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Grateful takes the Lemon Rhodes

Dear Gratefillies,* I know you are wondering where I am. I have seen that loads of our 'regulars' haven't been linking in for a few weeks now. I haven't even been linking in myself, so I know what that's all about.

I'm not sure what it is, but I've realised that I can't be the 'host' of Grateful and not feel the pressure to visit every single link. You tell me that that's silly, and I respect that it is, but that's the way I feel. I'm not sure how to unfeel it.

Soooooo... I've been thinking about the 'future' of Grateful and I have a little plan. I will reveal all as soon as I can. In the meantime, I hope you continue to enjoy being hosted by a different special blog each week. I absolutely love the idea of Grateful being a moving feast, but please let me know if you are not loving it.

In the meantime, do meet our lovely host for this week - Jody from Lemon Rhodes (don't you love her wedding pic up there that I just couldn't resist grabbing from her blog?). Jody is such a stylish, creative and friendly blogger that I know you will find her irresistabubble. I warn you that if you check out her recipes you may never come out again...

And this week I'm grateful for...

175. High roads - or maybe I should say 'rhodes' in honour of our host today? Regardless, I am grateful that from time to time I manage to remember the high road and steer myself there in the nick of time.

176. Ebbs and flows - 'this, too, shall pass' has always been my mantra as a parent and I've realised this week that all of life does pass. Quietly, simply and without half the fanfare that worry and anticipation often lead us to assume. Tomorrow can always look bright.

177. Magazines - blogging made me temporarily forget my love for mags, but my recent break gave me more time to indulge and I am ever so glad.

What's making you smile today? Head over to Lemon Rhodes to link up your own grateful post and visit others who are feeling good about the little things. Being grateful makes the world go round, the world go round...

PS - Apologies for the long post this week, but I had lots to say!

* Yes? No? I know... could do better...


Through the Instagram: little peek at September

The only reason I kept on with the iPhone and ditched my BlackBerry (easily more preferrable if you use your phone for work) was Instagram. I am obsessed with taking random shots of silly things and playing around with the way they look. It's just so satisfying.

These images looked all dressed up with no place to go, so I thought I would share some of my faves from time to time on my blog. This... is one of the times.

How good are my muffins? That's baking on a Wednesday... the city street shot is going to work on a Thursday... and the photo of LOML's hand and my foot is relaxing on a Sunday...

The Badoo and I often go for a Sushi lunch on Wednesdays. She loves drinking the 'little fishies' (straight soy sauce) - I swear she was born a complete salt addict. She loves salted nuts, olives, anchovies and she is not into sweet things at all. We all have our vices and I'm more and more convinced that they are with us from birth.

And see Maxi's 'cockatoo hair' above? I spend a good part of my mornings trying to make that hair stay flat. It springs back on high-alert within seconds.

Do you like the shots of my garden? The birdie was a birthday pressie from my bloggy friend Felicity from Gifts of Serendipity. I liked it so much I used the picture twice...?   Oh the friendships we have all made through blogging. Lucky ducks we all are.

Right now, for the life of me I can't get that annoying 'Benny and the Jets' song out of my head and it's sending me slowly mad.  And I can't stop thinking about going down the coast on Saturday for a whole gorgeous week with my parents in the house I grew up in. We'll be wrapped in comfort and ease and nostalgia.

What's happening in your world right now?
What are you thinking about the most today?

Ms Nosybella: Running or just running around?

Dear pumped lovelies

All my life I have worked towards the goal of being a fit, sporty sort of person. Let's just say that I have not over-achieved on that goal.

The exercise thing has never fallen into place for me. I try, oh how I try. I've tried yoga and pilates and running and swimming and bodypumptonecombatfit. Bike riding, rollerskating, salsa, tennis, aquaerobics. I've tried walking and hip-hop and team sports and boxing and memorably even pole dancing on one very forgettable occasion.

Nothing has every stuck for me.

These days I imagine myself walking three times a week and running once per week with a morning Salute the Sun thrown in, but the truth is that for the first time in a long time I'm not really doing anything much at all.

My house has lots and lots and lots of very steep stairs. I have had at least one hefty child being picked up and down constantly. I am a fidgety person who never sits still. I run off at the mouth a lot.

But, really, my good luck cannot last forever and I know I need to sort out this forty year battle to find my perfect exercise match.

So, today my nosy question is: Do you have a regular fitness routine? What do you do each week? And what motivates you to stick with it?

'Til next time

[Image via weheartit]


The sun shines and shines and shines and...

