About Ali Moloney

Wife, Mumma to four, nurse, teacher and wannabe writer. Blogging about modern day motherhood - our battle with society, ourselves and those tiny humans!

Moving -> New Blog Site

Hi There!

Ok – some exciting news – my blog is moving to www.moloneymayhem.com – I am really excited about this.  It is not a fresh start – it is just a more organised one, and it looks incredible (I can say that as I did not design it all – Victoria from Reindeer Riot did!!)

So for all the lovely people out there who follow my blog, you will need to please re-follow at my new address.  It will take 2 minutes, I promise!

This site will still be here, but I wont be monitoring it – I will be posting to my new site.  I hope to see you all over there 🙂

Happy Friday!

Ali

Let Go

Re-blogging this for a reminder to be kinder to myself, and to take ‘everything’ in. Enjoy the little things and also think of the big things. Happy Monday 🙂

Moloney Mayhem 🙂

A few years ago, there was a great song by Frou Frou – Let Go.  I am not great at determining song meanings, but I really think this song is about humanity, and what it is like to love, live and experience every day adventures.  I love the line ‘ there is beauty in the breakdown’ – as it rings true with me constantly.  I can honestly say, that as a mother of four, I loose my crap, and do ‘break down’.  It might be over spilt milk, or another sibling fight.  But in that moment, and for every moment, I am beautiful and amazing to my kids. The relevance here?  Give me a few minutes of your time…
My four kids are going to have their perception of beauty and self image modelled by me (no pun intended!).  I am pretty crap at accepting a compliment, have next…

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Photos + Words = Stories

Following on from “Anatomy of a Day“, this post will be another snapshot of our day through the Week in the Life viewpoint, a concept by Ali Edwards, where you basically dissect and document *all* that makes up your day, for seven days/a week.  I am really enjoying the process and really looking at how I get about my day in great detail – through not only to-do lists, but photos, and observations.  Many of the photos I am taking are things I normally would not photograph.  Things that are, for me, normal, every day occurrences.  From the morning cereal choices – (colour coded of course)

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To the sign in process for kindy for the trio (no, I don’t find it unusual to sign in/out three times every day, but many people, in term four, still comment!)

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To the emptying of school/kindy bags each day, cleaned and ready for the next, all in a row

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And then there is the caffeine.  That first, *amazing* cup of tea that gets you going in my now mismatched tea pot as Caitlyn dropped the lid and smashed it, and my only remaining bucket (mug) from the two I bought (another casualty)

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To the *best* cup of tea in the day.  The one right before bed, that has no interruptions by children and is never cold. It is bliss.

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And then there is the havoc that remains in the bathroom after shower/bath.  The bubbles still slowly melting due to overzealous squirting of the bubble bath.  The ‘stuff’ that just accumulates in the bath, and the little watermarked foot prints across the floor.

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The countless arguments, negotiations and battles, particularly with Caitlyn, about eating vegetables, or even in fact any of her dinner.  And this face as a result –

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The washing, the ironing, and how it always seems to be a never ending cycle.

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And then work.  Fitted in around all other bits and pieces.  Slabs of time throughout the day that still see me working a full time load – and yes, I am thankful for working from home.

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Driving.  I spend so much time in my car some days – running tiny human passengers to kindy and school, and then to dancing or swimming, or tennis.  Things just keep getting added to my diary for things to ‘do’ with/for the kids.  I am not complaining.  Not at all.  I am actually really enjoying how this process of analysing a day is making me incredibly grateful for what I do have, and also for my sanity.  I never in a million years thought I would be a mother to four kids.  Two was our ‘number’.  Four we got.  Four kids chock full of spunk and personality.  And four people to battle with almost daily.  I cannot tell you how many times I say the following –

In a minute _____

I said wait/stop

Please stop hitting/pinching/punching ______

Please will you keep your hands to yourself

Shoosh!

Say sorry to ______ please for ________

Can you please listen to me _______

Bikes outside, NOW.

