Monday, April 30, 2007


Welcome - Sacha Mary - the first born of my best friend. The gorgeous addition to the world was born about an hour ago - 3.50pm on 30 April 2007 Sydney time. It is a lovely cool but sunny autumn day here. Is there anything more exhilerating or amazing than your first look at the face of your baby??? I am so happy for them - these are two of our oldest friends, the twins' godparents and they are going to be such wonderful parents. May God bless them all.
Home - Logically I know it isn't about the four walls or the futon on which she sits - it is about the people I love and care for. The most important space I create for them is not the physical one and yet ...

My home gives me opportunities to demonstrate my love and care for the family it keeps safe. It gives me a creative outlet. When I need to see the fruits of my labour - it is there - in a recently mopped floor or a made bed or a new picture frame. Pathetic I know but I can think of no other reason why the prospect of being 'homeless' in 5 weeks absoltuley terrifies me!!!

When P and I bought our first home we were renting in a lovely harbour side suburb of Sydney - our rent was a bargain, our landlord a prince. I recall getting a bit disheartened and indeed we did spend about 20 000 more than we had planned on our house but overall the whole process wasn't bad. It was exciting and liberating to actually REFUSE to race out and buy the Saturday paper or rush up to the corner store to get an early copy of the local magazine. It was an adventure.

Now we have spent a long time in our little workers cottage and we love it! It was reluctantly and with no small sorrow that we will leave this pocket of the 'shams' in June. This house holds 9 years of memories for us. It is the twins' first home.

I am surprised at just how stressful the next step is. There is lots of talk in the media about how unaffordable Sydney housing market is. As I type this the talkback radio playing in the background is looking at a story about some repossessions of property that have been happening.

I have not really understood how strongly the Great Australian Dream of home ownership is ingrained in me but I do now. I feel tense much of the time. I can't sleep through the night without waking up to worry about housing. I have only seen a few houses that I like. Most of which despite being advertised as 'From $---' which is our price range end up going for much more at auction. The clock is ticking - if we don't buy soon then we have to rent - that means moving twice. It means delaying planning preschools for the twins. It means a more transient life than I am able to cope with although I may have to.

There is a house on a busy road that I really like. It started out in our price range. After 2 weeks on the market its price has been 'talked up'. I feel like crying. Maybe it is because I am a part time worker now - I spend a lot of time at home these days, my role of homemeaker is so much more central to me than it was when we first bought - why else does the whole endeavour make me feel like my chest is tightening and I am about to hyperventilate?

A curse upon the pondscum real estate agent who indicated (less than a week prior)before a recent auction that a house would sell for about $xxx - or $100 000 below its reserve price and $150 000 below what it eventually sold for - yes - the housing market is absolutley insane and I am so over it.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Twin red pandas at Taronga Zoo

I went to the zoo with the brats, my MIL, one SIL, her 3 kids and Anita - 'our' US exchange student. It was a great day. Unfortunately my camera is in for repairs so I have included a couple of pics from the Taronga Zoo site. It was a lovely day to be on the harbour. Hannah was a bit overwhelmed by the crowds at first but before long she was walking around, giggling as she 'ran' away from us and pointing at the animals.

Hannah was standing at some glass when this big gorilla came up and was snuffling at some food right in front of her - he then sat down and began to eat a carrot - she loved it and was signing gorilla a lot!
The Australian sealions were also a big hit with Hannah - she signed 'wet' and 'bath' while watching a big old fellow play in the water - he too came right up in front of her so she got a good look at him.

There was one of those put your head through and have your picture taken as a penguin boards there too and she and the other kids enjoyed that - hopefully some of Anita's photoes turned out and I will post them later. Kit went on the sky cable with the 2 bigger kids, his Aunty Jacqui and Anita - he loved it. At the end of the day we had 4 exhausted adults and 5 rather tired kids!

