We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.
[Marianne Williamson]

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY (Tuesday 30 December 2008)...

Outside My Window... a cool, clear, bright morning which is forcasted to become hot and humid again with a chance of thunderstorms.

I am thinking... better get out early with the boys to hang the washing as the UV has been a real killer this year so we need to get our daily running around time before the sun really kicks in (ie before 9am!).

I am thankful for... Munchkin FINALLY sleeping through the night!!! (after weeks of feeding EVERY HOUR!) and Wombat having a week of dry nights :D

From the learning rooms... reading our Christmas books - especially the new one which arrived yesterday - Room for a Little One. The pictures are absolutely gorgeous, and I don't think I've read a Martin Waddell book that I haven't liked. He is one of my Wombat's favourite authors (Snow Bears, Can't you sleep, Little Bear?, Owl Babies)

From the kitchen... I wanted to make some more cookies with Wombat - the last batch of Anzac biscuits were pretty good, despite using bicarb instead of baking soda and too much of it, so they had a strange slightly fizzy taste... but it's been too hot to use the oven during the day.

I am wearing... Stripy pjs and bare feet.

I am creating... Softies - for a friend's daughter and for the Toy Society. Will post pics of the ones I made for the boys' Christmas presents in the near future. They are hanging on the washing line at the moment - popular enough to have needed a bath already!

I am going... shopping today, if it's not too hot. Munchkin has outgrown his size 0s! and I need some 'baby clothing' in size 1 as all I have is suited for an older child. Wombat also desperately needs new shoes. The last lot fell apart about a week after buying. Only problem is that Big W is only stocking sandals and thongs for summer which isn't much use when there are funnel web spiders and red-belly black snakes in our yard.

I am reading... Elizabeth Hainstock's 'Teaching Montessori in the Home: The Preschool Years'. I was also reading Rabelais' Gargantua & Pantagruel on my ebook reader at night while breastfeeding... but the other night it red-screened and died on me ;( I hadn't realized how dependent I had become on having it! (It was a birth present from Munchkin... as soon as Yeti realized he couldn't fix it, he searched eBay and bought me another one - I love that man!)

I am hoping... that I can do a better job of keeping my patience with the boys today.

I am hearing... Wombat running back and forth to show his Cars collection to Daddy and Nanna in the kitchen, and Munchkin gurgling to his toys in the bedroom while he waits for me to come and dress him.

Around the house... chaos and clutter, as usual.

One of my favorite things... "Munchkin's gurgling happy" says Wombat - brotherly love! The first thing Wombat does when he wakes up in the morning is check where Munchkin is and he is always concerned to tell me if Munchkin is crying or poopy... I have had to set up the portacot for Munchkin to play in, though, as he was getting accidentally trodden on occasionally...

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
  • Chat to MIL about Yeti's cousins so I can work out who is who when I'm sending Christmas cards next year.
  • Finish the bear classification cards for Wombat.
  • Plan a post-Christmas picnic with my mum and brother.
  • Post my brother-in-law's present which has finally arrived.
  • Find photos of Wombat and get my 'family album' blog up to date.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

I want to thank Tricia Rennea for the beautiful bird sillhouettes.

When my brother-in-law's present (a book) hadn't arrived in time for Christmas, I wanted to make a bookmark in a hurry so we had 'a placeholder' to give him. I grabbed some white cardboard (packing from a pack of singlets), traced the birds off the screen onto plain white computer paper and cut them out, cut two small squares of Wombat's favourite Christmas wrapping paper, searched through the old phonebook where Wombat and I press flowers and found some May flowers and buds, a sprig of spring growth from the Cedrella and one of the pretty, small blue flowers that grow as weeds in our grass. (A weed is just a flower in disguise.) Finally, I grabbed an unused Christmas card with an appropriate message and snipped out the words. I used small dabs from a glue stick to hold everything in place, covered it with clear contact and snipped around the edge with pinking shears.

I don't know if BIL liked it - was too busy supervising the boys to watch his expression, but I was really pleased with how it looked and am thinking of making another for Yeti's birthday... and one for myself... and one for my brother... lol :D Thanks for the inspiration, Tricia - I love your blog!

