Monday, 22 December 2014

Advent adventures

We finally put our Christmas tree up last night.

Usually we put it up the first Sunday in Advent, but this year it just didn't happen.

That is not to say that we have not done something each Sunday in Advent. Admittedly the something hasn't been going to church which is what we also like to do, but sometimes things don't go according to plan.

On the first Sunday in Advent we ....

... helped our God-cousins put up their Christmas tree
My youngest God-son was super keen to put up his Christmas tree and wouldn't wait until we left. He is hoping to get a drum set and putting up the tree meant he was one step closer. This was one of my favourite parts of a weekend road trip adventure.

When we got home, we had end of year wind up for dance, and then rehearsals for the Girl Guide Christmas Choir. We basically ran out of time.


On the second Sunday in Advent ....

I went on a Santa pub crawl ....
... to recover from the Christmas pageant the night before and from looking after the Girl Guide Christmas Choir. Buglet and the Pixie slept at their Dad's that night, and Tink was in Singapore ... so no Christmas tree yet!


On the third Sunday in Advent ... we came home from another trip down south to have Christmas dinner with Apple.

Table centre was made at Guides. How cool does it look?
Apple's home made Apple Pie. 
Basically an exhausted Mummy, and Christmas dinner was made us super full (Buglet has told me to go get my iron checked though).

On the fourth Sunday of Advent .....

.... some old friends came out to play ...
... some came all the way from the North Pole for cuddles ...
... and the tree was finally up!
The girls have developed a system over the last few years. Tink sorts the branches, the Pixie fluffs them, and then Buglet puts the tree together. I take photos (and break up arguments mostly at the decorating stage where Buglet has very different (actually quite Tink like) ideas about how the tree should be decorated, and the other two disagree) and Flip-Flop gets in the way.

Someone-who-shall-remain-nameless (not me!) suggested that Flip-Flop should be put outside so she didn't get in the way. Pixie was most indignant and said person was firmly informed that Flip-Flop was part of the family and should not be left out. Someone-who-shall-remain-nameless (still not me!) suggested that Pixie hould be put outside so she didn't get in the way. Because I am a good parent, I told her not to be mean to her sister (and fortunately the Pixie was too busy crooning over the puppy to notice).

We celebrated the tree finally being up with toasted Christmas ham and cheese sandwiches, and chocolate for dinner, and by watching The Hunger Games (not very Christmasy but we are planning on going to see Mockingjay: Part 1 tomorrow night).

Three sleep to go peoples! How are your Christmas traditions going?

Friday, 19 December 2014

Finishing the chapter ...

... and I've read the last word, signed the last note, stayed at home to do the last drop off and the last pick up, and I am officially no longer a primary school mum.

The Pixie "graduated" from primary school last night, and the final day of school was yesterday.

I don't think I have blogged about graduation yet? Now I am so old, I am losing my memory. The Pixie got English dux for the school. I am so very incredibly proud of her, but before you think that she is grown up enough for high school, I do have to report of the following three incidents that indicate to the contrary.

Incident 1
We went to a presentation night for the high school's academic extension program (which Tink is in, and the Pixie starts next year).

Pixie: Mama! All the smart kids are here!
Me: Ah. You know what the [program] is right?
Pixie: Yes, but all the smart kids are here.

Incident 2
Pixie: Because I was so good at graduation we should get icecream.
Me: You think you should get icecream for being good at your graduation?
Pixie: Yes.

Incident 3
Pixie: No-one reminded me to take my clarinet.
Me: You don't need it. It's the last day of school ... Hang on. Aren't you playing at assembly?
Pixie: No-one reminded me, but I reminded myself. Ah hah!!!

Conclusion
Good luck High School. I am not sure you and the Pixie are ready for each other, but I guess we will see how you go.

Graduation present
Meanwhile I was presented with my own certificate at the final assembly! A total surprise. It was for the support to the school over the years that leaving families had given in the years they were involved in the school. In my case, I think it was totally undeserved. I have never been on the P&C or helped in the canteen or done anything on a regular basis. Although I do help when I can, really it isn't very often. I was doing so well not to cry up until that point.

Notwithstanding the fact I am a fraud, it was such a lovely gesture, and very indicative of the community feeling our school embraces, and very much deserved in some cases. I am grateful every day for the all the work so many parents put into helping all our kids get the most out of their school years.

I feel like I have graduated too! I am pretty sure that now I am the mother of three high school students people should accept the fact I am grown up and take me seriously.

Final ever primary school photo
(she's not mad, just teary)

I am stealing the words I wrote on my facebook page last year when Tink graduated. I can't think of a better way to say how I am feeling at the moment.

Dear Primary School,
What a perfect graduation [x 3 over the years]. In some of the words that Tink spoke so beautifully in the [2013] ceremony: you've seen my babies "from pigtails to straighteners, from colouring in to writing stories, from always being the smallest to being the biggest personality" THANK YOU for helping my girls grow into the amazing people they are today. When we made the decision to keep our girls at this school, it was one of the best parenting decisions we made.
Love,
Mrs G.

... and  the words I wrote to my babies when they had a big sad about me insisting on a last day of school photo under the school sign ...

Dear Buglet, Tink and Pixie,
I don't care how old you are, I will be there for every first and every last, in person or by proxy, cheering you on, laughing at you and crying with you. I am your mother and no-one will ever love you as much as I love you, and no-one will ever have your back like I do. So toughen up and smile for the photo! I will be still doing this when you're at uni (however many times you are there).
Love always and forever, and a little bit more than that,
Mummy xxx

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Instructions

For those of you who haven't made it to being a high school parent yet, you should be warned: there are lots of rules. Not school imposed rules (although obviously there are those too) but child imposed rules.

Considering this is my third child going off to high school you would think that I would have it all sussed; I thought I had it pretty under control. Buglet and Tink haven't had too many complaints about me (although they have told me DB is very embarrassing when he drops them off, considering he does this on purpose this should make him happy).

I am pretty sure Buglet and Tink don't have a very high opinion of my capabilities so they just keep it simple. You don't want to complicate things too much for parents.

Pixie on the other hand has been busily giving me instructions for the last six months, and as the school year has progressed so has the intensity of the reminders. As I can only remember three clearly I have not been paying that much attention  The three I have remembered are:

  • Not taking photos at school on the first day;
  • Not getting out of the car to take photos on the last day; and
  • Making sure her uniform is not baggy "because in books the youngest kids all have baggy uniforms and I don't want to be that person".

I suppose that is all sort of reasonable.

We went visiting on the weekend, and Buglet and Tink used the travelling time to discuss some of the finer points of high school. I was amused to hear them telling her things like where the best drink fountains were. Honestly, that would not have even crossed my mind.

My favourite conversation would have to be this one though ....

Tink: Don't be one of those people who gets changed in the toilets.
Pixie scornfully: I am a dancer.
pause
Pixie: Do I need to change my underwear?
Buglet: No. You can do that at home.

WTF? My children are so weird. Totally weird. Pixie for thinking to ask. Buglet for not thinking it was a strange question.

Everyone has been asking me if it is making me sad that my last child is leaving primary school. It is definitely the end of an era, and that is making me emotional, but life will get a little easier in lots of ways when they are all in high school.

As for them growing up .... Tink and the Pixie decided to engage in a "straw sword fight" after a first birthday party so I am not in much danger of them being all grown up yet!

