Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Now that takes core strength

I went to Pilates tonight...I've been going for about 6 weeks. Anyway, I've been home for a couple hours now, and I can already tell I'm gonna be sore tomorrow. "Core" this and "pelvic floor" that. Sheesh. I think my core must be made of marshmallow creme. Or peanut butter. Cause, wow. That class is (air quotes) challenging for me. But I'm sure within a few more weeks I'll have a full-on six pack. So, not to worry.

But what I really came to say is that I have a new nephew! Now if you're friends with me or my sister on Facebook, you've heard about this, probably ad nauseam. Well, you're gonna hear it again, mister! My brother David and his wife Kate just had their first baby! (Well, Katie had the baby, but Dave was definitely involved.)

Sunday night, I got a text from my brother that they were going to the hospital. So I spent all day Monday on pins and needles, waiting to hear news. It was like, Hmmm...what's the fine line between being a concerned, involved sister and driving people up the wall with text messages, phone calls, and emails? Yeah. Not sure which side I fell on that one! Then finally, on Monday night Dad sent me a message: Baby Gabriel is here!

Now, really. I know that to many of you, that's just a photo of someone else's baby. But how adorable is he?? With his little baby forehead? And that tiny baby chin? And his baby eyes so wide open? Gabriel Wayne will fight you with his bare baby fists to win the title of Cutest-Nephew-Slash-Baby-Ever. You are so going down. After all, he shares his middle name with his freshly minted Dad and his paternal Grandfather. That's some serious bad-assery right there. So I think it's better if you just agree with me that Dave and Katie have produced one gorgeous little person.

Having had a few kids now, I just wanna do a fist pump in the air for every new mom. Childbirth is no easy experience to endure, to put it mildly. I'm so proud of Katie, who is one tough cookie. She used to compete in rodeos, doing barrel racing and other things I would pee myself just thinking about. She endured a really difficult day and came shining through, with a sweet baby boy on the other end. Yay for moms! Yay for babies! Yay for baby foreheads and cheeks! Congrats to Dave and Katie--love y'all!

And now, speaking of peeing oneself, my pelvic floor and I are heading to bed. But come back in a day or so...I need to tell you about Jason and I acting like morons. So hard to imagine.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Somebody should be writing this down. Oh, wait.

This afternoon we got in the car to go meet up with some friends at a local pub. As Jason pulled away from the house, Nate asked, "Dad, why do you always drive? Is that one of your talents?" Jason grinned and with a sideways glance at me, said, "Yeah, Nate, I think I'm pretty good at it." Then I nearly pulled a muscle rolling my eyes, but that's not the point of this story.

This got Nate talking about talents. He asked us what we thought he was good at. So we started telling him all sorts of good things about himself. (Ava was with the friends we were meeting at the pub, otherwise I'm sure she would've wanted in on this, too.) We told him how observant he is; how he notices things that most people don't, how he has a good heart, how he is very funny and makes us laugh. He didn't really understand what we meant by "observant", so Jason tried to explain to Nate that he often sees things differently than others, and notices what others don't. Nate wasn't so sure this was a talent--I think he was hoping we'd talk about light saber skills or how good he is on his scooter. You know, exciting stuff.

Later, as we all drove back home, the kids were telling us about who they played with at the pub. Hmmm, I should explain to my non-Aussie readers. Prior to moving here, my idea of a "pub" was that it was strictly a bar--for adults only. However, here, a lot of pubs are actually quite family-friendly. Families go there on weekend afternoons to eat and listen to live music. The one we go to a lot has a huge outdoor seating area, and on Sundays there's a petting zoo for kids and jumping castles, as well as a playground.

Anyway, the kids were telling us about some girl vs. boy drama that happened in the jumping castle. Nate said, "Some girl called me a scaredy-cat!" We asked him what he said in return, and he said he told her that no, she was the scaredy-cat. But he wasn't too pleased with that comeback. We were talking over other possible responses--we've been trying to teach the kids how to speak up for themselves. Not teaching them to be rude, but just trying to help them have the confidence to speak. Ava weighed in with her opinion--it wasn't nice to call the girl a scaredy-cat back--we gave some other possible replies.

Then, Nate said, "What I shoulda done is call her an animal name cause she called me an animal name. So, like if she called me a scaredy cat, then I could call her a deadly snake." Jason and I both cracked up laughing--at the sheer unexpectedness of it. A deadly snake?? Who does that? Nate protested when we laughed: it wasn't funny, he said, he was being serious.

Okay, Natey. And this, right here, is a perfect example of one of your talents. I would've never thought of that.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

We Represented

Wheee! Go, America, go!

Oh, you know we celebrated our Independence. We celebrated the heck out of it, y'all. Our Fourth of July Party (on July 9th, but shhh) was a success! I think. We had fun, at least! But here's a note if you ever pastor a church and then host a party for 40 people on a Saturday night. You will not go to bed until the wee hours of Sunday morning, and then you will need to be awake again in the slightly less wee hours of Sunday morning. Ya know--cause church and stuff.

But we had a great time! As I said before, the group of friends we've gotten to know from the kids' school, as well as a few other friends we invited, is quite international, and I loved having such a mixed group of folks over. It was fun to serve up a little slice of Americana.

Once the party started I got busy and didn't actually get any pictures. I know! But here's a few I took beforehand...

Our hallway, all festooned. Yes, that's the Texas flag! A friend of ours works for a printing company and showed up the day of the party with loads of American flag signs and banners that he'd printed out for us. So sweet.

