Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wash Your Mouth Out

Hi. My name is Tara and I have said that I am back about 394847464 times now and never actually been back.

I feel terrible and out of routine but things are slowly starting to slow down here. Finally.

* * *
We're at Woolworths. I managed to drag my boys along with me, as well as the baby and my 5 and 8 year olds. I'm going about my shopping, while the older boys are entertaining the younger ones.

We get to a busy aisle. I look around and do a quick head count to make sure I can see all of the kids. I can. I turn back around and start looking at the chocolate biscuits health section.

"Hey, all you fuckers!"

WTF. Geez, someone needs to teach their children not to swear in public. Hang on?

That was my son.

*hangs head in shame and hopes that my oldest son looks like the father of my son*

Who knows where he got that language from? I blame my teenagers. Damn that schoolyard language.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

10 Good Parenting Commandments

After saying that I was back almost a month ago and then not actually coming back, I can now say that I am officially, officially back. Just as I was getting back into the swing of things, one of my son's best friends died in a car accident. This really rocked my teenagers and I just needed to be there for them. I am in the middle of compiling a blog post about the whole thing, but in the mean time go and read Stefanie from Ooph's three fabulous posts about teen drivers.

As a matter of fact, check out Whatever Nation. There is hardly any content out there for parents with teens. So freakin' excited about it. There are some fantastic posts - some have me rolling on the floor and others have me in tears.

My daughter takes a class called 'Family and Life'. I have previously mentioned that in this course she had to bring home a virtual baby. Oh. My. God. Hell! My son recently made a joke that he wants to take the class because he would love to bring the baby home again. I was so scared that I fell off my chair before I realised he was joking.

One of her latest assignments was titled:

What makes a good parent?

As she was researching for this assignment, we came across a site which listed the '10 Commandments For Good Parenting'. In an effort to make myself feel better (or worse, I'm not sure yet) I decided to see whether I follow the parenting bible or if I am a parenting sinner.

1. What you do matters

Hmmm. I can't say that I am the best role model. Especially when I am yelling at the children to stop yelling because the baby is asleep. Or when I tell my kids that they can't have any chocolate while I am finishing my 50th piece. Or when I tell them that I will not allow them to get married until they are over 30, when me, myself got married at 19. Or that time when I tried to give my teens a no alcohol speel while sipping on a glass of wine. I could go on, but for your sake, I won't.

2. You cannot be too loving

I try to spoil my kids with love and not material things. I want them to look back on their childhood and think "wow. I really had it all" and not mean their Xbox 360 or iPhone. I have this little thing where when one of my kids says "Muuuuum. I really need a new iPod", I make them wait three months. I write it down in my little calender and in three months time, I remind them. Nine times out of ten, they're like "Aw, nah." Except for this one time when my daughter wanted this My Little Pony playset and asked me everyday for about six months to buy it for her.

My boys even told me once that they enjoy hanging out as a family more than playing Call of Duty. Uhm, yeah riiiight. I wonder what they wanted that day...

3. Be involved in your child's life

This one is easy for little children. Particuarly because they want you to be involved in their life as much as possible. Not so easy for older kids. I try to be as involved as I can without being too over the top and in their faces. By involved I don't mean commenting on their Facebook statuses about how they are sooooo cool, dude.

I am so very lucky that my older kids and I have great relationships. They are very open and honest with me and I love it. Every night (well, the nights when someone isn't at footy training, or netball training, or hockey training) we all sit down in our family room and just hang out. Watch television, read books, laugh, sing, whatever. We have a desk in the corner for my older kids to do a bit of homework, but they're usually hanging out with the rest of us. Once my littlies go to bed, the teens and I stay up (sometimes waaaaay too late) and talk and laugh about our day. Hands down, favourite part of my day!

Sidenote: I get up at 5am, have about 15 minutes of peace before the rest of my children get up. YES, WE GET UP AT 5:15 ON SCHOOL MORNINGS. It takes my children about 30 minutes to get ready and then for the rest of the time we do homework. I don't know of anyone else who has their homework routines in the mornings. But we do. And I love it. Works really well for us and my teens say thay have a lot more focues and motivation in the morning. Morning homework FTW!

4. Adapt your parenting to fit your child

So, this one is tricky around here. I have teenagers, pre-teens, children, young children and an infant. Ooooomg. It's hard going from baby talking with Ethan straight to trying to list every possible place I can think of where my teenager's footy shorts may be. Sometimes I'll even baby talk my teenagers (by accident, of course) when their friends are over and let me tell you, THEY DON'T LIKE IT.

But yes, clearly the old 'if you brush your teeth, then I'll ready you a story' bribe doesn't work on the older ones. 'Brush your teeth and we can do tequila shots' usually does the trick.

5. Establish and set rules

Again, this one is tricky with the large age range. BUT. The rules we have in place around here are mostly manner-y ones. I want my children to grow up with lovely manners. In fact, I've trained my boys to open doors, pull out chairs send flowers and notes and all of that good stuff. Of course we have the 'no killing, bombing or shooting' rule, but I thought that was pretty standard on everyone's rules list. No? Just us.


6. Foster your child's independance

I usually like to let my kids learn from their mistakes. Unless it's something life threatening to either them or their siblings. So, knowing my kids, this is usually 99% of the time. Damn.

7. Be consistent

Ya know, I can't say I'm really that great in this area. What works for one kid sometimes doesn't really work for others. What worked for a couple of months suddenly doesn't work anymore. What worked for us before lunch, now doesn't at 1pm. For the most part, I'm consistent but for others it.just.doesn'

8. Avoid harsh discipline

Oh. People aren't doing the whole washing mouth out with soap and mustard power, wooden spoon, locking in rooms thing anymore? Sheesh.

