Celebrating milestones

Last week Souljourneyboy and I took the kids to a local shopping centre after school. We decided to eat dinner in the food court – which of course sounds much easier than it actually is! Everybody wanted something different and it took a good half an hour for us to help each child get their meal from their desired food outlet. When we finally sat down together I remarked to Souljourneyboy that I am looking forward to the day when we just give the kids $10 each and they are all capable of sourcing whatever food they want themselves.

Thinking upon it later, I was reminded of similar times, when I’d look forward to various milestones that held the promise of making parenting just that bit easier. It’s funny – you desperately look forward to the time when your child is capable of some new feat, but when they actually do achieve it, it’s easy to rush forward into the new stage without really celebrating that the old one is over. And so, with a 6-year-old, 9-year-old and 11-year-old, here’s what I’m thankful for right now…

Everyone’s finally mastered this sleep thing 

I really think sleep deprivation is the single most exhausting, frustrating and difficult thing about parenting. I remember being up with a newborn in the middle of the night,  just crying, wondering why on earth I’d even bother trying to sleep when I knew I’d have to be up in an hour anyway. And then the years of everyone waking up and demanding attention at 5am! It’s a wonder I’m at all sane. Anyway, I’m pleased to report now that, apart from the odd bad dream, everyone pretty much sleeps in their own bed all night. They go to the toilet by themselves and when they wake up they do their own thing and don’t wake us up. It’s quite, quite wonderful.

Everyone can get their own drink

I know this doesn’t sound like much, but to parents with toddlers this is a REALLY BIG DEAL. I always felt like I’d just sit down after hours of playing/baking/cooking/cleaning and I’d hear a small voice – “I thirsty”. They can get their own drinks and their own food, and it makes life so much more enjoyable!

Having their friends over makes life easier  

When kids are little, there’s a limit to how long a play date can last. They really enjoy it for the fist hour or so – but then all of a sudden your kid doesn’t want to share their “favourite train” (you know, the one they haven’t played with for three years) or their friend throws something and it hits someone’s head, and it’s all over. Now, when they have friends over they disappear for hours and I rarely have to sort anything out.

When they help, it actually helps

I recall gritting my teeth when a little voice asked to “help” cook or mop or use the vacuum. I felt like it drained all my motherly reserves of patience! But now, it’s actually helpful 🙂 They can vacuum and clean and even cook without too much assistance.

There are no more naps This literally changed my life. My day is no longer carved up into pockets of time, with that constant underlying fear that you’ll stay somewhere 10 minutes too long and someone will suddenly get overtired and throw a tantrum at the shops. I really am so glad the napping stage is behind us.

What milestones have your kids reached that you are grateful for?

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.

Weight loss saga continues…

I made the depressing discovery this week that I have now passed the “half-way” mark of my wardrobe.

By that I mean I have more clothes in the “don’t fit” pile than the “do fit”. It started with the odd button that was slightly too tight – and now I can only get into one pair of jeans out of the five cluttering up my drawers!

I blame the bizarre combination of a bout of Giardia a few years ago, coupled with a significant amount  of personal stress about 18 months ago, which saw me lose heaps of weight. In what was obviously a delirious frenzy of malnutrition, I got rid of all the clothes that were too big, and find myself with a whole stack of clothes that won’t fit me now!

So I either buy a new wardrobe – can’t see Souljourneyboy liking that idea – or I (shudder) actually set myself to losing some weight.

I know I’m not that big, in fact I only need to lose about 5-6 kilos. It’s just that small amount is literally a dress size for me and for some reason seems so insurmountable. As does the thought of giving up the two blocks of chocolate I seem to be eating every weekend.

Anyway I have been inspired by a colleague who has nearly completed the 12-week Michelle Bridges course, so I think I’m going to sign up for the next round, which starts on November 21. It’s kind of depressing I’ll be doing it over Christmas but I had to wait until Uni was finished, because I have absolutely no time for exercise at the moment.

So…I’m taking the plunge. Six kilos gone…hopefully by January when I have to wear swimmers in front of other people, (almost) daily exercise and lots of clean food. And I’ve put it out into the blogosphere now so I HAVE to do it.

It can’t be too hard – surely???


Italian Adventures III – Verona

In fair Verona where we lay our scene…Soul Sister and I did venture.

We had planned to just do a day trip, but at the last minute decided to stay the night and explore this beautiful and famous city.

So what did I remember most about Verona?

Was it Juliet’s balcony, where lovers throughout the ages have celebrated the supposed inspiration for the world’s most famous play?

Or the statue of Juliet, supposed to bring good fortune to those who touch her breast? (This is why there’s a man’s hand in this picture grabbing the poor statue in such an indelicate fashion. It’s a bit off, if you ask me).

Or perhaps it was the medieval Castlevecchio?

I did enjoy seeing all of these beautiful sites. But I have to admit what I remember most about Verona is a distressing side-effect of travel that is not often talked about – constipation!

Clearly my diet in Italy was somewhat different to what it usually is (I don’t usually eat endless croissants, pasta, pizza, gelato and risotto). Whatever the cause, I was in a fair amount of pain in Verona! In the end I decided I had to get something from the chemist – only, none of the staff could speak any English AT ALL. There are some things that can be translated across languages using a mix of words and actions. Constipation is not one of those things. I chickened out and bought some useless box of tablets for something I didn’t have and we just kept going. Fortunately that afternoon we came across markets selling fresh fruit salad and I cut down on the carbs for a few days and my system adjusted.

However it’s a word of warning to all you potential travelers out there! There is such a thing as too much pasta in Italy 🙂