31 May 2011

Ding, ding, ding!!

Oh my word, people - I'm officially on a winning streak! Remember how I went to that mother seminar thing at the mall near here? Loved it & ended up donating money to enter the raffle. Just got a call this afternoon that I won one of the prizes! And bonus, bonus, bonus that I just happened to win an autographed copy of Julie Goodwin's cookbook!

For some odd reason, I've put off buying this book even though I am obsessed with MasterChef & adore her. Remember she was the special guest at my citizenship swearing-in ceremony? At the time I thought it would have been nice to have brought a copy of her book to get it signed. Looking back, that would have been weird. Anyway, it's moot because I didn't have the cookbook & now I've won a signed copy so all's well that ends well. And I'M A WINNER - woo hoo!

Does anyone else think of Joey Tribiani when you hear the word "moot," by the way? Do you remember that episode where he says something was a "moo point" & when they ask him what he means he says it's like a cow's opinion so it doesn't matter. And oddly it made perfect sense. 

30 May 2011

Monday madness

I have a new obsession. Just a warning, it's a pathetic one. Because I know I'm having a c-section this time around I've decided it would be wise to actually plan for it so now I find myself googling & scouring Amazon reviews for belly binders & other abdominal support items. I realize that these aren't just for c-sections but it sounds like the support would be fantastic & the compression helps keep some of the pain at bay. Bonus points that they apparently help get your uterus & tummy back in place much more quickly. Can you tell I've been drinking the Kool-Aid? Anyway, if you have any advice on the matter please share because there are too many options for me to handle!

Still on a bit of a hormonal swing, unfortunately. I feel so sorry for Marcel & Ben putting up with grouchy me. After working all weekend, the Mister was supposed to take today off but that fell through & now the bloody F3 is closed down due to a huge accident (it's bucketing down rain so drive carefully, folks) so heaven only knows when I'll see him tonight. This does not help a grouchy, tired woman who has not had a break from her 2 year old in a good long while. Please don't take that the wrong way - I hope you realize how much I adore that child but I do think a few hours of "freedom" brings so much sanity back to a full-time mama. Is that selfish?

On the plus side we're getting a free movie this month due to the sad state of my movie-watching history. My best friend Dana & I have been emailing back & forth about baby names and I was considering swiping a name that her lovely daughter likes. It's from Gone with the Wind - sorry I'm not being cagey, it's Rhett & I realized that I still have not watched that movie! How do I get to this age & having studied broadcast & worked in media with actors, etc. & have failed to watch such a classic. Anyway, I added it to our Bigpond movie list (like Netflix in America) but the picture that went with the movie on their site was for an Anthony Robbins self-help video, which terrified. Imagine getting that when you were expecting Gone with the Wind. So I reported it & they're sending me an extra movie this month for my eagle-eye. I'm super stoked because I have been desperate to get my hands on Sesame Street's Get Up & Dance for Ben because my niece (hello Alexis!) adored it when she was teeny tiny. Lordy, that was a long story to share my excitement for a Sesame Street DVD.

Speaking of kids TV, have I mentioned that next weekend we will be going to enjoy one of Ben's 2nd birthday presents. We are going to see Yo Gabba Gabba LIVE at the Sydney Opera House!!!! Classy, right? It's part of the gorgeous Vivid Festival in Sydney & I am so excited. I've never actually stepped foot inside the Opera House after walking around it nearly a gazillion times so it's extra special to be going there for a family event. And who wouldn't want to see DJ Lance live? Can't wait to see what bands they'll get in Sydney & if there are any other special guests. Let's be honest, I'm just hoping to sing "There's a party in my tummy ... yummy yummy in my tummy" with a crowd. And I hope Ben l-o-v-e-s it - he should with a crowd of kiddies & general madness.

We shall see!

27 May 2011

& may your dreams be realized

Happy Friday, folks. Well it's Friday over here & it's almost over. Marcel & Ben went out for a bit of boy time bonding because Marcel will be working most of the weekend. I guess that means I'll be working most of the weekend, too. Because being a mom is my job so if he's not around, I'm still on duty. I guess you understood that.

I've been feeling pretty darn good lately. Still pretty much am - those lovely ligaments in my groin area are apparently taking a nice long stretch so I've been doing a bit of waddling yesterday & today but I can deal with that. I'm also exceptionally tired today, which could be because my devil son fought his nap like a gladiator - two hours of playing, whining, throwing things & he even climbed out of the bed once (that reads like a gladiator's daily journal, doesn't it?). I think he climbed out by accident for the record. I heard a bit of a kerfuffle but just assumed he had thrown his water bottle onto his plastic chair again. He kept saying his little "Oh no, oh no" so I was just scraping myself off the couch to check on him when I heard a distinctive pitter patter on the floor. A few seconds later, sure enough my little Prince of Shenanigans came around the corner still muttering "oh no." Such a funny chap. When Marcel got home, I realized any more resistance was futile because he gets too excited when he hears his Dada.

Anyway, the whole point of that story was that I'm tired & was counting on his nap for my own nap but it didn't happen so I just read a book online thanks to my darling parents letting me tap into their kindle account to read what they're already downloaded. So once Ben was up & being entertained by his father, I just gave in & read to my heart's content. I should have napped because it's now 5.09pm & I can barely keep my eyes open.

My stories get more exciting every day, don't they? You need to remind yourself that you're reading the blog of someone who has no life. If I suddenly have an exciting story to tell you, chances are high that I just made the story up. Hasn't happened yet but I make no promises to the accuracy of what is contained within these pages or screen or whatever you call the innards of a blog.

So have yourself a merry little weekend. With Marcel away, Ben & I will probably do nothing too wild or exciting unless I get my energy back. We do have a birthday party in the plans for Sunday, which will be fun. Ben has already destroyed the birthday card so I have to find a better hiding place for the present lest he get his grubby mitts on it too.

