Sunday, 30 September 2012

Dear diary

Well another week has come and gone, and very little has happened since this time last week. We had Miss K's 18 month immunisation and the lounge room got painted, but you all should know that already since you're such loyal fans who read absolutely everything I write.

My niece got her birthday present yesterday, which is such a relief because it means that I can finally tell you that she got to go ride a horse. Now for all you adults out there this may not seem like much, but to a horse mad 9 year old this is a big deal. According to my big sister she actually cried when she found out where they were going. The weather  yesterday was cold, wet and windy, all which make horse riding rather miserable. Luckily for me I was sitting at home in my nice warm lounge room not growing icicles on my nose, but my poor big sister was not so fortunate, and she was sitting atop a 6 foot tall beast. I got to see some photos and videos from yesterday and I can say with great authority that my sister was not born to be a cowboy. My niece however was a natural at horse riding, and wants to do it all again.

Miss K has been cranky and clingy and all kinds of frustrating this week, she wants to be picked up, then she wants to get down, then she wants a cuddle then she wants to be left alone, then she wants mum then she wants grandma. It's hard to keep up with her wants when they change so quickly, but we're just riding the storm. I have her 18 month check up tomorrow so we'll find out how much she's grown in the pas 6 months and see if I can't get some help with her begging people for food. You'd think I don't feed her the way she goes on when other people bring food into the room, and it is starting to get frustrating. She is walking more and more each day, and has gotten to the point where she would rather walk than be carried everywhere, which is a day I have longed for for 18 months now, but now that it is here feels like the end of something I will actually miss. Of course my back is grateful for the break, but I do love the hugs I got when I was toting her around.

Now for any of you who have been paying attention, earlier this week I wrote about Jill Meagher who was murdered last week. (For anyone needing their memory refreshed, you can check the post out here) Well today there was a march on Sydney Road in her memory. I had heard about it from a friend living in Melbourne who was planning on attending but hadn't thought much more about it. Until the photos of the walk started popping up on Facebook. Now for anyone who isn't familiar with Sydney Road, it is a length of road several kilometers long, and it is joined to a free-way which links Melbourne to Sydney. So you can imagine that it would be a pretty busy road. Well today was no exception, except instead of cars clogging up the lanes it was people. Check out this image of the march

That is a shot of just some of the more than ten thousand people who showed up to show support and protest violence against women. Now I lived in Melbourne for more than 2 years and I have never seen that many people all in the same place at once. The march stretched across over 4 city blocks in length. I hope that her family in Ireland got to see this photo and feel the love that all of these people brought with them for this poor woman. 

Well I'm done for another week, I am getting a new computer this week so I plan on spending this evening backing up the hundreds of photos I have of my family before I get rid of this relic for good. Have a good week and tune in tomorrow to see how I went on my 30 day challenge last week.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Hard lesson to learn - RIP Jill Meagher

So for any of my wonderful readers from Australia, Ireland or New Zealand, you have probably heard the tragic story of Jill Meagher (pronounced Maher for all of you playing at home) who was murdered last week while walking home from the pub. For any of you who haven't heard the story yet, Jill, a young Irish woman who lived in Melbourne's north with her husband was walking the 4 blocks from a local pub to her home at around 1:30 in the morning when she disappeared. Despite attempts to find her made by her family and thousands of people spreading the news through Facebook, she never made it back home, and her body was found several days later. Yesterday a man from Coburg was arrested and today he was charged with her rape and murder. He was considered a suspect after CCTV footage captured him following Jill home.

Now there are a couple of things that make this story really stand out. The first is the shock that people feel that she was attacked in the middle of a busy street, given how popular the area is where she was, the people who live there are horrified how close this was to home. It has also come as a surprise to everyone who has watched this story unfold how quickly her attacker has been arrested and brought to court over this crime. Now I actually used to live in Coburg, and I walked down Sydney Road where she was attacked on a daily basis, but it doesn't surprise me that someone could be attacked on that road. But then it doesn't surprise me when anyone is attacked in Melbourne. Anyone from Melbourne might remember when the city trialled a new curfew system a couple of years ago, as an attempt to reduce the amount of alcohol related crimes in and around Melbourne. Violence is inevitable when huge crowds of people gather in small areas and drink alcohol.

Now the thing that really surprises me about this case is that Jill insisted on walking home alone that night. I'm not sure if she thought her close proximity to her home made her safer, or the high levels of traffic, but for some reason she refused a friend's offer to walk her home and paid the ultimate price for it. On the news today a lot of people were saying that they were going to be more vigilant in making sure the women in their families didn't make the same mistake, but I cannot for the life of me understand why people have become so relaxed about personal safety as to think they will be fine walking the streets of Melbourne unescorted at night. And I'm not just talking about women here either. It is not only the fairer sex who are the targets of muggers, murderers and other bad guys these days.

I cannot say that I have never found myself having to walk through the suburbs alone, but I tried not to make a habit of it. One night I was trying to get home from work when I got to the very beginning of Sydney Road and found that all public transport had been shut down from that point forward after a gangland shooting had occurred at the Brunswick Club. I found myself more than 2 km from home in the dark with no choice but to start walking and hope for the best. I decided that I would be safer if I could find someone who was going the same way as I was and ask them to escort me, so I chose a young gentleman I had seen travelling on the same tram as me. He very kindly obliged and walked me all the way to the end of Sydney Road at which point I was only 2 blocks from home and felt safe enough making the rest of the trip on my own. Now I was told afterwards that I had made a foolish blunder by asking some strange man to walk me home, especially as there was a rogue gunman wandering around the streets, and I couldn't guarantee that he wasn't now my escort. But my argument here was given that the gangs of North Melbourne were mostly of Mediterranean descent, my 6 foot tall red headed escort wearing an Akubra hat was the most unlikely candidate I could find. (I'm not kidding you, he was wearing an Akubra in the middle of the city. You couldn't get more country if you tried.) Now I was lucky that my new friend wasn't an opportunist just waiting to take advantage of a young and vulnerable woman, but I felt at the time that having his company was a better alternative to no company at all.

I don't know if my suspicion of the people of Melbourne comes from being a country girl, but mum drummed into all of us the dangers of walking the streets alone at night, to the point that I won't even do it in my home town. Now I live in a very small town, but that doesn't mean that criminals don't live here. And I will always make sure I don't find myself in any positions where I could be in danger. And I will be teaching Miss K the same awareness, because it doesn't matter where you are, you can never be too careful. And if she ever does move to the city, I'll be teaching her my old tricks too, like the home made flame thrower made with a can of deodorant and a lighter. I know this is probably highly illegal, but I would always have my aerosol can in one hand, my lighter in the other, and my hands in my pockets as I walked. I don't even know if it would have worked, and luckily for me I never had to test it, but I always felt slightly safer on my trips.

In the aftermath of this horrible tragedy, there are now people springing up saying that Brunswick is a dangerous town and to avoid it. This will not solve anything, this will in fact only make life harder for the shop owners on Sydney Road. These people rely on the heavy stream of traffic that runs constantly along this road, and the money that they bring with them. In fact it was the security cameras in and around these businesses that helped to identify the man responsible for Jill's murder. (I don't care if people think it will turn this world into Big Brother, there can never be too many CCTV cameras in the city.) Now I am only too familiar with the effect that comments like these can have on areas affected by horrendous crimes, my home town is still trying to drag our name out of the mud after a little boy was killed here over ten years ago. We still get called bogans and other horrible things, and if you tell anyone that you're from here, his name is usually the first thing that they come out with. (To the point that I stopped admitting I came from here for the longest time.) The thing is this was one isolated act performed by one isolated person, but it's the rest of the town that has to live with the reputation of being dangerous. Brunswick is a lovely town full of tonnes of bridal stores (apparently one isn't enough) and other awesome shops, and their owners shouldn't have to suffer because of one dangerous individual.

