Sunday, July 25, 2010

A reptile birthday party.

Benzen got invited to a 4 year old's birthday with a reptile theme! The parents had organized for a company to bring Australian reptiles to show the kids. The girl did an excellent job of educating the kids about wildlife that is not normally seen. There was a green tree frog, lizard, frog mouthed owl, the above baby crocodile, ring tailed possum and black head python. We were all allowed to touch most of the animals and have a close up look.

I am not a big fan of Australian reptiles. Where else can you find 9/10 most deadly snakes in the world? The deadliest snake is called a Brown Snake. Such a deadly name eh? We have found about 3-4 red belly black snakes around our property and of course numerous types of spiders.

I must confess that I don't garden with as much enthusiasm as others due to the presence of spiders. I believe I have a mild form of arachnophobia and really have no interest in dealing with my phobia. Usually there is a hunstman spider that resides in our mailbox and I freak out everytime I see it. But I am told time and time again how safe huntsman spiders are. However, they are hairy, big and with name like "hunstman" what am I suppose to think??!!

I don't know where my phobia has come from. The scariest spider we have in Canada is the black widow and (to my knowledge) if you get bitten you just get sick. It doesn't kill you. So I'm not particularly sure why. As I observed the kids at the party most were quite keen to learn about these animals and were most intrigued. They wanted to touch and cuddle and have the python wrap itself around their bodies!

I decided that my fears shouldn't limit my son in his exploration of his world. We're trying to teach him to have a healthy respect for animals and that he isn't to touch any spider or snakes he sees. But fear of such animals can stop him learning. What if he really enjoys such things and my fears have prevented him from his full potential? That's probably a bit unfair. So I intend to step up and provide my son with as my experience as possible even if I do feel a bit out of my comfort zone. I guess that's what parenting is all about.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Local art.

Around our property there is some scrap metal and left over stuff from previous owners. Some of it I'd love to clear but that would include heaps of work primarily done by not me. There is this old container which is rusty and leaks. Not very good for storing much. But I thought it made a dramatic photo.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Wood fired pizza

Does it count if you put Pauly's pizza on top of the wood fire?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Travelling by train

Today I took the train to work. I've been looking forward to this for a few weeks now since I learned we were moving our office further into Sydney. For the past 3-4 years I've been driving down to Sydney for one day a week. It's been alright. Just for the that one day. When I first moved here 8 years ago I had full time work in Sydney. That lasted for about 9 months because I just didn't feel safe driving on the F3. Driving can be so dangerous and I've had a few close calls where my guardian angel has had to work overtime. So now I have to go a bit further in but I get to rest and relax. I can read, stitch, sleep, eat, people watch, gaze out the window and not have to worry about crazy drivers. I hope to do this for a little while as I'm finding it rather peaceful. I"m not sure I could hack it everyday but for my 1-2 days a week it will be a blessing.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Today I got to pretend I had 3 little boys. Benny had Jasper and Rain as playmates and we made a mess of someone else's house (sorry Jo!). The boys shared waterbottles and each ate about half their sandwiches. The ball in the car was a huge hit as were playing cars on the tiles. Benny kept dumping the crayons on the floor as well as the books in the front lounge room and Jasper kept saying "Not funny". Especially since he was interested in doing some colouring but Benny kept wanting to drop them on the floor. Benny had only 2 attempts at letting Rain he was bigger and stronger (sorry Jo!). They both learned to take turn riding the bike and both listened quite well to being relatively quiet when Rain was sleeping ( and that little boy is one easy baby to put to sleep!). I'm hoping in the weeks to come we can get some nice warm weather to explore the outside!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

27 months

Today Benzen is 2 years and 3 months old. Growing, maturing, learning, talking, adapting and loving. He is so keen to explore and learn and sometimes I feel a little inadequate to be the one to get to walk beside through his life. What happens if I miss to teach him instruction or forget to let him learn on his own? What if he is not doing enough drawing or reading or outdoor play? I know that kids are resilient and part of my job is to allow him to explore as much as he can. I also don't want him to be overwhelmed with what I think he should be doing. Motherhood is so rewarding and I really like being a Mom. More than just loving Benzen, I actually like him. He's fun. He's challenging. He's my son.

The new activity that Benny likes doing this week is pushing the bar stools around and getting up to see what's going on. This photo he pushed the chair into the pantry and had to yell out "Mommy help me". And you know what he wanted? Fruity bix. He wanted dried cereal as a snack. He then proceeded later that night, to pass on my hot cooked me for dried Fruity bix. I wasn't the least bit insulted!!

Part of bedtime ritual is brushing teeth. I bought this cute little doggie where Benny's toothbrush can hang. It's just low enough so he can reach by himself. I think he'd be happy to brush his teeth all day as long as he had the toothpaste in his other hand!

