Archive | November, 2012

Radelaide

29 Nov

I’m back from Adelaide! I could have done some blogging when I was over there, but I couldn’t be bothered. Sorry. I didn’t even check my emails. I was too busy spending time with Jess and the kids.

We walked around the airport before departing to expend some of the seemingly endless toddler and preschooler energy. Both kids LOVED looking at all the planes.

“Is that our plane? Is that our plane? Can we get on it now Mommy?” Hannah kept asking me.

Hannah was very good on the flight. She ate her snacks and looked out the window. Only at the end did she start with the “are we there yet? Are we there yet? Mommy when are we going to be there?” questions. Daniel on the other hand….

Daniel was quite tired. I got the flight that departed just before his bed time, if you remember. Unfortunately, he didn’t sleep a wink, and instead was very grumpy. Luckily though, he didn’t scream. As long as I was rocking and/or bouncing him. The. Entire. Time. Sigh. My back was killing me by the time we arrived, but at least I didn’t have a screaming child and all of the plane staring at me with annoyance.  Although I’m sure the poor lady who got stuck sitting next to us must have been annoyed with all the bouncing. And with Daniel reaching behind himself to push buttons on her keyboard without my knowledge. Cheeky monkey.

I’m so glad the flight was pretty fast. It even arrived 10 minutes early.

Getting off the plane

We were going to ride the bus everywhere during our stay, until we found out that the bus to the zoo cost $20 per person per direction. Hiring car seats cost $35 per seat for a week.

Chasing Meerkats that were running from side to side in their enclosure was a favourite activity at the zoo. Apparently Daniel LOVES animals. Even the cardboard cut outs of animals.

The meerkat was not very cooperative with the camera, but the kids were running after it as it ran from one side of it’s glass sided enclosure to the other.

We went strawberry picking at Beerenberg Farm where Daniel tried to eat green strawberries and had tantrums when I wouldn’t let him.

The Jess, Me, and the kids strawberry picking

The Jess lives in a swish new apartment in a brand new building right across the street from a beautiful beach. Daniel had a blast chasing seagulls back and forth along the beach (hmm…I sense a pattern here) and playing in a tide pool while Hannah enjoyed making sandcastles and collecting sea shells.

Daniel playing in the water

The Jess and I even got a couple of runs in whilst the kids were asleep (don’t go calling CPS/DOCS, Jim stayed in the apartment with the kids). I think I’d go running everyday if I lived at the beach. Beach runs are awesome. 

The view from our run. This photo was taken while I was running….

The Jess’ apartment is crazy long, so the kids had a ball running up and down the crazy long hallway, chasing each other and giggling. She had her birthday while we were there (the purpose of our visit) and Hannah and I made her a super delicious black forest brownie cake. My own creation.

The Jess blowing out her sparkler candles

The one day The Jess had to work while we were there, I took the kids on the bus to a shopping centre. I got their hair cut (Daniel’s for the very first time!), and then took them to the little playground inside the centre.

And then this happened:

The egg on his head.

Daniel was so excited about the little toddler sized slide in the play area that he would go up the stairs, down the slide and then run around to the stairs again. On about his 10th pass to the slide, he tripped and went forehead first into the pointy end of the wall on the side of the slide stairs.

I had to find a doctor, convince him to see us even though they didn’t have any free appointments, and pay some money because they didn’t bulk bill.

Then, because I had to take Daniel to the doctor, my two hour bus ticket expired and I didn’t have enough cash to pay for another ticket.

“I’ll just go to the ATM and get the next bus.” I told the driver.

But everyone is nice in South Australia (everyone I encountered at least), and he let me ride the bus for free.

The Jess sometimes refers to Adelaide as Radelaide. Because you know what? It’s pretty rad. People are nice, it’s clean, there are really awesome parks all over the place, great beaches, etc., etc. I really like Adelaide. Maybe I’d be singing a different tune if I’d visited in the height of summer where they have heat waves for days on end with temps over 40 degrees (104f). Ick.

Hmmm… WordPress seems to have changed their media uploading page. I can’t find the slideshow button, so you get a gallery instead. It’s so annoying when they change stuff and you have to relearn how to do everything. Humph.

