Saturday 30 July 2011

Life be in it

I love Instagram. For those who don't know Instagram is a cool iPhone app that you can capture and share photos with others. I often use my Instagram photos on my blog.

As a way to document my growing waistline, I've been posting a bump photo most Fridays.

Here's the one from yesterday. I told you I was big. I thought I looked a little like Norm, sans the tinny and couch.

I didn't really take any bump pix with the girls, so it's been kind of interesting to do it third time round. The bump has certainly been more impressive third time round anyway.

Any hoo, must stop being a Norm and get this weekend started.

Have a fab one! x

Friday 29 July 2011

Crisis of confidence averted

This year has been hard yakka. I feel like a little mouse on a wheel running, running, running and getting nowhere. We put soooo much effort into selling our house and, yet, we are still here. We tried to go on a holiday to chill out and it turned into a debacle. Everything has felt like a challenge, nothing has felt easy and it kinda feels like I've achieved nothing, despite running my bum off. It's frustrating.

I wanted to spend time doing stuff for me and having fun and seeing more of my friends, as once little one arrives this will be difficult for a little while at least. It hasn't really happened.

This pregnancy has been hard. I've felt old, tired and fairly lacklustre.

This blog, my little spot, my happy place. It hasn't felt so happy lately. I haven't been enjoying it as much. It's felt lonely. Usually it's the one thing that I can do to make myself feel tip top and it hasn't been happening. The past few weeks I've even considered taking a break or shutting down completely.

I have fairly crap self- esteem. I've always felt like everyone else does everything better. And those feelings have exploded the past month or so. I think it's cause despite my best efforts to move forward, I've felt like I'm just standing on the spot. I've felt like I've been surrounded by deaf ears.

This week, I've had a cold and felt pretty crappy. It's been a big week with a lot on, and to tell you the truth I have just wanted it over with. I zoned out on autopilot just to get through. It's funny though, this week has surprised me, just when I'd given up on being surprised.

Firstly, the Pulp concert was fantastic. It really made me feel lighter. It brought back memories which in turn reminded me of how far I'd come. Most of all it was a lot of fun. And sometimes in life you just need fun.

Then yesterday we had our hearing with that airline. And we won! It felt like, yes, we weren't being unreasonable. Sometimes, the little guy can win. If you yell loud enough for long enough you will be heard.

Then I happened to snap the picture at the top of Goosey as she lifted my shirt to say "Hello" to her little brother. And my heart melted. I thought maybe I'm not standing as still as I thought.

My plan today was to write a "Farewell, see you whenever" post, as I didn't think I had the motivation to keep going. But you know what? I think I may stick around and keep bashing away.

Thursday 28 July 2011

Pulp non-fiction

Last night, I lived out a dream that began 16 years ago. When I was 19 years old, the Britpop explosion happened and I used to spend my Saturday nights dancing away at Britpop events. Fairly sad nightclubs with awesome music. It was so, so much fun. My mate at the time and I were there almost every weekend. Funnily enough, Skip was there too was mutual friends but we never crossed paths. Then during the week I'd go to my friend's place and smoke cigarettes and listen to Blur, Supergrass, Oasis, Elastica and, of course, Pulp to the early hours. We'd talk about if Blur were in fact smurfs disguised as humans and I advised him on transforming his blonde ponytail into the right Jarvis mop.

Back in the day when Pulp toured, I was out of the country so missed it. I thought I'd catch them next time. I didn't realise that next time would be when I was 35 and pregnant with my third child!

Over the past years, I've still held a torch for Jarvis and co. Whenever Skip wants to get me in a party mood, he throws on the album Different Class and says I instantly begin to strut like I'm Mick Jagger. Over the years, we've had many a Pulp 'concert' at home and they've been brilliant.

Last night, with a gut out to here and a nasty head cold, I wasn't even sure I was going to make Pulp this time round. But make it I did. I even danced despite the punters who kept bumping into my bump. I don't think I got a strut out, but I definitely bopped and I definitely enjoyed every. single. moment. For a brief moment when Jarvis took the stage and Common People was blaring, I was that 19 year old again, dancing carelessly on a Saturday night.

It was well worth the wait.

