28 October 2011

Loving Poo and Stuff

My day did not really get off to a great start.
Things began to go pear-shaped when we couldn't find Scrag's balance bike minutes before I was due at the corner for my Walking Bus Duty.
After Miss Fab changed her shoes twice at the last minute the final nail was in the coffin. We were so late I missed the Bus. Shame.
Growling and scolding I drove the kids to school. Miss Fab was weeping on the back seat.
To make up for my growliness I agreed to park the car and walk her into her classroom.
Cheered, she took Scrag to play on the playground while I went to see Dash's teacher.

A stray soccer ball rolled towards me. I wish I had let it be.
But instead I went to kick it casually back... tripped over it with my two left feet and faceplanted right in front of twenty of Dash's schoolmates.
A bad word slipped out. {Don't worry it was only "S**T"}
My knee stung, my palm was scraped. My pride was wounded.
I stood up, brushing myself off. Embarrassed but pretending not to be.
Until I looked up... and came face to face with The Principal.

Yeah, not a great start to the day.
So I am due a dose of Love and Gratitude.
A growly cursing clumsy mother with a house full of unmade beds and dirty dishes.
That's me!

So what good things have I got to be thankful for today?

Thankful for Poo.
Yes I am. A poo just made my week, actually.
If you've been reading me for a while, you'll know that my three-and-a-half year old giant son Scrag has refused point blank to be toilet-trained. No matter what we did. Even Grandma couldn't get him to cooperate.
So yesterday I am in the dining room holding an icepack to Miss Fab's injured head (after she landed on it when she fell out of a tree) when I heard noises in the toilet.
Which usually means that Scrag is helpfully "cleaning" it, or playing "Flush the dunny paper".
"What are you doing in the toilet, Scrag?" I call.
"DOING A POO!" he calls back.
Say whaaaaat?
Next thing I hear "PLOP".
The most beautiful sound in the world.
He really was doing a poo. In the loo. Just like that.
He has finally decided to be a big boy and is right now wearing undies.

Loving the Inappropriate.
I just have to tell you this one.

The Scene: Dining Room, Breakfast.

DASH: Mum did you know that In the Night Garden is not appropriate for little children?
MISS FAB: Yeah Mum, its not, honest. Because Upsy Daisy kisses Iggle Piggle on the lips. That's just not right.
ME: Well maybe they are like, brother and sister?
DASH: No mum they're not. They look totally different. Iggle Piggle is blue and he sleeps in a boat.
MISS FAB: Yeah and Upsy Daisy is brown with rainbow hair and she sleeps in a bed, so they are not brother and sister and they shouldn't be kissing. Its just not appropriate for little kids!

Not appropriate. Hehe.

Loving Pinboards. And Bear Grylls. And Parties.
Been sucked into Pinterest yet? It is addictive, but in a good way.
Its not necessarily (just) a time waster. It can be a force for good.
Like my Survival Party Pinboard. I am collecting ideas for Dash's Bear Grylls: Boy vs Wild party next month. A Pinterest Party Board is a fab way to collate ideas.
I have also been loving creating a Bear Grylls party website. Collecting clips of Bear for use at Dash's party. The plan is to use the laptop on a wireless connection and play the boys the clips before they have to do crazy stuff like eat worms. Hehe. Not really.
Anyway you should totally check out my new website with all the Bear Grylls clips. I even found a whole episode of Bear in New Zealand. He so rocks. This is going to be a crazy party!

Terrified of the Tweens.
My child is going to officially be a Tween in less than a month. Nine years old.
I am totally freaking out. Totally questioning my parenting.
Worried that we have made so many mistakes with this boy. Worried that we are running out of time.
Anyone else know what I mean? Any words of advice for this terrified mother of an almost-tween?

Right. That's all I got time for.
I have a friend dropping off her daughter in ten minutes.
I have a beginner toilet-pooer in undies.
I have things to do.

But mostly I am really really glad to be home.
And linking up with my two favourite feel-good linkies...


27 October 2011

22 Things I've Done to Avoid Exercise

Today is a beautiful spring day and really, I should not be here cooped up inside, hunched over my computer writing this post. Yet here I am.

The excuses I have for not exercising are pathetic. The opportunities for exercise are plenty.
I have an expired gym membership, neglected then abandoned.
A beautiful bush walkway, beside a gurgling stream conveniently at the end of my street.
I even have a Wii-Fit game complete with heart rate monitor and stretchy band, still in its packaging.
Waiting. Hoping that one day I will get up off my lazy ass, switch off the computer and do something about my fitness.