Anyway, the verdict on flying at bedtime or when fully awake? Fully awake hands down. On the way home, we went to the airport straight after Daniel’s nap. He sat in my lap nicely the whole time, eating snacks, playing with his dinosaurs, and watching Peppa Pig on the iPad. Not a whinge was heard, nor was he at all restless. I didn’t even feel bad playing Peppa Pig without headphones because there was a family sitting in front of us, and guess what their kids did the entire flight? Yep, Peppa Pig on the iPad.

Sorry if there are spelling mistakes or sentences that don’t make sense. I’m tired, so I’m going to bed without proof reading it. Oh well. Also, please click the banner and vote for me. My rank is falling since I haven’t been posting. Pretty please? Thanks.

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Easy, or completely horrible

20 Nov

Remember when I went to the U.S. with Hannah all by myself when I was pregnant with Daniel? Flying with a toddler was hard. 

And now I’m about to do it again. Except this time, I have a toddler and a preschooler. I’m not going so far away though, only to Adelaide to see the Jess. Still, the thought of flying with both kids by myself is rather terrifying.  I’m trying not to think about it as I pack our bags for our flight.

Our evening flight. My hope is that the kids will both be super tired because the flight departs at nearly their bed time, plus all the running up and down terminals looking at planes. Daniel’s never seen a plane before. Not close up anyway, only as a speck in the sky as they fly past. Add to the tiredness Peppa Pig episodes on the iPad, and I’m desperately hoping it’s a recipe for calm, quiet, non-fidgeting, sitting still the whole flight, awesome flying kids.

On the flip side, the almost bed time flight could mean overtired, whingey, cranky, kids who spend the entire trip screaming in my ears, Daniel desperately trying to free himself from my lep, kicking the person next to me, so he can get down and run wild up the aisle. I’m obviously gunning for the former.

Either way, I’m sure all of the other passengers will hate us. Option one requires them to listen to Peppa Pig for an hour and a half, since I can’t give both kids headphones to watch the same iPad. Option two requires them to listen to ear popping screams for an hour and a half from one child, possibly accompanied by bruises from kicky little legs. Not to mention the approximately one million are we there yet’s from Hannah. Oh well, at least I’ll never have to see my fellow passengers again. I hope. 

Easy, or completely horrible, it’s happening tomorrow.

Wish me luck.

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The one about my leg – part 2

18 Nov

This is the second part of my leg story. If you haven’t read the first part, click here. Otherwise, I’ll pick up where I left off.

“Your tibia is broken just below your knee,” they told me as they put an x-ray on the light box. “This area here,” he pointed to the x-ray, “is a tumour. It covers 25% of your tibia.” I could see a large area of my bone that was seemingly missing, with a clean break at the thickest part.

I didn’t know what to say. I just kind of stared at them, shock replacing my pain.

“It’s likely not cancer, but there is that chance.” All I heard was cancer. I was terrified. I was only 16 years old. I was booked in to take my drivers licence test that very weekend, only 2 days later. I think my Dad was there, but maybe not. My Mom must have called him went she took me to the hospital. I think I remember him being in that room when they told me I had a tumour.

They put my leg in a brace that had about a zillion straps, booked me in to see the specialist the next day and sent me on my way.

With my leg completely straight in the brace, I had to sit sideways in the car with my leg across the bench seat, taking up the entire back seat.

“What happened to you?” Maria (my friend (not the one who broke my leg) who lived with us) said when I hobbled up the steps. It was about midnight by then. I was too full of shock and adrenaline to sleep, so I told her everything. “Well, at least I bought ice cream.” She got the container of orange sherbert with chocolate chunks out of the freezer. Just what I needed. I ate it straight from the carton. When you’re laying on the couch with a broken leg, bowls just aren’t necessary.

My bed was up high. Kind of like a bunk bed only there was no bottom bed. Instead there was a book shelf and a desk. Needless to say, I wouldn’t be sleeping up there any time soon. I had to sleep on the couch. On my back. And try not to really move because it hurt too much. I still hadn’t taken anything for the pain. I figured I’d already gone 5 hours without anything, and I didn’t die, so what’s a few more? I was very anti-drugs, in any way, shape, or form, including pain killers. Don’t worry, I’m not silly now, I will quite happily pop a Panadol if my head is pounding.

