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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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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…

Sunday Chores…

Today is Sunday, and I have spent the day doing something that I have put off for the last few weeks. *ahem*, OK.  For the last few months…putting away all the clean clothes that sit in basket in the middle of our living area.  I think it is appropriate that they are in the middle of the living area, because it makes it so much more convenient to get pour clothes each morning. Friends talk about their ‘floordrobe’.  Well, this is our ‘basket-drobe’, though floordrobe sounds better!

It feels so great to have this all done. For a moment I am one of those people.  You know the people.  The ones that are organised with a clean house and they never have to apologise for it.  Are you one of those people?  But sadly it is short lived.  I have a load of washing in the dryer, and another in the washing machine…

Getting these clothes put away led me to cleaning out my wardrobe, which made me learn a few things about myself.

  • I have many pairs of pyjamas.  None of which I actually bought for myself.  They have all been gifts.  No more pj’s please.  And I still wear an old t-shirt to bed!
  • I must have the largest collection of Diesel jeans known to man (& woman). I have bought all these online because Diesel jeans from a retailer are ridiculously expensive. Of the approx. 7 pairs of Diesel jeans, I would say that 1 pair fits me.  And they are the ones I wear on a daily basis.
  • The collection of Diesel jeans is followed closely by my collection of white t-shirts. And yes, every single one has a stain that renders it useless for wearing in public.
  • I have also ended up with a big pile of clothes to go to the Salvos.  Most of those came from the Salvos to begin with, and the rest were hand my downs from my sister.  I like to reduce, reuse and recycle!

After weeks of struggling every morning to find clothes to wear to work, I was being reduced to wearing the same thing every day. I now know that I have heaps of clothes, and I actually know where they all are.

My fear is that in the morning I still won’t be able to work out what to wear to work, because I have too much choice!

What are you doing with your Sunday?

 

….Come on summer, start already…

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boys night out…with Mum…

I am single mumming it this week while Richard is away.

I was driving home from work tonight and thought I just could not face cooking dinner, so when I got home I floated the idea of eating out. Two out of three boys voted yes, so majority rules, and we decided to go out for Chinese.

It started with a trip to the bottle shop – for me, not the boys! Whilst in the queue Arch, who is my ever-loving boy, decided to tell me he loved me. He is divine and I think it melted the heart of everyone in the queue. He was a bit embarrassed with the comments.

Then off to Chinese. And how lucky are we to run into friends who were also having a family dinner at the local Chinese (*waving* hi Derek and Kara).

After dinner we stop in at the local IGA for dog food and treats for us. I’m saving mine to eat in bed while reading a book.  I am such a party girl.

Boys came home, gobbled their treats and are now on a sugar high.

An hour past their bed time and they are still up, enthralled, watching ‘Redesign your brain’…at least it is educational…

I loved my boys company tonight. They are funny, smart, adoring, adorable, and annoying – all in one.

A big night out with Mum…

Thankful Thursday at its best…

 

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I DIY’d…

I have DIY’d my arse off lately! As per usual I have a few half-done projects, such as…
Kitchen splashback
Talking of half-done projects, my kitchen has been half renovated for many years, and I don’t have a splashback. I wanna splashback!! I want something a bit different, and not too expensive. Everyone one has glass nowadays, so I don’t want glass. I wanted a really groovy and ‘out there’ tile, but my husband won’t let me. So what I have come up with is wall paper. I have done a test with several wall papers on some mdf that I have varnished.
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^^^ These are my sample papers. My fave is the one on the left.

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^^^ I have it sitting behind the stove to test the durability.

I used a spray varnish, but when I do it for real I will use a roll on varnish to get a thick glossy look. The spray wasn’t thick enough.

My benchtops at the moment are laminate, but I want to use Ardex Feather Finish to do a hardy concrete render on the bench top.  Check out a tutorial about it here.
Blanket

This is my second half finished crocheted blanket! This one will be about 25 cm of grey, with a fluoro stripe, then grey, then stripe, then grey… I think you get the idea. Like it so far??
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Vegetable garden
I have saved the best until last! I have a half done orchard with various attempts at a veggie patch each year (are you sensing a theme here?). I have about 10-12 sad fruit trees, 3 chooks, a pile of wood, and my most recent attempt at a veggie patch was garden beds in special plastic ‘bags’. I really wanted a real veggie patch, so I have sorted and moved a huge pile of timber that was also in my orchard that my husband has had sitting there for years. It was a from a friend’s old car port that they took down with hubby’s intention of us using it for god knows what.

ARch & chook

^^^ I always have to include a picture of this boy with his chook…

I moved all the wood.

I sorted all the wood.

I picked out the good pieces for edging the garden beds. I also found a few good pieces to make a table top for a potting table.

I got brackets, screws and my husband’s handy dandy electric drill, AND I MADE 4 VEGGIE PATCH GARDEN BEDS!! And made the table top.  Woo hoo! Very empowering.

 

veggie patch part done veggei patch 1

 

^^^ Can you see my table top at the back leaning against the fence?  I just need legs for it now…

I only had enough soil to fill one of them, so the rest can wait until next weekend, because I tell you, I ache.

