Saturday, December 20, 2014

Fifty in two hundred days

Guess what today is? Other than five days before Christmas. Today marks House of many Minions 50th blog entry. 

I wasn't sure what to do, if anything, to note the occasion. Especially with all the horrific heart ache in the news. There's a blog post floating around in my mind, but it's too hard to put my emotions & thoughts into coherent words. Hold your friends & family close & your babies closer people, it's a big bad scary world out there.

I considered writing something with Christmas spirit, after all we are in the twelve days of Christmas. Should I mention surpassing the fifty post milestone at the beginning or end of the post, was it worth drawing light to at all? Then right before falling asleep, when all my brain suddenly starts kicking over & keeps me wide awake for a further two hours, I knew what to do...

I present to you 50 things that make me, Me.

1. I got my first job at fourteen - washing dishes at a local popular beach side restaurant.

2. I was a hypochondriac as a child. Specifically for sprained wrists or ankles. I woulds sneak into the first aid box, grab a bandage & strap myself up then try & remember how I was supposed to limp to make it believable.

3. I spent my first year of high school at a private catholic school, where none of my primary school friends went. I begged my parents to enroll me in the local public high school, which they did at the beginning of the new school year. Of course by then all my friends from primary school had formed new friendship groups, so I was left on the outer, just like year eight again. 

4. I mispronounce & muddle up words when talking & look like an uneducated fool all the time

5. Following on from mispronouncing, I call vineyards vine-yards {not vinyards} & instead of pronouncing archives ar'kives I still say archives. It's a constant source of amusement for Doug. 

6. I broke my two front teeth at year 7 camp while ice skating. They are still a source insecurity today.

7. When we go out for dinner nine times out of ten I'll order either salt n pepper squid or chicken parmigiana. When you're on a good thing, stick with it.

8. I played my first game of netball at seven years old & still play now twenty four years on. With the exception of a few short breaks to grow a baby. 

9. My childhood was gaming device free. So whenever we went to my cousin's house I would beg them to play Alex Kidd on SEGA. I still love that game even though I haven't played it in twenty something years.

10. I attended five different schools - three primary schools & two high schools.

11. I have had four jobs in my life - dishwasher {working my way up the ranks to occasionally making the take-away baguette's}. As a pet shop assistant {it always creeped me out getting dead frozen rats out the freezer for our snake owning customers.} Then I worked at a well known burger & fries joint for two years before saying goodbye to work as a 3rd assistant manager for a variety store, working there for just under three years until I resigned at thirty seven weeks pregnant. Ten days later Ben gave me my current position that I have held for over ten years now. Isn't there some long service leave I'm past due for...

12. In year 9 I vomited all over my desk & the floor in morning home group. Cries of ewww, how gross, disgusting & exclamations of how they felt sick now, are still vivid. 

13. I married Doug one month before my nineteenth birthday.

14. I learnt to play the guitar for several years in my early teenage years. For some reason I stopped playing {& deeply regret it}.

15. I got my first body piercing when I was 15 years old, without permission.

16. I've had my tongue pierced, labret pierced & belly button pierced. 

17. I had my belly button re-pierced when I was 24 & still have it in today. 

18. Unless it's over thirty degrees at night I always sleep with the electric blanket on.

19. On our first wedding anniversary Doug & I won a thousand dollars at the casino on the

20. I played soccer, netball, softball & tae kwon do in primary school.

21. I was never smacked as a child - at least that I can remember.

22. Unless I know you really well I can be shy & find it hard to make the first conversation.

23. From the age of ten to fourteen my walls were covered with Keanu Reeves, JTT {Jonathon Taylor Thomas} & Prince William. Don't judge me.

24. I kill plants, unintentionally. Despite my best efforts they always wither up on me, then I drive the last nail in the coffin {or pot plant} drowning them in love & water. 

25. Before our minions came along I loved horror & suspense movies. Now it is impossible to even be in the same room when there is anything remotely thriller like or suspenseful on.

26. I cry, easily & at almost everything. I also try to hide it.

27. I suck at long division & decimals. I never grasped chemistry either. However algebra & I are friends. 

28. I've never broken a bone, but I was bitten on the nose by a family friend's dog when I was two years old & still have the scars.

29. I love funky or pretty mugs, geisha doll & babushka doll images.

30. I'm possessive of my chocolate chip cookies & give Doug the stink eye when he gives one to our dog.

31. I dropped out of high school after year eleven, then later completed my year twelve SACE studies via correspondence when Ben was a toddler while I was pregnant with Rianan & during her first four months. 

