Just because you can, doesn’t mean you have to.

Sunday morning, post-sleepover party.  It was sunny, I flung open the doors,  I vacuumed and lit lovely smelling candles, the bebe was sleeping and the 10th birthday party was over {for me at least, Dave was on duty with 5 boys at the hot pools – where’s that laughing-so-hard-i’m-crying emoticon?}.  How jaded do I sound?  Very, I know.  Here’s the deal, we have gone big on birthday parties for so many years, and I can definitely pull them off.  Remember Big Foot hunting in the forest when Dave hired a costume and was actually Big Foot?  Yes, I think our work here is done.

So, I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve, a few skills you know; I can take some pretty snaps, sometimes people pay me to do this.  I can produce large and small scale graphics and run Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop with my eyes closed, sometimes people pay me to do this too.  One thing I can definately do is make awesome birthday invitations and get all crafty with party stuff.  But this year I didn’t.  No mummy-guilt here, just knocked out a Minecraft invite 5 days before the party {oops} in literally, 6 minutes.  Ethan was pretty much in raptures.  Check.

I have made my blessed first born an awesome cake every year for every party.  He wanted a cheesecake this year which was no problem as I can knock one of those up in a flash  {Cheesecake Recipe here}.  Totally purchased all the ingredients and didn’t have time to make it.  No mummy-guilt here, Dave ran up to The Cheesecake Shop and got them to write “Happy 10th Birthday Ethan” on his store bought cake – in really crappy looking writing – and it was just the best thing ever!  “Look at this”,  E exclaimed to his friends, “my DAD got this custom made!”  “you don’t just buy them like that, DAD hooked it up”.  Yes, DAD totally “hooked it up”.  Obviously I hadn’t been hooking it up enough for the past 9 years to deserve that enthusiastic reaction to cake, but whatevs, there was cake!  Check.

Afternoon tea – Ethan planned the menu; cocktail sausages, grapes, frozen savouries, chips and soda.  Healthy?  No way.  Easy, yes!  24 hours of party food won’t kill anyone and will also help this mummy not kill anyone – everybody wins!

Dinner – Pizza Hut $5 takeout pizzas – still winning!

Breakfast – Pancakes, cheers Dad.  Our amaze Pancake Recipe here

So, to summarize, this is NOT my idea of an epic birthday party.  No perfectly planned menu, no crafts and decor, no Pinterest worthy pics, in fact no pics at all aside from this gem  – can’t see the cake or the birthday boy, the lighting is shit, image quality worse than shit and I have 7 chins!  

Birthday Party - New Zealand Mummy Blog 

But for all of its failings in the ‘Perfect Party’ department, Ethan had an amazing weekend with his friends and enjoyed the unstructured, un-fancy-no photo-opp nature of his celebration and it was a good lesson for me; my expectations can be lowered without the world falling off its axis!

Who even has a 10 year old anyway?

Life is mental.  Then your eldest son turns 10 and life gets more mental and you just get really  o l d .

On Friday E turns 10 and this means {if my maths is correct} that Dave and I have been parents for 10 freaking years!  What the?!  Double whammy actually as this also means we have been married for, wait for it, 10 FREAKING YEARS!  Yup, we sealed the deal in a classy ceremony in a San Diego courthouse with one month old Ethan as best man – as he has remained to this day.

We have had some seriously good times with this kid, he was our sole team-mate for 8.5 years before graciously becoming the best big brother there has ever been.  He is the kid at school that is super smart and kicks ass in the classroom but also goes pretty hard on the sports field as well.  He sung his heart out on stage last night at the APPA choir festival at the Auckland Town Hall, and Dave was just the proudest Dad ever, constantly sending me pics and messages about his awesome boy.  The nice thing about this is that I sung in the APPA choir when I was Ethan’s age 25 years ago and stood on the same stage at the Town Hall!  There he is 4th from the left in green;

Auckland Kids Choir

Shopping for gifts for a ten year old boy is infinitely harder than then the 9 year old I had last year.  For some reason I cannot fathom the item on the top of his birthday list is this;

WWE Spinner Belt

Hmmm.  Confused?  Same.  That’s apparently a WWE Championship Spinner Belt Replica, which will not (sadly) be coming to live at our house post birthday on Friday.  Wrestling belt, wrestling toy guys, some status update on Minecraft.  And that is it.  The sum total of my big guys birthday wish-list is a bunch of plastic, sweaty men in lycra gear.  Scary stuff.  But, compared to that his real birthday present is freaking awesome!  I cannot wait for Friday morning!

