Thursday, June 30, 2011

The one where I am not Harry Potter.

Because I am a systems junkie, I have a blog calender. It is not prescriptive at all, and there are plenty of blank spaces to allow for some spontaneity. But it does have all the lovely memes I love scheduled in as well as allowing me to stagger the giveaway and review posts a little.

I have a few titles sitting in my Blogger dashboard waiting for inspiration to strike. As my schedule for the week has been thrown out of whack for a few reasons, I thought I'd best see if any of them grab me today.

The thing is, some are quite sensible and will be easy to write about. Family stuff, baby stuff, stuff stuff. Others were clearly chucked in and saved during a delirious midnight feed or something. Like the one I'm writing now. Which began as "The one where I am Harry Potter."

The thing is, I'm pretty sure I'm not actually Harry Potter. I do LOVE Harry Potter, both the books and the movies. I'm looking forward to the release of the final movie very soon. But that does not make me him. And I can't quite remember why I thought I might be.

Here are some reasons that I am not Harry Potter.

* I am not a male. Srsly.

* Whilst my big girl has a scar on her forehead (big brother running in the house, she was behind a closed door, you do the math) I do not.

* My Dad is very tall and often beardy. But he's not Hagrid. And Hagrid isn't Harry's Dad anyway.

* I'm just a teeeeeensy bit older than Harry. Not much, but a bit.

* Sadly my superpowers begin and end with growing and feeding babies with my body. Which is pretty damned impressive, granted. But it won't save the world from Voldemort. I don't think.

* Finally, the gorgeous Kellie over at The Good, The Bad & The Unnecessary doesn't like Harry Potter ;p

 So seeing as I'm not Harry Potter, maybe you are? Let me know if so, could use a patronus most nights to ward off toddler meltdowns. If they can take on Dementors then surely sleepless small people are a walk in the park.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Thankful Tuesday

I'm jumping the gun this week as I have something special going on for tomorrow and Thursday.

So it's thankful Tuesday this week! Hey it still starts with T alright?

Image: weheartit
Today I am feeling thankful for my Mum.

She is of course the most awesome Mum in the whole history of the whole history.

I thought that even when I was a horrible teenager, but now that I'm a Mum too I know it absolutely.

I was born in Papua New Guinea while my parents were working there. We moved to the town I still live in when I was very small, and my three younger sisters were all born here.

My Mum coped pretty much all on her own. Both my parents' families live in South Australia and my Dad was a shiftworker so my Mum was very much the go-to parent. When I catch myself losing the plot during the supertrucker's shifts away I remind myself how very lucky I am to have my own parents near by and a community of friends who are always there to help me. I have no idea how she maintained her demeanour (it wasn't any of the pharmaceuticals that I've been tempted to try), but I don't remember her being anything but calm and caring throughout my childhood.

My Mum continues to be an inspiration to me. Admittedly I've done HEAPS of things she doesn't like (tattoos anyone?) but she is always there for me when I need to vent, or to cry, or to celebrate. She works very long hours but loves what she does, and I see that and think I'm looking forward to doing the same when my children are grown.

My Mum taught me about gratitude and generosity of spirit by living it herself. I am so blessed to have her.

How has your Mum shaped your life?

Edited to add... I am also extremely grateful for the health of my family and friends. A beautiful family we know have even more reason to feel grateful for good health and it would be awesome if you could pop over to Mother Duck Said and show them some love as they honor the donor who made the life they currently enjoy possible. I'm so grateful to have this family in my life.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Liar Liar Pants On Fire!

Everybody lies. Show me someone who claims they don't and I'll show you a liar.

Big lies, little lies, white lies, lies to protect peoples feelings, lies to get what we want, lies to attract attention.

But what about a child who lies?

Of course my big kids tell lies as all kids do, sometimes the untruths are so blatant that it's laughable. My favourite is when I tell the big boy we can't do something (usually at or past bedtime) but we can do it tomorrow and he'll reply that he CAN'T do it tomorrow for some obscure and bizarre reason.