Despite appearing on the blog, this game is not parental approved.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Sixty seconds

Today, one family in Perth is living a nightmare. They are grieving for the loss of their son. Their story isn't mine to tell, but yesterday I watched as a city grieved. I heard the murmurs around the office when the official update was released saying that his body had been found. I saw the facebook posts as people sent love out across the internet to all those affected by the tragedy.

My heart ached for the parents, the family, the friends, the hundreds of people who had been out searching, for the village that looked for this child as their own, for the tradie who may have left the door open and will have to live with "what if" forever.

My heart ached for all those who have lost babies and children, those for whom this story must have reopened wounds.

I sat at work, desperate to go home and hold my babies tightly. 

Today's story wasn't unique. Sadly, way too many parents lose their children every day, in a variety of forms and for a myriad of reasons, and my heart aches for those families too.

Sam's story struck a chord, because it could have so easily been me. It could have so easily been any of us.

Sixty seconds is all it takes.

Sixty seconds is all it took.

I can still feel the physical symptoms of the fear I felt when Tink went missing as a 22-month-old. Too little to know boundaries, but with a 4 year old sister who could open doors. A sister who was too young to understand the possible consequences. She was ok. She had curled up asleep between the couch and a bookcase. I was one of the lucky ones. It could have so easily been me. I think most parents will have their own story to tell.

There are no words to say. This post is redundant, it is pointless, but I still felt compelled to write it. 

To me this is a reminder. To hold this family, and all grieving families, in my heart and my prayers. To do my bit to make the world a better place. Love, care, bring joy. And to always be grateful for what I have; often the alternative is too scary to contemplate. 

Be kinder than you need to be, you never know what battle those you come across may be facing.

Lighting a candle and taking sixty seconds to remember and pray.

RIP Sam.




Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Oops!

Yep. It is that time of the year again. Dancing is finished. Guides is finished. Soccer is finished. My brain goes into holiday mode. I go nuts with the thought of all this free time and being able to make plans on weeknights.

Nuts is the right word. I promptly lose all sense of organisational skills and massively overbook myself.

In the last week or so I have hosted two party plan parties* (demonstrations? Whatever the word is that I am supposed to use) for two of my lovely friends. I have been a leader with the Girl Guide Choir (not with my usual unit, this is a once a year job with a different group of girls) and taken 15 young Guides to the Christmas Pageant. I've taken Tink and the Pixie down south. I've been on a pub crawl, end of year wind-ups, medical appointments, and some school events.

I have totally failed to get my eyebrows done even though that just means walking across the road.

I have also signed [I don't know how many school] forms for various events**.

The end result of this is that I am totally shattered, even busier than normal, and I am constantly feeling like I have forgotten something.

The stupid thing is that I do this every year. Maybe 2015 will be different? I will be heaps grown up by this time next year.



So here are the key highlights so I remember that I have actually done stuff and it hasn't just been a blur. There may be some proper blog posts later, but there may not be.

  • I have had some wonderful times! I have caught celebrated the end of year with people who I enjoy working and playing with. I have got to wear a Santa hat. 
  • My beautiful baby sister turned 18. We went to the Casino on a Monday night and I felt suitably rebellious. (Mum said I wouldn't go because it was a work night. She clearly has a better opinion of my work ethic than I do. How often do you have a sister turn 18?! Only one more to go for me. I admit I didn't drink though. My work ethic must not be too bad then).
  • Tink came home from Singapore and had a super wonderful time. More about that later. She is going to do a guest blog.
  • Tink did remember presents and didn't get Ebola (the Pixie's two main concerns).
  • I took Flip-Flop to the beach and managed to tire her out so much she didn't wake up when I ate a McMuffin.

* Important to note that as part of this I have not remembered to plan in any cleaning time. Cleaning is very important before hosting functions. Also something I should learn.

**I should really keep track of school notes better. I got a frantic phone call from the Pixie the other day asking if Buglet could sign a permission form to watch a PG movie. I said sure and asked Buglet to "pp" it for me and put my mobile on there. Apparently the teacher was highly amused.


Thursday, 4 December 2014

Dancing Divas

Beginning of 2007 I got a flyer in my letterbox, and I picked up the phone to make a call. Little did I know that that flyer would change my life forever. This might sound a little dramatic, but it is true!

I made the call. What sold me on the dance school was when I asked about how they dressed the girls for concerts (the word "prostitute" may have been used) the teacher new exactly what I meant, and reassured me that the costumes used were all age appropriate.

A week later all three girls started in the same class.

A term later, Buglet moved up a class, and the Pixie tried a shorter class.

8 years, three studios, two name changes, and countless hours of dancing later we are still there, Buglet is a student assistant teacher, and we still love the studio. The teacher kept her word. I was cursing her this year for the amount of accessories involved in the costumes (I was in charge of the quick change room) but her costumes have remained age appropriate.

Buglet wanted to do dancing, and I thought it would improve their confidence and hopefully help them be more coordinated than me. It never crossed my minds that they would actually be good at dancing. Turns out that they are good.

The teachers are so much fun and the atmosphere is so lovely that even I have given a few classes a go! I tried tap for the first time two years ago and it was so much fun. I love the clip-clop of tap shoes. I totally suck at it. Buglet is in the adult tap class now and she thinks I should come back and do it with her. "It will be fun Mum. You can stand behind me so you have someone to copy and then we can practise together at home". I suspect if I take her up on this offer the in-house tutoring there will be a lot of stress involved for me.

So there you go. I have traveled a path that I never meant to start on.

The fun and the glamour ......

Things I have learnt about being a Dance Mum:

  • Find a studio where you love the atmosphere. You will be spending a lot of time there.
  • Label everything.
  • Help where you are able to help. It is fun being a part of the team.
  • Smile.
  • It doesn't matter if you stuff up, just keep doing your best.
  • Develop a hobby that you can do while sitting and watching for hours. I knit teddies. One year I ended up with my own mini-craft group going with some of the sisters of girls in Buglet's class.
  • Deal with the fact that your children may develop skills you can never hope to gain.
  • If they have adult classes. Give them a go! It might be fun. And it is setting your children a good example.
  • You can tape your boobs to hold them in place. You may tear skin when you take the tape off. I have not tried this, but I have seen the evidence.
  • There are many types of dance stocking.
  • Do not cover yourself in glitter the weekend before important meetings at work. You may not be able to avoid incidental glitter, but self-applied glitter should be carefully thought out.
  • If you find the right place, it isn't just your dance school, it is your dance family.

.... and the hours of hard work.

Things the girls have learnt from being dancers:
  • Confidence.
  • Dedication.
  • Hard work.
  • Fitness.
  • Decision making and impact of your actions.*
  • Strength. Of personality as much as body.
  • Team-work.
  • Fun.
*Buglet has had to make big decisions after (non-dancing) injuries. Including deciding not to dance last year, and not dancing on pointe this year. When she couldn't dance I was so proud of her for instantly volunteering to help back stage. She's also danced in a concert with a broken tail bone (Doctor said it wouldn't make it worse, I did check!). Buglet has also sat through many classes learning by watching when injury has meant she can't dance.

The big thing I learnt this year was that being Buglet's mummy gave me lots of "street" cred with the Tiny Tots. Somehow I managed to end up dealing with several of them backstage at concert. A "do you know Buglet? Well, I am her Mummy" seemed to mean that I was instantly trusted. Yep. I feel a milestone has been reached, I am just not sure what one.


