Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What Works For Me Has Moved

I have moved this blog to WordPress. Please come and keep visiting me there!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Holidays work for me

Eric and I have returned from a wonderful week in Cairns with my dear friend Fiona and her two lovely kids.
Tourist highlights included:
  • Green Island - glass bottomed boat tour, walking in the rainforest, checking out the Crocodile Park and swimming
  • Daintree River - Boat Train cruise during which Eric got to drive
  • Port Douglas - lunch, shopping, coffee, sorbet, gelato - what more can I say
  • Mareeba/Atherton - Coffee Works with unlimited coffee and chocolate tasting and really interesting museum, Cheese Factory, Strawberry farm and banana farm
  • Kuranda - Train ride up there and Skyrail back - went to Bird park and Butterfly house which were both stunning
  • Muddy's water playground on the Cairns foreshore followed by lunch at Skippers
  • Dinner at Paddywhacks where I had Outback pasta complete with kangaroo and crocodile and got Eric to try both.
Highlights of being on holiday
  • no deadlines or appointments
  • very little housework indeed
  • having dinner cooked almost every night - brilliant effort on the part of our lovely hostess
  • sleeping in until Eric decided it was time for me to get up each day
  • freedom to read and read
  • time to knit
  • lots and lots of conversation about the past, the present for both of us and what the future might hold
It all seems like a bit of a dream now that I'm home with the ironing and the ashing and all the work but I'm so glad we had the opportunity to go and that we were able to see and do so much. Eric connected with Fiona's son in about 5 minutes and they had a ball - six nights of sleepovers!

Words aren't enough to say thank-you to my dear Fiona for her wonderful hospitality, flexibility and patience. We both had a brilliant time with many great memories. You rock!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Goal for November

Rachel Anne at Home Sanctuary issued a challenge on her blog today - to set a goal for November.
That is it. being out of bed by 7:00am every day. If I can do that it will make a huge difference to my life.
(On Thursday I'll be up way before this time because 7:00am is when our plane takes off for Cairns.)
To achieve this goal I'll need to get to bed at a more reasonable hour than I do now but I think I can do it. And to F who might be worrying about me stampeding around her house pre-7:00am if she is not up by then I promise I won't!

For Nine Years

That's our first ever "family" photo taken on Melbourne Cup Day 2000. Eric had been born on the Friday before. Today is his ninth birthday which makes us parents for nine years.
Nine years since we did everything in our power to fall pregnant and stay pregnant. I was diagnosed with poly-cystic ovaries in 1998 and at times in the ensuing months it seemed as if our dreams of parent hood would never come true. We had seven cycles of IUIs (inter-uterine inseminations) and by December of 1999 we were pregnant but sadly not for very long. We went back in early 2000 to try again thinking that we'd be in for another series of failed attempts but it seems our wonderful dr had got the "mix" of drugs correct and we fell pregnant with Eric.
Everything went swimmingly with the pregancy until 24 weeks. I had no morning sickness but I took a long time to realise that this could indeed mean our dreams were coming true. I remember one Saturday afternoon while dh was playing Bowls I drove to Spotlight to look for baby curtains and when I got to the roundabout at Indooroopilly I turned around and came back home again without even going into the shop. In fact before 24 weeks I'd bought about six singlets and we'd decided on a theme for the baby's room - Bananas in Pyjamas.
Then on a Monday morning in August I awoke to bleeding and as I drove to the dr's office the cramping beagn. I had an "irritable uterus" and it stayed cranky for the next 10 weeks. Dh took me from the dr's to hospital that morning where I was confined to bed, allowed up to use the toilet or have a shower and that was it. If I left the confines of my room I had to go by wheelchair. After three weeks I was allowed home but I think I only lasted there for one night. The Sydney Olympics were on. I watched the swimming finals. I got all excited. I started having contractions again. Back to hospital. Do not pass go.
So there I stayed for the next 7 weeks with contractions every 2-3 days until finally when I reached 34 weeks the dr decided to deliver Eric via c-section. It was about 6:00pm at night and no cameras were allowed. I remember asking "what is it? what is it?" and the dr saying "it's a baby!". We never found out the sex of the baby until he was born. The dr got him out and promptly dumped him on my face and I was left with no uncertainty as to whether we had a boy or girl! He weighed in at 5lb 3oz which was a very good weight for 34 weeks. All the weeks of ventolin, steroid injections and bed rest had paid off. He was soon whisked away to the SCN and a humidi crib where he had oxygen till midnight. After a couple of nights in the humidi crib he graduated to a plastic cot and from Special Care 1 to Special Care 2 where he would spend the first 4 weeks of his life - floppy and tired and not interested in feeding.
His name was decided when we were engaged and Anthony's Uncle Eric passed away. We sat having dinner one night and somehow decided that Eric James (the James for my Dad Jim) would be a great name for a baby boy. Even though I had a scan every week that I was in hospital we never found out the gender. The scan people used to see us coming in the end and say "we know, you're the people who don't want to know whether it's a boy or girl - you just want to know if it is alright." The girl's name was still being discussed on the day Eric was delivered so we know he was "meant to be".
I got sent home on day 7 and while it was wonderful to go home it was also one of the saddest days of my life, driving away from that hospital with our little Eric still there. He was finally home with us in early December wearing a newborn sized huggies with the whole waistband folded over and 0000 clothes falling off him.
From then on he progressed very well and was always a very contented baby who was easy to care for. The whole saga was very challenging and still challenges me to a certain extent even today. I remember being asked once about what hadn't gone to plan with Eric and I could truthfully answer absolutely everything. We learned to not have an expectation about anything set in stone and to accept what life dished up for us. I wouldn't change any of it because out of it we were gifted with Eric - a truly wonderful human being.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Blessings and Challenges

