Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Never. Let. Go.

Dear Guy Smiley,

One part of me can't wait until you're of an age to make conversation - right now you love to talk about "Car! Car! That car! Red car! Yellow car! Look car!" but I reckon once you start slinging sentences together, you're going to be a right Well of Infinite Wisdom.

Mainly on the subject of cars I guess.

But the other part of me just isn't ready for you to grow past this age yet, because right now you're my little buddy who still reaches out a cherub hand for help down the steps, and I don't want to ever have to let you go.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Rainbow Face & Poop Hands

Make up artistry has recently become a field of interest the Lily Bug has shown some proficiency in. Since rediscovering the make up kit her big sister gave her for Christmas (it was previously tucked out of her reach, but you know how it goes when little girls have big chairs and long arms...) she has been applying make up to any thing she can pin down.

Her little brother is one of her favourite candidates for her experiments in duo-tone full-facial eyeshadow application. When she weilds the make up wand like a small baton and calls his name, Guy Smiley comes running - all big grins and dimples, crying "yay! yay! yay!" over to his place beside the mirror, as fast as his chubby legs can pedal him.

"Rainbow Face!" The Lily Bug declares his new name to be. And he loves his sparkly facial artist palette. Matches the rainbow hands he was sporting earlier in the day.

The Lily Bug loves to mix her colours until she's left with poopy brown. First she mixes the poop, and then she paints. And usually it's herself that she paints. In poop colours.

And then of course it's Daddy's turn.

The Lily Bug is very focused as she applies each brush stroke to her human canvas. And the result? A household of  zombie clowns! (Minus the Teen, who refused to take part and scowled behind a long fringe when Yours Truly tried to take a photo of her for posterity's sake. *sigh*)

Anyway, that was last week. This is the finish up of a post I began days ago and never managed to come back to.

In the past week we've gone on amazing adventures through enchanted forests, wild rugged shorelines, and lakes of boiling lava. (Or maybe, more truthfully, lakes teeming with eels and ducks and stuff.) I'll maybe do a photo recap later. Posterity and all...

I've also been busy building a couple of websites and creating graphics for people...In doing this, I've learnt I don't quite have the stamina to trudge through source code deep into the wee hours and then still function as a parent the next day, after all.

I don't know how work-from-home mums find the time to do it. Really, I don't. :/

I creep away to load up Photoshop while the kids are otherwise completely immersed in an activity, and suddenly they're jumping all over my knee. Plagued by mummy-guilt, I step away from the computer to play with them, and they don't need me any more. Can't win!

Stay tuned Smurflings, as coming up soon is my second-to-last product review. Shall it be the Pantene? Or the Olay? :)

(I know I know, you're waiting with bated breath...)

Edited to add: I came across this cute site earlier today. Love the concept - check it out!


Sunday, 8 January 2012

The Sun Did Not Shine, It Was Too Wet To Play...

 Hey, why do I get the feeling I've used that line as a title before? Oops. Well moving along...

Even by my own night-owlish standards, being awake at 2.20am is quite possibly one of the most stupidist ideas I've had in a while.

Well, it's not like I planned it. It just so happened that I've found a lot of entrepreneurial inspiration today, and you know... one coffee led to another...

Today (well, yesterday now, if you want to get technical. But let's not.) I made a somewhat random decision to make a facebook page to promote the dabbling I've done in Photoshop over the past several years, in order to hopefully propagate some kind of financial gain. Eventually.

It began when I created a quick banner for my FB profile page (I'm so loving the new Timeline layout for allowing me to apply a small scrap of individuality to my profile page!) One or two people inquired about the banner, and before I knew it I was designing a business logo for the ever-so-clever Claire from FinndieLoo. Claire's enthusiasm for her home-based business was infectious, and soon I had created my own Infinite Monkey Design. Thanks to Claire's pluggage, I've already had a couple of inquiries regarding business logos and site design!

So, that is my great excitement for the year to date!

Meanwhile... What did the children do while their mother was tapping away on the keyboard and pottering about in Photoshop for a good part of the day?

First of all, it was raining outside so we put up some umbrellas.

And then, we played with trains.

We got hungry. So we sacrificed the freshly cooked batch of playdough to the Gods of Magical But Inedible Food. (Lawn clippings are also an essential to this concoction.)

I'm still not entirely sure if I'll ever get all the floury goop out of the carpet...

