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


•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?