Thursday, 8 November 2012

Pretty v Practical

Being responsible for my children's well being whilst renovating our 'forever' home is a challenge at the best of times. There are all sorts of hazards that can induce a trip to the emergency, and it doesn't stop when the tool belt is put away. My current conundrum is the ongoing safety of my kiddies vs the beauty of my backyard!

With the inside liveable we are now focussing on getting our backyard finished by Christmas, and that starts with pool headers (followed by concrete, decking, reticulation, soak-wells, lawn, landscaping and painting... this list goes on).

I want a shiny, luxurious, black granite with a polished, square edge – a good mum would opt for a non-slip, cool to touch, bevel edge pool header. I am torn, I want to be a good, safety conscience mum, but want the pretty, hot and unsafe one sooo bad!

 If I go and do a first aid course in burns and head wounds does it make it ok?

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Real mums use a torch!

A few weeks ago I obviously had too much spare time (at 11.30 at night), and found myself unable to put down this post from Mamamia. It wasn't the actual post that had me hooked, but the comments. 

It's situations like this that make me wonder how we became such a sensitive bunch of so-and-sos, and when did we lose our sense of humor?

So before I continue, I would like to announce that the following should not be taken seriously! I have four children therefore I have a sense of humor - it keeps me from crying myself to sleep (again, a joke - clarification for the sensitive).

Last night we had the unpleasantness of finding out one of our babes had worms. Argh, yucko! This was not our first time and I vividly remember being completely repulsed last time too. I had the unwanted job of ringing/texting and telling in person, those mothers we had shared finger food with recently, the shameful news. 

I think the most shameful part was their inexperience in this area and their confusion as to how we knew - this proved they had never experienced Combantrin!!! Oh there is no better way to make friends with the mothers of your kiddies friends, than describing the act of using a torch to confirm your fears. 

If you are a regular visitor to my blog, you would know about our 'last day of school holidays ritual' - pyjamas, movies, kids choice of feast foods - not today. My washing machine ran from dawn til dusk, the clothesline was a rotation of pastel sheets and every pair of pjs my kids own, and when the sun went down, the dryer hummed until 11pm. The antibacterial wipes were my best friend today, the worms were not!

So, in conclusion I would like to add headlice (which we have so far avoided), and worms to that unwritten list of things that 'make' us mothers! Yuck. 

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Bali 2002

Ten years ago today, my husband and twenty of his friends were in Bali celebrating Dean and his friend Paul's impending nuptials on their end of season football trip. Their night started with dinner and drinks, and ended in disaster.

I vividly remember how I felt being woken by a frantic Dean, telling me there had been an explosion, that he was ok and had to go because everyone needed the phone. I lay awake that night with the radio on, listening to the death toll rise, still shaken from scenes of September 11 the year before.

I remember watching footage on the tv with him after he'd made it home in silence. Each year on this day, with the news reports reminding us of the devastation, I would learn a little more of what he saw and experienced.

In two weeks we celebrate ten years of marriage. Together we have four amazing daughters, one angel, a home we have built together and an amazing life - every moment of my day relates to Dean. All of which would never have been, had their taxi arrived on time to take them to Paddy's.

I have a million things to be thankful for every day, but today is going to be saved just for Dean and his very special friends who make their wives lives wonderful too. x

Saturday, 6 October 2012

I'm loving...

Warm weather.
My gorgeous girls.
Home grown roses.
Blue scones.
Dean x

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Personal space = peace

I grew up in a modest home. We had 3 bedrooms, one bathroom, one lounge room and one dining table (in the kitchen), yes there was only my parents, my sister and I, but considering most modern homes are four-by-two plus activity/study, we lived compactly! But life was different then, everyone lived smaller because we never locked our doors, we would walk alone to school at five, and our backyards stretched to the park a mile away, we were never on top of each other.

In comparison, my four girls, Dean and I, for nearly eighteen months, lived in 3 bedrooms (four beds) while we supersized our house to five bedrooms, playroom, formal lounge room, two and a half baths, plus study. The ironic thing being that my children bickered constantly, they were on top of each other and didn't really enjoy each other's company, but now that they have their own rooms and a separate playroom, they are having "sleepovers" together!

Rose has so far spent every night these holidays either in the twin bed in Cate's room, or her and Cate have camped in our formal lounge room (disguised as a guest bedroom until further notice). Grace and Josephine have also shacked up together again, sleeping soundly for a good 11 hours. They clean and move their things around in their rooms, then go and sleep somewhere else!

