Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts

Monday, 23 April 2012

The game...


It's been a rainy stormy weekend here in Adelaide. And the last weekend of the holidays. A weekend for pottering around the house. A weekend to spend time together. A weekend to haul out the board games...

Back in the 1930's, my Dad was given, as a birthday present to his young self, one of the first Parker Brother Monopoly board games.

It became a family heirloom.

In the 1970's, my siblings and I played with the same set.

The box was long since spoiled or lost and the whatnots of the game were all stashed in a large biscuit tin. The paper money, it's colours taking on a browning of age, were thinning and well used, secured with perishing rubber bands. The ivory dice, smoother further by use, were solid. The counters - familiar icons of boot, racing car, thimble and little Scottie dog, were soft lead, and the grey battleship squashed.

The cards - property sets and community chests - all dogeared from hundreds or trades and desperate bargaining. The prized navy blue and the slummy maroon - just a couple each at opposing ends of the board, with the wealth of the $200 between them - close, but so far apart.

The houses and hotels - no plastic detailed bits - just solid wood, stained on purpose red and green.

The board - hard folded leather backed, no creak in it's spine, weathered from years of family use. Ring marks from wine glasses and a translucent greasy blots - candle wax - the 1970's was the era of the strike and the power cut...no TV lead to Monopoly in the dark, light by a flicker of a candle...

This old set now belongs to one of my brothers - still housed in that same old biscuit tin.

A wet weekend over a decade ago saw the lovely husband and I seek out a Monopoly set of our own. I yearned for wooded properties and lead counters - we found one. The set we play with now, with children of our own.

And the deal was then as it is now.

Use you allocated cash wisely but know that property is king and developing upon land will always, despite cash flow issues, ensure future security. Do it tough at first, as you invest, and weather the ebb and flow of circumstance and chance. Continue to watch your properties, act with integrity in business and keep your eyes to the ground to reap the eventual long term rewards of capital growth momentum.

I love this game.


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Friday, 20 January 2012

Who's the boss?

I am not a big fan of soft drinks, but on the odd occasion, I can be tempted by a can of icy cold fizzy pop.

The hard stuff for me - if I ever do indulge, I like full strength - none of the diet kind with the fake sugar - give me the real deal!

And I was amused the other day to realise that the can I grabbed from the servo fridge all had names on.

(I ducked into the servo whilst leaving my kids in the car in the sun like the perfect mother I am not - but I would rather stab myself in the eye than take them all into the shop to pay for petrol and have them nag me to death for ice cream and lollies....)

Anyway, here is the name I was lucky enough to see on my can -


I love this so much that I am keeping the can to recycle it as a pen pot on my desk.

The kids think this is very funny - that Coke made a can specially for ME, because I AM the boss.

The lovely husband was mildly amused by it, and of course questioned the kids. "Is Mummy the boss? I thought I was the boss?"

Charlie cocked his head to one side and said, kindly, but with a little bit of uncertainty -  "You can be the boss, if you want Dad?"

Olivia looked very worried by this stage. "But Dad, you do know that Mummy really is the real boss? Maybe you should just be the boss of the garden?"

To which Lexie added - "You can be the boss at the weekends Dad. If you want? Then Mum is always here to make sure you are doing it right?"

My children know the score, evidently. They understand the hierarchy!

How about you? Who is the boss at your place?

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Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The "greedy" child...

Today's guest post is from an anonymous poster. She approached me a few weeks ago with a draft. It resonated so much with me: I knew I could not refuse.

I suspect her words, and her experiences and her fears will resonate with many of you. I would like to thank her for her honesty. She asks a lot of questions in her post, so if any of you have wise words to share on this complex issue, I would love it if could comment and share.



