Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.

...Robert Frost...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Musings

It feels like I've barely recovered from Christmas last year, and it's Christmas again! Where has that year gone??

I just can't seem to conjure up the Christmas spirit this year. It's just not there at all and I don't even seem to be able to pretend that I have any.

Last year was the first time ever we had woken up in our own home on Christmas day. It was something I had longed for for a very long time.

And I loved it. I loved everything about Christmas.

I loved the atmosphere. I loved the decorations.

I loved the shopping.

I loved the present opening.

I loved the sense of family. I loved the joy it put on people's faces.

But last year something happened. I felt a real shift in my thinking. I can't even quite pinpoint what it was. But I think I know what caused it. It was the excessiveness of Christmas. Was Christmas last year any more excessive than any other? No, I don't think so. But I just didn't feel comfortable about a few things any more. Perhaps it would all blow over.

Last weekend we put up our Christmas tree. I forced myself to do it in the vague hope that it might kick start my inner christmas enthusiasm. But not to be. In reality I spent a grumpy few hours trying to get knots out of the beads that go on the trees. I put christmas carols on to try and get in the mood, but nothing. The stirrings I felt last year were compounding.

I was really trying to put my finger on the problem. I kind of knew, but it was still a little vague in my mind. It just seemed difficult to put into words. Then I saw this photo and it just seemed to sum it up concisely.
It's not that I don't like Christmas anymore. It's just that I think it's time to get back to the reality of what Christmas is really all about. Do I really need that new ornament? No. I mean, what have they got to do with Christmas anyway? Do I really need to feel the pressure to give everyone I know or am vaguely related to a gift? No. Do I really need to ask everyone what they want and then feel extreme sense of guilt if I don't give it to them? No.

So I have made myself some resolutions-

1. Not to buy any Christmas decorations ( except for the one that I bought ages ago before I felt so convicted!)

2.For every dollar we spend this year on Christmas donate fifty cents back to a worthy appeal

3.To try and involve ourselves more in the true meaning of Christmas but giving some time to a charity. This one is a bit harder to organise at this late stage, but I'm hoping something will come together. Stay tuned.

I still love Christmas and I really struggled to put how I was feeling into words. I still love getting together with the family, I still love the joy it puts on people's faces, I still love the decorations, I still love buying and giving gifts.

But I hope in some small way my focus is beginning to change.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Here's the story, of a lovely lady, Who was bringing up three very lovely girls...... oops, wrong story!

Let's start again.

Here's the story, of a lady, who is bringing up three very lovely children, works, and no longer has enough time to do all the things she'd really like to be doing.

Just a typical Mum story really.

Once I had so much time to indulge in quilting, sewing, stitching and other crafty activities. But those days seem like a very distant memory now. However, I remain optimistic that I may again find a spare minute to indulge and keep adding new projects to my sewing table. Hence the reason it looks like this:

Hmmm, that's just the table. There's also under the table. And in the cupboard in the spare room. And on the shelf in my wardrobe. And there may or may not be a bag of fabric in the garage. It's out of control. There may or may not be a bag under the table with three half made skirts it that have been that way for 3 years. Or is it 4? There may or may not be at least 6 half done quilts that are patiently awaiting completion, one of them for maybe 10 years.

A very sad state of affairs.

So, I am determined to start finishing things. Now that I don't have much time. Actually, this has been my resolution for about 3 years now, but this time it's different. Not sure how, but it just is.

First on the list- a memory quilt. I had a bag of clothes that belonged to my friend's son who died 3 years ago. He was almost 10. I have had the clothes for about a year and I needed to get the quilt done. I selected the most suitable shirts, decided on a simple design and then procrastinated and procrastinated and procrastinated. I thought about it, googled other memory quilts, thought about it some more. Making that first cut was hard. These were his shirts and I had to get it right. In the end I had to make myself do it and just get on with it.

Simple squares that highlighted the shirts which held the memories. A school shirt, pyjamas, shirts from travels.

Before he died, the starlight foundation made over his bedroom and I used the doona fabric from that makeover as the backing fabric. A pocket from the doona was also sewn onto the back which houses his 'blankie'.

A last minute decision was made to drive to Toowoomba to deliver the quilt last weekend. It seemed like such special cargo and it was quite a relief to hand it over as I felt it had taken me way too long to finish it.

Toowoomba was at it's beautiful best. I do love this city. Not just the aesthetics of it, but the people as well. They are my memories.

The jacaranda in bloom


One of many previous homes

The school all 3 of the kids began their schooling at

But life moves on I guess.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Christmas Denial

Apparently Christmas is in 43 sleeps. I'm in denial. But the evidence seems to be mounting. Here are the clues so far:

1. I go into a chemist to find christmas decorations for sale. I buy one and it is now on my mantle

2. Family are presenting me with Christmas wish lists

3. Christmas crafts for sale at local quilt show

4. Stores are selling Christmas trees

5. Some neighbourhood houses have lights up already

6. I find myself buying new lights to replace the ones the dog chewed

7. I go to a gingerbread house decorating night with Miss E.

8. I bought a Christmas present today.

9. My Christmas app tells me it's 43 sleeps till Christmas

10. I have written Staff Christmas Dinner into my diary

11. And lastly, J tells me she going to the Christmas Pageant in Adelaide tomorrow.

The evidence appears insurmountable. It just might be Christmas in 43 sleeps. I'm going to have to bring myself out of denial.

