January 2013Life Love and Hiccups: January 2013
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Thursday 31 January 2013

And so I am Officially a Knitwit ... Finally!

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For years I have wanted to learn to knit, but I just never actually got around to it. My mum tried to teach me a couple of times when I was younger, but her patience soon ran out at the lack of mine and we would both end up frustrated and not talking to each other.

I picked up some needles again when I was pregnant with my oldest son. I decided I was going to make a Baby blanket for my unborn bub. I have no idea why I thought that an extra 15 extra years under my belt would make a difference, because after a couple of hours of looking at a knitting instruction book I was still none the wiser and ended up pegging the knitting needles, wool and instructions across the room in a defiant display.

As more years went by, if I ever felt the urge to try again I would remember the frustration of that particular day and end up doing something else instead.

Until a few weeks ago.

I was in a craft supplies shop and I spied some balls of wool in gorgeous colours and once again I found myself fantasising about knitting myself a throw rug. As I stood there staring at the wool and staring off into space I started convincing myself that I still lacked the patience to learn and I started to walk away ... again.

As I hunted around for my 3 boys, 1 of whom I found throwing himself into a massive crate of cushions and the other 2 in another aisle playing sword fights with curtain rods, I started to think maybe motherhood has given me the patience I once lacked. I was after all quite calmly putting curtain rods back on the shelf and picking up piles of cushions and I hadn't completely blown my fuse.

And so I went back down to the knitting section and began shoving ball after ball after ball of that gorgeous wool into my basket. I grabbed a handful of knitting needles, a cute wicker basket to store it all in (as you do), and hollered at my boys to follow me to the checkout.

Damn it - I was going to knit if it was the last darn thing I ever do!

That night, armed with my iPad I started googling knitting tutorials on You Tube. I watched with my needles in hand, following along and well slap me silly, by morning I had completed my first square for my throw rug.

I spent the whole next day sitting by the pool clicking away with my needles. Carl completely cracked up at the sight of me knitting like a Nanna in the sun, but I chose to ignore him and kept on knitting.

The boys started to sniff around me that afternoon getting all curious and asking a zillion questions. In the end they decided if you cant beat them, join them and so I found myself in the same place my mother was so many years ago - teaching them to knit.

They seem to have more patience than I did at their age and they picked it up super quick.

As for me? I'm still click clicking away, often sitting up til all hours of the morning because I just want to finish this row, and another and another. Its addictive and I am totally determined I will have that damn throw rug finished by winter.

And so I am pretty late to the knitting party, but meh, I'm making up for lost time now. I only know one stitch so far, but that'll do for the moment and I can always You Tube another one when I tire of it.

If you are like I was, desperately wanting to knit but have written it off as too complicated, don't give up just yet. I have added the You Tube tutorials I watched below and trust me on this, they are so easy to follow. Just grab yourself some wool, some needles and get cracking. Winter is only 4 months away ..... you've still got plenty of time!

Is there anything you have always wanted to do but have written it off as too hard?

Wednesday 30 January 2013

What's a Few XXX's Between Friends ... or Um Clients

Pin It So it was my first day back at work yesterday after my long summer break and as far as first days go it started out relatively pain free.

The first thing on my agenda was to work through all the emails that had built up over the 5 weeks I was off. The delete button was very useful, but *ahem* of course being a diligent employee it was used in moderation and reserved mainly for all the junk mail that got through my spam filter.

By about 10am I was on a roll - powering through my inbox. I am was a freaking email ninja and I sat there puffing my chest out and humming with complete self satisfaction.

As I signed off on yet another email and poised my cursor over the send button, it hit me what I was doing and more to the point, what I had been doing for Lord knows how long?

Holy Moses - I had been signing off my emails with a xxx Sonia. The same way I sign off on all my personal emails and comments on the blog.

I think I may have vomited in my mouth.

Absolutely horrified I urgently went through all the emails I had sent that morning to check which ones I had added this declaration of love too. Fortunately I only found five. FIVE!!! Five too many.

I did a quick recall on those emails and 3 were successfully retrieved but 2 made it all the way through.

You know those moments when your heart is racing and you feel giddy with stress. Yep I was having one of them. What if they didn't see the funny side? What if God forbid they actually thought I was coming on to them?

