Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The end of the line

I think this little blog has reached its conclusion.

I started it to show myself that my time at home was indeed personally productive. That in between nappies and feeds and nights where there were far too many people in my bed I actually could find some time for myself. That I could learn and grow. That at the end I would have something to look back on - an accomplishment.

And you know what?

I have. That accomplishment is first and foremost my beautiful, healthy children. They have lovely manners, wide smiles and kind hearts. They make me prouder than I ever thought was possible.

This little blog pales in comparison to the true product of these last five years. A loving family. A woman who has learned to be less selfish, more patient, less harried, more loving, less anxious and more forgiving.

So. I guess this is goodbye! I hope that my next five years will see me continuing my personal growth in other ways. First and foremost I want to be more present in my family life. I want to find time to savour the joy that these childhood days bring.

I'll keep writing. I'll keep up my personal journals. I'll continue to write and tell stories for my children. I'll keep writing love letters to my children, squirreled away in the box on my dresser.

And I'll keep trying to be a better mum. Always a procrastinator, I'll try to put some of my plans into action.

Thank you to everyone who has posted, followed or otherwise encouraged me. I'll look back at this little blog and smile. I hope one day my kids might look at it and know how hard I tried to make these difficult years work for us all.

Thank you for listening!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Do you let your kids read their report cards?

I am a thinker... no doubt about it. I think, I over think, I read, I analyse...

And I end up with some weird habits. Like this and this... and this. Well, you might call them weird. I call them exceptionally well-planned projects.

The biggest one I've been called out on recently is the fact my children have never seen their report cards. With Mr Z in his fourth year of formal schooling and Miss Piggy in her third, we've received 12 report cards in total.

Each time we receive one, I don't rush to open it in front of the kids. As a former over-achiever that takes some willpower, let me tell you! When everyone is busy and settled I open them and take a peek. Then usually over dinner, I tell each of the kids what their teacher said about them (general comments only). This has always been enough for them.

The reason I don't feel the need to share their 'levels of achievement' with them are simple. Kids know what they're good at/not good at. They don't need a report to tell them that. Our kids sit in on parent-teacher interviews (school policy) so they've already been given a chance to identify areas for improvement and reasons to celebrate (we alternate reports with interviews, term and term about).

We regularly check in with our kids about what's 'tricky' at school and what they think they do well. When we get time we talk about homework tasks, offer help if it's needed. We encourage tenacity and working towards their goals.

And... the big one. I don't want them to think I care mostly about grades. Because I don't. I want my kids to be hard working and happy. I want them to be resilient. That's it. Anything else is a bonus. 

What about you? Do your kids care about their report cards? Do you?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Harvest your own broccoli seeds

We are loving our garden. It's a lot of trial and error, lots of googling random questions.

Here are some things we learned about broccoli (the hard way).

1. It's easy to grow! Just plant it and water regularly!
2. Once you cut the main head of broccoli, don't rip out the whole plant - you can eat the shoots which are reasonably prolific. Great for stir fries!

3. If you don't pick broccoli fast enough, it will start to flower

4. If you are going to let it flower, so that you can harvest the seeds, be sure to let a shoot flower, not a whole head - otherwise you will end up with thousands of seeds!
5. Once you let a plant flower, it seems to stop producing shoots... So pick your broccoli before it's too late.
6. Once the flowers have dried and fallen, pods will appear. Over MANY weeks, these will mature. Here are some that are on their way

7. Apparently broccoli seed shoots are delicious in salads... Will have to try that out!
8. Yes, broccoli grows OK in a sub-tropical environment (in Winter at least)

Hope this helps someone else! Not much broccoli out there to be googled... And the YouTube vids are soooo long and boring, thought this might save someone some time ;)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Theme songs

I tend to always have a theme song.

For a while it was this song. Right now it is this one:

Love this song. It's been a bit of a tough week, this song really cheers me up at the moment.

Am I the only one (besides Ally McBeal) who insists on having a theme song? For the record, I thought of it first, Ally ;)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

For my father

I had a little cry yesterday. And again today when I woke up.

