Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Finding Summer

Somewhere amid the gusting easterly winds, grey sky and scattered showers, it's supposed to be summer. The forecast says 'don't make beach plans this week' or words to that effect. So I say, let's get to the beach now kids before that wind picks up some more.   If there's a summer out there, we'll find it. And drag it kicking and screaming back home with us if we must.

First stop: Nan's house. The kids chased each other on hands and knees across the lawn. Gathered flowers to show me. It became a game to see who could find the best floral treasure. Then the Lily Bug discovered Nan's yellow tomatos. Yellow! Her favourite colour. Yellow is the colour of happiness she frequently tells me. Yellow is the magical colour that made her love capsicums. And scrambled eggs. And cheese. But not yet Nan's yellow tomatos. They're not quite ripe enough.

Then it was on to the beach. We love the beach when those easterly winds turn the calm flat waters of Narrow Neck into a small-scale surf beach. Exciting, without being overwhelming. The kids ran circles around each other and practiced handstands. Buried treasure. Jumped the white wash. Technically, it's summer. The wind was warm.

The journey home had me singing crazy songs at the top of my voice to stop Guy Smiley from falling asleep in the car. Don't want him to be up all night. Of course, he went into over-tired mode and was up half the night anyway. Least it gave him some bonding time with dad who has been working long hours with little time off.  They love to play *insert random car racing game here* on the X-box together. The Lad brings out the foam mattress and duvet, and Guy Smiley snuggles down with him and makes broom-broom sounds. The novelty usually wears off after five minutes, but those minutes are gorgeous.

Guy Smiley has a dimple on each cheek. Look close and you'll see. Gorgeous it is.

So that was our Tuesday. And I'm catching up with Communal Global for the first time in weeks and weeks, & Our World Tuesday for the first time, to share it. :)

People don't notice whether it's winter or summer when they're happy.
~Anton Chekhov

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Hairy Mistress ya'll!

Ahhh Christmas...

In which the Lily Bug morphed into a mouth-frothing sugar-crazed addict and spent a large part of the afternoon bug-eyed and shrieking "bu-ut I-I-I Wa-a-nt More-mm-mm-more CAAANDY CAAANES!!" Guy Smiley learnt to say a new word ("lolly"), flipped out into the unhappy realm of too-much-excitement-not-enough-sleep, then spent the late afternoon lulled into calm thanks to total train set immersion.

The Teen was well satisfied with her present haul, and fortuitously rescued from the glaze-eyed boredom of hanging out with the family thanks to the arrival of a friend who had otherwise been faced with spending Christmas Day alone. (Some kids bring home stray animals, the Teen brings stray humans. It's cute. Though, often difficult to tell her we don't have enough room to keep them, unfortunately...)

I had woken several times in the night, just wishing the kids would hurry up and wake so I could see their faces as they unwrapped the gifts they'd been coveting for months. And yes, once a little voice down the hallway called out, "is it Christmas?!" it was all on. And it was fantastic.

 But when that initial excitement had worn off and the rustle of Christmas wrappings died down, a kind of silence followed. For the kids, it was the realisation that the surprises had come to an end. For us, it was the realisation that with the Lad's family so far away and my family so geographically close but yet so emotionally distant from each other, we lacked the camaraderie with extended family to keep the momentum of the day going.  All those weeks of anticipation had reached their peak, and now it was time to come back down. There was still feasting to be done, but there was a bit of sadness in realising a few important components of the day were missing. Namely; family. Loads and loads of family.

Next year... Next year we'll hit the beach on Christmas Day.  

Meanwhile, the Teen has gone away on holiday for a few days and unlike the rest of her family, she has learnt to pace herself on the chocolate/candy front. Thus her Christmas haul has probably loaded her up with enough midnight nibbles to last until mid-year. So... I wonder where she's stashed it? *wink wink*

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Do you like Green Eggs and Ham?

Last week our household received a selection of Be Natural cereals and cereal bars to review; the arrival of which provoked an unprecedented level of ravenous excitement within the family (breakfast cereal has recently become one of those staples I've completely bypassed in my weekly Trolley Derby Dash of Terror).

On occasion, the back of our pantry has become a weevil paradise of failed breakfast cereals. It's not that I want to breed these creatures, it's just that I buy *insert bad cereal* with good intentions, find neither myself nor anyone else in the house are able to get beyond the first bowl, and it sits in the pantry waiting for me to find a starving animal to feed it to. Before long it gets nudged out of sight. From the Uncle Toby's flavoured  porridge in single serve sachets (fail) to the Vogels Cafe Style muesli (Epic Fail - and although the Teen informs me it's no longer cool to say that phrase any more, in this case, it must be said), many a cereal has become weevil fodder in our household. Thus, I have learnt to stick to the basics (Weetbix and thereabouts). And to perhaps clean out the pantry more often.

So, it goes without saying that I approached this trial with my Skeptical Goggles on...

In under a week, we have consumed the contents of everything you see in this picture. Including the wooden coffee table. Did we enjoy the product? I bought more Trail Bars from the supermarket today.

FIRST IMPRESSION: The natural look packaging is of course the first thing to grab attention.  100% recycled, the cardboard has a nice feel to it. The people who created these cereals paid attention to the details when ensuring their product comes across as 'natural'.

The first cereal we feasted our eyes upon was Pink Lady Apple and Flame Raisin. The Lad was intrigued by the word 'Flame' (for the record, he's not a pyromaniac, but he is a bloke who likes flame paint jobs on cars, thus a connection was made). The Teen liked the colours in the packaging and I liked the promise of fruit.

The box told us we were about to consume '5 whole grain flakes mixed with pink lady and granny smith apples, flame raisins with linseed, pepita & amaranth clusters'. Sounded interesting. The promise of 'whole grains' was appealing.  

Marketers, you've done your job well.

Of course, eco-friendly packaging and clever phrasing are all well and good at face value, but if the product itself lacks appeal, then all you're really left with is a pretty box and food for the weevils. So... How did it taste?

THE BREAKFAST CEREAL TASTE TEST: Fortunately, Pink Lady Apple and Flame Raisin tasted as appealing as it sounded.  Delicious - and with perfect crunch. So much so, I was tempted to sleep with the cereal box beneath my pillow so no one else in the house could scoff it before me. The Teen declared her wish to marry the cereal and have its babies. I'm the jealous type. I want to have its babies.

Clutching the last vestiges of my skepticism, I wasn't sure if we were enjoying this stuff because it truly tasted good, or because we were sick to death of runny grobbles?  So I personally had to eat a couple of bowls in a single sitting before I could properly determine the answer to that question. ;)

Yes... *chomp chomp* It's still good.

