Tuesday, December 27, 2011

And spiderman begat thomas

We had a wonderful Christmas. It was incredibly busy, but was full of family and food. Tony even saw Santa flying whilst we were out doing drop-offs on Christmas Eve. We were all very spoilt and are so thankful for having such wonderful families.

If you haven't noticed by now, I am not too good with taking photos. I just forget. I think this is because we went for so long without a camera after ours broke a while back that even though I have anther one now (thanks Jade), I still forget. I made sure I took a camera in my bag when we packed to head down to Sydney on Christmas Eve, yet I still forgot to take any photos.

I do have this one to share that I took on my phone.

My sister Jade gave her daughter Pacey a little doll pram for Christmas. Unbeknownst to her, my other sister Rachael also bought the EXACT same pram for Pacey.

Carter took quite a liking to Pacey's pram and wouldn't let the "trolley" out of his chubby little hands. So, Rachael kindly suggested he have the spare one.

After lunch, all was quiet for a while, which made me realise Carter was gone. I found him outside like this:



I could hear him saying:

"You sit down and keep your seatbelt on or you go to your room for five minutes!"

Upon closer inspection this is what I found:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tis the season to laugh at others

The countdown to Christmas is almost over! I love this part of the year. There is a buzz of excitement that takes me back to when I was a little girl.

I came across a few photos that put a smile on my face.

Last night we took the boys for a drive to see some Christmas lights. This is one of my favourite things to do at Christmas. We decided to set a goal that we too would put up some christmas lights next year. I am a little concerned that if we do, this time next year, this could be Anthony:



I know there is a tendancy for people to overdo it with the lights.



So I was thinking if we get desperate we could always go for something along these lines:


We seem to have a little trouble getting a Santa photo of our boys smiling. They arn't scared of Santa, but seem a little uncomfortable. We got off easy compared to some of these folks though.













And finally, I saw this tree and thought if we didn't have a fake tree, this is probably the kind of tree you would find in our living room this December.



I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and gets a chance to relax and reflect on what is most important to them.







Monday, December 19, 2011

Shutting up

I love anything Christmas related. I love Christmas lights, Christmas trees, being with family, shopping for gifts for everyone, making plates of goodies to give our friends and neighbours, and of course Christmas movies.

The last on this list has caused us some grief as of late.

One of my favourite Christmas movies when I was younger was Home Alone. I even remember seeing it at the movies (showing my age here I guess).

I like our boys to watch some of the movies we liked as children. Some are just as good as I remembered (Karate Kid, The Sandlot), and others I obviously remember a little too fondly.

We put on Home Alone about two weeks ago. I remember it being a rather tame movie and great for the family. Unfortunately I forgot how often they say;

"Shut up!"

It is littered all throughout the movie. It's nothing terrible I hear you thinking, and normally I would agree, but it IS terrible when you have your three year old saying it every five minutes for the last two weeks. It isn't just reserved for home either, he has taken to saying it out in public also, which makes me appear like a fanatastic mother with how freely he is splashing it around.

We have been telling Carter that we don't say that in our house and on Friday I felt like we finally got through. Whilst cooking, Carter came running in with his little toy Thomas train and with his "all business" face, he told me;

"Mummy, Thomas train in sad. Percy was naughty, he told Thomas to shut up!"

I managed to hold back my laughter and asked him what we should do. Carter then proceeded to tell Percy that we don't say that in our house and he then put Percy in his room for five minutes.

Everyday since, we get differnt toys and stuffed animals brought to us, apparently in tears, because another toy has told them to shut up.

Obviously the message had gotten through loud and clear and Carter knew he shouldn't be using the word anymore, instead he was still reaching his daily "Shut Up" quota via his toys. I don't know whether to take this one as a win or a loss??

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Those were not the days

As a teenager, I always felt so much bigger than all my friends. I felt bigger in height AND in weight. I have been the same height since I was 13, meaning at 13 I was 175cm. Many of my friends hadn’t really gone through growth spurts yet and were much shorter than I was. I was also about 60kg at this age and even though this sounds like pretty good proportions to me as an adult, as a young teenager, I felt huge when in PE we had to work out our BMI and many of my friends were closer to 45kg.

More than a decade down the track, I can see how silly it was to think my weight should have been the same when I was so much taller. I see that we had different builds and I was never going to be on the petite side.

But I just couldn’t help but compare myself, and the more I did, the worse I felt about myself.

I am now 27. I am still 175cm and even though my weight is actually slightly under my 13 year old weight, I still look in the mirror and see much I would like to change. I see the little pudgy bit under my belly button a lot of us have post-baby (or just post big meal in my case). I see that one of my thighs is bigger than the other. I see that I still get the odd pimple. I know I get tongue tied speaking in public and end up all red-faced and flushed. I laugh when I’m scared or worried. I am petrified of approaching anyone I don’t already know. All the insecurities of adolescence have never left.

I am now wise enough to know that no matter how skinny I was, or how perfect my skin and hair was, I would still find parts of myself that I still didn’t like. I would still be comparing myself with my friends and the faces on the magazine covers and wishing for their legs, hair, skin,
voice, patience, ability to speak well in public, and the list goes on and on.

It has been brought to my attention a few times in recent weeks that comparisons like this are often unfair. When we sit in church and struggle to keep our children quiet and still, I don’t seem to notice anyone else also struggling with their children, I only notice those who have children resembling perfect angels. I never seem to notice any mess in ANYONE else’s home, just the good aspects and my mind turns to the pile of laundry overtaking my bedroom and the Tupperware cupboard I am too afraid to open as the containers are all pounced, ready to jump out at me. It seems to be the way that we compare what we believe to be our worst with others’ best.

Seems rather pointless really.

But ultimately, even if I stop comparing myself to those around me, I know I probably will still be wishing for a flatter stomach, shinier hair, whiter teeth, and whatever else I want but don’t have. Seems there is still plenty of teenager left in me after all.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Why does love do this to me?

One from Anthony:

I asked Jo to marry me at a petrol station.

7 months prior to asking her to marry me I didn’t even know who she was. We were complete strangers. Jo had moved to Sydney with her family from Adelaide about two weeks before I returned to the Harbour City from my two year church missionary service. Now, I don’t believe in destiny. At all. Love at first sight? Pass. I don’t believe that two people are fated to be together. Our courses are not mapped out where all we have to do is follow the destiny assigned to us. It may not be all that romantic but I believe in choice. I believe that we are free to make our own choices and live with the consequences, both good and bad.

When I first met Jo- I didn’t fall in love with her on the spot or have a sensation inside me letting me know that she would be the girl that I marry- all I knew back then was that I liked being with her. She made me happy like nobody else ever had before nor has since. From the very first time that we went ‘out’ on a date, we were never far from each other. I’ll spare the hyperbole in fear of becoming sappy or cheesy if just to say that there are few experiences in life that compare with getting to know the person that you will spend eternity with. Damn it, still cheesy.

I was 21 years old and had never had a serious girlfriend. I had never been in love before so I didn’t have a real good measuring stick to gauge my emotions. I remember speaking with my Dad about it and he asked me, “What’s the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning and the last thing you think of before you go to bed at night?” I knew what the answer was. Actually I knew who the answer was.

I told my brother Drew that I was going to ask Jo to marry me; I think he shrugged and maybe said “Sweet”, I can’t recall. Not long after, Drew and I went for a drive up to the Central Coast to find a romantic spot where I could ask the big question. Yup, that’s right. I asked Drew to give me some romantic advice. If you know me and my lack of romantic sense, then that’s quite funny. If you know Drew, then it’s hilarious. We found a few spots that we thought would be suitable, grabbed something to eat and shot off back home.

After asking permission of Jo’s Dad, Paul, I set out a sort of plan on how things were going to unfold. It was a Saturday morning, Jo and I went to our Church temple (the same place that we would later be married) to begin our day. I had the ring in my pocket and was feeling quite calm and relaxed after a spiritual beginning to the day. So far, so good. We headed for the F3 in my Holden Nova. I had a few of the spots that Drew and I scouted in my mind but there was no set plan, we would just hang out like we often did and when the moment presented itself, boom-shaka-laka.

We were past the Mooney Mooney bridge and the car started making weird noises. I know nothing about cars and comforted Jo’s uneasiness by saying “We should be sweet”. The noises stated to get louder and louder. We weren’t sweet. The car broke down and I had to Fred Flintstone it off the Ourimbah freeway through two roundabouts. There is a Shell Petrol Station just off the freeway that I managed to roll the car into off its momentum. It sucked.

