About Me

Perth, WA, Australia
Hi friends. To those I have met in person and the many I haven't - welcome to our nest. Thanks so much for stopping by. I am a mama of six baby birds and wife to one papa bird. Our nest is an intricately woven home, crafted over time, through the highs and lows of life, and many in-betweens. We are soon to leave our Australian nest to re-locate to our second home, the UK. This is our story, of our new life in a new country, the trials and tribulations, bidding goodbye to precious friends and embracing new. I know at times, our wings will be flapping so hard to keep us moving forward that we will tire, however, a little perseverence will bring effortless gliding amongst a soft breeze, and even stronger wings for the journey ahead. Welcome to our flight......

Monday, 27 December 2010

Gosh, golly, gee, where have I been?

Summary of last two weeks goes something like this:

Shopping, wrapping, worrying, eating, wishing for more sleep, cuddling my children, feeling hot and bothered, laughing, lamenting, smiling, organising, cleaning, holidaying, travelling in the car, staying up too late, baking, loving my family, waking too early, sharing the joy of Christ's birth with my children, receiving presents, crying, desiring my life to slow down and be simple, seeing my friends,

Oh my, Oh my!!

Gosh, golly, gee .... it's been a long time between blogging!! Anyone still out there?

In between all the festivities, drinking, eating, buying, wrapping, opening presents, sucking the marrow out of the joy in my little corner of the world and lamenting over the hard stuff, it's all been a bit - busy, when all I wanted was peace and calm.

This year I kept reminding myself to 'keep it simple'. Don't over-shop, over-extend myself, over-do, over-anything! And I really, really, really tried (I really did!) but I came to the conclusion that with six children, the simple life may be the one thing that I can't achieve.

For example, the week before Christmas, we went on a family holiday. The simple aspects were the holiday house on the coast and the fact that it was sparsley furnished with all the basics, easy to clean and keep in order. We enjoyed bbq's, went to the beach, ate pizzas fresh from the oven, trekked up a mountain in the dark, accompanied by glow sticks and plenty of courage, shared hot chips in the park, had picnics, drank great coffee and even better wine. The four eldest all slept in the same room, ate popcorn, watched DVD's and played at the park. All of these things are reminiscent of my childhood holidays.

However, the other parts were the hard bits .. the packing for eight, filling the trailer with bikes, porta cots, prams, swimming gear, food, clothing and OBH's golf clubs (aka Geoffrey's).

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Christmas Creations and a Bit of Butter ...

This week, our home has been filled with the smell of baking.

Lovely, sweet treats, oozing sticky sugar, golden syrup, ginger, cinnamon and dried fruit. Gingerbread ornaments now adorn the tree, in the shapes of Christmas bells and reindeer. A gingerbread house has been completed, every inch covered in candy and all things nice. So big is this biscuit dwelling, it practically requires its own mortgage and maintenance in next year's family budget.

Miniature cupcakes, adorned with fluffy, butter-cream icing and yes, more candy, sit on the bench, all ready to be devoured.

And the grand finale of our bake-off - the classic Christmas cake, full to the brim of plump and generously filled alcohol sweet-meats, just begging to be sliced and enjoyed.

So all in all, we have had a lovely week of heralding the Christmas season and warming our hearts with good food and family togetherness.

Of course, with all that baking, is a whole lot of cleaning, ie the kitchen. I am constantly amazed at how far hundreds and thousands can travel. A few delinquent ones have been known to roll as far as the toilet and the bathroom and then wedge themselves into the grouting in defiant stubbornness.

Icing has been scraped off the floor and the cupboard doors. Butter has been smeared over taps and kitchen appliances, and icing sugar, well that flies up in the air like a dust storm when one's child presses the super-fast speed on one's mixer. Basically, white, powdery mess everywhere.

Yes, hours have passed in my kitchen this week, but it is not the cleaning that I will remember in years to come, but the memories of the smells and the experiences shared as a family. For indeed, in cooking, creating and nurturing, we as a family, are forging traditions that will (hopefully) be carried down through the generations.

Happy baking all!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

A Dog's Day ..

It has been a dog's day today ... for our Cavoodle puppy that is. She has not had a good one.

This morning, I roused her from her sleep to come and run with me. She looked at me wearily as if to say, 'Is it that time already?. Another five minutes kip would be most appreciated'. But no, it was time to hit the pavement and quickly before the sun was too high in the sky.

So off we went. Well, actually, I ran and puppy dogged lagged behind, like a tired toddler. No amount of coaxing or cajoling would make her keep up with me. Did she need a poopy stop? Apparently not. Was it too hot on the pavement? Not yet, at 5.30 in the morning! What was it? Basically, she just wasn't in the mood for early morning exertion. She was feeling a bit blue, I think. Poor love, I know the feeling. So I ran and she continued to lag and eventually we made our way around our course. As soon as we got home she flopped into her bed, looking at me with her brown, woeful eyes as if to say, 'Just leave me, I don't want to talk about it'.

I did leave her, as the humans in the house started to rise and all of their needs and wants were presented for the day. However, later in the afternoon I realised the cause for her melancholy. It was the baby kittens, the newest additions to our family and the fact that they look at her through the window from morning till night. Teasing her really, as they are inside and she is outside. She feels like she has been demoted, cast aside, traded in for newer, cuter versions, which of course, isn't the case because we love her to bits.

So, in an attempt to lift furry one's spirits, I thought I would give her a treat for dinner. Skinless hot dogs (the sausages, not the real things). I warmed them up for her and cut them into bite-size pieces and even put them in a pastel china bowl (ours if you don't mind).

She scoffed them, then promptly threw them up.

Maybe it was the words, hot dog, that put her off her dinner, or maybe, as I said, it was just a dog's day for her.

Never mind, this too shall pass ...

Monday, 29 November 2010

Prancing in the Playground

I took my boys out for a date the other day.

We went out for coffee and breakfast and then to the park to play.

I was happily sitting under the shade sipping my coffee, feeling all warm and loved and high on caffeine and sugar when I was summoned by the boys to join them on the playground to play. At first I admitted I was pretty comfortable in my little spot, but one look at their eager faces and I bailed, slipped off my shoes and joined them.

So there I was on the kids playground, swinging on ropes, hanging from the monkey bars, slipping down slides and scaling climbing walls. Now here's the thing. I did none of it well. In fact, I could barely do any of it. The monkey bars hurt my arms, the slide was hard on my bony bottom, I couldn't even make it to the top of the climbing wall because my feet hurt and the ropes kept moving too fast for me to use them. It was quite a revelation as I came to terms with the fact that I was indeed too old for playground prancing. When did that happen? Probably about 20 years ago, you say. But where does that time go? Wasn't it just yesterday that I was swinging on an old tyre in a sweet floral shirred dress, my little legs pumping like mad, edging higher and higher into the air. I was happy and free, just like my boys were on that sunny morning a few days ago.

My boys, my beautiful boys, didn't mind one bit. In fact, they loved the fact that Mummy was attempting to play on the 'big kid's playground' and was failing miserably. They kept suggesting I try different apparatus to see if I could master them, which of course, I couldn't, and then they took great delight in displaying their expertise in the correct manner.

Our play was the highlight of their day, and mine. We will have to do it more often, except maybe I can find a playground that isn't built for midgets. Are there any around?

Friday, 19 November 2010

Ill's and Ails ...

It's been quite a week and now I am taking a breather. In fact, the term 'breathe' is described as 'to draw in air and expel out of the lungs'. Something that we take for granted, of course, however, sometimes when I am busy, tired and stressed, I forget to breathe properly. Instead, I take a series of short, sharp puffs of air followed by a big sigh as the lack of CO2 starts to take its toll.

This week was one of those weeks that I forgot the whole breathing thing. Mainly because my family have been either at the hospital, the GP's or sick in bed.

Firstly, child number four, our 'growling princess', came down with a cold. No biggie, except that our little one never does anything by halves and she ended up with pneumonia and we spent hours at the GP and eventually came home armed with meds and steroids to stop her from labouring with her breathing. No small matter considering she turns into a writhing, seething mass of arms and legs when her poor caring parents try to administer the required dose. It is more a case of pin her down on the floor and hold her nose which in turn makes her open her mouth and swallow (the Doctor recommended this - not me).

