Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Weekend trip to Dwellingup

So I hadn't really said much about this on the blog but during the latter half of the year I began training for another ultra-marathon. This one was off-road, in the middle of the Australian bush, in summer. A big task!

Anyway, training was going well, many had predicted a top 5 finish for me, my coach was pleased with progress and predicted a cracking time.

Along came my biggest week of training, around 90km in total with a 34km long run. Unfortunately during the long run my knee got very painful!

So it was off to the physio as soon as I could. I was diagnosed with patella femoral pain syndrome (hmmm fancy name for a sore knee). Anyway, as it happens because I am still breastfeeding (yes hippy mother here) there is still relaxin in all my joints etc. What this means is my muscles have to work a lot harder to "hold everything together". Over the peak week of training my muscles just had enough and stopped holding the knee in the right place!

Next came the decision about what to do about the race. I could still run regularly (albeit short distances - up to 10km only) and my physio said we could manage the pain and get through the race, however there would be repercussions from racing. But.... after years of training and racing, I made what I think was the best decision for me long term, and I decided not to race this year. I didn't want to be stuck in the middle of the Australian bush in Summer with a bung knee and risk further damage potentially not letting me run in 2013! It was a really hard decision to make and I was upset about it for days afterwards!

But there are other races, and hey I think I achieved something anyway, while being a full time working and breastfeeding mother of an energetic toddler I managed to run up to 90km a week for 17 weeks. Not bad really! I am lucky because I managed to do most my week day running at lunchtime from work, and Jason and Ethan were amazing at letting me get out running in the early mornings on weekends.

Anyway, although I couldn't race we still decided to take the trip to Dwellingup as we couldn't get a refund on our accommodation. Boy am I glad we made that decision.... check out the beautiful setting we were in.
Ethan certainly loved it! The manicured rolling lawns were perfect for truck driving!
We invited our friends Sandy and Nathan to join us... and as you can see, Ethan and Nathan had some serious man time together!
There were heaps of ducks (and other birds) on the lake for Ethan to enjoy. As well as some cute donkeys to feed!
Unusually for a Perth December there has been a lot of rain. Here we are checking out the flooding at one of the many local camping areas!
On the property itself there was a lovely, spring fed lake. We had such a great time at the lake. It was perfect. There was a little sandy area for Ethan to play in, deck chairs for Sandy and I to sunbathe in, a nice shallow section of water that we could partition off with the water craft got Ethan to play in (although he could escape pretty easily), and heaps of fun water craft for us to play with!

Here are Sandy and Nathan on the paddle boat!
Ethan and Daddy enjoyed the "Water Quest"! (So much so that on the last day of our trip away Jason and Ethan had to do numerous trips across the lake in it!).
Ethan and I had a few trips out on the lake as well!
Jason set a couple of challenges for Sandy and Nathan... this one was easy - getting across the lake and back standing the whole way! Ethan was very interested in this one!
Ethan had a ball!
So all in all it was a great weekend with great mates! A great idea to unwind during the silly season and get away from all the busy-ness!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

It's a crafty Christmas...

 This year I decided to get a bit crafty for some of our Christmas pressies.

Anyone up for some reindeer beer?
Or some special Christmas cookie mix... all you have to do is add the wet ingredients and voila you have a big batch of cookies.
 Its fun doing something a little different (and special) for our friends at Christmas time!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Water park

 I know that I have mentioned it before, but Perth has some amazing parks. A recent awesome park discovery is the water park at Hyde Park (just 5km from our house). Given that Ethan is not 100% convinced about the beach yet this is a perfect alternative for us! Plus its a whole lot closer!

Given its proximity to town, and the relatively small area that it services, it doesn't get too busy which is great.

It sometimes takes Ethan a little while to get brave enough at the water park, but once he's used to it, he just doesn't want to leave!

 Jason and Ethan after frolicking in the water park!
 Even though it was a 30+ degree day after playing in the cool water for over 30 minutes he was nice and cool (with blue lips for a while)...
 To warm up we played in the adjacent part for a bit. Check out this cheeky boy!

This is just another reason why we love living in Perth!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

I love...

Dear Ethan,

Last weekend you turned 18 months old and it got me thinking about all the things I love about being your mum. I am going to read this list out at your 18th Birthday (I hope you aren't embarrassed in front of all your friends!).

