Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Decorating The Christmas Tree

Y'all know I love Christmas and decorating the tree really kicks off the season for me.

I'm one of those who won't put the tree up until either December 1st, or the first Saturday in December (depending on the year).  But this year has been slightly hectic so the tree went up on Sunday (still in November!!!), but the decorations didn't make it on until the 1st.

In past years I've done catalogue-style trees and quite enjoyed them.  But my favourite is definitely when I put all of the decorations I've been given on, and have a slightly crazy-looking, homey tree.

I love pulling each one out of the box and unwrapping them, and being reminded of who gave them to me and where I was at the time.

The glass tear drop and the yellow bauble are from my mother-in-law and sister-in-law.  They've had a tradition of giving each other a decoration each year, and they included me as soon as I married the Big Fella.

No family Christmas tree is complete without some home-made items.  And a little whimsy.

I love the ones with photos of family, and how as I place each item on the tree, I'm flooded with memories of good times and great people that make my life rich.

No matter what kind of tree I have, no matter the colour scheme or theme, this bauble always makes it on to the tree.  Before the Big Fella and I started dating we went to a Christmas festival in the street where he worked.  It's a vintage-style street with a real village atmosphere.

A bunch of friends were meant to join us, but for some reason they all pulled out so it ended up being just the Big Fella and I.  (I sometimes wonder if he arranged it that way, but I've never asked.)

We wandered around looking at things and having a great time together, when we came to the little square just up from his workshop.  There was a lady there putting peoples' names on baubles and hanging them from the tree in the centre of the square.

We got our initials put on and hung the bauble in the tree.

After Christmas, when we were officially together, the Big Fella went to the tree and found our bauble.  He produced it the following Christmas (just a few weeks before we were married).

See?  Each ornament has a story and an emotional connection to great times and places!  This is my annual reminder of people who have been in my life and shared a bit of themselves with me.  It reminds me that I am here, the person I am now because of the influence of these wonderful people.

So, my Christmas tree, thank you for reminding me how great life is and how precious people are, and that the "silly season" is about more than stress and money.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Fighting the negative

I've been surrounded recently with negativity.

There's been plenty of complaining about people not doing what they should, not telling others what they need to know, not treating others the way they should, not having the same opinions... it goes on and on.

Along with this has been the stress of the "silly season" and the hot weather.

I've also been hearing of hard times that friends and acquaintances are suffering through.

Then there's all the craziness that's going on in the world at large, along with the fears and deeply-held convictions and conflicts it stirs.

And I find myself fighting desperately against this vortex of negativity.  I don't want it to suck me in and suck the life from me!

So how can I fight the tide?

I try to start with a little self-care.  You can't fight anything if you've got nothing in your tank, so I try to get enough sleep, nutritious (and delicious!) sustenance, and soaking the stress away at the end of the day in the pool is a good start (if it was winter, I'd be running a bubbly bath and lighting a couple of scented candles).

Next I try to remember how much good is in my life, and the things I like about the people around me.

This can be exceptionally hard when the people around me are making my life difficult and adding stress to my day, so it helps to have a list in the back of my head from when times aren't so stressed that I can whip out on days like these!

That person who just turned a busy patch into insanity, may also be the person who takes the time to ask about your life, adds laughter to the day, and contributes significantly to the great environment that normally exists.

You can't go past the power of music in the fight against the negative!  For me, the most effective is a bit of Michael Bubl'e, Meghan Trainor, Human Nature, or good Christmas carols.  Although, a bit of P!nk is often great, too!

Find something that makes you feel good, move, sing (even if it's out of tune!) and lifts the tension.

Finally, doing something for others is SO good for the soul and is a powerful weapon on the war against negativity.

Grabbing a cheap box of icy poles and distributing them to over-heated, cranky workers out in the sun, delivering a care-package to a friend who's having a bad time, making a call to someone who's lonely, or sending a letter to a loved one (a hand-written, snail-mail posted letter is incredibly special!) - it all takes your focus away from the negativity you're surrounded by, and lifts your vision to the "possible".  It reminds you that there's more to life than the current period of stress, and that people are worthy of love and respect.

I don't always win this battle.  There are moments, days, sometimes months when I succumb and dump my bleuch all over the world along with everyone else.

But I will keep fighting because I want my life to be full of the positive, the life-affirming, the reality that life is a beautiful thing.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Summer's here!!!

You might be forgiven for thinking it's the middle of Summer here in Central Queensland!  But, apparently it's still Spring!

This week has seen temperatures hovering close to 40 degrees Celsius (about 104 Fahrenheit), with it only dropping to mid-twenties overnight.

We are exceptionally grateful to have a pool at the moment!  The Fellas have spent several hours each afternoon in it, playing, wallowing and drinking fizzy drinks.

At work the poor guys are repairing our mine machines (dozers, dump trucks etc.) out in the direct sun and you can tell how much it's wearing them down.  We've taken icy poles around to them in the afternoons to attempt a little relief, and they've been wearing those neck ties that you keep in the fridge or freezer for cooling you down.

I'm looking forward to the other side of a Queensland summer - the thoroughly drenching rains!

A couple of weekends ago we had 18mm (about 3/4") in one afternoon, with a bit of rain the few days before and after.  The ground has suddenly come to life again!  Just a few weeks ago I couldn't even remember what it looked like around here when the grass was green - it had seemed SO long ago!

But we went to visit friends at our little town down the road and the paddocks were rich with green grass!

