Sunday, February 27, 2011

And now please to with the making of the education!

I noticed the writing on a box of one of Ava's toys...

I'm not sure that tiny beads are the best thing for babies to play with, no matter how roundly it will educate them. And what is "innoxious'? I bet I can be innoxious sometimes.

I gotta say, though, their English is loads better than my Mandarin.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I am full of logic.

Jason: (Patting spot on the couch next to him) Come sit with me.

Me: Sorry, babe... Um, I'm not really sitting on the couch right now?

Jason: You're not?

Me: No.

Jason: And why is that?

Me: Well, haven't you noticed it's gotten kind of dirty lately?

Jason: Well, it could use a good steam cleaning, that's for sure.

Me: Yeah. Grace is all over it, all day long, with God-knows-what on her hands and face. And now the couch grosses me out.

Jason: (enjoying this interchange) Does it?

Me: Yes, it does! Plus, I feel like it smells.

Jason: You feel like it smells.

Me: Yes.

Jason: So, it doesn't actually smell, but you feel like it does.

Me: Uh-huh.

Jason: And so now, you won't sit here.

Me: Yup.

Jason: That makes so much sense.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Oh, let's call the whole thing off.

Today, the kids had a "mufti" day at school. If you're not from these parts, you can read what mufti is here.

This mufti day in particular was to raise money for the Queensland flood victims. All the kids were given the option to wear maroon instead of their school uniforms and bring a "gold coin donation"--this means 1 or 2 bucks. (Maroon is the state color for Queensland.)

(What Ava and Nate wore today. This picture has no relevance to the post, but THE CUTENESS. I AM DYING OF THE CUTENESS.)

Anyway. having lived here 6 years now, you think you're pretty much aware of all the little quirks in language and pronunciation differences. But a couple weeks ago, when this mufti day was announced, all the teachers were saying for the kids to wear "ma-rohn" instead of "mar-oon". And I was like, "Whaa?" Like a long "o" sound? Instead of an "oo" sound?

Jason heard it too, and we were like, "Seriously? 'Marohhn?'" It doesn't even look like that! How have I never noticed this before?

When Ava came home saying it that way, we corrected her pronunciation. Was that wrong? I mean, we don't say anything when the kids say "tomahto" or "zed". They say "iceblocks" instead of "popsicles". They say "pardon", which is totally cute. I've noticed lately that Ava is calling me "mum" sometimes. That's all good. But my friends, you gotta draw the line somewhere, and for me, I think it's at maroon. I mean--it's double O's, you guys! There are rules! What's a girl supposed to do?

My Aussie friends and readers, am I being extreme? Is this a universal Australian thing? How do y'all pronounce the word?

Oh! And then yesterday, Jason and I were at a local garden centre. We bought an outdoor table and chairs, and Jason was describing the guy who helped us to the cashier. "It's the guy with the goatee," he told her, gesturing outside. She smiled at him, "The go-TEE?", she mimicked. Apparently, Aussies say "go-dee", with no emphasis on the 2nd syllable. Again, something we missed after 6 years of living here. "Wow," Jason said to the cashier,"I've never noticed that before." "Yeah," she said, "We run it all together. We're just being lazy, I guess."

Oh! And can I tell you one more? This one made laugh. Several months ago, a friend of mine came over for morning tea. As we walked into the living room, I said something like, "Here, you sit on the love seat and I'll sit here." She looked at me funny. "What's a love seat?" I explained that it was what we called a two-seater sofa. She'd never heard that term before, and I never realized that I'd never heard it used here. My friend laughed and said, "I thought maybe it was a special name you and Jason had for it, and then I was wondering if I should sit there after all!" Woohoo--that's how rumors get started!

Of course, this is a big country, with a lot of variation depending on where you live. But we were shaking our heads over the fact that, even as settled as we feel here, there are little surprises all the time. Keeps it interesting!

Monday, February 14, 2011


Whatever else happens, we've got each other.

Happy Valentine's Day. You're pretty cute, you know that?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

O, Freaky Tree, O Freaky Tree...

Well, after the sweltering weather last week, I'm happy to announce that this week has been cloudy and cool in Sydney.

I've even been able to go outside without wanting to punch the sun in the face!

Yay! This is progress indeed.

A couple days ago, Jason and I went with Grace to the Royal Botanic Gardens while Ava and Nate were at school. (Don't tell.) It's a beautiful series of gardens and green space, overlooking Sydney Harbour and the Opera House. We had a nice time wandering around. The last time we'd been there was with my mom and dad, when Grace was just 6 weeks old. She'd had her immunizations on that day, and was not enjoying life.

This time around, she loved running around and wasn't too interested in sitting in her stroller. (Which, by the way, none of our kids loved the stroller. Which is why I'm glad we spent $130 on one at Kmart and not $1100 for a schmancy one. For the record, I blame Jason's hyperactive DNA.)

She is a lovely companion, as long as you give her whatever she wants and play by her rules. Simple enough.

