Elmo Show!

I have been meaning to post this for ages but it’s really that silly time of year where so much is going on!

Every once in a while, I go on a bit of a “competition” frenzy and enter a whole lot of competitions. I don’t even remember when I entered this competition, but on my birthday, I got an email saying I had won some tickets to an Elmo concert!

Even a year ago, it was difficult to get Jacob to sit still for an extended period of time. He never really sat and watched things til he was about two years old, and even so, he prefers to get up and fidget about. But now that he’s three, he certainly has matured quite a bit and my winning comment was actually along the lines of “I’d love to win this because my son is finally old enough to sit still for a concert like this!”

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So anyway, off to the concert we went – just me and the kids! Hubby was supposed to join us but had some last minute commitments he couldn’t get out of. I was a bit nervous taking two of them on my own but I also was comforted in the fact that it’s a kids concert – so even if my kids were making noise, they’d certainly not be the only ones.

We parked a bit of a way away and had a trek along the Torrens to the Adelaide Festival Theatre, which I think contributed to our success as Jacob could get a bit of the running around out of his system. Before the concert, it was a bit chaotic as I let the two of them loose (to run/crawl around in the foyer) and Jared kept attacking the posters to a point that he knocked some pull-up banners over as I was trying to tell Jacob to stop playing with some retractable barriers. Oops.

But fortunately for me, the kids were great in the show itself. Jacob was a bit too light for the seat (it was one that flips back up) so I had to hold it down with my leg or it folded up on him! And I kept Jared in my Tula for a lot of the time – babywearing has been my new obsession – and he fell fast asleep.

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Jacob was genuinely intrigued when Elmo and his crew came out. He isn’t hugely into Sesame Street but he does know some of the main characters – his favourite is Cookie Monster, of course! Jacob likes to sing “C is for Cookie, that’s good enough for me”.

But we really enjoyed this show – relatable characters and good moral theme to become a superhero by being kind to others. I look forward to seeing more concerts with the kids – maybe the Wiggles or Playschool or even Mister Maker. What concerts do you recommend for preschoolers?

Anyway, I hope to post a bit more over the school holidays and share little snippets of our lives. Enjoy the weekend!

Paint me a picture…

I cannot believe it is November. Or actually, it’s halfway through November and I reckon I’ll blink, and the rest of the year will be gone.

The past few months have been a bit frantic yet also rather mundane for no particular reason at all aside from the fact that my once tiny infant is now a boisterous crawler! We have been spending a bit more time at home to give the kids time to explore in their own time, yet it feels like I have been running a marathon each day with them!

Jacob will be 3 years and 3 months old next Monday. He grows more boy-like every day to a point that sometimes I find it hard to fathom that he was once so little.

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Jared will be 9 months old next Wednesday. Many people are shocked when I tell them his age as he is rather big (and also a rather fast crawler).

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It’s also been getting warmer this side of the world. On Thursday it hit 34 degrees, and I was going to do some outside water play but it was quite windy (and that flares up my hay fever) so we opted for a bit of messy play with yoghurt paint.

Yoghurt paint is so simple to make – I just used Greek yoghurt and a few drops of food colouring. The kids loved it – I strapped Jared into Jacob’s booster seat and let him sit a the table, which he loved.

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Jacob did some painting and then took some foam letters to do printing. Meanwhile, Jared painted, sucked on the paintbrush and started licking the yoghurt off the paper until his tongue had a green tinge!

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I hope to get back into blogging and sharing a bit more of our family escapades. Til then, I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Father’s Day DIY chocolate cards

One of the odd things I found when I moved to Australia is the fact that Father’s Day is in September. Really?? I always thought it was in June! I think the International Father’s Day is in June but for us Aussies, we do it in September – probably because it’s more or less warm enough to fire up the barbie?

Anyway, it’s Father’s Day weekend, and my husband is incredibly hard to shop for! Either I get him something incredibly corny and pointless, or the thing he wants absolutely and utterly blows the budget (for example, his last present was a smart watch). But anyway, I wanted to do something a little different and more personal, so I searched for ideas on the net, and decided to pair a little humour with a bit of chocolate.