So while Jill's family come to terms with her tragic end, and the rest of Melbourne also grieve this waste of life there is one very important thing to learn from this, and that is never walk the streets alone at night. There is no such thing as being too cautious, and the more friends you can surround yourself with, the safer you will be.

Well that's my lecture over for another night, I'm off to bed. Stay awesome my lovely readers, and more importantly, stay safe.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Another birthday

I am so tired right now, so very, very tired. Soooo...........tired.

So you may have guessed that I'm tired. If you haven't guessed that yet you're probably as tired as I am. For goodness sake go to bed now and read this blog in the morning if that is the case. I can wait, I'm a very patient person (not really but I'll make an exception this time).

So why am I so tired you ask?? I have no darn idea. It has been a little busier than normal over here at the casa de insanity, Ben and Tristan came down yesterday to take my niece to the Melbourne show, they stayed here last night and this afternoon the rest of the family all swarmed in our suddenly tiny lounge room to celebrate my niece's ninth birthday. So far she got the trip to the Melbourne show, a party at our place, on Monday she's going ice skating with my baby sister, and the best part of the present is going to be this weekend with her parents. I can't say too much because I have no idea if she reads my blog, and if she does I don't want to give the surprise away, but all I can say is I am so jealous right now, as she is getting to fulfil the dream of every 9 year old girl this Saturday. And no, she isn't meeting Justin Bieber.

I didn't go to the Melbourne show yesterday, but that is because I really didn't feel like shelling out $35 for a ticket into the show and then the exorbitant prices for rides, foods and show bags. I did however send a shopping list up with Ben, and Miss K woke up this morning to see a shiny new ABC show bag sitting in the lounge room waiting for her. She also got a new Elmo teddy from Tristan, and a stuffed duck toy from my niece. Oh to be one and cute again.

Or to be nine and have so many awesome aunts and uncles. I actually feel guilty about my gift to my niece, because while every one else has splashed out and got her trips to special events I got her a Beados set. Woot. She promised me she loves it, and she sounded genuine, and I'm not sure she is very good at lying about these things because I still remember her reaction at her birthday last year when she got a surfer t-shirt that she knew was from the boys section of K-Mart.

I am still struggling to wrap my head around the fact that my baby niece is 9 years old. I can still remember the day she was born, and it feels like it was yesterday. It was grand final night, we had been sitting around the house for hours waiting to hear the good news that the baby was finally born, I had exhausted myself by nervously scrubbing out the shower and fallen asleep on the couch when the call finally came. I can even remember that she was born weighing 6 pounds 7 ounces. But ask me what I was wearing yesterday and I draw an absolute blank.

So given the excitement we've had around here the last few days plus the visit Miss K and I paid to an old friend this afternoon, I am very, very, verrrry tired and I feel I must go to bed before I start drooling on the keyboard in my sleep. Have a good one y'all and I'll be back bright eyed and busy tailed tomorrow. Oh and a big happy birthday to my gorgeous niece too.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

My big girl. A story in pictures

So there have been times over the past 18 months when I have been worried that Miss K might be a bit different. My little sister even refers to her as a window licker occasionally.

Yes that is a picture of my daughter hitting herself in the head with plastic bottles.

She has always seemed to be just a few steps behind every other baby her age and that is enough to make any first time mum nervous.

Wait for me guys!

But lately I have started noticing little things that she does that make me realise I really need to trust that Miss K knows what she is doing. For example we went to my big sister's place the other day, and she spent a good five minutes removing the lids from felt tip pens, to swap them to other felt tip pens. Now this may not seem like a big deal to anyone who doesn't have kids, but you have no idea the amount of fine motor skills a task like this takes. And the concentration too.

Who knew playing was such serious work.

And today she has surprised me yet again, by spending half an hour trying to put a lid on a plastic bottle. Now this job was made impossible by the fact that the bottle already had a lid on, but she persevered for a full half hour, ignoring the flash and beeping of my old and obnoxious sounding camera as I snapped her from my little corner. 

That kid has truly mastered the art of ignoring anything when it suits her

Now normally when a child keeps doing the same task over and over again to the point of obsession the first thing you think is Autism. And trust me I have been watching for signs of that for a while. But I don't think this is the case. I think this is her learning about the world around her.

But she's so darn pretty I have to forgive her

She knows that bottles have lids, she knew that there was one bottle and one lid on the floor, so the logical answer is that they must go together. And she kept trying to make them go together, for thirty whole minutes. There are times when my attention span isn't even that long. After ten minutes of a particularly boring task, I usually need a good lie down and maybe some chocolate.

Alright, now where's my chocolate?

So it's only a little thing, but I'm pretty proud of Miss K right now, for showing such determination and concentration. And after hard work like that, a girl really needs a drink...

Umm no, you may not drink that energy drink...

That's better.

30 day challenge update

It's past that time of the week again, and I am sorry that this update is late, but I have been so busy making excuses as to why I couldn't do my work, I didn't have time to do my work. But without any further ado let us begin with the pretty banner.

So if the fact that this update is now two days overdue doesn't give you a hint as to how I am progressing, then let me fill you in. For anyone who wants to start at the beginning, check out this post here

While I am still determined to stop being a lazy slob and become the kind of person who doesn't have to worry exactly how long that bottle has been sitting there with dried milk inside it, putting my plans into action is proving to be just as hard the second time around. Just as a reminder, here are the jobs I set myself for this week.

Day 1 - Create a cleaning schedule for every job that needs to be done around the house. Organise the jobs into ones that need to be done daily, weekly, monthly etc and nominate a day that each job needs to be done

Day 2 - Get rid of at least ten things today. Throw them in the bin or take them to the second hand store, but get them out of the house

Day 3 - Power clean day. Set a buzzer for fifteen minutes and only clean until the buzzer goes off. Take a short break and repeat. Keep going until all your work for the day is complete. 

Day 4 - Tackle my bedroom and get it clean and liveable. 

Day 5 - Find one house hot spot (a place where junk always seems to end up) and clean it thoroughly

Day 6 - Find one cupboard that is full of junk and get it cleaned out and all unnecessary junk ready to be thrown in the bin or taken to the second hand store

Day 7 - Pick a room and wash all the walls from floor to ceiling. 

So as I mentioned on day 1 of last week, that job was easy, and has been done. Yay success! Day two not so successful. I have boxes and bags of things waiting to be donated to the op shop all around the house. But I didn't add anything new to these boxes on day 2, nor did I get the boxes out of the house. I'm pretty sure I threw out ten things while I was tidying up the lounge room on that day, but I think the point of that exercise was more than just get rid of all the wrappers from the chocolates I ate the night before. Day 3 was not a power clean day, I think it was more of a sit down and chat with all of the people who came over to visit day, as that is exactly what I did. All day. Day 4 came and went and my bedroom still wasn't liveable, I can't even remember what I did on day 5, but it certainly wasn't clean out any hot spots. Day 6 is a total blank. Did we even have a Saturday this week? Has someone been stealing my days and not telling me? Well if there was a Saturday this week it wasn't spent cleaning out any cupboards. Day 7 was slightly more productive, but not entirely to task. I managed to go through all of my hanging space in mum's wardrobe and sort out all of Miss K's dresses and my special occasions outfits, and I threw out a lot of things that are either out of fashion or way too big for me now that I have lost so much weight. We also got all of the walls in the lounge room washed, but that was only because we were painting this week and it had already been organised. 

