Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Bush boys are free!

It's school holidays!!!! Thank goodness. The last few weeks of school/preschool are always busy but this year it was extra busy with Carter having two pre-school 'graduations' as well as a Christmas concert instead of just the one Christmas party.

 Tony has just completed Year 2 and had a rather busy final 2 weeks himself. He was awarded a Citizenship Award at the Presentation Assembly. This award pretty much sums up Tony's school attitude perfectly. He follows the rules and wants to do well. We are so proud of his efforts this year and know he is thrilled to be on holidays as he gets extra free time to play the new video games he got for his birthday. He is great company and asked if he and I could go on a 'date'. I gave him a big, fat "YES!". 

Carter is taking the big step of starting school next year. He is mighty excited. Anthony and I used to have some concerns about Carter getting 'walked over' by other children. He is confident around adults, but from what we had seen, he is more of a push over around children closer to his own age. I remember seeing him at the park a while back and he was able to hold his own with toddler age kids, but as soon as a boy his own age gave him a push and told him he can't go down the slide, he just looked at the boy like he couldn't understand why he would be so mean. 

I think preschool helped and whilst he doesn't retaliate or hit other children (thankfully), I was hoping he would learn to stand up for himself.  

I can tell you he has. A bit too much.

At his pre-school graduation last Thursday, the children all had some free play whilst everyone was arriving. From across the playground, I could see Carter wanted to play in the cubby house but two younger children were blocking the doorway and wouldn't let anyone else in. Carter sought out the children's mother, brought her over to the cubby house and reported what was happening. 

I was quite pleased that he handled himself in such a manner, even if he had resorted to 'dobbing'.

Later he found a ball and was playing with it. I was talking to one of the teachers and could see him playing but a few minutes later he was no longer in my sight. I went for a wander to find him and spotted what looked like his shorts behind some bushes. I walked around to see two older boys (about 10) walking away from Carter. I just knew there had been some kind of confrontation and went to ask Carter if he was ok. I asked him what happened and he said;

"Those big boys were trying to take this ball. I want to play soccer with it. They were trying to be bullies to me."

I, of course , was concerned about my 5 year old bring confronted by two older boys and I crouched down and said;

"Are you okay sweetheart? You still have your ball there, did you ask them to let you play with it?"

With all the confidence in the world, Carter replied ;

"No. I just said 'get lost you big losers and leave me alone!'"

I'm not so pleased with how he handled this situation. Well....maybe secretly a little pleased.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Smarty pants

Anthony and I, we are raising men. At least we are trying to.  I know it sounds more correct to say we are raising boys, but we arent raising them to be boys, we are raising them to be men - we are just still in the early stages of our quest. 

A few weeks back, I wasn't feeling so crash hot. Sunday morning we woke up for church and I was supposed to be teaching a youth Sunday School class. I felt rotten and Anthony insisted I stay home and he would take the boys to church and teach my class for me. To be honest, he would actually be doing my class a favour as he teaches much better than me.  

He got our little men ready and they left waving goodbye and blowing me kisses. I waved goodbye back from the doorway shouting one last;

"Be good for Daddy!!"

The shoe has been on the other foot before and I was the one taking the boys solo and after a big pep talk telling them I needed them to be extra good, they shocked me and were fantastic. I was certain this was one of those once-off miracles.

When they all returned home a few hours later, I tentatively asked how the boys were. Anthony told me they were wonderful. Knowing them too well, I asked what he had bribed them with. Anthony said they had had a chat in the car about behaving well. He expanded upon this by explaining to Tony and Carter that by being reverent at church, they were doing the right thing and the best reason for doing the right thing is simply because it's the right thing to do. 

Even though they are 8 and 5, they were able to comprehend this idea that you don't make the right choice out of fear of punishment, or because you want a treat, or because you are following someone else.  You do the right thing BECAUSE it's the right thing to do. 

Raising men can be a little overwhelming, but I'm pretty fortunate to have a smarty-pants along side me to help.  He teaches them to be the kind of men I want them to be.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Getting in the spirit

I love December, mainly because I love Christmas. I don't love the stress that comes with December though. There are so many events on that normally we have to miss some as they clash with others. The shopping centre car park fills up by 9:30am and I make sure I am there by then so I can leave by 11am to escape the rush and get home and have a rest. It just gets so hectic. 

I still love this time of year more than any other though. It's exciting, and magical, and full of family, friends, and most importantly - food. 

Perhaps the best part of Christmas is that whilst we remember the birth of Christ, we are able to witness a generous spirit taking over people's hearts. It's a time where on mass, people are more concerned with giving than receiving. That's pretty cool. 

For me though, I haven't had to wait til December rolled around to witness acts of generosity in my life.  This year, I cannot name all the kindness that has been shown to myself and my family. Whether it has been kind thoughts and words, acts of service, time given, or needed gifts of a more material nature; I have been very blessed this year.  Early this year was tough for me physically and my family in terms of dealing with the change to our everyday life.  We received so much love and support through this time.  Throughout the rest of the year, as my health improved and we had other things pop up (as they always do in life), we continued to be touched by the kind hearts of the people in our lives.  I hope all these people who have blessed our lives so much know who they are.

One of the big blessings and lessons learned through trials, is the love shown to us. Perhaps people reach out to us more during difficult times, or perhaps we recognise it better because we are praying for and searching for help to carry us through, but whatever the reason, my own situation had allowed me to time and time again see how much goodness there is in the world.  

This Christmas season is no different from any other year in how excited I am to celebrate with those I care about, but this year I don't feel like I have had to wait til December to see the spirit of love and giving - I  blessed to have many in my life who possess this spirit all year around. 

On a different note; I took Carter to see Santa earlier this week. He obliged with the sitting on the lap routine and hurried his way through the small talk.  He saw the child before him got a lollipop at the end and I know that was all he had on his brain from that moment onwards. 

Carter has a tendency to ask for some odd Christmas gifts which can make Santa's job a little tough. Last year he wanted an American football helmet.  

 When Santa asked him what he wanted this year, I made sure I listened closely. 

His request.....ICE SKATES!!!

Firstly, where does he plan on wearing these skates that he feels he needs to OWN a pair?

And secondly, for a boy who is always covered in bruises and regularly trips over absolutely nothing, ice skates don't seem like the wisest choice to me. 

Christmas morning is bound to be interesting. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

It's great to be eight

In less than one hour, my big boy Tony will be eight. While we were looking through some of his photos for his baptism program, we came across a few from when he had a head full or curls. I forget his hair used to be like that. 

When he was a baby, I thought I could never forget any detail about him. He was our world. I think we literally spent hours every day just studying every one of his features. 

 But it's as if I looked away for a second, and all of a sudden we are here with an eight year old! 

It's quite incredible to be able to witness a human being grow before your very eyes. I love the person Tony is becoming. 

He is smart, and kind, and funny. He is a bit shy upon meeting someone, but then makes friends very easily. When he is excited, it shows on his whole body - he just can't contain himself. He is a big believer in doing the right thing and will stand up for his convictions, even if it means standing alone. 

He makes our family complete. 

Tony woke up early this morning excited as it was his 'birthday eve'. He jumped into bed next to me and we planned what colour cookies he would take to school on his birthday.  I asked if his class sings 'Happy Birthday' when it's someone's birthday. He said they did, and went on to say;

"Yeah, and they do the sausage part too".

Obviously I said;


To which he replied;

"You know, at the end if the 'Happy Birthday' song, there is the sausage bit that people sing sometimes?"

My blank expression inspired him to sing it for me (with a very serious face);

"For he's a jolly good fellow, 
For he's a jolly good fellow,
For he's a jolly good fellow, 
And sausage on a bus."

