Happy anniversary to us

Today is our 8th wedding anniversary.

We chose Valentine’s Day as a kind of tongue-in-cheek salute to how romantic we are not. The Man isn’t great with dates so I figured it’s pretty hard to forget Valentine’s Day in all its commercial glory.

We didn’t do the whole big wedding thing. It’s not our style at all and we wanted to avoid the family kerfuffle. Besides, it seemed like a bit of overkill considering we had been engaged for so long.

You see, my husband and I have been together since we were 18. Almost high school sweethearts. Almost. We were engaged by 19. Most people freak out a little at this prospect. I know our families certainly did at the time!

After a 4yr engagement, we bit the bullet and decided to duck off to a tiny island in Fiji for some low-key nuptials in 2004.

Even if the priest was wearing double-pluggers and a Winnie-the-Pooh christmas shirt under his dog-collar…

and cyclonic winds meant we had to get married in the bar instead of on the beach…

It was absolutely perfect and I would not change a thing.

Cheers baby. Happy Anniversary.

Sharing the love with Jess @ Diary of a SAHM


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The holiday is over

Today, after 5 weeks off, I went back to work.

Back to the coal face.

Put my nose to the grindstone.

Working for the man.

And all that jazz…

I know I should be feeling rejuvenated, refreshed and motivated to get back to it. But I’m not. I’m rather ambivalent about it all really.

Perhaps it’s the circus that is the kindy drop off /school-run before work.

Perhaps it’s the concerns I have about my boy starting after school care when he’s I’m we are quite anxious about it.

Perhaps it’s the long list of holiday to-do’s that didn’t get done. Again. Still.

Perhaps I’m really not that enamoured with my job.

Or perhaps it’s all of these things combined with the fact that I don’t really feel like I’ve had much of a holiday at all. Apart from a month ago when we had a week at the coast (which, by the way, felt exactly like a holiday), these days time away from work just feels like… life.

Broken nights, early mornings, washing and housework, meals to prepare. These things rarely take leave.

Gone are the days of holidays equating to sleeping til noon, watching (non Disney) movies and reading books all day before going out for dinner. No more spontaneous road trips or living off takeaways.

Alright, I must admit these holidays have had a lot of highlights, a new car, a new puppy and the beginning of a new journey for my Wilful One.

Actually, it has just struck me that after 5 years of parenting my definition of ‘holiday’ needs to change significantly. Life might not take a holiday but I need to appreciate that having one less obligation/responsibility competing for my time and energy (i.e. paid work) certainly does qualify as a holiday.

One thing is for sure, by the end of this week, the last month will look a hell of a lot more like a holiday!

What’s your idea of a holiday?

Linking up with Jess @ Diary of a SAHM for 

 

 

 

 

Stop stressing me out!

This is one of those posts that I didn’t intend to write. I had something else drafted for today but feel the need to ventilate… ahh the beauty of the blog.


I’m feeling deeply frustrated by the dawning realisation that much of the stress in my life is brought about by other people.

I’ve written about my control issues in the past and the actions (or inactions) of other people are definitely out of my control.

I can not control other people’s expectations.

I can not control other people’s perceptions or reactions.

I can not instill in other people values or behaviours that I believe to be more appropriate and effective than their default modus operandi.

I CAN control my expectations, perceptions, reactions and behaviours.  Yet even though I can openly acknowledge these facts, still, so much of my energy goes into worrying about those “other people”.

Please excuse these ramblings of a frustrated soul. I vowed to give up worrying this year…

I just wish I knew how.

Do you waste energy stressing about other people? If not, please tell me you do it!!

Linking up with Jess at Diary of a SAHM for 

Highly appropriate image from We Heart It

Things I love about holidays

We have been enjoying our favourite spot on the Sunshine Coast for the last 6 days. Tomorrow we go home and as I sit on the balcony of our unit soaking up this view:

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I’m reflecting on our week and all the things I love about holidays.

Napping
God I love napping. I’m not a good sleeper & a nap through the day is pure bliss to me. When we are on holidays the boys wake extra early, so usually both have a day time sleep (a rarity at home). This is a perfect opportunity for me to read (see below) or nap, or both!

Reading
Holidays are the one time there are no nasty distractions like housework or copious amounts of washing or (heaven forbid) paid work, so when everyone is happily occupied I can stick my head in a book guilt free. It’s one of my resolutions to make this happen more often than holidays.

Shared hunter gather duties
At home The Man & I generally fall into pretty stereotypical gender roles ie. wifey in kitchen, husband on couch. The Man does some cooking (mainly of the BBQ variety) and none of the shopping. Without the distraction of work or foxtel, The Man steps up quite nicely on holidays and takes over most of the meal preparation. Plus we do the odd takeout 😉

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Hats
Sea air does weird things to my hair and if I happen to forget to pack the straightener (as I did) I start to resemble a Bichon Frise. Being sun smart as I am, I always wear a hat – the beauty of which, bad hair is no problem!

