Wednesday, 29 February 2012


My youngest daughter has been sick since Saturday. She has had trouble holding food down until today and has been awake most nights for hours at a time, crying and clutching her tummy. I have been cursing the meat pie she ate for lunch on Saturday, whilst the rest of the family had sushi…. I think food poisoning is the most likely culprit because nobody else in the family has gotten sick.

As a mum, I can just tell by just looking at her face she is not well. Her eyes are dark and have lost some sparkle. She isn’t her chatty happy self and just lies on the couch staring off into space. There have been times that I have felt helpless and frustrated because I have not been able to do anything to ease her pain.

Today our GP thought that she may have appendicitis. Her side was very tender and she had a high white blood cell count in her blood and urine. He sent us off to the hospital  for an ultra-sound.

Thankfully, the ultra-sound showed inflammation throughout her lower abdomen, not just the appendix. The inflammation may have resulted from an infection such as gastroenteritis or from food poisoning. We have been told to keep an eye on her and return to the hospital if the pain gets worse again.

Although it never eventuated, the possibility of surgery on my little girl scared the hell out of me!! I know that parents and children go though this all the time. I even felt a little embarrassed at myself because I know that some parents are dealing with surgery for life threatening issues for their children such as cancer and other serious conditions…..and here I was, so worried over a simple appendicitis, that wasn’t even an appendicitis!

It must be an absolute living nightmare to see your children suffer with such serious, life threatening conditions. The parents who support their children through serious illnesses are just absolutely amazing.

So today, I am  thankful that my little girl is OK. I am also thankful for the medical technology that enabled the doctors to determine that she probably didn’t have an appendicitis. I wouldn’t want her to go thought the surgery and recovery if it wasn’t necessary.

 I am also thankful that I am one of the lucky parents. A parent without the heartbreak of a critically ill child. To be completely honest, I’m not sure I would be strong enough to cope.

To the parents of very sick children, I so deeply wish I could do something to help your child and ease their pain and yours. I know that life just isn’t fair. Today, I even feel guilt and sorrow that I am one of the lucky ones, when others are dealing with so much pain.

I love my little girl so very much, She is beautiful, kind, loving and determined. Last night, when I kissed my little girl good-night, I struggled to stop my voice from breaking... simply because I am so thankful that she is my daughter.

Today, I am sharing over at Kate Says Stuff, for Thankful Thursday....Come and see what others are thankful for and be inspired! 

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Kermit

As I sit here in the dark, listening to the raindrops on the roof, I can hear the call of the frogs in the garden pond. This sound reminds me of the fun we had on the North coast of NSW this Christmas, frog hunting!! It seems as though my big girl, flash has not escaped her genetic legacy of science and is simply fascinated by the great big green frogs. She even tried to set up breeding 'buckets' for them!. However, I wasn't so impressed with the poisonous pest of a cane toad that has now invaded my childhood home!

For Wordless Wednesday, I'm sharing with My Little Drummer Boys, Sakura Haruka and Tina's pic story

My Little Drummer Boys

Monday, 27 February 2012

Daddy’s Big Fat Nose: Speech Therapy Update

“….Your Son’s speech is not adequate for preschool….”

That is the statement Busters’ speech therapist uttered about 2 or 3 times at today’s speech therapy session. Each time it felt to me like a physical blow.....(My 4 year old son, Buster is currently battling  apraxia).

I attended speech therapy this week in a very positive frame of mind because Buster has been doing so well at preschool. His preschool teacher freely agrees that he has a speech problem. But she also says that he mostly makes himself understood and has no trouble relating to the other children in the class…in fact, I have witnessed his enthusiastic, carefree and friendly interaction with the other children myself. He is a very cheeky, charismatic and outgoing child and he has gotten very adept at ‘charades’.

However, Busters speech therapist still seems to be intent upon sucking all hope away. She seems to focus on all the things that he can’t say, instead of the progress that he is making and  the things that he can say (and couldn’t say a few months ago).

She seems to be especially worried about how he will handle kindergarten next year, his first year of formal schooling. I, on the other hand, and somewhat naively,  was hoping that all the speech therapy sessions and home practice would cause a remarkable improvement in Busters speech so that he could fully participate in school!!

Her attitude, weather it is pessimistic or realistic, just makes me want to prove her wrong…actually, part way through the session I was truly thinking to my self #headdesk  #headdesk. (perhaps I need to step away from twitter…nahhh). Toady I left the session feeling very despondent…but I have a deep resolve to help Buster’s speech reach its potential. I truly believe that his speech will improve so that he can be understood.

