Friday, 30 December 2011

Holidays - Part 1

It's the holidays, my favourite part of the year. It's not because of Christmas or my birthday but because it's normally a time where we four all get away for a while and relax, play, eat, and laugh together and with others.

This year started as it always does. In the joyous traditions of Christmas day. We drive to wherever ABs family are celebrating and eat way to much and then jump in the car and drive to Treenas families home and continue eating to much.

This year ABs family celebrations were at his uncles. Like me, he has a small family and so Xmas lunch is a lovely quiet affair. The kids swam, we toasted with champagne, swapped gifts and caught up with recent events.

Treenas family is also small, but they are a lively bunch. For dinner we had Turducken again, this time served cold, with lots of different vege dishes almost all of which came from their garden. And a baked ham that was the yummiest ham I've ever had as her dad had found a proper raw ham and cooked it himself. Add great food to a little to much celebratory drinking, lots of Christmas crackers and people with a wicked sense of humor and you've got Xmas night tied up.

Boxing days tradition is that we spend it with ABs oldest friend and his family. there is also at least one other group of friends. There was seven adults and nine children plus a cat and three dogs. As you can imagine much noise, food, nattering, drinking, swimming, minor bickering, laughing and fun was had by all.

It's a beautiful spot on the island that they have their weekender and the mix of people and kids all seemed to work easily together.

Memorable moments:

- About an hour into a 2.5 hour drive Jack started complaining about a tummy ache. I quickly pulled over, but not quite quick enough. He vomited all over the car door and some on himself. Made worse by the fact that mid vomit its really hard to get a kid out of a car seat. Of course AB was in his car with all the gear so I had nothing to clean up with until I remembered a small bag of clothes for charity in the back and 1/2 a bottle of water under the passenger seat. We then continued our drive and as we were headed through the valley on very windy roads Hamish suddenly declared he thought he was going to vomit. With no where to pull over and only a woolies bag in the car he proceeded to vomit the whole way down the hill crying that the bag was leaking vomit all over him. Finally we got to the house and as I started unpacking the car I realised that one of the dogs, like Hamish, had gotten car sick and has vomited all over their bed. Only 2.5 hours earlier we had left the house all showered and feeling fresh ready for a beautiful boxing day lunch, only to arrive all covered in vomit and not feeling or looking fresh at all. Luckily I was able to giggle my way through it all and even the kids saw the funny side once we got there.

- One night I was sitting outside sipping a glass of wine. I watched the commotion inside as dinner was being prepared and felt completely overwhelmed with love for the space we were in. There is really nothing like watching the house hustle and bustle, being totally relaxed and just feeling like all is right with the world. Family comes in all shapes, sizes and relationships and we are so lucky that although we both have small blood family, we have so many non-blood family members.

- One of our dogs gets a bit sketchy when the kids are in the pool. She runs around whimpering, trying completely unsuccessfully to round them up. As one child went to jump into the pool, she decided to try and stop her (I assume) and nipped her on the back of the leg. We felt terrible and apologized perfusly to both her parents and the child but they all understood it wasn't malicious. She was tied up for any other swimming.

- After what feels like, and may well be, months of rain and cloudy weather, the skies finally cleared and we had two beautiful warm days. I could feel my vitamin D stores replenishing and it was good to see the kids out in the fresh air and salty water.

- Sitting up after everyone has gone to bed feeling a little tipsy and listening to the water lapping on the rocks, synchronized snoring, and other night time noises.

- Watching the kids all play together. The men spending time together at the beach, fishing, fixing cars, and generally recouping after a hard year. And the women all talk and catch up on the years events, take turns looking after the kids so we could put our feet up for moments and also generally recoup after a tiring year.

The only real downside of this trip was that it wasn't quite long enough. I think another two days would have felt just perfect. The upside of course being that we had to leave because we had made plans to visit our other friends house up north.

Yeah, we are very lucky! Happy new year everyone!!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

End of an Era!

Today is a huge day in my mothering life. It's MY last day at preschool! Sure you could think that I would be writing about my baby boy leaving his beautiful preschool. About how it has been such a nurturing and loving environment for him, and how things will change with him moving onto 'big school'.
All of those things are definitely going on but he's completely chilled about the move. If fact he can't wait. Last night as we talked about it he said he was really only going to miss his teachers and his friend Jacob. But he reminded me he could see his teacher whenever he wanted because preschools fence is attached to big school. Then to help matters Jack told Hamish all about school and how really the only difference is that you can't eat anytime you want ... Oh! he remembered, now that they have 'crunch and sip' (the kids now have a small container of fruit and vege on their desks during class time) he actually could eat anytime he wanted, so school isn't different at all!
You could also be thinking having two kids in the one place will be fantastic (I know I am). One institution to focus on, no more events on the same day and having to choose if I go to the preschool one or the school one, one place to drop off and pick up!! And all of that really does sounds wonderfully easy.
But our preschool has been such a huge force in our families life. It's where I learnt to let my children fly, it's where I met some of the most amazing people I've ever met, it's been as nurturing and loving towards me as it has towards my children. And I will miss it!
Today is also the day I no longer have a 'preschooler'. I'm now the mother of two school aged children! And with that I will suddenly have 5 days a week without either of them! I feel lonely even thinking about it.
I've had as hard a road parenting young children as most mothers. But I love the time I spend with my kids. I do not worry about how I'll cope during holiday time because even with the trials and tribulations of three people spending a bit to much time together, we all also love being together.
So as I write this, I have one hour left of being a preschool mum! And I wanted to spend it putting a little thank you out into the cyber cosmos for giving us the gift of such an amazing place for our children and I to grow in.
Life moves forward no matter how much you sometimes wish it would stand still. And today is one of those days!
Thank you Marcia, Simone, Kim, Su, Tina, Elena, Renu, Renata, Emma, Sandra and Leanne. At least a dozen times over the last five years I have seen you love my children and I have felt you love me. I will forever be thankful for what you have given us all xx

Monday, 12 December 2011

Here's to You!

I've mentioned before that I am blessed with a lot of completely awesome women in my life.  Some I see almost everyday, some I speak to every week and some I connect with regularly through social media, text message and if I'm lucky phone calls once a month or so.  But there are some, whom I hardly ever connect with at all.  See the problem is that days, weeks and years pass so quickly.  There is so much flotsam in our everyday lives that mostly it's only the people who are either already so wonderfully entrenched in you life that you couldn't get away from them even if you wanted to or the ones who follow similar movements to you who get any of the time left after the flotsam is complete.

Today I was reminded of that as I hung out with a group of women I used to see weekly, but who's movements are so completely different to mine that we are now lucky if we see each other once a year.  I think of them often and I know they also think of me but as far as actually having a conversation or being part of their lives in any way, well the instances are few and far between.

So today's post is for these women, you know who you are! You are the women I adore but never see or speak to, you are the women I hope one day to build stronger relationships with, you are the women I met in lots of different ways who have touched my heart to such a degree that I don't want you to disappear from my life but whom also have so much flotsam in your day that developing stronger relationships with me just isn't something you have time for either .... yet!  But some time soon, sometime in the not to distant future, your schedule and mine will hopefully, possibly, probably give us the space in life to actually get to hang out, get to know each other better and hopefully you too will become one of those women so wonderfully entrenched in my life that I couldn't get away from you even if I wanted to.

Watching - The Grudge, The Ring, 28 Days Later

Advent - Opps forgot to do that today!

Reading -  My darling friends book.  Try as I might I have not been able to find a 'good' time to read it so just before I go to sleep will have to do!  I got 1/2 way last night (thanks babe, it meant that I was up till 11.30pm) and hopefully I will get more read tonight!

State of Mind - Eternally thankful and loved.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

There Heeere!!


I was talking via facebook with my evil stepmother the other day about horror movies.  She is not a fan.  In fact I don't think she has ever watched a horror movie or if she has it scarred her so much she didn't go back for seconds.  It seems to me this is the way of horror movies, you either love them or hate them.  I love them.