It was the perfect start to my day :)

Happy Birthday Tony Bones - we are so proud to call you our son xx

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A parenting win

My two boys have very different personalities. I believe that when it comes to the nature vs nurture debate, it's a little naive to believe it comes down to nature OR nurture. You only have to look at families with more than one child to realise children come with their own personalities. They just arrive that way.
Nurture has an enormous role to play too.  The experiences of a child in their early years of life lay the foundation for how they will view themselves and the world. Their experiences in life, particularly within their immediate family, influence them, but some qualities just seem ingrained. 

Due to how they have been raised, I see similarities in my boys. They laugh at the same jokes and enjoy the same sorts of foods. But I also see so many differences. Tony is quite shy upon first meeting people, and Carter is confident. 
Tony tries to do the right thing and aims to please, whereas Carter marches to the beat of his own drum. They are both such beautiful individuals who we adore. 

The thing is, because they are different, it can at times make me wonder about whether or not my own parenting style suits them. I hope it does. I find we are bombarded with such an enormous range of parenting advice nowadays. Each new trend in parenting seems to contradict last weeks parenting trend. It's confusing!

The crux of what most parents what is for their child to be safe, happy, and loved. 

There are multiple "I love you"s said in our house every day. I have noticed we say it freely, perhaps even without thinking at times, but this doesn't take away from the fact we truly mean it. 

As Carter left my bedroom a few days ago, without thinking I said;

"Thanks Tarts. I love you."

To which he replied;

"I know Mum. I always know that."

It was just a casual remark to him, but days have passed and I realise now the importance of his comment. He knows he is loved. I may not always feel like the best parent, but this is one area I feel like we have done something right. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Just fine

Earlier this week, I was able to catch up with a good friend of mine that I haven't seen for a while.  She is someone who you don't have to know well to like her a lot. If the truth be told, I was somewhat intimidated by her when I first met her. She is so beautiful and bubbly and a fantastic mother. She has qualities I admire. Upon getting to know her, I learned how kind and compassionate she is.  

I haven't had much of a social life lately as my back limits my activity. I'm ok with this most of the time as I want to be able to care for my family and reserve my energy to be able to do that.
However, being able to spend time with my friend reminded me how much I missed her. Being able to catch up with her and chat helped me remember something that I needed to be reminded of.

I believe that we lived with God before we came to earth. I also believe that is where we will return when we die. I know not everyone shares my beliefs, but hopefully if you know me, you know I am a Christian so this likely won't surprise you.

I believe that we were excited to come to earth and that like an earthly father would before saying farewell to their child going on a long journey, we had a "chat" with our Heavenly Father. I can't say for certain, but I think He would have told us about some of the challenges we would face in the world. I think for me, it would have been my physical challenges and the disappointment at not being able to function as I would like that would have been part of that conversation. 
I feel that I would have said something on the lines of;

"It's ok, I know it will be difficult but I can do it.  Don't worry about me, I will be just fine."

Some days I don't feel "just fine" and I really needed to be reminded of my beliefs that the challenges I face are temporary - they will only affect me in mortality. 

Since our visit, I feel more at peace. She won't know how thankful I am to her for making time to hang out with me. I am grateful for a good friend who let me talk her ear off so I could remind myself that provided I do all I am capable of, I will be "just fine".  

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Tarts and Bones

I have a snoring little Carter next to me. He wasn't feeling well and wanted to sleep next to me. He asked so nicely that it wasn't possible to say "no ".

In the next room Tony is lying in Carter's bed playing a game.  Today he came to me and discussed some things of a sensitive nature with me. It was so sweet and I felt so grateful that he felt that he could come to me and talk about it in such a mature manner. It wasn't anything major at all, but it was important enough to him.

As I am writing, Carter has flopped his arm over me. He is actually pretty warm despite having had Neurofen, but I don't want to move him as he looks so darn cute! 

People always tell you you won't believe how much love you have til you have children. I think you can surprise yourself with how much you can love anyone/anything, whether it be a relationship, a pet, a friend etc, but I also understand the child thing. 

I'm not a big big crier, but there is something about watching your child that can bring tears to my eyes. I don't even know why!! They aren't happy tears, or sad tears, they are tears that just come from nowhere.  It's like you are filled with emotion that just has to get out somehow...and it seems the eyes are a good place.

I often think about what it is about your own child  that brings such strong emotions.  They are a lot of work and can be very demanding at times, but there is nothing I wouldn't do for my boys.  

It's like commencing a project. You take it on not entirely sure of the outcome, but go for it anyway. The project of having a child takes all your blood, sweat, and tears and quite honestly, it will never be finished.  But throughout the process, you get to stand back (or in my case lie next to) and marvel at what your work has accomplished.  When you are working at it day after day, you are sometimes too close to really appreciate how much work has been put in and how far your project has come, but now and again (when your project is asleep and can't run way from you), you get to see the big picture coming together. 

I think this is the overwhelming feeling that comes over me.  

The connection with your child is unexplainable really, but how could you not feel an amazing bond to something that holds a piece of you. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Inappropriate laughter

Sometimes old memories just flash in my mind.  Nothing in particular seems to trigger them, they just appear. 

Tonight one popped in my head and I had a little chuckle to myself.  I am going to record it here in case I forget about it again.

When I was about 9, we moved to a new house in Golden Grove. It was a newly developed area and there were lots of families around. Not too long after we moved in, our neighbors moved out and a new family moved in.  I spotted a girl about the same age as me. Sensing a possibility for friendship, purely based on the fact she was a girl around my own age, I devised a plan. It was nothing short of genius.

Are you ready for it?

 When I saw her outside next, I too would go outside. My plan didn't go as far as to actually SAY anything, I would just be out there....too.

As luck would have it, it didn't take long for me to spot her out there on her bike. Wanting to take advantage of the opportunity, I grabbed my own bike and headed out to my driveway. 

And we rode.  Her around her driveway and me around mine. There was no contact but we were both riding.  The plan was working perfectly you could say.   

Eventually we asked each other's name.  My new neighbor was Kimberly. I told her my name. The next day I found an eraser in my letter box and a note addressed to "Dianne" from "Kimberly".  Ah, a gift just for me from my new friend (well, for Dianne but I could look past that where gifts were concerned).

A few months down the track and I had a new best friend. We went to the same school and hung our everyday after school. 

A little while down the track, the people across the street moved out and a new family moved in.  They had 3 children; 2 girls around my age and a son.  The son unfortunately had a disability which prevented him from being able to walk or talk so we never saw much if him. As time went on we would sometimes see the mother carrying her son to the car.  She was such a small lady that this was a feat in itself as he wasn't a young boy.

Kimberly and I didn't really 'click' with these girls and I remember on one occasion we got in an argument with them which resulted in Kimberly, myself, and some of my siblings throwing rubbish from the wheelie bin at them as they threw rubbish right back.

One day, not long after this new family had moved it, my Mum mentioned to the neighbor that the poor woman across the road had injured her back. She had been carrying her son to the car and slipped and fallen flat on her back unable to move.  Her son lay on the ground next to her, unhurt, but unable to move or call for help. 

Now I know what a horrible situation this is and in no way mean to make light of it, but I can't help but have a quiet chuckle when I think of our neighbors response. She said;

"Oh dear! I feel awful! I came outside the other day and I saw that poor woman and her son lying on their driveway. I didn't know he had a disability and I thought they were out there sun baking.  I thought it was a bit different but I just gave a neighborly wave and went inside and left them to their sun baking."

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Memory stamps

In grade 2, there was a little boy named Suchart in my class.  I don't remember his last name. I don't know who his best friend was in the class. In fact I can't remember a single thing about him...apart from that one day he decided to punch me in the arm to give me a dead arm. I did not like Suchart much.  Saying his name leaves a bad taste in my mouth to this day. 

