…and here we are, a family of five

It’s been just shy of two months since we’ve become a family of five – we welcomed Little Miss Moody late August, and life has been one big love-bubble since. Giggles Magoo and Little Mate cannot take their eyes, hands or heart away from their little sister, and man, my heart swells every time she cracks a smile for them.

Of course we’ve had the broken nights, the extraordinary amount of washing a new baby seems to bring (especially for the family that does cloth nappies) and the neglect the bigger two kids swear we give them now our attention is taken up by the Littlest Love or the never-ending jobs we seem to have to do to make sure we keep functioning…I promise we aren’t neglecting them, not matter what they say!

All that said, we’ve also had those moments where we’ve aced parenting. And those are the ones that I will hold dear until my memory no longer works. The middle of the night or morning cuddles from all three, the laughter as we spend time in the backyard or the crowded nappy-change mat as we all peer down, drinking in her new-ness. But, it is chaos. Crazy chaos. The house is a constant bomb site, a noise testing zone and temper-testing space (for all of us) as we navigate our new rhythm.

One rare, quiet feed with Little Miss Moody, I found myself sitting there, brainstorming strategies to try and control the chaos, really resenting the mess, the noise and the frustration. Think ridiculous schedules and chore-lists for all of us, not allowing for sleep, play or any sense of family time. I don’t know where the epiphany came from, but from somewhere deep inside my brain I remembered that I had dreamed of us becoming a family of five. I had craved the chaos a third would bring and knew exactly what we’d be in for (growing up in a household of 4 kids, I knew EXACTLY what was coming). Somewhere along the way, I’d become distracted, losing sight of that dream. I’d grown into a giant, controlling Mumma – raised voice, impatience and rushed to do everything.

Now, you’re probably sitting there saying “Geeeeez love, give yourself a break, you’ve just birthed a newbie. Chill out”. And I’d have to say I felt that way for a fair while too, and possibly hid behind it for a little longer than I should. Sitting there, on the couch for that feeding session, I questioned when exactly is the time that does it not become ok; when does the yelling/idle threats of chucking things in the bin/extreme desire not to be late become normalised? The epiphany told me now is the time – enough is enough, or I could at least try to do better at leading the family through the chaos, not surrendering to the easy route. I could accept the state of chaos we find ourselves in and work with it, rather than against it.

I am grateful for the chance I had to (again) reflect on me and the kind of parent I want to be – boundary setting, but kind and able to work with the kids to accept the boundary; Helping each one to recognise their hurt/anger and working with them to soothe it, rather than resent them for it and expect they get over it immediately.

Anyways, last week marked the return to work for Grimace, and as school also returned from the October School Hols, it also marked a return to school/preschool drop offs and pick ups for me. I’m not going to lie, I was slightly daunted about how we were going to go. After day one, I had my little epiphany (there you go, it was the old school drop off regime that reminded me), I made the promise to consciously accept the chaos, and voila, the next few days were still chaotic, but with a sense of connectedness. We weren’t late, we weren’t at all yelly and we were able to live relatively harmoniously. The boys even played well together for hours. I was one happy mumma! I should also say, the baby was sleeping well at night – so that also helped.

Enter Saturday night, preliminary finals for the football night – I had promised Giggles Magoo he could watch his beloved footy team try and get into the grand final (they did!). Unfortunately it meant a late night for the kids, which we all knows equals crazy and ratty kids the next day. You can rest easy in the knowledge that I am human, and yesterday was by no means our happiest day as a family of five, despite my new-acceptance of crazy chaos. But, today is a new day and I have given myself grace; a chance to accept yesterday’s incidents of bad language, aggression, cupboard and wall drawing on, and remember that we are all human, all trying to do our (tired) best.

After the double drop offs this morning, I had a lovely coffee with my mountain-dwelling sister and felt renewed and reconnected. When I got home, I felt the urge to get creative in the kitchen – something that makes me truly happy. I could have put the house or mount-clothes away, but instead I prepped dinner (Pumpkin & Goats Cheese pie), made some museli bars and also had enough time to make some veggie sausage-style rolls for lunchboxes (again, thank you sleeping baby!!). All the while accepting the house in it’s current war-like state, and looking forward to welcoming my little cherubs back home this afternoon.

