Friday, April 29, 2005

Onya, DIMIA!

Some unexpected news to round off the week, Anna & I were informed today that our family application for permanent residency has been approved so, pending the evidencing of the visa, we now qualify as official Australian residents (we have to wait two years, but we can then also get dual citizenship). As Anna said, she'll be down to Centrelink (the equivalent of DSS) on Monday to claim her dole cheque ;-) Chris

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Thursday, April 28, 2005


I headed home this evening to pick up my gear for a visit to
Cammeray for our local hash this evening. We'd decided that, since Caitlin is normally a bit grumpy in the early-evening, not to take her along today. Instead, Anna was busy starting to learn Italian, as her way of keeping an active mind whilst looking after Caitlin. Since we're heading to Shrewsbury soon, I recently installed ForecastFox, to track what the weather is like in Shrewsbury - wow, in the last few days I don't think I've seen it forecast anything other than rain! Chris PS - Great though the internet is for being able to research things, it's also funny to see how search engines can take people completely off-course. Doing a quick review of visitors, I see that more than one person has ended up at this site recently when searching for information about Balmain hair extensions - just in case anyone else makes the same mistake, you probably wanted to go here.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Lunch in the barn

Anna and Caitlin headed off to their mother-and-baby group again today, this being the last of the pre-arranged meetings at the Childhood Centre, and fortunately Caitlin was better behaved than she was last week. After the session at the centre, some headed over to
The Barn cafe for lunch - which is where the mothers have agreed to meet on coming Wednesdays as well. After that, Anna found that the North Shore hospital had a Haberman Feeder, so she dashed there to pick it up. Although I'm not sure if Caitlin really needs one, these bottles are designed to help babies increase their sucking power - but are also supposed to be good at minimising the intake of air when bottle-feeding. Finally, with it only being a little over a week until we head back to the UK, we've started putting together a list of items that we need to bring with us - so far, Caitlin gets to bring everything she owns, and Anna & I get to bring one piece of underwear each ;-) Chris

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

ANZAC weekend

For those of you who don't know, we celebrated ANZAC day here in Australia yesterday, which meant that it was a long weekend. The weather was great for the time of year, so we:

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Friday, April 22, 2005

Late papal candidate emerges

New Pope?

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Thursday, April 21, 2005

Babes in Arms

Anna and Caitlin headed off to the cinema in Leichhardt this morning, for the weekly
babes in arms showing. I hadn't heard of this phenomena before, but the basic idea is that the cinema reserves a slot once-a-week for parents of young children to go to the cinema - so that nobody gets upset about the children screaming. Afterwards, they went to visit Cindy, a local mother who is about to have her second baby, who presented them with a present of a lovely check-blue dress. Then it was time to meet up with me and head off for our Thursday run - this week around Annandale. After such an active day, Caitlin was rather cranky when we first got to the run but, after a while, finally realised she was hungry! Chris

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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Allow the bearer to pass freely

Anna and Caitlin headed off to their mother-and-baby group again today. Unfortunately, however, Caitlin was very unsettled and spent most of the morning & early afternoon screaming; so Anna had to bring her back home a little early. When she did, it turned out that the postman had been to deliver a package for a C. Hughes - so off Anna went to the post office to fetch it. The somewhat jobs-worth postman then made various complaints about not being supposed to hand over the package without signed authority - as Anna said, "the C. Hughes I have with me is too young to sign anything". However, he finally relented and handed over what turned out to be Caitlin's passport - now all we need to do is get a visa put in it, so that she can re-enter Australia when she comes back from the UK. Chris PS - My former colleague, Rich, sent me a note to say that his daughter wasn't born at the same time, so we can all breathe a sigh of relief; this one is his daughter:
Hollie Caitlin McConnell

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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

No way!

An old work colleague of mine from Bristol email'd me over the weekend to bring me up-to-date with the fact that, amongst other things, he and his wife recently had a baby girl. I sent him a note back confirming that we had also had a baby girl on February 13th. Today when I checked my email I got a bit of a surprise, as I had another note from Rich confirming that their daughter had also been born on February 13th; and her middle name is Caitlin - weird! We'll see over the next day or so if they were born at the same time! Finally, although our Caitlin has been doing quite a bit of smiling recently, we haven't had much luck capturing it in a picture - the one below is the closest so far... Chris

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Monday, April 18, 2005

Newborn no more!

