Sunday, July 31, 2011

All Worn Out!

"The one thing children wear out faster than shoes is parents"

I am totally and utterly exhausted. This afternoon, when we got home from a fun but busy outing, I curled up on the couch with a cup of tea and a sinful slab of caramel slice and enjoyed a moment (albeit brief) of relative peace and quiet.

How can four children be so draining? Surely, a grown mature (!?) woman like myself can handle a day of the constant demands and shenanigans of a handful of kids? I'm in charge....I'm in control.......therefore I should easily manage any situation thrown at me.

So I chased Miss Tornado Two endlessly, I constantly reminded Mr 5 to stay out of trouble, Miss 8 asked for things on a continuous basis and Mr 10 was in a bit of a 'mood'.

By the end of the day I was shattered. Hubby was busy at work, so it was all up to me ( and my friends who stepped in when I needed it - thanks!)

Usually, I'm not so perturbed. Usually, I take it all in my stride, but sometimes the constant demands get to me.....and I want a little time to myself...or to sit in chat without an interruption....or to go to the loo without a visitor.....or to sleep at night without a little body wrapped around me.

They're lovely....really they are, but today I'm worn an old pair of shoes.

Image from

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Grateful for.....................Us.

Contemplating what I'm feeling the most grateful for this week was basically a no-brainer. Hubby and I had a rough start to the year. Not relationship wise, just every other aspect of life felt like it was on top of us....weighing us down.

Now, we've come out the other side. The clouds have lifted. We have breathing space again.

So this week I'm grateful for us...Hubby and I.


Head over to Maxabella Loves and share some Grateful Love.........

Friday, July 29, 2011

Beware the Explosion!

When I decided that I would like to have whippersnappers I always had a lovely dream-like (and admittedly delusional) image of myself with my angelic offspring.

They would be adorable, perfectly behaved and little teeny carbon-copies of their Mother.

Minus a few of my less desirable attributes of course........
Not physical features - although I didn't really want to pass on my rabbit-like front teeth, my bony a*** and if either of my daughters inherit my saggy boobs I might just cry.

No, I'm talking about my less desirable personality traits. My lack of organisation is one area I hope they bypass. Along with my inherent laziness. Also my ability to behave a bit like a doormat could be something they could do without.

But the trait I really hoped they would avoid is what I like to call 'The Explosion'.

'The Explosion' is something to be wary of, something few people have ever seen ( I apologise - again- to the people who have witnessed this spectacle.......pretty it ain't!) and something that I am not proud of at all.

'The Explosion' is basically an adult version of a temper tantrum on an epic scale.

It's scary, it's ugly and thank god, it's something I have learnt (after much trial and error) to control.

So, I've kept an eye out for signs of this 'lovely' feature in each of my children.....

Mr 10 has been let off the hook, considering he's not technically mine....Lucky him!
Miss 8 may have picked up the laziness and the lack of organisation, but only a mild temper.
Miss 2 is cheeky and into absolutely everything. She throws tempers, but they are basically fairly standard for a terror toddler of her age.

No, the child who has inherited this trait is the child that everyone thinks is an angel. Who is sweet, kind hearted and butter wouldn't melt in his mouth.....until of course, something pisses him off.....then he starts.

For instance, the other day at hockey training (5 year old+hockey stick+bad temper=not a great idea) Mr 5 was beaten not once but twice by a good friend of his during a relay race.
   From across the field I could see him brewing, I recognised the signs......I knew that if I didn't head him off he was going to erupt. Unfortunately he was a fair distance away and by the time I could intervene he had pegged his stick at his mate (and luckily, missed)
The hockey coach was shocked, I was mortified and Mr 5 cried the whole way home and pretty much until bed time.

These explosions are fairly regular and are particularly bad when he's tired, when someone continually presses his buttons or obviously if he gets beaten at something - competitive much?

From experience I know that it is the beginning of a long, hard road for Mr 5. My teen years were fraught with difficulties thanks to my inclination to 'fly off the handle'. I hope that with love, patience and understanding Mr 5 can learn to live with 'The Explosion' too.

But until then, it's time to batten down the hatches......

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Write On Wednesdays - Out on a Limb......

