Sunday outings

So today we bundled the brood into the brick with wheels and headed north to Australian Walkabout Wildlife Park thanks the the remarkable charity, Brainwave.

An awesome FREE day for the family and a staggering success until sometime around 2pm when I picked Grover up and did my back. I kind of shuffled around for the remaining hour and a half but by the time we were heading home I had to lie across the back row of seats as being upright was impossible.

Now I’m dosed up on useless non-codeine imbibed ibuprofen with an ice-pack jammed into my lower back (it’s my lower back that has completely seized, making my entire thigh area completely numb and tingly and me basically incapable of walking. Awesome.) trying not the think about the fact that in 8 days Oscar is having surgery that is going to require me to lift him. A lot.

8 hours of fun: how to do The Royal Easter Show with a family on a budget!

So yesterday, Good Friday, we embarked on a major family outing to The Royal Easter Show. I wish I can say I was excited but I would be as busy convincing myself as fooling you. Four kids at a massive site with masses of people and no money to spend was a very tall order to equate with any form of enjoyment but the kids’ excitement was vaguely intoxicating.

We had a family briefing once everyone was in the car and strapped in – you know, a captive audience if you will. We talked about how exciting it was going to be but that we were going there to experience the true essence of what the Show was about – bringing the country to the city – and not about spending masses of money on crap food, exorbitant rides and hundreds of showbags. We already have a family rule that you are allowed one more expensive showbag and one cheapy one but this had to be revisited for the benefit of the littler guys. Felix looked despondent at the mentioning of not spending money on rides but we clarified saying that we could go on some but not many. Two I believe was the number bandied around.

You know that Larsson cartoon where the man is talking to the dog and all the dog hears is blah blah blah name blah blah blah. My kids. Except it was blah blah blah showbags blahblahblah.

Chef and I knew the day could go radically pear-shaped in a matter of seconds so had a pact that we were just going to take it easy, stop and rest a lot and just go with the flow.

We planned to arrive at 9 so naturally got there at 11.15. We would have gone the bus option but knowing the state the children would be in by the end of the day we cut our loses and drove. This was the first lucky strike as while the website and the girl on the phone had indicated there was a parking flat rate when we showed them Oscar’s mobility parking permit it was $10 instead of $20.

This year there was a shuttle bus from the carpark too, instead of the 10 minute hike. Nice.

So the requests for food and expressions of hunger started fairly quickly. But the little boys, oh, to see the faces on the little fellas seeing all the action and atmosphere – priceless.

And that’s the thing. The Show is all about the sights and sounds and the crazy melange of people you get in one space. Seriously. It’s like a technicolour vomit of humanity. From the dagwood dogs (perhaps the greatest crime against arteries) to the carnies (if I confessed the amount of time I worried about these people you would roll your eyes so hard they’d fall out of your head) to the cockies (it has been SO long since I’ve seen women wearing Liberty blouses with the collar up, a fob chain and RM Williams without a hint of irony) to the totally strung out families it is probably a good thing this only happens once a year.

Highlights:
– the woodchop: aka hope for the morbidly obese to be lauded as sporting heroes
– the HUGE crowd for Robosaurus largely dispersing when it was only halfway through its car-eating performance. I mean, at the end of the day, a trussed up crane is just a trussed up crane.
– my boobs still aching after seeing the poor mama pig’s nipples.
– dairy cows
– Jasper getting to give a lamb a bottle – his one hope for the whole show
– only losing one child (Oscar) and only for about 3 minutes
– the minimal whinging
– my boys in the showbag pavilion. They were allowed two bags but on receiving their first one being totally satisfied and not wanting any more. So proud.

And the financial damage?
Parking: $10
Entry: $99
Ride: $20 (YUP, each boy, $5, for a ride on a miniature train.) (By the time we got to the rides Felix’s need/desire to go on them had passed.)
Fairy Floss for five: $20 (YES, that is not a typo)
Shaved Ices for four: $14
Ice creams for four: $24
Showbags for five (+ box of choccies for Grandmama): $92
$279

We took all our drinks, breadrolls, packets of chips, muesli bars, watermelon, strawberries, apples. If we hadn’t I can’t imagine us having escaped the day spending less than $600. Horrifying.

And look, you didn’t think I would let the fact I was with five of the male species we wouldn’t get to the Arts & Craft pavilion? What I love most is that after the initial eye-rolling they were captivated by it all, particularly the cake decorating. And Felix wants to enter some of his baking in next year’s show.

 Onward!

Cruisin’

Well it has been a whole lotta summertime, and the living is easy around here.

For those who do not live in Australia or South Africa or have a male partner obsessed with cricket, the Boxing Day Test is underway.

That means come 10 o’clock in this house everything must stop. The television is turned to Channel 9 HD and well, until about 6pm that.is.it.

I am quite partial to the cricket and granted this is a good test match (particularly if you’re South African – wtf Australia??? Get.it.together) but FIVE FUCKING DAYS is stretching the friendship.

Apart from that there have been daily trips to the beach pools for a dip and just chilling with my peeps.

Today was my MIL’s birthday. I am blessed with a wonderful MIL who I once upset dreadfully with something I wrote here so I will keep it brief. But it was wonderful.

Everyone arrived around midday and the sparkling shiraz started flowing. Lunch was my new favourite entertaining dish – a whole strip sirloin, roasted to medium rare, carved at the table and served with its juices and a flavoured butter (today was a herb blend of chives, tarragon, parsley, garlic and lemon). Chef had bought home some jus from the restaurant so we served that with it.

My SIL brought two salads – a sensational pasta number with pine nuts and char-grilled capsicum and pesto and a green salad with haloumi and avocado. So good.

