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 Mummy Mayhem is no longer updated.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

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Night Time Nappy

Last year I set about toilet training the 4yr old. 

A lot of people find toilet training tough work. It's not easy, but it can be a far simpler process if you take your time with it. Trying to get a child to forego nappies before they're ready means more accidents, more frustration and more tears (most of them coming from you). That's my humble opinion anyway. (There's a great little video on toilet training that I was involved in over at Kleenex Mums. You can watch stories from 'the inhabitants', on the 'survival' and 'escape' from 'Poo Poo Island'. Fun stuff!)

Anyway, I waited until all my boys were three before I even thought about toilet training, and that worked pretty well for me (and the kids).

It was exciting when the 4yr old finally 'got it'. After more than eight years of daily nappy changes, I finally waved goodbye to them. Except for the night nappy, that is.

Kids almost always take longer to train at night. It's not unusual for kids to be five or six before they're consistently dry in the morning. Some are older than that. Each child is different.

With the night time nappy, I've always moved on to pull-ups. That way, as soon as they get up in the morning, they can easily go to the toilet as if they had underwear on, and I would re-use a dry Pull-up a second night before binning it. After all, they've only worn it for less than 12 hours, so why not? And the 4yr old seemed to be going well. We were getting dry pull-ups regularly.

Then the cooler weather set in.

This week, I've changed his sheets three times already, caused by a leaking pull-up (and no doubt a chill because he keeps kicking his doona off), and it's now I have to resign myself to going back to nappies at night for the time being. I just can't afford to be washing sheets and pyjamas every day, as well as trying to shower my son in the darkness of the early hours of the morning. (He refuses to let me put the light on, because his 'eyes hurt'! Sigh.)

Not that nappies will affect me directly. It's not extra work for me. It's more about 'going backwards'. No one likes to go backwards when teaching their children anything. I think that's partly because we settle in to a new routine; a new way of doing things, and partly because once you've leapt over a set of hurdles and ran over the finishing line, you don't want to go back and run the race all over again.

Yet, I know, it won't last forever and it's not the end of the world. He is, after all, only four.

Going with the (wee wee) flow. That's all I can do.

Have you toilet trained your kids? How old were they when they came out of a night nappy? Did you use pull-ups of nappies?

 




Image: We Heart It

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Great Outdoors...Ugh.

I loved caravanning as a kid. 

Loved everything about it: sleeping in a bed with curtains for a door; sliding into the bench seats around the table; hearing the exaggerated sound of rain on the roof.

Camping, however, well...that's another thing.

When my husband first took the 9yr old and 7yr old for a one-nighter a couple of years ago, I was all for getting the Taj Mahal of tents, in light of the fact it seemed only logical that the 4yr old and I would join in the 'fun' later, and why waste money on something that wasn't going to go the distance?

Hubby was dubious at the time. "You won't want to go camping," he accused. "Yes I will!" I protested, probably sounding a little more convinced of the fact than what I actually was. I started ticking off my fingers, "Firstly, there was the time I camped at Margaret River when I was 17, and...well...I camped there for a WHOLE week!" Hubby just shook his head in dismay.

Still, he went off and purchased the three room tent I requested, and I, in turn, promised that the 4yr old and I would eventually join him and our brood in their great outdoor adventures.

However, as time went on, and the suggestion of said camping trip started to look like becoming a reality, I felt even more hesitant. I liken it to looking back on what I thought parenthood would be like before my children were born. (Need I say more?) Hence, my concern about the camping thing. I felt quite certain it wasn't going to be how I imagined it: lazing in my camping chair, reading a good book whilst my children frolicked and played around me. Picking flowers to place in my hair. Hubby catching our dinner from the nearby waters that he would later cook over an open fire he had built from scratch earlier.  

Pffft. 

I had managed to avoid that promised camping trip up until last weekend, when Hubby and I, the kids and the dog (not in my original daydream) all set off on a short camping expedition up to the central coast.

Before we left, there was the overly ambitious attempt to fit our Taj Mahal tent, camping chairs, esky, clothes, sleeping bags, gas burner, picnic table, the fishing rods, inflatable mattresses, five pillows, the dog, and more, in to our car. (Oh, and the kids.) To say we were cramped - even in my four-wheel drive* - wouldn't be underplaying it.

Then came the car trip from hell. There was the random rolling of a car tyre across the road at full speed towards us on the highway (Hubby managed to swerve and it only hit our back left tyre - we couldn't work out where it came from). Having to stop after the first twenty minutes because the dog started hyperventilating in the back (probably smothered by all the pillows, no doubt). Then there was the one hour crawl in bumper-to-bumper traffic, caused by a truck losing it's load on the F3 - all through the incessant rain.

Fortunately, on arrival, a break in the weather allowed Hubby and I to erect the tent without getting wet. (Small blessings and all that.) Which meant we had time to go fishing. You know, for that dinner I had imagined.

Now, that was kinda fun to begin with. We even caught some fish. Four of them, in fact. However, not even all four together would have made a substantial meal for the 4yr old alone, so sadly, they were sent back to their watery home. Then the dog ate some of the bait, we lost our tea towel to the murky waters and the 9yr old managed to get the hook from his fishing rod lodged in to his thumb. (This did not go down well.  Believe me.) He survived.

There was no fish for dinner, however there was the culinary delight of baked beans, sausages and buns - most of which the dog greedily consumed.

Post-dinner with three overly tired children, and two rather exhausted parents, it was no surprise a shouting match between all ensued at one point. (Lots of 'GO TO BED! It's LATE!' But hey - at least we no doubt entertained the rest of the holiday-makers.)

Having (naively) anticipated tired, sleepy children and a full evening ahead without computers and/or televisions, I had packed two books - neither of which I could read because the lighting was so bad from the camp lanterns. Sigh. With the rain persisting, the possibility of sitting out in front of a fire chatting to Hubby or the like went, well, up in flames, and so I retired early after taking to Twitter briefly (you don't think I'd travel without my iPhone, now do you?) with boredom being the overriding factor for my early night.

