I’m grateful…for the boy with a big dream

A long time ago, in a land far away, there was a boy.  To others he may have seemed ordinary but his extraordinary dreams would transform the lives of all those around him.  I say boy as he was just a teenager, but a man by the standards of his times as he was independent, working and already planning for his life ahead.

With his heart full of hope, his head full of plans and pockets aching for a few dollars he boarded a ship for a land across the sea.  A land full of promise and opportunity.  A land free of war and persecution.  A land called Australia.  It was rumoured that this foreign shore held streets paved with gold.  That any one prepared to work hard would find fortune and happiness.   He was not alone.  Many had gone before him and many would follow and yet on this voyage he stood by himself.  A boy with a dream.

He landed in Australia, the sea journey over but the new journey towards a new life had just begun.  He travelled to far north queensland where he did as many migrants did and worked the land.  By day he cut cane under the hot Austrlian sun and by night he rode his bicyle to school to learn English.  

It was a year later when a new chapter began and yet another person boarded that ship from the “old” country bound for the “lucky” country.  But this time it was a girl.  They had been married a year and yet they had never met but already they had so much in common.  Bravery, tenacity, courage and hope for a new life together.   They settled into married life in a tin shed on a cane farm.  Times were tough but they were tougher braving cyclones, cane toads and the struggle of living in a country where you don’t speak the langauage.

They went on to raise four girls.  Returning a few times to the “old country” but always returning via that ship to their new home where life was good was flourishing.  The years went by, they sold their prosperous cane farm while prices were good and moved to the “big city”.  The dreams of the boy were now in full flight as their life bloomed with friends, children a new house and a new career.  

Long before wealth management companies and real estate investment strategies he had an idea.  To buy what was so plentiful in this new country, land.  and turn it into the great Australian dream.  Houses.  So he bought and sold. Bought and built.  Bought and renovated.  A house turned to units.  Along the way he named each new unit development after those that fed his ambition his family.   A little piece of Australia named just for them.  

This good fortune gave him more than his own footprint on the land but it now gave him time.  Time to fish, to cook, to bottle wine, to make tomato “salsa” and his own sausages.  Time to travel the world, to visit his grandchildren and now great grandchildren.  Time to spend playing practical jokes and sitting at the table throwing some nuts sneakliy at each other and drinking wine and just listening to the dreams of others.

For a man that had nothing, arrived to nothing, and knew no-one last week celebrated his 80th Birthday in a room surrounded by his ever growing brood of family and friends.  His little family of two has expanded to four daughters, 13 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.  

I am grateful to be one of those grandchildren. I am grateful to have grown up influenced by his unconditional love and constant support.  I am grateful to have a man as amazing as him in my life and my children’s life.  I am grateful for everything he taught me.  To laugh, to cook, to work hard, to cherish your family, to never stop learning.  But mostly I am grateful for he taught me to take risks, to believe in myself and to dream.  Dream Big.

The image is taken form the NSW Migration Heritage Centre website.  To find out more about our country’s migrant heritage please click the link.

Packing my bags….

 

The list.  The Piles.  Packing my way!

This trip we packed light!  We have it down to a fine art now!

Are you a list maker?  A lay it all out and mix match?

Or a spontaneous throw it all in packer?

Playing along with

My Little Drummer Boys

Wordless Wednesday ~ Coffee Ritual

 


Yesterday Little Miss A enjoyed our usual coffee together.   Just like her brother she has developed her own baby cino ritual!  Spoon, drink, inspect.  She prefers hers with sprinkles and NO marshmallows!   I just love these little moments with her.

My Little Drummer Boys

Wordless Wednesday ~ On the other side of the fence

This weekend Master O heard laughter coming from….the other side of the fence.

So this is how they spent the weekend.  Chatting, laughing playing with the neighbours over the fence.  Topics of conversations included why Bumblebee is better than Optimus Prime, which are the best playgrounds, and why are the ducks always on the road.  I couldn’t help but listen in!

