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31.10.11

Through the Instagram: little peek at October


My love affair with Instagram continues, although I've realised that I am not the sort of person who whips out the camera to record our every moment. Maybe it's practice, but I've found that 'camera' tends to equal 'pose' around here, so it just wrecks the spontaneity in my life. You say, "no, no, just keep doing what you were doing, ignore the camera" and then they awkwardly try to act as natural as possible; all misplaced limbs and rigid faces.

Anyway... here's what October looked like at my place. Happy Halloween to those that celebrate... what exactly? I learned at Life in a Pink Fibro (my sister's blog) that we are on the wrong side of the world for Halloween to have any kind of pagan meaning and I also learned that 'Boo Humbug' is my new fave expression. Boo Humbug! It's an instant classic, Al!


Those Tsunamis of mine started up swimming lessons again. They are finally starting to get the hang of it after four years of lessons... four years! Ah well, at least we get points for persistence. That's got to be worth a few thousand dollars, right?


There was a certain double-birthday, of course, and you might not quite be able to see them, but my orange tree has risen from the dead to produce little tiny oranges ready to grow and the strawberry plant is not dead yet. Green thumb, here I come! Oh, and The Badoo is channelling Princess Leia with her Looney Tunes light saber.


Another me on the train shot - I blame boredom. Random birthday gift for Max's mate Sebastien R* and a Sushi lunchbox recorded-for-all-time for reasons that must once have been important but are no longer remembered due to the passage of time.

LOML and I went on a date night to see the fabulous, must-not-miss show 'Jersey Boys' at the Theatre Royal. I won tickets to the show via Fat Mum Slim - I'm such a lucky duck! We had dinner at Circular Quay and took an unhurried stroll along the Harbour up to the theatre, passing Fat Bloke in Dragon Shirt along the way by the looks of things.

Not-so Interesting Fact: I worked as an usher at Theatre Royal in 1990, two nights a week. I used to finish my job as a junior at an ad agency and hike across the park to my part-time job to try to supplement my meagre salary. The nineties weren't kind to everyone in advertising, believe me.

And just what is The Badoo doing in that photo bottom right? Well, she passed her final hearing test with flying colours this month! She's perfectly fine so her slight hearing impairment diagnosed when she was tiny was just a physical blockage that has cleared as she has grown. We are delighted. We will remember the dedicated team at the Jim Patrick Audiology Centre at the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children each year on The Badoo's behalf. They need all the support they can get.

How was your October?

* Imagine calling your kid Sebastian and then another kid in the class being a Sebastian as well. What are the chances?

30.10.11

The nocturnal child

The only thing guaranteed to send me to sleep is a post about sleep deprivation. So I'm writing one.

Ah, the 'difficult sleeper'. Those kids who, no matter what you do or don't do, they don't sleep like they're 'supposed to'. They are basically nocturnal, although they won't sleep in the daytime either. They rarely sleep through the night, they don't seem to understand that controlled-crying isn't supposed to be totallyoutofcontrol-crying, they don't get that night-time is for sleeping.

+++

I sit by the door with the whoosh of the unset radio whispering into the room. There is silence in the cot. I count to 100 again. Still quiet, but risky. I count to 1000, each number striking at my brain with a pick. All is silent inside the cot. I start to rise, but thoughts of freedom are too loud in my mind and the wailing starts up all over again. Sighing, I ease back down. Whoosh goes the radio. Whooshhhhhh.

+++

Although we've moved on from the torture of chronic sleep deprivation, years have passed since we last had a decent sleep around here. I understand that parenting can be tough and I was warned by everyone including the service station attendant that I could kiss a good night's sleep goodbye when my baby came along... but surely, surely they didn't mean forever?

+++

Many nights I crouched by the cot like a wild, unformed animal. Tears streaming, son screaming, feeling the night flood through me like a dank pond. With every shred of strength I willed that child to sleep, the word like a droning buzz in my mind. Sleep, sleep, sleep. Oh please, just sleep.

+++

My son is what I call a hard-core non-sleeper. For whatever reason, the kid has never liked to go to sleep and certainly has never enjoyed staying asleep. He moved from wide-awake newborn through to night-terror toddler through to separation-anxiety preschooler through to... well, I'm not sure what he is these days now that's he's in school. He's just... awake.
o
+++
o
Pat      pat      pat      pat      pat      pat      pat      pat  o    pat      pat      pat...

+++

After years of trying every technique in the book to improve his rest, there are three fundamental things that I know.

