Sunday, 31 July 2011

Siblings...

Lucy, Claire, Charlie, Tom, William, 1971


I spoke to my siblings this weekend.

It is rare that I speak to all of them in one weekend. Often it's a snatched email with one, a quick Skype link up with another, and a long rambling feet up three cups of tea kind of phone conversation. So, to talk to all of them, properly, in the same weekend was well worth the phone bill and the time difference.

It gives me a strong feeling of familial closeness and comfort when I have chatted, laughed, empathized and cconnected with them.

We do not have perfect sibling relationships. There is a large age gap, and even more of a geographical gap. There is a shared history though and a sense of togetherness that is irreplaceable.

As one of five, I was always a part of a rather notorious gang. We were infamous, a lot of the time. My elder brothers were heroes of mine.

My elder siblings cared for me. Apparently my oldest brother helped toilet train me, and taught me how to ride a bike and how to play backgammon. I miss him the most now he is gone.

My sister was an ever regular babysitter. She taught me to read, and had me writing my name at three years old. She hosted all the party games at my sixth birthday.

My middle brother was always my confidant and tucked me under his wing from as far back as I can remember. He was the one that busted me smoking as a teen, and slipped me cash as a penniless student. His home is my bolt hole.  In times of pain, he is the one I call. I am inordinately fond.

My younger brother gets me totally. We are two peas from the same pod, he and I. We revel in sharing the same wavelength. Come hell or high water, I trust and respect him. My loyalty to him is unwavering.

I am not really sure of the purpose of this post.

Only to acknowledge that I really love my siblings. I am glad they are the people they are. I am glad we get on so well. I adore their partners and love their children as my own. We do not compete, and for that I am eternally grateful. We are all non-confrontational, but equally there is never side taking or sniping either. They are too gracious for bitching. We are honest with one another, always.  I am sad we are so far apart. I miss them. But I love talking to them and I am so glad they are happy to share my world.

Do you have siblings? Are you friends or foe?


Saturday, 30 July 2011

Just me and him.

In a week where my feet have barely touched the ground for a variety of reasons, I am grateful for.....

Friday nights. The anticipation of the weekend ahead of us is gorgeous.

I am always grateful for the bliss of just talk talk talk talk talking with my lovely husband on the couch.

No TV, no Twitter, no Wii, nothing but lovely laughter and lovely conversations. There is a relief and a a connectedness about our Friday nights. I am lucky.



I am so utterly grateful to him, and for everything we become and achieve and enjoy, together.

That is all.

Have a lovely weekend!


PINS






post signature

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Now is the time to start...

Image - Saturday Evening Post, April 8th 1961


I realise today, in a burst of gorgeous sunny Adelaide weather, that NOW is the time to spring into action for Spring.

I do not want to arrive at Spring wishing I had done all the things I will wish I had done.

This term I am going to take advantage of my motivation and get organised NOW for Spring.

I want lovely lady arms in short sleeved t-shits. Toned and tanned.

I want my bum to not look big in this. This being anything at all.

I want my skin to be clear and glowing.

I want my hair to be shiny and on a permanent good hair day.

And how to I get all this in time for Spring?

Start now.

Eat right.

Move more. Run.

Work out with heavier weights at the gym and give it 100% every time.

Drink more water. Drink more water.

De-junk the pantry.

Sleep. Get a lot more early nights.

Put myself first when I can.


Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Tired, but happy...

I am so bloody tired.

I am not sleeping well. (I am half way through my dental work and I still have toothache.)

I am exhausted.

So tired that I fell asleep for a minute or two whilst the dentist was assaulting my mouth. That is a mark of how very knackered I am - I can snooze, despite a dull ache, the drill, and the noise of the suction thingo.

But I when I went to pick the kids up from school, Olivia was on the school lawns, turning cartwheels in the grass. She is a thing of happy beauty. Red hair flying, cherry blossom trees popping bud alongside her, watching a joyful abandon of cartwheels. Her pink cheeks glowing, her grin radiant, her limbs fluid and relaxed.



And I ran tonight, and I ran well.

And then I curled up and snoozed again, with lovely husband and I on the couch, together.

Tired? Yes, yes I am.

Happy? Yes. Yes, I think I am.

If I just focus on me, on my family and on what is going on in my world right now, I can be happy.

Tired, but happy.


Monday, 25 July 2011

BrightStar Kids Winner...

Just a very quick post from me to announce the winner of the $50 Voucher for Brightstar Kids.




Thank you all for your comments- it seems I am not the only one who is in need of school labels!

I drew the winner via Random.Org



And the winner was commenter number 16.......which was.....the lovely Multiple Mum of And then there were Four...

