Archives

After all my self-pity and uncertainty with my operation, I thought I owed my boys a weekend of a little bit of fun and doing something special. Of course, it couldn’t be too strenuous, because I still have my stab wounds and they are still a little bit tender so I need to take it easy, so we did what we could, and we did it on a bit of a budget.

I received a coupon book from my energy company that had some great discounts, so I thought I would use those to get us through the weekend. The discounts vary from restaurants to ice-cream shops, to drive-in movie theatres to adventure parks, as well as spa treatments and hotel stays. We didn’t go that far, but we did manage some great bargain.

First stop was Saturday night dinner at the Groove Train. Nothing overly special, but between the share plates of a garlic pizza, calamari salad, Italian sausages with fresh basil leaves and a tomato relish, and some crispy wedges with sweet chilli sauce and sour cream, my boys found the retro Pacman machines and we did some Ebay checking to see how much they are (about $1200 if you’re interested). And of course my boys needed to be difficult ordering a choc-banana milkshake and a strawberry-blue heaven milkshake respectively (two each), while I settled for a Savvy B (or two). So our $90.00 bill came down to $64.00.

After dinner, we went to see “Jurassic World.” We had another voucher, thinking that with the voucher we would have paid $31.00 instead of our standard $34.50 with our movie club discount. However, we had a free ticket on the movie club token, so we only paid $20 for the 3 of us to see the blockbuster.

Then today, with it being such a beautiful winter’s day, the boys and I took a train into the city to enjoy an Irish meal in an Irish Pub. (see Instagram pics @suzyjbrown). It came completely with Irish accents from the staff! My oldest son went the eye-fillet steak with chips and gravy, I went the Sunday roast with a pint of Bulmers, and my youngest son went the kid’s menu of chicken tenderloins and chips. Both my boys had a pint of lemon squash. Our table was an old wine barrel, and we were surrounded by Guinness signs, old newspapers from the 1950s lacquered to the walls, and rich oak paneling.. oh, and a Collingwood vs GWS football game on the screen. It was a hearty feast, and we’re not requiring dinner tonight, that’s for sure. Our $64.00 bill came down to $47.00.

After our big meal, I convinced (poorly) that instead of catching the train at Flinders Street station, we walk along the Yarra to Richmond station. With a bit of ‘I just want to go home’ and ‘it’s too long’ we eventually made it to Richmond station just as the train was pulling up to the platform. Gotta love the timing!

So, all in all we saved, $57.50, as well as what it would have cost us to travel into the city by car (our Mykis already had money on them, so travel was essentially free).

After all the whining along the Yarra, I told the boys I had another surprise when we got back to the car, and that was that they had to help me with the grocery shopping… I didn’t say it was a great surprise, but they did get to choose a few things that I wouldn’t normally buy, so there was a bonus for them.

I must admit, I do have helpful boys. Between them this weekend, they walked the dog, vacuumed, emptied the dishwasher, put rubbish in the bins, brought in the groceries from the car, packed for school camp, did 2-3 hours of homework, went clothes shopping (yes, boys who went clothes shopping!), squeezed in a basketball game for one and and a hockey game for the other. I am blessed… So all in all, it was a good weekend for all 🙂

Christmas is a time of giving… NOT receiving. For me, it’s giving my time to the people who are special in my life, it’s giving presents to the young, sweet and innocent who relish in the joy of Christmas, and it’s giving to the people who have touched my life in someway throughout the year by either making it easier for me or making me smile. To me, giving is a show of appreciation to those who bring joy to my life.

For years, I lived up to the role model of my mother, who sent endless Christmas cards with annual letters describing what her and her family had been up to for the last 12 months, to endless long lost aunts, uncles, old school friends and old work acquaintances. I even spent around 10 years hand-making cards as my gift to everyone who was in my life. And it was like a numbers game… how many Christmas cards did you send out? It was almost like bragging rights to how many Facebook friends you have… But since the advent of Facebook, it’s easier to stay in touch with all those people who would have been on the Christmas card list, and now you just send a generic Facebook ‘Merry Christmas’ rather than a card. Last year, I think I bought a packet of 20 cards and posted about 12 cards, this year, I’ve only bought cards that get attached to presents. It had become an ‘expectation’ that people would receive a card, and some a present from me – friends, family and work colleagues, but I’m tired of living up to the expectations, that, I will admit, are sometimes in my head, but also that are apparent a few months after Christmas when people would say ‘we missed out on the beautiful muffins you make last year’ or ‘so sad to not receive your family letter at Christmas.’ We’ll, as I said, Christmas is about giving NOT receiving… and if I don’t feel like giving my annual treats, then that’s OK by me.

