Wednesday, December 31

Our New Years Eve Tea Party

Having a toddler in tow around makes it hard for us to "party hard" and celebrate New Years Eve these days ... Although even in the prime of our youth, Phan and spent many a quiet New Years Eve together... I remember one year we played Scrabble... and another year we watched Bruce Almighty on DVD, heard fireworks going off and turned to each other and said "Happy New Year" and then continued watching the movie... So really, it's no great loss for us to not be celebrating New Years in a conventional "partying" manner...

We have spent this evening putting together the cutest dressing table ever that Bao got Beth for Christmas (yes, shameful that it's taken us a week to put it together, but we had trouble finding time and mustering motivation)... Anyway... we decided to make it a family affair and did it while Beth was awake... she decided to "help" us by scattering bolts and nuts... pretending to screw in screws... lying down in the most inconvenient places... All quite amusing... The dressing table and chair wouldn't have taken that long to put together if we hadn't been thwarted at the last hurdle by a misaligned hole that prevented a screw from attaching and holding the mirror in place... we spent half our time trying to rectify that defect... and after much quiet cursing and some serious man-power and power drill assistance we finally assembled it. Beth was quite taken by the table once it was all set up... She doesn't use it in a conventional manner and instead it's become a "Tea Party Dressing Table"... she sits there with her cute little tea set and has a party whilst talking to herself in the mirror!

Here are some cute video snippets of our New Years Eve Tea Party -

Beth stayed up pretty late (for her) tonight - 9:30pm... too excited and fascinated by the dressing table to go to sleep...

On a separate note, again I have a funny story to tell about Phan. We had the American Music Awards playing on TV in the background... now Phan and I both are pretty much out of it when it comes to being up to date with who and what are the latest hippest music bands/artists out there... We spent the majority of the time were watching and hearing various artists names called out and looking at each other and going "Who are they?"... Anyway... they announce that Kanye West has won R&B/Hip Hop album of the year (or something) and Phan turns to me and asks "Is 'Kanye' the same person as 'Kanye West'"... LMAO... I had to laugh out loud at that question... "Yes, Phan... it's the one and same person"... I thought I was out of the music loop, but Phan is way back in prehistoric land... How many Kanye's does he think are out there?

Anyway - Happy New Year to all my blog readers out there... hope you're enjoying your celebrations and that you're not paying for it to much tomorrow!

2008 In A Nutshell

2008 was the year -

We moved interstate.

We became closer as a family.

Beth and I started playgroup, KindyRoo and swimming.

We made new friends in Brisbane... the kind of friendships I hope will last many years...

Beth started to walk, run, interact, talk and give us lots of attitude.

Beth and I got gastro. (And I never want any of us to ever feel that ill again!)

We holidayed in Noosa.

I really enjoyed and developed my digi-scrapping skills, landed 3 CT gigs and made some great friends in my digi-scrapping world.

We visited Sea World (twice!), Movie World and Underwater World.

We visited our hometown of Adelaide twice and celebrated our 30 birthdays.

I beamed with pride about Phan being awarded 3 scholarships to do his PhD.

We bought another house and moved for the second time in 9 months.

I really started to develop my photography skills... and bought alot of equipment to supplement my hobby!

We threw a 2 year old bday party.

We survived crazy storms and 16 hours without power.

We loved and missed our extended family and friends.

I fell more in love with my daughter.

I fell more in love with my husband.

We laughed, smiled, prayed, hoped, stressed, waited, cried and loved... and still came out ok on the other side.

What a year we've had... A lot has happened in these last 12 months... and the time has flown by. I can't believe we've been living in Brisbane for a year already. It's hard to believe that this time last year, Beth wasn't walking yet and only babbled random noises and now she's this toddler, obsessed with playing chasey and riding her trike and able to communicate and talk to us (not yet in sentences, but I don't think that's far away..).

I don't know what the next year has in store for us... but here's to hoping 2009 will be a year of continued blessings, good health, fun, happiness and memories to treasure for years to come.

Sunday, December 28

Our New Family Hobby...

Over the weekend, we have decided to becoming a cycling family... We live close to some great bike paths and trails and we've finally decided to make use of these wonderful facilities and get out and about a lot more. It kind of all started with the shiny new trike that Beth got for Christmas... We went to the nearby park on Saturday and Sunday... me pushing Beth on her trike (which she totally adores) and Phan riding his (somewhat neglected) bike... it was fun to get out and about on the bike... I rode Phan's bike for a bit to see how great his bike was... and then somehow from all of this, we started thinking how much fun it would be if we could all go for long bike rides together and have family picnics and stuff... It's not the first time we've talked about bike riding together and Phan is (to my surprise) quite well versed in his knowledge of bikes and bike and child carrying options.

So, today we went on a mission and we came home with what is known as a "child trailer for bikes" and after a few phone calls we managed to hunt down a Croozer 535 (which is a quite a reputable brand and versatile model). It looks like this (we got it in this orange colour too)-

It fits 2 children, (up to weight of 45kg)... or in our case, just our one child and room for toys and stuff to amuse her... plus there's lots of storage space in the back of it for taking drinks and a picnic.

Here's what Beth looks like in it -


I also test rode a couple of bikes and am having a new bike delivered to me tomorrow from a shop called "Bums on Bikes"... LOL... I think it's such a funny name for a shop... I love the bike we've chosen (it's my Christmas present from Phan)... it looks so cool and it's effortless to ride... We've gone for a hybrid Shogun bike which has an alloy frame and Shimano gears... and it's a gorgeous purple colour. Here's a photo of what it looks like -

shogun metro at
Can't wait for my bike to arrive. It started raining this afternoon not long after we came home with the Croozer and we were just dying to get it out and give it a spin... so once the rain eased off, we braved the humidity and went for a trial ride with Beth and she looved sitting in it (although, she loves riding on her own trike more!)... I even had a go at riding and pulling the Croozer and it's surprising light and effortless... the Croozer is about 10kg and Beth is about 12kg... so it's an extra 20kg of weight you're pulling, but it's really fun and you can almost forget you're carrying the Croozer (which is a bad thing, because you really do have to think when you're riding to make sure you're in the middle of the path so the Croozer doesn't go offroad with your child in it!)

On a completely separate note... Phan keeps going on about this *MASSIVE* lizard he saw wandering up someones driveway on Boxing Day as he was driving home from work. He saw it a few streets away from where we live and says it was humungous and apparently easily more than a metre long! (We went to Underwater world with Phan's parents recently and there were massive lizards there and he says it was just like those lizards!) So now whenever we're out and about Phan's always on the look out for this ginormous lizard... it is so funny... I really hope we don't have any encounters with it!

Family Time On Boxing Day...

Well our family boxing day together made up for our quiet Christmas day yesterday... Phan came home from work just before lunch, Beth crashed and had a nap and whilst she had her sleep, Phan brought out the rest of her Christmas presents from us and put them under the tree and I finished up cooking our lunch... When she woke up, the first thing she was her shiny new red trike, complete with pink sparkly tassels on the handlebars... and I think it's fair to say she adored it from the moment she saw it! The trike has been a huge hit with her (a bigger hit than we expected)... probably her favourite toy this year... She insisted on Daddy pushing her around the dining room table several times and then when it came time to open the remaining presents, she insisted on sitting on the trike whilst opening her presents. I had cooked up a big Christmas lunch (turkey with all the trimmings)... so we managed to convince Beth to get off her bike and join us at the table. We cracked open some Christmas bonbons ... Beth was scared at first, but once she saw Phan and I break open ours, she wanted to open hers and she managed to hold the bonbon tight enough to get it to crack open! She was very pleased with herself... although not so pleased with the hat that came inside the bonbon that we tried to get her to wear... :p We discovered Beth loooves turkey... and I mean, really love turkey! She kept pointing at the meat on the plate and saying "turkey" for the whole meal... I had to bargain with Beth to get her to eat her vegies before getting a piece of turkey!

After lunch, Beth played with her new toys some more (a plastic farm/barn set with animals and people and her new turbo rocket battery operated Thomas train) before harassing Phan into going outside and pushing her around the backyard on her trike. And when she tired of that she conned Phan into playing chasey with her!

The afternoon flew by... I don't even know what we did, but I recall falling asleep on the lounge and having a nice nap (tired from all that cooking, plus turkey always makes me sleepy!)... and then having Beth beg me to come outside and push her around on the trike again and then play a lot of chasey for half an hour! (Bao, Ty & Phi - I can't wait for you guys to come visit so you can to take over chasey duty!)

Leftovers for dinner... Beth was more than happy to have turkey again!

So lovely to spend time with my precious little family... Seeing how much joy Beth got from her presents was just the best present in the world...

And now to show you in images a little bit of what our quiet little Christmas/Boxing Day this year was like -

Next up - here's a bit of video footage of what Beth was doing during boxing day lunch. (You may need to turn up your sound a bit for the first bit, so you can hear what she's doing).

And now here's what we were doing during dinner - (We had to open up more Christmas crackers, 'cos Beth thought they were now a part of our dinner routine now... and Beth now thinks a hat is called a "party"... LOL... very funny)

And to finish off - these last two video snippets show that with the myriad of toys she received over Christmas, what she really wanted for Christmas was a foot pump (that she found and pulled out of the wardrobe in the spare bedroom). You know, the kind you use to blow up balls or inflatable pools... go figure! This footage is taken on the evening of Boxing Day, just before she was supposed to go to bed.