Thing is I used to be quite a scared kid.  I think it came from having such an overactive imagination.   I was terrified of the dark, I still remember watching Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Nightmare on Elm Street, and this show on the ABC about the Burko Brothers.  All if which I'm sure didn't help me sleep at night.  Then came Twin Peaks, which sent me into night terrors territory and that was the end of any scary movies for a long time.

In my late teens (or even early 20s) I let my love of Sci-Fi movies lead me down the inevitable path towards scary movies and I realised that the more I watched the less scared I was.  Most scary movies fall into a few simple categories and once you know what sort of film you're watching it becomes easier to recognise what's coming next.

Slasher - ie. Halloween, Scream.
Paranormal - ie. Poltergiest, The Ring
Torture - ie. Hellraiser, Saw
Sci-Fi - ie. Alien, Pitch Black
Monster - ie. Dawn of the Dead, The Thing.

(note: of course there are sub categories and categories like suspense thriller, which I don't include in the horror genre)

Once you have identified the type of horror you're watching it's much easier to not be scared.  The truth is that within each category most of the story lines are very similar.  Sure the jump moments change and the endings differ but mostly seen one slasher film and you've seen them all.

Anyway, Inge posed the question, what could possibly be entertaining about being scared out of your wits? and I just didn't have an answer.  The truth is these films rarely scare me while I am watching them, but some, stay with me and leap out at unexpected moments.

1.  Sometimes I still expect a little Japanese freaky girl from The Grudge to start meowing at me next to my bed.
2.  When the washing is blowing on the line as I go out to the loo at night I have a 28 Days Later moment.
3.  Any of the movies with creepy backwards talking, scary eyes, or that weird jittery movement (think the little girl from the ring) scare the bejeezus out of me for the rest of the night think Event Horizon
4. The dark corners of any room, when I'm feeling freaked out remind me of the B-Grade movie They.
5. When my stairs creak in the night and it sounds like someone walking up them even though there is no one in the house I'm in Paranormal Activity territory.
6.  Step over the huge gutter in front of our house in the middle of the night speaks for itself really (and IT also explains why clowns kind of freak me out)

So why watch?  Why enjoy the movie if it sticks like glue in my brain waiting for a weak moment to pop out and make me pull the bedcovers over my head?  I don't know? Maybe because once I have conquered my fear for the night I feel stronger, less like a victim.  Maybe because the more I learn to deal with these fears the less fearful I am of real life stuff.  I mean when I home alone I rarely find myself feeling spooked out about axe murderers.  Whereas even at the height of my Zombie fears, I can console myself with the idea that its all in my head.

And maybe, just maybe, I watch so that I know the rules to survive the zombie apocalypse, or the things that go bump in the night!

Watching - Halloween, Poltergeist, Angel Heart and about to really challenge myself with a japanese horror remake fest.

Reading - Just started a bit more of China Melvilles the City and the City

State of Mind - Sick of the rain, I want to finish painting already!!

Advent - Go to the pool (it raining), Have a picnic for dinner (its raining so we did it inside), Read Xmas stories at bedtime (couldn't find the book at the last minute so had to try and remember one).

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

On the 1st Day of Christmas

When I was a child the first weekend of Christmas was when we put up the Christmas tree. Mum and I would trek, saw in hand, for what felt like hours through the sand mines behind our house looking for what 'I' thought was the perfect tree. After we had cut it down and dragged it back to the house, we would spray the bejesus out of it with inset spray to make sure there were no spiders in it and then, after chocking it in a pot with bricks, I would order mum into her room while I decorated it.

It was an incredibly special day to me. I would set up a tape player with Christmas carols and take hours decorating the tree with care. There were a few super special decorations that had a special place, the angle on top (of course) and my special piece of tinsel that was 2 inches long and rainbow coloured. The story goes that apparently I had found the piece of tinsel on the ground in David Jones when I was two and had always been particular about it being just below the angel.

That is how I feel about Christmas. It's not about being stylish, or groovy, for me it's all about tradition. And I love every part of it.

These days we don't live close to anywhere where we can cut down our own tree so usually we buy one from the local corner store but in traditions name after AB chocks it into a pot with bricks, I order him out of the room while I painstakingly decorate the tree (carols are optional).

This year a store bought tree wasn't in the budget (and at $65 for something waist hight who can blame me) and the first weekend of December had passed in a street party blur. So after thinking about buying a fake tree (sacralidge!) I decided that I would do a tried and true last minute tree.

I went to the community center nextdoors and grabbed a bunch of nice long sticks and an old can of gold spray paint and let the kids have at it. Once they were painted and stuffed in a large glass jar we have (for just this occasion) it was time to start decorating.

Hmmm ...

Hmmm ...

So tradition, did I mention, really what Christmas is all about. But seriously, the tree was not traditional, and the kids knew it. Hamish kept trying to put the meter of ugly tinsel that we found at vinnies on it and Jack kept saying "mum this tree is ya know, kinda weird shaped" after me talking about how all Christmas trees are different he said with a smile "ohh so we can have a proper one next year, this ones just different, like for fun, right?".

As I started getting the decorations out I remembered that the dogs a few years ago had eaten the angel and as I searched hi and low for the rainbow tinsel, tears welled in my eyes when I realised it was gone. I then tried to find the carols CD and came up blank.

I sat down, feeling pretty depressed about the state of my tree, when suddenly the boys went wild, lights were flying they were laughing and rummaging through the box for the perfect decorations, they asked a million questions about each one and then they started to sing ...

So I sat on the lounge and sang Christmas carols while they wildly and yet quite precisely decorated the tree.

Tradition, still a huge part of Christmas, advent calendar, Nyssa's on the mantle, Santa sacks, trees covered in red, green and gold, and pretty lights wherever you can put them. But maybe my new tradition is that the kids decorate, we all sing carols and I try (and I will have to try) to celebrate my children's idea of how a Christmas tree should look instead of my perfectionist ideals of what the tree should look like.

I wonder, have others had to change their ideas of Christmas to accommodate their children? Sure they make Christmas better on soo many levels ... actually I may actually be able to live with the new tree tradition.

Watching - Buffy Season 4.

Listening - Kids singing Christmas carols.

Reading - Back to reading nothing, just falling exhausted into bed.

Advent - Kids pick for Xmas movie, hot chocolate with marshmallows.

State of mind - Feeling jollier every day!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

It's Beginning to Feel a lot like Christmas!

