Tuesday, 27 May 2014

One Year of Blogging: The Good, The Bad and The Beautiful

Yesterday, I realised that my little blog is now a year old. Actually, it's a year and a week old as I write this, but I thought I would write a celebratory post anyway, since I have resigned myself to fact that everything I do in life I either do too early or too late. In keeping with the festive spirit of my blog's half birthday, I made myself a cake (any excuse for a cake will do round here!)

It's no masterpiece, but it was yummy! The M&M's were my feeble attempt to come up with something to represent my blog title :)

Blogging has come to mean many things to me over the past year: a platform for reflection, a creative outlet and an opportunity for social connection. It has also helped me to slowly discover the writer inside of me and has forced me to accept my failures and my imperfections and to see both of these as gifts, rather than reasons to give in.

I started this blog on a whim one morning in May last year. While my newborn was sleeping, I wrote my first few posts in a notebook with no intention of every putting them online, but purely because I felt compelled to pick up a pen and write. In a conversation with one of my sisters not long afterwards, I told her I had done this and she suggested I start a blog. It wasn't actually the first time she'd encouraged me to blog - at the beginning of 2012, I started a book blog called The Year of Reading Dangerously. That 'year' only ended up lasting three weeks and a total of just three posts as I got too busy with my day job to keep it up.

I took up my sister's advice in earnest the second time round though and typed up those words I had written in my notebook. Being impulsive and impatient by nature, I didn't give any thought to the direction my blog would head in and I thought up my blog title in about three minutes. I've wondered many times over the past twelve months about what I would have done differently had I invested the time to research exactly what a blog is and how to actually go about blogging - two things I knew very little about this time last year. I would have made it easier for myself if I had, but I also think that if I'd spent too much time deliberating on how to create the perfect blog, I would never have started at all!

Tonight, to mark my belated blogiversary, I want to refect on what I feel has been the good, the bad and the beautiful aspects of blogging for me so far.

The Good

Blogging has cured me of my inclination towards perfectionism. If I allowed myself to wait until I was satisfied that a post was perfect, I would never once have pressed that publish button.

* Since I failed at Mothers' Group and was living, for the first nine months of keeping this blog, in a situation where I was very isolated socially, blogging became not only my surrogate Mothers' Group, by also my book club, my writers' group and my place to focus on the good things that I had in life, so that I wouldn't drown wallowing in the bad. Only when I removed myself from that situation and that isolation did I realise how much blogging had helped me through that period.

* The opportunity to connect with bloggers from all over the world has been amazing. I feel so lucky to live in the era that we live in and to be able to develop friendships with bloggers not only in Australia, but also in the US, the UK, Canada, Italy, Germany, New Zealand, Tonga, Malaysia, Dubai, Singapore and Jamaica.

* Reading other parents' blogs has inspired me to become a more creative and energetic parent myself. I'm still not crafty, but I have challenged myself to go about being creative in my own little way through The Alphabet Weekends.

* Food. Over the last year, my desire to cook and to learn everything I can about food has increased exponentially. I have a lot of very accomplished cooks in the blogosphere to thank for that inspiration.

* Instagram. A year ago I was connected to a grand total of zero social networks. I never thought that I would be interested at all in something like Instagram; I've just never really been into social media. But last Christmas, I was staying for a little over a week with family and had no opportunity to blog and was really missing it. So I created an instagram account. It instantly felt like 'micro-blogging' and I have loved it ever since.

Okay, now for the bad. Although the positives I have encountered through blogging outweigh the negatives a hundredfold, I want to be honest - it hasn't all been roses and rainbows.

The Bad

* Bloody Google Plus comments. I swear that thing is like a jealous lover. It just messes with my head. Some days, readers will go to comment on a post and won't be able to. Other times, some or all of my comments just randomly disappear altogether, only to return as if nothing has happened a day or two later after I've already ripped my hair out and sworn I'll never blog again. Once I made the mistake of thinking I could break up with Mr Google Plus once and for all and go and get myself a nice new domain name. But no, he decided that if I did that, he would take all my comments and hide them and never give them back. So I had to go back to him, with my tail between my legs, because those comments were too precious to me. I know he was there plotting away and thinking to himself: "Ahuh! So she wants to get rid of me! We'll see about that!" So here I am, married to Google Plus till death do us part. 

