Friday, December 29, 2006

We spent most of today hiking around the Yarra, seeing the waterfalls and having a look-see at the native submerged and emergent plants surrounding the area. It's a pretty place, though I generally prefer a little more remoteness but it's nice and relatively close so the saying about beggars not being choosers applies! ;-) (I will gripe about the clueless idiot owners of the chocolate lab who let their dog illegally off-lead, had the further idiocy to allow it to be completely out of control and keep approaching me about 5x despite my asking them to control it, the last time under the sole supervision of their 5 year old son, whereupon it shook slimey-water all over me. Joy.)

One of my new favorite photos! My three hooligans and my squidgey bubba! (holy heck is Hope big! Where'd my puppy go?!?)

One of Bunny Lala with Nic

I decided to take Laurent out to explore the rocks a bit and get a closer look at several of the plants which were surrounding the falls. I saw some very interesting ones that I'm trying to figure out the names of.

Laurent exploring one of the little pools made where the water was rushing over the rocks

Watching the moorhens and their chicks, chanting "ere! ere! ERE!" (there!) excitedly. He is in love with pointing out birds at the moment. Even the (umpteen million) pigeons in the city warrant pointing out... LOL

A quick shot of a red-rump... they're a bit special to us as they're a bird we saw outside the hospital when Laurent was born, which is unusual in down-town Melbourne! We took it as a sign Nic's mum was keeping watch over us, in the form of a little birdie. ;-)

A curious rainbow lorikeet who flew down to have a chatter and a nibble of the bush.

And obviously NOT at the park but a neat shot Nic took of me and Lala Christmas morning.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Finally! MUM'S the word!

Cute gushy moment here...

For anyone who MISSED the previous posts, Laurent's first words have been, in order of arrival: "Dada", followed quickly by "Dagh" (dog), "Dagh-dagh"(Cade), "Sisi" (Sierra's nickname), "Tas"(Tache), "khee" (kitty), a noise mimicing a miaow and "Goo gurr" (good girl, always refering to Hope, who is told she's a good girl about a jillion times a day). Geeze, can't tell he lives in an animal loving household can you???? :rolls eyes:

More recently "ca-cka"(cracker), "unna ca-cka?" (want a cracker... to the dogs, who YES, always do want a cracker) "um-um-UM" (yum yum), "meh-ohn" (melon, as in watermelon), "toas" (toast), nahnah (banana), "fisss" (fish) etc.

Even more recently we've heard him mimic words like "cee-rooo" (cherio), "ta-koo" (thank you", "uss ah?" (what's that) and "eah!!! at-eah!" (there! or that-there! while pointing enthusiastically from me asking, "What's that there? What's there? What do you see?) and FINALLY... today, at long last...
"MUM!".... "Mumumum... mum mum MUMMA!!!"

Alas, I wasn't there to hear it. This was blurted out when Dada had taken Lala out on a walk.

Nic told me and Bunny Lala DID say it again when he got back and saw me and has been chanting it since, as I think he's caught onto the fact he can get whatever he wants by indulging me in calling me mum. I need to remember how long I waited for this when he's older and whines, "but muu-uuuuummmmmmmm...." ;-)

Monday, December 25, 2006

The morning started out with Laurent eatting breakfast. Unfortunately I think he's been watching the dogs a little too closely as he INSISTED on eatting it doggy style.

We throught we might have to call dinner off if we had to run to attend the storage place but as it was Nic called them and talked to someone else who agreed that we did NOT have to come in that morning but could do so after Christmas. Urg... how much stress could have been saved if I didn't have to worry what was going on from the first jerk! Bah humbug to him!

Anyhow we ended up having Jayne over, as well as Nic's cousin Nina and her daughter Rachel and son Jack. It was soooo good to have such lovely company, as Christmas has been rather quiet and solemn the past few years!

(Rachel, left and Nina, right)

Dinner turned out very nice, despite not having my traditional foods there... the Christmas log was done by a new owner who bought out Regal de France which is now La Tropezienne Provencale Patisserie, so it was different than we'd had before but still quite nice. We figured next year we'd throw a huge party since we want to do all the Christmas deserts. (croc en bouche, christmas log, christmas pudding, pumpkin pie, frosted cranberry squares and christmas biscuits) As it was, this year the entree was a nice camembert with crackers and Yellowglen Bella Rose. For the main, we had turkey which we'd brined in cranberry-maple brine and of course stuffing... with an oven-dried oiled/herbed rustic style Pain (French: bread); cranberry, celery, onion and a few herbs but no nuts of course, surrounded in bacon rashers before stuffing. That was accompanied by Nic's mum's potato dish which is a French cottage style potato dish; Tian de Legumes which is a mildly spicey vegetable caserole with chickpeas, eggplant, tomatos and onions with a bit of chilipepper, basil and aged cheese; the bouche de noel, which was a traditional chocolate with a small raspberry filling and the christmas pudding, flambed of course, with vanilla custard. Wines served with that were 2005 Moscato d' Asti which I could drink all day... as well as a 2005 Angrove's Long Row Chardonnay and Paul Mas Winery's La Font 2005 Vin de Pays D'Oc Marsanne.