Hey, here's a really late question. Did any of you happen to notice I changed the name of the blog? I did it a gazillion weeks ago as a hidden clue that I was pregnant again but then I totally forgot about it too. Just added an "s" at the end so I'm begetting penguins now, not just one. I know my mother in law noticed but luckily we had already informed her of her latest impending grandpenguin because that would be a terrible way to find out. And the lovely Katia also noticed but she's a dentist so obviously a very smart cookie.

So okay, I'm off to clean my kitchen & to make some snickerdoodle muffins. Yes, that's right. I'll let you know if they turn out reasonably well after I've had a long, wonderful night of sleeeeeep.

25 May 2011

Oh ladies

I am going to save you the annoyance of my lecture that starts "How are girls expected to be okay with themselves ..." & eventually veers off into confessions about all the crazy-ass push-up bras I owned as young'un (water bra, anyone?) & dying my hair since I was 13 so completely invalidating my whole speech. I will also skip my apologies for picking on Beyonce & Oprah as they are beautiful & have done wonders for women in the world & let's be honest, if I could be someone for a day I would have a hard time deciding between the two. No, I will pass on all of that & just ask one question.

If we girls can run the world


Ears looking at you, kid.

photo from eonline.com
Oh my word, isn't this just what we've been waiting for? The heavyweight fashionista faces of the world combining forces in one room like a hurricane of sophisticated femininity & awesome hair. Obviously, heavyweight is a debatable word to use as they're both slim, perfect lovelies. I think if I was the dude in the tux in the background, I'd be squealing to myself just loud enough that when someone walked by he/she would hear me and would think the palace was nice to hire someone with such questionable mental stability. Everyone would win.

Hey, I'm 21 weeks pregnant now & Fonzarelli is the size of a banana. Last week was a cantaloupe so I guess we're just looking at length or I'm going to be worried about the boy's chub fluctuation. He can hear us now so he'll be tuned in to the 700 books I read Ben every day & will also be very familiar with "No, nooooo, NO! Ben, STOP!" & other such trickles of his mother's day to day wisdom. I do read a lot to Benny boy now that he's suddenly become obsessed with books, which thrills my little soul & I'm making a bit effort to sing to him a lot more so Fonzarelli can get that benefit too. That's right, I just called hearing my own singing a benefit. Humble folk we are here.

And yes, we're pretty darn close to just calling it a day & seriously naming the child Fonzarelli because every naming session we have ends up in appalling conversations like this:

Marcel: He doesn't HAVE to have a U2 name you realize.
Ashley: It's just his middle name & it's the only name we agree on for goodness sake.
M: Well, I don't know about that.
A: Wait, this is coming from the guy who wants to name him after a Star Wars location??
M: It was a joke.
A: No, it wasn't.
M: Welll, it's a cool name!
A: So is Blah!
M: Why would we name our child after a Grand Ole Opry star we don't care about???
A: YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT BLAH???? Who are you?

So on & so forth. At some point in time Marcel points out that the kid doesn't have to have a middle name because he doesn't have one & I blow up like he's just proposed we post an online sex tape or something equally not-going-to-happen-esque. And at some point I say "Would it be terrible to call him Edge?" & Marcel will suggest about 58 hillllllarrrrrious (sarcasm alert) names he just made up on the spot like Cabradon or Broncanus (actually that might be from a movie) & I'll roll my eyes & tell him that I've chosen the middle name so the first name is up to him. He haaaates when I make this move but it usually brings him back to serious names at least.

I realize if we come up with a name now, chances are we'll be sick of it in the next few months so this is probably a bad idea. On the other hand, my ingenious (wow, I apparently didn't know how to spell "ingenious" - that's a slap in the face) solution is to have said name embroidered on something so we can't change it. Isn't that the Golden Rule? Once it is embroidered, it is permanent. Maybe it was in the Bible somewhere? Whatever, it's good.

Oh, I returned to Borders one last time this morning. Everything is now 80% off people - there is no reason to stay away. I got two more notebooks & some other little knick knacky crap for Fonzarelli's future nursery corner. Can I just make something clear to you guys? If you have a birthday, wedding, baby shower, any celebration of any kind coming up, please be aware that you will be getting notebooks from the Eisele family. I apologize in advance but it's going to happen. Do you realize in these weeks of me roaming the Borders closing sales, I have not bought one book? How sad is that? No, maybe I bought a few kids books.

Also, I hit a new low in the pregnancy side effect department. I may have cried just a little to a song playing in Target. It was Landslide. Yeah, that's a beautiful perfect song but this was the Glee version. I tried to block it out, tried to make fun of it but even those overeager kids or Gwyneth Paltrow couldn't butcher it & my hormones got the best of me in the book department (didn't buy any books there either). When I finally got ahold of my tears, I replaced them with the only worse option available ... I sang along. I hope Fonzarelli managed to block all that drama out of his new, delicate little world of hearing.

24 May 2011


We grabbed this quick snapshot months ago (Ilse, you were here!) & I can't remember which Central Coast beach it was at but this house made my day. As gorgeous as most of the beach houses are around here, you only have two options.

The first is the adorable tiny cottage that was once a rundown fishing shack & now is a precious carefully redone jewel box of loveliness. Chances are a blogger lives inside, who has detailed every moment of said refurbishing & chances are half the furniture was found by the side of the road & rescued with a couple coats of paint.

Option two is the gorgeous slick ultra modern monstrosity that I still think are beautiful but lack anything resembling personality, except for those peeks of modern art you can sometimes catch through a window as you cruise by. They are all in the white, brown, beige color range so as to blend in to the nature blah blah blah as if a gazillion dollar home is ever not intended to stand out & get attention.
Nothing wrong with that at all by the way.

