Thursday, 13 September 2012

Job Hunting

I am job hunting.

Job hunt mess on my dining room table

It is a very long time since I have looked for a job.  I have pretty much been self employed or a stay at home Mum since the 1990's.

Writing a resume has been interesting.

Meeting selection criteria with relevant and recent examples even more so!

I don't even know if I want a full time or part time job.  I just know I need a job.

The Workaholic is still unemployed so we desperately need an income.

It will be a big change for all of us.  The boys in particular.  They have always had me here.

It will be a massive period of adjustment.

Please keep your fingers and toes crossed for me.  I really need a job!!

Any tips for a Mum who has been out of the workforce for a very long time?

Sunday, 9 September 2012


Yesterday I put my almost 21 year old cat, Marilla, Miss Kitty, Miss Milly, to sleep.


It was a gut wrenching decision. It has been coming for a long time and quite honestly, should have happened six months ago. I've been struggling to keep up with her incontinence and it has been a massive extra pressure on me on a daily basis. I just couldn't imagine life without her, so I kept cleaning up after her. I've never had to euthanise a pet, it was a big deal. In the end I came home on Friday morning and opened the door to a puddle of poo and I knew it was time. I got straight back in the car and drove to the vets where I sobbed on the receptionist and made the appointment for Saturday morning.

It was so peaceful. I knew it was the right decision.

We took her to my parents house and buried her in there garden with their deceased kitties. The boys insisted. It is turning into a bit of a pet cemetery over there but it's comforting to know she's there. Next time we visit, my brother or my Dad will have made her a grave marker and the boys will have a chat to her.

The boys say good bye.

The grave

She was an amazing cat. We were blessed to have her in our lives for so long. She mothered us all when we needed it, she loved people, let my kids, my nieces and nephews do whatever they wanted to her and she was a fighter. Man was she a fighter!

She had a range of health issues over the years because of her start in life as a breeding queen in an overcrowded colony, but even though the vets left me with her at least 4 times over the years because she was going to die, she would make a miraculous recovery. She's had papers written about her by vet students. Her condition was amazing for her age and I swear she could have gone on a while longer if I could have kept looking after her.

If Marilla taught me anything it was to never give up. Thinking about her over the last 24 hours, it has reminded me of something my Grandmother told the Workaholic when she was in her late 80s when he asked her what she thought the secret to living a long life was.

"I decided I was simply not going to die until I was ready." She had been told in her 50s that she had catastrophic kidney problems and not long to live. She died at home as her favourite TV show finished, just shy of her 90th birthday. I think that was on her terms and almost miraculous.

I hope Marilla is OK with my decision and at peace. She has left a gigantic gap in our family.

Have you struggled with the decision to euthanase a pet?

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Wordless Wednesday

The Munchkin had a Birthday!

and a party!

Father's Day was quiet and relaxing.

Linking up with Trish @ My Little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesday.

My Little Drummer Boys

Monday, 3 September 2012

The Sky is Falling

Today I am running around like Chicken Little, totally sure the sky is falling.

Out my front window...

Maybe it isn't, but just maybe it is.

Things are still tough in the House of O.  No work on the horizon. No contract payout agreement in the offing.

I've started applying for jobs, I'm selling on eBay and we are revisiting the idea of an interstate move.

The last six years of knocks has left me battered and bruised and completely unable to rise above the crap and well, quite frankly be my usual sunny self.  I knew it would get to me sometime.  My Mum says she can't believe I've made it this far without cracking.

The Little Man is reacting to the tension and getting into trouble at school.  He's grumpy, he's teary, he's a monster, he's a sad little boy.  It's so frustrating that his first year of school has been marred by all this drama.  The me I wish I could find, would say "It will all work out, this crap happens for a reason."  The me who is here right now says "When will we get a break, I just can't take any more drama or bad news."

It's not even the money worries that have pushed me to the brink today.  It's the fact that The Workaholics Dad went into hospital last Monday and for six days none of his FOUR siblings (or his Dad for that matter), bothered to tell him.  He found out on Saturday morning because he phoned his Dad because he hadn't heard from him and he answered his mobile from his hospital bed.  His family just do my head in.

I don't have anything clever to say.

I just thought writing this down and posting it would be cathartic and explain in some way why I am still absent.

I hope you are all doing it a bit easier than me!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Patches of Blue Sky

Things are tough in the House of O at the moment.

I was starting to think our horrible 2012 was finally turning around in July.  It was not to be though.

No sooner had the Workaholic settled into his new office, phone number and email when more drama reared its ugly head. It was with foreboding and horror I listened to him tell me about the fraud he had uncovered in his new employers Queensland operations.  I knew right then and there we were in for more crap.

