Diary of a geek

April 2014
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Andrew Pollock

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Thursday, 17 April 2014

Day 79: Magic, flu shots, and play dates and dinner

Zoe slept until 7:45am this morning, which is absolutely unheard of in our house. She did wake up at about 5:15am yelling out for me because she'd kicked her doona off and lost Cowie, but went back to sleep once I sorted that out.

She was super grumpy when she woke up, which I mostly attributed to being hungry, so I got breakfast into her as quickly as possible and she perked up afterwards.

Today there was a free magic show at the Bulimba Library at 10:30am, so we biked down there. I really need to work on curbing Zoe's procrastination. We started trying to leave the house at 10am, and as it was, we only got there with 2 minutes to spare before the show started.

Magic Glen put on a really good show. He was part comedian, part sleight of hand magician, and he did a very entertaining show. There were plenty of gags in it for the adults. Zoe started out sitting in my lap, but part way through just got up and moved closer to the front to sit with the other kids. I think she enjoyed herself. I'd have no hesitation hiring this guy for a future birthday party.

Zoe had left her two stuffed toys from the car at Megan's house on Tuesday after our Port of Brisbane tour, and so after the magic show we biked to her place to retrieve them. It was close to lunch by this stage, so we stayed for lunch, and the girls had a bit of a play in the back yard while Megan's little sister napped.

It was getting close to time to leave for our flu shots, so I decided to just bike directly to the doctor from Megan's place. I realised after we left that we'd still left the stuffed toys behind, but the plan was to drive back after our flu shots and have another swim their neighbour's pool, so it was all good.

We got to the doctor, and waited for Sarah to arrive. Sarah and I weren't existing patients at Zoe's doctor, but we'd decided to get the flu shot as a family to try and ease the experience for Zoe. We both had to do new patient intake stuff before we had a consult with Zoe's doctor and got prescriptions for the flu shot.

I popped next door to the adjacent pharmacy get the prescriptions filled, and then the nurse gave us the shots.

For the last round of vaccinations that Zoe received, she needed three, and she screamed the building down at the first jab. The poor nurse was very shaken, so we've been working to try and get her to feel more at ease about this one.

Zoe went first, and she took a deep breath, and she was winding up to freak out when she had her shot, but then it was all over, and she let the breath go, and looked around with a kind of "is that it?" reaction. She didn't even cry. I was so proud of her.

I got my shot, and then Sarah got hers, and we had to sit in the waiting room for 10 minutes to make sure we didn't turn into pumpkins, and we were on our way.

We biked home, I grabbed our swim gear, and we drove back to Megan's place.

The pool ended up being quite cold. Megan didn't want to get in, and Zoe didn't last long either. Megan's Mum was working back late, so I invited Megan, her Dad and her sister over for dinner, and we headed home so I could prepare it. One of Zoe's stuffed toys had been located.

We had a nice dinner of deviled sausages made in the Thermomix, and for a change I didn't have a ton of leftovers. Jason had found the other stuffed toy in his truck, so we'd finally tracked them both down.

After Megan and family went home, I got Zoe to bed without much fuss, and pretty much on time. I think she should sleep well tonight.

[05:18] [life] [permalink]

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Day 78: Alginate, dragon boats and relatives

I ordered some alginate the other day, and it arrived yesterday, but we were out, so I had to pick it up from the post office this morning.

Anshu and I picked it up before Zoe was dropped off. We had a couple of attempts at making some, but didn't quite get the ratios or the quantity right, and we were too slow, so we'll have to try again. The plan is to try and make a cast of Zoe's hand, since we were messing around with plaster of Paris recently. I've found a good Instructable to try and follow.

Nana and her dragon boating team were competing in the Australian Dragon Boat Championships over Easter, and her first race was today. It also ended up that today was the best day to try and go and watch, so when she called to say her first race would be around noon, I quickly decided we should jump in the car and head up to Kawana Waters.

We abandoned the alginate, and I slapped together a picnic lunch for Zoe and I, and we bid Anshu farewell and drove up.

Zoe's fever seemed to break yesterday afternoon after Sarah picked her up, and she slept well, but despite all that, she napped in the car on the way up, which was highly unusual, but helped pass the time. She woke up when we arrived. I managed to get a car park not too far from the finish line, and we managed to find Nana, whose team was about the enter the marshaling area.

Her boat was closest to the shore we were watching from, and her boat came second in their qualifying round for the 200 metre race, meaning they went straight through to the semi-finals.

The semi-finals were going to be much later, and I wanted to capitalise on the fact that we were going to have to drive right past my Mum and Dad's place on the way home to try and see my sister and her family, since we missed them on Monday.

We headed back after lunch and a little bit of splashing around in the lake, and ended up staying for dinner at Mum and Dad's. Zoe had a great time catching up with her cousin Emma, and fooling around with Grandpa and Uncle Michael.

She got to bed a little bit late by the time we got home, but I'm hopeful she'll sleep well tonight.

[03:54] [life] [permalink]

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Day 77: Port of Brisbane tour

Sarah dropped Zoe around this morning at about 8:30am. She was still a bit feverish, but otherwise in good spirits, so I decided to stick with my plan for today, which was a tour of the Port of Brisbane.

Originally the plan had been to do it with Megan and her Dad, Jason, but Jason had some stuff to work on on his house, so I offered to take Megan with us to allow him more time to work on the house uninterrupted.

I was casting around for something to do to pass the time until Jason dropped Megan off at 10:30am, and I thought we could do some foot painting. We searched high and low for something I could use as a foot washing bucket, other than the mop bucket, which I didn't want to use because of potential chemical residue. I gave up because I couldn't anything suitable, and we watched a bit of TV instead.

Jason dropped Megan around, and we immediately jumped in the car and headed out to the Port. I missed the on ramp for the M4 from Lytton Road, and so we took the slightly longer Lytton Road route, which was fine, because we had plenty of time to kill.

The plan was to get there for about 11:30am, have lunch in the observation cafe on the top floor of the visitor's centre building, and then get on the tour bus at 12:30pm. We ended up arriving much earlier than 11:30am, so we looked around the foyer of the visitor's centre for a bit.

It was quite a nice building. The foyer area had some displays, but the most interesting thing (for the girls) was an interactive webcam of the shore bird roost across the street. There was a tablet where you could control the camera and zoom in and out on the birds roosting on a man-made island. That passed the time nicely. One of the staff also gave the girls Easter eggs as we arrived.

We went up to the cafe for lunch next. The view was quite good from the 7th floor. On one side you could look out over the bay, notably Saint Helena Island, and on the other side you got quite a good view of the port operations and the container park.

Lunch didn't take all that long, and the girls were getting a bit rowdy, running around the cafe, so we headed back downstairs to kill some more time looking at the shore birds with the webcam, and then we boarded the bus.

It was just the three of us and three other adults, which was good. The girls were pretty fidgety, and I don't think they got that much out of it. The tour didn't really go anywhere that you couldn't go yourself in your own car, but you did get running commentary from the driver, which made all the difference. The girls spent the first 5 minutes trying to figure out where his voice was coming from (he was wired up with a microphone).

The thing I found most interesting about the port operations was the amount of automation. There were three container terminals, and the two operated by DP World and Hutchinson Ports employed fully automated overhead cranes for moving containers around. Completely unmanned, they'd go pick a container from the stack and place it on a waiting truck below.

What I found even more fascinating was the Patrick terminal, which used fully automated straddle carriers, which would, completely autonomously move about the container park, pick up a container, and then move over to a waiting truck in the loading area and place it on the truck. There were 27 of these things moving around the container park at a fairly decent clip.

Of course the girls didn't really appreciate any of this, and half way through the tour Megan was busting to go to the toilet, despite going before we started the tour. I was worried about her having an accident before we got back, she didn't, so it was all good.

I'd say in terms of a successful excursion, I'd score it about a 4 out of 10, because the girls didn't really enjoy the bus tour all that much. I was hoping we'd see more ships, but there weren't many (if any) in port today. They did enjoy the overall outing. Megan spontaneously thanked me as we were leaving, which was sweet.

We picked up the blank cake I'd ordered from Woolworths on the way through on the way home, and then dropped Megan off. Zoe wanted to play, so we hung around for a little while before returning home.

Zoe watched a bit more TV while we waited for Sarah to pick her up. Her fever picked up a bit more in the afternoon, but she was still very perky.

[05:14] [life] [permalink]

Monday, 14 April 2014

Day 76: Dora + Fever

We had a bit of a rough night last night. I noticed Zoe was pretty hot when she had a nap yesterday after not really eating much lunch. She still had a mild fever after her nap, so I gave her some paracetamol (aka acetaminophen, that one weirded me out when I moved to the US) and called for a home doctor to check her ears out.

Her ears were fine, but her throat was a little red. The doctor said it was probably a virus. Her temperature wasn't so high at bed time, so I skipped the paracetamol, and she went to bed fine.

She did wake up at about 1:30am and it took me until 3am to get her back to bed. I think it was a combination of the fever and trying to phase out her white noise, but she just didn't want to sleep in her bed or her room. At 3am I admitted defeat and let her sleep with me.

She had only a slightly elevated temperature this morning, and otherwise seemed in good spirits. We were supposed to go to a family lunch today, because my sister and brother are in town with their respective families, but I figured we'd skip that on account that Zoe may have still had something, and coupled with the poor night's sleep, I wasn't sure how much socialising she was going to be up for.

My ear has still been giving me grief, and I had a home doctor check it yesterday as well, and he said the ear canal was 90% blocked. First thing this morning I called up to make an appointment with my regular doctor to try and get it flushed out. The earliest appointment I could get was 10:15am.

So we trundled around the corner to my doctor after a very slow start to the day. I got my ear cleaned out and felt like a million bucks afterwards. We went to Woolworths to order an undecorated mud slab cake, so I can try doing a trial birthday cake. I've given up on trying to do the sitting minion, and significantly scaled back to just a flat minion slab cake. The should be ready tomorrow.

The family thing was originally supposed to be tomorrow, and was only moved to today yesterday. My original plan had been to take Zoe to a free Dora the Explorer live show that was on in the Queen Street Mall.

I decided to revert back to the original plan, but by this stage, it was too late to catch the 11am show, so the 1pm show was the only other option. We had a "quick" lunch at home, which involved Zoe refusing the eat the sandwich I made for her and me convincing her otherwise.

Then I got a time-sensitive phone call from a friend, and once I'd finished dealing with that, there wasn't enough time to take any form of public transport and get there in time, so I decided to just drive in.

We parked in the Myer Centre car park, and quickly made our way up to the mall, and made it there comfortably with 5 minutes to spare.

The show wasn't anything much to phone home about. It was basically just 20 minutes of someone in a giant Dora suit acting out was was essentially a typical episode of Dora the Explorer, on stage, with a helper. Zoe started out wanting to sit on my lap, but made a few brief forays down to the "mosh pit" down the front with the other kids, dancing around.

After the show finished, we had about 40 minutes to kill before we could get a photo with Dora, so we wandered around the Myer Centre. I let Zoe choose our destinations initially, and we browsed a cheap accessories store that was having a sale, and then we wandered downstairs to one of the underground bus station platforms.

After that, we made our way up to Lincraft, and browsed. We bought a $5 magnifying glass, and I let Zoe do the whole transaction by herself. After that it was time to make our way back down for the photo.

Zoe made it first in line, so we were in and out nice and quick. We got our photos, and they gave her a little activity book as well, which she thought was cool, and then we headed back down the car park.

In my haste to park and get top side, I hadn't really paid attention to where we'd parked, and we came down via different elevators than we went up, so by the time I'd finally located the car, the exit gate was trying to extract an extra $5 parking out of me. Fortunately I was able to use the intercom at the gate and tell my sob story of being a nincompoop, and they let us out without further payment.

We swung by the Valley to clear my PO box, and then headed home. Zoe spontaneously announced she'd had a fun day, so that was lovely.

We only had about an hour and half to kill before Sarah was going to pick up Zoe, so we just mucked around. Zoe looked at stuff around the house with her magnifying glass. She helped me open my mail. We looked at some of the photos on my phone. Dayframe and a Chromecast is a great combination for that. We had a really lovely spell on the couch where we took turns to draw on her Magna Doodle. That was some really sweet time together.

Zoe seemed really eager for her mother to arrive, and kept asking how much longer it was going to be, and going outside our unit's front door to look for her.

Sarah finally arrived, and remarked that Zoe felt hot, and so I checked her temperature, and her fever had returned, so whatever she has she's still fighting off.

I decided to do my Easter egg shopping in preparation for Sunday. A friend suggested this cool idea of leaving rabbit paw tracks all over the house in baby powder, and I found a template online and got that all ready to go.

I had a really great yoga class tonight. Probably one of the best I've had in a while in terms of being able to completely clear my head.

I'm looking forward to an uninterrupted night's sleep tonight.

[05:45] [life] [permalink]

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Explaining "special needs"

I got one of those rare opportunities to calibrate Zoe's outlook on people on Friday. I feel pretty happy with the job I did.

Once we arrived at the New Farm Park ferry terminal, the girls wanted to have some morning tea, so we camped out in the terminal to have something to eat. Kim had had packed two poppers (aka "juice boxes") for Sarah so they both got to have one. Nice one, Kim!

Not long after we started morning tea, an older woman with some sort of presumably intellectual disability and her carer arrived to wait for a ferry. I have no idea what the disability was, but it presented as her being unable to speak. She'd repeatedly make a single grunting noise, and held her hands a bit funny, and would repeatedly stand up and walk in a circle, and try to rummage through the rubbish bin next to her. I exchanged a smile with her carer. The girls were a little bit wary of her because she acting strange. Sarah whispered something to me inquiring what was up with her. Zoe asked me to accompany her to the rubbish bin to dispose of her juice box.

I didn't feel like talking about the woman within her earshot, so I waited until they'd boarded their ferry, and we'd left the terminal before talking about the encounter. It also gave me a little bit of time to construct my explanation in my head.

I specifically wanted to avoid phrases like "something wrong" or "not right". For all I knew she could have had cerebral palsy, and had a perfectly good brain trapped inside a malfunctioning body.

