Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Taking your sweet time

Image from here
I notice that other people around me are better at taking their time.

Maybe it is stopping long enough to remove your soccer boots and socks and donning thongs before you drive home to the family. So that you are comfortable and your feet can breathe. Even if your team mates are ready and waiting.

Maybe it is unloading your entire trolley of groceries, one item at a time, lining them up in categories so that your 'unpack at home' is easy, all the while, others wait in the queue behind you.

Maybe it is taking out your ticket at the railway gate when it is your turn to use the turnstile, rather than fumbling in your bag as you climb the stairs, crushed by the hoards; Ignoring the commuters panting down your neck, chomping at the bit to be released from the railway station and into the real world.

I call it 'taking your sweet time'.

I still don't know if it is sensible or selfish.

I notice it. Sometimes it annoys me. Other times, I find it admirable.

What do you think?

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

52in52: Update

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I have been somewhat remiss in updating my 52in52 list the last couple of months, although I have been working away at some of the tasks. There are a number that I *know* will not be achieved (like a hot-air ballooning flight, hmmmm...) but I figure you have got to put these things out there in order to have a chance of making them happen.

I have managed to achieve (or have been working towards) a number of the items on the list (there is a page if you want to take a look).

Before the garage sale, I cleaned out every cupboard in the house, including the toy cupboard (you wouldn't know now!). All the baby toys were offloaded via the garage sale or a donation to charity. No more baby toys. Note to friends: BYO!

I am busily making our advent calendar. It was inspired by this and this. I need to acquire some little pegs (everything else I already have) but am not sure if this is breaking the Buy Nothing New rules.

I am finalising reading my 24th book for the year (I know I am kind of surprised too). So my "Read two books a month challenge" has been completed a bit early. They have been a mixture of fiction and non-fiction. I will publish the list at some point (get ready with your recommendations for me for 2012. I love a book recommendation!). I have managed to knock over a few more of the BBC Top 100 list which I am pretty happy about.

The Geege and I have had a few dates throughout the year (although I am yet to get him on the dancefloor). I will have to check the calendar to see if we have managed 12 throughout the year... it is hard to get enough babysitting credits! This is what the Geege is getting for Christmas so next year will be much more organised on this front.

I sent my package to a friend three weeks ago. She had her second bub and I managed to get off my butt and forward along some clothes and gifts from my 'gift box'. It is always so nice to recieve something in the mail that isn't a bill don't you think? I will definitely try to do more corresponding, out school style, in 2012. And I am trying to set up a pen pal for Nugget. Anyone want to volunteer their child???

I have made good headway into finalising the baby books (my biggest baby is nearly seven so you would hope so right?) I am awaiting some photos from Dad (my fault because I keep forgetting to get them from him when we see each other) from the twins' first birthday and Christmas (same day, poor things). He was chief photographer on the day because we were 'between' cameras. Once they are in place, I can cross that little task off.

So you see, although I have been quiet about it, things are humming along. Oxfam is set to receive a big donation from me, but I am pretty happy with how things have gone. And there is always December. Right?

How are your New Year's resolutions coming along? Nearly time to start again...

Monday, 28 November 2011

Making new friends

Image from here
When Nugget first started school last year, he made a friend. It all began over a mutual love of Lego and all things Thomas the Tank, and apart from a small incident over a museli bar, they have been BFFs ever since. His friend was dominant and in charge, but Nugget was his right-hand man. They both seemed happy with the arrangement and travelled together, among a larger group of boys.

That is until a couple of weeks ago when Nugget announced they had 'broken up'. The reason for said break up was that the BFF didn't make Nugget 'feel good inside my body'.

I was worried about it at first, but Nugget hasn't been.

Since parting ways, Nugget has a new gang. They seem like nice boys, more mischievious than his previous group, but we have already established Nugget's attraction to trouble makers.

There have been reports of detentions and getting into trouble in the classroom. His teacher and I had a few words about his 'behaviour'. I think he is just growing up and testing boundaries. He certainly is at home.