One happy mumma-of-three over here x

Just need to top this bad-boy with puff pastry and whack it in the oven for Dinner
veggie ‘sausage-style’ rolls for lunchboxes
Sleeping Baby

I Think You’re Great

I’ve been listening to a lot of music these past few weeks. Well, when I say a lot, it isn’t really that much compared to the amount I used to listen to, but I’ve definitely remembered how light and free music helps me to feel. 

Grimace and I have also made a big effort to support Australian artists, and we have both found ourselves gravitating toward Aussie bands. Me in particular toward those with female vocalists. 

I used to be that dickhead that claimed “I just didn’t like female voices” and would refuse to engage with a band or artist if she was female. I thought I liked the loud, strong male voice instead. But, I realise now I was just letting the music industry choose for me… and closing myself off to a whole lot of amazing music, led by some wonderfully talented, strong and creative women. I hang my head in shame now, realising what I was missing out on.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love a strong male voice – I still thrash about and love the energy when Luca Brasi or The Hard Aches or <insert other male-fronted Aussie band or Artist here> comes on the speaker. But, I have found making my way through the Aussie female repertoire a striking experience and one I’ve been proud to share with the three boys in my life.

Since before isolation started, the kids had discovered their love of “putting on a show”. On any given day, they’ll set up on any or all our musical instruments, organising their set, charging a cover fee, barking instructions to each other and inevitably ending in some Gallagher-brother madness. And then sometimes, we’ll get a song. Little Mate thrashes out on the guitar (electric or acoustic) or drums and Giggles Magoo is king of the keys.

Back when iso had probably just started, Grimace started to put his years of experience (of seeing a live set) to good use and was helping the kids to understand how to entertain the crowd through music and banter. He could see his message wasn’t getting through, so to demonstrate, he put on Alex the Astronaut’s live album: The Space Tour Live (at your place), which also fantastically includes a version of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, played with Paul Kelly (!!).

And aren’t we pleased Grimace had the insight to put this on for the kids?? I think I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of listening to this album approximately 678 thousand times, and with each listen I find new things I love. How she brings the crowd with her, how she is comfortable being uncomfortable, her engaging chit-chat, story-telling, reflections and of course the music. But, I think the thing I love the most are her jokes. That, and hearing Little Mate singing each and every line. He knows all the words to every song.

In what will remain as a proud parenting moment was when he parroted Alex the Astronaut’s introduction to Already Home and proudly declared to me “You’ve had a shit day at work mum, this song is for you”. I don’t know why, but I find it overly endearing that my five-year-old can recognise it’s ok to have a shit day.

Anyway, today I’ve been singing along to “I Think You’re Great” and I just wanted to jump on here today and say it’s True. I do. I think you’re all pretty great

(Except for you WordPress. You crashed on my first blog post in 6 months and I lost it all! You’ve got work to do) 

Fifth day of blogging

This will be my quickest entry… not sure we’ll call it a post; perhaps an update? Grimace and I are out on date night. We’ve got seats at The Chasers War on 2019.

It’s intermission, and I’d forgotten how positively shit the Australian news and political cycle is. It’s nice, at least, to reflect on our narrative, with lots of satire, puns and laughs.

Oops, better get back to my seat. Lots more punilicious recounts of 2019 to get through. You couldn’t make some of these happenings up.

Night x

Fourth Day of Blogging

And on the fourth day of blogging, there was nothing. Well, not nothing nothing, just nothing that I could clearly define for a beautifully themed post. So instead, I sat down and just started writing…

There was a bit going on today in Theverymoodyhousehold, with LOTS of BIG feelings. End of school year is getting to Giggles Magoo and his sense of self-worth; Little Mate just has B.I.G feelings all of the time and has trouble with moving from activity to activity or place to place or saying farewell to the day’s play buddy; Grimace has his own (mostly internal) battles going on that I am sure relate to the upcoming Christmas and the painful reminder that his mum won’t be there on the day, giving us all a hug. My big feelings were brought to be today by the anxiety I get around part-time work and the feeling of dread that a colleague has to do something for me on a day that isn’t in my work pattern.

