28 January 2014

I am Completely Crap at Juggling

Have you ever tried it? Juggling, I mean.
Keeping more than one ball up in the air. It's next-to-impossible for the less than dexterous (like me) when it comes to actual balls, and when it comes to life, I'm completely crap at juggling that too.

Managing more than one thing at a time seems to be beyond my skill set. Multi-tasking is supposed to be something women are good at, but not me. I suck at it, truly.

I have friends who are genius at juggling life. They have multiple children enrolled in multiple activities. They manage to ferry their offspring from soccer to swimming to brownies to piano to language class without breaking into a sweat, all while holding down a fulltime job and baking their own bread.
How do they do that????

I am breaking out in a rash at the mere thought of registering my poor deprived bunch in one activity each. Here's an example of how extreme my juggle-crapness is. I've been procrastinating all summer on sorting out Dash's bus pass for Intermediate School which starts on Monday (Where do I start? Where do I even get one? It all seems so difficult to me).

So here we are in the final week of holidays with no bus pass. Apparently they can be found at certain dairies (but which one?? And how can I be sure I'll get the right thing? Do we need to test it out and actually catch the bus at 7.25am so he knows what to expect and where to get off? Am I pathetic because I am bamboozled by a bus?).

Meantime we need to decide about the other two and their after school activities. (Did I mention it's the last week of the summer holidays? term starts next week and I have enrolled them in ZIP).

My acrobatic daughter is desperate to learn tumbling and stunts this year. She's over netball (sniff) and wants to try cheerleading, of all things. Eek! So American! I am rather ambivalent about it. She has her heart set on it but I'd prefer her to try circus school (Less of the makeup and ra-ra skirts and little divas).

While the clock ticks on this one and we dither back and forth, poor Scrag is left to languish on the sidelines. Last year he did no sport at all.
This year he wants to try Rippa Rugby, but have I even looked up the website? Found out where and when?
Calculated coordinating these many activities with bus arrival times for eldest son (who will of course be doing football, and has also been nominated to trial for the AFA 12th grade rep team)...?? The answer is of course NO.

I am so very crap at juggling that I am frozen into immobility at the very thought, with the result being my default position - Procrastination.

I woke up this morning knowing that I need to request Dash's prescription from the optometrist so we can go to Specsavers and (hopefully) find a cheap pair of glasses to replace the ones he has lost  before school starts (grrrr), find a dairy that sells the HOP card and take Miss fab to check out Circus School in the hopes of diverting her from Cheerleading...
Well, I buried my head under the blankets and thought about writing this post. Confessing my absolute crapness at juggling my life. Baring the truth of my horror of after school activities and playing taxi. And my general reluctance for Summer to end.

If only I could live my life at a Summer pace, I am sure I'd be a nicer person.
No anxiety, no stress, no bursts of high blood pressure.

Am I looking forward to school being back? The answer is a resounding NO.
I like living my life with no outside interference. I'm quite happy mooching along and taking each day as it comes. I don't look forward to decent bedtimes and homework and alarm clock mornings at all.

Oh Summer, I may not like your humidity but I sure do love your pace of life. I will miss you when you're over. Truly.

Are you like me (a procrastinator) or are you one of those lucky people who can juggle life and manage to multi-task? Tell me I'm not alone in this??!


PHOTOS THIS POST: On Saturday night Dash was away at a sleepover and Mr G had the brilliant idea of putting up the little tents in the backyard and doing a spot of backyard camping. We cooked on the brazier, toasted marshmallows, told stories and played Monopoly Empire in the tent (Scrag whipped us all). It was brilliant, and the chicken skewers were the best I've ever tasted. Mmmmm. I highly recommend backyard camping. Just one more reason to love Summer.

21 January 2014

Of Garden Parties, Girls and Great Expectations

This is not exactly the post I imagined when we planned our Garden Tea Party, Miss Fab and I. In our minds this would be an echo of the day we had two summers ago. Mosquito nets hanging from trees, sunlight filtering through leaves, girls lounging on cushions nibbling cupcakes, sipping grapejuice.

It would be pretty, it would be pinnable, it would be the perfect way to spend a summer's day.

Just one problem: nobody told the weatherman.
The day that had been promised was sunny and warm.
The morning that dawned was grey, windy, unappealing.
Not what we had in mind at all.

But heigh ho, right? Roll with it, revise the plans, enjoy the day anyway.
Since we are now veteran party planners, you'd be forgiven for thinking a certain creative nine-year-old would be an expert at flexibility, and going with Plan B.
But no.
A grey windy day when "sunny and summery" was envisioned would not cut it AT ALL.
There was wailing. There were tears.
"Cancel it! Tell them not to come!" sobbed a dramatically perfectionistic young Miss.

