December 28, 2012

Soothe the soul...


Holidays have that precious ability to soothe my soul, especially at this manic time of the year. After the frenzied crazy of Christmas it's so good to get away from it all, even if it's only for a short while. My family and I have just had three amazing days away and we've loved every moment of it. 

Check out our home away from home for the past few days. Can you feel the serenity? This place was very swanky, as you'd expect from a resort attached to a golf club and a day spa. I could definitely get used to living like this on a regular basis! The pool, especially, was a big hit with Son#3. He may have grown gills by now. 

Hopefully we can come here again sometime. 

Our days have been spent swimming, going for walks on the beach, eating, sleeping and doing not much else. It has been absolutely FANTASTIC. Exactly what we all needed.

Look at that awesome sky, created by a big storm blowing through. Ten minutes later, the grey was all gone and it was back to being a beautiful shade of blue.

I'm planning on a little further R&R from blogging until after the New Year but I just thought I'd pop in to show you what we've been up to. Now we're home, I've got the massive job of de-Christmassing the house and cleaning it all from top to bottom. Not to mention attending to the PILES of dirty washing we've brought home. Ye Gods. Let's hope the good weather holds!

Enjoy your upcoming weekend. What are you all planning for New Year's Eve? Big bash or quiet night at home?

December 23, 2012

Seasons Greetings to you all!

Christmas is almost upon us, just two more sleeps! And I'm almost ready. All the presents are purchased and wrapped, a very long list has been written ready to take grocery shopping tomorrow (I don't do the food shop earlier than that because the Blokes Wot Live Here would eat it all) and I have washed and cleaned as much as I'm going to before Christmas Day. There IS a limit, you know?

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for continuing to support WSDN all through the year. I have loved writing and sharing my thoughts and look forward to telling a few more of my tales in 2013. I'm taking a short break over the silly season for some much needed R&R but you'll still find me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter if you miss me too much!

I wish you and your family a safe and happy Christmas and a joyous New Year. Treasure the good and let go of the bad. Tis the season xxx

To get you all in the festive mood, I'll leave you with a song from my favourite Christmas CD. Turn it up!

Michael Buble - Santa Claus is Coming to Town

December 21, 2012

I've won a Sunshine Award!

"Thank you to all the members of the Academy, the Hollywood Foreign Press, my agent* and my parents... I'm beyond thrilled!"  *tearfully clutches award*

Okay, it's NOT the Oscars but it's an award nonetheless (and a blogging one, at that!) which makes it pretty damn special to me all the same. I'd like to give a big shout out to the delightful Ness of Boganville who bestowed this great honour upon WSDN and myself. THANKYOU! Most unexpected and very much appreciated.

The Sunshine Awards are given out by bloggers, for bloggers. They are awarded to those who positively and creatively inspire other bloggers in the blogosphere. 
Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them. Answer questions about yourself. Select 5 of your favourite bloggers, link their blogs to your post and let them know they have been awarded a Sunshine Award.

So, there's questions? I can do questions. Ask away!

1. Favourite Time of the Year?  Seasonally speaking, I'd say summer/autumn. Nothing beats a warm breeze on a late February day. And despite the maniacal running around beforehand, I really DO love Christmas time. Family, food and fun. A winning trifecta.

2. Favourite Festive Movie?  I have a couple, actually. I've always loved the classics and 'Miracle on 34th Street' is certainly one of them, but for me Christmas isn't really complete without the Griswold's 'Christmas Vacation'. Hilarious.

3. What is your Passion?  This question reminds me of when they used to ask the Miss World contestants what they'd wish for. I'm passionate about my family, my kids. About finding time for myself. Of writing when I can. Oh and a bit of world peace would be good too.

4. Favourite Colour?  I had my colours done once and found out I'm a winter girl. So I love vibrant colours - especially purple and red. That being said, I know I look good in black.

5. Favourite Time of Day? Definitely night time. I am a night owl from WAY back.

6. Favourite Flower? I had roses as a theme when I got married so I'd say them. But I am rather partial to big vase of princess lillies.

7. Favourite Non-Alcoholic Beverage? That's a no-brainer. Coffee, without a shadow of a doubt. First thing I reach for in the morning.

8. Favourite Physical Activity?  Boxing. Not that I've done much of it lately. But it's amazing how therapeutic punching the crap out of something can be. Not to mention calorie burning. Will get back to it in 2013. Promise.

9. Favourite Holiday? I love the beach. I'll go anywhere where I can relax in a comfy chair by the water. That'll be me channelling Audrey Hepburn in a cozzie, large sunhat and sunnies whilst reading a good book. BLISS.