Then it was time to set tents and tunnels up in the middle of the lounge. It was mum's theory that the children would amuse themselves with these tents and tunnels long enough for her to finish doing stuff on the computer. (Pfft. By the time mum finished snapping photos, they were ready to use mum as a jungle gym. While she tried to finish doing stuff on the computer.)

Cooking time again. Green pikelets with nutella. Because we're healthy like that. (And that probably explains why everyone in this house is just a little on the chubby side - except the Teen, who is a coathanger.)

It was still raining. Why? Because it's summer. And apparently in summer, it rains ALL. THE. TIME. (And according to the weather people, we're meant to be stuck with this gloriously dismal weather until March?!?!)

After a day of being cooped up inside the house doing nothing, it was time to play outside. This is what the Lily Bug decided, despite the rain. In fact, she put on her raincoat poncho thingie and stood underneath the dribbly waterfall that flows from the blocked gutter outside the kitchen window.

And that was our day.

Why are you interested in reading any of this? I'm sure you're not. I'm sure that if you have read this far, you're probably trying to figure out how to reclaim the minute or so that I've just stolen from you.

But I'm sitting here at 2.43am writing this all out anyway, because I drank just enough coffee to keep me awake long enough to look at Content Management Systems, but too much coffee to be able to concentrate on anything other than the inane ramblings of the chattering monkeys inside my head. Thus, I am no fat use to anyone.

But I am going to look further into Joomla  tomorrow-ish.


Friday, 6 January 2012

Come Out And Play Sunshine. We Have Just Juice...

I have promised the kids that summer is going to kick in soon. I've promised blue skies that reach into eternity. Fluffy white clouds in the shapes of dinosaurs. Orange sunsets that stretch across the horizon. I've sent them to bed each night with the reassurance of stinking hot afternoons, ice creams that melt down their arms, waterslides on the front lawn, picnics at the beach...

This perfect utopian summer of endless azure forms the basis to my happiest childhood memories. The kind of memories I hope my own children will look back upon some day.

So far, the sun has been a little slow in arriving; grey is the new blue it seems. The Lily Bug asks each morning, "is it summer yet mum?" And as much as I nodd and smile and claim that it is indeed summer, she doesn't quite believe me.

When a courier van arrived shortly before Christmas, bearing three cartons of Just Juice to review, I felt a little as if Santa had just swung by bearing the gift of the Great Kiwi Summer. In liquid form.

Summer Strawberry & Kiwifruit
Sun Kissed Orange
Farm Style Apple

These were the three flavours sent out for us to review, along with the guarantee of no added sugar, preservatives, artificial flavours or colour, and 100% of our recommended daily vitamin C requirements in a single glass. I gotta admit, I skimmed these details when I first glanced over the media release, and allowed my sun-starved brain to pause on words such as "awaken" and "summer".

The munchkins eyes lit when they saw the treasures I had stashed in the fridge. Fruit juice - that's a little like nectar from the Gods as far as they're concerned.  I was torn between wanting to rip into them there and then, and wanting to savour them - or at least give them time to chill in the fridge. Fifteen minutes chill time. That was the agreement my two inner selves came to. Summer was a-calling...

We started with Sun Kissed Orange. Not too much now kiddos, just a taste... Okay, that's good. It tastes like orange - as it should. Nice & refreshing. Not too sweet, not too face-scrunchy. Add some vodka for the adults, and you've got sunshine in a bottle right there.

Let's just have another taste and then back in the fridge it goes - this one is coming with us on our picnic.

"We're having a picnic?" asks the Lily Bug, her face all alight in excitement. Damn. Did I say that out loud? I look outside at the bleak grey sky with it's threat of rain etched upon the darkening horizon. Well...

Childhood memories resurface. Sitting on the swings at the local park with single-serve juice cartons. Ever-so-slightly piercing the straw-holes, discarding the straw and slowly sipping the juice through the tiny gap. Savouring  the very last drop. Is it the perfect weather I remember most about my childhood? Or the moments shared?

"We are now."

Thanks for the picnic inspiration Just Juice :)

Farm Style Apple accompanied us a few days later on a trip to the park.  I didn't expect to like it all that much - I'm not usually a fan of apple juice. Surprisingly, I liked it. Refreshing. Delicious. After a hot afternoon chasing children, it was so so very easy to keep almost exclusively to myself (the Lily Bug did force me to share, but only when she was within vicinity of my attempts to drink it all sneaky-like). 

