Sunday, 27 March 2011

People you Meet

The longer I live in this area the more I love it!

On Friday a friend and I decided to go out for some child free time. As always I said I wanted to go to the pub. For me there is no better place to chill out on a Friday night. You always end up meeting people or listening to music or just generally getting silly in a way you wouldn't do in a restaurant.

Because of budget constraints we decided to go to our local. It's a bit of a tradie/old man/parents with kids pub and not exactly 'the' place to go when your childless. Saying that I love that no matter what pub you go to in our area, the chances are you'll meet some interesting characters.

My night started with meeting an old school friend and talking for an hour. It always surprises me that even though I now live an hour away from where I grew up, I rarely go out without seeing someone I knew from school. It was fun seeing how one of the quirkiest people from my school days has turned out as an adult.

Then my friends arrived and we moved to dinner and chatting/laughing and general mischief making.

Two guys asked if they could join us and more hilarity ensued. Including some very candid conversations about circumcision, being gay in your 40s and leather play (I little too much information).

What was going to be a quick fun but fairly quiet dinner out turned into something quite different. Hence why I love where I live, it's all about the people you meet!

Watching - Child number 1 come up with the pox.

Listening - General kids noise and some complaining about the pox.

Reading - Same as last time, it's a big book and reading isn't high on the agenda.

State of mind - Refreshed and slightly hungover, ready for another two weeks of quarantine... Kind of!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Fort Building

This is quite timely, seeing that a gorgeous friend recently told me to build a gigantic fort to keep the kids occupied during pox week.  I love this idea.  Mind you I love any idea that screams, young, idealistic, creative and world changing ... one fort at a time!

Forts and the Inbetween from Wesley Bruce on Vimeo.

Thursday, 24 March 2011


It's no news that I love my iPhone.  In fact Andrew often comments that he thinks I'm addicted.  He's not entirely wrong;


devoted or given up to a practice or habit or to something psychologically or physically habit-forming.

By this definition, actually, he's right.  The reason being that my iPhone does so much! It has replaced many different utensils in my life.  It is my phone, my gaming device, my book, my email program, my web browser, I check facebook and Twitter, I listen to my music, check the weather, It's my camera, my filofax, my blogreader and my torch. There are so many things that I use my iPhone for that it is rarely out of my hand.

The best thing is that these uses just keep growing.  The more I search through the online AppStore the more uses I find and the less often it is out of my hands.

So here is a list of my favourite Apps, skipping over the obviously useful and popular ones like email, facebook and internet readers:

Hipstamatic - Hands down my favourite photo app.  Its got some beautiful lenses and films.  Suddenly those great arthouse type photos I have coveted for years are at my fingertips, no skill required beyond picking the right camera set-up for the shot. ($)

Icredibooth - A very close second favourite photo app, but it's more specific.  It takes photos like you are in one of those old photo booths in the shopping centre.  At every chance I was dragging Andrew and the kids into these old booths because I love the candid photos they take.  Now I have one at my fingertips.  It doesn't quiet replace the proper photo booth photos because part of the fun is trying to fit four people into a space made for one, but still at $1 for the app (versus the $7 per photo at the shopping centre) it's a great app. ($)

iBooks - There are loads of ebook readers out there but this is the one that I use.  It works well, sure on the iPhone, its a small screen but I have decent eyesight so that isn't a problem for me.  And the fact that its backlit means that I no longer keep Andrew awake with my bedside lamp.  Plus I have 200+ books to read when I am out and about.  It was brilliant when I was in India because it meant that I could have a range of books without having to find space in my luggage. (free)

Soundhound - I can't tell you how many times I have been watching TV or listening to the radio and a song has come on that I don't know but wish I did.  In the past I have found some of these songs by spending time searching the web or waiting for another 4 songs to play before the radio announcer finally tells me what I was listening to.  With this app you turn it on and it listens to the music then it comes up with what the song is, most of the time with the lyrics and a link to buy it from iTunes.  You can even sing to it and it guesses what your singing, although you have to be able to kind hold a tune for this one. ($)

Soundtracking - Its a new app and I'm loving it.  I feel so out of the music world these days and this is a great way for me to see what people are listening to at the moment.  It is like Twitter but for music.  You can follow what people are listening to or see what music is trending and listen to a snippet.  It's linked to facebook and/or twitter and adds a post to tell other people what you're listening to at the time to shares the love. (free)

