Thursday, 27 September 2012

Horrendous Holiday Checklist.

This is not Palm Cove, but it's very nice yes?
Check weather forecast for Cairns - Forecast max of 30 degrees!!!
Jump for joy at the thought of not having cold feet for the first time in 6 months.
Book hire car.
Find kids summer pyjamas.
Take lazy option and purchase kids summer wardrobe items to take with us instead of opening drawers, removing items and packing them.
Refuse to allow them to wear anything new before we leave because due to risk of them immediately eating a chocolate paddle pop or drinking a chocolate milk as discussed here.
Pull out hand me down boxes to check for any suitable holiday wear.
Stop Issy from going through her hand me down box from Sarah in size 5 Summer and strewing the contents all over the bedroom.  She waits until I leave the room and does it anyway.
Recheck weather forecast.  High five self.
Cancel paper delivery.
Agonise over relative costs and merits of airport car parking vs taxi. Book car parking at airport.
Check weather forecast and show kids.  Kids squeal with excitement.
Buy lots of sunscreen in optimistic frenzy.
Read about dog taken by croc at a beach close to Palm Cove.  Resolve to never leave resort.
Stay away from my kids mate or you'll have me to deal with (eat).
Order Coles online for breakfast and lunch materials to be delivered to apartment.
Call resort 5 times to confirm they will accept the order even though we won't be there yet because of stupid inflexible Coles online delivery windows.
Wonder why everything seems more expensive in Far North Queensland especially hire cars and groceries.  Realise they have seen us coming.
Cancel Aussie Farmers delivery.
Pack myself, all three children and any ancillary things such as books, toys and dvds (although not many because we do have luggage weight limits after all).
Drink large glass wine.
Check weather again just to give myself strength and to remind myself why I'm doing this.
Check in online, select seats with 3 children together and 2 adults together knowing I'll never pull it off.  Print out a tree worth of boarding passes.
Stage a last minute attempt to download new media onto devices so kids can watch/play on the plane.  Fail.  Swear.  Try again.  Succeed due to sheer stubbornness five minutes before we have to leave.
Make it to plane. Order another large glass of wine, uncaring that it is before midday.  I am on holidays dammit.

Lots of this.  Lots and lots of this.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Current Mood: Grumpy Pants.

Grumpy cross face.
Not that I have very much to complain about but there are a few things that are not quite how I'd like them to be.

First of all, there's a bike in my living room.  A racing bike.  And it's stuck into one of those groovy things that allow you to ride the bike without going anywhere. They are very popular during the Tour de France I believe.  It's been there since the weekend, and I have no idea how to dissemble it.  Promises have been made.  As yet unfulfilled.

There is a uniform hanging on the door of the living room.  It needs mending on the hem and at the back.  I really don't know where to start with this.  It may be there for some time.

Today I had to get a guitar string replaced on Sarah's guitar.  This is miles out of my comfort zone.  I was willing to pay the guy at the music shop to change it for me.  He kindly did it for free.

I know that out there are people who can sew, change guitar strings and dissemble bike things but I am none of these people.  Are there multitalented folk who can do all three?  Probably.  I hate them.

But wait, there's more.

My ear has been blocked since I had the flu a few weeks ago.  It's really pissing me off, mainly because I CAN"T HEAR.  The kids know to stay on my right side if they don't want me to hear what they are saying and to use my left to actually communicate.

Speaking of the flu, even though it's gone, I seem to continue to suffer weird tiredness, sore throatiness, swollen glandiness as my body tries to return to it's original pre flu state.  I have been for one run in three weeks.  It was shit.  But I'm going again tomorrow damn it.

My Mum is in hospital because she had a fall and hasn't recovered well.  They are doing tests.  I really don't like this at all.  I can't ring her because she's not so good on the phone so I text my sister and hope for the best.

My car key thingo won't open the car.  Or lock it.  So I have to keep leaving it unlocked.  If you are a robber please don't take any notice.

On the upside, I have been working for a really cool company this week and have really enjoyed doing stuff for them.  I think they have liked my work too.  This is very energising.

And the next few days we have some excellent catch ups with friends planned including a long lunch 40th.  Followed by a weeks holiday.  Good friends, fun, food and perhaps some bubbles.

Bring it on I say.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

When three becomes two.

When you have three kids, and you lose one of them (temporarily of course) things just become easier.  I have heard this is true no matter how many you have.  For instance, if you have four, having three is significantly easier, and of course going down to one is a doddle.  It doesn't matter which one, or which two, the dynamic changes and there's a bit of a novelty factor. 

So, this afternoon I was left with the two youngest while my eldest social butterfly went on a sleepover.  During the afternoon they went from niggling each other, dobbing and sniping about minor infringements, to playing beautifully together.   

Although I did make it easy for them.  First we went to Max Brenner for chocolate dips.  One each.  They've never had one each before, they've always had to share.  It was kid heaven.  

