Monday 29 August 2011

Good weekend, good week start

Skip finally arrived home on Friday night and we were all happy and relieved to have him back, especially after the week that was. 

Saturday, Skip and the girls made sausage rolls for our newest favourite family outing – Saturday arvo at the footy. The girls took great delight squishing and squashing all the ingredients together and I must say Skip makes a damn fine snag roll. 

We met some friends and my brother and nephews at the oval and settled in for a fun arvo. It didn't disappoint. As my brother said it's the perfect mixture of good enough quality footy with a fun, relaxed atmosphere and a bit a retro cool. 

Goosey has a complete obsession with money. She always has a pile of coins wherever she goes.

My nephew gives the penny farthing man a high five. He rides around the field with kids chasing
him every time the Jets score a try.
A BBQ and a Wallabies win rounded out Saturday night.

Sunday, these bad boys arrived back at house:

All of our crap that we put in storage when we attempted to sell our house. I must admit I never expected to see them back in this house again. It looks like we'll be here for the moment, maybe permanently. I never say definitely cause who knows what the future holds. But at the moment we're happy and settled with this.

We've always loved our street, we've got good neighbours, a massive park across the road where the kids play with their mates (and we don't have to maintain the garden), a cul-de-sac where the kids are pretty safe, good friends who live close by, a real sense of community. The kids also have a fantastic preschool and an excellent public school in walking distance. All these are starting to say to us, perhaps these outweigh having a bigger block of land to live on. This weekend showed how much we do love living where we live. Who knows what the future holds though. We could change our mind again tomorrow. I reserve that right!

Sunday arvo we went to the park and took a long walk. We played, scootered and stopped for ice cream in the late afternoon sun, which is lasting just the bit longer as winter slowly slips away.

Last night, I struggled to sleep. I slept about fitfully and dreamt about razor blades (thanks, Underbelly). I got up early, while the kids still slept (a miracle). I showered, got organised and despite being tired, feel really ready to tackle the week. I think it's going to be a good one! Here's hoping.

Saturday 27 August 2011

A blue streak

Yesterday's post and comments got me thinking about swearing and my kids.

When I grew up my mum wasn't really a swearer, but my dad never censored himself, always enjoying a good expletive to express himself. I have a memory of my younger brother counting the swear words that came from my dad during a car trip, just for a bit of hilarity.

I don't think this ever effected me negatively. It was just something my dad was allowed to do, but I wasn't – like drive the car or drink beer.

Now with my own kids, it's a kind of similar situation. Skip doesn't censor himself, I let fly occasionally and the kids understand it's something that grown ups say and they can't. Swearing is definitely more common place now than it was when I was a kid. TV shows and music have far more swearing than they once did. It's hard to protect kids against it.

We also let our kids get away with 'toilet' humour at home as well. Mainly because I'm a complete juvenile and find it funny, but the kids are aware it's something they can do at home and not at preschool or other people's houses. Also, it's not allowed to be used in an agressive way toward anyone else.

Each family is different, I know. The family who was shocked by the use of 'damn it' that I mentioned, there was another playdate we went on recently and Goosey got upset at toy she was playing with I think she then said it was 'stupid'. The other mother gasped and said: "Did she say the s-word?" I assured her no, she didn't she just said stupid. The reply came: "That's the s-word in our house". I was a little surprised. I wouldn't like the girls to call each other or anyone else stupid, but I probably wouldn't (didn't) notice if they said it to an inanimate object.

It's kind of interesting the limits and the values that different people put on language. There's never a right or wrong, it's just interesting.

I have had an issue with the girls using the word 'hate'. They've started saying they hate me or they hate each other and they've been quickly told: "You can be angry, upset or frustrated with me. That's fine. I just don't want to hear you say that you hate anyone. How would you feel if I said told you I hated you?"

How do you feel about swearing? Are there taboo words in your house?

Friday 26 August 2011


With Lil-lil starting preschool this year, a new phenomenon has entered my life – the playdate.

Sure we've had plenty of playdates with people who are my friends and the kids get told: "These are your friends". They're fine. They're great. Our kids can play, I feel I can relax confident in my parenting style. I get to have a good chat or catch up with someone I like.

It's these new playdates I'm not so fond of. The ones that involve Lil-lil's friends from preschool. I've done a few and it always feel a bit weird. I have to make small talk with the parents, who aren't always people I'd choose as friends. I hate small talk, more than anything. There's always that awkwardness of how far can I go? I don't want to look like a delinquent parent and it seems that most of Lil-lil's friends have quite conservative parents.

Example: "Little XX came home from preschool the other day and said 'damn it'. I couldn't believe it."
I sat there wondering what the problem was, when I suddenly realised it was the 'swearing'. Then realised it was probably my kid who was teaching the colourful language and probably much worse.

Then Goosey usually ends up in some sort of altercation with the younger sibling of Lil-lil's friend. Which is embarrassing  and then you have to do that whole song and dance and the poor kid doesn't really want to be there anywhere.

If they're at my house, the house is usually completely trashed. There's always some sort of argument over toys. The whole thing is more hassle than it's worth.