Every. Single. Muscle. Aches.

So I am going to try and bribe my boys to give me a massage while I look through my gardening books and plan all the vegetables I will grow.

Did I mention that I ache?

Give a little…

I’m sure we all give a bit of money to charity here and there.  It could be giving money to the tin rattlers at traffic light, selling raffle tickets for charity, or sponsoring someone raising money for cancer research.

But it isn’t often that you get to see the actual results of your donation.

Well, this week I did, and it made me cry (as per usual).

I have been going through a spate of donating lately (I will list the causes at the end of this blog in case you want to give a little too!), so have sponsored a few friends, clients and family members in their various pursuits to raise money for medical research in lots of different areas. $10 here and $20 there.  And I hope that in my lifetime I see some sort of result for everyone’s time and effort.

A few weeks ago, maybe even a couple of months ago, I noticed something on Facebook about a New Zealand Dad, Robbie Ritchie, who had a life threatening condition in his brain with an 80% chance of having a brain haemorrhage. He needed an operation that could only be done at the International Neuroscience Institute in Germany.  The more I read about this family and their need to raise $200,000 to be able to go to Germany, pay for the operations and remain there for several weeks, I just felt that I had to do something.

So I donated my $20 and kept an eye on their story. I learned of all their fundraising efforts in New Zealand, their angst at leaving their little boys back home whilst they went to Germany and their nervousness on the eve of the operation.  I felt nervous for them too.

Well yesterday Robbie had his surgery, and he came through it all ok.  I breathed a sigh of relief for this family that I don’t know and never will know.

It was so rewarding to be able to see the result of the money I donated, even though it was a drop in the ocean of the $156,000 that they raised.

I will still continue to donate money to people who are committing their time and effort to raise money for a cause they have been touched by, but I will also keep an eye out for those causes that will have an immediate effect. There is nothing better!

Robbie Ritchie’s Story

https://www.facebook.com/RobbieNeedsHisBrainFixed?ref=ts&fref=ts

https://www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/robbieneedshisbrainfixed

http://fixrobbiesbrain.wordpress.com/

 

Other causes I have donated to lately…support them where you can…

 

http://relay.cancercouncil.com.au/2013/wagga_wagga_relay_for_life_67/Elders-Wagga-Wagga

Sponsor my sister Jane Whitlock and niece Ellie Taylor in Relay for Life…

 

http://register.gongride.org.au/2013-Sydney-to-Gong-Bike-Ride/natalie11479

Sponsor my colleague Natalie as she is riding to raise money for MS research…

 

http://ml14.endcancer.org.au/site/TR/Events/Melbourne2014?px=1036130&pg=personal&fr_id=1090

Sponsor my client Michele as she raises money to end Women’s cancers…

 

I am also part of a group of girls who get together every 6 weeks or so.  We each take $20 for the kitty (and a bottle of wine for the fun)…and when we get enough money together we donate money or vouchers anonymously to local causes.  If you are located on the Mornington Peninsula and want in on this one, let me know!

A few pics from our Sunday jaunt last weekend…

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My Wednesdays…

A couple of months ago I changed from working full time to having Wednesdays off.  Oh, I love it!  In preparation for all of the extra time I would have, I bought canvasses to paint, fabrics to sew, and glass to mould in my kiln. I had dreams of spending the day taking photos, having a tidy and calm house, and feeling refreshed for the rest of the week. The projects I had in mind, oh the projects! Did I mention my vegie patch? And the exercise, all the exercise I was going to get. The possibilities…

The reality?

Well, I still adore Wednesday. Love it, LOVE it.

I do vaguely clean the house and do the washing (must go and put another load in right now).  And I do re-establish a sense of calm and order to our home and family. I generally get dinner organised early, and make a nice after school snack for the kids.

I try to work on my blog, and research ways of taking it further, as well as continuing my ongoing research into dyslexia and dyscalculia for our Max.

I even bought some great exercise gear from Geometry Active Wear (it is brilliant – really holds everything in!).

BUT…I haven’t taken any photos for ages, my fabric is untouched (and I have some great orange fabric for cushions in there!), my glass has not been taken out of the box, my kiln is cold, and my canvass is still stashed behind the chair in my bedroom. Vegie patch? Non-existent.

And today Arch is sick, so no school for him.  Instead I am sharing my day off with him, and taking him to the Doctor.

But I am patient.  I know my time will come. And when that time does come, I will be ready!

 

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^^^We are hanging out for warm days again…^^^

A rocky road…

Sometimes the road feels rocky, even when nothing has changed. Why does the road feel so rocky at the moment, when it is the same road I have travelled again, and again, and again? And AGAIN. Maybe that’s the problem. It isn’t rocky, but full of ruts.

Deep and philosophical I know!

And to top off the philosophical musings…maybe I need to take the road less travelled…

Ba ha ha ha…don’t worry, I am not going crazy, or reading too many self-help books. I have discovered you don’t get much out of self-help books when you only read the first couple of pages! I just need someone else to read the book and summarise it for me in 1000 words or less.

