Tuesday 30 November 2010

Preschool daze

You always here that old phrase "They grow up before your eyes", but I don't think I've ever really understood it, until now. Lil-lil is off to her orientation day at preschool this morning. I really can't believe it. She was just a baby about five minutes ago.

Do you know that feeling when you look at your child and they suddenly seem older, more grown up? It's like they've transformed before your eyes and you haven't really noticed – until that moment. I seem to be having many of those moments lately. The girls are just so grown up. There's not a trace of baby left in them.

They chat, play and fight with each other. They concoct the most intricate imaginary games, playing different roles in complicated situations. They rarely need me to entertain them anymore, except to break up a fight or witness a star 'look-at-me' moment'.

They are also coming out the damnedest things. Lil-lil was tired and emotional last week, and burst into tears over something fairly insignificant. When I asked why she was upset, she replied: "Something changed inside of me at Hippo [playgroup] today". Okaaaaaaay. I think she's truly ready for preschool.

I can't believe our journey of being at home and being baby/toddler and parent is coming to an end. I was explaining to Lil-lil that when she went to preschool she'd have to go by herself, that mum wouldn't be there, but she'd meet lots of friends and have a lovely teacher. She got upset and said: "But Mum, I can't go by myself, I don't know how to get there."

I assured her that I'd drop her off and pick her up and that was a-ok. I suspect she's going to better at this preschool stuff than me!

Monday 29 November 2010

Yeah, sure

I'm a yes man. I never really thought I was, but it's true. I'm a terrible yes man.

In recent weeks, I've found myself running around town, doing ridiculous things, dragging two children, who are not particularly happy about the day's events, behind me. Being a stay-at-home mum, I think people believe that I've got endless amounts of time to help them out. Don't get me wrong, I like helping people out, I really do, but it's gotten a bit ridiculous of late. I almost feel like I've become a casual PA, dropping all the things I need do to be at other people's beck and call.

Instead, of doing all the things I need to do with the kids or at home, I suddenly find myself spending my days picking up and dropping things off. Standing in department stores choosing presents for other people to give. Spending time on the internet researching prices  and information. So it would it appear I'm a yes man. Forsaking my own duties (and Christmas shopping) for others. It's hard enough to cart around two bored, whingy kids doing these chores when it's for yourself, let alone doing it for someone who could probably do it themself.

The thing is I don't even remember saying yes to these people. In fact, I don't think I was even asked, it was more ordered, "I need you to...".  I'm sure there's part of me (even though I don't remember saying yes) that feels compelled to do all these chores as I don't "work". Which I know is silly, but it definitely stops me from saying: "Well, actually, that's not going to work for me".

What actually bothers me the most is not doing the tasks, because I really do enjoy doing things for people, it's the lack of gratitude. In all cases recently, I wasn't even thanked, and in some cases I was told that I hadn't done it properly and in the exact way they wanted. Ummmmmm dragging a two-year-old and a four-year-old to the shop for milk can be a trial, let alone trying to do anything that requires a moment of thought. Believe me, a kind thank you or 'I really appreciate that' can make all the difference.

So I'm learning to say no. To say no, when it really isn't convenient. To say no, when it puts me and the kids out. To say no, even when it's completely expected. To say no, when I know it's not going to be appreciated. To stop being a 'walkover' (as Skip says I can be and he's right). To put the kids and I first.

OK, Monday morning rant over.

Do you find yourself going to the ends of the earth to help people out? Or are you good at saying no?

Friday 26 November 2010

Dora the not-so-much Explorer and Santa

Goosey meeting Dorothy, cause, well, I didn't take a photo with Dora.
During our recent trip, we decided to take the kids to Dreamworld. They (and we) had a ball. Perhaps the biggest highlight was when Goosey spotted her favourite hero (after Buzz Lightyear, of course). Goose ran up and gave Dora the Explorer the biggest hug and held on for dear life until the big D's minder called out: "Does anyone own this child?"

After prying her off Ms Explorer's leg, Goose asked: "Why didn't Dora say anything?"
Skip explained to her that Dora was a bit shy, what with all the people wanting to take her photo and cuddle her. This was a perfectly valid explanation for Goosey and since we arrived home she's been telling anyone who will listen about Dora's shyness.

This morning, we had to make a trip to our local shopping centre and the kids were thrilled to see that Santa had arrived. Waving their little arms in glee, Santa ushered them over before I could usher them into Target (he was lacking in willing knee sitters, it appeared). After a few minutes of chatting, they returned with their hands filled with pencils and colouring books.

I asked what Santa was like. Goosey was delighted to reveal: "Santa's not shy, Mama. He spoke to me. It's really good, he's not shy at all. I'm so happy." I think that's something she has in common with St Nick.

Thursday 25 November 2010

'Tis the season to be boring

For the past four years as November creeps on into December, I have heard people gabbing about how many parties, gatherings, drinks, knees ups they have on. How they are going to be completely pickled by the new year. How if they see one more glass of champagne they're going to puke. The embarrassing things so-and-so said the night before. How their feet are killing them from walking round town trying to find a cab home.

