Tuesday, August 19, 2014

ProBlogger 2014 - Here Goes....!


Eeek! I'm going on a blogger's conference. In nine days. By myself. Eeek!

I don't go anywhere on my own. I'm lucky to get a trip to the beautician without someone accompanying me, asking all kinds of questions about hot wax and pain levels. I get followed to the bathroom with such predictable regularity that even the dog manages to get the door open most of the time. Nonetheless, I'm packing a bag and heading for the Gold Coast and I'm going simply as me the "writer" (note, I put that in quotation marks because I don't really feel worthy of that title yet - maybe the conference will help me change that?).

I'm a bit nervy though. I'm not very good at walking into a crowded room without having someone to make a bee-line towards. It reminds me of starting at a new school when I was a kid. Just gotta open that door and dive right in, eh? Nothing to it. Character building, one would argue. That's what I keep telling myself.

I'm making lists as we speak. So much to think about. First and foremost there's the wardrobe consideration. The Gold Coast means warm and I can't remember the last time I was warm. No really - I can't. I'm like an old grey ghost permanently attired in a puffer jacket and it's been months and months since I was down to my skin outdoors. Exposing skin is just not something I can get my head around. Must remember to magically change the colour of forementioned skin with the assistance of a lotion of sorts. Tick.

Must also remember to pack all the damn technology. So many chargers, so few days away. Tick.

Touch of nautical for cocktail function? Not sure about that. Hard enough trying to be yourself at these things without throwing in a theme to make one feel even more unlike themselves. Still, if I do decide to embrace it there will, no doubt, be photographic evidence! Camera. Tick.

Although the learning will be the main focus of the event I'm really looking forward to meeting some of the bloggers I interact with on a daily basis. Bloggers can go years without meeting face to face if not for events such as these and I can't wait to meet some of the people I really admire.  Face to face is still my favourite way to conduct a conversation; writing helps me reach a whole bunch of people at once but by my old fashioned way of thinking, there's nothing better than one on one conversation. Remember happy and approachable face. Tick!

So - here I go. If you're a blogger and you're coming, look out for me. I'll be the awkward looking brunette who's probably used a little too much self-tanning lotion. And if you're not, I apologise in advance for all the bloggy tweets and Facebook posts I'll be doing in the coming weeks!

Let's do this. 




Thursday, August 7, 2014

Parenting Teen Girls - An Evening With Michael Carr-Gregg


IMAGE AUTHOR :  Michael Carr-Gregg
The further along I travel on my journey as a parent, the more I suspect that firstly the learning curve is getting steeper as the years rush by and secondly that I may well be monumentally screwing things up and no one is coming out and telling me honestly. I often balance precariously on the verge of feeling as though each parenting strategy I adopt might be the right one, and probably feels appropriate but then again I half-expect any possible dire consequences of my strategy to hit me suddenly, teach me that well-needed lesson and remind me of just how badly I'm doing. So mostly for me, it's a confidence game coupled with my somewhat unrealistic desire for parenting perfection. Oh what a fun mum I must be! With these various insecurities in mind, I have always found the advice and wisdom of others vitally important on this parenting journey. This seems especially true now as we head into the challenging adolescent years, aiming to raise well-balanced people who at the end of their teen journey still have some level of respect for you as their trusted parent and indeed for themselves.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Distant Hum Of My Childhood Fear


IMAGE : MORGUEFILE.COM | The Distant Hum Of My Childhood Fear

I remember when I was a little girl, I developed a crippling fear of the sound of aeroplanes flying overhead.

Admittedly, I was a bit of a sensitive, worrisome kid so it's no great surprise that I found something else to be afraid of, but nonetheless, the distant hum of an aircraft thousands of feet above me terrified me to the core until its sound had faded far into the distance. (I know - totally weird, but it's not really kosher to judge a six year old so stay with me....).

Monday, July 21, 2014

MH17 - Bring Them Home.....


It's Monday morning here in Melbourne; it's foggy and cold and people everywhere are shuffling off to work perhaps feeling a weighed down by a bit of Mondayitis or the return to school routine after a holiday break. It's almost impossible to comprehend though, the infinite amount of suffering many families are enduring right now at the hands of this unspeakable tragedy, the missile strike on passenger flight Malaysian Airlines MH17, Thursday July 17th (Friday AEST).