Today had definitely had its ups and downs. I've been blessed by:
  • see Eric run his hardest in the 100 m and 60m hurdles in a the junior pentathlon
  • seeing Eric thoroughly immersed in reading
  • great company and conversation at my social knitting group this afternoon
  • Anthony tidying up the living area and vacuuming to give me a head start on the housework for the night
  • Scribing a letter for Daniel to his new pen friend in California
However there are also some challenges:
  • A very strained conversation about my work (or lack thereof) and how we can manage just on one much smaller income
  • The great unwillingness and mini tantrums being thrown by one son whenever he is asked to help out with anything.
  • Piles of laundry everywhere that must be dealt with before Thursday (when I'm leaving on a jet plane, la la la la la la la la)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Week That Was October 31

I think the "moral of my story" at the moment is that I need more structure in my days because I haven't got much done at all this week. I worked one day and drifted through the rest. Yesterday I had a routine dr's visit and was offered a swine flu vaccination so I decided to have it. I had a really sore arm last night and today I have had a few flu-like symptoms but I'm keeping up the fluids and trying to take it easy.
Of course, throw Halloween into the mix and I was creating two very "last minute" costumes this afternoon. We have a family in our street who come from Canada so they organised trick or treating for the street. The boys have a nice haul of lollies and we're having a late dinner. We're lucky to live in a very friendly street where we know a lot of our neighbours.
Tomorrow is a Pentathlon for Eric and in the afternoon he is going to a Sacramental workshop in the afternoon. Anthony is taking him to the work shop so that I can go to my once a month knitting group. I'm really looking forward to it.

Friday, October 30, 2009


A friend wrote on her blog today about things that she is thankful for or "blessings" and she was able to add some photos. What a great idea! This has inspired me to take more photos of everyday things and to "count my blessings" at the end of the day especially on a day like today when not much has gone right!
So no photos today because it is 10:27pm as I write this (after a Little Athletics meeting that ran LATE) but the following is what I am grateful for tonight:
  • My sore left arm because it means I've been vaccinated and am now safe from swine flu
  • The little boy curled up on the bed behind me watching his favourite Scooby Doo cartoons - his Prep class did an assembly item today about all the LetterLand characters they have learned this year and it was excellent!
  • The wonderful teacher that Prep boy has this year.
  • The other, almost 9 year old boy who has already passed out in his own bed and his wonderful love for reading. He's up to the 4th book in the Harry Potter series and just can't put it down. He was in the athletics clubhouse reading when it was time for his 400m tonight!
  • The Wii Fit because it meant I could squeeze in 15 minutes of exercise this afternoon even though I didn't make it to the gym.
  • The help that I get with recording at Little Athletics. I was really frazzled when I got there tonight because we were running late, I've mislaid the age patches that I'd ordered in the mail and the boys couldn't find their gear to put on but once I'd been there for about half an hour and had a chat to few people, registered some new athletes and started recording sprint times everything felt much better.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Learning in Communities

I've scored a couple of days work relief teaching. I did a day on Friday and I'm doing another day tomorrow. It isn't a lot but it is a start and I'm hoping to get my foot in a few doors.
In the meantime, I've been on another learning journey altogether. When I was a child we were taught to knit. We made coathanger covers out of horrible nylon yarn using metal needles. I think my sister was more successful than me and she went on to teach herself how to crochet but I just had that bit of knitting experience.
Since then I've taught myself to cross stitch and I've become reasonably skilled in that medium. I started going to Threads and More when they opened their store in Sherwood and doing cross stitch but the siren call of the beautiful yarns and materials they have there worked its magic and soon I was signing up for my first knitting class. I've done a couple of classes since then (last year) and alternated knitting with cross stitching.
I've learned and in some cases re-learned:
  • cable cast on
  • cast off
  • plain knitting
  • purl knitting
  • stocking stitch
  • moss stitch
  • knitting into the side of a knitted piece
  • changing colours
  • weaving in ends
  • assembling a garment
  • knitting "in the round"
I've made a garter stitch geometric blanket, a patchwork Noro top, a face cloth, a hand towel amd I'm currently working on the bath bag. And it has all been a pretty painless process. So what contributed to this being such a positive learning experience? And can this be replicated in schools?
Learning environment - I can go and do a class or participate in one of the social groups that meet at the store. There's good coffee on hand and the staff and fellow knitters are always friendly and helpful.
Just in time learning - I can ask a question almost any time. I've waited till Saturday morning but I've also dropped into the store during the week and there is always someone who can point me in the right direction. If I really can't wait I've been pointed to the Ravelry community which is like Face Book for knitters.
Encouragement for new ideas - there are lots of different people doing lots of different things and they are all willing to share what they are doing or what they have learned.
Empathy when mistakes are made - everyone has ripped things out and tried again and apparently I am becoming a "real knitter" if I can do so.
I'm eagerly anticipating new learning and thinking about how I might pass it on to others. I might teach Eric to knit but he'll have to tie his shoelaces first!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


