Saturday, 31 July 2010

Pointing south

As you read this, the hubby, kids and I will be headed for a sneaky long weekend. Back down the south coast where the girls and I ventured a few weeks ago. We're going to show off that beautiful part of the world to Skip and hopefully he'll love it just as much as we did.

Good food, coffee, playing, laughing and adventuring are the focus of the weekend. It'll be lovely to spend four days just the four of us.

Hope you have something just as special planned for the weekend!


Friday, 30 July 2010

Ballet bliss

Lil-lil started ballet last week and today was her second lesson. She loves it. She gets excited about going each week, especially as she goes with her good friend.

I love seeing all the little girls in their fairy dresses, it's amazingly cute. When I was growing up I really wanted to do ballet. I imagined beautiful dresses and gorgeous slippers, I was horribly upset when I learnt I'd have to wear an ugly old leotard. I was even more distressed when the end of year concert rolled around as my class were told we were to be rosebuds, then a week later they made us goldfish – goldfish! You can imagine how appealing that was to a little girl! From rosebud to goldfish, it was one of the worst things that had happened to me. At least they didn't make me a tadpole, which was the other option available.

We were also focused on exams, eisteddfods and the like, which is pretty stressful for little girls. It was all very serious, not really to be enjoyed. Our teacher reminded us of all frequently of all the hard work we'd have to do if we wanted to be ballerinas. I think the majority of the class was like me and just wanted to dance and have fun, I don't think many of us seriously expected to be in the Australian Ballet.

So, seeing these littlies prancing about in their tulle and sparkles is delightful. They feel and look like little princesses. Sure, when they get older, lessons can become more disciplined and serious if that's what they want, but for the moment the joy they get out of it is wonderful. I'm sure they are going to have such gorgeous memories of it when they're older. Me? Well I still have those photos dressed as a goldfish to keep my ballet dreams alive.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Three-and-a-year-old wisdom

My eldest is sweet, kind and a real girly girl. She's completely outgoing, void of even an ounce of the shyness that has plagued my life. She never stops moving, life is busy,  busy, busy. This week she's come out with some corkers, that I'd love to share you.

Me: "Do you want Weet-Bix for brekkie?"
Her: "No, I just want some peace and quiet."
A little while later, "Mum, what's peace?"

Yelled from behind the toilet door: "Mum the toilet's getting bigger!"
Me: "What?"
Her: "The toilet's getting bigger. The water is sooooo big."
I walked in to discover she'd shoved a whole roll of paper into the toilet and it was about to overflow.

While sitting playing with blocks: "Oh f*^k it!"
Me: "Excuse me? What did you say?"
Her: "I said 'Oh peanut!'"

While explaining about childcare and how she'd have to go by herself and that I couldn't stay with her, she said to me: "But I don't know how to get there!"

Ah, she lights up my life, that girl!

I am, you are, we are

I was feeling like I needed to be inspired to write today, so I pinched this meme from Melissa at The Things I'd Tell You, it's about all the Aussie things you've done and crossed off the list. I've bolded the things I have done. It was fun to look at my old photos too.

1. Heard a kookaburra in person. 

2. Slept under the stars. The first time was when we camped out on the harbour foreshore for the bicentenary. And then camping my way round the country I've done it quite a few times since.

3. Seen a koala. 
Lived there in fact.

5. Watched a summer thunderstorm. 

6. Worn a pair of thongs. 

7. Been to Uluru (Ayer’s Rock)

8. Visited Cape York. We were on our way there but had expensive car troubles. It's on my list of things to do.

9. Held a snake. At Taronga Zoo on a school excursion. A friend used to keep them as well.

10. Sang along with Khe San. Who hasn't??

11. Drank VB. 

12. Visited Sydney. I'm in Sydney as I write!

13. Have seen a shark. Many times. Hubby caught a shark once, albeit a small one.

14. Have used Aussie slang naturally in a conversation. 

15. Had an actual conversation with an indigenous Australian. 

16. Eaten hot chips from the bag at the beach. A favourite activity for my little family, especially if teamed with crumbed fish.

