Wednesday, 29 August 2012

This IS my life

I always thought I'd be an awesome mum.  I thought I'd be the crafty, cooking, smiling, super-calm 50's style super-mum.  And while I think I'm a pretty good mum, I'm certainly not living up to my (original) expectations.

When the Little Big Fella was first born, there was a long period of time (about 2 years) where I would have said most of the time I hate being a mum.  Thankfully, that has changed.  Now I only hate it sometimes ;-)

I recently applied for a job that I thought I was perfect for.  I did an awesome application then... nothing!  No calls, no e-mails, no letters.  I didn't even get an interview.

I mentioned a week or so ago that the Little Big Fella received an enrolment offer for kindergarten.  As well as being so excited about him growing up, I wasn't sure how it would logistically work if I was working full-time, given the kinder hours.

I'm getting ready to do a challenge with Fit Yummy Mummy starting next week, and I've been thinking about my goals within that.  The side effect is that, between FYM and not getting a job I thought I was perfect for, I've also been thinking about my life and what I love about it, but also what I'd like to change.

And I came to the realisation that this is my life!  I am a stay-at-home mum. So if this is my life, shouldn't I live it instead of waiting and hoping for something else?  I mean, I won't get these years at home with my son again! I want to make the most of them!

You know, there are so many negatives about being a stay-at-home mum.  The household income is dependent on one person, you rarely get to go to the loo on your own, your life is consumed with bodily functions (bleuch!), there's a huge amount of pressure to shop well, cook well, clean, educate, entertain, don't use the TV as a babysitter, be happy when your significant other gets home, continue your education, be "present" in every moment of your child's daily life, look after yourself and on and on and on.  There is guilt lurking around every corner because, no matter what you're doing there's something else that you should be doing!

But I've been reading a couple of blogs lately that have reminded me of the privilege that I'm currently enjoying as well.

  • I get to set my own timetable
  • I get to do all kinds of activities with the Little Big Fella
  • I get to be his best friend (for now)
  • I get to make a home for my son and husband, I get to do things when it suits me (like exercise, shopping, random day trips when the Big Fella has days off)
  • I can more strongly influence the health-i-ness of the food in our house
  • I get to have "play dates" with all my friends (it has nothing to do with the kids!)
  • I get to be silly and laugh and see the world through a little person's eyes again
  • I get to be there for every milestone and achievement
  • I get to cuddle and kiss away the hurts and fears of my little boy as soon as they occur
  • I get to influence every aspect of his life and be the example of what he could be (scary but somewhat inspiring thought)
  • I get to ride a motorbike and hear him laugh and giggle
  • I get to tickle him and hear that wonderful sound all the time
  • I get to plan awesome activities and adventures for us to do
  • I have the time to spend with other people whenever they're available, which would be particularly tricky if I was working and had to "fit them in" around work, cooking, cleaning and "family time"
  • "Family time" is all the time!
  • I get the joys of having animals around the place - and it is a joy because the Little Big Fella loves them so much
  • I appreciate the awesomeness of time alone, pampering, shopping for anything other than food, long, hot showers etc. much more when I get to have them
There's plenty more, but I don't want to make you all green with envy ;-)

In the next few days I'll be sharing with you one of the effects of all this thinking.  Both the Little Big Fella and I are pretty excited about it and I have other plans along similar lines for the future!

Suddenly I'm really excited about this life I'm living.  I feel like I'm in control of my own destiny again (I've been a little "blah" the last few weeks, and overly negative) and it feels good!  I'm looking forward to my journey again!!!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Not a baby anymore

On Sunday morning the Big Fella went for a quick drive up the highway to see if there was a shoot on.  He loves shooting clay targets, particularly in skeet (a specific set-up and combination of target releases) and was a bit excited when he discovered that it was on.

When he got back he asked if the Little Big Fella and I would like to come out to the range with him and we decided that we would.  After a quick run around getting our things together we headed off.

The Little Big Fella has been around the Big Fella and his guns for as long as he can remember I guess, and the Big Fella has already told him that some of the guns in the safe will be his when he's older.  Unsurprisingly, when asked if he'd like to shoot a clay target, the Little Big Fella was rather excited!

Father and son walked out onto the range before everyone was ready for the skeet rounds.  They set up a clay target, sitting against the tufty grass then walked back five or ten metres.  Daddy knelt on the ground and held the shotgun up and the Little Big Fella pulled the trigger for the first time ever.  Do you think he enjoyed it???

My little boy isn't so little these days!

The other day his bike got a flat tyre so the Big Fella patched it up for him.  To do that, he had to take the training wheels off the bike and when he was putting it back together today, he asked the Little Big Fella if he wanted the training wheels back on.  Amazingly the Little Big Fella said no!  So, the bike went back together without training wheels.

I've been watching the Little Big Fella riding lately and noticed that he rarely used the training wheels.  They were mostly a stabiliser for him to get started, and even then they were a bit more of a hindrance than a help.  Well, my "little" 3 year old took off like he'd been riding without training wheels all his life!!!  Especially for his grandparents, I took some video :-)  I've edited it so that it's not so boring ;-)

It all makes me teary, I'm so proud!