What Works for Me this week is trying to be patient but it isn't working all of the time.
Ok, I've had my time at home and now I'd like to split my time before home and school but I need ot have some schools ring up to ask me to work. I've mainly been hanging around at home, procrastinating about doing housework and not making too many plans for the day. Now, I'm thinking that if Murphy's Law is in effect I should plan some things for next week, especially my birthday! and then I'll be called into work.
I've got my bag of tricks packed up, a work outfit picked out ready to go and I am ready but them the phone doesn't ring.
So I need a very definite "Plan B" to follow around here so that things get done. Who knows? I may havea sparkling house with all the laundry up to date by the time the Christmas Holidays come around. Or maybe not.
And while we're on the subject of earning money, feel free to click on my Google Ads or I may never be able to buy any yard for knitting ever again!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I find the days much more enjoyable when I get to spend them with people so I was glad to connect with three different people for coffee at different parts of the day today as well as to spend some time outside school chatting with the other Mums. I've also finished a small knitting project which is the first in series of three. I've done the wash cloth and next comes the hand towel and the bath bag. They are knitted with Jo Sharp Desert Garden Aran Cotton which feels absolutely delightful. I've decided the housework can wait till tomorrow and I'm going to start the hand towel tonight while I'm on a roll. I bought a book today called The Complete Idiot's Guide to Overcoming Procrastination so maybe that will cure me!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Beginning of a Journey

I haven't got much today because I was cursed with a migraine once again so most of the day wasa write-off. Tonight A and I attended the first parent meeting for the Parish Sacramental Program. Eric will make his first Reconciliation in November this year and then receive his first Communion and Confirmation on June 6 next year. And so it begins. Tonight was a lot of information about upcoming meetings and some things to do with our children to get them more acclimatised to the Church, Prayer and Sacraments. We have been very slack with attending Mass and we really need to improve in that area. Luckily there are two really good Masses we can attend in the school parish so that is encouraging. The program leader advised making it more of an occasion by going out for coffee afterwards or going to visit friends etc. She also discussed many ideas for bringing prayer into the home - something we are sorely in need of. So this will be another project for me in the coming weeks. I'll leave you with the parent's prayer that we shared tonight because I think it applies to all parents, teachers and people who havea role in the lives of children.

Heavenly Father, make me a better parent. Teach me to understand my children, to listen patiently to what they have to say, and to answer all their questions kindly. Keep me from interrupting or contradicting them. Make me as courteous to them as I would have them be to me. May I never laugh at their mistakes, or resort to ridicule when they displease me. Bless me with the confidence to grant them all their reasonable requests and the courage to deny them privileges I know will do them harm. May I not rob them of the opportunity to think, to choose and to make decisions for themselves. Make me fair and just and kind. And fit me, O Lord, to be loved and respected and imitated by my children Cary C. Myers

Sunday, October 4, 2009

My Inner Sanctum

It has air conditioning, my desk and computer, the TV that has Foxtel IQ and my bed. It is also a big mess most of the time because it is the command centre for laundry and many other things. So when Rachel-Anne put out the challenge on her blog I knew I had to bit the bullet and have a go at it. Mind you, not all the mess is mine but we won't discuss here the stuff that dh dumps and the debris that two little boys can leave when they camp out on Mum and Dad's bed to watch Scooby Doo or Pokemon episodes.
The photos don't show a good deal of progress however I have:
  • coralled all the clean laundry in one spot and all the dirty laundry to another
  • packed a bag with some resources for use at a school if I get called in tomorrow
  • hung up an outfit to wear if I work tomorrow
  • Put out gym gear to wear if I don't work tomorrow
  • Piled all the papers on one spot on the desk so I can deal with them in an orderly fashion
  • Put away two gorgeous knitted pieces I managed to pick up this afternoon (They were selling off samples that they no longer have the yarn for and they were $20 each or 3 for $50 so I picked up a jumper for a friend's baby and a couple of pieces for myself.)
This hopefully gives me enough peace to have a good night's sleep so I can deal with the great unknown of tomorrow.