And the list goes on.  I think these are my most said ones though.  I do tend to swear a lot in my head, I think it is a reasonable coping mechanism some times and a damn site better that swearing at the kids.  Now, there is no sugar coating here, and I certainly lose my temper with them, but not without good reason.  I think the triplets feed off of each other sometimes, as Hayden was never like this at this age – and it can be an ongoing battle/war to negotiate something as simple as dinner.  Then I look at them, really look at them, and taps that weeks ago they could not reach, they now can, courtesy of a growth spurt of a few good centimetres.  Then there is Hayden.  His ability to research and prepare for his presentation on crocodiles amazed me.  He had it all sorted, and I only needed to help him with the pictures.  It is astonishing how quickly kids become ‘used’ to computers and the ability to navigate and work through them.

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This year in school has seen Hayden really flourish.  A little boy who struggled with handwriting and order to his work now is writing so well it makes me swell with pride at just how hard he has worked to get there.  He has never complained, and I am sure he has wanted to give up, but he never has.  His ability to decipher information and read is amazing, and really puts ‘who’ he is growing up to be in perspective.

And then I really look at how big they are getting.  Tiny hands that used to be completely encircled in mine are now just holding onto them –

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And I know that in another year, all these tiny things that make up my day, will be different.  And I won’t know it, because we get so bogged down in our routine that we don’t always notice when something changes.  We forget how grapes used to be called apple trees.  Or when Emma said she needed new undies because her ‘booty was too big for them’.  Or how Caitlyn is so fiercely independent she would rather die than ask for help.  When bumnoises become farts, and when Mummy becomes Mum.  All these little changes creep up on me, and sometimes, I worry I won’t remember all the amazing things we say and do.  The little ‘isms that make up our family, and separate the kids from each other.  The way that one is ticklish and another isn’t; that even though they all have blue eyes they are all vastly different shades of deep blue and full of different expression.  Their laughter, their songs.  Their bed time toys and routines.  The amount of mummy cuddles they need before they go nigh nighs.  All of these things and more will always make up who we all are, and spark a strong memory or feeling.   I am hopeful that some of these words + photos will spark something for not only my kids, but for me in years to come.  Years in which I am no doubt I will still be busy with them, but busy in a different way.  And, as tough as many days can be, I never want to forget these days.  Even though I lose my temper, and only usually get ONE hot cup of tea a day, I know I will miss these days.  I will miss these moments.  So I hope my stories do them justice.  And I hope that through my eyes, in years to come, my kids can see what kind of ‘life’ we had.  And I will miss Caitlyn’s sense of fashion (in 31 degree heat!!)

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The Anatomy of a Day

This week, I am completing the Week in the Life project by Ali Edwards.  I love the idea behind this and a big part of why I blog here is so I don’t forget the little things.  This project focuses on what we do, how we do, and a bit of why we do, every day, for seven days in a row – or a week.  I am finding it interesting to say the least and am taking a lot of photos.  I know that I already have a fairly well formed routine, but it is interesting coming at it from a different angle – telling all the stories that happen in a day, be it routine or otherwise.

If I break up a day, right down to even an hourly time line, so much happens!  Monday morning, the week begins.  I went in to sort out the triplets – so help select appropriate clothes for Kindy (otherwise Caitlyn would wear a costume everyday) and get them ready.  We then trudge downstairs talking about what our dreams were of, and how much fun we are going to have today.  Their fun meter is always higher as they don’t have ‘boring mummy jobs and work’.  Nice.

This morning featured a nice little addition of having to shower Brendan and Emma courtesy of Caitlyn putting baby oil all through their hair (to make it shiny apparently).  Emma’s hair is almost to her bum.  Let’s just say, we washed her hair quite a few times, and I swore *a lot* under my breath.  Along with the baby oil, Caitlyn decided to draw on the door that divides their room and wardrobe.  We had this build 2 years ago when they kept breaking in and throwing *everything* out on the floor – nappies, clothes, wipes, you name it.  It was tiring.  So the door was put in.  It is a saloon type door.  Well, they are taller, much taller now, and can open it.  Yay.  So we have a bit of hiding of things in there and getting to them in the morning (fruit, biscuits, lego).  Anyway, she drew on the door.  After our talks last week and the ‘installation’ of the chalk board downstairs she knew she could not draw on the walls anymore – but this was a door.  So apparently it was different.  Ho hum.  And it is not even a picture, just scribble, which is not like her.

