Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Lose 5kgs in 30 days update

Image from here
After spending the last 10 days diligently following my food plan, exercising, and drinking truckloads of water, I braved the scales today.

I have been feeling good, once the initial caffeine withdrawal from the Coke zero addiction had worn off. This low GI, high protein eating keeps me fuller for longer. I haven't had a real sense of feeling 'hungry' since Day 2 when I ate all my rations by midday and had to last the afternoon by sipping water and counting the minutes until dinner.

The daily exercise has been hard to squeeze in. I have had a few 8km runs, a game of Futsal, but mostly I have been relying on my 30 Day Shred DVD (Thanks Jillian Michaels). I catch glimpses of myself in the windows as I jump up and down in the lounge room, usually in my bra, PJ pants and socks, and wonder if I haven't lost a few marbles. Does losing the plot actually equate to grams on the scales?

I have been organised. I have been healthy. I have not faltered.

I have lost 2.5kgs.

Well on my way to being shredded. Well on the way to losing the last 5kgs. Well on my way to feeling in control of my eating. Already feeling a glimmer of positive body confidence.

I just need to keep the momentum.

How are you going? What are the biggest contributors to your success?

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Doo Dah did it again!

Image from here
Doo Dah managed to get two of his fingers jammed in the car door last Friday. There was such a huge indent in them and they swelled immediately and he would not let me get ice onto them.

It was a stressful moment. I had to make a quick decision about whether or not he needed an x-ray.

We had just arrived home from playgroup for the twin's daytime nap when the incident occurred so they were less than ready for a trip the hospital but the Geege was doing the Oxfam Trailwalker and not available to help.

It was one o'clock and Nugget would need to be picked up from school at 3.10pm.

My last effort at the emergency department had me thinking the worst.

Decisions, decisions.

So many thoughts running through my head while my little mate screamed and refused my rusty first aid.

I took another look at the fingers and decided that I needed to be sure that nothing major was wrong. I know kid's bones are flexible but how can you crush your fingers like that and not cause any damage?

Off we went. Neither of the twin's had their shoes on (they have an annoying habit of taking off their shoes. Just because they can) and were tired and whingey. Doo Dah was holding his effected hand up in the air (that would prevent some swelling. Right?). We were a motley crew but we had arrived less than half an hour after the injury occurred.

We arrived. I expected to wait but we were triaged immediately and Doo Dah was given some Panadol (why hadn't I thought of that?). We were sent straight to x-ray. We waited no more than ten minutes to have the x-rays done. We wandered back over to the ED. Had a couple of games on the iPhone. Iced the fingers. Got some chips out of the vending machine for the kids. And then we saw the doctor who confirmed that all was indeed well and Doo Dah should make a full recovery in a couple of days. Phew...

A big gold star to the emergency department.

Another near miss.

We picked Nugget up from school as if nothing had happened.

Another day in the life.

Monday, 29 August 2011

The fine art of balance

Image from here
One of the hardest things about being a wife is compromising.

One of the hardest things about being a mother is watching your child be left out, forgotten, hurt or wanting.

One of the hardest things about being an auntie is having too little time to spend with your nieces and nephews.

One of the hardest things about being a friend is listening to all the details about someone else's life without being asked about your own.

One of the hardest things about being a daughter is watching your parents get older.

One of the hardest things about being a sister is keeping your opinions to yourself and letting them just be.

One of the hardest things about being an employee is squeezing a full-time role into part-time hours.

One of the hardest things about being a fledgling runner is finding the time to pound the pavement so that each run is not an act of self-torture.

One of the hardest things about life is finding balance.

What are the hardest things about the roles that you fulfill?

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Washing children's hair

Image by Shelley Jones
I will admit it. I loathe having to wash the children's hair. It is a nightmare! They all freak out. No-one follows the instructions we give them and it always ends in tears. We used to do it twice a week, but all the angst has us weaned down to Sunday nights only. We dread it.

Over the years we have tried many different approaches to hair washing. The flannel-over-the-eyes with a jug of water poured gently over the hair, the "look up at the ceiling" with a jug of water poured gently over the hair, the self-catered post scrub dunk, and, most recently, the 'lay back' where the child lies down throughout the ordeal  task.

None of them has worked, although the Geege has had marginally more success than I have so it is now his job (I am devastated!).

Doo Dah is the worst hair washer known to Humankind. He gets suds in his eyes no matter which technique we try. He always freaks in the middle of the 'rinse' phase, moves and cops a whole jug of water and suds in his eyes. He is beginning to rebel any time the words "hair wash night" are uttered by us.