I didn't have to wait long for the first response to come through.

"Dear Sonia, I didn't know you felt that way about me but welcome back anyway."

OK so that wasn't too bad. Sort of. At least I could see a glimmer of humour in his reply.

Feeling slightly elevated with relief, I rang the other email recipient just to clarify I wasn't putting the moves on her either. When I was put through to her voicemail I had no choice but to leave her a garbled message that went along the lines of  "Hi there, its Sonia here and I just wanted to let you know I am back from leave, very relaxed and ready to go and by the way I may have just blown some virtual kisses in an email but please disregard it and chock it up to me being perhaps a little too relaxed." 

I don't think I took a breath in the whole message.


Thankfully I signed those emails with xxx and not a middle finger or anything, so once the mortification wore off I was able to laugh it off. But I'm still cringing on the inside.

I guess those clients of mine and I are on closer terms now. Much closer terms .... at least on my part!

Have you ever done this at work? 
Even if you haven't - please lie so I feel better about myself.

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Why I Can't Really Survive without Routines

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As this post goes live I am officially back to work. Yup - summer holidays are but a distant memory with nothing but my irresponsibly bronzed skin to remind me that I was a lady of leisure for 5 weeks.

The truth is though, I don't actually mind being back at work. Sure I would rather be sitting on my arse by the pool sipping a cocktail and flicking through a pile of mags or more likely hanging out with the kids and mediating arguments over whose go it is to be Sonic or helping my baby count to 50 in a game of hide and seek. But alas - it is what it is. I am a working mama and life goes on.

The reason I don't mind so much getting back into the workday routine is partially this ...

That my interstate and overseas friends is the awful weather Sydney is experiencing at the moment so lying by the pool wouldn't be an option anyway. But the other reason, the real reason is that I am actually someone who thrives on routine.

There I said it, I am a routine Geek.

I'm by no means a slave to the clock, on the contrary - I hate the concept of time and I get all stressy when I know have to be anywhere or do anything by a certain time, but I cope with it when I have my day organised. I like things to run smoothly and when I know where I need to be and what I need to do, I'm definitely sailing on calmer waters.

For the past month I have been anything but organised. You see over the holidays I let things go to shit and whilst I had a lot of fun doing it, it is time to get back to normal.

I don't think I am cut out to be a completely fly by the seat of my pants structure free mama. I just couldn't function like that long term. Where I would normally have a list of things I need to do each day, my to do list was nothing more than a jumble of "oh craps" as I fumbled my way in the dark trying to remember where I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to be doing.

I promised people I would do things, and then completely forget about it the next minute because I didn't write it down.

My mind was crammed full of fabulous ideas for projects I wanted to do and crafts I wanted to try, but I didn't ever get around to doing even a third of them as I couldn't remember what they were because I didn't write any of them down.

My poor husband had no idea where we were half the time because I didn't write it down on the calender and I forgot to charge my phone so he couldn't reach us.

I am so far behind in responding to comments on the blog and my inbox overflowed with unread emails because I was too busy doing whatever I damn well felt like doing rather than sitting down in my usual scheduled time to answer emails.

We lived out of clothes baskets as I never got around to putting the clothes away, hell I was lucky to remember to put the washing machine on.

We ate dinner when my grumbling stomach got louder than the kids whining for food and my children's non existent bedtimes meant major meltdowns the next day as sleep deprivation caught up with them.

No menu plans meant we spent more money eating out when the family didn't find canned tuna and eggs on toast particularly appealing. That happens when you cant be arsed writing a shopping list or even making the effort to go to the supermarket for that matter. 

When I am working aka organised, running to a routine and in control of things, I have set days of the month that I pay bills and do all the administrative stuff you need to do to run a household. Instead I have reminder notices for bills piling up in my office, at least I think they are reminders - I guess I'll find out when I get around to opening them or when the electricity gets disconnected. Either or!

And because I had no structure to my day my bedtime was non existent and whilst there is nothing overly wrong with sitting up until 2am knitting or reading books, my sleep deprived mind would beg to differ.

I loved every minute of the Summer break and as I mentioned before I am going to do my best to try and keep that holiday vibe going. But all good things must come to an end and as much as I hate to admit it for me and for my family, going back to work and getting back into our normal routines is a good thing.