While we have a range of chocolate bars in normal Aussie retailers (Snickers, Mars Bars, KitKat, Smarties, etc.), I wanted to broaden the range a bit so I checked out Blackeby’s Sweets in the local mall which is a confectioner that carries a whole lot of imported chocolates. So chocolate shopping we went!

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Naturally, our boys wanted to help out, which often ends up in disaster!!! For one, both of them wanted to eat the chocolate – Jared wasn’t fussed that it was chocolate, like he’d eat a sock if I gave it to him, but Jacob was really interested and was like “Can I open this one? Just one pleaseeee??”

Finally, when I successfully convinced Jacob that the chocolates were not for him, we started to write the messages and stick the chocolates on. Yet again this process took forever as the kids continued to try and eat chocolate and stick/unstick the chocolate from the cardboard. Not to mention Jacob kept asking me “Who is this one for?” for literally every piece of chocolate, to a point that I practically begged him to play a game on my phone so he would just stop asking me haha!!

Disclaimer: I just put Jared on the table to take this picture – normally I don’t put 6 month old babies on dining tables. No babies were injured!

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At long last, these are the cards I came up with. Which do you think is the funniest?

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Anyway, if you’re ever short of ideas for an interesting card (be it Father’s Day or a birthday) and the person is a lover of chocolate, why not try this out? 🙂

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there (including my dad who lives many miles away and if I had made one for him, it probably would have melted on the way there)!

Sensory Rainy Day Play…

Wow, what a hiatus. Sorry, I think the winter blues must have really gotten to me (either that or I was having too good a time!).

Firstly, remember that baby that I just had like a few months ago? He is a whopping 9kg+ 6 month old now, and he is also on the move as well! He isn’t quite crawling yet but he “knee-hops” around and shuffles himself over to where he wants to go – now I’m in trouble, aren’t I? Plus the toddler also turned 3. What?! I thought he was just a baby, how is he now 3?

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Anyway, today was just a normal day at home with a toddler and a baby. It was raining so peacefully in the morning that the kids actually stayed in bed til 6.30am (an achievement in this house)!

Of course, since it is freezing and raining, the toddler insists that he needs to play outside on his bike (which he got for his birthday last week). After grumbling all through breakfast, I let him go outside to play only for him to fall off his bike into the biggest puddle in our backyard. And the baby gets food all over his clothing (he won’t take a spoon so it’s messy BLW for us). 2 outfits straight into the wash, sigh.

Then, in a moment of inspiration, I decide we are doing to do some sensory play stuff with pasta, rice and barley. I’ve seen friends of mine doing really awesome things with their kids. Unfortunately, things often get more messy with my kids… Apologies that the pics are not clear as well as I can’t seem to get them to sit still.

First we were putting pasta on the Father’s Day card to make the words “Happy Father’s Day”…

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And then the toddler decides to become Masterchef and cook up a delicious yet messy concoction for us to savour. The mess is aggravated by the fact that the baby thinks he can cook too, so a bit of a tussle ensues and more stuff flies everywhere.

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The thing I did like about this exercise is that it took up the whole morning! It allowed Jacob to have a whole lot of imaginative play, from cooking food to making it rain and snow. Eventually we had to clean up (and Jacob loves his hand-vac and did attempt to clean up though in truth he scattered it more) and by then it was already lunchtime.

In the afternoon, we decided we’d take the rice and barley to feed the ducks – a healthier option than bread perhaps! We also got to say hello to the new spring ducklings – this lot have already been there for a few weeks, and there was another brood of very little ducklings too.

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Then, of course, puddle jumping. The most dreaded time of our walk for me, but I have come to terms with the fact that Jacob would be heading home completely drenched. Trust him to find the deepest puddles ever!

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I must say I absolutely love doing all these fun things with the kids, despite the mess and the amassing laundry I have to deal with. I am quite sure that these little things that we do are actually big things in my kids’ lives. Here’s to the many days ahead – sunny, rainy, whatever the weather! 🙂

Lego & Trains

I’ve been too busy enjoying myself to actually remember that I write a blog, oops! Dan has been on school holidays so we’ve been up to mischief – no, we haven’t just been playing Pokemon Go (though we’re already at Level 20) but just enjoying things with our boys. We’ve had outing days and also stay at home days – we’ve seen exhibitions and also watched heaps of movies. Jacob has finally watched “The Land Before Time” though I think he’ll have to watch it a few more times before he truly gets attached.