Minimal washing
I encourage recycling on holiday. We live in swimmers & boardies mostly anyway.

Colour
Having had a bcc removed at 25, I’m generally very sun smart (aside from my lapse early in the holiday) & I know pale is the new tan, but I have to admit I’m loving having a bit of colour & looking a little less pasty!

I’ve just realised this list could go on forever. The bottom line is I love being “away”. Away from home, away from work, away from routine, away from reality in general.

Most of all, I love making memories with my boys.

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What do you love most about holidays? Where’s your favourite place to escape with the family?

Linking up with Jess @ Diary of a SAHM for IBOT

Née

My favourite party theme: “Stress Free”

I know that for some people parties are a BIG deal. Months of planning, cooking and preparing in anticipation for the big day. I think when an innocent gathering of people requires a theme, you know it is serious business.

Out of all the possible party themes, my favourite is “Stress Free”

I grew up in a house where getting stressed and flustered was (& still is) par for the course when it came to hosting any sort of social gathering. I can tell you under no uncertain terms, it’s not for me. I know I get overwhelmed pretty easily these days so I try not to exacerbate the situation with added complications.

Don’t get me wrong, I love attending events that have been beautifully coordinated. I’m so amazed by people who painstakingly hand make invitations, decorations and themed party food. Rest assured if you’ve managed to coordinate your tableware with the birthday boy’s outfit, I will certainly appreciate your efforts.

I really hope your child does too, because the cynical practical side of me believes that when it comes to a small child’s birthday, all they really care about are balloons, the cake, the party bag and being the centre of attention. And of course, the presents. (This probably applies to many grown ups, too)

Nothing is going to cast a shadow over little Bobby’s birthday party more than mummy freaking out that her cake pops are pooped. Or when the fire truck entertainment rocks up full of male strippers.

That is why for the Wilful One’s birthday this year I did something the pre-kid me never thought I’d do. We had a party at Macdonald’s.

Yes, I know, it’s all a bit bogan, but he really wanted to have a party with some close pre-school friends who he won’t see next year when they all go off to school. He’s never asked for daycare friends to come to a party before, always content with our predominantly family affairs and I couldn’t say no.

My dilemma was that at this stage I had already set my sights firmly on the “stress-free” birthday theme, and with the mandatory family celebration was already on the agenda.  I examined various options for outsourcing and in the end Macca’s won the bid.

Yes, it was run by a clueless 15yr old. No, it wasn’t flash and it certainly wasn’t how I would have done it. But The Wilful One ate ice-cream cake, felt like a prince, had lots of fun with his mates and quite frankly, that is all that matters to me.

Happiness at 5: Ice-cream cake

The Maccas soiree was followed by a low-key afternoon tea with the family en-masse, which once, again he loved as all the prerequisite boxes had been ticked. Balloons – check. Presents – check. Centre of attention – check. Oh and yet another cake – check.

This cake is ridiculously easy to make and is lots of fun.  I found it at The Tipsy Hostess (via Pinterest)

Apart from Macdonald’s I’m yet to pay for party entertainment. I think it’s prudent to save magicians and sumo suits for when pass-the-parcel and piñatas no longer keep pint-sized party goers amused.

I realise this time is fast approaching. That’s why I’m glad there are so many fabulous bloggers out there who rock some serious party mojo.  When my stress free no-frills approach to birthday celebrations no longer cuts it with the guest of honour, I’ll be turning to the following ladies to help up the ante:

Maxabella Loves: Bron is currently doing a wonderful series on all elements of hosting children’s parties. She’s got the whole planning caper down to a tee and there are lots of links and pics from other great online sources.

Great fun 4 kids: Simone is the party queen. Her parties inspire (& intimidate) me!  She has a whole page dedicated to invitations, recipes, decorations, the works. THEN she has a link up page where other bloggers can add their party posts as well. There are some amazing posts there.

Planning with Kids: Nicole is the Planning Queen and parties are no exception. She has lots of great posts and even has a Parties with Kids eBook.

So, when it’s time for me to step up, I know I’ll be able to find loads of inspiration and helpful tips in my hour(s) of need.

What’s your party style? Do you always have a theme or do you opt for stress-free like me?

Linking with Jess @ Diary of a Stay at Home Mum

Balloon image via We Heart It 

Confessions of a Shopaholic: The Melbourne Edition

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I’m sad to report my shopping trip to Melbourne is over. I’m happy to report a fabulous time was had. We well and truly shopped til we dropped, and then shopped some more.

