Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Spotlight on Mental health; My story

Hello again my wonderful audience, today I am going to be doing something a little bit different. As many of you know, I have depression. Now I know in this one I am not alone. A survey done by the Australian Bureau of Statistics back in 2007 showed that 45% of Australians suffered from some form of mental illness at some point in their life. That is a staggering 7.3 million people in Australia alone.

Now despite the fact that mental illness is so wide reaching, there is still too much shame and fear put into the words, so I am going to do my bit in demystifying mental illness by playing host to people who want to tell their side of the mental health story. To get things started, I thought it would be best if I told my story first, to get the spirit of sharing going. So welcome all to the first Spotlight on Mental Health.

So I was diagnosed with depression over ten  years ago now. It shouldn't have come as a shock to me considering I come from a family with a very long history of mental illness, but it still scared the hell out of me when the doctor confirmed my mum's suspicions. I had no idea that mum had been suspicious for months. Apparently it isn't normal to lock yourself in the bedroom for 18 hours a day and sleep for most of that. Who knew? 

But it wasn't the constant sleep and withdrawing from everyone that pushed mum over the edge, it was the fact that I started cutting my wrists that forced her to drag me to the doctors. At the time I didn't realise exactly much I had changed over the past six months until the doctor started asking questions. That's when I started thinking about how I had been spending my life since leaving school. I had decided not to go on to university or TAFE and had gotten a job, but I didn't do anything apart from work and sleep. I had no desire to spend time with friends, or participate in any of my normal hobbies, or do anything other than sleep. I didn't feel sad or angry or anything except numb. And when things got too stressful I cut myself just to feel something.

Now I figured that the doctor had to be wrong about me. I wasn't depressed, I was just tired. Depressed people go around crying and yelling and talking to themselves all day. I just needed fifteen hours of sleep a night. As for the cutting thing, I just needed a way to relieve stress, it was no indication that I was ill. But with him and my mum both agreeing that I needed to start taking medication I quietly agreed and started taking anti-depressants. It took about two weeks for the meds to start doing their thing, and slowly I started coming out of my bedroom and interacting with the world around me again. And that's when I had to face my family. 

What I hadn't realised at the time was that mental illness doesn't just affect the individual, it affects everyone in their life. I had a lot of angry, hurt and confused family members (some of them just children), and a lot of damaged relationships that I had to work very hard to repair. I think it took mum a long time to trust that I wasn't going to do anything stupid again, especially as for the next eight years, I kept doing stupid things. I hurt myself over and over again in various ways, I made terrible decisions about who I would date, or sleep with, or hang out with, and I kept trying to self destruct. Luckily for me my mum is an incredibly understanding and loving woman who could see that I needed help, and was always there for me. The same goes for the rest of my family. I truly believe I wouldn't be as OK as I am today if it wasn't for them.

And I am OK. I'm not completely cured, and I probably never will be. This is something that I am going to have to live with for the rest of my life, but because it has been ten years now I finally have it to a point where it is controlled. I take my medications, I talk to my family, I remind myself that I am incredibly lucky to be where I am and I never take the good days for granted. And I write. This blog has been the cheapest therapy I have ever had, and you guys are the best counsellors too. 

So that's my story. It is far from over, I still have bad days where I can't even force myself to clean the house, but I am prepared for that now, and I know how to deal with it. But mine is just one of millions and millions of stories, so over the coming weeks, I am going to have some very special guests come along and share their stories with you as well. The first one is coming up next Wednesday and it will be from a lovely lady Becc, from Take Charge Now, so be on the lookout for that next week.

I'd like to finish by extending an open invitation to any of my readers out there who have a story to tell on mental illness, either as a patient, or as a family member of someone who has a mental illness, to get into touch with me, either through the contact me button at the top of this page, or through my Facebook or Twitter pages. The only way we can remove the negative is by speaking out.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Miss K goes to day care

So today was a pretty big day for Miss K and myself, and one that I have actually been dreading for quite a while now. I have previously voiced my objections on child care in this post, however lately Miss K's clingyness is starting to cause concern. I understand that it is a phase that all children go through several times over, but it isn't one that I want to nurture, because I feel that showing children that the world will still go on turning even if mum isn't within reaching distance is important.

So today when I was given the opportunity to go to a discussion by a local speech therapist about helping your child develop their language skills, and there was free child care offered on location, I figured I would kill two birds with one stone and test the waters as far as child care was concerned, while making sure I am doing everything in my power to help her language at the same time. Luckily for me I must have chosen the perfect day for this, because she took to it like a duck to water. We were in the room for no more than five seconds before she zeroed in on the drawing table, and insisted I let her go immediately so she could go investigate. She didn't even notice when I left the room to make myself a coffee, so I took it as a good sign and made my departure while the going was good.

I must admit I was only part paying attention to what the speech therapist was saying some of the time, because every time the door opened I braced myself for someone to come over and tell me my daughter was screaming the house down, and I needed to come and take care of her straight away. And while that did happen for some of the other mums, Miss K didn't give them an inch of trouble it seems, because I got to sit the whole way through the talk. I couldn't believe it. I rushed back to the child care room as soon as the discussion was over, hoping to find a happy little girl, and imagine my surprise when that's exactly what greeted me when I opened the door. She was off in the corner playing with a doll's pram, and didn't even notice me walk in the door.

Now as is the case with child care, I have no idea what she got up to during that hour and a half, except that she kept squealing (as she does when she's super excited. I forgot to mention that to them, so my apologies for anyone who went home today with bleeding ear drums.) and she soiled her nappy too, which was great, because that's one less poopy nappy I can add to my final count when we finally get rid of the nappies. Now while I should be glad that I had the opportunity to have an entire hour and a half to myself without there being any problems, I can't help but hate the fact that there is a whole chunk of time there where I have no idea what my little girl did. I don't know what she saw, what she did, what made her happy, what might have made her nervous, there is just one big blank space for an hour and a half today, and the fact that I'm thinking like this tells me that maybe I'm the one that wasn't ready for this all along.

