A NEW BLOG!

Thanks for stopping by. Mummy Mayhem is no longer updated. I now have a new, albeit smaller blog over at www.jodieansted.blogspot.com.au.

Drop by anytime. :)

Jodie
xox

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bye Bye Noughties

And so we prepare to say goodbye to 2009. But it's not just ta-ta to another year, but another decade! And what an eventful one it has been. Both for the world and for me...

We started the decade holding our breath, waiting to see how Y2K would effect us (it didn't - so glad I spent all that time at work preparing for it *sigh*) but from that moment on, the world did, indeed, experience some shocking lows.

And unfortunately, the lows were plentiful. There was the Concorde Crash, September 11, the Bali Bombings, the Invasion of Iraq, the Shuttle disaster, the Asian tsunami, the London Transit Bombings, Hurricane Katrina, the Beaconsfield mine disaster, the Global Financial Crises, the Black Saturday fires in Victoria, the onslaught of Swine Flu - and many, many other events that left us saddened, afraid, angry or all three.

On the flip side of that, two particularly great moments last decade (in my opinion) were the Sydney Olympics in 2000 (as a Sydney-sider, I can't say enough how great it was here during that time. A far, far more pleasant experience than any of us could have anticipated), and of course the historic election of Barack Obama, America's first black president.

We saw a bevy of trends and technology surface. Almost every child started wearing Crocs (including my own. As well as Hubby. And me). Tattoos became as common as a pedicure (not a fan I'm afraid). iPods and iPhones became highly coveted. As did mini cupcakes from the many stands around our shops (try passing those quickly with your kids). If you wore a thong (of the foot kind) Havaianas were probably your first choice. Fake tan became a fave of celebs, with some taking it a little too far (think: Lindsay Lohan).

Twitter burst on to our computers, opening up a whole new social network for many (including myself!). More and more took up injecting themselves with botulinum toxin (or BOTOX) with some losing their expressions in the process (and many others denying they'd even done it). The Snuggie (like a backward dressing gown) found its way in to many homes (not ours) - with reportedly 4 million sold! What the...?

In the world of celebrity, we saw Tom Cruise jump on Oprah's couch. Both Delta and Kylie announced they had cancer (and then recovered from it). We were
saddened and shocked by the deaths of Heath Ledger, Steve Irwin, Belinda Emmett and Michael Jackson (to name but a few).

Friends finished up, as did SITC. Brad & Ange got together (and at the time of publishing this post, had 6 children. But who knows? Could be more by the time you finish reading this). Britney went a bit bonkers there for a while. Australian Idol took off and produced an array of Aussie talent and Rove finished up his long running tv show.

A boy called Harry Potter suddenly made JK Rowling a very wealthy woman indeed. Justin Timberlake brought "Sexy Back". JLo wore a very revealing dress that everyone talked about afterwards. Two ladies called Kath & Kim were, well, noice. The Twilight series, both in books and movie form took off (I still just. Don't. Get. It). The list goes on and on and on...

As for me? Well, I have personally had one of the most amazing, wonderful decades of my life.

I married in 2000. Turned 30 that same year. Hubby and I bought our first house in '01. We had our first son in 2002, followed by our second in '04 and our third in '06. We travelled to some great places: both locally (Coolum and Noosa, Qld; Melbourne, Vic; back to our home town of Perth, WA) and internationally (Malaysia, Italy and Vanuatu).

I watched my two big boys start school (the 7yr old in '07, the 5yr old this year) and finally got two days to myself when the (now) 3yr old started daycare last year. (Can't tell you how much I needed THAT!)

I also became a great aunt this year (FINALLY). Don't worry. My nephew is my age. It's not a 12 year old or something have a kid. ;)

And then last year, after getting involved on the school's P&F and contributing to the school's weekly newsletter, I discovered how much I enjoyed writing, and this blog was established in September.