Multiple Mum - could you please email me with your details, and I will organise for Brightstar Kids to set up the $50 gift voucher for you.


Sunday, 24 July 2011

Mission accomplished...

For anyone who read this post back here may have sensed my slight levels of frustration at the process of encouraging my daughter, Olivia, to ride her bike without training wheels.

For a large part of the holidays it has been a focus.

We have used the street, the back yard, the oval, the tennis court.

We have worn jeans, trackies, a skirt, with a variety of different shoes, all in the name of "what's best for the bike?"

We have had hair up, hair loose, seats raised, seats lowered, all in the search for the best bike riding lucky combination.

And we finally have had success.

If I tell you I was nearly at the point of bribing someone with a thousand bucks to get her to ride the bike without training wheels do not be surprised.

But, like most things in life, it just took a little time.

And she did it. Eventually.

And I made a little movie of it for posterity.




And if you think this small two minute clip is tedious to watch (with entertaining cameo appearances from Charlie and Lexie) imagine how tedious it was be the parent holding the back of the saddle for a two weeks...


Friday, 22 July 2011

Measuring, Measuring...

Confession time.

As most of you know, I keep the scales in the garage, hidden from view.

I get too hung up on the day to day number on the scales, and it shits me.

For ages and ages I have managed a pattern of weight loss that is lose, maintain, lose maintain, lose maintain.

Until now...



For the past few weeks or so I have felt an uncomfortable snugness to my jeans.

I have felt a little fleshier around my chins, and spongier around my hips and bum.

It's been niggling away at my mind.

But I have still managed to avoid the scales...

+++

As part of the school holiday routine, along with haircuts and dental checkups, I also measured the kids heights on their height charts today. They then also wanted to do "measuring" on the Wii Fit balance board. We don't ever discuss diets or weight loss around the kids, but they do see and hear the lovely husband on the Wii Fit enough to know it does "measuring".

They each have their own little Mii character set up too...it's as cute as.

So I added all of their new heights to their profiles, and let them measure and weigh themselves on the Wii.

And with great relief I quietly noticed all three of them were in the "healthy weight range". Charlie is at one end of the range and the Lexie at the other, with Olivia bang on average. Phew.

+++

So, I then took the plunge too. And stepped on for some measuring of my own.

My worst suspicions were indeed founded - I have put on 3kg over the past couple of months.

I am not happy.

I have adjusted my weight loss ticker to show the gain. I don't want it to go backwards!

But, I guess it's just a sign that I need to review my activity, review my intake, and kick the last stage of this weight loss bizzo into touch...


Thursday, 21 July 2011

Drab to Fab

Diminishing Lucy

This will be the last Drab to Fab linky for a while - I have other stuff to concentrate on!
Drab to Fab is all about making the choice to treat ourselves well, so that we feel good.

If we aim to treat ourselves well, to nurture ourselves, to treat ourselves kindly, we can feel fab, instead of drab.
Simple as that really.

So it's not about dieting, or about going from "fat to fit."

It's about any component of your world moving from drab to fab.

It's about renewal. About taking care of yourself, and doing things that make you happy, in whatever form that takes.

So Drab to Fab is ON!

All you need to do to take part is: follow Diminishing Lucy, link up any post of yours that suits, and then share the love by commenting on some of the other blogs that link up.

I'd love it if you grabbed the Drab to Fab button too? Pop the button in your sidebar, or in your post?













Wednesday, 20 July 2011

What do you get when...



What do you get when you cross a bucket of green slime goo with a bucket of Lego?

What do you get when you cross Captain Underpants with Danny Champion of the World?





What do you get when you cross dinosaurs with "information books"?

What do you get when you cross Chess with Uno Stacko?

What do you get when you cross a trip to the City on the O'Bahn and yum cha lunch with Daddy?

What do you do when you cross Sonic and Super Mario?

What do you do when you cross Harry Potter with a Wii game?




What do you get when you have not one but two parties at the weekend?

What do you get when you wake up and there is a whole big pile of pressies on the breakfast table?


You get a very happy birthday for a very very special little boy called Charlie.


Charlie is six years old today.

In this past year he has re-learned how to walk, re-learned how to run, jump and climb. (He had a broken femur last year.)

He has started school and thrown himself into every aspect of school with a grin and the presumption of success.

He has learned that kindness and charm are his greatest allies in life.

He has learned that his Daddy is his hero and his best friend.

And he has learned that his Mummy loves him all the way until the numbers run out. Infinity is an amazing thing.

I could not be more proud of you Charlie. Happy birthday mate.



Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Nine years ago...



Not much from me today.

It will be a day of quiet reflection.

The kids are at a play date, without me, all day.

This is no accident - I planned it, so that I could have today to be, by myself.

It was on this day nine years ago that I lost my first baby.

It's not that I spend the day crying. I just like to be peaceful.

If I could fall into the sky


Do you think time would pass me by?


Because you know I'd walk a thousand miles

If I could just see you.

It still makes me so very sad.


Monday, 18 July 2011

When My Husband Does the Dishes - Winners


Thanks SO much to everyone who entered last weeks giveaway for Kerri Sackville's hilarious book :

When My Husband Does the Dishes.

The winners are:

Kate
rambling mum

If you could both email me with your postal address, I shall post your signed copies out to you.

If you would still like a copy of Kerri's book, you can, and should, order it here.


Lost and found...(a giveaway)


My children, whilst I adore them more than life itself, have the most slack and annoying approach to their belongings.

It drives me INSANE.

I carefully choose the most gorgeous lunch boxes and drink bottles and colour co-ordinated Tupperware, but despite costing me an arm and a leg, I sense that Olivia and Charlie and Lexie think it's all disposable, because despite my incessant nagging, much of it gets left around the school playground during recess, never to be seen again.

I suspect the cleaners at school have the best stocked Tupperware cupboards in Adelaide, mostly thanks to the careless approach of my children. You can see my need for school labels is high!

Similarly, Charlie and Olivia seem to have an aversion to warm clothes. I force dress them into their school uniform each morning, and then, when they race out of the classroom at the end of the school day, the jacket and jumper have long since been discarded. I am not kidding when I tell you that I once managed to find Charlie's school jumper soaking wet and gritty, half buried in the sandpit.

I can recall my Mother, in her day, painstakingly sewing fabric embroidered school name labels into all our school uniforms. For five children, no less. The very idea of sewing terrifies me, so I am eternally grateful that iron on school labels for uniforms have been invented. (And I iron on the name on the inside of the jacket pockets - just in case some other parent decides that, errmm, appropriating items of uniform is OK. Sneaky, I know...)




We're nearly into the next school term - the term that Lexie starts her "school visits" -  her official introduction to "big school". She is quite beside herself with excitement and is counting down the days until she starts. Kindy has become a little passé, apparently, and she is desperate to join Olivia and Charlie in primary.

No longer will she be able to wear a paint stained fairy frock and sneakers to kindy - she will be in full school uniform like her siblings. And despite misgivings based on past losses, I have, of course, invested in a new lunchbox for Lexie.



Luckily the lovely folk at Brightstar Kids sent me a variety pack of school labels for all of Lexie's new school supplies.

In theory, this means I have a fighting change of recovering all the items that will invariably be lost and forgotten. Named items find their way home eventually. If it has a label on it, I have done my bit. If it has the kids name on it, I hope it stands a chance of being returned. Better safe than sorry...

The School Labels Value Kit contains the iron on clothing labels, as well as every other kind of label you need when they first start - shoes, pencils, lunchboxes can all be labeled beautifully.

I have a Brightstar Kids $50 Gift Voucher to give away, thanks to Brightstar Kids.

All you need to do to be in with a shot of winning this $50 voucher is:

  • Make sure you are following my blog.
  • Tell me what you will spend your $50 voucher on from the gorgeous stuff over at Brightstar Kids
(And think of me next week when Lexie starts her school visits...)





I will choose a winner and announce it next Monday 25th July.
Open to Australian residents only.
I was not paid for this post, but I was sent the school labels as a gift to review.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

The bliss of a good nights sleep...


I have posted about sleep before.

I am so used to presuming that I will never get enough sleep, that the very thing that has eluded me is suddenly upon me.

Sleep has crept up & quietly surprised me.

It is more than a few weeks now since I had a small child interrupt my night, my dreams.

It is eight years since I was pregnant with my eldest daughter Olivia.

In those eight years, I do not think I have had a full nights sleep.

Olivia slept through the night by four months old, and so did Charlie and Lexie.

They are generally "good sleepers" and always have been. Thank you thank you thank you.

But they have still all disturbed my nights with tedious and predictable regularity over the past eight years.

They are children close together, so, no soon as one got over teething then another had an ear infection. Or one went through a stage of nightmares, whilst another was a midnight sleepwalker.

Our bed has always been open to them, and this has maybe encouraged the nighttime wanderings.

But recently, just over the past few weeks, I have realised - they go to bed at night happily. And all three of them stay in their beds until morning. No disturbings. At all.

I have been, as a result of having these lovely little people in my world, become a light sleeper. I have an ear attuned for them automatically.