This is my first time joining in with the Simple Woman's Daybook. If you would like to join in too, you will find all the details here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Unplug your kids - curly

This week's Unplug your Kids project theme was "curly". Wombat and I borrowed an idea I had seen on My Montessori Journey for Christmas Tree Spirals and made it our own.

We didn't have any green plates, but we did have a paper plate that Wombat had covered during our painting fun a few days ago.

(We had been painting our salt dough christmas ornaments using a mix of flour, water, glitter and watercolour paint. I buy my Stockmar Watercolour paint from Spiral Garden. How appropriate! LOL!)

This is what we started with. *Note - when drawing the spiral on the back of the plate, don't run the lines too close together! I made that mistake with the second plate - the one where you can see the spiral - and it just didn't work out as nice. Also, note that the top side of the plate - the side you put food on - will be the underside of the spiral. I hadn't realised this, but as you will see, it worked out for the best...

Don't you love the Cars collection watching the work? The wooden tea box is our crayon storage.

After cutting along the spiral lines, turn the plate over and glue small pompoms or other decorations along the outside. Wombat found that he didn't quite have the cutting skills needed to follow the spiral lines, and that the pompoms needed patience to get them to stick properly, so at about this point he wandered off to fill his various trucks up with baby pompoms... I finished the sticky bits, and then looked around for something to hang it with.

Earlier in the day, Wombat had gotten into a big box full of packing peanuts. In an attempt to prevent them being spread all over the floor (yeah, right...) I handed Wombat a big blunt darning needle and some wool, showing him how to thread them. He hadn't been particularly interested in that activity either, but I did have a short strand lying around afterwards. I added a few more packing peanuts, poked a hole in the centre of the plate and voila! A very curly spiral Christmas bell (hanging here in front of my home made nativity scene)!

Lest you think I was disappointed in Wombat's lack of interest, I wasn't - because as an unexpected benefit I found that Munchkin LOVED it. He sat underneath and watched it spinning in absolute fascination. Even Wombat stopped loading his trucks to watch for a while. It does make a great mobile...

And it turned out that the painted surface being on the inside of the bell was a good idea too! The pompoms provided enough interest on the top surface, and here is a Munchkin-eye-view of the painted surface underneath.

Thanks to Unplug Your Kids and My Montessori Journey for the inspiration. If you are not familiar with these blogs, check them out! HEAPS of great activities and ideas for kids. Most are a little too advanced for Wombat, but I am reading and learning lots!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Poetry Friday - Cockatoo AU

It's no longer Friday here, but I've been entertaining a rain-bound Wombat all day, so haven't had a chance to polish the poem or post until now. Luckily, it's still early for the rest of the world!

When I began this week, I thought I was writing a ballade, which mutated into a ballad, and finally ended up, of all things, as an acrostic Franken-sonnet* with a trochaic metre!

Cockatoo AU

Cocky wanna rule the world?
Or, perhaps, the universe?
Cocky shrieks a strident curse!
Keen defiance, crest unfurled,
Armaments in claws, tight-curled.
Treetops dance as troops disperse
Overhead, with aim diverse.
Orbit once, then missiles hurled.
Aggravated damage done.
Undefeated! Triumph won!

[Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) on Scotland Island, near Sydney, New South Wales, Australia taken in June 2004 by Arthur Chapman.]

*Franken-sonnet = it's got the abbaabba pattern of an Italian sonnet, combined with the couplet ending of an English sonnet, but it's missing a quatrain, so really doesn't deserve the name at all! Hopefully it won't hunt me down some dark night and demand retribution for its misshapen form!

This week's Poetry Friday is hosted by Wild Rose Reader. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Spending Shock

I know I've been spending too much money this Christmas. I've really been carried away by wanting to make it lots of fun for Wombat, and to get nice things for family and friends for once. We've had a couple of unexpected bonuses and I felt like we were in a pretty comfortable position for a change, instead of scraping to make Christmas presents from materials I already had, which is my usual habit.

As usual, pride comes before a fall.