I'm looking forward to 2010 and beyond. It'll be sure to start off with a bang. Hubby and I will celebrate 10 years of wedded (for the most part) bliss. I'll turn the big 4-0. (Yikes!) In fact, it should be an interesting decade ahead. (Although, the idea that I'll be almost 50 by the end of it - God willing - is freaking me OUT! *gag*)

And I'll continue to blog. For how long? Who knows. I'll be taking it one day at a time. But I hope you'll join me on my journey, and enjoy your own journey in the process.

Happy New Year/Decade!

Until next year...
Jodie

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Time For A Break...

Well, tomorrow is Christmas Day. Then a few days after that, it will be my youngest son's 3rd birthday. Me thinks it's time for a blogging break.

I think I'm going to be busy over the next few days. We'll be cooking a big Christmas lunch tomorrow, then getting ready to celebrate the 2yr old's 3rd birthday a few days after that.

We had our dear friends over for drinks tonight after mass. Has become a bit of a tradition. I love it because, growing up, my parents always had people over on Christmas Eve. Made Christmas Eve go so much faster!

I've really enjoyed my last few months of blogging. But now I'll need a break to spend time with my family. I'm looking forward to telling a few more tales and sharing a few more stories after Christmas.

Until then, I hope you enjoy the silly season, and if you miss me, you can always catch me on Twitter (follow me here). I'll still be dropping in there!

Take care over the holiday season. See you soon!

Until next time...
Jodie

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I'm Having a Rant: Manners, Please!

I braved the shops today. And I took my mother-in-law and the 3 boys with me. I'm crazy, you say? Well, yes. I think you might be right.

It started pretty well. We were at the shops by about 9.50am. A little later than I hoped. But all and all, we were doing ok.

Got a parking spot straight away. Good. Entered the shops with the expectation that I would be suddenly engulfed in a sea of other last minute Christmas shoppers to find...well, calm. Yes. It was pretty quiet indeed.

Until my boys entered Myer. I was looking for a present for my sister's 60th birthday. Which was yesterday. So you can understand my logic in searching for a birthday present two days before Christmas. (And once again, Cheryl. My apologies for it being late. Our trip to Port Macquarie mucked up my entire plan to get organised with the lead up to Christmas and your birthday.)

But anyway, I digress.

So, we were at Myer, and the boys start going nuts. Running around the store like crazy. Funny, because moments earlier I had watched another mother with her two boys who were dragging each other around the floor and thanked my lucky stars that my three sons were following me around quietly, checking out...well I can't tell you exactly what it was we were checking out, because my sister reads this blog, and it would give her pressie away.

I'm off track again, aren't I? *Sigh* It's been that kinda day.

So, they were running around madly (I guess the chocolate covered donuts - that I bought (what was I thinking?) - and candy canes they had consumed (given to them by the friendly guy at the cafe we had visited shortly before that) probably didn't help. Did they?) It became obvious that the sugar rush was taking over their bodies.

The 2yr old kept screaming (in delight at running away from all of us, especially his brothers) and then the 5yr old had a run-in with the corner of a shelf. All three boys were given (another) long, stern talk about the importance of behaving appropriately and not being silly because, you know, people get hurt that way. Right? (Nods and wide-eyed innocence all round.)

And then we went off to pay for my purchase. (Unfortunately, not my sister's gift. I had gotten sidetracked, and found something for myself. Sorry, sis) When standing at the counter, waiting, waiting, waiting for assistance (and surprisingly, NOT because there was a line - there just wasn't anyone to serve me!) out of the corner of my eye, I saw my 5yr old crouched down on the floor. The 7yr old, behind him, hovered over his head and grabbed him from behind, which caused the 5yr old to JUMP up and knock my 7yr old's chin, causing him to bite down on his bottom lip. Ouch.

Blood poured out everywhere. His white (AAGH!) shirt had blood all over it. It was all over his hands. It was even dripping down to the floor. And he was FREAKING OUT! The MIL and I frantically tried to find tissues and SOMETHING to stop the blood. In the meantime, I checked his teeth and then proceeded to lecture (again) about getting hurt through being silly. I may have used the old "I knew this was going to happen!" line a few times.