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Gourmet Dinner Service - a review

Growing up I was always told that whinging won't bring you anything good. It seems this isn't quite true. Apparently, my whinging about being pregnant and tired and feeling 100 caught the attention of the good people at Gourmet Dinner Service. After reading about my state, they emailed me and offered to send me some delicious gourmet meals to make dinner time easier. Gourmet meals delivered to my door? Who was I refuse?

After a look at their online menus and a chat over the phone, we came up with some meals that would suit Skip, me and the kids. I have to admit I was a little wary, I do enjoy cooking and didn't want to end up with meals that weren't as good as my own. Skip was even more wary about it all than I was.

The meals arrived wonderfully packaged in a (recyclable) styrofoam box. I threw them in the freezer and waited for a good opportunity to use them. One Sunday night, tired and over it we tried our first meal. They were easy to heat up and didn't taste too bad at all.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about whether this is a service I would use if it wasn't offered to me. As someone who likes to cook and know what's in my kids' food my first thought was no, I probably wouldn't. After eating the meals, I think I would use the service. Not all the time, but if there was a busy or stressful time ahead, I would definitely consider ordering some meals to make life easier. Sure, you could make meals yourself and freeze them, but I never would do that.

It would make an absolutely wonderful gift to a new mum. A freezer full of meals would be so fabulous in those first few weeks. Give me that any day over a million onesies or teddy bears! Give this to a friend and they will remember it for life, I reckon.

Gourmet Dinner Service also make a range of meal to suit families, couples, kids, singles, small eaters, dieters, etc. This impressed me. It's something I would consider suggesting to my mum, who hates cooking. Visit their website to check out their service.

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Euky Bearub winner

I'm pleases to announce the winner of the Euky Bearub is Loulou. Can you please send me your details and I'll get your prize posted to you.

Monday 25 July 2011

Reality TV binge versus binge drinking

Photo of Audrina from here
While Skip was away last week, I took the opportunity to binge on all the really bad reality shows that he hates. I had the IQ programmed with The Hills, Audrina, Geordie Shore and a whole heap of other crap.

When I say reality, I mean pure crap. I'm not really into The Block or Masterchef or that kind of thing. I need it to be completely vacuous and completely removed from my world. That's why The Hills fits in so well. I love the close-ups as they ponder the conversation they just had about someone snubbing them at a party. I love that their problems are so stupid. With Geordie Shore I'm just flabbergasted. The fashion, the accents, the fake eyelashes and tans. There's so much to take in.

So as the week went on I watched more and more and more.

I discovered that a binge on reality TV is quite a lot like binge drinking. At first it's great and you think: "This is so much fun, why don't I do this all the time?" And then it wears on and you start to feel a little woozy. Then you feel like you might chuck. Then you watch an episode of Pregnant in Heels and that pushes you over the edge, you have to turn it off and go to bed, with images of rich, crazy New Yorkers swirling in your head.  The next morning you're exhausted and sick. You notice there's a new episode of Audrina on the IQ, but your stomach starts to churn. Just the thought makes you feel sick. You vow never to watch that crap again and turn on the episode of Australian Story you'd taped.

Don't worry I'm sure a few days will pass and that episode of Audrina will look appealing once again. Thankfully Skip will be home for a few weeks so I can recover before hitting the box again.

What's your guilty pleasure on TV? 

Saturday 23 July 2011

Happy birthday little lady

Today, my littlest girl turned three. I can't believe it was three years ago that she came into our world. Some days it feels like she's been here forever and other days it feels like no time at all.

Everything about this little lady is surprising. She's patient and smart, yet fiery and impulsive. I never expected to have a child with curly hair, yet here she is with her golden spirals. She's a comedian, naturally funny. She knows how to hold an audience. She gives away kisses and cuddles to anyone she likes the look of, even if she's just met them. Just don't annoy her, cause she will attack. She's a complete Daddy's girl, yet can push his buttons like no-one else.

Three years ago, my obstetrician said there's no way she would be born that day, yet she arrived. As I said, she's surprising.

I love being surprised by her. I love the joy she brings to our lives. I love her sweetness and her sassiness. Most of all, I just love her.

To celebrate the day, we had family and a couple of close friends come by for cake. I'm glad we kept it small as the weather has been so atrocious we had to keep it inside our tiny house. Our little one had the time of her life.