The latest thing that happened this week was Lil-lil was invited over for a sleepover. Personally I think she's too young to stay over at someone's house I don't know well. It just doesn't sit right.

I write this as I'm procrastinating about calling a new friend of Lil-lil's who left a note inviting us over for a playdate.  As much as I'll dread it, I'll call and organise a time, cause Lil-lil will have the time of her life and this is what kids do. I'll suck up my shyness and loathing of small talk. Who knows, I might even strike gold and meet a parent who can become a friend.

Soon enough, she'll be old enough to do the dump and run. Then, of course I've got at least another five years with the other kids. Sigh.

Do you do the whole playdate thing? Do you love it or loathe it?

Thursday 25 August 2011

So not nesting

After my little hospital visit this week, I've started to think it might actually be time to get ready for this baby's arrival if it does happen to come sooner than we thought. I'm not really one for decorating nurseries or having heaps of 'stuff''. Babies really don't need very much when it comes down to it, despite what people like to tell you. Just somewhere to sleep (which is often my chest), some clothes, some nappies and that's about it.

We got a new pram, so that's something. Our friends our looking after our other bubba stuff so I'm not too concerned. The only thing I'm thinking I might need is a new baby carrier to go with the Bjorn, perhaps a sling. In reality, I'll probably put my head in the sand for another few weeks when I hit a sudden panic and organise everything in a day.

To be honest, I've been too busy planning outings, dinners and catch-ups with those close to me. Focusing on just hanging with the girls. Putting my feet up and reading a book. Enjoying quiet evenings while they last, in case I end up with a bub that loves to scream at witching hour. Things that will be a little harder or I'll be a little bit distracted from in a couple of months. Sure I know life doesn't end, but having a baby hanging off me and being super sleep deprived does make these things a little more difficult and little less enjoyable. I can always send Skip out for a packet of nappies once the bubba is here after all.

So today, I think, I'll dream about our summer holiday instead.

Wednesday 24 August 2011

From holiday to hospital

Well it's been an interesting couple of days! From waking up in a hotel room on Monday morning to waking up in a hospital room this morning.

After a weekend of bliss, I was physically feeling rather average. Probably evident with my boot/crying incident at the airport. I was feeling so swollen, I was like Violet Beauregard in Willy Wonka, just not blue. And there were no Oompa Loompas to take me off to the squeezer.

I rang the hospital and went to get checked out. Before I knew it I was being transferred upstairs to be monitored by a kindly Shirley Valentine-type lady who lectured me about not coming in sooner. I wasn't too concerned as I'd been through the same thing with Lil-lil. At worst a couple of pills and I'd be on my way.

After tests, tests and more tests, my quiet room was suddenly invaded by two doctors, prodding poking, taking blood and inserting canulas. I was being admitted to the ward, administered drugs immediately and there was talk of steroids if I needed to deliver the baby this week. It was now that I started to get concerned.

"I thought I might just take some tablets and go home the next day?" I said to one of the docs. "With your blood pressure you'll be here days at least, and at worst you'll be delivering this baby," the serious doctor told me. Now I was really concerned.

Within the hour my blood pressure started to come down. All the panic began to subside. The doctors went off to other emergencies.

I'm still in a hospital bed, but with any luck I'll be home today, as everything is looking ok.

My hopes for a good night sleep were dashed by a cranky nurse who came in every few hours to take my blood pressure and feed me drugs. I think I prefer a sweet little person waking me up!

The worst thing about hospital? Having this canula in the underside of my arm, as they couldn't get it in anywhere else they normally would,

The best bit? Being brought tea and biscuits, even if the tea is aneamic and in a styrofoam cup.

I have to say, especially after my rant about the medical system last week, my experience has been great. The doctors and nurses have looked after me and listened to me and explained everything to me. My room is private and enormous. Can't ask for better care.

Now to get out of here!

Monday 22 August 2011

Discovering Van Diemen's Land and Us

I'm back. Three days of bliss behind me.

I had the most wonderful time. Truly wonderful. One of the best weekends I've ever had.

We arrived on Friday morning after a flawless flight, picked up our hire car and arrived in Hobart to sunshine and surprising warmth. We drove into North Hobart in search of good coffee and found it pretty quickly. We kept pinching ourselves that we were here. In Tasmania. With each other. For three whole days. It felt quite surreal.

Checking into our hotel, the receptionist told us we had to go to MONA, after being the 100th person to tell us that we had to do it, it became our first stop. We headed up to the winery/brewery/restaurant/art gallery and weren't disappointed. It is an incredible place and it's a must-see if you're ever in Hobart. The art wasn't really our cup of tea, but the architecture of the building that houses the art is mind-blowing. We walked around and soaked in the grandure of the whole place.

We then settled into a sunny spot in the wine bar for lunch and kept pinching ourselves again at where we were and how lucky we felt. Unfortunately, the menu was filled all types of delicious things I couldn't eat like terrine, salami and soft cheese. I joked the whole weekend that Tasmania was the island of delicious things I couldn't eat.

Lunch in the sun.