But during all this, I waited for a Myer employee to approach us and assist us. Maybe pass a tissue or something? Nup. Nothing. And when a sales assistant did finally approach the counter, she barely glanced the 7yr old's way, who was still covered in blood and a tissue in his mouth (which only slightly muffled his cries of "Are my teeth still in?") and looked decidedly perplexed when I asked for a tissue! My lord. She then glanced at my chosen gift (to myself) and asked, "Can I help you?" I pushed it over to her and said, "I was going to buy this. But now I have to look after my son who is bleeding everywhere. Thank you." And marched out of the store.

And then later I was in Coles and I heard a woman approach some men stocking the freezers in the cold foods section and she asked them abruptly, "Where are the frozen turkeys?" And less than a minute after that, a man approached and asked repeatedly, "Where can I find ice? Where can I find ice?" Until someone was finally able to answer his question.

And I was left thinking...where are these people's manners? Yes, I know it's a stressful time to be shopping. Many of us are concerned with getting everything organised on time. And we're over it. Completely OVER it. But does that give us the right to be rude?

I don't think so.

Relax people. Take a chill pill. It's the season of giving. Remember? How about we, you know, give a little?

Oh, and by the way sis. Got your pressie. ;)

Rant over.

Until next time...
Jodie

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

When I Can't Say No

For some reason, I keep getting sucked in to buying hair products. Somebody stop me!

One of my fave bloggers, Kerri Sackville of Life and Other Crises posted a piece on being unable to say "no" to sales people. (Read that fabulous post here.) I can relate. That is: when it comes to hair stylists and their "products".

I'm quite good at refusing people handing out pamphlets on the street. I can also fend off Pixie Photos employees when they approach me for the umpteenth time to schedule a photographic session for me and my (incredibly gorgeous) family. But when it comes to hair stylists? I'm toast.

You know how it goes, right? During the process of coiffing your tresses, the hair stylist starts innocently asking about your hair. What products do you use? How do you usually style it? And suddenly - BAM - they have a solution to help fix whatever problem you're having. Then they whip out the latest product that will undoubtedly improve your head of hair in just a matter of days! Amazing!

And I can't resist.

Like the other day, I mentioned to my new hair stylist (after she casually asked how I style my hair most days) that I usually let my hair dry naturally most of the time, and therefore, end up with wavy, unruly hair. My hairstylist said, "Oh, you know what's great? We have this lotion that you just put on and it makes your curls more defined and smooth." And to prove her point, she called over one of her colleagues to show me her head of perfectly groomed gorgeous blond curls.

And so I bought it.

(Of course, logic should tell me that she is also a hair stylist - therefore, can probably get her curls to do exactly what she wants them to do. Duh.)

It cost me $30. And so far? The same old messy, haphazard curls I had before. But I have to keep using it, because I forked out money for it. It's the principle of it. And when I open the bathroom cabinet, it will mock me, sitting next to the "styling mud", the "hair straightener" (which I rarely use, because I'm too darn lazy to blow-dry my hair), the "leave-in conditioner" and the "deep conditioning masque" that I have also purchased at my local hair salon. All of which are rarely used, and Hubby will complain are taking up space in the bathroom.

I am weak. Weak, I tell you!

But, Kerri Sackville, you will be glad to note: I have not succumbed to buying an Ox. Yet.

Until next time...
Jodie

Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Road

I've always LOVED road trips. It's not all that long ago that the mere mention of the possibility of taking one was enough for me. I was SO there. And then I started taking road trips with my own family and they became, well, interesting.

Just over a week ago, the family and I drove to a coastal town north of Sydney for a bit of pre-Christmas R&R. A 5 hour car trip away.

'A fine idea' you might think. And yes, I was looking forward to it myself. I mean, I've always loved being on the open road. Eating snacks in the car. Playing music and singing along. Grabbing a bite to eat at a roadhouse (yep - even the dodgy ones). Stopping for a leg stretch and a cuppa. Sometimes stopping off to see a local sight. Yes siree. It's my kinda trip.