I took him to the park to have a bit more space to ride and practice.  As expected, he fell off and grazed his elbow.  After a bit of a hug, he wiped his tears away and went at it again.  Unfortunately his tyre went flat again so he had to stop riding.  This caused way more tears than his fall!!!  Pretty much all the way home!!!  Turns out, the skids he's learned to do have taken off all the rubber on his tyre so the tube had nothing to protect it.  The Big Fella is so proud that this is the cause :-D  Can't say I'm too upset about it either ;-)

To cheer him up we got his little 50cc motorbike out and went for a ride up the hill and back.  It worked a treat and was awesome fun too!!!

Have I mentioned that I'm enjoying this "living in the country" thing?

This evening the Little Big Fella decided he wanted to "write" and he accidentally did a figure that looked a bit like a D.  I've been showing him the letter D over the past few months (his name starts with D) so I got all over excited, "Oh look!  You did a D!!!  Awesome work!" etc.  Then we did some more, just to push the point :-)

He's just not a baby anymore, and it won't be long before he's not a little boy either.  And I'm not sad about it at all.  I love watching him grow and learn and discover!  A good friend of ours used to say that his boys got more interesting the older they got, and I can totally see what he meant.  If the Little Big Fella is only 3, imagine what else is in store!!!

Monday, 27 August 2012

A whirlwind visit

I got a phone call from the Big Fella just after 4am.  "I'll be home in about 10 minutes."  So began our whirlwind visit to our previous home town.

This bit needs to be read at fast speed, all in one breath.  Imagine you're reading a speedy race story to a toddler.  Ready?  Go!

Pack the last bits, get the Little Big Fella up and in the car, drive 7 hours, shopping, visiting my Grandparents, sleep, visit SuperCarer, shop, Grandparent's for lunch, clothes shopping and arvo tea with sister, dinner at Grandparent's, sleep, a million errands and shops, Grandparent's for lunch, visiting for the arvo, everyone at Grandparent's for dinner, sleep, pack everything up, breakfast, drive 7 hours home, Little Big Fella to bed, SLEEP!

How'd you do?  Did you make it in one breath???

We had an awesome time and it felt like a holiday... maybe a holiday on speed?  It was great to catch up with my family and a couple of friends (never enough time for that though!).

Here's the slower version of the week:

We left our place on Monday morning, after having had the Big Fella's Aunt and Uncle stay on Saturday night.  They live in France and are having a wonderfully long holiday, including several months in Australia.  We were lucky enough to be the first family they stayed with here :-)  We had a wonderful time with them and have received an emphatically enthusiastic invitation to come and stay with them!

We got a photo of me and the Big Fellas, a first in a couple of years I think:

Yep, time for a couple of good photos of us I guess!

I won't put our photo of them on my blog because I didn't ask their permission.  But if any family members would like to see, e-mail or Facebook me and I'll send it to you :-)

After the phone call on Monday morning, I got up and got myself and the rest of our things ready.  Just before 5 I woke the Little Big Fella and told him it was time to go to Poppy's house - he was up in a blink!  Then it was into the car and off we go!

The Big Fella had worked all night and by the time we got to the first town he was ready for a break.  So I jumped in the driver's seat.  I'd only had about 4 hours of sleep myself, so 2 hours down the road I realised I'd started phasing out and did a little swerve.

I pulled over at the next little bit off the side of the road.

It's SO easy to keep pushing yourself when you're driving.  Or maybe it's just me?  But to pull over, get out of the car and walk around it a few times makes such a difference!!!  I grabbed something to eat as well and I'm pretty sure that helped too.

There were heaps of roadworks on the way down, which meant a lot of stopping.  For some reason, this particularly irks the Big Fella, although it doesn't tend to bother me a huge amount.

We got into town around midday and did a quick spot of shopping before heading to my grandparents' place where we would be staying.  I was really tired by this time, but I love being with my family!  And it is really awesome to see the Little Big Fella and Poppy together.  They adore each other and I really hope my little boy gets to remember how much, and that it's not just about the tractors he gets to ride, the playground or playing golf.

On Tuesday we got to spend the morning with SuperCarer, while the Big Fella went to the dentist.  For some reason SuperCarer and I really hit it off from the start and we became friends, so hanging out there for the morning was awesome for both me and the Little Big Fella.

My nephews and the Little Big Fella's other good friend were there for the morning so it was one big playtime!

The Little Big Fella playing with his cousins in the sandpit.

When it comes to food, these two are peas in a pod!  It's ALL about the food ;-D

It was funny watching the Little Big Fella playing in SuperCarer's yard because he's so obviously taller than the last time I watched him play there!  And taller than the other boys.

When I said "10 minutes then we have to go", the Little Big Fella's friend said to me, "I don't want him to go!  I miss him!".  They'd had such a fun time together and it really was sad to have to say goodbye.