Words with Friends - Simply, it's online two player scrabble.  But unlike other online scrabble games you don't have to plan to have the time to play a whole game all in one go, you just take your turn when you have the chance.  I have been playing with someone called Metallican for weeks, we finish one game and start another but each game takes us about two days to finish.  I love word games but rarely have the time to sit down with actual people and play so this is a good filler. (free)

Honorable Mentions:

- Plants Vs Zombies - It's plants fighting zombies, what's not to like ($)
- Tiny Wings - the little bird can't fly so you help it jump from island to island, its cute with very sweet (basic) graphics and they give you missions to make the novelty last longer ($)
- Carnivores - guns, dinosaurs and spaceships that pick up your dead dinos, bring you ammo and move you around the map, I'm a pacifist, against hunting truly I am but boy I love this game (free)
- Fruit Ninja - cut fruit ... its that easy, best of all you can play online with real opponents ($)

- Flixster - check out what movies are on and when locally with the touch of a button (free)
- XE Currency - saved me when I was in India! Seeing that I'm terrible with numbers it was a quick currency converter that helped me decide what price I was willing to pay for things (free)
- Ocarina - lets you use your iPhone like a woodflute.  Why? Why not! (free)
- iTorch4 - turns the flash on your iPhone 4 into a torch, believe it or not I use this all the time (free)
- Netnewswire - news feed reader (blogs mainly) (free)

There are so many more, and quiet a few that I've tried and they failed me but the exciting thing is that I also know there will be more, and the uses for my iPhone will continue to grow.  What apps do you love? use all the time? Found and are just obsessed with? paid for and stink?

In the end Andrew is right, I may be addicted but seeing that it is the most useful device in our home and from my point of view saves us money in the long run, this could be one of those addictions that is a positive thing.

Reading - On my iPhone
Listening - On my iPhone
Watching - Myself killing dinosaurs or cutting fruit or my kids playing and photographing it on my iPhone
State of mind - well and truly but happily addicted to my iPhone :)

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

How To: Steampunk Goggles

Another groovy video from the web!!!  I talk all the time about how much I love the weird, wonderful and innovative things people decide to do and then share on the internet.  This one makes me wish that I had a random baseball hanging around the house. Then again I could grab myself some leather and make some for both the boys!!  (Ok, Ok for me as well :)

How To Snakes

I loved my modular snake as a kid. I also was addicted to the snake game for quiet a while as it and frogger were the only two games we had for our Macintosh. ( I can still hear the frogger, snake and insert disk sounds in my head if I close my eyes)

Owls and Cats and Pompoms ... Oh My!!

A few months ago Jack was having nightmares about a black cat with yellow eyes.  It was disturbing him in a way I've not seen before and so to help him process it I asked him if he could draw the cat for me.  He did.  But then he asked me if I could help him draw a better cat. Because I'm not a drawer I started looking online for some tutorials.

I found a site called Art Projects for Kids.  Its got some great examples of how to draw certain things and prompted a lot of discussion with Jack and Hamish about how drawing things realistically is often about looking for different shapes in an object and putting them all together.  We printed out quiet a few and made our own little 'How to Draw' book.

No one paid much attention to it after that first week but pox week re-inspired both of the boys to try them again.  As I watched I had some worries that they would think that 'the' way to draw was to follow the directions exactly.  But I was especially excited as I watched how they both added their own details.  Also they have both been using the idea of finding shapes in order to draw other pictures. 

Hamish's second owl, "This one is a square owl mummy and its made of fire!"

Jack's cat.  We printed off a lot of different styles of cat and Jack has played around with all of them.  This is my favourite.

Yesterday the boys got into the craft box and Jack found a little pompom.  He's one of those kids that always has treasures in his pockets or stashed in his hand and after an hour I realised he still had this pompom.  Andrew mentioned that mummy could show them how to make pompoms (thanks for that).  At first I thought that this activity would last about 10 minutes but I was surprised that both of them, especially Jack were so excited by the end result that they kept up pompom making all day.  My mum was an avid needleworker and so I have all of her left over yarns in a myriad of colours and had often wondered what I would do with these little bits of coloured wool.  There was something extra special about watching my boys rummage through her stash and find colours that pleased them to make something that was giving them both so much joy.  

By the end of the day we had made 10 pompoms, in an assortment of rainbow colours.  Some were messy and clashed vibrantly and others were soft little circles of gorgeous complimentary colours.  All of them are beautiful.   

And so its official, pox week is over!!  Jack went to school today and Hamish is no longer contagious.  The funny thing is I'm feeling a little sad about it.  I was enjoying having both of the boys home.  Although some days were challenging enough to have me pulling my hair out in frustration, there was something nurturing about the three of us being stuck in the house and trying to find ways of occupying and enjoying each other.  