After.  Talk about good use of chocolate.  
 And then we went to the beach.  It was a bit cold and a bit windy.  But it's been so long since the beach has been a viable option (due in part to my mental block of simply not going to the beach in June, July and August) that we gave it a whirl.  It was excellent fun and I promised to take them later in the week when the weather is warmer.

Excited footprints.

Excited digging.

And a little bit of wave chasey. 

Ok so the waves aren't that big.  But they were big enough to cause a lot of screaming and giggling. 
They go well together, my two littlest.  When they're not vying for their big sister's attention they look out for each other and play beautifully.  Joshie tries to get Issy to say poo so she will get into trouble and Issy tells Joshie to hit her so she can dob on him, but apart from that, it's pretty smooth going.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Seven very concerning ethical dilemmas.

1. If you're baking for a cake stall, can you use packet mixes?  I thought I was in the clear with this one, as discussed here, until I had a very strong opposite reaction from my beautician who says no packet mix has ever crossed her threshold. I also haven't asked my bestie because I know what she'd say.  Now feel like a lazy slack arse.

2. If you're just giving back one sock a child has left at your house, are you obliged to wash it?

3. If you have been given a hand me down frock which is a designer gorgeous label, but your child insists on wearing the damn thing every time she can, should I just go with it and risk her being seen at the park in this outrageously fancy ensemble in the interests of at least getting some wear out of it?

4. Sometimes very kind people offer to have my kids, to play, even sometimes for sleepovers.  I used to be vigilant about reciprocating but with three of them on the go now, I've lost count.  These days I'm really never sure if I reciprocate enough.  I try to.  But I have a strong feeling the scales are tipped too much in my favour.  Where do I start trying to fix this?

5. If a child behaves heinously at your house while on a playdate, do you
a. Tell the child off but don't tell the parent
b. Tell the child off and tell the parent
c.  Neither tell the child off or tell the parent, to the disgust of your own children who would have strips torn off them for the same behaviour and think it's monstrous unfair.

6. If you have paid for an activity for someone else's kid, because you are the one dropping them at the activity, at the end of the day when your kid is dropped home, do you ask them for the money or just hope they work out they owe it to you so you can avoid an embarrassing conversation.

7. If your doorbell rings and someone is standing at the door with their child, ready for school and you've completely forgotten you promised to take them there, do you just smile, say nothing and act casual?  This is a no brainer for me, I am an expert at smiling, saying nothing and acting casual, unless it's particularly early in the morning when I waver a bit.  And I have never forgotten a playdate (yet), although I have forgotten a car pool as described here.

Sunday, 23 September 2012 the corners of my mind, blah blah blah

I went to my Mum's in Brisbane for the weekend.  I took Sarah.  She is very low maintenance.  Although a fussy eater.  She asked for duck pancakes for dinner which cost $50. We didn't realise the price until it was too late. At 9, she already has expensive taste.

The house my Mum lives in is the one I grew up in.  She (and my Dad) have lived there for about 45 years.

The vast majority of my childhood memories are in that house.  Going back is a kind of weird.  The last significant change was the reno my folks did when I was 12.

I used to spend hours and hours in the pool.  They put it in when I was 4.   I learned to swim in it.  Some dude called Mr Sheen used to come and dunk me under the water.  Eventually I stopped screaming.  Because inhaling pool water is really unpleasant.  I learned to swim pretty damn fast after that.

Still in swimmers just before bedtime.  I love it when they wear their swimmers for hours.  
There is still a hook up on the cornice in my old bedroom.  They put it in especially for my wedding dress to hang from.

The view of the river is not spectacular.  The Brisbane River is not pretty.  But as someone who grew up with that view, it's very comforting and familiar and relaxing. And lush and green and Brisbaney.

It's no Sydney Harbour, but it's pretty cool.  
When crazy Joh Bjelke-Peterson was premier, there were weeks and weeks when the power would go off for hours in the evening.  I remember sitting at the family room table doing my homework by candlelight.  In the 1980's, not the 1880's, but that was Queensland for you.

We're home now, the 5 Christensens back together as they should be.  It's where I belong.  But I love a couple of days with just one child.  And of course, it's great to see my Mum.

And I am lucky to still be able to visit this house, to have all the memories so accessible, to sleep in my old room, show my kids where I grew up.  It's pretty cool.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

No more Nippers, this summer we'll be playing...

My Manly Seasider.
So, Summer sport.  Having just taken a big deep breath after winter sport wound up, we have been surprised by the amount of sports we can choose from for this summer season.  Or have been offered.  Sarah is in a touch football team, and last week Josh started tee ball.  Yes...tee ball.

We have, thus far, avoided cricket.  And we were given a blanket refusal of Nippers when we asked them if they wanted to do it this year. (Quiet high five of selves)

Teeball is like baseball but instead of a 7 year old pitching a ball at another 7 year old, an activity destined to fail or end in disaster, the ball sits up on this little stand thingie, and the kid hits it off that.  Then they run around the bases and the other team try to stop them etc etc.

