Monday, 30 April 2012

Going offline!!!

Well folks, it's time for me to pack up my computer for the move!  It's all happening and, while I felt pretty good this morning, this evening I'm feeling stressed that there's not enough done and the Big Fella will freak out about what's left when he gets here.

Ah well, it is what it is and will be done when it's done.  In theory I could pack and clean all night and all day tomorrow then totally crash at my grandparent's place tomorrow night, but I don't operate very well on no sleep.

I was reflecting today that sometimes, even when we're not moving, we don't realise we've already had our last conversation with someone who added something to our life.

For example, I won't get to talk to our garbage truck driver again but we've previously had mini conversations as the Little Big Fella insisted on going out twice a week to watch the rubbish truck.

Or the guy who works in the caravan park behind us and we used to chat to regularly.

Or the lady who sells Body Shop here and has a lovely daughter who she struggles with.

Or our neighbour who just moved in a month or so ago and invited the Little Big Fella over for a play today so that I could finish mowing.

People come in and out of our lives all the time, sometimes for a short time, or sometimes for a season.  They add to the richness of our lives in the smallest conversation or gesture, or sometimes they add a lot.

I enjoyed reflecting on the "people in my neighbourhood" (come on, are you humming it in your head yet???  Gotta love old school Sesame Street) today.  It made me smile and it reminded me of how grateful I am that life is not lived in isolation, but in community.

I'm looking forward to the new community we'll be becoming a part of.  I hope it's as good or better than this one!

Oh!!!!  You may remember I mentioned briefly about the Little Big Fella's first swimming lesson without me in the pool two weeks ago?  He bawled his eyes out and was completely morose for the whole class.  Last week he was better after a while, but needed encouragement to get in the pool.  Today he practically jumped in the pool with excitement!  It was so good to see him enjoying it so much.  And he's developed so much in these three lessons, which makes me really glad we did it.

Okay!  The truck's nearly here and I gotta cook dinner and then pack up the computer.  See you in a few days!!!!!!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Moving with a toddler


That is all.

Okay, it's not quite all.  When we first knew we'd be moving towns (about 6 months ago) I read a bunch of suggestions online about how to help a toddler through this major upheaval in their little lives.  I read about books that help them understand (at least a little) what is going on, having parties with friends, packing their own things, keeping normal routines and talking about all the great things about moving.

Nothing I read mentioned how absolutely shirty they could get, and that you'd get to the point where you wanted to strangle them!!!

I guess I should have known.  I mean, we have our bad days anyway so adding a big unknown change would obviously exacerbate those.

But, seriously!  The past few weeks, as things have started disappearing into boxes and Mummy has been busy packing and cleaning, the Little Big Fella has turned into this horrible little cranky monster.

It all culminated today in major tears and crankiness when we visited my grandparents this evening.  He LOVES Poppy especially and is so excited when we visit them.  But he hadn't slept this afternoon when he really needed it, we didn't get to do his favourite things with Poppy (flying the radio-controlled helicopter and riding on the tractor), and Gran cooked a lovely quiche that he wouldn't eat.

Sigh.  What is it about being around family that can sometimes make you feel like the worst parent in the world?  In my case I think it's that I had such high expectations of what kind of mother I would be and how my child/ren would behave and things haven't turned out that way.  And I guess I've made decisions that have led to some of the issues I'm currently facing with my gorgeous (no, that wasn't sarcastic) son.

Anyway, if you're moving (especially further than the other side of town) with a toddler, let me warn you:

You're going to have some super bad days and they will play up more than you might have seen before!

But you know what?  We've also had some gorgeous moments these past few weeks.  He's obviously been vulnerable and has needed extra cuddles and attention sometimes, which has led to some lovely conversations and (especially when I make the time for it) close, caring, loving moments that are the sweetness that makes life (especially when you're stressed) not only bearable, but wonderful.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

We achieved a lot!

My awesome sister and her family came around today.  My brother-in-law helped me take our couch to be replaced (amazingly took less than 10 minutes and the rain pretty much stopped while we were out) and my sister looked after the three boys and cleaned and packed.  My bro-in-law also re-hung the wardrobe doors in my room when we got back (we had to take them off because we can't open them all the way with our bed in the room).

After lunch my bro-in-law took the three boys to their place for sleep and play, while my sister and I did almost all the rest of packing (except what we'll use in the next two days, the rest of the office stuff, and some of the outside stuff) and a bit more cleaning.

I'm absolutely knackered but feel like we achieved so much today.  The list that's constantly re-checking itself in my head is fairly calm, rather than somewhat overwhelming.  Yay!!!

You know that tip about accepting help?  I didn't do super well on that one.  Although I have accepted almost all the help that has been offered, I realised that when people offer, I need to make a time straight away because if I don't, when I work out that I actually need help, I feel that they'll be too busy, or were just saying it or whatever.  But people like to help!  And you get so much more done with someone else around!  And, of course, it's fun to hang out with your friends :-D

My sister and I went and bought dinner and drinks then took them to her place and ate with all the boys.  They'd obviously had a full day of play because they were a little hyper and very tired!  We put them all in the shower together then I brought the Little Big Fella home.

And tonight, instead of packing or cleaning anything, I'm going to have a shower and go to bed and sleep peacefully all night!  Happy sigh :-)

Friday, 27 April 2012

My top 10 tips for moving

I know!  There are tons of suggestions online to help you when you're moving.  But I figured I'd add my two cents worth anyway :-D

(I was remiss in not noting when I first posted this that these tips are my mum's and I am re-learning their importance.  Mum is the moving Queen!  When they move, they have everything clean, in place and unpacked by no later than the next day, and normally on actual moving day.  And she never seems flustered or stressed about it - just busy.  I love you mum - you're my hero!)

1. If you can afford it, hire a removalist and/or cleaner.  I dream of moving this way one day :-)

2. Start early!  No matter how organised you are, and how clean you think your house is, it will take longer than you think to get it all packed and clean.  I'd recommend starting everything a week earlier than you think you need to. Even if you're all done early, a quick dust/wipe is much easier and quicker than a full clean.

3. Make a list.  I know, I'm a list freak!  This post is an example.  And here are my current lists:

But even if you're not generally a fan of lists, I really recommend making a list of each room in your house and the things you need to do in that room for it to be "finished".  You may like to check everything off as you go or just read through it when you think you're done to make sure nothing has been forgotten.

