Family outing

What happens when you take four boys to Ikea.

expedit-bookcase

Yesterday afternoon we bundled all four boys into the Berry Bus and went for an outing to Ikea. This was due to a somewhat impulsive decision of mine that the state of chaos in the little boys’ room was no longer tolerable and we had to bring my solution to fruition. Why yes, it does involve an expedit shelving unit, what of it?

Let’s just take a moment there shall we. Afternoon traffic, check. All four children, check. Ikea. CHECK. Chef’s been feeling pretty blue of late so you can imagine what a salve this was for his soul.

On arrival everyone was issued with a pencil. Compulsory. And then, as they say, it was on. Felix instigated a game where he would call the name/colour of a lounge and then the first brother to the seat won. He’d keep a tally on one of the pieces of paper you’re meant to write the aisle and shelf of your desired product. You know the one, where you work it all out, write it all down, get to the warehouse bit to discover an empty shelf. Of course he didn’t just keep a tab on victories, there were categories for LOSER and CHEATER. Good times.

Oscar was dawdling as is his want so this was really none of his concern. That left Jasper and Grover, two peas in a pod when it comes to character allocations of competitiveness and the need to win. Grover, who’d actually fallen asleep in the car (unheard of) was too tired and emotional for such shenanigans and it only took ONE round of this game for him to be in tears and on a hate vendetta against Felix.

Let me just reiterate that this all transpired in the lounge section where you’re so barely over the threshold you can still breath air from the outside world.

The crying and sibling hating carried on for most of the progress through the Ikea Interminable Maze of Organised Hell. In fact, the only thing that really caused its cessation was the world of jumbo trolleys in the warehouse. Of course then, engaged in activity that could possibly end in pain or being maimed, they were as thick as thieves.

We managed to avoid the cafeteria – I don’t care what you say, those meatballs are nasty – and ended the whole experience with dumplings, which we all know make everything better.

Onward.

 

Give Ability wrap up

Sponsored by Nuffnang – well, the Westfield part, not the guinea pig part. Or the public displays of human torment at the hands of your siblings.

Saturday saw me and the boys head off to Westfield Hornsby to support the inaugural GiveAbility day.

I was travelling so well in terms of getting the children fully clothed and shod in a timely manner and we were about to set off when Mum called to me from the backyard that the pigeons* had escaped again.

You see, the day before the girls had discovered that while the grass is not necessarily greener** on the other side of the small-fence-remaining-from-a-pre-existing-garden-bed there is a definite sense of more space and freedom.***

This, in and of itself, is not that bigger deal, except for the fact our beautiful neighbours on the southern side have actually been getting a bit sick of three guinea pigs appearing in their backyard and mowing their lawn and pruning their plants.****

So instead of herding my own children out the the car to go and experience and then report back on a day of helping raise funds for children with disability, I was out in the chook pen digging up heavy cement pavers I had very very firmly embedded along the fence***** to give them a tunnel to come back through because what guinea pigs have in cuteness they lack in intellect as clearly displayed by their complete inability to come back the way they went in.

Tunnel dug it was a waiting game for their return, featuring some finely tuned prancing on my part to rush fill the hole once they were back through. Then I had to catch each of them and relocate back into their cell prison cage.

By now the boys had their shoes off and were engaged in some round of wrestling warfare that was less wrestling and warfare and more torment and torture through a sustained attack of name calling and taunts as is their current favoured form of attack.

And I was sweaty.

Then the boys expressed hunger and came at me with packets of coke****** for me to cook up for them.

I rang my contact at Westfield to let her know that we were running late and would be there at around 1.15pm, which was actually only 15 minutes late but I was trying to be professional ‘n that. I got the stomp on with the boys while noticing quite the headache simultaneously forming behind my eyeballs and at the base of my skull.*******

Remarkably we did actually arrive at 1.15pm and met the local manager of Northcott Disability Services, the local charity receiving all the money raised at Westfield Hornsby throughout the day. It was pretty awesome seeing many staff from Westfield Hornsby donating their time to the event by donning the yellow shirt and carrying around the tins to collect funds. Staff from the corporate office had also volunteered to help out at their local centre including the head of HR who was helping out at Hornsby.