Hope all my family, friends and readers of my blog are getting the chance to enjoy some rest and relaxation... xo

Thursday, December 25

A Blessed Christmas To You All...

To be honest, it hasn't been the merriest of Christmases for us this year... I have missed being back home in Adelaide sooo much today... I miss being with all the family... I miss going to mass with the family, cooking and eating huge amounts of yummy food, opening presents in the wee hours of Christmas Eve... I miss having a huge Christmas lunch... I miss sharing and celebrating fun times with our friends... I miss not having my husband around today because he has been at work all day... and with all that's happened recently, it's hard to find anything to be "merry" about...

But even without the "merriness" of Christmas, I have still felt the many blessings in my life around me this Christmas... my beautiful little family - my amazing husband, my gorgeous daughter - where would I be without them? ... a wonderful extended family who I love, cherish and adore... dear friends who drop a line and call us to let us know they are thinking of us... a lovely place to call "home" for the next 3 years... an ever developing faith in God (and finding a church to help nurture that)... so many blessings... so much to be thankful for.

So a merry christmas to you all... and if you happen to not be feeling very merry, I hope you have felt the blessings of the Christmas season in your heart.

Wednesday, December 24

It's Christmas Eve...

Can you believe it?! I can't!

Today I have a couple of apptments and things to attend to which should be finished by early afternoon and then I will be attempting to recreate a mini scaled down version of a Christmas Eve feast like the ones Phan's parents' throw back home in Adelaide... I spent last night prepping some food whilst Phan put together Beth's Christmas present (one of those trikes with a handle on the back for Mummy or Daddy to steer, because let's face it, 2 year olds have no concept of steering!)... it only took Phan an hour to put together and there was only a small amount of venting/frustration... so that was pretty good! All Beth's presents are wrapped (and boy are there a lot!) and I have a whole bunch of goodies ready to put into a Santa sack (well, a pillowcase... that's what I used to use as a child) for Beth tonight. We're planning to let Beth open a few presents tonight and then go to Christmas Eve mass together (hopefully Beth will be able to stay up for it).

Christmas Day is going to be a quiet affair for us... Phan will be working the day away from 8am - 10pm... so Beth and I will head over to Sharon's place to share a Christmas morning brunch together which will be lovely... (Sharon is such a sweetie, she has been so worried about me and Beth spending Christmas alone)... Then hoping to catchup with some family members back home in Adelaide over Skype in the afternoon evening...

Phan's working again Boxing Day morning, but we're planning to make our main celebration together happen once he comes home from work... I'll be cooking up another storm (the western feast... turkey with all the trimmings and some kind of dessert) in the morning and we'll sit down for a big late lunch together... we'll open more presents before lunch too... Beth is going to think Christmas is some kind of 3 day event after all of this!

Monday, December 22

The Encore

I just had to share another snippet of Beth singing because I think it's hilarious...

Beth The Opera Singer

I was listening to Josh Groban last night and here's Beth singing along with him (not that you can really hear Josh and his music at all since Beth is singing so loud!) Sorry the footage is so shaky, but I was trying hard not to laugh out loud while I was filming and I couldn't hold my phone still!

Wednesday, December 17

Father I Put My Life In Your Hands...

It has been a while since I've blogged... We've had some rather major personal stuff happen (of which, I'm not comfortable revealing the details to all and sundry on the www)... Those close to us will know what I am speaking of and I thank you for thinking of us and for all your love and support...

There is a responsorial psalm that I used to use when I was doing music ministry at our old church for Good Friday mass during Easter... The response goes "Father, I put my life in Your hands"... and more than anything, this simple phrase has reassured me and given me comfort over the last week or so... To trust, to believe that all that happens is part of God's greater plan and that all that happens is for a reason... It doesn't take away our hardship... but to keep these words in my mind gives me something to reflect on that may well be more than my mere human mind and heart can understand...

Friday, December 5

Very proud of my husband...

Yesterday we found out some more amazing news... Phan has won his *3rd* scholarship towards his PhD next year... I can't even begin to say how amazing that is and how totally stoked he is... Not only did he win his 3rd scholarship, but he also was ranked *NUMBER 1* from all the applications for this particular scholarship, so as a result of being number 1, he also gets a bit extra funding on top of his base scholarship. Totally amazing!

So now his strike rate is sitting at 3 successes from 3 applications... His boss was joking that he will be the most highly paid academic ever... :p We are so very blessed, because there are many PhD students who struggle to get any funding so Phan must have written this proposal very well and the concept for the PhD is interesting and of considerable importance to be considered worthy of being funded.

Well done Phan - Elizabeth and I are so very proud of you.

Thursday, December 4

Grocery Shopping With A Toddler...

I've been having a couple of rough days... I'm tired... She's having restless sleep.... and has been getting up at 6am... Today in an effort to wear her out, I took her swimming in the afternoon (which by the way, I have now learnt, it is much better to not mention that we're going to pool and get our swim bag ready without her knowing than telling her we're going swimming and then listen to her go "swim swim... swim swim"... and then have her in tears because I'm not getting ready fast enough! Talk about impatient!) We had fun at the pool and the downside of wearing her out there was that I am now also worn out! Anyway... I digress... after swimming we popped out to the shops to get something for dinner and pick up a couple of other things... I now get to listen to my very chatty 2 year old girl point and tell me in a *VERY* loud voice the foods she recognises ... Here's a sample of what I get to listen to -

"Waty-da-da" (Watermelon) (note this is also accompanied with frantic pointing motions... she loooves watermelon... I ended up buying some more for her),
"Bikit" (Biscuit),
"Sssss" (for Natural Confectionary Lolly Snakes)
"Choc choc" (chocolate, yes, we were in the lolly and chocolate aisle)
"Sosos" (Sausages - she's suddenly developed a liking for sausages again after going off them for 6 months)
"Cheeeeese" (rather self explanatory)
"Juice" (she's a juice fiend too)

My goodness, it's pouring down with rain again... yesterday there was another unreal electrical storm, I took some video footage on my phone, so will post that later, if it's turned out ok...

Tuesday, December 2

Preoccupied Beauty

Preoccupied Beauty Today, I had to put Beth in the bath mid afternoon to clean her up after a vomiting incident this morning (she gagged on panadol) and then a fruitbox incident in the afternoon (she decided to squeeze half it's contents all over her legs)... The mid afternoon light was just gorgeous in the bathroom... I got a couple of lovely shots... here's one of my "arty" ones...

Monday, December 1

Poor sick chicken...

I think that looking after a sick child is probably one of the most "unfun" things about motherhood... the vomit, the fevers, the cranky, unhappy child... for the most part these are relatively easy to deal with... but the worrying! I really hate that sense of helplessness and worrying about your child...

This afternoon Beth woke up from her nap with a fever... she actually was quite listless, so I managed to take her temp (under her armpit) which was about 38.1, which means she was probably at about 38.5... I didn't really need to take her temp to figure out she had a fever though... she was really burning up and I could see she was struggling to move and even to sit up. So after a dose of neurofen, she spent a quiet afternoon lying on her little sofa in front of the TV... She actually perked up a bit late afternoon and gathered enough energy to go outside and water her plants (can't let her plants die!)... but by evening, she'd gone all flat again and she actually fell asleep in the beanbag at about 6:45pm... She looked exhausted and was completely out of it. I moved her so she was lying on her little fold out sofa and she slept there until about 7:30pm, when she woke up... managed to get her to eat a little... a bit of bread, a bit of watermelon and a bottle of milk. But then we gave her dose of neurofen and she gagged and *everything* came back up... So I had to put her in the bath to clean up the vomit (I had actually managed to catch most of the vomit on her top and on my top and pants, so we didn't have to clean the rug). She had been burning up again, so the bath actually brought her temperature back down, but she got the chills really badly... I got her out of the bath, dried and dressed her and we had a second attempt at the neurofen, which stayed down this time and followed it with a decent drink of diluted fruit juice. And then put her to bed... she was still shaking with the chills... hoping that settles down soon...
I'm off to bed, 'cos I'm in for a restless night... Even if she doesn't wake, I know I'm going to be going in to check on her to make sure she's ok. Here's hoping tomorrow is a better day...

Sunday, November 30


Almost everything Beth says now is followed by the word "now"...

This morning I got woken up by -
"Mummeeee! Mummeeee! Mummeee Now!"

Then later, right after breakfast, I was faced with this little mantra -
"TV... TV... TV... TV NOW!... Mummeeee.... TV... TV... TV... TV NOW!" (yes, that'll do your head in after about 5 minutes...)

This afternoon, I got this -
"Bubbles... Bubbles... Bubbles NOW!"

Are you seeing a pattern here?

Gotta love demanding 2 year olds...

Thursday, November 27

Oh how delicate she is...

An example of how delicate our little girl is... This afternoon, Beth was making me play chasey with her around the backyard... (very tiring... she loves it when I pick her up and swing her around or tip her upside down... this is the only time she likes rough play!)... and once I'd had enough, I asked her if she wanted me to blow bubbles for her and she said "yes"... She's a sucker for chasing bubbles... Anyway, I blew a huuuuge stream of bubbles at her and as they popped on her skin she rubbed herself and said "Owwwwwwww..." She had me laughing... "What do you mean "Owww..."?" I asked her... "Bubbles don't hurt you."... and she grinned at me and I blew another lot of bubbles into her and she called out "Owwwwwww..." again... she is such a "precious" thing!