It stems from my childhood. Each year we'd take a 10-hour car trip north of Perth to a place called Monkey Mia (not far from Shark Bay). Back then, it was just a caravan park with a corner shop, and wild dolphins would come in to the shore and we would feed them and swim with them every day. It was a magical place. (It still exists, but not as just a caravan park, and the dolphins still visit, but touching them isn't allowed - to protect them.)

And the fun would always begin with the car trip there. I mean, yes - I'd eventually get bored and start asking my parents "Are we nearly there yet?" But I still loved it.

And so, whenever we get ready for a road trip in our family, like the one we took here to our holiday destination, I get excited. I can't wait to get in the car.

But here's the thing. My memory of past road trips taken with the kids, is similar to that of my memory regarding their births. I remember mostly the good bits. And the not so good bits? Almost forgotten.

Car trips with the kids is not: quickly pack a bag, throw it in the car and go. Oh, no. We have to negotiate just how much the kids can take first. "No," I will say more than once, "You can't take that. It just won't fit in the car." Then fitting it all in the car, and getting the kids in to the car presents the next challenge. If we can leave within 30 minutes of announcing: "Ok. We're ready to go!" we're doing well.

And in this particular case, we had to wait for Hubby too. Our plan on Sunday (when we left) was to depart at 9.30am. Hubby just wanted to mulch the garden first. (Of course. Ahem.) It was, ah, after 1.30pm when we finally hit the road.

Finally, we were in the car. Waving goodbye to my MIL, the dog standing beside her, off we went. We were a mere 1km (if that) down the road, when Hubby pulled in to the local petrol station. I felt slightly deflated. My mind and body was in travelling mode. And suddenly...it had come to a stand still. We filled up with petrol, washed the windows and checked the tyres. I smiled a big, cheezy grin at Hubby as he washed my window, and as tense and sore as he was feeling after all his mulching duties, he couldn't help but crack a smile. I had the boys do the same to him. The fun had begun.

I found the Hi-5 Christmas CD, and popped it on. "Oh, no. Hi-5!" moaned the 7yr old. But the 5yr old couldn't help but smile and the 2yr old started bopping. When Hubby jumped back in to the car, and on hearing the music and noticing my grin, rolled his eyes, and once again, we were off. Another 1km down the road, singing along with Nathan, Tim, Kathleen, Charlie and...oh, nup - it's gone (there goes that memory again) - I suddenly recalled something. "Did you pack the kids' bike helmets?" I asked Hubby. "Nope," he replied. And so, we turned around and headed back home again. *Sigh*

By the time we got back on the road, it was 2pm. The time we had hoped to be checking-in to our apartment by. Tsk.

This time, Hubby set up the GPS (if you read my post here, you'll have a good idea about how I feel on that one), and as we approached the end of our street, and the GPS lady asked us to turn left, Hubby repeated it for good measure. "Turn left," he said. It took all my strength not to reply, "Really? Do I really go left, heading north, because we're, like, going north on our holiday? Are you SURE?!"

The 2yr old started asking the same two questions over and over again during the 5 hours we were on the road (apart from when he slept that whole 45 minutes during part of the trip), being: a) "Where are we going?" and b) "Where's Granny?" (To which I would then explain she was minding the dog, because he couldn't come with us.) (The dog couldn't come; not only because we were staying in an apartment, but quite frankly, there was no room in the car. Every inch of the car was filled with...well, crap, quite frankly. Which was great news for us. We got to move the crap from one location, and relocate it to another. So we'd feel right at home. *Sigh*)

Ten minutes in to the car trip, the GPS lady was starting to annoy me. Her condescending tone was grating on my nerves. Here's what she said, and what I thought:

GPS lady: In 200 metres, take the third exit.

Me: Why don't you take a hike?

GPS lady: Take the third exit now.

Me: You know what lady? You're pushy. And opinionated. Why don't you get a real job? Like, on an Operator switch board or something? Harrumph!

