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!

Tuesday, October 14

Still trying to catch up...

Okay... I know I'm behind and I'm supposed to post about moving house/our Adelaide trip, but I have been *super busy*! On Thursday afternoon, I realised it's a bit over a month until little B's 2nd birthday and then I had this brilliant brainwave to give her a "handmade" birthday this year... well at least partially handmade... I want to make her presents this year, to give it that little something special... I actually wanted to make her presents last year, but what with the whole moving house stuff and other busy-ness, it just never eventuated. So I'm determined to make it a handmade birthday for her this year and I'm starting early and trying to be organised... The first part of her present is a personalized ABC book... with photos and pictures of things she knows and loves... sounds easy... the concept was simple and add to that my Artscow account (who I use to print my 8x8 scrapbooking photobooks) had free credit for three 8x8 books, so I could get it made up for the cost of shipping only... However, the only catch was the credits expired at 10pm on Monday night! So I had 3 days to throw that all together! I actually designed and took photographs for half the pages yesterday. In addition to that, while I was at it and since I still had 2 free 8x8 books left, I figured I should take advantage of the extra books (and cheaper combined shipping) and pulled together 30 pages to make another scrapbooking photobook (one for me and one for Em, since she missed out on the last round I made for everyone)... I also had to design some more extra pages... but that's a bit of secret squirrel project... :p... (to all the family, I say - stay tuned for Christmas folks... :))

So I spent most of the weekend scrapping/organising stuff to try and make my Monday 10pm deadline... nothing like a deadline to get you moving... and I am happy to say I made it... :) It is crap that the AU dollar is so weak though, because it has cost me a lot more to ship than it has previously, but it's still cheaper than anything I could get done here in Australia.

I have also been busy keeping up with the CT commitments... I have had the chance to play with some totally super digital scrapbooking kits... I'm really enjoying my CT work at the moment... check out my digi-scrapping blog if you want to see what I've been up to...

So anyways... those are my excuses for not blogging ... I will try and finish that other post soon, before I get thrown into my next project which is part 2 of Beth's handmade birthday present... I'm really excited about it, it's going to be sooo cool... I will post some pics of that part as I make it... :)

And for now I leave you with this photo of Beth...

The slightly oversized dress...

Monday, October 6

It's hot...

Seriously, it's only October and it was almost 30 degrees today and I feel like I've been melting all day... (it was still 29 degrees at 6:30pm!) I'm really feeling the lack of aircon in the house! Summer in this house without aircon must be like living in a furnace!

This morning, I took Beth to her first swimming lesson. She looooooved it. A little too much... We got there 10 minutes early, and they were the longest 10 minutes of Beth's life... She just wanted to jump in the pool right away, but there were other kids in the pool having their swimming lessons, so we had to wait... and Beth does not like waiting! She whinged, she cried and she got really upset when I wouldn't let her in the water... seriously, the minute out lesson was about to start, I had to let her put her feet in the water, she just couldn't wait!

The lesson was great... lots of singing of nursery rhymes, lots of "kick and paddle", fetching of toys... Beth took to it all like a duck to water. The only thing she didn't like was lying on her back (which is weird, 'cos she does it in the bathtub all the time!) and we had to do this "monkeying" along motion which involved moving along the side of the pool while holding onto the edge... Beth really didn't get the hang of that... mostly because she kept pushing herself off the wall because she wanted to be free in the water! A measure of how much she loves the water, is that she let the swimming instructor hold her to demonstrate some manouevres and also let the instructor catch her when I got her to "swim" to the instructor. She is such a water baby! After our lesson (and half an hour goes *way* too quick for Beth's liking), Beth wasn't ready to leave, so we went and paddled in the toddler pool for another half an hour and even then I had a lot of trouble convincing Beth to get out (even though her lips had turned blue from being cold!), so I just had to pick her up and take her to the changerooms while she whined!

After that, we went home and Beth ate lunch (she was starving!) and she had a huge 2 hour nap... swimming obviously wears her out... it wore me out too! So I'm off to bed to recover!

Friday, October 3

It's been busy around here...

Well... I'm halfway through a huge retrospective update about things, but I'm no where near finished, but I just thought I'd give an interim update about what's been happening this week.