* Sometimes I've sensed that there are some blogging cliques floating round the blogosphere and I'm just too much of a dork to be let into their circle. But there have also been other times when blogging groups that were clearly well established already have welcomed me in with open arms, so it's not something I dwell on too much.

* There have been occasions when I've been super excited to find a new blogger who I think I have a lot in common with and have reached out several times to try to make contact and been ignored every time. These experiences have taught me a valuable lesson though: do not chase people. Just keep doing your thing and your tribe will find you.

* The few times I've encountered some negative feedback. When I first started browsing other people's blogs and read about trolls, I remember thinking to myself: "If that ever happens to me, I'm going to quit writing straight away". I just thought it would be something that I would not be able to handle. Funnily enough, when it did happen, it affected me so much less than I'd thought it would. I guess in the scheme of things, rude or stupid comments are just that - rude and stupid. At the end of the day, it's not like I have to have the writers of them come round for dinner at my house.

And now, for ...

The Beautiful

* Finding people through the blogosphere who I have really connected with and whom I hope to meet in real life one day.

* Those bloggers who really went above and beyond what I ever would have expected in terms of support when they sensed that I was going through a really difficult period. Even if I never get the chance to meet you in person, I will be eternally grateful to you Linda, Kristi and Rita.

* Reconnecting with some long-lost friends who have found my blog through a mutual friend or through social media.

* Being able to use blogging as a platform for expressing my love, appreciation and admiration for special people in my life, especially my mum and my best friend.

* Writing something that was daringly honest and then having many readers respond by being honest and open themselves about their own pent up feelings.

* Without a doubt, blogging has helped me to cultivate a frame of mind where I am constantly on the lookout to find beauty and beautiful stories in my everyday life.

* This last one is very personal and very close to my heart. Several weeks ago, I was in a pretty bad mood with my blog. I was feeling that it was a complete waste of time and was very nearly ready to press delete and boot the whole thing to kingdom come. Then I got a call from a friend who was going through some very seriously stressful stuff in her life. She had read some of my early posts when I first started to write, but had been too busy to keep up with them as the months went on. She told me that she had come home from what had possible been the worst day of her life, sat down at the computer, started to type in the URL of an unrelated site and the URL of my blog popped up because it started with the same letter. She opened it up and started reading. "I must have read for at least two hours", she said. "And do you know what I saw in your writing?" "What?" I asked a bit hesistantly. "Knowing you personally and knowing everything you were going through during those months, I saw how positive you tried to keep yourself during that time. It made me realise that I can do the same. It probably saved my life". I was speechless. I never would have dreamed that this little space that I created could have achieved something like that. So I didn't press delete and I realised that it was my own negative self talk that was a waste of time, not my blog.

So tonight as I ask myself for the umpteenth time what I would do differently if I could start my blogging journey all over again, the answer is nothing. Nothing at all. I have made mistakes, but those mistakes are my own and they have been my greatest teachers. The words that poured out of me in every post over the last twelve months have been genuine, spontaneous and imperfect. They remind me of just who I was the day I wrote each one. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

What are some of the goods, the bads and the beautifuls you've discovered through blogging?

Would you do anything differently if you could start again?

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Embracing The Cold

"What good is the warmth of Summer", wrote Steinbeck,  "without the cold of Winter to give it sweetness?"

I've been pondering the wisdom of these words these last couple of weeks as I've read, with a twinge of envy, of my blogging counterparts in the northern hemisphere starting to welcome in the sunshine while here in Western Australia the days are getting darker and the rain and the wind are becoming daily visitors. I've always loved warm weather and detested the cold with equal passion. The four years I spent living in Darwin, in Australia's tropical north, were blissfully balmy and laid back; I only owned one jumper in all that time and only ever wore it whenever I went to the cinema, where the aircon was always set far too cold. On the other hand, the year I spent in Sweden, with its extremes of dark and cold, challenged me on a level I had never been stretched to before. I remember the day in January I left Australia was 37 degrees C (98.6 degrees F). I arrived in Sweden 24 hours later to -17 degrees C (1.4 degrees F). The climatic culture shock was collosal. I was convinced I would never be warm again. The Swedes have a very philosophical way of approaching the Winter, however. They have a saying I heard many times over the course of that year: Det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga kläderThere is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. 

