The floor plan

I received the approval to post the floor plan a couple of weeks ago, but realised I hadn't posted it here yet - so here it is for all who are interested!

Some notes:

* Top of the page is north.
* The block is fairly narrow - long sides on the east and west.  The width of the house is not much less than the width of the block.
* Views are to the west and south-west.
* Block slopes slightly towards the west. Both east and west neighbours are vacant blocks, eastern side is higher up than us (hence no windows), western side is lower down than us.
* First floor is 2.7m ceilings, ground floor is 2.4m.
* All marked windows are generally floor to ceiling windows.
* The scale may be out of wack, as a guide, the width of the pantry is approx 1m.

Note the "multi-purpose room" is not as originally planned, but we are working on how to spread those 'functions' into the other parts of the house - because everything else is 99% perfect!

Ground floor:

First floor:

We have still found a lot of little things that we could change, but before I list them I'd be interested to see what jumps out to everyone else.. always nice to have fresh opinions!

My Parenting style... why the criticism?

This may end up being a bit of a rant, for that I am terribly sorry.... but where better to get it out than here ;)
Firstly I would like to get something out there...


yes, really. I am one of those parents, you know the ones that breastfeed their toddlers, bed share with their children, wears her babies around in slings rather than the sterile old pram, would never leave their precious babies to cry, so it goes on.

Anyone who knew me in my previous (and currently on-hold) life as a medical scientist would probably never believe it, but I just don't give a toss about all the 'rules'. Western cultures seem to be preoccupied with 'training' your babies to be what you want them to be or to be 'good' babies... babies are babies. They aren't capable of being 'bad'.
I am not going to reference anything... anyone who wants to do their own research on anything I will talk about here is more than welcome, but this is about ME and MY opinions... I have researched a lot of this stuff in order to come to my own conclusions and I encourage others to do the same.

So, let me address each of my hippy traits as mentioned above.

First the breastfeeding... well what a hot topic that has been of late. Let me put it this way. Women are given the tools to make the perfect food for their children. If correctly supported there are very few physiological reasons for this system to 'fail'. Most shortened breastfeeding relationships are due to poor advice or little/no support from the wider community. For goodness' sakes, a quarter of Australians think that it is inappropriate to feed a baby in public. If that isn't going to put a whole lot of people off I don't know what is.

Let me make it VERY clear that I do not, nor would I ever put down any mother who has resorted to feeding her baby with breastmilk subsitutes. Every parent makes the best decision that they can with the tools they have available to them.

My problem is that the tools aren't being made available. For me, I don't ever remember seeing breastfeeding as a child. Maybe I can vaguely remember my sister being fed once or twice early on but that's pretty hazy. Really the first exposure I had to breastfeeding was when my niece was born in 2003. My brother and his family live interstate, however, so my exposure was limited.
When my first beautiful child was born in 2007 I assumed that breastfeeding would just work.... wrong! We were both learning! It took 5 whole weeks to get her actually gaining weight but we persevered and I went on to feed her for 14 months and 6 days... 10 long months short of my ultimate goal but still many months longer than I thought possible at the very start. The things that saved my breastfeeding relationship with G were 1. finding the ABA Forum and 2. A wonderful child health nurse who has since retired.
My story is not uncommon, especially for first time mothers who do not have a lot of breastfeeding support around them. So why is it OK for people all around them to say 'oh, just put him/her on the bottle' but if I were to give someone suggestions to help them breastfeed I am labelled all sorts of nasty things.


Well, it's not. It's just that bottle feeding has become a lot more acceptable than supporting breastfeeding mums. That to me is very sad.