Nugget USED to be the worst hair washer but admittedly, he has really improved with age. He is thriving with the lay back.

The Minx rarely lets us touch her hair (even though it looks like a Pantene commercial all the time) but she is quite partial to a hair wash. Provided you get all the suds out with one jug of water because she refuses to allow any further attempts. You don't question the Minx. If she says no, only the brave would cross her.

Dew Drop is improving with his tolerance but he has been known to over-shampoo and refuse to rinse. Ever seen a hair full of congealed shampoo?

See? Three out of four of our children are walking the streets with residual shampoo in their hair. We are failing the washing children's hair module of parenting. Can you help? What has worked for you and yours? Or is it just as disastrous at your place?

Friday, 26 August 2011

Weekend Rewind - This time last year... edition

Last week's Weekend Rewind was all about frugality. Thanks to everyone for sharing their ideas and tips. Between us we know an awful lot about money management and simple living (if only I had you all with me when I am balancing my budget!). Clairey Hewitt's post Invest, Save, Live was the standout for me. Simple ideas to keep future bright while the present remains fun. 

This week's theme was inspired by none other than the dreaded Facebook. I got this little message that was an old status update from this day last year and it was really fun to remember the day that was. So this week, I want you to dive into your archives and bring up a post from this day last year (or thereabouts!). If you are yet to blog for a year, perhaps you can just use today's post? 

So if you are prepared to get started, the rules of this meme remain the same each week. All you have to do is become my friend, if we are not already acquainted, then link up a relevant post from your archives and get reading and commenting. The more comments the merrier. And don't forget to Tweet, Facebook and/or Stumble your favourites to share the joy with other readers. Try to add a link back to me in your posts so that  we can expand the reach of the Weekend Rewind.

So without further ado, here's mine: Blog Bookmarks week ending 27th August (I did a whole series of these).

Now show us yours...

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Celery sticks

Image from here
Have you noticed that when you 'go on a diet' you eat celery sticks? Do you EVER eat celery sticks any other time? Nope. I didn't think so.This small observation has me thinking a lot.

I know that diets 'don't work' because you 'put it all back on'. Permanent weight loss requires a change in habit. It means working out how to eat healthy foods. It means learning about portion size. It means working out balance in your diet so that you eat less nutritious foods only in moderation. Sometimes foods. It means realising that celery sticks need to be a staple on the menu.

Personally I like celery sticks (especially with a bit of humus). So why don't I want to eat them when I am not dieting? Why do I grab a sugary biscuit at 3pm instead of a celery stick when I *know* the latter is better for me? Why do people ask you if you are 'on a diet' the minute you pull out a celery stick?

The current program that I am following is a diet in all senses of the word. It is calorie controlled. It is food that I don't 'normally' eat. It is a whole new way of thinking about food as a fuel for exercise. For me it is not 'the solution' rather an opportunity to break habits.

After only a few days I can feel the benefits (if you can call my caffeine withdrawal headache a benefit?). Low GI, high protein means that I stay full for longer. I am eating less, but feeling fuller. The exercise program makes me feel alive (even if I still can't hold a 'plank' for more than a few seconds).

But I am already asking myself. Could you do this forever? Eat nothing processed (oh bacon I miss you)? Or have a beer? Or enjoy some M&Ms?

I have to remember to take one step at a time and see where all these celery sticks take me.

How are you finding the 30 Day Challenge? Got any interesting snack recipes for celery sticks?

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

A moral dilemma I read in a book

Image from here
I am reading this book, "Shadow' by Karin Alvtegen. I am really enjoying it, although it is a pretty complex tale about a bunch of inter-linked writers. I love a Swedish author. They just see things a bit darker differently. Must all those days without daylight. Boom, boom. Anyhoo...

One of the characters in the book presented a moral dilemma. I have been pondering it since I read it on the train this morning, so I will present it here for you to seek your opinion (but I am changing the names because all the Swedish ones made it harder to follow).

Imagine a paper napkin with two parallel lines across it and some wavy lines between. This is a river full of crocodiles. No one can get across without a boat.

Now imagine a square on one side of the river. John lives there. He loves Jane who lives on the other side of the river and Jane loves him. One day John comes down with a serious illness and he rings Jane and asks her to come and help him. He explains how sick he is and asks her to hurry.

But Jane has no boat, so she runs over to George, who lives on her side of the river and has a boat. She explains the situation and asks him to lend her the boat so she can row across and help John.