During the night, there was the obligatory toilet visit to be made, which involved the unsuccessful attempt at quietly unzipping, zipping, unzipping then zipping two layers of tent doors without waking anyone; repeating the process on my return after traipsing through the dark in drizzling rain to the closest amenities block - watching out for bats, snakes, spiders and anything creepy, flappy and/or crawly as I went. Interesting.

And may I say, that if you think having a 4yr old squeeze in to your side of the bed in the mornings is uncomfortable, try doing that in a sleeping bag.

We managed a fairly incident-free, if not slightly dull, breakfast (Vegemite on bread rolls) before packing up the damp tent and making our way home. The return journey, thankfully, far less drama-filled, and much quicker. (Except for the dog puking just prior to our departure. Still - better that he holding it in until he was in the car, right?)

Just as I thought: camping's not really for me. Give me a 5-star hotel...hell, give me a 3-star one any day, and I'm there.

But the kids? Loved it. LOVED it. No doubt, there will be a repeat performance for this family.

God help me.

Do you go camping? Did you go camping as a kid? Do you like it? Love it? HATE it? What's your ideal family holiday?









* But please note I'm not one of those rude, terrible 4-wheel-driving Mums you see on the road near your local school. Honest!


Image: We Heart It

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Dance of Revenge - Chapter Sixteen

A day late, but here it is...the latest instalment of The Dance of Revenge...

Once again, my apologies for this post coming a little late this week - especially after a WHOLE week's break! Tsk. 

I can't believe we're already up to Chapter Sixteen.

If you need a reminder of what happened in the last chapter, go to Chapter Fifteen and have a quick read. (Personally, I think the shark attack scene in the last instalment was some of my 14 year old self's best work. Cough.)

If you're just joining in now, and a new follower (hello!), and you have no idea what I'm going on about, this is the book I started writing at age 14. I've decided to (somewhat bravely or stupidly, I can't decide which) post it here. All the links to the story so far can be found on the RHS of my homepage in the sidebar. Just scroll down until you find the pink ballet slippers (natch).

Now, before I push on, I have some news about Dance

This is the last chapter. 

Yup. After this week, my manuscript is fini. Done. Over. (It rather took me by surprise when I discovered this - I knew it was close to the end, but not this close.) I never picked up my typewriter and wrote another scene, or even a measly sentence of this story. I'd like to think I got busy with my school work, but I'm going to take a bet and say I doubt that was the case. I probably just got distracted with another interest - like a boy or something. Who knows? I was fickle back then. ;)

But now I'm betting you're wondering what would have happened to Louina, right? (At least, I hope you are, and you're not all, "Oh, thank goodness this shite story is OVER!") 

Well, I have a plan. Next week, I'm going to post a wrap up of the storyline, so you can find out what I had planned for the book. A few have suggested I just continue to write the story from here, but honestly, there are so many gaps in the (rather dodgy) storyline, I'm quite certain I couldn't fill them all. Besides, I very much doubt my fictional writing has improved considerably since I was 14. (How embarrassing.) 

In any case, here's the final chapter for Dance, and please...stay tuned next week when I reveal Sherrie/Louina's fate. (Because like, you know, I doubt you have ANY idea what's about to happen. Ahem.)

Enjoy. 

THE DANCE OF REVENGE
Chapter Sixteen

THE next day Louina awoke fairly early and headed straight to her exercise class. She then had a bit to eat with Marianna. Everyday she felt closer to this woman and she felt Marianna felt the same. [Do you think that’s really how she really ‘felt’?] The day went relatively quickly, mainly because it was the day before her first operation. Louina’s stomach filled with nervousness and anxiety. Her mouth became very dry and she drank many glasses of water. [It’s the finer details that make this story so interesting, isn’t it?]

Marianna joined her for dinner in her room at about six o’clock. They ate chicken and salad. Louina picked at her food and hastily pushed it around her plate. Marianna frowned at her.

“Please Louina, eat your food, you will feel sick if you don’t. Won’t you try to eat at least some of your salad?” Louina looked desperately at Marianna.

“My nervousness is putting off my feel for hunger. [Huh?] I’m sorry, Marianna. I feel ill, maybe I will sleep for a while.”

“No, no, no little one. If you sleep now, you will awake early, very early and you will not be able to sleep any more and that will make you feel exhausted. Let’s just act as though it is a normal night alright?”

Louina nodded slowly and Marianna smiled. Louina smiled back. She was glad of the woman’s company. It made her feel happy. She knew that Marianna felt like the mother she had never had. [She just knew, ok?] The mother who cared, the mother who didn’t leave you to die, or to think of your feelings. [Ok, I totally don’t get the last part of that sentence: ‘or to think of your feelings’.]

Louina sighed. Lately she had been dreaming about her mother. What was she doing now? Sleeping with Adam? [I don’t think I meant ‘sleeping’ in the true sense of the word, you know? Wink.] More than likely she was. If he had never come along, maybe her mother would have kept on caring, loving her. Maybe now she would still be doing her ballet and living in happiness. But she wasn’t, not really. [‘Living in happiness’, that is. It’s pretty obvious she’s not doing ballet lessons.] Revenge had taken over her thoughts. She still hadn’t thought of a way to get back at her mother and Mr Brair.

Marianna suddenly interrupted her thoughts asking if she wanted to play chess.

Oui, I would like that,” Louina replied. “I shall beat you though Marianna.” Her smile was playful and daring.

Oui? Maybe you think you will, but you are looking at the champion of Silk Palace!”

Silk Palace?”

“Our home ma cherie.” Louina laughed. She felt happy that Marianna had said our instead of mine. [Although, presumably, she would have said ‘my’ instead of ‘Mine home, ma cherie.’ Oui?]