So anyway, to whoever built this particular monstrosity I salute you for your Cape Cod style (sorry if it's not a Cape Cod style, it's early) & I want to hug your rich ass bones for choosing such a gorgeous bold Caribbean blue!!! You made even this terrible grey day so much brighter. I hope your neighbors don't hate you for your impeccable taste & please invite me in if you ever catch me standing at your curb staring like a lost puppy - I'm dying to see what's going on inside that place.

sweet & sour indeed

Okay, no celebrity relationship essays today, I promise. I think I have had enough of analyzing strangers' love lives for a few days at least ... unless you have something juicy to share. Anyway, today has been pretty darn good. At the last minute before leaving for play group, dragging my feet because we were late already & I wasn't in the mood for polite chit chat & chasing The Wanderer, I got a text message to see if I wanted to come to a friend's house for a visit with her toddler & newborn. YES! So nice to have someone share & maybe bitch with a bit while the kids play & fight & make a mess.

It is quite eye-opening to see how Ben reacts with little babies. He pretty much ignored him while his mom was holding him but the second I had the little bundle of cuddly heaven in my arms, Ben was on it like white on rice! It's like he could not physically resist reaching for the baby. Very soft touches, thankfully but he wanted to touch his nose & hands & stroke his hair. Very strange but quite beautiful.

The lovely world of Benjamin is growing everyday. He is definitely saying a lot more words, not that you would understand most of them but Marcel & I doing an okay job of deciphering. Today he learned "tractor" while being out on the friends' property. He LOVED the tractor. I think my favorite words of his are "moon" & "star." I don't really know how he picked those up because we never really put any effort into pointing that sort of stuff out to him, though I'm sure we've mentioned them. But now if we're outside at night he'll point out the stars & the moon (even if it's not technically visible). Something about it just makes me feel very warm like he's recognizing his place in the world but that's probably the crazy in me talking.

Speaking of my crazy, I have been in a foul mood this week for absolutely no reason. I am feeling fantastic physically, almost like I'm not pregnant at all except for all the wriggling in my tummy & that constant little shadow of tiredness. It dawned on me in my 4am reflection this morning (I'll get to that shortly) that duh, it's probably just a new wave of hormones. I tend to forget that even when things are going very well in pregnancy there are still crap side effects like turning into a sociopath around the people you love most. Marcel & I weren't speaking to each other by the end of the night after many exchanges like this:

M: Hey, puffy hair!
A: WHAT THE HELL?? You know I can't handle insults like that right now.
M: Ummm, I was kidding. Why are you in such a bad mood?
A:  I AM NOT IN A BAD MOOD!! And when people are in bad moods they really don't want someone constantly asking why.
M: You sound like you're in a bad mood.
A: Well, NOW I'm in a bad mood.

I'm not proud but I have very little control over some of the pregnancy nuttiness. Another example would be the fact that I've been craving sweet & sour chicken for a few days. Not sure where this came from but I was doing an okay job of ignoring it. Then bloody Masterchef last night had the stupid contestants cook sweet & sour pork. WHAT? WHY? They kept talking about how old fashioned & 80s it was blah blah blah so why on earth would they choose it?? I'll tell you why. To kill me. I woke up with Ben a couple of times last night - he was just whiny & restless in his sleep & after two years I still am not able to ignore it so I checked on him. After the second time, I couldn't get back to sleep around 3.30am so I ended staying awake almost 2 hours. What do you think I thought about for 2 hours? Sweet & sour chicken. I may as well break down my inner monologue for you:

A: I wish they hadn't cooked sweet & sour anything on Masterchef.
A: I have no choice but to get some tomorrow.
A: I don't think I've had it anywhere around here. Well, that one place at Erina has it but they don't use the battered chicken. That's probably healthier.
A: ACK! I don't want healthier. I want battered chicken in my sweet & sour chicken.
A: I'm going to throw up if I have Chinese food. I know this. I shouldn't do it.
A: Seriously, I have to have it.
A: Seriously, it will make me throw up. I always get ridiculously ill when I have Chinese food. Except that one place in Mt. Juliet with the delicious sesame chicken.
A: Maybe I should make my own. How painful could that be? Must google recipes in the morning. OH! What about sesame chicken?? Even better.

TWO HOURS of this train of thought was just over the top. I did some research online this morning & couldn't find many Chinese menus online to check whether restaurants used battered chicken or not. I stopped myself before resorting to calling around. Painfully long story short, I made myself some chicken fried rice & this weekend will break down & make myself some sweet & sour chicken. Or sesame chicken. I hope I sleep well tonight. And dear Lord in Heaven, please make those bozos on Masterchef (they're not bozos, they are delightful chefs) cook something finicky, fussy & not capable of making me crave it. Pleeeease.

23 May 2011

I can't believe I wrote this much about a stranger's love life

Today has been one running example of why I am bound to scoop all nominations for Mother of the Year this year. First, I actually let us run out of diapers ... completely. That's right, I'm very good. So off we went to the mall to get some. Managed to sink another $25 at Borders, which better close its freaking doors already so I stop buying little cute notebooks (3 more today)(but everything is 70% off so it would be a crime to not buy them) & other crap. Loaded up on the essentials at Big W & headed back home. Ben fell asleep in the car & as usual I did not manage to get him into bed without waking him up. I think I have managed this feat maybe twice in his two years on this planet - either he is too sensitive to the noises & bumps of being moved or I am a disaster.

So I decided to be nice & get him a bottle of milk instead of water for him to settle himself back down to sleep. Usually this takes a bloody long time so I settled in for a wait. My mom called, we chatted, I emailed a friend, all while Ben was hootin' & hollerin' (these are good things). Finally I give in to go check on him, give him the old shush, etc. Goodness gracious, the boy had puked his fool head off all over his crib. First of all, when did this happen? I never heard anything but good times going on in there! So his bedding went to the washing machine, he went to the bath, cleansing is all around. I am currently posting from my guilty mother perch beside the bathtub where he still seems like the happiest toddler around so I'm not sure if he just laughed so hard he puked (it could happen) or if I should actually worry. These are thoughts that only the best mothers have, by the way.