Other things that are happening at the moment... She's picking up words left right and centre... Some new recent words... "purple", "biscuit", "scissors"... (yeah, I was so impressed when she said scissors! I was actually only half paying attention to her and she'd picked up some blunt craft scissors and was bringing them to me and saying "SCISSORS! SCISSORS!"... that really woke me up and made me pay attention!)... she tries to imitate most words when I ask her to say them... sometimes the words don't sound anything like what they're suppose to, but at least she's trying.

This morning she started counting her fingers as we were in the car taking Phan to work... She even started at "One" (which is new... she's never been able to say "one" before)... and she counted to 4 correctly before randomly saying numbers out of order... she can actually almost count to 10 now... except that she can't say "Five" or "Seven" very well.. but all the other numbers are pretty good. She's also started to become a little demanding.... she now says "Ti-ti NOW" (Ti-ti is what we call the dummy)... and "Up NOW"...

Our latest venture is potty training... I've just started this week and we've had some little successes in the last couple of days (after one rather dramatic mishap that involved Beth stepping in her own poo on Monday... I won't bore you with details, but suffice to say that was a messy experience!) Anyway, yesterday she did a small poo on the potty, but stopped halfway through when she got freaked out and stopped when the Australia Post guy came to deliver a parcel. Today, we got a small wee in the potty (after spending like 1 hour on potty... tell you what, this toilet training thing is not something that can be rushed!) and a poo tonight... so we're making some progress... I'm trying to take a relaxed approach and just getting her used to sitting on the potty and knowing it's there... I'm happy with what we've achieved already... Oh and those Huggies Pull-up nappies that they are always advertising... with their "wetness liner" to help with toilet training... I think they are a crock... Beth still wees in her nappy and has no idea (or maybe she is rather content to feel wet?!)... her pullup was totally soaked and she didn't have a problem with it! I think they'll be handy for when we go out... but I'm going to have to put her in cloth terry pants or something so she can really tell when she's wet... Anyway... enough talk of toilet-training... it's just our "new" thing at the moment, so I thought I'd mention it... but I expect this phase to go on for a little while...

Wednesday, November 26

The Prequel to "Boost Juice Makes Me Happy"...

Okay - I took this footage before the video footage in the previous post... I thought it had been lost, because I didn't hit save properly, but I was lucky enough that it did save. So here's Beth... getting "happy" on the boost juice. Oh to answer Bao's question and in case anybody else is wondering - no, Beth doesn't finish one of these large cups of Boost juice... between the two of us, we get through about 3/4 of a cup (well, until we're down the ice slush and can't slurp it up the straw anymore)... Although, if I didn't wrestle the cup off of her to get my fair share of drink, Beth could probably drink most of the cup by herself... she's a Boost juice fiend! :p

I should explain why we were at Chermside today having our Boost juice - I had to take Phan's car in for a wheel alignment and the tyre place is really close to Chermside, so we just walked there and spent an hour and half there while the tyres were being aligned. I managed to run a couple of errands and I got to pick up my eternity ring that Phan had got for our 5 year wedding anniversary. I'll take a photo tomorrow when the light is better, but I love it... it goes perfectly with my engagement and wedding rings. I decided it would be better for us if we stopped and had a drink for afternoon tea instead of browsing the shops and spending money! :p We had a fun afternoon anyway...

Oh... and the reason I had Phan's car was because the airconditioning broke down in my car on Sunday and we had put it in to get fixed on Tuesday ... the air compressor died and they've had to order a part in from Melbourne to repair a pipe... so hopefully it'll be ready tomorrow... it's unfortunately going to be a very expensive repair ... I think having working airconditioning in my car is going to be my Christmas present!

Boost Juice Makes Me Happy...

I honestly have no idea what they put in Boost juice... but it does something weird to Beth and makes her *really* happy (we only get the watermelon crush flavoured one..) -

Tuesday, November 25

How Fascinating The Christmas Angel Is...

How Fascinating is the Christmas Angel...?

Playdate with Veronica...

We had a playdate with our friend Veronica today... We went over to her place and had a lovely time... Beth was a little nervous at first (as she always is in unfamiliar places), but she quickly starting getting into all of Veronica's books and toys and everything was fine and dandy. There is a pool at her place too, so we spent a lovely half hour in the afternoon having a play in the water (it wasn't terribly hot, but it wasn't cold either)... Beth had a blast! She actually was happy to be in a swim ring (without an attached rashie top) and swam around and kicked around in total glee! Gave me a nice break from having to hold her and deal with a wiggly squirmy child! I got to relax and float on a noodle and chat to Julie (Veronica's mum)... aaaah... bliss! We're hoping to make this a regular thing in the new year (once I rearrange our swimming classes and KindyRoo classes)... we think the girls could end up being good friends - Veronica is only 1 month older than Beth and they have similar personalities (stubborn!) and habits (they both are addicted to the dummy!)... Veronica is such a little sweetheart... she's like a "little" big sister... if Beth is getting upset or annoyed, Veronica comes and pats Beth's head and says "It's okay." (although, Beth doesn't really like the head patting thing...)... There was one point where the girls were trying to throw and catch a plastic blow up beach ball between each other... Veronica kept throwing the ball and it kept hitting Beth in the head or face and Beth started getting annoyed and didn't want to throw the ball to Veronica anymore... she only wanted to throw it to me or Julie... very funny... my girl is such a precious thing who doesn't like rough play. A true girly girl!

Sunday, November 23

Still wanting me to open the fridge...

But she's not quite as unhappy in this shot - more of a pleading face...

The pleading face...

Life's Tough...

Life's Tough...I get this facial expression a lot from Beth when she wants me to open the fridge (*right now*!)so she can raid it for something to eat or drink...

Saturday, November 22

Hope the weather holds off...

More storms predicted tonight... last night was finally a quiet one... I'm sure Energex, SES and other emergency crew were grateful for a night's rest.

This morning we've put up our Christmas tree... a week earlier than we normally would, but we're over-compensating for not being able to put it up last year. We had a great time putting it up and Beth has been really good around the tree... She helped put the baubles on it... and she only touches the decorations gently once they're on the tree ... I had heard lots of stories from EB of people with toddlers who put their tree in playpen so their kids can't destroy it, or just abandon the whole Christmas tree idea until the kids are older... so I think we're lucky that Beth is reasonably sensible... Well, as sensible as you can get at 2 years old. I did buy a whole heap of shatter-proof ornaments yesterday though ... just for safety's sake...

We're heading over to our neighbours house for a street bbq/party tonight... It'll be nice to meet a few more people from our street... So, a heads up for the family, we may or may not be on Skype tonight for a chat... depends on how long it takes for Beth to wig out... :p... We tried calling everybody last night, but seems everyone had things to do...

Friday, November 21

Amazing footage of the storm from Sunday -

Just came across this youtube link -

Thursday, November 20

The mad weather continues...

Last night was a wild night weather-wise... Thunder and lightening, constant heavy rain and loud wailing from the wind... this went on for about 2 hours at our place, from about midnight to 2am... I got woken up by the thunder and the wind a few times it was that loud...

Tonight we've had an unreal lightening display... again lots of thunder... and we got hail as well... it didn't last quite as long... maybe about 20 minutes... although we did see exactly where water leaks in from the sliding door. We had a couple of power flickers, but the power managed to stay on thank goodness... Although Phan had already lit a candle just in case the power did go out... I think I'm going to go and buy a decent lantern or something next week, just so we don't have to sit in such dim candle light when there is a blackout... I'm sure that we're going to have another power outage this summer (if not several)...

I went and checked out a weather forum tonight at now I have been on my fair share of forums (from parenting/photography/digi-scrapping... even some techie forums back in the days when I was a software engineer)... but this weather forum... Whoa! The people on this site are a total different kettle of fish... they are too geeky/nerdy/weird even for me... I have no idea what they are talking about, except when they post photos! There are people called "storm chasers" who actually actively go looking for storms to take footage of and take photos... and while it makes for interesting viewing, I think they are totally mad for going straight into these storms!

Looking at the BOM radar, it looks like the storm has almost finished going past Brisbane.. so here's to hoping tonight is not as crazy as last night...

Wednesday, November 19

The Two Year Old Birthday Compressed into 2 Minutes...

Turn your sound on if you have it... :) It's taken a couple of days to pull this together... it was a lot harder to do than I thought... lots of photos to sort through and try and pick the best and then do some kind of pp-ing (yes, it's a bit dodgy, but it'll do for the purpose of this slideshow) and then sync-ing it all up with the music... I'm not going to pretend these photos are amazing or anything... I spent my time enjoying the party rather than trying to take photos... so the photos are a mix of happy snaps that Phan, I and our friend Gina took. Hope you enjoy watching it.

I actually have a few more photos to share from the day, but I couldn't squeeze them into the slideshow above, so I'll be creating another slideshow without music sometime with those photos and repeating some of the photos with some captions to explain what's going on... But just quickly... I know you're going to wonder what the last series of photos in the slideshow with Beth in the pink top are all about.... Those photos were of Beth in the state she was in just prior to the party starting... she'd already been pigging out on the party food and was a messy, happy and full camper... it was hilarious and I just had to capture it!