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So after the interruption of having to shower two kids it was back to normal things like lunch prep.

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And yes, I go through A LOT of fruit!  Packing bags, getting hair ready (girls) and teeth brushing comes next.

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We all then pile into the car, and call Jase. This morning I asked for a photo of them all before we got in the car.  After about 20 shots, I got one reasonable one –

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Every morning on Mondays – Wednesday’s we call Jase from the car.  The kids take turns, and mostly talk over the top of each other, but it is good time of day to get everyone to share their stories of what they are going to do.  For some time now I have been asking Brendan (aka Beebo) where his brain is today (mainly because he is so absent minded, and goofy).  On Monday he had us in stitches.  I mean absolute hysterics.  He said his brain was in the car over there (pointing next to us).  We left it at that, as commonly his answers are, in the fridge, in his bones, on the roof, in the fridge as it is hot, or on the moon  – you get the picture.  When we drove off, he started by saying ‘oh no come back with my brain car, my brain is driving away’.  It was hilarious and I am so glad that Jason was on the phone to hear it, because it would not be as funny told the second time (even here!!).

We drop Hayden off first, and he has his routine.  He goes to each window and says goodbye to everyone, and Caitlyn always says “have a good school Hayden” which I think is adorable.  She is starting to realise that it is not the correct grammar, and trying to work out how to correct it.  I will be a little sad when she does.

Then it is kindy drop off.  The kids are focusing on learning to write and using the correct grip.  Brendan does not really care, where as the girls do.  They concentrate and try to get it right.

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After that is done, they have to put all their things away and wash their hands, put on their hats and go play.  Monday was a scorcher here, and I think it was around 32 degrees at 9am.  I put a second ‘coat’ of sunscreen on them!  Then, after 9, I leave them to their thing.

My day is then focused on work.  So I get stuck into it, and always am surprised when it is 215pm and time to prepare ‘snacks in the car’ for eating while waiting for Hayden as they have dancing at 345pm on Mondays. Snacks in the car are a big treat, and they are different every week.  This week, as it was so hot, we had some nice cold grapes (I took an ice brick even!) some popcorn, and some rice crackers and sultanas.  And cold water.  They are happy enough to eat it in the car and know that when we get home they have to get changed for dancing.

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So then it is time for dancing.  And after their concert on the weekend they were a bit excited to see everyone and talk about the concert.

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Hayden & I then headed to do some groceries.  Monday nights we always have ‘random things from the fridge’ – so chicken, cheese, cherry tomatoes, gherkins, and anything else – ham/salami and fruit.

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Enderman even came shopping with us!  I also love this little bit of time with just Hayden.  I get to hear him talk a mile a minute about any and everything and not have to fight for my attention.  It is pretty special.

Then we had the heat finally break with a corker of a storm.  Amazing lightening display and a downpour almost from nowhere!  The afternoon then becomes early evening and it is tea time.  Followed by bath and bed time.

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Then the trio {finally} go to bed.  And actually sleep.  And Hayden gets a little bit of one on one time with me as well.  Then he is going to bed (still with his doby) and I almost fall into bed asleep as well.  But, I try to stay up, get a bit of work done, and do the boring things like cleaning up, putting bins out and getting ready for tomorrow.  And all of this in one day.  And that is not including all the stories of today.  Like the kids leaving their clothes *right next too* the laundry hamper.  Not in it, on it, but near it.  Drives me bonkers.

