Tuesday, 30 December 2014
Monday, 29 December 2014
The non believers officially outnumber the believers in this house after my three weeks off 10 year old informed me last night "I know Mum. It's OK, I know".
I'm talking about Santa, the big jolly guy, the dude who I rely on to keep my boy's behaviour on track for at least six months of the year... give or take another six.
Just before school finished for the year, he had been told by a couple of school friends that he was a baby for believing in Santa, because you know "Santa is really just your parents". And so for the past few weeks, he has been quizzing us, probing and throwing curly ones when we least expected them.
We fended them off like the pros that we have become. Offshore plastic factories to explain the 'made in China' stickers, a yearly tender between Cadbury and Red Tulip and Lindt for the supply of stocking chocolates, and I was sooooo careful to make sure that for the last 13 years I have used the same handwriting to write those little Santa tags on the gifts.
We had a close call on the last day of school. I had been Christmas shopping and got distracted when I came home and forgot to hide the skateboards Santa was going to give the boys for Christmas. The kids came home from school and saw the skateboards and I threw some flimsy excuse at them about how I had to photograph them and return them to a client.
I got away with it... except now Santa was no longer giving them the skateboards for Christmas and instead was going to get all the credit for the two iPad minis for the little guys we had saved up for and the fancy bike for the teenager.
The night before Christmas Eve we had a slight technical malfunction when Santa was doing his annual test run. We had the blue tooth speakers hidden in the bushes outside the window, the sleigh bells soundwave on the iPhone was teed up and ready to go and we were all snuggled on the bed reading a Christmas book with everyone accounted for so that there was no "But where is Dad" accusations hurled at us.
I gave the hubby the nod to hit play and from outside the window we heard the magical sound of the sleigh bells.
The two younger boys sprang to the window in wonder whilst the teenager, hubby and I all gave each other the smug look that said "yep we rock at this".
Santa was due to loop back around in approximately 0.5 minutes when once again I gave the hubby the nod to proceed but DAMN IT... the blue tooth had disconnected and the sound of the sleigh bells came blaring from the iPhone in his hand instead of outside of the window.
"Was that YOU Dad"? cried the three weeks off 10 year old. "Was that YOU making the sleigh noise?"
"Noooooo of course not" I exclaimed as I gave the husband the I am so going to kill you look, "Daddy is just playing a game on my phone".
"Show me" the borderline believer demanded.
"No he can't" I stuttered "It's a rude elf game that someone sent Daddy. Dad I thought I told you to delete that game" I growled at the husband whilst stabbing him 367 times with my eyeballs.
After I sent the husband down to do the dishes (aka to run around the backyard with the proper jingly bells) I thought we were back on track and had pulled off another victory.
Until last night...
Last night we had friends over and the husband not realising the three weeks off 10 year old was standing behind him, opened his mouth and rambled on about the shop he picked our son's bike up from. The bike that Santa had brought because I had screwed up and left the skateboards out.
"Mum, can I talk to you in my room" came a little voice from behind the husband.
And so ensued "The Talk". No not that talk... the other one. The one where you have to confess to everything and then promise him that he will still get presents from Santa as long as he keeps the secret safe for his younger brother and all the other believers.
There were some tears.
From both of us.
But thankfully the teenager came to the rescue and told him that he now belongs to a very special grown up club who gets to carry on the tradition of Saint Nick.
And so we have been outed by another child and I can't help but mourn the end of this magical era for the little guy.
I figure I have about two or three years left in the youngest one and man I plan on making the most of those Santa filled Christmases.
Do you remember when you found out about Santa?
How did you figure it out?
I had it all so wrong!
I had it all so wrong!
Sunday, 28 December 2014
I didn't mean to disappear from the blog over Christmas. I had all the best intentions to keep writing but then... I just didn't, because I was too busy enjoying time with the family and without even thinking all those intentions went out the window... just like that.
In fact I was the slackest blogger ever because I pretty much didn't take a single photo of Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, of anything.
But I am OK with that.
I learnt that it is OK to switch off and to just be in the moment instead of behind a camera.