  • You can't make a child sleep if they don't want to.
  • They are not staying awake nightly just to spite you.
  • You need to do whatever you need to do to get a decent night's sleep.
If you co-sleep for years, what does it matter if everyone is getting some rest? Baby won't sleep anywhere but in the car seat? Put them in the car seat. Won't have a day sleep unless you walk them in the pram? Walk them in the pram. Walk them, pat them, sing to them, dummy them down, suck their thumb for them if you have to. I refuse to believe that any of these 'crutches' are more damaging than years of broken, unsettled sleep and years of trying, trying, trying to get them to sleep 'properly' and failing miserably. Ironically Maxi was my only child without a sleep crutch and god knows he bloody well needed one!

+++

Fuckyoulittlebabyandyourhorriblemother. Justmotherfuckingsleep.

+++

When all is said and done, it just is what it is. One day it will be what it was and I look forward to that day immensely. But until such a time, as long as my children are content and happy during the day, I have to assume that they are getting what they need at night. And one day I'll be getting what I need too... one day.

++++

I can't go in, I can't go in. Let's just leave him cry, I can't go in. I can't open my eyes, I can't move my legs, I can't move my brain. I'm just so, so, so, so tired. I can't go in. 

And in I go.

++++

And if you're a soon-to-be mum and you're reading this post and you're absolutely terrified, know this: I love my sleep, I need my sleep and never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd be able to do what I've done since my first baby came along. But night after night after night after night, there I was, there I am; just doing what a mother does. Because somehow, just by being there, we guard them against the night.

So, ah, how's the sleep at your place?

28.10.11

This week I'm grateful for... little breaks


On Sunday LOML is taking the Tsunamis up the coast to visit their Zia. I am staying at home.

A whole day, just me. Just me!

So, this week, I'm grateful for...

187. Little breaks - I loathe, loathe the expression 'me time'. So let's just say I'm very happy for little breaks from my darling family from time to time. Lord knows, it's probably what keeps them darling.

188. Quiet - I spent an hour inside a pool leisure centre this afternoon. I'll be there every Friday. It was cranky-pants-fitting territory. Constant screaming water, screaming children, screaming parents, screaming instructors. If only I could have run screaming from the building. Outside in the non-chlorinated world, all was blissfully quiet.

189. Twilight walks - Don't get excited, I haven't been on one. This time of year, my beloved twilight falls during the witching hour(s). But, I've been dreaming about a little walk instead of the usual bath-book-bed-beck-and-call and it's oh so very nice.



So, what's making you smile today? Add your post to the list below (and please, we love you, but it really does matter that your post is a Grateful one and not just a random) and pretty-please add a link back to this linky. Then pop over to visit other bloggers who are spreading a little sunshine.





[Image found here]

27.10.11

Party on down: Plan


Forget outsourcing your next party because all the processed food and depressingly cheery party rooms in the world can't beat an old-school, at home, handmade, stylish kids' birthday party. Now, ignore the fact that after every single children's party I have ever slaved over, my own kids say, "Can I have a Wizzyworld party next year?" Yes, ignore that.

The food, the decorations, the games... fact is, the most daunting thing about running a children's party for most mums is getting through the actual event itself. Timing the day and crowd-wrangling a bunch of children is certainly challenging, but not completely impossible when you use a little magic.

And here is that magic!  Over the next few weeks, I'm going to do a series of Party Planning posts. They'll be centred around children's parties, but applicable for most kinds of parties. I am no expert, I'm just going to show you how I do what I do. It might work for you, you might think I'm a nutjob. But I like to share, so here I go.

For me, the key elements to running a successful party are:

1. The Plan
2. The Theme
3. The Invitations
4. The Food
5. The Decorations
6. The Games / Music
7. The Running Order
8. The Thank yous

So, let's start at the very beginning... The Plan.

When you set out to create your party (and it's a good idea to start thinking about it at least two months in advance), start a blank doc on your computer ready to begin. Copy and paste the list above. Add a 'The Checklist' table at the very top of the document. Your plan is up and running!*

Use your plan to dump ideas, how-tos, recipes and notes on your party under the relevant heading as you go. Because so many of my thought starters begin online, I also use my Pinterest boards to capture ideas and then add my favourites to my plan.

You can also track RSVPs and set up shopping lists and 'what to do when' lists in this document. So everything is in the one, accessible place as you plan your party. The key is to update this plan whenever something changes and then, when you settle on something, add it to the Checklist at the top of the document and note any relevant details. The Checklist will keep you on track to make sure you get everything done in time.

And with our plan we're off and running!

Can it really be that simple? Er, sort of. 