Pinot for him, mineral water for me.
After lunch, we headed to the cellar door so Skip could do some wine tasting. Don't feel too bad for me, cause just sitting there and soaking in the view was pretty spesh.

After quick trip back into town for a bevvy near the waterfront and some people watching. The weather was gorgeous. We then went home for a rest to gear up for dinner. Before we got there though, we took a wrong turn and literally ended up in the bush. I kid you not. A wrong turn in Hobart's CDB and 10 minutes later we were in the bush! I loved that! Ten minutes on a Friday in Sydney peak hour and you'd be lucky to be 100 metres up the road. Dinner was sensational. Think scallops, abalone, bouillabaise, all so good!

Saturday, after a lazy lie-in, we wandered round Salamanca Markets, Battery Point and headed up Mount Wellington, where we saw – SNOW! We were so excited, even if was just piddly little amount, it was still snow. We both fell in love with Battery Point and dreamt of what it'd be like to live there.

Seriously, how gorgeous are these homes?

That night, we huddled into a little wine bar in Battery Point. Skip sipped red wine, I sipped mineral water and we talked. We listened to a jazz trio. We just enjoyed being together, chatting, not having to be anywhere, that day or the next. It's so long since we could just be together and enjoy each other's company without being 'mum' or 'dad'.  Just being us, not having to look at the clock to get back to a babysitter or worry about being tired the next day. Worry about schedules and what the kids need. Just enjoy each other's company.

We then headed down to Salamanca and found another wine and tapas bar where we ate delicious food, listened to some more live music and giggled at the couple next to us who were obviously on a blind date.

After a super long lie-in on Sunday morning, we headed to Meadowbank Estate for lunch. We used to live in Meadowbank in Sydney and drank Meadowbank Pinot Noir, so it was a must for us. Thankfully, the scenery was spectacular, we had a sunny table looking over vineyards down green hills to the river. The food was incredible. Tasmanian mussles and lamb. A verjuice and soda. Super yum!

We then ambled up the road to Richmond for a meander. Skip lived here as a kid and it's such a gorgeous, historic spot.

We then headed back for afternoon tea at Battery Point and then an afternoon siesta. Luxury to the max.

Meadobank Estate vineyards.

I didn't expect blossoms and blue skies in August, especially in Tassie.

Richmond on a sunny Sunday arvo.

That night we had fish and chips from the harbourfront and an early night in front of Underbelly.

It was so indulgent and lovely and wonderful to be able to eat, drink, relax. So different from everyday life. The best bits? Just being with Skip. Just the two of us. Laughing until there were tears. Talking about our lives without being interrupted. Remembering what it was like before kids. Reminding ourselves why we embarked on this whole marriage, kids thing in the first place. Just being us. That was so, so special. I tried to soak in every moment, so in the coming months when we're all tired, over it and wondering what the hell we're doing (and I know there will be plenty of those times) I could remember these moments. These moments of pure bliss. The whole weekend we kept saying to each other over and over: "I'm having such a good time!" And it really was. One of the best weekends of my life.

The only downside? Was that physically I wasn't great. Heavily pregnant and I'm really, really swollen – hands, feet, ankles face. It was painful and cumbersome, no matter how I tried to ignore it.

This morning,  packing up to leave was terribly sad. I couldn't help but wish it was Friday morning and we could do it all over again. I was afraid to speak unless I cried. It was hard to say goodbye to the weekend, goodbye to Hobart and goodbye to Skip, who's staying on for work. Knowing that we wouldn't get an opportunity like this again for a long, long, long time. 

I got myself to the airport. At security checkpoint, they made me take my boots off. I burst into tears, a combination of knowing I would struggle to take them off and they'd be almost impossible to squeeze back on my swollen feet, being cumbersomely pregnant as well as the emotion of going home. I sat there at Hobart airport on my own, sobbing, struggling to put my shoes on and carry my heavy bag. People shuffled embarrassed past me.

I pulled myself together and got home without a hitch. It was so good to see and squeeze the girls. I had missed them.

That's the end of that little chapter. Onto the next...

My poor attempt at trying to take a photo of us.

Home again, home again

Well I'm back in reality after a truly fabulous weekend. I'll write a whole post on it very soon, once I get a moment to get my breath back.

In the mean time I wanted to announce the winners of the Stephen Joseph giveaway. picked Super Sarah and Mama to 2 Boys.

If you can email me your addresses and I'll get your packs sent out to you.

Thursday 18 August 2011

Tassie devil

Not the Big Apple unfortunately, the Apple Isle.

This time tomorrow I'll be high in the sky, probably somewhere over the Bass Straight. Skip and I are leaving the kids at home and heading to Hobart. A last hoorah before the bub comes and who knows when we'll get time together again. Let's face it who wants to babysit three kids?

So for three wonderful days, we'll explore, wander, eat, sleep (snore). I won't be making breakfasts, lunches or dinners. I won't be giving little people baths. I won't be breaking up fights (or at least I hope I won't). I won't be wiping little bums. I won't cleaning up mooshed cereal from the floor. I won't be listening to Mary Freakin' Poppins. Oh yes, I won't.

