Tuesday, May 29, 2007

4 seasons

just the other day i said to some friends that we haven't had the melbourne 4 seasons in one day weather in a long time. today changed that. it was very mild overnite (we even slept with the windows open) and today started off really nice and warm (i wore just a tshirt and a lightweight jumper-- i even took the jumper off for a while). it was REALLY windy though (the blue wind chart is off the top!). as we were getting the kids settled for rest time it started getting really dark and rainy. it rained on and off thru the afternoon and was VERY dark. the temperature dropped a lot too (i was cold on my ride home with just my thin jumper and a relector vest to protect me from the cold wind.
poor dog probably didn't have a good day either. the wind was blowing the rain right into the house so the only dry spot would have been her dog house and from her wet fur i don't think she was smart enough to stay in there. i'm sure she was down the side of the house when i got home because i was very quiet coming up the driveway but she was whining at the gate before i even started to undo the lock. she wouldn't have been able to hear that (even with her great dog hearing) from the back of the house. now that she's settled (she goes nuts when we try to dry her with towels) she's passed out on "her" chair. if i'd actually believed the weather forcast i would have left her inside but it was so beautiful this morning (except the strong gusty winds) that i didn't believe it would turn so cold, dark and wet.
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Monday, May 28, 2007


its so gray this morning that this street light still thinks it needs to be on-- its 10am!
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Sunday, May 27, 2007

just some random photos

i wanted to take more pictures today than i did but here's a couple scenic views i've been meaning to take for a while and i finally remembered to take the camera when we went up that way

the city as seen from high street in northcote (click on the image to see it larger):

the city from northcote. i like this one cuz of the train line (the city is a bit hidden behind trees and stuff)

zac's change from the coffee shop. the queen has had a makeover.
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Saturday, May 26, 2007

broken brain

yesterday i endured 8 hours of training at the early childhood education conference. most of the sessions were good but just having to sit most of the day was hard. i don't sit still well. it makes my back and my shoulders and my neck hurt. i was impressed with all the goodies we got: a cooler bag with mostly useless advertisements for different companies making toys and equipment for kinders and creches, a couple useful pamphlets, a magnet (can never have too many fridge magnets even if it was for a superanuation fund),a pen, a plastic sand scoop (which if i don't take into work for the kids to use, it'll become a dog poop scoop), some bottled water, and best of all-- chocolate. i also made the point of walking past the australian super booth (the only booth there that had goodies to entice people to come talk to them. also the only booth that didn't have dozens of people constantly gathered around it) and picking up a free plastic water bottle (can never have enough of those for the bike), some more chocolates and another magnet (i didn't take another pen but i probably should have). when i told zac about all my goodies he just said i sounded like michael scott ('the office' for those who don't know).
i went to a good session on sustainability in early childhood ed. with tracy young (co-author of a few early childhood publications). i got a couple good ideas for next year out of that (we're on the right track right now with that but there's always room for improvement).
i think my favourite session (which also happened to fall in the worst time slot: 3:30-5 on a friday afternoon) was by kathy walker the author of the book "what's the hurry". i didn't realize until i got into the session that i've actually heard her speak before on this topic. it was still great though. she talks a lot about the whole thing of parents (and some preschool teachers) believing that children need to sit down and be learning things like numeracy and literacy as well as skills like how to line up so they will be ready for prep (year before grade 1). that's not true. there is starting to be a big movement of reintroducing play-based curriculums not only in preschools/kinders but also in early primary school (prep to year 2). that's what our centre focuses on. every once in a while we get parents asking what we're doing for literacy and numeracy (expecting that we'll be saying something like that we'll be learning a new letter every day or we sit down and do worksheets with counting on them or something). children learn through play. they don't need to do worksheets or develop fine motor skills by colouring in the lines of a colouring sheet or whatever. the activities they do help them learn literacy and numeracy as well as countless other life skills like being able to hold a conversation with peers or adults, problem solving..... the children who are interested in sitting and practicing printing do it through play (i.e. they make a book or draw a picture for a friend. if they want to write something they do have an alphabet sheet available as well as a list of how to spell everyone's names and they can ask us to write something for them to copy). no child is forced to come do a certain activity or do things a certain way. preschool/kinder isn't about preparing for prep. they will learn what to do in prep when they get to prep. its funny though how we have to explain the whole play based learning letting kids just be kids to parents. at the end of the session kathy gave us some really encouraging statistics about how play-based learning is doing.
i found a good article from the age that kind of sums up some of the things she talked about.
it was a good day but i'm exhausted. the conference is on again today but we only went for friday. i don't think i would have made it thru today. by the time we got home at 7pm (there was "happy hour" after the conference and then a 45 drive home-- not sure why it wasn't in a more central, inner city location instead of a racecourse in a random suburb) i was ready for bed. i layed on the couch and stared blankly at the tv for a couple hours. i must have been out as soon as my head hit the pillow because i don't remember zac coming to bed at all (and he said he came in 20 min after me). i never fall asleep that quickly.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