Now it's time to share the love, baby! I read a lot of awesome blogs and this list is just the tip of the iceberg. They are all worth your time to have a browse and a read. Tell 'em I sent you! (You were supposed to tag 10 blogs on the original instructions but I've cut it down to 5 due to time constraints!)

4 Kids, 20 Suitcases and a Beagle

Cup of Tea and a Blog


Reservoir Dad

Fangirl Sings The Blues

If you've already been tagged or haven't got time to play along, don't feel obliged to! Tis the Season and all that.

Enjoy your weekends, people. What have you got planned?

December 17, 2012

17/12: Music for Monday...

I was waiting outside my youngest son's school with a small group of mums I know this afternoon. It didn't take long for the Connecticut shooting tragedy to come up in our conversation. We've all been horrified and deeply saddened by the deaths of so many innocent children and their teachers in America. For such a tragedy to happen again - and so soon after the Colorado movie theatre mass shooting earlier this year - we found ourselves pondering the issue of gun control, and the apparent LACK of it in the US.

The fact that almost anyone over the age of 18 can legally buy a semi-automatic weapon defies all manner of logic in my mind. 

I've always found it hard to understand America's almost religious fervour regarding gun ownership. I know the 'right to bear arms' is part of their Constitution, I get that. But surely they realise the 'arms' they were referring to back then were muskets, not the lethal weapons available today. The concept of 'guns as a security measure in every home' simply doesn't feature in my idea of a safe society. I grew up somewhere other than America - New Zealand - a country where even the police officers do not routinely carry firearms, only armed response units do. Regular police officers have pepper spray and a baton but no gun. And I'm okay with that. Guns don't make me feel safe. Far from it; they make me nervous. I'll never forget arriving in Australia circa 1987 and feeling quite apprehensive when I first saw the local police all carrying a holstered gun on their hip.

While I sincerely hope that Barack Obama will be able to make some serious changes to the laws regarding gun ownership, I'm not holding my breath. He's got an uphill battle ahead of him, one of David vs Goliath proportions. Until ALL the Powers That Be in America (the NRA, especially) decide that children are more important than guns, nothing will change.

Today's song choice for Music for Monday is dedicated to all the sweet innocents who lost their lives. Theirs is such an incomprehensible loss and we're feeling it all across the globe. May they all rest in peace.

Beyond the door
There's peace I'm sure
And I know there'll be no more
Tears in heaven

Eric Clapton - Tears in heaven

December 13, 2012

What's this thing called love...

'Love can mend your life 

but love can break your heart'

                             'Message in a Bottle' - Sting

Ain't that the truth.

I have two dear friends who are in the fresh hell of ending their marriage after ten years. It is raw, painful, incredibly sad and heartbreaking. A trust has been broken. A beautiful family is now grappling with a new reality that will be their lives from now on. Ending a marriage is like a mini-death, in a way. Something treasured and precious has died and you need time to grieve and to mourn what once was.

Just like life, nothing in marriage is guaranteed. It is full of interruptions and complications.

The other end of the spectrum - being married - isn't always easy either. In fact it's bloody hard going  sometimes. You have to really work at it. All the time. I've been married for 17 years, so far. Every year the Provider and I reach another wedding anniversary we have a quiet moment when we remark to each other that we've 'made it through another year without calling in the lawyers.' It's our own little in-joke, a way of recognising the effort it takes to stay together, grow and be happy within a marriage.

We've had some close calls though, hardly surprising when you consider how strong-minded we both are. There have also been some wicked arguments over the years too but that's tempered with some of the best times I've ever had in my life. I love my husband for many reasons, not least of which is being the man he is but it's a given that we'll still argue from time to time. And that's because my marriage is a fluid thing, it has a continual ebb and flow. The key is to go with the tide and remember another cycle is on the way.

For my friends though, their rhythm has changed, the life they knew now gone forever. In time I hope they find a peace that is sorely absent right now. I am thinking of them both a lot these days.

'Message in a Bottle' came on the radio this afternoon and I immediately reached for the volume. You can tell Sting has been there. He knows the hurt almost as well as he knows the joy. The ying and the yang. That's what love's all about, actually.

Much love, 

December 10, 2012

10/12: Music for Monday...

Smile, Charlie Brown... it's almost Christmas!

Christmas. It's only fifteen days away. But the more pertinent fact for me is the number of school days  left - and that number is seven. SEVEN. Bloody hell. I don't know about you but I still have quite a bit to do! There is some good news though. I almost finished my Christmas letter over the weekend so the cards will go out this week. Writing it reminded me of how much we got up to this year. No wonder we're all looking forward to the break... 2012 was huge!

