It’s been an age …

Time gets away from me so fast, especially now I’ve started back at work. I can’t believe my last post was in January and it’s now May – Mother’s Day (NZ/AUS) to be exact.

Since I last wrote, a few significant changes have happened and I did document a few of them on good ol’ Facebook  ’cause it’s easily accessible (especially in the middle of the night … or middle of the drama) and suitable for short and sweet posts.  Here’s a catch-up of happenings from January and February, dear dedicated reader:

January 24th:
I spent a good 10 minutes yesterday on the floor of the kitchen on hands and knees, right arm outstretched, index finger tip coated with vanilla icing wiggling suggestively at the baby, cooing “Come on bubba. You can do it. Mmmm yummy icing! Come and get it!”
It’s not that she can’t get around yet – she can. It’s a series of rolls; push up to sitting; take stock of direction; readjust position then forward onto hands and knees before flopping on her belly and rolling onwards again.
The problem is she backs herself into a corner and can’t get herself out so I thought I’d give her some motivation to try forward motion.
She wasn’t buying it. She sat and flapped her arms and gabbled at me, clearly indicating that I should be ashamed of myself for my feeble attempt at blackmail and just give her the damn icing.
But I persisted.
In the end we compromised. She got up on all fours and stretched her head forward turtle-style. I complied to her request and stretched my finger out to meet her little mouth to give her a lick.
It was about then I took a good long look at the situation and thought to myself “Yep. It’s definitely time you went back to work.”

She started crawling the week before I went back to work and now she’s pulling herself up and shuffling along if she’s got a handhold.

January 26th:
This cheeky little monkey is 10 months old today. That means she’s been ‘outside’ longer than she was ‘inside’ and the freedom is starting to show.
No longer does she sit quietly and play with her toys on the lounge room floor. Instead she has become a forward crawl-shuffling, sideways-rolling demolition derby keen on doing harm to herself and everything within reach of her cute little mitts.
All with this look on her face. How can you resist that?

You can’t. I’ve tried.

February 4th:
It’s T minus 8 sleeps to Daycare so after a visit to the centre on Friday, I’ve realised Little Miss is going to need more rough-around clothes or else I’ll be washing every damn night.
As a result, we spent yesterday morning trawling the Op Shops for shorts and tshirts (Aunty Kimmy would be proud!) and for the bargain basement price of 50c – $1 each, scored a good stash of clothes for her.
I used to do this when we lived in Western Australia and had 3 kiddies with no respect for clothing to dress. Twice a year we’d head from Carnarvon down to Geraldton for the weekend and gorge ourselves on junk food whilst getting supplies for the next 6 months, including clothes for growing kids.
There’s something so satisfying about getting a bargain. The cheapest I could buy shorts and tshirts for her brand new would be around $5 from Kmart (gotta love Kmart!).
But the best thing is I don’t worry about her wrecking them. She can dig in the sandpit and rub various foods into them and I won’t care.
There’s just one teeny tiny hiccup …
After weeks of very warm (for NZ) weather, we’ve woken to 13 degrees this morning and checking the weather report, it seems we’re back to 14 – 22 degrees for the foreseeable future. Perhaps we didn’t need so many shorts and short sleeve shirts after all.
Or maybe I need to do some more Op Shopping!

LOVE OP SHOPPING FOR BABY CLOTHES! It is now my new hobby.

February 7th:
Now that I’m back knee-deep in babyland (where nobody sleeps and food is for smushing), I’m rediscovering old storybook favourites as well as happening upon some new ones.
Little Miss received some great additions to her personal library at Christmas, including Hairy Maclary, Australian Animals and The Wonky Donkey.
If you’re not familiar with that last one, it actually comes with a CD of the song but in this day and age, who needs that when you have YouTube?
She was particularly miserable last night (bloody teeth) so I thought I’d cheer her up with The Wonky Donkey (plus the music might help drown out her grumbling).
The plan worked like a charm … then the next video came up on autoplay and I thought “Why not?”.
I absolutely love children’s stories but I especially have a soft spot for those that are a little bit irreverent and have a good injection of humour.
And so I present to you my new favourite – The Duck Song.
Enjoy!