At least that's what I am telling myself for now. Whether I truly believe it or not is another thing.....

Are you a routine free lover or do you need a little organisation to get you by?

Monday 28 January 2013

The Children Of Bloggers and Their Self Formed Support Group

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Ever wondered what kids of bloggers get up to when their mums get together to create havoc? Well not to be outdone, they create their own unique blend of chaos, fun, laughter and mischief and did I mention Chaos?

These photos were taken when the mini Hiccupers, Nutshells and Dazers got together last week.

On this particular day the bigger kids were teaching the little ones how to Gangnam, much to our amusement.

We had met up this particular day at the Food Wine and Design School at Leichardt to attend a Back to School event. I'll share more of what we learned there later this week, but as I was importing all my photos off my camera this morning I came across these pics and I wanted to share a few of my favourites of the kids doing what kids do so well - having fun.

I love the way that little ones throw caution to the wind and just dive right on in to new friendships. Most of the time, at this age they don't worry about minor details like - Will they like me?, What do we have in common? and What will we talk about? They just be themselves and have a ball getting to know people.

Just a over a year ago, these guys didn't know each other at all. Now they have formed their own Children of Bloggers support Group. Kidding...... Kind of!

My attention from the kids was only momentarily distracted by the fabulous street art at this place and I was grateful for a few moments break from the noisy shenanigans to sneak off and grab a few snaps.

And then it was back to capturing the kids doing their stuff.

"Sure I'll swap you, I'll take one super sharp pointy stick for a container of Trash Packs". Bless him, at 11 he has a sensible streak. Clearly he takes after his father and not me.

If you ever have the chance to meet up with a person or a group of people you have never actually met in person before, do it. I hate to think how many gorgeous new friends I would have missed out on making had I not stepped outside of my comfort zone. And for that matter I would have denied my kids the opportunity to make friends with other munchkins that they have so much in common with .... you know being survivors of Mums that Blog and all that.

Um by the way I am totally going to go ahead and put in a shameless plug for my buddies now - if you have not yet had the pleasure of discovering these two crazy gals for yourself, click on over and check out the fabulously quirky and eclectic Gemma from my Big Nutshell and the beautiful and vibrant Fi from My Mummy Daze.

 Have you ventured out of your comfort zone and ended up with some amazing friendships?

Friday 25 January 2013

The Howards Storage World Great Garage Makeover - The Gardening Zone

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This is a post by me as an Ambassador for Howards Storage World.

In case you have just tuned in (in which case welcome, I'm glad you found me) I am smack in the middle of making over my now only semi festering pit of shame aka garage with Howards Storage World.

The idea was to take this

and turn it into this

Just kidding!

But I did want to turn it into a space that is tidy and organised. Somewhere where we can find what it is we are looking for when we want it. A space that the kids can manage to keep neat and a place that things don't disappear into it never to be seen again.

So far I have shown you the water sports wall and the bike and skateboard storage and here is a reminder of how we are progressing.

One of the things I love to do is garden or at least pretend to. I generally do the garden design, supervising, watering and the important pottering whilst the hubby does all the digging and mowing and heavy stuff.

Hanging out in the garden is a great way to relax and unwind, especially if it is done with a glass of something cold and soothing in hand (I refrained from saying alcoholic but if the shoe fits well um ....)

The only problem is the storage of all the gardening paraphernalia totally does my head in. There are lawn mowers, blowers, hedgers, trimmers, rakes, spades, plant foods etc etc etc. you've got to remember that in our family, the men's philosophy is 'He Who Dies With The Most Toys Wins". Enough Said.

Before now we stored all this kind of stuff in the same way we typically stored everything else in the garage - chucked in and buried under a heap and if you didn't disappear under the pile when you went looking for something, well then it was a good day.

Not any more - my gardening zone  in the garage is now zen. Or at least as zen as it can be with all the stuff my husband insists we need.

Once again we dedicated a space in the garage for the gardening Zone and the fabulous Howards  Storage team surveyed everything we needed to store and came up with some brilliant ideas.

The Elfa Cord Hook was a perfect solution for hanging the Hedger and blowers.

And the Ultra Hold Hook System was installed to keep all the spades and rakes together and off the floor where they used to be. This system is incredibly clever in that the heavier the item you hang, the tighter it will hold.