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Or the singing of “if you are happy and you know it” and twinkle twinkle little star.  Or Hayden reading Cinderella to his siblings at bed time, not because he likes it, but because they do.  Or the kids, at bed time, wanting their kiss, hug, huggies and tickles before they are even able to remotely think about sleep.  Or brushing Emma’s hair again, and again, to make sure there is no more baby oil.  Or listening to Hayden talking about his school project, drifting off mid sentence of what he is saying and seeing him in 10 years time, tall, strong, and still passionate about dinosaurs.  The text messages through the day from Jase, sometimes our only form of communication all day.  The texts from friends.  Reading and deciphering emails.  So much screen time in all that we do now!  The groceries, the choices, and how I stick to what I know and use the same brands over and over.   How I find myself sitting at traffic lights and looking (with a non-stalkery glance) at the cars opposite me and wonder what they are doing, or what their life is like on Mondays, or any day for that matter.  Wondering when it will get less ‘busy’ and less ‘noisy’.  Probably never.  Wondering always about remembering everything. Hoping that maybe today the kids will actually listen to me and I won’t have to pull out the cranky voice.  And then it is a new day.  And much of it is repeated, but some of it never again.  The anatomy of my day is unique each and every day.  And I am glad to take the time to analyse it a little more by doing ‘A Week in the Life’.  I am also glad when it is time for sleep!

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Around Here

School holidays are over – already.  Term four is now in it’s third week.  Man, this year has flown.  All school/kindy ‘things’ are winding up, and Christmas celebrations are already being discussed.  Wow, just wow.

The days are warmer, the sun has bite, and the nights are still a little brisk.  It is the most glorious time of the year!

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The Jacaranda’s are in full bloom and are stunning!  I love the colour they bring to the streets around our house.  Just gorgeous.  I love that the kids appreciate the changes in season as well – and also just how beautiful nature can be.

Mindful of the sun we are trying to use play times on non-school/kindy days that are in the shade.  If you have read my blog before, you will know that I have kids that like to draw on just about anything – walls namely.  This was the latest ‘attack’

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Now this picture may look rushed – and it was.  Because it was artist interrupted.  She was no where near finished apparently, but this was a picture of me.  Not sure what I was doing.

So, to make them all accountable for drawing on walls, we made up some sugar soap and get those little hands cleaning all the artwork off.  The plan was hatched that we would turn the wall into a blackboard/chalkboard wall.

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So after cleaning and fixing any small imperfections, there was primer and then the blackboard paint.  All up, including materials it was about $100 from Bunnings.

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Here is the finished wall!  Very impressed with it.  What was more impressive was the fact that the kids thought that it was painted black because they kept drawing on it.  They had no idea (Hayden knew) that it was going to be a drawing area for them!

So after waiting the 48 hours we needed to wait.  I showed them what they could do on the wall.  The response was AMAZING!  They are so excited to have a chalkboard and it could not be in a better spot – it is a half wall that separates the kitchen from the dining area and protects the stove.

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Here is the excitement of four at once on the chalkboard!  We have only 2 dusters, and there have already been duster wars, but they end quickly – as the threat of no chalk is delivered!!

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I wrote all the kids names on the board so they could have their space (to begin with) and Caitlyn is trying so hard to write her name – she writes Mum a lot.  She is getting so clever!

So now, the kids are pretty stoked that they can draw on the walls, and I feel like we have made a big childhood memory of the drawing on the walls that they won’t forget!

A Different Kind of Blog Hop

Last week, I was nominated by the beautiful Petra Cocoran to participate in “a different kind of blog hop’.  Petra is an amazing project lifer, and was on Becky Higgins’s creative team such is her talent!  So I feel very special to be nominated by her 🙂

I love blog hop’s – they always lead you to amazing places that you may never have seen before – and I can spend hours reading through all the carefully crafted words, pictures and stories.  So, here I am – and here are the questions –

1.  What am I working on right now?

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Project Life – I just caught up about 14 weeks worth with the new Project Life App, got them printed at Persnickety Prints and am in love with them.  I am not a convert, as I love the tactile approach and process of Project Life.

