Showing posts with label Olivia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Olivia. Show all posts

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Love letters...

The reason for my love letter to my kids? Because I believe the best love letters need to be hand written.

I always write love letters and thank you notes and postcards in my own handwriting, if I can.

I stash handwritten stuff around the place too. For my kids to find.

They don't really care.

They might care, one day.

I have handwritten stuff from my Dad that appears. Appears when I need it.  An old letter that he wrote to me when I first left home to go to uni will drop out of a book. I know every word - it is etched on my memory; but my heart swells as I stop and sit, and read that letter again.

I do not expect that my kids will have the need to find my handwriting for a great many many years. But when they do; when they need a link, a thread, a golden thread to their Mum, to me, they will discover my words, in my hand. I hope it brings them some calm, and some peace in their hearts.

Go over to see Eden? I am linking up with her today. She is a legend. And a blogging legend. I love her and I love the idea of her meme linky thingo...

Do you love your handwriting? What do you still hand write these days?

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Thursday, 19 January 2012

I have a plan...

One of the plans I have committed to this year (one of many, I should add. I suspect I am being a little ambitious!) is to meal plan properly.

Last year was my year of "online grocery shopping" which I am still truly in lust with. I've been faithful to it.

I want to add to the satisfaction of online shopping by meal planning properly in the first place, so that my groceries are a little more organised and so that my food dollar goes further and so that we all, as a family, try more new dishes.

That snap you see up top there? That's Olivia, at the Australian War Memorial this summer where she came upon the Allied Works Council Cooking Guide - from the 1940's - a guide to feeding Australian forces with economy and flavour...

I read the guide with Olivia - perched on a an old bench in the discovery zone of the museum. It was a delight to read and I was transported back to a time when homemade was the only way and everything from scratch with no preservatives was the norm.

Whilst I won't be serving up chops for breakfast, the book really reminded me of how very satisfying it is to cook and eat from weekly plan. How sensible it is to create meals that in turn create additional meals for the following week. It is an economy of time and energy as well as produce.

The guide reminded me of how my Granny used to cook. Plain fare, fresh food and plenty of it. My Mother taught me too, to cook with flair. My aim is to combine the two - via a meal plan....which I probably share via my blog.

I have not started yet - but I do have a idea to scribble down meal ideas of the back of envelope. I have spent time previously being inspired by this post too.

Tell me, do you menu plan? How? What works? If not, why not? Tell me all!

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Monday, 24 October 2011

Cereal Box Craft...

I have no shame in admitting that I once was a lot little bit into the idea of scrap booking. Instead of the traditional baby books, I scrap booked all of the photos of my children for the first two years of their lives. Then, I gave up with a sigh of relief. I have done the odd layout since, but there are huge volumes and hundreds of dollars worth a lot of crafty scrap booking supplies laying redundant in our house.

So, I let Olivia and Lexie help themselves to a whole heap of stuff the other day, and we set about some craft. They had a ball. I turned a blind eye to the glue and the snipping. Even Charlie got a little bit interested. (Only after I tore him away from the Wii. That is a whole other blog post...)

I had scoured Google earlier for some ideas, so here I give you  our collection of cereal box craft:

Cereal Box Gift Bag (which Lexie now uses to cart all her Barbie bits and bobs around in...

Magazine holder made from a Cornflakes box...Olivia now has this in her room to hold all of her various colouring/activity books.

As it was school holidays a week or two back, we indulged in "little packets". And what better way to use the boxes than a hair band tidy in Olivia's room. (Saves me vacuuming the hair bands up. Hair bands all over the floor area constant irritation in my life...)

 For any of these cereal box crafts, all you need is a stack of tape, glue sticks, embellishments and pretty papers. And scissors and a black marker and a ruler too. And of course, a healthy supply of cereal boxes.

And time and patience, obviously.

This fridge file is magnetically stucck to the fridge - so they kids can stick all the school/swimming/netball notes straight in there for me to ignore read.
Olivia and Charlie and Lexie are very proud of their creations. Next on the list, apparently, is a puppet show TV and a filing cabinet for all my crap fadmin paperwork.

And there was no glitter involved. Result.

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PS This post is not sponsored by Kellogg's at all, but I was given a whole stack of Kellogg's cereal as a result of going to a brunch meeting with them.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Conflict resolution...?

I have three imperfect children, who I adore. But they also drive me mad.

School holidays are a time when their closeness in age, and their ability to manage their own emotions as well as sibling conflicts, is virtually impossible. For me and them.

Child 1, the moment she is tired or bored will become a whiner. Her speech alters, as does her ability to listen to reason. Unable to see the big picture through tired eyes, she will hone in on the minutiae of an argument, and then whine until she gets her own way. Or cry pathetically, as she continues to attempt to get her own way. It sets my teeth on edge and makes me want to scream. (Which I do, sometimes. Once, after having an afternoon full of whining, I ended up losing my temper and I threw a little chair at a tree in the garden. And yes, I do appreciate that I am not sending a very good example here. Perfect mother I am not...)

