Thursday, September 26, 2013

Make and Do

You probably already know I quite like that new job although the hours are tiring and I'm not home nearly enough for my family and it's a pay drop and my teacher registration requires me to get back to it eventually.

BUT in the meantime, I get to make stuff.

Unfinished paintings of tangled up bunting on the grass. Hope to do more of these.

Every day.

Garden lantern based on some Spanish ones I saw.

Demonstrating is a great motivator. It pushes me out of my comfort zone and makes me try new things.
like skull sculptures, (who'd have thunk?)

or landscape painting

Mine is a bit Reg Mombasa- ish

with my sons (how special is that?)

His is a bit more lyrical and, dare I say it- feminine!
or trying an identity themed painting based on my 14 year old boy's festering old sneaker. He loved these sneakers so much that I had to hide them after 18 months when they were no longer his size and had become tissue thin. They remind me of him as he is now- messy, loyal, adventurous, a secret fashionisto and kind of unkempt in a lovable, boisterous way. So I drew his shoe.

It really had to go.
It was partly to demonstrate that an art work on identity didn't need to be a painted selfie but also to preserve a moment in time about him for him. I may have to do four more of these- and get more walls to hang things on!

It seems I am aways conscious of making memory points for them to have in case I can't remind them in person. After I impulsively indulged in a therapeutic end of term pedi the other day, the girls asked for a $5 manicure each. At four and ten years old, I would once have thought they were too young or it was silly. These days I go for the memory making option. Hopefully we'll all sit around and reminisce about their first manicure when I'm ninety!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Things to Like about School Holidays- Part 1

Finally we have crawled over the finish line to school holidays and it is good!

There are the obvious pleasures of not getting up an mustering a reluctant crew to various schools and activities before arriving at work at (ahem) 8 o'clock. 

I shall make a list over the holidays and see if it is as long as I imagine.

1. Sleep ins and wake up cuddles with small people. 

2. A cup of tea in bed still in pajamas and reading a book- my own book, not Olivia the Pig etc.

3. Finally delivering the contents of the back of the car to the op shop before it was discovered and reabsorbed into our house.

4. Going to the op shop at all!

5. Being rewarded with op shop kharma by finding this bored game (their spelling not mine) which is usually about $70 in toy shops and was one of our family favourites growing up. 

6. Finding Tupperware in the most delicious tomato red as well as a huge cake tin all bashed and dented and nannafied. I have been looking for one of these for the giant chocolate cake recipe.

7. Being able to act on the impulse stimulated by the Tupperware and giant tin and BAKE.
(Old cake tins are a bit like old knitting needles. You know they have transmitted a lot of love through the cakes they have moulded over their lives.)

8. Having time to make proper pizza dough because the oven was on and there is time enough for it to rise to big puffy doughy heights. 

9. NO LUNCHBOXES! Rejoice and be happy for there will be no line up of orders at 7 a.m. for two whole weeks!

 10. The discovery of a new appliance in the fruit bowl, made by idle hands for my viewing pleasure and entertainment it seems. 

11. A late addition to the list would be the arrival of a double ear infection and a fever/ vomitty bug. What holiday would be complete without them? The good part is that I can be here to look after them and wash the sheets, administer the drugs and pat fevered brows. At the risk of sounding all Munchausenesque- I like that. Juggling sick kiddos with work is not an easy gig. Being obliged to stay in and chill with the patients is really quite pleasant.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Et tu, Brobee

The basket in the corner of the girls' room was lousy with toys. Lousy, I tell you! The great cull of previous years had been sabotaged with trash-n-treasure and hand me down items of a fluffy nature.
They were all thrown out onto the bed for the selection process. The girls won't part with any of them so it was up to me while the Big Fella had them at the beach, innocently unaware of the drama unfolding back home. My criteria are simple. Soft toys are silly and take up too much space and collect dust but somehow, some of them have wormed their ways into my heart. They are attached to memories that I like to be reminded of. Yes, I had guilt.

Don't look at me with those sad brown eyes, Roadkill Ted. This is Roadkill Ted the First by the way. He was so named because the Big Fella had stored him in a tea chest for several years when we were overseas. When he re-emerged his innards had evaporated reducing him to a bearskin rug. He has been around since the BF was born so he stays. We reward loyalty around here.

These are the (from the left) the Wicked Fairy, Rapunzel and the handsome Prince. If Fishy sang that song once he sang it a gazillion times when he was three. He and his little sister helped me make these.
Note the baby in the  pouch on Rapunzel. Clearly the Prince had already been in the big, high tower.

This is Barry, the anatomically correct boy doll- he of the slightly disturbing spiral eyes and crocheted orphan doll ensemble. Beloved by the now big boys as they prepared for baby sisters, he has been followed by many other dollies but never bettered.

Op shopped Charlie and Lucy. One day I will find, Schroeder, Linus and Sally, Charlie's little sister. So I have to hang on to them in case, don't I?

The triplets. These have all been bequeathed at various stages of little girls' lives. One was Lucy, one Daisy and the other- we don't talk about her. We don't need three but who could break up the set?

Et tu, Brobee? This bad boy was a hand me down from a dear friend. He was secretly squirrelled into the car so her child would not see. See I'm not the only mother smuggling out childhood companions by stealthy sleight of hand. He took up much bed space and has now gone to a better  place with a four year old who has just arrived in Australia from Afghanistan. Culturally confusing perhaps but infinitely huggable.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Return of the Rhythm

Every year we go to a special place. We only go there once a year but we all look forward to it as a touchstone, a yardstick by which we are can measure our lives as this little family grows up.

One year I felt very queazy while I was there. The next year we had a small pink bundle who was carried in a pouch to all the special places we have accumulated in out joint family memory. One of these was always the thong fence out the front which has been commemorated in the house with this wonderful photo. The thong fence was washed away this year but the picture is still there.

The rock pools have been explored in great detail for years, since this one was younger than Shorty. Every year we revisit the pools where they carved their names the first year they could all write and build towers out of rocks and we reminisce about the year we found the huge (dead) inflated puffer fish that drifted in the pools all week.


I repeatedly take photos of the rocks, the patterns carved by the water and sand and give the bare feet a good work out in the sand. The patterns barely change but every year our family is profoundly different in some way, be it small or enormous. 

We make castles, they swim, we stare at the ocean...we stop. Stopping is the most important part, the part that makes it so sublime.
We stop all play dates, school, work, kindy, soccer training, rugby training, music lessons, rehearsals, homework and, best of all, packed lunches.

Last year it was hard to stop. I had to come back at the start of our special week for chemo. There was a  beanie on instead of the sea breeze combing my hair. A lot of the favourite haunts were inaccessible to me so none of us went there. It was rainy, I was sick and we were all very fragile.

We stopped, as always, but in a different way to regroup and feel there was some constant in life.

This year was for me the best year there ever. 
We spent time with the dearest of friends and family, got to retouch all the old favourite haunts I was too sick to get to last year and felt rested and calm and happy. Everything was back to "normal". We all felt it. Even the weather was ridiculously beautiful for Winter. Last year it sympathetically rained almost the whole week. This year we basked in the gentle sun and the light of the Supermoon. If there was ever a sign that life goes on, there it was.

Me photographed by Boy 2. Nice one, son.

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