And we're back! Ben is now clean, bundled up in comfy clothes & playing like a champion in his room. Yes, I gave up on the nap & am concentrating on cleaning his pukey sheets so that I can wash my own sheets that were waiting patiently for their turn with the spin cycle. I don't know why I tell you about my cleaning woes - it's never exciting.

Hey, are you ready to feel old? No? Welllll, are you ready to read about me feeling old? That's more like it! So guess who this lovely lady is ... seriously guess. You'll never guess.
photo from people.com
No guesses? I don't actually expect you to recognize her since I sure didn't but this is Bono's daughter, Eve Hewson. Bono has a 19 year old daughter, people. And she isn't even his oldest! Eve's real first name is Memphis, which is the name we wanted if we were to have a girl. I saw young Memphis Eve & her older sister Jordan, along with their mama (Bono's wife of 28 years, Ali)(28 years. I had no idea what I was up against as a lovestruck teenager) when we stayed at the same hotel. Where was that? Memphis. I was 17 at the time & I'm garble garble garble now so that was 14 years ago. Memphis Eve was 5. Now she's 19 & walking the red carpet at Cannes for a movie she's in with Sean Penn. I am old.

I am also not in a movie with Sean Penn for the record.

What else? Oh yes, I've gone & dyed my hair again. Yes, I did just get it done professionally a few weeks ago but the color had already faded so much. To be fair, the stylist & I did decide together to do a semi-permanent color just in case I decided I hated the red but it's faded super fast. Granted, pregnancy does bizarro things to hair coloring as well so I am trying my best not to blame anyone. But I paid a freaking fortune for my cut & color this time. No, really, a FORTUNE. I have no problem paying a pretty penny to get my hair done but this was officially the most I have EVER paid for hair doing, plus $60 worth of fancy awesome smelling products. So basically I can't afford to ever go back & I'm a tad bitter that I paid so much for something that didn't last long & the cut wasn't awesome but only because I had just gotten the old Rachel cut a few weeks before that & you can't combat the Rachel - you just have to let those layers grow out. Ugh. My bangs/fringe are also in desperate need of trimming. I like them long so I have to get them trimmed often. I'm tempted to do them myself as well but that's not a good idea, is it? Seriously, I can afford the $10 for a fringe trim so I'm just going to get rid of that crazy idea.

Anyway, back to my own color. It looks good but again, it's not permanent. I'm okay with non-permanent color when it costs $14 at the grocery store & it looks damn good if I say so myself. Now that I have solid color I am okay with handling my own color & the bonus is it makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something. I am all about accomplishing such things while I'm in my early nesting stages! I can't remember the brand of color I used but I distinctly remember the shade because it was obviously specifically made for us indecisive Libras who keep thinking, "hmmmm, maybe brown? maybe red? but I like the glow of blonde." So I settled on Golden Mahogany Brown. Once I got it home, I noticed the glowing recommendation that it was also the choice of Bar Rafaeli. So exciting that I now have hair color that has been approved by someone who was just dumped by Leonardo DiCaprio. Is there any greater honor to have upon my head?

Ya know, while we're on the subject I'm just going to keep going about Leo. I get that he loves the long-legged, buxom blondes (wait, did Bar even ever have red hair? Why did she like my Golden Mahogany Brown if she's never had such a color?) & I'm even willing to forget the fact that he spent years with my arch-nemesis. He has a type.

So while She Who Shall Not be Named may not be my favorite person, at least she is a super model & quite literally the top of her profession. She also has good taste in boy's names but that's about enough of the compliments here. The point is they are both giants of their industries & top talents so suit each other.

And Bar Rafaeli is an Israeli swimsuit model, which I'm pretty sure is code for "elite assassin." I have nothing to base that on but really her name is too awesome. Also, she obviously enjoys popcorn as seen above so I might invite her to join Ava Jackman & myself in our Club of Fun Ladies (we're working on the name). Need reminder of Ava, by the way? 

I love her.

Anyway, back to Leonardo. Last I hear from my top secret sources (aka the internet), now that he's single he's flirting around with Blake Lively from Gossip Girl. Ugh, Leo, U-G-H. Nothing against Blake - she's got the bosoms, the legs, the hair but she's not the top of her game like Gisele & there is slim to no chance she's a covert elite assassin like Bar so I'm thinking that Leo can do better. Nay, he must do better. We deserve better from you, Mr. DiCaprio! 

I get that he wants to play coy & not just give the world what it wants by getting together with Kate Winslet now that she's single as well but I think he needs to be aiming for an Oscar nominee at least if he's dating actresses now. Again no offense to the lovely Blake but being scooped up by Karl Lagerfeld to be the face of Chanel has not made you A-List so stop tainting the most A of the A-List bachelors. And while I'm at it, who at the Academy should I be abusing for not giving the man his own Oscar by now?

Anyway, I am working on who Leo should be dating but it's difficult. If something were to happen to Brad & Angelina, I could see him with her. On the other hand, I don't see him jumping on board with six children but he needs someone up there. I'll keep thinking on this issue & get back to you.

After re-reading this, I am bookmarking this blog so that when I decide to go back to work one day & people start asking why I can direct them here. I need to find better ways to use my brain, I'm afraid. Also, after watching Salt this weekend Angelina needs to eat a cheeseburger or fifteen. I also want to slap whoever made her wigs for that film. I could have done a better job with my $14 box of indecisive hair dye.

So there. You enjoy the rest of your day & if you have any tips for who Leo should be dating, please let me know so I can sleep soundly again & stop the constant worry. Is Sandra Bullock to old for him? Nah, that wouldn't work. So much thinking to do, so much.

19 May 2011

Sweet, sweet fantasy

So Ben's birthday yesterday was muy fabuloso & he seemed to have a wonderful time opening his gifts & gorging on cupcakes. He's such a grown-up now! Ah well, my handsome little man. Luckily, we've got number two on the way to give us some more baby time so we don't have time to get too maudlin.

