Tuesday, 8 November 2016

A photo catch-up on October 2016

Hello!!!  It's been a while, hasn't it?  I guess sometimes I just don't feel like writing much.

But lately I've been taking a few photos and thought I'd share a few with you.

The Little Big Fella had our next door neighbour and his friend sleep over one night during the school holidays.  We pulled the Queen size guest mattress out, and the Little Big Fella's King Single mattress and made a mattress floor.  Next thing you know, the Big Fella attacks!!!

There was much laughter and little-girl screaming!

Speaking of screaming, we listed our house on the Treat or Treat route in our town this year.  Halloween isn't a big deal in most of Australia, but is in this area.  Some Aussies don't want kids coming to their house begging for treats, so people register their homes as open and giving out treats on a local Facebook page and people only go to those addresses.

I made little pumpkin lolly bags (thanks Pinterest!)
Then I made some Halloween cookies as an on-the-go treat.

The view of our place from the street
Here's our front porch while it was still light.
And someone to greet you!
I made a few Halloween luminaries (paint the inside of the jar with watered-down acrylic paint mixed with PVA/Elmer's glue, then draw your design on the outside with a black Sharpie), and put spiders and eyes in jars as well.  I used LED tealights to give the glow.
And here's my skeleton, that everyone loved (including me!)
We had about 100 kids come through over about two and a half hours.  It was great fun!

My nephew's and sister's birthdays were in October and, while I'd already found something for my nephew, I couldn't find anything I wanted to give my sister.  While wandering the cheap shop in our shopping centre for ideas, I saw a blank canvas and had an image of something I'd like to paint and give her.

We start with a background

Then I cheated - I love cheating with creative stuff!  I drew the outline of the two girls from a photo I Googled but wasn't completely happy with how it was all working.  I ended up chopping off one girl's head and turning it to face the other way, and I moved the girls closer together to suit my canvas size better.

After drawing the silhouette on the canvas lightly with pencil I filled it in, trying to give light and shade and a bit of human detail.

I wasn't happy with the coverage, so I did another layer of paint, adding a bit more detail to the hair, and increasing the contrast.

I wasn't entirely happy with the shading so I tried again after looking at shading on the original photo and other pictures I Googled.
My sister received it today and likes it, which put a smile on my face and a glow in my tummy for the rest of the day.  I've said this to her, but I am SO glad she's not just my sister, but my friend.  I am exceptionally lucky!

I went to the local art society's show a week or so ago and was amazed by the talent in our local area.  As soon as I have a free Sunday, I'm going to go along and hook up with them and see if I can develop a bit more.

This past weekend, the Big Fellas and I went to a place called Cania Gorge.  It's a lovely little spot with a brilliant family caravan park.  The Little Big Fella was pretty much in heaven!

The view from the Cania Dam lookout

The Little Big Fella discovered vines and moss when we did a bit of a "hike" through the gorge.
The Big Fella tried to get the Little Big Fella to laugh so that he would smile normally.

This is the Overhang - the most famous part of Cania Gorge.
The caravan park does bird feeding each afternoon.  The birds are obviously used to it because they showed no fear, and fought over the birdseed.

For some reason, the birds also thought that our breakfast should be for them!  The Little Big Fella is protecting the last of his bacon and egg roll in his hands.

There were wallabies and kangaroos throughout the park all the time.  They were tame, but not tame enough to pat, which disappointed the Little Big Fella.
We had a lovely weekend away together as a family!  Now to get back into the swing of everything and deal with the chaos that is the lead up to Christmas!!!  Good luck to us all!!!

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Isn't it romantic?

Every now and then I randomly tell my husband that I love him.

I pretty much always say it whenever one of us leaves the house, or when we're on the phone, but I like to throw in a random one every now and then so that he knows it's not just something I say as a habit, but that I truly do love him.

Tonight I told the Big Fella I love him, and he replied that he loves me too, and I said, "I know".  He then asked me how I know, to which I replied that everything he does says it.

But it got me thinking.

The Big Fella isn't traditionally romantic.  I don't get flowers or jewellery or serenades or whatever the romantic movies suggest are required very often.

But when I think about the idea of romance, I could quite confidently describe it as doing/giving/saying something for/to the person you love because you know they'll appreciate it.

For example, as a new couple, when the Big Fella bought me diamond earings I was ecstatic because, well, obviously they're diamonds!  But also because it was a confirmation of the status of our relationship.

As we come up to our 15th wedding anniversary, if he were to give me diamonds I'd be happy.  But I might think that the money could better be used for us as a family.

Telling me to use our frequent flyer points to visit my family next month, however, was a gift that is well and truly appreciated and given out of a depth of caring and understanding.

Isn't that romantic?

When he cooks a beautiful meal, and adjusts it so that our son will eat it without complaint (by removing chilli from the recipe, for example), he's not only super awesome for cooking for us, but giving the gift of a peaceful time with my Fellas.

Isn't that romantic?