That same year my teacher was a curly haired woman names Miss Leroca.  I don't know her first name. What I do know is she made me feel cared about. She taught us Italian and at the end of each day, she would say goodbye to each of us individually by either giving us a hug or a special handshake. 

I only knew both of these people for a year and never had any contact with them since, yet they have both carved a place in my memory. The only difference is one I remember fondly and the other.....not so much.

In grade 5 there was a boy named Fabian Shields. He 'flashed' my friend and I in the gymnasium. 

I can recall my class ratbags by full name.  In year 6 it was Jason Anderson. In year 7 it was Matt Reid (to name a few). We had a really nice teacher in year 7 named Mrs Roberts. I accidentally called her 'Mum' once. She was wearing a beige skirt one day and it must have been 'that time if the month' for her. She got up to write on the board and Matt decided to play innocent and embarrass her by loudly announcing that she must have sat in tomato sauce somehow. He laughed and cheered as she ran out the room and came back an hour later in a different outfit.

I didn't have all that much to do with these kids, but they were certainly difficult to like.

I had known Anthony less that a few months before I was pretty certain I wanted him around for good.  He made me happy. I liked the way I felt about myself when I was with him. Actually he made an impact on me even could he not when he picked me up for our first real date in a Milo promotional van!

Both our sons made their impact on me the minute I laid my pethadine laced eyes on them. My mind was all foggy from the general anesthesia, but I knew I loved them like crazy and I wanted to spend my life making sure they knew it. 

 My memories of people are usually attached to some sort of memory, either positive or negative. I guess we don't need to be in someone's life for long to make some sort of lasting impact.  Or more importantly, we need not be in someone's life long to make an impact for good.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The homebody strikes again

I often refer to myself as a homebody. I mean it quite literally, my body is often at home. This is in part because I like it that way, but a large part is out of necessity to give my body the rest it needs. 

I have always been somewhat of a home body though. I don't have a great amount of "get-up-and-go" when it comes to getting out and about. 

I am grateful that I was made with this innate happiness to be home. It makes the cards I have been dealt in life that much easier. 

I am grateful for small mercies such as this. I don't actually know if 'mercies' are the right wording, but I am grateful for the personality types and character traits we are born with that are so suited to the challenges we will face in life. 

I am grateful I have never had a great 'travel bug'. I like a holiday as much as the next person, but the desire to jet set around the world has alluded me. I would love to go to the US one day, however the 14 hour flight is impossible unless I could find a way to lie down the entire way. I can't forsee us being able to fork over $6000 each for a first class ticket so I will be happy to keep my feet planted on Aussie ground. I'm not too fussed though, I don't really feel like I am missing out at all.

I also have zero desire to run and be athletic. Anything more than a casual walk is way too jolting for me. I never really did enjoy exercise anyway so being told I couldn't do much physical activity anymore hasn't made any difference to my life. I often used to say that if you see me running....assume someone is chasing me.

I also used to imagine myself with lots of children, however I feel such a sense of purpose in my mothering that I don't feel like I am missing out anymore. My two boys are such unique little spirits who fill our home with joy and personality. I don't get clucky and that in itself is a miracle to me.

They may not be big, but I am grateful for the small mercies that I see as part of my make-up.  Just another reminder that when it comes to our Heavenly Fathers plan, there wasn't much left to coincidence.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A public change

I have been a very absent blogger with lots of 'goings-on' filling my days.

Firstly, I have a new baby niece. My younger sister, Alyce, delivered her second daughter Capri. Another cousin for the boys - yay!

We have also had family travel from interstate and NZ so I have been able to spend some extra time with them which I always love. 

And of course Fathers Day!! I was out a lot of Sarurday so Anthony, Tony, and Carter had a 'boys day out'. Sunday we spent with both 'Dad's' and it was over before you know it for another year. 

Tony has been VERY busy with different events at school. Just in the last couple of weeks he has had a Book Week Character Parade, Father's Day Breakfast, Planetarium Show, Spring Carnival, and a Musical Production. 

The school worked very hard to put on a show where each Stage sung songs from different well known musicals. Tony's grade did The Lion King. 

I went and saw it yesterday and was so impressed with all the effort that had been put in. Of course my favourite part was seeing Mr Tony Bones singing away.

This morning on the car drive to school, Tony told us some of the behind-the/scenes happenings.  One in particular left me with a raised eyebrow stifling a giggle. 

All the students had to wear all black clothes as part of their costumes. This meant for the matinee performance they came to school in uniform and got changed when it was time to get ready. 

Tony told me lots of the kids in his class didn't want to get changed as they felt funny that other kids would see their undies.  I thought Tony would be one of these kids as he is rather shy and reserved. 

To my surprise he added;

"Me and my friend in my class Carter (I know - another Carter!!) didn't care about getting changed in front of the others. We both said that it doesn't matter cos at least we have underwear on - when we are older we will have to get changed in front of our girlfriends and then we will be naked."

I'm hoping by girlfriend...he means wife.  And I'm rather shocked he has thought this through so much already. I always thought Carter was the son who was happy to show off his Birthday Suit. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Serial clubbing

I was average at lots of sports and hobbies growing up.  I played well enough to be chosen early on when teams were chosen, but I never excelled enough to make it to a real State rep team or anything. 

I tried my hand at lots of different sports/activities in my younger years. I played tennis, t-ball, swimming ,ballet, jazz ballet, line dancing, volleyball, basketball, badminton, and piano (to name a few).  I did ok, but was never particularly good at any of them. 

You know what I was good at though......quitting! I quit every single one of them.  I quit ballet because I lost my shoes and couldnt face everyone again. I quit a lot of sports because I enjoyed the actual matches but found training boring. I quit others because I wasn't disciplined enough to give them a real go so they became an inconvenience to me.  I didn't stay part of any club for long. 

Looking at my life now, I initially thought my track record into adult life isn't much better.  I'm not really part of any sporting or social club. But this week I realised throughout life, we join countless clubs. Some we join willingly, some we join unknowingly, some we join without any say in our mbership, and some we join without ever wanting to. 

Some clubs we are born into. I joined the 'girls club' simply be being born a girl. We girls are connected by having shared experiences as a result of our gender. That's about all that binds us, but don't let the size of the club fool you, it's a pretty tight knit club.

I was also born a 'Mormon'. This put me in the 'Christian club', but also the 'Mormon club'.  I'm still a part of both these clubs and hope to remain in good standing in both for the rest of my.....well, forever. 

I am part of the 'Bennallack club' along with my parents, siblings, and cousins. We are affiliated with other clubs that may have different names but we share the same DNA so we gather for club meetings and activities together (family dinners, reunions etc).  

Later in life I took a liking to a member of the 'Bush club' and decided to apply for dual membership. I am since a proud member of the 'Bush club' also. Anthony and I have even recruited two of our own members.  

I joined the 'Mothers club' nearly eight years ago now after deciding that nine months in the 'Pregnant woman's club' was enough for me. I was recruited once again several years later but found that the club's main beliefs were still weight gain, nausea, and exhaustion and so I quit again after another nine months membership.  They won't be suckering me back in again anytime soon. 

The 'Mothers club' comes with a lifelong membership.  It's demanding but a club I would be devastated to not be a part of.  It's members are very supportive of one another as we relate to each other well.  

Other clubs I have joined unwillingly. Off the top of my head I have joined the 'Death of a loved one club', the 'Chronic pain sufferers club',  and the 'Parent of a child with additional needs club'.  These clubs have very reluctant members, but they are also some of the most supportive clubs to be a part of.  Perhaps it's that none if us want to be there. Or maybe that none of us know what to do now we have joined. But there is comfort from associating with other members of these clubs.  There is comfort when the other members hear your story, your pain, your frustrations, your sadness, and they respond with; 

"Me too."

It's comforting to feel understood and know you aren't alone in your experiences. 