I can't tell you what that does for the soul around here!

Don't get me wrong!  Farmers are still suffering - there has still been no rain further West - but a little greenery adds hope where little could be seen or felt.

I do love Summer, although Autumn (Fall) is my favourite.  Summer has the long days, the relaxed pace, swimming and ice-cream and the freedom of dresses and shorts.  Sitting outside and having a BBQ with family or friends (whilst being devoured by mosquitoes - definitely not my favourite!!).

And here in Australia, Summer is also Christmas and New Year.  And y'all know how much I love Christmas!!!  This year I'm extra excited because we'll be spending it with my family in Victoria for the first time in 9 years!

We went out to dinner tonight at the local tavern and they occasionally brought up a count-down until the end of 2015.  It's been a big, good year for us

And I have to say that I'm excited about what might happen in 2016!  At the start of the year I wouldn't have thought we'd buy a house, I couldn't have imagined what a funny, intelligent child I would have at this end of the year, and I didn't think I'd love my husband more still!

So, I wonder what Summer will bring and how 2016 will change and refine us.  I'm looking forward to finding out!

Monday, 16 November 2015

Now what?

"Here it comes", I thought.  The conversation that I knew would take place in my office following the attacks on Paris had begun.

The boys were saying that all Muslims, Syrians, fill-in-the-blank should be taken out and shot because there's no way they're ever going to stop.

The girls were saying that you can't lump everyone in the same boat (pardon the pun) just because some are lunatics.

I don't normally write about events like this because 1, I don't have anything original to contribute to the conversation, and 2, because I don't see any point taking sides - it is rare to see anyone change their opinion!

So why now?  Why put something in the public arena that could be completely shot down?

Probably partly because I need to write to sort my own head out.

And I guess because I am a strong conflict-avoider in my own life and I'm desperately hoping that things will not go in the way I fear is almost inevitable.

See, the thing is that I can completely see both (the bazillion?) sides of the argument.  Radical extremists cannot be convinced to change their opinion and there is a case for ridding the world of them.

But if ridding the world of them involves destroying "innocent" lives along the way, up to what point is that acceptable?

There's a graphic that has been floating around Facebook that says something along the lines of there being 6 million Muslims in France and that only a tiny fraction of a percentage were involved in this series of attacks.

It's true!  Not every Muslim is a psychotic, fanatical killer!

But how do you find the ones who are and protect everyone else?

My problem with almost all of the comments I've heard and read in the past 24 hours (has it only been that long???) is that they are completely black and white.  Kill them all or don't hurt anyone in case that person is innocent.

But the world is not, has never been and will never be black and white!  It is grey and blue and red and yellow and a myriad of colours that meld to be both beautiful and horrific.

I'm sorry folks, but there is no simple answer.

I think part of the reason that these attacks in Paris have rocked our world so much is that, unlike Beirut and Baghdad, Paris feels like us.  It could have been in Australia or England or America.  France is part of the accepted West - a culture of intelligence and freedom.  Which, unfortunately is not how the majority of people view other places where atrocities have occurred recently.

So, now what?

We can't create another Holocaust and attempt to destroy every Muslim in the world.

But we can't let these fanatics get away with murder and the creation of fear and panic, and the destruction of our way of life (and our economy wink wink).

I don't have any answers.  Sorry.  If you got this far into this post and were hoping for them, I sincerely apologise for disappointing you.

But I think those who pray need to pray not only for the victims and their families and friends who feel so keenly their loss.  I think those who are perpetrating these unspeakably horrible acts, and those who are training them or planning to carry out similar attacks in the future, these people need our prayers too!

Perhaps the power of prayer can change hearts and minds!

Perhaps the power of prayer can remind these people of the humanity of their victims!

Perhaps the power of prayer can find a way through this awful mess to a peaceful solution.

What else?  What if prayer isn't your thing?

I think questioning any statement or solution that is black and white is a great place to start.

Don't be lulled into the false sense of security that "moral outrage" provides.  Think about the meme or photo or quote that you're sharing on social media and ask if it's helpful or informative or already been shared a bazillion times.

Try to understand the validity of people's arguments, while acknowledging that most statements at a time like this (including the apparently peaceful ones) come from a place of fear.

I don't have the answers.  I'm just a girl who is afraid of the potential effects of the mean-spiritedness of humanity, which shows itself both in acts of terrorism, and in words of bigotry and parochialism.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Rambling on

It's warm here tonight, although it's cooled significantly since the sun has gone down.  I got home from work and had a swim with the Little Big Fella and I'm still in my swimmers, five hours later.

The weather forecast is for storms this weekend and I really hope we get some rain.  The land is so dry.  Rain brings hope and the ability to keep going for another season.

The Christmas spirit sparked for me this week.  I'm not sure that it sparked for me at all last year, so it's nice to have it popping up so early this year.  I'd be playing Christmas carols if it didn't bug everyone around me!

It all started when I popped into our local "cheap shop".  You know the kind; plenty of junk and cheap variations of every day "necessities", craft products, hair and makeup, gardening, pet items... you get the gist.

I'd actually left the office for my lunch break (!) and dropped into the cheap shop because I'd seen a great idea for a teacher gift on Pinterest.  The Little Big Fella absolutely loves his teacher, so I've been thinking I'd love to give her something a little special as a Christmas/end-of-year gift.

I didn't find what I was hoping for, but I did wander my way through the Christmas aisle and found a couple of exciting ideas amongst the junk items.  I started imagining the various things I could put together fairly easily that would (hopefully) be somewhat meaningful for the receivers.