The saddest thing for me about all of this is that I really like the BFF's Mum. She and I have a regular Friday afternoon date at the local shops for an ice-block. We natter about life, kids, jobs and getting some balance. She is wise and funny and laid back and real.

Last Friday as we continued our tradition and Nugget and the BFF sized each other up and then found some fun together, we joked about whether or not we can still be friends if our kids aren't. Who calls the shots in these friendships anyway? We giggled about secret child-free rendez-vous and established we will have to ajourn to the pub for our chats, instead of the school yard. It will only enhance our friendship!

So now that Nugget is moving on, I guess I will be making new school friends too.

What has your experience been with making friends with your children's friends' parents? Good? Bad? Ugly?

Friday, 25 November 2011

Weekend Rewind: July 2011 Edition

We have been working our way through the months these past few weeks of the Weekend Rewind. It has been great tripping down memory lane, capturing each month of the year with one post.

This Edition brings us up to July. What were you doing in July? Perhaps, like me, you were suffering sleep deprivation from a combination of your Tour de France addiction, children who won't sleep and a sleep study with one of your kids at the Kid's Hospital? No? Not that lucky?

Why don't you link up your favourite post from July and spill the beans on your activity?

This rules of the meme remain the same each week. Join the And then there were four community, if we aren't already acquainted, and link up a post from your archives. Share the love by commenting on other posts in the link up, by stumbling posts you like and Facebooking or Tweeting about the link-up. The more of each of these things, the merrier!

I will get us started, as always, with a little question about social etiquette...

And now it is over to you...

PS: Please take a moment to vote for And then there were four in the Circle of Mom's Top 25 Aussie Blogger competition. It only takes a click! You can vote once a day if you are so inclined :-)

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

First tooth fairy gig

Image from here
I walked through the door after work tonight to squeals of delight.

"Mum's home!"

"Race you!"

"Nugget lost his first tooth!"

The kids practically crash tackled me in the excitement and Dew Drop, Doo Dah and the Minx talked over the top of each other, finishing each other's sentences, trying to be the one with 'the news'.

Nugget, on the other hand, sat alone at the dinner table. Finishing his meal, as casual as can be.

After greeting and hugging the three children within my arms' reach, I made my way to the table to inspect the gappy smile of Nugget. He did not say a word, but opened his mouth and pointed to 'the spot'. His eyes smiled with the pride I knew he was feeling. A big moment. His Dad, looked on, also silent with a grin from ear to ear.

The Minx filled me in on the details (you can always trust the 'Boss' to know what is going on).

Apparently the big event occurred at school, during library class.

Apparently, the librarian rushed to place the tiny tooth into a tissue for safe keeping.

The tooth-filled tissue was placed on the top of the TV cabinet when Nugget arrived home after everybody had a look. Everyone had discussed how small it was and how big Nugget's new teeth will be.

Nugget and his Dad nodded and smiled.

Some time passed after the bombshell had been dropped. I made a few more inspections of Nugget's mouth (at the request of his over-excited siblings). Nugget remained as cool as a cucumber. Bloody six year old boys. They give you nothing!

When the others were racing to be the first in the bath, Nugget stayed back in the lounge room. He started with the questions.

"Will the tooth fairy come tonight, Mum?". I thought of my sister's blog post on the tardy toothfairy. "Uh-huh" I said (thinking how could I be late for my first ever tooth fairy gig?).

"How much money will she exchange for my tooth?" (Hmmmm...) I don't know. I say. "What is the going rate?" I ask. "$2" says Nugget. "All my friend's get $2 for a tooth. Do you think I will too?" (Hmmm...A quick calculation. $2 per tooth, 22 teeth, 4 mouths, that will be a pretty pricey exercise...) "I think you will definitely get $2 for your first tooth" I say (Note to self: check with sisters and friends what the going rate is).

