Monday, 27 August 2012

Around Our Table

I have been thinking a lot about this table of ours.  Thinking about all that has happened on it.  The people who we have shared meals with, the celebrations that have taken place, the laughter, the tears, the fun.  It really is the centre point of our family life.
I LOVE our table.  I love sitting around it with loved ones.  It is simple and sturdy and big enough for a  crowd when needed yet it can also be made to feel intimate when it is just our little family of four.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Lego Organisation

The Lego revolution has been going on for many years at our house.  The Lego comes out daily.  When the kids were younger we kept all the pieces in their box sets but over the years we ended up with one messy big ol' basket full of 1000's of pieces.  This caused no end of frustration as it would take the kids forever to find an itty bitty elusive piece that lurked in a tiny nook or was hidden under another piece.

And so began the process of working out the perfect functional sorting system.  I decided to organise the major pieces in colour.  I ended up using plastic containers and labelling them.  
I wanted the boxes to be accessible, visual and easily identified.
For the smaller pieces I used used a small sorting box.  I put all the Lego people in the largest compartment, small round pieces in another, small square pieces in another and in the other sections I sorted out all the connected pieces that seemed to cause the most worry when they weren't found.
 The new system seems to be working a treat.  
The kids have been great at packing the boxes away properly.  
We'll see how long it lasts...hmmm!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012


Martin's parents arrived last week and stayed with us over the weekend.  I love seeing my kids being entertained and delighted in the company of their grandparents.

It makes me smile.
Every time we're all together - I remind myself how grateful I am for family, even though now with the kilometres between us and we see each other less.  It makes the time extra special and meaningful. When I see all the laughing, hugging and reminiscing I take note and think "We should do this more often."
The conversation buzzed all weekend and there was a lot of head tipped laughter.
@Grandparents Day

A special time was had by all.
Thank you for the visit, Nana and Pa.

Monday, 20 August 2012


I have an eleven year old!  
How in the world did that happen?

But this boy, the one who tested my strength and patience as a 
baby has shown me the joy of having a son.  

He reminds me to let him explore, to let him be adventurous, to let him have a go without 'stressing' like I can and to trust him in knowing his own boundaries.  To let him be a boy!

Patrick is my compassionate one, my spirited one, my one who likes to find his way independently.  
He is my witty and silly, caring and kind hearted one.  He is the sunshine in my day.

Thank you for loving us as you do, Paddy Jimmy.  
We are so blessed to have you in our lives.
Happy birthday, precious one!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Celebrating 11!

One of the most wonderful days of my life happened nearly 11 years ago.  At exactly 10.20pm on 20th August, 2001 a 7 pound 5 ounce bundle of joy - Patrick James or Paddy Jimmy as I love to call him snuggled into my chest and filled a void that I never knew existed.  In that moment, our family became real and I became a mum.

In the words of Bryan Adams

When you love someone, you'll do anything.
You'll do all the crazy things that you can't explain.
You'll shoot the moon. Put out the sun. 
When you love someone.

The past eleven years has been filled with so much love, happiness and joy.   I look at him and I become aware of all that he is - how he expresses himself so beautifully with his action and word, how he cares for and shows love to Grace, how he can make light of the serious, for his quirky sense of humour, for the unconditional love he shares with others.  He makes me proud of all that he is.

We celebrated that happiness and joy last Friday afternoon with some of his friends.  

 Paddy specified that he wanted it to be a simple gathering.
  No games, nothing organise, just some time with his mates and that is exactly what we did.  
It was the worlds easiest party to put together.  
Of course, I had to put up a decoration (or two, or three) to make the room extra special but that was it.

I think that the boys had a good time. 
They relaxed in the television room and watched a movie.
They shared silly, crazy stories and enjoyed cake.

And, I think this nearly 11 year old of mine felt celebrated and loved.
A happy birthday, indeed.

I do believe that no party is complete without a party favour.
Paddy didn't hesitate when I suggested we thank his mates for joining him on his special day.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Bunny Love

Meet Snowy! 
Our neighbours beloved bunny.
   Patrick and Grace are currently busy with all things Snowy as of late.  They're making sure that he is well feed, has a lot of time to hop in the grass, that he's warm and snuggly in his hutch and that his coat is shiny and brushed.  
They are experiencing so much joy in his little hops, his nibbling, his snuggles and his love that I don't know how they'll go when our neighbours return home.