32. I was twenty eight when I went to my first concert - You am I. I've since been to P!nk, Rihanna & Keith Urban.

33. I hoard interior design magazines like Pinterest pins. 

34. For nine years I was an only child, then my first brother came along followed by my baby brother eighteen months later.

35. I find it exceptionally easy to devour a small tin of MiLo in one sitting...without milk. 

36. I used to wish my name was Sophie because it seemed like such a cool name when I was ten.

37. I grew up listening to The Cure, The Smiths & Morrissey, Smashing Pumpkins, You am I & REM. My parents still have awesome taste in music.

38. Though I'm right handed I can write legibly with my left hand, albeit very slowly.

39. My longest labor was four hours. My shortest labor was twenty minutes.

40. I was a painfully fussy eater as a child. I'm sure many family members can remember the holiday trip when I only ate buttered rolls for lunch. I also had a two hour stand off with my Dad when I was ten years old over a croissant that he wanted me to taste. By the time I caved & realised how delicious they were there wasn't any more left.

41. I'm not nearly as profound, insightful or funny as I wish to be.

42. We nearly became foster carer's before Blake was born. This is still something I feel passionate about doing when the minions are a bit older & we have a spare seat in the car.

43. Love Grey's Anatomy & the book series Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

44. Ever since I learnt to read I've been a massive bookworm. My library card often had over a dozen Baby Sitters Club & The Saddle Club novels out at any one time. I still stay up until the am hours reading, though my tastes have changed a little since I was eleven.

45. I used to read oracle cards. Though I've not looked at them in many years, I still can't bring myself to pass them on or sell them.

46. I hate licorice. Always have.

47. After growing up right near the beach I could never move far away from it. The salt & sand is in my blood.

48. I have two tattoo's. One is my husband's name on my inner left fore arm & the other is on my upper left arm with our eldest three children's foot prints, name & birth date. Due to almost constantly being pregnant or breast feeding over the last five years I've not yet finished off with our youngest three children's footprints & details. I have no idea where I am going to get them tattooed either - I don't think my arm is long enough for all six.

49. 'My Girl' is still one of my favorite movies. I dare anyone not to shed a tear when Vada is crying "He can't see without his glasses on" at Thomas J's funeral. Heart wrenching. 

50. I put off starting this blog for nearly four years. Why? Because I thought I could never live up to the bar set by all the other blogs I read frequently. Nothing has changed there, but now it doesn't hold me back. I love my little space here & all the bloggy like thoughts that run through my mind at the most inconvenient hours. 

There you go, fifty random things about me to celebrate fifty posts. Now I'm off to make myself a cuppa & cuddle up on the couch with our minions watching Despicable Me 2. I'm avoiding the news today, my heart & my tear ducts have taken as much as they can possibly bear right now.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The mother of all tantrums

{Don't let his cheeky face lead you into 
a false sense of security.
Even if he is a little bit cute.}

Once again brought to you by Murphy's law. Does he even spy & eavesdrop on anyone else, or am I just lucky?

I was mentally composing a post on how my mothering skills are so brilliant, that without even trying Clay no longer sleeps swaddled up*. He simply holds a corner of his wrap in one hand & sucks the fingers of his other hand, soothed by the sounds of his siblings screams & the front door right next to his room crashing closed every two minutes, he peacefully drifts off to the land of Zzz. There was no forethought, no plan or decision made to stop swaddling Clay. Just a natural progression that evolved from Clay turning into a little houdini & me not re-wrapping every thirty seconds.

In this post there may have been sentences how my awesomeness is so awesome that we have even managed to stop swaddling when some of the other minions were babies without any major disruptions to their (or our) normal sleeping patterns, setting a new pb record for three babies in a row now. I know, right? I hate me a little too.

The un-swaddling process with Rianan & Jack was such a production that was fraught with anxiety & scouring outdated parenting magazines by torchlight at 3am for that one miracle tip that would make all our dreams finally happen. Literally...Please. With Ben it was a non-issue - he just didn't sleep to require any elaborate ten step process to ditch the muslin wrap. Then along came the fourth child who just raises himself. My skillz are so stinkingly sparkly that I don't even have to try anymore. As if my maternal ego needed to get any bigger, Will & Clay come along breezing their way through our family dynamics, cementing the theory that after three children status level Effortless Expert is applied.

When really I should have just shut the hell up & been eternally grateful for Clay's placid & easy going nature.