Menu Plan Monday October 5

Time to get into a good routine this week so I've planned the meals and written a shopping list and I'm going to stick to it as much as possible.
Monday - Sausages for boys, frozen casserole for me
Tuesday - Corny Chili - probably cooked on Monday night as it is only 3 hours in slow cooker then re-heat Tuesday night
Wednesday - Grilled chicken with salsa verde - from WW magazine
Thursday - Take Away - I'll be having my usual Vietnamese Salad
Friday - Little Athletics - some sort of substantial snack for myself and boys in the afternoon then a hamburger during the meet if I'm lucky!
Saturday - Mexican Chicken tortilla wraps - from WW magazine
Baking - Chocolate Wheaties Biscuits (cookies for my American readers!) I'm working my way through two little cupcake and cookie books I got from the goodie bag at the movies last Wednesday night.
Apricot Cake - from the WW magazine again so I have a healthy option for school lunches.
If I am super organised I might be able to post a picture of something I cook!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Slow Week

I think the highlights of this week were mainly today!
(Aside from the super awesome Gold Class movie experience on Wednesday night!) We had a slow sort of week for the second week of the school holidays, pottering around the house and not getting much done at all. But in brighter news I have re-discovered my knitting mojo and I've been knitting up a storm in order to finish my Noro patchwork top.
This morning I did a knitting class at Threads and More and learned about the fine of art of putting knitting pieces together. I've sewn up 5 out of 14 sections of one side of the top and I've got 2 1/2 sections to finish knitting before I can assemble the second side. The pieces go every which way as they are joined together so it makes an interesting effect. It would take one good knitting night to get the knitting finished but for the sewing and weaving in of loose ends I'll need some time where I can sit at a table. If I don't get much work this week who knows what could happen! So knitting class was a highlight and tomorrow I'm going to a social knitting group where I might be finishing my top or starting a face washer (wash cloth) knitted in scrumptious cotton yard in teal and cream. That will be the first highlight of next week.
The other high point was this afternoon's Little Athletics meeting which was my first as Chief Recorder in addition to being Registrar. I was kept very busy all afternoon and we got nearly everything right. I just forgot to write times on one lot of 800m tickets but they'll live. One of the new parents was my assistant and we had a great time chatting in between recording times and registering people. I have met some of the nicest people I know at Little Athletics. The boys did alright at their events but they are still getting into the swing of things for the new season. E did his very first 800m this afternoon and ran 3:58.3 min which puts him at red level which is the second achievement level for his age group. I think he goes well over a long distance and if I were to attempt anything similar I'd need an ambulance to be called!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Just call me the human pin cushion

I started having regular massages about three years ago. I haven't been every two weeks for the past three years but I find that life is so much better when I stick to the two week regime. I've had a couple of cases of whiplash in my time and my neck will never ever be quite the same. But the massage keeps everything moving comfortably just like oiling the joints of a machine.
After enduring almost two years of treatment for infertility in order to have my beautiful boys I was not keen on the idea of needles/acupuncture and I told them that when I first started having massages. However I was talked into it and the result speak for themselves. Tonight I've had treatment for my sinuses and associated headaches and they feel clearer already. If you'd asked me three year ago whether I'd care to volunteer to have needles stuck in various parts of my face I would have told you where to go. But it works. I can walk into that clinic, tell my massage therapist what is going on in my life and he can do something about it. It is mostly covered by our private health insurance and the out of pocket expense is worth it. So even with my income about to becoem more precarious for the near future this is one expense I'm going to keep on having because being able to move and feel comfortable in your own body is just essential.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Haven't Died. Have been to heaven.