This is what I love about being your mum:
  1. I love the feeling of your little arms wrapped around my neck.
  2. I love the feeling of your little hand in mine as we walk along (when you let me hold your hand of course).
  3. I love it how your face lights up when you see me.
  4. I love it when you run towards me as fast as you can and do a running jump into a hug.
  5. I love watching you and your Daddy play.
  6. I love watching your Daddy teach you new things.
  7. I love your belly laugh, the one that comes out when you are most happy - like the time Daddy gave both you and me a horsey ride around the lounge.
  8. I love how you pronounciate your favourite words: zjuuise, scheesze, yawyo, heeyaw, zschooze, and mooooore (juice, cheese, yellow, hello, shoes and more).
  9. I love your fascination with shoes, I love how the three of us have to wear the same type of shoes- whether its running shoes or jandals. I love it how you can change your mind about your shoes 10 times a day.
  10. I love your cheeky grin/look when you know what you are doing is naughty, but you decide to do it anyway.
  11. I love your turned down mouth when we growl you and you try not to cry.
  12. I love the pure joy you have at the smallest things.
  13. I love it how you want to copy everything we do.
  14. I love it how you always want to help, whether its mopping or sweeping the floor or emptying the dishes. I hope that I can still say this when you are 18 years old :-)
  15. I love it how independent and experimental you are.
  16. I love the tiny birthmarks on the back of your neck and on your forearm.
  17. I love the way that you can make my heart feel so full when I look at you.
  18. I love everything about YOU!
Ethan, I love you more than words can say! But most of all, I love it how you love me unconditionally - whether I have my worst clothes on or my best clothes on, whether my hair is done or not, you do your running hugs to me after I have showered and straight after I have been running! That unconditional love means so much to your mum!

Love Mummy xxx

Monday, November 26, 2012

Oh what a difference a year makes!

I think the pictures say it all!

Apparently Father Christmas is a scary, scary man! We tried to get a Santa photo three times this weekend just been and Ethan was not having a bar of it!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sleep study

So most of you will be aware that Ethan has had a rough winter with numerous ear infections, "crackly" breathing and post-nasal drip. After a while we finally got a referral to see an Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon. He diagnosed glue ear and most likely Obstructive Sleep Apnoea from his big tonsils. Due to Ethan being under two the surgeon was reluctant to operate prior to confirming that Ethan actually has sleep apnoea. This confirmation is by a sleep study.

So last night was the big sleep study night. Firstly we had to have Ethan fed, bathed and at the hospital by 5.30pm. So that meant dinner at 4.20pm!

We arrived at the hospital and spent about 15 minutes getting Ethan settling in and comfortable.

Then it was action time - the technicians had to put numerous electrodes and sensors all over his wee body. Ethan was very patient and didn't try to pull any off at all. He was very distracted by the Thomas the Tank Engine DVD for about 5 minutes, and then we had to work a little bit at keeping Ethan entertained. He was a really amazing little boy and I was so proud of him

Here's my little mummy with his wires and the life-saving DVD player!

Here is the box with some of the connections!
 Ethan was a real trooper, not happy with it all, but he coped reasonably well!
 Although he didn't like the nose tube at all!! That was out biggest battle of all (to begin with!).
So then it was time to go to bed.... I did my normal routine and Ethan was lovely and drowsy. So I tried to transfer him to the cot. It was pretty difficult with all the wires and then it all went haywire.... he woke up and then unfortunately we battled for the next 4 odd hours to get Ethan down. At one point I had no idea what to do next so I called Jason in to help. He managed to get Ethan very sleepy had no luck transferring to the cot either! After 4.5 hours one of the technicians took pity on me I think and sent me out for a cup of tea. She managed to get Ethan to sleep, which I was very thankful for.

Ethan only slept for 5 hours... and it was very restless sleep. That restlessness, on top of the technician coming into the room and adjusting the sensors at least 6 times (and various alarms going off), I ended up getting around 1 - 1.5 hours sleep.

So all in all it was a very tough night and we are both a little worse for wear this morning! Ethan is currently off in dreamland now and I will be spending the next hour (as long as he stays asleep) on the couch!

Our follow up appointment with the surgeon is in 2 weeks so we will know whether it is surgery before Christmas or not soon!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

He sure keeps us on our toes!

 I am sure many parents will relate to this post and will have many of your own stories to share!

We affectionately call Ethan "Mischief Man" and often describe him as an "adventurer of the world". He, like his Daddy, is happy to put his body on the line and push the boundaries. As parents, Jason and I are pretty relaxed (as you will see, we often take photos of his "exploring" rather than telling him off). We let Ethan experiment and unless its dangerous or going to break something Ethan is allowed to try things out. Some may see us as a little too relaxed perhaps, but we are happy with how we are approaching things so far.

Here are some of Ethan's recent explorations/experimentations (excuse the quality of the photos, these are all iPhone photos).

...Hanging out on top of (or in) the toy storage units...
...Balancing on the flour and self raising flour jars on the bottom shelf of the cupboard in order to get to his muesli bars on the middle shelf...
 ...In the baking tin drawer...
 ...Able to reach ANYTHING on the bench!...
 ...Seeing what can float in the bath...
...Tasting anything and everything, dirt, sand, paint, play dough... 
So as you can see we, like all parents, need eyes in the back of our heads! Now that Ethan is running instead of walking we also need to be pretty quick to keep up with him!

Incidentally, the fire engine still worked after its bath!!!

Ice-cream on a hot summers day!

What's better than father and son sharing an ice-cream on a hot summer's afternoon! 

"So Dad, what do I do with this? Do I eat the cone first? Why does yours have more ice-cream?"
"Ohhh is that how you do it Dad!"
"Like this Daddy? I think I got it!"
"Yummy, I think I like ice-cream"

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Water play!