Monday, November 17

Happy Birthday Our Beautiful Girl...

Elizabeth has turned 2! Where did that last year go? It feels like I've only just had time to inhale and exhale and the last 356 days have flown by.

What a day we had! We were woken up at 6:45am... Beth was excited about it being her birthday... I think she's really developed an understanding about how much fun it is when it's your birthday ... it helped that we had balloons all over the house, so the first thing she saw were the balloons and then she started chasing balloons around our bedroom. We brought out her presents and she kept doing this excited "Oh!" noise with the most adorable matching expression... and when we brought out her wrapped easel she went "Wow! Wow! Wow!" ... it was hilariously cute! She opened the personalised ABC book I had made for her with photos of her and us and things she knows... she loooved it the moment she saw it and recognised everything in it... Next she opened the package with a cute little saucepan and utensil set we had bought from Ikea... She loooved that too... and when combined with the next package she opeend which contained the felt food, it went down a treat... she loved putting the food in the saucepans... She finally opened the big easel package... and wanted to open the box right away (however, we had to distract her with balloons for the moment, because the easel needed assembly!)

After that, it was onto practical stuff... breakfast... getting ready... and some last minute preparations...

We had a wonderful little party on Sunday morning with a few of our little friends ... This has been our first "kids" birthday party we've thrown where the focus has been on the kids having fun... and I think we managed to achieve that... our little guests started arriving from 10am and were entertained by the masses of balloons that Phan had blown up last night... Once all our guests were here, we played a game of pass the parcel (with a freddo frog wrapped in each layer as it was unwrapped and then a box with bubble blowing things and kitkats in it at the end for everyone to share).

The bubbles were a cue for all the kids to go outside, run amok and blow bubbles... Phan and I had decorated the pergola with vertical hanging streamers which looked really cool and the kids loved running around amongst them... we all lasted about 15 minutes before everyone (well the adults anyway!) started wilting in the heat... it was forecast for 31 degrees... and boy did we feel it! So back inside where everyone tucked into some food... Beth and I had a lot of fun on Saturday making and baking little goodies for the party... we had honey joys, cheese and corn muffins, jelly oranges, fruit platter, mini quiches, mini teacups... Once everyone had their fill of food it was birthday cake time, which was a bit of a hit with the kids who wanted to pull out the flowers before Beth had even blown out the candles (very funny!)... And once the cake was demolished, we opened the presents and one and half hours had flown by and our party came to a close. She got some lovely presents - a collection of Mem Fox books, a cool arsty crafty Eric Carle book, some beaded jewellery, a huge tub of wooden blocks (awesome because I was thinking of getting them for Christmas!) probably her most favourite present from the party was an umbrella with "In The Night Garden" characters all over it... Beth is totally obsessed with the umbrella... it's a very cute umbrella - I can't wait to take some photos of her with it...

Beth is quite a shy child, so overall she was pretty good with having the little friends over... whilst she didn't looove having the crowd and attention, she didn't hate it either... just a little bit nervous now and then... but the balloons made her happy whenever she got a bit worried!

After the party, Beth crashed and had a massive 2 hour nap... and once she woke up we chatted to the aunties over skype so they could see Beth open the presents they had sent up for her birthday... She loves the bath magnet things that Bao got her (tonight she had a ball playing with them) and she is so funny with the animal figurines Emmi got for her... she keeps making the animals kiss each other... (apparently the tiger and the horse get along well enough to kiss each other)...

After that we headed out to have dinner at Trangs... it was actually quite a blessing that we went out for dinner, because I think it would have been very scary to have been at home when the massive storm hit... Beth had her favourite pho for dinner and then whilst I was finishing off my dinner (the bun bo hue is sooo yummy and addictive here!) Phan took Beth for a walk outside with her "In the Night Garden" umbrella (it was actually raining which is why we had the umbrella with us)... while they were having a walk, a little boy who was about 4 or 5 came up to them and asked to have a look at it - it's obviously a very popular and very cool umbrella to have!

Back home through the crazy devasation of the storm... Beth had a micro sleep in the car (which was kind of good so we could sort out what kind of damage the house had sustained and then sort out candles and torches so we could see where we were going)... and then had to wake our poor girl and give her a bath in candle light (she was a bit nervous about that!)... and then we spent the rest of night sitting in the living room in candle and torchlight... cooking our play felt food in our new saucepans and eating it... Beth looved cooking the food and feeding me and Phan... over and over again. I think the lack of power made Phan and I go a bit loopy... we started making bets about when the power would come back on and then laughing like lunatics about random things... Beth must have thought we were crazy... although she did laugh along with us... she must be crazy like us... it was kind of nice to have that quiet time together as a family on her birthday though... whilst not the most ideal way to end her 2nd birthday, it was memorable in a funny way for the family time we spent together...

Post coming later with photos... I've got to sort and put them together... stay tuned... :)

Happy Birthday For Yesterday Elizabeth & Unreal Storms...

It was our girl's 2nd birthday yesterday... (I would have posted an entry yesterday, but we had a black out... but more on that later) I'll be having a big blog post later about our day and all that happened... but I just wanted to quickly post to let everyone know that we're all okay.

We've had the worst storms in 20 years hit Brisbane yesterday afternoon/night... We actually went out to dinner to Trangs last night (special birthday dinner treat for Beth), but while we were out a MASSIVE storm came through... on the drive home we saw the signs of devasation... we passed at least 2 huge trees that had fallen down and were blocking the left lane of the road.. and lots of small trees had lost their branches... it was a total wreck. We came home and were greeted with a blackout, water had seeped in through the sliding door and a few windows, debris in the backyard... We had bought an easel as part of Beth's birthday present and I had unfortunately left it out under the pergola and after the storm it was totally destroyed... the wood has splintered and broken in half in parts and there are bolts and pieces everywhere... We'll have to get her a new easel now (which isn't a bad thing - the first one was a bit dodgy!)

I think we were lucky to escape with just that damage... Our suburb is listed in the top 3 suburbs affected by the storm... and hearing stories at swimming and on the news... people have lost their roofs... had trees fall down on their houses... schools are closed due to damage and powerlines falling down ... we are just so happy that we are safe and that our house is intact.

The blackout actually lasted 16 hours for us... we were lucky there was enough hot water for Phan to have a shower this morning and Beth and I went to swimming and came home to find the power back... I am so eternally grateful to have the power back... as I write this there are still something like 55000 SE Queenslanders without power... As my sister so eloquently put it in an email to me... "We *NEED* electicity!"... and isn't that the truth! We are so dependent on it...

Anyway... I have to go audit the fridge and chuck out most of the stuff (I'm figuring 80% of the food and fridge is going to be off after not being on for 16 hours!) and then pop out to the shops to restock and buy more batteries and candles in the event of another blackout (there's another storm on Wednesday apparently)... hopefully the shops are functioning okay... I hear the woolworths near our place had part of the roof blown off... and apparently there's and IGA in a suburb nearby selling icecream for a dollar on the proviso it's eaten in 24 hours!

Well, there's my little update for now... I'll be back later...

Friday, November 14

A little sunflare...

This is what I ended up submitting for this week's sunflare assignment based on my unsuccessful shoot last Friday - we were supposed to capture joy and sunflare in the photo... but the sun hid behind a cloud just as we were heading out to our park and Beth was being silly rather than joyous, so I just had to be content to capture the sunflare without the joy and I had to do some serious pp-ing to salvage this shot. I am going to attempt sunflare again in the same location with the same outfit... with hopefully more sun and more joyousness from Beth!

A little bit of sunflare...

Birthday preparations are coming along nicely... going to do a heap of baking tomorrow and make Beth's cake... Phan has to mow our lawn (which is seriously growing weeds *everywhere*!)... Thanks to everyone who has posted presents for Beth's big day (Bao & Ty, Emmi & Mike and The Mitchells)... we've received them all and are just waiting for Sunday to arrive so we can open them all! :)

Tuesday, November 11

Stir, Stir...

Beth's favourite past-time at the moment is stirring... she especially loves baking... but in the absense of cake batter and a wooden spoon, a plastic bucket and spade will do...

Monday, November 10

Word Explosion...

In child development books, they often write about how kids go through a period of learning words really quickly... a bit of a "word explosion" ... I'm sure Beth is going through one right now... she's picking up a heap of new words and sounds every day and is really starting to make the association between words and objects now... especially when she wants something and she can say the word...

The "word explosion" began on Sunday morning at the unearthly hour of 6am... when Beth decided she'd had enough sleep and wanted company... I tried to pull her into bed with us, but she lasted all of a few minutes, because she hopped off the bed and promptly found the Women's Weekly birthday cakes book . All last week, I tried to show her this birthday cake book in the hope one of the cakes would catch her eye and she would want that for her birthday... but every page was met with a resounding "Nooooo..."... but at 6:30am on Sunday morning, (of all the times!) she decided to look through the book several times and point out things and tell us what they were... all in a *VERY LOUD* voice... She was very proud of her newly acquired vocabulary and obviously, early Sunday morning was the best time of day to share this new skill.

