31 July 2010

Sunday, Sunday

Sunday morning, watching cartoons. Yay for me. I'll skip the paragraphs of dissecting Ben's sleeping and eating habits ... or lack thereof. No improvement but I'm feeling a bit happier these days so no need to keep the emergency red phone by the couch. We should be attempting sleep training this weekend but neither of us have it in us so you know what, it can wait another damn week or two. Sanity has to count for something and it's easier to just wake up 4 or 5 times a night for a few minutes than to listen to hours of crying.

If you didn't notice my obnoxious status update on Facebook, I've finished all my requirements to become an Australian citizen - even made 100% on the exam. 20 questions, had to get 15 right & when I hit "submit," I was only certain about 11 of them. But luckily I love taking tests (I also loooove writing papers but that's for another day) and I have a common sense/bullshit ability like no other so I aced it. And aren't I humble?

The only thing left in Mission: Become an Australian is a ceremony, where I take the oath and become a real Aussie dual citizen. Should be 3-6 months but could be less. I guess I just sit & wait patiently and with my measly single citizenship. *sigh* Being an Australian citizen is actually something I've wanted since I was a kid. Unfortunately, Michael Hutchence died before I could marry him & do this the easy way (and the inevitable jealous fist fights between him & Bono would have been embarrassing anyway, I suppose) so instead I got my Marcel and went through the normal process. Surviving members of INXS beware - I am still on constant lookout for you and though I am no longer 13 years old, I will still tackle you out of nostalgia so consider yourselves warned.

So not much else new in our lives - still enjoying our little lovely house and one day we'll finish painting & decorating & all that fun stuff. Yesterday was gorgeously sunny so we spent a bit of time outside on the daybed and in the yard with Benjamin. Hmmm, I never call him Benjamin, wonder where that came from. Anyhoo, then last night was a gorgeous friend's 30th birthday so we went out for some yummy Thai food (is there anything better than Thai food?)(No!). Hoping today is another good one. The sun is out so far but it's only 9.30am so it still has time to hide away and let the rain & gloom take over again.

Okay, I'm off to print some coupons for Borders - books are so stinking expensive over here so I jump on Borders coupons like they're gold bars. Have a lovely day and welcome to August!

28 July 2010

Banana Oat Hotcakes

I wish I could claim that this recipe is from fancy cookbook or recipe magazine but sadly, it's just from the free magazine at our grocery store that just wants us to buy more crap. Successful plan, Coles, hats off to you.

I would advise keeping them smallish because they're quite filling and they're thick so you don't want them to be burnt on the outside & raw on the inside. Or maybe you do want that, it's up to you.

Party on, Garth. Party on, Wayne.

Banana Oat Hotcakes
1 1/2 cups     self-raising flour
1 tsp              baking powder
1 cup             quick oats
1 tbsp            caster sugar
2                    eggs
1 1/4 cups     milk
60g               butter, melted & cooled
1 tsp              vanilla essence
2                   small bananas, mashed
                     cold butter for cooking
                     vanilla yoghurt and/or maple syrup to serve

1. Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir in oats and sugar and make a well in the centre.

2. Whisk eggs, milk, melted butter and vanilla essence in separate bowl or jug.
Pour into dry ingredients and add mashed banana.
Use a rubber spatula to gently mix the ingredients together.

3. Heat a large frying pan over medium-low heat. Using a piece of paper towel, wipe cold butter over the frying pan to grease it.
Pour 1/4 cupfuls of mixture into the pan, not too close together.
Cook for about 3 mins, until a few bubbles appear on the surface and the hotcakes are golden brown underneath. Using a thin egg flip, turn and cook a further 2 min.

4. Serve hotcakes warm with yoghurt and maple syrup.

22 July 2010

come what may

I promised I wouldn't blog again until I could do so without it being one giant whine fest. Hmmmm. Let's be honest, folks - I wouldn't be blogging until Ben is off to college if I had to stick to that goal. Just to balance the complaining out before it starts, I will point out a few positives in our life:

1. Today, Ben drank out of his little cup by himself without dumping all the water out. Lord help us my little boy is getting so grown up. I get so tickled at the sight of him gripping that tiny cup as tight as possible in his little hands as if a hawk could swoop down at any moment & fight the water away from him. If I can stop aaawwww'ing long enough to take a picture one of these days, I will share it with you.

