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Thursday, 26 January 2012

Day 8 - The "mbwngtm" challenge: We made it.

Arran and I have both been on an 8 day challenge. He doing the Great Southern Brevet (a couple of good photos of Arran riding in the snow today. Idiot). Me ensuring Aiden and Charlie survive the week while writing a blog update each day.  Not sure who had it the hardest but at least I had a comfy bed each night and easy access to wine. We both finished our challenges today.

Walking Aiden to day-care this morning and walking home again I wondered what I would talk about today. My last post of the "my brain will not go to mush challenge". I hadn't been inspired yet. I didn't have any "bad mummy" stories, as my sister puts it, nor any other amusing tales. Maybe my brain has gone to mush? As I sat down to write I hoped that something would come to me. And it did.

At the end of a project, or when a goal has been achieved, it's good practice to look back, to reflect, and to contemplate.  What did I learn? What could I have done better? I didn't know if I could write everyday. Would I have the time? Would I have the discipline? Would I have the material? Would I get bored of it? I used to hate writing. It didn't come naturally, so would forcing myself to do it everyday take the fun out of it?

So here it is:
  • I can write a blog post about just about anything, or nothing. Not sure this is a great life skill, but there you go.
  • The most popular posts are the ones where I tell you about stupid things I do or life happenings. The amount of people who make comments about these posts or tell me face-to-face how much they laughed makes me wonder if I should move into stand-up comedy. To tell you the truth sometimes I'm killing myself laughing, laughing at how dopey I am, while writing them.
  • I still like writing and I like working out how to take photos that look good on the blog to illustrate what I'm talking about. I might need some new camera lenses. Just saying.
  • It's easy to find the positive in most situations.
  • I felt confident enough to enter a blog competition with this post here
  • I probably won't continue to write a blog post everyday but will try to blog a bit more regularly
  • I am actually a pretty organised person, despite what my family think. I'm able to achieve lots more than most people in a day. Cool.
I wonder what Arran would say he learnt on his 8 day challenge? Would he agree with this list?
  • He still doesn't listen to what his body and his bike computer is telling him
  • He missed the boys (and me hopefully) more than he thought he would
  • It can be really cold in NZ in summer
  • It's hard to sleep when your feet are cold and wet and you don't have a pair of warm, dry socks.
  • It's not a good idea to ride into the snow in the middle of the night
  • His Spot emergency beacon thingy actually works. Yes, isn't it nice to be called in the middle of the night by someone in an American call centre to tell you that Arran has activated his "Spot" and they can't contact NZ search and rescue? And I'm supposed to do what?
  • He still loves Mountain-biking
  • He owes his wife big time.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Day 7 - The "mbwngtm" challenge: Vitamin Me!

Nearly at the end of the "my brain will not go to mush challenge". One more day to go. While writing my blog each day, sitting at the kitchen table tap-tap-tapping on my laptop I have been subjecting myself to day-time television. Its appalling. I'm surprised my brain hasn't gone to mush just from that! And if day-time television is to be believed we are all in big trouble. Our life is a disaster.  We are too fat, we need new bras, we have some sort of exhaustion disorder, most of us are deficient in vitamin D as well as having skin cancer, we need a complete makeover and our homes needs to be renovated. 

There is no mention of the all important "Vitamin Me." No info-mercials telling me I need more excitement and adventure in my life. Nooooo. Nor has "Dr Oz" berated me for not including enough arts and culture in my day. Instead of being bombarded with images of delicious food and wine, I'm being told to order tubs of "something that expands in my stomach" for free, as a way of losing weight. Seriously. And instead of being encouraged to get out and enjoy Australia's beautiful wilderness (Happy Australia Day!) I'm being asked to watch obese people cry, exercise until they vomit, and stand on really big and soul destroying scales, while I sit on my butt on the lounge. Enough people. We need to get some "Vitamin Me". 

We all need little shots of "Vitamin Me" on a regular basis. A quiet cup of tea, drunk in one sitting without going cold, a hot bath with a favourite book, or a long walk. These are some of my "Vitamin Me" pills. Like all good vitamins you need to take them everyday to keep healthy. But sometimes we need more than this. Sometimes life gets us down and wears us out. We need a massive shot of "Vitamin Me". It's called a holiday. A "Vitamin Me" holiday is a break in the routine. It's full of excitement and adventure, or arts and culture, or delicious food and wine, or getting back to nature with beautiful scenery and wildlife. Or all of these things!