The Cashew, Almond, Hazelnut & Coconut was a favourite for the Lads (pluralised because the Teen had her Lad over on the day the courier arrived, thus he became a patron of the cereal smorgasbord). I'm not a big fan of coconut and one of the Lads agreed it was maybe a smidge heavy on the coconut, but the vote on that issue was split down the middle - the other two taste testers thought it was perfect. I definitely enjoyed this with yogurt and chopped banana.

The 5 Whole Grain Flakes had a subtle, slightly sweetened flavour, and perfect crunch. If you're a fan of cornflakes, you will LOVE this stuff because it is so much tastier. It has a higher sugar percentage than Skippy Cornflakes but I didn't find the need to add sugar as I would do with regular cornies. Also, the Grain Flakes had far more fibre. It was awesome with yogurt, and if you throw in some fresh fruit you've got Nirvana right there (I'm talking about the a state of transcendence involving the subjective experience of release from a prior state of bondage, not the band).

The most awesome thing about these cereals is that the kids really enjoyed them. I expected the Lily Bug to give them a taste and then request something else, and I expected Guy Smiley to send the bowl sprawling across the room without even trying. (He is a seriously fussy eater. Whenever he sees me coming towards him with a plate of food, I can all but hear him mutter "Sam I Am, Sam I Am, I DO NOT LIKE that Sam I AM.")

However, the munchkins sat nicely at their little table, and ate every last scrap of their Grain Flakes Nirvana with a sprinkling of Flame Raisin Stuff. Seriously, even Guy Smiley. I know right? I am officially a believer.

ON TO THE TRAIL BARS: With their 5 whole grains...

Nut & Fruit was the first cereal bar our household tried, and the initial thought was that it was too dry. However, half way through and we each collectively agreed it was not too bad. A bit middle of the road in taste, but probably nutrionally preferrable to the bars I usual buy. And the kids ate them quite happily!

EVEN THE LILY BUG'S FRIEND CALLED *DEXTER WHO IS A FUSSY ONE. YES, I HAVE TO SHOUT THIS OUT TO YOU. Because that my friends, is quite possibly amazing. One in four kids at the park did not eat this, but that one's mildly obsessive-compulsive when it comes to food so I wouldn't take it personally. As yes, yes her mother said it's okay for me to say that. I hope.

Berry was the delicious winner out of the Trail Bars. The berries were enough to prevent the bars from tasting a bit too dry. The Teen Who Usually Eats Air For Breakfast zombie-shuffled to these bars each afternoon as soon as she woke up. Cried when they were all gone. Made me buy more. Amazing.

I like green eggs and ham!
I do!! I like them, Sam-I-am!
And I would eat them in a boat!
And I would eat them with a goat...
And I will eat them in the rain.
And in the dark. And on a train.
And in a car. And in a tree.
They are so good so good you see!

The Lily Bug's kindy has recently adopted a strict healthy food policy, and anything deemed as junk is sent home unopened.  The fact that the munchkins are happy to eat these without needing them to be slathered in chocolate, is a good thing. Compared to another brand we buy, Be Natural Trail Bars are much lower in sugar and fat (albeit higher in sodium).  Would I buy these? Already stocked up.
I do so like
green eggs and ham!
Thank you!
Thank you,

(Sorry about that, I just have that story stuck in my head.) 

End note:  Man, can I ramble.

Friday, 16 December 2011

What a great Grinchy trick. With this coat and this hat, I'll look just like Saint Nick!

I want to blog about Christmas even less than I want to blog about doing the hundred yard hurdle at the supermarket. But since I've already crossed one line... Well, what the hell.

I'm a bit confused on the topic of Santa. And I kind of need to talk this out. (In other words: Brace yourself, this is gonna suck out your will to live.)

Between Mall Santas, in-store Santas, Kindy Christmas Party Santas, Playcentre Christmas Party Santas, Animates 'bring your pet in for a Christmas photo' Santas and that other fella who's meant to be stuffing himself down our non-existent chimney on Christmas Eve, I'm feeling a wee bit disillusioned. In fact, I'm beginning to wonder if this big jolly fat man is real at all, or if he's just a story my parents cooked up to force me into compliance for a few weeks out of every year?

I've discussed this matter with the kids, and they've reassured me that yes, Santa is real and yes, I will wake on Christmas morning to find my hearts desire gift wrapped at the foot of the Christmas tree. In fact, the Lily Bug is absolutely positive of this, as she had a wee chat with Santa at the Kindy party, and he promised her yes, yes he will be bringing her that great big Tyrannosaurus from Dinosaur Train.  That was a relief for our wee girl, especially as we'd told her maybe Santa was all out of stock on Interactive Boris.  Thank you Santa! Turns out she won't have to settle for a dinosaur book and a collection of small plastic dinosaurs after all!

I'm still skeptical though, especially when I was under the impression that there's only ONE Father Christmas, and yet, all the ones I've seen so far look different... In fact, I still remember the Santa of Farmers Westgate 2009 who was YOUNG and HOT! Pfft! That threw one Santa myth right out the window...

They're all Santa's helpers, I overheard one mother say to a child who appeared as confoogled by this as me. Okay, well that's... that's believable.... I guess...

Well anyway, this evening we're going to the Playcentre Christmas Party, and there we're going to see Santa again! And he's going to be giving the kids a small present each! Which is fantastic, because I thought he only came along once a year to dish out presents! That's another Santa myth blown away!


Okay okay I know... I'm the Grinch who stuffed Christmas in a sack and hiffed it into the river. Though regardless of how I may sound right now, I do enjoy Christmas and I can't wait to see the expressions of my kids as they open their presents and then tear around the house for the rest of the day on a candy-cane fueled sugar high. I'm just a wee bit out of sorts with all these Santas.

But I am thankful that the Lily Bug didn't ask the Kindy Santa for a real live winged unicorn. No idea where we'd he'd find the right kind of magic spell for one of those. ;)

And he puzzled and puzzed, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more."

Monday, 12 December 2011

When Life Hands Out Lemons...

I can't - and don't ever wish to - imagine what I would do if a visit to my doctor resulted in a worst-case diagnosis and a death sentence. Like most people I'm sure, I tend to bumble along through life assuming I'm going to live forever; watch my kids grow, spawn grandchildren for me to fuss over, look after me when I'm ancient and senile whether-they-want-to-or-not-ungrateful-little-sods, and then pass away peacefully in my sleep. At the ripe age of 307. No less.

This is the way it's going to play out. Don't try to tell me any different.

A recent article about Natalie Murphy, a young mum dying of cancer, reminded me of how fragile life really is. It can be so easy to overlook the things that really matter - especially when you assume you'll live forever and so allow yourself to procrastinate on actually living (and how many of us do that? Spend each day going through the same motions as this same day last week, and all the while functioning in a perpetual state of 'existance' rather than 'life'? Many of us, I'm sure. Not every day perhaps. But far too often.)