We also had the candles lit the whole time to represent those we've lost but whom are never far, Nic's grandfather and his mum.

After dinner, Laurent got a fair share of booty...

* a wading pool (he got that one early obviously)
* a bunch of pool toys (bucket, two scoups sized for the ball, green watering can, green toy boat)
* a bunch of ball-pit plastic balls that will go in the other half of his wading pool instead of sand since we're going to do a sand-pit in our new home outside and it's less messy ;-)
* a kids mobile phone which looks and sounds like the real deal as he's so keen on constantly abducting ours, seen here being shown to Jack

* a toy train
* a green jingle-bell music instrument

* and a cheapo toy lawn mower that he found and fell in love with so much that we had to get it despite my aversion to crappy plastic toys!

* a French photo frame which holds a photo of us and then a photo of him as a newborn
Nina, Jack and Rachel also got him a Leap Frog interactive singing book that he loves! It reads out a line of the story and then asks you to find the and there is a little square block with pictures of various animals. He inserts the proper animal into the slot and it keeps reading and sings a little song about the animal that was "found". Here's the photo sequence for that gift:

Really getting into unwrapping his gifts, he flomped straight into it, laying face down half-hidden by paper!

He sat back up to consider things...

Had some help getting it out...

Discovered the best part about the book: it has BUTTONS TO PUSH!!!

Was totally puzzled how the HECK they got people inside the book... he's got his ear to the "speaker" trying to figure it out! ROTFLMAO!

So that TOTALLY blew my intention to mostly get "classic" wooden toys that inspired imagination and that he would play with instead of them playing for him. Pft. I did plan on the balls and pool toys, and the mobile but I wanted to get a pusher (couldn't find one that was sturdy for under $169) or found them but they were out (building blocks made of polished tree cuttings - really neat/organic shapes, the wooden toy train with his name never came in etc.) Either way HE'S happy and loves his stuff! LOL

Jayne, Liam and Sienna got him a group of farm animal figures (horse, cow, sheep, sow and a goat) which he's had fun alternately looking at while looking at Nina, Jack and Rachel's gift (which also features farm animals) and making swim through the ball-pool this morning and giving a ride on the toy boat. From Nina, Jack and Rachel, we got a bottle of Riccadonna Asti and a Pandoro Classico cake which look to be simply sinful! Jayne also brought us a beautiful set of candles... for those of you who haven't seen them yet, they are hand-poured soy candles with pure essential oils to scent them and are simply DIVINE... I highly recomend them to anyone wanting to get a gift as they smell gorgeous! (I have one burning in my study now and it is scenting the whole house, straight down to our bedroom in the front... yum!) She also got us a lovely bottle of Aspen Estate 2006 Chardonnay which should do nicely with a zesty-spicey Mexican dish I think!

Nic got a mug from Laurent which Laurent had painted himself and I had put his hand-prints on with a message that said merry christmas to daddy from Laurent. (We set him up at the shop with the mug, some paints and sponges. I painted the inside, handle and helped with his hands and the message obviously)
Nic had earlier in the year lost his wedding ring... don't ask how... so my gift to him was a replacement of that.

My gifts were my planted aquarium and the betta you've seen and of course my lovely little puppy who is currently filthy again after umpteen baths... the mud-magnet! The tank is so far decked out with a simple array of plants: A. v. 'nana', Crypt wendtii, E parvula, V. dubyana and Milfoil.