Happy Birthday to me!
Well not for another 22 days officially but I've received a wonderful gift this evening. One of my best friends F, who is down in Brisbane from Cairns for a work related course, took me out to the Gold Class Cinema at Indooroopilly for a special preview screening of Julie and Julia. As if that wasn't good enough in itself There. Were. Party. Bags. and free drinks and a free appetiser. Of course we both needed a serious de-briefing after the movie because it was fantastic so we had "supper" down at the Pig and Whistle.
There was so much to talk about that I seriously need that week in Cairns with F (yes that where E and I are headed in November!) Without giving out too much information we NEED to cook Boeuf Bourginonne while I am in Cairns. We were wondering if this was the first movie with a blog as part of the central plot. We think blogs have no doubt been mentioned on many shows and in movies but not central to anything.
We also talked about this blog and I shared how sometimes it is a challenge to think of the positive in my life which is what this blog is all about hence the title "What Works For Me" but how the very act of thinking of the positive is a good thing in itself. That is especially true now as I am in such a period of transition and change in my life. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the changes and forget the positives.
We discussed who might be reading this blog. I have it in my e-mail signature although not in flashing lights or anything but it goes out with almost every e-mail I send.
So if you are a reader please think about identifying yourself if you are comfortable with that. You could do it publicly in the comments or send me an e-mail at tmcnamara22@gmail.com .
Either way I'd love to hear from you. I don't have Google analytics or anything very technical on my blog to track who's visiting although F might introduce me to that while I'm in Cairns. So if you area reader and you don't want to be identified you won't. So don't be worried or anything. I'm just interested.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Some readers may know that A's Mum had a fall last year and broke her hip. Unfortunately she had another fall on Friday at the casino and has sustained another slight fracture at the top of the hip joint which the the doctor says will not require surgery but needs some extended "rest time". She has been in hospital for a couple of nights now and will remain there until the drs decide what to do with her based on two sets of x-rays. The boys went to see her with A yesterday morning and A went back tonight and was there when the doctor came around so that was good timing. She really likes her independence and her trips to the movies and the club and the casino so I don't think she'll take kindly to being cooped up for too long!
I've had a bit of time away from the family over the weekend especially yesterday. A hasn't had any time off work these holidays and it has been pretty full on with the two boys plus assorted visitors so yesterday morning I took myself off to knitting group at Threads and More (who are now blogging). It seems to have re-ignited my knitting mojo and I've been going hard at it since yesterday. There's a few more squares and rectangles needed before I can start putting together my patchwork top but I am well over half way there so I tipped out my knitting bag to take a picture of all the colours. I'm loving the Noro yarn - as well as changing colour every so often as I knit it is made a blend of 45% silk, 45% kid mohair and 10% lamb's wool so it feels just delicious!
Then yesterday afternoon I took advantage of the fact that Bowls was not on (for the first week in ages) and I went to the movies to see a "grown-up movie" (as opposed to G-Force which I took the boys and their cousin to and nearly fell asleep in). I saw the remake of "Fame" and I quite enjoyed it. It had good messages about following your dreams and accepting the obstacles that come up in your pursuit of dreams. Life may not always go as planned but you find a way to deal with it and just keep on going. There were some great songs in it and I walked out wanting to buy the soundtrack CD. That hasn't happened since Bridget Jones!
The dust storms, dryness and high winds have played havoc with my sinuses for th past few days especially today so it has been a quiet day inside for me today - in bed this morning with a bad sinus headache and wielding my "knitting sticks" again this afternoon. The dust seems to have settled (literally) for now so it looks like tomorrow could involve some cleaning projects. The boys will become well practiced at washing my car because they did it last Sunday before the dust storms hit!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Don't Waste A Day

We've just received news that my cousin's husband who was only 50 years old and in relatively good health has passed away at midday today from swine flu in Vietnam where he was working. We don't see all that much of that side of the family but in the 25 years or so that he's been a part of our extended family he was always a really nice, friendly guy with a good sense of humour. It is such a great loss and such a great shock for it all to have gone downhill so quickly. He leaves behind his wife (my cousin) of about 25 years and his son who would be in his early twenties. I simply can't imagine how they are dealing with all of this. At least they were able to be with him in Vietnam when he passed.
I guess it shows us that no one is immune to disaster and we never know what is around the corner. All our days on this Earth are precious and should have some purpose. I think that is something I can take from this tragedy - never waste a day because you don't know what is around the corner.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Still Stitching

I finished my Christmas Ornament for September on Saturday night with some serious beading withe seriously thin needle but I am very happy with the results. Just the finishing to be done now. And today I received the first of my birthday exchange parcels from Jenny - a beautiful beaded Christmas ornament! There is a lot of bling going on around here!

I'm Going on a Little Holiday

This is where E and I are going for a week in November. Dh booked our plane tickets today. Squeeeeeeee! D hasn't been left out on purpose - he didn't want to miss Prep and his best friend! So I wonder how many readers can tell where we are headed?
One more hint - we will be visiting one of my best friends in the world!

Menu Plan Monday September 21

Monday - Beef Strognaoff in slow cooker - I wasn't entirely happy with this. I've misplaced my slow cooker book and I used a recipe off the net from the Sunbeam site but it was for a larger quantity and it just tasted a bit too bland for my liking
Tuesday - Spaghetti Bolognaise - my 4 year old nephew is sleeping over and I know he likes his "psketti"
Wednesday - Chicken Fried Rice - just with D because E is having a sleepover so that I can take D shopping the next day with his birthday money and without the "advice" of his big brother who would not be able to stop himself giving said advice.
Thursday - I'll be having a caramelised pork salad from my favourite Vietnamese place at Indooroopilly and boys will have take away something
Friday - Roasted Pork Fillet with Plum Sauce
Saturday - Green Chicken Curry
For my lunches - Brown Lentil Salad with Tuna and Olives - hopefully I'll get this made for lunch tomorrow
For Snacks - Weight Watchers Mars Bar Slice - which is a "no bake" recipe ideal for the heatwave we are having

