One of those shopping trips

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

You know the one. The 3-going-on-4-year-old wanting everything he sees and throwing a massive tantrum in the middle of the 5pm rush; the 18-month-old voicing her displeasure over the load in her nappy the size of Texas; the looks of pity and acknowledgment and "ah yes I've been there" from fellow parents and onlookers.

Yesterday I did not have that shopping trip. Yesterday I was grateful, for so many things.

It was just after 4pm when I put Quindy into the pram and set off to pick Chanbe up from kindy. I planned to pop to the dodgy Woolies which is just around the corner from where we live after picking Chanbe up, to get a few necessities, depending on how long the kids remained happy once we arrived. It was a lovely walk to the shop - about 1km - and the kids were happily chatting away.

We went through the shopping rules again, as we always do, and as I heard Chanbe say "no asking for food, no asking for drinks, no asking for toys" I praised him, only to be told "no Mama, I'm telling Quinny." More praise.

We arrived and Chanbe immediately wanted to get out of the pram and help me shop. I took a breath and decided that this could work. He put his shoes on (no kid of mine is going to be walking around the Bronx Woolies barefoot) and we put the basket in his seat. The next 20 or so minutes were bliss. I would point to the item on the shelf, he would pick it up, give it to Quindy, and instruct her to put it in the basket. I ended up doing a slightly bigger shop than I had planned, simply because it went so well.

When we went to the checkouts, Chanbe wanted to show me the toy section. Here we go, I thought. But I said to him that it would be lovely for him to show me and then we would have to go and pay for our shopping. He pointed out a few things and that was it. Another sigh of relief and more praise for good choices.

I pushed our ginormous pram through the checkouts, paid for the shopping, gave the kids an apple each, and we were on our way.

This is how $60 of shopping fits nicely in the pram:

On the walk home, I thought about how grateful I was to have had such a positive experience. Parenting is hard work sometimes, and I know that I can get overwhelmed and bogged down by the monotony and challenges that this job brings. But yesterday, I chose to be grateful.

I'm grateful that I have 2 wonderful, healthy children who make me smile and make me proud.

I'm grateful for our awesome pram that I was a bit hesitant about buying initially, but that I haven't regretted once. We get comments on it every time we go out which makes me love it more.

I'm grateful for this beautiful weather we are having. I struggled a lot with the summer months up here, but the last couple of weeks we've had lovely cool nights and beautiful days. The sun isn't too hot, and there has been a nice stiff breeze to keep the flies away.

I'm grateful that I never have to worry about money to buy food and to pay for living costs.

I'm grateful for my fully-functioning, albeit slightly slow and sluggish body.

I'm grateful that even though I'm experiencing some not so fun ligament pain, I can get out and exercise which is so good for me at the moment.

I'm grateful that I have a loving husband who has a good job that enables me to be at home with the kids.

I could go on, but you get the idea. How can I not be grateful when I have all of this;

... and more:

Wifey: 26 weeks with #3

A little obsessed

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Can someone please tell me why I'm all of a sudden a little obsessed with this guy, and this song:

I know I'm totally behind the times on this one, as the song was released back in 2011. It was #1 in Triple J's Hottest 100 in 2012, and even though we did appear to have listened to the countdown that year, (I checked my blog history to confirm this!) I guess I just hadn't heard the song that much at the time so it went under my radar.

Hubs and I listen to Triple J's Like a Version albums. A lot. We have recently acquired volumes 7 and 8, and Eskimo Joe do a "version" of Somebody that I used to know on volume 7. This is what sparked the obsession. Then I looked up the original and watched the above video clip. About 4 times in a row. Firstly, I don't normally like covers that sound exactly the same as the original - I figure, what's the point? Add your own spin! - but I do love that Eskimo Joe have pretty much replicated the awesomeness of the original. And I don't know what it is about that clip; the simplicity maybe? The close up of his face and his amazing mouth and voice? The fact that he really looks like he's singing his heart out in the clip? The artwork?