Here are some pix:

What's a party without chocolate crackles?

The girls loved making these flower bikkies.

The fairy garden cake. 
The thing I love most about this cake is the toadstools I made. Strawberries and cream lollies
cut in half, a mini-marshmallow stalk and white icing dots. 
Daddy's girl having a dance with Daddy.

Blowing out all three candles.

The knife came out clean, much to the relief of her cousin.
The girls have cut all of their birthday cakes with our wedding cake knife, I love this tradition we've created.

Friday 22 July 2011

Winter sniffles, snotty noses (and a giveaway)

My girls have had their fair share of sniffles this winter. There's nothing like being a parent and bearing the full-force of a snotty sneeze. Ah the joys.

I have to say I'm pretty lucky, Lil-lil seems to be past that age where kids pick up every damn bug around as they build up their immune system and Goosey seems to get over her sniffles pretty quickly. Touch wood, we haven't had any croup or the like this year.

A few weeks ago they were all snotty and the inevitable cries in the night rang out. A little while before I'd been sent a tube of Euky Bearub, which promised to be all things kind on sensitive skin. It felt and smelt nicer than the other stuff, I have to admit. It certainly helped one young lass sleep better, that in itself is gold. In fact for about a week, she lifted her PJ top insisting the 'koala cream' be rubbed on.

There has been one other person in our home who's been a frequent user. It may just be that old preggo lady who's got the pregnancy congestion in a big way and is snoring like a tractor. It works, it hasn't cured me but it does help. It smells nice and is not too goopy and sticky. Not waking up stuck to the sheets is always a plus.

I have a Giant Euky Bear to giveaway, I've been told he's almost as big a three-year-old! He comes with a tube of Euky Bearub too, so you can try it for yourself. It's valued at $50.

If you'd like to win, tell me your best snot solutions. This competition is available to Aussie residents only (sorry). Giveaway will end Monday 25 July, 2011 at 11.59pm.

Thursday 21 July 2011

Facing up to the Facebook Fad

For the past couple of weeks, for some unknown reason, I haven't been able to access Facebook (or Twitter or You Tube) from my laptop. Occasionally, during the day, I'll take a peek on my phone. Since this has happened I've found my love affair with Facebook is dying, in fact, I think it might already be dead.

I'll admit there was time where I loved Facebook, I loved checking what people were up to, seeing their photos and reading their thoughts. Now, I find, I just get annoyed when I look. There always seems to be someone pushing some kind of political agenda (which is often different to my own). There's someone playing some stupid game and as fast as I can block them they've found a new game to play. There's someone saying something I think is just plain stupid/racist/sexist. Then there's the parent who updates every time their child moves or wees. Then there's the other person who updates every time the eat or drink at the pub. Then there's the person who vaguebooks (writes a vague status update to capture attention) which has to be at the top of the annoying parts of Facebook.

Don't get me wrong, I've been guilty numerous times of all the above sins. For some reason, it's just not that fun anymore. It's all a bit ho hum. In fact, it's more than that, it's annoying. Funny though, I don't find the same things annoying on Twitter, maybe because it moves a bit faster. Or maybe Tweeps are more savvy and write about the mundane in more entertaining way. I don't know.

I love Facebook for catching up with family and friends overseas and sharing photos. It's often a good way to get in touch with a group of people quickly. But that's about it. I've recently done a cull of "friends" to see if that made it less annoying, but now I'm thinking I might just flick the switch entirely.

Are you a Facebook fanatic? Or do you loathe it?

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Keeping the beat

The Beatles have played the soundtrack to my life, as they have to most of the modern world.

My first memory of the Beatles was staring at the cover of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band for ages. Looking at every tiny detail in the rich artwork. My dad had bought it back in the '60s which is strange because he's a jazz man and so not into pop or rock.

As I got older I remember my brother playing the album and buying other albums. My cousin, who lived for us for a while, was a big Beatle fan and played Rubber Soul all the time.

