A year without my preschooler – Week #22 Holidays

So this week’s episode is a couple of weeks late, due to holidays, and not being able to keep up!!

I can’t believe I get to start this week in a different state.

Monday – I slept in this morning till 9am. Today was a running errands day and I spent most of it at a huge shopping mall. But my sweet cousin and I got to try out a hot drink in a bowl, first time for both of us, from a beautiful bakery called French Twist. Over a dinner of roast chicken and veggies we watched Masterchef.

Tuesday – My sweet cousin and I stayed in PJs till 3pm. I made banana bread, while my cousin made lots of phone calls and I made lots of cups of tea. The rest of the day was spent doing washing and designing and printing order of service books. We ended up at office works at 8:50pm to staple books and buy cardboard. Then a hot drink before bed.

Wednesday- Today was a day just for me. I caught the train (two actually) into the city. I went into the State library and saw their skins exhibition showcasing indigenous painted possum skins. The skins had amazing patterns and were incredible. Then I visited GOMA, the Gallery of Modern Art. I spent a long time there and some of my favourites were: a video of an artist recycling floors and wall sections from buildings about to be demolished; Womanly one, over twenty tubes made out of the leaves of a plant, representing the various shapes of women; a portrait by a high school student of her dad looking at a computer screen, the perpetual learner; and Ticking clocks, representing the number of deaths from medical issues.

I had a carrot risotto for lunch and spent some time colouring in. Then I ventured into Book fest, and helping man on the street get an ambulance, too out of it to tell us where to get a taxi to. Then home, flower picking on the way and chicken stir fry for dinner. cousin made apple crumble, so delish. Then some planning phone calls before bed.

Thursday – This was the day my wonderful beloved arrived. My sweet cousin and I spent the morning doing more preparations and then met up with a friend of hers who is doing the flowers for the wedding. Her friend had just started working at a gorgeous little florist shop in Paddington. When we arrived she was super busy so while we waited, my sweet cousin and I made a few phone calls. Her friend then let us have coffee and cake on the house while we chatted with her about the plans and preparations so far. My sweet cousin got to share the joyful news with her friend that the chapel where the ceremony would take place was not going to charge them. Then we dropped in to see another friend who was lending us some A Frame wooden boards for us to put signs on. It took us almost twenty minutes to get these six boards in the back of the groom’s convertible that we were driving around. A bit of paper towel was used for protection and we were good to go. In the late afternoon my sweet cousin dropped me at a mall to meet up with my beloved. It was so great to see him, and we enjoyed catching up on the last five days apart. We had dinner with my mum and dad, who also flew in on the same flight, and my mum’s sister and her partner. Then my sweet cousins brother (here after referred to as cobro) had asked to meet up and have a one on one additive free supermarket tour. How could I say no? After we discovered we were both at two different shopping centres, slight miscommunication, my cobro and I chatted about his health and desire for healthy eating while he purchased a few things. Then we headed to his regular supermarket chain of choice, and walked the aisles discussing better choices for the products he normally eats. Cobro enjoyed seeing that some of his regular purchases were on my good/approved list, and appreciated the tips for food items for his expanding family. When we finished Cobro picked up my beloved and his suitcase from my parents hotel, and drove us both to my sweet cousins house.

Friday – The bride got waxed, and while my beloved and I waited at Chermside mall for her to finish we met up with my baby cousin and her hubby who had flown in from the USA, my Aunty and her partner, and my mum and dad who all ordered breakfast. Then my dad took me and my beloved to meet up with the bride and groom for a ‘who dunnit’ puzzle game. I really enjoyed it, even though we needed to use 3 hints and missed out on solving the puzzle within an hour, we were only ten seconds over.


Sustenance and coffee were required so we found a little cafe called The Rare Pear and my sweet cousin and I ordered these amazing veggie burgers. Sun dried tomato relish, beetroot chutney, roast pumpkin and eggplant, rocket and aioli were some great ingredients topped with grilled haloumi. We enjoyed a conversation covering The Iron Druid Series, Brexit, and our puzzle solving skills from the game before my dad took my beloved and I to the airport. He was going to collect my little sis who was arriving and we were picking up a hire car. After getting our red Camry we drove back to my sweet cousins house to collect her and all our luggage to take to a lavender farm where the girls would be staying for two nights before the wedding. That evening my beloved and my sweet cousin cooked Haystacks for dinner, a version of nachos, which was most wonderful. Then the young girls, my sweet cousin, my littlest sister and I headed to our separate accommodation that night while my baby cousin slept off her jetlag.

