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[Tuesday, 2011-12-20 08:28]
A Few Forgotten Fotos


I've just upgraded my Google/Samsung Nexus S phone to the new Android Ice Cream Sandwich. I must say it's quite nice, certainly very sharp and slick. I was messing with the Google Docs and Ubuntu One apps, and I came across some more photos on my phone that I hadn't put online yet.

I'd forgotten all about our trip to Montezumas the other week, where Majandra absolutely scoffed herself on the corn chips and Queso Fundido (warm cheese dip).

I'd also forgotten about the USB fan that I bought the other day. The fan itself is pretty good, however the box has the best (worst?) Chinglish I've ever seen!



[Thursday, 2011-12-15 18:02]
Just use the force!


I remember many years ago when I first started working at Adam Internet the staff car was a Holden Combo ... basically a Barina with a box on the back, i.e. a utility van. The sides of the van were metal, and the back windows were painted over so there was actually no visibility behind the vehicle at all. To this day I still remember a colleague telling me that when reversing the van the only option was to "use the force".

Well, using the force is exactly how I feel when reversing our new camper trailer up our driveway. For starters I really don't have much experience with a trailer, particularly going backwards. Secondly my driveway is steep. Thirdly the opening of my garage is only slightly wider than the trailer. So by the time I line it all up, then reverse a bit, straighten a bit and reverse some more and finally get it in, the clutch is beginning to really smell really, really bad.

So about this Camper Trailer, I never really new much about them. A couple of years ago a friend told me they had bought one and I had no idea what it was. But then a few times we have been away over the last year or two we've often stayed in the Cabin accomodation within various caravan parks. We've seen people roll up, set up the camper trailer and we always thought it would be nice to own one.

Then we were out for a bike ride to Glenelg and the bike path goes straight behind the Adelaide Shores Caravan Park at West Beach. As we rode past we noticed a LOT of people in there, and quickly realised that a stack of stuff was on display so we went and had a look. There are some really cool Camper Trailers there, we were particularly impressed by the Cameron Canvas one, locally made, really nice and the staff were really helpful too. But they started at around $8000 which we thought just a but much given we wanted to just try a bit of camping. I did say though, if I was to buy a brand new one it would be the Cameron or Austral ones, because they represent good value and are Australian made.

I came across a Camper Trailer for sale online for $4500, it looked really tidy and just right for us. It turned out to be a Desert Sky Tourer 9, which is locally assembled but the camper top itself is Chinese made by OzTrail. We took a drive to check it out and came home with a camper trailer! And that's where my driveway fun began :)

We are going to take it out on a trip over the New Year break, but we thought before we go on a proper trip we should go somewhere local and get used to how it all works. So we spent a weekend back at the Adelaide Shores Caravan Park at West Beach. Funnily enough this is where Briony used to spend several weeks a year on holday with her family when she was younger.

We rocked up at the Park at 8pm, it was just starting to get dark. We found our spot and got the trailer in, of course having never done it before I didn't realise I was facing the wrong direction. Anyway we spent the next 90 minutes setting up, trying to decipher the instructions and which particlar pole goes where. Now that we've done it once we know that to set up just the main unit without awning only takes three poles, but hey this is exactly why we did a trial run!


The weekend away was actually quite nice, we spent some time at the playground, some time at the beach where I put Majandra into a big hole in the sand, we went out for dinner and got ice cream. But more importantly we took some time to relax and just genuinely do nothing.


I didn't realise it'd been two months since my last update so now I'm having to try hard to reember everything that's happened!

Majandra's doing new stuff all the time, she's really good at the walking now and has become very fast. She's discovered a liking for climbing too ... she'll climb onto her activity table and stand up. She'll get up on the couch. She'll climb the small ladder. She'll climb herself into the pram. She hasn't had too many falls, she's actually quite confident.

She's been saying FFF, FFF, FFF for a while now, referring to flies which also seems to apply to slaters, bees and ants. Now she's saying D, D, D which means dog, and she says this and points when she sees a dog. Also she's saying Ta, which means Car. She says this when a car, bus or truck goes past, or if we get her out of the car while in a car park. She also knows what BIRD means, and when we say it she turns around to look where our Magpie friends come every morning for their free breakfast. If the birds are there, she almost boils with excitement.

Majandra had Hand, Foot & Mouth disease the other week ... it's one of those things that most children seem to get anyway. We thought she just had a nappy rash that had gone from non-existent to nasty in a space of a few hours, however next nappy change when we noticed blisters forming we knew it wasn't an ordinary rash. She ended up with some blisters on her hands and mouth aswell. It all looked a bit nasty but Majandra was perfectly happy and didn't seem to be in any discomfort at all.

Majandra is also obsessed with light switches .... on, off, on, off ...


And what about me?

Well I got myself a new phone! I had a HTC Wildfire which for the size and price is a good litle unit. Just it can be a bit laggy (slow), and as I had the original Wildfire the screen resolution really was quite disappointing. When work changed phone companies we all got a new iPhone 4S but after trying the iPhone for one day I gave up and just wanted my Android phone back. Since the Wildfire was locked to the previous carrier, I bought a new unlocked phone, the Google/Samsung Nexus S. It's an awesome phone - it's a lot bigger than the Wildfire, and sports an excellent screen, good sound, good camera, NO crappy bundled rubbish software from the network provider and it's unlocked. The extra CPU speed is also very noticable - there's simply no lag. There's a new Galaxy Nexus coming out soon which promises to be even better, I'm extremely happy with the Nexus S.

