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 Mummy Mayhem is no longer updated.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. :)


Sunday, January 31, 2010

I'll Tell You Why I Don't Like Mondays

Monday is about to become the day from hell. The day where I will run from one thing to the next, cutting my timing fine as I go. Wish me luck.

It seems I have over-scheduled myself on Mondays this year. Well, not over-scheduled exactly. More precisely, I've scheduled activities at near impossible times, so I will be guaranteed to stress myself out in order to get to them on time.

Every Monday morning we have school assembly at 9am. I can't miss it. I mean, I could if I really wanted to, but I don't want to. The school awards are handed out every Monday, and it's only natural, until your child receives one, to wonder each week if he will be the lucky recipient for that week. And with two boys at school, I won't feel even the slightest relaxed about missing an assembly until both are covered for a while. You see, it's almost guaranteed, that the one week you can't be there for whatever reason, that will be the week your son will receive his award. Worse - they'll both receive an award, and then you're left with an attack of the guilts at not being there for them to seek you out in the crowd and smile at you proudly, award in hand.

Some assemblies can go for 10-15 minutes, but sometimes they run longer. Which, up until this year was perfectly fine. I had ALL the time in the world. And living a very short walking distance to the school made it even easier. No concerns of getting a ticket after taking a dodgy last minute parking space.

But now I can't afford to stay any longer than 15 minutes, because now I have the 3yr old's swimming lesson at 9.30am. At least a 10 minute drive away. Which means, I have to get my 3yr old back to the house, get him in the car, drive there, park and walk to the lesson, all in a 15 minute time frame. Assuming the assembly runs on time. Put it this way - about the time they're doing the school prayer, I'll be praying for a short assembly!

I always do food shopping on a Monday. I wish I could leave it until Tuesday when I have my "day off" (as Hubby refers to it - because the 3yr old is in daycare. Harumph!), but I can't. With 3 boys and a hungry Hubby raiding the fridge over the weekend, it just can't wait another day. I could go at night, but I can never be bothered. Once the boys are in bed, I'm on full recovery mode.

And so, straight after swimming lessons finish, and once I've finally gotten the 3yr old back in to his clothes (around 10.15am), I'll race straight to the shops, where we will whip around, stopping every minute or so as I answer a question, or wrestle a packet of Wiggles biscuits from the 3yr old's hands, and deal with the tears that follow.

Then it's back home for lunch and the 3yr old's nap. I'll then unpack the shopping, tidy up the breakfast dishes (which undoubtedly will still be on the dining table), do a few things, and then get ready for school pick up at 3.15pm.

This is where it gets tricky again. You see, both my 5yr old and 7yr old do tennis lessons. But because the 7yr old moved up a class, we had to change our usual leisurely lesson at 4pm on a Thursday to a Monday. Except that, the only time they could offer me for both boys was 3.30pm. Sigh. So, as soon as the bell goes at 3.15pm at school, and the kids are finally released from their lines, I will have to battle my way through the school crowd, with a no doubt sleepy, and possibly grumpy, 3yr old, seeking out my two big boys so I can drag them out of there as quick as lightning. We will then practically run back home to the car (and the big boys will complain about their feet being sore - especially the 5yr old, because he's never been keen on the whole walking thing), jump in the car (again) and drive the fastest and safest we possibly can the two or so kilometres to their tennis lesson, with the boys munching down on something I've grabbed from the pantry only moments earlier. And I'm sure to you, 2klms doesn't sound far, but in Sydney during peak school pick up time, it could be a 15 minute ordeal. (If I'm lucky.)

And we'll be lucky if we get a parking spot close by. But even if we do, we then have to change out of our formal uniform (worn every Monday and Friday) in to some appropriate tennis-friendly clothing. Probably in the back of the car, I imagine (I'm still working out the logistics). Slap on some sunscreen, a hat, and off they go.

They'll finish tennis at 4.30pm. We'll get home about 4.45pm, then it's time to start dinner, or homework, or both.

God. I feel exhausted just thinking about it.

Until next time...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Birthday Blues

I have a friend I've known for about 13 years, and up until today, I had no idea that she didn't enjoy her birthday.