Naughty corner; here we come!

9. Explain your rules and decisions

I'd like to think that I'm good at explaining things to my younger kids, but not to my older kids. You know why? Because they have such great comebacks. And sometimes? They say better things than me, which make much more sense. I also have a tendency to muck up my words when I'm trying to get my point across. Waaa.

10. Treat your child with respect

The best way you to get respectful treatment from your child is to treat him respectfully. You should give your child the same courtesies you would give to anyone else. Speak to him politely. Respect his opinion. Pay attention when he is speaking to you. Treat him kindly. Try to please him when you can. Children treat others the way their parents treat them. Your relationship with your child is the foundation for her relationship with others.

Agree. Agree. Agree. Not much more to say on that one.


So, that's all well and good. I get down to the bottom of the 10 Commandments list and see this:

There is no guarantee that follwing these guidelines will result in perfect parents... remember, there is no such thing!

Ah. WHAT?! You mean I just went through the commandments, realised I was close to what you would call a perfect parent (no flaws, *brushes shoulders*) and now you tell me there is NO SUCH THING.

Guess I'll go back to trying.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Past Month in Tweets

It has almost been a month since I have posted. I needed a break. I spent lots of time with my family and friends and I am now feeling refreshed and wonderful.

Here's what you missed...
(mostly conveniently taken from my Twitter account)

From my last post you will know that I miscarried at 8 weeks. Probably one of the worst moments of my life. My family were all so supportive and I don't know what I would have done without them. We decided to call our little baby Jamie. Mostly for my little kids who didn't really have a clue what was going on. I got a txt message from my daughter a couple of days later which said this: Jamie was too beautiful for this earth. I think that just about sums it up.

July 25th: Seriously, you guys. This year I have been pregnant, given birth, pregnant again and then miscarried. I think it's safe to say that there won't be any action in the uterus until we're safely in 2011.

July 28th: OOOOOOMG. This baby almost broke me. It cried and cried and cried and cried and screamed and cried. Oh, wait. Did I mention that it cried? Worse than my own five month old angel. My teenage boys thought that they were the "masters" of this baby, but even they couldn't handle it. We were all glad to see the back of that thing.

August 2nd: This girl is ah-may-zing. Never have I seen my son's room so clean. She is one of the sweetest girls I have ever met. I am so glad my son chose her.

August 4th: I can't do it. I just can not do it. Call my five year old daughter 'my baby', that is. I'm so used to calling my eight and five year olds 'the babies', but now with a true-real-100% baby in the house, they haaaaaaaaaaaate it. Waaaaaaaa, our life sucks. We keep getting called a 'baby' by our Mum. WE ARE BIG KIDS NOW.

August 10th: Please tell me someone else out there has done this. Let me explain...

I am browsing Facebook. Then, this happens:

Eldest son I'm horny. (girlfriend) come to me!!!1!!!

*gulp* *scream* *vodka* What?

So, yeah. I try to think of something witty to say but then think "f*ck it", and send a long message about respect through to both of their Facebook accounts. I get a "WTF Mum. So-and-so was on my account. I would never do that. You know that..." reply from my son and an "OMG, Mrs K, I am so sorry. I didn't know that (oldest son) would write something like that. I promise I had nothing to do with it. Argh, love (girlfriend)*" reply from my son's girlfriend.

Cue argument between son and girlfriend. Oops.

Then I got RT'd by HornyWatch. Shoot me, please?

August 13th: My omg-i-hate-running-sooooo-much daughter went in the running event at her sports carnival "just for sh*ts and giggles"**. She broke the 5 year record. Whaaaat?!

And now, you're all up to date. Happy to be back, kids!

*Oh, is it weird to write 'love ya' at the end of my messages to my son's girlfriend?
**Apparently what all of the k00l kidz are saying the$e dayz.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


I have miscarried.

I am now meant to be ten weeks pregnant. Instead I am un-pregnant and in a great deal of physical and emotional pain. It sucks.

Exactly a week ago, I felt like something was wrong. I made myself keep quiet about it and just pretend that it was to do with the morning sickness and dull cramps I was having. That night, I just had to tell my husband. I could see that he was also worried, but trying not to be.

We made an appointment for the next day. "I'm sorry, Tara, but....." were the words that made my heart sink. I didn't know what to do. The baby's heartbeat stopped at about eight weeks. Eight weeks?! How could I not have known that? My own motherly instinct had failed me.

It has now been five days since we found out. The pain is slowly starting to go away. Luckily, we haven't told our families, so no unpleasant announcements. I told my eldest daughter and she cried as if it was her own baby.

I am so lucky that I have my beautiful family around me at this time. We will get through this together.

Nikki suggested that we name the baby. I think we will do this as a family. Once we have had some times to heal I will be back with a name. In the meantime, I appreciate all of the support. It really does help.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What Would You Do, Tuesday?

Update: I had a talk with my sons (in the car. Thanks, Stef!) and it all worked out okay. It wasn't so much the beer I was worried about, it was more the hiding and dishonesty. It's not like my son to go all ninja-hiding on me. Then again, I know it's all pass and parcel of teenage behaviour. We spoke about the dangers of too much and the consequences of drinking. I said I would prefer for him to have a drink in someone's care (i.e. me or my husband) and he agreed. Thanks for all of the supportive comments. They really helped to put things into perspective.

If you found a six pack of beer under your 16 year old son's bed?

Two missing.


