Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Where'd my mojo go?

I've lost my mojo. 

For those of you not familiar with the term made famous by one seriously groovy, shagadelic, secret agent here's some definitions for you. Yeah, baby...

mo·jo

noun \ˈmō-(ˌ)jō\
: a power that may seem magical and that allows someone to be very effective, successful, etc.
: a charm or spell. 
: finding the magic in what we do. 

So, I've lost my magic charm. 

That drive, that push, that creative little spark inside me that pushes me - pushes me to be creative with my kids, to turn everyday events into themed celebrations and to take the time to prepare nutritious food for my family is missing. 

The drive I have to keep a clean and organised house is absent without leave.

The drive I usually have to share and connect on my blog and social media is sadly lacking, and just when I was ready to really amp things up a bit. 

I think it's mainly because I'm exhausted and overwhelmed. 

The last two weeks have included two birthdays and two birthday parties. That means four cakes and two sets of cupcakes to share at school. There's also been a whirlwind trip interstate. With three children. On my own. One of whom did not sleep well the entire five nights. I don't function well on very little sleep. It makes my brain fuzzy. It also makes me bitchy a bit cranky.

We are also (still) in the process of making over our home office/library/guest room. Which has resulted in a whole lot of displaced/broken furniture, boxes of Ikea goodies (which should make me excited not overwhelmed) and a dazzling variety of other crap stuff all cluttering up the house. I don't function well in clutter. It makes my brain feel clogged. 

I'm also on the cusp of a new reality for all of us. One in which I work. FULL TIME. It's only a seven week contract and parts of me are looking forward to it (though, mainly my purse and Pay Pal account!) The rest of me is a little nervous. How will the baby cope without me? How will I cope without my babies? Will I suck? It's been a fair whack of time since I planned any lessons or did any marking. I don't function well when I'm anxious, either. It makes my brain twitchy. 

No wonder I've had a headache for three days. 

So, somewhere inside my fuzzy, clogged, twitchy brain is that spark. My mojo. 

And I need it back. 

I need it back before my two years gets addicted to television. 

I need it back before my five year old thinks LCMs are everyday foods. 

I need it back before my self-esteem and sense of self-worth disappear altogether. 

I've slowly begun my quest to relocate my spark.  I'm making those lists that used to make me so happy.  I'm ticking things off, slowly.  Then I lose interest or get distracted.  I spent 15 minutes cleaning the laundry today so the washing machine repair man wouldn't think less of me.  The rest of the house looks like a bomb went off.

I'm sitting here, taking to you when I should be cooking dinner.  Leftovers anyone?

*SIGH* Are you adept at locating missing mojo? Feel free to throw some helpful hints at me. 

P.S. When I logged on to post this I saw that my little ol' blog has had over Twenty thousand page views!  Thank you for your ongoing support.  You've made my fuzzy little brain a bit happier and my heart so very full xx

Sunday, 6 April 2014

An Eighth Birthday Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Movie Marathon Sleepover

Today's post is about Liam's Eighth Birthday Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Movie Marathon Sleepover- phew! Not only is that a mouthful, but having a group of eight year old boys stay for the night is rather exhausting. I feel like I need one of those "I survived.." T-shirts!

We did, however, have a lot of fun.  We welcomed our guests in the afternoon with an NYC sewer-themed mural...
ninja turtle balloons...
 some chalkboard art...
and a table full of snacks.... 
The boys then settled in to watch the first TMNT movie- do you remember that one? I was a huge fan of the Ninja Turtles when I was younger. 
They got about an hour into the movie before the sugar in the juice kicked in and, after persevering through the rest of the film, we focused on making them completely and utterly totally exhausted. 

We did the cake early. Leonardo is Liam's favourite.

I'm not sure why, but if you touch the bottom with the knife you're supposed to kiss the nearest girl.  While the boys are checking out how close he got, Liam is on his way to give me a smooch (benefit of being the only girl!)

Operation Make 'Em Tired followed- We played footy outside, had a splash in the spa and jumped on the trampoline with the sprinkler on top. It didn't work.
 

After showers and pjs they were hungry enough to sit and watch the second TMNT movie: Secret of the Ooze (featuring Vanilla Ice! It's hilariously lame!)

We had pizza, of course. Four different flavours- one for each turtle.



(My favourite at the moment is The Michaelangelo- pesto, sweet potato, pine nuts, chicken and bacon. Yum!)