PL App Page :)

PL App Page 🙂

In terms of papercraft, I always have a few things on the go, but that is what I love about some stories, you can leave them, and come back to them.  I am also working on #30Lists September 2014.  I have done all my lists, I am just finishing up my mini album for it.

This beautiful daybook was made by Jodie York from Polka Dot Creative.  I love them and have used them a few times now for mini books!

This beautiful daybook was made by Jodie York from Polka Dot Creative. I love them and have used them a few times now for mini books!

Polka Dot Creative is Australian and her amazing Brush Script, Polka Dot Pieces and unique handcrafted goods from other artists can be found here.

I have also recently learned to crochet and am working a few things for gifts and charity 🙂

2.  How long does it take me to create a project?

I am a bit of a procrastinator – and can focus on one thing for too long and get overwhelmed – more so with traditional 12×12 pages.  Project Life I keep it simple because I want to record the memories and the routines!  I still do weekly spreads as so much happens, and also because my husband works away it is always nice for him to see what we have been up too that has not always been here to see firsthand.  For PL about an hour for a week.  Sometimes longer, sometimes shorter.  Depends how distracted I get!

3.  What are my favourite things to create with at the moment?

I am fairly simple and stick with core kits and also stamps from – Kellie’s Stamps and I also subscribe to a some PL monthly kits that I add in.   I try to keep it simple – I don’t embellish in layers as such, usually stamps, handwriting (because I am too gumby to do digital) and basic bits and pieces.

Stamps from Kellie's Stamps, in a PL Mini Album (made four copies for myself and three girlfriends!)

Stamps from Kellie’s Stamps, in a PL Mini Album (made four copies for myself and three girlfriends!)

4.  How does my writing/creating process work?

I use the Collect App and track the week through photos in that respect.  I also have an Erin Condren Life Planner that I am totally in love with and it holds all that we do.  It also looks very pretty and helps with my stationary nerd inner self!

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5. How do I become inspired and stay inspired?

I am dedicated to keeping our families memories.  In whatever way I can.  So that is my driving force.  I want my kids to know what it was like when they were young, and not just from their perspective.  I also am in love with candid photos and photos of moments that we don’t celebrate – little events that make up a day, but are in hindsight, some of the big moments.  Things like the washing and how it is never ending, how many bananas they can eat in one day, the funny little sayings, all of it we forget so quickly!
In terms of inspiration for my work – I use instagram and the amazing PLA facebook group, as well as blogs from all over.

6.  What is my signature style?

Uhm – to be honest – at least one mistake in every layout and un-straight sticking/placement of items.  But I love it because i know it is me.  Stamps are never straight no matter how many thingamajigs I try, but they are stamped or placed with love, so that has to count right?!

So, this is the end of my questions.  And now it is my turn to nominate three people (to keep the ‘hop’ going) who inspire me.  Now that was tough!  The three beautiful women who I have nominated I have had the pleasure of meeting in real life, and are amazed at all that they do.  They each have unique styles and incredible talent in their storytelling and recording.  I am very proud to call each of them my friend and I know you will LOVE their work –

1.  Beth Patfull.  Beth is the co-founder of the amazing PL Australia Facebook group, that now has over 3000  members  Her and Jodie York kicked it off and have created something amazing – they are both royalty in my eyes.  Beth is a fellow nurse (well she is a midwife…) and we share so much more in common.  I love catching up with copious amounts of coffee with her – go home with an aching tummy from laughing SO much.

Her blog is full of wonderful storytelling and amazing projects.  She can be found here.

2.  Carol Fry.  Carol is amazing – she has just opened her own online scrapbooking store called Craft Paper Scissors and is an absolute example of working towards her dreams.  Carol’s project life and scrapbook pages are awesome!  They are always so mulit-faceted and full of life.  Carol runs a craft camp called Camp Paper Scissors – and I met her the first time through this camp.  Her and another lady (Michelle Stokes) organise this amazing getaway that is incredible!  I will never every forget archery!

