Forgot I even had a blog!

It’s been a while, more than a while actually..

Things have changed – I am now 41 (yikes) and say things like YIKES. Wayne is almost 45 and we have an almost 12 year old, almost 10 year old and a 4 year old. Life is crazy busy most of the time, but the kind of busy that just rolls into one giant day/week/month/year. It seems like it’s just the norm, but if I were to write down everything we achieve in 1 day it’s a lot. Like most parents running a household, working and trying to fit in kids activities, time for YOU and ME and time together. It’s a juggle, and I’m more and more understanding why women drink 🙂 Jokes mum…

We have had a busy year, Wayne spent 3 months overseas in The Ukraine and The Hague for work and we had a lovely au pair from Switzerland come to stay with us. Her name was Nadine and she was more like a 4th daughter to me, I didn’t like to ask her to do much, but she was here for company as much as ‘help’ so it was nice to have another adult in the house. We managed OK without Wayne, but it was more than nice to see his head when he got off the plane, we all cried and hugged and just kept staring at him.

That seems like a distant memory now, it’s been months since that re-union. I got a 6 week full time contract at Bankwest which gave me the buzz for working again, I went back to Sydney to celebrate my mums 65th and Wayne and I just took the kids to Bali for 10 days. I have a part-time job now, working for a Financial Planner and the girls are still doing music lessons, netball and swimming lessons.

I’ve gone from watching Sons of Anarchy, to Breaking Bad and now Pretty Little Liars (with Lulu and Sarah) and we have just finished that series, so now what to watch ??? I did also sneak in Orange is the new black and I have started Mad Men. Netflix you are my 3rd love after Wayne and the girls. Don’t ever leave me !!!

Liv is starting high school next year and we finally made the decision to send her to a private school, hopefully this is the right decision for us and for her. It was really weighing on our minds so we are happy that we made our minds up !! Broke for the next 100 years but that’s life.

So really, life is just happening. I remembered about this blog as I was thinking that it’s probably ok to let Liv read it now, when I started writing it she was a lot younger – that’s what prompted me to keep this updated again. I always have good intentions to write the girls little letters on their birthdays or write in their diaries that I bought for them when they were born, but this seems much easier. No chance of getting lost, the internet, it’s always ON.

So, this post is for my girls, the loves of my life. . Who see me at my worst, my craziest, my sleep deprived angry mum phase, my happiest, my frustrated, my funniest & who laugh at my phrases that I always get wrong, my funny dancing, my unique running style, my nakedness when I get out of the shower and they happen to walk in and say ‘oh mum’ and basically just see ME as their mum. One day when they are older they will see me as Joanne. A person, and hopefully (fingers and toes crossed) their friend !!!

Love you girls x

Breaking WTF OMFG !

A bit drastic perhaps ?

I am only 2 episodes away from the series finale of Breaking Bad and I am unsure how to proceed.

Today I watched episode 13 and 14 and I am left feeling robbed and pissed off.

Where do I start with WW – Walter White ? The man of many personalities.

When I first met Walt, I loved him. I then very quickly was baffled, confused and angry. I then became understanding with his predicament and was back to loving him again.

I’m not sure when my liking Walt turned into immense hatred for Walt, but it did happen. Around the same time that my feelings completely flipped towards Hank and Marie. Skyler has always been a bit ‘meh’ but I am totally in love with Hank and Marie and with the episodes that I have just watched, I am now deeply saddened.

Yes it’s a just a tv series, I do realise this. It’s written so well and I don’t want it to end !!!

Oh and Jesse ‘Yo Bitch’ Pinkman.. awesome ! Love him.. and I never thought I would say that about a drug dealer, meth addict murderer.. But there, I said it. I do…

Reflecting

1 week ago I heard about a girl I went to school with who was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in October. She has 2 young daughters and a loving partner in her life. 

Today I learnt that she passed away this morning but not before she was able to marry her partner in hospital the night before. 

I am trying hard to understand how this is happening more and more frequently and to people my age. I think this is the scariest thing and I know how this can sound selfish and “all about me” but you obviously put yourself in that situation and think “what if that was me” “how would my husband and daughters cope”.

The next obvious feeling is to announce to everyone you know that from today onwards you’re going to be more forgiving, more generous with time, not sweating the small stuff, love life more, appreciate what we have not what we don’t, stop taking life for granted, be true to yourself and others, hug more, laugh more… the list goes on. 

How do we maintain this ? I want to.. I really really want to embrace life and appreciate EvERYTHING I have, everything I had, and even things or people that I’ve lost. 

I’ve heard about a few young women recently, girls that I grew up with, or know through association, that are dealing with Cancer and it makes me feel so incredibly sad and angry. 

