Follow my blog by Email

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Holiday House Envy

It's been a long year. A big year. I spent the year working long hours, doing lots of travel and neglecting my blogs. Arran spent the year riding his bike a lot and completed the Tour Divide. He wrote about it here in a 3 part series. We are pooped. We needed a break. A little getaway before the onslaught of 2014.

A month or so ago when I was traveling somewhere Arran found this holiday house and sent me the link. No brainer people. We arrived 2 days ago. We had to do two drive bys to find the house and pulled into the driveway to be greeted by one of the owners Kim. We liked her instantly and even more when she informed us there was fresh milk, beer and champagne in the fridge and olive oil, balsamic vinegar and tea and coffee in the pantry. I knew at that point it was going to be a generous holiday house. You can read about generous holiday houses here and here.

The house is a little piece of Bali in Kiama. Not that I've been to Bali. It is thoughtfully and beautifully curated with paintings, books, objects and statues that are unobtrusive. It's a modern house with new and modern kitchen and bathrooms blended with large timber Balinese doors, tables and bedheads. Large bi-fold doors lead to a timber deck with BBQ's, table and a small pool. The garden is lush and tropical with thought given to the vista from each window; a beautiful tree, a seat and a pot plant, a Balinese statue.

It's a short walk to the beach, maybe 400 metres. It's not a short work with Charlie who screamed and cried the whole way yesterday morning. I don't know why. It's also about 1.5km to the main street of Kiama. That's a long way when Aiden is in the back seat of the car continually asking when are we going back to the holiday house so he can go in the pool. Sigh.

Any-hoo...we are here, on holidays close to the beach. Nice.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

We're going on a bear hunt......and found vomit

The day was going well. Arran left for his bike ride at stupid o'clock; some time around 5am and didn't wake me up. I woke at a completely respectable 7.10am with both boys still in their room happy. Sweet.

We had a calm breakfast together after discovering there is no bread in the house and having to head over the road to the best bakery around to procure some. Life's tough in Glebe people.

I packed a little lunch box with peanut butter sandwiches, muesli bars and tiny teddies, filled up two water bottles, assembled the nappy changing kit, slathered the boys in sunscreen and set off to catch the bus to Circular Quay. We were off to see we're going on a bear hunt at the Opera House. I wish I could say that I'm one of those mummies that regularly takes their kids to such events. The few I've been to have been really good. I just don't get around to it and most of the events are on during the week (or so I thought), which doesn't work that well if you work.

I have friends who had double booked their cultural events so the boys and I scored the tickets. The show was true to the story, humorous and with second row tickets in the middle, the boys could easily see and enjoyed themselves very much. Well until the bear arrived and then Charlie wasn't so pleased, but I guess you get that.

After the show we headed into the Pitt St Mall where I had promised hot chips. Charlie fell asleep in his pram on the way so it was just Aiden and I for lunch. We managed to negotiate the seemingly thousands of people crammed into the Westfield food court (what was I thinking 2 weeks before Christmas) and was able to order food and find somewhere to sit relatively unscathed.

It was during this time that I had the thought about what a good mummy I am. Heading to the city with two small boys for some theatre and shopping. Warm comforting feeling.....

Charlie woke up at the end of lunch and we set off to Sass & Bide to purchase a T-shirt I have been thinking about all week and then on the way out find some summer sandals on special. Again, sweet. The real purpose of heading to the city was to buy Christmas presents but sensing the small boys were at the end of their patience we set off for the bus. I know. I only got presents for me.

At home close to 3pm we were all pooped! Aiden wanted to have a rest in his room watching Chugginton on the iPad, Charlie didn't put up any protests when I put him to bed and I had nearly an hour's nap on the lounge. Gotta love that.

We all surfaced at about 5.30pm and that's when the day fell apart .Aiden started complaining about having a vomit in his tummy and wanting to come to work with me on Monday. On average Aiden has a vomit in his tummy about 15% of the time he complains. Working with these averages I made the boys put on their sandals so we could head over the road to get something from the local IGA supermarket for their dinner. Halfway there (50m from the house) Aiden started crying that he was feeling sick. I made him push on, feeling annoyed that he was putting on a tantrum and thinking to myself that these boys needed to be in bed early.

Halfway down the isle with the frozen meals and milk, Aiden starts crying and screaming and then does a big vomit on the floor, on his feet and my mine ensconced in Lanvin ballet flats (for the uneducated Lanvin ballet flats are very fabulous and very expensive). The first vomit was followed up by two additional vomits and lots of crying and screaming. I nearly had a vomit in sympathy. My Louis Vuitton purse and the frozen pizza I was buying was also covered in vomit. The nearby supermarket worker contined to stock the shelves.