The last few nights Benny has been climbing out of his cot. He did this a couple of months ago and then stopped. I think he was happy just knowing he could if he wanted to. Now he's back at it. But he's happy and doesn't make a big fuss. He'll push all his blankets and stuff animals out of his cot first and then climb out. He'll then knock on the door and let us know he's out or push his books under the door. Subtle. So, yesterday, to avoid a broken neck, we took off the side and put the lower bar on. I felt quite handy, even though it was only a couple of screws I had to put in. But rewarding nonetheless!
I made the quilt on the bed when Benzen was born and the next quilt will be for his single size bed. It will be a surf theme, hence the shark stuffed animal.

And this morning Benny called for me "Mommy, wake up!!". (Still not sure if he's telling me HE has woken up or telling ME to wake up!)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Home grown adventures.

Benzen loves to get outside. We try and get out every day and explore our surroundings. Because it's winter it also means we need to gather twigs to start our fire. We walk down our drive to check the mail and pick up sticks. A must is to inspect the oranges. Benny relishes his oranges. I like that he knows where oranges come from and can even pick his own. He still occasionally eats the skin as he learns to peel a mandarin himself. Most of the time as we head to go out to the car to run an errand he'll head down the hill to get himself an orange. Sometimes I wonder if he's eating too many oranges but as long as they are in season how can I say no.

We also have lemon and grapefruit trees that bear fruit. A couple of years ago Colin was given a guava tree from my Grandma and a cherry tree from my parents. This year I gave him a blueberry bush. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they take off and we get some fruit.

Last summer I had a small vegie patch and I think I'll plant some more this year. I've seen a great planters box that used corrugated iron on the sides and since we have some lying around on our property I'm rather tempted to give it a go. I'll post some pictures if that eventuates!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

10km fun run.

Today was the Hunter Valley running festival that includes a marathon, half marathon, 10km, 6km and children's marathon. My friends Delena and Dale signed up ages ago and I kept putting off registering for the even. I went to the website this week to register and I saw that the price had gone up and I wouldn't get a t-shirt. So, being the thrifty person I am, opted not to register! But we didn't want to miss out on supporting fine runners so we still planned to go. Then yesterday I met up with Delena's brother in law Bill who said that he wasn't going to run the race so I could use his bib! Which meant at 7am this morning we left Cooranbong to drive to the beautiful Hunter Valley in considerable thick fog. It was very cold and we got there in plenty of time. We ended up waiting in the car for an hour or so keeping warm. You can see in the first photo the dense fog.

About 20 minutes prior to our 10km run the fog lifted and sun came out and everthing warmed up! The scenery was picturesque as we ran through the Hunter Valley Gardens, vineyards and quieter back streets. There was a few hundred people in the race and quite a steep, long hill in the first half of the run. Took me about an hour to do the run and I felt good. A little stiff now but nothing a few more days in my hot tub won't cure!

Colin and Benny came along and hung out for the morning. I love that about my husband. He supports me unconditionally. He looks after Benny so that I can do a run or triathlon or go shopping with the girls or clean the house. He doesn't begrudge me or guilt me. Colin wants me to be happy and content and he is amazing.

I like that both Colin and I want to lead healthy, active lives so we can pass this on to our son. We both know the benefits of being fit, being strong and enjoying movement of our bodies. We want Benny to be happy moving his body in ways that benefit him and surprise him! And what better way to lead by example. My Mom and Dad lead active lives and lead by example and believed in sport and this has lead me to believe in exercise too.

Benny holding my medal.

Dreadock update:
Today was hair washing day!! What sweet relief! I was amazed that my head didn't start to feel itchy until yesterday. The recommendations that i had read was to leave my dreads for a week or two before washing. So I waited as long as possible and today I got to wash. I have dread shampoo which really is shampoo without a lot of additives. I'm not to condition as this will make my dreads harder to lock up! My dreads have started to loosen a bit so they are a longer which I rather like. There are about 2 dreads at the back that are quite loose and I'm waiting patiently for my loctitians to return from the snow to fix them up!! I"m still loving them. I feel a lot less like I have to "do" my hair and just leave it the way it is. Most reactions have been positive and no one has said anything negative to me. I've noticed some not so sure facial reactions and that's fine. It's been interesting and lot less "out there" than I thought. After all, it really is only a hairstyle!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Giggles and Laughs.

My son enjoys laughing. He's learning to laugh at things we find funny. There is this particular part in the movie 'Cars' that Colin and I find particularly humourous. The part where Lightening is in the last race and has to have his wheels changed. The little wheel changing car does it really fast and the other teams are flabbergasted. Really not that funny but Pixal does a good job! And since we've watched this movie a couple of times (plus 10) Benny has learned to laugh at that part too. It's kind of a forced laugh and it seems he wants to laugh with us so we know he gets it! I find that funny! Benny also has a very contagious deep laugh as well when he's tickled, chased, playing hide and seek and pretending he doesn't want to go to bed.

Yeah, this kid is cute.

Friday, July 16, 2010

We're in!

We received our Big Camp 2010 applicant approval today. Very exciting and a relief. You see, not everyone gets in. Big Camp is such a highlight and such a demand that the conference has had to limit applications. From my understanding it's due to council regulations and it's such a shame. I would like to see Big Camp available to anyone who wants to go.