Some lies are more worrying than others though. Recently I've been lied to about where the big boy is. He and his buddy down the road go back and forth between houses a fair bit. His mate's Mum and I text and call each other fairly regularly to double check where they are. Which is how we realised yesterday that the boys weren't where they told us they would be.

The boys themselves have no understanding as to why this is upsetting to us. They know they are safe so why don't we? I've spoken to the big boy a fair bit about why I get upset whilst trying not to scare him with worst case scenarios but it just doesn't seem to be sinking in. Which is probably not that surprising given that he is seven.

I don't want to have to restrict him further... this independence has boosted his self esteem enormously. At the same time I can't have him disappearing and have no idea where he is! I will be reigning him in a fair bit for the time being, until other issues have been addressed. But it isn't a good long term solution.

Do your children tell lies? How do you deal with it? Which lies are 'okay' and which ones are not?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Inappropriate or Innocent?

My big boy (who is rapidly approaching 8) is very much an outdoor boy. This year he has developed a firm friendship with a kid from his school who is in the same year level and lives just down the road.

Most afternoons and weekends the boys will go back and forth between our houses depending on whose house is the most fun at any given time. His friend is the eldest of four kids as well and there are lots of similarities between our families. I love that he has this local friend to play with (even though they can get a bit full on at times).

The past week or so some other kids have been hanging out with them after school as well. A couple of kids in the two years above them at school and one much older 'child'. They've been made welcome here by the supertrucker who has them all out on the motorbikes in the backyard when he's home.

The thing is, the older kid is 17. Not 12, or 14 even, but 17.

I feel a bit uncomfortable about this. I will say upfront (and I know how judgemental I sound here) that his very full on facial piercings are not helping his cause. Nor the fact that he dropped out of school because 'it sucks'.

As I sit here I am in full view of our backyard where my big boy and his buddy are playing footy with this other kid. They are having a really good time. It's a glorious Winters day and my little boy is running around out there too.

Were the big kid not here I would be happily wandering around the house doing my folding or other housework. As it is though I feel like I really need to be watching all the time... but what am I watching for?

Does anyone else find this a little odd? I just don't understand what a 17yo would find interesting about playing with two big little boys (who of course worship the ground he walks on... maybe that's my answer right there?)

What would you do in my situation? Am I overreacting?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Things I Know

Hooray it's Friday, and time for sharing some things I know along with Yay for Home!

This week I know that a mysterious lurgy has struck my big girl, she's had a fever and been very lethargic but no other symptoms. When school loving girl says she's not well enough for school you know she is really not well. We seem to have had such a long run of illnesses so far this Winter, and that's quite enough now thank you universe!

I know that I got two invitations to events that I am really excited to 
be going to in the next month or so. Yay!

I know that baby teeth grow quickly once they break through the gum, 
but are pretty much impossible to get a photo of.

I know that the supertrucker works so hard, and I am very grateful to him.

I know that my kids are fabulous, even when they are full of attitude, overtired or cranky.

I know that I am one lucky chicky!!

What do you know this week?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thankful Thursday: Opportunity Knocks

This week I am thankful for the opportunities this blog is providing me.

I have been a blogger for quite a long time, but previously have blogged specifically for family and friends. When I started Kate Says Stuff it was with the intention of using it as a vehicle to explore the brave new world where blogs and brands meet. Of course I write to share my journey, to seek support and advice, and to 'meet' new friends. But I don't think I've made any pretense of the fact that I am fascinated by the marketing side of blogging that continues to evolve, or the fact that I enjoy being a part of it.

The lovely Liss from Frills in the Hills posted this on Tuesday. It really made me think about the interaction I have had with various PR reps and the opportunities they have presented.

Firstly I am grateful for the opportunities themselves. I have loved being able to try out new products and share my thoughts on them with you guys. Even more than that I love doing giveaways because I know how much I love to win things myself! It is a great gift to be able to share that.

Here's how I see it. This blog is an extension of myself. If I am talking with friends about a product we are honest and open. I will often try something new on the recommendation of a friend. So obviously when it comes to talking about products here I am honest. If I don't feel a product or opportunity is right for my family I won't accept it. If I can't honestly tell you that I have enjoyed using something, or if I feel I wouldn't purchase it myself then I won't suggest you do. I trust the bloggers I read. I would hope you guys trust me too.

