Points of Order

1. We seem to have entered a new era – an era of children playing together. Outside. Of their own volition.

Or maybe it’s just a phase.

Either way I’m basking in it.

2. The AusBlogCon seems to have been the catalyst for me regaining some semblance of a social life. I have been out more times in the last month than probably in the last, oh, three years?

3. One of these outings was to the launch of the RIDICULOUSLY talented Sarah Fielke‘s latest book, Quilting: From Little Things. I have photos and even video of me discussing which quilt I will be attempting. Such audacity considering I still have two quilts unfinished since August last year.

4. Another such outing was with a long lost friend and a brand new one via Twitter. Good times.

5. Today involved a quick trip to Picton to see some of the grandparents. I made a range of Jewish treats for my stepmother who, along with her cousin who was up from Melbourne, swooned at treats they hadn’t eaten in decades. Nice.

There was another reason I went to Picton, to support my stepmother in having a Nutrimetics party (hosted by the cousin from Melbourne). Now, if you are anything like me then such ‘parties’ make your neck itch violently. But there I was. And there was some really cool eyeshadows and lovely foundation and well yeah, totally sucked in and now considering joining so I can get the 20 per cent off. What? Once a tightarse, always a tightarse.

6. Jasper’s new shoes for this winter are Converse high-top rip-offs which are pink, purple, turquoise and yellow and covered in sequins.

7. This morning the family was privileged to experience Jasper dancing nude to Rage for more than an hour. Why yes, visions of a future with many happy Mardi Gras marches did come charging to the top of my mind.

But in all seriousness, I am really ever so chuffed to have produced a child so confident in and of himself. I have absolutely no idea if he is/will be gay or not, but man I hope he never ever loses his absolute self-assuredness.

8. My beautiful MIL is facing some pretty serious health issues at the moment. I have been in baking overdrive and would appreciate those of you that do pray/clap hands/see unicorns to do as you see fit to ensure she comes through it all.

9. In May, there is the Disability and Carer’s Congress in Melbourne. The Project – Every Australian Counts – is running a competition to select two Social Media Champions from each state to attend the congress and report on the event. If you have already, thank you. If you haven’t, would you mind going here and putting a vote in for me (Kim, 38, NSW)

10. And finally (goodness I promise the appeals for votes will end soon) Sydney Writers Centre are hosting the Best Australian Blogs Competition 2011. As you can see in my sidebar (you can click on the image and it’ll take you directly there) I’m one of a clearly very select 500+ blogs up for the People’s Choice Award. Go on. You know you want to. Please? Just one little vote.

 

Onward!

 

 

Tetra Pak Kids

Sponsored by Nuffnang*

I believe we’re all well versed on how challenging I find weekends with all the boys all on my own. This weekend was starting out the same way with Death By 1000 Questions from Oscar and a.l.l. of the boys playing wargames in the back room. At 5.30am.

By 10am I was reading the riot act, thinking to myself, AWESOME barely 18 hours into the school holidays and I’m already putting new rules and job lists on the fridge and yelling at the offspring. Way to go, Idaho.

BUT!

BUT! I had an out. Saturday afternoon we had been invited to an event put on Tetra Pak to encourage healthy eating and exercise called Tetra Pak Kids (there is even a page on Facebook you can become a fan of here). It was at Marrickville which, for those out-of-towners or equally geographically challenged as myself, is here:

From our place, on the other side of the city, it is actually quite straightforward to get there, albeit a bit of a hike. I’d allocated just under an hour to get there. Which would of been fine, if I hadn’t have thought Marrickville was in the vicinity of Balmain, which is here:

Now, to get from where I was to where I should be doesn’t look that bad. Factor in a dodgy GPS, trying to use GoogleMaps on my iPhone and Saturday afternoon traffic and well, hello 1hour and 45minutes. In.the.car. With.four.boys.

Needlesss to say, by the time we arrived Oscar was, naturally, the only one feeling a glimmer of excitement and enthusiasm. I think Grover captured our collective state of mind:

It was not looking good.

And then, well, then I’m not sure what happened. Well, yes I am, these guys were well versed in how to engage disengaged kids. Oh sure, Oscar was in amongst it from the get-go becoming best buddies with the Tetra Pak Kids Ambassador, Wendll Sailor (who is an absolute legend and did.not.stop for the entire FOUR hours) but the others were not so sure.

The games were put on hold for a brief cooking demonstration by celebrity chef Darren Simpson and suddenly my boys were in. FOOD! The program is about giving parents tips and tricks for healthy diets and exercise for their kids. Darren whipped up a penne with meatballs, sneakily made using good-quality sausages:

and a might tasty looking quesadilla:

Later on in the day he made some rice paper rolls (which we’re having for dinner tonight as the boys have been asking for them ever since Saturday’s adventure) and got some of the kids up to help make them. There’s a handful of recipes on the website – I’m definitely giving the granola a whirl as it’s got zero fat in it. Meanwhile, Felix had sat himself front and centre thus ensuring his involvement:

Afterwards, when Jasper cracked it for not getting a go, Darren found an extra wrap and let him make one up. Instantly on the good list Mr Simpson, a gold star even.

