29 September 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Recipe for Fun

A lovely Spring day. Bored kids. Phone up some friends. The girls make a picnic.
Peanut butter & ham sandwiches. (Mmmmm...??!!)
We head to the park at the end of our street...

Recipe for Fun = Just Add FOOD.

Swing, slide, monkey bars and roundabout.
How much fun can be had with a buddy or two?

Recipe for Fun = Just Add FRIENDS.

Even Mama is having fun on the swing while the big boys kick a ball and the little ones look super cute.

Recipe for Fun = Just Add FRESH AIR.

Such a nice day you'd think it was Summer.
These kids did anyway. Back at home, on go the swimmers. Out comes the hose and some tubs. Who needs the Wave Pools when you have shampoo for bubbles?

Recipe for fun = Just Add WATER.

Along comes "Captain Dirty Underpants". Yes those are undies on his head and socks on his hands. So begins a waterfight. And the little boys up-end the tubs. Splash splash in the bubbles. Watch out for daddy's lawn!!! Oh oh. Now it's a mud bath.

Recipe for Fun = Just Add CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS.

Now we have hosed off and cleaned up. The Spring sunshine has dried us off. Time for something Yummy.

Recipe for Fun = Just Add ICECREAM.

What's YOUR Recipe for FUN??
28 September 2010

Where I Learn Not to Judge a Book by Its Cover

All the way back in May my delightfully thoughtful hubby gave me a voucher for a "Rescue Me" package at a local beauty place for Mothers Day. He thought I was looking a little bit "run down." Thanks babe. I feel great now.

Anyhoo, I'm not usually one for facials and pedi's and mani's. I have had (count em) ONE facial in my life before, ONE Manicure, and ONE Pedicure. All with vouchers from the hubby. It's just not something I think of doing for myself.

So here it is nearly October and the voucher is about to expire. It's school holidays and I have a blessed free day (wahoo) with the big kids having a day on a holiday programme and the little guy at his preschool. So I thought, heck I better go and use that voucher while I can or hubby is going to be a bit, er, ticked.

Now please keep in mind that I am not a pro at facials. The first (and only) one I had caught me totally by surprise when the therapist asked me to strip down to my undies and lie on the couch. I thought a facial was a FACIAL. Like, just your face. That one included a foot massage. And a back massage. I was hugely embarrassed because it was Winter and I had, er, not really been, um, you know... been de-foresting regularly.

So this time I made sure I was prepared. Nice bra, and undies. No forests growing anywhere. We are ready.

I pulled up outside the shop/beauty parlour and I was a bit underwhelmed, to be honest. It was small. Like, tiny. Tucked in between a real estate agents and a cash machine. Not exactly impressive. I entered nervously and was greeted by a 20-something Kiwi lass called Ashleigh. My other facial was in a gorgeous Mt Eden Villa. My beauty therapist was French. Gee, this was not quite the deal I was hoping for.

Never mind. It's still a kid-free hour doing something for me. So into the therapy room I went. This was better. Dim light, candles, soothing soft music.

Ashleigh instructed me to get changed, leave my bra on but roll the straps down, leave pants on; she would leave me to it. She left the room and what did I do? Grabbed my stashed camera of course! Ashleigh doesn't know I'm an Undercover Blogger! I snapped a pic and did as instructed.

Ashleigh knocked gently on the door and asked if I was ready. Yes, I called. She looked a little surprised to see me standing there in my bra. Shame! I was meant to get under the covers on the bed! Facing up or down? I asked. Ashleigh didn't miss a beat. Up, she said, without so much as a smirk (duh of course! It's a FACIAL!) Ashleigh is nice. She doesn't care that I am a beauty therapy novice.

When she returned I was lying properly in the bed, under the blanket with no bra on show, ready for the joy to start.

So began an hour of bliss. Oh the soft hands and soothing lotions. Oh the head massage while the peel took hold. Oh the neck and shoulder massage while the soothing mask soothed my skin. I lay there in heaven wondering to myself, why haven't I done this before???? My hubby regularly treats himself. Me, not so much. I determined that I was now going to be a Facial Girl.

All too quickly, Ashleigh told me I was done. It was over.
"So soon???" I asked. I'd been there an hour. Now I'm getting greedy!

Before I left, floating down the street in a cloud of bliss, I booked another mini-facial for a month's time. Oh yes, I'll be back. Face & Body may not be the most impressive looking place, Ashleigh may not be French, but she knows what she's doing. So I'll be back. Oh yes, I will.

PS Read more of my stories like this on The Undercover Bloggers, my new communal review blog.

When was the last time YOU did something nice for YOU??

At Our House (School Holidays)

SATURDAY: Breakfast made and served lovingly by Daddy for the Princesses of the House...

Who needs expensive entertainment when you have a crazy dad like ours and a cool backyard???

SUNDAY: Yo! Yo! Wazzup my homies??!!! B-ball with Team G. We are so cool.

MONDAY: A holiday treat: Despicable Me with the big kids while Scrag was in preschool. What a cool movie. LOVED IT!!!!!