Playing along with the gorgeous Trish from

My Little Drummer Boys

10 things I know… that you may not ~ About Me.

I was tagged.  As fast I tried to run (I will obviously never make the olympic sprint team) they got me.  Well to be specific “The HOME She Made” tagged me in this little game.  So here goes…… ten things about me.

1.  Last month was the first time in 7 years I had my hair professionally coloured.  I ALWAYS do it myself, the cheap way, out of a box, at home.  Even worse for the last  7 years it has always been the same colour.  Good old “Brazil”  I am a massive spend thrift and I would rather be unhappy with the job I did myself than be unhappy with a $100 hair colour.  Oh and I don’t like change and rarely leave the house without makeup.

2.  I was at uni for 6 years.  Mostly because although I don’t like change I changed uni courses 4 times!  Screen production, Law, Journalism and finally Education.  I even through in a Semester of French and Modern Cinema just for good measure.  Leave no stone unturned.  I  loved uni but wish I could say I was a dedicated student.  Uni days a re a mixed memory of share houses, tight budgets,  eating fish and chips whilst gossiping with friends in the cafereria, and cutting lectures to go shopping.  I now have two degrees, a huge HECS bill, and an aversion to Vodka and Red Bull.

3.  I have watched every episode of every season of Sex and The City, The O.C, The Hills, The City and The Real Housewives of New York and New Jersey.  I am a reality/trashy   tragic!  Escapism at it’s best!

4.  I have lived in 17 houses.  The last one, the family home we built, is the longest I have ever lived in one place.  All that moving meant it was always high on my priority list to own my own home.  I have had a mortgage since I was 22.  I love having a place yo call my own and the stability that comes with it but it has come with a lot of sacrifices, including never having money to throw around or travel extensively overseas.  One day!

5.  Growing up I LOVED public speaking.  Yes I am truly strange.  I would volunteer to speak at school on assembly and entered many public speaking competitions, debates and eisteddfods.  Somewhere betwen uni and adult hood, I did a complete turn around and I now fear it!  Give me a class of 25 kids and I can stand and speak all day but adults…no way!  I avoid theatre restaurants or any of those type of events where they pick people out of the audience! 

6.  I am a book worm.  I LOVE to read and always have.  My favourite presents growing up were always books.  Now its blogs, magazines, newspapers, articles, journals, books anything I can get my hands on and find time for!  I have a slightly obsessive personality and once I start I can’t stop wether its a book, a series or my ever growing blog roll!

7. My obsession extends to coffee.  I LOVE coffee and can not function without it.  I gave up coffee cold trukey when pregnant with Master O for the first trimester.  I had headaches, was irritable and just plain horrible.  I have never attempted that again.  I love the smell, the taste, trying new varieties and the social nature of sitting down with a friend over a cup of coffee. I am not a coffee snob (those cheap uni days did that to me) and although I love a GOOD coffee, will drink any kind.

8.  I am very impatient.  So is my husband!  As soon as we have an idea we have to do it then and now!  Which is not always a good thing!  Impatience is really not a good virtue when dealing with children so I am working on it.

9.  I am a busy person.  I love to work, on a million things at once.  I love my sleep but I don’t like to sit still. If I am watching TV I am usually blogging or twittering at the same time.  If I am doing the washing up I am also writing blog posts in my head or talking on the phone.  I always have a million projects on the go.  I find it hard to say no and find myself ending up on committees or volunteering for projects I really don’t have time for.  I love my job and I love being a working Mum.

10.  I LOVE to talk.  Apparently I was an early talker and never stopped.  There is no such thing as a short conversation on the phone with me!  Sometime I can see this overflows into my writing!  Taking a a day off blogging is almost impossible and my Wordless Wednesday posts ae never wordless!

SO now you know more about me…..was it what you were expecting?