Bedsharing in this house is a sleep-saver. Little boy currently wakes and feeds often. I am more than happy to meet his needs, but in order that we both get some sleep he bedshares with us after his first wake up of the night. Both Chuq and I are pretty light sleepers, don't smoke, don't take any drugs (prescription or otherwise), if Chuq has had any alcohol he sleeps in another bed, we don't use heavy bedclothes, H is kept well away from the pillows and other bedding and is put to sleep on his back. Why do I even have to justify all of those things.
Chuq was telling me that some people at his work were discussing the tragic accident in Hobart where a 6 month old baby died in a sleep accident whilst bedsharing with her mother... (who was under the influence of substances at the time). In their eyes however it was all about the bedsharing, not the substances involved. If I was getting out of bed to little boy all night I would be ridiculously tired, in fact so much so that driving would be dangerous. In my opinion that would be a far more hazardous situation for him, not to mention anyone else in my car, or anyone on the roads around me, pedestrians and other motorists alike.
SIDS and Kids actually recommend that babies share a room with their parents for the first year of life. How many people put their babies into a cot in their own room from day 1? Lots! I did with G (mind you when it all went to pot when she was 4 months old we started bedsharing).
Guess what? I don't tell the separate room Mummies and Daddies how dangerous their sleep practices are...


This is getting rather long.. sorry! I should have addressed each hippy trait as a separate entry... however I am nearly to the end now so will keep on going.

Human babies are helpless. Totally helpless. They cannot do anything for themselves... they need their parents for everything. Their only means of communication is crying. Why then are we advised to ignore that communication under the guise of 'sleep training'? Baby could be crying because they are hungry, wet, dirty, in pain, hot, cold, otherwise uncomfortable. If you are certain all these needs are met is it not possible that your baby just needs your reassurance and love?

I'm sorry, there is no way that my tiny baby is manipulating me. He is communicating his needs and I am meeting them. Do I tell someone who is letting their child CIO that they are abusing him/her? Sometimes I'd sure like to but I don't. So don't harass me for my choice. I am frequently told what a 'good' baby my 4 month old is, and often at dinners etc. people are surprised at how little he cries. To me there is no sound in the world more heart wrenching than my baby crying so I do all I can to avoid it happening, or if it does to stop it as soon as possible.

To the last of my rants... prams! Prams are a big fat pain in the butt. They don't fit in some shops, through supermarket checkouts or up/down stairs. I have an awesome pram, a Phil&Teds Vibe. It gets used when I'm walking for exercise (little girl is far too slow to walk and little boy would get far too hot being carried) and if I need to keep Miss.2 restrained as I'm out somewhere on my own. Otherwise who can be bothered dragging a huge pram in and out of the car and navigating the obstacle courses that are most shops. I love to have my babies close and they are much more able to engage with their world if they are up where they can see what's going on. G used to cry and cry if I walked her in a pram and eventually I got the message that she wanted to be carried. Again, no she was not manipulating me, she just wanted to be held close and comforted as well as being a little sticky beak needing to be involved in the 'action'.
Thankfully most feedback I get whilst wearing one of my beautiful babies (and yes I do still carry Miss 2 in a sling/carrier occasionally, she is only 11.5kg so not a big ask) is nice... a lovely warm smile from an older lady, a child pointing at the baby, a teenager saying something about how 'cute' it is. I wish that more mums carried their babies in slings though, so that I wasn't somewhat of a spectacle when I do my shopping!

I'm going to leave it there, but my point is that I've learned to ignore all the 'rules' which is funny given that my job before children was one in which you had to follow rules to the letter. However having children has changed my whole perspective on life. I don't sweat the small stuff anymore, I don't worry about things I can't change, instead focusing on things I am able to influence.

Babies are not manipulative, they are helpless and rely on you for everything.

Follow your gut, after all you are the parent, you know your baby.. the writer of your favourite parenting book does not.

Honest Scrap

So it appears that the lovely Kint has bestowed upon me this award... thus I must share with you 10 truths about me... happy reading :o)

1. Despite the fact that I desperately want it to be tidy, my house is ALWAYS messy. This is not just due to normal kids mess, we also have just so damn much stuff and nowhere to put it. When we move into our new house we are going to have a serious cull. Nothing useless is leaving this house bar to be re-homed with someone else!

