Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Take me to the river

Paul fell into the river today. Don't worry, he's okay, but he did fall into the river.

We were biking and, at Sylvia's request we crossed over a bridge to take the path on the other side of the river. We've crossed that bridge dozens of times, on foot and on bikes, so I wasn't terribly concerned about it. I'm faster than the kids (being bigger and all) so I went up and down a bit while waiting for them. I was up, away from the bridge and had just checked to see that Sylvia was across when I heard a big splash.

When I looked back, Paul was nowhere in sight.

I started screaming his name and ran down to the bridge, chucking away everything I was carrying. Shortly before I got to the bridge he started crying, which I have to say was a wonderful sound to hear. I had no idea where he'd fallen and the middle of the river is relatively deep. When I couldn't hear him crying I was sure he'd fallen in the deep part and was being carried downstream. I'm not sure how I could have handled that. As it happened he fell closer to the side, in amongst reeds and relatively shallow water. I'm pretty sure he went completely under (the dirt still stuck to his scalp is rather suggestive), but the water was shallow enough he was able to get his head out of the water reasonably quickly.

Paul and I were both pretty shaken up. Sylvia had a lovely chat with a nice woman who stopped to make sure we were alright, which I have to say was a fantastic distraction. Thank you random woman for talking to my older child while I comforted and cleaned up the younger child. But of course, when I asked Paul if he was going to fall into the river again he told me, "yeah." Apparently I'm going to have to watch this one.

I am so glad I still have two children at the end of the day. I think the three/six year birthday party is going to be a big celebration, but more for me than the kids!

Monday, September 30, 2013

The saga of the pita bread

About two weeks ago I made a batch of falafel dough. You know what goes really well with falafel dough? Pita bread.

Last Tuesday I threw together some dough before I headed out with Sylvia to her last day of kindy. We were late (in part thanks to the dough, but mostly thanks to the slowness of walking with my kids. I ran, trying to push my kids to go faster and it still took 50 minutes. Walking only takes 40 if you don't stop). Paul and I had a lovely day hanging out with each other and with friends and then we picked up Sylvia. Within 30 minutes of getting home Paul broke an egg on the back porch, I made a mess spraying it off, Sylvia broke two more eggs into a measuring cup (she wanted to make a cake), Paul poured those eggs into the pita dough (apparently it looked like cake batter in need of eggs), and then, when I sent the kids to clean themselves up, they dumped most of a bottle of hand soap out to clean the bathtub.


Somehow, their costumes from that morning were fitting.

Wednesday I moved on. I'm not one to waste, so I used the eggy pita dough to make cinnamon rolls. I'm not sure that was quite the right precedent to set.

Anyway, we had something else for dinner that night.

Thursday we also had something else for dinner.

Likewise, Friday.

(Can you tell I was uninspired with cooking last week?)

Saturday I attempted pita again. This time the kids decided the dough should become focaccia so they added all of my olive oil, all my sesame oil, and most of my balsamic vinegar to the bowl with the dough in it.

I know, yum.

I rinsed off as much of the fragrant brown liquid as I could, then threw the dough in a pan and let it rise overnight. The kids had their focaccia for breakfast Sunday morning, and seemed to quite like the stuff.

Sunday, I again assembled pita dough, though this time I got the kids to help me put it together so they'd feel invested in its success. To cut a long story short, that worked. We had pita. The kids didn't so much eat it as slather it with tzaziki and pick at it, but I finally made pita bread.

I count this as a success.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

First day of spring

This morning Sylvia woke up at 5:15.

I didn't want to be awake (who does at that hour?) but I had to smile when I heard her crowing, "It's the first day of spring!"

We had a party with a few of Derrick's work friends. Now that they're all gone we have a fridge full of tasty (pseudo) Mexican food and beer. I know what to do with all the food, but not what to do with the beer (since none of us don't drink the stuff). I'd say have another party, but I suspect the problem might multiply...