Oh, and y'all--check out this freaky looking tree!
The little placard said it's a Queensland Bottle Tree. Isn't it cool? Full of character. It looks to me like it should be one of the Ents in the Lord of the Rings novels. Like it could come alive at any moment and steal your lunch money. There was a bigger one in the park that was sprawled out--I swear it looked just like Jabba the Hut.

Please ignore Jason's hat. We've had a few discussions about it, and that is all I will say.
("It's bug-repellent!" he says. "It's wife-repellent!" I say.)

I do indeed hope that you are having a fine day.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A lady doesn't sweat, y'all. She glistens.

I sort of went off the grid the last few days. For a couple of reasons, really. One, it was our church's annual fast and I was trying to limit my internet time so that I could spend more time being all spiritual and stuff. (If you're into it, you can read a post I wrote awhile back about how and why we fast.)

But another reason is cause I've been a little fussy over the past week.




And not even cause of the fasting. This last week was hot. It was hot, I say. Scorchingly hot. Six days of record breaking heat. And as I (ahem) may have mentioned, um, several times last summer, we have no air conditioning in our house. So, when it's hot outside--it reached up to 42 degrees Celsius here at our house last week (that's 107degrees F) it's only a few degrees cooler in our house.

Luckily, the kids had started school, so they were in their air conditioned classrooms all week. We have a downstairs room that was a bit cooler and Grace could sleep there . And then, in the afternoons we spent a lot of time in our pool. By evening, it would cool down enough that we could sleep--mostly. With the windows open and fans roaring, I'd put wet washcloths on Ava and Nate. They were so tired from starting back at school that they were out pretty quickly. And I thought of all the places we could visit that had air conditioning.

Really, it was fine. We were okay. (Except I'm really just saying that so I don't sound like a big fat baby.)

Especially as we watched a Category 5 Cyclone bear down on Queensland, I thought, shut up Amy. And then I had to ask forgiveness for all the mean thoughts about the owners of our house. "What kind of people buy a big house and then don't put any aircon in? They're so cheap! They're selfish! Don't they care that we have young children??" What? Heat makes me petty. I also fussed at a friend who was staying with us for turning the oven on to heat up garlic bread.

Oh--and look! Here's a candle I had on a bookshelf. I walked by last night and noticed that it had begun to warp.

See how it's leaning? Look harder! It's not all in my head. But still, I was a little nuts. Jason spent most of the week trying to placate me--but from a distance as he wasn't allowed to touch me. Too hot!

Then yesterday afternoon, a cooler breeze started to blow. And miraculously--I don't use that word lightly--within an hour the temperature had dropped dramatically. I actually got chilled! You could almost feel the whole of Sydney sigh in relief. It's meant to be cloudy and cool all week.

Fasting helps you come to terms with your own humanity, your own limitations. And apparently, so does heat.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Monologue, AKA This is My LIfe Every 5 Minutes

Whatcha got there, Mom? A smoothie? Hey, that looks pretty good. You didn't think you were gonna get to drink that yourself, did you?

I want it. I want it now. Give it to me now, Mom. Now--very slowly: Take the glass, pick it up and hand it to me. Do you have any idea who I am? Do you have any idea what I'm capable of?

No. Nonono. You don't get it, do you? I don't want a "spoonful"! Spoonfuls are for suckers! Little baby, wimpy suckers! I want the whole thing. I don't care how big it is--you need to give it to me right now. I don't care if it spills, I like messes. Okay? Hand it over. C'mon.

Wait. You're photographing this? I don't believe it. We can't even have a simple disagreement without the whole world finding out! Give me that iPhone. I would like the phone in one hand and the smoothie in the other. It's that simple. After that haircut, it's the least you could do.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

No Worries

Day One was a success! Except Nate was all, "Am I going back tomorrow?" And I was like, "Yes, until you're 18." Best not to tell him that just yet.

We have a little tradition of going out for cupcakes after the first day of school. Since it was super hot yesterday--like you know when you open the oven and a wave of heat blows in your face? Like that.--I didn't bake them myself. We went to the bakery and enjoyed the air conditioning.

That badge he's wearing should say "World's Cutest Kindergartener." Those eyes! Those curls! I mean, c'mon. (Nate would like me to add that he is eating a pink cupcake under duress.)

And not to be forgotten, here's our big Year 2 girl, all ready for swimming lessons.

Ava loves being the seasoned, experienced one. She's been giving Nate all kinds of advice and asking what he did his first day. Yesterday, I mentioned to her that maybe she could look for Nate during morning tea and say hi to him. "Yeah, maybe," she said. "But I'll have to tell my friends what I'm doing." These friends that have all been to our house, seen Nate every schoolday for the past two years, those friends? "I'm sure they know you have a little brother," I told her. Oh well--we'll get there.

Nate seemed pretty chilled about the whole thing. He was happy to get up and get dressed. This morning, as his class marched off, leaving the parents behind, Nate was bringing up the rear. "Bye, buddy! Have a great day!" I called out. He darted back and gave me a big hug, and then trotted off.

That was pure gold. Someone's getting a pony.