Finally, I'm back in the swing with my favourite (and admittedly only) writers group over at inkpaperpen. After moving house and having no Internet for nigh on three weeks, I felt like I was going a little insane! So here I go with this weeks exercise!
Photo by Kristy at HouseofProwse
This week we have an exercise based on a photo by Kristy at House of Prowse.
Write On Wednesdays Exercise 7 - Sit under a tree and write: Find yourself a quiet spot. Set a timer for 5 minutes. Take a look at Kristy's Tree Photo. Write the first words that come into your head. Keep writing whatever comes into your head. Stop when the buzzer rings. Do this exercise over and over if you wish. If like me, you struggle with visual prompts, perhaps try sitting under a tree to write. I have heard that changing your usual writing place can spark new inspiration. Try it and see. Do both if you please!
Out on a Limb.....
The girl; skinny and scruffy, caught in the awkward stage of pre-adolescence, wrapped her lithe, little body around the base of the tree. Then, using her spider-like limbs, she quickly scaled the trunk, almost gracefully. She scrambled confidently onto a low hanging branch.....where she sat, swinging her legs - legs covered in the scrapes and bruises of childhood. She regarded her younger sister, her feet still firmly planted on the ground -with a mixture of glee and exasperation.
'C'mon Chicken Little' she teased, her voice dripping with contempt at her sisters lack of joie de vivre
'Bet you can't climb as high as me!'
She swung herself around the branch so that her knees hooked around the rough surface of the bark and then, let herself fall, so she hung upside down. Her cheeky monkey face split into a wide grin.
"Chicken Little, Chicken Little' she called to her sibling.
"Come down now Suzie!' demanded the younger girl. "Mama says it's not lady-like to climb trees!'
Suzie stuck out her tongue and rolled her eyes.
Then, gripping the branch with both arms she rolled herself back around...easily, effortlessly. She quickly sprang to her feet and ran daintily along the branch - back to the trunk - where she proceeded to climb upwards, out of her sister's vision. Enclosed in the canopy of leaves near the top, Suzie felt she could stay up there forever. Hiding. Safe in her little tree-cocoon.
Check out the wonderful group of writers over at Write on Wednesdays!
Write On Wednesdays

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Brown Sugar & Walnut Biscuits

I made these on Sunday afternoon and they were a huge hit. The kids, Hubby and I sat out in the sun with a pot of tea and devoured nearly the whole batch in one sitting.
Despite being deceptively simple they are also lovely, light, crispy and very yummy.

Feel free to substitute the walnuts with almonds or pecans....whatever takes your fancy really.

1 Cup walnuts (plus extra for decorating)
3/4 Cup brown sugar, firmly packed.
1 Cup (250grams) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 tsps vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 Cups plain flour

Preheat the oven to 120C. Grease and line two cookie sheets.

In a food processor, process 1 cup of walnuts until coarsely chopped. Add 1/4 cup of brown sugar and process until you have a fine crumbed texture. Set aside.

Combine the butter, the remaining sugar, the vanilla and the salt in a large bowl. Use an electric mixer to mix until light and fluffy. Add the flour and nut mixture and beat until just incorporated.

Scoop up spoonfuls of dough and then roll them into balls. Arrange the balls onto the cookie sheets, making sure to leave about 4 Cm's between each ball. Press a piece of walnut into the centre of each biscuit.

Bake until the biscuits are lovely and brown around the edges. This should take around 20 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Lovely as a treat for morning tea, afternoon tea....or anytime for that matter!

Monday, July 25, 2011

I'm Just a Girl......

Image from

This morning despite the usual rush and chaos that ensues on a typical Monday morning, I did manage to notice that once again my car tyre was looking despondently flat.

I say 'once again' because it's about the fourth time in the last week that Hubby has dragged out the compressor and pumped the damn thing up.

Now, I can hear quite clearly what you are thinking. What doesn't she get the thing fixed? Driving around with a flat tyre isn't the smartest thing in the world. Surely this girl has some semblance of common sense?

I was of course well aware of what needed to be done. But once again, I was doing what I always do when something needs fixing. I played my 'helpless female' card. The card I play way too often. The card I play when  I really don't want to know. Or I simply can't be bothered. Or I more commonly than not think "Hubby can do it'

Shameful isn't it?

'Darling' I coo, with a flutter of my eyelashes. 'Can you get my tyre fixed for me?'
'Sweetie' I breathe in my sultriest voice, 'Can you take the car down to get petrol?'
'Honey' I titter, with a girly flick of my hair 'Can you fix the clothes line/ washing machine/ Mr 5's remote control car...etc etc'

I avoid mowing the lawn. I escape from trips to the tip. If there is any 'grunt work' to be done I'll elegantly skip into the kitchen and bake some scones.

And, if it's something that really, really needs to be done and I really, really don't want to know I'll do something that I'm not entirely proud of. Something that works a treat every time.

I'll turn on the tears.

I have no excuse for being this way. None at all. I grew up in a completely feminist household. My Dad was the only male amongst my sisters, my Mother and I. My Mum taught us that we could do anything. She is and always has been the ultimate go getter. Diminutive, eloquent and very, very tough.