We've been doing most of our shopping on Ebay, using Paypal - not wanting to take Munchkin out into crowded shopping centres. I knew I was getting close to the amount that was actually in my bank account, but said to myself it didn't matter as Paypal had my credit card details to use as an alternative funding source, so everything would be fine. I had been saving up and had plenty of available credit. What I didn't know was that my bank would charge me a $45 dishonour fee for every direct debit transaction that bounced back to the credit card!

There were six transactions that bounced - some were for less than $10. Now each of those gifts has an extra $45 charge attached to it, totalling $270 in bank fees! That means I've paid $400 for $130 worth of Christmas presents. OUCH!!!

I feel pretty stupid, especially since Yeti and I have just been having some slightly heated discussions about my immature spending tendencies. Much as I loathe keeping anything from him, I think cowardice will win and decide discretion is the better part of valour.

Oooook. I just thought I'd see how it averaged out, so I divided $400 by 6. The answer? 66.6 and a whole lot more sixes. The number of the beast? Think it's high time I got back to concentrating on the real meaning of Christmas and let commercialism go its merry way without me.

I've still got some empty spots on my gift list... where's my sewing basket?

PS. just found this in a book my sister gave me last Christmas. Seems like an appropriate way to close this embarrassing entry on a more positive note.

What to do this Christmas
by Pam Baker

Mend a quarrel.
Seek out a forgotten friend.
Share some treasure.
Give a soft answer.
Encourage youth.
Keep a promise.
Find the time.
Apologise if you were wrong.
Be gentle.
Laugh a little.
Laugh a little more.
Express your gratitude.
Welcome a stranger.
Gladden the heart of a child.
Take pleasure in the beauty and
wonder of the earth.
Speak your love.
Speak it again.

(found in Christmas Nativities and Stories by Elisabeth Van Mullekom-Cserep,
Nativity House Publishing, Australia, 1999, p.13.)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Unplugged project - fluffy

I have been subscribed to Unplug your Kids for a while, but this is our first attempt at joining in. Read all about the logic behind the Unplugged Projects here.

This week's theme was "fluffy".

I just happened to have a pile of very fluffy feathers and pompoms lying around, with no particular plans for them. I made a quick bird shape out of our home made playdough, handed it to Wombat with a basket of fluffy things, and let him go to work.

I love the creativity of the pink crest - I wasn't expecting that! He told me it was a hen, and sat it on a black pompom egg. I was lucky to get the picture, though, as shortly afterwards the fluffy hen was tromped under a two-year-old's frustrated fist...

Friday, December 05, 2008

Poetry Friday - True Blue

I enjoyed last week's Poetry Friday so much, I am back for more! This week I am adding to my series of poems based on photographs of nature. Previously I had been versifying based on photos taken by my dad, but since they are all locked on my old computer and currently unaccessible, I am going to use a photo I took last month in the bush behind our house.

I also was intrigued by last week's Poetry Friday host, Lisa Chellman, who is working her way through Stephen Fry's poetry book The Ode Less Travelled. I don't have access to that book, so I thought I might cheat and shadow her progress a little. Accordingly, here is my attempt at a rondeau.

True Blue

A flash of blue beneath the trees
my full attention guarantees.
A scrap of sky that's fallen there,
a flaunting colour, rich and rare,
amongst the rust-brown leaves, a tease.

A floating mote that skims the breeze
and flits with soft-winged expertise
an irridescent sheen so fair -
a flash of blue.

It's true, I am not hard to please,
just one of nature's devotees,
delighted by a chance to share
this image as a visual prayer
with thankfulness that thrills to seize
a flash of blue.

This week's Poetry Friday roundup is hosted by Mommy's Favourite Children's Books.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Poetry Friday - Thanksgiving

I guess it's been a long time since my last Poetry Friday - but then, Munchkin is now four months old, and it feels like he was born only yesterday.... time sure flies when you're sleep deprived, and Munchkin just loves to feed all night, so please excuse the atrocious grammer of this sentence!
I've not got long to post this before it's no longer Friday here, so I'd better hurry :D

My sister set me a challenge - to write a poem in anapestic tetrametre (the metre used by Dr Seuss.) My effort is nowhere near as entertaining and humorous as the good Doc's (or my sister's poem, for that matter)... but since Thanksgiving is in the air and I've been awaiting the muse to celebrate my sons in poetry... here goes!

