30 July 2010

Coming Up for Air

Here I sit on a misty Friday morning in my sexy stripy thermals not at the gym. Not icing a rainbow layer cake. Not baking gluten free muffins or cookies. Not racing out to pick up prescriptions, drop off library books or kids. I am coming up for air.

My To Do list is slowly getting crossed off. But I ache in every corner of my being. I am churning through boxes of aloe vera tissues as I sneeze and cough and splutter around doing my many tasks. I am sick with an annoying and very inconvenient head cold. And feeling a little bit sorry for myself. You could call me Rust. I never sleep. (You know that saying? Rust Never Sleeps? That's me.)

Oh dammit, where did I put that tissue box?? Think I left it in the kitchen again. After I just went all the way in there to bring it back, too. Right. I'll go grab it, make myself a coffee... and come back to you in a sec.

Righto, I'm back. {takes sip} Ahhh, that's better!

Now where was I? Would you mind if I have a little venting session? Air my sorrows? Do a little whingeing?
Thanks, you guys are great.


  • Scrag is being a real two-year-old. Toddlerhood has hit us hard and fast, right at the most inopportune time (like, this week when i am soooo busy). He has stopped having afternoon sleeps!!! He refuses to sleep in his cot, so we have moved him into Dash's bottom bunk. But he is waking up several times a night and wandering in to our bed. Some nights we wake up with him wedged between us, kicking us in our respective spines and heads. Last night he just sat on his bunk and wailed until Dash woke up. So I had to go lie down with him. Spent the night on the bottom bunk. Ouch. No wonder my body is aching!

  • This gluten-free thing is bloody hard work!! I am having to learn so much so fast. And Miss Fab is being brilliant about it all, but yesterday it all got too much for her and she had a before-school meltdown. Just the kind that really gets your day off to a great start, with air raid sirens going full tilt. I went into her (gorgeous) room and sat on her bed, pulled her onto my lap and gave her a baby-cuddle. She calmed down. And said, "Mummy it's not fair. I just want my old self back." Oh my heart just broke for her. Tears dried, we returned to the dining room for her breakfast of cornflakes with sliced banana... only to discover that someone had beaten her to it! The bowl was empty, banana slices and soggy conrflakes trailing across the table. Proof indeed  that a certain little toddler had decided he preferred her GF eats to his weetbix. Oh yes, he also refuses to sit in his high chair too. (She dissoved into tears again, it was all too much).

  • I won't even go into the whole gymnastics debacle! The one where on Wednesday I stood in the middle of the gymnasium with my crying daughter who loudly and with tears refused to join in, as the rest of the world watched us. Oh yes, that wasn't embarrassing at all. Can I be bothered telling you that I threw my hands up in resignation and returned to the spectator stands and drank my coffee while I tried to decided whether to cave in or persevere? How I told her that she had until I had drunk my coffee to decide to join in or we would leave and she could explain to daddy why his $75 fees were going to be wasted? My finest hour. But then, how I put on my Mother of the Year Hat and reminded her of her bravery when she was scared at Clip'n'Climb? And how when she fell off her bike at the Gold Coast she said, "I think I can do this!" and got back on her bike and carried on. Well, maybe I should tell you how it did the trick and she decided she could be brave after all. And how she joined in a group of girls and within minutes was wowing the instructors with her incredible strength and balance. Giving me the thumbs up and wide grins. Oh, go on, I might as well tell you that story. With the footnote about how I spent the rest of the hour chasing the Toddler trying to stop him from escaping. Not tiring at all.

There. That's enough. I've got it out of my system now {sips coffee}...

Now I can move onto the things I am grateful for this week...

  • My new blog friend Leonie in Australia stunned me, when she emailed me saying, "Send me your address, Id like to send some GF goodies from here to encourage your daughter". Leonie has Coelics and has also sent me a bunch of GF recipes she has tested. She made muffins just so she could test the recipe for me!!  I am blown away by Leonie's kindness. She is KiwiAtHeart. If you visit her, tell her she rocks.

  • My lovely friend Meg, who gave up her Wednesday morning to bring her sewing machine and help me re-size all the dressups I got for the Birthday party. I am sewingly-challenged, so this meant the world to me. Her sweet son KindyBoy played with the Toddler, and so we all had a lovely morning. Thankyou Meg. You are a beautiful friend.

  • A lovely surprise in my Inbox: An email from the Editor of Parenting Magazine. She wants to interview me!! She's coming on Monday (when the dust has cleared) to interview me about mummy blogging. I am so stoked. I love that magazine, and it has been a dream of mine to be able to write for them. Who knows??

So I have plenty to be thankful for. Lots of bright spots in my crazy week.

And to finish off with I just have to share this with you...

