Just what I always wanted!

As I think I’ve mentioned previously, September is full of birthdays – Spring is sprung, it brings forth new life etc (actually I think we all just got a little too tipsy at a few too many Christmas parties but anyway…..) Needless to say every weekend is another child’s birthday party. One of the birthday invitations that we received was undeniably unique – not because of the My Little Pony stationary or the rainbow theme (shocking, I know!) – it was the present grab at the bottom – I will paraphrase it here for your input.

Annie’s* 5th Birthday Party

Blah Blah, date, time, place, RSVP, Blah, Blah

Annie’s Interests: Sticker books, dressing toys in dolls clothes, Toy cars (orange, green purple & blue), Littlest Pet Shop, Schleich toy animals (found at Toyworld)

Now over the years I have had many people ask me for ideas for presents for my kids, and I’m more than happy to let them know what will make them the most favourite relative on the day (completely based on bought affection of course!). I have also had many people check their purchase with me, or just select something that they think the kids would like. I like people gifting from the heart that they’ve specially chosen. I don’t think that birthdays should focus too heavily on presents and so I love it when people select something small that they are going to enjoy giving. Instead of too much gift focus I try to get the little people thinking about which friends we will spend the day with, what our cake will be, what games we will play and what gifts we can give to our guests. Of course the kids love the presents, from stickers to new bikes and everything in between, it’s all pure joy.

Here is my dilemma.

I have been trying to make homemade gifts, dresses, toys, play dough etc and I don’t really like being told what to buy – like a wedding registry for a 5yr old. Don’t get me wrong – I have met the parents, they seem like nice enough people, nicer than most maybe, I’m sure the parents thought that they were being helpful in pointing us in the right direction present wise. Personally I just think that it comes across uncouth and gauche. Finally, now I really don’t think that I can turn up with a gift that’s not ‘on the list’.

So what do you think? Is listing suggested gifts on the invite the done thing nowadays (I’m pretty slow on the uptake) or do you understand me being a little uncomfortable with the whole thing?

*Names have been changed to protect the children 😉



Yesterday was made of win!

8am haircut, unholy time for an appointment but surprisingly I loved that the salon was quiet and peaceful. About halfway through I discovered that I had a junior doing my hair, but she was happy and chatty and made me laugh and did what I wanted – best bit, I went to pay and it was A THIRD of what I expected! Hooray! Loved the colour and I’ll be back 🙂 It was Willow in New Farm for those looking for a new stylist….

Then I dropped in to Target to pick up some nice ‘keep everything in place’ underwear for the ball and what did I discover when I went to the counter? 25% off! Awesome!

Walked straight out and found a gorgeous sparkly headband that perfectly suited my vintage dress, cheap cheap.

Finally I went across to Priceline to pick up some hair bits and bobs to put up my hair and keep it there, I got some makeup and the lady at the counter threw in a free eyeliner!

So happy – everything was going my way and more 🙂 How often does this happen? I think I’d forgotten what it felt like!

Then a fab night out (without the kids!) at the Women In Technology ball – I forgot how much fun dressing up can be! Maybe this is the secret identity I’ve been searching for…..

Great expectations…..

Tomorrow night I’m going to a ball, predictably black tie. I have no idea what that means for Brisbane but I guess we’ll find out.

Have vintage dress. Need Bridget Jones underwear to fit into said dress. Am having hair done – yes, I know what it means! Here’s what I’m going for…..


Given my last experience with a Joan hairdo I have very low expectations. Don’t worry it’s not the same hairdressers. Cross everything for me 🙂


Matilda Eve – aka Tilly, Tilda and Dumpling.

On the eve of my daughters third birthday, I wanted to post something about her – but something about all of us.

Now I’m sitting here watching One Born Every Minute and it’s made me think about tonight, three years ago. Second baby, second birth center planned birth. At 41 weeks feeling the first twinges during dinner, water breaking, Miles wanting only mama to settle him (during contractions), stressed grandma with us to look after Miles, early move to the birth center for uninterrupted, calm labour. 5 hours. Natural. No pain relief. Shoulder dystocia – PUSH, PUSH, PUSH, out, resuscitation, midwife comes in.

‘She’s fine’

what? She? SHE? it’s a GIRL?

We were never having a girl – another boy was what we were expecting. Not because we were told but The Daddy is one of 4 boys, so the odds were on the male side and my baby belly was HUGE! I was already planning the bunk beds, hand me down clothes and joint cricket practice!

Then they brought her in and gave her to us, 10 pound 1 (4.565 kg) a head FULL of bright red hair. GINGER MEGGS! We didn’t even have a name that would do for her….

A girl. I wasn’t expecting this. A beautiful little girl. Who will be trouble (god knows my sister and I were). Who will hate her red hair, who will have her heart broken, who will write diary’s, have body issues and who no-one will understand. A girl I will relate to. A girl I’m saving all my vintage frocks for. Mummy’s girl.