Disclaimer:
  • I am definitely not qualified to give medical, fitness or dance advice.
  • It is doubtful I am qualified to give parenting advice, there is still time for me to stuff up.
  • I am not even allowed to give legal advice without supervision.
I would recommend finding more reliable sources for any advice of any nature.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

That moment of failure

I am not coping well with this one.

Pixie come into the lounge looking for a book. Very confusingly she was looking for the book she was holding. Turns out that the one she was holding was a school copy and she was looking for our copy.

I didn't think we had it. Although, to be fair, we have a lot of books and I haven't read all the teenage ones.

She insisted we did because she recognised it is as looking good. Although the issue was that apparently it was not a good book, and my Pixie was highly indignant that it looked good and then did not live up to expectations.

Me: But you just said it was a good book and that is why you remembered us having it?
Pixie: I said I had seen it here and it looked good but I was mistooken.
Me: Mistaken.
Pixie firmly: Mistooken.
Me: Why isn't it good? 
Pixie: It just isn't; read the cover.
Me: It sounds good.
Pixie: No it isn't. You read it and tell me.
Me: What is it about?
Pixie: I haven't read it. It is not a good book.
Me confused: How do you know?
Pixie: I read the blurb.
Me: Don't you know never to judge a book by its cover?
Pixie: I didn't. The blurb is on the inside. I read that. And the last chapter was boring.

And that, dear readers, is the moment my heart broke. Shattered into a tiny pieces.

My latest read. I am a bit excited about this one!

Broken I tell you!! I may never recover from this shock. If you need me I will be hiding with book trying to deal with the trauma.

Disclaimer:
  • I am happy to give reading recommendations
  • It is doubtful I am qualified to give parenting advice, there is still time for me to stuff up.
  • .I am not even allowed to give legal advice without supervision.
I would recommend finding more reliable sources for any advice of any nature.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Good Mama Moments (mostly)

I had so much fun with my first Good Mama, Bad Mama post that I decided to do it again.

Because I have no imagination, here is my fourth effort. Please free feel to comment with your own highs and lows of your parenting week.

No-one is perfect, and it is good to remember that. Plus overall I think I do ok.

I may also have been inspired by similar type posts on other blogs.

******************************************************************************

Good Mama Moment (GMM): Not stressing that Buglet stayed at DB's the night before her camp.

GMM (and Good Guide Leader Moment (GGLM)): Find her kit list and realising (again) that she has this packing business sussed.

NSGM: Getting a phone call from the high school about some inappropriate teasing the Pixie was involved in on orientation day. Especially sad, because I had been proud of her.

GMM: Making it to a parent meeting on time, with DB. We may have been the last ones to arrive, but we were there.

NSGM: Missing a phone call from school. Calling back, and leaving a message with the front office lady that if it was an emergency to please call their father, and if not please leave a message because I was walking into court. (I did say it very nicely. The front office lady was lovely).

NSGM: Being very grumpy with the girls for fighting after a shocking day.

GMM: Dropping Tink (and friend) at school because they had to get their early for a soccer thing. Letting Buglet take the Pixie to McDonald's for a second breakfast so they weren't hanging around school for ages. The second bit may be a bit questionable.

GMM: Asking Mrs Bee and Apple to tell Buglet to take a jacket to her river cruise in the hope that she will listen to them when she won't listen to me.

GMM: Making it home in time to see Buglet before her cruise, not crying too obviously, and getting all three girls to where needed to be (thanks Apple).

NSGM: Getting an emergency call from Buglet because she needed knickers without holes. Teenaged daughter going out in a short dress with inappropriate underwear feels like a fail on so many levels.

NSGM: Tink's table making lots of noise while a special guest was being interviewed at the Soccer Academy of Excellence dinner.

GMM: Being the parent who got up to tell them to be quiet. Just before a teacher did. Tink was quiet after that.

NSGM: Laughing at Buglet for having sore feet after dancing all night. Her comment roll eyes: "I am a dancer, Mother. I am used to sore feet.

GMM: Driving the girls to school because of thunderstorms, music day (so the little two have instruments to carry), and sore feet.

NSGM: A message from Apple telling me that Tink had been rude enough in the car she had been requested to walk to the last bit.

NSGM: Finally returning the missed call from Tuesday. Turns out Tink had made a bad decision academically.

GMM: Telling Tink to write apology letters to the affected parties.

NSGM/GMM: Hiding in my room and giving myself an early night. I was so tired I felt broken. Pixie wasn't home, and I think the other two supported my decision. I am torn! I feels like a fail, but sometimes Mamas need to look after themselves first.

GMM (and awesome ex-wife moment): Taking Tink and the Pixie on a road trip to see DB before Tink left for Singapore.

Brave Mama Moment: Letting Buglet stay home so she could babysit on Saturday night (on the proviso she slept at Mrs Bee's house!)

Good Godmother Moment (GGM): Fulfilling my duties as a member of my Goddaughter's cheersquad.

GGM: Taking my super tired Godson home early so his mother could watch the last of the concert (this may have been of benefit to me to. It was a great night, but I was so tired).

NSGM: Falling asleep and missing helping the rest of the kids settling into bed.

Hmmm. Possibly a GMM? Teaching them how to love reading?
And how not to be grumpy when you wake up and find people have taken pictures of you?

GMM: Being super proud of Tink for making sure all the kids felt included.

GMM: Making it home in time for the dance school wind up.

GMM: Tink deciding to stay home from choir practice because she won't be there for the performance. Telling Buglet she doesn't have to be in the choir if she really doesn't want to. Super happy she decided to though! It would be nice to have one of the girls there!

GMM/GGLM: Tink having her packing totally sussed.

GMM: Getting making sure Tink can actually sew before I sent her off on her first overseas trip (her exact words were "well enough. I can make it stick together. Sounds good to me!).

Disclaimer:
  • Do not attempt a similar post unless you are sure it will work out to be an overall positive. You do not want to end up feeling worse about yourself.
  • It is doubtful I am qualified to give parenting advice, there is still time for me to stuff up.
  • I am not even allowed to give legal advice without supervision.
I would recommend finding more reliable sources for any advice of any nature.



Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Who is where Wednesday? (aka Part 3 of 'This is How I do it')

Wednesday is my super long day. Same as the other days I leave the house by 6.30am (well this is the plan), but on Wednesdays I don't get home until almost 10pm.

The fabulous Apple picks up the girls from school and gets dinner ready for all of us. I pick up the girls and Apple after work and we go straight from there to Guides.

I whinge every week that Wednesdays are too long, and it is too hard in the middle of week. I have never been able to think of an alternative though.

Despite the complaining, one of my regular happy moments is when I get changed from my work clothes into my Guide clothes. When I am not running super late, I love that we have time to have a picnic and catch up with my co-leaders. I love watching my three do weird acrobatics against the wall while we are gasbagging. I love watching the other Guides go and join in. I have no idea why they do this but it is funny to watch. Plus I always sleep really well on a Wednesday night.

We do have a theory that the first thing we do at Guides should be a running around game to calm down the girls and wake me up. Sometimes this happens. Sometimes it even works.

Tired Guide-leader-Mama me
(and a do-you-remember-these-shirts selfie for some former Guide committee friends).
This week karma bites back! It serves me right for complaining about Wednesdays so much. Just in case they weren't long enough, this week has seen us triple booked.