But enough of that - on to the business of Monday and music.

I've been a little preoccupied with a tragic news story over the weekend, as have many, many other people worldwide. It's incredibly sad. While I don't want to wade through all the details again (plenty of others are doing that) the story got me thinking about judgement calls and those who make them. About ethics and morality. And of consequences when things don't go as planned. It's only hindsight that has a habit of being 20/20, don't you think?

Today's song is from one of my favourite singer/songwriters. I've been a Lennon fan forever and this is one of his best, IMO. Considering the news of late, it seems almost appropriate.

Enjoy your Monday, everyone.

Instant karma's gonna get you
It's gonna knock you right on the head

John Lennon - Instant Karma

December 7, 2012

So this is Christmas... and what have you done?

Well quite a lot this week, actually.

For starters I've dragged out all the Christmas decorations, no mean feat in itself. There are now far too many lots of boxes to get down from the top shelf of the cupboard. It's taken YEARS of collecting to get them all but the payoff means our house is well and truly in the spirit of the season. We have more bling and tinsel on display at Chez WSDN than you can poke a stick at.

But the true Christmas 'must-have' in our house is a real tree. Who doesn't love the fresh smell of pine wafting through the house? I adore it. We order our tree online from the local Christmas tree farm, a  system that totally works for me. I order it, they deliver and install it, job done thank you very much. This year's tree arrived Monday night and did not disappoint - it is perfectly shaped and smells absolutely divine.

 In my mind, NOTHING beats the smell and look of a real tree. Isn't it gorgeous?

As well as the tree, you also need decorations to get the house feeling festive. I have a large number of Christmas ornaments collected from a variety of places over the years, including quite a few that the boys have made at school. Those handmade gems are some of my very favourites.

Magazine Christmas tree...

Clothes peg reindeer...

But then there are those decorations I've spent actual money on, some from the Two Dollar shop and others from much more exclusive retail outlets... and I love those ones too.

The boys had been absolutely FERAL the day I bought this...

I've also been finalising all the overseas parcel posting to family this week. The lines in the post office have been brutal but even that has been tame compared to the price of postage nowadays. OMFG. It would *almost* be cheaper to fly it there myself (well, not really but you get my drift, right?)

I still have my annual Christmas Letter to write and a few Christmas cards to post. I think I may be one of the last few people who still actually send cards via snail mail. It seems almost old-fashioned now, kind of old school. Every year I wonder how I'll find time to write my annual letter yet somehow, I always do (although there was one year when it was more like a New Year's Letter, ahem). The lovely thing is, people always say how much they enjoy receiving it so that usually keeps me going. My grand plan is to write it over the weekend because the coming week? Utterly chock FULL of stuff and goings-on, at home and at school. Busy, busy, BUSY.

Why? Oh yeah. The sweet pine fragrance in the air reminds me - it's nearly Christmas!

Are you ready for Christmas at your place? Do you send out Christmas cards via the post or is email the way to go for you?

December 4, 2012

4/12: Music for Monday...

Wow. It's been a huge day. My youngest had his first transition day in the high school support unit today. We've been building towards this moment all year and H was keen to finally check out his new school a little more closely. We arrived at the office to find a small group of other students waiting, equally excited as they were nervous. Parents were much the same, although I could sense a hint of anxiety in some as well.

They need not have worried.

In short, the new school was a HIT. Rocking up at the end of the day we were all greeted with wide smiles. They'd been to the science lab for fun experiments, made Christmas craft (a fabulous paper snowball which now proudly decorates the top of our table-top tree), played games on large numbers of iPads at their disposal and made some new friends. And tomorrow is jam-packed with more fun activities, including a BBQ lunch!

There will be more challenges to face in the coming year, I know. There always are. But seeing the happy smile on my son's face and the relaxed manner of his demeanour this afternoon was the best possible start to high school I could have asked for. It made me feel like I could breathe again. Despite all the changes, it really is going to be okay. In fact, it may even be better than that.

I'm feeling alright. (Unlike Joe Cocker, here. Welcome to Music for Monday, Joe).

You feeling alright?
I'm not feeling too good myself
You feeling alright?

- Joe Cocker

Happy Mondays, everyone.

December 2, 2012

Hot town, summer in the city...

I don't think I have loved our ducted air-conditioning quite as much as I have loved it over the past 48 hours. Summer has definitely arrived in these parts. Since Friday we've been blasted with the most incredibly hot and humid weather, much hotter than usual. We didn't have much of a summer last year, frankly, so we're not used to it. At ALL.

