Friday, 30 November 2012

Christmas cooking

Since my hormonal storm passed, the Little Big Fella and I have been doing a bit of Christmas cooking.  I think this is one thing that I'd like to be a tradition for us.  It's spending time together, making different foods (maybe even trying new recipes), and licking the spoon :-D

One of the traditions we're passing on to the next generation (I'm pretty sure my sister is doing it with her boys too) is the making of yo-yos.  They're a little like shortbread, but made with custard powder rather than rice flour, and you stick the two biscuits (cookies) together with icing - vanilla, passionfruit, lemon... whatever takes your fancy really.  It's a tradition passed down from my dad's mum, then my mum did them every Christmas, and now my sister and I have done them too.  I like that sense of continuity and connection with my extended family, even when some of them are no longer here.

Here's a pic of my yo-yos when they'd just come out of the oven:

Another treat I love at Christmas time is fruit mince pies/tarts!  Some people hate them but I am an absolute fan!  So I bought a jar of fruit mince (too hot and tired to make my own this year) and made the pastry.

Seriously. Messy. Job!

The first part was easy!  Chuck it all in the food processor and whiz it up then wrap it and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.  Easy!

But then you have to roll it really thin.  And even with plenty of flour on the table, rolling pin and pastry, it stuck like billy-o!  And, of course, the Little Big Fella had his finger in the flour constantly and the flour went everywhere!!!  But we had fun, and that's the point!

I'm thinking of doing some ginger snaps and shortbread between now and Christmas.  We'll see how we go ;-)

Camping anyone?

When the Little Big Fella was about 6 months old, we decided to take a holiday.  As we hadn't really prepared for it, we decided to go the cheap option and camp our way up the coast (about 1600 kilometres).  We had a 6-person dome tent and a little bit of camping gear.

So, off we went!

It was, without a doubt, the worst holiday I have ever had!  The baby cried and needed feeding every couple of hours, and it turns out camping in a tent and the Big Fella just don't mix.  Something to do with uncomfortable beds and the inability to stand up.

We ended up staying in cabin vans after the first (disastrous) night and the baby suddenly discovered rolling.  He rolled off the couches and beds 4 times (you'd think I'd learn after the first or second time, right?) and cried his little heart out.

When we got up the coast the weather was wet and dreary and we just didn't enjoy ourselves.  Thankfully we did discover a place that we enjoyed on our last day before the long drive home.

Since that "holiday" we've looked at caravans, a huge range of tents, and a few camper trailers.  See, we like wood fires and camp-style cooking and being outdoors.  But it turns out we (as a family) need good beds and close bathroom facilities.

A couple of weeks ago the Big Fella came across a camper trailer on eBay.  It was fairly basic but also quite cheap.  We thought that we might be interested in buying a cheaper one then deciding if a) we'd use it much and b) what "extras" we might actually want and use.  He rang the guy up and had a chat with him and decided to place a bid.  Amazingly we won!  We are now the proud owners of a camper trailer!

A guy who works with the Big Fella agreed to pick the trailer up for us, as it was about nine hours drive away but kind of on his way "home".  And he dropped it off the other day.

So that afternoon we set it up in the back yard.  Ta da!

Surprisingly, the trailer came with no mattress.  I guess that's a good thing, but it means we can't use it until we get one.  (By the way, it takes a nearly full-sized King mattress!!!!)  And the annex walls are all held up with large velcro strips.  They were a little... tricky to put up properly.

But overall, we like it!  And it's in decent condition, so as soon as we get a couple of things together we'll be doing a trial run!  Then the plan is to take a trip about once a month next year, even if it's only a night or two close by.

Oh yeah!  I'm looking forward to this!!!!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Isn't this supposed to be fun?

I've had a rather... hormonal couple of days.  Unfortunately it combined with lack of sleep, a bit of hot weather, a 3 and a half year old who has a bit of an attitude, and a husband who's been working hard and wants to relax (fair enough really!).  I guess what I'm trying to say is, my poor Fellas have had to put up with one cranky woman this week!

In the midst of this cranky storm I've been trying to do some Christmas preparation because of the strong possibility of heading back to our old town for a week or two to help out my sister, who's just had an operation (nothing major - just no heavy lifting, driving etc).