After a bit of food shopping (gosh I miss the selection, quality and prices we had there!), I dropped the Little Big Fella back at my grandparents' with the Big Fella.  Incidentally, we'd come down so that the Big Fella could get a root canal done, but there was a slight miscommunication and they couldn't do it without a preparatory appointment. So it looks like we'll just have to go back, probably before Christmas... darn!!! ;-)

I'd planned to have lunch and spend the afternoon shopping with my sister, but she'd come down really unwell the night before.  So I did a bit of shopping on my own.  My first purchase was a new belt, because I was down to the second last hole on mine and the tail end was hanging out everywhere!!!  Gotta tell ya, that feels awesome!

Part way through the afternoon I got a call from my sister saying she was feeling slightly better and should we meet up for a coffee and a bit more shopping?  Of course we should!!!

Have I mentioned that I love my family?  I must be hormonal tonight because I've been tear-ing up as I've been writing this post and preparing the photos.  My sister and I are only 14 months apart and almost always shared a bedroom.  As you'd expect, we fought a bit but we've mostly been best friends.  I think adulthood has put a bit of a dampener on that, but I miss her like crazy (and my other siblings too, by the way).  So I thoroughly enjoyed spending the afternoon with her.

Know what else I enjoyed?  Trying on clothes and, instead of deciding if they'd do, I got to decide if I actually liked them because they looked good on me!  It was literally the most fun I've had clothes shopping in years!

I went back to my grandparents' place where the Big Fella made Thai green curry with squid and prawns.  It was SO yummy!!!

While we were at my grandparents' place I read books to the Little Big Fella at bedtime, which I haven't done much at home for a while.  We both really enjoyed it, and I think he went to sleep better as well.  I think I'd like to re-implement that at home!

By Wednesday I was tired!  For some reason I didn't sleep well in my grandparents' bed and had weird dreams at the end of the night too.

The Fellas and I spent the morning running errands around town.  We had 9 stops to make!  Now, anyone who doesn't have a toddler, 9 stops is a bit of a pain but no big deal, right?  Add a toddler and it becomes... stressful.  After about 4 stops the Big Fella was getting a little angsty so we tried to short-cut as many stops as we could and only get the necessary person/people out of the car at each stop.

One thing we did pick up was a smoking BBQ, which the Big Fella is awfully excited about.  It is a wood/coal fired BBQ but it also has a smoking box off to the side, so you can cook your meat with hot smoke rather than direct heat.  Given the Big Fella's inclination towards salamis, hams and other cured meats, it's no surprise he's excited by this too.

I was a bit worried by this stage though.  We'd bought a fair bit of stuff and I wasn't sure we'd be able to get it all home, even in our awesome ute!  Never fear, the Big Fella will find a way :-)

The afternoon was taken up with visiting.  We dropped the Big Fella off at his old work shed, then the Little Big Fella and I went and visited some friends at that end of town.  We had a taste of Whoopie Pies for the first time.  They were okay but I'm not sure that I'd be super excited about them.

It's SO good to catch up with friends.  Even though I was exhausted, I felt somewhat invigorated by my visit.  You know, new friends are great, but old friends are priceless!

We got back to my grandparents' place just before my sister and nephews arrived.  Yet again, there was a lot of running!!!  My sister had brought the boys' bikes and one for the Little Big Fella and they had a ball riding around and later playing footy with my brother-in-law.

Of course, being boys and cousins, there had to be a moment of silliness ;-)

We had pizza and white chocolate caramel mudcake for dinner, as well as lovely conversation.  Oh!  And before that we had a beautiful sunset, looking out over the sugar cane fields:

And I can't resist adding these photos too:

My Poppy

My Nanna

My hubby :-)
Eventually we had to put three tired boys to bed (and the adults) so my sister, brother-in-law and nephews headed home.  Sigh.  I'll miss them.

Thursday morning we got up and packed up, had a lovely breakfast then hit the road.  We decided to take the back roads home and it was a lovely trip!  The Little Big Fella had a good sleep, and I'd bought him a new DVD so he was quite content in the back seat.

We didn't get home until just after 5pm because of a couple of extra stops.  I was feeling really tired and a bit ill.  My body hasn't had much in the way of wheat products, or much fat I guess, for eight weeks and it was seriously reacting to the pizza and mudcake I'd enjoyed the night before :-(  And I'd pulled a muscle in my shoulder/neck when moving shopping in from the car on Wednesday too.  All in all, I felt pretty shocking.

Anyway, we unpacked the car and fed the Little Big Fella (neither of us were interested in eating), then put him to bed.  After a lovely hot shower I was gone too!  Although the Big Fella slept great at my grandparents' place, I thoroughly enjoyed my own bed again.

There's no place like home!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Out of time!!!

This is going to be an annoyingly short post.  I'm really sorry!  I want to tell you about the last couple of days, including an overnight visit from the Big Fella's Aunt and Uncle, helping a friend out with cutting her son's hair, collecting eggs from the Big Fella's trainer's house, and some other little funny bits and pieces of our daily life.

