Also known as our year of broken stuff.
Since late last year we have had a number of crucial household appliances break or otherwise cease functioning effectively, including our vacuum cleaner, lawnmower, whipper snipper, fridge and old freezer (was kept in the garage for bulk frozen goods storage).
Some of these were easier to deal with than others. The vacuum cleaner, which was a relatively cheap but pretty good one from Aldi was replaced with a new, pretty good, relatively cheap one from Aldi. The whipper snipper was replaced with a $10 pair of garden shears of the type that my Dad has always used, which look like old-fashioned sheep shears. These also work very well and are actually quite therapeutic to use. The mower can probably be repaired and I just need to get myself organised and take it to a lawnmower mechanic.
The fridge is in a different order of magnitude though. Almost all of the shelves broke in the middle and temporary repairs involving super-glue, wood for bracing and/or duct tape only go so far. It was also tending to freeze the vegetables and salad things while not cooling some other foods adequately. Unfortunately it is also rather expensive to replace. Exceptionally kindly, my parents came to the rescue and offered to buy us a new fridge.
About a month ago Tegan noticed a David Jones catalogue advertising 20% off all white goods. The same night she checked the Choice website and found a very recent article reviewing and comparing fridges. There was only one fridge in their survey that exactly fit the dimensions of the fridge space in our kitchen and it was one of the top five fridges as reviewed by Choice. The next day it was in to DJs and with the 20% discount the fridge we wanted was cheaper than anywhere else we could find it, including discount appliance stores like The Good Guys and Clive Anthony’s. Three weeks later our new fridge arrived.
Anastasia was prepared for it and was asking about the new fridge on her way home from child care. The first thing she did when she got home was rush into the kitchen to see it, followed immediately be decorating it with her magnets. Very cute.
In case you want to know the gory details, it’s a Fisher and Paykel 442BRX. While slightly smaller than our old fridge it seems to fit a bit more. The shelves are adjustable to a number of different positions and they’re glass, so shouldn’t crack down the middle like our old ones.
Because it’s an upside down fridge it also means that Anastasia can reach the freezer door and the very first time she did the first thing she noticed was one of her favourite foods – ice cream. Fortunately, she has learned very quickly that she has to ask first before she is allowed to open the freezer door.
Not all new things need be boring household appliances though. I also bought a new bike. I haven’t ridden for a few years but when I was commuting to work a few years ago, I was riding my Dad’s old bike, which he bought in the mid-1980s. While it was generally quite fine, being an old bike the brakes didn’t have great stopping power, particularly not in Canberra’s fog, the gears weren’t moving smoothly and the chain would come off from time to time while I was changing gears, and all that even after I had it professionally serviced.
I got a good deal on a new Giant Cross City 3, fitted with a great little kids seat for Anastasia to ride in. They even fitted a drink bottle holder attached to Anastasia’s seat. Anastasia was very proud heading into the bike shop with her Dora the Explorer helmet, which she got to wear while we rode home together.
Anastasia and I have been riding quite a bit – mostly just commuting into town to our (well, my) favourite coffee shop or Anastasia’s child care, though we have been for at least one really good ride down to the lake and back. Less exciting though, I’m also getting better at fixing flat tyres.
Unfortunately, it also looks as though the coffee machine will be the next thing to die: oh, the horror! That may be the worst one yet.
Isaac is now seven weeks old. This is an update of what has happened in that time. It’s a long read, so perhaps grab a cup of coffee first to keep you going and awake if you want to read all the way to the end.
Tegan recovered really well from her caesarean. In fact, she recovered so well and so quickly she somewhat shocked the midwives and the obstetrician and received some renown for being able to get out of bed and walk only about 12 hours after the operation and then move out of her surgical bed and into a normal room the next morning. Personally, this didn’t surprise me as she recovered quite quickly from her caesarean after Anastasia was born and this time around she wasn’t in labour for over 30 hours first.
The only complication, if it can be called that, in the first few days was that we had to start feeding Isaac formula in addition to breast milk on his second night. As was the case with Anastasia, Tegan couldn’t produce enough breast milk and Isaac needed additional formula to supplement what Tegan could give him. This came to a head on the second night when Tegan was looking at the colostrum she had been expressing and realised that she wasn’t expressing 3mL in the 40 minutes after a feed, but just 0.3mL. At least this time we were prepared and picked it up while we were still in hospital rather than several weeks later, as we did with Anastasia. Consequently, Isaac lost only about 200g by the end of our stay in hospital, in contrast with Anastasia who lost about 700g in her first week and who didn’t make back her birth weight until she was four weeks old.
