Aug 28, 2008

Another new friend, I'm so lucky...

Ya'll should know by now that I do NOT do reptiles. So imagine my elation at the worker installing our new fence finding this little guy. Nasty! It's an Australian Blue-tonged lizard, and I did see one of those Animal Planet guys on Jay Leno with one of them. And he wasn't happy! I got to hear it's famous HISS!

So, I was thrilled that the worker man wanted to take him, and happily and hastily grabbed the first box I could find. He said they are worth $ and he wanted to take it home and breed it. However, hours later I saw the box had been moved and tipped over. My heart sank, he must have changed his mind, and now that thing is back to stalking me in my garden!

I went to ask him about it, hoping he'd just found his own box and decided not to take mine, which wasn't so much a box, but a toy holder I had grabbed in my haste. I said hopefully..."Did you change your mind and let him out?" and he said, "No... he got away and I didn't have time to chase 'im" and I replied, "oh, wow, he climbed out of that tall thing?" and he said, "No... the little fella pushed it over"

Oh. my. gosh. Gabe you little ratfink... you buttmunch!

Gabe had been all bent out of shape from the first minute that monster was put into his 'toy.' And he sabotaged my efforts to get rid of the creature! For 2 days now my mind keeps replaying that hilarious / depressing moment. I keep hearing the man's voice with his thick aussie accent saying 'little fella' and me discovering brave little Gabey had taken on the lizard, which he knew was in there. Who knew Mister Scaredy Pants had it in him?!

Aug 22, 2008


Yeah, another repeat from HG, but at least these pics weren't included! They have nothing to do with the story, but there isn't a pic to go with the story, and there really isn't much of a story behind the pics other than: we went to the beach for a nice family outing last Saturday. It was great. It was fun, sunny, and beautiful. It was amazing to be at a World Class, World famous beach it really was absolutely gorgeous! We went to lunch after. It was pizza. It was, myuh... just okay. The end.

So here's the repeat story: I chopped my hair off! Two long hard years of hard work growing it out wasted! {I started from about Sharon Stone length, so it wasn't like it had grown that long, but the longest it's been for me in at least 10 years, if not longer!} I am not sure if I made the right decision, but I refuse to cry! Ben is out of town, so no one has really seen it besides about 5 neighbors and friends and I am left alone with my own opinions on the matter.

The lady I got it cut from is a lady I had cut my hair once before. I can't be sure, but I think she may have sabotaged my hair on purpose, which maybe you will find amusing, I kind of do! Since my last visit, my poor stylist has had a wicked flare-up of psoriasis on her scalp. It is dry and she said she is loosing MAJOR chunks of hair, {I know, not appetizing}. She can't style it at all, the blow dryer and flat-iron dry it out even more and make the problem even worse. So then she has to continue on with her job of making other people's hair look fabulous, and she is miserable doing it, that much she confessed. I agree, it would be difficult to want to make people look great when you can't style your own, poor Jo!

I brought in a picture of this girl I had seen on TV and then googled to get the image. Her hair is one of the most adorable things I have ever seen. But the stylist refused to comply give me this hair cut, and instead cut the top as pictured, but left the bottom long. She took forever, or I would have pressed her to fix it. Not only that as time {2 hours!} went on I could tell this cut was above her skill-level anyway, and I can probably just fix it myself once the top grows back. I feel bad for her, even if she did sabotage my cut. That would be so difficult!

Anyway, I am not convinced I am at an age for a 'cute' hair-cut anymore. I styled it, and I think I can cover most of the major flaws and perhaps I will do some fixing and reshaping too, but so far it does look 'cute' -but I'm not sure it's me. I will get a pic up soon. For now I give you -Bondi!

Aug 20, 2008

Sorry for the repeat! Ben suggested I post this story on Rileyfamily too, so if you read HG, then this will be a skipper for you -but there will be another all new post tomorrow

I was recently reminded by Jenny, of Picky Palate fame, of my quest to make the perfect vegetable lasagne. She made a TDF-looking version that made my mouth water just looking at it! Hers was a red-sauce variety whilst I was striving for white -since I'm a cream sauce girl! Anyway, I started this quest a few years ago and gave it up. However, I recently decided to jump back on the old horse... and when I say 'recently', I mean about 5:45 last night, the very hour dinner probably should have been coming out of the oven. Oh well! These kind of spontaneous moments are what husbands w0rking late are for.

