Monday, 29 September 2008

Random stuff ...

  • I managed to achieve some of the things from the list in the previous post. Numbers 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 12 and 13 all got done or are almost finished. I know, I know .. don't count your chickens before they hatch .. but they are this close (insert finger and thumb placed about 1/2 cm apart) to being done.
  • I really enjoyed number 12 (which for those who haven't read the previous post .. tsk, tsk .. was Debbie's visit). We both tried to do something creative, me with my albums and she with her cards, but we just weren't channelling very much mojo so we gave up and had cuppas and brownies (number 5 completed!) instead.
  • Bradley was explaining some very in depth specifications on his Mechquest warrior and at the end, after understanding absolutely none of what he had just said, I said "whatever floats your boat darling." His instant reply was "not concrete; that just makes it sink."
  • Andrew and I were having a (pretend) war of words when he said something rather cheeky. So I told him he was a cheeky little boy to which he replied "I can't help it. You made me with four cheeks. That's what makes me cheeky!"
  • I'm trying to decide whether to look for another job as I'm really unhappy where I am. I like the job and most of the people but the change in management has really affected morale and everyone is just miserable all the time. I realise there's politics in every workplace and that some people will just never get along with others, but surely not every workplace is this bad. Then again, maybe it's just another stage .. a "this too will pass" situation. Here's hoping!
  • I managed to start a layout about Brad losing his first tooth (four years ago!) so hopefully I will be sufficiently motivated to finish it tonight.
  • Andrew and Brad both love reading the "i can has cheezburger" site. The study has been ringing with the sound of their laughter for the last 20 minutes. Such a glorious noise!
  • All in all, a pretty good day. Oh and the brownies were really yummy! They'll be even better heated up with some ice cream for dessert. They were supposed to be for snacks during the week but they're nearly all gone already. Oh well, I can always make another batch when the kids have gone to bed .. and tomorrow morning .. and tomorrow afternoon ..

Things to do ..

..hopefully today. The joys of a long weekend!!
  1. Get rid of headache
  2. Find material and zips for Alex to make himself a new pencil case
  3. Get Alex started on making pencil case (so he'll leave his brothers alone!)
  4. Washing, washing and more washing
  5. Bake some goodies to tide the kids over during the first week of the holidays
  6. Help the kids start (and hopefully finish) the mini album for Pete
  7. Hang new curtains in my room
  8. Help Andrew finish sorting out his room (I'm sure a paper bomb exploded in there!)
  9. Pay bills
  10. Vacuum games room .. again. (I hate dark carpet .. it shows every speck of dust!)
  11. Water potted plants
  12. Enjoy visit from Debbie
  13. Scrap .. if I have time!

I thought that if I wrote at least some of them down, I might have a chance of completing a few! Numbers 1, 5, 12 and 13 are taking priority right now so I'd better get started.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Sleeping Beauty

As much as I despair of ever getting through to this child, at least he still looks like an angel when he's asleep.

It's 3 o'clock on Sunday afternoon and he's asleep. Mum came over to take him to Bunnings for some rose spray (and to give me a break from the incessant boundary pushing) but he decided he was, in his words, "unusually tired" and didn't want to go. So Mum took the other two instead and Alex took himself off to bed. Must be going to grow again!

Can you hear that? Ssssshhh ... listen ... blissful silence! I'm off to get a cup of coffee and a good book while I can. Hope you're all enjoying your afternoon too.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Now I understand ..

.. why some mothers eat their young!! It's so they don't become teenagers!

I had a meeting at school this morning about Alex and some of his behaviours. The meeting itself went well and I came away feeling like we were all on the same page and would be able to work together to help Alex. I should have had Alex in the meeting too; maybe then he would be on the same page as the rest of us. The meeting finished at 9:30am and I was at work by 10am. I was back at the school at 12:30pm picking Alex up. And on the last day of term too.

