Thursday, September 30, 2010


= shopping for a dress to wear to a wedding. Shopping with a mission is often stressful rather than fun.

= trying to think of a Venn diagram for Simone's competition. Having asked her to extend the closing date so I can put in an entry when we get back from holidays, now I need to actually come up with something.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Non-glamorous moments of parenthood

No one ever tells you about these before you become a parent. Pictures of happy families and young beautiful couples with cute babies hide the reality.

Here are some non-glamorous moments I encountered today:
1. Cleaning up fresh vomit stains from the carpet between the bed and the wall. Both the smell and the stain are hard to remove.
2. Sorting through outgrown baby clothes and finding homes for the new hand-me-downs that kind friends have given me. Trying to think of people who might like the huge pile of outgrown ones.
3. Dealing with arguments that begin with "He hit me." Usually the child who has been hit has done something to provoke it but getting to the bottom of what happened is always impossible because both the hitter and the one being attacked deny everything. Ignoring it just leads to escalation.

Today after church I watched all the young beautiful people heading off to the funky Teppanyaki bar that's opened up around the corner from church. We used to be able to do things like that after church before we had children or even when we only had one child. Now we don't get invited along to these kinds of outings anymore. Probably because now we look old, frumpy and harrassed all the time.

Miscellaneous sources of amusement for the day.

Picture from this morning's Brisbane Sunday Mail. Apparently the mistake has now been fixed.

Quote from Liam: "The closest church to our house is the Salivation Army" ...I'm picturing a crowd of Salvation Army members in uniform descending on a big spread of food

And one of my favourite YouTube videos. Bad Science related.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Book review: Someone Else's Child

Time for a book review. I borrowed this book from the local library a few weeks ago.

It's written by a lady called Sue Phillips, who acted as a surrogate for the brother and sister-in-law of a friend.

It gave an interesting insight into why someone would choose to be a surrogate and what's involved in the process, which was certainly my interest in reading it. My understanding of surrogacy, admittedly quite limited, was based on the US model, where women are paid to act as surrogates. In Australia, surrogacy can be done on an altruistic basis only, and not in all Australian states.

The Penguin website describes this book as a "powerful memoir." I'm not sure I'd go that far, there were times when her writing style seemed a little superficial. For example, her description of making the decision that becoming a surrogate was the right one was based on a sermon she heard at church about Jonah in the belly of the fish. She commented that even though the story "wasn't real" (that topic would take a whole new post to deal with so I won't go there, but I'm guessing she's in a more liberal church than mine) she became convinced it was the right thing to do. She seems to have some Christian background, as she writes about attending church and while pregnant she changed employers from the Catholic church, who predictably weren't that excited about her decision to be a surrogate, to work for her own church as a playgroup co-ordinator. But I would have liked to hear a little more on her ethical reasoning and how her decision was influenced by, and impacted upon, her Christian life and faith. Sometimes the story appeared to get bogged down in unnecessary details.

Still, I think it's worth a read for anyone who enjoys reading autobiographical books. I did find it hard to put down once I'd started reading, and Sue's story of the process enlightened my understanding of surrogacy in the Australian context.

In a follow up to Wednesday's post....

....last night at the DVD shop, where we were hiring a few DVDs to balance out the football overload on television this weekend, we saw a girl of similar age to the one in the supermarket on Wednesday, also wearing flannelette pyjamas. Somehow, though, it seemed slightly more okay there. Is that because the activity of watching DVDs is often done while wearing pyjamas? Or are there public places where it is socially acceptable to wear them?

Sorry if I'm sounding a bit obsessed. It's just happened more than once in a short space of time and I'm genuinely curious.

Anyway, to change the topic, this was the movie that Liam and I watched last night while Dad and Aidan went to Brisbane to watch the Titans lose. Liam loved it. I didn't mind it either, good fun and not much violence beyond oversized food falling on top of people. G-rated too. So now I'm keen to find the book it's based on for the kids to read.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lonely and bored

Not a good combination.