But George refuses to help Jane for free. He says that she has to have sex with him first, then he'll row her over to the other side of the river.

Jane, of course, is heart-broken, so she goes to Tom, who lives between George and Jane's houses, and tells him what George has said. She asks him to come with her to talk some sense into George.

But Tom doesn't want to get involved and asks her to leave.

So Jane sees no alternative but to do as George wants, and even though he's a "disgusting old man" she goes there and has sex with him. Then he rows her across the river.

Jane finally arrives at John's house and tells him what happened. John is furious that Jane had sex with George and throws her out.

Jane then goes to her friend Steven's house and tells him that she was forced to have sex with George so she could help John, who then threw her out. Steven flies into a rage and goes to John and beats him up.

What I want to know is which of them was most in the wrong? Grade them from one to five, with the one who was most in the wrong a five.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Baby it is cold outside

Does the weather effect your mood? It does mine. We are on the tail end of winter and the whiff of Spring is sometimes in the air and I can feel my cortisone levels rising and my spirit lifting.

I wish that I could say that I sail through winter. But all the illnesses (usually the children's), the short days and cold air means that I trudge along. Not exactly willing it to end, but only half-heartedly participating in all that it offers.

Sometimes, when I get to put my feet up, with a blanket on my knees, sipping a hot chocolate and tucking into a good book, I can understand why some people love the cold. But generally, I find it hard to get my jogging mojo on and it is hard work. Even taking the garbage out on a bitterly cold night can be taxing!

So what is it like to like in a foreign country for a long time and 'swap' your seasons around? The Americans and Brits are just welcoming the Autumn (or Fall as they refer to it). What would it be like to always have a hot June/July? What would it be like to have Christmas in winter. I did it once, and it reminded me of the many books I had read as a child, but it wasn't 'normal' for me.

One of my good friend's just had her 40th. She is not from around here and for the past 11 years instead of a birthday by the seaside, she has swapped it for a cold, rainy day. I wonder if she bemoans the loss of her Summer birthday, or embraces this new wintery approach? I wonder if it is harder to get into the celebratory spirit when it is cold? I certainly think it would be.

This worries me a bit for the twins.

What do you think? Does the weather effect your mood or your willingness to party? If you could choose, which season would you celebrate your birthday in and why?

Monday, 22 August 2011

Holidaying in your own city

Image from here
The family trip away didn't eventuate. Despite my great planning efforts and the full day of packing and the big build up, Dew Drop spent all of Wednesday night 'riding the porcelain bus' preventing the five hour car trip to the snow that was scheduled to commence on Thursday morning. That kid is a viral magnet.

Another one bites the dust. We were confined to a minibreak at home. I have to admit that I was a little glum about it to start with, but got into the swing of it. Afterall, we had all the ingredients for a fun holiday at our doorstep, and that did have the benefit of avoiding a road trip with four whinging children!

We decided that holidays are about spending time together and doing things that you don't normally do. So instead of cooking dinner, washing clothes and mopping floors (she says as if she is a domestic goddess!), we had take-away and picnics, bushwalked, frequented an indoor play centre, visited the Powerhouse Museum and other 'city' activities and had a fantastic game of putt putt golf.

The kids got lots of exercise and had new experiences.

We had a break from the norm and release from the gridlock.

If I could just get over the money we spent on the accommodation we weren't able to use, I reckon I could say that it was another great holiday with four kids.

Have you holidayed in your own city?

Sunday, 21 August 2011

30 day challenge: Lose 5kg

Image from here
As I squeezed into my jeans this morning, I thought to myself: "If you almost go on a diet, you almost lose weight".

So I did something.

I pulled out "Losing the Last 5kg" by Michelle Bridges (Mum gave it to me for my birthday in May!), weighed myself, wrote a menu plan for the week, went out to the grocery store and bought my supplies, did my fitness test and scheduled my six exercise sessions into my diary. Michelle promises me that if I trust her and do what she says, I will lose 5kg in 30 days and get a whole lot fitter to boot*.

I am ready.

I had to jiggle the menus a bit to suit my tastes, and the exercise sessions may not be as hard-core as Michelle expects every single day, but I am prepared to give this a red hot go. No booze. No coke zero. Fewer carbs. And 1200 calories a day (is that even possible?). It will tick a few boxes on my 52in52 list too, so all good. In theory.

The next thirty days will be all about changing habits. Michelle is going to hold my hand all the way. I promise I won't blog about it every day, but I will give you an update in the next week or so.

Will you tackle it with me?

