Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hazard #357 of living with a toddler.

Hazard #357 -
Leaving the house without first checking one's appearance.

Without realising it, I left the house looking like this :

Which is fine if you're a 2yr old. Not so fine as an adult.

Especially when you're out on your own, as said 2yr old was at home!

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Path to Living Simply

We have been happily taking a jaunt down the path to simple living for a little while now. Over the last few weeks I have been making small, sustainable changes to our life.

I think that's the trick - taking baby steps.

Which is hard for me, being the perfectionist that I am. I want it all done now, and done properly and perfectly.

But I'm being tough on myself and doing this one step at time so that I don't go into overload mode and give it all up.

Here are some of the changes to our lives I've made recently :

* I now buy all our fruit, vegetables, meat, eggs and milk at a nearby Farmer's Market. Not only is the food fresher and cheaper, you can actually taste the difference. Also it means I'm buying food in season, rather than food that has been artificially ripened, modified or just arrived straight out of months of cold storage. As an added bonus most of the produce is locally grown, meaning less impact on our earth from a transportation/use of fossil fuels/pollution point of view.

* I'm trying to reduce the additives we consume in our food. It's appalling how difficult it is to find food that is in it's natural state. Our bodies are so overwhelmed with the pollution (in many forms) from our modern world that it can only be a good thing to reduce all the added colours, flavours and preservatives in our food. I'm now one of those annoying people you get stuck behind in a busy aisle at the supermarket, as I take each product off the shelf and read the label to find which one is the best option. Take strawberry jam for example, the most popular brands not only have huge amounts of sugar (to be expected in jam I know but not that much sugar!), but they also have lots of added colour, flavour and preservatives. Yet on the bottom shelf, is a little known brand of jam which suprisingly has only two ingredients - strawberries and sugar. I know which one I chose!

* I am no longer buying sandwich meat. Have you ever looked at the list of ingredients? There are more numbers signifying artificial additives than there is actual meat in there. I now buy a large piece of roast beef or other meat and pop it in the oven to cook one evening when I'm already using the oven for something else, then just slice it up and freeze it in small packs ready to defrost and use in sandwiches. How easy is that? And so much better for us. And also so much cheaper than buying packaged ham.

* Currently, I'm waging war on plastic around here. I've been researching how the use of plastic in EVERYTHING these days is harmful to us, and it's confirmed my long held suspicions. Plastic is evil.
When you stop to think about it, almost every bit of food we buy is wrapped in plastic, our homes are filled with plastic, our cars are more plastic than metal, we just can't escape it's evil clutches.
And, shock horror, plastic is made from chemicals. Bad chemicals. That leach into our food, our water and our bodies. This is not good. Not good at all.
One of the worst types of plastic is the 'soft' plastic, such as sandwich bags and plastic food wrap, as being in such a soft state it easily leaches into the food we eat. Go look in your fridge and pantry, I would take a guess that most of the things in there are wrapped in plastic.
I've started using glass jars, tins and ceramic containers to store our food in, as much as possible anyway. I've also started to wrap the boys lunches in paper bags, and I now even use a plate to cover a leftover bowl of food in the fridge rather than use plastic wrap.

These are just little things I do, as I think of them. I plan to add to these things as alternative ideas occur to me. These are my baby steps along the path of to simple living.

I'm realistic enough to know that I won't be able to eliminate additives and plastic entirely from our lives, but even reducing them has to be plus.

I know it won't be an easy thing to achieve.

But I'm prepared for battle.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I Spy With My Little Eye....

Something beginning with "C".




Well, yes all of the above.

But most of all I see......


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mummy Guilt

I have to admit, I have yet to achieve the elusive perfect balance in my life that I so desperately seek.

Some days I'm the perfect wife, mother and homemaker (well, in my mind anyway!) but drop the ball on the work front. The task list gets longer and deadlines loom.

Then other days, I achieve more than I would ever expect I could from a work point of view, to the detriment of my home and family. Laundry room overflows with dirty washing and dinner is toasted sandwiches.

I just can't seem to balance the scales to achieve what I want from both sides at the same time.

Am I being unrealistic?


But that doesn't stop the guilt. Self imposed guilt, which in a way makes it worse as you can't really ignore it.

Don't get me wrong, I don't constantly berate myself, or push myself to exhaustion trying to achieve my version of the perfect balance. But there, in the deep recesses of my mind, is the desire to be all that I wish to be, and the guilt that comes when I don't manage to achieve it.

I believe that most mother's feel a sort of guilt. In one version or another.

Can I provide enough for my kids? Do I spend enough time with my children? Do I work too much? Am I feeding them properly? Are they getting the best education? Am I too soft or too strict? and on and on and on.

Each is situation is different but the mummy guilt is there.