A couple of evenings ago I decided to try to put up our new outdoor lights.  I LOVE Christmas lights and this is the first time we've had any, other than on the Christmas tree.  So I went out in the late afternoon shade and the Little Big Fella decided to "help" me.  Out comes Mrs Moody and ruins it for everyone!  There was cranking and growling and frustration when things didn't go right.

The next day we decided to bake some Christmas cookies.  The Little Big Fella and I have cooked a bit together and normally it works out pretty well.  But not this time!  This time I was using a new recipe, the kitchen wasn't set up to make it easy and the Little Big Fella's propensity to ignore instructions caused it to be way more stressful than fun.

And I thought to myself, "isn't this supposed to be fun?  Isn't the idea of doing these Christmas-y things supposed to be building our relationship and giving him wonderful memories?"  And I felt like Christmas this year was ruined before it had even begun.

Thankfully I didn't write this post on that day!  It would have been morbid and depressing and whingey and complaint-filled.  Bleuch!

But the next day the hormone storm passed and we decided to put up the Christmas tree together.  Last year the Little Big Fella and his older cousin did all the decorating of our tree (well, up to as high as they could reach anyway!) and we had a really fun time.  Thankfully this year still had some of that joy :-)

We found the Christmas tree in the back shed, and the boxes of decorations.  I put the tree together and then the lights on it then we both put the "balls" on, while listening to Michael BublĂ© crooning some of my favourite Christmas carols.

The Little Big Fella decided he should "swim" under the tree and find the presents!  (Such amazing imagination!)  Most of the "presents" were lights for the tree :-D

Oh!  And while I was putting the tree together, I heard a voice behind me.

"Guess who I am!"

I turn around to this:

"I'm Santa!"
"No I'm not!  I'm (the Little Big Fella)!"

Unlike last year, the decorations were put over the whole tree, but the Little Big Fella just couldn't get the idea of each branch having a bauble, so some missed out while others got several :-)

The finished product!  Lovely and bright and full.  It's at the front window so people going past might see it, and it's also at the end of the hallway so I see it as I'm going down there from the other end of the house.  It makes me smile :-)

I just realised today that I haven't got anything to put in our little advent calendar yet and I think I'd like to do it because, as well as working on our numbers, it helps to build the excitement for Christmas and means I (hopefully) won't be asked every. single. day. if it's Christmas yet :-D

Friday, 23 November 2012


I had the absolute pleasure of living in America for a year.  And this time of year inevitably reminds me of my favourite things (and people)!  For starters, my host-mum's birthday is around-about now (Happy Birthday K!).  Then there are the major "holidays" of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

You know what I loved about this season in America?  It wasn't the hype per se, but the genuine atmosphere of fun, and excitement, and love, and care for others.  Maybe it was just the group of people I was around, but this season brought out the best in so many people!

So yes, I'm a Christmas die-hard and carols and all that commercial hype gives me warm fuzzies inside because of the association I have, not only with my American experience, but also with my own family (and various additional family members along the way) and the great experience that this time of year is.

Yes, the shopping and chaos has kind of dulled it a bit over the years, but now I have a 3 year old and I'm ready to pump up the holiday spirit!

So, to the point of this post!  Today (in American time anyway) is Thanksgiving.  And I'd like to record some of the things and people that I'm thankful for.

I'm thankful for my family - immediate and extended.  Each of you has influenced my life in one way or another, to a greater or lesser extent, helping to define and shape me into the person I am today.  You have taught me that family is a strong, safe bond that adds fun to life and strength in pain.

My husband, the Big Fella; you are an amazing man and I feel so blessed and honoured to be your wife.  Your continual support of the three of us as a family is a credit to you, and I particularly admire your work ethic and ability to turn things to your advantage.  You are a loving father and husband and I love spending time with you (even if we're not doing much).

My darling son, the Little Big Fella; you are such a joy to me!  Yes, sometimes you drive me nuts but you also amaze me with your growth and development and you make me laugh so often.  I love it when you give me hugs and tell me that you love me.  You are a gorgeous boy, in appearance and in personality and I'm very thankful for the privilege of being your mum.