But, alas!  We're going away for three or four days and I still have to pack, do the dishes, and get myself ready for our 5 or 6am start, and it's already 10pm!  Sigh!

So, you'll have to wait in painful anticipation until our return, and on Thursday (or Friday, depending on a few things) I'll update you on the whole lot and completely satisfy your curiosity about what's been happening and what's about to happen!!!

Until then my friends!!!

Friday, 17 August 2012

The chooks have a house!

The Big Fella has had three days off work so, you guessed it, we've been busy :-D  The project this time has been to build a chicken house and pen for the four chooks the Big Fella has arranged to get from a lady at work.  The deal has been done, but the chooks are going to need somewhere to sleep (and play until we build a fence around the vege garden!).

So the Big Fella got to it, using the wood we collected a few weeks ago.

Let's start with the frame!

And ta da!  All done!

Ha!  It wasn't quite that easy.  That black part is a bit of rubber we ended up having to add because we were worried the rain was going to come in the "egg collecting" door.  And it took a bit of working out to get the idea of the closures to work too.  I did the routing of the steps into the ramp (don't look closely because they're very wobbly!).

And here's the inside view!  A bit of a floor on the left and a laying box on the right that will be filled with straw.  And that's the egg collecting door on the right from the inside :-)

The Fellas taking a well-earned rest!

And here's the finished product from outside.  The Big Fella has done an amazing job with no plans or anything to work from.  I think he's incredibly clever!  Hopefully the chooks like the place :-D

Today we also had the lovely job of shoveling horse poo!  Woo hoo!  There's a set of stables at the end of the street (just next to the park actually) so we took the ute down there and gathered some manure to mix in to our compost (you can see the compost area left of the chook yard).  The Little Big Fella brought his shovel along and "helped" too :-D

Seriously though, I'd already done my workout for the day, but this worked my back muscles more than anything I've done in a while!!!

Hmm, what else?

OH!!!!!  This is totally a first-time mum thing, but we got the Little Big Fella's offer for kindergarten in the mail this week!  This is a pre-school class that he'll attend next year for 5 days a fortnight, 8:30am to 2:30pm.  I'm really excited for him because I'm about 98% certain he's going to LOVE it!  And the 2% is only the mild stress that it'll be hard initially because he tends to be clingy in new places with new people.

So, we posted back our acceptance today and will soon have to have an interview and all that jazz.

We've had a few fun food things this week too:

This was the Little Big Fella's lunch the other day.  He actually asked for carrots, which he has never done before!!!

And this was one of my snacks this week.  Apple, cinnamon, walnuts and sultanas (raisins), warmed in the microwave.  Mmmm mmmm!

So there's a bit of a catch up on the last few days!  I hope you enjoyed it :-D

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Choices, choices, choices

Oh. My. Goodness!!!

I did jumping lunges yesterday as part of my workout and last night and today my butt has been in agony!!!  If I sit still for more than a couple of minutes I get up and walk like a cripple!!!

But tomorrow I'm sure I'll be fine again and my muscles will be that little bit more lean, and my metabolism will be kicking into the next gear.

My next weigh and measure is this coming Sunday.  I'm not as excited as I was the first time around because I haven't eaten very well this month, and I skipped workouts while I was sick, but I'll still be interested to see the results.

You know, it makes the world of difference when you wake up in a good mood.  Today has been a good mood day, and it started out that way.  I'm pretty sure having enough sleep has a lot to do with it.  But also the Big Fella was home for most of the morning today, after working 8 to 6 the last few days.  And having him around (and not sleeping) for part of the day certainly makes me feel better.

I think the main reason is that being fully responsible for the Little Big Fella, 24/7, gets a little wearing.  So sharing that responsibility, even for a few hours a day, seems to relieve the pressure.  And if I get a bit of time totally to myself, well, that's just an amazing gift!

We've had a few tradesmen come through the house over the last week.  We rent the house from the Big Fella's employer, and they have decided that our house needs new flooring, a new kitchen, and fresh paint.  Bummer! ;-)  Obviously, I'm really excited about this.  Especially the floors and paint because there are holes and marks on the floors throughout the house, and the paint has bumps and holes and peeling parts in every room.

So this morning a guy came through to measure for flooring.  He also brought samples for us to choose what we'd like - linoleum and carpet.  We had the time it took to measure the house (with a neat little electronic tool - no fighting with tapes here!) to decide the colours of our floor coverings.

Talk about pressure!!!

This is the first time I've ever had to choose anything for a house.  The Big Fella built a house with his first wife and they had to choose everything, so, as a reaction to that experience he was particularly unhelpful (he was also getting ready for work so was somewhat distracted as well).

We ended up choosing a fake slate for the lino, and a dark blue (with speckles of other colours) for the carpet.  When I put the samples on the floor and against our furniture, I was happy with the choice.  But I'm worried it's going to be too dark and make the place feel even smaller than it is.  But it's too late to change it anyway!  I'm hoping the light colours on the walls and window furnishings will help balance out the darkness of the floorings.