When I was four and at Kinder I remember having a check up where my mum asked the nurse about my weight. The nurse said something along the lines that I was fine and would grow out of it. I look at photos of myself at that age and although I wasn't slender, I certainly wasn't fat. My next memory of my weight issue is about four years later when my dad took me for a walk and discussed my weight with me. He said that I was a lot prettier than my best friend, but that she was slim and if I was slim I would be even prettier than I already was. Over the next 10 years, my mum ignored my weight while my dad obsessed over it, varying his approach from taking me to the gym with him at 6am before school, family early morning exercise sessions at home, criticising me, telling me not to eat certain things, bribing and embarrassing me. I actually feel guilty describing my dad in this way, because it sounds so harsh and he is a great dad and I know he had my best interests at heart but oh my goodness, I really think his tactic "shaped" my life!


My weight went up and down, up and down over the years, and still is. I know that now, at 30-something, this is something completely within my control and is not my parents fault. But, as a mum of two, I don't want to relive the mistakes my parents made and I am really struggling with how to raise my kids with a healthy attitude to food and exercise. For the last few months I've been slowly and healthily losing weight and my oldest has been watching me exercise and joining in. At the age of three, he is extremely active and although solid, he is definitely slim and has no weight issues at all.

However, he does have a funny relationship with "naughty" food already and I'm scared that I've "done this" to him! When we go to a party, he will dive in the junk food and if he sees me approaching, he'll grab a handful of something and run away! While this is slightly amusing, I have to be honest that it's a bit terrifying too for me. I did a lot of my eating in secret, and was sneaky about it and I don't want my kids to have the same problems I had. My three year old can now also open his bedroom door on his own and twice this week he has gone to the kitchen in the wee hours of the morning and helped himself to food - chocolate, lollies and biscuits. I too used to do this in the middle of the night. A lot. Part of me thinks I should throw out all of the "naughty" food, but the other part thinks maybe I'm already depriving him of too much and that is what's making him greedy?

My friend has a theory with her kids: she doesn't want them to be greedy, so she lets them eat whatever they want, whenever they want, including chips and chocolate most days. This doesn't sit right with me. Although they certainly don't gorge themselves at any opportunity? I cook most of my kids meals and although they are healthy, they are not extreme. Pasta, meat, veggies, cheese, yogurt, eggs, oven baked home made "chips" and most of their snacks are either fruit or wholemeal vegetable baked "treats" but I also do bake sweet things for them occasionally too. The only reason the items my son took from the pantry were even there was because they were for baking or things friends had brought over: it's not food he's ever allowed to just eat freely at home.

I love food and I love cooking and baking and my three year old loves food too. We never eat take away fast food and the food he eats 90% of the time is very healthy. I know I can easily stop the baking of sweet things and have no treats in the house, but I don't know if that's the right to do either? I have really been trying to model and teach moderation, but after this week's early morning pantry raid, I feel like I've failed and am a bit unsure of where to go from here.

How do you regulate what your kids eat? Do you think you can make them greedy by depriving them of treats? If we restrict "sometimes" foods and junk foods, does that send them into a binge mentality early? Or do we let them eat whatever they want and hope for the best?



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Friday, 4 November 2011

Grateful for candles...


I have worked hard this week. I am studying to finish my Cert IV in  Property Services & Real Estate.

I am running round, as always, to make sure the kids are dressed, fed, and happy. They are all still so little. They are my number one priority. I am tethered to their needs and care.

The chores of a family of five do not magically disappear just because I am studying. The ironing basket still fills, and the last time I looked, there wasn't a little band of fairies waiting to empty the dishwasher nor scrub the toilet.

My usual work both at home and in the office still needs to be completed. I am writing to deadlines for work that I am really grateful for.

I still have a husband who wants to talk to me and who wants me to hold his head in my lap whilst we watch repeats of Mad Men with a glass of wine.

And I am enjoying a period of particular dedication to my health. So often, when I am burning my candle at both ends, I fall back into old habits of late night snacking and crappy food choices. An exercise session here or there may get missed. But not this week. I am mindful all the time that my healthy lifestyle cannot get ditched, just because life got busy.

