Tuesday, 24 August 2010

we are the house of sick!


daily going's on

nanna helping out

What can I say?... we've had a very busy time here, doctor's visit, chemist, phone calls, nanna came to visit {thanks for the help!!} and other than that, sick kids and a sick husband. I'm off today to run errands while the sickies all stay home ~ hopefully I won't succumb to their germies.

Monday, 23 August 2010

weekend :: in short

daytime snoozing

spent the weekend observing a feverish little girl, and finished off with a feverish little boy in my bed.

had my say and cast my vote.

enjoyed some fresh air and family time while we dug sheep manure and straw into garden bed 3.

realised that i've put on seven kilos since my brother got sick.

played a game of trouble with my five year old.

enjoyed a sociable meal with my husband, parents and sister.

walked 20 minutes to the polling booth, on my own {and realised just how unfit i've become}

found myself quite bemused that my children kept tucking themselves off to bed during the day.

halving the compost bin...

got inspired by a vid that my sister showed me, cut my compost bin in half and made it into two.

happy, wriggly, compost

was very impressed by how many worms are happily working my compost over.

enjoyed a cuppa and a chat with my father-in-law.

hoping to enjoy some more of this 'spring-time' sunshine this week.

looking forward to seeing the results {fall out?} of the election.

Friday, 20 August 2010



A few weeks ago I discovered a skirt in the dress up box, it wasn't one of ours, and upon investigation Daisy assured me that the skirt belonged to her cousin. They must have been playing dress ups and it got left behind. I don't know.

What I do know is that the skirt was very cute. It was made out of denim, but wasn't the short version that I am used to, no this skirt was a very civilised length, and had the cutest ruffle about the bottom.

I tucked it away with every intention of returning the skirt to its rightful owner next time our paths cross... but in the meantime, I figured that I could take a quick copy for Daisy, no harm done, right?

the catalyst


So after being generously given some stretch denim earlier this week, I sat down last night and took a quick pattern from the skirt. A waistband, four panels, some elastic, and the ruffle. It came together much more easily than I had envisaged, and turned out perfectly.

The only glitch was when I tried it on Daisy this morning, I pulled it up... and down it went, straight to the floor! So this afternoon I ran both side seams through the overlocker to take it in some and now it fits just fine. She wasn't that keen to wear it at home, it encumbered her ability to jump fences, climb trees, and scale the embankment; but, I do think that it will be just fine for wearing out and about in the 'civilised world' ~ places like kinder perhaps?

Thursday, 19 August 2010

The Art Show

The Art Show

I love how prolific kids of pre-school age seem to be at producing various forms of art. It is standard fare in our house to have paper and pencils strewn all about, they might start drawing at the table, but more often than not, the activity seems to morph into something else ~ stuffing pictures into a 'rocket ship' and delivering them like the mailman; or using a drawing as a face mask and 'becoming' something else; or even creating an art show across the dining room and lounge room walls.


The art show has been an easy extension of re-creating real life into play. We are blessed that our kids attend a fantastic kinder, where the staff seem to go above-and-beyond what I would expect from a government funded educational facility. Every year they squirrel away the children's art, and organise different are projects for the kids, then mid-year they mount the artwork and set up an exhibition at the kinder to raise funds.




It's set up really nicely, and for the kids {and for us too} it really feels like to are visiting a 'proper' art gallery; each kid has a number of pieces on display, and the teachers give them a handful of stickers so that they can go and place a sticker on each of their pieces to indicate that it has been 'sold'. The kids love this part, and it's a really good way to engage them in the show.

placing a bid

This year we were wandering around having a look, when I came across this gem by Angus:


Even with all of the creations that I've seen him make this year, I've never seen anything as cute as this one... I can see a book being written around the adventures of this dude, and maybe some matching merchandising?!?

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Gearing up for Spring

strawberry runners

While out for breakfast at a local nursery on Saturday morning, I came across some strawberry runners; something that I had been meaning to find for some time, and hadn't gotten around to. I bought different varieties, and brought them home with me.

the 'herb' garden

Of course that meant that I then had the urge to find some time to get out into the garden over the weekend. So on Sunday, rain and all, rugged up in my anorak, I got out and did some maintenance. First up I decimated the parsley again. Word on the street is that "in a house where the woman rules the roost, the parsley will flourish", well my parsley seems to think that I'm in charge around here, so I showed it who was boss... and discovered that there were about eight plants in there ~ no wonder it's been growing so vigorously!

