Sunday, April 09, 2006

Da Weekend

Over the past few days Nic has been redeeming himself and reminding me why I married him in the first place. He's been doing a lot of housework, the cooking, the cleaning, the yard etc. And he's been taking care of Laurent a lot, giving me a break from changing diapers and rocking him to sleep at night. The issue is still there and that is not going to be one of the more fun conversations we're going to have as I'm still having issues trusting what he says to me on that subject... but despite his (major) screw-up, he is a generally genuinely good person and I've been seeing a lot of those qualities popping out. Maybe I won't string him up by his toes after all...

Saturday we went to the market and got all the things we needed to make a pasta Nic's mum used to make. (I'll post the recipe tomorrow.) It is super yummy and great for the cool weather. We made a huge batch so we shouldn't have to make dinner for several days to come! LOL

I also made out like a bandit at a resale shop and got Laurent a Gap cable knit sweater in ecru ($18), new Fred Bare shoes which are gorgeous chocolate and cream color ($10) and a very cool red coat with a bunny on it and French print on the inside from Absorba for $28. Both the sweater and coat were new, tags still on them! The shoes had maybe been worn a couple of times if at all as they're spotless. I figure it would have cost about $160 if I got it at the stores and it cost me $56... a $104 difference!!! He looks sooooooooo cute in them! (I'm including the brands only to illustrate the savings here... I generally don't care about brands, I go by if I think it's cute. I can think of lots of expensive labels I consider ugglleee and some really cheap ones I love. I am picky about what I think is cute though and do really like getting him French themed clothing or stuff with bunnies on it which several of the French name labels are big on right now, sooooo.... consider me a fashion snob if you like. *shrugs*)

I went outside and found Cade with a RAT today... a big, brown, ugly one! Dead of course. Ick! They like to scurry through the ivy on the garden walls while going to and from wherever rats go to and from and this one apparently scurried by at the wrong time. :-/ Luckily Cade was willing to trade his "prize" for a treat and Nic disposed of the rat.

We did end up getting the pram and wow - what a cool pram! Four wheel steering, shock absorbing suspension, adjustable handle, pneumatic tires, baby can face you or look out to watch the world. Pretty sweet! I still prefer to sling him but at least if we're at the doctor and I have to set him down, he has a cushy place to lay.

How we got the pram is going to end up being one of the stories that gets repeated for awhile though... as it happens, the pram was out Taylors Lakes. Not exactly next door to Hawthorn East and though I am less than great at navigating, I decided to go out and get it solo. It *should* have been a 45 min trip each way. I got lost... don't ask how, I just did... and I got reallllyy lost. In fact, I didn't realize I was at the Weribee zoo. It was pouring rain, visibility was crap, Laurent was [i]not[/i] loving the carseat - he HATES being strapped down... so I had to pull over a bajillion times to feed and comfort him getting soaked each time... and our new Bubblebub blew out. Urg. I did eventually find the place - 5 hours after I left - got the pram, gave the lady an extra $50 which she was honest enough to give back... and got lost again coming back.

Nic called, I was telling him how lost I was. ("Where are you?" "Um. Victoria. I think.") And now I was driving in the dark with a screaming baby and he told me to just sit tight where I was while one of his co-workers and he came out and he'd help me navigate back.

He'd previously told me to just ask one of the Maccas workers how to navigate and I'd told him I refused to ask them on account of their lack of brains. They proved me right 5 minutes later when I ordered a McNugget value meal and the girl asked me, "Which burger is that?" Uh. The MCNUGGET meal. With chicken McNuggets. While I was asking the McDonald's worker the street names (she had to ask 4 of her coworkers before ONE of them knew...) my cell phone battery died. So I had to run across the road to the service station where there was a payphone and call Nic. Apparently while fishing 50 cents out while juggling Laurent on my hip and the phone book kind of on my knee while he grizzled, I knocked the $50 out and someone picked it up and pocketed it before I realized it. I am stick kicking myself for this, we don't need to be throwing money away! :-( OTOH Rob, Nic's co-worker, is going to get a big bottle of a nice red wine as a thank you and as many cookies as I can bake! The person who took money that didn't belong to them will get theirs in karma.