What an amazing week, now just a wedding rehearsal and wedding to finish it off. I’ll do a post for this just on it’s own.

A year without my preschooler – Week #21

Last week I felt really busy so I planned to plan a bit less into this week in order to give me time to get what I need done, as I leave for Queensland on Sunday.

Monday – Today I tried out a new clothes folding method, thanks to the encouragement from an audio book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying” by Marie Kondo. I have thoroughly enjoyed listening and took copious notes so I can put her ideas into practise once I get back from holidays to Queensland.

Tuesday – Miss 9 is still having pain in her shoulder so today I took her to the physiotherapist. And while I was there I got my wonderful physiotherapist to check my neck too.

Wednesday – We watched the rest of War Room movie at Bible Study. It was so moving and really inspiring. Then I spent time financially getting ready for end of financial year. Gee that’s a mouthful.

Thursday – Canteen duty today was met with much excitement, especially when there was no tuna sandwiches to make. Not that I don’t like tuna, I just tend to not realise until later that I need to get tuna out of freezer to defrost and then I wait for ages for it to defrost. Then later I took Master 7 to the dentist.

Friday – Today was crazy hair day at school so part of the morning was spent doing all three kids hair – a first I think. I got into my veggie garden today. I saw a nice big rain cloud and hoped I could beat it, as my seedlings were desperate to be transplanted. Then I made a soup delivery to a pregnant friend and got to have a quick catch up. And the best part of my day was spending forty minutes colouring in with my baby princess.

image imageimage

Weekend – This weekend couldn’t have been more jam packed and requiring excellence in planning and execution. Miss 9 had a netball game which ended with an even score, a tie, even though she sat off half the game due to her shoulder. I spent the rest of the day packing for a flight to Queensland, and the kids packed for their trip to Perth next week, and also a day bag for Perth trip on Sunday to see Peter and the Wolf with WASO. We had friends over Saturday night for dinner and then midday Sunday I flew to Queensland. As I was dropped off at the airport I wondered why my scarf was wet, and realised that Miss 5 had cried into my shoulder as she hugged me tightly before saying goodbye.

A year without my preschooler – Week #19

One of the frustrations of last week was being sick. And starting this week unwell, with one child unwell also, as well as two student free days is a recipe for getting nothing done. Nothing but making sweet memories.

Monday – WA Day today saw us go apple picking. I had invited a whole bunch of people as we had done it four years ago and loved it. So off we went, hoping the forecasted rain would hold off until later in the day. We had a wonderful time picking apples, sans rain, and then the rain came when we tried to have a picnic lunch at the Apple Fun Park in Donnybrook. The kids had half an hour of playing, mostly in light drizzle, before we determined the rain wasn’t going away and bundled them up in the cars to take home.

Master 7 and I spent some time in the afternoon finding all the people Lego parts and putting them back together. A month ago he had decided to pull all the heads off his characters and put them all on one long Lego rod, top and bottom. It was quite satisfying “fixing” Lego people and putting them back together.



Tuesday – Student free day today saw the kids request a pyjama day. How could I say no? So we cleaned bedrooms, played Disney Trivial Pursuit, and played an elaborate game of fairies. I had to dress up like a fairy, at the demand of Miss 5, then we went on our fairy rocket to playgroup and to the shops. I ended up asking if I could go to the chemist to get some medicine and this was approved. But when asked if I could stop playing, and Miss 9 could take my place, I was heartily told No. But I could go to the fairy hospital where I would be looked after. I determined that the table was the hospital, so that I could do a steamer for my blocked nose. Then I was offered a massage, with oils of course, and I could hardly so no to the fairy nurse. Then the girls continued the fairy game while I recuperated in hospital.

Miss 9 and I thought we’d taste our Kombucha batch we had started fermenting over a week ago. And boy were we happy! Time to bottle for 5 days and get the next batch going. But we had run out of sugar, so we took a trip to the shops, in our pyjamas and slippers of course.

