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 ...

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