I really don't know. All I know is that at least a dozen of the half a billion - yes, billion - views of this clip on youtube have been me.

I wake up humming the song every morning, and go to sleep as I belt out the chorus in my head every night. It's got me good.

I have been waiting a long time for this

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

It started not long after Quindy was born. Chanbe was quite put out but the new human being taking so much of his Mama and Dadda's time, and he let those feelings be known. Frequently. I shed tears over his behaviour towards his little sister. I wondered where my gentle little boy had gone. I couldn't leave them in the same room together, and whenever he was around her, I was on edge.

I would be so jealous when other mums gushed over how their older child was so kind and gentle with their new baby. I wondered why he was acting this way and how I could possibly make it stop.

The answer? Understanding. Patience. Gentle teaching. Time.

The combination of these things has resulted in Chanbe growing into a very loving and caring big brother. Oh how I have waited for this moment.

They play together so beautifully now. Most of the time. They still have their disagreements, but it's more that Quindy is sticking up for herself and Chanbe will come and tell me if she's doing something to him he doesn't like. It takes a lot of self control for me not to say something along the lines of "buddy, you had it coming", instead I take the approach of "if Quindy is doing something you don't like, you need to ask her to stop" just as I have been teaching Quindy that for months. She can now say "No" to Chanbe if he starts getting a bit over enthusiastic.

A few times, the kids have wondered upstairs together, and after a little while and a lot of silence, I'll go and check on them. I've found them a couple of times like this:

Chance reading Quindy some stories

This "milestone" for want of a better word is all the more sweet, having had to work very hard and wait a long time for it. It has certainly made life easier and more harmonious around here.

Of milk and Arrowroot bikkies

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Quindy had her 18 month immunisation on Monday, and after a non-eventful 48 hours, she has become rather unsettled and feverish. All perfectly common reactions and nothing serious, but last night her sleep patterns mimicked those of a 2 week old baby. The fun really started around 11pm when she was wide awake and completely inconsolable, and wouldn't let me sit down or lie down with her. Then she demanded I take her downstairs and after lots of to-ing and fro-ing and trying to work out what on earth she wanted, we ended up in front of the pantry.

She wanted an Arrowroot bikkie. Oh, and some milk in a sippy cup to go with it thanks Mama.

She went from having a complete meltdown to being perfectly quiet and content, munching on her Arrowroot. She even offered to share it with me. And once her milk was finished, she climbed off my lap and took her empty cup to the sink.

I took her back upstairs and after some cuddling, she went back to sleep around 1am. I chuckled to myself that it could be that simple. Of course, she woke up twice more in the next 2 hours, wanting another bikkie the first time, and then a squeezy fruit pack the second. I kept marveling at the peace she exuded while eating her bikkie and thought "I want to remember this."

And now I will.

Half a lifetime ago

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

While I was in Brisbane a couple of weeks ago, I was happily driving my family around, which included my parents, when I noticed my dear darling Father kept looking over my shoulder at the speed I was travelling. I assured him that I knew how to drive and stick to the speed limit, and it occurred to me that I had, in fact, been driving for half of my life.

Way to make a girl feel old!

The year was 1997. People were flocking to cinemas to see the epic movie Titanic; "little" Johnny Howard and the Liberals were running the country; Tubthumping became the latest teen anthem, and this happy little blogger was in her final year of high school.

I always felt out of place in High School. I had a lovely group of friends, 4 of whom I'm still very good friends with today; I was very much involved in the music program, playing double bass, bass guitar and baritone sax; I did a lot of extra-curricular stuff like fund raising, school musicals when the school had them, played hockey and did tap dancing and jazz. But I never really knew who I was. I was a follower. I would always try and get cool hair cuts, but they always just ended up looking a bit boy-ish, or flick out uncontrollably once the hairdresser's blow-dry wore off.