Today we went to the annual Melbourne International Garden and Flower show today and spent most of the day there. What a GREAT day! We came away with a ton of plants... here's the list:
* 6 Helebore var. 'Alba'
* 3 Heliotrope Cherry Pie (which is dark purple oddly enough...)
* 4 Artemisia ludoviciana v. lariloba 'Valerie Finnis'... a bit different than the Powis Castle I was thinking of but still should fit in well with the roses in front!
* 6 Campanula carpatica 'Blue Chips' Bellflowers - these are going to go under our lemon tree!
* 6 Ajuga Caitlin's Giants
* 4 Penstemon 'Sour Grapes' - to go with our P. v. 'swan lake'!
* a lucky Chinese Bamboo
* a GORGEOUS chocolate-black cosmos! (I really wanted one last year but they ran out! I got it this year, HURRAH!!!)
From the same folks that I got my Odom, my Dendrobium Victoria Splendour and my Sharry Baby from I got: a cymbidium Freeling Green Ice (lime green petals with a white/red speckled inner) and an odom. Stam fordiense orchid that is BIG with TWO flower spikes! It was one of their stud plants but the guy didn't want to haul it back home so his loss is my gain! The petals are chocolate-purple and yellow speckled with a soft lavender inner.

Annnddd because we simply can NOT leave the flower show without yet more iris...
SEVEN iris from Tempo Two. This brings us up to 40 something odd iris here! LOL New tall beardeds include Touch of Mahogany, Cast A Spell, Witches Sabbath, Bronzette Star, Melon Rita and Median Bearded Iris Oklahoma Bandit
We didn't get any roses... I know, I know... shocking isn't it? And I actually INTENDED to get some this time. Again, shocking I know, since I've been saying we need more roses like we need a hole in the head. (We have over 20 kinds already...) But I actually did need two standards to go in the front garden. I wanted something in the yellowish-orangeish-chocolate spectrum... maybe a Julia's Rose or a Remember Me or something. We found a stall but they didn't have them there with them, so we'll have to take a day trip out to their nursery sometime. All in all, an AWESOME day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To make it even better, this was Laurent's first flower show earth side! He attended last year but of course he was just a little bump in my tummy at that point! He was totally fascinated with all the flowers and colors. I can hardly wait to start planting some of the stuff tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Warning: Long rant, best to just ignore...

Today I am really kind of very mixed up...

The day started out really good, we had a great night of sleep (blessed sleep!) after L's chiro treatment with only one waking at 5 am for a feed. I still can't believe that! He slept really well during the day as well, a solid 2 hour nap in the morning which has happened seldom enough I can count the instances on one hand! We're going to see the chiro again tomorrow for a follow-up. I got a lot of cleaning done while he was asleep so I was feeling really good about my nice clean house, as I'm a neat freak even if I do live with a man who is the polar opposite and have accepted a lot of messy-clutter following Laurent's birth. Then

Okay, now that THAT is out and vented, I did have an otherwise really good day. Laurent is just such a love that even when I’m royally P.O’ed at Nic, I am just overjoyed with him. I just love him so much... his chubby little rolls, his cheeky grin, absolutely everything about him is PERFECT! I love him, I love him, I love him!!!!!!!!!!!!! Besides that, he was happy, well rested and his tummy wasn’t hurting (I love the chiro!) Plus I got in some training with the dogs, got the house cleaned up and I went to the resale shop to see if our stuff had been sold (it had) and Laurent found this little Fisher-Price piano thingie he went so nuts over I got it for him. He loovvvveeesss it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He literally banged on it (he knows how to use buttons just fine) the whole way home burbling and laughing in delight and continued for almost a solid hour till nap time! I think that'll probably be the best $4.20 I've spent for a while! I love doing stuff to make him happy! *squishies my little munchkin* Then when we got home we had FLUFFY MAIL! I'd ordered 3 bubblebubs a few weeks back and we got them today... a funky cows print a rocking horse one and one of the new rainbow collection side-snappers. They're all really nice of course but the rainbow one is YUMMY! So soft! So pretty! So fluffy! It's almost a shame to put it on his bum... LOL

You know, going back to the whole rant about DH's hobby, I think part of my resentment towards it is not only all of the things I said before (and those are VERY real) but also the fact that since moving to Australia I've had to give up both of my hobbies pretty much entirely. They just don't really exist here, or at least not anywhere NEAR us... they'd both require 2-3 hour drives each way to go to weekly practice and there's no room for daily practice either which you pretty much need if you intend to actually do them, which I didn't know before I moved here and I do resent being forced to give up. Initially Nic had talked about how we could look at moving out a ways but then he pulls the whole, "Well I like the city and I'll be miserable but whatever..." martyr bit and there are the practical considerations as far as his job, commute time and Laurent's schooling. I still have really mixed feelings about having to give up two things which I basically defined my life by for years just to move here with him. I love Australia... I wouldn't want to move back to the US for anything... but I hate that I had to give up these things to be here and by extension give up a major part of myself. I've tried to find other interests but there's nothing really to take their places.