The dogs and cat got their fair share in treats and biscuits and during the whole event managed to securely plaster themselves all over everyone. Cade in particular planted himself between Nina and Jack and firmly entrenched himself for a good cuddle. They were fairly well behaved aside from Hope being a bit of a stinker getting pats by jumping up on people and pushing her nose through the door to the dining room a few times. Buh... it's hard keeping an eye on 3 swirling dogs while doing everything else and trying to chat and eat and serve dishes! ;-)

We forgot to hand out the Christmas crackers, I'd handed them to Nic but he set them aside presuming to do them after the gifts. Unfortunately Laurent took SOOOOO long to open his gifts, everyone was pretty tired by the end and we out and out forgot! So instead, I grabbed two of them and told Nic to choose a hand. He chose my left and we pulled the first cracker with him winning. He got a teddy-bear charm (!) and a little French joke. We pulled the other one and I won, ending up with (appropriately enough) a little fish charm and a rather interesting French quote. We pulled a third one with Laurent, who got a little fish charm to match mine and a joke about a baby going to bed! LOL All three of us pulled one this morning because they're just so fun and we got a little heart charm, which is very precious.

So that was our Christmas! We hope everyone else had a gorgeous Christmas and a beautiful New Years and we hope you'll all drop by soon!!!

Trying to get our Christmas picture ready and the dogs pictures so stay tuned tonight for more pics!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Icky things

Today started out with the storage company ringing and griping me out for being late on payment. I said, "I know. I got the e-mail notice this morning." (About 3 hrs earlier, don't you think you're jumping the gun a bit?!?) He says, "Well it shows on our computer that you've been late before", like I'm trying to scam him. I'm sitting here thinking, dude... we've got in excess of $25K of antiques and art stored, you *really* think we're going to ditch and run?

I point out that the interesting thing about being LATE is I never got the e-mail notice despite having signed up for it specifically after recieving a late notice in the post the previous time after you didn't send the bill in the first place. The reason I signed up for online notice is to avoid that happening again!

So I said I'm going to go online and pay but if it doesn't work I'll come in later today. Of course it being almost Christmas (French thing - it's all on the 24th... so tomorrow is our party etc.) we're already, like, y'know... just a wee bit busy? So no, I didn't get in today and by the time I got bubs down and got online I can't access their freaking payment system, so who wants to bet I get another charming call early in the morning.

The other really ick thing... I can't get ingredients for my Christmas foods here. There are just some American ingredients that do NOT seem to exist here and there aren't any decent substitutes for. Hence no pumpkin pie. Very bummed about that! Actually have had a hard time finding pumpkin PERIOD, tinned or in pumpkin form. Seems Aussies call all Squash "pumpkin", Pumpkin (sweet, orange halloween type) is also a pumpkin but don't carry it at any stores anyhow and only call weeny yellow type of squash a Squash. Man is that confusing! No Frosted Cranberry Sqares either as I can't find the right kind of lemon jello or the desert topping or the right kind of cranberry-jelly. I've tried various jellies here and it doesn't set up the way I need it to. The desert topping is too liquidy and melts on it instead of staying light-n-fluffy with bits of soft cream cheese. The only cranberry jelly I've found is way too watery, meant for spreading on sandwhiches. I tried to make snickerdoodles, one of the several Christmas cookies I've always made on Christmas... except no Crisco, so where it was supposed to be butter/crisco mixed together I just used butter and it turned out to make mutant cookies.
I don't care if it's juvinile: Christmas isn't the same without those foods and I'm sulking and whining about how UNFAIR it is that Nic gets to have ALL *his* Christmas tradition foods and I don't even get ONE of mine. *pouts*
On a nicer note, I goofed around with my macro on the camera and took this photo of my fishie.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