Arran and I desperately needed some "Vitamin Me" last year, right in the middle of winter. We had been sick on and off for weeks and were fed-up with one of the coldest winter in Sydney in years. I had to wear a Parka, beanie and gloves on my nightly walks! We won't be making that mistake again. This year we are planning a "Vitamin Me" break. There are many places in Australia where you can experience "Vitamin Me" but you can do it all in Queensland. I haven't quite decided yet what we will do but here are some options:

1. Off the beaten track: Arran loves Four Wheel Driving and camping. I'm less fond of camping but it would be great to travel through the Simpson Desert and see a world that is far removed from urban Sydney. Aiden loves Dinosaurs so he might like Australia's Dinosaur Trail. I'd also like to see the Carnarvon Gorge. Beautiful lush forests and moving water is the perfect "Vitamin Me" shot.
"I can soo do this Daddy!"
It's tricky putting up the tent!
2. A bit of culture: It's easy to forget how much art, music and theatre can inspire you, when you are bogged down in the day-to-day grind. I always try to see the Archibald prize and attend a couple events in the Sydney Festival when at home. In Queensland I would really love to visit Brisbane's Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA). They have a Matisse exhibition at the moment. It would be easy to get lost in his prints and drawings for a few hours. Dreamy.
Me with some "Urban Art" in Glebe. Photography by Andrea Thompson
3. Bathe in the Ocean: Ok, Queensland would have to have the most beautiful beaches, reefs and waterways in the world. Hands down. And a holiday for me, is not a holiday unless there is some beach and some ocean. I blame my parents. They selfishly took my sister and I on beach holiday after beach holiday until we are now completely spoilt! From when we were small babies on holidays at Tugan to teenagers being dragged to holiday resorts like Fraser Island, Great Keppel Island and Hamilton Island. They even own a timeshare week at Coolangatta! It's child abuse I tell you. 
A little bit of "Vitamin Me" at Bondi Beach
So maybe our "Vitamin Me" holiday will have to be on one of Queensland's amazing islands. I think the crystal clear warm waters will be the perfect antidote to Sydney's hustle and bustle in the middle of winter. What would be your "Vitamin Me"?

This post is an entry to Nuffnang's "Boost your Vitamin Me levels and win a $5000 holiday in Queensland" competition. Wish me luck!

Day 6 - The "mbwngtm" challenge: Always look on the bright side...

of life! Do-do, do-do, do-dooo.

As you may know, Arran is still away in NZ doing a mountain bike race called The Great Southern Brevet. Because he is insane. Still. You can track his progress here. He is going to be away for another 2 days at least. 

As the date approached when he would pack up his trusty stead and head over the ocean, I became more anxious. I had to keep having chats to myself about "changing my attitude" and "being positive" or "remember you can always drink wine". 

As it turns out, everything has been fine and while its better to have him around I have enjoyed a number things while he has been away:

1. I have the whole bed to myself. And an additional pillow. I haven't had to fight for room in the bed or for some of the covers. I'm sleeping pretty well. So nice. I had a great Aunt and Uncle who slept in separate rooms and I can see the appeal.

2. I don't have to endure bike bits and related paraphernalia in the yard, in the kitchen, in the lounge room and in the bedroom. I was able to return the kitchen scales to the kitchen (from the bedroom) where Arran was using them for weighing bike luggage, and I haven't needed to retrieve the washing-up detergent from the yard where it is often used to rid a bike of mud.

3. There is no stinky wet lycra sitting around on the cream-coloured carpet in our bedroom or on the bathroom floor. Can't tell you how good that is.

4. I haven't been forced to watch a bike related video on YouTube for a week.

5. I haven't needed to quiz Arran on how much he spent on bike bits out of our joint account or credit card when he has his own bike allowance. Yes he has a bike allowance. A very generous one. One that was put in place to prevent the never ending spending on bikes from our joint account and credit card. It doesn't work.

6.  I enjoyed a bottle of very good wine over a number of nights without having to share. Yep this one is selfish. I know.