It's the Sunday after our street Xmas party! Which means that we are all still tired and the street has been quiet since early Saturday morning.
The night started with the arrival of the jumping castle. As usual we had the jumping part and the slippery slide part! The kids went wild while we parents started setting up. This meant tables and chairs pulled out of our back yards, bins organized and the BBQ was fired up. It always takes a while for people without kids to start wandering out of their houses (perhaps they are put off by the wildness of a dozen kids with a jumping castle all to themselves). Slowly but surely everyone started to pop their heads out and join the celebration. Once all the stragglers arrived it was time for Santa! The kids all took a break from the manic jumping to receive a present each and then resumed the aforementioned manic jumping. Drinks and food started to flow, BBQ keeping everyone warm on the unseasonably cold evening. And on it went, everyone talking, music blasting and drinks flowing.
It's the nicest part of the street party, everyone gets to relax, have a drink if they want. The kids are running and playing in the dark (with all with glow bracelets or sparklers) and popping from one house to the next to raid the fridge, and play. No one has to leave early to put kids to bed because we are all just outside.
The castle was packed away after all the adults got on and had a jump and as it got late I put a movie on in my house for the medium sized kids, a neighbour put a different movie on for the littlies and some of the straglers (my kids included) where still riding their bikes at 10pm. Finally all the kids were asleep, 2 of the little ones had been put to sleep on a mattress in the middle of the road and Hamish had fallen asleep playing a game on a pile of cushions in the middle of a neighbours driveway.
It was a hilarious night! And as always it was great to get to talk to some of the neighbours you only see passing by most of the year.
The next day was unusually quiet on the street, most of the kids staying in for a quiet day. Unfortunately AB and I had to be out by 11am for separate kids parties. Luckily (seeing I hadn't gotten to bed until 3am and was slightly hungover) the party I took Hamish to was lovely, full of food perfect for a hangover (a great salad of potato, mint, salt and olive oil, greasy sausages and a lovely fresh watermelon salad) and really relaxed people.
The afternoon was spent watching DVDs and having cat naps on the lounge.
Today we woke up to a gorgeous sunny day but by 10am it was overcast, cold and windy. I decided to give AB the house as he needed to work so I took the kids to the indoor pool. We spent three hours in the warm and incredibly busy pool. Thankfully they make a great coffee! I was so proud of both the kids, they played beautifully and Hamish (who is still very nervous in the pool) was incredibly brave practicing going under water with his brand new goggles on.
And so that was our weekend. It's certainly starting to feel a lot like holiday time, and I must say I can't wait. Not only am I extraordinarily excited about Christmas finally getting here but I am mostly excited about having my two boys home a lot, feeling free to stay in our jammies until late and being free to do whatever we want for six whole weeks!
Watching - my neighbours film that I had talked about with him last Xmas party and I found out thos as party had been released direct to DVD earlier this year. It's a zombiesce film set in the Australian outback called 'Primal'. And it was as good as any low budget zombie film I have seen and had some really great gore scenes and funny moments. I get a little twinge of joy that (as a lover of zombie films) a guy across the road actually made one! It's sort of like the Kevin Bacon game, I'm one step away from a zombie movie maker lol.
Reading - I've finally read the next few chapters of my BFFs book. I'm not allowed to talk about it at all as its still in draft form, and am honestly the worst friend in the world cause it is taking me this long. But as I've mentioned before I want to make sure it's not my before bed reading (which I haven't done in ages anyway) because I want to take it in and not rush it.
Advent calendar - we have had; have a picnic for dinner, Xmas party night worked as a picnic (fri), kids pick for dinner, tuna paste (sat), go out for ice cream, which we did at the pool today (sun)
State of mind - completely and utterly mind blowingly tired! But oh was a lovely weekend!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Today was spent prepping the house for our streets annual Christmas party! Sure in the scheme of things I thought I'd be decorating a completely finished house with a gorgeous new garden, but hey! Christmas lights make even the dodgiest house look amazing.

Of course finding the 'right' lights to buy was a bit of a chore (everyone else is particular about the colour of the cord and colour of the light right! I mean the woman in bunnings looked at me like I was a bit mad when I explained my need for icicle lights, on white cords, with a warm white light!) and I'm not loving my new stars (they are the wrong white) but all in all our house is starting to look quiet festive.

Next year I'd like another long coloured string on a white string seeing as the lower lights are a bit broken. But they will probably come down next week so I can start painting the facia board and posts. Amazingly, the top balcony and all of those balustrades are completely finished so my lovely new (warm) icicle lights can stay where they are!

Today we also started the advent calendar. My gorgeous oxfam pocketed calendar is filled with little activities for us to do every day. Todays was have a big bubble bath together, but seeing as it was a hot afternoon and the kids spent all arvo in the kiddy pool it was put off to another day.

So it's the silly season! I'm finally excited and can't wait to start celebrating. Thank goodness we get to start tomorrow night! The street party should be a blast IF the weather holds! Fingers crossed!!

Watching - last night I watched the remake of 'Fright Night'. With a cast including, Toni Collett and David Tennent, it's not surprising it tickled my fancy!

Reading - sorry what? What's a book?

Listening - is it to early for Christmas carols? Probably!

State of mind - Ho Ho Ho ...

Friday, 25 November 2011

Nothing Else For It!

OK I hate to complain, but mix this weather with a still incomplete front of the house (the mud, the dust, the depressing blandness of it all) and the entire house is feeling completely ... blah!!

I got it into my head a few weeks ago that if we weren't going to complete front of the house before Christmas then I was going to need to DO something to make it all feel a little more ... lush ... soft ... finished.

I've spent almost every spare minute I've had painting. But alas the top floor is still incomplete and the lower level isn't even started. I've run out of things that can be painted while it rains and it seem a long time since we've had a completely rain-free day.

So yesterday I spite of the rain (seeing we are a while off getting the front brick fence done) I decided to pull all of the pots that we were storing in the back yard, and create a border around the two dusty clay mounds that is our front yard.

This sounds like an easy job, it certainly did to me when I started but, well, we live and learn. This meant that I had to carry 20 terra cotta pots from the very back of our yard to the very front of our yard. I thought this would be easier if I used our box trolley, but learnt quickly that this just leads to broken terra cotta pots. Then today I had to find soil to fill them, perfect, I could use soil from our now defunked vege patch! But of course this had become our storage space for off cuts of wood. So I had to move all of the wood to one side, climb gingerly into the falling apart garden bed and start digging. Using the aforementioned box trolley, I then pushed aprox 15 buckets full of soil down to the front yard. And we were ready to plant!!

Hamish and I went to the local garden shop. I picked six types of salad greens/herbs and Hamish picked four types of pretty flowers (one for each of us). All for $30 but then I saw a hydrangea! The truth is as I started thinking about the front yard (all those months ago) all I wanted to fill it with what I think of as 'mum' plants. These are hard to explain as I don't know what they are until I see them but all of them have an English cottage garden feel. Sadly there were no 'mum' plants at the garden shop, except for hydrangeas which were more than I wanted to spends on a 'temporary garden'. So after looking at them for ages and calling AB to see if he thought they would survive in our yard I bought one.

When I got home I thought all I had to do was pick which plant went where? But mid planting one of my divine neighbours who had noticed me eyeing off one of her gorgeous huge and very pretty perennials came down with a gift. She had broken it into three amazing large clumps and asked if I wanted to have them. Ummm of course. So more pots and more soil. She then mentioned she had 5 extra cuttings of lavender all of which were ready to be repotted, would I like them. Ummm of course. So more pots and more soil trekked from the back yard.

By the end of the day I had potted up over 20 different pots, with loads of edibles and pretty, pretty plants. Dug holes in our clay front yard which I filled with geraniums and lined with old bricks By which time I was wet to the core and covered in clay and mud.

To finish off I grabbed our old wooden bench and table and popped them onto the deck so we have somewhere to sit.

It was a long, wet, muddy day. But I hope the new border stops the kids thinking they can walk over the mud to get into the house and for the moment it certainly softens the front of the house a bit. Plus once the greens take off hopefully I'll have enough for all the salads I'll start making once the weather warms up again!

Watching - Cowboys and Aliens, seeing as my expectations weren't high it exceeded them. Actually if I'm honest I liked it heaps and can't wait to watch it again.

Reading - still nothing AB being away means that after a full on days I'm asleep before my head hits the pillow.

Listening - nada, but I'm keen to give Adalita a listen sometime soon.

State of mind - Really tired but feeling like the front of the house is looking a bit fresher. Oh and can I say now, I can't wait for school holidays!!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Facing Your Fears