I'm so grateful for my friends, near and far, old and new!  My life would be much poorer without you in my life.  You make the good times great and the bad times bearable.  Thank you!

I'm so very grateful for my health.

I'm thankful that we live where we are and are able to have dogs and chickens and a garden.  I love that it's "country" enough that we have options available to us that we've not had elsewhere, even though we have less shops and obvious facilities.

I'm super grateful for the internet :-D  I'm grateful that it keeps me connected with so many of my wonderful friends and allows me to "see" my family.  I'm grateful that it provides me with access to the resources that are not physically here, and for the information I can gain through it.

I'm thankful for my ability to learn and understand.

I'm thankful for airconditioning ;-D

I'm thankful for the wide range of transport we have available to us, and that we can travel around the country and the world with relative ease.  And I'm thankful that the cost of fuel isn't overwhelmingly prohibitive.

I'm thankful for the peace that we enjoy in Australia and that I don't have to worry about someone breaking into my home and hurting my family.  Or dropping a bomb and destroying my town.

I'm thankful for the sights and sounds and smells that are part of my life; for the wide open spaces, the hills and the paddocks; for the "bush" smells and the sounds of birds and insects.

I'm thankful for the invention of small, blow-up swimming pools, cheap arts and crafts supplies, books and toys that entertain and help me teach my son.

I'm grateful for the spirit of generosity that I witness in people around me.

I'm grateful for laughter!

I'm grateful to have "enough" and a little bit more, and for opportunities to share what I have.

I could probably go on for a long time but I'll finish here with this:  I'm grateful to you for continuing to read my blog, and for those who sometimes make comments.  You are awesome and add that little bit of extra light to my life.  Thank you!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

From the mouths of babes...

The Big Fella had another day off today so we'd planned to go and check out a new swimming spot on the river, about an hour away.  When we woke up this morning, we didn't really feel like travelling that far.

Yesterday we'd taken the Little Big Fella to his swimming lesson at the pool in the next town, then stayed and had a bit of a splash around together.  That had been fun so we decided to pack a lunch and go there instead.

So we got up and did a few things around the house and packed the lunches and the water and the towels, then eventually headed over to the pool.  Somewhere along the line the food bag was left behind :-(  Luckily they do pretty yummy hot dogs with onion, bacon, cheese, mustard and sauce :-)

While we were swimming around a young lady came into the pool at the stairs where we were playing.  The Little Big Fella pipes up and says, "she's taken her swimsuit off!".  To which I had the dubious responsibility of replying, "no honey, that's her swimsuit.  It's called a bikini."

We've had a couple of moments like that just recently.  Somewhere along this parenting journey I've developed the skill of not being embarrassed about stuff that used to make me blush profusely!  Not quite sure if it's a positive or negative addition, but it's rather useful at the moment.

This afternoon the Fellas were sitting on the couch.  The Little Big Fella has been talking about all his friends lately, saying how old they are by holding up that many fingers.  So he was telling the Big Fella that one of his friends is "this many", holding up one hand with all fingers and thumb sticking out.

"Daddy, are you this many?"

"No, I'm more than that."

"How big are you?"

Daddy puts his hand on his head and says, "this big".

"How fat are you Daddy?"

(By this point I'm giggling away around the corner.)

Daddy puts his hand on his tummy and says, "this fat!" and has a little chuckle himself.

You know, there are some pretty cool surprises being a parent.  Watching and listening to the way their little brains work and how they figure things out is amazing.

When we're driving the Little Big Fella often asks, "are we on the highway?"  And just recently we were not on the highway when he asked so his follow up question was, "are we on the low way?"  I just thought that was fantastic reasoning for a 3 and a half year old!

Yeah, there are some pretty cool moments as a Mummy.  But my favourite has to be when he just comes up to me, gives me a hug and says, "Mummy, I love you".

Monday, 19 November 2012


Remember when I wrote about it starting to get hot here?  And that I didn't know how I would cope when actual summer comes along?  Here's the link if you want a review.

That was in September.  Now we're half way through November.  Still not summer here in the southern hemisphere.