Yesterday it was 41 degrees in our backyard; Friday saw the mercury rise to a still sweltering 39. Just horrid. Stepping outside was like walking into a furnace; thick, enveloping heat immediately smacked you hard across the face, swallowing your body whole within seconds. Open your mouth and you could almost 'taste' the humidity in the air, so heavy was the moisture.

I've been staying inside in the air-conditioning as much as possible but Mt Washmore wasn't going to wash itself (unfortunately) so I've had to venture out a few times to hang out a few loads of washing. After 5 minutes, any memory of cool comfort is lost. Sweat is pouring out of every pore in your body. Not pleasant.

Even Spencer, who loves being outside and is known for being most particular when it comes to exactly where he will 'do his business' has streamlined the whole process due to the heat. There's been no walking around, sniffing every blade of grass for the right spot. It's two steps onto the lawn and that'll do! He's then inside quick smart and lying spreadeagled on the tiles to cool down.

I can relate. Staying at indoors at home has been the preferred activity of choice for most of us this weekend. Mercifully the cool change began to arrive this afternoon. We might actually get some sleep tonight with a cool breeze blowing gently through the window. Tomorrow should be much better - I'm all set to Christmas up my house like nobodies business!

How're things at your house? Hot? Or are you in the northern hemisphere and welcoming the start of winter? 

November 26, 2012

26/11: Music for Monday

I am exhausted. I smell. And I've spent the last twenty minutes picking paint out of my hair.

It was another huge day painting but, I'm happy to say, we are actually getting somewhere! All undercoating of house ceilings and walls is about 95% finished! We had dreadful humidity in ol' Sydney town today (felt like around 80%, FFS) which meant by 9.15am, I had rivers of sweat pouring off me. Ugh. Not terribly glamorous, I must say. By the time school pick up rolled around, I was something close to 'pong city' - and totally desperate for a shower. I figured I'd do that when I got home. Ha! So much for that plan. The clock's showing the time as a little after 9.30pm and I'm only just managing to sorting that out now.

But first!

It's Monday (for a couple more hours in Australia, at least) so there's the very important business of some music for you all. Today's choice is all about weather - we've had some really hot days here this past week, a foreshadowing of the summer to come and it's looking like we're in for a scorcher this year. I'm going back a few years (well, more than a few actually) but this song always reminds me of lazy summer afternoons, lying on the sand and soaking up the ambience that only the beach can give.

Summer breeze makes me feel fine
Blowing through the jasmine in my mind

Seals & Crofts - Summer Breeze 

Happy Mondays, everyone.

November 20, 2012

You have GOT to be kidding me...

It's been said by someone (I have no idea whom) that if you have a son and you manage to keep him alive until the age of 25, you've done a good job. That person was clearly very smart.

As a parent, I have been witness to many silly decisions made by my three sons over the years. They have (thankfully) lived and (hopefully) learned from their mistakes so far. I am certain they will make a few more dumb moves before they are grown - young people always do - but I pray that none of them ever tempts fate like this:

See the boy on the ledge? Meet 18 year old Schoolie* Cameron Cox. He's drunk and as a consequence, is feeling rather tired and emotional. His alcohol-addled brain is telling him to have a sleep, but instead of going to bed he elects to climb out the window and lie on the ledge of his hotel room "for the thrill and to get some fresh air." A person in the room opposite takes a picture and posts it on social media site Instagram.

What this photo doesn't show you is that Cameron's room is on the 11TH FLOOR OF THE HOTEL BUILDING.

The fucking eleventh floor. Even typing that is making my head spin. I feel sick just thinking about it. One slight roll to the right would have seen him fall to his death. An ugly, unnecessary and totally preventable death. Imagine how devastating that would be for his family and friends.

For his part, Cameron doesn't seem to realise how close he came to dying. He says, "I didn't think it would get this much attention. My Dad might be a bit angry when he finds out, but we'll see."

Jeez, Cam, ya think?? I want to slap you on his behalf, just to see if that knocks some sense into you! The poor man will probably grab you close and hold you tight for a long, long time before letting go and then wanting to kill you for being so bloody stupid!

As it turns out, Cameron may find out what his Dad thinks sooner rather than later. The hotel has since discovered Cameron's identity and earlier today evicted him from the premises. Looks like Schoolies is going to be over for Cam.

Quite frankly, that's the least of his worries. He's very, VERY lucky to have survived it at ALL.