Back home we finished making our Kombucha brew, and after a little tidy up we watched Nim’s Island. We had watched it over a year ago, but the children had forgotten what it was about. They totally enjoyed it, even Master 7 who at first refused to watch it because it wasn’t Brother Bear, which was his preference. I told him we can save it till Friday night.

Wednesday – No bible study today as Miss 9 unwell, so we spent the morning watching a movie that I’d deliberately got her from the library.

Thursday – No canteen duty today, as I said I’d keep my germs away as I’m still not feeling great. So I spent the morning looking and looking and looking at costumes for a wedding we are going to in July. Finally got it down to 5 choices, now up to the hubby’s opinion.

Friday – The Legendary Pizza TV Dinner Night arrived, the favourite night of the week. Take away pizza tonight as no energy to make it myself.

Weekend – Miss 9 to netball, friends over for lunch, and I was supposed to be teaching preschoolers at kids church but not well enough to.

A year without my preschooler – Week #20

Last week I was quite unwell and still hadn’t recovered fully to start this week. And over the weekend Miss 9 ended up at the doctor’s with unusual swelling in her upper body.

Monday – I got hubby to take Miss 9 for a blood test. The last time she had one I didn’t do so well. I had Miss 3 at the time strapped in a stroller and I laid on the bed so I didn’t faint. While oldest girl sat calmly in chair getting her blood taken. So this time I sent daddy. I also organised an ultrasound for Miss 9 and spent time preparing for netball committee meeting.

Tuesday – I spent time this morning catching up with a friend and playing a game (throw the flies into the spider web) with her three year old. Then picking and ordering my costume for wedding next month.

Wednesday – For Bible study this morning we watched half the movie War Room . It is really inspiring and I can’t wait to see the rest of it. Then I spent rest of afternoon running errands in town and taking Miss 9 to follow up Dr’s appointment.

Thursday – I got notified today that the costume I ordered is no longer in stock and not being made anymore. So I frantically looked for option 2 and ordered it. Then I spent the rest of day organising washing machine to be looked at, superannuation to be switched and medicare claim to be paid.

Friday – I spent the morning doing a handover with the accountant so I can handle the books for The Trusted Trolley. Then in the afternoon my costume arrived and it’s the wrong size. Audible groan. I ordered the right size but the packaging size didn’t match the website listing of size. It was too late to do anything so I’ll have to wait till Monday. I’m feeling so frustrated but decided it wasn’t worth stressing about any further. I already developed a cold sore this week so have to let it go.

Weekend – It was so hard watching Miss 9 struggle on the netball court. With a sore shoulder, and a rolled ankle at half time it was a hard game. Then Sunday after church we held a Church luncheon at our house. A few families joined ours for some wonderful food and time getting to know each other.

A year without my preschooler – Week #17

Last week I started my new job, which although it is only one day a week, my routine has been thrown a bit out of whack. I can’t fit as many things in as I usually do, so I have to be patient with myself.

Monday – Today I started the first of two weeks of Mentoring training, looking at how to be a good mentor to primary aged students. It was great to learn more about this, although given the things I’m juggling at the moment, I think this will be something I hopefully take up next year. But what I learn will help me in my current mentoring role with a high school student.

Tuesday – Today Miss 9 and I spent the day in Perth, getting an orthodontist tune up for her plates, and having lunch with my mum, grandma, little sis, and nephew. It’s always great fun to spend time with family. Master almost-one enjoyed gnawing crusty bread, Miss 9 got nice cuddles with him, and we got to share driving stories (getting lost, accidents) over a cuppa. Then my sister from the UK skyped us to say hello!


Wednesday – Today I harvested some of my green climbing beans. They are growing quite well, which is good as this is the second time I’ve attempted them. I also had another massage today, which was good because I had woken up with an extremely sore neck. The pain in some parts of my body is intense and indescribable and I wonder how it got there. But I know tomorrow I’ll feel heaps better.

Thursday – Mummy playdates all day today for me. Kind of exhausting, but wonderful to have time to connect with friends. And wonderful as always to cuddle cute little babies!

