I know that it is sometimes hard to look at life from the perspective of glass half full. Maybe your clothes have all shrunk or you haven't had alone time in what feels like forever, or you can't remember the last time you didn't have to fight someone off so you could actually finish all the food on your own plate. You head out on some appointment or errand and you see so many people rushing about in their uniforms or with their brief cases and they move with such purpose and you wonder what you're doing with your life...... and then it happens. You see your child chasing a bubble or eating a chip or running to give you a hug and they are filled with so much joy from this tiny, inconsequential thing.

What happens to our joy as we get older??  How do we become so jaded and oh so bored by everything? Well, I know that I for one would love to get some of that joy back, so I am making a vow to notice those small opportunities for joy from now on. And when I see that wonderful moment in a child's life,I will be there. If only just for a few glorious seconds, in that moment of joy with them.

Cheers,

Lee
 
 
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Picture from www.zimbio.com
What a sad state of affairs when modern mums feel the edge of competition and the glare of society so much so that they turn to drugs to create the illusion of being a "Supermum". 

When I fell pregnant with my first child, I was one of four in my group of friends who were expecting around the same time (yes I know, something in the water). Whilst there was much joy and trepidation all round, on finding out she was pregnant, one friends mother said to her "Welcome to a world of guilt!!". At the time I didn't quite get it - but boy was that soon remedied!!
 
Mothers seem to be hard wired for guilt. I don't know why and I don't know how the Dad's seem to have missed it -  perhaps it has something to do with actually growing the baby  inside your  body. I don't know but I'm guessing adoptive mothers also feel this same intense guilt - so who knows where it starts? 

From the moment you fall pregnant, you begin to wonder ...


 
 
Why use words when pictures are so much more efficient?
OK, I know theoretically that Disney Land is supposed to be the happiest place on earth but I really feel that happiness is much more personal than going with what the crowd thinks. If chocolate is what makes you happy... then go to your happy place my friend.

Wishing you warm chocolate hugs,

Lee

PS. If you really love chocolate as much as I do,  sign up with San Churros on Facebook, they offer lots of yummy, special deals to their Facebook friends. mmmmmm
 
 
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When you hear yourself screaming "don't you drop ONE crumb on that floor, I just washed it!" and begin to think - how did this become my priority?? Where is the line between being house proud and having a touch of OCD?

I believe that once your main job is looking after the house along with kid wrangling, domestic duties take on a new level of importance. I mean, it's not like you have finished a report and you can give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done because, it is done. As in O.V.E.R. The really exciting part about housework is that you get to enjoy it again and again. It begins to feel like you have just finished the housework, admired your nice clean floors and you're yelling at someone for dragging dirt into the house or let's be honest here, just walking on the floors.

The thing is, when your main job title is "stay at home mum" or "home maker", I know some people prefer the title "Domestic Goddess" (talk about piling the pressure on to live up to that one!!) it's hard not to think you are being judged on how well your house is kept. From an outsiders point of view, you don't have a real (read, paid) job, you are AT home. What the hell are you doing if your house looks like members of some gang have broken into it and turned it upside down looking for your valuables??

I do not find any pleasure in doing the housework. The only real joy I get out of it is seeing my house look clean and lovely and that's only while the kids are still in bed! I mean once you start the day, how do you stop seeing mess - even when it is small and inconsequential. Sorry to stereotype but I think perhaps it's a man-thing, they call it "Domestic Blindness". The ability to leave the morning dishes in the sink and not worry about it until dinner, or open a fresh packet of biscuits and put them back into the cupboard in the open pack, or leave a million papers sitting on the kitchen bench to "go though later" (which never comes). It doesn't seems to bother those blessed with domestic blindness. Looking around and seeing all those things sitting there, making a mess - does my head in. I mentally add it to my "to do" list and then feel resentment that everyone else walked past it and didn't think it was important enough to take care of.

So my question is when looking after the house is your main role - how do you let it go? How do you not feel judged when a friend pops over for coffee and your floor is covered in crumbs and dishes are still sitting in the sink from that morning? Where do you cross the line from house proud to OCD???

I know it's not just me, please don't leave me hanging. Share your "house proud" or perhaps I should say "stir crazy" stories with me.