And...the obligatory flag cake! Cream cheese icing...yuummmm. I'd never made one before, would you believe. The one I was copying had blueberries in the upper corner, for the stars. But blueberries were like 10 bucks for a tiny little amount. So I had to improvise. My patriotism has its limits.

I printed out lots of little quotes and "fun facts" about America and posted them all over the house for people to read. The kids helped decorate them, too. Here's a few:

This one was a crowd favorite:

And I couldn't resist this one. Classic:

Oh, W. As we say in the South, bless his heart. Anyway, we had a great time! The kids ran riot all over the house, and Jason manned the BBQ and turned out some of the best burgers I've had in awhile! And in spite of a chilly winter's night, at least half of the adults sat outside all evening, around a nice fire. So we got to have our backyard barbecue after all!

The only downside was that the crowd pressured me into singing the national anthem when we cut the cake. By "pressured", I mean they suggested it and I was like, "Okay!" But it wasn't my best performance. There's a reason all those pop stars mess up The Star Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl--that is not an easy song! Someone did take photos of that moment, but I'm hoping they will remain locked away forever. I feel that my talents would've been best displayed in a lower key, but there's always next year!

Hahaha. Ha.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Party up in here

We're hosting a 4th of July party here at the house tomorrow evening. Yes, I know it's July 9th, but stop being so pedantic. In six years of living here, we've never really formally observed our Independence Day, and we thought it'd be fun to have a bunch of friends over for a BBQ. We've invited other families from the kids' school, as well as other friends, and it's quite an international group of folks. Aussies, Italians, Irish, South African, Kiwi, British--and yes, a couple Americans, too. I'm excited! Today Jason said, "So, how many people are actually coming tomorrow?" And I said, "Um, I'm not actually sure. I've just been inviting people and I've kind of lost track." I have a way of doing that.

On the menu? Cheeseburgers, baby. Real, meaty, juicy American cheeseburgers. There are many things to love about Australia, but finding a great burger is challenging for us here. (At least, what we'd consider a great burger.) Aussies like to put fried eggs and beetroot on their burgers. Now, normally I'm all about accepting the culture and adapting to cultural norms--but this is my dang party and I'm gonna have my dang cheeseburgers like I want 'em. Anybody got a problem with that?

Of's winter here. So, our backyard BBQ will have a firepit and blankets, and most of us will probably end up indoors. But the plus side? No mosquitoes! And no food poisoning from picnic food gone bad! Everybody wins!

The only thing to dampen our party cheer? The thought that I'll possibly need to sell a major organ to afford our trip back to the States in mid-September. Jason's been looking into tickets, and when he told me what it'd cost to get us just to LA and back, I nearly wet myself. We're planning to stop off in Hawaii to celebrate Jason's dad's 70th with the fam, and my friends, wow. Never fear, though! I'm sure it will work out. Do you know, by the way, if you can list kidneys on Craigslist? I'm asking cause a friend wants to know.

Anyway, I'm sure I'll report back with a party play-by-play. A night with friends, yummy food, and for once, getting to indulge myself in my cheesy American-ness. Yay! As Grace likes to say, "Sweeeet."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

There Ought to be a Law

We are finally emerging from a week of sickness. Ugh. Well, mostly me. The kids seemed to bounce back pretty quickly. But I have been mired in the Land of Sinus Headaches and Body Aches for over a week now. Much better today, though! So, there's that! In the midst of that, I hosted a women's retreat at our church on Saturday. While I was up front welcoming everyone, I got one of those throat tickles. You know, where you can't stop coughing? My eyes were watering, too. And then my nose started running, and I was sniffing but forgetting to hold the microphone away from my face when I sniffed. So it was, like, surround sound sniffing. And coughing. Not one of my better moments. I'm sure that I inspired many.

Ava and Nate are on school holidays right now--the break between Term 2 and 3. We celebrated yesterday by heading into the city for breakfast at Darling Harbour.

We wandered around for a bit, and Ava and Nate did a bungee trampoline thingy (more tame than it sounds, Mom!) and then we went on the merry-go-round.

Nate tried to tell me that he was too old to go on a merry-go-round, but then he changed his mind.

And then today I did a bad thing.

It was impulsive.

I've done it once before, with similar results.

I cut Grace's hair.

Okay, okay, but listen! Listen!! As you can see from the photos above, her bangs (fringe) have gotten way too long. And she violently protests any attempt to put clips, bows, or elastics in her hair. So it gets in her eyes all the time. Lately, with it being cold season, she's developed a signature move:wiping her nose with her sleeve and pushing her hair out of her eyes in the same movement. Her eye has been red lately, so I started to worry that she's getting hair snot in it. Or snot hair, I'm not sure which.

So, today, I plopped her in front of the TV, gave her a cookie, and went for it. She wouldn't let me brush it all forward and kept moving her head, so I couldn't get it even. She kept saying, "No, Mom! No!" It looks pretty bad. I started laughing when I was done, but then I felt bad. Luckily, she doesn't realize that this is not a good look:
Sooo crooked. So very, very crooked. And too short. And crooked. I texted the photo to my neighbour Jules, and she just laughed at me. Via text, which is even worse. I emailed it to my parents and Becky, and Becky said, "You need to stop that right now."

I know what you're thinking. Okay, Mr. Perfect McSmartypants!! You don't even need to tell me, I know it is a total rubbish job! I didn't research technique or method, and I basically doomed my child to a month or so of looking like Lloyd from Dumb and Dumber. (Yes, again.)

I won't be doing that again. I am hanging up my scissors for good.

But enough about me. Are you well? Did my American buds have a good Fourth of July? How's everyone else?