This was the same day that my ever-suffering OBH went into hospital for a little day-spa therapy in the form of 'contraceptive plumbing down-stairs'. He cut a forlorn figure as I dropped him off at the hospital entrance, and asked me whether I was going to walk him in. 'No my love', I said, as I opened the passenger door for him, 'It's not like you are giving birth, and did I mention, I did that six times?' I did feel a little sorry for him as I drove away, but only momentarily, as my mind was on more pressing matters, - drive-through coffee fix.

So the OBH was being dealt with, the little one was sick and my other little ones (the twins) were secreting a large amount of nasal fluid. After medicating everybody in my path, as well as myself, it was soon time to collect the OBH.

Upon arriving, I noticed the whole ward was full of men having the same plumbing procedure and their faces were pictures of pain and anguish at the very thought of 'their boys' being tampered with, and even worse, cut (which by the way is teeny tiny and they don't have stiches - only glue!). There they all were moaning and groaning and walking like cowboys. I took one look at the nurse and said 'Oh for goodness sake'. She just rolled her eyes and said 'I know, I know'. No more words needed there!

The lovely nurse then enquired of the OBH whether he needed a wheelchair to get to the car to which I snorted 'Are you kidding? I'm not pushing him! I didn't have a wheelchair after pushing out my babies'. So he walked, well hobbled, leaning on my arm, whilst I kindly told him that the car wasn't too far away and would he prefer to take the lift instead of the stairs. See, I can be compassionate and sympathetic when called upon to do so.

So thank goodness this week is nearly at a close. The little ones are recovering, the big one is faring well despite his traumatic procedure, and I think that I am due to have some time off. I might book in for some day surgery myself. Honestly, I could think of nothing more enjoyable than lying back on crisp white sheets, having my brow mopped, being fed intravenous high-as-a-kite meds and have my food brought to me on a tray. It sounds like absolute bliss. I just have to work out what I am going to have done and that's the fun part ...

Sunday, 14 November 2010

The Big Wave

Our baby girls made another foo-par the other day.

We have been trying and trying to get t

Friday, 12 November 2010

Groceries Gone

The strangest thing occurs in our home - well actually, many strange things happen in our home, but this is the latest ...

After our big weekly shopping expedition, whereby we come home with bag after bag full to the brim with provisions and also after having spent a small fortune yet again on said stuff, the kids can't find anything to eat. Nothing! Why is that?

I mean, we buy all the necessaries and then some. We stock the fridge and the pantry not to mention the freezer but the general body of people in our home are still not satisfied. Granted, we don't buy junk food, meaning crisps, biscuits, lollies, soda etc, but we never have, so that shouldn't be a problem. If the kids have a treat, I will bake something. Did I mention I am an old-fashioned kind of Mummy?

An hour after dinner tonight our firstborn child stated that she was starving following her (meagre apparently) dinner of pork chops, garden salad, fresh baguette and oven-roasted jacket potato, plus an apple for dessert. I seriously couldn't think of one more food group that she hadn't partaken of for the day. So I gave in and did what all tired Mummy's do and said 'Go on then and have the lemon tart with the thick vanilla yoghurt that is hiding in the back of the fridge'.

She skipped off in merry delight because of course, all along, that is what she wanted and the other poor little one's went off to bed with rumbling tummies and without their fix of tart and yoghurt.

Maybe it's time to re-visit the tale of children from history who only had potatoes, rice and weak vegetable stock for dinner night after night. The only problem is that the last time we spoke of that, the kids were so excited they begged us to just serve them plain rice for dinner and honestly, that just doesn't appeal. For months they kept bringing the subject of 'our rice only dinner'.

I only have one teenager in the house at the moment, with five more to follow. Imagine what it will be like when they are all grown-up people! We will need a separate room just for the food plus ten fridges and our very own bakery out in the backyard.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Naughty Mummy

I was chastised this morning at school. By a four year old.

My daughter and I turned up at the correct time (quite a feat some days), we hung up her bag, retrieved the copious amounts of stuff that she 'just had to take to school', smiled politely at the other Mummies and then stumbled upon trouble.

A little urchin, not much bigger than my foot (I have monstrous feet) blocked my path, squared his frame and growled 'your kid is not allowed to wear purple elastics in her hair - wrong colour. Only blue is allowed'.

My reaction, when I picked myself up from the floor was to say, 'Yes, that is because I am a naughty Mummy and only naughty Mummies put purple elastics in their daughter's hair'.

Granted, his mum, who was standing by and watching this scenario gave an embarrassed laugh and commented that he was doing a good job of school principal for the day and then she quickly shoved him inside.

Personally, I would have preferred she gave him a clip around the ear. I think tomorrow I will do number four's hair up in pink elastics, not even matching, maybe a collage of pink, ranging from candy to raspberry to boysenberry, and then we will see what 'the elastic policeman' has to say.

Not that I am bothered about it, of course, it is just the 'principle of the matter'!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Baby Babble

My little baby girls are starting to talk. Ok, not talk, babble.

Guess what their first word was? Mumma? Nope. Beautiful Mumma? Hardly. Precious and oh-so-hard-working-Mumma? Ridiculous!! IT WAS NANNA!!! Yes, Nanna, as in grand-parent, my mum.

Now, here's the deal. If I was the one who carried them for nine months and spent most of that time with my head down the toilet, or in hospital on a drip through dehydration (all true), who was barely able to eat a full meal, or walk without feeling as though those two were going to fall out (sorry - that was an over-share!), whose poor tummy skin was stretched to gigantic proportions and then .... pushed both babies out (with drugs - lots of them) ... would you not think they would say my name first? I mean, surely they were thinking of me when they were saying 'Nanna'. They must have been because I swear they were looking at me when they were 'talking'.

So maybe I am over-exaggerating and the bottom line is it doesn't matter, however, the lovely 'said Nanna', was beside herself with excitement. There was not a hint of 'oh poor Mummy has missed out'. Nope, none, not a bit! It was more a scene of inner satisfaction as a strange sort of peace which came across her face, kind of like the universe had finally done its bit for her - and everything was as it should be - and will be forevermore.

As I said, I am fine with it. I am over it. I have dealt with it. Of course, it always helps to give the girls a teeny-weeny little pinch of their lovely, big, chubby thighs, every time they utter the 'N' word.

That is hypothetically speaking, of course, and any good and perfect mother would never do that.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Disappearing Dummies

We have a strange phenomena happening in our house.

Twin girls and lots of dummies to keep them happy and settled and me also, happy and settled.

The thing is, some days the 'dummy bowl' is full to the brim and the next it is empty and we can't find them anywhere. And I mean we really can't find one single dummy. I recruit the other children to go on a 'dummy hunt' where they look under beds, in toy boxes, the laundry basket, the dogs basket - no dummies - anywhere. It is truly a mystery. But the weirdest thing is, suddenly, they all appear, out of nowhere, and nobody can take credit for finding them or putting them back.

It's causing me to become slightly unhinged, I admit. I think the dummies are joining forces with the socks that go missing periodically, as well as the red pens and the girl's hair clips and elastics, coupled with the boys lego men and my OBH's wallet.

So I decided yesterday to track the journey of these dummies and counted six in the 'dummy bowl' in the morning. The first two were easily accounted for but as the day went on and I got busier, lo and behold, they'd all gone AWOL.

I should probably get out more often!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

To Circus, To Circus ...

The twins have decided to join the circus.

Twin number two is the circus act and does all the hi-jinks and the footwork as well as works the crowd, being the extra-vert, sociable little button that she is.

She has also cultivated another unique skill by being able to communicate with twin number one, aka, fatty, gentle, laid-back twin, with sounds resembling a crow on a dry desert plain. These calls are loud and harsh and unrelenting when twin number one is not in her view.

Poor number one must feel like she is being hunted. She shuffles about on her belly as quietly as possible, lest number two should spot her and make a bee-line for her attention and affections.