So I explained that the woman had "special needs" and that people with special needs have bodies or brains that don't work the same way as us, and so just like little kids, they need an adult carer to take care of them so they don't hurt themselves or get lost. In the case of the woman we'd just seen, she needed a carer to make sure she didn't get lost or rummage through the rubbish bin.

That explanation seemed to go down pretty well, and that was the end of that. Maybe next time such circumstances permit, I'll try striking up a conversation with the carer.

[22:24] [life] [permalink]

Friday, 11 April 2014

Day 73: A fourth-generation friendship

Oh man, am I exhausted.

I've known my friend Kim for longer than we remembered. Until Zoe was born, I thought the connection was purely that our grandmothers knew each other. After Zoe was born, and we gave her my birth mother's name as her middle name, Kim's mother sent me a message indicating that she knew my mother. More on that in a moment.

Kim and I must have interacted when we were small, because it predates my memory of her. My earliest memories are of being a pen pal with her when she lived in Kingaroy. She had a stint in South Carolina, and then in my late high school years, she moved relatively close to me, at Albany Creek, and we got to have a small amount of actual physical contact.

Then I moved to Canberra, and she moved to Melbourne, and it was only due to the wonders of Facebook that we reconnected while I was in the US.

Fast forward many years, and we're finally all back in Brisbane again. Kim is married and has a daughter named Sarah who is a couple of years older than Zoe, and could actually pass of as her older sister. She also has as a younger son. Since we've been back in Brisbane, we've had many a play date at each other's homes, and the girls get along famously, to the point where Sarah was talking about her "best friend Zoe" at show and tell at school.

The other thing I learned since reconnecting with Kim in the past year, is that Kim's aunt and my mother were in the same grade at school. Kim actually arranged for me to have a coffee with her aunt when she was visiting from Canberra, and she told me a bunch of stuff about my Mum that I didn't know, so that was really nice.

Kim works from home part time, and I offered to look after Sarah for a day in the school holidays as an alternative to her having to go to PCYC holiday care. Today was that day.

I picked up Zoe from Sarah this morning, as it was roughly in the same direction as Kim's place, and made more sense, and we headed over to Kim's place to pick up Sarah. We arrived only a couple of minutes later than the preferred pick up time, so I was pretty happy with how that worked out.

The plan was to bring Sarah back to our place, and then head over to New Farm Park on the CityCat and have a picnic lunch and a play in the rather fantastic playground in the park over there.

I hadn't made Zoe's lunch prior to leaving the house, so after we got back home again, I let the girls have a play while I made Zoe's lunch. After some play with Marble Run, the girls started doing some craft activity all on their own on the balcony. It was cute watching them try to copy what each other were making. One of them tried gluing two paper cups together by the narrow end. It didn't work terribly well because there wasn't a lot of surface to come into contact with each other.

I helped the girls with their craft activity briefly, and then we left on foot to walk to the CityCat terminal. Along the way, I picked up some lunch for myself at the Hawthorne Garage and added it to the small Esky I was carrying with Zoe's lunchbox in it. It was a beautiful day for a picnic. It was warm and clear. I think Sarah found the walk a bit long, but we made it to the ferry terminal relatively incident free. We got lucky, and a ferry was just arriving, and as it happened, they had to change boats, as they do from time to time at Hawthorne, so we would have had plenty of time regardless, as everyone had to get off one boat and onto a new one.

We had a late morning tea at the New Farm Park ferry terminal after we got off, and then headed over to the playground. I claimed a shady spot with our picnic blanket and the girls did their thing.

I alternated between closely shadowing them around the playground and letting them run off on their own. Fortunately they stuck together, so that made keeping track of them slightly easier.

For whatever reason, Zoe was in a bit of a grumpier mood than normal today, and wasn't taking too kindly to the amount of turn taking that was necessary to have a smoothly oiled operation. Sarah (justifiably) got a bit whiny when she didn't get an equitable amount of time getting the call the shots on what the they did, but aside from that they got along fine.

There was another great climbing tree, which had kids hanging off it all over the place. Both girls wanted to climb it, but needed a little bit of help getting started. Sarah lost her nerve before Zoe did, but even Zoe was a surprisingly trepidatious about it, and after shimmying a short distance along a good (but high) branch, wanted to get down.

The other popular activity was a particularly large rope "spider web" climbing frame, which Sarah was very adept at scaling. It was a tad too big for Zoe to manage though, and she couldn't keep up, which frustrated her quite a bit. I was particularly proud of how many times she returned to it to try again, though.

We had our lunch, a little more play time, and the obligatory ice cream. I'd contemplated catching the CityCat further up-river to Sydney Street to then catching the free CityHopper ferry, but the thought of then trying to get two very tired girls to walk from the Hawthorne ferry terminal back home didn't really appeal to me all that much, so I decided to just head back home.

That ended up being a pretty good call, because as it was, trying to get the two of them back home was like herding cats. Sarah was fine, but Zoe was really dragging the chain and getting particularly grumpy. I had to deploy every positive parenting trick that I currently have in my book to keep Zoe moving, but we got there eventually. Fortunately we didn't have any particularly deadline.

The girls did some more playing at home while I collapsed on the couch for a bit, and then wanted to do some more craft. We made a couple of crowns and hot-glued lots of bling onto them.

We drove back to Kim's place after that, and the girls played some more there. Sarah nearly nodded off on the way home. Zoe was surprisingly chipper. The dynamic changed completely once we were back at Sarah's house. Zoe seemed fine to take Sarah's direction on everything, so I wonder how much of things in the morning were territorial, and Sarah wasn't used to Zoe calling the shots when she was at Zoe's place.

Kim invited us to stay for dinner. I wasn't really feeling like cooking, and the girls were having a good time, so I decided to stay for dinner, and after they had a bath together we headed home. Zoe stayed awake all the way home, and went to bed without any fuss.

It's pretty hot tonight, and I'm trialling Zoe sleeping without white noise, so we'll see how tonight pans out.

[04:23] [life] [permalink]

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Day 72: The Workshops, and zip lining into a pool

Today was jam packed, from the time Zoe got dropped off to the time she was picked up again.

I woke up early to go to my yoga class. It had moved from 6:15am to 6:00am, but was closer to home. I woke up a bunch of times overnight because I wanted to make sure I got up a little bit earlier (even though I had an alarm set) so I was a bit tired.

Sarah dropped Zoe off, and we quickly inspected our plaster fish from yesterday. Because the plaster had gotten fairly thick, it didn't end up filling the molds completely, so the fish weren't smooth. Zoe was thrilled with them nonetheless, and wanted to draw all over them.

After that, we jumped in the car to head out to The Workshops Rail Museum. We were meeting Megan there.

We arrived slightly after opening time. I bought an annual membership last time we were there, and I'm glad we did. The place is pretty good. It's all indoors, and it's only lightly patronised, even for school holidays, so it was nice and quiet.

Megan and her Dad and sister arrived about an hour later, which was good, because it gave Zoe and I a bit of time to ourselves. We had plenty of time on the diesel engine simulator without anyone else breathing down our neck wanting a turn.

The girls all had a good time. We lost Megan and Zoe for a little bit when they decided to take off and look at some trains on their own. Jason and I were frantically searching the place before I found them.

There was a puppet show at 11am, and the room it was in was packed, so we plonked all three kids down on the floor near the stage, and waited outside. That was really nice, because the kids were all totally engrossed, and didn't miss us at all.

After lunch and a miniature train ride we headed home. Surprisingly, Zoe didn't nap on the way home.

Jason was house sitting for some of his neighbours down the street, and he'd invited us to come over and use their pool, so we went around there once we got back home. The house was great. They also had a couple of chickens.

The pool was really well set up. It had a zip line that ran the length of the pool. Zoe was keen to give it a try, and she did really well, hanging on all the way. They also had a little plastic fort with a slippery slide that could be placed at the end of the pool, and the girls had a great time sliding into the pool that way.

We got back home from all of that fun and games about 15 minutes before Sarah arrived to pick Zoe up, so it was really non-stop day.

[04:38] [life] [permalink]

Wednesday, 09 April 2014

Day 71: Tumble Tastics trial, painting and plaster fun

Zoe slept in even later this morning. I'm liking this colder weather. We had nothing particular happening first thing today, so we just snuggled in bed for a bit before we got started.

Tumble Tastics were offering free trial classes this week, so I signed Zoe up for one today. She really enjoyed going to Gold Star Gymnastics in the US, and has asked me about finding a gym class over here every now and then.

Tumble Tastics is a much smaller affair than Gold Star, but at 300 metres from home on foot, it's awesomely convenient. Zoe scootered there this morning.

It seems to be physically part of what I'm guessing used to be the Church of Christ's church hall, so it's not big at all, but the room that Zoe had her class in still had plenty of equipment in it. There were 8 kids in her class, all about her size. I peeked around the door and watched.

Most of the class was instructor led and mainly mat work, but then part way through, the parents were invited in, and the teacher walked us all through a course around the room, using the various equipment, and the parents had to spot for their kids.

The one thing that cracked me up was when the kids were supposed to be tucking into a ball and rocking on their backs. Zoe instead did a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu break-fall and fell backwards slapping the mat instead. It was good to see that some of what she learned in those classes has kicked in reflexively.

She really enjoyed the rope swing and hanging upside down on the uneven bars.

The class ran for 50 minutes (I was only expecting it to last 30 minutes) and Zoe did really well straight off. I think we'll make this her 4th term extra-curricular activity.

We scootered home the longer way, because we were in no particular hurry. Zoe did some painting when we got home, and then we had lunch.

After lunch we goofed off for a little bit, and then we did quiet time. Zoe napped for about two and a half hours, and then we did some plaster play.

I'd picked up a fish ice cube tray from IKEA on the weekend for 99 cents (queue Thrift Shop), and I bought a bag of plaster of Paris a while back, but haven't had a chance to do anything with it yet. I bribed Zoe into doing quiet time by telling her we'd do something new with the ice cube tray I'd bought.

We mixed up a few paper cups with plaster of Paris in them and then I squirted some paint in. I'm not sure if the paint caused a reaction, or the plaster was already starting to set by the time the paint got mixed in, but it became quite viscous as soon as the paint was mixed in. We did three different colours and used tongue depressers to jam it into the tray. Zoe seemed to twig that it was the same stuff as the impressions of her baby feet, which I thought was a pretty clever connection to make.

After that, there was barely enough time to watch a tiny bit of TV before Sarah arrived to pick Zoe up. I told her that her plaster would be set by the time she got dropped off in the morning.

I procrastinated past the point of no return and didn't go for a run. Instead I decided to go out to Officeworks and print out some photos to stick in the photo frame I bought from IKEA on the weekend.

[04:15] [life] [permalink]

Tuesday, 08 April 2014

Day 70: Visiting relatives and home visiting doctors

Zoe did indeed sleep in this morning, by a whole 30 minutes. It was nice. She seemed no worse for wear for her lip injury, and it was looking better this morning.

Wow, "bimonthly" is ambiguous. I had my "every two month" in person co-parenting sync up lunch with Sarah today. Phew, that was a mouthful. Anyway, I had that today, and normally that would fall on a Kindergarten day, but it's school holidays. So we paid grandma and grandpa a visit, and they looked after Zoe for me so I could make the meeting.

Mum and Dad have been away on a driving holiday, so Zoe hasn't seen them for a while, and it's been even longer since we've been to their house. She really loves going to their house because it's big, with a big back yard with a swing set. There's all sorts of exciting things like grandpa's worm farm, a sand pit, a china tea set, a piano, a tricycle and remote controlled cars. Zoe basically just works her way around the house entertaining herself. It's great. I usually get to put my feet up and read the newspaper.

After I got back from my lunch meeting, we headed over to Greenslopes Private Hospital to visit my cousin, who's just had major surgery. On the way, Zoe napped in the car. I made a brief side trip to clear my post office box along the way.

Amusingly, Zoe wakes up from short naps in the car way better than at Kindergarten. I don't know if it has anything to do with the quality of sleep she's getting or what it is, but I easily woke her up and extracted her from the car when we arrived at the hospital. No meltdowns. And that's pretty typical of car naps.

I've had a discomfort in my right ear for the last couple of days, and it grew into increasing pain throughout the day today. It got to the point where, while I was driving home, that I deciding to get it looked at by a doctor, ASAP. One of my favourite things about being back in Australia is the availability of home visiting doctors.

It was actually faster and cheaper for me to get a home doctor out to look at me tonight than it was to get an appointment with my regular doctor. I wouldn't have gotten an appointment until some time tomorrow at the earliest (assuming he had appointments available), because I made the decision to see a doctor after 5pm, when they'd closed. Instead, I had a doctor at my door in a little more than 2 hours of making the request. It also worked out cheaper, because the home doctor bulk bills Medicare, whereas my regular doctor does not.

Add in the massive convenience of not having to lug a small child anywhere while I get seen by a doctor, and it's a major convenience. I love socialised healthcare.

It turned out I have an outer ear infection. So all we had to do after the doctor came was find a pharmacy that was still open after 7pm to get my ear drop prescription filled.

All of that mucking around meant that Zoe got to bed a little later than usual. It's another cool night tonight, so I'm hoping she'll sleep well and have another sleep in.

[05:24] [life] [permalink]

Monday, 07 April 2014

Day 69: Walk to King Island, a picnic at Wellington Point, the long slow acquisition of some linseed and a split lip

Today was a really good day, right up until the end, when it wasn't so good, but could have been a whole lot worse, so I'm grateful for that.

I've been wanting to walk out to King Island at low tide with Zoe for a while, but it's taken about a month to get the right combination of availability, weather and low tide timing to make it possible.

Today, there was a low tide at about 10:27am, which I thought would work out pretty well. I wasn't sure if the tide needed to be dead low to get to King Island, so I thought we could get there a bit early and possibly follow the tide out. I invited Megan and Jason to join us for the day and make a picnic of it.

It turned out that we didn't need a really low tide, the sand bar connecting King Island to Wellington Point was well and truly accessible well before low tide was reached, so we headed out as soon as we arrived.

I'd brought Zoe's water shoes, but from looking at it, thought it would be walkable in bare feet. We got about 10 metres out on the sand and Zoe started freaking out about crabs. I think that incident with the mud crab on Coochiemudlo Island has left her slightly phobic of crabs.

