Author: Primrose Press

Riddle me this…

I wonder if the ambition to pursue a state of happiness and authentic life is all the rage nowadays, or is it my age and stage of life that makes it a priority? Something to ponder…

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bikes ‘n stuff…

OK, so I’ve told you have entered the mad mad world of women over 40 who decide to do some crazy exercise event (usually a marathon, but I HATE running), in my case a 200km bike ride.  But at least if you are running, all you need is legs and shoes.  I have discovered with doing a bike ride, whilst you can do it sitting down, some equipment is required…

I have done 2 training rides and so far I have bought:

  • gel padded knickers (and yet to receive them in the mail)
  • gel bike seat

Are you seeing a theme here?

I have discovered there is much more to be bought:

  • gel padded bike pants (several pairs)
  • sports socks (‘cos my husband gets cross at me for wearing his)
  • foot strap thingies (apparently makes riding easier)
  • drink bottle back pack thingy
  • mini super duper bike pump
  • little ‘bum’ bag for a bike (not for me) to put phone and coffee money in

I also have the small issue of a bike.  I have a gorgeous bike that I call the yellow beauty, from Reid Cycles (can be seen here –Yellow Beauty).  I love it.  I feel like The Queen riding it.  It is not made for a 200km ride! So I have been using my 1 year old son’s mountain bike (also from Reid Cycles) with a gel seat attached.  It is a hard slog I tell you.  I have been told that I need a road bike, though they aren’t very pretty.  I wonder if I could get one with a basket on the front?

My other challenge is that I have to raise $2,500 just to participate, and it would be sad if I did all this training and then could actually do the ride!  I have raised $125 (thank you to some very generous friends).  Would anyone else like to donate to a very very very worthy cause – Cancer research?  If so, click here.

How about a pic to brighten your day?

Susan x

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OMG, you will not believe what I have done…

OMG, what have I done! (Mum, OMG means Oh. My. God…)

I have committed to riding a bike 200km over a single weekend! Can you believe it? For those of you that know me, I know you can’t believe it. BUT IT IS TRUE! Aggghhh….. What have I done? I know, I know, I keep asking myself that question. When I speak with the great girls in my team, it is a great idea. Brilliant even. When I am sitting on the couch with a glass of wine, it seems like madness! Who thought of this craziness? 200 km in a single weekend?? I am so unfit. AND you sleep in tents…ugh! Madness I tell you. Why am I doing this madness? A few reasons actually. Primarily to raise money for the Peter McCallum Cancer Centre. Everyone knows someone, or has someone in their family that has been touched by cancer or lost to cancer. I am no different and we all have our stories. The research and treatment that people receive make such a difference to their lives. And not only a difference to their lives, but to the lives of the people around them. My others reasons are…well….you know…it seemed like a good idea at the time!

To spur me on and keep me cycling, I need donations. Each person has to raise a set amount of money to be allowed to go in the ride, and every little cent counts. So I will be sharing links to my fundraising page, asking you to share links to this page, asking you to buy a raffle ticket or a sausage, or even getting you to just check for change at the back of your couch!

Here is my fundraising page…Help me with my madness!

So please help me out and donate!

Susan xx

 

ps: And because my blog is not my blog without a photo…

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Catching my breath….

Wow, I have not blogged for so long!  Not because I don’t have anything to say, I have heaps to say.  And it is all brilliant, witty and hilarious (of course).  But. I. just. have. not. had. time. And if I have had the time, I have not had the energy (and perhaps realised what I wanted to say was not so brilliant, witty or hilarious after all).

There is so much that I want to do, but I don’t have the time or energy.  Do you ever feel that way?  

My work has also moved into the City, so that has added on a HEAP of travel time that is sucking me dry.  I spend about 3 or so hours in the car each day (about 1hr 45mins each way). Oh well, that is the way it is for the moment.

I have a glorious day off today, which I am loving and is giving me pause to catch my breath, so all is good in the world.  That and my gorgeous boy turned 13 today.  Wow, 2 teenagers in the house.   