The imposter in me say my woes are a little bit silly really, in comparison to processing the loss of a mother, or learning how to emotionally cope with the rigours of society as a four or seven year old… but the wisdom in me has taught me that acknowldgement of emotion is vital to help move beyond.

Nothing really to report on how we all dealt with the emotion, as really, today’s emotions sit in amongst the larger tribulations of life, but once home from work, Grimace took the kids to the local lagoon for a walk and a play, which really seemed to change the day. Little Mate reported back that they had seen the quakkers (I’m hoping he means the Ducks!) and they’d had a very nice time.

A healthy mental state is a vital part of our existence, but one we (hello broader society) quite often overlook. With each one of our household members feeling the end of year strain, I am very grateful to be able to step back, recognise the wear and tear we are each feeling, and then work with each family member to recharge those emotional voids. The walk at the Lagoon was what Little Mate needed; a guided Ninja Meditation was just what Giggles Magoo needed, and a little space and acknowledgement was all that I needed.

I’m not sure what Grimace needs, although I will be reminding him that his mum’s legacy of kindness and unconditional love lives on in him and his sisters, and that I know she was oh-so very proud of her clan. Will that ease the burden of loss? Probably not, but it will be nice to share in his feelings and to ease the burden of loneliness in loss.

Anyway, I’m off to bed – a little but chuffed that I managed a post this long. When I started typing, I literally had no idea what would come out.

Night, Night xx

PS. What was on my music waves tonight? Darren Hanlon’s Falling Aeroplanes, that’s what

An oldie pic, but a goodie. Circa June 2017…Happy on Holidays. Well, maybe not Little Mate (that is just his general disposition)

Third Day of Blogging

Look at me go. I’m here again, ready to write. Ready to make the space for the words to hit the keyboard. It’s very nice. Hello, you 🙂

I did sort of write a list of topics to write about for most of the days in my 12 days of blogging, as I thought I would need a hand with all the thoughts on the mid-week days. And man, don’t I know myself well? (Shhhhh don’t tell anyone that at 35, I had hoped I’d know myself!) My plan, no lets not go that far; my list of topics I could theme a post on was really an attempt at a super-plan so past-me could help future-me win the challenge (or write a blog post for 12 days straight, whatever).

On my list for tonight was to write about my adult-onset addiction to running. You might look at me and struggle to reconcile me and that last statement…but, I don’t care. Running, as a semi-overweight woman is bloody empowering. I can choose how much I want to push myself, or how little, on any given day. I can run, knowing I am strong and healthy. I can run with a smile on my face (wait, is that a hill? I’m not smiling anymore) or I can run with solitude on my mind. I love the thrill of a race or event, the camaraderie when everyone is at the start line, the high-fives at the end. I love witnessing other people push themselves or choosing that today is a day to take it easy.

What I don’t love, however is my body’s seemingly unhappy response to my addiction. There was a time in my life where I was nicknamed Cripps. I always seemed to be on crutches or in a sling or carrying some sort of injury. As I reached my adult years, I became sick of being injured, so I just got busy with life. As I reveled in the non-injuries, loving the food, booze, bands and nightlife, I began to realise that life was noisy. Peace was difficult to find, as was my spark; but at least I wasn’t Cripps anymore.

Since rediscovering the joy in moving one’s body, the peace and freedom it brings, I’ve also discovered the expense it can bring. I’ve spent a freaking fortune on physio, osteo, medical bills and lost hours doing the ice/heat swapsies game. You know, I am actually sitting here, right now, with ice on my leg, leaving my Track running session early due to a strain in some stupid muscle. I know I am the most injury-prone person I have ever come across. I don’t know what else to do about it though, so, I’ll just rest up, do the rehab, try to commit to strength training and see how I go. Good plan? I hope so. I’m told that rebellions are built on hope (thank you for the inspo Jyn Erso), and so, perhaps I’ll just start my own rebellion.