Fortunately, number one has found a hidey-place, one of solitude and refuge and above all away from her circus-performing sibling. It is in the kid's play circus tent and I have seen her secretly and subtlety slipping through the flaps, glancing furtively behind her to make sure she hasn't been seen, then in she goes to steal a few moments of 'me-time'.

I think though, after a while, number one feels guilty, as a far-off sound can be heard from within the tent walls, sounding very much like a crow, in answer to her sister's frantic squawks for location details. And of course, as soon as number two hears her beloved other it is like a homing device and number one's tranquility and alone time is no more.

I know how number one twin feels, as some days, I too, can be found hiding in the tent. I, on the other hand, don't succumb to the calls of the wild (my precious brood) and attempt to hide in there as long as I possibly can.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

The Spit Trail ...

You know what has been on my mind lately? Babies!! Not more of them but our twin girls, numbers five and six, for us.

They are moving about. Fast! One is crawling and one is hoovering the floor (commando style). We call her 'the slug'. She is number one, fatty twin.

Now, number two, skinny twin. Teenie, tiny, little pixie girl, is nearly walking. A strong breeze would blow her over but that doesn't deter her from wanting, needing, to be vertical, most of the time. But she is so small! My heart aches as I watch her rush everywhere and get into everything. Why can't they just stay little for a wee bit longer?

Twin two, has a problem. Namely, very, very, poor 'spit control'. She drools and slobbers like I have never seen before or likely will again. The amount of secretions that poor from her mouth are absolutely astounding. I can't even cuddle her properly without her practically slipping from my hands with her goo.

I so love it in the morning when I dress her all clean and fresh, and for a moment, she stays that way, until she opens her mouth and out it all comes, in globules, streams and great big showers of the stuff.

She leaves a pools of spit wherever she goes. Just like a snail and its silver trail, there goeth twin two and her massive fluid excretions.

At the end of day she is like a slimy, wet, cold and damp creature, akin to a frog, and with about as much energy as one as she bounds about everywhere.

I keep wondering when all this spit will dry up, but so far it shows no sign of abating.

Twin number one on the other hand, HAS NO SPIT AT ALL. Small mercies!

And thank goodness for that. Otherwise we would all be drowning in the stuff and smell like mini sewers.

Charming hey?

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Flags and Touching Words

I have a new CD to listen to when I run in the mornings. It is Brooke Fraser's latest release. The words of the signature song, 'Flags', has touched a chord with me and I wanted to share it with you.

It reminds me of the gift of friendship, of loves and lives lost and with such empathy it draws out the harshness of life, but also the promise of beauty and restoration.

Sometimes it is kind of tricky when I am running though and all I want to do is stop and have a good cry. I think if I did though I would scare our little community of neighbours. I don't think they would quite know what to do with a sobbing woman sitting on the kid's swing at the local park!

Anway here are some of the words. I hope they resonate with you in some form as well.

Blessings to you all.

Come and tell me your troubles
I am not the answer
But I am a listening ear

Reality, has left you reeling
All facts and no feeling
No faith and all fear

I don't know why good men fall
While the wicked ones stand
And our lives blow about like flags on the land

Who's there first is not important
Good intentions lie dormant
While apathy acts like an ally
My enemy and I are one and the same

I don't know why the innocent fall
While monsters still stand
I don't know why the little one's thirst
But I know the last shall be first
Of this, I am sure

I don't know why our words are so proud
Yet their promise so thin
Whilst our lives continue to blow about like flags in the wind

You, who mourn, will be comforted
You, who hunger, will hunger no more
You, who weep now will laugh again
And you, who are lonely, be lonely no more

The last shall be first
Of this, I am sure

Just reaching for the tissues again!

Crumbs in the Cot

We have 11 month old twin girls. They were born within four minutes of each other and are poles apart in looks and personality.

Twin number one is a gentle giant. I say 'giant' because she is off-the- scale on the height/weight ratio for her age. Her thighs are like mini tree trunks and her cheeks look like she is storing nuts for the winter.

Twin number two is like a little tiny pixie. She is so small and light and her height/weight ratio is minus 20! It probably has something to do with the fact that she eats like a sparrow and is always on the move. This of course, being the overall secret to weight loss - close the mouth and move the body! And twin two does it to perfection.

Anyway, speaking of twin number one, aka, our little fatty, she loves to eat. She lives for the next highchair sitting. The very sight of anything food related, ie, spoon, bowl or bottle, will have her wiggling and jiggling and clapping her hands. Drop dead cute and bound to make me smile on even my bluest days.

So last night, I had to chuckle when I did the obligatory checking of the kids before shut-eye. As I bent down to give her a kiss I noticed crumbs in her cot. Lots of them. Here's the thing - how does an 11 month old end up with crumbs in her bed? Has she been stealing food secretly, or did she con her sister into saving it in her pockets for a later midnight feast? Or has she been storing it in her chipmunk cheeks to snack on when sleep evades her?

I think I have found the culprit. She grabs food from any source as quick as a flash and then conceals it in her chubby little hands with such a vice-like grip one cannot prise it out. This produces a steamy piece of unrecognisable 'glug' with a strange smell (mixture of sweat, spit and vomit) but apparently to her, it tastes like heaven and is very beneficial when the night-time munchies strike.

In a few weeks they will be one (oh how my heart breaks at that!).
Happy birthday my precious little chipmunks!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Coloured's or Whites

Now I know that this is kind of a boring house-wife type of thing. So for all my lovely readers who peruse my posts for their fix of wit (I wish!), humour and a good old chuckle at our expense, you can skip this one.

How do you launder an item of clothing that is both coloured and white? I have pondered over this for years and still don't have the answer. For example, my number one son has a top that has dark stripes with white sleeves. Does it belong to the white family or should it join the dark side?

I admit to trying both parties and neither of them leave me completely satisfied with my washing experience. The whites are too easily contaminated by the dark bits and if I swap it around and mix it with the dark entourage, the white bits turn dodgy and I have failed on both accounts. Plus, the kids walk around with grey clothes which, lets face it, is not a good look.

See my dilemma?

Here are my options:

1. I shouldn't be purchasing clothing with the wrong genetic mix
2. I should get a life
3. Can't think of 3.

I think I should go with number two.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

A Few More Extras Too ..

We have had a big weekend, adding to the family way.

The first, after a lot of deliberation, market research and counting of pennies, was the purchase and arrival of Paddy. I really wasn't too fussed about Paddy either way. I was fairly neutral on the subject and at a push, probably would have preferred to leave Paddy at retail wonderland than invite him to live with us.

However .... and hindsight is a wonderful, precious thing, can I just say, I HAVE FALLEN IN LOVE WITH PADDY!!!! Every time I walk into the lounge room and my eyes are drawn to not only his size (!!!) but his presentation and overall clarity, I am truly mesmerized. The kids are now shaking their heads and sighing at all of my swooning and carrying on. 'Mummy, get over it - it's a tv!'. True, however, I never knew what I was missing out on until Paddy came into my life. All 51 inches of pure plasmic joy:)

The other, is Geoffrey. Now, the OBH, has been wanting Geoffrey for a very long time. Probably as long as we have been married. My response has always been to mutter 'Have a look in the Quokka or a Garage Sale'. Now, apparently, there is so much more to owning Geoffrey's than I was aware of (or even really wanted to know). It all has to do with one's balance and stride, along with individualised swing, poise, posture and the ratio of natural ability versus exertion. If one has poor quality Geoffrey's, one is unlikely to continue with the sport, which by the way is beneficial to physical and emotional well-being as well as the encouragement of friendships (and overall happier OBH's) - I am told.

So off went my lovely OBH for a Geoffrey evaluation, along with the mortgage papers and the trust accounts for the children. And home came a beaming OBH and the rather dashing looking Geoffrey (who consequentially, has smaller off-spring junior Geoffrey's which come with the overall package). But seriously, seeing my OBH so happy after 17 years of waiting and longing and hoping was all worth it - every cent. And for the record, Geoffrey didn't cost too much. Just between you and me, I would have let my OBH pay double the amount just to see his child-like face and excitement at being able to play golf again (Geoffrey, of course, being golf clubs!).