Not long ago my lovely soul sister and mother of three gorgeous children, emailed me asking advice on how to balance spending enough time with each of her children (not that I'm anywhere near being in a position to give advice on this situation!). Given the fact that her youngest was 3 months old and was taking up most of her time as baby's do, this situation was only to be expected but my friend felt guilty at not spending as much time as she would like with her other two children.

In my experience, this is what anyone with more than one child has been through, myself included, and luckily it's only temporary, because as the youngest gets older, she can join in more games with her older siblings. Though I must say, one on one time with each child can be hard to achieve once you have three. We just have to do the best we can.

I often find myself getting ready to go to bed after an evening busy with dinner, clean up and then work, and I go to check on my three sleeping boys, only to realise that since dinner time I haven't actually seen the older two, who put themselves to bed whilst I worked. It makes me feel bad, that I'm not there spending more time with them.

Of course, rationally I know that I need to work to provide for us and that Charlie needs more of my time to assist him physically (ie feeding, bathing etc) whilst the older two don't. But what about emotional need? Even a 12 and 14 year old need their mother's time on an emotional level.

And this takes me back to the beginning of of this post - trying to achieve a balance between home life and work. As I work from home, I don't have clear cut work and home times, so they tend to overlap a lot, which leads to the guilt I feel when I feel I let the balance swing too far one way or the other.

My solution?

Just do the best I can in any given moment.

And always remember that life is constantly changing, so this current situation will pass. It helps me get through the hard days.

I'd love to hear comments from other mums, to know whether I'm correct in presuming that most mothers have their own version of mummy guilt.

It's always nice to know you're the only one struggling with a particular problem.

No-one likes to feel like they're on their own.

Friday, July 16, 2010

In the past few days, 4 things that have made me smile......

1. Having followed Charlie's instruction to lay down on the rug with him, he pats my arms and says "Good boy, Mummy, good boy".

2. Walking into the room to find Bob the Builder on tv, with an almost 15 year old watching it alone, as even though it was long after little Charlie had wandered off, he needed to keep watching to see how it ended.

3. Being woken at midnight by the sound of Charlie singing 'The Wheels on the Bus" to himself in his cot until he falls back to sleep.

4. Corey on arriving home after being away at a friends house for an afternoon, confiding in me that although it's fun to go to a friends house, he likes coming home because he gets to be with his little brother again.

Children help you to see that these moments are what's really important in life, don't they?

Gosh, I just love my boys so much.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Due to the fact that I've got a bit of a cold at the moment, this post is going to be photo heavy. My head is pounding too much to put a lot of thought into this.

So please enjoy these photos of our little adventure filled outing, as we discovered a nearby regional park last week, whilst I go lay down for a while.

Charlie was off exploring as soon as we arrived.
"Haha... you set me free, now you've got to catch me!"

The car Kaiden will get on his 17th birthday. Not quite what he had in mind!

Corey and Charlie looking over the edge of the bridge and into the water.

And Kaiden showing Charlie the other side.

Aren't my older boys wonderful big brothers?

I love this photo.

But this one is my new all time favorite.

Even at 12, he's not too big to climb trees.

Sharing a joke.

Our handsome dog, Trooper loved running free and pretending he was a wild wolf.

Completely by accident, but I like the effect of the sun over his shoulder.

Sword fighting with grass stalks.

Trying to be artistic here.

And actually, I like the way it turned out.

Corey and Mitchell - friends since Kindy. That's 7 whole years.

Over half their lives.

Someone didn't want to go home, and was quite content for us to leave him playing in a field.

For all of two minutes.

Who would he charm if he was all on his own???

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wednesday's Adventure

Today was a mixed bag of feelings and emotions.

Woke feeling ok, but within an hour or two felt so ill I dozed on and off on the couch for an hour or so.

I then spent the rest of the morning trying to catch up on urgent work, which I managed to achieve.

I felt better in the afternoon, so after paying my way overdue car registration (bad me), I wrangled my three boys, plus an extra one, into the car and off we went for a little adventure.

I took some lovely photos which I will organise and hopefully post soon, but here's a sneak peak.

And now I'm off to bed. Goodnight all.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Monday Afternoon

Yesterday afternoon I returned home from work to find a very out of sorts and crying little boy anxiously awaiting my return.

It seemed that Charlie was still feeling unwell, even though his nose was no longer running. And an hour of playing at the park with Daddy and his brother earlier in the day had used up what little energy he had.

Although I had major amounts of work to catch up on thanks to a recent database issue that had just been resolved, I knew what I had to do.

I spent the afternoon on the couch with my littlest boy, reading a book and cuddling.

Sometimes the universe sends an unequivocal message to take some time out from the hectic pace of life.

It was just what we both needed.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

An Idyllic Sunday.....

..... I'm standing at the stove making pancakes and listening to music.

...... Husband and man in the making 14 yr old are outside building and destroying things respectively. Busy with their man-stuff.

..... Corey and friend are laughing and entertaining Charlie in the sun filled living room.