1. I've come to realize that my ex... Ex???
2. I am listening to...French music.
3. I it's going out of fashion, once I get to know you.
4. I love... my family which of course includes my critters, dogs in general and anything to do with them or learning or photography or gardening or scrapbooking or any of my hobbies!
5. My best friend(s)... are an amazingly diverse lot of people.
6. My first kiss... happened after I nearly flattened the guy involved.
7. I wish I was... able to help those around me when they're hurt and magically fix all their problems, even though I know they need to go through them to grow and that believe the universe puts us all where we need to be at the time we need to be there. I hate seeing others struggle or suffer without help, even when the best help is to care about instead of care for.
8. I don't like it when people... don't say what they think. I'd rather know their honest opinion and deal with it, be it good or bad, than either not be told or told something less than their honest thoughts and not know what's really going on.
9. True love... is amazingly strong, despite being a lot of work to maintain on both ends.
10. Marriage is... one of the best, hardest, most challenging and occasionally most maddening things to ever happen to me.
11. Somewhere someone is thinking... gawds, this chick writes too many freaking LONG blog posts... what a self-involved loonie! ;-p
12. I'll always... be eternally grateful to have my bubba because he is just the most amazing little person, be dog-mad, behaviour-crazy and love to learn
13. I have a secret crush on... no one actually. Ho-hum. I'm boring now.
14. The last time I cried was because... I was really tired and frusterated with Murphy figuring I was his favorite person to grant extra special favours to.
15. My cell purple. My old one had cute little anime baubles attached but the new one doesn't have a spot to hook them. It did have a sparkly diamond bling thingie but it got knocked off.
16. When I wake up in the morning...I wish babies came installed with a snooze button!
17. Before I go to sleep at night... I get a nice massage, talk with Nic about the day and think about what's coming up.
18. Right now I am thinking about... a friend of mine who is finding the strength within her to make a very scarey life change and take charge of her own fate.
19. Babies are...cute. And tiring. And make me clucky my stupid hormones INSIST on trying to con my brain into believing pregnancy really wasn't that bad (*chokescoughssputters*) and in fact it was rather fun and geeze, we want another bubba because newborns are so cute and sweet and cuddly and they turn into toddlers which are charming creatures. :rolls eyes: It's not like I don't HAVE a 14 month old who is still very much a bubba, a puppy, 2 other dogs I'm trying to train and would eventually like to go back to school and work. As I said, my head knows. My hormones are stupid, lying, clucky things who conspire against me!
20. I get on myspace... um. Not at all? *points to the blogger address*
21. Today I... spent most of the day playing with L and training with the dogs and sulking because my MG X-mas party was a bust and now we've got enough fruit salad to feed an army in the fridge! ;-p
22. Tonight I will... rock my bubby down after having lovely snuggles, play with the dogs adn train some more, maybe bake some muffins and have a nice drink of irish creme after Laurent has gone to sleep
23. Tomorrow I will... do much the same, except I've got a few bills to pay online and we're going to go into the city at some point for some puplet socializing and Chrissy shopping. :-)
24. I really want... a sense of peace amid the feelings of unsettledness and change that have been part of the past few weeks. I know that change is inevitable and must happen to prevent stagnation but sometimes, when I find something nice and lovely and start feeling comfortable in it, I wish it'd be the same for a little while before shifting and redefining itself! ;-)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Photos from today at the Royal Botanical Gardens

Since Laurent was itching to have a good run-around and Hope needed to practice the whole "standing like a pretty show-dog" thing around distractions, we decided to go down to the Royal Botanical Gardens. Laurent spent about 5 hours running as fast as he could toddle, looking at everything and flirting with everyone. A good day from Bunny Lala perspective! Hope of course came with and we actually met someone who KNEW WHAT BREED SHE WAS!!! I was shocked. Till I listened to the accent. American. *sigh* Natch. At any rate, bubby photos first:

He's been doing this cuddly thing lately which is just all cute and melty-moment causing for me. He'd toddled over to show me a clover flower he'd picked.

Now THIS is a typical photo of Laurent these days... RUNNING. Or toddling at a fast clip anyhow.

Loved the sense of space and the sense of light and darkness in this one.
Running after Hope... the best thing about a bubba and a puppy is that they tend to tucker each other out and have a tremendous amount of fun doing so. And I heartily bless large open spaces for providing a spot to wear the little goobers out!

Now for Hope photos! :-)

This was just a random cute shot.

And now we pretend to be show-dogs! The ground wasn't quite flat so her rump is less squareish than it should be and I want to teach her to hold her head more arched/further back over the shoulder a bit.

Better, especially considering it was a freestack... but still needs some polishing! ;-)

Weird angle but cute pic and I like her against the flowers cuz she's such a little cutie!

NOW... I was tagged by Amanda... so here goes!

I've done 95 of the 142 dumbest things. If I didn't do more by miscounting...