Today has been an adventure all its own. It's been a fun one - maybe we're still hyped up on sugar but Ben has been on his rip-roaringest behavior & the whole house looks like a disaster zone. We've had a blast & I even managed to purge my closet of clothes that shan't fit me for many moons while Ben unmade my bed, filled it full of hangers & upturned my clean laundry.

I have a headache now & I've made the mistake of starting to fantasize. Get your head out of the gutter, fools! I'm a married, pregnant mother - I have no need to let my mind wander to dirty thoughts of handsome gentlemen (pssssst, Brad Pitt! If you re-grow that little sketchy mustache that I love so much, please let me know). No, no my fantasies these days run along the lines of a quiet day in a squeaky clean house, running errands un-burdened by a bundle of adorable energy. Don't worry, this isn't a sign of me wanting to ditch my own life or anything - just some healthy stretching of my brain.

Come along & see what Ashley's fantasy day would look like ....

Photo from http://www.locountry.com/downtown_houses/king+street+21.html
The day would involve a lot of relaxing on one of my many porches with a glass of sweet tea & a great mystery book to read. I don't know why my fantasy life always involves cities like Charleston, Savannah & New Orleans - I just adore the architecture, the over the top yet homey decor and the Southern hospitality. Ah yes, I can eradicate the humidity since it's my fantasy!

And let's talk about food. I can't put a picture of food up here because I don't know what fantasy me wants. At the moment, I'm craving my mom's Heavenly casserole, which is veggie chicken & rice & all those wondrous Adventist ingredients that my body is desperately craving. I don't have a picture of that. If you had asked me earlier today, I would have wanted the hummus that Ilse described for me & before that, sadly, it would have been tater tots after reading a report about schools banning the blessed tots from their cafeterias.
But hey, did I mention more sweet tea?
photo from http://leitesculinaria.com/45742/recipes-sweet-tea.html
What else? Oh yes, my adorable pregnant self needs something to wear ...
photo from people.com

Why yes, Selma Blair, I will take one of everything you're wearing. I'm sure I can squeeze into your size 0 maternity clothes. Hmmmm ... it's obviously a bit chilly in my fantasy land but that seems accurate. I love the cooler weather.
photo from U2.com
What, did you think my fantasy wouldn't involve an evening in the company of some of my favorite gentlemen? I would cap off my lovely day of relaxation with a night dancing like a crazy lady at a U2 concert where I have a perfect view with no giants in front of me. Maybe, just maybe I would finally get pulled up on stage to dance with Bono. Is that too far for a grown woman's fantasy?

Ahhhhhh, it feels so good to get away for a few minutes to dream of a more relaxed, more elegant life full of food that I don't have to make & a house that I don't have to clean & amazing clothes that I didn't have to buy or wash. But you know I would never trade my messy house of boys for even a moment of my fantasy life. Doesn't have to stop me from dreaming ... just once in a while, right?

18 May 2011

My birthday boy

Today, our gorgeous son Ben turns two years old! I can't get my feeble brain to comprehend it.
He has delighted us, challenged us and stretched our hearts every single day.
I can't wait to see what life has in store for him & us this year.
I also can't wait to eat his birthday cupcakes.

16 May 2011

boring & gross in one fine entry

Hello, howdy & how are ya? I wrote the biggest, blahiest blog last week & apparently the blogger software went on the fritz about halfway through & I've been too lazy to write it all back up again so I have to get to that eventually. Nothing too exciting, mind you, but I had so much freaking energy that day that I felt the need to document it - I even took pictures of all the organizing I was doing for heaven's sake.

I am definitely in the easy, breezy, beautiful phase of this pregnancy so we had a full-on weekend of fun activities & yummy food & not stressing about housework or money or all the usual suspects that make us stay in & be boring. Now I am exhausted. But I still have that buzzy little feeling that is keeping me moving, which unfortunately means I'm in full-blown nesting mode already. I am only halfway through this pregnancy (I know, right?!) so I really have a long ways to go & I hope this need to clean, organize & get things set up lasts or I'll be in trouble at the end!

My washing machine currently has its 6th laundry load of the day going. I have at least one more to go, could possibly be two. My bathroom, which has been on the top of the list for 2 weeks suddenly jumped into dire emergency situation after a certain pregnant member of the household who doesn't deserve to be called out was up ridiculously sick half the night & there may have been some pukey splatters here, there & everywhere that she didn't scrub as well as she thought at 3.00am. Have swept & mopped & once the floor is dry, I shall be scrubbing sink, shower & tub, blah blah blah I guess you know what goes into cleaning a bathroom. If you don't, please let me know & I'll be happy to send you the full itemized list. And don't worry, I have been cleaning the bathroom regularly over the past two weeks but I've ignored sweeping & the deeeeep scrubbing so there is that lovely scum & a teeny tiny bit of mildew ... WHY AM I TELLING YOU THIS? I have the weirdest compulsion to not stop talking about boring/slightly disgusting embarrassing things that you don't want to know about me. Let's see - puke splatters, soap scum & mildew all in one paragraph. I do apologize.

Hey, do you want to know what else I did today? I made a collage. That's right, I dragged out my scissors, my glue stick, a stack of old books & magazines & made myself a dang collage pig. I will do a blog (probably tomorrow) in more detail about this new collage kick that I find myself getting into but the pre-schooler inside me is jumping up & down, high-fiving like the hyper child I never was. And I find myself oddly proud of myself for remembering that there is one thing that I am halfway decent at doing with my hands. We will ignore the huge numbers of kindergarteners out there giving me a run for my money, won't we?

Well, I imagine my bathroom floor is dry & my latest load of washing just finished so I'm off to the drying line & to scrub the heck out of the rest of my bathroom. Also should wake up my son from his late nap so he doesn't keep us up all night. Ahhhh, the glitz, the glamour! Hope you're doing something equally as fabulous, if not more so.

