Wednesday, December 3, 2014

My 2014 Summer Reading Wishlist...



IMAGE: THE MOTHER LOAD | 2014 Summer Reading
* THIS POST IS IN COLLABORATION WITH BOOKWORLD, AN AUSTRALIAN OWNED ONLINE BOOK STORE.

So - Christmas, eh? I can't quite believe it. Wasn't it February like five minutes ago?? Surely!

The way I see it, there are two distinct ways of looking at the festive season. For me, the first involves general panic, a multitude of lists and a tendency to overspend as we prepare for the big day while madly trying to juggle the end of school activities, work, and the stuff that doesn't end just because Christmas is coming. That's where I'm at right now and it's where I've resigned myself to be until 24th December at 5.00pm (as per last year, and all previous years).

The second way to approach the festive season (and indeed my preferred way) is to think about the break that will be our reward after the mayhem, allowing us to finally stop at the end of a relentless year, catch up with friends and family and eat way too much leftover pudding. After a somewhat challenging 2014 for our family, I'm looking forward to taking some serious time out, have some chilled out conversations that don't revolve around a schedule, and to read a book or two from my long and neglected reading wishlist.

I've been buying books online via Bookworld for a couple of years now and I'm happy to be working with them. I'm a massive online shopping fan, and for me, there's nothing quite like the joy of receiving a beautiful hardback treasure in the mail.  So with that in mind, and as part of my post-Christmas minimal activity preparations, here's the list I intend to attack while I'm downing my third helping of leftover ham.

My 2014 Summer Reading Wishlist:

The Art Of Belonging - Hugh Mackay  
A little reading from an Australian researcher about the age old question, "What makes life worth living?" Seems appropriate this year.

Love Your Sister - Connie and Samuel Johnson
How inspiring are Sam and Connie?  I love their tight sibling bond and their fierce determination to make a real difference to cancer research. Also, anyone who can ride a unicycle around Australia deserves as much of my summer reading attention as I can give. This book should be on everyone's list.

Not The Kind Of Girl - Lena Dunham
Lena Dunham. Girls. Nuff said. 

The New Easy - Donna Hay
I'm so sick to death of my own cooking right now so need some new inspiration in 2015. If Donna can't give it to me, then no one can.

The Penguin Leunig 40th Anniversary Edition - Michael Leunig
This would make an excellent Christmas gift for someone. *cough*

Yes Please - Amy Poehler
Love Amy Poehler, mainly because she's Tina Fey's bestie and well, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler!

Leaving Time - Jodi Picoult
A little bit of easy to absorb fiction should be on everyone's list. This one's to take to the beach.

Family Food - Pete Evans
I've recently adopted a low carb way of eating and I saw Pete do a really nifty recipe using zucchini ribbons instead of pasta. Bring it, Pete just don't mention the activated almonds again, OK?

Julie Goodwin - 20/20 Meals
I love Julie Goodwin - she's a real mum, cooking real food. Again, I'm looking for some real inspiration in 2015 before my family members decide to pack their bags and go in search of finer cuisine and I think Jules is just the person to give it to me.

So what's on your post-Christmas reading list? Feel free to share some of your recommendations in the comments section below. In the meantime, check out the Bookworld website for some great Christmas gift ideas. It's all online. That means no shopping centre car parks. Just sayin'.

Happy reading!    



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

When PND Is No Excuse........


IMAGE : MORGUEFILE.COM | When PND Is No Excuse
Dear new mothers. If you have feelings of being overwhelmed or mentally vulnerable, as a first step why not reach out and try one of the options available to you before you see murder as the only plausible way out?

This will be controversial, but while I have an abundant amount of understanding and support for those who suffer any form of mental illness such as post natal depression and who subsequently choose to follow whatever available steps in order to make things better by seeking help, I have such difficulty feeling any understanding for those who choose the disposal of a child as a way out. Furthermore, I don't support a society who allows mental illness to be a valid excuse for the abandonment and intended murder of a defenceless human being.