I feel like I have to write something down. I feel like my brain may just explode with the overwhelming amount of empathy and sadness I am feeling for these people, in particular for the Australian parents who have lost their three children and the children's grandfather charged with the job of accompanying the kids safely back to Perth for the beginning of the school term. I can't process it;  I simply cannot fathom how they are functioning. How are they getting up this morning in their house, drowning in the physical belongings of their kids knowing they won't be coming back? How does the human body have the ability to continue functioning in such circumstances? What does the mind do to ensure the broken heart keeps pumping?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Winter Holidays 2014 - Done And Dusted!

 
IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Winter Holidays

Okay, so maybe the above pictures aren't of us frolicking in some exotic location which requires one to pack only a passport and a string bikini, but I'd say they include pretty happy faces overall given the distinct lack of adventurous holiday destinations on our schedule this year.  During these school hols, we've managed to bunker down at the beach house and survive the cold pretty well given the insane arctic conditions Victoria is serving up currently. We've just arrived home and I feel like a bear emerging from its hibernation period thanks to the return to the miracle that is central heating.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Do It Like A Girl!


WATCH 'LIKE A GIRL' VIA YOUTUBE - CLICK HERE

Have you seen the latest advertising campaign by Procter and Gamble?! 'Like A Girl' is great. It's simple and it's meaningful and it has all the qualities I have such trouble finding in advertising and media generally these days.  Big thanks to my friend Sal for sharing it with me - you can watch 'Like A Girl' by clicking image caption above or here.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Me And My Jawbone...


IMAGE : WWW.JAWBONE.COM
* THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST. NO REALLY - I JUST LIKE IT. 

Are you a fitness band wearer? I totally am. Six months to the day, give or take. Yep - Merry Christmas to me. 

I just love my JawboneUP.

Truth be told, before I was a Jawboner, I wanted a FitBit. I wanted a FitBit because that's the only band I'd heard of, its name made perfect, rational sense and lots of other people I knew had one. Nonetheless, on Christmas morning, I unexpectedly unwrapped this thing called a Jawbone. Santa had done his own research and had decided that one was better than the other on my behalf (good one, Santa) and so the Jawbone was the result. Weird name, still can't explain it but that's what Google is for. Go forth if it's troubling you. (I prefer the mystery).   

Thursday, June 26, 2014

How It All Goes Down In My Head (A Blog Hop About The Writing Process)


IMAGE : MORGUEFILE.COM | A Blog Hop
I've been invited to participate in a 'blog hop' by my dear friend and fellow blogger Kate from One Small Life - how cool is that? A blog hop is a bit like the old fashioned chain letter but without the annoying need for stamps or for your mum to ring someone else's Mum and let them know you're not allowed to participate because you have too much homework.

Kate has asked me to write a post about my own writing process. You should read hers here; it's an excellent piece, as are all her posts over at One Small Life. She has set the bar very high on the subject of personal writing, nonetheless, here's my take on our shared passion.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

To See Or Not To See? (I Really Don't Want to Talk About It, Thanks)


IMAGE : WWW.EYECHARTMAKER.COM | To See Or Not To See?

I witnessed the most Oscar-winning performance from Miss A at her first routine eye test last week.

I should have known. I should have been more switched on given she was broadcasting to everyone with great excitement even before the big appointment, that she was "definitely" getting a pair of pink glasses. While I know she can be pretty convincing when it comes to getting her way, I certainly didn't expect the performance she put on for the lovely optometrist who was thankfully able to see through A's dramatic interpretation of  'Stevie Wonder - The Early Years'.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Judy Blume - Thirty Years On


IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Judy Blume Thirty Years On
If you're a child of the 1980's you'll probably remember these books (although they look a bit different now).

I loved Judy Blume books. They introduced a 'tweenage' me to all kinds of concepts such as self esteem, bullying, body image, friendships, the beginning of adolescence and the realities of life generally. I felt so grown up reading them; Margaret became a kindred spirit and I learnt that Sheila the Great was simply a misunderstood and frightened know-it-all.