A month ago we got a note home from school with the details for Jacks yearly musical extravaganza. Whilst I was talking to him about what they were doing he said intently "mumma, I really really don't want to do it". He went on to talk about the fact that he didn't want to dress up because the costume was wearing all black and then wearing red underpants over the top of his clothes.
Jack spent the first 4 years of his life almost constantly naked. But as he has gotten older he has become quite a private boy when it comes to his body.
He was completely beside himself at the idea of having to wear his knickers in front of the whole school (and honestly, who can blame him). So I approached the teacher and she agreed it was a bit uncool and spoke to the music teacher and the costume was changed to red shorts or skirts over black.
Great I though, now he can enjoy doing his concert. But alas! He was still concerned. I talked further with him about why, but in true Jack way (or perhaps it's a six year old boy way) he couldn't put his finger on why, sometimes it was that he couldn't remember the song, other times it was that he didn't know what shoes to wear, once it was because he was tired (two weeks before) and on it went. Finally I got it! He was nervous about getting up on stage and performing.
He is actually great at public speaking and gets very positive feed back on his speeches and class presentations but this was different, this was singing and dancing (and as it turned out, playing maracas) in front of half the school and he was freaking out.
Again in true Jack style, once it was pointed out that the whole class was performing he stopped trying to find ways to not do it because he didn't want to let the class down. But there was no way he was going he was going to embrace it!
The afternoon of the performance Jack was beside himself trying to figure out exactly what he wanted to wear. He changed pants twice, shoes three times, and spent a record amount of time in front of the mirror fiddling with his hair.
Finally we rocked into school, ate sausages and waited for the extravaganza to start. Jack had chilled out but gave me an extra long cuddle as I went to leave him to get ready. I could feel how nervous he was. The energy around him was positively electric. And I watched him with such pride, I mean there was no asking not to do it or clinging to my leg. Just a little boy making a decision to do something even though the idea of it scared him.
The performance was ... cute, as all kids singing and dancing are. Jack started slowly and then caught my eye and grinned. Together, Hamish and I standing at the side of the hall and Jack on stage, we grinned, danced, sang and shook our maracas. He didn't take his eyes off Hamish and I and sweetly, I realised he was trying extra hard because we were watching and loving him doing it.
Later that night as he lay in bed, I asked him how he felt about the extravaganza. He was quiet and then he said "you know mumma, I really didn't want to do the music extravaganza. I was scared to get up on stage, but I had a lot of fun! I'm so glad I did it".
And so once again my kids have taught me a life lesson. Some of the best things in life come from being scared and doing it anyway. And you know what! if a six year old boy can do it .... What's stopping me? Or you? Or anyone?
So next time I think of not doing something because it's out of my comfort zone, I'm going to have to remember Jack and the music extravaganza. Because goodness knows I can't possibly be outdone by my six year old .... although sometimes I wonder if I already have been, and if that's not part of the point of good parenting anyway.
Watching - It's zombie season once again, Season 2 of the walking dead.
Listening - Triple J whilst painting.
Reading - I have not picked up anything in days.
State of mind - Tonight I'm very tired but quietly content.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Running on High

The older I get the more aware I am of what an intense personality I have. I think I have probably always been a high octave kind of person but there is no doubt that my lifestyle these days has exacerbated this trait.

Partially I think this is because this lifestyle, full of multi tasking, doesn't gel well with my other personality trait which is laziness. I use the word laziness with a certain amount of caution because it tends to lead people to envisage that I get nothing done. I get a lot done, but I seem to always try and find the easiest way of doing it and if there is a time where there is little to be done, I rarely get bored or look for things to fill my time. If anything I revel in these quiet moments and happily spend them doing nothing.

So add a generally lackadaisical personality to a high activity lifestyle and you get me, pretty consistently, running on high speed.

This is something that although I spend time occasionally pondering, doesn't bother me. I mean, I am who I am. It's not something that I apologies for especially as it rarely effects other people. But it is something that I would like to work on a bit.

You see there are some ... side effects. I miss details occasionally, I have trouble recalling them especially things like details people have told me in conversation, or the tiny tasks that need to be completed. I talk extremely fast at times, this probably means people also miss the details of things I have told them. And when I am in this state I speak without really hearing how what I'm about to say is going to come out.

But hey, we all have pieces of ourselves we know need work, most of us more than one. I am also aware that these traits give us something. My ability to talk fast means I can get out what I want to say in record time ;) it means that I really can multi task with the best of them. Sure doing so 24/7 means that occasionally small details get missed but hey the rest of the time I'm practically a work-a-holic.

So as I contemplate slowing down, thinking and acting more calmly I will also take time to remember the positive parts as well.

What personality traits do you have that you'd like to work on? What's stopping you? For me the reason I'm not exactly working on my hyperactive nature is that at the moment it still (mostly) serves me well.

It just may mean I have a few more grey hairs or wrinkles than I would if I could learn to relax a bit more often ;)

Watching - Rise of the planet of the apes. Don't know if it was just the right movie for the time but I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

Reading - when I get a chance I am reading (very very slowly) a book a friend of mine wrote. So far the words lush and whimsical come to mind.

Listening - I actually haven't listened to anything for days ... except the clogs of my own brain ticking over at high speed.

State of mind - generally, contently frantic.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Blog! What Blog?

Wow, I've been a very quite blogger recently. The truth is that other than painting, general life stuff and a few mini cool moments life isn't really feeling blog worthy.
We have had a bit of a heat wave recently and of course it coincided with me deciding to start painting the upper level of our house. So days of standing under a tin roof and sanding, sweating, filling, sweating, sanding again, sweating and then finally doing some painting has pretty much been all I have been doing.
As you can imagine, I'm pretty exhausted, but in a good way. The house if moving forward again and it's feeling great (no photos till I've done both levels).
This weekend once again we have taken advantage of our generous friends holiday house. I feel so lucky to have two gorgeous friends who both have very different but both amazing places that we are able to use for these mini breaks. They certainly have made both AB and I feel less claustrophobic about our city living as we can break out, without breaking the bank! So this afternoon we rocked into 'our' southbound holiday shack, and within two minutes the kids and the dogs were swimming and AB and I were having a drink sitting in the sun and relaxing.
Anyway this whole lackadaisical blogging thing has to stop! Maybe now that all the hard work on the house and the year is all winding down my brain will be able to think about things to blog about ... remind me, there is more to life than houses and kids isn't there? :) of course there is and as I sit here on my own, music blaring and candles burning I am suddenly reminded of that. You gotta love these mini breaks from reality to reset!
Watching - ... Um ...
Reading - a divine friend of mine has sent me some of her writings that will be read by the end of the weekend.
Listening - right now, 'Golden Years' by David Bowie, it's a classic and no I don't care that it could be considered a bit daggy. It was proceeded by Kimbra and will be followed by something equally as groovy I'm sure ;)
State of mind - getting there.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Halloween

Love it or hate it, Halloween seems to bring out some pretty strong emotions. Personally I love the idea of Halloween.

This year the kids from our street all decided to dress up and go trick-or-treating within the square (mostly to their own houses).

It was a fun little activity and it inspired me to maybe take it a little further next year ... Just what that means I'm not sure but I'll put some thought into it.

So anyhow, Happy Halloween! I hope you have your tummy full of candy or however you decide to spend it (even if your hiding and ignoring the kids knocking on your door).

Watching - Mr Poppers Penguins
Listening - Manu Chau
Reading - Good Omens
State of Mind - A little sugar high!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Finished! For Now!

My feet (and the rest of me) are currently sitting relaxing on my top deck. Yes there is more work to do but all the carpentry work is done. Well except for the floor beading which can't be done until the floors are done, which can't be done until the painting is done, which can't be done until ABs schedule is free enough for him to help me.
Today Ant packed up his tools and did my last de-dust of the house. And finally the whole thing is pretty ready to enjoy. Although it will also constantly aggravate me until it's complete.
For this afternoon I'm enjoying the warm breeze, with a glass of white wine, sitting on my banana lounge, watching the people go by and listening to the birds sing. And you know what! I deserve it ;)
Listening - Triple J on the work site and a mixture of my favourite tunes in the shower every evening. It's become my zen moment after a hard day, candles, wine, shower, loofa and some of my favs on the iPod ... Ahh the serenity!
Watching - X-men first class. It's probably herecy to say that I liked it better than the others, but I did.
Reading - Just finished the Coraline graphic novel.
State of mind - sad that my building adventure is over, but glad as well. Looking forward to starting painting, but dreading it as well. It's all very complexed.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Mini Finale to the Max


I'm sort of sick of blogging about the house.  I keep wanting to type words like, strapping, V-Joints and router.  In fact more that once I have deleted a post I was 1/2 way through writing because on a reread, it bored even me.

The thing is that I can't capture in words, the almost velvety softness of new floor boards under my feet.  I'm unable to help you visualise how lovely it is sitting on the deck after work with a cider in hand, chatting in the sun. I will never be able to express how lovely the colours are in the flesh.  These things I just can not adequately put into words.

So yeah, I'm sick of blogging about the house but seeing that at the moment it is the main focus of my day (all day every day) its hard not to share.  Not only because each time it moves forward I get a little buzz of excitement, but also because everyday I am doing things I'm so proud of.

Never more than today, as today all major construction is complete!

Sure there are still lots (and lots) of little bits to be done.  And then we have to paint, and sand and oil the floors and then get come contractors in to do the tiling and the brick fence, and we have to organise the garden beds and plant.  But for the rest of this week we are done!

Next week we finish up with Ant after a few days fixing up the upstairs doors and making some fly screens.  Then its up to AB and I to paint.