This is when it all gets hard.

I've never experienced anything like this. No major issues with my teenagers and being my first lot of teenagers, I've no idea what to do.

Drinking age here is 18. Maybe I would think differently about this situation if my son was 17, in his 18th birthday year. He's not. He's only 16 years old, and at the start of this year he was only 15.

A million questions are running through my mind:

Where did he get the beer from? Has he actually had the beer? Is he giving them to a friend? Which friend? Why would he do this? Why? Why? Why?

Oh, teenagers...

Little children, headache; big children, heartache.
~ Italian Proverb

Friday, July 9, 2010

My Biggest Wish

... is for all of the families out there to be granted their wishes for a child or more children.

I am extremely lucky to have seven naturally conceived children, including a set of twins. I know there are so many people wanting, waiting and wishing for a child. I think about those people all the time and I don't, for a second, take any of my blessings for granted.

I have had children who have taken only one month to conceive, yet Ethan took over a year to conceive. In a way (having six children already), I know how painful and heartbreaking trying for a child can be. Seeing just one line, or having AF show up in full force month after month is draining, stressful and just generally tiring.

The day you finally get your two lines is a day that you will never forget. Whether it is your first child or ninth, the feeling doesn't fade. All of that stress, pain, heartbreak and hope was worth it for that one day. Hopefully, nine months later, a miracle is welcomed into the world.

I wasn't planning on blogging about my pregnancy until I am well past 12 weeks, but I will say this. While we are over the moon that we will be welcoming another addition into our family, I can't help but think of those who aren't as lucky.

I wish, wish, wish that for every unplanned baby, two more could be granted to those who are patiently waiting.

Unfortunately, life doesn't work like that.

Good luck to all of those who are trying for a child. I am constantly thinking about you.

Monday, July 5, 2010

I Know I'm Lucky

My kids don't cook that much. Mostly because (I can't stand little people around me while I cook) I cook a lot of things in bulk (usually multiplying your average recipe by six or seven and even then, that is only for three night's worth of meals), usually when the kids are at school. However, I do try to include them when baking things like cakes, muffins, quiches and other things like that but my patience wears thin when these sorts of things start happening:

Daughter drops 1kg of flour onto the floor
"Muuuuum! What do I do?"

"Muuuuuum! What does 1C mean? What does 1 little t mean? What does 1 big T mean? What is 200 small m, big l? What's whisk???"

Recipe says 1tsp of vanilla essence
"Oops. Mum, I accidentally put one cup of vanilla essence in. Does that matter?"

My eldest daughter is a great help in the kitchen. Sometimes I think that she can cook even better than me. My teen boys... not so much. Even something like two minute noodles is a hassle and ends up being a huge mess which I'm forced to clean up. It's safer for me and for them if they don't enter the kitchen unless it is absoloutley necessary.

But today...
they surprised me.

We (16, 11, 8, 5 year olds, baby and I) had been out for a looong day at the shops and in the car ride home I was thinking about how much I wanted to NOT cook dinner.

When we arrived home, this was all ready and waiting to be put into the oven:

Recipe and image here

Yes, my 15 and 16 year old boys worked together to make the above creation. It's not the hardest recipe ever, but I am very excited that they can actually put something together without having to be asked. At least that's one less thing for their future wives to complain about.

I am seriously hoping and praying that it tastes as good as it looks. Will report back later!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Name Game

I looove choosing names. Love it, love it, love it. I could quite happily be employed into the baby-naming business. My husband and my kids think I'm crazy. When I try to start a discussion about names (usually every night, ha!) I am met with these reactions:

Oh My God. No. Baby names? Again? Seriously?

Change of subject, pleeeease.

Um, yep. I like Zelda and Esmerelda. Now, shhh. I'm trying to watch TV.

So, unfortunately, I am left to play the name game all by myself. Boo! I am the one who trawls through books (my bible is pictured above) and suggests all of the names and luckily my husband usually agrees. We hadn't talked about names for my whole pregnancy with the twins, so when they were born, they were nameless for just over a week. Since then, we have made a conscious effort to have a name picked out and ready to go.

For the purpose of this post, I am going to share my kids' names with you. I may remove them in the future, but I will post them so you can get an idea of our "naming style". Here we go:


Ha. Kidding, of course. Although, most of my children have told me sometime during their childhood that they wanted a name change. I wonder how they'd feel with names like those.

So, we have:

(names have been removed)
Now, you won't have noticed this because I didn't until my fifth child, but we haven't doubled up on any letters for first names or middle names. So, me being me (crazy, OCD naming freak) decided to continue on with that tradition.

The letters that are left for us to work with are:

B, D, F, O, P, Q, U, V, W, Y

My favourites are (these will change on a daily basis):

Girls -

Boys -

There you have it. Thankyou blog, for being who will listen to my baby name dribble.

What? What do you mean I'm crazy for already having lists of names?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Shopping 101

Oooh, shopping? Fun!

No. Not this type of shopping. I don't know if it's just my boys, but they are a nightmare to take shopping. I mean that in the nicest possible way.

Firstly, they don't like throwing out old items of clothing. Jeans that are basically hanging on by a thread? Noooo, they are my favourite pair. Socks that have worn through? They are my favourite. Shirts that are six sizes too small? You guessed it. THE FAVOURITE SHIRT.

Basically anything that needs to be thrown out is the favourite item. I believe that this is only so they don't have me nagging them to go out and buy a new shirt/jeans/shoes. But when it comes to new Nike's they're all:

"Oh, Muuum. When are we going to the shops to buy me some Nike's?"