I know vast tracts of the USA are completely obsessed with baseball.  I have never seen the attraction myself.  But I am crap at sport and until having kids, avoided it at all costs.  Now of course, I'm soaking in it, like Marge.

Because really, sport is good.  The kids love a bit of running around with their mates, and it does get us out of the house.  We have officially designated Sunday as the day of no commitments (sport wise at least) and Saturday now has teeball for Josh, possibly followed by swimming club for me and Sarah.

So last week Josh and 9 of his school mates all put on their knickerbockers and their caps and their cute baseball shirts and they spent an hour (felt like 2 due to the freezing cold wind) throwing and catching and hitting off the tee.  There were some tears.  There was a bit rumbling for the ball.  There was a great deal of wild enthusiasm.

A bunch of cute little dudes. 
Unless you were a sister.  Then it wasn't so fun. Mike rides on Saturday mornings so most weeks I'm going to do baseball solo.  I do a lot of things solo.  Most weekday things in fact.  I'm totally cool with it.  But when you don't know how long and exactly where you're going you can either overprepare (vastly preferable) or underprepare (which is what I did).  I had no food, not enough clothes for anyone, no picnic blanket.

Just wait til next time when I bring a shed load of food and my bodyweight in fleecy jackets.

Issy reminded me 18 times that I had forgotten to put her in leggings and her legs were freezing.  She spent much of the 90 minutes in my lap hiding under her brother's hoodie.  In between each period in my lap she begged for food...wore me down...made Sarah take her to the sausage sizzle (thank goodness there is always a sausage sizzle)...ate 1/3 of her sausage and egg back into my lap...complained some more.  The usual.

This week we have Josh's first game.  I am going away to Brisbane with Sarah so I'm going to miss it.  Mike is going to step up and be baseball Dad for the day.   I wish him luck (cue evil laugh).

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

What did you just call her?

Yep, that's what she called her.  
Wow, talk about your misunderstandings.

Today I had my overhaul.  Eyelash tint, eyebrow tint, waxing and toenails (orangey coral- for spring).  My excellent beautician/friend works out of her house, so I can take Issy, and she even gets bonus nail polish (shiny pink-no surprises).

I forgot my thongs (I always forget my thongs) so when it was time to go, I borrowed my excellent beauticians 11 year old daughters, with the promise that I would drop them back on the way to Josh's karate lesson at 4pm.

Which we did.  As Josh jumped out of the car in his white karate gear, with the thongs, ready to put them on the front porch, a Mum walked by with her little girl, and older school boy.  As Josh ran past them the little girl called out to him "Hi Karate Boy!"

Quick as a flash Issy shouts clearly from the back seat "That's MY brother, mole!".


The other Mother smiled at me.  She sort of tried to see in the car to see what sort of child was shouting such heinous profanity at her little daughter.  I tried to smile, still in shock, hoping I hadn't heard right, willing Joshie back to the car so I could shut the door and get the hell out of there.  I wondered briefly why she didn't come at me with teeth and claws bared, but I put it down to mutual shock.

I drove the 150m to Karate, shouting all the way.  Telling Issy how appalled I was that she would use that word and asking her where she had learned it.  I could not imagine where she could have, apart from watching Puberty Blues with us, which she hadn't.  God, had she? NO.

At karate I told a couple of friends, who pissed themselves. We all found it funny (lets face it, I thought it was hilarious), but we were all a bit appalled.  How could she be saying stuff like that?  And WHERE had she heard it?  No one we know drops the M word. And how did she learn to say it in context?  It just didn't make sense.

OK so since Puberty Blues started we might have occasionally dropped it, jokingly.

If she said fuck, I wouldn't be surprised at all, as she overhears that from me more than she should.  But MOLE!!

Issy and I left karate to collect Sarah from her friend's house. On the way I tried again to find out where she had learned the word.  She kept saying she didn't remember, didn't know, had forgotten.

We reached Sarah's friend's and unable to help myself, I told the story to the Mum there.  Suitable shock all around.  I realise now I shouldn't do this.  Especially seeing as when I got into the car Issy was sobbing pitifully.  Sarah said to me, 'Mum, Issy said she didn't say a bad word, she was calling out to her friend Merle'.


Apparently, Merle is a friend Issy has met through our lovely Monday nanny/babysitter/friend person   Clare.  So what she was actually shouting was "That's my brother, Merle".  And the Mum wasn't horrified, because she knew that's what Issy was saying, she just couldn't work out who the random shouty child was who appeared to know her daughter, when she and I clearly had never laid eyes on each other.

And for goodness sakes, who names their kid MERLE?  We can see what that poor child's nickname is going to be when she gets older can't we?

I am relieved, I am embarrassed, I am so sorry I shouted at her.  And I'm sorry I didn't listen properly to her and believed the worse and told three people so they'd laugh.  Because she really isn't that bad, she's a bit of a darling.