We are also going to be taking a break before we do a lot of the other final bits.  So this is probably my last 'house' post for a while, (do I hear a hell's yeah!!!) as realistically until its painted there will be nothing interesting enough to talk about.

I wonder what I will do with my time once it's all complete, I'll both miss it and be glad to be able to focus on the rest of my life again.  No matter what I think I'll be spending a heap more time sitting out the front!

Monday, 17 October 2011

The Beginning of the End

No, it's not almost finished but it's starting to look like it is. Probably about two or so weeks to go .... (omg how will I survive). Tonight I'm exhausted, not so much from the physical work but the mental work of having too much on my plate. So instead of talking you through what we did today on site, I'm going to walk you through my day.

- Woke at 7.30am to Ant on the doorstep, rushed down to make coffee for everyone and say goodbye to AB.
- Started taking timbers upstairs, while arguing with the kids.
- Make lunchboxes, sort through many, many baskets of clean clothes looking for pairs of socks and old clothes for me to wear for the work day ahead.
- Drop kids off at school, talk to teacher about why school work isn't done (mummy forgot) and other teacher about why child is in a bad mood (mummy couldn't find matching socks).
- Go to very blokey local hardware to buy drill bits.
- Start sorting boards into lengths while Ant cuts them and then help to drill and nail in each board for entire top deck.
- Run up and down stairs at least 20 times as Ant needs things.
- Sweep upper and lower decks.
- Realise it's 1.30pm and we haven't stopped for a break so go downstairs to make sandwiches and cold drinks.
- Start cutting boards to fit the ends of beams.
- Call divine and amazing friend, as I am covered in sawdust and fiberglass splinters, to pick up children.
- Sand the cut edges of boards, find more tools, screws, and bits or wood for Ant.
- Clean decks again. Also do quick sweep inside as I had forgotten to close front door so entire house is full of sawdust.
- Hold up 6mtr long board while Ant nails it in place (get more splinters and a blood blister for my effort)
- Make kids snacks, put on DVD, referee brotherly quarrels.
- Realise it 5pm and start cleaning site, sweeping (again) packing all the tools I'd gathered away again, moving large bits of timber into the back yard.
- Feed dogs.
- Sort out wood order with Ant for tomorrow over a cider and a sit down.
- Realise it 6pm, start kids dinner.
- Clean kitchen, put on load of washing, sweep entire house, sort through and fold clothes so we don't have another sock meltdown tomorrow.
- Feed kids and realise I have nothing ready for ABs dinner.
- Decide he can have frozen soup from last week and I'll eat kids leftovers.
- Shower, dress and take children to bed. Sing two songs about stars while kids stick glowing stickers to the wall (all the while realizing that I have A LOT of sawdust in my hair).
- Finally get to have a shower myself at 9pm just as AB gets home.
- Write this as I head up to bed, ready to start all over again tomorrow.

No wonder I'm tired ... but boy the house is starting to look fantastic!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

With a Roof and a Floor

So after weeks of fiddly little bits where no one else but us would know and a few weeks holiday our site is finally visually moving forward again.

This week has been about getting the tin roof on and on Friday starting on the beautiful black butt, tongue and groove, deck. Unfortunately it rained a bit on Friday evening so they look a bit trashy at the moment (but they will come back with a light sand and a top coat).

It's all starting to look like a verandah!!!

Tomorrow we keep going on the top decks floor and then it's facia boards and balustrades. After that ... Who knows?

It's excited to be getting closer to the end and start to see the details come into place. At some time soon, I will need to get going with the painting but that will be after most of the construction is done.

We are still a long way off finished. If there is one thing I have learnt it's that everything takes twice as long as I think it will.

I'm not sure what I will do with myself after the build is finished. I'm sure I'll start remembering what it's like NOT ignoring the kids, or how it feels to be relatively clean all day, or how to have a little 'me' time in my week. But for now we keep plowing on and luckily it's all worth it for how good I feel when I do something I didn't think I could or another bit suddenly falls into place.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Conversations with a 6.5 yr old - Faith

Jack - Mum what do you believe in?
Me - What do you mean?
J - I mean Buddhism, God ... I know you don't believe in God but what do you believe in?
Me - I believe a mixture of things. What do you believe?
J - I believe in Buddhism, 99%
Me - That's good babe, it's always good to leave enough space in what you believe to ask questions. Do you believe in reincarnation?
Jack - I think so, we might need more time and to experience being an animal or a bug. I hope next time I come back as a dragon!! There could be dragons in China? ... Or anywhere? No one knows everything, not even scientists.

(Mind you the whole conversation led to me talking about sponges and how they used to pull them out from the sea and use them in the bath. To which he replied "Really! Did they used to do that in your time". I laughed and he asked what was funny and I said "I don't feel so old but I guess to you I am". Of course his reply was "Yeah you do seem old to me, but that's ok mum, 34 is a lot older than almost 7")

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Brotherly Love?

My boys are completely besotted with each other. The amount of love and care that they often show each other astounds me. At 3.5 Jacks way of caring for his brother at preschool was something most of the teachers pulled me aside and praised. At 4 Hamish's way of sticking up for his brother when other children or I were fighting with him was beautiful to watch.

That's my disclaimer to this post. Because of course my kids also fight like cats and dogs. Now don't get me wrong, I know this is normal and that as children who spend so much time together it's expected. I have even spoken to them about the fact that most families have some fighting in them and that it's normal and doesn't mean that we don't all love each other.

They actually fight a lot less than they used to as they get older, they seem to be getting better at working together to come to a solution they are both happy with. And it's with relief (for all of us) that these days when they do fight it's a lot less physical, so although they do sometimes escalate to the point of thumping one another, it more often just yelling and screaming or using harsh tones and mean words. It's not an every day thing, it's not even an every few days thing but when it happens it's almost always something like this;

It's my turn, no it's mine, no, yes, no, yes, nonononono, yesyesyesyes, NOOO, YESSSS .... MUUUUUM!!! He won't, MUUUUM!!! He won't either ....... MUUUUUM!!! (but the whole thing goes for at least 5 minutes)

And I then usually intervene, trying without taking sides to find some middle ground. Sometimes this winds up with me yelling as well, or threatening to take the object or activity of contention away. In the end we are all cranky with each other and nothing is really resolved.

I'm trying something new these days. At times when everyone is happy I am talking to them about both trying to see when their behaviour is about to lead to a fight. And also the idea that instead of relying on me to mediate, finding a way to stop themselves.

We talk about the ideas of ignoring annoying behavior so that they don't find it annoying in the first place. We talk about walking away so that they can have a break from each other. We talk about trying to negotiate with each other and come to a compromise.

Mostly we talk about the fact that AB and I don't want to have to be put in the middle of an argument between our two favourite people in the world and how we hope that as they grow and get older they will learn to sort things out without them both getting so mad at each other.

As two people raising sibling but never having siblings themselves it's an interesting thing to watch. I often wish I had a sibling so that I could have some reference point. What did my parents do? How did it affect my relationship with my siblings? Etc. Having the insight might not help us much as I think it would, but at least I'd have another sibling relationship to get ideas from.

Anyway, my new way of dealing with it certainly isn't an instant success but I think as it goes on the arguments are getting sorted out more often between themselves. I'm feeling positive about this course of action as it feels like I am giving them skills for conflict resolution and hopefully this will help them more and more as time goes on.

I wonder what other parent do? Or what your parents did with your siblings? Can you actually identify any reasons you do or do not have good relationships with your siblings? Is there one big answer? Probably not.

In the end I'm sure my kids have an amazing and loving relationship and I believe that it will always be that way. Time will tell I guess and at least this way there is a lot less MUUUUMMMMM!!

Watching - Big Bang new eps
Reading - Still on Sandman
Listening - Yesss, nooo, Yesss, nooo
State of mind - after this mornings sibling disagreement, pretty glad it's a preschool day and the boys have a bit of space from one another.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Bye Bye Birdie



Not long after mum died AB and I went away for a few weeks. We drove from Sydney to Adelaide, up to Alice Springs, across to Brisbane and home again. It was a quick trip to get us out of our grieving space and take some time out of the real world for a while.