Happy weekend to you!

x

 

Day I

The new year has rolled in and I have realised it is 12:30pm and I am still in my dressing gown! Perfect.

We saw in 2014 with good friends, good food and good conversation, whilst making some new friends too.  The kids had a great time with people who will be their lifelong friends.

It was as a new year should be…full of joy and great promises for the future.  May we see many more like this.

x

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Day 365…

Wow, New Year ’s Eve is here, and I know I say it every year, and in fact every month, but time seems to be going faster and faster.  What say you? Do you feel the same way?

Like any year, 2013 has had ups and downs, but I have high hopes for 2014!

In a quick review, the big thing for us was finding out that Max has Dyslexia and Dyscalculia.  This has changed our whole approach to Max’s education, and has made a huge difference to Max.  We appreciate his strengths and gifts so much more now and are constantly thinking about and trying to be creative with helping him with the whole reading, writing and ‘rithmatic side of things.

For the first few months of the year I really struggled with full time work and home and family and felt that I wasn’t doing anything well and all people and areas of my life were missing out.  I kept wishing and praying for big change that would take the need for action out of my hands!  As they say, be careful, you might get what you wish for! Change came, but I don’t think it was what I was after! My work went through a merger, whilst not disastrous, it was a really difficult time with lots of uncertainty and questioning if this is what I want to choose to do (and I do get a bit narky when choice is taken away from me!).  Change is a bit like parenting – you can offer all the advice you want and think you know what people are going through, but until you go through it yourself you really don’t know what you are talking about!! After a long 6 months, we are coming through the other end of it, but I am still questioning what it is that I want to do with my life!  I am sure that answer will come one day…

Just before we went through the merger at work I had dropped work to 4 days a week and that has been fantastic.  It has made such a difference to me and our little household.  It has given me time to breathe, time to research, time to clean and wash clothes, and time to focus on our family.

I have plenty to be thankful for in 2013.  I am so thankful for our discoveries with Max (or should I say…dys-coveries…boom tish!). I talk about this a lot with other parents at school and in our general community and there are so many parents desperate for help with their children that are experiencing learning difficulties.  I could go on for hours, but whilst our school is good and we are happy with it, you really need to put in so much help as and initiate so much action as parents. So that is my band wagon for the moment.

I am also grateful that we have put all parts in place to finally renovate our house in the coming year (albeit on a shoe string budget).

I am grateful for a wonderful friends and family that have shared our 2013 and been part of our lives.

 

I am looking forward to so much in 2014.

  • I am looking forward to finally making our house much more liveable and really improving our lifestyle.
  • I am looking forward to a good year at school for Max which will involve LOTS of maths tutoring.
  • I am looking forward to an exciting start to high school for Ed and hope he has a great year (because year 6 was quite average for him).
  • I am looking forward to a great year 4 for Arch where he will actually try and stretch himself at school (hmmm).
  • I am looking forward to a new baby joining our broader family.
  • I am looking forward to an art class I have booked into for Feb and other creative plans that I have for the year.
  • I am looking forward to living more in the moment and being mindful and appreciating what I have.

So that is my quick year in review and hopes and dreams for 2014.

What about you?

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’tis the season…

Well hello festive season!

Yes, it is the 1st December, and we launch into the festive season…possibly the most stressful time of year.  But I love it!  I have always felt that Christmas time is like having a new born baby – it is an absolute joy and special time of your life, but you are just too tired and stressed to enjoy it.  Who agrees?

Each year I vow to enjoy it, but usually end up exhausted and stressed and can’t wait for it to be over.  But this year will be different.  This year I have a plan!

So what is it that makes Christmas time stressful?

Well, too many activities on for one.  Everything costs a bundle of money. And I am exhausted – not enough sleep, too much heavy food and alcohol and not enough sleep, and then add worries about the spending of money and remembering each activity.

So what is different his year?

I have done most of my Christmas shopping already, and have done mostly it online. I have also spread it out over a few months, so we don’t get one big financial whack.  We try not to go overboard.  Kids get a present from us, a present from Santa, and then a Santa bag/stocking with bits and bobs. So the boys shopping is pretty much done.  My side of the family is big.  We usually do a Kris Kringle, but this time we have decided no presents. So just the in-laws side to shop for.