We utilised some existing shelving in our garage to store the plants foods and sprays and small bits and pieces.

The beauty of this is ALL the gardening equipment is now stored in one zone and not all over the garage like a lucky dip. It is organised, easy to get to and the bit I love best of all - easy to put away.
I'll say that last bit again just in case some special people in my life didn't read it the first time .... EASY TO PUT AWAY.

And the bonus is with all the time I used to waster trying to find things, I can now spend sitting back and enjoying the fruits of our *ahem* (my hubby's) labour.

Post 1. Welcome to The Festering Pit of Shame
Post 2. The Water Sports Zone

Post 3. The Great Bike and Skateboard Muster

Tell me - just out of curiosity, who does the mowing at your joint?

Thursday 24 January 2013

My Bed has a Door Bitch and a List and I'm Not On It!

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If our bed had a pecking order, I would be extremely low down on the list - if I even made it on the list at all.

I kid you not. Our bed has a Door Bitch and she stands there all superior like, looking at her list of invitees and when she realises I didn't make the night's cut she dismisses me with nothing more than a bored sniff and I am promptly sent to the back of the queue to wait with all the fools (the other dog and children) hoping for a chance to at least take a peek at the lucky ones who have made it onto the bed.

It's completely unfair and so inappropriate as that bed of ours will never find a more devoted fan than me.

I dream about it all day, I primp and fuss over it daily to ensure it is always looking its best. I am the first at the door in the evening to ensure I have a prime posi yet every night I am the first to be evicted or at best be allowed to dangle awkwardly from the edge.

Last night in one stealth sequence of moves I successfully extracted my dead arm from under the head of a sleeping child and rolled the hubby onto his side to turn the volume down on the snoring. I even managed to roll onto MY side and get my head completely on a pillow. As I was gratefully sinking my head into position, a possum make some God awful noise outside our window and the dog launch off the bed in a barking fit and bolted down stairs.

In a flash I pulled both legs up over the side of the bed, shoved them under the blanket, firmly cemented my bum into the little dent in the mattress, held onto my pillow and grinned like the Cheshire cat.

I freaking made it! I was in da club, dancing with the homies and there aint no Door Bitch stopping me tonight baby!

Anyone who has ever had to share a bed with multiple family members and family pets knows the pure unadulterated joy that comes with managing to get both feet into the bed, let alone a head on a pillow that you dont have to share.

Minutes later, the dog came back from its barking duties, jumped up into position and in what I am sure was a totally pissed off manner, took up a posi at the back of my legs. I didn't feel even a squidgen of guilt.

The husband rolled once again onto his back with his arms above his head and started snoring. With absolutely no remorse I smacked him on the forehead and tickled his lips with my finger nails until he found it annoying enough to swat at the air trying to shoo the non existent mozzies before rolling back onto his side thus muffling the snoring. Still no guilt, none at all!

The child farted and I did not even flinch.

As I lay there relishing my prime real estate I became aware of my bladder which was quietly protesting. I chose to ignore it.

The protests got louder and more uncomfortable and my bladder refused to be quietened by me crossing my legs and lying on my side.

In the end I had no choice. I had to go!

When I came back from my business the Door Bitch was back. Standing with her feet wide apart and planted firmly on the ground she waved that list in my face, the one that my name clearly does not exist on and she mocked me with her smirk.

I conceded and graciously accepted an opening on the edge of the bed. I offered my arm up as a pillow to the visiting child and I tried to enjoy the symphony of snoring that was there for my enjoyment.

All the while waiting for a noisy possum to once again provide me with an opening.

Does your bed have a pecking order?
Are you on the THE list?

Wednesday 23 January 2013

I Had A Dream ..... Random Alert!

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I had a dream last night, and as poetic as that sounds let me tell you it is very different to the type of dream that Martin Luther King had.

In my dream I embarked upon an epic journey from Sydney's Northern Beaches to Canberra. Ok I can picture you shrugging your shoulders with a casual "yeah so what". But wait there's more ....

This huge adventure started with me leaving at 2am and totally on the spur of the moment. I had been watching the sky mesmerized as all the planets mystically lined up and glowed like huge fireballs. I have no idea why they were doing that, so that part is probably irrelevant.