And more birthday cake, of course. 

We had a few tired looks and one kid even closing his eyes on the couch about 8pm, but then we set up the mattresses and they got their second wind. 
They played some X-Box for a while and decided to skip the third movie because it was late and time for bed, but they were in fits of giggles for another hour or two. Fart jokes are incredibly funny, apparently.

We finally got to sleep about 11:15. Then they were up early for more X-Box and some pancakes for breakfast. 

The end result? One very happy birthday boy. Two absolutely exhausted parents. Good thing birthdays are only once a year!
Tell me, were you a fan of the Ninja Turtles?  Which one was your favourite? Mine's Donatello.  

Friday, 21 March 2014

Work and Motherhood

Things have been a little quiet here on the blog.

I had planned on things being quite the opposite. My husband has been on five weeks Long Service Leave and I had hoped that someone else to watch the kids would mean more time to craft, create and blog. However, whenever he's home during the day I tend to give myself permission to relax a bit. Take the night off from cooking and have a bit of down time - by myself or with the children.

In saying that, we've also had time to tackle some of the big projects on our to do list. The room that will become our home office/library/guest room has finally been painted and the redecorating is slowly taking place. 

It also means that I've had someone to take care of the kids while I've returned to work. Nothing permanent, just a few days of relief teaching here and there (did you know I used to be a teacher?)

It's been quite a challenge- Getting out of bed well before the kids, trying to disguise the bags under my eyes, making sure food supplies are ready for lunches and lunch boxes, engaging in adult conversation and trying to remind myself how to do things like calculate the average velocity of a moving object. Not very conducive to blogging.

It's also been quite enjoyable- see previous comments about adult conversation and using my brain in challenging ways. 

The main thing being back at work has done is made me realise just how lucky I've been to be able to be home with my babies for so long.

It's a very controversial topic, isn't it. The whole Working Mum vs Stay at Home Mum. I hate that. 

If anyone needs a great big cheer squad behind them waving their pom poms madly, it's Mums.

If anyone needs support rather than criticism for every decision they make, it's Mums.

If anyone needs to have someone say "You're doing a great job", it's Mums.
Because whether you work out of home or not, the basic role of being a Mother is the same for all of us- love your babies madly and teach them to be good people.

Breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, co-sleeping, self-settling, Baby Bjorn, Ergo wrap, screen time, outdoor play, child care, grandparent care, disposables, washables... all that really matters is that you choose what works for you and your family.

We've struggled with and/or trialled a lot of different options over 15 and a half years and four children. None of the options are easier. Some have had to be the cheaper option. Others are a pipe dream. Most cause me to worry that I'm making the right decision and a few have even caused me regret.

We mums should be able to have discussions about how we choose to raise our children without fear of judgment. (Obviously, excluding situations of neglect or abuse).

It's hard not to judge, don't get me wrong. I'm working over-time to keep my opinions in check and reminding myself not to judge without knowing the full story.

The older I get, the better I am at this... 

At the end of the day, regardless of who pics them up from school, who changes their nappy and who prepares their evening meal, my boys know they are loved. To the moon and back loved. And that's all that really matters.

Do you struggle with the choices you've had to make as a parent? How hard do you find it to bite your tongue around others who parent differently?

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Party Season Sneak Peak

Things have been ridiculously busy 'round here.  More on that later.

April is birthday season for us, as we have two birthdays only six days apart. That means planning and hosting two parties only one week apart!

Here's a little sneak peak of what I've been busily putting together lately. 

Liam has chosen a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme.  In order to save my sanity keep things simple, he is having just a small group of friends to watch the first Ninja Turtles movie and even fewer to sleepover and have a Ninja Turtle movie marathon with the next two films.  Nice and easy, just pizza for this one...
 

Hamish has chosen a ninja theme (they have very similar interests, apparently!) We are running a ninja training academy for the day...


I love how these ninja scroll invitations turned out! The Word formatted document is simply printed on parchment-style paper (there are lots of free "ninja" fonts online).  Then I hot-glued bamboo sticks (from the garden department at Bunnings onto each side before rolling and securing with ribbon.


I'm having a lot of fun with these themes. You can see lots of great ideas on my TMNT and Ninja Pinterest boards. 

Monday, 3 March 2014

A Turn of Phrase and The Great Adventure

I'm always in awe of people who can put their thoughts into words so beautifully and articulately.