Not thirty minutes later from declaring {in written draft form} we're acing this baby raising gig & feeling a little clever, the tantrum of all hell breaking lose tantrums occurred. You can put the voodoo doll & pins away, karma found me swift & proper. 

Venturing to the shops with four of the minions, we enter into the first of two shops. A knick-knack el cheapo store, to buy a present for Rianan's five dollar secret santa classroom exchange. The standard disclosure was uttered to Blake & Will as we entered the store - do not touch anything, stay with me. Will was adamant he was not going to hold my hand, squirming away the minute there was any skin to skin contact. 

Always under-estimate a three year old. When you think they will listen, never expect them too. When you think they will follow the examples of their older siblings, do not presume they will. 

That was my first mistake, having faith where none should be. Will touched, he picked up, he knocked boxes off shelves in an effort to put the one in his hand back on the shelf. He wandered up & down the aisles, around the corners blocking the path of other customers, spinning sticker stands, & presenting me with cards we didn't need. As quick as possible our secret santa purchases were made & I took my little hot handed boy out of there. 

Stepping away from the store entrance & in an open aired environment to help dis-spell the intensity of any imminent world ending cries, I tell Will I am now holding his hand while we walk around the car-park to the next store. Cue EPDPT {Epic Public Display of Preschooler Tantrum}. Instant psycho killer attacking me screaming, beetroot purple face, spaghetti legs & twisty, verge of dislocating the shoulder body drops. This continued on for twenty minutes. I kid you not. 

We were a sight to shame even the most sympathetic grandparent & been-there-done-that-glad-it's-you-not-me fellow mums. 

Nothing but the freedom to walk to his own beat was going to mollify Will. Shame that the only choices I was willing to concede to were hold my hand or go in a trolley. Only I got to suffer the consequences. Putting on the I'm-ignoring-my-screeching-child mask, not daring to make eye contact with anyone over 4 foot tall & not a genetic link to me, I dashed around the store scooping items off the shelves, throwing them haphazardly into the trolley in between attempts to calm Will down - who was having none of it. Calming words were met with Will screaming louder & kicking his little legs back & forth against the trolley harder. Thank god the trolley we chose had a fully functioning seat belt with all three prongs intact...& that Will hasn't grasped the fine motor skills yet to get that sucker undone. 

Through the entire time Will did not fail in his pledge to set the bar higher for the next tantrum to end all tantrums. Meanwhile Clay just took in the front row experience from his familiar perch in a sling across my chest, with Rianan & Blake walking & chatting as if this was an everyday occurance. Thank god it's not, my nerve endings couldn't take it if it was. 

Consider this post my formal written apology for having gotten too big for my $8 Kmart ballet flats. Even if the intended post prior to Will's cutting me back down to size was tongue in cheek & highly over exaggerated. What I should have simply written is that Clay is sleeping really well at the moment though this is sure to change in the immediate future & Will, what can I say? He is three years old. 'Nuff said.

But that would be boring.

*Swaddling : to bind an infant with long narrow strips of cloth to prevent free movement of their arms or disturbance from the startle reflex.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Super quick choc-chip muffins

Totally cheating.

Totally don't care.

You're welcome.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

NaBloPoMo status failed

November saw me committing to posting every day over here at HomM. Over on the right hand side in the blog archives, under November there should be (30) right next to it. I'm only seeing (7). 


When I signed up for NaBloPoMo  {National Blog Promotion Month} I thought it would be, well not easy, though maybe not as hard as folding the washing. Folding washing is a tortuous task. As far as I'm concerned it sucks hairy dogs balls. I'd rather clean windows. Hang on, that's not true, especially if you could see the present state of our windows & the height of our clean washing piles. 

I have a better analogy, I figured blogging everyday would be like cooking everyday. While it has to be done, some days you can choose to cook up a three ingredient spaghetti bolognaise (thank you Dolmio jar sauce) other days may find you serving up a roast pork with crackling, golden roast potatoes & crispy edged pumpkin, honey drizzled carrots, peas & beans tossed through melted garlic butter. With sticky date muffins topped with warm caramel sauce to pop that last button on your jeans.

For each day of November I planned to have proper posts where I would ramble about whatever hot topic was going viral, or about our minions as they are a constant source of inspiration & daily exasperation. A full roast dinner affair. Then those 'full bellied posts' would be interspersed with 'photo a day' snippets, or a recipe for muffins & cookies that find their way from the cooling racks to mere crumbs in ten minutes flat. Two minutes if I'm not watching those sneaky little hands. These would have been the 'three ingredient posts'.  