“Of course,” she replied. “I should of [‘have’ – the same thing I’m correcting in the 9yo’s writing!] realised that.”

The next hour was spent playing chess. Louina let out a squeal of delight. [Is chess really that exciting?]

“I won!” she exclaimed. [Oh, ok.] “I am now the champion, no?” Marianna laughed heartily.

Oui, madamemoiselle. I believe that is correct. Indeed you are! For now. Wait until you play my husband. He will surely beat you. He is a wonderful player.” She smiled.

“Better than you?” Louina asked slyly.

“Well…” They laughed and joked and then decided to turn in for the day. It had been a joyful night. [‘Joyful’, eh?]

“Now I shall be left to think of my operation,” Louina said sadly.

“Would you like me to stay with you Louina?”

“Oh no Marianna. I will be alright. You go to your own room and rest. I will see you tomorrow.”

Marianna walked slowly over to the door.

“Alright, ma chere. If that is what you want. See you tomorrow then.”

“Goodnight, Marianna.”

“Goodnight Louina, god bless.” She was gone.

Louina looked at her bed. She wasn’t very tired. Suddenly a thought struck her. Maybe it would be better to practice her dance for a moment. It would be good to do some of her ballet again. It had been some time since she had the feel of the floor beneath her feet. [In a dancing sense, that is. I imagine her feet are hitting the floor whilst walking and the like.]

Louina walked over to her door and locked it. Then she made sure that the curtains were securely closed and that her windows were shut.

After doing all these things she checked her radio and found a classical station. Luckily she found some ballet music and then she began. [‘Ballet music’ – because apart from Swan Lake, I couldn’t have named a ballet piece. ;) ]

At first her steps were shaky but soon her feet took over and she was dancing like a perfectionist. Her leaps and bounds were done like a professional. [She must have had a pretty big room to be able to do leaps and bounds, right?] After only a half hour of solid dancing, Louina became tired and stopped. I haven’t been practicing enough! she thought.

Louina walked over to the radio and switched off the pleasant […what?] and changed into her nighties [does she wear more than one?]. She fell into bed, exhausted, but pleased from the strenuous activity. She decided that from now on she would practice once every night.

Louina now thought back to her grandmother’s words. The words that made her promise not to stop dancing. So she wouldn’t, she would continue to dance, as much as she could.

Louina looked at the curtains which were faintly alight, because of the lamps outside in the garden. [In other words, the light from outside was shining through her curtains, ok?] Was her grandmother watching down on her now? Maybe she was.

“Grandmother? Can you hear me? If you can, I want you to know that tomorrow that [probably one ‘that’ would have been sufficient] I’m having an operation to help rid of the awful scars on my face. Mother and Mr Brair did it to me grandma Dolty, didn’t they?” Her whispering paused for a minute whilst she collected her thoughts. “Why did my mother forget about me, grandmother? Why? You left me too, but I knew you had to. You were hurting so badly, but my mother wasn’t was she?” A sob escaped from her throat, causing tears to spring from her eyes. “I-I loved her, grandma Dolty. I miss her grandmother. I do. But I hate her so, so much, I’d like to hurt her, very much.” [Ok, now she’s getting down right scary…] Her sobbing was louder.

“Please, please make her a better person. Please forgive me for my harsh words. I can not help it. She hurt me grandma Dolty. Very much so. How could she leave me to have no family [‘without a family’], to reject me like that! I hate her. I HATE HER!”

Louina’s sobs were loud and clear, she could hardly breath from the sobs that were in the way. Why had her mother made her feel like this? Louina swore then to get back at her mother and Mr Brair for making her such a mess!

After an hour of thoughts of her old home, she soon fell in to a troublesome sleep. 






Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Dance of Revenge - Will be back tomorrow...

I know. 

I promised it would be back today, but I thought I'd have more time to get it ready for you before I took off camping with my family this weekend. (Oh, yeah. And I'm quite sure I'll have something to write about that this week.)

So, as you read this, I'm probably helping to pack up the tent with my husband and head home where I will spend the day washing clothes and taking the 9yr old to a trophy presentation for his cricket team, and doing such things one does on Sundays.

But tomorrow...TOMORROW...I promise Dance will be here.

My apologies you have to come back. :(

See you then, people. (Pinky swear.)





~ Image credit ~

Friday, March 25, 2011

This Week I'm Grateful For...Blogging

I know I've been banging on with posts mostly related to blogging this week, but it just can't be helped. 

I can't tell you how many wonderful things I have experienced since I started blogging in late 2009, and just how much it has given me.

I've formed online friendships that have developed in to so much more.

I've developed a confidence within myself that I never knew I had.

I've discovered I have a voice.

I've found I have the ability to push myself to reach higher.

I've been given opportunities to experience things that I never would have dreamt I would experience in my lifetime.

I've come to realise that just by turning on my computer, I can be embraced by a community of like-minded people, as well as readers who come from so many places, who all have the ability to make me feel less lonely, and who understand my interest and fascination with this online world. No matter where I am or where I go, they are with me.


I've found my 'thing'.


And so I am grateful for blogging this week. It's now a huge part of me that I love. Love.

And ok, I'll shut up about it for a little while now. ;)

Thanks Maxabella for hosting such a positive weekly post, and a big thank you to her gorgeous sister, Multiple Mum, for hosting it this week.





~ Image credit ~

On Mummy Mayhem This Week

What a huge week it has been since I last wrote this weekly post.

So, without further ado, allow me to tell you what you may have missed on my blog this week. (Where were you? Glad you're here now, anyway. x )

Of course, because I was attending the very fabulous AusBlogCon2011 (for all non-bloggers - that's the twitter hash tag used on the weekend), I missed my grateful post and latest instalment of Dance. But both will be back this week. Promise. ;)

In any case, I wrote a wrap up of my experience at AusBlogCon2011. 'Twas AWESOME.

