Friday, August 31, 2012

&#@*!%!!$, or something like that.

Eliot loves helping out at with the dishes.  This is a picture that I took last summer (December) that didn't make it onto the blog.  Anyway...

One of the fun things about having little children in the house is that you get to come up with all kinds of fun new expletives.  Not that I'm generally one for swearing.  I'd be lying if I said that I've never let some 'bad' words slip.  But I've come up with tamer ways of venting my frustration, even avoiding words like 'dang' for 'shinanigans' or substituting 'silly' for 'stupid'.  Eliot has picked up on it and it's been fun to hear some of the things he comes up with.  They're generally pulled from his own experience.  These are some of my favourites:

Aw, Vasa Piglet!  (a character from one of his books)
Fizzy Colours!  (baking soda and coloured vinegar that I give him to play with)
Oh, Figgy Pudding! (as in, 'please bring us some figgy pudding...')
Aw, Captain Peter's Fish and Chips! (an actual take-out place that we patronize every once in a while)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

I think I prefer whining.

When I was a missionary serving in Switzerland people there assumed that as an American my native language was 'American', rather than English.  Some of them thought that we literally spoke two different languages.  I laughed at the notion.  But living here in Australia, and learning a lot of new words and pronunciations, I can see how they may have gotten that impression.

Bell peppers are called 'capsicum.'  I first ran into this when trying to read the ingredients list on a jar of pasta sauce.  On the evening news the other day they even mentioned that police had used 'capsicum spray' to subdue some rioters.

Then there are the words like 'boot' and 'mate', that are so well-known that they're almost cliché (I'm happy to report that I've resisted the temptation to say 'wow, you guys really do say that?').  A shopping cart is a 'trolly', the parking lots are 'car parks', diapers are 'nappies', strollers are 'prams'.  A lot of the words are from the UK, but there are some that are original to Australia.

One that really makes me smile is the British word 'whinging.'  The 'g' in the middle is pronounced like a 'j' and the word means 'to complain or protest, especially in an annoying or persistent manner.'  Or, as we'd say in North America--whining.  At this point the Harry Potter fans might be saying, 'Oh!  Little Whinging!  Of course!  Hahaha!'

I like 'whinging', it's cute.  Maybe too cute.  Perhaps I'm just not used to it, but for me it really doesn't call to mind someone who's complaining or protesting in an annoying or persistent manner.  They get a lot of things right here, but I think I'm going to have to stick with 'whining.'  It's such a great word.  It's practically an onomatopoeia.
This picture doesn't really have anything to do with the post, it just made me smile too.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Winter blooms: golden wattle

About a month ago the wattle started to bloom.  There are many different varieties and the one pictured on the Australia Day stamp from 1990 is Australia's national flower.  I've always enjoyed learning the official flower of different places (the possibility of its being arbitrary not withstanding).  I know that Wisconsin's state flower is the wood violet, Kansas has the sunflower, and Alberta's provincial flower is the wild rose.

The golden wattle is beautiful and blooms all along the roadsides, as we discovered on our drive down to Busselton.  With its can't-throw-a-stone-without-taking-out-some-wattle presence it might come as a surprise to you, as it did to me--though fortunately not through sad experience--that it is illegal to pick wild wattle.  You have to either admire it from afar, grow it yourself, or purchase it from someone who grows it.  Or, as in my case, be fortunate enough to stumble upon a friendly woman selling eggs at the Fremantle Market.  She had bunches of wattle along the back of her booth and offered me some just because I admired it.  That, and I'd just bought a dozen eggs.  I love wattle.  It's not difficult to see why Australian's are so protective of their floral emblem.

When it catches the sunlight, it glows.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Marx on Religion

The great thing about these two pictures is that neither of them was staged.  They were taken roughly one year apart; Eliot's in Toronto and Peter's here in Perth.  Perhaps it's the beard that draws them in--at least that certainly appears to be the case with Peter.  In any event, we'll have to be on our toes.  We may have two budding revolutionaries on our hands.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Peter and the Tim Tams

We generally have a little dessert after our supper here.  For dessert we generally each have one Tim Tam (a popular Australian cookie.)  Peter has recently started joining us at the supper table and sharing in dessert.  He has fallen head over heals in love with Tim Tams.  At the first sound of the crinkling package his eyes light up and he kicks and squeals and does everything he can to communicate his enthusiasm.  I'd be worried except that he acts the same when he sees fresh strawberries or watermelon.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Just thought I'd share a few of the little tricks the boys have been up to lately:

Peter and Eliot both love the vacuum cleaner.  As soon as I roll it out they make a bee-line for it and wait, not so patiently, for me to plug it in and turn it on so that they can take turns having their hair coiffed.

Recently Eliot had a chance to try out a didgeridoo.  At first we thought the smaller size was just made for tourists who wanted to fit it into their luggage.  Turns out the smaller ones are made especially for children to train with.

I don't have a picture for this next one, so I'll have to go with the proverbial thousand words.  Eliot has pretty good table manners for a three and a half year old.  He generally sits at the table and eats his meal without any trouble.  This evening I made a strawberry tart for dessert and as he ate it a couple of whipped cream-covered strawberry slices dropped onto the table.  He finished his tart, then ate the strawberries that had fallen.  When I looked again he'd bent down and was licking the cream off the table.  He still has a few things to learn, but for now I think I'll just take it as a compliment to the chef.

No grocery run is complete without taking the Red Car for a spin.  I've never put the $2 piece in that makes it lurch forward and back, partly because I don't want to set a precedent and partly because I think it might freak one of them out and spoil the fun.  They look pretty serious in the picture, but the very sight of this car will send Peter into a fit of grinning, squealing anticipation.

Peter shifts into high gear.

The simple joy of swinging.

Spencer has several deadlines looming and has been working a lot.  The boys love any moments with him that they can get.  Here Peter takes in a little of the Olympics with Daddy.

Beach adventures are always fun, with or without the picnic lunch.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Beach combing adventures

Toward the end of Rissie's visit we decided it was time to get serious about finding her some nice sea shells.  Our previous outings to the beach had turned up a lot of really lovely, though fairly quotidian, clam shells.  We invited my church friend, Merlene, to come with us for the morning and packed a picnic lunch.  We strayed away from our usual beach and headed for one with a lot of rocky areas where shells tend to get caught.  Merlene, who is also a Perth native, knew of a particularly fruitful spot. The weather was perfect for our little picnic.  The boys were in heaven climbing over the rocks, and Merlene's special sea shell spot did not disappoint.
Eliot loved the dried fruit that Merlene brought, and held it on his lap the whole time.

Peter's face was soon smeared with tomato sauce.

Playing in the sand.

Two brothers exploring the rocks together.  Though Peter was walking quite a bit by this time he felt a little more comfortable manoeuvring the landscape on his hands and knees.

I love this picture of Eliot, he looks so intrepid.

I love this picture of Peter, he looks like he's just burst into song (which, I suppose, he more or less had).

Merlene has been climbing these rocks since she was a little girl, and Eliot enjoyed exploring them with her.

A closer look at the rocks.  They looked like Wheetbix.

While Merlene and Eliot continued to climb over the rocks, and Rissie continued to hunt for sea shells, Peter and I relaxed a bit in the shade.

Making sand angels.

Back on solid ground for the short walk back to the car.