Saturday, 30 January 2016

Kids can do stuff... and other thoughts



Hello, after a very long break!

I have been wanting to write about family stuff, documenting my experience of being a parent in a big, busy, loving household. About being a foster mum too, and about working and finding some kind of balance.

I considered starting a new blog entirely but I figure, this space can be whatever I want it to be right? And if I want to talk about the fantastic chaos that is our household, it's totally fine! That's the beauty of owning your own little corner of the internet. Hooray!

We have just about finished school holidays. A staggered start back with miss 9 starting school on Thursday, our little dude starting prep yesterday (Friday), which was wonderfully exciting, and miss 14 going back on Monday. I have had the most fantastic time with my kids over the last six weeks. I absolutely love having them home, watching them potter around doing the things they love. There has been a lot of reading, lego building, tea drinking, sewing, Wii playing, crocheting and movie watching. We even managed to get away to the bush for a few days before John had to get back to work. It was super nice.

The only not so nice bit of having the kids home every day has been the epic-ness of the cleaning and laundry. It was just endless! Constant dish washing, laundry mountains growing at an incredible rate, me nagging like a broken record to "PLEASE spruce the living room up a little bit before you sit down for the next movie". It really puts a dampener on a nice time when you have to do that.

This is a modest mountain compared to what we have been facing recently... Posting this laundry pic, in all it's grotty honesty, because this is what a normal laundry looks like and it's really ok. It is next on my list of things to do, because I don't love having grotty spaces, but it's real, and I think we should all be a bit more real.  

I pretty much reached the end of my tether with the laundry when it hit me... my kids can do stuff! They can! And the oldest two  (9 & 14) are old enough to take on some of the responsibility for their own washing. So I broached the subject with the two of them and they both jumped at the chance. I am sure the novelty will wear off eventually, but for now they are actually excited to do their own washing.

The other thing we are in the process of doing, to help ease the load a bit, is a massive clothes cull. Now that the little guy is at school, he will be wearing uniform for most of the week and needs far less in his drawers than he has needed while at kinder. I got it all out yesterday and put aside the following (all in great condition):

3 pairs of jeans
5 t-shirts
1 dressy shirt
3 jumpers
3 pairs of shorts
10 pairs each of undies and socks
1 warm jacket
3 pairs of PJs

...and the rest of his clothes are now in garbage bags by the door, ready to be collected by Uber tomorrow and taken to the red cross! It seems extreme, but I think this is going to change my life! (It's such a mum thing to take such joy in figuring out a new system to make the household work more efficiently)

The girls have both filled up a garbage bag each with clothes too and after I finish this post, I am going to do the same! Ugh! I feel lighter just thinking about living without laundry mountains!

I need to acknowledge a post by Gourmet Girlfriend, which I read this morning, that made me feel so much better about my decision to get the girls to do their own washing. What she says is so right, it's not just about helping around the house and making my job easier, it's about preparing them to be functional, community minded people. It's the fairest thing we can do! Click the link below to have a read.

Teaching 5 Boy about Housework...

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

We shall see what becomes of The Squee... nice rhyme.


For the last couple of months I have had an email from my blog host sitting in my inbox, asking me to pay for another twelve months of hosting. 

My email is set so the unread emails stay at the top and each time I checked it this email stared at me, forcing me to make a decision about the life of this blog. I opened it a number of times, closing it shortly after and clicking "mark as unread" each time, as if putting off the decision would somehow mean I wouldn't need to think about it or acknowledge that I haven't been putting any effort at all into it.

The renewal date has passed and I paid it. It was cheap after all. It's not much to shell out to have my own corner of the internet. It did get me thinking though, about my time, my priorities and why the hell I haven't been here squeeing it up.  There are a few reasons. 

It's not cool, I know, but I regularly compare myself to other bloggers and writers... I catch myself thinking "we all have the same number of hours in the day so it's not a very good excuse for not doing what you want/said you'd do/think you should do. Other great bloggers have lots of other things to do and they still manage to post decent content regularly, what is wrong with you?!" 

That kind of thinking just puts me in a black hole, it's useless. I have been spending my time on other things and that is actually ok. It's really very fine and completely ok that I have not made time for blogging and it is just dandy that I like to pop in occasionally to share things. I am not a famous blogger (well duh!) and I have no obligation to sponsors or regular readers (hello? anyone there?) so it seems perfectly fitting that I do it how I want. And for now, it's sporadic and maybe just a little bit crap.