However ... I do have to draw the line at one thing. When I walked into our bedroom last night, there was Geoffrey in all his refinement tucked into bed, heads (!) on the pillow and snuggled down under my vintage Cath Kidson throw.

But, then I got to thinking, I wonder if Paddy would fit onto my side?

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The New Addition

We have had a surprise addition to our already growing family! Quite unexpected and unplanned and now I may have to change the title of my blog.

I am in a dilemma because we really do have our hands full and our days are busy and often chaotic with lots of little people to clothe and feed (you know the drill).

And it is all Garfield's fault and the fact that he/she is a transvestite and apparently isn't a boy but a girl. You see, Garfield, the boy (!) gave birth to the most adorable bunch of ginger and white babies you have ever seen. So what is one to do when one's teenage daughter looks at you with those longing, puppy dog eyes and says that because this was an unplanned pregnancy (I'll say!) who knows what the future holds for them and could we consider an adoption?

Thank goodness I didn't give any of the baby things away because, even though this isn't a human baby, you just never know when the unexpected can happen and it could be me one morning giving birth to a litter of five in the shed down the back. Although, if that happened, for the record, I would have to be committed, especially if my babies had furry ears and were ginger and white!

So anyway, our little girl is called Maisy and she will be a brilliant friend for our puppy dog, Flora (that is the plan anyway) as they eat, sleep and co-habit. Well that is the plan anyway. However in my past experience of keeping cats, they actually end up keeping you instead of the other way around.

Did I mention I am allergic to cats?

Did I also mention that I am a complete and utter soft touch?

Monday, 11 October 2010

Pretend Vintage Mummy's Keeper Recipies:

Herb and Feta Cheese Souffle with Parmesan Shavings
Serves 4 happy diners!

60g olive oil spread
1/3 cup plain flour
1 1/2 cups milk
130g feta cheese
2tbs finely chopped chives
2tbs finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup Parmesan
4 eggs separated

Preheat oven to 180c
Melt the spread. Add flour and stir over medium heat for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring to boil and whisk 2 minutes.
Transfer mixture to large bowl. Add cheeses & herbs and stir until melted. Stir in egg yolks. Beat egg whites until soft peaks (in separate bowl). Gently fold egg whites into souffle mixture.
Pour into 4 x 1cup ramekins (greased). Please into a baking dish with enough hot water to reach halfway up sides of dishes.
Bake 30 mins or until puffed and golden.
Scoff IMMEDIATELY amongst rapturous praise!!

The Best Ever, Ever, Carrot Cupcakes with Maple Frosting (in the world!!)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tspns mixed spice
2 cups firmly packed grated carrot (about four medium carrots)
maple cream cheese frosting
30g butter
80g cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 1/4 cups icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180c
Line 12 hole muffin pans with paper cases.
Stir oil, eggs, flour, sugar and spice together. Add carrot.
Bake for 30 mins.
When cool spread with frosting.
Frosting: Beat butter, cream cheese and syrup together until fluffy. Gradually add the icing sugar. Top with roasted pecan if desired.
Yummo, yummo! Enjoyo!!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Masterchef Souffle'

Last night my OBH and I made a cheese and chive souffle' worthy of Masterchef critique.

We were in raptures over our magnificent puffs of egg, fetta cheese and parmesan, enhanced with fresh home-grown parsley and chives. I was super excited as I finally had the chance to use my new vintage blue and white ramekin dishes.

The kids however were less than impressed, commenting that they felt like they were eating spoonfulls of cloud fluff with no taste and the texture was a bit dodgy for their liking. We reminded them that they were indeed fortunate to be sitting down to such a fancy dish when most children would be eating fish fingers and oven chips with peas on a Saturday night. Their faces told me that they would trade their fancy, fluffy souffle' for fish fingers any night of the week.

My OBH and I ignored all of this and tucked into our little pleasures with OBH saying every few minutes that this was the highlight of his day. A bit of scoffing and muffled groans were to be heard from the offspring at OBH's constant raptures.

Unfortunately, in OBH's excitement and haste to consume another ramekin full of lovliness my brand new vintage bowl slipped from his hand and smashed all over the floor. What a shame, now I have to go and buy a whole new set. A trip to the kitchen shop is imminent and who knows what else might be on special when I go. I can never pass up a bargain.

This morning I dutifully made everybody fresh hummingbird muffins for breakfast. They were super yummy, straight from the oven. Lovely and moist with banana, crushed pineapple, coconut and lashings of butter of course. We topped them with a cream cheese and honey frosting and ate them all in one sitting. OBH however just couldn't help himself and waxed lyrical about last night's souffle once again (he was a Chef for 28 years!), to which I secretly thought that maybe, just maybe, there was a bit of overkill on the souffle' front. But hey, at least I am appreciated, and there is leftovers today (could be dodgy though - reheated in the microwave), much to the disgust of the children.

Bon Appetite!

ps - will post the recipie soon, if anybody would like to give it a try and impress their 'other better halves'!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Birds & Bees

Spring has sprung and I couldn't be more pleased.

There is a certain smell that heralds the start of warmer months. In the mornings the air outside is heavily perfumed with just-watered sweet grass, the bees are busy with their work for the day and everywhere I look there is new life. Baby buds cover bushes and shrubs and colourful flowers finally appear in gardens and parks. I wake now to the sun on my face and baby birds crying for their breakfast.

The smell of barbeque's grilling meat at night accompanied by the faint scent of citronella is totally mesmerising to me. Eating outdoors creates a magical quality and for us, opens up fun and light conversation with the kids. And talking of the kids, they love it and jump up to help prepare dinner, set up the table and pack away (although it could be the promise of ice-cream that encourages this process!). And the best thing about outdoor dining is the relaxed attitude I have. Crumbs on the table and decking, no problem, the dog will hoover them up. No washing of pans afterwards or scrubbing meat of skillets. Bliss!

I can't wait to wear some of my pretty summer dresses and flip flops and discard all of the layers I have been piling on over the past few months. My laundry becomes a bit easier too, as we all wear less clothes. Now that is something to get excited about!

It is easy to take for granted the blessing of our warmer months here in Australia. After living in the UK for a few years I realised how much climate affects quality of life, and I must say, I struggled with the grey days and seemingly endless lack of sunshine.

So when my days are full of work and endless caring for others' needs, I need to remind myself of the aspects of my life and environment that make me happy. It is often all of the little things in a day which have the greatest impact and for me it comes down to the warmth of the sun, balmy nights, good food, fun with my family and an icy cold glass of white wine.

My only problem now is my lilly-white skin, kind of anaemic looking and certainly void of the healthy sun-blushed complexion I desire. Hmm, a spray tan might be on the cards to welcome these summer months. From me to you, enjoy!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Grumpy Gremlins

I think my kids have had enough of each other these holidays, and these are only the short ones. What am I going to do when the Christmas holidays knock on my front door and set up residence in my lounge room for 6 whole weeks?

It all started with a bit of niggling, then a few pokes and pushes (accidentally, of course) and then the dreaded whining and inevitably ends with tears and tantrums.

Maybe there is an air of something in my house because even my gentle and ever so kind Dad had a tantrum in my house the other day - and it was in front of my friend! Said Father was on our computer which characteristically was not complying and then it happened. At first it was just a bit of an impatient click of the tongue, then the head went in his heads and a low growl was emitted. I am not sure whether any profanities were expelled, if they were they would have been very much under his breath with all of the eyes and ears of little people in our house. The foot was stamped a few times and a foul look came across his usual pleasant and lovely face. Thankfully, my OBH, the servant that he is, went over to offer a hand. I am surprised Dad didn't snap it off! Anyway, when it was all over, I gave my beloved Dad a withering look and enquired whether he had finished and could he please not have a paddy in my house in front of my friend. He slithered home soon after that. Haven't seen or heard from him in a few days.

So today, I have decided is going to be a good day. Even though I can hear the rumblings of discontent from the other end of the house, I am stoic in my belief that we have all shed the monkeys from our back. And anyway, I am not going to be here. I am off to a Day Spa today for a delicious pamper of body and soul. I may never return - just kidding!