Saying that I cant wait for next Monday, when I finally get some 'me time'.  Although knowing me I'll probably spend it mopping the floors, I'm also determined to do something nice for myself... maybe a massage or just sitting quietly for an hour.

Reading - Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell,  Second time I've picked this one up, I'm hoping it grabs me this time
Watching - Weeds S5 
Listening -  Art vs Science, Weeds Soundtrack, James Blake Echoes
State of mind - Happy sad and generally peaceful, Ahhhh ....

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Painting, Rain and Pox

The problem with your child having chicken pox is the quarantine. Sure the actual pox are awful but I've got to say that the quarantine is (for me) worse.
Jack, Hamish and I have been housebound for a week now. They are being about as chilled as you can expect two uber confined little boys to be. I on the other hand, am going slightly mad.
The first few days were fine, but the last few have found me walking around the house sighing at every turn at how weathered and worn every room (bar the hallway) feels.
Skip to me convincing AB that painting the kitchen was a great idea (although we both must have been crazy to have thought that painting with two little boys at home, both of whom are feeling edgy, was a great idea).
Anyway, he in his infinite wisdom decided that I should wait for him and we would do it together. On one hand this was a great idea. It's a better job than I would have done on my own and it was finished in a day and a half. On the other hand, he despises painting, so the day and a half was filled with as much grown man complaining as it was bored children complaining.
It's been bucketing down for two days, so not optimal painting weather. But that being said, the sun has come out just as we have finished.
Without before pictures to show you, the above picture doesn't really capture the new and improved kitchen but just imagine grease stained duck egg blue walls and bright blue struts for the bench and bright blue splash back and your get the idea.
We ended up picking good ole antique white USA, for the walls after plain white was just too .... white. And the red is some weird colour I picked whilst trying to keep 'chicken poxie boy' and his older brother 'not sick, but stuck at home for a week' entertained from the confines of the shopping trolley. Not an easy or fun time was had by all hence the red colour that both AB and I keep looking at and wondering "how did that colour get to be part of our household?".
Please note that I don't actually think picking decor is a good idea under these circumstances as if you look at the kitchen from certain angles the red/ black and white laminate tile combinations has a 'race track' kinda feel to it.
The floors are to be done next weekend, which is to say, they probably won't be done at all. But if you stand in the kitchen and look straight ahead, it looks cleaner and fresher that it has since we ripped out the rotting old kitchen and put up the open shelving in 5 years ago. (I hated the blue splashback the minute I saw it, so it looks prettier than it has since we moved in)
Reading - Colour Charts
Watching - Weeds S5 and paint drying
Listening - The Nationals and James Blake and my favorites playlist on rotation
State of mind - Exhausted but pleased with the weekends work.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Friday Funnies

I've had a bit of a rough day today, everyone spent a fair amount of time being cranky. But then I had a great conversation filled with lovely news and afterwards I saw this video. Its 3 minutes and 39 seconds long and I haven't laughed so hard for a long time. I keep giggling every time I think of Alan, Alan, Alan, Alan or Daytime, Nighttime, Daytime, Nighttime.

Enjoy!!! (and if it's not your sort of thing, find yourself a video to make you laugh, it's great therapy and the best thing about YouTube)

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Chicken Pox and Wobbly Teeth

This week is all about childhood rights of passage. Hamish has chicken pox and Jack has his first wobbly tooth. Both came within an hour of each other.

The chicken poxy boy is doing well. Listening to his body, and to us to find ways to feel more comfortable. We are, of course, quarantined until the pox has passed. And awaiting Mr Wobbly Tooth's pox to start at any moment.

I feel for both the kids, they are so used to freely playing on the street with the other kids and I was worried that they were going to have to listen to everyone playing in front of our house every afternoon. But in a rather funny and slightly overly protective way, it seems that the rest of the streets parents have quarantined their own children as well.

So poor little Hamish looks like he has the plague and Jack is feeling well but is getting crazier by the second because in spite of feeling fine he can't leave the house.

It's going to be a long two weeks.