So, it's a challenge to even get them to the shops. Once we actually get to the shops, then it all starts to get worse.

Do you want to have a look in *insert cheaper store name here*? Nope.

Did you want to go into *other store* before we go to the Nike shop? Nah.


We're in the jean store where they are spoilt for choice. So many lovely pairs of jeans around. Do my boys like any? No. They walk around the store staring at the walls for ten minutes while I choose out some jeans I think they would like. They're all:

"Nup. No. Nah"



They each pick a pair that is closest to their hands. They walk slowly into the change rooms. I wait outside while they put them on. Reading facial expressions and mumbles is very important in knowing if they like the clothes or not. I have put together a small guide for you:

Slight nod and "mmmm": YES! Loves! Grab and run!

Loong sigh. Unimpressed look on face: No. These are not the ones.

Nervous "yeeeah" and shifty eyes: Maybe. If you find no others, get these.

Both boys have the 'maybe' reaction. Damn it. They go back out and find another pair each. They try them on. I get the slight nod from both boys.

I am tempted to drop everything, wave my arms in the air and start shouting singing "The minor fall, the major lift. The baffled king, composing Hallelujah! Hallelujah, Hallelujah. Haaaaalleluuuuuuuuujaaaaah!"

I don't. Instead, I grab the jeans, run over to the counter, cringe at the price but think thank the lord I'm out of there. Now we can go shopping for me, yay. *ahem*

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Shock Me, Wednesday

This post is quite personal and mentions pregnancy.

Dear Diary,

Over 24 hours ago I took a pregnancy test. The result was positive.

My period returned when Ethan was four weeks. Grooaaan. It happens like clockwork with every baby. As soon as they hit four weeks, the witch arrives.

Annoying, however, very helpful when trying for a baby. It makes tracking ovulation and dates sooo much easier. So, in a way I was relieved because it meant we would be ready to start trying whenever we were ready.

We had talked about trying when Ethan turned three months. I even posted about it. We were in the middle of my cycle waiting for AF to arrive. We had planned to start trying and track on that cycle. We were a little nervous about Ethan being three months, but I was sure that I wouldn't fall on the first cycle which would give us at least another month. We were happy with the decision and very excited.

My menstrual cycle also works like clockwork even after babies. 28 days past and my period wasn't here. I thought it was strange, but put it down to the fact that my body was readjusting after baby. 29 days past and it still hadn't arrived. 30 days came and I started to worry. My husband asked if there was a possibility that I was pregnant and I said "No. There's no way."

We had been using the same fool proof contraception that worked for us between all of our babies. Apart from the twins, all of the kids were planned and we hadn't had any "happy accidents".

I was feeling a little crampy yesterday, but decided to take a test (I am an OPK and HPT freak. Seriously, ask my husband. He thinks I'm crazy) anyway. As I waited for that horrible ten minutes to pass, my husband and I chatted about what we would do if it came up positive. We were both like "Oh, well it's not going to be positive, so don't even worry."

Two lines. "Holy Effing Jesus" was my husband's first reaction. I was speechless. I still am. I really want to have that same yay-we're-having-a-baby reaction like I've had with all of my other kids. Somehow, all I can think of is what other people will think.

Will we tell them it was planned? Will be tell them it was a "happy accident"? What will their reaction be? What will my kids think?

At this stage I am almost five weeks along. I will have to book in for a blood test in the next week. For now I will be sick with worry and morning sickness and hoping and praying that we will get through.

Love, Tara.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Oh, teenagers

Hello. My name is Tara and I have three teenagers and one pre-teen.

People: Oh, noooooo. Teenagers? Three? How do you deal? Are they triplets? Is grunting their first language? Do they smell? Are they loud? Aren't you glad you have daughters? Will you be glad when they turn 21 and move out? Are you scared of potential daughters-in-law?

Me: Yes. Yes. I deal just fine. No. No. No. Sometimes. Yes, but no. No and No.
The word 'teenager' for most people has such a negative connotation. When mentioning that I have three teenagers, most people are shocked and ask one or more (usually more) of the questions listed above.

I'm not sure about anyone else, but my three teenagers are some of the best people I know. I'll tell you why:

  • We have great conversations. About anything. Seriously, the four of us could talk and talk for hours. Celebrities, politics, world news, school gossip, sex, happenings of our home, the baby. They are all very honest and I/they can approach them/me about anything.
  • They are an amazing help around the house. They are generally very clean. They often ask me if there are any chores that they can do. They notice when I am tired and they genuinely want to help out with the baby.

  • They don't smell and they aren't dirty. I will admit that when my boys come home from footy training they can be a bit dirty and smelly, but for the most part they are clean. Their girlfriends have both bought them cologne which they wear often -- I just looove the smell of clean boys with freshly applied cologne.*

  • They all treat their girlfriends/boyfriend with respect. I have raised them with good old fashioned manners. I didn't think my attempts at manners and etiqutie would work, but they have. They open doors, carry things, pull out chairs, bring flowers and all of that good stuff. I have often been told about how well-mannered they are.

  • They are all very close. Seeing former war enemies actually talk, laugh and get along fabulously just melts my heart. They go to each other for advice and the three of them can make a boring situation fun.

  • They aren't hard work. At all. I have often said that I prefer the teenage stage to the toddler stage. No more "Peter, please go and brush your teeth. Come on, off to bed. Oh, come on. Don't jump on the couch. Who spilt the sugar all over the floor?" They can compromise on most situations and they don't meed much that much direction.