09 May 2011

Gackity gack

Oh, it's one of those days. I hate these days. I'm just starting to get sick - woke up feeling like death's door but it's slowly backed off a bit. Every morning has been getting steadily worse & it's going away more slowly each day so it's going to be a real cold eventually. Most annoying cold ever, might I add. I figure the more I build it up & talk about it, the less likely it is to actually be as bad as I'm expecting. My illnesses like to make a fool of me - if I think something will pass quickly, it swiftly knocks me on my backside & if I predict the flu of the century, I'm bound to sniffle for three days before moving on to greener pastures.

Ben has apparently worked up a list of all my least favorite things & is ticking them off one by one today - taking his pants/poopy diaper off when my back is turned (it's been ages since this particular joy reared its ugly head), not eating, throwing things, jumping on my head & as always, refusing to nap (still fighting this good fight as we speak). I can only imagine a bedtime disaster is in the cards for tonight at the rate we're going but thankfully my gorgeous husband will be around to help with that. Maybe he's starting to feel sick too but he's not acting that way. He's just acting like a turd & my own semi-sickliness is not handling it well.

Meanwhile his little unborn brother is being quite the charmer. While finally squeezing my sausagey behind into my maternity skinny jeans - the mere existence of maternity skinny jeans confirms for me that hell is a real possibility - Mr. Fonzarelli began quite the active squirmathon of his own. I imagine he'll be the kind son that says things like "Hey mom, it's okay - just go up a size. There's no shame. No one will know." Two points to Gryffindor. What? I'm allowed to mix my TV show characters with movie school houses when comparing my rotten misbehaving son with my angelic unborn son. It's my blog. And I had to go for my maternity skinny jeans because my normal skinny jeans with all their stretchy goodness got a lovely poop stain on them from SOMEONE who shall not be named & this shirt needs skinny jeans to balance it out.

Pregnancy is treating me uncharacteristically kindly these days. So many adverbs. I have to say I feel a lot better after finishing the round of antibiotics for the mysterious UTI so maybe they'll keep finding new little infections they can treat to make me feel even better so by the end of this pregnancy I'll be dancing on clouds!

The little bugger is getting more active all the time, which is very nice. I remember really missing that baby-moving sensation in my abdomen after I had Ben. Don't get me wrong - I much preferred to actually have him around, squirming around in person but it's the strangest, most wonderful little alien attack from the inside that's very hard to explain. I'm very eager for him to get to kicking so Marcel & Ben can join in the festivities but for now our little party for two is pretty awesome.

Hope you're having a super day in your happy place. xx

08 May 2011

Big Ole Belly

Ben's currently distracted by Playschool so I stole a few minutes to make my bed & take some pictures of myself ... for you, of course. I don't just sit around & take picture of myself all the time or anything. Nope, no, not me. Never.

As always, don't judge me. I never lost Ben's baby weight and this tummy has freaking POPPED already. Last time it didn't really show up like this until 6 months & I'm only just 5 months now. I am scared. It's going to be one legendary belly bump this go 'round, I'm afraid.

I don't recommend using Photo Booth to take pictures of yourself across the room.
Lots of dashing over the bed to hit the button then only having 3 seconds to pose.
There were no good faces made.

Well, unless you count this one where I knew it was too late to dive back to position.
I was going for serious. I think I landed somewhere between infectious with that unhealthy computer glow on my face & like I might crawl through the screen & steal your hair if it looks better than mine.
It does by the way.

07 May 2011

Movies, Seminars & freebies oh my!

Oh Lordy, have the hipsters really truly taken over the world? Apartment Therapy has always been a lovely little escape, one of the daily blogs I read (along with its sisters Ohdeedoh & thekitchn) but every day they have at least one article that makes me want to smack them upside their ironic heads. "Living in a Grain Silo," people. Maybe this will inspire someone along the way but dear almighty heavens above, I have had enough of the too cool for school folks with all their disposable income & their mid-century, vintage, arts & crafts homes & more gadgets than you shake a stick at. Put on some relaxed jeans & join society my friends.

Today the hipsters are obviously taking the beating that I usually reserve for lovely lady bloggers who are adding a coat of delicate aqua or white paint to a roadside find. I need a life of my own so I stop striking out at people whose lives I freely choose to look at online myself.

It's Saturday afternoon & I have to say so far this weekend has been tops. Last night I got to hit up Chicks at the Flicks to watch Water for Elephants with some lovely ladies. Fantastic movie - I loved the book & obviously a few things were changed to make it more suitable for the big screen but overall I was very happy. The animal cruelty scenes were quite confronting & upsetting, I'll warn you & please would someone cast the AMAZING Christoph Waltz in a romantic comedy or something that doesn't make me so darn terrified of him!!!

I'm not going to go into the Chicks for Flicks experience so much because my good friend Nicole will do it much more hilariously & because of certain technical issues, much hilarity ensued. But I had a fabulous time just getting out of the house & enjoying the company of a theater full of women. Snarky, snarky fabulous women!

Then this morning I actually attended a seminar for mothers at Erina Fair mall! I know how hokey that sounds & I actually expected it to be quite crap but thought I'd give it a try. Low & behold, I loved it - the speakers had great expertise & helped put a lot of things in perspective for me that I've needed recently. It was everything from establishing routines to cooking demonstrations & even easy flattering fashion for new moms & their new bodies. It really was an eye-opening morning & they had vendors on hand that - get this - were actually very relevant & helpful! I always expect vendors at anything aimed at moms to be hippy crafts & random crap that no one really cares about but they obviously did their due diligence on this one. People were on hand to discuss proper car seat installation & safety, family day care set-ups, sleep consultants, etc. And I can't thank them enough for providing neck & shoulder massages at our chairs as the talks were going on & LUSH handmade beauty products provided free hand & arm massages with free samples as well. There were also free cupcakes from my favorite sweet shop on earth (this will be bumped to 2nd favorite when Poor Pierre reopens its doors), The Sweetest Things.