I was talking to Mum on the phone the other night and apparently in Victoria they had heaters, slippers and warm sweaters on.  I was sitting in my shorts and t-shirt feeling a tad warm.

Yesterday it got to 37 degrees inside the house!  That's about 96 degrees Fahrenheit for those of you who need the translation.  And it was another degree or so on top of that outside.

We've had three days of really hot weather.  It was about 30 degrees at 7:30 in the morning one of those days, and this afternoon I was sitting reading my book under the fan and just... fell asleep!

I'm expiring!!!!

Thankfully the Big Fella bought a little blow-up pool that we've got set up on the grass and we've all spent a good amount of time in it the past few days.  I've taken to walking around in my wet swimmers because otherwise I feel like I'm going to lose the plot.

And once again, it's not even summer yet!

I quite like warm weather.  I don't even mind it being hot.  My biggest problem with it is that I'm going along just fine and then suddenly (and without realising what's happening) start over-heating.

Then I get cranky.

I mean, seriously cranky.  Like PMS on steroids!

Last night I was attempting to cook dinner in just such a state.  All of a sudden the Big Fella dumped a sopping wet cloth nappy over me!  After being cranky about that for a moment, I started to cool down and was able to finish making dinner without losing the plot at anyone.  And I was able to appreciate my wonderful, thoughtful husband who knows me so well and is able to deal with my... less-than-ideal moods.  Thanks honey :-)

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Christmas traditions

I was planning out my meals for the coming week and suddenly realised there will only be one month until Christmas at the end of it!!!  As someone who has to post pretty much everything, that's mildy scary!

But I've been thinking about Christmas traditions; traditions that seem to be part of everyone's Christmas, old traditions, Australian traditions, religious traditions, my family's traditions, the Big Fella's family's traditions... you get the idea.

And now that the Little Big Fella is starting to understand that Christmas is different to other days, I'm wondering what kinds of traditions I'd like him to have and remember.

Obviously food is going to be a big thing.  With the Big Fella around, how could it not?

And presents.  I mean, kids will always be kids.

But after the presents are opened and the food is consumed, what else is Christmas?

Growing up in a Christian household, Christmas was the celebration of the birth of a baby who would grow up to become the saviour of the world.  We'd have a beautiful breakfast and open our presents (probably in reverse order actually!) then we'd all get ready and go to church.

I loved going to church on Christmas (and Easter too!) because I'd get to see my friends and we'd show and tell about our presents and play together.  And the service was normally short and fun too.

Many years my family would then jump in the car and travel hours to spend the rest of the day with extended family.  Although, in later years we tended to have our extended family Christmas on Boxing Day or the next most convenient day for most of us.

There are many people who like to focus on others during the Christmas season.  They may give gifts through charities, or help out at a Christmas lunch for the homeless.

Of course, the Aussie tradition is to have a game of backyard cricket after lunch (or maybe after a big sleep, induced by over-eating).

Some people go camping for the week of Christmas to New Year.  Some go to the same place each year and meet up with family and the friends made over time.

Then there are the Christmas traditions that don't occur on Christmas Day itself!

I have a strong, fond memory of baking Christmas cookies with my host mum in America when I lived there!  So strong, in fact, that I'm pretty sure I'll be doing it with the Little Big Fella this year, especially given how much he loves being in the kitchen at the moment.

And Christmas lights!  I love Christmas lights!!!  Big ones, small ones, ones that tell a story.  I've probably mentioned it already, but Christmas lights are a pretty big deal in our new little town.  Our next door neighbour has already started putting hers up, and says it will take her the next two weeks to get them all out!

Last year we took the Little Big Fella for a drive around the major lights in our last town and he loved it.  We'll be putting some up here (I purchased my first outdoor light sets this past week), but it'll be pretty small this year.


Next year, I've got a plan!  And it will probably take me all year to implement it, but if it comes off it will be amazingly awesome!  And possibly expensive :-o  I've even made myself a photo of our house, overlaid with images of what I want to do to it on the computer.

My mother-in-law and sister-in-law have a tradition of exchanging Christmas tree ornaments each year, and when I married the Big Fella I was included in this fun tradition.  I really like this one because when I look at my tree I remember people that I love, and who love me.