In the morning, I spread myself out in the back of my Dad’s car as he drove me to the specialist half an hour away. More x-rays were taken and a verdict reached.

“It looks like the you were born with this tumour. I’m surprised you haven’t broken your leg before. It’s amazing you’ve gone this long with such a weak spot in your bone.” Yeah, especially since I used to compete in TaeKwonDo tournaments. “I’m about 99% sure the tumour is not cancerous. It’s just fibrous tissue. Now that you’ve broken your leg, it might just fill in on it’s own as the break heals. Otherwise, you’ll have to have surgery later on.”

He plastered me up in a cast that went from the base of my toes all the way to the middle of my thigh. There were no waterproof casts back then, it was an old school, cotton, then white plaster cast. There was a slight bend at the knee, so my leg wasn’t entirely straight, but it wasn’t bent enough to sit on a chair properly either. Riding in the car was quite tricky. Because of the bend, I had to put a pillow or something under my knee and put my whole leg on across the seat. It wouldn’t fit sitting normally.

So even though I had an automatic van, I couldn’t get my drivers licence. Not yet. I’d have to wait. Sigh.

The cast was quite thick, so I couldn’t wear pants either. I had to wear shorts even though it’s quite cold in April. My mom actually had to take me shopping so I could buy an ample supply of shorts that were wide enough to fit over my cast on the way up. I had to pull out of PE class for obvious reasons, and I could no longer ride the bus to school.

I had to stop wearing a bra because the crutches sat under my armpits right where my bras did, rubbing against the bra which rubbed against my skin and made horrible sores. Not that I really needed a bra anyway. I didn’t have any boobs.

Every afternoon after school, I’d come home and fall asleep on the couch, exhausted from all the hobbling around on crutches. My classes were spread all over the school, so getting to them was no easy feat. I was allowed to be late to each and every class.

I couldn’t sleep in my bed, so instead I slept downstairs, in the rec-room, where Maria lived. She had a bed down there, but she preferred the couch, and always slept on the couch anyway. I slept on the bed and she got the couch. We were never really sleeping at the same time though, she worked nights (she was older than me).

Maria would come home in the morning just as I was getting taking the garbage bag off my cast after my shower. I was able to masterfully throw my underpants over my cast leg, pull them up with the toes of my other leg, and then reach them with my hands. I couldn’t bend over too far because that would pull on my bone and put me in terrible pain. I could not, however, manage to land my shorts on my foot. I tried and tried. But it never worked.

When Maria got home from work every day, she’d put my shorts on for me. You know someone is a true friend when they are willing to dress you daily (my parents were already at work, they left at  ridiculous o’clock in the morning, so they were unavailable for pants duty).

As the weeks went by, I went in for x-ray after x-ray, follow up after follow up. The hole didn’t fill in.

I finally got my cast off and found my leg covered in itchy hair, dirty as sin, and the muscle totally atrophied and disgusting looking.

4 months after I broke my leg, in the middle of summer and the school holidays, I got my drivers licence. Finally.

7 months after my leg broke, I went in for surgery. They cleared out the tumour (which, thank goodness, was not cancer. They tested it to make sure), and filled it in with bone that they took from my hip. I had to wear a brace for a long while after that, as it healed and the bone they stuck in there fused with the bone that surrounded it. After surgery was incredibly painful. My hip throbbed. My leg throbbed. My ankle swelled up to unbelievable proportions. I still refused to take pain killers.

When Lauren came to my house as an exchange student, I was still recovering. My brace was a thing of the past, but I still had a bandage on my leg. The incision took a while to heal after some of my internal stitches decided to become external.

Now my leg is fine. there is an area all around the scar on my tibia that doesn’t have much feeling. If anything touches it, it makes me shudder. It feels kind of disgusting. It gets goosebumps when I work out, but when I get goosebumps because I’m cold, that area does not get them. Weird.

The bone from my hip mostly grew back. When I touch the scar, I don’t feel it on the scar, but on my inner thigh. Nerves get all messed up with surgery I suppose. Other than that, there is no affect now. I can run, jump, skip, whatever. I’m all healed. I just have some cool battle scars.