Schoolies Week is in full swing here in Australia and thousands of school leavers have travelled to the Gold Coast, Byron Bay or even Bali for a week of celebrations. I grew up in New Zealand where Schoolies is not the norm, so this whole 'leave home and your parent's rules for an alcohol-soaked week away with your mates' concept is totally foreign to me. FFS, I remember arguing with my parents to be allowed out until 11.30pm for one night the day school finished!

Did you go to Schoolies when you finished school? Where did you go? And for those readers who live out of Australia, do your high school graduates have any similar kind of holidays?

November 19, 2012

19/11: Music for Monday...

Mmmmm... just what I feel like.

My mobile phone is ringing. It's only 7.34am. Caller ID tells me it's Son#2.

"Mum? I've just run up to the bus stop but I missed the bus... and the next one won't get here in time to get me to school. Can you take me? Sorry, Mum."

Damn. Looks like I'll be dropping off TWO boys today. There goes my relaxed breakfast before I take Son#3 to school. No time to watch telly now, we'll have to leave early to negotiate the horrendous traffic on the way to the high school. As always, Son#3 is ready to go regardless. Because you never sit down and watch TV on a school day until you're dressed and eating your breakfast. "That's the rule, Mum says." ASD does have its positives, sometimes.

I managed coffee a little later, before me and the Painting Pants were in action again today. You get a lot done when it's just you and the room and the paint and the radio. It was a productive day. Music is the key though - keeps you going! Speaking of which, today is our musical day here at WSDN and I have a cracker of a song for you.

In case anyone has been living under a rock, the new James Bond movie 'Skyfall' featuring the delicious Daniel Craig has just premiered almost everywhere in the world right now. I don't know about you, but I have been a MASSIVE Daniel Craig fan ever since seeing this:

Well, hell-oooo there... 

Craig is brilliantly cast, IMO, because he is the BUSINESS onscreen as 007. Sexy, smart, athletic and ruthless, yet still possessing a touch of humanity. Plus he looks unbelievably hot in a tux, a Bond must-have. Case in point:

See what I mean? ON FIRE. *ahem*

But getting back to the reason for mentioning James Bond in the first place - MUSIC - the soundtrack from the latest instalment of the Bond adventures features one of my favourite female vocalists, Adele.

I have yet to see the film but I will be rectifying that as soon as humanly possible. From what I've seen and read about it, Skyfall is a worthy chapter of the Bond story so far. Take a moment and listen to the film's title track; even if you're not a Bond fan, it's definitely worth taking the time to listen to Adele's fabulous voice.

Happy Monday, everyone.

Let the sky fall, when it crumbles
We will stand tall, 
Face it all together
At sky fall,
At sky fall

Adele - Skyfall

November 16, 2012

Sisterhood of the Painting Pants...

Thank GOD it's Friday. I'm knackered. We have nothing planned here tonight although I'm feeling slightly guilty about that because this afternoon I put off having one of H's mates here for a sleep over. I just couldn't face it. All I could think about was having a night of doing nothing followed by a long sleep, fuelled by the knowledge that no alarm clock would be screeching at me in the morning.

Easy Coat would be right if it applied itself!

This past week has been filled to the brim with 'busy' and my body is feeling it a little tonight. It's telling me to stop, slow down and baby, I'm listening. Three of my days have been spent painting walls and ceilings. I've been clambering up and down ladders, cutting in with brushes and filling in with rollers, working a lot above my head and constantly moving, stretching and reaching. Muscles I didn't know I had are now making their presence felt. There is a high probability that I still have paint in my hair.

Oh, the stories those Painting Pants could tell...

I've done loads of painting over the years and these trusty pants have been my companion all the way along. They were witness to the 'Tuscan Yellow' phase I went through a few years back when suede effect paint was all the rage. My wrists ache just remembering all those cross hatched brushstrokes! Then there was the fresh white when I painted the rumpus room ceiling, again. And now the current latte-like colour with an unlikely name of 'Self Destruct' covering the walls at home today.

I finished painting early today though. There was Important Business to be had at my youngest son's school assembly. He was going to receive a very special award -  his 6th Principal's Distinction. Time was of the essence so I didn't have a chance to go home and change which meant the Painting Pants were going to have to do 'school assembly' as best they could.

But did Son#3 care about that? No, he did not. A gorgeous smile lit up his face the moment he saw me standing there at the back of the hall. It remained that way for the entire time he was on stage, holding that badge front and centre with pride.

The Pants and I were thrilled. I clapped like a madwoman at the end. And peeled another splash of paint off my fingers.

The weekend beckons. The Painting Pants are in the wash. And it's raining. I'm home with my boys and all is right with the world.