I am grateful for the energy I seem to have managed to generate by eating supportively and exercising well that I know will keep me going over the next month or so.

So, this week I am grateful for candles that burn at both ends.

"My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends–
It gives a lovely light!"    

Edna St. Vincent Millay

What are YOU grateful for this week?

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Linking up, as I do, to Maxabella.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Dibber dobber?


Tell-tale
Tittle tattle
Tattletale
Dobber
Dibber dobber
Snitch
Canary
Nark
Whistle-blower
Squealer

There are a lot of words for it.

That suggests to me that the decidedly unattractive trait of telling tales has been rife and active the world over for hundreds of generations.

Kids in the school yard, running to teacher, to tell tales on the other children's "naughtiness".

High school girls, gossipping, relaying truths and untruths and versions in between, about one another. Friends, apparently.

The little sister who runs back to Mummy and Daddy at the hint of dissension and boringly details all the meanness that has been visited upon her.

My children, at the young ages they are, are horrific offenders. All three of them are still habitual in the trait of snitching on one another, despite their efforts falling upon deaf ears, most days.

I see and hear it in other children, at kindy and school. And hear teachers suggest that they should worry about themselves, and not what others are doing. (Wise words indeed.)

I recall being a tittle tattle as a child myself. "Muuuumm? They are being meeeean to me...it's not fair." It was, thankfully, a habit that was knocked out of me pretty quickly.

In turn, the lovely husband and I do not tolerate it from our kids either. (I am all too aware of how good a sell job each of my children can do, to make their side of the story ring true. I force myself to never take sides, and am rare to jump in to assist. Youngest girls seem particularly adept at this. I offer no reward to Lexie for singing like a canary on her brother and sister...)



And oddly, recently, I realise that this distasteful habit is still evident in adults. Sad.

Dobbing in grown ups. In order to garnish support? Sympathy? The ultimate in defensive action? The first line of attack? Passive aggression in it's most immature form? Grown ups STILL running to Mum and Dad to tell tales? To bolster insecurity perhaps? To satisfy some narcissistic streak? Who knows. I do know it gobsmacks me that this goes on at all. It appalls me. It is so lame, it's actually quite funny. I am sure adults who do this do not perceive it as pathetic: I am sure they excuse or deny it, somehow? Perhaps they would defend themselves, claiming the injustices they are reporting to be justified.

And I do know that witnessing such immature behaviour in adults makes me even keener and more aware to ensure my children grow out of it, and soon.

And I also find it fascinating that there are so many words and phrases to describe the art of being a nark...

Do your kids do this?

God forbid, do you know adults that have dobber tendencies?

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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Birth Order?



For a whole variety of reasons, not least my own children, I have been pondering a fair bit recently on the idea that birth order among siblings impacts on personalities, and in turn, on family dynamics.


Whether I am thinking of my own three children or other families I know, it seems that there is perhaps, a pattern?


Whether I am over analytical about children or adult personality traits, does birth order have an impact, d'you think?


I am one of five. I have three elder siblings and one younger brother. In theory then, I am the fourth born.


Which, apparently, means I carry the following traits:



  • entertaining due to the ability to imitate many personalities.
  • feels 'not big enough' thus isolated and has a desire for belonging.
  • analyzes things from many points of view and can come up with ingenious and balanced ideas.
  • is thoughtful, understanding and empathetic of others
However, amongst my elder siblings we have twins, so does that mean that I am really a third born type?

  • acquainted with feeling vulnerable and can be clingy.
  • thinks in comparative ways, giving rise to new ideas and even practical inventions.
  • is sympathetic with others who are vulnerable and very protective.
  • has challenges being cooperative with others due to having to survive by being rebellious.
Equally, there is a large age gap of nine years between my elder siblings and I - and as such, the elder three were always know as "the big children" when my younger brother and I were always known (and treated like) the "baby children". So would that make me adapt to "last born" traits? Which are, apparently -
  • Social and outgoing
  • Financially irresponsible
  • Attention seeking lovers of limelight
  • Manipulative and spoiled
And to throw a spanner in the works, my elder siblings were very much doing their own thing by the time I  came along, and I have a younger brother; (who, I hasten to add in case he is reading along, does NOT display last born traits...) So I wonder, so does the age gap simply make me more of a first born type?

