Friday, May 28, 2010

Men At Work

There's been a bit of excitement in our neighbourhood recently.
When we moved into our home, the block next door was vacant and looked like this ...

Then, a couple of weeks ago, men and machinery arrived and began building this ...

The swearing, music, and noise can be annoying, particularly at 6 am on a Saturday morning. Then there's being blocked in by concreting trucks parked across my driveway. And don't get me started on builders' cracks!

As you can see, the work is just about as close as it can be to our place, and the odd bits of cement, wood and nails seemed to migrate across, much to Mr 9's pleasure, who collects them because you never know when you might need a couple of odd-shaped bits of wood, and bent nails.
Lunch leftovers are just thrown on the ground next to our house. But on the positive side, the kids are loving see a home being built from the ground-up, and Mr 9 in particular, is a big fan of the men at work.

And the best thing of all, there is a mobile toilet, just metres from our front door.
Ah Brisbane - beautiful one day, stinky the next!

Monday, May 24, 2010

A trip to the dentist

So Miss 7 had to go to the dentist a couple of weeks ago.
Previously, she'd been very brave during visits, but on this occasion, she had a young male dentist who didn't appear to have a lot of experience with children. They got off on the wrong foot when her x-ray didn't turn out and they had to do it again - and each time the experience pinched her little cheek and gums.
Then they needed to do a filling. But not just any filling.
It was to remove a filling done by the school dentist in NZ about a year ago. Apparently the dentist hadn't cleaned the tooth out properly before doing the filling ... and there was decay underneath.
To cut a long story short, it hurt. A lot.
And bribery, cuddles and even giving her my 'lucky ring' to wear, didn't work.
In the end, the dentist put a temporary filling in and told me we would have to see a paediatric dentist.
When DDay arrived, Miss 7 was still terrified. It took my best mothering skills to get her out of the car, and tears were falling down her little face as she clutched the four - four! - stuffed toys she had brought for support.
Finally, we walked into the surgery and the first thing Miss 7 noticed was the fish ... and then her name on the welcome list.
There was a playstation/x-box/some kind of computer game to play, and loads of art and toys. And slowly, H. started to relax.
Everyone from the receptionist through to the dentist - another young male but this time with plenty of experience with kids - were great with H, taking time to answer her questions and make sure she was comfortable.
This time, in their skilled hands, the x-ray didn't hurt (they even put her toy possum up on the x-ray machine to watch), and Miss 7 was feeling much better about the whole thing.
It turns out she will need quite a lot of work done, and the dentist recommended doing it in one hit under sedation, rather than putting her through several painful visits in the chair.
We will probably have to take a small mortgage to pay for all this, even after private health insurance, but I guess you can't put a price on your child's health. And we don't want her to get a phobia about the dentist, like I used to have.
As for the dental clinic? Just gorgeous. Why should kids have all the fun!

A special welcome to some special patients ...

I'm scared ... oh look at the pretty fish!

Damn ... I was going to totally stand on that counter too!

Inside the colourful paediatric dental clinic

Time for a spot of art while waiting
Afterwards, Missy was quite happy to relinquish her toys for the goodies they gave her for being good, containing stickers, gum, a balloon and some colouring in.
Wish I got a goodie bag for going to the dentist!

If you go: We saw Dr Mathew Fracaro at Indooroopilly, and I highly recommend to parents of anxious kids.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Fabulous freebies

I never win anything.
It's not for want of trying. I've entered countless competitions on the internet, television, radio, magazines and more.
I mean, who couldn't use a new car/home/flatscreen TV?
However, the other day I got lucky.
Visiting one of my favourite blogs NotQuiteNigella, I left a comment on one of her posts, and was pleased to find out I'd won a $10 gift card, so that my family could try out the new Magnum Golds.
And then there was a visit to the Whiskas website, where I pledged my kitten's love for their products in a bid to win $10,000.
The competition is still running but every entry received a free sample of Whiskas for their cats.
Now, our kitten Hannah loves Whiskas. So much so, that if you try to pass off another brand, she turns her nose up at it and Miaows constantly until she gets her way.
When I open the pantry, she literally goes into it and pads a paw at the box to get a sachet out.
Must remember to get that on video one day.
Anyway, here's proof that occasionally you can get something for nothing - even me!
(But seriously - I'd love a free family holiday or loads of money next) ...,

Special delivery for Hannah

This is what she received

Can't pose, eating

The kids and I will certainly enjoy tasting the new Magnum Gold. Thanks NQN!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Brisbums rule ....