And then there's Christmas Eve!  My family tradition is to all disappear, at various times throughout the day/evening, and wrap the presents we're giving and bring them back to put under the tree.

Normally this is happening while we're watching the Melbourne Christmas Carols on TV.  One year I'd love to actually go to those carols!  The Big Fella despises Christmas carols (he's a little bit bah humbug) so I've missed a fair few carols shows in the (almost) 11 years we've been married.  But I get my own back by playing Christmas CDs non-stop for a few days (insert evil laugh here).

Every Christmas, since I've been an adult I guess, I've felt so incredibly grateful for my family.  My parents are not only still together, but very much in love.  My two sisters, my brother and I get along really well.  And our spouses and children all add into the mix really well too.  I was going to say we're lucky, but I know that my parents put a lot of effort into making our family the way it is.

But I know that for others Christmas is highly stressful.  Getting together with family isn't necessarily a fun experience, and if you add a bit of alcohol and expectations, it can turn rather ugly.

I guess what I want for my son is to look back as an adult at his childhood Christmases, and smile.  I want him to re-live fun experiences, remember people he loves, imagine the smells and sounds and tastes that were so enjoyable, and have a sense of depth of meaning to the holiday.  Not a tall order hey?

What are your favourite Christmas memories or traditions?  And have you changed anything or added new traditions as an adult or since having your own kids?

Friday, 16 November 2012

Scrap me happy!

This morning I got the chance to do something I haven't done in AGES!  I got to sit around a table with a bunch of friends and do some scrapbooking/paper craft.  And it was awesome!

Getting to chat with friends, while your kids are happily entertained (mostly outside), eating and drinking and being creative... what more could a girl want?

And the best thing is... we're going to do it again!  I don't know when, but it will definitely happen, possibly even regularly.  Yay!

And speaking of creative things, last night I decided on my outdoor theme for Christmas next year.  Yes, you read that correctly... next year.  The plan is too big to put together for this year!  I've even done a little plan on my computer, overlaying what I want to do on a photo of our house and yard.

No, you can't see it!  That would ruin the surprise!

I'm looking forward to Christmas this year (although I still have no idea what we're actually doing!).  Apparently there are quite a few people (my neighbours included) who go all out with Christmas lights and decorations.  Have I mentioned that I love Christmas lights?

On another note, I finally got around to making a bunch of appointments and phone calls yesterday.  You know how sometimes you just keep putting something off, even though it's only small and wouldn't take much time?  Phone calls are like that for me.

Speaking of phone calls, the Little Big Fella wanted to call his Nanna tonight when it was bed time.  He doesn't often ask to do that so I agreed.  Boy!  Can that kid talk!!!  And he gets so focused on one topic at a time that he doesn't even hear you respond or ask questions!  It was very entertaining listening to him telling Nanna all about giants and how big they are, and wondering if Daddy's gun would shoot them, and trying to figure out if they are inside books and so on and so on.  Nanna and Grandad enjoyed it (thankfully).  I think it's probably the longest conversation he's had with them!

The Big Fella has a couple of days off coming up so we're planning to go and discover another new swimming spot "nearby".  Hopefully it'll be wonderful and I'll get to tell you all about it and post some photos for you :-D

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Paddock photo session

The other day the Little Big Fella and I decided to go across the road to take a few pictures.  It was just one of those moments I guess.  Here's some of what we came up with!

Oh!  And on the weekend we went to the rifle range so that the Big Fella could test some of his re-loads and sight in a scope.  Of course, the Little Big Fella wanted a piece of the action.

Seriously, he is SO gun obsessed at the moment!  We had the playgroup Christmas party the other day and he received a ToyWorld voucher.  We went to ToyWorld on the way home.  Guess where he looked first!  Yep, the guns and swords aisle.  And he ended up with a bolt-action rifle, "just like Daddy's" that he can take to the range next time we go.  We literally have guns all over the house most days.

I'm sure he'll get over it... eventually!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Decisions, decisions

I always loved the Magic 8 ball.

I never had one, mind you.  But I loved the idea of it.

