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Monday, March 29, 2010

The Christina Noble Children's Foundation.

After three months of hard work — come to think of it, it wasn’t really that hard! — myself and three other mums from Melbourne enjoyed an experience last September that we will never forget. We had decided earlier in the year to have a holiday together without our kids and husbands and thought that Vietnam would be just the ticket. I had read Christina’s story many years ago and also followed her inspirational journey of setting up the Christina Noble Childrens Foundation in Ho Chi Minh City. I had always wanted to try and help. We decided to fill our empty bags (we were planning on doing a bit of shopping, as you do!) with donations for the kids.The idea snowballed from there and ‘Mums Making a Difference’ was born. We set up a Facebook page and invited all our friends, friends of friends or anyone else, for that matter, to join. The response was overwhelming! It was heart-warming to see that people really do want to make a difference. Often, they just need a little guidance. So, with a little guidance and, in some cases, a little persuasion we raised over $4,000! We decided to support the Bicycle Program and were able to purchase 20 brand-spanking- new bikes and helmets for some very excited children. It was with great pride that we attended the Foundation on 11 September 2009 and presented on behalf of all of us, our families, friends and even, in some cases, complete strangers to us, these wonderful bikes and four huge bags of donations, including art supplies, medical equipment, toys and more. If you haven’t tried crying through an interpreter, I can highly recommend it! The emotions we felt that day will stay with us forever. We also had the opportunity to visit the Health and Wellbeing Centre, which produced more smiles and tears.The work that is being done there is amazing and the love palpable. We hope the bikes will help these children with their education. One day we would love to hear that a successful Vietnamese man or woman’s life was changed when four sobbing Aussie mums gave them a bike.... You just never know!

When I wrote this article for the Christina Noble Children's Foundation newsletter I never dreamed that I could perhaps become more involved with this amazing organisation. I look forward to re visiting when we arrive. We have packed up all of the kids toys and clothes that they no longer need and they are all boxed and ready to be delivered to the foundation. I can't wait to take the kids and Nick there so they too can see what an incredible job they do.

One Month to Go and Counting.

Well this time next month we will be at the airport and the next part of our adventure will have begun. Has the last month gone fast or slow? Hard to say. I get the feeling that this last month will go by very quickly. I obviously have been slightly pre-occupied hence me taking Christopher to Kinder this morning when the school holidays have already begun. Those who know me know that doing something like that is totally out of character. It was quite funny though and I was temped to leave him there anyway as he was behaving like a right little bugger this morning.

We are going into the city to have the last of our vaccinations at 12.00pm. The kids seem to have gotten used to the process but I could see their looks of relief when I explained that this was the last time and that after they were all done we could go and live in Vietnam. This made Scarlett in particular quite happy as all she wants to do is see daddy and swim in the pool! They are getting the nasty TB one today which will eventually scab up and leave a scar. I hate the thought of taking them to do something that is going to scar them forever. It is better than the alternative I suppose.

We are all counting down the days until Thursday and daddy arrives home. Mummy is sick of being outnumbered! I need backup! Having said that, the kids have been great but no doubt have all sorts of mischief planned to make daddy pay for his absence. I'm sure Nick won't mind. He'll just be happy to be here.

I Was Only 19.

Click Here To Watch The Video On YouTube

We are blessed to have some wonderful friends and one of them is the brilliant artist Hugh McDonald. We met Hugh too many years ago to mention and we have been lucky enough to have him play at our wedding and also Nick 40th. Here is the story behind one of his most known hits. The words speak for themselves. We hope for Hugh to come and visit us during our posting...look out Saigon!

Redgum I Was Only 19 (A Walk in the Light Green) Lyrics:
Mum and Dad and Denny saw the passing-out parade at Puckapunyal
It was a long march from cadets.
The sixth battalion was the next to tour, and it was me who drew the card.
We did Canungra, Shoalwater before we left.

And Townsville lined the footpaths as we marched down to the quay
This clipping from the paper shows us young and strong and clean.
And there's me in me slouch hat with me SLR and greens.
God help me, I was only nineteen.

From Vung Tau, riding Chinooks, to the dust at Nui Dat
I've been in and out of choppers now for months.
But we made our tents a home, VB and pinups on the lockers
And an Agent orange sunset through the scrub.

And can you tell me, doctor, why I still can't get to sleep?
And night-time's just a jungle dark and a barking M16?
And what's this rash that comes and goes, can you tell me what it means?
God help me, I was only nineteen.

