20 December 2012

What I've learned - the first year of school

  • Buy two hats.
  • Buy more socks than you think you'll need, in one type only, so they're easy to match, for both you and the kid.
  • Label everything. They're going to lose stuff. And I mean EVERYTHING. I even labelled M's swimming cap and goggles with an indelible marker for swimming lessons at the beginning of the last term. She lost the cap... but it was returned, thanks to the name being there.
  • Be prepared to go through a few pairs of shoes. We're up to pair #3 and they're falling apart. These aren't the top of the range, but at $60 they're still up there.
  • Buy more drink bottles than you think you'll need.
  • Buy a big bag. That school kid is going to need to fit folders, books, library books and a whole load of stuff in there. Make sure it's supportive, but big.
  • Buy enough uniforms that you don't ned to wash every few days, if possible.
  • Practice packing lunch. We figured out that M couldn't easily open her squeezy yoghurts a few weeks in, so we just cracked the seal for her and she could then open it easily. I've made little snips on pre-packed bags of soy snacks just lately too.
  • The kid will bring home piles and piles and piles of art, craft, papers, books, papers, crafts... It is scary. Find a big box. File it. Take a photo and throw it out. Do something, and do it consistently. The amount of stuff is overwhelming.
  • Fill out permission slips, pay for shows, excersions and anything that costs money as soon as you get the note. Just do it, and send the note back the next day.
  • Get a big fat calendar with lots of space per day and write down all the important dates as soon as you get the. Seriously, do it. School terms, pupil free days, excursions, shows, parties, special dress up days, tuck shop days... There is so much going on and it is so easy to lose track of. For instance, we simply did not know there was a pupil free day in October and only discovered this on a Thursday night, with the pupil free day on the Monday.
  • Make connections with the other parents. These are going to be your people for a long time. Be open and non-judgemental, make an effort to chat and reach out. You'll see them at school, functions and birthday parties, so make it good and positive. There are some great parents out there, friends to make and they will help you out when you need it - I've had mums help M put her first tuckshop order in, other mums have offered to care for her over these school holidays for a day here and there.

28 November 2012

I want to blog, but it just isn't happening

So many times, I have begun to write. Yesterday, I even got around to uploading a photo. Or should I say, attempted - apparently I've gone over my photo limit and I need to buy more space. Hmm. Not going to happen. So many things have been happening, just the gentle and not-so-gentle waves of life, kids growing up, weekends away, stuff and things. I want to write it all down to read about later but it just doesn't come. I want to be more truthful. More of myself.

I'm unsure about which direction to take.

I haven't finished blogging. I'm just not sure where or how I'll be doing it. I miss this space.

18 October 2012

Obsessed with clouds

I'm not sure whether it was joining Instagram or the availability of my iPhone that prompted my obsession with clouds, sunrises and sunsets. I'm constantly looking up, looking out windows, stopping and snapping the sky or the horizon. Every day, I appreciate the sky. Soak in the sunrises as I catch the train. Watch the sun setting as I drive home. Stop the car to take cool cloud photos. Point out skies to my kids. I love it, a quiet delight.

What is it that catches your eye? What do you just love taking photographs of? What is your quiet, or not so quiet little delight?

You can follow me on Instagram (@blythe_life) to see more cloud obsession!

17 October 2012

Making volcanos

Bi carb soda and vinegar. Add a few dinosaurs, fern fronds and some toy cars and you have an afternoon of fun. M enjoyed the dinosaur theme at school, and brought this little experiment home to impress her brother. We did a version with red food colouring which was fun and weird, very messy! This was just as much fun and easy.

16 October 2012

Spring time - at the beach

I took these photos exactly a month ago and they have sat in a draft post since then. Since then, we have taken our jumpers off and had several swims. Just this weekend it has been a little chilly again, but the heat will return.

Since our trip to Caloundra, the kids have a new interest in rock pools, little snails and limpets. And jelly fish, of course. "Can I touch this one, Mum?"

The boys, checking out the surfers.

The familiar skyline. Know where it is?

 Love this one, action boy!

15 October 2012

Birthdays: now she is six

So, the girl turned six. Six years old.

Here they are the night before - her last night as a five year old. He is three. It took him quite a while and a lot of help from his big sister to get these fingers to do this!

And here she is, on the morning of her sixth birthday. She was very, very excited! Love that she already has paint on her shirt in this photo!

Early morning presents.