Mr G handed a piece of paper to me this morning; a printout he found in Dash's room, of a speech he is giving at school. Oh this made us both laugh...

Ha! He is from England??? In his dreams! he was born right here in NZ! I should know, I was there!
His dad is from Scotland?? He's from England. His grandad was from Scotland. Not the same thing.
He is cool and skinny and farst! OK, that's all true. But what a crackup.

Right, my coffee has been drunk. My fingers are stiff from the cold. I can hear my sleepless toddler complaining outside my door... I will go now and dive into the rest of my to do list. Go and get dressed. Go and ice a gluten free rainbow layer cake. Bake cookies, muffins, pick up prescriptions and drop off library books. But I will flag the gym. I am sick, after all right??? Next week. Next week!!

I will try to have fun doing it. I will focus on the enjoyment. Five little girls will not care about the details. They will be happy to be together. with dressups and makeup and bling. With cake and icecream parfaits!The point is having fun with them, right? Right. So, fun it is. Roll on the Fancy Sleepover!

Thanks for hearing me out! You guys are great listeners, er, readers!
28 July 2010

Girly Bedroom Makeover

The Bedroom makeover is complete. The previously mismatched furniture and inherited wallcolour are gone. Do you need to be reminded about what it all looked like before???
(Styling by Miss Fab herself, I must point out)...

I began by painting the main wall with two coats of magnetic paint. This can be tricky and sometimes doesn't work apparently, but our wall is super magnetic! The trick is to leave lots of time between coats. Like days. I actually left the first coat untouched for about 12 days - the wall looked disgusting, but I was away on holiday, so I didn't mind. When we left, the wall wasn't magnetic. When we returned - it was! I think they call it "curing". So. Two coats of unpretty magnetic paint.

Then painting all the mismatched furniture white (using leftover white acrylic enamel)... the bookshelf, the little antique chair I bought for $20, the legs of the nasty 80's coffee table, the old dress mirror and the pretty plaster-of-paris angel mirror.
And then... the mural.

I found a can of green paint in the garage. Who knows what I bought it for, or why... or when?? But I put it to good use. I also bought half a litre each of palest blue and paler green,. My vision was blue sky, fluffy white clouds and rolling green hills. Not much detail... just add magnets! Flowers, butterflies...

Miss Fab wanted to help, so I let her fill in some green... and then bribed her to play with Scrag so I could get on with the job!

I also painted the opposite wall green, and positioned the newly-white bookshelf against it, with the (pink) pin board above to display her artwork and certificates.

The bean bag and cushions nestle next to the shelf, handy for reading.

A new lampbase (in metal, so it's Miss Fab-proof, since she cracked the last one) and gorgeous new duvet cover are birthday presents, the icing on the cake. I re-hung the mosquito net Nan gave her and returned her heart mobile (a gift when she was born) to it's previous home at the window (don't you just love those leadlights??)

If you look closely you will see that the pink wall is actually slightly... lilac. Er yes. Well I wanted to touch up some marks on the wall, so I went out to the garage and grabbed the can of paint I thought was the colour the previous owners had painted this room. It was gluggy and thick, not a lot there, but heigh-ho, it's just a touch-up right?

Oh dear. Now that it's on there, I can see that this is the pale lilac paint from the other girl's room. Not pink. I now have to paint the whole wall. What a nightmare. The lesson??? Never trust old cans of paint! The colour can be deceiving. But it looks lovely anyway and it's nice and clean and fresh. No more scuff marks. And there was just enough.

The dollhouse is at home on the freshly painted (previously hideous) old coffee-table and the mini bentwood chair is the perfect height alongside it. (Confession: I bought it online as a chair for her new desk... only to find out it was mini when I picked it up. But I loved it anyway, so it gets to stay).


The wardrobe doors hide organised colourful clutter: dress-ups and hanging shoe rack, clothes and accessories in colourful boxes and canvas drawers... I strung up a wire and attached some gorgeous pegs my friend Sammy gave me - perfect for scarves, beads and tutus (and way too good for hanging washing).

Front and centre sits the lovely (bargain) mahogany desk. I've told her if she looks after it this gorgeous piece will see her all the way through school and beyond. She said, "Yes, and I can show it to my children!"

Hidden in the ample drawers are her art supplies and endless bits of paper that used to clutter up the place. I found some silver knobs hiding in the garage and replaced the old back ones. That ties it on to the folding chair I got (since that cute antique one I bought is mini, remember?) Another bargain - $13, brand new!

I love it all. All day today I had to keep going in and opening the door, just standing there admiring my handiwork. I love the pink and green, the white. So pretty, so fresh. I'm scared of that white duvet cover though! What was I thinking?? Sigh.

Roll on Saturday... a Rather Fancy Sleepover and five little girls dressing up, doing hair and makeup... we are ready for ya (just mind the bedcover!)