It is more than OK to be a part of the memories rather than a spectator attempting to catch them on film.
All year I have harped on about wanting to be more present, more IN the now, and it took this Christmas to make me realise that I have been doing it all wrong.
I have been so busy working at being a perfectionist this past year, in my work, in my home, in life in general. It is something I had promised myself I wouldn't do anymore, and yet despite my promise there I was doing exactly what I said I wouldn't do.
The collateral damage of my actions was HUGE. The collateral was that I was missing out on so much time that you can never get back.
When I quit my big fancy corporate job 18 months ago, it was because I was miserable and I was to some extent blaming the job for causing my absence from my family life.
You can't really blame a job for that. Well you can to a point I guess, at least some jobs you can. But my job was a choice and truthfully... the majority of the blame for missing out on anything lay with myself and my need to have everything perfect.
Every year, I set about to make Christmas perfect, more perfect than the last one and the one before that.
What an idiot I am.
Every Christmas IS perfect, regardless of what I manage to orchestrate or not, just as long as we are all together.
Of course it's okay to put some effort in to making things beautiful. I enjoy doing that and Lord knows we need some beautiful to balance out the ugliness that sometimes rears its head in this world... but there is beautiful and then there is beautiful and truly beautiful is more than a pretty table.
It is more than matching name cards, styled up food and the perfect table setting.
Beautiful is putting on the cheesiest music you can find and creating that food and the mess with a special niece.
Beautiful is bringing your precious Dad home from hospital in time to celebrate Christmas with you.
Beautiful is having your most favourite people in the world sitting beside you at the table, laughing and enjoying each other's company.
Beautiful is sitting amid a huge mess in your living room with your feet up, your husband rocking on in the kitchen and your kids talking a million miles an hour at you.... and more importantly hearing every single word they say.
THAT is beautiful.
I may have got it wrong this past year, but I sure as hell am going to make some changes with this new year coming. There is a reason that simple is best and that perfection is overrated.
Perfection lies within the imperfections... the little flaws, the bubble in an otherwise perfect surface.... the hiccups in life.
So please excuse my absence from the blog over Christmas. I was busy living my life and realising it is time to get back to basics, to what really matters.... life, love AND the hiccups.
I hope you had the Merriest of Christmases with your loved ones.
Monday, 22 December 2014
Like BIG time addicted.
Like a happy to watch them at any time of the year addiction.
I have no idea if it is the snow, the music, the cheesy characters or the fact that they always have a happy ending, but I am a total sucker for a good Christmas movie.
I can remember when I was a kid, pretty much every morning there was a Christmas cartoon on a channel somewhere through the month of December.
Rudolph, The Little Drummer Boy, Frosty.... remember them?
They don't seem to have them anymore do they?
Heck I was even happy with a Christmas special of one of my favourite TV shows. Family Ties, Who's The Boss? The Nanny, they did some good ones in their time.
I even stalk the Universal and Soho channels on Foxtel so I can record any Christmas movies they show and I was beyond devastated when we no longer got the Hallmark channel because MAN those Hallmark people sure know how to make an awesome made for TV cheesy Christmas movie.
Since there seems to be a serious lack of Christmas spirit on our screens these days, I have been forced to build my own library of Christmas movies so that my own kids don't miss out on
I thought I'd chuck together a list of my Top 20 must watch Christmas movies for all my fellow addicts or those who just want a recommendation for a feel good Christmas movie to watch with the family.
These are ones you have to beg steal or borrow and just a side note, they are best watched with a bowl of popcorn a king size bag of Malteasers and kid or two to cuddle with.
Do you remember all of the Christmas cartoons they used to show when you were a kid?
What's your all time favourite Christmas movie?
Friday, 19 December 2014
I am well known in my family for catastrophising things.
It's fair to say I am a bit of a drama queen and I tend to jump to the worst possible conclusion and imagine the worst possible scenario. You know, all doom and gloom, end of the world yada yada yada.
If I can't get hold of my husband on the phone during the day, its because he has been badly injured or worse in a car crash.