So, to all that read my blog, to all my family and my beautiful friends… I love you all so much, you all make my life better by being in it. 

I want to be a better mum, friend, wife, sister, daughter, Aunty and person in general. . It’s ironic how a tragedy has to happen for us to take stock of our own lives and realise how bloody good we have it. 

Jo x 

Must be time…

For another rambling blog post about nothing.. Have just come back from a ‘picnic in the park’ with Frankie and now that she’s asleep I should be hanging out washing, or preparing dinner but browsing online stores and checking out pinterest seems more appealing. 

I can’t believe how much we have packed in this year and that 2013 is almost over. I also can’t believe how many times I say “wow, how fast has this year gone by” I cringe every time I say it but I seriously can’t help myself. It has !! 

We started out 2013 by watching fireworks in Drummoyne, Australia Day in Tasmania & made it home in time to celebrate Easter with the family in Perth. We moved into our rental property in March, moved back out and into our new home in August. Wayne went to Vietnam, I went on a Cruise with my family and Frankie, I’ve started up my own Spray Tan business from home and we go to Bali in a few days for a holiday. To say this year has been crazy busy is an understatement yet at the same time there has been many quiet moments too. 

We are pretty much settled into our house, our lovely big 80’s ‘dying to be re-decorated’ home. At first I didn’t mind the salmon stained carpet in the lounge/dining room at the front of the house. We don’t use this part of the house anyway so who cares right ? 

Wrong.. 

Turns out I care a lot but not enough to be motivated to do anything about it. I have finally arranged for someone to come out and give us a quote on some shutters and blinds but that’s about it. When we first bought the house one of my requirements were that we HAD to replace all blinds and the carpet in the front rooms. Well, let me rephrase.. when I purchased the house..But after being in here for a few months, enjoying the freedom of having a smaller mortgage and the extra play money that comes along with that.. Wayne and I both just ‘talk a lot’ about what we’re going to do with the house, but we just don’t do much about it. 

Wayne has decided he wants a chook pen/run and a vege garden so he has been out the back trying to get that built. It’s a long process especially when he is constantly been sent away for work at the moment (Well it feels like that anyway). We also have a Spa that is empty and just sitting there begging for some attention and the kids are desperate to christen it. Wayne has been to Clark Rubber, he has the solution and the stuff to clean it, but again.. who can be bothered ? 

This isn’t like us.. or him anyway.. He’s a doer. 

I think that our time spent away together as a family has changed us and maybe it wasn’t as noticeable at first, but now it is becoming more and more apparent. Not only do we all miss the closeness, we miss the places we were seeing, the lazy mornings when we had nothing planned, there wasn’t much housework to do, other than washing clothes and maintaining the van. Life was cruisy and now it’s not. We have been saying a lot over the last months ‘this time last year we were” etc.. We miss it. 

It’s not all doom and gloom of course. The girls love their new school and are doing really well & have met some lovely new friends. Frankie is growing up so fast and this time around I appreciate being able to stay home with her and just enjoy her. That sounds phoney but it’s true. Of course there are moments where I get frustrated and think (or sometimes say out loud) “you’re going to daycare” but really I know 3rd time around, how quick this time goes (there I said it again) and I really do just stare and her and smile and kiss her face off.. She’s spoilt rotten of course. 

Well, that’s about it really.. Just a quick update on our life. Looking forward to Bali and looking forward to Christmas and sunshine and swimming down the beach.. 

I’m not even going to re-read this post or do a spell check. that’s how rebellious I’ve become ! 

J x 

Week 17

This time last year. . . . Bloody hell, time moves so fast.

Our trip around Oz

Back by popular demand … It’s me (well at least 1 person – Kerry – missed my informative ramblings).

I can’t believe how fast the time is going now, and also how much distance we have covered in a short amount of time. To date we have travelled over 17,000km’s and have been on the road for more than 121 days. We have stayed in 50 places, which means we have set up the van that many times, used 50 different toilets in caravan parks (not to mention numerous other hideous public amenities about the place) and have crossed 4 state lines. We are just over half way and while I am now beginning to wonder where our lives are headed when we return to Perth in March, Wayne is not giving it a second thought. He is still pondering how the hell is he going to ‘catch a fish’.

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Cruisin….

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I’ll be the first one to admit that I usually ‘frown upon’ cruisers! People who constantly go on Cruises, constantly talk about how much food they’ve eaten, the ‘Oh, there are so many activities for the kids’ and the ‘Cocktails at 1pm everyday’. For me, I’d personally prefer to go to a destination and stay put on LAND. 