"Where will I leave my tooth so she will find it?" (Hmmmm... I remember dreamily about a blog post I read in recent memory where the Mum had this gorgeous little box for the tooth fairy. I quickly think of an alternative and a cute little bag with a zip that I have in the cupboard springs to mind. I proceed to get it out and slip the tooth in) "Pop this under your pillow and look again in the morning" I say.

And so the family tradition is born. A quick scramble to pull the pieces together this time, but next time we will know the drill. Another dimension to the magic to childhood enters our home.

So tell me, what is the going rate for the tooth fairy at your place? Do you use one of those gorgeous little tooth fairy accessories like the one made by Boutique Accessory 72 above?

PS: Please take a little moment to vote for me in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Aussie Mum Blogs competition. No sign up required, just a quick click. You can do it once a day until the 8th Dec :-) Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Victory!

Image from here
We had the most hysterical soccer match tonight.

We turned up in the pouring rain to play the only team in the competition who are lower on the ladder than we are*. The pitch was completely churned up. It was like a mud wrestling match by the end.

They had three players. We had five.

One of their players had a broken arm. Another was without her contact lenses. It seemed that only one was fully fit and healthy. We all had a big belly laugh together when the woman with the broken arm told us that some team members were absent because they had colds. Lightweights!

There was a sense of hope among our usually broken team. We had a chance.

We all giggled about how embarrassing it would be if we lost. Imagine! I had a sense of dread and tried to talk the girls out of playing. IMAGINE if we lost. It was well within our repertoire.

We went out onto the pitch and from the outset we were stunned. There may have only been three of them, but they were everywhere! The one with the broken arm was like a terrier. They were far more skilled than we were and for a while there I was actually concerned that we WOULD be beaten by a team of three, one with a broken arm, another without contact lenses, in the pouring rain. Imagine.

The ball practically had to be asked to move. It was as slow and sluggish in the rain as we were. And it had a magnetic attraction to the terrier. It just wouldn't keep away from her.

Our team was like a skit from a British comedy. All slap stick. Slips and trips and passes that went nowhere. And out of the comedy of errors, with four of our players ping-pinging the ball back and forth between them, would burst the terrier, the ball in her possession.

But we had a sweet victory. 3-1. Our only victory to date. Victory by default perhaps, but a victory nonetheless. Such a great laugh. So ridiculously wet and muddy. Totally worth it.

*It turned out that they have just been dropped from a higher division and that is the only reason they are lower than us on the ladder. False hope. They will be a force to be reckoned with when they have a full team.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Planning, planning, planning...

Image from here
I have spent a lot of time over the last couple of weeks planning for Christmas. Or rather, planning to plan for Christmas.

This was going to be my year. I was going to channel my inner Planning with Kids, be super organised and slide into the event unscathed. I know, I know, big dreams. I am crap at the business of planning but a girl has to try right?

The fact that our family Christmas keeps changing venues, we have no Kris Kringle plans for the adults and there is the small issue of the Buy Nothing New thing have all added to my planning dilemmas. Lucky for me I will not be the lucky host (Sister A has that honour).

The fact that we have three of our children's birthdays at Christmas too (Doo Dah is Dec 17 and the twins on Christmas day) and Doo Dah has requested a Scooby Doo party has added to my planning dilemmas (although Maxabella has put together a pinboard for me if you are interested?).

The fact that we are camping for a week with friends up the coast from Dec 27 has added to my planning dilemmas. South for Christmas, north for camping. Much packing to be done.

The fact that the Geege turns 40 in early January and wants to recreate the music festivals of our youth by having a drumming workshop and a 'sleep over' at his family's farm for a small group of his closest friends and their families has added to my planning dilemmas.

Each time I sit down to take some action, I get overwhelmed by the enormity of it all and retreat into the comfort of my latest book (The Book Thief if you are wondering. And brilliant!).

Tonight is the night though. Tonight I am writing the Master Plan. I have to start the home-made gifts and the Christmas count-down calendar and the Christmas card list. I have to plan the gifts for all the family as well as Nugget's teacher and the daycare teachers and where I will source them. I have to sort out the budget, travel plans, and holiday leave at work. I have to finalise my Pay if Forward gifts because the one-year time frame is almost up!