I don't know which club I will join next. I may get a say in it, but I may not. But one thing I do know is that by the time someone tells you to;

"Join the club"

Well, chances are you already have. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

To battle

In war, there is a term called a 'cease fire'. This refers to both sides agreeing to TEMPORARILY  stop fighting.

This amazes me! The fact that it is temporary means what they are fighting for isn't over, in fact they intend to continue the fighting, but for whatever reason, they need to rest for a time.  

There are even instances where cease fires were called for a few days to celebrate Christmas. 

I am part of some online mothers groups. I am also friends with a lot of mothers. We hear often about 'bad days '. Sometimes these bad days are not just days, they are weeks, and months. They are exhausting. I hear amongst these 'mothering communities' of mothers who are exhausted, who are struggling, and who don't know what to do.  Somedays I feel like this mother.  

I love my children and family so much. They are absolutely my source of joy. But like these mothers say, sometimes it's hard. It's tiring work that doesn't stop. There is the normal everyday work to put food on the table, pay the rent, and have clean clothes etc.  But some days just feel a bit tougher than others.

I think on days like this, all you can do is call a cease fire. Throw up your hands and recognise that for today, I need to stop the 'battle'. I need to rest because the fight is hard and long and I want to do the job right. So for today, I will rest so I can get up and fight again tomorrow. 

I think I will plan a 'cease fire' for tomorrow - just because.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A mummy report

Women by nature tend to be chatty. We like to talk.....about anything. There is something therapeutic about getting together with someone you love and trust and just having a good 'ol chat.

We want to chat when we have something wonderful we want to share. When we want to have a whinge. When we are bored. Or simply because we haven't spoken to anyone in the last fifteen minutes so we MUST be due for a conversation with SOMEONE!

One topic we seem to be constantly talking about it our precious offspring. We talk constantly about their development, their progress, their behaviour, their habits, and how they affect our lives.   People without children may think this will not happen to them......but just you wait!

I was thinking the other day about how my sons see me and my life. I was imagining what they would tell their friends if they were discussing me the way us Mummy's discuss our children.

I imagine them saying;

"My Mum is 349 months now and is coming along really well. She certainly has her days where she just pushes ALL my buttons, but then she tucks me in and kisses me goodnight and I can't help but forget all the times I was annoyed at her through the day.

She is currently going through a phase of just DESTROYING the kitchen. Everyday come afternoon, she goes through the cupboards getting out all the pots and pans and utensils and makes such a big mess. I can't understand it - we have perfectly good toys that I CONSTANTLY invite her to play with me but she just insists she will play with the toys later and would rather play with kitchen utensils and continues on making her mess. You pick your battles though so I leave her be, just as long as she doesn't expect me to clean up after her.

Thankfully we are now out of the "potty talk" phase! For a while there it was getting ridiculous. Constantly asking whether I was doing #1 or #2, how I was going in there, and even if she could come in! I couldn't even get a moments peace in the toilet. There were even times she would bring me a book to read to me WHILE I was doing my business. I love her, but I just need my space sometimes you know?

I was a little concerned about her temper tantrums recently. I have spoken to my brother about it and he agrees that between 3-7pm just seems to be her cranky time. We have tried distracting her by asking lots of questions, telling her we are hungry so she will have something to do, and arguing with each other to keep her occupied but she still seems to be difficult during these hours. Ah what's a child to do!

Oh her sleeping patterns have improved recently thankfully! She still seems to wake up a bit cranky but we just pre-empt this and solve it by waking her up before the sun while she is still a little tired to gently ease her into the day. We find the best method has been to come in at the crack of dawn and climb into her bed and cuddle for a while. So she doesn't try and fall back asleep, I find myself making up all kinds of small talk ranging from what I dreamt, to what toys I want to play with that day, to what I have named all my toes. If she is really kicking up a fight, I just pretend I'm stretching and give her a little kick in the ribs. I don't LIKE having to do it, but its for her own good you know?

But really, overall she is progressing really well and we all know that all Mummy's develop at their own pace. She still has plenty of time. I like to think that I have contributed a lot to how well she is doing. I don't even have any formal qualifications for being a child. It's all come naturally :)"

Sunday, July 14, 2013


The school holidays have come to an end. I am both thrilled and saddened at the same time. These past weeks have been a lot of fun, combined with plenty of bickering and 'dobbing'.

These holidays I cracked a pretty heavy duty riddle though. For almost 8 years I have tried to figure out how these little people we allow into our lives have so much power over us as grown adults.

Surely by looking at us, you would think parents would always be the superior beings. Our size and strength alone means we 'should' be able to rule the world of children with ease.

Secondly, our fully developed brains should indicate intelligence so superior that we have no hope of being mentally broken.

Finally, we have a host of 'super powers' that come into effect the minute that baby is put into your arms.

There is the power of disguise. We can disguise unwanted vegetables, meats, and any other foods so well our targets have no idea they are consuming anything nutritious. We can disguise chores as a game, and a boring errand as something adventurous.

There is the power of super tuned hearing. No matter how big the crowd, or how quiet the call, we can pick the voice/cry of our own little person. Even if 1000 children were calling "Mum!!", we are able to identify the single voice calling us.

And of course the ever necessary eyes in the back of our heads. No need to use the rear view mirror, we know who is causing trouble in the back seat. We know when faces are being pulled behind our backs, and who is pinching who before anyone places any blame.

Female adult species are bestowed an extra gift of additional (yet invisible) hands and an all-knowing mind. They know where everyone and everything is at ALL times and use their additional hands to cook dinner, whilst feeding a child, talking on the phone, AND doing the banking online.

We are well equipped to conquer the little beings in our home. Yet time and time again they come out on top. Logic had left me lost as to how they do it. What is their hidden power? Their kryptonite to our superpowers?

I have found the answer these holidays. All children posses a superpower that leaves us weak and bordering on helpless.

It is the power of.....endless energy.

This superpower weakens all adult defences. It begins with sleep being unnecessary, happily exchanged for midnight games and DVD watching.  Then comes rising before the sun, and the need for constant movement. It is able to transform a well planned day into wild mess. Order into chaos. It turns an organised mind into a chunk of cheese.

Thankfully these powers weaken with time and begin to taper after several years. Strangely enough, at around the 13 year mark, the opposite seems to come into effect and what was once a wild ball of endless energy turns into what can only be described as a sloth. I never thought I would say this but part if me is looking forward to the teenage years.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Best things

As a family of limited income, I am fond of the saying;

"The best things in life are free."

You generally hear this term in reference to things like family, friends, lazy days at home in your pj's, weekly lunchtime trips to the park with your children, etc.

But not a single one of these things is actually 'free'. All of them come at a cost of some sort. I love spending time with my little family. My world wouldn't be half as joyous without them. I don't have to open my wallet every time I want to spend time with them (lucky, as my wallet is normally empty), but having my family has come at a cost. A significant cost.

Having children is a HUGE expense. Perhaps one of the biggest expenses you can commit to. It also requires you to give your time, your sleep, and oft times your sanity. It is far from free.

Friends also come at a cost. To have friends, you actually need to be a friend and that requires your time. When needed it requires sacrifice to help. It requires you to give your ears to listen and your shoulder to cry on.

Having the freedom to spend lazy days at home, or impromptu trips to the park are popular in our house. We don't pay to do them, but for me to be able to do them with my children, we give up a second income. If we were so desperate to have more to spend as we wish, we could work longer hours, or get another job, but we made a decision that we wanted to have time for our family, particularly for me as a Mother. It was important to both of us that I could be home to raise our children if there was a way for us to make that work. But of course that decision has come at a cost.

These are of course bigger examples, but even though the best things in my life may 'technically' be free, they do indeed come at a cost. Those costs I would pay time and time again without as much as batting an eyelid, as they are the best investments I have made. They make me happy. The kind of contented happy that makes you feel so blessed every day no matter what life throws at you.