I called the NRMA for some help. I figured some mechanic dude would come out bang a few things and we’d be back on the road to some remote beach shore where on bended knee I would ask Jo to marry me. Three hours later we were still waiting at the petrol station. While we patiently waited I ‘treated’ Jo to some microwave nachos from the Shell station. When the NRMA guy arrived he took one look under the hood and said “Mate, your (something or other car part) is gone. I’ll sort you out a tow”. My heart sank. Jo was a little more upbeat than me but she wasn’t the one with an engagement ring in her pocket.

The tow truck driver took over an hour to get to us. Waiting for the tow truck to arrive Jo and I were sitting in the broken down car when I caught a glimpse of what ‘our forever’ would be like. I had such high hopes for the day. My girlfriend was going to become my fiancĂ© (a bit presumptuous I know). More than 4 hours hanging at a petrol station sucks on any day. It especially sucks on the day that you were planning on proposing to your girlfriend. Words can’t describe how disappointed I was. But Jo wouldn’t let me wallow. She made me forget everything and made me happy. At that thought when she turned my disappointment to nothingness and made me smile I thought to myself, “This is who I want to spend forever with”. In that moment it felt right to ask her to marry me… in a petrol station.

Things rarely go to plan. We have had almost 7 years of life not going quite to plan but through it all Jo has made me happy.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Happy List

I recently came across this list. Apparently it is a list of qualities found in 'happy' people.
In no apparent order, happy people;

•Are in good health.
•Smile and laugh often and look others in the eyes when talking to them.
•Are assertive, not aggressive.
•Do not envy or criticize others, they have a positive attitude.
•Make other people happy and are loved.
•Have no addiction, they just do not need any.
•Like what they do (personally as well as professionally) and they like who they are.
•Are themselves and accept others the way they are.
•Are not selfish or self-centered.
•Problems do not seem to stick to them; they just deal with them.

I agree with MOST of these. This list has merit. The qualities I take issue with are;

•Are in good health

and

•Make other people happy

There are aspects of our health we have little control over. If our happiness is dependent upon our health, it's inevitable we are going to be unhappy, as it is inevitable we will experience sickness and injury throughout our life. It would also mean those with chronic illness will be chronically unhappy. I do accept that we have some control over our own health, and there is joy in knowing we are taking care or our body,and I certainly understand it's hard to find joy when in pain, but there are those who are happy in spite of their poor health. I am in no way saying this is a simple feat, just that happiness need not be dependent upon good health.

Secondly, I don't think making others happy should be a prerequisite for our own happiness. We have no control over the happiness of others. We could jump through all sorts of hoops in hopes of pleasing another, but ultimately they may choose to still be miserable. Perhaps it's the wording that needs changing. Rather than "makes others happy", it would be better to say "serves others", as regardless of the reaction, there is always joy in service.

All the other qualities on this list are qualities we choose to have or develop. We have complete control over whether we are assertive or
aggressive. We can decide to be critical or positive. If we don't like our job or what we do in life, we can change it. I guess after evaluating
this list, it would be safe to say that a great deal of our personal happiness is dependent upon ourselves.

After reading this,I couldn't help but think in terms of this list, where do I stand?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Blessed



My eldest son, Tony, turned six today. He has been counting down to his birthday for a very long time now. I hope his special day is all be has hoped, because he deserves the best.

When I found out I was pregnant with Tony, I was thrilled! Anthony's excitement matched my own. I read " What To Expect When You're Expecting" religiously. Thankfully I was reading it whilst on the train to work when I collapsed at nine weeks along, and the stangers around me got me to hospital. I was advised by a doctor to give up work, I spent my time at uni and vomiting, until morning sickness settled down at around the six month mark.

Tony was born via planned c-section as my back wasn't stable enough to withstand labour. The metal inside my back also meant an epidural was not possible so I was completely knocked out. Tony's first hour of life was spent in a quiet room with Anthony. I initially felt like I was missing out, but I see that my son got to spend precious time with his Daddy.




Sometimes I feel that Tony has had to experience a bit more than other children his age. My health problems have meant he has spent large chunks of time away from me while I have been in hospital. He helps out with the little jobs around the house. He looks after his brother well. His kind, sweet nature has been a huge blessing to our family.

Tony worries about little things. He panics when under pressure. He is easily frustrated when he can't do something he is trying to do. This is because he tries so hard to do the right thing. He hates the idea of disappointing or being in trouble. As parents, this quality has meant we have never had to worry about whether or not Tony will behave out of our sight, it just isn't in his nature not to.

He loves sport and games and is quite the little organizer. He has a passion for learning and a killer memory. He loves school and is a social butterfly. He regularly asks us;

"So, are we having any guests over?"

He is in his element when surrounded by family and friends.

Tony has brought a light into out home that you can't help but miss when he is gone.
I know it is said often, but I feel truly privileged to be the mother of such a precious boy, to love him, teach him, and to raise what I know will be an outstanding man.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Carter vs Mum

Today Carter and I had it out!

It has rained for almost three days straight here. I hate the rain with a passion. It makes me feel miserable and less motivated than usual - but that's not hard anyway. Today I had a dentist appointment, so I dropped Anthony at work, Tony at school, and took Carter to a friends house as it is literally impossible for him to sit still let alone wait quietly while I had my appointment.

After my appointment, we went to the bank, bought some lettuce and toothpaste, and headed for home in the pouring rain.

Our ride consisted of me being told by Carter that I was not his buddy and that I am Pacey's mum (my niece) and not his mum anymore. I told him that if he kept being grumpy I would leave him in the car when we got home.

He called my bluff. He said;

"I don't want to come home. I'm staying in the car!"

When we pulled into the driveway, I got out the car and went to open Carter's door only to find it was locked. He was sitting with his arms folded, a look of stubborn determination on his face. I told him to unlock his door but he shook his head.

I used the key to unlock the driver's door, which would in turn unlock all the doors, but by the time I went to pull his door open, he had locked it again. I repeated this, but he kept his finger on the lock and switched it back the second I unlocked it. I stood at his door getting drenched while he purposely stared forward whilst strumming his fingers on his armrest.

If I were a cartoon, my face would have been bright red with veins popping out and steam blowing out of my ears. Instead, I tried my best not to lose it and yell, mainly because our neighbours are in very close proximity. I decided to pull out the big guns and said;

If you don't open this door NOW, I am leaving you in the car!"

Not surprisingly, I ended up walking up our stairs alone while a stubborn little three year old sat strapped in his car seat. Thankfully the weather was colder because I couldn't have gone through with my threat if it was more summer-y weather as it should be.

For twenty minutes I peered out our windows at my little boy sitting in the car. He would carefully look out his window every now and again, but most of the time he just sat staring ahead as if he couldn't care less. We had both drawn lines we weren't prepared to cross. I was watching, waiting for him to crack and cry to show some sign of remorse, so I could rush down in some grand teaching moment.

After more than twenty minutes, I thought I could see him rubbing his eyes. I grabbed my keys and headed downstairs to the car. As I walked to the car, I could indeed see signs of tears. I stood in front of Carters window and tapped on the glass to get his attention. He looked up at me and my heart broke at his sad little face. I smiled at him and put my arms out and was thrilled to see his chubby finger flick the lock. It was over.

I reached for the door handle and pulled.

It was LOCKED.

I looked down again to see two raised eyebrows and a look that said;

"I win."

Monday, November 21, 2011

Time passes slower when you are eleven

When Anthony and I got married, I was a uni student. This meant we planned our wedding during the uni holidays so we could have a good few weeks to take a decent honeymoon and spend some time setting up house.

My youngest sister, Rachael, was in grade 5 when we got engaged. Anthony's youngest brother, Shem, was in the same grade at the same school. When word got out that "Shem's big brother is marrying Rachael's older sister", it even made it to the staff room. Rachael told me her own teacher asked her how old I was and commented;

"Twenty is very young to be getting married."

We were married on January 22nd, 2005. The weather was very warm, but the day was wonderful and filled with family and friends.


Three months later we announced to our families the news that I was six weeks pregnant. We were thrilled and so were all the grandparents, aunties, and uncles to be.

The new school year had commenced by now and news made it back that Shem and Rachael had a niece or nephew on the way. When Rachael shared the news with her teacher from the previous year, the teacher asked in surprise;

"What? Already?"