These words that, when I experience them, are so akin to my own thoughts about the topic that I am overwhelmed with a range of emotions from pure delight to bitter sadness.

Kelle Hampton is one of these people. She blogs at Enjoying the Small Things and has a rare talent of noticing all those "small" things about family, motherhood and ourselves and acknowledging that it's the sum of these parts that are the big things in our lives.

Kelle has recently introduced me to Kelly Corrigan.  Please watch this amazing video...

I'm in tears listening to these deliciously descriptive words and my mother's heart is yelling "Yes! Exactly!" to all of the concepts within... How I did actually want to be Dianne Fossey, the perfection of a sleeping child, "reveling" in domestic litter, simultaneous loneliness and claustrophobia, just how fast they grow, how rarely an adolescent showers, and the joy of being present for the small things. 

I laughed out loud to the part about giving the finger to your cranky child's back.  I'm so glad I'm not the only one that does this!

Listening to Kelly's description of the great adventure of motherhood has also made me feel so incredibly grateful to have had the last five and a half years to just be Mum. 
I'm putting Kelle's book, Bloom and Kelly's book Glitter and Glue on my Must Read list. 

Do you have a favourite 'motherhood' writer I should check out?

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

An Octonauts Third Birthday Party

When Hamish turned 3 his favourite show was The Octonauts.

In truth it was all of our favourite show and, nearly two years later, it still is.

I love the show's ethos of exploring the oceans, rescuing sea creatures in danger and protecting those creatures and habitats in need of a little help.  It's a truly wonderful message to be sending our children.

I also love that it has promoted a lot of imaginative play with my boys.  They like to drive their 'gups' (usually cardboard boxes), rescue creatures and apply bandages where necessary. 

So, it was a no-brainer to throw an Octonauts party.
 
Our party decorations always start with balloons on the mailbox.  The blue thing is a whale.  The wind was not cooperative.
There were a few decorations inside.  We made a seaweed wall with Jellyfish...
We dressed up as our favourite Octonaut.  Liam was the swashbuckling Kwazii Kitten...
I made an underwater mural and set up a colouring in station.  
The children chose their favourite Octonaut to colour and then glued in on to the mural when they'd finished.  I never did get a shot of the after, here's the beginning...
We had quiet reading available in Professor Inkling's Library...
There were a few sea creatures that required medical attention in Peso's Infirmary...
 
Luckily we had some caring medics...
 
Outside we set up a mini beach and ocean...
 
With many sea creatures to explore and rescue...
Simple backyard fun works best with this age group too...
I think my favourite part is definitely the food.  We had Dr Shellington's Clam Cookies...
Captain Barnacle's favourite- Kelp Pudding...
Caramel Bunnies for Tweak...
Fruity fish for Kwazii Kitten...
Mini "squid" in honor of Professor Inkling...
Tunip's famous Fish Biscuits...
and some Crabwiches (a hungry Octonaut seems to have nibbled a claw)...
I found some cute crab and fish shaped plates...

The food was a hit...
Rohan, however, was not overly impressed with his Vegimal costume...
I was super pleased with how the cake turned out.  White Polar Bears are nice and easy to decorate with fondant!

My cheeky 3 year old...
We sent our guests home with Peso's Medical Bag...
 
...and filled them with a personalised colouring book and crayon, balloon, lollypop and homemade jelly sweets and chocolates in the shape of shells and sea creatures.
Do your kids love the Octonauts as much as me mine?!



Monday, 24 February 2014

Aunty Sarah

I'm an Aunty!

This gorgeous little creature entered the world last Thursday...
She arrived at 2:34pm and weighed 6lb10oz. 

I am amazed at how overwhelmed with love I am for this tiny creature I've not even met yet!  She's been a part of my heart since the moment I learned of her existence. 

Part of the reason I'm so excited about my new role as an Aunt is that I've been privileged enough to witness some very special Aunties and the relationships they have with their nieces/nephews.  My cousin is so very close to her beautiful niece and my boys absolutely and completely adore my sister-in-law. 

It's a such a wonderful relationship made up of fun, silliness, secrets and that blood bond of unconditional love. 

I am quite determined to be a super-cool, incredibly fun Aunt.  I keep picturing the scene in the (best ever) TV show, Friends, when Monica introduces herself to her new nephew Ben and says "I'm your Aunt Monica and I...will always have gum!"

Welcome to the world, sweet Hayley Louise.  I promise to love you forever.