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More Father’s Should Do Things Like This

Have you seen this video? It’s recently been doing the rounds on the internet and the reception has been a combination of support and negativity.

It’s about a dad who wants to create a special memory for his young daughter – by taking her on her first ‘date’. He documents the day and launched it as a Father’s Day tribute recently.

Some people have labelled it as ‘creepy’, ‘wrong’ or ‘inappropriate’ but had he not used the word ‘date’ perhaps this wouldn’t be so. Or sadly enough, were it a mother taking her son on his first ‘date’ there may be a lot more support.

In my opinion, this is just wrong!

This dad should be commended on wanting to show his daughter how precious she is and give her such a cherished memory of what is simply a daddy-daughter day out. It is lovely!

It saddens me that such a beautiful video, filled with nothing but love and good intentions can be received so poorly by so many people. And perhaps this is in part due to their own less-favourable childhood memories, or the fear that so many people live in these days that something such as this cannot be innocent and filled with only good intention.

Father’s should be encouraged to have such strong bonds with their children. Don’t you think?

Shaped Sandwich Cutters

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It can be challenging sometimes to get kids to eat certain foods… or at least to keep a variety of foods on the menu. My daughter would happily eat cheese sticks and bananas all day if we let her. With a side of rice perhaps.

We recently had a chance to try out a fun sandwich cutter to help add some novelty to meal time. Our first use, we used it to cut up a piece of toast. You can see the cutter above – a dog and dog house.

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And above is the result. What works well is that it cuts the crusts right off because for some reason, little people seem somewhat adverse to crusts a lot of the time.

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And the cheeky little miss enjoying her shaped toast (complete with peanut butter rather than the usual Vegemite… this is Australia). She loved the dog shape and ate him up in a flash. After some play time across the high chair though.

The cutters can be used to create shaped sandwiches too so can be fun for kids school lunches as well as meals at home.

This particularly cutter is from Cheeky Chuckles in Australia RRP $6.95. There are other fun shapes available too and other great products for kids.

What do you do to add some fun to your kids meal times?

Kids Make Us Crazy… But It’s Okay

Being a mum (or dad) is the best!

Nothing comes close to the joy it brings. It pushes you over the edge of happiness and makes you wonder what point life had before kids came along (…well maybe not so extreme but it really is very nice).

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Yet sometimes kids drive us a little crazy. They like to push our boundaries and test our patience.

And this starts early.

When those toddler tantrums begin, new challenges follow. Suddenly you’ve got a little person having a complete melt down because you didn’t let them stand with the fridge door open for another 10 minutes, touching everything but choosing nothing. Or crying because you can’t pick them up right this second because you are carrying 28 grocery bags to avoid making a second trip to the car.

Pretty minor stuff. And usually over pretty quickly.

Then there’s the really frustrating stuff. Pulling your hair or biting you because your yelps of pain give them the giggles. Throwing toys all around the room as soon as you’ve finished tidying up. Or the current number one annoying habit in our house – turning off the cable TV box or surround sound volume mid show. Sometimes in the middle of a really good bit. Just to get a reaction out of you.

Sometimes you want to scream. Maybe you even want to cry. And that’s okay. You are human!

Parenting is hard work. It’s rewarding work, but there is no denying it does test us at times. Feeling frustrated sometimes is expected. And it will happen again. Probably even after they are grown adults with their own kids to drive them crazy. It’s just the way it goes.

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But you know what… when they are doing these things, they are also learning. Learning the cause and effect of their actions. Learning how to get their own way and testing the boundaries on what they can get away with. Perhaps they are bored and seeking new ways to entertain themselves. Either way… their intent isn’t bad.

All these moments of craziness are signs your children are simply growing up…

Band Tours & Cat Farewells

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When I was 16 my sister arrived at our house one day with a surprise Father’s Day present for Dad. A Siamese cat.

He had always loved Siamese cats and they had a few back many years before when we lived in Victoria. However it was an unexpected gift and at first we worried if it would perhaps not work out.

The cats’ name was Villain. She came with her name… yes I did say ‘her’. It didn’t take long to see that it suited her perfectly. She had a very unique personality right from the start. Initially that personality was antisocial, as she was too scared to come out of the corner of the bathroom and freaked out when we pat her. But she warmed up fairly quickly.

We were a 1 cat family before Villain and her arrival put our other cat Felix in a bit of a bad mood for a while. But she grew to accept her. I wouldn’t say she grew to love Villain, but they both knew who was boss and so it worked. Every so often we caught them snuggled up together back to back, pretending the other wasn’t really there.

