January 2014Life Love and Hiccups: January 2014
Life Love and HiccupsLife Love and HiccupsLife Love and HiccupsLife Love and Hiccups

Friday 31 January 2014

Random and Rambling.

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All week... correction all month I have been looking forward to having the house to myself again for the hours the kids are at school during the day.

I've moaned and whinged about noise, mess, chaos and fighting and I have gone on and on about how desperate I am for a little time to get on top of all the things I have let build up over the holidays.
And yet the very first day the kids are back at school and the hubby is at work, I end up walking around the house twiddling my thumbs and not knowing what to do with myself.

Oh I have shitloads I SHOULD be doing. Work to catch up on, projects to dive into, washing to sort through, bedrooms to clean out and yet I pretty much spent the day just faffing about, moving bits and pieces and then moving them back again, thinking about stuff I could do and not actually doing any of it.

I have made far too many cups of coffee to the point that I am pinging off walls and I even RAN out of the house to get the mail and say hello to the nice mail lady. I'm pretty sure she has never been greeted with such enthusiasm and  I practically had to gag myself so I didn't beg her to come in for a cocktail session. She was keen to give me my one lone Plum Superannuation letter and move on with her day.

I took some photos.... of no one and nothing.

I made some lunch and couldn't be assed eating it.

I washed some clothes and forgot to hang them out.

And I had a wonderful but somewhat onesided conversation with my dog about the merits of apple cider vinegar.

Let's face it I'm a little lost. There were no punch ups to break up, no Lego to trip over and no one begging for something to eat or dying of boredom.

Could it be I have become conditioned to the noise and chaos and I can't function without it anymore?

Holy shitballs, tell me that isn't so and rather it is just going to take me a few days to get used to the quiet again.

Here's some random photos I took. Do you need your toenails cut?

Thursday 30 January 2014

Surviving Day 1

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Well we did it, or rather he did it... either which way you look at it, yesterday was a big day for both of us, but we survived and I am now officially a mum of a squid in high school.

When we arrived yesterday at Kai's new school he immediately made a beeline for his mates and I found company in my fellow mums who were grouped together wearing sunnies in quiet camaraderie.

Together we all nervously watched on as our sons and daughters milled around, saying hello to familiar faces, high fiving mates, self consciously checking each other out in the uniforms and talking at a million miles an hour about what the day would bring.

There was definitely comfort to be found in numbers and it was clear that those who were starting with their friends, found the whole experience less confronting. As a parent you couldn't help but feel for the kids who were literally meeting everyone for the first time. I had already talked to Kai about keeping an eye out for those who seemed to be on their own and making a point of taking the time to say hello and providing a friendly face, but when I spied a few of the lone starters for myself I was silently sending them strength and courage. Once upon a time that was me... the new kid who on day 1 of high school knew no one, so I know how daunting it must have been for them.

I surprised myself yesterday morning with my semi controlled emotions. OK so my eyes got a little leaky when I saw him for the first time in full uniform, but I almost managed to hold it together for the whole morning.


I had prepared myself that Kai would be feeling nervous but keen to prove otherwise by choosing to hang with his mates rather than waiting with me. I was totally OK with that and told myself that as long as he waved goodbye to me before he left, I could cope with this new found independence.

What I didn't expect when the time came for them to file into the hall, was for him to come and hug me and tell me he loved me and give me a proper old familiar goodbye. That's when I started to cry behind the safety of my sunnies.

In that one moment I saw through the disguise of an eager new high school kid and I caught a glimpse of my little boy. He will always be my little boy, even when he is 30 and with kids of his own. Aren't they always?

Surprisingly enough today was tougher. Who would have thought that day 2 would be more gut wrenching than day 1?

I don't know if it was the fact that today they were on their own without us parents or if it was the sight of him, all crispy and new walking into school by himself among a sea of others, both old hands and shirt tucked in new crispies... but as I drove away my stomach did somersaults and once again my leaky eyes went into overdrive.

After I dropped my younger two off for school I made my way home to a quiet house. I drank my hot cuppa whilst it was still hot and now I am sitting here watching the clock and desperately willing the hours to go by until the front door will slam shut and herald his arrival home.