I got my first mosquito bite of the season.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Aussie Father's day

Other childrens' cards bear a carefully sloppy greeting,
  Or a rocket ship trailing a rainbow flame
    Or strategically random buttons.

Our children understand randomness is stochastic
  A propelant jet isn't rainbow hued
    And one can not be carefully sloppy.

One must be deliberate.

Our kids cut and glue and color with their typical wildness
Their enthusiasm shows in their jagged cuts and crooked stickers,
In the stray tape
In the coloring that is more bald than color.

They hunch over their Frankenstein creation willing it to monstrous life
Proud, happy, innocent of the ugliness.

The card they hand you is, generously,
And impressively garish given the harmoniousness of the starting materials.

They are aesthetically handicapped, you see.

They don't have a mother who guides them into straight lines and golden ratios
  Or who insists they color from edge to edge or coordinate their colors.
     (As if I can coordinate colors)

They have a mother who watches.

Happy Father's day from your aesthetically immature offspring.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Goats eat everything

We went to the zoo today. Saw animals. Scared the crap out of Paul. Typical day.

For anyone who is not aware, my kids love wallabies, especially the wallabies in the children's petting zoo. So, we went over and I meant to get them some food to make the wallabies less recalcitrant, but forgot. When we got in there was exactly one wallaby. Since that wallaby wasn't all that keen on my kids (who haven't yet mastered the art of walking slowly or speaking softly when excited) and there were like two dozen people coming through the gates, all holding bags of food, I convinced my little chilluns to come with me to get some food. Then I convinced them to go see the barnyard animals (goats, sheep, deer) instead of the wallaby.

Paul insisted on carrying the bag and I let him 'cause I'm thoughtful that way. There are two gates to go through (kind of an air-lock system to keep the animals from running away). The instant the second gate was open three goats pushed their way into the little entrance way, scaring Paul silly.

He, realizing instantly that his life was in danger, dropped the food bag and began scaling my leg.

The largest and most aggressive of the three goats grabbed the food bag, paper bag and all, and downed it.

Paul, crying and screaming, "scary! scary!" still wanted to touch the animals, just not the goats.

Go figure.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Today is the first day I wake up drenched in sweat
   And only one blanket
The first day I don't scurry on tiptoes across the tile
   But walk flat-footed
It is the first day my children throw down their jackets
   And I join them
The first day the wind brings warmth
   And the sun feels bright
   And the asphalt smells
The first day the air around the rain
   Feels like a doona,
       Thick and suffocating
It's the first day that speaks of charred hot dogs and peach juice
   Dripping down my arm
   Of watermelon so crisp it spits as you bite it
   Of mosquitoes and thunderstorms and the want of cool
Today is the first day I believe summer is near

Friday, August 16, 2013

Rainy days and libraries

Some days make you grateful to be alive. Some days make you glad your kids are alive. Some days I feel lucky all of us make it to the end of the day.

Yesterday we went to the library. It was supposed to rain (later it did) but I wanted to make sure the kids spent some time outside, doing something other than watching TV. We skuuted over, read books, and then, as I was putting away some of the huge stack Sylvia had accumulated, Paul ran around, playing with some of the toys in the library, or so I assumed.

While I wasn't watching Paul started opening the drawers of the newspaper cabinet. I'm not sure if the thing was particularly off balance that day, or if it's normally off balance and just  nobody's been unlucky with it yet, but after he pulled out a couple of the drawers the cabinet tipped over on top of Paul.

There's a heart-stopping moment after a crash when there's no noise, just a sucking in of breath as everyone imagines the worst, when, as a mom, you feel all eyes on you, wondering why you weren't there. Then, the crying starts, on one hand heart-wrenching; on the other comforting, for at least you know your child is alive.

Paul is perfectly okay. He was understandably scared and cried for about as long as I've ever heard him cry, but there seems to be no damage. We had to do a little paperwork and then we went home. All the tears and all the shaking I'd suppressed inside the library rolled out of me as I carried Paul home in the rain, holding him close the whole way.