The next mystery then would be where is my Christmas mojo?? It is definitely AWOL.

On another note. Master B served as a waiter tonight at the Yr12 farewell dinner. In 12 months time it will be his farewell dinner. I picked him up afterwards and he says to me - I don't want Yr 12 to end. I ask why. He says I wont get to see everyone all the time- I'll miss my friends. Reality is sinking in for him. I don't want it to end either. The reality is sinking in for me as well. I think I'll spend the next 12 months quietly crying. Who am I kidding- I'll be howling, kicking and screaming!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tired, tired, tired...

I've always had a healthy appreciation of single parents. I am a military wife, and that means lots of time on my own with children, doing all the running around and keeping life going for everyone, without any family support because of where we lived. But, I had knowledge that the Major would come home eventually. There was always a light at the end of the tunnel. (Ok, most at times it felt more like a train at the end of the tunnel providing that light.) It is hard, hard work. Thank goodness for good friends.

So, it feels ridiculous to complain about feeling so tired now. Now when my children are so much older and able to do much for themselves. Now that the Major doesn't go away for months at a time, rather just days. Now that I live closer to family.

I know all the lines- you're busy with teenagers, it's just a stage of your life etc etc. But for as far back as I can remember I have felt tired. Not just a bit of a yawn tired, but fatigued to the core.

My 1998 New Year's resolution was to try and develop more stamina.

I am working full time, but so do hundreds of other mums. I have tried to gauge myself against other women and have come to the conclusion that my fatigue levels are not normal. I wake up tired without fail every single day. I cannot remember ever waking up feeling refreshed. By morning tea I feel like I need a nap. All afternoon is spent yawning and trying to function. Some afternoons, like this one, I could hardly drive home without feeling like I was going to nod off.

I suffer from a condition that results in constant pain and my doctor (whom I've only seen twice ever!) says that dealing with that causes fatigue. But I'm not convinced. I've had this problem for way more than half my life, so much so that that is my "normal". Can there be more too it? I would love a magic solution, an answer that could just make it all better. I feel like I am dragging through life and missing out on all it has to offer.

Maybe the answer is more exercise? Supplements? Going to be earlier? Selling the kids? Quitting work? (thats a very tempting option)

Or maybe it is resisting denial and accepting I am getting older and busier and that's life. But I'm not convinced....

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What is 'Normal'?

The two year mark of our latest move is fast approaching. Perhaps the hardest milestone of all. The point at which the novelty has worn off and you feel you should know people. Well, you do know people but just not beneath the surface. And that is the hard part.

I have been thinking a lot lately about whether life feels 'normal' yet. But what is normal? What defines my parameters of normal? We have moved 3 times in the past 6 years, so have I achieved normal at any point in that time? I don't really think so.

7 years ago we lived in in a beautiful Queensland town, where we had been living for the past 9 years. A perfect t own- good schools, good sport, good church, good friends. Life seemed normal. I had three young children, at various stages of schooling/playgroup. I had a large circle of friends I met/socialised with almost every day. We talked, laughed, cried together. I led a ladies bible study group. I led Sunday School. I quilted/stitched with friends every second week. I helped at school. I seemingly had it all together. That was my normal. And I liked it. I liked it a lot.

And so I've realised that that is what I'm basing my normal on now. A comfortable, secure, habitual life. But life now is nothing like that. I think I've spent the past 6 years trying to formulate new routines, find a new comfort zone but too many things have changed. Now I work pretty much full time.Other than this term, I don't have regular work days at a set place. The kids are older. I don't lead a ladies bible study group. In fact, I barely have time to go to one. I've managed to get there once in six months. My kids are not in primary school and they don't need me to volunteer. I DO finally go to a quilting group, but it is not with my very best friends. A group of ladies that I only see every fortnight.

So, I guess, this is my current "normal". It doesn't feel quite right yet. Maybe with time....after I scratch beneath the surface a little deeper....

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Two weeks of school holidays and I had a list of things to do a mile long. And guess what??
It rained.
And rained.
And rained.
And hailed.

And was cold.

And a lot of the things on my list involved being outdoors.
Weeding my garden in which the weeds were taller than some of my trees.
Paving the mud patch outside the shed door.
Turning what was rapidly becoming paddock grass into a nice backyard lawn.
I felt rather let down by the weather.
But on the few moments of non wet weather, I did manage to get a start.

Despite, the weather conditions, I loved the holidays. I love, love, love being home with the kids. I feel extremely blessed that all my kids get along so well. The boys, despite being only two years apart, never fight. They are very different, but they are good buddies, good mates. And they accommodate Miss E very well. I am so grateful.

So, what did I do whilst stuck inside.
I did what all sensible people do.
I renovated my laundry.
Orange cupboards were just not my thing.

I much prefer white.

So that involved painting

Putting together flatpaks

And building a new clothes hamper

And I worked on heading towards finishing the en suite renovations. They have been going on since January. A new vanity and toilet.

I enjoyed the baking of Miss E

And started a very special memory quilt using the shirts of a special boy now living in heaven

So, perhaps the weather didn't let me down at all. Perhaps it just made me re-focus on other things.

But there was some sad news as the holidays ended.
My baby, who was born just yesterday, began his final year of school.
I'm not coping well. Actually,I'm not coping at all.

On a brighter note- only 39 days till I'm on six weeks Christmas holidays. But who's counting!