Do you treat your kids fairly? Were you treated fairly as a kid yourself? Fair's fair, you know.

The subject of authenticity was brought up during the blogging conference, and I made a little video to prove just how authentic I am. Come on, trust me. I'm a blogger.

I completely ignored my recipe blog this week. Ah, well.

In other news...last night I went to the launch of Libbi Gorr's new book, The A to Z of Mummy Manners. Now I have a copy in my hot, little(ish) hands, I'll give it a read and tell you what I think ASAP.

Happy Friday, people.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Being Me - A little on Blogging Authentically

Oh, don't you love it when you upload a video to You Tube and it takes the WORST still shot it can possibly find?! I'm quite sure I was able to change it once in a previous vlog, but couldn't find at all how to do it this time around. Bummer. If anyone knows, leave me a message below will you? Ta muchly.

There's been a bit floating around cyberspace about being authentic online, and certainly it was spoken about at the blogging conference last weekend.

Are people being authentic on their blogs or on their Facebook status updates? Are they showing their 'true selves'?

Well firstly, we know some are not. That's just FACT. Always proceed with caution on the Internet, I say. I like to think, though, that those people are a minority.

Secondly, I think what's considered 'authentic' is a little confusing for some. Just because someone chooses not to post everything online about their life, doesn't make them not authentic. I don't post everything about my life. Oh, goodness, no. I have other people to consider when I write here - not just myself. But what I do post, I post with honesty.

As readers who have been around a while here will know, I'm not afraid to express my opinion, own up to my mistakes and share personal details about myself. Here, or anywhere else.

And even though I think my blog speaks for itself (take a look around - I won't bite), I've made the following video just in case you weren't sure if I was the real deal.

I feel very confident it will answer any questions you may have had.

Enjoy...



Fair's Fair

Many moons ago, I worked with a guy who was rather successful business wise, thanks to his hard work over many years. He had a comfortable life, and bless him, didn't forget his mother. He made sure she had a car, a place to call home and her bills were paid on time. All provided to her by him.

Then she died, and she left a majority of her estate to my colleague's brother. Why? Well, because my colleague's brother had not quite reached the same level of success that he had. He had drifted through life, never really finding his 'thing', and his mother worried about him. As my colleague explained to me, "She would have felt he needed the money more than I did, because she probably figured I already had what I needed. Even though it was my money she left him. It upsets me, because I worked hard for that money."

You can understand his frustration, right? He graciously shared his earnings with a loved one who then passed it on to someone else who didn't do anything to deserve it. Frustrating, to say the least.

If there's one thing I'm always concerned about, it's whether I'm treating my children fairly.

Although the following situation is not the same, the concept is.

Apart from the odd occasion, the 7yr old is, for the most part, a fairly 'easy' child. He's quite relaxed and cruises through life a bit, not worrying about much. Therefore, he doesn't often require any 'additional' attention that is sometimes given to his brothers. He doesn't complain much. He's far more compliant about things than his brothers are. Therefore, I believe we sometimes (unintentionally) give him less.

For example, say I had three hot cross buns, and one of them was substantially smaller than the others. To be honest, I'd probably give it to the 7yr old, because I know that: a) if the 4yr old notices his is smaller, he'll more than likely throw a HUGE tantrum; b) the 9yr old would complain he needs more food because he's "bigger", and generally has a larger appetite; and c) it's highly unlikely the 7yr old would notice anyway. Or care too much.

But does that make it ok that he misses out? No. Not at all.

I am constantly reminding myself to reward the 7yr old with praise for his good behaviour. To let him decide what tv show he and his brothers will watch. To give him the first choice of the hot cross buns.

After all, it's only fair.

If you have kids, do you struggle to play fair with them? Is there one child that gets less because they don't demand more? How do you make sure all your kids get a fair deal? Were you treated fairly as a kid?

 



Image ~

Monday, March 21, 2011

AusBlogCon2011 - Best Party EVER

Now, the following fact might not excite most people like it did me - in fact, the thought of such a thing might even freak some of you out - but it has to be said that when I drove my car in to the car park on Saturday at the hotel for the conference, and the undercarriage was searched with a mirror for, like, bombs and stuff, I couldn't help but think, 'Oooh...cool.'

I know. I'm weird like that.

I was beside myself with excitement just being there. Even the thought of a potential bomb threat wasn't going to deter that.

To be honest, I mostly attended the conference to meet other bloggers. I don't know about any of my fellow bloggers out there, but I don't bump in to other bloggers often. Actually...I don't think I ever have. In fact, whilst having my tresses tended to on Friday, my hair stylist asked what I was up to on the weekend, and when I explained I was going to a blogging conference, you would have thought I'd just spoken to her in a foreign language. She had no idea what I was talking about.

So how great is it to be in a room with a bunch of people who really do get what you do and why? And don't roll their eyes and tsk tsk you when you're on Twitter? At a dinner table. Awesome.

The whole day was packed with some incredibly useful info, but it made me realise something: I don't think I'm blogging to create a sort of online business for myself or make money from blogging per se. I guess that's why I've never taken on advertising, and I don't spend any time wondering when is the best time to put up a blog post and gain the most readership. (Nor do I have the energy - or time - to do that sort of stuff.) I write a post and I post it, and I don't check my stats a lot. In fact, it's probably been at least a couple of weeks since I did. Who knows if all that will change in the future? But for the moment, I like writing, entertaining people, using my blog to help others if I can and connecting with people. The end.