And she’s nothing like me! Ok, I take that back – other than the red hair, she’s a stubborn as I am, as cranky as I am and probably as determined as I am. She also loves fashion, and wants to be a singer (today), and adores puppys and babies. She’s a princess and a ballerina. She loves being naked or ‘booty booty’ as she calls it. She’s creative, artistic and hilarious! Her smile is infectious and she is the best at cuddles and kisses. She also most days wears a tutu under her clothes – it’s her secret identity……….. i wish I had one.

She is 16 going on 3. And we love her.

Goodnight my 2yr old little girl – for the last time. Thank you for the last two years. Let me hold on tight for the next one, I have a feeling it’s going to be a huge/exciting/terrifying/entertaining/fabulous ride!

Party Highlights Package

I am officially wrecked. Still sick but also partied out to within an inch of my life! Triple birthday party Saturday, super close friends who we think of as family staying up from Lismore, another 5yr old birthday party Sunday and today I drove to the Gold Coast for a wonderful picnic with my gorgeous, talented, wonderful, amazing photographer friend Sam and her lovely husband who are up from Sydney for their anniversary weekend in Byron.

So it’s a short summary edition tonight.

Saturday Party Highlights? How much everyone helped out! Ang for taking shots and the DELICIOUS food, Jen for the AMAZING fairy skirts and tup takes, Lissy for the BLUE heart biccies and Shelley for taking the photos you see here and the salads. A special thanks to Ang who also was my support the preceding weeks and who gave me the courage to try the bike cake – you rock girl! Also a huge thanks to everyone who travelled – we really appreciate it guys and loved seeing you!

Miles’ favourite parts of the party were blowing out the candles of his road bike cake with world championship stripes (yay me!), and having his own radio (Miles programmed all of the music for the party), so you can blame him for the 80’s rock gems 😉 I kinda liked that his favourite parts had nothing to do with the presents, after all that’s not what it’s really all about is it?

Tilly’s icecream princess cake worked really well too and it was raspberry so that was best friends with the chocolate cake!

here are some of the soft friends who found new homes as kids won prizes.

Things I loved: The re-usable gift bags and home made Play Dough inside, the owl, monster and fairy skirt prizes, and the cakes but more than anything else THE COMPANY!

Things I would change? I didn’t get to finish making the headbands and the pirate eye patches for the gift bags, I would have had more games pre-planned for the kids, I would have used second hand books as the prizes for the layers of the pass the parcel (or half a parcel as the kids call it), I would have had lucky dips for the boys and girls and maybe a Poleroid photo area that we could print the shots out onto a photo board as decoration and then the kids could take them home as they left. Finally I would have not been sick, would have had more time and not had to lean on my friends so much but thank you all again 🙂

Other notables: The Daddy got a birthday card that played ‘Can’t touch this’ every time you open it, the kids loved opening it in front of big people cause it was guaranteed to make us dance. Yes we are sad, sad, sad. But you try it – go on. Click the video below and I dare you not to groove in your seat – Can’t Touch This!

Mc Hammer – U Can't Touch This
Uploaded by mainah. – See the latest featured music videos.

Day finished with a small jam session to kid friendly tunes for copious air guitar followed by a late night reminiscing with great friends and old photos.

Miles and Tilly had the most amazing day! Can’t wait to do it all again next year….. oh hang on – yes I can!

I have to go – my monkey needs me. Another mission awaits!

‘Bring Out Yer Dead!’

The black plague has hit our house. Well it may not really be the black plague – it’s much more likely consumption. But I don’t fear death – I fear a birthday party with no food, prizes, music or games. Luckily the troops have been assembled and all my friends are helping with the Homemade party concept. So by homemade we now mean mostly handmade but mostly not by me. The food and drinks are purchased just have all the cooking to do, including an icecream princess cake and a chocolate road bike cake….. which are tomorrow’s project. Icing cakes is my Achilles heel so don’t expect too much. Maybe I should undertake it with a glass of champagne, it will still be wonky but I’ll find it much more amusing.

Anyway I’m about to crawl into bed with my close personal friends Panadol, Neurofen and Pseudoephedrine below are the boy’s party bags, another little monster and a birthday dress that is going to another 5yr old who we are celebrating with on Sunday. Tilly had to try it on of course (it was very hard to get it off again!) I took photos but it’s too big for Till, plus she was dancing, and I should have ironed it first lol.

What are you creating at the moment? or are you awaiting the mortician too?

What should a 4yr old know?

The other day when I was clearly panicking over something or other to do with Miles (probably which school he’s going to go to!), The Daddy sent me this article on ‘What Should a 4yr old Know?’ via PottyMouthMama (thank-you PMM!)
It’s beautiful and a wonderful read. It changed my perspective just when I most needed it! I honestly think every parent should read it 🙂

The sun is out, the sky is blue, it’s beautiful and so are you! Dear Prudence won’t you come out to play – John Lennon

Are you going out to play today?

Ready, Aim….. Paint!

I know less than nothing about art. Unless you count knowing where the crayons go and being able to match the correct texta lid to the correct texta. I can only just colour inside the lines and can assist with dot-to-dot at a pinch. I do have friends who are artists and have attended the odd exhibit in my time but I tend to just nod a lot and save the odd ‘oh look at this one’ for when everyone is staring at me. I know I’m supposed to be educated about this kind of stuff and have an opinion worth mentioning but to be honest all I remember about the Buddha exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW was leaving thinking I would be happy to never see another Buddha as long as I lived. I have in the past had birth clients draw the experience of their first births to analyse their feelings about the experience – but I’m in no way a qualified psychologist and probably shouldn’t undergo that activity either so let’s all forget I mentioned it hey?…..