Once that was out of the way, I planted my potted strawberry straight into the bed, which will hopefully ensure a reasonable crop this year {which would be the first ever} and I planted the strawberry runners along the edge. Fingers crossed that we get ourselves some home grown treats this year.

the broad bean paddock

broad beans are settingmini cabbage

Bed number 2 didn't need much work, my carrots are all ready for harvesting, the broad-bean paddock is setting, and my mini-cabbages seem to be coming along just fine.

winter garden 1

Bed number 3 is pretty much finished now, we've eaten all of the spinach, beets, and broccoli. The last of the carrots will be out soon, and the onions need to stay. I have plans to build up the soil for the next 4 to 6 weeks with some sheep manure and straw, while I get some early seedlings started under glass, then it's on the spring plantings.

I'm being a little more structured this time, and have sat down with my gardening books and formulated a planting plan, taking more interest in the crop rotation. This bed will be planted out with legumes, and bed number 2 with brassicas/other.

As I've noted before, I definitely feel better within myself having been outside and played in the dirt, so I'm quite keen to start gearing up for the spring this year. Stay tuned, I'll be sure to include my ongoing adventures here...

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

the long story


Being a parent is a funny thing, just when you think that you've got the hang of it something goes ahead and changed and you realise that it's time to step outside your comfort zone yet again. Time to step up. Time to change.

Last week I went to pick Angus up from kinder, it was Thursday, and thursday pick ups are notoriously noisy because they occur after all of the older siblings have already been picked up from school. The foyer is busy, there are kids and parents everywhere, and did I mention that it's noisy?!?

When Angus came out he was trying to tell me something, and I couldn't hear him. I told him that I couldn't hear, and so he repeated himself. Again, I couldn't hear, so I told him to come outside with me and he could tell me there. Once we were outside the door he said, "Mummy you have to wait, Beth* is coming to our house to play".

Now we've been through this before when Angus invited Beth to his birthday party, we didn't actually invite her because I didn't realise that she was one of his friends, but he went ahead and invited her at kinder. Needless to say, she didn't come to the party, but I did make the effort to speak to her Mum the following week to make sure that there was no hard feelings or the like.

While I would love to have said yes to Angus' insistence that Beth was coming to our house for a play, the reality is that we live too far from kinder {ie: we are unable to walk}, we had not organised in advance for little Beth to come visit {and I was sporting a head-cold anyways} and the reality is that our car is not big enough to take any more little bums. I have three kids, all in various car-seat set-ups, already wedged into the back of our car. We are packed to the rafters.

Seeing the disappointment in Angus face though was just too much, so I got over myself and turned around and went back inside to find Beth's Mum. She too was trying to understand what her daughter was trying to say, and when she stood up I told her that Angus and Beth had organised a play date, unfortunately I wasn't in a position to make that happen today, but we would love to organise something for next week if possible. Apparently, Beth was also trying to tell her that she was coming to Angus' place for a play, so we set a date and smoothed over the jilted kids ruffled feathers.

hanging around

Then I started thinking, well probably more aptly put would be, then I had a conniption. We need a bigger car. It's not a new discussion in our house, and it's always me that instigates the topic, but up until now it's been more along the lines of, "we are going to need a bigger car", and we've thrown together some time-lines; all of which have been fairly far reaching, and vague.

Well the time was now, or at least before the end of the year, because the reality is that we have three children, and those three children are going to have friends, and they are going to want to hang with their friends; or we are going to want to offer lifts, or swap lifts, or... well you get the idea. No matter which way I spun it, we needed more seats, and more seats means a new car, and a new car means spending money.

I broached the subject with Cam that night {he might say that I bombarded him with unrealistic demands?!?} and mounted my case; after much discussion we both went away the next day and started to look at options. Car types, finance, how much we wanted to spend, and what we wanted {worst case and best case} to buy. We spent Friday night cozied up on the couch looking at car adds, and I came across the perfect automobile**.

We agreed that Cam should go and have a look at it on Saturday, I wouldn't go because an emotional wife and three revved up kids certainly takes away any bargaining advantage that he might've had. We did our sums {including me waking up at 2am in the morning, just to plug some more figures into the computer} and decided on a price and off he went.

