Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The First Cut is the Deepest......

The First Cut is the Deepest.....   yes, especially if it's the first haircut!

I've been thinking about trimming Jacob's hair for some time now. It had grown a little out of shape and 3 bits of tassels were growing all over the place. Long bits and short bits all different lengths and falling over his head like a toupe! 

"Trim his hair." the hairdresser would say but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I just couldn't.... It's his baby hair! So fine and the last remaining hold on his baby days. 

He's still my baby.....

But yesterday I decided to give him a "little trim" just to sort of tidy it up a bit. Neaten the back and leave the front untouched. He doesn't have much hair in the front so I left that alone.

The three little tassels of hair... all different lengths.

And so I cut his hair, tied up the longer side bits with elastic and.......cut! Well so it seemed. I hesitated a few times trying to talk myself out of it but I knew I had to do it.... you see my dad will be coming over for a visit and I wanted to pass him some of Jacob's hair for my mum... a scapbooking fan and I wanted her to have a keepsake for her scrapbook on the grandkids. 

So I took the scissors and cut one ponytail of hair and I knew from then on I had to finish it off. Oh he struggled and moved around wondering what I was doing and in a little over 45 mins his hair was trimmed back. Done!

Where’s my hair Mummy?   

   Hair all bundled and packaged for the album

The new look!

A good haircut deserves a nap!

What's on your keyring?

This week’s theme over at Hello Owl’s My Place and Yours is:

What’s on your keyring?

Let's start with the house keys...
I've had this keyring for a long time... It's actually the keyring my hubby gave me when we started going out together... it was the keyring he used for his bachelor pad!! Anyway he bought the keyring when he was studying at uni in Minnesota, US.... some 20+ years ago (Gosh it's so old!). Let me see there's the front door grill key, a back door padlock key, another padlock key (I don't why it's still here that padlock is long gone.) and then the front door key.... I like this keyring despite the age and it's worn out leather but I've had it for as long as I've been with my hubby so I guess it's kind of like my "first" ring that he gave me.

The other important keyring in my life...... the car keys!
This is my key to freedom, carpooling, trips to the beach and shopping! As you can guess from these keyring I'm a Toyota woman. A typical mummy people mover, my little wheels the Toyota Avanza. Fits everyone and lot's of space for just about anything. The little tassel  is something my hubby was given when he went over to Japan. It's all hand sewn using pretty Japanese fabric and decorated with little glass beads... a bit old now but I love anything hand sewn.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

In Remembrance......

Today is Anzac Day. It's a day that we as Australians remember and honour all those brave people who served and died for Australia in times of war and also those who returned.

For me I will remember my Uncle Bill, our dear neighbour from when I was a little girl. His name was actually William Stubbs, but he was Uncle Bill to everyone who lived on our street. He was a tall man, hair so snowy white, a warm gravelly voice and a wonderful smile..... oh and the smell of sweet piped tobacco. 

I was about 3 or 4 at the time and we lived in this small cul-de sac and he was our next door neighbour. He was a widower at the time, a loving grandfather and retired long ago. I can remember playing the garden and whenever I saw him I would run up and give him a hug. In return he would swing me up into his arms and give a big bear hug. He was always  potting around his garden and most times I would come over for a visit.... knocking on his backdoor to his kitchen! He would tell me stories and take me to visit the our other neighbour's dog, a big german shepard who just terrified me but in Uncle Bill's arms I wasn't scared. I just remember a sweet old man who somewhat "adopted" me as his other grandchild. 

When I turned five and my parents decided to move overseas, we left behind our little neighbourhood and moved on. I only came back to Sydney at the end of primary to get ready for high school and a little older but I still had fond memories of Uncle Bill. I was fortunate enough to come back to visit him and spend some time with him and see him smoke that pipe of his and breathe in his sweet tobacco like I was 4 once again.  He was so much older but still such a lively person. He spoke about his life and his time serving in the war and his time in Burma but at that time I couldn't understand the sacrifices he made and what he went through as a young soldier.........a few years later he passed away and I was able to go to his funeral. Such a sad day for someone who always had a dear smile to his face but he was farewelled by all his family and friends ..... his coffin was draped with the Australian flag and his friends in uniform sent him off to the sound of the bugle playing the Last Post...