Child 2 is laid back. He handles pretty much most things. He is a content middle child. But I realise he operates on a slow burn. And when he finally realises he is being left out/neglected/wound up/treated unfairly, he snaps. He does not suffer fools well.  I can see his fists clench and his anger rise. He goes red and I can just tell he has a fury waiting to explode. Instead of lashing out, his anger results in tears of utter frustration. He takes himself immediately, howling, to his room, where he punches the shit out of some godawful Sponge Bob cushion that collects dust under his bed. Twenty minutes later, after a nice good sulk, he reappears, as if nothing has happened.

Child 3 is a drama queen. She is a performer. She is the dibber dobber. She is the manipulator. The wheedler. Or, she yells and cries and runs away the moment anyone doesn't do as she plans. She has perfected the art of the screechy uncontrollable tantrum. She verbalises her frustrations by hollering phrases such as "you are the worst Mumma I ever had!" and flounces off, crying loudly and dramatically - she often opens her bedroom window so that the neighbours can get first class audio of her production. She then either writes all over her bedroom walls or falls asleep. (I hope for the latter...)

They are perfectly imperfect. But normal, I dare say. Tired, hungry, lacking in stimulation, lacking in attention from me, lacking in their usual routine. Overstimulated, too much choice, too much screen time, too much junk food. Lacking in one on one time, missing Dad. Whatever the reasons, and the reasons vary, it can all end up, some days, with a little bit of chair throwing of some kind...

They are developing methods of managing their own conflicts and frustrations. Kind of. They test each other, and me. It drives me mental, but I am also fascinated at how their different personalities implode...

I have no idea of the right or wrong way to parent these habits. Should I go with the flow? Or try and make them calm and rational? Is that even ever possible? Should I bribe and cajole? Or are they just kids being kids? Just put up with it and throw a chair at a tree at the end of the day? How will these methods and traits manifest into adult personalities?

Tell me, how do you help your kids manage their conflicts and frustrations? How to you manage your own? Or do you just put up with it and chuck the odd chair about, and hope for the best?

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Friday, 16 September 2011

Do you believe in fairies?

My elder daughter, Olivia, is nearly eight. She is mature and self composed, and fairly cool.

She is on the cusp of adopting all sorts of tweenager habits and interests.

She wears blue nail polish, wants to play the DS all the time, watches Lizzie Maguire and Naturally Sadie. She has tendencies towards a little bit of tweeny attitude at times.

But with the constant losing of wobbly teeth, and the repeat appearances of the tooth fairy for both Olivia and my son Charlie, it seems that a mature little girl can still be swayed to the magical belief in fairies.

Olivia and a crew of her little school friends have been collecting pebbles and flowers and writing notes over the past few days, to make a fairy ring.

To be honest, I am little fairy'd out, so I just let them get on with it, and didn't take much notice.

Until I went to collect her from school today, and was greeted with her beaming ecstatic face.

She and her friends had spent all recess creating a special fairy ring, in the hope of enticing a response from some magical little fairy creatures. A quiet spot on one of the school lawns had been picked out as the spot. Notes had been written, with, I believe, requests for chocolate, and fairy dust, and free wishes...

And upon returning to their fairy ring at lunch time, to survey their endeavours, they realised the fairies had indeed been!

Silver charms had been left, along with  a lolly or two, accompanied by an adorable little note from the fairies. All written in gold glittery pen, with some tiny petals added to the fairy ring.

I cannot begin to describe the joy and excitement that these fairy messages have evoked in my Olivia. She is utterly enchanted. The detail of the day and the activities and the reward all effervesced from her. She is so happy, she is holding the knowledge that fairies really do exist close to her heart.

So this evening I am grateful, so very very grateful to "the fairy" that created this magic for my daughter and her friends. Whether it was another Mum, or perhaps one of the older students, I am not sure. It could have been a teacher, or one of the school support officers. No one has 'fessed up. (No doubt they are holding the secret close too.)

But I am grateful that for the magical place we are can find ourselves in, when little girls can be little girls, and wonder and sparkle can be created from a little imagination and a little kindness.

Do you believe in fairies? 

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PS I am, of course, linking this up to Maxabella's weekly Grateful linky, which is being hosted this week by Brenda at Mira Narnie.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

The one Kelloggs didn't ask me to post...

Last week I spent some time in Sydney, and went to a brunch hosted by Kelloggs.

It was not a brunch for Kelloggs to push their ideas or products onto me.

It was, amazingly, a genuine call from a large company to really find out what parents want from a product.