The lengths to which my lazy ass will go to avoid shrinkage are endless.
And here are some of them, for your reading pleasure...

1. I have upcycled broken furniture
2. I have ironed my tea-towels. Really.
3. I have baked cookies (which really doesn't help).
4. I have martha-ised my laundry cupboard.
5. I have looked for clips of Bear Grylls on YouTube..
6. I have had coffee with friends. A lot.
7. I have started a playgroup at my house. And ended up in A&E.

8. I have hand-stitched cushions for my windowseat
9. I have painted my bedroom. And other rooms.
10. I have created new invitations for my FREE Kids Party Invitation Website (shameless plug)
11. I have taken photographs of my garden. And blogged about it.
12. I have clipped my toenails. I did not blog about that.
13. I have created a website for my son's Bear Grylls {Boy vs. Wild}party. From scratch.
14. I have pinned pretty things on Pinterest.
15. I have read your blogs. More than you know.

16. I started a Bloggy Book Club. And read lots of books. Of course.
17. I have rearranged my house. Several times.
18. I have fiddled with my blog design. Endlessly.
19. I have signed up to PicYou and played with photo effects.

20. I have wasted time on FaceBook. Commenting on status updates. Tagging photos. You know.
21. I made a fluffy bunny out of dust balls from my hallway. Nah not really. But I could have.
22. I have spent the morning writing this post and finding photos to match.

Now can you see why my ass looks like this?


For Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writers Workshop. Writing prompt 1.) Last week we wrote about what we have never done...this week write a list of 22 things you HAVE done.
26 October 2011

WW: Crazy Parade

Two hundred and fifty thousand people at a Parade. Plus us.

Flags flying.

Twenty five percent of my town came out to wave and cheer our Rugby heroes.

The Mighty All Blacks. Winners of the World Cup. Finally.

We wore Black. Well, mostly.

We painted our faces...

We watched from rooftops, windows, trees and bus shelters....

Even when the signs said, "Danger Keep off"

Even when people in the crowd shouted, "Get off there you womble!"

 Apparently lots of people can't read. Or speak English. These were Frenchies.

We stood together shoulder to shoulder with our fellow Kiwis.

We didn't mind little ones riding on shoulders. Or on Rubbish bins.

Patiently we waited for a glimpse of our heroes...

Though some were less patient than others.
Some got bored waiting. Tired standing.
Some cried, "I'm hungry! I'm bored! I want to go home!"
Can you guess who that might have been?

"Be Quiet! You are spoiling this for everyone around you!" I say in my growly-est whisper.
An Angel in Black taps me on the shoulder.
"What does she want?" she asks.
"Oh she's hungry and I didn't come prepared," I smile apologetically.

Before I know it the Angel in Black hands me an apple. A bag of sweets. A can of Coke.
Bless that Angel in Black.

Finally there's action. A groundswell of cheering.
On tiptoes I strain to see. They are coming.
Oh bugger. They are all riding on low-down Utes. Or walking. And we are too far away. 
Should have got here sooner.
I see the top of Ali Williams' head. And a whole lot of cameras waving.
Who cares. I cheer anyway.
Give up on snapping. Nothing to see here folks. 
Just put your camera away and enjoy the crowd.

Then, when I think I will see nothing, a truck.
A truck carrying Richie. Richie holds up the Golden Cup.

Image and Parade Video here

I see it. I scream.
I jump up and down and wave my little flag.

24 October 2011

I Am So Ecstatic

Oh. Oh. Oh.
It was the worst eighty minutes.
I thought I was going to puke.
Or pass out.
At one point I hid my face in the arm of the couch.
I spent half the time hugging my weeping son, who was bereft at the thought we might lose.
The tension was unbearable.
The sense of impending doom palpable.

Could it all have come to this... again?
Were we going to see our dreams go up in smoke... again?
Our country, so buoyant, excited and full of hope just that morning.
Preparing for the biggest party we've ever seen.
Strangers smiling at each other in the streets.
Flags adorning every passing car, every building, every lamp post.
Could this be the worst anticlimax in our country's sporting history?

The Rugby World Cup.
Don't groan.
Don't say, "It's just a game".
Its more than that.

This was for honour. This was for pride.
This was for the ability to finally finally be able to hold up our heads and say, We did it.
We are not Chokers.
The whole country {apart from those of you who missed out on the Rugby gene} has been brought together as we hosted this event.

Even from the Other Side of the World, we watched every match, cheering on our boys, doing the haka, singing the anthem in Maori and in English.