I still get the giggles with this song. A friend at work recently asked me what music she should play to cheer me up – I showed her this. It’s now our go-to.

February 12th:
Today was supposed to be my first day back in the office but one power-spew later and I’m still here checking in via email and Skype while the tiny tyrant calls the shots.
I’d built myself up to be ready to let her go today. I was super-prepped and everything. When she upchucked, I had a brief flash of frustration … but then she cried and what can you do?
You call in sick and recalibrate for a day at home with a potential next star of The Exorcist Reloaded.
Mind you, she seems fine now.
When my now-grown kids were school-age, I used to call this phenomenon The 9am Miracle.
They were officially dying … until just after 9am and then suddenly they felt much much better. But you can’t pack them off to school, can you?
I can’t believe she knows that trick already …

Kids, man.

February 19th:
We survived our first week back at work/at daycare in true form – by the skin of our teeth.
Little Miss was off to a shaky start with a tummy bug that had her home with either mummy or daddy for two days (completely fine after one spew but you know, 48 hr daycare rule and all that) but then she hit the ground running.
No tears at drop-off … from her, anyway … and her teachers said she just slotted right in as if she’d always been there.
That, more than anything else, made it so much easier for me to not only go back to work but actually enjoy it as well.
It’s hard to put into words why going back to work makes me feel good.
Money is naturally a biggie. It’s been a tight 11 months but we’ve managed to make it through and still have a bit of fun. It is a welcome relief though, to know that we can start building up a safety net again. I really don’t like skating so close to the edge.
The workplace is another big tick. I love this company and all it stands for. The people are a wonderful bunch with awesome attitudes and smarts to boot. The work I’m involved with really interests me and I feel I can make a valuable contribution to the areas I’m now focused on (although I do miss handling the ins and outs of domains).
Being home with a young child definitely has its rewards but there’s also an awful lot of repetition. It’s also hard to give them the socialization skills they’ll need to get along with other kids when it’s pretty much a certainty that they’re going to grow up as an only child. Sure, she has 3 adult siblings but she won’t be learning about pecking orders and sharing (the easy OR hard way) from them.
This is my first go at being a working mum with a baby and I have to say it’s a little easier than I thought it would be. But then I think the chilled out, laid-back attitude Little Miss has always possessed has made it so … and for that, I am grateful.

Three months in and still loving it – even more so now we’ve got ourselves into a routine.

February 22nd:
When we got home from work/daycare yesterday I put the washing on, fed the grumbler fruit, yogurt and a baby banana biscotti (fanceee), prepped dinner, took the garbage out, hung the washing out, served dinner then finally sat down to eat. Meanwhile she’d taken a two-hour nap on Dad, so was cheerfully rejecting anything we put forward as a dining suggestion.
It was then I noted she had a slightly different air about her. Tougher. More determined. Definitely more vocal.
And I realised … I missed her.
She’s spending all day with other people and when I finally do get her back, there’s still stuff to be done that takes me away from her.
A wave of sadness washed over me and I cried, right there at the dinner table.

Adjusting to a new chapter in your life is always tough. I believe in the 6 WEEK RULE – tough anything out for 6 weeks and you’ll find it starts to get easier … and if it doesn’t, then for god’s sake make a change. Life’s too short to be miserable.

Fortunately, it has gotten better and the whole working/daycare thing has become part of our daily life – despite some curve balls, as the next compilation covering March and April will reveal.

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Home is where the kids are

static_mapHard to believe it’s been more than a week since we returned from our whirlwind tour of Emerald! Even though it was a very quick and dirty visit, we managed to jam a fair bit in and caught up with family and friends.