So I went back to Jason's car and got her water shoes. I tried to allay her fears a bit by sticking my finger in some of the small holes in the sand, and even got her to do it too.

I'm actually glad that I did get her water shoes, because the shell grit got a bit sharp and spiky towards King Island, so I probably would have needed to carry her more than I did otherwise.

Along the way to the island we spotted a tiny baby mud crab, and Zoe was brave enough to hold it briefly, so that was good.

We walked all the way out and partially around the island and then across it before heading back. The walk back was much slower because where was a massive headwind. Zoe ran out of steam about half way back. She didn't like the sand getting whipped up and stinging her legs, and the wind was forcing the brim of her hat down, so I gave her a ride on my shoulders for the rest of the way back.

We had some lunch after we got back to Wellington Point, and Zoe found her second wind chasing seagulls around the picnic area.

After an ice cream, we went over to the playground and the girls had a great time playing. It was a pretty good park. There was this huge tree with a really big, thick, horizontal branch only about a metre or two off the ground. All the kids were climbing on it and then shimmying along the branch to the trunk. Zoe's had a few climbs in trees and seems not afraid of it, so she got up and had a go. She did really well and did a combination of scooting along, straddling the branch and doing a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu-style "bear crawl" along the branch.

It was funny seeing different kids' limits. Zoe was totally unfazed by climbing the tree. Megan was totally freaking out. But when it came to walking in bare feet in an inch of sea water, Zoe wanted to climb up my leg like a rat up a rope, in case there were crabs. Each to their own.

Zoe wanted to have a swim in the ocean, so I put her into her swimsuit, but had left the water shoes back in the car. Once again, she freaked out about crabs as soon as we got ankle deep in the water, and was freaking out Megan as well, so the girls elected to go back to playing in the park.

After a good play in the park, we headed back home. We'd carpooled in Jason's truck, with both girls in the back. I'd half expected Zoe to fall asleep on the way back, but the girls were very hyped up and had a great time playing games and generally being silly in the back.

When we got back to our place, Jason was in need of a coffee, so we walked to the Hawthorne Garage and had coffee and babyccinos, before Megan and Jason went home.

It was about 3:30pm at this point, and I wanted to make a start on dinner. I was making a wholemeal pumpkin quiche, which I've made a few times before, and I discovered we were low on linseed. I thought I'd push things and see if Zoe was up for a scooter ride to the health food shop to get some more and kill some time.

She was up for it, but ran out of steam part way across Hawthorne Park. Fortunately she was okay with walking and didn't want me to carry her and the scooter. It took us about an hour to get to the health food shop.

Zoe immediately remembered the place from the previous week where we'd had to stop for a post-meltdown pit stop and declared she needed to go to the toilet again.

We finally made it out of the shop. I wasn't looking forward to the long walk back home, but there were a few people waiting for a bus at the bus stop near the health food shop, and on checking the timetable, the bus was due in a couple of minutes, so we just waited for the bus. That drastically shortened the trip back.

Zoe managed to drop the container of linseed on the way home from the bus stop, but miraculously the way it landed didn't result in the loss of too much of the contents, it just split the container. So I carefully carried the container home the rest of the way.

By this stage it was quite a bit later than I had really wanted to be starting dinner, but we got it made, and Zoe really liked the pumpkin quiche, and ate a pretty good dinner.

It was after dinner when things took a turn for the worse.

Zoe was eating an ice block for dessert, and for whatever reason, she'd decided to sit in the corner of the kitchen next to the dishwasher, while I was loading it. I was carrying over one of the plates, and the knife managed to fall off the plate, bounce off the open dishwasher door and hit her in the mouth, splitting her lip.

Zoe was understandably upset, and I was appalled that the whole thing had happened. She never sits on the kitchen floor, let alone in the corner where the dishwasher is. And this knife came so close to her eye.

Fortunately the lip didn't look too bad. It stopped bleeding quickly, and we kept some ice on it and the swelling went down.

I hate it when accidents happen on my watch. I feel like I'm fighting the stigma of the incompetent single Dad, or the abusive single Dad, so when Zoe sustains an injury to the face like a fat lip, which could be misinterpreted, I, well, really hate it. This was such a freak accident, and it could have gone so much worse. I'm just so glad she's okay.

Zoe recovered pretty well from it, and I was able to brush her teeth without aggravating her lip. She went to bed well, and I suspect she's going to sleep really well. It's a bit cooler tonight, so I'm half-expecting a sleep in in the morning with any luck.

[05:15] [life] [permalink]

Friday, 04 April 2014

Day 66: Story time, Science Friday, impromptu play date, scootering and the Hawthorne Markets

Zoe slept through last night, which was lovely. We had nothing really planned for today.

The Bulimba Library has a story time thing at 10:30am on a Friday. I've never bothered to take Zoe because it would have been too much of a hustle to get her there after her Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class, particularly by bike. Since today we didn't have a BJJ class, it made getting to story time much easier.

So we had a nice lazy start to the day, and then Zoe just wanted to procrastinate anyway, so since we were in no particular rush, I let her play in her room for a bit and I read for a while. We eventually had teeth and hair brushed and biked over to the library.

Not having been to the story time thing before, I assumed it was in the kids area, but it turned out it was downstairs in the general purpose room, which we only discovered after story time had started. I'm certainly glad I never busted a gut to get to the library in time for it, because it wasn't anything particularly exciting. They did give all the kids a colouring sheet and there was some colouring and a couple of songs, but really it was nothing to phone home about.

I did run into Jacob and his mum Laura from Kindergarten. They live locally, and so I invited them over for lunch and a play date. They had some grocery shopping to do, and I had to go to the pharmacy to get a prescription filled, so we agreed to meet at our place in about an hour.

We biked to the pharmacy to get my prescription filled and some more sunscreen for Zoe, and the pharmacist gave her a free Chupa Chups

We biked home, and grabbed some balloons from the convenience store next door for our Science Friday activity. I was slightly more organised today, and figured out what I wanted to do in the morning while Zoe was watching TV. We did yeast and sugar and warm water in a bottle with a balloon on top and watched it inflate itself with all the carbon dioxide produced by the yeast eating the sugar.

The only problem was the balloons we bought were total rubbish. They'd been on the shelf for too long and they'd all stuck to themselves and either popped when I tried to blow them up or had holes in them. So we marched back to the corner store in our lab coats to get some more, and the store keeper gave Zoe one of the little flashlights she keeps playing with in the bowl at the check out.

It was a good day for freebies.

We were able to complete our Science Friday activity before Laura and Jacob and his baby brother Ethan came over for lunch. Zoe didn't have a particularly good lunch, I think it was the distraction of having Jacob there as well.

After lunch, they couldn't really agree on anything to play. Laura said Jacob just plays out in the yard at Kindergarten the whole day. The one thing they both managed to agree on briefly was bubbles.

Ethan was getting tired and needed a nap by about 2pm, so they left. Zoe wanted to ride her scooter, but I had to clean up from lunch and the aftermath of the play date on the balcony first, so she went and played some games on her Nexus 7 while I did that, and then we headed out on the scooter.

It was about 2:30pm by this point, and the Hawthorne Markets, which have now moved to a Friday "twilight" thing, were due to start at 4pm, so I figured we could just kill time on the scooter.

It's funny how the scooter is now the in thing as of Tuesday. It's sat unused on the balcony for most of the year, but I'm glad she wants to use it now because it guarantees she moves faster than if she were to walk and want to be picked up every 5 minutes.

We scootered around to the playground and she played there until about 3:45pm, when we headed around to the markets.

We ran into Nicky Noo from the Ooniverse Family Cafe, who we'd met on Tuesday, and she made Zoe another dog balloon and she got her face painted.

After that, it was the obligatory jumping castle for a while. It was getting time to get home for Sarah to pick her up, when I dropped the dog balloon on the ground and it popped. That made Zoe very sad. Then the lack of a decent lunch kicked in. Zoe wanted some poffertjes, but they would have taken too long, so I gave her a few of the free samples to tide her over, and we headed home.

Sarah was waiting for her when we got home, so we parted ways at that point.

I like how the days that have nothing planned often end up as full if not fuller than the days when I do have something planned.

[00:42] [life] [permalink]

Thursday, 03 April 2014

Day 65: Playgroup, and the foil confetti play date

Zoe slept pretty well last night. She only woke up briefly at 4am because Cowie had fallen out of bed and she couldn't find her.

Today was the last Playgroup of the term. Megan, her little sister and her Dad came as well to check it out, which was nice, because Zoe then had someone to actively play with in addition to me.

After Playgroup, we went to the adjacent Bulimba Memorial Park with Megan, and then had some lunch at Grill'd. Megan's Dad wanted to do some work on their house while Megan's little sister napped, so I offered to give Megan a play date at our place.

The plan was to watch a movie and chill out. The girls picked Ratatouille and I made a batch of popcorn for them. Unfortunately Megan seemed to be less of a square eyes than Zoe, and she lost interest after a bit, so we stopped watching the movie and moved out to the balcony to do some craft.

Zoe had been wanting to make a crown for Mummy's boss for a while, so we made a couple of crowns with the hot glue gun. I had bought this bag of mixed craft "jewels" and it's probably the best single craft thing I've bought. Zoe loves gluing them onto everything.

After that, Zoe pulled out the bag of coloured foil confetti. If the gems were the best thing I've bought, this would have to be the worst. So far, all it's done is leak in the drawer it's been stored in, and I've been avoiding using it because it was going to be messy.

Today, Zoe wanted to glue it onto the outside of her cardboard box, so I decided to give in and embrace the mess, and boy, did we make a mess.

It probably ended up being the longest bit of cooperative play the girls did. They'd alternate between handing each other a fistful of confetti while I applied globs of glue where directed. Probably about 10 percent of each handful ended up stuck to the rocket, so the balcony looked like quite a mess by the end of it all, but at least it was a dry mess, so I could just vacuum it all up. I suspect I'll be encountering dregs for quite a while, because I doubt it's stuck to the cardboard particularly well.

After that, the girls played indoors for a bit, and watched a bit more of the movie, but Megan seemed to be scared of Anton Ego, so I think that was why it wasn't holding her attention.

The other activity that the girls seemed to thoroughly enjoy was tearing around the living room squealing while they took turns at throwing a grapefruit-sized beach ball at me, and I threw it back at them.

Jason came back to pick up Megan, and I started dinner. Not that long after Megan left, Sarah arrived to watch Zoe for me so I could go visit my cousin in hospital. I had dinner on the table pretty much as soon as she walked in the door, and headed out.

[04:11] [life] [permalink]

Wednesday, 02 April 2014

Day 64: Baking, Last day of Kindergarten term 1, BJJ

I had a busy morning this morning. I had a small flood of emails in response to various inquiries I made yesterday, so it took me a while to get my inbox under control.

One of Zoe's Kindergarten teachers is returning to New Zealand as of the end of term 1, so they were having an afternoon tea for her today. Parents were requested to "bring a plate", so I thought I'd bake some spinach, pumpkin and feta muffins that I've been meaning to try making. After my chiropractic adjustment I got stuck into that.

I'd hoped to finalise my US taxes today, but I learned I could deduct my moving expenses, so now I have to dig up the documentation for them.

I had a later than usual massage, and drove directly from there to Kindergarten, muffins in hand. They'd omitted rest time today to facilitate the afternoon tea, so the upside of that was Zoe was happy.

Zoe's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu teacher had said that she could try out one of the 4-7 year old classes, so for her last class of the 10 week block, we went to one of them this afternoon. I wasn't sure if today would be a good day for it or not, given she'd had Kindergarten and hadn't napped, but I gave her the option, and she wanted to do it.

It worked out well, aside from Zoe really not wanting to wear her gi (I managed to convince her to wear the pants). There were three other kids of varying school ages in the class, and Zoe followed the instructions really well.

I'm really glad we signed up the classes. I'm pretty sure Zoe has enjoyed herself, and she's definitely bonded with the teacher. I'll miss it.

I can't believe how fast this term has gone by. There's now two weeks of "school holidays", where I'll have to entertain Zoe for the entire week. I'm not too worried about finding things to do, I'm more worried about contention with all the other kids on school holidays.

Zoe was pretty tired tonight, I'd say with the combination of Kindergarten, no nap and BJJ class. Nonetheless, she procrastinated all the way through the bed time routine anyway. When I finally got her to bed, she fell asleep without a peep. She went on her second "bushwalk" at Kindergarten yesterday and picked up three mosquito bites, so I'm hoping they don't trouble her overnight.

[03:34] [life] [permalink]

Tuesday, 01 April 2014

Day 63: Productive procrastination, pizza dough, podiatrist, positive

parenting and a haircut with a spot of painting

How's that for some alliteration?

Today was a really good day. And that's before I started drinking red wine.

I got up this morning and successfully banged out a 10km run. It wasn't pretty, but I did it in under an hour, so I was happy.

I got home, and after breakfast I pretty much flopped on the couch with my laptop and procrastinated instead of doing my taxes. But it was productive procrastination. I:

  • booked flights to the US for our trip in July
  • sought some quotes for outsourcing the production of Zoe's birthday cake
  • made some pizza dough for dinner with Anshu
  • booked a haircut for Zoe and I
  • Got taken hook, line and sinker by an April Fools joke
  • found a couple of patent lawyers who will give me an initial consultation for free instead of charging me $250 plus GST (yay River City Labs)

I also (finally) got my taxes to a point where I'm ready to send them off to my US accountant and deal with the rest of it incrementally. So it was a productive day!

I had a follow up appointment with my podiatrist in the afternoon to see how my orthotics were going. I biked to Kindergarten early, ditched the bike trailer, and then biked over to the podiatrist, and made it back to Kindergarten about 10 minutes before pick up time.

Zoe was, unsurprisingly, fast asleep. I decided to try applying sunscreen to her while she was asleep as a way of killing two birds with one stone. I got as far as getting her legs done before she woke up and had a massive meltdown. Poor kid really doesn't deal well with being woken up. One of the teachers took pity on us and distracted Zoe by letting her cuddle one of the baby chicks, which snapped her out of it for the duration, but she had another meltdown once it was over.