The other Christmas expectation I want to talk about is the expectation of family coming together for Christmas. Some people move to the other side of the world to get away from family or anything else they want to escape from, some move interstate or a few hundred kilometres away… it’s a conscious choice. So why do they feel obliged to come home once a year, or every second or third year, to spend it with ‘family?’ Family are the people who love you and you love them back in return… they don’t judge you, they are proud of you, they make you laugh at the beauty in life, and you come together to cry in tragedy. If that isn’t blood, then it doesn’t matter. So many people I have spoken to over the past few weeks who are actually dreading Christmas Day with all the family bickering, struggle between driving from one place to another and not being able to take in the Christmas spirit, and all the other negative thoughts that go with the hardships and emotions of this ‘silly season’ then you must ask, for your own happiness and stress levels, is it worth it?

I know there are many many people who absolutely love getting together with family on Christmas, and it is a super special day, and you are definitely one of the lucky ones that have a family that have like-minded love and ties to each other… but there is so much more dysfunction and families needing to spread further and further apart because of jobs, broken families, etc, that the long-held family traditions are fading.

From past experience, it is tremendously hard to break away from tradition. The first time I did it, was because someone in our family broke our tradition and we were forced to spend our Christmas day with people I didn’t know, who spoke a completely different language. And, I agree, sometimes those days can be fun and rewarding, but not Christmas Day when you want to know you can fart in a different direction or tell an ‘in family joke’ that you know will get a laugh and not need to explain it to others who are out of the loop. It was a shock to my family for my family not to show, and I had the big talk from my parents why I was taking such dramatic action, but I wasn’t going to be dictated to, how my young children and I would spend our Christmas.

This year will be the third year I haven’t spent Christmas with my blood family. From that first time to the last time I spent Christmas with my blood family, it progressively got worse… the bickering about if we should change the rules to the Kris Kringle presents, to someone always cooking too much food for their course, to who’s house it will be at this year, to who’s not pulling their weight with cleaning up, to someone wanting to change the rules on when the kids get to open their presents. Why? Why make it soooooo hard, when it is supposed to be a joyous day.

This year will be the second year I get to spend it with my country family, which I’m excited about. It’s relaxed and everyone gets to bring something and it’s like one big buffet dinner with a little bit of dessert at the end. There’s no hang up on presents between us, because we just enjoy spending time together. And that’s the way it should be…

So what I’m getting at, and as selfish as it sounds, enjoy Christmas in a way that is beneficial to your well-being… give to those who appreciate you, and you appreciate… laugh with those who embrace your sense of humour, eat your favourite foods without worrying about your waist line, and take in the spirit of Christmas without worrying about other’s expectations, traditions or values. And once you break away from what isn’t right for you, you can learn to break away from other things in your life to move forward and be the person you’ve always dreamed to be! Be brave… and look after your beautiful body, emotional mind and treasured soul this Christmas, and not worry about any others, except for your children.

The last 24 hours really got me into the Christmas spirit!

Last night, I had my first Toastmasters Christmas Party which was a lot of fun! We played barefoot bowls, and you could see a little competitiveness between my fellow Toastmasters, but otherwise it was a few drinks, a few laughs and a few congratulative ‘pat-on-the-backs’ for getting pretty close to the jack. We then sat down to a 2-course meal amongst our usual Toastmasters speeches, as well as having a mini trivia night (my table tied with a miserable score of 5/14, but somehow, we still won!) and a couple of presentations. I met this gorgeous girl from another Toastmasters club who was our guest speaker and it was just great how quickly we got along so well! Sometimes you just never know when you will meet someone who will make an impact in your life, or you in theirs.