I asked her if she'd forgive me, and she said she would.  She's asleep now, looking angelic, which she was all along.

Monday, 17 September 2012

It's raining fish. In Martin Place

It is not every day your child performs in Martin Place.

In fact, if you'd asked me just over a week ago, I would have said it was very unlikely any child of mine would ever do so.  But I was reckoning without the State Dance Festival having a special showcase of dances every lunchtime during the week long event.  And our little Fishies and Fisherman were chosen, possibly because they really are just simply too cute.  And it's a bloody good dance.  Not that I know what I'm talking about.

To jog your memory, here is Sarah in her fish costume.

So last Tuesday, while packing a temperature of roughly 39.5, I made the journey to the city with a couple of other Mums, so we could enjoy this once in a lifetime experience.

The city was busy, it was lunchtime.  The sushi was twice the price of the suburbs.  Issy kept Mum hopping and holding other people's hands and in my decrepit state, I kept losing her and freaking out.

Mike made the journey from his office.  So did quite a few other Dads.  We stood around outside the MLC centre waiting for 1pm and sizing up the other acts.  A group dressed as Egyptian mummy's and explorers.  Another lot in polkadots and another group dressed in their pjs.  They didn't look happy.  Our fishes and fisherman tried to be good, they really did.  But while the pj clad group sat quietly on a tarpaulin doing a wordfinder puzzle, our lot screamed, yelled, did complex handclapping games and played raucous games of cards.  We pretended not to notice.

Finally, it was 1pm, we were on first, they danced, they pranced, the fish were caught, the PA system worked and we all clapped mightily.  As well we should cause they are fabulous.

The grand finale, Sarah is orange fish blob, at back centre right.  

And that's it.  I have a kid who has performed in Martin Place.  With 23 other brightly coloured kids.  She then went on to perform that night, and twice on Friday.  We are a leetle tired of the fish but it's over now.  And we have a great costume for Halloween.

PS. The above photo is not taken by me, but by my fabulous nameless friend.  Lets call her L.  She has both talent and a digital SLR, both of which I have not.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Competing Interests.

Oh the pressure!

Sarah was at swimming with Mike the other week.  She is being tested for the next level, where they have to swim 25m laps for 45 mins so it's a test of stamina as well as stroke capability.

The swimming coach guy was very enthusiastic, he told Mike she was very strong, and looked like she had a bit of talent.  She was one to keep an eye on, according to him.

Mike came home walking on air.  He doesn't get to do this type of stuff too often and he was totally chuffed.  He told everyone we saw that weekend.  They were suitably impressed.  I however was not.

Because 9 times out of ten the phrase he/she might have a bit of talent is just code for, they're quite good, perhaps above average, but not spectacular. But why not put them into extra lessons and pay more money for the remote chance they might become one of those rare ultra talented kids.

I don't think so.

The ones who are truly talented you can pick a mile away.  They reveal themselves early, in whatever their chosen field is, gym, running, swimming, academics.

Sarah is a good swimmer.  She looks smooth and clean in the water and she's quite powerful (thanks gymnastics)  But she's a long way from truly talented.  She's not even talented enough that a lot of hard work might make her a contender.

In any case, swimming lessons when you're a Christensen are compulsory until you are at least 10 (this may go up when Sarah turns 10).  Everyone needs to be able to safely negotiate the large amounts of water surrounding us, forming quite a large chunk of our summer leisure time.  It's a no brainer.

But when it's not swimming? I dunno.

She has recently had a try out for the Australian Youth Choir.  She, who has never shown interest (or-let's be honest- any particular talent) for singing, has now been offered a place in the probational choir for next year.  They practice at Chatswood.  On Tuesdays, from 6-7pm.  This is a time and place that is simply 7 shades of wrong.

Two of her friends have also been selected.  None of us know what to do.  But I think it's a no from me because the logistics do my head in.

Cue guilt.

It's a hard line to walk, do you let your kids try out everything so they have the best chance of working out what they really like or have talent for, or do you just say NO.  Because you can't do everything.  And it's unreasonable to expect to be able to offer your kids every potential hobby/skill/activity.  And you can't expect them all to like the same activities just to make your life easier.  Which is a damn shame.

One thing all three of them excel at together is watching TV.  Not ideal I know, but it gets the dinner cooked.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

The getting of attention and affection, by whatever means possible. .

Mostly, they love each other.
Kids demand affection. Tactile, constant, touchy, feely attention.  The ways they demand attention and affection are not always lovely, or gentle.  But they all stem from the same need to be noticed and important.  And of course, in my distracted day, they sometimes slip off my radar for, maybe a nanosecond.  Here are eight inventive and time honoured ways the Christensen kids and possibly kids everywhere, wangle their parents attention.