But it was after that first cooking session that things started to turn around. For starters there was this:

An enclosed jumping castle come blow-up climbing/sliding thingy that they had the kids running through finding rubber chickens and racing each other and so on and so forth. They were all suddenly laughing and running and hot and sweaty and – gasp – having fun.

At some stage the Tetra Pak Kids crew had siphoned the bigger kids off for some indoor basketball and soccer while the younger ones kept on going with the races and games through the jumping castle.

I tell you, Wendll is the absolute star. There were some diehard NRL families there, picking his brain for tips on this weekend’s games and who he truly barracks for, but for us it was about seeing someone engage with kids and have some fun. He’s endorsed a whole heap of exercises and activities for kids, primarily aged between 6-10 but really adaptable to anyone, that are also on the website.

I had envisioned us being there for about an hour or so. We were infact one of the last families to leave. It was a great afternoon of fun and activity but the main thing it did was provide me with a salient reminder that the best way to shift a fug, be it mine or the kids, is to get moving. Even just a game of footy out the back or a scooter ride up and down the street can shift the foulest of moods AND be good for you! Who knew!

There are two more events coming in Sydney:

Saturday, 16 April – Penrith

Saturday, 23 April – Campbelltown

Visit the website for details on venues and also for more information about the program.

 

* with apologies to you all for the oversight of forgetting to badge this as a sponsored post when I originally posted it.

School’s out for Easter…

We’re staring down the barrel of NINETEEN days of school holidays this Easter break. An outrage I tell you. Oh sure, normally it’s seventeen days but those extra two are the difference between a habit and an addiction.

School finished at 3.10 Friday afternoon.

By 10am Saturday morning I was tearing shreds off the offspring.

It culminated with me screaming calling all the children who were by now hiding in various places around the house to the kitchen where I had hastily put up some new house rules. Such was my PMT anger I almost misspelled vacuum. Now that’s saying something.

Today the Playstation controls got thrown to the back of the top of our wardrobe and was banned for the rest of the holidays.

A slippery slope people, a very slippery slope.

back to school – the good, the early and the need for a bottomless bank account

So, six weeks of summer school holidays are drawing to a close. Six weeks. Two thirds of a school term. Four boys. Christmas. Humidity. Heat.

Yes, that is a recipe for me to up my meds but this year, I don’t know, I’m full of anticipation, excitement and well, enthusiasm for the year ahead. I can not recall EVER feeling that way about a year ahead. No really. Normally it’s resignation, foreboding and grim determination. I am making sure I really enjoy this feeling, relishing it even for I know how quickly it can all go south.

And yes, last summer holidays were spent with me yelling at the children and the children being generally vile. These holidays had us tripping off to the beach at a moment’s notice, trips to the movies, spontaneous holidays at my Dad’s place, various catch-ups with friends and while there was quite the hiccup over Christmas and days when the children have done my head in and moments when I have desperately needed time out, I can confidently say these holidays have flown.

And so here we are.

Felix is back at school on Monday.

Oscar goes Tuesday, more on that in a moment.

Jasper goes up to school on Monday morning for his kindergarten assessment and then starts at 10am on Thursday.

Grover starts pre-school on Thursday (he’ll go two days a week Thurs-Fri this year, three days next year and then school in 2013).

I just had a phone call from one Mrs J – Oscar’s bus driver. He will be picked up and dropped off every day from school by Mrs J who tells me she’s been doing this for 21 years. About the best way to sum of Mrs J is to think of Patty or Selma, throw in the phrase she used: a short pencil is better than a long memory and there you have it. I imagine Mrs J has quite the fag habit from dealing with these kids for more than 20 years and is probably fairly partial to a stiff scotch at the end of each day. ┬áBless her.

But there is, of course, a catch when sponging off the tax payers for a government bus service. Oscar will get picked up each morning at … 6:50am. We’ve no idea when he’ll get dropped home as he is the first pick up in the morning and the last drop-off in the afternoon so I’m guessing he may be home before nightfall. Just.

Now this may have some parents moaning and groaning about how long a day that is for poor little Johnny/Clarabel but not us! A) Oscar is STOKED it’s a bus (14 seater apparently), B) Finally Oscar’s penchant for getting up at 5am will pay handsome dividends and C) it makes my mornings and indeed afternoons a HELL of a lot easier. Point C) is bad isn’t it. That I’m happy to have my kid out of the house so I can deal with the other three. But folks. You’ve gotta cut me some slack. Getting Oscar ready is a nightmare at the best of times. Having to have him ready super early – basically before everyone else is even awake – is ideal. No distractions, no hyper-stimulation, just get ready, have breaky, go and wait out the front. Awesome.