  • Buglet has her (school) year 10 river cruise from 7pm to 10pm.
  • Tink has her soccer awards dinner (same school!) from 6pm to 9pm.
  • Guides is from 7pm to 9pm, and I am the only qualified leader in our unit at the moment.
  • Pixie exists and it is bad form to abandon her.
Team Village to the rescue! The purpose of the post is so that I can write it all down and attempt to make sure I know who is where when. My darling, super-organised daughters have sorted so much of it out themselves that I am feeling a bit flustered.

Wish me luck .... and here goes ...

Buglet is being picked up from school by Mrs Bee who is also doing her hair. Then  she is going across the road to get her make-up done. Apple is dropping Buglet off at a friend's house to go the cruise. I am picking her up from the cruise.

Tink is catching the bus home from school. She is getting herself ready for the soccer dinner. We both go to the soccer awards dinner before I pick up Buglet.

Apple is picking Pixie up. She is taking the Pixie to Guides, and is keeping her for the night. Marsh is going to my Guides tonight to be the qualified leader.

Simple? Sorted? I hope so.

I need to:
  • Remember to leave work early;
  • Give Apple the Guide hall keys;
  • Find the address Buglet put in my purse;
  • Not get lost; and
  • Find appropriate clothes for an awards dinner.

I will let you know later how well the plan worked.

Disclaimer:
  • It is doubtful I am qualified to give parenting advice, there is still time for me to stuff up.
  • I am definitely not qualified to give organisation advice.
  • My map-reading skills are suspect.
  • I am not even allowed to give legal advice without supervision.
I would recommend finding more reliable sources for any advice of any nature.

Monday, 24 November 2014

The week that was aka GMM/NSGM

I had so much fun with my last Good Mama, Bad Mama post that I decided to do it again.

Because I have no imagination, here is my third effort. Please free feel to comment with your own highs and lows of your parenting week.

No-one is perfect, and it is good to remember that. Plus overall I think I do ok.

I may also have been inspired by similar type posts on other blogs.

******************************************************************************

Good Mama Moment (GMM): Taking Tink (plus friend, plus the Pixie) to see a friend in a play. Bonus points because it was Shakespeare so I get to feel like I am enhancing their education.

GMM: Remembering to rock up for a backstage meeting on Tuesday night.

GMM: Tink stayed at home from Guides because homework was more important.

Not-So-Good Mama Moment (NSGM): Teasing the Pixie because she made up the funniest action I have ever seen in a game I have been playing at Guides for 17(ish) years.

Good Guide Leader Moment: Teaching the girls a new game that I loved.

NSGM: Letting the girls organise their own fake tan for concert (with the lovely lady across the road). Plus I am still not sure it was my finest parenting moment that I let them get one at all.

GMM: Not laughing at Buglet when she rang me in tears after she had her tan, and being v cool, calm and collected about it all. Then calling Apple in a panic to see if she could go around and make sure all was well.

NSGM: Laughing a little when I got home.

GMM: Cooking one of my favourite dinners and having on the table by 7.30pm on a work day. Bonus points for making cauliflower and broccoli in cheese sauce which I do not like at all, but the girls love. (Side note: the word "table" should be very broadly interpreted).

GMM: Leaving work early to be a good dance-mum and getting the girls ready for concert, and me ready back-stage ninja.

NSGM: Bribing the girls with lollies to be good on the car trip. Smart moment was putting Apple in charge of policing this.

NSGM: Telling Pixie I didn't have time to discuss what went wrong with her dance. My words may have been "I don't care right now, baby". In my defence I was in charge of the quick change room and I had 12 girls to worry about.

GMM: Debriefing on the way home with traditional McDonald's.

Total Brag Mama Moment: Realising that being Buglet's mummy gave me lots of credibility with the tiny tots. So, so proud of her work with them this year.

GMM: Taking Pixie to the shops so her sisters could sleep for a bit longer.

NSGM: Lots of shouting at children to be good in the car.

NSGM: Banning car dancing until after concert because I didn't have time to deal with blood noses or black eyes.

GMM: Back stage ninja, night 2.

NSGM: Realising that the first time I had seen them on stage these concerts was the finale of concert 2.

GMM: Crying. I am so proud of them. This may have also been exhaustion.

NSGM: Telling Buglet her dance injuries were related to dancing with big boobs. She was crying. I was cuddling me. She kicked me. Inappropriate, but quite reasonable in the circumstances.

GMM: Super awesome birthday celebrations for Tink including The Hunger Games themed food.

GMM: Telling the girls (including extras) to eat fruit at the celebrations so I could feel better about my parenting.

NSGM: Asking Buglet if DB was being good when I rang to see how their shopping was going.

What a weekend! Going back to work almost feels like a rest this week!

Disclaimer:
  • Do not attempt a similar post unless you are sure it will work out to be an overall positive. You do not want to end up feeling worse about yourself.
  • It is doubtful I am qualified to give parenting advice, there is still time for me to stuff up.
  • I am not even allowed to give legal advice without supervision.
I would recommend finding more reliable sources for any advice of any nature.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

One giant leap ....

NEWSFLASH!!!

My girls are getting big.

This is probably not a shock for anyone else other than me (and most days I realise it, but I've had one of those weeks where it hit home).

Pixie had her high school orientation day. Not only that, when I have her the talk about remembering some kids won't know anyone and making sure that she includes other people she informed me that "A and I have already discussed that. I remember what it was like when I did PEAC and didn't know anyone." Squashed I tell you!

Pixie had a great day, admittedly she had the added bonuses of having two sisters already at the school, and she had spent a morning a week there last year doing an academic extension program. She also made a new friend who is in her TAG (form/homeroom), who didn't know anyone. They've made plans to meet on the first day of next year which is lovely. Hopefully the Pixie won't forget.

This year has been Tink's first year at high school, and she has embraced it whole heartedly (soccer academy of excellence, academic extension program, extra music, student council). Pixie has spent most of the year telling me that she is not going to be like Tink.

There are definitely some sisterly traits though ...

Me: How was your day?
Pixie: I answered lots of stuff. When the teacher asked how did I know so much I told her that I had sisters here. Except when I knew the name of the D&T teacher. I told her Uncle S was a family friend.

My conversation with Tink 12 months ago ....

Tink: When I was in D&T I was the only one who answered any questions. When the teacher asked how I knew what the names of the tools were I told him that my dad was a boilermaker, and that the names were written on the wall.

Look out high school, all three of them will be there next year!

But for the minute ... time can you please hold still? Between Pixie counting down how many days left until the end of primary school, Tink heading off on her first overseas trip, and Buglet telling me how many days until she can get her L's, I need to a few moments to pause to readjust my life view.

Disclaimer:
  • It is doubtful I am qualified to give parenting advice, there is still time for me to stuff up.
  • I am not even allowed to give legal advice without supervision.
I would recommend finding more reliable sources for any advice of any nature.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

When good mothers go bad

I had so much fun with my last Good Mama, Bad Mama post that I decided to do it again. This may be end up being a regular fature.

No-one is perfect, and it is good to remember that. Plus overall I think I do ok.

I may also have been inspired by similar type posts on other blogs.

        *******************************************************************

Not-So-Good Mama Moment (NSGM): Leaving Tink at home sick - while I was at work and Guides.

Good Mama Moment (GMM): Being a Guide leader not only for the benefit of my girls, so lots of girls and women can get the benefit of Guiding.