When I come home from work and the dishes are not only washed, but dried and put away, the "stuff" that was all over the house in the morning has found its way home, the benches and table are wiped down, and there's a cup of tea in the making, the Big Fella is telling me that he knows I work hard, too, and coming home to a clean house removes a whole layer of stress from me (by the way, that one works the other way for him, too!).

Isn't that romantic?

A tender kiss for no reason.
A look of love and understanding.
A hug that lasts longer than a few seconds.

Isn't that romantic, too?

My parents have been married for almost forty years.  They still show affection for one another often (I was SO embarrassed as a teenager, but secretly glad, too).  And I'm so grateful to them for the example they gave, and the wisdom they shared in expanding the living definition of romance.

We miss out on so much if we only see romance as the Hollywood chocolate box, flowers and trinkets!  We don't get to see how a relationship can develop over time to become a deep, trusting friendship that may not always look romantic, and may even appear kind of boring from the outside, but grows in value as the years roll on and the couple continually strive to support and appreciate one another.

Marriage is work!  Sometimes it's really hard work!  Living with another person will always be hard sometimes!

But as we push through those times and allow the pressures of life to push us together, and as we re-define love and romance as our relationships mature and grow, what a gift!!!  Not only to us, but to those who observe our relationships and get to see that love is more than just a cliche or a fleeting feeling.

So, my darling husband!  How do I know you love me?  Because your thoughts, words, and actions are considerate and caring.

You do things for me because you know I'll appreciate them, even when you don't always feel like it.

And I know you love me because you tell me, too.  Not only in that perfect three-letter sentence, but in compliments and observations.

You treat me like an equal human being, without playing manipulative games.

And you laugh with me about things that wouldn't be remotely funny to other people, but because they're funny to us they strengthen our bond (dropped pie).

Isn't that romantic?

Sunday, 21 August 2016

No more patience!

We've had a big day!

The Little Big Fella's school had its first lolly stall at the local markets today, which, being the Treasurer, meant I had to be there with money and stuff.

It was a beautiful morning and there were plenty of people around.  And I really enjoyed just being outside!  I got to catch up with plenty of people, and the Little Big Fella got to play with plenty of his mates.

Things got a little quiet about an hour before we intended to pack up, so I thought I'd teach one of the other mums how to do some balloon tying (planning ahead to future events).  Kids ended up crowded around and she didn't get to learn a lot.  We got a little way with dogs (also known as giraffes), and a basic sword, but didn't get much further.

A quick pack up and cash count then it was home to the Little Big Fella and four of his mates in the pool!

They weren't hungry yet (they were distracted by swimming), but I knew they would be soon!  Hmmm, what to feed five hungry boys?

Not enough chicken nuggets.
No marinated chicken nibbles (which they've loved on previous occasions).
Only fancy sausages in the freezer.

Bread.  Yep, there's bread in the freezer!

Hmm, no ham, and I know some of these boys aren't fans of spreads.


Toasties!!!!  Yes!  I have cheese!

We ended up with cheese and bacon toasties with a selection of sauces, and everyone was happy.

The boys proceeded to swim, try tricks on bikes and scooters, play Wrestle Mania, and build stuff with Lego for the afternoon.

I got to catch up on paperwork for the P&C.  Yay!  It's always so fun.  But at least it gets it off my plate for a little while, especially with the Little Big Fella playing happily with his mates.

At the end of the day, I am tired.

I do dinner, but when the Little Big Fella comes inside he is all hyper, consumed with the rush of the day.  Trying to get him to concentrate on a task?  No go!  And there were quite a few tasks to get through on this night before school!

And there's my patience out the window!

My voice gets that annoyed tone.  My words are sharp.  I huff and I puff.

I try to get him to focus.  I tell him what needs to happen and send him off to the shower.  Fifteen minutes later, there's still no running water.

I am winding up for a good old shout, when I remember a conversation had earlier in the day.

One of the mums and I were talking about how some people are exceptionally sour and can't find anything good to say about life, particularly here in our small town.  And we were comparing their troubles with friends of ours who have recently lost loved ones through long, drawn out pain and illness.

"Of all the things you could complain about", we said, "there is SO much good in your life".

I take a deep breath and force a smile onto my face (sometimes if you fake it, it becomes real, you know?).

I stop being annoyed and overwhelmed by my son's exuberance, and listened to his excitement and creative chatter.

I listen to him giggle about the ideas he's making up, and join in (I mean, a hippo playing laser tag?  What's not funny about that???).

I give up my lack of patience, even though I'm still exhausted, and join in with the joy of life for a few minutes.  Because today was full of joy!  And some days won't be.  And if I waste my good days by being impatient, I'll miss them and become a bitter, complaining old biddy!  Bleuch!

I'd rather laugh about hippos playing laser tag!

Friday, 19 August 2016

Friday, my nemesis!

Most people love Fridays!