November 12, 2012

12/11: Music for Monday...

No matter how old your children are, the parenting and teaching never really stops. The only difference is the type of issues you're required to deal with.

Take my week, for example.

My youngest, 12 year-old H, is negotiating the entry into his teen years and the wilds of puberty. Mood swings have made their presence felt and the non-committal grunt has surfaced far more regularly in his speech repertoire. We go from one extreme to the next: one minute I'm talking him down off a metaphorical anxiety ledge, the next we are jumping around with joy because he's brought a note him advising me he's receiving his SIXTH Principals Award at this Friday's assembly. Woo hoo!

Middle son, 14 year-old M, is currently in Fiji living the dream (on holidays with his best mate and his family) so it's been so VERY quiet at home. I've washed much less and the ice-cream is lasting a lot longer in the freezer. He's home Thursday and I CAN'T WAIT to have him back. We've all missed his cheeky face.

Then there's my eldest boy, N. He's 23 and still living at home although he did move out for 18 months or so before coming back. It was just long enough for us to miss him, I think. Currently without a licence (that's a very long story) I've gained another regular customer for Mum's Taxi Service. He's your typical young man, likes to enjoy his free time with his mates by going out and having fun. Until it's not fun. Yesterday we spent 5 hours in the hospital emergency department; N had managed to cut his hand rather badly during his travels the night before. As soon as I saw it, I knew it needed stitches. I was right. He needed six, as it later turned out. And a tetanus needle while they were at it. He's fine, his hand a bit sore but he's more or less okay.

It's an absolute roller coaster, this parenting gig, isn't it? You never know what's around the corner. Or when the next big dip is coming! So I think today's musical selection for this Monday is an apt one, given my past week, don't you?

Happy Mondays, everyone.

Don't you ever ask them why, if they told you you would cry,

So just look at them and sigh, and know they love you.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Teach your children

November 10, 2012

Dance like there's nobody watching...

The Ninja Boy is currently in his final year at primary school. He is my youngest child, teetering on the brink of teenage-dom. The remaining weeks of term are hurtling by at great speed, much faster I think, than either of us actually expected. Change is coming. BIG change. As a consequence there have been a few meltdowns and emotional outbursts of late, including one memorable day recently when H apparently told his teacher to "calm down and RELAX!" Shit is really starting to get real.

Strike a pose

The annual Year 6 disco was on last night and he was so excited. The Ninja Boy LOVES to dance. A new shirt was purchased especially for the occasion (from the Men's section, God help me - an XS!!) and hair gel was applied. He was looking mighty sharp.

Watching my son having the time of his life with his mates was both wonderful and bittersweet. I couldn't ignore a pang of sadness flickering ever-so-slightly in my heart. Because those fabulous boys, dancing with so much joy in front of me, had become so much more than simply classmates. They'd forged real friendships. Accepted each other for who and what they are. Made mistakes. Learned about life. Grown in mind and body. And they'd all done it together. 

It will be hard to leave that behind, yet we must. A new challenge awaits. Life marches on. The future is just waiting to be written.

And I know the Ninja Boy will be okay, despite the change. His charisma and personality will see to that. As well as his dancing skills. Man, that boy can dance!

So happy weekends, people. What are YOU up to? Any dancing happening in your social calendar?

November 5, 2012

Music for Monday...

Congratulate me, will you? Because this moment deserves a special mention. *impressive drum roll*


I'm feeling very self-righteous about my efforts - this is huge news for me, especially as it's only early November! With special thanks to my Partner In Crime, today saw us hit the factory outlet shops for some serious Christmas gift purchasing. Bolstered with an energy-giving coffee, we scoured the racks and shelves for those elusive bargains (and found a few). It felt fantastic being able to cross some names off the 'Need-To-Buy-For' list. The trick now of course, will be whether or not I can keep this good work up. So much pressure!

I have several annoying clever friends who usually have their shopping finished by the start of October, all aforementioned presents bought, wrapped and hidden away ready for Christmas morning. Unfortunately, I am NOT one of these people. At 46, I have come to the realisation that I will NEVER be one of those people. But that's okay. I still get it done, so that's all that really matters.

Christmas seems to come around earlier every year, don't you think? I do. My local shops had the cheek to whip out their decorations by the 1st of Sept. Just ridiculous. I studiously ignored them for 6 weeks because I wasn't ready to even think about Christmas then. Of course I also made a mental note NOT leave the shopping to the last minute. Because that's what usually happens. Years gone by have seen me power shopping in a semi-organised frenzy/panic during the last two weeks before Christmas. It's hardcore shopping, people and definitely not for the faint hearted.