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Stitch Away.....

Once upon a time when I had a beautiful young daughter.... I use to make her things that I hope someday she would keep and give to her own daughter. Handmade stitches, bullion stitches and delicate rose buds.. cotton threads, ribbons and lace. A christening gown, a birthday dress and a dress for Christmas mass....I use to make all those for her.....

Christening Gown in a bishop design with dusty pink rosebuds.

Jacob wearing the Christening Gown for his Baptism

A few handmade dresses full of memories to keep....

All grown up.....

She's all grown up now and more beautiful than before and moving on with the next stage in her life .... getting ready for high school ...... and just growing up to soon. How I wish I could make those dresses again... every stitch, every design was made for her... but now that 's she's older and her taste have changed I'll once again sew but now it's for handbags and tote bags... 

It's FlogYour BlogFriday #8 at MummyTime  -  so head on over and join in!

Share you blog and link up.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Miaow, miaow, miaow in the middle of the night
Do want to go out? Or come in at night?
Have we not given you enough hugs and attention
my little purring cat, so sweet and laid back
I wake up from my sleep to find you at my door
I wonder what’s the matter, who’s knocking at my door
Sakura, you little annoying minx
How come you’re awake? Haven’t you slept a wink?
Let me in...he cries for only for the night..
Oh okay just for tonight....

Where do you blog?

I came across Helloowl: My Place and Yours.

And this weeks theme is chosen by Talia and is Where do you blog?

..... Mmmmm... On a tiny second hand desk that was originally from my daughter's room. A desk covered with little pencil nicks and remnants of old stickers. A clutter of books, paper on the side and an old mug full of pens and pencils. A few notes to spend on my next shopping trip. And my link to the outside world, my Dell.

I'll read, think and blog from this tiny desk at all hours of the day but it's my little place in my bedroom that connects me to yours.  

Although it's a small place in the corner of my bedroom I only have to look outside to see my side of the world.

... that's my daughter, Ashley playing on her game, Jacob's cot and my green mango tree from Under the Green Mango Sky.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I must confess........

.............. I must confess............ I think I've become a news junkie.

I can't let a day go by without reading the news, watching the news, watching all the 24 hr news channels like CNN, BBC, etc or going through all the news apps on my Ipod. 

I'll read all the Aussie news first of course... reading through the Sydney Morning Herald, The Daily Telegraph, The Age, and any other source of news from home..... ninemsn the list goes on....

Next I'll tackle the international news, click onto my News  bookmark and out pops the long list of news sites. Although I might not get to read all of them I do have a few must read sites that I MUST go through............

... The New York Times. I might be miles away from the US but I love the articles in this newspaper, Opinion (Maureen Dowd on Wednesdays and Sundays), Dining and Wine (where I get my cooking inspiration) and of course Home & Garden where I wish I could live in the Village and renovate one of those 4 storey beautiful brown stones and decorate, decorate, decorate....

... UK next and off to The Daily Mail  and I'll run thru the juicy goss and read what's happening in UK. Something about being banned from Disney???.... "Mother and daughter banned from Disneyland... because they were dressed as fairy princesses"  so sad as much as I like fairy tales I don't think I'd wear a princess gown when I go to Disney......

And then there's all the gossip spread.... yep all those trashy stories on celebrities.... the Perez Hilton, Just Jared, Us Weekly, A Socialite's Life, etc... Yes, ashamed as I am I must confess I read them too!

Is there no stopping??? Nope. I just discovered last week this great site called Mental Floss (Where Knowledge Junkies Get Their Fix) ....where you can find all the amazing facts and trivia  on absolutely everything. Mmm like 8 Things Disney Parks Have Banned maybe the poor lady from the UK should have read that but I thought Disney was suppose to bring out the inner kid in you. 