Monday, 4 October 2010

Happy Muffin Days

This morning I went out for breakfast with my firstborn daughter and as of now I am finally settled in our new area. And it was all because of a muffin - a delicious, blueberry and maple syrup muffin, to be exact.

I am a simple girl at heart really, despite all of my complexities.

A few days ago I mentioned to my OBH that I hadn't found my place, my local hang-out (ie great coffee and home-made muffins) where I could go and escape and 'just be' for half an hour on my own. And hey presto, today I found it.

To boot, my new haunt is on the water, has a live band playing and is surrounded by tasteful boutiques and even better, most importantly, the muffin was perfect, straight from the oven, crisp on the outside but warm and soft in the middle. Seriously, you couldn't wipe the smile from my face and I excitedly blurted all of this to the poor waitress as we were leaving who gave me a 'you don't get out much' look!

Anyway, I came home, still with a silly grin on my face and announced to my OBH that I was now officially settled in our new geographical location thanks to a generous dollop of cake mixture!

Thursday, 30 September 2010

A Sweeper or A Sucker?

I have a theory. Women are either sweepers (ie, use a broom) or suckers (a vacuum cleaner) when cleaning their floors. Of all the people I know, there is definitely one category or another.

I am a sucker. It matches my personality, which is sightly impatient (ok - very impatient), perfectionist tendencies (most of the time with all things) and strong-willed (just like the force of that vacuum hose). To me, sweeping, is slow and laborious and there are always bits left behind and then you have to use another smaller off-spring sweeper to pick it all up! And because I really do not like to pick the dirt up with my hands, I tend to leave little piles around the house in all manner of nooks and crannies, waiting for the sucker to come and dispose of it.

I like the compact, neatness of the vacuum. All hidden and tucked away in the little bag and hopefully never to be seen again. Just the sight of a sweeper and I recoil, too much fiddling and faffing about, especially if your sweeper has bristles that 'flick' instead of 'glide and collect'.

I also like the noise of the vacuum because nobody can communicate with me. Everybody in my house is aware that if mum is vacuuming, keep your thoughts and ideas to yourself until I am done. And I tend to leave the vacuum out within easy reach, in case I want to avoid a situation or person, I have easy access to my temporary escape route.

My friend is a sweeper and when I stayed with her last year, I became a sweeper too. I was quite proud of myself as I diligently swept under the table after dinner as well as the breakfast counter and amongst the chairs. However, she told me the best thing about sweeping in some houses is the little handy device which has in-built suckers on the kitchen floor in the corners. Hey presto, you just sweep to the side and the suckers do their thing and dispose accordingly. How cool is that? And how sad that I am actually excited about that?

I did consider changing camps but as soon as I got home, I took one look at my loyal vacuum friend and we were reunited.

So what are you? A sweeper or a sucker?

The Shack

It is the school holidays and we have taken our brood away for a few days to a huddle of eco-designed beach shacks with the fancy name of a resort because it has a pool and a cafe.

Every time these term breaks come around (which are quite frequently it seems) all my mind tends to interpret is the word ‘holidays’ but really it means the absence of school (ie kids at home) and no holidays for the parents (because the kids are home). And most times I desire to go away, thinking that a hiatus from home will also mean a rest for me. And the sad thing is that I fall for that line of thought every single time.

Reality, is a truckload of hard work, even harder than it usually is. This means packing for eight people, including twin babies who need nappies, porta cots, the twin pram, toys, mushy food, formula, copious changes of clothes (because of poor spit control, poo and spew), food, bikes, scooters, roller blades, swimming toys, vests and an entire medicine cabinet for the ‘just in case’ scenarios and so on and so forth ......

On route we stop for the toilet, familiarise ourselves with the nearest hospital and pray they have an A&E (because nine out of ten times we end up there on our holiday), yell at the kids to calm down, grit our teeth, stop for the toilet, fight traffic, yell at the kids and yell at each other, whilst I silently berate myself that I have fallen for the notion of ‘holiday’ yet again!

Upon arriving at the coveted destination, by which time kids are ratty, hungry and impatient, the equally ratty and foul-tempered parents have to unload the car and organise all of the stuff into a shoe box sized space with a kitchenette not much bigger than my toilet at home. Nobody has any space to retreat and just ‘be’ (me in particular!) The babies can’t sleep with all the racket inside and out owing to the amount of kids squished onto a small amount of land called a resort.

We are day two into our temporary sea change and so far the kids have received severe sun burn from the first burst of hot weather this season, their brand new pool toys have been stolen by the resort’s pool bully (he even frightened me!), twin two had her first taste of dog poo whilst relaxing in the shade of the gum trees and there are flies as big as horses buzzing around inside our shack and noisily dive-bombing us like jet-fighters.

All-in-all, a good time had by all.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

I should, I should ...

Now... I have to write this really quickly because I should be doing lots and lots and lots of other things. Twins are in their highchair (it is dinner time) and I have just fed them two cream biscuits, one pink and one brown for nutritional variety. All first-time mothers - this is very bad!. The babies have successfully managed to smear it over everything and each other. I really should have placed their high chairs further apart.

Number four child has also demolished four biscuits. I have just finished painting a chair pink (why not?) when I should have been doing the laundry and packing to go away for our school break holiday on Monday.

There is a strange smell in the house. I think it is coming from the bin which could mean a combination of very bad nappies, leftovers and sour milk. Of course, I lit two vanilla and jasmine scented candles to disguise the smell. It's not like I want to go near the festering source.
My OBH and the three older children have been out for hours running errands and doing 'chores'. However, some of these so-called things to-do involve the shopping mall and eating ice-cream. If at any time, coffee or a treat is purchased whilst on an errand, said errand turns into an outing. So they went on an outing for three hours.

My floor is sticky, I have clothes on the line and clothes soaking and clothes waiting to be washed. Dust is well and truly at home in my abode, there are smear marks on nearly every window and mirror and goodness knows what is mutating in my fridge. Not a bother, I think I will go and give that chair a second coat.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

The Forgetful Baker

Our oven has decided to retire gracefully. The fan still works but there is no heat. Kind of like a relationship that has cooled - a lot of puffing of air (ie talking) but no chemistry (or heat!), and then it just kind of fizzles out and doesn't work at all.

What has surprised me most about the out-of-service oven is how many times during this week I have forgotten it wasn't working. It made me feel really stupid when over and over I would plan a lovely delight to bake, either for dinner or a treat, and at the last minute felt the crush of disappointment - no yummy smells forthcoming any time soon. Out went my plans for quiche with homemade short crust pastry, roasted garlic and smoked ham, smashed baby potatoes, warm turkish bread, bran and whole wheat muffins etc etc. Note to Self - 'YOU CAN'T USE THE OVEN SO REMEMBER THIS IN 5 MINUTES TIME!'. I even went as far as turning the dials until I had a flash of memory. Either I have serious absent mindfulness issues (aka 'baby brain') or I am just obsessed with what I am going to eat next!

So the weekend is imminent and it is likely we will be without the poorly appliance. I think I will have to write a big 'Out of Order' sign and stick it on the front, otherwise I may find myself being hospitable (shock/surprise!) and inviting over a glut of people for a big roast dinner with all the trimmings. I can just imagine their faces when they sit down to a meal of raw roast lamb bleeding all over the table with crunchy sides!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

The Growling Princess

We think our number four child, our second daughter, is really very beautiful. As a baby she was one of those cherubic, gorgeous looking little bundles, with rose-bud red lips, soft dark hair with a perfect curl on the top of her head and huge, baby blue eyes with long, thick lashes.

She still is gorgeous at four years of age. Her hair is long and silky and her lashes even longer. She loves to wear girly things and accessorise with jewellery, lip gloss and flowers in her hair and can often be seen floating around the house with a tiara perched atop her shiny head.

