Wednesday, February 29, 2012

...and now a return to our normal programming...

The chicken house is finished! I attached the hinges and door latches yesterday, and it's now snug and weather proof. Which is lucky, because it's absolutely pouring here.

It was lovely working on the coop yesterday. I dragged it in under our big eaves to stay out of the rain, which fell in drumming sheets just beyond my work area. The girls were napping peacefully, exhausted from a morning at the science centre. I sanded and drilled, hammered and problem solved, and had some space to think. There was a much needed mental clarity that came from working with my hands, without the distractions of the radio or tv (or small children!)

Given my low skill level for wood working, I think this peace was only achievable because I was looking for a practical, not beautiful outcome from my efforts. There were a fair few false starts and work arounds required. As a wise man once told me, "once you've screwed something up twice, the third time you're an expert." I am now an expert hinge hanger, and I can also caulk up unwanted screw holes like a champion...

I am very satisfied with the finished product. I was so excited that I dragged it straight around to the chicken pen, even in the pouring rain. Then, when it was bedded in and solid, I tucked myself up small, crawled inside and shut the door. (It is only a coop for two chickens, not exactly roomy.) The soft light slanted in through the slatted door, the rain beat on the roof, and I was in my own snug world.

I almost convinced myself not to get chickens, and just keep it as my secret hideaway at the bottom of the garden. I was only stopped by the thought of the neighbors calling the men in white coats ("Where's mum?" "Oh, she's hiding in the chicken coop in the yard...") Actually, knowing my neighbors, they'd probably want a go too. We'd need to work out a schedule!

Monday, February 27, 2012


There is a house in my community that is full of children's toys. A tiny table and chair. Soft teddies and balls and a farmyard set.

But there are no babies. No kids. Just two parents with empty arms.

My dear friends have lost another baby, their third late term pregnancy loss. They buried their first, a full term, beautiful, perfect baby daughter in a tiny white coffin. They lost their second a year and a day ago. A little boy, also perfect, but too young for this world. And now, again, today, they lost another baby daughter. They have been waiting, praying and hoping. She has been on bed rest, struggling through mind numbing boredom and constant fear that this baby will be torn from her womb, too. He has been working full time, studying part time, and nursing her with gentle, constant love and attention.

Now the worst has happened. Their precious child came into this world this morning and stayed for just fifteen minutes, then left to spend eternity with her brother and sister. Her mother and father left the hospital with empty arms.

Her parents are devastated. Their family are devastated. The whole, tight knit community is devastated.

And I am left searching for meaning, for reason. Why? WHY? If there is a God with a bigger plan, how could this possibly be part of it? How can continuously breaking the hearts of two devout people be necessary to achieve the outcome He wants? Surely an all powerful deity, this God of Love, could find an easier, kinder way?

I wish I had a clever line to end this on, something to wrap it up neatly and leave you on a positive, but I don't. I just don't. I guess real life is just never neat.


When I was a kid, we camped often and much. Probably about once a year when I was young (starting VERY young), and then as I grew my friends and I caught the hiking bug and would sneak away for a couple of days whenever we could.

When I left home, I would "camp" with work, but it was very different. The incredible, heart catching beauty of the sun rising over the rolling hills on a misty morning was still there, but it was tempered by the reality of twenty hour working days and a whole heap of digging. I really missed fun, family camping.

I had been given a new tent for mother's day two years ago, but between Mr Accident still "camping" often with work and the young babies, we never used it. Finally, one weekend when Mr Accident was busy, I decided enough was enough and rang my mother... and together we camped.

We went to Wombeyan Caves. I would describe it's verdant loveliness, the interesting caves, the friendly kangaroos and wombats and the great amenities, but then you might want to visit and ruin it's best feature - the peace and quiet. So, instead, I will just share some pictures of our adventures.

Bug helping to set up the tent.
Note muddy pants and bare feet. We go a little feral when we go bush.
Bug was very drawn by the muddy road puddles.
 I spent most of my time running after her to rescue her from herself.
Just before we left on the last day I let her have a little, supervised play.
(The road would probably see about one car an hour, at 20km/h, it was really very safe.)

Look at that happy, muddy face. Baby bliss.

Night routine - very important for babies.
Especially muddy babies!
They both loved their al fresco baths.

They loved their stories, too. This is us snuggled up beside the camp fire.

Exploring the cave.
It was very well lit, we didn't really need our head torches,
but they were fun anyway.
Bug is riding on my back here,
you can see a better picture of her backpack in my sidebar. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012


There's something lovely about surrendering to being sick.