We had Tuyen and his gf come and visit us from Sydney over the weekend... we had a great time... It took Beth a couple of hours to warm to them (the initial half hour was terrible, Beth was doing this hilariously, sad cry... so hard to explain, but if you could have seen the expression on her face!) and after that she was fine. She even honoured them with goodnight kisses last night and tonight before they left! (This is a big deal from Beth, who is very particular about who she shares her kisses with! Although, did I mention she kissed baby Isaac goodbye on Friday? That's huge progress from her not even wanting to be near him!)

We went to Seaworld yesterday (for the second time in 6 months) and Beth enjoyed it a lot more this time.... she didn't wig out at the shows and loooved watching the waterskiiing show (it was her total favourite... she loved pointing at the boats and yelling out "BOOOOOAT" everytime a speedboat went past).

I'm tired... I've had another busy day - I took Beth to swimming this morning, dropped Tuyen and his gf off at the train station so they could check out Southbank, did a load of laundry, grabbed a 5 min nap, baked a dozen cupcakes and decorated them (trial run for the real birthday cake on Sunday), made my famous prawn dumplings (yum! Haven't made them in a while...), got dinner going (chicken wings and rice), ironed shirts for Phan (he's ultra busy at the moment trying to do stuff for his PhD)... and thought about birthday plan's for Beth's birthday on Sunday!

I still need to make a second attempt of capturing somethign for my photography assignment this week and I need to do a heap of things for Beth's birthday, so I'll probably not blog again until after the birthday do!

So till then... stay cool and groovy... I'll be back with some photos soon...

Friday, November 7

The Oversized Yellow Polka Dot Hat

The Oversized Polka Dot Hat
I've had a bit of a mad day... I don't know what came over me, but today I did 2 loads of laundry, made a curry for a friend who's just had a baby a week ago (I wanted her to have a little break and not have to worry about making dinner for a night), did our grocery shopping, visited my friend to drop off her dinner and do a mini photoshoot of her little man, cooked our own dinner (pork spareribs... yum!) and then at 5pm, I decided to take Beth out for our own photoshoot to try and do this week's photography assignment (which is to capture sunflare). However, the sun decided to thwart my plans by hiding sporadically behind a cloud and Beth was decidedly uncooperative and insisted on running away from me whilst shouting "Chaaaase! Chaaase!" ... Ever tried taking photos and chasing your child at the same time? It's hard and exhausting work! (It didn't help that it was *really hot* and quite humid, even at that late hour of the afternoon.) I got nothing that even remotely resembled sunflare in the shots I took today (and I had a really bad focus strike rate due to the running child!) ... Towards the end, I gave up and tried to take some random shots without the sunflare in the hope of getting at least one good shot from this shoot...

Obsession with "Cheers"...

I've mentioned previously that Beth loves going "Cheers" everytime I'm having a drink... in fact she loves going "Cheers" everytime she has a drink too... Actually, anybody holding a cup is fair game for her! She also loves trying to share her drinks... she will hold her sippy cup up for me to have a drink and won't put it away until I have a drink (or rather, I pretend to have a drink and exclaim how "delicious" her drink is)...

Anyway, I just had a share a funny little story... it happened on Wednesday night... which was a not-so funny night, because Beth decided to wake up 10 times (literally) between 10:30pm and 1:30pm... By 2am, she'd done my head in and I'd had enough and was letting her have a little cry to try and settle herself and then Phan went in to settle her... he went and got her her sippy cup and when he gave it to her to have a drink, in her half awake state she held her cup out and went "Cheers!"... and Phan had to quietly not laugh and tell her to lie down and go to sleep... which she did... and then she slept 'til morning. She's just got an inbuilt "Cheers" radar... :)

Thursday, November 6

A Day In The Life Of Julien The Dog

I found our latest assignment for Evolve really quite challenging... we were supposed to use a willing model... and because I had no willing models (Phan being in Japan and Beth being totally anti-camera!), I cheated and opted to use Julien...
We had to shoot the same subject with different backgrounds... the aim being to see how different backgrounds influence a photo... We were challenged to find different backgrounds in a familiar environment (ie our house)... I was really nervous about shooting this assignment... I found it really difficult... but in the end, I quite enjoyed it... I really had to think and consider the photo compositions, so even though these photos are not spectacularly amazing, the whole thought process was a great learning experience for me... I also tried to incorporate different lighting into the photos to influence the way a photo feels... Although I'm not thrilled with these photos, I'm excited about what I learnt...

A Day In The Life of Julien The Dog

Wednesday, November 5

For all you stationery freaks out there...

which would just be me and you Donna! :) Because my friend Donna is obviously a bit of a weirdo like me and has a bit of a thing for stationery, I'm posting some pics of the japanese stationery Phan brought back for me so we can oogle and drool together -

Japanese Stationery (present from DH)
The cute little bag it all came in... I actually love the little paper bag (yes, I know, I am really odd).

Japanese Stationery (present from DH)
What was inside the bag.

Japanese Stationery (present from DH)
A close up.

Japanese Stationery (present from DH)
Inside the notepads.

The photos don't really do them justice... they have the most divine, delicate texture... I don't know if I'm ever going to use them... for now I'll just look and touch them... (I'm sure you all thing I'm totally nuts!)

Tuesday, November 4

Daddy's home!

And we are all very happy campers... So good to have him back. We picked up Phan at 8am this morning... he'd been on the overnight flight and was tired, but he came to KindyRoo with us and then after that, while Beth had her nap, he had a nap on the couch too (very rare for him... he's known for being anti-napping!)

Oh, I have to tell a funny story... Phan didn't know what to get Beth as a present while he was in Japan so I told him, no soft toys (I have a soft toy embargo on the house, we have too many!)... and then suggested he could try and find a bento lunchbox for her (you know, the compartmentalised kind they have for sushi)... so he comes home with... wait for it... *5* lunchboxes! My goodness, she's got one for everyday of the week! He cracks me up! He also got her this really cool set of wooden nesting japanese dolls (like the russian babushka dolls, but japanese instead!). He didn't buy himself any electronic toys (like I thought he would) and the only thing I asked for was some Japanese stationary... so I got 3 little notepads of gorgeous Japanese writing paper....

We've had a lovely day together... Phan got to play chasey with Beth in the backyard this afternoon and then they watered the plants together... And then they played basketball... She has really missed him and loves having him around again.

Sunday, November 2

And this is why...

you don't leave your child unattended for a minute with a cup of water and their lunch! Beth was having rice, egg and cha for lunch (yes, totally refo, and she loves it!) and she decided to dump the last few bits of her rice into her cup of water....

And this is why...

Today was such dreary, overcast weather... (but rather warm and muggy). I was going to try and take photos for our latest photography assignment today, but the weather and the lighting was less than desirable... and I have a totally non-willing model! So hopefully tomorrow will bring us more light and more joy...

Beth is making me laugh a lot these these days... she will randomly try and feed me whatever she's eating... she's obsessed with going "cheers" everytime I'm having a drink... sometimes she insists on hugging four of her soft toys (pink bear, yellow duck, blue hippo and pink pig) all at once in the mornings and making me carry her our her room while she is cuddling them all... when you ask her how old she's going to be, she says "TWO!" really proudly, whilst holding out only one finger... I'm just loving this interactiveness I'm getting from her and it makes me wonder what is going on in that little mind of hers!

Saturday, November 1

Woo hoo... I made curtains!

Woo hoo... I made curtains...

I made these curtains for Beth's room ('scuse the dodgy photo and the creases... I think I need to iron the curtains a bit!)... There are vertical blinds in her room, but they aren't blockout, so I've been wanting to make her some cute, bright and fun curtains from blockout fabric ever since we moved in... How hard can curtains be to make...? Well, if you know what you're doing, it's really easy... but for me, the ever challenged sew-er... it took a lot of research on the net to figure out what the hell I needed to do. I had an "Ah Ha!" moment of enlightenment a week ago when I discovered that there is this stuff called "Pencil Pleat Tape" which you can buy and and that was what I needed to make the pleats at the top of the curtain and you can use it to attach curtain rings to the curtain and hang them up. Once I figured that out, the rest was easy. These curtains took about 1.5-2 hours to make and cost me a grand total of $40 to make... if I was to buy them ready-made, it was going to cost me $120! I am so proud of my achievement (even if the workmanship is a little dodgy, but seriously, who looks at the details of curtains?!!!... and I love that there is now something handmade by me in her room now... :)

Friday, October 31

Elmo Loves You

There is a new Elmo toy out in the shops at the moment which is totally cute... Beth has a Tickle Me eXtreme Elmo which we got her for her christening, but she totally hates the thing and gets scared. This version however, she got along with a lot better... she doesn't love it though, because there was a display one which wasn't in a box and she didn't like it... only likes him when he's still in a box (and can't escape and attack her!)

Thursday, October 30


Okay... this is the latest catchcry of the household... Beth used to call me "mumma" or "mumum"... but now it's "Mummm-eeeeeeeee"... it's adorable... I love hearing her call me that...

Beth now also recognises me, phan, herself and ong ba noi in photos... when we look through the photobooks, I'll point to a person and ask who they are and she will tell me... when you point to a photo of her she says "Meeeee!"... makes me laugh!

And if you ask her "What's your name?" she proudly pats her chest and says "Beth".

She also loves playing chasey in the backyard and will stand there calling out "Chaaaase... Chaaaaase" until I run after her and chase her... Very tiring work... I was ready to call it quit after 10 minutes

Okay... I'm flying solo for a few days while Phan is in Japan on a training course, so I better get some zzzs...