Me with my broken leg and my leg after surgery. My friend’s face is covered because I haven’t asked her if her photo can be on the blog.

But you know what? Breaking bones and the pain post bone graft is NOTHING compared to giving birth. Time to get my tubes tied….

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Flashback Friday: The one about my leg

16 Nov

I’ve made reference to my leg and it’s tumour before, but I haven’t yet told you the full story (I don’t think…I’d better just do a quick search…ok, I haven’t told the story before). So here it goes:

I was 16 years old. It was April 21st. Yes, 2 years later, that would be the very date that Aaron and I started going out. We were having a talent show at 4-H (yes, that same 4-H that Homer Simpson makes fun of in an episode of the Simpson’s). I was going to play a few songs with the triplets. I was the guitarist for the evening. Mind you, I wasn’t very good. I’d only had my guitar for 4 months at that stage.

Hopped up on sugar, I was standing near my friend, who was sitting down, trying to get her to roughhouse with me. I leaned in and pushed her shoulder. She pushed me back. I bent over a little bit and shoulder barged her. We giggled. She pushed me away gently with her foot, barely touching my shin with her shoe. CRACK!

The colour drained from my face instantly. My eyes bulged out of my head as my mouth went from a smile to stunned mullet gasping. I froze right where I was. excruciating pain like I’d never felt before crippled my leg.

“Are you ok?” My friend asked me. “What’s wrong?”

“My leg.” I somehow managed to croak out. Maybe I was over reacting or being a total wuss. I shifted some weight from my right leg back to my left. Oh. My. Gosh. 

No, there was no way I could even stand on it. I somehow got to a chair. Or maybe one was brought to me. I can’t even remember, my mind kind of went foggy with pain. I didn’t know what to do. I mean, I knew my leg was broken. I heard the horrible crack it made as it broke. I felt the horrible pain – was still feeling the horrible pain. But my friend barely touched my leg. How could it be broken? It didn’t make any sense.

“Mom, there’s something wrong with my leg.” I wasn’t crying. I wasn’t a crier. Never have been. Except now if I see something sad about kids. Gets me every time. That’s what motherhood does I suppose.

My Mom studied me for a couple of seconds, attempting to determine if I was truly hurt or just being wussy “Just sit down for a while and see how you go.” She told me. Or something like that. It was a long time ago.

The talent show started. People did stuff. I couldn’t tell you who did what or even how many people performed. I was too busy sitting in my chair trying not to think about the pain, willing my leg to not be broken.

“Your turn!” Someone said. The rest of the band was already ready.

“Um…I can’t walk.” They still thought I was being wussy or making the whole thing up, so they humoured me and carried me to the stage in my chair. Instead of rocking out, I played Louie, Louie like an old lady, sitting in my chair, wincing as I played. I don’t even know how I got through it, but I did. I don’t even think I messed up.

Playing guitar with my undiagnosed broken leg.

A couple hours later, it was all finished. My leg wasn’t any better. If anything, the pain was worse. Trying to put even a tiny bit of weight on it sent searing pain through my body. The throbbing was terrible.

“Alright, I’ll take you to the after hours doctor.” My mom told me. It was in the next town. I held onto two people’s shoulders and hopped my way down to the truck. Or maybe they carried me. I’m not sure. Haze of pain, remember?

We drove 15 minutes to the next town, only to find the after hours doctor was closed. Sigh.

“Can’t it wait until tomorrow?” My Mom asked me.

“No, I need to see someone now.”

“Ok, I guess I’ll have to take you to the ER then.”

We drove 15 minutes back to our town. The hospital was on the other side of the railroad tracks. Oh. My. Gosh. My leg jarred as we drove over the tracks, nearly putting me in tears. Pretty much the only thing I remember about that car ride is going over the railroad tracks. It was bad. 

I took hold of my Mom’s elbow and hopped my way into the E.R. where I was given a wheelchair to sit on. I have no idea how long I was waiting for, but after a while, someone came over to where I was sitting and started asking questions.

“Where does it hurt?” She asked me.

“There.” I pointed to the spot just below my knee.

“And how did it happen?”

“I was roughhousing with my friend, and she pushed me with her foot. But not very hard.”

