2010

Angus and his Pa

This is how much Angus loves his Pa and wants to be just like him…

(See the resemblance to Santa?)

What made my Christmas

How was your Christmas? I hope it was a good one. I hope you got to spend it with loved ones. I hope you managed to eat lots of roast pork with hot gravy and crunchy potatoes followed by a delicious trifle that your mother-in-law made. Wait, that was my Christmas. Well, I hope you didn’t end up collapsing at home in a heap of tears as I did on Christmas afternoon from sheer exhaustion. I don’t even know what I was tired from – after all, it wasn’t like I did any cooking. Or cleaning. Or even table setting. Nope, lazy me did not lift a finger whilst my parents-in-law rushed around doing literally everything – including looking after our kids. Gosh I have the most amazing in-laws.

One of the things that truly made my Christmas was the fact that the Sunday Telegraph published our story about Cameron in their Sunday Magazine on 12th December. I can’t begin to tell you how encouraging it is that mainstream media is increasingly willing to break the silence surrounding stillbirth, which seems to be one of the last remaining taboos in our society.

You can read the article here and the original, unedited version that I wrote here.

Anyway, the team who came and did the photo shoot for us in our home were so easy to work with, and I reckon that they did an amazing job. The hair and make-up artist, Felicia, was an absolute delight to work with, and I was very impressed with how she was not at all deterred by the seriously big bags under my eyes or the abysmal condition of my skin.

The talented photographer was Kristian Taylor-Wood, and he was kind enough to send me some of the photos that he took which didn’t make the final cut. I thought I would share them a few of them here since I’m quite certain this will be my one and only ever magazine photo shoot. (Unless I win Miss Universe 2011. Stay tuned.)

But in all seriousness, I really love these photos and I know I will cherish them forever.

(When I showed these photos to my parents, they very typically ‘suggested’ that I should’ve worn shoes because, according to them, my feet look too tanned – or “too dark” as they would say. So please, if you are able, imagine that I have shoes on as you look at these photos. My parents would be ever so thankful.)

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What I learnt on holiday

So we’re back.

There are many things I could tell you about our summer holiday, but for now, let’s just say that it was educational. I learnt so many things. Things you would think that I should already know.

For example, did you know that a one week holiday only lasts for seven days? I thought that it would be longer than that. I thought it would last for at least ten days. Or maybe even a month. After all, we only waited a whole year for this holiday. But no. One week = seven days (no matter how hard your inner minds wills it to be longer). First lesson learnt. Sigh.

Second lesson learnt: A holiday with multiple kids simply means watching Play School in a different place (see photo above). I can’t tell you how many afternoons (basically, all seven of them) we spent sitting in our apartment, enjoying the beautiful views whilst listening to Karen and Jay sing, “We’re all going on a summer holiday…no more working for a week or two! Fun and laughter on a summer holiday, no more working for me or you… for a week or two.” It was almost like they were on holiday with us.

People whom we didn’t have with us were the grandparents. This was a rather big shock to our system, to say the least. We learnt quickly enough (ie. by the end of the one and a half hour flight) that we were in for a long, long week. Third lesson learnt: Need to smuggle at least one grandparent with us on our annual holidays.

Fourth lesson learnt: Doctors are good, and laziness is bad. Poor Pete developed a temperature on the third day and thereafter struggled to sleep at night. On the fifth day, we considered taking him to see the doctor. But due to plain laziness, we didn’t. This turned out to be a huge parenting fail on our part because upon our return, we were told by our local doctor that Pete in fact had tonsilitis. Had we started treatment earlier, it would’ve saved our little man several days of discomfort. As I said: Doctors are good. Parental laziness is bad.

I also learnt that I don’t mind vacuuming whilst on holiday. Enough said.

Sixth lesson learnt: If you are uncoordinated and you go into the pool, don’t expect your pedicure to remain intact. You will inevitably scrape your perfectly painted nails along the bottom of the pool, and you will spend the next seven days staring at your toes lamenting how uncoordinated you are and wishing that your own mother had taken you to Gymbaroo when you were little. That’s right, I am a flawed human being who tends to blame my poor mum for all things big and trivial.

Lastly, if you can’t get your two year old to eat a healthy breakfast, then just order them pancakes with maple syrup. At least they’re eating. Something. You just have to hope that no-one catches you on camera.

..nor do they pay me to go on and on about them, but here is the Christmas present that I bought for myself on behalf of my parents.

And here it is standing upright in all its glory:

Merry Christmas to me!

(Thanks mum and dad.)

“We’re all going on a summer holiday…no more working for a week or two! Fun and laughter on a summer holiday, no more working for me or you… for a week or two.”

I love that Play School song. I’ve been watching that particular episode all year (over and over and over and over and over again), whilst anticipating our own summer holiday.