I want to know everything. Like who did he talk to? Who did he eat lunch with? Who's in his class? Was everyone friendly? I want to know.... I NEED to know and suddenly I am back 7 years ago. I am the mum of a new Kindy kid who is desperate for a recount of every minute of her child's day.

My poor son.

How did you guys go? Were there any tears with starting or heading back to school?
Can you remember you 1st Day of High School?

Tuesday 28 January 2014

And a New Chapter Begins...

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To be honest I didn't even think I would get a post out today and even though it is just under an hour until midnight, it still counts right?

I like hundreds and thousands of Mums all around Australia have been super busy today rushing about getting the kids organised and ready to head back to school. I have literally just finished hemming new school pants and labeling what seems like hundreds of pencils and glue sticks.

Its time. Both parties are very ready for school to begin.... OK perhaps I'm a little more ready than them but never the less.

Tomorrow Kai starts high school. Can you believe it? Exactly WHEN did I become old enough to be a mother of a High School kid?

At the moment he is still awake and unable to get to sleep. He keeps dancing past my bedroom door pulling faces at me and I am guessing that much like I am, he is trying to deal with an assortment of emotions going through his head. Nerves are playing off against excitement, and fear is battling against a thirst for all the adventure that lies ahead.

It's all a little bittersweet as far as I am concerned. On one hand I am desperately clinging to the little boy who seven years ago was doing the same nervous / excited dance, unable to sleep and desperate for dawn to come and bring with it the first day of school. On the other hand, I am a proud mama who's eager to see my boy become who he was born to be.

I have to admit that there is a part of me who has been fearing this day for a while. I am well aware that may seem a little melodramatic, but so many have told me that when your boy starts high school, you lose them to hormones, moodiness and madness for a few years before eventually they make their way back to you.

Do you know what the thought of not being close to this boy does to me?

In my heart I am also aware that the naivety of youth is fast wearing off and he will now be exposed to so much more than he was in primary school, things that we have up until now been able to protect him from.

I worry whether we have prepared him enough for this next stage of his life? Have we equipped him with enough of the right morals and attitude to deal with the more difficult things he may face. Does he have enough strength, courage and resilience to stand up for what he knows is right? Will his heart be carelessly broken by some girl?

We have faith in him and I can only hope that he has faith in himself too.

The other two see the return to school as somewhat of an inconvenience. They are excited about seeing their friends again, although they would much prefer to continue spending their days skateboarding and swimming.

Sam is going into year 4 and even though he proclaims he is stoked to be the Big Brother now that it is only he and Flynn still at their primary school, I know he is a little anxious at the prospect of facing school without his big brother by his side.

Flynn - our baby, is going into Year 1 and is hardly a baby anymore. It does not seem possible that it was a whole year ago that I was the blubbering mess sitting in my car outside school on his first day. Time truly keeps speeding up the older you get.

And so it is farewell to the summer school holidays. Sayonara to our carefree days for a little while and hello to our faithful old routines.

I hate to admit it, but as much as I love to think of myself as a free spirit, I am rather fond of a little structure to my day. I am looking forward to a couple of peaceful hours to get my work done, a chance to tackle the gigantic list of projects I have planned, work on my book and perhaps even enjoy a quiet cuppa or two before school finishes for the day and the usual afternoon chaos begins.

Do you have one starting Kindy or High School for the first time? How are you coping?

Monday 27 January 2014

The Sound Of Insanity

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You know that feeling you get when you are really agitated and then you hear a certain sound and it is enough to send your agitation level through the roof and then veins just kinda start popping on your forehead because you can't cope with the noise?

Yep that.

The kids are all out on the street playing cricket with the neighbours and I have just sat down to enjoy the peace and quiet. I have an icy cold G&T sitting next to me and my own little bowl of baja mix that I intend to share with no one. Trust me when I tell you that not having to share in this house is a real treat and usually only ever comes about if I am locked in the bathroom with a fictional case of diarrhoea. Funny how no one wants to come near me then.