The Workaholic spent six weeks investigating, collating and explaining the issues to his new boss.  Six weeks of 6am till about midnight, including weekends and his boss lost the plot.  He trashed the office and told the Workaholic to leave.  He's not ready to deal with it.  It's so much money that he's going through mourning.  We understand this because we've been there but we were already at the end of our resilience.  We just cant wait for his sanity to return.  We thought we'd be OK because the Workaholic had a contract.  We are still waiting for him to pay it out.  It may go legal and to be honest I'm not up for it and therefore keeping as far away from the drama as I can now!

It's the Munchkin's third birthday this coming Thursday.  Luckily I have his gifts and the party we are having for him this Saturday is just family and friends, so I have minimal preparation to do.  I don't think I could cope if we had planned a big bash for him this year.  I'm so amazed by this little guy.  He is such a joy in the midst of the daily drama we have been living this year.

On another positive note, my studio is almost finished (even though I have lost a corner to the Workaholics office) and I'm selling my excess bits and bobs on eBay.  I'm pretty excited to get my studio back up and running.  I'm in the process of going through my old shop stock and organising my workspace.  I picked up some fab chairs on eBay so I can teach in there too! Watch this space for some geee-orgeous jewellery creations coming soon.

I am also really excited by the progress the Little Man is making at school.  He has jumped three reading grades in a couple of weeks and his Occupational Therapist is thinking he will be ready to stop seeing her by the end of the term.  This weekend he got a merit award and was given the class mascot monkey for the weekend.  He's really blossoming.  A big tick for our choice of school.  It's totally worth the fees we have managed to scrape together in these difficult times!

The class mascot spent the weekend with us again this weekend.

At this point, I am trying to concentrate on the positives (this is Living Life Playing the Glad Game after all!!) but it has been really hard with all of the obstacles I keep running into, but most days I think I am winning.  I still have the Plan.  I'm just moving a bit slower that I wanted to.

Small patches of blue sky amongst the grey is what I am focusing on!

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Running in Gale Force Winds

Yesterday the Little Man competed in his first school athletics carnival.

It was one of the windiest days I can remember.  Locally, there were tree branches coming down everywhere.  It's a very tree heavy area.  The SES was in high demand.  Because it is held on the school oval they decided to brave it.

The parents arrived bundled up against the wind and watching the clouds out of the corners of their eyes.

It was a well organised event, just as pretty much every event at his school is.  We were asked to be seated track side by 12:15 for a 12:30 start and were to take our weary competitors home at 2:30 after the presentation of trophies.  We were out of there at 2:30 on the dot.

At first I could not find the Little Man in the program, he was pointed out to me by another Mum n Division A of his races.  I had not looked there, who knew he could run? He's not the most athletic of kids!!

They ran into the wind.  They all ran in their tracksuits!  It was a freezing wind.

It was great fun and both the parents and the kids had a wonderful afternoon.

We did have a little hiccup.  The Workaholic had told the Little Man he would be there but about an hour late.  So when I called out to him as he marched out to say I was there, the Workaholic standing next to me.  He had actually arrived early and had saved me a seat.  After watching the Little Man's 2 races, he headed home out of the wind to finish some work.

The problem was that the Little Man had not seen him at all.  So when his teacher handed him over to me at the end of the presentation, he burst into tears and sobbed because "Daddy had not come like he had promised".  It broke my heart.  Myself and two teachers all tried to convince him he had seen his races, but he did not calm down until he got home and saw the photos and video that the Workaholic had taken.  Thank goodness I made him do that!!!

How he missed seeing his Dad when he ran by posing like this, I have no idea

I still do not understand the way the Workaholic's brain works.  Why couldn't he just stay like the other parents?

Apparently though, I am chopped liver.  My attendance was not required.  I should have just stayed home out of the wind!

It drives me a bit crazy to be the parent who does everything but gets passed over for the absent parent at every opportunity.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Best Intentions Scuttled by a Crazy Week

Last week I was so excited and renewed.  I had great plans for blogging, organising and generally moving on from the horrid start to 2012.

I fell victim to a crazy week.

Today I am renewing my commitment to getting on with the Plan. (I'm giving it a capital P from now on - it's that important!!)

It's been two weeks of The Workaholic leaving before 6am and getting home around midnight, so single parenting time again.

Although my personal stress really started on Thursday when I had to make cupcakes for The Little Man's 100 Days of School party on Friday.  I could have done without the extra task on Thursday evening.  Of course my child free Friday was hi jacked by the party at 12 till 1pm, mind you.  With pick up at 2:45 (meaning I need to be parked by about 2:20 - the traffic issues continue), my day was pretty well out of my hands.

Saturday was the usual Soccer for The Little Man with the added bonus of The Munchkin's presence.  He hates being there, making it a bit of a nightmare for me.  The rest of the day was spent referee their many scuffles and doing the washing.  No relaxation for me in there!