2. I nearly started point 2 with the same 3 words I started point 1 with... to re-word for number 3 ;-)

3. Even though in my 'previous life' before children I was pretty much a 'control-freak, stress head' I am a pretty laid back parent. So the small boy doesn't sleep too well... pfft, whatever... he is only 4 months old, he'll sleep eventually :) Yanno, that kind of thing!

4. Even though my youngest baby is only 4.5 months old and doesn't sleep we are talking about #3 already :o) (although the plan is not to be put into action for several months yet)

5. Before G was born I was of the opinion 'I'll give breastfeeding a red hot go, but if it doesn't work out... oh well' This changed the minute she was born... I was going to feed her at all costs. It took us a good 5 weeks to get things going and for her to regain her birthweight but my pig-headedness means that neither of my children have ever ingested a single drop of infant formula.

6. Even though I may project differently, I still need to work on my confidence. These days I can speak to groups, deal with new situations and give my opinion freely however I still get that little niggling voice in my head telling me that I'm not good enough. Even when I knew the answers at school I NEVER put my hand up.

7. I was _so_ well behaved at school it's embarrassing. A slightly pissed off look from a teacher would be enough to elicit tears.

8. It's still pretty easy to make me cry but I'm working on it :o)

9. I'm such a damn nerd.. one year I got a microscope for Christmas as that's what I wanted.

10. It's OK 'cos I married another damn nerd ;)

So, now I pass on the award to some bloggers who inspire me...

Laura - your dedication is inspiring

Phil - you are just awesome and I miss you

There are others but you've already done it :o)

Cloth nappies - the dad's perspective

Note: Warning to non parents – this post contains descriptions of infants bodily functions!

Before G was born, Emma and I briefly considered using cloth nappies. “Not a chance!” we both said. Folding stupid towels, safety pins, staining, leaks, washing, bleach … as if we’d do that!

When she was a couple of months old, the fact that our wheelie bin was filling up in a week (we have fortnightly collection) thanks to all the disposable nappies was a bit of a nuisance, and was warranting frequent extra trips to the tip. Emma did some more research and found some modern cloth nappies (MCN’s) online. I still wasn’t convinced - “Not a chance!” I said..

Well, Emma bought a small number of this particular brand (about half a dozen) and they were fantastic! They looked just like a disposable nappy – fold them up and stick on the tabs with velcro. No soaking or bleaching needed - throw them in the washing machine and hang them up afterwards, that’s it!

We bought some more and soon enough G was in cloth nappies full time during the day - we still used disposables for overnight though, since they couldn’t absorb the overnight wetting. Emma did buy a few different brands, each of which had their benefits, but nothing perfect. When G moved onto solids it made things interesting, but we bought an attachment that connects to the back of the toilet called a “Little Squirt” – a pressure hose that made cleaning poo off the nappies quick and painless. We were doing about 3 extra loads of washing per week.

We were looking to find a cloth nappy that she could wear overnight and we came across Baby Beehinds – they had a range of MCNs, some of which were hemp or bamboo (which are more absorbent than microfibre, which the other brands used) and some all-in-ones which came in both velcro and press-stud versions.  Emma bought a few and finally we had G in cloth nappies full time! As a bonus, the all-in-one’s didn’t leak as the disposables (and other brands) had on occasion. 

With H we were well prepared and he has been in MCNs full-time since birth, although when he was born we had to get some newborn sized ones sent down express post.  So far he has never worn a disposable nappy in his lifetime!  It was quite a busy washing schedule when we had 2 children in full time MCN's and we were often doing a load of nappies every day - but that only lasted a month or two before G was toilet trained during the day (she wears one nappy a day now - at night time).  It was still preferable to the alternative - rubbish bags of nappies sitting around because they couldn't fit in our 140L wheelie bin (which was only collected once a fortnight)!

This is for all the dads out there who are point blank refusing to use cloth nappies – it’s not a bad thing! Your wallet is healthier – over 2.5 years you would generally spend about $3000 on disposables, as opposed to $750-$1000 on MCN’s – and you can reuse the MCN’s on the next baby! If you aren’t sure you can always get a small number to use part-time. You are also helping the environment – most of you know that I’m no hippy/greenie (or am I? That’s a whole other blog post in itself!) but considering 1.3 billion disposable nappies go to landfill each year in Australia … well I guess we are only reducing that by 2000 per child per year, but every little bit helps.