She is also really scary and can make one break out into a nervous rash with her definite ways and strong personality. There are a few actions to observe which usually precede a 'moment'. One is the shaking of the left leg, in succession with also tipping the head to one side and losing all ability to speak. The next is becoming deaf and mute which also accompanies grunting and low toned animal sounds. However the worst is the growling. It is amazing how such a sweet and small individual can create such fear in a big person's heart (her entire adult family members) by simply uttering a low-toned growl and a sharp look, that says, 'tread carefully because I am on the edge and I hold all the cards'.
If you are very astute and on-the-ball as well as extremely clever, you can catch all of these things early and before the full blown episode takes hold. It is all about mental and physological tactics. Some days I am onto it but others I let my demeanour slip for just a moment, and like a hungry lion, she sniffs the vulnerability and weakness and goes for the throat. Should such a moment ensue, basically you are stuffed. Head to the kitchen and grab ammunition, usually in the form of alcohol or chocolate, although caffeine in large quantities, works well too.
Sometimes I hide until it is all over. Other times I stuff my ear-phones as far into my ears as they will go and listen to 'Amazing Grace' as loud as I can, hoping and praying that 'this too shall pass - very soon'.
'The Growling Princess', on a lighter note, can also be totally adorable and sweet and tells me 20 times a day how much she loves her Mummy and how proud I must be of her. She plants kisses all over my face and wraps her soft and chubby arms around my neck.
I am afraid though that this is just a smoke-screen because if I utter the wrong word or look at her the wrong way I inadvertently place myself in the vulnerable position then, whammo, the leg starts to shake and so do I, from fear and trepidation of what is to come.
We probably have another 20 years or so of this to which we can then hand her over to her poor and unsuspecting husband to enjoy!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Ikea Fever

The new Ikea catalogue is out. This means lots more flat-packed furniture and plastic thingies for the house. The goal is to create a more harmonious and organised space where we live and to be clever with storage and hiding stuff away. I think 'Mr Ikea' is a genius as each year he presents all of these 'must have' new bits and pieces' for the home which are relatively cheap and quite good inventions. This in turn means the consumer goes to buy all the paraphernalia that will fit in an Ikea trolley, along with all of the extra Ikea storage boxes to store the Ikea stuff.

So off we went on Saturday (yes, Saturday) after having a burst of inspiration and motivation towards 'doing up our study'. We were clever though and planned it all on the internet first so we would know exactly what we needed. In the past there have been quite a few meltdowns on my part in the middle of Ikea as one can become very overwhelmed with all of the possibilities and combinations.

One word to say about our very silly idea of Saturday shopping - B U S Y !!!!!

Oh my goodness - the people!!! So many of them in one place, all moving like a giant caterpillar throughout the various twists and turns of that enormous place. You can't actually stop to look at anything otherwise the caterpillar of people will all bunch up and start spitting green goo at you.

Our number one daughter did point out that we were indeed adding to the throng of people with our large mass of people but four of ours are only little.

So here's what our afternoon looked like:

Everyone piles into the car (fighting and irritable - good start)
Mum take strong painkillers for her headache
Mum feels sick in the car from taking strong painkillers
Baby number 2 cries THE WHOLE WAY to Ikea (which is an hours drive!)
Everyone piles out of the car and tries not to get flattened by other cars and lots of other flat-packing goods
We all join the giant caterpillar walk
'Other Better Half' has his 'I am stressed face on', to which his bride (me) snaps 'get that look off your face, your lips are a thin line'. Nice hey!
Baby number 2 has a soaring temperature and is chugging down her own nasal secretions at the rate of knots
Number two daughter announces she needs the toilet (why do they always want the toilet in these situations??)
We park all the kids in one of the lovely set-up living rooms and then leg it around the shop grabbing the little stickers to make our purchase and cutting in and out of the caterpillar amongst grumbles and growls from some of the insect's body parts
Number one daughter announces she feels faint and ill and needs food NOW as she skipped lunch
Everyone was promised sugary treats at the end of the line
Everyone perks up a notch
Leg it to the checkout and wait 20 minutes in line - that is OBH not us as we were all on the other side scoffing $1.00 hot dogs, ice-creams and chocolate for sustenance and sanity
Finally make it to the car
No roof rack! Oops forgot we took it off a few days ago.
OBH nearly wets his pants in fear and breaks out in cold sweat. Screaming babies, eight people to get in the car and a whole flat-packed study to manoeuvre around the bodies (including two super-comfy/gas-controlled swivel office chairs) and there are still people everywhere as well as cars
I slink away to the nearest chemist for Nurofen for screaming babies and stay there for as long as I can, even making small talk to a complete stranger about the benefits of pro-biotics. Anything but go back outside to the car.
I return
Everything and everyone is in the car! Nobody can move and breathing is minimal
Babies take Nurofen.
I take more headaches tablets
We all go to sleep, except OBH, who is trying to rearrange the stress from his face and make his lips look normal.

Did I say it was hideous?

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Kids Play

Did you ever wonder why kids love to play imaginary games?

In our house the favourite game of the past few years (!!!) has been 'The Tiger Game'. My take on it is that if anybody is feeling annoyed, grumpy or angry, they play 'The Tiger Game' which allows them to snarl, bare their teeth and pretend to rip each other apart, limb by limb, whilst walking on all fours. If excess energy abounds (usually the boys), out comes 'The Spiderman Game' which entails leaping from tall buildings, aka the furniture, and lots of finger pointing towards walls and ceilings. Usually the odd 'pow' and 'kerching' is thrown into the mix as well.

Our twin babies are included as well - as mascots. They also make good rocks and tree stumps to hide behind when the baddies come. Number 1 twin is apparently very co-operative with the games as she is the larger of the two and at the moment is crawling like a slug so she does a good job of the whole imaginary play thing. And she doesn't mind being carted around from room to room as the game progresses. Mind you, one needs a mini crane to lift her these days as she is lugged about.

Our number 4 daughter obviously has two older brothers to interact with as her game of choice these days is 'crashing and fighting' with Ben 10 or 'Sonic the Hedgehog'. She does it with style though with all the feminine touches a girl brings to a boys game - namely the lip gloss in her pink leather-look handbag, along with her hair brush and some sunnies and beads. Everything is all at the ready to fight the baddies with the boys and the babies.

Who needs play dates when we have a mini creche in our home every day?

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Chucking a Sickie

Our number 3 son 'chucked a sickie' today. At first I wasn't surprised as the whole family have had a few weeks of the usual cold and flu type symptoms, all except number 3 son.

Maybe he felt left out whilst we were all complaining about our sore throats, achy bodies and runny noses. Was it time to take another Panadol? Where were the tissues? Who fancied a mocha-slushie for a burning throat?

Number 3 apparently felt poorly in school and advised his teacher, who took him to the sick bay (remember them from school?), who reported the unfortunate event to Dad who works at the school, who then phoned me on the land line, then mobile and then escorted him home. Quite a process for a sore throat!

So I was duly informed and all the sympathy and compassion went into overdrive. My 'poor baby' was hugged, kissed, given Panadol (!), changed into comfy clothes and then .... sent to bed ... of course. That's when his little face dropped. 'Do I have to go to bed Mummy?'

'Why yes, of course, my love', I answered, 'that's what happens when you come home from school sick'.

Fifteen minutes later I hear a creak as a door opens down the hall way. I find the little one slinking along the wall. When he sees me, he breaks into a big smile and announces, 'Mummy I feel much better now'. Hmm, back to bed and once again tucked in when all of a sudden the most offensive, stinky smell hit me in the face and hung in the air like a nasty, green gremlin with very bad bodily excretions. 'Was that YOU?', I asked my precious one.
Yes indeed. It seems a sore throat wasn't the problem but rather a gassy tummy and a smelly bo-bot! Aww bless!

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Creepy Crawlies

My twin babies are crawling! Well, in a fashion. Number two twin crawls with her head instead of her hands which is quite strange but seems to work for her. And number one twin moves along slowly, kind of like a slug. As she is the bigger of the two she has more weight to shift so I guess she has decided to forgo trying to get up on her knees and just pull herself along the tiles with her strong arms.

It is kind of sad really. No longer are they little babes, happy to just sit and stare at their hands or feet or the cute little rattle in front of them. Oh no, there is a whole new world to explore and endless possibilities are around the lounge suite or under the wine cabinet. Just today I left them on the mat in the lounge room and before I could blink, there was a wail as number one twins head was stuck under the TV cabinet with number two egging her on to try and squeeze under just a little further.