I worked all day Sunday, till very late, helping an Event Manager friend prepare for her biggest annual conference.  It was physically hard but brainless labour.  I spent most of my day with my ear buds in listening to Adele, Florence + the Machine, Carly Simon and Heather Nova (I sense a theme).  It was a welcome break from my kids and house to be honest!  The bad bit was that The Workaholic decided at lunchtime that he really needed to work (I only gave him two weeks notice) so he let the boys run wild.  They got EVERY toy out of the boxes sealed up and ready for the bin or the Salvos, from my epic toy cull a few weeks ago.  He still does not understand why I got angry when I came in the door at 9.30 to discover said toys strewn throughout the house.

Just a taste of the mess I came home to.

Anyway, that was nothing.  Monday was a write off because the Munchkin had been so overindulged by Daddy on Sunday (think soft drink, lollies and MacDonald's for dinner) that I could not inflict him on the rest of his Gymbaroo class.  Luckily I made this decision early, because by lunchtime I was unable to keep my eyes open or stop vomiting.  Not a good day.

Tuesday, I briefly considered doing a make up Gymbaroo class but decided on a trip to the park pre day sleep so he could burn off some of the remaining energy before My friend N dropped off two of her kids for a few hours babysitting after school.  Magically all four kids behaved wonderfully and ate their dinner quietly.  I made it through the day!

Yesterday and today I have to pick up, feed and look after my Event Manager friend's two kids.   I've been looking after them a fair bit this year so we have a good routine and it's not too taxing for me, on a regular week.

This week is not regular.  I'm hanging by a thread!

It's the start of a new month.  I've realised that this is a big mental factor for my ability cope.  We've had such a run of months where we did not have the rent, insurance etc on time, that its like my brain shuts down.  This month should not have been stressful.  The pay should be in, bills should be paid.  It's not and as a consequence, they are not.

I was not expecting the pay to be late.  It was not part of the Plan.  I did a run to Medicare to claim outstanding money.  I feel better with that cash in my wallet.  I even spent $10 on some orange PJ's for my orange loving Munchkin and $15 in the $2 shop on assorted items for his birthday at the end of the month.  Retail therapy really does help.

Tomorrow is Friday.  I have no commitments outside of the promise I made the Little Man this morning of some quality Mummy time after school tomorrow while the Munchkin is still in daycare.  It sounds like heaven.

So I am writing this, tidying up and resetting my attitude. Yet again.  Back to the Plan!!

I used to deal with being busy and broke so much better than I do now.

So how's your week been?

Friday, 27 July 2012

July, You Rock!!

It's about 6 weeks since I posted anything on here.

I've been busy.

Busy freaking out that the Workaholic's casual job was coming to an end and there was still no work in sight.

Busy deciding what to do about my study.

Busy trying to decide if we should break our lease and look for a cheaper house.

Busy rearranging my house so that I could get my studio space as I had planned when we moved in here 12 months ago.

Busy culling the millions of toys we have accumulated over the last six years.

Busy with three weeks of school holidays.

Busy arguing about the two embryos in the freezer at IVF Australia.

Busy babysitting my God Daughters twice a week.

Busy trying to ignore the fact that my 21 year old cat is on the way out.

Busy feeling sorry for myself.

Slowly things are resolving themselves.

The credit card we've been living on, went over its limit and a day later the Workaholic was offered a job. Totally out of the blue.  The same day I sold something on Ebay for a massive and unexpected profit and out of nowhere I received an email that I had won the June prize on!  Good things come in threes too it seems!

July, You Rock!!

Things started looking up and with it our moods and motivation.

And this Ab Fab Olympic torch photo just cracks me up

The house has been almost sorted out to a level I can live with.  I decided what to do with my studies and my studio is almost up and running.

The most wonderful thing about this horrible year is that The Little Man is loving school.  The struggle to pay the fees during this crappy time has been totally worth it.  I cannot imagine him anywhere else.  Today his class are having a 100 days of school party.  The Mums and the boys are supposed to dress as superheroes.  He's going as Batman and I am going to wear his Super A cape that my Mum made him.

It will take us months to recover from six months of practical unemployment but we have a plan.  A plan is something I can live with.

So, how has 2012 been treating you?

Linking up with Maxabella and Kidspot for 52 Weeks of Grateful, because this week I'm grateful for all the good stuff that July is bringing.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

The Letter of the Week

This weeks letter of the week was V.

It was a hard one because he was not interested in taking a van which I figured was the easiest option.  We put out a call for ideas and got, Vienna, vitals, vitamins, volcano, venison, vikings, viper, vomit, and venus fly trap.

It turns out someone had spent the long weekend making a volcano ala The Brady Bunch episode so that was out.  I thought vitamins was the way to go but as usual, The Little Man had other ideas.