“On a scale of 1-10, 1 being no pain, 10 being excruciating, how much does it hurt.”

“10.” Actually, I probably tried to be hard core and said something like 7. Or maybe I was just getting used to the pain by then.

“Well, no one really breaks their leg right under their knee, that is the strongest part of your tibia, if it was broken, it would be at the thinnest part. So how about you just go home and try to walk on it, and see how you go in the morning?”

“No. You need to x-ray it. I’m not leaving.” Seriously, I was not leaving until they checked it out. Even if I had to be a little feisty in the process.

She must have seen the determination in my eyes as she took me for an x-ray straight away, then wheeled me into a consultation room.

When she returned, she was not alone. There were a couple of other doctors with her. The look on their faces said it all. Something was wrong. Something was very wrong.

This is getting rather long now, so I guess you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out what happend next.

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Planning European Holiday Adventures

15 Nov

If you were to head on a big European adventure, where would you go? Would your chosen destination differ if you had the kids in tow? Europe, and Britain in particular are perhaps destinations that are creeping more firmly up people’s ‘to-do’ lists after the recent Olympics. But if you are going to trek all that way, is it better to hit multiple destinations, or to try and pack in as many adventures as possible? Here are a few ideas for those considering hitting three of the region’s top tourist destinations; England, France and Spain.

England

The Olympics placed London firmly in the spotlight, but there’s plenty going on in the North of England too. If your little ones are Harry Potter fans, you should consider checking out Alnwick Castle in Northumberland where many of the scenes from the movies were filmed. It’s a lovely, scenic town near the coast and the perfect antidote to a busy life. However, if you are planning for far off in the future and it’s an action-packed holiday you are after, you might be interested to learn that Paramount pictures have unveiled plans for a new theme park in Kent (see, here). This would be very conveniently placed for anyone who fancied doing a double destination trip and hopping over the channel to France.

France

Visiting as a couple, Paris is usually at the top of people’s to-do list, along with a trip up the Eiffel Tower and a look round the Louvre. Of course, the capital has plenty to offer families too, and Disneyland Paris is an adventure in itself. That said, for a longer but still fun-filled break, there are cheaper options. Camping holidays in France can be very rewarding – particularly in the South, where the combination of good weather, good wine and family oriented holiday parks is a winning combination.

Spain

Spain is a well-trodden path for package holidays, but there is also a wealth of culture to be explored. If you’re thinking of having a family holiday in Spain, a trip to the Catalonian capital of Barcelona has something for all of the family – good food, great beaches, beautiful architecture and of course, lots of opportunities for learning – like a visit to the Picasso Museum.

This guest post is published in association with www.keycamp.co.uk, the family holidays and camping holidays specialist in the UK.

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Under the jacaranda

12 Nov

I love this time of year. It’s hot, but not disgustingly hot, and the Jacaranda trees are all in bloom. Wherever I look, I see beautiful purple flowers covering the trees. The flowers fall off the trees and make lawns and sidewalks turn purple. And we all know how much I like purple.

There happens to be a Jacaranda tree in the neighbours yard that hangs over the half-fallen down fence and drops flowers all over our garage area. The day of the storm , the sky was overcast, the flowers were newly fallen, and Hannah and I had some free time whilst Daniel had a nap. In other words, perfect portrait conditions. And believe you me, I took advantage of it. I had to before the sun came out and put horrible dark shadows and bright patches all over Hannah’s face, and obviously before the pretty purple flowers blanketing the driveway turned to hideous brown mush that gets all over your shoes and makes you slip.

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Being 3, she currently enjoys putting on her best fake smile for the camera, which, even though it’s totally fake and obviously fake, is pretty adorable. See the fence behind her? It’s missing half the boards, and another quarter of them are attached only at the bottom and hanging off towards the driveway, nails and all. Sometimes they completely fall off and I have to get out of the car and shove them up against the fence so they don’t scratch the WRX as I drive past. Stupid fence.

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Freak storm

9 Nov

I could see the dark clouds hanging about in the sky, threatening to dump their contents.