Mostly I'm happy to be by myself. Not today.

Off to playgroup in a minute. Although this is an opportunity to see other people I don't always enjoy it. Have been trying to work out why....

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How old is too old.... go to the supermarket in your pyjamas?

I was at Coles just before 6pm tonight doing a bread and milk run. I saw a mother and daughter shopping. Not a quick race in to the shop to grab a couple of things since they had a trolley. The daughter, who to my eyes looked at least 10 years old (older than my kids, anyway), was wearing a pair of yellow flannelette pyjamas.

My opinion is that perhaps it's acceptable for under 5 year olds to wear their pyjamas to the supermarket, although this doesn't happen in my house. I won't even step outside our front door to check mail or bring in a bin if I'm wearing pyjamas, so my kids don't either. Well, occasionally they might, for example at Easter to do the morning egg hunt or something like that. But never to the shops. If kids are wearing pyjamas here, it's because they've either just got up, or they're on their way to bed.

What do other people think? I suppose it would have been worse if it was the mother wearing the pyjamas.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Nothing like some art for a bit of inspiration

For the past week, the Swell outdoor sculpture festival has been on at Currumbin Beach. We take the kids for a look each year. It's become a bit of a tradition for us to go with friends of ours who have two daughters around the same age as our two boys.

The above photo wasn't taken by me, it's from the Swell website. I only ever discover creative ideas for photographing all the different works when I get home and find other people's (better) shots on the internet. I gave up taking photos about halfway through our walk this year because Rosie (in her sling) kept grabbing the camera and it was too hard for me to bend down to check out the best angles for shots. So Chris took most of our Swell photos this year.

Interestingly, when we go it is always our friends' two girls who want to get in there and climb all over the sculptures. Aidan always wants to read the little book you can buy that has the artists' descriptions of the meaning of their work. In fact, he often reads the book rather than actually getting up close to the sculpture itself. It's hard to get the book away from him so we can read it ourselves. Liam needs lots of encouragement to get in close enough to something so I can take a picture of him with it. Then there's a lot of comments along the lines of "put your nice smile on, pleeease", "stop making silly faces while I take the photo" etc etc.

Still, we always have fun. We have been to see it every year since we moved here. Last year it was one of Rosie's very first outings after we came home from hospital. This year, our church volunteered on a couple of shifts selling programs as part of our mission week. Every year we run into more and more people that we know when we go there. So it also creates a sense of belonging for us, of being part of a community.

But even if you don't live locally, this is highly recommended entertainment if you're visiting the Gold Coast in early September. You might see us there!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Writer's block

I have it. I can't think of anything to blog about right now that wouldn't be a great big whinge.

So I'll be back when I have inspiration again.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's A Book

Posting this because I like it. I want the book!

Oprah's coming to the opera house

Covering the big issues for my 100th blog post.

All the evening news reports have been full of politicians gushing about how wonderful this is going to be for tourism in Australia. Personally, I think Oprah is tacky. The mass hysteria in the audience when she announced this trip was way over the top. I would have preferred it if she had put the money this trip will cost into one of her charities or even someone else's charity.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mission week at church

This week our church is having a mission week. You can find out more about it here.

There are lots of different events happening. It should be fun.

It did get off to a slightly tense start in our home when the email about the cooking party (to make meals for people from our church who need them) came with the information addressed to women only. As Chris does lots of the cooking in our house, it irritated him enough to cook a meal for our friends who've just had a baby. That was good, since then I didn't have to do it.

We're praying it will be a good week to build connections with the local community. Church on Sunday will then be an open day that we hope will encourage new people to come along. We are singing lots of our favourite songs in the service. I am playing the piano that day so I am excited.

I'm hoping to get the kids involved too. I'm taking them to the local special school after school one day this week to help cover books. And I am also taking Rosie to a puppet show in the park for preschoolers.

