Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Post Christmas Celebrations!!

Christmas Night we received this little ray of sunshine:

His name is Toby and he has fitted in nicely with our family. The girls were more excited about dogsitting Toby than their Christmas presents!! Ash has fallen in love with him.

Then last week ....

The terrible two had a sleep over!!

On Monday ....

We spent some time with the Hasletts as we didn't get a chance to see them on Christmas Day. Look at this gorgeous bunch of kids!!

On Tuesday ....

The girls and I braved the crowds and headed up to the shops.
We got a parking spot right near the entrance!
We had sushi for lunch and then decided to go to the movies while we were there.
We saw "Megamind".
I was a little disappointed, Ash loved it and Lauren slept through half of it!
Then the girls had a sleepover at their cousins house and Aaron and I went to dinner with friends - then back to their house for games! Had a great night!

Today ....

Babysat the girls and received two more little bundles of joy - Rekki (the yorky) and Beau (the white fluff ball with Lauren). We now have three dogs and the girls are loving it! Liv and Soph shared in the joy!

I have to say Rekki is my favourite!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

An Answer to Prayer

It's amazing how our prayers are answered.
Sometimes the answer comes in the most subtle of ways.

Yesterday I said a prayer that I would be able to better understand our daughter and know how to deal with her difficult personality.

Later on that day, while I was at work, I was talking to a lady who also has a daughter around the same age and she mentioned that she had similar problems with her daughter - her response put my mind at ease and helped me better understand how to deal with situations that arise with my own child.

I later realised that this was the answer to my prayers. That lady's advice helped me know what to do and put things into perspective for me.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Is It Bedtime Yet?!?!?

Having a bad day today.
I'm about ready to strangle a child!

I thought kids were supposed to get easier the older they get!?
I couldn't be more wrong!

Let's hope tomorrow's a better day!

Friday, December 10, 2010

It's a Dog's Life!

We got some very exciting news yesterday ...

We will be taking care of these two little gems for a week after Christmas:

Their names are Beau and Rekki.
The girls will get to have one dog each which I'm sure they will love!!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Sherwood On Parade

Last week the girls had their school concert - Sherwood On Parade.
They both did such a great job.

Lauren danced in two dances - she danced in the mainstream kindy class and the Support Unit class dance. She did such a great job! Everybody commented on how well she did. They all said she was the best little dancer on stage! I think she was too!

Ash also danced in two dances. She did a fabulous job. She wasn't shy at all and she was shaking her tail feather like nobody's business!

I was so proud of them both! Here they are in their outfits:

Lauren danced to Sunshine Lollipops and Rainbows!

And here she is again in her Police outfit - she danced to The Heat Is On:

Ashleigh was the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland - hence the cat pose!

You Wish!!

This morning I asked Ashleigh to turn off the tv.
She did it straight away without arguing with me - even though her favourite show was on.
Then I asked her to get dressed - again, she did it straight away with no complaints.
Then when she was eating breakfast she got up to get herself a drink and while she was at it she grabbed two cups and poured her sister a drink as well - without having to be asked!

I turned to her and said "OK, who are you and what have you done with my daughter?".

She looked at me enquiringly. I explained that what I meant by that was, she was being so nice this morning (when normally she's miserable first thing in the morning) and that it was like somebody had replaced my normal Ashleigh with a happy, nice one.

Her response was ...

"You wish!!"

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Smelly Flower!

Last night we decided to go for a walk after dinner.
Along the way we came across some gorgeous white daisies.
The girls picked one each to take home.

When we got home Lauren went straight to the bathroom.
I didn't think much of it until she came out with a very wet flower.
She said "the flower stank Mummy so I washed it with soap and now it smells pretty!"

Simple solution to a smelly problem!!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas....

Well, it's that time of year again and on the weekend (Sunday to be exact) we put up our Christmas tree!
It was just like every other year, the girls and I decorated the tree whilst Aaron looked on with disinterest but that's OK ... we do a much better job without him!

This year I added some huge Christmas baubles out the front of our house to welcome visitors as they come to our home as well as a big star in our front window to remind us of the true meaning of Christmas!

And this is the latest addition to my Christmas collection. My Jim Shore Santa! He sits on our piano and I think he's gorgeous!!
I try to keep with the whole Birth of Christ theme at Christmas and keep decorations of santa to a minimum so you will notice this santa has the nativity on his belly.

Aaron even put up some lights on the outside of the house - without complaining! He's finally coming around!! Who cares about the electricity bill - right?!!?!

In other news, one of our swordtail fish in the front pond had babies last week!
I know it's hard to see but the baby is right down the bottom of the bowl - the little orange speck!