 

  • has the challenge of gaining the lost affection from parents when a baby brother/sister comes along, by waiting for attention.
  • covers up the deep longing for love by being tough.
  • is an over achiever and has perfectionist traits.
  • finds it challenging to share thoughts and feelings.
Far out, it's a minefield! You can see why I am spinning out, thinking and reading about it all.


How about you?


Have you read books on birth order?


Any truth in it all for you?


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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?


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, 3 May 2011

The incentive to be active...



We have lived in our little village suburb for over four years now.

Our home is at the base of a huge hill called "Black Hill" which is a part of the Mount Lofty Ranges. As we travel to school and around; as we admire the views from our front windows, we are surrounded by the gracious presence of this majestic and ancient hill.

In the years that we have lived here, I have moved from being morbidly obese to a lot lighter and a lot fitter.

My children have grown from three under three, all in nappies, to independent little people.

My lovely husband has hiked up this hill, and solo camped up there, a number of times.

Since losing a bit of weight, I have walked up this hill, and run sections of it, a number of times.

Over Easter, with its glorious long break, we asked the children if they wanted to go for a bush walk to the very top of Black Hill.

The idea was met with much excitement and enthusiasm. To be honest, it surprised me.

When I asked them why they were so keen, so happy at the idea of walking all the way to the top, they all responded in a similar fashion -

Olivia - "That's where you walk isn't it Mummy? I want to walk the long walks, like you do...."

Charlie - "Is that the humongous hill that Daddy goes up, when he goes off with his humongous backpack? Where he does his adventure camping? Can I go too? Can I? If I know the way, I can go with Dad next time? I will be as good a walker as Dad..."

Lexie - " I love doing a big walking thing. 'Specially with my whole flamily. Can we take crunchy apples for a picnic? Mumma, is that where you do your running Mumma? Mumma, can I do running up there with you? Can we all run together? Mumma, I am good runner when I have my pink sneakers on. I like that hill Mumma...."




It made me realise, in a flash, the strength of influence we wield over our children in terms of lifestyle.

They see this active lifestyle as normal and positive and fun. They associate both their father and mother as active people who love nothing better than walking up a great big hill.

They aspire to have habits like ours.

They do as we do. They watch our behaviours and copy it. They cannot wait to replicate the habits of their parents. They instinctively look to us to show them the right way to be.

Thank goodness we do walk, thank goodness we do run, thank goodness we love to hike. Thank goodness they reflect our healthy habits.

Thank goodness I changed my habits from unhealthy to healthy when I did. If children are not the greatest incentive to adopt an active lifestyle, I don't know what is...





 

Monday, 25 April 2011

Wii'd off....

We bought a Nintendo Wii a couple of years ago. At first, it was so that my lovely husband could pretend he was Eric Clapton or Jimi Hendrix (or someone?!) by playing Guitar Hero.

Then it was me, wanting to beat him at Tennis/Bowling/Boxing/Golf

And we then aquired the Wii Fit balance board thingo, for me, in my ongoing attempt to get from drab to fab.



Then, my lovely husband got all clever and installed a new TV, and the Wii stopped working. It died.

Totally. Stopped. Working. Kaput. Much wailing and frustration.

And despite his best attempts to get it all fixed again, it just never happened.

The whole lot, numchucks, remotes, games, controller thingos, they all got chucked into a bag and stashed at the back of the entertainment cabinet, in disgrace.

Fast forward a year...

My son Charlie, at age nearly six, has been asking about "Nintendo Wii" and "Xbox" and "Playstation"...he is at the age where Sonic and Super Mario rule supreme...

