Anastasia at two and three quarters

Anastasia at 2 and three quartersWe are enjoying watching Anastasia grow and develop into a little girl.  We love seeing her personality emerge and her understanding of the world expand more and more.  She brings us so much joy!

A few of her favourite things…

  • People
  • Anastasia is a gregarious little soul who loves her people!  Anastasia loves going to creche at church on Sunday and during ladies Bible study, often asking to go during the week. The carers at childcare have told us that Anastasia is a happy, confident little girl who is very affectionate. She does seem to enjoy her time there, particularly ‘Music with Miss Jess’ on Mondays, and is invariably in a wonderful mood when we pick her up. She has formed consistent friendships with several of her classmates at childcare but she remains most closely attached to her family.  Anastasia loves seeing, playing with, talking to and praying for her family.  When looking at the family portraits taken over the years, Anastasia will excitedly announce, “That’s my family!”

  • Baby dolls
  • These have been a constant favourite since she was about 10 months old.  Where other toys have featured as favourites for a while and then been returned to the toy box, Anastasia has retained her delight in baby dolls.  She plays with them at home, at crèche and at childcare.  Isaac’s arrival has prompted an even greater range of activities, with baby dolls being tucked into bed, rocked to sleep and patted to calm their crying.

  • Acorns
  • After going through a phase of picking up sticks and rocks everywhere we went, Anastasia wholeheartedly transferred her affections to acorns.  The lovely oak trees across the road have provided a ready supply but familiarity in this instance has not bred contempt!  We find collections of acorns in the base of the pram, in Anastasia’s handbags, her pockets and jewellery box, in her toy sink and under the couch in her room.  We must have thrown out kilos of them!  Thank goodness the season won’t last for too much longer…

  • Toy trains
  • Tim and Anastasia playing with her (their?) train setTim was diligent in expanding Anastasia’s toy train collection in the months leading up to Isaac’s arrival and she now has quite an impressive collection.  Tim and Anastasia have spent a wonderful time creating an amazing variety of track designs and sending the trains around them – I’m not sure which of them has more fun!

  • Music
  • This has always been a favourite with her, only now she is much more vocal about what she’d like to listen to.  In the car we often hear comments on the music being played from the rear seat: “What’s this music called?”, “I don’t like this music.”, “I like this music – this song is cool!”.  The Peter, Paul and Mary we used to play for Anastasia has largely faded in popularity, although she is still intrigued by identifying songs that we played for her “when I was a baby”. Dora the Explorer songs are always popular, but the surprising favourite is Bjork’s ‘It’s oh so quiet’.  ‘Lah-Lah’s Big Live Band’ has been a recent and very popular addition to her collection and we have very much enjoyed dancing along in the living room with percussion instruments in hand! Yo-Yo Ma still provides the soundtrack for each evening’s descent into sleep with Bach’s Cello Suites; Anastasia described this to us the other day as ‘quiet’ music.

  • Books
  • Anastasia has always loved books and her love of them has only increased.  She loves looking at books and being read to and has recently begun pretending to read herself.  She delights in ‘reading’ to us by reciting one of her favourite books – “The Big Night-night Book” by Georgie Birkett – from memory.  Lately she has started ‘reading’ to Isaac, sitting next to his bouncer and telling familiar stories from her own books. She is starting to recognise numbers and letters and often gets frustrated when she cannot read for herself.

Cool playlist – 2nd quarter 2011

I’ve been quite enjoying this playlist that I put together in iTunes recently:

  1. Cheated Hearts – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  2. Bear – Grace Woodroofe
  3. Black Sheep – Metric
  4. Hey Now Now – The Cloud Room
  5. Streets of Your Town – The Go-Betweens
  6. Shop Vac – Jonathan Coulton
  7. On The Table – A.C. Newman
  8. Boom Boom – John Lee Hooker
  9. Why Don’t You Do Right – Jessica Rabbit (from the movie, Who Framed Roger Rabbit)
  10. The Middle – Jimmy Eat World
  11. Jungle – Emma Louise
  12. The Night Last Night – Mark Ronson & The Business Intl.
  13. Tender As a Rose – Abbey Lincoln (best listened to late at night with the lights off)
  14. Two Against One (feat. Jack White) – Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi
  15. I Will Possess Your Heart – Death Cab for Cutie
  16. Lovesong РS̼nas
  17. Darkness Descends – Laura Marling
  18. The Perfect Drug – Nine Inch Nails
  19. Those Were The Days – Leningrad Cowboys and the Red Army Chorus and Dance Ensemble

The last two tracks don’t fit quite as well and should probably be rethought, but overall it’s a good, fun 75 odd minutes of music.

Our year of new stuff

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.

Tim and Anastasia on Tim's new bikeNot 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 – 8 to 11 weeks old and our life in that time

I previously said that Isaac cries lots. This wasn’t really quite true.

Isaac screams. Lots.

This is what most days entail for a substantial portion of the day:

These times are terrible and trying. Tegan and I get quite stressed by it after a while, which is compounded because it makes Anastasia quite upset too. She now often says things such as, “Isaac, stop crying!” or simply comes up to us and says “I want Isaac to stop crying”. She often asks to go out, for example to her little park, but wants the other parent to stay at home with Isaac. While she does love her little brother he obviously wears on her. Unfortunately, on the days that Isaac cries and screams the most and upsets Anastasia, her behaviour is also at its worst, characterised by whinging, crying tantrums over the most minor things and general naughtiness. Of course, this also makes things worse for Tegan and I because we then have two upset and trying children to manage. I’d say that over the past few weeks we have felt stressed and exhausted much more often than not.

As an example of the kind of days we’ve been having, on Easter Sunday I posted the following update to Facebook:

Egg hunt completed successfully = very happy two year old. Adults had scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast = very yummy. But Isaac has been screaming almost non-stop since 6:45, to the extent that Tegan was trying to feed him his bottle and eat her bacon at the same time while in the shower. Poor little mite – really not having a good time.

Isaac also screamed through most of the church service that morning, settled for the first part of our trip on the car to Goulburn for a family lunch, screamed for the last 45 minutes of the trip and also for about half of the afternoon, before finally sleeping the whole way home. Fortunately on that day we had lots of family who were happy to help and hold him (although we may have scared some of the younger ones out of ever having their own kids), but such assistance is rare. Mostly it is just us, which really means mostly Tegan, who has to handle the screaming and try whatever we can to settle him and cope ourselves.

Isaac – seven weeks old

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.

Week 1

Isaac with JJTegan 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.