But anyway, I just wanted to share a couple of highlights. We went to a Lego exhibition called Brick Barossa last weekend – we actually went with family but had tickets for an earlier session, so we viewed it separately then caught up for lunch. Jacob enjoyed looking at the exhibits but just wanted to touch them all and play with them, so we let him go to the hands on area to play with Lego. He actually made a pretty impressive car with actual Lego (like the normal bricks, not Duplo) but eventually gravitated to the Duplo table and had a blast too!

I let him buy a Lucky Dip and he got a Lego shark (pictured above when put together properly). Obviously, being Jacob, he dropped it a number of times and broke it to pieces. But he said “It’s ok, mum, I’ll fix it.” Here is his fixed shark – Dan and I are naming it Ermahgerd Shark.

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We also managed to ride on some trains! The Railway Museum was having an Open Day so we decided to check it out. I was pretty astounded by the size of some of those train, and it’s fascinating to see how technology has changed over the years. We also got to ride on a couple of the trains, which I think everyone enjoyed:

One thing I struggle at is trying to take photos of everyone – here we are in a moving diesel train and this was the best I could do! Clearly Jacob is a bit unimpressed.

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End of the school holidays, sigh. But here’s to many more memories in the days to come!

Giving away your best friend…

It’s been just over a month since we gave away our best friend.

I’ve been trying to write this for ages and somehow I never seemed to be able to find the right words. I might write a poem about her sometime, somewhere, but for now, please forgive my rambling.

We’d been having issues with Skittles escaping for years now. It probably started in her first year of life and we never succeeded at stopping her. She’d always find some new thing to climb or just chew up the barriers we put in place. She got herself into all sorts of trouble – got picked up by the council and even killed chickens in a neighbour’s garden.

We put her on a chain. It would be a temporary measure, we said, because we couldn’t let her keep getting out and being a public nuisance (aside from endangering herself too). The fence was raised. We even tried an electric shock collar barrier. Nothing worked. She stayed on the chain.

Something happened a couple of months ago which escalated things. Our neighbour next door got some rabbits, and naturally, our dog wanted them. We couldn’t even let her off the chain for a supervised play – it was straight over the gap in the fence and over to the hutch.

You know, I’ve cried a lot over this dog. I cried when we first got her and then we had to go to work full time and she was alone and sad all day – so we found her a puppy daycare place, which kinda solved that. I cried when she got out – I was so scared that she could have gotten herself dog-napped or run over. I cried when she killed those chooks because I knew that it was our fault – we hadn’t been taking the escaping issue seriously enough.

I cried the day she jumped the fence and nearly got those rabbits – she had done it before but this particular time, I cried because I had made up my mind about something I’d been thinking about for a very long time – that we probably should rehome her.

I advertised her, met with a few people, but then we met with this family who were looking for a companion dog for their own dog who used to escape and whined all day when they were at work. Their dog seemed like a perfect match for her, so we decided to have a trial period.

In the days to come, I think my mind went on overdrive and I gave it my all. I took her for longer walks than ever before with the boys in tow. I let her come in more often, cooked her fancy meals and gave her lots of treats. I tried harder than I had ever done before, and I was exhausted by the end of it.

Guilt really set in – I’m sure it had been there before but it completely consumed me. I was sorry I didn’t spend enough time with her, that I didn’t walk her enough or spend enough time training her back in the day. I was sorry we didn’t have another dog for her to play with, as she’s such a loving and sociable dog. And I was also sorry about the repercussions on our family – sorry that Jacob and Jared wouldn’t grow up with a dog. Jacob still asks about her and asks when she will come home – it still silently breaks my heart.

The day we gave her away, we skipped church and took her for a walk in the reserve. It wasn’t a long walk as it was drizzling, but it was just memorable all the same. We dropped her off and I reckon she didn’t know any better, like she thought I might have been dropping her off on a playdate or to have someone petsit while we go away.

