Saturday, December 29, 2007

The gangs all here.

Well Christmas is over and I have a heap of photos to catch up on.
Lets start with the week before Xmas. Alex went to Grahams work to see Santa. It's the first time he has met a Santa and he wasn't too sure about him. He spent all week practicing saying 'ho ho ho' and 'merry Christmas' so he would be able to say it to Santa and we talked a lot about Santa Claus. On the day though it was all too noisy for Alex to say anything to Santa or vice-versa. There was carol singing going on as well as all the background noise that comes from a large crowd of kids with parents.
Alex looks uncomfortable in these pics but it's mainly 'cause he didn't want to touch anything. He had just eaten a cracker while we were in the queue to see Santa and he doesn't like to touch anything when he has food on his hands. His Dada had disappeared with the bag with all the wipes and tissues.

I think he enjoyed himself though. He stood up and wiggled a bit while listening to the carols (most of the kids didn't) and he liked getting a pressy from Santa :)

Here's Santa and the carol singers. If you recognise the guy with the mike in the middle, he is butcher on the Woolworths ads. He isn't really a butcher, he works at head office and likes to sing. He is a good singer.

The weekend before Christmas Dad came over and put up the new wall paneling in the laundry to cover the damage there. I got new taps and skirting boards too. He finished the floor the other day and now as soon as Graham has finished sanding back the plaster I can paint. We got an extension hose for the washing machine so we can move it over when the rooms finished and look at installing some sort of bench/cupboard between the sink and the washing machine.
No photos of the floor yet (the washing machine is currently in the middle of the room) but here's the walls going up.

and the finished wall. It's a silvery blue suede finish.

My new taps. I love them!

I'm still working out the new taps for the washing machine, they have to be turned on further than the old ones and there's a huge amount of difference in pressure between the hot water and the cold (due to the pipes not the taps) so we've had some interesting washes. I'm using the same amount of detergent as usual (less than the instructions) but we are getting lots of bubbles. Hmmm maybe it's the lack of dirt in the hot water now that's allowing things to froth up more.
This was taken while the machine was running. It was a slow shot so you can see the blur of the machine spinning and the bubbles just kept growing higher.

A tip if you ever find yourself over run by bubbles. Spray deodorant or hair spray near them and they just melt away. Don't spray directly onto the bubbles unless you like them flying around, the force of the spray can get them flying.
We picked up a booster seat for Alex for my car. Yah it fits! He already has one in Grahams car but my back seats are narrower so we needed a seat with a narrow base. All the new models with cup holders and arms rests are too wide so this one is the older model.
Alex loves it and wanted to eat all his meals in it before we got it installed. He actually asked me to take this photo and said cheese!

Christmas eve we had a delivery of plants from the in-laws. Not sure yet where I'll put them. I am doing a new garden bed at the end of the pergola but I want herbs and scented plants for there.

Christmas day we went to my parents for lunch.
Alex got to hand out the pressies and open a lot too :)

My 3 men :)

He was in heaven with all the photos of 'A' to look at with Jen, Dad and myself all taking photos.

I gave Graham a tie with binary code on it. Here he is trying to translate it. It says 'ties suck'. He hates having to wear a tie for work.

Jen's family sent her some pretty underwear that she refused to model for us :)

and Mom's new quiddich broom took 3 people to open (or 2 and a half).

Santa sang a really irritating song over and over

and Alex's other Granny called in for a while.

Alex of course did what any 2yo will do when given a new (noisy) car to play with (no he didn't break it), he went and played with it in the kitchen right under foot.

Christmas lunch was beautiful and filling. Can you believe we missed out on the trifle cause we were too full!
Here's some of Mom's special mice pies by the light of the Swedish candles.

Christmas night we went to some friends for the annual Christmas night gathering (which we didn't do last year) for more food and drink, an exchange of silly $5 gifts and good company.

Alex wanted to play with everyone else's toys and the girls had fun dressing him up in some head bands:)

I took some sneaky shots of Dad through the windows. He was outside and I was in with the 70-200mm.
I love the way he has his drink and his camera both within easy reach :)

and I took some photos of Jen. She wasn't posing but she didn't run away either :) It's always nice to be able to practice on adults for a change.

This one's a shocker but he didn't run away either. I think I'll be the one running when he sees this.

Then we got everyone together for a group shot. I used my 10mm lens which causes quite a bit of distortion so I put the ladies at the back figuring they wouldn't mind the lens making them look thinner :)
Great plan until Dad wanted to take a shot so made me take his spot on the front. I really don't need to extra weight from this lens.
So in the interest of revenge here's what Alex calls 'two Gumpys'.

I love how everyone can't get out of there quick enough once the photo's over.