But given the positive reaction from Miss K, I'm thinking that maybe it's time to start letting her go out by herself a little more. The place we went to today actually runs card making courses each week, with the option to leave your kids in the child care area while you go off and make something pretty. I know the classes are pretty cheap, as is the child care, so I'm thinking it's time to start doing some stuff just for myself now. Of course I would get this revelation right at the end of the term, so I have to wait until after school starts back in the middle of April to actually do anything, but that just gives me three weeks to make up for the hour and a half I missed today. That's not crazy is it??

Well that's it for me today, except to point out to all you lovely people today that there is yet another button on my sidebar today, I have decided that with the closing of Google Reader coming up soon to move to Bloglovin, which seems to be the most popular choice of other bloggers to date. If you haven't moved over yet, it's pretty easy, and you have the option to import all of your current blogs over when you make the move. So for all my Bloglovin friends, the button is now there for you to press, if you're with another blog reader, and this causes some issues, let me know as I'm thinking of also including an email subscription option as well, I just need to know whether it's worth cluttering up the side bar even more. The option is completely up to you guys, as this is really all for you.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Miss K turns 2

So I will apologise now for being so quiet the past few days, for anyone who has been hiding under a rock for the past week, Miss K turned 2 yesterday, so between madly rushing around getting everything organised, and then hosting her afternoon tea yesterday, I haven't had much time for extra curricular activities lately. Even last night after everything was over and done with, I was so tired I was in bed by 7:30 and I didn't surface again until my alarm clock went off this morning.

So for anyone who doesn't get excited for photos of a toddler's birthday party, now might be a good time to step away from the computer, because between me and my sisters, I got over 100 pictures of yesterday's fun and games, and now I get to share the highlights with you guys.

The fun started (as most fun does) at 1am on Sunday morning. That is when Miss K woke up for the first time on her birthday. Now I had a feeling this would happen, because mum and I had decided to put up her biggest presents before the morning, to save her having to open boxes and then wait an hour for all the toys to be assembled. It was a good thing we did this, because her absolute biggest present, a mini trampoline thanks to grandma took forever to put together, and even then needed to be pulled apart by my brother in law and reassembled when they showed up later in the morning. So Miss K got an extra 2 hours on her birthday to play with her presents.

The new trampoline thanks to Grandma

The new bike thanks to Aunty Kim

The new drums thanks to mum because I know how much she likes loud noise.

Then when we all got up for the second time yesterday morning, she got to open the rest of her presents, and spent the rest of the morning running from toy to toy, trying to play with everything.

Tiny Tim has nothing on Miss K's mad ukulele skills

An Elmo book because why not?

A computerised Magna Doodle type thingy. The voice is very, very annoying.

After lunch, because I am an eternal optimist at heart, I tried to get Miss K to go down for a nap, and while she didn't argue with me, she certainly didn't sleep, and we ended up getting her out of bed while we were still madly trying to get everything ready for the afternoon tea. 

Don't ask me how I managed it, but we got everything ready for 2:00, including the donut cake (as previously mentioned here) and we were ready to start partying when everyone started arriving.

This is the last photo of Miss K without a face full of chocolate thanks to my decision to serve every chocolate biscuit under the sun for afternoon tea

Miss K's new keyboard thanks to Aunty Sam and family

Let the chocolate moustaches begin. Miss K and her cousin.

My attempt at a donut cake. I love how this photo looks like it could have been pulled straight out of a magazine. That is how awesome a photographer my big sister is, she can even make my terrible attempts at baking look good.

Miss K blowing out her candles. I spent three months training her to wait until after the singing was finished to blow out the candles. She almost made it to the end of the song before she started blowing, luckily we were too far away from the candles.

There is no clean way to eat donuts, especially when they are smothered with chocolate frosting. 

Miss K offering my big sister (behind the camera) half a donut. At least she shares.

By 5:00 everyone had gone home, so Miss K and I jumped into the shower to hose off all the chocolate, then we both went to bed, absolutely wiped out. 

Well that is another birthday over and done with. I cannot believe that my baby is two now. I can still remember the day she was born (but everything else after that just seems to be a blur.) It's still impossible for me to comprehend that the following photo is 2 years old now.

Pictured: something I thought only happened yesterday. Not pictured: where the hell the last two years went.

Well that's all from me for now, I'll be back again once I've recovered from yesterday, I'm thinking I need three days of sleep right now just to get rid of the extra baggage that has appeared under my eyes this weekend. 

Friday, 22 March 2013

No pets? Yeah right

I would like to announce that we have added a new member to our jungle home. Introducing Guinea Pigley...

Ta Daaa!!!

I saw one of my cousins posting on Facebook this morning that she had two male guinea pigs to give away, and although I have sworn black and blue since Miss K was born we wouldn't have any pets I couldn't resist this little cutie. Given that the price was also within my budget, we contacted her straight away and organised for him to be dropped off this afternoon as an early birthday present for Miss K. That is when I panicked. I don't know the first thing about caring for Guinea Pigs, I had nothing for it to live in, and I didn't even really know what they eat. Luckily for me my dad knows lots of things that I don't so I called him and begged for his help. He was at our house within an hour with a new home for Guinea Pigley, as well as some straw and pellets for him to eat. 

At the moment the hutch is sitting in our lounge room, but I can't see that lasting for long. For one thing Guinea Pigs use their homes as toilets, and I don't like the smell of digested food where I eat my dinner. For another thing I've already tripped over the hutch once this afternoon, when I was walking out of the room licking my lunch plate clean, so for the sake of my own neck he will have to be transported outside very soon.