  • They are loud, but in a fun way. To be honest, loud laughs or music doesn't bother me. I know they are having a good time and who am I to mess with that? Except. When. The. Baby. Is. Sleeping. Damnit.

  • I have two teenage boys and one teenage girl. I enjoy both genders just as much. I can talk about 'guy stuff' with my boys and go shopping and do my daughter's hair. The best of both worlds, really.

  • They make my house a happy place. I will be truly sad when they move out. They can all make such a boring thing, such as housework, fun and enjoyable. Some of the best memories are of us just hanging at home. Usually on the ground laughing at something funny that just happened.

  • My boys have fantastic girlfriends and my daughter has a lovely boyfriend. It just so happens that right now, they all are in a relationship. That doesn't bother me. I would easily have any of them as my son or daughter-in-law.**

I hope that has answered some of your negative questions about teenagers. They are lovely, really.


*Does that make me weird?

**OK, did I just say that out loud??

Monday, June 14, 2010

Your Secret's Safe With Me

When we announced that we were having baby number seven, most reactions were:

Oh My God


OH MY GOD!!!!!

These came in many different forms. Face to face reactions (my least favourite), over the phone reactions and even some Txt and e-mail OMG's. We literally only had one e-mail reply that didn't start with Oh My God -- that one started with WOW.
I realise that e-mail may not be the preferred choice of announcement for everyone. We both have large families and lots of people to inform, so e-mail is the best way for us. We tell the most important relatives and friends in person first, then follow up with the e-mail. I can assure you it is nothing like this, although I have recieved one verrrrry similar from a 'friend' in the past:

Hi everyone,

Just lettin youse know that I am preggers! Yay!!!!!!!

Hope you are all as excited as we are. We already luv our cootie pie pumpkin and we can't wait to meet him/her!!!


I can tell you now that the exact same reactions come from the reveal that we were trying to concieve. We made the mistake of telling people we were trying for another child after our twins and most people saw that as an open invitation to be rude and make stupid remarks. We have learnt our lesson and we decided not to announce when we were trying or our pregnancies until 15 weeks.
So, little blog, I am going to let you in on a little secret. We have decided to try for another baby.

Oh My God


OH MY GOD!!!!!

I am 90% this will be our last baby. My clock is ticking - I'm not getting any younger and after 16 years of babies and kids, we've decided on just one more.

I know, I know. My baby is only 3 months old! However, he is my best baby yet and an excellent sleeper and just remember, I've done this once before with twins and a newborn. Two young babies will be a breeze.*

I have had babies that take one cycle to concieve and babies that have taken more than a year. It's hard to say when or even if I will fall pregnant.

For now we are just counting our seven blessings and hoping for the best.
So, shhhh! Keep it a secret. Pinky promise?


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bad Things Happen Indoors

After school on Monday my husband and I took the younger (the baby, five year old, eight year old and 11 year old) kids to our local indoor pool. It is winter here, too cold to swim in our pool at home, so I decided to treat them to a trip to the heated pool - whirlpool, water slide, fountains - lots of fun!

While hubby was sitting with Ethan out of the pool, I decided to take the kids into the spa. There was hardly anyone around, so we had the spa to ourselves. We were splashing around and having lots of fun...


This happened:

And, no. I'm not even joking. I told the kids not to put their heads under because "you never know what is in the water". I am splashing around and then...

"Muuum, what is that on your arm?"


"THAT?! Ewwwww!!"

"Omg! Ew! *expletive *expletive"

As I peeled the disgusting band-aid from my arm I was yelling "Out! Out! Come on, we're out of here."

I think it's the fastest we've ever packed up and left.

It's true! Bad things do happen indoors...

Monday, June 7, 2010

Riding Solo

My husband's new job requires him to go interstate for work every two months for two weeks. This time, it happened to be when my baby was only one month old and he had to stay for 12 extra days.

It was tough. I won't lie. I missed him. My kids missed him. Even the baby missed him.

We are only in contact for about 1/2 and hour every 2-3 days. By the time my kids talk to him, I only have about ten minutes to catch him up on everything. That is a challenge.

A few days ago, someone asked me: "So, what is it like being a single parent?" I said it was tough, but I don't think you could class me as a 'single parent' -- even a temporary one.

After having an almost three week stint of solo parenting with seven kids and a baby, I now have such an appreciation for all of the single parents out there. I only tried it for three weeks and after about three days, I was ready for my husband to come back.

Knowing that there would be no one to eventually come home so you could tell them that your 5 year old drew on your leather couch and have them actually understand your depression over the beautiful lounge setting you paid $1,000,000 for, would be tough. Knowing that you couldn't jump on Skype, even after three days, and just talk about what your kids had been up to would be even tougher.

My husband came home today and I am so thankful! I'm not sure if he is feeling the same way, though. He's already been assigned to night and nappy* duty.

I seriously admire all of the single parents around the world. Keep up all of the hard, stressful and sometimes even enjoyable work!

*That's a diaper for all of you American peeps. I was trying to find a suitable picture for this post. When I was looking for diaper pics, I came across a scary site. Let's just say in the name of the website was diaper, fetish and Adults Only 18+ *shudder*

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mum, Mum, Mummy

Today I had a moment kind of like* this:

I decide to check my phone. I had only checked it about 30 minutes ago, and since then I hadn't heard anything. Maybe it was on silent...


Wow. 12 missed calls in 30 minutes, y'all? For a split second I think WOW, I am soo loved. Then, I realise they are all from my son and home phone.

At this moment I start freaking out. My heart starts beating and I start to mummy-panic. Just as I am about to call him back, my phone starts ringing.

