Tag Archives: family

Merry martyr Christmas


martyr2Tonight I put on my Christmas martyr pants, stood on my Christmas martyr soap box and let it rip.

“I am doing EVERYTHING around here to get ready for Christmas and no-one else is doing ANYTHING!!”

“Like what?” came the reply from my rather shell shocked family.

So I listed all the stuff I have been doing or will do in the lead up to 25 December:

My martyr list

  • Buy four presents and cards for friends of my children who selfishly decided to be born in December.
  • Buy 50 chocolates Santas and 50 small Christmas cards for my children’s classmates.
  • Buy a Christmas present for the kids’ tennis coach.
  • Buy Christmas gift bags to carry all the Christmas stuff to school.
  • Make over 60 brownies as presents for teachers, school crossing supervisors, after school care carers, workmates, family and friends.
  • Write 40 Christmas cards to family and friends.
  • Source and buy Christmas presents for my children. Track down the one doll my daughter wants that has sold out everywhere, so I’m forced to buy it online. Then the wrong one is delivered. Then I panic that the correct one won’t arrive on time so I ask my lovely workmates to keep an eye out for it in the stores. Then I really panic and decide to buy another one just in case. Then the store sends me the correct one plus the second one I bought; and my workmate buys me one too. So I now have three  dolls.
  • Book my children in to school holiday program for January that needs to be booked and paid for in December.
  • Buy a Kris Kringle gift.
  • Buy new Christmas lights for the Christmas tree because the cats ate the lights last year.
  • Buy the cats a Christmas present.
  • Get up at sparrow’s fart to line up to have photos of the kids taken with Santa.
  • Book in for a spray tan, manicure, pedicure and hair cut before Christmas.
  • Book kids in for a hair cut before Christmas.
  • Make sure the kids have nice outfits to wear for Christmas Day.

Impressive, isn’t it?














Catapulted in to a new world of retail options

We are getting ready for a kitten. It’s our first family pet and it’s been a few years in the planning.

So this weekend, my daughter (who is totally kitten crazy) and I went to a pet supplies warehouse to buy some “basics”.

I discovered a whole new world that showed me there is no such thing as “basics” when it comes to pets.

First stop was a bed. Just something nice and warm for a new little kitten to feel snug and safe. When I was young, new kittens slept in a cardboard box with a blanket.

But today’s kittens/cats sleep in igloos, don’t you know?cat igloo

Not too shabby. And these cat igloos cost a lot of money. So we had to hunt around to find a non-cat igloo because the warehouse had racks and racks of these things! They came in caramel, buff, chocolate, toast, leopard print, plum, burgundy, smoke, and tiger print. Any colour you could imagine to blend in with your home decor.

We did find a nice bed that was just a round piece of warm material that could be machine washed.

Now it was time for a kitty litter tray (the actual choosing of the type of kitty litter was to come!).

Again, do you want blue, green, white or plum? Do you want high walled trays or corner trays? Do you want to spend $40 or up to $60? And do you want a non-slip kitty litter mat to go with it?

I just wanted something that looked like the In Tray on my desk at work. They did have them, but they were way,way, way up on the top of the shelf. But what colour do we choose?

I hate to say it, but I really gave this a lot of thought! My daughter was adamant she wanted yellow. I told her it reminded me of wee. She said it reminded her of sunshine. So we went for sunshine.

Don’t get me started on how you choose the best kitty litter. I am now an expert and can regale you for you hours on the benefits of clumping and absorbancy. But I’ll leave that for another day.

Going down the checklist, we came to toys.

Do you buy plastic balls?

Or plastic balls with bells in them? Plastic balls with bells in them and feathers attached?

Plastic balls with bells in them, feathers attached and infused with catnip?

Or something that looks like a mouse?

Does the mouse move or squeak?

Is it made from organic materials, or are you subjecting your kitten to a harsh mass-produced plastic variety?

Oh, this thing? Just something I whipped up over the weekend for the cats

Do you buy a scratching post? Do you buy on that is over $300 and reaches your ceiling, resplendent with multi levels and a cubby house? Or do you go for the small post with some pom poms on it?

Never mind what you choose, they are all ugly.

We didn’t buy one – but I know we will one day. It’s inevitable.

And that’s the scary thing. While I scoffed at the overwhelming amount of choice, I was totally sucked in and I know I will return again and again for a little something special.

Because I really did take a lot of time deciding on an attractive bowl and placemat that were beautifully colour coordinated. It was quite pathetic.

So, Lilly, when you do finally arrive from the cat shelter, you know you will be loved – and spoilt rotten by your retail obsessed mother!

I’ll show you how bad I can be!

Well, I’ve almost finished my Michelle Bridges 12WBT program (it’s now Week 10).

And I’ve flunked. Failed. Fallen off the wagon. Wasted my time. Wasted her time.