7. I haven't been woken up a third time in the wee hours of the morning. The first time is usually Charlie wanting to be fed at around 4am. The second is Arran's alarm going off at 5am to go for a ride. And the third is Aiden grizzling at around 6am for someone to come and get him. Without Arran here I can sometimes get an additional hour of sleep in. 

And my favourite....
8. I haven't had to think about what I would like for dinner, at Breakfast. Arran always wants to talk about dinner at breakfast. I am not a morning person and I have to force myself to eat breakfast. It's not my favourite meal. And I don't want to talk about dinner when I have just eaten, or am eating, breakfast. You might think I sound ungrateful. Isn't it nice that Arran wants to organise dinner and ask me what I want? You would think. But what actually happens is this:

Arran: "What do you want for dinner tonight?"
Me: "I don't know! I'm having breakfast! I can't think about dinner now!" in a frustrated tone
Arran: "But what do you think you would like?"
Me: "I DON'T know! Tacos?" Again, frustrated tone.
Arran: "I don't want Tacos. Could we have enchiladas?"
Me: "No, they're too fiddly! You asked me what I want and I told you! Why do you ask me if you have no intention of us having what I would like?" Yes, the tone is frustrated.
Arran: "I wanted to see if you had a good suggestion"
Me: "I don't care what we have for dinner. You work it out"  KILL ME

This is not the end of the dinner conversation. I usually get call around lunch time when he has thought about dinner some more and has some of his own suggestions:
Arran: "What about Moroccan Lamb?"
Me: "I don't really like Moroccan Lamb. You know that. Can't we have Tacos?"
Arran: "What about Burritos?"
Me: "Sure. Fine. Whatever" Start looking forward to having Burritos. Arrive home and Arran is cooking a stir-fry.

Was talking to Arran tonight and he reckons he will be able to fly home from NZ on Friday night. I think I will cook him Tacos.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Day 5 - The "mbwngtm" challenge: By request

So the 8 day "my brain will not go to mush" challenge is going strong. So far it seems I can string a few words together on not much. Yay me. Brain seems to be intact. Mostly. Last night on Facebook I commented that I didn't have any inspiration for today's post. My sister Emma, commented that she likes to hear about me being a bad mummy, as Emma puts it. Nice. A friend, Katie would like to hear about who inspires me as she is currently being inspired by Cas and Jonesy. I contemplated. I'm thinking about writing a self-development themed blog when I return to work and I'm going to use Katie's idea for that blog. Thanks Katie! So here you go Em!

On Monday when I was picking up Aiden from Caring 4 Kids, Chantell his room leader pulled me aside to have a chat. I knew it! She wanted to tell me what a good job I had done toilet training Aiden!

 "Lisa, does Aiden use a drink bottle at home"? 
What? Huh?
"You see when we hand out the drink bottles to all the kids, we get to the end and Aiden just gets a cup"
Oh that's sad. Pang of mother guilt. Bad Mummy. I don't want him to feel left out. But Aiden won't drink out of a drink bottle. He will drink out of a cup. A proper one. Isn't that good? Chantell suggested I get a bottle the same as Daniel, Aiden's friend so that Aiden could copy him. Fair enough. 
"Also, could you bring in a family photo so we can put it on the wall?" Sure. Have you noticed he doesn't wet his pants? Have you?

I set out on a mission to get a drink bottle just like Daniel's, with a lid. Apparently the lid is for hygiene. I've seen the kids at daycare. I"m not sure a lid is going to do it! 

I went to K-mart, Target, The Reject Shop, Priceline, The "Cheap" Shop on Glebe Point Rd and Coles. HOW HARD IS IT TO BUY A DRINK BOTTLE?? It's hard, let me tell you. Firstly I wanted one that looked like Daniel's. Daniel's Mum must have bought his in another country. None of the bottles I came across look like Daniel's. Secondly I wanted a clear bottle so that Aiden could see there was water inside. We have had some limited success with the little bottles of water that come with McDonald's Happy Meals. They are clear and have a pop-top. There are no clear drink bottles to be found. Thirdly I wanted a bottle that looked good. Aesthetics is everything!