It's only day three and we have already:

- Used 1/2 the paper in the house to draw, make origami, paper airplanes, print out coloring pages, cut, paint, paste, write cards and generally do artwork until the house looks like a paper mill
- Completed the 20 odd homework sheets I printed off the Internet.
- Made playdough and played with modeling clay
- Watched all the new movies I could find
- Rocked out to some new tunes on the iPod
- Played at least 50 games of UNO, plus Jr scrabble, boggle and snap.
- Painted plaster of paris cats and dogs that my gorgeous neighbor bought for the boys from the $2 shop

Saying that I am feeling so proud of both of them. They are being very caring towards each other and towards me as well. Last night after me praising Hamish for being so brave he told me he was proud of me as well cause I was also being very brave. And he's right, this mummy gig is it's hardest with sick kids. But it also highlights how much mummy can fix, both literally and figuratively.

Watching - Weeds S2
Listening - The National and Kanye West
Reading - Natural healing for Kids, various chicken pox websites and generally browsing the web
State of mind - So far, calm cool and collected, but wait few more days for the meltdown of being cooped up with poxy bored children to begin

Friday, 11 March 2011

Words That Heal the World

I've had a bit of a rough of a week.  Full of ups and downs.  Hamish is going through some growing pains both literally and figuratively.  Jack has a cold and is also trying some new dominant boy types of behaviours.  We have had our second case of nits.  I've been unwell. Andrew is away and generally my brain is going a little topsy turvy.  The week has been filled with some pretty great things as well.  A few are particularly note worthy:

1.  I have some amazing friends.  This week they have dealt with my tears, angst, frustration and moods that have flown in all directions like professional psychotherapists.  It's amazing how a chat, laughing till you need to pee, a well timed text message, a glass of wine, an unexpected cuddle, or the offer to take your kids for an hour can lift the mood of a hard week.

2.  After talking to Jack and Hamish about how I need them to be a little extra chilled and helpful while AB is away Jack said "You know what I can do mum? Just near bedtime, I can look after Hamish and you can go out for dinner with your friends"  Awww bless, I didn't dare tell him that I felt that he was too young and just cuddled and thanked him.

3.  Today I said to Hamish "mummy is feeling like she looks old today" he replied "Let me look at your face mummy ... you don't look old, you look beautiful ... and your face is just a little bit bumpy, but not old".  Nice to know as my wrinkles start to show that my four year old still thinks I'm beautiful (albeit slightly bumpy). I bought him an ice-cream :)

So as of today, including Andrew still being away, finalising the nits problem, Hamish and Jack still having periods when they are challenging, I feel great, and lucky, and all together more together.

Watching - Fringe S3

Listening - The new track from The Herd - Sum of it all, and as always more Temper Trap

Reading - Back into 'Never Say Goodbye'

State of Mind - Still a little bit sick, tired and so very lucky

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Home Alone.

Andrew is getting ready to go away for work again. Time was this would have had me quaking in my boots. But these days, what with the kids being older, and me being extremely used to it, I'm just getting my power mummy groove on. This means that for the next few days I'll be extra organized, extra chilled, and especially looking for a chat and catchup with others to give me that adult contact that seems so essential to get when parenting alone.

Why is it that we find it easier to be organized and chilled when we need to be (at times of stress)? And yet for the everyday we seem to constantly be chasing our tails about all of these things?

I have no answers for that one beyond 'We have to'. Saying that the small things do get left behind. Blogging for one, painting my nails for another. Hence tonights activities. So as long as the next 3 days go without incident I'll see y'all on the flip side. But if you see me on the street, I may well need an extra cuddle :)

Watching - It's Tuesday so new eps of Big Love and Being Human.

Listening - All of my favorites on a new playlist. (there's a blog post in that somewhere)

Reading - Hard to believe but still nothing. I've been a bit ill and still catching up on sleep.

State of mind - Calm, cool and collected (if you had of asked me earlier today it would have been SUCH a different answer)

Monday, 7 March 2011

Mini Breaks = Maxi Relaxation

We popped down to our friends holiday house this weekend. As always a mini break was just what the doctor ordered. Made even more special by them showing me the bee hive they found during one of their explorations of the property. I could have spent all day sitting and watching, and probably would have if it wasn't for the mosquitos. After my bee keeping post it seemed like kismet. And something totally blogworthy.
Reading - Nothing, to many late nights.
Watching - Fringe S2
Listening - The Herds new single 'Sum of it all' released today. Nothing like supporting friends music and actually loving it at the same time.
State of mind - Satisfied, relaxed and tired.


Two weeks ago after a hectic morning, in which I did more yelling than I'd like to admit, Jack told me he didn't want to go to school. In a year and a bit of school and three years of preschool this has only happened a handful of times. And each time it has come in conjunction with some sense of the world not being quite right. Either there have been some issue at school the previous day or he and I have had an uncomfortable morning.

