Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in review

2013 has been an interesting year to say the least! We have been busier than ever (most due to now being a family of three, increased work commitments and sporting endeavours). To summarise our year:

This year was a tough one for us with Ethan's health.... his issues from 2012 persisted and culminated in surgery (tonsil and adenoid removal, grommet insertion and the trachea-laryngoscopy to try to find out what is going on with Ethan's lungs). Things are still largely unresolved on the lung/breathing front for Ethan but his issues, while still there, are not as bad as they were pre-tonsil/adenoid removal.

Jason had a healthy year, but I was hit with numerous bouts of gastro (at least 4) and two reasonably severe colds. I also underwent a bowel cancer screening colonoscopy due to a family history of bowel cancer. During this procedure I had 5 polyps removed and sent off for testing. As a result of the number of polyps found, I am on a 3-year cycle for repeat colonoscopies.

Home improvements
This year we did a few things round the house, including new wallpaper in the master bedroom, new carpet in the master and Ethan's bedroom, a new side fence and a new limestone garden out the rear of our property. We also drew up many plans for a bathroom renovation and potentially adding a second story/garage to our house. These are plans for future years, so I am sure that we will draw and re-draw numerous times. We finally decided to not progress a swimming pool at our place, although during the mid-December 2013 heat wave we both regretted this decision!

Jason said goodbye to his precious Betty and we welcomed the new commodore into the family. While not quite as cool and character filled as Betty, the new car is far more practical. Unfortunately the Mazda still gave us lots of trouble with at least two major repairs, the most recent costing in excess of $5000.

2013 wasn't a huge year of travel for us. In January I went to Melbourne to meet an old friend from Wellington for an extended weekend. Jason and I each had a few out of town/overnight work trips including - Geraldton, Muja and Albany for me and Albany, Bridgetown, and Busselton for Jason. We went to NZ to visit Jason's family and while over there we chartered a plane to visit Ethan's Great Grandad in Takaka. We also spent a weekend in Busselton (for a race). Finally, we brought my Mum and Dad over from Queensland for a visit.

Both mine and Jason's work scope increased, resulting in some long hours worked. Mine was due to a government announced merger with another government owned entity, with which I was appointed project manager for the implementation of a new business unit for the merged entity. Jason's was due to essentially being appointed in an additional role (while retaining his day job). as the merger is complete as of 1 January 2014, my work life balance should be restored in the New Year, however, I think Jason will have a very busy start to 2014 work wise.

2013 ended up being a busy year sporting wise. Ethan started with lots of swimming (until his grommet operation), he them moved onto Little Kickers soccer and Gymnastics. We will continue with the gymnastics in 2013 but take a break from soccer as he really didn't seem to like the structure of soccer. We will also return to swimming lessons and are doing a 6-week course in surf babies (beach education and familiarisation for toddlers and their parents). Jason's sporting year started very successfully with a Water Polo grand final win. Jason played water polo and canoe polo for much of the year and late in the year decided to train for the 2014 Rottnest Island solo swim (19.2km). My sporting year consisted of lots of running - 3 * 5km races, 2 * 10km races, 1 * 12km race, 1 * marathon (42.2km) and 1 * ultramarathon (48km)... this was backed up by lots of training.

So as you can see 2013 was an interesting year, as we sit on the cusp of the New Year it is time to reflect and be thankful for all our loving family and friends, thankful for the opportunities that we have been given and learn from the challenges we faced.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas 2013

2013 Christmas was a quiet Christmas for the three of us. We had planned to meet a few friends at the beach for an 8am swim followed by brunch and a glass of sparkling.... however Ethan foiled those plans by sleeping into after 8! He never sleeps in, yet he chooses to on Christmas morning!!!

We put out presents (or "prinsets" as Ethan calls them) under the tree 4 days before Christmas - I didn't want to give Ethan too much time to tempt him into opening them!
We placed Ethan's "Santa Sock" in his doorway of his bedroom which he was SOOOOO excited to stumble across once he woke up! He came running down the hallway yelling "Santa Sock, Santa Sock". This was filled with 3 - 4 $2 toys and he really loved it. We probably could have stopped right there hahaha!

We missed brunch on the beach but we still had brunch (croissants with bacon and brie) and muesli, berry and yoghurt parfaits.

We went to the beach after brunch and as we had brunch late we decided to have Christmas dinner instead of lunch. It sure made for a more relaxing day!

Our Christmas dinner was:

  • whiskey, marmalade and mustard glazed ham
  • roasted cherry tomatoes
  • smoked chicken, asparagus and pasta salad; and
  • Chargrilled capsicum, corn and avocado salad.
Simple, but delicious!