So the first 7 days was kind of a bust. But I think I know why. I have realised I can't sit down a week in advance and schedule things so strictly as plans around here change so quickly it is impossible to know whether or not I will actually have time to do the things I want to ahead of time. So from this point on I won't be allocating a job for each day, I will be allocating jobs for a week, and hopefully doing it this way will promise a little more success. So my jobs for this week are as follows...
  • Take all of your clothes out of their drawers and cupboards and sort them into piles to be thrown in the bin, donated to the second hand store or kept. Only put away the clothes in the keep pile
  • Empty the freezer and throw out food that you no longer want
  • Wipe down every appliance in the house
  • Pick one room, wash all windows
  • Clean the hallway completely
  • Find another cupboard full of junk and empty it out
  • Pick a room and wash all the walls from floor to ceiling
So thanks to my spur of the moment wardrobe clean last week the first job is already partially done. I just have one chest of drawers to go through and empty out and the first job can be ticked off. Mum also got rid of a heap of the old food in the freezer yesterday, so that job should be fairly quick and easy too. The big jobs like windows and walls can probably be done tomorrow or the next day as we are meant to have some lovely weather coming up, so perfect excuse to start sloshing water around the house. 

So fingers crossed doing it this way is a little bit easier for me, and I'll report back to you guys again next Monday. (Unless I get distracted by something shiny again)

Well that's it for now, I'm off to bed finally, and I'll try again tomorrow.

Dear diary the covered in paint edition

I know, I know I'm two days late with this update, and a day late with my 30 day challenge update. But I have been flat out the last few days so unfortunately non-essential tasks like blogging tend to take a back seat when things get crazy. But I'm here now so let's let the updating begin.

If I make no sense tonight I apologise in advance, I spent the day painting our lounge room and despite my nap this evening after Miss K was put to bed my eyeballs still feel like they are about to fall out of my head so this blog may dissolve into one long nonsensical tangent before too long. I could tell you the weird dream I had while I was napping today, but I think that's just asking for trouble. I will however tell you that I am so tired that I just tried to make mum a coffee in my coke glass instead of her mug. Using the last of the coffee. I'm so tired I have become as slow as Homer Simpson.

So painting. Today mum and I and my little brother finally got stuck into our lounge room and painted all of our horrible stained, pitted and marked walls, transforming our lounge room into a pretty pink and green room. I don't have photos atm, as I only picked up my camera once today to take a photo of my nephew helping mum cut in the first wall, and then forgot completely to take any more, so maybe in the next few days I'll remember and take some shots for you. I think the most exciting thing about our new lounge, besides the fact that this is the first time the walls in here have been anything other than creamy white is the fact that we have a feature wall! It is a stunning hot pink colour, and it stands out against the mint green walls fabulously. Now all we need to do is figure out how to fill the now empty walls with lovely decorations.

Miss K had her 18 month immunisations yesterday and I was so proud of how she handled it. Normally when we get her jabs done she gets two done, one in each leg, and I'm usually the one who has to hold her down while two nurses ambush her at the same time. It is because of times like these that she has earned herself the nickname air raid siren because the scream that comes out of her is deafening, and makes you want to dive under the nearest desk. Well yesterday was completely different. For one she only had one needle, and the put it in her arm this time, so she got to watch the nurse stab her. I was expecting this to make things even worse, but for some reason it had the opposite effect and Miss K sat very quietly and didn't so much as whimper as she was getting her medicine. She did go ghostly white once everything was over, but I was prepared for this and had packed a fruit juice in her nappy bag for a quick sugar fix. Why do needles send you into shock?

Also on Miss K, she is walking so much now, she even decided last night to do laps around the lounge room before bed. She would get herself up into a standing position at the door, then walk the length of the room and back to the door again. If she fell down, she would crawl straight back to the door and try again. I am so pleased to see her so determined to perfect this skill, and it is paying off in spades as her balance and speed get better every single day. I have decided during these school holidays to look into enrolling into a Gymbaroo class in a nearby town for next term, my nephew went to the same one when he was a toddler and it did his balance and co-ordination a world of good, and as Miss K loves climbing all over everything I think she will have an absolute ball.

Well I think that's all the exciting things from this week listed, I'm hopefully going to be catching up with some old friends of Miss K's father tomorrow, I haven't seen them in over 9 months, since they moved towns and had a baby so I am so excited for the chance to catch up and finally meet their beautiful new son. The next blog I do will be an update for the 30 day challenge so stay tuned for that one, but for now, stay awesome.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Equality for all

Ok it's time for me to jump on my soapbox yet again, as I find one thing after another that bugs the hell out of me. And today I'm getting political too, which is something I normally try to avoid doing. So strap yourselves in dear reader as we talk about marriage equality.

So by now you should all be aware that my little brother Ben is gay. My family has known he was gay since he was very young, and we love him not despite this fact, but because he is a wonderful, loving and caring person. His sexual preferences are just a small part of what makes him Ben. His partner Tristan is also a wonderful person, with an absolutely filthy sense of humour, making him one of only a few people in this world who can out-gross me. (No small accomplishment let me tell you) Now Ben and Tristan have been together for a while now, and recently they got engaged. This would be a happy announcement for them if it wasn't for the fact that gay marriage is not recognised or legal in Australia.

There was a vote yesterday in Australian parliament in an effort to finally recognise gay people's rights to marry, unfortunately it was unsuccessful, with a 98 - 42 vote against the bill. There are a lot of angry people in Australia right now, and a lot of them aren't even gay. This affects a lot of people that I love and care about, not just my little brother. I have other family members that are gay, friends that I have known since primary school, people I have worked with over the years, and none of them can get married because the government thinks it is icky.

Now I don't ever want to get married. I get bored way too easily with relationships, and the thought of being tied to a man for the rest of my life makes me feel queasy. But that is just my opinion, and doesn't stop millions of other people wanting their union to be recognised in the eyes of the law. Given that the government will recognise your same sex relationship if it means that they can pay you less money in pensions, refusing to allow same sex couples the right to marry and make their relationship completely binding just seems hypocritical.

I know that there are a lot of arguments against same sex marriage, a lot of which stem back to religion. I am not even going to get started on the religious side of this, mainly because I am still trying to find proper information that hasn't been skewed to fit the argument a person is trying to make. But I will say this, it is getting to the point where even the religious people are starting to say enough is enough, and support same sex marriage. There will always be the die hard zealots who refuse to accept that marriage should be for everyone, but as we raise more and more generations that are less and less religious, how long before this argument dies out completely? I also feel that the only people who should be allowed to play the religion card are the people who live all of the rules in the bible, not just the ones that they pick and choose at random.

At the end of the day, I feel it is important to realise that homosexuality is not a choice, these people did not decide to be gay, they were all born this way, the same as I did not choose to be straight. Refusing them the same rights that straight people get simply because they are genetically different is discrimination. We stopped refusing to allow multi-racial couples to marry decades ago, how long do we have to wait until homosexuals are treated as equals too?

Maybe it's time this decision was taken out of the hands of the politicians, who are too scared of offending the Christian right wings and into the hands of the people who it truly affects. The people whose taxes pay their salaries, whose votes ensure their jobs and whose support can be moved quite easily to someone else who is willing to do something about this. Maybe it's time the rest of the country got to say who they are allowed to marry.

Ok rant over for now. If for any reason my opinions offend you, I refuse to apologise, as I am not ashamed that I feel this way. If however you agree with me, good for you, but don't keep it to yourself. Let the world know that you support gay marriage too, and maybe the people making these rules can finally see that this isn't just some small problem that will go away if they ignore it for long enough. 