If my kids are late home, its because a tree has fallen on one of them or they have been cleaned up by a bus and are lying in a hospital with broken legs and no teeth and no one knows who they are.
If I hear an ambulance or sirens close by - it could be for one of my own and so I do a quick phone around to my Mum and Dad, my hubby etc and make sure everyone is OK and if I am not at home I call home and see if the answering machine works because if it is working then my house can't be on fire and all is well.
Yes I know I know... I'm totally neurotic.
An incorrigible worrier.
I have an unhealthy fear of 'What if?'.
I'm a complete stress head.
OK not quite. I'm not quite done with revealing myself for the utter weirdo that I am...
You see, the two things I was most worried about before going overseas to Dubai without my family, was that something would happen to me whilst I was gone and that my kids would be left without their mum and my hubby without a wife.
I even contemplated writing them a 'just in case' letter so that they would have something special to remember me by if something did happen.
Oh man I am cringing at myself as I write this and can't believe I really am telling you this. But, I do know I am not the only one who feels this way sometimes and I have to tell you that I for one feel better about the fact that I am not the only one who is prone to excessive worry about this kind of stuff.
The only thing I worried about more than something happening to me - was something happening to one of them whilst I was away. I worried that I would be on the other side of the world and then I would have to get on a plane to come home and I would be all hysterical like and have to endure a 14 hour flight home with no control over any situation and I would be crying and a total mess and security would try and stop me from flying because I wouldn't make any sense to anyone and ...... breathe.
I think you probably get the idea right?
Fortunately, nothing happened whilst I was away, but within days of getting back, my beautiful Dad was rushed to hospital with a super bug and septicaemia, and the siege happened in Sydney, and then those poor kids in Pakistan and Cairns this morning and all I kept thinking is THANK GOD none of that happened whilst I was away because I would have been beside myself and desperate to get home to my family.
Thankfully my Dad is doing OK and we will have him home for Christmas with us. My husband and boys are safe and well and I am home without being infected by Ebola or some way out there condition.
But the events of this past week have made me realise, that things do happen, and sometimes we cannot control them and whether we are there or not really makes no difference at all.
Life sometimes presents us with the most cruel and unimaginable situations and tragedies do occur every day. But we cannot live our life worrying every minute of every day for the 'what ifs'.
I can't live like that, and I am not setting a healthy example for my kids by living that way either.
So if you are a worrier like me, then my advice is this... let's hug our kids, tell our partners we love them and go and see our family if we are fortunate enough to be able to do so. Let's NOT take unnecessary risks or put ourselves in danger, but let's NOT deny ourselves the opportunity to grab life with both hands and feast on it like it is the most delicious late night kebab you have ever laid eyes on.
Let's NOT waste our precious lives worrying about getting sick, getting injured, getting old or what could go wrong for us or those we love. Life is for living and we owe it to those who are no longer with us to live every day and enjoy it for all of its gloriously wonderful and (yes) sometime scary beauty.
That's what I intend to do from here on in anyway.
I WILL be the change.
Have you ever been paralyzed by those 'what if' thoughts?
Are you a drama queen too or do you have an enviable 'go with it' attitude to life? If so what is your secret to getting it?
Link up your favourite post from the past week and then if you get a chance, pop around and say hello to some of the other lovely linkers. The Weekend Rewind blog hopping party starts every Friday night at 8pm and links will close on Sunday night at midnight. Link up here or over on Bron's blog (Heartfelt Living), Sonia's blog (Sonia Styling) or Kelly's at A Life Less Frantic. It does not matter where you link as your link will show up in all 4 places.
Weekend Rewind is taking a little break over Christmas and will back on 16/01/15
Thursday, 18 December 2014
This whole trip seems surreal now that I am back at home and back into everyday normal life. It’s hard to fathom that yet just a week ago, there I was in the Arabian Desert in a Hot Air Balloon 4000ft above the ground and then crashing into the ground at 40km an hour in what our pilot described as a 10/10 ‘sporty landing’.
You have to watch the video at the bottom of this post to see it for yourself, because I have even had to ask myself over and over again “Did that really happen?”