I had about an hour before I needed to pick Hannah up from preschool and then Daniel from daycare. I’d finished all of my housework and blog post drafts, so I decided to leave early and beat the rain. Well, beat the rain to the supermarket. I needed to get something to cook for dinner. Hannah likes to spend some one on one time with me, so I often pick her up an hour before Daniel and take her shopping or something.

As I fastened Hannah into her car seat, the rain started. We pulled out of the parking lot and onto the road. The rain was a little heavy, but nothing too bad. We kept going down the road, enroute to the supermarket. Ting, ting, ting, ting, ting.  The rain turned to thumbnail sized balls of hail. My wipers were on full blast, but still weren’t able to keep up with the crazy hail that appeared to be hitting the car at a 90 degree angle. 

I couldn’t see a foot in front of the windshield. Oh gosh, we’re going to crash. I slowed right down. I must have been going 5 kilometers per hour, desperately searching for somewhere to pull over. Parked cars lined the road, so I had to keep going, all the while hoping that I wasn’t too close to the parked cars or the centreline in the road. I came to a turning lane and pulled in. I planned to stay in the turning lane until the rain/hail eased, which luck would have it, happened straight away.

I turned and went straight in the Aldi parking lot as the rain belted down once again. But at least we were safe, no longer on the road.

The view from my windscreen after I parked. It was far worse earlier.

“Are we going in Mommy?” Hannah asked me.

“No sweetie, we’ll just wait in the car until the rain lets up.”

We watched as people stood at the front of Aldi with their full shopping trolleys, they too waiting for the rain to ease. We saw a man running full speed from his car to the front of Aldi, slipping and nearly falling on his bum on one of the white pedestrian crossing lines as he ran.

When the rain finally eased again, I carried Hannah to the entrance of Aldi. “They’re closed love! The power is out.”

Sigh.

We got back in the car and picked up Daniel. There was no time to go to a different supermarket before I had to pick him up.

“Oh no, don’t tell me this light bulb doesn’t work now.” I said to no one in particular as we walked in to the apartment after picking Daniel up and going to a different supermarket.

None of the other lights would turn on either. Crap. I put the salmon fillets I’d just purchased in the fridge as fast as I could, trying to preserve the cold environment in there as long as possible. Maybe the ice cream and sweet potato fries be ok if the power wasn’t out for long.

Aaron and I ordered Thai delivery for dinner and the kids had honey sandwiches and fruit salad. I was going to make them peanut butter and jelly, but both the peanut butter and the jelly were in the fridge.

After the kids went to bed, Aaron and I played board games by candle light and went to bed at 9pm. From our bedroom window we could see 2 power company trucks and one blinding bright work light. We could hear a chainsaw going.

“Maybe a tree fell on the line.” I said to Aaron. “Well, I guess the electricity will be back on soon. I’ll put my left over thai food in the fridge.” I didn’t want to open the door and let all the cold out before that.

Somehow, I managed to get so sleep even with the chainsaw going and lots of other noise outside.

We tossed and turned all night. Beep beep beep beep beep.  A noisy fire alarm was going off. “Are you sure it’s a fire alarm and not one of the kids’ toys?” Aaron asked me.

“Pretty sure, but I’ll check just in case.” No, it was definitely a fire alarm. And it didn’t stop. All. Night. Long. The trucks worked well into the morning, one right near our window. Other people who couldn’t sleep were milling about outside, talking loudly.

This morning, the power was back on. “I haven’t heard the fridge.” I told Aaron. Surely with my tossing all night, I would have noticed if the fridge was running. A quick check proved it wasn’t. Neither was the kettle. Or the oven, the dryer, the washing machine, or anything else that needed to be plugged in. One of the plugs had black marks on it.

The base of my phone charger was plugged into a power board, but the cord part (that attaches to the base plug bit via usb cable) was blown completely out, the end black as night. The surge protector and double adaptor in the man cave in the living room were black.

An electrician got everything working at about mid day, but by then all the food in the fridge and freezer had to be thrown out. Everything appears to be in working order, except the NAS (which Aaron tells me is network attached storage), which is where we store about 10 years worth of photos. All the photos of the kids are on there. All the photos we’ve ever taken since 2002. All of them.   The NAS is the one thing we were hoping would come out of the power surge (there was a note in our mailbox from the electricity company stating that excess voltage may have occurred) unscathed. Unfortunately, it was one of the only things that didn’t. Apart from my phone charger and that adapter.