As always I welcome any feedback you guys may have, but given the way this argument tends to bring out the angry in people I will ask anyone who wants to leave a comment to try to leave the name calling out. I'm happy to have a grown up conversation with you guys, but I am not afraid to call you a big meanie if I have to.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Don't be afraid to ask for help

So I want to start todays post by saying that my teacher is freaking awesome. She finally responded to my email begging for help yesterday, but I totally forgot I had sent her one, so I didn't check my inbox until this afternoon at around 2:00. So she had given me some hints without absolutely giving away the answer, unfortunately I still couldn't wrap my head around the work. So after half an hour of emails going back and forth between us she finally called me and worked with me until I finally wrapped my brain around the spreadsheet I had been staring blankly at for the past two hours. She was so patient with me and made sure to let me know that even though I hadn't been able to do this assignment on my own I was doing a good job. At the end of the day I should be proud I've managed to make it through 8 months worth of work without having to ask for help, but as always it is easier to focus on my shortcomings and failings than my accomplishments.

But the whole point of this tangent is to announce I GOT MY BALANCE SHEET TO BALANCE!!! I have finally submitted my assignment, (albeit a week late) and both sides match and everything is right with the world. I am so relieved I could cry right now. Almost as much as I wanted to cry when I discovered I wouldn't have failed if I handed my work in wrong. All of this stressing was for about a 5% increase in my final mark for the unit. But I'm pedantic like that. I hate settling for good enough when it comes to school work. The years may have passed but the teachers pet deep inside me still has a lot more control over me than I would like to admit.

So in other news Ben and Tristan went home this afternoon, and the house has been eerily quiet since they left. It's amazing how large the house grows the minute Ben walks out the front door. But I can't say anything too nasty about Ben or Tristan because I love them both, and because Ben gave me even more awesome photos of Miss K before he left today. Below are just a couple of my favourites.

This is as close as Miss K gets to gangster. Of course the effect is ruined by the fact that her hoodie has ears on it. But she would have a mother obsessed with hats with ears on them.

I love the look on her face in this one. Miss K is the queen of strange faces, but this is one of her cuter ones.

Speaking of Ben, he has been bitten by the blogging bug (how is that for alliteration?) and has started his very own blog. Feel free to mosey on over and check it out, and you can even have the dubious honour of saying you liked it from the beginning before it was cool. Now be good readers and click the

Miss K and I had a visit from a friend of mine Kelly today. Kelly and I used to work together right before I got pregnant. This girl was an absolute angel while Miss K and I were in hospital dealing with suspected meningitis, bringing me home cooked food, taking me out shopping so I wasn't staring at the same four walls for twenty four hours a day and checking in every few days to make sure I was OK. Now again I don't have any recent photos of Miss K and Kelly (I really must learn to take my camera with me everywhere) but hopefully we'll be going to her house to have dinner with her and her husband soon so I'll be sure to take pictures then. 

Well that's it for tonight, I have ten minutes before bedtime so I'll probably spend it looking at something completely pointless on the internet (isn't that the best way to spend your spare time?)

Stay awesome wonderful readers, and I'll be back again soon with more wisdom for you to read.

Monday, 17 September 2012

The new 30 day challenge

Hi peeps, as I mentioned yesterday I am reinventing my 30 ways in 30 days challenge to make it more achievable and easier for me to follow. Previously I just had a list of tips for being more organised, and while it was good inspiration, and worked for a little while, it just wasn't structured or organised properly so failure was imminent. So having said that, allow me to introduce you to...

Ooh it even has it's own banner!

That's right, 30 day challenge series. Because I don't just want to change one habit here, I have a heap of them I want to change, so each of them deserves its own challenge. Below in no particular order is a list of all of the parts of my life that I want to change, but I may add to it at a later date. 

30 day challenges I would like to complete
Finish all the projects I have started
Stick to a more organised and scheduled day
Become tidier
Get rid of all the clutter
Become an exercise junkie
Quit smoking
Become a better healthier cook
Make my blog more well known
Create and use a household binder
Become better at handling my finances
Stop hating going shopping
Organise my craft area
Make my bedroom look and feel pretty

So it makes sense to start with the more urgent bad habits first so my very first 30 day challenge will be to become tidier. Now there will be some overlap with some of these challenges, part of getting tidier will be to get rid of all of the clutter, but really this challenge is going to be all about learning to be more house-proud and making my job as a mum a whole lot easier by removing a lot of little jobs from my day. 

So what is going to happen is I am giving myself seven days of challenges at a time, and I'll share them with you all at the beginning of each week. I will be coming back here at the end of every week to report my progress and how successful I have been at completing my challenges for the week, and hopefully at the end of the 30 days I will have formed better housekeeping habits to last me a lifetime. So my first seven days of challenges are:

Day 1 - Create a cleaning schedule for every job that needs to be done around the house. Organise the jobs into ones that need to be done daily, weekly, monthly etc and nominate a day that each job needs to be done

Day 2 - Get rid of at least ten things today. Throw them in the bin or take them to the second hand store, but get them out of the house

Day 3 - Power clean day. Set a buzzer for fifteen minutes and only clean until the buzzer goes off. Take a short break and repeat. Keep going until all your work for the day is complete. 

Day 4 - Tackle my bedroom and get it clean and liveable. 

Day 5 - Find one house hot spot (a place where junk always seems to end up) and clean it thoroughly

Day 6 - Find one cupboard that is full of junk and get it cleaned out and all unnecessary junk ready to be thrown in the bin or taken to the second hand store

Day 7 - Pick a room and wash all the walls from floor to ceiling. 

So that's my first week all planned out. So today is day 1 of my challenge, and probably my easiest day because I had already started mapping out a cleaning schedule before today. (Technically cheating I know, but I'm the one making the rules here so I can play dirty if I want.) I'll check back with you guys next Monday with my progress and hopefully pictures if I remember to drag my trusty camera out of hiding while I'm cleaning. 

Well that's it for now, I'll be back next Monday with my progress report and another 7 days of challenges for myself. Anyone watching at home, please feel free to join in with me if the mood strikes you, and of course I'd love to hear your thoughts as well. Don't forget to click on the pretty buttons to the right of your screen and join me on Facebook or Twitter for more hijinxes and fun, and until next time, stay awesome.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Dear Diary the more buttons edition

Ladles and jelly spoons welcome again to another Sunday round up. I'm going to start today by once again drawing your wonderful attention to the little sidebar to the right of your screen. There is another button there for you to click, this one takes you to my brand spanking new twitter account! And it didn't take me weeks to figure out how to link the two up this time. I'm getting even better at this. One day I will rule the world with the power of widgets.

So yes another week has passed and as I started the count down a couple of days ago, I should let you know there are only 99 sleeps until Christmas. I looked back at that blog post, (for any of you who haven't read my thoughts on Christmas yet, check out this post here) and it all looks pretty dismal. I should probably clarify that I don't hate Christmas, and even before I gave birth to Miss K I got involved in all of the tree decorating and the family dinners, but it was done with a level of sarcasm and indifference that would make the Grinch proud. However these days, because I don't want my nieces, nephew or daughter to know that there are people out there who don't think that Christmas is all that and a bag of potato chips I bite my tongue. I've even started shopping for Miss K's presents and am madly looking up Christmas check-lists to see if I can't find some way to make the silly season a little more relaxed this year.

So it's been pretty quiet around here lately, I was madly studying for the first part of the week, desperately trying to get my homework submitted as close to its actual due date as possible. I still can't get my final assignment to balance, so I decided it was time to call in the experts and I've sent it to my teacher, to see if she can't figure out where the heck I went wrong. I know it will be something stupid that I should be able to spot, but I'm at one of those places where I can't see the woods for the trees so I am hoping that her trained eye can help me out here. I'm expecting an email any week now.