Giving thanks

For our long conversations 'bout "God only knows"
And for giggles and gurgles and pink baby toes

For the huggles and snuggles and cuddles we share
For those small, chubby fingers that tangle my hair

For the sweet, sloppy kisses no mother would swap
For those bright shining glances that make my heart stop

For an infant's dependence that wails every need
For that huge milk-drunk grin at the end of a feed

For a toddler's logic and tantrums and tears
And for being the one who can calm all their fears

For their joy in exploring each blossoming skill
For their bravery pushing the bounds of free will

For frustration, impatience and chaos unleashed
As I treasure by contrast rare moments of peace

Make my hands quick to catch them whenever they fall
Make my feet swift to answer whenever they call

Dearest Lord I give thanks for these boys every day
Bless my Wombat and Munchkin, I lovingly pray!

This photo was taken a month ago, so you can see that Munchkin is no lightweight! I'm so scatterbrained lately that Yeti has suggested Munchkin is sucking out my intelligence to fill that big head of his! LOL :D (That might explain the ending of my poem, which though sincere, feels like something of a cop-out...)

Poetry Friday is hosted this week at Under the Covers.

I hear a hungry cry from the bedroom - gotta go. At least the source of Munchkin's new nickname should be obvious by now!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Stolen moments...

What do you do with an exhausted, overwrought 2 year old who has given up on daytime naps, who is refusing to do anything except watch tv, and who is otherwise desperate to sleep but won't admit it? Answer: turn on Andre Rieu and within 30 seconds you'll have sleeping beauty!!!

The first time, it happened by accident, but I've used the technique twice now and it's working perfectly :P

Yes, if there is anyone still out there who is interested, I am alive, the little (BIG) Munchkin is here, Wombat is adjusting as well as can be expected to big-brother-hood and life is good. There is so much I want to write about, but alas, nappies must be hung and playrooms tidied (or else the Bob the Builder machines complain about having nowhere to vrooom). I also must make a new batch of playdough and I am sure I will think of a million more things that are demanding my attention.

I just stopped in to remind myself I am still here... oh and to record another exciting discovery in the world of toddlerhood - FISH OIL! Yeti and I are kicking ourselves for having forgotten... we were putting Wombat's increasingly chaotic tantrums and disruptive behaviour down to sibling rivalry... then Yeti remembered finding out about fish oil as a treatment for ADHD when Wombat was a baby.

For the past week and a half I have been squeezing a capsule of fish oil into Wombat's evening milk - the difference is dramatic. The best way I can describe it is - it's like we've suddenly got Bugs Bunny instead of Tassie Devil living in the house!

(I'd put a picture in, but apparently Vista and Norton don't make a good combination for uploading... yet another teething problem with this new computer... anyway, I think you know what I mean.)

He's still Captain Chaos, mischievous, whining, naughty and adorable, but as Yeti put it, "now he's back to playing on the same team". I'm so happy to see glimpses of my own cheerful little Wombat shining through the terrible twos... I was beginning to think I'd lost him :D

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Last Sunday was a very special day for us - not only was it Easter Sunday, but it was also Wombat's second birthday.

The next time his birthday and Easter will coincide will be the year 2228, so I think we can safely say this was a once in a lifetime event! I would apologise for the LONG post and the LOTS of photos - but since this is the only entry you are likely to get for a while, I thought I'd better make it worth your while. PS. Any comments about Wombat's hairstyle will be strictly ignored - we have already had the family discussion about "the next time Mummy gets the urge to cut his hair she will not make him look like a 17th century monk..." (It was getting in his eyes and ears and making him uncomfortable... and then he was very wriggly when I was cutting - excuses, excuses - point taken.)

The day started with our usual wander out to feed the chooks. (We swallowed our scruples and carted the cat who was causing all the problems off to the pound, the chickens went back VERY happily to their pen and the only squawk we have heard from them since is if a dreaded, dangerous butterfly soars overhead.)