I'm missing out on catching up with some of my favourite bloggers, but I'll be thinking of them as I eat and relax.

On Monday morning, I'll jet home to reality while Skip stays on for work. All those things, including Mary Poppins, will be waiting for me.

Have a fine weekend everyone. I will be!

Wednesday 17 August 2011

On medical advice

I'm a bit of a hormonal wreck at the moment. I hear sad stories and they linger in my head, for a long time. I almost take on the pain of the people things are happening to, without ever having met them. Whether it's on the news, people Skip works with, friends telling stories about other friends, whoever.

Reading the story this week about the coronial inquiry into the death of Jacob Belim has been one of those unable to leave my head. How the medical system failed a little boy and how easily it can happen.
About 12 years ago, I lost a work colleague who died after test results went missing in the ER department. Had her illness been taken seriously and had she received treatment in time, it's likely she would have survived.

These stories make me angry and make me concerned. They make me vigilant. I keep them in my head to ensure that I listen to my instincts and not get silenced if I'm worried.

The past few months, I've had my own run-ins with medical staff that make me concerned and frankly piss me off.

Last year, we took Goosey to the emergency after she knocked her head and started vomiting. She continued to vomit, was very drowsy and could not walk without falling over. We were told over and over by a couple of nurses that she just had a virus, nothing to worry about. I knew in my heart it wasn't a virus. When the doctor finally appeared and started talking about concussion, the nurses were shocked. "You really think it's a head injury?" and the doctor said "Of course, it is." They were sheepish after plonking us in a corner and I think probably labelling us over-zealous parents.

There have been a number of times when I have been concerned or had a gut feeling that was dismissed by a doctor and then later found to be right.

Just last week, I went for a prenatal appointment and was told that some test results earlier in the year showed I needed a course of medication. I was concerned that I was only being told this three months after the tests were conducted. I was then retested and told to call back the following day to get results. They sent me home with a script just in case. When I called the next day, I was completely berated by the staff member. I was told the test was unnecessary, it wasn't usual protocol, that there was no way test results would be ready any way and I was essentially wasting her time. Fuming inside, I remained calm on the outside and said I was just doing as instructed. Two days later I received a call telling me I needed to start medication immediately. I was also told the script I was given wasn't what they would normal give but was OK. I got the script filled and started taking it. I was then called 24 hours later by someone else and told that the medication I was taking was wrong and should stop immediately and come and get a new script immediately.

The person made me feel like an idiot. Talked down to me, like I should have known better. A little while later, angry and confused, I called back and said I needed it all explained to me again. Why was I told one thing and then told another? Why did I pay for and take medicine that was potentially bad for me and the baby? I was pretty much brushed off, talked down to and again made to feel like the episode was my fault. Somehow, I should have known better, but at the same time I shouldn't be asking questions and just shut up and do as I was told.

I'm not an idiot. While I don't have medical training, I'm perfectly capable of understanding basic explanations and instructions. I don't appreciate being spoken to like a naughty child. It's my health and my children's health so I deserve a thorough explanation.

It can be hard dealing with the medical system. I have found that it's very common to be told two completely different things by specialists, practitioners, midwives, nurses. I have had babies in both the private and public system and found them not dissimilar. There is always conflicting advice.

While there are plenty of wonderful, capable, caring medical practitioners out there, I think it's always worth being vigilant, never ignore your instincts and if you're not happy with an answer or explanation – ask, ask and ask again. Don't be afraid to speak up and if you think you're not being heard, speak louder. I would rather be considered an annoying idiot, than have the unthinkable happen.

Edited to add: None of what has happened to me has been life-threatening or altering, but I feel all patients should be dealt with respect, intelligence and care. Most of all that medical staff, while busy, should listen to patients. 

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Preschool princess + giveaway

Goosey's first day at preschool last Friday was a HUGE success. I woke up a little nervous, a little sad and a little excited. Skip went to work late so he could take the little one to her first day.
Being a special day, we celebrated by having a special breakfast out, then came home to get ready.

Goosey picked out her outfit. Then she helped me make her lunch, the bottomless pit made sure there were plenty of snacks for the long day of play. Lil-lil piped up in the background telling us all what Goose needed for preschool and other the protocol with her voice of experience. Goosey filled up her brand new Stephen Joseph lunch bag and bottle, packed her back pack with all the preschool essentials and we were off. A few snaps had to be taken to make the occasion, of course.

The Goose with her lunch bag packed.

At the gate and ready to go.
She bolted into preschool, started painting with her mate Ollie and barely gave us a second look as we said goodbye. It's quite gorgeous, as Ollie is the son of one of my closest friends, we met in kindergarten and now our kids are going to preschool together.

It was really hard to walk out that door and leave her there. I'm so used to having my little side-kick with me. Lil-lil and I took Skip to work and then spent the day together. The girls will go to preschool on different days due to their ages, so no days off for me. Though, it was nice to have some one-on-one time with my big girl, especially before number 3 comes along.