I love that I get to explore my marketing skills here. I love that I can do so in the confines of my own space and under no pressure to 'perform'. I love the feedback I get from those reading.

I love the opportunities I have had so far, and I'm looking forward to some really exciting and fun things that are coming up too!

I read this post over At The Bottom of the Garden recently, and it made me think about the divide that seems to exist about how a blog *should* look and behave. I am well aware that there are people who don't like seeing advertising on blogs, and who aren't fans of sponsored posts or product reviews. I think that is absolutely fair enough, and they have the right and ability to click away and return to another post later if they so desire.

I also think that I am having so much fun! I have met some amazing people, I am enjoying working with PR reps and the challenge of creating enjoyable, informative content around various products. It's all about honesty as far as I am concerned. If I've been given a product to try I will always disclose that. I choose to work with brands and products that I admire or feel will enhance my own daily life, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to do so.

But most importantly, I am grateful for my bloggy friends who have helped and supported me thus far. Who have given me guidance and inspiration. Who know me, and how I like to run with things. And who will tell me to pull my head in if need be.

What are you feeling thankful for this Thursday?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The return of the Systems Junkie: for the love of baskets.

I am not a happy Winter person. I suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and the grey chilliness of these months do my soul no good. Some days are really very trying (and on those days I remind myself I am incredibly lucky that this is the extent of my personal experience of depression).

When I'm feeling low it is hard to be as on top of things around the house as I like to be. My systems junkie ways slide a little and it can be hard catching up again. So I've been kicking my own butt a bit and prioritising the house as I need to to get back in the swing.

One way I've been improving our organisation is with baskets. I bought a couple of rationell variera boxes at Ikea a couple of weeks ago and have been wishing I'd bought many more ever since! I've made do with some cheap plastic baskets from the Reject Shop but I'm looking forward to 'upgrading' in the areas that are on public display as soon as I can. Because I'm a bit of a houseproud tragic like that.

So here's how I've overhauled some spaces that can be so easily turned into hiding places for random stuff.

Kids/guest bathroom. Heaps easier to pick up the baskets to clean the tiles than
to move all the individual bits and pieces as I was before. Noice.
Bathroom cupboard - previously full of half empty tubes and bottles and stuff.

My supremely exciting working laundry with everything I
need daily in handy grabbing distance. Yes, my laundry and bathroom
are both yellow. Cool huh?

I found this cute little box stool at the Reject Shop too and snapped it up.
I recently overhauled the kids rooms and whilst they now have a reading corner
the amount of books on the shelves can be overwhelming. So...

Ta-da! A little selection of some of our favourites that will live in the family
room. Big girl loves this already and spent quite awhile 'reading on the reading stool' today.

Finally easy and handy storage for bibs, facewashers and wipes. I tied this
basket on with stretchy elastic and am really happy with it! And props to my
bogue friend for the inspiration.

Baskets are cool. How do you use baskets at your place?

I'm flogging my blog with Glowless, come and flog along with me!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

On ASD and my boys.

This is likely to be a big old ramble. Bear with me, if you will. If not, see you next post.

I've had a lot to think about over the weekend. That thing where you suddenly start to look at everything in a different light and it's confusing as well as enlightening.

On Tuesday I was given a lot to think about in regards to our big boy. This has in turn given me a lot to think about with our small boy too.

I can honestly say at no stage did I consider it possible that either of my boys may be on the autism spectrum. Entirely due to my preconceived notion that their social skills ruled them out altogether. Which is just stupid because I know a number of kids on the spectrum who appear just as socially adept as my boys do.

So of course since then I've been overthinking it all. Remembering behaviours and reactions and seeing them in a new light.

I just want to make clear that our information regarding the big boy was not diagnostic, and at this stage I'm not looking for a formal diagnosis. It may well be that while many of his mental functions are in line with an Aspergers diagnosis he is not on the spectrum at all. If he is, he is very high functioning. It's more that I want to find the best ways to help him and if that means utilising ideas that are known to support ASD kids and they work for him then that's fantastic.