I am now tagging…..

Tina..Tina Gray Dot Me

Kirsty…Coffee Drinking Mummy To Five

Kellie….The Good, The Bad and the Unnecessary

Erin…Imperfectly Erin and

Norlin…Just Us Kids Online 

 

The sorting, the culling, the crying…Things I know about old kids clothes.

This week I took on the enivitable and finally unavoidable task of going through the mountains of baby clothes.  It has become unavoidable as I am sure there is something growing or perhaps even living and multiplying under the evergrowing masses of outgrown and out worn clothes.  Did it happen over night?  While we are safe in bed asleep, does it multiply and mock me?

I dont know, but this I do know……

I know that the problem will not just go away. I can not just bury my head in the clothes and pretend they are not there. I need to just tackle it.  Not tommorrow, not on the weekend but today, now, before I procrastinate yet again.  In the blink of an eye, I am sure I will be facing a pile of clothes that are appropriate (or maybe not appropriate) for teenagers.

I know that there will be tears.  Tears associated with memories.  Tears of reminiscence.  Tears of disbelief that my two children were ever that small.  Tears of shame that I let the problem get so huge, that I am loosing sleep over it.

I know that they are just clothes.  Well sort of.  They are not the memory.  They are just fabric and fibre.  Throwing them away or giving them away does not get rid of the memory.  I am making room in our wardrobes, in our lives, in my mind.

I know that my children have way tooo much “stuff”.  Clothes included.  My new mantra.  One item in, one item out.  Think of it as a perfect excuse to go shopping.

I know that sorting into piles makes the job seem less overwhelming. One to donate, One for friends, One to toss, One to keep.  Having all the right tools like some great clear plastic storage containers that are labelled according to size, will help encourage me to get the job done.

I know I am not the first mother to face this dillemma and that I have a flock of mothers behind me assisting me with there “been there done that” support and words of wisdom…

I kept 2 of my favourite baby outfits for each of my children and I gave the rest to good will and friends that I know that are having children. (I just cleaned out my kids cupboards last week). It was hard to get rid of them. I actually played dress ups and put my 11 week old girl in her cutest 0000 clothes one last time and took pics of her wearing them.  ~ Clare

I’ve given our old baby clothes to friends… it’s always nice to see your friend’s children wearing the outfits your children used to wear. I also give alot to charity too which always makes me feel good and that I’m helping others out. In terms of storage I just use those plastic see through containers. ~ Lisa

I only keep the absolute must haves, which for me are things like denims, so denim shorts or jeans, they really don’t go out of fashion, especially if the kiddies are fairly close in age.  Things like their first pair of shoes, the outfit they wore home from hospital and the outfit they wore for their 1st birthdays are a must keep too for me. Oh and their Christening/Naming outfit.  I had to learn to be ruthless, we just don’t have the storage capacity, and now I tell myself that clothes are so cheap anyway (depending on where you shop) but yes, ruthless is my keyword. ~ Vicki

I just let myself keep the ‘special ones’. I find just donating a little at a time helped me. ~ Bindi

If you are keeping things for future kids etc, print some size labels off on the computer and stick to the inside of a plastic tub – add a fabric softener sheet to keep them smelling fresh. If you are not having any more kids/keeping for hand-me-downs etc, keep a few special outfits from each size, and then donate the rest! they are just clothes, your memories will still remain! ~ Leona

I know that I have made a start.  The further I got into the job the more overwhelming it became.  I know that this just made me ruthless.  The bags to throw and donate got bigger and the bag to keep got smaller.

I know that I am not finished and in fact I never will be.  From now on this will be a seasonal process.  End of season wardrobe culls will become a family affair.  

I know I want to teach my children the joy of giving.  Especially to those less fortunate then us.  I want to teach them to sacrifice items that they think they “love” to people who truly “need” them.