17. Walked/climbed over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Walked it many times but am yet to climb it.

18. Used an outside dunny, and checked under the seat before sitting down.

19. Seen Chloe in Young & Jackson’s. Nup.

20. Slept on an overnight train or bus. Wish I hadn't though.

21. Been to Sydney’s Mardi Gras

22. Have gone bush-bashing.
(Me in the Gulf Country, Qld. Pure heaven).

23. Taken a sickie. It would be un-Australian if I hadn't!

24. Been to see a game of Aussie Rules football. 

25. Have seen wild camels. Haven't actually seen them but awoke to camel prints around our tent one morning on the Great Australian Bight.

26. Gone skinny dipping.

27. Done a Tim Tam Slam. Have done it, not that impressed I have to say, I think it ruins two quite delicious things in their own right.

28. Ridden in a tram in Melbourne.

29. Been at an ANZAC day Dawn Service. Skip and I went to the Dawn Service at Martin Place one year, I'd like to take the girls regularly when they're older.

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.

31. Held a wombat.

32. Been on a roadtrip of 800km or more. Circumnavigated the country in our 4WD, so done a many thousand km roadtrip.

33. Seen the Great Australian Bight in person. It's glorious!

34. Had a really bad sunburn. More often than I should have.

35. Visited an Aboriginal community. Accidently went to one in the Kimberleys without permission.

36. Seen a redback spider. Found a delightful congregation of the critters under our outdoor chairs when we lived in Perth.

37. Have watched Paul Hogan. 
The Walkabout Creek Hotel from Croc Dundee

38. Seen Blue Poles in person.

39. Wandered barefoot in the bush/outback.

40. Eaten Vegemite. 

41. Thrown a boomerang.

42. Seen the Kimberleys.

43. Given a hitch-hiker a lift.

44. Been to Perth.

45. Have tried Lemon, Lime and Bitters. The drink of choice for pregnant women.

46. Tried playing a didgeridoo. Was once told that it was very disrespectful for women to play the didgeridoo so never have.

47. Seen dinosaur footprints.

48. Eaten Tim Tams.

49. Been to Darwin.

50. Touched a kangaroo.

51. Visited the Great Barrier Reef.

52. Listened to Kevin Bloody Wilson. Unfortunately.

53. Killed a Cane Toad.

54. Gone to a drive-in theatre.

55. Have read and own books by Australian authors. (Reading one right now...Kylie Ladd)

56. Visited Adelaide. I really quite liked it , too! Not as boring as everyone says.

57. Know the story behind “Eternity”. 

58. Been camping. Spent the best part of 12 months living in a tent when we travelled around Australia. I LOVE camping.

59. Visited Brisbane. Skip is there at the moment.

60. Been in an outback pub. Too often. My favourite is the Whim Creek Hotel, where joeys actually hopped through the bar and the bar flies talked about so-and-so who 'lived down the road' (about 400km away).  

Normanton, Qld.

61. Know what the term “Waltzing Matilda” actually means. I had learnt it as a kid and we've recently been listening to it on a CD in the care and Lil-lil asked me about it and I had to look it up again.

62. Gone whale watching. I have seen whales a few times in the wild, but not intentionally been out to see them, does this count?
63. Listened to Slim Dusty. Who wouldn't love to have a beer with Duncan?

64. Own five or more Australian movies or TV series. Blue Murder, The ANZACs, The Castle, The Chaser – Aussie gold, my friend.

65. Sang along to Down Under. Remember singing it loudly on Christmas Eve in a pub in Cork, Ireland.

66. Have stopped specifically to look at an historic marker by the side of the road. 

67. Eaten a 4′n’20 pie.

68. Surfed at Bondi. Does body surf count?

69. Watched the cricket on Boxing Day. Not by my own choice.

70. Visited Hobart.

71. Eaten kangaroo.

72. Seen a quokka.

73. Visited Canberra.

74. Visited rainforests.

Never used any lawnmower!

76. Travelled on a tram in Adelaide. Adealaide has trams?? Hmm maybe I didn't pay as much attention as I should have!

77. Used a Hills hoist. 
My inner-west backyard.

78. Visited Kata Tjuta.

79. Used native Australian plants in cooking. Though as a kid, I used to make a good wattle and gumnut stew to go with my mud pies.

