Saturday, May 28, 2011

Our Resident Artist

Sarah has discovered canvas!  She is inspired by 'modern art' and has created a beautiful  print for her new room.

Holding her new art just above her new wall colour.

Elizabeth was so impressed with this piece, that she requested Sarah create something for her wall in her new room. This is the result. (For those of you who aren't completely familiar with our family, Elizabeth is called 'E' by both Matthew and Sarah)

So here we have the E for Elizabeth, created in Elizabeth's new colours.

Well done Sarah.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Breakdown is the beginning of Breakthrough (Matthew Ferry)

Tonight I ran out of energy and the smallest thing that normally I would blow-up about caused me to breakdown.

I have the most amazing children, they help me so much.  When I think that at age 21, 17 and 13 they treat the world with respect, are polite, funny and gentle kind people - I swell with joy & pride.  BUT, like all kids, they sometimes just don't manage to do what they are asked - well at least not as well as Mum would like.

Tonight it was Matthew's turn - I had asked him to clean the pool - he had done it, but not really well enough and as I stood re-doing his chore, I ran out of energy.  I was angry, tired and had no idea where to turn.  I kept my cool however, finished the chore and then went inside to make my bed (had washed my sheets today).  I went to the linen cupboard to find fresh sheets and because, I have been working so hard, I hadn't got around to sorting it out and tidying it up.  I tried to find a set, and ended up losing it and pulling out every single sheet, towel, table-cloth in the cupboard and boy oh boy - I have a lot of linen.

I began to cry and cry and cry and cry.  I refused to talk to Matthew, to Sarah, to Elizabeth and eventually Sarah fetched my Mum.  Sometimes, that is all a girl needs  - a hug from her Mum.

So back to the title of my post - "Breakdown is the beginning of Breakthrough" 

I have been listening to Matthew Ferry and 'Ridiculous Bliss' and he is inspiring.  Tonight I experienced the breakdown and a few hours later I have the breakthrough. I needed to cry, to explode and let go all the tiredness and frustration; so that I can go on.

This has been a long post, and if you have reached this point you will know that I am fine.  I have had my tears, made friends with my beautiful son, taken my daughters to the supermarket to buy some yummy comfort food (chocolates and ice-cream) and am about to head to bed.

I wish you all the joy and the success of finding your break-through from any breakdown that you experience.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

We got framed

 An early morning photo, before we started - both looking fresh.

I think it goes this way.

That looks about right

Every job needs a few 'bums' working at it.

All hands to the frame

Standing in the doorway

Dad and I started this morning with a plan to get the frame up today - it was a little ambitious, but by 4pm we had succeeded.  Only one major measuring fault, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise and the wall frame is built - oh yes, we still need some noggins (those are the cross bits that give you something to which you can nail the wallboard.

Today was a good day, Sarah helped Granddad cut and measure wood and the whole family helped put the frame up in place.  Now only the gyprock walls, cornice along the ceilings, plastering the joints, sanding, wooden skirting boards, painting, wooden floorboards, etc, etc, etc

Oh my I think this project is huge.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sarah's Art

Sarah has always loved drawing, painting and art in all its forms - music and dance included.

Recently she drew a beautiful pencil drawing of an African Hoepoe (Bird) which I will post tomorrow. Today inspired by a message from a friend to 'play' I bought her three canvases, a few cheap brushed and some oil paints from our local $2 store.  This was inspired by a couple of abstract pieces of art that she had wanted to buy to decorate her new room ( which is going to be red, black & white).  Off handedly I said - well why don't you paint some yourself - her face lit up and instead of missing the moment, I grabbed it with both hands.

The results are the paintings above.  Two interesting ones and a spectacular Yin/Yan combination.  Now Matthew is commisioning her to paint him a canvas for his room. 

Way to go girl.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My family makes me proud

In the News
Mom and Dad were photographed and interviewed a couple of weeks ago for an article in our local Sunday Mail newspaper. This weekend is the Working with Wood show and to promote women joining the activities, this beautiful article was published.  It is such a lovely photo of both Mom and Dad.  Dad is in his workshop surrounded with his carvings and Mom is working on her Fairy that she is making for Elizabeth.  I am so proud of you both.