I was provided with paper towels and plastic bags to clean up the mess while Aiden continued to cry and talk. This kid talks non-stop. After a whole roll of paper-towels and quite a number of retching on my part we were able to pay for our items and skulk home to hose off the lower parts of our bodies.

Aiden would only eat yoghurt for dinner and refused a freddo frog which wasn't a great sign. He looked and smelt much better after a warm bubble bath and cleaning his teeth. Was just about to put some fresh pyjamas on him when he vomited again. Mostly in the toilet but he managed to hit his and Charlie's clean PJ's. 

Any thoughts of being a good mummy had completely vanished as I cleaned vomit off the bathroom floor with small boy pyjamas and the bath mat. My only thought was getting the boys to bed and retiring to the lounge.

I hope Arran is enjoying his bike ride.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

We didn't get the memo!

I love living in Glebe. I must, hey? I write a blog about it! So because I love Glebe it doesn’t enter my mind to leave the suburb, say if I had children, for example. Some would say that children need space to run around and do stuff. The great Australian dream would have us living on the quarter acre block in a 3 bedroom low set brick house in “the suburbs”.

Arran and I have decided that we very much like living in Glebe in a Terrace house with a very small yard. We have a larger yard than most in Glebe but it’s still small by Australian standards. It’s a very convenient place to live. Within 200 metres of our house we have:
  • an Indian Restaurant
  • 3 Thai noodle restaurants
  • A cocktail bar
  • A pub which claims to have Sydney’s coldest beer and fantastic pub food
  • Two small supermarkets
  • A fish and chip shop
  • 5 cafes
  • A French inspired restaurant
  • A bank
  • A drycleaner
  • 2 Japanese restaurants, which we never go to because I don’t “get” Japanese food
  • A German bakery
  • A Vietnamese/French bakery
  • A nail and waxing shop – best mani-pedi’s going!
This is in addition to heaps more restaurants, shops and facilities within a 1km walk. It’s very convenient for two people who are not particularly organised. Over the years we have been living in Glebe the City of Sydney council have spent many rate payers dollars upgrading the street scapes and parks which means that there are many many beautiful places to be.

So this is all pretty nice isn’t it? Except we didn’t get the memo, that we were supposed to move to the suburbs once we had kids! Apparently that’s what the city planners expect us to do. Young professional couples move into the inner city suburbs to live and to work and to get married.  All good. Then when you decide to have kids you are supposed to need more space and you then move further out of the city.

But guess what? Arran and I don’t want to do this. Apparently there are lots of other parents living in the inner city who also don’t want to do this. Hmmm….so?

Well next year Aiden starts school as do many other kids in the area. This topic has been consuming mother’s group conversation for the past 6-9 months and frankly, I’m over it. I’m over talking about the same topic over and over and I’m over not having a range of education options. You see the small inner city schools are not able to cope with the fact that we didn’t choose to move out to the suburbs and send our kids to schools that are probably better equipped to enroll larger numbers of kids.

So here we are in Glebe. When Aiden was about 4 months old I paid $250 to put him on the waiting list for an Independent school in the area. Because we turned down a place for Aiden for pre-school we have to wait until October to see if he is going to get into Kindergarten. Welcome to Sydney people. Apparently I should have put him on the list when I conceived!

We are in the catchment area for a public school that doesn’t have a good reputation and doesn’t compare well academically with the other schools in the area. Every parent wants their child to go to a good school and I also want a school that is going to be able to AND happy to provide extra support for Aiden’s vision impairment. I don’t get the impression that this is the school for Aiden.

 The school that is within a 5 minute walk of our house and we are NOT in the catchment area for took 6 “out of area” enrolments last year. The admin person at this school happily informed me that there was no chance of getting Aiden in at this school as there is 44 kids already on the waiting list.

I attended a Kindergarten information evening at another school in a nearby suburb, which comes highly recommended and has a good reputation. I was solely there to find out the chances of getting Aiden in as an “out of area” enrollment, as were half the parents there. This topic was not covered as part of the “information” and I found myself with 10 other desperate parents grilling one of the teachers and Administration Managers. One parent was so desperate she was enquiring as to when she would be considered “in area” if she bought a house in the catchment. But when would she be considered in area? Would it be when she signed the contract to buy the house? Or would it be when the sale settled? What date would matter to get her child into Kindergarten in 2014? That’s commitment.

I have found another little school in a nearby suburb which is lovely and the principal was willing to meet with Arran and I. It would be a great school for Aiden and I have filled out the “out of area” enrollment application. Crossed fingers.