We also had a guy come and measure the kitchen this morning.  I asked him if they were just replacing the benchtops and cupboards, but he said they're doing a whole kitchen.  I asked if we'd get a double sink (we haven't had one in over 6 years and it makes doing dishes such a pain!!!), and he said at least a 1.5 sink, or whatever will fit.  YAY!!!!!

Apparently all the quotes have to be in by the end of the month and they're expecting work to start by the start of next month, and be completed by January.  They're doing lots of houses around town as well so it might take until January for them to do ours, but I'm excited (can you tell???).

Monday, 13 August 2012

Life, love and the end of it all

I've watched a couple of movies over the past few days, and had a couple of conversations that have got me thinking about the big issues: life, love and death.

What's the meaning of life?  What makes a good life?
Is love the most important thing?  And if so, what does that look like?
What happens when you die?  What does it feel like?  And how come some people seem quite ready to go, while others are hanging on with every ounce of effort they have?

See?  The big issues!

And I'm not even going to attempt to answer any of those questions here because I suspect the answers are either unobtainable or completely individual.

But, because I have a blog, and because this is what I've been contemplating, I'll do a little bit of blurting and processing and see what we come up with :-D

We watched "Meet Joe Black" the other night.  I love that movie!  I love the concept of it, I love "death"'s naive, semi-vulnerable character, I love the presentation of the big themes of life.  I love the way they present the concept of a striking love that lasts a lifetime, where each knows the worst of the other and is still happy to hang around.

Which reminded me of a scene in "Good Will Hunting" where Robin Williams' character is recalling his dead wife.  He remembers all the odd, quirky habits that made her unique, and these were the things that he missed most about her.

Which got me thinking about the quirkiness of my husband and son.

The Big Fella snores... and I love it!  When we first got married I remember laying in bed next to him (weird concept, but we didn't sleep together until then) and trying to stifle my laughter as I listened to the unique rhythm of his breathing.  I love it!

I love the way he responds to books and movies.  I love his insatiable appetite for knowledge, and that his integrity and character mean I can trust him with my heart and my life.

I fell in love with my son the moment he was born (which is lucky for both of us or we might not have survived those first few years).  I'd never believed in the concept of love at first sight until then.  And I know not everyone has that experience.  But ever since that moment I have been privileged to discover my amazing Little Big Fella's quirks and personality.  I'm learning that, like his dad, he's not a follower.  He has a fantastic sense of humour.  He's a little bit precocious.  He is imaginative and sensitive and such a boy!

I am so privileged to have amazing people in my life!  Not just my boys, but friends (old and new) and family.

We watched "Eat, Pray, Love" this evening.  My favourite part of the movie is when she's in Italy because she experiences the amazing phenomena of friendship and family.  I am seriously lucky to have grown up in a wonderful family!  I am the oldest of four children and my parents are still together and very much in love, as are my grandparents.  My parents worked really hard to make sure we spoke to, and treated each other with respect.  Yep, we fought like siblings do, but we have always loved each other, and the impact of growing up in that environment is indescribable!

I also grew up in the church, which, for me was an extension of my family.  They supported and challenged me.  We had a lot of fun times together.  And every time we moved towns, the church was like an instant family wherever we went.

For me, life seems to be about people and your relationships with them.  When people get close to death, they seem to want to spend as much time as they can with the people they love.  And I'm guessing the more people you love, or the more you've invested in those relationships, the happier your life is and the more content you'll be when it comes to an end.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Tired, fitness, community

Turns out I was tired!  Really tired!  Because I went to bed early last night (somewhere between 9:30 and 10) and didn't wake up until 8:30 this morning!!!  When I think back to the start of the year where 4:30 and 5am were normal starts to the day, 8:30 feels like an absolute extravagance!

I've been really good at doing my workouts this week (I've been doing the Fit Yummy Mummy program for almost 7 weeks) and I'm much better with my "clean eating" this week than last week, where I totally bombed out.  You know my favourite thing about it so far?  I like the food, and I like that I only need to workout for 15 minutes a day, but my favourite thing is the reaction of my husband.  Sure, he appreciates my changing body (I know you all went there first!), but he tells me I inspire him and that is very cool!

As a stay-at-home-mum I don't often feel very inspirational: how inspiring is it to do the dishes again, and do the laundry again, and clean up the mess from the dog/child/husband again, and keep the shopping in budget?  But to inspire my husband, who I love and respect and find inspirational in so many ways, yeah, I really like that!

I am a little worried though.  It was warm yesterday so I put on a pair of shorts that I wore last summer (and were getting close to too tight).  They're rather loose... actually, they're on the verge of baggy!  So my worry is that I'm going to have to buy a whole new wardrobe for summer or else I'm just going to look daggy baggy all season!!!  Damn!!! ;-)

Okay, moving on from bragging (actually, I'm just really proud of how I'm going and sometimes it's hard to not share).

The Big Fella started his train driver tests today.  Back in October last year he started the "school" and passed that in April this year.  He has been working with a tutor driver since then, as a Driver Assistant.  But, assuming he passes this set of tests this weekend, he will be a fully qualified train driver.  It's very exciting (actually, apparently the testing is very boring so far, but the potential results are exciting).