Trust me – you will love what you see.  Her blog is here.

3.  Lauren Matthews-Nicholls.  Lauren is liquid sunshine!  Always smiling, always full of life and laughter.  I also met her at Camp Paper Scissors, and have maintained contact since.  She is an advocate for the non-profit sector, and it totally suits her!  Lauren is incredibly kind hearted, and talented!  Her pages are full of popping colour, amazing arrays of products and wonderful stories.

Lauren’s blog is aptly named Love Life Lauren and you can find it here.

That’s it for me.  Thanks Petra for the nomination; and thank you to the three lovelies that are following on after me.

Boy meets blog

I had a moment of stunned silence the other day.  Hayden came running into my room, and was crying.  I was initially worried that something was wrong, as he is not a cryer.  He came up to me, and hugged me and said thank you.  I was a bit blown away because I could not think immediately think what/why he was thanking me – and so I asked what was going on.  Here is how the story goes –

“Mum, I was googling Google images of Hayden Moloney and I found this place called Moloney Mayhem.  And I didn’t know you did that.  And I read the one that came up about me and I did not know that you thought I was so brave, or that you were saying that stuff last year about my last day at school (post here) or about how I am a good big brother.  I thought that it was just like normal to have a brain library, or to do some of the stuff we do as a family”.  “I think it is so cool that you do it Mummy, and I am going to read it all now”.

I was gob smacked.  Here is my 7 year old, googling himself (a milestone/occurrence I was not ready for) that had found my blog, read a story about himself and been thankful about it.  We had a very lengthy discussion about how he feels about having his story out there and importantly pictures of himself.  He has no problem but I have reiterated that if he changes his mind, I will stop.  He loves this “Mayhem Thing”  and is taking great delight in reading things about our family.  He was so touched (for want of a better word) about my birthday post for him.  He liked how he was the first one to hear my heart beat from the inside, and loved the picture of us both minutes after his birth – because, and in his words, it was more than the picture mum, it was what you felt too (I think my heart melted at that moment).  All these stories he reckons, are made even cooler, because I have written them down.  “Mum, we won’t forget them now”.  Smart kid.

I actually started this blog to record my musings.  Mainly because I know how busy I am, but also because the convenience of a computer cannot be beat half the time.  I work a fair bit in front of a screen, so it is a relationship of convenience.  It has been already sentimental living and re-reading through the posts with Hayden again.  He has not read all of them, not by a long shot – but he has read some.  He particularly likes the fact that it was much easier for him to stop using a Dummy/Nukka Nukka then the trio; and that he is the big brother.  Now, I am even more compelled to keep writing.  Because, this, right now, is the every day.  And I know we will all forget the little things.

I think the goal posts are going to change constantly with this motherhood thing.  Particularly with the highly digital/social media age we live in.  Hayden does not spend hours in front of a screen, and what access he does have there is always Jason or myself around to supervise.  I want to make sure that what interaction he has online is safe.  And that is the uncontrollable part of the big wild world of internet.  So, right now, I am having to think about all the things he could see, and work around that.  Without blowing childhood innocence and curiosity.  A work in progress – for many years to come I am guessing.

And here is a random photo, of Hayden, being Hayden – an awesome big brother, and forever my little monkey biscuit.

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Currently Creative

I am smiling as I type these words as I now know how to crochet!  Basic stuff, small baby steps – but I CAN do it!  It has had me confused and confounded for a long time.  Thanks to a You Tube video I have mastered the Granny Square.  Now there was frustration, unraveling and lots of swear words.  And now, I hear the lady’s voice in my head when I crochet “put your yarn around your hook” over and over!  I have made quite a few granny squares now, and am currently working on a blanket.  Simple, just a never ending granny square –

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This is about 40cm x 40cm already.  It is far from perfect, but I am loving it.  I have also booked myself in for a few lessons to work my way around the foundation chain that I am struggling with!

Here are my first few granny’s 🙂

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I have been baking (as usual) and am really enjoying making bread and bread rolls again.  The kids love them!