He took a Visa Card.  I always give the kids the empty Visa rewards/gift cards for their shop and he had decided they were perfect.

I obliged with the usual sheet to accompany them.

Last week was a treasure week.  He took an old print of Captain Cook declaring NSW a part of the British Empire, that he got for a baptism present from his God Mother.  I was surprised by the choice, but it turns out they had been looking at a similar picture in class.

Next week was supposed to be E, but following on with the pirate theme of term 2 (tomorrow they are going to Pirate school at the Maritime Museum, dressed as pirates -aaargh!), it is another treasure week.  This time something that the Workaholic or I have that is old and we treasure. 

I have no idea...

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Adventures with Bobo, the KM Mascot

Linking up with Trish from My Little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesday.  Check it out!

My Little Drummer Boys

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Moving from Feeling Unemployable to Woman with a Plan

Before children I had a job.  A real job.  One where people would ask "What do you do?" at parties and be actually interested in my reply.

Then I quit and opened a bead shop while I was undergoing IVF.  Very satisfying but not exactly a highly respected career path.

Now I feel unemployable.

Yes it is a cliché.  Yes I am a cliché. 

This week has been a week of decisions.  When we moved into this house last July I had a vague notion that the back room in this house would make a good studio space.  This week after months of study stress, husband stress and most of all children stress, I decided I would go back to work which led to the startling discovery that my qualification has been superseded not once, but twice while I was off making and raising children.  I am studying something else entirely, something I like with a long term view to move into a different career.  I am not interested in upgrading a qualification in a field I ultimately have no intention of working in.

I'm stuffed.

If I want a job I have to upgrade or get an administration job. B.O.R.I.N.G.

Instead I started looking at retail space to rent so I could reopen my shop.  Of course it was not long till common sense kicked in and I realised after the 2012 we've had so far there is no money in the kitty to do this.  Even with the stock and fittings I still have.

My old logo

It was annoying because my time in the shop was some of the happiest and most relaxed times in my life.  I was so sad we had to close up when The Little Man was about 18months old because the arcade was renovated and we could not afford the post renovation rates.  

I looked at the back room and had a light bulb moment.

So I am busily working toward setting up my studio and knocking out a few sample pieces before Uni goes back and my time is once again limited.

Classes in beading, Art Clay Silver and a variety of other little crafty gems will recommence in the coming months.  I'm so excited and inspired.  I do love a good project!

It feels like coming home.

Have you had any potentially life changing light bulb moments lately?

Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Letter of the Week

This weeks letter of the week was B.

As the Little Man had been to a birthday party on the weekend and one of the prizes he had come home with was a pair of binoculars, it was a pretty easy week for me.  We did not even discuss options, but I suppose we could have done, bat, ball, bull dozer, bionicle, Batman, bugs or a bear.

I do love an easy week!  Next week is another treasure week thanks to the Pirate theme they have this term.  He has to take something that he treasures that he has had for a long time.  It should be interesting!!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Thursday, 24 May 2012

The Letter of the Week

This weeks letter of the week was N.

There were plenty of ideas for this week.  We thought about necklace, noodles, newspaper and nectarine.  We had decided on nickel.  Not the metal but a US 5cent coin.  The problem was, the jar with all the unchanged money from a variety of overseas trips was not unpacked at this house.  It is somewhere in an unpacked box.  So The Little Man and I decided it was down to nest or nut, as in nuts and bolts as his school is nut free.

In the end he took both.  The nest is in a local car park and the baby birds had hatched and we were all enjoying watching Mummy and Daddy finches looking after them.  The bolt the Workaholic dragged out of his hardware cupboard was a monster and too cool for a boy not to take for news!!

These are the sheets he took in for the news table.

Next week it is the letter B.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

The Letter of The Week

This weeks letter of the week was C.

With my new Mixer arriving as a Mother's Day gift, news starting with C was a no brainer. Cupcakes!!

They were delicious and iced with electric blue icing.

This weeks News sheet (note my new red baby)

There was no letter of the week last week as it was supposed to be Umbrella but instead it was a special week where they had to take in something very precious to them and talk about why they treasure it.  This is to tie in with this terms Pirate theme that they have going.  I'm guessing the teachers did not want to listen to 16 separate news presentations on Umbrellas!

My Little Man took in a Mickey Mouse necklace that he got when her was about 18months old and remains a favourite.  He is such a Mickey Mouse boy.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

How My To Do List Crippled Me So I Threw it Away

What do I need to do to get away for a few days?

Seriously it has come to me crying on the Workaholics shoulder declaring "It's just too hard to go away. I'll stay home."

I am completely tragic.  What a martyr!