Emma was always promoting the benefits of MCN’s to her fellow mums and mums-to-be, she frequently mentioned that the mum would be interested but the dad would veto it – on the grounds of either capital outlay or time and effort spent washing them.  On the cost, just buy a small number (half dozen) to start with. On the cleaning.. well, this will come out unintentionally sexist no matter which way I say it, but … let her buy them on the condition that if you don't like them, you don't have to take on any of the additional washing.  I'm pretty sure that after using them for a while you will realise it is no big deal, and help out ... give them a go, you will surprise yourself – we did!

Impartiality disclaimer: Emma has been a Baby Beehinds reseller/demonstrator for the Hobart area since June last year. She had been promoting MCN’s for free for a while so it seemed like the role was meant for her!

A bit about Linux 2010, the largest grass-roots Linux conference in the Asia-Pacific, is currently underway in Wellington, New Zealand.  My first experience with LCA was last year at the 2009 conference, hosted at the University of Tasmania in Hobart.

Since there are quite a few non-technical people following this blog, I’ll give a bit of a beginners guide.   Linux is an alternate operating system - in other words it replaces Windows on a PC.  Rather than being written by employees of private companies, It is contributed to by volunteers from all over the world and is available to copy, download and use for free.  It is open source software (OSS), meaning that the more technically inclined can modify the code – the license allows this on the condition that changes are released back to the community.  As a result of this there are many variations of Linux (known as distributions – Fedora, Ubuntu, Debian, etc).  One of the more popular distributions is the one that I use - Ubuntu. is an annual conference first held in 1999 (under the name of ‘Conference of Australian Linux Users’) as a gathering for members of the Linux community across Australia to meet up, educate each other, network and have some fun!

So far as the Linux side of things go, I’m not a programmer, database administrator or system administrator so I never really thought I’d get a lot out of it, or most of it would be over my head.  Along with the fact that my employment has been based on the Windows side of things so I’d be paying for flights, accommodation and conference registration myself, I’d never really considered attending.  When it was announced that 2009 would be hosted in Hobart, I thought I’d make the most of it and offer to volunteer!

One of my volunteer roles was filming some of the sessions, and since the sessions were generally chosen for me, I got to see a wide range of sessions that I generally wouldn’t have chosen.  They were wide ranging, from the SAMBA team detailing their experiences working together with Microsoft, to Pia Waugh talking about the OLPC XO-1 laptop designed for schools in developing countries, to a Linux powered clarinet.   One of the highlights was Jon Oxer and Jared "Flame" Herbohn’s "Geek my Ride" presentation, including the geeking up of their RX-8 and 300ZX respectively.

I also enjoyed meeting up with some fellow Wikimedia Australia members, including Brianna, Liam, Angela and Tim!  Angela was one of the keynote speakers and Brianna ran the "Free As In Freedom" mini-conference (which explored issues relating to other free cultural works, not just free software).

And the charity auction at the conference dinner would need an entire blog post to explain – in fact, someone else has already done it for me!

On the day before the conference I met Andrew and Susanne, as well as their 1 year old daughter B, who had come over from Wellington.  We had a bit of a chat and got on well. B and G had fun at the Open Day playing on the XO-1 laptops – geeks in training!

On the final day it was announced that Wellington was the host of LCA 2010 and they were the head organisers!  From that day I had plans to go to LCA 2010 but sadly due to costs and family commitments it didn’t eventuate.  I tried to get my work to pay for me to go, but the fact I deal pretty much exclusively with Windows at work didn’t help.  I offered to pay flights/accommodation myself if work would pay for the conference ticket, but there are all sorts of legal cost-splitting issues involved with international travel so it didn’t eventuate.    It would have been good to have seen Andrew and Susanne again, especially as we now both have sons around the same age as well!

As they say, there’s always next year!

New Beds!

