Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The last of the tanties (hopefully)

True to form, my little pumpkin farewelled the terrible twos today by throwing the mother of all tantrums! Tomorrow she wakes up 3, so today's spectacle was hopefully, a final horrah to her two year old temper.

I am very aware that she is babied, Grace is the only one of our children that has slept in our bed (and wakes up there most mornings). She has a way of getting through the day by doing very little for herself. She will demand someone feed her, carry her, dry her and clean up after her. If not mummy or daddy, a sister will do it.

Today, I made myself unavailable for her usual morning demands - she had to dress herself. I'm sure my neighbours thought I was beating her. She shouted at me, hit me and if I could understand her speech impaired screams, probably swore at me! She threw herself on the ground, growled and even tried to make herself throw up!

I calmly told her to sit down and I would assist her, but she was to dress herself - she was having none of it. I hadn't had my morning coffee, so I thought this was very brave of her. A non-caffinated mother can sometimes overreact to situations, but I just turned away from her and giggled to myself. She is so cute.

The 3 bigger girls all fluffed around, offering dummies, helpful hands, cuddles, and even tried to bargain with me, to give in! Josephine was following Grace around the room with her pants, trying to coax her into them.

Once dressed and back to her jovial self, we had a cuddle and it was as if the whole thing had never happened. I am not looking forward to tomorrow night - our first night without the dummy. She is so addicted to her dummies, but knows that her birthday means they are to be given away. That's why, this whole week, when someone has mentioned Friday, she has cried, "I don't want my birthday, I not want to be three."

Toughen up princess, I didn't want to be thirty (for the last few years), but had to!

Monday, 29 August 2011

This house has a floor, has a floor, has a floor...

but no walls.

Argh! This renovation is driving me crazy. I am sick of people not turning up when they are scheduled, and not returning phone calls. Today, we were supposed to get walls, but, alas, no bricklayer = no walls.

The disheartening thing is all the well-wishers noting how, "the external bit goes up fast, the inside takes the time." Well, I had better settle in, it looks like I'm here for a while!

So far I have lived in hope. I am still packing food into baskets in the pantry and our toiletries are still in a box. Refusing to unpack our things, and place them in the cupboards here, just isn't fooling my subconscious any more. {sigh}

On the way to school this morning, we were discussing birthdays. In my self-pity, I may have suggested that I would be divorced and living elsewhere, if the reno was not completed by Josephine's birthday. This did not please Cate! Oops. Bad mother. Note to self - don't tell your child you will divorce their dad. Luckily, the others don't understand "divorce", so won't need therapy.

My plan is to not be so superficial by focussing on the exterior, and think interior. Because we have a hidey-hole into the roof, that is accessed through a midget door in the master bathroom, I am considering panelled or tongue and groove walls. This will hide the door into the wall, rather than it standing out. We have a modern, freestanding tub in the middle of the floor, so waterproofing is not imperative.

Some of these images are country, coastal and rustic - I want none of those. I plan on making panelling, the new tile, refreshing and updating a classic style. {Not completely convinced myself, but I have little choice, I don't want a dwarf door in the middle of a tiled or wallpapered wall!}

Love the floor!
Really love this floor.
Similar to our bath - it works with the panelling.

Not a fan of the overdone light, but love the panelling.
Interesting panelling, but wouldn't cover a door.

Love it with wallpaper.

Images Pinterest

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Valley Rally

Today we did The Valley Rally. I'm not going to be all gushy and say that it was a wonderful family day out, because that would be a lie! There were moments of wonderfulness, but they were few.

Four kids in and out of the car for three hours, was a bit ambitious. Cate was the only one who could fluently read the cryptic directions, the others only perked up when we had to get out of the car, to search for the markers.

It was however, nice to see some of the wonderful things the valley has to offer. I am astonished at the amount of beauty and creativity, we have at our doorstep. Dean commented that we could visit the valley every weekend, and still not see everything.

I also needed to take some photos for a Father's Day, school request, so the beautiful surroundings helped. Included in the images below, is my favourite sculpture at the sculpture garden (a pink diamond, of course), and Rose standing with the 9th marker, under the bridge. The photo of mum and dad, was taken by Cate.