I also need to say (in case I've not been clear earlier) that this is in no way 'bad news' to us. In fact it feels just the opposite. Anything that can help us help our kids can only be a good thing!

So here's what I've been thinking about.

My big boy... he spoke quite late, I remember my Mum being a little concerned at the time. He has over the top reactions to situations. He can be very very aggressive and almost impossible to reason with when he loses it completely. He has very little sense of consequence. He finds it hard to make friends (but at the moment has a couple of quite good friends which has been great). He sucks his thumb and has a hankie that he fiddles with, particularly when he is feeling anxious or stressed. 

He has been fiercely independent from a very young age. He is spot on average in most things at school but has some problems processing information aurally. His spacial and visual awareness is excellent and he is very physically capable.

When he is upset a hot deep bath or being held firmly is the quickest way to calm him down and 'reset' his thought processes. He finds it hard to talk about emotions and has very little concept of empathy or sympathy. He becomes very engrossed in specific topics and will talk about them a lot and spend time drawing and thinking about them.

And all these things may just be him, may just be age appropriate behaviors. Or maybe not.

My small boy... he will be 3 in September. He has meltdowns that can be frightening in their intensity. He zones out completely and snaps out of them just as quickly as they start. 

They seem to be directly related to how he has been sleeping at any given time. Generally he does not sleep very well. He wakes at least 3 times a night, usually it is pretty easy to get him back to sleep. Sometimes it really isn't.

He has an increasingly obvious speech delay. He much prefers to be on his own playing with my iPhone or another electronic device than playing with the other kids, but will happily chase them around outside. He loves his friend 'Opo' and talks about him a lot. 

He has objects of attachment. Currently it's a McQueen car. We lost it the other day and he cried and cried and cried. McQueen goes everywhere with him, even to bed.

He is very reliant on me. He will happily be left with my parents but would not cope with other grown ups as my other children have. I went out last Friday evening and he had a lovely happy evening with my parents, but afterwards we had two days of sad clingy boy who was losing the plot over anything and everything.

He chews on his clothes endlessly. The collars of his pyjamas are his favourite. 

And again any of those things could be just him. Could be developmental or age related. Or they could not be.

Does it really matter? It's not like I look at my boys any differently with this perspective. It doesn't change the fact that they are beautiful and amazing kids.

It does make me wonder though.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Psychic Sonographer

I talk often about how my baby girl is the most preshus speshul snowflake baby in the whole world. Because she is. She is easy going, happy, chatty and wonderful. And I know that people don't always believe me until they meet her for themselves.

One such exchange recently reminded me of the day I found out that we were expecting another girl, and I thought I'd share that here. I wrote this the day of my mid-pregnancy ultasound.

My sonographer is a medium. IKR?

I walk in, and up front she asks if we want to know what we're having. 

I say yes, she says I am completely surrounded by girl energy.
Then she gets out the magic wand, plonks it on my belly and boom money shot.

She goes on to tell me that she doesn't usually share that she is a medium. 
Being in a scientific job she would get a fair few odd looks for it 
(although she does practice hypnotherapy). 

I'm wondering why she's speaking to me about it then and she
basically says she is being compelled to (all this while doing the

We chat and laugh (after I nearly burst into tears at the girl
news) and i tell her how I *knew* (the gender) with my big kids, 
and thought I did with toddlerboy
but was wrong.

She says yes but he's a gentle soul isn't he? On the feminine side as
compared to his brother. Well yep, he is. And she says I had the
energy right all along and maybe I need to trust my instincts more.

So I tell her how I knew there was another girl for us and she says
yes, she (baby) knows that. She also knows her name and likes it.

Funny 'cos we had this name last time, but in the end supertrucker vetoed whereas
from dot this time we've both known it is right (as happened with our big girl).

So anyways airy fairy lalala and the cynic in me is feeling a bit
mmmmmkay about it all.

Then she tells me how a while back she did a hypno regression to the
womb and realised that she could feel the energies of the people around

Prior to that she'd be scanning and being lovely to the Mum and
sometimes irritated at the baby for not being in the right position
etc. She'd have a number come back for re-measurements etc.
She says now watch this.