And the last piece of news is that Tuesday just gone I crashed my bike and now I have a really sore wrist. I was riding home the same way I normally do and I remember I needed to blow my nose. So I did a Bushman's Blow, but I must have wobbled the bike a bit. Next thing I've clipped the kerb, bounced off, over-corrected and then ran directly back into the kerb again at about 25Km/h. I remember going flying, then I remember three people standing around me and one of them had called an Ambulance. The Ambulance turned up, checked my blood pressure and sent me on my way - thank heavens they didn't send me a bill, but I will be definitely taking out an Ambulance policy now, just in case!


[Monday, 2011-10-10 17:52]
It's all about STEAM!


Okay, so it was really about Matt & Mel's wedding, but the steam stuff was just awesome.

The wedding of Matt and Melanie Palmer was held in Echuca, which is near Bendigo in Victoria and about 8 hours solid driving from Adelaide. Of course with Majandra on-board that would turn into 9 or 10 hours plus 9 or 10 hours back so we decided we might aswell make a holiday of it. I finished work an hour early on Wednesday afternoon and we drove as far as Nhill where we stayed the night. That's sort of the long way but actually the most convenient since we wanted to stop mid-way. The more direct route to Echuca did have some decent places to stay but they were either too far or not far enough. The drive to Nhill was fairly uneventuful, with really only one stop along the way so Majandra could have some food.

We stayed in the Nhill Oasis Motel, which Briony thought looked a little scarey from the outside but I think it was probably just the excess of neon lights freaking her out. The hotel turned out to be clean, quiet and comfortable. Majandra had a good sleep in the port-a-cot, and as a bonus we got a free breakfast and coffee the next morning. While we packed the car Majandra had a great (supervised) time roaming around the car park, seemingly fascinated by the ground which was covered in gravel and also the puddles that were around the place.

We arrived to Echuca around 2pm. There is another town directly across the river called Moama, which is where our accomodation was. The two towns are collectively known as Echuca-Moama, but each town is still separate as they are in different states. We checked into the Shady River Caravan Park where we had arranged a cabin which was clean and modern. After settling in we took a drive back across the bridge to Echuca and visited the tourist office. We grabbed some brochures and then took the 10 minute walk to the Historical Port of Echuca area. By this time it was fairly late in the afternoon so it was only a quick walk up the street and back.

We had dinner at Taco Bill's (Mexican), food was good and the place was actually quite busy considering it was a Thursday night. The staff were obviously under the pump and as we were waiting to pay one of the kitchen staff came out talking on the phone. Presumably she was talking to an off-duty staff member requesting them to come help out as she said in a really urgent voice "WE NEED HELP ... BOTH AREAS !!" and she was huffing and puffing and obviously really worked up. One of the other customers in line had a chuckle and said "EVERYONE, BATTLE STATIONS !!" which we found quite amusing.


On Friday morning we went back to the Historical Port area. Echuca has a rich history from the pre-railway era where trade of pretty much everything was done via the Murray River using boats, barges and of course Paddle Steamers. Echuca's tourist draw card is all about Paddle Steamers and everything Steam in general. We took an hour's ride on P.S. Pevenssey. The trip was just a lazy journey up-river then back down again, and I found it thrilling that the steam engine wasn't actually enclosed. So right in the middle of the boat is a huge boiler and then all the pistons and gears etc are fully exposed and it's just one of the best things I've ever seen and heard. Of course Briony doesn't find engines as exciting as I do, so if she blogs about this she'll probably say it's the least exciting thing she's seen.


In the afternoon Majandra had a sleep, and then late afternoon we went to the shops for some groceries and then to the Moama Adventure Playground on the way back. The playground is definitely intended for older children as it's basically a castle or fortress type structure, not much for Majandra to do. We still managed to fill in half an hour though, wandering around, climbing, taking a slide and then putting Majandra on the rocking thingy where she promptly bumped her mouth, splitting her lip and bursting into tears.


Saturday was Matt & Mel's wedding at the local Uniting Church. It was a short ceremony which we appreciated because we managed to keep Majandra under control for the whole thing. We just chilled out for a few hours after the wedding, then at 5pm headed to Oscar W's for the reception. We had some drinks in the bar area, Majandra was trying to eat all the finger food and trying to drink my beer. Then the reception started, dinner happened, drinks happened, Majandra had a sleep and we headed home around 11pm as we were quite tired by that stage. Matt's dad made a great speech, as did the best man and the bride and groom. The vegetarian food was also rather delicious :)

We left Echuca on Sunday morning, first stop was McDonalds to get a coffee for the road. The place was absolutely packed and filthy with big clumps of dirt all over the floor! We'd heard of an event that weekend called the Delinquin Ute Muster but didn't know much about it. We'd seen lots of utes with tents, swags and beer and not much else. Now we know that it's basically a big gathering/festival where it's all about the ute, the booze, the music and the good times. Suffice to say McDonalds was full of ute-driving, muddy-boot-wearing, hung over people. Kind of cool though, so see people just having a good time.

We drove north to Lake Boga where we found a playground and stopped for lunch. Then we continued up through Swan Hill to Mildura where we had dinner at Hungry Jacks. It was here that Majandra had her first taste of Hungry Jacks veggie burger, helped herself to chips, and decided the chicken nuggets are no good. I tried the nuggets, I also decided they're no good (in fact, they're awful). Majandra did get to play in the playground afterwards, which she quite enjoyed. After dinner we travelled west through Renmark and we stopped in Berri to take in the sights from the old water tower lookout, we then carried onto our destination which was Barmera. We arrived around 8pm and checked into our accomodation which was right across the road from Lake Bonney. As we had checked in late, we unpacked then got some sleep.