To which an excited Rachael replied;

"Well it's already been nearly three months since the wedding!"

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A good idea at the time....

Most nights before I go to sleep, I set an alarm on my phone. I set it knowing it probably won't even be necessary as I have a seperate alarm clock named Carter. He is a very effective alarm, although he always wakes me before I actually need to be woken, sometimes several hours before I need to be worken.

But on those mornings when it's my alarm that rouses me from my sleep, I switch off the alarm and roll over for an extra few minutes.

Now I am not new to the alarm system, I know how it all works. You set the alarm at the time you actully need to get up, or if you are prone to wanting to have an extra snooze, set it a little earlier. I choose to set it when I actually need to get up as I don't want to be woken any earlier than necessary. When morning rolls around however, I always want the extra few minutes as well.

These few extra minutes almost always result in a mad rush to shove breakfast down the kids throats, pack lunches, dress the boys, throw a hoodie on over my pyjamas and run out the door...LATE.

I am a bit of a stickler for punctuality and I hate being late. So, I wonder, why is it that I knowingly set my alarm at a time when I know that unless my feet hit the floor ten seconds after it goes off, we will be rushing around like chickens with our heads chopped off? Why do I always seem to be leaving the pile of washing til it gets huge and I have a mountain of laundry when I had so many opportunities to fold the smaller piles of clothes when they were first dried? Why do I put off small jobs that need doing til they get worse and I have no choice but to tackle the job that has now tripled in size. Why do I stay up late when I know I will regret it the next morning? Or eat a second serving of dinner AND dessert even though I hate feeling sick?

Why do I make decisions that I know will make things more difficult for myself?

I know I am not alone in this, I'm pretty sure it's a comman trait many of us share as human beings. We make choices, even small trivial choices, that will have a bad outcome even though we know better.

I don't think it's necessarily a matter of not learning a lesson, because I completely understand that if you don't like the result, you need to change something, and more often than not I know EXACTLY what needs to be changed.

As a student, I consistantly procrastinated beginning assignments til the night before they were due. I was told regularly that one day it will backfire on me and I will learn my lesson. Well, one day it did backfire on me. I had problems with my computer and on the morning of the due date, I woke to find my assignment was gone! I had to try and remember the whole assignment and replicate it as best I could and had a horrific dash to uni drop it in.

Come the next assignment, did I ensure it was completed with plenty of time to spare? NOPE! I was up all the night before trying to start and finish it all in a few hours.

So why do we do it to ourselves? It's not knowledge or logic we are lacking. It is more a case of placing what we want now as a higher priority. A few minutes extra sleep is ranked higher in importance than being on time in that moment.

When you make a bad decision even though you know the outcome will be undesirable, it's not knowledge that is lacking. It's wisdom.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ever After....Happily or Not!!

I heard someone complaining on the radio about the recent breakdown of their marriage. They were clearly upset and expressed their devestation that their union was already coming to an end when they thought they would be "married forever".
A listener called up and with obvious annoyance in their tone said;

"How can people be so naive to think they will stay together forever and live happily ever after? Life isn't a fairytale!!"

This struck a bit of a nerve with me. I found myself thinking;

"What's wrong with thinking we can be together forever? What's so silly for seeing the fairytale as achievable?"

Now before you want to either smack me over the head, or vomit all over me, hear me out. I am far from a marriage expert, but I have been married long enough that, technically, the 'honeymoon phase' is long past. Perhaps the nerves and butterflies are gone, but the curling up on the couch together and handholding has not - now we just have two little men holding our other hands too.

Life is tough and far from perfect. If we are completely honest, life hardly ever goes to plan. But fairytales are full of heartache, disappointment, and pain. There are always villains ruining the perfect plans. But despite all this, there is still a happily ever after.

May I distinguish that it says 'happily ever after', not 'perfectly ever after'.

That happily ever after doesn't mean there wasn't times when the prince came home to a tired, cranky wife and a house that looked like it
had been hit by a tornado. It doesn't mean that Cinderella didn't slam a few doors or give her Prince Charming the silent treatment now and
again. Or that Belle and her Beast didn't need some serious couples counselling. It doesn't mean Snow White didn't get sick of cleaning up
after her Prince as well as seven other men, as well as the fact she would have DEFINITELY lost the toilet seat battle before it even began.

I have my Prince and I have my fairytale. Like the best stories, mine has obstacles, but that's what makes the story interesting isn't it? If everything was perfect for Cinderella from the get-go, wouldn't she have just been like the horrible step-sisters? It's the difficulties she endured that made her who she was. The fairytales we know only tell a small part of the 'happily ever after', but what we don't hear is probably just like real life, both the bitter and sweet life has to offer. The great days....and the not so great.

Somedays we kiss frogs and they turn into princes. Other days we are just kissing frogs. It's the combination that makes our story worth telling.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

All You Can Drink

Last week I was tucking my son Tony into bed when he asked for a drink. Knowing he had recently had a big drink and not wanting to chance waking up to a wet bed, I told him it wasn't such a good idea. Realising he was suddenly DYING of thirst, Tony flopped onto his bed and said;

"But I NEED one Mum! I am fifty-seven thousand thirsty!"

I don't know what the thirsty scale goes up to, but I assume this ranked pretty high, so I caved and said he could have a sip from my water bottle.

Upon returning to his bed, Tony told me;

"Mum, I can't wait til I'm all grown up and can eat what I like, buy anything I want, and can have as many drinks as I want after dinner."

I didn't have the heart to tell him that if you eat whatever you like you are going to be in for a whole host of problems, that if he looked hard enough he would see that even though his parents are grown up, we can buy very little of what we want, and that if you drink too much after dinner you are going to be up and down to the toilet all night!

Looking back to my childhood, I too looked forward to the days when I was old enough to "do whatever I wanted". The thing is you have more freedom in HOW you go about getting things done, but you are bound tighter in the demands that are placed upon you. There are errands that need running, meals that need making, appointments that need attending, bills that need paying, children that need entertaining (and cleaning, and teaching, and feeding...you get the message), spouses that need nagging, clothes and dishes that need washing, bathrooms that need scrubbing, and the list goes on and on.

I get to decide exactly when I wash the dishes, but it doesn't take away from the fact that they need washing and if I take too long, we run out of dishes. I choose when I leave to take Tony to school, but my decision only changes whether or not he is there on time or late. Adulthood has greater freedom, but greater consequences.

Sure it's great being an adult, but I don't think it's worth swapping all the resonsibilties for a glass of water before bedtime.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hearing Voices

In 2009 I had my second spinal surgery. It was twelve hours long, very complicated, and absolutely excruciating. I was in a great deal of pain prior to the surgery and heavily reliant upon strong pain killers to manage everyday life. But this was nothing in comparison to the post-op pain.

I don't remember this myself, but the first words I said whilst still sedated were;

" I want to die."

I was given a cocktail of medications, but the one that I am most thankful for is the high dose of Fentanyl I had hooked up to an electric pump. Every five minutes I would get a dose until I was alert enough to manage my own control button. The dose I was given was eighty times stronger than morphine and induces a form of amnesia.

I don't remember much at all of the first week after my surgery. I think that's for the best. I do remember feeling as though I was at the bottom of a deep swimming pool and even though in the distance I could hear muffled sound and voices, they felt so far away and I couldn't make out anything they were saying.

There was one voice I could pick out though. It managed to pierce it's way through the haze of pain and drugs. It was my Anthony.

Months down the track, I had an appointment with my surgeon. Whilst waiting to see him, a nurse who looked after me regularly told me they would ask me to squeeze their hand or wiggle my toes but I was unresponsive. They found that by asking Anthony to speak to me, I would respond. She said he would lean close to me and whisper into my ear what they needed me to do and after a short delay, my toes would wiggle slightly.

Sometimes we grate against each other. Sometimes we even butt heads. But no matter what, his is the voice I cling to. The opinion that matters most to me. The smile I look forward to after a day apart.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Whole Truth and Nothing But

My husband Anthony loves rugby, specifically the All Blacks. If you didn't know this, you either don't know us or you have been living under a rock.

Before a big game, he paces around the room boxing invisible opponents. When he watches the All Blacks, he stands up and yells instructions to his team. I'm sure they have won many a game by listening to his expertise. He leans forward and claps his hands ridiculously fast, these short little claps. When they are doing well, he yells out;

"Woohoohoohoo!"

Whey they are losing, he yells at them, telling them the right way to do it. I really wonder how after all his years of expertise coaching from the couch, why don't they listen to his suggestions?