But Miss K is super excited for her new toy. She went absolutely nuts when my cousin walked in carrying the guinea pig, and it took her the better part of an hour to calm down again. After her nap, she went straight over to the hutch and tried to get Guinea Pigley to talk to her, but in true guinea pig style, he is hiding in his bed.

Pictured: Miss K playing with her new pet. Not Pictured: the terrified pet

I'm sure this decision of mine will come back and bite me in the butt one day, especially given that at almost 2 years old, Miss K really is too young to understand the responsibility that comes with having a pet, so for the next few years at least, I have just added a smaller, hairier and less co-operative child to my ever growing list of responsibilities. But it was worth it just to see the look on her face when she met Guinea Pigley.

And if you're wondering about his name, it's a long standing joke with our family. When my niece was four she was given a dog, and she chose to name her Dogley. It is a name that caused much amusement when my sister when to register her for the first time, and a choice that no one in the family has let her live down, even five years later. So I figured it was only fitting to give this pet an equally ridiculous name. Especially given that Miss K's only suggestion for a name was garbletika, and I'm not even sure if that's how you spell it, I'm happy sticking with Guinea Pigley.

Rookie mistake

Ok so this is pretty embarrassing, I was just doing a bit of maintenance on this here little website and I discovered that the Facebook button to your right was actually installed wrong. Instead of sending you lovely readers to my public page dedicated to this website, I was actually sending a whole heap of strangers to my private profile. Oops.

Thankfully for the sake of my own privacy, I have my security settings on Facebook pretty tight, and the fact that no one contacted me to let me know, plus I had no spike in the amount of random strangers wanting to become friends with me tells me that maybe no one has been pushing that button.

Well it is fixed now, so for the love of my self esteem (which is in no way linked to how many people like my Facebook page) please click on that pretty blue button now and come send some love my way. I will give digital cupcakes to the next fifteen people who like me on Facebook. If that isn't a sign of desperation then I don't know what is. I know, how about a photo of me putting on a sad face?

Sad crazy lady is sad.

Yeah I'm gonna stop now before I humiliate myself any further. CLICK THE LIKE BUTTON!!!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Instagram love

So it has taken me a long while, but I finally got myself an Instagram account. I didn't even realise they had finally made an Android version of this app until last weekend when my little sister and I were talking about it. Hopefully by the time I've posted this blog, there will be a brand new shiny button on my sidebar for you guys to follow and stickybeak at all my terrible low resolution photography.

Like this one of me staring in amazement at the wall... I don't know why, it was St Patrick's Day. If it wasn't for these photos I wouldn't even have proof that I got drunk in the first place.

Or this photo of Miss K crashing my St Patrick's day party and getting into the spirit of green. (That's lime cordial in her cup though, not green beer)

Then there is this lovely shot of me the next morning. And that is exactly how I felt at 8 o'clock in the morning too.

My favourite is this photo of our brand new computer chair. It is so comfy and it was surprisingly easy to put together. My backside sings Handel's Messiah everytime I sit down now. 

Ok that's not my photo, it's Nat's, and even though it may look like I'm struggling there, I'm not really, the wrapping was hard to get off ok? 

Well that is just a small sample of the photos I have taken since becoming one of the hipsters. I've even started playing around with the hash tags just to see how many strangers I can get to like my photos based on their labels. Except that it backfired when I used the hashtag #suitup on the first photo in this post and a fashion designer from America liked it. Now I am #mortified.

Well that's it from me, be sure to look out for the Instagram button to your right and come check out more fun. 

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

The donut cake

Well I have a rare few minutes of peace and quiet right now, as mum and my big sister have taken Miss K out birthday shopping. I really should be doing something like that soon as Miss K's birthday is in 4 days. (4 days? time to panic!)

So what does a mum do when she has a house to herself for an hour? Should I do some laundry? Well I just dumped some dry clothes on top of the wet clothes I forgot to hang out yesterday and restarted the washing machine, does that count? I could do some dishes, I put them in the sink to soak half an hour ago though, so they may need a few more minutes soaking first. I could do the vacuuming, except that Nat borrowed our vacuum cleaner on the weekend and hasn't returned it yet.

Oh well I tried. Guess I'll just stay on the computer and look up donut cakes. What is a donut cake I hear you ask because I'm right behind you!!........... Just kidding.Well a donut cake is a cake made out of donuts. I read about the idea years ago in one of my favourite books - Bet Me by Jenny Cruisie, and I've wanted to try it out ever since. Given that Miss K is one of the biggest donut lovers I have ever met, it seems fitting (for me anyway) to ignore their massive calorie content for one day and make an entire cake out of donuts just for her. (Because I am just that awesome a mum.)

Now the idea behind the donut cake is to make a ring of cinnamon donuts, drizzle them with icing mixture, then stack another smaller ring on top. You continue this till you have a tower of sticky sweet donuts waiting to be consumed.

Image courtesy of

Doesn't that just look good enough to eat??

Of course you could make it look neater by putting it on a tiered cake plate, if you have one.

Image courtesy of

Or you could throw sanity to the wind and make a massive 18ft wide and 12ft tall cake decorated with donuts.

Image courtesy of

Now I personally would love to have this cake sitting in my lounge room on Sunday, but given that this cake took 2 weeks to make and I only have four days, I think I'd be a bit pressed for time. 

So I'll just stick with my tiny tower of donuts for now. The next big question is what do I put on top of the cake. Looks like I need to spend another hour researching that now. Oh well the housework will still be there tomorrow.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Happy St Patrick's Day!!!!

Ok so I figured I'd better write a blog before I pop the top on my first can of whiskey otherwise I'd just end up writing some hot mess of a post that I'd need to apologise for tomorrow.

It's the wearing of the green today, which for me means borrowing some of Nat's fluro green nail polish, as I own not one single scrap of green clothing, despite the fact that I know at least once a  year it would get worn. I guess green just isn't my colour, and I'm terrified of walking around all day looking like a giant avocado. This year though I let Miss K get in on the action, as she does own green clothing, as well as green hair accessories, and I even let her borrow some of Nat's nail polish too, which is a rare treat for her, as I hate nail polish on babies.