Not that I'm suggesting hot air balloon rides should replace conventional motor vehicles when venturing to the supermarket and white water rafting be the next thing to take place each day after brushing ones teeth, but sometimes it's easy to overlook and find happiness in the smallest most simplest things in life. Such as conversations with the three year old about the best way to get back down to earth if you happen to find yourself stuck in a cloud (so far it seems riding the back of a friendly dragon is the preferred mode of transport. Followed closely by 'overly large albatross' and 'very tall bean stalk'.)

Natalie's story is a heartbreaking one, but she amazes me with her upbeat attitude. I'd like to think that I could be so positive if I were in her situation - for the sake of my children if not for myself.  Though if truth be told, I try not to picture myself in her situation at all; for fear that envisioning myself in such a scenario, even fleetingly, may invite the Cancer Monster in.  Because there's always a small niggling worry at the back of my head, that one day an accident or illness will befall me and I won't be around to help my kids grow, and eventually partake in all those awesome parties they're gonna be throwing me each time I enter a new decade of infirmity.

This is a sombre topic to blog about, I know. But I just can't get it out of my head. For Natalie, this is the reality: She's been given two to eight weeks left to live.

I keep trying to run that through my head - how I'd cope in the face of such a grim reality - but there's that fear of jinxing myself again. Don't think of the Cancer Monster, don't invite it in. Because once I start thinking about it, anxiety starts to kick in. My life is not perfect, as such. We don't have a nice house, or a fat income, and our family have far more in common with the Adams Family than the Brady Bunch. But it's my perfect life to me, and I'm so so afraid of Fate doing anything to take that away.

There was a point to my ramblings tonight, though I started to waft off after the second paragraph (as did anyone reading this, I'm sure). But just in case there's still someone out there...

There is an auction for Natalie Murphy and her family, which is being run right here, by Mila Jean Denim & Cool. Many craft-minded people have donated their gorgeous hand made products to the cause. The auction will be held on 17 Dec and meanwhile, I believe crafty donations are still being added if anyone would like to contribute.

Totally off topic: Here's my favourite song of the moment. YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO IT. So far I have chucked it on repeat approximately 13 times tonight. One night I kept the Teen awake until 2.30am because of I just kept listening to it over and over... Bet she regretted introducing me to it, huh?

"Please learn from my journey. Learn ahead of ‘time’ what is important and appreciate your life, your loved ones. Appreciate the partner that drives you crazy sometimes cos you know you don’t actually want to live without them. Appreciate your children that often whine and exhaust you because you love them more than life – you’d probably sacrifice your own for theirs." ~ Natalie Murphy:

Thursday, 8 December 2011

And runny grobbles for the children

I don't want to blog about my supermarket misadventures - I don't want to be that tedious. But if we're going to be honest here, I have been driven bat shit crazy and I have to get this off my chest:  My last half a dozen trips to the supermarket have been like a trip. A bad LSD trip from my teenage days. Except this time the chocolate bars aren't talking to me.

You know those contests where a person is given 60 seconds to race around and fill their trolley with as much random crap as they can throw in it? My shopping trips are like that, except I don't get to win my groceries at the end. Nor do I end up with anything I actually want and/or need. I just get a small child who tries to climb the confectionery shelves at the checkout while I shove my random stuff onto the conveyer belt and pray I've slung together enough groceries to actually prepare at least one complete dinner for the week. Because Gods help me if I have to come back to this damned place again today.

This isn't my photo. My camera is broken again, so I kinda borrowed this from

 The agitator here is Guy Smiley, who, at the darling age of two-in-three-months, is at this charming stage where he rebels against any kind of constraint. Car seat constraints are where the trouble begins, but that's a halfway manageable problem. With enough perseverance and brute force on my part (gentle brute force, I should add), he will eventually consent to being buckled into his seat. It's the battle for the supermarket trolley's toddler seat that I absolutely cannot win. Not even with chocolate bars. Talking or otherwise.

Being constrained to stay at my side once we enter the supermarket sparks insurgence. For approximately five seconds, Guy Smiley will pretend to hold my hand, until that exact moment when I think to myself "yay, he's going to be placid toda - aaahhhfuckit!" And he's off. Legging it at the fist opportunity, as fast as his fat little legs can project him. Then as an added blow to my will to live, he'll drop to a thrashing dead weight when I try to pick him up.  It's guerrilla warfare, and I'm throwing canned missiles into my trolley in the futile hope of being able to strike some kind of culinary taste-bomb once I get home.

The Lily Bug is no help at all. Not that I should expect her to be, at the tender age of four-in-two-months. She'll say "I'll go get him mum!" and the next moment she's hot on his heels, tugging at his hand and squealing "come on, let's go this way!" The supermarket has become my children's training ground for total anarchy.

As the Lad helpfully offered, "really Callie, you're trips to the supermarket are pretty fucking pointless". And the Lad would be right.

Though, I challenge him to do a better job, when his son is rocketing through the store like a runaway pinball and the walls are closing in on him as he's caught in the grip of what could be an acid flashback of '93 but is most likely a really bad anxiety attack..

My dreams are still filled with the disapproving frowns of disapproving shoppers with their disapproving head shakes and their disapproving mutters of .. well... disapproval. Bastards.

Please, if you see a blue haired lady dashing through Countdown Westgate in pursuit of two wee Che Guevara's... Please throw some grocery staples into her trolley. She always forgets the sugar, flour or toilet paper, and it's it's been about two months since the bathroom last had a light bulb.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Feelin' Kinda Smurfy

Okay, so dying my hair blue wasn't one of my smartest ideas. Though, couldn't be worse than the mohawk of '99, the Accidental Mullet of '93, or the I Ran Away From Home Now No One Will Recognise Me Undercut of '91.

... I think ...

Callie Logic dictates that if you're feeling kinda old and haggard and full of promises and dreams unfullfilled; dye your hair Smurfy Blue. It will make you feel younger, and it will make children laugh. At you or with you? What does it matter.

Do I wish I'd worn gloves during application? Yes. *facepalm*

Do I wish I'd gone through this makeover after the upcoming Kindy Christmas party and young child's birthday party? Absolutely. Someone is bound to ask if I juggle. For a living.

In other news... Where can I find advent calenders? The Teen has been moaning and whinging for days that she has never ever had an advent calender (though I argue she did have one once upon a time, a long long time ago - and I believe she may have eaten all the chocolate in one sitting. Or maybe that was me?) Of course, just my luck that when I finally venture out to the dreaded mall to buy three of them (what's the harm in starting late in the month?) they're all gone.

Once again I have proven to be a total let down - filled with promises and dreams unfulfilled. The hair colour didn't save me from that after all. (Aww don't worry, I'm not going all sad and Emo - I write this in mirth. Mirth I tell you! Maybe I should just do a lil sticky-out-tongue face? :P)

Monday, 28 November 2011

101 Totally Awesome Things About My Life *note sarcasm*

I am not a Mall person.  Malls make me anxious.