Over the last couple of weeks, there have been several horrific incidents involving the intended or actual death of newborn babies. Among them, a newborn was discovered after FIVE days down the bottom of a drain, left to die in abhorrent circumstances. The child somehow survived this unbelievable act of torture and regardless of the somewhat miraculous outcome, I can't bear to think about what the baby went through, fresh from the womb and alone for all that time. In a separate and equally horrific case, the body of a newborn baby girl was discovered by kids just yesterday, buried in thirty centimetres of sand on a beach. Sadly, the worst possible outcome for another tiny human. Circumstances are still unclear about this case but again, "Police are concerned for the welfare of the mother...."says the media report. 

Putting aside the impact such discoveries have upon the people who find these tiny bodies, dead of alive, it is truly inconceivable and unacceptable that any parent, under whatever pressure could follow through with the act of killing their own child who has barely had time to properly draw breath. With that said, I'm a little bit weary of gently treading around the issue of post natal depression in these highly extreme cases and how it is used an excuse for murder in it's most evil form. Are we not just providing people, at times, with the perfect way to justify what boils down to being simply a heinous crime? If we adopt the attitude of "Well, she was suffering from PND and wasn't thinking straight so we should show understanding" then how do we not say the same about our most sociopathic, insanely evil criminals, currently locked away for equally vile acts? I must say that despite their counsel's official pleas of insanity, I've never once heard anyone display any level of empathy or understanding towards the Port Arthur Masssacre criminal Martin Bryant or Balanglo's serial killer Ivan Malat since their hideous crimes took place. And again, nor should they. But can you see the double standard? 

Had a father come forward last week to claim responsibility for the baby down the drain, I'm certain that there would have been complete uproar and unanimous calls for life in prison without a thought of sympathy and understanding. He would have simply been labelled a monster and any reference to mental illness would have revolved around the terms 'psychopath' and 'criminally insane'. 

So to the mothers who chose to end the lives of these defenceless babies, regardless of your mental state in the early stages of your parenting journey, I have such difficulty displaying understanding because of your inability to do what's right for your child. I have difficulty standing beside you in support due to the outcome of a child who didn't stand a chance. Instead, I find it easier to stand for those who suffer PND and who take all the appropriate steps to ensure their child is safe under any conditions. And I also stand for those loving couples who are unable to achieve their dream of becoming a parent who also have to read about these cases. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Squishy Marshmallow Me.......


IMAGE : PINTEREST.COM | Squishy Marshmallow Me
Since having kids, and particularly as they've reached school age, I've become such a big squishy sentimental marshmallow.

A wide variety of incidental parenting moments can set me off but nothing does it quite like a school event. It seems that whatever the occasion, as soon as I step into our school theatre to attend an assembly, presentation or production, I habitually get the lumpy throat, the stiff jaw and the teary vision before anyone has even uttered a word. It could be as simple as someone getting their music certificate or a science award; whatever is on the day's agenda, my lip always begins its uncontrollable quiver.

I'm at my worst when they run a video to music. Oh God - the power of an audio visual soundtrack! Why can't they just use the Benny Hill Theme or something? I'm pretty sure I have missed many key moments of my kids' participation in the video montages, thanks firstly to the 'Wind Beneath My Wings'-esque music and secondly as I always find myself fumbling around in my bag desperately seeking an old lipstick-smeared tissue instead of actually watching.

Over the years I've seen many kids who are close to my heart as well as my own kids feature in special moments of their schooling and as I snivel uncontrollably, it reminds of how quickly time passes (which in reality is probably at the heart of my ridiculously heightened emotion if I boil it down). Nothing goes faster than these school years and one moment your first born is doing her very first speech at the lectern as a five year old, and then suddenly her baby sister, who was once sucking from a bottle during her big sister's presentation, is dressed in that same crisp uniform, delivering HER own maiden speech. 

WHAT!? Who took away all that time??!

Parents of older kids will always tell you how fast these school years go and now as I'm living it, I know what they mean. It's like speed of light time travel that on one hand, you wish would move even faster to the next milestone but at the same time you want so desperately to retrieve; to relive the events more slowly and consciously. Given that we can't have it both ways, I guess we just need to commit to the moments and savour each and every one of them.