Now, me, as a stay-at-home mum have exactly zero Christmas parties to go. That's right, as a stay-at-home mum my employer doesn't throw me a festive bash to thank me for a year of hard work. In fact, I don't think I even got one Friday night afterwork drinks this year either. I must to speak to the union about this. Surely we could fit it into our workplace agreement.

I guess the fact that the people in my workplace often vomit and wee on me and then speak incoherently as I help them up off the ground makes my life like a year-round Christmas party. Without the open bar and crappy canapes.

My social calendar is so empty that I've decided it's a perfect time to start a diet. Seeing as everyone else is so busy, I won't have anyone trying to tempt me off my healthy eating plan. So no crap and no alcohol until Christmas Eve. It will make that glass of Veuve taste all the better when Santa delivers it. I'll also have time to catch up on my reading and missed episodes of Tori and Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood. I know, I rock hard.

So as your out there in your maxi-dresses cheers-ing the season, think of me. At home. On the couch.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Wow, look at me!

As I'm sure you've noticed, The Daze of My Life has a brand-new look.

I hope you like it! Please, let me know your thoughts.

A big, special thank you to Carly Lloyd from Carly Lloyd Designs for creating it.

A brand new exciting look and hopefully some exciting content to go with it.

Onwards and upwards!

Page turners

My girls are in heaven at the moment, each and every afternoon our letterbox is filled with goodies. Something that can keep them entertained for hours, gasps of wonder and excitement are heard throughout the house.

The reason for their joy? No, it's not Christmas cards or wonderful handwritten letters, it's catalogues. Target, Big W, Myer, David Jones, Kmart. Filled with toys and decorations. They go through each and every page, exclaiming "Oooh look at that! I like that!", "That's a pretty one! I really want that one".
The big department stores are filling their little heads with materialistic dreams of Christmas morning. Colourful pages of Princess dresses, nail polish dryers, scooters... everything a preschooler could need, not.  Yet, I love them reading them.

Once upon a time, one Christmas while travelling and poor, I delivered bundles of these catalogues one hot Perth day. I never got paid as even after hours of shoving paper in boxes I still didn't hit my quota. Maybe this is why I have a soft spot for the catalogues. Maybe it's because it gives me a few minutes peace to make a cup of tea. Who knows.

How am I going to entertain them in the afternoon once the catalogues dry up? How will I pay for the postage to send such long, bulky letters to Santa?

Tuesday 23 November 2010

Why blog?

While having a week off, I got a lot of time and space to think about blogging. Why do I do it? Why do I enjoy it? Where do I want to take it?

All these questions were sparked my attendance at the Sydney Bloggers Festival (which was fab). Being there and meeting other bloggers, hearing other bloggers talk about their experiences inspired me. The whole day made me sit back and think about what I'm doing with my blog. There is an exciting vibe in the blogging world at the moment, that we're on the crest of a really big wave. Something huge is about to break, and all us bloggers are a part of it. That's a really exhilarating thought.

I started this blog on a whim, I didn't really think I'd stick at it more than a couple of weeks, I certainly didn't think other people would read, I most certainly didn't think it would take me on the journey I've been on the past 12 months.

Walking out of the festival buzzing, I was almost sad that I was going away for a week and not blogging, but having the space to reflect on it all was really good. It made me realise that whatever happens, blogging has given me so much. Before blogging I felt I was missing something, I just didn't know what it was.

Blogging has given me an outlet to be myself, discover who I am apart from being a mum and wife. Blogging has been something I do just for me, the only thing I really do just for me. Blogging has made me mentally healthier than I was. It's made me happy. It's helped me organise my thoughts. Blogging has introduced me to like-minded people. Blogging has given me new friendships and re-ignited old ones-0==. Blogging has given me a whole world of support and taken away the isolation I felt as a stay-at-home mum. Blogging is my escape.

So whatever happens, I feel blessed to have discovered something I really enjoy doing. Something that makes me happy and thus makes me a better person for my family to be around. It's wonderful to have, for want of a better word, a hobby that fulfills me as much as blogging does. Who would have thought that writing on the internet for complete strangers would have given me all this? I never would have.

So tell me, if you blog, why do you blog?

Monday 22 November 2010

Back to reality

I'm home. Ho-hum. Back to daily life with a thud. Morning swims have been replaced with loads of washing. Mid-morning coffee at a funky Byron Bay cafe has been replaced with grocery shopping. Afternoons spent reading in the sun (in the chair above) have been replaced with cleaning the bathroom or scrubbing the kitchen.

Oh well, it was nice while it lasted. We really had a great time and it was just as we hoped it would be, so I can't really ask for anything more, but another week would have been peeeeeeeeerfect.

Why is it, when you return from a holiday you want to start planning the next one straight away?

Where are you going for your next holiday?

Friday 19 November 2010

Utterly delightful

Today, I have the great pleasure of presenting to you a post from Pink Patent Mary Janes, I've saved some good stuff for the last Pure Delight post. Many moons ago, I worked with PPMJ and then had the delight (there's that word again) of reconnecting with her again through her fabulous blog. PPMJ is a freelance journalist, wife and mum to a gorgeous girl. She loves shoes (obviously), all things girly and French. PPMJ is partial to a glass of bubbles and good food. If you haven't checked out her blog, I suggest you do so right now – after reading this gorgeous post first...