I’ve had quite a few of those ‘did that really happen moments?’ since I have been back and it has taken me a while to comprehend it and process all that we experienced on that incredible trip to Dubai.
To be honest I don’t even know if I have actually processed it, or if I ever will.
I had thought that standing out in the ArabianDesert at night on the Desert Safari was a life changing experience for me, but this Hot Air Ballooning with Balloon Adventures Emirates was a total game changer.
I am petrified of heights.
No bull, I really am.
I am one of those people who stands on the balcony of a really tall building and looks over the edge of the railing to down below and goes “Oh crap, it would be far too easy for me to just hoik myself over that railing and fall to my death”.
I am well aware just how insane that sounds and of course I would never actually do it. It’s just that for some crazy reason that I do not understand, I just can’t stop myself from thinking like that when I am somewhere insanely high and then I get all giddy and panicky and I have to get as far away from the edge as possible.
Yep… and yet I put my hand up to float 4000 feet above the desert in a basket held up by a bloody big balloon and a whole load of hot air?
What WAS I thinking????
What I’m thinking is that I am so beyond proud of myself that I did put my hand up to do it. In fact, proud doesn’t even come close to describing how I feel about overcoming that fear and experiencing such an incredible activity.
A 4.30 am wakeup call had me ready and on the bus at 5.15 am for the 45 minute ride back out into the desert.
Once there we were briefed on safety, we watched as the ginormous balloons were inflated. Once that balloon was up, there was no time to chicken out as collectively (under strict instructions to “Get on … QUICKLY”) we all scrambled our way into the basket.
Before I had a moment to think or rethink about what I was doing, we were lifting up into the air and I was mesmerized by the most beautiful sunrise I have ever seen in my entire life.
I wasn’t even scared anymore…
OK.. I lie – I SO WAS scared, but for the most part I found flying over miles and miles of sand and camels and random gazelles - peaceful and surreal and I was oddly at ease.
Maybe the ease came as a result of our pilot (Captain Shaggy Michael Schaefer) reassuring us as we took off that he had in fact made over 1000 flights in his career. Who knows... but it sure was something I hung on to as we braced ourselves for a somewhat less peaceful landing.
I won’t spoil that landing any further for you… watch the video below which was kindly uploaded to You Tube by my fellow Bloggerati teammate Sharon The MakeUp Artist, to see it for yourself.
If you are planning on visiting Dubai and would like to experience this activity for yourself, you can book through Balloon Adventures Emirates here.
Realistically at approx $272 US per person, it is not something I could have afforded my whole family to do and so I am extremely grateful for the incredible #MyDubai opportunity. But, if you have the budget and the courage, I would wholeheartedly recommend you experience it for yourself.
As I said before… total game changer!
Have you or would you give hot air ballooning a go?
What have you done in your life that has been a total game / life changer for you?
Wednesday, 17 December 2014
***THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANKYOU FOR ENTERING***
Congratulations to TajKai
Brought to you by Nuffnang and Clarks Australia
My poor children… during the last week of school their shoes were literally hanging onto their feet with the help of mismatched laces, hot glue and a little bit of electrical tape.
I’m not a complete miser. It’s just that I couldn’t quite bring myself to fork the dosh out for new shoes at the end of the school year when I know their feet are going to grow like weeds over the summer holidays.
Alright, I confess - I have been guilty of putting them in the wrong size shoes before though. I will never ever forget the mortifying experience of finding out my poor Marcia Marcia Marcia middle child’s feet were crammed into shoes that were a size and a half too small for him.
Nor will I forget the humiliation of coming THIS CLOSE to annihilating an entire shop full of sales people and customers when I my boys to get their shoes fitted at the end of a hot day of running around in sneakers.
I still have nightmares about the suffering we inflicted on those poor innocent people when my boys removed their shoes and the stench rose like a fog suffocating anyone in a 10 metre radius.
I have since learned to let them air their feet in thongs for a good few hours before we go into a shoe shop.
I have also learned that there a few things to consider when shopping for school shoes to ensure the shoes you send your kid’s feet to school in, are the perfect fit.