I thought I might come back to blogging as a kinder, nicer, less judgey me.

Yeah. I don't think I made it.

You see, I need to talk about those parents (see, my use of 'those' is immediately judgey) who talk a lot about their own amazing, red-caped gats* but have no interest whatsoever in feigning interest in yours.

Don't they know the rules?

'Angelica is doing an incredible job at learning to read,' she says. 'She is quite possibly the most gifted reader in the history of the English speaking world. I wouldn't like to say the whole world as that seems a little delusional, but she is just so talented.'

Now, in normal parent conversation, we all know that the rule is that you have to take turns in these conversations. She gets around 2 minutes to talk about how brilliant her child is and then it's your turn. It's the law of playground chit chat.

'Oh, that's great,' you say, feigning interest. 'I know what you mean because Stevenson is at that kind of level with somersaults. The other day a girl who looked like she could be a real Olympic gymnast except she was chubby said that she thought he must be at least three to be doing somersaults like that - at least 3 - and he's only 2 and a half. Do you think I should consider enrolling him in a high school with a strong gymnastics program?'

And on it goes.

See, unless you're related or super-close to the child in question, no-one really, truly cares what other kids are doing or not doing but we do need to know so they can serve as a yardstick to our own. Depending on the level of achievement, we'll either feel like she's a freak of nature and really deserves to be a gat. Or we'll feel like her feat is certainly do-able with a bit of hard work and we'll have a quiet word to our offspring about picking up their game.

Either way, the rule is that you have to patiently listen to the Parental Boast so you get to do your own boast. It's the only fair and honourable thing to do.

So why don't some mums get it?
Are some kids really just that much better than the others?

* Gifted and Talented. I find the whole GAT thing endlessly judgeable.**
** Disclaimer: I sadly have a child who has been labelled a GAT.
[Image by Monika Elena]

Postie delivery: Clutter buster tips

Today I'm over at Deb's excellent life coaching blog Home. Life. Simplified. Don't tell Deb I told you this (hi Deb) but in another life her blog is exactly the kind that I wish I'd started. Just useful, important stuff about life as we know it (rather than impractical but mostly pleasant ramblings about the state of the world and pretty things).

I've come over all Peter Walsh* and I'm talking about how I manage to keep the paper - the incessant, breeding, infiltrating, life-destroying PAPER - at bay at my place. I hope my tips are helpful.

I think this is my last postie delivery for now... I think. I went nuts a few weeks back and accepted invites like they were flowers, so I'm not sure how many I actually sent out. I am a writing machine at times. Even when I'm not officially writing regularly... apparently. Somewhat.

ANYWAY, how do you keep the paperlanche at bay?
And what IS it with Oprah and the Aussies?

* What is it with Oprah and the Aussies??

[Image and clipboard fancifying project - which I have not done - from One Charming Party]


Psychedelic grey

Maybe it's the rainbow party preps, but driving along on my way to the train station, it suddenly struck me how grey, silver, black, white and bleak the road has become.

Growing up we had a bright yellow Mitsubishi van with lurid green carpet (and my parents wondered why I was constantly car sick). Parked behind it in the driveway was a bright yellow Datsun 120Y that my mother pretended to drive*. We grew up across the road from a bowling club and Friday nights would see a procession of orange, purple, yellow, red and green cars all lined up waiting for their owners to down 8 schooners and then drive them home.

It got me thinking.

It's not just cars. Everything is really, really dull these days. It's rare the cat who decides to give his own fashion style a whirl. Everyone just dresses the way the magazines tell us to and that's sadly in shades of taupe, camel and chocolate - with a hint of grey. Our houses are nicely decorated with colourful cushions popping nicely on a neutral sofa because that's what all the houses look like in house-porn magazines so that's the look we are supposed to like.

Even people are less likely to want to say something that might make them pop against the dull-beige of political correctness. Being a 'character' isn't so much a badge of honour these days as a badge of courage. Bland, grey people who rote-learn their opinions off the evening news and look vaguely perplexed when you ask them what they like doing.

So worried are we that our children won't 'fit in' with these boring people that we stifle their enthusiasm for anything we don't think is 'normal' and encourage them into towing the line to getgoodgradesandmakesomethingofthemselves. We watch their amazing creative spirits and the passion they have for the most bizarre things and secretly hope they'll develop the same passion for economics or tossing so they can become a rich investment banker. Heaven help them if they want to be a juggler or an artist or a nurse. There's no money in that. How will they ever be able to afford their grey car and grey life?