This weekend is my annual SWANKY Gals scrapbooking retreat.  It starts after lunch on Thursday and goes through to Sunday afternoon.  It is the 10th anniversary, this year, so it has been a much anticipated event by all.  I love to go.  I get to relax, scrap and enjoy time with my friends, child free.

Last years theme was "Be a Sport"
I was a cricket ball...

This year I am wondering how I will even get there.

I have 3 baskets and a pile of washing to put away.

There's a massive list of instructions for the Workaholic as there are a stack of things on during this period and he needs to organise the lot.

No photos have been printed.

There's a costume to prepare for the themed Dinner on Saturday night.

I have an impossible assessment task due on the Monday after I return, so I need it done and submitted by tomorrow night so I can relax.  I also have a Quiz on Monday.  I am confident that I am ready for that but the assessment task is at 10% complete and it is worth 30% of my mark.  I have been working on it for 3 weeks.  Entire days at a time.  It is kicking my butt.  I have come to the realisation that I need to hand in whatever I have ready on Wednesday night and forget about it.

Up until this morning I have been paralysed by the mountain in front of me that I need to conquer before I get to have my weekend away.  I was honestly going to pull out.  It seemed the easiest option.  Then something happened.  I remembered why I go on this retreat each year.  I remembered that I am important and that my well being is just as important as the rest of the family.  I remembered that I wanted to study and if I am not enjoying it there is no point.  It's not all about the grades, it's about learning.

So, I wrote a new list.  A shorter, less OCD list with the priorities flipped around and I have attacked the shit out of it this morning.

I can't do anything about the killer assessment task but the rest I am going to get done.  If it is not perfect, then tough.  I'm not perfect either.  I'm pretty sure they will all fare OK with me away.  They can muddle through and hopefully appreciate the millions of little things I do for them that they don't notice normally.

So I am now sorting my photos so I can whip out and get them printed in the morning.  Tonight I am packing my bag and supplies.  Only once these things are done will I think about my assessment task and the instructions for the Workaholic.  I need to think about me and get on with it.

I love an AhhHaah! moment.

Are you ever crippled by the size of your to do list? How do you move forward?

Linking up with Jess at Diary of a SAHM for IBOT today.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Being a Soccer Mum

This year I have become a soccer Mum.

It has been interesting.

There are some really great things that have come out of the Little Man playing soccer and some stuff I could really do without.

So what does it involve being a Mum of an under 6 novice soccer player?  Well let me take you back to registration.

When two of his little pre-school friends told him that they were joining the same soccer team, the Little Man was immediately enamoured by the idea.  It was less about the soccer and more about playing with the two friends he misses from pre-school.  They go to three different schools.  In theory I thought it was a nice idea, but the logistics made my head spin and lets face it, he's not a very co-ordinated child and he had never even watched a soccer game let alone kicked a ball!

He spent a week asking me "Can I play soccer with my friends Mum, Puhleeeease". Over and over again.  This culminated on the Thursday with "So Mum when does Soccer start?".  The Workaholic and I discussed it.  We have a long standing deal that when his schools compulsory Saturday sport kicks in in third grade, that the Workaholic will be responsible for taking him, but at the moment he is still working Saturdays, so it was up to me.  I gave in and logged onto the clubs site and filled in the forms and paid my $196, knowing full well I would fork out much more.

The team in action.

At the first training session he was puffed out by the mid point and spent the last part sitting on the edge of a hockey goal.  I thought, "Oh No! This is not going to happen and I've just bought shorts, socks, shin pads and ordered a jacket and training shirt, personalised with his name.  There's a $100 bucks I'll not get back."

Anyway we persevered and I noticed he started to like the training and by the first game was raring to go.  By the third game he had found his place in the team and makes it his mission to get the ball back from the other team and pass it on to one of the goal scorers.  He LOVES it.  I hate it.  It helps that they have won every single game by miles.  Last weeks score was 30-1!  They were regraded this week but still won 10-4.  I've been chatting to other Mums on the opposing sides, it turns out we are one of the few clubs who have a Kick-start coach as part of the program.  The results are obvious.  Training sessions are 15 minute blocks of different drills.  It's fast paced and fun for these little guys.  They love it.

He is benefiting from it a lot.  His self esteem is sky rocketing.  His gross motor skills have improved and with it his confidence to have a go at new physical activities.  His school teacher and occupational therapist have noticed a marked improvement.  I'm really pleased about this aspect.  It's a real bonus I had not really considered.

Now here's my side.

I do not enjoy being a soccer Mum.