In my hasty excitment, I neglected to remember that I didn't have most of the vegetables or cheeses, let alone lasagne sheets. Dang, I wasn't going to escape my usual emergency trip to the store. You will probably learn more about me and how I roll from this post and what you are about to read than any other post I've ever written, starting with what I just wrote. So if you want to siddle on up and be my bff for 2 minutes, read on.

So I load up the kids and head to Castle Towers. I was in my sweats, which was embarrassing. Not even at 9 months pregnant, in my wheel-chair, throwing up all over the place, heart palpitations and all, did I ever leave the house in sweats. Yes, I am that vain. However, at this hour and with my excitement brewing at the thought of my creation, not to mention in an attempt to curb my vanity, there simply wasn't time for wardrobe attention.

I rushed through the store, loaded the car up, buckled the kids in, and was ready to set off for home. Then I realized I somehow didn't have the keys anymore. They weren't in my pocket, they are ALWAYS in my pocket. I have real trouble with loosing things, so I've developed the highly sophisticated pocket system, which up until now had never failed me. I thought and thought about it, and came to the conclusion that they musn't be far, because I unlocked the car in the first place to put everything and everyone in.

So I start with the bags, unloading and reloading each one. Check the cart, check the kids, check the ignition, check the nooks, check the crannies... It was around this point that I realized, that, in my haste and excitement, I had already turned on the oven. Fear sets in. Visions of fires and screaming and damnation. Yes, for sure, the house is on fire. I know it!

Still no keys. I do the whole routine again. Unbuckling the kids, re buckling the kids. I had probably had some divine intervention earlier in the store, because I did something I also NEVER do. I bought the kids toys, which praise the heavens, they were playing happily with. A little too happily with. Gabe got some power wheels and Laine got a 'flute' {recorder} and she kept playing and playing and PLAYING it saying "Mommy, I'll find the keys with my magic flute!" It was really sweet, and annoying... but now as I look back, more sweet.

By this time I have gone for a third round. And as I rifle through bag after bag, I know it is all in vain. The keys are not in the bags, you wouldn't have to look a third time to discover them, they are pretty big keys! By now I am saying hasty, on your death-bed, type prayers with all sorts of covenants and promises. I am near tears, stricken with fear about the house being on fire, exasperated, starving. I realize I have no phone. I forgot it, which was stupid because the gas light was on and I was running on fumes, but the nearest gas station is so terrible for traffic at that hour! I couldn't be bothered to grocery shop AND fill up!

Not only that, but I went to Bi-lo rather than the usual Coles because no one, and I mean NO ONE shops at Bi-lo, which was the point, because of my 'casual' attire. I had the sweats to thank for getting me stuck where we wouln't be found until morning, if even then.

I was seriously about to crack, when all of the sudden, on my 4th round around the every nook and cranny in the car, they magically appeared on the floor near Laine. Was it, could it be? The flute WAS magic! Not sure how they got there, but we were finally on our way to sweet, sweet lasagna. And boy was it! The kids gobbled it up, however, I think not feeding them lunch was really the key there. It's not rocket science people. You want your kids to eat a nice, solid meal of vegetables. Just starve them.


Aug 16, 2008

Featherdale WILDlife Park

This past week we finally had the motivation to go out and do and see some of the things we have been really excited for locally. We had so much fun with Dave and Kendree. The first stop on our trip was Featherdale Wildlife park, located just 15 short km's from our house.

It was GREAT! Unlike a zoo, there are several places in the Park that have animals OUT of their cages just wandering around. Typically the animals are native to Australia, so there were Wallaby's, Kangas, Wombats, Kookaburras, Koalas, Dingos... the usual. There were many other interesting animals I had never seen or heard of before as well.