The Little Big Fella and I went on a couple of bike rides today.  I don't know that I would really call it bike riding though.  I would call it "is it possible to ride any slower and can we go further than 5 metres without stopping?".  Needless to say, I was a little frustrated.  But the Little Big Fella loves it so I went with him.

The good thing about the bike ride this morning was that we stopped and talked to a few friends along the way, and ended up spending an hour or so with some new friends that we've only met once or twice before.  Turns out we get along pretty well :-)

I love the small community here.  There are so many families with young children and it just creates an awesome atmosphere.  It's safe enough that there were about 20 kids at the park this afternoon with me as the only adult (there were other parents in nearby houses but I was the only one physically there for about 20 minutes).  And yesterday one parent brought her kids and another family's kids to the park so the other parent could have a break to do a few things.  And that kind of thing is common.

After our sudden-hit of illness last week, where I discovered we had no Neurofen for kids or cough medicine or anything of that kind, almost every mum I ran into over the next few days mentioned that they had a store of it at home and I could have just called them.  I'd never even thought to call anyone here because I'm so used to living independently.  But here, because of the size of the town and the distance to medical help, everyone is prepared for the worst and willing to help and share.

That's what I was hoping it would be like here too!  I was so hoping it would be a close but open community.  I was hoping people would keep an eye out on everyone else's kids.  I was hoping to be welcomed easily, despite existing friendships.  And it is like that here and I am so grateful!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Birthday? So what!

When I went to bed last night, exhausted almost to the point of collapse (the Little Big Fella had been hard work), the last thing the Big Fella said to me was something about it being my birthday tomorrow.

In typical melancholy style, I looked around and saw the dishes all over the kitchen, thought of the washing that needed doing and the toddler who would need my attention and thought, "what's so good about having a birthday as an adult anyway?"

I knew what my present was and, despite requesting it, doubted that it would be wrapped or that there would be a card (oh ye of little faith).

I knew there would be no cake unless I made it (although, I'd rather some fruit and yoghurt anyway).

And I knew that the main responsibility of caring for our son would be mine.

What's the point?  What is it that makes a birthday different to any other day of the year, now that I'm an adult and a mum?

And with that depressing thought I went to sleep.

I woke early this morning (early equals before 7 these days, which is awesome compared to the 4:30/5am starts I was getting at the start of the year!), crept into the kitchen and made some breakfast (ignoring the dishes that were still all over the place) and crept back to the office to catch up on some blog reading and such.

I got a whole hour to myself!

For those of you that didn't catch that (or the fact that it's a big deal) I'll repeat it.  I got a whole hour to myself!!!

The Little Big Fella didn't wake up until just before 8!  I got a whole hour to read and type and do whatever without interruption!!!  Amazing!  And just what the doctor ordered.

When the Little Big Fella did wake up, he didn't get up straight away, but put his DVD player on and watched a little bit of Tigger and Pooh so I got myself ready and went downstairs for a workout.  Although I had a couple of interruptions, I got my workout done (and worked hard I have to say) then came up to find the Big Fella awake and asking for a coffee.

I looked at the time and realised we were going to be late for Music Makers.  I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago - it's a class for pre-school kids and they're learning various musical terms, using various instruments and a microphone, and doing some basic dance/coordination moves.  Yesterday I'd asked the Little Big Fella if he wanted to go to playgroup or Music Makers and he emphatically chose Music Makers so that's where we went today.

On our way out of town (Music Makers is in the town 15 minutes away) we stopped at the "post office" (the CWA hall) and collected the mail.  Yay!  A parcel from my in-laws (a ballet-based workout DVD - I'm looking forward to checking that out), and a card and cheque from my Oma-in-law.  You know, I love modern modes of communication like e-mail and Facebook.  But I love getting stuff in the mail!  It may be because anything in the mail that isn't a bill is normally fun, or it might go back to childhood and the rarity of getting anything in the mail at all, but whatever it is, I love it!

The Little Big Fella got nervous as soon as he saw the other kids at Music Makers.  But we went in and again I got to sit on the floor with his heavy butt on my lap.  Seriously, he's getting really heavy and my ankle bones were being squished on the wooden floor!!!

He was all shy and only kind of participating until about half way through when he said he wanted to go.  You bet I rolled my eyes!  I told him the class wasn't finished and we couldn't go until it was done and he cracked the sads and went and sat on the chair on the side.  Sigh.  I tried to talk him in to joining everyone again but it wasn't going to happen.  I didn't think it was ultimately a good idea to "make" him so I let him be and about 5 minutes later he was ready to re-join the class.  And he really joined in this time.  He danced and played and talked in the microphone.  The silly thing is that I think he loves it, but his shyness beats him to start with.  But he's always been shy in new places and with new people so we'll just give him time to settle in and see what happens.