Anyway, as I type this and read at the same time The New York Post and Mental Floss and post today's foodie challenge for my food blog ..... I must confess I'm a News Junkie just getting a fix on life .......Good news/ Bad news and as the saying goes "Old news is good news" but for me any good story is good news....

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Photo Meme..................

I recently joined FYBF and dropped by  to read Warsaw Mommy's blog and saw she had a really great  Meme up. It was a beautiful picture and such a touching story behind it and I felt complied to take part in this meme and hope you can too. So here we go.

These are the rules:

1. Open your first (oldest) photo folder in your computer library
2. Scroll to the 10th photo
3. Post the photo and the story behind it
4. Tag 5 or more people to continue the thread

And here is the 10th photo in the oldest photo library on my computer drive:

This picture was taken by my husband on the 50th wedding anniversary of his parents in 2001. They were renewing their wedding vows in front of family and friends at their house and it was such a significant time for all our us.

Although this picture shows a loving couple once again exchanging those same vows of matrimony it was a different story not long before this was taken that we couldn't imagine it ever taking place. Two people growing together as a couple and sharing so many great times together and being a rock for each other along the way.

Before this picture was taken my mother-in-law had suffered a dark episode of depression, something she couldn't seem to come out of and or ever see the way of breaking through whatever was troubling her. It struck her down so hard that she was silent with the pain, she was unable not talk about or share with even those so close to her. She received all the care and love that we could give her and she had to endure many treatments to bring her out of the depths.

From the very start her husband, stood by her side, giving her constant words of encouragement and love for the woman he had known since he first saw her as a young woman attending church. He didn't know her at the time but he would always look out for her during mass and eventually had the courage to  get to know her and her family. I guess it was love at first sight for him and he won her over with his charm and grace.

Years before this illness took over my MIL, my father-in-law was found to be suffering from cancer and after years of treatment was in remission. My MIL looked after his health and diet and she was a rock for him when he was going through his ups and downs with cancer treatment. After coming into remission, being in a good state of health my FIL was at his best. The both of them having brought up a family of eight kids and enjoying the spoils of twenty plus grandchildren, she was suddenly caught in the dark of depression and it was her husband switching roles of carer to look after her.

She slowly recovered and somehow was able to recover in time to celebrate their lives together of 50 years for this anniversary. My FIL had given us the go ahead to organise the wedding celebration and because she had only recently gotten better we as a family had a week to work out a surprise celebration for them.

So this picture has so much emotion attached to it for all the joys and downfalls they faced together and the happiness they shared at that moment renewing their love for each other.... It brought the whole family together with all that they had been through to get this far and an inspiration for us all....Sadly, my FIL passed away two years later after cancer once again came to take him away from us.

..... This photo had so many memories and I was surprised to see this as my 10th.

Anyway, here's my tag list.

1. Brenda @ MummyTime
2. Angeling @ A Slice of My Life
3. Mrs P @ A Study in Contradictions
4. Lucy @ Diminishing Lucy
5. Corinne @ A day in the life

So if you're reading this now and if you haven't taken up the meme or if you have, pls comment and leave a link.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Awesomeness that is Friday....

The end of the week and the start of the weekend...."Thank Goodness It's Friday"

The last day of the week where I have to struggle to wake up early at 5.30am.... wake up the kids to get them ready for school... last time of the week that I have to make an early breakfast, pack lunches and generally be alert enough to get through the morning...

............I'm lucky that the driving to school is done by my hubby so I can crawl back to bed and sleep till the baby wakes up......

Friday where the kids can sleep late and there's no 9pm bedtime.
Friday when math's tuition finishes early and the weekend really begins.
Friday is relax and have a swim at the pool day.
Friday is the day we watch the sunset at the beach.

.....that is the Awesomeness that is Friday .

I've been inspired today by Neil Pasricha’s 1000 Awesome Things blog.