While we were in Alice we saw these paintings by an indigenous artist who also designed the aboriginal flag. They were beautiful. All of them in some way were of birds native to the area and all of them screamed space and peacefulness.  In the state of mind that we were both in we bought one.

We had it framed a year or so later after we got back from living in Singapore and almost immediately as we put it on the wall I knew it wasn't really a painting that would bring me joy for years to come. It's just not my style.  Firstly I'm not really a landscape person, secondly I'm not really a bird person and thirdly I'm not really a water colour person.

But it was expensive and even if it wasn't my style it was beautiful and worthy of respect. So on our wall it stayed.

Today as I cleaned and preened around the house I looked at our birds and finally felt that I'd had enough of it dominating our living space. I took it down and tried to imagine what I would actually love on that wall.  I found an old mirror in my hiddey hole under the stairs. And a few frames waiting to be filled. I moved almost every wall hanging or artwork in our house and finally felt like our living space was more the way I wanted it.

The birds have been moved into the study. And although I'm still not loving them I feel like they work better in this space.

I think that the choices I have made in the lounge are good, but it's not perfect yet (maybe it never will be) so I'm certain I will be fiddling with it for a while yet. But for now I'm feeling pretty impressed with the results.

So tonight as I sit relaxing in our newly tweaked lounge room, I'm reminded  how changing your space can really change your frame of mind as you live in the space. As they say 'a change is as good as a holiday'. And tonight apparently I'm having another mini break. Now all we need is to paint the lounge and maybe I'll finally be happy with it :)

Reading - Sandman Trade PB 8
Watching - Fringe S4
Listening - To the hum of the city once again
State of mind - Glad I accomplished my spring clean and wondering when I can convince AB that we need another mini break again.

Monday, 3 October 2011

October in the Chair

Ahhh October long weekend, I love you but do you always have to rain!

The upside of the 3 days of non stop rain is that I am no longer sad that we didn't go camping in Bellingen for the carnival. Last time it rained for 3 days when we were there and the amount of mud mixed with being colder than normal and outdoor pit toilets meant that it was an extra specially feral time had by all. Did I enjoy it at the time? Yep. Am I eager to do it again? Nup.

There has also been considerably less traffic on the roads, I'm assuming the weather turned people off a trip up the coast so that's a pretty big bonus as well.

But what's amazing about this long weekend is how with all the rain, and four children cooped up inside (with no TV or any other electrical devices) it wasn't a complete disaster. In fact mostly the kids were brilliant. Sure they bickered and took almost everything to the limit, but they are kids and I wouldn't have them being those seen and not heard kinda kids ...(well not all the time, once in a while might be quite nice I guess;) So they played imaginary games, ate, drew and made thing, ate, ran, ate, a few times they rugged up and braved the weather with bags to collect treasures and ate some more.

The men spent time building fires, reading motorbike mags, drinking cider, and occasionally doing little errands as the rain eased for 20 mins or so. We women spent a fair amount of time making food for the kids, drinking red wine, chatting and generally pottering around in a mumsy kind of way whilst slightly ignoring everyone but each other trying (successfully) to complete the many conversations we have started over the last few months but didn't ever find our way to finishing them.

In the end the rain didn't really hinder our time away much at all. And so as we drive home I'm grateful for good friendd, the kind of people who never seem to encroach on your personal space and you can always think of something to laugh about with. Cool kids, who the older they get the prouder I am of their resilience, ability to take challenging situations on the chin, and to be be kind and generous of spirit amongst it all. And especially for having the kind of lifestyle where we get to go away for these mini breaks at all. They always refresh my mind a little, help the tension in my shoulder relax a little, and bring us all to a more centered place as a family.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Long Weekends and Mini Breaks.

It's the October long weekend! This usually means we pack our bags, grab our camping equipment and head off to Global Carnival for days and nights of music, swimming and generally getting our feral vibe on.

But not this year, the timing was off, no one else from the usual crew was going, ABs work is busy and the whole front reno thing means that this year is not a good year for 10 days off. Instead we are headed north to a friends holiday house for a mini break.

It's a real bush hideaway. Mud bricks, tank water, massive wooden beams, creeks and wildlife galore.

I'm completely jazzed to be getting away for a while I think we are all in need of a change of space and speed and a few days chilling with some good friends and their kids will be perfect for that.

I'm also, as always when heading to a newish space with the family and joining up with another family, slightly apprehensive as to how the whole thing is going to pan out (especially seeing the amount of rain we are meant to be experiencing the whole weekend).

There's no mobile phone coverage which is brilliant as it will give AB the space he deserves to let his hair down, which is his line of work (and with his clients) is often extremely hard.

So we will be off the grid for a few days. Let's hope the sun breaks through occasionally, that the weather is mild, that all the kids run and explore without much input from us so we can sit and soak up the serenity!

Oh and seeing it's the October long weekend let's hope for manageable traffic and no accidents on the road as well (it's going to be a loooong drive otherwise)

Watching - didn't end up getting round to watching Thor.
Reading - been downloading a fair few comics trying to see what I like and what doesn't inspire me. It's a whole process :)
Listening - kids prattling on in the back seat until they fell asleep and now are lightly snoring.
State of mind - ahhhhh ....... (squeak, just don't rain too much)

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Hamish Takes Flight

Today's outing to the pool proved fruitful as I watched Hamish's tentative nature around deep water slowly relax. As he watched Jack jump and swim and splash I think he noted that it seemed a lot more fun than hanging around the edge holding on to it (or me).

I can see why he is tentative about it. He seem to get an extraordinary amount of water up his nose, but as he plays he is figuring that out as well.

So within 2 hours we went from monkey grip on the edge to running and jumping in!! (to be honest the amount of water that pours out of his nose made me wonder why he goes back for more? But I admire his bravery and tenacity in the face of this adversity).

I'm bored now! I want to go home, get dry and put my feet up. But it's hard to pull them away from such fun ... actually normally for me it's not ... I must be growing :). Thank god the coffee shop here makes great coffee, I thought to bring my iPhone and it's only a two minute drive home!

The End is Nigh

I've talked about my fascination with Neil Gaiman a few times before. The fact that I have loved one of his books since I was 22 but had not explored the rest of his work until a few years ago and how unlike most of his fans his comic series Sandman (what bought him to fame in the first place) was actually the last thing of his I read.

There are 10 volumes in the Sandman library. And as a way of making them last I have gone slowly on ordering them. You see they are the last new (to me) Gaimans there are to read until he publishes something new. And we all know how long some authors can go between books.

This week thanks to the Book Depository (and me ordering them) I have received the last three in the series. My instant reaction was 'OMG! I'm going to be reading comics all day, perfect'. I opened the first one and with a sudden overwhelming fear I close it again.

The truth is, I'm desperate to read them! I've finally got the rest of these comics that I have been coveting for almost two years, slowly devouring them, making my 'cake' last. But once I've finished my cake, there is no more cake! And I know I'm going to want more cake!

Now if this is the biggest issue I have all day, I'm a very lucky woman, I know this. But still ....

So for now I will just look at them longingly for a while, I may clean the house while looking at them and do the multitude of other little things that I need to do while looking at them. Knowing all the while that at some point in the not to distant future, I may have to make do with another flavor of cake for a long while to come.

Watching - I've just grabbed a copy of Thor and am hoping to watch it tonight. By the way the Bill Paxton schlock movie was truly and wonderfully terrible.
Reading - nothing, did you read the above post? ;)
Listening - To the rain engulfing my worksite.
State of mind - Scratchy, a mixture of bad weather and kids stuck inside tends to do that to me.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The Sun Will Come Out

When we started fixing up the front of the house I realized that I needed to think of it in four stages, the apex, the balcony, the porch and the garden. The reason for this is that each area had very separate things that needed to be done at very different times. The apex was the first part that needed to be complete because we wouldn't be able to start on the balcony's tin roof until it was done.

As of yesterday stage one of four is complete!!