Every four years, an event rolls around that overshadows everything else in the Bush household: The Rugby World Cup.

Anthony eats, drinks, and sleeps rugby at this time. Often he will come up to me with exciting rugby information and I feel my eyes glazing over. This may make me sound like a 'bad wife' but you would too if you heard about it every 3-5 minutes of the day for about 8 weeks.

Back in 2003, Anthony was serving his mission for our church. He was one of those Mormon Missionaries in the white shirts and black badges. He served in Brisbane and The Rugby World Cup happened to take place during one of his two years out serving.

Being a missionary means giving up music, television, money, and a lot of other material things so these boys can truly focus on what they chose to do- serve and teach others about Christ.

For Anthony though, the sacrifice was great as it meant NO WORLD CUP! He would miss his beloved All Blacks fighting for the title of World Cup Champions. He would ask for updates along the way from people he interacted with, but that was about the extent of it.

The semi-finals rolled around and of course the All Blacks made it to this point in the competition. They were playing Australia so Anthony knew it was going to be a tough game from the start. At this point in his mission, he and his current companion were sharing a flat with two other companionships, so there were six of them living together in a flat in Brisbane. One of these other missionaries was from New Zealand also, so he too had a vested interest in this match.

After a long day out, Anthony and his companion arrived home, where he called up a friend who lived in the area in which he was serving. Knowing his friend would be watching the game, he asked where the scores were at with ten minutes remaining in the game.

The news was bleak. It was all over. Australia was clearly going to win, therefore knocking the All Blacks out of the competition.

Anthony and his fellow Kiwi missionary took the news hard. When an All Black fan finds out his team has lost, it isn't just anger or disappointment, it's devastation - trust me, I have seen it first hand. They pass through the stages of grief.

Stage One: Shock and Denial - Silence followed by "What! I can't believe it's happened again!"

Stage Two: Pain and Guilt - "Man, I feel physically sick to my stomach. My chest hurts".

Stage Three: Anger and Bargaining - "That flippin ref sucked! If it wasn't for those rubbish calls we would have made it!"

Stage Four: Depression - "Well, that's another one down the tube. What a waste of four years".

Stage Five: Acceptance - "It's over. It's really over. It's like someone has died. Seriously, like someone has actually died. I can't go to work tomorrow. Where's that ice-cream?"

For Anthony and his fellow Kiwi missionary, the news resulted in them BOTH getting into the shower TOGETHER whilst FULLY CLOTHED and whilst HUGGING, they sung away their sorrows to Dave Dobbyn's "Loyal".

Part of me wishes I had been there to witness this. The other part of me is glad it wasn't, as the idea of a future wedding would have probably been scrapped in that moment.

Years down the track, that die-hard All Black fan still exists in Anthony. He is still yelling at the players when they fumble the ball, still fast-clapping with excitement, and still giving advice to deaf ears, but amidst it all – I stand back and smile.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

We are sowing...ever sowing...

We have a three year old. He is rather......busy. Sitting still is NOT one of his strong suits. We are currently, like many parents, trying to teach him to sit quietly in church. I say ' trying' because we arn't having a whole lot of success!
Yes, there have been improvements, but overall we still have a long way to go. Tony seemed to manage this much better.

Last week, however, we had a doozy!

We were sitting in church and Carter was wriggling and trying to crawl under the seats to make a getaway. We tried books, colouring in, and even food. A sandwich gave us about 2 minutes and one of the books landed in the lap of the man behind us.

In desperation we did something we NEVER do-we gave him the iPhone. It was switched on silent and he loves to play Angry Birds so we figured this would buy us some time.

Well....it did - until suddenly there was JayZ blasting from the phone! I'm not good under pressure and this time was no exception. I grabbed for the phone to turn the music off but he had locked it. I was fumbling trying to type in the code but couldn't seem to get it right. In my fluster, I thought to try and cover the speakers at the bottom of the phone and was stifling the volume whilst trying to get the phone unlocked. After what felt like an eternity, I got it!

My cheeks were burning and my heart was pou
nding and I couldn't make eye contact with anyone. After giving Carter a "that's the final straw" look-I settled back down.

Carter wasn't finished yet though. He wanted to get out and decided that purposely playing up would get him out. We, on the other hand,
want him to get used to sitting quietly and know that his poor behavior won't be rewarded by him getting his way so we try and keep him in
and keep him occupied. Nothing was of interest to him though and after spitting at Anthony, enough was enough so Anthony took him out.
As he walked out the doorway, Carter threw up his arms and exclaimed;

"I did it!"

He was right. He had got what he was after; he got out.
I know this is just the beginning of many battles with Carter-but if they all make me laugh like this one....well, they are almost worth it. ALMOST!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ties that Bind




What is it about family that stirs such fierce loyalty in us? We can have a lifetimes worth of bickering behind us, yet the moment one of our own calls on us- we come running.

We don't choose our family. It's a bit of a "take what you're given scenario", but those with even an inkling of wisdom realize it's in their best interest to make the best of what they are given because these are the your people; the people who are in your court and have your back.

I am fortunate to have five siblings and we are all relatively close in age. Even though I loved my brothers and sisters, sometimes I wasn't the best sister. I ripped hair clips out my younger sisters hair because she 'stole' my seat in front if the TV when I went to get a drink. I put soap on everybody in my family's toothbrush (minus my own) while they were all watching A Country Practice. I tricked my sister into eating mayonnaise by telling her it was yoghurt. I convinced my brother to let me dress him up as a girl, complete with hot pink lipstick that doubled as eyeshadow and blush, only to find it wouldn't come off so he had to wear it to school the next morning.

Despite all these things, my siblings continued to want to spend time with me. Had it been a friend, these may have been deal-breakers, but family have ties that bind us together. Our matching DNA plays a small role in this, along with the commonality in our upbringing, but it's what we experience and share that forms those unshakable bonds between family.

We see each other at our best and our worst. We spend holidays and create traditions together and share the memories for years after. We see each other when we are sick or first thing in the morning and don't run a mile. We play and laugh together and we sometimes even hurt one another and need to make things right again. It's almost impossible to be happy when one of your own is suffering, so we put aside our own concerns and desires and step up to fix things in anyway possible. When we are hurt by family, we are often quick to forgive, because they have proven themselves as loyal friends. We don't always get along, like each others choices, or even like each other at times.....but if anyone talks bad about me, I know who is going to jump to my defence.

I sometimes watch my boys and wonder why they bicker so often. They just grate each others nerves, but then they are best buddies seconds later. That ability to set aside annoyance and anger without a seconds thought and get back to being buddies shows me they already have that kind of relationship, those connections, those bonds.

We have ties that bind us - like it or not.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Even though..


It's my darling husbands birthday tomorrow. We have celebrated eight of his birthdays together now. I love him more than I did eight years ago. Not because he was any less wonderful now than he was back then, but because I have seen many more sides and aspects of his personality since then. I love him as my husband and the father of my children, but I really genuinely LIKE him as as a person. I know love generally is ranked higher than like, but in terms of marriage, I think if you asked most couples if they love their spouse they would say:

"Of course".

But do they really LIKE the person they are married to still? Do they still love just being in one anothers company as they did in the early stages of their relationship? Do they still find those little 'quirks' cute or are they a source of annoyance now?

Well, I am happy and grateful to be able to say that of course I love my husband, but I also really really LIKE the person he is.

I love him even though despite the fact he sleeps like a log, he snores like a foghorn.

I love him even though he STILL hangs his clothes over the rails after being 'reminded' everyday for the past seven years.

I love him even though yells at the tv when watching sport (even those early morning games) and claps loud and fast when his team is about to score.

I love him even though he takes longer to get ready than I do.

I love him even though I continue to find bundled up pairs of socks randomly throughout our house.

I love him even though he takes FOREVER to dictate a text msg he wants me to send on his behalf when he is driving.

I love him even though every now and then he calls me 'mate'.

I love him even though he thinks changing a light globe makes him deserving of the title "handyman".

I love him for the person he is. This list brings a huge smile to my face and I know that they are all still quirks to me still and they haven't driven me nuts yet.

Happy Birthday to my best friend, the person who see's the best in me and loves me warts and all xoxo

Friday, October 21, 2011

Best Friends

Carter has been rather affectionate lately. He just randomly comes up to us and kisses our legs, arms, feet, back, face, or head. He will just plant one on us and continue on about his business like it never happened. When I went to pick him up from pre-school Tuesday afternoon, one of his teachers told me that he has been kissing her and the other teacher all day! It's a far cry from the little fellow who wouldn't pause long enough to give us a hug.

