Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Finally at peace

Last night, as I flicked through Twitter on my phone, I was saddened to read the words RIP Jon Blake.

As a kid, I was interested in all things First World War, especially Gallipoli. I remember when the ANZACs mini-series aired, watching it intrigued and loving it. Amongst the stars of Paul Hogan and AndrewClarke, a young good looking guy playing Pvt Flanagan, the larrikin hero, stood out. That was Jon Blake.

Just a few years later, Jon had finished filming The Lighthorsemen (another great Aussie film) and was involved in an awful car crash that left him severely brain damaged. It was a miracle that he was alive. For the next 25 years, he was cared for by his mother and then his son.  It's almost James Dean-esque – the life of a young, good looking man left in tatters, a promising career cut short. In the years that followed, an odd magazine article would be written about 'what could have been'.

The end of this tragic tale came yesterday when Jon died of pneumonia. RIP Jon Blake.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Happy birthday to you

Today is Skip's birthday. He has a massive and very important day at work today, so we decided to celebrate yesterday.

We had a really nice weekend, relaxing, eating, laughing, just hanging out. There was cake, of course, lots of cake. There was nothing too over the top or exciting, but it was lovely all the same.

Skip, I hope you have the most wonderful birthday. I hope that the next year is filled with much happiness, laughter and joy – you truly deserve it. Most of all, I hope all your dreams come true. The girls and I love you so, so, so much. Happy birthday! 

Friday, 27 May 2011

Baby bliss or blues?

Image by Benjamin Earwicker
When I had Lil-lil, motherhood didn't rap me over the head with bliss as I was told that it would. I had this crying, non-sleeping thing that I loved dearly and thought was totally amazing, but the blissed-out-motherhood-thing? Not so much. I felt nervy, exhausted, out of my depth, worried, alone.

Everyone said: "Oh it's just because you're a first-time mother." (Here's a tip: if a first-time mum is having a tough time, never ever tell her it's because she's an uptight first-time mother. It's the very last thing she needs to hear. Believe me.)

Many times I thought, maybe I  have post-natal depression? Maybe I'm just not mother material? What's wrong with me?

When I was pregnant with Goosey, I was fearful of the whole new baby thing again. Very fearful.

Everyone said: "It will be different this time. You'll be more relaxed. You won't have time to worry."

Then she arrived and I had a couple of weeks of oxytocin-new-mum-bliss. Then the old feelings returned. I was coping fine, I wasn't depressed, I just wasn't jumping out of my skin with happiness at being the mother of two babies. This surely meant I was a terrible mother, at least that's what I told myself.

Then as the girls grew I began to enjoy it more. When they were both walking and talking and interacting, motherhood became great. I really, really enjoyed being the mother of a two-year-old and four-year-old, the blissed-out mother thing finally hit. It was then I realised, I'm not a terrible mother, I'm just not a good mother to babies (luckily, they're only babies for a short time). Then when people asked if I was going to have another baby, I found myself saying: "Yes, as long as it comes out as a 1-year-old." The thought of going through the baby stage again was just too much.

I've talked about this to a couple of other mums I know who struggled through babyhood and they agree with me. Then around the same time I was thinking about all this stuff, I read this post from Jodie at Mummy Mayhem and found myself nodding the whole way through it.

I hear other mums longing to have a tiny squishy baby again and I must admit, I shudder. I hear of lots of mums wanting to have another baby so they can have another baby. I'm not one of them. I'm sure there's lots of people reading this that must think I'm a monster. I'll admit that I'm planning to just survive the first year, I don't have any expectations on myself to be blissfully happy. It took a long while to feel ready to have another child and feel able to go through babyhood again. But looking at the bigger picture, I definitely wanted another child, if not another baby.

I am looking forward to having another little person in our lives though, a person to watch grow, a person to have those long funny chats with, another person at the dinner table to listen about their day.

Someone I know recently had their third baby and told me how much they enjoyed the baby stage and how it surprised them. Who knows? Maybe I'll be surprised too. If not, I'll still love this little being with all my heart and know that the really great times lay ahead.

Have you found you've enjoyed motherhood at one stage more than another?

Thursday, 26 May 2011

The competitive one

I can only do scribbles, Mum...

My little Goosey is determined. She's patient and never gives up. She punches well above her weight in most things. It's not unusual to see her racing her scooter at the park with the 7-year-old boys, she's just 2 (almost 3). She'll sit and do a puzzle and won't quit until she's mastered it. She has to do everything her sister does and she has to do it better. She often utters: "Me first!" "I do it!" "I win!"

More often than not, Lil-lil, who's not competitive at all, just shakes her head and says: "Oh Goosey!".