Now my baby brother Ben and his partner came down for a visit at the beginning of this week, and when they finally went home that evening I thought it would be the last we would see of them for another few weeks at least. Well I have never been so wrong in my life, because they are at my little sister's house as we speak having some Sunday sippers. Now we haven't seen Tristan yet, as he had to wait until after work to catch the train down, but Ben came over for a few hours this afternoon and had a play with Miss K. This time I remembered to bring out my camera and I got some gorgeous pictures of them.

Miss K trying to get Ben to play the harmonica. His face cracks me up every time

Ben trying to get Miss K to play the harmonica. She was more reluctant to play so those little lips stayed tightly clamped at all times.

Ben got some even better photos on his phone while I wasn't looking, so as soon as he can upload them on my computer I'll be sharing them with you.

Miss K and I went out to lunch with an old friend of mine today, we decided to go to McDonalds as the one here has a semi decent playground area for kids, which meant I didn't have to deal with a bored one year old while I tried to play catch-up with my friend. It was a pleasant afternoon and Miss K won so many hearts while we were there we walked away with two new friends at the end of the day. There were two little girls in particular, similar in age to Miss K's cousins, and she followed them around like a little lost puppy dog the whole time they were in the play area. I am so glad that Miss K is such a social little girl, I certainly can't work a room as well as she does.

Also on Miss K, she is walking more and more each day, and yesterday she even managed to get herself into a standing position from sitting without using a piece of furniture to help her. I know that she is only doing what every baby does but it is ridiculous how excited I get every time she learns something new. Mum and I took her shopping to K Mart last night, and she walked around the shop the whole time. I expected her to get tired of walking very quickly but she refused to let me carry her anywhere, insisting that she could do it all by herself. Not that I'm complaining of course, because all that walking meant that she slept through the whole night.

The 30 ways in 30 days challenge finished this week, with mixed results and I have decided to try doing another challenge with a similar theme, but to tone it down a bit this time so that I don't get so completely overwhelmed and lose interest. There will be more information coming up tomorrow. 

Well that's it for another week, I am now going to go watch Mrs Browns Boys with mum and hope I don't fall asleep on the couch. Don't forget to check out my Facebook page and my lovely new Twitter page and feel free to like them both. 

Saturday, 15 September 2012

30 ways in 30 days challenge complete

So apparently my 30 days to get organised finished on the 12th of this month. Of course you can probably guess that the entire project wasn't completely successful otherwise I would have known this little bit of information well in advance and had a blog post ready to publish on that day. But while I am still not the Martha Stewart of Australia, I have learnt a lot this month and I'm going to share my new nuggets of wisdom with you. (Mainly because I like using the word nuggets in a sentence that isn't related to food.)

Rome wasn't built in a day

So the first thing I learnt was that things like cleaning a house from top to bottom, or learning how to be better organised take time. And a lot of mistakes. And a lot of forgiving yourself for being human and needing lots of Tim Tam and Facebook breaks. There is also the frustration that comes with realising that 30 days is a long time and you will need the full 30 days just to scratch the surface that is your lazy slovenly personality, and that can be very boring and time consuming. There are also days where the work exceeds the rewards by one hundred to one, where you've spent the day washing dishes and doing vacuuming only to see the sink is full again and there are fresh crumbs on your newly cleaned carpet. Waking up the next day can be very hard to do after you've come to the realisation that there is no end to your work. But then the days where you get to sit in a clean lounge room and enjoy your coffee knowing that your vulture of a daughter can't find anything to eat off the carpet, nor can she find any pointy things to jab in her eye can feel pretty good. So can the realisation that if a friend pops in for a surprise visit, you won't be ashamed to let them in the door.

To do lists are an organised person's best friend

So I started out writing myself a new to do list every night before I went to bed, and on the days that I did this I accomplished a lot. Of course having a list of tasks in front of you prevents you from forgetting anything you need to cram into your day, and it also forces you to realise you don't have enough hours to sit around and drink coffee (like you want to) and get everything on your list done (like you need to). You also have no excuse to say your bored if you have a to do list staring at you everywhere you move, daring you to ignore it. Now of course after a few days of using my to do lists, I made the mistake so many rookies make, I felt that I was now experienced enough to remember absolutely everything I had to get done in a day so I got rid of my trusty to do list and things very quickly fell apart. So my lesson has been learnt, and I now know that I need to jot down absolutely everything I think I might want to get done the next day, right down to getting dressed in the morning. Because apparently if it's not in writing, I don't have to do it.

Don't take on too much at once

I learnt this one on about day four when I decided that our pantry and cupboards needed an overhaul. Now we have a huge double door pantry that is used for food storage, as well as a quick hidey hole for anything that doesn't have its own home. As a result any decisions to tackle this cupboard usually take an entire day. Now I decided to get started on our pantry at 8:30 at night. After a full day of cleaning. Needless to say I lasted half an hour before I realised there wasn't enough coffee in the world to get this project finished before breakfast the next day and promptly gave up for the night. (Right after I carefully put everything back into the cupboard to save myself more work the next morning) Now I did go back to the kitchen cupboards, but I did them over several days. And even then there is more that could be done in the pantry as I really only focused on the food storage area. But even just getting that section organised and easier to use was a good feeling. Now that I am on top of my school work again I may schedule some time in the coming weeks to tackle a different shelf, and see if I can't get the whole thing looking pretty by the end of the year.

You can have too many shoes

Or too many handbags, or too many toys. One of the biggest problems in my house isn't the general day to day mess that comes with living in a house, it's all the extra little pieces that have come into the house over the years and have proceeded to make themselves comfortable into any empty space in the house that they can find. These are the things that make a house look messy, and these are also the things that can be the hardest to clean up when you decide to overhaul your house. As I mentioned earlier we have a pantry that doubles as storage. We also have a wall near the laundry, a table in our family room, a cupboard in my mum's room and two cupboards in the laundry. All of these have been filled with things over the years that fall into the I dunno category. The tall cupboard in our laundry is my personal favourite. Among other things, it contains a large box of trophies, a gymnast's ribbon, a printer and a bag full of the little things that used to take up space in my old laundry. Rummaging through it really is like taking a trip down memory lane, but given the sentimental value of everything in that cupboard, it is too hard to throw any of it out, so there it stays, taking up valuable space. Now over the past few weeks I have started going through all of my belongings and Miss K's belongings and throwing out a lot of stuff. Toys that Miss K is too old for, or she has never really taken an interest in, clothing that I no longer wear, because it is too big, or too misshapen or too ugly. things that have sat in my repair pile for months because I can't be bothered fixing them and useless crap that I have bought on the spur of the moment and never used. But there is still so much stuff filling up my space I could probably throw out even more. This is where my little brother excels and I don't. If ever we need a space cleaned out completely we bring him in because he is absolutely ruthless. The words sentimental value mean very little to him so throwing out all of our treasured memories comes a lot easier to him.

So there you have it. I've learned a lot but I still have a long way to go. I may try again, but make my goal a little bit smaller next time, and instead of trying to become super woman in 30 days I'll try having a household binder complete instead, and then move on from there. If anyone out there has any words of advice for me before I move on, please feel free to drop them below in the comments section, I hate to admit it, but I need all the help I can get.