Dessert was:

  • Red velvet cake/cheesecake (good concept, looked yummy but failed to deliver)
  • "Red" fruit salad (watermelon, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries) with mint syrup
  • Homemade white and dark chocolate rocky road with cranberries, pistachios and macadamias

Ethan had a fun afternoon playing with his new toys, including the water feature!
All in all a lovely, albeit quiet, Christmas.

Summer in Perth - A picture post

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Ultra marathon - a brutal day

2 weeks ago I competed in an Ultra Marathon (48km) running race. This, along with work, had been what was contributing to my lack of blogging over the last few months!

The definition of an ultra marathon is any thing longer than a marathon (42.2km). 

This race was always going to be tough as it is run in summer and on some very hilly trails. Unfortunately race week also happened to be the earliest ever heat wave Perth has experienced... with the 5 days leading into the race around 37 - 41 degrees! To combat this heat I tried to super hydrate in the week leading up to the race!

To make it worse there was a bush fire in the vicinity of the race in the week leading up to the race! Luckily it was contained before the race.

The race did start early (4.30am) to try and beat the heat, this meant that my alarm went off at 2.45am for "breakfast". As the race start was an hour away from home I decided to stay the night in a motel closer and for Jason and Ethan to meet me at aid station 2. That meant that they only needed to wake at 5.30am, not at the ridiculous time I had to wake up!

The race started with a 3km uphill - good to get the heart going, the blood pumping and the sweat pouring off me. 

Unfortunately around 6km into the race I started having some dizzy spells and just feeling generally off... it was going to be  a long day as I wasn't having a good run. Every so often you hit a really hard patch in training and it feels like you are running in mud - whether its lack of sleep, stress, busy at work or some other factor.... well this race was one of those days. 

But I am pleased to say I finished, in 8th female place and got to cross the finish line with my little boy!
It was a really hard, hot, dry, dusty and absolutely brutal day... but another achievement.... sometimes you have to have the really tough days to appreciate the good days!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Getting to know my Nanny and Poppy Dalziell... by Ethan Papps

In November my Nanny and Poppy came to visit me (my mummy thinks they came to visit her cos it was her birthday but we all know they really came to see me!).

It was really nice spending time with my Nanny and Poppy... we went to the beach, went mulberry picking at the park and just had a  lovely time getting to know each other!
I loved having cuddles with both my Nanny and Poppy! I wish that I could see them more often!
It was lovely spending time with my Nanny and Poppy, I can't wait to see them again!

P.s. my mummy says she is going to update the blog more often and she says sorry to all her loyal readers for being so busy during the last quarter of 2013!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Albany, WA

The weekend just been I headed off to Albany WA for the Verve Energy 10km fun run. I was primarily there for work to present the prizes (as we sponsor the race), but since I was heading down I decided to run the race as well.

I arrived on the Saturday and had a few hours to kill before I could check in to my motel so I decided to take a drive out to the Natural Bridge and the Gap.

The natural bridge (shown below) is a granite formation caused by the gradual wearing away of the rock by the Great Southern Ocean!

It was an overcast day but that didn't dampen the amazing rock work and coastline! 
 Quite different landscape to the Perth coastline, that's for sure!
 You can see the gnarled branches on the trees showing how much the wind has shaped these over the years!
 The trees themselves snake up the rocks.

 Between the rocks there are all sorts of delights, beautiful wildflowers everywhere. One could explore for ages!
 I managed to get a panoramic photo on my iPhone, which shows more of the coastline for you! It truly was an amazing spot to visit! Although I was pleased to not have Ethan with me as the safety standards aren't like NZ, that's for sure!!

 The following day I ran the 10km race, it was a spectacular point to point race, full of ups and downs. It was a challenging race, that's for sure. I wasn't racing it, just running it at a tempo pace and I managed to take out third position. Here I am on the podium!
All in all a very enjoyable weekend away, although I did miss my boys a lot!

Dinosaur spotting and finding new parks in Perth...

We always like to find new and different things to do in Perth on our weekends, so a few weeks back we visited the Museum of Natural History in Guildford. The museum itself is a Taxidermy exhibition, so there are lots of dead and stuffed animals, mammals, reptiles etc. But the main attraction for Ethan was the plastic dinosaurs (he is dinosaur mad!)...

Its not a long visit, we were done and dusted in around 20 minutes, but that is perfect for Ethan's attention span. Right next door is a gelato shop, which makes this a perfect outing!

