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Santa Clones

We hear crying from E’s room so I go down to see what happened. She had bumped her eye on the edge of her window.

“I saw Santa.”

When she sees a twinkling star E thinks it is Santa.

“Then I saw another of him and another and another. There is one there and there and there…”

She’s pointing them out to me in the sky.

“I think he must have made a Santa making machine and made all kinds of himself.”

She stops, looks back at the sky and says very seriously, in an almost suspicious tone:

“I don’t know why he did that.”

Happy Easter!

I hope you’re all enjoying your holiday weekend!

25 days

25 days

The calendar was a success. We did forget on days here and there, but that just meant both girls got to do one on some days. We’ve now got it stored in the cupboard with rest of the Christmas decorations, but it will definitely be coming back next year!

picking out a picture for the Christmas Countdown Calendar

picking out a picture for the Christmas Countdown Calendar

The countdown begins!

Can you believe it’s December first? Christmas/E’s birthday is just around the corner! It’s going to be a busy month for sure. We have a party coming up for one of E’s friends, E’s party with friends and then a family one, another family (E & K’s cousin) birthday, work parties, finishing up Christmas shopping, Christmas baking and all the beginnings of preschool stuff starting with orientation day on the fourth.

::mrtl tangent:: Apparently the preschool is run by the committee. As in it is quite possible that as the treasurer I will be responsible for paying staff wages! Is that allowed? It seems crazy to me, but this was the way it was when my SIL’s kids were in preschool (her youngest will be twelve this month). I’m sure I’ll be able to do this if it’s the case, but still that would be crazy. Right? ::/mrtl tangent::

We’ll be putting up our decorations and tree tomorrow (we would today, but Andy is working) and to kick off the holiday season I’m posting this clip of an old Christmas commercial for a grocery store chain in Canada. I had forgotten all about this commercial until a facebook group popped up trying to get it back on the air. So far they’ve had no luck, but you never know what can happen when the internets speak out. Enjoy!

Crafting

Something I’m not too fond of is making crafty type things. Ok, I actually like making crafts, but not so much with my kids. Yes, I know that this qualifies me for worst parent of the year, but making crafts that actually look good* with a four year old can be very frustrating at the best of times. If we’re just painting or doing something where the end result doesn’t really matter everything is fine, but things that are more complicated rarely end up being fun for anyone…well, in my house anyway and we all tend to be a bit stubborn around here. Despite all that I still do the more complicated crafts once in a while and yesterday was one of those times and we made a home made advent calendar.

When I was younger my mother always made an advent calendar on a big piece of bristol board and cut out 25 different Christmas shapes which we would pick out of a bag each morning until Christmas. I loved doing this as a kid and thought my kids might like it too.

For some reason finding bristol board around here isn’t as easy as it was in Nova Scotia and yesterday I had no luck so I ended up buying an artist canvas. I also bought some tags and a gift bag to cut the 25 shapes out of, glitter glue pens and stickers for decorating, and a ruler.

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Normally I would just go to town and draw my plan out directly on the canvas, but because crooked lines and oddly measured things are also a normal thing for me I decided to do a smaller calendar – to scale – on a piece of paper. I worked out all the measurements and everything fell into place nicely.

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Then it was time to translate this to the canvas.

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At this point I realized that all that “to scale” measuring did me no good because the 5 boxes that were supposed to be 7×7 cm ended up being four 7×7 and one 7.5×7.6 cm.

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A little adjusting here and there and all the boxes ended up being somewhat even.

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Next my helpful assistant came and we decorated the frame with stickers.

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The glitter was next and I managed to run out of red and had to finish the date boxes with a dark orange, but you don’t even notice so I guess that’s OK.

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Now we cut the 25 shapes out.

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I ended up only having 22 or something so I went out later and bought a few more tags and we’re all set now.

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This is the point where I realize that my other daughter who woke up from her nap half way through the decorating is suddenly too quiet. I turn around to find that she had gotten into some markers and had helped herself to a snack. A snack which just happened to be the last double chocolate muffin we were saving for Andy.

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Then we left the calendar to dry over night and the next morning we had a fancy pants advent calendar that will hopefully last for a few years.

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I think E is going to love this little tradition as much as I did. We already had a “practice run” and she can’t wait to do the first one tomorrow morning.

