Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Water baby

As promised in my last post, here is a selection of photos of Joan enjoying one of her first swims in the pool.  She took to it like a duck to water.  GET IT?!?!?  Good lord I am funny.

Anyway, Joan LOVES the pool.  It took her about 5 seconds of thinking it over before the joyful little fruit-bat squeaks and squeals started.  It's hardly surprising that a child of Blair's loves the water so I'm sure she'll be diving and splashing around in no time.

That little hand on Blair's arm just kills me

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Garden progress & a visit from Nan

You guys, Blair is home for an extended period of time at last and it rules just as much as I thought it would.  We don't think he will be going away again until 2016!  The only problem I'm having is that I keep hearing myself snipe and nag at him and it is most unbecoming.  I hear myself and think, "Ugh, stop it stop it stop it!" and then the next thing I know I'm starting another sentence with, "It would be nice if you would just once..."

Not my best side, people.  Not my best side.

Progress on the house continues steadily.  The garden is really coming along, although we've now reached the time to just nurse it through summer hoping everything survives.  We've transplanted a yucca, planted some ground covers (grevillea and myoporum for those taking notes), put in two passionfruit, some lavender, got a herb garden going at last, and transplanted some poorly positioned plants.  So far it seems that everything has survived the upheaval.

Blair's also started a vegetable garden again with corn, carrots, tomatoes and I think beetroot all in the ground now.

I have been super slack with the photo taking so I don't have many shots to share, but here are a couple of progress photos:

New lavenders immediately after planting.  This garden bed is now overrun with weeds

That tiny green speck in the centre of the photo is a passionfruit.  It's about triple that size already.  Blair has added another terrace level to this garden bed since this photo was taken, and put down some turf on the left side.  The yucca on the right has also been transplanted to the front garden, and the right hand bed is now the veggie garden.  So basically this photo shows very little that is current.
I've been busy with the sewing machine again, and my most proud moment was completing this bonnet for Joan.  You wouldn't want to look at it too closely but it fits well with a little room to grow and if I can get her to stop tearing it off her head the instant I put it on her, it will be a great addition to her summer wardrobe.

 These photos are a month or two old and I can already see how much more babyish she looked then.

Last week Blair's mum Judyne came to stay for a week and got to meet Joan at last.  Living so far from family really does suck the big one.  Fancy getting to eight months old and never having met some of your family.  Anyway, Joan and Nan bonded pretty much instantly and they had such fun together.  It was awesome watching them interact, and Joan came along in leaps and bounds that week.  In the space of five days she learned to wave and mouth "hi" and "bye", to dance to music and to go in the pool (I will post the photos of her in the pool imminently because they are so stinking cute).  She is DEFINITELY mouthing out word sounds so I think her first words aren't far off.

She's also thinking about crawling (you can just about see the cogs turning in her little brain) but if I've learned anything about my baby girl, it's that she does things in her own time.  She cares not for developmental charts.  She will crawl when she's good and ready.  Fine by me.

While Judyne was here we left the baby with the nanny and made poor Judyne walk around in the hot sun at the local wildlife park.

It was really very warm even for us, and considering that Judyne had come from Taranaki where there was snow on the mountain just a few days earlier, she was a real trouper.  We revived ourselves with beers and delicious food in the Swan Valley before heading home again to relax in the air conditioning.

Here is Joan in the bath last week being her usual shy and retiring self:

And here is Joan with Nan who she simply ADORED.  Needless to say this photo is being printed pronto and will be hung on the wall:

Other news in brief:
  • I have finally done my first proper exercise since being pregnant and it felt good!  Have also signed up at the local gym.
  • Joan and I head off to Adelaide next week for a quick visit to my family - CANNOT WAIT
  • I have officially and sadly resigned from my job and am now, for the first time in my adult life, an unemployed bum.
Lastly before I go, I've motored through a few books during Joan's naps and after bedtime so it's time for some book recommendations...

The Utopia Experiment by Dylan Evans - I can't remember where I heard about this book but I really enjoyed it.  It's about an academic who starts up a self-sufficient community and ends up compulsorily detained in a psych ward.  Lots of really fascinating and thought-provoking discussion on "the end of the world".
The Wayward Pines trilogy by Blake Crouch - Blair and I thoroughly enjoyed the Wayward Pines TV series and wished it was longer.  We also wished that there were more answers to the glaring questions about how the whole thing worked.  The books definitely answer many questions but there is still some suspension of disbelief required.  Lots more thought-provoking commentary about the end of the world, society, and what is and should be acceptable.
Red Notice by Bill Browder - my dad recommended this to me and honestly I did not expect it to interest me at all.  Instead I have been gripped throughout and have to force myself to put it down.  I don't pretend to be up to date with current affairs at all but the actions of the Russian government and various officials are shocking.  I had no idea.  Considering that this book is about investments and markets and some pretty dry topics, it's a fantastically interesting read.  HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

Saturday, 24 October 2015


Christmas time, Christmas time...