It is beginning to feel a bit like Christmas...

Are you big on Christmas plans in the month before Christmas?

PS: Thanks to Mum on the Run who brilliantly cracked the riddle yesterday! I will try to rummage up another one next Sunday night...

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Sunday night riddle

Image from here
A farmer is taking a fox, a chicken, and a bag of grain home. To get there, he must cross a river, but he's only allowed to take one item across the bridge with them at a time. If the fox is left alone with the chicken, the fox will eat the chicken. If the chicken is left alone with the grain,the chicken will eat the grain. How can the farmer cross the river without any of his possessions being eaten?

*Answer in tomorrow's post.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Weekend Rewind - June 2011 Edition

My internet connection has been sporadic at best the past couple of weeks (hence Sister A was left in charge of the Weekend Rewind last week). Many thanks Al for a superb job, although I was very nervous about how excited you appeared to be to have access the back end of my blog. I read your posts with interest this week (as usual), paying particular attention for any signs of my neglected, half written posts, but alas, you couldn't find a suitable ending for them either!

A big welcome to all the new Rewinders including Clarabel from Elbows or Needles. We are a community folk here at the Rewind. This means commenting, sharing posts you love via Facebook and Twitter, and following people who you particularly bond with.

To play along, you need to become friends with me (if we aren't already acquainted) and link up a relevant post. It is that easy! No wonder we call it the 'World's easiest linky'.

This week is the June edition, so you should try to link up a ripper post from June for some new comment love (if you haven't been blogging that long, or had a particularly crappy month, just pick something of your choice).

I will get us started with my mummy blogger hat on... Life calendar (Note to self: You might want to start that in January 2012)

And now it is over to you...

PS: My Linkytools is out of action! We can do this old-school until I can set up the links when My Linky opens his doors. Add you links as a comment on this post, and please, try to comment at least on the person whose link appears before you. Thanks all.

PPS: You might notice I have a 'Vote for Me' badge in the top right corner. Somebody nominated me as a hopeful for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Aussie Mummy Blogs. You can vote for me by clicking through the link. Apparently once a day between now and December 8. No pressure :-)

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Toilet training - the saga continues

Image from here
If there is one area of parenting the 0-5 set that I would claim to be a complete loser at, it is toilet training. I loathe toilet training. All the rewarding for mediocrity. The continuous asking (Do you need to do a wee___? Insert name of child currently undergoing TT). Children experimenting with control. Being house-bound. Dealing with wet beds and wees on the carpet. Nightmare.

I had a mixed run with the boys but the twins have just started their journey.

Nugget didn't accomplish this milestone until he was nearly 3 1/2. I waited for 'the signs' and quite honestly, I think I would still be waiting if I left it up to Nugget. He had no qualms with being the only child in a nappy.  I insisted we get it sorted before the twins came along. The fear of four children in nappies loomed large and was a great motivator.

He reached competence in a remarkably short period of time, but he relapsed when the twins were born and spent a couple of months randomly 'bush weeing' throughout the house, and, occasionally dropping a stink bomb by night. That will learn you Mum for bringing those scrawny screaming babies into the house!

A charming experience (beyond words is many ways) that I hope to one day forget (although I think dealing with a nearly four year old's poo in his nappy may in fact be printed on my memory and in my nasal passages for life).

Night time nappy-free living didn't come for him until he was nearly six. One down.

Doo Dah self initiated day-time training when he was 2 1/3. Not long after Nugget actually and I was still suffering fatigue from the relapse. I was also breastfeeding the twins. In tandem. And stuck behind the world's biggest feeding pillow. It was less than ideal timing, but I wasn't going to complain.

I moved the potty into the lounge room so I could at least be present for his toileting, but needlesstosay he was on his own, putting his own stickers on his reward chart. I know, I feel sorry for him too.

