Post 98

Post 98.

“Oh your boy’s are so independent, I was watching you set up your site yesterday and was envious of you and your hubby. The boy’s jumped out of your car and went and found their friends and you two laughed and worked together putting together your camp site.” This was said to me by the lady across the road from our site that I met last year. Her and her husband have been travelling the east coast of Australia with their three year old in a van and a caravan. No more to be said really, the poor love has a threenager, who is absolutely gorgeous but is an unholy terror,  living in a caravan. That is why she was feeling envious.

The boys did run and find their friends, but once they came back to ask for food they were advised that they should set up their tent before dark. One said no he wanted to hang out with mates, the other one started unpacking the tent because he wasn’t doing it in the dark.

They have been given a little more freedom this year, they have hang out on the beach with friends but must get us if they want to go in the water. They were allowed to walk to the tea tree creek. Boy one learnt a hard lesson, he was showing off and tried a trick that didn’t work and landed wrong and hurt his ribs and abdo muscles.

“I am making sandwiches and smoothies for lunch.” I had two responses of cool thanks and one of “No thanks I am going for a walk.” Dishes done, sitting reading a book I hear from down the street coming towards me.

“Mum I am starving can you make me lunch?”

“No, I made lunch, you didn’t want it, you can make or cook something”

“What!!! I don’t cook!”

So we had a cooking lesson, I sat and watched and directed and he cooked. He lit the gas burner, collected all the ingredients for macaroni cheese. And cooked his own lunch.

They were told they could bring $10 for the lolly shop and that was it, they had to look after the money and spend it wisely. First day one of them goes to the shop, thinking he knows best and loses $5.00 out the bottom of the pocket in his shorts because he didn’t want to use his wallet.

They have both been responsible with checking in and asking if they are able to leave the park for the beach or the headland. Last night they asked if they could stay out until 9.00pm, to hang with friends at another camp site. We said yes but had to definitely be home by 9.00pm. One of them came home at 8.58pm then other 9.31pm. The one that was late doesn’t get to go out tonight.

Lots and lots of lessons being learnt these holidays.

Post 97

Post 97

We are on holidays. We are at the beach camping. We are living in a camper trailer with an outside kitchen. The toilet and shower block is across the road and a hill from our site, the beach is four tent sites down our little street and across the roundabout, the bush walking track is the same way as the beach but swing a right up the hill once you go over the roundabout and there is a path that leads over the headland. The office/lolly and ice cream shop is next to the bush walking track. The park is at our back door and can see the picnic tables through the trees when we sit at our dining table. The park is small enough that the boys can wonder, but large enough that I don’t feel like I am sharing someone’s tent with them.

I love this time of year for us, we relax and this is our happy place. For a while now I have felt restless and wanted to travel abroad. I have wanted to see other places and cultures. I had a conversation with an 85 year old lady that was holidaying in a caravan next to us. She was telling me that she had been coming here for 50 years. This was where her and her husband honeymooned, how they drove down a dirt track and camped in a tent. That there was one shower for women and one for men, and she hated the line-up. She told me how her 3 daughters grew up here on school holidays and her 11 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild are doing the same. She told me how they book out 5 camp sites over Easter for 10 days and the whole family holiday together, everyone cooks, surfs, fishes, walks together. There are people coming and going all day, every day. She told me how her and her husband struggled to put their girls through school, they had hard times and good. There has been sickness, arguments, weddings, and births. But they always holiday together at Easter and Christmas school holidays the couple are here for three weeks on the same sight they have booked for 30 years. She told me that last weekend the majority of the family showed up. This wasn’t organised she said everyone wanted to check on the couple. She said she sat at the plastic fold out table with her daughters and a granddaughter eating fresh fish caught by her husband and she told me how grateful she was to have a beautiful family.

I cried, she rubbed my hand and said you will have the same darling.

Post 96

Post 96

For this post I flicked through the dictionary and the word that came up for me was “Uncomfortable” – adjective

  • Causing or feeling slight pain or physical discomfort.
  • Causing or feeling unease or awkwardness.

I was a bit miffed actually that this was the word that appeared to me. I was hoping for a word that I had never heard of. Something intelligent, or a word that sounded lovely or something with deep meaning. So I sat with the word rattling around in my head.

Then I got to thinking about the meaning and how I had experienced some unease and awkwardness over the last few days.