I ended up, in desperation, back at Coles where I purchased a grey/clear drink bottle with Cars on it. At least if Aiden didn't drink the water he could enjoy looking at the Cars. Aiden seemed very pleased with his new drink bottle. He carried it all the way to day care. On the way I realised it didn't have a lid. And I had forgotten a family photo.

I apologised for the bottle not having a lid and promised to do better. I didn't mention the photo. Yesterday afternoon, before picking up Aiden, I decided I would go to Broadway Shopping Centre early and have a better look at the selection of drink bottles. Before leaving I printed the one photo we have of all four of us, taken on an iPhone and put it in the basket under Charlie's pram. Good mummy. 

Off to Broadway I go with Charlie. He has had a feed and is quite contented. I wonder if I would have time to try on those nice black pants I saw in Witchery? Arriving at the shopping centre he is still awake but happy so I quickly nip into Witchery. I pick a few pairs of black pants, a top and a stretchy suck-you-in type camisole and make haste to the change room. The black pants are great and so is the camisole. Out to the register to pay (Charlie still chilled) to find out they are having promotion - buy 2 items and get the 3rd free. I wandered around the store and settled on a silver tote bag I have been eyeing for a few months. It will be perfect for a Gold Coast holiday coming up (yes Mum I have bought the plane tickets). Wait for ages for the women in front to pay. Start to get panicky that there is not much time to buy another drink bottle for Aiden. With a lid.

Race into K-mart and settle on an ugly blue plaid patterned aluminum bottle with a lid. Go pick up Aiden. Forget to leave bottle. And photo.

It wasn't till later in the evening that I realised I didn't see the photo in the basket under the pram while I was at the shops. Go over to check. It's not there. Hmmm....

On the way to Broadway Shopping Centre yesterday afternoon I had to post a group booking confirmation document, for a hotel in Sydney. A very nice hotel on the harbour. I am running a Leadership program for the company I work for, which commences in Sydney in February. The 16 participants from all over Asia will be staying in this very nice hotel. I had posted the photo with the accommodation contract. I rang my contact at the Hotel this morning. She killed herself laughing. I printed another photo.

So now Aiden has 2 drink bottles he probably won't drink out of, and a dorky family photo on the wall at daycare.

Day 4 - The "mbwngtm" challenge: First world problem

This year we stayed in Sydney for Christmas. Sometimes we go to Brisbane to see our families and sometimes they come to Sydney. Staying in Sydney can seem a little lonely, only because in Glebe, and I'm sure other parts of the inner city, many of the businesses close. Some just over the Christmas/New Year week and others for longer. Glebe feels a bit like a ghost town when I walk down Glebe Point Rd. There is a French patisserie down the Parramatta Rd end of Glebe, that is still closed.

I have to admit this does my head in a bit. That there are businesses around that can afford to close for a couple of weeks or even a month seems to defy common sense. These businesses spend the year building up their customer base and their loyalty, and then close for a holiday and take the risk they go somewhere else and don't come back. Maybe coming from a family that basically worked 7 days a week, first on a dairy farm and then a 'only shut 3 days of the year' hardware business, has tainted my view of what's reasonable. 

The businesses we particularly missed are the cafes. I have written before about how cafes and like businesses help create a sense of community and reduce social isolation. They provide a place for people to come together to meet and be with others. If I owned these businesses I would be worried that my customers might find other places to frequent. Like Arran and I did this year. We had to get our coffee. Yep, "First World Problem".

I'm still feeling quite peeved with many of the cafes that closed, so here are a couple of cafes we discovered in the last few weeks that deserve to be talked about.

I have driven past this place in Annandale many, many times to and from the Personal Trainer I used to see in Leichardt, and always wondered what it was like. When Gallery Cafe was closed after Christmas for a number of days we kept driving along Booth St and discovered Clover was open. In we went in the hope of finding good coffee. And we did, along with a quirky interior and interesting breakfast fare. We also finally exchanged names and had a chat to a regular from Astor Espresso (closed for about 3 weeks) who was also out looking for coffee in the Inner West. This cafe will become one of our regular haunts.

You can read more about Clover here and here.