Tuesday, October 28

Muuuum... can I have some food.... pleeaaaase...?

My funny hippy girl got up and did a bit of a dance while asking for some more afternoon tea (nutri-grain!)... she is so funny and random at times... btw - those green beads you see her wearing... she chose to wear them.. the perfect accessory to her outfit apparently...

My dancing hippy girl...

Monday, October 27

She Really Wanted To Sleep

On Sunday, Beth and I went to church (Phan was working)... we've found a church nearby that's really family friendly... it is very modern/progressive church (for a Catholic church)... so it's taking some getting used to... but it's a very active, lively parish which is great to see...

On the way home from church (and it's literally a 5 minute drive home!), Beth fell asleep... I tried to wake her up once we got home, but I was met with a cranky, unhappy bear, so I put her down on the couch, thinking she might slowly gather her wits and wake up... but no -

She Really Wanted To Sleep

Sunday, October 26

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Our week one task @ Evolve was to recreate a childhood memory and present it in storyboard format. Here's my childhood memory and submission -


I come from a refugee background - my parents escaped from Vietnam and came to Australia in the late 70s to create a better life. We didn't have much... but then again we didn't need much... my parents were just happy to feel safe, to life in a free society, to be able to access opportunites that didn't exist in their homeland.

All my toys were hand-me downs, donated to us by the generous people from St Vincent De Paul... and we borrowed books from the library as my parents couldn't afford to buy them. I remember my first favourite book being "The Very Hungry Caterpillar"... It was and still is a childhood classic in my eyes... I loved reading it over and over and I remember being sad at having to return the book to the library so other children could read it...

This was one the first books I wanted to buy my daughter... and we were lucky enough that our best friends bought it for her first Christmas. My daughter turns two next month and already we have read it so many times and I can see us reading it so many more times in the years to come... I just adore reading it to her and it brings back such wonderful memories for me.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Helllooooo... I can see you Mummy...

Yesterday, little B found one of her daddy's really rolled up old human anatomy laminated posters (from his uni days!) in his study... she promptly brought it out for me to see and loved staring at me though her new makeshift telescope -
Helloooo ... I can see you...

It's a bit of an unusual shot... but I'm trying to think outside the box and be creative... I'm glad you guys are loving the fact I'm doing this course (well Bao anyway... :))... I'm still totally loving Evolve... one week down already, I can't believe it... I have learnt alot already in just one week and I'm beginning to get a newfound confidence in my ability that I haven't had before...

Saturday, October 25

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Demonstrating just how much Elizabeth loves watering the garden... this was her in action today... watering the garden for the 2nd time today... and then an hour later it rained! I hope the plants don't die from being over watered! This is one of my first ever storyboards implementing some stuff I've learnt from our first week of Evolve... I'm 3/4 of the way there to completing the first task... but I need one more photo (due to uncooperative child)... hopefully I can knock it off tomorrow....
How Does Your Garden Grow?

The Dying Tulip

The Dying Tulip...

I still have the bunch of tulips from last week that Phan gave me for our wedding anniversary... I can't quite bring myself to throw them out yet.... yes, the are dying... but there I see quite an unusual beauty to the tulips as they wilt...

Friday, October 24

Uncooperative, Squishy Faced Child

Squishy Face

Today, I tried to take some photos for an assignment for the Evolve workshop... I had the concept in my head, I knew what shots I wanted to take... but do you think my child would cooperate with me? Noooooo... she refused to do what I wanted... and in the end I gave up (for today anyway) and just started shooting for the fun of it... Here is my squishy faced child being silly on the bed. I'm actually loving this shot cos she is (amazingly!) staring right at the camera (even if it is only with one eye)... I'm also experimenting with my new lilyblue actions... so it has a bit of different look to my normal photos... I think I like it... but I might have to sleep on it...

Losing Shoes...

Beth has the amazing knack for losing shoes... especially brand new ones the first time she ever wears them out at the shops. A month ago she lost a brand new pink sparkly sandal I had only just bought the day before. We had walked through a gazillion shops, so I had no hope of finding it. Today, she lost a pink pumpkin patch croc-style shoe that I had only just bought on Tuesday. However, we had only just been through Spotlight, so I retraced all our steps and found nothing... I ended up asking at the service desk if anyone had handed in a pink shoe and there it was! YAY! Don't know why I'm so happy, but for some reason it really irks me when we lose shoes...

We went to KindyRoo this morning (to make up for not going on Tuesday due to the aircon being put in)... and Beth fell asleep in the car! She had a nice little snoozy 15 minute power nap before I woke her up all refreshed for her class...

Here is a punnet of felt strawberries (or mini-punnet as my sister would say... you'd feel ripped off if you only got 4 strawberries in a punnet!) i finished off last night to add to Beth's food collection -
Felt Food - Strawberries
I'm quite chuffed at how these turned out... there was a lot of handstitching, but it was worth it.

Oh, and Beth and I made the following (not made of felt!) on Monday... well, I wanted her to help... she wasn't interested... if it doesn't involve raw cake batter or water it's not her cup of tea apparently... I made them with puff pastry and shortcrust pastry bases... both really yum... and very moreish!

MIni quiches.. mmm.. yum

Do We Have Mail?

Do We Have Mail?

Thursday, October 23

The Examination Of A Tulip

Examining A Flower Flowers Are A Girl's Best Friend

Wednesday, October 22

The ants here are *mean*...

The ants here are nasty little things... I have 3 huge bites on my right leg that have swelled up into big red bumps... They hurt and they itch... I got them whilst I was lying on the grass (in pants!) trying to take photos of Beth with the tulip on Sunday... the pain I go through to get good photos...Seriously... it's been 3 days... I thought it would have stopped being itchy by now!

On a totally different note, we have *AIR CONDITIONING*! Not that we used it today, it was lovely and balmy... but we had it all installed yesterday without any hiccups... and I am a happy, happy camper. That means all our main house improvements have been done for the time being... I am going to look into getting a water tank next since the rebates from the QLD government and local council make it really worthwhile... then Beth can water the garden to her hearts content...

Which reminds me, I didn't mention that I set up two long planters/pots in the backyard over the weekend for Beth to water... One has coriander and basil in it. The other has a marigold and some other non-descript pink flowering plant. Beth looooves watering her pots... She spends 20-30 minutes every morning drowning... oh I mean watering her plants... I have a jug (I need to get a bigger one) full of water and 1/4 fill up her little green watering can and then she potters back and forth between the plants and me to get refills ... I only put a really small amount in at a time (like 100ml!) so she has to keep coming back to get more (and to try and stop her from really drowning the plants). It's really good while I'm hanging out the laundry because it gives her something productive to do... she looks so cute when she tends to her plants. The only downside... she doesn't want to stop watering the plants! On Monday, I had to bribe her with TV to get her to stop and come inside! (Terrible aren't I?) But yesterday and today have been better... she would still love to keep going, but she knows when it's time to stop. She has also asked to water the plants in the afternoon, but I don't think they could handle that, so we're making it just a morning activity.

Remember to Stop And Smell the Flowers...

There's going to be quite a few photos over the coming days from this tulip shoot...
Stop and smell the flowers...

Tuesday, October 21

Mummy, Mummy stop tickling me...

Mummy, Mummy Stop Tickling Me

Monday, October 20

A Little Twirl

A Little Twirl

Sunday, October 19


I got these from Phan for our wedding anniversary... And then our little B wanted to play with one of the flowers... who was I to deny her when she looked sooo adorable?
Sitting Pretty With A Flower From my Husband for our wedding anniversary...

Now *THIS* is a bad hair day...

Beth has crazy hair... seriously crazy hair... it's very thin and fine... there's not a heap of, what hair she has is all weird different lengths... and it sticks up everywhere... These photos are the result of what happens when you have a daytime nap with pigtails in, but manage to pull out the pigtails in your sleep...

Bad Hair Day Part 1 Bad Hair Day Part 2 Bad Hair Day Part 3

Oh it's a hard life!

Saturday, October 18

Getting Creative...

I'm gearing up and trying to get my photography brain into the zone because I am registered to begin an 6 week online photography workshop with none other than one of my child photography idols Sheye Rosemeyer from the 20th of October! The workshop is part of her "Eye Candy" series and I am doing the "Evolve" workshop.

I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to be doing this course... I signed up in August and it was a part of Phan's birthday present to me... (I'm so glad I signed up when I did, because the workshop got filled up within a couple of weeks... it was in big demand!) I figure, with little B always attached to me, I was never going to get the chance to go to night classes for photography anytime soon, so this workshop is really my chance to get some real hands-on learning and really get me to think about my photography for a little while.

On Thursday, I decided to take photos of something other than Beth... and I got this shot -

Singular Singular

Not breath-takingly stunning or anything, but I do love the simplicity... However, the particularly amazing part of it all was that I took this photo whilst lying on my stomach and Beth decided to climb all over me and jump up and down on my back while I was trying to compose and take the shot... so it's amazing that this photo is even in focus!

Married for Half a Decade Today

Five years ago today, Phan and I started our journey of married life together... I can hardly believe it's already been 5 years... it seems that I have only just blinked an eye and the time has disappeared...

Much has happened in 5 years... we have done a lot together in these 5 years and it has been a wonderful journey so far.