I didn't really know how to talk to boys, so I would just try and make funny jokes that just weren't funny, or I'd pay them out. While others were excited by it, I dreaded free dress day, as I had very little personal style, coupled by the fact that I was convinced I was vastly overweight (turns out, I wasn't) and used to wear oversized clothes to hide my huge arse (that wasn't actually that huge).

Side note, I love this conversation between Charlotte and Carrie on Sex and the City:

The problem was my head. I tried so damn hard to fit in that I was constantly worried about my actions and what I said and how I looked. I know that hindsight is a wonderful thing, and that no 17 year old has it all together, and that most of my insecurities came from comparing myself to others instead of learning to accept myself for who and what I was. Because, looking back, I was pretty awesome.

I wish I had a photo of myself back then to show you, but alas all those pre-digital photos are packed away in a box somewhere in the garage. Or in my mother-in-law's garage.

I like to think I've come a long way in the last 17 years, especially when it comes to loving my body, knowing what hair cuts and clothes suit me, and how to talk to boys. I wonder what life-lessons I will learn in the coming 17 years, and beyond. Maybe I'll finally understand how to work our damn media PC.

On a side note, I want all of these songs on our media PC. Well, most of them. Please? Hubs?

3 years on

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

It's hard to believe that it's been 3 years since Nanny passed away. In some ways it feels like just last week, and sometimes it feels like I haven't seen her for much longer. We still miss her and keep her memory alive by using "Nanny-isms", most commonly when we say "just for fun" which was her response to our questions of "why did you cook this/buy this/do this?"

I stumbled across the draft of the tribute I wrote for Nanny's funeral the other day. I ended up just using it as a bit of a guide, and improvised the last part, and it was really nice finding it and reading over it again.

Nanny was an extraordinary woman with the simplest of pleasures. She lived for her family. Anyone who spent 5 minutes with her would know that, and anyone who spent half an hour with her, would become a part of that family. If you ever came to visit for a Sunday lunch, she would ask after you the next few weeks and ask when we would be bringing you back again.

When you grow up with an extraordinary person like Nanny in your life, that extraordinary becomes your ordinary. It often took outsiders to remind me what a special woman Nanny was. People would gush over her crispy potatoes, chicken, turkey and sausage, English salad, cucumbers, borsch, crumbed stead and pork, barramundi on Fridays, veges, jelly, ice cream and custard; her 10 layer Napolean and 6 layer walnut cakes, her apple pies, her banana cake, and of course, her pierogi, yet they were weekly staples for us at Sunday lunch.

Nanny didn’t try to be extraordinary. She just was. But she wasn’t all butter, sugar and cream. She had a quirky streak to her that brought a smile to our faces so often. “Come here, I shmack you” she would say. We realised in the last 5 years or so that getting a Nanny shmack was to be celebrated, as it meant she had missed you and she loved you very much.

She could also lay on the guilt like the thick layer of cream on top of her walnut cake.

Why you leave so soon?” she would say.
When you coming back?
and one I’ve heard a lot in the last few years
Why you must live in Victoria? When you coming home to Brisbane?

This was just another way she let us know she loved us. Though she could never understand why someone would choose to leave their family, when she had no choice to leave her own all those years ago, she always supported us and welcomed us like rock stars whenever we came to visit.

Nanny gave so much of herself to us, and I know everyone here has been touched by her generosity and kindness in many ways. I think we are all better people for knowing her, and I think a great way to honour her memory is to eat creamy cakes, drink good vodka, always cherish our family, and learn to make pierogi, just like Nanny made it.

To be honest, there isn't a great deal of sadness around her passing, as she lead such an amazing life. But it breaks my heart how this little guy brought her so much joy:

Yet she doesn't get to see him like this:

And the fact that she never got to meet our little girl. That hurts a lot. But I'm sure she's up there, looking down on us all, and gushing over the cuteness as much as we are.