(X) Smoked a cigarette
( ) Smoked a cigar
( ) Tried weed
(X) Kissed a member of the same sex
(X) Drank Alcohol
(X ) Are/Been in love
( ) Been Dumped
(X) Shoplifted (I was tiny though and didn't actually *know* I'd shop-lifted
till after I got home and showed my mum what I'd gotten... master criminal
( ) Been Fired
(X ) Been in a fist fight
(X) Snuck out of a parents house (not that they cared but I went up and down
the side of our house all the time
(X) Had feelings for someone who didnt have them back
( ) Been Arrested
( ) Made out with a stranger
( ) Gone out on a blind date
(X) Had a crush on an older person
(X) Skipped school
( ) Slept with a co-worker
(X) Seen someone/ something die
( ) Had a crush on one of your MySpace friends (nope, but not on my space!)
( ) Been to Paris (Am seriously jealous of you Amanda, even if it was with
the oldies! Though I don't see how this is one of the stupidest things you
could do really...)
( ) Been to Spain
(X) Been on a plane - seeing as how it's the easiest way to get from the US
to Australia...
( ) Thrown up from drinking - nope, even when I was in college and we had
the 'feast of bacchus' going on I never got sick or had a hang-over... which
isn't to say I didn't drink my fair share...
(X) Eaten Sushi - Yum! But only the Westernized cooked kind since the only
fish I like are the pretty ones in aquariums
( ) Been snowboarding/ skiing (Do snow-shoes count?)
( ) Met someone BECAUSE of MySpace
( ) Been in an abusive relationship
(X) Taken painkillers (I've managed to do enough stupid things to warrant
(X) Liked someone who you cant have
(X) Laid on your back and watched cloud shapes go by
(X) Made a snow angel (I lived in MICHIGAN... of course I did!)
(X) Had a tea party
(X) Flown a Kite
(X) Built a sandcastle
(X) Gone puddle jumping
(X) Played dress up
(No comments on age during all of the above...)
(X) Jumped into a pile of leaves (again, I lived in Michigan... besides
snow, the other thing we have is trees. And cows. And corn.
(X) Gone sledding
(X) Cheated while playing a game (but you're SUPPOSED to use cheats on
computer games!)
(X) Been lonely
(X) Fallen asleep at work/ school (my last job was at the states largest
boarding kennel, at times we had upwards of 500 dogs and too few staff. You
started running... and I mean RUNNING... at 8 am promptly, didn't stop till
8 pm or later and had one 15 minute break in which EVERYONE inhailed food
and crashed for a few!)
( ) Used a fake/ someone elses ID
(X) Watched a sunset (and sunrise for that matter)
(X) Felt an earthshake (yup, I was jumping in the middle of a bog - the land
and everything jumped, including the HUGE old trees. Very, very cool!)
(X) Killed a snake (accidentally ran over the poor thing on my bike while
biking through a state park)
(X) Been Tickled (Do it and DIE... I hate being tickled!)
(X) Been robbed/ vandalised (car broken into)
( ) Robbed someone
(X) Been misunderstood
(X) Pet a deer (several times, again, I lived in Michigan... Bambi is
considered overgrown vermin)
(X) Won a contest
( ) Been suspended from school
(X) Had a detention
(X) Been in a car/motorcycle accident
( ) Had/ Have/ Getting braces
(X) Ate a whole pint of ice cream in one night (just a pint???)
(X) Had deja vu
(X) Danced in the moonlight
(X) Hated the way you look
( ) Pole danced (agreeing with Amanda - not on your life!)
(X) Questioned your heart
(X) Been obsessed with Post-It notes (strangely enough... they were rainbow
coloured and fruit-scented so that kind of makes it less weird... maybe.)
(X) Squished barefoot through the mud
(X) Been lost (Frequently. Can't read a map to save my life!)
(X) Been to the opposite side of the world
(X) Swam in the ocean / Gulf
(X) Felt like you were dying
(X) Cried yourself to sleep
(X) Played cops and robbers
(X) Recently coloured with crayons/ coloured pencils/ markers (I have a
bubba... sue me!)
(X) Sang karaoke (I'd be hastily escorted off the stage with my voice...)
(X) Paid for a meal with only coins
(X) Done something you told yourself you wouldnt
( ) Made prank phonecalls
(X) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose (Coke. Ouch.)
(X) Kissed in the rain
( ) Written a letter to Santa Claus (nope, when I believed I was too little
to write...)
(X) Been kissed under a mistletoe
(X)Watched the sunset with someone you care/ cared about
(X) Blown bubbles
(X) Made a bonfire on the beach
( ) Crashed a party
(X) Have travelled more than 5 days in a car
(X) Gone rollerskating / Blading
(X) Had a wish come true
( ) Been humped by a monkey (WTF?!?)
(X) Worn pearls
( ) Jumped off a bridge (hell no... I *hate* bridges!)
( ) Swam with dolphins
(X) Got your tongue stuck to a pole / freezer/ Ice cube (Michigan...)
(X) Kissed a fish (I was 6...)
(X) Worn the opposite sex's clothes
(X) Sat on a rooftop
(X) Screamed at the top of your lungs
(X) Done/ attempted a one handed cartwheel (and sprained my wrist)
(X) Talked on the phone more than 6 hours (every day, internationally, which
is part of the reason I moved here... cheaper!)
(X) Stayed up all night (you know a college student who hasn't?!?)
(X) Picked and ate an apple right off the tree (routinely, we had apple
orchards all over the place)
(X) Climbed a tree (far too many times, and fallen asleep in treestands
quite often as well)
(X) Had/ Been in a tree house
( ) Been scared to watch scary movies alone
(X) Believe in ghosts
( ) Have / Had more than 30 pairs of shoes
( ) Gone streaking
(X) Gone to jail / or just visited - had to have my fingerprints done to
prove I *wasn't* a criminal in order to get my visa for Australia! The cops
were really amused to have someone ASK to be fingerprinted to prove they
weren't a criminal I think!
( ) Played chicken
(X) Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes on
( ) Broken a bone (astonishingly...)
(X) Been easily amused (ohh... bubblewrap...)
(X) Caught a fish then ate it (well I did cook it first!)
( ) Made a porno video
(X) Caught a butterfly
(X) Laughed so hard you cried (frequently)
(X) Cried so hard you laughed
( ) Mooned / flashed someone
( ) Had someone moon / flash you
(X) Cheated on a test
(X) Forgotten someones name (all the time... now their DOGS I remember for
(X) Slept naked
( ) French braided someones hair
(X) Gone skinny dipping
( ) Been kicked out of your house
(X) Rode a rollercoaster
( ) Went scuba diving / snorkelling
(X) Blackmailed someone
(X) Been blackmailed but for both this and the above I was little and it was
my brother and we blackmailed eachother all the time over nothing. :rolls
(X) Been used
(X) Fell going up the stairs (Meniere's Disorder: 100% Genuine Dizzy Blond
( ) Licked a cat (o_O)
(X)Bitten someone (they asked nicely...)
(X) Licked someone (likewise...)
( ) Been shot
( ) Flattened someones tires
(X) Rode your car until your gas light came on
(X) Got five pounds or less worth of gas - well if that's 12.50 AUD, I'm
guessing I've probably done less in USD at some point. When I first started
driving my car cost me $12 something to fill up from nearly empty.