You may also need a list of other things you need to do such as:
  • Redirecting your mail
  • Arranging for your utilities to be turned off/on
  • Paying the bills in advance

4. Get rid of stuff.  We all do it.  We buy something on sale but never end up using it.  Or we keep that thing "just in case" and the opportunity to use it never arises.  We plan to fix that shirt/toy/frame but never get around to it.  We have old clothes in our cupboard for when we get back in shape.  But basically our house is just filling up with stuff we don't want, use, love or need.

Now is the perfect opportunity to get rid of it!  Why pack and move things that you don't want, use, love or need???  What a waste of time, energy and packing materials!!!

5. Invest in good packing materials.  There are lots of places where you can get free boxes (eg. Bunnings, supermarkets, recycle dumpsters), but it's really worth making sure you have good, strong boxes and that you fill them completely.  When you stack the boxes up you don't want them collapsing, or worse, spilling their contents everywhere!  Try to get ones that are the same dimensions so that they stack neatly - it'll make your job on moving day that much easier.

And don't forget the tape!  If you can afford it, buy a good tape dispenser (don't get a cheap one - they're not worth it).  But definitely buy the good quality tape.  It sticks to the boxes better and basically keeps everything much more secure.

You will also need a marker or two.  I got a little crazy this time and bought coloured markers.  I used a different colour for each room/area then stacked my boxes in room piles.  I'm hoping it'll make it easier at the other end but it's probably just me being overly organisational :-D

Also, don't forget to write exactly what's in your boxes and the room it is for. Writing "SHED" and "Tools" is probably not going to be especially helpful if you have 10 boxes of "Tools" and you're specifically looking for your battery drill so that you can get the beds together and the kids are screaming because they're completely exhausted.

6. Use quality cleaning products.  It's worth purchasing good cleaning products because they make the job go so much quicker and with much less elbow grease.  I highly recommend:

  • Good quality microfibre cloths.  I especially love the ones that are designed for glass because they work with just water and they don't leave fluff everywhere.
  • Liquid sugar soap is awesome for cleaning ceilings and walls.  If you have a flat mop (the ones with the removable pads), use that to make the job quicker and easier.
  • Magic Erasers - these things really are awesome and work on almost all marks that I've tried.  You do need to be a bit careful though because they sometimes remove the paint so make sure you test them out (try inside the cupboard - scuff marks perhaps) first.
7. Take a break.  Yeah, there's heaps to do but if you kill yourself you won't make it to the end.  Take 15 minute breaks for drinking water, having a healthy snack or lunch, and going to the loo.  Sit down and rest while you're having your break so that you can recharge for the next attack.

8. Accept help!  When someone offers to help, make a time and date with them straight away.  Even if it turns out you don't need help, packing and cleaning with a friend is not only quicker, but way more fun!  And if you get everything done, you can go out for coffee :-D

9. Have a last/first box.  This is the box that you pack last and open first.  It will have:
  • Clean sheets for each of the beds
  • Clean towels
  • The kettle and hot drink items (tea, coffee, sugar, milk - small UHT cartons can come in handy here, mugs, teaspoon/s)
  • Things for breakfast (toaster, bread, plates, butter, knife, spread/s, and/or cereal, milk - again UHT is the go if you won't have a way of keeping your milk very cold, bowl/s, spoon/s)
  • Anything else you need straight away even if you don't unpack any other boxes (for example, we'll need our curtains and rods at our new place)
10. Make it fun!  Moving can be seriously stressful!  But it can also be a great time.  I mean, it's the exciting start of a new phase in your life right?  So turn up some fun music (careful of offending neighbours of course), get others to help (many hands make light work!), and don't forget to have some food and drinks available for you and your helpers throughout the day (and the stronger stuff for when it's all done and you're just chillin' out in your new place with your mates).

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

A surprise goodbye

After going to the Anzac Day dawn service this morning I did a little more cleaning (I can't wait to be done with the windows!!!  Only 2 to go.).  Then I got myself and the Little Big Fella ready and we headed to my sister's place.  My brother-in-law had agreed to look after the three boys while my sister and I went out for a lovely, quiet sisters' lunch.

When we got to the restaurant I noticed the car of a friend I used to work with. We parked then started walking and I noticed another friend's car.  We walk up the stairs at the restaurant and there is a long table and I see the two friends whose cars I'd noticed.  Then I look around the table and see more people I know that I used to work with.  Then I notice my hairdresser.  Then Super Carer.  Then a good friend from Mum's Group.

Everyone is smiling and laughing and I'm thinking "what a strange thing that these people would all be here together - how do they know each other?".  It eventually dawns on me that they're all here to say goodbye to me!!!  My awesome sister had arranged a surprise goodbye party for me!  (Have I mentioned lately how awesome my sister is???)

I was SO overwhelmed that it took probably 20 minutes for me to get it together enough to order a drink!  Then it took me ages to decide what to order.  I was truly so overwhelmed that all these people would want to say goodbye to me.  I know that might sound kind of odd but I guess I got so caught up in packing and cleaning and even just parenting that I didn't realise how important it would be for others to want to say goodbye and good luck.  Even people I don't see regularly or may not have seen in a few years.

And I really need to say that I was so grateful for each and every person that came!  Each of you have added so much to my life while I've been here and saying goodbye was much harder than it may have looked.  I'm getting teary just writing and remembering now!  Thank you all for being so encouraging and supportive and just plain wonderful!

We had a great lunch with lots of laughing and catching up.  The food was good too.  I ordered a big burger and they weren't joking when they named it that!  My Mum's Group friend took a photo of me attempting to get my mouth around it, which was rather entertaining in itself (see below).  I got about half way through then had to put it down and eat it in pieces.  Even then I couldn't get through the whole thing!

Eventually the time came for goodbyes.  There were hugs all round and lots of good wishes and "keep in touch"es.  We all went our separate ways and I realised that this group of people won't ever get together again.  Three of us are moving away in the next few weeks and months so even when I come back to visit, it will never be the same again.  And so life moves on.

On the way back to her place my sister decided we should stop for coffee.  We happened to go to a place that another of my Mum's Group friends works at and she just happened to be working so I got to say goodbye to her too.