*I know I need a sustainable approach to weight loss, but for now I just want to spring into Spring and drop some kilos. Phase two will be about maintaining. 

Friday, 19 August 2011

Weekend Rewind - The frugal living edition

Last week's Weekend Rewind was all about beautiful. Lots of things inspired your beautiful posts: Grandparents; children; rainbows; friendship; and spouses. Just to name a few. I am still thinking about this amazing post by Joanna Cannon. It absolutely tore at my soul.

So this week we are going on a completely different track. Something practical. It sure aint sexy. I have had a tough week of juggling money and I want to know more about how you do it. Have you written about the way you save money? Or how you plan your meals? Or making your own beauty products? Or other ways you have made your life more simple and therefore less commercial? I would love you to link up your posts about "Frugal Living" so we can all learn something new.

So if you are prepared to get started, the rules of this meme remain the same each week. All you have to do is become my friend, if we are not already acquainted, then link up a post from your archives and get reading and commenting. The more comments the merrier. And don't forget to Tweet, Facebook and/or Stumble your favourites to share the joy with other readers. Try to add a link back to me in your posts so that  we can expand the reach of the Weekend Rewind.

So I will get us started. Something from the depths of my archives (never seen by human eyes before): Money Matters #4: 10 Simple Savings tips (Oh yes! I did a whole series of these beauties when I was decluttering my home finance magazines).

Now let's see yours...

* I am still away on my badly organised mini-break. It will give me great pleasure to return on Sunday to read your posts. I will rely on all of you to comment, Stumble, Tweet and Facebook to your hearts content in the meantime...You know you want to...

Thursday, 18 August 2011

The perils of the larger family

Image from here
Yesterday I admitted that I am not usually responsible for organising holidays at our place. But then I had to do it because it didn't get done. And you know what? I learnt something. Booking accommodation when you have more than two children is a nightmare (especially when you are doing it last minute). I much prefer camping.

Apart from the legalities of having more than three children in a 'family room' at a hotel/motel, there really isn't enough space. it is not like you are 'just sleeping' in your accommodation. Kids need a lot more 'down time' than that. So hotels/motels are out.

There are lots of two bedroom 'apartment' style self-catered places around. But two bedrooms isn't big enough when you have four children. It is hard enough getting them to sleep when there are two of them sharing. Which means you need more rooms, but three and four bedroom apartments are hard to come by. And they are really expensive because of it.

So you try for the 'holiday house' rental (which are great but you have to book a lot earlier than the day before. Just a tip!). But even they aren't always set up for the family of six. Most have two double bedded rooms and one with two singles. Sharing a room is hard enough, can you imagine two little kids sharing a bed? That has disaster written all over it.

I am beginning to see why people with larger families tend to have 'favourite' holiday destinations. They go to the same places over and over again. A  case of if you find something that works, stick to it?

So tell me. Have you organised a holiday for a 'larger' family? How did/do you manage the logistics?

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Anti-organisation stand off

Image from here
We are meant to have started our short family holiday today. Only, neither the Geege nor I organised it.

I loathe organising things: events; parties; holidays; nights out. Loathe it. Too many other people to please. Too much decision making. Too many details. I prefer to be organised by others. I am easy going like that.

Needlesstosay, I am usually the 'ideas' person and I surround myself with 'do'ers. It is a happy and complementary arrangement. Just don't put me in charge of the operations. I suck at it.

The Geege usually organises and plans our holidays. We rarely stick to the plan (I have too many ideas for that!) but he at least gets us started. He says the planning is all part of the fun. I say the surprise is all part of the fun.

This time there has been an organisation stand off. We booked the days off work. We agreed on the general location and then neither of us did a thing about the details. No bookings, no itinerary, not a single plan. The Geege says he has been too busy. I say I don't *do* organising. And so it didn't get done.

Needlesstosay, our holiday did not start today. Today has been spent searching the internet for holiday accommodation, packing suitcases for the six of us, arranging meal-plans and catching up on the washing. Tomorrow we will head off on our little road-trip. All organised by me, so it is bound to be a disaster!

Who does the organising at your place?

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Food wastage - Are you throwing money in the bin?

Image from here
Did you know that we waste about one third of all food produced for human consumption?

In developing nations this occurs for a combination of poor harvesting techniques, limited cooling, inefficient cooling etc. All things before the consumer level.

In wealthier countries, like Australia it is more likely because of a combination of over-rigorous food quality (which rejects otherwise good food for being imperfect in shape or size) standards and consumers who buy more than they need.