...........a picture is worth a thousand words

I was in the middle of taking a photo for my food blog and my camera just died.... a 5 yr Canon Powershot..... gone.... I had turned it on and just as the image appeared in the screen it disappear just as fast. I thought maybe the battery needs a charge so I took out the battery and a metal connector at the back of the case just broke off. No hope in fixing that!!

I was crushed... no camera and my camera on my phone wouldn't be able to do the job...What was I going to do???

.....a friend, a professional photographer for desperately needed help. Can I adopt a pre-loved digital camera??? Um....a professional photographer's cameras are like his babies, so no chance there but better yet a contact with his fav camera shop.... thank you thank you Melvin.

So I now have a new baby, a little Nikon L21!!! Picked it up this afternoon and quickly got down to testing it on a couple of sunset pics.

On the way to pick up my daughter 

Heading home.... somewhere in the background is Mt Kinabalu

This one was a little blurry because my hubby was turning the corner at the traffic junction.

A pink Nikon Coolpix...... sadly I wasn't allowed to have this colour.... my hubby won't let me so I had to pick the neutral champagne colour.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Cook/bake something new each day or every other day". Challenge

I've taken this from my other blog, Simply About Life. It's about food, food, food .................

...33 post so far, I'm enjoying this....

I actually started my food challenge in February 2010 

"Cook/bake something new each day or every other day".

it just started out with a few photos that I took to put on my Facebook and to send back home. Just snaps of all the food that I was cooking for the family never thinking about blogging at the time until I read an article somewhere about people showing the world what they eat by taking pictures of every they eat. 

It's kind of like whipping out the camera just before you eat, capturing the moment in time....a food diary of some sort. I thought that was a little obsessive huh....umm hold on let me take a shot first before u bite into that!!!

But it got me thinking so I did a bit of research and checked out a few blogs and thought ... yeah I could do this. Just keep taking the pictures and write a bit about the food and the recipe.

Well, to let you know all the food is basically something that I've cooked for the day, either lunch, dinner or a snack of some sort. My "Studio" is my tiny kitchen counter, my daughter's desk near the window, the coffee table near the front balcony or lately the dining table (a glass table but too much reflection with the camera). And I'll usually prep my   photo shot on a presentable dish/corning ware, etc and take a snap with the camera. My lighting prop is a desk light and my grip is either one of the kids holding the light!!

I guess the best thing about this blog and challenge so far is that everyday I'm always thinking of what to cook, even though most of these dishes I've cooked many times before. Sometimes I'll write them out in my recipe book or I'll be typing away scrambling my head recounting all the cooking steps and all the ingredients I used. 

I'll usually post a blog after all the kids are asleep and that is probably close to midnight but it's nice and quiet and I can "think" without any interruptions. Besides this Foodie blog, I'm also blogging about other things that pop into my head, day to day stuff, something that has inspired me or just something interesting and that's on my This side of the island blog... Have a read and leave a comment if you like.

Anyway, it's been fun to read the comments from this blog and see all my visitors from all over the place. It's also been nice to see a couple comments from FoodbuzzFoodista and Petitchef and invitations to join their sites. Not bad but now I get to post some of my blog posts on their site too... bit more work but I get to meet more people.

So I hoping to see my Foodie Challenge through to the end of the year...or more. Have a read, try it out and how about joining the challenge too and ....
"Cook/bake something new each day or every other day".
My kids love it and hubby always comes home to say "What are we eating today??"

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Play School and a Vegemite Sandwich

This morning as I sat with J, watching another episode of Play School, it occurred to me that I've been watching this show on and off for the most part of my life......30+ years. 

Big Ted, Little TedJemina and HUMPTY

Singing along with Noni, John, Bonita, Don and George........... There's a bear in there, Dingle Dangle Scarecrow, Shake My Sillies,You Can Stamp Your Feet, etc..........

I remember them all, the silly dances, the Tic Toc Rocket Clock, the Windows, and the all the games and craft.........a thousand and one things to make with toilet rolls, straws, cardboard boxes and mountains of sticky tape. I loved it when I was 3 and now 34 years later still going strong! Every little Aussie child watched it during their childhood and so are mine...........thousands of miles away.