Will post the other one tomorrow Amanda!

Monday, December 18, 2006

After the sale the other day, everything was pretty quiet. I think we were both just sort of absorbing the idea that it was over and that we'd done better than we'd figured even our highest guesstimate was.

We did a bit of Christmas shopping and I got part of my present early... my present being that I'm going to get to set up an aquatic plant aquarium. I used to have several tanks and was BIG into the whole scene... big ones with cichlids the size of dinner plates and smaller ones (2.5-15g) with plants and a few community fish to provide fertilizer. The small tanks were my "gardens" as in Michigan what the winter doesn't do in flower-wise, the deer will! I had to leave it behind though when I moved. So we found an aquarium store which is retrofitting their tanks and selling their old ones dirt cheap. I grabbed one, a light that was on discount, a filter (Ehiem) which definitely wasn't on discount but since I'm going to be feeding CO2 into it, you can't mess with not having a decent motor. Voila, Christmas present! (Have to add, while we were there I got to see and cuddle this GORGEOUS Black-Headed Python... she was soooo pretty! Not that I need another critter but I'd definitely like to have snakes again someday!) We'll wait to set it up until we move so we don't end up cycling the tank, just starting to establish it and then ruining everything when we move, so it's all in R&D at this point. (I'll probably also get a few agility obsticals now that we're moving somewhere with enough space to use them!!! YAY!!!!!!! *does silly-happy dance*) Anyone wanting to see my previous tanks go to HERE. I also saw a pretty little betta that I got with my pocket money and set him up in a very tiny tank which will end up being a miniature plant tank. Not the best photo as the water is still slightly hazy with NTS and the driftwood is prolly bleeding some tannins in, but the colour is accurate and as you can see, lovely! The tips of the fins that look white in the pic are actually very light blue and the spotting is a lovely dark red. Even my fish have to be MERLE!!! LOL We're putting up a vote for his name. We both reckon he looks like a flame so the two we've thought of are: LUMIERE (means light/flame in French) or PHOENIX. Leave your vote in the comments please!!!

Yes, it's yet another side-shot of Hope standing to show how she's growing. She's staring a squeek toy down. LOOKIT THE LEGS ON HER!!! Sheesh she's sprouted!

All 3 Hooligans together and NOT wrestling... trust me, it's a rare event. Fascilitated by liver.