Amazing how new (electric) toothbrushes will inspire kids to greater heights of dental hygiene!

So far we are surviving (and even enjoying) our Spring School Holiday. How bout YOU??

Linking up with Buttons by LouLou"At My House"
26 September 2010


I had a dream the other night. In it I was writing a post about broken bones. And depression. What a strange thing to dream about?!

But I couldn't shake the idea. So here I am, writing a post about broken bones and depression. Because the two have more in common than you may imagine.

Broken bones happen for lots of reasons. An accidental slip, a fall, a crash. Climbing too high and falling too far. Going too fast and hitting a wall. Being attacked, smashed and beaten.

There are big breaks and little breaks. Fractures and compound fractures. Even a small fracture is painful. There is swelling and bruising. It must be splinted, braced and supported to heal quickly and in the right way.
A broken bone left unset will heal eventually, but there will remain a deformity, something twisted, residual pain and loss of function.

Some breaks require more than a simple cast. Some breaks need an Orthopedic Surgeon, a specialist in bones. A person skilled at repairing the broken things and setting the crooked straight again.

Nobody ever looks down on a person with a broken leg for wearing a cast. In fact, if a person with a broken bone refused a cast to help their bones heal, we would think them crazy. We would know that their limb would not heal or function properly without support.

Medication does not heal a depressed person's brain any more than a cast heals a broken limb. But anti-depressants work to help the brain function properly so that the body's natural healing can take place. Just like a cast. No shame in wearing a cast, is there??

Now as I said, some breaks are worse than others.
And some people are more broken than others.
Down deep, where we can't see. Deep inside. Sticks and stones didn't break their bones. Sometimes it was names that hurt them.

Rejection, disappointment, abuse, exhaustion have caused such deep damage, such complex breaks that a simple cast is not enough.

We require a skilled Surgeon. Someone who knows how to set the crooked things straight. How to bring healing at the deepest level, where we are smashed to pieces.

There's a saying that goes, "The Truth Shall Make you Free." It's from the Bible, but they quote it in The Matrix too. Only the deepest Truth can bring the kind of freedom we need at the very core of our brokenness.

I once rode an ambulance with my 18-month daughter.
She climbed too high and fell too far and something inside her little baby arm just broke.
I only had to glance at the caved-in limb, and hear the piercing quality of her cry to know, it was broken.
Not a simple break. One that required a Surgeon to set the bones.
So we waited at the hospital hour after hour. She cried for her daddy, some food or a drink.
She was top of the list, they told me. So she had to remain Nil-by-Mouth, waiting for her turn with the Surgeon.
The waiting was painful. And tedious. It felt as if it would go on forever. A day passed and a night. Still no Surgeon. Emergencies would come in and we would be pushed down on the list again.
Didn't they understand that she was a BABY? That my precious was hungry and tired and sad and broken?
How long would we have to wait???
Another day of waiting and pacing and hungry tears, sips of water and empty reassurances.
We were at the top of the list??? Somehow I thought I could do better than waiting here.
10pm on the second night, I took my baby home. They were taking too long. We can sort this ourselves, I told myself. We have Health Insurance.

As the husband began to telephone around, my horror grew. There was no other help.
Nobody else could do it. We would have to go back.
And start all over again.
Because surely by now, we had been taken off The List.
Then a Miracle. A phone call and the blessed words: "If you come now we can do her straight away..."
Somehow, by some miracle our baby was still on the list.
And we returned, and they operated and set her bones straight.

Now where it was broken, snapped in two places, the bone has healed stronger than it was before. The new bone is denser, thicker, harder to break. It is straight. We needed the Surgeon. And there was only One who could do it.

Our inner brokenness can't be fixed by ourselves either.
We need the Expert Healer. We need the True Truth to set us free.
But waiting for that Word, that touch, that Moment when He meets with us can be frustrating and painful and seemingly futile.

How many times did I cry to the ceiling? I can't do this!! I can't fix myself!
"If you're up there," I would shout, sob, whisper, "Help me won't you????"
"Don't you care? Why did you let me get this way? Why did you let this happen to me??"
Silence. Silence from the ceiling. Silence from Heaven.

But one day when I was least expecting it, a thought. A piercing other-worldly thought cut through my gloom, like a laser beam. Cutting to the heart of my brokenness. Truth had found me. And one of the broken places became straight. And the healing began in that part of my heart.

Little by little, over the years this has happened again and again. Penetrating Truth has continued a process of healing.
I cannot and could not heal myself.
Antidepressants could not heal, they could only assist in supporting, like a cast, holding my thoughts in order.

The ground I have taken, the progress I have made has been as a result of staying "on the list" and waiting for The Surgeon. Asking for help. Staying connected with others. Holding on. Not giving up.

I marvel at how far I have come.
Old pain has been surgically removed by Truth. My heart is more free now than ever before. I see myself more clearly. I see my Surgeon more clearly. Truth has been working in me, as I let it.