2. There is a cat asleep on The Lanai, putting that Jamie Durie side table to use. The neighbours' gorgeous little fuzzball, Harley, comes to visit regularly - she must love the adrenaline rush of Ben chasing her & shrieking. Ben loves her, that's for sure & I am sometimes able to distract Ben long enough for Harley to duck through the pet door for a how-do-you-do.

3. Yesterday on the radio I heard the old Lady Marmalade song & it made me smile. Moulin Rouge will always make me think of my wedding. I suppose I should call it "our" wedding but poor Marcel had no hand in the planning of that pink explosion so whatever. Anyhoo, I entered the ceremony to a lovely piano arrangement of "Come What May." And instead of walking down the aisle, I was hoisted down on a trapeze because it was the best way to highlight my crystal-studded leotard & plumage but that's another blog all together. Well, I really did come down the stairs to Come What May, which was lovingly arranged from the crappy sheet music by a pianist named Gunther who my mom found at her favorite Nashville antique store. It was magical because when I told him during our first conversation about my idea of the Moulin Rouge song, he thrilled my soul by sharing that he used to play piano in the lobby at The Plaza in New York for years. The lovely Jackie O used to come in regularly & she always, always, always stopped to talk to Gunther & always, always, always requested a song from the original Moulin Rouge. I wonder if Mrs. Onassis also did a rendition of Lady Marmalade in the middle of her own wedding ceremony - probably not, because she wouldn't have known the modern version so she couldn't do all 4 parts like me. *sigh* I wish I had the nerve to pull out my Little Kim rap skills during my wedding. Ah well, there's always next time. Ha!

Okay, now on to the complaining. We are fast giving up on Ben ever sleeping well - we're up to about 5 or 6 wake ups a night! His molars are still fighting their way through but we're not dumb enough to realize that he is also just getting comfy having night feeds whenever he wants them again. So now we're going to crack down on sleep training again but it might be a disaster with his tooth situation but it's been weeks & I am just barely functioning with the lack of sleep.

I took him to a doctor yesterday just to make sure there was nothing else that could be bothering him at night. No infections, nothing else that she could see. But she also couldn't see any teething coming in so I just wanted to slam my head against the wall. I am not one of those people who hate doctors - I was raised around hospitals, I'm quite comfortable with them. But I have had enough bad experiences of doctors who aren't helpful that I get annoyed - when this lady said "Well, I don't see any teeth coming in," I didn't argue or push anything, I just tuned out. I have no medical training but I can see the damn teeth & I can feel them. Anyway, he is apparently low on Iron so now I have to stuff him with meat & other iron rich foods & vitamin C stuff so it can absorb better. Don't want an anemic boy on top of everything else! So basically, no help with teething or sleeping & she depressed me more because I'm still not getting enough food into my son (never mind that he's doing leaps & bounds better than before). I cried for a good couple of hours when I got home because I felt useless, alone, all of those things that every mother goes through. I'm much better today & we're just trying to figure out how we're going to handle the sleep shit so we can function properly. Marcel took most of the waking up duty last night so Ben would get the hint that he can't always have milk but I started back up at 4.30am for the last 2 wake ups so Marcel could get a bit of sleep before he had to go to work. Such a bloody disaster - I would love to have one day where I feel like a good mama!

And all of this stress has brought back my old friend IBS. I'll save you the details but the mad dashes to the ladies room just add an extra little sparkle to my day. But luckily, I'm getting my hair done tomorrow, which I am living for at this point! A couple hours of reading trashy magazines & being pampered ... thank you Jebus.

08 July 2010

blah blah blah

Just to add insult to injury, Ben has decided that the sleepless nights are not enough for us & has given up on his naps this week as well. This mama is drawing near to another meltdown! I am desperately trying to accomplish things today but so far all I've managed is to wash the sheets, clean half the bathroom & make Ben a little afraid of me because I keep snapping at him & shutting him out of rooms. At the moment I am on the couch, he is literally hanging on to my foot saying "gahhhhh" over & over. I know he's so tired but it's 4pm so a nap is way out of the question now because if he goes down now we'll never get him to sleep tonight. And I can't give up any of the few hours of sleep we manage to get at night. Silly boy is lucky he's so darn cute (you should see when he tries to copy me jumping & bouncing - hilarious) or he'd be out on the curb! Ha.

So basically the house is filthy, we have no groceries, Ben is super clingy, it will NOT stop bloody raining so there's no playing outside & running errands is miserable because of the rain & the clingy tired child. It's sad when the best part of the week is a dirty dream I had.

