Tuesday, 29 May 2012

A note of thanks

This is just a quick post.  I started blogging mid-way through last year on Tumblr and moved to Google Blogger in December last year.  The decision to start blogging seemed to happen quite naturally.  Organically.  The timing felt right and I thought I was ready to send my thoughts out into the ether and see what the blogosphere holds for me.

Whenever I check my stats, I always get a kick out of seeing where people are who are reading my posts.  Malaysia, Latvia, Mexico, Canada, Russia - you all make me smile.  Germany - is that you Uncle Richard?  Or Damien?  United States, New Zealand and of course Australia.

So Danke Schon, Gracias, Paldies, Terima Kasih, Spasibo, Ta very much.

Thank-you to everyone for your support.  And thanks to the people who can figure out how to follow me.  It's been wonderful seeing that people are interested in what I have to say.  For anyone, and especially for me, a Stay at Home Mum, it's nice to feel like I have a voice.  Just the fact you're reading, makes me happy.


PS I promise tonight is the last time I muck around with the 'look' of my blog.

Free images from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It's Alive!!!

The Polynesian Princess had been crying for about 15 minutes.  Why was she crying? you ask.  Well, she was crying because I was making her eat her lunch.  For afternoon tea.

The sushi balls that she requested that week were still sitting resplendent in the silicone cupcake holders (see photo above).  That was the second day in a row.  She had the gall to say "if you'd made me a hamburger I would have eaten it".  Whaaaaat?!  A hamburger!  "If you can't even eat two balls of rice, what makes you think you could eat a whole burger?!"  And there's me - a 38 year-old trying to reason with a five year-old.  Who's the infantile one here...

She sat on our front step, sobbing while she ate this sushi that she had asked for.  And I stood in the kitchen wondering what the hell have I created?  I’ve created a monster because sure as she’s sitting there all entitled and stuff, I’m the one who made her like that.

When I was in school, my lunch was sometimes a vegemite, cheese & lettuce sandwich, or devon with tomato sauce.  Just delicious after a few hours of sitting in a stinking hot bag in the middle of a sweaty Queensland summer.  Yummo!

I didn’t enjoy those sandwiches.  I quite liked my ham with corn relish sandwiches (still do – thanks Mum) or corned beef with relish.  But vegemite, cheese and lettuce?  I don’t know who came up with that combination, but picking it out from the roof of my mouth occupied a good part of my lunch break.

So my question is: does the Polynesian Princess view these sushi balls the same way I viewed those vegemite sandwiches?  Although, how could she, given she’s actually asking for the damn things?!  This thought annoys me because of the amount of time and effort that goes into the sushi.  I may as well just give her a vegemite sandwich and make less effort!  The result is still the same.

What do you do?  Do you make what she asks and know there's a good chance she'll eat?  Or do I make what I want and take a chance she won't eat?  The tough side of me (the one that sounds like my own mother) says “give her what you want – if she’s hungry, she’ll eat”.

And that’s exactly what I’m going to do.  Now to find the recipe for mini-hamburgers.  I'm kidding!

Kind of.

The Architect says to me “did you get to request what you wanted for lunch when YOU were a kid?”  Ummmm…no.  I didn’t.

Did you?

Saturday, 26 May 2012

There's a man in my kitchen!

I had to get out of the kitchen.  Blind Freddy could see he wanted to make dinner, and I was only getting in the way by ‘helping’.

The Architect has complained about this before.  “You never let me cook dinner” he says.  And truly – that just stumps me.  Isn’t that what ANYONE would want?  To NEVER cook dinner?  But then I remember how much I enjoy cooking, and I must accept that other people are the same.  And one of those ‘other people’ is married to me.

For as long as I was sitting in the kitchen, scrutinising everything he’s doing, (right down to the way he’s chopping the capsicum), it wasn’t going to be a happy  experience for him.  So I had to get out.

