A few of my favourite things…

Today I had a wonderful Mother’s Day filled with some of my very favourite things…

A trip to Max Brenner

Chocolate! It really is one of life’s pleasures. We indulged in hot chocolates and Tutti Fruitti pancakes – and even Picasso had to admit at the end he could not possibly eat anything else (Picasso is currently having 3 bowls of cereal for breakfast). The kids haven’t been to Max Brenner’s before, and fully embraced its “Willy Wonka” ambience.

A visit to “the Dymocks building” 

One of my most favourite places ever is the Dymocks building in Sydney’s CBD. Three floors of books, stationary and reading-related paraphernalia – what more could anyone want? I spent a small fortune and had such a lovely time browsing the shelves.

A nap

I’m not sure what it is about a nap that is so much better than ordinary night-time sleep, but I just love naps.

My assortment of gifts from the school Mother’s Day stall

Okay, okay, I’m being slightly tongue-in-cheek. But my fluffy bed socks, manicure kit, “World’s Best Mum” mug and handbag organiser are truly tokens of love. And hey, that handbag organiser will really come in handy.

I hope you Mums out there enjoyed your Mother’s Day and got to do some of your most favourite things!

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And so the journey continues…

Hi there. It’s been a while 🙂

Actually, I can’t believe it’s been about 5 months since my last post.

I’m not really sure what happened at the end of last year – there I was, really excited about our trip to Hamilton Island and busy busy busy as usual – and then, I kind of just fell into a heap when I actually stopped to relax. Bizarrely, I spent the first few days of my holidays bursting into tears at odd moments, and I just couldn’t bring myself to write at all. I think I had literally reached the end of myself, and I had absolutely nothing left to give.

Fortunately, the holiday was exactly what I needed – we had a wonderful time eating, swimming, snorkelling and reading – because little did I know that some pretty stressful months lay ahead. Just before Christmas, one of my dearest friends suffered a severe brain hemorrhage and lay in a coma – we weren’t sure whether she would live or die. Then Little Miss was hit by a ute as we walked across the road to see Christmas lights. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare – there she was, holding her brother’s hand, when she just pulled out of his grasp and ran – not seeing the Toyota Hilux that was heading her way. It hit her on the head – Bookworm says he’ll never forget the sound of that as long as he lives – and she flipped over and hit the road. Unbelievably, miraculously, she didn’t even lose consciousness. She sustained a small fracture to the skull that probably is healed by now – and actually she was more upset by her cuts and scratches than anything else. There she lay on the side of the road, crying hysterically, telling the ambulance driver that all she needed was a bandaid for her toe.

That was the same week that two other children were hit by cars and died. Souljourneyboy and I sat by her bed in the hospital and just cried together. I don’t understand why she was so lucky. If she’d ran out half a second earlier she would have gone under the wheel and we’d have lost her. I don’t know if God intervened or it was just fate or coincidence, or…I don’t know.

I’ve wondered a lot about this lately – not only for Little Miss, but my beautiful friend who I mentioned earlier. She made it out of the coma – her physical healing has been startling – and she can now walk and talk and eat and hold a conversation. She’s still very confused – almost like she exists in moments, but the moments aren’t joined together for her yet. Sometimes seeing her makes me sad – I wish there was more I could do to help her brain heal. Other times I am just so thankful she is alive, and so grateful for her healing thus far. And I know her  journey isn’t done yet; she has a wonderful husband and three gorgeous kids who love her, friends and family who are believing for the best.

And so…the journey continues for all of us. Up and down and roundabout. After Christmas we had a wonderful holiday with friends at the beach (although Little Miss got stung by a blue bottle- an amazed Life Guard couldn’t believe it as there had been NO blue bottles around AT ALL) where I really just soaked up the sun and refreshed my soul with a bunch of absolutely wonderful people.

We never really know what the journey holds, do we? No one ever really knows when a Toyota Hilux will come barreling out of nowhere and knock us for a six. So let’s make sure we grasp hold of joy wherever we find it.

Peace and blessings to you all – I am looking forward to our journey together this year xxx

Life by numbers

It seems to be universal for people to mark occasions, events and important life epochs in terms of numbers – whether it’s a 12th birthday party or your child is counting down the days until Christmas.

I’ve been thinking about that this week and reflecting on numbers that currently have meaning in my life, so I thought I’d share…

40

It is 40 days until I’m here!

hamilton island

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, that’s right! 40 days until we are relaxing on a beach in Hamilton Island!!!!!

I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to a holiday more in my entire life.