Daddy had a great idea for Plan B. Under the grapevine. We could still string up mosquito nets and scatter cushions. It could still be lovely, it could still be fun.
But the young hostess was not buying it. Time was running out til the guests were due and action must be taken so I tried my best to ignore her misery and plowed ahead with the preperations. I stoically pegged up mozzie nets and bunting, spread camp mats and scattered cushions, all the time thinking: I need to help her learn this Lesson. Things in life don't always go to plan and flexibility is a skill she will need.

My daughter is very creative. She has always had brilliant ideas and bold plans aplenty, but sometimes reality can be just so very disappointing. All the way back to our very first Indian theme dinner which ended in tears because her "Sari girl costume" was not beautiful enough (she was four) the difference between what she imagines and what can be achieved has been causing us grief. Hmmmmm. We really need to help her deal with disappointment better. Manage her expectations better. 

She needs to learn that sometimes Plan B can turn out brilliant too. Life will be full of these moments, and if she doesn't learn to roll with it and bounce back, well... she'll end up always disappointed, never satisfied. Not a good way to be.

As you can see, Plan B did turn out to be brilliant. By the time the first guest arrived, the tears evaporated and the young hostess remembered the most important thing about parties: Having fun with your friends.

It doesn't matter if it's cloudy or if the decor is thrown together, or if sunlight-through-leaves might have been prettier in the photographs - what really matters is enjoying yourself with your pals (balancing cushions on your head while you eat, drink and spill stuff)...

So this might not have been the pinworthy post I'd envisioned when we called up Miss fab's friends and invited them over for an impromptu garden tea party... but it turned out to be better. Valuable life lessons learned. Perfectionism pushed aside. Disappointment discarded. Plan B embraced.

In the end the weather didn't matter; though the rain held off. There was plenty of giggling and silliness and great fun was had by all. Which is what really matters after all.

Our Easy Impromptu Garden Tea Party Menu
  • easy vanilla cupcakes (my go-to cupcake recipe here)
  • in-season strawberries, plums, cherries (and marshmallows)
  • chips and dip
  • club sandwiches (made by my friend Linda, who came to keep me company; I made her Nespresso)
  • to drink: water coloured with a few drops of pink colouring or orange juice mixed with soda water
  • fancy sliced apples (cut across-ways and then remove core with mini cookie cutter; dip in lemon juice to prevent browning. Too cute and easy and gobbled up in minutes)
Serve it all up on your prettiest china; serve juice in goblets, sit on cushions, laugh loudly and long. 

More Garden Tea Party Posts
13 January 2014

Summer Lovin (starring my Pumpkin Patch models)

Who doesn't love the lazy hazy days of summer? A Summer Christmas may seem weird to our northern hemisphere friends, but after the corks have popped on the the New Year's champagne they have to face the drear of winter while we southern folk turn to the bliss of beaches, backyard BBQs and brilliant sunshine. Ahhh yes, starting out the year with summer makes much more sense to us down here.

Which all goes to explain where I have been for the past umpteen days. The lure of the beach, the sunshine, endless books and tenting by the beach all succeeded to to distract me from blogging.

So successful has this diversion been that I am completely loathe to return - something which has not happened ever before.
It's not that I have run out of things to say or stories to tell. I haven't gotten sick of capturing moments and sharing them with you all, dear readers. Oh no.
It's just that hunching over a computer is the very opposite of enjoying summer.

On the day that Blogger invents a decent blogging app and I can blog on my phone without frustration, that will be the year that I blog regularly in January. From the beach, in my hammock whilst sipping my pina colada... (haha, as if).

Until then, I will simply offer you tidbits of our summer, on days when rain keeps us indoors or the buildup of ideas threatens to leak from my ears or the photos have filled my computer and I simply can't restrain myself any more.

You can always follow me on Instagram - it's much more summer friendly than sitting at a computer. (If you did, you would have seen my delicious photos of our lunch at Little and Friday, today or our dinner under the grapevine tonight), among other fun things.

Summer has been good to us, I must say.
I am enjoying it far too much and keep finding myself saying to anyone who passes me by muttering about stationery lists, back-to-school specials and sports teams... "I'm just not ready for the year to start!"
Too bad, Simoney. It already has.
Why can't somebody invent a pause button for time?
That would be really really useful.
I'd buy that app.


Pause it on summer.
Overlay vignettes of my kids playing happily in the backyard with some cello music and have myself a whimsical life. Soft focussed. Unhurried. Sunlit.

We interrupt this fantasy to bring you back to reality.

Which is still pretty nice. After all, we live in New Zealand. And it's SUMMER. Bliss.
What a nice way to start the year.

(How's it going so far?)


This post features my young models wearing super-cute Pumpkin Patch gear kindly supplied by Pumpkin Patch. The models all love their new PP clothes and were happy to pose for my backyard photo shoot. Miss Fab wears the roller skate denim dress (now $20 online); The boys wear shorts with cord belt (now also $20); Scrag wears a blue paisley shirt (his new favourite) and Dash wears a blue stripe t-shirt. Both boys declared the shorts to be "awesome" and "comfy".