And the thought of giving sparked my Christmas spirit.

I came home that afternoon and pulled out my outdoor decoration project.  It's something I hope people in the community will enjoy seeing, and possibly interacting with.

Again, the thought of others enjoying the fruits of my efforts boosted my spirit.

I called my parents and they were both home and not busy, and we had a great chat.  They're SO excited about us spending Christmas with them, and I know it's going to be another great time with the people I love so dearly.

My not-so-little boy has been riding to school with the older boy from next door for the past few weeks.  I wasn't ready for him to not need me already.  After spending so much time with him it's been quite odd to have such short evenings with him.  And he's been playing and swimming so hard that he often falls asleep very quickly in the evenings.  I've missed our bedtime chats and stories.  I guess it's time to find new ways to connect with him.

We received a quote from the electrician today for installing ceiling fans in the bedrooms and replacing the living area ones that don't work.  The house is slowly starting to feel like our home, but I keep having these odd moments where I think the "owners" are going to come back and our holiday will be over.

The Big Fella will be working all of this weekend.  I hate the parts of his roster cycle that feel as though we don't see him.

I started exercising again four weeks ago.  I'm getting stronger each week, which I definitely like.  But my self-control with food definitely needs some more work :-}

I'm tired and rambling so that will do for tonight.  Hopefully it will be stormy over the weekend and I can show you all some pictures of our home because I won't be outside swimming or whatever else.

Sleep well, friends!

Monday, 12 October 2015


My Fellas are sleeping soundly in our new house.  Everything has been moved from the old house and it is clean and ready for inspection.

I know this is silly, but I feel so unsettled by all the little things.

I can't find my coat hangers, so I can't try to fit my clothes in the weird configuration of our (admittedly large) closet.

I have no idea where the mouse is for our laptop, so I have to use the stupid touch pad.  I hate using the touch pad.

The lounge room is great because the couch, lamp and TV are set up, but there's a pile of boxes in the corner, stopping me from putting things away in the cabinet behind them all.

The kitchen is set up, but the pantry is in the laundry, so making lunches for school and work this morning was strange and awkward.

I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to buy this house, and we're loving the pool and outdoor areas (we haven't eaten a meal inside yet).  But having no power point in the bathroom is stressful.

When I got to work this morning I sighed with contentment because at least everything was "normal" and I'd be able to find everything I needed.

I know it will all be set up properly soon, and I'll start dreaming about how to make our office/guest room useful and welcoming, or what colour to paint this and that, or how we could re-do the pantry cupboard so that it's an L-shaped walk in from the hall, rather than a deep, dark place to lose everything in the laundry, but right now the mess is stressing me out and I'm just not coping.

The worst thing is that I can't just unpack and clear my way through it all.  I look at the boxes that are left and I don't even know where to put half the stuff, like my craft items and extra stationery.  Even the cleaning products don't have an obvious place, because I've put half the kitchen appliances in the utility cupboard in the hall.

And now that the weekend is over and I'm back at work, the regular routine things have to happen each night - dinner, homework, bath, bedtime stories, dishes, crash.

Speaking of bedtime stories, the Big Fella and I were sitting outside taking a break after cleaning the old house, and we stopped and wondered where the Little Big Fella was.  We discovered him laying on his bed reading a book to himself (for the first time ever!).

I honestly nearly cried!

It has been a strong wish for me, although I don't think I realised how much I'd hoped for it, that the Little Big Fella learn to love reading like we, his parents do.  Both of us can get completely lost in a good story until we reach the end of the book (it can be kind of annoying when you need the other person to pay attention to what's going on, and they're absorbed by their current story).

And I'd hoped, SO much, that the Little Big Fella would discover the joy of imagination in print (and learning too!).

I also must say that both of my Fellas have been extraordinary during this move.

The Little Big Fella has been patient and helpful and well-behaved (although a bit too excited on occasion), and the Big Fella has stuck to his promise not to snap or lose his temper at all (traditionally, moving house brings out the worst in both of us).  Unfortunately I can't claim the same (sorry honey).

I know you all want to see the house and hear all about it, but I don't have any photos yet, and until tonight I've been way too tired to get myself to bed, let alone write anything.  But it's coming as soon as possible!

Thanks for letting me vent my little tantrum of frustration :-)

Sunday, 4 October 2015

So close I can smell the chlorine!

It's a long weekend here so the Big Fella and I have been chipping away at the packing and cleaning. Probably a good thing, given that we're planning to move next Saturday! 

The Little Big Fella and I got home on Friday afternoon to discover that half of the house was downstairs! The Big Fella had gotten enthusiastic and moved half the couch, the bookshelf from the Little Big Fella's room, all the furniture sitting in the office, our dinig buffet, and a few other random bits and pieces.

It finally felt like we were on the move!

Unfortunately he ran out of steam before cleaning up the mess he'd made along the way 😀

But we're now at the end of Sunday night and we've completely finished one room, including window, walls, and vacuuming the floor.

The beds have been packed down, the bedside tables emptied, and the disgusting fluffy mess in the corners behind them vacuumed away!  And the Big Fella took all the foil off our bedroom window and cleaned it (the foil was to blackout the room so he can attempt to sleep during the day when he has night shift).

Our living area is still a big jumbled mess, and I haven't even started on the kitchen!   Thank goodness it's a long weekend! 