However, my beautiful Aunty (one of them) was turning 60 years old and as her gift to herself she was going on a Cruises. All of my Aunties (bar one) and of course my own beautiful mum was going, along with cousins and friends etc. I was asked to go just before we left on our big Aussie Adventure and thought WHY NOT. It would be a great chance to spend some QT with my mum and of course my extended family. 

Big decision was NOT taking Lulu and Sarah. Money was certainly a factor, seeing how we would be flying to Sydney first (and have no more frequent flyer points) and also having had all this time off school already whilst we were traveling, I was thinking ahead and thought it would probably be a better idea to just take Frankie and besides, it’s ages away anyway.

HOW quick does a year go ? Very bloody quickly.. Before I knew it, I had to arrange passports, cruisewear, new bathers, preparing Frankie for the flight to Sydney – which thankfully my Dad came to visit us in Perth and he flew back with us – It was almost to go. In the middle of all this, we’d bought another house, moved in with boxes still everywhere. It was around about a week before we were due to fly out that I checked my flights and realised that I was going to be away for 19 days. I have only left the girls once before when Wayne and I went to Darwin for 2 nights. Of course, they’ve had sleepovers and ok I admit, I’ve gone to Sydney and Melbourne a couple of times without them also but only for about 3 nights. This was massive for me and for Lulu & Sarah who were suddenly not very happy with me. 

So with a heavy heart I was packed and ready to go. The day before I went to the shops and bought the girls a present from me, and I also wrote them a little letter each that promised them LOTS of gifts upon my return ! 

Flight was pretty uneventful. Frankie had a few screams but mostly she was OK. Thank goodness that hurdle was over. (Have I mentioned before that I have NO control over this kid) ! 

I was staying with my younger sister and her family and my little niece was so excited to see Frankie. Cruise Fever was happening with my family. A quick visit to my Nans and it was starting to get a little more ‘real’. I had pretty much been very casual about the whole affair, and I hadn’t even read up on the destinations we were visiting. Terms like ‘sea days, ports, tenders’ hadn’t even crossed my mind. I quickly learned that not only was I a ‘first time cruiser’ (people actually ask you that question) maybe I hadn’t prepared properly ? I had money but NO small change for the ‘islands’ – who doesn’t use EFTPOS these days ? Turns out pretty much everywhere we visited, apart from Suva and Noumea (where I spent a small fortune on supposedly cheaper makeup). Oh well, no point worrying, I had a nail and spray tan appointment so the rest could just wait.. what will be will be. 

The day of the Cruise was a beauty ! Sun was shining (actually out in St Marys the sun was blistering hot) We all made our way to my Aunty’s house for a Pre-cruise champagne breakfast. If you’re weren’t cruisin, you weren’t invited! Apart from girlfriends, our Nan and the husbands that were staying behind. 

A little back history. I’ve been basically on a NO SUGAR (hate the word DIET) eating regime since November last year and I feel really good. I’ve eliminated so many foods from my diet and have found better ones, in saying this though when I go out to dinner with Wayne or friends, a b’day etc, I EAT CAKE AND LOTS OF It but as a general rule, I find it pretty easy to avoid pastries, cakes, soft drink etc. unless it’s a special occasion.

Back to present day. Everyone talks about 2 things on the SHIP. The food and the shops. I had already decided that I would be bringing back with me more than half my spending money, as I wanted to buy lamps and curtains for our new home. The shopping wouldn’t be a problem, a few gifts for the kids and some cocktails. That wasn’t the problem. 

The FOOD however was going to be a little challenging seeing how it stares at you SMACK BANG in the face at every waking moment. I still convinced myself that I would be good and have dessert every 3rd night. Even that in itself was a lot for me  but given that I was on a HOLIDAY I allowed myself to  be a little cheeky. I was also concerned that I wouldn’t fit into a dress that I had bought specifically for my friends 40th who was having a party in Sydney the weekend I got back. So I figured that would be a big motivator also. 

WRONG 

WRONG WRONG WRONG on so many levels ! But I digress.. the 2kilo’s that I put on can wait a minute (or months probably). 

My Aunty’s Champagne breakfast was filled with Pastries and little quiches. I think I had 2 apple tart things because Frankie didn’t finish one. Not a good start but who cares right ? We were about to hop on board the bus that was taking us in to the city so we could start this CRUISE. 

A million photo’s were taken, some with our bags, some without, some with us walking down the street WITH our bags and more “HA HA I’m going on a cruise and you’re not” happy snaps. 