This is us FREAKING-out at the one little baby wallaby as we came through the door. Little did we know there would be PLENTY more where they came from! They are so cute! Yes, Gabe does think Business Casual is appropriate ZOO attire.

I wish we had a better pic of this goose! It had a tiny LIME green beak and MASSIVE black feet

Besides the goat story coming up, I probably laughed the hardest at this juncture in our journey. We arrived at a place where there were tons of little wallabys and kangroos running around. You could buy these ice cream cones and fill them with food to feed the little guys. What luck! Laine and I were having the time of our lives feeding them, at least until the obnoxious emus would come from no where and snatch the food. It was very scary! Please enjoy the following montage I have prepared:

Laine, peacefully enjoying feeding the kangaroo

Oh, what is that coming up behind her. An emu. At this point she suspects nothing. Notice the crowd who came to see the show. There were many more on the other side where I was taking the shot. This actually was like the 5th time we'd put her through this. Girls gotta learn.

Wait for it, wait for it... Here he comes, she is about to discover the large bird, 3 times her size, pecking at her hand.

She peers around to see him, throws the cone, and runs away screaming.

Laine discovered she likes her birds muli-colored and behind a cage.

This was the most fascinating creature we saw! Isn't he amazing! And definetely the most adorable!

Next Montage:

"Oh, sweet little goat. Hello!" Isn't he cute!?

"Wait a minute, get out of there! Mom! He's eatin da stroller!"

This was followed by some SERIOUS finger wagging at the goat, of which I am extremely disappointed we didn't get on film. The goat didn't like being bossed around. He SERIOUSLY backed up and came running and RAMMED Laine! Also of which I am extremely disappointed we didn't get. Since she wasn't hurt, it was one of the funniest things I have ever seen in my life. It was like circa 1925 when in Heidi of the move "Heidi" gets rammed by the goat as she bends over, and is sent sailing like a sack of flour. Good times.

Not sure why I thought Gabey would want to ride the goat after what he just witnessed, but it was worth a try!

We made it through, and everyone is still smiling! Cheers!

Aug 10, 2008

Oh Canada, Our Home our Native Land...

Ya. It is going to smell like Canada up in hurr for a long, long time. I left the kids {Gabe} alone for 5 minutes {okay, probably more like 20-25, yeah, I was 'internetting'} and came back to see my new and improved sofa. Laine said they were 'making turnups potions'. Yes, that is my Butter Flavored Maple Syrup that I schlepped over in my suitcase because the syrup here is 'shocking' to say it in true Aussie fashion. It is now plastered all over my living room. Don't forget to notice to the left where it is dripping down the edge and side of the couch like Niagra Falls onto the carpet.

Look at that face! Could you just die!?

I haven't had a mess that rivals what my sister's kids could do. But now I proudly post this, I think we may have finally won, or at least we are a competitor to take seriously.

This was all while Ben was out of town this weekend. I was also busy scurrying to finish putting together the house. As in, finally finish half-started projects, finish unpacking, painting, decluttering. It was partially for Ben, partially for me, mostly to just have it overwith, and had a smidge to do with the fact that today our first houseguests arrive to Casa de Riley!

David and Kendree Brough arrive sometime this afternoon. If I can manage to take a few shots of the immaculate and mostly finished house before they get here I will post them soon. I am so excited to see faces from home. They will be doing some stuff on their own, but we are going to do the zoo and some other fun stuff this week so that will be fun. Anyone else ready to book tickets yet?!

Okay, and in closing, I had to take some pics of the winter flora and fauna, so enjoy a little journey through some of the things we love most about living here:

Really pretty birds that come around once in a while

My two little Kookaburra buddies. They are so cute!

Look at those blossoms! In the middle of winter! This is the view of the tree from our backyard

A plant that just started blossoming a few weeks ago. We have several more of these plants throughout our yard and about 10 of them with hot pink flowers line our driveway

Some plants in the backyard that I love. You will see many featured as garnishes in my photos on Hot Garlic

Aug 4, 2008

Lainey Spider & Daddy Spider

I forgot to mention in the last post that even more than Laine's accent, it is her new word choice. Like when she tells me she is cold and needs her jumper. No, not the tacky dress from the late '80's / early '90, they call sweaters 'jumpers' here. She asks me to take her to toilet. And the last straw was when she called me MATE! She now says I am her best 'mate'. Such a crack-up.