The biggest contributors to consumer wastage are:

1. Poor food planning

2. Poor food preparation

3. Not using a shopping list when getting groceries

4. Not using your own shopping bags

It doesn't matter how guilty you feel about wasting food nor how 'green' you report to be. If you don't purchase only what will be eaten and plan your meals, you will inevitably waste food. You need to be a conscious consumer.

We have really been focusing on reducing our food wastage at Casa Four. Some of the tips and tricks we have been exploring follow:

1. Get creative with leftovers. Got some stale bread? Make breadcrumbs or pudding. Got leftover veggies? Use them to create a stew or soup the next night.

2. Start your shopping list by looking in your fridge or pantry. Create meals from the food you already have by just getting the missing stuff at the shops.

3. Take your own shopping bags to do your shopping. It is no coincidence that shops willingly give away plastic bags. It is so you will make impulse purchases.

4. Store your food safely. Reusable containers that are airtight are ideal (made from reusable materials like glass, even better)

Don't think you are wasting much food? Try this "Penalty Tin" suggestion I found at Grab a tin from the recycling bin and label it "The Penalty Tin". From then on, whenever you throw out an item of food, put its monetary value into the tin. For example, throwing out a litre of milk results in $1.00 being put in the tin. Do this for a week. You may be surprised at how much money you are literally throwing in the bin! And if that isn't incentive to change your habits, I don't know what is.

Do you have any other food wastage reduction suggestions to share?

Monday, 15 August 2011

I was a vision in red today

This is not me, but you knew that, right? Image from here.
I donned my bright red trenchcoat today (even though it has a button missing).

A touch of red to show support for the grieving family of Daniel Morcombe. A touch of red in honour of families with missing children.

I was not alone in my colour preference today. There were others like me following the wishes of Mr and Mrs Morcombe. We nodded and smiled across the carriage on the train and in the staff cafeteria at work.

This small gesture got people talking. This is a good thing. I heard whispered stories about near misses at the shopping centre, about children who have gone missing (most of whom returned home), and about holding loved ones close.

The Morcombe family have been remarkable throughout their eight year long ordeal. They have been so brave and strong and a reminder that this sort of thing can happen to ordinary people.

I hope they find some way forward with the resolution of this case. I hope they find some sense of closure now that the suspected person responsible is facing justice.

Did you wear red today?

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Five on Sunday

Image from here
1. I failed to City to Surf today. I just couldn't part with the $65... what do they do with it anyway?

2. Frugality and healthy eating do not seem to be able to co-exist.

3. Princess Mary and Prince Fred have impressed me by sending Christian to a state school.

4. I met a woman at the bakery the other day. She opened the conversation with "Are they twins?", I almost switched off...snooze... but was glad I didn't. She is the mother of twins herself (now adults). She had THREE kids and then had a surprise pregnancy that happened to be twins. She found out she was pregnant at 19 week! She delivered them at full term. Her eldest was a month shy of four when babies 4 and 5 arrived! There is always someone worse off than you... she looked remarkably sane considering...

5. My veggie patch is being eaten by possums. I am so over the bloody possums!

Have you got anything (slightly banal) you would like to share?

Friday, 12 August 2011

Weekend Rewind - Most beautiful post

Boy was last week's Weekend Rewind great! There were posts about gay marriage, red heads, crappy parents, and dealing with the death of a newborn. Miss Pink got hot under the collar about dissing teenage pregnancies and Leaf about pre-schoolers travelling in prams. It was a ranty kind of week!

This week I thought we could swing the other way and find the happy side of life. I am calling it your "Most Beautiful Post". It might be visually stunning (an opportunity for our photographer friends to get involved), or it might be sentimental, or just a lovely piece of writing. However you interpret the word 'beautiful'.

So if you are prepared to get started, the rules of this meme remain the same each week. All you have to do is become my friend, if we are not already acquainted, then link up a post from your archives and get reading and commenting. The more comments the merrier. And don't forget to Tweet, Facebook and/or Stumble your favourites to share the joy with other readers.

I will get us started and, for those who know me, it won't surprise you that it has nothing to do with photography! The Homecoming...

Now let's see yours...

Thursday, 11 August 2011

What my children have taught me...

Image from here
This post was written as a guest post at Maxabella loves... in October last year.
I was feeling nostalgic and wanted to re-post it here today.

Sometimes I think I am unrecognisable. A completely different person to the person I was before my children came into my life. Both mentally and physically transformed. I am sure it is not true, but it feels that way. My life changed irrevocably when I had children.