PPMJ's delightful daughter at the base of the Eiffel Tower.

Of all the things from childhood I think it's important to cling to, 
the childish sense of delight is way up there. My 11-month-old nephew 
has just learned to clap, and every new discovery is met with a gummy 
smile and a round of applause – why don't we all do that? {Well, 
maybe we could add some teeth into the smile equation...}. I love it 
how kids wander around a neighbourhood. They bend down, check out 
sticks, grab a few 'pretty' stones and pop them in their pocket. They 
take the time to gasp in wonder at the roses, and if they're lucky, 
we'll pick them up so they can lean in towards the petals for a deep 

I think that sense of childish delight is something to hold onto. 
Whenever life gets hectic I try to slow down and re-ignite my inner 
child. I go outside, sit on my front step, eat a ripe piece of 
succulent fruit and just gaze up at the sky. If I'm really lucky 
there might be some clouds – some of which may even resemble animals 
if I gaze intently enough. But if not there'll be sky, preferably 
blue, but if it's grey I'll squint and recall the Parisian Grey skies 
that infuse the city with such elegance.

Every day it's important to experience delight. Delight's not always 
about the grand gestures, sometimes it's so teeny tiny we could 
easily pass it by. It's always there, we've just got to look for it 
with the right eyes...

Thursday 18 November 2010

Afternoon delight

The lovely guest blogger who was due to post today was unable to, so guess what? You get me! Guest posting on my own blog. From sunny northern NSW. Here is a pic of the girls watching the sunset on our first afternoon away.
This week has been delightful so far (it's not over yet, I have to keep telling myself). We've frollicked at the beach every morning. As a family, we are always at our happiest at the beach -- the girls simply adore digging in the sand and splashing in the turquoise water. There's always lots of giggles from all of us.
Then once we're tired, sun-kissed and salty we head back to our beach shack to eat sandwiches made with locally grown produce - red, bursting tomatoes, silky avocados.
An afternoon playing near the river followed by a lemonade in the beer garden.
One night we had dinner in a local restaurant -- the best wood-fired pizzas, topped with goat cheese, roasted tomoatoes and local olives; fresh crunchy salads and tumblers of pinot. Another, we simply sat on our balcony and ate prawns bought at the fish co-op and watched the waves.
Skip works such long, hard hours that this time together as a family is so, so precious. To laugh, spend time together, chat, argue ocassionally, put our feet up, nap, read, BBQ, joke, play, splash, wander, just be. It's totally delightful!
See you next week! Tomorrow I have another friend and blogger posting something utterly delightful.

Wednesday 17 November 2010

These shoes are made for walkin'...

I have a lovely guest poster for you today. Her name is Michele and she blogs over at Tiny Trappings. She's a brilliant artist and a great writer, she also just happens to be one of my oldest friends, Goosey's Godmother and it's because of her family that Skip and I met. Michele is quite often the ying to my yang. 
I really hope you enjoy her post and all the gorgeous pictures (make sure you scroll all the way to the end to see them).

When the lovely Corinne asked me to do a guest post on her blog, I was flattered.
Yes, we have known each other since we shared a classroom together at age 5 
and have been close friends ever since…
But I am not a wife, a mother, a mortgage holder…. 
I am an artist, a single woman, and a person who doesn’t even own an iphone! 
What could I possibly contribute to Corinne’s blog conversation?
Then, it hit me.
I am just going to just be me, be honest, and be open.
So I decided.
I’m going to start with a confession.
My name is Michele Morcos and I don’t drive!
I never have.
There are many many reasons why, but one of these reasons links in with Corinne’s topic for me, 
which was ‘pure delight’.
What does ‘pure delight’ mean to me?
For me, I take full delight in walking, or, as I like to call it on my blog….strolling!
I LOVE to stroll. 
Without distractions, without anything but my thoughts - and possibly my iPod and dog- I love to walk around my hood! Dreamy concept I know, especially if you are a mum with about a million things on your plate. Nevertheless, I think that is why I love it so much. I know it is a complete luxury to have a precious few moments in my day with which to stroll the streets of this beautiful city of Sydney. I treasure these moments that I get to myself, to dream, to observe, to explore, to stretch, and to meditate. 
True escapism – just outside my door and it’s free!
{And in this city NOTHING is for free- just ask any mum out there!!}

My favourite time of the day to watch the world go by would have to be the evening, when time slows down, and the light and colours of the day start to change clothes. When the birds have a lot to say and when the smells of the evening meal start to emanate from peoples front doors. It’s a time when you can bump into someone you have never meet before and have a good chin wag, like in the old days when facebook was just a twinkle in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye! 
It makes me feel as though I’m connected to something….
Something bigger than myself and the thoughts that run my day…
Pure delight…. 
and it’s only a step away!

Some of the photos that I have posted are from some of my strolls in the last year or so, when I’ve had my camera in my bag and found a treasured moment that I could capture on film! 
I hope you enjoy them… and that you’ve enjoyed my tiny take on the world….

