Friday, September 3, 2010

Melbourne holiday

We visited my sister and her family in Melbourne last week and had a fantastic time!

Our Little Man got to spend some quality time with his cousin who is three months older. LM followed his older cousin around the house, mostly in awed silence at his chatty, busy cousin. Below my sister is blowing bubbles for them which is always a thrill.

Melbourne was REALLY cold, wet and windy but we still managed to fit in lots of activities, including...

A fun, fun swim at a local indoor swimming pool...

A trip to the city by train...

The best ever visit to Collingwood Children's Farm...

... which allowed our Little Man to get up close to all the animals..

and a visit to an organic farm in the city in which the cousins were far more interested in the bicycles than anything to do with growing vegetables!

Best of all the cousins grew closer and loved playing together.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Spring is coming soon. What joy!

I've been desperate to pot a dwarf apple tree we bought some months ago that was threatening to become root bound and finally I did it! I planted the tree in a big ceramic pot and, as suggested by mum, planted some violets around the base of the tree.

The tree at the moment looks like a stick in a pot because it has no leaves but the flowers are so lovely!!

In a bid to distract our Little Man from plucking off the flowers, I set him the task of watering the plants (all three of them!) and he LOVED it! I have a little watering can for him and he happily drowned the chives and parsley and watered the balcony tiles as well.

He's been teething lately with three molars coming up and this was a happy distraction for him.

He ended up naked, sopping wet and loving it, till he slipped on the tiles and hurt his hands and it all ended in tears!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Final Reno Post

My final post about Ben's renovations is his Magnum Opus, the storage room behind the garage.

I'm very annoyed that I took no 'before' shots, but if you can imagine it was a dark, dingy basement-like room, which had exposed, cobwebbed brick walls and a dusty concrete floor.

Now it's very different:

The walls were very hard to paint because the brick was so porus.

He painstakingly painted the floor and then one by one stencilled the Fleur-de-lis over the top.

Now it's ready to go on the market!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I'm back!

After some severe morning sickness and a bout of Gastro to boot, I am now somewhat back to normal and have the energy to blog again!

My sister and I think we caught the Gastro bug from some sour cream that we had with wedges at a cafe. It could have been much worse than a few days of (extra) vomiting and the runs, so I'm thankful for that :-) A few days in bed was the best remedy.

I've been wanting to post some more about Ben's work on our flat and one of the major things he did was to paint the brick veneer wall in our living room. The dark brick made that part of the room a gloomy space and was somewhat dated. 

Ben used  Porter's Paints interior Limewash and had a big job with the porus brick absorbing all the paint.

After all his hard work, the wall came up a treat and the room looks much more spacious now.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Two adventures

On the weekend we visited a place called the Brick Pit, which was obviously once a quarry for making bricks. It's now an environmentally protected area due to a rare green and gold frog that lives there and it was turned into a great aerial walk which circumnavigates the pit.

It took a while to convince our Little Man to stop taking the exits so we could do the full walk, but he finally got the idea and we walked the whole way around :-)

On Monday, we had the chance to catch up with two friends with whom I volunteered in Indonesia about five years ago. Bev lives up by theLakes and Mel and her Indonesian husband Dikky were visting. We took to two hour drive up there to have lunch and catch up after a long time apart.

It was a very happy reunion for me. It brought back so many memories of Indonesian life and the friends I made there. It also allowed me to reflect that at that time I could not have imagined my future as it is now, and how happy and blessed I am with my little family.

Bev lives right on the water and on such a calm day, the water was glassy and smooth. A view one could never grow tired of!

Thanks to Bev for her hospitality and for such a great lunch. Even though Dikky and Mel were exhausted from travelling they made us welcome and it was a day I'll never forget.

"We forgot to take his plug out for the photo!" says Bev.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bedroom renovations!

I don't have any 'before' shots of our bedroom but basically Ben has painted the very dark wooden built-ins with a Porter's high gloss enamel in Milk White. It's a non-toxic paint that doesn't smell very much at all when being applied.

Our bedroom is very small, so it was important that we painted the wardrobes white, and the gloss on the paint reflects the light from the window and helps make the room appear larger.

Ben also fixed new handles on the doors and little silver knobs on the very top sliding doors.

Nice job!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bathroom renovations!

Finally, I'm posting about Ben's renovations! I'm sorry to family in other parts of OZ that it's taken so long..

Below are pictures of the original bathroom which had a charming avocado and khaki green colour theme. It's a very small bathroom and the busy pattern on the tiles made it look smaller:

You can see that he has already painted the inside of the shower in the above photo.