The best things in life aren't free at all, there just isn't a monetary price that can be put on them. They aren't free, they are priceless.

Friday, June 28, 2013


Had a chat in the car with my little fellas earlier this week. The topic of our conversation? Marriage. It seems to be a rather dominant conversation topic in our home, along with trains, Mario, Sonic, planes, and jail.

I told the boys that when I was younger and thought about what kind of man I wanted to marry, I wanted to marry someone kind, smart, with a good sense of humour, someone who wanted children and who would put family first.

I asked the boys what kind of qualities they would like their future wife to have.

Tony was quiet for a moment and after some thought he said he wanted to marry someone who wanted to have children, who was a hard worker, who was a nice person, who didn't break the law, who didn't smoke or swear, and who could cook. Oh, and someone who liked Mario and Sonic.

This seemed like a pretty good list to me. I think I would be pretty happy with a daughter-in-law like this.

I asked Carter the same question. His list of qualities was much shorter. He said;

"I want a girl with a short skirt and a long jacket."

Friday, June 14, 2013

True villains

Tony and I watched 'Rumpelstiltskin' a few weeks back on YouTube. He hadn't heard the story before and found it very interesting. We then watched 'Hansel and Gretal'.  Tony was gobsmacked with how awful the stepmother was. He had seen the 'Hansel and Gretal' movie at his Aunty's house but I could tell he really couldn't fathom the idea of a mother leading her children out to a forest and left to starve just because there wasn't enough food to feed all four of them. What a horrible, horrible woman!

I agree.  It is horrible......if the story is accurate.

It seems that the story we hear is the children's side of it all. I'm not saying its completely wrong, just that if we heard the step mother's story, perhaps we wouldn't view her as such a villain.  Let's give a fellow mother the benefit of the doubt - we all know what kids are like right?

I see flaws in this story which lead me to believe Hansel and Gretal may have taken a few liberties in their story.

1.  They WILLINGLY went into the woods with their Father and Stepmother and when told to stay there as their parents left.....they did.  One word here raises doubt to this story.


  Not likely!

2. When they overhead their parents planning the night before they were taken into the woods for the first time, they gathered white pebbles to help them find their way back.  Now I can't speak for anyone else but my boys can hardly plan where to put their next foot when walking, let alone plan to outsmart a supposed 'nasty' Stepmother.

3. The lack of bickering.  At no point in this story do Hansel and Gretal argue, bicker, or tease me another.  This story has GOT to be false.

It's not that I think the whole thing is a big fat lie.  I just think it didn't quite happen as we have heard it.

Suppose 'perfect' little Hansel and Gretal didn't take kindly to their new step mother.  Suppose they refused to eat the nutritious meals she slaved over.

Perhaps they WERE sent out into the forest, but only to find berries, and they wandered off and decided to muck about for hours on end and get lost.  Instead of wanting to get in trouble, perhaps they made up an elaborate story.  Yes, it's a good story.....but it REEKS of childish imagination. I mean a house made of sweets with a witch inside to lure unsuspecting children?

COME ON!! It sounds a little too convenient to me.

For all we know, this poor step mother could have just sent them out of the house for a moments peace.  Just a quiet hour to clean up the never ending mess, to be away from the never ending barrage of questions;

"What can I eat?"

"Where is my other shoe?"

"I want to play the WII but its not working properly! Muuuuummm can you fix it!!"

(I know WII didn't exist in 1990 but MAYBE Hansel and Gretal had one in old time Germany??)

Perhaps she just wanted a moments peace to go to the bathroom alone or shower without having to referee arguments over who is Peppa Pig and who is Brother George.

Now I would never send my children out to the woods alone! I'm not condoning this at all.  But I see flaws ind these stories we are told and the more I think about it, I am pretty certain Hansel and Gretal is a story passed around by these two cunning children to get their Father back to themselves and become little heroes in the meantime.

Or maybe I am wrong.  Maybe they really did outsmart their parents, find a house of lollies, and defeat a witch.

Maybe I just have too much time on my hands.

Monday, June 3, 2013

On this day

A post from Anthony:

The fourth of June is a date of significance for me.

It is the day that I celebrate my beautiful wife's birthday. It is also the day that I lost my elder brother some 13 years ago. 

I remember waking in the middle of the night to see two police officers telling my Mum and Dad that there had been accident and that their son had been killed.  I will never forget the pain that I felt that night.  Equally I will never forget the love shown to my family in the immediate hours of our tragedy. The strength of character that I saw in my parents moves me to tears as I think of it.  While their own hearts were broken for the loss of their son, they  remained stoic as one by one their children would wake.  As each child would wake and come down the stairs Mum and Dad would explain to them what had happened that night and that Gene would not be coming home.  I cant begin to imagine what they must have been feeling in those moments but I am forever grateful to them for their amazing strength. Without anytime to deal with their own pain they began to comfort and strengthen their children and reassure us all that things were going to be ok.

The example of my parents on that June 4th night in the year 2000 helped to shape me as a man.

Jo never met my brother Gene. I first met Jo on the 15th of February 2004.  Less than a year after our first meeting, she would become my wife.  While I have been married to Jo for 8 of the 9 years that I have known her, it is strange to me to think that it has only been that short.  It feels like we've been part of each others lives for much longer than that.  I never knew her as a child or teenager but when she is telling our boys stories from when she was younger I feel like those stories are a part of "us".  It's not just that they are familiar to me in the sense that I have heard them before either.  The stories and experiences of her past have helped her to become the beautiful woman that she is now.  I love everything about her- and all the things that have lead her to be this way.  She is the strongest person I know. 

We always joke that we would never have been friends growing up- but now I can't think of life without her in it. Happy birthday Jobags! 

On this day I am full of gratitude for two people that I love dearly.  One that I was lucky enough to call my brother and the other my girl.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Birthday Blues

So my 29th birthday is coming up and I was thinking to myself;

"Hmmm, 29 isn't that old right?  I mean, having a 7 year old can make me feel old, but I know that in most peoples opinion 29 is still on the younger side."

I was feeling good about this.

Enter Tony.

On Friday night, the movie 'Suddenly 30' was on.  I asked the boys if they wanted to watch and they seemed interested.  Early on in the movie, Jenna (Jennifer Garner's character) wants to be older.  Her ideal age is 30 (ahh the stupidity of youth).  To try and make herself appear a little more...ahem...mature, she stuffs her bra with tissues and is busted by her Mother.

My clueless boys found this baffling and Tony asked me;

"Mum, why is she doing that?"

I gave a simple, yet what I thought was sufficient, answer.

"She is doing it to look older, like a grown up woman."

He gave a laugh and shook his head at such a silly idea.  Then he stung me twice in one comment as he replied;

"That's dumb isn't it Mum.  Look, you only have little ones and you're old!"

So this birthday I have been reminded that I am old AND in Tony's opinion  flat-chested.  Thanks Tones.....thanks a bunch!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A little night time crazy

There are certain little things in life that I take great pleasure in. Some I know are probably on the more common side, some maybe not so much. But life is about loving the little things right?

•Clean, fresh sheets

•Having my grocery shopping completed and home by 9:30am

•Having dinner done by lunchtime

•Separating my lollies (no matter what kind they are) into colour groups and eating one colour at a time.

•Putting on my socks and having no wrinkles

•Cleaning my ears with cotton buds (I know, I know, you shouldn't do this)

•The taste and texture of raw spaghetti

•The washing basket empty

•Licking my finger and putting it in sand and eating it (I don't know where this came from but I have craved sand as long as I can remember)

•A full fruit bowl with a variety of colours

•Leftovers for breakfast

•Finally popping that stubborn pimple

•Scratching a mosquito bite and getting it to bleed so it will finally stop itching!

