… a belated back-to-school catch-up

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That was quite a break between posts, huh? How time flies! But don’t you worry. I didn’t spend that time idly, or at least not all of it anyway.  There have been quite a few adventure, believe me. But that’s for another day…

In Australia, the school year begins in January, usually the last week. There are four terms/semesters with three 2-week breaks and a 6-week break at the end of the year, around the middle of December. I love school holidays. Not just because I don’t have to be all frantic and worked-up about schedules, but because I love having the little ones around. Yes, sometimes it can drive me to the very brink of insanity (or push me right over once or twice), but I love being near them. Back-to-School Eve was sad. It always seems so official, more so than their birthdays that they are that much older now. I took a photo of the three of them on the backdoor steps.

Back to School Eve

And just like that, the next morning we woke up to a 2nd-grader, a 4th-grader and an 11th-grader. Heaven help me I have an 11th-grader!

back to school

And with that, the all-too-brief respite from all the madness was over. I am now well and truly entrenched in the countless forms, bills, and dramas of schooling until the next brief break comes along. 🙂

And that all I have to say about that.

For now…

 

…i got a liebster award!

I’ve had an alarmingly smooth run with my littlies’ morning routine today. By some miracle, we actually left the house on time! If it had ended there, I would have written the day off as a success. As it turns out, I had more good fortune coming my way. Imagine my delight when my morning turned a little brighter when I found out I was nominated for a Liebster Award by the lovely taffysea, who is doing a remarkable job of documenting her semester in Wales. You should check out her blog, wanderlust is almost guaranteed. Thank you so much, Taylor,  for taking the time to read, comment and generally make my day!

liebster

As I understand it, it’s an award bloggers share with each other to create a better blogging community and  there are a number of rules that need to be followed. They are as follows:-

  1. You have to link back to the person that nominated you.
  2. You have to nominate 5-11 bloggers with less than 200 (or is it 2000?) followers (that’s a toughie, I tells ya!) and notify them that you have nominated them.
  3. You have to answer the questions designated by the person who nominated you.
  4. Make up a list of questions for the nominated bloggers to answer.
  5. You cannot nominate the person that nominated you.

So here goes….

And my nominees for blogs to check out are

Sand Between My Toes
Drinking to Distraction
Naveed Dadan Photography
Petite Magique
Love Beauty Peace

Taylor’s questions:

1. Ocean or mountains?

Oceans. I grew up in tropical Fiji so I’ll always have salt water in my veins.

2. Favorite food from another country/culture?

Hangi – in the islands they make a pit and fill it with hot stones, place the food on the stones and cover the entire pit for a few hours. The result is melt in the mouth, smokey-earthy food like you wouldn’t believe.

3. Favorite movie (or top 3)

Oooh… I would have to say… Ever After, Meet Joe Black and Equilibrium

4. Hogwarts House?

I think Gryffindor, although Ravenclaw would be a very close second.

5. 5 words to describe yourself?

Ummm….. pedantic; affectionate; writer; blessed; survivor

6. Top bucket list item, 2014

Learn a new language

7. Childhood pet? (Name and type of animal)

Didn’t have one.

8. Favorite place you’ve visited?

South Africa – incredibly beautiful!

9. Top 5 things to pack for a short trip? (anything from an afternoon to a long weekend)

A book, music player, my journal, my camera and a first aid kit.

10. Your plane is delayed for 6 hours. What book do you want with you at the airport?

Jane Eyre

11. Country you’re never been to that you’d most love to visit?

Scotland – or anywhere in Europe, really, but I love Scotland.

My questions for my nominees:

1.  Favorite memory:

2. Favorite toy as a child:

3. Pirate or Prince/Princess:

4. Favorite quote:

5. Favorite childhood t.v. show:

6. Most likely to:

7. Favorite book:

8. Fictional crush:

9. Are you afraid of the dark?

10. Peanuts or Calvin and Hobbes?

11. Please describe your idea of a perfect date. 😉

I look forward to getting to know you all a little better. Congratulations! x

And that’s all I have to say about that…

For now.

To all my readers: please feel free to answer the questions in the comments. 🙂

… my son is my favorite superhero.

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Tristan’s always loved superheroes. In fact, ‘Batman’ was one of the first words he spoke. He has always been very invested in his favorite superheroes.

