Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Some pre-Easter fun

Colouring eggs.  The boys were delighted to be transforming the eggs into their respective favourite colours.

I asked them to put their faces down near the eggs and Eliot knew what I had in mind, but I think Peter was a little confused and nearly put his face into the eggs.  The picture is a little out of focus, but Peter looks so much like a picture of him when he was just a few months old.  Such sweet boys.

The boys had a lot of fun at the Primary's Easter Party.  It was held in the same park as last year and Eliot well remembered the paper boats he had sailed.  There were no paper boats this year but they had several other fun games, and of course heaps of chocolate.

The children were asked to come in a decorated Easter hat, if they wished, and Peter was fond of his with bunny ears and balloons.

While the children were playing games in one part of the park the chocolate eggs were being hidden in another part of the park to avoid leaving them in the sun, and at the mercy of the birds, for too long.  When it was time for the hunt to begin the children charged in a solid mass down a grassy slope to where the eggs were waiting.  Peter had the knack of things this year and gathered up many more eggs than he had last year when he wanted to stop and eat each egg as he went along.

This year Eliot added strategy to his egg-hunting skill set.  The children were told they had a limit of twelve eggs each.  Eliot, after picking up a few of the smaller eggs scattered in the grass, headed into the bushes where the larger eggs were hidden.

He was very pleased with his find.

After the boys had reached their quota we rejoined Grandma and Noni, who had found a nice shady spot, and the boys settled in to enjoy their chocolate.

Several days later we went to the shops to get a few groceries and discovered that the shopping centre had all sorts of Easter activities going on.  The first one we found was this fun little train that the boys enjoyed very much.

Then there was an Easter egg hunt that was led by the Easter Bunny through the shopping centre where participating store were passing out chocolate eggs.  At first I wondered if Peter would be a little shy of the Easter Bunny, but not so.  Peter was happy to give the Bunny a hug and followed closely as it led the children through the mall.

He would stand and watch the Easter Bunny with this cute smile on his face.

In this picture they're listening to one of the clues that the Easter Bunny's helper read so the children could guess which store they were to find next.  Sometimes I'm sad to think how fast they're growing up, then I catch them in a moment like this and remember that they're still little little boys.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

Grandma and Noni both left last week.  We were sad to see them go but find life slipping back into it's normal rhythms now that my lungs are well managed.  While they were here we enjoyed some preliminary Easter festivities.  I am woefully behind on my blogging and I'll share some photos from those in my next post.  Easter Sunday was a beautiful, sunny day with just enough clouds and just enough breeze to make it very pleasant.

I got up at 3:00 am to mix the dough for the hot cross buns, then I went back to bed to sleep while they were rising.  When the boys and I got up for the day they helped brush the buns with egg and pipe on the crosses.

After we'd eaten our breakfast I found, in the pages of my cookbook, a note from the Easter Bunny with a clue for the boys.  The scavenger hunt sent them first to the washing machine, then to look inside Garbage Truck, then off to look under my pillow, and then into Eliot's shoe.  Finally the boys were led to look under the kitchen sink where they discovered that that clever rabbit had filled their Easter baskets with all sorts of delights.  The idea of finding clues captured Peter's fancy and after we'd found the baskets of treats he was determined to search his other trucks for "cwoos."

Eliot was thrilled with everything in the basket and loudly announced each item as he pulled them out.  Peter, to his credit, went for his box of raisins first and I was very pleased...

...until he poured them onto the rug in order to eat them.

Each boy received a chocolate Easter Bilby.  Eliot had written to the Easter Bunny specifically requesting one.




I turned on some cartoons for them while I washed the dishes and got our bag packed for church.  Their faces were saying what they themselves would never utter: "If I ever see another piece of chocolate again it will be too soon!"

Eliot has recently become acquainted with the idea of death (mainly from his interactions with the insect world) and the religious aspect of Easter was a little more prominent in his mind this year.  It was nice to be able to talk with him and Peter about the Resurrection and find that it wasn't swallowed up entirely in the tidal wave of chocolate eggs.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Peter's Belated Birthday Celebration

Two days before I was admitted to hospital Peter turned three.  I remember lying in bed and hearing Eliot and Peter in their bedroom.  Eliot told Peter that it was his birthday and Peter respond, "Yes, I'm three!"  He then started singing "Happy Birthday."  I was pretty much unable to get out of bed, and Spencer was swamped, so other than that the day passed by without much fanfare.  When I was in the hospital Spencer told me that at home Peter insisted that he was still two.  Perhaps he was protesting the absence of cake and presents.

When I was home and up again we baked him a cake and had a proper birthday celebration.  Now if you ask him, he is definitely three.

Peter was delighted with his cake.

He joined in singing "Happy Birthday" to himself.

When Peter blows on something he goes "fffffffff" which isn't the most effective.  Eventually he was perfectly happy for Eliot to help him out.

New trucks and cars!!

Big boys scoop their own ice cream.

He's trying to smile for the camera but he also has a rather large, cold bite of ice cream in his mouth, hence the funny face.

We love our little Peter!

A brief explanation of a recent illness

I pulled it together for Eliot's birthday party, sitting down as much as I could, but when we got home I went straight to bed as my health continued to spiral downward.  Spencer was suddenly in charge of children and home.  He did a really great job handling it all, though it was stressful for him especially since he still had his own work to do.  People from church helped out with meals and helped watch the boys so Spencer could get some work done.  To complicate things further, he had an upcoming trip to North America that would keep him there for seven weeks.  He thought about cancelling the trip but it was very important for him to go, so instead he arranged with my mother and his to come out and help me for a few weeks.

In the midst of all these arrangements I was admitted to hospital with pneumonia.  I was there for almost a week during which additional testing and a lung biopsy ultimately confirmed that I had eosinophilic pneumonia which is essentially an immune response that gets turned on but doesn't turn off, filling up your lungs with your own white blood cells.  Apparently it can be caused by all sorts of things that I don't have.  It can also happen for reasons they can't explain, and it was decided that this was the case with me.  Fortunately it's very easily and effectively treated with steroids.  I was discharged from the hospital shortly after Spencer's mother arrived and on the very day that my own mother arrived.  Spencer left on his trip a few days later.  That first week home I was still pretty weak so it was great to have the extra help.  As the weeks have passed I've gotten stronger and as the dose of steroids gradually decreases I pay close attention to my lungs as a relapse is possible.  But so far so good.  I am certainly very grateful for friends far and near and for all of the help and well-wishes that have come our way.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Eliot turns five and has his first birthday party

Eliot turned five while Spencer and I were in Bali.  Aunt Coleen and Uncle Oliver helped him celebrate on the day and sent him off to school with cupcakes to share with his class.  I love that Peter can't take his eyes off them.

Giving Yellow Bear a ride in the stroller while waiting for the train to Fremantle.

This year Eliot was wise to the whole concept of a birthday party and was determined to have his at the Jungle Gym.  I booked it for the Saturday after Spencer and I returned from Bali and invitations went out to his little classmates.  The Jungle Gym is on the south side of the river and we live on the north side.  This is not a huge barrier but, as Merlene once put it, you'd think people had to swim across.  As a result only one of Eliot's little friends turned up for the party, but it was one of Eliot's very best friends so he wasn't disappointed in the least.  Eliot, Peter and Filip had a fantastic time climbing, jumping, running, tumbling, etc.

Peter and Fuzzy Yellow Bear negotiating the foam pit.

Swinging on a rope into a pit full of foam cubes, you just can't beat that.

If the success of a party is measured by the happiness it gives to the child for which it is thrown, than this was one very successful birthday party.