Firstly, training is on a Thursday afternoon 4.30 till 5.30.  Thursday is one of my child free study days, so the Munchkin is at pre-school, so it starts out a good day, then afternoon soccer chaos kicks in.  I go and pick up the Little Man from school at 2.45, jump back in the car and drive 15 minutes away to pick up my God Daughters from their school by 3pm.  We then come home for him to dress for training (consisting of me stressing out and him dawdling) and if possible do readers (not often, it feels like a miracle when we do them).  Then we go to training.  I sit in the cold with my Kindle, somehow, reading, watching the training and still keeping an eye on the playground where the girls play.  We then sprint to the car the minute the post training meeting is over, struggle with seat belts because two boosters and a car seat do not fit easily into a Subaru Outback (in case you were wondering) and brave the traffic to get to the Pre-school  to get the Munchkin.  Thursday has become MacDonald's night, for obvious reasons.

Then Saturday mornings, I have to get up the same time as week days to get him to meet his team by 8.10am for the 8.30am game.  We have the same dawdling and me stressing about getting dressed.  The weather is mental.  Every week it is a drama.  It's either so hot we are all standing on the sidelines in gumboots and t-shirts with our jackets and cardigans strewn across the wet grass on the sidelines or like today, it looked warm.  It was warm.  Until we got onto the field where there was an icy wind blasting us.  Not enough clothing on today and of course the Munchkin sat in a puddle of water.  This clothing issue sounds like such a small thing, but I am finding it infuriating!!

On top of this weather, I am dealing with a bored 2 1/2 year old.  I sit him on a picnic rug and bribe him with muffins or cakes or anything to keep him seated and quiet.  He still whines for the entire time and hangs off me like a limpet.  It is exasperating!  Last week he wound my cardigan around me so tightly, it ripped!  I'm always so relieved when it is over and we are in the car on the way home!!

Munchkin with cupcake bribe.

Today was extra stressful as I knew I had an assessment task waiting for me at home (which I am now ignoring to write this post...).

So are you a soccer Mum?  Is it like this for you?

Friday, 11 May 2012

Urban Wildlife Leads me to Contentment

Over the last couple of weeks my boys and I have noticed two little finches hanging out in the carpark of St Ives Village Shopping Centre.  They are very sweet.  They have built themselves a nest on a service pipe above a car space I like due to only one side of my car being exposed to randon carpark scratches.

I love that my boys have this close up opportunity to view some urban nesting.  We are checking every couple of days for baby birds.  It has even meant I have changed coffee shops so we can check on the nest each morning.

Last week at home we left half a watermelon (getting too old for us to eat) out on the side lawn so that the local wildlife could eat it.  Each morning the boys would watch from the sun room as the sun rose and the possums would get in a last nibble before running off up their trees and into bed for the day.  Then during the day the parrots, cockatoos and lorikeets all came down to visit.  The local Kookaburras hung around to check on the fuss.  The boys just loved it.

I grew up in a terraced house on the edge of Newtown, Enmore, Stanmore.  We had a clothesline on a tiny patch of grass with an old dunny out the back.  There was no wildlife unless you count the rats and winos that sometimes slept on our front step.

I was lucky though.  My grandparents retired to Huskisson in Jervis Bay.  My parents promptly bought a caravan on Currambene Creek.  My life was transformed.  Each Friday afternoon my brother and I would get picked up from school and travel down to Husky for the weekend.  We’d then come home either very late on Sunday night or first thing Monday morning.  I grew up in the bush.  We made cubby houses, BMX tracks and swam in the creek.  We fished, took the tinny down the creek to Callala and had sausage sizzles on the beach.  At night after dinner we'd sit by camp fires and tell stories or play sardines around the caravan park and surrounding bush.  I had an amazing group of friends, most from Wollongong, with like minded parents.  We had freedom.  It was an idyllic childhood.  It was the 1970s & 80’s.

Things have changed and as much as I would love my kids to have the freedom that I had growing up, it can’t happen.  The Workaholic needs to be in the city for work and usually works on Saturdays meaning a similar weekend plan just can’t work for us.  The Little Man had a fabulous time in Huskisson at the Workaholics family holiday house (yes, this is where we met) with his big cousins over Christmas 2010, he really blossomed experiencing a little of the freedom I had as a child.  It is such a pity we can’t do that more often.

I feel blessed though, to have ended up on Sydney’s Upper North Shore.  It is the best of both worlds in many ways.  Our yard is big and just a bit wild.  We get lots of wildlife in the yard and there are trees to climb.  The city is just a train trip away and the schools here are good.  I wish they could have more freedom to roam, but at the moment I am quite content with this urban wildlife they are experiencing.

It has been a long and winding path that has led us as a family to where we are, but today, while looking at those little birds making a home in a carpark, I realised how grateful I am to be just where we are.

The House of O is content and to be honest I had almost forgotten what that felt like.

Are you content in your little patch of the planet?

Take yourselves over to Maxabella Loves... for a bigger dose of Grateful.  It is very good for the soul!!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Seduced By a Kitchen Appliance

Recently The Little Man's school had their School Fete.  It was our first so I was eager to be involved.  I donated to the K-2 Tombola stall and dutifully collected my cake boxes and made cakes.