We all took a long nap that afternoon, curled up together on the kid's bed.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Bad Baklava

My kids love baklava. Actually, they call it bakabakaba, which I think sounds like it should be shaped like a chicken, but whatever. They love it no matter what they call it. I usually make it because it's really a pretty simple thing to make and if I don't make it in massive quantities I don't get any. Sure, it's time consuming (so it doesn't happen too often), but it also turns out even bad baklava is pretty good.

And I've been testing the limits of bad baklava lately. The last couple of iterations of baklava have been less than stellar, yet still decidedly edible. Still, someday I want to make the perfect baklava. Inspired by this post I'm going to take a moment to write down things I did right and what went wrong.

Good things about this baklava:
* Fresh phyllo dough (from the fridge section rather than the freezer section) worked better than defrosted phyllo dough.
* Buttering all layers lightly really isn't that bad and I like it better that way
* Applying just a couple of tablespoons of chopped nuts every two layers makes for good baklava

Bad things about this baklava:
* Really, it just needed more syrup. One cup isn't enough--do two next time. Oh, and while you can kind of add more syrup later (which is what happened--Derrick made a second cup of simple syrup and poured it over) the result is a little more sweet soggy cereal and less tasty, crunchy baklava.

Anyway, it was for Sylvia's birthday, and I don't think she cared overmuch about its inadequacies. She loves baklava too much to be put off by such trivialities.

Happy #5 kid.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

And so it begins

In the week Derrick was gone, Paul's language skills increased noticeably. He's speaking more clearly and speaking in two to three word phrases, sometimes embarking on sentences (though those are typically not so understandable). My favorites so far: "right, mom;" "mommy coming;" and "I love you, mom." Yes, I am a sentimental sucker.

Yesterday we had friends over to play. At least once Paul said, "right, mom. Eva." to one of them, which I found hilarious.

Everyone asks if my kids will have Australian accents. The answer is most definitely yes, and Paul's already acquiring his. After our friends' visit the way Paul says 'no' and 'uh-oh' is noticeably changed. The Australian 'no' is more like 'noe' (so there's a bit of an 'e' sound at the end. Paul's picked that up.

I have to admit, as cute as it is, I'm a little sad he's not going to sound much like me when he grows up!

Sunday, June 23, 2013


It's been a bad weekend around here for glass. And milk. And pillows. And pretty much everything else that isn't nailed down.

Friday morning started out pretty well. Oh, except that Thursday morning Paul dumped the last couple of cups of milk out into my cereal bowl (I filtered it out and saved it for bread--we'll come to that later) and I hadn't gone to get milk, so I didn't have breakfast. Anyway, after everyone else ate and I snagged a couple of uneaten bread crusts (doesn't my diet sound delish?) Derrick and I helped the kids clean up enough I actually vacuumed their rooms and I was well on my way to cleaning the bathrooms. While I was working on my bathroom Paul decided to brush his teeth using my toothbrush (Mom's stuff's ALWAYS better), so I pulled out a new one for me and let him have at it with my old one. He's a pretty messy brusher so when I finished I went out and got a clean rag, then came back to wipe up the mess and take care of the rest of the bathroom while I was at it. Paul ran off and I got to work.

I don't quite remember why I left just a couple of minutes later--probably going for windex, even though that was already under the sink from a previous attempt at cleaning--but I heard a tinkling sound in the kitchen and walked in to find Paul clutching the candy thermometer and chewing on something hard.

He swallowed.

Not yet ready to believe I'd watched my child eat glass I took the thermometer away from him, confirmed it was broken and then asked him if he'd eaten it.

He said yes.

Now, twenty two month old children aren't the best at answering questions, so I still didn't quite believe he'd eaten glass. I shooed him out of the kitchen and swept up the area, looking for the missing pieces of the thermometer bulb.

Yeah, they weren't there.

I wasn't even sure if glass was something I needed to worry about. I mean, my kids have eaten all kinds of crap they say to call poison control about (deodorant, toothpaste, soil) and  every time I do the poison control operator says as long as they haven't eaten more than a certain amount they'll be fine. But I always call 'cause hey, I don't know the safe amount of whatever toiletry is safe for my child's consumption. So I called the doctor's office.

