Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Summer in our garden

Summer in Perth is so different to any other summer I have experienced. The rain fall during the summer months is very low, if not non-existent for at least 5 months. We have average maximum summer temps of mid 30's, and can reach 45 - 46 degrees and the overnight temps average around 20 - 24 with maximum overnight temperatures of 29 degrees!

But it is a dry heat which makes it so much more bearable.... every so often the humidity increases and the heat changes (not in a good way either).

During winter in Perth (the rainy season) there are sprinkler bans and during summer we have two sprinkler days a week. Shoulder seasons go to one sprinkler day a week.

So as you can imagine a summer garden in Perth is different to your average summer garden in Wellington or Queensland... 

Here is a sample of our garden (all taken this week - after a string of 37 degree + days).

Here is our lovely tree abundantly full of yellow flowing flowers (known as Cassien Fistula or more commonly the golden shower tree - I kid you not!). 
For more shots of this beautiful tree see my post from January 2013 here.

What's a garden without some hardy agapanthas as well!
Our lemon tree produced just two lemons in its first year... this is just one branch of it this year! The poor branches are struggling with the weight of the lemons on this tree - the trick is the recycled water from the fish tank every time Jason cleans it!
The frangipanis (a white and a pink tree), the agaves, agapanthas and basil are all doing well!
As is this lily!
However, we need to be very careful with the garden... I swear on the 44 degree day recently the lawn and some of the newer trees just died in front of us! So we need to do lots and lots of watering... creating rainbows as we go!
Although we work hard at the garden, sometimes we can't compete with mother nature... here is a section of lawn from last night and one of our new trees we planted 9 months ago.... struggling in the heat. The lawn is hardy buffalo lawn though and will recover from this!
Even the agapanthas that are in the sunnier end of the garden are suffering a little
So gardening in a hot dry climate can be tough, but as I have shown, it can also produce some lovely pockets!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The trials and tribulations of toilet training...

There have been many difficult things about being a parent, least of all the latest challenge.... Toilet training! 

It's been a bit tricky as Ethan goes to daycare 5 days a week so we only have him with us 2 days a week. We really wanted to get Ethan well on the trail of being toilet trained at home so that daycare can build on it for us. Unfortunately that means toilet training opportunities are few and far between. We had a first attempt during the September long weekend... But 25 pairs of wet and poo-ey undies later we decided Ethan wasn't ready.

A month or so later Ethan randomly started pooing on the toilet for around 6 days straight! So strange but we went with it! I started to think that this toilet training lark may have been easier than we were expecting. But it didn't last long!!!

As daycare closed over Christmas we decided to give toilet training a VERY good go! But as with previous attempts it really didn't go well at all initially... Here is an excerpt from a diary of a toilet training parent:

Mum: do you need to wee?
Toddler: no
Mum: are you sure you don't need to wee?
Toddler: NO mum!!!
Mum: should we try anyway?
Toddler: no!

2.8 seconds later

Toddler: wet undies mama

Mum: sigh!!!

Then Ethan decided to be all polite about it... so when we ask if he needs to go to the toilet he says "no-fankyou mama/daddy".... 

We were near our wits end and trying everything we could think of. Then one day Jason and Ethan went to the park and they saw some kids with great diggers, so Jason promised a new digger if Ethan went to the toilet. 

Later that day Ethan asked for his new digger, we said if he went to the toilet on the loo.... and low and behold he did, them promptly said - lets go to the shops for my new digger!!!!!!

So we had cracked Ethan's "currency"... we found a 4 pack of small diggers (and a big one from him he hadn't played with for ages". They went on the rack in the toilet ready to reward!

After a day or two we also introduced some small bags on MnMs as I didn't want to have to keep buying diggers!

Here are the "rewards" ( remember the big digger was one from the back of his toy cupboard).

Here is Ethan playing with the spoils of his efforts on the loo!
We probably get one accident a day on average (including the odd shower poo - my least favourite of them all). Last week Ethan had three accident free days at daycare and he has been waking up with dry nappies in the mornings - not that we are attempting night training yet! 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

It's a hard task trying to get a good photo of a toddler!

 Ethan takes after his Mama in that he is not that keen to have his photo taken... often I am snapping very quickly in the vain hope that I will get a good shot...

I really wanted to get a photo of Ethan in this t-shirt as it really suits his colouring.... but as with all toddlers Ethan has his moments and he has taken a dislike to anything that doesn't have a dinosaur on it.... so this wasn't my day to get a good photo (no matter how hard I tried)!