Last but not least, three shots of my little man. This last week, it really feels like he's left baby-hood and is now a full fledged toddler. He's a little boy now.
Not just because he's walking, though that's part of it... but he's running, exploring, his sense of curiousity, his vocabularly which has taken off in leaps and bounds and gone from one word to pairing two to using it as a question... and overall just his general "intent" towards his surroundings. He spends a lot of time "working things out"... how to deal with steps, gauging what's the best approach, if he can make that distance... how things stack and fit into eachother. He's become intensely fascinated by pushing buttons, switches, seeing how things work. He puts things into jars, pulls them out, examines them, carefully puts them back in, fastens the lid, examines the object in the jar... all with the serious intent of a scientist working out his latest experiment. He's to have picked up the idea of give and take in interaction more firmly and a lot of other developmental hurdles have been charged at full tilt. He blabbers into a phone now while holding it in correct position, he mimics a shocking amount of things and has a sense of pride in his accomplishments. It's fascinating to see him become more and more of a 'little person' as he develops but it's a reflective moment for me as well. I've been mentioning this all to Nic over the past week but when I looked at these few photos it really sort of hit home. My bubba is a toddler, still my bubba (always my bubba) but not a little baby anymore.

Taste testing the herbs. (And dirt... ewww...)
It's also a bit to wrap my head around too... holy heck, I'm the mum of a toddler! How the heck did THAT happen?!? I still find it a novel concept that I'm a mum at all! I may have worked with plenty of kids and while I liked them, it was more an interest in them as small people, sort of teacherish, vs the gushy and clucky mum feelings kids tend to inspire now. (Bloody smeggin' hormones...) I did want kids but it was a sort of 'distant future' thing and never really was sure if I'd be a good mum because I wasn't particularly gushy over babies. Even so, I those maternal hormones sure switched ON and I took to being a mum like a duck to water... easy, very natural, I was never particularly worried or freaked out the way most "new first time mums" are portrayed. (Freakily enough, most mums in my new mums group WERE that way, it's not just popular media hype - they were even freaking out and rushing to the doctor to see if the baby was BLINKING TOO MUCH!!! O_o) Not to say being a mum is always easy, nor undemanding, just surprised over what a flowing transition it was! I attribute most of that to trusting my instincts and parenting in a way that promotes good communication and a secure attachment between parent and child. Even so, being mum to a baby is a little easier swallow than a toddler... after all, if he's a toddler, then the next step is a preschooler which turns into a school kid and that means I'll officially be a grown-up! EEK! ;-)

My gorgeous toddler tornado child, running about with Hope again!

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Moved into this house from 37 Rathmines Road, six years ago for $330,000. Ironically 37 Rathmines is up for auction today as well, asking 1.3 million.

Our house quoted for this sale at $550,000, reserve at $590,000. RE Dude did his speech and started the auction. Within 5 minutes, it's sold. Final price $620,00

*opens a fine bottle of cyber bubbly and passes drinks around*

Sif and Leah, hoping you're having a great post b-day day and Amanda... I hope you're enjoying having your new girlie home at last! Now you have no excuses for forgetting your camera when you go puppy visiting and I expect to see Lacey and Leo pics on your blog! ;-p
So tomorrow is the auction, 11am promptly. I feel like I *should* be nervous but instead there's just this odd sense of calm. I feel like what will happen will happen, I've done what I could and anything I wish happened differently is in the past now anyhow. Hopefully it was enough, if not then we deal with that when it happens but either way it's out of my hands and I have to trust in my own strength to deal with things and trust the universe to put me on the path I need to be on. I'd still really rather a bunch of really rich people showed up and we sell well over the reserve...*cheeky grin* but either way, eventually the house will sell, eventually we'll move, eventually we'll find a place and would just look back and wonder at the melo-drama.

The good thing is, we met with the RE Agent and he said we had a decent number of people come to look and a few who said they'd be here tomorrow, one phone bidder from out of state who is moving back, some of whom came back repeatedly and even bringing their parents, and all of whom were in a position to buy. Last week was 36 auctions in this area by this RE agency, with only 20% passing in.

So there are 3 ways it could go. One is that no bidding besides vendor bidding happens, it passes in and we go back on the market when it reopens in February. Option two is that we get a few bidders but nothing spectacular, we do 'negotiations' and try to squeeze them up to a better level, a process which could last 2 weeks or so. I'm hoping neither of those happens as I'm decidedly over everything feeling up in the air. Option three is that we get a few rich, eager bidders who get very competative and make me very happy.