•Being in bed by 8:30pm

•Getting a piece of apple/popcorn out that was stuck between my teeth

•Having the exact amount of change in my wallet that I need

•Measuring cups of flour and leveling them off with a knife and seeing it PERFECTLY smooth

•Wrapping a sandwich in cling wrap just right

•Pulling into the Macca's drive thru and your food being ready for you when you get to that final window without barely even having to stop

Now that you have wasted a few precious minutes reading this ridiculous list, just admit were agreeing with at least one of these!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Glad today is over

Unless Tony and Carter are actually arguing with one another, we don't often have to tell them off at the same time. They are considerate enough to generally take turns being rat bags so we can tell them off one at a time.

Tony was fantastic all day today.

You know what that means for Carter......

By golly he had a SHOCKER of a day. I won't go into all the details but by lunchtime he had been a right old grump for over 2 hours. Anthony and I were patient with him.....oh boy were we patient.

But that patience cracked. You know how sometimes you can be patient for the most difficult behavior but its something tiny that cracks it. What cracked me? A little bowl of corn kernels.

Carter had calmed down and was closer to his normal self, but upon being told the result of his poor behavior this morning would be not being able to perform a concert for us (something he was looking forward to) until tomorrow, he saw red.

In his anger, he ran out the back and took a little bowl of corn kernels with him. He dramatically tipped the bowl on the floor and waited for my reaction.

I was ticked off, but didn't want to show him he had got the better of me. I sternly told him that he could not come inside until he had picked up every single corn kernel and put it back in the bowl. He didn't like this but I stayed firm and calm. He started to pick them up but then ran off yelling insults (I will share these later). I came outside again and with less control I told him to come back and finish his job.

Repeat this several times and fast forward 30 minutes and you will find me no longer calm, brandishing a wooden spoon, threatening to chase him around the back yard if need be. Thankfully the threat was enough!

He certainly tested us both today but we both kept our cool rather well for the most part. Aside from my outburst outside - neighbors I apologize.

During the disaster of a day that was today, we got some gems from Carter. In trying his best to show his anger he came up with some interesting insults.

To me;

"You eat at the toilet restaurant!! "

And to Anthony;


Talk about harsh huh!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

What my children have turned me into

Remember the game 'Opposites'? Where "yes" means "no" and "no" means "yes". Where saying you "hate" chocolate really means you "love" chocolate.

Life with children becomes a permanent game of opposites. With Mothers Day just a couple of days away, it really made me think about how being a Mother has changed my life and me as a person. I became a mother at 21. I know that by the world's standards, this is on the younger side. I was still a Uni student and my peers were leading very different lives from playgroups and baths in the kitchen sink. It was hard work, and I'm not saying I enjoyed every aspect of being a mother, but I loved our life.

But the presence of this tiny person in your life changes your priorities. It shifts certain things from important to unimportant. From a necessity to a luxury. Such as 8 hours sleep - it used to be the minimum sleep requirement but once a baby is in the house, 8 hours sleep STRAIGHT is nothing short of a miracle deserving of a Facebook announcement.

Tony is 7 now, and I still haven't got this parenting thing down pat. But I love the 'opposites' that have taken place since Tony and Carter came along.

A quiet weekend. Pre-kids a quiet weekend was boring. It meant you were wasting those precious days off work. A quiet weekend felt like a failure. As a Mother, quiet weekends are precious. Once I had children I became excited when we have a quiet weekend.

Shopping. Why in heavens does anyone ENJOY shopping??? I do recall sometime ago, back when I had my sanity, I used to actually CHOOSE to go shopping for fun! But now I shop for groceries, birthday presents, winter clothes, new school shoes, child neurofen, and countless handballs to replace the ones that end up on the school roof at recess time. I DO NOT enjoy window shopping anymore. Why would I when I could be at home on the couch watching Ellen?

This brings me to my choice of clothes. I was never particularly stylish, but I did try and make SOME effort. I still try and at least appear decent, but I'm not gonna lie - I do look at certain clothes and wonder;

"Can I get away with going bra-less under this? Would anyone know if I just wore this over the top of my pajamas? Will food smears and boogas be camouflaged?"

Dining out.  Ah I can't tell if it was real or a dream but food was once a social thing. You enjoyed eating new foods and scanned the menu freely milling over all the tasty sounding option. My choice of a restaurant is now one that has a kids play area that I can supervise without getting up from my seat and re-fills for the echildren (heaven knows they wont eat their meal but they will certainly drink their weight in drink). I know eating with children means their attention span clocks start ticking the second you walk through the door so I check the menu online to save time and of course the all important instructions to the waiter;

"Just bring it out as its ready. I don't care if dessert comes first and I end up with soup and a side plate of fries at the end, just bring it as its ready."

Handbag size.  A cute, girlie little handbag was once something to show off.  Other female friends admired such a purchase.  Of course you couldn't really carry anything aside from a credit card and lip gloss.....but look how cute!  Even though I 'technically' am not in need of a nappy bag these days, my handbag has pretty much taken over the job.  If it doesn't resemble the bag Mary Poppins had, it's useless to me.  On any given day you could check in my handbag and find my wallet, keys, diary, 11 pens, gum, a muesli bar, tweezers, a banana, lollipops, 99 bobby pins, a sandwich, wipes, tissues, floss, hand sanitizer, toy cars .... You get the picture.  I am going to take this opportunity to brag and tell you I ALWAYS win the handbag game at Bridal Showers.  It's my shining moment!  Pre-children you go for cute little handbags, post-children it's a case of the bigger the better.

And of course this opposites game affects your sleep.  Not just that you once gots some and now you don't, but your sleep patterns.  I recall a time when it was great staying up late.  Fun stuff happened late.  If there was a dance or party on that started at 8pm, it was vital to not show up til about 10pm because it wasn't fun yet.  You stayed up late and simply slept late the next morning to make up for it.  But no longer!  A sleep in is 7am.  To make up for this lack of sleep, I have, like many Mothers, resorted to adding those extra much-needed hours of sleep to the evening instead.  Once my boys are in bed, I'm in bed. Normally by 8pm - I kid you not.  I even make sure I am in my pajamas about 5pm so I don't have to waste precious sleep time getting changed.  Any social event I go to, I am mindful of the clock. Once it hits 9:30pm, I turn into Cinderella trying to get home before midnight.  My mental clock is counting down how many hours of sleep I will get if I go to bed much later.   I know,
I know, I am extremely lame!

You see though.  It's not just little changes to your life - in many cases it is a complete 360.   Becoming a mother has changed my life in such a way that no other decision can even come close.  It's not glamorous or easy, but boy do I love it!  I am so thankful I get to be the mother of my two precious monkeys - they make my world brighter than I ever thought it could be.

Friday, May 10, 2013

This one's for you

I know my children think I can do just about anything. In their eyes, anything is possible. It comes with the 'Mum' territory. That is why they can't fathom how I forgot to sign their homework while I was making lunch, finding clean clothes, brushing teeth, finding pairs of shoes, filling drink bottles, wiping spilt breakfast, finding shoes that ACTUALLY match, and getting library books that need returning.

I thought the same of my Mum. Even with 6 children, she could do it all. She was patient, capable, kind, hard-working, and charitable. She was showered every day. She made a home-cooked dinner each night. She helped us with our homework. She even found time to spend 30 minutes one-on-one with each of us once a week after the other kids were in bed. In my eyes, Mum was perfect.

Once you get older and hit those teenage years, you realize your parents are mere mortals who actually do get tired, cranky, and frustrated. They don't have unlimited stores of smiles and energy. They have their worries and share of bad days. They sometimes ruin your fun and have no idea what it's like to be your age (you know, when they were clearly born as 30 year olds already armed with a mortgage and children). You see your parents are human.