A four week operation when each step could mean your last one on two legs
It was a war within yourself.
But you wouldn't let your mates down 'til they had you dusted off
So you closed your eyes and thought about something else.

And then someone yelled out "Contact!" and the bloke behind me swore
We hooked in there for hours, then a God almighty roar
Frankie kicked a mine the day that mankind kicked the moon,
God help me, he was going home in June.

I can still see Frankie, drinking tinnies in the Grand Hotel
On a thirty-six hour rec leave in Vung Tau
And I can still hear Frankie, lying screaming in the jungle
'Til the morphine came and killed the bloody row.

And the Anzac legends didn't mention mud and blood and tears
And the stories that my father told me never seemed quite real.
I caught some pieces in my back that I didn't even feel
God help me, I was only nineteen.

And can you tell me, doctor, why I still can't get to sleep?
And why the Channel Seven chopper chills me to my feet?
And what's this rash that comes and goes, can you tell me what it means?
God help me, I was only nineteen.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Bye Bye Skooby Doo!

Sell Car.....CHECK!
Will miss the old girl but gotta love crossing a major off the list!

When does the fun start?

As you can imagine have been a busy little bee over the last week. Things are slowly getting back on track after the "Great flood of 2010" and both the kids having been though a bout of something nasty (and messy!). Finally got to send the insurance quote off yesterday so we shall see what games they want to play with us. Maybe I should direct them to the poor manager of a certain lingerie shop in Puckle St for tips on handling the stressed crazy woman....better still....just PAY ME!
Starting to work on all of the little things like utilities cancellations and have also started showing people through the house. This has actually been quite painful. It was not really something that I had considered. Am trying to keep it clean so when the Estate Agent rings up at a moments notice, she can bring someone through. The kids have other ideas and it's like painting the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I finish cleaning one end and they destroy the other. I have someone coming to look at the car today. I had it detailed yesterday and it has come up beautifully. I actually hate to see it go. As far as cars go....I really like it. I also had my first Language class on Tuesday. The nun who is teaching me is lovely and seems to think I will have no problems. I just have to try and find the time to do my homework. Do you think she will believe me if I tell her the kids ate it?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Saigon Traffic

Saigon Traffic, originally uploaded by danimoger.

I can't remember the name of this intersection. It is just up north of the market. Not an ultra busy one but gives you the general idea of the madness!

Saigon Night

This is a short video that I took last September when I was in Saigon with "the girls". From memory it was taken from the rooftop bar at the Rex. If that is the case, we were enjoying a few cocktails to drown our sorrows when we missed our flight home. ( was most definitely not our fault. It took us 3 hours to travel 7 kms!). If you could ignore the tacky singing in the background and concentrate more on the view and the history of the place, it is a great spot to take it all in.

Friday, March 19, 2010

I don't get it!

I just don't get it!
Went for a wonderful refreshing run today along my local river. All in all I think it is about a 4 km circuit and is very popular with everyone from dog walkers to fitness enthusiasts and romantic strollers. I however, huff and puff like the Little Red Caboose, hauling my ass around the river as fast as I can. Red of face, wheeze of chest...determined to lose the "pregnancy/baby" stomach that has been used as an excuse for 3 years! It's time to suck it in, literally, and do some hard work to shift some kg's.

So, what don't I get? Well, as I gasp my way around the track I am forever seeing these fabulous "Yummy Mummys" with their strollers in one hand and their Border Collie lead in the other. They look AMAZING! Now it is not that I am jealous but I just want to know how they do it. They certainly do not do it by running. These women are barely walking....too slow to call it a stroll even! They natter away on their phones with their gorgeous little babies that could not be over 3 months old. Man, when my kids were 3 months I was lucky to be out of my pj's by midday! Ahh....I hear you say, perhaps it is the breastfeeding. Now I fed both of my kids until they were one, waiting patiently for the so called weight loss miracle of breastfeeding to kick in. Let me tell you, the only way I was going to loose weight is if I cut the damn things off. They weighed at least 5 kilos each!