I have stopped wanting blog awards and sponsorship. I don't want to drive a car around and write about it. I haven't got time for more things. I have time for my family, my job, getting healthy again and uni. And I sometimes have a little extra time to do creative things like crochet or spray painting things (that's my new favourite thing!) and I might, just might, find the time to write about some of those things here. 

But it's ok if I don't. 

There are other reasons too. I have lots of things I want to say but I don't feel this is a really safe place for my honesty and to hold some pretty full on things. Things to do with foster parenting, relationships, politics and my health are very personal and while I am actually desperate to share them I need to be careful with whom I share. So for now, here is not the place. 

We shall see what becomes of The Squee.  Nice rhyme huh?

So that said, I'm off to take a cake out of the oven (banana cake... I also made banana muffins and banana biscuits. Guess whose husband went dumpster diving last night?!)

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

The Girls on Film Festival is THIS WEEKEND!!

Ahoy there!

Hasn't it been a long time between posts?! I'm ok with it if you are because I have been well and truly swamped with work and personal things. 

One of the really awesome things I have been involved in is the inaugural Girls on Film Festival! It's so awesome that it has prompted me to get back on here and share it with you because I REALLY want you to come!! 

Like, really, truly, very much, a lot!

So I thought about what YOU might ask me about the festival and I'm going to answer those questions. Nice huh?!

You: So what is GOFF?




Me: The inaugural Girls On Film Festival (GOFF) will be held at Northcote Town Hall, 189 High Street in Northcote, from Friday September 12 to Sunday September 14, 2014. GOFF is your chance to watch movies chosen by feminists, made by feminists, with a bunch of other feminists, and feel the excitement that comes from seeing the stories of women and girls taken seriously, made with love and demonstrating their humour, solidarity and power. Showcasing ten films from different years, including everything from beloved feminist classics, underrated gems and cult favourites, GOFF wants your heart and mind to beat faster, without wiping you out. Every film will have a special introduction and many will include a panel afterwards to get our feminist analysis on. We’ll feature films about women and girls from diverse backgrounds and subcultures – true stories and high fantasy, documentary, drama, comedy and farce. The program this year has a strong focus on music, and will include a children’s and an all-ages session, as well as live performances, panel discussion and most important of all, parties.

You: Oh, yeah! That sounds pretty flipping awesome! What movies are showing?

Me: That's an excellent question! Thanks for asking! At the festival you'll be able to choose from ten fabulous "girls to the front" films: 


The Runaways, Ponyo, The Punk Singer, Whale Rider, Nine to Five, Heathers, T is for Teacher, Exposed, Radiance and Heavenly Creatures. Pretty good huh!?


You: Actually, that's more than good. I am feeling something I haven't felt for a while. 

Me: Yes... I feel it too.
You: I need to take a few calming breaths... shall I pop over to the website to find out more about the films and buy tickets?




Me: What a fabulous idea. Head over to www.girlsonfilmfestival.com to buy tickets. While you're there, have a look at the amazing A-Team on the about page. Such an ace group of talented peeps. 





You: Oh my goodness... I love them all. I want to meet them!

Me: Well you're in luck, because they will all be there on the weekend so you can totally corner every one of them and take a selfie. But only on the condition that you tag #goff14.

You: Anything else I need to know?

Me: YES! It's really important that you come a bit early to pick up your ticket. The Northcote Town Hall is a beautiful place to hold the event but there may be a bit of a bottle neck if everyone gets there at the same time to collect their ticket.

You: Oh, thanks for telling me! I'll do that! I don't want to put a dampener on my awesome feminist party of radness by having to wait in line.

Me: That's exactly right kid.

You: Well, I'm going to go get my tickets now... see ya!

Me: Bye you femininja of wonderfulness.

So there you go! I hope I have answered all your imaginary questions!

Please get in touch if you would like more information.


Oh Oh!! I almost forgot about a special offer available for you, my lovely readers!