It’s coming up to our six month anniversary here in NZ but flying into Emerald, it felt like we’d never left. We were fortunate to have awesome weather – not too hot, not too cold – and I certainly realised belatedly that perhaps I should have slapped some fake tan on to hide the fact I am the palest I think I’ve ever been! However, I’d worked hard to landscape those legs so they had to be shown off, even if the glare was blinding.

Family dinners, breakfast BBQ’s and Fathers Day bowls were all part of the fun but for me, the nicest part was just hanging out with my three kids talking garbage. They introduced me to the joys of Rick and Morty (a terribly rude and childish yet fiendishly funny cartoon) and I encouraged their education in all things comedy with Brooklyn 99.

I’m pleased to say they are all coping extremely well without me around. The boys’ flat was neat and tidy (I do suspect a pre-mother visit clean up happened) and they all look healthy and happy. I knew they’d be fine but it’s nice to see the proof.

We spent most of our last day together watching movies and chatting and eating. Nothing spectacular but then again sometimes it’s just the simple things in life that can mean the most.

Going home for a visit

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Everything grows quicker in NZ

We’re heading back to Sunny Central Queensland for a brief visit next Father’s Day weekend and I’m so excited to catch up with the kids, family and friends for a few days. It’s been five months since we landed in New Zealand and whilst we have had such a good time getting established and finding our way (even with the few hiccups we’ve encountered), I have missed the family connections and friendships built up over time.

I’m not so excited about reacquainting myself with the heat however. We’re still doing 4 – 14 degree days here (although today is a huge 17 degrees!) whereas Emerald will be getting back up to 17 – 27 degrees while we’re home. Still, that’s fairly reasonable. I think I can take it. Except for one tiny little thing … It means I’ll have to wear shorts.

And that means I’ll have to shave my legs.

Those babies haven’t seen sunlight for months and I checked out their condition just out of curiosity the other day. I must admit … it’s not a pretty sight, people. Those poor pins are the palest colour I think they’ve ever been and whilst the overall hair coverage is relatively sparse, what is there is long and wispy. I relayed these facts to my daughter and the reply was a very disgusted “Sort dat out lady!”.

It’s on my list of things to do this weekend, along with finalising my taxes and seeing Final Fantasy XV in a special showing at the cinemas.

So I’ll be greeting the family with legs that will be bare-haired, pale and pasty … and possibly sporting a few razor cuts from lack of practice.

But at least I can console myself with the fact I’ve saved a fortune in razors.

The little things …

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I liked and shared a post on Facebook this morning called “Six reasons why you should read The Princess Bride“.  The original book by William Goldman (not the film adaptation) is so very witty, inventive and massively tongue in cheek.  I was introduced to it by my next door neighbour Helen.

She was the oldest of five kids and about 6-7 years older than me. She babysat us sometimes when we were on school holidays and had a great collection of interesting reads in the small bookcase in the room she shared with her younger sister.  I always think of Helen as my ‘dealer’, fostering a voracious appetite for reading, as well as possibly setting me on the long and winding path to a 20 year career in libraries.

On this particular day, I was sitting on the floor in her room, browsing through the titles when she reached over and pulled out one with a gorgeously hand-drawn picture of a beautiful blonde-haired woman on its cover and said, “Read this. It’s weird but funny. You’ll love it.”

As always, she was right. It was weird but really, really funny (and a little different to the movie – although this is not a movie bashing post!).

In Goldman’s telling, “The Princess Bride” is an epic work by Florinese author S. Morgenstern that Goldman’s father used to read to him as a young child. As an adult, he reads the story himself and discovers his father actually cut out large chunks of the story and only told “the good bits”. Sounds strange but it really does work.

Another literary classic Helen introduced me to was “The Hobbit”.  As usual, she picked it out for me and handed it over with the advice that I might find the language a bit hard going but I really should persevere because one day I will want to read “Lord of the Rings” and this little book with a dragon basking in a sea of gold on the front cover will set up the back story.