Today was a mad rush of getting my boys’ Christmas presents before one of them finishes school this week! Aarrrgghh!! I wrapped up a few, because it’s the only way to hide them, and sorted out the ‘evenness’ in making sure that the number of presents and value of presents are equal. I made notes where I still needed to get things, but all in all, most of it’s done! YAY!

And, tonight, we went to our local council’s Christmas Carols in the Park with a couple of great friends. It’s always a crowded night of sitting awkwardly for long stints on picnic blankets, but the night is always filled with bad audience singing (mainly mine!) floating over the beautiful choral singers on the stage, bright flashing windmills and wands, glow sticks and reindeer antlers, Santa hats, innocent children’s faces flashing up on the big screens showing their happiness and joy, oh, and a little wine!

IMG_5360IMG_5365IMG_5358

IMG_5376

We went with a gorgeous family who I met through my oldest son. They have a 2 year old who is still in that beautiful stage of being in awe of everything – Santa, sparkly things and tonight was his first experience of fireworks. It went from tears and panic sitting on top of Daddy’s shoulders when the first fireworks exploded, to jaw-dropping awe and excitement sitting in the safety of Mummy’s arms (and a little bit of ear blocking because they were a little noisy for him). All our boys had lots of fun together, and my friend always brings a fabulous spread of the yummiest food from the market. It was nice to have a little one around again to experience the newness of everything (but just as nice to let him go home with his parents!).

I came home, and my dog Dexter wanted to give me a present (well, actually he was looking to put his ‘present’ in a hiding place, like my bed to let it fester before he devoured it!) How can you resist this face?

IMG_5377

So it’s back to work for me tomorrow… somehow I need to pay for all the joy I bring my boys in materialistic possessions, as we all do!

Recently, I wrote a comment on another author’s Facebook post, and I had no idea it would get such an intense response. It seems like, once you separate or divorce, or even choose to live the dream against the conformist lifestyle, there seems to be a commonality of friends and family disowning you.

Friends are supposed to come and go, whilst family is supposed to be there forever, through happy times and hard times… but in this fast paced world, it’s becoming more and more evident that everyone is in this world for themselves, and dear friends are becoming more like family.

So many people question if they have made the right choice when they find the courage to leave their marriage or long-term relationship because they have effectively been ostracised. It’s a vicious circle. You’re no longer a couple therefore you don’t get invited to do ‘couple’ things. You tend to gravitate to other single parents because you feel you can understand each other, even though every single divorce, separation, child custody and/or financial settlement story is completely different… but you have a commonality of being on your own and crave for adult conversation.  You then get accused by your family for spending too much time with other single parents and all their sad stories and you are becoming ‘one of them,’ so even in family occasions, you become ostracised, because no one wants to hear the bad, lonely side of separation and divorce. So you are left with no one except a handful of single mums who are in the same boat as you – not enough hours in the day, not enough hands to do everything, and not able to help each other because you are too busy doing everything you need to do to survive.

And even though those initial years are hard after separation – the loneliness, the isolation, the ability to be both mum and dad to your children, they are worth it, because your children have such a deep love and understanding of what you sacrificed to ensure that they are safe, cared for and wanted. Where as, many children in supposedly happy marriages, are left to their own devices, turning to drugs, alcohol, under age sex, vandalism and truancy, just to get the attention of their parents.

As for those who have chosen to live the dream – the sea change, the tree change, the simple life, the nomad life, whatever it is that people make you feel like your crazy, you have to remember, it’s their insecurities, not yours. You have the courage to be whomever you want, and if they disown you because of their jealousies or their almighty dependence on materialism and capitalism, then they weren’t the real friends you thought they could have been.

To me, life is for living. I find some people who are supposed to be there caring for me, are more of a hinderance than a help (mainly an emotional hinderance). I see people work hard for 40 years who finally retire to ‘live the dream’ of travel, enjoying grandchildren, joining hobby groups, etc only to be hit almost instantly with illness that prevents them from enjoying their golden years. That’s not life.

