10 things in the 10th

10 things I’m grateful for

1. My kids have been sleeping like absolute Champions about 5 nights out of 7 each week, meaning they sleep in their own beds all night long 😴😊😍

2. They have been crashing at night before 8 very easily. This has meant I’ve been able to write my Christmas cards with few interruptions!

3. They are able to sometimes play really nicely together. It’s the best 10 minutes of my week! 

4. Different combinations of the kids together give different dynamics, a variety of games and ideas, and even another 10 minutes of peace for me 😊

5. I find their little personalities fascinating to watch. I see so much of myself in them at various stages, and then I see Frith. So interesting!

6. They all sometimes like the same food on a particular day in a particular way I have cooked it when Jupiter is in line with Venus.

7. They all love cuddles. I know it won’t always be like this, with three boys, but Chance and Darby are particularly cuddly and I’m hanging on to that for now.

8. They develop independence without me even realising. The older three all get themselves ready in the morning, and Julius feeds himself. It’s funny how you work so hard every day to teach them life skills and all of a sudden they are doing stuff on their own. Like Quinn brushes her own hair and puts it in a pony tail for school each day. Crazy!

9. I’m grateful for their health. 

10. I’m grateful for each phase of their childhood. Even though I’m finding it difficult to find activities that suit them all at the same time, I know that in a few years they will all be at school and I’ll wonder where the kiddy phase went. 

What a great day

You know those situations where things don’t exactly go to plan, but you just decide you can’t do anything about it and just go with it? That was today. I had planned a birthday party in the park for Chance and Darby yesterday, but due to fevers and a spot of spew, decided to postpone to today, and hope for the best. And I got it!

We had such a nice, simple birthday celebration at home, with a big bowl of chips, a couple of cheeses and some Jatz, and a few plungers of coffee.* 

The boys are really into Super Mario at the moment, with Chance always choosing to be Mario, and Darby in love with Luigi, pronounced “Louie-Gee”. It’s the best! And easy to find inspiration for their cakes! I also found the hats and tashes on ebay, and just couldn’t resist!

I had so much fun making the cakes, (the 8 was my signature orange polenta cake with chocolate ganache, and the 4 was the best chocolate cake with chocolate icing – I’ve been making this for years and it’s best served at room temperature, for those playing at home) and it was nice to take my time with the decorating. I used pre-made royal icing (it’s the best!) and put it all together fairly easily. With a glass of bubbly and no interruptions, it was a great Saturday night in my books!

The boys were so happy with the end product. I hadn’t told them what I was doing, so it was so nice to see their faces when they saw them, though clearly, Darby has his poker face on here… 

My heart is so full as I type this and look at the photos. It was really exactly what I was hoping it would be – easy, relaxed, a few kids to play with, lots of adults around to help with the kids, (thank you in particular Nathan, Josie, Uncle Felix and Aunty Kate!!!!!) and very happy kids. In my present circumstances, what more could I possibly ask for?

And to top it off, Darby just came out and told me he had an itchy arm and can he have some cream on it. I put some Sudocrem on which I usually use when I change Julius’ nappy and he said “that’s butt cream.”

The perfect end to a marvelous day. 

*personally I had Aeropress with a good glug of Kahlua, but that’s just me 🙂

Did you know I proposed?

Frith said yes, obviously, and 11 years ago today we were married. This is how we celebrated our 10th anniversary last year:

I know right? Delivered to the hospital with love. Actually, when I got there he was in theatre so he had it, warmed up, when he popped home for lunch. We planned to celebrate once we had moved to Toowoomba, as life was in a shambles with packing and moving at the time. 

So, yeah, in case you’re new around here, it was I who proposed to Frith. We used to frequent Cafe La Dolce Vita on Park Rd in Milton, and I put together an elaborate plan involving a few outside parties, to propose to him the night before his birthday.

He was planning to propose to me the following week at Day Camp, which is where we had met initially, 8 years before that. He still did that proposal and it was awesome. 

A few weeks ago, I found myself child free and in the vicinity of La Dolce Vita.

so I popped in and ordered an Italian Hot Chocolate.

It was as good as I remember. This was us setting up for our engagement party, August 2007.

And a photo Frith took of me on our honeymoon.

I had planned to have Chance and Darby’s combined birthday picnic today, perhaps to act as a bit of a distraction, but the universe had other plans: Chance came down with a fever yesterday and ended up throwing up in the afternoon, then Julius joined in at 9pm last night. I was worried it was contagious, so decided to pull the pin on the party. Chance still has fevers, but Jules is fine, as is everyone else, so we will just lay low today.