I've calculated that she will almost always celebrate her birthday on school holidays, which has positive and negative results. She has the day off and generally a family member will always be with her to have a fun day. She won't get to celebrate with her friends on the actual day, but I did take cupcakes in on the first day back to school. Actually, I guess it's a good thing. My mum spent the day with her and they had an easy morning together, then headed off to a craft centre for an afternoon of creativity. She was in heaven... We followed it up by dinner at Sizzler, which is turning in to her little tradition. This year, she was able to serve herself with most things, and it's just another little step towards being her own person, no longer a little girl. She can figure out how to get the ice machine working, find a spoon, get an extra plate. It sounds like a tiny little action, but watching her walk up by herself was a moment. A parenting moment. She is six.

16 September 2012

Weekend away, Instagram style

We booked this very impromptu weekend away at about 9.30pm Thursday night. Friday morning we packed up, headed off and relaxed for the long weekend up on the Sunshine Coast. It was fabulous.

1 September 2012

He laughs out loud at life

My sweet little man. He's such a funny lilttle kid. He laughs out loud at life. He really does laugh, and you know, a little kid laughing is the sweetest, funniest sound.

He leaves stuff everywhere, a little miniature path of destruction and mess. He crashes in to stuff, especially his sister's creations. On purpose, of course. He pulls and pushes and attaches ropes and pretends to tow things along. He loves to play in his Aba's tool box, just for fun.

He loves cars and trucks and trains and "bumpy bumpy", which is four wheeling driving, if you didn't know. Actually, he's kind of obsessed by four wheel driving.

Everywhere he goes, he leaves a little trail. He unpacks, squishes, breaks, moves and crumbles objects, anything and everything.

His littles messes are kind of cute. He is a whole lot of cute. And naughtiness. He's so mischievous, which is funny but also a little bit of a concern for me and Itay at times. It's something we need to keep an eye, because he can be quite strong and forceful for such a tiny little man.

My baby boy. "I'm not a  baby, Mummy, I'm a big boy!"

31 August 2012

Food for littles

We're looking at our food again, and what it is made up of. We seem to ebb and flow with little paths we journey on, and this is one we just need to become part of us, of our family and our routine.
We've certainly been challenged by M's school lunches and snacks. Peer pressure and suddenly just not liking foods she used to like - it's making packing her school food difficult. We're reasonably time poor these days, now we're both working full time. It is easier to buy some pre-packaged snacks, but at what cost to health? We buy popcorn, potato sticks and I have been known to buy homebrand chocolate teddies sometimes. She was eating cheese sticks and the little Happy Cow cheeses, but no longer. The kids were also devouring the flavoured squeezy yoghurts but shit, there is a lot of sugar in those sachets. We're not buying those any longer.
Crackers - there is so much crap in almost every single cracker out there, even plain rice crackers. Look at the packet, check out the numbers in those suckers. Please tell me if you find one without numbers, OK? I'm desperate. She used to love sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, fruits of all kids. Now she might or might not eat sliced carrots, not pear or apple because they go brown, Mum and rockmelon and strawberries quite often come home uneaten. She's currently eating wraps for big lunch, tomorrow she's having hommous with left over home made sliced chicken schnitzel. Other days it is tuna, whole egg mayonaise and cheese. She's off ham - which is proabbly a good thing. Sulphates, anyone?
The school canteen - I thought they sorted that shit out? They still serve nuggets, spring rolls and party pies. My girl wants to eat them, she's a kid and they're OK to eat sometimes. But not for school lunch. It's harder than I thought, being a school mum.

30 August 2012

Style girl

I love it when M dresses and accessorises herself. She has quite a funky eclectic taste, and she wears it with confidence! Here is her signature headband look...

And here she is again, same park, colder day, wearing mummy's scarf and signature headband style. I am so very biased, but she is one beautiful little girl. Her manners in public are almost impeccable, she has very litle hesitation in asking for hellp, ordering food or asking for a colouring book when we're out at a cafe. In private however, it's a totally diferent story. Sigh... But she is a good kid, a little rule follower, this girl. She turns six in just a short couple of months. Six! Crazy, crazy thought.

She's taking photos of herself in this picture, I think. Concentrating hard. Such an affectionate girl. I hope she wants to hold my hand for a lot longer as we walk through the school gates. Love her so.

23 August 2012

Finding style

I know I've mentioned this before, but as I grow older, I'm losing my identity. I have no style. I look in the mirror and see a ravaged face, acne scars, deep grey circles under my eyes. I see a deformed, misshapen body. I see thin, lifeless, lank hair that seems almost bare in patches since having children. I see and feel no style, no love for my body. No respect for my body. Oh man, I have some work to do.