On Monday we went a little further west to Kingston-on-Murray where we visited the Banrock Station Winery. They have an awesome wetlands walk which is $3 per person. We took the one hour route which heads down to a lagoon area with a really long boardwalk. The walk itself was nice and just relaxing as it was quiet and peaceful. At the end we were lucky enough to grab the last remaining table on the deck, so we ordered a glass of wine each and some lunch. We both got the Risotto of the day, plus some wedges. Majandra helped herself to Briony's risotto, and then helped herself to the sour cream on my wedges plate. She ate heaps and heaps, then had a run around the deck and was just generally happy.



After Banrock Station we drove to Loxton. It was a public holiday so there was literally nothing to do - all the shops were closed. We just drove around the place then found a spot to sit down for a while in a park on the main street. Another family turned up with their dog which Majandra absolutely adored. She's developing a bit of a dog obsession. After a while in the park we grabbed some photos of Majandra standing on the car and leaning on the windscreen, then headed to find Lock 5 of the River Murray. Majandra was about done by this time so we drove back towards Barmera with a short detour as I wanted to see what Monash Playground was like. Majandra was awake by this time and seemingly happy, so we took her inside and spent an hour at the playground where she played on some equipment and chased a seagull.

Later in the evening back at the hotel in Barmera, Briony took Majandra across the road to the lake. I saw them coming back, and we actually all went back over there where we took Majandra into the water and took some photos.




We spent Tuesday in Renmark, which is one of the bigger towns in the area. We drove there not really knowing what there was to do and we just happened to find a car park right next to the tourist office. The staff explained a riverfront walk which goes all the way to the neighbouring town of Paringa where there is the historic Paringa Bridge. We headed off walking, however Majandra also insisted on walking so we really made quite slow progress. At one stage a lady turned up with four dogs, which really excited Majandra. We spent the next 10 minutes talking with her and letting Majandra look at the dogs. We carried on walking some more and eventually came across the highway. We looked at the map and saw it was still a reasonable way to go and we had no food for Majandra so we decided to turn back. Back at the tourist office is the river front with a lovely grassed area. We took a walk up the street and grabbed some lunch from the fish & chips shop, then went back to the grassed area to eat. Majandra ate her own food plus helped herself to our chips. We were surrounded by seagulls, which we took great plasure in throwing some chips and watching them go crazy. Once we'd finished lunch Majandra had a wander around, we ended up packing up when Majandra was practically falling asleep in Briony's lap.



We left Barmera early on Thursday and headed home via Loxton and Murray Bridge. We stopped at XXXXXX for a rest and playground, a coffee at Murray Bridge, then headed home to unpack the car.

We had a fairly easy-going time, there wasn't exactly a whole stack to do as a lot of the tourist attrations would be more suitable for older children. But regardless it's nice to get away, have a break and not spend too much!


[Tuesday, 2011-09-20 08:25]
And up, and up ...


Last entry I mentioned I'd been in trouble with Briony after the monthly R&R Sales meeting. That was July. I think I've been in trouble twice more for the same thing since then. Will I never learn?

So, in July we'd had the R&R Sales meeting and my name was on the list for a Hong Kong trip. We all travelled there and stayed for just under a week. We saw some good places, ate some nice food, and just spent time taking in the city and shopping at the markets. The markets I liked best were really just the same as we'd seen in Thailand - a regular street with shops but also with stalls lining the roadway selling everything from clothes and toys to tools and electronics. I came back from Hong Kong with a telescope, two remote controlled helicopters, a stack of photos and a few stories. I'm still awestruck by the sheer size of the place!

Last blog entry I also made reference to Majandra standing on her own and taking what one might call a stumbling step but not quite walking. Well, true to my word, two weeks after that blog entry and Majandra was up and walking around. She's everywhere now, from one side of the room to the other before we can blink. She's become quite stable at the walking and she regularly squeezes sideways out the back door and roams around under the pergola. Over the last couple of days she's even started playing the OI!! chase-me game while walking, whereas previously this was a crawling-only game. While being chased she's started emitting squeals of delight, it's a lovely sound to hear :)






Surely I have more than that to report, since it's been two months since my last entry ..

Oh yeah, I know what I have to write. Actually two things. Firstly, Majandra's molar teeth are through ... so she has the four front teeth top and bottom, plus four molars all up. She knows how to use the snappers too, last night she munched into corn on the cob, once she realised it was tasty she ripped the cob almost clean. Then she pigged herself on chocolate mousse and pikelets.

The second thing to report about Majandra is that the snivelling is back. I wrote back in May about the "Slow Snivel" where Majandra would get all clingy and crawl towards Briony extra slowly, whinging all the way. The snivel now is a little different and it's actually a bit annoying. Firstly, if she wants to snivel and be clingy, she can walk which means there is no escape. If you move, she'll follow until such time that you pick her up. Secondly there's the snivel that happens when she's already been picked up and then gets put down. Her legs will collapse, she'sit on the floor, bend in half and put her head on the ground and start whinging. Thirdly, there's "archie backie" ... which is when she's in a bad mood (all the time) and we lay her down for a nappy change or to get dressed or try to hold her ... she'll go all stiff and arch her back, and whinge. All the whinging is actually quite taxing..