And she says 'come on baby, I need you to roll so I can see your
kidneys,' and the baby did that. Then she says 'okay baby, move your
hand from your face so Mum can see you' and she did. 
This happened for every single measurement! 

Srsly every time she asked the baby to move a certain way, she did.
Blown away doesn't go close!!!

There were other things too that I'm forgetting now, but it was just
the most bizarre and amazing and unexpected experience ever!

Oh and I was commenting on my other kids' personalities, and wondering
if she will be challenging in the same ways as the big girl. Oh no says the
sonographer, this is one easy going child. She will be your easiest by
far, and will be doted upon.

Cool. Good plan :)

Doo doo doo doo *cue twilight zone music*

Do you believe in mediums or psychics? I err on the cynical side, but I really feel that the sonographer was able to 'read' something that day, and she was absolutely spot on about our beautiful baby girl!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Things I Know

It's Friday and I'm playing along with Yay for Home!

I know lots of weird and wonderful things this week. Here are a few of them.

 I know a sick and snotty baby is a sad thing indeed. Poor little poppet has had a rough few days. I also know that nasal drops and a snot sucker are not her favourite, but they have certainly helped her to sleep better. I know that when the happiest, cruisiest baby in the world is this sad she truly is not feeling great.

I know I've been blown away by the support I've received in reaction to learning more about our big boy's needs. Thank you all so very much for your kind wishes and thoughts.

I know I have so much to be thankful for every single day of my life. Even the hard ones. I am truly blessed with my family and friends.

And I know I am SO EXCITED that this is my first post on my beautiful new Lenovo Z570 Ideapad! I won it simply by retweeting, so if you aren't following @Lenovo_ANZ then truly you must hop to it! I also know that the beautiful Sarah over at Ah The Possibilities! has one to give away as well, so scoot over there and enter!

Finally I know that I am only a few 'likes' off the magic 150 on Facebook, so if you'd be so kind to head over and send me some like I would simply love it.

Have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I am in the middle of a weird week.

Some fantastically awesome things have happened.

And some not very awesome things at all.

So today I am grateful for panadol, and for cold and flu medication.

I am grateful for knowledge and the ability to help make life easier for my big boy.

I am grateful for amazingly talented and helpful friends.

I am grateful for the interwebs and the knowledge gleaned there, and I'm hopeful the supertrucker's iPhone will recover from its visit to the washing machine.

Oh and had I mentioned I won a Lenovo Z570 Ideapad this week?? I am SO grateful and can't wait for it to get here!

What are you thankful for this Thursday?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

I'm playing Wordless Wednesday with My Little Drummer Boys. Come play along!

PS Have you entered our Alice in Wonderland giveaway yet?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

When everything you know is nothing.

You may remember me posting that something was not quite right with my big boy.

Today I had a follow up appointment with the school psychologist, and to say I am blown away is an understatement.

We've had concerns for a long while about my boy's apparent behavioral and anxiety issues. It came as no surprise to me that his teachers saw nothing at all out of place in their assessments, he has had a much better year so far this year and seems to hold his stress in until he gets home most often.

I will admit, because of hereditary considerations I had been working on an assumption that there may be depression/anxiety issues and hadn't thought much further than that.

What the assessment shows based on his cognitive strengths and weaknesses is a probability of (very) high functioning Aspergers.

You could knock me over with a feather! But as we spoke about strategies to help my boyo (he has trouble processing auditory cues and needs visual prompts) all my previous study from having taught Aspie kids came flooding back to me.

Bells started ringing. His desire for pressure on his body when he is stressed. The inability to cope appropriately with change. The misunderstanding of emotional cues at times. I KNOW this stuff. How have I not considered it before?

We're not going to push for a formal diagnosis. A label won't change anything for any of us and he doesn't need extra support at school or anything like that, beyond an understanding that he processes information a little differently and may take longer in some tasks than others. But I am so pleased to have some concrete ways to can help him navigate the world. Even if we did go the diagnostic route and got a yay or nay, it's really what we do with that information that is of value, and obviously I am going to implement some ideas and strategies regardless so we can work with his strengths.