Sure, the cracked, runny nose and the stuffy head suck, and trying to get the baby to sleep while coughing is hard, but these aren't exactly life threatening. Instead, I'm just sick enough to justify tracksuit pants, home delivered food and a couch day. Usually I'm all about well ironed cotton dresses, food from scratch and no-tv-before-dinner-Peanut-please-don't-ask-again! So it's lovely to just relax and take the easy route.

I started building the chook house yesterday. I didn't want it to be an expensive folly so I headed to the local recycling centre shop for supplies. Some chicken wire, a louvered door, four lengths of timber, a big plastic drum, some PVC pipe and a mower catcher for a nesting box (plus some bowls and a little chair that the kids picked) all for the low price of $15. An absolute bargain! To put it in perspective, the timber alone would have cost $15 at a hardware store. Plus I get to feel good about recycling. I'm stoked! Now the only thing left to do is buy and attach some door hinges, put up the fence and I'm done - chicken ready. I might leave that shopping trip for another day though - we're ensconced on the couch, very busy being sick, and I'm not planning on moving anytime soon. Hooray for sick-days!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Insanity, thy name is Mrs Accident

Chickens. I want chickens. I stayed up last night googling chickens, I dreamed about chickens, I woke early this morning and lay there thinking about chickens.

We waste SO much food in this house, and it's not due to lack of planning, just two young kids that have varying appetites and tastes. Today they will eat three bits of toast, tomorrow three bites. They might like carrot today and loathe it tomorrow. And since I don't want to add their leftovers to my daily energy input, into the bin they go! (The leftovers, not the kids...) I contemplated feeding the scraps to Archie the dog, but he has his own chunky issues so that option's out. So.... Chickens it is.

A few years ago I built a dog kennel for our wonderful German Shepherd (vale, Baya) but it isn't used at the moment. I reckon if I slap a roost, a nesting box and a feeder in there, and rig up a water supply, the chickens will be safe from any predators, weather or atomic attack that may come (I over engineered the kennel just a wee bit. It's as solid as a guest house and almost as big. Every time we move the removalists need hernia operations afterwards. It took two whole bottles of liquid nails and about three hundred real ones to build. It's also the ugliest blue in creation.) I'll also need to add another access door, and make a door for the entry hole. I love a bit of woodwork! Hooray!

So, this morning I will drag the kids out to the tips recycling shop, and see what we can pick up to make some chickens comfortable.

And yes, for the record, I am keeping ridiculously busy with new projects so I can try and forget that I am missing Mr Accident with everything fibre of my being. And no, it's not working. But at least this way I can be sad WITH CHICKENS. So much better than being both sad and chickenless.

Friday, February 24, 2012


Peanut is a calm, quiet kid. This is great at home, but it means that out in the big wide world she can get overlooked. As she gets older, this becomes more and more of an issue.

Last week she came home from her first morning at play school and told us her name was "Arthur". We had to call her Arthur or she wouldn't answer. It took me a couple of hours to work out that she was saying "other". Poor kid, she is the second Peanut in her class, so they have named her other. She doesn't seem to mind at all, she doesn't understand yet, but I just can't bear the thought of my precious, wonderful, funny, awesome kid being an other, and having it so liberally applied on her first day there! So I've coached her. If someone says "hey, other Peanut!" she now turns around and says "my name's not other Peanut, it's AWESOME Peanut!!" and she punctuates with a fist pump to the air.

Because, dammit, she IS awesome. The other kids need to know that. And, more importantly, she needs to know it too.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Crunchy, redux

So I trialled my homemade laundry powder.

It cleaned Mr Accident's feral training towel, so I tried it on some normal clothes, and it cleaned them too. This is quite a feat, because the results from normal shop-bought powder can be as hit and miss as a drunken darts player. A whole load totally clean is a great outcome.

The nicest thing is the smell. It doesn't! There's no overpowering fragrance smell. I didn't know my normal powder smelled bad until I sniffed a load of this stuff. It just smells... clean.

The final test was nappies, with a vinegar rinse. And it was AMAZING. They are so soft and non-stinky and CLEAN.

So I'm a convert. Even if it means I have to grate a bar of sunlight soap once a week, the lovely laundry and cheap price is so worth it. Hooray! Being crunchy doesn't mean I'm going to have stinky clothes!

In other news, I've totally backslid on the toothpaste. I can't stand the taste and the thought my teeth might not be perfectly sparkling, and to be frank, it's all a bit too much change at once. I might try again in a month or so. I don't feel too bad, because yesterday I made bread from scratch and more of my own yoghurt. For some reason my bread always comes out cakey. I know only one billionth of the Internet actually sees this blog, and most of you stumble here looking for something else (I SEE your search terms, people!) but if anyone has any bread tips, I'm all ears.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I've gone crunchy

Well, a little bit, anyway.

I'm conflicted. One minute I'll be reading about awesome natural toothpaste (great to save money and low on added chemicals), the next I'll be googling heinously expensive tooth whitening procedures.