I need to lose weight. I need to eat a more healthy diet with less sweets - a bowl of icecream is NOT lunch! I want to be alive and fit when I am 65 - I want to avoid as best I can having my Mum's health at 65 - I want to be like my MIL who kept a cracking pace up at the zoo the other day with her 5 grandchildren, 2 DILs and her US exchange student. I need to change my sweet tooth now! I actually eat quite well for breakfast and dinner. We get curry every Friday from our favourite Indian restaruant but other than that the only take away is an occassional pizza or perhaps a platter of lebanese food. No it is lunch and afternoons where the wheels fall off my wagon. I just don't feel like eating much! and then I get hungry and need a sugar hit ... Any ideas for a variety of easy but tasty lunches? I think I can do fruit for afternoon tea but lunch has me stumped I don't want to rely on sandwiches.

I already exercise a fair bit - running after the brats - that can be increased a little without too much effort. It would be nice to actually enjoy getting dressed again!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Our house finally has the sold sticker on it. I feel so relieved but now that I am not worried about it all going through I also feel sad to be leaving this little street - it is a great culdesac and we have made lots of friends here. There are lots of other kids for the twins to play with and a real little community in action - I will miss it very much.

Grumpy at nothing ...
out here nothing changes, not in a hurry anyway ...

Today is a grumpy day in the shams. I am sick and tired of Kit waking up early - he calls out for his father, demands drinks, music, new nappy, books - anything really to stop himself going back to sleep. He usually ends up waking Hannah, with his father running errands and me either with Hannah or trying to pretend I can't hear anything and am still asleep - I wish! So everyone is grumpy today.

The folks who made an offer on our house are still keen (or so we are told) but it has been at least three weeks and we are still waiting for them to have their finance confirmed before we can go ahead and make any offers on places that we fancy. Initially the only place both P and I liked is in a part of the inner west that is increasing in price a bit too rapidly - in other words probably out of our league even though it was initially advertised as in our price range as the auction looms the hoped for price seems to have risen dramatically - SIGH!! We can't do anything anyways without knowing that our place is definitely sold - SIGH!!

Then on a chance we looked at a place on a busy road in a suburb nearby that I hadn't bothered about because it is traditionally too expensive - but apparently its prices (especially in this poocket) have not been increasing as they have elsewhere so perhaps we can afford somewhere there - we both liked the house we looked at although like anywhere it has drawbacks - not just the main road factor either. SIGH!!! Then we have decided not to pursue the house we had been thinking we would make an offer on that is being auctioned this weekend that is in the shams - I must confess that although it is a lovely house I couldn't really imagine living there - visiting sure but not actually making it mine. I hope we don't regret that decision though. SIGH! This sucks. I never realised just how important having a home is to me but I am finding the whole thing so stressful - I just want somewhere nice with a bit more room and a patch of lawn - nothing fancy but with a good 'feel'.

So today I am feeling very FLAT. I did ring the DSA NSW yesterday re supplements for Hannah - I got a name of a naturopath who has a daughter with DS and has some expertise in this area - I think I'll discuss it all with her pediatrican first and then make an appointment later in the year. Maybe I feel this way because I'm premenstrual but that is just another reason to feel grumpy - I'd rather be pregnant - not that that is likely to happen. Life sucks sometimes.

Then I was reading a Donna Leon mystery - Doctored Evidence - I usually quite enjoy her genteel Italian murders. We are lucky here in Australia - there is more likely to be talk of 'fire retardants' rather than people as 'retarded' So I was particularly offended by insensitiveity, poor research and quite frankly poor writing (given it had no real usefulness to plot, theme or mood of the book) with this little gem:

"Well," Brunetti asked as they stepped out into Calle Lunga San Barnaba, "what did you think?"
"I'd say she's what my kids are being taught at school to call 'differently abled'."
"Retarded, you mean?" Brunetti asked.
"Yes. There's the look of her, the way she howled when she couldn't get her way, and an almost total lack of normal human reactions or feelings."
"Sounds like half the Questura," Brunetti said.