I would totally recommend this fun outing to other families with children who can read.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Live more Gracefully

Three years ago this Friday, we welcomed little Grace into our family. From the minute she was born, she had every one of us enamoured. She is a breath of fresh air, and looks at life through rainbow, heart shaped glasses.

We should all consider living more Gracefully.

  • Craving sweets, means you NEED to eat sweets.
  • Giggle - a lot! Loudly.
  • Nap during the day, to ensure you aren't unpleasant.
  • Don't walk - skip.
  • Sing, hum, dance.
  • Always wet your hair in the bath.
  • Red, sequin shoes go with anything.
  • If someone won't do something for you - find someone who will. 
  • Love your curves!
  • Lie in the middle of the bed.
  • Don't leave the house without your bag and baby! 
Grace makes every day so much fun. She is all things adults strive to be - confident, proud, happy, spontaneous, affectionate, and uninhibited.

Grace, I wish you a million kisses, a sky full of stars and, a lifetime of love and happiness. Share your sunshine my sweet. I love you.

If you see me skipping this week, or with wet hair - I will be living more Gracefully. You should try it!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The absence of blue (& crepe paper)

So my bribery completely backfired. Rose jogged down the field, winning a fistful of yellow ribbons. Cate on the other hand, won blue in a team event. I'm not sure I was clear enough about the rules. My plan was for Rose to actually break into a sprint, but no.

Cate was much improved this year though. She came second in her heat, (still C division, but she can now overtake a couple of girls). I was so proud of her. She could probably read a novel faster than run 400m, but high five to her for today.

It is a wonderful feeling, watching your angels running against their peers and enjoying themselves. I remember the feeling of fear that came over me, on sport carnival week. I hated the horrible red shirts we wore and always came last (like Cate, my sister got the running gene)!

But, I do remember the wonderful feeling of being part of a team. The mascots, the music, the singing, the marching, the streamers and chants. Most of which was absent from today. How disappointing that children today will never hear the rustling of crepe paper. Isn't is sad that most of the wonderful memories of our childhood, are just too un-environmentally friendly! Now they are just plain unfriendly! No red coloured shirts, just coloured bibs. No face paint or toys or music. Everyone gets a participation ribbon, no one's feelings are hurt, just no feeling!

I will go to sleep tonight basking in my motherly pride, and savour the wonderfulness of being a part of today, but I am sad for the life they will never know they missed.

My girls actually spent 2 hours last night making pompoms from crepe paper for today - all to be kept in a plastic bag, not allowed out. Hence my disappointment! Image.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Green for blue ribbons

I may or may not have been a bad mother today. Tomorrow is the girls sports carnival, and I have promised them a monetary reward, for blue ribbons! Is this bribery? 

Rose is an excellent athlete, but she lacks motivation. She isn't concerned if she wins or loses. She just can't be bothered! Cate on the other hand, tries to do her best in most parts of her life, but can never achieve what comes naturally to Rose. 

Last year, Cate came last - in fourth division!, She was so adorable telling her Grandma she came fourth (not mentioning, there were only four in the race). She is not concerned about her lack of athleticism. Rose came second, she kept turning around to see who was behind her, and got overtaken at the finish line. 

Cate's legs aren't made for running. They are long, and on somebody a little more co-ordinated, they could fly to the finish line with grace and speed, but on Cate, they resemble a newborn giraffe. Rose has the most amazingly muscly legs, I know she could win if she tried, so I offered her a sweetener.

I know of parents who pay their children to take piano lessons, or give bonuses for A's, so how does this differ? I think a little competitiveness can be a good thing, it helps you aim higher, and try harder. They are "racing" against their peers, why can't I make them try harder to better themselves? I guess, I am trying to justify my "bribery".

race : noun, verb
a contest or competition, especially to achieve superiority.
a contest of speed, as in running, riding, driving.

Cross your fingers for my girls tomorrow, and don't worry, they will still be rewarded for their "less than blue" efforts. I have a secret stash of chocolate rewards for my little champions tomorrow night.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Star Wife

Dean got back to Rose's dresser today. The further along it comes, the more I love it. I can't wait to see it finished and in her room. Of course, that would mean we would need some walls, and maybe a roof!