Our precious little rugrat’s feet are not fully formed until they are in their late teens, and until then they need to wear properly fitted shoes so that their feet have room to grow as healthily and happily as the rest of them.
Based on my history of buying shoes for my kids, a professional shoe fitter I am NOT.
Shoes that don’t fit properly will not only cause discomfort, but they can also they can prevent your child’s natural growth and lead to health problems. They can even adversely affect your child’s walking development and you could end up spending a fortune on orthotics like ummm someone I *ahem* know had to.
Here’s some information from Clarks Australia about how to maintain healthy kid’s feet;
Barefoot is best
There’s nothing better for young feet than walking barefoot, whenever it’s safe. It helps
muscles develop, allows the skin to breathe and feeling the ground beneath their feet will
help them learn to walk.
If your child is wearing socks, they need to be the right size and made of natural materials
(at least 50% wool or cotton as a guide). Because young feet are soft and pliable, socks
that are too tight can squeeze the foot into an unnatural shape and cause permanent
Socks that are too loose can bunch up and cause blisters and corns. Make sure that the
sock seams are well finished to avoid creating pressure points inside the shoe.
Young feet should be washed and dried thoroughly every day. This is because the spaces
between toes are prone to infections such as athlete’s foot.
A toddler’s toenails should be trimmed often using small, sharp scissors. You should always
trim straight across the nail.
It’s important to check little feet regularly, as nails that are too long can cause pressure points
inside the shoe. Some children’s nails will curl in, cutting the skin. Regular checks and
trimming will prevent this from happening.
Did you know that badly fitting shoes can not only cause discomfort, but they may also lead to unhealthy feet and even long-term damage to joints and posture.
Feet have their own unique personality and it’s super important to have the shape and the size of your kid’s feet assessed by someone who knows what they are doing - a trained shoe fitter.
Clarks shoes have over 170 years of caring for kids’ feet, during which time they have learned a lot about little feet. They know all about kid’s feet and how they develop over time.
To make sure your child’s feet are fitted perfectly, they use their training and experience, as well as a specifically designed Clarks Foot Gauge which measures the length, width and depth of both feet.
You can visit any Clarks store to have your children’s feet fitted by Clarks specialist trained fitters, or alternatively you can do it yourself at home with Clarks Foot Gauge online here making it easier to check year round whether you should be updating your kid’s shoes or not.
Now the reason you should go and see those clever Clarks specialist trained fitters in store is because they carry out a 10 Step Check, to make sure that the shoes you send your child to school in are the Perfect Fit for them:
My boy’s feet grow so fast, and I have been tempted in the past to buy the cheaper shoes you can get from department stores. The problem is that often these cheaper shoes aren’t made of leather and so I asked - Why is leather so important when it comes to school shoes?
The answer my friends, (so I’m told) is that leather qualities have been proven to support and protect feet better than any other material. It is flexible but strong and it ‘breathes’ allowing perspiration to pass through, avoiding not only the nasty smells that could be responsible for wiping out the entire population of a shoe store, but also avoiding fungal and other gross foot infections.
OK so I get it – kid’s feet need to be properly fitted and leather is best. But why should we choose Clarks shoes for our kids?
Because Clarks make SCHOOL PROOF SHOES. Yep tough, durable, everyday school shoes that include the PerfectFit Daytona, TheMachine Washable Cross Hype and the MightyTuff Sawyer.
And with that 170 years of caring for kid’s feet under their belt… I trust that they know what they are talking about.
You can search for your closet Clarks store or stockist here or visit the Clark’s website page here or follow them over on Facebook.
One of you are going to win a pair of Clarks School Shoes (to the value of $129.95) for your child.
All you need to do to enter is tell me;
Why do you want your children to wear Clarks?
Then follow the prompts in the Rafflecopter widget below to be in with a chance to win.
Competition is open to Australian Residents only and is open now
and closes 5:00 pm AEDST on Tuesday 6 January, 2015
and closes 5:00 pm AEDST on Tuesday 6 January, 2015