I think I am going to have to give up my researching job already! I've managed to do about an hour's worth of work in 4 days & that's not going to help them very much. I was counting on working during Ben's naps & after he goes to bed but all that is shot to Hades. And I really don't want to just set him up in front of the TV to distract him too much & he isn't playing by himself like he usually does from time to time. And I know what you're thinking, how do I have time to write these whiny blogs & not time to do useful things? I'll tell you how - these bloody pieces of crap take about an hour to write because I'm stopping every 30 seconds to pick something up, tell Benny to put something down, take something out of the washer & try to find the stupid remote control to turn down this squealing kid's show.

Okay, enough complaining. Off to clean the kitchen, finish the bathroom, dust the den & seriously have to find the remote control before we go deaf or delirious from Roary the Racing Car. Happy Thursday.

04 July 2010

1. Stop blogging 2. Clean up raisins 3. ...

I have a major issue. Why didn't anyone tell me that Spanx had a MATERNITY LINE!?!? If you are pregnant or ever plan to be, please see the following:
I am adding a bookmark just in case 5 years from now I decide to go down that crazy road again.

Now that that's off my chest, on to more important things. Our anniversary in Sydney was gorgeous! We had such a nice relaxing time - Ben was well-behaved enough that I can block out the bad parts. He didn't sleep well in the hotel's cot so I dragged his butt in to bed with us when he wouldn't go back to sleep. All's well that ends well, eh? We meandered around Darling Harbour a lot, people watching & taking it nice & slooow because Ben was walking a lot. We ate at Pancakes at the Rocks, which has a Darling Harbour location that we always forget about. And I forced a new tradition on us - buying lunch for a random couple in the restaurant. That happened to me once when I was really young, asked for the check & was told someone had taken care of it already & it made my day so I thought now that we're the old folks it would be awesome to pass that on. There was a young couple at the table next to us & they were adorable & they probably got a few raisins lodged in their direction from Ben so we picked up their tab. Totally confused the poor cashier but it still felt nice.

Speaking of raisins, I have a feeling the rug is about to be full of them because Ben is ripping a box apart as we speak. Why do I let him hold the box? I like when he shakes things - makes me think he'll play the maracas or the tambourine like Davey Jones. My own little mop top.

While we're waiting for him to bust out the Monkees tunes, we'll make due with his growing collection of animal noises. (yep, there go the raisins - he's shovelling them in his mouth by the fistful but I'll still be cleaning them up from underneath furniture for days) If you point to a picture of a snake or say "What does a snake say?" he'll say "ssssssss" & my little heart grows two sizes. He also grrrrrrs for a lion & mmmmmm's for cows very timidly. And have I already told you he's an avid high-fiver? That would be slightly more impressive if this were 1987 but we aren't cool people so you can't expect much. His first words will probably be "Gimme some skin!" or "I know you are but what am I?" I remember my darling little cousin Sara (who turned 21 today & left for Montreal for 6 weeks of French excitement) could say "Can't touch this" at a very young age, which was AWESOME at the time. We have to teach Ben something really current that won't age well so we can tease him mercilessly with it when he's older.

So I'm reading the book for my big book review & it's heavy stuff, people. Not the fast-paced crime thrillers I usually devour - it's an historical novel based on a scientist fellow but so far I'm still plodding through the backstory of his parents in Sweden or Switzerland or somewhere cold. It's okay so far but I'm hoping it picks up a little or I'm going to have a tough time of this one! Also just getting going on my research stuff for the media centre & need to go back with a million questions about what exactly they want but I'm excited to get my toes back into some actual work. Now if only a certain little person would let me get this work done. He refused his nap this morning so I'm kinda screwed unless he'll let me put him down for an afternoon one. I think he somehow knows when I want to actually be productive & he just puts his tiny foot down & makes sure that I can only concentrate on him, like now as he's ripping our community newsletter to pieces! I love the monthly newsletter - how else am I going to know who's speaking at the neighborhood watch meeting (I'm going to the next one) or what special The Bleach Hut has on cuts & colour??? He has the makings of an evil genius if the whole maracas/tambourine career falls through.