NSGM: Telling Buglet and the Pixie not to pick stupid goggly eyes so they didn't wreck "my" set of TMNT Christmas decorations.

GMM: Making my decoration (I had Raphael) with sparkly ball to match Pixie's Donatello so we had two sparkly and two not sparkly ones.

NSGM: I didn't tell her Buglet off for re-making the one Apple made for Tink because she wasn't satisfied with the quality.

NSGM: Having to write a note to Pixie's teacher to explain that she got banana all over her school book.

TBMM (aka Total Bragging Mama Moment): Buglet got 80% on her English is exam which is massive because she did not do very well at all last semester and she got a decent mark on Science. She has been working so super hard.

NSGM: Taking Buglet and the Pixie to a leaders' meeting with me. Sometimes you just need to do these things.

NSGM: Bribing the Pixie with a frozen coke to not complain (I seem to be doing this way too often lately).

TBMM: Buglet and the Pixie were super good during my two hour meeting and read quietly.

NSGM: Reneging on the promised frozen coke because it was so late, and they ended up with take-away for dinner. Pixie accepted the IOU very graciously.

GMM: I am setting a good example to my children about civic responsibility and contributing to the community.

GMM: Having the right money and remembering to fill in all the forms before  they were due.

TBMM: Tink and Pixie played waitresses beautifully at a friend's party.

NSGM/GMM: Reminding Buglet that a bad maths mark isn't the end of the world, and that I have always reminded them that if they don't do the work they will be the ones to suffer (I felt awful, but I am pretty sure this is actually a good parenting moment).

NSGM: Going off at Tink for using and removing my lipstick (Seriously though!).

GMM: Organising to have all the dancing drop offs and pick ups beautifully coordinated.

NSGM: Being 45 minutes away when I received the text that they were finishing early ... in 30 minutes.

GMM: Night of culture and grandmother bonding (With DB's mum. Not me. Clearly I am not their grandmother).

NSGM: Leaving the girls at home why I went to a brunch meeting.

GMM: Coming home and being totally overwhelmed because they'd not only done the tidying I had asked them to do, they had done more.

NSGM: Going to have a nap (I was quite sick over the weekend) and leaving Buglet in charge of making high tea.

GMM: Taking the girls to their grandfather's high birthday tea. (DB's dad).

Flip-flop says: Let me play too!

GMM: Evening on the beach with the little two and the puppy.  Letting the puppy hide behind me so she didn't get wet. Letting the girls work out their own water fight rules.

GMM: Delivering up on the frozen coke promise from Thursday.

Bonus points for doing all this while dying from man flu (it is still a bit hit and miss as to whether I will survive. If you don't hear from me again, you will now know what has happened).


Disclaimer:
  • Do not attempt a similar post unless you are sure it will work out to be an overall positive. You do not want to end up feeling worse about yourself.
  • It is doubtful I am qualified to give parenting advice, there is still time for me to stuff up.
  • I am not even allowed to give legal advice without supervision.
I would recommend finding more reliable sources for any advice of any nature.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Turtle Power!

"I remember when these were trendy the first time around". I may be in the minority, but I feel a bit smug saying this to my children. I love it when they love something that I love(d).

When my girls were little and very into Care Bears, they were most impressed that I had carefully preserved half-coloured in colouring in book from when I was about 10 (yes, I also realise that I am a total pack-rat. I am getting better - promise!). My love of the Care Bears may have also been the reason why they each got a Care Bear that Christmas, and why we still have them. (Ok. I do realise I still have to work on the pack rack tendencies).

A few years later, I was horrified because the girls didn't know what Smurfs were. A quick trip to the DVD shop and I rectified that gap in their pop-cultural knowledge. Sadly, they were not impressed by the cartoons. Fast forward a few years and, much to my annoyance, they were begging to take DVDs out again after the new Smurf movies were released. Pixie may have informed me that it was different now they were cool again.

Humph. Children. Who would have them?

I was re-telling this story and some genius decided to say my time would have been better off introducing them to Shakespeare. I did point out that I had that covered already, and that I was aiming for well-rounded children, and that sharing my 80's childhood was important. Perhaps not my finest moment, but true!

I also gave the girls my precious Princess Ringlet (who had a rainbow mane and a "growing" tail), when they loved My Little Pony and were old enough to not wash her or cut her hair or leave her outside.

My most recent conversion has been the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT for those of you old enough to remember).

I took Tink and the Pixie to see them at the drive-ins. Buglet didn't wan to go. This was a great plan that did not pan out. The drive-ins reached maximum capacity and closed the gate two cars before us. The girls were so good about it and didn't complain at all (plus I really wanted to see it) so we raced home (not exceeding the speed limit, obviously) and picked up Buglet (who decided she wanted to come after all), and Z (who Buglet had ended up babysitting) and made it to the real cinema to see it.

Spoiler alert: If you don't want to hear about the movie do not read the next paragraph
It was a great movie. They kept all the essential bits of the old version, and it felt "right". For the purists, the only thing I would complain about was that in this movie Splinter started off as a rat not a human. This bugged me for some reason. I loved how the fight scenes were realistic in that the turtles didn't always win against immeasurable odds. I note that someone who refers to fight scenes with Mutant Turtles as being realistic should not be taken too seriously. Would definitely recommend it to fans.

The girls loved it. Buglet (after being the one who didn't want to come) has ended up a massive fan.

At Guides last night we made these the best Christmas decorations.


My lovely co-leaders didn't tell me, because they thought that I would be the most excited person there. I was. Buglet may have been a close second though, and gave all sorts of instructions how the Pixie and were not to stuff our ones up. I was so excited that I needed to go and have a lie down to recover after making them (I am also suffering from Man Flu). So much happiness!! So very much happiness!!

Moral of the story for the children out there: When your mother tells you something from her childhood is awesome, believe her, she might just be right.

Moral for parents out there: Share those moments with your children. They might like them, or they may just humour you, and if nothing else you may have fun remembering.

Disclaimer:
  • I am not qualified to give craft advice.
  • I am not qualified to give advice on what is cool. Ask my friends. Ask my children.
  • It is doubtful I am qualified to give parenting advice, there is still time for me to stuff up.
  • I am not even allowed to give legal advice without supervision.
I would recommend finding more reliable sources for any advice of any nature.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Good Mama, Bad Mama

The last week has been full of highs and low. I know this is true for every week, but this week has felt a bit more see-sawy than others. To give myself perspective I have decided to write a list of my good Mama and not-so-good Mama moments.

I may also have been inspired by similar type posts on other blogs.

Good Mama Moment (GMM): Pixie packing for camp all by herself.

Not-So-Good Mama Moment (NSGM): Having the horrible realisation that I hadn't sent any spending money with her. In my defence, she wouldn't show me the kit list. (Thanks Apple for telling me to toughen up over this one. You were right; she was fine).

GMM: Planning time to make Pixie feel special for coming home from camp, and at the same time not overshadowing Tink's birthday.

GMM: Finishing work on time on agenda day (this is impressive) so I was at the train station on time to pick up Pixie.

GMM: Dinner with DB, because family birthday time is important. Bonus points for there being very little fighting with one over-excited birthday girl, one over-tired baby home from camp, one grouchy teenager, and one grumpy ex-husband coming off night shift.

Amusing themselves at dinner.

NSGM: Being told off by Pixie for colouring in her picture. I picked the wrong colour.