We had a massive day today, it was Miss K's visit weekend with her dad, so we spent 40 minutes at Maccas so they could have a play on the equipment together, then we rushed off to pick up a friend of mine and his daughter and traveled to a massive big shed 30km away to have a play on the biggest indoor playground I have ever seen. Seriously, this thing is huge. The area for the big kids is filled with a massive jungle gym type thing that is about 10 feet tall, and has slides, climbing bars, lots of hidey holes and even a trampoline I think. The area for the toddlers isn't quite as big, but there was a huge ball pit there, as well as giant foam blocks, tricycles, scooters, cars and anything else you could think of that would keep a kid happy for a couple of hours. Even though it was a rainy day down here today, we had the place to ourselves for most of the afternoon, I think that there is some big car race on telly today or something, which could have explained the lack of children running around terrorizing each other.

But luckily for me, despite the lack of other playmates there Miss K had a ball, and we were there so long she missed her afternoon nap, which meant she was in bed an hour early tonight, so I have an extra hour to get my Irish on. Given that my mum's family like many in Australia were originally from Ireland, St Patrick's Day is a good day for us to recognize our heritage, as well as teach the kids a bit about where they came from too. But mostly it's about remembering the proud tradition of getting drunk and punching each other.

So I'm off to eat a pastie to line my stomach and get my drink on. And if the night ends before I get to dance at least one jig, I'm going to be very depressed.

Happy St Patrick's Day everyone, and as the Irish say, Wherever you go and whatever you do,
May the luck of the Irish be there with you.

This image is what comes up when you type Irish into the search field of a stock photography website. Doesn't it just scream Ireland to you guys?

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Follow up on bullying

So for anyone still paying attention at home, last night's blog was about highlighting National Day against Bullying and Violence. I told part of my story as a victim of bullying, but there are hundreds and thousands of other stories too. There is an awesome video doing the rounds on Facebook at the moment showing just a couple of people who were victims of bullies who have gone on to achieve fame and fortune, and also change the world in their own way. I've decided to add the video here too, because I think it is something everyone needs to see.

If for any reason you can't see the video, please feel free to pop on over to my Facebook page, as I have also put a link up to it there too. 

National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence

So in case you can't tell from the title of this post, today is the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence. I wish that I could say that given we are living in the 21st century with smart phones and cars that can reverse parallel park on their own, that bullying is a thing of the past. But sadly it is still as much a part of life as it was when I was in school. Of course bullying these days is somehow more sinister because the perpetrators can reach you anywhere thanks to the internet. Once upon a time your home was a safe haven far away from all the jerks you had to spend your day with, but these days they can follow you via websites like Facebook and Twitter and attack you in the privacy of your own lounge room.

I don't know if I have ever revealed this here, but throughout my school life I was picked on by bullies. It started in about grade 2 or 3, and continued until I graduated high school. That is ten years of being a victim. It did get easier once I was in year 10, I started standing up to the bullies, I even screamed in the face of one particularly nasty cow in the middle of class then stormed out of the room before the teacher could stop me. I also had the good fortune to finally find myself a good group of friends who whilst unable to stop me from being a target, did make it easier to cope with. But in those ten years I was called names, spat on, beaten up, had things thrown at me and made absolutely miserable by dozens and dozens of children. I can't even say for sure why they picked on me. It could have been because in their eyes I was just too different. I had a large family with not a lot of money, we were religious and kept to ourselves mostly, and I didn't join any after school clubs or sports except to take part in the school musicals, and that just seemed to add fuel to the fire. Of course I never let it stop me, I loved the theatre, and it was the perfect escape for me from all of them.

Well as you can tell, I survived the bullies, and the rest of school and am still here almost eleven years out from graduating stronger than ever. But I was one of the lucky ones. There are some people out there who give in to the bullies and don't make it out alive. So it is to prevent more victims that days like today are created. Of course there are any number of resources out there for anyone who is a victim of a bully, or a parent of a victim, or even the bullies and their families too. Facebook has a page on their website giving advice on what to do if you see anyone being harassed via Facebook here, Beyond Blue has any number of information sheets on their website for you to check out here not just about bullying but also about depression, eating disorders and everything in between. But for anyone who is here and needs advice right now, let me give you the piece of advice my mum always gave to me when things got too tough. One day you will be out of high school, and you will be living your life, and it is going to be an awesome life. And the little brats (I paraphrased there) who picked on you in high school will be out of your life, and completely unable to hurt you any more. So until then you just have to stick it out and know that it will not last forever.

And she was absolutely right.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Playing High/Low

When it comes to being a blogger, days like today are hard. It wasn't a very good day for Miss K and me. There was nothing really horrible, or tragic that happened to us, we were both just a bit touchy, and Miss K was clingy and whiny, and come dinner time she pitched an absolute fit and refused flat out to eat her pumpkin soup and ended up going to bed without any dinner. (Don't worry, I let her get up for a sandwich and a drink later on.)

But everyone has bad days, you say, not just us bloggers. Yes this is true, but non-bloggers don't have to come up with something interesting and compelling for others to read after a day of tantrums and frustration. But because I'm an adult and wearing my big girl panties today, I have decided not to dwell on the crap, and instead focus on the positive things that happened today. My big sister plays high/low with her kids at the end of the day, each person has to say what was the highlight and the lowlight of their day. Since I have already covered the lows of my day, I've decided to spend the rest of this blog focusing on the highlights. So here in no particular order are some of the nice things that happened with me and Miss K today.