The boys were sedated inhabited by some other life force remarkably well behaved and endearing before we headed out to check out the activities and meet some of the fundraisers. Students from a local high school were involved as were many staff from Westfield head office, who had nominated which centre they’d like to help out at. Decked out in bright shirts and carrying donation cans many reported the day as being ‘awesome’.

The boys, previously a cohort of eye-rolling conscientious objectors were now well and truly on board due to the presence of what to a child is the promised land:

the fairy floss stand.

With sugar coma on a stick in hand Jasper was in face painting heaven while Oscar satisfied himself by asking anyone in a yellow shirt ‘what now?’ and Grover just getting more and more outrageous due to a brand new audience finding him hilarious and adorable (warning warning!).

I can’t tell you how much I get off on this sort of thing when the money is going to a cause. Northcott has been around for more than 80 years and provides services and support from diagnosis through to job placement. These organisations have to waste far too much time securing funding and so as far as I’m concerned any way we can help lighten their load is a win win.

I think this event will only get bigger – I mean, a national juggernaut of the size of Westfield running an event in every single centre supporting local services? It promotes awareness and fosters a sense of community AND raises money. There’s a reason I agreed to do this sponsored post and that is that supporting services for kids with disability is something I am incredibly passionate about. As you know.

I’m busting to know how much was raised nationally to help children with disabilities – I mean 100% of all money raised is going to the local charity of each centre, in our case, Northcott.  These guys support 10,000 people with disabilities, from diagnosis at birth through to work placement.

We headed back to the office where the boys devoured some cupcakes I could tell it was time for us to make a break for it for no other reason than I could see the time of day combined with a sudden massive sugar ingestion along with some stunning sibling bating was seeing my boys move from delightful to demonic in a matter of minutes.

We bid our farewells and not a moment too soon as Jasper and Felix embarked on duet of torment and taunt and screamy outrage over, wait for it, Felix not making a paper plane for Jasper exactly the same as one he had made for himself. Good times.

By the time we were at the car both were getting a complete dressing down by yours truly and then there was a debacle about a missing carpark ticket and the return of that headache, but hey, money was raised and fairy floss inhaled.

A good deed indeed.

 

Onward!

 

* more commonly referred to by the general population as guinea pigs. Sometimes she calls them gerbils. Just to mix it up.

** aka there being no grass whatsoever.

*** aka finding a gap where the horizontal wood beam on the boundary fence with our eastern neighbour meets the boundary fence of our southern neighbour.

**** I really wish that was a euphemism for something far more sordid but alas, no.

***** to foil any further digging tunnels under the fence because these girls were by no means getting rice custard, chocolate custard or strawberry shortcake or going roly-poly, pell-mell, tumble-bumble into anything except the next Argentinian BBQ such was my feelings toward their regular escapes.

****** aka Maggi 2 minute noodles.

******* probably a tumour.

the travelling circus

So Grandmama took me and the boys on a very special outing yesterday.

 

You should know that such an outing is a very very rare event indeed. The enthusiasm with which my boys embrace going to Warringah Mall should totally warn you guys of that fact.

But you should also know that the idea of all the crew going somewhere for such an event is no easy undertaking.

Drinks were packed, snacks were packed. Children were dressed in their least stained finest and off we went.

Oscar was suitably excited and showed as much by asking me every two minutes when we would be there, where was it, which way were we going and go mama, go.

Grover fell asleep on the way to the theatre which was a blessing.

Jasper didn’t, which would prove to be fatal.