In post 94 I wrote about a road trip that I had done with my little family. We drove 566 kilometres to collect my first born. He had been holidaying with my dad for the first week of his school holidays. I was agitated and a little cranky the whole drive out. See it is the first time that I have slept in the same house as my Dad and his partner since he left our family when I was 14. We have had dinner and lunch a couple of times and I never find it a pleasant experience. When we finally arrived at my dad’s place he was ecstatic to see us. I was glad to see him but extremely uncomfortable. Thankfully there are hot springs in the town at the aquatic centre so after a quick hello and grabbing my kid we fled to the water. The look on dads face told me that he was a bit hurt that I was running away so quickly. We went to the local Christmas carols and I honestly just couldn’t be myself. I kept comparing everything that was happening to when I was a child. I don’t remember him once taking us to anything remotely like carols. I could feel the resentment like a boulder in my chest, and I knew at the time my face and mannerisms weren’t polite. I struggled to engage in conversation with anyone, aside from my rock of a husband who could see how much I was struggling. Dad introduced us to his friends, and I smiled and nodded as politely as I could and discreetly left the conversation. It sounds so immature to be like this as a 37 year old woman, I just couldn’t stop the chatter that was in my head about that family driven childhood that I had wished for and only now being on the receiving end of it with my father and me as a wife and mother. The next morning after a sleepless night, I crept around in the dark, getting showered and packing my families belongings. I saw the surprise on my dad’s face that we were preparing to leave before 6.00am. These encounters with my dad and his partner that he left our family for, makes me lose my voice. I can talk for hours on the phone with my dad, but put me at a breakfast table with them and I may as well me choking on the food for the amount of ability I have in forming sentences. By the time we climbed in the car I was feeling sad for my dad. I knew he wanted more from me on this trip – I just couldn’t connect and be the daughter that he wanted over those couple of days. I was in a foul mood the whole seven hours home with unanswered questions running rampant.

This experience was followed two days later by another experience that caused unease and awkwardness. It was a job interview, I was interviewing to keep the job that I currently work in. I am great at my job (way to toot my own horn), I have 15 years experience doing the job. Yes I left it for a while but was still in the same type of job in the same field. I went into the interview with a dry mouth and a pounding heart. After I met the three women on the panel that I had never seen before and the chair of the interview asked the first question. All knowledge of my job evaporated from my brain. My actual thought was have I even done this job before. I took a deep breath and started rambling, I was pulling out words and examples from everywhere. At one point I think that I completely was off track but just kept using key words like team, experience, ethics, confidentiality, infection control, work place health and safety. This awkwardness went on for the five questions that was the whole interview and about half an hour. At the end, one of the ladies on the panel said “ok, you can breathe now”. I walked out feeling uneasy and like such a failure, and so pissed off. Annoyed with myself for not going into that office and being completely confident in the interview for a job that I know backwards. And pissed off with the whole situation. It pisses me off that it will be decided by someone that has never done my job – if I am capable of it and they are happy to give me a permanent position, that they get to decide if I get to keep my job so that I can put my kids through school. I was frustrated with myself on the drive home that I hadn’t made better choices and made myself a bit more uncomfortable and got out of my comfort zone so that I wouldn’t be in this position.  That perhaps I could’ve spent my precious time on an endeavour of my own, where I get to decide what is right for me and my family.

As I thought more about the word uncomfortable, the more that I realised that the more unease and awkward I feel the more I grow and change. The more I want to grow and change so that the unease and awkwardness at that moment is replaced and I can move onto more unease and awkward situations. Sounds uncomfortable doesn’t it.

Post 95

Post 95.

I mentioned in my last post that I am an introvert, however I have done some research and I am actually an ambivert.

a person who has a balance of extrovert and introvert features in their personality.

A couple of weeks ago I went out for dinner with some mums from school. There was 8 of us and I chatted and laughed and would’ve stayed out longer, if I didn’t have to take kids to cricket at 7.00am the next morning. At 7.00am the next morning I sat on my fold out camp chair under a tree and watched my boy play cricket, this was after I had said a quick hello to the team parents and paid the weekly fee for the end of year party.

The difference is the mums that I went to dinner with I have got to know over a long period of time. I have slowly and at my own comfortable pace got to know them and love them. The lady that I talk about in my blog all the time as my bestie, literally had to force herself on me to actually get me to open up and chat to her. I am glad she persisted otherwise I wouldn’t have my lovely friend.