Sixteen years ago, I had a conversation with someone I loved. The last one we would ever have.

I was tired of playing the grown up. I was tired of helping him put himself back together. I asked him to step up and SHOW me he loved me. I asked him to be my father, once and for all.

I thought it would help. I thought it might be the one thing that could. I thought maybe his love for his children would be enough for him to change. I thought love could be enough.

It wasn't. One day, shortly after that, he opened his arms to the heavens, felt the wind in his face and left us. Forever.

He thought the world would be a better place without him in it. He just couldn't remember how all the pieces fit back together and he was tired of trying. He didn't want to ask us to help him any more.

For a very long time, all I could feel was anger. All I could let myself remember were the hard, sad times. The unkind words. The grief of a childhood lost to the darkness of depression. I had to convince myself that the world WAS a better place without him in it so that I could go on.

But it wasn't, and it isn't.

I didn't get to walk down the aisle on the arm of my father. I didn't get to watch his face as he held my babies. I don't get to hug him at Christmas time, or share a tim tam with him or ring him when I'm excited. I'll never know all the stories of his childhood.

I'll never stop feeling ripped off.

Only recently, I've started to remember the happy times. The giggles and the laughter. The times that I enjoyed such dizzying heights of fun and happiness. I had some pretty interesting experiences with my dad, as a kid. And I finally realise that those are worth remembering. As much as the darkness defined my childhood, the bright times did too. That's what life is like with a manic depressive.

And so, yesterday when I heard the news about Robin Williams, I remembered the man who made people laugh. The man who made some pretty spectacular mistakes but managed to laugh about them. A man who taught people to take it on the chin and march on.

To have battled the dark monster for so long takes bravery and spirit. I hope his children remember that. I hope they cherish the mayhem and the brightness he brought them.

I hope they can forgive.

Take it from someone who has lived this pain. It is ALWAYS worth putting the pieces back together. As battered and as wonky as you may feel, the world is always a better place with you in it. Somewhere, somebody is relying on you. You are their sun... or their moon... or a twinkling star in the fabric of their life. You are valued. You are worth it.

March on.

source: pinterest


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Finding your tribe...

Years ago, we used to socialize regularly with our 'tribe'. So much fun was had, alcohol consumed and kilometres covered as we searched for our next adventure.

Then bit by bit, our group started to drift apart as we embarked upon new adventures in pairs - mortgages, renovations... and kids.

Which was why it was so special that, for my birthday this year, we reformed our happy tribe and took a trip to the beach.

We rented a nice beach house while the others stayed in apartments nearby. We took our kids, of course (there's no way that we'd be able to simultaneously arrange that many babysitters) and just had a grand time relaxing in the winter sunshine.

We took frozen gourmet food (we may be frugal with time and money these days, but we still like to eat well), many bottles of wine and high spirits to the beach. And as the sun set on my 35th year, we sat and watched the colours change in the sky while the kids buried each other in sand and took pictures of us.

Mr Z took this one - isn't it a beauty?

Feeling very blessed.

When was the last time you got your tribe together? Do you still have a tribe? Or have bottles and nappies and debt scattered it on the winds of time?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Building memories... being silly

I went to the beach dressed as a pirate. As in last Sunday. As a full grown woman.

I got some very odd looks, but I had a very good reason for doing it.

Miss Piggy had said to me, "mum, can we go to the beach dressed as pirates and look for treasure and dig a big pirate ship and.. and..?"

How could I say no? After all they are only little such a short time and there'll be a time (probably soon) when they stop asking me to do silly things like that. Mr Z already said he didn't want to play, he looked at us a bit awkwardly but came along without too much fuss. He's only nine. 

And they really remember these 'fun' times you share... right? So looking like an idiot was totally worth it to see her smile.

Here I am - in full piratey glory: 

Yes, I did need to take a rest in the boat! We carved it from wet sand and that sucker was big!

When was the last time you acted ridiculously to get a smile from your kids?

I love reading your comments, thanks for stopping by :)