So tomorrow has the delightful task of being kitchen day! A few boxes to pack and shelves to clean, but then we're nearly there!  It's so close I can smell the chlorine from our new pool!


On a side note, tonight was the footy (rugby league) grand final. Two teams from our state fought for the title and it was an absolute nail-biter!  The Broncos were in front from just before half time, then no one scored (despite several close attempts by the Cowboys) in the second half. Then almost literally on the full time siren, the Cowboys got a try (like a touch down for those who watch American football). They'd tied the score!

In rugby league, when your team scores a try you have the opportunity to kick at the goals. The captain of the Cowboys took a while to set himself up, then took the kick.  He kicked and it was bending back to go through the goals but hit the post and bounced back into the field!

So being the grand final, the teams went into golden time.  The Broncos made a mistake and the Cowboys had the opportunity to kick at the goals, but kept getting surrounded by the Broncos so they didn't have enough room to take the kick.

After a couple of attempts, the Cowboys captain finally got enough space and the kick went through!  The Cowboys won!

I'm not normally much of a footy fan, but that was an amazing game!  And the area the Cowboys are based is in a really bad drought at the moment, so to have something to celebrate is more than special! 

I hope you all have a wonderful week and that there's something to brighten your days.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Counting down

We're on the final countdown folks!  We settle on our new house in 8 sleeps, and we'll be moving in 3 sleeps later!

I was talking to my parents (mostly Mum) this evening.  They've just returned from a few weeks in Vietnam, including riding motorbikes in their crazy traffic!  It sounds like they had an absolutely awesome trip, ate some ridiculously lovely food, and came home with a new view on some things about life, which is always a good souvenir to bring home.

Mum was asking how the stress levels are going with the move, and I honestly got to tell her that it's been great!

I got to have a 4-day weekend this one just past, and on the first day the Big Fella and I did some packing and cleaning together.  He got to clean the oven (God, I love that man!!!!) while I scrubbed the oven racks.

We got about half way through the day and wondered what else we could do because everything we thought of can't really be done until next weekend.  We've sorted through everything and gotten rid of plenty of stuff, we've packed pretty much all the things we won't need for the next two weeks, and the big cleaning jobs are done.

The stress of the practical stuff of buying a house is pretty much done.  We still need to inspect the house prior to settlement, and the money needs to actually change hands, but it's all going smoothly.

The last two house moves I did mostly without the Big Fella (he was already in our new locales), so having him here to take some of the load has been brilliant!  And the fact that our houses are only 15 minutes apart helps relieve the stress because, if I need to (though I won't want to), I can come back to this house to finish cleaning.

So, at this point I'm feeling pretty relaxed.  No doubt that will change several times between now and when we're fully moved, but for now it's great!

On another note, I am feeling so incredibly blessed lately!  When I first became a mother, I honestly hated it.  When people said that the days go so quickly and you'll turn around and they'll be adults, I always smiled politely and internally imagined beating them over the head with a baseball bat.  The days seemed to go on forever!!!

But at this point in our lives, even though the Little Big Fella still drives me nuts sometimes, he also makes my heart melt regularly.  He is so sweet and funny and interesting!

He was telling me a story this morning, making up a tale about an alien and his brother, and a voice that came from nowhere.  It went on forever in a completely rambling fashion, but I marveled at the way his brain works at the moment, and how much he's grown, and how clever he is!

And on the weekend he drew me a picture on his whiteboard and wrote me a note saying how I have been the best mum in the world to him.

Tonight I was reading to him and, as he was falling asleep I realised that I am so lucky to be his Mum.  I am lucky to have this precious life entrusted to me, with all of the difficulties and worries and frustrations.  I get to have this wonderful little boy who absolutely adores me, even when my "tummy looks like it has a baby in it", even when I blow up in frustration or don't want to do the things he wants to do.  He still adores me and thinks I'm the best mum in the world to him.

What an absolutely priceless gift that is!

Monday, 14 September 2015

A good day

Today was a good day.

I woke when I was ready, which is always the best way to wake.

The Big Fella was at work so I made the most of my highest energy time of day and packed a few boxes, put some washing on, made breakfast for the Little Big Fella and myself, cleaned up the kitchen and got myself ready to go to a friend's Tupperware party (including painting my toenails).

I bought a new dress last week that arrived in the mail on Thursday.  When I tried it on, I felt pretty... until I looked in the mirror.  In the mirror, all I could see was a bigger middle than I want.

I tossed up whether to keep that dress for a couple of hours.

I ended up deciding that it was such a lovely dress and I wanted to wear it.  I wanted to be brave enough to wear something because it was pretty, even though I felt somewhat self-conscious in it.

I wanted to let go of the notion that I must continue to be my skinny twenty-something self.  Instead I want to embrace my not-so-skinny now self, who is beautiful in many ways, even if it's not physically in the way I was before.

So I wore this dress to my friend's today.  I was a bit over-dressed, and a bit self-conscious, but I didn't look in the mirror before I left, I did my hair nicely and I felt pretty.  

It was great to catch up with a couple of friends, have a chat, a laugh, and eat some delicious food.  The kids mostly got along really well, which allowed us to relax and enjoy the time together.  Somewhat unusually, the couple of little scuffles didn't involve the Little Big Fella at all!  

We hung around for ages because the kids were playing so well!  It may have been close to four hours that we were there!  Well, that's what the clock says anyway.  It only felt like one, or maybe two.  As they say, time flies when you're having fun!