Yes, I do giveaways, because when I like something I just want to share it and think it's great that one of my readers will get something for free! (What's wrong with that?) I review books because I've done that from day dot on my blog. Only a couple I've reviewed have been sent to me, the rest I bought myself. I just like reading, ok? I may talk about a product sent to me on occasion, but only because I really want to share something great with you. That's it. And whilst I've done blog hops in the past, I'm not obsessed in the slightest about upping my readership (my weekly 'grateful' post is a blog hop, but I do that to recall the good in each week). Sure, it'd be mind blowing if I logged on tomorrow and found I had 6,000 followers (ha!), but I don't lose sleep over that. At all. It's not my main aim here.

My main aim for this blog in the beginning, as I talked about in my live blog reading on the weekend, remains the same today. I didn't start my blog to set out a new career path for myself. I just wanted to write. I still want to do that. And yes - I want feedback for what I write, otherwise, I'd be writing all this stuff in a journal, wouldn't I? Exactly.

However, there are a number of positive things that have happened that I didn't expect from blogging.

Firstly, I've made friends. Not 'pretend/internet' friends, but 'real' ones that have gone from online to real. Especially these two:

From left: Megan from Writing Out Loud,
Naomi from Under the Yardarm and moi. 

Secondly, I discovered that just like my sons' school, and my local church, the blogging world is a community. Truly, honestly - a real community. Supportive, encouraging, understanding, engaging and inspiring.

Thirdly, many other bloggers have experienced what I have: an unexpected new direction in their lives after taking up blogging. Some have discovered a love of photography by taking pics for their blogs. Some have found an inner artist. Many, like me, have found that through the positive reactions to their writing, they have found a new confidence and self belief which has enabled them to take chances and challenge themselves - personally as well as professionally. Isn't that a great thing?

Lastly, just listening to, and being in the presence of, so many wonderful, clever, amazing bloggers (loved meeting everyone I met, and disappointed I didn't meet ALL of you), it made me realise something. I know I'm channeling Jack Nicholson a little here when I say this, and it might sound a bit cliched and mushy too, but to all the other bloggers I saw on the weekend: you make me want to be a better blogger.

Honestly. You do.

We'll all take away something different from the weekend. Many of us will take away a lot of the same. At the end of the day, it's our own personal journey that matters. I know I'm now more certain of mine.

Thanks to the visionary brilliance of Brenda, we had our first conference. And because of the hard work of many others - especially VeronicaKaren, Tina, and Nicole, Brenda's vision became a reality. Just goes to show that anything is possible if you believe in yourself.

Presuming I'm still doing this blogging caper by then (because, who knows?), here's to the next one in 2012.

I'll be there.

Friday, March 18, 2011

On Mummy Mayhem This Week

Catch up time!

You know, I've really been enjoying blogging even more than usual lately. I have a list a mile long of posts I really want to write in the near future. It's just finding the time! But, you know, life is full and here to embrace, so I'm going to do that, and write when I can. I love writing, and I love writing here, so I hope you're enjoying reading!

Without further ado, here's what I wrote about this week...

My friend Teresa had her birthday last Saturday. I am grateful for her friendship.

In The Dance of Revenge this week, we discover yet another Aussie link to the story (funny that), and Louina and Marianna relax before Louina's first operation.

If you have a dog, you will LOVE my latest GIVEAWAY. With two packs to give away worth over $100, you just have to enter. ;)

The hairstylist that won't stop chatting to you during your conditioning treatment; the masseuse that insists on talking through your massage; the tradesman that takes TWICE as long to get stuff done because he wants to tell you how great he is at his job. They are all 'talkers'. Know one?

There are a lot of bloggers facing their personal fears this weekend. Find out what those fears are, and why it's so important to face your own.

On my recipe blog this week, I posted about the latest iPhone app that will help you plan your weekly meals. It's awesome!

I also posted the recipe for playdough I've been using for years. The kids LOVE it!

I won't be writing my weekly grateful post this week, or Sunday's Dance post, because I'll be busy tonight painting my toe nails and getting an early night in preparation for the Aussie Bloggers Conference on this weekend (not that I expect to sleep much tonight - too excited)! However, I will say I'm grateful to be attending this conference. It will give me a chance to meet people I've wanted to meet for so long, as well as catch up with those I've met and just LOVE. AND it's being held in Sydney - makes it much easier for me. Hubby will be looking after the kids ALL day and ALL that night! How cool is that? ;)

Call around next week - I'll be writing about the conference, as well as some other stuff. Hope to see you then!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

To Face Your Fears

I hadn't planned to write another post this week before my weekly wrap up tomorrow, but I was flicking through a book I purchased recently and I found a quote that made me think of many of you...and out came this post...


You may have noticed a number of posts flying around on other blogs about a little old blogging conference on this weekend.

This Saturday, I'll be joining a bunch of other bloggers at the inaugural Aussie Bloggers Conference (or 'ABC'). MUCH excitement. There are so many people I'm dying to meet IRL, as well as catch up with those I've already met.

I'll also be getting up to read one of my old blog posts in front of everyone, which I'm feeling very excited and rather relaxed about. (Although, I'm sure I'll have a few little butterflies closer to my reading. Doubt I'd be human if I didn't!) I mean, don't expect Oprah up there or anything, but I think I'll get through without too much drama. (Crosses fingers.)

Apart from concerns over what to wear, I've also noticed a number of posts, tweets and Facebook status updates from other bloggers who are rather concerned about the prospect of meeting and talking to people they haven't met before. I've read more than a few times that some bloggers anticipate themselves hyperventilating in the corner of the room.

Being a mild extrovert myself, I'm pretty relaxed about that stuff, but I know for a fact it's not everyone's cup of tea. And of course, it's not difficult to imagine that a lot of people who write, do so because it's far easier for them to express themselves that way than it is to tell people all that stuff up close and personal. There's something to be said for having control of your words. The delete button is a handy thing. ;)

But, you know, I don't anticipate I'll be drilled on Saturday. I'm sure it'll be some rather easy going banter amongst everyone, because hey - most of us are in this blogging thing for fun and personal fulfillment, right? We're doing something we enjoy, which right off the bat, gives us all something in common.