Carter's speech is also developing nicely. He still doesn't speak very clearly, but he loves to tell us stories and enjoys a good old chat. One of his current favourite phrases is;

"You're/He's my best friend." ("He" is used for both males AND females in Carter's case)

Today I was his best friend.
Yesterday Harry Potter was his best friend. Tony made it to best friend status for about 3 minutes in the afternoon but was then accused of 'not sharing' and lost the title.
Wednesday Postman Pat was his best friend.
Tuesday Trooper (our friend's dog) was his best friend.
Monday I was NOT his best friend. Apparently I was a "naughty boy" that day.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

You Had Better Believe It!

When I was in year 10, I had a really great English teacher. I can't for the life of me remember her name but she had an accent, was probably in her late 50's, always wore her grey hair in a bun, and she was probably a little strict for some of my friends liking.

I had a great deal of respect for this teacher, and I think part of this came from the high expectations she had of her students. She really pushed her students to do better than they thought they were capable of. She wasn't particularly full of praise, but her praise was always sincere when it was given. I respected her opinion and didn't want to disappoint her.

One day in class we were studying a particular text that rasied the subject of polygamy. Some of my fellow students weren't familiar with the term and a few questions were raised. One student asked why this practice was stopped. The teacher responded by telling them that some people actually still practice polygamy today, they are called "Mormons".

I felt my whole body stiffen. I rarely participated in class discussions because I didn't like the direct attention. I didn't raise my hands to answer questions I knew the answer to. I was confident amongst family and friends, but avoided attention and confrontation in formal settings.

Before I knew it, my hand was half-raised in the air. I think I was partly hoping it wouldn't be seen, but I could say that I had at least tried.

My teacher called on me.

I mumbled;

"No they don't."

As soon as I said it I knew I had made a mistake. I didn't even look up because I didn't want to make eye contact with anyone. The only response I got from my teacher was;

"Sorry?"

I took the opportunity to right the wrong and replied a little louder;

"No WE don't. I am a member of that church, and we don't practice polygamy anymore. Those who do have broken away from our church and are often called Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints. They are not us."

It was terrifying but at that moment I was so grateful for my seminary teacher who covered this during one of our 6am lessons.

Our church is currently receiving some critisicm and we are accused of not being Christians. I find this a little odd considering the title of our church is "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints". Doesn't the name pretty much give us away?

We read the Bible (along side The Book of Mormon). We follow the ten commandments. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ. We celebrate Easter and Christmas with Christ as our focus. We believe the atonement is necessary for our salvaltion, that we are measured by our works, not simply a belief in Christ. We believe Jesus was the Saviour of the world, not merely a prophet. We believe in doing good to ALL men.

What part of this makes us un-Christianly?

I hope that those in doubt about our standing in terms of whether or not we are a Christian faith, will look to our members instead of our critics. If we are Christians, as we say we are, our actions and works will speak for themselves.

I still don't like confrontation, and I still avoid raising my hand even when I know the answer. But I am happy to say that I am a Christian, in every sense of the word.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lifesaver

Yesterday we were supposed to have our yearly rental inspection. Even though we have had nothing but positive experiences with our landlord and the agency we rent with, I still don't like these inspections. It's like my cleaning skills are being put to the test (even though I know this isn't really the point of the inspection).

We had Carter in hospital a few days earlier this week so I lost cleaning time. Come the day of the inspection, I was washing some handprints off of the inside window when I saw the lower part of the window was quite dirty on the outside. I filled a bucket with soapy water to remedy this.

Knowing I was under the clock, I sloshed water everywhere as I gave the windows a far from thorough cleaning.

Amid my haste, something caught my eye. In the middle of one of the puddles I made, was a little black spider 'swimming' as best as a spider can swim. I was in a rush and kept on cleaning but my attention was drawn back to the spider and I couldn't help but put down my cloth and inspect him closer.

I watched as this tiny insignificant creature struggled. He was working so hard just to keep himself alive. I knew that this little fellow didn't have a chance in the giant puddle I had made, and I also knew how simple it would be to help him.

I grabbed a leaf and put it under the little spider and he climbed aboard. As I put him down onto dry land, he didn't crawl off immediaty, he sat for a while, probably catching his breath I imagine.

It made me think about how if I take a little time amidst the whirlwind of life, and stop and look a little closer at those around me, I just might find someone struggling. Sometimes we just may be struggling ourselves, but it may only take some simple words/acts of kindness that could give that person a chance to catch their breath.

I am pleased to announce our inspection was postponed that day due to the property manager being short of time.
I guess every good deed is rewarded!

Monday, October 10, 2011

I'm no poet but.....


Ok I admit I'm no poet, but I've put pen to paper for a few minutes so here you go.



The Anti-Fingerprints Poem

I know we’ve all heard that little poem
About when our children are small,
And how they always leave their fingerprints
On furniture and walls.

We’re told how we will miss these days
Once the kids have grown,
And how we too would savour these times
If only we had known.

But even though I’ve pondered this
And weighed up all I’ve been told,
I’ve got to tell you that despite all this
I don’t really think I’m sold.

Yes fingerprints mean extra work
And my once clean furniture is now a shade of brown,
But it’s stepping in the little “puddles” I sometimes find
That turns my smile upside down.

The never-ending piles of laundry
And the dinners tipped on the floor,
You would have to be a lunatic
If you ever wished for more.

It’s the supermarket tantrums
In which I fail to see the fun,
Or perhaps it’s simply that I despise
Being woken before the sun.

I’m not longing for my single days
Or back to the years of my first kiss,
But you have got to be at last a little crazy
Thinking this kind of stuff I’ll miss.

I know you think I’ve missed the point
But instead I believe you may find,
That those older and wiser with children grown
Have simply lost their mind.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Office Politics

Now, I don't know if you are aware but I have my own business. For anyone unfamiliar with our company, it is called Bush Household Enterprises and it is a small, four-staffed, unproductive company. We don't really make, produce, sell, or own anything. We have no speciality and no skills to boast.
To help you familiarise yourself with our company, I would like to tell you a little about the everyday goings-on of life in our office.

*To protect staff privacy, all names have been changed*



This is my business parner Antonio and I. We began our business together in January 2005. He has been a wonderful business partner, although he has been known to take extra long lunch breaks and show up to work unshowered, unshaved, and sometimes undressed. I feel we are generally in synch with one another and my weaknesses are balanced by his strengths. He has a wonderful sense for knowing when my workload is getting the better of me and he picks up the slack for me. Of course,  there are those rare days where I feel I am doing more than my share of the work and I suspect he is sitting in his office with his shoes off playing Solitaire, but a quick conference (rant and rave) and all is well again.



These are our two employees Toby and Calvin. Toby was our first employee and we hired him in November of 2005. Calvin joined us two years later in February 2008, after we felt we were ready to tackle a bigger work load.

I feel like I am so undertrained for my position. I never really know what I am doing and just as I am starting to catch up and find my feet, protocol changes and I am back at square one. There is a lot of training to be done for our two junior members of staff. They need a great deal of supervision and unfortunatly don't take a whole lot of initiative. I'm sure a lot of other household CEO's will agree that whilst their staff bring a special contribution to their office, sometimes it feels as though the amount of time and effort you put into them far outweighs their productivity. Toby and Calvin often seem like such cooperative colleagues one moment and then they will be bickering moments later.
Their written and verbal appraisals of us as their bosses suggest they may both suffer with some form of bi-polar disorder as they will range from;
"I love you so much and you are the most beautiful in the world"
to something along the lines on;
"You are so so so so mean and smell like a bum burp head".

They have both been fired on several occasions but yet somehow they continue to be employed by us. Neither have their own mode of transportation so they have been sleeping at the office since day one. They never bring their own lunches and expect that it will be provided for them. Calvin in particular can be somewhat difficult to work with and has been known to take off his pants and throw them at you before running to his office and slamming the door.

I don't want to sound like the worlds worst boss, but as much as I love my job, somedays I just don't want to get out of bed. Someday I just wish I didn't have to show up, but as the boss, who else will run the company? Somedays the job is so mundane, the hours so long, and the pay and holidays non-existant. Somedays I just stare at the clock waiting for my breaks.