I must clarify: I don’t like being like this.  I want to desperately be one of those women who can let the man of the house help, and not criticise the way he helps.  But I’m not.  But I am trying to be!  I can at least acknowledge when I’m being a shrew and this is why I have made my exit.

And as I type, I can almost feel the relief in the kitchen.  He’s happier.  He’s moving around freely and making as much noise and mess as he likes and I am none the wiser.

Sitting at the computer, I'm smiling.  I'm heading in the right direction to being less of a shrew and being able to let go.  Plus I don't have to cook dinner.

Everyone's a winner!

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Heart-felt thanks

Our gift with the note

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about favourite childhood books. You can read the post here. My favourite childhood story was The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.

Anyway, I blogged about it – put it out into the blogosphere and found out other people’s favourite childhood stories.

Tiki Tiki Tembo, The Magic Faraway Tree, Snugglepot & Cuddlepie and Dr Doolittle all featured as people’s favourites. And someone out there shared the same favourite as me: The Giving Tree.

Fast-forward two weeks and I’m arriving home from picking up The Polynesian Princess from school. Hefting all the bags out of the boot, I check the mail and there’s a package addressed to all of us. Me, the Princess and the Little Warrior. Curious, I schlep all our gear into the house, unceremoniously dump it on the floor and open the package. And inside, is a copy of The Giving Tree accompanied with a note:

“When I discovered that our favourite childhood books were one and the same, but you didn’t have a copy, I thought “That just won’t do”.

The note went on to wish us much enjoyment out of reading this book. It was signed from a friend of mine. A friend I made less than a year ago, in one night under circumstances that can only be described as “happenstance”.

I can’t thank-you enough for the thoughtfulness and consideration of your gift. It brought tears to my eyes and Polynesian Princess begged me to read this story to her twice tonight. She thought it was the most beautiful story she’s ever heard.

So there you go – you and I will both pass this gorgeous story on to our children.

Hand on my heart. Thank-you.


Baby, baby, baby

So I’ve had two catch-ups with girlfriends in the last week that involved baby talk.  And by baby talk I mean we talked about babies.   But both were at different ends of the scale.

My first girlfriend is at the beginning of her journey down the baby conception path.  Her toes are just over the “okay let’s do this” line and she’s excited and scared at the same time.

I remember being there.   I remember being so excited at the mere prospect of being pregnant.  The mere thought of holding our baby in my arms.  It was all so new and exciting.  And terribly, terribly terrifying.  So many “what ifs”.  What if we don’t fall pregnant soon?  What if something goes wrong? What if I suffer Post-Natal Depression?  What if I’m a crap Mum?? Clearly, all the what if’s that I had were all negative but that’s another post for another day.

My friend has started a blog that she has shared with only a handful of people, one of them being me.  I feel honoured.  I must admit I cried when I read her blog.  I’m crying now remembering one specific post.  I won’t go into detail but it involves being in the baby aisle at the local supermarket.

All her hopes and thoughts as she begins this baby journey are in this blog and I am humbled by her honesty.  It reminds me not to take my children for granted.  It reminds me of how much I wanted them before they arrived.

The second catch-up was with a friend who has a baby girl still only weeks old.  She’s still so new and green.  And by “she” I’m referring to both of them.  I look at my friend and I recognise myself in the early stages of when Polynesian Princess entered our lives.  The largest common denominator we have is lack of confidence.  I had none.  My friend has none.   And that’s okay.  I tell my friend that it’s okay to feel lost and totally clueless.  This is the first time she’s done this, so let’s not expect too much of ourselves.

When her baby starts to cry and she doesn’t know why, I can relate to her rising angst.  I recall being so totally lost when Polynesian Princess would cry and you would have no idea what to do.  Change your nappy?  Feed you?  Put you to down for a sleep?  The list seemed to be endless and before I knew it, we were both in tears.