The Deep End

I think I will be watching a lot of this during the coming summer. My boys like to go in the slide pool where D hurtles down like a bullet and E glides gracefully down as slowly as possible. But what they love most of all is the deep end of the pool and jumping off the blocks. And today I allowed D to do it without me physically in the water with him for the first time. He does a very frantic dog paddle to get to the side (so much for the swimming lessons) but he makes it and he is so proud of himself, giving me a big thumbs up sign every time he climbs out of the pool. He then went on to his lessons today where he performed really well after I bribed him with more "slide pool time". He gets so excited at swimming lessons that he has terrible difficulty staying on the step when it isn't is his turn and he wasn't listening to his teacher or trying to follow her instructions very well.
I should mention here that E is always beautifully behaved and is doing very well. he's got good technique but not much speed. However in a couple of weeks when his lesson moves to the big pool I expect he will develop more stamina.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Week That Was September 19

When I look at my iCal page for the week it is bristling with appointments and things scheduled but I certainly didn't get to all of it. I did get to the medical appointments but not to the gym or Weight Watchers. I did make a big effort though to get things done here at home so that I can enjoys the two week school holidays with the boys and so that I am on the way to being organised for life as a relief teacher which begins in two weeks.
I've also been enjoying some individual time with Eric as we plowed through Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I was reading him a chapter a night but he's now finished on his own and I have to finish it myself tonight before we start tomorrow on HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban. We also did some craft together this afternoon. I suppose it isn't the most manly thing to be doing - ripping up floral rice paper and gluing it to a ceramic jug and bowl set but it is good for his fine motor skills!
I'm having sleep issues which are making my mornings extremely difficult but I'll be working on getting a good routine going during the holidays.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Planning for the School Holidays

I've got less than a week before my boys are home with me for two weeks and I've decided not to just let this holiday flow past and then regret the things I could have done with them. So this afternoon we had a little brainstorming session, I did some web surfing and we had another ideas session. We've come up with three lists:
  • Things to do at home
  • People we'd like to see
  • Places to go
We certainly won't do everything on the lists but it gives us more than enough ideas to go on with and we can have some of our days planned which gives us something to look forward to.
To share some of our lists:

Things to do at home
People to see
  • Nephew coming for a sleep over
  • Friends to catch up with who are not necessarily school friends
  • Some school friends
Places to go

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Happy Times

Here I am with the gorgeous flower girl!

I'm just home from the wedding of my godson Matthew to his beautiful Amanda. We decided not to take the boys as they are not really of the right age to appreciate weddings and it meant we had a nice relaxed time and were able to enjoy our niece and nephews. My niece was the flower girl and of course she was absolutely gorgeous. She is turning into a very poised young lady at the ripe old age of 7.

A Little Adventure (and Misadventure!)

One thing that fascinates my boys is bridges. They like looking at the view from them, from underneath them and from all angles really and since a new bridge has been built over the Western freeway linking ANZAC Park with the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens they've itching to get onto it. It is a cycle and pedestrian bridge and we drive underneath it every day on our way home from school. I went looking for it's name only to find that it has been called the "Toowong Cycle and Pedestrian Overpass" (not very exciting considering the names of other bridges in Brisbane. Below is a video of what it looks like to ride over it.

Yesterday the boys packed their scooters into my car in the morning so that after school we could go to the park and ride over the bridge. We actually ventured further into the Botanic Gardens (Eric insists that they are the "BOWtanic Gardens") the check out the exact location for my godson's wedding which was today. We've decided that further exploration of the Gardens is needed during the upcoming holidays and set out to scooter (or trudge in my case) back over the bridge to the car again.
Poor old Dan "lost control" coming around one of the bends on the ANZAC Park side and had a crash. He got off lightly with just a few grazes but fortunately his "damaged" arm was better after a band-aid.
In all it was a good solid hour of walking for me which is just what I need so I'll have to think up some more little after school and holiday adventures.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Talking It All Over

It is a bit lonely being home, alone and unsupervised for days on end but on Thursday I spent time with two different friends talking about life, work, weight, housework and lots of other issues in between. One of the things I miss most about school is having the chance to have a good chat to other adults each day and being able to bounce things off people so Thursday was great. I've really clarified for myself where I am heading on my journey to better health and well-being as long as all the other things I need to do as a wife and mother.
I've set a goal at Weight Watchers to lose 5kg by December 3 and I think that if I can achieve that it will give me the forward momentum to keep on losing weight. I'd like to lose more than 5kg by then but that is the minimum.
Three main things I'm going to do to achieve this are:
Finding my 30 minutes - I can really relate to the ad campaign about finding 30 minutes a day to exercise. Contours is 5 minutes away and it takes 30 minutes so there is really no reason why I can't go there 6 days a week but we've set 3-5 days as a minimum for that.
Tracking my food intake - I use e-tools on the Weight Watchers site so I can do this quickly and easily each day - so there is no real excuse for not doing it. I'm actually putting it into a word document and printing it out to take to my meeting next week for added accountability.
Planning my meals - I made a pork casserole in the crock pot on Tuesday before I took the boys to swimming lessons and came home to find A with pizzas because "he didn't know I was going to cook" (I always ring him if I'm not going to manage dinner). He then announced that he didn't like the look of the pork casserole so it is still sitting there.