All the life and colour and fun and weirdness of the seventies and eighties became the sophisticated, styled, subtle nineties and noughties. We look back and scoff at the 'style mistakes' of that era, but the only mistake we ever made was to let ourselves be convinced that blandness is the new psychedelic. 

When did our society start drowning in Chalk USA? 
And how will we ever rescue it?

* Sorry Mum, but you know it's true.

[Image via Pinterest]


Grateful roars with Lioness Lady

Sonia from LionessLady has been a part of Grateful Saturday since almost the beginning and I wanted to honour that today. She is a friendly, genuine, gentle soul with a bit of a roar when she needs it. She calls herself a 'beginner' crafter, but her crochet is amazing and she even ran up a great skirt for herself recently... I think her 'beginner' and my 'beginner' are really rather different!

In any case, I thought she looked particularly lionessque in the above photo I snuck from her blog today. What a great shot!

Have a lovely weekend and remember to pat yourself on the back for at least one job well done. 



The rainbow party invitations I didn't buy

I had this great concept for rainbow party invites... which is probably why I didn't buy them at the newsagency. Which is probably why I never buy them at the newsagency - what other creative outlet have I got besides Tsunami birthday parties? I just love 'em!

On the other side of the rainbow are all the details of the party. I confess I took that cute little cloud face from Paper Glitter's rainbow party suite (which may be the wrong thing to do and I'm really sorry... but I couldn't resist that little face).

Can't wait to show you what else I have planned for this little shindig. But, of course, absolutely nothing else is ready yet. I've got plenty of time...

How important is it to you to stretch your creative muscle*?
Have you been working on something lately?

For more creative muscle limbering, head on over here!

*Pretty much the only muscle I'm working out right now!


Easy Street versus the direction I'm going in

While we're on the subject of time management (she says, as if it hasn't been a week since the topic was last raised), I have realised that I make things very difficult for myself.

Standing in the newsagency, waiting to buy my sneaky copy of the UK Country Living magazine so I can keep dreaming The Dream, I glanced over at the three racks of birthday invitations booklets. 'Come to my Rainbow Party' a book of 25 urged me.

'That's funny,' I thought. 'I was just now thinking that I need to get onto designing, proofing, printing, cutting out and glueing the 25 Rainbow Party invitations we need for Capper's birthday.'

And I bought my magazine and I left the shop.

Why, oh why (oh why!) can't I be the person that buys the book of invitations?

Do you also like to make things as difficult as you possibly can for yourself?

[Image by Bob Davidson]

Postie delivery: The art of the working mother - more Picasso than Monet

Rzrrrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa... sorry, that was my attempt at copying the mosquito whine of our postman's motorbike. Doesn't really sound like that, does it?

Today I've delivered a post over at Planning with Kids. Nicole asked me to share some tips for working mothers, but I've already been there with regretfully bitchy results, so instead I thought I'd share what a typical school week looks like for my kids.

As much as I try to put the balls down, fact is, life would be a lot (a lot) simpler if I was a stay at home mum. I'd drop the kids at school in the morning with The Badoo in tow, and I'd pick them up in the afternoon. Done.

Read my post at Nic's to see what actually happens at my place.

I do try to combine the two as artfully as possible, but working and mumming together, at the same time, simultaneously can be awfully hard. I confess (and this is very hard to admit) that when WMG (Working Mother Guilt - a preoccupation of mine) kicks in, I secretly agree with the judgey judgers and think to myself: 'who's really raising your children?'. Ouch.

Own worst enemy indeed.
[Image from here]


Grateful gets cosy with Mira Narnie

Now, don't let the gorgeousness that is that girl in the posh cream coat up there scare you off. Brenda from Mira Narnie is quite possibly the nicest gal in blogland. I was one of her first followers and she was one of mine and I've loved her ever since.

Brenda is a clever clogs wearer so she's creative and caring (all the wearers of clever clogs seem to be caring), fashionable and just a little bit fancy. And she's kind enough to host our gratefuls this week so get on over there to link up already!

Oh, but before you go... I can't help myself - I'm also doing a very special guest postie delivery over at Life in a Pink Fibro today. Come see me.

Postie delivery: Wondering about wonderment

This time I've popped over to Alice Becomes to talk about losing that sense of wonderment that we all had growing up. It's something I've been thinking about for a while now and I think I've made my peace with it... sort of...

I've been a follower of Alice Becomes since... well, since back when they were channeling Blur. Nic and Gil are both talented writers with a unique perspective on life, children, parenting and being organised. Come see...

