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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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.

The Time of Our Lives

Saturdays.  A day where activities are usually dictated by kids organised ‘things’ – so things like dancing, swimming, birthday parties, hair cuts, and library book returning.  I know even in 10 years time even I will look back and miss this.  Right now is probably one of the best times of my life – days bursting with activity, boring bits like washing, cleaning and groceries, and fun things like baking, cuddles (un-prompted), giggles and story telling.  Right now – it is happening.  Some days I need to remember this more!

Today has already been a flurry of activity.  I am onto the third load of washing already (boring bits!) and the kids have finished dancing for the day.  Getting the girls hair ready is always something that takes me a bit of time –

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Miss Caitlyn has curly wurly hair.   A mane of thick strawberry blonde hair that when brushed straight is half way down her back, but otherwise bounces up defiantly to her shoulders.  Today we had to had to have two buns.  Like Anna (from Frozen).

Then there is the polar opposite –

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Miss Emma with her mix of colours (mostly brown, light brown and blonde) and dead straight hair almost to her bum!  She has ‘a bigger bun than me Mummy’ (Caitlyn) and is not the greatest with sitting still when getting her hair brushed.

Now this hair thing is getting serious.  Real serious.  In a month the kids have their dancing concert.  Makeup (natural looking, not over the top clownesque), hairspray and wiglets.  I am silently freaking the hell out.  I have next to no ability to apply makeup.  Stemming from laziness, and lack of exposure to the ‘products’ I am now hopeful that there are some good YouTube videos for application.  Then there is the hair.  Product.  Again, I have gone with the path of less resistance and that is a band and a pony tail.  The hair for the concert has to be –

* Fly-away free

* Secured with hairspray

* The bun must be styled when wet

* Bun net must be worn

* Must be secured with multiple bobby pins

* Sustainable and non-moveable when dancing

Ok, they lost me at the first one.  I have crazy hair that means sticky-outy bits almost everywhere.  So does Emma.  Caitlyn has escaped this.  Little curly bits (despite our straight hair) that just happen.  I am wondering how to tame these bits!  Then hairspray.  Uhm, I envision my own hair being hairsprayed into place from the angles of spraying I am going to have to take to ensure they have hair spray in.  Oh dear.  It is going to be bad.  The written instructions provide me with no comfort either.  I am hopeful that for the full dress rehearsal next week some mother will take pity on me and have some tips of how to do it all.  Seriously!  I won’t even have Daddy back up as he will be away at work.  So I will totally be winging it.  I am the type of girl that always looks at other women with their amazing hair in awe, not nasty ‘she sucks’ awe, but pure amazement that it is possible (and power to them!!).

Today though, we may have an option.  Hayden got his hair cut, and for the first time ever, said yes to the ‘product’ the lady always asks him about.

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He looks so grown up!  A real, gulp, boy.  Gone is the ‘little’ boy.  It suits him, and he is telling me that ‘hair product is not that hard’ (after correcting his grammar, I informed him that for me, it is).  But it again shows me that even though I know how to do so many things, there are still so many more things that I am going to learn to do for my kids.

Inserting bobby pins, applying eyeshadow to twisty turny four year olds, building lego, making paper planes, understanding Minecraft, and making blankets for toys that are otherwise going to be cold are just a few things I have to learn to be fluent in.  There is no guide.  There is no book of answers, though I suspect that in many households YouTube and Google come in very close to being solutions!  But right now, even though I am absolutely petrified of having two girls take the rehearsal next week in crooked eyeshadow and wiglets that fall out (apparently you don’t want to be that child’s mother) I know that ‘this’ is the rocking chair moments.  The “remember when I had to…” memories that are so visceral because you can feel what it is like to be thinking of a million things to do and how to do them all in the name of Motherhood.

After dancing today, Brendan very happily tells me “I don’t need any makeup or hair Mummy, I just dance and wear my costume”.  Is it bad that I am relieved that his routine will be simpler?!  Despite this, even if he did, I would make sure he got it and that it was ‘right’; but I am so thankful it is one less to freak out about.

So now we are into the afternoon, and we have a birthday party to head too.  Three presents for one kid – she is going to feel special!  Hayden is reveling in the fact that his siblings will be gone for much of the afternoon, and I will be putting a roast on (lamb!) and hopefully replying to some pen pals!

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Saturdays are busy but fun, and as we near the tenth month, I really do have to take stock, and see, that right now, is likely going to be one of the busiest, but most amazing, times of my life.  So go, hug your kids, pat your dog, and look in honest reflection at what is happening now.  It may be that you too are in the time of your life 🙂  Enjoy it.  Live it!

And for no other reason than that he was not in any photos, here is B.  His usual, crazy, goofy self.

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Fractions

A maths subject at school I always found interesting – mainly because it was logical!  Fractions are how I find myself breaking down my time and my day with four {not so} tiny humans.

I get approximately 1/5 of my food.

I get approximately 3/5 of my cup of tea – and more if I make the kids a cup so they won’t scab off of me!

I spend 18/24 of the day awake

I juggle the rule of thirds daily – prioritising their needs and wants.  Then the big brother that makes it a rule of quarters.

Some times I don’t have enough hands to juggle them all, particularly when they are crook.  Things like this happen –

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Booga overload!

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Chocolate overload!

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Art overload onto the walls!

I have been a wife for ten years and with my husband for 1/3 of my life

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I have been a nurse for 1/2 my life

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And a mother for 1/4 of my life

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Always in birth order!

I spend 3/24 every day being an events coordinator

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And around 2/24 as a caterer

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And around 6/24 a cheerleader a week (officially, the other 18/24 I cheer silently!)

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A good 2/24 a day as a negotiator –

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And in all honesty 100/100 a mixture of happiness, concern, frustration, fear, fatigue, joy, pride and hope.

I think any more fractions will send me cross eyed.  Best get back to it!