Some friends bought us a voucher for a garden centre a while back, so on Saturday we thought we'd take a trip to
one of their stores to get a few things for our backyard. Those of you who have looked at our house will know that we have a decked area, instead of a traditional garden, so we thought we'd get some pots and plants to start making it look a little nicer. The selection at the centre was pretty good, so we got:

On Sunday, while I was getting a few bits-and-pieces at Woolies, I bought some more nappies - but not the newborn size any more, we're now on to the Infant size. Next is crawler, at which point Caitlin is going to have endless fun pulling the house to bits, but hopefully we've got a little while before then.


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Friday, April 15, 2005

Meals on Wheels

Anna brought Caitlin into the city to meet me for lunch in the
QVB. We were sat at a cafe enjoying our lunch, when I happened to notice that the shop across from us had, as one of many items, some gollywogs displayed in their window. In the policitically-correct world that we live in it's been a while since I've seen a gollywog, and I couldn't help but wonder if it was somewhat unfortunate that the shop was called Just White. Anyhow, after lunch Anna went to explore more of the QVB to try and find a gift for great-grandma's birthday in May. Later that evening, since it was the 15th, we went out for dinner at our local favourite, Blue Ginger. Anna was a little concerned that Caitlin might get cranky, but force-feeding expressed milk soon alleviated any complaints that she might have raised. Chris

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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Reserved Courtyard?

It was our turn to host the run for our local group tonight, so we split duties with:
  • Anna looking after the gin-and-tonic at the "half-way" point
  • Me following everyone around to ensure they were going the right way

The run went very well, with just the right amount of confusion, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. After the formalities, we headed over to The Dry Dock Hotel who had promised to reserve us some space in the courtyard. Unfortunately, this had been occupied by another group participating in the quiz night - not to worry, we headed instead to the restaurant seating.

However, all the activity meant that it was a little noisy for Caitlin who, after being very well behaved earlier, finally decided she'd had enough. So, after eating our food as quickly as we could, we headed back home to get her into bed where she was much happier.


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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Mothers, round 2

Anna took Caitlin to her second mother-and-baby group meeting today. As part of the visit, she also had Caitlin weighed - just under 5kg was the result (but that included a nappy, so might be a bit high), which means good progress as a result of her growth spurt at the end of last week. When I got home in the evening it was pretty much straight out again, as it was my turn to set the run for tomorrow. As Anna had been out walking for much of the day before I got home, she helped me set the first section of the run, then departed for home while I finished it off. Hopefully, it won't rain before tomorrow and wash away all our good work... Chris

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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Immunisation - round one

Anna took Caitlin to our local doctors' surgery today for her first round of immunisations. I hadn't realised quite how many injections and antigens babies went through, but
this schedule lists a typical sequence of what happens here. Caitlin was, as you'd expect, a little uncertain what was happening to her, and she: Anticipating this, however, Anna had taken a bottle of expressed milk to settle her if she did start shouting, so all went well. The doctor also gave Anna an article suggesting a technique for teaching babies to settle themselves to sleep, so we're going to give that a try. We're expecting it to take a while for the effects to kick in, so we'll see whether we or Caitlin succombs first... Chris

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Monday, April 11, 2005

A re-sounding success

All went well at the Sinfonia yesterday, Anna and the rest of the symphony put together a very good performance, and Caitlin didn't have to leave the hall once during the show. In fact, it seems that she may well have got past her growth spurt, as she seems to have calmed down on her feeding regularity - although, I don't wish to speak too soon... The orchestra typically has a final rehearsal on the morning of the concert itself, and fortunately the weather was very nice, so that Caitlin and I could relax outside in the sun during this. We then joined Anna for her lunch, and Caitlin received lots of rave reviews, before the concert itself. For some reason, the venue for the concerts always seems to have the air-conditioning turned up to full blast, so I was glad that we had brought a few layers to wrap Caitlin up in. Chris

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Friday, April 08, 2005

Ado it is

Caitlin's high feeding demands have continued, so it looks like a growth spurt is the favourite (unless she keeps demanding more). Hopefully, she'll get back into her routine by Sunday, which is when Anna's next performance with the Balmain Sinfonia happens. Meanwhile, I had a call from the British Consulate regarding our application for Caitlin's passport - they just wanted to confirm a couple of details, and advised that the passport should be on its way to us sometime next week; which is a bit quicker than I was expecting. Let's see if the Australian government are equally speedy with our permanent residency application... Chris

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Thursday, April 07, 2005

Much ado, but what about?