We watched the semi-final against Australia with our bags packed and as soon as the whistle blew we raced to the airport for our plane home, ecstatic.
We had beaten our toughest opposition, we thought.
The World Cup is as good as ours.

And that was the mood of the country, wasn't it?

Except for those realists, the ones who have watched us sent home by the French twice before.
We brushed off their warnings with a shrug.
Our boys in Black have already beaten them just a few weeks ago.
The Tongans beat them too.
The Welsh only lost to them by one measly point after playing with fourteen men for nearly the whole match.
Everyone knew the Welsh were the better side.
We can beat those Frenchies, we gleamed, as we chilled the champagne and readied the fireworks.

Lesson Learned.
Never underestimate a Frenchman.
Eighty painful minutes of sickening tension.

In the end, just one point in it. One lousy point.
But this time it was OUR lousy point!
We'll take it!
We'll scream until our throats are still raw the next day.
We'll cry unashamedly. Tears will roll down our cheeks.
Our bodies will go weak with relief.
We did it.
After twenty-four years of defeat and disappointment... the Golden Cup is ours.

And I am off to the ticker tape parade to scream and shout and hug strangers and see Richie McCaw lift that golden World Cup with my own bleary eyes...


I am Ecstatic. And so is New Zealand.

P.S. Photos taken on Saturday down at Auckland's waterfront, where strangers were smiling and flags were waving down at the Viaduct as they prepared The Fan Zones for Party Central. Apart from the ones of the All Blacks - those are from here
20 October 2011


We made it.
I write this from my own sweet computer in my own sweet {but messy} bedroom, surrounded by half-unpacked suitcases.
I am sitting in my fluffy dressing gown, needing another coffee, having been woken by out-of-sync chilluns before 6am.
However, 6am is preferable to yesterday's rising time - 1.30am.
That would be because on the way home from the airport my super-tired kids fell dead-asleep in the back seat and could not be woken. It was 4pm.

So yeah. We are Home at last.
We returned to a perfectly kept house, an immaculate summer-ready garden and a roast dinner cooked by my mum. What a blessing it has been having my parents look after our house.
How wonderful to return home and be welcomed by them.
It feels so good to be home.
Of course when I sit still I can feel my blood still swimming in my veins, as if we are still on a ship or in the plane.

The kids are a wreck.
Traveling to the other side of the world is rough.
The on-plane experience is fine, watching movies for thirty-seven hours straight, but its the aftermath that kills ya.
The supertiredness, the grumpiness and the effects of a month of being completely spoiled and overstimulated.

I just wanted to call in, however briefly and say howdy.
When the tiredness lifts and the world stops spinning I'll be back with a bit more gusto.
In the meantime I'm just gonna keep unpacking bags, doing laundry and drinking coffee.
15 October 2011

Postcard from Ireland

Here's a postcard from Ireland. {A post that promises to be relatively word-efficient due to my extreme tiredness and the need for a shower and a nice warm bed}.
We survived  Ryanair. That is a post in itself. Don't get me started.

Warning: If at all possible avoid travelling on this crazy picky tricky airline!

So skipping past that, we picked up our hirecar, dodging raindrops, turned on "Marsha" (our hired Sat-Nav) and made our way south to County Cork.
Marsha seemed to be not programmed with the new highways so she kind of freaked out and tried to send us down a country lane or two, but Mr G was too clever to get lost, he knows how to read maps.
We stuck to the M8-M7 and found ourselves driving out from under the rainclouds into the afternoon sunshine in the idyllic village of Kinsale.

So glad we picked this picture perfect place on Ireland's South-East coast.

A big kiss on the cheek for the friends who recommended Kinsale.
The perfect place to escape from your kids reality for three days.

Our hotel was perfection too.
I mean, just look at it. That pink building.
Old and gorgeous.

The kind of place where classical music tinkles gently in the formal lounge, where the fire crackles, and they bake their own organic bread to an old family recipe.

The kind of place you could just stay all day, relaxing, looking out at the water, drinking tea and reading a good book. Bliss for one such as I.

Of course Mr G is more of an action man. So while I relaxed in paradise, he went looking for adventure in the form of Golf.
Old Head of Kinsale Golf Course:- Source

And found it in the form of Old Head. Voted the world's most stunning golf course.
Membership at this gold club costs £60,000 per year.
Tiger Woods practises here.
A casual round will set you back £200 ($NZ400).

My tinny husband rolls up and nabs a spot in a corporate group for £60 - because it just happens they were short a player or two. He had a fabulous day in an amazing location.
Which of course he wanted to share with me.