I grew up with all those faces, and I had a favourites too; John Hamlin,  Benita and Noni. I could sit for hours watching those two, dancing, singing and they just so much fun to watch. My older two grew up with Monica and Philip and now J is watching it with Justine, Alex, Simon and Karen.  I watched it with my mum as a kid and now it's happening again with my little one! 

Somehow I've managed to get the kids to watch it and we've been so lucky to get to see it on satellite tv. The kids have watched Bananas in PajamasHumpfrey (I had a toy Humpfrey as a kid!!!) , Hi-5 (just not the same without the originals), and of course The Wiggles!!!!!! 

.......... I must confess I've been to 2 Wiggles concerts in a span of 5 years. Got most of their CDs and Dorothy and Wags plushies!! ... My last trip back home I decided to give it a miss for their annual concert  because I just feel it's not the same without the original Yellow Wiggle, Greg.... still in Wiggle denial. 

All the shows are just not the same whenever a replacement comes along.Oooohh  Ashley grew up singing along to Hi-5 and when she watched it recently with Jacob she couldn't believe there was no Charli, Kathleen, Nathan, Tim or Kellie. Well people get older is what i told her and I just couldn't image the original Play School cast jumping and rolling around at their ages now. 

..... Funny thing is when I was in Year 10 for work experience I got to go to the ABC studios,Gore Hill and actually spent a day on the Play School set. It was amazing to see the set, cuddle up to Big Ted, Jemina, Humpty and Little Ted and I even got to meet John Hamlin!!! My childhood super star!!! ........ I even told him he was my fav when I was a kid and  he was really funny on set. I found out that when he was doing the earlier shows he was actually commuting from the UK to Sydney (wat a commute!! can u image the frequent flyer points if he was doing that now!!) I just miss out on meeting Noni who was on the day before.  Anyway, while I was there I also got to go on the G.P. set...........Does anyone remember that show?? They weren't filming at the time so the set was empty so I didn't get to meet anyone. The other place that was interesting was the wardrobe dept, so many costumes and amazing detailing. (Got a pic of myself in a period costume.) Memories............

Anyway, side tracked there..... well I guess I've been trying to put a little Aussie into the kids lives and although we are so far I want them to remember their other home. The place I grew up, my childhood memories and where family & friends are. I want them to know where they're from and possibly where they will be in the future. To create an Aussie culture at home, a sense of identity for them and to keep mine alive. It's not about living there anymore but an Aussie way of life; how we live, our love and respect for one another, our great sense of humour, having a fair go, the great Aussie BBQ (and the flies!!!), and of course the beautiful land we call home.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains, 
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains, 
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea, 
Her beauty and her terror - 
The wide brown land for me!

taken from My Country
by Dorothea McKellar (1885-1968

I just cannot describe the feeling I get when you hear or see good news from the time I watched the opening of the Sydney 2000 Olympics. I was just so awe struck and seeing my "hometown", how proud I was and weld up with tears to see it all happen...... 

I would go back to Sydney in a flash but I've made my new home here on this side of the island and for now while the kids are still young I'll keep on watching Play School and turn that Australian Network channel on ....  make those lamingtons, pavlovas, anzacs biscuits and the great aussie pie ...... eat that vegemite sandwich ........... but I know I'm home because home is where the heart is..............

........... my kids love to read Alison Lester's Are we there yet? and someday I would love to bring them back to Australia and make that same trip with them.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Good Deed

Blog This Challenge 39

So friends, tell us about a good deed you have done for someone or vice-versa. Or how someone elses' good deed that you have learned about has affected you.. did you learn from it? How did it make you feel?  Was it a disaster?  Did it uplift you?

Fifteen months ago I had a baby, a beautiful baby boy, my youngest child. From the day he was born I have been so overwhelmed with love for this little boy, Jacob, warm and snuggled in my arms. On day 16, Boxing Day 2008, my 35th birthday he was admitted to Neonatal ICU at our local women and children's hospital.