I’m old enough and wisdomed enough to know that nothing is a constant, nothing is cemented in time. Everything is impacted by my own narrative, by how I let ‘me’ be defined by my thoughts (I better make them good ones then!). Yes, this is another injury, but time will pass, and I will help my body to learn from it.

So, my plan-come-list had me supposedly writing tonight about how wonderfully transformative running has been for me personally; how my community of brilliant running females has inspired me in so many other ways; how I think I am part of lottery-winning running group, as we are led by one truly great human (hi Lyndal), one of the best – open to all things running, yes, but kindness, strength, empathy, life, laughter and Gin (you do like Gin, don’t you?). How I didn’t realise there was so much perseverance in mid-life women, but bloody hell, I do now. How I know everyone thinks their running group is the best, but how I think it’s a little silly to play the ‘mine is better than yours’ game and that I’d rather look at it from the perspective of what’s best for oneself and that we all find what we need…and I found strength, character and perseverance through running.

Ha. Good Plan, T.

Anyway, never one to follow any sort of plan, I twinged my leg at the end of warm up tonight and instead I’m sitting here drinking a gin & tonic yelling into the internet-sphere about how much I love running, despite the woes it gives me.

Second Day of Blogging

I remembered to come back! I even surprised myself. Maybe there is something in this challenge.

Let me tell you a bit about my weekend. Not the fun adventurey stuff, no siree. Let me tell you about Friday. Actually, more specifically Friday morning. Friday is the day in the week that I live for. After a busy week, I sort of fall into it, somehow still in one piece. While work is over, it is not quite the weekend; Little Mate and I send Grimace off to work and Giggles Magoo on the school bus. Friday is the day where I can be slow in my movements, grab a coffee or three, spend some time at Gymnastics, watching Little Mate tumble through the morning and then grab a cheeky sushi or bakery lunch. Friday is the day where I start loosely planning the weekend family movements and what food is in our immediate-ish future.

Friday is my jam.

Well, usually Friday is my jam. When we got to the Friday that just lapsed, my week had been fairly jumbled; at work, I’ve been given the opportunity to act up a few responsibility levels, and while I’m enjoying it (hello pay week, weren’t you a nice little surprise), if I’m perfectly honest, I am all out of whack. Probably not helping though, was a tiny piece of glass, no wait, tiny pieces of glass, that had become lodged in my foot. Pretty much from Tuesday evening to Friday afternoon, I hobbled around, trying to avoid the sharp pain jolting through my leg (Magnoplasm did eventually come to the rescue).

Anyway, I digress. Friday morning, I’m tired and cranky. I’ve slept through my alarm and now it’s 6:58am and I’m rolling out of bed to the chaos of a family house. Grimace usually leaves home at 7am-ish and I was extra grumpy at myself for not getting up earlier to help direct the morning (anyone else think that if you’re up before the kids, things tend to flow a bit better? Could just be me).

As I hobble out to the kitchen, in attempt to stop my surly face, I stop to take in the tress outside our kitchen. Maybe I could shake this funk by being in the moment or something. Anyway, our lovely bi-fold kitchen window was open, letting just a little of the cool air in, just a little of the sweet sounding birds, perhaps just the right amount of joy. Right at the very moment I thought how lovely the birds were sounding, in through said kitchen window flies a Bower Bird. A real life bird, flying into my already chaotic Friday morning.

“GRIMACCCCCEEEEEE” I bellow, “GET OUT HERE” – you see, all that had to be done was to open our back bi-fold doors and an easy escape route was there. But old hobbly-pants-me couldn’t get anywhere quickly. Husband of the year rightly comes tearing out from wherever he was, ascertained the house wasn’t on fire and we all still had all our appendages. As he calmly saunters over to open the doors, it becomes clear that my quick-thinking bellowing to summons assistance has quite literally scared the crap out of the poor bird. There is shit all over our kitchen. Grimace was mid-put away of the dishwasher, and as the door was open, the terrified bird had crapped all through the dishwasher, on the bench tops, across the floor and literally all over the walls. Unfortunately Grimace’s eyes spied the clock too and he realised it’s 7:10am…so, now not only is he late and annoyed about it, there is crap everywhere and the bird is flying manically around the house; flying into our floor-to-ceiling windows, trying to find an exit.