Anyways, so I have this lovely serene atmosphere going on and I thought that it would be the perfect time to finish a couple of posts I have in drafts.

All sounds good right? Too good even?

Yep far too good because as soon as I opened my laptop the neighbour revved up the whipper snipper and has decided to cut his lawns.

Now of course in theory there is nothing wrong at all with that except for the fact that whipper snipper noise is one of those grating noises that have the ability to send my blood pressure skyrocketing through the roof and I usually prefer to be somewhere else when whipper snippers are doing their thing.

I have no idea why that is, it just is.

There are a number of sounds that have this EXACT same effect on me and I have them clearly labelled in a box that says 'most hated please Shut The F*** Up sounds' .

Cicadas having sex. If you live in Australia you will be very familiar with the deafening noises we have had to put up with this summer as the Cicadas have come out of their holes in the ground for their 17 year Orgy.

Whilst we are on the subject of having sex and noisy animals.... fruit bats having sex outside my bedroom is also high on my 'most hated please Shut The F*** Up sounds'  list.

Whipper snippers, lawnmowers, electric saws and anything that sounds like hot sweaty manual labour get me all hot and bothered for totally the wrong reasons.

Whining... the type where the kids raise their voice about 10 octaves and incessantly moan. And actually the sound of kids fighting full stop.

Taps dripping. Enough said.

Bugs, whether it be a mozzie buzzing at night when you are trying to sleep or the sound of a fly buzzing on a hot humid sticky day.

Coughing, especially if the someone coughing is one of your kids and you know it is going to continue throughout the whole night.

The sound of tech decks tap tap tapping as kids flip them on little plastic ramps... and yet I brought those damn things for them so I just need to shut up and suck it up.

The sound of the phone ringing on the one morning you have to sleep in.

Alright so now I am wound up tighter than a two dollar watch .... tell me, what sounds send you spare crazy?

Friday 24 January 2014

Flotsam and Jetsam and other Useless Meanings.

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The other day I was putting together a vignette of some various flotsam and jetsam ..... Actually no I wasn't.
The truth is I just went to a lot of effort to Google those two words and the wanker in me has been dying to use them in conversation but I kind of got sick of waiting for something of any relevance so I decided to just go ahead and use it anyway... or something like that.

Truth be told, I actually had to Google those words to see what they officially meant, as I was tired of seeing them used in magazines and having no real idea what they were.

Do you ever do that, resort to Google to not only check the spelling of a word but to find out the meaning of something so you don't look like a total social moron?

I hope so, otherwise I have just made my self look like complete tool on the internet.... again.

I blame my mother for my overuse of Google (sorry Mum). 

Ever since I was a kid I have had a habit of using the wrong words in conversations, or using a word incorrectly and my Mum was always (and still is) telling me to look up the meaning of the word up in the dictionary before I try to use it. She has a good point though as I am notorious for just guessing the meaning by how the word sounds phonetically and I am usually about as accurate with my guessing as my boys are with their toilet aim.

Faux pas is NOT pronounced "Fox Pass" as I embarrassingly discovered a few years ago after I said Fox Pass to a marketing director at my previous job. Even worse is that the conversation took place around a table of executives who all bore witness to my humiliation and further added to it by laughing, snorting and not letting me live it down for my entire career with that company.

And then there is twerking for example. I had NO idea what it was, but determined to not look like a moron in front of my kids I Googled it and found Miley's version. 

My eyes have not yet recovered.

I was actually kind of pleased to discover when I stumbled upon this article from the TIME magazine website, that "What is Twerking" was the number 1 searched thing on Google in 2013. I'm guessing that's a lot of clueless parents trying to avoid being labelled moronic by their kids.

Here's the full Top 10 list of "What is" people Googled in 2013 and you can check the original article for the answers here.

What is Twerking
What is Ricin
What is DOMA
What is Molly
What is Gluten
What is Sequestration
What is Obamacare
What is Lupus
What is Snapchat
What is Bitcoin
What have you had to Google lately?

Wednesday 22 January 2014

How Do You Protect The Memories?

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Sometimes when I can't get to sleep at night, I like to lie with my eyes closed and replay memories of special times with Carl and the boys. Their births, their birthdays and their triumphs.