Then it was back inside for breakfast and birthday presents. I'll let you guess which was Wombat's first priority :P Yeti and I decorated the house the night before with streamers and special balloons shaped like caterpillars and birds - Wombat LOVED the party feeling it gave.

His presents from us were pretty much divided into two categories this year, according to his latest obsessions: Bob the Builder and the Cars movie. I think he now has about all the merchandise any kid could want!!!

After breakfast we went off to church. I took him to the big church in Camden as our local church only had an open air Mass at 9am, and it was raining. Last year at Easter, he took one look at the crowd and screamed, refusing to go anywhere near them. This year he was a little nervous but allowed himself to be led through the hundreds of people standing at the back, before pulling me desperately towards the altar (we usually sit right up the front so he can see as I think that helps him behave better and be less distracted by other kids mucking up.) Luckily I was able to look pleadingly at a family who shuffled a little closer together and gave us a seat on the end of an aisle where Wombat could see everything and happily played with his new Bob machines. He liked the singing (which we don't get at our local church) and when it came time for the sign of peace, he insisted on shaking hands with everyone in sight - holding out his hand and saying "Somebody shake... somebody shake..." Needless to say, everyone thought he was cute and was happy to oblige.

After Mass, it was home for a birthday lunch. Nanna had cooked Wombat's favourite (roast turkey thigh) while we were out, and I had made a nice simple buttercake (using fresh eggs, of course) the night before, so while Wombat and Yeti played together, I prepared a quick salad and decorated the cake - whipped cream, lots of fruit and the piece de resistance - TWO Bob the Builder candles.

He couldn't take his eyes off them, waiting for the magic moment when they would be lit (and then we had to light them again because he wanted us to keep singing Happy Birthday to him)!

To my satisfaction, the cake proved extremely popular as well - we had some more after dinner and by the end of the day there was only one tiny little piece leftover. Wombat liked the fruit best, so most of his cake slice was left for Mummy (complain, complain...)

Then it was time for a shower and a lovely long snooze. (As a side point, Wombat has stopped wearing nappies to bed for his daytime snooze and is waking up dry every time... he still wears them at night but is dry in the morning every other day. He is getting really good about saying "I need potty" so by the time Bilby is born, Wombat should be nappy free! YIPPEE!!! Oh, mentioning Bilby, this little bumpkin is even more energetic than his brother - no shy soft-footed little bilby here - so I am going to rename him Joey, as it seems to better fit the baby boxing kangaroo I've got bouncing around inside me.)

When we woke up from our nap, Mummy said she thought she could hear the Easter Bunny hopping around outside, so it was time to get dressed and go hunting for Bunny eggs. Wombat was a bit cautious about suddenly meeting up with the Easter Bunny in person, but he absolutely loved searching for the little nests the Bunny had scattered around the yard - often in very strange places.

Cadburys sold a big bag of mixed chocolate, caramel and turkish delight mini eggs, so I scattered about 30 of them around in nests of three each - the last nest had a chocolate rabbit with it. Here's a video to give you a better idea of the excitement! (I had suggested that he might look under the tree we call his 'cubby house'.)

I must admit that after eating the first few eggs, the fun was more in unwrapping them, and several got pushed into Mummy's mouth (complain, complain :P)

No matter how appealing, though, Easter Eggs just couldn't compete with his favourite cherry tomatoes. He had to check whether any were ripe, and as usual, any that met the "it's red" criteria were quickly devoured on the spot.

He then insisted on watering them with his new watering can (one of his presents was a set of small gardening tools, to use when digging in the garden with Mummy).

The next day was raining heavily, so I brought out the fresh batch of playdough I had made, to go with his Bob the Builder "Dizzy" playdough extruder. This shot is mainly to show the decorations in the playpen - really a 'playroom' now, as it takes up more than half the loungeroom. The streamers were already starting to sag a bit, and by the end of the day, they and the balloons had all been pulled down and played with.

Here is Wombat, hard at work, making "Travis the tractor" faces in the playdough.

