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30.6.11

HAPPY GIVEAWAY: Your perfect party outfit


Maxabella loves... Population: 1000.


Cue even more dancing in the streets than usual (or is that just me?).


So, we're going to need a celebration, right?


I couldn't figure out a fun way to have a party on a blog... but I do know that a dazzling party needs a dazzling outfit, so I thought why not supply the outfit and maybe the party will happen?


So I got in touch with three labels that I absolutely adore and that I have raved about on my blog before (because I want them to like me). Guess what, they like me and they were only too happy to provide us with our perfect party outfit.


Cue the marching brass band!


Up front on’ fabulous frock’, we have none other than...


I’m a big fan of this label’s ability to make me want to flaunt my curves rather than hide them.  The winner of our giveaway gets to choose a Leona Edmiston Ruby dress from the fabulous online store. There are so many gorgeous frocks to choose from and stock changes monthly, so you’re sure to find something you love to bits and pieces. I absolutely love that Leona Edmiston has been kind enough to allow our winner to choose the style that suits them best, so it really will be the perfect party dress.


On amaaaaazing shoes, we have...


Seriously, how cool is it that these guys allow you to design your own shoes? Hello Manolo! Shoes of Prey is absolutely amazing and I am saving up to make my perfect pair of leopard print flats. But our winner won't need to save up as they will receive a $220 voucher to put towards designing the perfect Shoes of Prey shoes to match their Leona. Did I just see a duck that was looking particularly fortuitous walk by?



And providing the high notes we have...


I adore my Elk Accessories necklaces and pendants and I never fail to get complimented when I wear them. I am very happy to hear that they are launching a ‘Mr Elk’ in August sometime. It’s my dream come true: LOML and I can match! (Just kidding. No, really!)

Anyway, I managed to persuade Elk to contribute a pair of Silver Birdie stud earrings (of course they’re birdies!) to our darling party outfit.


They are go-anywhere-and-look-beautiful earrings, but they will look particularly glam when accessorising your designer party outfit.

So, that's dress, shoes and accessories all taken care of - dazzling indeed.
Won't you look sensational?


______________________________________________________

How to enter

One lucky winner takes all. 
  • One Leona Edmiston Ruby dress from the online store.
  • One $220 voucher from Shoes of Prey
  • One pair of Silver Birdie stud earrings from Elk Accessories
Winner selected randomly from comments left on this post by 14.7.11 / 5pm Sydney time (winner announced 9pm Sydney time on 15 July). Please make sure you have an email address attached to your comment profile or included in your comment to win. Oh and because this celebration is all about the following, you need to be a follower of Maxabella loves... to win.

There are lots of ways for to gain entries (just make sure you leave a comment for each one!):
  • For one entry, just leave a comment on this post revealling what your perfect party outfit looks like.
  • Tweet this post for one extra entry (leave me a separate comment to let me know you tweeted, oh and I'm @Maxabella2 but I'm a hopeless tweeter so don't get excited).
  • Facebook for another one (leave me a separate comment to let me know you’ve faced). 
  • Write a post about the competition and you'll get three extra entries (leave three separate comments to let me know you've posted, one with a link!).
  • Put my giveaway button up on the sidebar of your blog for two extra entries (leave two separate comments to let me know you’ve done this, one with a link to your blog)

Party Giveaway at Maxabella loves...
<div align="center"><a href="http://maxabellaloves.blogspot.com/2011/06/your-perfect-party-outfit-giveaway.html" title="Party Giveaway at Maxabella loves..."><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-JfXukxKgQAo/TgxZsgRn_FI/AAAAAAAABgM/N-b1l0HbZBg/button.JPG" alt="Party Giveaway at Maxabella loves..." style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Good luck and have fun checking out the collections at Elk Accessories, Shoes of Prey and Leona Edmiston. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Prue from Leona Edmiston, Ziba from Two Birds Talking for Elk Accessories and Jodie from Shoes of Prey for not laughing at my random email and being a part of my blog sort-of-kind-of party. Enjoy yourselves!

[Party image found here. Please let me know if this image is yours and sorry I butchered it to make my giveaway button!]
[Oh, and I used this Code Generator to get the code for my button - it was super easy so I really appreciate it.]