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And finally, my other big love, Project Life.  I was stupidly behind and managed to catch up a great deal with the new PL App.  I got the pages printed at Persnickety Prints, they arrived this week and are amazing!

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So while I may have lots of works in progress, I am loving them all.  I am starting to plan my Christmas cards – and have just seen the gorgeous stamp set I will be using – you can see them here 🙂

Happy Wednesday!

My life’s {paid} work..

For much more than half my life, I have been a nurse.  I have worked through the night; been awake for days on end without sleep, worked shifts starting at 7 am, or 10pm, or 7pm or 3pm, and developed an immunity to the effects of caffeine (but still abuse the magical powers of coffee!!).

Being a nurse is as much a part of me as being mother is.  It is part of what makes me ‘me’.  I have witnessed some amazing events, some humbling ones, and some incredibly horrific ones.  I have laughed, I have cried, and have experienced just about everything else in between.

For as long as I can remember, all I ever wanted to ‘be’ was a nurse, and when I was about 7 or 8 my Dad got me an anatomy and physiology book on the heart.  I had in memorised in about a week and so began my love affair with how amazingly cool our bodies can be, with all the systems that work together and get the job done.  It also got me into my nerdy habits I am guessing, and I have been a booknerd for as long as I can remember.

When I first started nursing, I was in my teens.  Dad said ‘you have to start somewhere love’ and so my parents would drive me to a nursing home each weekend for a days work.  I did it for as long as I could – until sport got in the way and traveling for basketball games interstate were something I had to do instead.  I learned how to talk to people.  I mean really talk.  I learned how sometimes silence was also OK.  It was all scary at 14 to think about some of the things that I needed to do.  But somehow, my love for care, compassion, empathy and humanity won over.  I counted down the semesters at uni, and could not wait to be a registered nurse.  Six semesters and I was done.  Then it all began.  I lived and breathed nursing.

I found a new life that had so many aspects I did not even think would happen.  I had to work night duty on Friday and Saturday night, because I was the new nurse.  My friends were out and about, or going to the movies and I was at work, awake.  My friends (most of whom I still see and call my dearest friends now) adapted – thank goodness!  I even remember chucking my first ever sickie – from a phone booth a Toombul so I could go to the movies with my friends.  And they were in the phone booth snorting and laughing in the background.  Lucky my boss had no reason to doubt me!!

I learned that not everyone had the interest in the ‘things’ I had to do at work.  My definition of a shit day at work could literally be that. Seriously.  The things that could stop me from getting to my tea break – like someones heart stopping, or their breathing.  Or just that they needed me more than I needed my 10 minute break.

I grew to dread the witching hour.  3am.  The time when for no real reason other than just happenstance, people got sicker, or died.  Car accidents happened.  Drug overdoses happened.  Friday and Saturday nights were spent knowing that soon, there would be patient’s in the empty ICU beds because alcohol, drugs and driving did not mix.  My eyes were opened to the horrors of humanity – the hatred, the malice and the sheer malevolence of a terrorist attack.  I still get goosebumps when I think of the Bali 2012 Bombings.

At 19 I had seen death.  I had sat with death, nursed its next victim with dignity and respect.  Cried with the family.  Made sure that my patient’s face was clean and their hair was brushed the right way.  Fought death and lost more times than I can count – sometimes accepting that it was ok, and other times feeling incredibly ripped off – some deaths have no real meaning.  Thankfully, I have also witnessed miracles.  Patient’s who against all odds have survived.  Situations where you think there is no hope, and then there suddenly becomes a flicker.  And then the nurses get behind that flicker and soon enough it is a raging fire.

I can safely say that nursing is so embedded within me that I know exactly where on the Broslow scale my kids are, and find myself surveying and assessing almost every potential bad ending for ways to extricate said child/person, or how to treat until we get to hospital.  I also think I am a bit of a hard arse and a bandaid is all that is needed sometimes.  I mean, if it needs glue or stitches sure, but otherwise, you can stay at home kiddo!  I have performed CPR out of the hospital so many times – and so much that some people will never walk through the cereal aisle again without remembering the incident of the person who fell, split their head open after having a heart attack on the way down.  I know how to take charge of situations like this, because it is in every brain cell!  This I know.  How to apply makeup, not so much.