I am definitely fitter and have regained a love of exercise, but my weight has not budged much. And today when I weighed myself I had PUT ON weight.

And there is no mystery to it, my loyal and loving readers. I eat too much. Since about Week 4 when I fell ill, I have been following her food plan – and then some!

And that’s all it took to fall off the wagon and not get back on. I was sick for a few days, felt miserable and reached for food. And it got its greedy hooks back in to me.

And I was doing so well! Truly! I could see myself in lovely clothes, feeling happy and healthy.

I could see my goals so clearly and I felt like I was working steadily towards them. Until I wasn’t.

I am the demon child of the 12WBT program.

For example, today I started to count calories again to try and get back on track after Easter.

I did OK until lunchtime when the chocolate was calling my name.

But I still kept track of the calories and once they reached my limit of 1500, something clicked. And I got angry (at myself and the calorie content of a Lindt chocolate bunny).

I was mad. And what do people who are trying to lose weight but know they are doing the wrong thing do when they are mad?

I ate MORE! And dammit, I ate for Australia. I ate for all of you who are trying not to overeat.

stubborn childAnd in my head, I was yelling at that calorie counter app that was showing the amount of extra calories I had consumed in bold red numbers: “Hah! You think 500 calories over the limit is bad?! I’ll show you how bad I can be!” And ate a bit more.

So now I’m off to have dinner of lettuce leaf and to lick my wounds.

But in the immortal worlds of Scarlett O’Hara – tomorrow is another day!

I cry for love

Lock up your daughters!

Dinner time at my house. We are all sitting down together at the dining table, sharing the highlights of our day.

Now I know this sounds very Brady Bunchesque, but believe me, most nights I can be found in the kitchen frantically cooking up three different meals – one for me (FODMAPS-friendly); one for the kids (tasteless and without any ‘weird green bits’); and one for my husband (big and meaty – the food; not hubby). And by the time each meal is ready, there is not much time for chatter.

So one the rare evenings when we are all eating THE SAME THING, it’s nice to enjoy the time to catch up.

So back to the conversation.

My son, who has just started school this year (he is 6), was regaling us with a list of girls at his school that are in love with him.

“Kate* loves me, but I don’t love her.”

“Sarah* loves me, but I don’t love her.”

“Emma* loves me. She always wants to hug me when I fall down and cry.”

I asked: “Do you sometimes fall down and pretend to cry for hugs?”

And my son answered: “Nah, I cry for love.”

Romantic or playboy? I’ll have wait to wait a few years to find out!

*Names have been changed to protect the sweetly innocent.


Time will tell

It’s been ages since I’ve blogged – again! How does time slip away so quickly?

My husband and I were talking about our previous home and we were saying that it seemed like a simpler life there. We had our first baby, I was a stay-at-home-Mum for a time and we just seemed to have all the time in the world.

05Of course if you had asked me back then how I felt about things, I probably would have told you that I never seem to have enough time to do anything! Fast forward seven years and we all seem to be barely holding on from day to day.

Today was the last day of school for my kids – they are now halfway through Prep and Grade Two. But the most exciting thing is that I am on holidays too! Yes, this tightly wound little bundle of stress has two weeks off!

Next Thursday we are flying to the Gold Coast to spend five nights in the Sea World Resort with unlimited entry to three theme parks – Sea World, Movie World and Wet-n-Wild. Just a cruisey, laid back holiday – not! Then we have three nights in Sydney.

For eight nights we will all be in the one hotel room. And for a person who really loves their own space, this thought makes me very nervous!

Relaxing and kicking back is a bit of an elusive concept for me at the moment. Because I don’t have enough on my plate; with working full time, while trying to be a good Mum and wife; I decided to start a Diploma in Digital Marketing! It’s an online course that will take me 12 months.

For any of you who have been faithfully following my blog (whoever you are, I love you and thank you) you will recall that this is not my first attempt at higher learning online. I wrote a blog about my attempt at a Masters of Marketing for about three weeks before having to drop out – much to my annoyance and shame.

But this time I think I will make it. It does mean that for 12 months, I won’t be around much and that’s hard to accept.

Can you justify putting your family through 12 months of only having half of your attention when you are already struggling to give them the love and focus you know they need from you?

Time will tell!


My ideal Sunday, from sunrise to sunset

Just another Sunday brekkie
Just another Sunday brekkie

I love the Sunday newspaper magazines. They are full of froth and bubble and are so easy to read while I enjoy my muesli and coffee.

One of my favourite sections is the My ideal Sunday, from sunrise to sunset section where beautiful celebrities remind us that they live in a different universe than the rest of us.

Today was Rebecca Judd’s turn.

And it got me thinking what my typical Sunday involves and how different it would be to hers.

