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? 
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