Thanks Corinne for asking me to write on this lovely blog…
I loved the opportunity…x

Tuesday 16 November 2010

The end of the rainbow

Today's 'Pure Delight' post is from Sharni Montgomery who blogs over at Sharnanigans! Sharni is a vibrant young mum who gave up the city life when she fell in love with her Cowboy. Now living happily in her One Horse Town with the Cowboy and young son Monte, Sharni shares how she strives to make her patch of the world a fulfilling place to be. I hope you enjoy Sharni's post as much as I did.

I love summer in Australia, balmy evenings where you can just hang outdoors. A couple of nights ago, I was doing just this with my partner Dave and our son Monte.
We sat up on the verandah sipping glasses of wine while Monte pushed trucks around the grass. Laugh and think This is Australia – the scene had Gangajanga’s catchy tune written all over it.

Without warning a light sun shower broke out, much to Monte’s surprise. He was delighted that it was raining on him, but the best bit was yet to come. The sun was still shining through the rain and as a result the most magnificent rainbow appeared. This was Monte’s moment of pure delight which trickled directly through to Dave and I.

As I pointed out the rainbow his eyes lit up.
“Wow!” he gushed. “Reach it, reach it!” he said
“It is very high up in the sky,” I explained “You would need a reaaaally big ladder to reach it” I said indulging his imagination.

I returned to my seat and my wine when Monte did something that rocked my socks. His mind tinkering over he walked over to the side of the house where there was one of those indoor clotheslines leaning against the wall. You know the type, wiry white ones you set up inside when you need your underwear to dry speedily. He picked it up and dragged it over to the grass. 

“Ladder!” He declared whilst trying to set it up. “Reach it now!”

Well, this made my heart do a flip in the air and fill with pride. At this moment I felt so many feelings. I was reminded of the innocence of childhood, the magic of imagination and belief that anything is possible. I was also thrilled at Monte’s resourcefulness in seeing a ladder in the clothesline. I looked back at Dave grinning ear to ear.

“What a clever idea,” I assured Monte “But it is still not high enough, perhaps you’d need to go up in a plane.”

Next thing I knew he had run into the house and returned with a toy plane which he pointed towards the rainbow “Reach it! Reach it”

Ten out of 10 for this magic moment. Sleepless nights and discipline challenges have me pulling my hair out from time to time, it is delightful moments like this that I want permanently etched in my memory.
This rainbow moment with my family was my pot of gold.

Monday 15 November 2010

She lives in a house, a very big house in the country

This week I'm away on holidays, having what I hope will be an utterly delightful time with Skip and the girls. In my absence, I've asked five of my favourite bloggers to write a post for me based on 'Pure Delight'. I hope you enjoy this week of delight and they leave you with a great big smile on your dial, I've had a ball receiving and reading all the posts. 

First up, is BabyMac (aka Beth) a laugh-out-loud funny lady, wife and mum to two gorgeous little girls. The world of BabyMac has been an exciting one of late as she has made a very big move, but I'll let her fill you in on that. Beth is one of those special bloggers who has moved from just words on a screen to my real life friend (we've even been on a dinner date), she won me over with her love of champagne and all things pork. So without further ado, here's BabyMac.

I was very excited to be asked by Corinne to guest post for her. I have never guest starred at anything in my life, and it's always been a life long dream I have to say. I swear I am meant to be famous, somehow, somewhere, sometime, and if this is it, then that's OK by me. In factif this blog post had credits it would say Guest Starring BabyMacBeth {ala Heather Locklear in Melrose Place} and that, that alone make me filled with delight. Pure delight.

My days of late have indeed been filled with delight. We have just moved to the country to heaven on earth from the inner{est} west of Sydney. From a 3 bedroom terrace house with 2 common walls and no {and I mean NO} parking just 30 seconds away from Parramatta Rd to the world's loveliest house in the world's most beautiful village. Honestly. I'm not even bias as I have only been here for 5 mins. Each and every single day over the past month has been filled with delight. Fear and delight sure, but mostly delight. The fill your soul with happiness and potentially burst with joy delight that I have never really known before. I know I had it when I first fell head over heels in love with my husband, and I think I had it just before we got married and maybe when I first had my daughters {except I think I was far too hormonal and overtired to be filled with anything than terror then} but I tell you each and every day I have it. It's contentment {is that even a word?!} pure and simple. I feel full. I am filled with love from my kids and husband and family and friends. I am surrounded by beautiful things. I am meeting new people, making new friends, working out how gardens and septic tanks, and country roads work. Challenging myself. Pushing myself. But I tell you what? It's pure delight.

The only way I can show you is my this photo I took tonight. This, right here sums it all up. Some wild flowers picked yesterday by Daisy placed in my late grandmothers vase on my dresser I recently found {and eagerly bought} in an antique shop for all of $270. Life is good.

And I am one lucky lady. 

Wherever you get your delight from - a good meal, or bottle of wine, a conversation with a loved one, a cuddle with your kid, a piece of furniture, or some ratty flowers in an old lady's vase - it's nice to stop and soak it up. Slow down. Recognise it for what it is and be gratefulfor it. I know I am.

Friday 12 November 2010

We're all going on a...