He had decided he didn't want two boys talking to his friend so he told them to leave. When they didn't, he threatened them and when they still didn't leave, he thumped them both. In the ensuing scuffle, Alex fell over and hurt himself which he then had the nerve to complain about to his class teacher. The original phone call to come pick him up was that he had hurt himself and wanted to go home. The next phone call, while I was packing up at work to go get him, was that he had started a fight and "it would be in his best interests to not be on the school grounds for the rest of the day." After hurriedly explaining things to my boss I raced down to the school expecting to find an at least somewhat contrite child, but was greeted with a boy who has absolutely no appreciation of what he's putting everyone through.

I know we're supposedly not given more than we can handle, but I really wish someone had checked with me first. I'm at my wit's end as to what to do with him and don't know where else to turn. Ultimately I'm hoping this is just a stage he's going through and also that I've got enough patience to get through it and out the other side with both of us relatively intact. At the rate we're going, alive is all I dare hope for at the moment. He is on severe restriction of privileges (computer, TV, etc) and is grounded for the holidays. (Not that that makes much difference .. he doesn't have a social life outside of school!)


breathe in.. out.. in.. out..

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading and letting me vent. If not, oh well, you won't be reading this anyway!

Monday, 22 September 2008


In case you hadn't noticed, I decided to change things just a little around here. Supposedly a change is as good as a holiday and as I'm in desperate need of a holiday, which I can't have at the moment, a change is as close as I'm going to get for the next couple of months. (Phew, how was that for a run-on sentence?)

Anyway, the new picture up the top is one I took in January in Broome. It's a sunset looking out over Cable Beach but could quite easily have been a sunrise over Roebuck Bay on the other side of the peninsula, if it hadn't been the wet season and if the clouds were soft and fluffy looking instead of being great big sheets of grey nothingness and if I could have been bothered to get out of bed that early, which I actually did all three mornings and still didn't manage to get a nice colourful sunrise photo! (note-to-self: must find those sunrise photos and stop these run-on sentences!!)

The previous header picture (the waterlilies) is one I took at Araluen Botanic Park in the Perth hills back in 2005, as was the one before that (the tulips with the waterfall).

I've decided I'm going to change the picture as often as the mood takes me so keep an eye out and let me know what you think.

I've noticed in the Feedjit thingy on the side of the page that there are a few different places starting to show up on a more regular basis. Quairading, Merredin, Kwinana and Sydney jump to mind. I know most of the people who visit regularly from Perth, Melbourne and Oswego, New York, USA (Hi Kaye!) but I don't have a clue who would be reading from these other places. Please drop in and say hi in the comments section as I'd love to get to know you too!

Enough rambling for now. I'd better go hang out the second load of laundry for tonight, set the dishwasher going, finish putting away the various assorted detritus from another day with children, iron uniforms for tomorrow, put the bins out for collection in the morning and head for bed soon as I've got another busy day unloading trucks tomorrow. (A story for another time!) Night all!

Sunday, 21 September 2008

It's all in the (c)attitude

Humorous Pictures
more animals

Humorous Pictures
more animals

more animals

I never realised how many ..

house rules my kids had actually listened to until I heard them telling Alex's friends:
  • "You can't ...",
  • "We have to ...",
  • "That goes away here not there"
  • "We're not allowed to .."
  • "Only one at a time"

and my personal favourite:

  • "Put it away yourself. Mum's not your slave!"

All in all, it's been a relatively quiet night despite having 5 boys in the house (2 x 13yo, 1 x 12yo, 1 x 11yo & 1 x 9yo). I think the 3 older boys finally fell asleep some time around 2am after their sugar-filled 'midnight' feast at 11pm. Luckily for them, they let me sleep in this morning until 9am or there would have been bloodshed for sure!

Now I just have to negotiate the wreckage that is my kitchen for a cup of coffee and then I can start the day in earnest. Or not.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Check this out

I was reading a new-to-me blog this morning and found this. It's pretty cool, especially for a stationery geek like me!

EepyBird's Sticky Note experiment from Eepybird on Vimeo.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

"I need a papyrus scroll"

... is what I heard at 4pm this afternoon. The ensuing conversation went something like this:

"You need what?"

"A papyrus scroll."


"For a school project."

"When is it due?"

"Technically not until Tuesday next week but ..." (voice trails off into mumbling behind hand)

"What? Stop mumbling child! When do you really need it by?"