I am really making sure I get enough sleep.  This is such a big thing for me as I can be such a flaky sleeper which can lead to all sorts of stress and anxiety (as well as being a result of all sorts of stress and anxiety – bitter cycle).  So for me at the moment, down time and sleep are important.  I like to be an early riser, so I am making sure my nights aren’t too late.

There are so many activities this time of year – catch ups with friends, work do’s, school activities.  I am trying to be mindful and make sure that I enjoy these rather than feeling exhausted.  The point about getting enough rest and down time helps with that.  I also drop activities if I can.  And whilst I would like to make it to all the work functions and consider many colleagues to be friends, when it comes to family and friends, the work ones go on the bottom of the list, and if they need to be dropped, they are.  When the kids say they are not keen on the school disco, I don’t push them to go; I just give a sigh of relief.

I am conscious of practicing mindfulness and gratitude.  I have spoken to the boys about the trap of getting caught up in the ‘season’ and at least once each day we need to stop, take a breath, and think about the things that we are thankful for. I am also very guilty of looking forward and not enjoying the moment.  I am always rushing ahead.  So this year I am deliberately practicing mindfulness.  Being in the moment, and enjoying the moment.  Enjoying my boy’s last year of primary school and his year 6 graduation. Enjoying what could be the last year that my baby believes in Santa.  Enjoying my big boy in his last days of year 8 before he moves into the boy-man world of year 9. Enjoying catching up with friends and appreciating them.

Part of practicing gratitude is giving.  It is hard to give when you feel you have so much to do and pay for at the moment.  It is not just Christmas, but all the school things that need to be paid by the end of the year for next year.  Don’t worry, I get it.  Boy do i get it.  But there are so many ways you can give.  Rather than buying normal cards from Officeworks to go with teachers gifts, I have bought cards from Christian Blind Mission (I try to buy them from different places each year – it was World Vision last year).  It costs the same as a card from the shops, but has a greater impact.  The cards I bought pay for the lenses that are required for cataract surgery.

I know this sounds easier than it really is, but being organised is a big one for me! I review the calendar several times a day and make sure I am on top of everything.  It doesn’t always work though – I thought the sports carnival was last Friday and was all prepared, but it is this coming Friday!  I was a bit disappointed not to get that out of the way! I do list after list – which teachers gifts and Kris Kringle gifts do we still need to get?  What activities and appointments are coming up?  Is there anything going on at work or work trips that will throw a spanner in the works? Where do I need to get others to help?

I am really trying to eat healthily.  Christmas time in Australia is good for that – great summer fruits and veggies, and lots of glorious seafood. And along with that I am actually planning to do exercise in December.  Hah!  We’ll see about that one.

I am deep breathing.  A lot.

So what am I doing this 1st day of December?  I am playing Chris Isaak Christmas Carols, having a coffee, reviewing what needs to be done today, and just enjoying the moment and the sunshine. Oh, and will probably put up the Christmas tree later! (And yes, I am not mentioning all the mundane crap about getting school uniforms and work clothes ready for the week, lunch box food, exchanging something that didn’t fit for Ed’s graduation clothes, getting the school booklist done and paid for, getting Ed to a party etc – everyone has all that stuff to do).

How about you, are you feeling festive?

 

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the joy…

I realised something lovely this morning…Max has not had a tummy ache since he fund out he wasn’t stupid.

Every morning before school Max would complain of a stomach ache.  Every morning.  And of course he felt he couldn’t go to school. I did all sorts of things to try and help him.  I tried changing his diet (not too successfully though). I put him on a probiotic.  I tried to take dairy out of his diet.  Nothing made a difference, and really, it was all a bit of hard work.

This morning I realised that since we found out he was dyslexic and dyscalculic he has not had morning stomach aches.

Isn’t that wonderful?

It’s that time again…

Every 6 months or so I find myself lamenting over time. I don’t mean lamenting for a period of time, I mean being amazed by how fast time is going, how I don’t have enough time, and if I do I don’t enough energy.  I don’t have enough time to do everything I want, and even then I really just want to lie on the couch and do nothing (whilst still complaining about not having any time).