They did not expect or ask us to blog about anything at all.

And the humility and modesty quietly illustrated by Kelloggs with respect to their philanthropic nature impressed me enourmously. It demonstrates a long but unflashy committment to integrity which appeals to me.

I realise I have been a loyal user of their products since I was a child. I remember this advert jingle getting stuck in my head in since the mid 1970's...

So in response, I tout my children to you in a unscripted vlog, filmed around our breakfast table in our grubby kitchen the morning after I returned...enjoy.

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PS If you do want information on Kelloggs and cereals in general, it's here - Love Your Cereal.

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.

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...

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.


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...

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Sweet Art...

I have mentioned before that my eldest daughter Olivia has a touch of artist about her.

Since an early age she has drawn and painted beautiful images.

Her use of colour and medium and texture is filled with much flair. I could not be more proud of her.

I am envious too.

I watch her, totally absorbed in wax and paint and ideas that slowly form into beauty.

I was sent, today, the Sweet Art travelling journal, to complete my contribution.

I am both terrified and excited at the prospect. How is it possible to be so keen and itching to start, but haltingly reticent at the same time?

I studied art at school, through adolescence. I withdrew totally after a very sad experience with my art teacher. My artistic pursuits stopped there and then, and my creativity was channelled into cooking and writing instead.

These days I find myself dreaming in art and design projects.

I shall explore a little, I think.

I am no artist. Not at all. A lack of talent and practice has seen to that. But I am a visual person, and I crave the opportunity to experiment.

Olivia and I, we will start to working together, I think.

Monday, 16 May 2011

How (not) to teach your child to tie their shoelaces...

The time has come.

Whilst I know I can get away with velcro fastening shoes for another few seasons and another few shoes sizes, the time is drawing near when Olivia, and Charlie probably sooner, will need to turn their backs on velcro straps for 'real shoes' and 'real sneakers'.

A little like toilet training or the learning of how to tell the time, the very idea of teaching my children such a new and anti-intuitive skill is daunting. One to be delayed for as long as possible.

I cringe at the cutesy methods such as "Bunny Ears" (two loops first, then tie into a granny knot.)

I am not organised or crafty enough for different coloured lace ends to aid reminding. (Bi-coloured Laces are actually a good idea - apparently you take two laces in two different colors and cut them down the middle. Then sew them together to make two bi-coloured laces. Practicing lacing an old pair of shoes with these mix and match shoes laces speeds up the process, apparently. Using bi-colored laces apparently can really helps children who struggle to remember right from left.)

There is, I notice, special lace boards that I might try and pinch borrow from kindy, that replicate a shoe, made from wood, with instructions on it.

When I was a child, my brothers taught me how to tie my laces, using some complicated story about a squirrel and a tree - and I learned to tie my laces in a single loop. (From memory, you create "tree roots" by creating a plain knot to start. Then the "tree" is a long thing loop held in one hand. Then the other hand pulls the lace around (the squirrel runs around the tree) and then the squirrel jumps in the hole under the tree, and comes up the other side. By which time the laces (and your fingers, whilst in the practice stage) are nicely knotted. I am trying to repeat history with this method for Olivia.

Olivia has new sneakers. She is a demon on the AusKick oval. She is determined (but slow) in the swooping and looping  and pulling that is the practice that is the lacing of shoes.

I ask her if she needs help.

She looks at me witheringly - and tells me I use the wrong hands and that she doesn't believe in squirrels and trees. She is left handed to my right, and she is spot on - there are blessed few squirrels in Australia.

Just let me figure it out by myself Mum? Please?

And so, like toilet training and the telling of time, it is Olivia that does it all herself, and it's me that worries, unnecessarily, watching on.

Tell me how you learned to tie your laces? How are you teaching your kids to master the art of lacing their shoes?

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The girls...

I've a girl who paints

I've a girl that dances

I've a girl that likes to paint dancers

I've a girl that likes to dance like a picture

I feel so lucky

I am so proud of my girls



Total calories inhaled - 1194 ~ Exercise calories burned - 315 ~ Glasses of water sculled - not enough 
Tempations resisted - lots  ~ Hours of glorious sleep - 7

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?

Monday, 21 February 2011

Deep Bone Contentment

My daughter Olivia, my eldest, is seven today.

She has had a four day event of a birthday.

(Her sixth birthday was a disaster - everything, sadly, had to be cancelled as a result of brother Charlie breaking his femur and being rushed to hospital. Poor little chick - she was utterly overlooked last year.)

Hence, this year, we have indulged her. Totally.

She is an amazingly good kid, so I kind of figure she SHOULD be spoiled for her birthday.

On Friday we met with friends for an extravagant gathering at a play cafe - the Wacky Warehouse, no less. A huge indoor play centre is not a run of the mill occurrence for my children, so this was treaty in the extreme.