But even that trait, that innate sense of mother awareness has shifted and calmed.

Even I have been sleeping through the night.

Ahhhh, the bliss, the utter utter bliss of full nights of unbroken sleep...all joining up together, restoring me at last...


Friday, 15 July 2011

The week that was...


And here we are at the end of a school holiday week.

A week in which I have alternately pulled my hair out and cuddled my three children.

A week where I have revelled for a handful of sleep ins.

A week where my twitter and blogging friends assured me that Olivia will, one day, ride her bike without training wheels. One day. Maybe.

A week where I have cleared up less shit than usual.

A week my my gorgeous lovely husband bought me an iPad.

A week where I smooched a lot with my son, who is the most affectionate of souls whose dry sense of humour just cracks me up.

A week where I have seen all my children paint and paint and paint and love it.



A week that I have been blessed with the company of good friends and wonderful babysitters.

A week where my youngest has has started to read. All by herself. Magical.

A week where the weather has improved, and whilst it has been cold, it's been gloriously sunny and I have walked some steep hills.

A week where I have tried out a new stationary spin cycle and quite liked it.

A week where I have had a respite from yoga, and have been relieved.

A week where I have felt a peace settle upon me for the first time in months.

I am grateful for it all.

I am grateful for my world. It's a nice place to live and be. I am very lucky. I am grateful that this week I have had the time and sense to appreciate all that I am surrounded by.

As always, I am linking up with my blogging friend Maxabella


Tell me, what are you grateful for this week?


Thursday, 14 July 2011

The Nanny Diaries?

I work part time. In real estate. Which is brilliantly flexible and my boss is totally accommodating when it comes to the hours I work, around the kids. And I love it.

But...

School holidays are tricky. No school or kindy means I need to rely upon out of hours school care for Olivia and Charlie,  and childcare for Lexie.

Just quietly, they all love it when they get to go to these environments. They don't go often enough to get bored by the care surroundings and generally they get to do a whole stack of stuff that they maybe don't get to do at home like make a huge crafty mess and not have to clear it up. Or play on Xbox for hours...

The problem I have is that some of my work is just an hour or two at an appointment.

Today I literally just had two hours work to do. Nothing more, nothing less. And call me stingy, but I am reticent to pay for three children for a full days care, when I really only need a few hours...

Lovely husband is up to his eyeballs in work, so was I was reticent to ask him.

Enter the babysitter. Hurrah! She is also on school holidays (from year eleven) and she sent me a text, as a reminder that she was available for whenever I needed her. Day or night.



Oh thank you lord.

She is seventeen and utterly enchanting.

The daughter of a colleague that we have known for a number of years, she has become our best and number one and favourite babysitter.

The kids adore her and she is laid back, fun, easy going but responsible. She loves the the kids as she feeds them lollies and beats them at UNO, but she also takes no shit when it comes to four year old tanties and sibling bickering.

She is as slim as a reed and requires no feeding - at most, she helps herself to the fruit bowl.

She knows our home like the back of our hand and even Perry the dog adores her.

So, this morning I left the kids in their jammies.

I brushed no ones hair but my own.

I put my make up on, and enjoyed an extra coffee.

I even, gasp, left the breakfast dishes in the sink and the beds unmade.

And in she swanned, my angel of a babysitter, my children beside themselves in excitement to see her.

With the most casual and easy of handovers, I kissed the kids, and walked straight out of the door without so much of a backward glance.

And drove to work.

No drop offs. No lunchboxes. No driving round in a well timed triangle between childcare and school, avoiding the worst of the traffic. No time wasting chit chat with anyone.

I just left them to it, and went to work. Simple as that.

I know now, and am deeply deeply envious of how bloody lucky my husband is - he gets to experience this ease and luxury and convenience every day!

And when I arrived home? They were all happy and rosy cheeked. She had played games with them the whole time and also managed to bake biscuits with them. The dishes were done and the beds made. They had been for a walk, and were in the final stages of a tricky puzzle before starting a Wii tennis challenge. Stimulated, content, and organised. Bliss, I tell you, bloody bliss to come home to.

Having a nanny for the day - it felt, quite frankly, like I had a wife!

What about you? Do you use childcare? A treasured babysitter? Out of hours school care? A nanny? Tell me what works for you?


Tuesday, 12 July 2011

I will catch you if you fall...



Today has been all about bikes.

My daughter Olivia has set her sights at learning to ride her new bike.

Without training wheels.

She is seven. (She is tiny.)




She is artistic, beautiful and articulate, and I could not be more proud of her strengths.

Persistence is one.