Friday – Today I planned to cook banana bread for an afternoon snack. I had all the ingredients, but forgot that my digital scales are still broken and not yet replaced, and my favourite recipe uses metric measurements, not cups. I thought I could work it out surely. My internet was too slow to do conversions,  so I thought I’d solve my dilemma another way. Surely one can use digital body weight scales for cooking? But alas, no. Next option, wing it. If you know me well you know I much prefer to stick to a recipe. I can do substitutions well, but I’m not very intuitive when it comes to cooking. So what could I do but wing it? I did feel pretty brave guessing at the right amount of ingredients needed. And do you know what? The cake turned out beautifully!

And the other exciting thing that happened today was that I was gifted my first scoby, to make my first ever batch of home-made Kombucha. I am a little bit excited!

Weekend – I motivated myself to do Parkrun on my own. Usually Miss 9 comes with me, but as she has had netball training and a game on a Saturday we have stopped running on a Saturday morning. I did a 6km walk last week so I thought a 5km run was achievable. I ran the whole 5 kms, didn’t stop once, and felt so proud of myself. Then to find my result, 32 minutes, and the 1st in my age category, was a real victory.

A year without my preschooler – Week #18

How fast is this term flying? Every time I look, it’s sped past me again. I have found it hard to slow down the past few weeks and just be. It was great being about to go away two weekends ago and just be me.

Monday – After work today, and picking up the kids from school, we had a wonderful play date at a park. The kids enjoyed scooting around in the crisp air, as winter is definitely approaching. I harvested some leeks from my veggie garden.

Tuesday – Horrible start to this morning with slow, whingy children. I ended up having a spontaneous rant with a friend, who invited me over for a cuppa. I love it when girlfriends take the time to share life with you. Then my day was ready to properly begin. I spent time reading up on a volunteering project I’m part of, a scientific advisory committee looking at approving research for the use of collected cells. These cells will be used in research into asthma and cystic fibrosis. Then I had a Skype meeting with some of the researchers and other people on the committee.

Wednesday – I lead bible study today and we looked at the names of God. I found a wonderful youtube video to share and we spent some time journalling. I made the time to collect all the rose petals that have been drying over my house the last week and a bit. And I have really enjoyed making little posies around the house with different leaves from my garden. This one below even has Basil in it!


Thursday – Today I helped in the canteen. It felt like ages since I’d helped but I got the hang of things easily enough. And I got to make my first apple slinky for someone at recess time. Once I headed home I felt a cold coming on. I thought about resting, and then my to-do list beckoned. Then in the afternoon I found out that Miss 5 had been sent to Buddy class. The second last step in the behavioural management process before being sent to the principal’s office. Breathe…I take a deep breath and imagine I’m anywhere but here, dealing with a small, wonderful child who is just trying to prove that the boundaries in her life are consistent.

Friday – Ok you’ve got me. Woke up with a headache and sore throat, not a great way to start the day. But one coffee catch up planned with a friend had to go ahead, as did a walk on the beach with a student I’m mentoring. 6km walk, great talk, stretches, and banana bread and iced tea to replenish energy. I had enough energy for the drive home before having a sleep for a few hours. Then time to get kids from school before going back to sleep for another hour or two.

Saturday – Me not feeling great today and Master 7 having come down with the cold too, meant hubby took Miss 5 up to see Disney on Ice Frozen with her Aunty, and took Miss 9 with him to a birthday celebration for Grandpa Pat. I slept for a while, then slow and steady I cleaned the main living area/kitchen and got through the mountains of washing. Whilst Master 7 spent most of the day watching Batman cartoon episodes.


{Image Credit – Ally Millington}

Sunday – Master 7 and I built a solar powered vehicle, and tested it out on the trampoline. We also spent time playing board games, Go fishing and Monopoly. I spent the last two days in my pyjamas. Each night getting out of the pyjamas I spent the day in, to get into fresh pyjamas for bed. Must be time for a shower tomorrow.

A year without my preschooler – Week #16

This is the sixteenth post in my series “A Year Without My Preschooler”. This is my attempt at documenting what my first year with no children at school looks likes. A way to later on look back at the year that was.

Monday – Today I started my new job, one day a week at my church. I am still amazed that I have been given this opportunity to use my skills. God has amazingly provided this job, and I am truly thankful. After getting kids from school we (Master 7 and I) prepared cookie dough, and got to enjoy tasty cookies for dessert.