So, my husband considers it all, and is just about to go shopping,  before I remind him that we actually have all the Wii stuff, redundant, that he has not able, or inclined, to fix.

Stalemate.

He is generous.

I am canny.

So I despatch them all outside for a long walk with the dog, whilst I drag out the neglected and dusty Wii instucton manuals, fresh batteries at the ready.

After dragging cords and connections and sensors and power packs and goddess knows what else, I am sweating more than I ever did on the Wii Fit when it actually worked.

But........drumroll please....

I did it.

This family is now, yet again, the proud posessors of a 100% fully functioning Wii gaming system.

All the little Mii's are set up perfectly - I made myself a gorgeous slim brunette, whilst lovely husband got given a porky balding character.



I can now proclaim to be a LEGEND mother - the kids, after a day of gaming on the newly discovered Wii, think that I am an utter hero.

I should point out that my lovely husband is an IT professional.
In theory, he knows his shit. He does not, however, know his Wii...

But, I do.

Tell me, do you have gaming systems? Who is the expert? Are the a ten day wonder? Or are they worthwhile?


Sunday, 17 April 2011

Indian Summer



When you are faced with a day full of parties and treats and spontaneous decisions that take you out to dinner in delicious restaurants, the calorie counting just has to take a back step for a day.

Slack, but delicious.

I have slapped a "sad smiley" on my record for yesterday. Simply because it was a day that was so much fun and went by in such a blur of hedonism that I know if I enter all the buffet party food and curries into my Calorie King account the page would most likely explode. So I am not sad. But in terms of my intense period of weight loss, it was a write off.

My Saturday centred around fun and catching up and family and community and spontaneity.

I did not eat for any sad old emotional reasons. I was relaxed about it all. My family and friends were pretty chilled too. It was a day to bask in my good fortune.

So I had a day off the calorie counting.

It was a lovely happy gorgeous day.

My children ran me ragged on the footy oval all morning.

We introduced them to the delights of Indian cuisine in the evening. They are, like their parents, now converted to the delights of a curry and a poppadom. And in between I caught up with friends and revelled in those connections.
And today? A huge bush walk in this beautiful Indian summer weather that Adelaide is enjoying.

We will stretch it out and play follow my leader and play hide and seek in amongst the red and gum trees.

 We will trek up hills and explore and search for koala clues and billabongs. We will admire the view and saunter home again, for cups of tea.
 
It's all good. So very good.


 
 





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Total calories inhaled - About a million ~ Exercise calories burned - Not enough ~ Glasses of water sculled - lots ~ Party food that I simply couldn't resist and curries that were devoured - I lost count  ~
Hours of glorious sleep - loads

Sunday, 10 April 2011

The Crossword



The only downside to choosing online news to the actual newspaper? Sunday mornings are missing their crossword.

My parents were crossword experts - they would both complete the carefully folded broadsheet cryptic every day, separately, one at home, one at work, then return and compare over a gin to fill in their gaps. It was teamwork at it's finest.

I miss them.

Do you do crosswords?

I think I need to reinstate the newspaper delivery, just to get my crossword fix.

Have a lovely Sunday....





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Total calories inhaled - 1405 ~ Exercise calories burned - 212 ~ Glasses of water sculled - not enough 
Glasses of red wine that I didn't even really want - 2  ~ Hours of glorious sleep - 8

Friday, 8 April 2011

50 Years!

Later today I am going to a party.



My aunt and uncle are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.

Fifty years of a contented marriage.

Amazing.

I am in awe.

I am so very happy for them, their health, and their unity. Through all the ups and downs of family life, they have remained totally committed.

They deserve nothing less.

Fifty years wed - it is a rare thing these days.

I am really proud, for them.

If you manage to get to fifty golden years, you receive a letter of congratulations from the Governor-General and the Prime Minister, on the 50th and all subsequent wedding anniversaries. So it is a pretty momentous achievement.