I work in a job where my uniform is either scrubs (which commonly get confused for pajamas) or pants and a shirt.  I have never had to think about what to wear for work or how to do my hair – as it has to be out of the way, and not just for infection control – but for my safety.  Let me tell you, a 120kg person who is off their head on drugs is pretty darn strong, and hair is easy to grab. And it hurts.  Like really hurts.  So, my wardrobe is limited.  I fret and worry about what to wear when I have to go to training days for work (and end up being the one wearing uniform, just in case I get called back to clinical!!) or even worse when I go out (and my friends can attest to the ‘what are you wearing messages’!).

I have a love for toilet humour, a knack for acronyms and a nose that is just about able to identify anything.  I have worked more Christmases than I have had off, and have learned that making the most of the time with my family on those special days is what matters. I have bought in the new year in the back of ambulances with lights and sirens, or just a ‘happy new year’ from the nurses I am working with in between doing our jobs.  I have left work late almost every single shift in my life because we cannot just clock off if there is no-one there to take over.  Or something happens.  Or another admission.  I am late home to my family because I have been looking after someone else’s family.  My kids are ok with this now, and ask every time – ‘did you make them better mummy?’.  They have the empathy bone.

I have had my nose broken by a patient, a couple of ribs here and there, been called some pretty choice names, and been abused for all sorts of things.  It’s not all rosy.  I have had to look after ‘that’ patient again because I am 6″2 and that sometimes makes patients rethink their abuse.  I have had blood filled syringes held at me, scalpels pointed at me, urine and faeces thrown in the general direction of me and been spat at.  It has its down sides this nursing thing.  I have been in the back of ambulances, choppers, planes and boats, all in the name of trying to get to someone or trying to get them somewhere to get them better.  And while this sounds fun, it is not always great traveling at warp speed trying to administer medication or blood when there is that thing called gravity.  Or batteries go flat.

I have seen the insides of our very being.  I have seen things that you cannot really see, but only feel.  I can tell you the exact moment someone has died, because something in the room shifts, and the smell of death is gone.  I have looked after people from all walks of life – from movie stars to politicians, to real people like you and I, to prisoners, murderers, and adulterers.  I have looked after brand new humans, tiny bundles of sweet smelling babyness, to children who have terrible illnesses that make me want to howl because life is so unfair.  I have often felt like I am in the middle of a Jerry Springer show when the mother is pushing out a baby to whom she is not sure which baby daddy is which.  There are things that are so incredibly unbelievable that you would not laugh me out of the room if I tried to tell you.  I have fought for my patients, for their rights, for things they cannot possibly understand sometimes, for their dignity and for their comfort.  And I do it every shift.

I love being a nurse.  I love all of it no matter how tiring it can be; because all of the good outweighs all of the bad.  No two shifts are ever the same, and that is both a good thing and a bad thing!  Nursing is a challenge.  A constant battle, with disease, and our own intricate balance required to keep us working properly.  Nothing beats winning!  Watching a wound that you once could fit your fist into heal, watching someone ‘wake up’ after being in an induced coma for a massive head injury to actually be able to recognise family.  Watching a baby take their first breath when things looked bad for a bit.  Being a part of someone’s last wishes, and respecting them.  Believing in yourself because your patients do, and they speak about you to their family and you get introduced as “that nurse who did….or that nurse who saved me…”.  The chocolates we get as thanks, the hugs from kids, the tears of joy from happy parents taking their child home.  All of it.  I would not change a thing.  Because no matter how bad some shifts can be, the good always wins.  And yeah, that sounds a bit Marvel/DC Good V. Evil, but that is the way of it, I choose to be a nurse.  Although, when I look at it, I think nursing chose me.