Another teacher gave her a cuddle for a bit, and she eventually calmed down enough for me to get sunscreen on her arms. I'd foolishly left the bike trailer separated from the bike, so I had to drag the trailer back to the bike, whilst carrying Zoe. Fortunately another teacher took sympathy on us and helped me with the trailer. Turns out trying to drag a single-wheeled trailer single-handed whilst carrying a toddler and having excess sunscreen on my hands is extremely difficult.

We finally got the trailer on the bike, and Zoe in the trailer, and headed towards home. Zoe's ballerina pumps aren't great on the bike because the straps on the pedals cross the tops of her exposed feet and irritate her, so there were multiple meltdowns on the way home, culminating in needing to go to the toilet "right now" before we got home. I stopped at the health food shop on the way home, to see if they had a toilet we could use. Luckily I'm a customer and the naturopath let us use the toilet in the clinic. Zoe had another meltdown in there, announcing she "didn't like being woken up". Poor kid. It wasn't a good afternoon for her. I'm just glad I was in a sufficiently good mood to be able to deal with it all in a satisfactorily positive parenting way.

We finally made it home, and I'd promised her we could have a big cuddle on the couch once we got home, so we did that and read a library book, and then it was time to head to the hairdressers for our haircuts.

We started out on foot, and had made it one block from home, and she saw another kid on a scooter and announced she wanted to ride her scooter too. Initially tried saying we couldn't do it this time, because we'd be late, but she was on the verge of having another meltdown, so I capitulated, and we went back and grabbed it. I'm actually really glad I did, because she was as happy as Larry from that point on, and we were only a couple of minutes late at the hairdresser.

We did her fringe trim first, and then she had a great play in the kid's corner while I got my haircut. She even cleaned up the corner better than she found it without argument.

We then had plenty of time to scooter back home, so I decided to check out the 'OO'niverse Family Cafe, which is next door to the Hawthorne Cinemas. It's this thing I've never gotten around to checking out, and it was the second thing I was glad I did this afternoon. It's not a big place, and it was super quiet. There was just us and two twin Kindergarten-aged girls being babysat. Zoe had a banana milkshake and got a dolphin painted on her arm and a balloon dog made, and I had a coffee and we just chilled out for a bit while I chatted with the owner (who was babysitting the twins).

By this stage Anshu was already at my place, and Sarah wasn't far off leaving work to pick up Zoe, so we made our way back home. Zoe had a great time playing with Anshu until Sarah arrived.

So I was basically really happy that I managed to turn around a massively molten afternoon and give Zoe a really good afternoon instead.

Anshu and I then proceeded to made a couple of really fantastic pizzas. I really love my Thermomix. I made the pizza dough earlier today, and tonight I made some pizza sauce, some pesto sauce and caramelized some onions in it, and we were still done with dinner by 8pm.

[03:10] [life] [permalink]

Monday, 31 March 2014

My girlfriend's name is Anshu

I've been referring to Anshu as "my girlfriend" in all my blog posts because I haven't gotten around to writing this post yet. I've finally gotten around to it.

Anshu and I met at a speed dating event 8 months ago. I quite enjoyed the speed dating experience, and having done it, would prefer it over Internet dating. I think it helped that at the time I was working from home, getting above and beyond the amount of alone time that my introversion required for me to recharge, so I was in the right frame of mind for it. I did pretty well, I got 6 matches from the night, one of which was Anshu.

Anshu is an Indian-Australian dual national. She emigrated about 12 years ago to do her Masters degree here, and decided to stay. This is my first inter-ethnic relationship, and it's been a very interesting expansion of my cultural horizons.

Anshu is vegetarian, so I've expanded my vegetarian cooking repertoire significantly since we've been seeing each other. I already do "Meatless Monday" with Zoe, so it wasn't that difficult a transition for me.

[17:13] [life] [permalink]

Day 62: Kindergarten, cleaning

Zoe slept really well last night, and had a good breakfast of porridge this morning. We biked to Kindergarten for the first time in ages, as it wasn't raining. Drop off went nice and smoothly. I can't believe this is the last week of term 1 already.

Today was an exceptional day, because Sarah had the day off, and picked up Zoe from Kindergarten instead of me. As tonight Zoe is with her, I got about 3 extra hours up my sleeve. The house was a bit of a mess, I decided to switch today with my Wednesday "clean the house day" and use the extra time to do a more thorough clean.

Part way through that, an acquaintance, who recently separated from his wife, dropped by for a chat. We ended up chatting for about 3 hours, so I dialed back my cleaning to something more standard.

My business debit card arrived in the mail today. It was exciting to see something with my name and my company name on it. I've scheduled a bank transfer to fund my business with the first loan I'll be making to it, so it'll have some cash as of the start of second quarter. All I need now is the cheque book to arrive, and I can go pay the patent lawyer a visit.

I had contemplated going for a run tonight before my yoga class, but I ended up faffing around with trying to fix the song order on the USB stick that has all of Zoe's music on it. The new head unit isn't playing one album in the right order, and it's phenomenally annoying. To this end, I discovered fatsort, which is a godsend.

Yoga was in the new studio tonight for the first time. I'm really happy that my teacher is growing her business. The new studio is even closer to home than the old one, which is lovely.

[05:17] [life] [permalink]

Friday, 28 March 2014

Day 59: Rain, BJJ, play cafe, bunk beds and a car wash

Today was another wet day. Sarah dropped Zoe around in the morning, and she watched a little bit of TV before we drove to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class. My cycling fitness is going to go completely to hell.

Zoe's really taken to her teacher, Patrick. The classes have pretty much been just Zoe and I on Friday's, with the occasional other kids, and so she's formed a pretty close relationship with her teacher. The last few weeks, Zoe's really liked to help Patrick set up and tidy up the space before and after the classes. She loves to tell Patrick about what's been going on in her life. It's really sweet to watch. Today there was another 3 year old boy, but he was much less focused than Zoe.

I will miss the classes, because I've seen real self-defense value in what they've been teaching. For proper comparison, I should see tae kwon do clases as well, but currently I'd be pretty happy with what I've seen taught in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I can see the practical application of it. We're going to go watch Patrick compete in May, and I'm looking forward to seeing some adult-level stuff.

Megan's Dad was looking for something to do with his kids, so I suggested we meet at Lollipops Playland & Cafe in Cannon Hill after BJJ class. We were a bit late in getting there, mostly because Zoe wanted to hang around after class for a bit, but we got there eventually, and Zoe and Megan had a great time.

We stayed for lunch and the girls played a bit more. It's the first time I've used a play cafe since coming back to Australia, and I found it almost overwhelmingly loud and busy. These places must love it when it rains. It was nice that Zoe's at an age now where she can go off and play on her own. Having Megan there was a great help in that regard, but the girls did keep losing each other, although that wasn't a big problem for either of them.

While we were at the play cafe, I received an email saying that the Kindergarten working bee for tomorrow had been canceled on account of the wet weather, so that's opened up our Saturday significantly.

After that, we headed down to Bunkers to place the order for the bunk bed I want to get Zoe for her birthday. I'd expected with all the morning's activities, for her to pass out in the car immediately, but surprisingly she lasted the distance, and had a great time sampling all the different bunk beds at the store.

Even on the way back home, it took her a little while to fall asleep, so I extended the car ride by driving around the Port of Brisbane to see how much there was to see that might be interesting for Zoe when she's awake.

After that, we went to the car wash to get the car cleaned, because it's been a while. Zoe had a babyccino and we sorted through the DreamWorks cards we'd traded with Megan that morning.

It was time for dinner after the car wash, so we headed home, and Zoe watched some TV while I prepared dinner.

At bath time, I realised that we hadn't had time to do anything for Science Friday. Yesterday at Bunnings I bought a roll of clear tubing for the heck of it, so we made a siphon in the bath. Zoe thought the tube was great fun, and had a good time blowing bubbles in the bath with it. Tomorrow we'll have to use some bubble bath for added entertainment.

Bedtime went smoothly enough.

[04:42] [life] [permalink]

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Day 58: Playgroup, rain and errands

My yoga teacher was out sick this morning. I had grand plans of instead biking to the pool and going for a swim, but when my alarm went off, and the weather outside was grey and miserable, having an extra half an hour lie in seemed more attractive. I think I made the right choice, because I felt like a million bucks today.

I did all of the preparation to bake a batch of carrot and kale muffins before Zoe arrived, and we baked a batch as soon as she arrived and had them out of the oven in time to drive to Playgroup. I was expecting a larger crowd today on account of the wet weather, but it turned out quite the opposite. That said, Zoe still had a good time. There's really no other kids her age though, so it's still winding up as a "play with Dad in a different environment".

My ABN came through yesterday, so after Playgroup we walked to the bank to give it to them and sort out a business credit card. Zoe was super well behaved while I did that, so we grabbed a fresh hot cross bun from Brumby's across the street afterwards.

I needed some more stamps, so I figured we could just walk down to the post office down the other end of Oxford Street while we were there. That was slow going, but Zoe was enjoying walking with her umbrella in the rain. We got to the post office, and I discovered that postage is going up to 70 cents next week, and they couldn't sell be 70 cent stamps yet, and buying 60 cent stamps would be pointless after Monday, so I left empty handed. Zoe was eyeing off the umbrellas they had for sale in the post office.

No sooner had we walked out of the post office and Zoe managed to walk all over her umbrella and totally destroy it. If I hadn't seen it happen, I'd have said she did it deliberately to get a new umbrella, but it really was an accident, so we had to turn around and buy one of the umbrellas from the post office.

We made our way back down Oxford Street, and stopped in the boutique toy shop there. Zoe was particularly enthralled by the musical jewelery boxes, and really wanted one. I negotiated with her for it to be a birthday present, and got it gift wrapped. She seemed fine with the idea of not being able to have it until her birthday.

We then made our way back to the car and drove home for a rather late lunch. I'm glad Zoe had the hot cross bun after the bank to keep her going, as she didn't seem to mind the late lunch at all.

I made fritters with some left over corned beef, and then after we'd had lunch I thought we might as well get out of the house.

Zoe's Kindergarten has a working bee on Saturday (I'm expecting it'll get canceled due to the wet weather, though). Incidentally, I have no idea where the "bee" in "working bee" comes from. Megan's Dad is Welsh, and I was lost for words when it came to explaining what a working bee was. Anyway, I wanted to get some gardening gloves, so we went to Bunnings. I managed to find some cute little kids ones as well, so Zoe can help.

After Bunnings, we went to the pet shop to get some more cat litter. The pet shop seems to be a great source of entertainment for Zoe. She absolutely loved playing around with the hutches they had on display, and checking out all the fish, and the aquarium accessories.

We eventually made it out of the pet shop, and we went around to the adjacent shopping mall in search of some craft supplies at some of the cheap shops there. It turns out the cheap shops are also a great source of entertainment.

By the time we were done there, it was time to get home so Sarah could pick Zoe up, so we headed home. There was enough time for Zoe to watch a little bit of TV before Sarah arrived.

So despite the weather, and no real plan for the day, we managed to completely fill the day, and Zoe had a great time. She seemed no worse for wear for powering through without a nap. There was a few small tantrums at Bunnings, but that mostly revolved around her tipping over her miniature shopping trolley.

[05:12] [life] [permalink]

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Day 57: UnderWater World (now known as Sea Life: Mooloolaba)

My late biological maternal grandmother ("Nana"), remarried late in her life to a long-time friend named Bryce. I was probably an early teenager. He was a nice guy, and I kept in loose contact with him after my Nana passed away.

After my Nana passed away, he moved out of the retirement home he'd been living in with my Nana, and in with one of his sons. Sometime before I moved back to Australia, in ailing physical health, he moved from his son's place into Masonic Care's aged-care hostel in Sandgate.

He turned 90 last year. Mentally, he's doing pretty good. Physically, he's very wobbly on his legs. He's had a few falls, which was the main catalyst for moving from his son's place to the aged-care hostel. Other than that, he's in pretty good physical health though.

I remember the first time I visited him in the hostel. After I left, I wept uncontrollably. Here was a man who was literally just waiting out the rest of his life in a small cupboard of a room. I was appalled at how small the room was, and the fact that he was just sitting around waiting to die really upset me.

I've visited him a few times since I've been back. I've taken him over to my parent's place when I've taken Zoe to visit them, just so he gets out.

I should say that I'm sure his own family do spend some time with him, so it's not like he's spending all his time rotting in this place, but probably still a fair chunk of it. Growing old sucks.

Yesterday, when the weather forecast for today was looking like it was going to be pretty wet and miserable, I decided I'd use the day to take Zoe to Underwater World (which I've since learned has rebranded it self as "Sea Life: Mooloolaba".

I had the presence of mind to call up Bryce yesterday to see if he'd like to join us today. We had to pass in his general direction to get up there, so it wasn't particularly out of my way. He informed me that he was now in a wheelchair, which I thought was fine for this excursion.

So this morning, after we got ourselves going, we stopped at Sandgate to pick up Bryce, and made it to Underwater World by about 10am. I was a bit leery of the drive, because from home, it was another 30 minutes on top of the drive to Wet and Wild, and 15 minutes on top of the drive to Sea World, so I wasn't sure how Zoe would take that length car trip.

It turned out that she took it pretty well. She started getting a bit restless in the last 30 minutes, but it was manageable.

I was a little apprehensive about how wrangling Zoe and looking after a frail 90 year old in a wheelchair was going to work out. It turned out it worked out just fine. I could leave Bryce wherever he was, if I had to chase after Zoe, and Zoe quite liked helping push the wheelchair around. Towards the end of the day, when she got tired, I could just pop her in Bryce's lap, and push the pair of them around.

It was a really good outing. I have only vague memories of visiting the place in my childhood, and it's become significantly better since then. Zoe really enjoyed going through the glass tunnels under the main ocean exhibit. We did several laps of that. We were fortunate enough to catch the sting ray feeding almost immediately upon arrival, and we also saw the seal show and made the otter feeding. The place was more focused on salt water aquatic life, hence the name, but there was also some freshwater exhibits.

I never thought that much of the Monterey Aquarium, much preferring the California Academy of Science's aquariums, especially in terms of drive time accessibility. If you ignore the freshwater/salt water diversity, I think Sea Life is even better than the California Academy of Sciences.