*I know. I know. Crafts with kids don’t have to “look good” and I’m not some nazi about it or anything, but sometimes when you put a lot of effort into making something it’s nice to have it come out looking like more then a bunch of scribbles, paint blobs and random bits and pieces glued everywhere.

Curious

Already?!?

Is it just me or does it seem like Christmas merchandise comes out a little earlier each year? I’m sure last year I was saying, “What? It’s only October!”…

Another thing bothering me that has nothing to do with the holidays is why on earth does a relatively new black shirt of mine keep coming out of the dryer smelling like blood/metal? Everything else in the same load comes out smelling like nice, freshly cleaned clothes.

What I did for, well, it was just September 1st

A couple weeks ago (September 1) we went on a mini vacation to Goolwa, South Australia. Andy’s parents were renting a house near the beach for a week and had invited us to come, but because Andy has only been at his current job for four months and he was off sick for a week he didn’t have any time off owed to him so we only went for Saturday to Tuesday. I have to admit that I did not want to go. My reason had nothing to do with Andy’s parents or anything like that it was simply because Goolwa is 650 kms away. Did I mention we were driving? Yes. 650 kms, or nine hours including breaks, in a car with two small children. I don’t know about you, but to me that sounded like the furthest thing from a holiday as you can get. But, Andy’s parents had picked a house with a one level (so we didn’t have to worry about K on the stairs all weekend) and a playground right in the backyard for E to make it more enjoyable for us. How could I say no to that? And so we went.

We left Saturday morning and things started out like I had expected with E sooking in the back seat and saying she wanted to go home not even an hour in to the trip. K was great, surprisingly, but E carried on until about one in the afternoon when we stopped at McDonald’s for lunch. E ate, got a toy and played on the playground and once we were back in the car she was pretty good the rest of the way. That was when K started to find things difficult because she was tired and finding it hard to sleep. In the end we got to Goolwa safe and sound around five or six and the girls went silly exploring the house. E spotted the playground before we even got inside and she was so excited at the prospects the next few days held for her.

Once the drive was over I felt pretty good. It didn’t feel as long as what I’d expected and while at least one kid was whining most of the time they were fairly well behaved considering their age and the huge amount of time we were all in that car. We all got a good night sleep and the girls shared a room for the first time and besides the two of them chatting and playing for more than an HOUR after they went to bed it went quite well.

The next day we took a look around Goolwa in the morning, went to a couple markets and I couldn’t believe just how beautiful this place was! So relaxed (though I expect in the summer months it’s probably a bit crazier with tourists) and just pretty. After the markets we headed over to Granite Island to see some Little Penguins. There is a causeway that connects Granite Island to Victor Harbour and you can usually go across by a horse drawn tram, but at that time there was a ban on any horse movement because of an equine flu breakout and we just walked across. E enjoyed the walk and made friends with a seagull when she shared her cinnamon donut with him.

He was coming for a piece of cinnamon donut

She also claims to have seen Ariel in the water, but I missed her appearance so I can’t back that one up. Once across we killed some time waiting for the penguin centre to open…

Family shot

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granite island sign

At the souvenir shop

E and her shark

K waiting to get into the penguin centre

The penguin centre was great. They take in abandoned or injured penguins a rehabilitate them and let them back out into the wild. Apparently, though, most of the penguins will be going along good, putting on weight and eating well until release day when they suddenly drop weight. The staff at the centre believe that the penguins know it’s time to leave and make any attempts they can at staying. I think that says a lot about the people who volunteer there. The entire centre and rehabilitation program runs solely on donations and entrance fees to the centre because they have no funding which is kind of a shame because they are doing a great service to those little penguins.

Little Penguin

Little Penguins

The island is actually home to about 700 wild penguins and at dusk you can do a tour and watch them all come ashore from a days fishing. We decided against it since the possibility of one or both kids screaming and frightening the little guys was pretty high, but we hope to go back and do the tour when both kids are a bit older. We did get to see one wild penguin in a man made burrow with her little babies, however, and that was kind of special.