I mean, I recall when she had her 40th she expressed her embarrassment that her Hubby had organised (on the sly) a celebration with friends for her. She is such an incredibly nice and generous person, I just assumed she felt she was putting people out or something by asking them to come! (And she's the kind of person who is always thoughtful of others, so that would be entirely plausible.)

But then today I called her at work for her birthday, and she wasn't there. I had a brief chat with a work colleague and I happened to mention that I was calling for her birthday. "It's her birthday?" the guy asked. He had no idea. And I wasn't surprised. My friend's not the kind of person who would walk around telling everybody, "Hey! It's my birthday! Look at me, look at me! Wish me happy birthday!" It's just not her style.

So when I spoke to her later today, I found out something I had never known about my friend. She doesn't like celebrating her birthday. At all. In fact, that's partly the reason she wasn't at work today. For her, the thought of sitting at work, and perhaps people finding out (yeah - good one JODIE!) is almost as cringe worthy as listening to someone scratching their nails on a blackboard. She told me how one time, someone sent her a huge bouquet of balloons, and she had to stop herself from popping them all right then and there.

I never knew this about my friend. She's given a few reasons for this, but without going in to detail, whilst they (the reasons) all makes sense to me - I understand completely (and my sister is the same - she has zero interest in making a big brouhaha over her birthday either) - I can't relate. At all.

I LOVE it when it's my birthday. I really, really do. I always feel special. To me, it's almost as if the world should stop for a second and acknowledge my special day. Which sounds egotistical, selfish and ridiculous all at the same time. But it's how I feel. I walk around all day feeling on cloud 9, and by that evening, I'm already starting to mourn the fact that I'll have to wait a whole year until it comes around again.

Last year, my dear friend, Jen threw a birthday lunch for me with some other mums from school. She may as well have given me the crown jewels; I was so excited. And thankful. I sat at the head of the table and relished in the fact that people were there to wish me well. And that Jen had gone to so much trouble to make a meal in my honour. I felt blessed.

I wonder if my Mum has anything to do with this? Growing up, she always made a huge deal over my birthday. Pressies, a lovely cake she expertly decorated herself, a party... the WHOLE bit. I wonder if that's why I love my birthday so much?

Admittedly, turning 40 this year is not as exciting for me as it was when I turned 3o, but I'm still looking forward to it. I want a party. I joked the other day with friends about getting Hubby to organise a big bash at The Ivy or something. But truthfully, I'm not interesting is anything too fancy schmancy. Nothing flash. Just a bunch of friends in my backyard, some good music, good champagne and maybe some 70s-themed party food (think: toothpicks with cubed cheese, pickled onions and gherkins); because I was born in the 70s, of course.

And, yes - it freaks me out a little that the next big birthday after my 40th will be my 50th (gag!), but really, what am I'm going to do about it? It's not like I can turn the clock back, and stop it. I'm not going to get any younger, not even if I DID choose to go under the knife or try out a bit of botox. I've always believed you may as well embrace your age. Because one day, as hard as it is to think about sometimes, you'll be 80 (God willing) and then you'll wish you were 40.

How about you? Do you worry about getting older? Do you like celebrating your birthday?

Until next time...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The First Day of School

My two big boys head back to school tomorrow. I don't know about them, but I'm pretty excited! But just 3 years ago, when my now 7 year old started Kindy, it was quite a different story.

I was nervous. VERY much so. I had the same "first day butterflies" I recall having when I was a kid. The 7yr old was pretty excited. Not overtly. He wasn't jumping around saying, "Can we go now? Can we go now?" But I could tell he was curious and wanted to get there.

Not only was I nervous about how he would feel, but I also had concerns as to how I would get him there on time. My third son was only a month old, and my second was not even 3. But fortunately, I had my sister on hand to help out. She'd come to visit (from Perth) to meet her new nephew, and it was she who amused my now 5 yr old and held my now 3 yr old in her arms as I ran around making sure everything was perfect for the 7yr old's big day.

And she took photos. I can't tell you how happy I am to this day, that we have a lovely family shot of that special day. (And she did it all over again when the 5yr old had his first day of school.)