As Grimace opened the doors to free the bird, the poor little fella flew directly into the glass window, next to the open door, slightly knocking itself not out, just down. Down the stairs. The poor bird fell down the flight of stairs. Now Grimace has to get downstairs to open up the back door to get this tortured soul free from this glass prison. Unfortunately, we have a fairly large house these days, so getting from top to bottom can take considerable time – especially when you have a hobbly wife and two children delighted/aghast at what is occurring (it was unclear from their squeals if it was horror or glee).

The next thing we hear is an almighty BANG as the poor bird again flies straight into the double-glazed window, but this time does a better job, and is knocked out. Grimace gets the doors open and proclaims “I see this at work all the time. Birds knock em selves out, and after a few moments they’re as right as ever and off they fly”, so he rushes past me to find a shoebox or something to contain the poor, tortured bird in case it is injured.

I feel like Grimace is potentially the bird tweeter or something, as next minute, up pops the bird’s head, up it jumps and off it flies off into the morning, leaving behind a chaotic state of chaos.

Grimace was late to work, there was shit all through the house, me and the kids were still in PJ’s/unshowered/un-breakfasted and realised I had forgotten to do school lunchbox the night before.

Hello, please, where is my Friday jam?

Things did get better, we made the school bus, I had twenty seven coffees, magnoplasm attracted the lodged glass out of my foot and I played with Little Mate at several parks. I think i even spied a certain bower bird, just sitting up in the tree eyeing off the beautiful windows.

1st day of blogging

(make sure you read this first bit, using your best singing voice)

And on the first day of blogging, my true love said to me…Babe, you’ll still be short of Christmas if you only do it for 12 days.

Despite stating the fairly obvious, Grimace had so eloquently helped me to explore why i’d be doing 12 days.. borrowing thur christmas theme to rediscover my writing groove, with no pressure as the joy of christmas will start immediately after I’ve finished my little challenge. So even if I fail off the bandwagon, who’d care? The 12 Days of Christmas will be right there, in all its delicious glory!

When I started this outlet, I wanted to find a way to document my family life. It quickly turned into an important aspect for me and my life; navigating thoughts, feelings and experiences, harnessing the random nature of it all into some clarity. I loved finding a post in the everyday, or sharing the latest adventure my little crew embarked on. I found joy in working through thoughts with my words, surprising myself with how easily I could find flow. Unfortunately I’ve become a little lost in the wider sense of myself, and I didn’t prioritize time to write as life changes took hold; how quickly a habit can be lost. Not writing regularly anymore, I start to doubt the topics I start writing about and then my ability. Then, I was finding other ways to organize my emotional responses.

A few recent events transpired, completely independently of each other, to cause chaos amongst my inner-musings – discussions with loved ones, slight changes in family routine and a doubt on my running form from injury and illness and doubt. The sorts of things that naturally occur in family life, but this time culminated to challenge me on who I am, who I strive to be and how I hope to reconcile these aspects, while finding contentment with my little crew.

I just knew what my missing link was, and in a stroke of creative genius (definitely impacted by the consumption of a delicious gin), the idea for 12 days of blogging was borne.

Thanks for playing along, I wonder what the second day of blogging will bring? Xx

My song of the day: Tired lion “Behave

12 Days of Blogging

In my last post, I was startled by how close to the end of the year decade it was and I started feeling like it could mean good things for me. Big things, even. I’d probably had one too many shots in my gin & tonic for the night (it was an Ironbark Distillery Wattleseed Gin, if you must know) and as I sat, ruminating the night away, I came up with a plan to make me see out the year decade with a bang… 12 Days of Blogging!

The festivous (I don’t care this isn’t a word) season is upon us, and as I am all about the cheer (sort of), I thought I could use the silliness of the season to inspire a little challenge for me, mostly to get me back into writing; and maybe a little so I can legit sit in front of my computer. So, I’ve committed myself to 12 days of blogging, from 1 December – I didn’t want to hijack Christmas too much, and this way, I can feel all-writey and smug with my challenge-achieving personal success. And hopefully have re-formed my writing habit, followed by awesome Christmas treats: Pavlova. Pudding. Prawns.