Today was also their first tiff. I call it a tiff because I am not ready to accept that my two cherubs will actually need any sort of discipline in the near future, which of course they will, but I am already busy disciplining the other four and it gets kind of tiring. Anyway, I digress - the tiff, was over a book that they both wanted to read (OK hold, oh go on then, shove in their mouths). Number two twin has it first, however it is quickly swiped by number one, but no, before it reaches her mouth, number two has it in her hands again. And so on and so forth. It was like a face-off. They were actually sitting opposite each other, really close, with the whole back-and-forth thing. Yep, I have a lot to look forward to over these next few months.

And sadly, I have to report that twin two has started the leg stiffening. Gee isn't it a bit early to be throwing her weight around? Can't a parent have at least 12 months grace and continue to bask in the newborn euphoria for as long as possible, before they become proper little people?

I think I am having trouble adjusting to life with little twin people in my family as opposed to twin babes.

Can't they just stay luscious and little forever?

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Family Outing

Yesterday we went on a family outing to the local park. Six children, the dog, OBH and I. One teen on roller blades with the dog pulling her, one pre-teen on roller blades, number 3 child on a bike and fresh off his trainers, number 4 on her scooter and babies in the stroller.

We must have looked a sight - eight of us rambling along the side-walk. It wasn't much fun for me as my protective instincts were in over-drive. Every car that came by was a potential death-trap for my brood. What if one of my precious souls lost control and careened out onto the road and were flattened into the gravel? What if they fell and broke their arm or leg? What if? What if?

I ended up walking on the road and not the path in order to look in front and behind of me for any approaching vehicles, and also to avoid the various shapes and sizes of wheels that kept nipping my heels. I didn't have a lovely and joyful smile on my face. More of a stressed 'are we having fun yet' look and a nasty snarl at every passing pedestrian that dare come by my brood. Sad really.

Finally we got to the park and there they were - the rumbling, black clouds of doom, inching ever so close to us by the minute. Snacks were a bit pathetic as the pantry was sparse, so the OBH packed cereal bites and water. Hmmm yum! The kids were less than enthusiastic about that, however as they were starving, of course, they tolerated the cardboard shaped pieces infused with dried fruit and choked them down with lovely de-chlorinated tap water.

Before we knew it the clouds of doom were upon us, so we legged it home, telling the kids to pedal, cycle, roller-blade as fast as they could. Amongst shrieks of 'it's going to get us', 'the end is nigh', we made it home to safety and warmth, just as sheets of rain wrapped around us.

Our teen summed it all up by saying 'You know, we don't get out much for family outings, and this one was pretty quick, but we had better make the most of it cos you don't know if it will ever happen again'.

Never a truer word spoken!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

The Daily Grind

The life of a wife and housewife (yes, I finally admit, that is indeed what I am) can be so monotonous and boring! Same thing, day in day out. All the caring for others and the cleaning and picking up after everybody, over and over again, blah, blah, blah. It is enough to beat the best and strongest of us into total submission and make us (well, me, some days) feel as though we have just blended into the beige walls of our 4 by 2.
This morning, for instance, my OBH (other better half - but not this morning!), asked me whether I would care to take my empty mug into the kitchen. This was just as I was getting out of bed - eyes only been open for a few minutes. His words were, 'I know you don't normally do it, but just today, do you think you could pick up your own cup?' Hah! Bad, bad, way to wake up!
Watch out life partner!
My response, was not to serenely smile as the vintage housewives of past would. Actually they would have been up at dawn's break and greeted their loved ones with baked goodness, all the while looking resplendent in their waisted fitting frocks and heels with perfectly groomed hair and cherry red lips. Not me! This morning, in my daggy old tee shirt and hair looking like a bird's nest, I was as far from my vintage pre-decessors as can be.
My response was something like this, 'Soooooo, you think I don't pick up after myself huh? Maybe that is because I am too busy picking up after seven other people in the house who seem to have 'dropsy syndrome', and then I have the privilege of feeding everyone copious times a day, oh, and home schooling number two child, and then, when I am really dead on my feet, I get to run 6kms just so I can have 30 mins to myself to clear my head!'
It wasn't pretty.
OBH snuck out the door to work and hasn't been heard from since.
However, some wise and sage advice came from afar, who pointed out that this particular 'slump' I was in was neither beneficial nor productive and that I should be grateful for my lot in life and look at the positives of my day. Easier to give advice than take it, I say!

Smelly Boys

My boys are getting smelly. I have two (six and nine years) and have noticed of late that their bedroom has a distinctive whiffy odour, quite pungent in the morning, particularly after a whole night of excreting 'boy air'!
It is not just the stale clothes, shoved in toy boxes or even the crusty old undies under the bed. It is more just the changing smell of two boys (one in particular) who is growing up and smelling older. Maybe it is pre-teen sweat glands firing into action and running out of his every pore or it could just be general gasses from last nights' dinner. Whatever it is, I know that soon I will need to open their bedroom door armed with protective head gear and a can of Glen 20 to sweeten the air. It might help also if the window was opened from time to time and probably help enormously, if I washed their sheets more than once every few months (seriously - but that's a secret!).
Now girls, on the other hand, always smell sweet and lovely. It is as if they are surrounded by hues of lavender and rose, washed in passion fruit and kiwi extracts with a slight hint of sugar and musk. Ok, bit over the top, but honestly the girls' bedrooms do not smell like the boys. However, the exception is the twin babies and their morning poo ritual which they manage to ceremoniously dump in their already urine soaked nappies just before they wish to arise for the day and greet the family.
I do have to state however, that my boys smell absolutely divine after they have showered, gelled their hair and used their dad's aftershave. To be able to bury my nose into their necks and have a good sniff of their loveliness is a treat and I dare say, not to be enjoyed much longer before it is out out of bounds for my sensitive sniffer!

Monday, 16 August 2010

Downward Dog

Our number five and six babies are becoming little people of their own, with distinct personalities and quirky, unique behaviour.

Twin number two, as she will forever be known, has just started a very interesting exercise routine which she can't seem to not do. We call it 'the dead dog' but I think the correct phrase is actually coined from Yoga (not something I practice) being the 'downward dog' position. Either way, number two spends most of her time with her bottom in the air, legs straight as a pin and her head balanced on the ground. Her core muscles must be in top condition and we are anticipating the six pack to emerge on her tight little tummy any day. Sometimes this pose is conducted with hands flat on the floor. Other times it is no hands and just a cheeky little smile can be seen from between her legs.

Today I put her down in her cot for a nap and an hour later (yes bad Mummy - a whole hour later), I checked on her. There she was, having a whale of a time, bottom in the air, looking like she was about to pass out from all the blood rushing into her head. Number one bub was also awake, watching the circus show, with an amused look on her face, probably wondering when the intermission was going to be (ie time for sleep!)

Speaking of twin number one, she is the complete opposite, not only in looks but also in size. Whilst number two has the strongest legs I have ever known in a baby, number one, cannot weight bear - at all! She has just mastered sitting up but due to her generous girth, often finds herself laying on the floor, not in 'the dead dog' position, but face-planted onto the tiles and unable to move her lovely fat cheeks which invariably end up squished onto the floor.

I am constantly amazed at how different two babies, who shared womb space for nine months and were born 4 minutes apart, can be. How can one be loud and demanding (two!) and the other so very quiet and gentle (one!)? One have a cry like a bird and one a roar like a lion? One who is more than happy to be patient and wait for ones turn and the other who will not wait for a second?

These two babies I venture to say, must be the most loved and cherished cherubs on the planet, with their siblings lavishing them with affection, smothering their little faces with kisses and causing the odd bump to their heads with over-exuberant hugs.

I am just looking forward to the time when number one masters a circus act of her own. You never know, I might walk into the nursery one day to find a trapeze act being performed, with number one as the seat and number two upside down, flying through the air!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Constant Interruptions ..