It's one of the few breeds of fish that give birth to live young!
We have lots of baby fish swimming around our pond and they're so cute.
Ash managed to catch 5 and have put them in a bowl in her bedroom.
It's interesting to see them grow! They started off almost see-through and now they are turning gold and getting bigger and bigger every day!!
We noticed that now one of the other females in the pond is pregnant and will be ready to give birth shortly. We are going to have more fish than we know what to do with!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Santa Photo 2010

Last year I was devastated when Boxing Day rolled around and I realised I didn't get a photo of the girls with Santa Claus.!

I couldn't believe it! How did I manage to forget such an important event!?

This year I wasn't going to allow it to happen again so I got in early!

It's not even December yet and I've already got the girls photo done with Santa.

It breaks my heart though - I think they're getting a bit too big for Santa's knee now!

But, this year I'm a lot more organised for Christmas.

I've got everybody's present except for two which I think is pretty good!
I have to say, it helps when you've got money to spend .... this time last year we didn't have an excess of funds so it made it difficult to buy things for Christmas. It was a very lean Christmas for us last year.
This year however, I've spent a bit more than I normally would but boy am I having fun doing it!!
You really appreciate having money when you've gone without for so long!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

To fill you in what's been going on ...

It's been a very emotional week in the Brown home this week.
Sadly, we had to say goodbye to our beloved cat Thomas.
He has been a part of our family for 6 years so saying goodbye wasn't easy.

It all started with Lauren having a really bad winter for the third year in a row.
She has had really severe respiratory problems and finally this year it twigged that maybe it was the cat.
Maybe, just maybe she was allergic.
Her asthma has been getting progressively worse (3 attacks this year which resulted in us having to visit the doctor) and she would be up all night with this horrible chesty cough.
Also Aaron's skin allergy has been getting worse to the point that he was having to take hayfever tablets every day. He has been tested and it came back positive for an allergy to cats and dogs.
And finally, my hayfever has been really bad and Ashleigh's too.

So I decided that maybe it was time for the cat to go.
Not only that but he has been really grumpy with the girls lately.
Lauren wouldn't leave him alone and even Ashleigh was picking him up all the time and driving him crazy. All I would hear was the cat meowing loudly which resulted in me screaming at the girls to "PUT THE CAT DOWN!!". It was all too much for me!

On top of all this, he was killing all of our gold fish and he'd start meowing at 5.30am EVERY MORNING!

So enough was enough!

I decided to call the RSPCA to see what my options were.

We'd tried advertising him in the local paper, put a flier up at the local shops and even advertised him in the Daily Telegraph but I didn't even get one phone call.

The RSPCA put my mind at ease - after explaining all of the above to them they said that maybe it would be best for everyone concerned (including the cat) that I brought him in. They don't have many cats at the moment so the liklihood of them finding him a home was high.

With this my heart rejoiced then came the question that threw me ...

"Can you bring him in tomorrow?"

Aaron was in Queensland and Mum and Dad are in the States so I'd have to do it on my own.

I decided that once I'd made up my mind he was going it was best to get it done quickly so I agreed.

So last Thursday I took him in to the RSPCA - he meowed the entire car ride over.

And to cut a long story short I was an absolute mess!

I was a basket case. I was trying so hard to hold back the tears as I was handing him over (I'm starting to cry now as I'm typing this) but I was just so upset.

I mean, he'd been part of our family for 6 years!

Anyway, it's still a bit raw - Ashleigh is only just now starting to go to sleep without crying herself to sleep.

She even wrote on her Christmas List "Thomas Back Please".

Talk about heartbreaking!

Anyway, Thomas, we hope you find a new home soon - someone who will love you and care for you as well as we did.

Here's the photo they have up on the RSPCA website:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

To Do List

I got weighed today at Weight Watchers.
I did pretty well.
I lost 1.6kg! And I was wearing my heavy shoes - Darn it!
I'm so happy!

Here's a list of things I'd like to do in September:

Try 40 degree yoga - what's that I hear you ask? It's where you do yoga in a room that is heated to 40 degrees celsius so you sweat like a pig! Apparently it's the best exercise you can do for fat burning! Anything with that description is something I wanna try!!
I also want to try a Zumba class. One of the local community centres is offering a free class and I'd love to try it - even though I'm about as co-ordinated as an octopus on roller skates!
Learn a new recipe.
Teach Ash to play the piano (or at least start)
Do some Spring Cleaning!
Finish reading a book!

And to finish, here's a little conversation I had with A. this morning on the way to school:

To set the scene, we have "I've Got A Feeling" by Black Eyed Peas playing on the radio.