So that time has come around again (boom tish).  And like everyone, I am stunned, astounded, amazed, and baffled about how FAST time has gone.  Not only this year…and this year has flown! But also as I look at a photo beside my bed of the boys when they were little, how fast the last few years have gone!

So let’s talk about this year first. 2013. Nearly 2014.  Can you believe it?  Whilst winter felt like it dragged on, it really has gone by with the click on the fingers. We are now planning for Christmas, trying to squeeze in end of year school events, and work Christmas parties.  This seems to be taking up all the time for the things I would really like to do: spend time with family and friends, and a bit of quiet time reflecting on the year that was, the year to come and being grateful for all that we have.  Sorry, no time for that!

So, now that I am stunned at how fast this year has gone, how about the last few years?? I cannot even begin to express how I feel (actually I can!) about having 2 boys in secondary school next year, and I think my little Arch must have bruises from me trying to grip him as hard as I can to keep him little.

I don’t feel like this all the time.  Usually I am very happy to move forward, and while I loved it when the boys were little, I really try and take some joy in their current age, whatever that may be (except for when they are being shitty – then you can have them). But it has just hit me.  My son is much taller than I am, and he is no longer allowed to get dressed in front of the heater (for everyone’s sake!), and before I know it they will be planning their life.

So what can I do to slow down time?  Not much.  Take deep breaths.  I know that I am usually in a hurry to move forward, so I am making an effort at home and at work, when people want to talk to me, I stop, push my key board away, and focus on the person.  Just because you can multi task, it doesn’t mean that you should.

I am making a real effort to spend time, even if it is just a sliver, on the things I really want to do, be it writing, sewing, photography, or some other such thing.

A girlfriend gave me a bit of advice at my wedding (which her Mum gave her), which was,don’t drink too much and stop every 15 minutes and just think back so you can savour and remember everything.  It is a great piece of advice, which I ignored, had a few drinks, and forgot to do my bridal waltz! So I will try and apply that advice now…

I don’t know if any if this will slow down time, but it might help!

Some pics of our life lately…

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what a fraud…

People often say to me “your kids are so lucky to have you as a Mum”. This is usually when I talk about what research I am doing and meetings I am having at school for Max and his dyslexia and dyscalculia. Or when I am talking about Ed and what I am doing to ignite his passions and capture his imagination. Or with Arch… I actually don’t know what I say about Arch or do for him, but he is pretty cute.

I am not saying this because I think I am a shit hot parent, but because I feel like a fraud. You don’t see me when I am tired and grumpy and get cranky at them for every little thing. Or say something to them that really needs to go in the bad parenting book (that is one thick book at my house people). Or just say ‘NO’ to everything purely because I cannot be bothered with the effort that goes with saying ‘yes’.

I do a lot of research on behalf of my children. I draw up charts of what they should be doing, and when they should do homework, practice music and develop their skills in artistic pursuits. But it really does stop there. I don’t get around to the actual ‘doing’ of it. I know my kids should be doing more activities (because we do none, not a one, zilch), but I like them hanging about all day Saturday in their pj’s. And I like not having plans on a weekend. Or after school.

I am the master of giving my kids a guilt complex. I think about when I am old and what my kids will say about me. I think it will be…’my Mum could make me feel so guilty that all she had to do was look at me in a disappointed way…’ And that was me tonight when I felt that one, or all, children did not appreciate me sufficiently. I did manage to make one tear up when I made him feel that perhaps he wasn’t valuing my skills in the home or workplace. And really, why should he give a shit about my skills in the workplace? Now that my friends, is a real skill!

So when friends or people at work say to me “He is so lucky to have you as a Mum”, I feel so guilty and point out to them that they don’t see all the terrible things that I do as a mother and they only hear the things that I am willing to put out there publicly…
Does anyone else do this or feel this way, or is it really just me who should be putting these things in the ‘bad mother book’? I might make some money from that book one day…either that, or go to jail…