I live in the 'House of Constant Interruptions'. Minute by minute, hour by hour, my days are filled with starts and fits and unfinished business. The most awful part is when I actually manage to do something, uninterrupted for 5 whole minutes, and the panic sets in. How much longer will this blissful peace last? My heart starts racing and my hands work double-time just so I can actually complete something, anything! When will the task at hand be shattered by a little one calling out 'Muuuuummmmmmyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!, can you, will you, he did, she did, they did, the dog did a poo, the baby spewed!'. But ..... I have varying tactics in place when this scenario appears:

One - ignore the wailing, whining, crying, shouting etc etc etc, and leg-it to the nearest exit. In most cases this will be the wardrobe, pantry or the shower. Crouch into a ball, rock slowly and hum quietly and try to imagine myself somewhere else.
This invariably fails and nobody even questions why Mummy would be meditating in the shower with her clothes on and her eyes closed. Little ones just exclaim 'There you are!' 'Will you wipe my bottom?'

Two - This one I use a lot. I pretend I cannot hear. I am deaf and mute to little ones' voices. This can stretch my task at hand for another 3 minutes tops but does mean that I have to try and switch off from repeated requests. Usually the voices start from another room and when no response is given, the repeat button is switched on. Something like this: Mummy, Mummy, Mummy, Mummy, Mummy, Mummy, Muuuuuummmmmmyyyyyy, can you hear me????? Mummy, what's wrong? Why aren't you opening your mouth? Mummy speak? Mummy, Mummy, Mummy etc etc etc. Quite effective if you are good at environmental displacement.

Third - is the mumble response. Partially here, partially there. More of a grunt than anything else. Quite unattractive, but teenagers (I hear) are genius' at it. I can keep working but just throw in the odd inflection and noise every now and then, if a long story is being told or someone needs to get something off their chest. Again, quite effective, but not good manners to teach your children.

And Lastly, there is the appropriate response, which of course, all good and perfect mothers do all of the time. They immediately stop what they are doing at the sound of 'cherubs call', get down on their level, smile serenely, make eye contact, speak calmly and with love and grace, enquire of their needs.

Gotta go ... I am practicing the last one!

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Other Species ...

In case you haven't noticed, men and women are very different species!

In our house we have six females (yes six, including the dog, of course), and three male species. The differences between us are astounding.
Here is a rough picture.

Firstly, the boys:
Toilet flushing is a waste of time. Save it all up till the end of the day and just give it one big flush. What's the problem with that?
Hand washing after toileting is debatable. Takes up too much time. Again, save it for the end of the day and have one big wash.
The rightful home for used undies and socks is the floor, along with shoes, hats, toys and dirty plates. Far too much effort and responsibility to remember (every day!) to put them in the laundry for the maid (me!)
A few days of not brushing teeth is fine. A good clean every now and then gets rid of the green slime and as long as the trips to the dentist are regular, what is the problem?
Needing nourishment constantly is perfectly natural. Who made the rules that we should only eat three times a day? More like 30, with liquid supplements in between!
Sleeping is boring and the night is far too long and a perfect waste of 'playing time'.

And my other better half (hmmm, I will be kind ....)
Gets distracted by anything on the telly, even when it is turned off.
Physically and genetically unable to multi-task. It is not a case of not being willing, he is unable (bless!!) Exceptions are sitting on the toilet and reading a mag or having a mouth full of food and keeping an eye on the telly.
Has short term goals (very short, ie, minute by minute) but is not quite able to meet them due to the fact that I (!!!!!) am a constant distraction and he can't stay focused on the task. Now that's a good one!
Absolutely cannot put away the laundry. Again, would love to be able to do it, but is just unable, due to the confusion factor of all the different articles of clothing. Not to mention, the copious amounts of socks and jocks. Sorry, but just not his thing...
Anything technical that needs attention, ie, pc, stereo, tv, i-pod, Wii, Nintendo, etc, etc, takes precedence over anything else in the house, including feeding children and clearing up. He wishes it were different, but it is just the way it is
And lastly, (because really I could go on for quite some time) there is the' leftover food from dinner scenario'. Any remaining morsels from dinner must sit on the bench for at least 3 hours before placed in the fridge. Notwithstanding the fact that it takes less than 30 seconds to Gladwrap and open the fridge door, they MUST stay out for this amount of time.

And now to the girlie's of the household...
Well that's easy. We are the complete opposite of all of the above, always correct, positively witty and charming and perfect in all we do and accomplish. We have superb organisational skills, excellent time-management, clever, intuitive and forward-thinking. Some would say, the 'rock' of the family. It's a tough call but somebody has to do it:)

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Burping Bot-Bots

Two posts in one day! Wow, I am on a roll! This will keep my lovely followers happy!

You know, when I was younger, the subject of breaking wind, was a delicate one. Not the actual act of doing so because lets face it, nothing is delicate about it, or pleasant or socially acceptable. As a child it was very frowned upon to say the word 'fart', one part common, one part just plain crass. As an adult, I still feel like a naughty little girl when I let the word 'fart' slip. That's the word not the deed!!

My children aren't allowed to use it, not that they haven't tried, but upon doing so, they have been silenced with my disgust at the disgusting word. Even though, these days, it is perfectly acceptable to use.

I will never forget my utter mortification on this subject when I was a teen. I was in hospital, having just undergone an emergency appendectomy (sounds dramatic doesn't it) and a youth worker came to visit me. He was a totally drop-dead gorgeous, tall, dark, and smouldering young man and I was in awe in his presence! And to add to his list of credentials he visited me on my sick bed. Anyway there he was and there was I, all pale, sick and tragic looking. And the nurse breezes in, without so much of a glance at my visitor and poses the question, 'Catherine, have you FARTED today love?' Oh the mortification of it all, the utter red-faced embarrassment! I had indeed FARTED (!!!!) but I WASN'T TELLING HER THAT IN FRONT OF HIM!!!

Anyway, in our household we use the more appropriate sounding words such as 'tooting' (has a nice ring to it), 'breaking wind', the more delicate sounding 'fluff' or 'pop' or 'did your bot-bot burp?' (cute and tactful don't you think?)

That is except for the OBH (other better half). When he releases (which is often and loud and enough to singe your nose hairs, catch in the back of your throat, hold you down on the ground and leave you gasping for air), I find myself always saying with total distaste 'Did you just FART?!' 'That is absolutely disgusting, your insides must be rotten'. In his case, I am sorry Mum and Dad, but FART is the only word to describe it.

The Normal Day

I am often asked what was it that I did during the day, or how was my week just gone?

Here is a snapshot; -

Wake to hungry babies, feed babies milk, then solids, feed other four children, change nappies, dress little ones, clean-up, tidy-up, wash, feed children, clean-up, tidy-up, wash, feed children, tidy, tidy, pick-up, feed children - oh, here's a good one, feed myself! After a bit of nutritional intake I then have the energy to put pooey nappies in the bin outside and manage to catch a few minutes of Vitamin D (good for skin rejuvination and depression - which is OBVIOUSLY WORKING!) and at the same time, multi-task whilst checking the mail, doing a few stretches, take a deep breath and a quick peak at the world outside. Yippee!!

I am surrounded (constantly) by a cacophony of noise, lots of noise and talking and screaming and the dog barking and silliness and laughing and tantrums and slammed doors and running through the house and tears (usually mine!). Also there is a lot of 'Muuuuummmmmy where are you? Can you do this? Get that? Fix this? Change that? Listen to me, me, me, me, me! Tell him that, tell her that. I need, I want, please move, please stay. Will you take me? Can I have this? How much? How long? How soon? How far? When? Why? How do you know? (easy answer to that one - because Mummy knows everything!)

That is just a normal day. The extra special ones go like this:-

Wake to hungry babies. Go back to sleep. Aaahhh it is the weekend and the reinforces are here, aka, OBH (other better half) and guess what, he (bless his heart) is on roster and I get to sleep in! That is if OBH doesn't try to fiddle with said roster and also squeeze in a few extra zzz's, in which case his bride, aka, ME, is not a happy mummy or wife and you know the saying, 'If Mumma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy'. At least in our household anyway:)