I don't know if it's due to the throngs of people who meander slowly ahead of me when I'm trying to chase down my wayward children, or a sub-conscious fear that if the Zombie Apocalypse was to happen while in a mall, I'd be trapped with a shitload of annoying teenagers and prissy office girls enjoying an 'extended lunchbreak'.

God forbid. I wouldn't know whether to run from the brain eating zombies or the girls stampeding their way to Supre for a free-for-all. Either way...  Though, least if I were trapped in a Mall, I could find refuge in the confectionery isle of K-Mart - no self-conscious teen or stereotypically skinny office girl would be seen undead there, right?

Wait, it's the zombies I'm meant to be running from in this scenario, isn't it? Damn it, I forgot what nightmare situation I was writing about for a minute there.

In fact, I completely forgot what I was writing about from the moment I typed the words 'Zombie Apocalypse'.

Oh. That's right. Christmas shopping.

 For the most part, we've got Christmas sorted, but there's going to come a time - very soon now - where I'm gonna have to suck in a big brave breath and negotiate my way through a mall teeming with crazy-eyed shoppers and brain-eating teenagers.

It is inevitable that in the next three weeks, I will find myself trapped in a unbearably long checkout line with my six rolls of gift wrap, shopping basket of confectionery 'stocking stuffers' and a box set of American Chopper that no staff member will be able to find the discs for.  I will worry that my card will decline, even though I know there will be enough money on it to cover what I am about to purchase. The children will transform into snarling Wargs and Grumkins as soon as they see the shelf of lollipops alongside them. Someone will begin to cry.

In that moment, the walls will close in on me as the anxiety attack takes its hold. I will consider Pirate Bay as the source for the Lad's box set, rethink the necessity of Christmas stockings and start wondering if we really need all this wrapping paper, or if we could just upcycle the kids impressive stash of Playcentre paintings...

Looks like they're painting Christmas colours to me! Or as the Lad suggests, Zombie brain splatter patterns!

All of this will happen. It's a scenario that's as much a nightmare tradition for our family as leaving up the Christmas tree for the first four months of the new year and drawing a face on a toilet roll and calling it the Xmas tree fairy because we've lost the original (actually, that one's not tradition at all, but I'm planning on making it so this year - just for shits and giggles.)

But as far as shopping malls go, I'll have my say in that at least. And I'll take my chances with Westgate. It's spacious outdoor design and dead boring selections of shops should filter out most of the teeming hoardes, and if all else fails, there's a Hunting and Fishing shop up the road, just in case I need to score myself some guns to deal with any f#%^ng annoying teenag  zombies.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Staking out my place for the summer

Auckland's Cheltenham Beach on a hot sunny day at low tide is the BEST place to be. And it's where you'll find me, as much as possible, over the next few summer months.

At low tide you can wade through crystal clear shallow water until it seems you'll reach Rangitoto island and still find the water only up to your knees. (Well, at least until you begin to reach the channel, during which time the water quickly deepens and becomes choppy and you start to wonder if one more step will drop you over your head. It's always at that point that I realise just how far from the shoreline I have waded, and turn back in fear of sharks - and of being over my head.)

There is an ankle-deep stretch of water that forms between the beach and a super low sand bar that shows itself during low tide. This water warms up nicely in the sun and is perfect for a 20 month old who wants to splash about but is still nervous of the ocean.

Cheltenham, and neighbouring Narrow Neck, are the beaches of my childhood. My happiest memories are the ones created here. From digging for pippis at Cheltenham, to wandering the rocks of Narrow Neck in search of sea snails (which in hindsight, fill me with horror to know that my mother actually made me think it was normal to eat those things!)

It may not be so easy for our family to reach the beach these days, being that we have to make a 25 minute drive as opposed to the 5 minute stroll of my childhood, but I plan to help the munchkins create as many awesome memories at this place as I can.

But maybe without the collecting and eating of sea snails.

The photo where the Lily Bug is running with her tongue sticking out? That was her "I'm about to initiate a sand fight' face. Poor girl, what was she thinking, trying to take on her dad!

Friday, 11 November 2011

One Large Park, Dozens of Children, One Muddy Puddle.

... And of course, my two lil' munchkins had to be the only two to find that muddy puddle.

You can probably guess where I'm going with this...

Initially they did a fantastic job of staying clean and running about the playground, like the gazillion other children who were crawling and clambering over various platforms and climbing frames, while their parents enjoyed a sunny afternoon and a bit of ball game practice. (I have no idea what kind of ball game they were practicing. It involved a field, a ball, and people to kick that ball. That's about as much as I know of these things.)

Guy Smiley even surprised me by climbing right to the top of a curvy ladder thingie. And then by fearlessly whizzing down the Big Slide with a bit of unhelp from his lil' big sister (unhelp = the kind of help where the big sis seems like she's going to sit behind him on the slide and go down in a tandem, but then gives him a helpful shove instead.)

Of course, it wasn't long before conventional play became a bit dull for my Mucky Monsters so off across the field we went, in search of misadventure. On that last leg of the journey as we headed back towards the car, they found the puddle. Was there any chance they'd walk around it or at least tip-toe cautiously through it?

Well for a moment there, yes.

Against all of my expectations, the Lily Bug stopped before it, wrinkled her nose and exclaimed "eeew look, a muddly puddle... Eeew mud is gross, mum!"

I have no idea where she got that notion from, but I can assume she's been spending too much time under the influence of the nice clean tidy Kindy girls.

It was Guy Smilie who reminded the Lily Bug of all the fun there is to be had by splashing in mud, and by the time he'd bum-shuffled right through it and back again, she was jumping in with two feet and the world's biggest grin.

There seems to be a running theme to my blog, and that is the various ways in which my munchkins can cover themselves in goopy brown stuff. Fortunately, most of the time the goop is mud, but sometimes... Sometimes it's something much worse. *sigh*

Anyway, it's time to put an end to this 'coffee break'. Today the sky is a near-flawless blue, the Lad is on his way home from work (it is supposed to be his day off btw), and we're about to head off to Cheltenham beach and North Head tunnels for the afternoon. Awesome :D

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

In one of those instances where you make a mistake and try to fix it...

... By making a bigger mistake.

  Let's start in the vague direction of the beginning.

I've always been fairly blase about my hair. Bleach it, dye it blue, shave it into a mohawk, chop it with my eyes closed... Hair is just hair. It grows back. Eventually.

 Though in saying this, it's been a few years since I've done anything more extreme than hack at it with a razor. I'm slowing down with age and *cough cough* maturity.

Since allowing the lad to shave my hair to a #5 a few months back, and enduring several weeks of being mistaken for one of the Top Twins (or so I imagine)  it's slowly slowly grown back to the point where I realise my unkept mop is now comparable to that of Donald Trump.

It's depressing, but true. Ask Google.