29.6.11

My family was shot by Tim Coulson


So, as promised, here's the Maxabellaland family as seen through the masterful lens of lifestyle photographer Tim Coulson...  And, yes, that's me. So, I guess my days of pretending to be a petite, classy, blonde are over, but at least you know what I mean when I blog about things like my hair taking over the entire world.* It's all completely true. It could actually happen.




I was supposed to wait until Tim sent me the CD with all of the images on it before posting, but he's been teasing me with posts over on his own blog all week. I just couldn't wait any longer to share on mine!



Tim shoots 'documentary' style - families 'doing what they do'. So we had breakfast, dressed the Tsunamis and ourselves, played outside on the swing and trampoline for a while. Typical Saturday morning stuff (the image above, for example, is me consoling Cappers because she had a melt-down (an annoying meltdown) after I called her... annoying. I know that's not a nice thing for a mumma to call her daughter but... she was!)





What do you wear to a 'doing what you do' photo session? I didn't want us to be matchy-matched (the white t-shirt plus jeans uniform springs to mind) or too stagey-staged (everyone wearing red). Otherwise, it had to be clothes that we would typically wear on any given Saturday, although I banned myself from my signature-noncolour black and I made sure none of us clashed! Seemed to work okay.






Tim just slotted right in. From the minute LOML opened the door to his smiling face, he was just part of the family. His easy, confident manner is crucial to the style of photography he does - he was both present through his excellent company and invisible in the way he blended in. At one point a pillow-fight broke out and you could just tell that Tim was itching to put down the camera and join in! Fortunately, he stayed on the tools and got some great shots for us.




We spend many a weekend at a fave, little-known spot, and that's where we took Tim next. We tromped around playing in the playground, walking along the paths and skipping stones. I kept forgetting that Tim was taking photos, to be honest. The resulting images are some of my very favourites.





Oh, the joy of having this record of our family doing what we do. What a wonderful morning we had with Tim and, aside from his magic with the lens, it was an honour to meet him. I mentioned on a post on his blog that I always thought that good photographers had an ability to capture light that the rest of us don't have. But now I know that it's because they carry that light around inside them. Tim just shines, I tell you!

I know that images of my family are far more exciting for me, than for you, so I thank you for your endless patience. And please do stop over and say hi to Tim... he's very nice and his blog is lovely. I'm off to look at my photos once again... can't stop looking... will never stop looking!


* Not to mention my butt... does the camera add 5kg or 55? And please remember, I look completely different to this in my head.

[All images by Tim Coulson]

28.6.11

Further reflections on word verification


At the risk of becoming the web's foremost commentator on word verification, I just had to share this one.

I blog a lot from my phone. It drives me nuts, especially with the whole auto-correct thing making me say things like 'farmed' when I really wrote 'farked'. I end up writing really deep comments like "wow, you should just tell them to farm off" and "The world is really farmed up". Makes me sound like I'm overly supportive of our hardworking primary producers when all I really want to do is use the world's most common adjective to express my distaste without actually writing fuck.

But I digress.

I blog a lot from my phone. It drives me nuts. It takes ages to type out a comment in the tiny little box and then you hit 'send' and the random (but is it?) word verification rolls up. The other night, after struggling along with my one finger typing on the tiny little virtual-keys and trying to read what I wrote in the tiny little font and writing a really long comment because I just can't shut-up even in a tiny little box, well...
This is the word verification that rolled in: hytzyqwbd.

Or was it hytqzybd?

Or hbzyqwmk?

Either way, I just stared at that tiny little mother farmer and thought what the farm?

All that effort and now I have to spend 10 minutes trying to type out the indecipherable word verification while that stupid auto-correct sees you typing 'hbzyqwmk' and suggests things like 'he thinks' just because it's stupid and can't? It's bad enough when you get a word veri with vowels - but what's with these lengthy odes to the constanant? What's wrong with 'cat' or 'sat' or 'mat'? Could a robot read 'cat' and type out 'cat'? Could it?

Aah. So glad I got that out.

Come on, hit me with some word verification stories and perhaps an auto-correct or two?

[Image from here]

27.6.11

Recovery for the young*


Ever reminisce about those 'work to play to work' days? The ones where you would go to work, hit the bar hard-baby straight after, dance the night away, walk home in the light of a blushing sun, take a quick shower and go to work?  Hell, you might even have managed to back up the next night too. Yeah, those days... ah, those days... hmmm, yes, those days...