We’re hoping that the actual hard drive inside the NAS is ok, and that it’s just the powering bit that is damaged. We’ve ordered another one so we can stick the hard drives it in and retrieve all of our precious photos. That is the hope at least.

Tomorrow I’m headed out for a girls weekend away. No kids. Oh yeah, I can taste the relaxation now….

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Copyright 2012 Sheri Thomson

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Grandma is hard to shop for

8 Nov

Some people are so hard to buy gifts for. Grandma for example. She has approximately a million outfits (ok, fine, I may be exaggerating, but only a little bit), she is allergic to perfumes and bath things, she doesn’t really have any hobbies, and she already has plenty of books she hasn’t yet read.

She does like sweets though, so perhaps this Christmas hamper from Viking would be to her liking:

Christmas treats hamper

Hannah spends the night at Grandma’s (and by Grandma, I mean Aaron’s Grandma, so Hannah’s great Grandma) once per week. Then they take the bus to town together and do all sorts of shopping and frolicking before I meet them to pick Hannah up. Hannah loves Grandma. “Grandma spoils me!” She tells me.

I gave Grandma my old mobile phone so could call me if she needs to when she’s out (with Hannah especially, but anytime). But the buttons on the phone are quite small, and Grandma finds it hard to use and all the different screens you have to go through to actually call someone, confusing.

I’m pretty sure she’d LOVE this easy phone (with big numbers). Perfect for the elderly:

Doro PhoneEasy

Grandma is old school and still hangs a calendar on her wall every year. I usually get her a half naked fireman calendar (as a joke, but she still puts it up and uses it), but she might like this one even better because the numbers are big and easy to read. And won’t make her blush every time she looks at it:

Clearview calendar

*This post was brought to you by Viking.

If you enjoyed reading this, please vote for my blog. All you have to do is click the link below. That’s it… Clicking the link brings you to the Top Mommy Blogs home page. You don’t have to do anything else. Any clicks from my site to theirs is a vote.  THANKS!
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Oops, I broke it

8 Nov

Remember when I told you about how Daniel climbs on everything? When I thought he might break the window with his head, I moved the furniture in their room around. By myself. No easy feat when you’re 5 foot 2 and weigh 48.5 kilos.

I stood back and admired the new set up, quite pleased with my efforts. Unfortunately, the book shelf has never been the same since. The cheap cardboard back that slots in doesn’t fit anymore. The shelves were hanging precariously from their little metal things that you put in the pre-made holes so you can adjust the height of each shelf. Somehow the ends of the book case got wider when I moved it. But the shelves obviously didn’t, so they are too narrow for the frame. Hence the precarious hanging.

Today, it finally broke. The first shelf is sitting on top of all the books on the bottom shelf, the little metal thing bent in half and hanging sadly.

“You should have waited for me to help you move stuff.” Aaron told me this morning. Yes well… It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I guess this time we need to not be cheap skates and buy a decent book shelf. One that is sturdy and made with actual wood. One that doesn’t wobble from side to side when you touch it. A well crafted, good one.

Like this one from Baby & Co:

While I’m at it, maybe I could get Daniel a cot that actually has a working rail. His won’t go down. Usually. Sometimes I can get it down, but the whole time I’m forcing it, I’m worried the whole cot is going to fall apart. This one looks nice (can you tell all the furniture in their room is white? I like stuff to match…):

Although Daniel is 15 months old now (OH MY GOSH! Where did that time go?!?!?!?!), so he’ll be needing a toddler bed soon. Luckily the above cot also turns into toddler bed with, or without a back. It’s a 3-in-1. Gotta love that.

With the back. You can take the slatted side off.

*This post was brought to you by Baby & Co

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Harder than you’d think

7 Nov

I’ve been getting a lot of packages recently. Mostly because I spent my $500 Groupon voucher (that I won. You can read about that here) on a bunch of different stuff and it has all started arriving. They delivery man usually comes around 8:30 or 9 in the morning. Occasionally he comes later and by that time, I’m not home. Because darn it, I can NOT stay home all day. Not even for one single day. I just can’t do it. Maybe if we lived in a house, with a yard and room to run around, but not while we live in a small 2 bedroom apartment. We all go a little crazy if cooped up too long.