It looks like such a small part of the whole thing, but realistically as it was the least cared for section it needed the most detailed work. We had to set up a boardwalk about as wide as my feet so we could reach to take down the barge boards, fix the pitching plate to the wall and drill out the bricks to support the frame for the balcony's tin roof and add new barge boards and a finial. Then it was time to start prepping the wall surface (this included scrapping off old paint, filling almost all of the spaces between the bricks, paint a sticky coat, two texture coats and two colour coats).

Like I said it looks like such a small part of the whole, but all up I've been up on that board hanging almost three stories in the air, for over four days.

The colour looks great, we ended up choosing Dulux Domino for the walls and Dulux Hogs Bristle 1/8 strength for the woodwork. It's definitely going to be an acquired taste for some people, but once it's all put together and the planting, wooden floors and tessellated tiles softens the overall look, I'm sure they will come around (and if they dont well hey! it's our house :)

Anyway, seeing the weather is going to be revolting for the rest of the week, and we are headed away for the long weekend, work has come to a standstill until next week. To be honest it's a welcome break, it should give my hands a chance to heal and my body a chance to relax. I am eagerly anticipating the finish though and think after our mini break I'll be keen to get my hands dirty again as we start seeing some of the final touches come together. For now I'll just look at the top 1/3 of the house and grin.

Reading - I finally got my RSS feeds organized on my iPad so I'm catching up on my blog reading.
Watching - Right now, a very terrible thriller movie that I can't stop watching because of my obsession with Bill Paxtons d-grade movies.
Listening - To Jack and his friend singing hip-hop songs while making things out of clay.
State of Mind - Relaxed but could do with being even more so :)

Sign of the Times

Tonight after watching an ad for the iPhone on the TV, Jack asked me if I liked my phone. I said that I did and then wondered out loud what mobile phones would look like when he was old enough for one.

He looked at me puzzled, and then asked me what I meant, what did mobile phones look like when I first got one?

I mentioned that when I first had a mobile they were bigger and all they did was make phone calls. He looked perplexed and said 'no games?' nup, all it did was make phone calls, you couldn't even send text messages. He looked confused as if the idea was unthinkable.

It's an interesting thought. My kids will think it's normal that almost everyone has a mobile phone, and that they do a multitude of things beyond phone calls. They will never think of a computer as one per family. In fact I wonder if they will even recall that not everyone has a gaming device of some sort, or a multitude of online electricals, or the ability to skype when people are away, and all of the technologies that still seem quiet miraculous to me.

It's a different world for them, as it was a different world for me compared to my parents. And I guess one day they will be having the same thoughts as they watch their kids.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Today Haul 7

The last few weeks have been hectic and the time that I have spent one on one with the boys has been limited. Today was the first day of the school holidays where Jack and I got to have a real mummy and Jack day.

In true 'my son' style he opted to spend the day browsing a few secondhand shops and having a coffee/smoothie together. We went to three of our favorite op shops and had an impressive score.

- A hat for Jack (pictured) I'm so into his style at the moment.
- An army style hat for Hamish.
- A business shirt for AB (as new).
- A pretty glittery skirt and a completely unrelated glittery cardie for me.
- A small 1.5 x 1 meter flokati rug in white for our bedroom (as new).
- Another pair of roller shoes.
- 6 early reader type books for Hamish.
- A pair of red ballet slipper type shoes for me.
- 2 clasp shut glass jars for the kitchen.
- 2 small toys.
- A pair of swimmers for Jack.
- A small (and completely unneeded but funky) leather purse.

All for just over $40. Once again I'm enthralled by how much cool and (generally) needed stuff can be found without spending much money at all. I mean the shirt I bought AB is an expensive brand and if I had bought it brand new it would have been at least $60-80.

Watching - paint dry.
Listening - to Jacks hilarious views on the world.
Reading - well it would be Sandman #8 if it had arrived but in the hilariously frustrating Book Depository way I received #9 first.
State of mind - completely relaxed, paintwork (check), fun times with J (check), weekend away organized (check), everything else ... always gets done somehow (usually by me in those little moments where I'm not doing everything else)

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Just For You

Once in a while you come across something while you are browsing the second hand shops that you know is just for you. A few weeks ago I came across one such purchase. I'm sure loads of people would have walked passed a 1.2 meter high inflatable TARDIS and not looked twice. But in our household this is manna from heaven. And at the outrageous sum of $4 it was well and truly the find of the year ... If not the century!

Watching - Old school Doctor Who, the Tom Baker years. I'm loving rewatching these episodes from my childhood and loving even more how much my kids are loving them as well.

Listening - The rain falling on our tarp covered floorboards and hoping they survive the weather.

Reading - Scott Pilgrim

State of mind - About as tired as I have ever been, not enjoying the rain except for the fact it's giving me a reason not to be prepping the walls getting ready to paint.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

How's The View?

I have never sat on the second floor balcony of our house. It wasn't safe ... actually worse, it felt safe and if you didn't look closely it looked safe-ish but realistically it was barely holding on to the house.

Today after two hard days work we (Ant, my FIL and I) got the beams and support structure done and this afternoon Ant and I enjoyed a cider sitting atop my brand new balcony.

The project is still a long way from being finished. There's the posts to erect, the roof, the proper flooring, painting and a hundred other little bits to do. Not to mention the brick fence, the path being tiled and then the landscaping.

But for tonight I'm going to stand at my upstairs bedroom window and imagine.

Reading - ...
Listening - Kimbra, in preparation for her show tomorrow !!!
Watching - ...
State of Mind - Excited and exhausted

Sunday, 11 September 2011

The Whole (Front Yard) Story



This is our front yard when we bought the house. 

Quiet quickly after we moved in we took down the blinds and added a few bits and piece.  Seeing that our street is quiet communal it became a place to sit and share a cuppa, or watch the kids play. 

 After a few years the front and side fence started to fall down so we pulled it down.  The top deck had always been unstable, we have never used it to sit on but I did used to go out and hang our blankets or rugs on it to air them.  A few years ago it seriously started to deteriorate and even going on it to hang the blankets out started to feel like playing russian roulette.

So a few months ago we started thinking about renovating the front.  I soon realised that this was a lot more work than just pulling down the deck and putting up a new one.  The lower level (the porch) needed to be lifted to create a strong enough footing for the upper level.

So began our project.  We needed to completely pull our front yard apart and start again.

First thing to go were our ancient hibiscus and rosemary bushes and a massive fern.  We tried to replant both the rosemary and fern but neither survived.  At the same time we also propped up the deck as we had checked it more thoroughly and realised it was almost falling off the house.

After weeks of talking and planning a start date was agreed upon with Ant our friend and leader (forman) of our project.  The first thing to do was that I needed to try and salvage as many of our tessellated tiles as possible.  The truth is that AB has never loved our tiles and I always have, so trying to both salvage them and then think of what to do with them was days worth of talking.  We decided that if I could lift enough of them then we would use them to make the path leading up to our new porch.  It took me three full days of slowly chipping and violently hammering to save, what I estimate as, 75% of the tiles.  Thankfully that should be enough to recreate the same pattern.  (more on that later as the tiler actually starts laying them)


Then the big stuff started, on Monday (while I was busy supporting a couple birthing their first child) AB and Ant pulled down the deck.  By the time I got home it was gone and they were starting to lift the concrete.


For the rest of Monday, all of Tuesday and Wednesday, the three of us dug holes and bucketed the dirt not only for the piers to support the deck, but also for the supports for a brick fence to surround the yard, to create enough space between the lower porch and the earth and make a place for our new (and moved) path.  It was hard, every part of my and ABs bodies were aching as we both worked physically for longer than we had done in many years.  All up we have taken 10 cubic meters (3 skips) of rubble dirt and balcony out of our front yard.


Finally all the holes were dug, the formwork was put in to hold the concrete in the right place and steal work was added to all of the holes to give the concrete enough strength.  The council guy can out to make sure we were up to code and gave us the go ahead to pour the concrete on Friday.

Then on Friday it rained.