How long does it take you to recover from a big night out these days?

For me it's three days, maybe four. Oh, okay, I'll be honest, it's at least 3 months.

These days a 'big' weekend involves scheduling more than one thing across the entire 48 hours. I panic if someone invites us somewhere on Sunday afternoon because there isn't enough 'recovery' time before work on Monday. And that's just a family afternoon out with the kids - don't even get me started on the meltdown that an actual night out night out involves.

I don't know when I got to be so feeble.  The urge to 'punch through' just left me sometime in my mid-thirties and has never been seen again. It wasn't even because I had children (I nursed many a hangover for a good few years after that). I just got sensible and who can blame me? Being sick this week reminded me of how annoying it is to be off your peak - it hurts, yes, but even worse, you just can't get anything done.

So nowadays (should that be nowanights?), the idea of a boozy bar, loud music and actual dancing (ie, public dancing) just makes me squirm. All that drinking, all that posturing, all that yelling. By 10 o'clock I'm practically running out the door home to the joy of peace and quiet and a warm, loving man.

Does this make me old? I don't think of it as old, I think of it as clearing the way for today's feisty young folk. Yes, well. God knows, when I was one of the feisty I used to freak out to the max whenever I found out someone was at a bar and forgodsakeforty. Seriously, you're still out? Get a life, dude. So, it was always my ambition to not be that person and just look at me now - I've achieved my goal!

Am I old? Am I sad? Am I normal?
Are you still out painting the town red?*

* At heart, obviously.
** But I will warn you, red is such a nineties colour... 


[Image by Jaz Marsh]

26.6.11

Snaps for the snaps


We've never had 'professional' family photographs taken, even of the Tsunamis. And definitely not of me. I even shied away from having a typical wedding photographer. I'm just so... shy... who me?... having my picture taken. I get stressed, or act the ham or my hair just threatens to take over the entire world. I just never look the way I think I look in my head. Reality check needed, anyone?

Anyway, you can imagine how nervous I was at the thought of snapper-extraordinaire (and soon to be famous given the love he is deservedly receiving in our blogging world) Tim Coulson coming over to our place yesterday to record our family 'doing what we do'. You mean, like, reality? You want the 'real' us? Really?

Oh, why not? I suddenly thought. Why not?

So glad. So glad I just decided to go for it. Tim put me at ease within about 5 seconds of coming in our front door at 8am on Saturday. We were all in our jamies. The porridge was threatening to bubble over on the stove. I was baking disastrous-looking (but not bad-eating) cinnamon scrolls. In he came.

So glad. We spent the most terrific morning showing him around our place and then taking him to a little spot that we love to go to as often as possible. It was just so wonderful when he loved everything we love almost as much as us. Snap snap snap away he went and I wasn't nervous or silly or hammy at all. I was just me. I have no idea what the majority of the photos look like yet, but I'm loving the sneak preview Tim has posted... and I will do a 'big reveal' post in the next couple of days to show you more of the good stuff.

So glad. Tim does a different sort of photography. He really does just capture a family doing what they do. No posed, awkward, matchy-match shots. Just 'a day in the life' stuff and a beautiful record of home and family life as we know it. It felt like a lovely morning with a lovely friend and I'm hoping that the resulting images capture the beauty of the day. Can't wait to show you more.

Have you had professional shots taken of your family before? 
(If you've blogged them, share a link as we'd love to take a peek.)
Do you like having your picture taken?

[Image by Tim Coulson]

24.6.11

This week I'm grateful for... photography


I've had an ear infection. Yes, I feel like a two year old. An excruciatingly-in-pain two year old. I will never again be intolerant with an ear infected child... that mo fo hurts like... well, fo!

We have Mr Timothy Coulson coming around super-early tomorrow morning (Saturday) to take our pictures. How cool is that? Only it's not cool now because I've been laid up with the ear-thingy for a few days and haven't 'done' the house. So Tim - who likes to take 'real life' images of family living - is quite possibly going to get more 'real life' than he bargained for.

But I'm not even worried about the house...

I'm having my picture taken. I don't really like having my picture taken. I'm about as photogenic as Brynne and I don't have the distractaboobs. Eeeek... Plus Maxi-Taxi is being a real pain in the ear whinging about having his own picture taken, so Tim's bound to appreciate the 127 images he captures of the back of my first-born's head. But not to worry... check out the gorgeous photo shoot he did with Beth's fam and the one he did with Emily's fam. See how lovely my house and family are going to look? Oh, wait, that's just Emily and Beth...