Of course, back to school also means highway robbery a trip to the shoe shop. Last year Felix wore through four yes FOUR pairs of cheap sneakers (aka joggers, trainers, runners) and Oscar went through two pairs. I decided this year to fork out the expense for the, well, more expensive ones in the vein hope they will withstand the daily assault my children seem to inflict on them.

Jasper got proper school shoes (as opposed to reinforced fuck-off stitched black sneakers to look like school shoes for Felix) and Oscar. Well. Oscar has two options:

1. To wear his AFOs (plastic leg splints which cover 2/3 of his lower legs and feet, aka superlegs) with cheap black sneakers from target and swelter all day (when his body does not process or withstand over-heating) or

2. To wear outrageously expensive highly supportive black Brooks sneakers.

For the last four years – ever since he’s had his superlegs – I have gone with option 1. So this year I went bugger it and went with option 2. Post surgery was the main reason – but also that he’s now in highschool and I want him to feel good about himself, not hot and about to pass out.

There are a few minor issues here – Oscar is now a men’s size 8 1/2 and Felix, at age 10? Felix is a men’s 9 1/2. You know what that means? You know, adult shoe size = adult shoe prices.

I’ll be raiding the kids’ money boxes for milk and bread money scrounging down the back of the lounge for loose change in the corner weeping.

Stuff and nonsense

So I’ve spent hours today trying to work out why Facebook won’t feed my blog posts to my Facebook page. Apparently it is all to do with white space in the PHP cadsk;lfjhalw;erubgvj;aruvn SORRY, what?

Yeah, EXACTLY.

All those hours I could have been jogging. Or eating. Or baking. Or playing with my children. Or dealing with Jasper’s lisp. Or maybe doing some pre-kindy work with him because dudes, I’m not sure that little sprogget even knows his alphabet.

See what happens when you have many children?

Just be grateful you’ve got clean clothes and there are cruskits in the cupboard kid, the rest you can work out along the way.

*****

So…

Apparently one of my Aunts took offence at me setting up Team Oscar and asking people for money. (She got wind of it as a lifetime ago she asked to be my friend on Facebook and I sent an alert out to everyone about my Team Oscar page. See what I did there! SO manipulative. Beware shonks and fly-by-nighters just out the fleece you!). Eugh. You know how there is always one who confirms your worst thoughts about something you’re doing? That it’s going to be misconstrued? Yeah. She hit that bulls-eye.

*****

So I go and visit the Facebook page and see something wonderful-kids who go/went to school with Oscar have ‘liked’ the page.

Faith restored.

*****

Last week we had a few of Felix’s friends over for the day. Talk about delightful boys. I think there’s a lot to be said for 10 year old boys – for all the signs of getting their emo on they are still little boys and easily delighted. It was a lovely day of hanging out, looking after guinea pigs, some putt putt golf and plying them with Anzac biscuits and home made pizzas.

The upside? Meeting their mums and discovering they too are lovely. Score!

The downside? Felix running in and breathlessly exclaiming that Grover, aka The Turdinator and now known as PeeMan had weed on one of Felix’s friend’s leg.

OH YOU SO KNOW I’M NOT KIDDING.

And there it was. In all it’s free stream glory across the bottom of his jeans.

WHAT.THE.FUCK???

Oh man did I tear shreds off him over that one.

Fast forward to later that day and he comes back down to the lounge with his pants in hand telling me in a singsong voice that he did a wee and some got on his hand so he tasted it and it was yum and mum can you put my pants back on NOW pease zankyu.

Hold me.

*****

We took the boys to see Tangled (thanks to a pass from Nuffnang) and wow, what a delightful movie. It’s sort of old school with singing and dancing and a princess and blah blah blah but without any of the cynicism and sarcasm in so many kids movies these days. Listen to me. Just slap me in a mumu and serve me dinner at 5.

But seriously, it was more Cinderella and Snow White than Shrek and it was all the better for it.

Mum took the little boys to see Yogi Bear today and said it was all over the shop – there was a love story going on and some sort of conniving office politics to try and destroy the forest peppered with the funny Yogi flying planes and stealing picnic baskets. As mum said, the former just went over the little boys’ heads while the rest they loved. I wonder if it would have been better for just trying to be one thing rather than many.

*****

Winners! Congratulations to Von and Pamela for winning a free pass for four to Tangled thanks to Disney and Nuffnang – I hope they enjoy it as much as we did (even if Felix did say, well, it wasn’t very boy-ish).

*****

Onward!