When I was about 12 or 13, I fell hard for the Beatles. The first ever CD I bought was a Beatles disk (a step up from my first cassette of 1985 Comes Alive). I was obsessed. My good friend and I would read Beatle books, buy CDs, memorabilia, go to Beatle festivals and watch Beatle coverbands and scream. The obsession lasted quite a while. When we were about 20 the pair of us made it to Liverpool and went to the Cavern, Strawberry Field, Penny Lane and all the other Beatle sites.

The moment I thought Skip might be a keeper was when he told me one of my favourite Beatle songs reminded him of me (without any prompting). I even walked down the aisle to a Beatle song (In My Life).

Since the girls were wee babes I would sing them a Beatle song before they went to sleep. Now most nights they request Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds before they drift off.

The past couple of months, I've been putting on a lot of Beatles while they draw or quietly play and I do stuff around the house. I thought they'd love all the early stuff like Love Me Do and Hard Day's Night, but it seems they prefer Sgt Pepper. I guess there's a lot of child-like rhymes plus some orchestral strings for them to do 'ballet' and twirl to.

I wonder if they will have fond memories or if it will just be the old fuddy-duddy music Mum listened to.

Tuesday 19 July 2011

A piece of cake

I've talked about cake making before. I'm fairly bad at it, but I love doing it for my kids. A cake baked with love, that hopefully they'll remember for the rest of their lives. I love an old-school birthday party, with just a handful of people, fairy bread and chocolate crackles. There are no jumping castles, magicians or caterers, just a trampoline, some music and kids running around like lunatics.

My last attempt at a cake was for Lil-lil's party last year. A princess fairy cake:

As Goosey's birthday approaches I'm trying to decide what to make this year. She's tossing up between a fairy garden and a fairy cloud. We shall see... I promise to share the finished product with you.

We recently went to our friend's birthday who had this awesome cake:

This afternoon, Goose and I will take a trip to Go-Lo to stock up on party favours and streamers, while I ponder party food, which will probably be Skip's famous homemade snag rolls and bowls of chips. 

Help me out, share with me some of your never-fail party tips, party food recipes, etc.

Monday 18 July 2011

Routine, misssing husbands and puffy paint

School holidays are over, back to the routine. Lil-lil is bursting at the seams to get back. Goosey is cranky and saying she's not allowed to go, the bottom lip has been out all morning. Goose is really going to miss her as they've had a great time the past two weeks – they've invented more games than I can remember. They even created a little boy called Lowen, he was from Russia and his parents were killed by witch. He could fix anything except cars. He stayed with us for most of Saturday. Strangely enough, even though he was from Russia, he couldn't speak Russian.

We waved Skip off early this morning as he headed to the airport, to go to Melbourne until Friday evening. It will be a girly week of easy dinners and taking control of the remote. Though we do have a lot to take our mind off Skip's absence, such as a certain 3rd birthday to prepare for. I can't believe my little one will be 3 ! There is a cake to plan, presents to buy and sausage rolls to make.

I wanted to share something my girls LOVED doing over the holidays. I completely stole this idea from i-mumma. I'm so not a craft mum. My idea of doing craft is throwing some paper and crayons at them and hoping they don't draw on the walls. But this is super easy and super fun.

Puffy paint

  • 1 tablespoon self-raising flour
  • a few drops of food colouring
  • 1 tablespoon of salt

Combine the above together with a little water to make a smooth paste and paint away on pieces of cardboard. When the artworks are finished pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds until they magically 'puff' up and dry.

The girls had a ball doing this and created some birthday cards for their little mate's 4th birthday.

Have a good Monday!

Friday 15 July 2011

Some daze are diamonds... others are vomit.

I'd been looking forward to this morning for a while. The kids and I had been invited to a preview of The Lion King and I thought it was going to be a great holiday treat. The movie itself was fab, I'll write a review at a later date, the events around it were not so fab.

It's just one of those days that are annoyingly bumpy. Nothing runs smooth. The day wasn't helped by another night of hideous snoring that kept the house awake, me waking every half hour well aware that I sound like a steam train. Goosey decided that she was just going to awake for two hours in the night, nothing wrong, just awake and wanting to chat.

I hurriedly got the girls ready for the flicks and we headed up the street to catch a bus. I noticed as I walked out my front gate, I'd put out the wrong recycling bin. Another fortnight before it can be emptied. Yippee. I kept walking.