Happy Fabulous Birthday

5.16am on a wintry Wednesday morning she pushed her way out into the world, six years ago today.

Abigail: Father's Joy
Grace: God's Favour

My dreamed-of daughter. My own personal air-raid siren. My fashion conscience. Owner of sweet velvet cheeks and a raucous laugh. Possessor of incredible upper body strength and uncanny insight.

You know I love you more than chocolate, more than air, more than the sky.
I love your creativity, your compassion.
I love your sense of adventure and the way you persevere when the going gets tough.
I love watching girly movies and 60-Minute Makeover with you snuggled up close.
I love your goodnight kisses and the way your eyes light up at the thought of fun.

I love our little word signals: "Shall we skip??"
Nobody knows what that means except me. And you.
I love to fall about laughing with you.

I don't mind that I have to bake and cook and shop gluten free for you.
I'm proud of your bravery. Proud that you didn't flinch when you had to get your blood test. Proud that you take your medicine without a fight.
Proud of your resilience and your uncomplaining good grace about your new diet. How when the others got a muffin and you got... fruit salad... you said, "YUM!"
I love that you love sushi and carrot and mussels.
I'm sorry that gluten free bread tastes disgusting.
I promise to hunt down a recipe for something better.

You, daughter, you are a blessing. A loud crazy wild blessing, but a blessing just the same.
And I am so glad that out of all the little girls in the whole wide world... I got the very best one.

Happy Sixth Birthday Abby.
Love from Mummy
July 28 2010

(Miss Fab's Birth Story HERE)
26 July 2010

To Do

Birthday weeks are always full on around our house, because birthdays are a Big Deal. This Wednesday my only girl, Miss Fabulous, turns six (going on sixteen, but we are trying our to put a stop to that).

So much to do! It doesn't help that I am also in the middle of a bedroom makeover for the Birthday Girl. And that daddy just decided we might as well get her a proper bike from a bike shop instead of a cheapy off TradeMe (since they really aren't that cheap anymore, and pretty crappy too). And that the only bike shop I know has closed down.

And that my toddler is between a cot and a bed and is cutting out daytime sleeps (which majorly reduces my time to do stuff)... and I just had to move all his drawers and shelves into Dash's room and give that space a clear out.

It only complicates things that the birthday girl is now Gluten Free and a new menu must be contructed with that in mind. And that it still needs to be both gorgeous and delicious for the Fancy Tea Party. And that I need to find where the heck they sell gluten free bacon because she wants macaroni cheese for her birthday dinner and darn it, they don't sell the stuff at Woolworths Online.

At the back of my mind are also sitting the results for the last KidsClick competition... they must be posted! Plus I need to start a new competition...

Keeping me awake at night are thoughts about The Book. I have decided I don't like most of the layouts (too busy) and they must be changed. As soon as possible.

And I want to blog! But the best I can come up with while all these other jobs are rattling loosely round my brain, is this silly To Do list...

  • Switch over boys rooms DONE!
  • Finish painting mural of rolling hills and fluffy clouds in a blue sky DONE!!
  • Paint green wall NAH. I WON'T BOTHER (one coat will have to do)
  • Move furniture
  • Hang mosquito net, tie on ribbons flowers
  • Stick jewels on mirror & jewellery boxes
  • Find a bike shop DONE! (thanks Sandra!)
  • buy a (shiny pink) bike DONE!
  • get a card and wrapping paper and ribbons DONE!
  • wrap presents, write out card DONE!
  • find gluten free bacon (and sausages)
  • Sew fancy dressups with Meg for sleepover
  • get coal for brazier (toasting gluten free marshmallows at sleepover)
  • get a DVD for sleepover (any ideas? needs to be girly and sweet) DONE!
  • find a friend willing to help me play dressups with girls on saturday (any takers?)
  • hang up fairy lights in carport
  • make a gluten free rainbow layer cake
  • decorate it to within an inch of its life
  • bake gluten free cupcakes, pikelets, cookies
  • decorate them all to within an inch of their life
  • take a deep breath
  • have a coffee
  • come up for air
  • post kidsclick results DONE!
  • start new kidsclick comp DONE!
  • let my friends in blogland know I am still alive
  • fall asleep slumped over my desk and hope i don't drool and short-circuit the keyboard...
Wish me luck!
25 July 2010

Wild West

A Spring day in the middle of winter, clear skies and warm breezes. A productively lazy day at home baking gluten-free cupcakes and painting murals... until Daddy says, Lets go to Piha in the Black Stallion!

Piha Beach on the wild west coast. Black sand, crashing waves, and sunsets: perfect for late afternoon walks alone on a windswept beach to the sound of the surf. Or if you like, for kicking a football til it's too dark to see. Or taking pictures of your kid if she'll let you.