 Then a few weeks ago we were at the river and the lighting was amazing, so I tried to get a couple of Ethan again! This time he wouldn't directly look at the camera, but the results were very playful and cute!!
The day Ethan got his Christmas present from his Great Grandad it came close to getting a good photo of Ethan... but if he was looking straight at the camera he wouldn't smile, then he decided to not look at the camera at all (back to his old tricks)... then when he looked at the camera he did a cheesy smile, and finally all he really wanted to do was play with his new bird, so all the rest of the photos were out of focus!!!
I can very rarely get Ethan to smile at the camera however, at least this time, Ethan stood still and let me take a photo!
So there you have it.... my not so successful attempts at getting Ethan on camera!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ethan's new bed...

This post is about Ethan's big boy bed... but first a trip down memory lane.

So when Ethan was a baby he had a little Moses basket to sleep in.... he grew out of that in about 6 weeks...
 After that he went into his cot, at first he seemed so small in the cot but as he grew, and grew, and grew we were quickly realising we would need a bed before long.
We started with converting his cot into a toddler bed, but about a month ago we realised he was just too tall for his cot converted into a toddler bed for much longer.... so we thought the moses basket may come in handy again...Here Ethan is trying that out for size!
 So a couple of weeks in a row we went bed shopping for Ethan (hoping to capitalise on the January sales). Jason was dead keen on a bunk bed but I was a little worried about Ethan falling out.... we searched a number of stores and finally came across a low line bunk bed.... which was perfect for our needs! Not too far to fall at all!
Ethan and his plethora of stuffed animals are really enjoying his new bed! At first I was worried that Ethan may want to sleep on the top bunk, but we managed to get around that be saying the George Pig (Peppa's younger brother and dinosaur aficionado) slept in the bottom bunk. After that Ethan was happy with the bottom bunk!

I am somewhat glad that we have a low to the ground bed though as this is what I spotted one morning on the monitor (no idea how much of the night Ethan had been on the floor!).

Sunday, January 19, 2014

What to do when its 44 degrees?

Last weekend the temperatures soared to 44 degrees on Saturday and 41 on Sunday. Generally we spend quite a lot of the 40+ degree days inside as it is simply too hot outside. 

On the Saturday it was already 32 degrees by 8am so Ethan and I went to the water park while Jason went to his swim training.Its a great way to cool down and have a good run round at the same time! 
On Sunday Jason had a sea swim planned so Ethan and I decided to join in at the beach.... the overnight low was 29.7 degrees!!!!!! So by the time we got to the beach (at 7.20am) it was already 36 degrees and climbing!!!!
 When it topped 41 degrees at 8.30am Ethan and I decided to have raspberry slushie for breakfast!
 A cool change came through around 10am and dropped the temperatures to a balmy 36/37 degrees for the rest of the day!

On the really hot weekends we tend to spend the early mornings and late afternoons/early evenings out and about and then the middle of the day inside.... however we all sometimes get cabin fever so last weekend we took Ethan to junior hoyts. It was a "movie" for kids. It was an hour long and just Thomas the tank Engine TV episodes. An hour was just about right for Ethan.... any longer and he would have been running up and down the aisles terrorising the other patrons!

Ethan did enjoy the popcorn that he shared with his dad!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A day at the tennis!

On the first official day of work for 2014 I was lucky enough to be invited into a corporate box for the Hopman Cup tennis by another electricity generation company.

After the super busy end to 2013, this was a lovely start to 2014!

Here is the newly built Perth Arena all ready to go for the Italy vs Canada games (ladies, mens and mixed doubles).
 Here is the menu we were treated to for each match. By the end of the day I felt like I needed to run home, the very, very long way!!!!
The tennis itself was ok, pretty one sided with Canada taking all three matches.

Lets hope this relaxed start to 2014 is how the rest of my year might pan out!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Leighton Beach Open water Sea Swim Race

Late last year Jason decided to re-ignite his swimming career and swim to Rottnest Island (an Island around 18km off the WA coast). Its not a massive Island, around 20 square km. Rottnest is a popular holiday destination for WA locals, but unfortunately it is a little run down and very over priced (in my opinion).

As part of his training for the Rottnest swim, Jason raced the Leighton Beach Open Water Sea Swim Race (5km).

We woke up nice and early on Sunday morning for the race and were expecting a nice, fine, clear day. Unfortunately there were fires down south and the whole city was blanketed in smoke! Not great exercising conditions.

Here we are at the beach all ready to go for the race. It was a little chilly at 6am (hence the polar fleece), but it soon warmed up. We were planning on being at the beach for 2.5 - 3 hours so I had lots of things to keep Ethan entertained - diggers, activity books, lots of food, bucket and spade and his togs.
Here's Ethan watching his Daddy head off for the swim start. 
Despite the smoke haze we got some nice (albeit only iPhone) photos.
Around 10 minutes before I expected Jason in, I changed Ethan into his togs for a frolick in the water so that we could keep an eye out for Jason!

1 hour 17 mins later Jason emerged! A 10 minute improvement on his 5km time from 6 weeks earlier! It shows the training has been working!
Just 6 weeks to the Rottnest Channel swim now!