I know it will work out and the best option will come up for Aiden, but gee wouldn’t it have been handy if we had got the memo?

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Does Arran need his head read?

So when your best friend/partner/husband says to you that he wants to travel to the opposite side of the world to ride his bike from Canada to Mexico for oh, about 5 weeks or so...well you can't but think IDIOT! FOOL! WHY?? Seriously. Why would anyone want to do such a thing? We had the winner of last years event here for dinner a couple of months ago and by the time he got to the end of the event his body had started to eat itself. Yep. Spent 5 days in hospital to try and turn around the effects of his body eating itself. Yep.

So Arran left yesterday to make his way to Bamf in Canada to start the Tour Divide and I'm left wondering how the next 5-6 weeks are going to be? I have spent pretty much all the time leading up to him leaving wondering if I will:
  • Lock myself out of the house?
  • Get really sick and have to look after the boys by myself?
  • Get stuck at work and not make it in time to pick the boys up from daycare?
  • Forget to drop off the daycare photo envelope in time, though that could happen if Arran is here or not. It's happened before.
  • Have to travel overseas because the company I work for might acquire a business...I can see two small boys dusting off their passport.
  • Want to watch Game of Thrones but can't work out the complicated tech set up Arran has going on with our Arran's big TV....
So really, nothing I can't handle. I'll be OK. Probably a little lonely but fine. I have the bed to myself. That's a positive.

Arran on the other hand has set off to do something kinda amazing. It wasn't until his mate Adam MacBeth wrote this post that it really hit me. Arran hasn't really been enjoying work over the past couple of weeks and its probably fair to say that he has been getting some pressure to not go on leave as the project he is working on seems to be at a critical stage, or something. But you know, when he looks back and remembers his life, he will remember the trip to North America to attempt something that not many attempt. I don't think he will look back in the same way on a software implementation project. Truth.

Arran, Aiden and Charlie (in the chariot), 2012 Sydney to Woolongong
So, while I think riding a bike for that length of time and having to carry all your own shit while not being eaten by a bear is not really my glass of chardy, I reckon Arran is really going to miss me and the boys and will really have a great time. This is a once in a lifetime (seriously Arran, you ain't doin it again), what dreams are made of kinda experience and I hope you chill out and lap it up.

Lisa xx

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Day 4: Running Late

I remembered last night at oh about 11.30pm that I had forgotten to do the days blog post. I had already had a little nap on the lounge at our holiday house for the Easter weekend, after a glass of red wine. I barely had the energy to move from the lounge to the bed so the chances of writing a blog post were non-existent.

Thursday was another long day with working and then the drive to Culburra Beach, which wasn't too bad considering we left Sydney at 5pm, rather than the planned 4pm. The main traffic snarl was on the approach to Kiama, where the piece of road changes from two lanes to one. Overall a good trip. Small boys were good and the trip was happy. We managed to pack the whole house into the car, including bikes and only realised we had forgotten bath towels on arrival. We have beach towels. We will live.

Unfortunately the Rabbits didn't fare that well during the trip but I prefer broken Chocolate over Charlie screaming the whole way.

So the plans for the day?

Some reading of these:

Some cooking of this:

Chicken and Pistachio Terrine, in this month's Vogue Living

And some admiring of the holiday house style:

What are you doing today?

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Day 3: Long Day. Short Post

So not being a morning person and having not gone to bed until oh about 1am and then getting up a 6am to ice cupcakes well, it's been a long one.

It's been a rush kind of day trying to remember to do everything and get everything done. This included icing cupcakes, decorating cupcakes, getting small boys dressed, getting me dressed, presents opened, phone calls answered, small boys into the car and off to day-care, arriving at work at a decent time, working all day, buying dishwasher tablets and then racing home to pick up small boys, a negotiation with Arran to pick up my dry cleaning, cook dinner for a little party, (thank goodness I had a common sense attack and didn't make pizza bases from scratch) baths for 5 little bodies and then cleaning up and my 2 little bodies off to bed.

Then Arran and I started packing to go away for Easter. Nuts!