A show reel of precious moments plays through my mind and I find it calming and comforting to know that no matter how crazy life is, no matter how much sleep eludes me, I have those those memories to keep me company and no one can take them from me.

Or can they?

What if someone or something rather can take them from you?

Time, stress, trauma. The one thing they have in common is they have the ability to erode those memories and to shroud them in a fog that makes them difficult to remember clearly.

Like a faded photograph, the basic bones are there, but the little details have faded enough that they have become almost impossible to see and so you forget them.

As I was lying in bed the other night I was thinking about my boys. My beautiful boys. They are growing up so quickly and I am desperate to protect my memories of them as little ones before they too become faded or damaged by time.

It aches so much to know that at least some of the memories of them have been lost in the storms of years gone by. An episode of PND following the birth of my second child and the breakdown following my accident have stolen some of those memories from me and Oh how that kills me inside.

Can you get them back? The memories that is.

Once they have faded so much is there ever hope that they can be what they once were?

I can still see their chubby little limbs, the dribbly smiles and many of the firsts. But I can longer hear their little voices, the way they used to mispronounce words and the sweet baby smell has all but gone.

I can't help but feel that by not remembering all of the little details I have in some way failed those beautiful children of mine.

A mother is supposed to remember all those little things from her children's infancy isn't she?

She is supposed to one day hold her grandchild in her arms and be able to say "Your father used to giggle like that or your father used to fall asleep with his arms in the exact same position.

Will I still be able to remember those things? Will I?

I don't expect you to know the answers to that. I don't really suppose anyone does.

Yesterday we watched some videos of the boys when they were little. Precious moments captured in a way that my brain had failed to do and as I soaked up the images on screen I made a promise to myself that I will make creating memories more of a priority in my waking hours.

I will absorb more of the everyday rather than just rushing through the mundane moments.

I will watch more, listen and feel more.

I will be more present and not let stress or anxiety or ANYTHING distract me from creating those memories.

I will take more videos of my family. Not just my boys but ALL of my family and every year I will sit and watch them in the hope that by seeing them over and over again, it will be like I am insuring them against time or anything else from ever taking them from me.

Do you ever worry about memories fading? What do you do to protect them?
Am I just feeling like this because they seem to be growing up so quickly?

Tuesday 21 January 2014

Celebrations and Flashbacks

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January is a big celebratory month for us around these parts. No sooner have we recovered from Christmas and welcomed in the new year, but we then head straight into birthdays and anniversaries.

On Sunday our middle boy Sammy turned 9.

Ohhh my little munchkin. Nine whole years since I dosed up on the Castor Oil and gave myself the worst case of diarrhoea ever. Of course it did spark the contractions and got things moving, but I wouldn't recommend anyone to do it as it also resulted in a very fast and very intense labour and ever since then that kid has done everything at a million miles an hour. I blame the castor oil of course and nothing to do with  bull in a China shop genetics.

Yesterday, Carl and I celebrated 18 years of marriage and man does THAT makes me feel old. A whole
18 years since I married my best bud, the love of my life at the most fabulous 'Do at the Zoo'.

We were spring chickens at the time, I was 22 and he was 25 and people delighted in telling us we wouldn't last because we were so young. We love that we proved them wrong.

We had already been together for 4 years by the time we married, and as far as we were concerned - why wait when you know? Because you do know don't you, you just know when you have met 'The One'?

This year we combined our anniversary and Sam's birthday celebration into a day out for the family. A couple of special requests from the birthday boy were that the ideal day would involve eating lobster, a beach and skateboarding.

I am proud to say we nailed it and check everyone's boxes. Lunch at the Fish markets, skateboarding at Waterloo and Bondi, a little inner city shopping and dinner at Watsons Bay before heading home broke, exhausted and stuffed to the eyeballs.

I thought it would be fun to look back at some of the magazine covers from the year we got married, because I don't know, I like to look back and laugh at what we once thought was the height of fashion ... or something like that.

Wow times have changed.