veganism and babies

a big thing in the news lately is the vegan parents who were tried and convicted of murder after their 6 week old vegan infant died of starvation. they fed the baby soy milk and apple juice when the mother's milk supply wasn't enough. of course a big part of most of the news articles is the attack on vegan diets-- especially children on vegan diets (the link above is one of the few articles i've seen that don't attack the vegan diet, just that the child wasn't fed). that child didn't die from a vegan diet, he died from under-educated parents who were never taught about caring for the baby properly (and obviously never read a soy milk carton label which all state that soy milk is not nutritionally adequate for children under 2). vegan diets done properly are very healthy for mother and baby. probably in this case the parents should have been giving the child formula since the mothers milk supply was not adequate (even though formula isn't vegan). the child was born at home and not taken to a doctor when he continued to lose weight. his death wasn't because of veganism, it was parental stupidity and under-education in how to raise a healthy child. i've seen many responses on people's blogs about this and many many photos of vegan families with healthy vegan children. if zac and i ever change our minds and decide to have kids (not just furry 4 legged ones) they would probably be vegan (or at least vegetarian) from birth (even our 4 legged one is maily vegetarian, except the large chucks of meat and bones from the nieghbour-- we won't buy her any though). it is possible (and not that hard) to get all the necessary nutrients from plant sources.
a few people pointed out that the death of a vegan baby causes a lot of uproar about the vegan diet but how many more omnivorous babies die of starvation each year and we rarely hear about those. also, how many omnivorous children are raised with improper diets and end up with other health issues such as obesity, diabetes and other problems?
basically the bottom line is: the child was not fed properly. for some reason the parents didn't realize what they were feeding him (soy milk and apple juice)was not ok for newborns. they did not seek medical help for their child at all. that is why the child died.


its getting cold, especially at nite but the days are only around 16C (and its been so damp that it feels even colder). poor wombat doesn't like it much. she's been crawling into our bed lots (especially the other nite when she absolutely REFUSED to sleep on her bed so she ended up in the middle of our bed under the covers all nite). she stays in bed when i get up in the morning too (under the covers). i dragged her out this morning only cuz it was so cold that i wanted to turn the space heater on in the lounge room so i wanted to close the lounge room doors. didn't think wombat would like being locked in the front of the house (even if she was under the covers) so i made her get up and come into the lounge room with the heater. i've got the heat off now and the back door open but i'm FREEZING (even with 3 layers of clothes). i really don't like winter (and its not even winter for another 9 days or something!)!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

the waifs and keith urban

last nite i got to see keith urban! it was amazing. what made it even better was that one of my favourite bands (the waifs) were opening for him! denise got the tickets as soon as she could but we were hoping we could get front row tix and put ours on ebay (the drummer is in the extended family of a friend of ours in america-- he got front row tickets for zac's aunt and uncle when they were in america). unfortunately that didn't happen but we had really good seats (11 rows back in the seats above the floor and only about 2 seats right of centre stage). part way through the band came down to a hidden setup at the end of the runway and played right infront of us! it was sooooo good! here's a little video clip i got of one of the songs (i have a bunch of video clips of the waifs and keith urban but most of them are really bouncy-- one person moves and the whole row of seats moves)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

memory jogging

i just remembered something i was gonna post about a week ago. after reading about the 100th blog entry about people's mother's days i finally remembered something-- the cute mother's day gifts the kids made at work.
i wish i had some photos of them (we do have photo copies at work but its not the same). first they made fans. we somehow got a ton of plastic frames for fans (kinda like big round-ish leaf shape) so one of the staff decided to cut coloured paper to contact onto the frame and have each kid draw a picture of what their mum likes and then we wrote above it "my mum likes [whatever the kid said]" some were hilarious! there were several "my mum likes to work or do the dishes or clean....." (i don't think the kids have distiguished between "likes" and "has to" yet). "my mum likes 2 cups of tea and relax in the banana lounge", "my mum likes shaun the sheep" (i like that one-- i wanna see that movie), "my mom likes being married to my dad".....also a lot of "my mum likes [doing something for me]" sort of ones.
in the afternoon we helped the kids make cards. we got some google-y eyes and glued them on the front and told them to draw a picture of their mum. inside we wrote "i love my mum because [whatever the kid said]" again we got a lot of funny ones (and some really sweet ones) and some really funny pictures. one mum was drawn as a monster (he loves drawing monsters and he's pretty good at it). another mom had boobs cuz she was breastfeeding the kids new baby brother. we got a lot of "i love my mom because she does.....for me". there was an "i love my mum cuz she says 'come and give me a cuddle'.... my favourite was something like "i love my mum cuz after kinder sometimes we go to the olden days. i like it when she puts me on the train and i go to see the robinsons" what?!?! that kid is in his own little world sometimes but he's pretty cute and funny-- we've got a few like that.
too bad fathers day isn't for a few months (its in september in oz, not june like north america). i'm excited to see what funny things they'll say for fathers day.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