Then there's something that's started in the last week that I hope she snaps out of really soon ... the early wake-up. The first morning it was 0530 when she started stirring. Sometimes she'll stir, make some noise then go back to sleep. But this morning was stir. noise, stir, play with activity centre which plays music, stir some more, then stand up in the cot at 0544. The cot standing is the end of the performance - this means she's awake, up and there's not a chance of getting her back to sleep. Oh well, I'm a big boy, I can take it. Then two mornings later it was the same thing, except the cot-standing happened at 0522. Two mornings ago it was 0539, and this morning was 0550. Come on Majandra, just another half an hour, please!!

Well that's about it I think ... not really any more to tell. I should have some more exciting stories coming soon as Majandra is getting more agile and also the weather is getting better. The last few months have been miserable, cold and wet which means Majandra (and Briony) have had colds and coughs and snot hence we really haven't done a lot. How I didn't catch their plague is a miracle. Here's to more sunshine abound!


[Monday, 2011-07-18 08:25]
Just a quiet weekend


I was in big trouble Saturday morning. Friday night had been our monthly R&R Sales Meeting at work, and this particular one was a bit bigger than most as it was end of financial year and also it was the night when management announced the winners of the Hong Kong trip. I am thrilled that my name was on the list!

Following the fairly brief sales stuff in the meeting, we hung around The Union and had a few drinks, a few more drinks, and some more. I ended up grabbing the 22:55 train, getting home around 23:30. When I got home I realised I didn't have my keys so I had to ring the doorbell. I was greeted by a barking dog and a rather unhappy wife.

Saturday morning I got up with a headache, but as I'd told Matt I was going riding, I had to suck it up and get out of bed. I went to put Lucy Dog into Briony's bed, only to be asked what I was doing. I said I was going out riding, to which Briony replied in such a way as to suggest if I did go out, I might aswell not return. So I decided I'd stay home but then I had to ring Matt, who had woken at 6am specially to go riding, only to tell him I can't go. That was embarrassing.

A few hours later and Briony had gotten over her grump, and we got everything ready to go out. We ended up driving to Henley Beach where we had some crepes and a coffee at Royal Copenhagen. Since the beach itself wasn't all that busy we took Lucy onto the sand, let her off the lead and played with the ball. Another random dog showed up and played with Lucy, all the while Majandra was happily playing with a mound of sand and a stick.

Once beach time had finished we went back up to the grassy area where we played ball some more with Lucy and played the OI! game with Majandra where we let her crawl a bit then tell OI! and then chase her. Majandra ended up behind me at one stage, and a passerby yelled out "your kid is playing with dog shit" - I don't know if Lucy had left a surprise on the grass or whether it was someone else's dog, but we grabbed Majandra just in time. She had a bit on her hand, but thankfully none on her clothes or on her face! We did the right thing of course, and put the dog poo in the bin so that someone else's child doesn't suffer the same fate.

Also on Saturday was the first time I saw Majandra standing upon her own without holding onto anything. I also encouraged her to take a stumbling step ... I would not go as far as calling it walking, as it was literally a step and a stumble, but I bet she'll be walking within the next fortnight.

Completely randomly, while going through photos with Briony, we came across a photo from one of last week's Mamas's groups, and in the background is Majandra standing by herself, minding her own business! She sure kept this latest skill quiet!



[Friday, 2011-07-08 18:03]
Happy Birthday Majandra, and Hello Snot


What a freaky conincidence ... my last entry was started on a Friday at 18:03, and this entry is also started on a Friday at 18:03. Heh. Anyway, I'm glad it's Friday.

I'm also happy to announce that Briony and I survived the first year of parenthood, we may have a few more grey hairs than when we started, but we haven't gone completely mental just yet. That's a pretty good effort since we looked after Majandra, and also an insane Jack Russell called Lucy. They're both gorgeous and we wouldn't have it any other way.

So Majandra's first birthday was on a weekday, we did some presents with her, and we actually took one of her presents away at the end. We gave her some puzzles, and also a ride-on mouse toy, it's quite big and there's no way she'll be able to use it. Since she's not old enough to remember, we've hidden it away and will give it to her at some future event.

A couple of days after her actual birthday, we had a birthday party for her which we hosted at the Coromandel Community Centre near home. Briony put a LOT of effort into the party and I'm really proud and pleased. She did a cake which was just the right amount to feed everyone, she arranged all the food and balloons, she did a really good job. We had a few people fail to RSVP, but out of everyone that said they were coming, everyone did come!

Majandra was a bit cranky at her party though, she had the beginnings of a cold and was a bit snotty, and she'd also been up for a few hours and was getting a bit tired. But like everyone says, a first birthday party is largely an opportunity for the parents to see all the friends they haven't had time to see in the preceeding 12 months. All us adults had a good time, ate lots of food, went through quite a few beers, and had a bit of a chat.


There's not a lot more to write about, we haven't done anything really significant in the last few weeks as Majandra's cold has been hanging around and it's been cold and miserable outside.

Last weekend though, we had to take Majandra into hospital just as a precaution. She'd had this cold that wasn't going away, and we were forever wiping her nose, it was Snot City. Gross. But I think it was Sunday night she went to bed OK, but then woke up at 22:30 with a really nasty throat. She was crying in bed, and it sounded just like an adult would sound if that adult had lost his or her voice. Really raspy like sandpaper, it sounded painful.

We figured it's probably no big deal but definitely better safe than sorry, so we went and sat in the hospital emergency section for around 90 minutes. When we saw a doctor they listened to Majandra's breathing and checked her out, and then Majandra coughed and made that raspy sound. Straight away the doctor said she's got Croup, which is a viral infection that causes the airways to narrow, hence the horrible noises. We just have to let Majandra fight the virus naturally, but the doctor did give her a steroid solution in the mouth, just as a bit of a boost I guess.