And of course I am also proud of my children. Today they helped me stip the two carpets from the room; old, pink, and not too dirty carpets, but still wooden floorboards will be much nicer.  Then we had to remove the wooden nail strips from the floors - a rather dangerous task.  I am most proud of their skills with the hammer and chisels and the positive, helpful attitude they all showed in helping out.  This room is now nearly ready for painting and floors. This coming week, we move onto room number two. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's all about love and trust

Sleepy children
Cleo has been a fascination to the dogs since she arrived. Bella is quite calm and settled with her, but Abby is having a problem. Tonight however, after Abby went to bed, Sarah brought a sleepy Cleo out to join her and a sleepy Bella on the couch.
A little curiosity

 At no stage did Cleo show any fear of Bella, and Bella showed only curiosity of Cleo. In fact Cleo even had her paw on Bella's back and Bella sniffed Cleo's ears without any reaction.
The final success of the evening was Cleo quite happily turning her back on Bella, while Bella watched curiously on.  Sarah is doing so well with her calm energy, helping her two pets to bond together.

What great girls.  Now we need to just help Abby to adjust as well.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Day Out

Yesterday morning I left the house - just left it all for the day.

I needed to get away from everything.  My head kept telling me that I had so much to do and as Dad was away at the Working with Wood show - I should use the time to do all the household chores that I had been neglecting.

Instead I went out for the day.

I bought the undercoat for the walls and then went shopping with Elizbeth and finally sat in the car for an hour reading, while she attended her lecture. Bliss.

I found myself stressed last night at what I had not achieved, but after loading 'Dances with Wolves' and 'Out of Africa' soundtracks onto my Ipod - and falling asleep dreaming of the African and American plains, I have woken invigorated and refreshed today.

So listening to my soul yesterday, really worked; and today my mind can get back into gear.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Something different again

I am not sleeping - surprise, surprise!

I am one of the luckiest people in the world in that I 'normally' sleep very well.  I fall asleep in the middle of conversations and in TV advert breaks and then rest happily for between 8-10 hours a night. It is bliss.

However, the first night that Ivan is away on a trip I normally don't sleep too well, but it settles down; this time however, I am still not sleeping.

I am thinking, planning, thinking, renovating, thinking, and aching - oh yes, don't forget the aching.  My feet are sore and I have discovered new muscles that I didn't know existed.

Last night I gave up on attempting to sleep and scrapbooked for a few hours. I love digital scrapbooking. I could sit in bed, have my laptop and listen to Josh Groban. I achieved about 30 pages of our LA trip - felt good to remember relaxing.

Today I am off to buy some paint and take Elizabeth to university - but at the moment I am indulging in a few minutes in bed, watching the news and writing this Blog.

Aah life is great in the 21st Century.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A diversion from Renovations


The monster of countless movies, stories and tales and yet nothing like the 'beautiful' novel by Mary Shelley.

Elizabeth has urged me to read this book for ages, but first university reading and many other chores have prevented me doing so.  However, I recently picked it up and today, just minutes ago finished it.

What an evocative, beautiful, stirring and thought provoking book.  Frankenstein is the monster, not the monster that he creates - who is nameless and horrific.  If you want to learn something about yourself, about human nature and about love - I highly recommend you read Frankenstein.

Now back to the renovations - building something from nothing, with no knowledge.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Home renovation joke

Two lrishmen are hammering floorboards down in a house.
Paddy picks up a nail, realises it's upside down & throws it away.
He carries on doing this until Murphy says, "Why are you throwing them away?"
"Because they're upside down," says Paddy.
"You daft prat," replies Murphy, "save 'em for the ceiling!!"

Thanks Mom for sharing this with me - it gave me a smile at the end of a long day of renovations.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Stupendous Sunday

On top of the world, or at least in the roof.
 I climbed into the roof space to check where we needed to drill through to attach the ceiling board. Our first board had gone up easy, but our second one, the markings were off - no wonder they had placed the 'noggin' (small cross-piece of wood) in crooked.  I am learning a whole new vocaubulary as well as how to use various tools.
Elizabeth lends her height.
 Having Elizabeth home today was excellent as she had the height to hold the board up for Dad while he screwed it to the beams.  This is in the room that is going to be Elizabeth's new room, where we took out the original cupboard. So we finished both rooms today.