Whilst I work hard day in day out because my creative head just doesn’t know how to stop, I love that I can express myself, help people feel that they aren’t alone by getting to the brutal usually ‘untold truth,’ travel the world and be the mum my own mother couldn’t be for me, because our priorities in life were completely different. And whilst many people don’t agree with the way I raise my children because I give them too much love, attention, pocket money, chores, time with friends, time to learn, opportunities to eat out at restaurants, travel, extreme sports, opportunities to be a team player and opportunities to build on their dreams, it’s my choice… AND through it all, they have become leaders at school and in their sports, they have developed their own niche and strengths and they are overall GOOD AND HAPPY KIDS, which all but family seem to recognise.

So, don’t feel disillusioned that you are being disowned by the very people who are supposed to love you. Feel liberated that you now have the chance to choose the people who inspire you, enlighten you, embrace you and can laugh with you, and you can gradually tell them your story – if it’s the beauty in your life or the hardships… it’s your choice to live your life any way you want to. Stay positive, and be free.

 

Posted by in Family on September 8, 2014

As my boys get older, there become more and more opportunities for them to make me proud. It’s not that I wasn’t proud of them before, but as I encourage them to ‘be better’ and have the courage to ‘make it happen,’ somehow slowly, those wise words are sinking in.

On Friday, my oldest son played in the grand final of his hockey season. He has been the goalie all year, and I had plenty of comments from the parents and coach throughout the season about how much of an asset he is to the team. So much so, that on the way to the grand final, he told me that his coach had also made him captain for the finals. He said he was made captain because the coach thought he took the game seriously (yet if you knew my son, he just thinks that being goalie is like being in a real life video game where he can control his players! lol).

The team they were playing hadn’t yet lost a game all season, and the last time we played them we lost 2-10 (however, my son wasn’t playing that day, as that was the day we went to see USA vs Canada ice-hockey). So, as you can imagine, the other team would be expecting to win easily. And as they were at the top of the ladder, if it was a draw, they would still be Premiers. Our key striker was on the bench with a knee that had put him in crutches all week, so we weren’t confident that we would win, but the team were pumped about trying. We got the first goal. Then the score was tied, but it took a while. With 10 minutes to go before the end of the game, we were up 4-3. The parents were super excited, with adrenalin rushing through us, not caring that it was bitterly cold outside. Somehow, with just minutes spare, their team got 2 quick goals and the whistle blew… Score ending in 4-5.

Our boys were so elated with their tenacity and efforts that it didn’t bother them that they had lost. They were the ultimate sportsmen. My son, as captain, handed out runners-up medals to his team mates, and thanked the referees for their job. They did such a fine job. Shhh… but this week at the official presentation night, I know the coach is going to give my son a trophy for all his hard work and efforts (not sure what the award actually is, but after 5 years in playing hockey, it will be his first trophy, and I think he may be a little surprised!)

As for my younger son…. he has learning difficulties and has had to read an entire novel this term and do four assignments on the book. The assignments are 1) an author’s study, 2) a character web, 3) character emotions and 4) describe in your own words a scene in the book, then draw a picture of it. With a little bit of encouragement, he finished the book on the weekend. But what surprised me most, was when he really tried, and had an incentive (i.e., if you finish this chapter I will give you some candy!), he read the book so fluently and read words that I would never expect him to know. Usually it’s a drawn out process of ‘I’m too tired,’ negotiations to do less, or an inaudible voice of painful blur he thinks is called ‘reading out loud.’  It’s like he’s been playing me and his teachers about his abilities for a while now, but doesn’t want anyone to know… hmmmm…. not sure how to handle that… maybe I should secretly record him and let his teacher and tutor know what he is capable of doing…

So, as our children achieve their little milestones in leadership, processing information, and tactics, we must take out hats off to them for taking on the journey that allows them to become masters of their own lives. If only I could stop them procrastinating, then I wouldn’t need to nag! lol

 

Posted by in Adventure, Family on June 30, 2014

Last weekend, when we went to New Zealand, Dexter stayed with some friends in the country. My friend was nice enough to write Dexter’s diary while we were away… and here it is…

My Weekend away from my Family

Day 1.
Started out as normal although everyone was home on a  school/work day. That wasn’t normal but it was nice. We went for a drive and met Aunty G. Then I found myself in a strange car and my family was gone. I cried a bit, I tried to be brave, but I was a bit sad. Then the car stopped and I got out and I knew where I was. I had a sniff around and tried to lift my leg for a wee but was still a bit wobbly from my travel pills, so I just squatted. I tried to eat some kangaroo poo but Aunty G made me spit it out. We went inside and Rosy was surprised to see me. We played together for a while and had something to eat, then we went for a walk. That was fun! Rosy got to run around off the lead but I had to stay on mine. I still got to run though with Aunty G. When we came back, I decided to sit on the deck and wait for my family to come across the road from my house, but they didn’t come.