Okay, now that I'm putting in writing how much stuff I actually need to get done I feel a little panicky so I should go make a to-do list & get my A into G. Oh! Before I go, I have to put a plug in for the movie An Education. Let's ignore the fact that it's at least a year old - we finally got it on DVD & I looooooved it!!! Yes, I tend to love every movie I actually manage to watch but I like to think it's because I can only bother to stay awake for the best of the best, not because I'm desperate & would think anything is award-worthy. Anyway, it's a fantastic movie. Well acted all around, great story & you'll know how it has to end but you'll still find yourself swept away in the romance & the excitement & the style!

Sounds like Ben is playing in his room so now I'm really off to make sure he's not building a bomb or something then maybe I can actually do a bit of work or cleaning or organizing or laundry or putting some makeup on this poor haggard face! Hope you had a beautiful Independence Day if you're in the good old USofA!

01 July 2010

Thursday, I don't care about you

Motherhood victories are short-lived, aren't they? Ben just figured out how to open the tiny little box of raisins he's been toting around all day. I cheered for him then realized the true implications as he shook them for all he's worth & a raisin volcano erupted. The joy on his face as he picks them up & eats them off the floor is probably worth it in the end. What's that? You're a judge for Mother of the Year? And you think I've just skipped to the front of the line for letting my son pick up his own darn spilled snack & eat it off the floor? I thank you.

So yes, I had my little meltdown the other day. Wasn't feeling so hot & still am a bit of a mess but on the upward slope! Marcel even stayed home from work yesterday to help me out because I was feeling rough. I think he was afraid of coming home to find a Lord of the Flies situation if he dared venture out of the house without us. Ahhh well, the joys of parenthood.

Hey - funny thing happened. You know how you are always telling me that you like my writing & I should write something? (if you haven't told me this, stop laughing) I'm going to! I follow our local Central Coast newspaper on Facebook & they advertised needing a volunteer to read a book & write a book review. Hmmm ... who likes a free book? Who likes giving her opinion? Who likes word counts & deadlines? ME! In my mind, thousands of people must have answered their request but they singled me out as the wittiest, wisest & most level-headed response. In all actuality, I'm probably the only one who jumped at a chance to do a glorified school assignment in exchange for a free book. And you'll be the first to know if after reading my glorious book review, they decide that they simply must hire this beautiful mind for my own column like a Kariong Carrie Bradshaw! Or I'll need your shoulder to cry on when I go waaay over the top in my review (so many similes! so many adjectives! so many exclamation points!) & they can't publish it.

I am also going to do some research for the media centre where Marcel works. I figure if I can read several chapters of Jane Austen in the wee hours of the morning while rocking a stubborn toddler, I can research whatever they're doing a show about. May as well earn some money from my sleep deprivation.

So, Pride & Prejudice. Liked it quite a bit but it took me about 25 chapters to get into it. Obviously knew where it was going because every romantic story on earth follows its pattern. I can see why it's a classic because even though I usually have no interest in the old frilly dress times (that's the official term, yeah?) or those historical romance stories, good ole Elizabeth Bennett felt perfectly modern. Every now & then I found myself thinking, "Why do they have to write like this???" then I remembered that's how they actually spoke at the time, Ms. Austen wasn't just putting it on.

Anyhoo, the particular issue I have with the story is why on earth everyone got their panties in a twist over Colin Firth playing Mr. Darcy in the film version? Do not get me wrong, I adore Colin Firth - his storyline in Love Actually might have been my favorite in that film. I will spare you my gut-wrenching analysis of Love Actually but let's just say it was nothing like the fluffy film I expected & I love it! Back to Pride & Prejudice, I picture Wentworth Miller as Mr. Darcy or even Daniel Craig - someone dark & devilishly handsome. I actually probably picture Wentworth Miller or Daniel Craig in any romantic character I read but that's another story.

Okay, Ben & I actually managed to do a full hour's walk today & I'm tired. Still have to fold 2 loads of laundry, dry a 3rd & clean the raisin explosion off the floor before child services comes for me. Oh, I also have to pack for a night away! Tomorrow is Marcel & my 5th wedding anniversary & we're spending the night away at Star City, the casino in Sydney. Nothing like a romantic gambling night away ... with a 1 year old. Hopefully will be fun, even without the romance & with us having to take turns with the slot machines.

And in closing, I ask you to go check out the brand new video/single from Cure for Caska, featuring Matthew Hayes as the frontman. He was one of my best friends in high school & I have become friends with his gorgeous wife on Facebook with their beautiful daughter, Penny. Here you go, enjoy!!