These past couple of weeks, Buster and I have been working on the sounds found at the end of words. For some reason he seems to leave the end sounds off most of his words so that many words sound the same. For example, he will say “four” instead of  “fork” or “no” instead of  “nose”. We have been using cards that try and emphasize that the meaning of words changes with the end sound. These are some examples:

This video shows how I have been using them to help Buster recognize the sounds at he ends of words.

For the next couple of weeks, our speech therapist wants us to keep working on these end sounds. Our speech therapist has also decided to take a more functional approach to Busters speech therapy. She wants me to come up with about 50-100 words that Buster uses consistently wrong. We will then go through each of these words and teach him how to say each, individual word. I now it will be a long, drawn-out process, but for the first time, I can see this new strategy really having the potential to make a difference to Busters everyday speech.

Even though I leave each therapy session feeling ‘down in the dumps’ I am not going to give up. I am determined to do everything I can to get Busters speech ‘adequate for kindergarten’ next year. Buster has made an enormous improvement in his speech this year.  The speech therapist did actually say that today! I know that this improvement  is mostly due to his speech therapist, so for that, I am grateful to her.  The improvement Buster has made in his speech, and the way is he doing so well at preschool, is  really giving me hope for the future!…despite what his speech therapist may think!

I'm linking this post up with Jess at Diary of a SAHM for #IBOT (I blog on Tuesdays) Come over to Jess's (The Rock Star's) super cool blog and see what others are blogging about today :)

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Youth Sport Weekend: Futsal Fun! (with linky)

Today was the last Futsal (indoor soccer) game for my big girl Flash!

Flash just loves playing Futsal and it doesn’t seem to bother her, or the boys, that she is the only girl on the team. When she plays Futsal and soccer, the pressure of her high-level individual sports of swimming and athletics melts away into the fun , enthusiasm and camaraderie of team sport. She is by no means the best player, and their team doesn’t always win. Even though everyone, including Flash, likes to win, she is really learning that  winning and being the best is not as important as being part of the team.

Flash has been playing soccer since she was 4 years old, but this was the first season that we have played Futsal. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t complexly sure about the indoor soccer concept  at first, but  Flash just loves it. and it has completely won me over!

Because of the smaller playing space and the bigger, harder (slower) ball, Futsal is really good for ball control and skill development in soccer. Because the play is so fast, it teaches them to concentrate and to follow the game more closely. Playing Futsal over the summer also keeps their match skills and fitness levels up for the winter soccer season. We find Futsal is fast, exciting and just a whole lot of fun!

For the parents it’s great too, because we get to sit comfortably and chat watch instead of standing in the cold. The games are quite short, and they seem to go even faster because it’s so exciting. ….and I don’t have to worry about flash getting sunburnt or having the games rained out!

The one hesitation I have with Flash playing Futsal is that injuries seem quite common. Just this year, I have has friends from older futsal age groups with a broken arms, damaged knees and ankles. As with any sport, there is a inherent risk of injury, but I think the risk is kept minimal in the younger age groups on the mixed teams, as they are not as aggressive as the older age groups.

I’m glad my daughter loves playing soccer, because I think it is really important for her to play a team sport. I can see in her face, the joy she gets from being part of her team. I have also been reading a lot lately, how over specialization in sport at an early age is detrimental to their later development, so I think playing Futsal is great to keep that variety up.

I also love that she gets to enjoy the social ascpet of a team sport and she also gets learn the valuable lessons of team work.

I’d really recommend futsal for under 10 year old players as a fun and exciting summer game although, I still think it a little odd that outdoor soccer is played in the middle of winter…where players and spectators are forced to endure the cold, wind, rain or sleet! But, in warm summer mornings, we are playing inside?

Has your child been involved in a youth sport this weekend? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below, or on the SportyMummy  facebook page. You can also link the URL of your blog post to the linky tool below. 

One of my aims for this little SportyMummy blog, is to develop a Youth Sports community where parents can support, encourage and motivate each other to support their children’s participation in youth sports. If your children have participated in a youth sport or an active pursuit, you can link up your post with the linky below and share the fun!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Photography in the Botanic Gardens

I have just discovered that I have been voted first place in last week's Tina's  Friday flowers link. Thank you so much Tina! I am truly honored that others are enjoying my photographs! This blogging caper is amazing!!