When we got home the Big Fella was sleeping so we quietly went about having a very belated lunch/afternoon tea.  I hung out some more washing and moved my packed boxes to the pile downstairs.

The Big Fella had woken up, but wasn't really awake at all.  And the Little Big Fella was re-watching a cartoon he's seen at least half a dozen times this weekend (sometimes I love Netflix, sometimes not so much!).  So I grabbed the Little Big Fella and we went into his room and packed his books.

He was gorgeous!  We went through the books and picked out about a third of them that he didn't want to keep anymore.  We packed the rest (and a couple that I don't want to get rid of because of the huge role they've previously played in our lives) and he taped the boxes up and wrote on them.

Then we decided we were on a roll, so we went through his toys (which were disorganised after a couple of playdates over the past few weeks anyway).  He decided to add a bunch of toys to the giveaway pile, many of which surprised me.  We went downstairs and grabbed a box to pack all of the books and toys in and he wrote on the box, "D's giveaway box of toys and books".

I've left the box in his room, just in case some of the "giveaway" toys turn out to be "keep" toys, but we think we're going to give them to his school and the hospital, if they want them.

After a little bit of mucking around, it was time to let the chooks out and take the washing off the line.  The Little Big Fella decided he wanted to help with the washing, which we've not done before - partly because he's too short, and partly because I fold the washing as it comes off the line so that the basket doesn't sit on the lounge for the next week.

But we dragged a chair over and he took the clothes off and we laid them flat in the basket.  The basket is currently sitting on the lounge and will possibly be there for the next few days :-)

The Big Fella decided that he wanted to go to the next town and get some drinks for the evening, so the Fellas took off and I set the sprinklers up and went upstairs to check a couple of things online and get a start on the side for the pork roast (the Big Fella had already put it in the oven earlier).

I put the chooks away, filled their food and water and opened the gate just as the Fellas got back.

We finished preparing dinner and ate it watching Rango (on a school night!).  Then my best friend called and we chatted for a good while, mostly about the good stuff in life.

The Big Fella and I watched the end of Part I in a mini-series about Peter Allen then went to bed and chatted for ages.

Now it's after midnight and I'm thinking this day pretty much couldn't have been better.  Unless my family were here.  That's about all that could have been better.

The weather was beautiful.
I had enough sleep.
I achieved plenty.
My son was almost angelic!
I got to catch up with friends.
I ate delicious food.
I got to wear a pretty dress.
I got to spend good time with my husband.

That looks like a recipe for a very good day.  Now repeat that as often as possible for a VERY good life!

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

The nuggets were good...

Dinner in our house is normally a fairly quick, quiet event.  We eat at the dining table, turn the TV off, and have quiet conversation.

But every now and then I am reminded that I live with boys.

Tonight was one of those dinner times!

The Big Fella had cooked up a salmon fillet for each of us adults, and some chicken nuggets for the Little Big Fella.  I'd made a nice big bowl of salad and the Little Big Fella had set the table.

We sat down together and began our meal, talking about our day and whatever else came up.

Then the Little Big Fella offered his dad one of his chicken nuggets.

Who knows what the Big Fella was thinking, but he shoved it in his mouth then decided that he needed sauce with it.  He grabbed the bottle of squeezy tomato sauce, tipped his head back, opened wide and squeezed!

The Little Big Fella couldn't believe what he was seeing!  I could literally hear his brain cogs turning in an attempt to understand what was happening.

Unfortunately for the Big Fella, he squeezed the sauce straight onto the nugget, so couldn't actually tell how much sauce he had in his mouth.

It was a lot!

The squeeze finished, he had a few chews and then registered how much sauce there was.

By this time, the Little Big Fella's brain had decided that what he was watching was highly amusing, and he was giggling away.

The Big Fella started making a face but bravely chewed his way through the nugget, commenting that "the nugget was good, but the sauce was a bit much"!

Cue the copy cat!

The Big Fella suggests that the Little Big Fella has a go.  There is enthusiastic agreement and in goes a large piece of chicken nugget, back goes the head...

The Big Fella grabs the sauce bottle, tips it up and starts to squeeze...

Which is when the Little Big Fella realises that he like sauce, but not that much!  He moves his head to the side to stop the flow of sauce...

And there we have sauce filling up his mouth, all over his face, down his neck and all over his school shirt.

We had a good, long, loud laugh and enjoyed the change of pace in our dinner routine.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015


I'm exhausted.

I go to bed early and lay there, thinking of nothing and everything.  I try not to think about the fact that I'm not asleep because that will cause me to stress that I am not asleep, which will stop me from sleeping.

I toss and turn.  I do not sleep.

Giving up, I get out of bed and do little things around the house or try to lull myself to sleepiness with a puzzle game on my phone or tablet in the dark.

It is late.

I know I will be tired again tomorrow and yet I still cannot sleep.

Eventually I am shattered and fall into bed again, nodding straight off.

The alarm wakes me well before I am ready.

Repeat for several days.  My temper gets shorter and positivity declines.  I am uninspired, and overwhelmed by the things that need to be done.

After three of four nights I am tired enough to collapse and sleep as soon as I go to bed.  Then the pattern returns.

When did I forget how to go to sleep?

I've never been one to go straight to sleep when I go to bed.  I remember when I first married the Big Fella, I was absolutely flabbergasted that anyone could go to sleep so quickly!