So yes, if you see Erina advertising another seminar for us mothers, I fully expect you to sign up! Hey, it's free & they even had free child care for kids over two so you have no reason not to go. Did I mention free coffee & a goody bag too??

Okay, I'm done spruiking now. Ben is taking a late nap after a hugely busy morning with Marcel - a trip to the beach, a visit to an Open Day at a fire station (apparently he had to be dragged from the firetruck, bless him) & just general time with his much-adored father. He is definitely in full Dada mode these days so I need to step up my game to get back in his good graces. Maybe I'll just write him off & aim for Fonzarelli to be my child instead. Ha!

Hmmm ... I think I actually had more things to discuss but I'm forgetting & I keep catching sight of a new (free!) magazine that I haven't read, which is a sin in my book. With Ben asleep I may just have to sit in the sun & read for a bit. I hope we have something sweet in this house to accompany me.

05 May 2011

Things I may have shown you already

I can't remember if I posted pictures of Ben's room after we redid it months ago. I probably did. Hell, I probably did it twice. I have no excuses for my lack of brain - I need to do some algebra quizzes online or something every day so my little mind doesn't continue to whither.

Anyway, I'll just go ahead & post a few pictures of it I took on a clean day. Just ignore them if you've already seen it. Thank you.

Yes, we could name it Ode to Ikea but I don't care, I still love it. 
The little table under the window is currently in the corner of our dining room so Ben can play with Play-Doh & other shenanigans while I'm cleaning or whatever it is I do. 
Spoiler alert: He never sits at the table unless one of us is with him.
The globe is a touch light & is a perfect night light.

Just a shelf on the wall, covered in favorite knick knacks, souvenirs & gifts from awesome friends.

His bed corner looks a little sparse but you really can't put anything within arm's reach of a caged-in Ben or he will rip it down. And it probably only looks sparse to a clutter-lover like myself.
Those lovely light decals, which are also in the first photo at the very top of the wall, actually glow in the dark & are so much fun! You get about a gazillion in an pack so I still have some to use.
You can have them too from http://www.theprincessandthepea.com.au/

Okay, now that the housekeeping is done on to the other nothings I tend to ramble about endlessly. Pregnancy is going aces this week - antibiotics still have a couple of days but I feel fine so that's all good. I've been having the old aches & pains but nothing out the ordinary. It's funny because I remember having aches & pains but it's blissfully easy to forget that those aches & pains actually involve a lot of aching & quite a bit of pain! I do feel lucky to be pregnant in the age of the internet so I can google "18 weeks pregnant pain" & get 500 results from women who spend way too much time on pregnancy forums saying:

Paranoid Lady: You guys, I'm 18 weeks pregnant & am having a ton of pain on the right lower side of my stomach. Like I actually double over in pain. It doesn't feel like a sick stomach. It feels like where the baby is.

Not so Helpful Lady: Oh, that's nothing. Don't worry, I had the exact same thing. But if it really worries you, go see your doctor. It could be a miscarriage or some other serious problem but probably not.

Lady who has it Worse than Anyone in History: I'm 18 weeks too & have been crying for days because I've been in so much pain. I went to my doctor & he said it's just ligaments stretching & completely normal so you're probably fine. But if you aren't sure, definitely go see your doctor.

Lady who isn't Even Pregnant so Why is She Here?: I have a gorgeous one year old angel but when I was pregnant I had terrible pains on my right side but they went away so don't worry, it will get better. And then you'll have a precious baby that you love more than life itself so just focus on that!

Aaaaaaaand scene.

I'm so sorry if you enjoy posting on forums & I should not judge because I do get answers from the batty ladies but seriously some of these women need hobbies. And don't you dare read any of their conversations if you are wondering if you're having a miscarriage because every answer is "Oh, you're fine ... or you are about to miscarry any minute now." Seriously, just skip the cray-cray ladies & get thee to your doctor for some sane answers.

Marcel worked super late last night & will be late again tonight so I'm gearing up for another evening of Ben's nighttime antics alone. Precious child o'mine is getting to be so much fun! He's always been fun but these days he just laughs constantly & loves to jump on the bed after I make it (it's my favorite reason to make it, I'll be honest) & every now & then when I pick him up, he starts absent-mindedly stroking my hair. He's just lovely. I still have my moments of meltdown pretty regularly if he doesn't nap or I can't do the few things I want to accomplish in a day but we're doing okay around here these days. What's that? I'm sorry? Did you say something about famous last words? Whatever, jerk.

And I don't want to drive you nuts with my television obsession, but I'm so freaking tickled at this first week of Masterchef & it's just getting started! As with any competition I watch, I chose a random person on the first episode that I figured would win the whole thing based on absolutely nothing whatsoever. I chose her before she introduced her large ceramic rooster lucky charm. Ugh. She was out on the very first elimination for heavens sake! And that was AFTER she literally fell on her face, dropping all of her ingredients & breaking her lucky charm. I do not have what you call "skill" for betting. Now I'm cheering for Hayden, the lifeguard who keeps surprising me & whose name I quite like. Hmmmm ... Hayden Eisele? Perhaps, perhaps. 

Okay, I shan't bore you with more Masterchef rambling. I'm hoping I can keep Ben distracted long enough to clean the kitchen but I'm not holding my breath. I did a little organizing in my bedside table today - I have to make room for the many new little adorable notebooks I keep buying at Borders going out of business sale. In the 15 minutes of peacefulness while I cleaned, Ben managed to destroy a roll of toilet paper as well as clearing out all four of our bathroom drawers. I'll admit that it was totally worth it but every chore just seems to give me even more work to do!

03 May 2011

Who are you calling sweet potato??

My oh my, what a few days this world has seen! From the biggest most gloriously happy wedding to the death of the biggest most glorious boogie man. It's probably not meant to be boogie man because that sounds rather jazzy & fun, not scary but my spellcheck kept changing boogey to bogey - if that's correct, I refuse to acknowledge it because that word would not be pronounced boooooogey like I pronounce it.

