Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fly swatter painting.

We did this activity really quickly this morning as a practice for Otto's third birthday party this weekend.  There will be a few more elements of fun added for the party.

Today I went simple, put blobs of paint on the paper and we both went for it and had some fun.  Otto loved this style of painting and so did I.  It was messy though, we both had paint splatters all over us.  For the weekend I will move it further away from the house too, paint travels further than you think it would.

Other than the party we will absolutely be doing this again, the end product looks great and I am already thinking of rolling it up for wrapping paper.


Otto attended a milk and cookies birthday party on Sunday afternoon and the request was to wear vintage.  Earlier in the week I happened to be passing a store with the perfect outfit, fell in love and within minutes it was ours.

It was lovely for Otto and I to go together, we turned the music up loud in the car, danced our own silly moves and indulged in lovely cookies and milk.

You can bet that I kicked myself damn hard for forgetting my camera, however thankfully the iPhone has done me proud.

What a lovely finish to a fun weekend.  Now I just need to think of more situations that require braces and a bow tie.  Surely a trip to get some groceries would do?!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Spaghetti Painting.

This idea has been circulating the blogs for a little while and one day I decided to go for it and try it out with Otto.  I was dubious at first to give it a go as spaghetti is his favourite food and I wasn't sure if he would be able to handle not eating it.

My trepidation was well founded, for this to be a success I had to make an extra little bit of spaghetti for him to munch on while painting!  I cooked the spaghetti bound together at the top until slightly soft but able to withstand painting.

Otto enjoyed the painting but the whole project didn't last too long, there were tantrums over not eating the spaghetti with paint on it, and I don't think I will do it again any time soon.  Luckily it doesn't take much time to set up or clean up.

Otto was very proud however to gift it to Poppy later that day and explained the process of making it to him really well.  I thought the finished product looked really effective, so I might file it away and try again in a few months.

On his third birthday.

Our darling Otto is three.  I could go on about how fast the time has gone, the days are long but the years are short, but we already know that.

As I watched him sleeping the eve of his birthday, I marveled at each long finger, slender muscular legs, long eyelashes and deep peaceful breaths.  It is so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life as they grow from babies into little boys, and forget to stop and admire the miracle walking in front of me, asking endless questions, imagining incredible stories and breathing "I love you" into my ear.

Every day can be such a roller coaster with little people and I often find myself laughing through my frustration at the incredible things he says to me and others, motherhood is such a privilege even if I don't make it through with my mind intact.

So Otto, at three:
  • Loves, and I mean LOVE Fireman Sam and Thomas Trains.
  • Asks me why?  Almost constantly, no one can have a conversation in Otto's presence without him interrupting them and asking them to clarify.
  • Love his little brother Hugo, if people are starting to say goodbye to me while they are holding Hugo yell's at the top of his lungs for them to "NOT TAKE MY HUGO!".
  • Gymnastics and swimming are our weekly activities, with gymnastics being the favourite.
 I love that I get to spend my days with Otto, in January he will start Kindegarten and while I know it is the right thing I will still mourn these days.

For the actual birthday we kept things pretty low key, a day at home with a trip to Southbank that afternoon for some scooter fun, dinner and to watch the light show.

The best part for Otto though had to have been the presents!  Fireman Sam and Thomas featured but the most loved happened to also be the biggest, causing Han endless grief the night before putting it together with limited light.  The look on Otto's face the next morning made it mostly worthwhile.  What 3 yr old boy wouldn't like a trampoline to magically appear one morning!

It has been amazing so far to be Otto's mother, I can only wonder at what the next year will bring, how he will grow, learn and change as our little boy.  What a journey this all is.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Talk like a pirate day.

The random things you find out on facebook!  Talk like a pirate day always reminds me that it is getting close to Otto's birthday, and this year we were lucky to have friends visiting just last week with new dress ups.

Pretty perfect timing.


I have a post sitting in my draft folder entitled Hugo's story, so far I have written one line.  It is a story I want to write, to have a record of, both for him and myself, a story of want, love and triumph, probably not that dissimilar to many women's stories out there.  Except that it is ours.

I need to go back and remember our journey, to make sure that it isn't lost to time, where sharp edges become blurred and whole pages go missing in your memory.  To remember that want, felt so deep within me, knowing that our family wasn't complete, knowing that there was another special little person to join us yet.  Those sharp edges, those horribly hard moments, they all make up my story, our story, and they deserve a voice.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Salad Spinner Art.

Our messy play date this week was cancelled, sickness, general life and holidays (lucky for some) meant something had to give.