So I decided a couple of weeks ago to finally mix up the streaking kit that has sat at the top of the kitchen cupboard for four or so years, and stick it all through my hair. Just for something different.

As I half-way expected with stripping out dark dye, Super Blonde actually became Super Ginga.
Bleaching my hair was a mistake.

And I decided to fix it

So I bleached it again. On the assumption that it would go really blonde.

I found the thought of having blonde hair to be kind of appealing. A stark contrast to the blacks and blues and purples and (more of late) purple-red and red-browns that I'm used to. But hey, I'm too old for fun colours... Blonde could be a pleasant change. Sure, I might feel a bit like a traitor to my own self - like I'm conforming to society's expectations of what a good responsible parent is supposed to look like - but I decided I'm finally ready to give  'normal' hair a go.

As I mixed up my bottle of Schwarzkopf Nordic Super Duper You Asked For It And Now You've Got It Blonde I looked at the gorgeous blonde with the flowing locks pictured on the front of the box and said to myself "I'm gonna magically transform into YOU soon!"

Of course, I'm well acquainted with Murphy's Law.

Yes. I have transformed.

Into a radioactive lemon.


                                                                                      So, I guess bleaching my hair again was a mistake.

But truly, I think I can fix it this time.

I realise now that the best thing I can do is to revisit the Fudge Paintbox colours of my early 20's and throw some Blue Velvet through it. Or maybe a nice chilli red (think Sydney from episode 1 of Alias).

It's going to work. It's going to be awesome this time.

Other parents will shun me even more so than usual, and as an added bonus... The kids at kindy are gonna think I'm the coolest clown ever!

Stay tuned...

Oh, and before I go I'm going to link you (oh invisible and non-existent readers) to what is perhaps the perfect though horrifically bad  teeny-bopper pop punk/whatever theme-song to this post. I challenge you to survive it for longer than 21 seconds:

Sunday, 30 October 2011

I thought you were a female!!

This post topic has been thrifted from the blog of Widge, because after reading what she had to say I started thinking about all the times the Teen has thrown out random movie quotes that fit so perfectly with the conversation at hand; thus making her sounds even more clever/witty than she already (thinks she) is.

I don't know how she does it. I struggle to remember the names of my family members half the time. And she can drop a quote from a movie she watched once in Year 7. Although in saying that, she cannot for the life of her remember a single thing her maths teacher has said. Ever.

So anyway... The Lily Bug has a certain movie phrase she uses all the time. Regardless of the situation or the topic at hand or who she's even talking to at the time, and despite the fact she actually has no idea what it means.

"I thought you were a female!"  She gasps between bubbling peals of laughter, every time she feels like telling a witty joke. She knows we'll laugh at her for saying it (though sometimes the laughter can be a little forced. The joke IS getting old...) and it's particularly funny to us all when she says this to her big sister's boyfriend, or to her granddad. Funny because they don't know the origin of the joke, and their expression twitches a little with stunned mortification.  What is that three year old implying? Do I look like a woman?

Not so funny when said to random strangers. Hmm.

It's from Ice Age 3. That quote. The scene where Sid tries to milk a male buffalo.  I have to explain this to people sometimes, least they get insulted.  But we didn't bother explaining it to the Teen's boyfriend. It's funnier for us that way. ;)

This photo has nothing to do with the subject at hand by the way. It's just the Lily Bug having a craaaaazy moment. Well, I guess it kinda fits.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Guy Smiley Does the Happy Poo Dance

My life as a Domestic Goddess... It goes a little something like this:

Thursday afternoon and I pause in the kitchen to breathe in the delicious aroma of yogurt banana cake baking in the oven. *nom nom nom*

Turn and trip over the clever arrangement of children's toys, scattered over the floor like a special mummy booby trap. Joy!

Quick check on pre-schooler in bathroom who has developed mystery fever and is having a cool bath. Child is busy using toothbrush to clean black mould from the bit of lino that has peeled up from edge of shower stall. Child seems well then.

Screams of "god no! Oh yuck, it's in his hair!" can be heard from the lounge. Screams are getting louder. Closer. Too close. Damn it.  Bathroom door opens, toddler is thrust into unwilling mummy arms.

Toddler is wearing a new hat. A hat made of poo.  Toddler also has new shoes to match. And gloves. And lipstick it seems.

Feverish child is elbowed out of bath, poopy kid dropped into it. Feverish child gags.  Smells bad mum! Poopy kid grabs mummy dearest with gammy hands. Wants to get out of bath. And then back in. And then out. It's the Happy Poo Dance.

A song comes to mind. Join in with me if you will.

You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out, you put your left foot in and you shake it all about, you do the poopy dookie and you turn around, that's what it's all about...

Mummy smiles through gritted teeth and reminds herself that somewhere in the world, there are other mothers enduring similar scenarios. At least that's what that article in Next magazine said.

The cleansing is complete. A new smell begins to take the place of eau de poo.

Burnt cake.


You're lucky there's no photo to accompany this post. Instead I have drawn a lil' picture, outlining the event. Just in case you can't be naffed reading through my long-winded drivel.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Another One Bites the Dust...

I have broken another camera.

I'm sure it's not my fault. Okay, wait. I'm sure it's not entirely my fault. In my often-nonsensical line of reasoning, I think the fact that I've broken two cameras in under a year (and four cameras in five years) goes to show the blame does not rest squarely on my shoulders. Callie-logic dictates that a manufacturing fault must be held partly accountable.  For the last two cameras, at least.

Though, if my tendency to stash cameras in my back pocket and then sit on them has anything to do with the problem, then the best solution is a bigger camera. A Canon 1000D would be a nice place to start...  

One day.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Fix Priced Offer?

The oil leak is a horrific disaster and I'm not in any way trying to poke fun at the expense of marine wildlife and the ecosystem and the planet but... This was a witty (albeit predictable) find on Trade Me:

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Mud Pies and Party Frocks

Today I decided it's almost pointless to try and dress the Lily Bug in anything "girly". This isn't a new realisation. We gave up with pretty frocks last summer, as they hampered her ability to climb trees, and although we managed to get her to wear them every now and then for the sake of a photo, they soon returned to the wardrobe in favour of more practical shorts and leggings.

It's a given that if she steps outside, she's gonna get dirty. Today was no different, and after an afternoon of trying (without success) to dissuade the munchkins from playing in the muddy trench by the front gate, I threw my hands up in defeat and grabbed the camera. For posterity of course.

Cue the outfit change first. Those pink pants and white sleeves have been kept stain-free thus far, but I think we pushed our luck today.

When the kids finally tired of the mud and consented to a shower, I shrugged and accepted once and for all that my girl will never be a girly girl. No wistful sighing over frilly dresses and pretty hair clips and nail polish and Barbies and all that other girly stuff...