We drank our drinks watching the sun through the clouds over the beach and had a quiet sister time - just what I'd been expecting three hours earlier :-D

Anzac Day

The alarm went off at 4:15 this morning.  I rolled over, trying not to disturb the Little Big Fella too much yet, and turned it off.  I lay there for about 10 minutes, trying to decide if I would actually get up or not.  I'd never done this before!  When I realised I was actually awake and would probably fall asleep just as the Little Big Fella started to wake, I decided I would get up and go to the Anzac Day dawn service.

For those of you who are reading from other countries, Anzac Day is one of Australia's two major days of remembrance of those who have fought and fallen in wars since World War I.  It is commemorated on April 25th, which was the first day of fighting at Gallipoli, during World War I.  Gallipoli was a big deal for us Australian and New Zealanders because it was our first major military action.   And so many died!

You can read more about it on Wikipedia, or do a Google search :-)

After waking myself properly and getting ready, I woke the Little Big Fella.  Never done that before either!  He was brilliant!  He woke up pretty well and was excited to be going in the car in the dark.

Once we made it to the memorial site we stood around with maybe 300-ish people.  I was amazed by how quiet everyone was!  It was solemn but not morbid, and definitely respectful.

After a while we heard the distant sound of drums and then the bagpipes.  It grew louder and then we saw the parade of veterans.  I have to say, at this time I got quite teary, which completely surprised me.  It's quite possible that tiredness had a bit to do with it, but I also felt the gravity of the march and imagined how painful it would have been for those in the first marches, 97 years ago.

The service itself was actually quite short.  The Little Big Fella said afterwards that it was fun, but he'd wanted to "go home" several times through the service :-)

We drove home along the beach and watched the sun rise.

Anzac Day is seen as a sacred day by many Australians, which for a somewhat disrespectful country is pretty impressive.  I've never really had much to do with the commemorations of war and was a bit cynical about the whole thing I guess.  We say "we commemorate those who fought and died so that we could be free" but I guess it's always just seemed like something we say because we've been taught to say it.  I think I understand the intent behind the phrase a little better today.  Perhaps it is a little more internalised for me.

War is crap but the remembrance of those who fought (and still fight), and the reasons they did (and do) so is important.  And I think I'd like to continue to impress that on my son.  I think we'll also need to have a family history lesson with Grandad next time we're in Melbourne - he has my grandfather's war medals and such and there are some amazing stories that I'd like to have passed down to the next generation.  I guess that's part of the point of days like Anzac Day too.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

A waste of time

You know what?  I really don't have anything interesting to say tonight!  I mean, I could tell you about the little bit of housework I achieved today, or the Aldi shopping (God, I'm going to miss Aldi!!!), or the packing, but none of it is very interesting or screams "write about me!!!  I'm interesting and deserve to have that many words written about me!!!".

We only have 6 sleeps left until the Big Fella arrives with the truck, and 7 sleeps until we go.  There's still heaps to do, of course, but I'm feeling more like I'm going to get there.

So, that's about it for tonight.  Sorry to waste your time ;-)

Monday, 23 April 2012

One week to go!

We're down to one week to go!  This time next week the Big Fella would have arrived with the truck and we'll be starting to pack it.  Hopefully everything will be pretty much clean so all I have to do Tuesday morning is clean the floors and possibly a wall or two.  Then we'll take the keys back and start the drive.

It'll be at least a 7 hour drive, but we know there are some large sections of roadworks and we'll have to stop for food and sanity breaks.  My guess is it will take at least 9 hours.  I'm not really looking forward to that part but am hoping the DVD player and roadworks will go a long way toward keeping the Little Big Fella happy.  If he's happy the drive will be easy.  I'm also planning to have our breaks at parks if possible so he can have a big run around and play.

The likelihood is that we'll arrive well after dark and truck unpacking will wait till Wednesday, so the Little Big Fella and I will probably camp out on the floor in the new place.  I have a feeling we won't sleep that well but I'm hoping to be surprised :-)

The rest of the week is, of course, filled with packing, cleaning, gardening and saying goodbyes.  I'm a little worried that we won't get it all done, but I'm sure it'll all come together in the end.  Although the goodbyes will be hard and sad, they're also the highlights of my week because we get to catch up with the people we love and have a bit of play time.

My sister and I will probably go out for lunch or coffee on Anzac Day without the boys, which will be a really lovely change.  And I'm seeing my lovely hairdresser too (she's leaving town soon as well)!  And tomorrow we're catching up with our swimming friends at the indoor play centre.

So the goodbyes are highlights of my week.  Well, maybe not the goodbye part, but the catching up part for sure!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Feeling funk-y

Today started average and kept up the pace all day.  I'm starting to feel a little pressured about getting everything done in time for the move so I woke up fairly task-focused.  Unfortunately the Little Big Fella was feeling kind of clingy and attention-hungry.  It's not a good combination.

I tried to tell myself that if I stopped and played with him for a bit we'd do better, but I was really task-focused so I didn't do so well at actually giving him the attention he needed.

After a bit of shooting in the hallway (with the Nerf gun) I did a little cleaning (have I mentioned that I hate venetian blinds?).  But I was really tired too and frustrated by how hard it can be to clean with a toddler in the house.

I'd decided not to go out and do a couple of errands today.  We're going out to a play date tomorrow so I thought I'd combine the two trips into one instead.  But that meant being home all day when I feel average.

I even tried to have a rest with the Little Big Fella on my bed.  But he wasn't anywhere near sleepy and kept putting his feet and elbows in my stomach until I had to get up and go to the loo!!!

I try so hard to get out of a funk when I'm in one, but I haven't been very successful lately.  And sometimes just the fact that I'm a mother is enough to get me down.

On the plus side, I did get a window and another set of blinds clean.  And I didn't get cranky at my son for being a toddler who loves his mum and wants her attention.  And I didn't get take away for dinner (even though I wanted to), but instead gave us proper meals (yay for leftovers and chicken nuggets in the freezer).

Tomorrow we have a play date booked with some of the mums from our mum's group.  The group got together when our kids were between one and four months old so we've known them for about three years, and been through some tough times together.  I think it's likely to be another sad goodbye.  But hopefully some fun reminiscing and general playtime too :-)

Friday, 20 April 2012

A cleaning and packing kind of day

Yesterday afternoon the landlord dropped off a big ladder for me so that I could clean the outside of the upstairs windows.  So today I got to do that.  Yay!  (Okay, mild sarcasm in that yay... sorry.)