So to the most wonderful man in the world - I love you, Phan, my dearest husband... I look forward to travelling the next 50 years (and more) with you by my side and know that we can face all life has to give/surprise/offer us together.

Friday, October 17

Beauty in Motion

I've only got around to pp-ing a heap of photos I took a couple of weeks ago when Beth was playing in our backyard with her pink dress... I actually got more good shots than I remembered at the time... So I thought I would start to share some of them... For those that contributed to my photography fund for my birthday (many thanks Bao, Ty, Chi, Mitch, Thomas & Bump), please note that I purchased the actions I had been coveting for most of this year and I have used them in the following photos... I love my photography presents... :)

What do you mean it's unlady-like to mow the lawn? Now I'm being a lady... On the left we have Beth "Being a Little Lady"... but 5 minutes before that photo was taken she was giving me the "What Do You Mean Mowing The Lawn Is Unlady-like?" expression in the photo on the right.

Natural SmileOh Darling...
And here we have Beth doing her "Oh Darling" impersonation and her best "Natural Cheeky Smile".

Babbling Random Talking...

I only wish I knew what she was saying...

Thursday, October 16

Handmade Part 2 of Beth's Birthday Present

I've been making food the last two nights... but not any regular kind of food... special toy food sewn and made from felt -

First Attempt at Felt Food - Farfalle/Bowtie Pasta Farfalle/Bowtie Pasta

First Attempt at Felt Food - Ravioli Ravioli

First Attempt at Felt Food - Egg Sunny-side up Egg

First Attempt at Felt Food - Iceblocks Iceblocks

Cute huh? I discovered this concept of felt food earlier this year at Melissa Goodsell's blog and fell in love with the whole concept... I just loved the idea of having something handmade for Beth to play with. Now I am not the world's greatest sewer... in fact I think you could say I could win an award for "dodgiest sewing workmanship"... but making felt food is quite forgiving if you make mistakes and even if it isn't perfect it doesn't matter, because you can still tell what the food is supposed to represent. Those ravioli are pretty dodgy looking if you look closely and one of my iceblocks is a bit wonky... but it doesn't matter, because it was made with love (so I tell myself) and I don't think Beth will mind that the stitching isn't straight or the edges are wobbly... it's all part of the charm. :) Anyway, maybe my sewing will improve as I do this... I really think this could be a new hobby of mine... making toy food for Beth... it's really quite fun and these few pieces were quick to make... the farfalle/bowtie pasta took me 15 minutes to make... I love getting quick results! Phan has had to put up with me asking him "What do you think this is?" everytime I finish a piece off... I think he thinks I'm a bit crazy!

Beth loves playing in her kitchen, so I hope she likes her new food... I am planning to make a few more pieces of food before her birthday, so I'll post photos as I make them.

I'll end this post with a photo I took today - I'm really happy with the creative perspective I used for this... and I think I've finally figured out how to more effectively incorporate textures into my photos -

Playing with a Flower

Wednesday, October 15

The Humungous Update

Okay... Here is the update you've all been waiting for (well, just Bao I think!)... Somehow I managed to find time to finish off this blog entry between looking after a cranky child, baking some oat muffins with said cranky child, looking at our new fence being erected (the one that will stop Beth from falling in the "ravine" at the back of our property, which is the easement), making a massive 10 litre pot of pho (some for tonights dinner and tomorrow and some to freeze) and then general house chores... oh and I started part 2 of Beth's bday present... I have been busy today.

Note - the stuff about moving house was written on the 22nd of September (almost a month ago!)... and most of the Adelaide trip stuff was written today and the week before...

My goodness lots of things have happened over the course of the last 9 days or so... so here's the update of all updates to attempt to sum it all up in a nutshell.

Friday a week ago, our house settled! Yeah! And that was when all the crazy busy-ness all started... but a good kind of crazy busy-ness! The month of settlement had gone by so fast and we were just itching to get settled into our new home.

Saturday morning, we went to pick up a 1 tonne van which we were hiring for the Saturday and Sunday. We actually got a free upgrade to a 1.5 tonne van, which Phan partially regretted as he was driving it back to the townhouse as it was sooo big. However, he quickly got over it when we found out how much stuff we could fit in the back of it!

So phase one of our move entailed moving some of the basics (Beth's cot, bar fridge (which we were going to use in the house until the big fridge was moved on Monday), microwave, foam mattresses) and a whole heap of boxes! I also loaded up my car with stuff (you know with unusual shaped stuff or fragile stuff you don't want to put in boxes!) and then headed over to our new place.

Got there and Beth had fallen asleep in the car... (which I expected to happen, 'cos it was amazing she was still awake when we left the townhouse). So I setup the foam mattresses in one of the bedrooms and then transferred her there where she settled easily and just kept on sleeping... she was a tired little chicken. Having her nap at this time was a blessing, 'cos it gave Phan and I chance to quickly unload the car and van without having to worry about her. This phase took a bit longer than it should have, 'cos we had left the hand trolley behind at the townhouse, so Phan and I were having to carry everything into the house!

Once we finished unloading, I made us a quick lunch of chicken nuggets and chips (leftovers from the freezer!) and we had a little rest before Beth woke up. Fed Beth some lunch before we headed back to the townhouse for phase 2.

Phase 2 took forever... I had to clean out the fridge and freezer and wipe it down and turn it off to defrost so it would be ready to move on Monday. This seemed to take forever and I also was packing last bit of crockerys and kitchen stuff that we had been using. Phan was packing the van with all the odd shaped boxes we had left over and also doing crazy things like moving the tallboy down the stairs *by himself* (he's mad I tell you!) Beth was not that interested in the TV and kept wanted to potter outside to see what Phan was doing and running around like a looney in the front yard. It was hard work keeping an eye on her as well as doing all the other stuff! Anyway, a couple of hours later and we were ready to go back to the house. Unloading this time was a lot easier since Phan had packed the hand trolley this time, but Beth was awake. However, we managed to keep her occupied with the portable DVD player... thank goodness for Boo! is all I can say... it was a total godsend! After we finished unpacking, we headed to Trangs for dinner... Mmmm.... great to have a good meal after all that work!

That night we did a fair bit of unpacking... while Beth was awake, she amused herself by rediscovering all her toys (like her wooden activity cube and her red car) and once she went to bed Phan and I made some serious unpacking... I managed to organise a fair bit of the kitchen which was good. We slept on foam mattresses on the floor that night... but both Phan and I didn't sleep well as our minds were running overtime thinking of all the things we had to do on Sunday!

Sunday morning arrived... after a bite of breakfast, we headed over to the townhouse one last time to move the last of what we could do ourselves. This seemed to take awhile... it was hard to load the van because we had odd bits and pieces and weird shaped things to move, so it was a bit hodge podge... Phan also started to disassemble the computer and the home theatre system (which up to this point we had kept assembled so Beth could watch TV while we did stuff)... which was interesting, because Beth was a sticky beak and kept annoying Phan. So after a couple of hours, we had done what we could and headed back to the house. Beth timed her nap well again and fell asleep in the car, so after transferring her to the car, Phan and I made quick work of unloading the car and the van one last time.

In the afternoon, we made a trip to Bunnings to purchase a lawnmower (we thought we would take advantage of having the big van to transport the lawnmower home in). That night we headed to Trangs again for dinner (mmmm, and I had a yummy combination ho fun noodle dish... pretty good... not as good as penangs hawker's corner in Adelaide, but a close second!) More unpacking that night... and then Phan and I had a restful sleep that night (we were pretty knackered!)

Next morning, we had to return the rental van... Phan left at 7am... and I left with Beth at 7:15am (which is when she woke up)... I had made her a ham and laughing cow cheese sandwich and a big container of strawberies and kiwifruit for breakfast and she scoffed it in the car! It was just as well I brought a good amount of food for her, because Phan and I experienced the perils of peak hour traffic in Brisbane for the first time! There were parts that flowed fine and then there were bottlenecks that took forever to get through! But we got there in the end and it was all good. We headed back to the townhouse one last time to do a few little things and I left Phan there to wait for the removalists while I took Beth to KindyRoo. It was a little sad leaving that townhouse... it had been good to us for the last 9 months and we had some great memories there...

Beth had a ball at KindyRoo... it was good to go, because it was the last day of term and it was just good to see the term out like that. Plus I think she was getting sick of us neglecting her whilst we were moving and unpacking things... so it was good that I got do something for her. Back home and Beth got some lunch and then decided to resist going to sleep, which started to do my head in a bit... but finally at 12:30pm she went down for her nap... and not long after that the removalists arrived and started unloading the last of our stuff. (We only hired the removalists to move the big stuff like lounges, big TV, washing machine and dryer and our major issue was moving our bed which needed to go over the balcony etc etc...) A couple of hours later and it was all done... The afternoon was spent at a hardware store picking up something (I can't remember what!) and then a quick grocery shop to get something for dinner...

More unpacking... our next door neighbour popped by to say hello (she was just lovely!) and by the end of that evening we were pretty much 75% unpacked which was a collossal effort on our behalf... we were quite pleased by how much we achieved all by ourselves! It was sooo good to sleep in our own bed that night in our own home. We love our new place... so good to have the extra space and also to have the bit of front and backyard, which Beth just adores running around in! It's just nice to have a place that is properly "ours".