"Tomorrow so one of the other kids in my group can write on it and do some hieroglyphic things to it."

"Tomorrow?! OK. Hop in the car and we'll go find a shop that specialises in ancient papyrus scrolls. The shops are open tonight so it shouldn't be too hard, should it?"

"Muuuum! (stretching it out to two whole syllables) I need to make one, not buy one."

"Oh. I didn't realise you had perfected a time travel device. By all means, off to ancient Egypt with you and don't be late for dinner."

"Muuuuuuum! (three syllables this time!) I already rang Nonnie and asked if we could borrow her paper-making kit so we can make some paper and then we can stain it and tear it a bit to make it look like a papyrus scroll so can we go get it please?"

"What's this 'we'? Aren't you supposed to be making it?"

"I will be, with some help from you 'cos I've never done it before and you said you did it once in primary school and that's more times than I've ever done it so you have to help me or else I'll get in trouble and you don't want me to get into trouble again 'cos then we'll have to deal with another detention and I know you don't like it when I get detentions and if you don't help me it will be your fault this time." (finally stops talking and starts gasping for air like someone who has been underwater for five minutes.)

"OK, get in the car and we'll go get the kit from Nonnie's house. Oh, and just so you know, I stopped listening after the part where you said you were doing it."

"But Muuuuuuuuuuuuuum! (five, or was it six?, syllables.) I need help!"

(! I am Pollyanna! I am Anne of Green Gables!! Happy thoughts .. happy thoughts .. chocolate .. coffee .. both at same time .. aah .. that's it!)

Can anyone guess what I spent the last two and a half hours doing? And no, unfortunately, it didn't involve either coffee or chocolate!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

It never ends ...

Just when one issue goes away (temporarily at least) another one rears its ugly little head.

Peter and I have been having quite a few 'discussions' about what to do with Alex's schooling. Peter reckons he's had enough chances at this school and isn't putting in the effort to justify keeping him there. I think he needs to be in this sort of environment, suspensions and detentions not withstanding, to try and foster some sense of accountability and understanding of consequences.

The trouble is, we have used the threat of being removed from this school as a consequence of getting another detention for any reason, and now we have to decide one way or the other.

If we don't remove him, is this going to send the message that he can do whatever he likes and get away with it?

Or by removing him, are we going to be going from the frying pan into a raging inferno?

I have said to Peter that the only reason it seems so bad at his current school is because there are consequences to his actions, the school follows through on them and they keep in contact with us to let us know that he's having issues. I think the constant feedback and communication are making it seem a lot worse than it is because there just wasn't that level of interaction when we were at school. If we didn't do our homework, our parents didn't find out until the end of the year when the reports came out.

If he were at the other school that Peter wants to send him to, I don't think we would have that same level of follow-up, accountability and communication. It's a huge school with something like 3000 students and I'm scared he will just fall through the cracks.

I'm probably just in protective-mummy-bear-mode, but I don't want to uproot him from his only two friends in the whole world and what I believe to be a better learning environment, just to prove that we are serious about following through on a threat made out of frustration.

Then when you factor in that, according to Peter, "one out, all out" and I'll have two other very upset boys being dragged away from their comfort zones too.

Any ideas??

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Oh my!

What big ears you have!

All the better to hear you with my dear!

What a lot of teeth you have!

All the better to eat you with my dear!

What a strange tongue you have! Is it supposed to do that?

Yes! Yes it is. Look my brother has one just like it.

But what about your other brother?

Oh, he's inherited Dad's genes. They have very strange tongues indeed! Not a sideways curl in sight.

(This all started because Bradley came to me and said"Look what I can do Mum!" Then they all had to get in on the act. I'm so proud!!)

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

I promised myself ..

that I would try and be more positive in the things I say. I'm no Pollyanna or Anne of Green Gables, but I'm trying anyway. I'm also trying to do one nice and unexpected thing for someone per day without expecting any sort of reward.

So far I've made it through two days and have achieved my goals.
It's been the hardest two days of my life!!!

I never realised how hard it would be to not join in with the whinge sessions at work, to bite my tongue when someone says/does something really stupid, to not be sarcastic when the situation is just crying out for it and to stop and think before saying or doing anything. But, overall, I'm getting there.