I found some books recently in a little gift shop, that I then went and purchased on Booktopia (for half the price!) that I just love. At the time I found them, I was having a rather average week, and the first page I opened gave me a quote that I immediately could relate to. Flicking through it again this morning whilst trying to motivate myself to get up (I am so not a morning person), I found this quote:


to face your fears

Until you do, you remain in chains.
Never underestimate your courage.
Be positive in your approach.
If necessary, take it in stages.
Often your fear is outdated, 
or based on a misunderstanding or misapprehension.
Once you break the spell, you're free.
Look it straight in the eye.
Back yourself.

~ Patrick Lindsay from 
'It's Never Too Late... - 174 simple acts to change your life'

Fear is what keeps us from doing a lot of things we want to do in life. Pushing through the fear is difficult, but if we don't, we'll end up missing out on so much, and hey - life is about enjoying ourselves, right? My fave saying always comes to mind, "Man cannot discover new oceans, until he has courage to lose sight of the shore." ~ Old Chinese Proverb

If you're worried about this weekend, please don't be. There are so many in the same boat as you, and really - what's the worst that could happen? I'm pretty sure, for example, if I happen to fall down on my way to the podium to read my blog post, at least a half-dozen people will jump up from their seats and help me up. For the most part, the blogging world is a very supportive one. That support, I believe, will transfer through to real life. Besides...you've already taken that first step in actually going. Facing your fears. Awesome.

If you're going on Saturday...see you then! If you're not, then look out for my tweets and an update next week.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Talker

It's no secret I like to talk. 

I'm a 'talker'. That means, I love a good chat. Sure, I have off days where I just don't feel like socialising, mixing and talking about the weather, but they are rare. I'm almost always up for a chin wag, and it's no coincidence at all that one of my teachers nicknamed me 'motor-mouth' in primary school.

Get me and another talker together and whoaaaa - just look at us go. We're talkin' away, often talking over one another (but trying not to, of course). Quite frankly, there's a lot of noise going on. I get that the other person, like me, is itching to get in there and make their point. Tell a story. Muse over something already said. Because I understand the needs of a talker. You know?

However, in some instances, there are the not-so-pleasant 'talkers'. They're the ones who mostly talk about themselves, which is not a terrible thing per se (nothing wrong with sharing), but it's when they talk themselves 'up' all the time it becomes a bit of a bother. Especially, if whilst they're doing it, you could be doing a half dozen other things.

We have this particular tradesman that we use for all those specialty jobs around the house that Hubby just can't do. He's been coming to our places for years. I couldn't be happier with his work. I trust that he'll find any problems that may arise, and I believe he knows his stuff. The problem I have is what comes with the service. You see, this guy is such a talker, that when he has your attention he's in it for the long haul. The more he talks, and the more you listen, the better. I've even tried the old slow backing out of the room towards the front door in hopes that he'll follow, to no avail. It's gotten so ridiculous over the years, that a job that should take about 40-45 minutes max now takes two and a half hours!

But it gets worse. You see, according to my tradesman, he's the expert on everything and isn't shy in telling you so. Like, last year when he came to do a job here for us; he was hammering away, stopping every few seconds to tell me something, and this is pretty much how (part of) the conversation went: "Yeah - my missus likes it when I help out at the school. (tap, tap) They always ask me to MC at the fundraisers, because no one else has the gift of the gab like I do. (tap, tap) They know I can get people to cough up the cash for the auction bit, because I could sell ice to the Eskimos, you know? (tap, tap) Then last year, they got some auctioneer guys to do it instead of me. (tap, tap) I think they wanted to make it more 'professional', but they couldn't sell a bloody thing! (tap, tap) People want familiarity. No one knew those jokers from a bar of soap. (tap, tap) They know if they want the job done, I'm your guy. (tap, tap) I don't know why they got those guys to do it instead." (tap, tap...tap)

I wanted to say, "Really? You don't get that?" But instead, I did my usual, "Oh," and just nodded.

It's gotten to the point where I'm not sure all the good work he's doing is a fair trade off for what I have to endure each visit. But finding a good person for all those jobs around the house is difficult.

He is visiting us again today, but this time I'm not getting suckered in to spending a couple of hours walking around my house trying to find an excuse to escape his incessant banter. I have a plan.

I'm going to use the kid.

Yup, the 4yr old and I are going to be very busy hanging out together in the safety of his bedroom, doing lots of...important stuff. Gluing. Reading. Sleeping on his bed...I don't care. So long as I don't have to face the talker.


Are you a talker? Is there anyone you know who you try to avoid because you know they'll talk your ear off? (It's, ah, not me, is it?)







Image: We Heart It

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Dog Finally Gets a Slice of the Pie - GIVEAWAY

The dog has been quite sad.

I mean, look at that face will you? It says it all doesn't it?

You see, he's noticed that since starting my little old bloggy, I've occasionally been on the receiving end of a few nice (free) things.

His brothers have also scored. (And continually live in hope that anything their hearts desire, may eventually be sent to them. I'm not about to shatter that dream. Saves me being hounded for it. ;) )

Even Hubby has benefited. He makes some mean milkshakes for himself and the kids with my Braun thingy. (Although, he still lives in hope someone will send him a car. Pffft. Good luck with that, Hubby.)

Anyway, up until now, the dog had gotten nothin'. Zip. Nada. And this was causing the droopy draws look. (Or maybe the scarf was too tight? Hmm.)

But THEN...!

In celebration of a new television series on Channel 7 called Eukanuba Extraordinary Dogs (Saturdays at 5pm), the Dog scored himself a cool pack like this one:


Isn't that AWESOME? Check out how happy the dog is now...



Now, don't tell the dog, but it kinda benefits me as well, because the pack is worth just over $100, and we seriously love Eukanuba dog food! In fact, our local vet recommended it.