‘Snugglebunny’ is one of Anastasia’s favourite toys. He was a gift to her from friends of ours, Ally and Nathanael, when they visited us in hospital in the week she was born. Since Anastasia went to child care, he has been the toy that she slept with and used for comfort. When she switched child care centres in around April 2010 he took on added importance as the toy that gave her additional comfort when she was in a new surrounding. He also started coming home each night, whereas previously he had just been kept in the child care centre.
Just after Isaac was born, I accidentally left Snugglebunny at child care one Monday night after picking Anastasia up. When we discovered at bedtime that he wasn’t there, Anastasia was devastated. She wanted us to go back to childcare right then to pick him up, to which we had to explain that all the leaders had gone home too and that we couldn’t get in. It took her about an hour to calm down and settle after this discovery and only after we promised to go in first thing the next morning to pick him up, which of course we did. Anastasia proudly proclaimed, “I’m happy with Snugglebunny back.”
A couple of weeks after that, Snugglebunny once again was left at childcare. This time, however, he was just nowhere to be found when we went to leave. Anastasia and I and the leaders in her room looked everywhere for him but to no avail. I expected Anastasia to be devastated once again but she actually took it in her stride, explaining to Tegan when we got home that she lost Sungglebunny at child care. We called a few time during the week and he still hadn’t been found, nor was he there when Anastasia went back to child care on Friday. Despite taking it quite well, Anastasia was a bit disappointed when she thought about her missing Snugglebunny and a few times on the weekend said, “I want Snugglebunny back.”
We made this poster to put up at child care on the Monday to see if we could enlist additional support in finding Snugglebunny, but it was never actually needed as, lo and behold, when we arrived on the Monday morning Snugglebunny had been found and the leaders proudly presented him to Anastasia as soon as she walked into the room. She was ecstatic and didn’t put him down again for some time. Along with her Kaloo bears and a very old baby doll, he remains her favourite toy and still goes to childcare with her every time, although we are much more careful now to make sure he always comes home again too.
Isaac Samuel Johnson
Born 8:17am, Monday 14 February 2011 at Calvary Hospital, Canberra
He weighed in at 3.9kg, was 53cm long and had a 33cm head circumference. This puts him at roughly the same size as was his older sister Anastasia when she was born, however she was 2 weeks overdue and Isaac was born one week before his nominal due date. In other words, he’s likely to be a very big boy.
Thanks be to God for this wonderful blessing in our life.
Having a planned caesarean was much better than Tegan’s previous experience of being induced, being in labour for a day and a half and finally having an emergency caesarean. Tegan recovered very quickly this time around – she was able to get out of her surgical bed for a shower the same day and was up and walking and able to move into a normal room the morning after the operation. All the doctors and midwives were quite astonished at how quickly she recovered – she earned a reputation as a bit of a superwoman.
Anastasia is very sweet with him as well. She is coping with the changes in her life pretty well and she says that she likes being a big sister. She likes giving Isaac little cuddles and kisses too.
I’m posting more photos of Isaac at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mistertim/. Some may be marked as private for friends/family only, so if you want to see those and can’t, let me know.
The three of us went to the ‘Close Up‘ exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery yesterday. This is an exhibition of works by a photographer named Martin Schoeller and was quite enjoyable. Every photo is almost identical – they are more or less composed, lit and photographed in exactly the same way (though I noticed a few where the post-processing was noticeably different, for example in a photo of Henry Kissinger). About half to tw-thirds of the exhibition are portraits of celebrities, ranging from Paris Hilton to Barack Obama. The remainder of the exhibition are photos of people from tribes in South America and Africa. The effect is very interesting – in theory the work should be a great equaliser, with there being no real difference in the end between the celebrities and the tribespeople. However, to my mind the celebrity portraits were more engaging. I’m not sure why – maybe I’ve just been conditioned to find those people interesting, or maybe they really did have more of a presence in front of the camera. Whatever it was, the exhibition overall was great and worthwhile visiting.
Outside the exhibition they had a bench set up (more for kids, I guess) with shaving mirrors, paper and pencil so that one could sketch oneself. The three of us all had a go at it, though Anastasia finished first and spent most of the time eating her morning tea.
This was the first sketching I had done since art class in early high school. I was terrible at it back then, but perhaps not so bad these days.