Who said that kids.....

...need toys.

The story about the birthday hat.

About a year ago we were shopping for birthday presents when we found this hat. We decided to buy it on the basis that it would become entrenched as a part of our very own family tradition - we call it the "Happy Birthday hat of humiliation" and the person celebrating their birthday must be photographed wearing it at least once during the day.

Well technically it is not Elliot's birthday I do have a photograph of P wearing it from last Thursday night however that is not the one for this post. That night dinner of the P's choice was butter chicken, tandoori chicken, indian breads, basmati and then some lovely tiramisu (see below) during dinner there were many toasts to the birthday boy which included a first from Elliot who toasted his father for being so kind to him. A big thank you also to my sister who came and cooked this dinner for us as well, to make up for my late return from work. P's only other desire for a successful birthday evening was to be able to watch the start of the test - which he did.

While preparing dinner I had jokingly asked my sister's flatmate a.k.a to Elliot as Uncle D, (who had been invited and kindly made the beautiful tiramisu) if he would indulge us with an interpretative happy birthday dance after dinner. Instead, Elliot piped up and decided that he would indulge us later with his highly entertaining "Irish dancing" wearing the "HBHOH".

Basically Elliot's Irish dancing is a mockery of Irish dancing. Don't get me wrong I went to a Riverdance concert during the height of it's popularity and took my mother and Aunt so at one stage I was rather partial to it. Elliot was introduced to the concept at school on St Patrick's day and thought it was somewhat absurd that this style of dancing involved so much feet action but little to no upper body movement.

When Elliot performs his Irish dancing for us what we enjoy most is his facial machinations which make up for the lack of his upper body movement and he really does have quite good footwork.

Blogger is playing up so I will post a picture of the birthday tiramisu later.

Finally here it is


What a relief!

My grown up looking babies.

I don't have to be my boss - oh happy days! My boss stays my boss she was told today and she was so relieved as well. Finally a job where I don't have to watch the accident waiting to happen slowly unfold in front of me. We had to buy some champagne to celebrate the fact that we are not being promoted - I suppose to many people that would seem quite strange though not to us, we want to finish our project as well as we can and within the limitations we have with our family responsibilities - rising up further for both of us would have put our family work life balance at too great a risk. Thank God our big boss saw the light and wasn't so egotistical not to ask for one of the senior staffers to return to us and help us again and make this all possible.

On a sadder note I attended a funeral today to celebrate the life of the father of a close girlfriend. I feel I am on a path- no more 21st's (until our children's) no more marriages (unless they are second marriages or our children's) no more children (unless they are grandchildren) more divorce, illness and funerals. While I shed tears for my friend and her family, I thought of the times ahead for all of us and I hope I will be able to cope with my inevitably sad times ahead with as much grace and good humour as my girlfriend and her family did today.


Help Wanted: preferably a wife.

Within the last two days I have attended 8 meetings. Of those 8 meetings only 3 were under 1 hour.

Last night I left work after 6pm and returned this morning before 8am. For some people this is par for the course for me it is not my preference. It is not the amount of work that bothers me so much as the impact on my contribution and in particular the decrease of my participation in my domestic life.

This morning while moving between meetings I spoke to my team leader (she is also my best friend) about how busy it has been for us since we have been one team member down. We discussed that we both agreed it best to take work home rather than stay in the office. As it was better to put in an appearance at home even if it meant we did not get back to finalise our work tasks till after 9pm which was the case for both us last night.

She also mentioned to me that her husband would be leaving for 5 days to work away and that it had become more common that he would be doing more complicated work. She had hoped that as she had supported him through a particularly busy period of work only recently, that he agreed to return the favour. It wasn’t to be - he was being paid far more for his work than she was for hers, so in the scheme of their family life the demands would have to be greater on her supporting him and the three children no matter how pressing her full-time work than vice-versa.

So knowing how busy we were next week she said she was going to have to possibly ask her mother to live with her for a week to get by while he was away (they have 3 school age children). I jokingly mentioned that perhaps we needed to combine households as my husband had agreed to step-up and help more with the domestic side of life or that maybe we should just pay him to stay at home for us. She said the solution really was that what both of us needed was a wife - it was something that another extremely busy girlfriend of hers had always advised!

I realised however, her idea however wasn’t such a big joke tonight as P and I helped Elliot with his homework, it suddenly dawned on me that we had forgotten to attend an interview that afternoon with his teacher, despite the fact that we had chosen the appointment last week. I am completely gobsmacked as I have to tell the teacher I was so busy at work that I just forgot about my other obligations. I feel even more careless and stupid because I had even marked it on our events calendar.

Now if only I had a wife who was on top of all these things then I would have been reminded about the parent-teacher interview.


Food glorious food

The only action I am posting about lately still seems to have a focus on the kitchen! (Probably it's the only area of my life I have control over at the moment, sick children, and broken sleep because of it and work is up in the air)

If your interested I have posted several new additions to Not Just Desserts - Seafood and pumpkin chowder, roast pork (several days earlier), a few quick canapes and a discussion on menu planning for next week.

Work is actually quite over whelming at the moment I may soon be thrust into the position of the top job with my project team against my better judgment. I really didn't think it was such a concrete possibility I always imagined me supporting a new boss for the next 6 months instead it might be more like me looking for some new support while most of the team is away.

