Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy Christmas from the Hickmans

In the eternal words of Mr. Neville John Holder - "It's Christmas!!"

Hope you all had great a great Christmas in whatever part of the world you're reading this in.

Thanks to everyone who sent pressies for Audrey and Eli.

As this is now her 3rd Christmas Audrey is getting to grips with what Christmas represents to her as a child, and what the threat of 'If you're not good Santa won't come' signifies.

For Eli though it was Christmas No.1 which just meant lots of wrapping paper to suck on.

Here's some pics of us on Christmas morning before embarking on a 10 hour road trip to Mildura to visit Amy's parents.

The calm before the storm - surveying the tree and stockings

Audrey makes a jigsawEli riding a reindeer!Audrey as the Christmas faerie

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Australian Wildlife Encounters No.6

I nipped outside last night to check on my veggie patch. We've got a small light above the steps at the back of the house and there are the usual moths, beetles and bugs circling around it.

Last night however something clattered into my head about the size of a light aircraft and landed on our screen door - a preying mantis.

I'd seen one before caught in a spiders web in our garage, but I'd never been hit in the head by one. Amy is completely unfazed by such things (I guess if you grow up in Australia that's the way it is).

Being 'fresh off the boat' though, I continue to be amazed by Australian fauna. Every time I see a flock of cockatoos take off from a central reservation or hear galahs squawking in the eucalypts it still impresses me (I do though still love the summer song of the blackbird who sits in a tree of our garden). We've also got a possum who regularly feeds off scraps in our garden (albeit on slightly reduced rations since the arrival of the guinea pigs).

The trees are full of chirruping cicadas at the moment and slightly less romantically the wheelie bin has the constant hum of flies around it.

I'm also always ever so slightly daunted when venturing into our garage after seeing red back spiders in there - even though nobody has actually died from a bite since 1953 or something. It just seems wrong somehow that you could die getting your bike out!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Eli in the garden

A picture of Eli taken in the garden this morning

and how Audrey looked at the same age
and how their dad looked as well!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Why not to put presents under the Christmas Tree until Christmas Eve!

Audrey intercepted Dylan Dog and Spotty the giraffe sent from England by Uncle Ralph. Unfortunately the postman arrived as she was by the door with the result that there are now a couple less presents to open on Christmas morning!

Eli testing his two new teeth on Spotty's ear

Christmas Carols at Lanyon Homestead

Along with Tommy and his parents Gill and Anthony and baby sister Chloe we went along to Lanyon Homestead on Sunday to enjoy a carol service and a picnic. It's an annual event in the Lanyon grounds. The homestead was built way back in the 1850s (ancient Australian history) and has been (amongst other things) a farm run by James Wright and John Lanyon utilising paid and convict labour.

It's probably Canberra's southern most suburb and the homestead is set amongst the beautiful rolling Brindabella mountains. We'd not been there before, but it's a lovely spot and I'm sure we'll visit again.

We got there early which meant that our picnic rugs took prime position (ala German beach towels). The homestead was candlelit inside and we were entertained by the Sing Australia choir (who probably numbered nearly 100 members) and Tuggeranong band.
We didn't stay till the very end as 4 tired children dictated that we left around 8pm, but it was a really nice evening and we all went home singing Hark the Herald Angels!

Audrey and Tommy enjoying the picnic

The Sing Australia choir!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Separated at Birth?

Eli, or is it Rimmer from Red Dwarf?

Walk Against Warming

The four of us were eco-activists today, taking part in 'Walk against warming' which took place in Canberra on the Parliament House lawns.

It was a friendly affair, with banners, flags and a lot of whistle blowing (including by us). The walk also had a small tented area containing the usual suspects of solar panel salesmen, fresh fruit drink sellers and t-shirts with slogans being sold. The walk's major sponsor was ActewAGL, who are a big energy company, so a bit dodgy really. Oh well it was a nice sunny day for a walk!

An empty Parliament house with us protestors outside

having fun blowing whistles

Eli tucks into a pear

Audrey, who I think thought it was 'talk' against warming

Questacon and Gymbaroo

Audrey goes to Gymbaroo every Thursday (and Eli tags along). As one of the other dads said to me this week, it's basically 'kid heaven'. There's an array of climbing frames, tunnels, trampolines, bikes, balls etc for the children to variously climb through, jump on, ride and throw. Audrey absolutely loves it, and is in awe of the instructor, Katie and her sidekick Narelle.

It's a lovely morning she has there and to complement the equipment the children sing songs and do exercises/yoga. It sounds a bit full-on, but it's actually great fun. We've often noticed that we're amongst a small minority of parents that actually sing at the sessions. A lot of parents sit tight lipped when we're supposed to be singing - perhaps put off by our off-key squawks.

The picture of Audrey in the car is from Questacon, another favourite haunt of hers. She met her friend Tommy from Gymbaroo there on Friday and they had a great time together in 'Mini Q'.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

Canberra Midwifery Program Christmas Picnic

Today, Audrey, Eli and I (Amy!) went along to Weston Park for the Canberra Midwifery Program Christmas picnic. Lots of other families made it along too and it was great to see so many small people in one place. We caught up with our midwife, Julie, who was delighted to see both Eli and Audrey. Eli seemed pretty happy to be reunited as well giving Julie a big toothy grin (well, OK, he only has one tooth) and a cuddle. Unfortunately, as the group photo was being taken both he and Audrey chose to dissolve into tears. I guess with that many children and babies there was bound to be some that would be crying at that time - just wish it hadn't been mine!

Here are some happier pics from the morning.

With our midwife Julie

Eli shows off his tooth

Audrey shows off her lunch!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Out of the mouth of Audrey No.3

Audrey, like most children, loves watermelon and now that summer is upon us we quite often have a slice after lunch or at snack times. Imagine my surprise the other day, when Audrey screwed up her face in disgust at her slice of watermelon. When I asked what was wrong she told me that there were 'toenails' in her watermelon. Suppressing my laughter, I had to inform her that the 'toenails' were actually seeds! (So much for seedless watermelon!)