"Hello, my son just ate some glass..."

"He ate some grass?"

"No, glass. G-L-A-S-S."

"Oh. The nurse says take him to the hospital."


I got my kids ready relatively quickly, but while I was putting together the diaper bag and crap to keep Sylvia occupied in Derrick's office Sylvia decided to pull all the stuffing out of one the couch pillows. I didn't immediately scream at them, so they (I guess) assumed the activity met with my approval and they proceeded to empty all of the couch pillows onto their newly vacuumed bedroom floor, covering it in soft, downy whiteness. Again, I did not scream. I let them roll around in the pillow fluff until I was ready to go, assuming (for one correctly) that they would be occupied with this one act of destruction and would stay out of other trouble.

Sylvia was really quite a champ about going to her dad's office for the day. I think the prospect of spending all day watching movies made the deal for her. Paul was not so happy about having to leave with me, but I dragged him off and we made it to the hospital between an hour and an hour and a half after I first discovered Paul chewing on glass.

The rest of the day pretty much consisted of sitting in the hospital. We waited a while to see the doctor (which I was fine with, since that indicated to me he was a low priority) then went up for some X-rays. The only annoyance from the wait was I didn't feel comfortable giving Paul anything to eat or drink until I'd spoken to a doctor, so he was rather cranky by the time we went up for the X-rays.

Cranky kids are not cooperative kids, just in case you were wondering. Paul wouldn't take off his shirt, wouldn't sit, wouldn't do anything. I thought maybe if I fed him he'd be more cooperative so I took him out and nursed him, which also put him to sleep. Unfortunately, he was no more cooperative after nursing and sleeping a bit. Three of us adults were required to get him to sit still enough for the pictures. Fun times.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was when the doctor told me he wanted another X-ray.

This time we had to wait a little longer to get in, so I tried explaining to Paul what he needed to do. A different technician took us into a different room, where Paul still freaked out a bit, and then we ended up going into the first room anyway for some reason I didn't quite follow. It didn't matter, though--Paul was a different kid, very cooperative, very easy. The first technician (a guy) couldn't get over how much better behaved Paul was.

We got a snack and hung out in the waiting room until about 5, at which point Paul started seriously tantruming, throwing the stroller on the ground, throwing himself on the ground, hitting me. He needed to eat and needed to go home, so I told the triage nurse we were going to go. She said she'd get the doctor and I took Paul out to get another snack while we waited. Then we talked to the doctor, who told us there was probably glass in his digestive tract but not in his lungs and we just needed to watch him carefully for a few days, and then we went home.

Yesterday was much less eventful. I kept trying to leave so I could write and little things (rain especially) kept getting in the way. I turned the milk into sweetbread dough, which I let rise a couple of times and stuck in the fridge. I made Derrick make pizza dough for dinner and while he was working on that one of the kids dumped a cup of water into the sugar. I pulled out the wet sugar and stuck it in a pan and left it for the rest of the day. I never got out by myself, but we all went to Tea Tree Plaza on the bus, got a phone for Derrick and groceries for the week, and then came home and had pizza for dinner. Oh, and Derrick lost his bus card, which is annoying but not a big deal.

Sigh. I try so hard to be a good mom, a calm mom, and most of the time I do okay. Not so much last night. While Derrick was making pizza crusts I started a movie with Paul and Sylvia. Stupidly, I went in to check on Derrick, leaving our one functional laptop on the couch. When I went back in I found Paul with a stack of keys pulled off the laptop.

I was so mad I wanted to hurt someone. It's incredible how quickly you can go from the deepest concern about the health of your child to being so angry you want to hit them and don't care if it hurts.

I did not hit Paul. Instead, I yelled, then walked away from my sobbing children.

I walked for a long time.