Today Otto and I stayed in our pyjamas far longer than usual and just hung out, changed wardrobes over from winter to summer clothes and caught up on the washing.  Oh the thrilling life we lead.  In between all those exciting chores we did some activities, one of which I have been waiting to try out for a long time.

Salad spinner art.  I finally saw a salad spinner at our local markets for $2 last week and grabbed it.  All we needed were paper plates, but I haven't been able to find any of them lately in the supermarket, and decided lunch bags would probably do.

We started by putting some paint drops, closing the lid and spinning away.

 Otto loved the spinning, craft isn't his favourite activity and it is always enjoyed more if there are instant results.

A bit more paint, and some more spinning and paint started to splash onto the outside of the spinner, that got some attention!

The finished product.  Otto was thrilled with it, but I am still on the hunt for some paper plates, from what I have seen on the internet that would give it an even better spread of the paint while it is spinning.

This went straight to Dea Dea's house (my mum) for her fridge.

Sunday, September 9, 2012



The amount of times I have packed up a house, its contents destined for a shed somewhere in the outskirts of Brisbane.  Watched as men with either broad Australian accents or a very strong Kiwi accents rummage through the innermost of my cupboards, pulling things out and shoving them into boxes.  I have often looked away with my cheeks flaming at what they discover there, long forgotten in the busyness of daily life.  

I always miss my belongings when I live overseas, there is so much comfort to be found when you are lonely, friendless and a bit lost in your new world, in sitting down on your couch and remembering the conversations between friends, late at night over a glass of wine.  Noticing the chip out of the sideboard from bumping it too hard while putting the pram together for the first time, all thumbs and giggling nerves picturing the sweet baby that will soon be pushed in it. 

I remember being told by another expat friend that the curse of all this moving, is that when you finally settle at home, you look around and none of your furniture matches, mine hasn't really ever matched to begin with.

This photo was taken as I left Australia for the second expat stint with Han's job.  Han had already left and what waiting for us in Singapore, Otto was 18 months old and it was his inaugaral overseas flight.  Six and a half hours of sitting in a chair, to say I was nervous would be an understatement.

This may have been my second international move, but it was my first with a child, and I had a lot to learn.  Over the course of our time in Indonesia I did a lot of travel.  We visited friends on neighbouring islands, travelled home for a wedding and medical appointments, and visited tourist spots within SE Asia.  Slowly I became accustomed to exactly what I needed for Otto and what I could leave at home, what seemed like a great idea on a website didn't always stack up in practice.  The one item you see there that always, always always saved my life, the Ergo.

Moving countries is such a thrilling, exciting, challenging and growing experience personally, as a couple and as a family.  It is like jumping off a cliff with a rope attached and hoping beyond hope that someone else has a good strong hold of the other end, ready to catch you.  The friendships you form are fast, firm and strong, you tell your expat friends details of your life that you aren't even sure friends at home know.  The first words out of anyone's mouth upon meeting for the first time are, where are you from, and how long are you here?  

They are your lifeline, your someone to call when the idea of staying within the walls of your compound any longer might drive you mad, when your driver has once again failed to come to work and you can't get anywhere because it is a religious holiday and the few taxis around are all taken.  When you are heading home for a holiday you have a list miles long for the home comforts that we can't find, Milo, Allens snakes, Nesquick, Nespresso capsules.  

Each expat stint I have learnt more about myself as a person, friend and wife.  We always love coming home when our time is finished, it is great to see family and friends and not be rushed, trying to fit a years worth of news into one small visit, but invariably our feet get itchy again and we start to wonder if we could do it all again, pack away our belongings and board a plane, ready for what life will throw at us next.

The answer is always yes.

Friday, September 7, 2012

My little loves.

There are boys in my house - and spiderman shoes
And 200 papers in various blues.
There's Bob (he's a builder) and Thomas the Train,
There's a fireman coat to wear in the rain.
They have cars on their shirts and frogs on their hats
There's a glove and a ball and a red plastic bat.
There's dirt on a face and a smudge on a nose;
Grass stains on knees and sand between toes.
There's bathtime at night with bodies to scrub,
And when we're all done there is dirt in the tub!
There's bandaids and bruises and curious bumps,
There's smiles and laughter and sometimes there's grumps.
There's odours most icky; there's boogers so green
There's more yucky things than I'll ever get clean.
There's piles of laundry; there's stories at night;
There's bedtime and bathtime and dinnertime fights.
There's cars and there's trains, and there's books about trucks
There's Scoop, Lofty, Dizzy and Travis, and Muck.
Sometimes there are bugs, and sometimes there are frogs;
Sometimes they are lions, or dinos, or dogs.
There are cute little vests and darling neckties
Dragged right through the mud - oh what a surprise!
There's running and climbing and jumping and falling
And laughing and crying and hugging and brawling
And rolling and losing and finding and creeping
And whining and stealing and sometimes there's sleeping.
There's tantrums and time outs and extra loud noise-
There's love in my house shaped like two little boys.