Last time we did the shopping I'd promised the Little Big Fella that we could go to the new park he'd spotted across the road from the supermarket.  He reminded me after Music Makers, and because we didn't have a schedule to keep I agreed we could go.  Unfortunately, the swing seats were too hot - black rubber in the direct sunlight is a good recipe for burned bum!  So we wandered around but he'd lost a little enthusiasm.

My sister and nephews happened to call just then so we all had a chat until my nephews started losing the plot and needed to go to bed for a nap.

Next was some shopping then home again, home again, jiggety jig!

On the way home my Nanna called so we had a little chat to her too.

When we got home the Big Fella had obviously spent a fair portion of the morning cleaning up.  The kitchen was clean and lots of things had been put away.  And there on the coffee table was a beautifully wrapped present!  Wrapped in paper that the Little Big Fella had painted a few weeks ago!  And a card with some lovely things written in it by the Big Fella, and he'd helped the Little Big Fella write in it too!  If we did brownie points in our house, the Big Fella would have had a basket full for that!  Instead he had to put up with hugs and kisses and thank yous and some pretty impressive gratitude :-)

He then suggested that we contact everyone and invite them to the local pub for a drink or two in the late afternoon, his shout.  So the texts and Facebook message went out and just before 4 we headed off.  (Oh!  In the meantime we'd also made some pepperoni!  More on that in a future post.)

We'd intended to be at the pub for about an hour or so.  But, see, when people are around and everyone is having a good time it's no fun to quit!  So we stayed... and stayed... and stayed... and had dinner :-D  I had a great time talking to some of the girls that I've met here, even talking about some non-mum topics!  The Big Fella had a great time talking to some of the guys that were around the place, including the new bar manager and the kitchen staff.  And the Little Big Fella had fun playing really nicely (mostly) with his friends, and talking to the poor man playing the pokies who got to explain that toys don't come out of those machines before we pulled him away.

Oh!  And the Little Big Fella got to have a whole can of Coke for the first time ever!  Occasionally he gets the dregs of the can from the Big Fella, but he rarely has soft drink (soda/pop) at all, let alone a whole can of Coke.  Thankfully there were other kids there to play with or the afternoon/evening would have taken a completely different turn!

Eventually we left the pub and dropped in on some friends on the way home (the Big Fella had borrowed a mincer for his pepperoni).  By this time the Little Big Fella was starting to come down from his Coke high so we headed home pretty quickly.

And since then I've had the chance to talk to my youngest sister and my parents on the phone too.  I miss my family, but talking to them on the phone is so much better than nothing!  (I'm getting all teary!)

So my day, which yesterday looked like it was going to be the same as any other day (or worse) turned out to be lots of fun, with lots of little surprises, and I felt special and like my being in the world is worth all the pain my mum went through.  And I guess that's the point of a birthday for me as an adult.  It's not about presents, or even a party like it was as a kid.  It's about contact with people who think you're special and take the time to let you know, in both big and small ways.  And if you get to spend time with those people, that's even better!!!

Spontaneous road trip

Have I ever mentioned that the Big Fella is a spontaneous kind of guy?  Having a kid has squashed that in some ways, but not entirely...

On Monday I got up, did breakfast and a workout and showered before the Big Fella woke up at 10.  When he did wake up we were having a chat about what we needed to do for the day and I mentioned that I needed to go and buy some meat because food seemed to have magically disappeared from the freezer!  But our local butcher and supermarket are particularly uninspiring, either because of the quality, selection or price.

The Big Fella looks at me, with a little twinkle in his eye (no, not that kind of twinkle!!!), and suggests that we drive 2 hours to a very popular and highly recommended butcher.  I think for a minute and say okay, and while we're there we can stop at Spotlight (fabric store).  And he says, yeah, and Bunnings (hardware store)!

So he gets up and showers, I get the Little Big Fella ready and grab some healthy food options and water and we were away before 11.

The bad thing about spontaneity is that you forget stuff... like entertainment for the toddler (oops!).  He did really well though, happily looking around and having a little nap on the way there.  But on the way home he was over being in the car, and his portable DVD player, magnetic drawing board, or a couple of toys would have been really handy.

It was a fun day though.  I've never actually been to that town so it was good to see what was there and where.  I've decided if I go there to clothes shop though, I'll be going without the Little Big Fella because he'd just hate it too much.

I got some fabric to make shorts and t-shirts for the Little Big Fella, and we discovered Toyworld next to Spotlight so the boys went for a little visit while I finished my shopping there.  The Big Fella decided to buy the Little Big Fella a remote control helicopter and it became the bane of our existence for the day!  As soon as we were in the car, "can I have my helicopter now?" "No honey, it's all stuck in its box and it doesn't have any batteries yet." By the time we got to Bunnings (a couple of kilometres down the road) we'd decided to get the remote control out and he could play with that.