Beautiful sunshine outside to mark and cut the boards.

Big room sealed in - walls and ceilings
Matt's new room is going to be huge.  We were very successful getting it all finished and cleaned.  Now we have to clear the rooms, both of them. 

Elizabeth's room again.
So what is next - well  - we are not sure :)

First we have to get the cornice all cut and glued up, then we have to clean up the boards and plaster the joins and gaps, then all the furniture has to be removed and the walls sanded.  Oh dear that is going to be a mess.

After that, well we will probably paint, and lay the floorboards. Of course, we still have to create a passage into Elizabeth's new room, so it is a lot of work away.

I must admit that although it is very hard work, it is good to be working with my Mom and Dad again, we have done it for so many years, that it feels normal.

Mom, thanks for looking after the cooking these past couple of days, also for doing my shopping and ironing.

Sarah, thank you for your help and today, Matt I am glad you got down to doing your school assignments. 

So, I guess at the end of a successful weekend, we have made great progress.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday success

Today there was just Dad and I working, Elizabeth was out at the Newsagency and Matthew was at training.  Mom was doing the grocery shopping and Sarah had a friend over.  It worked out quite well though as the space wasn't too big and we had a system in place.
Wall space ready for the board

End of a successful morning.

After a few hours of fiddling and fitting we had two holes filled, and tomorrow we will cover in the ceiling and do the cornice. Then we will have finished one room.  The next task isn't isn't too large, but a bit fiddly.

I am also thinking of hiring a container for a couple of months to store all our furniture, so that we have a clear space to work. It will also make living in the house a little easier. So wait for the next photos.

Mess and Dust Angels

Next step of our renovation has been to remove the cupboards separating Matthew and Sarah's old rooms - to make one very, very large room for Matthew.
Yesterday we took down the last of the plaster board and ceiling board and cleaned it all up. Elizabeth, Matthew and Sarah all helped.
Give a Boy a hammer

Getting into the swing of things
 I am getting really good at using the hammer and chisel and am enjoying learning all these new skills
I guess this is called 'brown-nosing'
 To help keep Dad on the ladder, Mum was holding him - this sight was so funny I had to run for the camera - she kept saying " I hope he doesn't fart"
Power Tool Girl
The power sander really sped things up - it created so much dust though - oh my goodness - should have taken down the curtains first. Oh well, lots tidying up and cleaning is going to be needed.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Post No 2.

Sarah and Ivan (with Cleo)

Matthew with Ivan (making up food for the birds)

Elizabeth with Ivan (and of course Cleo)
These are the other wonderful reasons that I celebrate Mother's Day. My beautiful husband Ivan, who gave me the gift of a family. From the day he met me, he knew that I came along with a wish for children and not for a second did he hesitate to fulfill that wish (Grin . . . yes we had fun fulfilling it).

21 years ago today I celebrated my first Mother's Day - my Elizabeth was just a few months old and each year since has been filled with love and joy on this special day.  But, for me Mother's Day is just one day a year and my life is filled with this special JOY - every single day. 

So to my beautiful husband and my wonderful children - thank you for allowing me to enjoy this wonderful day.

This is the reason that I get to celebrate Mother's Day

My stunning Mother.
My lovely Mom is my special friend; she is always here for me and over the years we have shared so many good times, a few bad and some amazing adventures together.

I know that when I call out - she is always there.  She has taught me to be the mother that I am today. I know that her example in life is why I am happy - as she always says "Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again."  Yes, Mom it still irritates me - but I do just that.

Tonight she is hosting our lovely Mother's Day dinner, she has invited us down to share a Roast Pork, her yummy roast potatoes and veges - Yumm - (She makes the best roast dinner in the world)

So today instead of celebrating my own Motherhood and my beautiful children, I am proud to share my Mother with you all. She is the BEST.

Mother and Daughter
 I am looking a little worse for wear, ready for work, while my stunning Mother glows beside me.
Something to read

Thursday, May 5, 2011

And So it Begins

We had a built-in Wardrobe
Yesterday I spoke to Dad about coming up this morning to see what we needed to do to begin our renovations and alterations.  Our first task was to remove a lovely built-in cupboard, that although is perfect, is in the wrong place - making the room narrow.