After some talking, cuddling and apologizing from me and Jack, he was happy to go to school. But it reminded me, I want him to know that school is a choice.

Sure, it's easier for me to give a kid like him this choice because he is the sort of child that is pretty happy to do 'whatever'. But truly, I don't want either of my children to constantly feel forced by us to do anything especially something as huge and time consuming as school.

After pondering on it for a day I sat Jack down and said,
"did you know, that there are times when mum and Dad don't want to go to work? When that happens we have a day off, so I want you to know if there are days you just don't feel like going to school we could talk about it in the morning and you could have a quiet day at home with me"

Last week after a busy few days I could see how tired Jack was and I decided to offer him the day off to relax and regroup. I told him to think about it for an hour or so and I would ask him again later.

When I got back to him he wanted to know if he could play out on our street. I said he could but that everyone else was out. He thought about it a bit longer and then came back to me and said he wanted to go to school.

This was not something I was prepared for, I mean who gets offered a day off and says no? It was then that I realized that Jack sees school as a fun place where he gets to hangout with his friends. He isn't seeing school the way I remember it. Compared to the 80s, school these days is fun (at least for the time being), they play, they talk, they learn without realising it, and when they do realise it they love it.

I still struggle with school and our decision to send our kids, but it's little things like this that remind me that we made the choice that seemed the best for us and him at the time. And with how much he loves it, it certainly feels right.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Small Things - The Car Wash

Today after dropping Jack off at school I asked Hamish what special thing he would like to do on 'Mummy and Hamish Day'. Without skipping a beat he said "I want to wash the car in one of those squirty things". I knew exactly what he meant but I felt uncomfortable at the idea of spending $10 on a dodgy car wash just to make him happy. Then I remembered, I asked him! If I didn't plan on trying to go along with whatever idea he came up with what was the point? Didn't I ask him so that he felt he had some autonomy when it came to our days activities? So off to the car wash we went and as I fed the $10 into the machine I felt that pang of money down the drain, but it was too late. Then I saw his face, like the photo shows, he was completely amazed and I realised for that look, I'd pay twice as much even if it didn't manage to get the bird poo off the bonnet!

Watching - Nothing exciting. Fringe S1 and new eps of Big Bang, Big Love and Being Human.

Reading - Catching up on blog reading, Girl Gone Geek, Regretsy, and my friends blogs

Listening - Who has any extra time for music beyond the 5 minutes of radio time lol

State of mind - after catching up on the street with a gorgeous albeit fairly new friend who totally 'gets' me and whom I think I 'get' as well, far more like myself ... Phew!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Bee Keeper Dreaming

I saw this bee today and ended up taking photo upon photo of it. I love bees. Look at him, he's beautiful. That gorgeous fluffy collar, the beautiful black and yellowy stripes, those big eyes and those wings like oil on water. What's not to love?

I often think about raising bees. I have a dream that I'll become a master bee keeper or even a minor one. What stops me? Well other than living on a tiny block of land that already houses two dogs, two kids and a husband who's allergic to bees and the answer not much.

What are your 'one day' dreams? What's stopping you? Truth is most of the time it's ourselves that stop us chasing our dreams. Sure we blame it on time, finances, freedom or whatever other roadblocks we put in front of ourselves but really everything is achievable and all roadblocks conquerable if we decide to make it so.

Take my bee keeping, if I really wanted to make it happen I'm sure I could find a space away from the house to raise bees. But the truth is I can only imagine giving this dream the amount of time it would take for me to wander to the bottom of our yard. So realistically the small block, kids, dogs and allergic husband are all the excuses I put in the way. And that's ok as well. Life has a way of using these roadblocks to stop you going off on mad tangents. They are a way of making sure that the things you dream are really worthwhile working towards. Unfortunately we often use them as reasons for never moving forward at all.

I'm going to keep my bee keeper dream in that box of 'one day' dreams and for now I'll just keep spending time with them whenever I get a chance.

Watching - The movie 'Never Let me Go' OMG sobfest. I loved it.

Listening - Goyte

Reading - Never let me go - Kazuo Ishiguro. Only just started it, I'll get back to you.

State of mind - Slightly frustrated (this mummy gig is doing my head in at the moment) but generally thankful that my life is so full of beautiful people (including my kids, easy to say now that they are asleep)

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

I Want to Believe

Love it!! I want one for the kids bedroom wall. Who am I kidding I want one for MY wall.

(taken from girl gone geeks blog, who took it from someone else's)

Related Posts with Thumbnails