My ten year old girl adores reading. Her head is always in a novel of some sort and it occurred to me recently that she's now at an age that she might really enjoy the Judy Blume series, just as I did. I've purchased a few of the books relevant to her age bracket but I might leave 'Forever' alone for a while - I don't think we're quite ready for the boy/girl relationship business (!).

Sunday, May 25, 2014

That's A Wrap On Another Mother Of A Week!


IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | A Mother Of A Week

It's Sunday - finally. I love a good Sunday.

I'm parked firmly arse-down on the couch today in front of a humming gas log fire while two kids make a well worn path between the TV and the pantry still wearing their standard weekend uniform; pyjamas. It's pretty loose around here on a Sunday when there are no plans. Laziness is generally acceptable, TV is permitted and no one has to brush their hair until evening bath time, me included.

This week was crazy...!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Resilience, Rainbows And Other Ramblings


IMAGE : PIXAR 'Boundin' | Resilience
WARNING : MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS. 

I seem to spend a lot of time talking to my girls about resilience. 

Resilience is pretty much defined as having the ability to cope with, and bounce back from life's speed humps, big or small. Some kids are naturally more resilient than others (I suspect environment plays a role in their ability to cope) and some kids need to be taught. Not surprisingly, mine fall squarely into the latter category. Even as I type, Miss A (five) is snivelling uncontrollably because Miss O (ten) doesn't want to play Minecraft with her. Her tears, heartbreak and lack of acceptance of this momentary rejection demonstrates pretty clearly that we have a lot of work to do in regard to her resilience but then again, she's five so no great surprises there.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Life And Its Lemons.....


IMAGE : PINTEREST.COM | Life And Its Lemons
You know the famous expression, "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade"..? 

Well as it turns out, sometimes life doesn't just hand them to you. Sometimes they are literally hurled at you and often at the most unexpected times. 

Sometimes, you can catch them one by one and immediately engage the appropriate response by simply adding a little positivity and sweetness to create the proverbial lemonade. But at other times, the lemons are really big ones and they come at you like a giant landslide and engulf you because you had your back turned, comfortably believing in your own immunity to such things. I guess we're not immune though, are we? Doesn't matter how much of a fine upstanding citizen we are, no matter how much we consider others, give back to the community or even how many times we politely give way in traffic, the lemons are neither sympathetic nor selective and they can find us at any given moment.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

I Do WHAT????

IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD
At the school Mother's Day breakfast this morning, a video was shown of the Preps discussing what they think their Mums do while they're at school.  I was absent from the event but apparently Miss A in her usual unpredictable fashion declared to the 200 odd guests that, "when I'm at school, my Mummy shops for toothbrushes for herself".

Seriously? I swear, I'm going to make sure her 21st speech is the definition of embarrassing - REVENGE WILL BE MINE!!

(And for the record, while I DO support a healthy dental regime, I DO NOT shop for toothbrushes on a daily basis. Special thanks to the multitude of school mums who checked this fact with me this morning!).

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Five Minute Chat....


IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD
Every night at bedtime, my ten year old girl asks me the same question. "Mum, can we have a five minute chat?".

This is her way of telling me she needs me to herself for a period of time, without the distraction of homework, electronic devices, chores and most importantly without her doting five year old sister skipping around us like a chihuahua on Red Bull. Truth be told, sometimes it's also a great way for her to delay the orders for sleep but I figure I owe her a little one-on-one given that most of her spare time usually belongs to her sister. And what better way to learn about what is actually taking place inside her world than to spend time talking and listening to her without distraction? It's amazing how much insight I'm able to gain when she's in the mood for conversation. This is where the usual ritual on the drive home from school where I say "What did you do at school today?" and she replies, "Nothing much" is finally abandoned and the real details come spilling out.

The five minute chat originated about a year ago when Miss O was entering a new phase of her life where friendships suddenly became complicated.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Finding A Voice - A Year In The Making


IMAGE : VOICESOF2014.COM.AU
I've never been very good at reaching goals. I LOVE to set them; I love listing them in lovely neat handwriting, I love imagining the steps I will take in order to reach them and then visualising myself atop the metaphorical podium accepting whatever accolades are associated with the end result. (I recall with fondness my Olympic dressage circa 1985 goal which sadly was not to be thanks primarily to a distinct lack of talent from both me and my humble steed).