But I've decided to add a bit of crunch to my life anyway. I started with natural toothpaste. It's just salt and bicarbonate soda, and it tastes like an ocean swim. Which is good if you dig salt, which I don't, and every time I brush my teeth I'm worried I'm one step closer to a coronary. still, I'll give it a week and see how I go.

For washing hair, I'm going to try the baking soda and apple vinegar method. I was too chicken to try it today, I was seeing my best friend and I didn't want her to tease me if I had a head that smelled like fish and chips. Which she totally would, that's why I love her. But I'll give it a crack one day I don't need to go anywhere. So maybe next century. I'll come back here when I'm 119 and let you know how it went.

I already use bicarb and vinegar round the house to clean, so my next experiment is washing powder. It's a soda (sensing a theme here?), sunlight soap and borax mix. I'm so excited to use it, but terrified at the same time. I found an old training towel Mr Accident had left outside, so I'll start with that. If that gets clean, the stuffs a miracle!

While I love the environment and saving money, I'm making the changes more for family health reasons. Hopefully putting less gunk on our skin and clothes will make everyone have that all natural, healthy hippy glow. And if, in the meantime, you see me and I smell like fish and chips... please, let me know.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Accidentally Fit

So the first day of Accidentally Getting Fit went well.

I made a whole bunch of cards with different exercises, grouped by colour for abs, cardio, arms and legs, with a few whole body exercises thrown in (burpees, ugh). I laminated the cards so they are morning-dew proof, and because I have a new laminator. I'm laminating everything. My house is a shiny morass of heat-sealed plastic paper.

To keep it random, in the morning I get the kids to draw out a couple of cards of each colour, then put them together to make a circuit. It works my whole body every time, and means I don't try and avoid the exercises I despise. (I'm known to be sneaky like that. I would be happy to never do another pushup again. I must have done about a million over the past ten years, all under duress.)

And then, just before my morning shower, I bring the kids outside and just get on with it. No excuses. If it's raining, I can do a full circuit inside, I have the world's dodgiest exercise bike but it does the trick.

Of course, I'm saying all this like a foregone conclusion, but I've only done it once! I'll try to power through the first 21 days it takes to make a habit, and then it should get as normal as brushing my teeth. Hmmm "should".... We'll see.

Yesterday was a good start, even through pushups were picked. Peanut spent most of the time jumping on the trampoline cheering me on, and telling me I was winning (at crunches!) and Bug just ran around waving her arms in an approximation of me doing weights, I guess. They both had a good time, and I did too, actually. It was nice to be out in the cool morning, breathing the fresh, washed air and enjoying some exercise endorphins.

I'm a bit stiff this morning, but I'll have some breakfast and head out to do it again. If you want to play too, you're welcome!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Limbo. The state, not the dance, unfortunately.

When Mr Accident is away it's all the firsts that are hard - the empty seat at the table, the first kids bathtime without his terribly excellent singing, the first time falling asleep without him holding my hand, the first time I have to drag my carcass out of bed to let the dog out in the morning. Every one a reminder of his absence, a reminder that Today Is The Day he starts on this new adventure, the one for which he (and we!) have spent over a year in preparation and training.

And now there is nothing I can do to help him any more. No more washing his training gear, cooking huge protein heavy meals or running out to buy new socks / goggles / god knows what else. No more turning a blind eye to the crazy online pack and boot purchases! And although it is arguable that all this was not much help during the prep process, compared to the three hours a day he was training, at least I felt like I was somehow in the passenger seat, helping to navigate. Now he's just off on his own. And I feel so helpless!

So I'm just going to have to put my faith in his training, his excellent equipment, and his boatloads of competence, and wait. Oh god, the waiting.

No news is good news, and we have seven weeks to go....

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Gone again...

Well, Mr Accident is off again.

This time it's just a course, but it's very competitive. This is the first time I've ever hoped NOT to see him home early! If he's back before the end of the course it means he's either very badly injured, or he's failed. Since he's been training for this for about 14 months now, it's not something he's taking lightly.

From his perspective, the hardest part will be the epic levels of physical labour, walking, limited sleep, lack of food and constant testing. It makes wrangling two kids in his absence look very very easy. Unfortunately, it doesn't actually *make* it easy, especially when they are missing him and acting out!

Well, that's why I have friends, I guess. I was chatting to my lovely neighbor about it yesterday, and she (gotta love her) goes "well, I don't normally drink on a weekday, unless it's an emergency... but you can come sit on my back step and chat any time. I'll bring the wine!" That's a solid back up plan if ever I heard one. I might just take her up on it.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The lost art of feminism

I am a woman. I like to wear dresses and nice shoes that clack when I walk. I wear lipstick. I cry at documentaries when the mother polar bear loses her baby. I own and use handbags.