I often just want to grab Goose and tell her: "It's OK, you're only 2, you don't have to do EVERYTHING." But she's only 2, so well, you know. Plus she's so determined it wouldn't matter.

At the moment, Lil-lil is obsessed with drawing. She spends hours drawing away. Goosey, wanting to be like her big sister, sits and draws with her but it inevitably ends in tears. "I can't draw rainbows, butterflies, flowers or princesses," she sobs. "I can only draw scribbles."

No matter how much I console her and tell I love her drawings and that one day she'll be able to draw like Lil-lil, it doesn't help. I think Lil-li is secretly please that she has her 'thing', the one thing that she can do that is all hers (that and being able to turn on the light switch).

In the meantime, we'll have to deal with the sobs and Goosey's death-defying climbs in an attempt to turn on the light.

Are you competitive? Are your kids competitive? How do you cope?

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Health, wealthy and wise? Hmmm I'm not so sure

I've never really been a night owl, always preferring my pillow to late night TV or net surfing. Don't get me wrong, when I'm out and about I can party with the best of them and I've seen the sun rise on too many occasions, but if I'm home I can't think of anything worse than being awake to the early hours.

Once kids arrived my bedtime got earlier, it wasn't uncommon that I'd fall asleep shortly after they did. Well, they did wake all through the night and were up at the crack o'dawn, you've got to sleep when you can.

These days they're sleeping better and yet I still go to sleep at the same time as an average primary schooler. I try to stay awake longer and after the kids go to bed I'm feeling wide awake. Then as soon as I switch on the telly or pick up a book I feel my lids go heavy and I'm off...... zzzzzzzzzz.

I wonder if I'll ever see double digits on the clock again?

Are you a night owl? Or do you prefer to be tucked up early?

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

I can bake a rainbow

Last week, the car had to go in for a service. So the girls and I found ourselves without a vehicle for the day. I had a minute of mild panic – what would we do? We usually have days packed full of chores, running to and fro and other things that need to be done. How would we fill a whole day at home, with no plans?

I should mention that we have a major road full of shops and amenities about a three minute walk from our house, so we weren't really stranded. A day bound at home was actually nice though.

The girls have been hanging out to bake and decided they wanted to make cupcakes. After a quick scour of the cupboard and I discovered we had no cupcake moulds. "How about a BIG cake?""Yeah! Like a birthday cake!" they cried. In the pantry I found some pink and blue food colouring and suddenly remembered an old post of Pink Patent Mary Jane's about rainbow cake.

Why not? I thought, lets give it a whirl! It wasn't really going to be rainbow as we only had two colours, but if we mixed pink and blue we'd have purple and then we could leave some batter plain. So it was a four-colour rainbow.

The girls oooh and aaah'd as we mixed up the different batters and then sat watching the oven waiting and waiting. As we pulled it out of the oven Lil-lil declared it had been ruined from the browning. I told her just to wait until we cut it.

Finally it was ready. It was decided that purple icing was needed and lots of sprinkles, so I let them go for it. Goosey yelled "It's a beautiful birthday cake! But whose birthday is it?" I remembered that it was Eden's little boy Rocco's birthday so we yelled "Happy birthday, Rocco!"

Then the first slice was cut and the girls were amazed all over again. I'm so not a baker, I don't really enjoy baking and I'm particularly good at it, but this was the best cake taste and texture-wise I've ever made. Skip said he expected it to taste like play-doh, but was pleasantly surprised.

Check it out!

Monday, 23 May 2011

A real weekend

After months of preparing our house for sale and going house hunting ourselves, we decided to take the weekend off and spend some fun time together. We packed a lot into the weekend and it was really, really good. We still own our house and things aren't looking good in that respect, but that's a whole other post. 

Saturday, we took the girls to Wildlife World and they had a ball. Skip thought it was a bit useless and we could see most of the animals in our backyard (I did mention we didn't have a six-metre salty croc in our backyard) but the girls were entranced. The highlight for Lil-lil was having a butterfly land on her hand, she stood patiently for ages waiting with her hand out until the moment finally arrived:

Saturday night, we had pizza delivered which Lil-lil thinks is totally amazing – dinner delivered to the door!

Sunday morning arrived in all its autumn glory. Skip, always keen for a Sunday drive, suggested we head to Wisemans Ferry for a picnic. So, we loaded up the car and hit the road. I've never been there before and its just gorgeous. High escarpments surround the picturesque river's edge. The leaves were brilliant shades of yellow, crimson and orange. The girls ran and played. We cooked up a BBQ. Some friends met us up there and we had the most lovely afternoon. 

We took a trip across the river on the punt, which the girls adored. A little bit of Sunday adventure. 