NSGM: Posting a mushy status update: All my girls are home safely with me (big two tucked up in bed, the little one curled up asleep next to me). My puppy is snoring on her couch. I am in my pyjamas with a glass of red wine and a good book. Life is good. Then realising that Buglet had said good night to me twice and that Tink was actually across the road getting her hair cut.

GMM: Being a super awesome backstage ninja.

NSGM: Deciding the puppy was my favourite child because she doesn't fight.

NSGM: Tink broke herself and I sent her to Apple because I was busy helping someone else. (I did take her to x-ray later that night and she is all good).

NSGM: Totally forgetting to buy the girls' confirmation presents even though I knew exactly what I wanted. (My sister came to the rescue and bought it for me because I was at rehearsals all day Saturday. She is totally awesome).

TBMM (aka Total Bragging Mama Moment): Being so super proud of my girls at confirmation.

BAM (aka Bad Auntie Moment): Scratching my youngest nephew's ear when I was cuddling him in church, and making him bleed.

GMM: Sharing the babies nicely with everyone else at the celebration lunch.

GMM: Taking the little two to the movies so Buglet could study.

GMM: Dropping the girls off at school on Monday because Buglet had exams and there were thunderstorms.

GMM: Remembering to buy Buglet study food (I had promised the Pixie that when she had exams I would buy her "study food" and I figured this would apply to the others too).

NSGM: Not realising that Buglet doesn't eat cheezles. To me these are the ultimate study food. How I have a daughter who doesn't eat them I don't know.

NSGM: This status update: Snuggled up in bed, just about to go to sleep when I realise that the Pixie is still wandering around. If I was a better mother I would get up and find out why (instead of posting here so I remember to find out later). I never bothered finding out.

NSGM: Leaving Tink at home sick.

NSGM: Bribing Pixie with a McDonald's hashbrown so she wouldn't have a tantrum about being dropped off at school early.

NSGM: Telling Pixie not to tell her sisters that I bribed her with a hashbrown.

GMM: Delegating parenting stuff to DB (and Apple). Parenting is a team effort.

I am pretty sure I have balanced it out overall. You have to take the good with the bad! Keeping it real peoples. You can't be perfect all the time.

Disclaimer:
  • Do not attempt a similar post unless you are sure it will work out to be an overall positive. You do not want to end up feeling worse about yourself.
  • It is doubtful I am qualified to give parenting advice, there is still time for me to stuff up.
  • I am not even allowed to give legal advice without supervision.
I would recommend finding more reliable sources for any advice of any nature.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Faith, Love, and Chocolate

It was a big weekend for us! And one of those weekends which made me desperately want to clutch for any of those precious moments where the Entourage are still my babies, and not young adults functioning in their own lives.

On Friday, Miss Tink turned 14. She is so grown up now that it is unbelievable. In the last 12 months she has lost the last of her baby features, and has grown into a stunning young lady. She has also taken to high school like she was born to be there, being on the student council and organising events.


Turtle cupcakes for Tink!
A couple of weeks ago I got a text from the school saying she wasn't in class. I messaged back saying that as it was a free dress day I imagined she was somewhere doing something for that. I was right.

Friday was also the day the Pixie returned from camp. The Pixie is my youngest, so I have sent my babies on camps, both through school and Guides, lots of times. Even though I was mentally prepared for it, that moment when they come home just that little bit more mature than when they went away still takes my breath away.


A little bit older
I am not exactly sure how the Pixie's camp experience actually went. Most of the other kids had gastro. Pixie was one of the lucky few who escaped. The ones who were well enough did all the activities, but all Pixie has told me about is all the vomit stories in great detail. I have no intention of sharing those stories.

I was all set to hear all about camp on the car trip home; to give her some time in the spotlight before we got home to celebrate Tink's birthday.

The Pixie told me that car trips are for sleeping and napped the whole way home.

She woke up in time to drive down our road ....
Pixie: Oh. Is the father one here?
Me: Looks like it.
Pixie: Why?
Me: Um it is Tink's birthday, and he usually has you on the Fridays he is home*.
Pixie: Oooh!!! My puppy! I can see my puppy! I missed my puppy. She is my favourite!

She then had a tantrum because we were going out for a house family dinner for Tink's birthday, and she was very tired after camp.

Yep, my Pixie is still my Pixie and not all grown up yet.

Dance rehearsals took all day Saturday. Once again Tink and organisational abilities took my breath away. She filled in for someone who was absent side of stage, while still dancing, and keeping me informed what song was being performed. (I am in charge of the quick change room). I am predicting big things for Tink if she keeps going like this! (No pressure though, baby-girl. Mummy just wants you to be happy). 

Tink and the Pixie have been doing hair for dance concerts for the last 3 years.
I am still in charge of make-up.
 And glittering people. I love glittering people.
Rehearsal day was marred by a hurt foot, and a trip to Emergency. Tink is ok. Very relieved with her Singapore soccer trip coming up in a few years. Buglet is determined not to be hurt this year. Two years ago she danced on a cracked tail bone, and last year she didn't dance because she'd just come out of a moon boot after a fractured foot. The Pixie says she is the best child because she doesn't get broken. I think this is mostly because she is so bendy.

On Sunday, Buglet and Tink were confirmed as adult members of the Lutheran Church. I am so proud of them. They looked so grown up (I will ask them if I can share pictures). It is yet another big stepping stones to them being grown-ups and responsible for their own lives.

I also got lots of baby cuddles from my youngest two nephews (and be shouted at by Pie, and hang out with my eldest niece and nephew). Definite bonus to family occasions. It was nice to have that reminder that even as my girls get big, we are part of a massive family and that is important too.

Finally, today Buglet is sitting year 10 exams. She politely requested that I take her younger sisters out last night so she could study. Grown up! I tell you, they are too grown up!

The amount of squabbling yesterday afternoon and this morning reminded me they are not adults yet though. Part of me is now waiting for the squabbling to stop. Part of me is a little bit glad that I still have a few years left. Part of me wanted to throw things at them.

So faith and love have been covered. The chocolate part is for me! Mamas who are preparing for empty nests need chocolate.

When your children politely ask if you are going to get another dog to keep you company when they move out, you also know you need to start making plans! If you interested in finding out what I am planning for my post-high-school-children life .... please check out Kris' Angels.


*PS in defence of DB (see what a lovely ex-wife I am): I haven't seen him in ages, but he does always come around for the girls' birthdays unless he is away and he normally has them the Friday nights he is home. He also did all the cooking for the girls' confirmation lunch. The Pixie was just being a grouch.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

A Rose By Any Other Name ...

A very famous line for a quick post about one of our most recent excursions ... and a few older ones.

The girls' first experience

The reason this particular line is important is because once, about 4 years ago, I accidentally took my (then) 10, 9 and 7 year old daughters to see Macbeth.