80. Visited the snow. 

81. Chosen a side in Holden VS Ford.  Though I truly don't care.

82. Visited the desert.

83. Been water skiing. For about 2.5 seconds.

84. Read The Phantom. Why is this Australian??

85. Visited Parliament House.

86. Gone spotlighting or pig-shooting. Ahh no.

87. Crossed the Nullarbor.

88. Avoided swimming in areas because of crocodiles. 
 Kakadu, NT.

89. Listened to AC/DC. See here

90. Called someone a dag. 

91. Voted in a Federal Election. 

92. Have been swimming and stayed between the flags.

93. Had a possum in your roof. We had a possum that used to sneak in our kitchen window and eat apples out of the fruit bowl.

94. Visited the outback. 

95. Travelled over corrugated roads. 

96. Hit a kangaroo while driving. 

97. Been well outside any mobile phone coverage. 

98. Seen an emu. They have to be the dumbest animal alive. Had many an emu run straight at our car.

99. Have woken to the smell of bushfires.

100. Patted a pure-bred dingo. Umm, I spent two weeks on Fraser Island where the only pure-breed dingoes in the world are, we had many around put there's no way you'd pat them.

101. Seen the Oils live.

Now it’s your turn, what Aussie things have you done?

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Time to stop keeping mum

I feel like everything is a bit topsy-turvy at the moment. Work is up in the air due to child care issues. I keep asking myself and Skip if we want to stay in our house or move. Do we get a new car? Do we stay in the area we live? Do we go on extended travel? Do we move somewhere completely different? I feel like the answers are all there, floating right in front of me but I just can't see them. The outlook out my windscreen is a little misty and the road ahead barely visible.

All these questions have been a while in the making. The past four years, I've spent all of my time focusing on the kids. Just surviving, day-by-day, to keep them and me alive and them happy. I've probably focused on this too much, I think I've neglected a lot of other important things in my life. Now I think I've found my feet in this motherhood gig (who would've thought it would take so long?), it's time to shift some of the focus on other things. Such as, enriching my relationship with Skip, taking the time to be together, share, laugh and cry, be husband and wife, not just mum and dad. Also, I need to start working out and working on what fulfills me, what fires my passions and inspires my mind.

Maybe it's time to stop just being 'mum' and also be more of a 'wife', 'friend', 'daughter' and 'Corinne'. I think it may make everyone, including the kids and myself, happier.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Wishful thinking

This afternoon my littlest one, who has been really sick, looks like death warmed up. Pale skin, deep black rings under her eyes and her trademark eye twinkle is missing. Yet, she refused to nap, every time her eyes would droop they'd suddenly snap open!

She's so bloody tired and it's making me tired. I was just sitting here watching her line up her 'babies' on the lounge – a stuffed bird, a My Little Pony, a  couple of dolls, a stuffed rabbit, a Barbie, Mrs Potato Head. She draped a blanket over them all, kissed them and said: "Nigh night, my darlings. Sweet dreams." She then brushed her hands, plonked down next to me and looked up at me, her expression saying: "Phew, these kids, eh?"

I'm just hoping they wake every hour shouting "Muuuuuuummmmmmmyyyyyy! I need you!"

The right medicine

I was trying to start this week full of positivity, energy and goodness. The universe is trying to trip me up though.

I woke on Sunday night to two little girls burning up with a fever, then Skip got on a plane and headed interstate for the rest of the week and my poor old mum is in hospital, with day surgery leading to two nights in hospital due to a reaction to anaesthetic. Not the makings of a calm week. Despite all this, I don't feel too bad (beside the slight cold I have).

Skip kindly stocked the fridge full of food before he left and so I've only had to go out to get Panadol. The rest of the time, the girls and I have snuggled on the couch watching telly, reading books and dozing. In a strange kind of way it's been nice after a hectic few weeks.

Skip sounds like he's getting good work done without the distraction of home life. Mum will be fine once the effects of anaesthetic wear off.

So all-in-all it's not end of the world stuff. Actually I've been given time to dream, think and ponder, which is a rarity in the chaos that usually unfolds. It's nice to let the gogs whir and churn.