I feel mumsy. I know I am a mum, I love my kids and I know it is the biggest role of my life. But I don't feel fresh or fun or stylish. I need to embrace colour, I want to express myself a little more. Any ideas? 

22 August 2012

I'm scared

Instead of getting up at 5.30am tomorrow morning, I'm getting up at 5am instead. The commute is down to just Fridays, I'm back on the coast. But tomorrow, I'm dragging myself out of bed to get back to the gym. I haven't been for months and I'm scared. I just know how much it's going to hurt and hard it is going to be, physically and mentally.

I just have to start looking after my body again. Working in Brisbane has been so bad for my fitness, exercise has been absolutely non-existant, I've been sitting on my backside for three hours on the train and then on my butt again for the eight hour work day. Crappy food and alcohol has been over the top. I must do somthing about it. I can feel the self hatred bubbling just under the surface and no doubt as the sun begins to warm the days just a little more, those bubbles will burst to the surface.

Plus my pants don't fit. But did I mention I'm scared? It's so hard, exercise. The only type of exercise I can think of that I truly, truly enjoy is dancing. Or was dancing. Oh, I just need to stop analysing it and just do what is best for my health. and that means exercising, and doing it no matter what. I did enjoy it last year, when I was in a routine and just getting up and doing it. Wish me luck.

7 August 2012

The commute

At the moment, I need to be on the train at 6.23am. That means my "personal grooming" routine is very bloody simple. I shower, brush my teeth, moisturise my face and I get some mascara on. Often I brush my hair, but some days I just go with bed hair and brush it at work. I tend to put on the remainder of my make up on the train, and still I guess my "beauty routine" is pretty minimal. I do eyeliner, sometimes eyeshadow (one or two colours), foundation and paw paw ointment on my lips. That's it. Even if I'm dressing up for a night out, I'll just go a tiny bit heavier on the eye makeup. I never wear lipstick or blush, powder or anything else.

As fascinating as my morning beauty stuff is, my question is this: what is OK on public transport? I'm often quite concious of people watching me while I do my make up. I don't mind people doing their make up on the train. It's a pretty unoffensive action. But what is not OK on public transport?

It doesn't bother me when people file their nails. Cutting their nails however, grosses me out. Ughhhh. Painting nails is just too stinky in an enclosed space. Picking skin, picking noses, need I say it? It's just repulsive. This includes picking spots. I think I'm going to vomit. I've seen all these.

Then there are people who sing loudly to their music. Those who take up a seat with their shopping for the hour long trip. People who have the volume on their laptops, iPads and phones turned up, so you hear every Words With Friends score and refill of the letters. Wow, I'm being really picky, huh? Can you tell I'm just a tad over this whole commuting thing?

Thankfully, I'm almost at the end of the journey. I'm back on the coast four days a week, as of next week. Just one day of commuting per week, and I think that will be OK.

Weekend la la

Even though we had another brillant winter sunshiney weekend whcih we enjoyed outside, when I uploaded my photos, they were inside photos. Inside activities. Blocks. Thomas. I lazed on the lounge and read, the Olympics on in the background, the kids crawling over me and M applying makeup to every surface of my body available. Lucky it's winter!

The art girl was prolific, as always. Origami is hard. Very, very hard and requires a great deal of patience. Luckily M has a very talented and patient after school carer who is an expert in origami.

Another mess by the girl. There's a fruit basket in there, some more origami and a whole lot of stuff, mid-creation.

So many messes, so much noise. If I ever find out who invented the damn recorder... Itay gave a visual demonstration to the kids of "how Mummy's head explodes when there is too much noise", using hamburger mix. Imagine a raw, round hamburger and then a fist squishing it. Apparently that is my head. And actually, it's true. I don't deal well with lots of noise. I can't stand creaking noises or clocks ticking. I can't sleep when a tap is dripping. Kid noise... aaggh!

Luckily there were some quiet moments. I love love love that we can often find O sitting peacefully in his room, reading his books.

M is never really quiet, she's always chattering away at the top of her voice about something hugely important that requires all my attention. Wow, she can talk. Non-stop, non-freaking-stop.

Anyhow, we did outside stuff too. Beach. Scooting. Park. Ice cream by the beach. My litle guy simply adores chocolate and icecream, so chocolate gelato is a crazy dream come true for him. He's hilarious! This gelato was so rich, but he just devoured it with intense concentration. When he's really enjoying food, he does this crazy, sweet little thing - after each completed mouthful he pumps his fist and shouts "bub-ee!". It's hilarious!

It was stunning by the beach. Oh winter, you are so beautiful here on the coast, but I'm happy for you to go now. I'd like to jump in that divine water pretty soon please!