We left at about 2pm, and after a lot of hunting around, tracked down the photo they took when we entered, and then drove home closer to 3pm. To my surprise, Zoe didn't fall asleep immediately, but she did fall asleep on the way back to Bryce's place. She woke up to say goodbye to him, and then we drove home, stopping off in the Valley to check my post office box along the way, and arrived back home about 15 minutes before Sarah arrived to pick her up. It ended up being a very full day.

Bryce really enjoyed himself, and I felt really happy that I was able to relatively easily brighten up his day. I've resolved to try another such outing again, I just need to figure out what to do.

I thought I'd try for a 10km run, but it started to rain at the 4km mark. I was also not feeling particularly confident about lasting the distance, so I decided to just turn it into a 5km run instead.

[05:26] [life] [permalink]

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Day 56, Kindergarten, rain, taxes

There was quite the torrential downpour overnight. It woke me up, and it woke Zoe up too, and at about 1:45am she ended up in bed with me. I think she managed to invent a new baby sleep position, where she was on my pillow, perpendicular to me along the bed head, and had somehow ejected the pillow that was on her side of the bed.

We got up, with a slow start, and the weather was still looking a bit dicey, so Zoe wanted to go to Kindergarten by car. That actually meant we were the first ones there, because I'd been working to a timetable of leaving home by bike.

One of the chickens was starting to hatch (and subsequently hatched around noon) so that was exciting. Funnily enough, Zoe had spent all morning telling me how she didn't want to go to Kindergarten, but by the time we got there, she didn't seem to mind being there all that much.

After I got home from Kindergarten, I biked down to Bulimba to go to the bank to finalise opening my business bank accounts. I've since discovered that one can't do much without an ABN, I can't even get a cheque book, so I've sicked my accountant on that one for me.

I got stuck into my US taxes some more today, and made a very satisfactory amount of progress on them. I think I should be able to finish them off in the next session I get to work on them.

I felt like getting out of the house after that. It was looking quite like rain again, making picking up Zoe by bike out, so I ran a few errands in the car before getting to Kindergarten quite early.

Zoe was fast asleep, but I let her have a long, slow wake up, and that made our departure much easier. She got to have a little hold of one of the baby chicks before we left. Today I learned that baby chicks smell absolutely divine.

We got home, and Zoe did some self-directed craft for a bit, and then wanted to play hide and seek, so we did that and finally got around to looking at all of the Woolworths DreamWorks Heroes cards she's been collecting. I was disappointed to discover there's only a single card per pack, so that's going to mean I have to spend at least $840 on groceries, excluding duplicates, before we get all of them. I'm glad the checkout operators aren't sticking to the rules and are handing them out a little more generously than that.

After that, we did a bit more rough and tumble play, and then it was time to start making dinner, so Zoe watched a DVD.

We got dinner out of the way relatively early, so I practiced plaiting her hair (I've surprised myself with the half-decent job I can do) and then did bath time and bed time.

Bed time was a little protracted (she didn't like her bedroom and wanted to sleep in my bed) but otherwise seems to have gone smoothly.

[03:21] [life] [permalink]

Monday, 24 March 2014

Day 55, Kindergarten, run, Debian

I got up this morning with the intent of knocking out a 10km run. I managed to last 8km today, so it's an improvement, but I don't know what's up with my running fitness at the moment.

After that, I pretty much did Debian stuff all day. I managed an upload of dstat and found a potential security bug in another of my packages when I was trying to update it, so I raised that issue with the package's upstream.

I also mostly sorted out opening a bank account for my company. I just have to visit the branch in person tomorrow.

Sarah had indicated to me that Zoe had slept poorly last night, on top of a big weekend, and that I should probably pick her up in the car, so I drove to Kindergarten expecting to find her fast asleep and not take too kindly to being woken. Instead, she was wide awake, not having napped at all.

The highlight of her day was they had some baby chickens at Kindergarten. They had four day-old hatchlings, with more eggs in an incubator.

Megan wanted Zoe to have a coffee with her, so we stopped at the local coffee shop, with her Dad and little sister, for a babyccino on the way home.

I had a pretty big weekend away, and didn't feel up to doing the grocery shopping yesterday afternoon when I got home, so we went to the supermarket on the way home to do the weekly grocery shop. After we got home, I got stuck into making dinner while Zoe watched TV.

My girlfriend came around after work and joined us for dinner, and the three of us had a nice dinner together.

Zoe started showing signs of being particularly tired during dinner, and was a bit uncooperative around bath time, but we got through it all, and I managed to get her down to bed a little bit early, and she fell asleep without too much trouble. It's a fairly warm night. Hopefully she'll sleep well.

[05:32] [life] [permalink]

Friday, 21 March 2014

Day 52, Trial Ballet class, rain and paint, Science Friday

I woke up at 2am, and then spent over an hour trying to get back to sleep. That was phenomenally annoying. Then at 5am, Zoe's white noise app on her Nexus 7 decided to go a bit wonky (as it does from time to time), which caused her to wake up. I couldn't convince her tablet to behave, so I just let her get in bed with me, but neither of us went back to sleep. I think at about 6am I told her she could turn on the TV so I could try and squeeze in a bit more rest.

I managed to forget to put the oats in the Thermomix when I made porridge this morning. It took me a while to figure out why the consistency and colour didn't look quite right when I dished it up. Yep, it was one of those mornings.

Zoe had her trial ballet class this morning, at 9:45am in Coorparoo. I managed to get Zoe organised a bit early, so we were the first ones there. It's in a church hall, and has a nice floor, with a mirrored wall and barres on each long wall.

Eventually the other girls arrived, there were 5 regulars in total. A good sized class.

I had mixed feelings when I discovered that parents weren't normally able to be present in the dance studio to watch the classes. I was today, because it was a trial, but once Zoe starts regular classes, I'll have to wait outside. I'm disappointed I won't be able to watch, but it'll be nice to have 45 minutes to myself.

Zoe did really well in the class today. She picked everything up very quickly, and I don't think she'll be negatively impacted by having entered in Term 2. She seemed very comfortable and looked like she enjoyed herself.

Not long after we arrived, the heavens opened in a massive downpour, which continued when we had to leave. It was a fair dash back to the car. I'd had plans of a picnic lunch in New Farm Park, but scrapped them on account of the weather.

We got home, and had a late morning tea, and then Zoe wanted to play with her Marble Run. After that, we gave Smudge a good brushing and then Zoe wanted to do some craft and painting.

I let Zoe set herself up, and it was fun to see what bits and pieces she chose to dig out of the arts and craft bins. She wanted to make another crown for Mummy's boss, but we don't have any crown making stuff at home (yet), so she ended up starting to decorate a wand and gluing a pom pom on a shoe box, before moving on to painting her cardboard box cubby house and rocket. She wanted to start doing some hand painting right around lunch time, but I managed to convince her to do that after lunch.

We had some lunch, and then she did a little bit more painting and stickering before her nap. She passed out for her nap very quickly.

After her nap, I asked her if she wanted to paint or do science, and without hesitation, she chose science!

I delved into the "Weather" chapter of 365 Science Experiments and we did a couple with ice cubes and salt and then she saw one where you stick a balloon over the neck of a glass bottle and put it in hot water and the balloon "inflates", so we did that one as well. We also popped a balloon to simulate thunder. It was all nice and easy, without a lot of preparation required.

After that, we did a bit of a clean up and then Zoe watched some of her DVDs from the library while she waited for Sarah to arrive to pick her up.

It was a good day today. No meltdowns.

[00:10] [life] [permalink]

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Day 51, BJJ, library, lunch at Grill'd and a play in the park

Despite having a good, unbroken night's sleep, Zoe seemed a bit out of sorts this morning. She didn't have a particularly good breakfast. I'm not sure if that was because I made the porridge with cow's milk instead of almond milk (because I had some leftover cow's milk), or she was just having a bad day.

Zoe has a trial dance class booked for tomorrow, which clashes with her normal Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class, so we skipped Playgroup and did a BJJ class this morning.

It was a good class, because there were 3 other kids there, a regular boy and girl, and a girl who was taking a trial class, so it was nice to have a bit more happening, but the two other regular kids were younger and a little less focused, and I think that distracted Zoe a bit. I think the lack of a decent breakfast also kicked in, and she went on strike a couple of times. Overall, it was a pretty good class though. The one downside was when I accidentally closed her fingers in the door on the way out. I didn't realise she was holding onto the door frame when I let go of the door I was holding open for her. Luckily it wasn't a heavy door or it could have ended more badly.

Zoe had chosen to go to BJJ class by car today. I wondered if it was because of the improved music selection with the new radio. Her library books were due back soon, and since I don't have her this weekend, I thought we could just go to the library after BJJ class.

I gave her a muesli bar to keep her going after BJJ class, but I think the lack of a good breakfast was really starting to show after we left the library. I was feeling like lunch out, and hadn't been to Grill'd for a while, nor sampled their kids menu, so I asked Zoe if she wanted a burger for lunch, and she said she did.

We got to Grill'd, and I eventually managed to extract an order out of Zoe. She went for the mini chicken burger. The kid's menu items were pretty good. They came in a little box, with the burger, some chips, a popper (a.k.a. "juice box") and a colouring sheet with a set of colouring pencils.

Unfortunately Zoe had a massive meltdown because she couldn't get the angle of her straw to her liking, and wasn't doing very well expressing how she wanted it ("down and then up" didn't make a whole lot of sense without it having bendy bits in places it didn't have bendy bits). Eventually I got her to eat.

I'd say that food was definitely the issue, because after lunch she perked up significantly, and we had a nice little play in Bulimba Memorial Park, where I'd parked the car, and then we went home. We read a few of the new library books, and then she passed out for a late nap without much complaint.

After her nap, she was still a little bit out of sorts, but we managed a walk down to the Hawthorne Garage to grab some lamb cutlets for dinner, and then she watched some TV and ate quite a good amount of fruit while I organised dinner.

After a handwashing-related meltdown and dinner, we went back to the Hawthorne Garage for a babyccino. She'd perked up somewhat by this stage, and it was a nice outing. Many dogs were patted while there and on the way home.

Bath time and bedtime went pretty well. It's another warm night, so I hope she sleeps well.

[05:34] [life] [permalink]

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Day 50, Kindergarten, appointments central, cleaning, meetings and meltdowns

Today was a very busy day for me.

First up, I had my chiropractic adjustment. Then I had my half-yearly dental checkup. Then I got stuck into cleaning the house. Fortunately I'd done a bit the afternoon before, otherwise I'd never have gotten it done before my massage. I'm starting to seriously consider getting a cleaner. I can make much better use of the limited time I get than cleaning the house.

Zoe's Kindergarten has a Parent Advisory Group or something like that, which meets monthly. I wasn't able to attend the first one, but the second one was today, about an hour before pickup, so I grabbed a quick lunch after my massage and biked over to Kindergarten early.

The meeting wasn't particularly interesting. The majority of it revolved around fund raising.

At pickup time, Zoe was fast asleep again, and had another massive meltdown when I woke her up. It took forever to get her out. She wanted to give Megan a hug, but Megan had long gone. Then, rather fortuitously, Megan's Dad texted me to tell me they were in the playground on the neighbouring school grounds, so I managed to use that as an incentive to get Zoe moving.

I didn't know until today, but at the foothill of the neighbouring primary school, there's some play equipment. A few of the Kindergarten kids seem to have a play over there after Kindergarten. Megan and Zoe played there for a bit before it was time to go.

Once we got home, we unpacked and then walked down to the Hawthorne Garage to get some vegetables, and then, after buying some milk from the corner store and another grumpy meltdown, I figured a quiet afternoon was in order, so Zoe watched a DVD for a bit while I prepared dinner.

I'd bumped into the mother of Zoe's friends Eva and Layla from her old day care while I was at the dentist in the morning, and arranged for her to drop by to pick up a copy of the photos I'd taken at their 4th birthday party. I'd hoped that she'd bring the girls with her, and had told Zoe they'd be dropping by, but unfortunately she came on the way to picking them up from day care, so Zoe was a bit disappointed. We did arrange to have them over for dinner next Friday, so I'm sure that will be very exciting.

After that, we had dinner, and a fairly uneventful bedtime. It's hot again, so I hope that doesn't mess with her sleep.

[04:14] [life] [permalink]

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Day 49, Kindergarten, general exhaustion, a new car radio and a body corporate AGM

I was pretty exhausted after yesterday's sustained activities. By the time I'd blogged, done some photo management, gone to yoga class, made dinner and called my girlfriend, it was late, and I'd gotten to that tired point where I couldn't be bothered getting off the couch, so I ended up having a self-inflicted late night.

This morning I tried to go for a run, but I died at the 2km mark, half way up Hawthorne Road, so I walked for the remainder of my 5km circuit. I'm going to say it was a combination of tiredness, insufficient hydration, the heat, and my head space.

I got home from my "run", and had a shower and cleaned up the kitchen a bit and decided I'd rather get out of the house than work on my taxes, so I headed over to Moorooka to talk to the folks at Northfield about a new car radio.

I've been wanting to get a better radio for the car for a while. The factory one has no line in, so I can't play anything off my phone through the car speakers. I've been wanting one that can do Bluetooth and play USB media. That way I can stick all of Zoe's CDs onto a USB stick and give her (and me) more variety than the current 3 track CD from dentist that she's favouring, and with Bluetooth I can listen to Pandora without needing a cable.

I got to Northfield, and was pleased that they could do something within the budget I was looking at, and bought the DEH-X6650BT, which they were able to install for me on the spot.

They said it'd take an hour and half, so I went for a walk down the road to Moorooka's main street to kill some time. I ended up having lunch at a little Ethiopian cafe where I swear the lady didn't understand English. Moorooka's quite nice and ethnic.

After lunch I walked back, with the intention of reading the manual while I waited, and was pleasantly surprised to find they'd already finished the installation.

When the guy was walking me through how to use it, I was really pleasantly surprised to discover that it also included Bluetooth hands free for my phone, with a little microphone glued to the top of my windscreen. That really made my day. I don't have to faff around with my little Bluetooth earpiece in the car any more. Then I discovered it had built-in Pandora support. So I'm really happy with this purchase, and really glad I didn't have to make a second trip to get it installed.

I scouted around for a small USB thumb drive on the way home, and copied all Zoe's music off my laptop when I got home.