Good riddance to that nonsense, I say. *rolls eyes*

And then I went and changed out of my mud-splashed jeans and into a skirt. A skirt, for the first time in a long time. The Lily Bug's eyes widened in amazement and she exclaimed "oh wow mum! That's so pretty!" and then she pointed to the black ruffles, "what are those?" While part of me was surprised to realise I have a near-four year old daughter who doesn't know what a ruffle is, I was even more surprised when she kinda sighed and added "I wish I could wear a pretty dress"

"But you have some!" I cried. "In the wardrobe!" And off I trotted to retrieve them.

"Fairy dress? Or party frock?" And I dropped the armload onto the floor. "Here, wear them all!"

And she did. First she held up the grey tutu Granny Greener sent up at Christmas. The one she had consistently removed last summer, as it hampered her tree climbing style. "Oh wow, pretty!" And she wriggled into it. Then she spotted the yellow and black striped costume dress with bumble bee wings. "Pretty!" And she put that on too. Over top. Then proceeded to twirl and dance around the room.

Guy Smiley wasn't to be left out. Much as he may have wished he could've been... Silly mum slipped a fairy dress over his head too (lad was too busy watching kids afternoon tv programs to notice - bahahaha!). Though, as soon as he looked down and realised he had a frock on, he began clutching and pulling at it, desperate to get the thing off him.

He may be super cuddly, gentle with furry animals and prone to carrying around a dolly from time to time, but he aint no fairy! He likes to be able to sit like a man!

Half a dozen outfit changes later, and the Lily Bug's eyes lit when she came across the yellow and white polka number. Yellow is her most favourite colour in the whole wide world, and she managed to keep this dress on for a good half hour before it got in the way of her jumping game and off it was flung.

No doubt about it, the Lily Bug's a bit of a tom boy who loves stomping through mud, climbing (everything) & playing with dump trucks. But it turns out that, from time to time, she also likes fairy costumes and pretty dresses. And, despite myself, I can't help but kinda smile a little at that.

(Linking up with Communal Global for this week's Tuesday's Around the World.)

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Just Sayin'

Nothing says 'Have a good day' quite like Pastry Poos, Cheesy Dookies and Jam Slappers.

On another note: It's difficult to type when that inadequately cleaned up half-cup of cofffffffffee spilt the previous day has caused your favourite keys to stick. Time to pop them all off and clean 'em out properly... Then put them back in the wrong places and see if the rest of the family are as clever at touch-typing as me. *insert evil laughter*

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Running the Gauntlet

Well, we survived the Parent & Child Show yesterday, I think. And I say 'I think' because I'm not entirely sure - I'm still waiting to get the feeling back in my right arm after lugging around Guy Smiley all afternoon. 12kg of toddler quickly felt like 20kg worth when it became a wriggling over-excited toddler who wanted to go in the opposite direction at all times.

As the Lily Bug waited with her dad for the Wot Wots to come on stage and hopped about in politely-contained excitement, I ran the Gauntlet of seemingly endless stalls catering for everything a parent and child could ever (and sometimes never) need, in chase of the wayward son who had turned into a whirling dervish. Eye contact with demonstrators was avoided least they try to engage me into feigning interest over their products - I couldn't afford to shift an eyeball from the little boy who was mimicking the crazy flight-path of an inflated untied balloon. Maybe it was bright lights and the bustling throng of people that had him all revved up and in search of adventure. Or maybe it was the "I Love Punk" tee he wore, making him yearn for chaos and anarchy.

Outside for some fresh air, my stress levels were kept in check by the realisation that I wasn't the only one with a cannonball child. Frazzled woman put themselves in time out while their children burnt off some excess energy on inflatable castles. Children squirmed and kicked as their parents tried to gently manhandle them to the parking lot. The surrounding sounds were not so much the laughter of children but rather the bargaining of mothers, keen to get their children home. "Come on Sally, I think there's some ice cream at home. You can have it if you'd just stop being a little..." "yes Josh you can have a doughnut, but only if we leave the bouncy castle now..." "right pick yourself up! I'm not carrying you!  Stop that crying everyone's staring, we have to go!

 Ah, the joys.

End note: I have realised I'm not a fan of mobile farms. The wee calf, goat and lambs gathered together in an anxious huddle as over-excited toddlers and preschoolers squeezed and prodded them, made me feel sad. It just seemed wrong for these wee creatures to be carted into a truck and driven to shows, galas and birthday parties for the entertainment (aka a farm-like experience) of city kids.

In saying that, I allowed the Lily Bug to gently pat the baby goat and snapped a photo of her doing so. I'm propagating the exploitation, which makes me a hypocrite... *sigh*

End note 2: J realised it's not always a good idea to attend a tightly packed event while wearing a Warriors jersey. Every three meters, someone wanted to stop and talk about the team. Endearing the first half a dozen times, but after that...

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Tea Party Chimps Break Free!

One good thing to come out of all the rain we've had lately, is that it makes us appreciate the sneak peeks of summer all the more. Impromptu trips to the beach are always a relief after days (and days) of being cooped inside like crazy Tea Party Chimps.

Beautiful Spring afternoons at the beach are awesome. Even if a developing north-westerly causes us to keep the long-sleeved layers firmly in place.

Whenever we go to the beach, there's a comfortable kind of pattern we always follow. Guy Smiley jabbers away in super-excited tones while pointing out even the smallest of things in gushing awe, the Lily Bug decides to make sand angels after we've rinsed the sand off her for the journey home, J pulls a finger every time I try to take a photo of him - unless I can nab a pic when his hands are full of jumping wriggling children - and my attempts at a self-portrait are quickly deleted as soon as they're reviewed. Stupid camera. I don't really look that haggard do I? Oh gods...

It's a given, that all of these things will happen when we go to the beach. But there's always a slight shift in the way that they're carried out. A bit of Universal tweaking here and there.  Guy Smiley's exclaimations have changed from "oooh!" to "wow!" to "wow cool!" and "ooh dook!" and as of last week, "there-eh-zizz!" which means "there it is" and he exclaims it every time someone familiar appears, or a lost toy/remote for the TV is found, or in the case of our day at the beach; he spots a man cruising the sky on a motorised paraglider.

Once upon a time, the Lily Bug ran from the shoreline; fearful of the ocean. Then as her confidence and familiarity with the beach grew, she ran to the whitewash. Eventually she reached a point where she'd splash through the shallows at low tide. Wade in a little deeper while holding our hands. Now she lunges into the water, high tide, with only a passing concern for jelly fish and monsters of the deep. A reminder to wait for us keeps her in line a little, but she feels she's a big girl now. Just the other week she realised she's not merely three years old; she's three and a half! That's nearly four! Which is, as far as she's concerned, old enough to swim with taniwha and wrestle kraken.

Times are a changing.

          But the Lily Bug isn't one to throw all caution to the wind yet. She was the first person to spy the jellyfish in the water even as we were stretching towels across the sand. And when I went closer to have a look, she warned "don't let it sting you mum!" I didn't even realise she knew jellyfish could sting.