So what to conclude from this? Have they just grown closer or is the idea of their own space making them happier? There is no fighting, they all play for hours together without incident, and they are loving and protective of each other. They are happy just playing at home - sand, dolls, pencils and paper is a days worth of bliss for them.

Now, let's face it, any mum knows that as soon as you brag about something it turns to poo, but I've been observing this phenomenon for four months now and feel confident that this may continue, and what a better challenge than school holidays!

Stay tuned, yes an expensive, physically exhausting way to bring a family together, but worth every penny and aching back it took to get us here. 

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Eight candles for Rose

Today is my Rosie's birthday - eight years of pure bliss; infectious giggles; running, not walking; sweetness, and love.

I am so proud to be this little angels mother, who is led by her heart, has no fear, and NEVER gives up. An example of how we should all live our life.

Rose, never lose who you are, the world is a better place with you in it.

We love you so much and thank God every day for trusting us with such an amazing person.

Change the world Baby!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Lessons for my daughters

Last week my baby turned four! Four wonderful years I have been the mum to four amazing little girls, and all of the sparkles, pink and sweetness of the party has had me thinking, "What do I want my girls to learn from me?"

Now, I am not talking about manners, independence or the long list of social skills we are already teaching them, I am talking about the lessons only a mother can teach - the 'rules' we teach our children that don't make them a better or worse person, but save them a subscription to Vogue or Better Homes and Gardens when they are older.

For me, I will never forget my mother's constant opposition to wearing red with pink. To make it clear, red and pink are my favourite colour combo and have been since leaving home, but I feel her words burning in my ears every time I disobey her. I had children in little pink outfits with red dots or bows long before she let it go.

I am also rarely seen in tracksuit pants, partly because I am allergic to exercise and know people would never believe I was on my way to the gym, but mostly because of my dad. Yes, my dad who in every way is NOT a gentleman, but would never be seen publicly in tracksuit pants. Surprisingly, he has a few other little rules about clothes, shoes and manners that I find completely hilarious, but feel I stick to because if someone so 'rustic' can have his own loose version of social etiquette, then so can I. 

While I was dressing for a dinner date with Dean last week, I found myself having to explain the difference between leggings and footless tights - beyond the obvious. This is one of those things I need to teach the girls and I think they would care a whole lot more than Dean did! 

Applying sunscreen every day, the difference between a wedge and a stiletto and when it is appropriate to wear each of them, and with what. We need to talk about how to make a bed (using hospital corners - thanks mum), how long to boil an egg to eat with soldiers or to use in a salad, and when to wash in cold or hot water. 

I want them to have basic sewing and knitting skills, I need to show them how to braid in no less than 5 ways, the difference between a weed and a plant, how to prune roses, bake a cake and fold clothes so they don't need ironing. I would add 'how to hang clothes on the line correctly', but Dean is still annoyed at my mother for teaching me incorrectly!

All this amounts to lots of skills and knowledge that won't change their life, or make them better people, I know that, but when I see a rose growing from a plant I pruned and nurtured, I feel joy. Watching one of my girls dance around in a dress I worked on until midnight, makes me smile inside, and baking a beautiful cake, full of nothing that will fuel their growth but filled with love, brings pure happiness.

All lessons I feel is my duty to teach our future fashionistas/homemakers, but don't feel pressure to follow suit, I will not judge you if you don't feel the need to educate your blossoms on such trivial things as hosiery. Teaching a daughter how to dress appropriately may seem shallow to some, but I'm sure we have all had a day in the past few years where we have said under our breath, "Those tights are see-through Love, that top is not a dress!"  You know who you are!

Image source.

Friday, 7 September 2012

My champion girl!

I have been meaning to post this picture for a week now, but the camera cord issues continue, so this is from my phone.

Congratulations to my super awesome Rose, for winning her first trophy at the school athletics carnival last week. There was no hiding how proud I was - I may have sent expletives to my mother via text, and I may have cried in public! My excuse - I am new to this winning thing, I've not adorned any blue (red, yellow or green) ribbons myself, so felt the need to celebrate.

We are super proud of you Rose. Love you. xx

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The weeks that were.

To avoid rambling, I am going to bullet point the highlights of my last few weeks...