We drive home late Sunday afternoon feeling happy and relaxed. Feeling like we'd had a proper weekend. No slimy real estate agents, no looking at maps trying to find our way around, no looking at mould-filled houses. It was just so nice. 

How did you spend your weekend?

Friday, 20 May 2011

Imaaaaaaagine if it's a girl!

I'm almost at the 20 week mark of this pregnancy and all is going well. I'm growing in all the right (and some of the wrong) places. I'm getting lots of lovely little fluttery kicks. I'm generally too busy (and too daunted) to dwell on the whole pregnancy thing too much.

The one question that I'm constantly asked is "Do you know what it is?" and "Are you hoping for a boy?".
The answers to both are no and no. We will be finding out what we're having quite soon, as long as bub obliges of course, not because we want a certain gender but because we like knowing. Having a baby pop out of you and seeing what they're like is enough of a surprise for us.

There are some people who imagine we must be desperate to have a boy. They think poor Skip must really want to have someone to carry on the name. The truth is, we adore our girls and would it be so terrible to have another girl? We decided to have another baby, not a gender.

I know it's important to some people to have a certain gender or to have one of each, but it's never been a concern for me. I would've been happy with three boys or three girls, in fact I was certain I'd have three boys so having girls has been a surprise.

In the park a few weeks ago a grandmother was wheeling her granddaughter in pram and the girls stopped them to admire the bub. The lady asked about the pregnancy and went on to say: "Imaaaaagine if you had another girl?! Oh my goodness!" I just looked her and said: "Yeah, and???"

Thankfully, not everyone is like that woman. A mum at Lil-lil's preschool said to me: "If you have another girl as gorgeous and lovely as the ones you've got you'll be very blessed." And this is exactly how we feel.

The sister relationship is so special and wonderful for me to watch, I was always envious of friends who had sisters. Skip loves having his 'girls' too, I don't think he feels like he's missed out for a moment.

Whatever this baby is, it will be wonderful addition to our family and one we'll treasure. It will sadden me if people think we'll be disappointed with a girl, cause we certainly won't be.

Did you feel pressure to have a 'pigeon pair'? Did/do you want to have a certain gender?

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Help Me to Win a New Ford Territory for a Year and $5000

On the road again....

Apparently the average Sydney driver spends about 35 minutes in their car a day. I can definitely say I'm above average (woohoo, I'm above average in something!). Between ferrying kids, picking up shopping and general chore-running, I spend a great deal of time in my car. In fact, I'm in my car as I type these words, don't worry the engine is off, I'm just in the car park waiting for Goosey to finish up at her kindy.

Thinking back to exactly how much time I've spent driving in my car over my lifetime, brought back some good memories, strangely enough. So, I'd love to share them with you. 

Five years old
In the back of a Ford Escort, my feet unable to reach the black furry carpet. The sky flicks past the window, the tops of leafy gumtrees blowing in the breeze breaks up the blue. Back 'home', though this 'home' felt strange and the people spoke weird. I pick the beige and brown threads from the seat, as Kids in America pours out of the radio. We turn and the cars begins to bump until we stop. My brother, dressed in a pale blue jersey jumps from the car and runs across the oval. I go back to slowing pulling the beige thread from around the brown thread, listening to Kim Wilde, knowing this is going to take a while.

Seven years old
It's dark, hands slowly lift me up. Music and laughter wafts in from the next room. Glasses clink and then suddenly light blinds me, forcing me to  screw my eyes shut. "Oh dear, she's really tired. Poor thing." Cold air hits my face like a slap and I'm awake. "Bye! Thank you! See you next time!" I can feel the soft velour of Dad's grey Fairlane on my cheek. Stars are scattered across the sky. The odd light flashes past blinding me again. Jazz notes fill the car and I feel myself being carried off with them...

14 years old
Whizzing up the leafy suburban street, the strap of my bag clutched in my hand. I hope he doesn't do it today, not again. He thinks it's hilarious, but it's not. We pull up. "Bye, thanks for the lift." "No worries, have a good day." "Please don't do it, OK?" "Do what? I don't know what you're talking about." I sigh and get out of the car and head across the road toward the school gate. I hear the whir of the car window. Oh no, he's going to do it. I start walking faster. Then I hear it. "Rinny! Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnny! You forgot your lunch box! Riiiiiiiiinnnny!" I shudder, put my head down and go, not daring to look up as I hear the chuckles from the playground.

17 years old
The cold vinyl is gripped hard in my hand as sweat pools in the crevices. Check the mirrors, check them again, check the blind spot, indicator on, check mirrors again, slowly take my foot as the brake and push down on the accelerator. I glance at the bespectacled man, with the brown tartan vest and brown shiny pants, making strange markings on his pad. Keep breathing, keep checking the blind spot. Not too fast. Easy on the brake. Before long we're pulling into the car park once again. "Get out and follow me inside," the brown man said. I follow and sit down opposite. "Yep, you passed. Go over there and fill out the forms." I'm shaking with relief and joy.