He rang me some time later to say that he had bargained them down to less that the price we discussed, and did I want to go ahead a buy it. Well yes sir, yes indeedee!!

So I have test driven, fallen in love, paid my deposit, and am now awaiting the arrival of my new wheels ~ eight seats of luxury driving pleasure***.

* name has been changed to protect privacy

** remembering, of course, that we have been having a similar discussion for the last nine months, so I already knew basically what I wanted.

*** now I just need to learn how to reverse into empty space so that my fancy new wheels don't end up looking like my current 'clapped out' wheels. Wish me luck!

Monday, 16 August 2010


I've been trying to figure out how to write this post for what seems like forever... and in the end I have decided that I have two choices; 1. I can never write it, and just pretend like the last six weeks of my life just haven't happened, or 2. just write, see what comes out, and keep moving. Of course I have decided to go with option 2, if I'm honest with myself, all I want in life is to be authentic, and it is my way, to address each item on my individual list before I can even contemplate moving on to the next thing. It's just my way.

I didn't want to write out my recent experience in an overly dramatic way, as any of you who have been along for the ride will know, it was dramatic enough without me adding to it, or embellishing it, for pete's sake I know that I've had enough drama to last me a very long time. In fact I am feeling to exhausted that just getting out of bed in the morning is effort enough. Although I am pleased to note that is starting to pass.

So with all of that said, I don't know any other way to start than at the beginning. It's just logical.

Seven weeks ago I was enjoying a morning play-date with an old friend when my phone rang, it was my brother, he sounded bad, like he was crying, but not. He was looking for Mum, and within a few seconds he said that he had call wait, probably Mum and he hung up. At the time I didn't really think that much of the incident. A while later my sister rang, no biggie, just an issue that she wanted to talk through... later in the day, when I got home I rang my Mum and made some flippant remark about being her only offspring that she hadn't spoken to yet today ~ I asked what was going on with my brother.

He was sick, he was out of town and heading towards the hospital. They suspected kidney failure and he needed to be hydrated immediately. They would put him on the drip, sort him out and that would probably be it.

It wasn't.

To cut this part a long story short, once he was in the hospital they started running tests to work out what was wrong, he was unstable, very sick, and having trouble breathing. This went on for the weekend, and culminated in him having a bad turn on the Monday night, he just couldn't get enough air.

On the Tuesday, one of the nurses took his plight in hand and worked tirelessly to have him transferred to a major melbourne hospital, I still thank the universe for that nurse. It is without a doubt in my mind that she saved his life that day.

He was airlifted in the afternoon, and we {still not realising just how very sick he was} made it into to hospital around 7pm. It was the first time that our family has all been together in eighteen months... and we've been know to comment in that time that it would take a miracle to heal our family. Well here we were, about to witness a miracle.

It didn't take any of us long to realise how serious this was. He couldn't breathe, and I don't know about you, but when there are lots of staff (from nurse to head of surgical department) buzzing around, making phone calls, running... then you very quickly realised that things are not good. We sat, we watched, we were told what they suspected, we cried, we said all of the things that needed to be said when a loved one looks like they aren't going to make it. It was one of the worst nights of my life.

In the early hours of the next morning they transferred him to the ICU, where they could focus on keeping him breathing. The infection that he had was attacking his heart and lungs, they were filling him with medicine to fight the infection but his heart was so irreparably damaged. We headed home about 2am, knowing that now it was up to an amazing team of surgeons, his will to live, and the universe ~ I fell asleep exhausted and woke up four hours later with tears streaming down my face.

His open heart surgery began at 7am and was expected to go for 6 to 8 hours. While he was in there we knew that there would be no communication. No word was good news. It was a slow, precise operation to remove the damaged parts of his heart, slowly as to not 'flick' the infection into any other areas, and then transplant new parts and rebuild him. We got back to the hospital around 2pm and sat in the ICU waiting room and waited.

Eventually around 6pm word came that he was being moved back into ICU. He was critical, and every minute that he was still alive was a bonus. He was in a coma {induced due to the life support equipment} and they were working to keep him stable and pain free. Eventually around 8pm we were allowed in to see him, apparently he could hear us but could not respond. All I remember is standing there with my big sister beside me, and my little brother {who is 6'4" and built} laying there with a gazillion tubes and monitors in and around him. He looked so young. I couldn't stay long, it was just... so wrong.