So it will remain a mystery to me, as I watch them in their matching lycra, matching hat, matching stroller complete with matching healthy bouncing friends, do the "walk". If only all things in life were as easy as that appears to be. Meanwhile, I'll squeeze into my 6 year old leggings, try to find a top that is not stained, shove the "weapons of mass destruction" into something that will stop them from bouncing too much and taking out someones eye, and mix it with the best of them. Good on you ladies I say......I just want to know your secret!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Missing Daddy

I have to admit this made me a little sad this morning. This is how I found Scarletts bed, complete with family photo of Daddy. It was photo that used to be at the creche. When I picked her up from creche yesterday it was in her bag. I did not think any more of it until I found it in her bed this morning. Sometimes I get so caught up in the madness that I forget about the collateral damage. She is fine though. Each morning she asks where he is, each morning I say "In Vietnam" and each morning she says "STILL?". I do think that Nicks heart my have had to be superglued after Christopher asked him to work faster so he could come home soon. They either miss him a lot or are sick of ME? That being said, they understand what is going on and that we will all be together soon. The Easter Bunny is bringing chocolate AND daddy this year. I don't know which one we are more excited about!

Monday, March 15, 2010


It blows's doing my head in.......Blog postponed until further notice (i.e recovery!)

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Definition of Frustration

1, Australia Post only willing to redirect my mail for 1 year. I then have to COME IN to do it again.
"Can I do it over the phone?"
"No, you have to come in in person"
"So I have to come home from Vietnam to get my mail redirected?"
*Blank stare*
For goodness sake!

2. When you are waiting for one more person to come and do a quote so you can put your whole insurance claim in. And waiting...and waiting...and waiting. Come ON already!

3. When you are soooooo tired but can't sleep and resort to physically hitting yourself in the head. (OK, I sound a little crazy here, I'm not)

4. When half or your insurance claim photos are on the camera that is no longer working due to getting wrecked in the rain while taking photos for insurance!

5. When trying to figure out whether to suspend or downgrade my private health insurance, I get redirected from HBA, who direct me to Medicare, who direct me to the Tax Department who direct me to get the picture.

6. When taking young Miss Scarlett to the shops she needs to go to the toilet every 6.5 minutes and you can't say no because she is being toilet trained. I'm sure she just likes using the dryer in there!

7. When you are hanging for some Thai takeaway and the minimum delivery order is $30 and the kids won't touch the stuff.

The list goes on....but I wont'. I'm sure you have all had enough, as have I. You know what though? a few weeks life will be a whole lot easier in so many ways. Especially as the Easter Bunny is bringing me a husband for Easter!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Win for the Little Guys....

Have you ever been in an argument and when it is all done and dusted thought of all of the great things you could have/should have said? Well....the exact opposite happened to me today. Let me quantify this story by saying I am not usually an aggressive, psychotic nuffy. Lets just say after all that has been happening I have not had a great week and this guy picked the wrong lady and the wrong day to be an arrogant bully!
So last Thursday I went to buy a very "Bridget Jones" body shaping camisole. Lets just say these things are not cheap but a necessity in life. I wore it once, put it in the wash, and basically it fell to pieces. So I took my little bag it came in, my receipt and all the tags back to the shop to get my refund. The girls were lovely but said I had to speak with the boss. He was not. He refused to give me a refund even after I had pointed out to him the sign on this cash register that said "refund within 14 days" He said it was not his issue and that I should take it up with the manufacturer. After discussing with him the finer points of his obligation as a retailer under the Trade Practices Act and Consumer Affairs he was starting to get a little rude. I told him I was not leaving until I had my refund. He said fine. I told him I would go out into the street and tell all of the passing shoppers that his shop sold faulty goods and did not honour their refund policy. He said fine. In the words of Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman" Mistake....big mistake....huge. As I made my way out to the front of the shop I left him with my screaming children. No sooner had the words started coming out of my mouth he had me back inside reaccrediting my account. He informs me that I am no longer welcome in his shop. I inform him I would not P*$$ on his shop if it was on fire. So, what do I wish I had said that I did not? Nothing, absolutely nothing. For once it all came pouring out like poetry. I do perhaps regret that the kids had to witness this public display of anger. Hopefully they can learn the lesson that sometimes you may have to fight for what is rightfully yours. Don't get stood on, don't take bullies and if you know you are right, don't back down.

Monday, March 8, 2010

These things happen in 3's!

I know you were all thinking it....these things come in three's. What is the next clanger going to be? Well here it is. The creche just rang and due to rain damage they will not be open for at LEAST Tuesday and Wednesday. Now I can handle a swimming pool in the garage and I can handle squishing in my socks on the carpet but the thought of dealing with this for the next 2 days with the kids driving me nuts every step of the way has me reaching for the dials on the oven.