Villain became my shadow early on. I left a room… she would be right behind me. I sat down… she would be curling herself up in my lap. She was not adverse to being carried around like a baby either, on her back, snuggled up in my arms.

She loved to play. We had one of those cat toys on a string attached to a stick which would send her flying across the room and high in the air in an impressive form of cat acrobatics. There may have been a couple of furniture collisions at times… but she would shake it off and be straight back at it.

We once trialled life as a 3 cat family. It didn’t work. Villain couldn’t cope with the extra competition her new pure white fur ball roomie created. She stalked her at every opportunity and on more than one occasion we had to rescue Kira from Villain’s wrath (I did say her name was appropriate.. but she was rarely cruel). Kira went to a new home and peace was restored.

Villain was a little bit unique. When patting her she would stick her rump up in the air, head down near the ground. We used to joke that she was a tad bit ‘horny’ as she also went on heat every couple of weeks and would love rubbing up against anything she could find. Turns out she had 2 sets of reproductive organs… 2 uteruses etc, so when she was de-sexed, she ended up with a big saggy belly from all the parts they removed. It added to her quirkiness… a chubby Siamese.

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Letting it all hang out

A couple of years later when my now husband entered her life, Villain almost traded me up in his presence. She had a new lap to snuggle in and she became the ‘other woman’ in his life. I won’t lie… we did at times compete for her affections! But she still left the room when I did… so I took that as a win, regardless of where she went for snuggles and pats.

Many years later we moved out of home. The cats came with us. Villain because everyone knew she couldn’t stand to be without me and Felix, because she liked to claw the furniture and Mum wasn’t impressed! We all lived happily in our miniscule rental for a couple of years.

In 2009, we moved into our own home. The cats came. All was perfect in our world.

My husband plays in a heavy metal band in his spare time. When he would travel with the band on tours, I had my two fur babies to keep me company. It helped a lot not feeling so alone. Particularly the tours soon after an attempted break in. I even let Villain sleep on my chest for months after that, feeling more secure in her closeness. She thought she had it pretty good too.

Then a tour came along back in November 2012. Felix was 16 and her health had a sudden sharp decline. That night Villain and I laid beside Felix for hours, watching her chest heaving and struggled breathing. Villain slept in the doorway that night, her eyes drifting between me in the bed and Felix in the front room it opened into. She wasn’t letting either of us out of her sight.

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Sometimes friends, always companions

That next day we farewelled Felix. I have written about that sad experience recently. One of the hardest things other than the actual goodbye was making the decision to let her go on my own, with my husband away on tour, feeling guilty in his absence.

Move forward a year, we had a baby. Villain had never been fond of children or babies. We believe it to be one of the main reasons her previous owners sold her, as she was 1 when my sister brought her for Dad. We always knew the day would come when we may need to consider our options as Villain wouldn’t cope so well with our changing household.

She was also not very fond of her new brother – our very crazy Devon Rex boy, Dexter. Too much energy for an aging Siamese. So back to Mum and Dad’s she went.

It was okay. She got spoilt rotten in her 1 cat household. Maybe a different type of special treatment than she got with us as there was no sleeping in Mum & Dad’s bed. But suddenly she had cat beds with her own heat packs in winter, to help the aching bones as the arthritis kicked in. And due to her own deteriorating health with age, expensive renal cat food along with cooked chicken breast and steak. Yep, she was okay!

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Not impressed by this strange critter

When we visited, she would cry for days after we left apparently. Drove my folks a little crazy. But it got better. She did still love the extra big cuddles and kisses she got from us when we visited though, and my parents even moved 5 minutes away about a year ago, making those visits more frequent.

Recently her health got worse.

Mum had told me of occasions recently she thought we were nearing the end. The aching body that became an effort to move sometimes. The fading volume of her meow. And just a couple of weeks ago, a day of vomiting and mystery illness. Overall, things were getting more concerning so it was time to have her checked out.

9AM this morning she went to the vet. Early this afternoon the vet rang to say her kidneys were failing and there was not a lot they could do…

My parents were here when we had the bad news. I went with them to say goodbye as I couldn’t bare not seeing her once more. Villain was such a big part of my teenage years and beyond.

There were a lot of tears… even watery eyes from Dad. So rare my Dad shows his emotions. A sign of how loved this family pet was. The tears are still flowing.

I chose to hold Villain as she went to sleep forever. I guess a part of me is guilty I couldn’t bring myself to do the same for Felix. She was in my arms, wrapped up in a towel for warmth when I gave her a final kiss on the top of the head and told her I love her and I’m sorry we have to say goodbye. She was gone so quick. I felt her go limp in my arms, hoping drifting off to peace and comfort after a long and happy life that had more recently turned to discomfort.

No matter how much you know they are in pain and potentially suffering, it breaks my heart to have to make the choice to say goodbye to them like that. It feels so cruel… but it’s also cruel to prolong suffering. I didn’t have to make the decision this time. It doesn’t make it much easier though.

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The other woman

This weekend my husband is away on tour with his band. Again I farewelled a much loved pet in his absence. I’m sure he has some guilt that it’s the second time. And I’m sure I have a little bit of resentment too. But no one predicted the timing for either of these farewells.

I maybe doesn’t help he just sent me a text message with a photo of char grilled ramen he is eating for dinner… while I sit here blubbering my eyes out 😦

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Just hanging out

I sincerely hope it is a long time coming before I have another goodbye like this. Sometimes it makes having pets seem like a scary choice, but for every tear that is shed on their passing, there are 1000 happy memories making it all worth it.

Goodbye Villain, you beautiful and funny friend and family member. I will always treasure you in my heart!

 

Weekly Photo Challenge – Extra, Extra

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 For this weeks photo prompt of course I initially thought of travel photographs as I often do when I am joining in the photo challenges. But I stopped.

For this prompt I decided closer to home was the better choice.

Images that capture emotion and joy are the something extra I love most. Like the photo above of my daughter at her first birthday and my mum in the background. I love that photo!

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Cutting the first birthday cake.

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Admiring the finer details of the Christmas tree.

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It’s these details that put the extra, extra into life!

Or simply a moment of happiness captured.

First Fever

 

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It can take such little time for an average day to turn upside down when you are a parent.

Yesterday was such a day in our household. It started like any other day. We slept late, got up, got ready, went shopping, got craft supplies… all that normal stuff.

It’s when got home that things slowly started to turn in an unexpected direction.

Our daughter was so tired, almost falling over due to her attempts to fight fatigue. We set her up nice and comfy on her kiddie couch in front of the cartoons while unpacking groceries. She didn’t go to sleep but lay there for an hour or so, eyelids heavy, fighting sleep, yet barely acknowledging her surroundings.

I started to worry.

Her forehead was a little warm but not to the point of concern. She perked up a bit for some food and a play, then gave her dad extra long hugs and 4 kisses when he left for work.

As per our usual afternoon ritual once daddy goes to work, she settled into my lap for her arvo nap and dozed on and off for hours. Even when she woke she showed no interest in getting up and about like her usual active self.

I felt her forehead. This time it was hot.

Out came the complicated digital thermometer, with frustrating attempts for her to comply. Temperature was sitting at 38.2 degrees Celsius . Above the norm, but below the point of alarm thankfully.

Next battle was kids Panadol, which she hates. Maybe a quarter made it in her mouth via the distributor syringe, the rest spat out down her now bare chest and her cringing in disgust at the taste.

I then spent the next couple of hours checking and rechecking her temperature, feeling her forehead, making sure there was no rash or other symptoms of concern, emailing hubby progress reports and just being a worried mamma.

As a parent, there is nothing that makes you feel more helpless than seeing your child sick and not knowing why or what you can do to fix it. You want to absorb all their pains and ailments and make them well, but instead you use the power of your love, giving endless cuddles and kisses and offering them anything they want. Even if the only thing you can convince them to eat for dinner is a square of Cadbury chocolate and 2 spoonfuls of yoghurt. Better than nothing.. right?

Through a restless night sleep, she ended up sleeping mostly on my chest or snuggled against me, head on my shoulder. I must have felt her forehead, neck, chest, limbs, so many times through the night.

Yet along comes 9:30 Friday morning and up she wakes full of smiles and laughter, ready to face the day. Her temperature is close to normal now, although she is still not quite herself. It’s little past midday here and she’s already fallen asleep in my lap after a bit of TV, playtime and food.

My poor darling girl…

Yet I can definitely say I am relieved to have made it to 18 months before we experienced her first fever. This is only her second illness… the first being an overnight tummy bug in Vietnam (and yes that was horribly scary).

It also now means I have a double batch of my latest recipe experiment, Cherry Ripe & Turkish Delight Slice, as I meant to take it to work for a function today. Never made it to work so now wayyyyy too much indulgent yumminess in my house!

Yes, I will blog the recipe sometime soon 😉

Have you had a worrying parent moment recently? How do you cope with the stress when a loved one is unwell?