I didn't come up with the idea of the journey entirely on my own. A Troll Doll enthusiastically suggested it was something I needed to do for myself andthat I might like to donate any money I make on the trip to charity.

Sounded reasonable.

I didn't tell anyone I was going. I rang my husband as I was going through the drive through at Maccas stocking up on Fillet of Fish burgers and my parents only found out after they heard the interview with me on the Hamish and Andy Radio show as they were having their morning coffee. I don't know how I happened to be in their kitchen watching their reaction to my sudden departure at the same time as I was dodging roadkill on the highway, but I am guessing it was my teleporting powers.

I had completely neglected to tell work that I was taking some time off but I figured they would be so impressed with my inspiring behaviour that they wouldn't mind.

Did I mention I was doing this epic trip on a tricycle?

It took me ages to find the perfect picture of a tricycle as I had a very clear image in my head of what my trike looked like. The only thing missing from this picture was a little red tray attached to the back where I stashed my Fillet of Fish, water bottles and mobile phone.

There is not a lot more to tell you about my dream except that it was very dangerous of me to be riding down the dark bushy roads with no lights on my trike. I wasn't wearing a helmet either but I was very sensible the way I was staying to the side of the road to avoid being pancaked by some of the big trucks passing me.

Oh and my legs were so freaking tired from all the peddling.

I often have the most random dreams. Some I just wake from, scratch my head in wonder and shrug them off. Others are more powerful and motivate me to do something I have never done before. I love those type of dreams, my husband mmm not so much.

Those motivating ones usually lead to me starting a new hobby or possibly developing new obsessions. Like the time I dreamt about rollerskating and I was super good at it too... in my dreams. When I woke up I insisted my husband take me to the shops that very morning and purchase some roller blades. The reality was I sucked at rollerblading and after one too many stacks and realising that it is way harder than it was in my dreams, I gave the roller blades to my SIL and admitted defeat.

Another time I developed a huge crush on Freddy Prinze Junior. That crush lasted for ages and I would search the pages of gossip mags for a glimpse of him and hating on Sarah Gellar, until I saw him in the Scooby Doo movie and then I was miraculously cured.

I have had dreams where I accidentally leave one of my kids behind some where and I have to get through major obstacles to get to them. They are awful dreams and set my helicopter parenting style into full force for a few days following the dream.

In my dreams phones never work. I dial the number and it never actually connects. It is so unbelievably frustrating especially when I am trapped in the city during a Terrorist attack and I cannot reach my husband on the phone.

Often in my dreams I can jog so bloody elegantly, all smooth strides and weightless bounce. Its almost like I am running on the moon with no gravity to inhibit my graceful style. People stop and star in awe as I run past them and I can leap from one cliff to the next effortlessly in a seamless glide. That dream will never happen in real life - um der. I have enough trouble walking in a manner even remotely resembling normal let alone elegant, so I'll leave the bouncing to the the Pammies of the world.

And then let us not forget the dreaded toilet dreams. You know the ones where you are absolutely busting to use a loo but every toilet you find is closed or in use and you run around on a desperate hunt for a place where you can legally relieve yourself. In one such dream last week, I did find such a place to finally empty my protesting bladder, only to have my boss come in and insist on discussing business strategies with me so I suffered stage fright and couldn't go.

I dream in colour too. I recall reading somewhere that most people dream in black and white, but I know I most definitely dream in colour - the wardrobe of cool new bohemian style dresses I was gifted had loads of gorgeous yellow prints in there.

I'm thinking perhaps I need to lay off the nightcaps so close to bedtime or I could blame the food colouring in all the icy poles I like to devour when the kids are asleep.

At the very least I should go and purchase a lottery ticket in honour of the dream where I retire with my hubby and pack the kids up to go and live on our own personal island in Bora Bora.

You never know your luck right?

Do you have random dreams where you wake up and feel compelled to try something new?
Do you dream in colour?
What can you do in your dreams that you cant do in real life? (Turning down George Clooney's offer of dinner and sex in favour of a free for all shopping trip is totally acceptable!)

Tuesday 22 January 2013

Milking Those Summer Days

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I go back to work next week - please hand me the tissues and the vodka and lime, I'm gonna have a moment now!

Its not that I dislike work, its just that I love being on holidays more. 