By the time you read this, I'll be on the road, heading up the coast for a beach holiday. Hopefully a week of sun and relaxing lies ahead, well as much as you can with two little ones. Friday morning, I'll be making a pit stop to catch up with my friend and fellow blogger Pink Patent Mary Janes. There will be coffee and more than a little gossip. Then it's back on the road and holiday time!

Next week, while I'm lazing on the beach, I haven't forgotten about my dear readers – I've asked five of my favourite bloggers to guest post for me. Each week day you'll be hearing from someone new about what 'Pure Delight' means to them. Hopefully I'll be experiencing my own form of pure delight, which I can fill you in about when I get back.

So, sit back and enjoy.

See you soon!

Thursday 11 November 2010


Today I'm going to the Sydney Bloggers Festival. Such an easy sentence to write, not such an easy thing to do. Well, for me at least.

In theory, I'm really looking forward to it and I know I'll get so much out of it. In practise, I'm scared stiff. This is exactly the kind of situation I'm terrible at. As you may have read before, I'm shy. A large group situation like this is the thing that terrifies me the most. Where I'm expected to introduce myself and small talk with people.  I tend to get a bit lost in the crowd at these things and lose my voice (not literally of course). I would actually feel less scared if I was scheduled to get up and give a talk - which is kind of crazy I know.

I've already cancelled the babysitter and resigned myself to not going. Then Skip gave me a talking to and said I'd regret it if I didn't go. He was absolutely right. I've used up every lame excuse I can think of, but it's time to suck it up and go.

So here we go....

Edited to add:  I went. I didn't die. I did have an incident trying to buy a bus ticket and literally ran into Rob Oakeshott, but I survived. I actually had a great time (of course). Met a lot of lovely people, who love blogging as much as I do. Sometimes you can face your fears and realise they're not as bad as you imagine. x

Wednesday 10 November 2010


Sorry for the late post, the plate has been fuller than dish that's done a round at Sizzler.

I have that horrible antsy feeling today. I can't quite feel in control of everything. I'm sure I've missed something really important. Maybe it's just nerves about getting ready to go away on holiday (Oh, have I told you I'm heading to the beach for a week on Friday?) and spending a looooooooong drive up the coast with two munchkins in the back. Maybe it's all the bank paperwork I'm trying to organise at the moment and can't really get my head around. Maybe I'm getting panicky about the Sydney Bloggers Festival tomorrow and having to push the shyness away and actually talk to strangers.

Whatever it is, it's a horrible feeling and I wish it'd go away.

Maybe I need my weekly dose of Mad Men. Perhaps I need a drink. Perhaps both...

Tuesday 9 November 2010

World's greatest mysteries

Growing up, we used to have this book about unsolved mysteries. I loved reading it.
It had all sorts of weird events like raining birds or frogs, spontaneous combustion, people raised by wolves, people waking up and suddenly speaking a foreign language fluently, UFOs and alien abductions, the Bermuda triangle, etc. Last night, as we had yet another unsettled night with the girls, I realised that I could write a book of great unsolved mysteries based solely on my girls.

Here are some of the chapters that would need to be included:

* Sleeping through the night – only to be done when your sister doesn't sleep through, ensuring mum doesn't get to sleep, ever.

* Making mess in multiple rooms simultaneously.

* Loving a meal one night, hating it the next.

* Fighting with your sister and sticking up for her at the same time.

* Getting angry about something, you just don't know what it is.

* Having texta on a least one body part at all times.

* Absolutely needing right this minute whatever your sister has in her hand.

* Getting food on the back of your head at every meal time.

Forget Russia, young kids really are a riddle, wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

Monday 8 November 2010

Do you need a hand?

This morning I went to the supermarket to pick up a couple of things. I did my usual toddler tango with the trolley and two kids – wonky wheel, a two-year-old who wants to climb out and pull everything off the shelf, while the four-year-old is bored and whiny.

It's always a chore fraught with danger. Keeping your patience can be just as tough.

As I pushed the laden trolley up the ramp with the girls inside trying to grab the hand rail as we went up (jolting me each time they succeeded), people around me happily pushed me out of they way or stood blocking my path. I felt completely invisible.

I wrestled the tired and cranky girls into the car and plonked the groceries into the boot. My patience frayed and worn. As I did this, a lady quickly whisked my trolley back to where the return spot.

"Thank you so much!" I called out.

"No problem, I saw you struggling up the ramp with the two girls and I wanted to help out in some way," she replied.

Such a kind gesture totally made my day. The fact that instead of rushing off and continuing her day, she took a couple of minutes to help me out made me smile. Made me feel less frayed and tired.

This showed me that not everyone is completely self-involved. Also it was a lovely reminder that if you see someone who looks a little flustered, take a moment to give them a hand. You may just make their day.

PS - Last Friday, I wrote a piece for Backstory Friday on The Mother Media. I was away over the weekend didn't get a chance to link it up. Please go over and have a read and check out the site. 


The weekend just passed was one of those weekends that are just perfect. It involved a lot of catching with family I hadn't seen in a very long time. Chatting, laughing and reminiscing.

It made me realise that my memories are the most precious thing that belong to me. Far more precious than anything I've ever saved for or spent hard earned cash on. I may be a bit nostalgic or a sentimental fool, but I love looking back and remembering the good times, the bad times, laughter, tears.