My sister also stayed with the youngest boys, so that Hubby and I could walk our 7yr old to school that day. On our arrival, we all gathered in the school's undercroft. It was noisy with excited (read "nervous") parents just like Hubby and I. Some kids were running around. Others held on tightly to their mother's hands. And some were crying. (Mind you, some of the tears were those of parents.)

At one point, I kneeled down in front of my son, placed my hands on either side of his shoulders and said, "Honey. Look at Mummy now and really, really listen." Dutifully, his big brown eyes looked in to mine. All wide-eyed and innocent. I felt a lump form at the back of my throat, and I blinked back tears as I said, "Remember today. It's a very, very big day for you. I want you to try and remember everything. Ok?" He nodded. "Ok," he replied. "I love you," I said, and took a deep breath to stop the tears that threatened to surface again.

A hush fell over the crowd as the first Kindy teacher stepped forward to read out her list of names. She asked that those called, come forward and line up in front of her. I held my breath.

She read out my son's name. The first Kindy child of 2007.

A smattering of applause and a cheer went up as my son, without so much as a hug or wave (we'd already said our goodbyes, as I had anticipated this), walked quickly to take his position. He sat down in front of his new teacher. My dear friend, Jen, her first son also starting Kindy on this day, turned around to me, and by then I could no longer hold my tears back. She smiled in sympathy, and said, "Oh stop!" as tears welled up in her eyes too.

I glanced at Hubby. He looked on proudly. Then I heard my son's teacher say, "Actually dear, I think you can stand up." Straight away, my son went to rise to his feet. But the heavy school bag, laden with new books, crayons and his morning tea made it difficult, and he struggled to get up. Everyone, including me, couldn't help but giggle at the cuteness of it. The 7yr old was oblivious. He was in the moment. And it's a moment I'll never forget.

When my second son started Kindy, just last year, I was a little less anxious. But it didn't stop the tears of pride rising to the surface again. It did make me think, however, about my first day of school.

Whilst my short term and medium term memory is a little dodgy (do you think, with my youngest being 3, I can still blame it on 'baby brain'?) I do, however, remember my first day of "big school".

I remember bugging Mum constantly at home that morning, asking repeatedly, "When is it going to be time to go?" I recall walking in to my classroom for the first time and meeting my first classmate - Catherine Rule - and sitting next to her at my wooden desk (which had a flip top lid and an ink well to boot)! Later, I remember sitting on the mat at the front of the classroom, and my teacher telling us about something (that part I can't remember - typical) and asking us a question. I immediately raised my hand, and my teacher looking very pleased, probably because someone was so eager on their first day. She said, "Yes! Jodie, isn't it? Do you have the answer?" I replied, "Can I go to the toilet, please?"

No, it's not quite what we imagine, is it? It's the really big issues our Kindy children are interested in. If you're a first time big school parent, some of the questions I think you can expect to be asked the first couple of weeks, as I was when my 7yr old and my 5yr old started Kindy, are: "Why do we have to go to school every day?" and "How come there aren't any toys there?" and, my personal favourite that my 7yr old asked in his first week, "How come I can't take my shoes off at school?"

Before you know it, the "smaller" issues of reading, writing and counting will become dinnertime conversation, rather than the remarks of disappointment at not being in the same House Colour as their favourite colour.

Deep breath. Let the fun begin and enjoy. School is in! (Thinking of you, Thea. x and Good Luck, Jen! x)

Until next time...

Monday, January 25, 2010

The 3yr Old Daredevil

My 3 year old is a bit of a daredevil. I guess because he's the third child, a boy and just a little monkey in general. And it's not something I'm relishing in!

From fairly early on, we knew that the 3yr old was going to be more challenging. He just got up to a whole lot more than his big brothers ever did, and he always pushed the boundaries from the get go.

When he was barely 1, Hubby discovered the 3yr old had chipped his front tooth. (That's right. Hubby made this all important discovery. Even though it was I who was spending 24/7 with him - I hadn't even noticed.) There was no particular incident that came to us when wondering how on earth he had done it. Except maybe the pebbles in the backyard. Is it possible he'd bitten down on one and chipped his tooth? Or was it caused by throwing himself down the slide, head first, on to the concrete? (Which his brothers had helped him move there. Thanks guys.)