A. gives a little giggle under her breath.
Me. - "What's so funny?"
A. - "Oh nothing, I was just thinking about something".
M. - "What?"
A. - "I was just thinking about a bus getting up on two wheels - growing arms and dancing to this song".

And they say she's got ADD! Huh!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Things That Make You Go Hmmm....

The weather has been absolutely gorgeous the last couple of days.
It's been about 18 degrees, sun shining and the sweet smell of blossoms in the air.

With the change in weather I decided to look at my priorities and sort some things out.
So, I re-joined Weight Watchers on Thursday.
I weighed in and nearly died of shock.
I'm the heaviest I've been in nearly 7 years!
And I feel it.
I've been so lethargic and down on myself.

But today I feel good.
I've been watching what I put in my mouth.
I've reduced the amount of chocolate and junk food I eat.
I started walking again and I'm loving it.
I just hope I'm not disappointed when I weigh in next week.
But I won't let it stop me if I don't do well.
I need to lose 15 kilos to be happy.

I've tried losing weight on my own in the past but never really succeeded.
I need to be accountable for my weight loss (or lack of) and Weight Watchers does that for me.

We found out a really good friend of Aaron's died on Wednesday.
It was so unexpected and came as a complete shock.
My heart goes out to his wife and 8 kids.
It's going to be a difficult ride for them in the coming months.
When things like this happen it makes you appreciate your life and the ones you love!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Little Performer!

Life has been a bit miserable for us the last few weeks ...

29th July:
It all started with Lauren getting a gastro bug.
She is the worst patient!
She just sits around and moans all day and keeps everyone awake at night.

2nd August:
Lauren starts getting over it.
But then I caught it.
Aaron was in Queensland at the time so I had to play nurse to Lauren whilst running to the loo myself every 5 minutes and generally feeling horrible!

4th August:
Aaron arrives home around 6pm to a house of sick people.
He plays nurse to me for the night.

5th August:
Aaron falls victim to the dreaded gastro bug!
Of course, being a man, the world was coming to an end and he didn't get off the lounge or out of bed for 3 days straight!

8th August:
Lauren came down with croup!
She spends all day and all night coughing up a lung with a high temperature!

11th August:
Aaron gets over the bug.
Ashleigh came down with it.
Lauren still has croup.

12th August:
I got a full blown case of gastro AGAIN! I've never experienced pain like it in my life.
And I've given birth - TWICE!!

I just hope we get over it soon! It's driving me nuts!

On a happier note ...

Lauren had her first assembly performance a few weeks ago - "10 Little Bees In The Garden"
She did such a great job.
You can see the video here.

Here are some photos of her dressed up as a bee with her friend Teah:

Me (looking terrible - no make up on) with Lauren. I was so proud of her!

And here is my favourite photo ever. Lauren with her good friend Nolan.

Notice they're holding hands - so sweet!

There seems to be a pattern forming - here she is with Nolan at the Athletics Carnival a few weeks before hand!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

I Love Technology!

Good News!!
We get our new computer tomorrow!
I can't wait!
I'm looking forward to having a faster, more efficient computer to work with!
Aaron even let me choose the colour!
I went with purple!

AND then on Friday we pick up my new car!
It's a Toyota Camry 2009 model!
Here's a photo of it:

I'm very excited!
Talk about being spoiled!!
Bring it on I say!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"Close your mouth"

Our computer is playing up so I can't post any photos at the moment so please be patient.

The girls had their athletics carnival yesterday.
Ashleigh has been practicing her running for weeks.
She desperately wanted to get a ribbon this year!
When it was time for the race she started off really well - she was actually coming 4th (which qualifies for a ribbon) but then when she saw the finish line she slowed right down and another girl whizzed in front of her.
The silly thing is Ashleigh talked that girl into running because she wasn't going to run in the race! If Ash hadn't talked her into it she would have gotten a ribbon! Oh, the irony!
Anyway, I had to have a little talk to her and explain that when you see the finish line you don't slow down YOU SPEED UP!!
Maybe next year ....

As for Lauren - bless her, she stumbled her way through every event and gave it all she had.
And she had an absolute blast doing it - even when she was coming 2nd to last!!
That's what I love about that kid!
She has taught us all so much!

And to finish up, this is a conversation we had in the car on the way to school this morning:

Ash: "Pong, did somebody do a pop off?" (meaning a fart)
Me: "No, I can't smell anything"
Ash: "Did you do it Lauren?"
Lauren: "No, it wasn't me."
Ash: "Then it must be coming from the cows outside" (we have a hobby farm near us)
Lauren: "Er, close your mouth. Keep it closed cos it stinks!"