  • A computer game I ordered on the weekend finally showed up in my mailbox today giving me the high I always get whenever I get mail, and then giving me something to do while Miss K took her nap
  • My big sister came over and visited with my nephew so I got to watch the kids play together for a couple of hours
  • One of my cousins also came over for a visit, and her daughter who is 7 months younger than Miss K also got a chance to play with the kids
  • Bones was on telly tonight, so I got to spend 2 hours watching one of my favourite shows
  • When Miss K finally got up for dinner she was in such a great mood we sat together in the lounge room and played together for an hour before I sent her back to bed
  • Miss K spent 2 hours doing pirate therapy today for the first time, and she didn't mind the extra hour wearing the eye patch. I love that she can be so flexible to change some times
  • Miss K behaved herself so beautifully while we were shopping for dinner tonight. It has taken a few weeks, but she finally knows that if she refuses to get in the trolley she has to stay next to me all the time, and not run around disturbing all the other shoppers. We get quite a few people stop to chat to Miss K when we're shopping and I think it's because she's so well behaved
  • Miss K actually got up and danced to one of the songs on Play School this afternoon. Of course it was a song about pirates, but normally she doesn't move if there is music playing on telly and I love that she is finally realizing that she can dance to this music just like the stuff that comes out of the CD player
Well when you look at it that way, the good parts of the day far outweigh the bad parts, and it is a lot more fun remembering the nice times we had today. 

And now, for no reason other than it makes me smile, here is a photo of Miss K on the phone.

Well that's it for me, I have places to see and people to do tomorrow so I need to get some rest. I'll be back again next time, but until then stay awesome.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Why I love blogging

It is so hard to believe that this little blog is just over a year old. To think this all started with a way for me to pass information on to Miss K's dad without having to actually talk to him. In the past 13 months it has grown into so much more for me. It has grown into something that saves my sanity, gives me a creative outlet, and also allows me to make people laugh, and for me that is a big thing. You see in my family I am the clown. It has become my job to cheer people up when they are sad or angry, and over the years it has just become second nature. To the point that I can rarely take anything seriously for more than a few minutes at a time. This is also a trait I have passed on to my lovely daughter, and she is carrying the torch honorably.

But the other beautiful thing about this blog is how it has connected me to the rest of the world. Sadly over the years I have isolated myself from a lot of the people who made up my life before Miss K was born. It's the same old story, they went their way, I went mine and these days we smile if we pass in the street or post the occasional comment on a Facebook status. Very few of them know that Miss K has a speech impediment, that I have dated various versions of my father over and over again, that I came dangerously close to becoming an alcoholic. But thanks to the wonderful world of blogging I have met so many wonderful and supportive people through their own blogs. Some of them read this blog, others always reply to my comments whenever I write on their posts, some answer my questions on the Bloggy Moms website. But even though we all come from different states or countries, with different tastes and opinions, we all have one huge thing in common. We all share our lives over the internet.

It may sound incredibly petty or like a sign of low self esteem, but I love to hear about the day to day problems of the people I follow. It is reassuring to know that I'm not the only one on this planet who has absolutely no idea what the hell I'm doing here. Thanks to writers like the Pintester and the lovely ladies over at Pinstrosity I know I am only one of hundreds of inept crafters in the world. Thanks to the beautiful and ever inspirational Corrie over at Retro Mummy I know that I can survive being a mother of one because this woman does the same thing with four more children than I will ever have. And thanks to women like Jamie over at Being positive with a depressive soul I know I am not the only one who some days looks in the mirror and wonders why the hell I even bother.

You see behind all of the jokes and the pretty pictures we all post day after day we are all still very human. What you see on these blogs is just a small snap shot of the world around us, carefully chosen by us so as to reveal enough about us so you get some idea of who you are spending your time reading, but not too much that you show up on our doorstep with a bouquet of flowers (or God forbid an axe.)  There are days where the jokes I tell on here hide very real pain that I just cannot bear writing down, as if that would suddenly make everything real. And there are also days where I reveal something on this blog and then panic because I'm terrified I have just turned every single one of my readers against me with my honesty.

I guess there is something about writing these blogs that non bloggers possibly won't be able to understand. In between the words on these websites are tiny parts of ourselves, a fingerprint of our minds if you like. This blog is as real and precious to me as the memories I make with my little girl. And if anyone ever came here criticising my writing or my stories or even my life, I think it would hurt as much as if anyone told me my daughter was ugly. Luckily for me everyone who has ever contacted me has been nothing but supportive and helpful, but there is always the distinct possibility that someone somewhere is going to try to put you down. And the bigger your blog gets, the larger your audience and the higher the statistic that some of your readers aren't going to be afraid to call you mean names. Day after day I read blog posts from some of my favourite writers trying to defend their work, their website or their lifestyle, as if it needed justifying simply because they made it public.

So right now I make a pledge to refuse to justify my life to my audience. That doesn't mean it will stop the haters from hatin' but hopefully it will make my life a little bit easier to put up here. After all this blog would be nothing if it wasn't the truth.

Ok so that's enough serous stuff for now. Just to lighten the mood I will now show you a picture of a meal I made for my little sister one day just to make her smile.

Yep, it's a happy ham steak plate. A cock-eyed happy ham steak. Why is everything I make cock-eyed?

And finally, I should say thank you. Thank you to my family for not shouting at me every time I put them in my writing, thank you to all of the lovely bloggers who have reached out to me over the past year, and thank you to my wonderful audience. Even though most of you are waaay too quiet for my liking, I know that you are out there and it is because of you that I come back every single day to humiliate myself just that little bit more. Isn't that what friends are for??

Attack of the chair killing bottom

So today I had the dubious honor of being the person who finally broke our computer chair. The screws holding the seat to the legs have been coming out for months now, and the holes are now so big that the screws don't even have anything to grab onto really, so it was only a matter of time before someone came and sat on the chair wrong (I tend to sit on my feet so the weight is never distributed evenly) and the whole thing would just collapse.