Meanwhile, suddenly the idea that the small boy may also be on the spectrum doesn't seem quite so far fetched...

Monday, June 13, 2011

The one where everyone is younger than me.

You know that thing where you just *know* you are younger than most other people?

Like, people on TV are definitely older than you. So are the musicians you like. And most of your friends maybe even.

That thing.

The supertrucker is four years older than me, so some of our friends are closer to his age than mine. Older than me.

Our big boy was born when I was 26, which was pretty young for our circle of friends (many of whom are having their first or second now). So lots of Mums were older than me.

When big boy went to kinder I felt really young. All those Mums were older than me. Or maybe some were my age. Probably not though. Definitely older.

When big girl went to kinder last year I felt a shift... some Mums were older than me, but a lot were the same age and quite a few I suspect were younger.

And this year at school, so many of the Mums are younger than me. And if they're younger than me now, how MUCH younger will they be when my baby goes to school?!

It turns out I'm not younger than most other people, all of a sudden. People on TV are my age. Or younger. The music my kids prefer is performed by infants! Well, children. Okay, people in their 20's probably.

The thing is we have friends across a huge range of ages, and I like it like that. I'm not really as ageist as I'm making myself sound. I'm not really ageist at all actually.

But what I want to know is this. How can I be older than so many people when I'm really truly only about 24 surely? And how can I have been married for ten years? And where did those four children come from?

It is a mystery to me.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

When Mama Bear Roars

I try very hard to be aware that there are two sides to every story. That you never know what a person has going on in their own lives that may direct their actions. That all people, adults and children alike, are fallible and forgiveable.

My big kids walk themselves home from school of an afternoon. We live 300 metres away and there are lots of parents around who know me and my children, but it is still a leap for me to not be a helicopter parent. The positive impact on my big boy's self esteem with this independence is well worth it though, and I know my kids are sensible.

By half past three on Friday afternoon I was wondering why they weren't back yet and getting a bit concerned. Our home phone rang and it was a mobile number I didn't recognise. When I answered my barely coherent big boy told me he was at the milk bar (next to the school) and that he had been bashed.

I bolted out and sent the supertrucker to get him.Another parent had seen the incident and taken our boy and girl to the milkbar and given him her phone to call us. We still don't know who that parent was but are so grateful that they intervened!

Another child in my boy's year level had punched him in the face, bitten him on the shoulder (there were clear teeth marks) and hurled abuse at him using language that would make most adults cringe. This happened outside the kinder next door to the school in full view of a number of school families. It was an unprovoked attack according to the other kids who were there (and we've never heard mention of the other child before as friend or otherwise) and came completely out of the blue. As you can imagine my son was shaky, upset and confused.

And in that moment my understanding, my empathy and sympathy vanished and I wanted to find that kid and ask him how DARE he hurt my child? In that moment I wanted to yell at him. I wanted to find his parents and ask them what kind of monster they are raising. In that moment the Mama Bear was roaring in my head and my first instinct was to react with hatred.

Of course I didn't. And as we talked to our boy about violence and anger I calmed down and started thinking. Who knows what kind of environment that child is growing up in? Who knows what may have happened to that child during the day to make him so angry and aggressive?

There is no excuse for what happened to my son. I spoke to the school right away and am very pleased with the action they are taking to follow it up. I will go in and see the principals after the long weekend so I can find out in more detail what will be happening. My boy has recovered his equilibrium and thank goodness it hasn't seemed to affect his desire to go to school (after many issues last year with school refusal and other issues).

There is never any excuse for that kind of aggression, but I hope that the other child has support and nurturing in his life too, because he must have had some terribly bad feelings in him to have behaved in such a way.

How have you dealt with the issue of hitting and other aggressive behaviours with your children?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Things I Know

Happy Friday everyone!! I know some things, and so does Shae from Yay for Home!

Here's what I know this week.

I'm going to the Nuffnang Blogopolis next month! I'm so excited to be able to meet some great bloggers who I feel I know already, and for the opportunity to learn more about blogging.