It's seen as the gateway to a weekend of doing whatever pleases you, and normally is a relaxed version of any other week-day.  People seem to see Fridays as floating on clouds to a rainbow world which, in Australia, generally includes your alcohol of choice, food and friends.

I hate f'n Fridays!

Fridays for me are chaotic and stressful and full of people leaving things to the last minute so that they're urgent and therefore become my urgent mess.

I push hard all day to clear whatever is left from the week, and then when I think I can see the light with half an hour to go, and think I'm going to actually accomplish all the necessary parts of my job, 10 people dump their

"broken down machine needs urgent parts from the USA", their

"this person needs that purchase order ASAP so it can get on transport today (oh! didn't I mention it was urgent earlier?)", their

"the washing machine just exploded all over the clean sheets and towels and we need a plumber before the weekend", their

"you know that job number that I asked you for every day this week?  I've forgotten what it was", their

"I didn't think I needed that part urgently, but now that the transport company is about to leave our parts supplier, do you think you could ask them to make sure it gets on, even though they've changed their system and can't make anything work properly?".

Each query isn't a problem in itself, but when you squeeze them all into half an hour (or 15 minutes!), it sometimes brings me close to tears.

I can hear you now:

"You can only do so much!"

"Just tell them to sort it out themselves."

"Your in-tray will still be full the day you die."

"If you weren't there, they'd survive."

And you're absolutely right!  But, as I'm still alive and my job is an Administration Assistant, and I'm still on the clock until 3pm, it's my charge to get as much prioritised and completed as I can before I go home.  That, and I'm a conscientious kind of gal who actually cares about doing a good job.

You know what really bugs me about Fridays?

It's not that machines break down and things that couldn't have been planned for go wrong.

It's not even that the guys need stuff done before they can finish up for the week.

And it's not even the stupid requests for the same stuff I've answered all week!

It's that I turn from a helpful, friendly Assistant, to a task-focussed, grumpy monster.

This afternoon (admittedly it was quarter to home time and I still had a massive list of must-do's) one of the guys who is rarely in the office came in to get a leave form.  He came in all friendly and I cut him off and demanded to know what he wanted.

"Red folder, there" was my response to his request.

And when the PCYC called about a raffle they're running (which I've previously supported), as soon as he asked how my day was, I responded with, "I'm really busy at work.  Can you get to the point?".  To which he suggested he call back another time.

I know.  Most of you don't see that as monster-ish behaviour, and I can just hear my mum saying something about being a perfectionist (love you mum!).

But regardless of what else is happening, I actually believe that everyone deserves to be treated respectfully, and my job is to be polite and assisting at all times.

Yes, I'm human.  Fridays pretty much prove that most weeks!  But I'm always aiming for better.

Ah, Friday, my nemesis!  One day I will defeat you!!!!!

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

A photo catch-up

Hello everyone!  It's been a little while since I've posted, so I thought I'd do a little photo catch-up of things we've been up to in the last few months.

The Little Big Fella has finally gotten into Lego!  He's had some for years, but hasn't really been interested in trying to make stuff himself.  He's more of the destructive type than the constructive type!  But now Lego is the go, and driving it around in mud is even better!!!

After making playdough babies at the baby shower of one of the girls from work, the Little Big Fella needed to do something violent!

The poor Little Big Fella had to spend a couple of days at work with me over the holidays.  I hooked up the XBox to our projector and he was totally set.

Nearly toothless!!!!

Catching up with family and friends in our old town (was WAY too short a visit!):

Hangin' out in the office at work (we both have Varidesks now so we can both sit or stand to work).

I had a bit of a play with the editing program on my phone:

This boy LOVES his cat:

Ah!  Pig Day!  This turned out to be a massive weekend and the Big Fella was exhausted at the end of it.  We learned a lot and ended up with a freezer full of meat, and a few DELICIOUS sausages!

A well-deserved break!

The school had a mini-Olympics event today, which I was able to attend and help out for a little while.  It was great to surprise the Little Big Fella and watch him compete with his friends for Finland.

So there you go!  A visual catch-up on life around here in the past few months!  I hope you enjoyed the quick trip :-D

Monday, 1 August 2016

I think I've got the bug!

Oh dear.  I think I've been infected, and it seems to be slightly out of control!

It started with the simple idea of decorating the guest room.  Just a picture to continue the colour theme of the doona cover.

I saw plenty of options but thought, "I can do that!".


What started as a simple little project has become an obsession of YouTube videos, art composition tutorials, Pinterest hunting and the developing desire to "try that technique".

I've finished the guest room painting:

It's funny how a photo really doesn't capture it, despite the lighting and detail.  When I look at the photo here, it looks quite flat and a bit dull.  But when I look at it in real life, it has a bit of texture and I can look at it for way too long.

I've started on my next idea.

But before it's even half way done, I've got an idea for the one after that!

I think I might be a little bit hooked!  It's fun and relaxing and interesting and even though I get frustrated with my lack of ability, I really like it!

The painting bug bit me, and I don't mind a bit!