SO there you have it - all for a cheap shot at their fellow police officers. The book portrays the murderer of the evil old woman with greater sympathy - this girl killed a beautiful dog. Yep - bad writing, poor research and cheap shots - not going to improve my mood today.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Easter Sunday
Easter Sunday was spent at my SIL's place in the NW of Sydney. Everyone had a lot of fun - we had a few ring ins to share the Easter cheer - it was lovely that one of my MIL's friends who came away with us and the twins last year said that it was the best Easter she had had - that is what it is about and my MIL is the best at generously sharing and welcoming others - we also had the Chicago exchange student (who is staying with my inlaws) and a friend of hers from Iowa join in the fun.
Pop wanted a photo of just the boys but Hannah thought that it should be for all 2 year olds - check out her cheeky joy at foxing her Pop.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hannah and Humpty Read a Book...I took this clip about 6 months ago I think - she has changed quite a bit since then but I have only just got my luddite head around posting video. I hope you enjoy it despite the poor quality - if anything Hannah is even cuter now.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

We had a couple of friends over for brunch yesterday. The brats were very well behaved. Their latest game is to use the threading toys I got them as 'seatbelts'. They sat on the lounge together and went for a 'drive' in the big red car - seatbelts on of course. I wish my camera was repaired so I could share how cute they were - hopefully we'll get it fixed soon, until then everything is a little blurry I'm afraid.


I don't wonder why, I wonder what you thought that would get us ... I wish I could remember where these lyrics come from as they are going round in my head at the moment - they relate to the crucifixion of Christ. I think it got us a lot - and in some vague and perhaps futile attempt to make easter important for two two year olds ( who are not ready to hear about death and resurrection) we talked a lot about Eggs, chickens and new life rather than Easter Bunnies in my house this year. I decided that rather than try and explain so much as to why Easter is important I would ensure that the twins had a lot of fun with family and friends - a time that they might consider 'special', I think that is enough for now.

We took the brats to the Royal Agricultural Society's Easter Show on Good Friday. They (and we) loved it. Hannah enjoyed the noodles for lunch and the animals she got to see and pat. Kit loved watching the Bananas in Pajamas and the Teddy Bears as well as the animals. He liked watching the Surfing Scientist poke a straw through a potato and pencils through a plastic bag filled with water - when we got home he got some gloves, palydough and a stick and started reenacting the experiment with his potato. Hannah got a New MacDonalds Farm showbag, Kit chose a Thomas one, I got the Darrel Lea Pig Out one (you can't have too much chocolate at Easter) and their father got a Whizz Fizz one. We got lost finding the car park afterwards so I am sure the 3 km walk helped me lose some of the chocolate calories I consumed once I got home.
Thought Provoking

It was with a lot of surprise that I find Michelle from Big Blueberry Eyes has mentioned me for aThinking Blogger Award! Thank you so much - I hope that Shamptons makes you think that it would be loads of fun to have twins! Because it is of course. Now for the technologically challenged such as myself the next bit is going to be tricky. I don't know how to link within a post but the blogs that I mention are on my sidebar if my attempts at including them in this post fail.

Big Blueberry Eyes - I am not cheating in including this blog - it is great - and Kayla is gorgeous but mostly it makes me think about what it must be like to be a 'military wife' in the US today and also to wonder whether I should invest in a crockpot for slow cooker Thursday.

ThreeTimesThree - Emma is great value. Her blog has a variety of posts on interesting, sometimes contraversial things as well as some delightful ones on her three kids. She writes really well too.

I Don't Know What to Say - definitely makes me think. This blog has some really open and considered posts about cancer, life and parenting. Again there is often a perspective that I have not really thought about before and I like trying to see another perspective.