In other news, Ben and Laine invented this little game they play together called Lainey & Daddy Spider, it is so cute I had to post it so we'll never forget! Sometimes Mommy spider comes to hang out, but mostly it is Lainey and Daddy. The talk to each other and give kisses and Lainey spider spins webs for Daddy spider, you know, just typical spider stuff.

Mwah! Spider kisses

It is hilarious to see your kids pretend. The things she comes up with to say to Daddy Spider and just what she does and the way she is when she is being Lainey spider, it is so cute. Uh, no need to click on this text, it went all blue and underlined for no apperant reason.

Daddy spider eats all of the foods that Lainy spider finds for him to eat, but what really fills him is up is a bite of Laine's belly. Here is is asking for his favorite treat, Laine is not so sure...

Typical spider convo


Aug 1, 2008

Where do I even start?

I'm sorry my updates haven't been as frequent lately. In all fairness, with it being summer, neither have your visits or comments. Which is fine, enjoy the sun and water! I know I complain some about it being winter. However, these pictures were taken on Thursday and I am afraid they are going to expose me as the big fake that I am. We've had some nasty days, but usually it is nice and sunny and pretty warm here too. There are blossoms everywhere and everything is green and flowering. It is a nice place to winter...

But still, summer is about more than nice weather. For me, summer is a feeling. It's like, even though I am not in school anymore, summer still means freedom and fun like it did in the school days. Anyway, it's fine, just remember how much I was missing the summer when it is a blizzard up there and I am lounging by the pool.

So we've been busy and sick this past week, but have still managed to squeeze in some fun. Here are the kids after Laine's dance class. I think I mentioned that it was in a clearing of a Reserve and is really beautiful. Having the park there is great too.

Gabe has been busy being his usual mix of fun and destruction. He is such a crack-up. He has now decided to refuse to wear clothes. I knew this day would come, it's been building up the last few months. The other day he had a bath and then refused to get dressed all morning and ended up taking his nap just in his diaper. He had just woken up by the time it was time for dance and still refused to get dressed. I finally threw him in the car and brought the clothes along. I had an appointment with a friend during dance and got lost and had to pull over and ask a woman for directions with my naked baby in the back. By the time I got to my friends he still refused, and let me tell you how 'classy' it is to pull up to a friend's for a visit with your naked, snotty-nosed baby. I finally had to wrestle him to the ground as he continued to arch his back and cause a scene. Then of course the next minute he is sweet and then funny and making you laugh and smile... typical.

So. Laine has decided she wants to call us by our first names... exclusively. It is something she has done off and on since she was two, and every one has gotten a huge kick out of it. But now that she does it exclusively it makes me a little worried. She makes me feel like a step-mom! I'm sure that is what people have to be thinking when say says, "Natalie! Watch me slide! Natalie, can you catch me? Natalie, can you help me climb this?..."

In other news of days that I knew would come, she has started developing her Aussie accent. I was intrigued by the thought that my kids would have one, but now that the day is here, it is weird for me that she doesn't sound like us! So far it is only the EE sounds like 'mommay' and 'dadday' -though that is a poor example since we haven't actually heard those words, but you get what I mean. Perhaps it will be different when her transformation is complete.

This is the best, it's Laine's new Eeyore hunching walk when she is 'depressed'. I'm not quite sure you get the full feel of the sulking. For some reason, all emotion she expresses I simply find hilarious, especially negative ones. Then again, there is the possibility that I am just a bad Mom who lives to laugh at my kids.

Here it is again in better form. DRAMA queen! I love to laugh at her to show her not to take herself so seriously. She usually responds well to it actually and it makes it fun for me.

Okay, I have 2 other posts I will do this week but I just need pictures so stay tuned, I will try to be better.
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