So as the last days of Autumn fade away and my least favourite season kicks in for good, I thought that rather than going into complete hibernation (as I am more than tempted to do) that I would focus on the things I actually enjoy about Winter. I can't count snowmen or snow fights or snow angels or any other snow-related pasttimes for obvious reasons, but I will do my best nonetheless ... 

Ten Things I love about Winter

1. Coats. A coat, as they rightly say, can hide a multitude of sins. For me, those sins usually involve going to pick up my son from school with my pyjama top still on at 3 o'clock in the afternoon but zipped up under my trusty coat, no-one is any the wiser.

2. Hot chocolate. Need I say more? Hot chocolate just has a way of warming the cockles of the heart.

3. Movies and snuggling. I've been putting on lots of movies recently and cuddling up on the couch with my munchkins. I feel much less guilty about letting them watch the box when it's pouring with rain outside :)

4. Not having to water the garden. I know this really shouldn't be on the list because I do love my garden, but I am lazy by nature and love the fact that nature takes over at this time of year and gives me a break from that chore.

5.Not having to wash the car. Who am I kidding? As if I ever wash it anyway. But at least in Winter it looks clean!

6. Footy season. There are definitely reasons why the (Australian Rules) football season should not make the list (driving long distances to stand out in the elements early on Saturday morning does not exactly rate as one of my favourite pasttimes!) but Ben is loving the sport so much that I would do it every morning just to witness his excitement each time I take him to a match. It's been a great way for him to forge new friendships as the new kid at school too.

7. Minestrone. It takes me all morning to chop up the veggies but I suppose that keeps me out of trouble and the result is always worth it - a warm and hearty meal that always lasts several days. Annalisa, my fussy eater, loves it too. She gobbles it up and the warm broth in her tummy always makes her sleep better than usual afterwards.

8. The flies fly away at long last. I cannot stress enough just how wonderful it is to be heading out of fly season. These pests seem to have multiplied vastly in number in the last few years. Or maybe I am just becoming more neurotic!

9. Not having to choose between suncream or sunburn when going out for a walk. When there is a break in the rain and we dare to venture out for a stroll with Annalisa in the pram, the late Autumn light is soft and gentle on our skin. Living in this part of Australia means really having to take skin protection serious; that hole in the ozone is pretty close to us!

10. Hot water bottles.  On chilly mornings if I wake up before the kids, I like to make myself a hot water bottle and curl up with it on the sofa with a book. This week I'm reading (rather appropriately) A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy. Maeve always puts me in a good mood in the mornings and helps my brain to unwind in the evenings.

There, I did it! Perhaps there's no need to go into hiberation after all :)

Ten Things of Thankful

What do you love most about Winter?

Thursday, 15 May 2014

The Man in the Pink Skirt

The week's flown by and it's Finish the Sentence Friday again where the sentence to finish this week is "This nicest thing someone ever did for me was ..."

The nicest thing someone ever did for me was to tell me to pull myself together and get my life back in order, but that's a bit deep and I don't really feel like going into that right now. What I do feel like talking about is the story behind an old photograph that I stumbled upon during the week.

As I've mentioned before, I spent the year I turned 18 living in Sweden as an exchange student. During the summer that year, all the students from around the world who were staying in Sweden as part of the Rotary International Program went on a three week bus trip around Europe. It was full of trips to places that those of us who are now parents are itching to tell our children about, and escapades that I'm sure most of us hope they never find out about. Today's story, to the relief of some and the possible disappointment of others, does not fit into that category, however. It does contain a man in a pink skirt though.