Bits of Betsy - this was the first 'blog' I encountered that just 'caught me' - not only is it beautifully written but more often than not the posts are very thoughtful and thought provoking. The first one I read was a rewrite of the medical hitlist that drs give parents of a child with DS - from a positive viewpoint. I still think of it and the beautiful photo of Paige and her brushfield spots.

Chewing the Fat - Dave always has a great perspective on disability to share and because he works in the area he writes about a whole range of stuff - often viewing it in a way that I haven't really considered before even though I have experience with disability as a sibling and as a parent. He seems to have a particularly male perspective too which is good to read.

The meme began here:

SO hard to keep it to 5 - any interaction with other people makes me think ... that is one ofthe reasons I love blogging!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Back from Simon and Jen's wedding
Was dying to have a go at the meme below but got caught up in a few things. We left the twins with the grandparents for their first 'sleepover'. Why? One of our dear old friends was finally getting hitched to a gorgeous Welsh girl he met when he was over in the UK so we had a flying visit down to the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. It was beautiful. They danced to Van singing Have I told you lately... it nearly made me change one fo my 7 songs to my preferred wedding song: Que Sera Sera but I haven't had time to play it yet.

I also sat for the first examination in 17 years tonight - pretty scary! Lucky it was open book - now I just have to hope that they mark nice or don't have too high a pass mark.

The brats had fun staying with Nan and Pop. We explained what was happening to them - it really helps Kit - he doesn't like surprises. Hannah didn't really get it and had a few incidents of being upset but she loves Marea so much that I am sure she was fine. She is a little sick tonight (as am I - I have a cold with sore throat - no good in my profession) she had a temperature earlier on and her breathing is a little shallow. I hope she sleeps well tonight.

Stella got to stay with the cousins and she got lots and lots of walks so I am sure she would have loved it.

Seven Songs

Jen from I never thought tagged me for this meme – if there are 7 people reading and they haven’t already done this one – Sheena – I want some Ramones (Blitzkrieg Pop)! Please feel free to give it a go – I couldn’t resist – music is an essential part of our lives here in the shams. We like a wide variety from the country music I grew up listening to, the Aus rock I used to see live in local pubs throughout the 80s to the classical stuff I have enjoyed so much in the last 10 years or so … At the moment I am listening to:

I like to Sing … by Justine Clark – she is a presenter on ABC’s playschool and the twins LOVE her to bits. Hannah dances to just about every track on the cd and calls it Hannah’s music because she received it for Christmas.

Still Believing by Mary Black:

“Night owns my white bones but
What’s left is still saying
Strange prayers in high places
Wild airs with wilder graces
Birds fly with no motion
What draws me draws the ocean.

Down on my knees again
Still believing
In the time of reason no more
Down on my knees again
Still believing
Peace of mind is worth any chore.”

He was born to be beloved – by Yusaf (formerly Cat Stevens). I love this album An Other Cup and I absolutely mean him and the Prophet no disrespect when I say it makes me think of Kit.

Gnarly Buttons – John Adams. This is a beautiful piece of music – so mesmerizing. I use it to help get the twins to sleep in the afternoon.

Hunting for witches - Bloc Party my husband likes to make some effort to keep up with contempary music. This is one of his current faves.

Wayfaring Stranger sung by the Anonymous 4 on ‘American Angels’ and I have to say they sound like angels.

A Lover in Berlin by Kari Bremnes. Phil likes his Hi Fi sound and sometimes buys a cd because he knows it will sound great on our system – this is one of htose. Kari’s voice is deep and sultry, full of emotion as she sings “Once I had a lover in Berlin, said a frail old woman from a table next to mine…”

Jen - I too love Tom Waits' Cocolate Jesus - although I am also captivated by "What's he building in there? He's not building a playhouse fo rhte children. He has a router ..." too - it is so spooky! Not listening to Mule Variations at the moment - it didn't make the cut because I haven't put it on for the past couple of weeks but I have been enjoying 'bawlers' from his Orphans cd.

PS - All going well we should have sold our house and be offically 'homeless' or just about by early next week.