23 years old
Cruising down the highway, a weekend in the bush with a gang of mates. The rain pelting down, turning the road into a river. Every now and then the car whooshes and I feel like the wheel is out of control. The mates swig from bottles oblivious to my white knuckles. Oasis blares from the stereo. "I said maybe, I'm gonna be the one that saves yer". I bloody hope so. The hours feel like months as I squint at the snaking road. Finally we turn off onto the gravel road, it's dark and the headlights are pitiful torches on the road. Finally the rusty gate comes into view and I pull on the handbrake. Grab a bottle and swig. Beer has never tasted so good. I'll think about how to get out of here tomorrow.

27 years old
The last of the tarps, tent and camp chairs are flung in the back. I scour around the campsite as Skip starts the engine. The rattle of the diesel engine puts butterflies in my stomach, I've done this many times before and can't wait to be on the open road again. New adventures, new places, just new, fresh. Campsite clear I jump into the passenger seat. "Let's get out of here." I take one last peek out the side mirror and then focus on the road. "On the road again, I just can't wait to get on the road again...." Who knows where we'll pull up tonight, it just might be paradise.

30 years old
I strap the screaming ball into the seat and slam the door. For a brief few seconds there is peace, quiet. I savour it. Then I open the driver's door and am pulled in by the insistent yelling. I pull out and head out on the road, wondering when the yells are going to silence. I can barely hear the tick-tock of the indicator. My sleep-deprived eyes barely focusing on the road. I hit the expressway, the needle hits 80km and the yells start to turn to sobs. As I burn up the road, the sobs begin to hiccup. Then silence. Golden. My ears ring with the quiet. Where to now?

34 years old
The sun streams in through the window. "I see Old McDonalds!" "Fish and Chippies!" Giggles and squeals fill the car. "I want the wonderfully, wonderfully, wonderfully, wonderfully pretty song on, puhleeeeaaasse!" A chorus of "Puhleaaaasses" begin. I slot the CD into the player and flick to song 5. Two squeaky voices start singing along in the back. I lean over and squeeze Skip's hand on the handbrake. And smile. 

What's your favourite driving memory? Did you love hitting the open road? Do you have memories of long car trips squashed in the back and playing corners? Tell me all!

Please don't forget to vote me for Kidspot's Top 50 Bloggers, remember you can vote for more than one blogger! Many thanks!

Lil-lil asleep in her favourite spot.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Things will always work out

Image by Isabel Betancur

Our house is due to be auctioned this week. Things aren't looking particularly promising. For some inexplicable reason the whole market in our area has suddenly quietened down. Typical. Just a month ago it was a hive of activity. I've met two other people selling at the moment who are experiencing the same thing.

Our agent, of course, just wants us to have a big SOLD sticker on the board out the front. While we only want to sell if we get the right price. We're not going to give up our first family home for a song, we're not desperate, it's just bad timing.

On one hand I'm a little stressed, on the other, well, something will work itself out. It always does, doesn't it? We will live somewhere, together.

I'm not the kind of person who has a plan and has to rigidly stick to it. In fact, I'm kind of the opposite. I like to play with the cards as they're dealt. I've never been the person who thought: "I'm going to work at this career, have this many children and live in this house". I'd prefer to see what happens and see how I feel, as I also tend to change my mind at the drop of the hat.

I'm not a driven person, I like the river of life to guide me. I like to enjoy to journey and not miss out on the small things going on around me. I'm certain I probably haven't hit the heights I could have, but I've never want to be the biggest or the best, it's just not me. Also, I haven't had to deal with failure when something that 'should've' happened hasn't. I think there's a quiet joy to mediocrity, a bliss that is underrated, a success that's often not acknowledged. I also like not knowing what's around the corner or what I'll be doing this time next year, it keeps life interesting. I can hear some people I know saying: "That's loser-talk" as I write this. Oh well.

Sometimes things will happen no matter how hard you try to not make them happen. Things will work out as they're meant to, as long as you keep waking up each morning, keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep listening to yourself and be true.

Are you someone who likes to plan your life? Or are you happy to go with the flow? Do you believe things will always work themselves out?

Sunday, 15 May 2011

When the answer lands at your feet

Last Thursday, I learnt one of the strange little lessons that life throws at you, the ones you don't really expect and make you shake your head in a life-is-odd kind of way.