 I came back inside and played with Rosy for a while. Then Aunty and Uncle G had to go out for dinner, so I had to stay in the laundry but that was OK, cos I needed to rest by then. Luckily Mum put some puppy pads in my bag because I needed a wee while they were out. When they came home, we played a bit more and I forgot to go outside and did a poo in the office – Whoops! I didn’t get in trouble though. Rosy and I went outside for a wee then it was bed time. Back to the laundry for me. It wasn’t too bad, I was good and slept all night. I didn’t have to use the puppy bad again.

Day 2.
Uncle G got up early because he was working. He let me out for a wee and he let me stay in the lounge until Aunty G and Rosy got up. I just curled up on Rosy’s spot on the lounge.

Rosy was a bit grumpy when she got up and didn’t want to play, but she came around eventually and we played for a little while. I kept going out on the deck waiting for my family to come. I checked out the back yard to see if there was a way out but no luck. Oh Good! It’s walks time! We walked around to see Uncle V and Maggie, but Uncle V was in bed and wouldn’t get up, but we got to say hello to Maggie. We went to see a friend of Rosy’s… that was fun! Her name is Molly. I think she liked me because she kept following me around the backyard. When we got back we were really hungry after all the exercise, so we had a snack and a drink then we got really tired and had a nap… zzzzzzzzz….
Awake now and Uncle G just got home from work. We gave him a nice welcome. Rosy and I had some playtime. We were running around the lounge and chewing up pine cones. We made a bit of a mess but the old people didn’t seem to mind. 
It’s dinner time and Rosy’s having my puppy food. I know that smell, but they won’t let me have any. I’ve just got the same old boring dry food. Oh now it’s “Party Time” as Uncle V is here. He finally got out of bed!! After he went home we had some quiet time, watching TV, then it was bed time. I didn’t scratch at the door and I didn’t need to use the puppy pad… Aunty G was pleased.


Day 3…
Morning again and I had a good sleep. I had some toast for breakfast. I liked that. I spend some time outside in the fresh air, then it was walk time. I nearly got to eat some more kangaroo poo, but Aunty G’s right onto me! I don’t see the problem with it, I’m sure it’s gotta be better than dry food. I’m sitting in the lounge now watching football with Uncle G. I’m not really watching it, as I’m thinking about my family. Uncle V came over again for “Party Time.” There is a lot of partying going on in this home. While the olds were having their fun, Rosy and I had lots of our own fun playing. After Uncle V went home, we had a bit of quiet time watching TV then some more play time. I had a few treats tonight. Aunty G gave me a little bit of Rosy’s food and I wasn’t sick. And Uncle V brought some sausage rolls and they were really yummy. It’s bed time now, but I don’t really want to sleep in the laundry anymore. I’m trying to avoid it. I’m hiding on the chair hoping she won’t notice. Oh no, she found me. Now I’m off… to the laundry… It’s not so bad. Goodnight.


Day 4…
Uncle G woke me up this morning. When he let me out of the laundry I was having a lovely sleep. I went outside for a while then I went upstairs to say Good Morning to Aunty G and she gave me lots of morning cuddles. Rosy and I played tug of war then we had some bacon and egg for breakfast. Uncle J came over too, and he was nice to me. After Uncle J left I saw my family’s car come up the road, so I got extra excited. They came around the back and I was so happy to see them. I jumped over my brothers and they rolled on the floor with me. I enjoyed my time with Aunty and Uncle G and Rosy, but I was happy to go home with my family. Thanks for looking after me Aunty and Uncle G! xx


Posted by in Family on June 25, 2014

This weekend, we went to New Zealand to say our final farewell to my one and only blood aunt who died after a short illness aged 65. Really really young…

I started to get to know her properly in the last ten years when she stayed over at my home a few times for other family occasions. We had little chats about life, family and our outlooks on life, and in many ways we were very similar, which surprised me in one way yet was comforting in another, as for many years I couldn’t understand the upbringing I had had, with the lack of extended family around us and the ‘practical attitude’ of life that was instilled into me, when I was always yearning for family to show that they cared and had compassion, and somehow, through this aunt, I found it was possible.