All day, I wondered how Goosey was going, if she coping, if she was missing me. We went and picked her up about 15 minutes early as I couldn't wait anymore. She was dancing and holding hands with her friend Ollie and she didn't even acknowledge me, though Lil-lil got a look in. When I gave her a hug and said it was time to come home, she cried: "But I want to stay and play!" So it's great that she loves it, though being mum I wished that maybe she'd missed me just a little bit. It's better than heartbreaking goodbyes, I guess.

So my little baby is now a big preschool girl. Lucky I have another baby on the way to satisfy those baby urges.

To celebrate Goosey's first day of preschool I have some prize packs to giveaway. I've bundled up some super sweet Stephen Joseph products to make two prizes. I wanted to share the love as I adore Goosey's new lunch bag and drink bottle so much, it's cuter and easier to store than your standard bulky plastic lunch box. There's one girl's pack and one boy's pack.

The girl's pack features a lunch bag and a gorgeous lined rain coat (a large size 2). While the boy's pack features a lunch bag and a pair of cool sunnies. 

To win, tell me your first day at preschool, school, work, whatever tale. Entries are for Aussie residents only. Giveaway closes 11.59pm Sunday 21st August 2011. Let me know if you'd prefer a girl's or a boy's pack.

Monday 15 August 2011

Weekend highlights

Another weekend down. There's fewer and fewer off them before B-Day. Before carefree weekends become a little more complicated, for a while at least. This weekend was a pretty good one, except for the fact I developed a fairly impressive set of cankles. Where does the leg end and where does the foot begin? It's anyone's guess. Ahhh pregnancy you just keep on giving!

Here are the weekend highlights:

* Seeing the Newtown Jets play. Always a  fun afternoon/evening. Like stepping back to 1982. I was a little torn as the Jets were playing 'my' team Manly. Luckily Manly won, I would've felt like a bit of a traitor if I'd had to cheer on too many Jet tries, even though they do have a big place in my heart. I'll be back to cheering on the Jets again when we head back to Henson Park in a couple of weeks though.

* Doing some Sunday shopping and buying some delicious tea for the pot. We spent a great deal of time in T2 sniffing and sipping to find the perfect Sunday afternoon blend.

* Visitors. Our Sunday afternoon became filled with pop-in visitors which was lovely. Thankfully we'd made a batch of cupcakes to fill their bellies and had some delish tea on hand too.

I've got an exciting weekend coming up. I'll just have to get through the rest of the week. To help ease the way, I've got a gorgeous giveaway tomorrow.

What did you get up to? Happy Monday.

Friday 12 August 2011


This Friday I'm wishing that:

* Goosey has a fantastic day at preschool, but will still be excited to see me when I pick her up;
* everyone in my household gets good solid, restful, peaceful sleep tonight (it's been severely lacking and all my fault);
* the weekend is full of fun, laughter and relaxation;
* the biscuits (cookies for my American friends) I've been eating all this week are kilojoule-free;
* this lurgy I've been suffering disappears;
* everyone has a delightful weekend.

See you next week. I've got a cute giveaway lined-up, so stayed tuned.

Thursday 11 August 2011

Teacher's pet

Tomorrow my baby is starting preschool. Six months earlier than planned. About a year earlier than Lil-lil. The thought hadn't entered my head, but mums at preschool asked if she was starting. Then Skip suggested it. When I took a good look at her, I knew it was time.

She's just so ready. So eager. So independent. She wants to stay every time we drop Lil-lil off. She wants mates. She wants to learn. She wants to be like her big sister.

Goose does a dance class in the scout hall behind our house. It was something to give her a bit of fun and activity while Lil's at preschool. She's so confident and ready to learn she follows every instruction to the letter. While the other kids are hiding in their mothers' skirts, Goose is front and centre ready to get on with it. The teacher put her up to the 4 year old class, I was worried she might be too little, just turned 3, but she's not bothered. Still front and centre. Right next to the teacher. Ready to jump in and take over teaching the class if the teacher moves away for a second.

Walking out that preschool door will be hard tomorrow. I know she's ready to go. I don't know if I'm ready to let her.

Tuesday 9 August 2011

Perfectly imperfect (alternatively titled: why I blog)

I've had a few real-life people say to me that they feel like a stalker when they read my blog. My reply to that is: "If I've put it on the internet I'm OK with you reading it. Believe me."

My blog is about my life, my thoughts and feelings. My insecurities, my fears. My hope and dreams. It's my perspective of my corner of the world. I don't put anything here that I wouldn't say to anyone in the real world. I wouldn't put anything here that I think would embarrass or hurt my family or friends. I do try to be open and honest though. My perspective on things that happen in my life are probably completely different from those around me, but that's what life's about. In all honesty, only a small percentage of my life makes it onto the blog, though I think it's the feelings and the things I tussle with that make it on the most. There are times I post something and wonder: "Oooh, have I said too much? Will people think I'm mad/a whinger/sad/etc? Will Skip approve of this? " I think most bloggers think this at one time or another.

I have to say that the only time he's ever disapproved of something I've written (or at least that he's spoken of) is when he thinks I haven't been honest enough.