Next time: The Food


* If you're interested, here is my plan for the recent Rainbow Party. Other party planning guides can be found herehere and here.
[Image from Hey Gorgeous]

26.10.11

Yummy?


Quite some time ago I wrote a Difficult People post about the Yummy Mummy that has stayed with me ever since. The comments on that post made me think about things in a different way.

Yummy Mummy.

Some really lovely, really cool, really sane women appeared to identify with the title 'Yummy Mummy'. They liked it.

And MILF. They liked being called that too.

Didn't see that coming.

I thought these labels were made up by the media and a certain crass movie to belittle women. To make our appearance count for more than what we do and how we do it. To once again make us feel that as women our main purpose is being decorative or screwable.  So I was really taken aback to hear many lovely women comment on my post saying they identified with being a yummy mummy.

The feminist in me (and she's in there somewhere...) just cringes when described as a 'yummy mummy' or (god help me) a 'MILF'*. Erk. Ugh. Yuk.

Sorry. That's how I feel.

My earlier post wasn't about the lucky women who just happen to look fantastic while they're down in the mud with their children. Not at all. Getting stuck into life with your kids is what it's all about and if you can manage to look groomed and on-trend while you do it then that's great for you.  But, I'm sorry, try as I might I just can't support labelling women with ridiculous badges that some mindless marketing machine made up. A 'yummy mummy', 'a MILF', a 'slummy mummy', a 'funny mummy', a 'dummy mummy' or any of the rest of the bullshit that we have to put up with. I'm so tired of the labels that I just want to have a little sleep.

And then for so many wonderful women to actually identify with these labels? To use them to describe themselves?

Nope, didn't see that coming at all.

Am I being too harsh?
What do you think about the mummy labels?
Do you identify with one or more of them?

* This has actually never happened.

[Image by Charles Gullung]

24.10.11

Party do and party don't


I love a party. Something tells me that's hardly a secret!!

There are lots of things that parents do that makes hosting a chid's party a lot easier and things they do that annoy me to the moon and back. So I thought I might share a few yays and nays for negotiating the party circuit in the hope that we can all help out a frazzled party hostess someday, somewhere...

1. Please, please, please RSVP
Despite sending a reminder email both on the RSVP date and the day before the party (you know me), I didn't hear from three of the invitees. I refused to call them. Two of them showed up on the day anyway. It's annoying enough to always have to have 'back up' lolly bags and what not, but it's a whole new level of annoying when you're making individual rainbow tutus and personalising drink bottles and pots of gold.

2. Please don't bring randoms
At the Badoo's pink party we had three sibling ring-ins, two of them being 'older' kids who required a bit of loving. I don't know about you, but I would never bring my other children to a party when only one child was invited. I have, however, just that one time, been known to call a party mum and request as a favour that the extra sibling be accommodated for. It wasn't a problem for the mum and it wouldn't be a problem for me either (otherwise I would never have asked, of course!)

3. Please supervise the under fives
I was flabbergasted when a mum did a drop off at The Badoo's recent party. The child was three. I think that's way too young to leave a child with a family you don't know on party day. It's not daycare, lady. Let's face it, if the child is likely to request that the party host give them a bottom wipe at some point, they are probably too young to drop off. Personally I think school age is the appropriate age, but if you think younger is okay for your child it might be a good idea to phone ahead and make sure the party mum is happy with that arrangement.

4. Dietary requirements can kill a mum
If your child has a dislike of a particular food, have a chat to them about moving onto the next food without comment. There is nothing more defeating than to have slaved for hours to produce a party spread and having 22 children moaning and groaning in your ear about not eating one food or another (meringues! popcorn! fruit! whatever!). It's like being the mother of 22 children at dinnertime. If your child is allergic to a food, please let me know well in advance so I don't cater that food. EpiPens are not my speciality.

5. Please be on time to collect
It might be a two hour party, but it will have felt like years to the party mum. You can bet she was wilting after one hour and ready to collapse in a corner about 15 minutes before end time. Don't make her punch through a second longer than necessary.

Are there any other helpful things that I've forgotten?

Plus, if you're keen, I wouldn't mind doing a 'how to run a children's party' post with all the boring admin details. But then, I thought it might be even more Ho Humsville than pass the parcel, so please let me know if it's something you're interested in...

23.10.11

♥ Loving internet photo editing sites



A few of our lovelies asked me how I did my photo collages in my Through the Instagram post. Now, I'm not the best photographer in the world (are you tired of me saying that yet?) so any help the internet can source for me is welcome. Here are a few fab online photo sites that help photos snap out of Dullsville.