Image by Filomena Scalise

Monday, 26 July 2010

Feed me

I have been thinking about food. Nothing new for me as food is one of my most favourite things in life. Food for me is more than just fuel. It's a conduit for good conversation. It's medicine for the soul. It's a hobby. It's a passion.

I'm an OK cook. I can cook solid wholesome meals and I think I'm quite good at knowing what will work together and what won't. I'm not going to knock your socks off at a dinner party, but I can serve up tasty, healthy meals most nights of the week. It makes me feel good to know that my family are getting something that's going to feed their bodies and satisfy their tastebuds. I  even have certain meals for each night of the week – Monday needs to be light to make up for the sins of the weekend, but super tasty to make up for the drudgery Monday brings, etc. I wasn't always this way, but it's like exercise, once you get into a routine you can't imagine not cooking something good for dinner every night of the week.

I also love eating out, shopping at farmer's markets or discovering fabulous food outlets. I like to ensure that we're eating the best quality produce and try not to use packets, sachets, etc. I've discovered that most of the time it's easier and cheaper just to make it from scratch, minus all the salt and numbers.

Despite the fact that we love to cook, my kids ask most days if we 'can eat at the estraunt' tonight?'. While we were away recently, we went to the local club for dinner and my little foodies asked for avocado sushi rolls and Shanghai-style dumplings. They were happy to make do with fish and chips.

I have to agree with the girls, cause I love nothing better than eating out. It doesn't have to be fine dining, just good food, cooked well. Eating with family and friends is what life is all about. Whatever your background, whoever you are, you can always bond over food.

All this thought of food started as yesterday I was feeling a little weary. I had a beef Pho (Vietnamese beef rice noodle soup). A Pho is about as perfect a meal as you can get – it's fragrant, warming and soothing. It's medicinal to my body and soul, I always feel so much better after having one.

What's your relationship with food? Is it just something that fills a hole or something that fills you with joy?

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Up and down

Well, time to sit and take a breath. It's been an up and down week. In the extremes. Starting the week by losing a friend to suicide. Ending it by celebrating my little one's second birthday. The circle of life. I must admit it has me feeling a little dark, more than a little thoughtful and contemplating the 'what's it all about?' questions.

I haven't been reading a lot online either as it all seems a little frivolous. I've been soaking up precious moments with my little ones.

The friend's loss is sad. Sad for us that we won't see him again. Tragic that the end was so, well, tragic and devastating for those close to him. Sad that someone you know was so low that they couldn't see their way out and took such drastic action. It's hard to write about, as I don't want to cheapen their life and their pain to a few sentences focusing on me. Especially as they haven't been a focus in my life for quite a while.

At the other end of the scale, today I got to see my daughter so joyful and so loved by so many. I was so much more appreciative of what I have. What I have been blessed with. How lucky I am.

I have recently been focusing a lot on being in the moment. I have learnt an important lesson this week, focus on the moment but remember that this moment will pass.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Two years ago today...

I was rushing around like a chook with my head cut off. I was trying to get a whole lot of chores done before my bubba arrived.

I awoke in the morning feeling like it could be the day. I was booked in to see my accountant to do my tax return, the one last thing to cross off the to-do list before she was allowed to arrive. Driving across town I was dreaming about what it would be like to have another newborn. I felt pretty god-damn awful and it must have showed as the accountant jokingly asked if he should call an ambulance.

Tax done, I headed back across town for an appointment with my obstetrician who after examining me firmly told me that today was not the day. I felt a bit upset and disappointed as I had felt so sure. Skip said to the doc: "Ha ha, I'm sure we'll be seeing you at 3am!" With the doc replying: "No way! I have golf tomorrow I can't be tired."

Skip and I went home to a lamb roast my mum had cooked. I got Lil-lil ready for bed and as I was reading her a book a pain kicked in. "You kay, mama?" Lil-lil asked. "Of course, I am darling.", I said thinking, if I'm not about to have a baby why do I feel so bad.

Sure enough, minutes after putting her to bed I had my first contraction. I tried to get some sleep but before I knew it, it was midnight and time to call mum to come back to look after Lil-lil.

Sure enough, little Goosey was born a couple of minutes past three. The doctor shook his head, "You got the time spot on, I can't believe it."