Glazed ham complete with cloves, Christmas 2010 (at my sister's farm outside Tintinara, South Australia)
I love Christmas!  I extra-double-love it now that Joan is here and I can project all my Christmas-related excitement onto her.  Not that, at 10 months old, she is going to have the first clue what's going on.  That's not the point.

My nephew Fred decorates the tree, Christmas 2011 (Tintinara)
For the past ten or fifteen* years my Christmas joy has been somewhat subdued - no tree or decorations at my house for one thing.  Of all our Christmases together, Blair and I have only spent one at home, so why bother?  And without kids to razz into a high state of hysteria excitement, why bother?

Blair's first Gilfillan family Christmas, 2012 (Tintinara again!  How did poor Hazel end up hosting Christmas three years in a row?) (Also, I love Blair's face in the this pic, like, WTFFF is wrong with these people)
But now!  Now I have my own baby and Christmas in my house IS BACK, people.  Observe: I bought Joan a Christmas t-shirt back in April.

Last year Blair bought a living Christmas tree from Bunnings and it has flourished appropriately and should be ready to come inside and get decorated to within an inch of its life come December.  

This green, living, pine-smelling tree is a new dealie for me, because when I was a kid my parents somehow happened upon the weird tradition of a dead Christmas tree.  We'd go into the scrub on the family farm (minding out for snakes of course) and pick the deadest driest branch, preferably leafless, and drag it triumphantly back to the house.  It's a testament to how strong the Christmas spirit is in children that my sister and I LOVED our dead Christmas tree and would pose in front of it proudly for photos.  I wish I had a photo here now to show you.


Christmas 2013 (at home in Perth - only my second Christmas ever away from my family)
Last year when I was pregnant I started to get excited about the Christmases to come.  I bought a Christmas light thing and some felt robin-red-breast tree decorations from IKEA, the first Christmas items I have owned since moving out of home.

I started to imagine a house decked out with lights and wreaths and tinsel every year, just like ours was (only ours had the the weird dead tree at the centre of it all).  I even seriously contemplated buying a Thomas Kinkade collectible from the Bradford Exchange.  Yes I did.

Actually I wish I hadn't remembered that because now I'm back on their website again agonising over whether $250 is too much to pay for a lighted animated singing Christmas sculpture.

Christmas 2014 (at my other sister's house in Adelaide)
This year I have really struggled to restrain myself from buying all the decorations.  Do you know how much good stuff there is out there?  And cheap.

The way to do it, of course, is to gradually build up a collection of Christmas stuff over the years.  Not to buy armloads of glittery ornaments and reindeer figurines in green, red, gold and silver in one crazed shopping frenzy.  So I am not going to do that.  Probably.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some Thomas Kinkade sculptures to agonise over.

*Fifteen years since I've been out of home?  That can't be right.  I'm still only 23 years old.

Sunday, 11 October 2015


Just a bit of fun on this Saturday Sunday morning!

Relationship Goals
Some Twitter sage said of Kanye: "An asshole to the world, a gentleman to his girl".  

I can't say that I especially love either Kanye or Kim separately but the two of them together?  So sweet!  I hope they stay together forever.

None of those photos are mine (SHOCK) and I have copied them from google without any permission whatsoever

I'm a Sewing Machine!
Or… you know what I mean.  I pulled out the sewing machine recently for the first time in a LONG time, and since then have been on a mad sewing kick.  I've made:

A blouse for me (pattern available here)

A romper for Joan (tutorial here).  Which she clearly loves.

And, far less exciting, a laundry bag for Blair when he's on site because I recently discovered that he was still using the bag below for his laundry.
Can you read that?  It says "Patients Clothing".  This is what they put his clothes in when he was rushed to hospital in Karratha last year with his appendix about to explode.  And he decided it was the best laundry bag ever.  No words, people.  I have No Words.
Moving on...

It's just around the corner…

I'm still determined to keep Joan's mountain of toys to a minimum but I would like to have a gift or two under the tree for her.  She'll be ten months old at Christmas so (once again) I am calling on you parents to impart your wisdom to me.  What would be great gifts for a nearly one-year-old (WAH) that will stay in favour for hopefully months/years to come?