I absolutely loved Karen's comment on the post and her approach to keeping 'wonder' in her life.
I am going to revisit my attitude to 'doing things' as a result!

Sigh. Have you lost that wonderment feeling?

PS - Speaking of wonder - Wonder Woman (Cate Bolt) needs your support to achieve her SunSuper dream to help homeless children in Indonesia. It's just a little click and takes less than a minute. Please just get in there and help Cate help others.

[Image photographed by Annie Lebovitz for Vogue, December 2003 found here]


Time suck

The trouble with a 'past time' is you need to have the time to pass. I'm not entirely sure how I ever fitted daily blogging into my over-burdened life.

I know I am watching a bit more TV - I found myself wanting to slit my wrists at the mundanity of A Current Affair last week and by now I am well and truly addicted to the mundanity of The Renovators.

I know that I went on Twitter last Friday with absolutely disastrous results (I do hope that the only person who knows what I'm talking about right now is Seraphim!)

I have crossed off at least seven impossible things off my Impossible Things To Do list, including sorting through my wardrobe (something that has so alluded me until now that I found myself throwing out maternity clothes) and sewing a drawstring bag to hold Star Wars Lego. As you do.

I've washed my floors once a week for three whole weeks.

Oh, and while I'm here, do tell me*, are you liking or loathing or lukewarm about my new career as a guest postie? Part of me thinks I should just STFU until I'm back here on Maxabella loves... another part is just so happy to still be writing.

What to do?

Because I am an 'all or nothing' sort of person (unfortunately mostly 'all'), I haven't yet worked out how I can balance blogging and lifeing in a way that I like. I know the two are technically each other, but you know what I mean. Sometimes I felt like after I did my thinking about my work and my family, all I could think about was my blog and other people's blogs and things to blog about.

It seems a little psycho and a lot self-indulgent.

I also think it's an issue that many many many many many of us have. Or not.

Do you have this issue?

* Of course, this one's for you, darling Woogsy! I am clearly (and happily) a total comment floozy. We all are, I'm certain.

[Image by Hui+]


Postie delivery: Living confidently ever after

Confidence, huh? Just talking about it makes one sound rather arrogant and a touch up one's own arse. But I'm going there.

Never one to shy away, so to speak.

So, I'm over at Good Holly Golly Gosh She's Fab's place tonight, enjoying my new career as a guest postie and (very confidentally) talking about confidence. Come join in!

What do you think the secret to confidence really is?
Why are some of us brimming in the stuff and others so unsure?

[Image from here]


Postie delivery: Living happily ever after

The irony that my third guest postie delivery is actually a post about Living Happily Ever After does not escape me. I'm really not very good at this whoring business, am I?

I wrote a while ago about why I thought marriage was a very good idea and today I'm over at My Shoebox Life talking about how to keep that very good idea a... er, very good idea.

Thanks for having me, Shell.


Grateful spends a Day in the Life

Kymmie at A Day In the Life of Us is hosting us this week.

There she is up there in all her fancy-pants gorgeousness, say hi, Kymmie!

Pop on over to link up your grateful post and remember to say good morning to at least one perfect stranger.


Baby, I was born to run...

... off at the mouth, apparently.

Because while you have all been wondering 'whereforartthere Maxabella?', I have been busy whoring myself around the blogiverse as a guest postie. Not once, not twice, but three times. All I need is a pole.

Find me belatedly over at Cherie's blog, A Baby Called Maxabella (oh, okay, her blog is really called A Baby Called Max), where I posted a whole week ago. Cherie's been going through a mad time recently and the call went out for guest posties and seeing as I've got loads of time on my hands because my own blog is idle, of course I put my hand up.  Except that my own blog was idle, I would have posted a link a week ago. Sorry about that Cherie!

And number two is over at Oh Good Golly That Gorgeous Miss Holly (or something like that), but she hasn't actually posted that one up yet so I'll let you know when it goes live. It's really just a whole lot of me running off at the mouth about self confidence, which is kind of ironic when you think about it.

And number three is... well, what do you need me for? I'm thinking that despite guest posting being ultimately 100 times more terrifying than posting on my own blog, I might make a career out of it for a while... so, baby, contact me... I'm available.

[Image via our old friend, the untraceable weheartit]


Grateful holidays at The Beetle Shack

Emily over at The Beetle Shack is kindly hosting Grateful for us this week.

See, there she is up there with her lovely family - go on over, you'll really love her.

Grateful, Em, oh yes I am. x