The mums in the cricket team I have only met this season and am not comfortable just inserting myself in their conversation.

See once I get to know people, I am very extroverted and happy to hold a conversation and hang out. My core group of family and friends, I absolutely love to death. I find stimulating, deep and meaning conversation one of life’s biggest joys. I do however like to spend time on my own, and find it draining and stressful if I have a particularly busy week with social engagements. I get nervous and anxious meeting new people or people that I haven’t seen for a while. If I am going to a party or event where I don’t know many people, I always want to cancel. I don’t though. Part of the reason that I started this blog was to try and open myself up a bit more. The #sistertribe posts that are on the blog, are another way of me being a bit more extroverted. I find them extremely stressful, the interview and the writing but also rewarding.

 

I found a few other characteristics of an ambivert below:

  1. When you’re out in the world, you’re probably not going to be starting conversations with strangers.
  2. When a topic of interest comes up in conversation, you’re more than happy to talk in great detail about it. But as soon as that’s done, you’ll happily sit listening to the conversation without saying another word.
  3. Spending too much time with other people can be exhausting.
  4. Your calm, controlled professional self feels like a very different person to the one your friends see.
  5. Small talk is something that annoys you, because while you can do it, there are instances when it feels a bit insincere.
  6. Some weekends, you just need to spend some time hanging out on your own. And some of the best weekends of your life have been when you didn’t go home for three days.
  7. You’re known to be quite intuitive and good at picking up signals that other people can miss.
  8. Often, you just find yourself observing what’s happening around you.

Post 94

Post 94

We have just walked in the door from a two day road trip to pick up boy 1. He went to stay with my dad in Western Queensland for his first week of school holidays. The trip was about 7 hours travelling. The roads are long, the weather is hot, hot 43 degrees hot, my legs got sunburnt in the car and I was still sweating even though we had the air-con blasting. We saw more road trains on the road, than cars and the land looked as though it would self-combust. We drank 2 litres of water each on the way out, we stopped for a picnic because I refused to buy take-away and then sit in the car and feel bloated and sick, we stopped for lamingtons that are supposed to be famous for the area. I found them two big and a bit dry. We stopped in one of the major towns along the way and visited my sister and niece while they waited for their car to have a service. We walked to the pub on the corner on a melting road, the newly renovated pub had the air-con set to the perfect temperature and an Elderberry gin spritzer went down easily.

We got to my dad’s and my son nearly bowled me over with enthusiasm that I hadn’t seen in him for a long time. He wanted to spend some time with just his father and I for a while. We went to the Great Artesian Spa, and had a soak in the thermal mineralised artesian waters. We were the only ones in the aquatic centre and after getting into the pool, we knew why. It was as hot in the water as out of the water. However we paid $24 for the 3 of us to get in, so we were getting our money’s worth. We switched between the hot pool and the cooler pool, the first few minutes that we floated around in the water was actually relaxing to float in after a hot 7 hour drive. Until road trains full of cattle heading into the store sales in the next town started flying down the street directly past the pool.

After this we headed back to my dad’s place, a fair bit later than we said we would be. He wanted to take the boys to Christmas in the park. Which was as we found out; a sausage sizzle, raffle, bar, and school kids singing Christmas carols. Nice for the town folk, who being country people are extremely friendly, welcoming and will happily chat to a city slicker. But not something that we would go to where we live. I sat and listened to the carols with my husband on a park bench, slowing sipping a beer and watched the locals mingle, after nearly every single person I met said “oh you must be …………………………. (insert my middle sisters name)” “ahh no” and then the awkward “oh, we haven’t heard about you, where are you from”?

Me being my introverted self, felt almost claustrophobic watching everyone. Everyone knew everyone, everyone chatted and caught up and then moved on to the next group of people. This would seriously give me anxiety if I lived here and knew every time I walked down the street I would see someone I know. I definitely like living where I have my core people and everyone else is a stranger.

Post 92

Good Morning

4.20am 3rd December 2016. I am writing this on my break at work, yes on nights again. I am up to post 92 and trying to finish this 100 days of writing as fast as I can.