I love Bunnings!  Even just wandering around is so much fun :-D  I looked at seed packets and tools and outdoor settings and storage items.  Happy sigh :-D

Then came the butcher.  It's the strangest butcher I've ever been to because it is just like a supermarket!  Not quite as big, but set up the same way.  We ended up with a trolley full of meat (lucky we have a big esky right?), including plenty for meals and all kinds of jerky, sausages and salamis, and all kinds of meat products that the Big Fella has already started.  It smells good in our downstairs fridge and the freezer is full :-D

On the way home we stopped for noodles in a box and some fuel and randomly ran into some guys from the Big Fella's work who'd broken down (wrong fuel in the car).  We did a little re-shuffle and ended up bringing one of the three back with us.

It felt like a long trip home, mostly because the Little Big Fella was bored and sick of the car by this stage.  Instead of "are we there yet?" we got into a little routine of "can you see Bluff yet Mummy?", "no, what will we do?", "I don't know", "we'll have to keep driving".  It was a bit of fun but I'm glad it only lasted for about 15 minutes :-D

Oh!  And the day before, I have to tell you a little bit about that too!

The Big Fella was working overnight but had made arrangements to help a guy put a verandah extension on his shed in the afternoon.  The Little Big Fella and I went over too, just for a bit of a visit.  After a while we decided to go home, but the Little Big Fella decided he wanted to ride his bike, and he was rather insistent.  So I walked/jogged/ran with him.  Safe to say I'm getting better because the walk/jog/run didn't have any disadvantageous effects on me ;-)

We made it to the park and he had a little play then he decided he wanted to take the longer way home and go past the chickens.  But before we got to the chickens, we saw some kids playing out the front of their place (we'd been to a birthday party there a week or so ago) and they invited Dan in to play.

So I ended up sitting out front and talking with the parents for a couple of hours, which was really great!

But then I got a call from the lady at the house where the Big Fella was working.  She'd come around to pick us up for afternoon drinks but we weren't there (this was after I'd received a call from my little sister, whose birthday it was and I'd been trying to get a hold of her all day).  So we headed home, got changed (the sun was going down and it was starting to get cold) and went back.  We ended up having dinner there and the Little Big Fella was exhausted and fell asleep in my arms.  Man he's getting heavy!!!!

So two big days in a row!  Thankfully yesterday was a pretty quiet one :-)

Friday, 3 August 2012

Request denied!

Before I had my son, I pretty much took it for granted that I could sleep whenever I wanted to.  If I went to bed at 10:30, I'd probably be asleep by 11 and it would be unusual for me to wake up before my alarm at, say, 7.  Eight hours sleep, pretty much guaranteed.

Even now that the Little Big Fella mostly sleeps through, it's unusual for me to get an uninterrupted night of sleep.  Add any illness, change in weather, odd food, over-full bladders, and a shift working husband, and the likelihood of a full night of sleep is pretty low.

It feels like I have to fill out a request form every night before I go to bed: Please can I have a full night of sleep?

Request denied!

And, of course, every time you're most desperate for a big sleep it won't happen.

The Little Big Fella has been sick this week with a cold, so he's been coughing and crying, and (this is a little odd) wetting his bed.  Then, surprise, surprise, I came down with it yesterday afternoon.

By the time we ate dinner at 6pm, I was just about falling asleep at the table.  The Big Fella was already at work so I couldn't just slink off to bed.

I went and had a hot shower while the Little Big Fella finished eating then showered him and put him to bed.  He didn't fall asleep until about 8:30.

Request denied!

I went to bed and guess what!  I couldn't go to sleep!!!  Gah!!!!!

I think I finally fell asleep a bit after 9 and got 3 glorious hours of deep sleep.

Request denied!

About midnight all the dogs in the neighbourhood started barking, ours included.  I yelled at them to go to sleep but they ignored me, which normally means something is in the yard.  So I drag my sorry self out of bed and put a warm jacket on because I know it's cold outside.

The dogs are still barking so I yell at them and they come to me, hoping to be allowed inside.

Request denied!

Then I see a couple of people hanging out across the road next to the horse paddock.  Thanks very much folks.

Eventually they move on and the dogs stop trying to bark.

When I go inside I realise the Big Fella will be home from work soon so when I get back in bed, my brain won't let me sleep because it's too busy listening out for him.

Request denied!

Eventually I hear him come home and fall into deep sleep again... until he comes to bed an hour or so later and is absolutely frozen!  The house was fairly cool and he sat on the couch watching the Olympics for a while, without turning on the heater or putting a blanket over him.  So I was awake for another half hour or so trying to warm him up.  In hindsight, I should have sent him off for a hot shower or hot water bottle!!! ;-)

Asleep again?

Request denied!

The Little Big Fella wakes up with a nightmare at about 4am, then gets a nice coughing fit going on because he was crying.  I'm not allowed to leave or give him anything to try to stop the coughing so I get the spare doona and wrap myself up because I'm cold by this stage.  Eventually he falls asleep (about 45 minutes later) and I'm allowed to go back to bed, which by this time is cold.

Sleep?  Request denied!

I lay there for at least half an hour trying to warm myself and my side of the bed up before finally falling asleep again for a couple of hours.

So, I'm putting in my request early today.  I have a really good reason to need sleep tonight!  I've looked after myself all day and I just need a good sleep to help my body repair itself.  Please???