And then about a year later, when I was tickling him on the couch one afternoon, his head thrown back and his mouth open wide with laughter, I spotted the other front tooth was also chipped. Once again, we could recall no particular incident for it's cause. And who knows how long it had been like that?

Then there was the time he climbed his stroller, stood on it, facing backwards, and pushed on it, causing it to fall backwards. His face hit the ground hard, and his top teeth punctured the inside of his lower mouth, just below his bottom lip. The gash was so large, I rushed him to the hospital. (And I'm not someone who heads to the hospital at the drop of a hat. It has to be deemed serious.) But nothing was done, as the doctor who looked at his mouth in the local hospital's Emergency Department assured me the mouth always heals well, and unless it's flapping about in there, they do nothing. (And it did heal well. And with amazing speed.)

And then late last year, on one Sunday evening, the 3yr old was standing near the table, eating his yoghurt for dessert, and them the next instant he was on the ground, crying and bleeding. When I picked him up, I noticed his left cheek had a huge, deep cut just under his eye. I immediately thought, 'Stitches!' followed by, 'How on earth did he do that?'

The foldout clothes airer was right next to where he'd fallen. It seems he had sliced up his cheek on a sharp edge. (Oh, yes - that's right! No one actually witnessed this incident. Not 1 person out of 4 of us!)

After a 4 hour wait at emergency that night, only to be sent home and asked to come back the next morning, he was knocked out on the operating table the next day with some gas, and had 4-5 stitches put in. He was incredibly brave though. And now we play the waiting game to see how it will heal. (A plastic surgeon performed the surgery - so fingers crossed!)

So you're probably thinking that at least that time he wasn't pulling some stunt..but here's the thing. How on earth did he fall when standing, eating his yoghurt? I have a theory for you: he was standing on one leg. I'm quite convinced of it. I've witnessed it before. He can't do anything without testing the boundaries.

And now his latest challenge is the local park's "spider web".

It's high, which you can't tell from the above picture. But let me assure you, it is. And when he recently decided he wanted to climb it, I was quite certain he wouldn't be able to even get off the ground. But nope, not this little guy. He was up and following the 5yr old, who kindly planned his every move for him and encouraged him all the way, until he got to the first level.

And then the next.

Until he was RIGHT near the top! I can't tell you how much my heart was pounding watching him. And much has been written lately about "helicopter parents" (who hover over their children) and I really don't want to be one of those. So I stood back as much as possible, fists clenched with uncertainty. And I can't tell you how keen I was for him to COME DOWN!

And so, I now live in fear of the local park. I'm avoiding it. Because I know the 3 year old has the climbing bug. Big time. And I'm concerned, if we go there, and going on past experiences, that it may end up with a trip to the hospital. Again.

Wish me luck, people.

Until next time...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Climb Under My Wing

It recently occurred to me that perhaps, being the age I am (fast approaching 40) and with 3 young boys, that perhaps I've become some sort of example for the younger folk that surround me.

In my second ever job, as a receptionist for a real estate company, I worked with all women in the property management department. I was 18 years old when I started, and the youngest by far. I suppose, some girls may have found that boring, but not me. I found the lives of the other 5 women I worked with fascinating. (And I'd be lying if I said that the attention they gave me, being the 'baby' of the group, wasn't welcomed.) All except one had children, and watching them make decisions in their day to day life taught me a lot. (Both what I wanted from my own life, and how I wanted to live it; and on the flip side of that, what I didn't want from my own life, and how I didn't want to live it - but I'll post more on that another time.)

And I felt protected by them. At work, they were like surrogate mums to me. They cared for me, watched over me, gave me advice, support and encouragement. It was both little things (like one who had the most beautiful hands - she put sunscreen on them every day - I so WISH I had done that - too lazy!) as well as the big things (like the importance of choosing the right partner in life).

Looking back, I was very lucky to have them. The late teens and early 20s can be a difficult time in a young woman's life - searching for who you are, who you want to be with - both relationship and friendship wise. These women witnessed my crushes and eventual start of my relationship with my Hubby. They witnessed all of my ups and downs, and I opened up to them. Most of them anyway.

