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!!!

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.
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


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.
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


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.

  • 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.

  • 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!).

  • 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.