He lamented to the ladies he was golfing with, "I wish I could get my wife here, she would love it..."
"Oh well my husband is a cab driver... I can call him to go and collect her and bring her out," one of the ladies offers.

So there I am, reading by the fire in the lovely manor house hotel, and the owner taps me on the shoulder.
"Mrs G," he says, "I've just had the most curious phone call..."
An Irish cabbie turns up and whisks me off to the most stunning location.

This is the spot where the German U-boat infamously sunk the passenger liner Lusitania in 1915 and all kinds of other interesting and amazing things have happened here. They even have their own standing stones.

"Were you not worried jumping in the car with a stranger?" I was asked later.
Nah, of course not. Its just like my husband to do something nuttily spontaneous like that.

We have dinner out at the golf club, watch the sun set and the light come on the lighthouse.
Magical. Amazing. Breathtaking.

Back in the village we go hunting for cosy pubs and Irish music. The kind where the floors slope one way, and the walls another, they are so ancient and Irish pubby. Places full of atmosphere and Irish people.

We listen appreciatively to a band called The FerryMen in the Armada Bar and buy their homemade CD.
We move on.
A pint of Murphy's in Ned Kelly's which we down as quickly as possible in order to escape the loud Americans in the corner arguing about an argument they once had. There are lots of Americans in Kinsale.

We move on. And come to a halt outside a tiny bar packed with people where the voice of an Irish angel floats out to meet us, and draws us in.
When she finishes we clap and cheer as the instruments break into a jig. And so the night goes.
We seem to have found a place where the locals come and hang out on a Tuesday night, playing and singing the old Irish songs.
In the corner sit a bunch of old men with banjos, bodrums, drums and whatever. They all take turns downing pints, playing and singing. Its not really a performance. More like a singalong. Anyone can stand up and break into a ballad.
The music is Irish to the core and covers the extremes. Some songs make you want to start RiverDancing and some make your heart ache.
We stayed and stayed, loving every minute.

Ireland is full of history.
My own history has its roots firmly in Irish soil.
Coming to Ireland is not just to tick something off my bucket list.
I feel more like a pilgrim than a tourist.
I fell in love with Kinsale and felt the pull of my Irish ancestors.

But when we head north to Dublin I run out of steam.
The noise and bustle of the city overwhelm me and I am overcome with homesickness.
Finally I am ready to come home.
There are no photos of Dublin.

{Adventurous Mr G could write his own post about his adventures in Dublin; he is fearless, that man. And just slightly crazy}

Close Hose, Wyllum, England {Where The Girls took me today for High Tea}

With two sleeps to go, I am ready for home.
We all are.
Travel is great fun, but it is exhausting living out of a suitcase, especially with three rowdy kids.

Genteel company in a genteel place; Lovely.

And when I say rowdy, I mean "small savages from the wilds of the colonies".
Kids who can't sit on the same couch together without wrestling.
Kids who can't watch a movie without arguing.
Who bounce off the walls of grandma's small flat, spilling drinks, dropping crumbs, pulling down curtain rails.
I am so ready to be back in the larger spaces of our kid-proof home, where if they break stuff its only me that will be upset.
Where they can run outside, bounce on the trampoline (instead of off each other) and ride their bikes to the park when they need to let off steam.
Plus, they are really missing their friends. Really. Really really.

Posh high tea in luxury. Suits me right down to the ground.

It has been wonderful spending time with family and friends. Priceless, even.
Exciting seeing parts of the world we've always wanted to see.
Travel is fun. Its educational. Its an adventure.
But man its tiring having all this fun!

Mmmmmmm, yummy. Scones with clotted cream and jam. My favourite.

Tomorrow we finish with one last shopping spree, a mad-dash pack-a-thon and a family party at Aunty Irene's to say goodbye. Sniff. Then on Sunday morning we will squeeze in watching the All Blacks beat Australia in the Rugby World Cup semi-final (please may I be prophetic) before we race to the airport and head home.

Great company for a lovely afternoon in beautiful surroundings eating delicious treats.
L-R: Winnie (Mother-in-law), Aunty Margaret, Aunty Irene, Uncle Allan,
Cousins Erin, Catherine, Ashley and Aunty Jackie.

Its been great. But we're ready now to go Home.
So this is me signing off from England. I won't get a chance to post again before we fly... so I'll see you all again, back on the Other Side of the World.

The Rest of Our Trip:

PS: If you haven't linked up to my "What You Love About Where You Live" linky, you still can... I hope to come home and read all your posts from the comfort of my own computer...