Round 2 rained and rained and rained last night and thought that we had escaped unscathed. Alas, it was not to be. It appears that the sheer volume of water was too much for the poor old guttering and it just ran inside the walls in Christophers room and spread as it hit the floor. My little magic sponge is in overdrive and my brother in law come over with his industrial heater blowey thingy (yes, that is my definition of the technical term) to try and dry it out. I'm thinking it's gunna take a while! Nick has managed to get on to the insurance company, which in itself would have been impressive. The fact that he managed it whilst in Saigon is very commendable. Apparently someone will be in touch in the next few days. Maybe they should wait a bit's looking pretty dark out there....nothing would suprise me!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Not So Perfect Storm!

Rain Rain Go F*&# Off!
As you can see from the above pictures we did not exactly escape unscathed from Melbourne's freak storm yesterday afternoon. It was big...and I mean BIG. I had just put the kids (and me....shhh) down for a little nanna nap when all hell broke loose. I was trying to not make a big deal of it for Quiddy so he would not get scared. Quotes like "wow....what a wonderful storm, won't the trees be happy to have a drink". Meanwhile, the hail was so loud I could not hear Scarlett screaming in the next room. When I did hear eventually and went in the dear little thing had the covers pulled over her head, hysterical! With so much going on I did not think too much about the consequences when we lost power. Hindsght is a wonderful thing. Basically the pump in the garage was not pumping out the water. When my wonderful neighbour text me asking if I was ok I just said "yes". He then came over to tell me that the bins were floating down the street faster than Thorpy. I looked down and my heart sank. The whole garage was knee deep in water. The Motorbike, the treadmill, the pram, the kids bikes...the lot. We immediately did our best to get the bike out of the garage in the pouring rain. Thank God for my wonderful knights in shining armour who helped to get the power back on and the pump running again. (Pete, Damien and Craig, I cannot thank you enough).
The wrap up of events is thus: Bike appears to be OK. Got it running today and after spurting some water from the exhaust it appears none got into the motor. Treadmill....screwed....pram...stuffed....various various powerless tools....contents insured! And that is what it is all about isn't it? We are all safe and these things can be replaced. As discussed with 4 of my wonderful girlfriends who came over last night, one of whoms house is like a lake; if God gives you lemons you just gotta make lemonade....then put a double shot of Vodka in it and a slice of lime! (repeat as necessary)
So as I type it is again raining and raining and raining. All I want to do is go to sleep but it is like looking after a sick child. I am running outside in the pissing rain to check that the pump is working! So far so good. Now where did I put that Vodka?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Of COURSE we are are taking this seriously!

If we have any more shots we are going to spring a leak!

There is thorough and there is THOROUGH! The kids and I have been working our way through the requirements of Nicks employer regarding our readiness for this posting. And boy are they thorough! All up the kids require 11 shots over the course of a month. All of this on top of what they had for Cambodia. Why is it that kids shots all come in a series of 3? Even things like swine flu require 3 in kids when it is just one for us. Rabies, Japanese Encephalitis, Typhoid, Meningitis, Tetanus Hep A, Hep B...Hep God knows what else!. They have been very stoic about it all as they are so excited to go and live in Vietnam. Bribing with chocolate also helps. They watched intently (and very closely) today as I had three more then screamed as they had theirs. It was all over in a flash and they seemed to recover quicker than the last 4 they had. Lets hope the next 4 go just as well.I have had to have chest x-rays, lung tests, shots, blood tests...the list goes on. On the up side, we have not had to pay! I can only imagine what this is costing. Our last appointment went for four and a half hours. The valium was free! I must say however, it is reassuring that they are fully immunised and from my point of view, cholesterol, liver, lungs, HIV, syphilis(!), cell counts etc are all good. I will still be getting bulk discount at Chemist Warehouse before I leave with a virtual pharmacy in our bags. If it is one thing I will not compromise on it is the kids (and our) health. I have stocked up on the Vitamins and the Rescue Remedy (no...not Vodka!). My head is still spinning with all that has to be done but we are getting there bit by bit. It is great that we know a bit about the country and know that we are not going to be choppered into the wilds of the Amazon where nothing is available. Ho Chi Minh can be a very modern city with great doctors and I do not feel we will suffer for anything in any way. All part of the adventure I the vodka spurts out of the holes in my I have another one to top up!

The Adventure of a Lifetime!

Well, most of you will be aware by now that the Mogers are off on another adventure. Ho Chi we come! We invite you to join us for our trials and tribulations, ups and downs and one hell of a ride. We are not too sure what the next two years will hold for us but hold on to you hats......the journey is about to begin!