Farewell 2012

So 2012 is coming to a close.

We will spend tonight farewelling the past year with new and old friends – although I think I’ll skip bringing in the New Year. There’s no way I can stay up till midnight anymore!

When I look back on it, 2012 was a bit of a mixed bag. There were lots of wonderful things – first and foremost, visiting Italy with my best friend, Soul Sister (you can read about our adventures here) finishing my degree, feeling like I did better with the working-mother-guilt complex, bidding farewell to preschool days and starting this blog 🙂

But there were a few hard things too. My grandmother passed away, as did my uncle, a dear friend’s father and my own father’s best friend. So much death and sadness in a small space of time.

And so now 2013 beckons. I’m really looking forward to Little Miss starting school – she’ll love it, and what a wonderful thing to have ALL THREE CHILDREN IN THE ONE PLACE. I think you maybe have to be a working parent to really appreciate the unique wonder that is the single pick-up and drop-off point.

I’m looking forward to writing and reading more, and to maybe rearrange things at work so I can have a better balance between work and home. I want to get fitter and healthier, and spend less money on stuff we don’t really need. I want to spend more time with Souljourneyboy (rather than feeling like we’re just co-parenting room mates) and spend more one-on-one time with the kids. I want to be a better person and engage more in spiritual reflection. In some ways, I don’t have the grand plans that I had in previous years, but that’s OK. I hope 2013 will bring fulfillment and refreshment in a quieter, more subtle way.

So here’s to experiences old and new, and a happy, blessed and fulfilling 2013 for all of you.

 

Christmas and New Year cheer

I’ve been thinking about Christmas traditions this week. I thought I’d share what a typical Christmas is like in our house…

One of our traditions happened last night, when dear friends join us for a walk down to the shop to get ice cream, and afterwards we walk to see the most amazing Christmas display at a local house.

There’s always about a hundred people crammed onto the front yard, and the decorations are spectacular – trains, lights, Santas, reindeer, nativities and a huge Christmas tree on the front lawn. The owners of the house give out candy canes and bushfire survival kits to everyone who comes, and it’s a time to catch up with neighbours you might not have seen for weeks, months, or even since the last time you were there.

And now today it’s Christmas Eve. It’s boiling hot, as usual,  and as I write this, Bookworm, Picasso and Little Miss are playing under the sprinkler with water pistols.

The tree lights are sparkling. There’s a pile of presents waiting to be wrapped by Souljourneyboy and I tonight as we watch the Christmas carols.

This evening, before the kids go to bed, we will leave cookies and milk out for Santa and sparkly food for the reindeer. I’ll read them “The Night Before Christmas” and the Christmas Story.

Tomorrow we’ll open presents and go to Church in the morning. We’ll celebrate with my family and eat more than is good for us, including the delicious Sri Lankan curry, sambol and love cake that my Dad always makes on Christmas Day. Then we’ll gear up for Christmas with Souljourneyboy’s family on Saturday, where 12 cousins will be running around like crazy. I can’t believe how blessed I am to have the families I have – my birth family, and the amazing family I married into. On New Year’s Eve we’ll head to a free local fireworks show with a few families, and New Year’s Day visit extended family who have a pool.

That’s Christmas and New Year in our house. I love the tradition and the sense of belonging Christmas brings. I love that every family has different traditions of their own.

I hope you all have a wonderful, blessed and joyous Christmas and a happy New Year.

Suffer the children

I feel as though I can’t let the Sandy Hook massacre pass me by without writing something on it.

I, like the rest of the world, watched in horror and disbelief as the tragedy unfolded. I, like so many other mothers, hugged my children extra tight and held back tears as I thought about how precarious and precious life is.

I’ve read many editorials over the past few days and I don’t know that I have anything much to add. I am angry and disbelieving at the power of the NRA and the lack of gun control laws in America. I am deeply disturbed by lack of funding available for those who are mentally ill – not just in America, but in Australia too. All of this has been said, and much more eloquently than I could ever hope to say it.

But I’d like to now spare a thought for the other children, who didn’t make news headlines.

For the 21,000 children who die every day from preventable diseases. For the 4 million newborns who die in the first month of their lives. For the 2 million children under 15 who are living with HIV. For the 300,000 child soldiers who are are forced or coerced into armed forces. For the 40 per cent of these soldiers who are girls, and often kept as sex slaves for their male counterparts. For the 2 million children who are trafficked annually for child labor and sexual exploitation.