Dessert was the chocolate caramel tart I first made earlier in the month and a citron tart – which were both sublime if I might say so myself.

The food, the booze, the humidty made all of us very chilled and we all ended up on lounges watching the cricket as sitting at the table and holding up our form was just too hard. I had a Narrabeen Nap (again!) this afternoon and several panadol and am still full. Awesome.

Tomorrow I’m taking mum to the airport as she’s off to visit her sister in Melbourne for a few days and we have a week to kill as a family. Think the Powerhouse to see the Star Wars exhibition, a bushwalk or two, maybe a movie and more time at the beach.

Good times.

The angst update and other stuff

Well, we met with Felix’s teacher last night. She is just lovely and of course, I’d fallen hook line and sinker for Felix’s penchant for melodrama. He is behind where he should be for his age in literacy (although how these things are determined still highly irritate me) but it’s not nearly as bad as Mum made out at the end of last year or Felix made out earlier in the week.
I came home, reassured him he was not doing easier work than anyone else in the class and that we just needed to practice some sheets and he’d be as good as gold. He seems to have picked up again, but I know that incident on Monday night will be relived many times over between now and when he does his HSC.
Sigh.

*****
In other news, the complete dorkiness of the Sydney public was on display on Tuesday night when many of us flocked into the city to see two big liners in town, together, for the first time since WW2. It was living proof we as a people would turn up to the opening of an envelope, or even the opening of junk mail if there were fireworks.
Anyway, Chef and the boys came in – it took them almost two hours to make a 50 minute trip.
We went out to dinner. Only one plate got shattered on the floor. The big boys were the epitomy of great kids in a restaurant. They sat, they stayed seated, they weren’t too loud and we all talked to each other like, I don’t know, normal people? We had very good Italian food. Yum.
We wandered around in the sea of people wandering around looking at the QE2. The Queen Mary was berthed too far away for little people on little legs and a mother with a very.expanding.girth.
Then we went up onto the roof of my work and watched fireworks. Yey!
Good times.
I’d post the photos I took but I just can’t be bothered.
*****
Current foods of craving:
Tonic water
Fizzy anything – I’ve even said to myself “gee I feel like a Coke”. I do not drink that black hideousness, so this has come as quite a shock.
Anything fried
the ham and cheese croissants from the French Patisserie near work – mind you, I’ve only indulged this once mind you as OH.MY.GOD the expansion program is already breathtaking, I don ‘t need to move it to alarming.
Fruit fruit and more fruit
*****
Oscar is in hospital tomorrow for another round of botox in his legs. I say another round but he’s been very lucky. Normally CP kids need it every six months, his first dose has lasted him almost two years.
Anyway, we held off telling him as he gets very anxious about a) going b)having the mask on his face and c) the lack of understanding time means if we tell him too early all we get is him asking (hand over his mouth as the anaesthetic mask) “now?”
So when I told him tonight, it became pretty obvious to me that going to hospital for an almost-9-year-old is very different to a 7 year old. He actually said “yes” on the not going to school and punched.the.air. when I said he’d have to have the mask to put him to sleep.
Go figure.

staring the gift horse right in the mouth

 

today we had free tickets into the zoo. That sounds fairly tame but when you consider it would otherwise have cost almost $100 just to get into the joint, its a great thing.

 

So lets play the day…
Oscar falls asleep in the car
Felix insists he is pretending to be asleep, so wakes him up to prove it.
We arrive, and have to wait a little while for the people we’re getting the tickets from.
Felix decides this is a good time to play in the garden beds.
We get in.
First whinge about not buying them Madagascar merchandise – Felix swings a ceramic mug around as if its an object that won’t smash into a bazillion pieces on dropping.
Then “I want an iceblock”. Play this line over and over like a chorus in your head behind all that follows.
At the map place (so we’re like, 5 metres into the zoo) Oscar has a melt down and almost throws himself into the manky duck pond. From what we can gather, this is solely because he can’t see the giraffes from where he is standing.
Oscar wants to see the giraffes and ride in the skyway, Felix wants to see dingoes. I’m freezing.
Felix calls me over to the manky duck pond where, for the first time in my life, I see ducks mating.
We wander down the hill. There’s a Felix fuss about not being able to see the wombat well, even though it is less than a metre from them. This is because I won’t pick him up.
Are you still playing the “I want an iceblock” refrain?
Meltdown at the koalas as they are not giraffes nor an outlet for iceblocks.
We make our way to giraffes. On the way we see the dingoes. Well, one. The other one is sleeping in the furthest corner of the enclosure.
A scene follows when Felix accidentally swings the binoculars around and it hits Oscar in the temple.
Oscar has another meltdown at the mere fact we try to move on.
I take Felix to the chimpanzees – where I proceed to see one poo.in.its.hand.then.smell.it.then.eat.it.
Oscar and AB are about 10 metres away and Oscar is s.c.r.e.a.m.i.n.g.
The type where people stare then shake their head at the appalling parenting that must instigate such behaviour.
How’s that “I want an iceblock” working for you?
We find iceblocks.
It starts to rain.
We make our way to the skycar.
AB and Felix have a joke that we’re going to crash. This naturally freaks Oscar out.
We finish the ride and leave.
Oscar melts down that he has somehow been tricked and we’re now outside the zoo.
Whole trip – 1 hour 10 minutes.

 

All that aside…
Made spag bol for dinner and chocolate sludge pudding. Divine.
Pulled spare mattresses into the lounge room and the boys and I watched Tele in bed. They’re now sleeping down there having a big adventure.