Okay, well this seriously counts as a novel length post and I'm still really mixed up and could ramble on for ages more but it’s 10:30 so it’s time for bed for me... maybe sleep will improve my ability to think everything out.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Well we went to the chiro today... she is super nice, very gentle and actually knew how to pronounce his name correctly! That's not the OMG part though...

The OMG part is this: she said she could tell exactly what was wrong with him, described his symptoms and did the corrections thern and there. We had 6 big projectile vomits in the 10-15 minutes we were in the waiting room and we haven't had even ONE since! Moreover, he FELL ASLEEP UNWRAPPED, WITHOUT ROCKING, WITHOUT ANY FUSSING AND STAYED ASLEEP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (That's the OMG part... in case you couldn't tell.)

I think I'm in shock.

Now I'm sure you're probably thinking that's not terribly remarkable but let me tell you that not ONCE in 5 months and 20 days on this planet has this baby EVER just fallen asleep or been able to sleep while unwrapped or without a lot of rocking or without 5-6 instances of waking back up wailing... let alone all of those things!

Anyone in the Melbourne area: her name is Genevieve Keating in Hawthorn, her phone number is 9815-3937 and I can't recomend her highly enough!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The stuff she was talking about was absolutely fascinating... I think chiro just got added to the list of things I want to be when I grow up. (Along with dog training/behaviourist, midwife, baker and child fashion designer. )

Monday, April 03, 2006

Coming soon: a clever title

Well at 5 months and 3 weeks, Laurent has hit upon his first well and truly annoying behaviour...

He is experimenting a lot with different sounds and noises and up until now they've all been the sort which make a mother's heart melt... sweet little coos, burbles, chirps, little raspberries and chattering noises. He's also doing the syllables... mum mum mum, mmm mmm mmm, buh buh buh, dah dah dah etc. Simply adorable! Well, his big new thing is SQUEALING. It's this really glass-breaking, ear-drum splitting high pitched squeal too. He is enchanted with this new noise and has been making it all day long and of course right in my ear. He got up at 7am and by 9am I had a massive headache! I really hope this is a phase that doesn't last long!

We are going to the chiro tomorrow and I hope she'll be able to help with a lot of the problems we're having right now. At six months, most babies tend to let up a bit according to the books. Well apparently L hasn't read those books because if anything within the past weeks he's gotten worse despite nothing new or irritating being in my diet.

We got the photos back from our modeling photo shoot! YIPPIIEEE!!!!!!! *twirls and dances about* We finally have a nice family portrait! (You wanna know the weird thing? In a lot of my recent photos I look a lot like my second oldest half-sister. I'm not sure what it is but just within the last few months it's been really sticking out at me, despite our not looking much alike before. ) Of course, if you want the others you have to pay the photographer $50 on top of the agency cost. Pfft. But he's my baby and he's adorable so even if I do smell a scheme of course I'm going to buy them. I'm such a sucker. *rolls eyes* I still plan to go to a proper photographer and have a series done for his six month half-birthday.

Wow... hard to believe it's already been half a year with my wonderful little man! I'm taken back by how much I just adore him still. I always knew I'd feel intensely over my child but it's one thing to know it and another thing to experience it. He is my most precious baby and so many times throughout the day I find myself just cuddling into him, inhaling that sweet baby smell and enjoying the warmth of him in my arms.

A rant: As I mentioned DH earned a special gift certificate to Chaddy mall the other day. While I was there I did get some nice hats and such for L, as well as a plush bunny and shirts for Nic plus socks for myself and a nifty toy today, a Fisher-Price Peek-A-Block thingie. But I was really struck (once again) by how many ADORABLE clothes there are for little girls... I mean, gods, I want a girl just so I can have a reason to BUY some of these things! There's actually been a few things I've bought just because they were too cute NOT to buy. I'll use them if I ever have a girl or turn them into gifts. The other day though, I saw about 90 things for little girls that were so cute I would have bought them without even looking at the price tags. (On second thought, maybe it's a GOOD thing I don't have a girl! I'd be bankrupt!)

But for little boys, there isn't HALF the selection and so much of it is UG-LLLEEEE!!! *whine whinge whine* Don't get me wrong, there are some things I like: big chunky sweaters, the cargo pants and the beanie hats. I do like some of the color combos they have out as well: the teal-blues, creams, ecrus, browns, smoked reds and logan greens. Some of the styles are very cute and innovative as well. There's still not half the number there is for girls though.

