31 March 2010

Wordless Wednesday: I Love You, I Missed You

These are the photos I carried in my handbag when I went away to Taupo this week. When my mummy-heart ached to cuddle them I gazed at their sweet faces...

My Baby: getting to be such a big boy (two next month); so kissable and squeezable; miss miss missed him!

My Girl: so pretty, so soft and squeezy, so kissable and sweet... ahhh how the memories are rosy-coloured from a distance...

My Lad: Lanky and leggy, a shy show-off; big green eyes in a cheeky freckle face... missed our snuggles and chats after dark...

Can't wait to see them and squeeze them and kiss their velvety cheeks. They are at school now, the little one asleep. They survived without us, and were on their best behaviour.

We had a great time away but oh so glad to be back where we belong in the heart of our family, the centre of our world.
28 March 2010

I'm The Mum Who...

You may have seen me before. I'm the mum who...

...was growling at her kids in the back seat and accidentally reversed into a lamp post

...more than once has had to march her wailing air-raid siren of a daughter through a crowded Mall, as all eyes turned to stare

...was late to school because she couldn't get the car started (so had to quickly run all the way) - only to discover later that the car wasn't broken, just in the wrong gear

...you can hear from up the street yelling for her kid to get off the trampoline at 7pm

...is almost always running late (and blames it on the toddler's pooey nappy)

...caves when her kids ask for a cookie at bedtime (and then worries about their teeth)

...hates brussels sprouts with a passion and would never serve them up to her kids (but often worries that they don't eat enough fruit and veg)

...gives inconsiderate drivers dirty looks and calls them idiots... only to hear her kid say from the back seat: "Man, they should really learn to drive, aye Mum?"

...takes photos of everything. And I do mean everything.

...looks forward to a couple of nights away from her kids... only to get there and miss them so much it's like a physical ache

...thinks that kissing velvety cheeks and holding chubby little hands are two of the best things in the world

...regularly wonders if she's doing a good enough job as a mum

...often feels overwhelmed by the hugeness of the responsibility

...wouldn't trade motherhood for a Million Bucks, even if it is the hardest job in the World. (It is - Oprah said so.)

Yep, that's me. So what about you?
25 March 2010

The Olde Schoolyard

Remember the days of the Olde Schoolyard?? We used to laugh a lot! At school this term Dash has been learning about "The Past" (i.e. the 1890's). I'm sure he thinks I was around back then... he keeps asking me questions about "back in the olden days"... as if I knew!
And today at our (awesome creative wonderful) school, the Middle School were instructed to come dressed "formally" or "in olden day clothes"... for a whole day they are going to experience what school was like in Victorian times.

An anxious Dash rolled up to school dressed in his best white shirt, long pants with braces and boots, his hair slicked back. He really looked the part (and so handsome)... but the big question was: would anyone else come dressed up???

When I spotted two girls skipping along wearing aprons and bonnets I knew he had nothing to fear. Sure enough, the playground was like a scene from yesteryear; little lads in waistcoats and caps, girls in pinafores and lace bonnets. (Those who hadn't dressed up were definitely the minority.) Out came the camera. Snap. Snap Snap went mummy.

Then we caught sight of the Teachers. Oh my word. They were all dressed up to the Nines; marching along snapping rulers on their palms and barking orders: "Hey you there! Pull up your socks!"

Dash's mustachioed teacher got the girls playing pat-a-cake and dancing in circles; real Olde Timey stuff. Then the bell went - one of those old hand-clanger type of bells, rung by a very stern looking schoolmarm in a shawl.

The children scurried to line up, shortest to tallest, backs straight, no chattering. Teachers inspected fingernails as the parents watched amused and entranced. Oh to be a fly on the wall today!
Regretfully I headed for my car (and my appointment with the gym) as strains of "God Save the Queen" echoed up the street...

What a wonderful creative way to learn about the past. Good on those teachers for thinking outside the box and really getting into the spirit of things. I am sure the children will never forget it.
23 March 2010

The Science of Mess

Mess is my nemesis.

Look closely, it's even in the word: ne-MESS-is. I fight a losing battle with mess, as we all do. It's like the song that never ends, it just goes on and on my friends.
But I've come up with a theory. It hit me the other day: why do I battle so much with mess? I have too much stuff.


There are too many toys and not enough places to put them. Too much dirty laundry and not enough room in the washing basket. Too many clothes and not enough wardrobe space. Too much clutter, too much stuff, too much mess.

I've come up with a scientific equation for it:

Too Much Stuff x Not Enough Space = Lots of Mess (TMSxNES=M3)

Think about it. Do you suppose that a village mummy in Africa spends all day picking little Woboubu's toys and clothes up off the floor? No. They have just enough for what they need (or sadly not enough). No excess. No mess.

Having too much has created this mess problem. I need to get rid of the excess; find someone who will use it, someone who needs it and give it away... thereby also reducing the potential for mess in my house at the same time!

If I get rid of all the stuff we don't use/play with/wear regularly I could drastically reduce my ongoing mess problem. I would have to do way less picking up of toys and clothes off the floor, way less growling and nagging... and spend lots more time doing productive things like... blogging, or writing books... oh yeah - and playing with my kids!