This week we will have a pad - exciting. Although, it would have been more exciting, about 5 months ago. Next we need a bricklayer and, that is proving to be a little problem (as usual). I think I have a minor meltdown once a week, then get that horrible sunken feeling inside, like you have just given up, and say, "oh well, what can I do?". 

I do think that Dean has been too busy, to really keep the wheels moving on this project. I can't {but do} get angry at him for this. He has had a huge change in work commitments this year, and this has enabled us to be in a even better position to renovate, financially. 

He has also been a bit distracted by his new car!!! It has all the bells and whistles, and he has been a little obsessed these last few days. He has happily gone to pick up some milk, or duck to buy a paper. He was also very, very upset, when Cate rode too close on her bike. Yes, it now has a large scratch down the side. Oh dear!

On a brighter note. He went out last night, to a work function - Employee of the Year. I am now married to the Employee of the Year! This comes with a couple of special pressies - $500 dinner voucher, a night at a luxury hotel, a trophy - not sure if there is money involved also. I might get shirts made up - "Star Employee", and perhaps mine would say "Wife - At home (Mother in Law's home), with the four kids, married to Employee of the Year, doesn't see him much, but the car helps!". Might not fit, maybe - "Star Wife"!

Congratulations Honey!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Saturday in pictures

I have been wanting to photograph Miss Cate for a week - she has bangs! I also couldn't help myself, and gave Rose her birthday hat early. She is such a fashionista, accessorising it with her yellow dress and scarf. 

We went and visited Josephine's BFF today and they all had a little play in the sunshine. Grace was with daddy this morning, so she missed my photo frenzy!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Paying a premium for pink

Yesterday I went on a little shopping expedition. After taking Dean to pick up his new car, I thought I would do the upcycle thing, and drop into the tip. I really wanted some glass light fittings, and had heard a rumour, they had some. No, but they did have a retro Danish chair. Exactly like 2 others I already have, waiting to be recovered! I'm sure somebody tipped (pardon the pun) them off, and they moved it right to the door, knowing I would buy it. It is no secret that I have a chair fetish. Lights and chairs are my weakness.

After rearranging the car to fit the new addition in, I decided to follow another rumour, in the search for coloured lights. (Thanks Ness, you had me running around the city). I got two grumpy girls out of the car, again, and walked into the shop. I was floored, it was beautiful - rows and rows of coloured glass light fittings. My elation quickly turned to utter dismay when I realised, they didn't have the appropriate lip to hang upside down, as they were for oil lamps. The sales lady, then sent me to my local antique shop, around the corner from house - typical.

Having never gone in there, and feeling like I was a goose in a wild chase I wasn't expecting much - luckily. I think she saw me coming. There was a ceiling full of antique lights from chandeliers to art deco lights to coloured glass light fittings. Behind a locked cabinet door, was 5 shelves of pink light fittings, all of which I wanted. Then she explained to me that, the green and yellow and blue ones I enquired about were about $35, but all the rich pink ones were $200 plus, WHAT??? Since when was pink a premium (to anyone other than me)? Bugger!

 I walked out with a green light to add to my $8 yellow and $40 pastel pink ones at home. Not a complete waste, I do have another chair. Obviously there isn't as much of a demand for those as there is for the pink lights!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

My old ovaries hurt

Where has this year gone? It is already late August, and I am mentally living six months behind everyone else!

It feels like only yesterday that Josephine started school. Every school night she is so exhausted, like her body is not used to the long days, but really, she has been going for over six months! In a few weeks, my baby will actually be three! I have never said that before. My baby, has never been older than two, then another came along, so they weren't the baby anymore.

I think the most annoying thing, about it being August already, is the dismal progress on our house. I had envisioned us being back in for Rose's birthday. She is having a party this year, so I planned on having all of her friends over to celebrate, and to make up for the lack of play dates she has had. Unfortunately, I am now researching hosted party options.

The problem with your kids growing up, apart from the obvious, is that you grow up too, and by that I mean OLD. I am 8 years older than my childless self. The last time I went to sleep, and didn't have any child related worries, was nine years ago. I didn't know how someone could love another human being as much as a mother does.

I want time to slow down. Yesterday, I sat on the couch for half an hour, just smelling my nephew. He was asleep and snoring in my arms, content. I miss that. I miss having a baby. Grace will always be my baby, but I love being pregnant. I love newborns. I love breastfeeding. I love having babies and I will never have another.