But, I have a little confession... I'm a little bit afraid of heights.  Not in buildings or rides where I feel fairly solid and safe.  But on ladders that have the potential to suddenly throw me to the ground I feel a little... insecure I guess.  And there was no one around to hold the ladder for me so I had a go by myself.

No doubt this was bad for the window but I didn't want to have to go up more than once, so I put it there and cleaned around it as best I could.  It'll probably drive me mad when I clean the inside of the window and see the bits I missed!

And then I needed to clean the Little Big Fella's bedroom window, but that little bit of shade-cloth-covered entry is right in the way.  So I got to climb up the ladder onto the iron-covered patio, then balance my way along the supports of the shade-cloth entry to his window... after testing that it would hold my weight of course!

There was no way to clean the dining room window though - it's above the stairs on the other side of the house and I couldn't work out how to do it.  If anyone has suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

So I got the outside of the upstairs windows done, and the inside of the kitchen and Little Big Fella's rooms.  I also packed two more boxes of stuff from the shed, two boxes from the linen cupboard, cleaned the cabinet and blinds of the downstairs bathroom (I hate venitians!!!), and the disgusting dusty fan from the Little Big Fella's room (I'm so embarrassed that he used that all summer!).

Although I worked all day, it feels like I've hardly made a dent in the things that need to happen before moving day (only 11 more sleeps).  It's a bit disheartening really.  But then I remind myself that I still have over a week to go and the big jobs (ceilings, windows and walls) are half done.

I have 3 rooms of ceilings left to clean, 4 big windows and 3 little ones, all of the walls in 11 rooms, plus the rest of the packing and all the other bits and pieces and running around that will be required.  Plus food shopping and preparation, laundry, looking after and playing with the Little Big Fella and trying to get enough sleep.  It'll be a snap!  Ha!

Oh!  And in between cleaning and packing today (a girl's gotta have a break to eat, drink and get on the net!), I discovered this website (and several of the links) through Pinterest.  Turns out there are other organisational freaks like me in the world!!!  Oh to have cupboards and storage like that!

And on that lovely note, I'm going to bed to dream about pretty boxes and having enough space for everything.  Sweet dreams everyone!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

All over the world!

I was looking at my blog statistics page the other day and discovered that people are reading from all over the world!  In fact, my highest population of readers is apparently in Russia!

As far as I know, I don't know anyone in Russia, or India, or Brazil which makes me wonder who these readers are and why they're reading my blog.  I mean, I wouldn't have thought I was interesting enough for people who don't know me to want to read about.  Half the time I wonder why people who do know me read it :-D

But thanks for reading!  It's very exciting to have people interested in my life.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The first goodbye

This will probably sound strange, but it's finally hit me that we're leaving.  Despite all the packing and cleaning and planning (or perhaps because of it), and despite the many previous moving experiences, I hadn't really emotionally connected with the fact that there are people we will be leaving that we aren't likely to see again.

This morning we caught up with a friend and her two girls at a local park.  My sister and her two boys ended up joining us too.  When it was time to go my friend gave me a card and a hug, wished us good luck and reminded me to let her know when we're in town so we can make a play date.

And it suddenly hit me; this is my first goodbye.

And it made me sad.

Then I realised there are going to be more goodbyes over the next two weeks.  And that made me sad too.

This afternoon we went and visited Poppy.  He took the Little Big Fella around on the tractors and let him play with his remote control helicopter (even though the Little Big Fella thinks the point of it is to make it crash).  And we had a cuppa and a cake.  And we felt the coming separation and it was sad.

And it's okay to feel sad.  It really is.  Because the people that you meet make a contribution to your life so being separated causes a vacuum that they filled with their love and friendship and laughter.

So I'll feel the sadness and the loss.  I'll miss my family and my friends.  I'll remember the great times, and the unique contributions these people have made to my life, and it will make me smile.

And I'll start again and make new friends because life wouldn't be so great without the love, friendship and laughter of others.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The windows

Oh.  My.  Goodness!

I am SO tired and sore and it's not even 7pm.  I'm seriously having trouble typing and I'm daydreaming of laying down.  I'm nearly as tired as when I was pregnant!!!  Back then I daydreamed of laying down on the floor because it was the closest :-D

Why am I so tired and sore?  My AWESOME sister volunteered to come around and help me do some moving preparation today so I decided we'd tackle the windows.  But she had some stuff to do first (including dropping my gorgeous nephews at daycare) so I got in the mood by cleaning the dining and toy room ceilings.  My muscles hadn't quite recovered from the last ceiling clean so I was a bit stuffed after that.  I know, it's sad.

Then my wonderful sister called and asked if she could bring me a hot drink - the obvious answer being "yes"!  And she turned up with some yummy bakery items too so we had a little morning tea break :-)

Then we got to work!

Now, you need to understand something about our place.  It is an old Queenslander-style home that was originally a holiday home, and the downstairs has been enclosed.  

Here's an example of a Queenslander for those of you who may not know what one is.  Ours isn't as nice, it's much smaller and it has no verandah, but you get the idea :-)
The house has had renovations at various times and it's quite a "bitsa" place. Downstairs is half a storage room and half a little one-bedroom apartment.  The storage room probably hasn't been cleaned (other than vacuuming) in the 6 years we've been here.

All that to say, the windows were disgusting!  And my darling sister agreed to help me clean them.  It took us about one and a half hours to pressure wash all the windows outside (upstairs and down) and fully clean the 3 windows in the front room.  I am SO GLAD my sister was here to help me!  (Can I emphasize that any more???)

We took a (well deserved) lunch break then got back to it and did the other 3 windows in the apartment.  And again, I have to say my sister is awesome!  She did such a good job!  I thought the two windows she did were fairly clean before (they'd had a little going over about a month ago) but they've come up sparkling and look a million bucks.

(Side note: who'd have thought you could write a whole post on cleaning windows???)

Then she says "what's next" and I have to say I was pretty stuffed by this time.  So we did a little clean up and had afternoon tea, then she headed off.