Please pray that this will be an opportunity for many to come to know Christ and for us to make Him known.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Unwelcome visitors

These turned up in our backyard yesterday. This is the third time this has happened in the past year. A duck has decided that our backyard and pool are the perfect nesting venue for his wife (wives?) and children.

It was cute the first time. Now it's just annoying. They pollute our pool and nothing we have tried to get rid of them has worked. We now have to consider more expensive solutions, like a pool blanket or a dog. Pros and cons with both of these.

So yesterday I called the wildlife rescuers yet again to come and take them away. The ducklings aren't so hard to catch. The mother duck is a different story. She gets very aggressive when cornered. The father duck has usually disappeared from the scene by the time the babies arrive so he doesn't ever get caught.

I asked the guy who came around whether these ducks (Pacific black ducks for anyone who's interested) mate for life. He thought they did. So either the male is finding the female again when they get relocated or he is just shacking up with someone new each time. I asked him if he would take them a long way away to see if that works. He gestured vaguely over his shoulder and said "I'll just take them over the back here."

My bet is that we'll have more of them by Christmas.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I think today is going to be one of those days

I haven't had enough sleep. Little things are annoying me. Nothing anyone in this house does today will be good enough to meet my standards. I'm impatient with everyone and everything. I have to think of something to cook for cake stall at the school fete and I'm just not in the mood for it.

Some days I really struggle with being patient and calm. This is not a new problem. Despite outward appearances I have never done patience and calm very well.

On days like today I need to think calm thoughts and take a deep breath, even though what I really want to do is shout and yell and punch something, then run away and have a good cry.

I need to pray that God will build patience and gentleness in me and that tomorrow everything that's bugging me now will seem unimportant. A good night's sleep would also go down well.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Liam's paintings

Some of Liam's paintings from a workshop he went to at the art gallery in the July school holidays.

As you can see, knights and castles are his preferred subjects. We have about twenty more of these at home, all with the same theme.

If I liked to wear T-shirts that make a statement...

...this might be one I'd consider.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Parenthood. Are we having fun yet?

This post title was also the hook on the cover page to a story about parenting I read in the glossy magazine from last Saturday's Courier Mail. The story went on to discuss the apparent contradiction between the belief most people hold that having children will make them happier and the consistent research findings that suggest mostly the opposite (for example, decreasing marital satisfaction with increasing family size, the finding that caring for children ranks low in pleasurability compared with activities such as cooking, exercising, shopping and even housework).

Then I found this post on one of the other blogs I look at.

This describes me exactly. This past weekend, we caught up with friends who've been married for less than a year, have just bought a lovely home and are now expecting their first baby.We had a great time together, but I came away feeling just the way this blog post describes. Just a weeny bit jealous...and weary. There's always some task to be done in our family at the moment. Dealing with the washing, finding and cooking something that everyone including the baby can eat, making sure the homework gets done, appointments for haircuts and dental check ups are made, finding money for the Father's Day stall, finding the lost library book, realising someone has outgrown their school uniform and needs a new one. It's relentless and it's not always fun. It feels as if Chris and I are spending all our time co-ordinating schedules and exchanging information on who is going where.

Mostly I love my life. It's full, it's worthwhile, I know I have something to look forward to beyond it as well which is an amazing gift. When I reflect on my experiences as a parent (maybe about 5% of the time if I'm lucky) I feel very blessed.

But some days it's hard to find the joy and fun in the midst of the remaining 95% of what has to be done. Jenny's was lost in the mountain of unfolded washing. I think mine is lost in the box of paperwork on the kitchen bench that I am avoiding sorting out.

Edited to add that I don't actually have one of those family stickers at the top of this post on our car...

A bit emotional today...

About endings and beginnings.

Wanting to blog heaps of stuff but don't have the clarity of thought I need to put something coherent together.

Back when I'm feeling better. Pray for wisdom as I make a few decisions.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Spotted this book in the bookshop today... the biography section.

Not sure if it was intentionally placed there as a joke or accidentally shelved in the wrong place.

Either way, I found it amusing.