ANYWAY... this week I'm grateful for...

142. Photos - I might not like being photographed, but I'm so glad that over the years I've just leaped in front of that lens regardless. We are a very lucky generation to have our lives on film. Our up-and-coming generation (who are pretty much living out their lives for the camera) may beg to differ?

143. Light - a photographer's light, that is. I'm thinking that the ability to capture light is crucial in this image-making business. I'm hoping that Tim's mastery is going to make all those cobwebs and all the chocolate stains and all that can-never-be-removed Weetbix-glue look amaaaaazing...

144. Penicillin - thank you, thank you Mr Fleming. Without you the shoot would be shot.


So, what's making you smile today? Add your I'm Grateful For post to the list below (and please, we love you, but it really does matter that your post is a Grateful one and not just a random), add the button (grab the code from my sidebar and paste it into your post) and pretty-please add a link back to me. Then pop over to visit other bloggers who are spreading a little sunshine. 


[Image is snaps from Emily's shoot with Tim Coulson. Gorgeousness.]

21.6.11

Ms Nosybella: What's for lunch?



Dear Eaters of the Blogiverse

Lately I'm fascinated by how fascinated I am with what people are eating for lunch. A couple of blogs I love have asked the question and it's fascinating, I tell you. Fas.in.ATE.ing.

What do people eat for lunch? That meal in the middle of the day where you're generally on your own and you're not too bothered.

LOML packs me my lunch these days (if that freaks you out a bit, you'd better read here). Today I'm having a chicken and rocket grainy-bread sandwich with low-fat mayo and a salad with an Asian dressing. See, it's fascinating... isn't it?

Well... I do want to know, so tell me:  What's your favourite lunch?

Oh, and while I'm at it, do reveal whether you have ever cut out your children's sandwiches with a biscuit cutter... I really do need to know the stats on that one! Susan Yuen, one of those amazingly creative and dedicated mothers that I have nothing but praise and hot pokers for, makes amazing bento boxes for her kids' lunches - see image above. I predict that the kids' bento box is the next trend in Australia... you read it here first. Much like those bloody cake pops...

'Til next time,

[Image by Susan Yuen]

20.6.11

When did we all get to be so rich?



The other day on the train there was a guy wearing KT26 runners. Oh, the memories! Once when we were kids our grandfather treated us to a new pair of 'branded' sneakers for our birthdays. We could choose any sneakers wanted and we were so excited! My sister chose KT26's and I spurred on by my new favourite movie BMX Bandits, I chose some sort of shoes that had a BMX bike embroidered on them that I can't find a link to (oddly enough). Oh my god, we were in heaven in our expensive, trendy shoes.

So, this was in 1983 and Nike et al were unheard of in Australia. I think Reebok made an entrance into the tennis world the year after (I think - I'm not going to fact check that, I'm not a newspaper sub). All those expensive $100+/ $200+/ forgodsake$300+ shoes hadn't been invented yet and who knows who could have afforded them anyway? KT26s and BMX shoes - it makes me smile. Our idea of what constitued an expensive pair of shoes are now so far down on the luxury ladder it makes those longed for 'brands' seem like a sweet joke. Our family wasn't poorly off by any stretch of the imagination, but 'big brands' just weren't the kinds of things purchased by average Australians back in the eighties.

What happened to that?

Rampant marketing happened, that's what. It started with the sneakers and then... kapow! The rise and rise of The Brand. You had to buy... stuff in order to be... something. Branded clothing, leather couches, pools, two bathroom houses and carat diamonds - these were all things that were only for the very rich when I was growing up. At least, that was my perception as a child. And instead of all of us lacing up our Dunlop sneakers and running as fast as we possibly could away from the snarling dog of consumerism we embraced it like a longed-for puppy.

These days, what were once considered luxury items are pretty much considered 'needs' by everyone and charged to an awful lot of credit cards. I'm not talking personally (some of these things I have, some I don't) and I realise that not everyone gets caught up in this untethered consumerism or has the money to even consider it. But so many of us do. It is my perception that as a society we are definitely flashing a lot more cash around than we have previously ever been able to do.