I'm off, I have now noticed a mark on the tiles where I mopped earlier and the water dried at different rates and has left a watermark, glaring at my acussingly in the shaft of sunlight coming through the kitchen window.... I'll have to go and sort that out...

ta ta,

Lee

 
 
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Karaoke Shower
Everyone knows it demonstrates a poor example of mothering when you set the kids up in front of the TV for hours whilst you get through your daily chores. Oh, alright, while you spend your time focused on 50 Shades of Grey.

So, in an effort to get the kids out of the house and "get more culture" into our lives, I packed up the 2 and the 9 year old (who is already on school holidays - I'm sorry, didn't we just have those, like a week ago?) and we headed off to Scienceworks at Spotswood, Melbourne.  

Scienceworks is hosting a new exhibition at the moment - Wallace and Gromit's World of Invention. (It runs until November). You have to book a time to go in, which seems to be the way things are going now with major exhibitions at museums but it wasn't overly crowded and you did not have to get out when the next group was allowed entry but it didn't matter as we'd had enough by then anyway.

It has lots of interactive stuff - as you would expect from Scienceworks but it was much more suited to kids 5 or over - my 9 year old really enjoyed it but the 2 year old just didn't get most of it. This was fixed when we went upstairs to the 'Nitty Gritty Super City', aimed at smaller kids who want to touch everything!

'Playing with Light' an exhibition which is also now on at Scienceworks until February 2013 was a clear favourite with both kids. So much fun the kids didn't even realising they were learning something at the same time.

'Playing with Light' is included in the initial entry cost but Wallace and Gromit are extra . I didn't think any of it was overly expensive for what it was - you could easily spend the whole day there and it costs about the same as going to the movies.

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Lots of very cool models to look at from the Wallace and Gromit movies.
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Play Areas for smaller people - My two year old had an absolute ball in there.
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Playing with Light exhibition - standing inside a giant kaleidscope.
Don't just take my word for it, go check it out. Here is the link http://museumvictoria.com.au/scienceworks/ just in case you are  after some more information. 

If you find anything great for the kids to do in Melbourne during these school holidays or at any time really, I would love to hear about it.

Toodles,

Lee
 
 
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As a stay at home mum my job description is varied, often sees ammendments added and new tasks are joined on to what seems like a never ending "to do" list on a daily basis.

My to do list, like every other stay at home mums includes the usual "life changing" tasks like washing, vacuuming, dinner, picking up kids and driving them about to their various appointments, like swimming lessons and the dentist. In essence my role is to keep everything rolling along at home with the least possible amount of hassle to my husband who is out doing the "actual earning". In essence, I guess you could say I am like a personal assistant to the CEO, only I work 7 days a week and I don't get a paycheck. Which is often where the frustration comes in.

I am sure I am not alone in those feelings of frustration. In being the one behind the scenes who never gets the credit. I imagine all those people who work so hard behind the scenes to create a movie, which goes onto phenomenal success must feel like that, when the "stars" of the movie are really the only ones who get a mention, no matter how important your role was.

I guess my biggest beef comes about from not being the primary account holder. You know, the husband is away at work and you are trying to handle all the day to day running of your family and a problem arises with the electricity or the phone or you have to call the bank. So you call on up to deal with the problem, between kids naps and bus stop picks up, you wait on the phone, forever,  listening to some crap muzak and some recorded voice telling you how important your call is - you finally get through to an actual person who tells you that due to the fact that you are not the primary account holder they can't help you. Due to privacy issues.... you understand. What!!?
 
This happened to me spectacularly a few years ago when my husband was in Western Australia playing golf "for business". We had just moved into a new house and there was a mix up with the electricity. Which they cut off. So my then four year old and I were sitting in a cold house, in winter, in Melbourne, where we didn't really know anyone and the sun was beginning to set on a friday afternoon. To which the electricity company "couldn't" help me because I was not the primary account holder. Eventually it was rectified after numerous angry phone calls to my husband (from me) and more angry phone calls to the electricity company (from my husband). 

As the stay at home mum, you are often not eligible to be the main account holder because your job, whilst important, is often not regarded that way in society due to the lack of financial reward it brings. So, even though you are left to organise all the bills, find the cheepest providers for services and follow up all the mail that comes through - you don't have any real sway with anyone outside of your immediate home. Not where it counts anyway. I think that is what may have happened in the United States Postal Service. So much responsiblity, rain, hail or shine and yet no actual power to speak of. No wonder the term "going Postal" has caught on.