"Mum, don't freak out but..."

The world stops around me. My palms are sweating. My heart is beating out of my chest. I am at 11 on the mummy-panic scale.

"The dishwasher is making funny noises!"


*Not really - but my kids just looove that clip ;)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Mum's The Word

Sometimes I wish I wasn't "The Mum". I love my kids dearly and I love being their Mum but when it comes to making decisions or disciplining, I wish someone else could do it for me. I know, I know. It's all a part of my job but I feel like I really suck at it.

Usually if a situation occurs that requires a decision to be made or discipline to be given, my husband and I sit down and talk about the best way to handle it. We make the best team and I admire him for his awesome advice and intelligence - basically he just knows what to do.

This time around, my husband was away for work*. A little background information before I go on: My twins hang out with the same people at school (a very lovely bunch of friends, I must admit). My daughter's boyfriend is in their circle of friends and a very good friend of my son's.

My son had four of his friends over to 'hang out'. They ended up staying until quite late so my son asked if they could all sleepover. I said an enthusiastic "Sure!" without thinking. One of the boys is of course, my daughter's boyfriend.

Hmmm. My daughter had been out all day which is probably why it didn't click. I have always made it clear that there will be no boyfriend/girlfriend sleepovers until they are over 18. Was I to let the boyfriend sleep over (with constant, over-monitoring), say no to the boyfriend sleeping over or say no to all of the boys staying the night? Aargh...


I had four children already asleep so taking the boys home myself was not an option. I felt rude asking the boys to ask their parents to come and get them AFTER they said they were sleeping over.

I ended up sending the boyfriend home. *cringe*

It was the only decision that I could think of after a long and exhausting day. And now that I think of it, even though I had my daughter, son and the boyfriend hating on me; I feel like I made the right decision.

Case closed.

*When he is away from work, we only get to talk to each other once every three days, for about 1/2 an hour. No time for a quick call to ask for advice.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Eight, nine... ten kids?

Since having a baby, certain things in life have become more difficult. I can no longer pop down to the shops to pick up a few groceries with my younger kids. I now have to time my supermarket visits, so they don't clash with feeding, changing, pooping or sleeping time. We can no longer have loud music playing throughout the day. Instead of yelling "Woo! Let's party like it's 1999!"*, I am instead yelling at my kids to turn things down or stop yelling because! Of course, me yelling at the kids to stop yelling is totally ironic. But, whatever. It's a case of 'do what I say and not what I do'.

One thing I was determined not to do was miss out on good quality family time. As my teens are growing older, they like to do their own things on the weekend with their friends or girlfriends/boyfriends. I respect that, but I have made sure that at least once a month we go out for dinner as a family. Each child** gets a turn at picking where we go.

I let my three older children invite a friend along. In total their were ten chilren. Ten? Yes, ten. AND A BABY. I must have been feeling braaaave that night. We went out to a large Italian family restaurant.

Passeggiate! Lo amo la cucina Italiana!

As I rang up to reserve our table of 12, the lady on the phone assumed it was a booking for two or more families. I know this because basically every time we book a table somewhere, we are known as a "group" booking.

As we walk into the restaurant, I can feel the looks. Every person in the restuarant turns to us and their eyes say to me "Oh, no. Please, God - don't let that large family of whing-y, whiney kids sit near us."

We got sat next to a lady (around my age) and her adult daughter. I thought that maybe, just maybe this lady would have some sympathy for me, should my kids act like total nightmares. She turned to her daughter and said VERY loudly:

"Oh. My. God. Seven... oh, wait. Eight..."

"No, there's another one. That's nine. Holy Cow!"

"You forgot the baby. Oh, so ten. TEN KIDS! Faaaaaark!"

Mmmmm. Classy. My baby started grizzling. Cue eyerolls.

My kids were amazing. Yes, they mixed little pepper and salt sachets into their drinks and blew bubbles. Yes, more than one of them didn't like their meal. And yes, one of them went under the table and had a tantrum at my legs, but overall it was very succesful.

As we were leaving, I looked back to the lady and her daughter and heard:

"Wow. Those kids were actually alright."


Oh, and obviously the photo of the pizza isn't what we actually ate. I mean EW, it has all of this yucky red and green stuff on it!

*Kidding, obviously. I was too busy having babies for partying.

**This is always fun - except for when it's one of my daughter's turn to choose. We go to McDonald's every.single.time. This would be all well and good, except for the fact that my eldest daughter and I stopped eating fast food more than a year. *sigh*

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mirror, mirror

Do you ever look at one of your children and think are you really mine?!

I do this all the time. My children are very different from one another but in lots of ways they are all similar. Similar to each other and similar to me and my husband. For example, we all share a love for bananas. Each and every one of us. Especially banana bread. We could live off bananas if it was possible.

We all love sport. We can all watch (and thoroughly enjoy!) a game of AFL* (Aussie Rules Football) on TV. All of my kids play some sort after school sport and I love watching them play.

We all love to dramatise things. On more than several different occasions we have been known to make a big deal out of a small situation. Let's just say in our large family, we like to be noticed...
We are always listening to music in the car. I will admit that I like mainstream music. Pretty much every song on the radio is music to my ears - except for rap. Even worse when the song is full of it. My kids love to dance and sing along to the popular songs. Except for my daughter. She has taken a liking to classical music. Neither my husband and I have every listened to nor played classical music in our house. Hmmm?

Yesterday my eight year old son asked if he could become a "meat-a-terian". This is odd because we only eat red meat about once a week and most of my children's favourite meals are vegetarian ones. Hmmm?