1. Picnik
This is the site I use to create my little blocks of photos. I am sure there is a technical term for it, but I call them blocks or montages (because what's not to love about a montage?) You can also do some snazzy techniques - the 1960s Effect is my fave. In the image below, the right is my original photo (taken at Foxglove Spires) and the left is the 1960s effect. The site is free, but like me you can subscribe to more features for US$25 a year.





2. PicYou
If you don't have an iPhone, fear not. This site is like Instagram on your computer. Loads of really lush retro effects for your images - the image below uses the 'Cuttlefish' filter. You just apply the filter to your pic and you're done. Warning: when I tried to access this site from work it was blocked as being 'pornography'. Yikes (again with the Yikes). It's not, I can assure you (I just hope I don't also have to reassure work at some point...!)



3. Pixlr-o-matic*
Cute retro effects (are you noticing a theme here) with names like Sophia, Ramona and Ivan. The below image is created using 'Anne'.



4. Rollip
 It's really slow, but the effects are worth the wait, with lots of variations on my fave vintage look. No logging in, you just get straight to it.



5. Phixr
This site allows you to do some serious photo manipulation without much trouble at all. And if you're that way inclined, you can even create instant inspirational quote posters alah late eighties cat hanging off a branch stuff.


Yes well... I hope there's been a bit of actual inspiration contained in this here post for you. 

Do you also like the 'vintage' effect for photos? 
Are you a bit over it yet?

* Why do so many photo-based sites ditch the 'er' in favour of an 'r'. And why use an 's' when a 'z' would do, right? Ah... my thoughts on this are for another post...

21.10.11

This week I'm grateful for... perspective


Work has been capital T Tough the past couple of months. It's hard to love your corporate job all the time because sometimes it just gets a bit... corporate. No matter how clever you are or how much you contribute, at the end of the day you're made to feel like just a box on a large organisational chart. Motivating, isn't it?

But, I love what I do despite what I do sometimes and this week I'm grateful for...

184. Perspective - just when I think I can't handle something anymore and throw myself dramatically into feeling like the world is against me... I give myself some time to adjust. And with that comes perspective. And with perspective comes the knowledge that I'm going to be just fine.

185. Confidence - I don't know where mine comes from, but I'm awfully glad it's there. It's nice to know that someone is always going to stick up for me and that someone is me.

186. Support - my colleagues, my family, my friends and that random guy on the street who probably didn't need to know the whole entire story but stood and listened anyway and gently touched my arm and said 'the sun always comes out eventually' before sauntering away. Thank you.


So, what's making you smile today? Add your post to the list below (and please, we love you, but it really does matter that your post is a Grateful one and not just a random) and pretty-please add a link back to this linky. Then pop over to visit other bloggers who are spreading a little sunshine.





[Image via weheartit]

The posts you never have time to write


Yikes*, I've let my stash of scheduled posts dwindle away and I have no back-ups left. I generally write in blocks and churn out a few posts at a time to schedule for the week. Then I write once or twice on the actual day and hooray, a blog is born.

Now I'm down to struggling to find the time to write a meaningful post. So, instead, I'll go back to where my blog all began and show you this pretty picture and wish you a happy day and tell you that I am loving the beautiful sunshine that is streaming across my hands as I write. Geezus look at that, I need some hand cream, stat. When did my hands get to be so old?

Ah, a post for another day.

Do you sometimes struggle to make the time to write? 
Are you happy to let your blog linger? 
Is there a point where, like me, you think, just write something and hit Publish!

* I've realised that I write this word rather regularly on my blog (a quick search has shown me that it is alarming how often). I don't think I have ever uttered 'Yikes' in my entire life. There is something in that... yet another post for yet another day, perhaps?

[Pretty image from here]

18.10.11

The friends you never have time to see


As we go about this life we collect some marvellous people along the way, don't we? I know scores of people who I like so very, very much and yet... I can never seem to find the time to see them.

I want to see them.

I always love their company and they are friends that I can just relax around and be my silly self. Many are people that I have shared some important moments in my life with - school, university, first job. But it's gotten to the point where the only time I see some of these dear friends is when I invite them over to a mass party at my place and spend approximately 5 minutes talking to them. It breaks my heart. I bask in their light a little and wonder why I don't see them more regularly.

But I never do.

Instead we spend a goodly amount of time arranging catch-ups that never see the dark of night (or light of day, for that matter). Promises to catch up, broken arrangements to catch up, no actual catching up. It's been years for some people, decades for others... Dear god, is this how I'm going to spend the rest of my life?

What do you do with old friends that you still love dearly?
What on earth do you do?

[Image found here]

Somewhere over the rainbow party


'Tis done. 