If you're a blogger I hope I'll be meeting you there too!

Having the supertrucker home for a number of days in a row is an unexpected joy. The kids have loved it too!

I'm looking forward to a rare girls night tonight. Taking my babygirl out to a Singstar party, it's going to be ace fun! I'm so grateful to my parents who are going to have some special one on one time with toddler boy while the supertrucker enjoys an evening with our big kids.

My systems junkie ways are all back in order now that we finally have a working laundry again, with enormous thanks to the excellent staff at our local Retravision. They were incredibly helpful and supportive. And after the nightmare of appalling service we received from Billy Guyatts I am all the more thankful for it. I've learned a valuable lesson this week... sometimes the internet is not your best friend, and always try local first!

I also know I have two great giveaways running at the moment, so make sure you've got your entries in!

Have a fabulous weekend :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thankful Thursday

This week I am thankful for community.

When I had my eldest child I was 26. None of my friends were having children yet. It was a strangely alienating time... that life of worrying only about myself was over and I found myself incapable of talking about much more than my child. All normal for a new first-time Mum. All pretty boring for many of my friends.

I joined the local mothers group, but didn't really click with any of the other Mums. It was a fairly lonely time.

But I had the internet. I'd been active on the Essential Baby forums and had gotten to know a group of other women due around the same time as I was. When the baby slept and the husband was at work those forums were my sanctuary. I am an extrovert and the days spent pretty much by myself would have been unbearably long and lonely were it not for those women.

Then we moved interstate, and somewhere along the line I realised my parenting choices were different to many others. I met a group of Mum's in Brisbane who I really felt at home with and who directed me to Alternative Baby, an online community of people who also practiced attachment parenting.

AB became my home space. Through it I met so many amazing people, and when we returned to Melbourne I had a social group waiting with open arms. We had an attachment playgroup and it was a privelege and a pleasure to spend time with these beautiful families. To this day I count a number of those women as my closest friends. They made me feel normal in my choices. They provided support, advice and care to our family and it truly was an amazing time in my life.

But the thing with babies is they grow up. And the differences in how we parent become less defined, less obvious, as children get older. I found myself firmly straddling the AP/mainstream fence and was happy to be part of both camps. If it weren't for the fact that we've had two more babies since then and that we parent them as we did our older children you would never pick me as a crunchy one. Truly.

So these days my community has changed again. Of course I have beautiful friends who have remained so through all the phases of my life, and I am grateful for them.

But it turns out blogging can bring with it a community of its own too! I've been blogging here for around 4 months now, and in that time I've gotten to know so many awesome bloggers. I chat with a number of them via Twitter most days. I've connected with them through Facebook. I've even met a number of them in real life. They are amazing, inspiring, hilarious, and just normal everyday people like me.

I love that bloggers and other readers comment here and I am able to connect with them. I love that I have created a space where I feel able to share whatever I feel like sharing in the knowledge that someone somewhere will 'get it'. I'm really enjoying being part of the blogging community, and I'm grateful for the friendships I am making.

Community is a wonderful thing. Even when it lives in a computer! Where does your community reside?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Pear on a stick in a bag. Yum.
What are you doing over there?
He's gone! FTW!

I'm playing Wordless Wednesday with My Little Drummer Boys, come play along!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Some Days

The lovely Lulu over at Cherry Blossom Adventures has invited the blogosphere to join in a linky today, titled Some Days.

So I thought I might share some of our 'some days'.

Some days I set the alarm for 6.45 and then sleep through it. Those mornings are hectic! Most days I don't set the alarm at all. Much nicer.

Some days I pretend that catching up with our bogue friends is for the benefit of the toddler boys. But most days I know it's so I can have a coffee and a catch up with the Big M.

Some days I miss my sisters. Many days actually.

Some days I miss the hubster. Not today though, because he's home yay!

Some days are fun and exciting. Many days are more like groundhog day. But I try and appreciate all the days because I know full well how fleeting this time at home with small people is.

Some days my kids amaze. Most days. All days.

What are some days like for you?

Monday, June 6, 2011

How not to make friends and sell stuff to people.