As I sat today and watched my last born child present her year six 'buddies' with their graduation gift, and as we farewelled these gorgeous, well-rounded young women (who appear taller than any bunch of twelve year olds I've ever seen!) I was once again reminded of my squishy marshmallow tendencies.  Adding to this, I realised that my big girl will be one of those overly tall year six girls by this time next year. 

Best we buy some shares in Kleenex for that momentous occasion.

Have you become a big squishy sentimental marshmallow like me since having kids? If so, what sets you off the most? Tell me your weaknesses below!



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A One Child Week


IMAGE : MORGUEFILE.COM | A One Child Week
Felt a bit weird sending my sensitive and slightly teary ten year old gal off to school camp this morning. 

Funny how, although your kids can be completely different to you in so many ways, sometimes quite suddenly they display a characteristic that is exactly you, through and through. Like me as a child, these days Miss O is a bit prone to an affliction I refer to as 'pre-conceived homesickness' (feeling homesick before you've actually been anywhere) and also the 'long, sad goodbye' (a dread and sadness about saying goodbye well before departure and a feeling that the impending separation is absolutely FOREVER). That's me all over. Still is a bit and I guess as she's getting older, it's her too.

Nonetheless, she's going to have a ball at camp and she knows it. Before she left this morning she dried the tears, took a big breath, smiled and boldy said goodbye. Clearly the fear of missing out was a little stronger than the fear of being away. Thumbs up to that. 

Not only has she left for four days of total awesomeness, she's also turning eleven tomorrow and she'll be away from home on her birthday. That's a first. Birthdays are pretty huge in our house and there's many a privilege that comes with being the birthday person on their special day.  It's going to feel very strange waking up to the memory of her birth eleven years ago and not having her here to celebrate with. Anyway, that's more about me, not her. And judging by her lovely teacher's well-considered birthday plans, she will undoubtedly have an "OMG....the BEST birthday EVER!!!" (That's tween speak for 'a rather nice time'). 

As an aside, one thing I've noticed about having a one child household is that today's grocery bill was significantly lower. Man, eleven year olds can eat. Six year olds can too, but an eleven year old can empty a pantry like a high speed combine harvester.

So here's to a quieter household and a fuller pantry for a few days. Here's also to a triumphant return on Friday, feeling blissfully exhausted, with many happy tales to tell.

If your kids have been on school camp, how do they deal? Are they nervous or punching the air with excitement? How do YOU deal? (I'm asking for a friend.....)




Monday, November 10, 2014

November. Let's Do This.


IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | November. Let's Do This
                         
Meet my new friends above. I'm so needy and they're always there for me, no questions asked. Especially the brandy.

So! Bronchitis is a barrel of laughs isn't it? For the last two weeks I've lived somewhere between sounding like Carlotta Of Les Girls, and a pack a day emphysemic. It's not been all that fun - just ask the innocent bystanders who live with me and who have ears in good working order. I'm fairly sure I heard my six year old mutter something like, "...for the love of God." under her breath the other day after one of my thoroughly well put together coughing episodes. Can't say I blame her. I'm totally sick of me too. 

Anyway, I'm still hacking and spluttering but I'm sleeping a bit now so yay me. Celebrating the small things. 

November is a crazy month. A school camp, a school excursion, several birthdays, a school production, and various pre-Christmas functions make up the highlights package. As with most years, by November I usually feel as though I'm being dragged towards the year's end by my hair while being clubbed by a plank of wood and this year is no exception. Speaking of Christmas, surely it's still six months away? Isn't it??! Someone should tell retailers - TOO DAMN EARLY. At my local Westfield shopping centre over the weekend, there was an actual Santa* walking around ringing his bell inverting the ears of all the unsuspecting shoppers. Really Santa? Really? My visible Mrs. Jessop-like scowl sent the appropriate message that read something like "come the hell back in December, fat man". I showed him. 

Nonetheless, I'm pressing on through this month with vigour and as much enthusiasm as I can muster because curling up in the foetal position is apparently not an option. I tried it, everybody just laughed and pointed unsympathetically. So I'm back on my feet and getting shit done. 

Okay, November. Let's do this.

(SEND HELP).

*Not actual Santa.





Thursday, November 6, 2014

Born To Run, At Any Cost....