Rebecca Judd’s ideal Sunday involves:

8am: Head to Balmain’s in Brighton (Melbourne) with my husband Chris, son Oscar (2) and newborn daughter Billie, before coming home for a play.

10am: I lock myself away to work on the week’s ideas, materials and curated design for Melbourne property developer R. Corp.

12pm: Time to stock up on fresh produce at Prahran Market (if it’s footy season, you’ll find us at the ‘G watching my husband play!).

3pm: My kids wake from their nap, then we head to the St Kilda Sea Baths for a splash. The hot spa is the best!

6pm: We go to the early session at Fazio’s or La Svolta in Hampton Street for yummy pizza done the Italian way.

My typical Sunday (today) in comparison:

7am: Get out of bed to give my son his morning carrot (don’t ask) and my daughter her oats.

7.15am: Go back to bed

8am: Head to the fridge in Warranwood, with my husband, six-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter. Go to 9am Body Combat class while husband looks after the kids.

9am to 10am: Try to avoid looking in the wall to wall mirror during my Body Combat class so I am not a witness to how unfit I have let myself become.

10.15am: Time to stock up on fresh produce at Coles. Look like I’ve been dragged through a bush backwards and then drenched with a hose (if it’s footy season, you’ll find me at the exact same place).

10.35am: Arrive home. Husband heads off for a swim. I think we say hello and goodbye to each other.

11.15am: After shower, take kids for a quick walk in the sunshine.

12:30pm: Head into the kitchen for some yummy leftover pizza lunch done the Dominos’ way

3pm: My kids come in to the house after eating an ice cream outside, then we head to the bathroom for a splash, but not before they wipe their faces on their clothes. The hot water on the facewasher is the best!

4pm: I make cookies for the kids’ play lunches. Then I make some minestrone soup for later in the week.

6pm: We go the early session at the dining table for a meal the kids won’t eat. So they get some of the minestrone soup.

6.30pm to 7.45pm: We all watch The Block.

7.45pm: Struggle to get the kids to bed.

See? Rebecca Judd and me: like two peas in a pod!



The Facebook Mum from hell

I was the Facebook Mum from hell yesterday!

It was my little boy’s first day at school and I was determined to score the perfect Facebook shot. You know the one. Where your child is beaming in their new uniform and they are giving you an enormous hug, and everyone is full of love and anticipation.

A few of my friends had already posted pictures just like that, and I was determined to outshine them all!

Yeah, first day of school for me. And, yeah, this is my big sister. And yeah, what's the big deal?
Yeah, first day of school for me. And, yeah, this is my big sister. And yeah, what’s the big deal?

But I had forgotten to tell my son.

He didn’t want a bar of it, and in each shot he was grumpy, snarly and fiddly.

So of course I did what any sane, calm mother would do. I yelled at him to SMILE and GIVE ME A GOOD PHOTO!

And when yelling didn’t work, I pleaded and begged for one little smile – just one teeny weeny grin. Anything so he wasn’t looking like he was hating every second.

And I am ashamed to admit that I got so carried away, that I actually told him he had wrecked the day for me and had hurt my feelings.

Oh dear, it was not my finest moment and I am truly ashamed of myself. I was a woman possessed.

The money shot.
The money shot.

Of course,  once we got to school and there was no mention of trying to get the perfect photo, everyone relaxed and we got the pic!

Thankfully, we ended on a high note and my little boy was wonderfully forgiving (and forgetful) and didn’t hold a grudge against his silly Mum who lost her head for a second.

I hope all the Preps out there had a wonderful first day of school (and that you all managed to smile in the photos – or else!).

Dear son: IOU $13.75

My husband and I just had a great giggle at our son’s expense. It was one of those rare moments of one-upmanship when the scores are very much PARENTS: 1 KID:0.

You see, my husband really wanted to get a photo of our son playing with the hose outside on a sunny day. But our son would not do it until we gave him $10 because he is saving up for some Lego! Did I mention he is five-years-old?

I’m rich, I tells ya!

For the last few few days, we have been trying to encourage him to do it for free, but he remained adamant that he wanted $10 or it was no pic. Our daughter kindly offered to be in the photo for $20. These two are going to be great in the finance game one day.

Today was another hot day and again, we asked our son to be in the pic. When he said no again, I had a lightbulb moment (thanks, Oprah).

He doesn’t understand the concept of money. He doesn’t know that 10x 10 cent pieces equals $1. He thinks each coin is worth $1.

I shared this insight with my husband, who promptly reached into the change jar, grabbed a handful of silver and said to our son, “Here you go. Here is your money.”

Our son quickly ran to the table to count the money before he agreed to be in the photo.

And there he was, excitedly counting out every piece of silver – 15 pieces altogether.

“Wow!” he said, “I have $15!”.

The photo looked terrific and we have a very satisfied – albeit greedy and ruthless – little five-year-old.

Of course, the guilt will soon seep in, and I know I will secretly add the reminder of the money into his moneybox.