By this stage, it was too late to bike to Kindergarten, and I wasn't really feeling like it anyway, because it was too hot, and I wanted to show Zoe the new radio anyway. It was a good call, because Zoe was fast asleep, and didn't take very kindly to being woken up. It took about 20 minutes to get her calm enough to get her back to the car.

We got home, and we chilled out on the couch and watched a bunch of Youtube videos on the TV from when she was in the US, and then I showed her some Winter Olympics figure skating and speed skating, and then she watched a bit of DVD while I cleaned up the living room.

Sarah picked up Zoe, and then I hosted our Body Corporate's annual general meeting.

[04:01] [life] [permalink]

Monday, 17 March 2014

Day 48, Pupil free day, shoes, shoes and more shoes, ice skating, cut-throat shaving

Zoe's Kindergarten had a Pupil Free Day today. I think there's only that impacts the days Zoe attends Kindergarten for the whole year.

I'd wanted to make the most of the fact that her friend Mackensie wasn't in Kindergarten on a Monday either, and have a play date with her at Southbank, but her little sister was having sleep issues, and her mother wanted her to nap at home today, so we had to scratch those plans. Given the forecast maximum temperature was going to be over 30°C today, I thought ice skating would be a great way to escape the heat, but the rink didn't have their open session until 1pm, so we had to do something in the morning to kill time. I decided we should go shoe shopping.

Before we went to Westfield Carindale, we went to Officeworks to print out some more photos. Zoe really enjoys helping me with the self-serve printing kiosk, and is happy amusing herself at the kid's colouring table otherwise. I wanted some unusual size prints, so it involved one of the staff doing some additional faffing around with Photoshop for me. I'm rather amazed they'll spend the staff time doing that, when I only spend a couple of dollars on prints.

After that, we headed out to Carindale. Zoe's in that limbo between size 3 and 4 at the moment. I bought her some new size 4 Autumn/Winter clothes the other weekend, and after that, went through her wardrobe and did a big cull of all her size 2 stuff and any size 3 stuff that didn't fit terribly well. That just left shoes and jumpers to sort out, so we concentrated on them today.

First things first, we grabbed some morning tea at Muffin Break. They did a nice babyccino in a little china espresso cup, so Zoe enjoyed that, and we split a muffin between us.

Zoe took a fancy to some ballerina pumps she saw at Cotton On Kids. We bought a few pairs of socks and a pair of size 10 pumps, and she wanted to wear them from that point on, so we wore them to the shoe shop. Almost as soon as we walked out of the store, she ran into heel problems on one foot, so after a few rounds of taking a couple of steps and needing to refit the heel of one shoe, I convinced her to go barefoot the remainder of the way. At Shoes and Sox she got properly measured for some light up closed-toe shoes. Zoe absolutely loved them, and wanted to wear them from that point on.

Next we went to Target, and got a couple of jumpers. The kid's entertainment area was both a blessing and a curse. It was great for keeping her occupied when I needed to dash off and get some socks for myself for ice skating, but it was a negotiation challenge to get her away from it when it was time to leave. Toy Story 3 conveniently finished at just the right time.

We dropped into Pumpkin Patch to get some boots. Despicable Me was playing there. Zoe is absolutely hooked on it at the moment. I managed to prime her to leave at the end of a scene though. She did score a couple of stickers while we were sitting there chilling out watching the movie though, so that was nice. I love Pumpkin Patch, but my God, it is expensive. I could have dropped $50 on a dress I really liked there, but I managed to resist.

We decided to go back to Cotton On Kids to exchange the ballerina pumps. They didn't have any more of the style she'd chosen in her size, so we switched from gold glittery ones to red ones, which she wore out of the store. Cotton On Kids was also showing Despicable Me, so Zoe was very pleased.

Shoes are horrendously expensive in Australia. The Sketchers and the boots set me back $60 each. The pumps were a bit more reasonably priced. I think they were about $20. I hope her feet don't grow too fast.

After that shopping extravaganza it was lunchtime, and we split a spinach pide and had a quick fool around in the outdoor kid's play area and by then it was already after 1pm, so it was time to head to the ice skating rink.

We got to the rink by about 1:45pm, and I changed Zoe into something a bit warmer. She was so excited, because we've talked about going ice skating on and off for a while, but it's just not something we've gotten around to doing yet, because neither of the two rinks are particularly convenient to home, and they have slightly odd hours.

The rink had these slightly shorter than waist-height penguins that you could rent for little kids, so I rented one of them and Zoe pushed it around the rink, and got progressively better on her skates as time passed. We could also turn the penguin around and she could stand on the "feet" and I could push the penguin around by its head, which was fun for her, because we could get more speed up.

By the end of the session, she was confident enough to have a few stints without the penguin, and stayed up pretty well. She was pretty buzzed afterwards. Going during the week was great, because there were maybe 20 people on the ice, tops, so it was nice and quiet. Zoe wasn't much of a hazard to anyone. She loved watching a couple of guys speed skate, and a lady do some figure skating.

I'd booked myself a cut-throat razor shave at The Emporium Barber as a bit of a splurge, for 4:30pm, so we headed over there next. We got there a bit early, so I had a coffee, and Zoe had a juice while we waited. Then we discovered this dance apparel place a couple of doors down, that also had lots of fairy dresses and dress up dresses and whatnot. I asked on the off chance if they had ballet shoes, and of course they did, so we grabbed a pair of them while we were there, which was most serendipitous. Zoe has a trial dance class on Friday. She wants to do ballet or something of that ilk as her activity next term.

Zoe was really good while I had my shave, and kept herself amused with my phone, and then we headed home, where Sarah was waiting to pick up Zoe.

So it was really a rather non-stop, but nicely paced day. I'm looking forward to capping it off with a yoga class.

[02:10] [life] [permalink]

Friday, 14 March 2014

Day 45, BJJ, Science Friday and baking cookies

We had a pretty busy day today. Sarah dropped Zoe off at around 8:30am. I reminded Zoe that she'd forgotten to give Sarah her crown that she'd made at Playgroup the previous day, so she gave that to her.

After Sarah left, I let Zoe watch a little bit of TV while I finished getting myself organised.

We drove to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class today, because I wanted to go directly to the Planetarium afterwards.

Zoe's BFF Megan came to BJJ class today for a trial class. Zoe was very excited. Megan picked everything up really quickly, and the girls had a good time. She didn't want to wear her uniform today though. I managed to get out of her later that she felt it made her sweaty. I told her it was probably all the running around that made her sweaty, not the uniform.

We went out for a coffee with Megan, her Dad and her little sister afterwards. We found a little take away shop around the corner. Not quite the place that did babyccinos unfortunately, so Megan's Dad very cleverly got a chocolate milk and split it three ways with the girls and called it a "milkshake".

I've realised that for Science Friday, I've pretty much been doing solely chemistry so far, so I wanted to throw in a bit of astronomy this week. The Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium had just recently reopened after getting a spanky new projector because 1978 called and wanted theirs back.

Unfortunately, they weren't showing Perfect Little Planet today, but the slightly more specific Black Holes: Journey into the Unknown. I wanted Zoe to see something in the auditorium, so I thought we'd give it a shot anyway.

I think we got to the Planetarium at around 11am, and the next show was at 1:30pm, so we had a bit of a look around the foyer for a bit, which Zoe quite enjoyed. They had a life-size model of Neil Armstrong's spacesuit, and a scale model of a Saturn V rocket. Zoe quite enjoyed both of them. I'll have to dig up some Youtube footage of a Saturn V launch.

We then headed over to the cafe in the adjacent Botantic Gardens, and had a reasonable lunch. After lunch we wandered around the Botanic Gardens to kill some time, so you could say that today's Science Friday also included a goodly amount of botany as well. We went into the Tropical Dome and looked at the fish in the lily pond, and toured the fern garden, before heading back.

We timed it pretty well, and got back to the Planetarium with about 10 minutes to kill. I'd prepped Zoe for the presentation, and told her that she needed to keep quiet, and if we had to leave we wouldn't be able to go back in again, and she could whisper to me if she needed to. I have to say, she was so well behaved. She sat through the whole 45 minute presentation and the projected tour of the night sky.

I guess the presentation was sufficiently visually interesting to hold her attention for the duration. There was certainly a lot of "wow" out of her. I was so proud of how she went that I had to go and buy her an ice cream as a reward.

After that, we went for a drive around Mount Coot-tha. I pointed out the TV towers that we can see from our balcony, and then she fell asleep on the way home.

She didn't wake up particularly happy from her late, short nap, when we got home, but once she got herself sorted out, we baked the cookies that we'd made yesterday. They came out very nicely indeed. Once they were all baked, we dropped off a dozen to Megan's place, and then came home to have dinner.

Bedtime went pretty well. I hope she has a good night's sleep, as we have a big day tomorrow.

[05:22] [life] [permalink]

Day 44, Playgroup, laksa and baking

Zoe had Playgroup this morning. We had a little bit of time to kill between when Sarah dropped her off and it was time to bike over to Playgroup, so we went for a little walk to the post box to mail a letter. It was a beautiful morning, so the walk was nice.

We biked over to Playgroup. Today I learned from the mother of the boy who was causing issues last week, that he was extremely allergic to everything. They couldn't use egg cartons for their craft activities, for example, because he was allergic to eggs, and even the empty cartons would cause a problem, apparently. That's quite the allergic sensitivity. I'm glad Zoe outgrew her egg allergy.

Zoe wanted to do the craft activity first up, so she made another crown, this time for Mummy. I helped roll scraps of crepe paper into balls, and she very carefully glued them onto the points of the crown. She seems to really enjoy mucking around with Clag glue pots. I'll have to get a bottle for home. It reminds of my early primary school days.

After that, we just generally mucked around for the rest of Playgroup. She loved the dress up pink lacy skirt again, and wanted to fool around on stage for a bit.

One of my ex-co-workers has an occasional yum cha or laksa lunch with a bunch of his ex-co-workers, and I was invited along to laksa at Super Bowl. I figured that since Zoe loves any opportunity to use her chopsticks, and generally loves a good noodle soup, that this could be something I could bring her along to.

So straight after Playgroup, we biked over to the Bulimba ferry terminal, locked up the bike, took the ferry across to Teneriffe and jumped on a City Glider bus to Fortitude Valley.

We ended up getting there about 30 minutes earlier than everyone else, so I just ordered Zoe some wonton noodle soup and let her have at it while we waited for everyone else to arrive.

We all had a BBQ pork laksa, which I personally found a little bit too spicy for my liking, but it was doable. Lunch went well. Zoe was really well behaved, so I'll definitely bring her along again. The next one is supposed to be yum cha, so I think she'll enjoy the selection.

Zoe was looking pretty tired by the end of lunch, and we reversed our way back, and biked home from Bulimba. Once we got home, she practically put herself to bed for a nap. Since she was napping pretty late, I didn't let her nap for too long, and she woke up happy.

After her nap, I thought we'd do some baking. I wanted to try and make some oatmeal cookies like our friend Bri used to make, so I found a recipe and adapted it to the Thermomix, and we got stuck into it.

The joys of having a small child help is that not always do the ingredients wind up where they're supposed to. We had to mill a cup of raw sugar down to white sugar, and I had the cup's worth of sugar in a bowl and asked Zoe to tip the sugar into the Thermomix bowl. Unfortunately, she didn't line up very well, so some of the sugar made it into the Thermomix, but about as much went all over the Thermomix, the counter, the floor, the Guidecraft kitchen helper, everywhere.

I've become quite good at taking these sorts of things in my stride, and didn't bat an eyelid. I was actually more bothered by Zoe asking me if I still loved her.

After I reassured her I still loved her, even if she accidentally spilled sugar everywhere, and we cleaned up the sugar together, we continued to the point where I realised the dough was supposed to chill in the fridge for at least an hour. This would have meant the cookies wouldn't be ready to hit the oven until right around when Sarah was due to pick up Zoe, so I figured we'd just leave the dough in the fridge and bake the cookies tomorrow.

Zoe watched some TV while I cleaned up the kitchen, and then Sarah arrived to pick her up.

[01:23] [life] [permalink]

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Day 43, a lovely lazy day, until we got on the bike

Zoe slept through the night again last night. Two nights of uninterrupted sleep has been totally amazing! We had a slower start to the day because we didn't have to be anywhere.

I've been meaning to do a massive cull of Zoe's wardrobe for a while, and this morning seemed like as good an opportunity as any, so after TV, I managed to get Zoe to cooperate with trying on clothes for about an hour. She really enjoyed pulling everything out of her wardrobe and putting it all back again neatly.

After that, she asked me if I could make her a bus out of the last remaining moving box, so I managed to make something approximating a bus. The port-a-robe boxes are really rather handy for this sort of thing. The balcony is starting to look like a cardboard box shanty town, with a cubby house, a rocket and now a bus. I think we need to host a few more play dates so they all get a good work out.

It was time for lunch after that.

I'd had a bucket of caramel popcorn, which I used for the journey to Coochiemudlo the other week. Zoe had asked me how popcorn was made, so I had resolved to make popcorn with her sometime soon.

Yesterday at the health food shop, I opportunistically noticed some popping corn, so I grabbed a small bag of it. It turned out that buying peanut oil was good for more than just making peanut butter, as it came in handy today for popping corn.

I've never popped corn before, aside from occasionally getting a bag of the microwave stuff, so it was a fun experience to do it "from scratch". It turned out pretty well, with only a few burned ones and a few unpopped ones. It'd be fun to try and dry out a corn cob and totally do it from scratch.

After that I tried to get Zoe to take a nap, but it didn't work out so well, so after her quiet time we cleaned up her bedroom and generally fooled around for a bit.

Throughout the day, Zoe did lots of little bouts of self-directed play. She dredged up this little wooden xylophone that we'd made in the US from a Kiwi Crate and had a great time banging away on it until she stood on it and broke it. The doctor's kit got a good workout. It was just a really nice, relaxing day at home.

Zoe's Kindergarten was having a play date meet-and-greet in the park, for all the parents to meet each other. It was a fair way from home, but there was a nice, albeit circuitous, bike path to get there, and I decided to try and bike there, without really properly estimating the distance or length of time it would take.