IMAGE : HERALDSUN.COM.AU | Born To Run, At Any Cost
Anyone else feeling sad and generally uncomfortable about the outcome of this year's Melbourne Cup? I am.

It's going to sound weird and as though I've just discovered my conscience, but I'm harbouring these sudden feelings of unease given the fact that I've never really given a lot of heartfelt consideration to the ugly side of a sport which can at times, be fully (or at least partly) responsible for the untimely death of defenceless animals. My sense of unease is about both my own lack of objection prior to now and also about my own realisation of what potentially takes place behind the scenes in the racing industry; in the darker shadows of the sport. I would never attend a rodeo, a dog fight and I even detest fishing so I wonder why that one day in November has always simply passed me by as an ordinary event and even at times as a welcome part of the social calendar? 

Before anyone jumps on me about one-off freak incidents, about an objection to banning the sport outright and that one should be a vegetarian to be truly pro animal rights, let it be said that this is just about my own new found feelings of unease towards the 'sport' we call horse racing, not a self-righteous rant about what the world should do and not do. I'm not standing up loudly calling for a ban (although it would be nice in a perfect world, but as we know the world ain't perfect). I'm simply feeling sad about the death of two horses after a race which is well known to be one of the most gruelling, even for the fittest, most enthusiastic thoroughbred. I'm annoyed at my own prior ambivalence and general naivety and I guess I'm now against putting these animals through something that once may have suited their "born to run" nature, but at times maybe not.

While I understand and acknowledge the occurrence of freak accidents, I can't help but wonder if Admire Rakti, the beast pictured above who dropped dead from heart failure was perhaps pushed beyond his limits for the sake of winning; for the sake of profit. It was clear prior to the race that he was distressed and not keen to enter the stalls - I know this is a relatively common occurrence but maybe in this case, it was out of character and the horse was already feeling the effects of what was to become his untimely death? Absurdly, you could draw comparison to some poor human in the throws of heart failure being forced to line up at the start of an ultra marathon, forced to complete the gruelling event for the sake of fulfilling a commitment, and in turn for the financial gain of others. It would never be allowed to happen to a human being, so why a horse? The stats on race horse deaths are pretty horrifying if they are to be believed; a staggering 15-20,000 thoroughbreds are slaughtered yearly and there are many more awful facts on the mental and physical harm caused to these animals directly by the sport we call horse racing. Do a little research and you'll not only understand a whole lot more about the dark side of the sport but perhaps you'll begin to stand a little closer behind the outcry from passionate animal rights' campaigners.

And what then of the other horse Araldo? As he walked the fence line after the event, a spectator waved a flag (a flag of a size which was generally banned from the area but somehow got through) and in fear, the frightened horse tangled himself in a fence, injuring his legs. Seriously-where's the foresight? Humans can be so basic sometimes. Because of that thoughtless over-sized flag bearer, and because of our desire to show off the horses like trophies under any conditions, a horse became frightened, it injured its legs on a fence beyond repair and it too, ultimately met an untimely death. 

 At 2pm on Melbourne Cup Day, it was mostly about pretty hats, uncomfortable heels and expensive champagne for many people. Honestly, it's been about that for me in the past too but embarrassingly, I've always been able to justify my marginal, annual turn-a-blind eye support of a sport that deep down in my heart I now feel is pretty questionable. By 4pm, after the race was won and the favourite had finished last then collapsed and died in its stall immediately after, a sad sick feeling of guilt crept in and I felt ashamed that I had watched such an event with enthusiasm and had even laid down a bet or two. Me supporting a sport which uses animals as a tool for gain at any cost is pretty stupid and out of character if I'm honest with myself.

Obviously the sport isn't going to be banned any time soon, but surely some concessions can be made? Why does the Melbourne Cup 3200m race need to be so damn long? Any why do the jockeys need to use their crops so aggressively (or at all) during the races? Why can't we just witness a horse running at its own speed without the punishing interference? Surely then we can more safely and humanely learn who is the fastest and most worthy winner, if a winner MUST be found? Because of money, glory and winning at any cost, I guess.