The next few days are a blur for me, he kept getting better, not in a 'i'm going to leap out of bed and run out of here' kind of way; but more a 'slowly but consistently' kind of way. Within a few days he was out of ICU onto the cardiac high dependency ward, the a few days after that he was in the normal cardiac ward, then a week or so later he was sent home for daily nurse visits. All up it took a fortnight.

In the midst of all this my Mum went in to hospital to have her hip done ~ at the time she was all 'don't worry about my, it's just a hip', but truly we were such a fragmented family. There was lots of running around, visiting, running errands, trying to look after each other, and trying to continue running my family of five with kinder and laundry and cleaning... and trying to maintain some social life in order to not go insane.

I am pleased to say that everyone is on the mend, it is still a long road, but every day it's getting better. I am still exhausted, and emotional, and trying to figure out how is the best way to continue to nourish myself so that I have enough energy to keep on giving, but all in all it's getting better.

So that's it ~ the air is clear around here. Hopefully normal blogging will be able to resume.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

stop motion :: mia's walking

my littlest baby is toddling* around... more and more steps each time.

it never fails to make me smile, especially when her older siblings stop and notice, yell out to me that "she's walking again!" and give her a round of applause.

* just a little 'stop-motion' video of some photos that I took today

Monday, 2 August 2010

Angus' 5th Party

In the midst of an exhausting month, I realised that I really did not have the energy to even contemplate hosting a party for 25 children and their families... and thank-you to all of your thoughtful comments, I was confident that sticking to inviting just a few of Angus' friends was the right thing to do.

party room

We chose to have a two hour kids party at home, the loose plan was that the kids would arrive, have a little free play then settle down at the table to make their own pizza. We would then cook the pizza and dish each child back their pizza to eat. A couple of party games and the cake and presents would follow, then each child would come back to the table to decorate their cupcake and then they would head home, leaving us to spend some quieter time socialising with family.

So how did it actually go?

crazy balloon antics

Well we invited five boys from A's kinder class, and most of them arrived on time. A couple were dropped off, but the majority brought their Mum's with them {which was nice, but also a little nerve-racking as this is the first time that any of these people had been to my house} the boys got busy right away playing some loud, silly, crazy game which involved spinning all of the helium balloons into a tangle, then lurching {or such like} at each other, there was plenty of giggling and screaching, and it didn't take me long to prioritise getting them to sit down at the table and make pizza.

rolling dough

This part was definitely a success, the boys calmed right down and got to it... rolling out their own pizza, spreading on the tomato base and choosing their own toppings.

making pizza

Each setting had a pizza tray, covered with a square of baking paper with each child's name written on it, so it was the easiest thing to pop the pizza's in the oven when they were done.

A's pizza

While the pizza's were cooking we had a quick game of pass-the-parcel, then it was back to the table to eat.

my most underwhelming cake to date :D

Once the boys were done, I decided to move straight to the presents part {sort of thinking that the presents would keep the boys entertained without having to resort to balloon sillies again} so we quickly did the cake {my most underwhelming to date!) and the song and then Angus, closely surrounded by five of his mates {and by close, I mean they were all nearly sitting on top of each other, it was so, so sweet} started to unwrap his gifts.

the presents

the BIG present

He opened the first one, and was so impressed with it, that all other unwrapping was soon forgotten as he was intent on enjoying his gift... it took a fair amount of coercion for him to put the first one down to open then second... and lo-and-behold, it was another excellent gift, and he was soon intent on enjoying this one.

It wasn't until we got Daisy to start opening his presents, that he decided to open the rest. I don't know if it was because his birthday coincided with the major toy sales of the year, or if he is just extremely lucky, but he got lots {and I do mean lots} of very cool presents.

decorate your own cupcake

We then went on with another game {with me starting to reach frazzled point} musical dots this time, sort of like musical chairs but with circles instead of chairs?!? and can I just say... mistake. Five year olds {and particularly mine} didn't cope will with the disappointment of being 'out' they much prefer games where everyone is a winner... so next time, we'll skip this in favour of a pinata {or something}... then we quickly moved onto decorating your own cupcake.

his cake

After which, the kinder kids headed home, and we were able to relax and enjoy some time with family and Angus was able to sit down and enjoy some of the present that he received.

afterwards :: some quiet time enjoying his presents