That's my ever-cautious girl. Always looking out for the possible dangers. I wish Guy Smiley was half as tentative. He's happy to tear off in any direction.

Oh, and before you think I've forgotten all about the Teen... She doesn't tend to go to the beach with us these days. I mean, she's a teen. And sadly this means hanging out with her family is really really not at all cool. If she is dragged with us to the beach, she sits on a towel flicking away grains of sand while she texts her friends - no doubt sending out some kind of plea for help. Although in saying that, I do have photographic evidence of her involvement in a sandfight with the Lily Bug last summer...

So, I've said this before, oh so recently, but I just have to say it again...
Roll on Summer. :)

Saturday, 24 September 2011

{be strong} Believe

Sometimes I think of random little things I want to tell the Teen, but for whatever reason at the time, I can't say them. It may be that we've had a deep and meaningful late night conversation about Life, the Universe and Everything, and then after she's gone to bed the conversation has carried on in my head and I've thought "must tell her that one tomorrow!" However these Notes To Self are always forgotten, as before too long the moment passes and attempts to recreate the mindset that led to that particular reflection or anecdote or little snippet of wisdom results in brain freeze. 
Once the moment's gone, it's gone baby.

Every now and then I jot these snippets down, and promptly lose them. Eventually they're found, tucked between the pages of a book, slipped between books on a shelf... And then I think, "I'm going to make a special website, just for the kids. One filled with all the little bits and bobs I've written for them over the years." I'm not sure why, entirely. Okay, maybe that's a lie. Maybe it's because I have a bit of a morbid outlook on life, and I feel I need something to leave them. (You know, other than books and cats) Some piece of me that'll be there even if I'm not.

It's not that I expect to be going some place any time soon, in fact I have every intention of living forever. But every so often I find myself thinking "if I were to die tomorrow, how would I be able to continue to be there for my kids?" (That there sounds like the opening line of a life insurance ad. Actually, I'm pretty sure it IS the opening line of a life insurance ad.) After all, there's always that chance that I may one day chose the wrong time to step outside, and be flattened by a falling grand piano. You just never know... 

So, I guess that's partly why I'm so addicted to scrapbooking. Therein lies the legacy of my thoughts and anecdotes and general brain farts which the kids will one day be lugged with. Along with a large collection of books and cats.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

I'm Melting! I'm Melting!

With the warming weather comes an increased urge to get out of the house and enjoy doing so without having to drag the kids away from every muddy puddle they want to stomp in.

Roll on Summer.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for letting the kids jump in puddles, but it gets to the point where light splashing is not enough - not for them anyway. They have to find one deep enough to wade through. And that's still not enough. They've gotta get their limbs in there; scooping up handfuls of mud and dripping it from one palm to the other, smearing muck to the elbows, The Lily Bug likes to explore the texture of mud with her entire body. In particular, her hair. Give her a storm-fed puddle as a palette, and she stands on her head and transforms into a human paint brush.

She did attempt a headstand in the mud during this particular adventure, but I missed the shot as I was already halfway back to the car calling "come on before I leave you behiiiind!" along the way.

What I really really hate about this kind of fun? The part where it becomes unfun. The part where it becomes one of  those waking nightmares you can't shake off for the rest of the day. Yup. The part where mucky monsters have to get clean again.

For the highly-volatile Lily Bug, this becomes a Total. Meltdown. Nightmare. By the time we get on to the clean up, she's tuned out the world and she's in 'The Zone'. You know that tired zone that is usually a precursor to a full-scale over-tired screaming fit? It's at this point, our fun-loving three year old transforms into the Wicked Witch of the West.

There's kicking, there's screaming, there's the gnashing of teeth... Halfway through the ordeal I'm declaring "we are never EVER playing in mud again" and by the end I'm all but begging my poor devil-possessed child to stop with the screaming and clawing and thrashing because I am in fact a wee bit afraid that the neighbours will think something godawful is going on in the house, and call the cops.

At least in summer, a water fight can solve the issue of clean up time.

In summer, the messy play table can be moved outside so I don't have to spend an hour scrubbing floury watery goop off the kitchen walls. The muck is cleaner; less water-logged rugby field and more soggy sandpit.

 Roll on Summer.

This was last summer. The clampit was filled with lovely soft Pinaki sand on one side and water on the other, then mixed to create a diarrhea-brown ooze that we (or rather, they) spent every available day wallowing in. Clean up time was garden hose simple.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Avast! Weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen!

I've seen more than a fair share of cars wearing their nation's flag as support for their team in the Rugby World Cup, but this one has to be the most committed yet.

Today was a dreary windswept Tuesday. The warning sign on the motorway read "caution: strong winds". Not a day when you want to be anywhere except curled up under the duvet with a wee arsenal of DVDs. Certainly not a day when you want your vehicle to be laden with enough flags to turn it into a sailing ship.

I keep meaning to deck our car out in pirate flags. Well, I was initially thinking just a small discreet one, but now I wonder, why not go for something grander? I've been inspired...

Communal Global

Sunday, 11 September 2011

You may have noticed that I'm not all there myself.

This isn't a newsbreaking thought, but sometimes I must seem like the weirdest person around. If I were to start throwing out examples as to why I'm the weirdest person around, I'd still be sitting here at 3am writing, so I'll just start with a few. Or one, actually.

Today was supposed to be 'stay home and mow lawns and pull weeds' day, and because of that, we decided to spend the best part of the afternoon trawling after the kids in the toy section of The Warehouse. Procrastination. It's an illness. (By the way, that wasn't the 'I'm so weird' example. I'm getting to that bit now.)

Because my lil' camera is an extension of my right hand, and because I can't go anywhere without my right hand, I had to take my lil' camera with me on our grand excursion to The Warehouse. And, under the pretense that I was photographing Christmas present ideas, I took photos of the kids looking at toys. Photos of the kids testing out toys. Photos of the kids riding the toys around the aisles...

The crazy thing is, I just had to. I felt slightly self-conscious and a little bit nuttier-than-usual; kneeling in the middle of an aisle to snap a pic of the munchkins as they mulled over leapfrog laptops and whatnot. But much as I tried to stick the camera in my back pocket and pretend that I'd left it at home, I kept right on fishing it back out and snapping pics like the crazy snap happy life-tourist that I am.

Is it weird? To chase your kids around a shop, snap snappity snapping photos as you go? Because I never ever see other parents doing this. Never. And personally, I think they should. I think people should capture a broad range of moments in their children's lives. Not just 'here's Sally in her best party frock and Peter making a mud pie'. Our little sproggits are going to be all grown up before we know it, and we'll forget these small moments. Being uneventful moments in the scheme of things, they'll be amid the first memories to fade. But we'll know that they took place, and maybe because of that, it'll be these every day non-events we'll miss the most.