Anyway, there it is. I'm not calling for dispute, for banning, or for vehement argument. I'm just thinking that my eyes are open wider to the things we call upon animals to participate in, perhaps unwillingly, for the sake of sport. I have very little trust that the horses are the number one consideration in these events and with that in mind, we should perhaps re-think our own personal views on participating in horse racing generally if we do in fact participate even if for that one day in November. The least we can do is give a second thought to the humanity of the sport, given the very public death of two horses over this year's cup carnival.




Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Little BUPA Blog Award Stuff.....

                       
IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | A Little BUPA Blog Award Stuff
So in case you missed me spouting off on Facebook last night and as the above title suggests, it appears that The Mother Load has been named as a finalist in the 2014 BUPA Blog Awards! I'm just a little bit excited (but clearly not as excited as Honey here). I don't expect to go all the way given the competition, but recognition is good for the soul, no? Yes! I say yes!

As an aside, it's worth noting that I never win anything. No really. In high school I won a squash racquet and didn't even know about it until I found it in the back of Dad's car two weeks later. When I asked my PE teacher what I'd won it for, he simply threw his head back and laughed riotously at the obvious irony. Yeah, sport wasn't really my thing. Stuff him, though. I may yet take up squash, become a world champ, and smack some fast balls into his windows. Maybe. 

Also, last year I attended the BCNA Pink Lunch in support of breast cancer. I won a hamper in the raffle but the announcement and chance to proudly stride up the lectern to accept my prize was at the precise moment I stepped out to use the bathroom. When I returned, the hamper was unceremoniously plonked on my seat. Someone else claimed it on my behalf and I had completely missed my moment.

Regardless of the winning and losing stuff though, this spot in the finals is really unexpected. The BUPA Blog Awards represent health, well-being, social good and family which are all messages that are lovely to be associated with. *slides block of chocolate subtly out of view*. And while it's not about the prizes, admittedly they are pretty awesome for a wannabe writer like me. They include mentoring and the opportunity to produce feature articles in the future. All good stuff I reckon.

So thanks BUPA. I wasn't sure The Mother Load would be your cup of tea. Sometimes I swear. But maybe a little bit of swearing is healthy. (Bloody hope so). And sometimes I'm dysfunctional but maybe admitting that is healthy too? Thanks also to those of you lovely people who have voted to date - you and all your nimble little voting fingers are very much appreciated. (Here's the voting link for anyone who's interested!) Keep the votes coming if you're into it coz we're kinda in this together if I really think about it.

Voting ends November 7th. I'd better go to the bathroom now, so I don't miss anything. 



Monday, October 20, 2014

The Happiest Of Happy Days...


IMAGE : MORGUEFILE.COM | The Happiest Of Happy Days

I'm giving a bit of thought to happiness today.

Happiness is pretty damn important isn't it? I reckon it's a bit like oxygen for our soul.  You realise this a) when you are happy and therefore in a blissful state of gratitude for that particular state of mind, and b) when you're not happy and you find yourself out there on a desperate quest, searching for something that will make you feel happy again. As it turns out, life can so often get in the way of happiness and it can be really tough to maintain, especially when you're an adult. Sometimes being an adult really sucks. 

With that in mind, do you remember the happiest day of your life so far? I do. I don't have a wedding day to speak of so that's out and sure, the birth of my kids goes down in history as momentous and brilliant but truthfully, there was a shitload of pain and a whole lot of panicking health professionals present - yes it was happy but it was also BLOODY TERRIFYING. Thankfully there was a great result both times and I was indeed very happy about that, but I'm talking about a memory; a day or a time that is defined solely by true, carefree happiness.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

School's Back! Witness Protection Complete!


IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | School's Back! Witness Protection Complete!

Hooray! School's back!! 

While I'm a fan of hols and the absence of such things like school lunches and early morning threats about going to school in pyjamas, I love coming home after the first day of term drop off. Bliss! First, coffee. Then worship the silence. Then housework.

Miss A went back this morning with her usual amount of tummy nerves, mostly revolving around people's reaction to her new short haircut. A paranoid fourteen year old in a six year old's body is she. God help me when she is ACTUALLY fourteen. Miss O went back filled with happiness; that girl fades like a wilting flower if she doesn't have copious amounts of social interaction with her friends. Her Dad is the same.  He's always the last to leave every party and God forbid, she'll undoubtedly be the same when her time comes. (The sounds of clinking glasses and extreme house music is already ringing in my silence-loving ears).