I dipped into my long service leave this summer so I could take the whole school holidays off with my kids. I needed a break and they needed some devoted time to drive me a completely loopy for a while. It was a win win for all but its now coming to an end.

We haven't done a great deal these holidays. I was going to try and write a book and that most definately didnt happen. But we did tackle a lot of projects we were busting to try and all in all we pretty much had a ball. 

We have enjoyed some of the more simple pleasures of things like dinner down the beach, playing in the park, and riding our bikes to the shops for dinner supplies. We sat in coffee shops and wasted so much time people watching, we completely waterlogged ourselves in the pool and we learnt to knit. 

No bull at nearly 40 years of age I finally sat down to You Tube and taught myself how to knit. AND I taught the kids too!

Excuse me while I be a total tool and gloat over that one for a little bit.

If I could start the holidays over, I wouldn't change a thing. But I did get to thinking about how we can make that summer holiday feeling last, you know keep that relaxed holiday vibe buzzing for a while after we have gone back to work and school and settled into our normal busy routines.

I'm probably kidding myself here, but I am determined to milk every last drop of this summer so the essence stays with me for a at least a little while longer.

And in true list loving style I have managed to come up with a list of ways I can make our family feel like we are still on summer holidays once work and school have taken their hold and started sucking the life out of us. Dramatic right? I told you I was gonna have a moment!

And because I am such an over sharer I have decided to share my list with you.

* Febreeze
* Pine O'Cleen
* Bleach
* Bulk Garbage Bags
* Restock Pantry
* Book Carpet Cleaners
* Put Vacuum cleaner in for repairs

Oops sorry that is my post holidays clean up shopping list. Let's try again.

1. Scatter swimming costumes from one end of the house to the other and change my clothes at least 5 times a day so I get that summer feeling every time I visit my laundry (suffocating under the avalanche of clothes that greets me).

2. Throw a single Paddle Pop to the children to evoke the sounds of summer (them attempting to kill each other in an attempt to be the one who gets to scoff the last Paddle Pop).

3. Dump a bucket of sand in the car, making sure to grind it in really well so it is completely impossible to vacuum out.

4. Blow up the vacuum cleaner so you have to resort to trying to vacuum the sand out of the car and the mess out of the house with a handheld that is almost constantly out of charge.

5. Keep the children up really late at night so they are grumpy and totally uncooperative the next day.

6. Invite the neighbourhood kids around to have a free for all on your pantry.

7. Borrow some movies from Blockbuster and forget to take them back so I can get a daily text reminder from them right through until winter. I'll consider it to be like a daily postcard from a vacation destination.

8. Tidy the house up until my back is aching and every surfaces gleams, then scatter as much rubbish as I can around the joint in a 10 minute period, clean and repeat multiple times a day.

9. Make an appointment with my local GP. Ok so no I don't have an ear infection, infected graze or Spotty Tick Fever but hey we have become friends right? *Insert hysteric sob* I THOUGHT you would be happy to see me!!!!

10. Set my iPod to play Gangnam Style, I Love It and Back In Time on loop for 10 hours a day until I know how to sing all those songs word for word, and backwards and then watch myself totally rock the dance moves in the back deck windows.

Alright! Yes! I am being a smart arse ... again.

But I do really want to keep that summer holiday feeling just a little bit longer. 

So I am thinking we will keep the weekly beach dinners going through until it gets too cold in the evening.

We wont overbook weekends so we that we have plenty of time to just chill out by the pool and enjoy making meals together.

We will try not to let the routine of school and sports become so important that the kids don't have enough time to be .... well to be kids. 

And we will continue to ride our bikes to the shops after work to get fresh supplies for dinner or an icecream treat.

I wont get so hung up on keeping the house perfect or missing a moment with the boys because I am busy tidying up.

I will finish work on time as often as possible and I will make sure that blogging doesn't eat up too much of 'their' time with me.

I will keep on knitting that God Damn Throw rug and it will be the most awesomest, slightly wonky throw rug that darn well ever existed!

They are simple pleasures, but given that was the change we wanted to introduce for our family in 2013 - to live more simply, then I am thinking I am on to something here. Humour me OK?

Ask me again in a few weeks time and we will see if I'm so confident.

Here's hoping! :)

How do you keep your holiday feeling alive after you have settled back into your normal routine?