Not as long as I kind of wanted to, but long enough. I went home, hugged my kids, took Sylvia's apology (which still makes me feel bad since she wasn't even the one who incurred my wrath) and helped with the rest of the evening.

I hope my kids are really as resilient as they seemed to be this morning. They came in and cuddled, just like normal, and then Derrick helped them put together shields for sword fights while I made cinnamon rolls. They've been as loving and spunky as they usually are. Last night seems further away than Friday, and for that I'm glad.

I'm guessing the cinnamon rolls didn't hurt. The cinnamon rolls (made from the milk Paul dumped out Thursday) were covered in caramel (made from the wet sugar from yesterday) and were a huge hit. I was especially glad we had them to share with the neighbors who kindly gave Derrick a ride to the airport today when he realized he'd miss-read his itinerary and needed to be at the airport in 30 minutes.

Someday I hope I have a day devoid of drama.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

7 X 5

Best parts of the day:

1. Sylvia waking me up by singing happy birthday.

2. Getting phone calls from my mom and sister.

3. My house, filled with the smell of roasting pork all day long.

4. Paul, snuggling with me after his nap, telling me, "no, sleeping" when I threatened to get up to clean.

5. A very fun dinner party, including much conversation with other adults.

6. All my friends' kids shyly wishing me happy birthday. I think I was a kid like that once.

7. My kids playing quite happily and well with the other (significantly older!) kids during said party. The kids (the older ones, I'm sure) set up their own dinner party in the play room using Sylvia and Paul's kitchen. Just fantastic!

8. Laying down with my kids at bedtime, Sylvia singing me happy birthday again, and Paul joining in. "Happy birthday. Singing!"

(You may notice birthday cake is not on the list. I made the Southern Living carrot cake. While it's nice and moist, it's also a brick in my stomach. Next time something lighter. Pavlova, perhaps, since I am down under?)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Adelaide zoo

I miss the San Diego Zoo.

There. That's out of the way.

Adelaide does have a zoo, and it isn't bad. It's not the San Diego Zoo by any stretch of the imagination, but it's nice. I admit, when we walked in past the first three cramped, empty exhibits that were obviously built with much concrete in the 1970's I was a little worried I'd just wasted a bunch of money on zoo passes for the year. Not much further into the park I found most of the displays were much more modern, really almost garden-like. For as small as it is, this is a pretty zoo.

Even our pigeons are cool

Paul thought the American Alligators were "tops" (triceratops) and wanted to pet them very badly.

The best part: they have wallabies in their petting zoo.

The downside: my kids now want a pet wallaby (or  wawbie according to Paul).

Sunday, May 5, 2013


This morning, while Sylvia was in the potty, I asked Paul if he'd also like to go sit on the toilet. He looked at me and said, "no, sleeping," laid back down, and started to snore. With a big smile on his face.

Already a character.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Disney parenting fail

Sylvia almost always picks out several movies when we go to the library, and usually I check out one for her to watch. For the most part the movie selection at the library is pretty good and appropriate for a 4 1/2 year old. There are some movies in the kid's collection that are more appropriate for older kids, but since Sylvia almost always picks up four or five movies it's not hard for me to steer her away from the ones I don't want her to watch.

Yesterday she picked up "The Lion King." She's picked it up several times before and every time I've remembered it's not really an appropriate movie for younger kids. Not this time, unfortunately. Blithely, I checked it out, took it home, and popped it in the computer for her to watch.

Then, I went about my own business. Sylvia's TV watching time (especially if coupled with Paul's nap time) is my work time. So, I let her watch. About 90 minutes later she came out of the bedroom sobbing, telling me the movie was too scary for little kids.


I knew the scene where Simba's dad dies is way too intense for a kid Sylvia's age. At the very least I should have watched it with her and skipped that part. Sigh.

Kicking myself for my inattention, I let her watch a second movie (How to Train your Dragon), assuming it would be less intense and would calm her down. I also watched it with her, at least most of the time. She was calm during that movie, but as soon as it was over she was every bit as worked up as she'd been immediately after the Lion King. She remained worked up during dinner, during the bedtime ritual, and when I sent her to bed. At about 6:00.