In 1996 The Supermodels were still going strong, Jennifer Aniston was rocking the most wanted hair do and Oprah was on a diet. Princess Diana and Prince Charles split up, Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie were getting it on, and Pammy was still pert enough to grace the cover of Playboy.

Flashbacks anyone?

I'll leave you with some magazine covers so you can take a little wander down memory lane for yourself.

What year did you get married? Do you remember what was in or happening that year?

Monday 20 January 2014

A Promise to The Little Things in Life

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When you are quiet you see the sounds you normally only hear in a distracted kind of way and the little things in life are given the chance to be truly magical....

No I haven't gone all mysterious and enigmatic on you, it's just a thought that came into my head the other day. I've been running in slow mo these past few weeks, working half days and spending time with the kids whilst they are on holidays. Nothing has been urgent... actually that's not entirely true, but I have been choosing to pretend like it's not.

We've just been taking things slow, well slower than normal and I really like it. Like really REALLY like it and I have seen more sounds than I have in a long time.

I gave myself up until today to sort of take a break from the rushing around of working, blogging and organising stuff - you know the normal stuff that you have to do day in and day out to run a home and family and keep everyone organised. And it's only today as I get back into the swing of things that I realise just how much I have enjoyed living life at a slower pace.

It struck me the other day as I was lying on the beach relaxed,  in a complete vegetative state and possibly even drooling - kids really have it all figured out. 

They are fast when they want to be fast and slow when they want to be slow and they are not ashamed of either direction they choose to take.

I watched a group of kids about 6 or 7 who were gathered in a group at the water's edge talking about something they had in their buckets. You could see they were were clearly discussing an idea when suddenly they all bolted off in the direction of God knows what. Wherever they were going, they were excited and were running there with not a minute to waste.

When the parents whistled for their return, they slowly and painfully trudged back up the beach much to the frustration of the parents who were obviously waiting to go.

Kids are good at prioritising at what they do or don't give their energy too.

Take for example, have you sat and watched your kids when they spy the ice cream van, get an idea to do something really cool, or have been given permission to eat the chocolate bar you had stashed in the back of the fridge behind the jalapenos? 

They literally run to wherever or whatever has got them excited. They don't waste time acting all cool calm and collected, they wear their joy proud and just dive into what ever it is that has sparked their interest.

On the contrary, when they don't want to do something, they move at whatever damn pace they feel like and no one and nothing can speed them up. 

They aren't shy about telling you if they don't like something or don't want to do something. Think about how slow they are at putting shoes on when you need to go to school, how long they take to unpack the dishwasher or how their eyes glaze over and they stare off into space when you start talking about responsibilities etc etc and you'll get exactly what I mean.

When they are tired they just stop. 

They are all "That's it, Wham Bam, thanks for coming, that's all you're gonna get out of me today" yadayadayada. They don't care if the back lawn is still covered in dog poo, or their animal habitat project isn't finished. 

They stop and just like that they are done, Goodnight.

I like that type of honest approach to life. 

I know as a grown up you can't really get away with chucking a tanty because you don't want to wait in line at the post office, and you can't rock up late to a meeting because you kind of got distracted by a spot of shopping and a lazy latte. I get that its not entirely appropriate to do cartwheels in the middle of a shopping centre when your husband offers to buy you a Mr Whippy milkshake, but I do know I can be a little more assertive about the pace in which I allow myself to travel through life.

I can choose to wear my joy for all to see and run at the things in life that make me happy.

I can choose to give less energy to the things that weigh me down and give more to the things that make me happy.

I can choose to stop and rest when I'm exhausted instead of pushing myself to the brink and I can choose to slow down and relish the special moments in life, the ones that are good for my soul.

If the slower pace I've been living this past month has taught me anything, it is that from now on I WILL give those little things in life, the ones I am usually too busy to see or hear in more than a distracted way, the chance to be truly magical.

Are you currently running at a million miles and hour or are you seeing the sounds around you?

Thursday 16 January 2014

Make Your Own Sour Sherbet

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I know I know, any mother in her right mind will be reading this right now and screaming at the computer "ARE YOU INSANE SONIA? Why are you giving your kids sugar... in the holidays... when you have to put up with their manic high?"