A word of warning... if you can, avoid taking a 2 year old into a bed shop!
Yesterday we went shopping as a family to look for two new beds... our Queen sized bed just doesn't cut it for those times when there are 4 in the bed. In fact, even when there are only 3 of us (which is every night after Hamish wakes for the first time) our pillows migrate partially onto the bedside tables in order to make a safe space around H with no pillows or doona. We went along with two major requirements for a king sized bed.. reasonably low to the ground without any hazardous bits of bed frame sticking out to bang little heads on and drawers underneath. Guess what was looking at us when we walked in the door? We did do a lap of all of the big beds in the shop but none were as nice or as reasonably priced as the first nor met our requirements! Sold!

The second bed we were looking for was a king single for G. We wanted a king single for the times that one of us needs to hop in with her, or the times that our kids may want to hop in with each other in the night. This one just needed to be a nice looking frame and reasonably low to the ground. We found one fairly easily and without too much bed jumping by G. She did have a good play with the toys on the kids' beds which was fine.
The fun started when we had to pick mattresses... if Daddy was hopping on the beds, it was obviously fine for her too. The salesman appeared quite enamoured with her and she took an instant liking to him, running around and waving to him whilst cheekily jumping on beds (yelling 'no more monkeys hopping on the bed') and running through the store. The salesman was infinitely patient whilst one of us ran after her, even getting her a balloon and some stickers whilst I was looking at linen (of course we only have linen for single and queen beds). He did mention that he was expecting his first child in June so I guess he was thinking about what he had to look forward to.

Eventually we were able to make some decisions and handed over the credit card after he had knocked the price down a bit for buying two full beds and some linen and as we were about to leave he presented Miss G with a stuffed lion from one of the bed displays. Top Bloke :D (or just good salesman, but he seemed lovely)
So now, the cleanup begins. G's room is simple, move current bed out, put new bed in. Ours is somewhat more complicated... it has become something of a dumping ground for 'mess' from other rooms when we need to quickly 'tidy', so it will probably take us all week to get everything out and sorted, but there is nothing like a bit of pressure to make you tidy things up. Hopefully we won't just 'relocate' too much of it!

We have a floor plan!

... well, a first draft one at least - we met up with our architect today to see what initial design he had come up with, and we have not been disappointed!

One of the first things he mentioned was that due to the northern edge of the block being a reasonably short boundary, it would make it difficult to get lots of natural light into the house.  The solution?  An internal courtyard/deck area!  The logic behind it being that the courtyard would give us another north facing surface which could let more natural light into the house.  In fact, even with one entire side of our house having no windows (the side facing the neighbouring block which is uphill from us), every single room in the house has a floor to ceiling window in it somewhere.  (Barring the garage/home theatre, which are cut into the block on the lower level.)

We were amazed that basically after only being given a list of rooms, we have more or less got a plan we love on the first go!  In fact Emma and I had mentioned in the past how cool it would be to have a house with an internal courtyard .. and we hadn't even mentioned it to our architect.

I won't reproduce the plans here as I haven't checked that this is ok - but the general flow of the layout is great - the main level (first floor) goes (in a clockwise direction) children's bedrooms and bathroom; office/music room; living/dining areas, kitchen; and master bedroom/ensuite.  The ground floor houses the garage, home theatre, guest room/ensuite and laundry.  The centre courtyard extends through both levels.  There are also four decks; entry way and drying area on the ground level, and courtyard and rear on the top level.

Sadly we are still in "cost cutting" mode - narrowing the house by 1 metre in both directions could save us about $80,000.  But will we regret it later?  It's not entirely practical to add that metre back later on when we can afford it, and room size is one of the reasons we want to move in the first place.  We might have to do what we did with the current house, which is leave some rooms unfinished.

We will be spending the next week or two "virtually" living in the floor plan and doing some nitpicking before meeting up with the architect again!