But that's not ALL! (I sound like a Danoz Direct commercial, don't I?)

YOU could also win the VERY SAME PACK for you your dog, because I have TWO PACKS to GIVEAWAY! Not one...TWO! (I don't know...is it obvious I'm a little excited to you?)

Now here's what you have to do:

1. Leave a comment below by Tuesday 22 March, 6pm AEDT
2. Tell me the BREED and AGE of your dog (so you get the right food type sent to you).

That's it. Easy.

I'll be posting the winners up in my noticeboard (above) on Wednesday 23 March, so make sure you pop back then to see if you're one of the winners! (I'll attempt to contact the winners, but it's not always possible.)

Comp is open to residents of Australia only. (Sorry O/S readers!)

Good luck!
  

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Dance of Revenge - Chapter Fifteen

It's time for the ongoing saga - The Dance of Revenge...

Seems to be a return this week to the slightly longer chapter. Which for you, is either a good thing or a bad thing. I can't decide. ;)

You'll find out some interesting (cough) background information this week about some of the people at the 'face place' (as it has been referred to in previous chapters).

As always, as this story was written in my youth (and therefore, I can't be held completely responsible for my lack of originality in the storyline, nor the occasionally poor spelling and grammar etc), I will make a few comments in [brackets and in red like this].

If you're just joining the fun now, or you've missed anything to date (God forbid), you can find links to all chapters published to date underneath the pink ballet slippers on the RHS of my homepage.

Now, next week, we'll be taking a little break, as I have a super busy week coming up, as well as a conference to attend next Saturday, so I just don't imagine I'll get the chance to type up a whole new chapter by then! Never fear though, as the week after that, Dance will be back in all its unedited glory.

Until then...enjoy...


THE DANCE OF REVENGE
Chapter Fifteen

LOUINA awoke to the sounds of a tray being wheeled into her room. She opened her eyes and found Marianna pulling two seats up to the tray. Marianna turned and smiled at Louina and rushed to her bedside.

“Good morning, Louina. How’re you feeling? I’ve been so worried. I didn’t wake you this morning because I wanted you to rest.” Louina laughed.

“Thank you, Marianna. I am feeling much better.” Louina wasn’t lying when she said she felt better. After last night, most of her feelings which she had left bottled up inside, had finally been eliminated. For the time being anyhow.

“Well come and get your breakfast, Louina. Are you hungry?” Louina took a deep smell of the eggs and bacon and freshly baked croissants. They all smelled heavenly.

Oui. I am famished.” She noticed there was only one plate. “You are not eating with me?” she asked sadly.

“Oh, no madamemoiselle. I have already eaten, but I will sit with you and have my coffee.” She smiled, but Louina noticed how empty her eyes looked.

“Are you alright, Marianna?” You are not ill are you?” Marianna smiled at her softly. [No, she’s hiding her own secret!]

Non, Louina. I am a little tired. That is all.” Louina still wasn’t convinced.

“Are you sure madame?” Marianna laughed heartily, touched by the girl’s concern.

“Of course, Louina. Now eat your breakfast before it gets cold.”

So Louina sat and ate whilst Marianna told her about the details of the day. [Think I meant ‘plans for the day’.] Swimming, listening to music and reading poetry, and magazines she had bought for Louina.

“But only if you are up to it, Louina. Dr Meunier told me you might feel weak but to see if you were up to going swimming.”

“Of course I’m up to it,” Louina protested. “Are you?” she asked slyly, smirking playfully. Marianna pretended to act surprised.

Moi? Of course. I shall surely beat you at swimming.” She waved away the subject. “No question about it. A race?” Marianna’s eyes challenged Louina playfully.

“In an hour. You haven’t a chance.”

*     *     *     *     *

“Ready, set GO!” Two bodies dived into the clear water of the pool. One body was leading. Louina. The other was very close behind. Marianna. Frannie watched excitedly from the sidelines. It would be a very close contest. They were both equally good. Marianna was now in front for the final lengths, but at the turn at the end for the second lap, Louina was ahead. Frannie jumped up and down excitedly.

“Come on Marianna! Come on Louina!” The bodies neared the end of the pool. Suddenly Marianna came close to Louina. They were equal all the way to the end, even touching the edge at the exact moment. “You both win!” Frannie shouted.

Marianna and Louina laughed and hugged briefly, congratulating each other.

“Well, that was a good race, Louina. I used to be a swimming champion when I was your age. You could be too.”

“Oh, no, not me,” Louina protested, laughing. “Not in a million years!” Frannie passed them both their towels.

“Congratulations, both of you. You both are very fine swimmers. I wish I could do as well.” Marianna and Louina beamed under Frannie’s praise.

“Thank you,” they replied in unison.

“Would you like a drink?” Frannie asked the two wet swimmers.

“I’d like a lemon drink, merci,” Louina replied.

“I’d like an iced tea Frannie, thank you.” Frannie nodded and waved to one of the hands. [One of the ‘hands’? Good lord.] He quickly came to Frannie’s side and took the order. He retreated quickly. [Did he move backwards, bowing, I wonder?]

Frannie motioned for the two ladies to sit with her on the lawn. They did and smiled happily.

“It feels good to rest,” Marianna said.

“I second that,” Louina agreed. Frannie smiled at the young girl.

“One more day now Louina,” she said, refferring [or referring] to Louina’s first operation. “Are you feeling ready for it?”

“I thin I am. It scares me a little though. I know it will be quite painful, but I’m sure that I will be ready. Yes, in a way I’m quite excited.” Frannie and Marianna smiled.

“That’s…how do you say…” Frannie’s english failed her.

“The right attitude?” Marianna asked. Frannie laughed.