I am so tired after all that though!  I had a shower in an attempt to get a little energy back to do dinner.  The Little Big Fella wanted an "up" hug but I couldn't!  So we had a lay on the bed cuddle and tickle instead :-D

The Little Big Fella was so good today!  He happily played by himself near us, didn't "get in the way" or crack the darkies that he didn't have all the attention.  He was just great!

So now all I need to do is the upstairs windows, the rest of the ceilings, the walls, finish packing... and get enough sleep :-)

Monday, 16 April 2012

15 sleeps to go!

The countdown is on!  Two weeks plus one day till we do the big drive and start in a new place.  I booked the truck today and everything is coming together.

And I gotta say, even though I'm excited and busy and whatever else, I'm also a little nervous.  Not about the physical move, or about living up there in a small, outback-ish town, but about the in-between getting-used-to-it-all part.

The Big Fella has been living away for about 6 months so we'll all need to get used to living together full-time again.

How will we go in a new Mum's Group/Playgroup?  New town?  Smaller shopping options?  Different way of collecting our mail?  New library?  Different climate, different demographics... just about everything will be different!

And the Little Big Fella is always shy and nervous around new places and new people.  Today we had his first swimming class without me in the pool (I figured that three classes is better than none) and he bawled for the first 5 minutes - inconsolably!  The teacher tried everything to get him to calm down enough so that he could participate (thankfully he was the only one in the class so he wasn't disrupting others' learning time), but no go.  And I went outside after about a minute, because I know that having me nearby can sometimes make him worse.

Eventually the head teacher came over and told him fairly sternly that he needed to stop crying.  And he did!  He looked so morose for the rest of the lesson and I felt awful (I was watching through the large windows from outside).  But when we got to the end of the class his teacher asked him if he'd had fun and he said yes!  She asked if he'd come back next week and he said yes as if it was a stupid question.

So I know he's fine and he will settle in okay, but it's the getting there that is making me nervous.  I'm pretty certain we'll make good friends and have some great life experiences because of living up there, but all that takes time and I guess I just think this part of the journey is going to be a little rougher than I like.

Ah well, nothing like a little roughness and difficulty to cause you to grow huh?

Sunday, 15 April 2012

A toddler kind of day

We've had a rather full day today, although it started quite slowly.  And almost everything we did was for the general enjoyment of our not-so-little 3 year old.

The Little Big Fella and I got up and watched "Despicable Me" together this morning.  I really like that movie!  It has some great lines and adult jokes, and the story is a lovely redemptive theme.

After a bit of breakfast and what have you, I decided it was time to tackle some more ceilings.  Cleaning the ceilings is most definitely my least favourite moving house job!  It beats windows and even the oven (yeah, I do the oven a little more often than just moving time, but it's a crappy job too!).  I did the bedroom ceilings the other day and was in agony the next two!!!  (You can tell how often I haven't been to the gym lately huh?)  My poor shoulder and under-arm muscles were so incredibly sore, I could hardly do anything that required the smallest bit of arm strength!!!!

So I got the loo, bathroom and hallway ceilings done (and I'm starting to feel it already... sigh), baked and iced a quick fudgey chocolate slice then decided that the Little Big Fella and I should go out to the airport for a little light entertainment.

The plane was late!  Like, 40 minutes late!  But once we were there, I couldn't say "let's go" because watching the airplanes land is one of the Little Big Fella's favourite things to do!!!  So we sat on the floor and waited.  I'm laughing at myself right now because who would choose to go to the airport and wait for an aeroplane that you're not even going to go on???

But while we were there we met and chatted with a lovely 5 and 6 year old brother and sister from Sydney.  They were quite sweet and the Little Big Fella told me they were his best friends by the time we left :-)

Next stop... lunch!  Chicken nuggets or pizza?  Surprisingly the Little Big Fella chose pizza so we stopped at the pizza shop on the way home... but they were closed!!!  Chicken nuggets or pizza?  Definitely pizza.  So we drove to the other end of town and ordered a pizza.  Sat around (amazingly patiently I have to say - although not exactly quietly) for about 15 minutes then the Little Big Fella ate all the prawns while he was waiting for the pizza to cool down - he loves prawns :-D

A quick trip across the carpark to McDonald's to use the facilities and playground then across the carpark the other way to the mall to exchange some running shoes.  I can't remember why, but we ended up going through the mall and the Little Big Fella played in a coin-operated Ferrari-type car (without coins of course) for at least half an hour!!!  Talk about cheap imaginative entertainment!  He had a ball and was doing all the driving noises and telling me where he was going and what he was doing.  It was quite entertaining for both of us really :-D

My sister called and suggested we join her and her family at one of the local parks for a play and BBQ dinner, which we cheerfully agreed to.  After collecting some stuff from home (and changing to suit the coming evening weather conditions) we toddled off to the other end of the bay and had a really wonderful time with my nephews, sister and brother-in-law.  It was relaxing, easy, fun, yummy... just about perfect really (especially once the lights came on so we could eat our dinner with some comprehension of what it was we were consuming).  We spent about 3 hours on the beach, in the playground and eating tea and I have to say I feel an awful lot more human after all that adult conversation (thanks heaps sis!).

On the way home we saw some fire twirlers on the oval so we stopped and watched them for about 5 minutes.  The Little Big Fella was quite enthralled by it all (he loves fire) but then told me he was ready to go home.  He was so deeply asleep by the time we got home (less than 10 minutes later) that I had to wrestle him around to get his night nappy on (forget the pjs tonight!).

Follow all that with a great chat with my hubby on the phone, and it's been a good day!  Happy sigh :-)

Saturday, 14 April 2012

The body and happiness

I read a post today from a lady titled "I love my boobs and bum".  The paragraph that particularly caught my attention was
"I don’t believe in scales, I wear what I want to wear – in the size that I want.  If something doesn’t fit – I go up a size – as long as I still feel marvellously womanly – and am still healthy and active – I really don’t give a toss what those numbers mean."

And I realised that I don't particularly like my body at the moment.  I used to look in the mirror and by quite satisfied most of the time.  I thought I was relatively attractive, in pretty good shape, fairly healthy - nothing much to complain about (except when those hormones kick in of course, they always screw your vision completely!).

But these days when I look in the mirror I tend to see mostly negatives.  I'm starting to get wrinkly (mostly laugh lines, but still...), I'm carrying some rolls that are uncomfortable and make me feel unattractive, and I look kind of like a haggard stay-at-home mum most of the time.  And most of my clothes are old and not especially flattering.  I don't feel "marvellously womanly... healthy and active".