Tuesday – Cleaning time. Today I was preparing for the outdoor blinds to be installed later this week, so I cleaned up the patio. Inglorious task, but I always love when it’s finished and I can admire my handiwork.

Wednesday –  Miss 5 is still testing my boundaries. “It’s just a season, she will get over it soon,” is the mantra I find myself repeating most days. I do take comfort in the words of James Dobson in his book The New Strong-Willed Child: “Strong willed children admire strength and courage…when they defy the leadership of their parents they are reassured when the parents remain confident and firm under fire. It creates a sense of security for a kid who lives in a structured environment in which the rights of other people (and their own) are protected by well-defined limits.” So long as I fight well, each fight ends with my child being more secure. That is the idea I suppose. And it doesn’t matter how much I kick my heels screaming that I don’t want to fight, I just want a peaceful relationship, I have no choice but to fight well. It’s exhausting.

Thursday – Dropped in to conference centre to offer help with preparations for tomorrow. I folded and filled boxes whilst Miss 5 played a nail salon game on an iPad and Miss 9 gladly offered her assistance wherever it was needed.

Friday – I attended a conference for mums today. I have been helping with various aspects of the day and it was nice the day had finally arrived. It was a wonderful day of mums supporting other mums, and I got to listen to my old youth group leader speak. She was so down to earth and encouraging.

Weekend – Today I car pooled down to Busselton with two ladies from my church. We spent all day Saturday learning about being Brave. It was a wonderful conference and I’m so glad I commit to going each year and taking time out for me. I stayed ove Sunday night and after a 6km walk with the girls, we enjoyed lunch at a place called The Goose. I had a wonderful leek, potato, and bacon soup.brave2016

A year without my preschooler – Week #15

One of the frustrations of last week was a small 5 year old who didn’t want to be getting ready for school each morning. I made a getting ready chart last week which seemed to help a little, but not as much as I had hoped. So this week I’ll try tackle some strategies (read punishments) for deliberately disobeying.

Monday – Miss 5 decided to test the boundaries before school, and ended up losing a few items from her lunchbox. What a great start to the day.  Then Miss 9 had to enter a discussion with me about why I always have to hurt her little sister. Boy oh boy.

Video editing, finding inspirational quotes, gardening – planting out snow peas, pruning blackberry bushes and attempting to use hormone powder on pruned sections to get some more bushes growing. Fingers crossed it might just work.

Tuesday – I had a review with my doctor to handle a bloating complaint and see if we can get a handle on my allergies. Some things to put into place and try, and a suggestion to help with Master 7’s receding gum line, so I spent some time online shopping for the items I needed.

Wednesday – I missed getting another massage today, but my shoulder is improving each day and I’m back to stretching it properly again.

Thursday – My girls had a moment, well 5 minutes drive time of moments, that resulted in both of them losing something special tomorrow, two somethings. Yes, they were tired, yes they lost self control. But this mummy’s patience has been tested all week, and I was going to stand strong. They deserved their consequence after their behaviour, and I felt justified in dishing it out.

Friday – I had a thought. A thought I almost wished I hadn’t thought. A thought that meant I had to do something different, that went against the way I always do things. I thought about grace, instead of karma. We had talked about it in church last week, how we usually work on merit, you get what you deserve. And how grace is completely opposite, how you get something good that you don’t deserve. And I felt that I had the perfect opportunity to show my girls grace, that they would understand God’s grace towards them. So I got my phone out, opened up my Bible for Kids app, and we listened to the story about the prodigal son. Remember, the boy who squandered his father’s wealth and then came back begging? And the father, who had every right to dish out punishment, instead gave his son grace, and gave him a robe and had a feast in his honour. After reading the story I told my girls that they didn’t deserve to have their special things given back, but I wanted to show them grace, so they were given their things back.  They were surprised, and a little excited, even though I don’t quite think Miss 5 understood. However, Miss 9 seems totally shocked, and genuinely thankful. That’s grace. If you’re interested, see what Bono thinks about grace.

Weekend – On the theme of grace, I admitted to a friend that I had wronged them during the week. I expected to be required to offer recompense, to somehow fix how I had wronged them. That somehow by my efforts I could fix the wrong, that I deserved correction and not forgiveness. And they turned around, and freely offered grace.