My post is a bit late because I needed a couple of days to recover after the hoopla, the craziness, the extravaganza that was... Cappers' rainbow birthday party. You know I like to go on a bit when I'm describing my parties, so do grab a cup of tea, settle in and prepare for lots and lots of colour!

After all the preparations are done and the ideas are sprung, it's important to create an entrance for any party. You want to build the excitement as guests get closer. I think a balloon on the mailbox is great for directions, but add a few streamers and it becomes a fluttery, hello of a welcome (not that this picture does it any justice whatsoever... my lack of photo skills are really letting me down now that I'm blogging. Do you ever find that too!?). I also put streamers along the walk up to our house and a welcome sign at the top of the stairs. Little guests saying 'wow' before they even hit the front step is a really great feeling.



I decorated with streamers strung from one side of the room to the other with balloons and coloured fabric bringing the colours to life. The 'chandeliers' are just ribbon glued onto two embroidery hoops. I made the wands from a wooden chopstick and ribbon stuck onto cardboard, a little bit of wadding between the card and the printed cloud paper top and my trusty hot glue gun. The garland is from Down to the Woods.





The food was simple and fuss free. Skewers of 'rainbow' fruit, marshmallows, coloured popcorn, lollies of every rainbow colour, hundreds and thousands cupcakes (banana and chocolate), coloured meringues and jelly cups with each colour of the rainbow in a stripe. Having an afternoon party means the pressure to provide a proper hot meal is gone. Bring on the sugar!



A water bottle for each child with a personalised label. These are the easiest things to do and the kids love them.










And yes, I made 'that cake'. It was actually very simple in the end and I was very proud of our (my trusty sidekick, Zia Lucia and I) efforts. The children were absolutely fascinated and can you believe the entire cake was gone by the end of the day (we did 'back to back' parties with the rainbow party finishing at 4pm and LOML's birthday dinner BBQ for 16 adults and 14 children starting at 6pm... oh. my. god. was I a tired woman when I finally crawled into bed at 1.30am!!!)

For all the fun of decorating and baking, a children's party is nothing without some great fun, creative game play. Creating a story around the party theme is what I enjoy the most and planning the activities to suit is wonderful.



What to do with little guests when everyone is arriving? If you let them get too nuts, you just never get them settled and they are over excited and rather mental for the whole party. I decided that a colouring competition would be the perfect start; it was up to the children if they wanted to participate but just about everyone took to it with great enthusiasm. They all settled straight in, working hard on their entries and finished works were pinned on the wall for all to admire and a prize for the winner at the end of the party. Warning: do not try this with boys...


Once everyone arrived it was time for a game of musical cushions. I love this game and it's always a lot of fun for the kids.



Next up we played pin the pot of gold on the end of the rainbow. I printed out a rainbow picture onto two sheets of A3  paper and taped them together. Then I printed and cut out a little cauldron for each guest. Blu tac on the back of the cauldron, a headband for a 'mask' and away we go! Lots and lots of laughs for not much effort at all.

I've avoided having a pass the parcel at parties up until this point. I hate how you have to have a prize for each kid these days and the painstaking stopping of the music at the required child... boooooring. But Cappers insisted, so I used tissue paper so each layer was a new colour, put little lollies in some layers and a more important prize in others and away we went. It was Ho Humsville if you ask me, it just went on and on with our music choice of 'Rainbow Connection' bleating along in the background with that bloody ukelele making it seem like some weird Deliverance moment. The kids really enjoyed it. See, look how much that little girl in orange up there is enjoying it... Ho Hum indeed.




Time to shake things up after the whole pass the parcel snooze, so a treasure hunting we went. I printed out a story with clues, each onto a different rainbow-coloured piece of paper (popped into a bag for weather proofing, although would you believe the weather was gorgeous after all the rain we'd had?). We had to find all the colours of the rainbow to get to the other end where our pot of gold awaited.



The delight on the girls' faces when they saw the rainbow tutus was just magic. Total hit and worth every minute (although if I never have to cut another piece of tulle, I will be a very happy woman).



A 'lolly bag' (or, as my children shamelessly call them 'loot bag') is a traditional send off. I added a bit of fun to goodbyes by making the boxes into a 'jarbola' style event. Each child received a numbered ticket and got to claim their lolly bag by matching the number. There were three 'special' bags that three children were lucky enough to 'win'. I made that part up because I instead of 5 I only bought 4 packs of 5 silver noodle boxes and as there were 23 kids at the party, I was three short...