Hilarious!! Out of the mouths of babes!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Why Do They Call It A Sleep Over?

This year we decided to throw Ashleigh a sleep over party for her 9th birthday!
She has been begging me for years to have a sleep over party and this year I thought she was responsible and old enough to have one! Hmmmm, that was a bad assumption!
I've never had so many excited, screaming 9 year old girls in one place at one time!
Let's just say it was very noisy in our house that night!

I went a little crazy on the decorations!

I wrapped chuppa chups with tissue paper and ribbon (as you do).
I stuck prizes in organza bags and hung them on my "easter tree".
I made flowers out of tissue paper to stick on the walls and had waaaay too many lollies:

I also made up a couple of guessing competitions:

And we had some craft - making necklaces!

I also made some flags to hang from the roof (see photo below).

They all seemed to have such a good time!
But having said that, I won't be having another sleep over party for a very long time (if ever)!
At least not with 7 girls! Maybe 4?!?
Surprisingly they were all asleep by 10.45pm.
I think they were exhausted from all the dancing they did at the disco!

Here are some photos from the night!

From back:
Ash, Lauren A, Abbey, Charlotte
Lauren B, Jamison, Brooke K, Brooke M, Lucy and Alyssa

And this is the sleep over group!
Yep, we squeezed this many girls in to one room!

And finally, this is the best part - all the girls crashed out!!

Here is a photo of Ash's cards - she wanted me to take this photo!

All I can say is, I'm so glad it's over!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

De ... licious!

Tonight Lauren asked me what we were having for dinner.
I told her we were having sausages.

"Errr, I don't like sausages" she said.
I said: "Yes, sausages are delicious!"
She replied: "No, they're de yucky!"

So there you have it!
She's not a fan of sausages.

she managed to eat it all though!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Bit Of This And A Bit Of That ....

We have adopted a cat ...
His name is Blacky (very original)
He comes around every afternoon to play with Thomas and the girls.
Here he is with T&A and Thomas ...

I'm amazed at how well Thomas has accepted him (given he's a male!)
At first we were calling him Thomas' girlfriend but then I saw the back of him and realised he was quite obviously a boy!
He's a cute thing but the last thing we need is another mouth to feed!

The girls changed over to their winter uniforms last week.
Here they are looking smart in their uniform:

On another note ...
I've always loved the look of braids.
They seem to be the "IN" thing at the moment.
So I practiced once on one of Ashleigh's barbie dolls last week.
Then I tried on Lauren's hair....

I'm quite proud of the finished product - not bad for an amateur!
I probably should have practiced on Ash as Lauren's a bit of a screamer when it comes to hair styling!

So, I turned 35 on Sunday!
Yep, I'm now closer to 40 than 30!
Unfortunately Aaron was in Brisbane for the big day but I celebrated with family.

It's scary when birthday's become "just another day".
I never thought I'd ever feel this way.
I can remember thinking as a kid how my parents didn't get excited about birthdays.
Now I'm doing it myself!
I had a really good day though.
It's always nice getting together with family.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Nanny Smell !?!?

I overheard a conversation between Ashleigh and Lauren this morning.

Here's how it went:

Lauren: "Mmmmm, my clothes smell nice and clean. Do you like it Ash?"
Ash: "No, I like the smell of the clothes at Nanny's house. Like when we leave our old clothes at Nanny's house and after they've been there a while they get that nice smell."

She's talking about moth balls people!!!
My daughter likes the smell of moth balls!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

We're Going To The Zoo, Zoo, Zoo - How About You, You, You

On Tuesday we decided to go to Taronga Zoo.
It was a toss up between the zoo and the aquarium.
The zoo won because it has an aquarium as well as the rest of the animals!

The girls had a blast!
We walked all day - up hills, down hills, up stairs, down stairs ...
It was a long day but well worth it!

Here are some pics from the day ...

These darned elephants would not turn to face me to take a photo.
So I took a photo of their arses!

Here's Lauren looking at the "dinosaur" or in other words, komodo dragon!

The girls loved the blue tongue!

The snake not so much, but Lauren had a go anyway!

And this is why so many foreigners don't like Australia!
Don't blame them really!

The girls LOVED this "teddy bear", until ...

they realised just how big he got!

Yep, it's thirsty work walking around Taronga Zoo!

"There are far too many wild animals around here for me stand still long enough to take a photo
so I'll keep an eye on them and smile at the same time!"

Lauren feeding the goat!

Here's Lauren meeting Daddy's cousin!