A year without my preschooler – Week #14

Last week was a great week, and I felt ready to start this week with gusto.

One of the frustrations of the last week was a small 5 year old who didn’t want to get ready for school each morning. So this week the goal is to be very encouraging and make up a chart she can follow each morning, without me feeling like I’m’ hounding her. I made a getting ready chart, full of pictures she could understand (words for me to easily remember what the pictures meant!) and put it up on a wall near the kitchen. We’ll see how the week progresses.

At the end of the week I get to celebrate and catch up with my family, as we celebrate Mother’s Day.

Monday – Find and book a cafe for mother’s day afternoon tea. In the evening I attended a seminar by a physiotherapist from Sydney (The wonderful Alana Antcliff, physio to the Diamonds Netball team) who was sharing the program she has developed for Netballers (KNEE Program) to help prevent injury. It was wonderful to see someone so passionate, and I learnt so much that I’m excited to take back to my netball association.

Tuesday – I caught up with my neighbour and was able to gift her with a bag of baby goodies donated by my church. She was so thankful, and as the weather was nice enough we enjoyed a nice walk around the block before I got to enjoy baby cuddles. In the afternoon I got to catch up with a school mum, and we enjoyed chatting about our shared passion of avoiding harmful additives in food!

Wednesday – Today I got to be pampered by my beautiful 5 year old at her pre primary mothers day celebration. I got my nails painted (alternating pink and blue fingers), made biscuits with a lolly face on them, got my portrait drawn, had my hands scrubbed and lotion applied and had a fun photoshoot. And to top it off I had a handcrafted necklace made for me. This one was interesting, as I asked miss 5 if she was making a pattern. She told me no, there was no pattern (even though I could clearly see the green/yellow alternating pasta penne on the string). She continued to add colours quite randomly, and my love of symmetry and patterns saw me suggesting which colours she should put on next. Oh no. No no. She had her own ideas. Once or twice I think I got a pasta on the string, then it was tightly controlled by the designer. The interesting thing I observed was that most of the activities were activities we did together, and yet we didn’t do them together. My beautiful miss 5 wanted to do them for me, with me there, but not with me. I will always have her necklace to remind me that structure/patterns/symmetry can exist alongside random/spontaneous things.

I also got to have an A M A Z I N G massage today. I was warned I would be sore later but I am so grateful to have had a massage.

Thursday – I caught up with a friend to work on a voluntary project. Master 7 went and had a dentist appointment and we got told there is work ahead of us. 2 teeth need capping, one filing required, oh and surgery to help fix a receding gum line. And a set of plates too please to help fix his bite. Arrghhh. I haven’t even finished with one child’s orthodontic work!

Friday – I spent 3 hours sitting on the couch drinking tea and chatting with a good friend. Such a lovely way to spend a morning, and great to be able to share and encourage each other in our parenting journey.

Weekend – Mother’s Day was spent hearing a great sermon at church about grace versus karma, and then getting to see our family. Much fun was had by all, and it was lovely to celebrate my mum.

{Gifts from the children}

{Happy to be loved}


L-R {A posie from my sis – so pretty}
{My littlest sister, my mum, and me}
{My wonderful mum in law, Miss 9, and my amazing mum}

One Hundred Names – A book review

Whilst browsing the library a fortnight ago, and struggling to find a book that picked my fancy, I found a book titled One Hundred Names. I picked it up, read the blurb on the inside cover, and was intrigued.

I took it to Perth with me and shared with some young girls what the story was about so far and they were eager to know how it would end. We each had our own ideas, but I had to finish the book in order to find out.


It is an amazingly well written story about a woman named Kitty, who after making a big journalistic mistake, finds it hard to believe in herself. Yet she finds herself in the position of being given a list of 100 Names and told to find the story.

Through most of the book Kitty expects that the people on her list are connected in some way, or that their stories are connected. As she listens to their stories she is concerned that there is no connection and she has no idea what the story is supposed to be about. The story that she has only two weeks to discover and write.

As Kitty connects with each person she interviews she is amazed by each person, not necessarily by their story. And she discovers that everyone has a story, and everyone’s story is worth sharing.

How can she write just one story? Whose will she choose? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern