30 July 2013

Kidspeak Gems: MissyMoo2

MM2 (4): "Mummy, when were you a teenager?"

F: "Before you were born, sweety - a long time ago."

MM2: "Were there dinosaurs?!"

F: "No, not quite that long ago."


25 July 2013

Thankful For Bloglessness

Francesca Writes Here
Strange title huh? A blog post about being thankful for bloglessness - what's that about?

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you may have noticed that I have been very quiet this week. As a matter of fact, this is my first blog post in a week ... since the last Thankful Thursday link up.
I go through phases during which I am super enthusiastic about blogging. I write heaps of posts, join linkies, read heaps of posts on other blogs and turn into a social media junky. This is, quite frankly, unsustainable. I was spending too much time on my blog and it began to feel like a chore. I was over-committed. I didn't want blogging to turn into something stressful. I need to enjoy it - that's the reason I blog. (Goodness knows it doesn't pay the bills!)
So during the past week, I took some time out. Not just from blogging, but also from reading blog posts, Twitter and Facebook. I didn't completely cut myself off or anything, but I markedly reduced the time I spent on the computer and phone.
I want to say sorry for not reading and commenting on my favourite bloggers' posts, but I can't. I can't because I'm not actually sorry - I'm thankful. I'm thankful because now I've recharged my blogger batteries.
I am thankful for having time to stop and smell the roses.

I'm thankful for more quality time with Hubby and the MissyMoos. I'm thankful for more time to read books and watch TV shows.
I'm thankful for time drink in the detail and for time to think "big picture" thoughts, instead of just getting by from day to day.

I will continue to blog. I will continue to write. But finding balance is a constant struggle - it requires constant attention and can never be taken for granted. The house of cards can be built up high, but it is delicate and can easily fall.
I am thankful that I have so many choices and so many parts which make up who I am. I am thankful that I have such a loving family and so many wonderful friends who make my life so enjoyable. I am thankful for this time out which has enabled me to make sure blogging remains what I intend it to be - a fun hobby.

18 July 2013

Thankful Thursday: Holiday Fun and Down-Time

Francesca Writes Here

Well, the next school term has begun and we're back into the swing of things. After the craziness that was last week, I thought this would be a good opportunity to be thankful for the calm before the storm: the first week of school holidays and my week off work.


The rain cleared and we had a few glorious sunny winter days. Quiet, play-in-the-backyard-and-don't-have-to-look-at-the-clock days.

Determined not to spend my annual leave days at home doing housework, I also took the MissyMoos for a day out at an animal park. The MissyMoos loved looking at the animals and playing in the playground.

We saw this fella (what would an Aussie animal park be without a big croc?)...
Mmm, what big teeth you have...
...encountered a friendly wombat...

...did a spot of koala spotting...

...and couldn't leave without saying goodbye to our mate the monster croc.

It was great to spend some time with my girls and relax together. I am very thankful.

17 July 2013

Gorgeous Big Girl Hair

When my gorgeous MissyMoo2 (4) got her hair cut recently, her lovely hairdresser braided it for her too.

I love it. I can braid, but not like this. Maybe I should add it to my list of things I want to be good at...


16 July 2013

It Is No Secret - Donna Meehan

Image source

A friend lent me this book. It is signed by the author with a lovely message.

I haven't read an autobiography in a long time, so this book was a change of pace for me. It was also a real eye opener. My only encounters with aboriginal culture are what I learned at school. I really haven't had much exposure to the stories of the stolen generations aside from what I've heard on the news.

Donna was removed from her family in Coonamble NSW at the age of five and placed with foster parents in Newcastle who raised and adopted her. Being suddenly taken from her large and loving family to being an only child in a predominantly white society destroyed her sense of belonging and self worth, all the while being loved by her new family and later, her husband.

Reading Donna's story challenged me emotionally. As a mother - what if my children were taken from me? As a person - how would I feel not fitting in or knowing who I was? As a Christian - her faith seems so deep and true; I could learn so much from her.

Although I mostly read fiction, I love real-life stories. And I love real-life stories with happiness in them. Although Donna's life has contained so much tragedy and loss, she has been loved all her life and she found her family. From there, she was able to heal. Positivity, strength and generosity of spirit shine through in this book and I'm so glad I read it.

Book: Paperback. Borrowed from a friend.
Rating: I have given this 3 stars on Goodreads.
One-liner: Amazing true story. So glad I read this.


15 July 2013

Toddler Bed

In amongst all the school holiday fun (and not-so-fun), MissyMoo3 (21 months) reached another milestone: she moved from cot to toddler bed.

We weren't really planning on moving her any time soon. We were just going to wait and see. The idea of her being able to get out of the toddler bed and wander around was not appealing in the slightest. However, when I saw her get one leg up and completely over the cot rail, the idea of her being able to get out of the cot and fall from the height of the cot rail was less appealing. So, it was time.

I was a little sad about this last. The last time having the cot set up as a cot.

Tears welled up in my eyes as I took the side panels off the cot.

Then I got over myself and got a little excited as I transformed it into a toddler bed.

I'm also just a little proud that I managed to do this by myself while Hubby was at work. Handy ☺

13 July 2013

The Very Nasty Week and My Family Pandemic Plan

Maybe the Fat Cat was right.

We've just come out of the week from...

If you want to read a happy post, go and have a look at Thankful Thursday. But don't read on here.

Friday, Saturday Sunday: So, as you know, the Friday night of the #vvow party, MissyMoo3 (21 months) was up all night with a tummy bug. We cancelled weekend plans and invoked family quarantine procedures. That weekend, she remained sooky, clingy and hard work parenting-wise. Ever the multi-tasker, over the course of that weekend, I developed a head cold.

Monday: My head cold took over my whole body. I had as little energy as I'd had when in the midst of glandular fever 15 years ago. I also felt queasy and had a tummy bug "encounter". I spent the day on the couch, getting up only to feed children and change nappies, and let the TV entertain them for the day. I went to bed straight after dinner and slept for 13 hours straight.

Tuesday: Supposedly my first day back at work after a week's annual leave, I had to call in sick. This also meant cancelling an important training session I was supposed to be running. But at that point, there was no alternative - I physically couldn't do it. Luckily, Nonna came over and looked after the MissyMoos and I spent most of the day sleeping.

Wednesday: I was back at work. I didn't feel 100% in the morning, but by the afternoon, I was back to normal. I wrote a couple of blog posts after dinner and scheduled them for later in the week (just as well). I went downstairs to chat with Hubby and just as I was getting sleepy, MissyMoo2 (4) cried out. Upstairs I went. Sparing you too much detail, I will say that over the course of the night ALL THREE MissyMoos had the vomits. At one point, two of them went for their respective buckets at exactly the same time. I won't say I've seen it all, but Wednesday night really opened my eyes. Literally. I barely slept.

Thursday: I went to bed just after 7am and slept for an hour and a half. Hubby took the day off work to look after the MissyMoos, so after my nap, I logged in at 9:30am to do my work from home day. Surprisingly, I lasted the day. Thank you, coffee.

Somewhere in there, MissyMoo3 also cut a tooth. I can't exactly remember which day it was - it's a bit of a blur.

It turns out that many kids in MissyMoo3's room on her daycare day ended up being sick last week. I don't know if both bouts can be attributed to that, but I definitely think the first round was. So here's what I have to say to any parents with children at daycare:

I know that some circumstances are unforeseen. Sometimes you don't know they're sick until it's too late, I get it. But if you do know, don't chance it. See what can happen? If you're working on a permanent basis for an employer (other than yourself), chances are you have paid sick/carer's leave. Use it. Take the day off, keep your kid at home. Not only will the kid be happier to have down-time when they're not feeling the best, it stops the spread of infection. One little kid is a touch-point for many other people in the community. If a toddler gets sick at daycare, they may have an older sister at a different pre-school (for example) and yet another older sister in primary school (for example). They may also have two parents who live with them and who work in two different workplaces. Those workplaces invariably contain colleagues with their own family members at home, who go to different schools and pre-schools again ... You get the idea.
Many corporates these days have pandemic management plans as part of a robust risk management framework. We have a kind of informal pandemic management plan of our own in casa di Francesca. It goes something like this:
  • Wash hands after touching the Fat Cat;
  • Wash hands after going to the toilet;
  • Wash hands when you look generally grubby;
  • Bathe kids every night (except Friday, we're too tired by the end of the week and who cares anyway?).
During illness:
  • Clean and disinfect buckets as soon as spew is over;
  • Wash soiled bedsheets, towels, clothes at first available opportunity;
  • Cancel all social plans for the next 24 - 48 hours. I'm sorry if I was supposed to catch up with you and haven't seen you for a while. I'm not fobbing you off. I wouldn't make this up. The reason I'm not seeing you is that I wouldn't wish this gastro disgustingness on anyone and I would not be being a good friend to you if I purposely infected you or one of your family members with said illness in the interests of maintaining a social life.
After illness:
  • Restock supplies of disinfectant;
  • Reintroduce dairy to the diet cautiously;
  • Attend to all preventative measures with renewed vigour;
  • Sleep.
Do you have any tips for keeping the lurgies at bay? Seriously, tell me, I don't want them back here any time soon...

12 July 2013

The #vvow Twitter Party That Wasn't

All the preparations were in place. The preparatory blog post had been published, and preparatory tweets tweeted. A decision had been made with respect to beverage choice in the battle of vodka vs whatever. Said beverage choice had been purchased. I was ready to party in my pjs (or rather, my onesie - cosy, but lacking alliteration).

There was just one problem: real life had other plans for me last Friday night. I should have guessed that things were amiss when MissyMoo3 (21 months) had a longer-than-usual nap that afternoon. I had an inkling it might mean she would not be settled and sleeping by the 8pm party start time. I did not even consider the possibility that it could signify something deeper, more disturbing...

MissMoos1&2 (6 & 4) went off to bed last Friday night at their usual bedtime without drama, bless them. I poured my vodka and orange juice and let MissyMoo3 stay up watching one of her dvds (Teletubbies, if you must know), as she had slept so late into the afternoon earlier that day. After a couple of #vvow tweets at the computer, it soon became apparent that it was not a workable situation. MissyMoo3 was getting fussy and sooky. She was climbing all over me. I stepped away from the computer and cuddled my "baby". I took her to bed and sat by her bedside, resting my hand on her back as she grizzled and squirmed. I managed a couple of #vvow tweets, but my heart wasn't in it. I wouldn't be able to happily party in my pjs (onesie) until my MissyMoos were all asleep and I had some time to myself. I was sitting there imagining myself half an hour into the future with my drink on my coaster and my #vvow Twitter stream on my computer, when I heard one of the worst possible sounds you can hear from a child's bed:




Yes, the cowardly Leopold and Felicity had once again visited in the dark. The flick of the light switch revealed my poor, sick child's vulnerable eyes. I immediately felt an outpouring of love for the little person who was suffering in front of me, revulsion at the sight and smell of her bedsheets, guilt at my selfishness for having just wanted her to go to sleep so I could go on a Twitter party, and fatigue at the realisation of the long night we both had ahead of us.

Team Francesca and Hubby (told you he was awesome) kicked into gear as we each did our bit to care and clean. I was able to check my phone occasionally for #vvow updates between clean-ups and cuddles over the course of the night, but instead of #vvow, my mind was preoccupied by vom.

I will spare you any more detail except to say that an eight-hour night of no sleep and continuing parenting duties of a sick one (plus two well ones!) over the weekend triggered a trough in my health from which I have only just fully recovered.

Let's just say that I feel that last Friday night's events have put me in my place and put Twitter in its. The MissyMoos come first. No question. Yes, it was extremely disappointing to be a part of an "event" which I helped create. But it's much more important for me to look after the people I helped create. It's not always going to be a choice between one or the other, but last Friday night, it was. And that's okay.

(If you want to read about this #vvow from someone who actually participated, check out this post.)