The lean in- this occurs when you are talking to another adult at the shops, school or the rugby field.  It is a (mostly) charming habit where they just come up and gently lean on you while you chat.  If this was all they did, it would be divine.  But at times they seem to think you might want to hold them up too, as well as yourself.  This is unfeasible.

The totem pole - a less favourable version of the lean in.  It is more violent, usually requiring you to hold on to them, preferably turn them upside down while still continuing your interaction.  Often the other adult has a similar sized person requiring the same attention.  If they are kinder than you and allow themselves to be treated as a human climbing frame you feel bad if you don't at least make a token effort.  Kids are expert at exploiting this guilt.

The couch cuddle-  If you sit on the couch, for more than say...thirty seconds, someone will come and sit on you or beside you.  They will steal your throw rug, they will move you over so they can be most comfortable.  If you have one child on either side, the third one will turn up within seconds and carry on like a pork chop and eventually sit on my lap, dislodging my book, meal or computer. (Because I should have been paying attention to them in the first place.)

The screaming arm pull- occurs most often in the supermarket, or sometimes at school if the post drop off chatting has gone on too long.  Brace both feet on the ground, grab the nearest hand and pull.  Screaming at the same time enhances effectiveness. It also guarantees punishment, but it would seem achieving the goal of parent removal from the scene makes any punishment worthwhile.

The one, two, three- every time any child in the universe (usually under 6) achieves the holy grail of holding a hand of each parent (or a parent and another random adult will do) the one, two, three and swing in the air is requested.  The key is to agree but negotiate stopping after 4 or 5 or your arms fall off.

The parent infiltrator- whenever foolish parents think they might have a bit of a cuddle, just them.  Just a cuddle.  Children have very high sensitivity to a cuddle they're not a part of and will come in low and enter the cuddle at knee level, worming their way in and then looking up at you both as endearingly as possible.  This has a 100% success rate and can be a canny move after they have just been in trouble for something heinous.

The morning cuddle- before any type of functioning is possible everyone needs a cuddle. If I am still in bed they will come in with me, if I am up, they will find me and cling on, usually until I sit down and take them on my lap properly.  Except, sadly, Sarah is now more of a stand up cuddler unless injured or particularly upset.  She, who used to fit in a crook of my arm.  (wail, gnash, sigh).  The morning cuddle must occur or the day simply does not start correctly.

The hand hold- I love this one, when, on the way to school or at the shops, a little hand slips into mine.  I love that neither of my big kids are yet self conscious about hand holding and kissing/hugging goodbye in front of their friends.  Yet.  Issy, in her rightful position as baby, does monopolise one of them so the other two have to work it out.  I just wish I had three hands.

One of the cutest hand holds I've ever seen.

The injury cuddle-  Once you've heard the bang or the crash, and you have started running towards the sound, you have about 10 seconds before the screaming starts.  This is because they need time to take in enough breath to really scream out a good one.  The screaming is important because a. it means they are still alive and b. if you haven't yet found them, you can tell who it is and can adjust for the type of weight you're about to lift.  I am a cuddle first and ask questions later person which means I have often lifted their head up off my shoulder to find it covered in blood (nosebleed, cut over eye), or by the time I work out where the egg on the head is, it's already sticking out a mile.  (Note to self: stop via freezer just in case).  This cuddle needs to last as long as the injured person needs it.  Which can be tricky if the dinner or the iron is on (yeah, like the iron would be on at my house).  And also at our house, there is often a post injury lolly.  Often the siblings get a lolly too.   It's an ill wind and all.

A plethora of cuddles and attention seeking behaviours.  Practiced daily by our little heart stealing progeny.  All power to them I say.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

A new word invented by us.

We were in the car about a year ago, probably on the way to swimming.  It takes us about 20 minutes to get to swimming which generally is enough time to get us through the how was your day at school kinds of conversations and can move on to the more existential.

It is I fear, going to be on the way to swimming that I am finally asked the exact mechanics of that special cuddle I keep telling them about when they want to know how babies are made.

Sorry, got distracted.

So, there we were on the way to swimming and we were talking about rhyming words and we got on to words that were hard to rhyme with.  I told them orange has no word that rhymes with it at all.

Orange is hardly alone in its unrhymingness, but for some reason this really upset them.  They just didn't think it was fair.

So I suggested we, the Christensens, invent a word, to rhyme with orange and put it out of it's misery.  As far as I now there are no rules on who can make up words, and we don't mind if no-one outside our immediate family ever uses it.  It's ours. We made it.  And who knows, it just might catch on.

So I give you...florange.  Rhymes with orange.

And florange is the feeling you get when your back is itchy and you can't scratch it yourself because your arms don't reach (or you're feeling lazy).
If you are florange you need one of these. Or a Mummy willing to scratch your back.  
eg. Issy (in a panic): Mum, I'm feeling florange.
 Me: Sure darling, where?
Issy: There, no there, no up a bit, across, down down down, aaaahhhh.