Gotta run, I'm just on hold with the bank ...... I may just go postal yet.

Cheers,

Lee

 
 
Isn't it amazing how quickly kids today love something and then hate it? I don't ever remember being so inconsistent as a kid. If you loved A-Ha or Donkey Kong or playing elastics, you loved it. Full Stop. And even when you grew out of it you still remembered it fondly because you had spent so much time doing it, thinking about it or listening to it.

Not so, with kids today. This was brought home today when Lazy Town was asked for, for the 50th time. ( I have shared a video from Lazy Town, in case you missed that fad - it's one of my 2 year olds latest favourite shows). It's fun, it's colourful and makes an effort to teach kids about the importance of brushing your teeth, getting outside, exercising and not eating too much junk.  I remember and I am sure it was not so long ago, when my older son couldn't get enough of Lazy Town, Sporticus and we could even talk him into eating more fruit by calling it "sports candy".  Well now, apparently it's lame.

Ben 10, who we could not live without, is now lame. Bakugans, where you had to troll numerous toy stores to even be eligible to pick up new ones because they were walking off the shelves. Are L.A.M.E.

With all the big toy sales being marketed so heavily at this time of year, encouraging us to get in early and lay-by for Christmas, you don't want to feel like a crap mum and have your kids miss out on the latest, greatest, must-have whatever it is. But it got me thinking about the next thing I would be having to vacuum around because it's just "too lame to pick up and who cares mum, we're over it anyway."

It used to be that if you were into something, that fad could last for years. Now we'll be lucky to put it on lay-by now to hide away for the festive season and not have it be oh, so yesterday, by Christmas. Do we continue to indulge in the lastest, greatest must haves? Do we send the kids outside with a stick and say "In my day, you could have had hours of fun with that. Go and entertain yourself!" It is a tough one. 

I have to say it's nice having the age gap with the kids as I get to relive some of the old favourites again and I don't mind a bit of Sporticus. Come on, they had to add something to keep the mum's entertained..... anyway, I would love to hear of some of your passing fads and the one's you wished they would bring back.

I would also love to get opinions on todays trend of consumerism gone mad. Do we just go with the flow or bring back the humble stick??

Cheers,

Lee
 
 
I know, now that I've got you in with that snappy title your looking forward to learning how to make a delightful Spinach Pizza but alas, no. I do not have a gourmet recipe al a Master Chef for you to whip up in your spare time. Really, what happened was, a spinach pizza got me thinking about trying new things.

It all started when I was shopping the aisle of my local NQR (that's Not Quite Right for the uninitiated, a grocery store that sells things which may not have jumped off the shelves somewhere else for whatever reason - I know how that might sound but occassionally you come across something you wanted at rock bottom prices).

Anyhoo, as I was wandering the frozen aisle, deciding whether I really needed that fourpack of Magnum Icecreams.... my attention was caught by a bargain deal for Spinach Pizzas - I know what you're thinking - "Spinach Pizza! Delish. What's to think about!? Grab that Bargain!". No? Seriously? OK .... well, it was probably closer to  the first thought that crossed my mind, which was "Really?? Spinach Pizza? Who would buy that!?". But, then as I stood there contemplating the fact that it was indeed a bargain, I watched others walk past and pick up the pizza's, load them in their trolleys and continue on their merry ways. I began to discuss this with myself (in my head - of course. I'm not totally crazy.......)
"Well, it IS a bargain."
 "Other people are trying it out."
 "How bad could it be?"
 "BUT, it's SPINACH pizza!!"
"Well, it IS a bargain!"

So finally, this internal dialogue came to an end and I thought what the hell, let's just try it. Home I went with my NQR bargains only to have my husband turn his nose up at the thought of spinach pizza. Well, we tried it ... and it was delicious. I had not really expected that. In fact I even went back today and bought more while the deal was still on.

I know what you're thinking.... enough of spinach pizza already. Yawn.