Friday, 14 September 2012

100 days till Christmas

OK so technically the countdown for 100 days till Christmas isn't until tomorrow, but the title 101 days till Christmas just didn't quite roll off the tongue as easily so you'll forgive me for misleading you. I read a blog this afternoon informing me in big bold letters that it was 100 days till Christmas tomorrow and the little voice inside my head started groaning straight away. Christmas is not my favourite holiday of the year. For years I was happy reading the statistic that suicide rates jump up at this time of year until I learned that was a myth made up by people who hate Christmas to make themselves feel better.

It is a dislike that goes back to my childhood (aren't they all?) and the fact that we never actually celebrated Christmas in my house until I was about eleven. Because of my family's religion, most festivities were banned in our house. That meant that there was no big fat jolly man in red, and no EB in April (I'm speaking in code here just because I don't want to dash the beliefs of any children who may be reading over your shoulder.) Now we still got presents on 25th of December, but they were called end of year presents. But the rest of the accoutrements that go with the silly season were nowhere to be found. One year we got a nativity scene in lieu of a tree, but that was probably in the last year that dad was living with us, so mum was learning how to break his rules by then. The first Christmas after dad moved out was the most exciting time of my young life to that point I think. That year mum got us a real pine tree and stuck it in a bucket of sand in our living room. We got the Christmas carols, we got candy canes, we went crazy with the tinsel and baubles until our tree looked like something from Santa's nightmares.  It was awesome.

But pretty soon Christmas became a time of stress. Dad knew that we were celebrating it now that he was gone, and he wasn't happy. We quickly learned to avoid the subject when he was around, but it is impossible to hide a 6 foot plastic pine tree in your lounge room when visitors arrive. He ignored it for the most part, but always found at least one reason to have an argument with one of us in December. I soon came to hate the weeks leading up to the big day, just waiting for something to happen to take the shine off what was meant to be a day of celebration. Of course over time dad just came to accept that we now celebrated the commercial version of Christmas and started avoiding our house in December. We trained my niece and nephew not to bring up the subject when he was around, and one year we even invited him to come to lunch with us. But the damage was done.

But now that I have Miss K, I have a new reason to get excited about Christmas. Because she will never know what it is like to live in a house where we pretend that it doesn't exist. She gets the Christmas tree, she gets photos with Santa, she gets the carols and the tinsel and everything else that this day represents. But I am also going to teach her what Christmas means to me. It means getting together with all of my family (and that's a lot of people) and celebrating the fact that we have lots of people surrounding us who love us, and we have our health and we're all OK. Because even when we didn't have Christmas, we had each other. And that is a hell of a lot more important in my opinion.

Miss K last Christmas

So with that in mind, LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN!!!!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Me and maths are not a good mix

I should be in bed. I should be tucked up and snoring away like a big hairy bear. But I am too frustrated. After weeks and weeks of putting off my homework I have come to the horrible realisation that I should have spent my time more productively, because it turns out there are just some things that don't come naturally to me. And maths is one of them.

I'm actually almost finished my current unit. I'm down to the last assignment, but it's also the hardest. And the longer I plod away at it, the closer I feel to being 17 years old again. The same insecurity when I get a question wrong, the same paralysing frustration when things don't add up, and the same little voice inside my head asking me why I'm even bothering to try to succeed at something and FOR GOD'S SAKE WHY AREN'T THESE BALANCE SHEETS BALANCING?????

Today was one of those days where I was glad for the distraction that Miss K brings, instead of being frustrated like I normally am when she interrupts me. I don't think I yelled at her once all day. Of course it probably helps that grandma was the main boss today and I was just stepping in when she couldn't be in two places at once. And mum is talking about taking her out to visit my big sister tomorrow so that I can have the house to myself. I know I say this a thousand times, but I really am lucky to be the proud owner of the best mum in the world.

I think the thing that is stopping me the most is the fear. What if after all of the help my mum and my sisters have given me I turn around and fail at this? What if all of the days ignoring Miss K and neglecting the housework and basic hygiene have been for nothing? I know I should stop being so negative and hard on myself, especially since I have passed every unit so far, but self loathing is what I do best, so I'm going to indulge in it a bit thank you very much.

But given that it is almost one o'clock in the morning I really cannot accomplish anything more than worrying right now, so I'm going to give up for now and go to bed. Considering the assignments were due today I'm already late so worrying is just pointless. But if my balance sheets aren't balanced by the end of tomorrow, the person who invented double entry bookkeeping better start sleeping with one eye open.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Miss K's special visitors

So I officially hate bookkeeping. This stuff is doing my head in. My assignments are due tomorrow and I'm nowhere near ready to submit them. I'd like to give a good reason why I didn't get my homework done in time, but really I left it to the last minute, and instead of doing homework today I spent time with my baby brother and his partner. On the plus side, instead of doing homework today, I spent time with my baby brother and his partner, so it all worked out in the end.

Today was another random visit from my city slicker brother Ben, but this time his partner Tristan made the trip down with him to visit Miss K. (He says he was coming to see all of us but we know the real reason.) Unfortunately Miss K didn't feel like playing nice today and ignored him for most of his visit. At first she was playing shy and hiding behind me, but then she just ignored anyone who mentioned his name to her, which is  frustrating at the best of times. Eventually my little brother got tired of her games and just grabbed her and plonked her down on Tristan's lap. That was all it took and they were best friends from then on. And he fed her chocolate which is always a bonus in Miss K's books. Add to that the excitement that my little brother always manages to inject into any child that he spends time with, and Miss K was bouncing off the walls for the rest of the afternoon. She especially loved dancing to the accordion music provided by my little brother. I am so jealous of his ability to pick up any instrument and be able to play it. My attempts at playing the accordion are almost as fun to listen to as a bagpipes solo. Luckily for me Miss K doesn't know the meaning of the words terrible music yet, so she just thinks I am a genius.

I felt especially bad after Miss K's behaviour because she doesn't seem to realise the amount of people who visit here just to spend time with her. (Of course they all say they like the rest of us but we don't get the hugs and kisses Miss K does.) I am always surprised at my daughter's ability to turn the charm on at the drop of a hat. Especially when there are males around. Her eyes get bigger, the smiles get wider and the tricks she will pull just to get attention are just shameful. I can't even get her to talk if she doesn't want to, but put her into a room full of men and she is in her element.(I am already very nervous for her teenage years.) The beautiful thing is that everyone who knows Miss K adores her as much as she adores them. She will tolerate hugs and kisses from my nephew more than she does from anyone else, her face lights up whenever she sees my sisters or my dad, and my little sister's boyfriend gets more attention from her than anyone else when he visits.

Now I am ashamed to admit that my first instinct is never to pull out the camera, so I have very few photos of Ben or Tristan with Miss K. However thanks to my little brother's awesome iPhone, he did have a few pictures taken the last time both he and his partner came down for the weekend, that he has kindly forwarded to me so I can share them with my wonderful audience. I don't think Tristan will be as thrilled, and you will see why in a few seconds.

This is my baby brother holding Miss K. The funny thing is they both have fountains coming out of their heads, but only Miss K's is deliberate. 

This makes me giggle every time I look at the look on Tristan's face. I probably should explain that it was taken fairly early in the morning which explains why he is still in his pyjamas and neither of them look very focused. 

But even though my camera didn't get pulled out while we had visitors, as soon as I had dropped the boys off at my sister's house and come home to cook tea, I did think to pull out my camera to capture Miss K after all of the excitement had died down. 

All together now - Awwwww

The poor little mouse was so exhausted she didn't move until she realised her dinner was cooking and she came into the kitchen to beg for food. 