I also utterly detest the current trend for messy "scribble" embroidery and steriotyped CRAP being emblazoned all over them. What is with these embroideries that look like a demented 3 year old made them? I saw dozens of shirts and sets where I liked the color till I saw the ugly scribbly stick figures. URG! YARG! BLERG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The only other option is of course stereotyping your child... big tough trucks, cranes, planes and of course macho sports.

Now I don't have an objection to boys liking those things... Laurent is currently in fascinated with trains, so yeah, I've bought him stuff with trains on it. I also have stuff with butterflies and flowers. (Yeah, on a boy. Anyone who has a problem with that can just build a bridge and get over it.) My objection is to trying to fit them into those stereotypes and automatically equate little boy with macho stuff. Why can't they make CUTE boys clothing!?! DH says it's all stereotype and I agree. Little girls are supposed to be cute and pretty, little boys are supposed to be rough and tumble sporters. Heavens forfend a little boy should be just seen as cuddly, sweet and cute! I'm sooo tempted to learn to use the bloody machine proper, serger and all, so I can design/make my own clothing for him! PHEW! I just had to get that out... it's one of my biggest pet peeves!

The other thing is that we’re thinking of buying another pram as our first one busted. It wasn’t exactly cheap but it’s locking bits where it folds-up and opens up aren’t locking into place and since we bought it well before he was born during a nesting urge moment, it’s out of the 12 month warranty. :-( The new one would most likely be a Bertini Bidwell which is kind of neat. (Shhhh... don’t tell anyone I said that or I’ll get drummed out of the AP ranks for saying I like a pram! LOLOLOL )

Other than that (whole books worth) there isn't too much going on at the moment and it's late so I'm outta here...

Sunday, April 02, 2006


I stayed up way too late the past few nights and have been sort of mentally bogged down because one of my dogs will most likely have to be put to sleep in the next week or so. We've tried pretty much everything with no real success and not any good options from this point out. I'm really struggling with it because I have worked SO hard with this particular dog and there is a sort of bond that is there that isn't with the others. Not that I love her more or them less... but I guess in so many ways her journey has just been entangled with mine in a different way than theirs. I promised her when I rescued her that her nightmare was over, she would never have to suffer again. Unfortunately this is one time I can't fix the problem and when I think of all the little moments and all the work and breakthroughs and little things like when she curled up with me while I was pregnant for the first time and started to allow petting... I feel all the more like a failure for not being able to fix it. Even though logically I understand, on an emotional level I feel like I should be able to do something because she is depending on me to. We went into the vets after they closed last night to have a chat. The vet pretty much said that I shouldn't feel bad, I've tried everything and DH was agreeing and I know they mean well but... yk?

Several years back before I started college I was working at a vets office. At one point we had one of the techs bring in their dog, a very aged golden retriever, to be put down. He was very old, trembling on his stiff legs and even the effort of standing up was obviously taxing. His tail gently swished as he looked up at everyone. Everyone stroked him, softly so as not to cause pain to arthritic joints. Hanna told him what a good boy he was, how much she loved him, that it was okay to go and she understood and we all helping him to lay down on the thick pad of blankets we'd arranged. He relaxed into our hands, turning himself over to gentle touches and soft words. The way he acted and the way he looked, he knew. I know it's anthromorphizing but looking into that dogs eyes at that moment, I can't believe anything else. With the support and care of everyone he laid his head on her lap and sighed deeply before his body relaxed and the shot was administered. Later it was time for the vet and I to take him out of the room and she (the vet) was crying. I wasn't and she asked if I wasn't sad. I told her I didn't find it sad... sad was for dogs who died alone and unloved, dogs who hurt and suffered with no one to care. This dog, I had looked into his eyes - he was ready to go. He'd lived a wonderful life and loved it but now he was tired and his bones hurt and breathing hurt and he'd held on as long as he had for Hanna I think. He'd made his peace and he was content to leave this earthly plane surrounded by friends. He would still be with her though not in body. I felt we'd done the last kind thing we could for a dog who'd given his all. His death was gentle, loving, respectful, dignified. We should all be so lucky. I found it touching and was honored to see this old fellow exit this life with the quiet strength and a staid sense of dignity he'd lived with and while I was sad for Hanna, I wasn't for the dog... he'd lived well and died well.

I've met other dogs like that... with my own Bria, she was quieter around the time and I'd left to get her some of the tinned food that was tempting her tastebuds this week, only to find her dying when I arrived back. She'd held on until I returned and passed away in my arms. She too was ready I think, though I definitely wasn't and would have done anything to be able to heal her. When I look at Isabella, right now I just don't see a dog who is done living life. She's not ready to give up just yet and because of that I think I'm not ready.