Saturday we woke up and bucketed water out of the deepest holes and thankfully the sun was shining so  we could finally poured the concrete.   Its all starting to come together.  I can now see the spaces better and I can't help but wonder and be excited at the idea of what the front of our house will look like by the end of the coming week. You see last week was all about pulling the front yard apart but this week we start doing the woodwork, painting the facade (the colour swatches on the wall are some of the colours we are thinking of as the house colour, off set with white detailing and a red front door), all in all we are starting to put the front back together. 
Once the porch and the deck are complete, we get a bricklayer in to do the fence and then the tiler to do the path, and do the landscaping, then TADA ... it's finished (hopefully).  AB has promised me a daybed to sit on the porch so I can relax comfortably and take in all of our hard work.  I can wait!!

 PS.  I have no idea where we will put our street loved lions but still hope to find a (less obvious) place for them in the front yard somewhere.

Watching - Torchwood, Miracle Day finale
Reading - Scott Pilgrim
Listening - Whatever is on my favourites at the moment ... music makes the work go faster :)
State of mind - Honestly I'm exhausted (not helped by going out both Friday and Saturday nights)

Thursday, 8 September 2011

On and On and On ...


There is really nothing new to report today. I dug out and bucketed more dirt, I scraped, cut and battered my poor hands a little more, we added cages to our holes to reinforce the concrete we are pouring tomorrow (if you pray please do it for no rain for the next 48 hours), we knocked up boards to hold in the concrete for the paths mini slab and I dug and bucketed some more.

I'm sore, tired and my house is full of dirt. In fact seeing that I have been doing building stuff, the whole house/kids stuff is getting left behind.

Funny thing is, I'm kind of digging it (if you'll excuse the pun). Working with my hands, bantering with the workmen (AB and his mate Ant), learning carpentry words like arris, cupping and rebar, thinking about details and learning the many sorts of details that go into what is a relatively small job. And on and on and on. In fact for all the cuts, scratches, pulled muscles and so on, I'm actually enjoying myself ... Well I'm enjoying it once it's over for the day, during the digging and bucketing I'm not enjoying it that much :) Saying that I'm very glad tomorrow is Friday.

One thing I've been thinking is maybe we all need this once in a while.  It's not a holiday but it is a change from the norm, it's a working holiday at home. It's also trying something new that will give me something at the end I can enjoy. So whether it's picking up a paint brush, opening your sewing machine, anything that is something you have never done before, why don't you have a working home holiday this weekend.

Listening - Kimbra 'Vows'
Watching - Old school Doctor Who (Tom Baker)
Reading - Fables
State of Mind - ... No time to think I'm to busy digging

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Excavation!

Monday - support a couple having a baby. Get home at lunch, start bucketing dirt (aprox one cubic meter)

Tuesday - spend all day bucketing dirt into a skip (aprox three cubic meters)

Wednesday - spend most of the day bucketing dirt (aprox three cubic meters). Do data entry during breaks for my actual work.

Feeling tired (tick), feeling like we've accomplished a lot (tick), feeling like blogging is beyond me (tick), feeling overjoyed that today was my last day of bucketing dirt (hellyeah tick)

Listening - ...
Reading - ...
Watching - ...
State of mind - ... phew ...

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

See Ya Later Alligator

It's quiet here in blog land at the moment. Normally I have no excuses but this week I most certainly do. We are starting the renovations on the front of our house. I want to do lots of posts on the whole process but not tonight. I'm exhausted after bucketing somewhere near three cubic meters of dirt and rock and concrete. My fingers are barely working well enough to type even this much. So for now photo proof of the work so far (missing the huge holes we dug in the yard today). Tomorrow we continue digging about another two cubic meters. So I'm guessing no blog posting tomorrow either. Any free time will be spend trying to heal my blisters and soak my oh so aching back.

Watching - the level of soil go down in the yard and up in the skip.

Listening - whatever pops up on random from my iPod. The music does soothe the soul but does little for my aching back.

Reading - absolutely nothing.

State of mind - excited to be started, scared of the work to come.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Men V Women (Or AB V Me)

Me: Did Ned Kelly have family?
AB: Probably.
Me: I've never heard of him having kids, I mean he died young.
AB: He was hung?
Me: What do you mean by that? What's penis size got to do with it?

Ok, not my finest moment and a reminder for me that two glasses of champagne really takes me to the gutter. But I stand by my further discussion with AB that his comment was slightly out of the box as we were talking about children etc, not how he died!!

Something You Love

I've said it before, life is hard. It's harder by far than I ever thought it would be. On the upside it is also much more beautiful than I ever thought it would be, but sometimes it's hard to remember this.
The monotony and struggle of life sometimes seems to overwhelm our ability to see the beauty. And more often than not we don't spend enough time doing things we love to remind us.
So this is a shout out to 'DO SOMETHING YOU LOVE THIS WEEK'.
See a friend
Read a book ... in the bath, with wine
Play, sing, swim, dance
Climb a tree
Kiss someone you love
Make love to someone you love
Only share your precious time and devotion with people who love you the way you deserve (not the way you think you deserve)
This week I have heard of three marriages on the rocks, a friendship of over 15 years coming to an end, no sleep, financial stress, and on and on it goes.
We all worry about money, our parenting, our relationships, and the direction of our lives. These things sit on our shoulders like weights. So again 'DO SOMETHING YOU LOVE'.
It will change none of the above stressors. But it might (probably) change the way you feel about everything else. Truth be told that the more you do things that bring you joy the easier all the hard stuff seems.
Get a manicure
Spend hours cleaning you motorbike
Sit .... Sit .... Sit
Buy a plane ticket, a perfectly made coffee, a new lipstick
Move house
Paint a room, a piece of paper, a T-shirt.
Last week Jack saw these boots. His love for them was invigorating. And it was obvious that once they were on his feet something about these boots made his heart sing. We all deserve to feel that way once in a while.
So do something, anything that makes you remember who you are beyond work, school, children, finances and partners. Do something that makes your heart sing!!
Watching - My new dodgy obsession is a discovery doco about hoarders.
Reading - Maus
Listening - the Herds new album 'future shade' seriously get it ($9.99 on the elefant traks website) listen to the song Shihaba and shed a tear as it's based (strongly) on a real story.
State of mind - making plans to get out of this rut life's in!!

Monday, 22 August 2011

89 Years Young

Today we had a funeral for Andrews Grandpa. As funerals go it was lovely simple and honest, just like he was.

I didn't really know my grandparents. My mothers father died when I was nine, and her mother died before I was born. My fathers parents were in the UK and so I knew them simply through a visit or two and birthday cards.

My ideas of grandparents were gained through watching other people's grannies or by watching the few old people that knew growing up.

Mick Harrold was the first real grandparent I got to know close up. He was exactly what you would want a grandpa to be. He was kind and sometimes moody, he was honest and loving to everyone, especially me, he was funny when called for but mostly he sat quietly drinking his tea and watching the commotion around him.

He was spritely until only recently, and died suddenly but coincidently (or if your spiritual at all, not so coincidently) holding his wife of 63 years hand.

It was a good death, moments before it he asked for orange juice and had been talking to one of his sons and his wife. And then he slipped quickly and quietly within a breath.

We should all hope for such a death.
No pain, just old, still with most of our faculties (although they were just starting to fade) holding someone who had loved us for the vast majority of our lives hand.

Today I stood and looked at his body and he looked as peaceful as I have ever seen someone who has died. I told him that, I had never told him in life that I loved him but I believed he knew it and I knew that he loved me too. I could feel it as he jumped up to give me tight cuddles and stubbly kisses, in the way he told me stories about his his life, marriage, religious beliefs (he had none, but lived a life that any god would be proud of), and in the way when everyone else was fussing he would give me a quick glance and a cheeky smile as if to say 'I know you think this is as silly as I do'.

Goodbye Grandpa Mick, thank you got being my grandpa too.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Party Finale!

As usual with the whole birthday party thing I took very few photos as I was to busy talking and refilling drinks.

After most of the kids had already left I remembered the helium balloons AB had bought for kids to take home, and so we had a house filled with 25 beautiful balloons. So instead the stragglers and I wrote wishes on them and sent them into the sky.

Mostly the wishes were for puppies, blocks, kittens or dinosaurs but the idea was still sweet and the excitement as they watched them float away was priceless.

All birthday parties for this year are complete (yay). Now it's time for the mammoth clean up and to sit down and relax.

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