Of course, there's only one person to blame... my husband!!!! :-D  Just kidding, of course! But he is a significant motivator for me.  I like to look good for him, I tend to control my eating much better when he's around, I don't emotional-eat so much when we're together and I cook healthier, more nutritionally balanced meals for him than I do for just myself and the Little Big Fella.  So nearly 6 months of living apart hasn't been so good for me.

But I've also been thinking about how the way we see our bodies (and how we treat them) has such a strong link with our levels of happiness.
When I'm happy I look in the mirror and feel okay, sometimes even great!
When I'm not happy, it's all bad!
When I'm happy, I feed my body what it needs and get it moving semi-regularly.
When I'm not, I eat more (and more junk), slob around on the couch and put on weight.
When I'm happy, I dress fairly well, do my makeup and hair, paint my nails, wear perfume and so on.
When I'm not, I chuck on whatever, chuck my hair in a ponytail, and that's pretty much it for the day.

So I wonder, if I start doing the things I would normally do when I'm happy, will that make me feel better?  My guess is it would.  But, do I have the motivation and energy to make myself do it?  That is the question!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Toddler-induced chaos and exhaustion!

Have you seen Toy Story 3?  Probably not recently, unless you have a young child I'm guessing.  There's a scene near the start of the movie where the toys have arrived at Sunnyside Daycare and are anxiously awaiting the return of the children from recess so that they can finally be played with again.  Playtime is a little more strenuous than they'd expected though!

The toddlers run around screaming, banging the toys all over the place and putting them in things and places they shouldn't be.  It's quite loud and chaotic and by the end of the day the toys are exhausted!

You guessed it!  That's me tonight!

My gorgeous nephews (aged 3.5 and 1) came over after dinner tonight so that their parents could go to a show.  And the Little Big Fella was SO excited!  No really, he was SOOOO excited!

They ran around and played and squealed for about 15-20 minutes then I ran the bath for them.  My nephews don't have a bath at their place so they were quite eager to get their gear off and start splashing around :-D  The youngest one was laughing his little head off when he got a cup of water and accidentally splashed it over his head.  He kept doing it over and over and giggling away about it all.

The next challenge was to get clothes back on them!  Did you know little kids really love running around in the nuddy?  Almost all of them do it, and boys in particular.

The Little Big Fella was still way excited so I let them run around for another 15-20 minutes to get rid of some more energy.  Unfortunately, getting them (okay, my boy) to calm down was quite an effort!  We tried to read books but in the end I had to give the Little Big Fella a hugging time out in my room for a couple of minutes, speaking to him softly, holding him close.  Thankfully the other boys were fine in the next room - they're such well-behaved boys (so's the Little Big Fella too, by the way, normally.  He was just so over-excited).

So I finally got the Little Big Fella calm enough to try to get my youngest nephew to sleep.  Problem is, he can't stand to be out of the action!  As soon as I put him in the cot he bawled his eyes out!  I resisted the (very strong) urge to pick him up and cuddle him, talking to him quietly and telling him it was sleeping time (at the same time telling the other boys to play nice and quietly so the youngest could go to sleep - they're really good at that, by the way).  He calmed down so I went back to the other boys and they'd calmed down enough that, after one more book and a little squabble, they were in their beds and sleeping.

And I'm knackered!  I was already tired from running around today (the Little Big Fella was at Super Carer's today so I was squeezing a bunch of errands in as well as packing and sorting).  I've considered going to bed and letting my sister wake me up when they get here to pick up the boys some time this evening, but I think I'll just tough it out - they should be here relatively soon anyway.  And I've just attacked the rest of the dark chocolate bunny that was sitting on my bench (bwah ha ha ha) :-D

See you tomorrow for another rambling, sleep-deprived post in the stunningly exciting world of ScooterShell and the Big Fellas :-D

Monday, 9 April 2012

Hopes and regrets

As I've stated before, I've decided 2012 is my year to focus on the concept of happiness.  And thinking about this has also led me to ruminate about regret.

My hubby's cousin linked to an interesting article in her blog today about the regrets of the dying (she worked in palliative care).  I've read quite a few blogs recently discussing the same kinds of topics so I've been thinking about what I'm happy with in my life and what I'd like to change.

And that's part of the reason I'm quite excited to be moving.  Some of the changes we're aiming for in our new, small town definitely fit on my "makes me happy" list.  Growing food, keeping animals, lots of space for the Little Big Fella to run around in (and probably break bones and do all that particularly-boyish stuff).  I like this!  I'm looking forward to the possibility of going back to work and renewing and developing my skills.  And I hope that the small community will be an environment of mutual support (as well as the likely gossip and sticky beaking, which won't be as good).  Everything I've heard so far suggests that it's quite possible this will be the case.

On the negative side, I know I'm terrible at long-distance friendships.  I don't write or call, and if you're not on Facebook, I'm probably going to be fairly absent from your life.  And, although this is partially a pragmatic response to my previous experiences, it's not something I'm particularly happy about.  I've had some wonderful friends in places I've lived before, and I've "lost" them along the way, which makes me very sad.  Friends are such an important element of the substance of a happy life, and losing them through neglect is rather shite.  Can I improve with this move?  I wonder.  And I hope.

And, to be honest, I haven't been very good at making friends here.  I think I've been too shy and too backward in encouraging friendships.  I don't know that I've invited anyone over for dinner (other than family, and even then it was probably the Big Fella who actually did the inviting) in the 6 years we've lived here.  And I've rarely engaged people outside of work/mum's group/swimming.  And I've suffered because of it.  I haven't had made the opportunity to develop deeper, more meaningful relationships with people that I've clicked with, so have felt lonely when I might not otherwise have.

I'm fairly certain there'll be a few nods around the place on this one too - I'm too nice.  Sometimes I need to say what I really think, not shut up or phrase it in such a nice way that the real meaning (and feeling) is buried.  Because I'm not being true to myself, and I'm not giving others the chance to really know who I am.  I don't want to become rude, or obnoxious, or trample all over people, but I do want to define me and my space more clearly so that I don't get trampled (by accident, or on purpose).

I wonder if this year and this move will see me grow much, or if I'll be too afraid and just keep going the same way.  Will I really be happier by the end of 2012?

