Remember December

Goodness, goodness me. I’m going to forge ahead as if I hadn’t just, once again, abandoned my blog for a few weeks.
I apologise for all phone pictures – Devin broke the on/off switch on my proper camera a month ago and I haven’t had it fixed yet.

Devin was not terribly interested in Christmas – when we put up the tree, he ran away and left me to put it together myself, and then when it came to decorating it, he sat underneath like this and played with the one light-up bauble that he has been enamoured with since he was four months old.

I made this felt tree to try to make things a little more interactive and exciting, but he didn’t play with it. At all.

We’ve had gross, suffocating heat over the past month. Very little rain, few breaks in the high temperatures. Before Christmas, I’d feel smug that we had entire sports fields to ourselves while everyone was busy shopping, but we’d all be dripping with sweat after ten minutes and would end up skulking back to the cool retreat of shopping centres, anyway. I stopped to take a group shot after one of our run arounds, and…

I don’t handle heat well. With temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s (Celsius), I’ve given up on the exercise routine I was doing so well with. I feel sick a lot, and my hair is driving. me. nuts. I have to put it up to get it off my neck, but wearing even the loosest ponytail gives me a pounding headache. I can’t afford a haircut at the moment, and I’m starting to contemplate just chopping it all off myself. I prefer my hair longer, but this is painful. (And that’s not purposeful ombre or balayage colouring – that’s just the remains of when my hair was red. Sigh.)

Speaking of hair, Jene’s is super long now. Longer than mine at its longest, I believe. We shaved it all off around January 2009, and it hasn’t seen a pair of scissors since.

I entered a competition on the lmnop magazine blog to win a nanoblock pack… and promptly forgot about it. A couple of weeks later, I received this package in the mail. Being close to Christmas, I wondered how I had accidentally ordered all these nanoblocks (and how on Earth I had afforded it). It took me about five minutes to realise where they’d come from. We gave the drum kit one to a local Christmas toy drive, along with some other things.

Devin finished his third term of music class, and held his record of never cracking a smile at anyone, ever.

I found a rather embarrassed Banana-sans-Pyjamas in the ravaged toy section of Big W.

Our Christmas gift to Devin was a doll (this one – it smells like vanilla and sweet things), a pram and some handmade doll nappies and blanket (made by a friend of Georgia of Documenting Delight). I asked Devin what he wanted to name the doll, he asked me for suggestions, and latched on to the very first name out of my mouth – Patrick. I regret it a little now, because although it was very nearly Devin’s middle name, I’ve come to associate it with Spongebob Squarepants. But, Patrick it is. I also made up the three little felt guys as a last minute addition.
My parents gave him a Slip n Slide and a trampoline (why yes, he is the first and only grandchild, how did you know…), both of which he was initially wary of. I had to show him how the Slip n Slide works, and then we resorted to just holding his hands and dragging him along it. The trampoline was still unassembled on Christmas Day – we showed him the picture on the box and said, “look, a trampoline!” and he responded with, “yeah, can I splash in the pond now?”

My sister gave me this sign, which is pretty much the perfect expression of how I feel about my life.

I managed to see the very last glows of sunlight on Christmas Eve.

And finally, on New Year’s Eve, I rediscovered a nursery that I’d forgotten about, and found that it had become a lovely, peaceful place to wander around, have a coffee and let Devin play.

Although Devin was not happy when Jene place him atop this stump.

Hairy situation

It’s been ten months since Devin’s last haircut. More and more strangers are referring to him as ‘she’, which is just… I mean, he looks like a boy, doesn’t he? Just because his hair is a little overgrown…

Just because he likes to try my skirts on…

… and wear necklaces to pick up sushi…

Anyway, I just reply, “Thank you, yes, he does!” whenever someone tells me that “she has such a lovely hair colour!”

He rarely tolerates the headband, but these were particularly windy days and his frustrated grunts about his hair were driving me nuts. Even when we say, “see, Devin, it wouldn’t get in your face all the time if you had a haircut…”, his response is always, “No!”
But it’s getting hotter, which means the hair has to come off soon… Man, this hair business is like Groundhog Day.
(I bought the headband from Eeni Meeni Miini Moh, after seeing Georgia‘s adorable daughter wearing one in this video, and crossing my fingers that they came in neutral colours.)

This made me giggle because he looked like he should be in an 80s glam metal band.

So, what else have we been doing?
We went to the town’s city’s multicultural festival, but I guess by the time we got there all the multiculturalism had left, and all the things we saw were blandly… not multicultural. The best we managed was catching the end of the belly dancing.

We also went to the ‘Family Fun Day’, which I guess would have been more fun if it wasn’t just me and Devin. And we had money to do anything.

But we did see a big, talking tree. So, yay?

I need to have more kids to fill those holes…

The weather has warmed up quite quickly, and Devin is wearing the same shorts he’s been wearing for the last two years. Whoever said that kids grow fast? Maybe they didn’t have to buy such ridiculously oversized ‘size 1’ clothes.

We went to the pool with Dev’s new $5 body board, and my new half-price swimmers. It was a little chilly, but he loved it.

(Devin was in the change room with me. He liked the fruits. )

Inspired by Slow Your Home, we made chalk paint and painted the garden rocks. It washed off when it rained a few days later.

We tried to bathe Ruby, but…

And, I pulled out a t-shirt that I wore as a little tyke.

It’s extremely worn and thin, and there’s a running hole near Mickey’s ear, so I’m hoping Devin can get some wear from it before it completely disintegrates. (Actually, I’m hoping to catch it before it does that so I can frame the image.)