Add to that all the things we've invented in the past twenty years or so that cost A LOT of money - the smartphones, broadband internet, flatscreen televisions, gaming devices, apps galore - and I just don't get how we're all affording everything.

How are we affording everything?

There are so many stores selling so much stuff. Fashion changes every other week rather than every other season. We even have special clothes that are 'must haves' for Autumn and Spring. I don't remember that as a child. You put a Winter cardi over your Summer dress in Autumn and you stopped wearing your singlet under your Winter outfit in Spring. How are people managing to 'stay on trend' four times a year?

And don't get me started on the new Australian Dream of a quarter acre house on a quarter acre block. Oh, go on then, do. So many of the features that are 'must-haves' today were considered inaccessible luxuries just twenty years ago. Two or more bathrooms, media rooms, walk-in wardrobes, spare bedrooms, studies, family rooms, outdoor rooms... dear god, who can afford all this stuff?

Did incomes increase at some stage? Did everyone get promoted? Did we all win the lottery?

I'm naive in all areas of finance, but something definitely doesn't add up to me (even with my calculator).

When did our society get to be so rich? And how do we avoid buying all this stuff?

[Image found here]

19.6.11

Don't follow me, I'm lost too?


The other night, my post was so offensive I lost five followers.

Yes, five people chose to leave my accidental-cult of followers* after revelations that my husband's Italian family were... a lovely, warm family.**

Hmmmmm.... that can't be right.

Of course it isn't. Followers drop off and join in on this blog all the time. Except for the fact that five abruptly exited at once, I may not have even noticed.***

But I remember the first time I 'lost' a follower, I was mortified - why would someone want to unfollow me. Was it something I said? Was I not fun enough? Was I, gasp, boring?

Oh, fickle followers, I thought. But I know different now.

Followers come and followers go, such is the merry roundabout of blogging life. New faces in, some faces lost. A little trace left behind or none whatsoever. There are so many so fabulous blogs out there (my latest 'must read - at least whenever I can' is Emily over at The Beetle Shack) that it's really, really hard not to let the eye wander off to landscapes new. It's hard to choose the blogs that you'll follow and stick with.

And how marvellous is that!

Have you misplaced a follower? How did it make you feel?


* Seriously, since when were the David Koreshs of the world involved in internet platform development?
** What is even more of a shame is that I named the post 'part one', indicating that I'm going in for another round soonest.
*** This is a lie.

[Follow Me tights from here are actually Twitter tights, but still...]

17.6.11

This week I'm grateful for... oranges


Fruit and I are wary of each other. Every time I start to think I kinda like it, it tosses me a frigid manadarin or a wanton pear. When it's good, it's very, very good, but when it's bad it is just so darn awful that I start to realise that the thing about a Snickers Bar isn't that it's convenient or addictive 'cos of the high salt/sugar/fat combo... no, it's successful because you always know what you're going to get.

Fruit isn't like that. Yuuuummmmm.... Snickers Bar... sorry, where was I?

But, this week I'm grateful for...

139. Oranges - sorry, Ms Winterson, but they actually are the only fruit that seems to be tolerable most of the time.

140. Baking - flour puffs, oozy dough, greasy hands, fragrant warmth, spoon-licking goodness. Substituting wholemeal flour means it's all good for you, right?

141. My pathetic little heater - yeah, yeah, I know I said last week that I really love the cold. But that was cold days. Not, you know, later at night when you're freezing through your four layers and your feet just won't warm up without a little help. Not then. So, we thought about getting ducted reverse-cycle air-con and I got it costed up and then I realised that my pathetic little radiator heater wasn't as bad as I thought...


So, what's making you smile today? Add your I'm Grateful For post to the list below (and please, we love you, but it really does matter that your post is a Grateful one and not just a random), add the button (grab the code from my sidebar and paste it into your post) and pretty-please add a link back to me. Then pop over to visit other bloggers who are spreading a little sunshine. 





[Image from How About Orange - another fabulous orange that I love to indulge in as often as possible! Thanks Jess!]

16.6.11

The messy charade


I’m tired of the charade and want it to stop.


You know the one I’m talking about.

You’re invited to a friend’s place for morning tea. You are greeted merrily at the door and ushered inside a home so pristinethat a white glove would be instantly rendered unemployable; unless it was willing to take on a shift as a duster. This house sparkles, it shines, it gleams. In fact it’s so darn clean looking you don’t even need the three second rule when you accidentally drop your just-baked bickie on the white shag carpeting.