(The lovely husband and I were tardy - we were both thirty six by the time we managed to get around becoming officially married. Which means we will be eighty six when we get to our 50th anniversary. I hope I am not too decrepit to appreciate it....)

I don't think I can recall ever knowing anyone else in my close family that was able to celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary.

How about you? What is the longest lasting marriage that you know of? 





                             _______________________________________________________________

Total calories inhaled - 1408 ~ Exercise calories burned - 257 ~ Glasses of water sculled - 5
Pitches won - 2 ~ Hours of glorious sleep -  8

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Chillax

This weekend has been the first in many months that we have had NOTHING booked.

Nowhere to be, nothing to plan.

No conference.

No work.

No entertaining.
No cricket.

No swimming.

No kids birthday parties.

Just time for us.

The fab five.



Slightly chilly weather.

Games of Connect Four around the kitchen table

Lots of lovely coffee

A movie fest (Fantasia and Hairspray)

Shepherds Pie

Chillout music

Slippers

Cuddles

A long walk together and maybe kick a ball about later, down on the oval

Reading stories - leisurely - to the kids.

Pouring over baby photo albums - my children love nothing more than to look back on themselves.

Baking - some amazing biscuits.

Lego and Play 'doh and Jigsaws - again, around the kitchen table

Gardening - tending to my herbs and the compost

Smiles, over the top of the heads of these beautiful children.

Just blissful family time.

Tell me.....when there is time...what do you love to do to just chill?

Friday, 25 March 2011

It's like pulling teeth...

When I was a little girl, as the fourth child out of five, losing teeth was no big deal. My older brothers would try and pull my wobbly teeth out for me. I would spend days with my hand clutched over my mouth.






My Dad was the village 'expert' in teeth pulling. A full mouth of false teeth himself, he would cheerfully yank teeth from the mouths of any of my little school friends that came to play.

Anyone in my class at school with a wobbler would ask to come to tea, so that my Dad could deal with it. They would be served a high tea with a grin from my Mum, and then they would skirt around my Dad. Nervous but excited. Giggling, boys and girls.

Crossword paused, peering over the top of both his newspaper and his specs, he would lean over with a clean white hankie in hand, have a peer in, and before my unsuspecting school friends would know it, they were awarded tooth fairy currency. Slightly bloodied at one end, pearly white enamel.

He was viewed as much of a hero as the tooth fairy herself.

He never managed to extract any of my tiny teeth. I would rather leave them hanging by a thread of a root for days, twisting and wobbling, exposing a little more raw gumminess at a time. Then, alone and stoic, in front of a bathroom mirror, with a tissue in hand, I would take a deep breath and deal with it, proudly, all by myself.

And wait (sometimes for days - my parents the tooth fairy was evidently distracted and busy) for the thrill of the five pence piece that was my reward.

I am not sure I ever believed in the tooth fairy.

But I know a girl that does.

I find I have assumed the role that my Dad initiated. I am inundated at the school gate by excited seven year olds who say "Olivia's Mum, Olivia's Mum, can you get my tooth out please?"

Including, this afternoon, my own lovely Olivia. Gappy. She says she looks "Gruesomely" with an edge of pride. But still so beautiful to me.



The tooth fairy will be on shift, on time, tonight.

Were you a wobbler or a yanker? Did you believe in the tooth fairy?


Saturday, 19 February 2011

Granny Grateful

I am tired.

I feel overwhelmed, getting used to the new normal of working as well as writing as well as being a Mummy and wifely type.

I have drunk more coffee this week than I have done in years.

I am grateful to my English Grandmother, Phyllis, for instilling in me a love of good coffee. (She was a rarity in war torn Britain - a woman that insisted on real coffee, not tea. I remember her avoidance of the innovative freeze dried in the 1970's, her preference for her complicated gurgling Cona, a Heath Robinson influenced contraption of burners, geezers and tubes interlinking to glass jugs.)