The truth though, is that I really do love my job. I love being greeted by my happy staff and my darling partner. We laugh often and much in our office and although we are unproductive, we have many wonderful moments. Our differences are sometimes frustrating but overall they are our strenths and they make us work. I have written many resignation letters, but they are never sent out to staff, as I know that come Monday morning, there is nowhere else I would rather be.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A rainbow of friends

I have been blessed in my life to have had some wonderful friends. My friends are all so different and looking back I have always had friends who are very different from each other. I think this has been a huge blessing, because I turn to different friends during the different parts of life I experience.
I have friends who I grew up with and have perhaps grown apart from, but they will always be friends to me and whenever we see each other we reminisce. These friends are the ones who have the most dirt on me :)
I have friends who I just love their company and time flies when we are together. We never really get into heavy conversation, but there is some depth, perhaps it's because we just spend the time laughing.
I have friends who I just know they understand most of what I think and feel because we are so similar. Weirdly I usually meet these friends through other friends and we just hit it off instantly.
I have friends who I am only friends with because we are in some sort of common scenario together. These have been work mates, people I caught the same bus to work/ uni with etc. We never see each other outside of our commonality, but we still enjoy each others company.
I have friends that I rarely see and don't often speak to, but I know I could call them for anything and when we do see each other it's as though nothing has changed. This friend never makes me feel bad for not calling more often because there is that unspoken mutual agreement that life is busy and we are confident in our friendship and where we stand with each other.
I have friends who I go to for advice, guidance, to whinge to, and for deep-and-meaningfuls. These friends I am drawn to because they have such wisdom and I respect their opinions.
I have close friends who I can spend all day with and never get tired of them. We never run out of things to say but the majority of the conversation is nonsense anyway. These friends have seen me laugh til I cried, have had me burst into tears on them, stayed up all night talking to me, and we have weathered storms together. We have given advice and opinions the other doesn't like or want, but we know a good friendship can take it. This friendship has stood the test of time and circumstance and only grown stronger.

I am so grateful for all my friends. I am even lucky enough to have all my family members cross over into the category of friends. I guess they are stuck with me anyway ;o)

Friday, September 30, 2011

90's flashbacks

I am at that age where I am starting sentences with; "kids these days.. ". I used to be those kids not long ago!
I was a 90's kid. No, not born in the 90's, but spent the majority of my childhood in this decade. I loved it! Most 90's kids will have had similar experiences to me.
• marbles, tazo's, pogs, and slap bands.... Until they were banned
• Full House, Step-by-Step, Family Matters, and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
• waking up at the crack of dawn on Saturdays to watch Smurfs,Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Saved By The Bell
• knowing Michealangelo was the 'party' turtle
• I had a full-size Peter Andre poster on the back of my door
• I owned a hyper-colour oversized t-shirt
•I know what nunga bands and happy pants are
•I listened to Salt n Peppa, Vanilla Ice, and New Kids on the Block
• At some point in time I got home after school and watched Rugrats, Power Rangers, and Passions (" Timmy")
•I had collections of Itty Bitty Bins and Trolls
•I know what a Walkman is
• I remember when our computer screen was only two colours-green and black
• Listening to the annoying sound while dial-up Internet connected
•The Spice Girls
• listening to Kyle and Jackie O's Top 30 at night to tape my favorite songs
• Playing MarioKart on the N64
•I read Sweet Valley High, Goosebumps, and The Baby Sitters Club
• I wanted to be Alex Mack
• Stick on earrings and scrunch socks

Now I know there are many more that I may have missed, or permanently blocked from my memory, but how good were the 90's!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

At the end of the day...

This sounds a bit morbid, but I was thinking the other day about my funeral. Anthony and I have spoken about our funerals before, about what music we would like, who we would like to speak, what we would like to be written on our headstones etc. Whenever we talk about it, I express the sentiment that it doesn't really matter all that much to me because I WILL BE DEAD.
But when I was thinking the about it, what does matter to me is what people will say or feel about me at my funeral. I know it sounds incredibly vain and self-centered, and perhaps it is, but to me, these thoughts and feelings are a reflection of how I have lived my life (or at least how it appeared I lived my life ;o).

So, what would I like people to say about me?

Well, for starters I would hope I was a good friend. I would hope I was friendly too anyone who sought my company. I would hope people felt that I cared about them just by being around me-that words wern't necessary.

I hope my family knew they are my world. That the things I do and the decisions I make all revolve around what is best for us. I would hope they thought I was fun, in-between all the daily chores. I hope they feel that I MADE time for them amid the hustle and bustle of life.

I would like to be thought of as someone who could be relied on-that my word really meant something.

When you know what outcome you are after, it's so much easier to plan how to get there. If these are qualities and traits I hope for others to see in me, I guess they are what I should be working on now. I guess I had better get cracking.

I have no doubt that at the end of the day, the cleanliness of my home, pricetag on my car and clothes, and my social status in the world will mean nothing to me if the people I care about don't know it. And at the end of the day, if all the things I want are said about me at my funeral, I guess I will have fooled everyone ;o)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Some things never change

As we speak (or read) I have a snoring husband fast asleep next to me. And boy can he snore!!! I remember when we were dating we would stay up as late as possible to see as much of each other as we could. We both worked and would meet up as soon as we finished and we'd spend the evening together until we were too tired to keep our eyes open. On a few occasions, Anthony really couldn't keep his eyes open and he would doze off. I got a glimpse into his snoring here. I figured out that if he was REALLY tired, he would snore rather loudly. I found this more amusing than bothersome.
Seven years down the track and either my theory of loud snoring being an indication of exhaustion was very wrong, or Anthony is exhausted EVERY night! It can be very loud, but still doesn't bother me enough to wake him.
We were reminiscing the other night about when we dated. We talked about the movies we saw, the places we went to, and the memories that stood out most for us. One of the most significant things for us was how exciting it all was. How we would look forward to getting to see eachother and how we could spend hours on the phone when we had seen one another less than an hour earlier. There is such a buzz during that stage of a relationship.
But my feelings haven't changed. I still love to lie on our bed and have a good chat. We still call and talk on the phone when one of us just left the house. My idea of a perfect night is still takeout and DVDs with junk food. And I still get a little excited when I see Anthony pull into our carpark at the end of the day.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Good Tired

Carter and I have Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays together. Some of these days are wonderful. Some are....not so good.
Wednesday this week was one of our worst. A certain little someone drove me absolutely insane. I was looking forward to the day at home to catch up on some cleaning and to get stuck into some sewing I'm trying to get done. I was also hoping for some rest as life has been rather busy as of late and by the rate I have been going through my painkillers I knew a rest was necessary.

NONE of this happened!!

I got more than my fair share of exercise in walking Carter to his room countless times that day and plonking him on his bed. I'm surprised there wasn't a track worn into the carpet from all my back-and-forthing.
We had lunch tipped on the floor, toy trains thrown, and spitting! As I said, it was an exceptionally bad day.
That night I went to bed tired, cranky, and feeling like the entire day was a waste. I was so tired mentally and physically but I was also ashamed that I was the adult and had handled my frustration so badly ALL day. Surely I could have stopped at one point and tried harder to turn the day around.....but instead I ranted and raved and felt hard done by.

The next morning I woke and after reflecting on the day before, I decided something good had to come from it. I had to learn to do better.
Carter goes to preschool on Thursday (very necessary at that time), but I was determined that Friday would be a good day for us as we both had some making up to do.

Carter loves trains at the moment. He can hear them from our house and his little ears prick up whenever one goes past. My thoughts of a quiet day meant boredom for Carter so instead I planned to take him for a walk to the train station to go for a little ride into Woy Woy. When I told him of my plans Friday morning, he grabbed his clothes and shoes immediately and headed for the front door. The whole walk to the station he kept telling me how 'exciked' he was to be going on the train. When we were waiting on the platform a freight train rushed past and scared him to death so he spent the rest of the wait sitting on the bench with his fingers plugging his ears.