When he was about three, he discovered Iron Man. He would stick stickers all up and down his arms before Church so he could press all the ‘buttons’ Iron Man pressed in his armor. And he made a very distinct blasting sound when he shot ammo from his palms like Iron Man. One day, I was in the middle of stopping him from doing something dangerous when he turned around and ‘blasted’ me with his palm, complete with sound effect! I was shocked and amused at the same time. So I got down to his level and told him that trying to blast Mommy like Iron Man when she was trying to protect him wasn’t a very nice thing to do. He apologized and went off to do some more pretending. (I have to say, one of my favorite things about him is his imagination – more on that another time.) He came back to me a few minutes later and from a distance said, ‘Mom.’ When I looked his way, he touched his palm to his lips like he was going to blow me a kiss and the ‘blasted’ it to me like Iron Man. I was bowled over! And that’s how our special ‘superhero kisses’ were born.

He has a special way for kissing me for each of his favorite superheroes. There’s a Batman Kiss, a Silver Surfer Kiss, A Wolverine Kiss, a Superman Kiss, and more recently, a Sherlock Kiss! There are so many more that I can’t think of right now. Oh how I love those kisses! And I love that for now, they’re all mine.

Running at me like Wolverine.

Running at me like Wolverine.

Helping him fly.

Helping him fly.

One of the other reasons he’s my favorite superhero is because of all the wonderful things he says. When he was barely four, he told me in the car one day, ‘My wife’s kids are gonna be so cute!’. I was amazed at where that thought would have come from. I was separated from their father when Tristan was only seven months old and so he’s hardly had someone to model that behavior for him, and yet one of the things he’s always planning is how good a father he’s going to be. Once, he misguidedly told me (clearly in rebellion of my negative response to something he’d asked me), ‘I’m never going to say ‘no’ to my kids. I will give them whatever they want!’. I told him I’d be happy to have that conversation with him when he actually has kids!

Tonight, as I braided Lola’s hair before bedtime, he said, ‘I wanna watch how you do it, so I can do it for my daughter – if I ever have one.’ It always catches me by surprise when he says delightful little things like that. I’ve never known a little boy who’s already planning the things he’s going to be doing with his daughter. And he’s only 6!

And last, but not least, he’s my favorite superhero because he prides himself on being a gentleman. He always makes me wait for him to open my car door before I get out or in. He holds doors and waits for girls to be seated before he sits down himself. He has wonderful manners and for the most part, he is polite.

I just wish he stays on this path he’s on. He’s so wonderfully tuned in to be a superhero, the kind this world desperately needs. A superhero who has a love for his family, who is chivalrous and who loves and respects the women in his life. I love that little boy like crazy!

I am his first kiss, his first love, and his first friend. I am his momma and he is my little boy.

I am his first kiss, his first love, and his first friend. I am his momma and he is my little boy.

Who could ask for a better (not to mention cuter) superhero?

And that’s all I have to say about that…

For now.

…loki chose me!

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I walked briskly up the green hillside, leaving behind my comrades. The entire vista is a giant sea of broad green hills and meadows that stretch as far as the eye can see. It would usually be the kind of place that would arrest my attention, but not today, because my mind is reeling with the immensity of the task I am burdened with.

I hear a shout from behind and I turn to see him walking toward me, his ridiculous headgear placed pompously on his head. Ugh. I don’t need this right now! As he closes the gap between us, I try to not to think of the way my pulse races at the idea that he is coming to me. I feign nonchalance and keep walking.

As we walk in silence for what feels like an eternity, I try to formulate a plan to defeat the evil that threatens our very existence. It’s all well and good to set off on such a perilous quest, but to have no idea how to accomplish what we need is more than a little dangerous. I don’t want him to think that I’m depending on him to play the hero. This is my war too.

I breathe in the cool air that carries the scent of my surrounds. Everything smells so… green. To match his clothes, I think. I sneak a sidelong glance at him and notice how the sunlight glints off the horns. I roll my eyes thinking how it would serve as a beacon to anyone remotely paying attention. I toy with the idea of telling him to take it off, but I impulsively reach across and grab it by a horn and yank it off. His look is murderous, but I snap, ‘The light reflecting off it will give away our location!’, before he can say a word. He grumbles as he arches his hand gently, as though he were stroking the head of a child, and with a shimmer the helmet is gone from between my fingers, leaving behind a pleasant fizzle like a million little bubbles popping against my skin. I can’t keep the awe from my face. I’m thinking of how formidable an ally he will prove, when I realize with horror that I have come this far and my weapons are still all the way at the bottom of the hill.

I turn and run. I run so hard, it feels like I could actually fly if I went any faster. I have some idea that he’s calling my name from a distance, but all I can think of is how stupid I can be to have left my weapons behind. My sword is almost always in my hand, and only ever in its scabbard when I need both hands for doing things. Why would I have set them down? And how did I get this far without missing them?

I come to an abrupt halt at the edge of the cliff. This wasn’t here when I was climbing this hill a few minutes ago! Fear grips me as I feel the dizzying effect of vertigo take over me. My stomach muscles constrict and I feel like I will be over the edge any moment now. I can see the expanse of a grassy meadow at the bottom like an inviting bed, waiting for me to fall in. I’m about to give in to the pull when I feel his arm wrapping around my waist from behind, and I feel the first breath rush into my lungs. I hadn’t even realized I had been holding my breath.