Soon afterwards, he insisted that he needed to "mix the colours together" so Mummy's carefully tinted rainbow of playdough turned into a tutti-frutti pile. Today (raining again) the process was finished off, so it is now all pretty much a uniform gray with a few purple and green swirls. I guess that's appropriate for making roads and rocks, which we seem to do a lot of lately ;P He is just as happy working with a single colour anyway, so that is how it will stay for another few months until I get around to making the next batch.

I really love my very simple and easy playdough recipe, so I will share it with you here:

1 cup of flour
1 cup of warm water
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon of oil
1/4 cup of salt

Mix all ingredients.
Stir over medium heat until thick (I keep stirring until I can hardly move the spoon).
Remove from pan and knead on a floured board until smooth.
Add colourings (and extra flour if it becomes sticky - I use Wombat's watercolour paints, but you can use food colouring etc).
Place in airtight container. (We are still on a mission to eliminate plastic as far as possible -hah, and impossible task - from Wombat's world, so I wrap it in greaseproof paper and store it in an old toffee tin.)

This playdough lasts and lasts forever if you wrap it up after each use - the previous batch I made was played with for more than 6 months before I finally threw it out, and then its only problem was the amount of foreign material (hair, fluff, dust etc) that it had collected...

And that, my dear friends, is the story of Wombat's second birthday. I am back to work tomorrow, so it will probably be a while before I get the chance to write again. Hope you are all well and happy - I think of you often, even if I don't get the chance to say so.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bilby is....

a BOY!!!

Lots of pictures from ultrasound - she gave me a whole page - but must get to sleep as big day at work tomorrow... will try to scan them this weekend.

Felt a momentary twinge of disappointment, but then had to laugh ;D

Ultrasound operator's comment: "No doubt about it - a very confident little boy!"

Wombat will be happy :)

I was asking him this morning if he wanted a baby brother or a baby sister. He told me very determinedly "I like a boy!"

He must have known something :D

The prosecutor found my letter of representation in the environmental law case "very convincing" and has asked for an adjournment to consider whether to drop the charges. Tomorrow I appear in court for the first time (just requesting an adjournment in a DUI case with a plea of guilty while the client does a traffic offender program, but exciting nonetheless.)

Chickens are still living on the verandah... have high hopes of moving them this weekend - renovating & moving an old dog run for them. Should be secure.

LOL... why wouldn't I want another one of these???

Sailing paper boats on the dam - and throwing rocks to sink them...


Exploring in the 'jungle'...

Sailing a rubber duck in a puddle...

More exploring...

A 'butterfly' painting...

Learning to balance on the 'seesaw'...

My darling cutey!!!

I can't say I don't still want a little girl (maybe next time?) but I'm sure this new little boy will be as endlessly fascinating and adorable as his brother, and I must admit, I wouldn't change him for the world! :D

Saturday, February 09, 2008

wet Wet WET!!!

Lots to tell, but must be a lightning fast update, which is very appropriate considering we have had non-stop thunderstorms for the last week, with more rain than I have ever seen!

I am SO busy at the moment, as I am sure you can imagine. I am working 9-5, three days a week and it is going very well. They are very pleased with my research skills and ability to write professional documents. So far I have been doing mostly criminal and family law - not very pleasant - but I have had the chance to work on one environmental law case - the clients are charged with dumping waste on their property, but it was all clean fill - soil, clay and rock - and I managed to find out that it is classified as "virgin excavated natural material" which is exempt from requirements for a waste facilities licence. There was no environmental impact from their activities as it was just a very bare paddock they were trying to improve after centuries of grazing. The lawyer I am working with is very impressed - now he can't wait to take the council to court, but it is more likely they will just drop the charges altogether.

Wombat is doing very well. The driveway is an absolute river, and on several occasions this week the causeway has been so flooded that no-one could get in or out. Even the four-wheel drives were giving up!!! Luckily it has always been down enough for me to cross (very carefully) on my way to and from work.

On Wednesday the rain was so heavy on the way home from work that I would have had to stop if there wasn't a van in front of me - we crept along at 40kms and I followed his tail lights as I couldn't see the road - there was that much rain beating on the windshield! Very scary & glad to get home safely (I found Wombat and Yeti happily watching Bob the Builder and ignoring the thunderstorm - very sensible)!