The birthday boy with supermarket bought ice-cream cake. Best ever!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Day 2 of 5: It's probably unwise to bake and blog past 10.30pm

10.35 Arrive home from wine bar. It's important to check out quality of new wine bars. Because.
10.41 Get out packet cakes. It's Aiden's birthday tomorrow and there seems to be a tradition of mums bringing in birthday cakes to daycare.
10.45 Turn on oven and wonder if it's working.
10.48 Wish my second drawer didn't look like this. Again.
10.49 Can't find beater attachments. Swear at cleaning angels
10.51 Beating cake mix and using my fluro pink spatula. Feel strangely satisfied using a spatula

10.56 First batch in oven
11.02 Prepare ingrediants for next batch
11.05 Get final birthday presents from car to wrap.
11.14 Commence mixing for second batch

11.16 Pull out first batch. lookin good!

11.18 Lick beaters of second batch
11.22 Second batch in oven. Lick bowl. Why is raw cake batter so tasty?
11.26 Chop up pizza ingrediants for Aiden's little party tomorrow night
11.34 Wash up dishes
11.35 Pack remainder of items in dishwasher. Discover we have run out of dishwasher powder. Pfffft!!
11.36 Discover eggs still in cup and NOT in cakes. Think about crying.

11.42 Cakes look ok despite lack of eggs. Hmmm... will a 4 year old notice if I slather in icing? Wonder if there are any kids at daycare who are allergic to eggs? I have the cakes for them!

11.51 Time for bed.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Day 1: Self imposed blogging challenge

There I was, standing waiting at the checkout at Coles wondering why I was so tired all of a sudden. The man in front of me wanted to know my opinion on whether someone was rude or not. I told him I wasn't listening and wanted to be in bed. It was 9pm after all and I was at the shops and I still hadn't completed a blog post.

I had decided on my bike ride home from work (more on that in a minute) that I was going to set myself a challenge to blog for the next 5 days. You see I feel like I have been neglecting this blog, I haven't had much inspiration because I have been a relatively good mummy recently and very busy!

So yes, I rode my bike to work today. On average I have been riding my bike to and from work 1 day a week for about 5 or 6 weeks. It started last year when a group at work asked if I wanted to participate in Ride to Work day. Sure! Why not? Well to start with I was (am) so unfit that I thought I might die on that day. By the time I rode the 9km to work I wasn't feeling so great, and I couldn't eat for hours. I caught the train home.

Trusty steed in my office
Earlier this year I got a bit freaked out about turning 40 and thought I should perhaps get my body moving a bit faster than it had been. I walk a fair bit and go to pilates and yoga but haven't done anything resembling cardio for a while. I don't really like puffing. Maybe if I just rode to work by myself I wouldn't feel like I would have to keep up with the people who actually look ok in lycra?

This was a good idea. I can go at my own pace, enjoy the ride a bit when I'm not concentrating on breathing or getting run over, and arrive at work not wanting to vomit. Winning.

On today's ride I actually sped up on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and when I arrived at work I felt that I may have improved, and actually be a little fitter. Winning.

The ride on the way home is generally quite pleasant. There is a lot more down than up, the ride is much faster and I don't feel the pressure to get there quickly, like I do in the morning. I was feeling quite pleased with myself, powering up a small hill near home when a man, rode past on what can only be described as a "leisure bike". I had my head down peddling like a demon, my quads screaming but feeling "powerful" and fit (even though my stomach kept hitting my knees), when this man glided past, gently peddling his long legs, wearing dark jeans (it was 27 degrees) and a short sleeve button up t-shirt. No effort, no puffing. I may have well been standing still. Bastard. Not winning.

I arrived home without any injury except for my pride and helped with feeding and bathing the small boys, had a shower and then wrote a grocery list. We are having a little dinner for Aiden's birthday on Wednesday night and then going away for the Easter weekend. In an effort to be a bit organised I thought I had better grocery shop tonight.

Arrived home at 9.15pm, unpacked groceries, wrapped some birthday presents for Aiden and now I'm off to bed! Phew!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Things to be grateful for...on my birthday

So it's my birthday today. I'm 40 and feeling a bit, well, like it's any other day at this point. Arran and I had a combined 40th party last November and I fell foul of the household tummy bug and was too sick to enjoy it. I went to bed early having not enjoyed any of the lovely cocktails on offer or the amazing thai food from Longrain, or socialising with all the lovely people who came.

Arran is also away until Monday riding his bike in Victoria somewhere so there were no presents this morning. He did leave me a card from him and a card from the boys before he left on Friday which was nice, but I can't help feeling that my birthday is less important than riding a bike.

I have had around 10 automatically generated emails from various businesses who have my email address and birth-date offering various discounts and incentives to come spend more money with them. I feel so special.

I have also had some cards and gifts in the mail, which is nice. My sister and my nephews rang and wished me Happy Birthday and I have had a birthday message on Facebook, also from my sister. Mum and Dad sent me some money to buy a gift which I'm going to save for a trip to the US in April.

We are going away next weekend for my birthday but it's not really the same. You would think I was a kid but feeling a little low really. It's probably PMT and I need to pull myself together.