It was a beautiful thing, smooth and accident free. The only glitch was 'getting the hang' of Number 2s. He was the sort of kid who would wait until his nappy went on in the middle of the day for his 'nap' (or crap). That stage dragged on forever, but he eventually overcame it. He is still in nappies at night. One and a half down.

And so it is over to the twins. Toilet training twins is proving to be a whole new world of pain.

Dew Drop started to show interest about two weeks ago. So I pulled out the potty. He was all gung ho and managed a whole day of success. Sadly this was never to be repeated. He woke the morning after his all conquering day and frankly refused to wear undies. He has managed a couple of wees on the potty since, but to say that he lacks enthusiasm for the task is a gross understatement. Dew Drop is experimenting with control and he likes it!

The Minx on the other hand showed no interest. She looked on as Nugget made a reward chart for Dew Drop and we populated it with bright coloured stickers of the "Your bloody awesome" variety. Point blank refused to get involved.

And then, they managed to capture a wee at daycare (during a regular toilet time) and she has been a machine ever since. She has powered through her first 'wee chart', tackled her first poo on the potty (which she stated she 'did not like') and embraced her Dora undies. I would go so far as to say that she is well on the way. (One and three quarters down?) Today. But tomorrow? Could be a whole other story...

I know they all do things in their own time. I know I need to have patience and lavish them with praise. I'm just not sure I have it in me to get through another two lots of toilet training, and worse? At the same time. Argh. How good will it be though? When they are done? No more day-time nappies? I barely dare to think about it.

So I would  love you to share your best ever toilet training tip. And Mums of Multiples, tell me about your twin toilet training experiences!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Weekend Rewind - now with added Fibro....

So Multiple Mum has gone away and left me the keys to the castle... Not really. She asked me nicely to put up her Rewind post due to technical issues, gave me her password, and now, here I am! [cue maniacal, evil laugh...]

Despite the temptation to run riot with her blog (oh what fun we could have...), I am going to restrain myself and stick with the task at hand. So... deep breath...

Hi, my name is Allison and you'll usually find me over at Life In A Pink Fibro. Tonight I am here, introducing the Weekend Rewind. World's easiest linky. All you have to do to take part is to follow this here blog (you'll never regret it), and then link up an old post for some new comment love. So far, so standard. But the key to the Weekend Rewind is the comments - give and ye shall receive. Comments make the Weekend Rewind go round.

Here endeth the lesson.

And here begin the reveal of this week's theme, which, if I'm reading correctly, is May. That's right, any post from the month of May in any year. Give us your best!

That's it. I've had my fun. Signing out. Ready, set, Rewind!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

And then someone sends you this...


So much blogging fodder right there on the screen.

The perms hair. The clothes. The braces. The white lipstick. The cheesy 'waves'. I think I can even spot a fob chain. Eeek!

I had completely forgotten about this experience and then today I got an email from an old school friend. She was the recipient of this gorgeous photo. My friends and I all surprised her when she left our school for the much greener pastures of Melbourne with a series of photos of ourselves.

We arranged a professional photo shoot with the local photographer (in those days there was probably only  one in our town). We gathered together in our finery and posed and giggled and thought ourselves cool.

The last time I saw this photo was circa 1987.

I posted it to Facebook today and those gorgeous girls, now women, had much to say about our younger selves. One commenter claimed we look like we are from a Christian band camp. Another an American year book photo.

I think we were cool. Typical '80s teenagers without a care in the world.

It will keep me smiling for many days to come.

Can you pick me???

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

All blogged out?

Image from here
I have sat at my computer diligently every night since Sunday night, ready to write my next blog post. I stared at the screen and conjured up something to get me started. Willing myself to produce a post. But nothing eventuated. The cursor just tantalised me daily with its persistent flash until I closed up shop and sought solace in my book.

My mind is blank.

I have nothing. No ideas. No thoughts. No opinions. No updates. Nothing.

Could my love affair with the blogosphere have come to an abrupt and unwanted halt? Could it be true?

We will have to see what tomorrow brings, but for now I leave you with the question:

What do you do when 'blogger's block' strikes?