Finally, after maybe 10 or so minutes lying down in the dark she calmed down. She and Paul played happily for another hour or so and then we put them down, more successfully this time.

So, thanks Disney, for a kid's movie that really isn't appropriate for kids under the age of probably 10.

To end this on a brighter note, here is a link to the youtube video channel of another Sylvia: one who loves science as much as I hope my Sylvia does some day.

Friday, April 26, 2013


My kids usually get me up somewhere in the neighborhood of 6:30, which always feels way too early. This morning they let me sleep in until just about 7, at which point the garbage truck rumbled past, reminding me it was Friday morning. Slacker that I am, I hadn't put the trash out. Of course, slacker me has been aided lately by the fact that the garbage truck hasn't come until the afternoon for the last several weeks. Recycling? Sure, that occasionally comes nice and early. Trash? Always late.

I wasn't the only one caught off guard. In fact, when I ran outside I saw that all of two houses on the entire block had bins out, which went a long way to explaining why the truck was already past my house by the time I got out. Again, usually I hear it at the beginning of the block and can get things out by the time it reaches our house.

Like several neighbors I dragged my bin across the street (which hadn't been collected yet) and then waited for the truck to come again. About fifteen minutes later it arrived, dumped my bin, and continued on. Since I was outside with my ever excitable children I immediately picked up my bin. My bin which was still completely full. My lovely husband had filled the trash styrofoam, which I'm guessing was just static-y enough to prevent it and everything below it from actually falling out of the trash bin. Damn physics.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Kitchen help

Remember how I said in my last post that Sylvia's gotten interested in helping me cook lately? Well, Paul is also interested in helping in the kitchen. He's especially interested in the oven.

So last night I pulled out the last of the plums and made what's almost certainly the last plum cake of the season. It's supposed to be cooked at about 325, maybe 350 degrees. Paul turned the oven up to 400. I smelled it early enough only the edges were singed and we ate it even if it wasn't the best.

Tonight we had Brussels sprouts, which I usually cook at about, oh, 375 to 400 degrees. Paul turned the oven all the way up, so they cooked at something around 500 degrees. Again, I smelled them before they burst into flames, but they were kinda black on one side. Not what I was hoping for dinner, and now my whole house smells like burned cabbage. Yum, yum.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


We're finally falling into what more or less could be termed a routine around here. One that obviously doesn't include much time for blogging, but hey, you can't have everything.

Sylvia's still liking her school, though she also still complains about getting ready in the morning. I hope she grows out of that, but I'm not holding my breath.

Paul, on the other hand, loves getting ready in the morning, especially on school days. He loves going to the bus stop. Loves. He's familiar enough with the sequence of events that have to happen before going to the bus stop that he spontaneously gets his shoes on in the morning. Pants...well, he still considers them optional.

Derrick has his bike and he bikes in to work probably as often as he rides the bus, which I like. The buses around here are nice, but a little unpredictable, so Derrick's commute can be anywhere from 30 minutes to more than an hour. Biking is pretty much 25 minutes.

In less than happy news, Sylvia's Skuut, which she loved, died a little more than a week ago. One of the bearings on the rear wheel fell apart and now the wheel is so wobbly it's not really safe to ride anymore. I've been trying to find replacement parts, but haven't had much luck so far. Supposedly you can buy a new wheel (including two bearings) for about $30. Supposedly you can also buy a new bearing of the right size, also for about $30. Guess which option I'd prefer.

I'm getting writing done on my novel. Feeling vaguely less guilty most days for quitting my PhD and focusing on fiction. Some days I'm still pretty frustrated and angry about the situation, but those days are getting fewer and turning into afternoons of frustration instead of days on end of frustration.