Oh and I totally get where you are coming from I really do.

But you see, for the 15 or 16 minutes it took them (give or take) to make this, they weren't fighting, and that yep THAT is why I said yes. Oh and I kinda like sour stuff myself although I pretend to them I don't.

So enough of my rabbiting as this isn't my project today. Nope Kai did a little Googling himself (bless him, he's so my son) and came up with a recipe to make sherbet and then he tweaked it a little to make it totally sour like those God awful war head thingies they like to eat.

Over to you Kai....


Hi everyone,

I am going to show you how to make my special sour sherbet, otherwise know as Kai's ATOMIC POWDER and you have to promise to let your kids make it okay.

It's really fun and really easy and Mum likes it because it doesn't make much mess, but don't tell her I said that.

This is what you need.

2 bowls, a sifter and a teaspoon.
Citric Acid, Baking Powder, Icing Sugar and Whatever flavour Jelly Crystals you like.

Into the sifter put 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 and a half teaspoons of citric acid, 3 teaspoons of jelly crystals (grape is really yum) and 2 teaspoons of icing sugar.

Sift it all together, give it a mix and then sift it all again to make sure it is really fine.

Then put it in a bowl or a bag, dip a lolly pop in and eat it. It's also really good sprinkled over ice cream.

Mum likes to put it in all her cute bowls with washi tape and take photos and stuff and we let her because it keeps her happy.

You can make it more or less sour by putting more or less citric acid in it, or sweeter by putting more jelly crystals in it. Mum said to warn you that too much citric acid will give you a sore tongue. Just ask my brother when he finishes crying because his tongue hurts.

Anyway I hope you like it and thanks for having me.


Wednesday 15 January 2014

What does Your Choice of Decorating Colour Say About You?

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I'm one of those people that when they get into something, they like REALLY REALLY get into it.

It may not always last long, whatever it is that I am into that is, but whilst it does last I delve like the nerdiest of nerds and I become consumed with finding out as much as I can.

Sometimes the information is completely useless, but I just find it interesting. Like for example the process of growing and harvesting olives which was something I was inspired to research last week after a dream I had where I inherited an olive farm.

Sometimes just sometimes, things I learn about are useful and possibly even interesting to others.

After staring at the walls in my house and trying to figure out which colours to redecorate with (yet again) I started looking into the psychology of colour and what draws us to specific colours and the impact they can have on our moods and the energy of our home.

Dozens and dozens of decorating and psychology websites and articles and hours of reading including inhaling the information from a thesis that someone in Pakistan wrote on the power of colour on our souls and I have come up with this info.

Granted it is a little more info than I know what to do with and I am actually no closer to choosing a colour for my dining room feature wall.... but anyways...

What colour are you drawn too?

*All images of rooms and the colour questionnaire were found on Pinterest.

Monday 13 January 2014

For The Love of Your Brother!

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This is more of a 'please tell me this is perfectly normal' type of post than anything else, but maybe with a dash of a 'I really need to vent' theme.

These two little darlings of mine aka my two youngest rug rats are aged 6 and soon to be 9 (as I am frequently reminded) and to look at them in that photo above you could be forgiven for presuming that they have little wings sprouting from their backs and shiny golden halos hovering above their heads.

Oh how misleading photos can be.

Alright to be fair to them they are little angels maybe 40-50% of the time (at the moment)  but the good behaviour is usually reserved for when they are with other people. At home with Carl and I, the arrow points in the other direction towards the red 'could be mistaken for demons' area.

Seriously, one minute they are best buddies and taking turns in being captain of the Dog Club and head chef of the Stacky Bros cafe and then in the blink of the eye they are scrunching up each others artworks, smashing each others Lego creations and even attempting to smash up each other.

Worse still is when no one believes you or thinks you are exaggerating because when other people around they behave like perfectly acceptable humans.

I don't get it - although if I ask my mother she will not so gently remind me that my brother and I pioneered the Little Turds club and we were frequently attempting to maim each other or call each other the worst possible names we could think up.

But how did this happen to me?

