Saturday, October 22, 2016

New loves

Bethany and I have caught a bug from Tim; a love for fountain pens and all that goes with them! We have both received a new pen (mine is an early Christmas present) with beautiful inks. I am using mine on the cards I make, and Bethany is writing letters using the stationery she has been given over time. Long live the art of letter writing!

The other things I am absolutely loving at the moment are pure beeswax candles. I buy them from Queen B. They smell like honey and burn for ages. In the spirit of 'do unto others' I have been buying lots of them as presents!

The weather continues to be odd. Tonight, when it is almost November, we have the heater on! I do realise that it will get hot, and probably very quickly. I am prepared for that as long as the pollen disappears. Hay fever is the worst.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Getting your Ps first go

Usually, at this time on a Saturday morning, I would be in town, picking up Joss from work, having dropped her there earlier. Today, I haven't been anywhere at all! She drove herself to work, and she will drive herself to a babysitting job this afternoon; I am enjoying this very much.

Let's go back a bit, though. After Phil and the kids left we had a few days of school holidays with no visitors and then Sare, Ty and their three kids arrived. It was glorious, noisy, fun. They are always a delight to have. Toby gets a good ego boost from the love two younger boy cousins give, Bethany and Joss experience that love too, as well as that of a little girl cousin. Many games, lots of drawing, so much fun.

As we did last time, we drove out to the Junee Chocolate and Licorice Factory. Much chocolate was eaten and purchased (this did not turn out so well later on, but I'll get to that in a minute) and I took only these terrible photos.

On the Sunday night (why do these these things always happen on a Sunday?) Toby came running out to tell us that Milo was eating Sare and Ty's chocolate stash. I rang my friend, Emily, who is a vet, and she came over. We established that he had probably eaten more than 300g of dark chocolate, which is very bad! We tried to make him sick with salty water, but no dice. We had to ring the vet.

What followed was a bonding experience for me and Milo. I held his ears out of the way while all the chocolate came back up. There were the freckles, there was the ginger, all accounted for and not much changed for having been in his stomach for an hour! It was an expensive exercise, but I think we all learned a lesson......

After Sare and Ty went home, Andrew's parents came for a week. This is when Joss got her Ps! We were all very impressed that she passed first go. I highly recommend a few lessons with a professional.

 We had a quiet week with the parents until Saturday's church street fair. Narelle and I organised and ran the cafe this year, which was a lot of work but good fun. This is the only photo I took. Evie made these Cookie Monster cupcakes, as well as ones that looked like hamburgers and sunflowers!

The weather was beautiful. It was our first day warm enough for short sleeves. The plant stall was great and I bought succulents to fill the beautiful, blue pots we have at our front door. It gets so hot there, I do hope they cope.

The kids went back to school, and Sue and Ron headed home on Monday. Joss spent the week bonding with school friends and getting HSC pep talks from the teachers at camp in Tathra.

This sunset was a million times more spectacular in the real!
One term until the end of the year!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Holiday time again!

Another term has gone. I am the only one not on holidays. I don't mind so much as I do get a break from making school lunches and ironing white shirts. I'm sure Mimi will be pleased to have people home during the day to play with her. She (it is very hard to start calling her a him, even though the signs of maleness are startlingly obvious to all now) loves to sit on my shoulder.

Joss had her final exams for Year 11 and officially starts Year 12 when school goes back. She was made House Captain! We have booked her driving test for the second week of the holidays and then, all going according to plan, we will have three drivers in the house.

On the second last night of term, Bethany had her school disco. It is for kindy to Year 6, with an early and a late session, and they gave it a super hero theme and encouraged the kids to dress up. Do you know how hard it is to find super hero costumes for 12 year olds? I can't get those hours back. Thankfully, Beth had a great time.

Phil and the kids came to visit yesterday, on their way up north, and we had a lovely time with them (Kristin has to work). The little ones were keen and not-so-keen all at the same time regarding Milo and Mimi. I think Mimi will have a very quiet day in his cage to recover.

We went to the park for ice cream and play. I thought it would exhaust everyone, but Bethany and Charlotte still talked for hours in bed.

We will have more cousins arriving on Thursday; it is going to be a visitor-filled two weeks!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

River watch

It has been a very wet year. We really love looking out over green countryside, especially as many of our years in Wagga have been in drought. The latest rain here and upstream has brought us awfully close to flooding, though.

When we moved into our new office building, which is just across the road from the river, we couldn't see the water from our carpark, because of the levee. As I pulled in I would think to myself "I really ought to wander over there at lunch to look at the water". The river is up so high now, that I can see it easily from the car park, and it has completely overtaken an oval down the road from work. The caravan park, all of the Wagga Beach area and carpark are all under water.

It's meant to rain more next week, too, so today, at book club, I told Stephen that he can come back to our place if he gets evacuated as he did in 2012. My workmate, Tracey, also lives in Central, so with her and her husband Grant it will be a big party!