And now the time has finally arrived!

Which means there won’t be any updates on Pink Ronnie for the next week or so – unless I end up getting really bad withdrawal symptoms and desperately feel the need to post something. (How sad would that be?)

But I’ll probably update my photo blog on the go so you can check in there from time to time if you’re interested to see how our vacation is going. If you really get that bored, that is.

And as if the holiday thing isn’t exciting enough, my amazing Superhusband managed to track down a tree today and he’s even set it all up and draped the fairy lights around it and everything! (Better the tree than me, I guess.)

So I leave you with this beautiful picture of the beautiful tree that awaits us when we return.

Here is a Christmas card from the lovely man who mows our lawn for us.

The first time I showed it to Angus, his response was both swift and clear: he pointed at Mr Claus and said “Pa!” (ie. Grandpa!)

I almost died laughing. Mostly because Rick’s dad actually would make a very handsome Santa with his silvery hair and beard.

Apart from the amusement factor, there are other benefits that I’ve discovered about this Santa-Pa resemblance.

For example, last night, Angus was rather unwilling to eat his pork stir fry dinner.

So I picked up the Christmas card from the sideboard, brought it over to the table and said to Angus, “Show Pa how you eat.”

For a split second, Angus looked at me as if I were crazy, and then he picked up his spoon and placed an entire mouthful of pork and rice into his mouth.

I literally fell off my chair.

It all continued quite well until Angus got a little tired of me referring to “Pa” in the third person.

So I switched tactics: I brought the card up to my face and, in my deepest voice possible, said, “Angus, show me how you eat your rice.”

This again worked.

So much so that Angus actually ate half his stir fry dinner (which almost never happens) and would, every now and again, bring the card up to his own face and give ‘Pa’ a kiss and a cuddle.

What can I say – my father-in-law is the best and Angus obviously thinks so too.

Now all I need is a full-size cardboard cut out of ‘Pa’ and maybe – just maybe – I might be able to get Angus to eat his vegetables.

Yesterday Rick and I returned to the shops without the boys (I wonder why) to track down our much-anticipated Christmas tree. I had my heart set on a $89 one from Target which seemed to be of decent height and size. Sadly, we were told that they had already sold out. In fact, all their Christmas trees – except for the miniature ones – had sold out. (Rick was not keen on getting a temporary, small one and I had my own ‘miniature tree’ baggage.)

So today I packed Rick off to Carlingford Court with the boys to hunt down a Christmas tree from the Target there while I enjoyed a leisurely lunch with my lovely friends from mother’s group (I know that sounds terrible, but my Superhusband really did seem genuinely happy to take the boys. Really he did…). In fact, I came home half-expecting our new Christmas tree to be all set up, ready to be dressed and decorated.

But nope – nothing. Zilch. Zip.

Our six foot Christmas tree had also sold out at Carlingford. Instead, Rick had come home with fairy lights and bug bombs.

I don’t get it – how early does everyone start buying Christmas trees these days? I mean, it’s only the second week of December – there are still at least twelve days till Christmas! How can Christmas trees be sold out already?

Isn’t everyone meant to be frantically rushing around at the last minute like us? Whatever happened to putting things off and delaying going to the shops until you absolutely had to? What has happened to such worthy and virtuous habits?

So now we have ornaments, and we have fairy lights (and we have bug bombs).

But still nothing to hang them on.

I can’t believe my first attempt at being Christmassy is failing so miserably.

At this rate, I may have to wear the ornaments as earrings and drape the fairy lights around myself on Christmas Eve and have Rick explain to the boys that mummy isn’t actually crazy – she just really, really wants to make Christmas Christmassy and so she is pretending to be a walking, talking Christmas tree (and yes, daddy still loves mummy even if mummy is a little on the weird side….).

Today we embarked upon Phase 1 of our Christmas shopping. And we did it with the boys.

It was a little bit like a B grade Hollywood movie: you know how it is – it begins well, then everything goes ridiculously badly, but then somehow miraculously everyone survives and the world is a cliched, happy place once more.

Part 1: The Good

Happy, smiling kiddies:

Pete

Part 2: The Bad

I have no audio or visual for this part.

But you know that feeling when you’re standing innocently in line at Bed Bath & Table waiting to pay for your first ever Christmas tree ornaments, and you suddenly hear a loud, piercing scream emanating from the other end of the shopping centre and as much as you’re hoping (and pretending) that it isn’t your two year old producing that toe-curling howl, you know deep down that it probably is…. you know that feeling?

Yup, that’s the feeling I had surging through me today as I listened to certain high-pitched screaming at the shops. As the screams got louder and angrier, I became increasingly convinced that my Angus was responsible for the noise.