Moving on.

This blog is not the place to go into death & destruction, I've decided. I just pray that those affected by 9/11 & other Osama-planned events (embassy bombings, the USS Cole, etc.) get some satisfaction from his death.

So anyway on to the comedy of errors that is my pregnancy. I am 18 weeks today & the bambino is the size of a sweet potato, which is awesome. I got a random voicemail yesterday informing me that I have a urinary infection & to get my rear to the hospital to pick up an antibiotic prescription. Lovely. So now I'm taking 4 pills a day for 5 days. This is absolutely no big deal but for some odd reason it pushed me over the edge yesterday! Seriously, not a big deal - urinary infections are super common in pregnancy & I was warned that I may have more after this one. It just kind of feels like this pregnancy is one piece of crap after another & I'm always waiting to see what's coming next.

Another example is the call I got today. We had an appointment for our 18 week ultrasound on Friday but the place called me today to tell me that they are no longer in business so my appointment is cancelled. GACK! So 5 phone calls later I find someone else who can take me Friday afternoon when Marcel is actually free & then they inform me how much it will cost. What the what now? I remember being a snot & bragging all the time that I paid for NOTHING during Ben's pregnancy (the more I think about things I say & do, the less pleasant I find myself) but suddenly this one is breaking the bank. So then I start thinking that some places just don't bulk bill (bulk bill means Medicare picks up the tab basically) so several more phone calls later I find a place that not only bulk bills but also has a Friday afternoon appointment. Huzzah! Now I just have to call the other place back to cancel - I hate to have to admit to places that I'm cancelling so I don't have to pay them. I know it's a perfectly logical reason but no one enjoys admitting they're cheap. Well, technically we're poor not cheap so that's probably better. Wait, maybe not!

And now my poor schedule book - I can not think of what those things are actually called to save my life - is a mess so I've had to text Marcel to bring some White Out home so I can clean it up. We do not own White Out. We didn't own a highlighter until last week so I obviously am failing our household on the stationary front.

Let's see what else. Play group was back on this morning so we had some fun. We also had some clinginess, some whininess & some not sitting when we were supposed to. Whatever, I've given up on that front until the spirit moves Ben. We still enjoy it & it's great to see all the other kids & moms & to have new entertainment in his life. I'm not even going to mention that Ben has skipped his nap two days in a row now & I absolutely melted down today - tears were involved & a spot of yelling. Can urinary infections cause a lack of patience by any chance?

Hey, back to my crappy pregnancy. I should stop calling it that. Anyway, one of the many blogs I read is The Happy Home, written by a lovely lady that used to be an editor at my favorite home magazine Real Living & has done a beautiful renovation of a little beach shack here on the Central Coast. She has just had a new baby & the baby will be camping out in the master bedroom with her & her husband until they feel she's old enough to move onwards & upwards.

I am not selling this well so let's skip to the gist here - she has decorated the baby's corner of their room so that it actually looks like the baby is supposed to be there. Why did I never think of this? I just threw Ben's crap in our room like it was an intrusion on our world, which seems downright awful now that I think about it. We'll have the bassinet back in our room this go round & are not going to be co-sleeping for our own sanity down the line so my new goal is to make Fonzarelli's tiny corner of the world actually be decorated & lovely for him. If only I could sew so that I could replace the truly terrible fabric on his bassinet. Oh well, bumble bees it is!

Here is a picture of the corner from the Happy Home Blog so you can see what I mean - obviously I am nowhere near as awesome as Belinda so mine will be much different & our corner is minuscule so I won't be able to do all that much. I LOVE what she's done nonetheless.

photo from
Have you ever seen something so precious? Yeah, she is one of those women who find perfect driftwood on the beach or some throwaway furniture on the side of the road that just needs the right coat of paint so I should hate her but she's yet to stir up my wrath. Remind me to tell you about her cubby house some day!

Well, I've reached the end of my rambling for today. I need to clean up my kitchen, check on my 700th load of laundry for the day and decide what to feed us tonight. Have I told you that Masterchef is back & I'm in heaven, by the way? I can't resist that show - I find myself cheering & gasping & saying things like "Marcel!!! Adriano Zumbo is on the first episode. Are you seeing this??? It's ADRIANO ZUMBO!" There is a strong chance of Fonzie's full name being Fonzarelli Adriano Zumbo The Edge Eisele so please tell your kids not to beat him up if they end up at school together.

01 May 2011

Our Haven

Finally changed my picture to something that's a bit more suitable to Australian living. And it portrays me as I truly am these days with my new red hair (must take a picture when it's actually styled) & with my lovely pregnancy fattery, lumps & all. 

I have to tell you we spent a bit of time today at what has become our favorite little corner of the world these days. We used to live in the beautiful beach town of Terrigal, here on the Central Coast of NSW & they've developed one of the corners of the beach into a perfect family destination called The Haven. Large sandstone block walls surround the back of the beach so there's always somewhere dry & relatively sandfree to sit plus it's a protected cove so there are never any waves to swamp little ones. They've built some walkways up around the grassy hills with lookouts over the Pacific & the waves crashing on the rocks below plus the grassy area is the leash-free running zone for dogs so there's always friendly locals wagging their tails your way. 

Most importantly perhaps is the Haven takeaway where we gobble up our week's worth of fish & chips - while it's a sacrilege to not have greasy fish & chips, they seem to keep the grease to a miraculous bare minimum. One day we'll give the sit-down cafe a try & I'm going to steal most of their beachy furniture. I would love to see how much furniture I could fit into my tiny car - I might be able to fit a chair. Next time, I'll remember to take a picture.

Anyway, we haven't lived in Terrigal for over a year but that little slice of it still feels like home & there is nothing Ben loves more than running for his life on the beach, gulls & pelicans scattering in his wake. I just think there's not a lovelier place to be on our side of the world.