  • My verandah has started. {High five - pool party, my house this summer.}
  • I finished the curtains for the living area and love them.
  • My Rosie won Champion Girl for her age at the school athletics carnival. {High ten! I am so, so proud of my amazing girl, I almost embarrassed us all by turning into a soccer mum.}
  • I repurposed my coffee table and painted it with chalkboard paint. The kids LOVE it.
  • My baby turned four. {Happy tears.}
  • I threw my baby a fairy party - fairy included!
  • I made my favouritest dip (I know this doesn't really count as a highlight, but if you tasted it, I'm sure it would make your day too - maybe even your week!)
Now, of course I have photographic evidence of all of this but... I can't find the cord that connects my camera to my laptop. {sigh} I do have a few dodgy shots from my phone that give you the idea. The recipe for the dip will be at the end of the post, for those of you who need something to enjoy with your Jatz this weekend. :)

Enthralled by the two fairies!
Love my new curtains.
The party food on the new chalkboard coffee table. Two photo ops in one!
The cake. The response from most was, "I've never seen a brunette fairy before!"??

Artichoke Dip
300g parmesan cheese
1 block of Philly cheese
1 tin artichokes
1 clove of garlic
1 small shallot (optional)

I chop the garlic and shallot in the Thermomix, then add the parmesan and do the same. Add the artichokes and Philly, pulverise and warm at 60 degrees for about 5 minutes. (This could easily be done in a food processor and then heated in the microwave.)

Serve warm, eat lots and make often!

Happy Tuesday.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

A dash of colour

When we were getting closer to moving back in, a lot of people would ask of our freshly painted walls, "what colour will they be painted?"

I love our white walls. In each room, the light can change it from a cool grey, to a soft lilac. I also knew that I would not be so white with my soft furnishings!

I have been busy sewing brightly coloured cushions while Dean built a base for a custom ottoman. I wanted this to be cheaper than a newbie, and Dean went over budget on timber, so a corduroy fabric was chosen. It has nailhead trim around the bottom and some covered buttons on top, and could easily support a couple of adults.

My next project for in here will be some bold, graphic curtains and a couple of side tables. When some sun shines through, the desk behind the sofa will be revamped with a white and timber combination, to give it a new lease on life!

Happy Thursday.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

DIY dresser!

Thanks to my mum and dad (who have my two big girls on the farm), and my MIL (who had my babies for two sleeps), I had time to complete a project that has been taunting me for months.

Grace's dressing table had the fronts primed for painting way back when the sun was still shining, but because winter arrived, and life goes on, it sat sadly in her almost-complete room waiting for a makeover.

As it isn't perfect weather for drying furniture, and we have nowhere to paint, I decided wallpaper was a fabulous, temporary solution. I also decided that Grace's room needed another colour - and what better shade to compliment gold and fuchsia, than turquoise?

Handles courtesy of my friend Josephine's US holiday. Aren't they perfect!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

House Update June 2012

Finally, I am feeling settled enough to show some pics of our home. Sadly, all the parts you don't see in these photos, are still unfinished. We technically don't have any rooms finished.

I do however, have many places throughout our home, that make me smile and motivated to push this reno over the finishing line. Overall, I am very happy with the feel of our home. I love the colour palette and feel we achieved beautiful continuity between the old and new.

I do hope to take some shots of the girls' rooms tomorrow, but that does mean I would have to make them clean, so don't hold your breath! Would love to hear your comments.

A small disclaimer - 
  • We have no windows in the playroom, so the images are very dark. 
  • Yes, I have colour coordinated the bookshelf - doesn't everyone? 
  • I am missing the drawers in our bedside tables, they are still being painted - a beautiful, creamy, metallic gold. 
  • I bought the table from Gumtree for $200 and painted it black. When it gets warmer, I plan on repainting it in a pink, then a turquoise, then black again, so when the girls chip it, a rainbow of pretty colours show through.
  • These chairs came with the table. I will add a couple of Louis Ghost chairs to the table too and some pretty cushions on my end chairs.
  • The chandelier above the dining table was made by Dean and myself. Adorable, coloured glass shades hang at different lengths. My favourite thing!
  • The chandelier over my bath is also a Gumtree find. Three, antique, crystal chandeliers of varying sizes for $200 - perfect for my bedroom, bathroom and dressing room.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Happy birthday Miss Nine

You've come a long way baby.

Love mummy and daddy. xx

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Home sweet Mother's Day

It has been an eventful few weeks in our family.

Last weekend, we packed the truck, full, ready for our big move home. Dean reversed it into our driveway and excitedly we started to unload the boxes. Dean bent to place his third box inside and... couldn't get up! He had put his back out.

I packed the kids back up and we went back to my MIL's. It was gut wrenching.