You have to pre-buy your ticket to catch our local bus, which would be fine if there was actually somewhere to buy a ticket. Every shop we went into had run out or only sold travel passes (with 10 trips). We ended up having to walk about a kilometre with Goosey crying that she couldn't walk anymore.

We finally got on the bus and I fumbled with the ticket. The bus driver yelled at the girls to sit down as I fumbled. I then sat down and burst into tears. For no apparent reason, other than Sydney buses suck quite a lot.

We got into the movie theatre and settled in, then I was reminded that I had promised popcorn. Big sigh from me, I left my coat and various 3D glasses on the seats to mind them and then headed off to buy overpriced movie popcorn. We got back in the theatre and someone had moved my coat and taken our seats. After a few terse words and a woman telling me "But my daughter really wanted this seat" they finally moved. We settled in again.

About 20 minutes into the movie Goosey insisted on sitting on my rapidly disappearing lap. She proceeded to kick and elbow my belly for the rest of the time. I started to get a headache from the 3D. Seriously, why do they persist with 3D? It's crap.

By the time we got out, the rain was coming down and we shuffled off to the bus stop. As we stood in the rain, I decided "this really isn't the fun experience I was hoping for". Some days just don't go to plan.

To round off the last day of the holiday, we stopped in at our local Japanese restaurant for lunch. It was delicious, the girls behaved. At last, we were having fun! We'd finished up and were getting ready to leave when Goosey decided to eat a piece of garnish. She took one taste, gagged and her whole lunch ended up on me. Nice.

So I officially give up on this day. There will be no more fun. It's just not working for me.

Edited to add: While I am feeling a little over it all today. I have a whole positive post coming up very soon. x

Thursday 14 July 2011

A little night music

I came in here today to write about all the people who are currently pissing me off. There are quite a few of them, they really do make up quite the list – Tiger Airways, real estate agents, Energy Australia, the car wax salesmen in the shopping centre car park. Then I decided to write about something else. Something that is annoying to me, yet so much more annoying to the people in my house.

My snoring.

Yep, I admit it, I'm snoring terribly. I know I'm snoring, not just because Skip has bags under his eyes that would fit a semi-trailer, but because I can hear myself. That's right, I'm sleeping so lightly and snoring so loudly that I actually hear myself. Terrible. I like to think that it's just a bad dream, but no, it's not. It's very, very real.

I  have something worse to admit than just snoring at night – I think I'm actually snoring during the day too, while I'm awake. I know. I'm catching a glimpse of what life will be like when I'm 90.

I'm also suffering from terrible heartburn/reflux/indigestion. It's been bad, but the past few days it's been worse as I've had to eat a high carb diet for a glucose tolerance test. Admittedly, I didn't have to eat the pie at the top of the page, I just did cause I could. Man, it was not worth the pain I felt for the rest of the day though. Here's a tip – shares in the manufacturer of Mylanta and Gaviscon are going to skyrocket over the next three months.

Pregnancy in all its glamour. Poor Skip though, I think he's ready to put a pillow over my head to stop the night noise. As I lie there snoring and listening to myself and feeling the pain of regurgitated food in my oesophagus, I'm ready to put myself in the old folk home.

Are you a snorer? Have you ever woken yourself up snoring? Come on, help me out here...

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Bestest sisters

These school holidays we've spent a lot of time just hanging at home. It's been great though as it's given the girls a chance to just be together. They've created imaginary worlds, jumped for hours on the trampoline, created Lego cities and most of all just had fun being together.

Sure they've had their fights and Lil-lil has declared on more than one occasion: "It's really hard having a little sister!" But the majority of the time they've been, in their words, "bestest sisters". Playing nicely, hugging on the couch, looking after each other and lots of giggling.

I hope they remain the best of friends in the coming years, though I'm sure there will be lots of ups and downs. It's nice to know they'll always have each other. That they'll have a sister on their side.

Yesterday, we were heading to pick up some dry cleaning when Goosey cried out to Lil-lil as she ran away towards the car: "But I love you!" And Lil-lil stopped and took her hand and said: "Don't you want me to go back to preschool?" Goosey shook her head. "But I have to go to preschool so I can learn what to do at big school, but don't worry I'll be back in the afternoons." And then they gave each other the biggest hug. I couldn't make this stuff up.