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ten Things I've Learned This Week...


IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Ten Things I've Learned This Week
Like many others, we're on school holidays.

I usually equate the holidays to that age old expression, "it was the best of times, it the worst of times" but so far there's been more best than worst thankfully. Having said that, there's still a week and a half to go so I won't be making too many rash holiday statements at this stage. Damn it feels good to sleep in and not have to do school lunches every day though, doesn't it? Almost worth home-schooling just for that. (Clearly I'm throwing my head back and laughing madly into the air right about now. As if). 

Quite randomly, here are ten things I have learned this week:

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Today Is A Bit Shit...


IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Today Is A Bit Shit..
Despite the gorgeous sunshine that is warming my ghostly white skin and the excellent coffee that is resting in the palm of my hand, today is a bit shit. 

In relative terms the world is not ending, but our Honey dog (affectionately known here as the geriatric) has cancer. 

She recently had a lump removed and it's a secondary melanoma. It's kinda funny isn't it? Too much sunning herself by the pool in her hey day, one might think? Her doggy bikinis were too skimpy for proper coverage? I knew that backyard pool was a bad idea - I always suspected that as soon as we left the house she'd be out there, reclining on a banana lounge. I guess my suspicions were true.

Given that she's about fifteen years old, it feels okay. I don't feel angry or ripped off. It's not a waste and yes, the overused expression "she's had a good innings.." rings true but it kinda makes me sad to know what it is that will eventually take her because after all, she's Honey The Wonder Dog and pretty much nothing was going to take her as far as I was concerned. I guess I was wrong. 

We're resolved that treatment and further invasion is pointless and unfair so we'll let nature take its course and hopefully it will be a long and pain free journey for her. She's fifteen for God's sake - I could shout too close to her and she could drop dead at anytime (if she wasn't completely deaf). As I see it, she'll simply live out her days with us spending lots of time at the beach where she is happiest and when the time comes, she'll be farewelled as only a dog of her calibre should be. 

Anyway, whatever grievances I have with the universe currently (and I certainly have a few!), I'm keenly aware that there is always someone dealing with worse shit than you and today is no exception. So I'm sucking up this news, giving Honey a firm and tender pat on her grey head and we're off to the beach in some well put together, healing sunshine. And that's not so bad by comparison.



Saturday, September 20, 2014

To Be Or Not To Be? Don't Ask Me.....


IMAGE : MORGUEFILE.COM | To Be Or Not To Be Don't Ask Me
Decisions are so not my thing. 

My Mum says I've always been bad at making decisions - even the battle between a vegemite or peanut butter sandwich used to throw my head into a spin when I was a kid and I've been that way ever since. (Remember when we used to be allowed to take peanut butter to school? I know - those were the days).

Some decisions are small (aka peanut butter or vegemite) and some are life-altering. I tend to give equal amounts of attention to either size which means that a huge amount of my head space is wrapped up in a virtual two column scenario of pros and cons. I stand in line at the supermarket checkout silently pondering the big questions - if I go down this path, will this happen? What if I take the alternative route? Will I regret not taking the other?? Etc etc. I continuously recreate my own alternative scenes in my head like the plot from 'Sliding Doors' (minus the cute Scotsman, the Gwyneth P makeover and her cool late 90s hair cut).

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Home Is Where The Bath Is....


IMAGE : PINTEREST | Home Is Where The Bath Is
 * MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS.

We only have one bathroom. 

We moved from a house with a bathroom for every member of the family a few years ago and now, in the name of moving to a more desirable suburb close to school we live in a little "cottage". Calling it a cottage is my way of defining our ridiculously small abode while making it sound worthy of a House and Garden spread. In reality, it's a nice house but should be twice the size given how many family members we have. No really - I'm not being a massive sook, it's genuinely small. 

(Okay, well maybe I'm being a bit of a sook. First world problems and all that. Anyway, stay with me).

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

2014 - I'm Not A Fan!


IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | 2014 - I'm Not A Fan

So I'm interested to hear - how would you rate your 2014 so far?