You see, I'm not an indecisive person, per se, but some decisions are hard.  It would be kind of nice to let someone, or something else decide for you sometimes.

Should we have another child?
My sources say no

Should we buy a new car?
Outlook good

Will we ever actually buy a house?
You may rely on it

Although, it might get a little frustrating if it gave answers like, "Reply hazy, try again", or "Cannot predict now", or "Better not tell you now"!

I can understand why people are so interested in fortune tellers, psychics, mediums and the like.  Being a responsible adult can be bloody hard work!  It can be hard to know which way to go, and if you make such-and-such a decision, what impact will that have on this, that and the other.

But palming off the decision to someone or something else is a cheats way through life!  I mean, it's your life!  And making the decisions about it is what makes it yours, for good, or for bad.

My parents had a great way of making hard decisions, one that I'd forgotten about until just recently but have probably used subconsciously many times.  After considering pros and cons, potential impacts of choosing this way or that way, and all the other decision-making steps that might be available to them, they'd decide one way or the other.

Then they'd sit on it.

For 24 hours, they'd live as if the decision had been made and was final.  And they'd see how they felt about that.  Was it a relief?  Did it make them feel unsettled or anxious?  Were they excited about going forward in this way?

Then if they weren't happy with it, they'd change their decision and sit on it for another 24 hours.

Most of the time this would bring one of their options to light as the best option for them (and our family) at that point in time.

I guess, whichever way you decide on any given set of options, you can only make the best decision you can with the information you have available at the time.  Kicking yourself retrospectively is disheartening and pointless.  And I guess making "bad" decisions is all part of the learning process that is life!

Do you have any special tips or tricks for making decisions?

Friday, 9 November 2012


There are some rites of passage and experiences that are really important for kids to go through.  And some of them preferably involve their Dad!

Today the Big Fella drove us up to the nearby tablelands and from there to a waterfall.  We had to walk the 1.8kms (about 1.1 miles) from the carpark down to the waterfall, which also included 240 steep steps right before you arrive at the falls.

But I suspect you'll agree that it was worth the walk!

When we got to the falls, we jumped straight in, then almost jumped straight back out!!!!  It was COLD!!!  But we braved it and had a play and a splash around.  Here's me and the Little Big Fella mucking around:

And here's the Big Fella :-)

After a bite of lunch, we decided that it was time to initiate the Little Big Fella in the art of rock-hopping!  Unsurprisingly, he loved it :-D  Almost too much actually!  At one stage he was "exploring" rather near to the edge of a cliff and didn't understand when we told him to stay away.  When I tried to explain it he ended up crying and wouldn't be consoled for the next 5 minutes (exasperating to say the least!).

After a bit more swimming and rock hopping, we started the climb back up the hill.  Let me tell you, despite my current exercise regime I felt the burn by the top of those 240 steps!!!  And no, Melbournians, I don't believe I'll be attempting the 1000 steps when I'm next visiting!

We then endured the rest of the walk with the Little Big Fella whingeing and whining like you wouldn't believe!!!  He didn't want to walk, he wanted to be carried.  But he's getting too big to be carried everywhere and neither of us had enough energy to walk and carry him up the hill.

So we walked and I tried to distract the Little Big Fella with talk of visiting family in the next little while, and what kindy will be like next year and so on. Eventually we reached the carpark and everyone was happy again :-)

The next door neighbours' girls had an initiation tonight as well.  The Little Big Fella was outside talking to them while we were preparing dinner and so on, when suddenly the he comes racing upstairs looking for Daddy.  They'd found a toad and had to deal with it!

So Daddy went downstairs and found his golf club.  The toad jumped through the fence so he taught the girls how to "dispatch" it.  I wonder what their parents think about that?  Being Queenslanders, I suspect they won't mind as cane toads are an introduced pest species that kill native wildlife, but still... you just never know!!!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Cooking with Mum

The Little Big Fella is very tall for his age.  In some ways, he also seems older than a three and a half year old.  So sometimes we forget that he's only 3.

Over the past week he has wanted to cook with me.  Great right?  Well, mostly.  See, cooking to him involves handling our (very) sharp knives, and stirring the pots on the stove.  And he's, well, he's rather a determined little man and is harder to distract these days.