But apart from a near miss at a stop off at MacDonald's when we almost forgot the bikes on the top of the car, but remembered just in time before we made our way through drive-thru (phew!); and the fact that by the time we got to our destination, had some dinner and settled the boys who were unable to sleep because they were overly excited about being in our holiday apartment, we made it here in one piece; nerves intact.

And tomorrow we make our return trip. I'll be armed with snacks, Nintendo DS', a portable DVD player and good old Hi-5 doing Christmas on the CD player, and hopefully (fingers crossed) we'll make our way home without too much fuss and bother.

After all, the trip here wasn't too bad. Not too bad at all.

Until next time...
Jodie

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Buying a Puppy this Christmas? Read This First...

It's that time of year when many can't resist the cuteness of a puppy, panting through the glass of their local pet shop. But wait...if you want a dog, do you really need a "puppy" as such? What about a dog that really needs a home?

About a year ago, we adopted a new family member. The dog.

Hubby really wanted to get a dog. Actually, he wanted another baby and I basically said, "No thank you. I'm done. Shop is CLOSED." I think he thought a dog seemed like a good second option. Besides, as a kid he'd always wanted one. He was fulfilling a childhood dream, you might say.

I was resistant to the idea from the start. You see, I have three kids. Three young boys. And believe me, they are work. Lots of it. I have more than enough to keep me occupied, thank you very much. And the idea of a new puppy added to the mix? Not so appealing. Having to train it and look after it (because I knew even though Hubby wanted it, it would be me who was going to have to care for it, being at home all day and all) was just not something I felt ready to do. Yet.

But Hubby did his usual, "Oh it'll be fine" trick, and promptly started checking out websites for the perfect family dog.

Before too long, he professed to have found the perfect breed for our family. The Irish Wolfhound. Have you seen one? Imagine a kind of miniature HORSE if you will. (Or click here to see what I'm talking about. Yikes.)

Clearly, the Irish Wolfhound wasn't going to work for me. I'm sorry - but I just can't have a dog that is bigger than me. Besides, they apparently live for around only 9 years. Poor things. The boys would just get attached and then....gone. Oh dear.

And because I'm so busy with my boys, and still dealing with a very (VERY) demanding toddler, a puppy just wasn't going to work for me. Did you know you have to often get up during the night to look after them? That they can't be left alone for too long in the beginning because they develop bad habits? (You know, like chewing up all your plants in the backyard, or tearing down your favourite sheets and ripping them to shreds with their teeth? Just sayin'.) And they start on extra feeds during the day. Just like a baby does.

And so, after expressing my concerns over a puppy, Hubby changed his tact. "What about a slightly older dog that needs a home?" he suggested. It was then he found a website called PetRescue, and through that, he found "the dog".

A couple of weeks later, we drove out to Londonderry, about an hour's drive out of Sydney, to a shelter called Save Our Strays, where a very friendly lady by the name of Francine introduced us to the dog. We were told he was a Staffy x (but really, we've seen so many different breeds of dog in him, it's hard to say for sure). He was incredibly timid. He submitted as soon as the boys got near him (went down on his tummy), which Francine assured us a very good sign for our situation. And sadly, he was 19 months old at that stage, but had been in the shelter since the age of 4 months. We asked why she thought he hadn't been taken home by anyone yet? (We were worried it had something to do with his personality.) "He's just not cute enough. But I think he's gorgeous." We did too. Well, mostly the boys and Hubby did, but I could kind of see the appeal.

We went home to think about it. It was a big decision for us to make. The shelter gave a two week trial period for each dog. And although that was appealing to us, and a good fall-back plan, we really wanted to avoid having to return a dog. I mean, imagine you're the dog, and you just get out of the "joint", and suddenly you find yourself back in. Awful. We wanted to get it as right as we possibly could.

Eventually we decided the dog could come to stay. And soon after that, friendly Francine was driving the dog to our house. (A lovely gesture, and as it turned out, a handy one because he thew up 3 times in her car during the trip. Nice.)