So in the spirit of this being a first world problem, there have been lots of things to be grateful for today and it's only 10am:
  1. A work colleague told me I could ignore his emails for the day. He also called me a "Babe". I was chuffed. Until I realised he meant I was young (he is in his 50's) not hot! Not that being young is not a bad thing but being called hot, sexy, good looking etc is much better.
  2. Slept all night without Charlie crying and having to fly out of bed to put his dummy in.
  3. Had the bed to myself because Arran is away riding his bike. That's just a normal weekend though.
  4. Charlie didn't stir until 7.19am which is when I woke up. I read my book for 15 minutes more before getting up. Bliss
  5. Both small boys are happy
  6. Aiden took up the bribe of a "present" in the shape of a train if it didn't wet his pants during the night for the first time ever. 
  7. I cleaned up the kitchen before going to bed last night and it was really nice to come down to a clean and tidy house (clutching at straws)
  8. Charlie didn't cry like a banshee when I got him dressed
  9. Bookclub is at my house this afternoon and I have two people coming who contacted me through this blog, looking to join a bookclub. New friends! I also have two friends coming for the first time who I met through work and who I adore.
  10. Laura and Luella are coming over to help with bookclub and to stay for dinner for my birthday.
  11. I'm going to crack some vintage champagne for dinner tonight.
The day is looking good!

Sunday, 27 January 2013

We are going camping.

Words to strike fear into any woman who likes running water and a bed.

The main issue with camping is that the first time I went with Arran the bar was set very high. We went to Bribie Island, north of Brisbane. The weather was perfect, it was summer but not too hot. Our camp site was private and just behind the beach. I love the beach. We had amazing food and wine and a whole lotta lovin. If you know what I mean. Sorry Mum.

Every camping experience since this wonderous event has been the complete opposite. I have erased many unpleasant camping experiences from my memory, but some are etched there forever:
  • Land Cruiser Mountain Park: A place in Brisbane where you can camp and 4WD. How opportune! Arran promised cool billabongs to swim in, nice drives and a shower and toilet block. Reality was 45 degree heat, the whole place was a dust bowl and the shower block actually looked ok until you got naked and turned on the water. This caused the hundreds of breeding mosquitos hiding out in the non slip mat at the bottom of the shower to rise up into the air and surround said naked body. The promised billabong was a algae covered pond. We also had horses wanting to get into our tent. The event that topped off the 2 horrid days we stayed there was when Arran took the lid off the camp oven to check the lamb roast and the meat caught on fire.
  • Barrington Tops: This was an Easter trip not long after Arran and I moved to Sydney. We went with the Jeep Club. Because Arran was/is Jeep mad. I don't know why. Anyway, off we went. It rained non-stop. It was torrential. I have never seen so much mud. On the Saturday morning we headed off with a number of other Jeep clubbers on a B/C grade (easy) drive for a few hours. We expected to be back by lunch time. We got back after midnight and just before search and rescue was to be called. During this time we experienced mud. Lots of mud. Mud going down hills. Mud going up hills. Mud which required the use of winches. Which is fun if you like that kinda thing. I don't. At one point I insisted on being outside the car in the torrential rain as I figured this would be safer than being inside the Jeep as it slid to the bottom of a muddy hill. That's when I became acquainted with leeches. Now generally I'm ok with insects and creepy crawlies but I am NOT ok with leeches. They are nearly impossible to pull off when you are wet with rain and that's before they bury in too deeply. Eeek! I could go on about this trip but I think you get the picture.....
  • Wollondilly River Station: This one was doozey. Ever been motorbike camping? We have. In 40 degree plus heat. Getting there and back I though we were going to self combust. It never cooled down during the night. Was like sleeping in a oven. Hideous. The camp ground caretaker could have been in the movie Deliverance and on the way home we got a flat tire. 
  • Pretty Beach: Now I like this spot and we have been there a number of times either camping or staying in their cabins. I did get bitten by a possum once but I may have been a little drunk at the time so perhaps it wasn't the possums fault? The last time we went there was during the Queens Birthday long weekend in 2011 and we camped in tents. Aiden was 2 and a bit and only wanted to cling to me. I was pregnant with Charlie and therefore wanted to wee all the time. I have never been more cold. We went with 2 other couples. One who had two kids and the other with none. The ones with none came for one night and then packed up and went home because it's stupid camping when its so friggin' cold. Those of us with kids stayed for another night of hell. At the end of that trip I didn't speak to Arran for 2 days and the other couple didn't speak for a week! 
 So this Australia Day weekend we went to Kiama, which is not too far away and stayed at a camp-ground with facilities (shower and toilets, camp kitchen, pool and jumping pillow). We arrived in darkness on Friday night and luckily the camp ground sticky beak and general do-gooder came to help us put up the tent, which was good because Aiden and Charlie were "over-it" and just needed to be in bed. 