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Leaving friends and loved ones

My family moved houses every 2nd year (on average) until I left home at 22.  In that, we moved towns 3 times and I lived in America for a year as well.  I'm kinda used to moving I guess.  And the Big Fella's dad was in the Air Force, so they moved a fair bit.  So he's kind of used to moving too.

But the part that's always sucky is leaving friends and loved ones.  It's hard on several fronts:

Firstly it's hard because I'll miss you!  Life here has been good and I've met so many wonderful people.  And I've been near my sister and her expanding family, and my grandparents, which has been awesome.

And it's hard because you'll miss us!  And your pain is very much in my mind as I see you all over the next few weeks.

And it's hard because I'm excited about the upcoming changes but you can't really be.  Sure, you can be excited for me, but it's not the same.  And when I'm excited, sometimes you feel like I can't wait to leave you (which isn't true).  I'm excited to live with my husband again.  I'm excited to live in a new location and all the potential positives that we'll get out of living there.  I think the Little Big Fella will thrive in the smaller community, and the small school in a few years.

And it's really important for me to be excited about the changes.  Moving is one of the top 5 most stressful things you can do in your life.  Without the excitement, it'd just be stressful and sad.

I guess that's the thing about moving towns though.  It's a very torn time - a time of "inbetweenity" (as my lecturer used to say).  Excitement, stress, sadness, nervousness - all at the same time!

Although I'll do this individually with lots of you, I'd like to say THANK YOU!  Thanks for being so lovely and welcoming and looking after me and my family while we've lived here.  Thank you for all the fun times and for helping me through the not-so-fun times.  Thanks for the hugs and the gifts and the words of encouragement and advice.  Thank you for supporting me when I did Tupperware and for keeping an eye out for me when I had my baby.  Without you, living here would not have been so good!




Saturday, 7 April 2012

Easter Saturday

Reading the free local paper turns out to have been a good move this week!  I saw that there was a mini fair kind of thing going on and that Bugs Bunny would be there giving out choccies, and they were planning egg and spoon races and sack races and what have you.

So I bundled the Little Big Fella on to the back of my bike and we rode up there and had a good couple of hours of fun and entertainment.  There were people everywhere!!!  I've seen busy along there but today was crazy busy!  It reminded me of going to the show in larger towns and cities really.

We got there just before the bunny arrived and locked the bike up.  We ran into one of our friends from Mother's Group (we all met when the kids were a month or so old), had a little chat and then Bugs came across the road right in front of us.  The Little Big Fella was shy so I got a lolly for him then we moved out of the on-coming crush.

We wandered a little until The Little Big Fella saw the sno cone stand and I decided to get one for him.  He really enjoyed it :-).  I had a taste and it was exceptionally sweet so he got to enjoy that one on his own.

We ran into friends from daycare too and had a little chat.

Then the Little Big Fella wanted to have a ride on the teacup ride, which he's never been on before.  I was obviously in the right mood and we went on it together.  I had to employ my old ballet pirouetting skills because I was getting SO dizzy!  He loved it though!  By the end of the ride he was starting to feel dizzy too.

Then I let him go on the carousel as well.  He had the option of going on two huge jumping castles and/or the carousel but he spent the whole time on the horses.

We had a little sit in the shade and ate the snacks I'd brought with me then headed back toward home, stopping at the park for a bit of a play.

We haven't really done much leading up to Easter to make it seem special.  We haven't really talked about it or done any special activities (other than what the Little Big Fella has done at daycare).  But I feel like the hot cross buns yesterday and the mini fair today have made it at least a bit out-of-the-ordinary.  The landlord dropped by this afternoon too and they're having an Easter egg hunt tomorrow morning in the caravan park behind us, which he invited us to.

Oh!  And the Little Big Fella painted some plaster Easter bunnies too - he loves painting at the moment and it's so fun watching him try to hold the paintbrush in a pencil grip and paint so intently.  (Note to grandparents: there is a video, which should be on it's way to you this coming week.)

I got the bookshelf and most of the dining room buffet packed today as well.  And I'm copying all the CDs to the computer as I pack them too.  I'm not getting huge amounts of stuff done each day, but I am getting a little bit done and it's keeping the stress levels down.  I also know (hope?) I'll get a fair bit done on daycare days too.

Anyway, I'm going to attempt to keep my reasonable sleep hour rule and head off to make my bed and lay in it.  Good night all!  And Happy Easter for the morning :-)

Friday, 6 April 2012

Good Friday

I actually read the free local paper the other day and came across a hot cross bun recipe.  Hot cross buns feel like quite a tradition to me.  Having them after church on Good Friday, toasted with butter or maybe jam too.  Mmmmm!  I toyed with the idea of making them, then decided it would be WAY easier to just buy some.  

But I forgot.  (Funny thing how big moving news does that)

So this morning I woke up early and the Little Big Fella was still sleeping so I decided to have a go at them.  And they looked awesome and tasted delicious!

Unfortunately, the Little Big Fella didn't want to eat any!  So I ate a couple and separated the rest and froze them for later enjoyment.

I was really happy with the result.  I've never had very successful bread, but this was pretty easy and came out so light and fluffy and tasty!  Yay!

The Little Big Fella and I have been for a big bike ride today (and ended up getting ice-cream too).  We went up a fairly steep hill just near our place and my quads tried to cramp up on me.  Guess I haven't been to the gym enough lately :-D

On the moving front, I've been through the toy room and now have several items on the local Facebook page to sell.  Everything else is in an appropriately sized box and grouped in a way that makes sense to our way of playing.  I've also packed half of the bookshelf, and I've just realised I can probably pack almost all the cookbooks too!  (There's a whole, large shelf of them.)  And I've emptied and taped up a set of drawers, and will probably do another 1 or 2 this evening.

I'm tired this evening though.  I've been burning the candle at both ends and really need to try to get to bed at a reasonable time as much as possible until we move.

Hope you all had a great Good Friday!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

We have a house!

Finally!  After nearly 6 months we will get to live together as a family again!  I got a call today from the Big Fella saying we've got the house that he thinks will suit us best and we can move in any time between now and May 5th.  The current thought is that we'll try to move on April 26th (that's only 3 weeks away people!)