Feel free to use florange in your daily conversations.  We'd be chuffed if it took off.  It is now a regular part of our vocabulary and we hope it becomes part of yours.

Monday, 10 September 2012

My man the maniac.

I could bang on about how great my husband is for ages.  I already have here and here.  He is a darling, gorgeous, generous, good lookin', largely unflappable man, with simple needs and a frighteningly detemined nature.  He is mostly gentle and serene.

But when it comes to driving.  He is a MANIAC.

What he thinks he's driving in.  (His dream car)

The reality.  (It's really very comfortable, and perfect for my favourite hobby, car pooling.)

On the weekends, there is a street near us that runs alongside a park.  This park is THE place for kids parties, family get togethers, end of season gatherings.  Every weekend, from mid morning to late afternoon, it's chockers.  And consequently, it's tricky to park there.  Cars line the street for a considerable distance from the park on either side, and it ceases to be a two way thoroughfare.  You have to wait, let a few cars come the other way, then take your turn.

Yes it is frustrating.  No it's not ideal.  But we are lucky to live where we live and it's great to see everyone out enjoying the sunshine.

Apparently not.

His method is to drive as fast as he can, past families laden with picnic gear, joggers, retirees out enjoying the sun, people with dogs, people carrying fold out chairs, pinatas and balloons, cars reverse parking into impossible positions, at 70KM/HR, not stopping for anyone, not giving way, coming frighteningly close to side mirrors, all the way up the street.

Why?  So we can be home 10 seconds faster? Maybe.  I've never been able to fathom it.  And I am too busy hanging on to the door handle with white knuckles.  I often close my eyes.  I don't want to see what we are about to nearly miss.

During netball season we were supposed to leave the house at 7:30am on the dot.  And we never did.  We are very bad at leaving on time.  I am sorry to all the people we are always late for.  And I offer no excuse other than that we're really bad at getting our shit together, especially early in the morning.

But the trip to netball every Saturday was excruciating.  Terrifying.  And during the 15 minute screeching, swearing, veering and swerving ride to netball we may have made up, what? 30 seconds?  A minute?  And I would lose at least 5 minutes off my life.  Sometimes I could offer to drive so he and Josh could get out for rugby, but those times were rare and he gets as frustrated with my driving as I do with his.  I am not decisive enough and don't indicate my intentions at the right moment.  Allegedly.

This, coming from a man who has a 50% indication rate on roundabouts, the other 50%, people just have to guess what we're up to.

And if we're ever going across the bridge to the city or to visit my sister, we take the scenic route out of our suburb, along the windy roads, down past the local harbour beach/park and up to the main road.  It's like a free roller coaster ride.  The kids screaming (Issy terrified, the older two love it) and me, (mostly) silent and speechless with fear, just waiting for something unexpected to happen that can't be adjusted for, due to our speed.

Every drive is an adventure.  And there's nothing quite like a fight about driving on the way to a family function is there?

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Sunday afternoon, just a little bit lazy (actually a lot lazy).

Sometimes you just have to give in to the inevitable.

We are constantly told our lives are too sedentary, we sit too much, eat too much, we need to cut down on carbs after 4pm, or dairy or sugar.

And don't even get me started on all the alcohol I'm not supposed to be drinking.

So this morning I woke up feeling like I'd been run over by a large truck.  Not one carrying a load of champagne but one carrying the flu.

Can I just say this: I NEVER get sick.

But I'm sick today.  Fever (I stuck the thing in my ear- 38.4 dammit), cough, general feeling of bleugh, irresistible desire to lie down for long periods.

We didn't have to be anywhere today until 12:30.  And luckily that engagement was just a local park meet up for the end of season rugby team thingo.  Sarah had to be at touch footy practice at 2:30 and another Mum very kindly took pity on me and offered to take her (bless her heart).

So everyone else has been out, in the sunshine, filling up their stocks of vitamin D or A or whatever.  I have huddled inside like a wraith.  Showered at 1pm.  Moved self to couch when the bed got a bit lonely.  Not that it had much of a chance to get lonely.  I had visitors all morning.  Some just wanted to cuddle, others brought me cups of tea.  Others wanted to know when I was getting up because I always get up and it just felt wrong that I wasn't up and could I scratch their back and get them a drink (no prizes for guessing which one this was).

On the bright side I was proud of myself for actually falling sick on a day where we didn't have a full calendar and I could stay in bed without cancelling anything.

Anyways, when everyone came home I was on the couch.  After a joyous reunion after a such a lengthy absence (2.5 hours) they all joined me.  And took my blankets.

Mike is the large covered lump but can you spot the Issy?

They look a little like cojoined twins but it's just Issy making sure she gets enough blanket action.
And while I'm a bit upset that they stole my position and my blanket, I've decided that this kind of lack of activity is just what we need at 4:30 on a Sunday afternoon after a reasonably busy weekend.  A bit of R&R.  Doing whatever takes your fancy.   So I'm not going to carry on about device usage, or send everyone out for a last minute trip to the park.  I'm going to sit here and blog about it and leave them all alone.

