Good friends and birthday wishes

Good friends and birthday wishes

Earlier this week it was my birthday. Not a milestone one, that was last year, and so like most years I kept it pretty low key. I don’t like a big fuss made at work and now that I am single, and my boys still young, even at home the celebrations are pretty short lived. I’m thinking back to Mother’s Day this year when the boys spoilt me until about 10am before it turned back in to “Mum I need…”

So my plan had been quiet day at work try and sneak off for one train earlier and pick up the boys and fish and chips so I didn’t have to cook. I knew the boys knew about my birthday and, even though their dad had told them it was one day earlier than it actually was, that they had gone present shopping with him. The presents were hidden in the pants drawer – a poorly kept secret given I had been told not to go there.

On the morning of my birthday I woke up early got ready for work and woke the boys. They got ready to leave and it was evident that they had forgotten. Given it was 6am and they have limited time to get ready I wasn’t going to drop hints. Then on the train my friend had also forgotten. My low key birthday was turning into a non existent one.

Then three beautiful friends turned my whole day around and made me smile, as well as wipe away a couple of sneaky tears.

My friend at work contacted me and took me out to lunch, as well as giving me a very thoughtful present. And another friend and her husband booked dinner at the local pub for our two families because they believed it was wrong for me to sit at home alone on my birthday, especially after a crappy start. This is probably where I should mention it was the friend who forgot earlier on the train!

It was a great dinner full of laughter and stories, good food and a glass of wine.

By the way my children had remembered by the time I picked them up from after school care. They had made apology cards and made a big fuss.

And my moral for the day…you don’t need a big fancy celebration for your birthday but it is important to make the day feel special. And sometimes all that takes is three beautiful friends who think you are worth the effort.

Mitigating the loss of Mojo

Mitigating the loss of Mojo

Last week was full of big and small incidents that left me drained and emotional. By Friday afternoon one small incident was enough to tip my emotional bucket and leave me in tears. And while the weekend (and my mood) improved I knew that with the boys heading to their dads for a week I was up for another tough week.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the quiet and having some time to myself after a couple of hours it is to quiet and too much time.

However knowing a week away from the boys is tough, and that I was already in a low spot I decided I needed to try and position myself for a good week as much as possible.

Step one: Sunday (last day with the boy) had to be about forgetting the terrible weather and messy house and more about having fun and building memories. Ten pin bowling followed by arcade games and lunch fit the bill perfectly.

Step two: get back to taking food to work so that I save money and eat healthier.

Step three: go shopping for healthy snacks and dinner ingredients. Then add a packet of Tim Tams – just because thy are my favourite and without kids I could eat all of them without hiding.

Step four: cook a huge batch of chickpea and vegetable curry to cover dinners for the next few days as having the motivation to cook healthy dinners for one can be difficult when I get home from work. Was very happy with how it turned out. There is something about slow cooking, curry and winter that all just goes together.

Next steps: fingers crossed for better weather so I can get out for walks. Weatherman is not filing me with confidence – after all it is Melbourne and winter.

And the rest is unknown at this stage.

Reflecting on the past year

Reflecting on the past year

One year ago today I picked up the keys to my house.

This was a big moment for us. A year earlier I had separated from my husband and moved myself and my two boys into a rental while we sold our family home. It was a rough time for everyone and I knew the boys felt unsettled. So it was a relief to me when I bought the house and could provide more stability for my family.

The house I bought had not been looked after well which meant it was in my price range but also that while liveable I knew there was a lot of work ahead to make it our dream home.

So one year on it was nice to reflect on what I done to move towards my dream home.

  • Closed a door way in the third bedroom and added a window. It was a weird room from renovations by the previous owners that left the bedroom with no windows and two doors.
  • Removed the wall separating the two back rooms to make one large room that can become a large toy room/Playstation room/guest room.
  • Fixed multiple issues with plumbing, heating and electrical work as well as adding ventilation in bathrooms and extra power points (how do you cope with a single power point per room?)

This is probably where I should point out that I did not personally do these and a builder, electrician and plumber did this work.

  • Painted the second and third bedrooms in full.
  • Bought a lot of furniture as I took very little when I separated.
  • Removed a skip full of garbage from the backyard and then, with a lot of help from my father, added vegetable garden, tidied existing garden beds and added new plants.

I have now moved on to the large back room and am trying to stay motivated as it will be great when it is done and the boys have a great space for when friends are over.

One year on, in reflection, it is not yet my dream home, but it is home. It is our space and more of our personalities are being reflected in it every day. I wonder what my reflection will be like in another year.