Big Camp is a pretty important place for me. My first Big Camp was in 1998. It's the place I met the man I fell in love with and would later marry. I met him on my 20th birthday to be exact. He certainly made an impression on me and we still talk about those days.

After we married we went back up for a weekend and stayed in the parking lot (we were kind of cheap back then and didn't want to pay to stay in our van!). What am I talking about? - we're still kind of cheap!! We were so cozy. We had the Mitsubishi L300 and had a mattress in the back with curtains around the windows. When the wind came up and flapped all the tent flaps we were as snug as a bug in a rug.

We went up again in 2007 when i was 13 weeks pregnant with Benny. Not quite over all the morning sickness but had such a good time with friends. The next year we took Philip, Heather, Carter and Madeline and Benny was 6 months old. We stayed in old canvas tents and had a blast. I enjoyed early runs on the beach and ate too many chocolate mint slice biscuits. ( and I hope P,H,C & M come again!)

This year we have a new Coleman tent and a 2 1/2 year old. I am looking forward to just hanging at the beach and enjoying the kids program. We'll see how the evening meeting attendance will go.

I love catching up with friends. I love sitting around with hot drinks. I love the walk down to the beach and seeing dolphins play in the surf. I love the music. I love good speakers. I love camping. I love being at Big Camp. I love the significance Big Camp has played in my life and hope Benzen finds it as great as I have.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I've change my hair do. Nothing too surprising. I am not someone who is intimating tied to my hair. In fact I've never been to worried about it. I never learned to do anything fancy with my hair besides change the colour of my pony tail holder. I've dramatically cut my long hair to a very short "duck's arse" hair style (the flip out at the back!). I've coloured and not coloured.

But lately I wanted something a little more different. Something that is easy but stylish. Dreadlocks came to mind. I've always wanted tiny braids. Back in grade 10 I went to Costa Rica with my school and so wanted to get my whole head done in braids. But I didn't want to give away a day at the beach to get them done. So I never did. But now I thought let's do it.

I had a few my favourite girlfriends come around one night and have a go. I had purchased a 'starter's kit' from and thought that would be the way I wanted to go. My friends painstakingly backcombed, twisted, waxed and tied tiny little elastics to my hair. Took about 6 hours the first night. I was nervous, excited, ready and a little apprehensive. But I enjoyed the outcome.
The next morning I was a little bit overwhelmed with the tackiness of the wax and how much work it was going to take. I wanted something simple. But I also understood that it would take some time for dreads to lock up and have that final look. I had a really good chat with my friend who continued to support me and encouraged me to just give it a go. Then I went and saw my other friends who had started the process and told them that I could have crocheted the dreads as well. That got them thinking and now the dreads are all crocheted! Amazing to think that hair can be crocheted. Now they are very tight, short and spunky. And I don't need to use the wax.

These are now Day 8 and are definitely easy to maintain! I have yet to wash them. As the crochet process took some time to complete I thought I'd wait as long as possible before washing. My head is a little bit itchy but not too bad!
With my dreads I hope to become more tolerant of others - their dress and hair choices, religious view points, political standpoints and opinions. I want to be more aware of my environment and be more considerate of recycling, reusing, making what I can, reducing my carbon footprint. I want to be more earthy. I would love for us to be self sufficient on our property. We already use tank water for drinking and showering and use dam water for flushing and watering. To be energy self sufficient is our plan one day. And I plan to have a big garden too. To grow my own vegetables is so gratifying and I would love to have fresh vegetables everyday!

So although there are some deeper thoughts into a hairstyle it still comes back to "it's just hair". I could just as easily take them out tomorrow and return to smooth, silky hair. We'll see. But I also think it's kind of cool for my grandkids to say "Yeah my Granny had dreads". I can have this hairstyle just because I can.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My writing.

Magnolia tree from my front yard that has since expired. Canon 350d

I so wish I could be dedicated to writing on this blog everyday. I stalk quite a few blogs and thoroughly enjoy reading what other people are up to. I get inspired by activities, photos, crafts, projects and lifestyle choices. So I figure other people wouldn't mind reading about me. However, I have never been good at keeping a journal. I can't count how many journals or diaries I have started and then petered out by the fifth day. I can't explain it. Maybe I get bored. Maybe I get distracted. Maybe I just forget. But nevertheless there isn't any regularity to my record keeping.

Maybe one thing is that I think no one will care about reading my diaries in years to come. But I would love to read my Grandmas' or my Mom's diary of what she was thinking when she was my age. Perhaps my children or grandchildren may find what I've written of some interest. Maybe I'll find it interesting in 20 years from now! But I'll never know if I never keep a record of my life! So I might as well keep this going as much as possible.

My good friend Jo has been updated her blog a bit more regularly and got me thinking about mine. I've had this blog since 2006 (4 years!!). I really want to keep a more regular record of whats going on in my life. So this is my attempt. I won't promise to write every day. I won't set myself up for unrealistic expectations of myself. But I will try. Because I can.