In particular, there were two women I mostly gelled with and looked up to with much admiration. I still do. I haven't seen them in a long time, but still exchange Christmas cards with one, but their effect on who I am today has been noteworthy.

And then fairly recently, a young girl I know in her 20s asked me about my relationship with Hubby. She just wondered how I knew he was "the one".

I felt very honoured that she had thought to ask me this question. In a relationship herself for some time, she wanted to be certain she was on the right track in terms of how she felt about her boyfriend. And I felt a great responsibility to provide her with the most honest, heartfelt response I could. And I hope that I helped her with that.

And it later dawned on me that I have now become like the women that I worked with all those years ago. The older, more life experienced woman that perhaps the younger generation may look to from time to time for answers.

I'm not sure I'll always have all those answers, but I'll certainly try to help as much as I can. I just hope that I can provide them with as much support as my ex-work colleagues did for me.

How about you? Did you have certain women/men you looked up to when you were in your 20s? Do you now have younger women/men who look to you for advice (other than your kids, of course)? Or, if you're in your 20s, do you have someone you look to for answers to your own questions?

Until next time...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Oh, How Embarrassing!

I've been known to embarrass myself. More than once. In fact, I'm quite good at it. (Finally! Something I excel at.) But there is one particular time that stands out for me.

I mean, yes, there was the time I bought a deodorant, which I told EVERYONE about because I just LOVED it so much - and it turned out to be an intimate hygiene product (read about that here). Then there was the time I felt particularly honoured when asked to present a speech about my Year 12 Coordinator in high school, on the eve of my Year 12 Graduation ceremony. And then, part way through the speech, I went blank. Blankety-blank. Nothin'. And I'd just received the Speech & Drama Award for Year 12. It's a wonder they didn't swipe it off me as I exited the building. (And no, of course I didn't tell you that story just so you'd know I had received an award. It was purely to make a point about my level of embarrassment. Oh alright. Maaaaybe I wanted you to know just a little bit that I'd ONCE received an award. Well, that one, and the Junior Citizen of the Year award I ALSO won on that night. Just sayin'.)

Aaaaanway. Back to my MOST embarrassing story EVER....

I shared the following with my sons' school when addressing NAPLAN testing in the school newsletter last year. Here's what I wrote:
On my second day in Mr Holbrook's Year 9 Science class, my new teacher announced he would be asking us some questions from the pages of our text book he'd asked us to read the night before. Immediately, I went in to a semi-panic. 'What if he asks me?' I thought. 'What if I don't know the answer?' and then, 'In fact, did I actually finish the reading before Sons & Daughter's started?...Gosh, I wonder what that Pat the Rat is up to this time?...'

Suddenly, I heard a muffled voice which interrupted my thoughts and I realised Mr Holbrook had just asked me a question and was looking at me, waiting for my answer. As were the 29 other kids in my class. Too embarrassed to admit I hadn't been listening, I stammered in reply, "Umm, I, ah, I-I'm sorry. I don't know the answer to that." Everyone in the class started to giggle, and Mr Holbrook had a mixture of confusion and annoyance displayed on his face. Before I could work out what on earth was going on, he said to me in a very slow, purposeful way, "I asked you...your name."
How about you? Anything truly embarrassing happened to you that you want to share?

Oh, and for those young readers or overseas readers that have NO IDEA what Sons & Daughters is...you can read about it here.

Until next time...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tagged: 10 Things I Don't Have The Guts To Do

The incredibly lovely Ami over at Puff Pieces has kindly tagged me to post about 10 thing I just don't have the guts to do....

I was also tagged by Nomie at Under the Yardarm, Thea at Do I Really Wanna Blog? and Megan at Writing Out Loud I reckon this is going to be easy-peasy. I'm quite the scaredy cat, and not daring AT ALL.

So, here's my list:

1. Bungee jump - There is no way IN THE WORLD I would bungee jump. The thought of diving off something, with only a rope attached to my feet (that has been attached to me by a total stranger who doesn't really give two hoots about my welfare) scares me silly.