Goosey, you've brought such joy and hilarity to our lives. Your cheeky smile and the sparkle in your eye is pure mischief. You light up the room and everyone who meets you falls under your spell. In between your comedic moments, you have such concern for your big sister. You adore Lil-lil so much and would do almost anything for her. There was a time when I couldn't imagine you in our lives, now I couldn't dream of you not being a part of our family. You're determined and strong and I can't wait to see what life has in store for you. All I can say is, I pity anyone who gets in your way.

Happy birthday, sweet girl. I hope tomorrow is full of fun. We love all you so much.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

A thought for today

Life has got to be lived – 
that's all there is to it.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday, 19 July 2010

Point & shoot winter wonderland

Saturday July 17, 2010. 9.30am

On Friday night, the girls and I went to the Blue Mountains to spend the night with some friends. In the morning there was a thick frost at the park. The girls had never seen frost before and were mesmerised. Here is Goosey checking out the "sprinkles on the ground".

Let them eat cake!

I've known for a while that I live in a bit of a bubble. I've talked about it here once or twice before. There's a whole world of pop culture going on and I'm completely oblivious to it. Not that I mind. It makes me chuckle, it makes me realise that I'm getting old, just like my parents who I rolled my eyes at when they asked about the latest craze. Once upon a time, I knew everything about everything, now I know very little, unless it's about Toy Story or Disney Princesses.

Though, in recent weeks, I've been reminded of this 'other' world and just how ignorant I am. It would seem that I am the only person in Australia who doesn't watch Masterchef. A couple of weeks ago, the favourite on the show was booted off and it made the TV news bulletin and the front page of the paper. I had no idea who she was or why it was such a big deal.

A few days later while at my birthday dinner, I was informed that the venue I chose had appeared on the show. Everyone chatted excitedly about it and when I revealed that I've never watched it there were gasps, people were both amazed and horrified. "How could you have never watched it?" "Ummm, I don't know I never have and it doesn't interest me." "But you guys are such foodies!"

Fast forward another week, Skip, the girls and I head down to Balmain and as we pass Adriano Zumbo I'm flabbergasted at the queue out the door. "What on earth's going on?" I splutter. "It's all about Masterchef, people are travelling and waiting for hours to buy stuff." "But why?" "Because he's on Masterchef.""Yeah, but why do people care so much just cause he's on a TV show??"

Now, I love Zumbo and all, but waiting in line just to get in the shop? Crazy! Taking photos of yourself in front of the sign?? Madness!! It made me realise once again how powerful the media can be. I looked across the road at Victoire, another Balmain bakery, empty. Now, they do some great stuff too. Hell, Neil Perry uses their bread in his restaurant and he knows a thing or two about food, but they haven't appeared on a TV show, so there's no queue out there door.

I felt like telling people in the queue that you could go round the corner to a cafe where the sell Zumbo stuff, but I guess it's not the quite the same. Not that I'm bitching. Good on Zumbo, if you can do it, why not. It's also good for the other businesses on the strip, as long as the queue at my favourite coffee place doesn't get too busy.

I feel a bit of a fool though, as few weeks ago I told a friend who's into baking and cakes that she should check out Zumbo. I thought I was imparting a secret, little did I know he's already a household name. In my head he's just a guy who has an interesting little shop in a nearby suburb.

Oh well, at least I still know more than Skip, I can fill him in about Lady Gaga and feel like the queen of pop culture. I'm lapping it up while it lasts because I know that as the girls grow my reign won't last long.

Image courtesy of Masterchef.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Warm thoughts

I have recovered from my rant yesterday. I have forgotten about the drain of housework, mainly because the house isn't too grotty today! I'm sure all those feelings will bubble to the surface when things get grubby again.

Today, I've been going through some photos and I stumbled on this one from our last holiday.

It reminds me of how blissed out my girls get at the beach. They really adore it. Lil-lil will spend hours with her head down digging and scuttling about like a crab, so busy it's like she has an important task to finish. Goosey will wander about, splash, follow her sister and generally soak it all up.

