Monday, 31 October 2011


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)

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