One night on our Eurotour, we visited a large fair in Vienna where a bungee jumping platform had been set up. Ever since I was nine years old and saw a video of my much older cousin bungee jumping on an adventure holiday in New Zealand, I had been dreaming about doing it myself. Granted, the bungee at the fair wasn't quite as high and the one she did over some gigantic waterfall, but it was good enough for me. The only problem was, I hadn't come prepared. Not having any idea that this opportunity would arise that night, I had not dressed appropriately. I was wearing a skirt which I'm sure that without having to stretch the imagination very far, you can picture what a spectacle it would have made.

So I stood with a group of friends and watched those others in our group who had come wearing underwear-covering clothing take the plunge. I was resigning myself to the fact that my bungee jumping dream would have to be prolonged for the foreseeable future, when a mate of mine called Andrew piped up and said:

"Why don't we swap clothes?"

"Pardon?" I said, a bit taken aback (this being the first - and I'm pretty sure only - time that a male has proposed this to me).

"Why don't you pop on my shorts so you can do the jump and I'll wear your skirt in the meantime?"

"Really?!" I squealed. "Are you sure? You do know my skirt is pink, don't you?" Andrew was the kind of guy who was sweet and sensitive, but also very much into football and dressing very much like a man.

"Yeah", he said laughing, "It's okay".

"You can't hide in the toilets the whole time I'm lining up waiting for the jump and then having my turn though". There was quite a queue for the bungee. He was going to wearing that skirt for a while.

"Nah, don't worry", he smiled, "We can go to the bathrooms together, swap clothes, then you go off and do the jump and I'll go back and get a pancake at the stall we saw before and sit and wait for you there."

So we did just that. Well, almost.

(Here I am all togged out in Andrew's shorts. I'm the one on the right. I did the bungee tandem with another friend, an exchange student from the USA. I don't remember where the shirt came from. I must have borrowed it from someone else, hopefully not female). 

We did the going to the bathroom together bit and the swapping clothes bit (and I just had to have a photo of him in my skirt!) Then I did the going off and bungee jumping in Andrew's shorts bit and Andrew did the going and buying a pancake and eating it while waiting for me bit. But this is where things stopped going to plan.

You see, I've never had a very good sense of direction and, as I mentioned, this was a very large fair. So after the adrenalin rush of plumetting through the air attached to an elastic cord, I kind of lost my sense of direction a little bit. Okay, I lost it completely.

I couldn't for the life of me remember where that pancake stall was. With another friend in tow, we scoured the stalls up and down for Andrew. This was, of course, in the days before mobile phones. If it hadn't been, this story would not be nearly as memorable. The tricky thing was that there seemed to be quite a few pancake stalls and I couldn't remember which one he must have meant. Eventually, we found a stall which we deduced must have been the one he had meant, but no Andrew was to be found.

What happened is that Andrew, after waiting more than patiently for what must have felt like a very long time, decided I must have forgotten about him and went off to find me.

Unfortunately, even with both parties trying our best to find each other, we ended up chasing each other around in circles.

The long and the short of it is that poor Andrew spent over an hour walking around a fair all by himself wearing a pink skirt.

So the next time you offer to swap clothes with someone, be warned - you may inadvertently bite off more than you feel like chewing. But to his eternal credit, he was a really good sport about it all.

Andrew and I have lost touch over the years, but I thought I would keep his face out of the photo because I do know that he has quite a high-profile job these days and would probably be more than unimpressed if some of his colleagues or clients got their eyes on photos of him thus attired.

Every time someone mentions bungee jumping, I think of how lovely it was for him to do that for me ... but sometimes I do wonder what must go through his mind any time someone mentions those words!

Janine's Confessions of A Mommyaholic

Have you ever been bungee jumping?
Have you ever got lost at a fair?
And most importantly - have you ever swapped clothes with a man??

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

International Blog Swap Day - Introducing Polly

Today is a very special day on my blog as I'm hosting my first guest post from Polly, the creator of the UK lifestyle blog This Enchanted Pixie as part of the International Blog Swap Day. I am also featured today over on her site if you want to take a look. So without further ado, I hand you over to Polly ....