The play date was due to start at 3:30pm, and I was planning on leaving at 3pm. We were about 5 minutes late getting out of the door. I think it ended up taking us about 50 minutes to get there. It was a beautiful ride though, once we got onto the Bulimba Creek bikeway, through the Minippi Parklands. It would have been the longest ride Zoe's had on the bike, and she wasn't fazed at all.

The play date itself was nice. For some reason, I'm a bit shy about going and introducing myself to the mothers (I kept wanting to write "other mothers"), but I sucked it up and made a few introductions. I'm terrible about remembering names though. At least I've got a few faces I can say hi to at drop off and pick up now.

Sarah met us at the park and hung out for a bit as well, and then Zoe and her left together and I biked back home.

I was feeling pretty good, and thought I'd try and bang out a run when I got home, but I didn't end up having the fuel in the tank, and blew up after about 1.5km.

[02:38] [life] [permalink]

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Day 42, a good night's sleep, Kindergarten, make up swim class and dinner with Nana

Zoe slept through the night for the first time in recent memory, and was up at around 6am. It was lovely. I'm thinking the slightly lower temperature helped. I'm definitely going to explore air conditioning for the bedrooms before next Summer.

I'd picked up some egg cups on the weekend, so we did soft boiled eggs in the Thermomix for breakfast. They turned out lovely this time, and Zoe seemed to enjoy eating hers. She dressed herself while they were cooking. Her Kindergarten t-shirts arrived yesterday, so now she looks like all the other kids. It's very cute.

It rained on and off in the morning, and I was in two minds about whether to chance it on the bike or not. As it happened we ended up messing around a bit before leaving, so we drove, and it was a good call, because it started raining again as we pulled out of the driveway.

Drop off was super smooth. Megan had been away yesterday, but was back today, so Zoe was very happy to see her.

My financial advisor came out for a chat about investments mid-morning, and then I got stuck into my US taxes. I will not miss having to do these tax returns. The 2013 one is going to be particularly complicated by the fact we sold our home and were only in the country for like 80 days.

I biked over to Kindergarten to pick up Zoe, as the weather had improved. Surprisingly, she was awake, but her teacher said she'd just woken up from a nap. We managed to clear out pretty quickly. I stopped at the health food shop on the way home to get some peanut oil for the dinner I was making.

Due to a miscommunication, Zoe had missed her Saturday swim class. I explained to the swim school the error, and they were kind enough to allow Zoe to have a make up class anyway, so we went to that after Kindergarten.

Zoe wanted to do some more practice riding her bike. She's got a little 10 inch bike with no training wheels and a gyrobike front wheel. We haven't had a lot of success learning to ride to date, due to a combination of her height and just time, so it was interesting that she decided today she wanted to do some more practice.

She wanted to "ride" her bike from home to the park on the way to swim class, but I managed to convince her to walk the bike to the park. It turns out even walking the bike is a bit of a challenge for her, so I ended up carrying it most of the way. It's heavy.

We got to the park, and had a bit of a run with the bike. I'm glad I decided to take her knee pads and elbow pads, because she did stack it fairly decently, but managed to survive mostly unscathed. To her credit, she even got back on the bike again. She's a tough kid.

Once we made it to the playground, she lost all interest in the bike, and we had about 15 minutes to kill before we needed to continue to the pool.

We walked/carried the bike from the park to the pool, and the make up class Zoe ended up in was Megan's regular class, so the girls had a great time together.

After swim class, we walked back home. Zoe's Nana was coming over for dinner, and I wanted to make a satay chicken dish. I'd bought some peanuts from the Peanut Wagon on Sunday, when I was in Nanango for my uncle's 90th birthday party, and I wanted to try making peanut butter from scratch in the Thermomix, and use that to make the satay sauce.

Long story short, dinner wasn't super great. I'd made a satay chicken in the Thermomix previously, but I couldn't find the recipe I used last time. I used this recipe tonight, but didn't really follow it properly because I was trying to cut corners due to the time. I tried cooking wild rice in the microwave and it was a total flop. The satay chicken itself turned out okay, but it was a shame about the rice. It was cool making my own peanut butter.

Zoe had a great time playing with her Nana, and after we dropped her off at the train station went to bed without a peep.

[05:07] [life] [permalink]

Monday, 10 March 2014

Day 41, Running, Kindergarten, baking

I got up not as early as I'd have liked, and did the first 10km run I've done for a while, with my new shoes and the orthotics in them. It was a bit cooler, and despite not being particularly well hydrated, I lasted the distance, and managed to complete it in under an hour. I'm a long way off my best time at the moment, but I'm hoping as it cools down my running fitness will improve.

I ended up doing a bunch of startup-related stuff today, instead of Debian stuff. It felt good to make some vaguely forward progress, even if it was just business operations planning stuff.

I picked up Zoe from Kindergarten by bike. We'd both confirmed with her several times since Friday as to which mode of transport she wanted to use to come home, and she'd indicated the bike.

Zoe was asleep as usual, but woke up pretty easily. The Kindergarten has indicated that they want everyone out of the centre by 2:30pm, which makes it a bit of a challenge to rouse a deeply sleeping child and exit the centre in 10 minutes. I managed to sunscreen her while she was still horizontal, so that sped things up, and it helped greatly that she didn't have a post-nap meltdown.

One of her class mates and her mother were hanging around waiting for her big brother to finish school, and the bike trailer tends to be a good conversation starter, so we chatted for a little bit before leaving. It was nice to properly meet another parent, and I'm glad to see Zoe's started learning some of her class mates names.

I had a kale, carrot and apple juice for lunch today, and as I hate wasting the pulp out of the juicer, I'd previously found a nice muffin recipe that I could use the kale and carrot pulp in. I'd previously baked a batch of mini muffins for Zoe's lunches, and was pleased that she liked them. We were getting a bit low, so I thought we'd bake another batch this afternoon, so that's what we did after we got home.

Once they were in the oven, Zoe went off to watch TV and I made a start on dinner.

Bedtime went nice and smoothly tonight.

[04:08] [life] [permalink]

Saturday, 08 March 2014

Day 38, BJJ, Science Friday and a play date

Zoe wound up in my bed at some ungodly hour, but then we both slept in until 7am, which was nice.

Mum and Dad were coming around at 8:30am to come watch Zoe's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class, so we got up, made some porridge in the Thermomix and got ready.

Zoe decided she didn't feel like going to BJJ class by bike, so we all piled into our car and drove over. Zoe had a good class, and Mum took her uniform home afterwards to take up the legs a bit, which will be good.

They stayed for lunch, and we reviewed photos from our Coochie and Melbourne trips, and I made some fresh guacamole in Thermomix to go with the chicken quesadillas I made for lunch.

After lunch they went home, and Zoe declined to take a nap, so we read some stories in the hammock, and then we did our Science Friday experiment, one that was suggested to me by a friend on Facebook.

It was nice and easy, just put some milk in a tray, drop in a few drops of food colouring and then touch them with a cotton bud soaked in detergent. The detergent breaks up the fat in the milk and the colour drops go flying all over the place. Zoe really enjoyed swirling all the colours around with the cotton buds and we repeated the experiment a few times. She then wanted to see what would happen if we put some glue in, so wanting to encourage her scientific curiosity, we tried it, and nothing interesting happened.

Zoe had a play date at her friend Mackensie's house, which was just down the road in Balmoral. We biked over to her place and the girls had a lovely afternoon playing. Sarah came and picked up Zoe from there.

I dropped in on some former neighbours who happened to move two doors down from Mackensie, and had just had a second child, and then headed home to prepare for a dinner and board game night with my girlfriend and some of my neighbours.

[04:37] [life] [permalink]

Thursday, 06 March 2014

Day 37, Playgroup, bubble tea, and Android phones

Today was Playgroup. We had a pretty early start to the day, and Zoe wanted porridge for breakfast, so we made that together in the Thermomix, and she got dressed while it cooked.

After a bit of TV, we biked over. I got to witness semi-firsthand my first mother-to-mother altercation. I said hi to a mother I'd met a previous week, and asked her how she was, and got "Pissed off" as the response. Apparently a reasonably large boy (I'd put him at about the 4 mark) had been in the face of her daughter, and distressed her daughter a bit, so she'd apparently politely told the boy to back off, and then been revved by the mother of the boy for talking to her son. The boy continued hanging around her daughter, and she left Playgroup not long after telling me all about it.

I worked out later on that the mother of the boy was one of the women who helped run the Playgroup. Fun times. He was a bit out of control. He full on screamed at me at the end of Playgroup for no reason. His mother did make him apologise to me for that, without me requesting it.

There were some dress ups (mostly skirts) today, so Zoe had a fabulous time cavorting around on the stage in a big pink lacy skirt, doing "ballet". She dragged me up on stage with her, and we danced around for a bit. It was quite fun.

She was very helpful at pack up time, and was bringing a lot of equipment back to the storage room at the back of the hall. I was helping load stuff into the large crate in the storage room. After parachute time, I lost sight of her briefly, and after a quick search, deduced that she must have gotten herself locked in the storage room. Sure enough, that's where she was. She was only missing for as long as it took me to notice and search in all the other possible places, so she wasn't particularly distressed. Poor thing.

After Playgroup, we biked back home, and I had another photo I wanted to print out, so we drove over to Officeworks and had a sausage sizzle after we got the photo printed out, and then drove back home.

Zoe had a pretty good bedtime last night, so I decided to try skipping her nap today.

I wanted to get the 5-8 player extension pack for Settlers of Catan, which Mind Games in the Myer Centre had, so we hopped on a bus to the city.

When we've been on longer public transport rides, Zoe's asked me if she can play games on my phone. This of course keeps her amused, but leaves me with nothing to amuse myself (I need to remember to bring a book). I have this cupboard full of old Android phones, so I decided to blow the dust off my old Nexus S and make it a dedicated games phone for her when we're on public transport. This worked pretty well today. She also decided to bring her handbag, which was convenient. I think she was pretty excited at the idea of her "own phone", even if it lacked a SIM card.

After we'd bought the extension pack, I thought we could do something slightly more fun than just traipse into the city and traipse back out again. I've been meaning to introduce her to bubble tea for a while, so took this opportunity to track some down in the Myer Centre. We settled on some honeydew milk tea. She liked the honeydew, but after a couple of mouth fulls, was over the tapioca balls. She was a good sport and gave them a good college try though.

It was fun watching her play around with the phone on the way home, and just fumbling her way around the user interface. She found the alarm setting UI, and was having a great old time creating alarms. (I'm glad I cleared them all out when we got home, there was at least one set for 4am). She had fun exploring all the ring tones. Towards the end of the journey home she figured out the camera, and was having a fabulous time taking snaps out the bus window. She still needs to work on keeping her hands and fingers away from the lens.

She watched some TV while I made dinner and then I joined her on the couch for a cuddle while I flicked through my copy of 50 Dangerous Things (you should let your children do) and 365 Science Experiments.

My cousin Renata came around for dinner with us tonight. Zoe didn't have a particularly great dinner, but she did go to bed nice and easily. I'm not sure how she'll sleep tonight. I've gone back to having a light-weight doona on her, as it's possible last night's wake up was temperature-related.

[03:00] [life] [permalink]

Wednesday, 05 March 2014

Day 36, Kindergarten, cleaning and pee pee accidents in hardware stores

Today was my "clean the house" day. I made a start, then went for my chiropractic assessment and adjustment. I now only need to see him fortnightly, which is nice. I knocked out most of the cleaning, and then went for a massage and had some lunch. The next thing I knew it was about time to pick up Zoe.

I biked to Kindergarten, and she was asleep again. She woke up reasonably easily, but was grumpy not long after that. She was very uncooperative, and didn't want to go home on the bike, and wouldn't let me put sunscreen on her. After a bit of work, I managed to extract from her that she didn't like my "sweaty hands" from riding the bike there, so I washed my hands and then she let me sunscreen her up. I'll try doing pick ups in the car next week I think.

We got home, and I needed to get some more kitty litter, so we went out to Pet Barn. Zoe had a great time checking out all the fish, and also playing with aquarium decor. It got me thinking that maybe an aquarium might be a good birthday present for her, if not this year, maybe next year. It turns out that fish aren't particularly expensive, so they'd make for easy presents for people.

After that, we popped across to Bunnings, because I needed a couple of things. While we were there, Zoe announced she wanted to go to the toilet, so we started trekking off to where I thought the toilets were. Turned out I was wrong, and they were at the opposite end of the building, so we had to trek all the way back again. Zoe got all the way into the ladies bathroom and failed to make it onto the toilet in time, so that concluded our visit to Bunnings.

We got home and she got changed, and I started making dinner. While dinner was cooking, Zoe watched a bit of TV, and then I decided to try making some lunch box pies, essentially a piece of buttered bread jammed into a muffin tray with some creamed corn and bacon in the bottom and beaten egg on top, thrown in the oven. Zoe helped sample the bacon and cracked the eggs for me, while I buttered bread and cut the crusts off and jammed slices into muffin trays.

Bedtime was remarkably uneventful for a change.

[02:31] [life] [permalink]

Tuesday, 04 March 2014

Day 35, Kindergarten, taxes, makeup BJJ

I foolishly had a late night last night, for no particularly good reason, so I slept in quite late this morning. I didn't start getting going until about 8am. How decadent.

I'd forgotten to send Zoe to Kindergarten with her water bottle yesterday, and forgotten to give it to Sarah when she picked her up yesterday, so I dropped it and a fresh set of spare clothes out to Kindergarten after I had breakfast and a shower. I managed to sneak in and out without Zoe seeing me.

I did some more work on my taxes before popping out for lunch to discuss my main start up idea. I also renamed my old shelf company today.

I biked over to Kindergarten for pick up, and sure enough, Zoe was fast asleep. It took quite a bit of work to rouse her. I was pretty sure she was just faking it though. She moved pretty fast when I said I had a surprise at home for her.

We biked home, and I gave her the surprise (some Pop Rocks I'd been saving for a special occasion) and headed out by car to a makeup Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class to make up for the one she missed on Friday.

It turned out that trying to do an afternoon class after Kindergarten and being woken up from a nap wasn't the best idea. Zoe tired out pretty quickly, during the warm up exercises, and was moderately uncooperative for the remainder of the class (she kept going on strike).

I've never driven to or from BJJ classes until today, and I wasn't actually sure how best to drive home, since we've always taken the Norman Park Greenway. Zoe was asking for a "different way" anyway, so that worked out well. We winged it through Coorparoo and the back of Norman Park and tacked onto the end of how we'd normally cycle home.

Zoe had enough time to watch a little bit of TV before Sarah arrived to pick her up.

[03:46] [life] [permalink]

Monday, 03 March 2014

Day 34, Kindergarten, recovery, carpentry

I was pretty knackered today. I should have done some Debian stuff, but I just didn't have it in me, and I had a backlog of household stuff to get done.

Zoe woke up at 4am, and I didn't have the energy to try and get her to go back to sleep in her bed, so I just let her sleep in my bed. We both slept in until 7am, which was nice.

As a result, we didn't have as much time to have a slow start, and Zoe was a bit grumpy and uncooperative as a result. I think there was at least one meltdown before breakfast.

It conveniently rained around the time we were ready to leave, so we drove to Kindergarten. Drop off was super smooth. She pretty much waved me off as soon as we got there.

I picked up a couple of packages from the post office on the way home, and then started hanging out the washing before I had to go back to see the podiatrist to get my orthotics fitted in my new running shoes. I finished hanging out the washing and putting away stuff from the Coochie trip and Melbourne trip and had some lunch.

After lunch I started work on making a little step for Zoe so she can turn the light off in her bedroom. I had enough material left over from the clothes lines I made for her to make a really dodgy little "stool".

It rained again around pick up time, so I drove to Kindergarten again, and picked up Zoe. She'd just woken up from a nap before I got there and was in a good mood. Megan's Dad was picking up Megan on foot, and they were going to have a coffee at the local coffee shop, so we joined them.

After that, we went to the post office to check my post office box. I had a cheque that needed to be banked, so we went to the bank and the supermarket, and by then it was pretty much time for Sarah to pick up Zoe from me.

I did a bit more carpentry before I lost the light, and went to yoga.

[05:08] [life] [permalink]

Friday, 28 February 2014

Day 31, Coochiemudlo Island to Melbourne in one day

Wow, today was pretty crazy in terms of the travel we managed to pack into one day.

This morning, Zoe woke up at about 5:30am and jumped into bed with me for a snuggle and another half hour nap. After that we got up. Zoe had been eyeing off the egg cups in the house, and so I'd wanted to do soft-boiled eggs for breakfast. So we doused ourselves in mosquito repellent and raided the chicken coop.

I don't think I've ever cooked soft-boiled eggs in my entire adult life, and today wasn't an exception. They came out hard-boiled. Zoe still ate them anyway, she just couldn't do the toast soldier thing. I need to buy some egg cups for home and we can try again. I hear the Thermomix can do boiled eggs.

After breakfast and a shower, I got stuck into packing up and cleaning the house, and Zoe watched TV. At 8am she turned off the TV and declared she wanted to play in the yard. It was nice to see that she wanted to do something more than just veg out in front of the TV, without prompting.

I had us all packed up by about 8:30am and we were only 5 minutes from where the barge docked, so we drove over to the other end of the island to take a look at the place at high tide. It was quite different from the two days before in the afternoon at low tide. The stick that we'd walked out to was barely above the waterline.

Then we drove back to wait in the queue for the barge. The barge journey back was uneventful and we made it back home by 10am, which was about the time I was expecting, and rendezvoused with my girlfriend, and did a fast unpack and repack. We then headed to the airport, arriving comfortably with enough time to check our luggage and get some lunch to take onto the plane.

Zoe was great for the flight down. She watched Brave on the in-flight WiFi entertainment on my phone, and got to fit the whole movie in before we landed, but this meant she skipped a nap.

By the time we got to Melbourne Airport, she was in the post-tired manic state, but we weren't in any particular rush, so we had a very roundabout trip to baggage claim, and then after we'd acquired some Myki cards, caught a taxi to our accommodation in South Melbourne.

After we'd unpacked and settled in, and I'd gotten some supplies from the local convenience store, we caught a tram into Bourke Street to go to Chinatown for dinner, after checking out the view from the observation deck on the 28th floor.

We found a great dumpling place, and Zoe really enjoyed the pork dumpling and noodle soup that I ordered for her. She kept alternating between eating the noodles with her training chopsticks and the broth with one of the big spoons. She was getting really over-tired and over-stimulated by this point, so it was quite a bit of cat-herding to get to Chinatown, and more so getting back to a tram to come back.

We got home, Zoe had a quick shower and went to bed without a peep. Her room is nice and dark, so I'm hoping that she'll have a bit of a sleep in tomorrow. (Wishful thinking).

I'm really quite pleased with how smoothly today's travel went. Everything went off without a hitch.

[03:16] [life] [permalink]

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Day 30, A full day on Coochie

Last night went pretty well. Once I got Zoe to sleep, she slept well, with only a brief wake up around 2am. Any mosquito bites she sustained didn't seem to give her any grief. She woke this morning at 6am. It makes me think the blackout curtains at home aren't really contributing to her sleeping in.

We had a lazy start to the day. Zoe watched some TV after breakfast, and after I had a shower, fed some bread crusts to the chickens and then we played with the box of dress up costumes for a little while.

After that, we jumped on the bike and went down to check out the trademark of Quirky Cottages, a bunch of converted rail cars and "zoo". There were chickens, geese, guinea pigs, a sheep and a donkey. The rail cars weren't anything much to phone home about (much like the Cow House). In fact the whole affair looked a bit dilapidated.

Then we continued on the bike down to the local playground, where Zoe had a swing for a bit. We walked over to the jetty and watched the passenger ferry arrive, and then bought a loaf of bread at the store and biked back to the house.

It was too early to have lunch, so we just pottered around in the yard. We inspected the chicken coop, and Zoe played on the swings and swung from the rope swing. We tried and failed to catch a chicken, because Zoe wanted me to pick one up.

We had lunch, and then Zoe had some fabulous self-directed imaginative play indoors with the various props the house had to offer, while I put my feet up. Then she declared she wanted to take a nap anyway.

After her nap, I wanted to go back to the beach. I'd gotten myself all organised so that we could try and jump on the bike as soon as possible once Zoe woke up, but there was the requisite amount of stuffing around. I'd put Zoe's water shoes on, so she could ride in the trailer in her swim gear ready to go, but she had a mosquito bite on her foot that was giving her grief, so I cut my losses, and took the water shoes off and put her sandals back on, and promptly left the water shoes behind. We got all the way to the beach before I realised, and so we had to go back and get them.

Once we finally made it back to the beach, I chose a different location than yesterday, just so we would not have any memories of the mud crab incident to deal with. It turned out to be a good choice, because we had a fabulous time exploring.

The tide was even lower than yesterday, and the water was a bit silty, so we didn't do much paddling around in it, instead we explored the rock pools.

We found some tiny (1 centimetre and smaller) hermit crabs. These didn't seem to freak Zoe out, and she was even prepared to hold them. We saw some really small mud crabs. Once we were still for a little while heaps of soldier crabs started coming out, right near us. That was pretty cool.

On the walk back to the bike, I found a crab claw on the beach, so Zoe got to take that as souvenir. I showed her how the claw opened and closed. I think we'll have to eat a crab in the near future, just so she can get a good look at one up close.

I most liked how as the excursion progressed, Zoe became more and more confident with the rocks and the tide pools. Initially she was apprehensive of everything, but starting with the soldier crabs, she'd become more and more comfortable with everything. I'd poke at stuff, she'd poke at stuff. It finished with her being comfortable wandering off to explore on her own.

We got home, Zoe had a shower and then I made dinner while she watched TV. We read some stories and so far bedtime appears to have gone pretty smoothly, which is good. I'm feeling quite exhausted. Tomorrow morning we have to pack everything up and be on the 9am barge out of here so we can race home, and repack to fly down to Melbourne for the weekend.

[02:38] [life] [permalink]

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Day 29, Coochiemudlo Island and The Cow House

I thought it might be a good idea for Zoe to do something out of the ordinary while Sarah was away, to help pass the time, so I booked The Cow House, one of the Quirky Cottages on Coochiemudlo Island for a couple of nights. I'm thinking it'll be a fun goal to work our way around all of the islands in Moreton Bay eventually, and Coochie is an easy 20 minute barge journey from Victoria Point, so it seemed like as good a starting point as any.

So I packed the car up this morning, and after my 8am chiropractic adjustment, we set out. I'd initially thought the barge left at 9:40am, but I was relieved discover it was 10:40am. That extra hour up my sleeve made things much less hectic. It was a 40 minute drive from home to Victoria Point, and we arrived with enough time for Zoe to have a quick play in a nearby playground before we had to drive onto the barge.

The house is nothing to phone home about. In fact the mobile coverage is so patchy, phoning home would be rather difficult. It's an old two bedroom fibro shack, with a painted concrete floor. It's been nicely painted in cow print and themed extremely bovinely. Zoe loved it. There were stuffed cows everywhere. She even found some cow slippers. There's chickens running around loose outside. My biggest beef with the place is the fly screens aren't intact, and there are plenty of mosquitoes about. I'm going to have keep Zoe lathered in mosquito repellent or we're going to have a bad time.

There is a good supply of kids' dress up costumes, and Zoe's been prancing around the house in a pink princess dress any time she gets the opportunity.

I brought the bike and bike trailer with me (which ended up making packing the car more of a challenge). After Zoe's nap, we went for an explore around the island by bike. There was no road around the outside of the island, so we followed the main road along the width of the island, and reached the other side in about 5 minutes. The tide was out, so we decided to return back to the house to get our swim gear and come back and have a bit of a splash around in the water.

We biked back in our swim gear. I'd bought Zoe a pair of water shoes so we didn't have to worry about what we were walking on, and I wore my snorkeling boots. The tide was out, but it looked like it was coming back in. We walked out to a big pole that was in the water marking some rocks and then started walking back again. Zoe was a bit standoffish about rocks in the water, and generally a bit apprehensive of anything strange along the way.

I spotted a mud crab in really shallow water by the shore, and brought Zoe over to see it. It had half buried itself in the sand, so I nudged it with my boot and it came out with its claws out, and Zoe completely freaked out when it started walking in her direction and she gave the most bloodcurdling scream I've ever heard her make (way worse than when she had her last vaccinations) and she climbed up my leg like a rat up a rope.

That was the end of that. She wasn't very interested in walking along the beach lest we run into any more crabs, so we biked back to our side of the island, had an ice cream and returned to the house so Zoe could have a shower and I could start dinner.

Zoe's sleeping in a king sized bed tonight, so we'll see how that works out. Bedtime has been a little bit interesting because of the change of surroundings, and there's been a lot of pining for Mummy. Hard to say if it's because of the nap today or the different sleeping arrangements.

[02:30] [life] [permalink]

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Day 28, Kindergarten, Taxes and a smattering of appointments

Today was yet another busy day.

Zoe seems to have taken to waking up at around 5:30am instead of her normal 6:00am (or a bit later when I'm really lucky). Not sure what that's all about. I did get her to go back to bed until about 6:55am, and then she was happy to just come and snuggle in bed with me for a bit instead of play games on her Nexus 7.

After that we had a leisurely start to day, making porridge with strawberries in the Thermomix, and then biked to Kindergarten. Somehow it still managed to be 8:45am by the time we got there. I was expecting it would be closer to 8:30am. Drop off looked like it was going to be clingy, but then she just waved me off, so that was nice.

I had an appointment at the podiatrist at 11:40am, and that was back near Kindergarten, but further away from home, so I had this grand plan of cycling over there, and then twiddling my thumbs for a bit before Kindergarten pickup. That left me with only a couple of hours at home to work on my taxes before I had to leave again. I managed to make those couple of hours productive though, so that was good.

I biked to the podiatrist, had my appointment, and then it was 1pm and I still needed lunch, so I decided to grab some at a cafe near the Kindergarten. I chilled out there for a while catching up on social media on my phone, and then headed over to the Kindergarten, but was still quite early, so I just hung out on one of the couches they have out by the front door, out of sight of the kids.

The Kindergarten has an A-frame whiteboard out the front that they use to broadcast messages to parents at drop off and pick up time. One of the teachers came out to write something on it while I was sitting out there, and another parent reacted rather negatively to it as it was being written, so I had to go see it for myself. Apparently a child had a suspected gastro bug (he'd thrown up a couple of times). It was interesting observing the reactions of a few mothers as they trickled in for pick up. It's been a while since a gastro bug has gone through the household, so I guess the news didn't evoke a particularly powerful reaction in me. I'm going with the "suspected" and that hopefully Zoe didn't come into contact with patient zero. I guess time will tell. I certainly hope she doesn't come down with anything between now and Sunday, with all the travel we're doing.

I had an accident report to sign today. Apparently a large wooden block hit Zoe in the head while they were packing up a tower they'd made. She had a bit of a lump on her head, but otherwise seemed fine.

Zoe had a nap today, of unknown length, but woke up naturally as I entered the room. She took a fair while to get going though, and was grumpy and uncooperative getting on the bike. I ended up having to do it the "hard way" and we had a fabulous ride back with her doing a tired cry all the way. All the way until we passed a playground, when she snapped out of it and declared she wanted to have a play.

I'd booked myself in for a haircut at 3pm, and a make up swim class at 4:45pm (to cover our absence this Saturday due to our Melbourne trip) so playing in the playground seemed like the perfect way to fill the gap. It was even on the way to swim class. So after I had my haircut, we popped home, grabbed her swim gear, and biked back to the playground for a bit.

Then we went to swim class. This was her third one at her new level, and her progress continues to go very well. It's really exciting watching her.

Zoe took her time leaving the pool, so we didn't get home until after 5:30pm and I hadn't started dinner yet. I whipped it up while Zoe watched some TV, and I managed to recoup all of the lost time after dinner and still get Zoe to bed at a reasonable hour.

Bedtime itself went nice and smoothly. I used the canned goodnight video I asked Sarah to make for the first time tonight, and it was well received and I think defused any potential issues. I'm hoping she'll sleep well tonight, as her mosquito bites don't seem to be actively giving her trouble any more.

[02:59] [life] [permalink]