the big 3-0

zac's cousin's husband turned 30 so they had a big bbq for it with a "b&s ball" theme. i was lame and didn't dress up but i wasn't the only one. zac dressed up:

in an "interesting" outfit (the hat wasn't his though- he just ended up with it for most of the afternoon/evening)

the sherriff and his horse:

my favourite 4 legged friend at the party (only cuz alvie wouldn't sit still for a pat or a picture):

henry's gorgeous with his blue eyes (the photo doesn't really show them well).

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

winter gardening

not the best pic but that's one of my first seedlings from my autumn/winter garden (peas and new zealand spinach). i'm not sure if the spinach is poking up or if their just little weed seedlings. the seedlings in the pea row are definately peas though. its great that you can garden all year round here (although i have a lot of trouble keeping up with it)
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a bit like a roo

the roo pic is from queesland last year. i found this pic i took of wombat a couple months ago. neither of them look extremely comfortable.
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Thursday, May 10, 2007

there's a dog stuck in the computer!

not really but that's what wombat thinks and she's still sniffing and trying to figure out how to rescue(/eat?) it.
its all cuz i put this video on:

it's fergus. he's lives with this person. she's a vegan cookbook writer/photographer/co-owner of a tatoo place...... in victoria. in this video fergus is doing his whining thing that he apparently does EVERY time she goes to the grocery store (and he gets dropped off at her friend's petstore in the complex for a visit and treats while she shops). i'm glad wombat isn't like that in the car

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

weather and wombat

it's only 8pm, its down to 14C and i'm already freezing. it only got up to 17C today (i think 2 nites ago it didn't get much below 17C!). winter is coming.
i don't know what's up with wombat but 2 nites ago she absolutely REFUSED to sleep on her bed (which she LOVES and most nites if i go to bed way before zac i have trouble convincing her to come cuddle with me until he comes to bed cuz i get cold). we yelled at her, nudged her, pushed her.... but she wouldn't get down (and the 2 times she hopped down, she got right back up before we could even tuck her in). we decided something must be wrong with her and we gave in and let her sleep on the bed all nite. i wouldn't let her have the middle though (her favourite spot) so she cuddled as close to me as she could get and i layed on my side sandwiched between her and zac). last nite she at least curled up on her bed and let zac tuck her in burrito style. i woke up sometime during the nite to her waking over top of me to get into the middle and she went under the covers head first (her usually way-- head first stretched right from the head of the bed down to our feet). i thought it was close to morning (didn't look at the clock) but i woke up what was probably at least a couple hours later, maybe more, and it was only 6am. so i think she spent a good part of last nite with us. i'm gonna put her hot water bottle on her bed tonite and see if that helps her stay in her own bed. right now i'm gonna brave the cold and wake her up and take her over to the park on her brand new, extra tough extending lead (wear her out).

Friday, May 04, 2007

its all breakfast

i've said before that wombat is very smart and she knows a lot of words. the last week or so we've been trying to teach her the word "dinner" (she knows "breakie"/"breakfast"). she still doesn't seem to have any clue that "dinner" means food (which she loves). she's been staring at my 1/2 eaten dinner for the last 10 minutes while waiting for hers (she's the bottom of this pack-- she eats last). i made a comment to zac about how she's not scared of him at breakfast (her ears perked up at this point) but at dinner she cowers and is VERY nervous while zac prepares her dinner (and once in a while when i do it). we both started asking her if she wanted dinner. no response from her (except to continue staring at my plate on the desk). then we decided to ask her if she wanted breakfast. she went into the kitchen right away but then came back when she realized no one followed. i told zac to keep calling it breakfast and maybe she won't cower while he gets it ready. zac walked into the kitchen talking about breakfast and wombi followed right behind. unfortunately it didn't solve the cowering and shaking though. funny how she can't get her head around "dinner" being food as well as "breakie". i guess she has no reason to believe 2 completely different words mean the same thing so she's chosen to know food by the first word she learned.
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hard afternoon