What are you trying to achieve this week?

Friday, 5 September 2008

Dear Universe ...

This week I would like to:
  • thank you for giving me the intestinal fortitude to keep returning to a place that is slowly draining my life force and logical thinking skills. I realise that it would be extremely unhealthy to be surrounded by happy and joyous people all the time, but can you please arrange for it to happen at least some of the time?
  • question why on Earth did you decide to give two of my male children testosterone surges at the same time? (Yes I do realise that it would be kind of pointless to give female children huge testosterone surges but work with me here!) If you are planning on doing this again in the near future, please let me know first so I can run away to somewhere more peaceful like, oh I don't know, maybe Iraq?
  • ask for help to understand why the washing pile, children's appetites, my waistline and certain people's egos never seem to get any smaller. 'Nuff said.
  • thank you for giving us such a choice of designers of women's lingerie and swimsuits. Just a side note, when do you think I will have paid enough for my obvious bad karma in all my previous lives, because I'd really like to be able to buy a bra that fits, is comfortable and doesn't look like a frontline battle outfit.
  • thank you for all those wonderful people around me who are capable of seeing when I've had enough and who just "move away from the crazy lady". Now if you could just work on the rest of them, I would be eternally grateful, especially if you could manage it before I end up in prison for mass homicide. Then again ... at least I wouldn't have to deal with them, or their mates, in there. Leave this one with me; I'll get back to you later.

All in all, thank you for allowing me to learn so many lessons about human behaviour this week. I really appreciate this opportunity but next time, please could you check that I wasn't already having a breakdown first? Thanks again!

Yours faithfully,


Tuesday, 2 September 2008

I'm officially the mother of a teenager ..

and I don't like it! Alex is now thirteen (and one day, as he reminded me this morning) and I feel like I blinked and he grew up overnight.

Where did my baby go?

What happened to my chubby little toddler?

And the talkative little pre-schooler?

As well as the sometimes unco-operative, but mostly lovable primary school child?

I miss them all but I'm glad he's growing into a fine young man.

(Except for that teensy-tiny complication of the three-day-suspension but aren't we all supposed to learn from our mistakes? Here's hoping!)

I took yesterday off work, ostensibly to deal with the repercussions of the suspension but really just to be home with him on his first teen birthday, and we had a great day. Peter took a couple of days off work as well and drove down from work on Sunday night, arriving after Alex was asleep, just so he could be home with him too.

The two younger boys gave Alex their presents before school (a DS game and a Wii game) and then Peter and I took him shopping for his present. We wanted to get him a stereo for his room and a "proper" watch but wanted him to have some input into the choice. We managed to get both with a minimum of angst and then treated him to lunch. Of course, still being a kid, he wanted Macca's so we went to the shopping centre food court where he and Peter had Macca's and I had a ham and cheese crepe .. yum!

As soon as we got home, he set up his new stereo and settled into his room to play his new DS games. I tried to go and sit with him to watch him play and was told that I could watch another time .. and not in his room because that's where he goes "to get away from it all". (I'd prefer to get away from it all in Fiji or even Margaret River, but I suppose it's a good thing that he's easy to please .. for now!)

We went to Sizzler for dinner with Pete's Mum and Dad and my Mum. Andrew and Brad thought that Sizzler was only in Queensland so they were over the moon that there's one here. The food was ok but the kids' joy at being able to help themselves to whatever they wanted made up for it. After dinner, we thoroughly embarrassed Alex by singing Happy Birthday at the top of our lungs but he got his revenge (on me anyway) by refusing to eat any of the birthday cake I had made at his request. Devil's Food Cake with chocolate icing .. how could he want Sizzler's melted soft serve chocolate ice cream mush over that? I always knew he was switched in the hospital .. he can't possibly be my child!!

As much as I joke about you Alex, I love you heaps and I'm glad you're my baby .. sorry, not my baby .. my teenager!

What a week!

Where to start? "Start at the very beginning. It's a very good place to start." (Anyone else have that song stuck in their head now?) Anyway ...