Who knows, maybe this year will actually be different! Keep your fingers crossed.

Now to the business of the day. It's Monday after all. Seeing as we're talking about shopping, today's musical selection is all about one of the essentials you need to do it - money!

Money, get away
Get a good job with more pay
And you're okay

Pink Floyd - Money

Happy Monday, everyone.

October 31, 2012

Hello Muddah... Hello Faddah...

My youngest boy, H, left this morning to go on an end-of-year school camp. He's away for three days. I knew he was fairly excited about the whole thing but this was confirmed when I heard him get up at 6.15am this morning. That's early, even for him!

It's not the first time he's ever been to camp though. We clocked that particular milestone last year. I can still remember the moment he arrived back, my eyes eventually finding him in the sea of kids streaming off the bus. Biggest. Smile. Ever. As he drew closer I asked: "So, how was it?" Two arms wrapped around me tightly for a big hug. Then he said the best three words: "It was AWESOME!"

He'd had, by his account, just about the best time of his life. Rope climbing, archery, boomerang throwing (we are Aussies, after all), orienteering, walks in the bush, he'd loved it all. Sleeping in a cabin with all of his mates. Laughing at each other's jokes (and suspect loud noises coming out of a sleeping bag in the dark). Trying new things for the first time. It was gorgeous. Unpacking his bag at home there was more awesomeness to see. They had written stories of their adventures for the parents, accompanied by beautiful hand-drawn illustrations. I had a lump in my throat by the time I'd finished reading it.

Because he'd been to camp, just like any other kid. And coped with a different bed, different food and different routines in a very different environment. Without his family. And had thrived and come out the other side, perfectly FINE. Just like other kids do.

It was a bit of a watershed moment in the life of an ASD kid, really.

And now my big boy is away to do it all again. His teacher told me he will have a brilliant time and I know she's quite right. For a start, today's activities after arrival at camp included canoeing, just the perfect thing to do given the hot, sunny weather we're having at the moment. He'll love it. I can't wait to hear about this and all the other adventures he'll have had by the time he comes home.

What do you remember about school camps? Have your children ever been on one? What was the best thing about it?

October 29, 2012

Music for Monday...

I have been playing Super Woman today.

I ask you, who needs the gym? Someone needs to remind me how much money I'm saving because man, I busted my butt today. Most of the morning was spent working in the garden doing lawns and dishing out some much-needed TLC (read: vigorous weeding) to my overgrown garden beds. Four loads of washing were then washed and hung out, before I raced to the shop to organise sleeping bag for Son #3's trip to camp. Thank God I looked at the list of what to take - he leaves on Wednesday.

At 5.30pm I found myself scanning cupboards desperately searching for some much needed inspiration required to make dinner. Times like these I wish Jamie Oliver would pop in and whip something up. He can do it in only 15 minutes now, apparently. Brilliant. The starving Blokes Wot Live Here are like rust; their appetites never sleep. (Oh, and in case you're wondering, I decided on tuna & egg pasta bake).

One super-cold bottle of cider is currently being rolled as I type this post and my bodily collapse is expected to occur at about 8.30pm, by which time my youngest son will be in bed. Everyone else is old enough to FEND FOR THEMSELVES. Just sayin'.

Now to Monday's business. Given my labours of today the music feels kind of appropriate. I didn't realise how old this song actually was though - can you believe it's been 40 years? And it's still relevant, as women everywhere continue to battle sexism at work and at home.

I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an' pretend
Cause I've heard it all before
And I've been down there on the floor
No-one's ever gonna keep me down again 

Helen Reddy - I am woman

Sing it, sister! Enjoy your Monday, everyone.

October 28, 2012

Showers... of the baby kind.

My youngest son is on the verge of entering high school, leaving the baby days well and truly behind me. It feels like a lifetime ago since I've had to drag my weary, breast-milk-soaked body out of bed for early morning feeds or deal with a recalcitrant toddler deciding that 4am was the perfect time to start the day. You have NO idea how happy that makes me. 

However I still get excited for those who are about to embark on the great baby adventure. One of my very good mates is one of these gals. She and her husband have a son already making this child Baby No 2. The baby shower was held over the weekend, the perfect excuse for we women to gather, celebrate and talk about at length the impending birth. There was wine, a selection of delicious savoury and sweet nibblies, AND an awesome cake.  

The happy woman NOT having the baby...