When I see this picture, it makes me wish we lived on the beach so could do this every day. My family seems to be happiest and most comfortable on the beach. It gives me energy and completely revitalises me when I dig my toes into the sand and listen to the waves crash. Feel the warm glow of the sun on my shoulders and watch my girls happy and busy.

A day with this picture as my view is pure perfection.

What's your idea of the perfect moment?

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Home is where the hell is

I used to like housework. Not in a OCD kind of way, more that it's a job where you see good results at the end – a sparkling bathroom, a gleaming kitchen, a fresh scent in the air. I always got a great sense of achievement from giving the house a good scrubbing.

Since I had kids it has become a war. A battle that I constantly lose and makes me feel so depressed. It brings me a whole heap of stress and all in all, it plain sucks.

I have to admit it wasn't so bad when I had a baby or just one child. While I was tired, there was always a moment to clean the house and have it stay that way for a short time at least. Now, with two kids running around there is A LOT of mess and no time to clean it. Smears on the walls, grimy fingerprints on the cupboard, squashed sultanas in the carpet, etc, etc, etc. Within moments of mopping something up yet another cleaning catastrophe occurs.

When I attempt to clean a room, the kids are destroying another room somewhere in the house, so it's often a futile attempt. While I clean I feel guilty that I have to get them watching TV or something while I do it.

I briefly had a cleaner and it was nice having the house clean for, oh about 25 minutes. Surely enough within the hour of arriving home a child would have spilt a drink requiring the mop to be dragged out. Crumbled up a cracker requiring the vacuum to make an appearance. So, it seemed silly to be forking over cash when I was having to do the same thing within hours of the cleaner being here.

I hate having a house that's a bit grubby around the edges. That's messy and disorganised. I know it shouldn't, but I often feels that it reflects back on me. My failure. My ineptitude at being a good housewife.

Skip does his best, but he's at work 12 hours a day.

All this was going round my head that past two days as I've been giving the house a really good clean (yes, it took me two days).  I finally finished my epic clean and decided to give a final vacuum. I finished vacuuming my bedroom and went to the girls' room. It had been completely destroyed. Every single toy pulled out of their toy cupboard, all the bedding pulled off their beds, they'd even taken all their clothes off. Firstly I was impressed that they'd managed so much destruction is such a short time – my bedroom is quite pokey and quite quick to vacuum. I didn't know whether to yell, scream or cry. I think I did a combination of all three.

I know it's such a first world whine, but I'm sure that for a lot of mums, dad, wives, husbands, that this domestic dullness is a big stress. I'm just trying to find a way to lessen the stress. I try not to worry, but I do. I know it won't last forever, but for the moment it drives me crazy.

Does housework stress you out? Do you have a secret? Or do you just not worry about it? I would love to hear about it!

PS  – After worrying about this all yesterday, I had some news that stopped me in my tracks and made me realise that my worry was insignificant. Thankfully, everything turned out OK, but I do realise how good my life can be.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010


Today I feel like I need to see a rainbow...

Monday, 12 July 2010

Birthday bliss

As I've mentioned, I never used to be that fond of birthdays. This year may have changed all that for good. This year I was surrounded by some of my favourite people, who spoiled me rotten. I had a few celebrations too which stretched out the fun.

It was wonderful to spend precious time with my nearest and dearest and eat, drink and laugh. It was such a sweet surprise to receive some truly lovely, thoughtful gifts from some dear friends. 

It was lovely to spend the day with my gorgeous girls, though they did run me ragged on a trip to the aquarium.

It was blissful to spend rare time alone with Skip. Who completely outdid himself and spoiled me with some very thoughtful, luxurious gifts.

All in all, I felt extremely special and very loved, which was the best birthday pressie of all. Mothering can be a lonely gig sometimes and I have found that it's easy to forget there are a whole heap of people out there who care for you. This birthday was a nice reminder that I'm incredibly blessed with an incredible family and fabulous friends.

The Vietnamese clan have jetted home and so life feels like it's getting back to normal. Time to get back to day-to-day reality.

This morning I've scrubbed floors and cupboards, in an attempt at an early spring clean. I think this is going to continue for the rest of the week as I feel like it's time to get the house in order, clear the cobwebs out and prepare for the next adventures. Oh, and take try and take a breath as well.
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