Well, Monday we got our new Asko dishwasher installed... very happy about that, because I really don't like doing dishes. It's a perfect fit for the kitchen and it's soooo quiet and it does a fantastic job of drying them... the last 2 dishwashers we've had to use have been old, noisy and crappy at drying... so I'm feeling quite spoilt getting this fancy, schmancy dishwasher (which we got on sale for a pretty amazing price! Bonus!)
In the afternoon, Beth and I popped out to run some errands and to get a few groceries and when we came home it was hot, so I let Beth sit outside with a bowl of water, a cup and spoon and Beth spent a good hour playing with the water and pottering around in the backyard... it's amazing how simple things amuse her. She really loves the outdoors... she was pushing her toy lawnmower around and laughing and just generally being silly!

Here's a photo of my girl having a good time with a bowl of water -

Fun with a Bowl of Water Notice how that long strand of hair in the middle of her forehead is plastered down with water while the rest of her hair is dry? That's because she decided to dip her face in the bowl of water! She's a funny one, my Beth.

Tuesday, I had a guy come out give us an air conditioning quote... I should mention now, that it was hot on Monday, but I didn't realise how hot... the forecast had been for 30 degrees and it ended up being 35 degrees... I was wondering why I felt sooo hot... so Beth and I managed to survive a typical queensland summer day in our house without airconditioning... pretty impressive. Having said that, I'm not keen on sweltering regularly, so getting airconditioning installed can't come quick enough! It gets pretty hot in our house when it gets above 25 degrees! Still sorting out some things (like getting insulation installed before the ducted aircon gets put in)... but with any luck we'll have aircon by the end of the month.

Our heavy 69kg flat pack desk from Officeworks also got delivered on Tuseday... more on that later.

Tuesday afternoon, we went to Chermside... Target had a 20% sale on swimwear, and I needed new swimwear for the swimming classes that we're about to start... Now, I thought shopping for swimwear was pretty stressful... but shopping for swimwear with a toddler in tow... that's stressful! Beth decided to be whingy, whiny, noisy and a general pain the whole time I was looking at swimwear... I found it impossible to find stuff
(a) in a decent colour
(b) which covered up all the lumps and bumps I needed to cover up
(c) in my size (doesn't help that I'm a different size up top to the bottom...

I finally found a few different things to try on and then had to try them on with annoying child in the change room with me... In the end, I opted for a brown halter neck top with blue flowers (sounds hideous, but trust me actually looks quite good... I know Em is thinking "OMG, you chose brown?!?!"), with matching brown board shorts with a small similar motif. And a blue rashie (need the sun protection in this Queensland sun!) After all that whinging, I let Beth sit in a helicopter ride thing for 20 minutes! She needed the break and so did I!

Wednesday, had another aircon guy come to give us a quote in the morning... and then had to go and pick up my new Baumatic cooktop from Clive Peeters in the afternoon. Boy, did that turn out to be a headache... I had called them in the morning to confirm the cooktop was there (it was being ordered in apparently) and talked to someone who said they would get my salesman to call me back. After 2 hours, he hadn't so I called them again and after being put on hold for a bit, spoke to the salesman and he said yes it was there for me to pick up. So I went to go pick it up and discover that he's had the display/showroom cooktop wrapped up in bubblewrap for me to take and didn't even have the courtesy to tell me. Not a happy camper, but they knocked another $100 off the price and I was ok to take it. Got it home and had a look through the manual and discovered the last 3 pages of the manual were missing... and they were the important pages with the installation, electrical and guarantee information! Called up CP again who told me to called the after sales support... was on hold for ages getting through to after sales support, but finally got through and managed to get a copy of the entire manual emailed through to me. Thank goodness I checked the manual, because we would have had a lot of dramas when installation time came if they didn't have the installation and electrical specifications!

Wednesday night, Phan and I tackled putting together our flat packed desk... Now we've done our fair share of putting together flat packed furniture in the past (and we've had a couple of mishaps), so we've learnt some lessons... such as using a level is generally a good idea! It took us 2 nights to put together the desk... The instructions were a bit wrong and difficult to understand and it didn't help that some of the pieces of wood were labelled and others weren't... and then we discovered that some of the pieces that were labelled were labelled incorrectly! What the? Are the desk engineers purposely trying to do our heads in? But we figured it out and did most of it on Wednesday night and then just the drawers on Thursday night. We're pretty happy with how it all worked out... Phan and I make a pretty good team when we do this kind of stuff... Phan does most of the putting together, but I'm there to hold stuff together, label things and double check the instructions and re-read the diagrams to make sure we're doing it right... They should have a subject in highschool called "assembling flat packed furniture"... I think it's a pretty good skill to have... and practical too :)