She's still not quite 100%, and she's still snotty, but at least the horrible raspy throat has gone.



[Friday, 2011-06-17 18:03]
Finding Kookas ...


I've almost caught up on everything. Except my ironing. Things have been busy as usual, and with taking a holiday to Fiji recently, there was quite a backlog of stuff waiting for me when I got back to work. Then just as I was starting to catch up, we heard that Briony's Great Aunt had died and hence I had another 3 days off work so we could attend the interstate funeral.

Apart from the funeral itself we spent the 3 days at Kerrie's place in Clunes. On the way back home we drove "the other way" via Donald, for two reasons. Firstly it's a far less busy route - less traffic means less overtaking and a more relaxed drive. Secondly and perhaps more importantly, the factory for Kookas Country Cookies is in Donald, and I wanted to go check it out and get a few boxes of cookies as they taste great.

As we were just getting into Donald we saw a sign for Kookas, and we turned into the driveway. The driveway was the entry to an industrial complex of buildings, I guess like you'd expect at the front of a large manufacturing plant. As we drove in, there was a street lamp tilting at a scarey angle, then we passed one of those huts where you'd expect to find a security guard however it's obvious there had been no guard for quite some time ... the hut was all smashed up and surrounded by weeds. So anyway we kept driving in, past a large two-storey building that was quite run-down, then over some ancient railway lines. The whole thing seems like it's straight out of a movie, like that Wax World movie where they are in an abandoned town.

Anyway we went past some more buildings and then we parked across a laneway from the Kookas shop entrance. The car park was partially under the cover of one of the derelict buildings, and derelict it was - there were pipes hanging from the ceiling, pieces of wood and metal and benches everywhere, and random tanks that used to hold liquid. There was a dust-covered sign that said "blood rollers do not touch acid" or something.

We chose the biscuits we wanted, and while I was paying I asked what's the story with the building across the way, what is it? The shop attendant told us it's an abandoned abattoir. When we went back outside I walked up the laneway a bit, and I could see the empty stock yards, plus a ramp leading up to the second storey. I guess this is where the animals got the knife. While an abattoir is a disgusting place, it's still quite fascinating to see a piece of history like this just abandoned and not cleaned up. There was a brick wall with a fridge attached to it in an ad-hoc sort of way, and the fridge looks like the sort you find on the back of a meat-carrying vehicle. It's almost like a meat vehicle had reversed too far and crashed into the wall, then driven off and the fridge part has remained wedged in the wall.

I really should have taken some photos ... but mooching around an old abattoir, well, I guess that would be trespassing.

In other news from the past few weeks, I'm happy to report that Majandra's "slow snivel" seems to have been a phase that she's out of. We now have happy babies again! She wakes up in the morning and is quite happy for me to give her some weetbix, she's also quite happy to play with me or play by herself, whereas during the period of the Snivel, all she wanted was mummy. I wasn't good enough. My food wasn't good enough. My play wasn't good enough. It was actually getting fairly tiresome, since all I saw of Majandra was crying and carrying on. I'm glad we have happy babies again.

Before I go I thought I'd just quickly write the things that Majandra's started doing in the last few weeks ...
  • She's been eating heaps ... breakfast is 1+1/2 weetbix, plus half a cracker biscuit, and some boob
  • She's crawling really really fast
  • She's playing more games ... like when put her on the bed to dress her she tries to escape, with the sole purpose being so one of us will yell OI!! and drag her back by her legs
  • Briony got her a walker from the toy library, she loves it and she moves really quickly! It's better than the big woooden trolley we bought, at least for now, because the one from the toy library is so light-weight


[Friday, 2011-05-27 08:15]
The Slow Snivel


There's lots to report in this entry! Last entry I reported that we'd convinced Majandra to crawl and that she was now standing up. Well this month Majandra's had more of an annoying development - we call it the Slow Snivel. Basically she's become incredibly clingy to Briony. Majandra doesn't seem interested in anyone except mum - I'll get her out of bed and sometimes she'll be OK but often she'll be looking around for Briony and then start crying when Briony's not around. Sometimes we'll be playing, or she'll be playing by herself, then she suddenly wants mum and will start crying hysterically until Briony picks her up.

What the Slow Snivel is, is when Majandra starts getting clingy and wants mum, starts crying and crawling towards Briony. While she's doing this, she crawls extra slowly, whining and whimpering the whole way, hence the Slow Snivel.

Last month after the Victor Harbor trip we had to go back there the following week as my credit card had been left at a shop. I blame Briony, she blames me and we both blame the shop assistant :) Anyway what made the repeat trip really cool is we went on a Sunday and we took Lucy. It was a little bit cold and there were hardly any people around which meant we had free reign of the park and the playground, and we could let Lucy have a run on the beach. We were on our way back to the car when I realised the Steamranger tourist train was scheduled to depart at 13:30 and at the time it was 13:28. We weren't going on the train, but I wanted to see it. So I grabbed the pram and ran to the station, arriving just in time to see the big steam engine firing up, whistling and then starting to move. I've never actually seen a steam train in operation before and I must say I was in awe. There's just this feeling of power and strength, the feeling of intense heat and of course the smell of the burning coal and the steam itself. I HAVE to go on this train!

We took the back way home, and stopped to look at a second hand store in Yankalilla. What we got was an absolute score - we got a really cool blackboard and an awesome rockinbg horse all for just over $30. Very impressed, and once Majandra knows how to ride the rocking horse she'll also be impressed.

During May we also had Mother's Day. I have to confess I very nearly forgot! I bought Briony a box of chocolates and had Majandra deliver it on her new walking trolley. That was pretty cool.