The day itself overwhelmed me in many ways… and I will say ‘overwhelmed’ overwhelmingly too much, but it was just that… overwhelming. My boys and I arrived at my cousins house around 10.30am  on the day of the funeral. My cousin’s daughter gave me a running hug, so excited to see me, and I was so overwhelmed by it, as I’d never had someone welcome me with so much gusto, being so pleased to see me. It instantly brought me to tears. We went inside to see my cousin and she asked us if we wanted to see her mum/my aunt, as she was lying in her coffin on her bed. We went into the room and she was lying there, so peaceful, yet you could see the life was taken out of her. It was strange, yet hard to see at the same time, because she always had so much love to give. She was in an eco-friendly coffin, designed to write messages on it from the grieving. So the boys and I wrote our little messages with brightly coloured pens, gem stickers and drawings.

We then helped blow up some helium balloons, so that they could be released as a final tribute. My boys had fun blowing and tying up the balloons, but also sucking on the helium. My other cousin, the son of my aunt turned up with his two boys and his wife, and my boys and their boys were instantly friends.

The funeral was at 2pm… We arrived at around 1.40pm, and the car park was already full with t parking attendants directing the traffic. There would have been at least 400 people there. I got to see my uncle, who 18 months ago I got to see for the first time in about 28 years, and see his wife and their boys (who are my age and older) who I hadn’t seen since I was nine. Again, it was all overwhelming for me being in the same space as my distant family, but have so much heartfelt love for each other. My uncle gave me plenty of hugs, hugs that were warm and tender, something I had never felt from my own father. It boggles me that they can be related. The funeral itself was lovely, and full of tears, especially when my aunt’s best friend of 60 years talked, and my cousin’s daughter talked. At the end, my cousin asked me to step in to be a pallbearer… There I was standing there with my aunt’s brother, her son-in-law, her daughter, her son, her nephew and her niece… me, carrying her out of the chapel. We placed her in the car, grabbed the balloons and handed them out to all the family members and released them as the car drove off. My cousin’s husband is Maori, and his Maori friends stood in a line in the driveway as a mark of respect to say goodbye. It was almost too perfect… it was the perfect send off for my beautiful aunt.

They say some people know when it’s time to leave this world, and my aunt had it in her heart that she wanted to go. The stories I heard about her last weeks, seemed like she did everything she ever wanted, including seeing her children and grandchildren in the right places in their lives. There was only one thing she wanted to do, that she didn’t get round to doing… one final trip to Australia, a trip where she could be herself and do what she wanted without being a burden on family. She wanted to leave, and we must all respect her wish, even though we will miss her terribly and always love her.

Goodbye lovely lady…

Posted by in Adventure, Family on June 10, 2014

Yesterday we had a public holiday in Melbourne, and after a weekend of feeling a little ordinary for two of us, a bit of homework, a bit of catch up shopping and a lot of relaxing, I took the boys into the city for a Family Fun Day. I do one of these every now and again, to 1) get my kids out of the house, 2) show them a side of the world that they may not be familiar with, 3) to just embrace life.

Everything, while not planned, was timed perfectly for the day. We arrived at the train station with just 2 minutes before the train departed, we arrived at our destination with just 5 minutes before the 1/2 hour show started… and I had happy boys (sometimes it’s like pulling teeth to go to places that they haven’t been to before, but yesterday it wasn’t).

Our first destination was the Old Melbourne Gaol. Something I should have gone to as a child as a school excursion, but never did, and it was always in the back of my mind to go. We first were treated like a criminal in the Watch House by a Sergeant, who locked us up in the darkened cells and were explained why and some of the infamous ‘who’s’ who entered the Watch House before they were sentenced in court.