Edited later to add:
After I'd stormed out of the kitchen A did have the sense to divide up the pork casserole into containers and freeze it so when I got back from yesterday afternoon's adventure with the boys I had a packet of 90 second brown rice and my pork casserole for a nice healthy dinner.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Week That Was

I seem to have done a lot of "tail chasing" this week. My motivation levels are really up and down so I seem to have tackled small parts of many tasks without getting a whole lot done. So I've done part of the washing. I've been to the gym only once and I planned and cooked meals for part of the week. I feel a bit guilty about this because I certainly don't have work to get in the way of me getting things done at home but everyone keeps telling me that it will take time to establish a routine.
On Wednesday I went to a social Knitters group at Threads and More. It seems to be a very social group and I got a lot of knitting done. I also got a lot of knitting done last night while I watcher Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone with Eric (who has read the book!). I went to a Trivia Night at school on Friday night where I sat at the Prep parents table. We didn't do particularly well at the trivia but we certainly had a good time.
The biggest task was probably the Little Athletics Sign-On day yesterday where we signed up 77 athletes which is a bit down on last year's numbers but still promising. I was much less stressed this year as I know the registrar job now and I had spent a lot of time getting prepared. Eric came and helped as a "model" for the uniform and to hand out the extra water bottles and ticket books for families with more than one child. He was very useful to have around so I'm hoping to persuade him to do it all again next week when we are likely to be even busier.
We packed about 100 goodie bags to give out at the sign on yesterday and today I went back for a Little A's working bee where I packed about 100 more. It is good to have all of that "stuff" out of my house after only a week. 300 water bottles take up a LOT of room.
My goals for the coming week involve exercise - there's no reason why I can't go to the gym 6 days a week as it is only a 30 minute session and cooking - I've planned meals, something to bake and a salad that I can make and eat over a few days. I hope to be reporting in with some more progress next week!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Mountain To Conquer

Rachel Anne is conquering things in her "Home Sanctuary" blog today. There are many "mountains" around here that need conquering but during this week in particular I have the Little Athletics Sign On "mountain" to conquer. Saturday will be the first sign on day and I need to have at least 100 bags of goodies packed by then and be all organised ready to sign up people. I began work today by bringing up all the things from downstairs and out of my car. Next step will be organising the registration stuff and packing the goodie bags for the two sign on days. Luckily the boys think it is very exciting to pack goodie bags and will be a great help. However this year they are intent on earning pocket money to buy more lego so there may have to be some payment involved. Whatever I pay them will be more than worth it because it is an enormous job which thankfully comes but once a year.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Catching Up on the Week - Company Girl Coffee

I know I'm a bit biased but is this not one of the cutest little guys you've ever seen?
Five little cousins ranging in age from 8.5 to 7 months
D the Scientist - I love the concentration on that face!

The biggest event of the week was today with the baptism of our newest family member, our 7 month old nephew. Anthony and I were godparents and the little "man of the moment" seemed mildly amused by the whole thing and then fell asleep. 9kg of sleeping baby gets really heavy to hold after a while but is delightful at the same time. We got some lovely photos of the boys with their cousins. In other news, D will present his science experiment "Ocean in a Bottle" to his prep class tomorrow. Being a SAHM (for the next six weeks anyway) I get to go along and watch.
Join Rachel-Anne for more Company Girl Coffee Chat

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Perfectly Imperfect Life

I could have gone around my house and taken a whole host of photos like this one and that is despite Mum going on a vacuum cleaning rampage all over my house yesterday. I'm rather late in joining in the Perfectly Imperfect Life Challenge which I found on this blog. I don't have the SAHM thing together yet but it is a work in progress. I have have days and then I have days. Today has been one of those days. That's probably why I'm blogging when I could be hanging out washing, washing dishes, feeding the guinea pigs, folding washing or any number of other things.
However on closer examination there are some positive signs. I'm trying to drink my water. The pile of papers from school is right there in one spot waiting to be dealt with. My empty moisturiser jar is there and that did prompt me yeaterday to go out an buy some more of it because it is good for me. I can catch a glimpse of a handwritten letter sent to me by one of my colleagues. Even though it's tipped over I can see my cheery flower that I won during our day at the Ekka. The Post-it note on the left of screen is my MITs (most important tasks) from a few days agao but that is something I am aiming for each night. One the right of my screen I have another post-it with the times for Weight Watchers - another big priority in my life. There's two frames on the far left hand side with my Diploma of Teaching and my Bachelor of Education ready to be scanned in so I can create my on-line profile to get another job. So there's some progress. Not much progress today at all but I've been to QLAA to pick up all the requirements for Little Athletics Sign On days (do you know how many water bottles it takes to fill a Corolla?) and I've been next door and held a new born baby.
This afternoon is a play in the park and a farewell from my beloved class. I don't expect to get through it without tears but then it will be done and we can do even more moving on.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

I planned and started cooking yesterday so the week is well and truly started. I also went and bought a load of fruit and veggies from Fruity Capers in Toowong Village with the boys last weeks so when I need to snack I've got the fruit on hand. If I can keep up my pace at the gym I should be getting somewhere.