Francine brought him in to our backyard, and sat with him until he settled in. And then she left. I'm quite sure had she looked back, she would have seen Hubby and I standing there, like two deer stuck in headlights. We had no idea what to do next.

And yes, in the beginning it was a steep learning curve. I'd had dogs as a kid, but I'd never really had much to do with caring for them. And although we had a few incidents with him (including one particularly looooong wee in our family room the first day he arrived - we have tiles, thank goodness), he settled in fairly quickly. (In his defence, he was probably marking his new territory.)

To date, he has had no training, and yet when we whistle, he comes. He "stays" when he's told (mostly) and has been great with the kids. The toddler has squeezed his snout, pulled his tail, poked his eyes and kicked him. But he hasn't reacted at all. He's a great dog.

In the end, I felt good about how the events had turned out. We managed to escape the demands of a new puppy, and we got a great dog that we saved from a pretty ordinary life. Before he arrived at our house, and had his own kennel and a lovely, soft mattress in the family room to sleep on, and leftover gourmet food to eat (to a dog anyway), he slept in a concrete kind of cell. Spacious enough only to walk around in, with the odd play in the neighbouring fields. In fact, in his 15 months there, he had never been taken for an actual "walk". How sad is that?

And yes, perhaps we've been lucky, but during the incessant research we did prior to purchasing our pup, I did read that often dogs that are adopted from a difficult situation can be extraordinarily loyal, because, quite frankly, they are grateful for their new life.

Besides, I've also read some horrible stories about the way in which puppies are bred in puppy mills for sale in pet shops. As a result, I would never choose to purchase one from a pet shop. (You can read more about that here through the RSPCA website.)

Yep. We are very happy with our addition to the family, and this month, we celebrate a whole year since he came home. He's a great fit.

Here's a piccie of our happy "puppy" (as Hubby refers to him).

The dog

If you've thought about getting a dog, and don't know where to start, PetRescue has a great website that is Australia-wide. They don't just have puppies and dogs, but all sorts of animals that need a good home. You can check out their website HERE. And remember: a pet is for life.

Merry Christmas to ALL the pets (and their owners) out there!

Until next time...
Jodie

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Skinny Of It

In my teenage years, I was very, well, "skinny". Actually, I don't really like that term.

When I first discovered the world of blogs, it was Mia Freedman's blog, Mamamia, that I turned to first. And one of the first posts I read of Mia's was one she did on body image. It was about accepting "plus-sized" models (another term/label I'm not keen on) on the catwalk etc.

When scrolling through the comments, I noticed a number of people making derogatory comments about "skinny" people, and how they can look "awful" and I was transported back to my teenage years. Particularly when I was 14. Let's just say, it wasn't a very pleasant time for me back then. I was teased constantly for being "skinny", even compared to an anorexic (with one teacher assuming I was). I was very conscious of my body back then, and to some degree, still am. (Although, I'm not nearly the same size I was back then. Nor would I like to be.)

Anyway, I was motivated by the comments I read on that particular post that day to send Mia an email about how I felt as a thin person. I included an excerpt from a piece I wrote in my sons' school newsletter (for the purpose of promoting Parent Forums - one of which was on Body Image) as well as add how I felt about how thin people are talked about today. She asked if she could publish it, and yesterday she did.

I have to say, I have been blown away by all the positive comments on this post, and I can't tell you how wonderful I think it is that a bunch of people who have gone through the same thing are able to share how they feel about this subject. The exact reason I love reading Mamamia. When I was a 14 year old girl, there was absolutely nothing in magazines or any form of media about how to deal with such an issue, and I felt completely alone.

So you may be able to imagine how happy I was that the first comment was made by a girl who has called herself TessGirl. She is 15, and going through this exact same thing now. If only I'd had such a forum to turn to myself on this subject when I was her age. It may have made me feel all the more positive about my situation knowing that many felt the same way I did.

Thin women have feelings too. And whilst people like Mia are trying their hardest to campaign for positive body image, sometimes the people who are considered "skinny" are forgotten in that process. We have hang ups about our weight too. Don't assume a thin person is happy with how they look. Positive body image should be for every woman. Thin or fuller-figured. "Skinny" or "plus-sized".