Once the tent was up and the kids in bed Arran and I had cheese and wine. Nice. Saturday was hot and sunny and there was swimming in the pool, a drive into Kiama to search for a slushie to relieve the worst hay fever I have had in a while, and then back to the camp ground for small boy sleeps. After that there was a dip in the Kiama ocean rock pools and ice cream. Dinner and bed for the boys and then dinner for us (pork ribs, corn and salad) and some very nice wine. All good.
Blue skies in Kiama
Boys in the rock pool
Kiama Ocean Rock Pools
During that night there was a massive storm and we woke to a very soggy camp ground with drizzly rain. Arran is getting better at taking the hints I drop about wanting to go home. I only had to drop one. Took him 15 mins to decide we should head back home. Lucky because the weather has contined to get worse with Sydney looking to cop a massive drenching tonight.

Wouldn't be camping without a bike along....

Saturday, 19 January 2013

What to achieve in 2013 #1 The House

So I was asking Arran what New Year's resolutions he had set. He said none. How inspiring! Or sensible. Depending on how you look at it! Anyway I said I had 3 resolutions, well goals really, in my head, which is not a great place to have them, when my head gets as messy as the house. I decided to do a blog post on each. Then I can update you through the year and it might keep me honest. We'll see.

Resolution #1 The House
We have a beautiful house and we've been here 3 years in February. It doesn't need much in the way of renovation. It's in pretty good nick for a 100 year plus Victorian Terrace. Of course if money was no barrier I would do something with the kitchen and the main bathroom and laundry. Oh and our ensuite bathroom.....but if Arran and I get a good bonus this year we are going to fix up our outdoor area. We are very lucky to have a reasonable size outdoor area in the inner city and we want to make it more beautiful, leafy and add LOTs more storage. Someone has a bad bike habit.

But the main areas I want to focus on this year is lighting. When we bought the house the previous owners had some light fittings that they wanted to take with them and we wanted to bring our beautiful chandeliers, which were a wedding gift. They look amazing with the old ceiling roses, don't they?

As a consequence we have one room with beautiful lights and the rest of the house is a bit wanting.

A few examples:

Front door hallway

Hallway at the bottom of the stairs

2nd Floor landing

Bedside lights

Bedroom light
I have been thinking about these lights for ages and the only ones I have actually made a decision to buy (but haven't bought) are the Kartell Pendant lights. I think these will look great on the 2 bare light bulbs in the hall and to replace the orange light on the 2nd floor landing. Just gotta save up!

Apart from the lighting there are a couple of other small matters that need attention; a leak in the roof, some rotten doors, a double glazed window on the 3rd floor which you can barely see through as moisture has gotten in between the layers. Ah...old houses!

Resolutions #2 and #3 to follow.....

Monday, 14 January 2013

I am not a morning person.

Charlie. Lucky he is cute!
When I was doing my Masters at Sydney University, there was an amazing lecturer, Marion Baird teaching HR and IR subjects and she also did a lot of organisational research. She's really a bit of a guru and there is 2 things I remember about her:

1. She was involved in putting together the proposal and lobbying the government for paid maternity leave.  One evening during the lecture the government announced the introduction of said paid leave. It was a historical moment, she was pretty stoked and the class was pretty excited. 

2. She talked to me about a research paper that discussed how women manage to handle full time work with one child but two children often tips the balance and women often find it difficult to cope, and only manage to return to part time work at best. At the time we had the chat I was either 39 weeks pregnant or had a 2 week old Aiden. Can't remember. Damm baby brain. I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to cope with one but seeing as I was attending an evening university lecture (in whatever state I was in) perhaps I should have worked out it would be alright?

Anyway, I'm back at full time work with two kids and for the most part it works ok. Apparently, despite what some family members think, I am actually an organised person. Yes. I'm putting it out there. It's true. Sometimes. Arran does his fair share, we have a good routine and we have a cleaner. A person can only do so much.

Of course there is being organised and then there is trying to get out of the house in the morning before 8am without getting up at 5am, with hair done, make-up on, me dressed, small boys dressed (clean is a bonus), everyone fed, sunscreen on, shoes on, hats on........getting the picture? I am not a morning person. It's a lot to ask. Arran and I have a deal where I do the childcare drop offs and he does the pick ups. This means that he gets to train on his bike in the mornings when it suits him best and I get to either work late or exercise in the evening, which suits me best. 

I'm thinking that the person who conducted the research on women with two children and full-time work must have been doing qualitative  research by observing the getting-out-of-the-house-in-the-morning debacle routine and after seeing a couple of families in action decided it just wasn't possible. 