80’s fashion

80’s fashion

Next Friday night I am going to an 80’s night in the city for a girls night out.

This started thoughts of 80’s fashion and what to wear. I was born in 1977 so for the first part of the 80’s I had little to no say in what I wore. However I do have some strong memories of the fashion and the decade.

A look around at the shops shows that a revamped, slightly tweaked and not so bright 80’s fashion revival is occurring – minus the big shoulder pads.

A quick trip to the op shop and $2 type bargain stores with my friend has my outfit almost sorted.

  • Fluorescent yellow mini skirt worn over black leggings
  • Pink midriff top (worn over a black singlet as I am 40 not 18!)
  • Pink leg warmers
  • Fluorescent plastic bangles and beads

What I didn’t take into account was the freezing winters night in Melbourne at the moment so thought will have to be put into what I can wear to keep warm (once again showing I am 40 and not 18).

What are your fashion memories of the 80s? Have I missed any key elements that I should consider adding?

3am thoughts of an over thinker

3am thoughts of an over thinker

I am a light sleeper.

I always have been and over the years it has got worse. Having kids obviously has a big impact on sleep, add to that a separation, child with chronic health issues and being an over thinker/worrier and an eight hour sleep is a pipe dream.

For some reason 3.00am seems to be the time I often wake during the night and then is when the brain and thoughts start ticking away. Sometimes it is a particular topic based on events occurring in my life at the time but often it is very random.

I decided to keep track of the weird places my mind goes at this time of night over the last few nights and share them for your enjoyment. Be warned in the light of day some of this does not make sense.

  • How do I fill the gaps in the ceiling in the back room of the house without the gap filler falling out? (I am currently renovating my house)
  • If I want to reduce screen time in my house what ratio should I reduce it by before it effects the amount of peace in the house?
  • How do I best help my eldest son who suffers a lot with anxiety that is increasing due to his health issues?
  • There is a charity gala for the NF (the genetic disorder my son has) – if I go on my own will it be a way to meet people or make me feel more lonely when they are dancing and I’m alone?
  • Where do I find an 80s outfit for my girls night out in a couple of weeks?
  • How do I get my kids to try more food especially healthy food and why do kids hate green food?
  • What should I bake this weekend?
  • Do I need a hobby or to do a course and when do I have time?
  • If they say you should work in your passion to be happy then what do I do if I don’t know my passion?
  • I need to start a business that will allow me to not have to get my kids up at 6am and be gone for 12 hours a day…….what is that business? (Many weird and wonderful thoughts on businesses at 3am)
  • Did I give tattslotto the correct details as no one has rung me yet?

No wonder there isn’t much sleep happening – who has time. Luckily having a child that didn’t sleep for his first 11 months gave me a lot of practise on surviving on little to no sleep.

Book Review: A funny thing happened to Simon Sidebottom

Book Review: A funny thing happened to Simon Sidebottom

Today I have decided to do a review on a children’s book.  Now I haven’t read the entire book but feel I can review this through the eyes of my children.

Currently in our house we are trying to reduce the use of screens.  We have recognised we are becoming a little too reliant on them but for my children in particular, especially the eldest, it is becoming the constant go to.  So as a result we are increasing screen free time.  To assist with this I have been buying more books for the boys and trying to find ones that are a little different or focus on topics the boys are interested in.

One that I bought for my 8 year old is called “A funny thing happened to Simon Sidebottom” by P.Crumble.  I was purchasing some other books and this one was at the counter.  It is the first in what I hope is going to be a series as it has been a big hit.  This book is a choose your own adventure but unlike the ones that were around when I was younger this book has quirky images and is very funny with humour aimed exactly at my boys (think gross jokes about bodily functions and dangerous stunts).  Even the font used in the book is fun and easy to read.  My boys are seven and eight and I highly recommend it for children in this age range. In the four days since he has had the book I believe he has read every version of the story at least twice.

Tonight in our quest for less screen time the three of us were making pizzas for dinner together.  As they were cooking the boys came up with a plan to read the book aloud and at each decision point we took it in turns to decide which way to go.  No screens and reading as a family happily at my sons choice – this book is a big winner for me and if there is a second I will definitely be buying it.

 

 

Bakers block

Bakers block

I’m not sure if that’s what you call it when you have the baking equivalent of writers block.

Today is my youngest sons seventh birthday. His request for a cake theme was Power Rangers. I tried to stifle my sigh unsuccessfully due to this being the third time I had been asked to make a power rangers cake.