But half an hour, give or take, used to be my standard.  I'd lay in bed thinking of the day that had been, the days that were coming, my plans, my hopes, my wonderings about life.  And then I would drift off to sleep.

But the pattern has changed and I don't know how to change it back.

I think having the TV off in the evening helps.  I really enjoy the quiet, especially after reading to the Little Big Fella, and once he is asleep.

I like to have time to calm down.  There has been so much going on lately, not only with our house but at work and in general.  I can be so wired to get things done, or just ruminating on the day, and having quiet for while before bed helps me let it all go.

I like to sit and enjoy my home, but when there is "stuff" everywhere, and things are out of place, I find it difficult to relax.

My sister sent me "Millie Marotta's Animal Kingdom" for my birthday.  I've had a few evenings where I've enjoyed doing a little colouring.  It's a nice alternative to reading, which sometimes gets me so engrossed in the story that I forget to go to bed!

Well, I need to go and finish the dishes so that I can go to bed and attempt some sleep.  Wishing you all sweet dreams and restful sleep tonight.

Monday, 31 August 2015

The tension of the last minute

I realised late last week that we only had 6 weekends until our probably moving date, which promptly sent me into a list-making frenzy, which caused a bit of a freak out as I remembered how much work there is in packing and cleaning a house!

But I've finally done it!  I've finally packed my first boxes!  Not just sorted stuff out (because why would I pack stuff that I don't want/need???), but actually packed boxes!

Packing is a messy thing for me.  It takes up lots of room, and some packing can take lots of time.

All that stuff on the floor was in the open box.  I don't think I've looked through the things in this box since we moved here!  I've added, but not looked through, which is sad because this box holds reminders of wonderful people and times in my life.

There are (way too many) bits and pieces from when I was a child (including a project book I did in Grade 6 that I was particularly proud of), our wedding (including the flowers that my Aunt and cousin made for our cake), living overseas (photos, a baseball, journals), and the art and debris of an only child's first six years of life.

I'd been looking forward to, and slightly dreading, dealing with this box.

And as I made the mess and sorted my memories, I came across old friends, wonderful times, special moments.  My life has been full of good times and great people and I am so incredibly lucky!

But this box distracts me every time I move, and has hijacked my post!

So, I finally sorted and packed all of these wonderful memories, and moved the boxes downstairs, all stacked and ready to load into our new house where we'll make all kinds of new memories!

One room packed (well, packed enough for 6 weeks to go) and ready to move the furniture, remove the curtains and clean it top to bottom.  I am determined to follow my own advice from the last move, and start early, getting as much done each weekend as possible.

I had hoped to get a bit more cleaning done as well (ceiling fans and the tops of the kitchen cupboards are on my radar!), but I'll just have to tackle those throughout the week, or next weekend.

This morning I contacted our mortgage broker.  According to our contract, the finance needed to be finalised by today, and the contract would then be unconditional.  We'd been in contact last week and knew everything was moving along, but I was concerned that the bank wouldn't provide official approval in time to let the broker know, to let us know, to let the solicitors know, to let the seller's solicitors know, and that the whole thing would collapse.  (I know, first home buyer stress-head here!)

The mortgage broker assured me all was in process and they would follow up again after lunch.

By 1pm I had a whopping headache, completely caused by tension in my neck and shoulders.

I contacted the brokers again, who assured me they'd been talking to the guy at the bank who was handling our application and all was well.

At 3pm I contacted the brokers again with an email something along the lines of, "how's it all going?  What happens if it doesn't go through today?".  They said the bank had told them to call just before 4.

My headache was knocking me about and my stomach had joined in the fun, making me nauseous.

I texted my Mum who assured me that, "banks, like God, like to leave things to the last minute".  Have I ever mentioned how wise my mum is?

I finished work at 4 and called the broker.  She had been assisting another client and was about to call the bank again.  She told me the bank's computer system had issues, and that the part that allowed them to press the "approved" button wasn't working.  I was not to worry, she said.  She'd spoken to our solicitor, and if it wasn't sorted today, they could arrange for an extension on the conditional part of our contract.

Not worry.  Ha!  I don't know if my body could handle the stress!

I carried my phone on my person whilst I went to the petrol station.  I kept it on charge in the car.  I carried it in to collect the Little Big Fella from after-school care, and in to the post office.  If I'd gone to the bathroom, you can bet your bottom dollar that I would have had it in there too!!!

We got home and the Big Fella asked what was happening.  He laughed when I told him.  I didn't see the humour!

Just after 5pm, the Big Fella got a call on his mobile.  The loan has been approved and the documents will be in the mail for us to sign.  The solicitors have been informed.  Congratulations.


The tension started leaving immediately.  The Big Fella had a big grin.  Plans were made to get something bubbly to celebrate.

So, now it's really, really happening.  There's no going back now.  We will actually be moving at the start of October and we will have a pool and a wonderful back patio that we will practically live in 9 months of the year.  We will have a place that we can change and decorate anyway I feel (subject to finances, obviously).

Now I can go ahead and organise the electricity and phones and water.  We can finalise our wills.

And the packing up of my box of memories is not in vain.  I think when I unpack them in our new house, I'll store them in a way which makes it easier to go through them a little more often than once every 3 years ;-)

Wednesday, 26 August 2015


"No way, you're not doing that."

My son didn't believe my husband.

The Little Big Fella didn't jump up or protest as the Big Fella went and filled a bucket of water.

He didn't react when I asked if we needed the stuff from upstairs, or if he'd just use the one downstairs.