As I reached for the Gin & Tonic, I was feeling pretty chuffed with my idea, but then realised that maybe the 12 days of blogging challenge is already a thing, and maybe I’m going to get sued for using the phrase. Or, maybe it’s not yet a thing…in that case, back off – its mine!

I’ve clearly researched + planned this through **cough, cough** Better pass me another gin. Oh wait, we’re out? Make it wine then.

See ya on December 1!

Bam! Year, no decade is nearly over.

Why hello there, world. I blinked, fell asleep and seemed to suffer from memory loss. I totally, absolutely forgot to write to you for just about the entire year. Sorry about that.

It’s the end of November, just about the end of the year, which also means its the end of the freaking decade. Not sure why that is really relevant, but it seemed important to point out that fact. 2020 always seemed so. far. away. But, here it is, looming so very largely. I guess I’m feeling a little nostalgic due to the impending decade, or is it the lapsed decade? I mean, the 2010’s have been pretty great (is chaotic-great a type of great?) in that our family and family home expanded, we learned how to parent, I started a career at a place much closer to home, we did some wonderful travel together, I found myself in running and cemented some pretty lovely friendships. But, we have also had a really tumultuous time of it. We lost our Nanna/Mum/Mum-in-law unexpectedly along with other much-loved family members, we went into lots of debt to extend our home, we’ve had numerous injuries/illnesses and realised we’ve aged 10 years in the decade.

Hopefully it’s no surprise to you that as I sit here, reflecting on just some of these 2010’s happenings, I’m feeling really very grateful and can’t help but wonder what the 2020’s have in store for us. The future-teller in me wants to jump for joy at the many, many family adventures we will no doubt embark on, but also gently reminds me that perhaps life is at different stage for other loved ones, and perhaps I needs to prepare myself for not seeing out the 2020’s with these special ones (my granddad will turn 95 in Feb!).

Either way, I intend to see the 2010’s out with a smile and welcome 2020 with a hug (and probably some champers too).

It’s nice to be back xx

We ran away to the beach

On Thursday evening, Grimace and I made a snap decision to run the family away to the beach for the weekend. I won’t say we were desperate for a weekend adventure, but come friday afternoon, we happily made our way to Manly. Despite battling the peak-hour roads, we arrived relaxed and ready to enjoy the weekend. Of course, things were helped with a glass of wine, watching the sun drop and the full moon rise.

We woke up to a lovely Saturday morning, and as a family we made a list of things to do:

– sleep in and relax (the irony was not lost on me that this request came from Giggles Magoo, who’d been awake since the crack of dawn)

– Beach time

– A visit to the zoo

– Picnic dinner by the water, watching the sun set for the day.

With our list in hand, we headed off for an adventurous day. You’ll see from the pics below, we were pretty good at ticking off the list:

What I forgot to mention about our choice of beach to watch the sunset; it just so happened to be a nude beach… certainly a new experience for us and the unfortunate souls that were there, just trying to have a relax… announced with naive delight: “yep, Dad, it’s a nudie beach… that old man over there has no underpants on. Why is he walking around with no clothes”. Oops, parent fail. Needless to say, as soon as dinner was finished and the sun was set, we made our way back to the car, leaving the poor unsuspecting nudist colony to their own, de-robed space.

Sunday morning I was up early with dreams of catching the sunrise over North Head. And wow, getting up early never fails to satisfy:

Sneaking in this little run made my heart super happy and unburdened. The beauty of the run is quite often what you discover about yourself. And on this beautiful Sunday morning, I realised how lovely it is to belong outdoors.

When I made it back to the family, we were all excited to hit the beach again, and there was a request to factor in a ferry ride. We opted to take the ferry from Manly to Watson’s Bay, for a swim at Camp Cove. Talk about a magnificent view! After some famous Doyle’s Fish, Chips and ice cream, we hopped the ferry from Watson’s Bay across to the Q station, for a 5km bush and beach back to Little Manly.

We returned to the Mountains Sunday evening, sun soaked and very happy we’d remembered it’s ok to run away sometimes.