Wednesday 27 August

  • Had the day off work because Brad has tummy troubles .. again!

  • Did very little else but washing, washing and more washing. At least the weather was good enough to get most of it dried because the evening chill hit.

Thursday 28 August
  • Due to having Wednesday off work, I missed the staff meeting at which all the new rules of the offices were discussed. So I had my own "little chat" with my new boss where she basically asked me to play enforcer and tattletale for her. She has also asked that I use my "close relationship" (said with raised eyebrows by her) with one of the managers to pull him into line too. Sorry, nope, not going to happen. That's your job lady, not mine! And since when does being able to have a decent conversation with someone of the opposite sex constitute a "close relationship" worthy of raised eyebrows?

  • After leaving work exactly on time (gee what a rebel I am!), I went shopping for a wedding present for a friend (Belinda) whose wedding was that afternoon. I ummed and aahed over what to get and ended up buying a lovely picture frame and statue gift set from Willow Tree. Then headed for home to change for aforementioned wedding.

  • On my way to pick up Jackie to take her to Belinda's wedding, I received a phone call from the boys' school telling me that Alex was suspended for three days for fighting. After an initial bout of "I'm going to kill him with my bare hands", I relegated it to the "I'll deal with that later pile" in my mind and went to the wedding. It was lovely to see Belinda so happy after all she's been through and Harvey looked pretty happy too!

  • I dropped Jackie off and went home to deal with Alex. As soon as I called him down to the lounge room and told him to shut the doors, he confessed all. (And I was so looking forward to trying out the new torture tools too! Maybe next time.) Whilst I could understand why he reacted the way he did, as can the vice-principal, violence is never an acceptable way of dealing with problems. So now he, I mean we, had to deal with the end result. The worst part was ringing Pete to tell him. Alex was so terrified that Peter was going to just take him out of the school that he cried himself to sleep.

Friday 29 August

  • Worked my normal hours at Livingston then worked an extra 3 hours at Armadale store, helping them to get stock and invoices processed. Was absolutely exhausted by the time I got home (with takeaway for tea because I couldn't be bothered even trying to think about what to cook!)
  • Talked to Peter some more about what to do with Alex. Surprisingly, he said that he wasn't going to "go Amish" on him because he felt the suspension was enough punishment in itself (Hellooo? Are we talking about the same child? Not going to school is not a punishment!!) After a bit more discussion, we agreed that Alex should have some privileges removed and have to do a whole lot more chores around the house until he goes back to school.

Saturday 30 August

  • Worked at Armadale again for another 3 hours and came home rather sore and tired. Three and a bit pallets piled high with boxes of books, that all needed to be opened and scanned then neatly repacked, would tend to make most people tired. It was a bit disheartening leaving there with another 4 pallets still to be checked, but at least we got some of them done.
  • After the tiring morning, I spent most of the afternoon lazing around reading .. I mean supervising the children's attempts at housework. Because they need to know how to do these things for the future, right? Every boy should know how to clean a bathroom and toilet especially considering they still can't aim!!
  • Had an extra child in the house Saturday night .. Lachlan, Mina's son, came for a sleepover. Luckily they were all well behaved so I could continue my lazing around with no bloodshed. I finally managed to get them into bed at 9pm and I think they fell asleep by 9:30pm. I'm not 100% sure because I was dozing in the recliner in the lounge room. Sometimes those chairs are more comfortable than my bed!

Sunday 31 August

  • Slept in until 7am .. woohoo! .. then got up and tried to persuade the boys to stop playing the Wii long enough to eat breakfast and get dressed for the day. I'm still not sure if I succeeded with he breakfast part but they'd eat if they were hungry, wouldn't they?
  • Mina picked Lachie up around 10am so we sat and had a cuppa and a chat before she left to help a friend clean up her shed and I sat down to read another book.
  • I realised at noon that I'd said "anytime after 12" to Debbie and Mum for scrapping so I hurriedly cleaned off the scrapping tables and then tried to decide which project to work on. They both turned up around 1pm and we had a lovely afternoon scrapping. Mum left a bit early to go home to have a nap before starting work that night which left Deb and I some time to have a good chat about everything and nothing. Good times!