2. Skydive - Same as above. Jump out of a plane? BAH! You have got to be kiddin' me.

3. Go on a really scary ride - Nup. I was the girl at the Royal Show in Perth each year that could be found on the Tunnel of Love. Or the merry-go-round. Or, if I was feeling particularly daring, the Ferris wheel (but no one was allowed to MOVE - and I HAD to sit in the middle). I got better with age, but you still won't find me on anything particularly frightening.

4. Drive over 120kms per hour - That's probably the fastest I've ever driven. And it was in Italy, where every second car was an Audi and was zooming past me. I'd never make a good racing car driver.

5. Bake and decorate a cake for my sons' birthday - I know. It's not exactly earth shattering stuff, but I just have this fear of doing it. I've convinced myself I can't make anything worthy. And that my son(s) will take one look at it and say, "Oh MUM! Why did you make that?" Funny, because my Mum was a cake decorating goddess. You would have thought it may have rubbed off on me. Worse: I may make it, not like what I've done (and being a Virgo, I have a particular need to GET. IT. RIGHT.) and will then lament over the fact that I have just wasted my precious time. That's right. You can find me at Michel's or The Cheesecake Shop when it's birthday time... However - I did make a pretty good Gingerbread House at Christmas time that the kids LOVED, so...maybe...

6. Tell some people what I really think - There are some people in my life I'd like to speak my mind to, but I hold back. I mean, I'm not someone who is afraid of confrontation or expressing their opinion, but I think of the consequences and just don't go there. Then I bitch about it to my husband. Oh, what? No, no. With Hubby, I have NO problem telling him what I really think! (hahaha)

7. Scuba Dive - Hubby has done scuba diving, so wouldn't it be lovely if we could do it together? But no way, Jose. The ocean freaks me out! Even when I've gone snorkeling in the past, I've started off ok, and then within ten minutes I start imagining a shark or sea snake is lurking around me, and I'm out of the ocean before you can say "JAWS!".

8. Write completely openly - Some people have no problem detailing everything about themselves. Their strengths, weaknesses, their sex life... I mean, I read a lot of very, personal information in some of the biographies I read. But nup. Not me. I'm fairly open, but there are just some things I couldn't write about. But I also think this is kind of ok. Only do what's comfortable, I always say...

9. Cut my children's hair - I did try it once. D.I.S.A.S.T.E.R! I cut my 7yr old's hair when he was around 18 months. Seriously, it looked like I'd put a bowl on his head and just cut around it. There were even comparisons to the ex-Prime Minister of New Zealand - Helen Clark (see this). Hubby was not impressed.

10. Pick up bugs - SPIDERS would be on the top of my list, closely followed by pretty much everything else. HOWEVER - I recently did allow my friend's little girl to put a green insect thingy on my hand, but after a few minutes I had to get it off. It was moving around and the sensation was freaking me out!

So, there you go. I could probably go on, but I won't bore you.

If you're reading this, and you haven't done it yet - feel free to join in and consider yourself tagged!

Until next time...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Celebrate!...Ah, A Little Late...

Guess what? I stuffed up. BIG time. I, like, TOTALLY missed the fact that I reached 100 posts the other day.

Yep - can you believe it? I had no idea. Well, I did, but I just wasn't observant enough to notice in time. These things just have a way of catching up with you, don't they? Like wrinkles. One minute, you can count them, because there just aren't many there..next thing, you look in the mirror and BLIMEY - it's like a road system on your face. *sigh*

I wrote my first official post on 7 October 2009 (you can read that here if you like). So, just over 3 months ago. It was sort of nerve-wracking. Hitting that "publish" button for the first time stirred up all sorts of strange feelings in my tummy (unless, of course, it was the chicken I ate that day. Hmm). But I just wanted to do something for me. I like writing, as I discovered last year when I took on writing a page (or two) on behalf of the school's P&F in the school newsletter each week. When I took that on, I immediately knew I didn't want to just churn out information. I'm not good at reading information myself. There has to be a story there of some sort, otherwise, my mind wanders and next thing, I've completely missed the point being made and I have to start reading it ALL over again.

What was my point?