I was only ever going to have perfectly behaved children who loved each other sick like they do in that Duggar family TV show (19 kids and still popping them out or something like that).

My children were NEVER going to be the type to break into a full blown Cage fighting tournament in the middle of Medicare and my children were NEVER going to purposely run a shopping trolley over each others toes.

My children would share the last muffin, not feed it to the dog so no one else gets it.

Who stole my perfectly behaved children from their bassinets in the hospital and replaced them with these Jekyl and Hydes?

Oh, I do love them, actually I adore them to bits... but as I write this post I can hear the arguing from the other room and I am once again reminded of why I am even writing a post like this in the first place.

These holidays I have shouted to the point our neighbors must think I have finally completely lost it. I have sent them to their rooms, grounded them, banned electronics, cancelled movie night, cancelled a play date and I have even enrolled them in Summer School... OK the last one was just me pretending to enroll them in a Summer school that I googled just to put a little fear into them.

I have done it all and yet they still fight.

I have bribed, punished, rewarded and reprimanded and quite frankly I am exhausted. I don't remember them ever fighting this much before, so I am kinda pinning all my hopes on the fact it is just a age stage they are going through.

I can't help but wonder - is it they are spending TOO much time together, or do they need to be put in one of those get along shirts you see on Pinterest to enforce more bonding? Is this Karma and the Universe paying me back on behalf of my Mum and Dad for the way my brother and I sometimes behaved, or do I just suck at parenting and therefore my punishment is having to listen to their fighting for the rest of my life.

Could it be that this just normal kid behaviour? Please Dr Phil, why won't you answer by 132 emails?

And so I beg of you my friends, please tell me what works for you?

Do yours frequently fight or are they like perfectly behaved children who hold each others hands to cross the road and insist on drinking out of the same slushie but with two straws. (YES those children really do exist, I saw them with my own eyes the other day at the shops and I had to restrain myself from hating them or at the very least asking the mother what she uses to sedate them).

Please tell me your children can be right little turds too and if not, just make it up and make me feel normal. I will be forever grateful.

Friday 10 January 2014

A+ School Shoe Shopping With The Athlete's Foot

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This post it brought to you by The Athletes Foot

So it’s no secret around these parts that I am completely foot phobic and no amount of pretty flowers carefully placed around feet will ever make me OK with them. 

I can just about cope with looking at them from a distance, but get too close to me with a foot and I start getting really squeamish.

I’m not sure if it is a result of spending 40 years having to look at the ugly feet at the end of my legs or if it is being the mother of 3 young boys, 2 of whom insist on wearing shoes with no socks.
You know what I’m getting at when I talk about no socks right?

Good God, is there anything more awful than being in a closed room at the end of the day when a couple of kids take their shoes off and collectively expose their stinky feet once????

Oh kill me now! Just the thought makes me gag.

Thankfully school shoes aren’t as bad. I’m not sure if it is the leather or the cotton socks that saves my nostrils from the vicious assault, and quite frankly I don’t care. If I could get my kids to wear school shoes day in and day out then my nose and I would be very happy.

My boys are tough on their shoes. Well aren’t most kids?

They kill their casual shoes with their skateboards and as for their school shoes…. I don’t know what they do.  I mean really WHAT do they do during school hours to trash them so ferociously?

This was my youngest on the final day of school last year and more importantly this was his shoes.

Apart from the fact that these shoes are holier than the altar at their school chapel, he had totally outgrown them. I know this because the very next day I took him to buy some new run around shoes for him to destroy with scooters and skateboards and to leave behind at parks etc. and when the sales girl measured his feet they were a size and a half bigger than his school shoes.

Feel bad much!!

As part of my review of The Athlete’s foot I was given the opportunity to take one of my boys along to our local store for a fitting for school shoes. I chose my oldest because he has the misfortune of inheriting my weird feet. His are also the most difficult to fit and because he is the fussiest of all three, is starting high school in less than a month and therefore the fussiness had been dialled up more than usual.

OK OK and in the spirit of being totally honest with you,  thanks to his love of funky (in a good way) socks, his feet are surprisingly the least stinky of all three which means I had high hopes of saving myself the humiliation of causing a mass evacuation in store when my offspring removed his shoes.