 

 

A small win for my big guy

When Ethan was a newborn one of our friends in San Diego quickly noted that he was not one of those ‘spaghetti’ babies. What she meant was, he was never limp or floppy. There was always tension in his wee body and he has always been strong, robust and above the 95th percentiles.
As he has grown nothing much has changed aside from my grocery bill. The child is built like a brick shithouse with shoulders like battering rams.
E may be very athletic and naturally good at sports but he ain’t built for speed.
And so, athletics day approached and Ethan’s face darkened every time I mentioned it. He was sure he would run last in his races and there is nothing E hates more than not being good at everything something.
As it turned out, Ethan came third in all of his races which thrilled us all no end. The icing on the cake however was the inclusion of shot put in the junior events! My boy was made to throw heavy objects! With the 10-15kg weight advantage he has on other kids in his class I’m surprised he wasn’t throwing one of them 13 metres.
So Ethan won the shot put and learned that you can’t measure everyone against the same yard stick. His big slow twitch muscle fibres are not as good at sprinting as others but come in handy when you are trying to throw metal balls like Valerie (whom he adores).
I hope he remembers this next rugby season and leaves his dreams of the back line far behind.

Kids_rugby

Some days it’s hard to be a Mummy & other days you were right all along

I started writing a post on Sunday night after a very ‘ordinary’ day.  Don’t judge – this is life people, this is really how I felt, I am a great mother, a fabulous mother even but on Sunday I felt ordinary, acted ordinary and was definitely an ordinary mother;

Monday is so close now that I can almost feel the barrage of ‘hurry’, ‘don’t forget….’, ‘pack this’, get out of the house and don’t return for eight long hours. I do not like this feeling. Today has been a black day.
When I struggle with Dave being away for so long, I feel like a failure, the one-child mummy that couldn’t. As if having an only child doesn’t come with allowances for bad days. Everything is easy with just one right?
I’m not busier with Dave away, I do all the Ethan toting anyway, I’m not doing more chores really, I am cooking more eggs than normal but I can handle that, I’m not lonely – I have my Mum here so adult conversation is never far away. What I am is totally wiped from the massive emotional and attention requirement that Ethan now demands from just one person. That would be me.
I just wanted to run away {from him} screaming today. Far far away and screaming so I couldn’t hear MAMA? for the millionth time in an hour. Here comes the mummy guilt again. E has quite massive OCD tendencies and these manifested all damn day today. One thing after another, beginning with googling how to take care of catfish (this incorporated water temp, filter and pump requirements blah blah blah). He wants a catfish because he is obsessed with River Monsters and the Gooch catfish in India. We are not getting a catfish or a tropical aquarium. We have a perfectly good FREE Minnow type fish called Todd that was gifted to us (complete with tank and pump) just yesterday. Pet fish – check.
This was followed by the everlasting persistent request to move the aforementioned fish tank to the office by his laptop. I wasn’t getting to this fast enough and I was nagged about this relentlessly. The final round of the day was about getting a fishing rod down from the roof of the garage so he could play with it. Again, the nagging this child can inflict is without equal. God sure must love this little try-er.

The point of me even publishing this {I wasn’t going to, it was cathartic enough just to write it} is that today I got the damn fishing rod down from the roof of the garage, I found some hardy pliers and clipped the hook off the tackle, we found a suitable grab-nabber type toy and I tied this onto the sinker.  Ethan had his rod.  He was so happy, grateful and really just plain old dee-lighted to be catching giant catfish in the front yard.

I wondered why this was too hard for me to do on Sunday?  Why I hadn’t given him the 15 minutes it took to get the rod set-up?  Mama guilt.

