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.

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.

  • 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.

Monday, 6 October 2014

But Shakespeare did it!

When I was little we had a set of Encyclopedia Britanica Children's Encyclopedias. If you have never seen these particular ones they were mostly written in a story-type style so they were easy to read, and in a world pre-Google (are your paying attention children, there was a way of finding out things pre-Google) reading them was an eye-opener to so much stuff

I remember being beyond fascinated that Shakespeare invented the words "gloomy" and "hurry". Can you imagine a world without the word "hurry"? "Gloomy", I feel, is a bit underused these days which is a shame 'cos it is really a very expressive word. Say it out loud! Go on. Don't you think it sounds like its meaning? Eeyore knew a thing or two!

Yesterday's car conversation focused on onomatopoeia, and I have to confess that this happened after a discussion on the the difference between onomatopoeia and acronyms ...

Buglet enthusiastically: Let's all think of as many onomatopoeia words as we can.
*awkward silence*
Me: That is totally nerdy. Even for us.

Today's confession. I laughed at my daughter, called her a nerd, then told her I was going to blog about it. We are totally ok with being nerds. It is part of what makes us so awesome. I think Buglet's suggestion here crossed the line though.

Anyway, back to Shakespeare. Since I was about 7, my argument has always been that "if Shakespeare can make up words so can I".

Tink: Mum, that's not a word.
Me: Yes it is. I just used it.
Tink: You're not allowed to just make up words.
Me sadly: That is what my boss says too.
Tink: And don't say if "Shakespeare can do it so can I". You're not Shakespeare.

Squashed! On lots of levels. I think the word I had used talking to Tink was "barklet". Mostly because it make more sense in the context of some random song Pixie was singing about Flip-Flop. Flip-Flop might do many things, but she does not meow (I am assuming the song had originally been written about a cat and Pixie had altered it to suit herself. I don't ask silly questions, sometimes it is better just to assume, lots of these times are to do with Pixie).

The word my boss said I had made up was "skewy". As in "the margins are all skewy". I am pretty sure this is a real life shortened version of "askew". It is very descriptive and it really was what the stupid margins were doing.

This week we attended the dedication and naming service of my beautiful new nephew. For those of you wondering, neither Pixie nor I predicted the name. Clearly, our psychic skills are not working properly.

I got lots of photos of the eight cousins. Unfortunately none of all them together, as my gorgeous youngest niece decided to sleep for most of the time. I did sneak a cuddle in just before we left though and got a few quick pictures so she can't feel totally left out.

I haven't been able to find a collective word for a group of cousins so I am coining my own phrase. What do you all think of "a cuddle of cousins"? I think it is cute. Who knows, it may even catch on!

At one point Pixie had her own campaign to introduce the term "awesomization" into mainstream language. It didn't really take off. "Sickaling" on the other hand I catch myself using all the time.

Stay safe everyone, and enjoy the English language today. I am trying very hand to expand what words I use, so let me know if you have any favourite words or expressions!

PS Did I tell you I have a Cath shaped book?

Cath shaped book!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Trust me, I am (finally) a lawyer

So dear readers, I have finally done it. I took the long walk down the aisle (?) at the Supreme Court, swore the oath and I was admitted as a lawyer.

Yes, I was nervous. But conveniently the girls provide a distraction from worrying about professionally related things.

They were super excited. Pixie is fascinated by Judge Judy. I came across this facebook update from December last year:
It's not everyday the Governor and Fat Cat sing along with your choir.
It's also not everyday your daughter asks Fat Cat if he is really Judge Judy.
So very proud of the "Guide Choir", and very proud to be one of their leaders.
Not devastated I wasn't easily identifiable as Pixie's mother during the Fat Cat interaction.

Yes. That really happened. She was so sure Judge Judy was going going to be there that Marsh told her that she might be disguised as Fat Cat. I am putting the blame squarely on her for that one.

Judge Judy has also meant that Pixie has been a little bit obsessed with the idea of lawyers and hammers, I quote ....

Pixie: When you are lawyer will you get to hit people with hammers?
Me: Um. No?
Pixie: Well what is the point then?

Oh, I don't know. Being part of the justice system? A career I happen to enjoy? A world with answers? (Ok so not the answers to Pixie's questions, but questions nonetheless).

She was also adamant that she was going to ask the Chief Justice if she "could see his gabble". Fortunately she did not get the opportunity to speak to the Chief Justice, and did not ask anyone else about "gabbles" (gavel for those of you who are still confused).

After all my worrying, Pixie was pretty good. The main awkward moment was when she got all excited about "Mama, we went in the lift with the Big Boss". You may picture this said in a stage whisper. He was only a few metres away but if he heard he did a lovely job of ignoring her.

There was also a hilarious moment when my mum asked where a long term colleague and former boss of mine was. He is on long service leave. Pixie responded with "Is he having a baby?!" I couldn't see her face, but another colleague informed me her face was priceless as she was processing the idea of a man the same age as her grandparents being on maternity leave. I did clarify that the term "leave" meaning being away and the term "maternity" being the baby bit.

After all my worry about the Pixie, Tink was the one who got told off for hanging over the balcony, and she was the one who got all excited about "that lawyer who looks like a mad professor". I hope anyone who heard realises that to kids these days being a professor is super cool thanks to Harry Potter.

Overall they were very good, and my colleagues told me how well behaved they were.

I was very well behaved too. I didn't trip or cry or forget how to sign my name or how to talk or drop the Bible or anything like that. So many things to be proud of!

I had a totally amazing day with brunch with my family, and morning tea and after work drinks with my colleagues. I also got some wonderful presents which I was not expecting at all.

From my colleagues.
My boss got the same style necklace when she was admitted.

A champagne (I think it is pink!) coloured pen for signing important legal stuff.

To top it all off the girls had organised a surprise for me when I got home ...

Foot soak + nails done + hand massage + face mask = one lucky Mama
I was very surprised. I knew that they had been planning something because the Pixie had asked me if Apple would be looking after them at all earlier this week and I was also informed that she was "going to discuss finances with Daddy, but you can't ask any questions, Mummy". (Thank you Apple for being the girls' "person", and for always being there to help them).

The fact I am not just their favourite Mum/lawyer, I am their only Mum/lawyer does not need to be mentioned.
Then just as I was falling asleep from all the excitement and relaxation, I got a late night delivery ....

Cath shaped book!

The girls are soooooo jealous! The friend who gave it to me has been teasing me for weeks with clues. I had decided that it was a polar bear disguised as a panda disguisd as librarian eating Oreos. A Cath shaped book is even better. She told me I would want to blog about it, and she was right! Expect this picture to appear in other blog posts.

Being a lawyer is awesome so far. I hope all my days are as lovely!

I do have some thing to work on though. Namely the fact that all my children get the words "prosecute" and "execute" mixed up. I would like to point out that these are not interchangeable. Buglet told me off at brunch yesterday for talking about prosecuting people because it freaks her out.

And today I have worked hard at work again. Just in case anyone was wondering.

My weekend plans are consisting of finishing my bedroom renovations. We worked so hard last weekend and I can't wait to be able to post pictures once it is all done! I was also very proud of myself for thinking to not do any painting between Sunday and Thursday so I wasn't being admitted covered in paint. There is a school of thought that says I should be able to paint without covering myself, but I don't subscribe to that. I am just proud of myself for being so grown up and sensible.