I've recently realised how drawn I am to people who live openly and honestly. People who don't have a facade. They say: "This is me, like it or not". I've found myself with less time for people who 'try' to be something they are not, try to be perfect or at least portray their life as perfect. I really like the imperfect. We're all imperfect, some of us are just more honest about it than others.

Over the past 12 months or so I've had the pleasure of meeting people like Eden and Beth through blogging. Both funny, gorgeous and smart, but both oh so honest about being imperfect. Their lives are real, complicated, exciting and boring and I love reading about it. In real life, I've recently befriended someone who is incredibly open and honest and I like it, I like it a lot. I found the words: "I love your openness!" pouring out of my mouth to her just a few days ago.

I think one of the many reasons I love Skip so much is that he's real. He generally says what he thinks, no bullshit. I respect that openness. I think raw honesty is an attractive quality in someone.

I hate whispers, intrigue, secrets. I don't find the mysterious attractive, I find it unsettling. I much prefer an open book.

Earlier this week, I read this post from Sarah at Ah The Possibilities and it really resonated with me about why I blog, how I blog, how I want to blog and what I've got out of blogging. By sharing a lot of my feelings about being a parent, a partner and a person, I've come to understand them better and I hope that I may have made others out there feel better about having similar feelings (or at least made them feel better so they can say "What a freak!"). That there is a difference between being vulnerable and being intimate.

So while you may feel like a stalker reading this, I promise there is more going on behind the scenes. Though all the angst, insecurities, delight, joy, sadness, frustration, anger, boredom are real, imperfectly real. I don't blog to say 'hey, look how good I am here on the internet', I blog to wade through all 'stuff' in life. I blog to be open to myself. I blog in the hope that someone else will say: "I totally get what you're saying."

Urban farming

We live just 5km from Sydney's CDB. We can see the city skyline from the end of our street. Most of the houses in our area are small and have pocket-size courtyards or gardens. Ever since we moved here, I've worried about the girls having too much of an urban lifestyle. None of the freedoms or experiences of living in the burbs or the country.

The reality is the kids in our neighbourhood play every day in the park across the road from our house, instead of in big backyards. Which is kind of nice as there is real sense of community and everyone knows everyone else. There is always someone for the girls to play with and we all keep an eye on each other's kids. So much for the nameless, unfriendly existence I was worried about. Sometimes it's like living in a country town, with lots of gossip as well.

The girls seem to know everyone in our suburb by name, much more than I do. A walk to the shops always involves stopping and saying 'hello' to someone we know. One of our neighbours commented that we couldn't leave the area as they know everyone and are famous in the community.

Our local shopping centre has recently brought this idea of community to its roof top and Goose and I went and checked it out. They've created a community garden so people can plant, grow and pick herbs and vegies. There's an area for the kids to play, for adults to sit and it's a nice way for city kids to get their hands dirty and eat something they've grown (or at least picked).

I think it's a fabulous idea. Goose had a great time playing and looking at the plants. Smelling, touching, naming. We even picked some herbs for our dinner. Sure it may not be the same as have a big vegie patch in your garden, but it's the next best thing and more than I experienced as a kid.

Windmill and the city skyline.

Goose makes her mark.

Monday 8 August 2011

The perfect cure

I'm feeling a little chirpier and more positive today. There's a big week ahead, but we'll get through it unscathed I'm sure. I have a fridge arriving today and I'm looking forward to filling it up. My littlest girl is trying out preschool at the end of the week. I still can't believe this, but more on that later.
I have a hospital appointment this week, which are starting to become more frequent as I get to the pointy end of this pregnancy.

Over the weekend, I did unearth the key to getting rid of a bad mood. For me, it's fairly simple:

* Time out and lots of laughter. Skip and I went out to dinner with some friends. It was somewhere cool. With cool people. Cool cocktails. You know, the kind of place I never go anymore. Afterwards, we stopped for a nightcap (well, the others did, I sipped on water) and we laughed. And laughed. And laughed. There's nothing like a good belly laugh to make you feel good.

This punch was literally smokin'. I told you there were cool drinks.

* Time at the beach with my family. I've said it time and time again on this blog, the beach makes my little family happy. Everyone is at their best. We all just love it so much. An afternoon at the beach totally soothes the soul, it's a pure tonic. It was overcast and we left just before the rain bucketed down, but it was still great.

* Pretty florals. Every year at this time, my neighbour's magnolia tree blooms and it's magnificent. Every time I pull up outside my home I look up and smile. The pretty pink blooms against a blue sky – there's nothing nicer. I wrote about it last year too. 

What's your cure for the cranks?

Saturday 6 August 2011

Onwards and upwards

It's been one of those weeks. Sick husband. Broken fridge. Airline who's supposed to pay us money ignoring me. Frustrating phone calls. Hours on hold to people. Real estate agents turning up on the doorstep unannounced at dinner time. My hands and feet swelling up to look like a cartoon character. Each day has brought something new. We rounded out the week by spending Friday night at the medical centre with an unhappy young lass who looked a sight with conjunctivitis and an ear infection. She then woke every hour or so through the night.