I feel it’s no accident that I’ve seen these two friends in the past week.  It has helped me to be thankful for what I have and mindful of how far I’ve come.  It’s helped to ground me with the knowledge that I’m doing an okay job.  This motherhood gig is at times rewarding, exhausting, joyful and harrowing, and as I watch my friends begin both their journeys I wish them much love, strength and confidence.


Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Hang on a minute, I'm just checking FB...

Last week I read an article entitled Are you really there for your kids, or are you on your iPhone? on the Essential Baby website and as I read, I cringed and knew that this was me.  I was guilty of this.

The article discussed a blog by Hands-Free Mama entitled “How to Miss a Childhood”.  The premise of the article centres around our obsession with technology, specifically our phones.  I am that parent.  You know the one – pushing the swing with one hand whilst reading something on my phone with the other.  And is it wildly important what I’m reading?  Am I saving lives or the planet with my phone?

Of course not.  I’m updating my status update.  I’m checking in.  I’m sending the latest photo to Instagram, Twitter & Facebook all with the click of a button.  Little Warrior could be hanging upside down by one foot for all the attention I’m showing him.

And then I read this article and it seemed to be the wake-up call I needed.   The next day dawned and I was determined to keep my technology in my pocket, look my children in their eyes and listen to them when they spoke to me.  I would be in the moment with Little Warrior when we went to the park.  I would know that he’s just run behind that structure to play because I would have been watching him and not my phone.  I would not have my nose buried in my iPad or the Mac when the children are asking for afternoon tea and I would engage.  I would be there.

And I did it.  The world kept turning, no asteroids hit the earth and when I finally DID check my Facebook, Twitter, RSS Feed and Instagram hours later, I had missed nothing.  Nothing at all.  Five days later I’m still on track.  I’m only losing myself in technology when Little Warrior is asleep and Polynesian Princess is at school.  And I don't miss the constant engagement with the phone/pad/computer.  And even if I did, I refuse to miss their childhood.

So thank-you Hands-Free Mama.  And my children thank you too.

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sunday, 13 May 2012

#Photoadaymay 13| Mum

Today is Mother's Day and I've had a lovely, lovely day.  This year is the first time I think the Polynesian Princess has really, truly gotten what Mother's Day is.  She was so excited about it, she wanted to give me my Mother's Day card on Friday after school.  I barely had my eyes open this morning before she was dragging her bag of goodies in for me and unwrapping the presents for me.  Questions she fired at me: "do you like it??"  followed by "what is it?" made me laugh.

Me: Don't you know what it is darling?
Her: No
Me: Then why did you choose it?

Some questions don't need an answer.

My favourite present is a necklace she made at school.  She's moulded it out of clay into the shape of a heart and she has written "Mum" on it.  I adore this.  I wore it to yum cha for lunch.


I hope all the Mums out there had a lovely, relaxing Mother's Day.  And to anyone out there remembering and missing their Mum today, my heart is with you.

My heart is with you.


Saturday, 12 May 2012

#Photoadaymay 12| Something that makes you happy

A morning walk always makes me happy.  I regularly walk at night with a friend of mine and I enjoy those walks too, but for me the morning is where the magic’s at.  I love being up and watching the sun just starting to peek over the houses.  I love walking past all the coffee shops and see the still sleepy-eyed staff carrying out all the chairs and tables, preparing for the day.  I love passing other people in the morning and giving them the ‘morning’ nod and smile.  No teeth, not too much smile – just a little twitch at the corners.  That’s my ‘morning’ smile.  Sometimes I’ll even mouth the word ‘morning’.  Weird, but that’s what I do.

By the time I return to the house, everyone’s awake and The Architect has got the kids’ mornings started with breakfast.  Then he makes me a coffee and heads off to work.

Like I said.  A morning walk always makes me happy.

Friday, 11 May 2012

#Photoadaymay 11| Kitchen

Whew!  This one was easier than yesterday's instalment.  Here 'tis!