The sad thing for me is it isn't even the first time I've broken a chair just by sitting down either. Years ago when I was living on my own I had some bar stools that sat at my kitchen counter never being sat on because I never went near the kitchen. One day my little sister Nat was over, and something impelled me to sit on this bar stool, but not three seconds after my backside made contact with the leather I found myself becoming suddenly shorter, and my whole house seemed to grow quite tall, until I was on the ground, snapped metal poles surrounding me, and my sister was on my couch in stitches. To this day I have not lived down my chair breaking efforts. The best part she says is the look on my face as the chair and I sank to the ground.

So I now have to go computer chair shopping on pay day which is still a week away. Now for anyone who loves interior design or jumps at the chance to buy new pieces of furniture for their house, an activity like this would mean days scouring websites trying to find a chair with the perfect design, in the perfect material, looking at things like arm rests, back heights, hydraulics, cup holders. But maybe because I have never been very good at looking at things with a decorators eye, or maybe because I just don't have the darn time, this means a trip to one of the scores of discount stores that line the streets where I live and grabbing the cheapest chair I can find.

Luckily for me, buying a new computer chair has been on the to do list for several months now (of course) so I have even managed to spend a little time testing out computer chairs whenever I visit said discount stores, making this trip even faster than I could have hoped. And who knows, maybe my brand new executive style black leather computer chair will have a positive effect on the way I work while I'm in front of the computer. Maybe I can make better decisions with more cushioning around my already ample behind. Maybe the correct back support will mean the difference between a good blog post and a great blog post. Or maybe it will just be one more thing I have to protect from Miss K. (She thinks the whole world is a trampoline at the moment. It could have something to do with the trampoline in my big sister's back yard, but I'm no expert.)

In the mean time I'm stuck using an old dining chair as my computer chair, and my butt is already screaming at me for more padding. So if this blog post is terrible, I blame the chair. In the hopes of inspiring myself to write better, I'm off to stare at pictures of chairs with more stuffing than this one.

I feel better already. 

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Insanity is hereditary

Ok so I wasn't going to blog just yet because it's only 9:30 in the morning, and really, who has anything to say this early? But today I've had a you've got to see it to believe it moment, so for the sake of posterity (and embarrassing my daughter in later years) I have to share this with you guys. For any of you lovely people following me on Twitter, (for anyone who isn't there is a follow me button to the right of your screen. Click it, NOW!!) you will know that for the last two days Miss K has been finding more imaginative eye patches than her current boring black one. Yesterday it was the lens from a broken pair of sunglasses, and today, well today is just something entirely different. I'll let you see it for yourself.

ARRRR, and yum.

Yep, that's a cracker over her eye. It's even the correct eye too, which means that she's not only prepared for pirate therapy, she's ready for snack time afterwards. I'd love to claim I don't know where she got her craziness from, but I know exactly where it came from...

The same person who decided that tea towels are an awesome accessory. Yep that's me as a bubba, and the old man cap and tea towel adorning my head were both put there by me. I totally understand why my mum spends so much time telling me that Miss K is just like I was as a baby, I just hope my mum had as much fun watching me going crazy as I have watching Miss K.

Well that's all for now, Miss K and I are going to a giant play centre with and old friend of mine and his daughter this afternoon, so I may have more insanity to share when we return. Or I could have gone completely crazy after spending the afternoon protecting every other child who has the same idea as we do. We won't know till this afternoon. But until then, stay awesome.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Things I never thought parenting would teach me

I'm back again. I know I didn't write anything for you guys yesterday, but I had the opportunity to go visit an old friend last night for a quiet evening watching Misery, and I had to take it. I figure since I'm a mum now and I can't get into sex drugs and rock and roll anymore, I might as well get Kathy Bates and James Caan going at each other with sledge hammers and door stops.

So after a quick look at the calendar this morning, I realised it is only 15 days until Miss K's 2nd birthday. I can't believe I've almost been doing this for 2 years now. Before I became a parent, my longest stint in a job was 18 months, and then it was a case or quit or get fired. Luckily my current boss can't fire me, or I would have been gone a long time ago.

Now as any parent will tell you, the years fly by before you get a chance to sit down and think about it. But I would like to take a moment to share with you just some of the things that I have learnt over the past 2 years that I never realised would be a part of my education as a mum. As logic dictates, I will start with number 1.

  1. If you believe Playschool, archaeologists wear ice cream buckets as safety helmets 
  2. If you fall asleep to a children's show, it will invade your dreams in the most messed up and un-G-rated ways possible.
  3. Nothing is more entertaining than putting a CD on and letting your kid go nuts
  4. No matter how many toys they have piled up in the corner, they will always go for the one thing in the room you don't want them to touch
  5. You may think your floor is spotless, your child knows otherwise and will find absolutely every tiny piece of rubbish you have missed
  6. No matter how prepared you are for leaving the house with your child, your child will always manage to do something you weren't ready for.
  7. Nothing makes you turn into your own mother faster than having a child
  8. The simplest things in life can really be the most pleasurable
  9. Having a child gives you license to be a child yourself. Even if only for a little while
  10. Childrens shows can be very entertaining. Especially if you have a filthy mind capable of twisting the most innocent sentence into something disgusting.
  11. There is no problem that can't be fixed with a cuddle. Or a Wiggles brand band-aid 
  12. No matter what the "experts" say, chocolate is an acceptable bribe, which will work every time
  13. Your house suddenly becomes a terrifying death trap once you put a child in it. Even if you baby-proofed it before she was born
  14. Being a parent means that you are amazing in someone's eyes. Make the most of it before they realise how big an idiot you really are
  15. The minute you bring that little person home, all the rules fly out the window and you become the blind leading the blind
  16. There is no such thing as ready to be a parent
  17. Housework is never as important as playing with your child (at least that's my excuse)
  18. Pick your battles. Does it really matter that she's eating her macaroni and cheese with her fingers?
  19. But always set the rules early in the game. Something that looks cute the first few times can become destructive or dangerous (or very irritating) quickly.                 
And lastly

  20.  There is no better feeling than being the only person a child wants

Well these are just some of the things I've learnt since Miss K was born, and I know that my education is far from over, but I can't wait to see what else this little dirt monster has to teach me.