This morning will be spent cleaning for one person to look at the house who 'might' be interested. Again. I've been doing this for four months now. Being constantly asked by people: "What are you going to do?" As much as I've tried not to be, I've been in the worst mood. Fed up. Over it.

As much as I've tried not to stress about it, this week I've kept thinking we should have sold our house and be settled somewhere new. Moving forward. How trying to sell and move either about to drop or with a newborn is going to be a nightmare. Wishing I knew where Lil-Lil was going to school so we could start to get her ready. Seeing all the other kids in the neighbourhood get their uniforms and go to orientation days, makes me feel sad Lil-lil's not doing the same.

I know it will work out, some how, some way. I know it's not the end of the world if we stay here. We like it here a lot after all. I know that people cram into spaces smaller than ours. I know that people have to change schools. I know that being pregnant and tired and full of hormones makes it feel worse than it is. Realistically I know that most of this is in my head. I just wanted to get it sorted.

So it's time to suck it up and move past this funk I've been feeling the past week or two. Cause I've done all I can. I can't change the rest.

The next few weeks WILL be better. I WILL be happier. I WILL NOT be in a bad mood.

Onwards and upwards.

Friday 5 August 2011

Who needs a fridge? Not me.

This was this week that our fridge died. Packed full of delicious pork products, ice cream and dairy delights, that had to be tipped into the bin. Apparently expecting an expensive whitegood to last more than half a decade is asking too much.

This left us in a bit of a quandary. We are still planning on moving some time this half decade and didn't want to buy a new fridge and find that our new kitchen needed a different fridge. So, what to do? My dad kindly offered to lend me one of his and another blogger buddy offered to lend us one, too. In the end I thought: do we really need a fridge?

This morning I got up to make the kids breakfast and fetched icy cold milk from this:

I think this was designed for cabbies to keep their lunch cold, but thanks anyway
 to the kind people of Premier cabs, it's my family's new fridge!

Let's take a peek inside!
Milk is kept ice cold with a frozen bag of Black & Gold vegies
(c'mon no-one would eat them anyway, they were super frosty).

Underneath, essentials like butter and cheese. Who needs anything else?

Take that! You stupid piece of crap!

So, the point of this tale? Who needs bulky, expensive, imported, carbon-producing appliances? Not me. I can take my new fridge with me where ever I go! Can you do that with your fancy Fisher and Paykel?

Thursday 4 August 2011

Still not what I expected

I always wanted to stay home when I had kids. I imagined a life with plenty of time to do things. Play with the kids. Cook nice meals. Lunch at cafes. Take long walks at the parks. Find a new career, work on a new talent, find myself.

Some days are filled with nice things like that, but most are relentlessly busy. Five years on, I'm still surprised by it.

First and foremost, when there are kids in the house all day there is always something to clean, wash or tidy. It's like the Harbour Bridge by the time you get to one end of the house the other end needs tidying again. You've prepared and tidied up one meal and then it's time for another.

There's always piles of washing to do, hang out and put away.

Then there's preschool drop offs and pick ups.

There's always some kind of phone call to be made or chore to be done, which takes 50 times longer with a small child hanging off you.

This week there was a broken windscreen and a dead fridge to deal with.

Then there's shopping, mindlessly dull park visits, lunches to pack, bags to pack, bums to wipe, half-drunk cups of tea to clear, bills to pay, the list goes on.

The only thing I really do for me or that is solely about me is write this blog. Which is usually done while eating breakfast or lunch or, as I'm doing right now, pushing a swing (god bless iPhones!).

I don't mind this life. I don't resent it. Most of the time I enjoy it. Its strangely fulfulling. It's just I'm surprised that five years on I'm still surprised how relentless it is. The lack of time that I thought would be abundant to do things for me. Dreams of pursuing a dream or exercise or reading or anything else are still dreams. Or even to sit and dream is just a dream.

When I worked I had lunch hours or a commute to work to focus on myself. Now life is more about short snatches of time.

Life is infinitely more fun though, in a different way to I expected.

Wednesday 3 August 2011

Just call me Heather Locklear...

Not because i'm blonde, super skinny and was once married to a member of Bon Jovi. Because yesterday I was a special guest star at Lil-lil's preschool.

Her preschool encourages the parents to be involved. One mum teaches German, grandparents visiting from Scotland and Bangladesh tell tales about their homeland and a dentist dad came and talked about teeth.

I wondered what interesting thing I could bring to the kids? Blogging, my time on New Idea, the best way to use Twitter, a character analysis of Mad Men? Hmmmm nothing quite cut it. In the end Lil-lil decided I should read her favourite book. She also requested I sing a song, which I politely declined.

I was a little bit nervous as I took the story-telling chair. 19 eyes peering at me as they said "good morning, Corinne!" I looked at Lil-lil staring up at me with pride. I knew I had to make the most of that moment as it wouldn't be long before she denies my existence. She was a bit nervous too, worried her classmates wouldn't find the book as funny as she does. She looked relieved when everyone laughed in the right spot.