We were a stones throw from a lovely beach and went there later in the day. E claims this was the best part of the trip for her, she loved collecting shells and whatever to make a collage with Andy. (They haven’t made it yet, but perhaps this weekend.) K also loved the beach and got a kick out of chasing seagulls and running away from me to try and get to the water. I don’t have any photos of the beach because you could see the salt in the air; it was so thick! And there was no way I was going to risk ruining my camera, but it was killing me to not be able to because we were there when the light was perfect and both the girls had so much fun.

We had decided the night before that it would be nice to get some crayfish to have for dinner Sunday night and kept an eye out for a fish shop while we drove through several towns throughout the day. It has to be noted that all these towns were right by the beach – there was never a spot where you could not see the ocean. Do you know how many seafood stores there were? None. Zero. Nothing. Fish and chip shops, sure, but not one place that actually sold fresh fish. Is that not crazy? When we stopped at a local grocery store I asked two men who obviously worked in the area if there was anywhere we could buy crayfish and they were all, “Ohhh. Well, you’d probably have to go to Adelaide for that.” – Just so you know Adelaide was 80 kms from where we were. – “We do things differently around here.” He wasn’t rude or anything, but what does that even mean in context to that situation? Needless to say there was no crayfish, but Andy’s mum made some lovely crumbed prawns with salad and we added olives and seafood marinara to the mix. Now I don’t eat either of those last two things, but I feel it important to add that E ate a small octopus arm (leg?) and she liked it. Blech.

Monday we decided to take a stroll around town and have lunch…at a fish and chip shop and made the mistake of feeding a seagull a chip. Before we knew it there were about five or six squawking at our table. Even though it was a bit embarrassing I have to admit that it was amusing to watch one bird pick up AN ENTIRE HOT DOG that E threw down for them. Crazy sea gluttons.

We also went to Coorong National Park. We only just scratched the surface of it, but what an amazing place. After reading a bit about it on the net I would definitely like to have a more in depth look around.

Coorong National Park, South Australia

Later that day Andy asked if we wanted to go see Adelaide. It was about an hour away, but it was only around one in the afternoon at that point so I thought why not? We”ll have a couple hours to have a look around the city and be back in time to make dinner. The only problem we had with that theory? Even though he will not admit it, even with the photographic evidence I have to share, Andy goes into panic mode when we enter a large city. Every time we go to Melbourne he freaks out because there are so many lanes! And crazy, aggressive drivers! And let’s not forget that there is about a bazilliongillion streets! He won’t admit it because in his younger days he got around Melbourne, and anywhere really, without a hitch.

We had barely driven onto our first main street of Adelaide before the panic set in and he was freaking out saying we’re lost! I have to figure out how to get back before rush hour traffic starts! (It was just after two) And I am not kidding when I say that we went through Adelaide in about 20 minutes. If I hadn’t rolled the windows down we wouldn’t have even breathed Adelaide air. Here are some examples of the only photos I have from our excursion to the city…

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Her Majesty’s Theatre

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A church. Adelaide is called “The City of Churches”. There’s a comedian, Danny Bhoy, who says, “I think Rome might have a problem with that!” Or something. It’s funny when he says it.

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Art Gallery of South Australia

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Hey, if nothing else it makes for an amusing holiday tale, no? Well, amusing for me, but I’m sure Andy will come around in a few…or 50 years.

K was quite unsettled on the way back from Adelaide. I thought she just did not want to be in the car anymore, but once we were back in Goolwa and at the grocery store she made sure we understood; She threw up all over the floor and grocery cart. Something tells me we have a special place in the heart of a certain Safeway employee who had to clean that mess up. After she threw up she was as happy as could be and had a blast playing with her toys and running around outside back at the house. I went back out to pick up some baby panadol, just incase, and must have forgot I was on a holiday and temporarily not an adult company deprived housewife and told the whole story to the cashier at the pharmacy. I’m sure I’ve also reserved a cosy little nook in her heart as well.

We had dinner that night…fish and chips, I kid you not (good none-the-less) and took off the next morning into the sunse…well into the 9:30am sun. The kids were great on the trip home. E was content the entire way and didn’t complain at all. K was great too until she spewed all over herself and her carseat…FOUR hours from home! Turns out she may have a touch of motion sickness. Who knew? The smell during those last few hours was awful, but we made it home in one piece.

All in all I’m glad I didn’t let my negative self win and that we went on the trip because it was a lot of fun!