Madame Frou Frou
This is a new offering in Glebe and we have learned that many new cafes in Glebe are not that good. Some come and go very quickly. Some should go much more quickly then they do. We have learned to be a little skeptical and hesitant about trying the new ones when the tried and trusted ones are so good. Madame Frou Frou is an example of why the tried and trusted ones shouldn't shut!

I have walked past this place a number of times on my nightly wanderings and the fit-out alone convinced me to drag Arran and the small boys there one Saturday afternoon for caffeine. Its located more towards the 'point' end of Glebe Point Rd. Vintage back-lit magician posters, old cinema seats and beautiful tiling provide interesting surrounds to park your bottom (which will be expanding with their offering of sweet things). Coffee and service was good. We will be back to sample their breaky menu.
Cappuccino and rose-water and lavender macaroon at Madame Frou Frou's
You can read more about Madame Frou Frou here

Wedge Espresso
So I have been walking past this place since before Christmas to drop Aiden off at daycare. Every time I walk past I say to myself, "I must grab a coffee from there on the way back". I forget on the way back, because I can't see it. Its "wedged" down Cowper St, just off Glebe Point Rd towards the Parramatta Rd end. It's a little skinny space with red timber stools, black tables and a polished cement floor. It's pretty cool. Arran and I stopped there on the way to collect Aiden one afternoon. I got a cappuccino (very nice) and Arran got an Iced Milo. Yes Iced Milo. Why hasn't anyone thought of those before?!! We will be back to try food.
Coffee at Wedge Espresso

You can read more about Wedge Espresso here and here

We still haven't been back to some of the cafes that closed over the Christmas period, and if we do, I can see that we will be sharing our patronage with some of the new kids on the block!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Day 3 - The "mbwngtm" challenge: The grown up house

So I told you how we came to live on Bridge Rd here. It's our second Terrace House and has a similar configuration to the first, except it's much bigger and has two important improvements on the last one. It has lots of light and lots of storage, a rarity in Terrace Houses. Our Bridge Rd house is an end Terrace, so there are windows and doors down one side of the house. In addition, previous owners have added 3 skylights, 2 in the stairwell and 1 in the main bathroom. And there are cupboards everywhere. It's quite a novelty!

We live on Glebe's busiest road. Bridge Rd runs from Parramatta Rd, through Glebe and into the city. It's packed during peak hour and very busy during the other times. We never even thought about this when we bought the house. Previous owners have carefully sound-proofed the house which makes it a little oasis in the city. All the rooms that face Bridge Rd are double glazed and have air conditioning units. There are thick block-out curtains and a tall hedge in the front yard. When we first moved in I had trouble sleeping because it was so quiet.

For quite a time many rooms had no furniture in them! The only furniture we had worthy of our new house was the Datner dining table. Our new house was like a grown up version of the previous house. Everything was much bigger and roomier. We also found it really hard to get out of the house in the morning. We were used to getting ready in a much smaller area with a lot less stairs. I reckon it took a month before we could get ready and get out in a normal amount of time!

Our Bridge Rd house is in a great central position. Within 2 minutes walk we have about 8 restaurants, a pub, 3 convenience stores, 6 cafes, a cocktail bar, atms....pretty much anything you could need. There is also Foley Park just across the road. All the other great things in Glebe are within a 15 minute walk. We are very spoilt and when visitors come to stay they quite enjoy walking out the door with us for breakfast or dinner nearby. Dad has been known to sneak off to the pub when you are not looking!

The house is in pretty good condition. We don't really need to renovate anything though there is lots of 'decoration' to be done. Most of the house is "cream". Cream tiles, cream walls, cream carpet.....who knew there were so many different colours of cream? I have begun a process of "de-creaming".
Cream stairs, cream walls....
First job was the lounge/dining room. Arran added a big TV above one of the fireplaces and I did the rest. When we first bought it, the room was big and empty and of course, cream. The colour made the room feel cold and empty. Well it was empty. I saw to that pretty quick. I had the walls painted navy blue (despite Arran's protests) and it looks amazing. It's a real 'evening' room. The colour makes such an impact and affects everyone who walks in there. It's a room you really want to be in.

I spent a lot of time thinking about what furniture to put in there and what colour it should be. Lots of interior design magazines later and I found myself in Domayne, in the section where you can peruse catalogs of furniture and swatches of fabric. You can basically choose the chair or lounge you like and have it made in any fabric.