Anyway, I missed the delivery man on Friday and found a slip in the mailbox saying I have a parcel to pick up at the post office. Seems easy enough. Take the slip, wait in line, give it to a postal worker, get my package. Easy.

Fine, it is a bit hard carrying a toddler on my hip, holding Hannah’s hand, and trying to take a package to the car. Not to mention when Hannah’s there, she is always fingering all of the kid-friendly merchandise that litters the sides of the line-up area. You know, those cool looking Dora lunch boxes, the packs of illustrated kids books, the stuffed animals. The list goes on.

Hannah goes to preschool on Mondays, so I took the opportunity to go to the post office a little bit easier, with only one cheeky child. Even though the post office is about a 1 and a half minute drive from my house, the traffic was horrible (yes, I could have walked, but I did my first Pump class at the gym this morning, so I pretty much feel like my legs are going to fall off, AND it was 93 degrees today. Walking was definitely not an option). It was apparently school pick up time, which means school kids all over the sidewalks, and soccer mom vans full of school kids all over the roads.

When we finally got through the traffic light and pulled into the post office, we were met with not even one empty parking space. It would help if the post office had more than 5 parking spaces. Oh, and one of those is a disabled spot.

I had to pull into the do not park/no standing/Australia Post vehicles only part of the parking lot that had lots of bright yellow lines  painted through it just in case you missed the all the signs, just to turn around.

Lucky for me, an older gentleman wandered out of the post office and returned to his vehicle just as I finished turning around. I stopped in the scary yellow lined area and put my blinker on, clearly waiting for his spot. He looked at me in his side view mirror. He knew I was there. He rolled down his window half way. Fair enough, maybe he’s one of those stick-his-head-out-the-window-to-see-better-when-backing-up type people. Or maybe his air conditioner was broken.

But then he started cleaning his window. Not like the part that he needs to see out of. The tiny little part at the very top of the half rolled down window. The part that goes inside the car frame.

“Are you serious guy?” I said to no one, although Daniel was in the car. I should probably curb my road rage outbursts when I have kids in the car.

When he finished cleaning the top of his window, he started cleaning his glasses. Ok, maybe he’s super cautious and needs everything to be just right before backing up. I kept waiting.

Then he started fixing his hair in the rear view mirror. Oh. My. Gosh.

I didn’t want to get in trouble for my illegal parking in the yellow lined area, so I pulled out of the parking lot. I looked for a spot on the side of the road, but there were none available there either.

I did a lap around the block in the horrid school traffic, avoiding all of the high schoolers who illegally cross the road when the red hand is clearly lit up.

I pulled back into the post office parking lot. Old guy was gone, but a different car was in his place. I guess he just didn’t want to give up his spot to me. Jerk. Or maybe he just needed to clean his windows, his glasses, fix his hair, pick his nose, trim his beard and polish his shoes before he could leave the car park.

There were once again no spaces open. Except the disabled spot and I wasn’t about to be so rude as to park in a disabled spot. I’m not disabled. The person who pulled in behind me didn’t seem to feel the same. She parked there, jumped out of her SUV with a bunch of boxes and sauntered all able-bodied into the post office, giving me a “well you didn’t take the spot, so I did” look on her way.

I pulled out a second time, finding a prime parking spot on the side of the road right in front of the post office. I pulled up next to the car in front of the spot and put my blinker on. Just as I was about to reverse park (parallel park) into my perfect parking spot, a car drove up. Right behind me. There was no room for him to go around, and he couldn’t back up. I had to leave the prime spot.

I gave up after that. Hannah needed to be picked up and I needed to turn the oven on to make the kids’ dinner. There was no more time for ’round the block attempts at picking up a package.

I guess I’ll try again tomorrow. With 2 kids and no free hands to carry a package to the car. Sigh.

If you enjoyed reading this, please vote for my blog. All you have to do is click the link below. That’s it… Clicking the link brings you to the Top Mommy Blogs home page. You don’t have to do anything else. Any clicks from my site to theirs is a vote.  THANKS!
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