I don't think it was until I became a Mother myself that I really 'saw' my own Mum. I now see how strong she was. Every challenge that I faced with a new baby, I asked my Mum because she had done this 6 times. When I was in need of a listening ear during the day, I would call my Mum. When I was at the end of my tether with exhaustion, I would think of my Mum, because somehow she did this and didn't seem to crack it. I don't think my Mum is perfect, because noone is, but when you have children of your own, you almost go back to that child-like perspective of your Mum. I am in the young-child stage of life, and I know that amidst the joy and satisfaction, comes some tough moments. My memories of being young always involve my Mum smiling and laughing, taking us to the park, cooking in the kitchen, lying on the hallway floor reading us stories, and sitting next to her on the couch having my back scratched. Knowing the realities of parenting, my view of my Mother is back to SuperMum.

Happy Mothers Day!
Love you Mum xxxx

Monday, May 6, 2013

So politically incorrect

Today was a good day. Nothing special in particular happened, and I guess in some ways that is part of what made it good, that our everyday routine makes me happy.

I had errands to run as usual (doctors appointment for me in the morning, and one for Carter in the afternoon), Anthony had work, Tony had school, and I had a friend visit briefly (which is always nice). Having two appointments in the one day is a big day for me at the moment physically so I was a bit apprehensive about how I would go, but I managed well enough and an early dinner and bed should help just fine.

There was nothing grand about today though. There was of course a few amusing/humiliating moments courtesy of Mr Tarts, but that is to be expected.

Just prior to my doctors appointment, I went to the post office to mail something off for Mothers Day. While Carter and I waited in line, he checked out the about 70-year-old gentleman behind us, who smiled and said hi to Carter. Once we had been served, I went to the little bench to address our card. By the time I had finished, the man behind us had also finished being served and so as we walked out, he happened to be walking out behind us. As the automatic doors opened for us to walk through, Carter tugged on my hand and loudly announced for all to hear;

"Mum, I'm getting pretty scared. That guy walking behind us, I think he is following us. Yep, look at him, he is DEFINITELY following us. It's so scary."

In this man's defence, he was definitely NOT following us. I don't think he could have kept pace with us if he tried. He was simply in line behind us and happened to be walking out the doors as we were. BUT.....the embarrassment only got worse as we headed to our GP.

We have a great GP. She always runs about an hour late and you have to know you are going to be sick about three weeks in advance to get an appointment, but she is worth it. She is Asian, but has a very Australian accent and Carter really likes her and can understand her easily. She always makes an effort to make a trip to the doctor pleasant for our boys and has great bedside manner. I was going to tell you her name.....but she is already busy enough and I don't want anyone else to try and steal her time :)

Anyway, while we where in her office and she was talking to me, Carter was watching her with interest. After about ten minutes, he leant forward resting his elbow on her desk with his chin in his hands and announced;

" You're Asian!"

I must add here that for the past few months, Carter has been interested in all things Chinese. Prior to that is was all about Samoa. He is very keen to spot anyone who looked Chinese to him while we are out and about but often he points it out to us. I can tell you it is MUCH more embarrassing when he is telling the actual person.

Our doctor thankfully misheard and said with a smile;

"I'm ANCIENT?? Oh no, I didn't think I was that old, am I Carter?"

BUT.......,Carter made sure he clarified himself.

"No, I said you're ASIAN. You know, Chinese, Japanese. What are you?"

I literally had nothing to say.

She laughed and complimented Carter on speaking so well. I wasn't feeling so complimentary.

Yes, it was embarrassing, but it makes me laugh thinking about it. See, not a perfect day, but we started the day happy and we went to bed happy. There were no major dramas and everyone is relatively healthy. We ate dinner together and spent time playing together. Our boys were kissed goodnight and tucked up in bed and we read 'The Famous Five' together for a little while. Everything that we needed to get done today got done. I love when life is 'normal' for us - it brings such a feeling of contentment.

It was a good day.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Rooting for the devil

Our boys played their first game of Rugby Union yesterday. They played for the Gosford Devils as our local team (Kariong) didn't have enough players to make teams in the boys age groups. Carter played in the Under 7's and Tony in the Under 8's.

I am not much of a sports fan. It's just not my thing. However, it's different when its your own children playing. If you want to have a good laugh, watch a kids sports match. Tony's game I was entertained because it was exciting watching my big boy playing. Carter's game just had me cracking up.

Carter was so excited to play. He has been talking about it non-stop. Anthony and I weren't too sure how he would be once he was out on the field though; his excitement usually gets the better of him. When we play hide-and-seek, he hides but as soon as you call out;

"Ready or I come!"

Carter comes bursting from his hiding place and comes running to you in fits of laughter. He simply cannot contain himself!

We imagined him running with the ball and seeing the opposing team coming for him and turning the opposite direction, throwing the ball in the air and running off laughing.

But he didn't, he kept up and chased the ball around as best as his little legs could carry him. He did great - even if he did try and convince the coach they needed to do a haka mid-game.

Tony was next up. He really impressed me. Tony had played a season of League when he was 4 and he ran like he was holding invisible briefcases. He was also pretty shy when it came to tackling other players. He tried hard but I was just imagining him playing like an older version of his 4 year old self. He was so much better though! He got right in there and wasn't shy at all to tackle and chase the ball. He even scored a try early in the game. He had a great sense at following the ball and was always right in the middle of the action. He did get rather puffed in the last part of the game, but managed to keep up til the very end where he had the final run and almost scored but was tackled at the last metre or so.

Carter was his biggest fan though and cheered for Tony the whole game, even when he was nowhere near the ball. When a member of the other team tackled Tony, Carter exclaimed;

"That team, they are trying to snatch the ball from MY brother!"

He got very protective. When Tony took a knock to the hip during that final tackle and was hurt, Carter rushed on over and squatted down in front of an upset Tony and insisted Tony tell him who hurt him. He kept saying;

"Tell me who did it Tony. Who hurt you? Was it that guy? Tell me!"

I am curious as to what he would have done had we told him but we thought it best he just learn this is part of the game and that the other player hasn't done anything wrong. He is a very protective younger brother.

It was a long time to be upright for me and was exhausting, but it was worth every second. I look forward to a lot more entertainment from my little fellows!

And now for a few pictures.....

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Signs of intelligent life

I cannot tell you how many times a day I answer a 'W' question. You know the kind I'm talking about.

Who? What? When? Where? And of course the most frequent....Why?

In the case of Carter, these questions aren't always asked correctly. For example:

Me: "Who wants noodles for lunch?"
Carter: "Where?"

But for the majority of his questions, he gets them right, and there is always a bunch of questions following whatever answers he is given.

Tony is a "need all the information" kind of guy. You can't just brush him off as he is easily worried and I think having all the knowledge he can possibly get makes him feel more secure.

Needless to say, there is a lot of questioning going on in our house and at times it drives me crazy.

Lately on Facebook, I have seen a few different videos/quotes about how the way we measure academic achievement and how what is taught in school may not always be relevant/useful in a students life.

This actually got me thinking a little about what I think IS of value that I learnt in school. Obviously basic math and English are crucial. I loved to read so I enjoyed English. But I was bad at math. I don't have a mathematical/scientific kind of mind. I recall being taught matrixes in Year 12 math (much of which I wagged to go to Pizza Hut and get free pizza from my brother I must admit). I have not once, in the 12 years since I finished high school ever used a matrix. I know in some professions it may very well be useful, but I knew my abilities and was going to be avoiding any Matrix-using professions like the plague.