I love that memories can be so individual – five people who were at an event may have totally different recollections, depending on their reactions, feelings, senses. While I adore looking at old photos and videos, a memory for me is so much more special as it's been created by my emotion and feelings. I can remember what it felt like, what it smelt like it, what I was thinking.

I have been teased about my memories, my brothers think that I make up some of my memories as I can remember quite bit about my early life. I personally think it's a combination of having a good memory, moving from place to place fair bit so that the memories are distinct and not a blur of being in the same home and also the fact that I love reminiscing. Last night I was woken a lot by Goosey and I struggled to go back to sleep, instead of worrying about what the next day was going to bring I kept myself awake by  revisiting all sorts of wonderful times. It keeps the memories and moments fresh in mind.

I don't want to live in the past, but I think my present and future are enhanced by being able to reflect on what has happened, how I've achieved and how I've failed. The good moments that you may not appreciate as you live them, remembering is a way of bringing those times alive again. I always try to ensure that I'm creating wonderful memories for myself, my kids and Skip. I want them all to have a library full of moments they can reflect upon, after all that's what creating a life is all about. Why else are we here?

Friday 5 November 2010

Boxed in by pink and blue

Goosey's blue Buzz Lightyear cake
This is a post that has been floating round my head for some time. I'm inspired to get it out and on the screen by a fantastic post over at Woogsworld and Nerdy Apple Bottom. If you haven't read either of these posts, I strongly suggest you go and do so.

Before I had kids, I never really thought about gender stereotypes that much. I knew that if my future daughters wanted to play with trucks they'd be allowed to and if any future son wanted to play with Barbie dolls they'd be allowed to too. That's as far as my thoughts on the matter went.

When Lil-lil was born we were bombarded with pink 'stuff' – clothes, rugs, bears, you name it. We were awash in a sea of pink washing, our clothesline filled with tiny pink clothing. As she grew, I tried to find clothes for her that weren't pink. This was an almost impossible mission. Unless you shopped at expensive designer labels all clothes for baby girls seemed to come in pink. I became more and more frustrated trying to pretty blue, green or even violet clothing for my blue-eyed babe, who looked gorgeous in blue.

As she got older, there started to get a little more variety in the colours available for her, but pink is still the dominant colour. Lil-lil is a very girly girl and does love pink and purple. It's something that's innate in her and something I've never tried to instill in her - that pink is a girls' colour. Though it's very hard to make her think otherwise when the only colour available in her first years were predominantly pink.

Goosey has been a little more of what I guess you'd call a tomboy. She loves to climb and wrestle and is definitely rough. Earlier this year she fell in love with all things Buzz Lightyear. I was surprised when people commented on the fact that it was a little odd that she loved Buzz Lightyear so much. Wasn't that a boy thing? To be honest, I'd never given it much thought. As Goosey started gravitating towards the boys clothes section at Target, because that's where all the Buzz Lightyear paraphernalia was it's seems they were right.

Goosey is toilet training and going to pick out undies recently she desperately wanted Buzz Lightyear undies, but no, they were boys undies. Then she wanted Wiggles, but if you're girl you have to settle for Dorothy the Dinosaur – even if you do love Jeff (hey I thought purple was supposed to be a girl's colour). All the things she loves and gets excited over is considered 'boys stuff' and she's forced over to Disney Princesses and Little Ponies – what 'they' tell us little girls should like, what they MUST like.

Inspired by these posts, I'm going to buy my little girl her Buzz Lightyear undies and be done with it. The only thing that will concern me is the fact that she throws herself off the back of the couch yelling 'To Infinity and beyond!' not whether she's wearing 'boys' clothes.

Recently, at Lil-lil's fairy princess birthday her best friend came dressed in a gorgeous pink fairy dress and fairy gumboots and looked sensational – her best friend is a boy. In her friend's mind it was a fairy princess party, he knew Lil-lil would be wearing a gorgeous dress and he didn't want to let his friend down. We all thought it was fantastic!

It boggles my mind, that people get so offended by a boy wearing pink or sequins or fairy wings, but running around shooting guns and pretending to maim each other is perfectly fine.

So it's not all as easy as I thought it would be to just let kids be whatever they want to be. But as Mrs Woogs has shown, maybe it is. It's us adults with the problem, not the kids who are just trying to be themselves. Let's just let them be. Pink or blue, fairy wings or space ranger wings.

Thursday 4 November 2010

Story time

I adore reading. There's nothing better than being curled up with a good book and totally and utterly absorbed in another world. The girls love books too. Each and every night we snuggle up and read at least two or three books together. It's very precious time.

One of the things I'm most looking forward to is reading some of the classic books that were read to me as a child. Getting to share the wonderful stories and also getting to re-read them myself. Pure bliss. I hope the girls love them as much as I did.

Oh how I wanted to be Milly Molly Mandy and run around a small village exploring and having fun. I would wish my house had a thatched roof. Then every time I went into the bush, I kept one eye out for gumnut babies, trying to decipher their scrawl on gum trees. Running a little faster past the Big Bad Banskia Men. Roald Dahl was always a favourite – of course – his stories live on in my mind to this day.