But. But.... This doesn't mean I am incompetent. So why, every time anything needs doing at our local community centre, do they ask a room full of women - strong, clever, funny, wise women for the most part - if they have a husband who can help? "Anyone have a husband who knows how to fix a computer?" (No, but I can...) "Anyone have a husband who can come down and cook the BBQ?" (No, he wouldn't want to, he'd rather mind the kids, but I can...) "Anyone have a husband who can move chairs for us / clean the toys / put up the shelves in the shed etc etc etc" The list is endless. As endless as my ability to use a hammer or a wet rag.

I am not a superhero, but neither is my husband. Other than reaching a foot higher than me without a step ladder, or looking hot in board-shorts, there is nothing at that community centre that he could do that I cannot.

So please, committee ladies, stop asking for husband-help, lest I end up spending every weekend volunteering at "husband jobs" out of a moralistic sense of feminist outrage. *end rant*

Friday, February 17, 2012


Yoga is hard. Beginning yoga is harder, because you have to wrench your neck around to watch the teacher to make sure your hand is on the correct side of your leg (it invariably isn't). Beginning yoga at home includes all of that, with the addition of a few added levels of difficulty:

1) make sure Mr Accident isn't shuffling down the corridor and unfortunately sees the rear view of my downward dog as his first daily impression of his loving wife;

2) stop the baby from pulling (or standing!) on my hair. It's tied back, but my fringe is in serious need of a trim. It's about to invade New Zealand; and

3) stop the toddler from using me as a tunnel. Especially when I'm lying down.

Do yoga people have grading belts or achievement badges or something? Cause I think I totally earned one this morning.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Super power

I spoke too soon. After that one night of excellent sleep, the baby jacked up and spent last night WIDE awake.

But I found out I have a superpower. After a good couple of hours cutting laps around first her cot, then my bed, I finally cracked it and got cross. I yelled. Something loud and crass, like "oi! I've had enough! Go to sleep!". (I'm profane like that.) But, crazily, it worked. She rolled over and went straight to sleep.

I'm not a baby whisperer, I'm a baby yellerer.

Do you think there is a market for that?

I'm thinking a book, CD, DVD and a speaking tour...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sugar rush

The little one hasn't been sleeping.

God only knows what was going on,but it's been painful for all of us. There's been night rocking, lullabies, bed sharing, a very brief and unsustained foray into control crying (I lasted about three minutes). Nothing seemed to work.

Then, last night for Valentines day dinner, I fed the kids dessert. This is a total rarity, we're a veggie eating household and tend to avoid refined food and the seriously sweet stuff, especially for the kids. Buuuuuttt... It was Valentines day. I cracked out the jelly and icecream. I expected a sugar crash, issues getting them to bed, and middle of the night wake ups when their blood sugar crashed and they got hungry (it's happened before).

Instead? My little angels slept, and slept, and slept..... and slept in! Hooray!

Best. Valentines day. Present. Ever.

(Not that my Vicar of Dibley DVD didn't rock. Ahem.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A whinge

Holy bat balls, committee meetings are painful! I just spent three hours trapped in a room with a bunch of people I barely know, all of who could talk the leg off an iron pot, and decided to prove it on this idle Tuesday. I doubt we actually approved a single item on the agenda, but damn, we discussed it (and everyone's upcoming holidays) in great depth.

I guess I am used to meetings with a very clearly defined hierarchy, where everyone has someplace better to be, and enough going on elsewhere in their life that discussing the brands of toner for the office photocopier can be done in under twenty minutes.

It's going to be tough moving away from my military mindset!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Cunning plan

I have a secret.

My darling Mr Accident has been working his incredibly attractive bum off, training up to three hours a day so he is fit enough to complete a very competitive course for his work. He leaves in one week.

Meanwhile, I've been slothing around the house, keeping the home fires burning and, quite clearly (going off my waistline) baking cookies on them. In my defense, I've lost most of my post-baby podge but there are a stubborn three kilos hanging around my middle and my abs are the sloppiest they have ever been. Eek!

So while Mr Accident turns into an adonis, I am steadily getting left behind. But I have a plan! The second he's out of sight, flying off the biggest challenge of his life, I will be challenging myself to tone up and make for me, and him, the body I deserve.

I tried to join a gym a few months ago, one with a creche, but the baby hated it so much that I only went five times. I just couldn't deal with her upset - my waistline is not more important that her happiness! But my new plan is to work out at home. I have the weights, a skipping rope, an exercise bike and the great outdoors, and I now also have a work out partner. Bug is so into "hexercising"! I know if I tell her that I'll do exercise with her daily she'll hold me to it.

So, now I've told you my secret, you can hold me to it too...