We got our train ride, got to have lunch, and spend some time at the park. When we got home I was EXHAUSTED! But this time we were happy. I tucked a very satisfied 3 year old into bed tonight. I know I was tired today, but unlike Wednesday, I was tired but happy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Family Matters

Anthony and I are very blessed in many areas in our lives. One of the most important areas is in our families. We have been blessed with wonderful families. There are so many things our families do for us that I am very grateful for, but very high on that list is how much they love and care for our boys.
Our families have always been so willing to help with our children whenever they have been able to or we have asked. Unfortunately we have had quite a few times when it has been needed, but it is such a comfort to know we have family who enjoy being with the boys. Even though Mum and Dad are in NZ, I know they would be here in a heartbeat if we needed them.
I know most families love their grandchildren/nephews etc very much, but not everyone is as blessed as we are to have the type of families who are so willing to look after them so often. We are blessed.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Side By Side

A friend is getting married tomorrow. I see the excitement buzzing amongst her family any it brings my own wedding rushing back.
All the planning, organizing, and fussing.
Anthony and I made promises that day. We try hard to keep those promises.
I am grateful I found someone I loved enough that the idea of being with them day-in-day-out was exactly what I wanted to spend my life doing.
I am grateful I have Anthony to stand beside me day-in-day-out to bear witness to my life, the good and the bad. His being there makes it all worthwhile.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Trash Talk

As Anthony will attest to, I have issues with our rubbish bin. For some bizarre reason, it is VERY important to me that our bins are taken down the end of our very steep driveway each week so they can be emptied on Wednesday morning.
I'm sure many wives also nag about their bin, so back me up here!

There have been occasions where I wake up startled on a Wednesday morning because I can hear the rubbish truck coming and I think Anthony has forgotten to take the bin down.

EVERY Tuesday night I 'remind' Anthony that the bin needs to go down- like he wouldn't know after over 340 weeks we have been married (6 and a half years for those not so mathematically inclined).

Anthony often has to remind me that the rubbish should not be such an issue and that in the larger scheme of things it won't matter, and I know he is right in a way. I know that compared to the many atrocities in this world, my overflowing bin doesn't really matter.
HOWEVER, having to sneak rubbish into our neighbors bin the following bin night does matter to me. Having to stand in our bin to squeeze the tiniest bit of rubbish in does matter to me. Having the stink of garbage for a week around our house because we had to put garbage bags in the shed under our house does matter to me.

So maybe it doesn't matter in the eternal perspective, but missing bin night matters to me.

Now just for the record, our bin has been emptied each week for some time now. In fact, Anthony has only missed it three times our whole marriage. So what can we learn from this?
NAGGING WORKS!!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Too Cool for School

I am not a 'cool' person. It's just not in me. I don't dress in what's currently in style. I'm pretty out of touch with a lot of popular culture. When I get a winning hand in Poker, I get all excited and start rocking in my chair (yep, not exactly bluffing). I was completely obvious when I had my heart set on Anthony-none of this playing hard-to-get for me.
When I was 15 I spent nearly 18 months in a back brace. I had to wear it for 23 hours a day and could only take it off for a shower and to swim some laps at the local pool. Wearing a brace as a teenager-not cool. Pulling on the straps on your brace so tight you can't undo the clasps and are stuck in it-even less cool.

As an adult, you hope to develop some class. To not be a bumbling idiot anymore. Aparently this doesn't come automatically with age! I learnt this a couple of years back while I was still at uni. I had an exam on campus for an Ethics class. I arrived at uni and felt a little weird like I was missing something, then realized I didn't have a pile of textbooks like I usually had for regular classes. I had to drop off a book to the library and then I headed towards the room where my exam would be and bumped into a few friends and had a little chat.

Once I arrived at the building my exam was in, I began walking through the sliding doors only to see my reflection. I still had a Winnie the Pooh towel wrapped around my hair from when I washed my hair earlier that morning!
I couldnt believe I had come to uni with it on my head, but worse than that, how had no one told me!

Ah yes, I'm all class!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Dad Shoutout

My Dad is.....well, he's my Dad! He is the reason I like to be punctual, the reason I value reliability so much, and he is the reason I know that amongst the many things in life that demand our time and attention, we must MAKE time for family. We MAKE time to show them they matter.
My Dad made sure that even though his plate was often full enough for two, with 6 children, church responsibilities, work, and study, he made time for us. He held weekly 'interviews' with each of us where he would talk to us about our week while we lay on his bed next to him. We each got a chocolate bar at the end too! Dad often fell asleep and would ask us the exact same question we had just answered and sometimes after failed attempts to wake him, I would reach across him and grab my chocolate and tip-toe out the room. It wasn't the chocolate that I was there for though, because I know I would have gone every Sunday for my little 'interview' with Dad even without the chocolate. I think what I loved most was having his time and attention. I could see how exhausted he was, but that he valued time with his children even more than sleep. Dad loves birthdays and Christmas and any family event. He made sure these times were special for us.
My Dad would do anything for his children. I know that if I ever ended up in jail, he would probably yell at me through the cell bars, but the second he left the building he would be on his Blackberry doing all he could to get me out.
On Father's Day-I want my Dad to know how much I love and appreciate him. Much of who I am today, I owe to my Dad and I couldn't have asked for a better father.

My Father-in-law is the other Dad in my life. He reminds me so much of my husband, but of course they both have their differences. My Father-in-law also loves anything family related. When we are all together having dinner or just sitting around together, he has such a look of contentment on his face. I am so grateful for the example he is to his children, Anthony in particular. I won't get to see him on Fathers Day, but hope he knows I love and appreciate him.

My husband is an amazing father. I get to see all aspects of him as a Father, and I feel so blessed to have found someone who is such a hands-on Dad. He changed MANY nappies, woke to crying babies, and cleaned up vomit ( while dry retching at the same time). When our boys are sick, he spends the nights with them in hospital, and when I am unwell, he takes on the roles of both Mum AND Dad.
More than all of that, he chooses to spend what little free time he has taking his boys to the park, or wrestling on loungeroom floor. If our boys follow his example and turn out like Anthony, I will be thrilled!

Happy Fathers Day to all Fathers!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Almost A Win-Win Situation

Year 2 wasn't a good year for me. I did things I'm not proud of. Even though I was only six at the time, these things stayed with me.
I stole stickers from my teacher.
I stole and ran away with a wig that belonged to the girl in my class who was bald because of the disease Alopecia.
I accidentally spat in my friends face and laughed hysterically instead of apologizing profusely.

See? Not my finest moments.

These memories stayed with me and I like to think it's because they changed me in some way. They taught me not to steal. They taught me to be compassionate and kind. They taught me to be apologetic when you are in the wrong (still haven't got this one perfected).

As an adult, so much of what happens in life is inflicted upon us rather than caused by us. Sure there are difficult situations that we put ourselves in, but often these tough times are not a result of poor judgement at all, they are a result of life. Instead of looking for what the situation is trying to teach me, I have been TRYING to think of how it can change me.
Instead of asking;
"What am I supposed to learn as a result of this experience?"
I have been asking;
"What am I supposed to become as a result of this experience?"

Whether it helps me be more patient, more organized, more humble, or more understanding, I know that our experiences can change us.

It has changed my thinking a great deal in terms of how I react when I feel overwhelmed or hard-done-by in the hand i am dealt because it empowers me. Regardless of the outcome, I WILL gain something positive from the experience.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Red Faced

I think one of my children's goals is to embarrass me on a regular basis. Sometimes they work together to do this, other times they seem to tag team and take turns.
I was able to take our eldest out to the movies a couple of weeks back. He was SO excited to see Harry Potter and because his first ever school report card was so good, we decided a Mother-Son movie date was in order.
We bought our tickets and arrived a little early, only to find the cinema our movie was showing in was still being cleaned from the movie before ours. We were directed to a waiting line for our movie where there was another couple waiting.
After a few minutes of waiting, I decided to call Anthony and let Tony have a chat seeing as he was excited (plus I figured it would kill some time). Tony doesn't have much of a 'quiet' voice. Even his whisper is rather loud, but when he is excited he gets even louder. As he was chatting away, I saw him look at the couple before us and then behind us to see who else was waiting. He then reported to Anthony;

"Yeah Dad, we are in line and it's just us, a man and lady in front of us, and one guy by himself behind us. I really hope we don't have to sit near any of them cos they all look weird."