A new kind of dizziness takes over me at the idea of being so close to him. I think of his constant harshness to everyone else. His notorious tricks. Shutting out anyone that tries to get close to him. So, why did he choose to come with me?

Savoring the feel of his closeness, I start to turn around….

…. and I feel the dream slipping away slowly.

No. No. No. Aw, come on! I try desperately to stay asleep so I could see where it would go. It was so real I tells ya! And it was so delicious. It had everything. Beautiful scenery, I was a warrior, Loki was not only my ally but apparently we had a little something going on… Man! I was so bummed to be awake.

I have to tell you, I love my dreams. But some days, like today, I wish there was some way I could hold on to them. I have the best dreams!

And that’s all I have to say about that…

For now.

… we committed sacrilege

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There’s been a festival going on in Sydney these summer holidays. One of the attractions is a giant jumping castle in the form of Stonehenge, called ‘Sacrilege’.

Here’s some shots of our day out about two weeks ago. Incidentally, it was my last day as a certain number, so I love that it was really memorable. I have a tradition going with my kids where we celebrate the last day ever of being a number. It’s one of my favorite traditions. So this is mine for this year…

sacrilege 1

Sacrilege at Sydney Festival

Some guy with an impulse to photobomb my shot.

Some guy with an impulse to photobomb my shot.

The kids and the cousins.

And we did some other stuffs. Like :-

Frolicked in the fountain.

Frolicked in the fountain.

Stimulated our ornithophobia.

Stimulated our ornithophobia.

and

Smiled a lot.

Smiled a lot.

We went home tired, some injured and a little worse for wear, but it was a wonderful day filled with wonderful memories. 🙂

And that’s all I have to say about that…

For now.

…i went

Day 30 Photo-a-Day Challenge

If I didn’t post anything today I would never have forgiven myself. I just needed to know that I could start and finish a project. Everything in between is just details. Right?

I went to a lot of places today, but for the purposes of this post, the first place I went to is the most relevant.

A lovely friend from Church asked if I would take some photos of her family. In spite of my warning her that I am strictly amateur, and even that is a bit of a stretch, she insisted. So I decided to give it a go…

day 30 2

Even with an overcast sky, we managed a few really lovely photos. I hope they like them.

And that’s all I have to say about that…

For now.

… i wish

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Day 15 Photo-a-Day Challenge

I was going to do my post on how time passes for a mother. One of the strangest things about being a mother is your perception of time. Everything is in slow-motion and fast-forward all at once. Your day feels interminable because of the mundane, but every now and again, as you watch the rapid changes in your children, you realize just how quickly it all goes by.

But, something more pressing has taken precedence on my wishlist.

The photo for today’s post is of my children having a giggle on the couch as they waited for their father to pick them up for the night. The arrangement is that he has them on Friday nights and most of Saturday, I have them the rest of the time. My wish as I was taking the picture was that they would stop growing so quickly.

All that changed. Within a few short hours, in an alcohol-fueled rage, I got a phone call from him saying, ‘Come and get your children!’ It took me ten minutes to get there. When I got there, my distressed children rushed out of the door into the stormy night to get away from him as quickly as possible.

At home we talked. We tried to heal. We went around taking turns telling everyone five things we loved about them. We hugged and we kissed and we reminded each other again that we love each other.

They’re in bed now. My wish is very different now. I wish that my children never have to see that ugly side of humanity ever again. I wish I could erase from their young and impressionable minds the horrors they’ve witnessed. I wish I could have done something to prevent it from happening. I wish the frightened faces that I saw getting into the car won’t haunt me forever. I wish they would have stayed with me today. I wish the happiness they felt this afternoon would have endured. I wish I would have known the value of this moment and how fleeting it was when I captured this picture.

Day 15 I Wish

Ans that’s all I have to say about that…

For now.

…something new

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Day 14 Photo-a-Day Challenge

It’s springtime in the Southern Hemisphere. We eagerly await the arrival of spring for a few reasons and they all have to do with Larissa. It’s her birth season, she prefers the temperatures and weather conditions, and most importantly, it means frangipanis blooming again.

She absolutely adores frangipani trees – always has. The first time she saw one was on the way to her day-care. There was a boat shop on the corner off the main road with a house within the yard and a tree right up against the fence. It caught her two-year-old eyes one day and she asked me what tree it was. I told her, and ever since then, whenever we passed that spot she would remind us that it was ‘her tree’.