Here are some more photographs from my trip with my son, Buster to the Australian National Botanic Gardens. Last week I focused on the unique Banksia flower, This week I I have tried to capture some of the beautiful and colorful plants flowering at this time of the year. 

The beuatiful eukalyptus...just covered in bees

Bright paper daisy's growing in front of Black Mountain Tower

Even GrumpyDaddy doesn't know the name of this one....any ideas?

Paper Bark Tree

Epacris impressa (native fushia)

A blood red kangaroo paw....and Buster....."mum, what ARE you doing??"

This weekend I'm sharing these Australian Native Flowers at Tina's Weekend Flowers and Ewa's Flowers on Saturday.

Fresh Horses Brigade: The Sorry Edition

The awesome Eden over at Edenland has asked her Fresh Horses Brigade to share what they are sorry for. I have definitely detected a sarcastic note (!) to her post and I have the distinct impression that Eden and some other awesome contributors are sharing what they are NOT sorry for.....Have a look!

Edenland's Fresh Horses Brigade

Here, I’m going to do the same….

I’m sorry that I’m so proud of my children…all the time. Your own mum has to be proud of their kids right?!

I’m sorry my kids do well at sport, win races, get awards….but hey, they spend a lot of time training and working hard… the people who take issue with this…I don’t see your kids out there!

I’m sorry that sometimes, I just really need my own space.

I’m sorry I’m so driven and demanding of myself…that’s just who I am, it’s all or nothing around here!

I’m sorry I’m not a musician  and I don’t do music anymore. It’s just not who I am.

I’m sorry I have no belief in a God…I have actually tried many times but I can’t seem to suspend my rationalism and logic far enough! I don’t have anything against those that do. I actually envy your peace and trust and faith.

I’m sorry I’m not a great friend, sister, daughter, partner…

I’m sorry the Labor Party are doing such a great job of knife-wielding, self-destructing,  and instating Mr. Budgie Smugglers as Australian PM

I’m so sorry my little boy has so much trouble just trying to find his voice. I want him to be heard, he has plenty to say.

(I am actually really sorry, no sarcasm intended, about these last three).

I’m sorry I don’t have  the intestinal fortitude to publish this post…I'm worried it might hurt too many feelings….I’m sorry.

Or just maybe…thanks to Edenland….I do have the guts after all….

…..because this is who I am

 And I’m NOT sorry!!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Friday Fences: Minnamurra Rainforest

One of our favorite things to so as a family is to go on bush walks. The combination of exercise, adventure, fresh air and beautiful scenery always lifts everyone's spirits

Before children, I loved the dirt wilderness tracks; obstacle courses of mud, rocks and logs. Walking (or running) the tracks would give me a real sence of nature, adventure and accomplishment.  In fact, I used to snob boadwalks with distain! Nowadays, particularly while the children a young, we have been activily seeking out Parks that have boardwalks and fences!...oh, the irony

The kids run off along the board walks with such joy and enthusiasm..... that is until they are completely exhausted! It just means that I have to carry the little one all the way least there is a ice-cream treat waiting!

Now I appreciate the access that the boardwalks and fences provide and I have to admit, I'm glad the fences are there to keep everyone safe.  I can't wait until they get a little older though.......bush tracks, here we come!

I thought our trip to the Minnamurra rainforest in the Booderoo National park, near Wollongong NSW would be perfect to share the bush walk fences for Friday Fences.

For more Friday fences, pop over to see Life According to Jan and Jer and immerse yourself in beautiful photos of fences from all around the world!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Change Can Be A Good Thing

….at least that’s what I’ve been telling my younger daughter Muscles (7).

The girls school has an odd set up as it runs across two different campuses. This year I elected to move muscles to the other campus, as her sister Flash (8) was making the compulsory move to the new campus for year 3 (along with all her class mates).

Muscles has had to leave all her friends behind at the old campus, and start at, essentially, a brand new school. Before school started she had been very anxious and emotional about the change.

I was feeling a little guilty about making her change campuses. But, by going to the new campus, she will be at the same school as her sister.  The girls are so close in age, it’s nice that they have the shared experience of attending the same school…and they always know that they have each other a few classrooms away, not a few suburbs away! This means that I will have to do ‘just’ two pick-ups and drop-offs (Buster is at a preschool in a different location) instead of three. The new campus is also much closer to home.

The first week was very difficult for muscles, she missed her friends and her old school. I have tried to comfort her by reminding her of all the positives.  I have told her that it’s a great chance to meet new friends. Making new friends and adapting to new situations is an important life-skill to learn. In the future she will need these skills when she changes jobs or moves house…..It is still hard for a 7-year old to understand though….and I know that I really didn’t like changing schools as a child.