Before Jacob was born I had an AFP (alpha fetal protein) test which came back with abnormal results based on the levels indicative of an increased risk of having a Down Syndrome baby 1:120 and a possible need for amniocentesis. I was crushed.....We decided not to have an amnio with all the risks associated with it and would accepted Jacob as he was. Our dr was very supportive and conducted an diagnostic ultrasound to check for any of the DS markers; spinal defect, nasal bone, etc and there were no abnormalities but he continuously checked on these every time he took an ultrasound. It was a blow to us emotionally when we first got the results as we had gotten to know Jacob thru his 3D ultrasound, esp. seeing him sucking his thumb and feeling him move inside, and so when I gave birth to Jacob and everything went well it was a joyful time for us.

When we brought Jacob home from hospital, his bilirubin test spiked to a high level of 188. It was stressful time once again with daily trips to the clinic for blood tests. We were relieved when his results improved but concerned when his hourly feeds and weight didn't add  up. He was looking thinner each day and I could tell that something wasn't right. He never complained, never cried out of hunger but his body was wasting away losing all his baby fat. We naturally thought at first that it was post baby weight loss and when I got the community nurses at the clinic to examined him they said he was fine. 

At day 12 he had lost 400g and to me that was too much. The days passed and Christmas came and still Jacob grew thinner. My sister-in-law, J, an RN was gravely concerned when we met up for Christmas and asked us to get Jacob re-examined the next day. 

On the morning of the 26th Jacob was taken by ambulance to ICU, he had lost a total of more than  900g since the day he was born, 1/3 of his birth weight. I was deeply worried when he was admitted to the hospital. I completely broke down riding in the ambulance with him and cried for him, feeling so utterly helpless that I couldn't do anything for him. It was an emotional rollercoaster for all of us.

So when Jacob was admitted, we were so taken to heart when we were met by the paediatrician Dr F, and the other doctors and nurses. Some would come by to after their shift to see him and just stop by to talk. The all seem to go out of their way for Jacob and everyone knew about him. They were so giving with their encouragement, kindness and understanding for what we were going through. It made such a positive impact on us and Jacob's recovery.

Jacob was in NeoICU level 2 for 10 days and I was roomed in with the other mothers at ICU. . He never made a fuss when they were taking blood from him everyday or examining him and he always had a smile in his eyes. Jacob was tube feed, and later I was able to breastfeed, and supplement feed him. He had numerous tests, blood cultures done, and xrays to rule out any abnormalities. His little hands and feet were constantly pricked with IV cannulas for antibiotics.... so many tiny holes in such little hands. Daily weighs and the ups and downs with his weight, a cheer for every gram he gained. I think he just knew he was in good hands and when he was diagnosed with "failure to  thrive" he changed that to "thriving to survive".

Several times during Jacob's stay in hospital my sister-in-laws, Josephine, Judy and Bree all took  turns coming in to help with feeds and just be there for us. My SILs took care of everything for my husband and me, the older kids were looked after, home cooked food was brought in and they were my rock for my many melt downs I had in hospital. They took charge amongst themselves and gave so much of their time from their busy schedules to be there for this little boy. I was totally taken aback with all they had done for us, it brought us closer than before.  They had gone out of their way to show us that through their selfless good deeds that family is everything. They never asked for anything, no recognition, they were just helping us out when we needed it the most. 

I look at him now and see a chubby little boy with an infectious smile, and a body so full of energy to taste, see and explore his little world but some times I remember how his young life started out. It is still a raw moment in time and one day I'll tell Jacob his story and all those wonderful people who gave him a start to life. I hope that this will inspire him to cherish the life he has and that all acts of kindness is a light in this world for those in need.

 I started to take pictures daily documenting his every move from the time Jacob came out of hospital, sometimes a dozen at a time. I guess I wanted a reminder for myself that he was doing well each day....that he was ok.



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