Tonight has gone surprisingly quickly, I started at 11.00am and there has been a steady stream of work, coffee, toilet stops, chatting about well anything and everything. I have music going which isn’t really helping my pounding headache, but is keeping me awake. A bit like the flashing Santa lights directly in front of me. The children’s play room has been cordoned off and completely cleaned out and has been filled with a Christmas scene – there is a fire place with Santa on top, Christmas stockings hanging off the fire place, there is spray on paint around the windows and a red and silver decorated tree. It looks very festive. I will go home this morning and put up our tree with boy 2 and deck the house out with Christmas paraphernalia before I go to bed.

Looking out passed the Christmas decorations to the car park, the sun isn’t here yet, the day is just beginning darkness is gone and there is light. That would have to be one of the only good things about working through the night, seeing the sun rise and the beginning of a new day. Having said that, on my drive home from working in the dark, I do feel as though I have an axe in my forehead and my eyes feel like they are burning exactly like the time that I accidentally bleached them.

I have just made a terrible coffee that looks like dirty water and tastes bitter. I have a piece of lemon slice that I was offered from another staff member. That’s another thing about night duty – the food. Bench tops and desks are usually covered in Tupperware filled with baking, lollies, chips and dip.

Heat packs, the hot little reds bags are one of my favourite things on night duty. I usually have one down the front and back of my shirt. If I wear the right bra, I can even walk around and work with them attached to me.

Oh don’t get me started on when the day shift walk in. I love them, like really love them and honestly tell them that, as soon as I see there fresh, wide awake faces ready to take over from me so I can go home to bed. Nearly time for me to go home to bed know. – Good night. x

Post 91

For the last 3 years we have hooked up our camper trailer and driven south down the highway to Northern New South Wales to a little place south of Byron Bay. The caravan park where we stay is tucked in between a headland and the beach. The camp ground doesn’t have many facilities in itself but the location is perfect. To get our favourite camp site we need to a year in advance. The dates that we have stayed have meant that the same people have been there each year. One lady that comes to mind when I think of Broken Head has stayed at the park at the same time of year for over 60 years, all of her children and grandchildren have spent summers at the park and her husband actually passed away there, on their annual holiday. She is an expert on the weather, she out fishes the men and can be seen walking the beach everyday.

We spend our time on holiday walking over the headland in the morning, going for a swim or a surf on the way back to camp, we usually have a nanna nap, go back to the beach for more swimming after lunch, then it is “happy hour” with cheese and wine before heading back to the beach for a late afternoon fishing and a pipi hunting session. Then back to camp and cooking on gas oven, with ingredients and produce from the fridge that we take with us, we have a comfortable set up with lots of shade, the boys sleep in their own tents, and we cover our camp site with 100’s of fairy lights making it shine brilliantly.

With mostly the same people camping in the park at the same time each holidays, my boys look forward each year to catching up with their mates from all over Australia. They spend their days, at the beach, in the park, going from camp site to camp site catching up and getting to know families. The group of mostly boys in the mornings head up to the camp kitchen and cook and feast on pancakes. Most days I have to actually remind them to eat and I always insist that they are back at our camp site for dinner; otherwise I would never for the whole holiday see my children.

One of my absolute favourite things is getting comfy in my queen size bed in the camper trailer and listening to the ocean as I fall asleep, going for long walks with my little family and practising yoga on the beach is pretty high on the list as well. The 16 days that we are away each year, living a healthy lifestyle of eating beautiful food, being active everyday, spending time together is my favourite time of the year.

Post 90

Post 90

 

Date days became part of our relationship when hubby was working away. We would devote one of his 5 days off for the month to us. Sometimes it was to go out for lunch or a movie, days we spent at home eating nice food and wine, one day we took a train to the city and ate really bad yum char. Another day we hiked a mountain with me cursing him the whole way because I hate that mountain.  Most of the time it was to the beach. There were some days when I was incredibly excited to go on a date with him and other days when it was not something that I wanted to do.

We went on a date this week to the beach. We haven’t seen each other for a while, he works in the morning starting at 6.00am and I start in the afternoon at 3.00pm, so there are a lot of text messages and I hear is voice more than I see his face. And this week when we went to the beach it was only for a couple of hours after we dropped boy 2 at school as I had to again start work at 3.00pm.

