actually write on my blog. So there I was, computer in hand... with lots to say and no one to say it to, because Dal's work load had just increased one hundred fold. I figured a blog was the perfect place for me to write my inner monologues just once. I had started to copy and paste sections of my emails to all my friends and family in an effort to keep carpel tunnel syndrome at bay.

As I continued to blog, my monologues became more refined *snicker*. I never seemed to lack in the blog fodder department. My darling husband, bless his cotton socks (what? I just like saying that) was physically present, but needed to save all his mental energy for writing his thesis that, I might add, has been awarded a Distinction. I would like to claim part of that distinction came from my complete "bed chatting" restraint. That's right... Instead of talking for hours on end once we got into bed, I let my Dal sleep. All my "bed chatting" energy went into my blog.

Now, in 2009, it seems I have my husband back. Each night he is kept awake for at least 30 minutes more than he intended by my inane chatter. Last night I got a fit of giggles seemingly from nowhere upon remembering the newsletter that we received from nursery (Sunday school for LQ). Apparently they are "implanting" new procedures in nursery. The fit of giggles followed a full 30 minute one sided "conversation" about how much I hate church at the moment. (Clarification: I hate going to church. I don't hate church. I hope that cleared things up)

So you see, ladies and gents, by the time I sit down to share with the world my day to day thoughts, feelings and fun times, they have already been shared out of me. You are lucky I was by myself when I realised why my monologues were dead. As it was this post almost didn't make it because LQ decided to dirty her pants, I needed to eat and Mickey Mouse was quite compelling this morning.

Does this mean that my blog is going to die? I hope not. I have made a few fun friends so far on my blog journey. I hope the death of my monologues means the birth of something even better.

To my sister: I am sorry, Bro. It really is true.... I think I am all out of monologues. Maybe one day I will surprise you with one just for you.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

I didn't mention

I have a new niece!

Little Audrey Grace Cluff
(remember my sister-in-law who didn't look like she was about to give birth? It turns out little Audrey was only five pounds 11 ounces) - that's my sister with her.

Not to be confused with my only other niece - Audrey S.

A Moment of Clarity

We are DEFINITELY moving to Hobart in August

In Hobart last April - doesn't it look inviting?