The thing is, it really got me thinking about trying new things. How hesitant we are to try something new and unknown because of the sound of it. Rock climbing, a new movie, a new haircut, a new job... it doesn't matter what it is. The thought of it freaks you out so much that you are stuned into inaction - you do not move forward. You contemplate (as I did), what could go wrong, why it won't work or why you won't like it. OK, some things, like a sense of personal safety should definately be considered before taking on say, rock climbing or jumping out of a plane. But, generally speaking, should we be more open to things before we begin tossing up why we won't like them?? Should we be getting out of our comfort zones more often and trying new things?? What awaits us on that road less travelled? A new passion, a new taste, world domination??

I know my trying of the spinach pizza was a small thing as far as new things go but it will be added to my list of new things tried, such as an ereader (which I never thought I would embrace - who knew! I love it), taking on my 365 day blog challenge, playing with Pinterest (another thing I thought I'd hate and now love!), screen printing lessons and working out in the gym rather than just turning up to classes.

OK, I'll admit I haven't loved every new thing I have tried (even in the last month) but I wouldn't have known either way if I had not given them a go and I have found lots of lovely new things, including spinach pizza.

Step outside your comfort zone and get out there and try something new!! Let me know if you do!

Next time,

Lee


 
 
I know it's Melbourne - where are the four seasons in one day that everyone talks about so fondly? - Not me, mind you.

Well this morning as I walked my 9 year old to the bus stop in a balmy 9 degrees it got me thinking about winter and what people actually see in it. I mean, people actually move to cold areas FOR THE COLD??? New job, new love ... whatever, I get that. I just don't get the enjoying the cold bit and moving to be closer to it.

So, in an effort to see what others see,  I looked around a little on my stroll alone back from the bus stop and took the "vision" that is winter in.
Well, still not enjoying the cold ... but who doesn't love a good puddle and a moody sky!?
I believe you've gotta find your joy where you can!!

I would love some comments on what you enjoy about winter or even better (if you are like me) what you are looking forward to doing once it gets a bit warmer. I know it's a long way off but we have just passed the shortest day of the year, so it can really only be up from here!

Find your joy,

Lee

 
 
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Perhaps it's just me, (please say it's not) but do you ever get that feeling as a stay at home mum, that you've just hung your millionth load of washing and yet funnily enough it does not feel like grounds to celebrate - it feels like groundhog day?
 
Just like all the other banal everyday activities you have become "owner" of, even though you don't remember putting your hand up to take them on because you knew how fulfilled it could make you feel. I know, I know, someone has to do it. Its just that growing up and wondering what I wanted to be - "doer of monotonous, repetitive, unpaid, uncelebrated tasks" did not come top of my list. But again, perhaps it's just me.

Leaving dreams of greatness on the floor, let me now move on to share one of todays highlights with you. It all started this past weekend as it was very cold and wet, I decided to take on a few crafty type activities with the kids - one of these being the making of birdseed cakes. In an effort to bring more nature into our yard, we followed the instructions from a lovely little blog http://themagiconions.blogspot.com.au/2010/07/darling-little-birdseed-cakes.html - (just in case your inspired and would like to make your own) and I have to say the kids loved creating them. It wasn't very expensive or messy (we did it outside undercover), so it was really a successful activity all round. These little cakes have been outside, hanging precariously from the smallest, most difficult branch for a bird to access - but that's what you get when you leave a 9 year old in charge of the hanging of the cakes.....

Well, today it continues to be cold and wet and off we went to swimming lessons with my two year old. Although these lessons appear to be a real highlight for him - I can't say I am loving having to get in (especially in this current weather) and I really look forward to the day when he can get in on his own and I can look on admiringly whilst sipping my chai latte from the sidelines.

Anyhoo, we got home from said swimming lessons and the tree was full of little birds enjoying our birdseed cakes. Both my 2 year old and myself were thrilled. I was thrilled that we had succeeded to indeed bring more nature into the yard and he was thrilled that there were little birds dancing outside his window, so I have posted a photo of this, so that you may also share in our days highlight and because the picture was so cute.

Wow, check me out!! 2nd post in 2 days - I am now 363 days closer to my
goal.... well alright perhaps I am getting a little ahead of myself seeing that
it is so early in my personal challenge. (The Challenge - to blog every day for
a year) But, you have to start somewhere... every journey starts with the first
step and all that.

Enjoy your days highlight,

Lee