this morning was good- i let wombat do her first lead-dragging run with me at a park. zac's been doing for a week or so. he just leaves the lead attached so its dragging behind her (and the little plastic container full of spare poo bags on the end bounces up and hits her in the bum repeatedly). she did soooooo well!!! she came to me and sat EVERY time i called her. i just had to keep watching the 3 entrances to the oval to make sure no other dogs were around. i was VERY proud of her.
everything changed when i got to work though. i was greeted by the director who told me she'd had a run-in with a parent-- the director was still quite upset over the issue. when i went into the room i was greeted by 2 more staff who also were yelled at by the parent over other issues....and everyone was very tense about the situation. so that started things off on the wrong foot. after rest time some of the kids started going crazy (a couple of them just running around the room, not actually doing anything-- we don't let them do that inside, a couple boys repeatedly provoking a girl cuz they know she'll react with high pitched whines and cries.....it was horrible) so we decided to go outside. the kids who wanted to run could run, and the rest of them could just spread out and be far away from each other. didn't work as well as planned. the running kids would not stay in the running areas (so they don't fall on the pavement and hurt themselves, which happens often) and the other kids wouldn't quit provoking each other. we ended up with one kid getting shoved hard by another and crying and then 10 min later he got hit in the head with a hard object (he wasn't even the intended target, he just happened to be in between the thrower and her target person-- the kids weren't handling their anger etc. to well at this point in the day and were forgetting to "use their words" and listen to their friends when they ask them to stop doing something). oh, and then on the way home a guy came VERY close (like less than 1m away) to hitting me in a round about while i was on my bike with my bright lights flashing, my yellow safety vest with reflectors on and a few street lights over me (i think he just blindly followed the 2 cars infornt of him into the round about without looking to his right for oncomming traffic already in the round about). its friday though!!! i don't have to deal with work again until monday (and hopefully then we'll have a beautiful afternoon like we did yesterday even though we were stuck inside with severe storm warnings all afternoon) and we've got our new computer monitor so i can finally see the colours properly again and edit some photos! sorry for the long rant. needed to get it out of my system.


we got a video of me being mauled with kisses from the dog. the lighting is pretty crappy cuz it was at nite and zac didn't change the lighting setting on the camera but what you can see is pretty much what happens on a regular basis now (usually at least twice in the morning and possibly again in the evening). its her way of saying she wants something (this video she was aksing for the ton of ketchup left on my plate on the edge of the desk). she's also getting more and more talkative too (i couldn't get her to talk on video last nite though)

update: i got a short clip of her talking .she was doing it more before i pulled the camera out (some higher pitched noises) but the video is kinda funny-- it shows how it goes from her talking to me to mauling me.

she was doing talking cuz i gave her some dog safe chocolate and then i got a timtam out for myself and sat down at the computer to have my timtam slam. she knew i had chocolate and was quite upset i wasn't sharing (she doesn't understand bad chocolate/good chocolate).

Thursday, May 03, 2007

poor dog

how cute is she? we're the same size (although some of my girl-cut t-shirts are too small for he around her broad chest). this hoodie is actually a kids size 12-- it fits her really well so i think i'm gonna try to find her a hoodie at the op shop in size 12 (hopefully pretty plain) and i'm gonna make her her own footie hoodie (they had doggie team tshirts at kmart but wombi would be too big for the large size so i'm gonna make her a demons shirt (for cold morning walks and watching the game in cuz she likes to watch the footy too-- she's into anything that involves cuddling on the couch )
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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

more wombat stuff

i woke up the other nite and turned on the light to grab something. i looked at wombat's bed to find her sleeping like this:

she doesn't look comfortable at all but i walked out of the room, grabbed the camera, took a few photos with the flash and she just continued snoring so she was in a pretty deep sleep. she's spending most of the nite on her new bed (i even tried to convince her to come to bed with me the other nite until zac came in but she just kept jumping down onto her own bed-- must be really comfy). she gets up once a nite and jumps on our bed. two of those nites we've asked her if she needed to go out and she jumped down and went to the back door and did her stuff when we let her out. last nite i couldn't be bothered to take her out but she got down willingly when i called her back to her own bed so she was probably just looking for cuddles. she doesn't get on the bed in the morning until zac's alarm goes off (and on the weekend she doesn't get up until around 9am).

she's got a new thing she does when i get up in the morning now. one of the first things i do is get on the computer. i think wombat would prefer that i paid attention to her instead. she stands next to me and talks (a bunch of low growls and some weird higher pitched noises). i'll turn the chair to face her and ask her what's up. she jumps up onto my lap. she usually doesn't just sit like she is in the photo below though-- her front paws go on the back of the chair over each of my shoulders and she licks/slobbers all over my face with her big tongue and cold wet nose (yuk!!). it goes on for a couple minutes of me trying to push her face away from me without her falling backwards off the chair (fortunately for her, when her paws go on the back of the chair the chair tilts back a fair bit so she's pretty stable-- and i'm pretty helpless). we've got some photos of the whole thing but they aren't very good. next time zac's around when it happens maybe he can video it.
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