Mmmmm. lovely...
Ben painted all the bathroom walls, tiles and ceiling white, which I think has created a calming effect. The tiles have a detailed embossed pattern on them and once painted white, the lovely texture of the tiles came though more clearly (although it's hard to see in the photos).

He painted the basin white with a special paint for sinks.

He made from scratch a lovely frame for the mirror which matches the cabinet.
And he put a new fly screen on the window as the old one fell out.

With brackets bought from Ikea, Ben made the shelves and stained them. I love these shelves! We really needed a towel rack and I like having fresh towels available in the bathroom.
He also bought the cabinet in the above picture on ebay and put it up himself.

My one contribution to all of this work is the fishbone fern! The rest is all my talented husband.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Latest news

We've been quite busy here lately and here are a few things that have been happening:

1. Our Little Man was sick with a 39 degree cel. temperature on Sunday. It was his first 'big' illness, poor thing! He lay in our arms all day and was burning hot. We took him to Emergency and they said we could wait 3.5 hours or go home and see if he get better, so we went home and after a somewhat disturbed night he was better the next day.

2. I'm pregnant! Seven weeks so far. I've been vomiting as usual but this time I seem to be able to keep it more under control with Maxolon and vitamin B6 tablets. Please pray that all goes well with the pregnancy!

3. My ever-resourceful husband has amped up the renovations on our flat and in between work, caring for me, and helping our with our Little Man, he's been painting, fixing lights and chipping off the cork veneer from the kitchen walls. An amazing man!

I'll be posting pictures of what he's done to the place when I get my act together.

4. I've joined a FANTASTIC mother's group which answers all I'd been looking for in a group. There are many mothers connected to my Catholic primary school and they are all fun-loving yet take their faith seriously, and many want to homeschool! What's more they are lovely ladies.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Helping hand

Our little man loves nothing better than to help his dad.

Monday, June 21, 2010

My Amazing Brother

I have one younger brother (besides one in Heaven) and he is a pretty amazing guy, so I'll tell a bit about him. He was homeschooled all through high school in a time when homeschooling was not yet as big as it is now in Australia. Most people were against my mum and dad's decision to homeschool him.

He didn't do the HSC or a literature degree but I'd say he's better read than me (in all the books that count). He overcame a great many difficulties to complete a music degree in Classical Voice and he has one of the most beautiful baritone voices you will ever hear!

He has now just completed a diploma in IT, and was consistently in the top three in the class. Before the course has even ended he's been snapped up by a data company and he started his new job today! All this and he and his lovely wife are expecting their first baby in October!

So not only is he clever but he's funny, caring and in general a great brother to have. I'm so proud of him!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pop and Grandson

If this photo were in a competition, I think it would win "The Best Grandather with Grandson Photo" category:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

My other clever sister

My older sister, Emma, is another talented member of my family.

She is a professional jeweller and made for me a BEAUTIFUL rose-gold and green-gold quartz necklace for my wedding day, which you can kind of see in the picture below:

She mostly does custom designs for people, and she also creates beautiful devotional pieces:

I love them all but the geometric crucifix is a definite favourite of mine.

So nice to be a member of such a talented family!

Stay tuned for my talented brother...

My Monkee-obsessed sister

... created this Monkees picture for me. That's me playing the tambourine!

Clever, isn't she!

I wonder why I look so nervous? Is it because Mickey, my favourite Monkee, is standing behind me?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Two cousins

My sister, her husband and their little boy (three months older than my Little Man) are up from Victoria for a few days and today I took our Little Man over to play with him.

They were so cute together, and with Nana!

They were a bit wary at first... (it's been several months since they've met)

But our Little Man was soon keen to give his cousin a kiss...

... but then our Little Man poked his cousin in the face and it all ended in tears!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ghosts and the Devil

Yesterday I heard of someone I know who has been having trouble with many ghosts in her house. T heir presence has severely affected her life and that of her family. Fortutiously she had her house blessed by a priest last sunday and since then they have slept really well.

 I was thinking about this situation and what I've read about ghosts in the past.

Especially from An Exorcist Tells his Story by Fr Gabriel Amorth.

 If I'm not mistaken Fr Amorth says that usually houses become 'infested' because of the lifestyle of the people living there. Eg they behave in immoral and sinful ways, take drugs or dabble in the occult, palm reading, and other such things.

What can be done about this??