After nearly three full days of frantic shopping, we felt like this:

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And at the end had to do a fair amount of this:

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Even to the point of buying extra luggage!

One day we did an organised shopping tour, which is not an exercise for the faint hearted or the indecisive shopper. A full day of outlet shopping, often competing with up to 6 coach loads of crazed bargain-hungry women for the same heavily discounted shoe or lip gloss. It was chaotic, rushed and not conducive to our style of shopping but nevertheless, a fun experience and much cash was spent!!

A second day was dedicated to markets. The pace was a little more leisurely but still very exhausting with lots of walking and trekking across the city.

Our last day was spent in Bridge Rd, Richmond, where our best clothes bargains were found. Unfortunately, we were almost shopped out at this point and did not cover much ground.

We also managed to sneak in a little culture as well, with a trip to the Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs  which was amazing.

Despite all this mad shopping, I failed to get many items on my clothing wish list. I came home with far too many goodies for the men folk plus a few clothes and some big ticket items for me (a new leather jacket, some cute shoes from Tony Bianco & Diana Ferrari and my fave:  a gorgeous little red leather backpack).

On our adventure I learnt a few little lessons along the way:

  • Infuriating, incompetent concierges can drive you to start sprouting rather Dr Suess-esque rants “Oh, dear Brad, it is quite sad, that you make us so very mad. Bad Brad, BAD!!”
  • Shopping til blood comes out of your shoes is actually possible, but not advisable.
  • The best travelling companion is someone who can read your mind and finish your sentences, especially when you are too exhausted to be articulate.
  • Sometimes you need to resist the urge to be courteous to strangers when making your way through a crowd. Case in point: frenzied shopping tours and the last call for boarding your flight
  • After being solely inhabited by boys for four days, a house smells very much like… boy.
  • Shopping til you drop is admirable, but not the most relaxing way to spend a kid-free, man-free holiday.

Next year (yes, we are already planning) we’ve decided to dedicate ONE day to shopping in Bridge Road, perhaps half a day to markets and the rest of the time will be spent enjoying the lovely city of Melbourne. Or Sydney. Or…

Where’s your favourite place to shop? Would you prefer a shopping holiday or a relaxing holiday?

Linking in with Jess @ Diary of a SAHM for IBOT

 

 

 

Images from We Heart It

Hot date & a trip to Hogwarts

This morning I had a hot date with a very handsome young man.

After we dropped Bam Bam off at kindy, the Wilful One & I ran a few errands, had some sushi and then headed to our Prep interview.

Waiting outside the Principal’s office transported me back 25 years (eek!) in time. Why do school administration buildings carry such a shudder-worthy vibe, I wonder? All the folk wandering the halls seemed pleasant enough. I think it was the sound of the Deputy Principal scolding some children that made me sit on the edge of my seat.  It’s not that she was being shouty or cruel. In fact, it was the exact opposite. Her tone was a bit condescending, like she was talking to small children. Which of course she was. It just didn’t sit right with me as these children were obviously not preppies. They were young but not babies. Perhaps it’s just because I don’t speak to my kids like that.  Especially when they are in trouble!

In any case, it turned out to be the Deputy Principal with the sugary sweet scolding that we were scheduled to meet. Out she came all gushy and, well, sweet. How ironic it was that as we entered her office, she asked the Wilful One what his favourite colour was. “Pink” was his immediate (and predicted) response.  Taking a quick survey of the room, I immediately identified that my son and the lady with the sickly sweet voice had something in common.

On the desk there was a pink pencil-case, a pink pencil holder and an iPad in a pink case. On the wall there was a white board with a pink border and beneath that a sideboard with some pink ornaments. In the corner stood a tall glass vase with, you guessed it – pink flowers.

I quickly prompted the Wilful One to say his second favourite colour (purple) in a bid to reassure her I hadn’t primed him to charm her. Then I noticed what colour blouse she was wearing.  Purple.  She smiled sweetly and we progressed with the interview.

I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but there was something about this pink lady that struck me as familiar. It wasn’t until I mentioned to her that we were also on the waiting list of the new school in the area that it dawned on me.  When I watched her back straighten and her sweet smile tighten as a hint of an edge came to her voice, I suddenly realised who she reminded me of…

I know. I’m being a little mean and judgemental. Miss Deputy Pink was young and perky and you never know, by the end of next year we  may be the best of friends.  I just couldn’t ignore the resemblance…

Do you know someone who reminds you of a movie character?

I’m excited to be linking up with Jess @ Diary of a Stay at Home Mum for the very first time for IBOT. It will be shortlived but hopefully for the next few weeks while I’m on holidays I’ll be able to say:

 

 

 

 

 

Image from here