Oh yeah - writing. So, with the newsletter I delivered information mixed with stories. For example, if I had to tell parents about a maintenance day coming up, I also told a story about my husband's obsession with Bunnings to tie it in with. I received a great response, and a friend from school said her Hubby thought I should start a blog. I'd heard of them, but didn't really know what they were, so I checked out Mia Freedman's Mamamia and...well, here I am...

I love it. It's a great way to express myself. Share. And it's something for me; this little blog. For almost 8 years all I've done is care for my kids, my husband and the house. Not that I don't like doing that. I DO. Absolutely. 150%. I've said it before: it's my dream "job". But I needed something for me. And both this blog and Twitter have given me an outlet to express myself, be a little creative (I mean, look how pretty my blog is, will you? Ha ha!) and, of course, meet all you lot. I can't tell you how great and fulfilling it is when I see comments coming through on my email that you have taken the time to leave. It's nice to know ya'll care.

Now, I'm afraid I have no giveaway or anything to help celebrate this occasion. For various reasons, being:

a. Like I said above, this thing caught up with me;
b. I'm too lazy to actually go out and BUY something, let alone post it. (Just ask my family. My mother waited a whole school term, and more, to get a copy of the school newsletters from me!); and
c. I'm cheap. (Not in a sleazy sense, a monetary one, of course.)

Ok, so point 3 is just silly. Of COURSE I'm not cheap. I paid a whopping $12 per annum just to have a simple comments systems installed for you! *Ahem*

But, anyway, celebrate with me as I acknowledge my, ah, 104th post. Have yourself a glass of vino tonight or...what the hell...make a Margarita, and say a cheers for me, won't you?

Thanks for reading. Hope you'll continue to do so.

Until next time...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

10 Years Today

Today Hubby and I celebrate 10 years of marriage. Ten whole years. I can hardly believe it.

When we met, all the way back in 1992, I was 22 and Hubby was 20 (and a month away from his 21st birthday). We were both actively not looking for a relationship. But you know what they say...when you least expect it, that's when you'll find love.

I hadn't had many relationships by the time I started dating Hubby. But the ones I had, had not ran particularly smoothly. In my mind, I knew what I wanted from a life partner. I knew what sort of relationship I wanted. What sort of person I hoped my future husband would be. But the guys I was interested in and/or dated either didn't cut it, or it just didn't work out for whatever reason. And by the time I met Hubby, I had quite convinced myself that perhaps, in fact, the relationship I hoped for didn't actually exist. Perhaps I was being too fussy? Perhaps I needed to make a shift with my expectations?

And then I had that moment where I realised that Hubby was IT. And when we finally did get together (in February 1993), it was all I had imagined, hoped for and more.

Just one month shy of celebrating 7 years together, we married on 16 January 2000. It was a small, intimate ceremony with only our immediate family and close friends. It was low key. Married in our local Catholic parish, photos taken by a couple of friends, and a celebration afterwards; held in the backyard of a relative's home. We had finger food supplied by our favourite local Thai restaurant. There was champagne. No wedding cake. And Hubby was the only one who made a speech (which we "wrote" about 10 minutes before he delivered it).

We really just wanted it to be about us. Not about doves being released or laser shows on our arrival at the reception. Just celebrating how we felt in the presence of those who meant the most to us. A party. It was perfect. (Well, except for the waitress who couldn't balance a tray of drinks, which she dropped. Twice. Bah! Cest la vie...)

He is, without doubt, my bestfriend. There is no one I trust more than him. And yes, we've had our not-so-great moments in our marriage, and our relationship has been tested at times. (Who doesn't experience that in a relationship?) And, indeedy, it is true that he buys far too many bikes (even Lance Armstrong would be jealous) and not nearly enough bling for me (however, he does have until midnight tonight to rectify that situation - read my post here on that which I wrote the other day).

But at the end of the day, there's no one else I want to see first thing in the morning (except, of course, my kids - although after 7am would be nice); or say goodnight to at the end of the day. (Ok, perhaps with the exception of Henry Cavill - but I'm saving him for my next life. ;) )

No. I'm one lucky woman. (And yeah - he's one lucky guy.) We're the perfect fit, even when things aren't so perfect.

I've got myself a keeper, people.

