The birthday whirlwind

Starting with the rising of Virgo in the Zodiac (is that how it’s said? I wouldn’t have a clue because I’m a newspaper Zodiac-er and that’s about it) we have what I shall henceforth refer to as the birthday bash whirlwind.

Within the space of three weeks we have:

  • The Mr’s birthday
  • My Mum’s birthday
  • The Sprog’s birthday
  • Father’s Day (technically not a birthday but a gift giving obligation)
  • Harrie’s birthday.


And then six months later in March, we have my birthday. I’m way out there on my own in terms of my little family, BUT I do have company in terms of my family – my big sister’s birthday is a week before me, and my parent’s wedding anniversary is in between.

However, in my day-to-day life, I am an island of Aries-cusp-Pisces in a sea of Virgos. (I don’t know much about Zodiac, but according to everything I’ve read, Aries are incompatible with Virgos. Uh oh!)

So, here’s a little recap of the celebrations of the birthday whirlwind. And poor Harrie, by the time I got to her birthday yesterday, I really was thinking “Oh f**k, another cake”…

First we have the Mr’s birthday. I remember when he turned 30, it was the day after he arrived in Oz from a 36 hour travel period from Kiev, Ukraine. And I dragged him to antenatal classes. The Sprog was born a week and a half later.

Then we have the Sprog’s birthday. I believe in practical gifts for kids. The Sprog got some trainers that she needed for school, as they have PE class and her faux-Crocs (Faucs?) are not allowed.

She loves opening gifts. She was particularly taken with the dodgy Chinese bag that her gift came in.

Here she is in her 4-year-old glory, looking massive and grown up. The change between three years and four is incredible. She’s now definitely a girl, not a toddler!

Enjoying her cake (which I bought – as I’d made her muffins to take to school and I couldn’t be bothered to make another cake!)

What I failed to document in pictures was the Sprog’s first real birthday party. Last year, she crashed her best friend’s birthday party (the mum was happy for us to do this) but only one other kid showed up. This year we invited all the kids in her class (there are only seven of them) and they all came, and they all had fun. And I didn’t take one photo. But the Women’s Weekly cupcakes were a hit!

And here we are on Harrie’s birthday on Sunday. For Harrie’s birthday, we went to the beach where two other little babies were celebrating their first birthdays.

In case you haven’t realised, Dili is like Darwin – lots of babies around. I guess there’s not much else to do 😉

These days I’ve given up bringing the Sprog’s togs to the beach as she HATES the water. That was, until Sunday. When I didn’t have togs. So she spent the morning swimming in her clothes. And she LOVED it.

Oh this is just the view from the beach. Nothing spesh.

Harrie really loved the water too but I’m a paranoid mum and this little one has had two ear infections already in her short life, so I am not taking risks. I am keeping her out of the water for as long as possible… Yes, call me cruel.

Here’s a horrible selfie. I was actually trying to caputre Harrie’s eye colour, which is still quite undefinable – grey/blue/green. Hard to tell. This photo did not confirm anything except that she’s cute.

The Mr did his fatherly duties by repeatedly dunking the baby’s feet in the water as the tide came in.

I really love that this beach has so much shade. There are trees all along the shore line, which is rare in Australia. I am so sun adverse, which is why in general I am not a beach person. The shade also makes the beach a very pleasant place to hang out, not hot and impossible like the Queensland beaches in summer.

To sum up, I think the three of them have all enjoyed their birthdays this year.

Stay tuned for photos of Harrie’s cake, because we haven’t managed to keep her up long enough at night to actually cut it yet.


Just meandering through life…

So the rubbish internet connection I have here has really put a stopper on my presence online. When I can be bothered I get on Twitter a little, but I only have Wi-Fi access, not 3G, so I’m not tweeting out and about.

Instagram is a whole other story. Even over Wi-Fi, I can only upload photos when the network is quiet which is usually at either 11pm or 6.30am. During the day, I have practically no hope. And even at the late/early hours, I usually only manage to get a pic to upload after retrying it about 10 times.

I also can’t get any images on Facebook – not that THAT really matters to my readers here as I’m talking about my personal page and I barely let the two intersect.

And Skyping people is just a complete joke – think 3 minutes of “Can you hear me?” “Can you hear me NOW?” “No I can’t hear you, CAN YOU HEAR ME?” before the call drops out.

One thing that does work is if I take photos, edit them on my phone in Fotor or Camera+, then upload onto WordPress VIA MY PHONE, and then save the post as a draft. If that post survives the saving process, I can then come and edit that post on my computer and actually make a half decent post.

However if I try to upload photos through my computer to WordPress, is definitely one of those “press the button, cross fingers and walk away” kinda jobs.