Being women, we naturally discussed labour and pre-natal care. It is amazing how the business of having a baby has changed over the years. Attitudes and 'rules' have been rewritten and revised; what I was once told in hospital after the birth of my first son in 1989 is world's away from what mothers are told now. And while we're talking changes, how about names? Apple, Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily and Sparrow anyone? We all pledged to help the Mother-to-be with her quest of finding a name she and the Father-to-be could agree on. With traditional spelling, ploise! 

So cute!

How's this for an awesome cake? Such a clever design and as well as looking good, it tasted even better. Like I've always said, you can't go wrong with chocolate mud cake. Between all the baby shower guests present, we polished off the boobs, along with most of the bow. I guess you could say it was Boobalicous. *coughs* Ridiculous pun intended, sorry.

The baby is due sometime in early February and already has a long line of 'other' mothers looking forward to that first cuddle. Because that's the next best thing, isn't it? I love babies, I really do. The way their fingers instinctively curl around your own, the velvety softness of a newborn's head, the pure sweetness in the scent of their skin. But the maternal pull of having more of my own has long gone. So I take all my joy in the delights of other people's babies - I get the pleasure of the cuddle but someone else does the nightshift! Win/Win!

When was the last time you were at a baby shower? 

October 25, 2012

I heart my body...

How do you feel about your body? Do you love it?

Right now, my answer is an emphatic NO. Because it's that time of the month when my body decides it hates me and fills my uterus full of stabby needling cramps, sustaining them for 36 hours or so. This is usually combined with low back pain and a headache that won't completely go away. I am pretty much incapacitated during this time. It takes everything I've got to force myself upright but I can't stay that way for long. The Blokes Wot Live Here know (most times) not to poke the Pain-Crazed Mamma-Bear. She gets very irritable when roused.

I have been to my doctor about this, in case you were wondering. I will be having that pesky uterus taken out early next year. Good riddance! But for now, I have to hang on for a day or so, when I'll be back to my normal self.

But back to the question about whether or not I heart my body. Do I really?

Overall, yes I do. But that love has been a long time coming. In my teens I wanted legs that were hair- free. (I had the hairiest legs out of all my friends. After months of trying everything from peroxide to lemon juice, I ended up shaving them). In my 20's I wished for a body that was slimmer, without the mummy belly (I was having babies, while my childless friends were wearing midriff tops and going out.) In my 30's I wished for my boobs to be bigger (post breast-feeding my boosies SHRANK to A cups. I was devastated.)

But in my 40's, I have finally realised that there are way more ticks in the plus column than in the negative one. My body is strong and I now make of a point of looking after it. I don't smoke, I eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and try to exercise regularly. I use good quality products on my skin. I colour my hair and have the occasional facial. I still have cellulite but hell, what woman doesn't? I'm in excellent health, I don't look my age and better yet, my pre-baby B cup boobs are back (accentuated to their full potential by a good bra!)

What's not to love about that?

So tell me - do you heart your body? Share your story here... 

October 22, 2012

Music for Monday...

Source: Wikipedia

I bet most of you know what country this flag is from. Even if you think you don't know, the second I say it you'll smack yourself on the forehead and say: "Of course it is!"

So what's the answer? If you said Sweden, you'd be absolutely correct. And the first place that comes to mind when you're talking all things Swedish is IKEA. It's the home of furniture with names like Ektorp, Malm and Karlstad, has instruction manuals with Slots A, B and C and for some reason, flat packs arrive with more screws than you ever need.

My girlfriend and I spent a good 3 hours exploring this Swedish giant today. I picked up a couple of cool prints and frames as well as my first lot of Christmas paraphernalia - and it's only OCTOBER! That's early for me.

A must-do for most of my IKEA visits has been a welcome stop at the restaurant. Swedish efficiency at its best. I had my favourite - a plate of Swedish meatballs with mash and gravy - complimented with a little spoonful of cranberry sauce. Yummo. So cheap and very satisfying, filling you up without making you feel bloated afterward. Perfect.

Finally we made it downstairs to where the real business hangs out - the kitchen, glassware and art/framing departments. I could deck out my whole house with stuff from here. Already I can see I'll need to go back. Heh.

So in keeping with today's theme, Music for Monday is something Swedish and NO, it's not ABBA. Think late 80's. You may remember a duet with a spiky platinum blonde teamed with someone sporting a serious case of 80's hair - they had a song featured in "Pretty Woman". Richard Gere's character is sitting disconsolate in the back of a limo - leaving Julia Roberts behind with a fat wad of money - about to return to his empty, corporate life.

Roxette - It must have been love

It must have been love
But it's over now
It must have been good
But I lost it somehow

Enjoy your Monday, people   xx

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