Stuff

We did some craft last week and I was impressed with how inventive Little Bear has become. I gave him a box, glue and paper, he made a sky scraper.

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We also made Valentine’s Day cards to give to people we love tomorrow, ie DH and The Possum.

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This last weekend DH and I had an early anniversary/Valentine’s Day night away while mum kindly minded the kids. It was our first night away together since The Possum joined our family. We had a lovely time. We booked a Wotif five star mystery room, which turned out to be the Sofitel Brisbane Central. Nice room and oh bliss a bath! For dinner we went to Alchemy, a restaurant on Eagle St. The food was amazing and the service excellent, plus we had a riverfront view of the Storey Bridge. We had a six pm booking so we could watch evening fall on the river. Later, when it was dark we saw a flotilla of maybe canoes set out, each with its own little light, a  procession of lights travelling up the river. Pretty much perfect. We recommend the Liquid Nitrogen Gastronomic Nibbles for dessert.

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February already

I haven’t had much to say lately, or if I do, any time to write it. I have started writing a few posts only to discard them because they aren’t really worth the effort. Anyway in the spirit of just writing something dammit, here is a brief update.

We are sick of course, Little Bear has gone down with tonsilitis but with some antibiotics he’s on the mend. Possum and I just have the initial cold so far, so hopefully it stays that way.

We’ve caught up with family a few times which has been lovely and we’ve had a couple of lovely playdates as well, one to a playcentre in Strathpine and one to the Queensland Museum and State Library Corner (ahem, great for kids but quite probably were we got the cold from since our cousin’s little girl  who we went with got sick as well at the same time). LIttle Bear was disappointed at the lack of olden days farm machinery at the museum. There’s also been playgroup so my boy has had some socialising time.

Possum has started crawling (sort of) or at least going forwards in an army crawl style that looks more like breaststroke crawling. She also has started clapping. I looked up what Little Bear was doing at her age (7 and a bit months) and I know he wasn’t clapping but he was already crawling up stairs and walking along holding the wall. He was also pulling himself up on things. Mrs is a bit slower in the physical department but along with the clapping and eating solids like a trooper there’ve been a few more sedentary activities she can do that her brother couldn’t at that age. I’ve noticed her sitting looking at books and also trying to put puzzle pieces back into puzzles. She also is happy to just play by herself, something her big brother is only just starting to do.

There’s also a definite ‘Mummmmmm’ happening when she wants me.

The solids thing though is definitely blowing me away, it’s so much FUN to feed a baby who’s happy to try anything and LIKES to eat. Amazing. I’m actually prefering to make her food rather than buy.

What else…I’ve been bored with our house so have been rearranging furniture a bit.

Oh and I’ve actually been writing! We’ll see how long that inspiration lasts.

Three things I am grateful for this week:

My Mum’s visit on Sunday - Little Bear was supposed to visit her for the weekend but was too sick, so if Little Bear’s can’t go to the Nanna’s, Nanna’s come to Little Bears.

Writing inspiration. Wonderful to feel creative again.

The availability of a medical centre open til 11 pm on a Sunday night and a chemist as well.

Oh sleep wherefore art thou?

Our biggest behavioural challenge at the moment is Little Bear’s sleeping habits. Ever since we weened him from chewing his favourite toy he has had trouble self-settling, an unforeseen side-effect. Forget a day time nap, unless he’s in the car or sick, and then in the evening I have to sit with him to stop him bouncing out of bed every five seconds until he falls asleep. Then he wakes two or three times a night and comes straight into our room and wants to sleep in our bed, and now he’s starting to protest loudly that he can’t sleep and we end up sitting beside him to keep him in his bed until he falls back to sleep. And THEN he’s up at crack o’dawn demanding that Mummy gets out of bed. I could handle the sit by the bed before sleep, and an early wake up if it wasn’t for the repeated night time wakes. We know he’s having trouble self-settling so as well as returning to Super Nanny go to sleep techniques and being disciplined about putting him back into his own bed (oh dear lord it’s so hard at 4.30 am to get the energy up to drag him back and then WAIT for him to go back to sleep so he doesn’t just immediately return), we’re going to try a new reward chart.