On Saturday, the lovely husband took her off to the big shops to choose a timepeice - her very first watch. Later, we met family (including a lot of little cousins) for dinner at lovely husbands cricket club. Bistro food and too many fizzy drinks, birthday cake and candles,  and chasey round the oval were order of the evening.

And on Sunday, the main event, a party for all of her little friends, at a local dance studio, where they learned a funky little routine and put on a show for the parents, in between chips and lollies and pass the parcel.

And today is her actual birthday. I have baked biscuits for her to take to school, for all of her classmates to enjoy. The great unveil of the new bike will take place after school. (Lovely husband has assembled it in secret: the garage has been off limits...)

This evening we will enjoy Olivia's "best dinner" which is "bisgetti bolobnaise", the five of us, all together.

She is beside herself at the treatiness of it all: of so many delights over such an extended birthday.

And me? I am thrilled to be able to totally spoil and indulge her, for once.

She is utterly enchanted and excited and enthused by each new gift and by each new event. It is magical to watch my unspoilt girl being spoiled.

She is, as I have said before, an amazingly self assured and self possessed little girl. She is growing up so very quickly. She is
unselfconscious in her modest awareness of her increasing beauty. Her love of life is matched by her popularity, and by her inclusive nature and her kindness. She is a girl with charisma.

When she was born, seven years ago, I was blown away by an amazing sense of deep bone contentment, at finally having a baby in my arms, a baby that was Olivia. She was, and still is, an absolute gift to me.

And now, I am blown away again that such a beautiful creature is my daughter. I am, quite simply, inordinately proud of her.

Happy Birthday my sweet Olivia. I love you. So much.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

She's caught a bug...

.......the reading bug, that is.

My daughter Olivia hopped out of the pool this evening at lightening speed. Into the bath, teeth brushed, her jammies on in absolute record time.

Her impossibly long red hair brushed, by herself, independent. Curtains drawn, bedside light on. She hurriedly kissed her siblings a quick goodnight. She was a girl on a mission.

By the time I finished tucking Lexie in, and reading a chapter or two to Charlie, I made my way to her room. She barely looked up. Propped up in bed, totally at ease and at peace, she had her nose totally buried in a book.

She has caught the reading bug.

She caries her paperbacks around with her all the time, bookmark in.

She sneaks reads in whenever opportunity strikes. In the back of the car? Waiting for me outside class? On the loo? In the lull between dinner and bath? (She has learnt the habit from me - a spare minute is all you need for a sneaky read.)

She was slow off the mark with reading. And then, like most children, she "got it". And no sooner did she get it, she raced through the school readers with a speedy but  resigned impatience. She was relieved, I think. I suspect she was aware that the business of reading is a vital skill. One that her parents are keen on, for themselves, and for her.

And now, she realises why. For the joy of it. The absorption of it. For the way it transports imagination. For the escape it affords. For the rich pleasure of the folk, the tales, the stories, the adventures to be had within the covers of a book. For the bliss of sinking into a cool bed with a good book. What greater pleasure, what simpler joy?

I have just popped my head into her room again, and kissed her goodnight. She barely registered my kiss. But she looked up and me and grinned over the top of her book. And she is so happy.

That books give her that happiness; that her reading gives her such contentment, for that, I am so glad.

Tell me, when did YOU get the reading bug? Was it a particular book that hooked you Can you recall?

Friday, 14 January 2011

No longer my little girl...?

We have over a month to go until Olivia, my six year old, turns seven.

The present suggestion list, which she meticulously scribes at the front of her secret lockable diary is lengthening.

Famous Five books are very babyish, apparently. The Saxby Smart: Private Detective series is much more de rigueur, according to Miss Nearly Seven.

She also tells me she wants some glitter nail-polish, in blue please.

Top of her list is currently a new leather handball and gloves to match - she is a demon handball player at school, apparently.

But she yearns, some days, just to sit and play with her younger sister at imaginary "shops" with nothing more complicated than buttons for money and empty cereal boxes as their gourmet retail stock. So a plastic pink toy cash register has also been requested.

I have suggested a watch - a traditional Timex that she has earned by the learning of telling the time - which she concurred is a good idea. As long as it has a pink strap. And as long as I still tell her when it's her bedtime.

A moment later she needed reassurance that her advancing age of seven is not actually too old for fairy bread at her birthday party.

That she has picked a cake depicting a cartoon ladybird from the Women's Weekly Birthday Cake book makes me yearn for a more innocent time.

She is sensitive - today she may be crying over the desire to have her ears pierced. Tomorrow the tears may revert to flowing over a much loved lost teddy.

Definitely not yet a pre-teen. But no longer my little girl either....

Tell me all this is normal? That what she is going through will smooth out? That I will cope with her growing up so fast?