I love our kitchen.  It's nothing fancy but it's ours and many family meals are shared here.  It didn't always look like this.  When we first arrived, the kitchen was orange, and had an electric can opener attached to the wall.  In the real estate photo there was a painting of Elvis on the wall.  True story.  I was kind of disappointed that they took it with them.

Our house is a constant work in progress for The Architect.  His first 'project' was our kitchen and to have a gander at what's been done so far, check out my blog here.

Kitchens are awesome aren't they?  They really are the heart and hub of the entire house.


Thursday, 10 May 2012

#Photoadaymay 10| A favourite word

I am a nerd.  The Architect calls me a nerd regularly.  A word nerd.

I love words and I used to collect them.  Back in the day when I had a filofax, I had a page that I had entitled “Favourite words”.  As I read or heard words that I liked, I’d look them up in the dictionary and then dutifully add them to the list.  Definition and all.  My list included words like dilettante, pusillanimous, reprobate, avaricious.  Love ‘em.  Love the way they sound.  I know….nerdy.

An old friend and I used to text each other words of the day and then we had to text back the word in a sentence.  Sigh.  I miss that friendship.  One day I sent her “matricide”.  Let’s just say it wasn’t a harmonious visit to Mum’s that day.

Anyway, one of my favourite words is this one:

The definition I used to rattle off the top of my head was “frugal to the point of stinginess”.  Love it.

Do you know any parsimonious people?

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Photo a Day May - Day 9| Something you do everyday

This.  This is what I do everyday.  At least ten times a day or until he pushes me away.

I know there will come a time when I’m not as in love with Little Warrior as I am at the moment (nor him, me) and I want to make sure I revel in these moments.  Cherish them and remember them.

Everyone tells you they grow up so quickly, and as a new Mum I thought “yeah, whatever”, but seriously – never a truer word has been spoken.  All too soon Polynesian Princess was in school, and rolling her eyes at me after I’ve asked for a kiss good-bye.  She’s five for pity’s sake.  So I'm making the most of still having chubby cheeks in the house.


Childhood Book...

This morning on the news I read that Maurice Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are had died.  My first exposure to this 1963 classic was when I had children and I fell in love with it immediately.  It’s no wonder it was loved by all – it was written for children and adults alike without  patronising either set.

I had many, many books throughout my childhood and a few of them have been passed down to the Polynesian Princess.  I dare say that the Little Warrior won’t be getting his hands on these as she seems to be deeply attached to these books.

The one childhood book that I absolutely adored was The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.  Have you read it?  It’s just the most beautiful story about a friendship beween a boy and a tree.  I never forgot the lessons this book taught me about love and friendship.  Sadly, I don’t have my copy anymore and one day I will buy one for the Polynesian Princess and Little Warrior.  And I hope they too will love the book as much as I did.

What was your favourite childhood book?  Do you still have it?

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Photo a Day May: Day 7 & 8

So I’m participating in "Photo a Day May" which I discovered on this blog by Fat Mum Slim.  I love the idea so jumped on the bandwagon seven days in.

The general premise is to take a photo a day using the categories that Fat Mum Slim has designated to each day.  You can then upload to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or your blog and simply use the hashtag #photoadaymay.

I started yesterday on day 7 and the category was “Someone that inspires you”.  This was my photo.

This is my friend Shelley.  Why does she inspire me?  Many reasons, I guess.  Too many for me to really list and frankly, they’re all a bit personal.  Suffice to say that I adore her, I look up to her and I go to her when I need a slap down to earth.

Today is Day 8: A smell you adore

How do you pick just one?  I blogged about memory smells, specifically those from my childhood.  I just love how one smell can transport you back in time and bring forth memories you’d long since forgotten.

But for today's photo, I chose garlic.

I was cooking dinner for Polynesian Princess and Little Warrior (teriyaki ginger beef & fried rice) and had just thrown the garlic into the oil.  Gawd I just LOVE that smell.  Then it came to me.  This was going to be “day 8” for me.  Isn’t the smell of garlic and oil just delicious?

Are you participating? What was your photo for today?