The kids favourite show at the moment is Mister Maker on ABC2 and so naturally EVERYTHING is about art and craft. In fact with 2 episodes a day and endless re-runs I’m expecting them to start speaking with an English accent by the end of the week! However, to aid them in their pursuits I have created a permanent craft table in the lounge, ‘doodle draws’ (art draws for them to keep their supplies in) and I attempt to provide an ongoing supply of gloopy PVA glue, coloured cardboard and googly eyes. Additionally our entire house is covered in glitter, cut up catalogues and drying works of art. I fully promote the crafting, and it does give me time to sew – (we all create together) But the mess is not usually contained and they are so prolific that I really have nowhere to put it all and they keep catching me sneaking it out to the wheely bin (I know I’m a bad mother!).

So today I decided to direct the craft. Copying from a PlaySchool episode I got paper and had the kids lay down so that I could draw their outline then I gaffa tapped the silhouettes to the side of the house and got them painting. I thought life size works of art would alter their perspective, give them a challenge and keep them busy for at least 30 minutes (fingers crossed). I didn’t suggest what to do just was interested in what they came up with. Miles blew me away with his – he took some circles that he’d cut out from his birthday paper wrapping and used those as well as the paint. The end result I think is really cool. He says he went to crab races and the crabs bit him (which is where the circles are placed) but the mix of bulls eyes and chalk outline imagery made me think of something all together different. God, I hope it’s not a sign that come high school he’s planning a semi-automatic, a trench coat and a duffel bag!

Anyhow there’s no artistic genius in our house but I just love it when they surprise me.

And while Miles whipped up that magic I finished the girls take-home bags for the party (as part of my home-made party concept)….. boy’s tomorrow – now need to come up with something else to occupy the little ones so that I can finish those! 🙂

How do you entertain your little ones?

Daddy Days

The good thing about the inevitable is that it’s inevitable. And that’s the beauty of Miles turning 5. When teaching birth classes I’d talk about fear prior to labour, and that once you’re in labour you’re too busy to be scared. I think that’s what Miles’ birthday was – once it happened there was no longer any point in worrying about it. So for Miles’ 5th and The Daddy’s 35th birthday we managed to enjoy the day thoroughly and watch River Fire last night. We even ate cake with the family which was lovely.

The thing about Miles and The Daddy’s birthday is that it always falls around Fathers Day and on the actual day that Miles was born it was The Daddy’s 30th Birthday AND Fathers Day, so I haven’t been able to top that gift since. But we don’t go all out, some home made cards and a Ride Magazine subscription covered it. Although I was making another prize for the party and surprise, surprise the kids wanted to give it to The Daddy for Fathers Day so he now has an owl named Toowhit. I swear there will be no prizes at this party!

Other than that we spent the day at Redfest – the strawberry festival at Cleveland. Playing live were Darryl Cotton, Jim Keays and Russell Morris followed up by Glenn Shorrock which I found hysterical, but also unsurprisingly it reminded me of my dad who worked in the Australian Music Industry for years and is unfortunately no longer with us. I wanted to write a proper fathers day post about my relationship with my dad, or about The Daddy first becoming a dad. But the words wouldn’t come…. and while the big things are always front of mind I think that sometimes it’s the little things that make fathers day important. The opportunity for us to think about our fathers and appreciate them whether they are with us or not, and giving Fathers the opportunity to think about what it means to be a dad and appreciate that too. Importantly all spending the day together and ultimately using it to become closer as a family. Today we went on giant slippery dips, ate dagwood dogs and strawberry icecream, Miles played air guitar to classic rock and we carried the kids back to the car because they were too tired to walk. Timeless family fun!

and just for me – remembering my dad….

How did you spend fathers day?

Still fighting it

So tomorrow my little man turns 5, each year I think I’ve been really excited to see him growing up, achieving, changing. The years are full of learning, growing, laughing, tears and tantrums (yes, those last two are mostly me!)

But for some reason I’m full of trepidation about tomorrow, 5 is the beginning of his inevitable separation from me. It’s starting prep, making his own friends, surviving challenging people and having to make his own choices without my help. It’s the start of such a huge journey for him – for all of us I guess. He’s so excited. So excited that he couldn’t sleep – not about pressies (he got a new bike so he doesn’t know there are any more gifts coming), just about the idea of being 5, growing up, measuring himself, being a big boy. Before going to sleep he asked me if I would be sad, I said that no – I was happy for him, he said ‘so happy that you might even cry?’. Little does he know, how many shed already today…. as I’m writing this…. and I’m sure I can squeeze a few more out tomorrow without trying too hard 😉

I listened to this today, and I’m ending my day with it. Goodnight sweet 4yr old. Thank you for what you have given us all. I hope you love being 5!

not the proper video (thanks a lot Sony Music!) but you can watch the complete video here if you’d prefer grrrrrrrr