How much fun is it to play in the water and stamp in puddles! If you have forgotten what it is like, here is a reminder for you.

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More daycare injuries!

Ethan's daycare carers talk about him being a "real boy" and very willing to try things (and put his body on the line at the same time! Every time Ethan hurts himself at daycare we have to sign a form, and let me tell you we have to sign a lot of forms. They are generally for pretty mundane injuries, where the "first aid" listed is "kisses and cuddles". 

At daycare on Friday Ethan and 4 of his mates decided not to sleep at all... instead, while they were meant to be sleeping they were running from bed to bed, and generally playing up! This was the first day ever that Ethan had not had a day sleep! When Ethan gets tired he gets quite uncoordinated... so after no sleep at all he was very uncoordinated! Around 5 minutes before home time Ethan took a big fall and hurt his lip - his worst daycare injury to date! 

As you can see it didn't keep him down for long! He was back to his normal happy self this morning!
Here's hoping its the last form we have to sign for a while (although somehow I doubt it!)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Quarry Open Day

Last weekend we took Ethan out into the hills of Perth for a Quarry open day (one of Jason's canoe polo friends works there and let us know it was on). Ethan loves diggers and trucks so we thought he would enjoy the trip.

The open day itself was great, as well as bus tours around the quarry, there were lots of family activities - face painting, bouncy castle, and a sausage sizzle and drinks.

Ethan was very curious about the big trucks, although I think the sheer size was a little daunting for him.
 I know for sure that he wasn't that keen to be in the front of the digger! All he wanted was his mum after this photo!
We took the bus tour around the quarry. At this stage Ethan was more interested in his bottle of juice and his free balloon! 

It was a wet day, so taking reasonable photos from inside a bus was difficult! 
At the end of the bus tour we got our open day "show bags", including hats, drink bottles and stubbie holders.
We try to expose Ethan to lots of different activities and experiences, and this was a good outing for that!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Home office revamp!

Ever since we moved into our new house the office/playroom has been a dumping ground for things that just didn't have a home. There were still a couple of unpacked boxes and the wire drawers that we had were just too easy for little fingers to find things that weren't that good for him.

After a few months of working from home in these conditions it just got a bit much for me, so we decided it was time to sort the office/playroom out! So after we measured the room out we started trekking round the furniture stores in WA, the more we visited the more despondent we got - office furniture is just so expensive.

So we went home and started rethinking our plans and it was off to trusty old IKEA!

The room itself is all whites and off whites so we wanted something to lift the room a little. Luckily IKEA had  some lovely green furniture - and it was the cheapest! I guess the colour is not that popular!

The only issue with IKEA furniture is that assembly... but Jason is a flatpack furniture assembly specialist! Jason also had his trusty apprentice to help out!
I really wish we had some before photos to show you, but unfortunately we didn't take any! But here is the finished product! Pretty awesome I think!
The room gets lovely morning sun as well, here a shot Jason took on his iPhone. As you can see we have heaps of storage space, and also two work stations (although only one chair at the moment).
As part of the room I got a little bit creative and made some artwork to match our new furniture (material staple gunned to a canvas). Its a cheap and easy way of getting the picture you want! The great thing is, when we want a change we can just buy more material!!!
All in all I am really, really pleased with our new office space. By tidying away all the cables etc we have also made it a safe space for Ethan. The office room is rather large and the new layout gives Ethan a dedicated play area as well. A job well done!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Visit to Naturescape

On the weekend just been we decided it was time to visit Naturescape at Kings Park. 

Naturescape has been designed to provide the children of Perth with a real WA "bush" experience in the middle of the city. It has been designed to retain as much of the natural bush setting as possible and allow children to connect with nature by exploring, climbing rocks, wading through creeks, building cubbies and getting dirty!

Both Jason and I think that it is a fantastic concept and we were not disappointed at all. We had a  great outing and I know we will be back many times over the years!

When we visited it was a 28 odd degree day so we decided to head straight for the creek to begin with. It was just fantastic. There were pool to wade in, waterfalls to clamber down, kids were building dams and having fun.  
We all enjoyed the opportunity to cool off.
 The park has been described as a health and safety nightmare :-) given the branches to climb, rock walls to explore and of course the water. But I think its a great idea. I have very fond memories of playing in the creek on our farm growing up and its nice to be able to give Ethan the same opportunity!
Ethan enjoyed "helping" the older boys try to build a dam.
Although they weren't that interested :-)
Jason took the opportunity for a rest and a chance to cool off.
While I took some photos of the great surroundings!

 After we played in the water for a good while, we decided to explore a bit further afield. Jason and Ethan checked out the cubbies previous kids had built.
 Then Ethan decided to take a closer look at some wildflowers (actually he was stalking a crow at this stage).
 All the water play and bird spotting soon tired our wee boy out, so it was time to leave... as we headed home I quickly snapped a couple more photos!
The visit pooped Ethan out and we headed home for an afternoon nap!

All in all a great place to visit, I highly recommend it for anyone in Perth!