And then it begins.

“Sorry about the mess,” your friend says distractedly.

“Mess?” You yelp, worried that your surreptiously reclaimed bickie has left offensive crumbs.

“I haven’t had a chance to clean all week,” she continues, looking disgustedly around the slovenly lab she calls home.

Ah yes, that’s the charade I’m talking about. The one where we have to pretend that (a) we haven’t cleaned up for our guests or (b) we haven’t actually stopped cleaning since we first met a mop in 1982. Either way, the house is perfectly neat, we can both see that it’s perfectly neat so why do we have to have the fake “sorry my house is such a mess” conversation every. single. time I come to visit?

Are you fishing for compliments – because I know the standard answer I’m meant to give is “Oh, no, hon. Your house looks perfect. I can’t believe how tidy you are, you should see my place”?

Or are you actually trying to distract me from noticing your anal neatness lest I judge you on having nothing better to do than clean?

Or, heaven forbid, do you genuinely think your super-neat house is messy, in which case your issues are probably even more ingrained than pasta sauce on microwaved Tupperware – an image I just know is making you hyperventilate a little bit right now*?

Any way you look at it, the pointless “sorry my house is such a mess” conversation is just not going to make you a winner.

I don’t do it. Any of it. I don’t clean up for people butand I don't make them talk about it when they come over either. On any given day my house could be messy when you visit, it could be tidy, it could be a total brothel complete with random half-clad girls wandering in and out (well, it could). But we don’t have to talk about it. You can just sit down and we’ll have a chat about far more interesting stuff than housework and you can happily drink your cup of tea (although I would definitenly advise employing the 3 second rule should you drop your bickie on my floor... actually, my advice is that even within the 3 second parametre you should probably just leave the bickie where it dropped – one of my half-clad girls can pick it up).

If I tallied up all the useless “sorry my house is messy” conversations I’ve had over the years, I reckon I’ve wasted weeks of my life. Weeks. And that’s not even including the fake “My daughter dresses herself” conversations or the fake “Look how creased my shirt got on the train” conversations or even the fake “I must have dropped that Indian curry on my sleeve at breakfast this morning” conversations. Maybe I’ve even wasted years.

Yes, I'm tired of the charade and want it to stop

Why do we pretend we’re effortlessly perfect? And why can’t we just own up to how hard we work at being perfect? And seriously, are we really worried that people are going to judge us on how well we keep house? 


* I’m not cruel.

[Image by Isabel Pereira]

15.6.11

The reality of TV


I've never been a huge television watcher. We didn't have a lot of access when we were kids (there was only one black and white station, after all) and it was never really an issue. In my late teens and early twenties, my flatmates and I didn't even have a television (we used to go to the Hopetoun to watch Melrose Place on Tuesdays and that was it for the week!).

These days I watch a few shows here and there. Grey's Anatomy hooked me in and even though it got really dumb and unfunny at least four years ago, I still watch it and try to smile (although the other night when they all burst into song in the ICU for some inexplicable reason, that was very, very hard to do). Same goes for Survivor - I've been an avid viewer for ten years and I know the show so well I could easily be Jeff's understudy. I also tune in religiously to So You Think You Can Dance and am a confirmed Gleek (although I only watch it for Sue Sylvester's lines and Puckerman's, well, lines). Every now and then I watch Dr Phil at work because Dr Phil is my guru and he's way more interesting than work. And sometimes I catch Spicks and Specks because I have a girl-crush on Myf. And I find myself watching How I Met Your Mother with remarkable regularity considering I don't actually watch that show.

There are plenty of other shows on television that I'm sure are 'must sees'. And there are many conversations that I'm instantly tuned out of because no, I didn't watch Packed to the Rafters / Law and Order / Sex and the City / Ally McBeal / The Bill / Insert 'Must See' Show last night.

I could say that I don't have the time, but I always think you make the time for the things you like. When it all comes down to it, television isn't really that much different to a good book - you get a bit lost in another world for a little while. Beyond the 'learning to read' stage, I don't think TV is any more passive an activity than reading, especially as it's rare for me to 'challenge' myself with a great work of literature these days - most of what I pick up is crime / thriller paperback stuff and I'm okay with that. But getting hooked on a television show is a little bit like watching someone else live your best life for you*. Only their life is so much more interesting and exciting than yours. So maybe with TV, I just can't handle the feeling of inadequacy?