Right now, all is right with my world.

Except I just over cooked the pancakes - ooops!

Two Routes

Does anyone else find driving on freeways a soulless experience?

The freeway. Sand and scrub.

Today I had the choice of two routes - the quicker but lifeless freeway, or the slightly longer but tree-filled way.

Time was on my side so of course I took the latter route. True it's still suburban, with multiple traffic lights and many other motorists around, but the roads are lined with native trees and there is even a small pine plantation that we pass.

Almost as payment for going that way, we spied a little gate leading into the pine plantation that just beckoned to us.

I forsee we'll be off exploring the pines in the not too distant future.

(Charlie is a little ill at the moment so didn't want to take him out in the icy wind that's blowing today).

Saturday, July 3, 2010

You Know You've Become An Aussie When.....

A recent post by Genesis over at ExpatMom titled 'You Might Be a Long Term Expat if...' regarding adapting to life in Guatemala, inspired me to compile a similar list here.

1. You know, whatever the tourist books say, that no one says cobber, sheila or throw another shrimp on the barbie.

2. You understand that the phrase "a group of women wearing black thongs" refers to footwear and may be less alluring than it sounds.

3. You abbreviate every word, all of which usually end in -o.

ie. arvo, combo, garbo, metho, milko, muso, rego, servo, smoko, speedo, righto etc.

4. When someone asks 'have you slip-slop-slapped today?' you understand exactly what they mean.

5. You can translate: ‘Dazza and Shazza played Acca Dacca on the way to Maccas'.

6. You know the words to the national anthem and even understand what the word 'girt' means.

7. You know that New Zealander's are basically our naive country cousins, who have a weird 'fush-and-chups' accent and, for some bizarre reason, think that they invented pavlova. They are to be pitied. They have no hope of gaining the upper hand in the endless sporting rivalry between our two nations.

8. In summer you've experienced the metal seat belt buckle in the car acting as an effective branding iron and the steering wheel being too hot to the touch to actually drive the car.

9. You walk through the bush looking up. Just in case of Drop Bears.

10. The memory of snow seems like a figment of your imagination.

11. You've done the "hot sand" dance at the beach while running from the ocean back to your towel.

12. You've risked attending an outdoor music festival on the hottest day of the year.

13. You realise that lifeguards are the only people who can get away with wearing Speedos.

14. A five-hour trip to go camping for the weekend isn't out of the question or excessive.


And just in case you wanted to know :

4. Slipped on a shirt, Slopped on some sunscreen and Slapped on a hat. Drilled into Aussies during summer to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

5. Darren and Sharon listed to AC/DC (the band) on the way to McDonalds.

6. Girt
: to encircle or bind

9. Definition of a Drop Bear :
Drop bears are commonly said to be unusually large, vicious, carnivorous koalas that inhabit treetops and attack their prey by dropping onto their heads from above.They are purely fictitious and an example of local lore intended to frighten children, confuse outsiders and amuse locals.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Day at the..... Farm

Del had a rare day off during the week so since the sun was out, we braved the cold weather and took Charlie to visit a nearby farm.

It was Charlie's first visit to a farm to see real, live animals. Not the 2D ones he sees in his books.

And they were so much bigger in real life than he expected.

He quite liked the sheep and thought feeding this one was great.

The farmer assured us that this goat was very gentle, though Charlie insisted that it was a Scary Goat.

But all he really wanted to do was pick up the feed pellets off the floor and put them back in the bucket.

If only the Scary Goat would move her head out the way.

Charlie was fascinated by this baby rabbit and didn't want to leave this vantage point.

This bulls head was very big up close, and those horns were very pointy. Charlie declared it to be a Scary Cow.

I must admit that this time I agreed with him.

And here is Daddy explaining that pigs aren't at all scary, they're actually very nice, if not a little smelly.

But Charlie doesn't look convinced.

Perhaps he saw the sign on the gate that read 'Beware - Pigs Can Bite'.

This is Charlie's new friend Norma, the baby goat.

She wasn't at all scary. Charlie patted, hugged and kissed her, and declared his love for her. I felt the same way. She was just adorable.

Norma is only a week and a half old and was abandoned by her mother. So one of the lady farmers is hand raising her. Norma spends her days following the lady farmer all about the farm, charming everyone who sees her.

There were chickens galore on the farm and they were very used to little boys chasing them.

This poor chicken was the object of Charlie's tireless attempts to pat it. And the further away it ran the more determined he was to reach it.

That was until the chicken turned and actually ran towards him, at which point Charlie ran back to the safety of mummy's arms repeating 'Scary chicken, scary chicken' over and over.

And just to finish off a lovely day out, there was even a playground there! Charlie walked over this little bridge then down the steps onto the ground, then would walk back around and go over the bridge again.

And again.

And again.

I think we'll definitely being going back to the farm again soon.

Hopefully the animals will be a little less scary next time.