Before long they were all off on the next activity and I was on my way home. It's moments like these that make me thankful Im at home so I can do things like this. It's small but it's so nice to share this with Lil-lil. Plus it's not often you get 19 people hanging on your every word!

Have you been involved with your kids' preschool or school?

Tuesday 2 August 2011

Top teeth tips for toddlers

August is Dental Health month. By pure coincidence I booked the girls into see the dentist yesterday, August 1. How good am I? Well, not really that good as it's the first time either of them had been to the dentist.

I've been a little confused as I've always heard mixed messages about when your supposed to take your child to the dentist for the first time. From as soon as their six months old to when they're four. My dentist said he liked to wait until they're about three. At that point he takes them for a ride in the chair and pokes around and makes sure everything seems OK in their mouth and that's it. Nice and easy.

After I received this advice, I tucked it away and kind of forgot about. Until I suddenly realised that my youngest was three and neither of my kids had been to the dentist. Time to book in.

A few days after I booked the kids (and myself) in, I went to a blogger's brunch put on by Colgate. The morning was really interesting – a mix of talking about dental health, trusted brands and blogging.

For me, the highlight was a chat from the special guest – Mrs Marsh (Barbara Farrell). I mean if you were a kid in the '70s or '80s it was probably Mrs Marsh who taught you the importance of brushing, fluoriguard and 'tough teef'. Remember the chalk? It gets in. Barbara spoke to us about dental health and her positive experience of being involved with a trusted brand (Colgate) for so many years. It was really thought-provoking and could form a whole other post. I was little intimidated by Mrs Marsh, I wanted to impress her, my kids on the other hand were not so impacted by her presence. When Barbara told them to stop swinging on a chair they glanced at her and kept on going. Obviously they had no idea who they were dealing with. Maybe she's more authoritarian when she has her chalk and blue water.

Mrs Marsh

For me, the most interesting part of the day was learning about keeping my kids teeth tip-top. I haven't been as dedicated to their dental health as I probably should have been (hey, I only just took my kids to the dentist for the first time) and I think there were a lot of us who felt a bit guilty in the tooth department that morning. Especially when it was mentioned how badly tooth decay was affecting kids in Australia and how tooth decay can affect other parts of their health.

Colgate top tips
Here are some tips that were recommended and that stood out for me:

* Before your bub has teeth, wipe the inside of their mouth and gums with a wash cloth
* Start brushing with a soft brush as soon as that first tooth appears
* Start using a low-fluoride toothpaste at around the age of 2
* Don't let kids snack or graze all day, this doesn't allow the saliva time to build up and protect their teeth.
* If you're going to give lollies/treats, they're better off eating them all in one go rather than slowly over the whole day.
* Your little one should visit the dentist by the time of their first birthday.

My teeth tips
I was pleased after our visit to the dentist yesterday that all was OK. In fact, he said they had beautiful teeth. There are times when I haven't been the best tooth brusher, but the things that I've done with my kids to look after their teeth are this:

* From an early age, give them a tooth brush to "play" with and get used to in the bath.
* Let them brush my teeth while I brush theirs.
* The kids only really drink milk and water. We've never had cordial in in the house, so it's never an argument. They only have juice on occasion. The only soft drink they've ever had is lemonade and that's only a special treat.
* On advice given to me, Lil-lil stopped bottles at the age of 1 and Goosey never had a bottle at all, just went straight from boob to cup. Giving them a cup from a early age to get used to it, made it an easy transition.
*They've always drunk tap water containing fluoride, rather than spring water.

Hopefully, these things have helped keep their teeth nice. But who knows. I just hope that the girls keep smiling when they go to the dentist.
Goosey's first visit.

For those unfamiliar with Mrs Marsh, check out some of her finest work:

Thanks to Colgate Australia and Brand Meets Blog for inviting me and the kids to brunch!

Monday 1 August 2011

Pregnant pause

This morning I ducked into Coles and saw this tired, haggard-looking woman pushing a trolley. I then realised that it was me. It was my reflection in the glass.

Last week, I had a cold was generally feeling average but thought I looked ok. I'd dressed nicely for our tribunal hearing and I was waiting on the street for Skip. A lady came up to me and asked if I was ok and could she call someone for help. Flustered I shook my head and said "no, thanks".

I'm guessing I'm not looking as radiantly pregnant as I was hoping!

On Friday, I took the girls to our local park and ran into a friend who just had her fourth baby. She asked how I was and said: "it's ok to tell the truth and say you feel like dying".

Things aren't quite that bad. But sleep is fitfull and unrestful. I'm short of breath. I'm achey.

Lil-lil told me last night she's sick of having to do EVERYTHING because I've got a baby in my tummy. I'm not really sure what she has to do besides pull the plug out of the bath for me and pick up her own toys.

I do get the feeling that the whole family will be happy when this baby arrives.

I'm just trying to focus on the lovely baby kicks, being able to sit down and not suck my stomach in, having a hard stomach (even if it's a keg) and knowing I get a wonderful reward at the end. I'm lucky that these aches and pain will end and fairly soon.
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