I am a self-confessed girly-girl. I love a bit of retail therapy and I find doing make-up and hair fun. Fun? Only me? Okay. All of my girls share this with me except for one. She is quite a tomboy and will turn her nose up at the whisper of "make-up" or "hair straightener". Hmmm?

The males of my house hate watching anything girl-related. This includes chick flicks and shows** like Glee, Gossip Girl or America's Next Top Model. My eldest son has currently become obsessed with a show that would be labelled as girly in our household - 90210. Even though he knows it, he tries his hardest to argue that it's target audience is teenage boys. Hmmm?

Even when you all like the same thing, it can get a little repetitive sometimes. Sometimes it's nice to switch Katy Perry for Andrea Bocelli. Or make-up for Nike High Tops.

Yes, sometimes it's even nice to swap a little Sex and the City for some Top Gear.

Top Gear? Did I just say that? Hmmm?

*this is a game where an oval ball (not soccer!) is to be kicked between two goal posts at both ends of the field

**except for One Tree Hill. There is an unwritten rule here that if you want to be in our family, you must love and watch it. Heh.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Twilight Zone

I know what you're thinking. Eurgh. Please don't tell me she's a fan of Twilight and this is going to be a blog all about her love for R-Patz.

Don't worry. While I can appreciate that it's a good film, I'm not one of those crazy 'twi-hards'. Except apparently I am. Huh? Let me explain.

Without giving their names away, one of my kids has the name of the hottest werewolf in the movie. Another one of my kids shares the first name of the actor who plays that character. The shortened version of one of my daughters' name is also the main female character's name. Totally a coincidence.

To add to that, my middle name is actually Vampira.

Oh, just kidding. I couldn't even imagine if it was. I already get asked* if Twilight was the inspiration for my children's names. Um, hello? My kids were born long before the books and movie even came out. But yes, I'm thinking Cullen for my next child.


*especially by my 16 year old daughter's friends

Saturday, May 22, 2010

L is for Learner

Now that my twins are 16 they are able to get their learner's permits. I applied for a little learner's package for them which included brochures, info sheets and a very thick booklet to read. They both had to read all of the information and then sit this theory test of 30 multiple choice questions (both kids got 29/30, due to my excellent road safety teaching. Go team!).

This means that they can both legally learn to drive. The rules state that you must carry the permit with you when you drive at all times with a supervised driver who has had their license for more than five years and you must clearly display this little sign on the front and back of the car:

Unfortunately as we are a large family, we don't have a small, easy car for them to practise in. We have two people movers which are big and bulky, but at this point in time, they'll just have to do. With my husband away for work and a five week old baby it makes it hard to take the kids out to drive. So far we have only done driveway reversing and 10-15 minute drives* in a car park near our house. If you see quite a large car with L-plates, a nervous driver and a Mum who is trying her best to stay calm and juuust breathe; you'll know it's us.

After my twins have been driving for six months, they can sit a practical driving assessment. They are assessed on eight key points: look behind, flow, movement, path, manoeuvres, responsiveness, signal and vehicle management as well as two exercises called Stopping for Shopping (this one sounds fun!) and I've Left Something Behind (oh, no!). To be honest, I have no idea how to teach/show my kids many of these key points, so it looks like I'll be learning something along the way - something other than extreme patience and perseverance, that is.

After another six months and 25 hours each of hell driving, they can finally sit another theory test. This one is a Hazard Perception test, which tests if you know when to slow down, when to change into the next lane, your reaction time and so on. Finally, they can then get their driver's license - driving without Mum - woo!

It's not over just yet. Once they remove their L-plates** they are known as a 'novice driver' and will need to clearly show this little sign on the front and back of their car for six months:

Wearing this plate has restrictions. You are required to have a BAC (blood alcohol limit) of 0 at all times and you are not permitted to drive between 12am - 5am. After six months with the red plates, they need to change to these for 18 months:

Only then can they finally drive Mum free and sign free. Phew!

Can I just use this time to point out that I am SO glad that I don't live on the other side of my country. Their learner drivers have to complete 120 hours before getting their P's. I'm not so sure I would have enough time nor patience to spend 360 hours in the car with my L-plater over the next two years.

*driving up and down the middle of the car park with only one or two turns. My son is already very confident and I'm sure will be out on the roads soon. My daughter... not so much.

**along with the L-plates comes copious amounts of teasing from their siblings: "L is for looooser!"

Friday, May 21, 2010

Time is of their essence

My children like to leave things to the last minute. They like to get up at 7:45 when they know we always leave at 8:10. They like to clean their room just before they go to bed. They like to do their homework the night before it is due.

Usually it's only one of them that decides to test my patience by doing this. Last night it was multiple times and all at once. Seriously. Picture this:

My husband is away for work. It is 9.30 pm and my baby has just been fed and is sound asleep. My 5 year old has already been in bed for an hour. My older boys have just started eating dinner (I know, I know. They don't get home from training until 9:00 pm on a Thursday night). My 8 and 11 year olds are getting ready* for bed.

Sounds fairly normal, right?

All of a sudden - drum roll please...

My 11 year old comes rushing out telling me she needs help with her Math homework. What? We just did her homework about 4 hours ago. Oh, no. This was homework she was 'saving for later'. Later as in now. Don't worry, this gives her plenty of time because it only needs to be handed in TOMORROW.

My 16 year old son asks if we have any birthday cards. Uh, no - only a 'Happy Belated Birthday' card I've had in the drawer for eight years. "Mum, I've already wrapped her (girlfriend's) gift. Now I just need a card." Oh, OK. I'll just add that to my early morning to-do list because her birthday is TOMORROW.