A couple of months ago, you may remember, Goosey's big toe had a run-in with an anchor. The toe got infected and then the nail fell off. Since then the new nail has started to become ingrown. For about a week I kept looking at it and thinking: "I should probably take her to the doctor to get it checked." Not being urgent, life kept pushing that to the bottom of the to-do list.

On Thursday morning, I was talking on the phone and making toast for the girls. Goosey, eager for her breakfast, attempted to climb on the kitchen drawer. Pulling out the bottom drawer, turning it into a step, Goose climbed up. I looked down and was about to grab her when her right leg pushed the drawer jamming her left toe. The was that minute of silence. That second where you try and assess whether any damage has been done, waiting for that scream. Sure enough, the scream came.

Hanging up the phone and abandoning the toast, I checked her toe. It was beginning to swell and turn black. The poor little already-dodgy toe.

Appointment with the doctor made. I felt terribly guilty. I should have got her toe checked earlier, now she has a double-damaged toe.

Just before we got to the GP, Goosey had an accident. My toilet-trained 2-year-old, who rarely has accidents. I had a spare pair of undies, but that's it. Not pants, socks or shoes. So on the coldest day we've had this year, she's running round the doctor's waiting room, in just her undies and a jumper. Parenting gold. Plus, there's something about waiting rooms that turn my normally well-behaved kids into maniacs – I'm trying to peel a half-dressed Goosey off the top of a water cooler, when I see Lil-lil ripping posters of a nearby wall.

Finally, we get in to see the doctor and she gives us all the once-over. Probably wondering if she should call DOCs straightaway, I'm thinking. She checks Goosey's toe and says: "Well, I wouldn't normally have suggested slamming your toe in a drawer as a treatment, but I think she's actually made her toe better by doing it."

Apparently the damaged part of the toe nail that was growing in has lifted up, due to being slammed in the drawer and it will make the whole toe better in a couple of weeks. I sat there surprised and relieved.

So, what's the lesson? Two wrongs actually do make a right? Or you should put your worst foot forward? Well, no. I think the lesson is that occassionally something happens that appears to make a bad situation worse, but you never know, it may in fact just be exactly what you need. Don't be too quick to panic and see only the bad. The right answer may have just landed at your feet.

PS: Go and check out Lil-lil's artistic prowess at one of my favourite blogs Tiny Trappings, there's a whole post dedicated to her and her drawings. 

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Things that puzzle me

A few things that have had me puzzled this week:

* Lil-lil has always been what I'll call a 'difficult sleeper', in other words it's rare for her to sleep through the night. Yes, yes, she's 4.5 years old. Anyway, she recently slept through three nights in a row and we were delighted. She told me she'd discovered she had magic powers for sleeping at night. Awesome. Last night, she woke three times. It appears she's lost the magic powers, where on earth could they have gone? Superman just didn't lose his powers overnight, did he?

*Why is when you arrive at a crossing at the same time as someone else, you push the button and then they push the button again straight after you. Do I look like an inadequate button-pusher? Did I not push the button correctly? Do you have some kind of better button pushing skills?

* Why do I find impossible to stay awake after 9pm? Well, not that puzzling really if you look at the first point.

* Why did I stress about doing my tax return for so long that I completely ignored it for months? Wasted stress cause when I actually went to do it, I discovered I didn't need to do one.

* Why can't real estate agents talk like normal people? Why do I always think they're hiding something?

* Why won't Tiger Airways talk to you on the phone, why will they only accept things in writing? Well, actually I know, perhaps the question is why do Tiger Airways have to be so crap that they can't afford enough staff to man their complaints line.

* How did Goosey manage to slam her toe in a drawer? Fingers, I understand, but toe??

* Why can't I ever seem to get to the end of the washing basket, no matter how many loads I do?

* Why was I always told: "All boys do is wrestle all the time, girls never wrestle." All my girls do is wrestle. ALL. DAY. LONG.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Open house (or why I need a big dose of Valium)

I haven't spoken much about selling our house, well not since I was a complete maniac a few weeks ago whinging about de-cluttering and my sore back.

For the past couple of weeks, each Wednesday and Saturday, I run around like a crazy woman trying to make my home look like it belongs in the pages of Home Beautiful. No easy feat. Especially with a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old who love to make mess. I do this in the hope that someone will walk in, fall in love and hand over great wads of cash. So far, no luck.

Oh sure, we've had lots of people through the door and they all think it's 'nice'. We've even had a woman hang around our front gate and interrogate the neighbours and tell us she's 'besotted'. Yet, she's still not throwing bundles of money at us.