I got some new photo gear for Christmas but haven't had a chance to play yet. Once the laundry etc is finished I can't wait to have some photo fun. Graham got me a backdrop stand and white muslin backdrop. I plan on making some other backdrops myself. Mom and Dad got me a Gorillapod slr-zoom. It's pretty amazing and weighs so much less than I expected. It's going to be perfect to carry around and will be fun to try out next time I'm out shooting. I should have had it with me Xmas night for the group photos but I like to spend some time admiring my Xmas gifts and have them all to myself the first time I use them :) Just my little indulgence.
I have a pile of photos from the last few days too, mainly of Alex with his new toys so I'll post them up later.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Hot hot hot

We have hot water! Which means no more boiling the kettle and washing in a bucket. Alex did enjoy his bucket baths though.

The new hot water system works and it is so nice to have hot showers again. Even nicer knowing that it is free hot, not free hot water because we still pay for the water but the heating is from the sun so it's free hot. We haven't had to turn the electric backup on at all and it's been 3.5 days of washing and showers without running out of hot water. It's even been raining and the water still heats up!
The removal of the old system has left us with a laundry to renovate though. The plumbers made a big hole in the wall and the floor tiles only went to the edge of the old tank.
This is the state the floor was left in

and here's the mess that was the wall.

We're going to replace the old tiles with these rubber tiles. Sort of an industrial look. The floor will be this creamy colour and the walls will be silvery. Graham suggested I paint one wall with a scene like I did in Alex's room, with a tree, but I think a beach scene would be more appropriate and the colours would work. Not sure yet, we'll see what I come up with. Graham removed most of the tiles yesterday using a new rotary hammer drill we bought to do the job, it was cheaper than hiring one. Once he has the last of the tiles out we will have to get the concrete nice and smooth before we can lay the rubber tiles. The wall will need fixing first and new skirting boards.

Here's the new hot water heater on the roof. We thought it should have been more central but the plumber said it wouldn't fit. As a result it's at the opposite end to the kitchen and it takes a while for the hot water to reach any taps.

Alex stayed at his grandparents on the weekend. He went home with my Mom after Gymbaroo on Friday which got him out of the way while the plumbers installed the water heater. This meant we could run around Saturday and shop for things like floor tiles and we finished our Christmas shopping. At least we had finished until we remembered someone else :) So one more person to shop for and 8 more things I'm waiting to be delivered. Most of which are for Graham. If they don't get here soon he wont have much for Christmas.
We wrapped all the Christmas pressies we do have and took them to Mom and Dads last night and I put up the Christmas tree. The Christmas tree is my job each year and it's something I look forward to.

I've been buying Alex a decoration of his own each year so by the time he leaves home he should have a nice set of decorations to start him off. I love all our old family decorations and the odds and ends that have been added to them each year from various people.
Here's Alex's Christmas ball for this year. He noticed it straight away and went up to it and read 'A' and then read 'Alex'. He also found and read the one from last year. Looks like he has learned to read his name :)

Alex made all our wrapping paper this year using his crayons on a roll of paper. I've made gift tags with photos so Alex will be able to see who to hand them out to. Last year he enjoyed handing out the pressies but we had to read the tags for him.
Looks like most of these are for Alex.

I've made all our Christmas cards and written our yearly Christmas letter. Now I'm just waiting for Graham to sit down with me so we can double check all our addresses and get them in the post tomorrow. I also had some big photos printed as wall calendars for some of the family. All different photos but this one here is my favourite. I wish I'd done one for myself. This isn't up properly, just wedged behind some frames so I could take a photo. You can see how big it is.

It was raining most of yesterday and was still raining when we drove home last night. A couple of times we saw a frog hop across the road in front of us, lit up by the headlights. We realised we have never seen a frog at our place and we've been here 6 years.
When we got home I went to open the car door and looked out the window and there was a little frog on the rear view mirror. He must have had an interesting ride.
Luckily I had the camera in the front with me so I could open the window and shoot him. He jumped away into the dark when Graham tried to move him to the plants so we don't know where he ended up. I'd like to think that we now have a frog out there somewhere.

I wanted a nice photo for our Christmas cards but it's so hard to get everyone looking at the camera with a self timer. Here's the best of the bunch.

This was another card idea

but this was the one we settled on, with some text added.

To finish here's a shot from our infrared security camera.
This is Alex lying in bed with his eyes open. It's dark in there but the infrared means we can see him. We've found, since watching him with the camera, that he will lie there with his eyes open like this for hours at night before he finally turns over and pulls the pillow over his head and goes to sleep. He also cuddles his teddy a lot and is very fussy about placing his teddy in the top right corner before he goes to sleep.