My Daughter, The Fruit Bat

Well I can safely say that she will never be deficient in vitamin C! G would fight you to the death for a plate of grapes... She would be ecstatic if fruit was the only food she was allowed to eat. She can name every fruit in the supermarket except for some of the odd exotics and the only fruit I can think of off the top of my head that she doesn't like are mangoes... however next year she will probably love them!
We currently have a bag of plums and apricots in the bottom of the fridge that came from Mum & Dad's fruit trees (lucky as apricots cost a fortune!) and she is now tall enough to help herself... not sure how good this really is but at least she is toilet trained during the day so she's not going to be getting a red bum from sitting in fruit poo (sorry to all you non-parents but as you know, we parents can't have a conversation without mentioning poo).
We are also growing strawberries in pots on our back deck and one of the highlights of her day is checking to see if any are ready yet so that she can eat them (after she has helped to water them).
So, sitting in the highchair this evening after scraping most of the vegetables off her pizza and eating the base I give her a handful of blueberries and an apricot, she asks for a plum as well and I oblige. She then goes on to tell me that the blueberries are her friends.... ok then. At least they don't cry when you bite them, take your toys or compete with you for the attention of others.

The new house - the story so far!

Our building adventure (well, the second one) is only just starting - so I thought I would post a summary of where we are now, before things really get started!

A little history - our current house was also a build.  We purchased a house and land package in 2001.  Never again!  A house and land package always feels like you are building someone elses design, not something for yourself.  We did make several changes of course - I think everyone who builds does - but there were so many things that as young, first time builders, you just don't pick up.

In October 2009 we bought a 1006 sq m block of land in Lenah Valley.  We love the location - very close to my work and the kids' future school (20 minutes walk / 2-3 minutes drive), about 10 minutes from the city and 10 minutes from Emma's parents.  It's at the end of a cul-de-sac, has great views of the mountain, and if we place the house correctly will have water views as well.  It gets a lot of sun as well.

We've been planning the house for a while (well, I have), but when we spoke to our architect in November we still weren't 100% sure of what we wanted..  one thing is for sure, if we got all that we wanted it would be costing us more than we could afford!

Our original plan was for a 5 1/2 bedroom house with large open plan living area, two studies, separate multi-purpose room, home theatre ... our rationale for the number of bedrooms was a master bedroom, three childrens rooms, and the other 1/2 was actually a guest room that was bigger than your average room and could sleep 4-5 people.  The two studies were a "his" study, which was were all my computer gear was located, and "hers" which was a combined music teaching room, sewing room and storage for Emma's business.

Needless to say reality has kicked in and consolidation has occurred!  We aren't budging on the multi-purpose room though.  The room will be accessible from the living area and viewable from there as well, due to a series of internal windows.  It will also be mostly soundproof.  The intention is that it can be used as a children's play area, a quiet reading room, a homework room (children's computers will be in there) or a music practise area.

The house will be built to passive solar design principles, to make the most of the large amounts of sun that the block gets.  The plan is also to have solar hot water, photovoltaic solar cells, and varies other eco-sustainable thingies.

Our current house has very much been a work in progress most of the time we have been here - to start with, we had no floor coverings, no decks, no concrete driveway, no fences (the three blocks around us were vacant), no gates, and in about 1/4 of the house, no plasterboard walls!  The idea was to build a "finished" house this time, but it might not happen - but we've decided we are not skipping the floor coverings this time!

The intention is to start building in maybe a year, and be in the house a year after that.  Fingers crossed!

Local perceptions of Tassie's A-League bid

It's time for my first post on another one of our blogs main topics - balls, specifically of the foot variety!

Yesterday, Tassie A-League bid taskforce Tasmania United FC made a press release announcing the next stage of their bid process - a public sentiment survey.

And of course, the same thing happened that happens everytime.. the naysayers come out of the woodwork.

One anonymous poster on Walter Pless' site posted "We have at least two chances of getting an A league side here in Tasmania. Buckleys and none."  I would like to think that Buckley - FFA CEO Ben Buckley that is - who grew up in Tasmania, would like to see a team here! 

This is on a site specifically about Tasmanian football - you would expect them to be the most supportive.

"Zero chance of an A league team here. All clubs struggling. No money in the game. That is reality.", the anonymous poster continued.