So, I've been letting him cook with me.  (I'm pretty sure I mentioned this briefly the other day.)  He has cut up vegetables, and his bread crusts (to feed the chickens), and he handles the knives amazingly well.  He's developing ridiculously good fine motor skills!

(Meanwhile, I'm standing right there, watching him moving his fingers out of the way - on the one hand SO proud of him, and on the other considering how quickly I can get to the first aid box if he slips!)

And the other day he used the mortar and pestle for me.  Now there's a great job for a little boy!!!

Pounding away!

Checking to see if the texture is right yet ;-)
I'm sure I've mentioned before, but I believe that part of my role as a parent is to ensure my child is capable and independent enough to cope with each stage of life as it comes.  Ultimately, I want him to be able to leave home ;-)

But one of the challenges I'm finding is working out when to let him do some things.

I wonder if 3 is too young to handle a sharp knife?


I know a lot of you aren't fans of Halloween.  And I totally get that!

But it turns out that they "do" Halloween here in our little town.  They decorate their homes and/or yards, and the kids do a Trick or Treat walk, and they even had a Halloween disco.  Altogether, it's kind of odd in Australia (Halloween hasn't been a big thing here for all of my life so far), and even more odd in such a small town I guess.

When I was younger (okay, a lot younger!) I saw Halloween on American TV shows and wished we had it here!  I wanted to dress up and go and get free lollies (candy) from people!!!  It all looked like so much fun!!!

Then I got to live in the States for a year.  Holiday season was by far my favourite time of year there!  Especially Christmas and the snow and the lights and all of that.  But Halloween and Thanksgiving definitely made the build up to Christmas even better.

The people I lived with didn't do Halloween as such, but we were involved in a massive Harvest Party.

It. Was. AMAZING!!!

I have never seen so many lollies in my life!!!!  And the decorations and the fun and games and the dress ups.  It was one of the most fun times I had there... and I had some amazingly fun times!

I especially liked that they incorporated all the "fun" stuff of Halloween, without the scary stuff.  I've never been a huge fan of scary.  I don't like watching scary movies - even some edge-of-your-seat action movies are too much for me.  And I really don't like witches and goblins and ghouls and all of that.  It's just not my thing at all.  Feel free to pick on me if you wish.

So I'm glad that the Little Big Fella got to enjoy some of the good stuff as well.  We went to the Halloween disco and he got dressed up (as did I - one of the few adults who did, which was kind of embarrassing but the Little Big Fella probably wouldn't have dressed up if I didn't... and I looked great :-D).  I think the music, costumes and number of people overwhelmed him a little so we ended up leaving after about half an hour, but he wanted to go back as soon as we got home so it couldn't have been that bad :-).

And Saturday night we went on the Halloween walk.  It was really well organised, with people in town putting their names on a list at the shop if they wanted the kids to come to their house.  Then everyone met at the CWA hall and parents and kids walked around together, collecting lollies at each house.

We met at 6pm and the kids ran around while the late starters turned up ;-)  Even lots of the parents had some version of dress-up going on this time :-D

Originally there were about 8 houses that we were going to visit... turns out there were about 16.  Now, our town is pretty small.  If you're driving through you can pretty much blink and you'll miss it.  But going to 16 houses from one end of town to the other, with little kids walking (or being carried as the night goes on) takes AGES!

We didn't get home until 8:15 and by then the Little Big Fella was sooking/crying all the way home from the end of our street, then more at home while he was having a drink of water, while he was having a wash and brushing his teeth, all the way to bed, where he completely crashed in about 5 seconds.

The walk itself was great!  People were incredibly generous.  We came home with a rather large stash of lollies, chips and a few little toys.  I reckon there's enough there to last him for at least a couple of months, and that's eating one every day (which is definitely not normal in our house!).