Felix had his emo on to rival the levels we saw at New Years Eve celebrations when in 30 degree heat he had his hoodie and emo on so tight no amount of freebies and food were freeing him. This emo episode was totally because it was Mary Poppins. He didn’t say it, but I knew it and it made me cranky.

We were also going with mum and that tends to make me tense for no other reason than habit.

At the theatre I keep telling myself to engender the wonderment of it all in the boys but Jasper spies this and then it is game on:

Here’s the thing, tickets were MORE THAN $100 each. No concessions, period. A program was $20. And this God-ugly umbrella – the kids size – was $50. Needless to say, we were not purchasing the umbrella.

Then Grover saw they had blue slushies (obviously with a far fancier name such as London Lemonade for the purposes of the event) and he decided to try it on. Me telling him they were grown-up slushies was not washing. At all.

The niggling pain behind my left eye was starting to take my whole head hostage.

We got inside the theatre – cue seat fuss. Felix couldn’t see despite seating being graded and angled. Jasper had to sit next to me, as did Grover, probably due to some planned stealth attack of whinging to buy ugly umbrellas and icy blue sugar.

Felix was being so vile in his lack of enthusiasm that when he and Jasper started fighting over who got to use the arm rest  I unleashed some awesome Mum-Yell-Whispering. Something along the lines of Grandmama has been very generous in bringing us and his seat was worth more than $100 so he better start showing some gratitude by first wiping that filthy look off his face, taking his hood off and lifting his game because so help me I’ll make you sit out in the foyer for the entire time if he didn’t.

Or words to that effect.

Nothing like whisper-yelling at your kids that they’re going to have fun goddamit or risk public humiliation far worse than being taken to a musical to really engender the excitement about the event I say.

But then, then it started.

I have to tell you, it is absolutely wondrous. The set design is just delightful, the music sensational and the performances exceptional. Almost. Because we’re broke stingy tight-arses frugal and didn’t buy a program I had no idea that Mrs Banks was Marina Prior or that the Bird Lady was Debra Byrne or that Judi Connelli was Mr Banks’ indomitable nanny Miss Andrew. But the person who completely stole the show for me was Matt Lee as Burt. Matt’s main claim to fame is being one of the judges on the Australian So You Think You Can Dance TV show. Here:

And you know, whatever SYTYCD did for his profile it did nothing to showcase his actual talents. I mean, in Mary Poppins he tap dances and sings while in a harness upside down walking along the roof. Fucking awesome.

There is the use of harnesses for people (mainly Mary Poppins obviously) to fly through the air and in one such instance I must say I teared up. I know. I’m such a cheap date.

Anyway, it was awesome.

Yes, there was more crying about not getting an umbrella at intermission. Yes there was major whinging and grizzling the whole way back to the car about it and yes, there may even have been a threat to leave him there – complete with shutting the car doors, getting in and starting the engine while he grew increasingly traumatised on the street. In the city. In full view of many other people who’d obviously also just left the performance.

But we had a good time. Goddamit.

 

Onward!

 

ding dong merrily I must be high…

So the other day you got me all trussed up like a turkey. This one’s just keepin’ it real.

Ding dong merrily I must be high. Also known as ‘putting up the Christmas tree’. from Kim at allconsuming on Vimeo.

Off like a bride’s nightie

So, we’re off on a four day long weekend with Chef’s family.

We’re all going to a farm belonging to some family friend’s which happens to be the farm where we held our wedding reception.

We haven’t been since I was pregnant with Jasper.

The whole family is going to celebrate my FIL turning 70.

I know this sounds incredibly dorky, but Chef’s family is awesome and a whole heap of fun and I have been GAGGING for this weekend since it was earmarked at the beginning of the year.

I don’t think the boys could be more excited.

I planned to be on the road by 9am and we’re only a half hour off schedule.

I’ll see you all Monday night with a pictorial display of just how lovely this place is and probably some scenes of us all drinking way too much alcohol and eating enough to satiate a small African nation.

Onward!!!