So that's another day gone, which means that tomorrow is going to be an absolute panic of homework, numbers and hair pulling as I attempt to get all of my work done and handed in on time. Wish me luck.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Dear diary The deadline edition

So I know this update is a day late, but I have been up to my eyeballs in bookkeeping homework for the past few days, so things like blogging, talking to people and housework have been forgotten lately. I have seven assignments due in two days, and I have only completed six of them. Plus the seventh one is about the size of a small novel so I've been panicking this week. Nothing like the last minute to get you motivated to finish something. It's like high school all over again, but without the crippling body image problems.

So it's been sort of quiet around here lately, except for the wind howling outside, the trees and power lines being knocked down, and the constant rain. But luckily we've been given a reprieve from the horrible weather today, and it's looking like the next few days will be even better. It makes me impatient for summer to get here so that I can enjoy the sunny days and playing in the water with Miss K. But before summer can get here, we have spring, and this spring I'm hoping to start growing tomatoes and strawberries. I've bought two lots of seedlings, so as soon as I've read up on how to take care of strawberries and tomatoes I'm becoming a farmer.

Miss K has been incredibly chatty this week, I cannot believe how much she grows from week to week. I know a few months ago I was worried that her language skills and willingness to talk were lacking, but she is making up for lost time now. She still only knows a few proper words, but that hasn't stopped her from communicating with anyone she can find to listen to her. The other day mum got an ear bashing after I left Miss K with her to run up the street and do our shopping. Today I got one when I put her to bed. I know in a short while I am going to complain that she never shuts up, but right now I am loving the sound of her pretty little voice. As for learning to walk, she has taken it upon herself a couple of times to just stand up and take off which is so exciting to see. I know we'll have a walking baby in no time.

Of course not everything is wine and roses with Miss K, especially given that she is amping up for her terrible twos. She has recently discovered the art of throwing temper tantrums, and boy can she throw a doozy. She throws herself on the ground in the most dramatic manner, and the noises that come out of her would wake the dead. Of course I have to laugh at her when she starts up because it's so funny to watch this little thing acting like a diva. This never goes well because she hates it when I don't respond to her, but she'll learn soon enough that emotional blackmail doesn't work.

I felt terrible last night though, because while I was making her bed, the unthinkable happened and Elmo went MIA. (For anyone who hasn't met Elmo yet, hop on over to this post here for his proper introduction.) For anyone who knows Miss K, you will know that sleep is impossible unless she's got her teddy pressed up to her face. So it was panic stations last night when it got to bedtime and I discovered I had lost him. I tried giving her another Elmo doll to cuddle up to, but it just wasn't the same and she took forever to get to sleep. Luckily nature took over in the end and she finally crashed, but I made the decision to hunt Elmo out as soon as I got up this morning, so that I didn't have a repeat at tonight's bedtime. Luckily for me he was just hiding under her cot, so by bedtime tonight he'd been bathed, spent a day in the sun and was ready for snuggle time. Her face when she saw him was lit up like a Christmas tree. If I was an insecure parent I'd say she loved him more than me.

Well that's about all I have time for tonight, of course that wasn't my whole week, I did do other things beside study, I visited friends, bought Miss K a big bag of clothes for $5 at a second hand store and went out for tea at an old friend's place, but if I told you absolutely everything we'd be here all night. So until next time I'll leave you with a picture of my biggest achievement for this week. I finally managed to put Miss K's hair up into a ponytail for the first time this week, and I was so proud of myself for finally doing something girly I took pictures. Enjoy.

For anyone who has never tried to do a little girl's hair, it is similar to trying to groom a dog. Getting them to sit still is damn near impossible

Miss K's hair...and her foot.

Friday, 7 September 2012

One proud mum

So today I have a special treat for all of you my wonderful readers, today we get to watch a small movie.

I am so excited to be sharing this with you guys, what you are about to see is the first recorded steps of Miss K. Of course she has been walking in bits and bobs over the past few months, but in the last week she has grown more confident, gained better balance and is able to walk larger distances. (And she will walk without being bribed with chocolate.)

My favourite part of the video is the bit where she face plants on the couch at the very end. That there is classic cinema. And when she first starts walking, that limp just reminds me of Hoggle from the Labrynth. Another classic movie. But in all seriousness I am so proud of my little girl, and I watch this little video at least ten times a day because it makes me smile every time I see it. Oh and that little hand movement she does while she's walking, I'm not sure why but that gets thrown in every time she goes for a walk. I can't really explain it, because that's our sign for all gone or stop it, and occasionally she uses it when she means hello. So either she's saying she doesn't want to walk or she's waving to the couch.

So there you go, Miss K can (finally) walk. Now all I need to do is convince her that it's easier than crawling and she will be (even more) unstoppable.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

30 ways in 30 days update

So I know I haven't spoken about my aim to get more organised in 30 days lately, between people getting sick and losing all motivation to clean it really hasn't been the foremost thing on my mind lately. And in true lazy person style I now have a week to become the most organised person in the world, so it's time to cram 30 days of organising into 7.

Luckily for me I had made great headway in getting better organised before I fell off my wagon. My kitchen has been completely overhauled and re-organised, my pantry and food cupboards all organised and stacked neatly so all I really need to do in there is keep checking them every couple of days to make sure they are staying neat and tidy. (They usually aren't but checking them at least once a week means that the clutter doesn't get a chance to get out of hand.) The lounge room was pristine for the longest time, but again I stopped caring so it's slowly going back to its old ways, and what's worse, all of Miss K's toys have made their way back in here as she drives us insane when there isn't anything to play with in here, but there isn't any system in place for putting them away. So that's another thing to tackle by adding a light toy box that can be removed at the end of the day to give us back our adult space.

My biggest job that I want to tackle now isn't actually something anyone will see when they walk into the house. I want to create a household binder, where I will put all my to do lists, cleaning rosters, recipes, important dates, and anything else I need to make the house run smoothly. Luckily for me I have access to the internet, where I can get free printable templates for a lot of what I want. I also have a wonderful big sister who has already created a household binder for her house, and is in the process of re-designing all of her files, as she lost them when her external hard drive broke several months ago. So I have called dibs on copies of all of her files too. But given that making these files is a slow process I have decided to have a look online while I'm waiting for my sister's documents. So that is what was doing when I stumbled upon this particular cleaning check-list tonight.

Apologies if this picture is a bit too small to see, it is actually designed to print at A4, so squashing it into my tiny little blog tends to make it hard to read, but you should be able to get the general gist of what this document wants you to do. What you see here is a DAILY check-list. Obviously this is a cleaning check-list for people who have absolutely nothing else to do with their time other than clean the house. This is the kind of document that makes the housework impaired people of this world (like me) want to burn their houses down after the first day just to avoid having to repeat this process more than once. I just love that it assumes that we have enough time during a load of washing to dust light fixtures, organise a whole pantry or fridge, and polish all of our shiny stuff (as a former collector of shiny stuff, that really was a job that would take a day all on its own). I'm lucky to get half of my dishes done in the time it takes for my washing machine to complete a load. (I still haven't figured out if that means I have a super fast washing machine, or I'm really slow at doing the dishes.)

Of course if you do actually manage to follow this cleaning schedule to the bitter end (including organising all of your junk drawers, organising your backyard items, folding and putting away all of your laundry and cleaning the grill) and you make it to the last step of preparing a celebratory drink, you will most likely need a double shot of whiskey, followed by a double shot of vodka, just to erase the depressing thought in your head that you have nothing better to do with your day other than clean your house from top to bottom.

If of course you are like me, you will bypass all of the cleaning beforehand and just go straight to the celebratory drink at the end. Right after you screw up the piece of paper you printed this check-list on and throw it into the recycling bin. (We're alcoholics, not slobs remember)

Some company for the inept crafters

So you are all aware of my recent obsession with Pinterest. I have all the boards, I pin things to them and occasionally I even do the crafts or recipes suggested there. So far I have been lucky that not a single project has been an out and out disaster. Sure things haven't always gone to plan, but I've never inadvertently set fire to my house or lost a limb while trying to turn a wine bottle into a vase. But sometimes it's disappointing when something you try doesn't turn out exactly like the pictures you've been following.