Sure enough, a quick glance out the shop window revealed the unmistakable outline of Rick approaching with Angus slung over his left shoulder. The next thing I knew, a booming voice called out, “We’re going to the car!”

And with that, my husband and my two boys disappeared from sight leaving me to smile politely at the other shoppers whilst sending telegraphic messages to the woman behind the counter to “PRETTY PLEASE HURRY UP.”

Part 3: The Babycino That Saves The Day

With my silver ornaments finally ‘in the bag,’ I trotted off to our Land Rover to find Angus with tears, snot and dribble pouring off his face whilst Rick was looking just a tad tense (to say the least). I decided to put on my responsible mummy hat (which I do do from time to time) and help make peace by offering to take Angus to the cafe for a babycino. Both Angus and Rick happily obliged.

As I took Angus out of the car, I asked him if Pete and daddy could come too.

He paused and said, “Pete.”

I asked, “What about daddy?”

He paused and said, “No.”

What do you know – two-year olds aren’t dumb. Nor are they forgiving.

But after a good drinking of The Loft Cafe’s babycino…

Babycino

…there were no more tears, no more snot, no more dribble and no more screaming. Just a little boy with a little milk moustache, happy to return to the “big car” to be reunited with his daddy once more (aaawwww…).

Epilogue

Sadly, we still have no Christmas tree, no fairy lights and no Christmas cookies.

Just four dozen Christmas ornaments waiting to be hung (they do look pretty though).

Christmas ornaments


Fridays are my Pete days.

Angus is at daycare (or ‘playschool’ as we like to call it) and so Pete and I have the entire day together.

I have really come to enjoy this last day of the so-called working week, where I can spend some special ‘alone time’ with my little chubby man.

Last Friday, for example, we spent several hours at Macquarie together running errands and drinking coffee (don’t worry, I asked for an especially weak one for him). He was such lovely company – he was content the entire time he was in the pram and then when I finally took him out at The Loft Cafe, he was all sorts of happy.

Seriously, I could not have asked for a happier, more cheerful little person.

I can’t believe he’s ten days away from turning ten months. In many ways, I still think of him as my newborn – which is ridiculous, I know, but it really didn’t seem like that long ago that I was feeding and changing him (and getting peed on) during our first few nights together at the hospital.

Anyway, it’s not long now until James arrives, so I’m determined to savour these last few months with Pete as my littlest ‘baby.’

Well, what do you know, there he goes crying now – I guess I’m off to do some ‘savouring.’

Definition of self-indulgence: When you kick off the Christmas shopping bonanza by popping into Kikki K and buying yourself not one but two presents.

I’ll admit it. I have an inexplicable weakness for all things Swedish – be it Swedish decor, value-for-money Swedish designed furniture (ie. IKEA) and, of course, swedish inspired stationery. How is it that the Swedes have such good taste? Why can’t I be a Swede? (If you say that out loud, it sounds like I’m wondering why I’m not a turnip.)

Not to blow my own horn or anything (although that’s exactly what I’m about to do), but I have exercised remarkable restraint this year and have only looked longingly at the Kikki K store at Macquarie Centre from afar as I sit at the Loft Cafe and sip my cold latte whilst (gently) shoving scrambled eggs into Angus’ mouth with one hand and giving Pete his bottle with the other.

In fact, the Wiggles car that Angus loves to sit in and ‘drive’ is literally right outside the store and yet – amazing mummy that I am – I have never once abandoned him at the car to wander off into the stationery haven that is Kikki K.

(Not without asking a random stranger to keep an eye on him anyway.)

(You guys, please rest assured that I’m kidding. I would never do that without paying a second stranger to keep an eye on the first.)

So, yes, on Saturday I finally broke the Kikki K drought and treated myself to two gifts – one from myself to me and the second from my parents to me.

On one hand, that sounds pretty bad, but on the other hand, it’s an awesome system with undeniable benefits:

1) I’m getting exactly what I want.

2) I get to do more than just window shop at Kikki K.

3) I can start enjoying the present(s) now, rather than wait till Boxing Day.

4) I’m saving my parents time, effort and brainpower.

Whilst I’m aware this system isn’t for everyone, it suits my parents and me just fine. In fact, as I was driving away from their place yesterday, I wound down the window and casually pointed out to mum what I had bought on her behalf, and the look on her face said it all: ‘Fantastic, one less thing to do. (My daughter is the best.)’

If there were ever an award for The Most Pragmatic Family Around, I’m sure my parents and I would come out with at least a bronze.

(If you’re keen to give this system a go this Christmas, it helps to have a reasonable idea of what your parent/sibling/spouse/etc is happy to spend on you. For example, it probably wouldn’t do to send your parents a receipt for a shiny, new Merc.)

Anyway, I digress.

Happy Christmas shopping everyone!