But what show do you think I'm really missing out on?
What's your favourite?

* Yeah, okay, so maybe I watch Oprah from time to time too...

[Image via weheartit]

14.6.11

The Twilight Zoned Out


I haven't written about sleep in ages, which is remarkable considering that getting the Tsunamis to appreciate it in the same quantities that I do has been a preoccupation of mine for about seven years now. One day I'll do a BIG POST telling you all about the trials and tribulations of why-we-don't-get-a-lot-of-sleep-around-here and how-that-makes-us-feel... actually, writing that post will bore me so much that I might actually fall asleep, so I'll get right onto that. But, in the meantime, this is a little post about a little bit of my sleep tribulations and it's only a little bit boring.

I want to talk about the 'half sleep' - the 'Twilight Sleep'. Mothers of newborns will know exactly what I'm talking about here. It's the sleep your body is having when your brain is actually wide awake listening for your baby to make an imperceptible noise that only you can hear at around 3.37am so you can leap instantly out of bed and be at their side in a jiffy. It's the sleep you might also start having if a loud crash awakes you in the middle of the night and your brain thinks 'oh my god, one of the darling children has fallen out of bed' but your body says 'yeah, whatever' and tries to go back to sleep. Alas, after a crash like that it's only Twilight Sleep that you'll achieve.

Recently my friend the Twilight Sleep has been visiting me when Maxi-Taxi makes his 3am stealthy entrance onto the mattress we've got set up in our room for just that purpose. Yes, he has his own temporary bed at the foot of our bed and we'll just ignore the fact that recently it's been sporting it's own feather doona with a cover that marries well with our bedroom's general colour scheme...

Judge not, it's been a very lengthy, sleepless battle to get him to this semi-independent point. The idea is that he sneaks on in and if he can get himself out of his bed, up the stairs and onto the mattress without waking us, the mattress stays. If he wakes us up, the mattress goes. It's been quite a few months now and the little mattress is working it's magic. Except of course every night the sweet little boy who comes creeping as quietly as he can wakes me up anyway because I've been in Twilight Sleep mode just waiting for him to come up every night.

That's what Twilight Sleep does to a mother. It's the expectation that our children are going to need us and they probably really don't, but we can't be sure because we're only half asleep so we hear every little sound so it sounds like they sorta do. It's a vicious circle that I'm not sure how to break. Whenever I bemoaned the fact that my babies were yet again playing up during sleep time, my wise Mum always said to me "you can't make them sleep" and she was absolutely right. Unfortunately it's true that we can't make ourselves sleep, either.

If you have any suggestions whatsoever to help a Twilight Sleeper like me just go the f$#k to sleep*, please let me know. In the meantime, if you need me, just breathe extra heavily and I'll come racing.

* My absolute favourite children's book of all time.

[Image from here]

13.6.11

I'd make an excuse, but...


I've been thinking a lot about excuses lately. All the reasons why we can't do something; all the reasons why we won't. This week I've heard reams of excuses from parents who can't / won't help out at the school. From colleagues who can't / won't meet a deadline. From the Tsunamis who can't / won't do their homework, have a bath, eat their dinner, forgodsakegotobed. But mostly excuses uttered by myself for one reason or another.  I even make excuses for why I'm making excuses.

The more I think about it, the more I'm thinking only one thing about excuses any more.

Excuses suck.

I was particularly interested in the list of excuses that followed my friend's recent statement: "I want to be happy, but..." I want to be happy, but. Have you ever heard a more poignant statement?

After a long and involved conversation, all the reasons why she can't / won't be happy came down to these:

1. I don't have time (to be happy)
2. My children are too needy (for me to be happy)
3. I'm too fat (to be happy)
4. I'm addicted to TV so I can't spend as much time doing the things I love (so I can't be happy)*

We both agreed: excuses really suck. You might have also met their close cousin 'If Only'. Both are just self-delusion in a pointless disguise. A way to disown responsibility because if you think you don't have control over something then it's not your fault if you fail.

I'm challenging myself to own my actions and stop making excuses. Rather than palming things off with a 'because' or an 'if only,' I'm going to dig deeper and find out the real reasons why I'm not doing what I'm supposed to be doing. I want to be in the position where instead of making excuses, I'm making statements.