From here Ethan, Jason and I went to check out a new and exciting park, the Woodbridge Riverside Play Space. It was AMAZING and Ethan had a ball. It had everything you want in a park. Firstly, it had a good fence so we could let Ethan wander to his heart's content and we didn't need to be worried about his escaping.
I was really impressed with everything to do there.... there were sand and water play areas, loads of swings, tunnels, a flying fox (with a safe swing/flying fox for kids Ethan's age) and more.

Here's Ethan on the flying fox swing! He LOVED it!

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Perth Royal Show 2013

After 5 years in Perth Jason and I finally ventured out to the Perth Royal Show (an institution here in WA). We didn't know what we were in for but we were pleasantly surprised in the end.

The show runs for a 6 days Saturday  - Friday (including a public holiday Monday) and we strategically chose the Wednesday/Thursday to attend as we were hoping it might not be as busy as the Saturday/Sunday or public holiday.

We were overwhelmed down show bag alleyway, but stopped for a rest near the main arena watching the show jumping. Ethan was then spell bound by the old train/tractor steam engines. 

From there we headed off into the garden exhibition, which was an oasis, a haven of calm in the otherwise manic show grounds. I was particularly taken by this exhibition, the herb garden was built into the outdoor table! An idea I really liked!

After the garden exhibition Ethan and Jason had a camel ride. They had a ball!
From here Ethan had a pony ride, we had some dinner, then treated Ethan to a couple of rides at the toddler ride area (fire engine and helicopter).
Here is the fire engine ride:

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By this time we were all quite exhausted and it was time to head home! We all enjoyed ourselves and we will definitely go again next year.

Circus Joseph Ashton

About a month ago we took Ethan to Circus Joseph Ashton  (a traditional family circus of acrobats, bareback horse riders, animal trainers, clowns and trapeze artists for over 150 years/7 generations). If you have been to Cirque Du Soliel and expecting something similar then you would be disappointed, however if you are expecting a traditional circus then that's what you are in for.

We got to see lots of horses and dogs (which made Ethan happy), laugh at the clowns and during intermission Ethan got to ride the little horses (5 times!!!).... 

Ethan was a little restless but he enjoyed it all the same! We will definitely be visiting this circus next time it is in town!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

City to Surf marathon 2013

About a month ago I ran the Perth City to Surf marathon. Its a tough marathon, with 21.1km of flat and then 21.1km of hills to finish on. Now before all you non-Perth-ites say, Perth's flat, I challenge you to come and run the course! Its tough and the hills are very challenging (and I like hills remember).

I generally had a pretty good race build up and I was feeling very confident.... until 2 weeks out a mystery virus hit me and I was out for the count... literally. For two days I did not get out of bed (which is very unlike me).  This shook me up a little but there was nothing I could do about it!

Here I am on race morning, its 5.30am, and I am looking a little nervous! Unfortunately we had to jog 2.5km from the assembly point to the race start! Not happy about that! I signed up for 42.2km not 44.7km hahaha!
I had a great first half, hitting all my targets, but then had a real low patch over the next 8 - 10km. Jason was supporting me on his bike and at one stage I wanted to push him off it, steal it, bike home, crawl into bed and forget all about the marathon. But as with all races these bad thoughts pass and soon I was back feeling strong and in control again.

Here I am after 30km and happy to be on my way out of Kings Park and on the home stretch!
I had a great last 12km, and was passing lots and lots of people. Its a nice feeling finishing strong and although the middle patch of my race meant that I wasn't going to achieve my time target I was really happy to have a strong finish.

Around 5km from the finish line a blister on my toe burst.... just as I started to think about it my coach popped up - talk about perfect timing! He gave me a pep talk and before I knew it I had forgotten all about the blister and was concentrating on the runner ahead of me.... who I caught about 200m later!

I managed to tick off km 37/38 and 39 in a very good times, but kms 40 and 41 were always going to be killers. Over these 2km you have to head over what is commonly known as the three sisters.... these hills are'n massive, or steep but they just keep on going and going and when you have been running over three hours and 40km they seem like mountains!!

At the top of the three sisters you can see the ocean and its all down hill from there! Here I am around 1km from the finish.....
I really picked up the speed over the last km or so (just to get it finished and this photo says a lot I think!
Finally, after 3 hours 24 minutes (and 4 mins slower than target time) I crossed the line (my GPS has the race distance as 42.5km so a 4.48 min/km average - not too bad for the course that it was).

Here I am over the line and still running hahaha! I think I was worried that if I stopped I would seize up and not be able to move! If you blow the photo up you can see Jason in the crowd just under the time clock on the right hand side of the photo, he is wearing a bike helmet.
Once I finished the race and found Jason I started cramping up a bit and I was getting cold so Jason rode the bike home and I caught the shuttle bus back to town then had to walk 2km back to the start for the car! By this stage I was really cold, shivering and tired! I just really wanted to be home!