On Saturday we will be running a special session for the young and young at heart called Girl Germs! UM, ZOMG, have you seen our lineup? It's unreal. GG is all ages and unisex so everyone can come and meet shining feminist diamonds like Anna Barnes, Georgia Fields, Evelyn Morris, Catriona Wimberley, Kat Muscat, Amy Gray, Gavriil Bikes, Amy Jenkins, Hiba Casablanca, Genevieve Stewart, Bonnie McKernan, Clare Feenan, Leena van Deventer, Tara Judah, Cerise Howard, Sarah-Jane Woulahan, Nakkiah Lui, Cynthia Lam, Claudia Long, Katie Mack, Lauren Halstead, Kylie Zen Fletcher, Charm of Finches, Sticky Institute, A Zine Thing and Bitch Please: Trans Woman Distro! 

SERIOUS. All of these babes will be at GOFF 2pm Saturday making zines, performing live music, doing nailz, chatting #femmolyfe and being awesome, before we screen The Punk Singer - The documentary about Kathleen Hanna to round it all off. It's the shiniest jewel in the GOFF crown cos it's feminists of all ages coming together to celebrate girl (and grrrl) culture!

And if you book ahead you can get a massive discount, like HALF PRICE TICKETS kinda discount. We originally thought of this as a group rate for 4 or more, but not everyone will be coming with a gang, so it's now for everyone who books in advance. So share this up and get a crew together, or come and meet your new girl gang! Use the code GOFFGANG to claim your half price ticket!!

So... you're coming aren't you!?

Monday, 14 July 2014

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Wanna be in my book?

I'm in the early stages of writing a book and am seeking interviews with people who have something to say about the current political climate, answering the question "What is the problem?". 

I am also looking to write about people (or share stories written by people) who are making changes in their every day lives to build community, do "good", and who use alternative methods of protesting and/or making change. 

This can obviously play out in many different ways which is GREAT! If you have something to say or would like to get involved in the project please get in touch. (PS. If you don't think there's a problem with the current system I am keen to talk to you too)

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Blog Hop! Writing and Things...

I'm fashionably late to the Blog-Hop party but better late than never I say!

Kate from One Small Life has invited me to share with you about my writing and then nominate a few other folks to do the same. I will start by changing this thing up a little bit because I have lots of pals who are creative but may not use writing as their main vehicle for their creativity. I'm going to talk about writing but the people I nominate can do what they like with it - I love hearing about how people get creative.

I've only just begun to feel comfortable saying I am a writer. I haven't had anything major published but I write regularly, I love it and I am studying writing and editing so I finally feel like I can claim it. So here goes!


What am I working on?

Right now I am working on a non fiction book about being a good community. This is a long term project that I plan to develop during my course over the next couple of years. There are also other little things I have been working on too - I just submitted a piece of flash fiction to the Visible Ink Anthology and I have my fingers and toes crossed that it will be published. I also recently wrote a bio for musician Mezz Coleman.

Why do I do what I do?

It all began with blogging for me. I never knew that writing was something I enjoyed or was any good at until I started my very first blog in 2003 to help me find a community to share my weight loss struggles and triumphs. Over the years I have had lots of different blogs chronicling my different life stages - weight loss, prengancy, family, fitness, craft and now this blog, which is evolving all the time. I have returned to my health and fitness blog roots with my new blog healthsquee (It's also in the menu bar up the top of this page).

My blogs have been my companion through my 20s and I really feel they have helped me to figure myself out, expand my thinking and find my people. Through blogging I discovered my passion for sharing ideas and being creative and it has been the catalyst for me beginning an Associate Degree in Writing and Editing, which I have discovered was the missing ingredient in my already wonderfully full life. Creativity was missing for a long time and it's BACK now! Which is just ace really.

So why do I do it? I do it because I love sharing and receiving from others. I have some things to say and writing is my avenue. Writing is easier than talking when I want to get my message across and be understood. I do it because without a creative outlet things can get quite bleak.

How does my writing process work?

I think a lot and make lots of notes. Many of my ideas never come to fruition but some do- after a lot of pondering. I am very undisciplined with my personal writing and blogging but much more organised with professional and uni work. I blog in fits and starts and have lengthy breaks, which over time and with a bit of bloggy maturity I have stopped stressing and feeling guilty about - it's just the way it is. It's my hobby and it's OK if it's inconsistent. If it were my business it would be a different story.

How does it differ from others in my genre?

I really don't have a genre. I hop all over the place and try different things. I am hoping I will look back in ten years and have a couple of non-fiction books under my belt. That'd be nice. That's not a very satisfying answer to that question but in the spirit of being unapologetic about my writing - who cares?!

Meet my friends!

Here are a few really ace people you should go and visit. I am going to ask them to do this task but if they choose not to, you should still go and visit them!!