As we drove off, I snuck a peek in the rearview mirror and caught them holding hands and snapped the picture above.

Don't worry, they're not always this sickly sweet. There's a lot of fist-to-fist combat, hair pulling, scratching and general whacking. That's why I have to record these moments, when the fighting gets out of control and they're plotting to destroy the other, I can remind myself that they do actually love each other.

Tuesday 12 July 2011

Hairy times

I've been a bit neglectful of my hair recently. There's always, well, something else that needs attending to first. You know that things are getting out of control though when other people start telling you it's time to tame the mane.

The universe (disguised as PR people) obviously thought I was looking a little unruly as one morning I opened my door and found the whole range of the new Pantene line, Nature Fusion, on my doorstep. Now I'd heard the whole 'Pantene is bad for your hair' thing before, but apparently that's crap and I must say my hair (and the girls) have been pretty good. Even Skip commented that it 'smelt nice' the other morning.

Soon after, I received an email from another lovely PR person asking if I'd be interested in a cut and blowdry for myself and the girls. Well, sure!

I decided that I'd book in before my fancy birthday dinner so that the blow dry wasn't wasted on the other mums at the park, my usual haunt on a weekday arvo.

The girls and I turned up at Christiane's hair design, Gladesville very excited (There are a heap of other Christiane's around NSW too). It was the first time we'd done something girly like this. The girls sat up next to me as I got washed, intrigued as to what was going on. I then moved over to the mirrors to get cut, they put boosters up for the girls to get their hair washed together. Goosey jumped up eagerly, Lil-lil burst into tears and froze. As Goose happily got shampooed, loving every moment of the attention, no amount of coercion could get Lil-lil up in the chair and her hair under the hose.

Lil-lil unsure about the whole thing.
Goosey loving the salon.

Glued to my side as I got my hair cut, we eventually bribed Lil-lil with a lollypop to get her hair trimmed. The staff were lovely and kind and so good with the kids, I don't think Lil-lil would have relented if they weren't so sweet. Both girls sat up and got snipped and both of them were fussed over.


A lollypop is being tightly grasped under the cape....

I've never considered getting my hair done with the girls, the hairdresser is usually my escape, but it really worked quite well (despite Lil-lil's fear and uncertainty about the whole thing). I'd do it again, I'd just make I'd pick a salon that was kid-friendly and pick a time when they're not too busy so the staff and the kids don't get freaked out.

The three of us walked out looking quite glam, the blowdry even survived the icy, gusty winds as I walked through town to dinner. Skip even noticed that I had my hair done, so that's always a positive!

Monday 11 July 2011

Birth daze

After my luxurious night away last week, the birthday joy just kept coming all weekend.

On late Saturday arvo we caught up with my doppleganger friend and her family for dinner and cake. She has two girls (of course, as she's my doppleganger) and all the girls get on really well. They had a ball together and allowed the grown ups to actually chat and eat and relax, which is always a novelty.

On Sunday (my actual birthday) I got a little sleep-in. Skip made my favourite bircher for brekkie. We took a blustery walk around the neighbourhood and then came home to get ready for our family lunch. We had 9 adults coming and a few kids. We heated our oven for the obligatory three hours (we really need a new oven) chucked in our roasts and after almost an hour it was still stone cold. After a bit of last minute panicking and the BBQ coming to the rescue we made food that was hot and cooked through!

It was lovely to catch up with everyone and get spoilt with lots of flowers and pressies. I got my favourite flower Sweet Peas from my mum, some gorgeous Gerberas from my inlaws and some lovely tulips from my little brother. Not to mention choccies and lots of other goodies (including a spanking new camera). As I said, spoilt.

Everyone left and by that stage the kids were seriously tired and emotional (especially the 4 year old), so after some tears we got them into bed. I collapsed on the lounge absolutely stuffed – seriously it's going to be salad and fish for the next month. Another birthday over for another year!

Friday 8 July 2011

Escape from reality

Looking at the Harbour Bridge over my bump while lying in the sun on
a perfect Sydney day. 
Yesterday, Skip and I snuck off from real life for a while. An early birthday celebration for me.