The week passed with Dean flat out (literally) off his head (literally) and me on the verge of a nervous breakdown (literally)! The girls slept on makeshift beds with scatter cushions and blankets. Dinners were made in the toaster and we dressed from a clothes basket. Back at home, there were four bedrooms with beds made and clothes hanging in their robes, a kitchen with cupboards full of food - but I couldn't bring myself to pack it up, and take it back to my MIL's house! I was broken.

But, yesterday, with Dean walking again, WE MOVED IN. The house is not finished, not nearly "come over for a coffee" ready, but we can live in it. We are sleeping in the spare bedroom that has spent the last 18 months filled with our old doors, power tools, boxes and crap. All that remains, but pushed to the side to make room for our bed. Our alarm clock sit atop our old gas heater that is shoved to one side of the room - ahh, the serenity!

We have no sinks in the bathrooms, so teeth and getting brushed in the laundry. And, we have NO DOORS! There is something about a door on your toilet that keeps the spark in a marriage. I am all about sharing, but when I am casually putting washing away and walking through the house and see Dean's loo {with a p} face, I just lose a little bit love, and after the past week, we needn't lose any more love!

Anyway, I do have some areas of gorgeousness that I am happy to surround myself with, to make the doorlessness bearable. And, today was Mother's Day and I can't think of a better present than to wake up in my own home, surrounded by my perfect babies, bearing beautiful gifts. {smile} **

Please excuse my photos - I can't find either of my two cameras as they are still packed -  these come courtesy of Dean's iphone.

My favourite place - my dining table.
I have been collecting coloured shades and love what Dean has done.
My Mother's Day gifts. Pjs and slippers from Peter Alexander.
Cate has been introduced to online shopping, I just send subtle hints like -
"Hmm, Peter Alexander have some lovely slippers on their website."
I did my best to let my girls bake me a cake for Mother's Day - in the Thermomix. It was embellished with appropriate pink hearts.

Dean helped Grace make the coffees.
My tulips - another gift.

We haven't yet bought back all of their toys from Nanna's, but Grace was content just "being a mum", with her handbag and heels - a minor problem when you have just had your floorboard sanded and polished. Easily fixed with some spare felt, furniture stickers - a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do!

I hope all mums out there had a fabulous day. I wish my mum a super Mother's Day - I love you to bits.

Thanks to Dean and my gorgeous girls for the beautiful presents and fabulous day. A necklace beaded with straws, framed artwork and photos, plus a lovingly decorated place mat from the girls, make being a mum the best job in the world. I love you to the moon and back.

**That one was for you Tam!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Wiping away the dust!

For those of you who see this in your reader, and falsely think you are about to read an informative, interesting post, sorry.

I am here purely to wipe the dust from my forgotten little blog, and tease you further with promises of finished photos. The house is two weeks from habitation! Not five star living, but an easy 3. 

I have started moving beds into the girl's rooms and hung curtains. We have a working kitchen (minus the power thing), a toilet that is attached to the floor and plumbing - no more kids falling off the loo and buckets of water to flush. And, the tiles are laid and every time I catch a glimpse of their graphic beauty, I smile. 

Here are a few snappies of unfinished bits taken on my iPhone for reference, so please excuse the quality and lack of lighting (we still have no power).

Rose' bedroom. This was the day we moved the beds in so, no dressing has been done yet.
The blind and frames are still lying on the floor.
The bedhead Dean and I covered for Grace.
After many hours of procrastination, I have decided her room is
going to be white,  pink with white polka dots, and have gold accents.
Rose' room again (still without the drawers in the dresser and frames hung).
The light shades I have collected to hang over our dining table.
I still haven't figured out how to hang them - another source of procrastination!
Sadly, school holidays are over in 2 days, and we aren't home, but I have completely enjoyed every minute of the break. The girls have been so much fun and really happy with just the company of each other. I will miss them terribly on Thursday, but know the move will keep me considerably exhausted!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Drowning, not waving!

Helloooo. Yes I am still here - just!

Things have been insanely busy around here and I've really had to prioritise my workload. Naturally the kiddies and Dean come first, then the house, then the list continues down, and at about 20 sits me. This would explain why I have been served with a delightful sinus infection I don't have the energy to fight.

Sickness aside, the house has made a huge transformation from worksite, to almost resembling a home again. The floorboards have been sanded, walls and ceilings painted, kitchen semi-installed, fencing started and a beautiful set of stairs now replace the ladder to our bedroom. I really wanted to have a set of before and afters but this will have to suffice for now, hopefully keeping those of you requesting an update happy.