We're now three quarters of the way through and I'm wondering if you would say this year has been one of your best, one of your worst or one like any other? 

I've been pretty lucky from year to year - largely they've peeled past at a rapid rate, leaving our family relatively unscathed and allowing each of us to take the relevant steps onward and upward with ease and a generous dose of happiness. This year however, will probably go down in our history as one my family might rather put behind us. More accurately, I'd describe it as large bucket of steaming dog turd if such a comparison is called for. For various reasons, we've all found ourselves furiously spinning plates in the air just trying to tackle one life-altering issue to the next; you name it, my relatively small (but thankfully robust) family has tackled it in 2014.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Let's Go Play! A #GenBetter Initiative


IMAGE: THE MOTHER LOAD | Medibank #GenBetter
Let it be said that this is not a sponsored post. I just thought it was worth a share in the name of getting kids active and as much into good old fashioned play as my generation was when I was young (granted, that makes me sound really old).  Regardless, spring is here and we're finally getting a bit of sun so it may be time to wrestle those devices out of the hands of kids and force them out into the Vitamin D. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Happy Fathers Day, Dad


IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Happy Father's Day, Dad

Happy Father's Day to this guy.

He's my Dad. He's pretty cool, as you can see. And he plays the sax like a boss which automatically makes him even cooler.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Exercise - Meh


IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Exercise - Meh
Exercise.

It's just not my thing.

I do it but only when I've exhausted all of my excuses. I have this ridiculous conversation with myself on gym days that goes something like,

"MUST get to the gym today."

"I'm too tired - my thyroid is sluggish and I just need coffee and good conversation. Exercise - meh." 

"What? Don't be ridiculous. You had coffee and good conversation yesterday!"

"I know but I really like coffee. And I like my friends. And I need more work/ life balance."

"You're being pathetic. Squeeze your saggy ass into those skins, get that ill-fitting sports bra on and pull yourself together!" 

 Sometimes the active me wins, sometimes coffee wins. (Yay for coffee!).

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

My Bad Case Of OPG (Overstated Party Guilt)


THE MOTHER LOAD | Party Guilt
I have a small favour to ask. (I know - I'm needy, but stay with me).

Can we all please just take a large, deep breath and chill out about kid's birthday parties? Please?! Recently, I was wracked by a condition I'm referring to as OPG or 'Overstated Party Guilt', caused by over-thinking the ins and outs of the final invitee list. I had a bad case of OPG but at the same time, there was also a large part of me that was annoyed that I allowed myself to suffer through this silly condition because I made some well considered choices and I didn't particularly wish to invite the entire free world to our little party. Is that unreasonable? No really, tell me because maybe it is. Dunno. I figure I've either lost my radar on what is perfectly acceptable when it comes to kid's party guest lists or the world has gone a little bit mad when it comes to the importance of who's invited and who's not. Nonetheless, instead of feeling the joy of planning a get together for a little person who doesn't especially like big group activities, I found myself guilt-ridden and annoyed.  And that was pretty annoying in itself.
 
Still here? Bravo.

Monday, September 1, 2014

ProBlogger 2014 - You Were Awesome!


IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD  | ProBlogger 2014 - You Were Awesome


This past weekend, I attended ProBlogger - Australia's largest blogger conference on the Gold Coast. What a fantastic community of passionate, talented and dedicated people I am lucky enough to be part of.  I'm so pleased I forced myself to attend even though the idea of staying home and remaining curled up under a blanket of bloggy anonymity appealed to me so much more than getting in the taxi to the airport. Now on the other side of the experience, I'm happy to report that I'm changed! ProBlogger has changed me! Not in an "I've found God" kinda way or even in an "I'm going to give up sugar" kinda way but in an "I know where I want to go on my blogging journey" kinda way! Zing! (Yep - waaay too many exclamation marks here I know, but there's no other way to provide you with the full version of my excitement and post-conference energy so bear with me, OK?).

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

ProBlogger 2014 - Here Goes....!


IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | ProBlogger
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.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Parenting Teen Girls - An Evening With Michael Carr-Gregg


IMAGE:THE MOTHER LOAD | 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.