It would be nice to walk along the riverbank at lunchtime, but I just can't give up that half hour of reading. I am doing Steptember at the moment, and it is very hard to get to 10,000 steps a day if I don't walk at lunch, so I walk and read. I stick to the road so I will have less chance of falling over! I have offered to make cakes for my workmates if they donate to the cause (cerebral palsy) so I brought this Malteser cake in today to kick things off.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Dream weekend

We have had some pretty memorable weekends of late, and though it is only Saturday night I am calling it already. This weekend has been a cracker.

Dad, who lives in Cairns, came to stay last night. We didn't do anything special, we just hung out, which was really lovely. The rain and wind did their best to keep us all awake last night, and we awoke to the threat of flooding (not our house, of course, on top of a hill). Dad hit the road to head for Coonamble, where it is already flooding.

Not ones for good-byes, the thought of the afternoon's birthday party bolstered spirits. The trouble with having your birthday in the school holidays is that your birthday party tends to be put off, then dithered over and then missed altogether. This year, we just decided to just do it late, really late. September birthday party for a July birthday; that's how we roll.

We held it at Airborne Gymnastics, where Bethany has her gymnastics classes every week. She was very excited to be able to show her friends what she can do. The head coach was there, training a new party host, and Andrew told him how keen Bethany is and asked how she could take it further.

The classes she attends are not focussed on skills so much, as just fun and exercise, but they do hold squad training, to which you need to be invited. The coach asked her to do a bunch of different things - the splits, bars, and backflips - and then told her she was around a level three and asked if she would like to come to squad training! I was talking to a friend while all of this happened, but I could tell something was going on as Bethany's face was radiating joy!

All of the kids enjoyed the party. Wall climbing, inflatable obstacle courses, foam pit, trampolines galore, lollies and chips. What more could you want?

I spent the morning playing around with the four layers of cake I made last night. On the whole I am dismissive, if not derisive, about the very-tall-cake trend. They seem hard to cut and hard for smaller people to eat! I did buy a book about hidden surprise cakes, however, and Bethany became set on the chequerboard cake. Two chocolate and two vanilla layers, cut into circles and reassembled with alternating colours, stuck together and covered with ganache and there you have it!

We dropped Sydney home and ending up staying for coffee and a long chat with our new Zimbabwean friends who are going to build a house across the paddock and Sydney will be moving schools with Bethany next year.

I won't say no to a sleep in tomorrow; our sleep will be sweet after such a lovely day.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Still here

Oops, time does get away on me. I am ten books ahead of schedule in my reading challenge, so there you have it!

Years ago we saw on the news (very slow news day) that there had been reports in America of a baby lion on the loose, that had turned out to be a labradoodle. Ever since I have been keen on giving that sort of grooming a go, but this time, I told the kids I would actually ask. I didn't think they would say yes, but they were game.

I think they shaved too much forehead, making him look like the cowardly lion or a balding old lion. I laughed all the way home in the car. Andrew won't be seen outside with him, but the rest of us really quite like it.

It has been a busy time with weekends away; first Andrew took Joss to an open day at Wollongong Uni, and the following weekend to Sydney for cycling. Jane and I had a girls' weekend away last weekend, going to the One Love conference. Jane picked me up at lunchtime on Friday and we hit the road, making two coffee stops before arriving in Newtown.
The view from our room

Jane lived in Newtown while she and Steve were at Moore College, so she is confident driving there; I couldn't do it! We stayed in a great place, just off King Street, and wandered down the road for a Turkish dinner. After a very long browse in a book shop (I love to look at a bay of shelves and count how many of the books I have read), we went to a crumble shop. The man spent some time telling us how the filling, crumble, ice-cream and sauce choices were to be made and was a bit disappointed when all we wanted was a cup of tea.

The conference was great, so encouraging, and we then visited a new baby and spent the evening with Karen and Sandy in their new digs in Drummoyne. Sunday was a bit less fun, with illness in the city and at home in Wagga, but it was such a worthwhile weekend, we are looking forward to doing it again next year.

On Monday morning my work moved. We left our little brown brick box, right in the centre of town, and moved to a more spacious building next to the river. My office has a view!

My desk is tidy!

Last night Toby had his piano eisteddfod. He played a duet with a girl from school, and also played a solo piece. They won the duet and he came second in the solo. This is the duet, sorry I didn't start right at the beginning. The best bit is at the end when Toby shows dedication to protocol without back-up.


Also, tomorrow is Spring!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Birthday and catch up

One week short of five years apart, Bethany and Joss always have their birthdays in the holidays. Joss' chosen lunch destination was the new cafe that serves milkshakes requiring as much eating as drinking.

For dinner she went for Nigella's rigatoni al forno (which is just like lasagne only with rigatoni and not in layers) and cream cheese brownies.

Rabbit update: Mimi is an enormous white bunny, who loves to bounce crazily around the rug and couches, lick fingers and noses and occasionally give eyebrows and necks a little nip. She and Milo have never come face to face because we are still pretty certain that wouldn't end well.

My hairdresser has the sweetest little dachshund, called Pierre. I like it when his ears go inside-out.

Last night Andrew's band had a Chicago and Blood Sweat and Tears night. By the time I got there, it was standing room only; totally packed on a Thursday night! This is a poor photo of the horn section that Andrew put together. It was so good!

Here's my favourite song from last night; sadly I didn't record Andrew's version so you'll have to settle for the original band.