Harry, Pink, Rainbow... I am absolutely done with parties for this year. I was planning a 40th birthday bash of my own for November, but I called it off a week or so ago because my heart is just not in it. I think I would rather put on a party for someone else than myself. I'm not sure why that is, but I feel absolutely fine about it.

Happy rainbow party, my darling Cappers!

14.10.11

This week I'm grateful for... more birthdays


It's Rainbow Party day tomorrow. So you will find me doing rainbowy things and talking really quickly in a high-pitched, excited voice while I lead 22 children on a merry dance.

So this week I'm grateful for...

181. More birthdays* - beautiful, bountiful, beloved birthdays.

182. Deliciousness - that's the best word I can think of today to describe my husbie who is turning 43 today, 43 today, 43 today. Loving you long time so much and so much my everloving man.

183. Scrumptiousness - that's Capper's word as she celebrates her sixth birthday today with the infamous Rainbow Party and ridiculously excited mumma. On Sunday her Gran and I are taking her to see Mary Poppins which you would think would be a tremendous event in a young girl's life but she is rather terrified.

"Are they real?" she asked me.

"Yes," I reluctantly admitted.

"I don't like it when it's real," she wailed, channelling her performance at the Wiggles concert, circa 2008 when a three year old Cappers ran screaming from the room the minute the music started, wailing exactly this.

We just might take LOML instead...

* I have already been grateful for birthdays... wouldn't want to repeat myself!


So, what's making you smile today? Add your I'm Grateful For post to the list below (and please, we love you, but it really does matter that your post is a Grateful one and not just a random), add the button (grab the code from my sidebar and paste it into your post) and pretty-please add a link back to me. Then pop over to visit other bloggers who are spreading a little sunshine.




[Image from here]

13.10.11

Earballs and Eyes*


I was interested in the responses to my post yesterday that talked about how well I operated under the Stress of the Leech. I have never thought about it before, but goddamn it, if you're under pressure I reckon I would be a fine woman to be holding hands with.

Here are some of the things going on in my world right now:
  • I'm on deadline to get the magazine I produce for work out the door by 18 October and the printer has stuffed up the flysheets.
  • I'm putting together the most complicated Rainbow Party in the history of the world for Saturday afternoon and it may or may not involve (depending on whether I can pull it off) 'that Whisk Kid cake'.
  • It's also my husbie's birthday on Saturday and we're having 16 adults and 57** children to dinner after the Rainbow Party - haven't shopped, don't know what I'm cooking.
  • The school hit 'publish' on the website I'm working on for them and it's only half ready and everyone knows it's me who is working on it so I'm receiving about 5 emails a minute with the subject line 'why didn't you' and 'where's my'.
  • I am also co-ordinating a cast of thousands to produce the school's annual magazine and nobody has the slightest idea what they're doing.
  • My daughter has ripped her hand to shreds doing the monkey bars.
  • I need to somehow get to the post office tomorrow to collect the flat packed chicken coop that we bought on eBay and LOML is going to put together before Sunday morning.
  • It's hair wash night for the kids.
I don't think I'm stressed yet. The hair washes might finish me off and I also just remembered that both school kids need new shoes and I like school shoe shopping about as much as I like leeches. Sometimes it's best not to have a 'To Do' list, I think...

What's going on in your life right now?
How do you manage under pressure?

* No idea why I called this post this. I don't know what it means either.
** Surely an exaggeration. Probably more like 56.

[Image from here]

12.10.11

The hitchhikers



One time when I was driving on a freeway, a massive huntsman spider ran across the windscreen. Inside the car. A car going at 120km/hr* and being driven by me. To say that I went screaming down the freeway would be the quiet version of the story. Poor huntsman was so terrified it leapt across the car in a single bound and landed straight in my lap.

Sheer. bloody. terror.

I flicked it off to the floor and stomped on it many, many times. I did not break speed. I did not take my eyes off the road. I did not stop screaming.

I thought that was as bad as it could get, but I was wrong.

A little while ago I was driving over to my PIL's house a few suburbs away. I was busy yelling loudly at the
Tsunamis to get them to stop yelling loudly and my ankle was itchy. It was driving me nuts it was so itchy. Scratch, scratch went my left foot, trying to de-itch my right ankle. Scratch, scratch, scratch.

Sometimes an itch needs to be looked at. Itches feel less itchy after you look at them. So I looked.

Leech. Bloody leech.

Oh. my. god. If huntsmen give me the screaming fits, leeches just send me into catatonic shock.

We get a lot of leeches around our place. You see them with their funny little caterpillar crawl, humping along from here to there, doing whatever it is that leeches do when they are not busily sucking your blood and injecting you with their blood-letting poison. The Tsunamis yell 'Get the salt!' whenever they see one because I taught them that salt will get a leech off once upon a time and now they have to yell 'get the salt' every. single. time. That's kids for you.