My 14 year old son throws a scrunched up piece of paper into my lap. It's an excursion permission slip. Cool - a signature and the date and I'm done. I start reading and then realise that because it is a "confidence builder" day, I need to write a little bit about my son's best qualities. Really? I'm not in the best write-sweet-and-lovely-things mood because the excursion is TOMORROW.

My 16 year old daughter asks me if she can have $100 to pay her friend for a concert ticket she has bought for her. Sure, I'll just add a trip to the ATM to the early morning to-do list because her friend is buying the tickets TOMORROW.

In the end everything worked out fine. My 8 year old got her homework done. We bought a gorgeous card for my son in the morning. I managed to write a lovely passage about my 14 year old and I also gave my daughter the money to give to her friend.

I often hear them using the "Oh, we just work better under pressure" excuse. They're right - it's amazing how hard a bit of pressure can make you work for an English assignment due in less than 24 hours. I just wonder where they got their last minute-ness from. Clearly not from their very organised, efficient, intelligent and perfect mother. *cough

*read: giggling, chatting and doing everything they can to get out of going to bed

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Free Babysitting

While I was pregnant, I had many people ask* me if I was glad I had teenage children so that they could babysit. I honestly didn't know how to answer, so usually nodded and managed a smirk.

I am so fortunate to have three beautiful, well-behaved, respectful teenagers. They are doing well at school, are all busy with sports and they all have a wonderful bunch of friends. They were only 10 and 11 when our last baby arrived, so while they were able to help out, much of their focus was on Spongebob Squarepants repeats on Nickelodeon.

This time around, my husband and I thought carefully about how to handle the whole baby-and-teenager situation. Most parents go through baby stage then the teen stage. Not us. It's all happening at once over here.

I must admit that we were worried for a while about our teenagers. Would having a baby affect them? Will they still want to bring their friends over? Will they get annoyed at me asking them to use their "inside voices"? Would they get stressed over changing one.more.nappy?


All of my fears turned to tears when our eldest son held the baby ever so gently and said "He's so beautiful!" We knew then that the precious bundle had captured their hearts. My son even turned down a date with his girlfriend to watch the baby sleep!

I have tried to make our life feel as normal as it possibly can be with a five week old baby. We still sit around watching OTH (One Tree Hill for all of the non-fans) while talking about our day after the younger kids have gone to bed. I still make them coffee in the morning just before they wake. I still allow groups of teenagers to 'chill' at my house. In fact, the other night I had four 16 year old boys sleepover. My son says this was very 'awesome' of me. Woo! Bonus Mummy points.

Instead of "Son, go change Ethan's nappy, will ya?" we have tried to say "Did you want to help us feed Ethan?" or "Would you like another hold of the baby?" Chances are, they're already in the nursery or wanting to help out, anyway.

I hope my teens love parenting as much as I love to parent them. They bring such joy and happiness into my life.

*along with "Oooooh. How many days to go?" Hrmph. About ten weeks.

Seventh Heaven

I have seven kids. Seven? Yes, seven.

Firstly, I'll answer the questions that everyone wants to know when they meet me:

Oh Ma Gawd. Do you know what causes them? Yes!
Of course. Mummy and Daddy have a special hug that creates a baby. Duh.

Do you actually own a TV? Yes!
Um, hell yeah! My favourite shows are Keeping Up with The Kardashians and One Tree Hill. Shameful, I know!

Do your kids like, get any one-on-one quality time with you? Yes!
Except for my teens, of course. Because EW, why would they want to spend time with their parents?!?

Are your hands full? Yes, but so is my heart.
This is my classic, over-used line. I whip out this little gem every chance I get.

Do they each have their own rooms? Yes!
This one is usually followed by a remark like: "I knew a large family once. All the kids had to sleep in one room. Tin of sardines, I tell ya!"

Do you own a gun to keep them all in line? Yes!
Heh. Just kidding. I was actually asked this once.

My large, noisy and crazy family consists of me, myself and I (also known as Muuu-uuuuum), my lovely husband and my gorgeous children. I have 16 year old boy-girl twins, a 14 year old boy, an 11 year old girl, an eight year old boy, a five year old girl and we have recently welcomed our seventh addition - five-week-old Ethan. Oh yes, I am quite aware of the fact that my children's genders form a nice little pattern. Yes, I am also aware that "OMFG, you had a baby just over a year after you had twins?? Are you crazy, guuurl?" Thanks for that.

We had the twins when I was 21 (I'll save you the hassle of getting a calculator. I'm now 36). I will admit that they weren't planned but after the initial double shock: I'm pregnant! There's two!, we were both very excited. The twins were the best babies. So calm and chilled out. So much so, we decided to try for another. Nine months later he arrived. Life as a family of five was great, but we couldn't kick the feeling of wanting more.

Both my husband and I grew up in large-ish families, so we wanted the same for our children. Three years later my second daughter entered the world. Another three years later, I had my third son. Yet another three years later, we welcomed another girl.

Fast forward five years and our fourth son was born just over a month ago. He is snuggly, squishy and adorable and all of my kids love having him around. My teens, in particular are beyond amazing. They are so very helpful and their unfound love, care and gentleness toward him touches my heart. We are already (gasp) thinking another one. I believe my husband's exact words are:


Then again, he said that after my last two were born.

I would love to use this blog as a place to come and share some wonderful stories and memories. The little things. Things that I'm not going to remember when they all grow up.

(Which is now. My twins are 16! Sixteen! *tear* *sob* *vodka* What?)