Ethan played happily with his rod for at least an hour, how rad is my kid, I thought.  He could have been inside watching tv, playing on the computer or his iPod.  He could have been throwing a tantrum.  Oh snap, HE IS THROWING A TANTRUM.

A massive birds nest had snarled his line and oh god the world was ending.  And that was the end of fishing on the front lawn.

I knew there was a reason why I didn’t get that fishing line down on Sunday.

Front_lawn_fishing

Front_lawn_fishing

Summer’s finally here and it’s a hot one

……..but don’t think for a second that you might catch me complaining, I wait for 8 months of the year for this season.  I bitch and moan and detest winter and autumn because they are cold and rainy, I hate spring because it is so close to summer and often drags on far too long (like this past spring for example), so when the tar on the road is melting and the vege garden needs watering morning and night I WILL NOT COMPLAIN.

Plus we now have a pool.

Christmas Post #2: The decorating. It is done.

Oh the weather outside is frightful,

But the fire is so delightful….

It has now been raining for about 3 days and I’m not quite sick of it yet as I’m pretty sure I can see my veges growing from where I sit.  Yus.

BACK TO CHRISTMAS!

Ethan had the day off school today so we shopped and made like festive shopping-type-elves and it was so much fun.  He picked out a little tree for his room and picked out all of the decorations himself.  I held my tongue as he threw the MOST garish, tinny, gold and red Santa’s in his basket.  I looked the other way as he complemented them with a whole box of ugly, cheap ‘n’ nasty ornaments and I applauded his fine taste and good eye when found a pair of jandals and his red star for the top.  He was so happy and proud of himself.  He really pulled the whole thing together when he remembered his flashing dolphin Christmas lights and added those to the mix.  His tree looks awesome!

Ethan decorates HIS tree

Ethan decorates HIS tree 2

Ethan decorates HIS tree 3

Ethan decorates HIS tree 4

IMG_7804

So we finished that project right as Dave arrived home which was too perfect as Ethan had asked me ten bazillion times when was Daddy coming home, so we moved on to stage 2  – The Big Fake Tree.  Ethan and I decorated while Dave hung Christmas lights.

Ethan decorates the Big Fake Tree

Ethan decorates the Big Fake Tree 2

We finished up this arvo with the building of the Gingerbread House (so shoot me I BOUGHT the pack, it’s not homemade yadda yadda.  It smells divine anyway) and then an awesome Christmas roast chicken, potatoes, broccoli and corn.  Such a great afternoon!

Gingerbread House 1

Gingerbread House 2

Louie was NOT missing out on the festivities!

Gingerbread House 3

Gingerbread House 5

It’s here! It’s here!

The first Christmas Post of the year!!!  Excited much?

Mark your calendars, for today the 3rd of December is the all-time Melissa’s Best Day of 2009 Winner.  Don’t ask why, just tip your cans and wine glasses and give us a big ol cyber hug!

Thanks.

Now, on to Christmas.  I started and finished ALL of Ethan’s shopping today with the exception of the fish tank which is not in stock yet.  So, again, yay me.  I think even Dave is happy with the budget which is a small miracle considering my penchant for blowing exorbitant amounts of money on the little prince and Dave’s rather conservative Southern-boy expectation of acceptable amounts to spend on lil chil’ns.

After I picked Ethan up from school we headed a  l o n g way away to Christmas Wonderland for the first time – and it wasn’ t that far really.

Oh my Jesus.  Holy smokes.  That place is awesome.  There are like 160 bee-ootiful Christmas trees all decorated with different themes, some people have worked on this display for 5 months!  Imagine dedicating 5 months of your life to Christmas.  If anymore people start doing this there will be no-one left to celebrate Talk Like A Pirate Day and then where would we be?

So I may or may not have taken pictures.  With my camera, which is not that small (hello big ol Canon DSLR), but somehow these pics have found there way into my hands – I know people in all the right places.  This was a covert operation so there is some blur due to adjusting settings in the dark and shooting from  out of a purse which may or may not have been mine.  I have told you before, I live on the edge people.

Polar Bears & Penguins on a Christmas Tree?