Time to Bounce

Friday, August 8, 2014

While we were in Brisbane, Mum wanted to take Chanbe to Bounce - a huge indoor trampoline centre. This place is massive and amazing and unfortunately, when Mum took Chance along, he was just a bit overwhelmed with the noise and all the people. Is that what happens when you live in a small, quiet town? Anyway, we thought if I went, and we took other kids he knew, that might encourage him to have a jump. So our friends Liam and Alex came along and even though they were all a bit hesitant at the start (it really is very busy and noisy!) once it was their turn, it took all of about 3 minutes and they were hooked. There were 6 areas you could jump in, but Chanbe stuck to just 2. This one was a huge hit:

And he probably spent the most time in this area. Just lots of trampolines to jump on and you could climb up the angled trampoline walls and slide down. It's so wonderful to watch your child just having the time of their life.

Of course, when it was time to go home, he didn't want to get off! You have to book ahead and you pay for an allocated hour (or more) so we were there from 12 til 1. It may have taken some ice cream bribery to encourage him to leave :-) You know, whatever works. We will definitely go back when we're in town next. Wanna come?

Happy Ruby

Sunday, August 3, 2014

My parents celebrate their 40th Wedding Anniversary this year. The actual date is still 2 weeks away, but we were almost all in town (poor Hubs had to work :-( ) so we went out for a fancy-pants lunch yesterday at the Ocean View Estates Winery. It's also the same place where one of my cousins is getting married next April, and where my dear friend got married back in 2007. The weather was absolutely stunning.

I didn't realise Mum was mid-blink for this photo! But it's still cute :-)

This was taken during dessert - I ordered the chocolate fondant with Guinness ice cream and salted caramel. Oh boy. It was ridiculously decadent. I had ordered the crusted prawns for entree which were delicious and the crispy lamb ribs for main which was probably the best lamb I've ever had in my life. Oh man I want to try making that at home.

After dinner and a few beverages, Aunty Kate decided to join Chanbe on his rolls down the hill. It was rather gorgeous.

And although Uncle Kris didn't partake in the rolly-poly, he was happy to do some spin-arounds.

And Grumpy was happy for a footrace down the hill, and a slow trek back to the top.

We decided to hire a mini van so we could all travel together. That is, so everyone who could drink, did drink, and I drove the booze bus home :-)

It was such a wonderful day. The kids were absolute angels in the restaurant and made me very proud. The food was delicious and the ambiance and view were delightful.

Happy Anniversary Mum and Dad. Here's to the next 40! :-)

This is getting out of hand

Friday, August 1, 2014

I remember about 10 years ago, a few months after I had found the perfect Black Colorado slip on sandal, thinking that I should have bought another pair of the same shoe to keep for when I wore my current ones out. By that stage they were out of the range and you couldn't buy them anymore. Plus, at $100 a pair, I did find it a bit hard to justify. The shoe gods had other ideas however, and a couple of months later as I was browsing the Lifeline store not far from where I was working (don't ask me which job it was. Maybe this one??) and I happened across the exact pair of said sandals... In my size... barely, if ever worn... For $9. I couldn't believe my luck!

Now I don't normally buy second hand shoes - they have to be in near-perfect condition and look like they've never had someone else's smelly feet in them. Especially if they are shoes that you don't wear socks with. Yeuch. Thankfully this pair ticked all the boxes and I was rather pleased with my find.

Anyway, this story isn't about second hand shoes, it's about buying another pair of the same shoes when I come across a winner. Early last year, I bought a pair of Piper ballet flats from Spendless Shoes in red, featured in this post. About a month after I bought them, I went back and bought the same pair in black.

And since then, this has happened: (note, the black and red pairs are actually replacements for the 2 original pairs I bought and wore to death.)

So that's 6 pairs of the same shoe in total.

When does love become an obsession? I love these shoes. They are incredibly comfy, super cute, and the range of colours makes them extremely versatile. Plus I've told so many people how amazing they are. AND they're still in the shops! Perhaps not in all the colours and sizes, but they are there! I have refrained from buying ALL the colours - I think I'm missing the brown, white and pewter. They are a fairly cheap shoe, so they don't last years like better quality shoes, so that's why I've bought them in bulk.

They really are a winner!