Well that's it for me, I'm off to do some grunt work in the back yard. I'll be back next time with more fun. Stay awesome peeps.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Back to school*

*Why is it whenever I write that sentence I immediately get a picture of Adam Sandler singing that stupid song in my head?? I guess it shows the maturity level of my long term memory that crappy movies are stored in there along with my sixth birthday party and that time I stood on a Bull Ant's nest.

Anyway it is after midnight, I am so tired that my eyeballs are almost falling out of my head and I really should be going to sleep. But I couldn't leave it a whole other day before catching up with you guys again, so just for you I will forego sleep for another half hour while I write up some rambling nonsense that I suspect entertains me much more than anyone else.

So a couple of big things happening at the moment, first of all I have joined the Bloggy Moms Network, a massive site full of bloggers who are also mums, or mums who are also bloggers. I'm not 100% sure because I'm still learning my way around the site. But I figured out today how to find their pretty badges so you'll notice a new addition to my growing list of buttons and links to the right of this website. Second of all, my Twitter page hit double digits today, which means that it currently has more subscribed followers than this website. I'd love to get all indignant and offended by this statistic, but given that for me this blog is not about he who has the most subscribers wins, I just can't muster up enough anger. I know that my mum thinks I'm cool and that's what is most important.

So back to the actual point of this post (tired me likes to go on irrelevant tangents a lot.) I started my studies again today. Now technically my course started on the 25th of February, but unfortunately when I took the half hour trip to the TAFE to pick up my books on that day, I found out they were not actually at the campus I had traveled to, but were actually at the campus down the road from where I live. GRRRR. Not only were they a five minute drive from my house, but I was then told I would have to wait for them to be delivered to the school half an hour away from me, and then my tutor would have them mailed BACK to my local campus. I personally don't understand the logic behind this decision, but maybe that's why all of these people are gainfully employed by the government and I'm a stay at home mum.

Anyway, I patiently waited, and waited, and waited. After a week I got tired of patiently waiting and sent a message to my tutor and asked for an update on the books, to be informed that they had been waiting at my local TAFE for me a full day already. GRRRR again. So yesterday I raced up the road to pick up my books and FINALLY got to sit down and start studying. It kind of sucks that already I'm a week behind through no fault of my own, but given that last year I started four months behind everyone else and still managed to get finished at the same time as everyone else I'm not too worried right now. In fact thanks to Miss K having an extra long nap this afternoon, (I knew this damn heat had to be good for something.) I have already finished my first assessment, and only have another six to complete before the end of next month. So I'm feeling pretty good right now.

Anywho It is now almost one o'clock in the morning, I am even tireder than before and I need to get some sleep. I'll be back again soon with more insanity. Stay awesome till then.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Lessons in parenting from a one year old

I'm back again. Call it a need to overcompensate for the three months of complete silence but I just can't stay away tonight.

So for anyone who has been paying attention recently, you would know I am elbow deep in the middle of raising a toddler. A toddler who has hit the terrible twos with such gusto you'd think there was an award given at the end of it. For the past two years I have tried to prepare myself for the first glimpse of the monster that would take over my lovely daughter for the next two years, but nothing in the world can prepare you for this. Not even babysitting my wonderful nieces and nephews when they were two (or still are in one niece's case) was enough to even make me aware of what I was in for.

Of course it doesn't help that most children behave better for the babysitter than they ever do for their parents, even if the babysitter is a close family member. So apart from the occasional bout of tears when they wouldn't get their way, my eldest niece and nephew were an absolute dream for me during the terrible twos. Of course I got to hand them back to their parents after a few hours and return to my blissfully ignorant life as a single and carefree woman. These days I don't have the same luxuries and instead I am the one being handed a screaming and belligerent toddler who is both angry at me for ignoring her and begging me for cuddles at the same time. Top that off with the sudden and urgent clingyness which means that not even her father is good enough for cuddles any more and you end up with one very stressed and frustrated mum who can't even use the toilet alone anymore.

Dinner time is usually the worst time as most mums will attest. It is the end of the day, you have been chained to each other for up to ten hours already if you gave birth to the most dreaded of children, an early riser, and you now need to juggle the task of playing with fire while distracting a tired and demanding diva with pleas to go back into the lounge room and watch Bananas in Pyjamas while you get dinner ready. And then after half an hour of prepping and cooking the meal (or five minutes of jamming it into the microwave and pacing the kitchen while you wait for the bell to ring), your spawn of Satan darling child becomes a haughty food critic, turning their nose up at your offering and pushing the plate away. (Or worse putting it in their mouth then spitting it straight out again and holding it out to you horrified, as if you had just tried to poison them.)

We had gotten to this taste test and spit out point in our evening last night when I finally snapped and my head exploded. I had run out of ideas at this point for how to get Miss K to eat her pastie and I was exhausted. I had tried emotional blackmail, I had tried reasoning, I had tried bribing, I had even tried yelling. She just sat in her chair looking at me like I had just told her the truth about Santa and crying. Given that the last weapon in my armory had been defeated I finally had to give up and walk out of the room before the whole ordeal escalated into anarchy and name calling. I decided to head to my bedroom for a quiet minute to collect my thoughts and have a quick cigarette. I had almost finished the smoke when I realised that things were quiet. Giving yourself a haircut with scissors you found under the table quiet. I rushed to the lounge room to see exactly what Miss K had managed to destroy in my absence only to find her sitting quietly in her chair eating the last few crumbs off her plate.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I had won the battle, but I still can't figure out if I've won the war. Did Miss K finally start eating because I had finally gotten off her back about eating and she could now enjoy her dinner in peace? Had she forgotten that five minutes ago she hated pasties and decided she was hungry enough to eat just about anything? Or did she finally realize that her darling and eternally youthful mother was indeed right to lecture her about eating her vegetables because they are just so gosh darn healthy and tasty? I can't for the life of me guess the answer and Miss K certainly isn't one to discuss the motives behind her actions so she's absolutely no help to me right now.