To chill.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Not quite the deep thinker I thought I was.

Deep in thought? Lost for words? Or just vacant space? 
My mind is so deep.  It's a deep swirling vortex of existential thoughts and processes.  I love nothing more than to ponder the mysteries of the universe, and my inner monologue is a endless stream of momentous mind moments of extreme profundity.

First thing this morning my internal monologue went like this:

Should I go for a run? Nah my throats a bit sore, I feel a bit crap, think I'm coming down with a lurgy, must be what Sarah had, I wonder if she's going to feel up to school today, gosh this bed's warm...zzzzz.

You see? Serious stuff.

Or, a question I've been pondering for several days finally came to a head at the local shops, a place I spend far too much time at, not the best environment for deep thinking.

SCENE: I'm at the supermarket with Issy and one of her friends, who are running like wild animals up and down the aisles, giggling, occasionally running into two more of their friends (who are also shopping) and giggling even more.  Every now and again I bleat, 'stop' or 'wait' and they ignore me.

ETHICAL DILEMMA: If I have to bake cakes for the school cake stall held on election day as a fundraiser is it a heinous crime to use packet mixes?  Especially considering 1. I am crap at cooking and the from scratch ones never work well.  2.  I am in the top percentile for laziness.

I asked advice from two girlfriends while we ate sushi with the kids and they looked horrified that I'd even consider making them from scratch.  But I know there are purists out there who can pick a packet cupcake at 100 paces and I fear their disgust.  Or do I?  Perhaps, just perhaps, life is too short to worry about this kind of stuff.  (See I told you I was deep).

So I bought cupcake packet mixes. Two of them.  A swirl of icing in a can and a natural confectionary company lolly on top and they'll beat the band.

And finally, I'm reading a book about a 50 year old woman with early onset Alzheimers.  Am now convinced I have it. This worries me no end.  I keep asking my kids to meet me after school at the um...thingamy and don't forget whatdoyoucallit.  I call them by each other's names.  I forget to send money along for the book fair/Japanese fundraiser/science incursion.

AM I GOING MAD?? Or are my deep thoughts to ponderous for my brain to hold?

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Of Butterflies and Birds (but not bees)'s Spring!

I am spending the day with my 9 year old who is suffering from the disease commonly known as "could go either way".  

She oscillates between jumping on the trampoline and lying on the couch coughing.  

I think it's better overall that she have today off (the poor sausage has been pretty sick), but she's now a bit borderline and my productivity, which is not particularly great even when I'm alone, is further compromised by the strangely compelling programs on Cartoon Network.

So to postpone the inevitability of the TV going on, we firstly headed out to buy touch football shorts. While at the scary warehouse-like venue (rhymes with Mauls Bearhouse) we came across a wall of thongs- enticingly signposted: buy one get one free!

Ok Spring, if you insist, I will buy a pair of yellow Havianas with butterflies on them.

A fashion brain fart?  Or a stroke of genius?  Time will tell.

Here they are, with and without feet in them.

Sarah helpfully suggested that I buy them in size 6 (borderline for me), so she can borrow them (a bit big for her but not excessively so).

Aaawww, our first pair of shared shoes.  And she's not embarrassed at all...yet.

And as a bonus, we have a spot the new bird competition.  Can you see him?

Tricky little fella. 
He is growing on me, as several wise ones among you have said he would.  I'm obsessively watching him for signs of illness, terrified he's going to break my heart.

If you came up our front steps at the moment, you'd see him looking, like Mrs Mangel, out of the big front window.

Yes, I know, enough about the bird.  Totally get it. Yep.

Failure to post. - Last night I thought I was blogging but then I woke up in a puddle of drool with my face pressing the space bar. Sorry.

Monday, 3 September 2012

The loss of the family pet, Christensen style.

The new bird.  Heavy sigh.

So, the bird didn't make it.

Sometime on Thursday night, he gave up the ghost, fell off the twig, dropped off his perch etc etc.

Actually he didn't drop off anything, cause by late Thursday evening he was gasping for breath, sitting on the bottom of the cage.  He just kind of keeled over.

And that was where I found him on Friday morning.  He could have timed it better.

We had the architect coming at 7am to discuss reducing the exorbitant expense of our house renovation.  We didn't think our plans particularly exorbitant when we made them, but apparently they are and we are having to do some serious tweaking to bring them back into budget.

At 8am Mike had to take the kids to school for Father's Day breakfast.

I knew what awaited me downstairs when I woke up, having cuddled and held the poor little guy for an hour before going to bed.  When I put him in the cage, he struggled up to the bars and tried to get out to me.  He never liked anyone much, but I think he realised, crap as he must have felt, he felt marginally less crap and slightly warmer in my hands.