I know that it’s not just about me sorting the clothes.  There is always a lesson, (afterall I am a teacher) I want to teach them (and me) the feeling of  letting go, of living with less and in return they will make room, not just for new clothes, but new thoughts, opportunities, ideas and an appreciation of all that we are so lucky to have.

  Thank you so much for all your support on FB as I faced this task, it truly motivated me!!

 

 

 

 

Wordless Wednesday ~ Splash

 

 

So excited and so impatient (just like her Mother), Little Miss A gets into the water play fully clothed!

Playing Wordless Wednesday with

My Little Drummer Boys

I’m grateful for…… Childhood Birthday Memories


CHILDHOOD BIRTHDAY MEMORIES



January is coming to an end….
At long last, the tedious month of returning to work and school preparations is over.
Now, I am filled with excitement, anxiousness and a touch of insanity as
February and March
are the 
BIRTHDAY MONTHS
in our house!

Master O will turn 4 in February (I can’t believe I will have a four year old!)
AND Little Miss A will turn 1 in March!

I LOVE BIRTHDAY PARTIES!
Well actually I just LOVE Birthdays AND Parties, 
so the two combined places me in party planning heaven!

Birthday’s ARE A BIG DEAL in our family.
Growing up, my Mum always insured that we had Birthday Party every year! 
 No fast food chain Birthday Parties for us!
Only the at home, decorated with balloons and streamers, 
hand made cake, playing games in the back yard variety!
Mum even created birthday parties for my Cabbage Patch dolls, including a cake!
So, now you know where I am coming from, I can not escape the party planning gene, it’s inherited!

I always took our Birthday parties for granted, 
now as a mother I finally realise how much work Mum put in each year.
But Mum, it was sooo worth it!
So many of my favourite childhood memories and traditions are associated with my Birthday Parties!


The Australian Cake Choosing Tradition
The preparations for the upcoming Birthday would begin months in advance as we drooled over the cake creations in the Womens Weekly Birthday Cake book.
I had a rabbit, a butterfly, a “Hickory Dickory Clock” BUT 
I always wanted the swimming pool!  
You know the one filled with blue jelly?!
Lucky us, we usually chose two cakes one for the party and one for Mum to bring up to school!!!

Planning who to invite
With the best of intentions we had the rule you could invite as many people as the age you were turning – For example 8 people for your 8th Birthday. Fortunately for us this rule was easily bended!
To this day I still hear the 5 year olds in my class bartering with each other over a birthday party invite
“I’ll give you the pink crayon if you invite me to your birthday party!”

The outfits
There are two most memorable Birthday outfits for me.
Before you read, be kind, it was the 80’s!!!
A handmade balloon skirt,  that was actually made out of fabric with balloons on it!
and a pink and green tracksuit type outfit reminiscent of Nicole Kidman in BMX Bandits, I even frizzed my hair Nicole Kidman style for the occasion!

The Decorations
There was nothing more exciting than having a pre party nanna nap to awake to the house decorated.
Think foil, Happy Birthday Banner, pink balloons and the mandatory intertwined streamers that were wrapped around everything!

The Games
Pass the parcel, pin the tail on the donkey, musical chairs, freeze and one of my favourites the pass the ballon and pop it when the music stops.  Inside the balloon was a small piece of paper on which was written something you had to do.  
Sing “Twinkle Twinkle” or “I’m a Little Tea Pot” or dance the “Macarena”
 Oh the fun and the embarrassment!

The Food
Oh how the food nazi’s would cringe over our typical 1980’s food!
What was a Birthday Party without Fairy Bread, Cheerios and RED Cordial!!!


  As I prepare for my children’s birthdays,  I can only hope, that amidst the cupcake toppers, gluten/dairy everything free food that I will remember the simplicity and old fashioned fun of those childhood birthday’s.   I am sure there were late nights, ruined icing and sore fingers from tying balloons but those birthday memories, created for me by a loving Mum….for them,  I am truly grateful.

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