I continued with some actual facts:

* Yes some clubs are struggling. Importantly, some are not. Financially, Melb and Central Coast are in the black. Crowd wise, some are down, but Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and Wellington are up.

* The feasibility study includes financial info and a preliminary public interest survey.  It also states that TUFC will be able to break even with crowds as low as 8000 due to the favourable stadium arrangements in place.

* FFA is about to sign a new deal with Fox Sports for $60m/year (current deal is $17m/year).

* Buckley, Frank Lowy and Archie Fraser have all recently stated Canberra and Tasmania are their intentions for future expansion.

I don't understand the mentality of not supporting a team playing your preferred sport, in your own state.  Do people think they are going to get punished for supporting an unsuccessful bid? The general public don't need to worry about the funding or sponsors or business cases or anything like that - if the bid doesn't have them, they won't be accepted. The only question most of us have to answer is "If we get a team, will you support them?" You would expect Tasmanians, being a parochial bunch, to do so!

I think many Tasmanians have a built-in inferiority complex - they have been told that they are not good enough by mainlanders for so long that they start to believe it.

Support makes a huge amount of difference.  Look at Gold Coast United.  Ignoring the crowds they had everything that makes a hugely successful club.  Jason Culina, a World Cup Socceroo playing in Europe, returning in play in Australia in the prime of his career.  A strong squad including leading goalscorer Shane Smeltz.  Clive Palmer, Queenslands richest man, as their owner.  Good results, consistently in the top 3 of the league all season.  Robina Stadium, a 27,000 capacity stadium completed in 2005, to play in.  The only major sport on the Gold Coast over summer (not even cricket to contend with).  But their crowds are terrible, smaller than clubs based in less populated areas such as Central Coast and Townsville. 

They have not promoted themselves or connected with the community, and as a result they have the smallest crowds of any club, and that alone has caused all sorts of problems, on and off the field.

Hopefully as club based in a smaller population area, this will be one of the things that Tasmania United FC will do well.  Time will tell!

Charles and Emma - 2000-2009

It has become popular these days for people to send an 'end of year' letter with their Christmas cards to friends and family.  It's an easy way of keeping people up to date, especially those who you don't keep in regular contact with.  As many of you know, we don't do Christmas cards!  Seeing as it is the end of the 2000s decade, I figure why not do an 'end of decade' update of what we have done over the last 10 years?

First to set the scene - on 1 January 2000, we were living in a rental property in Launceston with Matt and Geoff, Emma was studying Bio-medical Science at the University of Tasmania and working part time.  Charles was working two part time IT related jobs.  Emma had a 1976 Ford Escort and Charles a 1992 Toyota Camry.

In the middle of the year, we moved into our own flat in Summerhill.  We stayed here for 2 years, which was a record - the 3 years previous Emma had lived in about 8 different rentals!

September 2000 was (as well as the Sydney Olympics) our engagement party!   It was held at the community hall just opposite our unit.

In December, Emma graduated from Uni with a Bachelor of Biomedical Science!  In April 2001 she was successful in gaining a fulltime scientists position in Hobart.  This meant that almost every weekend over the next year, one of us travelled the return trip from Launceston to Hobart.  Combined with Charles' work at regional schools (Perth, Bracknell, Deloraine, Mole Creek, Meander, etc) this resulted in a lot of km's being clocked in that year!

Due to Emma's new job we had decided to move to Hobart.  In the second half of 2001 we bought a house and land package in a new Glenorchy subdivision just around the corner from Emma's parents - construction started in October!

2002 was a year of big changes for us.  In April we moved into our new house - although with plenty of work to do!  October 12 was the big day - we got married, at Moorilla Estate, including the reception in the Museum of Antiquities.  Many thanks to Matt Springer, Matt Grey, Alister, James, Laura, Hayley, Rachel, Erin and Jess for being a part of this fantastic day with us!

In the same month Charles started a new job (in a contractors role) in Hobart.  A welcome relief after being unemployed since moving from Launceston!