He surfed and I fried myself on the beach, we swam and I lost my bikini top in the dumping waves. We ran along the beach with our feet burning on the hot sand all the way to the car. We hiked up a hill and admired the ocean as we stood beside the lighthouse. On our way back to the car we passed a park with on the side of a hill with bench seats scattered throughout for people to be able to sit and stare at the ocean. It seemed it was date day for a lot of couples. We had a bit of a giggle and it made me feel as though we are on the right track with these date days as we saw the bench seats filled with oldies holding hands admiring each other and the ocean.

Post 89

Post 89

I asked a Instagram group that I am apart of to give me some topics to write about one of them was

Mom life tips (I know Aussies spell it Mum)

Where to begin!!!!

Always follow your own instincts. You are the vessel in which your babe has come from. You are the one that knows what is best for your child. From conception you have mother instincts, follow them.

The moment you find out you’re pregnant mother guilt sets in. On some days that bitch will kick your ass. On other days you will be on top. It is a part of your mothering gift. Don’t worry about it. It means you care.

Everyone and their mother will have an opinion on what you should be doing, when and how. Only pick out the advice that you need, don’t try and do every. single. thing.

When I had my first boy everyone would say “sleep when the baby sleeps” this drove me effing crazy, because my kid never slept. And when he was asleep I would have a shower or throw a load of clothes in the washing machine, while the whole time thinking “I should be sleeping while he is sleeping”. But it equally stressed me out when I would quickly jump into bed and try and sleep when he slept. In the end I did what was right for me on that day.

Talk to other mums. Your mum, grandma, aunts, girlfriends, anyone. Have adult conversations, don’t always talk about the baby.

In our house we have always lived by the rule – there are no secrets in the house. This means answering all questions honestly and openly and being prepared for more hard questions. My boy’s are 14 and 11. So far it seems to be working. And sometimes I wonder if I am being too open and blunt with them.

If you have boys let them be boys. Let them move and climb and throw balls and ride skate boards and go fishing, light fires ( within reason), mow the grass, chop wood. Their basic instincts are to be Neanderthals, to use and develop gross motor skills.

From a young age teach boys to be gentlemen – I do not let mine swear in the house, from the time they learnt to talk they have been taught to use manners, they are to be respectful to women, they must always kiss and cuddle any women in their family hello and goodbye. They are my muscle if I need to move things or carry things.

Read to them and read widely. Lots of genres, books, magazines, newspapers.

Let them see emotion. My boys have seen me laugh, cry, grieve, be angry, they have seen their father and I argue and they have seen us apologise to each other.

Always know what is going on with them, ask specific questions like “who sat next to you at lunch time?” “give me an example of one thing you learnt at school today”

Love them every day. Every morning my boys have had a good morning kiss and cuddle. I read somewhere once that a mother should never be the first one to pull away from the embrace with their child. Let the child break it. I have lived by this because sometimes they just need to hold on for that little bit longer.

 

 

Post 88

Post 88

The feature photo is a dragon fruit cactus. Boy 2 has a diverse palate and will try absolutely anything that is put in front of him. He has a soft spot though for fruit. A friend of his bought a pink oval shaped fruit to school to show my boy. If you think of a pear it is a similar shape. The flesh of the fruit that boy 2 had a taste of was white with black seeds and has the consistency of a kiwi fruit. Apparently the dragon fruit that has its origins in Mexico, is full of numerous nutrients, including Vitamin C, phosphorus, calcium, fiber and is high in antioxidants. From the first spoonful my youngest boy loved dragon fruit. So much so that he wanted to start growing them. We live in a sub-tropical area and the medium to large cactus seems to grow well here.

We were travelling home from western Queensland and boy 2 was yelling at us to stop the car. Now my boy gets car sick so of course we pull over at a ridiculous speed, because we have been there and done that with vomit all through the car. He wasn’t car sick at all, there was a fruit shop on the side of the road with dragon fruit plants for sale out the front. So after the initial “are you kidding me” had worn off. My husband went and purchased my son two dragon fruit plants.

He has nurtured his plants, he has fertilized them, and watered them and at one point even built a bamboo fence around them to protect them from our dog. He has sculptured them so they now look like works of art.

In saying all of this and how delicious the fruit is and how artistic the plant looks, we found out recently that it can take up to six years for the plant to bear fruit. My boy has a long wait for his treasured fruit, but I am sure he will enjoy the first bight after all of his hard work.