All in all it was a good day! I am pleased that I pushed through the mental demons in the middle of the race and its always a massive achievement finishing a marathon! I was very lucky to have Jason on bike support, which was made possible with Jason's parents being here to look after Ethan! Otherwise it would have been a very lonely day out there all on my own!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

What's been happening over West!

Firstly apologies for the long hiatus in posts! Life just got in the way for a few weeks! With daycare, work, running a marathon (I'll post about that later), Ethan having a bit of a bad run with illness again, my work in the midst of a merger, Jason's parents visiting and more I just haven't had the time to sit down and write a post!

So its going to be a bit hard to write about everything that has happened in the past 6 or so weeks so I thought that I would just give you a pictorial update on a few comings and goings!!

We bought Ethan and tent.... and I regretted it very soon after, cos all we got for weeks on end was "play in the tent, mumma play in the tent, Daddy play in the tent"... unfortunately the tent is broken now. Here are some photos of Jason and Ethan watching a movie in the tent... as you can see Jason is really happy to be there!
Ethan really has changed a lot in the last few weeks! He is looking and acting very grown up! 
While Jason's parents were here we all went out to visit the cuddly animal farm! Ethan had a ball, he got to feed the goat and ride a horse!
And play in puddles afterwards (which I think he liked more hahaha).
Ethan really enjoyed having his Gunma and Nandad here! They spent heaps of time at the beach and at various parks around the place (we had a glorious weather week while they were here).

Unfortunately, we have has some very rainy days since which has called for some arts and crafts, which Ethan is enjoying more and more!
A couple of weeks back we got Ethan a new bike... and despite the warnings that this isn't a stunt bike, I fear that is exactly what Ethan sees it as! Uh oh.... how long till our first A&E visit I wonder???
Ethan gets very attached to things! We got him an umbrella, and now it has to go with us everywhere (unless we are clever enough to hide it!). Ethan has also worked out that he can reach the fish food by dragging the chair around the place, I have to be very vigilant to make sure he doesn't feed the fish every 30 min or so! Finally, Ethan has decided that custard scrolls with icing and desiccated coconut are his bakers delight food of choice now (it used to be the cheesymite scroll!)...
A few weekends ago we were reminded how quickly kids can go downhill... here's Ethan just before lunch - climbing his first tree (with a little support from Dad).....
Two hours later we were at the supermarket and he had power chucked over Jason, he had a temperature of 39+ and he was going down hill rapidly....After 3-4 more spews (and vomiting up any pain relief we could give him) we skyped his Grandma for a trans-tasman triage assessment. Given how lethargic Ethan was, his little grunts and his general demeanor we all decided it was best that we take him to the hospital....

As we walked into emergency, Ethan vomited all over me (I didn't think to bring spare clothes for myself either) and he was burning up! It was a pretty busy night at the emergency department, but we got to see someone about 90 minutes later....

Its hard to explain that Ethan is usually a "happy sick" kid, so it was his lethargy that was the most worrying! Here he is at hospital!
After a good check up, we got the annoying diagnosis of "probably something viral".... given he hadn't kept any pain relief down they gave him a suppository, which helped a fair bit and then we were on our way home again! No answers and still a very unwell and unhappy boy on our hands!

He is slowly coming right, onto his 15th day of anti biotics now, so fingers crossed that's the last of the winter sickness for us!

Well that's Ethan's last 6 odd weeks in a nut shell... I'll try to be better at posting over the coming weeks!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Home improvements - new carpet

This week we got new carpet in the two main bedrooms... and I couldn't be happier with the result! We took the opportunity to re-vamp Ethan's bedroom and convert his cot into a toddler bed. We did have a bed for Ethan but we felt using the cot as a toddler bed first would work better for his transition!

Anyway, here is his new, improved room! His new sentences are "Elepant has biga ears, Raffe has long neckkkk" (I'm trying to show how he pronounces his words - just in case any of you are thinking that I can't spell hahaha).
Here's Ethan's bedroom from the other angle. Complete with his reading corner as part of his pre-bed routine. 
Ethan lies on his floor, rubs his hands over the carpet and says "niiiicce carpet"...

The final change we made to his bedroom was to get rid of the chest of drawers and add more storage into one of his two huge wardrobes. Here is the result below. 
 Here is our bedroom with its new carpet!
 Other angle!
All in all we are all super happy with the results and are looking forward to our next project - the bathroom reno! Its time to get rid of the terracotta tiles!