She kept her coffee tins and recycled them to keep home made fudge in. (I adore coffee tainted fudge for this reason.)

She taught me to make fine coffee.

She taught me to make fudge.

She taught me to cut bread so thinly for sandwhiches it melts in the mouth.

She taught me how to sew buttons and complete tapestry.

She taught me to clean windows with newspaper and methelated spirits.

She taught me to preserve fruits for jams and chutneys.

She taught me giggles and cuddles from a massive bust.

I am grateful to Granny, and this week,  I am grateful for coffee.




Sunday, 19 December 2010

Winding down

Tomorrow we go on holidays.

I am in total winding down mode.

It is bliss.

Like preparing for a swim and diving deep into relaxation, I am anticipating all the jangles to relax.

To just be.

The five us, and miles before us.









Friday, 17 December 2010

It's not fair......

The school holidays are upon us.

My children are close in age.

We are going away soon, on holidays, so I am not indulging them in any particular school holiday outings. I am busy with pre Christmas and pre holiday stuff...preparatory chores.

I kind of figure it should be treat enough that they are not being chivvied and nagged out of  the door early each  morning? That they get to chill and hang out all day together? No homework, no bells, no routine,? Just nice weather, a great back yard, and enough toys, books and equipment to sink a ship?

They profess to adore one another.




They are verbose and articulate and affectionate and declare love for one another with hilarious and dramatic regularity.

But they also bicker.

Oh sweet goddess, can they bicker...

On Twitter this week, I attempted to convey just how they can bicker over NOTHING. How they can bicker over random & ridiculous stuff. (In 140 characters. Impossible.)

To here are some examples...

Of what my three children bickered over yesterday. Just yesterday.

Several items bought at least one of them to tears.

Feet have been stamped, hair has been pulled, doors have been slammed.


You'd be right in thinking that the above snap depicts nothing more glamorous than a grubby mark on a wall. The wall in our dining room. A grubby mark that I was cleaning with one of those Magic Eraser thingos. And the kids wanted to help. And absolute war broke out. Over a mark on the wall.....


And you'd be right in thinking that this lovely image above is a tiny corner of a stale Vitawheat biscuit. I was clearing out various Tupperware containers and gave the kids stale Vitawheat for morning tea. This bit, featured here,  was the cause of great wailing and declarations of unfairness.



Upon packing their toiletries for their holidays, I chucked into the recycling a damp and crushed toothpaste box. And I appreciate that it does have the icon of Dora on it (who is indeed Lexie's hero.) But I did not expect Charlie to go into meltdown and whack his sister over the head in an attempt to claim a bit of wet cardboard.


In an effort to create some calm, I got the Hama beads out after lunch. There are several squares of well loved ironing paper in their Hama bead kit. Several. Identical, they are.So why they had to all bicker the house down over a well used bit of greaseproof paper is totally beyond me. But they did.

I only wish I were joking.

Arrrggghhhh.

It's not fair.....

Tell me, what do your kids bicker over?

Random crap like mine? Share? Please, make me feel better?


Wednesday, 24 November 2010

It's Beginning to Feel A Lot Like Christmas......

This may come as a shock to some (Melissa & Sarah), but dare I tell you I am getting quite excited by the idea of Christmas this year?

Today, whilst I shop (child free) I am casting my net further afield, in order to check out Santas.

So that I can find a nice one with the appropriate beard and nice face. So that tomorrow I can take the kids after school for a Santa photo.

I have also spent time with Olivia, trimming up her costume for her Christmas concert.

And sat at the table with Lexie, making Christmas decorations.

And helped Charlie do a Christmas themed show and tell.

I'll be honest, I am not sure what's come over me?!

Normally I am bit of a Grinch. Not so this year. I am feeling quite festive and sparkly, already.



Are you excited about Christmas yet?

Or dreading it?

Which bits do you love and which bits do you hate?

Tell me? Share?