He’s always initially keen for a reward chart which is a plus, and today we talked about a reward. I suggested buying a bunk bed with star canopy that he loved playing in at IKEA but he decided he loved his little bed so I won’t push it – I’m also a bit worried about how he’d go in a bunk bed with his occasional night terrors (the exorcist kind that result in throwing oneself out of bed and trying to climb up walls).  We’ll think about it.

Family adventures

We’ve had a few recent family outings since recovering from the vomiting bug that invaded our house at Christmas.

We took a trip to Alma Park Zoo, a bit sad that it’s taken this long, given that we’re Brisbanites.
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Then we went to my parent’s for the weekend and saw the grandies and also caught up with DH’s family as well.

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checking the cows with Nanna

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lunch with Mum’s parents, Miss Possum is holding court at the head of the table

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nothing better than playing with uncle’s old toys

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bonfire in the evening

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Aunty and Uncle

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Catching up with cousins

Finally presents are nearly all given out! Just got to see my sister next weekend for the last post unfriendly items for her.

And finally, for the last day of DH’s holidays (and mine as well really), we took a day trip up the Sunshine Coast for a swim at Noosa and lunch at Montville.
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And now it’s the weekend again! I went out last night with a girlfriend for my designated monthly night out – we’ve decided to each go out by ourselves one night a month and also hire a baby sitter so we can have one date night a month too. Just so we get some me and us time. Tomorrow we have more family catching up scheduled with a trip to a cemetery with my grandparents (it’s how they get their kicks) and then lunch at my Aunt’s.

And today I made cheesecake!

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Managing the TV monster

I try to limit Little Bear’s tv viewing to an hour a day but it’s hard to keep track of how much he watches and also to stand firm in the face of pester power, not to mention the tantys that occur at switch off time. So for the last three days we’ve been trying a new thing:

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Every day I draw up a circle on the fridge with white board marker, divided into twelve segments representing five minutes each. The segments are shaded in as tv time is used up. Little Bear can watch tv whenever he wants for as long as he wants until the circle is full, then no more tv til tomorrow. It’s worked really well so far, Little Bear has autonomy over his tv viewing and can also see how much time he’s using. There’s been some suggestions that we could start a new circle once the old one is full but the pestering and tantrums have toned down because I say yes to tv a lot more and he can tell when his time is going to be up.

Year of living frugally

This is officially the National Year of Reading but forget that blasphemous unemployed librarian that I am, for us here at casa del Polka Dots this may well turn out to be the Year of Living Frugally.

We are at an impasse with our home – the market is depressed and our unit isn’t selling, so as our finance stands we can’t afford to buy anything bigger in an area we’d like. In the last few days we’ve come up with a raft of schemes and cunning plans including renting out our unit and renting ourselves a bigger place. However after a depressing foray back into rental-dom we ran the figures and have decided that it would be more sensible to buckle down and hit the mortgage as hard as we can with the money we would’ve spent renting for the next year so we can get it to the point where it isn’t a net financial drain on us if we rent it – THEN we can rent something amazing or buy something we want.

This means though that we need to stick strictly to our new budget while at the same time trying to contain our growing family in our little flat – so no trips to IKEA for me to buy nifty space saving furnishings (pooh). I’m very excited about this challenge though because it’s a defined amount of time and may be shorter if our unit actually sells, plus I think it will be a good example for our 3 yr old who is getting a little bit demanding about our financial resources and unappreciative of what should be special treats. In fact yesterday we had to make our first budgeting choice – grab McDonalds takeaway that day and use up our eat our budget for the week or leave it for a better time. I also faced up to our challenge this morning – the chiropractor I’m seeing about my hip recommended I get some orthotic shoes, normally I’d have just gone out and bought a pair, now I have to decide if I can spare the money out of this month’s clothing budget or if I need to wait or bring some extra money into our home.

I’ve been thinking about how to do this. There’s ebaying unwanted items of course, which I will do. The point is for me to stay home with the children full time so me getting a day time job is not an option. I’ve tried working from home on freelance work and it is stressful and impacts on family life so if I’m going to work it would have to be something at night somewhere where I could go and work that I wouldn’t have to bring home.  I’m still thinking about this because I’m tired enough as it is without working til the wee small hours. I’m thinking about writing some more…probaby the most pleasurable way of cramming some work into my spare time. We also had an idea for a website that might bring in a little bit of extra cash but it requires content from my husband. Oh well, decluttering and ebay here we come!