Wombat gets a bit tired of being cooped up, but enjoys the different activities (we made biscuits today - roosters, butterflys and teddybears - which was fun). Whenever the rain stops for a moment we go outside and splash in the puddles or sail paper boats down the driveway or explore the waterfalls where the water is coming across the road into the dam. I really need to take my camera and get some pics as he is getting very big now and I haven't taken any photos for ages - too busy playing with him on my days off!

I don't think I've mentioned the chicken saga - the little chicks we hatched have been doing well, living in Mitch's parrot cage on the verandah and are almost full grown. We got 3 hens and 3 roosters, in addition to the 1 rooster and 5 hens living out in the chook pen.

I was starting to get desperate to let the littlies out with the others as they are really making a mess of the indoor cage now they are getting big. Then tragedy struck. Wombat and I went out to feed the big chooks one morning and were met with an unusual silence. When we got in the pen we found one of the hens lying in a corner with no head. She had been attacked by a cat. The next day we lost another hen in the same manner. We then transferred Stevie (the rooster) and the 3 remaining hens into "the bunker" - a 1 mtre x 50cm steel cage in the shed. They lived there in safe if somewhat cramped conditions for nearly a month while Yeti blocked every hole and possible entrance point in the pen.

When we were sure there was no way a cat could get in, we released them back into their home. They were very happy for a few days, and then we came out one morning to find our handsome brave Stevie lying dead (VERY SAD!!!!), so it was back into the bunker for the hens.

Meanwhile the 'little' chooks on the verandah were getting bigger and the need for outside quarters more and more desperate. Yeti stretched another metre and a half of wire all around the top of the pen and carried out a whole pile of other improvements, until we were absolutely sure there was NO way anything could get in or out of that pen.

We released the hens and waited, holding our breath. They were ecstatic to have their freedom again, and we watched anxiously for a week and a half to make sure they were safe. When nothing more went wrong, and the hens seemed very relaxed, we released the 6 little chooks (now quite big chooks) for their first run outside. They were SO happy, scratching and pecking at all the grass in the pen. When I went to check them at lunchtime, they were all snuggled into little dust baths and it sounded like they were purring!!!

Then I went to check on them after Wombat's nap and.... you guessed it, another casualty. This time it was the smallest of the young roosters (thankfully not Wombat's pet, Joe). Well, we spent the afternoon chasing chooks, and all 8 survivors (3 big hens and 3 medium size hens and 2 young roosters) went back inside to Mitch's cage.

Conditions are cramped and yucky, especially as it has been raining so much I can't even put them outside in a temporary pen while I clean the cage - I have to scrape out what I can, when I can. Let me tell you that wallowing in chicken shit when you are pregnant is NOT the best fun I have ever had!!! I am very careful and so far everyone is staying healthy - one stalwart hen is even laying an egg every day!!! but OH I can't wait for them to have a new home.

Our only choice now is to cover the whole pen in wire (way too expensive) or take down the wire Yeti put up and use it to build them a new predator-proof home. If I knew which cat was attacking them I would strangle it on sight. I suspect Smoky, the stray kitten that MIL adopted. It grew up and had kittens, which we sold (keeping one - Fuzzy - for Wombat) and that's when the attacks started. We never had a problem before then, but I can't really accuse her without proof.

We just have to build a home for the chooks that she (or any other cat) can't get into - and with the rain the way it is, that's not going to happen anytime soon. *Sigh* They take so much less time to look after when they are outside, and it is so much better for them, but what can you do??? One side benefit is that they are much more used to being handled now, and will even let us hold and pat them. (Joe is the exception, he has been friendly from the day he hatched... as soon as his wings were strong enough to fly, he flew out of the cage while we were feeding them and landed on Wombat's shoulder. Since then, he has been Wombat's friend - though Wombat is still not quite sure about the relationship ;P )

Mitch is also less than impressed, sitting in his small wire cage watching the chickens poop all over his palace... but at least he gets to go outside every sunny day, so he can't really complain.