'Get the salt,' I whimpered in the car that day. 'Get. the. saaaaalt.'

The Tsuanamis fortunately did not hear me over their general car yelling. Each lost in their own loud, annoying world.

'Right,' I said to myself. Right always seems like a good opener to a stern conversation with oneself. 'Right, just concentrate on the road, ignore the leech, get to PILs, get the salt.'

My eyes kept zapping down to the leech, ever growing.

I was torn between driving like a bat out of hell to the salt and driving very, very carefully like an old one. Just seeing it squirming around, a new extension to my ankle, made me want to crash the car and yell 'get it off, get it off, get it off'. But I'm a mum now. I can't go about crashing cars over leeches.

I've got to mum up and get on with the job.

I made it to the PILs. I raced screaming from the car 'get the salt, get the salt, get the salt' and burst into tears at the sight of my calm, Italian mother in law wondering what all the fuss was about. Oh, her kind eyes seemed to say, you massive, massive wimp. But she dutifully got the salt and we watched that massive leech die along with about 250mls of my precious A+.


Leeches, huh? Have you encounted one?

* For some reason, I can't drive 110km/hr. A sensible person would automatically drive 100km/hr so they were still under the legal limit. I am not sensible. 

[Image via weheartit]

10.10.11

Fattyboomsticks

I have another blog. It's a 'weight loss' blog. It's one I rarely post in anymore. When I'm good, I'm very good, when I'm bad, I'm... absent.  I kept it separate from this blog because the whole topic of dieting just bores me to tears and I didn't want you all to drown.

Sometimes I think there must be more to my weight than just a 'big appetite', a 'love of food'. I joke that I just love butter. I joke that there's more of me to love. I joke that if I wasn't fat, I'd be too perfect and no one would like me. Ha! There is something in the sterotype of the jolly fat person... get in first because it doesn't hurt as much when you do your own teasing.

I have never felt depressed about my weight. I've never felt ashamed. God, being overweight is not the worst thing in the world, not even close. Sometimes I try to wring an ounce of remorse out of myself, but, like the excess kilos, not a drop falls. From time to time I feel left out because I'm bigger than the other girls, but then as a towering redhead, my whole life I've felt like that.

I've felt helpless though. I've felt defeated and frustrated and angry with myself. I've felt confused. I don't understand why I can't beat this thing. Year after endless year at the back of my mind someday when I get around to it tomorrow one last time this is it I am always thinking about losing 'the weight'. Sometimes I think that the only weight I really need to lose is this suffocating weight on my mind. This incessant need to be thinner rather than just be me.

I've been on a diet for about twenty two years now.

In my mind I am thin as a whip and I carry myself as if this is so. I am not slow or lumbering. I dress nice. I keep up. I am not someone who worries that my children are missing out because their mum's a bit of a lardy lump. From time to time they ask me about it - now that they're older. I use myself as an example of someone who doesn't always make the healthiest food choices. It's not a good thing, I caution. It's important to look after yourself.

But at the same time, I tell them that being bigger is okay. You can still be beautiful, just look how beautiful mummy is.  It's not okay to wonder why people are the way they are. That's their business and it's not yours. It's not okay to call people names just because they are fatter.

At the end of the day, I'd rather be fat than be mean.

What do you really think about overweight people?
Do you struggle yourself?

[Image from here]

Work / life integration


My life as a 'working mother' is not something that I talk about half as much as I'd like on my blog. Naturally it comes up from time to time, but to give it the same amount of focus that it has in my real life, well... I think my corporate job would bore the pants of half of you and make the other half cringe at my 'working for the man' status. Well, maybe one or two of you might be interested... so I've blogged over at the Careermums.com.au blog about my theories on 'work life intergration'.

It's not about the balance, baby, it's about the seamless integration.

Do pop over and see me there. I don't think they get as many passers by as they deserve. It's a really fantastic blog for women working in the home, outside the home and on the home. Time management, prioritising, goal setting, writing stuff down... see, we are all working mothers at the end of the day.

Come on over for a chat! (With a bit of luck, they might have me back!)

Are their parts of your life that you don't blog about in quite the detail they probably merit?

9.10.11

What others think


It seems to me that many of spend a goodly proportion of our time worrying what other people think of us. What we wear, how we wear it, how we spend our time, the way we parent our children, where we live, how we live. Our insecurity about our place in the world leads us to buy the 'right' brand of stuff and pass off paying hundreds of extra dollars on an item as 'buying for the quality'. We spend such a lot of time not doing things because even though we really want to, we fear failure and what other people will say about that failure. So instead of just getting on with things, we spend a lot of our time worrying and waiting. Waiting for judgement.

