Friday, 19 July 2013

Good Girl, Mummy!

I have a little friend, who's just turned 3, Stella, whose blond curls remind me of my Little Miss M.  I tell Stella that I used to have a little girl once. 

I recall putting my Miss M into her carseat one evening after grocery shopping.  I don't know, she must have been coming up to, or around two years old.  As I was placing her into the carseat, I accidentally bumped her head onto the doorframe of the car.

I'm awesome like that.  I also slammed her fingers in the car door once and wondered why she was jumping around yelping.  Cars and my daughter don't mix.

So, after I hit her head, she said "Sorry, Miss M."  As usual, I was in a hurry and frustrated after having been shopping with a toddler, so I ignored her and proceeded to strap her in.  Loudly and firmly, she repeated "SORRY, MISS M!!!" 

"Oh, OK, sorry Miss M," I said, in the interests of finally getting out of the carpark.  She settled down, and happily replied.

"Good Girl, Mummy!"

Saying Yes to Happiness

Such sage advice.

I Used to Love Saturday mornings

Or "Soccer Used to be Fun"

Or "Why I Don't Fit in with Soccer Parents"

For some inexplicable reason, I thought I should do my civic duty and manage Son C's soccer team this year. I could explain it to you by saying that all parents should take a turn at coaching or managing, and after six years on the team, it was my turn.

Truth be told, I thought it would be easy and I would do a great job. I mean, simple really, find out the game dates, do up a fruit and jersey roster, and sit back and watch the season roll by. Simple, right?

Oh, woe, I had no idea. Chalk it up to Volunteering Naivety, I had no idea what these parents would be like. Little Bobby's shirt's too small, Brish. Where's my google map, Brish? Am I on fruit this weekend, Brish? The jerseys are smelly Brish (I mean seriously, that parent even got the President of the club to visit our training session over our brand new, apparently-smelly jerseys). The list could go on...

And so I reacted. Here I am, a self-proclaimed, maturing adult, and I fell to pieces over these endless complaints, feeling they were all levelled against me personally.

I couldn't work out where I had gone wrong. I had surrounded myself with overbearing, Type A personalities, and tried to fit in with them. Big mistake. Big. Huge.

Never again. Next year, I will dissolve back into the middle of the pack. A faceless parent amongst parents. I will sit down, cheer for my son, and put first things first.  

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Do we or Don’t we?

Son C attends secondary school a good 30-minute drive from our house, and part of the trip takes us through a most gorgeous, older suburb.  It’s smack dang in the middle between Son C’s school and my work, and it borders a state forest.  I have fallen madly in love with it.

Truth is, it’s mostly out of our price range.  There are million-dollar homes with city views within this suburb, conversely, there are small, post-war homes close to the freeway, which come back down towards the upper end of my price range.  These are very few and far between, and as the market has started its trend upward again, I doubt they will stay in my price range, if indeed any more enter the market.

We are not without options though, and we (as in me, doing all the talking, interjected with the odd response from Son C) often discuss where we’d like to be, as a little family of two, for the next five years.

As I see it, our options are:

1.  Do nothing
My Dad would most certainly subscribe to this plan of attack.  An overly cautious baby-boomer, he has always gone against the grain and doesn't support home ownership as a the means to an Australian dream

2.  Buy a unit/townhouse in the Suburb of my Dreams, whilst retaining our current townhouse

Worthy of consideration, but Son C and I have discussed it, and we don't see it as offering enough of the lifestyle advantages we are looking for.

3.  Save, save, save and maybe still never actually afford a house in this suburb

The concept of saving an extra $100,000 seems insurmountable.  The longer it takes to save, the more the prices move out of our range.

4.  Put our townhouse on the market, and then look at buying

Probably the most realistic manner of achieving our dreams, but I guess I'm just not ready to say goodbye to our townhouse.  Or to go through the trouble of having the house inspection-ready at all times.  For a multitude of reasons, it's also not a good time to sell.

5.  Buy a house in our current area 

I could consider buying something that accommodates Miss M if necessary.  There are also probably a multitude of reasons not to do this either. 

6.  Rent a home in the Suburb of my Dreams, and retain my townhouse

Again, possibly another realistic option of achieving what we want - a home for 5 years in the location that we want, and I am not locked into it when I have no children at home and sitting alone, idly gazing at my navel wondering what to do with the rest of my life.  

The benefit of all of these options – is that we don’t HAVE to do anything!!  I think I would give myself a year and a half to achieve Option 3, and if that doesn’t happen, there are several other plans to fall back on. 

I really have work to do, I can't just sit here and chat all day, you know?  :-) :-)

A Batch of Lunches

I try to be so organised with lunches for work and school during the week, because that can be such an expensive downfall if I’m not.  I have ready access to restaurants, cafeterias and fast-food outlets where I work, and they can be dangerous places!!

I tried out this Curried Sausages recipe a few weeks ago, and I simply loved it.  It is such a more refined, elegant flavour of curry sauce than my Mum’s classic Curried Egg and Sausage recipe.
So I made a batch of sauce only for my lunches last week.  Here’s my cast of characters.

First you fry the onion and spices, then I added in coconut cream rather than evaporated milk (wanted to add to the flavour!! :-)

Then I added ¾ cup split peas as well.  The original recipe uses cornflour to thicken it, and as I was wanting to use it as a vegetable curry sauce, I thought lentils would be a good choice, but I was out of those, so I used split peas instead.

I was left with this beautiful curry sauce, and each morning, I would quickly dice a cup or so of fresh vegetables, heat the sauce up at work, and toss the vegetables through.  Beautiful!! :-)

Saturday, 13 July 2013

You've Always Had the Power

Mother of the Year Award goes to....