What are some of the stories that engaged you as a child? The real classics that live on in your adulthood?

A rose by any other name...

Morning! Today's post is a little bit of housekeeping. Recently I decided to update the blog a little. When I started, I never thought that people would actually read the thing, now I have quite a little following and blogging has become something dear to my heart.

Over the past 12 months, the blog has evolved without much thought – which is fine – but I decided it was time to tidy things up a bit. So over the next little while, you'll notice a few little changes – the first being the name.

Today, A Day in the Life becomes The Daze of My Life. I hope you like. While 'A Day in the Life' had special meaning to me, I think I needed a title that was a little more unique and more, well, me.

Don't worry, the content will still be the same, nothing too dramatic will be changing. I'm just hoping to keep things fresh and tie the look and feel of the blog in with the content.

So,  I'll stop waffling on and instead welcome you to The Daze of My Life....

PS - Those of you kind enough to have me on your blog roll, would you mind updating the URL? Ta.

Wednesday 3 November 2010

There was a little girl...

There was a little girl,
who had a little curl,
right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good, 
she was very, very good,
but when she was bad she was horrid.

I remember hearing this rhyme when I was a little girl. I never really understood it. How could she be so good and so bad? What did the curl have to do with it? I think I just resigned it to being one of those non-sensical rhymes along with blackbirds being baked in a pie and pulling out plums with your thumbs.

Little did I realise this poem was actually a prophecy. One day that little girl with the curl would become my daughter. 

My youngest, Goosey, is just two years old. She has a head of golden ringlets and eyes so big and blue they swallow you up. She's often told she looks like a little angel, 'Butter wouldn't melt in her mouth'. She has a mischievous smile that melts even the stoniest hearts. She can be so sweet and so kind, you think she may actually be one of Raphael's cherubs. When our roughest, gruffest relatives visit, most kids run and hide, but she'll climb on their lap and give them a warm cuddle and kiss. Her manners are impeccable, she always says thank you unprompted: "Thank you for taking me to the park, Grandma" "Thank you for making me dinner, Daddy."

Then just when you think an angel really is living on earth, things turn. The angel is suddenly climbing on the dining table pouring a bag of flour everywhere; she's painting the walls and her body with red lipstick; she's purposely destroying her sister's artwork just to get a reaction; she's kidnapped her sister's prized bear and thrown it behind the couch – and this is all in the space of 15 minutes. When you tell her to stop, she pokes out her tongue and says: 'Shut up, bum head!'

Lil-lil and I spend much of our day throwing our hands up in the air in exasperation. Lil-lil saying: "That little sister of mine is being crazy." If I take my eyes of her for 30 seconds so I can go to the toilet or do anything, she's into something, something she knows she's not supposed to be doing. She's like the Duracell's bunny, who keeps going and going and going. She will no longer sleep in the day (sob), so the days are looooooong.

The past week couple of weeks have been trying. Very, very trying. People say: "Goodness, what have you fed her today?" and the reply is: "She's like this all the time." All. the. time. Well, at least it feels that way at the moment.

I feel like I'm constant disciplining her. It's exhausting. I feel sorry for her sister as she seems to be on the receiving end of a lot of Goosey's bad behaviour. I don't want either of them to be cast in the roles of 'good child' and 'bad child', cause I know those rolls can stick if you let them. 

Yesterday, was one of the worst days I've had. A simple trip to the local library ended in tears – mine and hers. After playing so nicely for about 45 minutes, Goosey even handing a book to a little girl who was sad and putting her hand on her back to see if she was OK. Soon after, Goosey became upset when another child removed something that was supposed to remain on a table. When the child wouldn't put the item back, Goosey threw the table at her. She threw a table at a child. Was I horrified? Well that's an understatement. I packed her up and said, 'That's it, we're going home' (after explaining what she'd done wrong and me apologising profusely to the other parent).

On our way out, she had the mother of all tantrums, unable to understand that her method of trying to right a wrong wasn't quite appropriate. As we were in a library it sounded a lot louder too. A librarian tried to speak to me as we left, I was trying to restrain Goosey as she screamed and kicked and picked up leaflets on the counter and threw them at the librarian. Right then, a lady behind me lent in and said "It does get better." I freaking hope so!

I've never felt such extreme anger and love at the same time. How can someone so sweet and kind and who you love so much, turn and make you so angry? Lil-lil had her moments, as all two year olds do, but nothing like this.

I hope this is a stage or something we can help get under control, cause I don't know how Skip, Lil-lil and I are going to survive! 

Tuesday 2 November 2010

A horse is a horse, of course of course

We're a racing family. No, not quite like the Cummings, the Waterhouses, the Inghams or the Freedmans (though I wished we had their bank accounts). We're just a family that loves going to the races or watching the races on the telly. Really, it's Skip who is the passionate horse person, but his adoration of all things racing does rub off on the rest of us. Well, to be honest, we don;t really have a choice!

An average Saturday for him starts at 6.30am as he listens to the form on the radio while fetching me a coffee from a local cafe. Then over breakfast he checks the form guide in paper and electronic form. It's round about this time he utters: "There's some really good races on today." Which receives an eye-rolling from me. Mid-morning, text messages start arriving about tips for the day. Around lunchtime is the first race, he's usually watches it at the track, at home on the TV or will check the results. Repeat for the rest of the arvo.