During that first week, I was so thankful that Muscles had the friendship of the girls in her gymnastics team. After school, muscles was convinced she would never fit in. But, after spending time with the other girls in her close-knit  Gym team, she realized that she still had friends….and making new friends did not seem so desperate and onerous. Being part of the gym team really seemed to put things into perspective for her and it did wonders for her confidence!

This week I am thankful that Muscles has started really enjoying her new school. We arrived at school this morning and a group of girls ran to muscles, shouting her name to give her a hug. She returned home today proudly sporting a friendship bracelet. Muscles shyly reported to me tonight (with blushing)   that a little boy gave her the heart sign in assembly….and was it OK to have a new boyfriend?!

I am thankful that she has a lovely, enthusiastic and caring teacher whom muscles just adores! It seems to make such a tremendous difference when the child likes their teacher! And it really seems to have made the transition a little easier.

I am thankful that the closer location of the school campus means that we can ride our bikes to school in the morning instead of fighting with the traffic in the car. Although I think we make quite a site…. with the girls…school dresses tacked (unladylike) into their under clothes. Me, pulling buster along in a trailer as the school is a little to far (and up hill) for him to ride without help…..not to mention the dreaded ‘helmet hair’!!

A the parent teacher meeting this week, I was so thankful  that she reported that Muscles was fitting in well, happy, and trying her hardest to do well in class…

…and that’s really the most a mother could ask for!

Today I'm linking up with Kate Says Stuff for Thankful Thursday....pop over and enjoy reading what others are thankful for today!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Australia's Most Easterly Point

According to Wikipedia, Cape Byron Lighthouse was built in 1901, and it is the last of the great 19th-century Victorian era lighthouses managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). It is constructed from concrete blocks and stands on the most easterly point of the Australian mainland.....If you really look hard you can just see the USA (no, not really.....but that didn't stop the girls from trying!!)

For Wordless Wednesday, I'm sharing with My Little Drummer Boys, Sakura Haruka and Tina's pic story

My Little Drummer Boys

Monday, 20 February 2012

I Really Hate Housework

“….But you don’t do any thing all day…”

This  was the reply I received from my 8 year old daughter when I told her I was too busy that day to go to the shops and by her some ‘essential’ craft materials.

This statement, although uttered out of disappointment , actually really hurt me more than I’d like to admit. I think it hurt me because my job at the moment is working as a stay at home mum, by choice. I know full well how little value society places on being a SAHM. It seems that my own children, the very people I am doing everything for, also place little value on the work that I do (for them!) as well.

What really made her statement strike a chord is that I hate doing the house work! I find it mind-numbingly boring. I derive little satisfaction from it because it is all messed up the next day…the dishes and clothes get washed, just to get dirty again. Some of it is really disgusting, like scrubbing toilets, showers, wheelie bins and emptying cat litter boxes. I hate house work so much that sometimes I actually convince my self that it doesn’t matter…..I’ll do it tomorrow….maybe…but even though I detest doing the house work, I still do it!...... for my family.

Well...maybe I do have some help!!

But the house work does matter!! I really want to make our house a clean, safe haven for the kids and GrumpyDaddy to come home to after school, work and sports training. Deep down I know that it matters to me….and I want it to matter to them too!

I still have trouble comprehending why SAH mums have such a low status in today’s society. I hate being asked ‘what do you do’ because I am honestly embarrassed by the answer. I feel like I have to justify myself by saying…’actually, I have a PhD in medical research you know’…but I never do.

If I could choose one thing to make matter this week, it would be get society to accept the work that SAH mums do as inherently valuable and indispensable. However, I realize that this is impossible to accomplish in one lifetime, let alone one week.

So, for this week, I intend to make house work matter for me and for my children. I want to feel proud of the work I do for my family behind the scenes. Cleaning, scrubbing, tiding, washing, packing, driving, cooking, organizing, form filling appointment making/keeping…..etc. I want my children to value the work that I do and feel proud of me for doing it. Just has they are proud that GrunpyDaddy is a scientist!

I think the first step in getting my children to feel proud of me for doing all these things is to feel proud of them myself!