Cycling without training wheels is not. Yet.

She is a cautious and peaceful child, and always has been. I realise, as I try and help her on that damn bike, that she has no recklessness in her soul at all. There is not one shred of a risk taker in her.

She knows she will fall, and cannot and will not allow that to happen.

Yet.

She knows, I sense, that she must fall, in order to eventually succeed.

I watched her, her face nearly next to mine as I held on to the saddle, willing it all, so hard,  to work without risk. If she imagines it hard enough, if she sees it all working seamlessly in her minds eye, if she feels it in her heart, can she ride that damn bike without wobbles and stacks? Without trepidation?

We chatted later. I reassured her that we would practice again tomorrow, on the oval behind our property. On the grass. Where the landing is softer. Kinder.

But I will still probably  fall, won't I? She asked, her huge green eyes pleading for some reassurance.

She breaks my heart. I cuddled her, and said yes, you'll still maybe fall.

But I will be here.

Let me catch you if you fall...


Monday, 11 July 2011

Should houses have a name?


As a child, one of the many houses we lived in, was called, rather grandly "The Camellias".

These days I scoff at homes that come with a name.

But in the early 1970's in England, it was de rigueur and quite the done thing.

My parents were both good gardeners and the camellias that grew with abundance in the front garden of that house were profuse. Admired by our neighbours. Pride of place. Respectable.

And here I am, thousands of miles away across different continents and a different hemisphere, with a garden of my own that has a profusion of camellia.

A huge high hedge of camellia, in variegated colour. Pinks and red.

My children pluck the flowers and leave the petals strewn through their cubby house and across the lawn.

A camelia in bloom is a happy sight, especially at this time of year.

Camellia buds grace my kitchen table in a vase.




I am feeling a little more restful today, as a result.

What makes you feel restful?

Do you think houses should have a name?


Sunday, 10 July 2011

When My Husband Does The Dishes (a review, and a giveaway...)




I made the comment to a friend the other day that, whilst I have always been an avid and voracious reader, that since having husband, children, dogs and a home to care for, as well as an addiction to the internet and Masterchef, that I have no time to read anymore.

By the time I do crawl into bed, I am just too bloody tired to read.

I look, longingly, at the toppling tower of books on my bedside table, and wish for days, alone, in bed, to just read.

When my husband does the dishes, he wants sex. When he leaves me alone with a book and breakfast in bed for the morning, he may just get some...

The books that I do manage to get around to reading are those written by people I "know" via blogging and Twitter. (All you "emerging writers" out there - I am a your publicists dream - if I like your blog and we chat on Twitter, you can guarantee that I will be the first to click on through to Booktopia and actually buy your book with my hard worked credit card.)

And so when I saw that Kerri Sackville had her book published, I was first in line. Kerri and I had exchanged Tweets as soon as I knew the title of the book, along the lines of "Cannot wait for to get my hands on your book - I am going to poke my lovely husband in the back with it..."

The book "When my husband does the dishes..." was published months ago, and I bought the book months ago, and it has taken me months to read it.  But, I should tell you, it schmoozed to the top of the ever increasing pile pretty quickly.

It's theme is appealing - musings of motherhood. And funny ones at that.

The circumstances are obviously individual to Kerri herself, but the beauty of the book is that the observations ring true for every mother I know. And it has lists. I love lists. And these are cool and amusing lists.

I found myself nodding and giggling at every chapter. I made the bed shake with laughter on a number of occasions, to the point that my lovely husband was reading snippets over my shoulder.

Each chapter leads beautifully into the next and each segue and each fresh title brought a knowing smile to my face.

The humour and the pragmatism and the wit roll of each page in hilarious way, but more than that: I found the self depreciation, the sense of exhaustion and the exasperation that skips off each page hugely engaging and comforting.

Kerri, quite simply, has the ability to touch on all the funny similarities that all mothers have, and then to articulate these nuances in a spirited way that makes it a relief to relate to.

I swear, Kerri is has been a fly on the wall in our house as I try and get ready for a night out with my lovely husband. And she must have the secret cameras out when  I am trying to find something to wear. She certainly knows the inside of my handbag. And she has the same fantasy daydreams. She echos my world perfectly.

When I asked Kerri if she'd like me to review her book, we also managed to score a couple of signed copies to give away to my readers...

To be in the running to score a signed copy of Kerri's book, all you need to do is:

  • Make sure you are following my blog
  • Leave me a comment, telling me what your husband needs to do to get you in the mood...
Open to anyone in the whole wide world.
I will draw a winner at random and announce it next Monday 18th July.




PS I was not compensated for this post in any way.