After playing taking our photos as mugshots and in jail, we went to the actual gaol and were amazed by the thickness of the bluestone walls, the darkness of the entire building and the smallness of the individual cells. Some may feel it’s inhumane, but somewhere there must be a balance of what was once and the $40,000 per prisoner per year lifestyle they have now, after all, some do treat prison as a home away from home, as they are afforded so many luxuries in prison they may not even get at home. My boys played with the Ned Kelly armour, saw the hanging platform and peeped through the peep holes. My oldest son thought it was much better than he expected, my youngest son thought that it would be better, as he wanted to see real life prisoners…. Me don’t think so!

After the Gaol, we went to Strike Bowling to have a game of ten-pin bowling. It took us a while
to get going, but my youngest ended up with the only strike (with bumpers), and I got a couple of spares (without bumpers), but all in all it was a bit of fun. The boys then wanted to play a bit of air-hockey and test their boxing punch, before we decided that we were a little bit hungry.

We then walked the streets of Melbourne, through the arcades,  and my youngest needed a Onesie suit for the school pyjama party this Friday, so we found him the dinosaur suit he was after. (love killing two birds with one stone!) We walked through the new Emporium building and beyond to our favourite little French Belgian waffle maker. The boys had their waffles and some Orangina – our favourite French beverage, and I decided to go the ham and brie baguette… So Yum!

As we had a few more things to do when we got home, we headed to Flinders Street station and the boys filled up at the Candy Station, and I indulged in a Spanish hot chocolate with a splash of hazelnut… OMG you must try!

The sun was shining so beautifully, my boys were behaving the best they ever had on one of our little adventures and we had lots of laughs, hugs and silliness which makes it the perfect day out. As my oldest is a teenager next month, I’m not sure how many more of these days are left in us, but I will cherish each and every one of them from here on in. Love my boys!

Posted by in Family on April 16, 2014

It saddens me to no end, to see people fifteen + years older than me, who are afraid to get themselves out of a relationship or circumstances that no longer serves them. They may be miserable, they may be dictated to, they may be afraid of the consequences – violence, shame, losing children’s love and respect, or may be their interests have completely changed and are no longer compatible. To me, if you feel sadness, feel restricted or feel violated in that relationship constantly, then it’s time to get OUT!

Yes, there is merit in staying with someone who maybe sick and you are their carer, or you’re working towards a goal that you need to deal with the hardships first before you realise that goal (as long as that goal is that you enjoy your grandkids together/grow old together for the sake of the ‘vows’), but there really isn’t any other reason to make yourself miserable, stuck and feeling out of your depth if you’re not happy. As the only commitment in life you should ever have, is the commitment to yourself – to make sure there is happiness in your life.

I was talking to a girlfriend yesterday about the older generation and how they just don’t understand why we would talk back to a spouse, or why we don’t sweep things under the carpet and it be forgotten, why we ask so many questions to get to the depths of the truth and why we have courage to be our own person, not a puppet to our spouse or generation. I’ve had conversations with people 15-40 years older than me (I guess you call it the ‘Baby Boomer generation’) stating that it wasn’t their fault that I got divorced and that they shouldn’t have to be my backup spouse/parent (physically or emotionally), or, that they refuse to leave their spouse because they are worried that their adult children will take their spouse’s side and they will lose them forever, or they just ‘don’t like change’ and you’ll never change the way they think.

The saddest thing of all, is that these people are so set in their ways, that they are afraid to open their hearts to a whole new world that can give them vitality and re-think who they are and what they are missing. The best example of this, is this video I saw on Facebook this week, about two 70 year old ladies – one who’s husband loved to travel, yet she was too scared to fly on a plane, and the other who’s husband wanted to stay home and she wanted to see the world but sacrificed her own life to be ‘committed’ to his needs… until one day, they both went on a plane together. It’s absolute gold, showing you that it’s never to old to change. These two women made me realise that my adventurous spirit doesn’t have an expiry date, and everyday can be filled with love and laughter IF you value yourself, get out of your comfort zone and realise your dreams.
http://sploid.gizmodo.com/watching-two-old-women-fly-for-the-first-time-is-pure-g-1562267586/+jesusdiaz