Another number I’m focussing on is…

19

Tomorrow, on August 20, Souljourneyboy and I hit a milestone – 19 years together. 19 years ago, we were at a friend’s 17th birthday party and Souljourneyboy asked me to go for a walk. It was raining lightly and we paused by a street light and decided to “go out”. Aww, I hear you say. It was very sweet, and the rest, as they say, is history 🙂

And now for another number…

5

The number of kilos I would like to lose! I don’t know why losing 5 kilos is harder than losing 15, but there you go. It just is.

3

The number of times I have been sick this winter! I am so sick of being sick. I am drinking honey tea, popping vitamins and antibiotics and Codral tablets, sucking on throat lozenges and steaming my head with Vix vapour rub. I’m battling this thing head on.

What are you counting down for or celebrating this week?

Love stories

I have to say, I’m a total sucker for a love story.

I always enjoy a book that little bit more if there’s romance in it – and while I love novels like Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Middlemarch and North and South for their social commentary and brilliant writing – let’s face it, I also love them because they’re romance narratives.

I’ve been doing a bit of reading lately, nothing heavy, mostly just dystopian young adult fiction with a bit of fantasy thrown in. There’s way too many writers in this genre, and they’re not all great. But there were a few I did really like.  Frost by Kate Avery Ellison was quite good, although the romance moved a little quickly. I really enjoyed The Scourge by A.G Henley, an original concept and a killer love story, and all written from the perspective of someone who’s blind, which was fascinating. I would definitely recommend this one. The Divergent Trilogy by Virginia Roth is also excellent. She’s only written two so far, and I am hanging for the sequel, which is due out in October. This was a classic slow-build love narrative, and they’re always the best.

So why am I thinking about all of this today? Because it’s Easter Sunday, and I am reflecting on love. Love and sacrifice. There is much I could say about Easter, but I am going to quote the underquoted (in my opinion) Dave Lister from Red Dwarf. In the episode “Holoship” he is arguing with Rimmer about the life of Jesus when he says,

“I mean, whether you believe that stuff or not, it’s about a dude who sacrifices his life for love”.

It’s that simple. No matter what your faith or theology, I hope we can all think about love and sacrifice today, and the greatest love story ever told.

Here’s a link to one of my favourite songs about Easter called “Just to be With You”.

Enjoy.

There’s something about siblings

I find the interaction between my kids frustrating, sweet and fascinating all at once – probably because I am an only child. Here are a couple of the things I find the most baffling…

Their seeming preference for annoying each other over just calmly getting along
I really, really don’t get it. If you are walking past someone, why would you stick your foot out to trip them over? If everyone is sitting watching TV happily, why would you deliberately move your leg so it is touching your brother, thus causing angst and turmoil for everyone within earshot? The other day in the car, Little Miss was in uproar because Picasso wouldn’t stop “smiling” at her. I mean, how offensive can smiling be?? I often feel like I am repeating the mantra of that Guy Sebastian song – ‘Can we all just get along?’ Only I am not singing it, I’m screaming it from the next room where I’ve hidden myself away from the racket.

Their obsession over equality
Does it really matter if someone has an extra teaspoonful of chocolate sauce on their ice cream? Really? Or that two of them got three minutes of extra iPad time because the other one was in the toilet?  Or that two years ago I bought someone a 30 cent soft serve cone and promised one of the others I would get them one another time and I didn’t and of course the other hundreds of soft serve cones I’ve bought since that day don’t count because I bought them for everyone. Are siblings all defense  attorneys in the making??

It’s enough to make your hair stand on end.

But of course there are also things I find adorable…

They know each other better than anyone
Better than I know them, in some ways. Picasso knows exactly what kind of muesli bars Bookworm likes and the kind pasta sauce Little Miss doesn’t. Bookworm can tell you what book Picasso is reading and whether or not it’s his news day. Little Miss knows her brothers’ favourite ipad games and which Skylander Picasso wants for his birthday. The other day Bookworm was upset and embarrassed about a problem he had, and he didn’t want anyone to know – except Picasso. It really makes me see just how it is siblings ‘get’ each other like no one else does. And now they are at at school they have these cute conversations about lunchtime and the library and what teachers they like and what happened at assembly. It’s lovely getting a glimpse into their little shared world.