I have written this with friends in mind. Some beautiful women I know who are broken too. My heart aches for you to be free. I pray you would meet the Surgeon and experience the cutting away of the lies under His gentle scalpel of Truth.

I know there's no magic cure. And it all takes time. But I know know know, that we can never be free or whole without the help of someone Greater. And the more broken we are, the more we need Him. I for one, will always need Him.

I pray and hope my friends that you will let Him in.
24 September 2010

Loving... NOT Loving (but mostly LOVING)

Loving The Undercover Bloggers. And having so many keen contributors. And the possibility of buying cheap-as specs online, and knowing where to visit in Wellington and Northland... Loving the way the site is coming together. Loving that anybody can undercover blog. You don't have to be a blogger already, did you know? Teenagers can undercover blog. Grannies can undercover blog. Even people overseas can rave about the great places to see in their hometown... because we all know that Kiwis are tremendous travellers. Love that.

Also loving this littlest undercover blogger. She wanted to dress up like mama.

Loving the kids making their own lunches. And getting good at it. And coming homewith empty boxes and full tummies. This yummy GF sandwich was made this morning by my six-year old daughter all by herself. Isn't she clever?

Loving going Gluten Free. It's been too easy! Loving that I feel less bloaty, my tummy seems smaller (even hubby noticed) and my weight doesn't seem to fluctuate by at least a kilo between morning and night. Loving that even with The Crimson Tide in full flood I seem to have lost a kilo already. (Not loving The Crimson Tide. Never loving that).

Loving little reminders of Grace. Like this post on Cat's new blog, a letter to herself. All I can say is wow. And this one on Adventures in Extreme Parenthood. Reminding me that I need to let God in. Thanks girls for reminding me of Grace this week. Loving that Grace never runs out, even for a slacker like me.

Loving playdates. Yes, you heard me right. I'm loving having my kids friends over to play. Loving meeting more neighbours and hooking up our kids. Loving having a houseful. Loving playing Jungle Buzz with my son's mates (and letting them think they whipped me).

Loving having neighbourhood kids so close for last-minute "lets play" dates. Reminds me of the good-ole days when I was a kid and we roamed free. Loving that my kids can just walk around the corner to find a friend or two. Loving the kid who ran home last night in bare feet. Totally loving all the laughter. (Not so much loving the mess left behind but I can live with it).

Loving Foozball. Loving having it in the house, not the garage. Loving playing it with this guy - and almost beating him. I think he was impressed at his old mama. Gotta love that.

Not loving hearing that he has been up to his old "class clown" tricks. He'd been doing so much better for a while, but the lure of the laughs has waylaid him again.

Not loving having to listen to his lovely teacher tell me how disappointed he is in my kid's attitude, always seeking cheap laughs and not knowing when to stop. And how my guy disrupted the whole science lesson with talk of certain "gasses" to get a laugh. Oh dear.

But I was loving the note he wrote to apologise (after some prompting from me). Saying sorry for  his "behaviyar" and promising to "never ever do it agin." I should hope not.

Loving this guy and his big-boy lunchbox. Loving the way he tidily stacks up what he doesn't want. So fastidious. So cute. Man I just love this kid!

Loving looking forward to a night out with friends for dinner at a restaurant tomorrow night.

Loving getting a babysitter and dressing up fancy (not loving having nothing to wear!!!) But at least loving that I've got a new "do" (yep, still loving that too). Loving that we're going to share a ride with our mates from round the corner. Tee hee. We'll be giggling like teenagers. Love that.

So really, there's a whole lot I am loving lately. And not much that I'm not. It's been a good week.
How about you?
23 September 2010

My New Do

In the past the thought of a haircut would fill me with dread. I used to fear the hairdresser the way some people fear dentists. Put it down to bad childhood experiences I guess - the mere sound of snipping scissors would have me breaking out in a cold sweat.


 My mop of hair just grows and grows until it has no style and cannot even be straightened properly... until I am forced to face the sound of snipping again.

So yesterday I went for a haircut, at last. {You can read my whole haircut story over at Undercover Bloggers.}

My stylist was "Irina" (I'm guessing her name); a tall gorgeous Russian. She doesn't say much but she knows what she's doing. 

"Chhhvat you vaaant?" she asked me in that cool-as accent. I was just going to get a trim, my usual boring safe option. But looking admiringly at her sleek hairdo I suddenly blurted, "Um could I have what you've got? Do you think that would suit me...?"

"Schhhure!" she said, and started cutting.

Finally Irina finished and declared me several years younger than when I'd walked in.

I walked out with my hair shining and bouncing. I felt like a stylie young mama instead of straggly middle-aged one.

I haven't had it this short since I was twenty-two, but I like it. What do you think? Not bad aye??

22 September 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Notes to Self

This Sleeping Beauty left a trail of notes behind her last night...

"Tomorrow remember to have a bath..."

"...this is the thing that I am wearing..."

"...don't come in because I am sleeping..."

So Cute. Don't you just love kids learning to write?? Tee Hee.