(Erin Jo Kilmer)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hello Spring.

As I am sitting here writing I am watching the slight breeze billowing through the curtains while the neighbours sprinkler is tick, tick, ticking away, making my eyes heavy and my heart happy, childhood memories of playing under the spray of water are being replayed in my mind.

Spring has arrived, I have flung the windows open, applied sunscreen and asked Otto a million times today where his hat is.  Hugo felt the breeze on his naked legs and arms, while I worried about how many layers he needed thanks to the sudden warmer weather.

 I have seen around the blogging world lots of summer 'bucket lists' and, while I wasn't sure if it would suit us this year I am going to give it a go, sometime over the next few weeks I will publish it here and try and keep myself checking things off it.

Otto has been loving playing with and in water again, he has rarely been clothed in more than a singlet and undies and more often less these last few days at home, making my washing pile grow thanks to his constant need to shed layers.

We headed off to our local water park this morning, Otto in his superman togs (swimmers for those of you not from Queensland) and Hugo with bare legs and arms, a first for him in his life and I am pretty by the rate of his kicking legs that he was happy with the situation.

I am also welcoming the shedding of layers, hopefully with it the final (more than a few) baby kilo's I collected this pregnancy.  Oh spring/summer I have very high hopes for you this year indeed.  It will be my last few months with Otto full time before he starts kindy and I want to grab every morsel and live every second of the last few precious moments.

My smile is wide, my heart is full and I need to remember to shave my legs tonight, seems about right for the start of spring. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Water fun.

Last week we woke up to another perfect day, seriously, I don't know how Brisbane is doing this but each day is as gorgeous as the one before.

We were home all day and I had a whiny boy to deal with so we headed straight outside for some fun in the water.  I had used up all the food colouring in the messy playdate of that week but remembered some powdered paint in the back of the cupboard.

Once again I wasn't very adventurous but filled up different containers with the paint, added some bubbles to others and let him have fun filling them up and dumping them out.

 It was an opportunity to discuss how and why the water emptied from different containers.  Otto noticed that the water in the milk bottle came out in spurts, while the flour container poured out seamlessly.  We talked about how the size of the hole might make that difference and the different volumes of solution in each.

We moved this into the bigger baby pool and Otto climbed in for some paddle pool fun, the best part was thanks to the bubble bath I added he was good to go for the rest of the day.  I am so pleased the weather is getting warmer, Otto has always loved water play and we could do it year round in Jakarta, there is nothing like peeling off the layers and jumping right in.

We are off to our playdate tomorrow and I can't wait to see what we do.


I have so many photos on my computer, it is almost ridiculous, often I will open a folder to discover the memories locked inside there and have a smile (or grimace) about what I find.  I am going to document them here as, slowly, I know these memories will fade, they make up who I am, who I was and often hold keys to Han and I evolving as a couple, and they deserve to be documented.

So here we go, a photo I selected from clicking on a random folder.........

Rainbow Beach circa 2004 (?)

In this photo with us are Jenn and Keelan, our very dear friends from Canada.  I met Jenn whilst studying nursing at QUT and we quickly became good friends, bonding over coffee, nursing notes and wine.  The folder is telling me that it is 2004 but I can't be 100% sure it is right, but let's just say it was from around that time.

I had just bought my first 4WD, Han was working away most of the time in the desert, 6 hours from civilization, and I was working as a graduate nurse.  Life was good! (except the whole distance thing).

We took my 4WD up to Rainbow beach and tested it out, it was a weekend of drinking bad wine late into the night in dodgy pubs, pristine drives along white sandy beaches, and wonderful hikes in the area.  Jenn and Keelan hadn't been to this area before and we had a great time showing them around.  Sadly this lovely couple moved back to North America not long after this weekend and we haven't seen them again (unless you count facebook!), we are hoping one day to head that way whether it be for work or pleasure and if it included bad wine and late nights, all the better!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

I Do.

I do.

Two little words that mean so much.

Six years ago I stood on a precipice, knowing my life was about to change, knowing I was doing the right thing.

Six years ago I looked into those deep brown eyes tinged with tears and butterflies in my stomach.

Six years and my life has changed in so many ways, I know for sure I did the right thing, I still have butterflies in my stomach when I look deep into his eyes and two sons who remind me how blessed I am each day.

Six years ago I said I Do.