And I think that’s the biggest part, being able to value yourself. Some people put a monetary value on themselves ‘I’m worth $ this much money.’ Others value themselves by the amount of family they have around them ‘I have 3 daughters, 2 sons, 16 grand-children and 4 great-grandchildren’, where as the new generations of 30 and 40 somethings are learning quickly that it doesn’t need to be a number, it’s all about quality – quality of ‘people’ in your life that make you happy, laugh, be yourself, support you and allow you to extend yourself; the quality in ‘time’ you put into reaching your goals, being the best parent, friend and even person to yourself; the quality of ’emotional and spiritual being’ you are allowing yourself to be (again, another awesome ad… http://www.bestadsontv.com/ad/61567/Thai-Life-Insurance-Unsung-Hero ), and the quality of experiences you give yourself to create a lifetime of memories – from walking the dog on a cool foggy morning and loving the coolness on your skin, to taking your kids to the last movie of the night and finding yourself in an empty cinema just for you, to kissing your beloved at the top of the Eiffel Tower.

Life is about living… and some Baby Boomers just don’t get that… They were dictated to by the government to save for their retirement, and work work work, sacrificing building relationships with their kids, sacrificing quality time for themselves, sacrificing speaking out to someone when they are alive rather than bottling up the hurt and airing it out when they are dead; sacrificing goals that were desired but were hard to be realised based on the social structure of what was expected from them. There were some who fell through the loop and made a stance against conformity, and they are the courageous ones – the ones who believed in themselves more than their circumstances.

It doesn’t matter how old you are or how scared you are, there is always time for change. Change for the positive, and a chance to bring eternal happiness to your life.

Well, not me, but a friend of a friend invited me to be part of a Single Mothers Forum on Facebook and it literally broke my heart. So many dead beat dads out there, so many common stories, so many welfare addicts and so many women thinking that somebody else OWES them something. WOW!

It got to the point that I wrote a nice little soliloquy to one woman who was bitching about her self-employed ex husband who claims he’s only making $37,000 a year and provides hardly any child support, yet can go on overseas trips and drive luxury cars, while she struggles with ‘shared’ care (um… doesn’t that mean that 50% of the kids are with him, therefore 50% of the total cost of raising the children is up to him? and that she has 50% of her time to get a job!?) and hasn’t got any money to raise their kids. I wrote to her suggesting that she has to stop thinking he owes her anything, and she needs to stop expecting the government to provide for her, and go out and work. I told her about the number of internet jobs out there she can do while her kids are in her care, and if she actually had some courage, determination and confidence in herself, she could actually become someone BETTER than her ex husband.

Really, ALL THE POWER IS TO YOU!! YOU have to make it happen. YOU have to JUST DO IT! You can’t get upset with people who don’t help you if YOU DON’T HELP YOURSELF.

Look, I know that’s not the case with everyone, but this single mother’s forum was overloaded with women asking about single parenting payments, unemployment benefits, rent assistance, child support, family tax benefits, education allowances and all the other handouts the Australian government give to parents, single or married, to get by. It clogged up my Facebook so much, I had to get out.

I just don’t understand how there are so many single parents out there who believe that they are entitled to get someone else’s hard earned money, especially when they have the exact amount of time with their kids as their ex-spouses, yet can’t create the OPPORTUNITY to earn similar money. And I simply don’t understand this, because, in my case, I am the one who has the heavy duty artillery – the successful business, the kids 100% of the time and a home that my kids have their own place and things, where my ex CHOOSES to do the job that he loves (that pays very little), but neglects his responsibilities in providing for his children in the way of shelter, transport, food, medical expenses and education. I have told my ex if he wants to be in our children’s lives, then he needs to be financially responsible for them, therefore, yes, we do go through the Child Support Agency so he pays his fair share, but I don’t need his money, for me, it’s a matter of principle. If he doesn’t want to be in their lives, he doesn’t need to pay, and he needs to leave us alone. It’s that simple. We are currently interacting with him once every 4-6 weeks. That’s how much his kids mean to him.

If something is not working for you, YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE IT. No one can change your life for you, YOU have to do it for you. Have some passion, think positively, create your own destiny, get rid of all the negativity that is dominating your life and BE the better person for being above all the pettiness that comes with exes, government handouts and chasing child support.

Be kinder to yourself, learn to love yourself and that change of energy will be all the help you need.