Here is a copy of the first photos taken of my two little babies.  I look doped in the first one, because I was! Grace was the same in birth as she is in life - comfortable! She had to be coaxed (yanked) out. Also, the midwives found it amusing that I had 3 girls, and was there again, so shared the good stuff. I was soooo funny. (Well that is how I remember it - don't ask Dean.) I was cracking jokes and laughing a lot! My Don't do drugs post proves, I am hilarious on happy drugs! My mum was with Dean and I during Josephine's birth, so it was much more serious.

Monday, 15 August 2011

On my rich list

I am back on antibiotics today and did the school run in my slippers! I think it is safe to say that I'm feeling a little low. I do have a handsome, baby boy again today, so my spirits are lifted slightly by his giggles. (For those of you who know me well, don't panic, the slippers, and my feet, remained in the car - I haven't gone completely mad - no need to shoot me.)

I also have a large plate of spinach and roast pumpkin risoni. This is so delicious, I keep going back to the bowl for more, even though I am full. Recipe hereDisclaimer: Keep in mind, if I'm invited to a bbq, I will probably bring it, so you better find your own salad to impress people with!

Hmm, a post to match my mood? Maybe some photos of things I , but could never afford, sounds appropriate, don't you think?

Amazing. If you don't agree, we can no longer be friends!
Love the bed.
Pink and mother of pearl - gorgeous!
I adore these Philippe Starck chairs. A table full of chairs = a small fortune!
My table will be adorned by these, but sadly we can only afford the replica version.
An imaginative look at an antique chair, in a very contemporary way.
I am aware, they are not for everyone, so, unlike the chair above,
I will still be your friend, even if you don't like them.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Rock chickadees

My boss, has always joked, how he can't wait for the day my girls get pierced, tattooed and turn gothic!

Well I'm sure the following images will amuse him. Cate and Rose did Josephine and Grace's make-up and nails. Obviously they need lessons in make-up application, and when they hit their mid-teens, I will show them. Luckily a little soap and nail polish remover, and they are my sweet, pink angels again.

Check out her nails and tutu, now there's a contradiction!
FYI, that is water, not vodka - um coffee, not coffee!
Rock chick!
Could've been a great photo, sans the racoon eyes!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

My Kitchen Rules

Friday was Dean's last day of holidays, so we decided to be proactive, and start organising the interior fittings for the reno.

After dropping the 3 big girls at school, and Grace at Nanna's, we set off to IKEA. We are not getting an Ikea kitchen, but where else can you see bulk kitchens in a range of colours and styles? Now, the kitchen design we had in mind, has now changed, and that is thanks to Ikea.

Next port of call was our kitchen guru - Robin. We renovated our kitchen when we first moved in 6 years ago, and Robin was the man who made it all come together, stress-free, on budget (nearly), and exactly as planned. He also did my sister's kitchen when she renovated a few years ago.

After supplying him with our wishlist, he then sent us off to all of his suppliers to choose fittings. OMG, how many handles can one shop supply? Really, there were at least 10 handles of each design - brushed nickel, matt nickel, buffed nickel, stainless steel, brass, aluminium, round, square, curved, blah, blah blah. It is not that complicated. I just want something to open my drawers that looks nice!

Luckily, we have a window splashback - you can imagine the choices there! Actually, it would have been an easy decision. A few years ago, I talked my sister into my ideal kitchen for a modern home. I made her do a wallpaper splashback in my dream wallpaper. It was a great idea - she had to search high and low to find a supplier who would do such a large sheet of glass, with no joins and no glue to hold it in place. She also had to fork out the small fortune for the beautiful wallpaper! Meanwhile, I just have a short drive to admire the most adorable kitchen in the world! (I do have my laundry splashback to go crazy with though - I'm thinking mirror!)

I believe that kitchens and bathrooms, even if you have a character home, can be very modern and contemporary. We have an art deco, 1940's home, and my kitchen will be in a room with a modern, modular, white leather lounge and a lot of very brightly coloured, vintage chairs.

