Big camera

While James was having his first ever interview as an "expert" academic, Sebastian and Jude were fascinated to see the camera in action. Of course, Jude couldn't remain silent in his fascination  – he was first banished inside, then had to be told to move away from the window which he couldn't resist banging….

Anyway, afterwards, the nice SBS camera man let Sebastian and Jude have a closer look at his camera.

The boys were very interested, and we rewarded the camera man with one of the little cakes we had just been baking!

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More park time

As last weekend really was beautiful weather, we got some more park time in on Sunday. This time we rode our bikes over to the fort in Commonwealth Park to meet up with the Family Prosser.

Zachary wasn't sure about climbing up for the slide by himself at first (he just wanted to hold hands)

but after a bit of encouragement he decided he would follow in Martin's footsteps…

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He wasn't the only one who enjoyed the slide.

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There was cake and pineapple for afternoon tea

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and Jude got a test ride in Catherine's fancy new bike.

So over all, another fun Sunday in the park!

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Great Olympic musical deceptions of our time

At least we finally admit that the Chinese were no more dodgy in their opening ceremony than the Australians were!

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Saturday afternoon park fun

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It was a classic Canberra winter weekend, so on Saturday afternoon we went for a wander to a couple of the nearby parks.

Sebastian and Jude rode their bikes, while Zac got to ride in the pusher.

Somehow the boys ended up in a uniform of red jumpers and green pants – though in Zac's case they were at least stripy.

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Who wins when we spend so much on so few? | theage.com.au

James Connor, who according SBS news is a "prominent sport academic" writes about expenditure on elite sports…

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Artists at work

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Sebastian and Zachary enjoy a bit of drawing.

Zachary is very proud of his drawings and was enthusiastically displaying them to us. He was immensely pleased to be told they were good.

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300 piece challenge

Jude, with a little help from Dada, put together a 300 piece jigsaw…..

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Iron Chef: Garlic

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Saturday night was Iron Chef Garlic. Steve was sick, so unfortunately he and Shell were a last minute withdrawal, but there was still enough garlic to kill a legion of vampires.

The boys got into the train set and managed to get by without too many major disputes.

We started with skordalia dip made by me, then crumbed and deep fried garlic cloves and olives (Catherine), terrine of garlic and cheese with smoked salmon (also Catherine) and tomato and garlic soup accompanied by homemade bread made with garlic (Rachel).

For main course we savoured the delights of eye fillet with brandy and garlic sauce (Andrew), roast chicken with 20 cloves of garlic (me) and carrots wth olives and garlic.

Catherine and Nick had somewhat bent the rules by outsourcing part of the production of a galric based dessert, as they had garlic ice cream made by their friend, an expert and professional icecream maker. So we had garlic icecream sandwiched between chocolate chip and garlic cookies. Not bad…but again, perhaps not for eating regularly!

Atticus had been very resistant to going to sleep all night. He eventually succumbed, well after the other boys, while lying on the couch between his parents….

I'm sure we smelt bad the next day, and it must be said that an excess of garlic does odd things to the body…but at least it seemed to kill off the sore throat I had!

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Ideology at work or nah-nah, the Chinese aren’t that good

I must say that I have been a little disturbed by the news media's glee at finding things "wrong" with the Opening Ceremony. At first I had been proud of the Australian media – we had so loved Athens because it clearly wasn't as good as Sydney and didn't the media just love every tiny example of the crapness we could dredge up during that coverage. Wasn't the media overjoyed when the closing ceremony didn't have the traditional affirmation that Athens had been the best Olympics ever. Oh yes, Sydney was amazing and brilliant and ever-so-much better than anything else.

So when the papers appeared to acknowledge that the Beijing Opening Ceremony was impressive on a scale not encountered before, I had hope that maybe we had had enough of our slightly ugly need for superiority. But alas, that didn't last long. At first we had a critique of the "faked" fireworks. Never mind that they had been let off at the same time, it was just that they had taken a practical and sensible approach to ensuring both spectacle and safety. And never mind the hypocrisy of Australian newspapers, most of whose coverage, as pointed out by Crikey, had been pre-written to meet publishing deadlines, based on the dress rehearsal – their own fakery. Then the whole excitement over the blue-screen-of-death thing – hooray, they are not perfect! And now the carry on about the little girl. I mean really, can we pretend that Nicki Webster was just picked off the street and wasn't chosen following a whole series of auditions and comparisons. Can we really pretend that countless little Australian girls weren't discarded because they weren't considered pretty enough? Nicki was chosen to represent some ideal of Australianness with her blonde curls and her blue eyes and freckles. Similarly, the Chinese wanted the best looking child they could find. And she was cute, it must be said.

The whole of the let's-criticise-Beijing thing is so caught up in our own parochial need to continue to pat ourselves on the back, it is a little ugly. It also means we miss the real problems about China and its regime. We are so busy saying how terrible it is poor Chinese people can't afford tickets (and the Sydney ones were so accessible for the unemployed, not) and that their Olympic precinct isn't as full as people as ours, that we have totally forgetten about their oppression of ethnic minorities (and there are more of them than just Tibetans), their ignoring of environmental standards, their violent approach to the punishment of petty criminals etc etc. There are plenty of things to criticise the Chinese for legitmately – why do we need to get caught up in this petty nitpicking?

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Heavy weight contenders

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The boys get into wrestling (again). And there is no stopping that Zac, no matter how outclassed he might be!

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