I always enjoyed taking photos but seeing as I just can’t do anything with them, I’ve kinda given up a bit. I shall have to force myself to get back in the saddle, though, because such momentous occasions as The Sprog’s Birthday Party have passed us by and I didn’t even mange a mobile phone snap or two, let alone pulling out the real camera.

So that’s the state of things at the moment. I promise I will try harder this week. There are lots of crazy things to tell… Like the new shop I found that was full of literally everything I’ve not been able to find elsewhere, but none of my other necessities (think – it had beef stock and pita bread, but no milk…). Or the Sprog’s birthday party. Not to mention how every time I take the kids out they get chased around by locals wanting to touch their cheeks – they are appearing in photos all over Dili.

So things are plodding along, really.

I’m leaking brain cells

See this adorable little creature?

She is driving us all nuts. The combined effect of much travel, much moving, many different places and different sleep arrangements, as well as teething and an ear infection, all in the past three months, has meant that I am making WAY too many excuses for her.

In Darwin, she slept in her own room and was quite a good sleeper until we moved. Since we moved out of our apartment in Darwin in the middle of June, though, she’s had to bunk in with one or the other of us, or just across from my room. So I wake up every time she stirs.

And when she stirs, I’m conscious of her sleeping sister, who I don’t want to wake up also. And so I get up and rock her or, mostly, feed her so that she’ll go back to sleep. It’s about time I stopped it, but I just keep making excuses as to why I won’t start just yet. Most recently, that excuse is that I’m so tired, I don’t have the energy to be up half the night patting her to sleep as she cries in her cot.

Our new house has three bedrooms – two up and one down. I keep going through how we could manage the sleeping arrangements in my head – I would love her to be downstairs so that I can only hear her if she REALLY needs me… But then I think, “Hang on, if she wakes up five times, then I’ll be up and down the stairs all night and I cannot be BOTHERED doing that, thankyouverymuch”.

And so we go back to square one.

This morning she woke for the fourth time overnight at 5.50am, so I got up and desperately tried to feed her so that she’d go back to sleep for another hour or hour and a half. But with our muted noise and the roosters cock-a-doodle-dooing out the window, the Sprog woke up and next thing Harrie got so excited that she bit my boob and I screamed and then the Mr came in said, “I am taking control. Go back to bed and sleep”, and he got up with the girls.

And I didn’t even remind him that I’d put mozzie spray around the doors last night and to make sure that Harrie didn’t touch it.

Quite frankly, the ball of nerves gave up the ghost and I went into blissful sleep for two hours.

This morning when I sat down at my computer, I found the websites the Mr had been searching (we ditched baby books about a month after the Sprog was born).

“How to get an 11 month old to sleep”.

She gets herself off to sleep. She hardly even cries at nap time. She naps well. Her one thing is that she’s a whinger when she wakes up at night. And I’ve let us both get into a habit that I’m not willing to sustain.

So I guess from tonight, we’re sleep training.

Wish us well!

An afternoon at the beach

On Sunday afternoon we ventured down to Areia Branca, which is on the east end of Dili.

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Beautiful scenery, white sand, and beer (and chocolate milkshakes) delivered right to us on the beach. Not much more you could ask for, really.

(And yes, the Sprog really did insist on wearing that dress to the beach. Practical is not her middle name).

Integrating? Slowly…

Today I had a lead.

Apparently there is a mother’s group that meets at a local beach every Thursday morning. The person who gave me the lead was a little hazy on the time – when I suggested around 10/10.30 it was met with an ambiguous, “Yeah, that sounds about right”.

Because of the geography of Dili – looooong and skinny, hugging the coastline – the beach is a fair drive, despite being a ‘local’ beach. So I opted to leave Harrie at home with the nanny and take the Sprog as we could have a nice old dig in the sand even if there was, in fact, no playgroup.

Based on such sketchy details, I was quite surprised then, when I turned up to find that playgroup was indeed on. The beach was lovely – white sand, lots of shade – and besides our group and a couple of guys sunning themselves, the only other people on the beach were a group of teenagers playing a game of football (with thongs as the goal posts. Love it!)

There weren’t many people there for playgroup – just two other mums, a grandmother and a nanny with her charge – but it was a nice little group, enough for a chat. And not only that, but the restaurant across the road sends the waitresses over to take orders, and then they deliver the food right to you at the beach. To me, that classifies as five-star treatment.

While I sipped on my latte and ate my banana honey pancake, the Sprog drank her strawberry milkshake and terrorised the other kids if they dared come near her sand castle creations. And made me a number of sand-‘cakes’ with sprinkles. MMm. Aren’t I lucky. Needless to say I stuck with the banana honey pancake.

Someone took my email address to add me onto the playgroup mailing list, and another mum took my phone number.

And a four year old kid asked the Sprog on a date.

All in all, it was a good morning.