But back to the open houses. These little beauties haven't been quite as painful as I thought they would be, mainly due to the fact that we put three-quarters of our belongings in storage. Even so, every Wednesday and Saturday morning I still run around like a lunatic, wishing I could put the kids in straightjackets and tie them up in the front yard until the real estate agent arrives. Instead I spend my time yelling: "Don't jump on the beds, I just made them!" and "Please, don't smear Vegemite over the lounge!" or "Please, please don't throw the roll of toilet paper around the living room!". Usually I'm not so polite.

Today I went through all the rigamarole for zero people to come and look. That's right zero. "People don't like to look at houses in the cold," the agent said. Well that's great, don't they know how much stress I went through this morning? How my kids are probably damaged for life from my maniacal screeching. The very least they could do is turn up.

All along I have felt confident that someone will come and buy our house, how could they not? The past 24 hours I've started to get worried. Not just that we won't find the perfect buyer (or any buyer), but that I'll be stuck doing these wretched open houses for years to come.

Any tips for surviving open houses and auctions with kids and keeping your sanity?

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Blogging with the stars

Last night, I went out – to a cocktail party in Darlinghurst no less. Yes, little old me who's usually tucked up in bed at 9pm on a Saturday night, went out on a Monday night to a cocktail party in Darlinghurst. Fancy.

It was the launch of the Kidspot Top 50 Bloggers. At 5pm yesterday, my hair was greasy, I had nothing to wear and the kids needed to be fed. I was due at the cocktail party at 6.30pm. After having a mini-breakdown, nearly giving up on the whole idea and tucking myself up on the couch, I gave myself a kick in the bum and got out the door on time. I'm so glad I did.

Oh what a night! I looked around the gorgeous space of the party and saw wall-to-wall blogging superstars. There was Mrs Woog, Bern Morley, Kerri Sackville, Edenland, FatMumSlim, BabyMac, Maxabella, Pink Patent Mary-Janes, Random Ramblings of a Stay at Home Mum, All Consuming and lots more. It was the whole freaking bloggerati! What the hell was I doing in such company?! I don't know how I managedto be included with the superstars of the Australian blogging world, but I was not complaining. After all, when you're a stay-at-home mum, it's not often you get invited to cocktail parties filled with fabulous people.

You'd think that a room full of women all competing for glory (oh and cash and a car) things would be a little bitchy and ice cold. Far from it. There was so much freaking love in the room it was insane. First of all, the blonde goddess FatMumSlim recognised me gave me a warm welcome, Doug (I mean Mrs Woog) enveloped me in a hug like a long lost friend, as did Lori from RRSAH, Eden's face lit up with like a 100 watt bulb when I said hello, BabyMac smooched me more than once, Maxabella told me I was cute. There was so much squealing and laughing and then a bit more laughing. I also met some new bloggers who were totally fabulous, Big Words Blog, Farmer's Wifey, Mojito Mum, Checks and Spots, Martyr-hood. (All these bloggers are on the list, so I won't link them individually).

All in all, it's the most fun I've had in a long time. I didn't kick on afterwards, my bed was calling and my feet were sore, but it sounds like some fun was had.

As cliched and cheesy as this sounds, I came away from the night inspired, motivated and brimming with bloggy energy. I feel so lucky and thrilled to be part of such an amazing group of women – talented, brave, strong and so bloody funny, it's ridiculous. I was hit by a mini-bolt of lightening too, I realised why I love blogging and other bloggers so much is the honesty. These guys are so brutally honest about their lives, it's refreshing. As Kerri Sackville said last night, nothing and no-one is perfect. That's why I think blogging is perfect – the good, the bad and the ugly – it's all there and it's all good. Blogging has made me more comfortable in my skin, more accepting of my life and others. None of us is perfect, that's what makes us so interesting (and fun). Now, I'd never want to be perfect.

If you're not a regular blog reader, check out the Kidspot Top 50 Bloggers list as there is some serious talent. If you feel inclined, vote for me, so I can at least try and hold my own with this incredible bunch!

Now for some blurry pics of the night....

Beth from BabyMac, Mrs Woog and Kim from All Consuming.

Mrs Woog shares a personal moment with the banner.

Who's on the banner?

Mmmm samosas....

BabyMac gives me some love.

Kim from All Consuming, Eden from Edenland and Bianca from Big Words Blog.

Monday, 9 May 2011

What a difference a day makes

My Mother's Day blooms chosen by Lil-Lil,
who insisted they could only be bought from a proper florist.

On Friday, I wrote about my denial of having a third child. It's funny as Skip must have been feeling the same way, he was away in Melbourne all week and said when asked if he was excited about the new bub, he replied: "Terrified more like it. We know exactly what to expect this time!"

And that's exactly what it is. The excitement isn't the same as the first time, the second time you'll think it will be much easier as you know what you're doing, the third time, well, the third time you know there are no guarantees and there's going to be lots of hard yakka. It's a little like starting right back at the beginning again.