I remember the first time she realized that there were no longer flowers or leaves on the tree. It had made her so sad. And then began the eager wait for the pretty flowers to return. Her delight in watching first the leaves return and then the flowers was priceless!

And so, year after year we watched the tree go through its cycles, until one fateful spring day last year. I was driving her to her dance class and she was chatting away in the back seat. It had been a slow recovery from winter, so the tree had taken longer than usual to bloom. I happened to be stopped at the traffic light a about a meter or two away from the tree. I looked up and noticed the first white blooms and excitedly said, ‘Look! The flowers are back!’ As I said this, I noticed a man under the tree sawing away at one of the limbs. Too late! She noticed it too. I watched her face go from joy to horror in an instant. She pleadingly looked at me and asked, ‘Why is he doing that?’ The short version was that there were new owners and I guess they had other plans for the property. The lights changed in that moment and we drove off. She had such a heavy heart the whole time and when we were on our way home about an hour later, the entire tree was gone. She was gutted. I ached as I watched her cry. It had been such a significant part of her childhood.

I was torn. How in the world had it worked out that they were lopping the tree at that very particular time? In some ways I was grateful that there was closure, in other ways I was gutted that she had to witness the brutality. Would it have been better that it would have mysteriously disappeared? Would she have been better off not knowing? We talked about it a few times. About how there’s a time and a season for everything. About how it was more important to hold on to the feelings of beauty and appreciation and excitement that she had been allowed to experience as a result of the tree being there. About the joy that had been hers and shared by her loved ones because of ‘her tree’.

I still can’t believe I never thought to take a photo of it. Ever. I wish I had. I guess, as with everything else, I always imagined it would be there forever.

When we moved to our new home about eight months ago, she was over the moon to find a frangipani tree in our very own front yard! It was the end of summer and her joy was short-lived, but we’ve recently noticed new shoots of leaves appearing. I took a photo of one of the shoots that hold the promise of a new flower. I’m so excited for the very first flower to bloom! So here is my ‘something new’ – a new hope, a new anticipation, a new reassurance, a new promise, a new memory.

day14 something new

And that’s all I have to say about that…

For now.

…opposites

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Day 12 of November Photo-a-Day Challenge

If you’ve been paying attention, you’d’ve noticed that there’s a huge gap between days in the post, to the tune of eight missing days. That’s because I have been spread thin with so many things that I just could not keep up. I toyed with the idea of abandoning the project all together, but that would just be lame. So while I was waiting for Larissa at her dance class, I was lucky enough to spot a wonderful depiction of opposites. I only regret not having a better lens with me, but this’ll have to do.

I remember the first time I’d ever seen the moon during daylight. I was still in elementary school and my mother was walking me to school that morning. I noticed the waxing moon in the sky and I totally freaked out. I thought the world was going to end or something – the idea was completely unheard of to me. My whole life I’d known that the sun belonged to the day and the moon belonged to the night, and here was this spectacle making a lie of my entire existence! My mother loving told me that it happens sometimes and because I trusted her wholeheartedly, that was enough for my little mind at the time. That said, when the anxiety wore off I felt pretty special to have seen something so extraordinary.

The moon has always held a special fascination for me. I love seeing that magical orb, suspended in various stages of waxing or waning defiantly in the sky. Even when all I can see is a sliver, I can’t help but feel drawn to it.

What could be a better representation of opposites than the beacon of the night making an appearance in the day?

day and moon ipiccy

And that’s all I have to say about that…

For now.

…my favorite place

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Day 4 of Photo-a-Day challenge.

This is a tough one. To take a photo of my favorite places are virtually impossible right now. You see, my most favorite of places is my own mind. I love my dreams, my daydreams, my fantasies and my hopes. It’s where I’m truly me. Wow, that just kind of struck me a little just then. So, like I was saying, my mind is my favorite place to retreat to.

My next favorite place is equally as elusive to get to – it’s in a whole other country. Growing up in Fiji was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I loved the lushness of everything around me. Yes, we were a little slow in catching up with the rest of the world in a whole lot of ways, but to me, as an adult, as a mother, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. My high school was located in one of the nicest places I can think of, and I guess it didn’t hurt that I was a bit of a nerd so I was always in my element there. I’m sure it won’t be as striking to some as it was to me, but there was just some quality about it that has held a portion of my love forever. The most wonderful place on the entire campus was the gymnasium and the sports field which were right next to each other. Surrounded by lush, tropical vegetation, it was just amazing to be there.

Not to be out-done, my next favorite place is the home I spent my childhood in – also in Fiji. I don’t even have any old photos of the place since we had to leave most of those kinds of things behind when we moved here. Long story – for another time. It was a simpler time. I miss everything associated with it, especially my mother, who passed away fifteen years ago.

So, no piccies today. Just some rambling.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

For now…