I left the kids around 3pm with their Grandma, hit the shops in the city and found a new frock that fit my belly and didn't look too dowdy. I then checked into The Observatory Hotel and collapsed on the king-size bed with a trashy mag and a cup of tea and chilled out while I'd normally be chasing kids round the park and preparing their dinner. It was complete peace and quiet. Utter bliss.

Skip turned up from work and frocked up we went to Rockpool Bar & Grill for dinner. Passing on the Hendricks & tonic with a slice of cucumber that Skip sipped, I had a mocktail. It was damn good, I'm not just saying that, it was almost as good as the real thing.

We ate and laughed and talked and eavesdropped. And then we ate some more.

We strolled (or rolled from all the food) back to the hotel and collapsed into bed, knowing no little people would poke us in the forehead during the night and we could sleep in in the morning.

A long lie-in with the papers and coffee, a leisurely breakfast and before I knew it we were back home. Refereeing arguments, wiping snotty noses and fetching cups of milk and water. Five star luxury just a warm memory.

It wasn't all bad though, Skip had the day off work and the sun was shining so we took the girls for a picnic. Fish and chips on the water at Balmain. The winter's sun surprisingly warm, it was so relaxing to sit and be a family and have fun. Best of all, it's only Friday night so we still have two more days of weekend to go!

Happy weekend to you!

Wednesday 6 July 2011

Island castaways

It's school holidays. I have to admit that I kinda forget about school holidays and wasn't really prepared. Lil-lil was a bit distressed that we weren't actually going on holidays. The first few days haven't been that exciting. I've had a long list of 'have to-dos' so the girls have been forced to entertain themselves a bit, which isn't always a bad thing. There have been 2-hour long games of 'hospitals' and hours jumping on the trampoline and more hours of drawing. Oh and yesterday they kept preparing me "feasts" of lemons and grass as I attempted (in vain) to write. I ended up surrounded in bowls of their "cooking".

Today, I thought, I had to do something with them, something school holiday-like. So we jumped on our local ferry and went to Cockatoo Island. With the sun streaming down to counteract the chilly winds, the girls ran amok. There were wide open spaces to skip in, strange things to climb on, lots of water to throw rocks in, trees to make 'homes' under. Then we jumped on the ferry and headed home for a warm Milo to thaw out.

It was a great afternoon out, hopefully the girls will be tuckered out for the evening and my guilt at their lack of holiday fun has been eased.

Here are some shots from our day:
Spooky tunnels to dance ghost-like through.

Open spaces to run in.

Rocks to throw into the harbour.

Big weird, mechanical things to look at.

What are you doing these school holidays?

Tuesday 5 July 2011

Poo is funny no matter where you come from

My brother and his son are in Sydney at the moment, visiting from Vietnam. My gorgeous nephew is 7 and is half Vietnamese, he speaks both Vietnamese and English, but Vietnamese is his first language. It's what he speaks at school, to his friends, his mum and sister and in most of his everyday life.

Since he's been here, he's been pretty quiet. Besides being fairly quiet naturally, I guess it's quite overwhelming to be in a country that's so different to what you're used to. He's away from his mum and sister, the food is different, it smells and sounds different, it's cold, the whole place is just not quite like home.

Yesterday, I had a doctor's appointment and had dragged the girls along with me. By chance we ran into my mum, brother and nephew when we pulled up. The girls went to a cafe with them while I saw the doctor. When I came out, my nephew was sitting away, head buried in his DS. Understandably he's not that interested in his younger girl cousins' antics.

I hadn't heard him utter a sound that whole morning. Until we got up to leave and Goosey cried out: "I need to do a poo!" My nephew cracked up in laughter. Poo is universally funny. No matter what culture you're from, if you're a kid you can always get a laugh with poo.

Monday 4 July 2011

When life gets in the way of life

Well, I survived the solo weekend. Pretty well in fact. It was lovely to catch up with friends and family. It was lovely to lock the door and tune out the world early on both nights and just be with my girls.

Skip came home surprisingly chipper and unstinky from his boys weekend. We even managed to have a really lovely family lunch just the four of us.

The only bad thing was that the girls developed a feral cough that hacked through the night keeping them (and me) awake. Last night was a shocker. It was about 1am before I managed to get any sleep and then it was broken. I've also had more aches and pains than a 90-year-old, so have been hobbing round like a granny.