So happy anniversary to you Frith. I know you are with us in some way; you’ve got to be. It wouldn’t make sense for you to be missing seeing your kids grow up, on some level at least. Thank you for a marvelous 10 years of marriage. You have given me a lot of memories to fall back on when I’m particularly sad or mad with you for not being here. I miss you.

Feeling restless

I really don’t know what it is right now, but I’m feeling so fidgety and restless. It could be a number of things, like this time of year is so busy for us with Chance’s birthday (tomorrow) and Darby’s birthday (7th Dec) and my Christmas cards that I’ve finished making, but haven’t started writing in. There’s cupcakes to be made and taken to school, there’s cakes, cakes and more cakes to be baked for the party, there’s gifts to be bought, then there’s the usual day-to-day, week-to-week crap to keep on top of.

There are so many “firsts without Frith” coming up in the next month, and then it will have been a year since he left. Just like that. 

I feel like I have eight things to do all the time, and I don’t know which one to start on, so I thought I’d write a blog post. I’ve found it really hard to write on the blog lately, even though there’s plenty to share. I feel like we are all limping in to the end of the year, but once the kids finish school, that’s when work needs to be done on the house, and stuff needs to be moved in!

Maybe I’m a little apprehensive about the move, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. I guess it’s just that it’s another big adjustment and I’ll need to factor in potential melt-downs and settling-in jitters from the kids for a few weeks into the new year. 

And then of course there’s New Years Day. God, really? I’ve talked about it with Chance a little bit, and I suggested we celebrate Dadda’s birthday each year, and be happy on New Years Day, and excited about what a New Year can bring for our family. I just don’t want to start every single year from now on, on such an awful, sad note, you know? I want to celebrate our time as a family of six, but also forge ahead as a party of five

I think this has helped; getting a few things out of my head and onto the screen. Tomorrow is a big day for my biggest boy, and I plan to make it extra special for him. 

10 things on the 10th

10 Baby names we didn’t use

1. Silver – for a girl. Or boy. You can guess who chose that one, and who chose not to use it!

2. Gabe – short for Gabriel. Chance was going to be Gabe up until I was seven months pregnant and we heard the name Chance and liked it. It was always on the backburner but never got used.

3. Hector – cute or what!!?

4. Scout – I gave that a big old veto. Scout is a dog’s name, am I right??

5. Zeke – I really love this name, but Frith vetoed it for Julius.

6. Dash – Dash Foottit? I don’t think so….

7. Wesley – or Wes Lee. Ha ha. Didn’t quite stick.

8. Alby – how stinkin’ cute is that??? Frith vetoed 🙁

9. Louie or Linus – both adorable.

As you can see, these are pretty much all boy’s names, as we had a girl’s name picked out for a long time:

10. Lacey-Cate. The girl’s name we had picked out for Darby and Julius that we never got to use. We loved this name. I loved that it saluted the Cathy and Kates in our lives. Such a perfect name 🙁

There are actually HEAPS more like Victor, Hogarth, Bryce, Jesse, Leon, Sinclair, Jarvis, Archer, Lex, Howard, Bernie, Perry, Kiel, Luca and Aramis. Need a boy’s name? Feel free to steal one 🙂

Just another manic Monday

Julius woke up at 4am, but thankfully went back to sleep. Everyone was awake by 6:15am, so no complaints there.

I got to tell the kids that I bought a house!

I know right!!?? It’s in Brighton, where I’ve been concentrating my search. I bid over the phone at the Auction on Saturday morning from Melbourne and now we have a house! It settles mid-December, and we will move in January some time. Absolutely thrilled! Bought some bubbles to celebrate!

Not long after I told them, Quinny got her nose out of joint about something, and was up and down for the rest of the morning, saying she didn’t want to go to Prep. Also insisting she hated blueberries and only wanted strawberries. She didn’t want a banana or a peach either. I know it wasn’t about the fruit; she was tired and I’d been away all weekend, so I did try my best to be patient.

After stuffing around with school lunches, we were only slightly late for school. Quinn turned it around thankfully, and was happy to go into her classroom. As I was leaving the school, I was reminded that today was “Chappy Lunch Subway day” that I had already paid for weeks ago, which meant I didn’t actually have to make lunch for them. Sheesh!!!!!

I had committed myself to a series of cooking classes on Monday mornings at the church I go to playgroup at, and on my way I was feeling less than enthused. I’m pretty tired and have a lot to do with regards to the house, but I thought “I’ve committed, and it’s popular and I’ve taken a spot” so I wanted to honour that commitment. Plus I read we all received a “free slow cooker and Jamie Oliver cookbook!” Which I thought meant two cookbooks but no! I actually got a slow cooker! So I was pretty excited about that, since I don’t have one anymore.