Why didn't I run earlier which is my usual instinct? I guess this time though I thought it was time to stand up and take some responsibility and very soon lots of responsibility for the future direction of my organisation will rest quite heavily on me. So I am preparing to kiss my reasonably balanced family and work life good bye for the next 6 months.

I hope the career woman who is causing this to happen- she is leaving on maternity leave does what she says is going to happen and comes back earlier i.e. 3 months. She has a different perspective to me about her involvement with home life I don't begrudge it all - it's a personal choice.

I have deliberately stayed clear of being suggested for higher jobs, by keeping an extremely low profile. If I can I rarely attend meetings with senior executives so naturally they think "lushlife who?" That is to be no longer shortly, I will only be with my beautiful girl ostensibly 2 days a week and I may have to work on my weekends and long days as well.

I will miss the one day of contact I have with Elliot at school too, I had hoped to attend his next excusion after he implored me one morning on the way to work to come and help with some school things - of course it broke my heart.

I really don't care about the pay-rise it's a means to an ends. I have to just get with the program, it's me or it's me teaching someone else. I am definately having a crisis with my confidence to push the policy agenda of a place I have been with for 1 year in a policy position which ultimately relies on a indepth knowledge of the changes in policy, culture and legislative history for the last decade and a half and it's partnerships in the whole system!

This is definately the cross-roads for my career it is a maker or breaker. I just thought I would be making this decision when Gabriella was older. If I post in six months time I am opening a restaurant - you will know I have failed..........


Some recent kitchen action captured in Not Just Desserts.


Holiday cooking time.

On Friday I had a friend of Elliot's come over and to pass the time I had them bake some cupcakes and decorate the cakes themselves. I will post to move photographs of the outcome:

These are Elliot's friend's cakes which are quite colourful especially when compared with Elliot's who seemed to be fairly monochromatic in his colour theme.

When I suggested that Elliot might want to use a bit more colour he did, the cake with yellow on it!

They really enjoyed themselves and I let go and let them do just about everything so it was good fun for me too.

You should have seen their eyes light up when I said they could change into some old clothes and play out in the back yard and get as dirty as they like, the yard is pretty wet after one week of rain. I would spy on them now and again and it still wasn't wet enough so they started using the hose on each other, after that it was a nice warm shower and a plate of nachos. In my view, even if it is wet that shouldn't mean they can't play outside at all.

My stripey legged girl. I had a hankering to see her in striped stockings so I bought some from the new David Jones at QueensPlaza on Thursday.

One of the things I am most proud that my girl has worked out already, as I declared to my husband today, is that she already knows how to accessorise correctly.

For example, I chose the above outfit and she disappeared into her room and returned wearing the hat.

No fluke, because again today, I chose a beige dress, dark pink stockings with multi-coloured spots and a dark pink long sleeved top under the dress. Gabriella disappeared into her bedroom, (I had asked her to get her shoes being the original reason) and she returned wearing her dark pink hat! (sorry no photographic evidence but take my word for it I am one happy fashion maven and come to think of it she has done it once before and picking for herself the right floral hat for a particular floral outfit!)

Special treat for the holidays - sleeping on the sofa bed in our family room.

Dorothy, Dorothy, won't you come and dance with me, cha, cha, cha

What am doing here tonight, resuming a post after my self-imposed break from the internet? Well it's 3.30am and what else do you do after a bit of a surf and catch-up on the net while your daughter is dancing away the wee hours of the morning with Dorothy the Dinosaur. Although I must admit if she is not a bona fide, singing, all-dancing, romp-pomp-a- stomping, full-on Wiggles fanatic by the time I take her to the Wiggles concert in December then I want my money back!

I think the live concert experience for a two-year old is a particularly strange concept, I mean not so long ago she was searching behind the television for the people who apparently spent their day inside the box diligently performing over and over again for her entertainment. So what will Gabriella get from the whole live performance, the press of the crowd, the toddler mosh pit, the smell of the sweat of the live and much older Wiggle than the one she is currently watching on the up to ten year old videos - I hope she finds it simply thrilling.

I took Elliot to one concert only a Play School one - it was a disaster he was petrified and clung to my leg like a barnacle so I thought spending $50 to $60 on Hi-Five or the Wiggles in order to scare the living s*it out of your son just isn't the done thing. Gabriella though may be a differen story an altogether much more confident babe - witness the mega shopping mall experience - once out of her pram she is gone with the wind, crowds just don't appear to phase her.

Now why am I up tonight? Simple answer, it's my turn, P did the 2.30am to 4.30am shift last night so I guess it is only fair.I really don't know what else you do, when your 20month old just wakes up in the middle of the night and is "ping" bright as a light bulb and appears to be completely healthy, so no medicinal resources can be used to produce a drug induced slumber - dammit! To be fair the last two nights she wasn't so well, a bit of a cold but no temperatures, maybe an upset tummy but nothing you need to rush to the hospital about, unsettling yes and perhaps this is why I find myself here tonight.

I was going to try the no stimulation but she is so bright and having her climb all over us in bed to get out of the room or screaming in her cot just doesn't seem to be a sane solution, so we have decided to take the insane path instead taking it in turns to burn the midnight oil. I wonder how long this will last????

If I don't post again on Sunday then we are back to normal.

P.S My self -imposed break is my method of getting me reinvigorated about posting instead of whinging about my lack of enthusiasm about it every time I return.Though there will be another reason for my not posting for a while again, P has got two personal projects on the go, a website for our friend's beach house and some animation advertising for a neighbour which means he needs to devote some serious personal time to the computer.