My first lesson came early in the piece. Let me just start by saying that I never saw myself as the Mother Earth type. The fact that I have a tribe (four children, five and under)* came as a complete surprise. Quite literally with some of the pregnancies. I just never knew I’d be so fertile!

Once things got ticking away, I learnt that I actually don’t want to ‘sleep like a baby’. Not all babies sleep it seems, which means that their Mums and Dads don’t either. I would have sworn that I couldn’t cope without 8 hours of sleep a night. After more than five years of interrupted sleep, I have been proven wrong.

Being a non-consumerist is a handy quality when you are a Mum because a) you never get to spend any money on yourself anyway and b) even if you get ‘only the essentials’ your entire house will eventually pile up with children’s paraphernalia.

My twin pregnancy taught me that if your tummy stretches to the point that it can sit in your own lap, it probably isn’t going to spring back. Abdominoplasty may in fact be a solution for many, not just the vain, Barbie doll types. A sanity saver in fact.

My children have also taught me just how full your heart can be. I have always loved my family. I love my husband with all my heart. Then along came Nugget, Doo Dah, Dew Drop and the Minx. My heart just kept getting bigger and I found I could love them all. Completely.

And having children taught me how amazing a parent’s love is. I remember after my first child was born calling my Mum and saying “sorry”.

“What for?” she replied.

“I just didn’t realise how much you love me. How much all those crazy stunts I pulled as a teenager must have hurt you. I just didn’t get it”, I said.

She said, “Apology accepted. I am just so glad that you have had the opportunity to experience the love of a mother for yourself”.

Yep. My children have taught me that I am a Mum. The ‘real parents’ aren’t going to be turning up to raise these gorgeous things. That is the life-work of me and my husband. Every day there will be new challenges and new experiences. Every day will also hold a lot of ‘sameness’, ground hog day qualities and routine. But every day I will get to enjoy these little people that I have helped create until they are released into the big wide world to find the opportunity to experience the love of a parent for themselves.

What have your children taught you about you?

*Nugget is now six so things are looking up!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

52in52: Polysomnogram

Image from here
I am taking a leaf out of Kelly's book and setting myself something new to do each week in 2011. I am going to post about it each week on Saturday. I won't be doing this in any particular order, and will add the link to the post when it is complete. If I don't manage to achieve everything on the list, (highly likely) I will donate $5 for everything I missed to Oxfam for all the amazing work they do. So here goes..

You may recall that I spent the night at the Children's Hospital with Doo Dah a couple of weeks ago? It was delightful for me. A night of sleeping with the light on, constant interruptions by the very pleasant nurse to replace wandering wires, all the while sleeping on a plastic mattress next to a snorer. 

Doo Dah clocked up his required hours of sleep, completely oblivious. I love him for that. 

Well, we had some great news arrive by owl in the post today: the results of Doo Dah's snoring study.

He seems to have passed with flying colours! No need for adenotonsillectomy at this stage. Woot woot!

It doesn't change the fact that his 'miminal airway obstruction' makes him snores like a trucker, but at least we now know that he doesn't have sleep apnoea.

I think we will just have to find some earmuffs for his room mate Nugget and hope that he 'grows out of it'.

I am relieved.

Do you have a snorer in your family? How do you manage the sleeping arrangements?

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Near miss

Image from here
Sometimes it take something extraordinary to change your pattern of thinking.

I have been pretty down lately. Winter has been cold and dark and has brought with it illness and lethargy. Stress levels have been high and children attention-seeking. It feels like 'everyone wants a piece of me' and there are few pieces left to give.

We have spent a lot of time quarantined due to sickness. We have had few nights of uninterrupted sleep.

I have felt the weight of responsibility heavily on my shoulders for much of the time.

On Saturday afternoon. Doo Dah was merrily jumping on our bed. His father was calling out to him to stop it when he heard an almighty thump. He raced into our bedroom to discover Doo Dah crumpled at the edge of the bed, head smashed through the glass window pane. Shards of glass surrounding him.

He reacted with a frightened bellow as he dragged Doo Dah away from the piles of glass. To his surprise, the Geege discovered that Doo Dah was practically unscathed. A tiny graze next to a large bump on the head. A couple of superficial cuts to his back. No bleeding. No catastrophe. Just shaken up a little.

I returned from an outing with Nugget as the Geege was cleaning up the glass in the bedroom. There was a sombre tone to the house as I walked in. Doo Dah was unusually quiet. The Geege was visibly shocked as he explained the story and patched up the large hole in our bedroom. "It could have ended so badly" he kept saying. The Minx and Dew Drop kept repeating that no-one can jump on the bed again.

