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).

So, in this small house is a REALLY small bathroom. In this small bathroom is a laundry in a cupboard. Just think of pulling apart a set of Russian matryoshka dolls, each one smaller than the next and you've got a pretty clear picture of our house and the rooms within it. In this small bathroom however, is the world's most enormous and imposing bath. Stretching from wall to wall in a raised square block with sharp, tiled edges is our grand, unnecessarily sizeable bath (also containing our shower) in a very small room. Getting in is like climbing into a Mack truck covered in baby oil and getting out is equally as high risk with many a bruised shin having occurred during our inhabitance - mostly my shins thanks to children's bubble bath remnants from the night before accompanied swiftly by expletives that would curl your hair.  Rumour has it, the previous owner installed said mega-bath as a little place to rendezvous with his new lover (I know in MY bath! Eeew!) and instead he came home from work early one day to find her and her OTHER lover, well.. getting clean together. Legend has it, he packed his bags, fled to an sunny island destination and was never seen again. And that explains in part, why we became the new owners as luck would have it. Doesn't make for a very relaxing bathing experience though, thinking of all those sordid and adulterous happenings. Eeew.

But! After three years of pondering and procrastinating, it's all going and the bath of infidelity and bruised shins is finally going to be banished. Rejoice! All hail a new bath of pseudo-marital devotion, cleanliness and economy of size!

As of today, there is NO bathroom. The girls and I have taken a leave of absence to my Mum's house on the coast for three weeks and poor Mr Mother Load is still there somehow wrangling the lack of shower and toilet situation (hello gym around the corner!).  Fun times for him, poor bugger. Better him than me though otherwise you would be hearing all about it daily. Let's all be grateful he's taking one for the team this time.

So stay tuned for the before and afters - there will be photos and possibly trades-related grievances in the weeks ahead. Also, I ask you for prayers if they're your thing and crossed fingers that we're not homeless for any longer than the school hols otherwise heads may roll (not by me obviously because it doesn't suit my non-confrontation personality but SOMEONE will surely pay - somehow!).

Wherever you are these holidays, I hope it's warm, sunny, and free from inconvenient renovations and baths with a sordid past!




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.

I don't share this for pity's sake though; my point here is that we've tackled it and tackled it well. Thanks to strength and positivity, everyone is winning as best they can. The assumption that those who are fortunate enough to avoid most of life's tough times are often not equipped with the tools to survive and conquer is certainly not the case with the people near and dear to me. It's amazing how far a decent attitude can take you in your quest to get back into the sunshine; that coupled with clear, respectful thinking and having the ability to be thankful for what remains through adversity. With that in mind, the sunshine is getting closer for all - I have no doubt.

What's equally as important through the journey is the way in which people who matter the most to each other come together - certainly in my family's case we've managed to link arms and form a proverbial riot squad against the tide of difficulties so far. 

One of the many lessons I've learned this year is to stop taking everything for granted. That niggling fear that I've often quietly harboured when things are going 'too well' I now understand is a little warning sign telling me to get prepared for anything that might be around the corner in a "make hay while the sun shines" kinda way. And you know what? It's also good to remember there's always someone worse off than you. It may feel hard to believe under duress, and it's not like we want others to be worse off than us, but there's usually someone tackling something far greater than you and we should sometimes use other people's challenges as a way to gain some perspective on our own.

So how would you rate your 2014?  What have been the highlights? What have been your challenges? Whatever is happening in your world in 2014, I hope you're winning cos for me, 2014 - I'm NOT a fan!



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. 

There's nothing better than a good adventure playground and if you're in Melbourne's inner west, why not check out this new interactive play installation 'Mimi the Muttaburrasaurus' at McNish Reserve in Yarraville? As part of Medibank's #GenBetter campaign, Mimi the giant dinosaur has been created to encourage more outside play for children and families. 'Mimi' stands at three metres tall and seven metres long and not only can the kids climb around inside her tummy, slide down her tail and hide in her giant eggs, but she also has a megaphone allowing kids to develop their best "ROAR". Very cool. I know that's got Miss Six's name written all over it.

Here a little peek at the Mimi installation via Medibank's #GenBetter promotion:


(If you can't view the above You Tube video, simply click here).

What a refreshing initiative from Medibank - no doubt we'll be making the trip down there to check it out these hols. McNish Reserve can be found in Clare St in Yarraville and the playground will be open for play from today 8th September, with a public launch on Saturday 13th September from 10.00am.





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.

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.