Hello!! I'm excited to be blog swapping with the lovely Lizzy today!
My name is Polly, and I'm wife to a bearded man and Mama to three girls - Lola who will be 11 tomorrow, Kiki who is 7 {and a very important half} and Baya who is 5. We live in a little town in North Wales, close to the sea and the mountains. We live in a 200 year old house right next door to a beautiful church. Our house is always full of noise, mess, glitter and most importantly, laughter. I started my current blog when my youngest was a baby, as a way to document our days, to meet other mama's and to give myself a little creative outlet.
I've been a stay-at-home mama since my eldest was born. These days I'm also a professional blogger and indie business owner. I run two businesses - a jewelry shop and a bath + body shop. We also home-school our three daughters, and have for the past seven years. It's been a fantastic journey, we have a lot of fun together, learning about the things that grab their interests, exploring the world around us, making and creating every single day. You can read a FAQ post I wrote about Homeschooling here, and I have just started a new series entitled 'Homeschooling looks like..."
Aside's from writing about homeschooling, I also blog about Things I love, bits + pieces of our daily life, crafts, recipes and inspiration! We just got a new kitten called Olaf - an addition to our two other cats, two guinea pigs and four chickens! I dream of living on a small holding and having a whole menagerie of animals.
You can read more about me, and find some of my favourite posts here. Thanks so much for having me Lizzy!

Friday, 9 May 2014

The Five Most Memorable Pieces of Advice My Mother Gave Me

I'm joining in the Finish the Sentence Friday today, where the sentence to finish is "Dear Mom ..." I'm going to have to take some poetic licence on that one though because if I wrote 'Mom' my mother would fear I had up and fled to the US of A overnight. So being Aussie, I'm going to have to make it 'Mum' :)

Dear Mum,

This Mothers' Day, I want to thank you for all the advice you have given me over the years. We both know that most of it went in one ear and out the other, but I suppose we can both live in hope that it's all there rattling around in my subconscious and one day I will actually start putting it all to good use.

You set such an amazing example of work ethic, organisation, thrift, routine and all-round domestic order. You always got up at the crack of dawn, ironed everything including underwear, without fail wrote down every cent you spent in a little book, never burnt the dinner or forgot an important date, never made lumpy mashed potato and never sunk into any of the domestic disasters that I did, like running out of toilet paper when there were guests in the house. Despite being a perfectionist, you always had a wonderful sense of humour and sometimes, even when you were being serious, you ended up being funny. You know I love you dearly, but if you need a reminder, please go and read this post again. Today, my Mothers' Day message is not quite as sentimental, but just as special to me: it contains the five most memorable pieces of advice that you imparted to me. Now I did warn you that one day I would have to write these down and that they may even end up on the blog.  I hope that reading them makes you smile as much as I did writing and remembering them ...

The Five Most Memorable Piece of Advice You Ever Gave Me 

1. Always do the grocery shopping first thing in the morning as soon as the supermarket opens to avoid any hold-ups by bumping into anyone you know (but don't really like) and having to waste time chatting to said people. This is very good advice indeed - except, of course, if all the people you want to avoid bumping into have the same idea!

2. Wind up the hills hoist (a height-adjustable Australian version of the clothesline) as high as you can so that you have to stretch up to hang out the clothes - this will ensure you are regularly giving your abdominal muscles a workout. Now if that isn't the ultimate in incidental exercise, then I don't know what is, but your abdominals were always quite impressive and I never saw you do a single sit-up, so you proved that it pays off!

3. Keep a whistle by the phone to ward off prank callers. In the days before caller ID, we received many a prank call and I have several fond memories of giggling with a mixture of shock and glee when my well- mannered, even-tempered Mother blew that whistle with all her might down the phone at the pranker before hanging up.