The most obvious question is "how did you manage to accidentally take your children to see a play?". To clarify this is how it happened:
  1. See an advertisement advertised for The Scottish Play in uni newsletter, with a synopsis that it is about putting on a Shakespearian production.
  2. Think "Oh that sounds like a good introduction to Shakespeare for the girls and it is only $10 per ticket, plus it's supporting the university. I should go".
  3. Because I am a responsible parent (sometimes), I email university to see if it is suitable for children*.
  4. Uni says that they year 7 students who saw a similar production last year enjoyed it.
  5. Take children on the basis that they like plays and they are good audience members. Audience is full of middle aged people (parents?) a few students (friends?), and us.
  6. Work out it is actually Macbeth with a bit of an prologue and epilogue at the end of each act about why you can't say 'Macbeth' in a theatre.
  7. Spend the intermission trying to explain why a play called The Scottish Play has everyone it Asian clothes
  8. Fail dismally at point 7. Partly because I don't really know why. Artistic interpretation is hard to explain to small children.
  9. Girls love it.
  10. Spend the rest of my life trying to explain it to people that I know Macbeth is often referred to as The Scottish Play, but that the synopsis implied it was a play about Macbeth not actually Macbeth with about 10 minutes of extra bits.
Turns out it was a great accident. The girls are very enthusiastic and wanted to see more. This lead to me developing a theory that children should be encouraged to see Shakespeare's plays. They are too young to understand the raunchy bits, and aren't self conscious about not understanding the words. A good production involves "miming" style actions as much as words. That said, liking Shakespeare from a young age I think helped me develop a love of words.

Helpful tip: Read the synopsis first. Makes explaining things much easier.

The Pixie did create a bit of a mexican wave style giggle when she whispered very loudly "Mama, is he drunk". He was. He was weeing on the wall, but never mind. As a side note, if you have yet to experience Shakespeare for yourself, please remove any delusions you may have about it being all grandoise and classy. Lots of crude jokes in every Shakespeare play I have ever seen!

See! It was still a great show even if I had been expecting something else. Does the title of this post make sense now?

Later ...
I took them to see As You Like It, and Much Ado About Nothing (which Tink was pretty adamant should be renamed Lots of Talking About Something).

Last week
On Friday night I took them to see Cymbeline, which to be honest I had never heard of before. I really liked it. It had lots of drama, romance, fighting, lots people, evil plots, poisons which turn out not to be really poisons, you know, all the good stuff.

I totally forgot to follow my helpful tip about reading the synopsis first. Pixie found all the names a little confusing so made me read the synopsis on the program modernising the names. I don't think it really helped her follow it but she was impressed by my efforts.

She wasn't in a particularly good mood anyway. The Pixie really wanted to do something for Halloween, so we got a little dressed up to go. I was a cat. Pixie was a vampire. Tink was a vampire. Buglet and Apple came straight from dance so they didn't get to dress up.

We also snuck in a quick Halloween party down the road, including reusing the water-melo-latern from my work morning tea!


And just in case you thought that this intellectual stimulation wasn't having any affect on the infants, this was the exchange on the way home in the car ....

Pixie: What Shakespeare plays have we seen?
Me: You guys? Um ... Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, Macbeth ...
Pixie (horrified): Mama! You can't say Macbeth in a theatre!
Me: We're not in the theatre, we're in the car.
Pixie: Oh yeah. Continue.
Buglet: Do you have any of the plays written down?
Me (horrified): Yes! The complete works. They're right next to Harry Potter, and I have a few of them in student editions.
 Apple starts giggling
Me: Are you laughing that they're next to Harry Potter?
Apple: No, I'm laughing that she thought you might not have any.


We are off to see Taming of the Shrew in a few weeks, so we clearly haven't been scarred too badly.

*This is actually really important with plays. I took the Pixie and my niece and nephew to see a MA type play because I didn't check ... and we were in the front row! Admittedly that was this year, so ages after this, but that is not the point.

Disclaimer:
  • I am not qualified to give gardening or beauty or any other household advice. Follow my suggestions at your own risk.
  • I am not qualified to give teaching advice.
  • It is doubtful I am qualified to give parenting advice, there is still time for me to stuff up.
  • I am not even allowed to give legal advice without supervision.
I would recommend finding more reliable sources for any advice of any nature.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Off, off, and away!

This week it is the Pixie's turn to go gallivanting.

For those of you who follow us on facebook, you would have seen the early morning over-excited posts about the Pixie being "verra grumpy" that "everyone in this house is always asleep". I still maintain that this is reasonable for a Sunday morning. She was welcome to get up and pack for herself but, as she had all day, sleeping seemed welcome to the rest of us!

Despite not being thrilled about being woken for early morning conversations, I am still massively proud of my Little One. She packed all by herself. When I asked if she wanted me to double checked she promptly informed me that she had gone through all the kit list twice and she had everything.

She later told me that she had four pairs of shoes, because "you need choice you know Mama". Now I am wondering what she didn't take in the quest to have clothing choices. I told her she will need to redress her packing habits before the next time we go on a holiday. I suspect she rolled her eyes at me, but I wisely didn't look.

Tink has been known to re-write kit lists she has been given by other organisations, because she hasn't thought they were adequate, but I don't think she has ever added in things purely to have an option.

In case you are like me and didn't realise the importance of dressing appropriately at camp, I will share with you the following:
  • The Pixie had a bit of a melt down when her newly dyed blue hair washed out and she had to re-do it;
  • The Pixie negotiated doing jobs around the house so she could buy some "new, cool t-shirts for camp"; and
  • I had a phone call mid-meeting on Sunday to discuss whether now she had done half the jobs she should stop and pack because "folding clothes can wait until later, but I only have today to pack". I congratulated her on making responsible life decisions.
"Pixie dipped in smurf"
aka
"After a weekend with Daddy"
The Guide leader in me repeated numerous times "don't forget you need to be able to carry everything yourself". The mother in me desperately wanted to carry everything for her. Miss Pixie insisted on carrying everything herself, because the teachers said she had to (no Guide-leader-Mama influence cited). Just a little bit proud. It does make me happy when the Pixie is self-sufficient because she is so dependant on her sisters and me so much of the time! (It is a bit ironic really that I have spent most of Tink's life wishing she wasnt' so independent. Apparently there is no keeping me happy.)


Miss Independent: My chick (temporarily) leaving the nest.

One last useful camp tip provided the Pixie include: Write your number on the back of your hand so you don't forget when the teachers call "Sound off".

 
A very Pixie solution
I did have stern words with Pixie about camp not being a holiday for the teachers so to appreciate them and be good. Possibly more fun than teaching in class (well I would think so anyway!) but it is still work. She was not convinced. I told her that if she becomes a Guide leader she will understand. She was not convinced about that either.

It is a very quiet week at our house. We are all paying lots of attention to the puppy, and eating lots of meat.

So Bali for me a week or so ago (it feels a lot longer!), camp for the Pixie this week, Singapore for Tink next month ... we are having some adventures ... and ... I am planning a lot more. If you want a sneak peak at my latest project check out Kris' Angels or find us on facebook.

Meanwhile spend some time planning your next adventure whether it is just down the road or the other side of the world. It really is lots of fun.

Happy adventuring everyone!

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Running away from home

Ok, so when you put it like that it doesn't sound very grown up, but last weekend that is exactly what I did. A long awaited trip with one of my best friends, where we abandoned our children (and by abandoned we left them safely in the care of the fathers and other caring family members - thanks Apple!), and spent a weekend in Bali.

I left my phone in my room during the day and I didn't log on to my work emails at all while I was out of the country, and I only answered one parenting question and one Guiding question. We swam, we wandered, we dreamed, we drank, we slept, we read, and we developed some exciting new goals and plans.

There will definitely be more on the exciting new plans later. This is what my blog is for right? To share my random ramblings with you all under the guise of writing about my children?!