I’ve now paid my deposit for the house, and have started scouring Gumtree for furniture. I plan to get everything second hand, as much as possible.

So yeah, just your typical Monday morning around here!

Going Solo and Melbourne

Mum and Dad went to Melbourne last Wednesday, and they return home today. I decided to “go it alone” with the kids at home, as a bit of a test run for when we find a house of our own. I did have some help (and lots of fun!) over the weekend with sleepovers and activities, and help with washing during the week, but for the most part, the last nine days has seen me single-parenting the kids.

And you know what? It’s gone rather well.

It’s one of those situations where, if you know you have to do it, you just do it. Having Mum and Dad around is an absolute God-send, and I really do appreciate how much they do for me every single day, especially when they’re not around. But I guess for me it’s nice to know that when it comes to it, I will be able to manage “on my own.”

Having something to look forward to has certainly helped! I head to Melbourne tomorrow morning for a friend’s 50th on Saturday night, and I get home Sunday night. I’m SO excited about this trip. You guys know how much I love Melbourne, and being able to see a bunch of people all at once will be such a treat. So this has definitely helped me plough through the night time routines and seemingly endless mornings.

I also feel like I have a bit of my writing mojo back which is nice. I have a lot going on in my head, a lot going down on paper, and not much going on the screen, but it’s nice to be writing again.

The title of this post was originally “Going Solo and Being Blindsided by Grief” but the grief thing is a post all in itself. I did want to say thank you for all the love after I shared that article on fb yesterday. It hit me rather hard and rather unexpectedly.

But right now I’m concentrating on my parenting victories, and my upcoming trip to my happy town. I might even squeeze in a spot of op-shopping 🙂

The perfect house

I remember when Frith and I were looking at buying a house in Wangaratta, one of the catch-phrases that and agent used was “Let’s find you a house so you can get your Saturdays back!” I feel like I need to find a house so I can get my life back! I live on realestate.com.au at the moment. I feel like I’m constantly hitting the refresh button to see if new houses have been listed; to see if “the one” has come up for sale.

I’ve looked at 21 houses in person in the last 6 months or so, and countless online. I’ve put in one offer (that was rejected for being “offensive”… don’t get me started…) and have tried to talk myself into a few houses that weren’t quite right, but possibly might have had some potential. I was contemplating all this house stuff when I had a quiet moment to myself the other day (it didn’t last long).

I’ve never had to look for a house under these circumstances. And I’m not just talking about being alone. I’m talking about knowing the kids and I will be there for many years to come, and not just another year here or a year there.

The thing is, over the last 11 years, I have always found us the right place to live. Sometimes my options were very limited, by budget and location, but often that was also a blessing. Sometimes we decided we wanted to buy a house, but it didn’t come through for us for various reasons. Sometimes, the stars aligned, we found a house we loved, and we moved into it. And sometimes we have been plonked into a house or townhouse with not much say in it (due to Frith’s work). But no matter what, I have always made it into a home.

The house we bought in Rocky* was the only house we looked at. Yes, we literally made an impulse purchase on a house. And even though I never ever intended on buying a  fixer-upper, even though we cursed it regularly, and spent way too much money on it, we loved it so much, and it really felt like home. The memories we made there as a family, are the only ones the kids will remember with Frith. It’s the only home we had as a family of six.

My point to all this is that, no matter what house I buy, I know I will make it our home. I’ve never been in a position to buy a “forever home”, or at least a 20 year home, and it’s daunting as hell. I guess I just have to have faith that no matter what, we will be at home wherever we are.

*I love this link because if you click on the photos in reverse order, it shows the before AND after!!

I’d like to thank the Academy

Look it was a team effort to be honest. It’s a really big deal and it’s really hard to accomplish eight hours of solid, only once-interrupted sleep as a mother of four children under eight. I just couldn’t have done it without everyone’s help.

I’d like to thank my son Chance, even though you did come in to my bed during the night, you were like a Ninja and I didn’t even notice, so thank you my darling. I’d like to thank my daughter Quinn, for not losing your “Dadda shirt” off your bunk bed during the night and calling out for me to retrieve it. You’re such a sweetheart.

Thank you to my darling Darby for sleeping in your bed all night long and not having to get up to go to the toilet. What a champ! And my baby Julius, even though you woke up at 2am, I brought you into bed with me and you went straight back to sleep. After the rough couple of weeks we have had with 5am wake ups, and even one 4:45am, waking up with you at 6am was just heavenly. I felt like I could conquer the world!

Let’s try it again sometime team!!!

<awards music comes on, drops mic, walks off stage>