But for now, I shall wallow in the warm glow of victory.

Pack the essentials – and then some!

Thank God that’s over.

ImageIn Melbourne we have just come out of a week long heatwave with temperatures way into the 40s. I refused to do anything that required an extra ounce of energy – so my week basically wound down to: wake up, get kids ready for Vacation Care, go to work, eat dinner, watch TV, sleep.

But among the sloth-like behaviour, we did get a bit of a shake up with a bushfire that was in the neighbourhood next to us.

We followed the fire updates and decided to pack up and leave, just to be safe. We didn’t have a proper fire plan in place (very naughty of us), so while I was at work, my husband got the kids ready and asked them to pack a bag of their favourite things.

My 7 y/o daughter’s bag:

  • two teddies
  • her moneybox
  • gifts that her fairy had given her (three years worth of me sneaking into her room and placing little items under her pillow)
  • a party dress.

My 5 y/o son’s bag:

  • his moneybox
  • 10 pairs of undies (!)
  • some Lego
  • his favourite soft toy puppy.

When I got home from work, I quickly grabbed my good jewellery and my journal, while my husband had grabbed photo albums and family DVDs.

Now, all that sounds very sensible and practical (and sentimental). But I also discovered a very materialistic side of myself during this packing process.

I had to stop myself grabbing a few ‘vital’ items because I would have been moritified if anyone at a relief centre saw my bag and noticed what I had brought with me!

So here is my not-so-vital list of things I would take with me if I knew I wasn’t going to be judged:

  • my collection of (mainly) Elk necklaces (they really are SO pretty and can lift any outfit)  
    Please don’t judge – but I really, really love my necklaces!
  • my Bobbi Brown make up (finding the perfect shade of lipstick, eyeshadow and blush can be very tricky)
  • my knee high boots (all those girls with cankles out there will understand how boots that you can actually zip up over your calves  are worth their weight in gold)
  • my collection of real living magazines (I’ll need some inspiration if I need to redecorate a new house, won’t I?)
  • my Harry Potter DVD box set (’nuff said).

What would your not-so-vital list include?

P.S The bushfire was downgraded and we remain safe and sound.

What a tangled web we weave….

One thing they don’t tell you about being a parent is how often you will need to lie to your kids.

My little girl is 7 (almost 8). She still believes in fairies and unicorns. And I keep up that faith by making up reasons why unicorns and fairies are invisible, and every now and then I place a little keepsake under her pillow to keep her believing that she has her own personal fairy that looks after her and gives her gifts.

chocolate-bunniesShe still believes in Santa; but she tricked me into killing off her belief in the Easter bunny.

I accidentally killed the Easter Bunny in a weak moment when I was reading her a bedtime story. She looked at me with a big knowing grin and asked me if I hide the easter eggs at Easter.

I remember looking in to her eyes; my mind whirring. What was the right thing to say?! She looked like she was quite proud of herself for figuring it all out, so I thought it was safe to tell her the truth. And so I did.

I did not make the right decision.

“Whaaaaat?!” she cried. Her face fell and she started sobbing in that hiccupy way that little kids do. She looked totally devastated and I had to back pedal like a maniac and told her that he only stopped coming last year because he thought that six-year-old was too old to visit anymore.

He only visits litlte kids, you see. But you never know when he may stop coming, so Mummies and Daddies always have a stock of eggs on hand incase he decides not to come anymore.

“But I’m still a little girl,” she wailed. Which took me by surprise, because anyone who knows my daughter, or is lucky enough to hear my stories about her, knows that she is 7 going on 17.

I finally calmed her down and when she drifted off to sleep, I quickly raced off to tell her Dad what had just happened, so he could back up my lie that the Easter Bunny is real, but he stopped coming last year.

Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive!

secret santaThis time of year becomes particularly tricky to keep up the Santa pretence. For example, today I took her and her little brother to the local shopping centre to have their photo taken with Santa.

On the way there, she asked if he was the real santa. I had to quickly think of what I said to her last year when she asked the same thing. Did I say yes or no? Did I say he was Santa’s twin brother? I couldn’t remember, so had to wing it.

I told her he was one of Santa’s helpers. She looked confused and asked why he was dressed as Santa if he was just one of the helpers! Damn that sharp, curious mind of hers!

So I had to make up another lie to add to the hundreds of lies I’ve told her through her short life: that he is dressed up like Santa so people will THINK he’s the real Santa and tell him what they want for Christmas, so he can then relay the message back to the REAL Santa.

Clear as mud?

So for now, Santa is safe.

P.S As I was typing this post, my daughter raced into the study and I had to quickly minimise the screen so she wouldn’t read any of what I’ve written. Phew! Close call!

Merry Christmas everyone and thank you for reading my blog. Your likes and comments have been the highlight of my year!