When it comes to goals, I'm not often one to follow through and do the hard yards regardless of the usual impediments and challenges associated with reaching success. Either the life has gotten in the way, the goals are often just too Mount Everest-like for me to reach, or I'm just plain lazy and I lose interest with a loudly declared *yawn* as I fall back onto the couch. Indeed, my consistent failure is the result of all three in most cases.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Happy Delusions Of A Holiday...


IMAGES : THE MOTHER LOAD | The Happy Delusions Of A Holiday


How good are school holidays when you actually get to go somewhere?!

We're home from a long overdue family trip to one of our favourite places, Noosa.

(Or 'Noooooisa' if you're a bit of a hoity toity).

Noosa! The place where you check your Melbourne blacks in at the door, head straight for the nearest bathing suit store and purchase the brightest, happiest, most overpriced beach dress you can find followed immediately by a stop at the pharmacy for a vat of tan in a tub.  Hooray! Holidays!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Go the FLECK To Sleep ...(Please)


KIDS PLEASE DO MORE OF THIS | Go The F@ck To Sleep
IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD
See this face? Looks like an angel doesn't she!? But do you know what we've gone through in order to get her to reach this blissful state? DO YOU!? Our nightly sleep routine is officially making me crazy. Night after night, it's like someone sounds a magic trumpet and the two tired, irritable souls who roam the hallways in full whinge mode between 4-7pm suddenly come to life like feral night cats. Apparently, it's party time and we're all invited!

Our nightly repertoire usually commences with such favourites as "Mum! I need water!" followed two minutes later by "I (think) I need the toilet" (for the twelfth time). Then there's the "I'm hot - I need my fan" or "I'm cold I need a blanket" and let's not forget last night's classic, "Mum! I need to tell you that I've learned to click my fingers!!!! Can you hear that?? I'm doing it!!" Snap, snap, snap. Truthfully, I can't work out if it's her fingers making the sound, or my unusually tense shoulder tendons coming undone, one by one.

Seriously - as a loving mother, how scary do I actually have to be in order to get everyone to simply shut up, close their eyes, stop the finger clicking and get some decent shut-eye? I don't like being scary and I'm not especially good at it thanks to the guilt that immediately ensues, but what's my alternative? I tried reasoning, but it turns out reasoning doesn't work. (Reasoning rarely works with kids, incidentally. Certainly doesn't get me very far). Bribery? Nope. Threats? Threats work for a short time but they're both too smart for their own good and I end up threatening something completely unrealistic and hugely inconvenient before I can think about it logically. "Go to sleep NOW or I'll...I'll....I'll cancel that party you're planning for your birthday in November!" (What was I thinking? Given it's only March I'm probably going to find that one pretty tough to stick to). I clearly haven't mastered the easy to keep, yet effective threat and most of the time, there's nothing useful or meaningful enough to threaten anyway so it's a fail from where I stand.

We've tried the mother-earth methods. We've done lavender baths before bed, tummy rubs and soft music, meditation and kind, soothing words but five minutes after lights out, the rustling of drawers commences. Outfits are changed for the third time and the shifting of toys and furniture can be heard as the doll who hasn't been touched in over a year suddenly requires urgent tucking in. And so explodes my head.

Whoever wrote the book 'Go The F@ck To Sleep' truly felt my pain.  Its existence made me realise that there are probably households everywhere marching children back to bed after the eighth trip to the toilet or confiscating this toy or that, but c'mon! Really? Do we have to do this every night?! Gimme a break. 

Funny how we love them SO much once they're peacefully sound asleep and yet five minutes before that, love is pretty much the furthest emotion from your raging heart as you're listening to the snap, snap, snap of little fingers practising their newly acquired life skill an hour past lights out.

And so let the fun commence again in our house again tonight! And if you feel even a bit of my pain, may the force be with you in your house too.



Friday, March 28, 2014

Gerdi And Her Friends...