My mum knows exactly how I feel, as she has the same bad luck on occasion when she tries her hands at crafts. Now my mum can do amazing things with fake flowers and a bit of paint and glitter, but we still have a canvas stashed next to her bed that in her words looks like a five year old painted it. I happen to like it, and wish she had been able to finish her project, but it looks like it's not meant to be. So when I stumbled upon the website I had to show mum straight away.

The Pintester is a slightly twisted woman who spends the better part of her time providing entertainment for the pintally challenged rest of us by testing the pins you can find on Pinterest with often hilarious results. Now the language can be a bit blue at times, but it just adds to the humour of the site. This is a no holds barred site where she hides nothing. Not even her own uselessness in the kitchen. I find myself snorting with laughter at every new post she provides, as even if she manages to not completely screw up a pin, she can make success something to laugh at.

So the next time you try something new with absolute disastrous results, head on over to this wonderful site and feel a little bit better about yourself.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Me in a nutshell

Well mother nature seems to be sending us a message today. Unfortunately I don't speak weather but if I could I'd be sure to translate exactly what she was saying just so that you guys could know too. After five days of beautiful weather last week and at the very beginning of this week today's weather was quite a rude shock. For one the wind is very strong. I mean super strong. There have been power lines and trees knocked over, a town that I used to live in when I was 21 has been closed off completely by a large tree blocking both lanes of traffic. For another thing, all the wind and knocked down power lines and trees means that the power went out all through town this morning. Luckily for us our power lines are underground so ours came back pretty quickly (otherwise I wouldn't be writing for you guys right now, I'd be trying to start a fire in the middle of the lounge room floor.)

Anyway today's post wasn't meant to be about the weather, I just wanted to share a picture with you guys which I would swear was written about me.

Now all I have to do is get it put on a t-shirt so that I can remind everyone around me.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Thank goodness for modern medicine

So I had a conversation with my mum tonight that makes me feel very lucky that I had my daughter in 2011 and not in 1984 like my mum did.

We were watching telly like we do every night, and an ad for an optometrist came on. It reminded me that Miss K needs to go back for another eye test in 3 months time when I find out if her lazy eye has improved or not. My optometrist has already told me that she will be wearing glasses before she's in kindergarten to make sure there is no permanent damage to her eyes. Unfortunately for me I did not get my first pair of glasses until I was five years old so by then my lazy eye was here to stay. When I mentioned this to mum tonight she got upset, not about Miss K needing glasses, but that I had needed mine much sooner than I received them. It was at that point that I realised that the guilt you feel as a parent never leaves you. Even more than twenty years after the fact, my mum still kicks herself for the decisions she made during my childhood. Of course I don't blame mum for my terrible eyesight. For one it was her who took me straight to the optometrist as soon as I started complaining about having trouble seeing, and also try as she might, she never could make me remember to put my glasses on whenever I was reading. So in truth the only person who can be blamed for my bad vision is me.

But that was the point where I became thankful that Miss K lives in a time where eye tests are a normal part of medical check ups. For one thing I may be able to save her the years of weird looks that you get when your eyes refuse to co-operate with each other, but for another thing, there are any number of illnesses that while once upon a time were medical mysteries, or worse yet life threatening are today just a quick trip to the pharmacy away from being managed. I don't have to be terrified of the flu or polio like people from mum's generation were, AIDS while still life threatening can be treated with medicine, even mum's heart attack would have been fatal had it been twenty years earlier. Who knows what medical breakthroughs are just around the corner. With the constant advances in technology and science, one day all of these things could simply be words in history books. Now if only they could find a baby safe cough medicine my time as a mum would be so much easier. (Hind HINT scientists.) The other good thing about technology today is that even though I have horrible memories of Miss K with tubes and beeping machines all around her, they aren't the last memories I have of her, and the meningitis she got at two weeks was so quickly diagnosed and treated, and not fatal like it would have been in 1984.

Of course the downside of having a child in 2011 and not in 2021 or 2031 or even 2041 is that the technology then is going to be even better than it is now. Which just means that I'll have plenty of reasons to feel just as guilty as my own mum did tonight. Ain't parenting grand??

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Dear Diary the Fathers Day edition

Well another week has come and gone, and this one was so uneventful it almost seems unnecessary to write a diary entry today. If it wasn't for the fact that today is Father's Day I wouldn't really have much to talk about.

Miss K got to see her dad this morning for an hour, we were going to take her to the local McDonalds for a play on their equipment, but I forgot there was going to be a car show in the same area today, so given the lack of parking for three whole blocks leading up to Maccas (And these are bloody great big blocks too) we ended up going to the park instead. Miss K got to show her dad that she can take a few steps unassisted now, and she had so much fun playing in the pine bark around the equipment. Plus the weather this morning has been just glorious, so it was quite pleasant sitting back on my picnic table watching all the kids and their dads playing.

It's Father's Day for my dad too today (strangely enough) so tonight most of my brothers and sisters will meet up and take him out to tea at a pub in town. It's our favourite place to go for special occasions, especially in the warmer weather because there is a small playground outside where the kids can go to blow off some steam, but it will be too cold for anything like that tonight. But the food is delicious and the staff there are lovely so I'm positive it will be a lovely evening.

Miss K is her usual cheerful self at the moment, I haven't had to put her in my bed again since earlier last week thank heavens, and despite still swimming in boogers she maintains her usual sunny disposition most of the time. She has become somewhat fussy about her food over the past few weeks, which has come as a bit of a surprise for me, especially since before now she would eat anything you put in front of her. But all of a sudden she has started refusing meals if she doesn't recognise something, or the texture isn't one she is used to. With that in mind I cooked a recipe for macaroni and cheese yesterday that I found on Pinterest. She has had instant mac and cheese in the past, but this would be a lot different. For one there was a lot less salt in my recipe which probably meant it would be a lot blander. It was also grainy because for some reason that's what happens when you add pre-grated package cheese instead of grating it yourself. So I was holding my breath when I gave her the first mouthful and praying like crazy she wouldn't spit it out and start throwing a temper tantrum because I really had nothing else as a back up. But to my relief she loved her macaroni and cheese and even helped me finish my plate.

I mentioned earlier that Miss K walked to her dad, every day she gets just a little bit closer to walking on her own. She has gotten to a point now where if I put her on the ground standing up she can stand there unassisted, and she will take a few steps on her own, but she goes much further if there is someone close by for her to walk to. But a couple of times she has taken a few steps without anyone having to prompt her, so now all we need is for her to realise she can do it by herself and she will be unstoppable. Everyone keeps telling me that soon enough I will regret encouraging her to walk, but what they don't realise is how hard it is to watch other kids much younger than her already able to do this, and not worry that this means there is something wrong with your child. I know that every child develops at their own pace, and Miss K has already shown that she will do most things at a later age than the average child, but for once I would love for something to come easily for her.

Well I guess that's it for another week, I'm sure any of my regular readers may have noticed my page looks a little different now. I've been playing around with my layout to try to make this place look a little more like my own personal space, and not so generic. There may be more changes in the future once I have learned a little more about what I am doing, so stay tuned. As always there is the Facebook button at the top of the page, for anyone who hasn't done so already feel free to like us there and get direct links to any new posts as well as regular updates on Miss K and myself as they happen. So until next time, peace, love and tacos.
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