Happy Anniversary Hubby. As our boys would say - I love you all the way to the moon, and back again. Here's to at least 10 more years! (With or without bling.)

Until next time...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Girl With an Agenda

I bumped in to a friend today at the local Coles. Actually, no. Scrap that. She's not really a 'friend'. More a past acquaintance. A friend of a friend at best.

I met her through my friend, Rachel*. Right from the start I found her unusual. She never seemed a very genuine person. It seems, with whatever she had to say, there was some hidden agenda behind it.

She eventually dated my ex-boyfriend. Now you could be forgiven for thinking I was bitter about that, hence my impression of her. But no. That wasn't the case at all. By the time they got together...in fact - some time even before that - I was very much over my ex. Very much. I had more than moved on. Our relationship had never really been very good (you can read more about it here), so it was a relief more than anything when it ended.

But I have a feeling she didn't think so.

The ex and I still socialised, because his friends were my friends and vice versa. And neither of us wanted to give that up. And so, one night, I found myself at a bar with some friends, including my ex, Jeff and his girlfriend - my 'friend'.

She approached me. We made small talk for about five minutes, before she suddenly said, "Things are going really well with Jeff* and I." "Hmm," I responded, not really listening. I didn't feel comfortable around her, and I was looking for an excuse to leave her side. And then she said, "The sex is really good. He says it's great." I stopped. For a second, I thought perhaps she felt comfortable enough with me or something to confide in me. And then I looked at her face. She was smirking. She thought, I'm quite certain, that she was ruffling my feathers. And in a way, she was. But not how she intended. It was at that moment I realised something about her: she was insecure, and was trying to make herself feel better about herself, by attempting to insult me. To be honest, I think she felt threatened by me. And in a way, yes, I can see how she might be uncomfortable about an ex-girlfriend hanging around. But did that make it ok for her to attempt to put me down?

And it wasn't just me who experienced her remarks, underlined with spite. She was like this with many. She was just one of those people who took pleasure in making people feel bad. It made her feel better to see others in pain. Unfortunately people like her exist. And they're toxic.

Years later, she moved to Sydney, but I never caught up with her. Rachel would visit me, and then visit her, but we never made plans together. Until Rachel also moved to Sydney for a while. Then she organised a dinner. By then we were all married with children and much time had passed. I thought it perhaps possible that she would be different. Less uptight. Happier. More secure.

I was wrong.

It wasn't long before she was making the same sort of comments she always had. Slightly snide remarks that, perhaps to the 'untrained' ear could be construed as innocent. This time, it was her remark about birth. She'd had a cesarean and made a comment about it being a "safer birth option than a natural birth." She then said, "At least I won't have incontinence issues when I'm older." And then came the smirk. She knew both Rachel and I had had 'natural' births.

I'm not sure why she felt she had to justify her cesarean, but it's obvious to me that she did. I don't get when people do that. It wasn't a choice for her in the end anyway, and even if it had been - whatever. It's her body. Her choice. But it was obvious that she felt some need to "justify" it. And the only way she could do that, in her mind, was to put the rest of us down in some way in order to do so.

So when I ran in her today, I made a point of being nice. Asking after her family. Asking if she'd spoken to Rachel lately. I kept it light. Get in, get out - that was my aim. We were saying our goodbyes when she suddenly brought up that she had visitors coming. I made the passing comment in sympathy that it's a lot of extra work at times. And then she said, "Oh, well we have a granny flat. They stay in there. We hear nothing. It's right past the pool, so it's great."

Now to most, that's just a comment that's nothing out of the ordinary. But not from this girl. I knew what she was trying to say to me: "I really am doing well. Look at me! A house. A granny flat. A pool! I'm doing ok!"

You know what? I felt sorry for her. It was as if, in the short conversation we had today, she had to find some other way to prove to me (but really, to herself) that she was worthy.

If I didn't find her so frustratingly difficult, I'd almost want to help her. Better things to do with my time, I'm afraid. But one thing I know for sure: she hasn't changed, and quite frankly, it's not my problem.

Ever had someone in your life like this? What did you do? How did you deal with it?

Until next time...

* Names have been changed.