So it's all systems go and I have to admit that, despite being fully aware of the possibility of moving around then, I really didn't believe it so kind of freaked out when it became an actuality.  See, I've wanted to move out of our current house for over 12 months.  I even applied for one around here in October of 2010.  And I've been planning and part-packing ever since then.  But almost every box we packed has been opened.  And downstairs is a bit of a mess right now so I don't have space to put the boxes that I now need to pack.

After freaking out a bit this arvo I finally had a chance to sit down and think about what needs doing.  It's a big job!  But at the same time, it's not.  I've broken everything down and made a massive list.  And I've been recalling that we finished packing and cleaned my sister's place in a day (with her finishing it that night and next morning), even with two little just-toddlers running around. And I've got 3 or 4 weeks!  No problem right?

You may or may not know that I'm a list person.  Very much so actually.
I now have a "master" list of everything I can think of that needs to happen before we move.
I have a "main goals" list to help keep me focussed on what needs doing each week before we move.
I have a list with things I need to focus on today and tomorrow.
I have a list of what's currently in my freezers and have done a menu plan up to the 29th based on that.
I am making a "Daily Routine" list to make sure I don't forget to make time for my son and the other "regular" things that need doing.
I have an A3 sheet for each week leading up to the move, separated into days so that I can add extra tasks/thoughts for those days as I get to them.
And I have a list in my phone of people I want to specifically thank or acknowledge before we go.
Oh!  And a list of things to try to help the Little Big Fella cope with the move too.

But the number 1 thing on my list at the moment is to make sure I get enough sleep every night, closely followed by eating well and drinking lots of water.  Gotta look after myself because moving when you're sick, yeah, that's not so much fun!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012


I came across the concept of freezer cooking the other day and decided I'd like to give it a go.  The basic idea is that you get all your ingredients together for several meals at once (meat, veges and flavourings) and bag them up and freeze them.  I think I've seen something similar elsewhere a while ago too, but I think they were preparing a whole month of dinners or all the meals sounded too similar and like they wouldn't quite work in my house.

Anyway, today was my trial day.

The Little Big Fella went off to daycare then I went and did some grocery shopping.  I came home with a whole tub full of veges!  Actually, I ended up with WAY too many carrots (one recipe was a bit vague and I obviously misread the quantity or something), and an extra beetroot (which we rarely use), and a massive sweet potato extra too.  Ah well, I guess I can always cut and freeze these for future use.

Unfortunately shopping took longer than I expected so I didn't get home until about 11:30.  My best "working" time is in the morning so I was feeling a bit under pressure.  I decided that I needed to have lunch to fortify myself then put on some nice loud music and got to work.

I made 5 different meals (double batches, and one of four), most of which will go in the slow cooker.  I chose these meals with the move in mind - I'm pretty sure I won't want to be cooking much over the next few weeks, but I still want to make sure we have plenty of healthy, nutritious, delicious food available.  It's cheaper and better and easier than take aways!

Including breaks to talk to my hubby on the phone, hang and fold washing, and just have a drink of water and a sit down, I was food prepping for about 3 hours.  Which felt like a long time!  But if I normally spend about half an hour preparing dinner each day, that would be 5 hours for 10 meals (but I ended up with 12 meals so that would be 6 hours) so it's definitely a time saver there.

Add that to the fact that I didn't have a toddler running around at "witching hour" and I like this idea a lot!  Also, it's the kind of thing the Big Fella and I will probably do together in the future, so that'll be even quicker and easier.

So now all I need to do is pull out a meal and defrost it in the fridge overnight.  Then in the morning (or lunch time, depending on the meal) throw it in the slow cooker.  Some of the meals are served with rice or noodles, but basically, it's slow cook and serve!

Fingers crossed the Little Big Fella likes at least some of them!!!  If he does, I think this will become a regular part of my meal planning.  I think I'll still have the meat and veges meals (like steak... mmmmmm), and next time I'll also cook up some mince with onions and diced tomatoes for semi-instant pasta sauce, for an extra element of variety.

Assuming I end up going back to work after we move, this could be a real life-saver too, especially on the nights when the Big Fella is doing afternoon or night shift.

So there's my domestic experiment of the day!  I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

My cranky pants got stuck and wouldn't come off!!!

Today was not a terrific Tuesday!  I would almost go so far as to say it was a terrible Tuesday!

It actually started out okay!  The Little Big Fella came into my room, grabbed my phone and called his Daddy to tell him he'd been to the toilet to do wees.  Tee hee hee (I know, sometimes I'm very immature).

We had a nice start to the day but then the enormity of the upcoming packing and cleaning process hit me and then, for some crazy reason, I put my cranky pants on.  And they really DID get stuck!  And I couldn't get them off no matter how hard I tried!  And I really did try... all day!  Sigh.  I swear, someone must have shrink-wrapped them on to me!!!

So when I started boxing up the wrapping paper and ribbons and the Little Big Fella wanted to "help" by unraveling all the ribbons, I didn't react so well.  I tried to be nice and reasonable, but I don't think I was very successful.

Then when I went to have a shower, the rubbish bins were in there soaking, so I had to clean them and they kept falling over and I couldn't get in and have my shower and I didn't react so well.

Then when the Little Big Fella's friend came over to play and they asked me every 5 seconds if they could ride the motorbike, I didn't react so well.

And when I tried to start cleaning out downstairs so that I'd have somewhere to put the boxes I'm going to start packing, there is SO much junk that needs to be sorted through, and all the boxes we've already packed have been opened and need to be re-packed... and I didn't react so well.

And when the Little Big Fella's friend invited himself over for lunch and then made a slightly bizarre sandwich request... I didn't react so well.

And when the Little Big Fella's friend returned at 2:30 (when he knows sleep time doesn't end before 3) to stay for a sleepover... I didn't react so well.

And when the Little Big Fella got angry at his other friend who came over for a while... I didn't react so well.  But I shouldn't have been surprised because I really wasn't being a good example today.

And when the boys splashed bath water ALL over the bathroom... I didn't react so well.

And when story time became a major dilemma because someone couldn't see the book... I didn't react so well.

And when the boys started running around again and got hot and sweaty and mildly injured... I didn't react so well.

But now that the boys are asleep and the house is cleaned up I think the cranky pants might be peeling off and maybe, just maybe they'll disappear completely and tomorrow will be a lovely happy day.  It could happen!