Then life happened & procrastination bit me on the arse, pigs might fly moments of rest found me on the couch instead of at the computer. Plus the kids needed to be fed fifty thousand times a day - not kidding. Doug expected to be able to wear clean clothes & I got sick of stepping on dirt & grit. Our exciting, riveting lives carried on full steam ahead NaBloPoMo or not. 

Unfulfilled plans & fabulous unexecuted ideas are no stranger to me. Failing to deliver on the daily blogging front is not even close to the first time I've planned to do something that never happens. It also will not be the last. The only times I planned to do something & actually followed through, without fail or procrastination, was giving birth to our six little squawkers. Not that there was any choice.

On the fridge there are three To-Do lists - one for the immediate do today/tomorrow, another is the must-get-done-soon cleaning/organising/decluttering list, the last is projects/plans I want to do when I get a spare day or two. You know, sometime before the year 2024. Midnight is also a popular time for inspiration to hit. I'll lie there thinking of everything I want to get done the next morning, freeing me up for the rest of the day - all in between school drop offs & picks ups, cutting crusts of sandwiches for three year olds, slicing fruit into baby friendly fingers, stepping on toys, picking up toys, putting away toys, loading the washing machine, turning on the dryer, mopping little boy urine up off the toilet floor, de-fusing toddler tantrums...where was I? Oh that's right, mentally composing a get-your-shit-together-in-the-morning list at midnight. Then 7am rolls around, & I roll over in bed wishing the kids didn't have to go to school so I didn't have to get up. That midnight inspiration flies out the window at the hands of 9am's procrastination. 

It seems when I decide to commit to something habits from my high school days suddenly plague me, many a night before an essay was due would find me furiously scribbling away trying to make hasty indecipherable notes transform into a 1000 word essay. If there is a deadline sudden onset of last minute-itis & procrastination fever would always strike...oh look a diary filled with poems & frivolous, fleeting declarations of love from 1998, let's waste five hours pouring over every page. 

As for unexecuted ideas, well there is an outfit of a creamy beige dress with purple tights that has never been worn. Though perhaps that is for the better. In store it seemed amuhzing however after getting home it seemed my enthusiasm had been left behind on the change room floor. Unless you count that in store try on, it has never been worn. I blame that purchase on those crazy post natal hormones & the fact my fashion choices were no longer dictated by the beach ball impersonating abdomen I had been sporting two months earlier. 

The list of fruitless intentions is long - 
- Packets of hair rollers used once in an unsuccessful attempt to create voluptuous waves.
- Untouched circular knitting needles & balls of wool to make beanies. Along with several patterns bookmarked or Pinterested. Because it seems easier to relearn how to knit a beanie on circular needles than to quickly crochet another one. Totally makes sense.
- While we're on the topic of Pinterest, my crafty/foodie/kids activities/decorating inspiration folders are bursting with tutorials & recipes I whole heartedly intend to use one day in the near future. Just like the other millions of time poor, inspiration rich Pinterest followers.
- Bottles of japanese rice wine, boxes of pastry mix, packets of lentils & split peas going dusty & out of date in the pantry from a recipe never cooked.   
- Old glassless photo frames sitting behind a cabinet, waiting for the day I wipe them down, paint them pretty & hang them up in an abstract yet totally pulled together look. {That I can never seem to quite pull together on the wall the way I saw in my mind or in someone else's house.}
- A $140 hair curling device I purchased after reading raving reviews, I have only used twice. Because when it comes down to sleep or pretty hair the sleep will win. Every. Single. Time.
Seriously I could go on. We're all the same though. There are so many 'things' we want to do - house projects to start or complete, recipes to try, places to see one day both near & far, Christmas shopping to do, friends to catch up with before another year is celebrated out with the new one cheered in. 

I'm not sorry I couldn't keep up with everyone else participating in thirty days of blogging, one month soon I'll commit again with the hopes of being able to stick to it. Maybe I'll be successful next time & you'll get the roast dinner posts along with the simpler posts of photos & food in between. 

Oh, & if the mention of those delicious sticky date muffins had your stomach growling & your taste buds craving that caramel gooey goodness, I promise I'll put the recipe up this week. Pinky promise.

 Then again life may happen.

Post script from Doug, when informed of my intentions to blog every day during November "if you planned to blog everyday we would have all starved to death & I would have been wearing the same undies for ten days straight. I'm glad you didn't."
Well, I didn't think it would have been that bad. Ben knows how to make toast & macaroni.