Any daemon hates the Cross and Jesus Christ and Our Blessed Mother with great venom. We all need to place crucifixes and blessed images of Our Lady in every room.

We all need to regularly go to mass and receive the blessed Eucharist. Fr Amorth says that frequent confession and reception of Holy Communion is the most efficacious way of preventing more infestations. possessions, obsessions etc.

We should not place our trust in witchcraft, crystals, burning of oils that are not sacramentals. We also should not have TVs - an American Exorcist Fr Wolf says that they attract the Evil One. Our faith, love and hope in Jesus Christ and CONSTANT PRAYER is all that is needed. To use crystals is placing faith in sources other than Our Lord and attracts the Devil.

Let us all go to Mass and Confession more frequently!!!!! Learn how to pray if you do not know already. Not yoga-related meditation, but Christian Meditation upon the Gospels and contemplation of Jesus' presence in the Eucharist.

This is all a very poor translation of what Fr Amorth says. But the main message is that we should abandon all articles of superstition and develop a greater love for our Lord and his Blessed Mother who crushed the head of the serpent.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Not the liturgical dancers!!!!!

This video made me laugh, and perhaps it will give readers a chuckle.

I couldn't embed it so go to this link:

Leonie at Living Without School, who has been writing about liturgical travesties, I hope this cheers you up!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

How high is your voice when speaking to toddlers?

... because my voice goes REALLY HIGH when I'm speaking to our Little Man...

But I just read this at

Speaking in high pitched tones as when they were babies "can impede in their language development in learning how to really talk. Toddlers need to be spoken to like a real person and not ‘like a dog’ anymore. They are smarter than we give them credit for and absorb everything that is said to them. This is a sensitive period for language in children so take advantage of it and model it properly.".
I'm not sure if they mean simply the high-pitched tone or also speaking in 'motherese' to de widdle wums.

I definitely never spoke in fractured English, but my voice at times can reach decibels only heard by dogs ... I think I'll start using more of a normal tone with our Little Man now, except when I greet him in the morning. If you can't go high then, well there's no hope for the world.

Jasper Fforde

Is this name a pseudonym? It reminds me of Wodehouse's Freddie Ftich-Fitch. I'm not sure, but I've just finished reading Jasper Fforde's The Big Over Easy, and I loved it so much I just have to blog it.

Jack Spratt heads up the Nursery Crimes police division and has to solve the case of who murdered Humpty Dumpty. It might sound corny but it makes enough of a commentary on the media, politics and celebrity status that it's not all cheese

It was a bit 'parrallel universe', had a lot of satire, and many moments where you don't laugh out loud but you do go "ha" under your breath: it was a great read.
Over dinner I kept telling ever-patient hubby about it but he's not really into the whole 'it's set in our world but not really' themed books so I couldn't go overboard telling him about it.

The first Jasper Fforde book I read was The Eyre Affair, which I also loved.

Who wouldn't want to jump in and out of books and interact with the characters - as long as they you don't speak with them when they are actually in a scene: you don't want to be written into the book!

The part I always remember with a chuckle about this book is when a Japanese tourist Mrs Nakajima  manages to read herself into Jayne Eyer and decides to settle down in the village where Rochester lives.

I just went to Jasper Fforde's website and it's just like reading his books. Hilarious!

.........And no, I wasn't paid by Fforde to write this....

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

communication development

Since our Little Man turned one this May, his language has started to develop into more meaningful groups of sounds. For months now, he's said 'Ma' and 'Da' - Ma when he's crying, and Da when he's happy or hears his dad coming home from work.

He has now started saying "Ber" for bird. He loves watching the pigeons on the roof of the apartment block next door while he eats his breakfast. He is getting better at repeating sounds like 'ber' after us.

He also picks up anything that resembles a mobile phone and says "hurrow", and he's got "bye bye" down pat.

He has started pointing more (especially at lights), and trying to make sounds to express what he's pointing to.

I love how he compensates for his lack of verbal language through other means. If he wants me to do something like making a scratching noise on the table, he'll guide my hand to initiate the action. If he wants his toy dog, he makes little barking noises. If he wants to go to bed, he gets his dummy and doggy and goes into his bedroom. So cute!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lake visit

Yesterday we took our Little Man to visit a lake near our place.

It's so beautiful there - a lush haven in the city.

He was fascinated by the assortment of water birds there, including a massive gander, which liked having his photo taken:

I'm glad one of you is looking at the camera!

I had to restrain our Little Man from grabbing their beaks. Dirty things!

Looking out over the water. We really should do this more often!