It just so happened that the week of the fete we had about 4kg of bananas going brown on the kitchen bench thanks to one of the Workaholics clients, so I decided to make banana cakes in addition to some cupcakes.

The thing is, I have never bought myself a mixer other than the cheapo handheld electric ones you pick up at the supermarket, so I mixed each cake individually, washing up in between.

It was long and torturous to my back.  Our kitchen benches in this rented house are not meant for tall people.

My cakes were a success and sold quickly.  I felt like a very good Mummy when I delivered 3 banana cakes and 4 dozen cupcakes to the stall on the day.

In the back of my mind an idea was forming.

Then, last week my very good friend N, was planning to make her Possum a birthday cake and cupcakes for his class, when she put out a call to borrow my mixer as hers had died, been replaced with a cheapo handheld one which had also proceeded to die on her.  I dropped mine down to her and started looking for a mixer for both of us to buy.

I looked online and checked out the options and decided I must have a Breville Scraper mixer.  I've loved the idea of them since the ads were first on TV.  I hunted around and there are some great Mothers Day specials, if I want Red.  Today I went and looked at it in real life.  I love the red!!  Mothers Day is just the excuse I need too.  I came home and got on the phone to the Workaholic and pleaded my case.  He agreed.  Almost immediately.  What a Man.  Now I just have to wait until Sunday to get my hands on my new baby.

My soon to be new love.

Expect something rather new for me very soon.  A post that may include a recipe.

Have you ever been seduced by a Kitchen Appliance? (A.K.A. Please tell me I'm normal. -  OK normalish then?)

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Well Hello There Internet!

Long time no see!

It has been a while hasn't it?  I've had a little unscheduled break from blogging.

Partly due to technical issues and partly due to being so damn busy I could not string a sentence together each time I attempted to blog!

Anyway I seem to have come through the other side of whatever was "blocking" me and here I am back again.

So what happened in the House of O since I last blogged?

I recovered from the bug that had me bedridden.

I gave up caffeine.

The Little Man went back to school.

I failed to submit a test to Uni due to a brain explosion. Yes I was too stressed to do it.

I studied a lot, but I talked about needing to study even more.

I aced a test.

I freaked out about an assessment that is total gobbledy gook to me (and I am still freaking out about it).

You be the judge - there are 6 pages just like this...

We had extra kids for a few nights which meant 3 different school pick ups and drop offs for me.

The Little Man found his "position" in his soccer team and they slayed every team they played. The last score was 30 -1. They have been re-graded thankfully.  Egos are out of control.

Occupational Therapy is showing immediate and massive results. And costing me a fortune.

We made it through our first school fete.  The cakes we made went quickly.

I'm on the final countdown to my annual scrapbooking retreat.  I cannot wait!!

My Birthday Kindle got a work out as did my new iPhone.  Thank you Workaholic.

The toys did not get culled and the sunroom is still strewn with them.

News for the letters L and H were completed.  I'll put those up later.  L was for lollies and H for Hiro.

The cold weather has hit and I am so happy to be in my winter wardrobe.  I love cold weather fashion!

I got addicted to Instagram.  Probably took over from the caffeine!!

So much more happened but my mind is not co-operating right now, but believe me I am back and I have lots to say!

Wordless Wednesday

There are still Easter Eggs left in The House of O

Linking up with Trish from My Little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesday.

My Little Drummer Boys

Thursday, 19 April 2012

I Wish Kids Would Keep Their Bugs to Themselves!

One of my children passed a delightful little bug on to me.

It has meant I have done absolutely nothing for the last two days.

I probably should have been in hospital on a drip, but being me, I didn't even ring the doctor.

I have not even eaten in more than two days.

Apparently I was ridiculous and obviously delirious in the early hours of yesterday.  The Workaholic force fed me paracetamol.

Thankfully the Workaholic worked from home yesterday, except when he went out for a boozy business lunch for three hours.  This was of course when the heavens fell and the house was leaking and of course to put a cherry on top, the power went out.

Somehow from my bed I convinced the boys to have a nap till Dad came home and fixed the power.

They did and I went back to sleep.

The Workaholic came home, fixed the power and took the boys to Officeworks (what a treat) when they woke.  He made them dinner, played some very messy titanic game with them and got them back into bed.  I slept through the whole thing.

I wish I could sleep through until the cleaning fairy has been.

Imagine this inside your lounge room, kitchen AND sunroom...
image from here

Why do they make so much mess when I am sick?  I swear the Workaholic is the worst.  The carpet will not recover and poor old Freddy the Fighting fish may or may not have been saved by my intervention today.  Only time will tell.

Anyway I am off to phone the carpet cleaners...