So the other day, we went to one of the Brisbane City Council's community days. This time in Chermside.

Mr 9 wriggles his hips in a hoola hoop competition

The police are coming to take them away, aha! (No, just a quick try-out of a police car).
Mr 9 in the driver's seat ...

Making candles ...

Mr 9 made a car...

And Miss 7 made a loveheart candle! (Ever the romantic)

And a close-up...

I enjoyed a vegetarian lunch from the Hare Krishna stall - simply delicious and all for $10

The kids chose a more western pancake treat ...

Oooh yummy!

I'll have what she's having ...
This is the bottom of a cane toad/frog (we never got to find out which because he/she kept walking away from us, despite repeated requests for a photo. Publicity FAIL. And I promise my kids didn't pummel the toad/frog like other kids did. Are we really that scary?)

Instead, they contented themselves with a happy snap with the Brisbane Bum. Okay, it's supposed to be a heart, but my kids insist he/she is more like a bum.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Making history

The kids really wanted to make history, so this weekend we joined, oh, about 175,000 others, to walk the second Gateway Bridge.
Despite arriving early, we had a huge walk to the bus station, and then to the bridge itself. Turns out we would have been better off NOT paying for parking, and parking in a nearby street and walking.
Anyway, by the time we reached the bridge, Mr 9 was flagging.
Now this is a fit and healthy young man, who runs on the smell of a lunchbox from morning 'till night. But clearly, the long walk and the density of the crowds, had done his head, or at least his body, in.
I felt sure there would be a first aid station close by, but the very first ambulance tent was actually on the bridge, and we needed to ask directions to find it first.
There, Mr 9 was assessed as suffering very low blood pressure and heart rate. Since he'd had a huge meal and drinks, they could only attribute it to the long walk, the crowds, and excitement.
Once his blood pressure had returned to normal, we were released. But by then, the (foot) traffic had been stopped to allow for the opening. And people, as in the crowds, were just being awful, pushing past and jumping queues.
And in the interests of Mr 9's health, and his conflicting desire to walk the bridge, we made it a small way up the bridge before he announced he Just Couldn't Do It Anymore. And commenced to shake quite convincingly.
And so it was, that we left the bridge, and I tried to console Mr 9 and Miss 7 that at least they had made it part-way across, and had still qualified for the history-making label.
I'm not sure it worked.
Worst of all, was that the only way home was via another long walk, a bus ride, and yet another long walk, and then a car ride.
 Mr 9 almost passed out before I could get him to the car, and I had to physically support him for much of the journey. (He's almost as big as me, and I have arthritis, so this is hugely painful for me, and I'm still paying for it today.)
And the hordes of people pushing past as we tried to emerge from the ambo tent was incredible. Not one person stopped to allow us access; and no one seemed to be available to allow it to happen. How did people get so selfish and uncaring? Seriously, we could barely move, let alone breathe. No wonder Mr 9's blood pressure was low!
But still, we made it - kind of - and the kids are thrilled to have  been a part of Queensland History.
I'm just glad the little man is okay.
But please authorities, next time be a little more prepared.
Of course people are going to want to walk the bridge for the first and possibly only time in history.  (Did you learn nothing from the Clem 7 debacle)? And what about the elderly, the very small, and the sick? How about making days like this, easier for them?
Surely, history-making should be available to all ... or is that asking too much?
Little Miss Riding Hood makes the trek to the bridge

Enjoying a sausage in bread, despite the attitude of the older men selling the said sizzle. First they ignored him, then accused him of not paying, then refused to let him have mustard on his sausage because 'he wouldn't like it'. Honestly ... I did step in, don't worry, but I like the kids practise their own skills, and you would think a Rotary organisation would be a bit kinder to young 'uns.