So that's that. Trying not to think over much about it until I know one way or another what's happening. It feels rather surreal to think of moving, even though I'm eager to go elsewhere, I will miss aspects of this house and it's where a lot of "big" things in our life have happened. Nic proposed in the living room. We got married on the front porch. Laurent came home here. All his firsts have been here. All the holidays we've spent as a family have been here. It's the last place we saw Grandpa alive... after he had 2 heart attacks here, one in the kitchen and one in his bedroom, both of which scared me witless though he was fine. It's the last place Nic saw his mum awake and aware, as she was mostly in a coma while at the hospital where she passed away and it's the last place they were together as a family before the cancer took over. It's where Bella is buried, underneath the roses. And it's where Hope came home. As much as I'm eager for a new home, I'll miss seeing the places that have had such a lot of our lives in them too.
Other than this, I had a really nice day. Spent it dallying about shopping, finally found Laurent his green shoes! Did heaps of socializing Hope and she got to see a tram depot, heaps of people wanting to pet her, a walker, three types of cane/crutches, a bajillion prams, kids scooter, motorized wheelchair big truck with airbrakes, ate at a cafe etc. Literally it was like, take one step, stop to let someone pet her, say good-bye, take another step, stop to let someone else pet her, etc! We got a lot of typical "Is that a Border Collie?" questions, nothing new. But new was one lady who asked if she was a Border/Kelpie and when I said, no, actually she's an Australian Shepherd insisted she figured a Border/Kelpie because Borders didn't come with those copper marks. Y'know, except actually they DO. They also come in red, blue merle, blue-bi etc. and this pup is actually an Australian Shepherd. Whhheellllllll... she'd never heard of any Australian Shepherd before and there was OBVIOUSLY had Border blood in her somewhere! I finally got fed up and snarked, "Well I'm sure that's news to the judges who awarded her sire and dam their championships, her sire having taken a Best In Specialty Show, her dam also a multi-Best of Breed winner and an American and ASCA champion under senior breeder judges at that!" before walking off. Some people!!!!

Had a great night out with Sif and everyone celebrating her and Leah's birthdays! HAPPY BIRTHDAY GUYS!!!!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

artsy-fartsie stuff and Christmasy stuff

Okay, here's one of the sketches. I will add more later on as my photo editor is being impossible right now.

This is an older dog I saw a few years back at an ASCA show. He was laying near his owner, at once attentive and aware of her and his surroundings, looking like this sage old soul with his wise eyes and his muzzle grizzled with grey, calmly taking everything in and exuding an aura that struck me as the very essence of Australian Shepherd! I'd love to find out who he is and what his breeding is! I am posting it rather large so that some detail shows. Unfortunately unless I leave it full size some of the detail is already lost. I'm not totally satisfied , as the muzzle and jaw isn't quite right, looks rather weak compared to the real dog... and I'm not sure the backskull isn't too narrow either or the planes are off or something... I just can't decide! BUT considering I haven't sketched or even doodled in... um... well, the last drawing I have was in 2002, so 5-6 years, I'm happy with it as a first effort!

This was... well, "experimental". We went to a "paint your own ceramics" store so Laurent could paint daddy a mug for Xmas and I grabbed this little necklace to paint for myself. It's about life-size. I'm NOT a painter, just do sketches and drawings but what the heck! It was cheap fun! The ceramics paints are sooorrtaaa a cross between watercolours and tempra but more 'grainy' and dull till they're fired - rather weird! It was fun tho, even if it didn't come out how I imagined. :-p I'd love to do it again when I 1.) don't have an impatient toddler "helping" by grabbing the brush every 2 seconds, 2.) have a photo to work from and 3.) have my own fine-detail brushes. The smallest, finest brush they had was a #3 Round!!!!!! Buh! I needed a 20/0 fine tip! That's like using a sledge-hammer to tap in a penny-nail! Also would love to do proper painting classes first too! ;-P

Our wreath, which I made. It's a fakey pine thing with gold stick bits from Lyncraft and an tin-cut-out Aussie silhoutte that reads 'peace' which I got off e-bay ages ago for .25cents! :-)

Stockings, stocking weights on the fireplace with our little decorative deer. The stockigns and such were bought but I made the deer myself. Man does the fireplace and whole room look different since we've packed up the antique mantlepiece!

Our tree... which I didn't make a blessed thing for but am proud of anyway!

Our Christmas turtledove. The ledgend is that the little birds would watch over you and then magically come alive and whisper to Santa how you'd behaved. While I don't like the labels of "naughty" or "nice", I do like the ledgend and the little dove was so gorgeous I couldn't resist!

Of course, this is my greatest masterpiece... about 5 seconds before he covered that nice white shirt with mud!