Mondays are the worst. You forget on Mondays that you really have to gear up. You are still in the post weekend haze, wishing it was Sunday morning, not Monday. Take this morning. 

Charlie screams. Fly out of bed. Shove dummy in. Exit room with haste. Hope like hell he stops screaming. He stops. Back in to bed. 

Shower, get dressed, straighten hair, put make-up on, find shoes, find phone, start mantra: don't forget to get Charlie's daycare sheets out of the dryer. Don't forget to get Charlie's daycare sheets out of the dryer.

Go into Charlie's room. Get him up for a cuddle. Put him on change table. Screams like a banshee. Get kicked in stomach. Tell Charlie not to kick mummy in stomach. Get kicked in stomach again. Twice. Sigh. Bit more screaming. Get Charlie dressed.

Charlie and I head to Aiden's room. Aiden is hiding under the sheet (a big wriggly mess) and telling us we don't know where he is. Bit of a tickle and cuddle with the 2 boys, and ask Aiden to go to the toilet and get undressed. Aiden starts talking and DOES NOT STOP until I drop him at daycare. Current discussion is on what we are going to do today and eating Weet-bix including the crumbs. Get Aiden dressed while telling Charlie not to:
a) open and close the drawers in Aiden's room 
b) close Aiden's door
c) stop crawling down the hall to go into the bathroom and turn on the taps in the bath, or

Bring boys downstairs for what I hope will be the last trip up or down the stairs. Remember that I didn't get Charlie's daycare sheets which are in the dryer UP STAIRS. Sigh.

Get out bowls and weet-bix for both boys because Charlie has decided he only wants what Aiden is having which takes twice as long to feed him. Get set up on the table and get the boys eating while I wonder what I'm having (Arran and I are on lite n' easy). In between shovelling Weet-bix into Charlie's mouth I get up to see what's on my breakfast menu. It's "Pikelets with Fig and Berry Compote and Honey Yoghurt". How delicious? How am I supposed to defrost/cook/assemble that while I'm trying to feed Charlie, keep up with Aiden's current conversation (which is now on some rough kid at daycare) and remember to get Charlie's sheets out of the dryer upstairs?

Between every second mouthful I manage to assemble my breakfast and bring it over to the table. Charlie has been watching proceedings very closely. He starts to grunt and moan and gesticulate at my breakfast. Little....bugger. So I share my pikelets with Charlie until he decides to tip his drink on his high chair tray and smack his hands in the water gleefully. Luckily I'm wearing my super-handy, nothing-will-stick-to-it-water-just-runs-off polyester Country Road dress. This is a fluke. 
Charlie goes back to eating Weet-bix and Aiden has moved onto his 3rd bowl of Weet-bix including crumbs, more milk and has changed up the conversation to "Misty Island Rescue". I just have to say that my life was fine before Thomas the Tank Engine came into it. Fine.

5 minutes to my goal of getting out of the house at 7.30am, which I never make. Remember I need to get Charlie's sheets, a book for work (which is on the 3rd floor) and put some deodorant on. Boys are fed and playing. I'll just whip upstairs. 

Arrive back downstairs to find that Aiden hasn't killed Charlie and that Charlie has filled his pants with a very. bad. smell. I don't have time for this.

Lie Charlie down on the change mat (screams like a banshee), change the fullest, sloppiest pants (sorry but you made it this far) and re-dress him. Ask Aiden to come over so I can slather every exposed inch of his skin with sunscreen and ask him to put his shoes on. This is possibly the most excruciating part of the morning routine. He has also changed topics and is now telling me that jumping castles are not scary and they have music in them. I don't care. Really. 

Open the door to take them out to the car. It's cold outside. What? We-are-having-the-highest-temperatures-in-the-know-universe and it's bushfire season! Sunrise have been doing 24/7 specials on it! Aiden and Charlie are wearing shorts and T-shirts. Bustle them into the car. Aiden is still talking. Race upstairs to different ends of the house to get them a jacket. Race downstairs. Pack their clothes in the bags. Pack my lunch and bits and pieces. Put it all in the car. Race back to lock the house up. Get in the car. Drive out of the driveway. Don't have to go back for anything. Miracle.

Drop them at daycare. Aiden stops talking and goes to look for trains. Charlie get's wiggly because there are toys he wants to play with. They don't care that I'm leaving them.

I'm not sure that researcher realised that if you actually survive all that you can go to work and have a coffee in peace. Bliss.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Do you ever feel like you are in a movie?