Friday, 10 August 2012

The Amandas

A few months ago my sister asked me if I had watched The Amandas (Style Network - Foxtel).    
She said that every time she watched the show she thought of me and my OCD ways.

Well, I have to say my sister is right.  I have found my long lost twin sister in Amanda LeBlanc.  She is the owner of the Clutter Prescription, an organising company based in Birmingham, Alabama.  The Amandas is a reality show about her business, her employees and most importantly how she transforms lives through organisation.

I was born with the organised gene. In fact, I am a little OCD about it.  I struggle with perfection and accepting that sometimes good is not good enough.  When I hear Amanda talk about everything being perfectly organised and how she feels less anxious when things are in the right place I relate whole heartedly.

Here are some of before and after photos from her show
The Craft Room

I love how everything is tucked neatly away, is coloured co-ordinated, functional and also aesthetically pleasing.  A craft room should be a place where you can get your creative juices flowing and I think this is perfect.

The Pantry
Labels! Labels! Lables!  My pantry is filled with labelled glass jars.  I hate boxes.  As soon as I get home from the supermarket, I throw out the boxes and empty everything into the correct jar or basket.  It not only keeps the food fresh but it lets me know exactly how much of each item is left.  My kids can find whatever they need in the pantry without asking for help.

The Wardrobe

I have an obsession with matching coat hangers.  It gives the wardrobe a clean and crisp look.

My dream job would be to run or be part of a company that helps de-clutter and organise peoples lives.  Helping people purge the things that they no longer want, or rearranging the stuff that they have can be life changing. It can make a persons life less stressful and more purpose filled.  Heck, I'd even do it for free.  Maybe I could start The Amandas  franchise right here in Melbourne.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

A Pink Leotard and a Netball Skirt

Once upon a time I had a little girl who loved ballet
She was enthralled with it.  It was the highlight of her week.  She loved to move, to laugh, to meet new friends and to have fun.  When ballet class was finished she would come home and dance in her room and go over and over the new steps that she had been taught.  She would passe more than she would walk.  She also sat on my lap at the desk and would gaze into the computer as we watched Youtube after Youtube of dancing and ballet moves.  My little girl had a passion for it.
On ballet class day she would rush home from school, get dressed and be waiting in the car for us to be there on time.  She didn't want to miss a minute of her precious ballet class.  She made sure that her pumps were on correctly, her tightly secured bun was just right and her leotard was sitting as it should.
From the moment that the class begun Grace had poise, moved gracefully and she enjoyed pointing, flexing and stretching at the barre.  She also loved seeing her reflection in the long mirrors and smiling at herself as she floated by.

The joy she experienced was obvious and infectious.
...and then we moved to Melbourne.  

Her biggest worry when we moved was her ballet.  I was a bit anxious too.  Even before we thought of a new school, she wanted me to look into ballet schools just like the one she attended in Sydney.  Well, we tried and we tried.  Our first experience was with a strict Russian school that left Gracie in tears - we never returned.  The second was at a local school that had been recommended to us but the day we arrived it had been flooded and the stench of mildew and mould was in the air and it was enough to put both Grace and I off.  Our last experience lasted nearly 12 months.  It was in a local hall, some of her friends attended, the teachers seemed lovely and Gracie went in with her head held high and with all the hope in the world that this was her new ballet 'home'.  It wasn't to be.  Not only did she not enjoy it but in between all the changes my little ballerina lost her passion.  Gone were the days of flitting around her room, of dreaming all things ballet, of watching ballet steps on Youtube.  

I must say, my heart broke a little when ballet took a backward step in Gracie's life.  It took a while for her to heal from the loss but I am happy to report that she has discovered a new love.

...and if that makes my girl happy.  Well I'm happy, too.