I feel a purge coming on.


Then there's the fact that science and the Laws of the Universe are actually working against us keeping things tidy as well. Did you know that??

It's true. It's called the Second Law of Thermodynamics or the Law of Entropy. This law states that "complex systems over time become more simple" - they break down.

In other words, if I left my house clean and spotless and went away for a year, I would come back to find that things had broken down. There would be dust on every surface, there would be rotten food in the fridge. It would smell damp and musty. Without even any people (read: kids) there to mess it up, the cleanliness of my house would deteriorate over time because of the laws of the Universe!
I am fighting against the Universe when I am cleaning! No wonder it's such hard work.


So I have simplified my cleaning regime. Why fight the Universe every day? It's a losing battle. It gets me down. Now I go into a cleaning frenzy once a week, every Tuesday. Yes, today is my cleaning day. I have dusted, polished, vacuumed, cleaned and spritzed. My house is shining. I am sweaty. Why?? Because cleaning is a great workout when you do it all at once! Oh yes.

Look at this is from MedicineNet.com:

Some estimates, based on a person weighing 150 pounds doing 30 minutes of chores:
  • General cleaning: 127 calories
  • Cooking: 92 calories
  • Trimming shrubs: 157 calories
  • Laundry: 133 calories
  • Vacuuming: 123 calories


So if I am spending like 2-3 hours whizzing around cleaning, working up a sweat, well! It's not cleaning, it's exercise, baby!

Mess, you may be my nemesis but I will hunt you down (every Tuesday), contain you (in the Goodwill shop) and defeat you (for as long as the kids are out of the house).
21 March 2010

The Walk of a Thousand Miles

That's what it felt like to me - A Thousand Miles. Yesterday was The Big Day: Gail's Walk for Haiti, 16 kilometres coast to coast across Auckland, including up and down two volcanic cones.

There were eight of us, brave souls all. Fit bunnies too - all except me.

They came with their cross-trainers and running gear. I strolled up in my casual flats and trackpants. Their mini-backpacks contained sustenance for the journey; my bohemian satchel contained some snacks and my camera (Mr G shook his head when he saw me and said, All the wrong gear, babe!)

But was I worried? Nope. I was here for a good time, a scenic stroll across our beautiful city in great company, for a great cause.

Beautiful it certainly was. We live in a stunning city, and this walk takes you through some of the loveliest streets and parks. And I'm sure I would have found the other girls great company if only I could have kept up with them! Yes, I was the laggard at the back.

Thankfully my friend Gemma stuck with me (a lovely kind compassionate soul, not interested in breaking land-speed records). So it was good company. Great conversation, actually.

Too bad that as we got involved in our deep-and-meaningfuls, our pace seemed to unconsciously slow even further. Like as if we couldn't move our legs and our mouths at the same time - SO MUCH FOR MULTI-TASKING! Walk fast? No talking. Fast talking? Slow walking. (Stopping to take snaps didn't help either.)

I'm sure the other girls got sick of having to stop and wait for us at corners (so we didn't get lost), but they were too kind and gracious to complain. Bless them.

It goes to show how far I still have to go fitness-wise. All that time at the gym, and I still felt like I was going to die climbing up those mountains. Yes, mountains. They are volcanoes. They were high. I could hear my heart thumping in my ears as I struggled to the top, like a loud bongo drum.

Walking up One Tree Hill, I even had to let Gemma go ahead; I was keeping going by sheer determination. Put one foot in front of the other. You can do it. Keep breathing in and out. Stop. Lean on the rock wall.  Go again.

I was thankful for the encouraging cheer squad. Miss Fab (a.k.a. Princess) was touring the city with Miss O, Little T and Gail's hubby, M (talking non-stop, I'm sure!)

I heard my girl shouting "Go mummy!!" as I inched up the hills. They even had signs.

At the top there was icy cold water waiting, the chance for group photos and a few minutes of blessed sitting. God bless M and his chilly-bin.

And God bless Mr G, who drove back from Up North to come and support me, leaving at 5am to get back in time. The glorious sight of the van pulling alongside with Dash hanging out the window; Mr G topping up my water bottle and passing out some nut bars... ahhhh magic and warm fuzzies big time.

The temptation was there to jump in the van and catch a ride a couple of hundred metres up the road to where the other girls were steaming ahead... but no. Me and Gemz upped our game, dodged some traffic and caught up to the (patiently waiting) main group.

When we spotted the Other Coast in the near-distance, what a surge of hope and relief. It's OK, aching hips, not much longer. There there, blistered feet... not long now.

Limping, I made it to the end. Grateful for Gemma. Grateful for the end. Grateful it was over, and I had made it - even if I was the last.

I was just waiting for ultra-competitive Dash to call out, "Mummy, how come you came last??" I'm sure he thought I was in a race, and I had lost. But I didn't - lose, I mean. I made it the whole way. I am still aching and limping, more than a day later, but together we have raised $1000 for Haiti so far (with more promised).

So it was totally worth it (but I'm totally glad it's over!)

Here's Gail's account of our walk (I borrowed a few of her photos - the kids with the signs, one of me and the group shots!)

You can still donate to our Walk for Haiti. Click here to donate online. All funds raised go directly to the Red Cross.