11 July 2013

Thankful Thursday: My Husband

Francesca Writes Here

I've devoted a couple of Thankful Thursday snippets to Hubby here and there, but I'm well overdue for a full post about just how thankful I am for this special man.

I don't blog about Hubby a lot, mostly out of respect for his privacy. But he is an integral piece of the Francesca puzzle: my soul-mate, my love, my husband, my best friend in the whole world, not to mention an amazing father to our three MissyMoos.

It's a whole lot of thankful, so I'm going with dot points:

  • I'm thankful that he fell in love with me.
  • I'm thankful for everything he does around the house even after a full day's work.
  • I'm thankful that he can cook and for our Sunday night roast / baked dinner tradition he brought to our family.
  • I'm thankful for the relationship he has with his daughters and the way they adore him.
  • I'm thankful for the way he took over everything the other night when I was too sick to move and ended up sleeping for 13 hours straight.
  • I'm thankful that hubby is so practical, but still with a close eye on our dreams.
  • I'm thankful that we've shared our best times and our worst times together.
  • I'm thankful for the jokes and chats we share and the way we "get" each other.
  • I'm thankful for his kindness.
  • I'm thankful for his strength.
  • I'm thankful for his generosity.
  • I'm thankful for his love.
  • I'm thankful for the past twelve years and thankful in advance for the rest of our lives together.

06 July 2013

The Kite Runner: Khaled Hosseini

This was the Old Ducks' bookclub book for June.

Image Source

I must admit, I approached reading this book with trepidation. A book set in Afghanistan could only contain heartbreak, right?

My sense of foreboding was only heightened by the hints which were dropped in the early chapters, juxtaposed against the picture of contentment and richness painted of a privileged childhood in pre-wartorn Afghanistan.

When the first event of brutality and horror occurred, I wasn't sure if I would want to keep on reading - I didn't like it. But I carried on. And I am glad I did. Hosseini created worlds with his words, which although having never seen or experienced before (thank goodness), I could picture clearly. The pieces of the puzzle that formed this story fit together so well at the end. It was hardly what you could call a happy ending given the events in the novel, but it was one of healing. Not only was a story told, but one person's perspective which the reader follows all the way through was challenged and flipped on its side.

Reading this book was a journey. I think I got a lot out of it. I wouldn't say I enjoyed it. But I don't think that was the point, really.

Book: Paperback. Borrowed from the town library.
Rating: I've given this 4 stars on Goodreads.
One-liner: Tragic, touching tale.

05 July 2013

Francesca's Festa of Favourites - July 2013

Welcome to the second half of the year. Can you believe it? Has it flown for you or dragged on? I'm not sure which camp I fit into right now. I think it depends on my mood.

What I am sure about is that

has now been running for six months.

Thanks to everyone who has linked up theirs or other bloggers' posts. In six months we've had 119 posts linked - it's been an amazing response.

For anyone who's new to the link-up, here's some background: "Festa" in Italian means a celebration, a party. This link-up is a place where you can place links to your favourite posts in a given month, but here's the difference: they don't have to be posts you've written (although they can be). You can link to any post for the month that, for you, has been a must-read, that you're proud of, or that you think is entertaining.

I do add some of the posts. I love being able to use this space to bookmark my favourite blog posts for the month, but more importantly, I love seeing what everyone else likes reading and it makes me smile all dimply-like when other people add their favourites to my festa. So feel free to link up as many of your favourite posts as you like during the course of the month.

(Let me know in the comments if you have trouble with the link and I'll try to fix it at my end. As long as you remember to have ".html" at the end of the URL and the URL is no more than 100 characters, it should work.)

Pick of the June bunch (in my humble opinion)

In the past couple of months I've been choosing one post from the previous month's linked posts to showcase here and I'm continuing this month as I think it's a great way of showing off other bloggers in my own litte corner of blogland. It was hard to choose, as all the linked posts were awesome, and you should check them all out here.