I want something that is different, a conversation piece. So, am I brave enough for statement coloured cupboards? I think the answer might just be, to have the bench that is facing the living area wallpapered, then it can be changed, with minimum cost and the least amount of effort. A patterned print will also be forgiving of those dings from little girls, kicking it when they are sitting at the kitchen bench. That said, I do admire the homeowners below for being so bold ...

Friday, 12 August 2011

Don't do drugs

I am sure everyone would agree, the worst part of a holiday, is the washing! Dean purchased a few snazzy, white linen tops while on holiday and lovingly washed them, and hung them out to dry. Then he filled the machine with all of my clothes, together. I later pulled them out of the dryer, only to find them all with a pink hue and slightly smaller!

Yes, I am grateful he took the initiative to help with the washing, but why my clothes? I guess it is payback for all of the work shirts hanging in his robe slightly pinker than purchased.

The clean up was similar to a natural disaster. The house was littered with shoes, clothes (clean and dirty), mail, notes from teachers, birthday invites and anything else the girls had discarded along the way. There were clean dishes lined on the bench from mum, who had found them, but forgotten where from.

Then, sitting under piles of paperwork, were two notes, in my handwriting. According to Rose, I had placed them in their lunch boxes the night I left. I then spent the rest of the day searching the house, for the other two, I had apparently written.

I had no recollection of writing these notes nor could I find the notebook from which they were torn from, so I rang mum to enlighten me a little. She rattled off a list of things I did that night, that I still do not remember! Note to self - the happy pills not only work for flying, they work for all sorts of things!

I don't remember falling asleep in the girls' bed, wedged between Grace and Josephine. I don't remember getting out of the taxi, in a panic, and running back inside to Josephine, who was crying in her sleep. I don't remember getting in the taxi!!! The moral of this story has to be, don't do drugs.*

* Unless you are afraid of flying, have a cold, headache, backache, sore toe, can't sleep, can't stop sleeping, high blood pressure, low blood pressure...  maybe just don't do drugs when you are about to get on a plane bound for overseas, where they still shoot people for having drugs!!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Holiday Hangover 2

One of the most asked questions of us, while on holiday was, "Honeymoon?". Technically, we weren't, but it was just like a second honeymoon. We held hands, talked about things other than the kids and went shopping together, for each other.

There are a lot of children in Bali, and we did comment on how much the kids would have loved this, and what we would do with them here, but selfishly, it was all about us. We had a massage every day. Drank cocktails for lunch. We ate at restaurants that didn't have a kids menu - at 10pm!! We took taxis that only seated 5. We walked for 4 hours straight.

But, we also missed them terribly. We were in constant contact and, noted what they would be doing at numerous points in each day. We spoke about, "when we bring the kids here". I know this is a huge change, from my feelings before I left, but I had a wonderful time, and would love to take them with me, if I go again.

This collage is of our shopping break. We ate fruit and drank cocktails, while paddling our feet in the pool. I also spent ages trying to figure out how to best photograph the view from my chair, so there are many, many more photos, of just this!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Holiday Hangover 1

I am happy to be home. My girls reacted to our arrival, just as every homesick mummy wishes! Grace and Rose came running up to us yelling, "Mummy, Daddy", with bright smiles and outstretched arms. I remember, last time we went away for a few days without them, I stood at the gate, arms wide in anticipation, and they just walked up to me and said, "Hi Mum, what did you buy me?"

We then went straight to school to pick up the other girls. They were just as adorable with their excited welcomes. (Rose was home sick today, 100% sick babies for Grandma)

Tonight has only involved present giving, a big bath filled with 5 girls, dinner and lying in our bed together, cuddling. The house is chaos, but I figure, it will still be that way tomorrow!

I have just put together a quickie of some of our happy snaps. (These are the iphone snaps.) I hope to post some more over the next few days, with some little stories about my first trip to Bali.

Some quick captions for the above are - The beautiful resort at Lembongan, my pedicure and new thongs to match (that is Dean at the pool bar), cocktails on the sunset deck.

And most important lesson learned - when someone tells you to "wear shorts", believe them! I wore this long fuschia and tangerine dress to Lembongan, forgetting that you have to wade out to the boat, climb to a dingy, wade to land! I felt really summery, colourful and most of all, like SJP in Sex in the City 2 - sometimes too much, other times, just enough.

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