I was bought up learning all sorts of skills that I doubt girls that I was friends with would have learnt. One of my earliest memories was of slaughtering a 'pet' lamb to roast on the spit. My sisters and I were expected to help...and help we did. We thought nothing of it, it was part of life. Another was our before school job of checking the possum traps (in NZ they are considered a pest) and subsequently the 'disposal' of any captured possums we may have encountered.

Girls are tough. That was our childhood motto. A motto I seem to have forgotten lately. A motto that I need to rediscover and teach to my spirited and independent daughters.

Even my name means 'strong little woman''s about time I started living up to it.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Return of Vesuvius

Occasionally my skin goes through stages where it forgets I'm in my 30's and still mistakes me for a pubescent teenager. I will be rewarded with spots of varying shapes and sizes competing for space with the 'gorgeous' wrinkles I have establishing themselves all over the place.   It's a conundrum I find incredibly unfair. As far as I'm concerned as soon as wrinkles start to rear their ugly heads, zits should become obsolete. It's certainly an injustice that I should suffer from both at the same time.

So, the other day when a very large, very visible and very angry spot set up camp on a prominent area of my face I felt slightly disgruntled.

It was one of those monstrous lumps, pulsating ominously right in the middle of my face, waiting to erupt just like Vesuvius. My skin was stretched tightly over it's bulbous head and my hand kept creeping tentatively toward it - just to check if it was as gigantic as it looked.

The damn thing was so enormous it nearly needed it own postcode for Pete's sake.

Every time I passed a mirror I half expected it to start conversing with me. I wonder what kind of conversation a zit could possibly have with it's 'carrier'?
Zit - 'Hi, how are you going?'
Me- 'Oh, really well thank you'
Zit- 'Hope you don't mind me moving in for a couple of days'
Me-'Not at all, not at all.....make yourself at home'
Zit- "Well, if you insist'

Hubby of course, finds it all hilarious.

'Here's a cup of tea darling, does your 'little' friend want one too?'

'Hope you've set an extra place at the table for that thing'

'Honey, I'm sleeping on the couch tonight, I don't think I'll be able to fit into bed with you and your new buddy'

Ha, Ha, Frigging Ha is all I can say.

Luckily his skin is as prone to volcanic eruptions as mine so it's only a matter of time before he has a 'special friend' of his own, then I can get my own back.

But until then my latest friendship is finally coming to a slow and torturous end. It's deflating, finally flattening, dying a lingering death. Despite my obvious 'attachment' to the thing I'm relieved that I can once again show my face in public without taking someones eye out....until next time that is.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Miss Terrific Two

Something unusual is happening with my busy, funny and mayhem-causing Miss Tornado Two. Usually I spend my days running after the little monster as she terrorizes all and sundry with her enthusiasm, verve and sheer determination.

She's famous for her tantrums, renowned for her stubbornness and notorious for striking fear into the hearts of supermarket employees in every suburb in the vicinity.

But, all of a sudden she's doing something I never thought I would see - well not until she was well into her twenties anyway...... She's actually behaving in a manner that makes it tolerable to take the little angel out in public without me dying of embarrassment at her shenanigans.Without me even having to resort to bribery involving chocolate and about a zillion hours of torture watching Dora The Explorer.

For example; Today we went to the supermarket - I know, scary isn't it? And get this....we escaped unscathed. You heard me right.....unscathed. I was calm and relaxed and so was Miss Tornado Two. We chatted amicably as I pushed her around in the trolley (which, yes, she did stay seated in for most of the trip) There was no screaming to get out, no demanding of packaged goods, no alarming of other shoppers. It was a trip completely free of disapproving stares and unwanted advice regarding my child and a swift kick up the backside.

People stopped only to comment on the general cuteness of my offspring and how well-behaved she was........... It was a revelation.
Yes, I nodded happily, she is a good little girl. And she is very cute. I know, I know, those cheeks are adorable, and yes, I am a very lucky Mummy.

I couldn't believe it. It was amazing, mind-blowing...... and really, really weird.

Miss Tornado Two started her 'terrible two's' early. In fact, she pretty much started them not long after her first birthday. One minute she was an adorable little baby and next she was a screaming, yelling little monster that even the dog was terrified of.

I had pretty much resigned myself to years and years of this torture. Of all four children Little Miss seemed destined to be my main trouble maker.

But lately she has become a sweet, little girl - still tending to have the occasional meltdown, she is two after all - but generally she's been all goodness, light & fluffiness.