Friday, 4 November 2011

Weekend Rewind - April 2011 Edition

These monthly themed Weekend Rewinds are going by about as fast as the year has flown. 


I have to apologise for my poor hosting performance last week. I tried to pop over to as many posts as I could but this garage sale business takes up a LOT of time. That and the school trivia night that our table just happened to win* which resulted in a(nother) day of horizontal parenting. I promise my nights on the booze are over for the time being.


Anyhoo...


We are embracing April. A great month for me because my eldest child has his birthday. What were you doing in April 2011? I can't wait to find out.


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.


Here is mine... I need a bex and a lie down


Now show us yours...


* The prize? The honour of hosting the event next year. You can imagine how that went down?!?

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Buy nothing new for a year - the Made in China effect

Image from here
After eight months doing the challenge, many things are starting to wear out and/or break. Toys are the worst culprits, followed by clothes. Have you noticed that things seem to be made to 'replace' nowadays rather than last a lifetime? What is with that? 


Added to the cheapness of design and materials (Made in China anyone?) is the planned obsolescence (a policy of deliberately planning or designing a product with a limited useful life). All the big brands are culprits. Who hasn't bought an Apple product knowing full well that the next version will be out within a year?


I have thought a lot about how we approached purchasing in the past. While we have always had a lot of hand-me-downs, op-shop purchases and the like, when it came to buying new things we often sought a 'bargain'. Cheap and cheerful. Never the cheapest version, but never the most expensive either.


This challenge has helped me learn the value of quality over quantity. Truth be told, if I had an unlimited disposable income, I think I would have always shopped that way. But as we are slowly unravel "want" versus "need" this year, I feel we will be in a better place to manage the influence of advertising and marketing and balance that against our budget when we are able to buy new again.


I read a really great post over at G-Online about Learning how to Avoid Planned Obsolescence. In order to find things that will be easy to maintain and reuse for many years they recommend:


1. Researching. Check out consumer reports to find brands that have cheap parts and are known to be easy to maintain
2. Learning to mend. Learning basic sewing and basic DIY skills will keep your clothes and your household good going for longer (YouTube will be your friend if you are learning these new skills).
3. Buying reusable, repairable items in the first place. Taking time with the initial purchase will mean less time in the long run.


So another month of growth and development on the BNN front.


How do you manage the "Made in China" effect in your household?

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Getting ready for a garage sale

Image from here
I have been preoccupied this week. My friend Dancing in the Rain and I are hosting a combined garage sale this weekend, and there is just so much to do!

I started with the obvious; going through every single nook and cranny of the house to identify potential items for sale. I have completed the kids rooms, lounge room and some cupboards in the kitchen, but there are more cupboards to raid. The clutter is phenomenal at this point in time!

But there is a lot more to organising a garage sale, and, I might add, much more to it than the last garage sale we had circa 2001 where we did little more than bring our stuff into the driveway on the morning of the event and yet managed to sell everything we had for a tidy sum.

Once you have determined the date (ours changed once due to the weather forecast and life getting in the way), you need to find out how and when to place an ad in the local classifieds. From the websites I have read, there doesn't seem to be much point hosting a garage sale unless you advertise it (unless you live on a main road with ideal access?).

I managed to book the ad online and it was very simple (but surprisingly expensive!).

The next step was determining how much to sell things for. My friend and I did a bit of research. I asked a friend whose street had a garage sale recently how much people charged for general items such as books, clothes, DVDs and CDs. Dancing in the Rain frequented a garage sale at the weekend (checking prices and general layout) as well checking out the prices on EBay for selected things that she really wants to sell.

We discussed the results of our research and decided to have a list of general prices with a "unless otherwise marked" disclaimer so we can individually price anything a bit special.

We now need to consider how to display everything, arrange signage for pricing and the garage sale in general, and think about any little extras we might like to do on the day (e.g. a craft table for kids).

Dancing in the Rain and I are meeting on Friday to organise the last minute things and set up the 'stores'.

So tell me, how can we make our garage sale pop?

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

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