His criteria for shoes were they have to look cool, have street cred and be comfortable.

My criteria were they have to meet the school’s strict uniform policy, last him as long as possible and assist in keeping more money in OUR holiday fund and less in our podiatrists.

So we arrived at The Athlete's Foot Warriewood store, orthotics in hand, to meet with Emily our Master Fit Technician. Now can I tell you, The Athlete’s Foot don’t use the term ‘Master Foot Technician’ lightly. These guys and gals have undergone the highest level of training including a 3 day full on course run by podiatrists, and health professionals. They know their stuff.

Emily told me that they were going to use Fitzi to take a video of Kai’s gait and so I was all ‘OK then’,  sipped on my coffee and waited for some dude called Fitzi to emerge with a video camera to film my kid’s feet.

Turns out Fitzi is a computerised technical genius and not some dude after all. In fact it is the most evolved in store fitting analysis system in the whole global market.

Way to impress yo! (Kai’s words, not mine)

Without getting all technical on you cause hey, I can’t even figure out how to set the clock on the oven, you walk along a track on the machine and Fitzi videos your feet and gait and pressure tests your feet etc., then it sends the video, images and info to an iPad so that your fit technician can show you just how friendly you do or don’t need to get with your podiatrist. More importantly, the technicians are completely trained to understand the science behind all that info and fit your kids in exactly the right shoes they need for their feet.

The Athlete’s Foot carry the full sizes and widths of the well-known and trusted Clarks shoes, are the exclusive retailer of Ascent school shoes and stock many more brands to boot (pardon the pun). 

After watching the video and coming to the conclusion that yes, it is most likely we will continue to be on very friendly terms with our podiatrist for a while longer, we also learned that Kai has very flat feet, his right ankle rolls which would be contributing to the knee pain he gets and he has wide feet… very wide feet, like size E ‘spread em really wide’ feet.

Did you know that kid’s feet change up to 34 times before the age of 11? No bull.

They have soft little bones that that can be quite easily damaged by shoes that don’t fit properly. Trust me on this ok, my boy’s podiatrist and I are practically besties given I pretty much funded her holidays in 2013 through our need for orthotics to correct their feet and their gait.

In one year alone kids spend over 1000 hours in their school shoes.  Geez no wonder they look so tired at the end of the school year…. The shoes I mean. And yeah - the kids too.

So I grilled poor Emily on the difference between the two brands and after she chatted to Kai for a while we came to the conclusion that the Ascent shoes which are basically made on a running shoe base but with leather uppers and are designed for more active kids, would be perfect for my boy who I know will be spending is lunchtimes chasing a ball.

Turns out after trying on both brands, he found these to be the most comfortable for him too.

Emily taught us how to tie a lock lace to give extra support to your child’s foot and to stop any slipping that could lead to blisters.

What also impressed me was the fact that without me even having to pull out the schools strict uniform policy, Emily was able to tell me exactly what was and wasn’t allowed as far as school shoes and sports shoes at my son’s new school. In fact she could tell me for all the local schools.

On a side note, if you are community minded you’d be stoked to know that if your kid’s school is registered with the Athlete’s Foot School program, for every pair of school shoes one of their students buy from their store, Athletes foot will donate $5 bucks to their school.
For The Win I say!

So one of my 3 have now been fitted in shoes that have been specially chosen to suit his unique needs and with all Clarks shoes on sale for $99.95 for the month of January, I am totally heading back with the other 2 boys to get Fitzi and Emily to fit them up with school shoes and sports shoes as well as a couple of pairs of soccer & rugby boots.

Oh man, I am so sorry Emily, I promise to bring a Gas mask and a can of Glen 20 for you.

For more information on The Athlete's Foot stores, Fitzi the most awesome fitting system or to find your closest store visit the Athlete’s foot website here.

And for some great tips on shopping for school shoes, or to find out all about the brands they stock and view the online catalogue visit their Back To School site here

Have you got any tips for keeping the little stinker winkers from stinking you out?
How about you - Do you have any body part phobias?