Our run this evening was from just down the round at
The Bald Rock Hotel in Rozelle, which was good because it meant that we could just walk there rather than needing to do lots of packing and driving etc. Caitlin seemed happy enough in her pram on the walk there, but soon started to get a bit grouchy once the rocking motion of movement had stopped. Unfortunately, this theme continued for most of the evening - although, trying to put a positive spin on things, we think that she might be having a bit of a growth spurt as she's been demanding more food over the last day or two. I guess we'll see what the scales say in a week or two, she last weighed in at 4.33kg, and whether the increased demand translates into increased weight. Chris

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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

A gaggle(?) of mothers

Anyone know the collective noun for mothers? Anna & Caitlin attended her first mother-and-baby group at our local Early Childhood Development Centre today; the group consisted of around ten mothers and their babies, all born between 4 to 8 weeks ago. Although we know some other recent mothers in the area, I think Anna really enjoyed being with other Mums who are at the same stage. Apparently they all had a good chat, then some went on to the
Orange Peel cafe for some lunch. I have to confess that once I'd asked Anna a few questions about the group, the burning question I had was what sort of prams did people have - see here for why. The result: an overwhelming majority for the rugged-looking three-wheelers... Chris

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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Is this for you?

When we moved from Paul Street in Balmain East, we met the couple who were going to take over the tenancy from us - and had a quick chat because they were also expecting. This morning we had a surprise visit from the man, who arrived with a package addressed to Miss C. Hughes - apparently the post office didn't make the leap-of-faith that the redirection of post that we have for our names would apply to this one also. Anna didn't recognise the man at first, but when he reminded her she realised who it was; apparently they have just (3 weeks ago) had a baby boy. The package itself contained a variety of gifts from Caitlin's cousins Emily, Bethany & Rhys - and Caitlin asked me to say thank you very much on her behalf. Chris

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Monday, April 04, 2005

Dad's disease

As Caitlin starts to grow, we've started to become aware of a few changes - some good, others not quite so good, depending upon your point of view:
  • First up, one of the nicest changes is that she is now smiling more, especially once she's had a good feed
  • Her eyesight also seems to be improving as she can track things well, and seems very interested in black & white shading
  • Her ability to hold her head is getting better, although still some way to go on this one
  • Finally, she seems to have started to slowly lose the hair that she was born with - I'm sure she'll have some for a while longer, but a little does seem to have gone
Of course, in my opinion, losing her hair is no big deal; but because lots of babies don't have much hair, it has been a differentiator that I think Anna will miss. Chris

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Friday, April 01, 2005

We Will

After a couple of days of overcast weather, the clouds cleared and the sun shone brightly for our friends, Juliet and Mike, on their wedding day. It all started with us getting dressed up, with Anna in
that dress, and walking down to our local ferry wharf where we had time for a couple of pictures before the ferry arrived:
Then, we walked up to Garrison church to reserve our position at the back, just in case Caitlin decided to play up.
She did chirp a couple of times, but was generally well-behaved during the service. Most of the congregation was then sent to a local pub while the formal photos were taken; after which we all met at Walsh Bay to board a chartered ferry to take us to Taronga Zoo:
Most people were upstairs on the boat, so we had plenty of room downstairs; and Anna got lots of compliments about her dress.
It's often said that the giraffes have the best view of any species of the Sydney harbour and, from our vantage point once we got into the zoo, I have to admit it looked pretty good.
The food and speeches were all very good, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves immensely. Caitlin was very well behaved, especially since she was the target of motherly affection by most of the women there.
We got home a little before 1am and, thankfully, Caitlin was asleep for most of the long ride home - our thanks to the bride and groom for a great day. Chris

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