And the big thing that I'll write about later, is our trip to Fiji. We spend 8 nights in Fiji, which was a lovely getaway. Briony's going back to work next month and wanted to have an easy-going holiday before she goes back and has to put Majandra in child care. Actually speaking of child care we have found a place called Valeska's Day Care, it's a family day care facility run out of a family home. They have a maximum of 6 children there at any one time, which assures a greater level of attention to each child. It's expensive, but we think it's worth it for the two days per week we've arranged.

I promise I'll be back soon!


[Friday, 2011-04-29 08:19]
And Up!


Over a month has gone by and I haven't updated my blog. Time seems to sneak past rather quickly these days!

In the last week we've been to two excellent shows ... we went to see WICKED the musical which is about the Wizard of Oz story, that was really impressive, and last night we went to the Adelaide Entertainment Centre to see a performance called Walking With Dinosaurs. I've seen it before, and it was every bit as impressive the second time around. We took Majandra too, she was fascinated by the colours and the HUGE dinosaurs, but the sound and lighting effects frightened her a litte.

As last weekend was Easter, and there was ANZAC Day in there aswell, we actually just had a 5-day long weekend. Any weekend is great, a long weekend is better, 5 days is just awesome. We went to the Willunga Farmers Market and Victor Harbour on Saturday, that was nice to just walk around and relax, nothing too full-on. We spent the afternoon doing some stuff around the house, and just taking it easy.

On Monday we went for a bike ride from St Peters then down the Torrens Linear Park and along to Henley Beach for a coffee and snack with Andreas and Paulina. That was lovely to catch up as we don't get a chance to see them very often. Majandra had fun in the bike trailer as always, we put in 35Km and Briony wore herself out :) and also on the way back we stopped at a playground and gave Majandra her first ride on a swing - she was quite thrilled actually.


Sunday was the WICKED show, and Majandra's first time with a babysitter. Briony recently saw an advert for a babysitter, she seemed nice so we asked her to look after Majandra for about 5 hours that Sunday afternoon. Majandra woke up just as we were about to leave - she was quite upset and screaming the house down, not something that is at all normal for her. From what the babysitter tells us, Majandra soon calmed down and was well behaved.

Speaking of looking after Majandra, we also did find some child care for her. There's a family day care place just a few minutes away, a South African lady called Valeska runs this business at her home, the garage has been converted into a child care facility. It's more expensive than the "big" centres however there are a maximum of 6 children there at any one time so this means the children will get more personal attention. So we've agreed to put Majandra in there 2 days a week, and Briony's going to go back to work. Of course all this time at home with Majandra though, Briony's been looking forward to going back to work ... but now that the time is actually approaching and also Majandra's a bit older and more interactive, Briony's not so keen any more. She's going to give it a shot for a few months and see what happens anyway.

On the long weekend we also caught up with Micheal, Helena and their daughter Caitlin. We took a drive to the Gorge Wildlife Park and spent a few hours looking at the animals. That was a lovely afternoon, Majandra got to see all sorts of new things, Briony got to hold a koala and I got to make Micheal get car sick from going on the twisty roads. I had to give him a tip though - perhaps sitting in the front would be best as the back seat makes car sick worse! Next time I'll drive faster :)


Last entry (a month ago) I wrote that we used some biscuits as a bribe to make Majandra crawl. Yes it was a crawl but still more of a shuffle on the belly. These days she's doing a proper hands and knees crawl and she moved really fast. Also she's always loved to stand up (with us holding her), and recently that's all she does but now she's doing it by herself. She's pulling herself up onto the window sill, the couch, the pram, basically anything she can reach and she's up. She's getting into drawers, cupboards and boxes. If the opportunity arises she'll help herself to Lucy's dog biscuits, and also she loves Lucy's water bowl but we try to keep her away since it makes such a mess when she tips it over. She's had a few bumps here there when she's fallen over, she's caught her fingers in a drawer, all the stuff that will help her learn.

The train's arriving into the city now, time to go to work ... hey, at least it's Friday! So here's the photo update from the last month or so ...







[Monday, 2011-03-21 08:28]
Into Everything, Want Everything, Eat Everything ...


Last entry I wrote some details about how we'd finally convinced Majandra that she could crawl, purely by using a packet of biscuits as a bribe. Since then, she no longer needs bribes - the moment she's put on the floor and she's off, crawling all over the place and like the title of this week's entry says, she's INTO EVERYTHING! We pretty much let her go where she wants, however there are a number of things she loves that we don't want her to have - the box of dogs toys, the power point, the broom and and the vertical blinds. The power point isn't going to do her any harm as we have covers over the holes, but still, we'd rather avoid the habit to begin with!



While we're (again) talking about Majandra, we've rearranged "Callan & Majandra's" room, because she's outgrown the bassinette and she's now sleeping in her cot. It's funny as she's still small of course and the cot is so big, so she sort of gets lost in there. What's cool though is she has plenty of room to move / roll / turn, and we also have an activity centre in there that I had when I was a baby. I didn't think she'd really be that interested, but I was wrong - she absolutely loves this thing. These days when she wakes up we don't hear crying straight away - we often hear the banging and squeaking of the activity centre first. Anyway the reason I brought up the cot, was because I thought it appropriate to put some "then" (a few weeks old) and "now" (9 months old) photos side by side.