To read the post and the comments, go to that post on Mamamia HERE. Thank you Mia.

Until next time...take care.
Jodie

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Girl Called Tracy

Year and years ago, I had a bestfriend called Tracy. To be honest, she was, at times, not the greatest influence on me, but on the other hand, she was most certainly one of the best.

When I was 14, a girl arrived at our high school from Northern WA. Her name was Tracy, and as I slowly got to know her, she quickly became a great friend of mine.

She was funny. Incredibly funny. Very confident and happy all the time. She also seemed more worldly than me. She seemed to have experienced more than what I had, even though we were the same age.

Before too long, we were the best of friends, and I was spending a lot of time with her. Her Mum had separated from Tracy's Dad, so it was just the two of them (her brother remained up north, from memory). They were both fun. Her Mum was like my second mother, and I loved nothing better than hanging out with them on weekends.

I wrote a post recently about my first deodorant (view that here) and it was Tracy's mum who enlightened me to the fact that I was using a personal hygiene product on my underarms. (Oops.) And it was Tracy's mum who found me dancing like Cyndi Lauper in Tracy's bedroom one night, and had a subtle rib at me about it. Which I loved.

Tracy was interesting. I remember how fascinated I was when she told me that she and her friends used to contact the dead during regular seances. She told me stories that would make my heart race. About doors flying open and objects flying around the room. I'm not sure it was all true, but at the time, I completely believed it.

And it was Tracy who, one night when her Mum went out and left the two of us at home alone, gave me my first taste of wine. I had hardly anything. Not even half a glass. But I convinced myself I was "tipsy", and felt very naughty, and yet somewhat liberated. I was always such a well behaved girl, up until that point.

And then that same year, a school disco was planned, and Tracy and I decided to meet friends at the local park and drink Summerwine beforehand. (I know. Classy. And as a side note: it was the 80s - and from memory, a bottle of Summerwine cost about $5. If that.)

The evening didn't start well. Tracy forgot her disco ticket. But we convinced ourselves that we'd just talk our way in. Yeah. Good idea after a few wines.

After we had finished drinking (I recall that I got through a fairly small amount from my bottle, but I was more than tipsy that night - a cheap drunk) we made our way to the disco. As we reached the pine forest surrounding the school, Tracy decided she needed to pee, and being her friend, I decided I would too. We pulled down our pants and went right there in the pine forest. Until we heard voices and noticed a bright flashlight. The police. "Run!" Tracy yelled. And so there I was, running through the pine forest, attempting to pull up my pants as I did so, being pursued by a much faster, much more sober and much more agile person than myself (because from memory, his pants were on). I fell to the ground, only to be lifted up by the police officer. Game over.

Our parents were called. I remember asking my Mum if Tracy was still sleeping at our house that night, as originally planned? Needless to say, she was not.

My parents were very disappointed in me. I knew I had let them down, and had done something incredibly bad. And I felt bad about it.

I think my Mum suspected that Tracy had influenced my behaviour, and to be honest, she probably wasn't all that off the mark on that one. But she continued to let me hang out with Tracy, and sleep over at her house, because I think she also saw the other side of my bestfriend.

My bestfriend's confidence was rubbing off on me. Until I'd met Tracy, I was a fairly shy girl. I had plenty of friends, but I wasn't particularly confident about myself, and Tracy brought out a lot of good in me in that regard. With Tracy, I laughed more. I enjoyed life more. And I felt a lot more comfortable in myself. I think I had always been so conscious about how I should behave, that I forgot to have fun. And I'm not talking about drinking at local parks type fun. I'm talking finding more ways to just enjoy life and have a good laugh at myself and situations. I was loosening up.

Eventually, Tracy moved away from Perth again (well before the end of high school), and although we promised to stay in touch (and I was devastated), eventually our letters became few and far between, and our lives moved in separate directions.