Friday, 27 June 2014

A cup of tea with me...



Hello!

How are you going today? Is Friday treating you well or are you "meh-ing" through? I made that word up - feel free to use it. I'm feeling really good today actually after making a lovely visit to miss 7's class to introduce the newest member of our family. You can meet him too! His name is Sweep and we are besotted!


Today I am participating in Pip Lincolne's link up so I am going to tell you a little bit about myself and what makes me happy. If you would like to see some of the other link up posts from Blog with Pip students, pop over to meetmeatmikes.com and have a gander.

So... about me.. well... tea is very important. Which is why I had to make a mad dash to the supermarket this morning when I realised there was not a tea-bag in the house. All is well though. I'm well stocked now. Stop panicking. What other things are important to me? Community, family, creativity, being able to make a living from doing things I love. 

I am a writer. Until very recently, when someone asked what I did I would say something like this "well... I studied social work but I'm not really working in the field... and I've gone back to uni to study writing and editing... but I haven't really done much writing... oh except for this thing and that thing... and my blog... so maybe I'm more of a blogger than a writer... but I really want to write... I've started writing a book... blah blah blah...." I started this spiel recently when I met writer Toni Jordan she stopped me half way through and said "STOP! You're a writer. You must feel confident and just say it. OK?!"... Ok Toni Jordan... I will.

So... I am a writer. 

I am also a mother and foster mother. My kids are all incredibly ace and I am the luckiest mum ever. I know everyone says that, but it's true. Foster parenting kind of just happened to us when a little girl we were friends with was removed from her home and needed a place to go. We were in the right place at the right time and she's just slotted into our family unit so perfectly. In November it will be three years since she came to live here and we will have permanent care by the end of the year. Ace huh?! Three babes and only two pregnancies. A good deal I reckon!


I have a really tops best pal. She makes me really happy. Her name is Mezz and she is my husband's sister. So I got to become family with my best pal and while there were a few teething issues way back when, I couldn't ask for a better sister-pal aunty for my kids. She's creative, loving and inspiring. You might already know, but Mezz and my other darling sister in law Tarryn make an independent magazine called Hundreds and Thousands which celebrates all things hand made. I think you'd like it! You can get your hands on a copy HERE. She also blogs HERE. And makes music... which you can find info about HERE.


What else? Umm... my mum! She makes me happy. I have been trying to lure her to come and live over the road from me in the house that is going to be auctioned early next month. My mum is just about the most nurturing being you could find, is a super brilliant grandmother and somehow manages to juggle a million (sometimes very hard) things and keep all the balls in the air. I have no idea how she does it. My number one wish for my mumma is for her to remember to nurture herself as much as she does everyone else.... number 2 is for her to come live with me... :)

That'll do from me... I need to get ready to pick up miss 7 from school. Early mark for the last day of term. 

Hope you're having a... 




Thursday, 12 June 2014

I like to move it move it...

Sorry! That song will be stuck in your head now wont it?

This past week has seen me go from almost no exercise to 250 active minutes - mostly walking. I have been a bit distracted from blogging as my energy has been focused on trying to move more and keeping my food under control so I haven't updated the other Yelk and Ash blog either.

Since beginning again to make a concerted effort to get healthy I have dropped 5kg and I can't get over the extra energy I have in the afternoon and evenings that I didn't actually realise wasn't there before. May it continue!



Operation Move- Get Moving* is going really well. Kate asks us to timetable each week in advance so we know what time we have available to move and it has really helped me to see that I actually have more opportunities than I thought. It has also meant that I am trying to find more ways to incidentally exercise and I am getting out of the house on foot a lot more and the kids are being more active by default.

The little guy (3yrs) gets sore legs quickly if I try and get him to walk with me... and he is SLOW! So instead of using this as an excuse not to move when he is with me (which is most of the time) I put the word out on the Inner West Mums and Bubs Facebook page that I needed a jogger style pram and within minutes a generous Altona based mum offered to lend me hers for a few months! How generous! I'm a complete stranger and she just lent it to me. People are good aren't they?! So I've been able to get out walking with the little dude and he loves bouncing along in the "new" pram.

Anywho! Just thought I'd pop in and give this little update and I'll be back soon with some Squee-Worthy content.


*Disclaimer: I am participating in Operation Move - Get Moving for free in exchange for sharing my story with you all. Good deal huh!?