This Christmas, I will think on those little children slain at  Sandy Hook Elementary School and grieve for the parents who are suffering an indescribable loss. I will also think about all those children across the world who are in equally indescribable circumstances. When I think about all of these things, it makes complete and perfect sense that the Christ-child came to bring love, peace and hope to a broken world.

I hope this Christmas gives all of you the chance to enjoy love, peace and happiness. Because the rest of it – the presents, the food, the Santa sacks – are nice, but they don’t really matter at all.

Blessings to you all.

Excerpts from school scribblings…

This week Bookworm and Picasso brought home their school books for the year. As I flipped through the pages I was at times highly amused – and at others rather alarmed – by what they’d written. At times like these I can only imagine what the teachers must think! So for the enjoyment of all, I will share.

“Last night I ate nuggets on bread. They were yummy. I wish we could have them again. They were as good as McDonals nuggets” – Picasso. High praise indeed.

“On Sunday me and my family went to my grandmar’s house with our couzzens and had ice cream and donuts and chocolate cake and chips!!! But our grandmar had an olser in her eye” – Picasso. Felt like explaining to the teacher that on occasion we do eat vegetables, and poor Grandma did not have an eye ulcer because she suffers from some kind of vitamin deficiency.

“My school holidays. I got up so early and played ipad. I went to a random house and played there. One night burglar Bill went to rob a house” – Picasso. Hmmm.

“On the weekend I and my family put up the Christmas tree and the decorations. We got an early Christmas prezzent because a person on my house and it was a Christmas decoration!!! An angel decoration!!! And I put all my Christmas decorations in one spot on the bottom of the Christmas tree” – Picasso.  (He did, too – couldn’t convince him to spread them out).

The following is taken from Bookworm’s spelling books where he had to create sentences with the words considered, essential, calm.

“I considered to commit suiside.

“Life was very calm in heaven. Life was calm till it was essential to go to hell.”

I had to agree with the teachers’ note which read, “?? Theme??

Then we moved onto plurals, where he had written,

“There were heaps of ladies on the toilets.” Wonderful.

Then I saw,

“It is safe to jump off a cliff because there will probably be an acid pool below.

“It is safe to go up to strangers and have chats too.” Argh! No wonder the teacher had written ,”Is it opposite day today?” underneath.

Hopefully we won’t end up in the school counselor’s office 🙂

 

Life lessons learned through Lego

As I was playing with the kids this weekend I realised how many of life’s lessons can be learned through Lego. For instance…

There’s always a Plan B

There’ll never be enough of the flat three-blocks to go around, we all know that. So what do you do? You find a two-block and a one-block and you make it work. Can’t find the right red six-block? Use a blue. Picasso nearly came unstuck when he couldn’t find the right piece during building a racing car, but I wisely and sagely told him all about Plan B. The result? A cool racing car with a few multi-coloured blocks that add to the charm. And if Plan B doesn’t work – Plan C awaits!

There aren’t enough men to go around

This is a shout-out to all my single girlfriends out there who complain that there are literally NO MEN. There does seem to be a ratio of about 6:1 when it comes to available and attractive and young women and men. Well, nothing causes a Lego fight as surely as an argument over the little Lego men. I try to evenly distribute at the beginning of a Lego session to ensure fairness to all (shame this doesn’t happen on a cosmic scale) but there will inevitably be a fight over the “cool” looking ones as opposed to the Lego men with 70s haircuts (left over from my childhood). And I’m pretty sure the guy with the red necktie is gay.

You can’t have fun without ruining your fingernails

The kids are always impressed with my ability to pull apart the flattest and most stubborn of Lego blocks. The result? Torn, ragged fingernails that rip up your stockings and tear your contact lenses. Luckily, I’ve never been a girl who spends much time or money on her nails. There are so many fun things to do that are not compatible with nail care – gardening, playing with clay or playdough, fingerpainting, playing the piano, to name a few. My advice to Little Miss will always be to forget the nail polish and get your hands dirty.

The good things are sometimes hard to find

Let’s face it, there’s a lot of crap to sift through in this lifetime, and sometimes it feels like the good bits are few and far between. Like the endless supply of mismatched Lego pieces saved from mine and Souljourneyboy’s childhood, which don’t seem to fit anywhere. But then, right at the bottom of the box, you’ll find a tiny walkie talkie or a racing helmet or a flower bush that still has all its flowers. Nice.

How cool is Lego!