Obviously I quickly and not-so-subtlely grabbed the phone and said our goodbyes. I then avoided any eye contact with those around us for the next 15 minutes until we went into our movie.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Big Family

I am from what is considered these days to be a 'big" family. I am one of six children. My husband is one of eight. We loved growing up with lots of siblings (most of the time). I think my parents did well to give us everything we needed and as much of lifes little luxeries as we could afford. Mum was very good at spreading each dollar as far as she could! I didn't know any different, but there are certain aspects of my life that were probably dead giveaway big family traits. Here are a few that spring to mind;
1. Mum and Dad would call me by about 4 different names before getting to the right one.
2. My Neighbour thought my mum was just quite overweight for a while before realizing she had just seen her pregnant a lot.
3. We had powdered milk. Need I say more.
4. Roll Ups were a precious commodity.
5. Fruit Loops and Cocoa Pops were for birthdays and Christmas.
6. When I was young, I couldn't wait for the day when I would get married and have 'real juice'. My one goal in life!
7. I only know how to cook a meal for 8 so as a newly married couple, leftovers lasted a week.
8. Extra neighborhood children went unnoticed in our house as they just blended in.
9. Strangers often thought my little sister was my own child.
10. I could never imagine anyone buying only 1 Litre of milk.
11. 'Share Packs' of chocolate still meant we only got one.
12. I have had my own room for twelve weeks total in life. Six of those weeks were in hospital.
13. I dont think twice before drinking out of any glass of drink on a counter-growing up if I set my drink down there was a one in eight chance I would get my own back again anyway.
14. My friends had actual babysitters, that werent their older sibling.
15. Vans. The only car of my childhood.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Mummy Training Wheels


There are a number of indicators that you are a parent. Of course there are the obvious; such as you have given birth, have a child in your care permanently, and you’re named as a mother or father on a birth certificate.
I knew I was a mother the day Tony was born. I knew it and I loved it. Of course like most new parents it scared me to death that this child was relying on me, but I was so looking forward to being a mother.
Now days, I don’t just KNOW I’m a mother, I FEEL like one too. The training wheels are well and truly off. The evidence exists and it means a heck of a lot more than my name on a birth certificate.
•I have been vomitted on, pooed on, and weed on countless times and went about my day like it was the norm (most likely because it was).
•I have been in the toilet and had the little voice on the other side ask me what I’m doing in there (and by that I mean EXACTLY what I am doing in there), and whether or not they can join me.
•I would just love to be sent to my room and have to stay here for five minutes. It would be a reward rather than a punishment.
•On the night before my birthday, my son has prayed;
“That we will give Mummy some space for her birthday.”
• I have opened the packages of Devon from the deli in the supermarket long before making it to the register.
•I have had to hand over a barcode and empty plastic bag at the register from what once was a
package of Devon.
•I offered up a prayer of thanks when ABC2 began to run childrens shows 12 hours a day instead of ending at 10am.
•I have threatened to count the three with no idea what happens when I get there
•I have eaten food that has been in my child mouth and no longer resemble what it originally started out as
• I have changed nappies on car bonnets and public toilet floors.
• I can’t remember what sleeping in feels like, or just what sleeping feels like for that matter.
I am truly a mother in every sense of the world. Lucky I love my boys; I wouldn’t let anyone else vomit on me!
 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Underdressed Forever?




Most young women look forward to turning 14 as it means they can go to their first dance. When I turned 14, I was nervous. I was nervous about what to expect, whether or not I would actually have to dance (because I have no rhythm whatsoever), who would be there, and of course what to wear.

Having never been to a dance, I wasn't sure what to wear. There wasn't the "church dress" expectation back then (all the way back in 1998) so girls were allowed to wear pants. I was so worried I would be overdressed or underdressed. There were numerous phone calls between my older friends asking;

"So what are you wearing? Are you wearing pants or skirt? Are you wearing pants cos if you wear pants you need to let me know cos I don't want to wear a skirt if you wear pants!"

I wasn't normally one who spent much time worrying about 'what to wear' but in this case, I contemplated both options and being paranoid I would be overdressed, I went with jeans and a casual green shirt. I even remember the pattern of the shirt - yuck!
I decided that if it came down to overdressed or underdressed, I would rather be underdressed.

When it came time to go to the dance, I arrived and my worst fears all came true. I can't tell you what the theme of the dance was, who was there, what music was played, or even who asked me to dance. All I remember is that within 30 seconds of arriving I wanted to leave. I was SO underdressed!!! All the other girls had skirts or dresses on and even the boys had church pants and shirts. I was underdressed compared to the boys!

I remember the horrible feeling of sticking out like a sore thumb and wishing I could just go home, and I'm sure I would have had I not been dropped off. In trying so hard to not be overdressed, I had aimed low and came out much lower than I had wanted. I didn't enjoy a single minute of that night. It was so bad that I didn't go to another dance for 6 months - I was scarred!

This experience is how I expect it will be for us when we are judged by our Heavenly Father. I know he is a loving Father and won't be casting harsh judgment and condemning us, I don't think He will need to-I think we will be doing enough of that ourselves. I know He would love us all to return and be with Him, and maybe it would seem kind of Him to look past all our transgressions and let us, but I know that if that were to happen, we would feel like I did at my first dance. We would feel so unworthy and uncomfortable being there that we wouldn't feel right staying. I think it's almost kinder to not subject us to an eternity of feeling out of place.
I don't believe in Hell in the fire and brimstone sense, but an eternity of knowing I could have done better, of knowing I could have aimed higher, an eternity feeling unworthy, of being without my family, well that is my own personal idea of Hell.
This makes me want to do and be better. To put things in perspective and set my sights high because when it comes down to it I would rather be feeling overdressed than underdressed for eternity.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Happy For You

I was talking with a friend over the weekend about something I have learnt about myself in recent times. I have a measuring stick. It tells me how happy and content I am with my life. How does it work you ask?
Now I know you will automatically think less of me when you read it but there is something wonderful about learning new things about yourself so I am willing to share despite sounding like a horrible person.

Here goes....

When I hear someone share good news with me about something good that has happened to them, my first internal reaction to this let's me know how happy I am with my own life.
I'm not talking about my reaction to the person telling me, I mean my own reaction that I feel inside. If I feel truly, genuinely happy for that person; I know I am happy. This doesn't mean things have to be perfect for me, just that I am in a good place.
If my instinct is any form of jealousy (even a little), I know that there is something in my own life (usually completely unrelated) that I need to work on.
Thankfully, the vast majority of the time I am happy when I hear of the good fortune of others-genuinely happy. So please please please don't hate me and continue to share your good news with me!!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A glass half empty of lemons



You know the saying;

"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."

I am not such a believer this saying. I don't doubt it's great in theory, it's just I tend not to be able to put it into practice.
Now I'm not saying I'm a pessimist or anything, I just think that in terms of the lemons life gives us, I don't make lemonade, instead I suck on the lemons, even if it's sour, but eventually I adjust and get used to it. It doesn't mean that the sourness goes away or anything, just that my ability to withstand it has grown.
During times of difficulty or trial, I have to let myself say "THIS SUCKS" and feel sorry for myself just for a little bit and then I can put it aside and move on with the day.

There are many parts of life that are 'sour'. There is pain, illness, disappointment, and grief. The mere fact that we are here on earth means we made a choice. We chose to experience mortality and everything that came with it. I don't think this means we had some list put in front of us and we CHOSE the trials we have, rather we chose the full experience of mortality; the good and the bad.
Sometimes I forget that I made the choice to experience all that life has to offer, both sweet and sour.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Just another expert huh!

There are a few things I wish I knew before I had children. Things that might have made life easier had I not had to learn them the hard way. Retrospect is a wonderful thing, but if I could pass on a few tidbits of info to anyone yet to experience parenting, they would be;

•if you are lying down on your back holding your baby above your head making them laugh, keep your mouth shut tight
•when your baby vomits in your mouth while you are lying on your back flying him over your head, you can't fight the urge to vomit yourself
•dont let the tiny clothes fool you-our washing frequency went from two loads a week to two loads a day
•you really can sleep sitting up when you are tired enough
•you will feel guilty if you don't clean while your baby/toddler is napping but you will kick yourself for not resting when they wake up
•who says 2-minute noodles can't make a well-balanced dinner?
•when you smile and grit your teeth while whispering threats in your childs ear in the supermarket, you really arn't fooling anyone, no normal parent is smiling in the supermarket!
•there really is a secret tunnel out the back of the washing machine where one out of each pair of socks escape to the outside world
•Elmo, Brobee, Thomas, Bob, and Dora are some of the best friends I could ask for; they come the same time everyday, entertain my children, don't require any of my attention, and they couldn't care less if I haven't vacuumed when they arrive
•the busier the pattern on the carpet, the better the crumbs blend in
•playdough should be somewhere on the food pyramid-I've given up fighting it
•no matter how many tissues/hankies you have on hand, a parents clothes are always more appealing
•Somedays, the cleaning and cooking really can wait, because time really does go by too fast and before you know it you are chasing the little people you once held in your arms.