I picked a fairly classic three-seater with timber legs and two occasional chairs that matched each other, but not the lounge. That wasn't too hard. Picking the fabric was a little trickier. I wanted the room and its furniture to respect the Victorian design features but also have a contemporary feel. I knew I wanted the three-seater to be turquoise. I knew it would look amazing against the navy blue wall. Every book of swatches the sales person showed me were too dull. "Have you got anything brighter?" After asking and asking I was finally handed the swatch books from Designer Guild. I'm in love. I chose a turquoise for the three-seater and matching stripes for the occasional chairs and cushions. Looks amazing!

Turquoise "Designer Guild" Three-seater

This chair is sooo comfy!
Looks great with the rug!

After choosing the chairs I needed a rug to tie it all together. There is a rug shop on Parramatta Rd that makes rugs to order. I went in with the dimensions of the size of rug I wanted and fabric swatches I chose for my chairs. I was able to have my rug made to my specifications. It's hot pink and made of silk and wool. It's beautiful to lie on, and watch TV.

 I haven't finished this room yet. Recently we added a mirror above the fireplace and have some art to hang. We bought our chandeliers from our previous Terrace House in Glebe St and had them installed in the lounge room when we first moved in.

Eventually I would like to get a sideboard, have a carpenter install some bookshelves and get some Designer Guild curtains!

Vase and side table from my Nan's house

Friday, 20 January 2012

Day 2 - The "mbwngtm" challenge: I'm not going to tell you....

There I was in bed last night wondering about my blog post for today. What would I tell you about? I didn't have anything much planned for today. I had a random thought about taking Aiden to Balmoral Beach and me getting a coffee, but the weather turned out to be yuk and I wasn't sure if I would be able to get the car out of the garage. Stupid garage door. Then I thought I would go up to the shops and get some ingredients to make dinner. Yep. It's go, go, go here.

I had decided I wouldn't tell you about any child related stuff. That could be a little banal, despite my sister telling me today "we" find it entertaining. I believe she is referring to her and Mum who must wonder how Aiden and Charlie survive considering "I'm not that kind of mummy".

So I'm not going to tell you about the ongoing saga to get Aiden's hair cut. I'm not going to tell you about how every time we go to get his hair cut, he throws the biggest tantrum and we end up with tiny pieces of white, white hair EVERYWHERE. And I'm not going to tell you about the tears and the slobber that ends up on me, and on Aiden. Nope. Not going to tell you about that. I'm also not going to tell you about how we always end up at the same hairdresser where you don't need to make an appointment and how we always end up there on the weekend where the haircut costs $27, JUST BECAUSE ITS THE WEEKEND!! FOR A TODDLER HAIRCUT!!!

One of my mother's group friends has a lovely little girl who she takes to get her hair cut at a place in Haberfield. Apparently its cheap and they do a nice job and are great with kids. That's what I need for Aiden. My friend gave me the salon name, address and phone number. Sweet. I rang hoping to get an appointment the next day (Wednesday). Don't be stupid!  I could have an appointment for next Monday at 9am. Sure. Fine. Whatever. I'll wait nearly a week to get my 2 year old's hair cut.

Monday rolls around and I have been awake since 2am. First feeding Charlie and then listening to water drip through the light fitting in our bedroom, into a bucket sitting on our bed. I then spend from the time Aiden wakes up, talking to him about how nice it will be to get his hair cut. The haircut mantra goes something like:
"We are going to get your hair cut today"
"You are going to look sooo beautiful"
"You will have to sit up like a big boy"
"Mummy is going to take you for a drive in the big white car and get your hair cut. That will be fun, won't it?"
"You will look so nice with a hair cut" (repeat over and over until your brain turns to mush)

We drive through the horrid Monday morning weather and peak hour traffic to Haberfield. There are at least 7 hairdressers in Glebe. Just saying.

I'm running about 5 minutes late and consider ringing the salon to let them know but manage to find a park OK and take the happy and excited Aiden to get his hair cut.  He is chatting all the way down the path. "Gunna get my hair cut!" Gunna look beuutifuul" "Mummy taking me to get my hair cut". Arrive outside Salon. Salon is closed. Want. To. Scream. Wait 10 minutes. Walk Aiden back to car. Using false happy voice ...
"Oh well. Mummy needs to find a new hairdresser"
"Will get your hair cut another day, won't we?"
"Let's go see the girls. Those lovely girls" (code for daycare).