6 December 2012
Do you ever feel like you are in a movie? I don't mean like a movie star, where you are important, beautiful and pampered. More like when you have a moment where you realise that someone else has had this moment too and chosen to immortalise the stupid important life moment, on film. I had one of those moments last night.

After seeming to travel constantly for the past four weeks, I finally had a week in front of me where I would get to sleep in my own bed for all of it.  And there were other things I was looking forward to, like:
  • Not going out for dinner and drinking too much wine. Every night.
  • Leaving work a bit early and exercising every day and actually using my pilates/yoga membership. Going for evening walks around Glebe.
  • Reading Aiden stories before bed. Charlie would get stories too, but he is far too wiggly. He may never learn to read. Lets hope he is good at maths. Or sport.
  • Getting the house in some sort of order after having lots of visitors and mountains of washing
  • Staying up late writing blogs!
Also this week was the final Vision Australia playgroup for the year. Since being back at work full time I had missed taking Aiden along. Today was the little Christmas party and we were invited to bring some morning tea to share and dress up Christmassy. Easy. Buy a cupcake packet mix, some sort of Christmas decorative cake type things, and put it all together.

I would have to bake the cupcakes on Wednesday night and ice and decorate them Thursday morning. Easy.

So. Wednesday night. Get home. Feed small boys. Bath small boys. Read stories. Tuck in. Get changed. Go for a walk. It's now 9pm. At 10pm I have to get on a global teleconference with a group of Lawyers. Kill me. I start making the cupcakes at about 9.20pm. I get them in the oven. Start teleconference while cleaning up kitchen. Oven alarm goes off in middle of teleconference. Check cupcakes. Take cupcakes out of oven. 

Teleconference still going at 11pm. Have a flash of a scene from "I don't know how she does it", the movie staring Sarah Jessica Parker based on the book of the same name. Sarah plays a working mother trying to achieve it all. My flash back was to the scene where she ends up baking late at night. Kitchen a mess. Flour everywhere! And I wasn't paying good enough attention to the teleconference so when there was finally a question for me, oh at about 11.30pm I was pooped and completely not paying attention. Awesome.

I end up in bed after midnight. First thing the next morning I decorate the cakes, vowing not to give up my day job for cake decorating, pack Aiden into the car and head off. 

Arrive at Vision Australia and realise that I forgot to dress Aiden in his Christmas outfit. Oh well. Most of the kids can't see that well anyway. Terrible joke. Bad mummy.

Luckily the cakes were a hit and all got eaten! Phew.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Driving myself crazy with Vignettes

So I follow this cool chick on twitter called Jen Bishop. She has a blog called Interiors Addict and she is running a little instagram challenge called The 7 Vignettes in 7 Days, which started today, but I have been planning for a number of days. It's making me a little nuts.  If you have no idea what a vignette is, check out Jen's link here or the wikipedia definition here.

I have been up and down the 3 stories of this house pulling together bits and pieces for the various themes, finding suitable "vignette" spots and generally being a little manic. I have also been stealing taking cuttings of plant from all over Glebe. I'm surprised I wasn't apprehended this afternoon. I'm turning into my grandmother. Anyway I like to have a creative challenge and this one really appealed and it's pretty fun. 

Each day has a theme:

 and today's was "nature". Here is my submission:

There are some really amazing photos of vignettes. If you are on instagram or twitter you can search the photos using the #7vignettes hashtag.

Tomorrow is colour!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

2012 The Year that was.....


2012 started as it should. With good quality bubbles.

Aunty Em and the Cousins came to visit! Here we are at the light rail stop at Glebe.

Off we went to holiday in Coolangatta with Nan and Grandpa. We went to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. The best bit was the train!

Off I went to a "People Photography" workshop with Sydney Photographic Workshops

We planted some plants which are still alive
Aiden turned.......
and had a party with friends
Nan and Grandpa came to visit and give cuddles....
Aiden got a special present
Charlie went for a swim with Daddy

Aiden got a new bedroom.....
Arran did some bike riding. No surprise there!
I owned up to my magazine addiction.

Got inspired with some funky fabric.....

 Went on an outing with some friends.....

Charlie and I appeared on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald!

Got some new clothes......
 Went on a holiday to Fiji....

Put up some art....

Charlie tried out a bike!

 Made some cushions....

Went to a wedding in Palm Cove

 More bike riding.....

Ride to work day. Even I got into the act!
Charlie turned 1!

Halloween dress ups at Daycare!

Arran and I had a party....shame I was too sick to enjoy it!


Arran and I did a "Travel and Documentary" workshop with Sydney Photographic Workshops

Wrapped some presents
 Went to hear some Carols and had a picnic!

Christmas day! Aiden got to see Santa after all....