What has everyday life involved lately? The same crap that everyone else is wading through. The stuff that happens to me happens to everyone. It’s just that I bang on about it.

So what has made the ruts in my road?

We are going down a path of investigating what really is behind the learning difficulties of our gorgeous Biggest Boy. This has involved meetings with the teachers at school, educational psych appointments and assessments, and lots of research on my behalf. Words being thrown around are dyslexia, dyscalculia and general maths deficit. Thankfully other words being thrown around are good IQ, artistic and talented at drums, and all round gorgeous boy. I have a feeling this particular path we are going down will feature in future blog posts.

The Middle Child has thankfully not had any accidents of late, though we did have The Little One at hospital last week after coming off the monkey bars at school. After our example of bad parenting, when The Middle Child came off the monkey bars, and we didn’t take him to the Doctor until the next day because he wanted to go to the school Carnival…and then we found he had broken BOTH wrists…we took the little one straight to the hospital. Nothing was wrong with him. Nothing.

The Middle Child is going through a bout of insomnia. And let when tell you, when a 12 year old child can’t sleep, it is also hard for the mother to sleep…because he stands beside the bed telling you he can’t sleep. *sigh*

But you know what does me in?

It is HOMEWORK and the battles that go with it.

I feel like an am doing year 8 all over again. And I have discovered that I remember NOTHING from the first time around!!

I am looking forward to 2 weeks time when we will find out (hopefully) some of the answers to our questions. Not only will my road be a bit smoother, but more importantly the road for our gorgeous Biggest boy will be smoother too.

The tide will turn. The ruts will smooth over. I will go down a road less travelled. And I will sleep again. But right now I must go and listen to The Little One play a song on his violin that he has written ….I think I might get a wine first…

 

The gorgeous Biggest Boy…

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STOP. Slow down. More time please…

Easter was lovely.  And now I have this whole week off work, which has been really nice so far.

But the problem is that it is Wednesday already and I haven’t done anything!!  I wanted to do sewing and writing, painting (as in walls) and painting (as in canvases).

But I have done none of that.

I really want to.  But I just can’t be bothered.

Today I have done….well….I took one of the boys for a haircut and I did some washing.  Then I had a snooze on the couch.

And now, before I know it, it is time to put dinner on.

Where did the time go?

So, tomorrow I need to get some motivation and some energy to do some little projects to kick start me.

Maybe I just need to get off the computer…off Facebook…off Pinterest…off blogs…off craft sites…off Ebay….off my arse…and actually do something.

Hmmm, I’ll just wait and see….

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^^^ Enjoy your sunset wherever you are….

3H…Health, House and Home…

After a year of rocky health for many people, family & friends, and yet another handful of cancer diagnoses of friends, or friends of friends, I have made this the year of good health. Now I am not talking running marathons here (no way!), but healthy eating, general fitness, feeling good, and acting on concerns. I think that if we can just implement some good habits, it will all be good. So I went for a bike ride this morning on the Sunshine Yellow treadly, am trying to eat healthily, and am off to the doctor next week to get spits and spots checked.

Onto House and Home…are they 2 separate entities? To me they are. We have been in our house for 11 years. ELEVEN YEARS! And the renovations are so slow or non-existent that it is turning to dust before my very eyes. But what I notice is that when I complain about our house and get disheartened, or talk about wanting to move, that boys get upset. They tell me they love this house, they never want to move, and that I am not to say bad things about it!!

So while I see taps hanging out of the living room wall (I kid you not!) where the kitchen used to be, or the partly yellow ceiling that Richard started painting about 9 years ago (changing FROM yellow, not TO yellow), or the half done bathroom that we have to do again because the shower leaks like a sieve (much like our guttering), and a half done kitchen (notice a pattern here??), the boys see a place where they feel comfortable and safe, a kitchen where they tell me I am the best cook in the world (again, I kid you not!), a lounge where they can curl up and watch their favourite movies and a house where we have shared great times with friends who don’t care about the crappiness of their surrounds. Though if anyone does turn those taps on in the living area, they are in deep shit!

So sometimes I need to think about the things that I love about our house so I too can see the same things the boys do. I love the natural light and big windows in our house. I love the living area being upstairs and living amongst the tree tops in a beautiful bushy area. I love the location of where we live – on top of a hill, backing onto a great reserve (if we pretend not to see the neighbour’s tennis court), a huge space for chooks, vegie patch, orchard and tons of boys  and their bikes. We are walking distance to so many great friends, and a 4 minute drive to the beach. Sounds like a slice of heaven right? And it is, but I guess sometimes I do just need to remind myself…

So while we have a home that the boys love, I plan on working on the house and garden to make it the house I love.

So while this is what I want….

McKimm

Photo courtesy of McKimm

This is what I have got….(not the best pic, and I just want to point out that I have ripped out the front garden beds, replaced them with Canna Lillies, fixed up the screen hiding crap in the garage etc etc, excuses, excuses….)

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And I just need to make the best of it!! I will keep you updated on the progress…