Last night I made cheddar and corn muffins and potato, leek and bacon soup.

Tonight, Monday - steak and vegetables - we're still eating parts of the meat tray Anthony won a few weeks back
Tuesday - Beef Tips over Pasta - in the slow cooker because I have a few things on tomorrow
Wednesday - Oven baked fish and chips
Thursday - Wholemeal Spaghetti with WW sauce for me, boys - take away after hockey training
Friday - Grilled Chicken with mushroom sauce
Saturday - Veal Strognaoff
Sunday - Beef, Vegetable and Parsely soup

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Day at the Ekka - never the same again

Someone commented to me on Friday that the Ekka (or Brisbane Exhibition to the uninitiated) is rather dated. Yes, it probably is and it is expensive but we still loved our morning there on Thursday. The boys scored some fluffy toys on the sideshow alley games, we rode the dodgem cars as a family. I had the comand yelled at me as I drove around with Dan "Put your arm around the little fella Mum - you can drive with one hand!!!!" We rode the chairlift for the last time as it is being dismantled for a large redevelopment that is being done on the site. I'm rather proud of the photo I took of Anthony and Dan riding behind us as I simply held the camera up behind my head and clicked!We also had a brief foray into the old Industrial Pavilion which is also being torn down. I don't know if we'll go next year especially given the prices but it was good to see all the old favourites for one last time and the boys think it is one of the best places in the world.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Little Things Add Up

I've got a lot of blogs in my Google Reader - probably more than I should try and keep up with but I sit down and read a bit at a time and I really enjoy keeping up with my fellow bloggers. I have my blog organised into categories -
Cross Stitch blogs - some very talented stitchers I've come across who show off their work and inspire me to keep on stitching
Friend Blogs - people that I've met on-line and known for years and in a couple of cases have met in real life as well
Homemaking blogs - there's a wide variety in this category from organizational to decorating to spiritual and almost everything in between. Some of these I keep reading so I can see what people's kids have been up to because they tell such wonderful stories.
GTD blogs - these are based largely on the theory of Getting Things Done which is based on a book of the same name by David Allen. I could also refere to this category as "personal development blogs"
Teacher Blogs - a wide range of blogs from fellow educators.
One blog that I've come across fairly recently is called Home Sanctuary by Rachel Anne Ridge. She focuses on the little things you can do to make you home better. She's not about long lists of jobs to do or complicated schedules to work out - just the little things one can do to make a difference. Rachel regularly issues challenges to her readers and even allocates points to tasks in case you want to keep a tally. She calls the people who join in her challenges and blog about them Company Girls.
I've had a lot of "little things" done for me in the past few weeks that have made a big difference. People have rung me, written e-mails and in one case a handwritten letter. One of my neighbours has had my boys plays with her boys at her house a couple of times. Our former cleaning ladies offered to do 2 hours for free so that I could get back on track. And many of my colleagues at school have offered to "keep an eye on" the boys. In fact the boys had better not do anything naughty at school because there is a large number of people watching.
So I've decided to be a "Company Girl" as well and join in Rachel Anne's challenges whenever I can. Her last challenge was to make a connection with some by letter, e-mail or phone call. I'm too late for points (but it isn't about the points for me) however I've answered 3 or 4 e-mails from people that were sitting in my in-box and I've starting making plans via e-mail for lunch with a former workmate. The social connections are just what I need at the moment because I am a bit lonely now that I'm not working.
I'm not going to get this whole house organised and every running smoothly in one week or even one month but if I keep doing the little things they will all add up.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Little Angel

I finished this last night. It was my ornament for July but events around here stopped me from getting it done till August 4!

Eric is home from three days with croup and is missing his class trip to the Ekka tomorrow. He and Anthony did a midnight hospital trip last night so we've all been pretty tired today.

I took him up the road earlier to buy a sausage roll for his lunch - as he was missing tuckshop! - and we've just got back from a trip to Threads and More where I bought some threads for my August ornament and a knitting pattern and wool for a vest made of squares. It is very funky wool so I've included a picture of it. I'd like to be the same size as the model by the time I've knitted it but I don't know if that will happen. I've been trying to sort out school stuff today and as a result I've got stuff everywhere!