Plaits might not be as pretty as a tightly secured bun and a netball bib as flattering as a leotard but my girl has found a new joy and that is what life is about.
I will support her no matter what.  I smile as I drive her to netball training or to her Saturday game and feel excitement for her new found love.  I even felt joy when selecting new runners to play her "Bestest netball...ever!"  Because I love her.  

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

I Despise Dr Seuss

Do you have books that you despise reading to your children?  I have ones that I refuse to read to them and do not like having at our house.  We read a lot of books here but there is NO WAY that I would EVER read Dr Seuss books to them.  I can't stand them.

The text go an and on and on and lead no where and my stomach twists in knots when I have to read  the rot.

My case in point:
Did you ever ride a Wump?
We have a Wump
with just one hump.

we know a man
called Mr. Gump.
Mr. Gump has a seven hump Wump.
if you like to go Bump! Bump!
Just jump on the hump of the Wump of Gump

Seriously Seuss?  What were you thinking?

His 44 books follow exactly the same pattern.  All have bright silly pictures, easy rhymes that are repetitious, pointless and obscure and all have snarly-faced crazy creatures.  In my opinion the illustrations far out weigh the words or lack of words in the books.

In generally my kids have a good imagination.  I remember when they were young  and they'd read and re-read the text and tell me that the words were 'rubbish' and they're right.

Here are just a few...

  • zummers
  • zizzer-zazzer-zuzz
  • yuzz-a-ma-tuzz
  • nizzards
  • ham-ikka-schnim-ikka-schnam-ikka-schnopp
  • fiffer-feffer-fef
  • yekko
  • flunnel
  • jogg-oons
  • zatz-it
  • floob-boober-bab-boober-bubs
  • spazzim
  • thnadners
  • sneedle
  • glikker
  • humpf-humpf-a-dumpfer
  • wumbus
  • yuzz

  • I have taught children who have struggled to read because of these words.  Their parents would list a Dr Seuss book as a 'home' reader and in the comment column write that "X" struggled with this book because of the words.  Seuss' words AREN'T WORDS!.  They're nonsense made up of syllables to make everything rhyme.   The grammar is skewed to fit the rhymes.  How does that help a child learn?

    Why have our children been made to worship a man who wrote absolute garbage?

    Not at our house.  No way! NEVER!

    Monday, 6 August 2012

    Christmas in August

    A few weeks ago I won a $250 gift card from the Australian Geographic Shop for this post.  Well, Patrick and Grace (and me) want to give a huge thank you to Nurofen for Children, Nuffnang and Australian Geographic.  The kids thought all their Christmases had come at once.  My original plan was to let them spend $50 each and then buy a few gifts for some friends and my nieces and nephews.  Well that went out the door the minute we walked into the store.

    The kids saw so many things that they 'needed'.    Of course, Paddy 'needed' the archery set because that is the sport that he is researching for his Olympic task.

    ...and Gracie 'needed' that lip balm set and nail kit because all of her friends have them and she doesn't.

    So they thought and thought and looked and looked.  I decided that it was time to work out a strategy so we headed to a cafe and sat down and made a list of what they 'needed' most.  It was a difficult task to narrow down a list a mile long down to just a few but they did it and the total cost worked out 50/50 give or take a dollar or two.  

    So we returned to the store with our gift card and list in hand and came out with the most amazing products

    Here is the result of our shopping spree

    Paddy selected -  Z-Curve Bow, Magical Unbelievable Light,  Money Monster Box, Chromatic Bucky Balls and X-Shot Fire Ball

    Gracie selected -  Magic Nail Lab, invisible write pen, a mood ring, mini drawing projector, Chalk Top Launcher and Lip Balm Lab

    and to share they selected a clay pottery wheel.

    Now don't think that I spoilt them with all these gifts at once.  As much as that would be lovely, I just couldn't justify it so from the list they selected one gift and the others have been put away.  We have started a ten tick system for positive behaviour and as soon as they reach ten they can selected something for the gift stash. 
    When the kids were younger, I used the positive reward system all the time but I haven't used it for years.  Let me tell you, it still works it's magic around here  The kids have been having their bath/shower on time, getting their homework done perfectly, unpacking the dishwasher and being so kind to each other like you wouldn't believe.  I should have re-introduced the ticks years ago.