Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Out of the mouth of Audrey No.7

We’ve been trying to teach Audrey her p’s and q’s (why is it p’s and q’s and not p’s and t’s?) and she’s generally pretty good. On Sunday she was trying to scrounge a biscuit and so we asked her the eternal parental question;

“What do you say?”
and she very correctly asked, ‘May I have a biscuit, please?”
We handed her one and she took a big bite.
“Now what do you say?”
“Delicious!” came the answer.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dora and the City of Lost Toys

Courtesy of some free tickets we were kindly given by our friend Catherine, Audrey and I went to watch 'Dora the Explorer and the City of Lost Toys', playing at the Canberra Theatre.

Audrey had been excited all day about the prospect of 'seeing Dora' and the show didn't disappoint her.

waiting with eager anticipation!

For the unintiated, Dora is big business. Originally a US animated cartoon, her brand has spun off into a million merchandise items, t-shirts, DVDs, hats, toys etc etc. Wikipedia records Dora's sales in 2004 as being $1bn. Not bad for a little girl.

Audrey hasn't had a lot of exposure to Dora. We don't have Foxtel where she appears, and she's only got a couple of (well loved) books and a blanket bought by Grandma. Nevertheless Dora remains a big hit.

Actually, much as it's possible to get irked by Dora and her annoying American squeaky voice she is actually very difficult not to like. As a role model for little girls she's always got a positive outlook, and even the antagonistic petty thief 'Swiper' a mischievous fox (with a New York accent) fails to annoy her.

The stage show was a well put together affair and as Audrey is still under 3 we managed to dodge the merchandise that was being hard-sold outside the entrance to the theatre. Assorted heavies inside made sure that nobody took any photographs of the show, which was also probably a bit excessive.

As her dad, I must admit that the 80 minute show really dragged, but for the children in the audience Dora was clearly a hit.

Some aspects of the show needed a little bit more planning. At one point, the front of the stage was swamped by pony tailed onlooking children and then a vast amount of dry-ice was pumped out, which drifted offstage, leaving most of them enveloped by the smoke and coughing uncontrollably. I hoped that it was an accident rather than a deliberate deterrent, but either way it wasn't a good look.

Nevertheless Dora 'sang' and danced with panache throughout, and I guess a measure of the success of the show was the fact that Audrey cried when the final curtain dropped and asked when we could see Dora again.

(now just imagine watching an hour of it!)

At the end of the show

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Post Impressionists at the National Gallery

"Van Gough did some eyeball pleasers.
He must have been a pencil squeezer.
He didn't do the Mona Lisa,
That was an Italian geezer."

For the last four months the National Gallery (nga) in Canberra has been showing 'Masterpieces from Paris' an exhibition of 112 paintings from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. The tour of the works has been set up to pay for renovations to the French Gallery, and after Australia the paintings move on to Tokyo and San Francisco - how nice of us all to fund the French building works...times must be tough!

Last weekend was the culmination of the exhibition and the gallery was open for 32 consecutive hours to allow people who hadn't yet visited (such as me!) to have a view.

With the kids tucked up in bed, and Amy babysitting I headed off into the night. It was odd going to an art gallery at 9pm, but the nga had laid on a fair amount of entertainment, bands, musicians etc and the place had a real buzz to it.

The majority of paintings were really spectacular, and equally I guess a few wouldn't have got a second glance if they'd not had the artists name next to them. I've read that despite the billing, not all the paintings on view were strictly post impressionist (but that's probably a bit snobby).

Hoards of people crowded round the Van Goughs, Monets and Cezannes, which were inevitably favourites, I also liked a couple of the pointillism pictures, but couldn't imagine what it must have been like painting thousands of tiny dots on a canvas.

It's great that things like this come to Canberra - apparently it's added $94 million to the local economy and has been seen by 470,000 people. Au revior Masterpieces from Paris!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Eli's First Birthday Party

On Saturday we celebrated Eli's first birthday with a birthday bash at our house. It was pretty exciting having 14 little ones and their parents round, and we were up until the small hours the night before baking the cake.

At this age, there's clearly not the pressure of having to sort out party games, but nevertheless there was the booze (for the parents) and food to organise.

Eli got some lovely gifts off his guests, and we were blessed with some really great weather which allowed us to spend a lot of time in the garden. Everyone got along really well, bonded together by parenthood and a general lack of sleep.

I read somewhere that your first birthday is much like your last - you've not got many teeth, you haven't invited anyone who comes along and you don't really know much about what is going on.

Anyway, here's some pictures...Happy Birthday Eli!

The Hungry Caterpillar Cake

and evidence of it around both childrens' lips!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pull yourself together man!

Amy and I have been busy sewing over the last week to make curtains for the kids' rooms.

It was a hilarious effort trying to buy the material as (despite trying to include my only curtain-related-manufacturing word 'drop' as many times into the conversation as possible) it quickly became clear to the assistants in the fabric shop that neither of us had any idea whatsoever about what we were talking about.

Nevertheless we've ended up with a couple of efforts that resemble curtains, and both Audrey and Eli seem pretty pleased about them.

Here's some pics. As Mom said to me, it's easy to make curtains, it's difficult to make good ones, which is probably just about right....



Death of a President

On 10th April Lech Kaczynski his wife and 94 others died enroute to 70 year anniversary commemoration of the massacre at Katyn.

Although Kaczynski was a controversial figure it's a tragedy on a number of levels, and probably doesn't do much to help Polish-Russian relations either.

Here's a link to a previous blog entry recording Amy's meeting with Lech Kaczynski. All they need to work out now, is where to bury him

Monday, April 12, 2010

Audrey on the yellow engine

Here's a picture of Audrey enjoying some Autumn sunshine on a yellow engine. The park where the engine is situated is a little way on from our usual park, but the last couple of outings we've had, for some reason (known only to Audrey) we've had to take the extra walk to the 'train park'. I keep telling her it's an engine not a train, but it seems to be taking some time to sink in!

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Audrey giving an (abridged) version of Pat-a-cake pat-a-cake in our kitchen

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Tidbinbilla (again)

Since our last trip to Tidbinbilla nature reserve with Amy's parents, a couple of weeks ago, Audrey hadn't stopped asking us when we were going back. I think it's because she really likes the place, and also I think she enjoys saying 'Tidbinbilla!'

As today was Easter day we therefore ventured to the reserve once more. Unlike our previous midweek trip when we'd virtually had the place to ourselves this time there were throngs of Easter visitors enjoying picnics and barbecues.

It's still a really nice spot despite the extra people. The picture is of Audrey inside her 'little house' in the playground and Eli and Amy on a walk. We also spotted a big mob of kangaroos on our drive home.

Gang Gangs in our tree

Gang Gangs as I'm sure you know are a type of cockatoo.

They're listed as a vunerable species (they're only found in a small part of Australia), but for the last few days we've had half a dozen of them eating the seeds off a pine tree by our back door. They have a really distinctive call, and it's fantastic to look out of the kitchen window and see them in our tree. Here's a few pics and a link if you want to know more about these beautiful birds.