The kitchen is only partly installed. The white Caesarstone bench tops are getting made, so the rest of the cupboards are sitting in the living area, waiting to be hung.

A. This is where my bi-fold appliance cupboard will go. I had one before and would never design a kitchen without one.

B. I have ordered a mirrored back for my island bench. I may regret this decision as I realise it will need to be cleaned constantly, but I think it will look amazing! The base cupboards are a black gloss, they will need a lot of cleaning too as they are handleless, push to open.

C. The overheads will be white.

The stairs are my pride and joy - a big investment, in cost and in time. They were crafted onsite and so far I have spent over four hours masking them for painting and just as many priming them. The treads and handrail are jarrah and all the rest will be white. It is a luxury to not have to climb a ladder to my bedroom!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

School shenanigans!

The new school year is upon us, and I've found that it has taken only one day to feel like we had never been on holidays. 

As usual, I was very melancholy about my girls growing up and being full time school kids. Josephine, turning five the week before school, started the tears that officially ended today.

The first day was uneventful for them. They were so excited to see their friends again, they didn't even notice their teary mum, driving to school with watery eyes and streaky mascara. Cate shooed me off with a wave and an, "I'm fine, see you later", while Rose was sitting at her new desk, guarded by friends and mothers preventing my embarrassing, smothering of kisses from actually connecting with her! Even Josephine wedged herself between her friends and contently listened to another mother reading them a story, oblivious to my presence. 

I know that there are mothers out there that have to have their children surgically removed on the first day of school, hysterical, terrified children begging them not to leave - not me. It has taken me a few years to accept this, and not take it personally - they don't hate spending time with me, they just love school and being with their friends. {Shh, amuse me}

Grace had her first day today, technically it was only an hour, but it was her very first time away from me (not including with family). I was nervous {secretly hoping} she wouldn't {would} want her mum and need consoling and cuddles. She is my last baby to start school, I was feeling broken and needy - why wasn't she!!!! She didn't hug me, hold me that little bit longer than usual, kiss me or wave goodbye - she nodded! Heartless.

The last few days of holidays saw me hoping they would start fighting, get grumpy, bored or naughty, just so I would be semi-happy to hand them over to their teachers, grateful for the serenity, but no. They were sweet angels and my heart hurt thinking about how much I would miss them - until now. Grace was so bored and lonely today that she was impossible. After adding another small child (Josie finishes at lunchtime for two weeks), things just worsened. I found myself counting the hours until bedtime, made an innutritious dinner, and turned the tv on for distraction, minutes after entering the house. 

Yes, one day in and things have turned pear-shaped! 

Watch out teachers, these two have the devil in them!
(Not naughty, just cheeky and mischievous)
Cate gets sick two days before school starts,
after a perfectly health holiday.  Typical!
With her school bag - packed to the brim
with whatever she could shove into it!
My sweet year two!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

A few days of floods (rain and tears)!

This past week the weather has been very angry with someone!

Last Friday we had hailstones the size of marbles, flash flooding and, lightning, then happy, blue skies all within an hour. My MIL's house flooded leaving us living out of our bedroom for 4 days. I got a glimpse of how it would be if we went caravanning - that won't be happening any time soon {or ever}.

Our roof was scheduled to be removed the same morning, but luckily, our roof carpenter waited the storm out before exposing my beautiful original cornices and ceiling roses to the tempestuous weather. This means that within days, our new roof will meet the existing roof, to make our home officially at lockup. {smile}

On Saturday we confirmed our kitchen, and with great excitement, look forward to a 4 week turnaround. This means we could be home within 6 weeks!

It was high thirties on the weekend and we got busy, painting the eaves atop the scaffolding, before the tin goes on. The girls entertained themselves by graffitiing their bedroom floors, to be left as a time capsule when we cover them with floorboards.

Mum, take note - I see curls on Cate, don't you?

Cate's self portrait - she laid on the floor while my MIL traced her outline.

Today was my beautiful Josephine's fifth birthday, I really want to dedicate a whole post to her, but I have burst into tears at least 5 times today, so may wait until I am less emotional. Here is a peek at her new bike and adorable ladybird helmet. (Photo taken on the iphone and lazily edited in Camera+ - sorry, I was very scattery today.)

Happy birthday my sweet baby. I love you so, so much. Mmmmwa! {sob}

Have a great Australia Day week!

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