Do you find yourself making too many excuses? 
Do you know why you do it? 
What sorts of things are you trying to avoid?

* My personal favourite.

[Image via weheartit]

12.6.11

Meet Dolly and Other Dolly



When it comes to naming their dolls and softies, my children are... lacking. Badoo calls all her dolls "Dolly" and most of her softies are also called "Dolly". The new doll she recently got for her birthday is called "Other Dolly".

She is more creative with naming every day objects, however and we still can't figure out exactly when she started refering to blankets as "pinkies" and why all blankets are called that. She has her very favourite stripey, cotton "pinky" which she likes to sleep with, but you can use a "substitute pinky" if "real pinky" is for some reason lost or unavailable and she can handle it. Just.

Cappers changes the names of her dollies reguarly. She takes ages to decide what to call them and then unleashes a torrent of names that are quickly forgotten and made up again later. So who knows what "Butterfly Butterfly Princess Party Dress" the pink bear will be called in a day or so. I do know that "Sparkle Carla Rainbow Pop" is now known only as "Carla", making it difficult to explain to people why my daughter's favourite doll is named after the bairmaid in Cheers.

Maxi-Taxi used to refer to all things by the most obvious thing about them. So we have a bat called "Batty" and an elephant called "Ellie" and a turtle called "Burtle" (but only because he thought all turtles were burtles at the time). The mouse is called "Mousey" and the Lion is called "Liony" and, well... you get the idea.

We're planning to get chickens in the next month or so. We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of "Silky", "Fluffy" and "Benjamin". Yes, Benjamin the chicken. Which seems like a departure from our usual naming conventions, but I believe the child was watching Ben 10 at the time so not such a departure after all. I'm sure the chickens will be so overjoyed to find themselves let loose in their palatial chicken coop that LOML is building* that they won't mind their uninspiring names one bit.

How do you go with naming things at your place?

* LOML is building his first ever thing from scratch. It's very exciting. While I have every faith that he will deliver, I'm particularly pleased that he is unleashing his new found carpentery skills on a home for poultry and not for... you know, human habitation.

[Image from birdybrain.com]

10.6.11

This week I'm grateful for... deadlines



I've written many times about my tendency to procrastinate (procrastination even has it's own label on my blog). I'm actually one of the world's most lazy people, a fact that I hide beautifully by keeping myself incessantly busy chasing one deadline or another. Shhhhh... don't tell anyone, but I'd really rather be lying down with a bowl of chocolates and a good book. Or just plain lying down.

Either way, this week I'm grateful for...



136. Deadlines - I think I know why they're called deadlines. Without them, I'd probably be dead from eating too much chocolate and lying down on my enormous arse all day.


137. Busy work - Another tactic for pretending I'm not bone idle. I have missed having a party to plan for this week. I even found myself contemplating adding a stitch or two to my seven year knitting project. But I just couldn't find that darn scarf.


138. Cold days - I live in Sydney so I know I don't know what cold really is, but I did live in London for years and I miss that COLD cold. It makes me feel rejuvenated and alive. We're off to Canberra today (I'm going to Shop Handmade! Yes I am!) so check in with me on Monday to see if I still feel this way!!




So, what's making you smile today? Add your I'm Grateful For post to the list below (and please, we love you, but it really does matter that your post is a Grateful one and not just a random), add the button (grab the code from my sidebar and paste it into your post) and pretty-please add a link back to me. Then pop over to visit other bloggers who are spreading a little sunshine. 





[Image found here]

9.6.11

Kapow!


Check out the Pink Supergirl costume Gran and Pops got for the Badoo's birthday. How Supercool is that!

Inspired by the antics of the Badoo's new alter-ego, all three Tsunamis were soon practicing their best Superhero moves on the trampoline.


Kapow! (Please ignore the singlet tag indicating that the singlet is on back to front and instead check out Maxi-Taxi's 'when is it my turn to act crazy in front of the camera face' in the background there...)



A Superfrog leaping, can you believe? (Ho hum, says Cappers, picking at a loose thread on the tramp cover.)

All three Superheros were soon dead for reasons known only to themselves.

Do you have a trampoline? What sorts on things do your children get up to at playtime? Any fake deaths?