Thursday, my new cooktop got installed at 7:45am in the morning! After all the drama I had with it yesterday, I just wanted the damn thing to be put in... and I was relieved when it was installed, although not without a couple of close calls. Firstly, I needed a wooden insert put into the cutout for the stove... (the cooktop is a couple of centimetres too small) and the guy thought he had no wood to put in an insert, but managed to find a piece in his truck, thank goodness. Secondly, the circuit breaker needed to upgraded from 25V-30V to handle the induction hobs... they thought they would also have to upgrade the cabling to handle it, (which would have taken 1.5 hours!), but thank goodness the cabling was adequate to handle the upgrade. So after those minor hiccups, it was all installed by 8:30am. After having some breakfast and getting ready, I headed out to get some new cookware to use on the induction part of my cooktop.

I spent a good half hour browsing DJs for my new cookware... I had $270 worth of vouchers (from my credit card reward points), so in the end I got a Jamie Oliver Pot Roast Pan (like the saute pan that Phan's mum has, which I loved using while we were staying with them during our holidays) and an Essteele 7 litre Pasta/Stockpot with pasta insert... both were on sale ($289 down to $190 for Jamie, and $189 down to $95 for my stockpot), so I only ended up having to pay $10 once the vouchers were used... what a bargain! :) I'm very particular when it comes to buying cookware... It's worth paying good money for good quality stuff that will last.

After that, Beth had been so good whilst I had been shopping, I treated her to some sushi for lunch (gee, she loves it!) and then I did a spot of grocery shopping and discovered that Beth had fallen asleep in her stroller once I'd finished. So I quickly browsed Big W for a couple of things and let her sleep for 40 minutes and then tried to transfer Beth to the car without waking her... which wasn't very successful... she woke up whilst I was moving her.

We got home and I gave Beth a bowl of water to play with outside whilst I cleaned up the kitchen and tried to learn how to use my cooktop... I made bolognaise in my Le Crueset cast iron pot using the induction hob and man, I have to say I'm impressed... it heats quickly and the heat is so even... I've always had hot spots where food sticks using the le crueset (even on low heat and whether it be on gas or the crappy electric hobs I've used at the townhouse), but induction gives such an even heat, it's amazing... no food sticking here... and the temp control is amazing, goes from boiling to a simmer in less than 10 seconds... Can you tell I'm totally loving induction cooking? If you want to read more about induction cooking try reading this. (Yes, this is for your benefit Em! :p). Now to figure out how many more induction approved pots I need, so I can use it more often... :)... Perhaps I'll ask for a chip-in towards pots for Christmas... :) (Yeah, I'm sure a few of my family members out there are rolling their eyes at the thought of giving me cookware for Christmas! LOL!)

Now today (Friday) has been a totally cruisy, tradesman free day. This morning, Beth and I did some craft... We've actually done drawing and craft every day this week... I'm setting up a wall in our open plan dining area with all her artwork blu-tacked on display... :) It's nice to have that bit of space to display her creations... Then I tied some streamers to our portable clothes line and Beth spent *ages* walking through them... it's hilarious, cheap fun! I got some (dodgy) photos of her playing in the streamers, which I may post later.

In the afternoon, popped out to do our grocery shopping and spent the afternoon in the backyard playing and chasing Beth and trying to take photos of her. There is a great big tree in our backyard which casts a big shadow, so it's nice and cool to play outside there. Oh, we also had our first "drawing on the wall" incident. I knew it was going to happen so time and she decided to decorate the wall with purple texta... lucky it was one of those Crayola washables and it wiped right off without a trace!

Phan's working this weekend and I've got a roller door guy coming to install an automatic garage door opener at 7:30am tomorrow morning (nice and early!)... and then a fence guy giving me a quote at 10am.... Then we're planning to go to Ikea to check out some stuff in the afernoon and pop into Trangs on the way home for dinner. Sunday is supposed to be 32 degrees! So we're just going to try and stay cool... maybe we'll go scope out the local pool and see what that's like. Either that or sit in the backyard with a big bowl of water! :)

I'll leave you with a photo I took this afternoon that I quite like -

Pottering around the backyard

Quick photo...

I'm in the middle of 2 big blog posts, neither of which are finished, but I thought I'd quickly share this photo I took of Beth today... I decided to get back into my photography groove today, so I got out the camera this afternoon... Beth was too busy running around and not listening to me and was a lot of hard work, so I only got a couple of good shots, but here's one of my faves... I was tickling her at the time...

Tickling Fun