Nic has been really sweet about it all. He knew how much it has been bothering me and has brought me bouquets (yes, multiple) of roses and just been overall considerate and comforting as possible. I'm still going to talk to one last person. This was actually advice from my vet. I love my vet... she is a really wonderful person as well as a wonderful vet and we have a similar sense of (warped) humor. She doubts he'll know anything and I know too but I have to check anyway. Even if it's a 1 in 100000 chance, I have to know beyond the shadow of a doubt. She told me she knew I was that kind of person and I should talk to this guy if only for my own piece of mind. She's right, it would haunt me forever if I didn't.

At the end of it all we were talking a bit about the other dogs. She was asking after Sierra, who a few months back had a dental abcess for no apparent reason over the single most difficult to opperate on tooth in her head. We opted to give antibiotics for 33 days. Si pranced into the vets office to show it off and gulped down her medications cheerful as you please with only a few cookie crumbs to 'hide' it in. The vet told her she ought to be ashamed of how easy she was to medicate. See, my dogs never go in for normal problems. No colds or fleas or anything like that. Oh no! My dogs aspire toward the bizare, unusual and just plain weird instead. The time before Cade managed to have an *cough* penis issue. (Don't ask...) Every time we see her she likes to tell me, "Amanda, your dogs are just Special!" This time she told me, "You know, you really need to get a normal dog." I replied, "Well, I have Sierra...she's kind of normal." Then she reminded me about the medication, so I had to tell her that Sierra took the entire rest of the 33 days worth without even the pitiful cookie crumbs to hide it in. Okay... so my dogs really are "Special!"

On the up side of things, I'm coming along pretty well with my first knitting project... a scarf for L. It's a really nice teal-ish blue color which matches the color of blue in his eye. (For anyone who doesn't know by now, his left eye is half brown/half blue and his right is all brown, so that's not a typo!) I want to try and make a bunny face by fulling, which is like felting except not with loose wool. Then I'm going to embroider it on one end of the scarf. Cute eh?

Another really neat thing is that Nic has been doing a lot of extra stuff at work and apparently his boss has noticed this and gave him a $100 gift certificate! OMG!!! I could hardly believe it and decided that instead of spending it on purely practical stuff (bills, groceries etc.) we could use it just for stuff we wanted instead. So I got Laurent some really cute socks and a beanie hat with a tassle that matches the scarf I'm making (!), a pair of bunny ears on a headband and a sweet little plush bunny as well. I got myself a little mobile phone holder with a kitty embroidered on it which looks just like our Tache! We got a bit to eat as well, which we usually don't do because it's too expensive when we can do it ourselves. And we've still got about $40 leftover and I know Nic wants to get some Warhammer stuff but I also want to see if I can get some new socks and t-shirts for him as well at Target.

I've been absolutely awful about training the dogs, just clicking a few things they already know here and there. I'm just way too tired to try and think any harder at the moment. L has been... well, I don't KNOW what he's been. He's been refluxing a lot more lately. He has these awful smelling burps at times. He's not sleeping well at all. Every 15 minutes he wakes back up crying and arching his back so we're rocking him round the clock and not getting any sleep ourselves. We're seeing the chiro Friday and if she can't fix it we're going to go to meds for the reflux and see if that makes a difference.

Dinner yesterday:
Nic's Beef WOSAOGS
aka Beef with oyster sauce and other good stuff

500 g stir fry beef (or cut a rump steak into strips)
2 cloves garlic, diced
2 cm piece ginger, diced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
50ml light soy
1/3 - 1/2 cup white sugar
30ml oyster sauce
1/2 cup water
pinch chilli flakes

Peel and dice garlic and ginger. Peel onion and slice thinly. Put aprox 2 T oil into medium fry pan and saute onion, garlic and ginger till just coloured. Add beef strips, aprox 500g worth, brown. Add light soy, oyster sauce, water, chilli flakes and white sugar. Boil till sugar carmelizes and bubbles up. WATCH CAREFULLY! You want to stop just before it carmelizes, as it will finish carmelizing/thickening as it cools. Too much makes it bitter and acrid. Serve with rice and miso soup on the side, garnish with spring onion. If you like your dishes spicey, saute the chilli flakes with the onion, garlic and ginger in a well ventilated kitchen.

Dinner today: Roast leg of lamb with rosemary and thyme, with fresh garden salad and camomile tea- super yummy and one of my favorites... it's dead easy, you take a leg of lamb, chuck on some olive oil, toss on some crushed garlic cloves, a bit of black pepper, some salt, rosemary and thyme and roast! YUUUUMMMMMMMM...

I Love My
( . .)
(") (")
Baby Bunny!