He placidly knelt in front of the bucket, obviously not believing we'd follow through...

And then all hell broke loose and I wonder if we've traumatised our child and permanently given him trust issues (whilst laughing our heads off).

The Little Big Fella had Book Week Parade yesterday.  All of the kids were told to dress up as their favourite book character.  I've been reading the Harry Potter books to him each night (we're up to book four - The Goblet of Fire), so I wasn't surprised when he said he wanted to be Harry.

I managed to snag a costume, which included the Griffindor robe, glasses and a wand.  Then I grabbed a can of black hairspray.

Here's the end result:

He was really happy with it and ran around saying "Avada Kedavra" all day.

Unfortunately, by the time he got home, he'd been running around sweating all day and there was black all over his face and neck.  So after he played around after school a while, we sent him to have a shower.  There were explicit instructions to clean his head and face, rubbing with a cloth and using soap/shampoo.

After a very short shower, he returned - wet and still rather black, except for a little patch at the very top of his head.  We informed our Little Big Fella that he would require another shower, to which he responded with a lot of attitude and informed us that he wasn't going to have another shower.

It was at this point the Big Fella threatened (jokingly) to run a bucket of water (he graciously offered to make it warm), dunk the Little Big Fella up and down in it and wash his hair.

"No way, you're not doing that."

My son didn't believe my husband.

And thus the joke turned into reality, the bucket was prepared and the shampoo and towel were brought to the scene.

The Little Big Fella knelt in front of the bucket on the grass and the Big Fella got him to tip his head into the bucket.

Apparently the water was warmer than the Little Big Fella liked and the joke/entertainment was transformed as we now attempted to finish the job, throwing more water over his head and rubbing shampoo all through his hair (strongly suggesting that he keeps his eyes closed).

The Little Big Fella was reacting in a much more negative way than we'd anticipated, and wouldn't put his head back in the water to rinse off.  The obvious answer to this, according to the Big Fella, was to take the entire bucket and up-end it over the Little Big Fella.

The Big Fella and I were quite enjoying all of this and laughing quite freely.

But the Little Big Fella was absolutely inconsolable, and it was at this point (amidst my mirth) that I wondered if we'd just damaged our sensitive son's psyche.

We rubbed him dry, got him to change his pyjamas, and had a chat about doing what he was told, and gave him a big hug.

I think next time we ask him to wash his hair, he might follow through a little more thoroughly the first time round!

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Goodbye Winter

I believe Winter is over here in Central Queensland.  And while I've enjoyed it, I'm not overly sad that we're moving on.

I'm enjoying waking up and not quite needing the heater.

I'm enjoying the warmth of the afternoons and appreciative that they're not too warm yet.

I'm enjoying the inspiration that the sense of impending Summer brings me.  Inspiration for new projects, Halloween and Christmas decorating, fresh food and plenty of outdoor activities.

So beside these reasons, how do I know that Winter is done?

Well, I think the main reason would be that I've decided it's time to remove my "winter coat".  Yes, this week I removed the surprisingly long hair on my legs.

Goodbye Winter!

Friday, 21 August 2015


It's been super busy at work lately.  And kind of stressful.  Everyone has so much going on, and they're under a lot of pressure from those at Head Office to get things done in somewhat unreasonable time frames.

It's good for me!  It keeps me busy enough that the days fly by and I feel like I've achieved something.

But the constant stress has brought a lot of negativity and the blame game has had a good airing.

By the time I get home most days, I feel tired.  Part of it is that I'm not overly inspired by my work, even though I know I do it well.

And then with everything happening with buying our house I've been wishing I could be at home sorting and packing and (dare I say it) cleaning.

This morning I was working away, very busily, and trying to get something done that wasn't quite working.  I was starting to feel the stress rising as my computer slowed to a crawl and the list of demands from my colleagues grew.

Then, out of the blue, I received a text message.  That's not entirely unusual at work, but to get one from the Big Fella really is!  The Big Fella rarely texts, almost always preferring a phone call, even if the "conversation" started as a text.

My semi-pause in my work to check my phone turned into complete distraction as I sat pondering the interruption my husband had sent.

I was thinking this morning how much I like my life.  I have a lovely wife, son, and a good job.  We have a brilliant life.

And, you know what?  He's completely right!

I love my Fellas so much.  I am completely lucky to have a husband who cooks, cleans and can fix anything.  He respects me and treats me like a lady, and forgives me for being lazy or ungracious.

My son is perfectly healthy, usually polite, intelligent and good at sports.  He is interesting and funny and great company.

And my job is good!  I get paid really well to do something that I'm good at.  It gives my life structure (that works really well for me) and I feel like I'm contributing.  And when I compare it to how I felt as a 100% at-home-mum, I appreciate my job even more.

My day progressed and got more chaotic.  My computer cracked it and had to be re-started, and I was loaded up with more to do while I was attempting to complete everything I already had before the weekend.

Normally I'd be getting frustrated and slightly losing the plot.  But today, because of this simple interruption, I was in a good frame of mind and just worked my way through it all.  I even got to leave work 10 minutes early!

Amazing what a little reminder of the good things in your life can do to your day!

Sunday, 16 August 2015

And so it begins!

We have about seven weeks until settlement, assuming all goes well.  So this weekend the process of moving has begun.  And the thought of it all is exhausting me already!

I've started sorting out bits and pieces throughout the house.  I've taken bags of things to the Vinnie bins, and there's more room in my linen press than I've had... since we've been here I'd think!

