Feb 21, 2010

Birthday Party

Blow The Birthday Party has been a project, nay a raison d'etre for Nicole these past few days.

It has trumped her pseudo-asthmatic breathing difficulties and her inability to speak into a distant second place as she has organised, baked, decorated, iced and generally enjoyed herself with her cakes, refreshments, muffins and all that in preparation for the "low key" turned potentially riotous party we have had the undiluted pleasure of hosting.

The writing was on the wall when it transpired that Eloise shared a birthday with Olivia and the party became a joint affair, with decision-making turning into a negotiation and suddenly all the girls in Eloise's class got a posh butterfly-encrusted home-made invitation.

The cake was a confection of some ambition, composed as it was of several cakes artfully arranged into a butterfly.

The party itself went without incident really, discounting minot misbehaviours. The adults, and there were many of them, occupied themselves while the children occupied themselves on the playground..

Eloise was discovered opening her presents in a frenzy and had to be trained in the "open the card, find the person, open the present, say thankyou" process, so some presents remain unattributed.

The one adult-mediated group activity was pass the parcel. Huw, Olivia's dad, had been entrusted with this as a task. There were near panic when the iPod speakers ran out of batteries, but in the end all was well.

It lasted five hours. It was fun. We were exhausted by the end. No major arguments. Lots of polite kids. My god these Aussie kids are polite. It's worrying, and probably socio-economically significant.

Feb 19, 2010

Birthday V

Scooter The day dawneth when Eloise is no longer four but has crested the wave of the number five, and, being at school is therefore a Big Girl.

All the packages arrived in time, though in some cases only just, and she is universally delighted with her presents. So thanks to all who sent her something.

James, having stolen our thunder with the scooter, was tipped to be the Most Popular Present Giver, and indeed the pink scooter did light up thefive-year-old face. However when asked what the favourite present was, the surprise answer was "headbands."

Despite the seven-am present opening we were at school in good time. It's Olivia's birthday today too, and Claudia's tomorrow so birthday joy was abounding about.

Nicole and I went back a little later, just after morning tea, with cup-cakes and the whole class got one. There was unexpected interest in the butterfly-topped cupcakes from the male contingent. But they are studying insects at the moment, and butterflies, it so happens, are the invertebrate of the day.

Which is lucky because butterflies are the theme of tomorrow's party, where no doubt much hilarity will be had what with the twenty or so children we're expecting plus itinerant hangers-on. Yeek.

The Paths Turn to Rivers

Runoff After the deluge the other day, the streams - and paths - up at Mount Coot-tha were gurgling away merrily with the runoff.

There were a couple of precarious crossings, and a few fellow bushwalkers with wet socks.

My socks remained dry. I was very careful.

Feb 16, 2010

The Heavens Are Open

Flow It's been pretty hot these last few days, and humid with it.

Yesterday after riding Eloise to school for five minutes (that's how long it takes) my T-shirt was drenched.

I walked the dogs in the forest and at the end of that another T-shirt was drenched.

The heat was draining and with Nicole (poor, sick Nicole whose RSV test came back negative) I had a half-hour kip before going to pic up Eloise and take her to her swimming lesson.

Scratch another T-shirt.

So it was no surprise when the heat yesterday turned to thunder, albeit dry thunder and a few showers overnight.

Today the few showers turned to a deluge - in some parts of the city it has been said that 81mm fell in an hour, resulting in flash flooding and "cars floating down streets." Drama!

And the rain has continued since then with a small break organised by the Heavenly Conductor for school-picking-up.

So it's not so hot now, but by Jingo! it's wet!

Feb 12, 2010

Outing for the Pack

Spray My friend and fellow... person... Will had surgery last week to restore his voice after his vocal chord was paralyzed after some open heart surgery that he had in the dim and distant past, if you call a year and a half ago dim and distant. Which I do.

He has spent the week recuperating after getting out of hospital on Sunday (no return of voice yet) and today we went out to Bribie Island to walk the dogs.

Last time we walked the dogs we had a pack of four dogs, us and Eloise toddling around in the forest. I use the word toddling deliberately - it was a slow and painfully frustrating experience.

So what a refreshing change to have a child-free wander along the beach and back again, though E did cast a long shadow over the whole thing as time was limited.

Limited because prior to beach, I embarked on some missions of mercy, firstly to deliver forgotten hayfever drugs to Nicole at work, secondly to retrieve forgotten house keys from the New Farm Clinic with Valerie.

So the 11am rendezvous was blown, though to be fair young Will was late too.

The pack was split along energy lines: Tallis and Tiny toddled along behind, though the man-dog got a spring in his step when there was a prospect of stranger tail.

Matilda did her own thing, boldly searching out new smells, while Gipsy harrassed her owner to throw sticks.

The water was warm like a bath and smooth like a pond. Swimming was done, though not by me.

A nice gentle day at the beach.

Feb 10, 2010


Tiny in the Woods We've had a week of showers on and off. I say showers, I think it was Sunday the showers dropped 100mm of rain on us.

So I've had a few soakings, which is OK, the brook is up, and water is flowing in the forests. We haven't been caught out on the school run yet.

Eloise is going gangbusters at school and loving it, no nerves or anything like that. She's making friends, especially with a little girl called Olivia and another little girl called Claudia.

It just so happens that Eloise and Olivia share the same birthday, and Claudia's is only a couple of days later, so scheduling the parties has been interesting and we have decided that Eloise and Olivia will have a joint one.

Not that kind of joint.

So Nicole and Mrs Olivia have been collaborating on invitations and so on and so forth, which has been... interesting isn't quite the word I'm looking for.

Time continues to be an issue during the day as the school hours aren't long enough to actually achieve anything much once the dogs have been walked and lunch eaten. For instance, I footled around, I mean did some work for an hour waiting for the washing to finish this morning before walking the dogs around Samford then did a little exploring and it was 2pm by the time I got home. A little more work and it was time to fetch Squeaky.

Then we had to go dancing, so had to be there for 4, left there a little after 5, went shopping at Woolie's for wifey's mystery ingredient and, um, by jiminy, that's the day done in.

On Mondays swimming is straight after school, and on Thursdays it's Yoga.

Did I mention Yoga? Unlike last time I attempted it, this time I haven't fallen asleep or broken wind. Which is a relief. But we've only been once.

Feb 4, 2010

New Routine

Samford Forest 7am: Wake Up.
7.15am: Breakfast. Telly. Packed lunch preparation.
7.45am: Peel child away from telly.
8am: Suncream. Teeth. Dressing.
8.30am: Ride to school.
8.35am: Arrive School. Unhitch tow-along bike and lock.
8.40am: Puzzles in Prep Room D.
8:50am: Leave. Ride home.
9am: Depart for dog walking.
11am: Free time for constructive use.
2.15pm: Bemoan end of constructive time.
2.30pm: Depart for school.
2.35pm: Arrive school.
2.40pm: Arrive Prep Room D. Extricate child from little friends.
3.00pm: Hitch tow-along bike. Ride home.
3.05pm: Activities. Monday: swimming. Wednesday: dancing. Thursday: yoga.
6pm: Dinner.
7.30pm: Bed for child.
8.30pm: "Work."

All times negotiable and subject to change at short notice.