But when you think about it, we are all too busy worrying about what other people think of us to actually spend any time thinking about them.

In fact, I think it's really quite rare for us to give other people's less attractive aspects a second thought unless they ask us about them. We tend to notice the nice things about people - a flattering outfit, a shiny new do, a beaming child, a kind gesture. For all our fussing about having the 'right' kind of house, car, clothes, life, I honestly couldn't tell you what kind of car a friend drives, unless it's the same kind as me and that's the only way I can remember. I notice their child's shining face as they play with mine, not their reading level or how fast they can run. Their $1000 handbag? Can't say I've noticed.

I think we are all like this. We look for the positive and gloss over the negative. Most of us, of course. There's always that 10% of judgey-judgers who we care not a jot about anyway because they are all so snooty and sneery and horrible and are really just not worth thinking about. They can keep their negativity burning up their insides because I'm not stopping around to hear it. I don't need to when I know that 90% of the people out there are frankly pretty darn lovely and we've got lots to talk about.

That's because most people out there are just like us. If they are thinking about us at all (and I seriously doubt they spend much time doing that) then they are looking for the good stuff. The goodest of the good stuff. They won't notice your sorry old pimple or your Target clothes because they are too busy complimenting you on your pretty eyes. They won't care what kind of handbag you're toting or the brand of fridge you have because they are too busy laughing at your jokes. They don't know what kind of car you drive either.

Thinking these kinds of thoughts always gives me confidence. I feel good to go whenever I'm ready, knowing I'll find support and appreciation from 90% of the big wide world out there. And, really, the other 10% are just sport to me.

How are your everyday confidence levels? 
Do you cower around the judgey 10% or shine around the supportive 90%?

[Image by Keltie Colleen]

7.10.11

This week I'm grateful for... make believe


I thought I'd host Grateful this week - what a nice change!?

I've just spent the most refreshing week down the coast with Gran and Pops and those whirlwind Tsunamis of mine. Spending a whole week with my children on my own was daunting to say the least. As a working mum, it's not often that I specialise in quantity time... I think in the back of my mind my children are still "three under four" and my expectation of time alone with them is always based on that kind of craziness.


But, of course, time marches on and this week I'm grateful for...


178. Growing up - my children were all very small all at the same time and life was relentless for a good while there. I often felt like I was just treading water with my head only marginally above the surface and at times my ability to mother was pretty much drowning. I am not that mother any more.


179. Make believe - a lot of that has to do with the fact that young children are way more interesting to me than babies and toddlers. I have always been honest about my complete aversion to 'play' but these days the Tsunamis are into the kinds of things that I'm excited about too - books and dress ups and make believe. We are currently playing Smurfs.


180. Parentals - thanks for having us this week Gran and Pops. It's always lovely to spend some time in the 'city'.



So, what's making you smile today? Add your I'm Grateful For post to the list below (and please, we love you, but it really does matter that your post is a Grateful one and not just a random), add the button (grab the code from my sidebar and paste it into your post) and pretty-please add a link back to me. Then pop over to visit other bloggers who are spreading a little sunshine.

5.10.11

Making rainbow tutus

I think we've established many times over that I am slightly mad, especially when it comes to children's parties.

Which explains why I am chest-deep in tulle creating 22 rainbow tutus for Cappers' upcoming Rainbow Party. Make that 23 as I was requested to make a tutu for Cappers' 'puppy' while I was at it.

Oh my, it's so much work but oh-extra-my they are going to be so beautiful!

And cheap. Tulle on sale at about $2 a metre works out to be about $3 a tutu including the satin ribbon. You've gotta love that! They are so very easy to make - no sewing involved. Check out this tutorial from Paige and Brooke. I a wide satin ribbon instead of elastic for the waist band (the ribbon ties in a bow at the back and looks lovely) and I'm making mine shorter than the tutorial suggests as I wanted that 'corps de ballet' effect with the tutu standing straight up. Plus, when you're making 22 of the darn things, every little bit of tulle saved is a blessing really.

I had the thought that 'make a matching tutu for your doll' could be a fun party craft, but Cappers' really struggled with making the knot and I didn't fancy sitting at the party making 22 doll's tutus for everyone, so I scrapped that idea.

I'll show you all the pretty rainbow maids all in a row when I post about the party in a couple of weeks time.

Are you mad for parties like me?
Do you also like to go that bit further to do something extra special?