And that’s about it. I’m also trying to find a job without resorting to working at the abattoir again.
It’s as delightful as it sounds. The abattoir and the job searching.
But more on that later, maybe.

Up

A few weeks ago Devin came with me and my mum to Kites For Kids Day, an annual event held by Early Childhood Intervention Australia. For $2, we were given a kite, string, tail streamers, and stickers, and set loose on the fields. Overall, Devin was more interested in the food we brought than flying the kite, but I had a great time – my general impression was that most of the parents there were having as much, if not more, fun than the kids. It seems to be kind of a lost pleasure.
We’ve since taken the kite out a few more times on our own, and it’s standing up remarkably well (though it did get a bit battered during our last outing on an especially gusty day). Devin’s not fixated on it or anything, but he likes holding the string and running with it. My recommendation is still that every household should have a kite.
Oh, the black and white photo is by Devin. He’d changed the setting himself. I was impressed when I found it.

Trucks, trucks, fire.

There was a lot happening on Devin’s birthday weekend, and on the Sunday we went to a vintage truck and tractor show. We paid money to see a vintage truck and tractor show. Children can make you do crazy things.

The forecast was for quite warm weather, and as such we were unprepared for the freezing morning wind, so we didn’t stay too long.

There were some nice things there, including some early 20th century cars, but even I found it a little frustrating that we weren’t allowed to touch them (though I understand why). We actually passed a lot of the vehicles travelling when we were driving in the opposite direction to Orange.

This was my favourite. That’s a pretty nice truck, you have to admit – despite the framing of the picture. (With so many people milling about and Devin always moving I had to act quickly.)

This was rigged so that the siren wailed and the car(?) rocked when the accelerator was pressed. The man at the fire brigade stall was very nice, and I actually recognised them from a week earlier when there was a fire in the gully near our house…

After that (illegally) deliberately lit fire, controlled burning was done even further along. It is something that needs to happen far more often – the overgrowth is a fire hazard and a haven for snakes – but hot damn, does it stink around there now.

A birthday between two cities.

WELL.

My body has finally secured its battle over its foreign invaders (well, practically… the flu has been unpleasantly prolonged this winter), so I’m back.

The August Photo a Day challenge – I let that go. I’ve been lethargic and the prompts weren’t inspiring me. But, I do have plenty of pictures from Devin’s birthday, for which we drove to Orange to play at the super awesome adventure playground…

… And if you think it’s weird that we drove to another regional city just to play at a playground, well, you’ve obviously never lived in Dubbo.

Speak for the trees.

When we arrived home from seeing Play School on Friday and I’d settled Devin for his nap, I went online and registered us both to volunteer for National Tree Day. I had hesitated the day before, but having such a good experience on Friday and seeing first hand that I can function in social situations gave me the definitive push.

On Sunday, we arrived at the reserve close to 10am. From a distance I couldn’t see many people and my anxiety metre started to quiver, but as we approached we were greeted by the very friendly coordinator and set on course. There were small tubes to plant as well as bigger trees, but I opted for the smaller ones so Devin could (theoretically) put them in the ground.

Well, that didn’t really happen. Devin just wanted to dig in the dirt around the big trees, so I let him be and got to work on the tubes.

Every now and then he would wander back and dig a hole for me, or I would call him over if I found a particularly large worm, but mostly he was content to do his own ‘work’ in the loose soil.

Though he was also happy to stack up the empty containers.

We were stopped a few times to have our picture taken for newspapers, too. Devin was mid-snack.

When most of the trees had been planted, we had a sausage break.

Someone had dug up an old phone –

Then I planted a few more trees and fixed some plastic covers while Devin continued to dig. And lucky for him, the plants had been watered while we were eating…

There were not as many people there as I was expecting, which was a little disappointing, but it did mean I had plenty to do and Devin could roam about freely. Eventually we were some of the last ones there, and just as I was gathering our things, I was asked if I would mind staying for a bit to be filmed with Devin for a local news piece. We dug up some of the little trees (actually the very first two I’d planted) to re-enact some of the process, and Devin happily dug with his little shovel and moved where he was asked until he wandered off, wanting another sausage. I was also filmed speaking a little, talking about what it meant to me to help out, but in the end another town from the area was the focus of the story and just a few shots of us were aired.

As we were walking back to the car, the lady who had asked me to hang around spoke to me a bit about Devin, how lovely he was and what a great job I was doing with him, which really made my day. She was there with her husband and kids and invited me to join the nature society that they’re involved with, where they do things similar to what we’d done that day. (Which reminds me, I still haven’t emailed about that.) Everyone there was so lovely – it was just such a pleasant and fulfilling morning. The time flew by and we got home almost two hours late for Devin’s nap, but we’d both had a great time.

The sudden activity and social interaction of that day and the previous ones took their toll on me, though. I could hardly keep my eyes open by 7 that night, and I slept for a total of 12 hours.
And still, I haven’t felt this good in a long, long time.

March-ing on.

A photographic summary of the end of March, because is there any better kind?

Huge messes were made.

Synchronised ballooning took place.

Some golf carting.

Some biscuit-eating.

Honey water and Johnson and Friends were both consumed in copious amounts while Devin and I shared a lingering cold.

Lots of hide and seek was played on the spare bed.

“Wocks!”

I was killed. Dead. By eyes.

Walks were taken.

Devin insisted I pose with a dead palm frond.

I finally took Devin to the playground by the river, and it was better than I was expecting.

Partly because of this fountain.

We threw twigs in the water.

We accidentally stumbled across a family day in a park, and had some drumming lessons.

And I read a book in a pub.