Okay before you (oh invisible and likely non-existent readers) sneak off, I'm not finished with the inane prattle yet! Sheesh. How rude. :P

You may have noticed the munchkins are wearing different outfits in the bottom row of photos. That's right folks; we're such sad-sacks, we did this 'window shop at The Warehouse' two days in a row. Yes that's right, we went there yesterday too.

Boy, were we trying hard to avoid maintaining the outdoor areas of our home.

Truth be told, I'm not a shopping person. But sometimes I just feel like going in to a shop. Any shop, I don't care. I just wanna go into a shop. Those garishly bright lights and rows of crap I don't need are sometimes a novelty to me.

Because unless I lock the kids in the house with a box of cereal and bowl of water while I sneak out for a couple of hours, I can never go into a shop. The Warehouse, with its loads and loads of mass-produced crap, is just about the only store (asides from Toyworld) where I can keep the kinetic energy ball that is Guy Smiley contained to a manageable area without him rocketing out the store entrance within five seconds of walking through the door.

According to Guy Smiley, the funniest game in the whole entire world is to make a mad dash for the door and try to throw himself onto the sidewalk before I can grab him. Any attempt to restrain him is met by  flailing thrashing squirming limbs. And not just four limbs. When he wants to escape your grasp, he suddenly grows an extra set of arms and legs.

It. Does. My. Head. In.

[This would have been a good time to insert a photo of Guy Smiley peddling his chubby lil' legs away from me.  I completely forgot to get one of those shots. Just pretend it's in this space.]

Given the givens, I didn't expect to make it to the homeware section, and I didn't care to, but somehow between the four aisles of toys at one end of the Warehouse and the kids fold-out foam couches at the other, I managed to spot a couple of items (aka mass produced crap) that I wanted. And thus had to photograph. *facepalm*

The red and white polka dot teapot I want simply because it's red with white polka dots (and it matched my hoody at the time. How cool would that have been, walking around with my teapot-hoody twinset?) And the mugs promise a spoonful of summer with every sip. I reckon if I woke up and had a coffee in those mugs every morning, I'd quite possibly never be grumpy again.

One day, if we can stay in the Warehouse long enough for me to get to a checkout counter without a small child having a total global meltdown, I'll buy some and test this theory.

Teapots and coffee mugs aside, there's nothing I covet quite like this camera. One day Canon 1000D. One day you will be mine.

End note: I didn't get a photo of the Warehouse staffer who gave me the hard word about letting my wee minions ride the toys, nor a photo of the Lily Bug's crestfallen face when I told her it was time to put the bike back... But if I had, I'd probably be uploading it right about now.

End note 2: I've never locked the kids in the house with a box of cereal and bowl of water and crept out to the shops. Just in case you were wondering. (Though, there are days when I'd like to...)

 Alice: But I don't want to go among mad people. 
Cheshire Cat: Oh, you can't help that. Most everyone's mad here. 
[laughs maniacally; starts to disappear] 
Cheshire Cat: You may have noticed that I'm not all there myself. 

Thursday, 8 September 2011

What's Gonna Work? (Teeeeam Work!)

It must be the most catchiest ditty to have burst out of the realm of kids programming since... D-d-d-d-d-Dora. And if you don't know what I'm talking about from the title of this blog post alone, then you've been living under a rock. Or you don't have kids. Or you have kids but they don't watch telly. Or you don't have a telly. And perhaps, you live under a rock. (FYI: I'm all for living under large natural structures and not allowing the kids to have their brains siphoned out via TV. Just that for us, we live in a small shoebox and often use the TV as an early-morning babysitter so mum can dither around pretending to do housework.)

So anyway, I digress. As usual.

Everywhere I go, it seems I can't escape the Wonderpets theme song. It has become the stuff of Facebook statuses. Usually along the lines of "Wonderpets Wonderpets... Go away!!" In the supermarket, 3 aisles to my right, I hear a small voice singing "we're not too big and we're not too tough but if we work together..." and then the mum is joined by her wee daughter when it comes to "what's going to work? Team work!"

And then there's our household. The kids are singing it while running in circles and bouncing off furniture, J is singing it late at night while putting together his latest model speedway car, and yours truly is currently singing it inside her head as she types this post. *shakes head in despair* The only one in this house immune to the song is The Teen, who shakes her head, rolls her eyes, and zones us all out in that way that only teenagers, men and small children can.

This has gone on for weeks and weeks. I admit, the song has one singular good use.  Can't get the kids to help put away their toys? Start belting out the chorus. (Or belching out the chorus, if you're clever like J.)

What I don't appreciate, is having the song stuck in my head when the kids are tucked up in bed nice and early, and the teen is at her one-night-a-week youth group leaving J and I to have that kind of special 'alone time' where we can dress up like show ponies and play dressage games, and I'm STILL singing the freakin Wonderpets National Anthem of Loopy Land inside my brain. Over and over and over...

Oh, totally kidding about the pony play by the way. I just wanted to see if you - oh invisable and quite possibly non-existent readers - were paying attention.

We prefer gorilla suits.

To the fly boat? To the fly boat!

Seriously, I'm thinking about getting one of these for the Lily Bug for Christmas. I'm 120% she would have hours of fun rescuing her Sylvanians from the willow tree, fetching trapped dinosaurs down from the bookcase...

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Park! Park! Park! Park! Paaaarrrk!

After a couple of days trapped inside due to a stomach bug that swept through the household, we were so so relieved to escape the plague house outside this afternoon and spend a couple of hours at our favourite playground.

The cabin fever has been almost worse than the sickness itself. A camp out with DVDs became the theme of the weekend, however there's only so many times Ice Age 3 can be watched before "I thought you were a female!" is no longer funny. Even to the three year old who was the first to laugh, and who laughs the hardest - despite being completely unaware of what the joke is actually about.
So, at the first sign that the munchkins were able to keep down their food, we scarpered to Hobsonville Point Park for a bit of fresh air.

Hobsonville Point Park; with its interactive playground sculptures based on New Zealand native trees. Sculptures that are lovely to climb on in winter, and hot enough to strip the skin in the summer. (Kudos to the stupid bugger who didn't take that into consideration when designing a playground for thin-skinned children.)

Two days ago, the Lily Bug spent the entire day lying on the couch, without energy to do much more than sit up and vomit. Today she climbed right to the top of the ... climby thingie ... and into the net. Right into the net! That's a first, folks at home.

Always, always keeping an eye out for little brother. (And sometimes, sometimes a little lost when, during a game of hide and seek, mum doesn't hide where she was instructed to hide.)

It may have been too soon to take them on an outdoor adventure. Guy Smiley threw up a short while ago. I hope a relapse is not in order for tomorrow. I was thinking it might be a nice day to venture into our failed garden and begin removing the winter weeds. Or the plants we were supposed to keep. I can't tell which is what half the time. (My mother is the green fingers. I'm just the butter fingers.)