On the bus, everyone excited (especially about the new water park that is currently being built in prospect, the old Australia’s Wonderland site if anyone interested) and we finally arrive at our DESTINATION. There were 13 of us going on this cruise and with that many people it can be pretty hard to hear yourself think or make decisions. We pretty much just boarded in our own time when we were ready and met up on DECK 9. Checking in was very simple and quick. It wasn’t long before I was sipping a cocktail and looking at beautiful Sydney Harbour. Our rooms weren’t available to 2pm so we ATE. The food was all laid out, already paid for of course and it was there to ENJOY ! I was pretty good on the first day, and opted to have a Tuna and lettuce sambo.. 

We checked into our rooms, met the Sang the Steward who was looking after us and our Cabin and started unpacking. I was sharing a room with Mum and Frank and 4 of my Aunties were in the cabin next to us. In no time at all they had unpacked, and were ready to take a SPA. Took me a little longer to get organised then we went and explored the massive ship. It was a HUGE ship and I got lost the first couple of days.. We had to do the fire drill and escape talk and that took quite a while, after that was done we were already late for our first dinner !! We had the 5.30pm slot each night which was a good time for Frankie and I was envisioning getting dressed in my ‘evening cruise wear’ every night but my mum and I had no time to change so it was a quick dash to the Empire Dining Room to meet up with the rest of the family. 

As we were a large group we got to sit at the Captains table each night and we had the most awesome 3 wait staff you could ever imagine. In fact we all fell in love with Serena from Romania and I was trying to plot a plan so she could come live with me or at the very least marry one of my cousins who are yet to be wed !!!! No such luck but she was amazing. 

Dinner was amazing, great food and if there wasn’t anything on the menu that you liked, they would prepare something else for you. It was at this point that I thought Wayne would love this ! He can be a eating machine at times. 

Can’t remember much of the first night, I’m pretty sure I left everyone to their activities and Frankie and I went back to the cabin, she was pretty tired and I had borrowed my cousins Game of Thrones book and I wanted to start that. Frankie took a while to sleep but then eventually she was out like a light. 

Rather than detail every day and night I thought I would highlight my fav experiences. 

Breakfast, morning tea, lunch, cocktails, dinner and then Dessert .. EVERY DAY AND EVERY NIGHT. 

Getting dressed for dinner. I loved doing this as when I’m at home I usually am in tracksuit pants! 

Steam room and the secret SPA that only a handful of people knew about. 

The ‘Serenity Deck’ which is for over 18’s only. Unfortunately I didn’t get to spend a lot of time here, but the times I did it was very relaxing. 

The Karoke Bar which I did NOT sing at, but a few of my family members did. 

Spending time with Frankie and my Mum. 

Now the shops on board are nothing special. A duty free store that is large and has specials CONSTANTLY and there was another surf shop/kids/giftware shop that also had SALES SALES SALES. I was able to avoid these shops until about Day 3 where I started venturing down there when there wasn’t much happening. I managed to get the girls a few things and I bought myself a watch (on sale of course) then I would find myself going down there after dinner one night. after lunch another day and very quickly it got out of control. 3 Diamond bracelets later, copious amounts of make up and a pair of decent sunnies for Wayne (and some clothes for me too I’ll admit) I had pretty much spent ALL of my money and I took a decent amount of $$ with me too. I kept checking my sail and sign account and everything was correct. It was crazy and I didn’t even manage to have a massage !! 

The whole Cruise experience was different to what I had imagined in someways but it was also everything I imagined it would be in other ways too. What I LOVED was being able to spend a heap of time with my family. I have a beautiful funny warm caring family and they all loved Frankie and kept her entertained when I wanted some ‘time out’. I feel very lucky to have them in my life and I’m pleased that Frank got to spent so much time with them also. 

Would I go again ? Not in a hurry but that is mainly because for Frankie’s age group there isn’t a lot on offer. They did have a kids club for her but she hated it and they called me to come get her after about 7 minutes.  I never sent her back after that. There’s also not a lot of stuff to do that I would be interested in either. That’s not to say that the ship doesn’t have activities because it has zillions of them but I’,m just not into :

Trivia

Bean Bag Tossing

Ice Sculpting 

Learning to Line Dance (sorry Aunty E and Aunty I) 

Creative towel making 

BUT lying on a deck chair, in the sun, watching the ocean sail by, sipping cocktails, going to the shows of an evening, listening to ImageImageImageImagethe music and different artists, knowing that the kids are being entertained… that’s my GIG and it’s pretty affordable when you weigh up the food and the activities that are on board too. 

So, when Frankie is about 7yrs old we will probably go again. The plan is to fly to Hawaii first and have a holiday and then cruise back via Tahiti and NZ. I think the girls will love it and Wayne and I can enjoy some time together too. 

Now here are some pics ! (needless to say I was very excited to be home again with my family – I missed them all so much & I did manage to fit into my dress too for Rene’es 40th with a little bit of help from SPANX ! 

Love J xImageImage

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