Amazingly, the Little Big Fella didn't get scared when his friends' dad jumped out from behind a divider.  Instead, he grabbed his sword and tried to cut him down!!!  Looks like we've got ourselves a brave one ;-)

He was dressed as Buzz Lightyear for the walk and ran around for most of the night with his friend (dressed as Spiderman) and they called each other Buzz and Spiderman, rather than their real names - it was pretty cute :-)

Here's the cutie in his Buzz suit.  He really loves wearing it and wore it, off and on, for 3 days straight this week!  Actually, I think he was alternating between his Buzz suit and his swim suit, with his clothes occasionally getting a turn too :-D

So overall we enjoyed the Halloween festivities this year.  If we do it again next year, I'd like to do some more decorations (I love decorating!), possibly make a jack-o-lantern, make sure we have glow sticks or similar for our walk (easier to find each other), and maybe do something other than lollies for our treats to give out (everyone who hadn't eaten dinner especially appreciated the chips as an alternative to all that sugar).

Thursday, 1 November 2012

It's about to get bu-sy!

I flipped my calendar over this morning for the new month.  Then I flipped!  November is nearly full and it's only just started!!!

Okay, yeah.  That's an exaggeration.  Sorry.

But we have at least one party every week this month and I know there will be other things coming up that aren't on the calendar yet.

And then there's Christmas in eight weeks (that's only four pay cycles for us!).  We don't even know what we're doing for Christmas this year!

Do we have a quiet Christmas here, just the three of us?

Do we go back to our old town and have a celebration with my grandparents and my sister and her family?

Do we do the massive drive down to spend the time with the Big Fella's family in our capital?

Do we splurge and fly down to Victoria and hang with the rest of the family?  (Sorry, as much as I know you Southerners would like that (and we would too, obviously), it's not going to happen :-(  But we'll see you mid year!!!!  (Have I mentioned I got P!nk tickets and I'm going with my brother and youngest sister????  Rather excited about that one!!!!))

I guess the big question for me at the moment is, "will I keep it all together?".  See, since I've had the Little Big Fella, I've started (unfortunately rather regularly) forgetting things.

I leave things behind.

I forget to call people.

I forget to tell the Big Fella important information or pass on messages.

You could probably call it "extended baby brain".  And it sucks!  I used to be so organised and rarely forgot anything, especially something important.  Sigh.  Another element of motherhood that I wasn't prepared for ;-)

C'est la vie!

This week has been great in that we've been getting together with friends around town that we haven't seen for a while.  We got to go to playgroup on Wednesday, and we went to the park yesterday (catching up with a friend who got married on their recent trip to Fiji), and had friends over to splash in our little pool today.  It's been especially great after being in the house with wet weather over the weekend.

Oh!  And the Little Big Fella ended up having a solo swimming lesson this week because everyone else was away.  I think it was great for him to develop a bit more confidence, and also for his teacher to see that she can push him further and he'll pretty much go with it.  His big thing at the moment is putting his face in the water - he'll only do it with his goggles on!!!

My little boy makes me so frustrated sometimes, then makes me giggle the next minute.  This morning he did my exercises with me, which always makes me laugh because he's just so darned cute!  Although, after a couple of minutes he said, "I've had enough now" and toddled off.

This afternoon he sat in front of the mirror pretending to be a pirate, with one hand over his eye, whilst eating a banana and saying to the pirate in the mirror, "Argh me hearty!  Does that banana taste good?".

Yesterday he was determined that he wanted to cook with me.  We had plenty of time so he got up on his chair and helped me cut up the vegetables and stir the sauce.  By the end I was frustrated because it was taking so long (I have a vague recollection of mum saying something similar!), but I was also really proud of how well he did.  I mean, he is only three and a half and here he was using (very) sharp knives and stirring food on the stove, pretty much like a pro (obviously with very close supervision).

Next year the Little Big Fella will be going to kindy (a year of play-based learning before starting school) and it will be a major milestone for us.  One of the first major points in time where I learn to let go, and he tackles a new level of independence.

Which, of course, gets me thinking about the other major milestones we'll eventually pass - first day of school, first day of high school, first visit to the Principal's office, first job, getting married, having his first child.

Which makes me appreciate this time that we have (even though I do find it rather frustrating as well) because it's such a unique period where I get to be with him all the time, and be part of every big and little step.  It won't last forever so I'll enjoy it now... and then enjoy the next stage too :-D