That night he'll go back to the form guide to see what happened, where he went wrong and where he went right. Sunday morning it's Racing Retro, a show on Sky Racing which reviews each race from the day before. Experts give their opinion on what happened. Throughout the week, he reads about horse racing and watches barrier trials and any other coverage about upcoming races. To relax, he'll read a horse racing biography.

The amount of horse racing knowledge in his head is astounding. Simply astounding. More than once, I've overheard him talk to people involved in the industry about great races from the past, they'll excitedly reminisce and then you see a look pass over their face when they realise that Skip wasn't even born when the race they're talking about was run.

I've always thought that it's a crime that Skip doesn't work in something to do with racing. The Australian racing industry is certainly missing out on a great mind.

While there's always something happening in racing the spring carnival is a special time. The Victorian Derby Day (Saturday just passed) is Skip's favourite day of the year – it's like Christmas and his birthday all rolled into one. We've spent Derby Day in some strange places, from a rough old pub in the desert of South Australia to a TAB in Neutral Bay. I would love to take Skip to Flemington for this day one year – and we will do it, I just want to wait until we can do it right.

Then, of course, is Melbourne Cup day. The one day of the year that the rest of the population joins Skip and glues themselves to race. The day where Skip gets so many calls from friends and family looking for tips. The one day of the year where he has to explain over and over how trifectas work and how to fill in the TAB card. The one day of the racing year that I think Skip secretly doesn't enjoy that much, despite being the fact he can legitimately leave his desk to be at the track. It's the one race where I don't think I've ever known him to pick a winner of the Melbourne Cup. There were years when I heard him utter: "There's no way Makybe Diva will win".  Bless him.

At 3pm today, I'll be at home with the kids. The girls will pick their horses based on the colour and design of the jockey silks. Hopefully a friend will drop in. The girls will yell 'GO, GO, GO'. Skip will be at Randwick, fielding phone calls. He'll call after the race and an analyse what happened. You know, just like the Waterhouses, the Cummings, the Inghams and the Freedmans do.

Happy Melbourne Cup Day! Where will you be at 3pm today? Who are you backing?

Monday 1 November 2010

A sticking point

There's been a lot in the media lately about vaccination, the lack of it in certain areas and the potential of yet another whooping cough epidemic in NSW.

Last week, I took Lil-lil off to get her scheduled four-year-old jabs. Of course, it wasn't the most fun either of us have ever had, but I felt good knowing that I'm doing what I can to protect her – and the community – against disease. I feel grateful to live in a country where these vaccines are not only available but they're free!

If you ever take a cursory glance at parenting forums or websites, you'll be bombarded with scaremongering about why you shouldn't vaccinate your children. I'll admit that this makes my blood boil. When I see Jenny McCarthy and her anti-vaccine rhetoric being promoted by The Oprah Winfrey Show, I get angry (it's actually when I turned off her show for good). The fact that many people would rather believe what a former Playboy model has to say than medical researchers with years of training and experience makes me frustrated. The fact that author Andrew Wakefield (who wrote the piece linking the MMR vaccines and autism) has been not only widely discredited, but has also been found guilty of serious professional misconduct, seems to be constantly ignored baffles me. The fact that people would rather believe information they read on the internet than advice from their doctor staggers me.  I'm not a scientist or a medico. I haven't read reams and reams of scientific research or medical journals, so I'm not equipped to give you the hard facts of why you should vaccinate your family.

I think that we're incredibly lucky, I think that a lot of us are blissfully complacent because we come from a generation that hasn't had to suffer polio or diphtheria. We didn't see the effects these diseases had on children, families, communities, so it's easy not to think about it and consider it something resigned to the history books.

I grew up listening to stories from my great aunt, who was born in 1900, about how when her younger sister was diagnosed with diphtheria her parents travelled from their farm to a distant hospital for treatment. At 12 years of age, she was left to look after her other siblings while their parents were away. Soon after, more of the children developed the disease and she was left to care for them, including having to boil the blankets in an effort to stop further infection.

As a young child I lived in a country where I didn't have access to the MMR vaccine. Subsequently I got measles, at Christmas time. I was incredibly sick and while I only have very vague memories of it, it must have been horrific for my mum to see her small child so ill.

Hearing these kinds of stories and suffering from measles myself, has led me to feel that vaccines are a gift, something to be thankful for. The fact that we live in an age and a country where safe vaccines are available is fantastic. How lucky am I? How lucky are my kids?

It seems absurd to me that some people would see vaccination as some kind of government conspiracy theory. A lot of people were concerned recently when the flu vaccine was withdrawn for young children. People used this as an example that the government and medical bodies weren't regulating vaccines enough. I felt the opposite, the fact that a problem was recognised and swiftly dealt with made me feel that the safety of vaccines was taken seriously.

So, that's why I'll keep taking my kids to the GP to get their jabs when they're scheduled. Of course, it's not a 100% guarantee that they won't get sick, but I believe they will stand a better chance with them.
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