Their affection is steadfast
It never ceases to amaze me how you can be yelling at someone one minute, then playing and laughing in literally the next. How Bookworm scrawled, I hate Picasso on his doorway after a blow-up, and then right next to it, wrote I love Picasso just the next day. Or that Bookworm can be fed up to his backteeth with Little Miss, but still spend half his saved pocket money on buying her presents and writing her a beautiful card. I think something I’ve subconsciously worried about over the years is the fragility of relationships – that if you argue with someone, you run the risk of ruining the friendship. I also think part of this is because I haven’t had brothers and/or sisters to scream and shout at, but know that at the end of the day none of that matters.

So all in all, I’m glad I had three kids – if nothing else, it’s very interesting to monitor them as an ongoing social experiment 🙂

Mothers and daughters

Tomorrow we celebrate Little Miss turning 5 years’ old.

It’s a cliché, but the time really does slip by at an incredible speed. It doesn’t seem so long ago I was lying in that hospital bed – sobbing hysterically out of pure relief that the birth was finally over – and feeling an overwhelming sense of joy as her squishy little body was placed in my arms.

After two boys, I was delighted to have a girl, but unprepared for the feeling of being absolutely enveloped by her. I think as a mother, deep down I know that eventually my boys will find their significant other, and she will be the primary female in their lives. That’s as it should be. But with Little Miss, I know I will always be that focal point for her. Always. I remember when she was about three, we were talking about when she would be “big”. I was intrigued to discover that she thought she would grow up to actually be me. I had to explain to her that she would always be her, herself, and not actually me. I understood then that the very intimate connection I have with her is two-way.

So to celebrate her – and mothers and daughters everywhere – I will share the poem I wrote for her on her dedication.

Daughter

She has my eyes

My question mark chin

My blueprint form of face;

A patterned flawless space

I have chartered the course

Of my callow calf-love

From fragile pulse of forehead

Clutch of toe and butterfly breath

Her blown-glass hands

Her snail-shell palm

And like Braille, her skin

My fingers, comprehending

When my mind softens, strays

I find myself writing her name

Betraying the constant, pendulum pull

Of my thoughts, a sentience elemental

Once, lucid shadows

Of reason, contemplation

Idled in the noiseless ranges

Of my soul. Now they are strangers

Their lifeless shapes blunted

Limp husks of love, stunted

I am translucent

Engulfed and emptied-out

My folds of flimsy-frail skin

Tangled in exquisite limbs

As delicate as a bird’s call

And ruthlessly consuming all

We are knotted selves

And I, a paradox host

For, should we split, and separate

I would disintegrate

A collapsed star of yearning

Her withered moon, feebly turning

And she has my eyes

And I am undone

By this mad tenderness

This fevered restlessness

She is my logos and I

Her word, and her ruin

I am fixed in her map

I am Lear’s egg, cracked

For she is my all.

And I see you there, lost

In your blossom-boned daughter

Greedy, yet gaunt with need of her

Fatuous fascination

Of her instrument form

Our eyes catch, turn on a clockwork point.

Lured, seized, captured, caught

By the beauty of that natural law

I am less, that she might be more


xxxx

Emma Whale

Friendship is good for the soul

This afternoon I got the chance for a much-needed catch-up with Soul Sister; my best friend since I was five year’s old. I thought I would share some of the things I really love about this wonderful friend, who truly is a sister to my soul…

  • The fact we can spend an entire day in each others’ company just reading, and both feel like it’s been the best day ever. And if there’s a cup of tea and some chocolate involved, well…we’re perfectly happy.
  • Her continual quest for self-improvement. This has taken various forms over the years –  goals regarding the proper pronunciation of certain words, taking up ballet for ex-student ballet “has-beens”, and most recently, sewing. After deciding sewing would be a good skill to have, Soul Sister learned how to do it. Impressive and inspiring, and also very useful for me, as I can barely sew a button back onto a shirt.
  • The fact she maintains that Anne of Green Gables actually changed her life.
  • Her passion for children, and their education.
  • Her deep commitment to her faith.
  • Her generosity in opening up her home to other people’s kids, whenever she can. It’s not uncommon for her to say to me, “Oh, I have six kids here today…”
  • How she is constantly on the lookout for “teaching opportunities” with not only her own kids, but other people’s’ as well.
  • Her “five-second volunteering” policy. This means that if there’s a call for volunteers, and no one puts their hand up, she’ll wait five seconds and then volunteer herself. This has led to her taking on rather more than she can chew over the years.
  • The fact that she always knows what I mean, even if I don’t myself.
  • The fact she made the best speech ever at my wedding. We laughed, we cried, and everyone was talking about it for ages.

I don’t know what I’d do without her. I hope you have someone in your life like this too.