But the Big Fella has really gotten into the mood!  He's filled the trailer with a load (so far), started digging up the plants we're taking with us, started clearing out the sheds and shipping container, pulled the blinds down outside the kitchen and the shadecloth on the Western side of the house, and today he pressure washed all the outside of the house.

Unfortunately, our house isn't water proof when you use the pressure washer, and there was dirty water on several of the inside walls (through the gaps in the windows, by the way).  This means that my inside cleaning had to begin already.  And it just reminded me of what a big job moving house is.

I'm SO glad the Big Fella will be helping this time around!!!  And that the Little Big Fella can entertain himself (and help a bit)!

I got to visit my next door neighbour this morning, who is no longer my next door neighbour as she moved to the next town a couple of months ago.  It was lovely to catch up and chat like old times, and see her new place and hear her plans for it.

Despite my trepidation about the actual process of moving (and especially the cleaning), seeing my friend reminded me that it will all be worth it and we're going to love the change!

Now if only I could do a little time travel and be at the other end!!!! ;-)

Thursday, 13 August 2015

A Special Birthday Gift

It was my birthday this past Saturday.  I received lots of lovely messages from friends and family near and far, but it wasn't a great day.

My son gave me the flu for my birthday.

I spent most of the day on the couch, oscillating between freezing, covered with blankets, and sweating up a storm, opening all the doors and windows and turning on the fans.

But it wasn't all bad.

I received lovely gifts from my mum, best friend, and mother-in-law, and I bought myself some cheery daffodils with money given by the Big Fella's Oma.

I got to sit and chat with my Fellas, and they looked after me really well throughout the day.

Strictly speaking, the Big Fella didn't give me a birthday gift.  I'd told him weeks before that I couldn't think of anything I wanted other than to spend some time with him and our Little Big Fella.

But he did kind of give me a house on my birthday!  Yes, after thirteen and a half years of marriage, the Big Fella and I finally signed a contract for a three bedroom, single storey home in the next town (where I work and the Little Big Fella goes to school).  It is in lovely condition and has obviously been well looked after by the retiring owners.

It has a big three bay shed, as well as a double drive-through carport, an in-ground pool, and a large outdoor entertaining area.

We've been imagining our totally Australian outdoor lifestyle, and we're not really sure how much the dining room will be used for nine months of the year.

Like I said, the house is in great condition and doesn't need any work done on it.  However, we've got plenty of ideas of how we'd like to improve it when it's ours.

Unfortunately, in the meantime there's a lot of paperwork, packing and cleaning to do!  But we have until the start of October to get it all sorted, and so far the stress levels are quite reasonable.

I've been back and re-read my old moving tips post to remind myself of the things that stressed me out last time.  Thankfully the Big Fella will be taking a much more active role in the process this time than the last two!

The Big Fella has also suggested that we get a cleaner in to do the final clean!!!  Yay!!!!  If you were around on this blog back then, you may remember my horror with windows?  You guessed it!  I'm only going to give them a vacuum and wipe over.  I'm going to let the paid personnel finish them properly!

So, we're excited and looking forward to finally having our own place.  We want to invest in things that contribute to our lifestyle, especially as we're both very much "home bodies".  And the Little Big Fella is so excited about the pool that he started crying the other day because we can't move yet!

Bring on the new adventure!!!

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Discovering fillings

The Little Big Fella was super excited!  He had a follow-up appointment at the school dental van to get three fillings - his first ever!

Mummy, however, was having major flashbacks to needles, pain, discomfort and fear from visits to the school dental van as a primary school girl!

The Little Big Fella bounded out of the car and up to the van.  He read the sign that told him to knock and then step back off the stairs so that the door wouldn't knock him over.

Boy was he eager!!!

When the dentist opened the door, he just about stampeded his way in, but the dentist asked us to sit on the chairs and wait because they weren't quite ready for us.

Disappointment number 1!

A few minutes later they opened the door, and having been there for a check-up last week, the Little Big Fella made his way around to get on the examination chair.  But there was something on it!  He looked at the dental nurse as if to say, "what is that doing there?  Don't you know that's where I'm supposed to go?"  She made a funny noise and cleared the chair so that he could sit down.

My son is rather curious about a lot of things, especially anything mechanical (thanks Daddy!).  So the dentist let him turn the light on and adjust the examination chair's position.

Bad move, Doc!

From then on the Little Big Fella wanted to have a go at everything!!!!  "Mr Water" was a particular favourite (the drill type tool that sprays... water), as was the spit sucker that turns on with a little handle that flicks up and down.

Unfortunately, the Little Big Fella wasn't here just for a check-up this time.  He had three little holes in his molars that required fillings.  Thankfully, they were small enough that no anesthetic was required.  Unfortunately, that meant there was nothing painful about the visit so Mr Curiosity went nuts!

The dentist was great, explaining what he was doing and making sure the Little Big Fella was comfortable.  He gave the Little Big Fella plenty of opportunities to "rest his mouth", but his idea of rest and the Little Big Fella's turned out to be quite different!!!

At one point, the dentist had to tell him to stop talking for a while so that they could actually put the fillings in!

The process was quite quick, and when they finished the third one, the Little Big Fella had a sulk because he wanted another one!!!!

Needless to say, it wasn't a scary experience for my boy, and we all had a few good laughs throughout the visit.

Maybe it's my turn to face the dentist's chair again?

Yeah, maybe not!