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Sad Bunny

Linking up with Trish from My Little Drummer Boys for Aussie Wordless Wednesday.

My Little Drummer Boys

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

It's My Birthday Today...

I'm older than yesterday!

I have had a lovely snuggle with my boys this morning and a lazy home day with them.

The Workaholic had to work, but he left me gifts with the little guys and they opened them with me.

I am completely spoilt today.

An iPhone and a new Kindle Touch.

A techy birthday to me!

The best bit was the card which is covered in cats and when you open it a chorus of cats miaows "Happy Birthday to You" including "and many moooore".  Very cute.

I wanted to put a photo of it in this post but it has vanished into the playroom...

Linking up with Jess at Diary of a SAHM for IBOT today.

Friday, 6 April 2012


The other evening on Facebook I was involved in a discussion on introverted children.  It was interesting until someone had to say  "I love that people are labeling their kids" .

The image that started it all...

I hate these Facebook comments that stop a discussion dead in it's tracks.  I do not know this guy.  He is a friend of the friend who started to the discussion, so I restrained myself and chose not to comment on his comment.

I did however, have a quite extensive chat with my Mum about it, which made me think about writing this post.

First up I hate labels, in principle, but in reality they are a necessity.  Labels are required in a bureaucratic society. There are so many situations where if you don't have a label for your child then you miss out on vital stuff, like early intervention for a child on the autism spectrum, for instance.  Without a label of autism spectrum disorder, a child has no chance of accessing the kind of resources that may mean there is the possibility of a "normal" life for the child and their family.  The chance to intervene early and increase chances of a mainstream education and coping in our society.

Let me tell you about my friend D.

Her now 8 year old son has obvious issues, in several areas and unfortunately that has been a big part of the problem in getting a label for him.  Since he was three she has been trying to get a label for him so that she could get the right help for him.  He does not conform to the usual norms for autism, aspergers, auditory processing etc.  He exhibits bits of all of these.

The pre school needed a label to get funding for the extra staff and time he needed.  He did not get it.
The school needed a label for similar.  They have him in a support class.

Medicare needed a label so that his therapies would be covered.  Expenses are pretty much all out of my friend's pocket

To even work out what help would benefit him and help him lead a normal life, he needs a label.  Instead he has been to everything.

Nobody can give him a label.  He has been tested and tested and the only thing "the experts" agree on is that he is not normal.  So for five years she has been battling to get him the help he needs.  She runs from appointment to appointment, sometimes up to eight of them a week and pays for it all out of her own pocket, as he has no label.  He has extra school work coaching, sees a speech therapist, an occupational therapist, a chiropractor, podiatrist and behavioural optometrist to name a few.

Without a label she has tried everything suggested by any qualified person along their journey, just so he can attend a regular mainstream school.  And he has no label, therefore no funding and no help for her.

I think that it is important that people who make the judgement that labelling your kids is wrong, should walk a mile in my friend D's shoes.  I think it would change your mind.  I don't know how she does it, their schedule is exhausting and that is just me hearing about it on the phone!

As for the original discussion on dealing with and understanding introverted children, I am surprised that anyone would dispute that people fall into either category and that they have very different needs.  I was an MBTI consultant in the 1990's, so for me this is a universal truth of humans.  As a teacher I used that knowledge to adjust my teaching style to suit the individual.  I don't see how knowing how to best meet the needs of another human being can be considered a bad thing.

What is your take on labels?

I used Autism Spectrum Disorder as an example of a "label" in this post because April is Autism month, but I could have used any number of other examples.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

The Letter of the Week, O

O was a tough one.

There are not very many things that start with O and could be taken in and discussed for a news item.

We came up with:

  • Olive
  • Oranges
  • Owl
  • Onion
  • Octopus
  • Ogre
Not a very inspiring list and pretty much covered by the rest of the class before the Little Man had his turn on Wednesday.

So on Tuesday morning he told me that that afternoon, we would make orange cupcakes and take those in.  Bossy little bugger, but I liked the idea, so I agreed.

This week on our sheet we showed photos of the Little Man
making the cupcakes.

We used the easiest cupcake recipe that I have (no creaming of butter and sugar) so that he could make them without too much help from me and added orange juice freshly squeezed from half an orange. We used red and yellow food colouring to make the batter orange also.  Then for the icing we used the other half of the orange's juice for moisture and again used yellow and red food colouring to make it vibrant orange.  It was orange news on many levels!  They were a big success.

No letter of the week next week because it is school holidays! Yay!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Wordless Wednesday

This week I discovered that Woollies let you pick your fish and sauce,
and seal it in this nifty bag that you pop in the oven.

Opening the package...


Linking up with Trish from My Little Drummer Boys for Aussie Wordless Wednesday.

My Little Drummer Boys