And perhaps not so alone.  Oh the guilt, I left him alone in the dark.  OH MY BIRDIE!!

Right. Enough. Get a grip.

I came downstairs and found him and cried, and tidied up the cage and cried, and put him in a little shoebox and cried.  Then the kids woke up and cried.  And patted him and cried.  And ate breakfast and cried some more.

And then the poor architect knocked on the door to find us all crying.  He attempted to comfort us by telling us his kids loved going to their grandparents farm and finding dead birds and putting them in the barn.  Every time they returned for a holiday or weekend, they would visit the barn to assess their state of decomposition.

Honestly, you can't make this sort of stuff up can you?

The kids and I sort of stared up at him.  Issy's lip trembled, her recently departed bird still sitting intact in a shoebox, not three feet away.  And she's thinking...'what's decomposition'?

Never has the name of this blog come in more handy.  Mike swept the architect (who really only was meaning to um...cheer us up) into the dining room and we continued crying and making lunches (actually I did lunch orders because I was too devo to make sandwiches) and crying and getting dressed  etc etc.

At 8 am I sent Mike and the older two away to eat chocolate croissants and drink Nudie juices up at the school and drag Mike into their classrooms to see their beautiful artwork.  He was sent with instructions to tell the teachers of our loss, in case of any mid school day episodes of sadness.

Issy told everyone at preschool within seconds of arriving and consequently when I left was surrounded by a gaggle of sympathetic 5 year old girls, patting and hugging and stroking her, while she hammed it up a treat.

In the afternoon we had the funeral.  In his box (a lovely blue one from IKEA- note the Hasemet makes an excellent budgie coffin) we put his favourite toy, some of his favourite food and rose petals.  We drew on the box, made a wooden cross and planted a polyanthus over him.  We all said nice things about him and threw a handful of dirt in and then I covered him over.

When the wind and rain came up about half an hour later, we all worried if he'd be cold.  We all reminded each other he was flying around in birdie heaven and wasn't cold at all.  Truly, no matter what you believe, talking about birdie heaven to kids is a hell of a lot easier than explaining decomposition.  Yes, I am a chicken.

And then on Saturday we went and bought Nibbles.  Of undetermined gender, Nibbles is not as zen as Smuggler (who was not zen at all but everything is relative).  So far he mainly has tried to escape the cage.  I am yet to love him.  I am afraid to love again.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

A few Dad's I'd like to mention

So many Dads, just one day.

Today was delightful.  And Dadful.

It started with a bike ride.  His choice, so no sleep in, no breakfast in bed.  He's that kind of guy.

When he returned there were gifts.  A canvas of silly photos. Some quite spectacular craft from preschool and school.

The centre of the action.
And the gorgeous cufflinks I won from Uberkate, through a competition held by Styling You.  They are pretty fandangus.

Yeah baby. Uber cufflinks.

He loved it all.

We bought takeaway coffees and hot chocolates and went to the park.  We played 2 on 2 basketball, boys vs girls.  Having absolutely no experience of basketball beyond watching it on the Olympics didn't stop us in the slightest.

Mike is a fairly competitive player, and I, quite frankly, don't like him winning.  My enthusiasm to defend failed to account for the fact that Issy was hovering around at knee level, a bit peeved that she wasn't allowed to play, and I tripped on her.  She and I crashed to the ground, skinning my knee, bumping her head (requiring cuddles), while the other team went blithely ahead and scored about 5 goals against poor Sarah.

Note: Next time your kid grazes their knee, give them lots of sympathy, cause it really hurts.  Issy kindly rubbed my knee and said, "You'll be right Mum".

Oh, to have myself repeated back to me.

We had lunch in a top notch waterfront locale.  Nothing fancy now.  Spectacular view.  Great company.

Not a photo opportunity goes by without Issy photo bombing it.  
A beautiful view with a touch of sparkling.
We also managed to Skype Mike's Dad rather than just making a phone call.  Everyone was pleased with this development in technology. The kids kept fighting to keep their head in the main frame of the camera so there was a bit more screaming than we usually would prefer, but we could see them and they could see us and were able to walk them around the house with us.  It was excellent and Skype  makes you feel closer than a phone call.  Well, I reckon it does.

Unless seriously discouraged, I'm taking them (via ipad) to the school showcase tomorrow night and make them watch Sarah in the band and dance group.

And of course, we thought of my Dad.  The Dad who said to me when I brought Sarah to visit him when she was 8 weeks old.  "Isn't it amazing how much you love them".

It's been nine years since he said it to me, when my oldest child was so tiny and his oldest child (my brother) was already over 50.  The strength of love he felt, a father of 50 years, was just as incredible to him, as it was for me, a mum for just 8 weeks.  As it is for parents everywhere.

Being the type of guy he was, from the generation he was from, we didn't share lots.  But we shared that.

I can't send him a Father's Day card anymore, but I can send him lots of love.

Happy Father's Day Dad.  And to Dads everywhere.