So, now I'll have to change her moniker. Miss Tornado Two doesn't seem apt at the moment. Maybe Miss Terrific Two or Miss Tremendous Two? Either way my little girl seems to be growing up.....and in the nicest possible way.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Serious Sleep Aversion

My children seem to be opposed to many things......cleanliness, doing as they're told, sitting still, using tissues, eating their dinner, getting ready for school, watching sensible television......I could go on for hours. Miss Tornado Two is averse to the toilet. Mr 5 is not interested in removing his finger from his nose. Mr 10 is dead set opposed to eating fruit...or vegetables....or anything for that matter. And Miss 8? She's pretty much against anything that requires any sort of effort on her behalf. 'Do as you please' seems to be her catch phrase of the moment.

I can handle all of this, really I can. As much as I feel like I'm headbutting a brick wall for a large portion of the day I can deal with these minor misdemeanours that my children dish out.

There is one thing I can't handle however, and that is their deep and uncompromising aversion to sleep.

How can anyone be averse to sleep?  I hear you ask. What could possible possess these small people to want to be up to all hours of the night and then be bouncing off the walls at 5 am in the morning?

I have absolutely no idea.

I love sleep. I savour it. I obsess about it. I adore climbing into bed, burying myself under a million blankets and drifting off into the land of nod. Only to be disturbed....disrupted.....interrupted.
'Mum, I need to go to the toilet'
'I'm thirsty'
'My ear hurts'
'I have a sore tummy'
'I can't sleep'
'There's a monster in my room'
And Miss Two's favourite.......'WAAAAAAAAH!"

And they time it perfectly. Just as my mind begins to wander, my eyes start to flicker shut and I begin to disappear into a warm, safe and fuzzy world..

Only to be jerked back into the harsh reality of my life. The life of a Mother who's children do not sleep.

I secretly want to crawl deeper into my bed and ignore them. Or tell them to 'bugger off' but I always get up, deal with the problem, tuck them back into their beds and kiss them goodnight.
'I love you darling', I say.
'Now bloody well go to sleep'

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Write On Wednesdays - The Painful Truth

Another Write On Wednesday! This one I found quite exciting and quite challenging! A Masterclass with the talented Allison Tait from Life In A Pink Fibro.
Here's the brief;
Write Allison's prompt at the top of your page. Set your timer for 5 minutes and write the first words that come into your head after your writing prompt.  Stop when the buzzer rings! Do this exercise over and over if you wish. 
'I can't stress how important it is that we behead this fiend........
before it takes over your life....before it ruins everything.' She hung her head in acquiescence, not wanting to hear the blatant truth but knowing, knowing that if she didn't do something about it quickly, disaster was the only outcome possible.
Admitting it was hard, harder than anything she had ever done before. It was only through finally telling her most trusted confidant that she realised the implications of her mistake.
At first it had all seemed natural and beautiful, but slowly and surely the rot had set in, the disappointment and then the guilt. The all-consuming guilt.
Now seeing the shock written all over her closest friend's face when she had admitted her error of judgement, it was like a wake up call. She knew now what she had to do. It had to end.....and soon.
Write On Wednesdays

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Love of Reading

I spent a fair amount of my childhood years with my nose firmly planted in an assortment of books. I absorbed them, I inhaled them. Any moment spent not reading was a moment wasted. There was world upon world of marvellous discoveries to be made. Places to escape to, characters to identify with. I had stumbled onto one of my greatest loves
A lifelong obsession had begun.
I devoured all of Roald Dahl, I adored Enid Blyton. Many wistful hours were spent in the whimsical world of Beatrix Potter. I cried through 'Little Women' and cheered through 'Charlotte's Web'.
Many of my childhood adventures were a direct result of the imagination that these books sparked.
As an adult I still spend a fair amount of time in my favourite hobby. When I haven't disappeared into a book myself I'm trying my hardest to get my children involved in one. Mr 10 and I have enjoyed books together for years; ever since I read him Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone when he was 6. We both loved the series and he managed to read it in it's entirety before he was 8. Both of us read The Spiderwick Chronicles and Narnia. Comparing notes at the dinner table. It is one of our (many) similarities, our love of books. It brings us together, our common denominator.

Miss 8 however, was showing little interest. She seemed to far prefer to spend hours outdoors making mud pies and pretending to rescue animals...very worthwhile activities for a young mind to be involved in. But I wondered and I hoped that she too, would become a book worm like her Mother...eventually...when she was ready.

Then slowly, she started. It began with 'The BFG' and then we read 'Harry' together. That was it, she was enthralled. She adored 'The Enchanted Wood' and we cuddled up and absorbed 'Charlotte's Web'. She currently has her head buried in 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid'. Every now and then I detect a giggle coming from the couch she's curled up in as she enjoys the juvenile humour. And I smile secretly to myself. She still makes mud pies in the garden...but now she had a new love to indulge in....and I couldn't be happier.

Check out some other 'Grateful' posts over at Maxabella Loves....