Outside B105 (Sadly, I didn't win the $1000_

One of the fish and chips lunches on the bridge. It was honestly pretty crap, with the inside of the fish still cold, so I won't name the establishment responsible. (Mum always said if you can't say something nice...)
Bye bye bridge x

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mumma Without Makeup

In a united front, Aussie Mummy Bloggers have made today Nude Day ... as in not completely naked, but free of make-up.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, so here I give you me, untouched and un-made-up ...

This pic was taken at breakfast on our last family holiday together as a family, so has special memories for me. It's probably the last time I felt happy and relaxed, and completely unaware of the turn my life would take. Life can be funny like that.  
And here I am at the other end of the day, sunset, sans specs

The kids and kitten join forces

When you're battling depression, you can use all the laughs you can get, and I get a lot of giggles out of funny internet websites.
LOLcats, Lady Gaga or Black -Eyed Pea spoofs, the lot ... I can't get enough of them.
One of my current favourites is the classic Shit My Kids Ruined, and its furry-friend companion Shit My Pets Ruined.
So in their honour I bring you Shit My Kids AND My Pet Ruined ... my son's bedroom.
It looks innocent enough ... Hannah the kitten in her play tunnel drinking water from a cup. As cats do ...
But expand the vision and you'll find the kids have transported Hannah's litter (sans tray), and food into the room too.

It gets worse ...

It appears kitteh has taken to her new makeshift toilet with gusto!

What do you mean, it's not a toilet?

So, what have your kids and/or pets ruined lately? Please tell me I'm not alone!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The simple things in life

One of the best things about bringing up kids in Brisbane, is that you don't have to spend a lot of money to have a good time.
Or in some cases, any money.
Here are some of our favourite things to do, without emptying the wallet:

Feeding the ducks and turtles at Forest Lake after school on a warm Autumn afternoon
Taking time to play in a local playground
Exploring a beach - the rocks, shells, crabs, tiny fish, and pelicans. Here we are at Shorncliffe

There are fairies in the bottom of our garden ...

Readers, what do you like to do that doesn't cost the earth?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day Part 2

To be honest, I wasn't really looking forward to Mother's Day.
My first as a single Mum, I was pretty sure the traditionally hyped-up day of the year would pretty much, well, suck.
But I hadn't counted on my awesome kids.
Miss 7 woke me with a kiss and a cuddle, and Hannah our kitten deposited unceremoniously on my head.
She - Miss 7 - was able to wait for, oh, about five minutes before waking her big brother so the fun could begin.
I was ordered to stay in bed, while a rather scary cacophony of clattering and banging began in my kitchen.
I tried really hard to concentrate on my book - Nicky Pellegrino's delicious Recipe For Life, which I'll post about another time - while Mr 9 periodically sent his sister in to check on me.
Pretty soon, this appeared by my bedside ...
A skim-milk cappacino, so sweet the spoon could have stood upright in it, complete with a swirl of whipped cream for good measure, and a Milky Way on the side.

That was followed by a cheese and ham omelette, with fried potato, leftover chicken schnitzel, (!) and sour cream (!!) Mr 9 ate the chocolate, and Miss 7 ate most of the egg, but it was the thought that counted.

This is how the kitchen looked AFTER the kids' amazing culinary efforts!

Then it was time to look at drawings and cards...

And gifts. A heart charm for my handbag from Mr 9: ("So you can carry my heart with me everywhere," he said proudly. Aww...)

My presents...courtesy of the school Mother's Day stall. Tea and biscuits from Mr 9; and from Miss 7, a beach towel (because I spend SO much time on the beach these days) and an overnight bag (European, so it must be good. Mind you, the bag is supposed to be for the kitten, so she can be a Handbag Cat!)
In all, it was a pretty magical Mother's Day ... well, at least until it was time to clean the kitchen!