That was a week ago.

So I'm not going to tell you about this morning, when I decided that having not much else to do, I would take Aiden for a haircut. At the hairdresser where you don't make an appointment. That charges $27 because its the weekend. I was prepared though. I'm smart. I'm determined. I. Can. Do. This.

I started the we-are-going-to-get-your-hair-cut mantra. See above. But I also added stuff.

"You can watch Thomas on mummy's iPad. That will be fun, won't it?"
"I bet you can sit up like a big boy like Marley and Jordi" (the cousins)
"If you sit up like a big boy and don't cry mummy will do "High-five" with you"
"If you sit up like a big boy and sit veerrry still, mummy will buy you a new Thomas train"

On arrival at the hairdresser I also was very clear with the stylist that she was not to use clippers or the hairdryer as he is scared of them. Sorted.

Haircut started and all was well. With Aiden sitting on my lap and watching Thomas on the iPad, we got half of his hair cut. Then the STUPID hairdresser "grabbed" Aiden with no warning to move him to cut his hair on the other side. He screamed. He cried. There was copious amounts of slobber mixed in with hundreds of tiny pieces of white, white hair. And then Charlie decided to join in. While I was trying to calm Aiden and talk to him about being a big boy, AND trying to shove a dummy in Charlie's screaming gob, the hairdresser decided she wanted to rid her black outfit of Aiden's white, white hair and TURNED THE HAIRDRYER ON. Seriously. What. Did. I. Say.

It took a while to recover from that. We got the hair cut finished. I paid the $27. I took Aiden for a "smartie" cookie and to get a Thomas train. I got a coffee and decided that Aiden will look great with long hair.

Would have liked to include a photo of Aiden with his new hair cut but he is in bed asleep. Where I wish I was.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Day 1 - The "mbwngtm" challenge: Foley Park

Hello! Yes I have created an acronym. Exciting isn't it?

I start the mbwngtm (my brain will not go to mush) challenge in Foley Park, Glebe. A few of my mother's group friends decided to catch up this morning and this was the venue. Our Mother's group first started meeting there when we were all off work with our first babies. The Sydney City Council had just finished a huge amount of improvement works on the park and its now a really great green space on the corner of two of Glebe's busiest roads, Glebe Point Rd and Bridge Rd.  

It's Foley Park that is to blame for Arran and I buying our current house on Bridge Rd, which is directly opposite this park. There I was, 2 years ago, sitting with other mums and their babies in the Park on a summery November day. I happened to glance across the road and see a big Terrace House for sale. I love Terrace Houses. Have I mentioned that before?

I made a mental note to look it up on the internet, when I got home. You see I suffer from a condition called RES. Not heard of that before? It stands for Real Estate Slutism. It's usually not a serious ailment. Most of the time it manifests itself in perusing properties on the internet,  checking out "For Sale" signs on walks around the suburb and every now and then going to "open houses" just for a sticky beak. This is why if you are ever selling your house you should not have an "open house". You mainly get people with RES in your house!

Anyway, I got home that day and checked out the property on the internet. It looked pretty amazing. I emailed the link to Arran. He liked it too. It was "open" the next day, a Saturday. I was going out with a friend but suggested that Arran should take Aiden and go check it out. He did and I got a stream of SMS's all afternoon like: "Its really nice", "You would like it", "I can't stop thinking about that house" and "You have to go see it"

I went to see the house Monday morning before work. Tuesday night we made an offer. Wednesday morning the offer was accepted. Shit. We weren't looking to buy a house. We had one. A perfectly good one that we had been renovating. That we still owned. Shit.

So after a stressful couple of months of selling our smaller Terrace house in Glebe St, we moved into our new house on Bridge Rd. And I blame Foley Park.

Apart from the park being responsible for enabling RES it really is a lovely park. It has huge old trees and lots of lush green planting.