A near miss.

I was so relieved. Doo Dah put his head through a glass window and did not end up in hospital!

But then I felt the wallow kick in. This was just another thing. One more thing to fix. Another thing to organise. Another ball to juggle in an already overburdened system.

But over the last couple of days I have come to realise that I should be thanking my lucky stars. Get over yourself MultipleMum. This is a sign that things are on the up.

I won't go so far as to thank Doo Dah for this revelation but I will turn my back on the miserable thoughts that have been getting the better of me the last couple of months. If Doo Dah can survive this with a smile on his dial, the least I can do is rummage up a bit of positive thinking. Right?

Can you believe how lucky we are?

Monday, 8 August 2011

Please keep your germs to yourself

Don't get me wrong. I get how hard it is to be a working Mum. I struggle into the office three times a week.

My kids trip the light fantastic with their long day care teachers.

We juggle the drop offs and pick ups and the crazy scheduling.

We deal with the tantrums that result from looooong days out of the house. And dinner at 6.30pm. And the hurried race to the bath. And the rush through the stories and homework and everything else that needs doing before we can tuck our precious bundles into bed.

And it is because of this that I am so annoyed. I am pissed with parents who only think of their own needs. I am referring to parents who send their children to daycare when they are sick.

I am not talking about a cold (would any of us get out of the house in winter?), I am talking about fevers. Chesty coughs. Conjunctivitis. Hand, foot and mouth and the plethora of other viruses my kids have contracted from going to daycare.

If your child is sick, keep them home. It is as simple as that.

I know it sucks being unreliable at work. I know how hard it is to shuffle meetings and appointments and priorities. I know what it is like to be on a deadline and not be able to meet it. It is embarrassing and frustrating. I know. I have to have days off to attend to my sick children.

But I can't help but think that if more parents put their children's needs ahead of their own and kept their kids at home when they are sick, that fewer others would be impacted. If parents followed the rules.

It is not good enough to say "They had a vomit this morning but they seem fine now". Sorry parent. Leave it 24 hours. It is not good enough to mask the effect of a fever by dosing your child with paracetamol. They could be infectious. Please leave them at home for 24 hours.

The Minx and Dew Drop have been seriously ill for the past two weeks with a virus that I suspect they got from daycare.  To the person who thought it was a good idea to 'share the love', I want to throttle you. If only you knew the pain you have caused. If only.

Please keep your germs to yourself.

Is your daycare strict on infection control? What are your thoughts on people who don't play by the rules?

Friday, 5 August 2011

Weekend Rewind - Most controversial post

Thanks to everyone who joined in last week's Weekend Rewind. I loved the variety of posts that were selected by you as your favourites. Seana Smith introduced us to her International Man of Mystery, Naomi Hart to some interesting work uniforms and Life on Planet Baby planned her ultimate dinner party. Lots of fun to be had. Indeed.

The idea for this week's theme came from reading one of my favourite blogs, CityHippyFarmGirl. She was participating in a meme which had her select seven different types of posts (I think we will run through a few of the seven in the upcoming weeks), one of which was her most controversial

So please, this week let's relive your most controversial post. Maybe it is a political rant? Maybe an opinion piece? Maybe it is a less than circumspect parenting moment? Whatever it is, please link it up! 

So if you are prepared to get started, the rules of this meme remain the same each week. All you have to do is become my friend, if we are not already acquainted, then link up a post from your archives and get reading and commenting. The more comments the merrier. And don't forget to Tweet, Facebook and/or Stumble your favourites to share the joy with other readers.

I will get us all started with my most controversial post: My thoughts on voluntary euthanasia.

Now, over to you...

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Slow on the uptake

Image from here
At the ripe old age of 38 I have finally become a Pothead. I was saving myself for my kids. I promised I would get into it when one of them did.

I blame Nugget. He caved into peer-group pressure and started nagging me to give it a try.

And then my sisters and I found ourselves at a place that made it more accessible (ever tried to get this at the local library?).

What started as a small, few pages a day habit, is rapidly increasing. I have an addictive personality like that.

I find myself sneaking some more when the kids are in bed (and having to revisit the same bits the next day).

I am wrapped up in the Hogwarts spell.

The magic of Harry Potter.

They have always called me an 'early adopter'!

Anyone else out there not read the entire series and watched all the movies? I bet you are a bit jealous that I have all the fun ahead of me, and none of the waiting!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Buy Nothing New for a Year - August update

Image from here
Another month has slipped by. It is hard to believe it is August already huh? Time sure flies when you Buy Nothing New. The little changes, all unplanned, are the things that continue to surprise me.