Strawberry & Kiwifruit  was the least favourite amid our family. It tasted artificial. The kids handed me theirs and asked for that yummy orange again. The Lad winced and said it tasted like lolly water. Actually, there was once a time when I had some jelly lollies in a cup, and while in the midst of making a coffee, I poured hot water into the lolly cup. I had a sip. It tasted quite like this. Left for me to finish off, I thought this flavour might be an okay base to a fruit smoothie. Never got around to carrying out that theory though - I gluttoned it too quickly, despite my reservations.Greedy glutton that I am.

As Meatloaf once said, "two out of three aint bad" and that pretty much sums up our experience with Just Juice's new flavours. Do I recommend these for your next sunny picnic at the park or BBQ on the beach or to wash down a dry throat after a backyard ball game?

Yes. And no. Depending on your budget. At $3.99 for a one litre, it's just not realistic for our household of 5 on a making-ends-meet kind of income. But hey, if that's not an issue for you then yes - absolutely.

Visualise sweltering hot days - cool ocean breeze - swing ball - a tall refreshing glass of semi-frozen Just Juice - and some sunshine...   That's the Great Kiwi Summer in a nutshell, right?

Edited to add: The Lad pointed out tonight that what the juice market really really needs is a decent grapefruit juice. And none of that Pink Grapefruit nonsense. Real grapefruit juice. The kind that makes your face pucker. Hell yes. Now that would make the top of our Summer Must Have list.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

My Year In Status. And The Big Bad Smell.

There is something dead under the floorboards. It comes to me in fetid wafts. But no one else can smell it, or so they claim. Maybe it's all in my mind? Maybe it's the corpse of 2011, unwashed and forgotten in its shallow grave. Or - and this is slightly less morbid but a tad more horrific - maybe the Lad has tucked a pair of his work socks behind the computer desk as a way to deter me from whittling away New Years Eve on the computer, when we have family up from the 'Naki? (I'll be off the computer soon. I just need to finish writing this one last thing...)

This is what I am thinking to myself, as the New Year pulls up the zip on the body bag of the Old Year and bounces fresh and spry into its place. 

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, I welcomed in the New Year in style. The 'soo drunk on celebratory drinks that I have no idea why everyone's suddenly cheering and kissing.. what's the occasion?' kind of style.

That was a long time ago.

And prior to those kinds of New Years, I would spend the evening looking introspectively at my previous year, and meticulously write down resolutions for the next 365 days. Then never look at my list ever again.

This year, I said goodbye to the final hour of 2011 by throwing together a new banner for my blog.

Party hard dudes.

Scowled at the fireworks let off by the neighbours. If they wake the kids, by crickey... And when the Lad wandered by and asked if I'd made any resolutions, I could only think of one thing to say.

"Something in the vicinity of where I'm sitting smells really bad. Like, dead animal bad. It keeps coming to me in drifts. Can you smell it?"

The Lad looks at me blankly. Not the answer he was expecting.

 Remembering his original question, I share what vague New Year Resolution I've come up with. It's predictable, yes. But it's all I've got. Make this year really count with the kids - it's Bree's last year before she starts school. Indie's last year before he's on the list for kindy. Maybe even Char's last year before she starts formulating ways and means to go flatting with friends - gods forbid. So maybe I should make a resolution to teach her self-sufficiency. Better late than never, huh?

Then I think, I will reflect on this last year. But it's after midnight and I've turned back into a pumpkin.  Too tired to consider much else aside from how comfy my bed will be when I clamber into it, I reflect on my year the cheats way. Thank you handy facebook application.

I put together a photo montage of the year in review.

Once upon a time, I'd stay awake to see in the sunrise. Or at least try to. Now...

"Wait, is it your work socks?" I frown at his feet. No socks. Hmm... 

The Lad stands me up, sits in my place. Sniffs my bum. Undignified, I tell him to sniff his own. Still, the stench of carcass cannot be located. Maybe it's all in my head? The Lad can't even smell it, and insists I have a ghost living in my nostrils. Or words to that effect.

I resolve myself to check behind the computer desk in the morning (the later morning) and wander off to bed.

And this is the way we see in our New Year.

Happy New Year to you and yours :)