Just when you think you have things under control, life throws up all this 'stuff' to make everything seem busy and complicated. That's been the story of my life the past couple of weeks. Every things has seemed cruisy and then without warning gets complicated. Freelance work, school holidays (which I'd forgotten about), sick kids, extra doctor's appointments, helping out others unexepectedly. Which is all fine, it's just made life that little bit extra busy and any thoughts of putting my feet up a distant idea.

This morning has been a little crazy, I'm feeling like I'm getting sick and my workload is mounting – so I've decided to shelve the outside world, rug the sick kids up on the couch and a DVD and settle down and get some work done. Grocery shopping can wait, the other chores can wait.

On the upside I won a competition today and I have a couple of really special things to look forward to at the end of the week. So just gotta keep on chugging!

Friday 1 July 2011

Feeling good about doing good

There is a thing happening on the interwebs at the moment about a certain blogger travelling to a third world country to promote a cause. There has been a newspaper article written and some blog posts and a Twitter stoush. I don't know the details well enough to accurately write about it, so I won't. Reading some comments and hearing things about charity has set off some thought processes in my head, though, and now I just have to write about it. I was also inspired by the always inspiring Eden.

We live in a funny society. We're being told that we need to cover ourselves in brand name clothing, logos blaring across our chests. We need to purchase certain cosmetics, cause after all, we're worth it. We live in a society where we are constantly told we need to make ourselves feel better in any way possible – running the whole gamut from rampant consumerism to eating well and meditating. We're constantly fed the idea: "Do what you can to find happiness." Except when it comes to one thing.... charity.

If you attempt to help someone either through a charity or doing a good deed, we're told not to talk about it or it's seen as boasting. It's not uncommon to hear: "They're just doing it make themselves feel good." "They're just a smug do-gooder."

So, it's OK to be smug and feel good about your 60 inch plasma and your new Louis Vuitton bag, but throw a couple of dollars to a charity or help your little old nextdoor neighbour with their shopping and you can't feel happy about it? It seems crazy to me. What's wrong with feeling good about doing something good? Maybe we could spread the idea that helping and doing good feels good and perhaps more people might give it a whirl.

Why do we have to feel guilty about feeling good about doing what we can to make someone else's life just a little bit better? Can't we make our short time on this planet a good time for all?

Then when people attempt to do something good, they're accused of not going the whole way. Their motives are questioned and it's not good enough. They could have done it better, they should have done it this way, what they're doing is useless. For goodness sake, no wonder there's so few people attempting to do good deeds, why bother when you're just going to get run down.

We're told when we travel: "Don't give money to beggars it just encourages them. Give to aid agencies who can handle it properly." Then we're told, "Only X% of aid money gets through to the people who needs it." So, no wonder we keep our money in our pockets (and save it for the cosmetics, because we're worth it after al).

Let's encourage the good people in the world to do good things, no matter how big or small, let's not be so mistrusting. We've all got instincts, let's use them to do what's right. Sure, keep questioning, but don't discourage. Now, get out of that chair and do something nice for someone, somewhere and make sure you feel good about it. Then repeat and repeat.

*Yes, I admit that my ideas are naive, but life isn't as complicated as we'd sometimes like to make out.

Girls' weekend

This morning we waved a slightly hungover Skip (he was out celebrating the end of financial year last night as nerdy financial types do) for the weekend. He's going on a bucks weekend, which leaves me and the girls home alone for 50 or so hours.

Today we've got Lil-lil's end of term ballet performance and then we'll probably hit the park as we always do on a Friday. The weekend will involve an open house (for the love of god), a girly afternoon tea party with good friends and probably some catching up with my brother and nephew who are visiting from Vietnam. My brother told me I'd gotten fat and then remembered I was pregnant, luckily he redeemed himself by bringing me some DVDs. Then Skip will probably return home on Sunday worse for wear and stink up my couch.

While I'm not looking forward to single parenting, a couple of nights at home with complete control of the remote (trashy TV and good movies) and some takeaway of my choosing will be nice. I think I'll abandon cooking for the whole weekend, except we might make a cake. I think cake will be necessary.

What do you like to do when your other half goes MIA?
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