This month I started to track our food wastage. As part of the no-plastic bag challenge, we stopped using plastic bin liners. Gradually I have realised that I really need to sort out the composting situation if I really want to ditch bin liners. It gets VERY messy with green waste in the bin. So we have been looking into options:
  • Chooks? 
  • Attempt to re-establish the worm farm we managed to kill off a couple of years ago?
  • Create a compost heap? or 
  • Dig another hole in the backyard and bury our waste (we have used this method successfully before).
So my eco-challenge for August is solving this problem because we need a better solution than throwing out our potato peels. Does anyone know where I can buy second hand chooks?

July was a mixed bag for us in terms of the challenge. We had to buy three gifts this month, two I made (The Big Book of Crafty Goodness was jam-packed with crafty ideas and printables that I sourced from all over the 'net) and one second hand (size 2 Summer boys clothes).

I located many more suggestions for making gifts (even if you can't sew) and I think I will tie some of them together in another post later this month because they are awesome! Some people are just so clever. I wasn't able to make some of the things I had planned due to all the sickness in our house, but I reckon I will make some super Christmas gifts this year.

I visited six op-shops searching for a size 6 jumper for Nugget because he only had a couple and lost one of them when we went to Fibrotown to visit the family. It was so frustrating. I didn't WANT to break the challenge, but he really needed a jumper (middle of winter and school holidays) so I went all out and bought him a branded and over-priced hoodie.

The Geege got the shock of his life seeing me hand over the cash. It was a case of over-compensation.

And then the Geege got seconded into an Oxfam Trailwalker team (it is a 100km walk on August 26-28 requiring many hours of training, as you can imagine). You could sponsor them if you like.

I figured he had all the gear he would need (we have a garage FULL of camping, hiking and climbing gear) but no sooner had he committed to a 5am walk last Saturday morning, he got himself some new FiveFingers (his old ones are well worn and unsuitable), some socks (which are technically okay to purchase) and a hydration pack (even though we already have one).

He calls it 'product testing'. I call it 'breaking the rules'.

And then the Daily Telegraph did a Harry Potter giveaway and we are spending $2 per day getting Nugget the set and so I had to even things up a bit and get Doo Dah the Donna Hay children's cooking magazine. See? Getting out of hand...

And so after my big declaration of having more resolve than ever, I bring you a monumental flop of a month. August will be better.

What changes have you made in July?

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

You're All My Favourites

Image from here
I remember when I was pregnant with my second baby, Doo Dah, I was so worried that I just wouldn't have enough love to go around. How could I love anything as much as I loved Nugget?

And then he came along, and all of a sudden I realised I would love any child I had as much as I loved my first. They would all have my whole heart, and then some. I don't think I got that until I was a parent.

Doo Dah asked me the other night who I REALLY like best. Who is my favourite child?

I said to him that I love and like all of my children the same. "You are all my favourites" I said.

"You can't have more than one favourite" he said. "There can only be one." {looking at me with his cutest, 'pick me' kind of face}.

And I said "But that is not entirely true Doo Dah. I have four favourites. Nugget is my favourite six year old, you are my favourite four year old"

"Four and a half", he interrupted.

"Four and a half year old." I corrected. "Dew Drop is my favourite two year old boy and The Minx is my favourite two year old girl. You see? You are all my favourites".

He thought for a while, looked at me quizzically and then he said "Just like in that book Mum?". 

"The book?" I asked.

"You know the one with the bears."

"Ah. Yes. Just like the book Doo Dah".

Have you read it?

Monday, 1 August 2011

The religion of 'no religion'?

I drove past a billboard on Friday morning, on my way back from Doo Dah's sleep study. It was all of 7am I think and traffic on this busy Sydney road was already banked up, so I had plenty of time to read the sign and form an opinion.

Image from here
I am no Lordy. I support people who believe in God (or whatever name you choose to call your 'big guy in the sky'), but I am not one of them. The message of this campaign sparked my interest. I still write 'Catholic' in the "What is your religion?" box on a form but haven't stepped foot in a church since last century when the Pole was still in charge. Why do I do that?

But it just struck me as odd that there is a 'Foundation' for atheists. As a person who is just not into religion it has never been high on my agenda to band together with other like-minded people. That would seem like going to 'church' to me. The religion of 'no religion'.

Is it just me or does it strike you as ironic that there is an Atheist Foundation? Check out their website to form your own opinion about the work that they do.
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