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...