To put this in perspective it is not that I hate Power Rangers, it is just that there is only so much creativity you can put into this topic. The first cake I made for a friends son and had the Power Rangers logo surrounded by energems made from glow sticks. At this time you probably think I know a lot about Power Rangers but it is more a case with constant talk and repeated viewings on Netflix something has to sink in. The second cake which was for my youngest last year I made a giant Power Rangers face. So this year I struggled to decide what to do. The design I finally settled on was one blue Power Ranger on a round blue cake all went out the window when late at night I put a hole in the fondant when it was already on the cake. Rather than throw the cake out (that was the first thought) I stepped away, poured a glass of wine, added some white circles to cover the hole and gave up for the night. In the morning with fresh eyes I changed the design to five faces instead.

Result – he loved the cake and was excited I’d included all of the main Power Rangers not just one.

And for me….I officially resign from Power Rangers cakes forever.

The Simple Things

The Simple Things

My boys went to their dads last night for a couple of nights.  I find that when they are gone I usually pack my to do list full.  This is for a few reasons.  Firstly it is much quicker to get things done when it is just me,  secondly the house is quiet and empty without two boisterous boys running around, and finally I hate feeling that I have wasted my time alone when it gets to the end of the weekend.

Sometimes being on my own is very lonely and other days it is about being alone and enjoying my space and my time.  I have learnt that there is a big difference between alone and loneliness over the last few months.

So today was another jam-packed day and this one especially so as it is my youngest’s birthday on Monday.  Tomorrow night he is having some friends for a sleepover so while I was very busy preparing for his party I was also conscious of enjoying some peace before the craziness of 6 and 7-year-old boys.

So in the business of the day I try to add some elements that are for me and often it is the simple things that are hard to enjoy when busy being a Mum.  Today’s simple elements of the day that made me pause and appreciate the day were:

  1. Making avocado and poached eggs on toast for breakfast and sitting down for a while to enjoy it with a cup of tea.
  2. Playing music that was all my choice and singing along.
  3. Sitting down with dinner and a glass of wine to watch something on Netflix.

So in the middle of a crazy weekend I found time to enjoy the peace.  lets call it the calm before the storm.

Run, run, fast as you can….

close up photography of gingerbread
Photo by Noelle Otto on Pexels.com

You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man.

My eldest son is the one who has NF2 and as a result he has started to withdraw from wanting to do a lot of activities. And it is getting harder and harder to get him away from screens and interacting with others for extended periods.

So imagine my surprise when he came home from his dads house on Sunday after a week away and asked if we could make Gingerbread Men. He has been reading The Gingerbread Man at school and wanted to make some.

As is common with parents by 4.00pm Sunday afternoon you are thinking about all the things you have to get done for that night as well as to prepare for the week ahead so my immediate reaction was no it is too late. Luckily I pulled my self up halfway through and told him to get the recipe and if I had the ingredients we could make them. We had what we needed in the house already so we spent the next half an hour making the biscuits together. No screens involved and lots of giggles along with yummy biscuits which we tried for dessert that night. On top of that he took one to school for lunch and proudly told his friends he had made them.

Sometimes it pays to pause and think before saying no on auto pilot like I have so many times before.

I am marking this one down as a Mummy Win.

NF2 Awareness Day

NF2 Awareness Day

May 22nd is NF2 Awareness Day.

Normally I don’t discuss deep and serious topics on my blog but this is one that is very close to my heart and awareness equals knowledge and (hopefully) treatments.  My beautiful eldest son was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) about a year ago.  What started as a limp that didn’t go away and a trip to the podiatrist, turned into about a year and a half of specialists visits, hospital visits and tests with the longest list of specialists you’ve ever seen.  The initial thought was that he had NF1 which is the more common type and affects about 1 in 2500 people.  This statistic is similar to that of Cystic Fibrosis but nowhere near as well-known.

Final diagnosis is that my son has NF2 which is mush less common and affects 1 in 25,000 people.  It is a rare genetic disorder that presents differently in each patient and symptoms start at different ages but usually start to occur during teen years or a bit later (yes my son is younger given that he is only 8 now).  And most importantly there is no cure and very little in treatments.

NF causes tumors to develop in the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. NF2 was diagnosed in my son due to the presence of the characteristic tumours on the acoustic nerves.  These tumours affect sound and balance and often lead to partial or complete hearing loss. He had also previously had a cataract removed from his eye which we have since discovered is another symptom of NF2 in young children.

And his limp ended up being drop foot as a result of tumours in his upper thigh and lower spine.

The condition occurs as a result of a gene abnormality.  May 22 is NF2 Awareness Day as NF2 is a mutation of Chromosome 22.

For those who would like to know more about this disorder and the shocking impact it can have please click here to visit the Children’s Tumour Foundation website.