I thought it would be a morning of looking and deciding, but I should have known better.  Before I knew it the doors were off and we were stripping plasterboard.

Covered in Plasterboard dust
 The contents of the cupboard ended up on my bed and scattered around the house as we pulled down walls and frames.
Examining what is next

Space cleared and cleaned ready for the next assault.

After we took down the cupboard we realised that there was now a gap in the wall where a certain young kitten could easily fit - so an improvised plastic barrier will hopefully keep her out - otherwise we will be taking down all the walls to find her. 

It is going to be a slow, messy process for the next 4-6 months as we take down walls and build new ones.  I am getting Dad to teach me to use the tools and also to allow me to tackle the work myself.  It is one way that I can learn.

Of course, it does mean that not much else gets done, so children are taking over the household chores for me.  Matt did some ironing, Sarah helped hang out washing a packed & unpaced the dishwasher. We will save so much money doing it ourselves and have the satisfaction of a job perfectly done.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Have you taken your MEDS today?

I have been listening to a new audio series by Guy Ferry called 'Ridiculous Bliss' - it is funny and inspiring and one of his ideas that struck a chord that I thought I would share is that we should take our MEDS daily.

Now what does it stand for - well M - Meditation; E- Exercise; D - Diet; S - Sleep.

Well if all those things are working well, then you probably are experiencing Blissful happiness.  Most of us in the Western world, don't do so well on at least one of those if not all of them.

He also talks about the 'Drunken Monkey' - this is the mind chatter that lives in our head and is a leftover relic from our days of 'survival mode' - in other words situations are dangerous, so we should fight or flight. 

Most of you reading this blog have long passed survival mode - you are in improvement mode, but still the Drunken Monkey keeps working.  If someone annoys you in a traffic jam, then your Drunken Monkey comes out and attacks, if someone is mean to you then your Drunken Monkey tells you to flee.  Isn't it an interesting thought that if we think of our thoughts and behaviours as those of a Drunken Monkey who is just trying to help us survive - then maybe we will view the world in a different way. 

I will try and share more of this idea tomorrow or in another post.  If you are interested in learning more from Guy Ferry yourself, go ahead - his series is called Achieving Ridiculous Bliss and is really funny and interesting as well as informative.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama Bin Laden

Ten years ago this September 11th, I flew into Los Angeles airport on the very last plane allowed to land. I was in the USA on that grave day and I experienced along with the American people the spirit of unity, sadness, fear and despair that they felt.

My beautiful husband had been in New York just 2 days previously and for nearly 12 hours I was unable to contact anyone to let them know that I was safe on the ground.

To this day I still take the time to remember September 11th, I have been to Ground Zero, I have stood at the site and I have remembered.

When the news we released just 2 hours ago that the US Special Forces had killed Osama Bin Laden, I must admit that I celebrated. He was an evil man, an educated, thinking, clever, yet Evil Man.  He plotted the deliberate death of thousands and although his death will never bring them back, it is good that justice has been done.

Does that sit well, with my belief of 'forgiveness for all' - no it doesn't.  Should I have felt relieved and pleased? No I shouldn't have, but I am human.  I will tonight say a prayer for his soul and ask God to show him the love and mercy that he could have attained.

Tonight I will remember the victims of Sept 11th and know that they will all rest a little easier.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Day Two

Cleopatra has made her presence felt in our house.  Abby and Bella are both so curious, of course we are having to keep her separated from them at the moment and that is driving them crazy.  Cleo has hissed and spat at them a few times through the fly-screen door, sending Bella running for the hills and Abby even more excited to get inside.

We have spent today sorting out and cleaning Sarah's new room - she was supposed to move into it when the renovations were complete, but it is the safest and best place for a kitten, so is in there now. She has been wonderful, even though last night she didn't sleep a wink.  Even when Cleo was asleep, she was awake, worrying about her - welcome to the world of "Mommyhood" Sarah.

Off to explore

Everyone loves Me

Even Matthew who didn't want another pet.
So now we settle into our routine of getting a cat introduced into the house.

The one good thing is that today I did the same amount of de-cluttering that I would normally achieve in a month - "Necessity is the mother of Invention"

I guess like getting Abby without a fenced in garden, Bella on a whim and Cleo without any planning, and they all are wonderful, this is the way we get things done.