On a happier note, Sylvia's taken a definite interest in cooking lately. This week we made lemon bars after she badgered me to make a lemon pie for days. She's even been eating them, which I didn't expect. Last time I made them I seem to remember the flavor was too strong for her to enjoy (though I admit that may be a self-serving memory). We also made pizza last night (yeah! Friday pizza night!) and the kids helped me put together the dough. Cooking with kids is certainly an exercise in shushing the inner perfectionist. Good times.

Monday, March 11, 2013


Proof second kids learn things faster:

Exhibit A--When we tell him no or ask him to do things, Paul already asks, "why?"

Exhibit B--He gave his dad his first eye roll this afternoon.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Words, words, words

I've been meaning to make a list of all of Paul's words but I haven't yet and today I realized it's in a way too late--he's moved on to phrases.

We take Sylvia to school on the bus. Paul's been saying bus very distinctly for a while. He's also had a little phrase he says before bus a lot of the time. Today I finally understood he was asking me if that was our bus. When I told him no, he said some different phrase before bus that I'm pretty sure was him repeating the idea that the bus wasn't our bus.

Gads, I'm slow.

I don't know a lot about human development, but it's been clear for a while Paul has more than just words in his vocabulary, that there's a structure to what he's saying. Much of what he says sounds like gibberish to me, but it's consistent gibberish so it's obviously language. I don't know enough about language acquisition to know if he's making up the syntax or if he's trying to copy us more advanced speakers, but it's obvious he knows instinctively there's a structure to talking and he's imitating or creating it himself.

I know I loved watching Sylvia go through this language acquisition phase. It's just as much fun to watch the second time around.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Sylvia was stung by a bee today. The experience was certainly not one she'll want to experience again any time soon, but the thing that struck me most was that she was at least as distressed by the news that the bee would die after stinging her as she was distressed by the pain. She's my little softie.

It's been a pretty good week. Sylvia went to school quite happily on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday (which is typically my most ornery day) was pleasant all the way around. After a delicious and nutritious dinner we even went to the park as a family, where Paul herded ducks and Sylvia wanted to swim with them.

Thursday was similarly low-key, and today (other than the bee sting) has been mellow. I let Sylvia watch pretty much as much My Little Pony as she wanted, which is closing in on four hours, I think. She's outside now playing in water with her brother, taking a break from TV since it was "making her dizzy."

Let this be a lesson, mom: don't let big sister walk around with big sticks
Yeah, any time TV makes you dizzy, it's probably time to take a break.

Friday, February 15, 2013

At dusk I saw

I finally downloaded pictures off my camera. Looking through them I realized it's been more than a month since I'd downloaded pictures, which means I haven't shared any of our pictures from our last days in the states or any of our pictures from our first month here in Australia. Somewhere in the back of my mind I was aware of this, of course, but it's really truly obvious when I go through the pictures exactly how much I've neglected to share with anyone else.


So, I'll post some pictures here, probably some on Facebook as well. Let y'all see how much fun we had in our final days before leaving and what our life's like down under.

I know we've only been gone a month, and we're so busy here I don't really have the time or emotional space to get sad about leaving. Still, there were some definite twinges of nostalgia looking over the pictures we've taken. Anyway, here are a few for your enjoyment. I'll post more...eventually.

Checking out the dinosaurs at the LA Museum of natural history
That's the plane we rode to Australia

What's summer without watermelon?

Taking the bus to Sylvia's Kindy
They have fish!
My sweet girl! (pre-black eye)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Journey to the other side of the Earth

We have completed our journey through the center of the Earth and emerged on the other side in the hamlet of Adelaide, Australia. I will not bore you with the details of our travails across boiling rivers of molten lava, through underground seas filled with the most fantastic of beasts, and through enormous caverns filled with beautiful crystals twice the height of a man; suffice it to say, we have arrived safe and whole.

True to astral predictions, it is summer here, and a very pleasant one at that. Other predictions (namely, that the citizens on the other side of the world walk on their hands) have proven fortunately false. I am glad I will not have to re-learn to type with my toes as this will speed my return to writing and corresponding with those of you we have left behind in our beloved homeland.

With much affection,

Mrs. H-------