Speaking of my children, my super awesome girls all thought I was very in need of a holiday, and that me going away was a good thing. I only had contact with each of them once while I was away. I missed them so much it hurt, but I know the independence is a good thing for them. (Mothers of older children: does the mother-guilt ever go away? Or the longing to hold them tight?).

The morning I left was a bit horrific. Lots of teenage hormonal squabbling, which lead to this wonderful quote which I am treasuring to get me through the rest of the teenage years ...

Me: Girls! Stop fighting. Seriously! I am not going to see you again until Monday, and I don't want to spend my last hour with you telling you off!
Pixie (surprised): I wasn't fighting. If we were fighting I would have used better arguments.


The fighting did reduce the mother-guilt a bit. There has to be a silver lining to every cloud.

Pixe rang me at the airport before I left though  ...

Pixie: Mama! Can I please have the Twisties in the cupboard?
Me: Sure. Ah. You know I am on holidays, not at work, right?
Pixie (excited): Oh yeah! Are you in Bali?
Me: No. I am at the airport.
Pixie: Take an airport selfie! Take lots of selfies!

I posted a picture of a selfie on facebook immediately as instructed, and asked Tink to make sure the Pixie saw. See what a good mother I am? (You can also see in the picture how exhausted I am).

Ah. Yes. I did buy a new book before I left the country. The first thing I bought in Bali was also books.
 
Have I mentioned that I love books? Super excited about 'Shopoholic to the Stars' because I had somehow missed the fact it had been published. Awesome airport find.

But I digress ...

Tink messaged me to say :
"hey mum i hope your holiday is good
i have a bit of a problem
i have needles on monday/or tuesday (i cant remember which) and i havent had my last lot. will that matter".

You will be pleased to know I did actually have it sorted. It just didn't occur to me it was something she would have thought about. I should have known better.

Giving myself bonus points for the fact I had it sorted, and that Tink is so super organised.

Losing points because of Tink's appalling writing style. It makes me sad. And I know she has freedom to express herself in the way she chooses to write, but capitals would make me happier!

Buglet politely asked me if I was having a good time, and asked how I was going on the hunt for a present that she was particularly hoping to get. Teenagers talking to you is always a positive!



Yes, I was having a good time. I loved these teal nails, and the pool, and lying reading.
People who know me, or who have been reading this blog, know that I have a total caffeine addiction.

I did not miss it at all while I was away. I literally had one small coffee per day because it came with breakfast.


Coffee and apple guava juice
I took the little two shopping the night I got home; nothing major, just grocery shopping. Within 15 minutes Pixie was saying "You looked stressled Mama. Look there is a V. You should have a V, that will make you feel better". Is it unfair to place the blame for my addiction on their high energy levels, and to call the Pixie my enabler?

On a serious note I am detoxing. I do have way to much caffeine and I know it is not good for me on lots of levels.

I came home feeling amazing for a whole heap of reasons. If you had asked me before I had left, I would have told you that it had been a horrific week at work, but that I was happy and healthy and in a really good place. All of that was true, but I feel a million times more fabulous since being away.


Happy relaxed me in my awesome hat. I thought the girls would hate my hat, but they all tried to claim it.
So now I am home. Happy and excited. Ready for what the world throws at me next*, and super excited about the next exciting adventures that are currently being planned (just in case you have forgotten about that teaser from the first part of this blog). And yes there will be more on the actual trip itself, but that will have to wait for a different day. I want to tell you about my spiderman-monkey-bells.

*Dear World,
This is not actually a challenge.
Thanks.
Cath

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Where unsolicited advice is given .....

Hello blogworld.

I have been asked a lot in the last 12 months "what are you going to do with all your free time?" once all my study was complete. My standard answer has been "catch up on 6 years of housework". Turns out I was right. (This may be the only thing I get right in this post). Bonus.

Instead of spending weekends and nights at the computer procrastinating from studying, I have been renovating my bedroom and doing lots outside. Pictures of my bedroom when I have finished ... but now ... by special request ... the blog where I give advice not only on handy home hints but also beauty tips and parenting.

1. Furniture restoration

Step 1
Have pre-made window seat that your ex-husband made for you and promised to stain 7 years ago.

(In this case he broke it in the 30 minutes he spent dropping the children off after a weekend down South, after I spent a weekend catching up on 6 years of spring cleaning of my bedroom and then I had to wait 2 weeks for him to fix it).

Ok, so your furniture does not need to be acquired in this manner, but that is the story of my window seat and bookcase.


Before restoration, but after being broken.
Step 2
Go to hardware store of choice (I like Bunnings but I suspect this has more to do with a love of sausage sizzles rather than any informed decisions) and buy stain in appropriate colour. Spend ages reading instructions. I cleverly decided to go with a stain and varnish so I didn't have to do both. I accidentally got oil based instead of water based though which was annoying.

Step 3
Follow steps on the can.

Step 4
Realise that the following things were not included on the can, but would have been useful:
  • Open the windows first;
  • Start from the back rather than the front if you don't want to get your clothes dirty;
  • If you ignore tip two it is probably best to do it naked; and
  • It is even more fun than painting.
Step 5
Spend rest of week trying to get wood stain off yourself (see Beauty Tips below).

Step 6
Wait (im)patiently for ex-husband to visit and fix the seat he broke while collecting his children (Thanks DB).

Step 7
Get home and realise that he fixed the window seat but didn't put the bookcase back in. Refuse to wait any longer and make your children help you move furniture before they go to bed. They are teenagers, they spend all night up reading anyway.



All stained and back in place.


2. Beauty tips for the professional look
If you read my tips on furniture restoration above, you would have seen that not only did I get myself covered in wood stain, it was oil based. Let's just say that five days later I am still covered in marks which look like they may be bruises or dirt, but are actually stains from the varnish.

Some are actually bruises.

Clearly the number one suggestion would just be to be careful but if like me this is not likely to happen, the suggestion has been made that you should pick your stain in the colour you would like to be and instead of applying fake tan you can use the woodstain and accomplish it all in one hit. While I haven't attempted this myself, I would always recommend following the suggestions on the packet.

Other useful tips include stockings, pants and long sleeved jackets for covering up stains, nail polish remover for clean nails, and being prepared to answer the questions about "what on earth were you doing on the weekend?".

3. Gardening tips (with bonus suggestions on parenting)

 
This used to be waist height weeds
This weekend was dedicated to gardening.

This involved bribing my actually useful teenage daughters and by giving them very specific jobs that needed to be done. In their defence, Buglet and Tink worked very hard and did what I asked them to do.


Mount Mulchmore
Pixie tried very hard, but needed lots of reminders that we were gardening and not just posing for pictures.

Parenting tip of the day is get them to do something, be specific and say thank you. And be thankful that you have teenagers who will still talk to you for an hour or two and will be helpful without excessive complaining. Then adopt some nice younger children to help you and who will actually think it is fun. My lovely gardening elf and my gardening fairy (from across the road) helped me all of both days and were super enthusiastic. They also looked after Flip-Flop.

In addition to the woodstain and bruises, I am also covered in scratches from gardening. I am wondering if gloves might have helped.

Stay tuned for next week when I will give more household tips.


Disclaimer:
  • I am not qualified to give gardening or beauty or any other household advice. Follow my suggestions at your own risk.
  • It is doubtful I am qualified to give parenting advice, there is still time for me to stuff up.
  • I am not even allowed to give legal advice without supervision.
I would recommend finding more reliable sources for any advice of any nature.