IMAGE : ALBERT BREDENHANN  | Gerdi And Her Friends



I watched a beautiful video recently based upon the woman above, Gerdi McKenna. Have you seen it? If not, you can watch it here. In the video, Gerdi's friends get together for a special photo shoot to support her through a recent breast cancer diagnosis. I don't share this as lightly as I do most other things, because there are many raw nerves attached to a cancer story; especially amongst the regular readers here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Byte For A Bite - How's YOUR Week Been?


IMAGE : PINTEREST.COM | Byte For A Bite
Hello Melbourne, I see your weird and freaky weather is back for another season? I'd say welcome but I'm currently busy removing the thermal puffer jacket to reveal further unnecessary layers of clothing that require urgent disposal whilst madly trying to apply 50+ now that the sun is suddenly searing my face. 

What's happening in your world this week? I'm feeling chatty today; chatty in a desperate need to be distracted from work kinda way which means that when I launch into 'Mother Load' mode and away from 'work' mode, my pay packet decreases considerably (read as entirely). Still, here I am - perhaps I'll endeavour to re-arrange my priorities next week.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tree Change, Sea Change or Me Change?


IMAGE : MORGUEFILE.COM | Tree Change, Sea Change Or Me Change?
You know what I would like to do right now? I would like to do a big crazy life change that gets me as far away as possible from the daily grind that currently engulfs me. Call it a moment of temporary insanity or an early (not that early) mid-life crisis but I have a sudden yearning for a big, beautiful, spacious house with enough land for horses, and swing sets, a view of rolling hills and maybe a lake. See the picture? I want that driveway. And I want big verandahs, and a country kitchen in which to bake bread - I want to take up bread making! Yes! Why not? Know what else I'd like? I would simply like to put a stop to the 'groundhog day' monotony that currently defines my world. Is that too much to ask?


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Para'Kito - Au Revoir, Moustique! (French for Later, Mozzie)


PARA'KITO PRODUCTS


FREE PRODUCT REVIEW: Does anyone else have kids who are so attractive to mosquitoes that they resemble victims of the Ebola virus after an evening outside during summer? I do. They blow up like a couple of puffer fish, scratch themselves stupid until we've bled, cried and 'tantrumed' our way to recovery (me included). If I dare lather them in the usual chemical repellents to prevent the bites in first place, I'm fairly confident that it's their constant sneezing and loud whingeing about the smell that deters the mozzies and not the repellent itself.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Media Hypocrisy - Charlotte Vs. Grant


IMAGE : NEWS.COM.AU
I'm disappointed in the media hypocrisy this week.

On one hand, the overwhelming media message after the death of Charlotte Dawson is all about being nicer, kinder, more accountable and more supportive of those who are vulnerable. Yet two days later, here are photos and an invasive story with 'judgey' undertones about Grant Hackett (equally as mentally vulnerable as Charlotte I would argue) in a complete flap after his child goes missing from his hotel room.

Yep - his unfortunate choice of outfit might win him first prize at a questionable toga party, but wouldn't it be weirder if he'd taken the time to dress appropriately before searching for his missing child at 3am? Did onlookers expect a suit and tie under such circumstances? Good on him for considering his child first before worrying about the ass clowns who take these photos for sport in the first place.

And if you've never had one of those moments where you've lost sight of your child, I applaud you and bow down before you; your time will probably come. It happens to the best of us so there's no judgement here.

Dear Media - you are part of the problem, not the solution.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

For Charlotte - Engaging Our Social Responsibility


IMAGE : PINTEREST.COM | For Charlotte Dawson

Yesterday the news broke that a well known Australian TV personality had taken her own life as a result of depression. Reports suggest that although she was predisposed to the condition to a degree, her depression had often been fuelled by cruel and vile taunts on social media in recent years, prompting a previously unsuccessful attempt at her own life in 2012.  While I didn't know Charlotte Dawson personally and didn't pay much attention to her public achievements, I took notice when Twitter erupted against her a couple of years ago and witnessed the very public, downwards spiral she suffered and subsequently fought hard to overcome. Today, I have a pang of sadness for someone I never met and a strange sense of social responsibility for her fragile state given the social media cesspool we've all been happily swimming in and tolerating over the past few years.