4. Always put talcum powder into your bathing cap before going swimming - this stops the cap from ripping, stops bacteria from festering inside it and makes it easier to take it off your head afterwards, thus protecting your hair. These were all very good reasons indeed to put talcum powder in my bathing cap before school swimming lessons. I think, however, that you may have over compensated a bit with the powder because I'm not so sure that you're supposed to put so much in that it leaves your hair ghostly white for the rest of the day. This would have been okay, I suppose, if we'd been allowed to shower after swimming lessons (which we weren't) or if all the other mothers insisted on putting talc in their child's caps too (which they didn't).  I therefore spent a rather large proportion of my primary school days looking like a geriatric. Now I'm not saying there's anything wrong with having white hair. I love your white hairs and I know that I'm responsible for most of them. But it's just hard to be cool at school when you're sporting that look.

And now for the cream of the crop ...

5. Never scream when there is a cake in the oven as this will cause the cake to sink in the middle. If I remember correctly, you explained that this had something to do with physics and you had me utterly convinced of this phenomenon for about twenty-five years, right up until I told a group of adult friends once to keep their voices down so the cake we were baking together wouldn't sink in the middle. When I told them how I knew this, they rolled around laughing. "You're mum just wanted some peace and quiet for half an hour!" they told me. "Oh", I replied, taking a while to process this. "Do you think that might be why she used to bake so often?!"

So Happy Mothers' Day, my funny, clever mum. I promise to make you a cake on Sunday ... as long as you can convince the grandkids to stay quiet while it bakes!

Finish the Sentence Friday

P.S I love you!

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

It's Official: Pregnancy Attracts Foot in Mouth Disease

A friend of mine told me on the weekend that she and her husband had started trying to get pregnant with their first child.

"I'm not making that common knowledge though", she added, after I'd expressed my excitement.

"It's going to drive me insane if it takes a long time to get pregnant and people keep asking me 'are you pregnant yet? Are you pregnant yet?' "

Wise words, I would venture to say, since as I think you would agree, any pregnancy, or anticipated pregnancy, seems to attract a unwanted torrent of unsolicited remarks even from the most unlikely sources.

After this conversation with my friend, I reflected on some of the comments people had made to me during my two pregnancies. These aren't things that I think about often, but I can't honestly say that they didn't shock me a bit at the time. I've also heard quite a few friends tell me of ridiculous remarks people have made during their pregnancies too. So I've come to the conclusion that it's official: pregnancy attracts foot in mouth disease.

With that in mind, I thought I'd share with you a smattering of some of the comments I received during my own pregnancies:

These little gems came my way when I was pregnant with my son ...

* "Wow! You're big for 5 months!" (This one came from a girl I worked with at the time who was in her early twenties and had never given birth. I'm still unsure why she thought she was the authority on pregnancy)

* "Have you still got 10 weeks to go? I thought you must have been about to pop!"

* "It must be the pregnancy hormones that are making your skin so bad."

And I couldn't possibly forget these either ...

* When I was about ten weeks pregnant, I went into a dress shop to buy a ball gown to wear to a function run by my husband's work. I just wanted to browse and try some things on by myself, but the lady in the shop was very insistant that she wanted to help. So I gave in and described to her what I was looking for. "I don't want it to be too tight though", I told her, "because I'm pregnant". Her plastered smile instantly dropped off her face, she touched my arm and said "Oh my God". Looking back I can't actually believe I went ahead and bought a dress from that shop, but it wasn't a big city and there weren't many other options. I thought later that maybe she thought I'd come in to buy a dress for a school ball. Even so, I hope she has since changed career as customer service clearly was not her forte!

 * I was a third year uni student at the time and one day when I was about seven months pregnant, I was walking across campus to get to a lecture. I passed by two girls who I had never seen before. As I walked past them one of them muttered, softly but quiet loud enough and clearly intended for me to hear: "slut". And no, I'm not joking (although I think this fits into the category of 'downright nasty', rather than foot in mouth).

Here are the pearls of wisdom that came while I was pregant with my daughter 8 years later ...

* "I can't believe you're going back to the baby stage again after all that time!"

* "How come you waited so long to have number two?"

* "I didn't think you were going to have any more children". (I can't remember how I responded to this one, but I'm sure what I would like to have said would have been along the lines of "Really? And what exactly gave you that impression??")

* "You shouldn't be working if you're pregnant" (this one came from a reprobate adolescent who I used to teach - or at least tried to. I will forgive him though due to his tender age).