Setting up the cot was something I did while spending 5 days in a row at home with Briony and Majandra. Unfortunately the reason for me being home was that I had all 4 wisdom teeth out, so this meant my mouth was a little tender for a day or two. What I can say is that it was nothing like I had feared - I had heard various horror stories including descriptions of faces so badly bruised one would suspect the dentist had been kneeling on one's face. Mine wasn't anything like that .... I had an inital "what the hell is that?" when I walked into the operating theatre and saw them unwarapping what looked like a chisel, however the days following the surgery were actually quite OK. An annoying ache, but certainly no pain.

The weekend before I had my teeth done, we went to a Sci-Fi expo thing called Armageddon, at the Adelaide Showgrounds. We've been to a few "conventions" before, generally held in a function room at a hotel, but Armageddon was really big - lots of stalls like any expo you'd attend, and a massive main stage where the visiting actors would goive their talks. We attended both days, we saw a few talks by people we didn't really know, and were lucky enough to catch the talks by David Anders (from Alias and Heroes), Lance Henriksen (Bishop from Aliens), Laura Vandervoort (Lisa from V) and David Hewlett & Rainbow Sun Francks (Rodney McKay & Lt Ford from Stargate Atlantis). Overall, a good time to be had.


Yesterday Briony and I went to the movies to see The Black Swan. It was quite good, however even better than the movie itself was the fact that we could leave Majandra with my parents and actually go to the movies - we haven't been for absolutely ages! Majandra had a good time at my parents' place, apparently ate heaps of food, and of course we know the parents love having her round too. We had lunch with them after the movie, at which time we have Majandra some apple and her new favourite - cheese - which she absolutely loves and eats in giant mouthfuls.

This week we have to start looking into Child Care, as Briony's scheduled to go back to work in around 12 weeks time. She's a litte unsure about the whole thing ... on one hand she really wants to get back to work to get her mind active again, however part of her doesn't want to leave Majandra. She's only planning on doing 2 days a week, I think it'll do her good. That 12 weeks will be up in no time, and also in 12 weeks we're going to do a 1st birthday party for Majandra. Yes I know I said I'd never do it and put all our friends through the torture of a 1st birthday, so we're going to try to make it as easy-going as possible, with lots of food and drink for everyone, so we can actually have some adult social time aswell we children social time.

Here's the usual run of random photos from the last few weeks ...





[Friday, 2011-02-25 08:28]
Chicks on Bikes


I'm sure any bloke will agree that chicks on bikes are awesome.

Of course while I do love chicks on bikes too, for the purpose of today's blog entry the chick I'm talking about is Majandra, who on Sunday had her first ride with us. Of course she didn't actually ride, rather she just lounged around in her new Chariot CX2. And when I say lounged, I mean it quite literally - check out the photos :


While I'm here I really should comment a bit more on the Chariot CX2. This is Chariot's top of the range child carrier. I've seen bike trailers around the place but I can't remember when I actually began to take notice. Once I started looking around I quickly found there are 3 main brands - Chariot, Croozer and Burley. There are a bunch of cheaper brands such as Pacific which seem quite common but compared to the big 3 above the cheaper ones definitely seem "cheap". I found an Australian site at www.bike-trailers.com.au which sells Chariot, Croozer and Pacific. The site is pretty cool, has all the different models and heaps of accessories.

While looking I was definitely keen on the Chariot range, as they seem to be considered the premium brand and they also look great. Like everything I wanted the best, which meant the CX range or the Cougar which is also very good. Either way I wanted the model that takes two children. It took some time to review the Chariot CX, Chariot Cougar and the Croozer 535. The Croozer is nice and was attractive as it was half the price plus also includes the stroller/jogging/cycling kits as standard. In the end, the CX2 won me over, I guess the main features I liked (compared to the Chariot Cougar and the Croozer 535) were the suspension, the premium fabrics and also the fact that the side windows can be completely undone rather than just a small opening which means better ventilation during warm weather.

I ended up finding a CX2 on ebay which was practically brand new (only used three times) and I got the whole thing with the stroller + jogging + cycling kits and the infant sling for just over $1400 (brand new would have been around $1900). There's a story here too - it was originally on ebay and sold for $1620, I missed out by $30. The one I bought appeared on ebay a fortnight later, and the photos were all the same. Turns out the lady that bought the original one took delivery but didn't have a garage to store it in. Since it was the two-child model it's quite wide and would not fit through her front door. So I actually ended up getting the one I originally bid on, and saving $200 in the process.

Earlier this week Briony and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary, we just went for a quiet meal with Majandra. Mid-week my parents took us out to dinner for our anniversary which was a lovely gesture, and Majandra was really well behaved and happy. Even more exciting was after dinner we went back to my parents' house for coffee and Majandra was making the movements like she was trying to crawl (she's been doing this for the last fortnight). All it took was for me to put a packet of biscuits on the floor, and next thing she crawled and grabbed the packet. It was lovely for that to happen at the time it did, with all four of us there to see. Of course when I say "crawl" it's more just one shuffle forwards, it's not like she's suddenly crawling across the room, but give her a week or two and there'll be no stopping her.



[Friday, 2011-02-11 08:28]
SNAPPERS!


I'm doing my blog on the train again, sifting through photos and trying to cobble together some recollections from the last four weeks.

Last time I wrote was a month ago, Majandra's teeth were just starting to pop through on the bottom. The bottom teeth are now definitely through, there's three of them, and the two top ones are almost all the way through aswell. What a good little girl, and there hasn't really been any upset days with teething pain like some of our friends' babies have had. We've started Majandra on solids too ... we're not force feeding her or anything, but she's eating baby rice cereal every day and also Briony's giving her fruit I think every day too. Just a bit of peach, mango, kiwifruit etc. Pretty funny that she gets food absolutely everywhere.