Francesca's June Festa Favourite is:
 Choose Your Own Adventure - Voices of 2013 by Cooker and a Looker

Who didn't love choose your own adventure books as a kid? I used to scour my primary school and town libraries for them and devour them. Then I'd check out all the alternate endings just to see what I'd missed out on. Amanda used this clever method to tell her story about her Kidspot Voices of 2013 weekend.

Now, let's see what delights Francesca's Festa of Favourites can bring us this month. It's linking time ... go!


04 July 2013

Thankful Thursday: Holidays at Home

Hello and welcome to another edition of:

Francesca Writes Here

This week, I haven't had to search far to find my thankful. In fact, I've had to cull a bit so I don't end up with an epic-length post which uses all my blog fodder at once!

Firstly, I just want to say how thankful I am to you lovely linkers - there were nine, yes nine of you last week. Just amazing! Thanks so much for adding your pieces of positivity to the blogosphere. Tell your friends so we can keep making this bigger and better!

My non-blog-life thankful begins with the fact that I am in the midst of a week's annual leave. Ah yes, it's my first block of leave from work all year and I am really appreciating it - particularly as it's also the first week of the winter school holidays and I can spend some quality time with my MissyMoos. I deliberately did not book in any play-dates or set activities for the week. I did not want to replace the school routine with a different kind of busy. Instead, we've been spending time together, doing bits and pieces, having plenty of down time and just hanging out.

The weather for the week didn't start off too well, so my ideas of backyard fun and playground visits were put on hold. Instead, we resorted to this:

Thankfully, before the entire house was completely consumed by craft bits, the sun came out and we could enjoy the great outdoors.

After a morning of trampoline jumping and fairy garden building (and winter sun soaking for mum), I took MissyMoo3 (21 months) inside for some cuddles (one perk of having a teething little one) while her big sisters (6 & 4) carried on playing. I love being able to leave the bigger MissyMoos to their own devices with play and seeing what they come up with. This time they found some snails and built snail gardens for them:

I just love free time and free play - probably more so because we don't get all that much of it in everyday life. It's so good to be able to take a step back from crazy-busy life - even if it's only for a week - to recharge the batteries, physical and mental.

 What are you thankful for?

(Housekeeping: to link up your posts, just add the name of your post, your email address and post URL below. Your post URL can't be more than 100 characters for this linky thing to work. Your email address won't be published, but it will help me get in touch with you if the link isn't working.)

02 July 2013

Virtual Vodka or Whatever - the July 2013 Edition

Okay, those of you doing Dry July, don't bother reading this post - you won't like what you see.

Do you remember a while ago I blogged about #vvow? And I hoped to write the debrief post on it within two months of the event?

Well, it was held on 17 May 2013, so it is within two months. Kicked that goal!

#vvow stands for "Virtual Vodka or Whatever". It's a Twitter party which we've held a couple times now. The first one held in February was just plain old Virtual Vodka. Here is the info post and here is the debrief post. The second party, which was on 17 May, expanded to be more inclusive by being Virtual Vodka or Whatever. It also doubled as a Eurovision party!

I rate it as a success with 15 participants and even a tentative convert to the Eurovision cause (despite earlier being horrified at the discovery of the Eurovision subculture).

So now the thirst has returned and it's time for the next one. Virtual Vodka or Whatever is back!

When: Friday 5 July 2013 8pm Australian Eastern Standard Time
Where: Twitter #vvow

Now, as the party includes "Whatever", you can do "whatever" you like in the beverage department. Even you Dry Julyers can come along, but we won't be reducing discussion of alcohol-related topics for your benefit (you were warned!).

If there are a few people involved in conversations, it could get very hard to say anything within the character limit if we're including everyone's Twitter handles (i.e. @FrancescaBlogs etc). The easiest way to keep up with the conversations would be to search #vvow. Then you'll have a list of tweets which include #vvow (just remember to include the hash tag in your tweets).

So, if you're willing and able on Friday night, please drop in with a #vvow tweet. Say hello to @kal20m and @FrancescaBlogs while you're at it! We'll be watching the #vvow stream with delight!

Tweet you later ☺

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...