The Black Stallion is Daddy's new pride and joy. A shiny fast car for work and hot dates, not family outings. What a treat for all those messy kids! Daddy says his car is called the Black Panther, but I like Black Stallion better. His old car was The Silver Bullet, our family wagon? The Silver Bomb.

Down rollercoaster roads we streak. I close my eyes and hold on tight. I think I'm going to barf. "But I'm only doing 40!" the Driver exclaims.

At last we have descended from the torturous goat-tracks they call roads in these parts. Ravenous, we go in search of food, only to discover all Cafes Closed. Nobody visits in Winter. We forgot. We thought it was Spring.

We head to the beach anyway as the sun sets; Scrag is already sleeping.

We kick the ball and take pictures while the light holds. (Do you like Dash's new haircut? he is proud of his "rat tail").

When it is too dark to see, we retreat to the Stallion and head back to civilisation, empty tummies rumbling.


Glad I brought my camera.
22 July 2010

"My Tummy Hurts!"


My Tummy Hurts!! has been Miss Fab's catch-cry for the past six weeks.
At first I thought she was anxious. We get a sore tummy sometimes when we're anxious, right?
So we talked about her worries. I asked lots of probing questions. We hugged.
"My tummy still hurts!"

OK, so not just anxiety then. Off to the doctor we go. My (lovely lady) Doc is overseas so it's a locum, and not a particularly chatty one either. To make things worse, it's a guy. He feels around her tummy and says, "She needs to do a poo. Try giving her more fruit. Oh and drink more water..."
Okey dokey.
We do that. It seems to help briefly. Then just before we are due to leave on holiday it starts up again...
"My tummy hurts!"

She's not eating as much. Won't touch her Weetbix. Refuses her dinner.
Crumples in a heap at every meal.
This is my Miss Fab we are talking about here!
My best eater. The girl who loves Sushi, who asks for salad and whose favourite sandwich is carrot and cheese with hummus! Soooo not like her to be off her food.

At the back of my mind, I think..."Wheat? Gluten? Could she be intolerant??" But it seems to have come from nowhere.

We agree to go on holiday and go straight to the doctor as soon as we return.
First day back, I take her to the doctor. My Doc is back in the country and she checks everything and says, "we'll run some bloods..."

I put forward my query about gluten intolerance and the Doc adds the Celiac test to the Bloods Form, but she looks doubtful. Most Celiac children don't grow properly, apparently. They are usually underweight and small for their age. My daughter is a big tall strapping girl, often mistaken for a seven-year-old. But we'll check it out, she says.

My girl is very brave at the Diagostic Lab. The nurse taking her blood says she's never met such a brave girl before. "Wish they were all like you," she says to Miss Fab.
My girl swells with pride, and displays her little sticking plaster like a badge of honour.

That evening my sister and brother-in-law drop round for a visit. I tell them about my girl and her sore tummy. Alarm bells go off for them.
My sister and nephew are gluten-intolerant. They have done lots of research into it.

Apparently one in ten people are Gluten Intolerant. But only one-in-ten of those are actually Celiac. 1%.
Probably nothing will show on the blood tests, they say. But it's quite possible that she could be Gluten intolerant. Does she have a little pot tummy?
Er, yes, but I thought all kids have that? No? Oh.

The symptoms affect people in different ways, they tell me. That's why it's hard to pick up early.
My sister didn't start having real problems til she was in her teens. My nephew was diagnosed only recently and he is 15. Both of them are tall and well-built. But once elimianting Gluten from their diet, their symptoms have gone.

They encourage me to give it a try. "I can help you!" says my sister. "I know all the best brands..."
Even the online shopping will be fine - they have a whole gluten-free section...

Then I realise it is Miss Fab's sixth birthday party next week. All my plans for a fancy high tea! I wanted to try Meredy's Rainbow layer cake! I've even bought invested in the expensive gel colours! All my simple plans of frozen mini-eclairs store-bought pikelets...

My sister encourages me that it can all be done gluten-free. She knows all the best places to get stuff, she says.

So I have started trying to eliminate.
No sandwiches. No weetbix, no Up'n'Go or cookies. We have rice crackers and brie, yoghurt and fruit squirts; cornflakes with chopped up banana and slow-cooked curry and rice for dinner.
This is a whole new world for me. The world of eliminating food.
It's a vast uncharted territory. It requires me to think and to plan. It's going to be work (and come on, we all know how much I love work!)

Maybe we will all become healthier through this process?
But most of all I hope to never again hear my little girl say at every meal, through her tears, "Mum, my tummy hurts..."

I'll let you know how we get on. Any suggestions??

Photo Credits: Photos taken in the Loo are self-portraits by Miss Fab. Thanks a lot, sweetypie!