Then over the weekend something shifted, for me at least. I suddenly realised that the continuous nausea, exhaustion and general crap feeling had gone. I had a spring in my step. You don't realise until you feel normal again, just how bad you were feeling. Then the flutterings started, those lovely first baby movements. Which is just plain exciting. It makes it so real. I also got one big gigantic kick. It was like the baby was saying: "Hey, I'm here. You can ignore me, but I'm not going anywhere so you better get used to it."

People are also starting to notice that I'm pregnant too, so conversations with strangers somehow make it more real. As weird as that sounds.

I then had a lovely Mother's Day. Flowers, choccies and a lovely lunch. Great kids, a husband I adore. So yes, things may be hard with three kids, there will be tears and tantrums (from the kids as well as me) but there will be times in the future when we sit around a big table and laugh and talk and enjoy being a family, so it will all be worth it.

So all in all, I feel fairly fabulous today. I know this feeling will change and those crazy hormones will kick in and throw me 180 degrees, so I'm soaking it in as long as it lasts.

Thank you for all your encouraging comments, they mean the world to me, they really do.

PS - You may have noticed the button on the side of blog. I have been listed as one of Kidspot's Top 50 Bloggers, which is an incredible honour. There are some truly amazing bloggers on that list. If you'd like to vote for me, please click on the button and follow the link. Check out some of the other bloggers too as there are some great reads!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Tangled - Winner

Happy Mother's Day to all the mums out there! I hope you've been spoilt with sleep-ins, breakfasts in bed and lots of cuddles.

My girls slept in their own beds until 6.30am, which is a complete miracle in this house, so it's a happy Mother's Day for me. Pancakes are being made, coffee is being fetched and people are smiling, so let's hope this lasts the for the whole day!

And now to announce the winner of the Tangled DVD, care of Random.org.....

The winner is Beth from BabyMac! Congrats Beth, email me your address and I'll get Disney to send out your prize.

Have a fabulous Sunday, wherever you are. x

Thursday, 5 May 2011


I'm in complete and utter denial that I'm pregnant and at the end of this pregnancy will have another baby. Sure, I talk about 'the baby' and we're buying a new house with a room for 'the baby', but other than that, denial.

When we were away, I was aghast when I caught a glimpse of myself in my cossie. I looked like a large apple. A big round ball. No distinct preggo basketball bump, my whole body looked like a basketball. Skip assured me this is what happens every time I get pregnant, I'm not so sure. I just felt rather uncomfortable on the beach with my apple body. I usually love being pregnant. I don't not like it this time, I'm just not there mentally.

I'm not prepared for getting big. I'm not prepared for not being able to do everything. I'm not prepared for being slower. Most of all, I'm so not prepared for having another baby. Sleepless nights (well we still have those, but I can tell the kids 'shush and go to sleep'), crying, naps, nappies and all that biz. What the hell am I doing?? What the hell are we doing??

To be honest, being a mum to three kids is a scary prospect. Skip and I will be outnumbered and I won't have enough hands. The car is going to be very squishy. As is the dinner table. What if we have another non-sleeper (which is odds-on, I reckon)? How will this bundle fit into our life?

So, how do I deal with all the stress and angst? I just don't think about it. Pretend it's not happening. Complete denial. Healthy and sane, I know!

I know that once it's here I'll be besotted and things will just work out.  After a couple of months, I won't be able to remember what life was like before. Let's face it, who is ever really ready for a baby? For the moment though, it's a scary, daunting prospect. So I'll keep denying. And when I struggle to do up my jeans, I'll blame it on the 1000s of Easter Eggs I've eaten... well, actually that may have something to do with it too.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Basket of joy

Some days I wonder why I blog. Why I jot all my thoughts down and send them out to cyberspace. It often seems like a silly thing to do and I wonder if any reads or cares or enjoys it. Then, on days like yesterday, something wonderful happens, a gorgeous surprise, something that brightens your world.

I opened the front door to take Lil-lil to preschool and there on my doorstep was a box. A large box. The kind that you'd use if you were moving house. I didn't have time to open it then and there so I plonked it inside. I did the preschool drop-off as quick as I could and as soon as Goosey and I got home we tackled it.

The box was almost as big as Goosey.

Goosey was shocked at what was inside....

A whole bunch, a table-full of Easter goodies!

Recently, I wrote a post about my love of Freddo Frogs. One of my readers and good bloggy friends, the American Eleanor from Shopping the Closet read and said she had no idea what they were. We started a convo about chocolate and I mentioned that I loved Reese's Peanut Buttercups but they weren't freely available in Australia. She insisted on sending me a care package of US choccies, so I said I'd return the favour with a package of Aussies choccies. I so wasn't prepared for the bounty of goodies Eleanor sent me. It was overwhelming. 