 There is timber seating throughout, a childrens playground and a big open grassy area. It is also a historical part of Glebe.
This little brick building is called "The Wireless House". It housed a wireless radio in the 1930's which was free, to enable Glebe residents to come together and listen. I love that today the Council transmit free wireless internet from this building. Its not unusual to see people sitting in the park on these steps using their laptops. The modern day version of the radio! When we first moved to Bridge Rd and didn't have our internet connected we could use the park's internet from the front rooms of the house. Very handy!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The "my brain will not go to mush" challenge

What's this?

Yes its a bike. Tricky hey?

Arran's bike to be exact. He is leaving today to fly to NZ to ride it for 8 days as part of the Great Southern Brevet. Because he is insane. I am not insane. Yet. And I am not looking forward to spending the next 8 days looking after two small boys on my own. I know lots of women look after their children by themselves day in and day out and survive. I'm just not one of those women who aspires to do so. I'm just not that kind of mummy. Already I have had moments on maternity leave where I feel that my brain has gone to mush and I'm a bit worried that the mush is going to leak out my ears during the next 8 days. I do regard myself as an independant woman however there are many things that I prefer to have some help with. I don't really get a kick out of:
  - Breastfeeding one child while trying to get dinner into the other using various trains "going into the tunnel" games.
  - Bathing one child while the other screams
  - Reading a story to one child while the other screams
  - Breastfeeding one child at 4.30am, then putting other child on toilet at 5.30am, then breastfeeding at 6.30am and then getting a bottle for the other at 7am. I am not a morning person.

These are activities which can be much more pleasant with an extra pair of hands!
In an effort to stem the flow of mush, not go completely insane and have a purpose beyond looking after two small boys, I'm setting myself a challenge. Have you noticed there are lots of challenges going on at the moment? There is the "I quit sugar" challenge, and the "Febfast" challenge, the #janphotoaday challenge on twitter and one of my favourite bloggers Danimezza is posting a photo of her breakfast on instagram every day to help her reach her goal of eating breakfast. Challenges are hip. Challenges are cool. I wanna be hip and cool!

For the next 8 days I'm going to do a blog post every day. With photos and everything. Just like a professional blogger. Except that professional bloggers get sent free stuff and are invited to cool events. It's my goal for the next 8 days beyond ensuring that small boys are fed, watered and entertained adequately. Lets hope I have something interesting to say. Wish me luck!

Saturday, 7 January 2012

2011 The year that was....

It seems to be a tradition in many families to put together a newsletter detailing the last 12 months activities, to send to their family and friends, usually in a Christmas card. Well I’m crap at writing Christmas cards. I often buy a pack of pretty cards with the very good intention on sending them. Some years I have even bought stamps! As a result I have quite a good selection of cards.

During 2011 I started writing a blog and got a really good camera so I have combined the two. Consider this your Christmas and New Year greeting plus family newsletter from Arran, Aiden, Charlie and I. Here are some highlights!
Aiden learnt to ride a bike

We went to the park a lot and had fun on the slides

We went to Brisbane for Mum’s 60th Birthday
Mum and Dad at the Party
Aiden had fun with his cousins in Brisbane
Jordi, Aiden and Marley
 We went to cafes and restaurants
Me on a work trip in Singapore - Gotta love chilli crab!
 Winter in Sydney was very cold. We had to "rug up"

Marley and Jordi Vaggs (the cousins) came to visit with their parents Emma and Brett
Emma, Aiden, Marley and Jordi
The Vaggs: Brett, Marley, Emma and Jordi
We went on some road trips

And read some books          

I started a blog

Aiden got his hair cut
One of the times he didn't throw a tanty
Said goodbye to the mini  *sob*

Had some great photos taken by Andrea Thompson and wrote about it here
Had a little break

Read some more books and kept clean

Did a photography course

Played with some trains
 Went swimming

And went to the museum

Practised my photography skills

Did some stuff around the house

Practised some more photography skills

Played with some dinosaurs

Got some new summer clothes, which seemed a little premature (bloody Sydney weather)

Went to Bondi Beach

Met a birdy

Had some toast

Welcomed Charlie

Took a trip to Bowral

Went to playgroup at Vision Australia
Went to a cyclo-cross race
Arran in action
Had some more toast

Hung some art
Salvage chic!
 Thanks to everyone who follows my blog. Happy New Year. Looking forward to 2012!