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!

Snow Play!

It’s well and truly winter here in Adelaide, which puts me in the mood for snow! Sadly, it doesn’t snow here (though funnily enough, last night a bit of snow fell on Mt Lofty). But at the local ice skating rink, they ran a snow play day for kids – count us in!

It took us ages to get ready for it as I was trying to work out how to dress the kids. While it’s an indoor rink, it’s really cold in there so I just wanted to make sure they were rugged up enough. I just put them in a number of different layers and rummaged the shed, and actually found winter stuff that could fit. What do you think?

I wouldn’t say that Jacob really loved the snow. He did attempt to build things with it at first, but then he was daunted by how cold it was. I was thankful that I’d bought two pairs of gloves for Jacob as it was good to change it over halfway so his fingers didn’t get too cold.

Then he got into a tube and I pulled him around, which he loved and kept yelling “Faster!” but there was only so much I could do with Jared in a baby carrier (he was fast asleep). I watched some dads there catapulting their kids around at top speed – maybe I should have asked one of them if they were willing to do that for Jacob! We also tried the toboggans and sleds but tubes were easiest to handle for me at least.

Jared then woke up and I squeezed him into a snowsuit (it was for 3-6 month olds but he is just a bit too chunky). The picture of him on the tube is particularly hilarious because he wasn’t actually able to move his arms cos the suit was so tight. I only left him in it for a little while because he started getting a bit grumpy about his limited mobility – he was in about 5 layers underneath that so he wasn’t really that cold.

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Overall a fantastic day – an icy cold playtime and complimentary hot drinks to warm us up. Also, a lovely lady asked if I wanted a photo with the boys – so here it is! I admit I wasn’t rugged up as much as I could have been, but I kept warm cuddling Jared and chasing after Jacob.

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What are you up to this winter?

Slow cooking for dummies

So, you know how you have those moments where you head to the supermarket to buy just one thing and come back with ten clearance items you need to eat within the next 2 days, some sort of exotic fruit with a name you can’t even pronounce, three different types of breakfast cereals, cat food even though you don’t own a cat, a new toaster and half of aisle 10?

Well, no, I didn’t actually buy all of that, but I did pop by the shops just to get milk and instead I bought half the week’s supply of groceries as well as a slow cooker. Yes, that’s right, I bought a slow cooker from a supermarket. In my defense, it was on offer and I had been thinking of buying one in recent days, but just never quite made it to the places I wanted to buy them from.

This comes along with the notion of trying desperately to eat healthier. I admit I have been a nutritional disaster of late and that’s also been rubbing off on my family, since I am the one preparing the meals. I do admit that we’ve have Asian takeaway and KFC sometime this week, and those are probably my weak spots because if you give me a choice, I could have that more or less every night!

Part of my “excuse” is that it’s hard to cook a proper meal with a busy toddler and a cuddly baby. I wouldn’t call Jared clingy, but he likes to be held and if I leave the kids unsupervised for even 5 minutes, Jacob often ends up trying to undress Jared or draw on his face. I’ve relied on Jared’s brief naptimes (often 30mins at a go) to do any food prep and have just popped things into the oven rather than stir fry things, unless hubby is home.

But now I have a slow cooker, this will be bliss! I look forward to getting my meals ready in the morning and then cleaning up the kitchen before lunchtime! And looking forward to being able to cook in larger portions so we can all have lunch prepared for the next day too!

So, hit me up with some of your best slow cooker recipes! I’m looking forward to making some delicious homecooked meals.

On an ending note, here are just a couple of things we did this week. Jared is starting to get the feel of play cafes while I’ve put Jacob to work already, though it became a rather soapy affair.