Tuesday, I was moving in slow motion... I did 2 load of laundry in the morning and was trying to pack for our trip back home to Adelaide all day, but couldn't really pack that much until the laundry had dried... so I pottered around doing bits and pieces... didn't really feel that productive, but I think i was entitled to a slow day after the last few days! I don't remember much else from that day, except at one point I was pushing Beth around on the front lawn in a cardboard box while Phan was in some manic cardboard box cutting mood (he was a bit nuts!) and I do remember a flurry of packing at about 8pm.

I awoke on Wednesday morning at 4:30am and then couldn't get back to sleep... and then Beth woke up at 5:30am and I settled her back to sleep and Phan and I both started getting ready. Our taxi was arriving at 6:30am... so I got all our gear together (which also included having a whole array of fruit cut up in litle containers for Beth to eat!). I had to wake Beth when the taxi arrived... i literally just changed her nappy, put shoes on her and we were out the door... she was tired and grumpy and had a short 15 minute nap in the taxi. We experienced the congestion of traffic heading to the airport which was seriously unbelievable and the bedlam at the airport (which we couldn't understand because it was a Wednesday morning!), but we made it with 15 minutes to spare. Our flight was a bit late taking off... but other than that no problems. Beth was really great... she was occupied by a Boo! DVD for half the journey and for the last half, she fell asleep in my lap whilst Phan was offering her some food! But it was just lovely having her asleep for the last hour... she even slept through the landing (I don't know how she managed to do that!).

So glad to be on solid ground again as I was feeling a bit nauseous from the travelling (I hate planes)... got a cab back to Phan's parent's place and was met by Phan's mum who had the day off... Phan got to have his all time favourite meal for lunch (pho) and Beth and I had a bite to eat, but then I started feeling really unwell and then ended up throwing up 3 times that afternoon... I think I had some weird funny tummy bug, which was started by having cereal and milk on the flight... I had a nap that afternoon and spent most of the afternoon curled up on the couch... I felt awful. We had a lovely family dinner (although I didn't eat, I just couldn't handle the thought of food)... and I got my birthday present from Bao and Ty (a gorgeous red purse, plus donation to my photography fund... :)) and from Ba Me (the matching manger/stable set from Willow Tree for my nativity scene that I got for Christmas... awesome! I can't wait to put up the nativity scene this Christmas in our new house!) My dad dropped by that night too, to say hello and give Phan's parents a whole heap of bread.

Thursday... very slow... still didn't feel like eating... but managed a few small mouthfuls... I slept *alot*... I think the moving had all caught up with me. By evening I was feeling a little better. Phan amused Beth for most of the day... she loves watching him play Wii... :)

Friday... still not feeling 100%, but was a bit better... this was my morning to have some "me" time... I went and had my haircut by my favourite hairdresser and then had my eyebrows waxed... so nice to have a bit of me time... it was the first chance I'd had in about 6 months! I met Ann at noon and went to the Central Markets to have a bite of lunch and to shop for food for the get together on Saturday. How I miss the Central Markets... I wish there was something like it here in Brisbane.

Saturday... still feeling a bit "blegh"... but better than Friday... Ann came over in the morning to hang out and rearrange the house for the party... I made a couple of salads.... And in the afternoon Phan and Phong were in charge of decorations... and the lesson we learnt was, that you should never leave boys in charge of decorating... the whole process was hilarious... Beth loved it... she kept making off with streamers and playing with balloons... I should also add, Phan for some bizarre reason decided to opt for the odd shaped balloons instead of just regular round ones. They were hard to blow up and Phong can't tie them shut! We had streamers hanging off aircondition vents and the skylight... it was all rather odd, but it made me laugh a lot... Phong discovered that rubbing balloons on his head resulted in static which made the balloons stick to the ceiling... so we had Phong, Phan and Dad standing in the middle of the family room rubbing balloons on their heads and sticking balloons to the ceiling and Beth watching them all and laughing her head off... it was so cute... she kept giving balloons to Dad to rubon his head... and every now and then a balloon would fall off the ceiling and she would retrieve it and give it to somebody and make them rub it on their head.

Everyone started arriving from about 5:30pm... just family, plus close friends who are basically family... Dinner was a casual bbq affair... the food was simple and non-fussy... It was wonderful to be "home".

The highlight of the evening was when Bao put on a DVD that Ty had made (with the help of my conniving sisters!) which was a snapshot of photos from the 30 years of life put to music (John Mayer - my fave!). I honestly had no idea what they had been up to... Bao had warned previously that I was going to cry at the bbq and I was expecting her to give a great big soppy speech of something... but the DVD... that was something else and honestly, rates up there as one of the bestest surprises ever (Phan proposing is probably the only thing that out does this surprise... :p). I cried and I laughed so much when I watched the DVD... The beginning started like a Star wars intro with a short bio of what I like and dislike (taken from some obscure email questionnaire I'd been sent ages ago... you know the ones you get forwarded that say "What's your favourite food?", "Name 3 places you'd like to be"... you get the gist!) And then it went into a sequence of photos of me as a baby that I hadn't seen in years. It was amazing to see the similarities between me as a toddler and Elizabeth right now... honestly, we look so alike in this one particular photo, it's amazing! I must get a copy of that photo and post it up so you can see... (Ty, Bao, Em...? Can one of you guys send me that photo - you know which one I'm talking about... :)) There were photos of me being totally dorky and some references to Steve Erkel that cracked meup... There were photos of my family as kids growing up... It was just a wonderful trip down memory lane and put together sooo wonderfully... I wanted to watch it again immediately right after, but I thought that would be too self-indulgent... so I waited and watched it first thing the next morning. :) So again (just in case I haven't thanked you guys enough!) - Ty - thank you for all the time and effort you spent putting the DVD together, I really appreciate how much time it would have taken... Bao - thanks for being the "brains" behind the operation... and Em - thanks for finding all those old photos and scanning them. I think that DVD is the best present ever... I've watched it a couple of times since we came home to Brisbane and it brings back such great memories.

We spent of the rest of the evening being a bit geeky (in true Clara style... :p) and playing Rock Band and Singstar on the PS3 and Xbox... it was great fun...

I got some wonderful presents too... a gorgeous hand treatment from Evelyn & Crabtree from my sister (smells divine and works a treat, I've been using it a lot!), a beautiful box which is just perfect for storing keepsakes in and some Jurlique handcream (I do have dry hands, hazard of being a mum... :p) from Jo and Bec, the sweetest summer pjs and a scented candle from the god-relations (the pjs will be perfect in this Brisbane heat!), a Coles Myer voucher from Mel (which I'm yet to spend, but am looking forward to spending!), a big jar of jellybellys from Ben (I ate them in a week!... I was sad when I finished them!) and a huge 1kg bag of macadamia nuts (which I have been munching through in recent days) and moisturiser cream from Dad...

So all in all, my 30th was wonderful and very memorable.

The rest of our week in Adelaide was a bit of blur... we didn't do all that much... but it was good to just slow down and relax. On one of the days we went to the Big Rocking Horse at Gumeracha and looked at all the wooden toys and then they had an area where you could feed animals so we fed the birds and a *huge* kangaroo... Beth loved feeding the animals... Phan, however, not so much... he really isn't "into" animals, so he took some video footage instead... On another day we had Chi, Mitch and Thomas around for dinner and caught up with them...

Some other random things that happened while we were in Adelaide -

Beth was sleeping atrociously while we were away... waking up every hour... being in a different place was just wigging her out... it got to a point when I just had her sleep in bed with us so that Phan and I could get some sleep! As a result of the disruptive nights, she slept in until 8am on most days... but there was one day when she woke up and Phan's dad came to say hello and she closed her eyes and pretended she was asleep... the minute he left, she was awake and moving around! She's so cheeky!

We discovered a park which had heaps of slippery dips... Beth loved the slippery dips, but some of them were really steep so Phan and I had to go down with her... but these steep slippery dips also for some reason had these bumpy ridges in them that hurt your butt when you went down them! Really strange design!

Beth loved playing on the Rock Band drum kit... she's quite the drummer... not only that, but Phan and I got quite addicted to playing it... it is a lot of fun! She also enjoyed insisting that Phong or Phan play Wii Mario Cart a lot!

Watering the garden was one of her favourite pasttimes ... and knows how to turn on all the rainwater tank taps (and not turn them off!). She also loved feeding the fish in the fish pond and the fish in the fish tank. She would have fed the fish in the tank all day if we'd let her... There was a day when she chucked the fish food on the floor when Phi told her it wasn't time to feed the fish and the fish food went everywhere!

One day, I had to take Phan to the bus station so he could catch the bus into town and meet up with some ex-work colleages at the RAH. Beth threw a mega hissy fit in the 15 minutes that I was gone that scared the heebie jeebies out of Phan's mum and Phi... She refused to play with anything and insisted on sitting by the front door until I came back! As a result of this incident, I think Beth has been having a lot of separation anxiety issues... still trying to help her get over it... but she has been ultra clingy ever since that day! There was also a day when Phan took Phong to work and Beth got ultra anxious and sat by the garage door until he came back... that was the first time she's ever been anxious about him leaving.

We were sad to leave knowing we won't be back for about 6 months... but looking forward to settling into our new home back in Brisbane at the same time.

So that's it from me for the humungous update... if you read all of my waffling ramblings, you deserve a medal!