Image by Manic Toys

The washing machine saga continues.

I ordered a new washer and dryer online after doing a lot of research. I was happy with the price and the company I was ordering from, and the delivery times on the website said 4 - 10 days from date of dispatch. I presumed that the dispatch date would be fairly soon given the items were in-stock on the website.

Then I waited. I'd received a receipt by email but that was it. Radio silence.

A week later I emailed their enquiry address and got a call from a lovely and very apologetic guy, who told me the washer I'd ordered was a run-out model, but they would upgrade me to the new model which would be available from the first of June. I was placated.

And I waited some more. Having heard nothing for another week I called this morning to find out what is happening. The woman who answered the phone told me 7 - 10 days. Maybe. At this point I got a bit upset.

I have four kids. My parents have been doing our washing and drying for weeks now. I appreciate so much that they have helped us out like this, but it feels terribly unfair on them to be carrying our load.

She put me through to someone else. I explained my displeasure not so much at the fact that the machines aren't here yet, but because NO ONE IS TELLING ME ANYTHING!

He's apparently going to get back to me sometime. I'm about to call back and demand a refund.

Here are the things that could have been handled better:

- Keep your stocklists for your website up to date!
- If there is going to be an unreasonable (or even a reasonable) delay CALL THE CUSTOMER!
- If there is another delay, CALL THE CUSTOMER!
- When the customer is clearly upset instead of faffing around, why not try offering a different model at the same price? Why not offer to discount the delivery fee? Why not try to keep the customer???

I'm not naming the company right now because I'm waiting to see if they do actually get back to me. I will happily do so and direct them here once this is resolved one way or another.

I buy a lot of things over the internet. I have had lots of great experiences and very few sour ones. I am so disappointed in what has been happening with this company.

I've just spoken to a salesperson at our local Retravision who was very helpful indeed, I suspect I will be heading in there shortly to see what they can do for me.

Have you bought big items on the internet? How was your experience?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Things I Know

It's Friday again, and I'm linking up with Yay for Home!

- I know that even the happiest, most easy going baby in the world is miserable with a rotten snotty nose. I also know that her version of miserable is a walk in the park compared to other children I have, which kind of makes it even sadder.

 - I know that care packages come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, 
and that I was so grateful to receive this one.

 - I know that I have a very funny little boy. We saw the Paediatrician this week and he has a referral for an EEG and some blood tests in 6 weeks or so.

- I know that I love my pram and am finally going to get around to reviewing it
here in the next week or so. I also know that all these years (and babies) later I still dream of owning a Stokke Xplory.

- I know that I love it when the supertrucker asks if I'll be alright when he leaves. 
Not because he thinks I can't or don't cope, but because he cares about me 
as a person as well as the mother of our children.

- I know that I have such caring and generous friends... 
I was flooded with ideas and offers of help and support 
when I needed it this week. I'm so grateful for my community.

What do you know this week?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Image by Pietro_C

Picture is unrelated. But I love irises, they are my favourite. In case anyone feels like sending me some flowers.

This week I am grateful for generosity.

We've had a rough few weeks with money going out endlessly on unexpected expenses... car stuff, washing machine, more car stuff, loss of work because of car stuff... That thing where you think you are on top of everything and then everything goes south all at once.

We are SO lucky that our families have been able to help us out.

My mother-in-law has been incredibly generous and it has taken a huge amount of pressure off. We are so blessed in practical help as well as the financial help we have received when we've really needed it.

These years, the single income years, can be hard. The supertrucker works so very hard to support us all and I am grateful every single day that I am able to be at home with our small people.

I know that when our kids are grown and we're in a different position financially we will help them as best we can, as we have been helped. And I hope I am able to impart to our kids the importance of gratitude. Of not taking things for granted, and appreciating that while we may not have *all* the *things*, we have amazing people in our lives and that is the greatest gift.

Generosity of time is just as valuable as monetary generosity, and I am grateful for both.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Things that are not fun on the way to work... fair effort from the supertrucker! 
Although it meant we got to keep him at home for a bonus night ;)

I'm playing Wordless Wednesday with My Little Drummer Boys. Come play along!