Helen also possessed the album Jeff Wayne’s musical version of “War of the Worlds“. Anyone remember that?  My clearest memory of Helen babysitting us consists of making and eating pancakes with lemon and sugar and my brother and I begging her to let us listen to ‘War of the Worlds’. We had to promise her that we wouldn’t have nightmares before she’d give in. Of course, we did have nightmares (I still can’t hear the musical yet creepy call of the martians’ “Ooohhllaaaa” without getting the shivers) but that was all part of the fun.

It’s been years since I last saw Helen. She grew up and left home then Mum and Dad moved house and the two families that had once lived so closely with kids in and out of each place lost touch for years at a time.

Although a couple of books and a musical record that was a little left-of-centre may seem like small things, they struck a chord and have stuck with me throughout my adulthood (I purchased ‘War of the Worlds’ on Google Play and listened to it whilst doing long haul on a bus through Europe last year. It still spooked me.)

And I have Helen to thank for introducing them to me.  I wonder if she knows that, in some small way, she is responsible for the woman I am today?

I guess the point of this whole thing is that every person that comes into your life has something to show you, even if at the time they may seem like such little things.

Failure to launch

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Failure and I are not friends

Failure.

I don’t do it well. Not at all.  And I didn’t truly realise this until the last few years.

You see, I’ve always worked hard and most of the time, I got what I wanted. Or at least, if I didn’t get it, I pretended I didn’t really want it anyway and could write a story in my head of why, in fact, not getting what I wanted was a good thing and therefore not REALLY a failure at all …

Which is kind of what I’m doing right now, having failed to get my RE motorcycle learners licence even though I’ve done 5 lessons so far and have previously ridden a moped for a few years and know how to ride a bike safely.  The most humiliating thing is, I’d pretty much posted on Facebook that after today, I would be a card-carrying bikie chick and now, after everyone’s liked and commented, I have to say “Nuh. False alarm. I missed out by one mark” and all because I’m overly cautious combined with terribly hopeless at judging distance accurately.

Of course, when I put it in perspective it’s not such a big deal. I just do the test again and finish my prac. I know I can do it but now the storytelling is starting in my head …

“$650 to do a course and get a licence that you may not ever use because you don’t even have a motorbike and even if you do shell out money for one, will you ever ride it?”

But the competitive part of me is already saying “Well, shit. Next time you’ll know the answers. You can do this. Bugger the cost and the fact  you may never use it. At least you’ll have proved a point to yourself.”

But hooo boy, I’m pissy today!

Change is good … right?

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Copy of Bruce Whatley’s ‘Ugliest Dog in the World’ for Illustration assignment

For years I studied for first my library degree and then graduate diploma in information studies whilst raising small, incessantly noisy children.
We shifted a fair bit so I waited patiently in each new town for a library staff member to retire, leave … or die. Finally, I scored the job as manager of a library service, stretching across 10 branches and 60,000 square kilometres of Central Queensland.

And then I quit.

Well, ok. There was a tad more to it than that.
I underwent massive personal growth (read: shitty shitty times) and decided that what I needed to get me through was to study again. Study is my happy place.
Originally, it was going to be something boring but useful like bookkeeping.

But then I spied the CATC school’s online Graphic Design course … which is why I now work from home as a graphic designer and proofreader.

Change is hard. Very hard. But ultimately, it is a good thing.

What’s this blog about? I’m really not sure, to tell you the truth.  I can tell you what I want it to be.  Funny and … huh.  That’s probably about it.

And possibly I’ll throw a few arty things in, just to make it look like I’m creative (like the illustration above that I did with pencil then scanned and coloured just to play around with Photoshop a little) when actually, what I do best is putting together dry old documents and bedazzling them just a little so people won’t want to slit their wrists when they have to pretend to read them. I’m good at that.  I’m also good at being a grammar nazi, but that’s a whole other post.