Now as a parent, the biggest skill I would like my children to acquire in school is the ability to receive information, and to question that information. To be able to ask the questions that will help them understand WHY that information is of worth to them. To understand that they may be presented with an idea, but to know that there may be other ideas, perhaps even better ideas for them to consider. I want them to WANT more information before accepting something as fact. I don't want "because I said so" to be enough.  I want them to ask why it's of value to learn about a matrix. I want them to ask why certain events in our history as mankind happened and how they were allowed to happen, in a hope their generation doesn't make the same mistakes, perhaps even the mistakes we are still making today. I want them to have an education that's relevant.

The only way I see them finding that is by asking who, what, when, where, and why.

Of course I expect they are not rude about it, but that they have an inquiring mind, in the hopes that by finding meaning in what they are learning, they will desire to master that knowledge.

So as much as it may drive me crazy on a day-to-day basis, today I realized that the constant questioning is my boys making meaning of the information we give them. It's their own way of making it relevant to their life. Even questions like:

"Why can't I wear thongs and tracksuit pants?"

"Why is my boogas sticky?"

"How many minutes til next Saturday?"

"Where did I leave my DS charger yesterday when you told me to put it somewhere safe?"

(I know I'm not the only one who would have to take a calm breath before a answering some of these).

Sunday, April 21, 2013


There is a quote that gets thrown about a lot amongst Mormon circles. I have heard it for as long as I can remember. It doesn't make it any less true though.

"No other success can compensate for failure in the home".

When I was still a teenager (you know, just up until recently *cough cough*), I thought this was referring to the rising divorce rates.

I just realized recently that there is so much more to it.

As long as things within our home are ok, I am ok. I'm not saying I have the perfect family by any stretch of the imagination. There are tantrums and tears on a regular basis - and I don't just mean from Anthony ;o).

We enjoy each others company and there is laughter in our home every single day without fail.

We tell each other we love each other several times a day, usually without even realizing out of habit. I don't think this makes it any less meaningful though, rather I think it means we feel this way all the time so it doesn't seem out of the ordinary to say it.

We fight sometimes. But deep down, even though our children sometimes say they want new parents, I know they love us more than anything. I know because they say they never want to get married because they don't want to leave us. We as parents feel somewhat differently.

We get excited over family outings. We went to a movie together a few days ago to use some movie tickets I got for my birthday. We only do this once or twice a year because of the cost, but I was looking forward to it all day. I got messages from Anthony during the day telling me he was excited too. Tony and Carter told their school and preschool friends about it. Our family date brought me joy, but not as much as knowing how much we were looking forward to spending time together.

I am happiest when we are all home just lazing about together. This is my idea of a perfect way to spend the day.

I think what I consider our 'success' is our stability. We may not know exactly what the future will bring for us, but I know there is an 'us'. We are happy and that is all I need.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Surgeon general

Some days, I feel like a good mother. When I go to sleep at night, I feel like I can honestly say that I tried really hard to be patient and kind and to put my boys first.

Other days I go to sleep resolving to do better. I think of where I went wrong and how I can improve on it.

Truthfully, the latter are the more frequent days.

I believe part of that is my own shortcomings as a human being, but the other part is that there is no training to prepare you for being a parent. To have to learn everything on the spot, and those challenges are constantly changing with each new stage your child enters into.

Having a child is like suddenly finding yourself in a pair of scrubs in an operating theatre with a body in front of you and a scalpel in your hand. You are told the patient is your responsibility now. You know you don't know how to operate and share your concerns at never having done it before. You're told not to worry, just keep them alive and the rest you will figure out as you go along.

The problem is your patient can't tell you where they have pain, why they are on your table, or how to help them.

Until our children can speak and articulate themselves, its often a guessing game. Hence so many of us parents tell our children;

"What do you need? I'm not a mind reader!!"

You want to hear so examples of my not-no-stellar parenting you say? Well you are in luck, there are plenty to choose from.

1. Telling the boys to stop whining and go to sleep only to find myself later cleaning a vomit soaked bed and child. I guess THIS time that sore tummy was legit. I now tell the story if the boy who cried "sore tummy".

2. Bribery for pretty much.....everything. Enough said.

3. Calling the boys into the lounge room on a Saturday afternoon to watch "this great movie" that was on only to have them covering their eyes begging me to put on something else. I guess "Jaws" isn't the movie of choice for 4 and 6 year olds.

4. Dragging Carter onto the Madagascar roller coaster because he is going to "have so much fun!" He ended up screaming the entire ride:

"STOP! I don't like it!!!!"

5. Putting the boys to bed late because I can't be bothered getting up and tucking them in.

6. Putting the boys to be at 6:15pm because I want to go to bed.

7. Numerous fairy bread sandwiches packed for school lunches.

8. Telling the boys there is supermarket security guards who look for children who aren't sitting in the trolley or walking alongside the trolley holding on. Thankfully I was able to "prove" this to my skeptical children when I pointed out the parking ticket ranger. No further questions have been asked.

9. Both our boys got a wrapped up potato for Christmas. We explained that their sometimes poor behavior had turned one of their toys into a potato. They were not impressed.

10. Locking myself in my room to 'fold laundry' (read: watching a DVD for 20 mins in peace).

These are just the first few that came to mind. I mess up A LOT!

You have a life in your hands and no idea what you are doing. But new parents do it everyday. We fumble and mess up, but we keep these little people alive, and on the good days, we feel like we can scrub out and know we have done a good job.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Isn't it funny how you can remember some really obscure, insignificant things.

A long, long time ago....Anthony and I were newlyweds. I worked at Coles and studied full-time and Anthony worked in the city and would commute by train. I would drop him at Woy Woy train station at 6:45am and pick him up about 6:30pm.

The excitement of being a 'wife' meant I found joy from the stupidest things. I felt pride in making my HUSBAND's (you know how newly married girls pronounce that word with a dreamy look in their eyes) lunches each morning. I stood back and admired our neatly set, oversized-for-our-tiny-unit dinner table. I pat my self on the back when I figured out finally how to pay a bill via 20 years old! Cleaning the bathroom was actually kind of fun for about 2 weeks.

One thing I didn't really enjoy was making dinner. I come from an early-dinner family and the idea of waiting til Anthony got home at 6:30pm and cooking dinner together was just unfathomable. Instead I made dinner and had it all ready to eat once we got back from the train station. Everyday I would ponder over what to make and then whip it up and cross my fingers that it would turn out ok. My cooking skills have improved since then and along the way I started to actually enjoy cooking, but it wasn't always this way.

One memorable moment from our early days of marriage is when I bought a BBQ chicken to have for dinner and made up some roast potatoes, carrots, broccoli, corn on the cob, and gravy to go with it. I served it all up and ducked off to grab Anthony from the train station. Once we came home, Anthony expressed his appreciation for dinner and several times throughout the meal commented on how much he enjoyed it.

Once we had finished dinner and were tidying up the kitchen, Anthony was scraping some leftovers into the bin. Suddenly I heard a horrified gasp as he spun around holding the BBQ chicken bag in his hand. As if he had discovered a murder weapon he exclaimed;

"What? You didn't make this! You bought the chicken!"

To which I shrugged my shoulders and said;

"I know. I never said I made it."

Anthony was cracking up laughing by this point and said;

"But I kept complimenting you on the meal and you kept saying 'thankyou'. You made out like you had made it. There was even gravy!"

In my head, I HAD made the meal. Well, all except the chicken. But that's the easy part. All you do is put it in a roasting pan in the oven. The side dishes are what takes up all the time and effort! In my head, I had never pretended to make the chicken. The wrapper was put in the bin because I was finished with it, not to hide the evidence. By the end of the conversation we were both laughing stupidly. But I remember this. I remember it like it was yesterday and it still makes me smile because we are still those same people and we would react the same way all these years later.

And eight years on I still find joy in making Anthony's lunch every day. That is about 2000 lunches. All made with love. I'm just saying.

I am also just saying that Mother's Day is a month away.