Oui. I’m sorry. My English, it is not too good. I never really learnt English until about six years ago. Even then, I learnt it very slowly.” [I’m confused. If they’re all French, why don’t they just speak in French to each other?]

“If it’s not too personal, Frannie, how did you decide to do this occupation?” Louina asked curiously.

“Well, it was six years ago when I had just graduated out of my nursing degree, and I came here. Pierre told me that I didn’t really have the…,” she faltered.

“The experience?” Marianna asked.

Oui, merci madame. That is what he said, but he told me that he would teach me as I go. I was always a fast learner. It didn’t take me long to learn all about facial surgery.” She laughed gaily. “It’s a pity I wasn’t a fast learner at my English!” Marianna and Louina laughed with Frannie.

“I came from a very broken family,” she continued. “My mother and father were divorced when I was seven and then my father and I lived in Paris, my mother married some rich lad, a very nice man, and asked me to go with her to America. My father wouldn’t let me, so I stayed with him.

“We soon ran out of money and my father soon began to drink. Soon all the money we had was wasted on his alcohol. [Everything was ‘soon’.] He had no job and we were thrown out of our house. We were only, ah, renting it. Oui.

“My aunt took us in and three years later my father died. He drank too much. By this time my mother did not contact me so I stayed with my aunt. A lovely lady. You would both like her. She is still living in the middle of Paris. Maybe one day you will meet her.”

“We would love to, Frannie,” Marianna said sincerely. “What a hard life you have had.” Frannied laughed a little sadly.

“Not as hard as some people, Madame. Well, I really must be going. It’s time for Mrs Pental’s muscle exercise. She hates it, but it must be done. Doctor’s orders. I will see you both later, alright?” Louina and Marianna both waved and called goodbye. They were both silent for a moment, thinking about Frannie. Finally Marianna interrupted the silence.

“Would you like to read for a while, Louina?” she asked.

Oui.

They both settled down, reading poetry out aloud and sometimes reading magazines to themselves. It was a quiet afternoon, filled with only the sounds around them. The sudden splash in the pool from someone who was using it for therapy, and the birds whistling around them. There was the occasional scream of, “kick your legs a little harder, madame!” from Frannie.

Soon the day got darker and both decided to go to their rooms to get dressed for dinner. Their bathers had dried but felt a little sticky. [Huh?] They met outside, both in freshly ironed garments and headed to the hall for dinner.

They had both decided to have dinner with all the other patients this time.

After dinner, everyone made theirselves [there’s a new word] comfortable in the recreation room. Because Louina was new, every one took turns introducing himself to Louina.

Bonjour, Louina. My name is Paul Lamone. I am thirty-five years of age and I come from London. I am here because I was in a bating [probably ‘boating’] accident just off the Australian coast. [Isn’t it interesting that many of these characters have links to down under? ;) ] I was there on holiday and I had decided to try myself at some fishing [I just don’t understand that sentence]. My wife and I had hired a row boat, just a small one, and we’d gone quite far from shore. Anyway, I was fishing and suddenly I got a huge bite. My hands were torn by the fishing line I was holding. I let go and because of the shock, I stood up rather quickly, losing my balance and falling into the water. My fall made the boat rock to its side, and therefore made my wife tip into the water as well.” He paused for only a second. “I resurfaced quickly, but found it hard to see. The water had made my eyes blurry. Then all of a sudden, to one side of me I saw the boat sinking. I thought, but it was sort of rotating or something. I was too shocked to swim to it at first. I was desperately trying to look for my wife.

“That’s when I noticed the fin in the water. I knew straight away where she was. In that finned body. I screamed and hurried to the boat. Excuse my language, but I was shouting, ‘You bastard! You bloody bastard!’ As if it heard me, the fin switched directions and headed towards me. ‘Come and get me, you bastard!’ I yelled. ‘I don’t care!’ Then to my surprise, I heard my wife’s voice shouting, ‘Paul, I’m over here! I’m on the other side of the boat. Swim, Paul, swim!’ I had never swam so fast in my life. I made it and swam to the other side of the boat. I grabbed my wife and pushed her up into the boat. Once inside, she turned and started to pull me up. My legs were in, and one side of me. [Not sure how his wife would have pulled him in legs first.] One arm dangled in the water. It was too late. The shark got closer and took a huge swallow of my arm [?], leaving me with only my shoulder. Then it spun around to leave, its tail ripping at my face. Sara, my wife, hauled me into the boat.

“Luckily a man off shore had seen the whole thing and he was out quick enough, leaving his binoculars on the beach. [Important detail to note there.] He picked us up and took us quickly into shore, where I was rushed to hospital. They fixed my arm [to explain, I meant he lost his arm, but they repaired the damage], but I had lost a lot of blood, so I recovered in hospital for quite some time. A week after the accident, my wife bought me news that the shark had been spotted and killed. They said it was the same one because they found my arm inside.”

Louina cringed. That poor man.

I’m sorry to hear that Mr Lamone. What a horrible experience. So you came here to get your face fixed?” He nodded.

“Yes, Louina. That is correct.” He sat down and smiled at her. She smiled back. Everyone looked at her. It was her turn.

“Well, as you know, my name is Louina Silk. Though that is not my real name. I don’t know what it is. Apparently I was in some sort of train accident. The train had half run off the bridge, and the other half stayed on. The people in the top half had all been thrown in to the water, the second either burnt to death or badly burnt. Apparently I was somewhere in the middle, burnt and then thrown in to the water. I was dragged ashore by some unknown fisherman.

“The problem is, I don’t remember anything, the accident or who my family is. They said it’s impossibly to identify me because of my burns and still people have not been found. So until they are, and until I get my memory back, I do not really know my true identity.” She finished taking a deep breath. Everyone spoke words of sympathy but she hardly heard them. So many lies! But in the end, the lies would all be worth it. They would.

Ah, classic stuff. See you in a couple of weeks, Dance fans. ;)