Oh, and just one more for good luck. During my last pregnancy, I saw many different doctors through the public health system and I only actually saw the doctor who ended up delivering my daughter for the first time while I was in the very final stages of labor. The next day she was doing her rounds of the ward and came to my room. Without so much as a smile, she asked how I was doing and then said "Was it a planned pregnancy?"

Needless to say, I was gobsmacked. I'm still mystified as to her motivation for asking me that. My partner was with me during the birth and my records showed that I already had another child. Plus, the baby was already born so I really did have to ask myself exactly how useful that question was on a scale of one to utterly useless!

Ah, but I suppose all these things prepare us for the onslaught of unwanted opinion that punctuates the rest of our journeys through motherhood: the debate between breast or bottle, co-sleeping or cot, private or public schools, the speculation over the right time to introduce solids and toilet training and all our choices regarding anything from dummies* to discipline to daycare.

Lucky kids are so darn cute, isn't it?

* that's pacifiers, for my American friends :)

Did anyone say any rude or ridiculous things to you or someone you know during pregnancy? 

Friday, 2 May 2014

The Alphabet Weekends - G is for Good Deeds

We are well and truly overdue for an Alphabet Weekend update and to be honest, we are running quite behind on our Alphabet Weekend challenge (that was my New Year's Resolution to do 26 family activities throughout 2014, each starting with a consequetive letter of the alphabet). I've decided that I should forgive myself for that though considering that, among other things, we did move to a new house located over 300km away from our old house and what with everything that comes with a move like that, we were bound to have a bit of a hiccup in even our best laid plans!

I had planned on taking Ben and his cousin go-karting for our G weekend. We were all set to jump in the car and head off, but I thought I'd just ring the venue to make sure they could fit us in first. The lady on the phone said they had plenty of room, but were each of the participants at least 145cm tall? I didn't actually know what Ben's current height was so what ensued was a rather dramatic scene in which he, his cousin and I all ran around the house hunting for a tape measure or a ruler with the baby hot on our heels, but to no avail. I then sent Ben next door to ask the neighbours if he could borrow their tape measure (and told the go-carting lady I would call her back). He came back looking very solemn indeed and mumbled "I'm only 141cm".

It took some persuading to convince him that there would be no possible way to trick anybody that he was 4cm taller than he actually is (he did mention the possibility of high heels and spiky hair, bless him). So the go-karting did not happen, but I have decided that I can definitely make this situation work in my favour. For instance, I will now be able to say things like:

"Eat up all your vegetables or you won't grow tall enough to go go-karting!" and

"You'd better go to bed early from now on because people don't grow properly if they don't sleep enough!"

I did take Ben and his cousin for an outting on the train to the city that day instead and we did do lots of fun things, but none of them started with G (unless you count galavanting, gawking and giggling).

So after our false start we went back to the drawing board and decided that for G we would do some good deeds. 

We put our heads together and thought of four good deeds that we could do around our neighbourhood.

This is what we came up with:

First, we went for a walk around the block with a plastic bag each and picked up the rubbish that we saw along the way ...

The funny thing is that I've done that walk at least two dozen times before and had never really noticed how much rubbish is strewn around the streets. Both our bags were full before we'd even been walking for ten minutes. Oh, and I promise I did some rubbish collecting too, there's just no photographic evidence to prove it!

Along the way we saw an adondoned shopping trolley, so we walked it back to the supermarket ...

(and when I say we, this time I mean Ben).

When we got to the supermarket, we bought a Thank You card and went home and wrote a message to a friend of mine whose house we had stayed at for a few nights during the school holidays ...

And lastly, we went through our wardrobes and found all the clothes and shoes we don't wear anymore and put them in a big bag ....

Then we walked back up to the shops, posted the card and dropped the clothes off at the donation bin.

And after that, I was so tired from all the walking that I put my feet up and Ben made me a cup of tea (one extra good deed for him and one very nice treat for me :)

So there it is - our G weekend.Please tell me that late is better than never!

Now you wouldn't happen to have any suggestions about what we could do for H, have you??

The Multitasking Mummy