Here is a pic of Wombat with Joe in mid-December. He still has some of his baby feathers here, but two months later Joe is turning into a very handsome rooster, ready to replace his father Stevie. He has even started crowing recently!

Must go - Wombat is having his nap and I have a hundred things to finish before he wakes up. I'm really hoping to finish making him some waterproof overalls today, as changing his clothes 6 times a day is difficult when it is too wet to wash and dry them - we have several clothes airers sitting in front of heaters and the airconditioner at the moment!

Wombat is enjoying his days with Daddy, but is also very glad to have me home on my days off. The only problem is he often doesn't nap for Daddy, but we are working on that. This week he has also started using the big toilet. When I started work he had a few poopy 'accidents' which had not happened for months and months, but since we started offering to take him to the big toilet instead of using potty, that has all stopped again.

Hope all is well with everyone.

Finally, here is the long-awaited picture from the ultrasound - almost a month ago now! Everything is going well with the pregnancy and I feel quite healthy. I have even managed to squeeze in time to do my yoga each evening before bed, which makes a big difference after sitting at a desk or in court for most of the day - I am out of practice at doing that after spending so long chasing David around all day!

The first day after yoga, I felt great, so on the second day I really got into the stretches. The next day I felt like screaming everytime I moved - I really thought I had damaged my abdominal muscles, but that night I was very careful and did only one repetition instead of 7, and the next day I discovered I could make the pain go away if I just tightened my bum muscles and tucked my backside under to support the baby's weight on my hips. Since then all has been well.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Well, I survived Christmas, and had lots of stories to tell and photos to post, but since I never quite got around to posting them, I guess I'll just move right along to this week, which has been rather hectic.

First visit with obstetrician was on Monday - she got out her tiny ultrasound, so I got my first glimpse of Bilby. Another HUGELY active baby who wouldn't sit still at all... but as the ob said, "it's there, and it's moving" and that's what we want to know! I'll be heading down for the full ultrasound early next week, so I might get a picture which I can compare to the one in the little box in my sidebar.

Ob was surprised to feel Bilby so far up, but my dates are pretty accurate... hope it doesn't mean another BIG bub. She did say it was often easier to feel baby in a woman who's had a caesarean. She's willing to support me trying to give birth naturally this time as I really want to avoid another caesar... she did warn me though - labour has to start naturally and progress quickly. They can't induce me or give any chemicals to hurry it up. If there is the slightest sign of a complication, I get rushed to the operating table, because they can't risk the scar from Wombat's birth rupturing. Here's praying it all goes according to plan!

In other news - of all those resumes I sent out, one has finally received a positive answer. I had a job interview yesterday with a local law firm. They are a small firm - only five people - but the three who interviewed me yesterday seemed very impressed with me. I am waiting for them to arrange a final interview with the principal of the firm.

Unfortunately, they are not offering me a paid position - it will be voluntary. But it is three days a week, and they are offering to give me a wide experience in a general practice, and to introduce me to the network of legal people in my area - most importantly of all, it will satisfy the 75 days work experience I require for the College of Law.

Bilby is due in about 28 weeks, and I should complete the 75 days in 25 weeks, so fingers crossed it will all work out perfectly. It is disappointing that they won't be paying me, as I will have to buy new clothes and there will be transport costs (petrol, wear & tear on the car etc) but at least it is local, and it is the best offer I have received so far. They seem very friendly & easygoing and they are fine with me being pregnant (their school-age children are often in the office). I will let you know how I go after the next interview.

It will be good for Wombat & Yeti to spend more time together, so hopefully Wombat will be less dependent on me when Bilby is born, and I'm sure it will be less physically stressful for me to spend 3 days a week in an office rather than chasing Wombat around!!! He likes gardening at the moment - which means digging with his shovel or new bulldozer in the dirt while Mummy pulls up weeds. When Mummy suggests it is time to take a break, he simply points at the weeds and says "MORE!". When I finally convince him it is time to go inside for a drink of water, he insists I empty the wheelbarrow full of weeds onto the compost heap first! Talk about a hard taskmaster!

That's all I have time for right now - Wombat will be waking up any minute, so I had better seize my chance and lie down while I can.