Years later, when I was working for my first employer, Tracy moved back to Perth, and lived close to my work. I would spend the odd lunch break at her place, catching up. But our friendship never really picked up where it left off. We were on different paths still. But we've always remained friends.

About a year ago, we had a nice, long chat on the phone when Tracy and her Mum visited my parents (our parents still exchange Christmas cards and the like every year). We laughed about some of things we got up to together all those years ago in high school, including the night we got busted for drinking before the school disco.

And even though I don't speak with her often, or catch up with her (especially now that I live on the other side of the country!), she will always have a special place in my heart. She was my first real bestfriend in high school, and she is part of the reason I am the person I am today.

So, if by any chance you're reading this Trace, thank you. You were a great bestfriend. Even if you did get me busted by the cops. *Chuckle*

What about you? Any old bestfriends you can recall that you're perhaps not in touch with anymore that influenced your life?

Until next time...
Jodie

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

School Holidays: Getting Off To A Good Start

So we're on holiday at the moment AND it's school holidays. Of course that means that we're living in close quarters. 24/7. And occasionally, our patience will be tested.

My mum always said, "I could never understand why parents didn't like school holidays. I always enjoyed spending time with you girls."

Um, perhaps the madness had set in years ago? (Just kidding, Mum. Sort of.)

I love spending time with the kids, and I love that I don't have to run from place to place all the time and worry about school drop off and pick up and getting to after school activities on time. Really, I do. But it's also kinda challenging having all 3 boys home at once. Every day. Of every week. For a looooong time. Yes, indeedy, it is.

There was the time during one past school holidays that I took all three boys with me to purchase a new doona for my bed from Bed, Bath and Table. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, when I got there, all three boys were running around like wild monkeys who'd raided the bar fridge, and even the old stern look and "Will you just stand still for five minutes?!" wasn't making an impact.

As I stood at the counter to pay for my hastily chosen doona, attempting to ignore my 2 year old's tantrum, brought on because his mean mother had strapped him in to the stroller to avoid another mad dash out of the store, I turned my attention to the friendly sales assistant who asked, "How would you like to pay for that?" Without even giving it a second thought, I replied, "Do you accept small children?" Unfortunately, they did not, and so I left the store with my new doona tucked under my arm, a dent in my credit card, and 3 little terrors in tow. *Sigh*

My mother-in-law has always said, that at the start of the school holidays you have to lay down the law and let your kids know who's boss. Hubby is one of 3 boys too, and she recalls when they would instantly start fighting and wrestling and generally making noise and getting up to mischief at the beginning of each school holiday. As she explains, "I found if I yelled at them once, and laid down the ground rules right then and there, they'd be ok after that."

Well, we (quite unintentionally) had our moment for laying down the law today.

The boys were running around like crazy in the apartment we're renting on holiday. They were carrying on, screaming and slamming doors. Hubby and I have a big issue (as most parents do, I'm sure) with door slamming. Hubby's brother had the tip of his finger cut off by a slamming door (although, it was the wind that did it in that instance - fortunately, it was able to be sewn back on) and a friend of the 5yr old had the tip of his thumb sliced off recently during a session in the boys toilets at school, when one of the other kids closed a door on his thumb. We use these examples over and over again with our boys, and it just doesn't seem to get through.

After telling our boys a million times just this morning to STOP slamming the doors (I think they're doing it because the handles are lower and we have some sliding doors in the apartment we're staying in - a novelty) it finally happened. A door was shut on to the toddler's fingers.

He was fine and his fingers all ok, but he was obviously upset and crying at first, and we were afraid that the worst had happened. Hubby lost it. He doesn't yell often...at all. I yell FAR more often than what he does. But today, he really let it rip on them. They couldn't help but listen. (If Dad's upset, something REALLY must be up.)

Since then, peace has been restored and, hopefully (fingers crossed, and intact), a lesson learned.

Now, if it can just remain that way for the next 6 weeks or so, that'd be great.

How do you deal with the school holidays? Do you lay down the ground rules first? Go with the flow? Any advice on how to deal with over-excited boys?!!!

Until next time...
Jodie