I have decided for now not to look a gift horse in the mouth and simply celebrated the fact that she went to bed with a tummy full of (mostly) healthy food. Now all I can do is prepare myself for the next episode of "I'm two and I know what I want, and I want it NOW" As long as she doesn't look at me like this again I can overcome anything...

You would think after two years I'd have an easier time saying no to this face. It never gets easier.

Here comes the holiday slideshow

Alright so in a minute I'm going to post a lesson I have learnt in the last few days about dealing with toddlers, but because it has been so long since we've spent any quality time together, I have many pictures from my time off to share with you guys. And like the long suffering friends you are, you'll sit there quietly and listen to the long monologue that goes with each photo, complete with lame jokes that I think are hilarious.

So as I discussed here, Miss K is now the proud owner of a fancy pair of glasses. The difference these glasses have made was apparent from the moment we put them on, and I think that has made her like her new accessory, as she never takes them off. The glasses have the added bonus of making her look even cuter than she did before. (I didn't even know that was possible)

My little princess poindexter

She looks so intelligent. I just want to ask her for financial advice. 

The only thing cuter than Miss K in her new glasses is Miss K in her occluder eye patch. Now I have to admit that when the optometrist told me we had to start using the eye patch every day for a month my heart sank. Not only was I worried that we were asking too much of a very little girl who had been incredibly patient to date, I also hated the fact that there was just one more thing that separated her from being just like all the other little kids I see out and about. So the first few sessions of pirate therapy were done behind closed doors when there was no one else around. I needed to spend a few days getting used to my beautiful baby with this horrible padded patch covering half of her face. Plus I figured she'd need a bit of time to adjust to this new addition to our routine. But as always she took this change in her stride and loves pirate time. I don't think it hurts that I make sure this time is something special. Sometimes we go around the back yard collecting things then make a nature collage, other times I pull out my Nintendo DS and we spend some time playing that. Of course there are the days when it is too hot, or we're both too tired, and those are the days where we just veg together in front of the telly watching half of Giggle and Hoot, yelling out the occasional ARRRRR to each other.


And my last holiday picture of this post is one of my favorites from this summer. Along with a new found love of pirates, Miss K has recently discovered the wonder of fairies, after being given a set of fairy wings to play with, and we have spent many an hour in our garden casting spells on flowers and grass while she floats around gracefully. (At least that's what I think she's trying to do, it really looks like she's walking on the moon most of the time.)

Except here she just looks like she's glaring at the photographer.

It's nice to see in between all of the pirates and the rough housing and the temper tantrums there is a little lady there too, just waiting for an opportunity to step out and feel pretty. 

So there is just a tiny cross section of what we got up to since the beginning of the year, there would be more except I kept forgetting to get my camera out so when I tell you we went for a trip to Spain, you're just going to have to take my word for it.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Welcome to the temper trap

So right now I am sitting in a living room crowded with people. The adults are having a Coke bottle fight, and the children are quietly entertaining themselves with empty nappy boxes and cardboard books. For some this chaos would be overwhelming, but in this house it is normal.

I am back ladies and gentleman!! Did you all miss me? because I missed the hell out of all of you. We finally have a fully functioning internet connection again so I am back in the 21st century. So much has happened recently that I don't know where to begin.

Miss K had a rare opportunity to spend time with her Nonna at the end of last month, as I decided after 18 months of zero contact that I would finally make the two and a half hour trip to her place for a weekend of Italian food and loud conversations. Miss K warmed to Nonna immediately and the two of them had a wonderful time together. Nonna even taught us how to make tomato sauce from scratch, as our visit coincided with tomato day. Miss K also had her first visit to the beach where she got to discover the joys of jumping in the waves and collecting shells. She even got buried in the sand thanks to yours truly, because I feel it isn't a real trip to the beach until you have sand in absolutely every crevice possible.

More on Miss K, we had a return visit to the optometrist last month as well, and while her eyes are getting stronger, he still isn't happy with her lazy eye, so she now has to wear an eye patch for an hour each day to speed things up. We have turned this into a game, and every day both Miss K and I are transformed into pirates, and we do lots of piratey things like watch TV or make nature collages. (Hey she's two, she doesn't know what real pirates do).

The other real big news with Miss K is the full arrival of a terrible two year old. And a month early too. While Miss K has had her bad days in the past, complete with the occasional temper tantrum and a stubborn refusal to change her mind, the past few weeks since we have returned from Nonna's house have been full of some of the hardest moments I have ever had as a mum. From smacking anyone and everyone who displeases her to screaming the house down when she doesn't get her own way, my beautiful, easy going baby has been replaced by a wildcat. At first I was fairly easy on her, given that she did need four days to recover from our visit to Melbourne, but when she had recovered finally, and the mood swings still hadn't disappeared I needed to become the bad guy and sit on my daughter each and every time she tried to pull her nonsense. (Metaphorically of course, I would never condone really using your children as furniture.) One of the drawbacks of having a baby that is part Italian is that her temper is quick and fierce, and her screams can make the ear drums of death metal rockers bleed. But while I can see a very long road ahead of us, I am quickly learning how to diffuse potentially lethal situations, and more often than not, I see my sunny little girl instead of a hellion.

Miss K's attempt to put her hands on her hips. This is the first sign that she isn't happy. 

Well a stacks on has just been initiated at the other end of the lounge room, and I have the sudden urge to jump on top of a pile of adults and children. It's good to be back.
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