Koorine, Jade & Alanah came to Adelaide last month for a visit. We went out for dinner with them one evening for pizza at Glenelg, followed of course by ice cream and a walk along the jetty. There were people fishing on the jetty and someone had caught a squid, dumped it on the ground and just left it there to die. It was sort of next to two fishing people so I wasn't sure if it "belonged" to someone, so while I could not touch it I did really want to throw it back. It was just lying there with its big eyes, gasping for a breath of water, dying. I'll never forget that :(



On Friday I had the day off work, so Koorine & family plus ourselves all went to Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary. I can't actually say we saw much wildlife (I think Warranwong's specialty is night time tours when the animals are active). We had a lovely walk around and a nice lunch at the cafe afterwards. We followed with a drive to Kangaroo Creek Reservoir and then Mount Lofty. Afterwards while Koorine was getting ready to go out for dinner, her daughter Jade was playing with my tools under the house in my little cellar/dungeon thing. It's surprising how long a hammer, a chisel and some sand can keep an 8-year-old occupied. Jade actually spend time under the house in the dark, as I gave her one of those head lamps, so I'm sure she felt like she was in a real mine!


Friday 21st was the Tour Down Under Community Challenge. This year was 137Km from Norwood then up Gorge Rd, Checker Hill (nasty!), Gumeracha, then to Lobethal, Lenswood, Mt Barker, Macclesfield, Meadows and finishing in Strathalbyn. I had the mountain bike again, complete with my suitcase on the back. This year's course had plenty of hills which I love, and thankfully there was no headwind like last year's ride. Matt, his sister Alyse and myself all stuck together and finished the ride in about 5 and a half hours at an average speed of about 23Km/h.


We also recently caught up with Micheal & Helena, and their daughter Caitlin who is the same age as Majandra. We just hung out with them for a while, and then headed down to the beach as it was a warm day. We didn't have Majandra in the water for long as there's a fair chance of her getting cranky, but we soon figured she was actually enjoying herself. We've since been to the beach again and this time Majandra was in the water for a lot longer and had a great time!



Over the last couple of weeks we've got some really good photos of Majandra and Lucy together. It's been clear right from the start that Lucy absolutely loves Majandra, she's scratched Majandra a couple of times but that's just by accident, normally she's really good, and gentle.


It's about now that I should probably confess that it's the 17th Feb now ... it's taken me 6 days to write this blog. Far out! I'll sign off with the traditional Majandra and Lucy photo update...



[Tuesday, 2011-01-11 18:02]
We wish you a happy blogness and a happy blog year


It's a bit late for Merry Christmas, but I can still get a HAPPY NEW YEAR 2011 out there, and also a big YAWN to be back at work. Yesterday was the first day back after about 3 weeks holidays. So I've had 3 weeks of getting up at 7am to feed Majandra, then Lucy dog and I going back to bed until 10am. I love a good sleep in. But yesterday at 7am when the alarm went off I woke up somewhat confused, but reality quickly set in.

The holiday period was actually quite good. We finished work on Christmas Eve, and that was probably the quietest day I've ever worked. I had about two phone calls all day, both before lunch, but I had to stay at work until at least 4:30. So I grabbed some lunch, grabbed some beers, and just finished off a few outstanding jobs.

For Christmas this year we had my parents and Briony's dad + sister round for the day. Briony whipped up some excellent food, we all gave some nice presents, and Majandra provided plenty of entertainment for everyone. We chose Christmas day to be the first day to give Majandra some solid foods, in the form of soft roasted sweet potato and some avocado. As expected she got most of the food all over her face, but definitely some went down the hatch!




Two days after Christmas I had a bike ride, Matt came along, we went down the hill to Norwood and then followed the route of the upcoming Tour Down Under ride, up Gorge Road and then up the long and VERY steep Checkers Hill. From there we did a route through Gumeracha, Lobethal, Lenswood, Carey Gulley and back home. It was about 100Km with lots of hills, really enjoyable ride, and it made that evening's Mexican meal even tastier than normal.

We took one of the warmer days to visit Marion Pool with Majandra. We popped her in her little bathing suit and spent some time in the water. There wasn't really much of a reaction ... we weren't expecting her be playing with the water or anything, and were definitely relieved that she didn't cry. Good news is that the chlorine in the pool seemed to cure her nappy rash too! Bonus!


But after the pool we went to the shops and did something that we won't do again ... we popped Majandra in the car seat after shopping and she started screaming. Instantly I thought OMG HOT SEAT BELT and we lifted her up. The seatbelt wasn't even that hot, but it was hot enough to leave a nasty burn on her back. Like my dad said - you only make those sort of mistakes once.

Apart from the burn, Majandra's doing well. She's been doing a lot more of those loud noises, the ones that sound like strangling a cat. She often just lies there on the floor or in her bed "talking" to herself. She's still a happy baby, always smiling and laughing and enjoying herself. She loves her Jolly Jumper (but gets bored after 10 minutes). She's still sleeping through the night which is great, certainly better than many of our friends children who seem to be keeping them awake at 3am. In the last fortnight her first teeth have ben popping through. We saw in her mouth what looked like maybe a tooth, a tiny white fleck but I think it was my father that felt it first. With his bad eyes there's not a chance he could have actually seen the tooth, but when Majandra bit/chewed his finger he exclaimed that he felt something sharp. That was just over a week ago. Now the first tooth is definitely popped through and is VERY sharp, and the second tooth is about to pop through too. She's growing fast, it's hard to believe she's already six months old.








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