The move to high school is of course a massive transition. Year Coordinators and Guidance Officers are dedicated to making the transition as seamless and painless as possible, whilst setting their young charges up on a path to success through their secondary years.

Young Son C began high school this year and was happy to find new and old school friends, soccer and scout friends amongst his peers.

One of the programs that the aforementioned Year Coordinators utilise for settling the new arrivals is school camp. Our school runs it early in the year, around week 4, to orient the year 8s and for some quality teambuilding.

Sunday night before camp, amid my demands of getting ready, Son C had an absolute meltdown over a pair of shorts. If you knew my son, you'd know he's no fashion king. After getting wound up over packing the damn shorts, I was getting nowhere and had to pull out one of my parenting big guns – the active listening. I sat with him for two hours and we discussed his fears, his insecurities, and how he was finding this big transition.

Finally, he was ready and packed.

So the next morning, I arose early, fed him, packed the car and dropped him off to school.

A week early for school camp.

Oh, the shame. He was mortified, cowering in the passenger seat lest anyone see him in his civilian clothes.

The following week he was well packed and prepared, and happily took himself off to school camp.

Oh lord, let the world swallow me  :-)

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Thing I'm Looking Forward to Before I Turn 40

In celebration of my recent birthday, I give you 39 things I look forward to doing before I turn 40.

1.  Going to check out an old favourite restaurant
2.  Hoping to travel to New Zealand next year for a skiing trip
3.  Paying out my credit card
4.  Going to the beach A LOT this summer (I say it every year!)
5.  Watching my boy turn 14
6.  Paying out my car
7.  Losing a wisdom tooth
8.  Hot Air balloon Ride for my 40th
9.  Enriching my relationships
10.  Sewing a patchwork quilt for my winter doona
11.  Taking Son C fishing
12.  Camping trip with all the kids on the NSW coast
13.  Sunset cruise on Brisbane River
14.  Followed by fish and chips at Southbank
15.  Visit the old clock tower in City Hall
16.  Dye my hair blonde again
17.  Shopping when my credit card is gone!!
18.  Continue all the things I already love
19.  Loving Pinterest more than I do
20.  Buying a laptop computer
21.  Watch the sunrise again – off a beach somewhere
22.  Finish my movie project of the kids
23.  Watch my brother turn 40 first
24.  Son C getting a part-time job
25.  Losing three kilos
26.  Watching my girl turn 20
27.  Mt Tamborine craft markets
28.  Taking my Mum and daughter to High Tea at the Stamford Plaza (gee-awjus!!)
29.  A clean and uncluttered garage
30.  Updating my wardrobe
31.  Catching up with old friends
32.  Watch my best friend turn 40 before me! :-)
33.  Come up with 40 more things for after my 40th
34.  Read the Michael Connolly book I got for my birthday
35.  A quiet Friday night
36.  Back and neck massage
37.  Buying a new stereo (eventually!)
38.  Getting my carpets cleaned (ugh!)
39.  Finally getting all those home maintenance things done around the house.

And that, my friends, is what I'm doing this coming year.  Cheers!!! 

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

The Heart of the Home

They say that kitchens bring families together, but in our case, it’s where the resident teenager opens the fridge, stares blankly and asks if there’s anything to eat.  His favourite chore to contribute to is unpacking the groceries!! :-)

Our kitchen is uninspiring, considering it’s townhouse stock standard.  It’s a very decent sized kitchen, with a large window and lots of natural light. It can only be enhanced by keeping it tidy and uncluttered. 

Here is at its mid-week worst.  Items without homes get placed on benches and I then procrastinate with making a decision about where to house them.  I like to leave them there until they are virtually screaming at me to find them a good home. :-)

It really didn’t take too long for me to quietly work through the ‘stuff’ and move it on.  Ten minutes at a time, I like to pace myself. :-)

And here we are now.  Afraid, despite my claims of light and breeziness, it was an overcast old July day when I took this.  Unfortunately, what I do find when I’ve got beautiful open benches, is that the floors need doing, the cupboard doors need wiping and I could really do with moving kitchen items around to make them more readily accessible.  Ah well, not today. 

What theme is your kitchen?  A little more country cosy?  Or modern and stream-lined?

Have a good day people! 

Friday, 5 July 2013

A Bit of a Stroll

I got up off my (ever-expanding) butt and finally made friends with the MapMyWalk app.  I pressed the record button and listened intently to my instruction to begin walking.  I live on a reasonably large block, which takes me exactly 30 minutes to circumnavigate on foot.

The app tracks your walk via GPS and then kindly spits out some statistics for you at the end.
It told me that I had walked 2.61km and burned 101 calories.

What the?  101?  I had done it, man, I had given up my afternoon and traversed my suburb in search of good health and fitness and what do I receive?  A measly 101 calories.

Maybe I’ve watched too much Biggest Loser?  I wanted to see big numbers, man!!

I have no particular weight loss goals, I guess I’m one of those fortunate people who can eat what they want without gaining a lot of weight.  Ideally, I’d like to lose 2kg, but it’s really less about the numbers, more toning up that jiggly tummy and bum that arrived a few years ago.  I quit smoking two years ago (yay!) and re-discovered my love of McDonald’s ice cream sundaes (no so yay).  A half hour of exercise three times a week keeps those wolves at bay!

So, yet again, like my de-cluttering project, slow and steady is going to win this race.  My shoes are laced, the sun is shining, who’s walking with me?