There were Easter basket of goodies for the girls, that included lollies, chocolate bunnies, bunny ears, gloves and a sweet purse. There was a cuddly flower too, all packaged up in the most gorgeous bunny basket for each of them. They were besides themselves!

There was also these:

And these:

And don't forget these, Reester Bunnies!!:

And now all the way from the Jersey Shore, was some saltwater taffy, which I'd seen on countless TV shows and movies, but never knew what it was (by the way, it's yum!):

There were also some goodies just for me that won't sit on my thighs. A DKNY umbrella, a purse scarf and a bottle of perfume:

Talk about being completely and utterly spoilt! I have to admit I got a little choked up when I open the package and discovered all this and read the gorgeous cards. I was so touched. Eleanor is a very special lady with fabulous taste in music. Her kindness and generosity is out of this world. If you told me two years ago that I'd make a friend half a world away over the internet I would have thought you completely and utterly mad. Only complete nutters do that, don't they?!

I know my parcel to her isn't as fabulous as this, but I hope Eleanor and her family get as much joy as mine did. So, thank you Eleanor! You're a complete and utter doll, I can't wait until we finally go shopping in NYC and then drink that wine while listening to some old school classics. We are going to have a ball!

Blogging has really brought the most incredible things to my doorstep, quite literally!

Monday, 2 May 2011

Tangled - WIN!

In our household it seems there's nothing better than a Disney Princess. Much time is spent discussing them, drawing them, watching them, playing with and sleeping on them. So when I was sent a DVD copy of Tangled, the latest Disney Princess flick, I knew it would send the girls into a frenzy.

Lil-lil grabbed her princess pillow, Goosey grabbed her Cinderella book and they settled in. Tangled is a rollicking version of Rapunzel with Mandy Moore voicing the modern, fiesty and gutsy frypan-wielding princess, which is nice change from some of the insipid princesses we've been served up previously.

With a great bunch of songs, wonderful animation and a lot of laughs, this is a thoroughly modern version of the classic fairytale. What I liked best was it's a movie we could all sit down and enjoy, I even heard Skip chuckle from behind his newspaper a few times. Even my 19-year-old brother-in-law professed to liking it, so it's not a fairytale aimed at solely at 5-year-old girls.

Tangled gives me a  good 90 minutes to get the house organised for our open houses, as the girls will sit glued to it from start to finish, time and time again. The downside is we're going through toilet paper at an incredible rate, as Goosey constantly puts long strands of it in her hair trying to transform herself into Rapunzel.

Tangled is available on DVD and Blu-Ray on May 11.

I have one DVD copy of Tangled to giveaway, so comment and tell me which Disney Princess you're most like.
For Australian residents only. Giveaway ends midnight, Friday May 6, 2011.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of the DVD courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment via Aussie Mummy Bloggers. No financial payment was offered nor accepted for this post. All opinions expressed are purely my own.

The good bits

Despite the flights from hell, the seven days in between were blissful. The four of us don't get a lot of opportunity to take time out and just be together, that's why holidays like these are so precious. You're away from all the stresses and distractions of home and our family also seems to be its best and happiest at the beach.

We had a great apartment across the road from a gorgeous beach in a sleepy little village, the surf beach was protected by a scenic headland. There was miles of squeaky white sand, just the right amount of waves and lots of shallows for the girls to splash happily in for hours. Each morning, the sun shone gloriously and we played and splashed and wore ourselves out. Lunch and a rest followed and then more play in the afternoon. Shells were collected, sandcastles made and running races held. I barely took my camera anywhere and hardly have any photos, I decided to keep them all in my mind this time.

The photos above were taken late one afternoon when we drove to a nearby inlet. The girls decided it was the perfect spot to dance, so dance and they did. 

Most evenings, we ate out. Our little gourmets adore eating at restaurants and complained the one night we decided to cook at home. More often than not, they fell asleep on the way home tuckered out from a day of sunshine and beach. 

The land of milk & honey... my favourite pizza from my favourite pizza joint.

We only varied our routine a couple of days when we went to visit the rainforest at Mount Warning and when we went to Dreamworld.

The week was perfect and I have so many memories to treasure. It's these moment when we're all together as a family, no work or house selling or stress, that make it all worthwhile. The girls' giggles, Skip's smiles are all locked away in the vault of my memory.

Next holiday, we'll have a new little family member, which is exciting, but is also why this week was so precious.

Skip is interstate for a week, the girls are shattered after having their dad 24/7, so let's hope the week flies by.
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