And then I cried, because I knew I had done the hard thing but the right thing for her. So many times in the days to come did I want to march over there and get her back, but from what they were saying and the photos, they seemed to be having an amazing time. Two dogs joyful in the company of each other, a happy family with a new loving dog. It was only us who would have to bear the sadness.

It’s been just over a month since we gave away our best friend.

Many tears spilled, many moments reminisced, but I need to let her go. I decided to make a video about her, as lame as that sounds, but it has helped me heal. I’ve looked at these pictures so many times, listened to the song (which is Avril Lavigne’s “Hush Hush”) again and again but it still brings twinges of sadness. I hope that it will change one day soon.

But for now, here is my mediocre piece of work (sorry I’m no videographer, I did this in MovieMaker!) but this means the world to me.

Here’s to the good times, Skittles. You will always hold a special place in our hearts.

Living the nerd life

I’m sure you’ve heard of Pokemon Go. It’s taking over the world like a storm! It encourages people to venture out to new places and even has caused mishaps like people causing accidents being too engrossed in it.

I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a nerd, though I exhibit some nerdy characteristics. I was a bit of a plain Jane in high school – I was never really into makeup and preferred to spend my time hidden behind a technological device, i.e. computer or phone.

So many years later and it hasn’t changed! I wasn’t really into Pokemon back in the day but I certainly remember a thing or two about it. And what’s awesome is that hubby is full on into it too!

Hence resulting in our numerous walks we are taking simply to catch Pokemon. No, our kids are not going to stand in the way, we are going to wear them on our backs/fronts and keep trying to catch ’em all!

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But really, there are a lot of perks of living the nerd lifestyle. Some of these include:

  1. We’re pretty good with technology. Okay, Daniel is pretty good and I am just catching on/surviving as we go. He is the go to person if some gadget of ours breaks, but I’m okay with using the gadget anyway. We often help our friends out with gadgety stuff. The fact that I’m using the term gadgety tells you how good I am though. Oh, you get the gist.
  2. We’re in on the conversations. I think I’m still not quite there yet though I can occasionally quote anywhere from Harry Potter to Game of Thrones. It’s exciting to talk about the shows / books that we like with other enthusiasts. Back in the day, I used to write fanfiction – doh, I know, right?
  3. We do well at trivia things. I wouldn’t call my sister-in-law and brother-in-law nerds (though they might disagree with me) but at their son’s school quiz night, they absolutely nailed it. Knowledge and nerdiness often go hand in hand, which can come in handy, but if not, is also just a whole lot of fun to know all the same.

  4. We can dress up and be whoever we want to be. One thing our family really enjoys is dress up parties – it’s so awesome to be able to have an excuse to dress up as some book character or superhero. Can you guess what characters we’re dressed up as below?

  5. We have nerdy artifacts (and love them). Back in the day when I did martial arts, I accumulated a number of training items including tantos, bokkens, hanbos, shurikens, etc. and it often suprises people that I have all this in my home. Dan, on the other hand, has a Nintendo 64, which is pretty vintage in a different way too. I never played it when I was young but have finally got the opportunity to play it now. And one day it might be worth quite a lot… While we haven’t gotten into a whole lot of merchandise, I am sure one day we will – we’ve already started building our Lego collection!
  6. Movie nights are always fun. We have a lot of movie nights, especially now in winter. Netflix is our best friend after 8pm. We have seen so many series and as we’re watching, we’ll be like “Ohh where have we seen that actor before?” and we try and work out what other show he’s in, or sometimes just check on IMDB. Regardless, we always have a fun time.
  7. Our kids tend to catch on. I do let Jacob watch some degree of TV but for some reason he can name every single character on ABC kids. Even all the owls on Giggle and Hoot – Hoot, Hootabelle, Hootley, Hootaluna, etc… Jacob loves that he can relate to these characters and he often uses a range of them in his imaginative play.

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Here is Jacob at maximum hipster. Disclaimer: Yes, those are my glasses – I only let him wear them for this photo and took them straight back.

So, for those of you who are a borderline nerd like me, just embrace it – it’s ultimately a fun lifestyle! Keep on playing Pokemon Go, though be mindful of where you are so you don’t walk into a lamp post – hope you catch ’em all!