In 2003 we adopted our border collie cross puppies Jenna and Bridie from a farm in Judbury.

In February 2004 we did a ferry/drive holiday to Melbourne and Adelaide in our (then new) Subaru Impreza.  It included a visit to Emma's brother and sister-in-law Mark and Rachel in Melbourne, including seeing our new niece (born in 2003)!  During the drive to Adelaide (via Ararat/Horsham) the temperature reading in the car maxxed out at 48 degrees.. I was glad we had air-conditioning!

Summer 2004/05 was the season of weddings for us.  It included Laura (Emma's sister) and Ben's wedding in January, and we were honoured to both be in the wedding party for our good friends Iain and Tracey in February!

During 2005 Emma was promoted to a senior role at her work, and Charles moved from a contractor to full-time employee.  The latter half of the year we were finally able to get the majority of the external work at our house completed!  What started as a retaining wall required for structural reasons, became a retaining wall, front deck and concreted driveway.

In 2006 we did another large interstate trip.  First a few days in Melbourne with Mark and family (now including a new nephew), which included a trip to the MCG with 95,000 others to farewell the Socceroos before they left for Germany!  That was followed by a few days on the Gold Coast, and a week in Gladstone, staying with Emma's aunt Pam and cousin Chelle.  The final part of the trip was our long awaited honeymoon - a weekend on Heron Island, and it was fantastic!

2007 was again, a big year of changes for us!  The biggest of course was the birth of our little girl 'G' in October.  As if we weren't busy enough, we had the privilege of both being in the wedding party for Matt and Mel in September - fortunately G didn't arrive early!  Charles started a new job in the electricity industry in November - co-incidentally the same place he had been contracted to through his previous employer for the last 4 years!

G must have had a bigger effect on our lives than we thought because in writing this summary I couldn't think of anything notable that we did in 2008.  Perhaps both of us turning 30 made us a bit forgetful in our old age?

2009 was another big one.  In Easter 2009 the three of us, along with Mel and Lachie, travelled to Sydney for the National Band Championships, where Emma and Mel's band placed first overall in both open A grade concert and open B grade brass.  In June, Emma also started a second "career" - as the Hobart consultant/reseller for modern cloth nappy brand Baby Beehinds.  September heralded the arrival of #1 son, H - he couldn't have stressed us out too much, as Charles found time in the weeks following to fly up to Bribie Island, to visit his aunt Heather and family and to celebrate his Grandma's 100th birthday!

As if that wasn't enough, we have just bought a block of land in Lenah Valley.  That should give some hint as to what the next decade will bring :)

Tempestuous Twos

We have had a lovely family day today... took the kids out to lunch at the Taste of Tasmania, G had a run around at the park on the way home. She is just the most beautiful child, smothers her 4 month old brother with love and affection... and then out of the blue she will pinch or slap him. She is usually a pretty good eater but refuses meat. Then one day (like today) she will pick all the chicken off a piece of pizza... to EAT it! She doesn't like to sleep during the day, but this afternoon on the way home she asked if she could go to sleep. When met with 'no darling, it's too late... when we get home we will eat tea and then you can go to sleep' tears followed. Toddlers are contradictions and extreme ends of the spectrum. One moment they will be adoring little angels, the next moment you just want to step aside and imagine that this raging devil couldn't possibly be your offspring. I put it down to the fact that they are learning... everything. They are totally egocentric and don't understand that the world isn't in existence to cater to their every whim... immediately! I am certain that she isn't malicious in hurting her brother, but rather wants to know what he will do if she pinches him. I recently read a quote on a forum which went something along the lines of 'you're not managing an inconvenience, you're raising a human being'. I wish I knew where it came from, maybe someone could enlighten me but I remind myself of that several times a day when she's doing something for the seventeenth time that I've asked her not to.

Well... here we are again! Do you think we can actually maintain our blog this time? I guess only time will tell. As for the updated name, I'll be posting on brass and babies mainly... will leave the balls and broadband for Charlie. I guess as things start happening with our new house both of us will post on the building side of things!

Popular Posts