Part of my personality make-up is being a planner (weather I carry out these plans is another matter entirety). I draw up a weekly plan for myself which includes which household chores I am going to do that day. That is Monday; bathrooms and toilets, Tuesday: kitchen, Wednesday: vacuuming and dusting….etc. I also like to have a menu plan and a shopping list. I need to do this because it stops me from over thinking which job to do…and then end up doing nothing. It also helps me plan chores, and cooking against the kids sporting commitments.

The kids don’t know about this to-do list….. Yet! This week, I’m going to hang this list on the fridge! For this week, I’m even going to get my kids to add a sticker for me when they see that each task has been completed…..just like I have the kids doing with their reward chart. When 50 stickers have been reached, I plan on buying myself a treat!! Hell yeah J

So, this week my goal is to make my household duties important, and matter to me and my family! I think that all parents should be proud of the work they do behind the scenes for their families. I truly believe that society should also value this work.  This week I will be starting with myself and my own family…making the house work matter.

I am linking up this post with the Me and YOU making IT matter meme on A Parenting Life. If you have a goal that you really want to make matter this week, add your post or comment …because in the words of Michael Jordan

‘You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them”

(I read this quote on twitter from @JBMthinks)

I'm also linking up with Diary of a SAHM for #IBOT (I blog on Tuesdays) come and read some other amazing blogs!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Youth Sports Weekend: A Little Self Confidence (with linky)

One of my aims for this little SportyMummy blog, is to develop a Youth Sports community where parents can support, encourage and motivate each other to support their children’s participation in youth sports. If your children have participated in a youth sport or an active pursuit this week-end, you can link up your post with the linky, found at the end of this post,  and share the fun!

Just lately, my 8 year old daughter Flash has been having a mini crisis of confidence at little athletics.

Normally she is self assured and quietly confident in her own abilities. However, late last year, at her regular Saturday mooring meet, Flash fouled 3 throws in the discuss and didn’t record a distance….The self-doubt started to creep in.

When it came to one of her favorite events, the long jump, Flash suddenly became overly concerned of fouling by overstepping the line. Instead of running in at full speed and launching herself. Flash would run, slowdown, then leap. She would not pull her legs up out of fear of falling backwards. As a result her jumps have been about 30cm (a foot) shorter that they were at the end of last year.

Not training during the holiday break seems to have compounded these thoughts of self doubt. She has also been slipping on the wet grass at the athletics oval and she has  had a bad collision with a hurdle. I think she has been feeling a little insecure starting at a new school campus as well. I think all these things combined have put a large dent in her self-confidence.

Part of my daughters personality I think lends itself to perfectionism. She is very driven and single minded in pursuing the things that she wants. She works really hard and gives 100% effort at training and at school to achieve her goals. But I think that one of the down-sides to perfectionism is the habit of not trying if you think you are not going to do well, win or be the best. In life,  I don’t want her to be scared of trying new things for fear of failure and I have been trying to find ways to increase her confidence.

Some  mums with older kids in little athletics suggested that I get Flash some spikes. This is the first year that flash has been old enough to wear spikes and I have been reluctant to buy them simply based on their cost. However, many of the girls she races with in the representative competitions wear spikes. You should have seen her eyes sparkle when I said she could have some!!

Some scary looking spikes!! (spikes on the left and  waffles on the  right)

This week at training, it was raining slightly. Normally training would have been cancelled but because it is raining so much lately I think the organizers were happy to take what they could get. The scheduled events of high jump and hurdles were cancelled and only long jump was run. Flash ran and jumped into that pit for a whole hour…and just didn’t want to stop!!

The coach (importantly not her mum!!) explained to her that she needed to jump at her fastest point in the run, jump high and lift her legs…..and she flew, with a smile from ear to ear!!

At the meet on Saturday, Flash was up bright and early busting to go and do her long-jumps. And she Flew. Not only was she back to her previous best…she managed to jump a new personal best and break the club record! Her self confidence is back!

I knew that she had it in her the whole time but it was self doubt that was holding her back.

It has me wondering how many other times self doubt holds people back. Weather they are worried about making new friends, applying for a new job or a promotion or starting on their dream to be a published writer. Often the fear of failure is just in ones head. Once overcome, people could really do amazing things….if only it was as easy as a new pair of shoes and an hours practice!!

I’m hoping this experience will demonstrate to her that she need not limit herself and the activities she does for fear of failure. It is interesting how a few bad experiences can creep into other areas of your life and affect those as well.

 It is reassuring to know however, how some positive experiences can also affect other areas of your life and increase your overall self belief and confidence as well!!

You can read about the experiences of  families involved in youth sports below. If your family has been involved in a youth sport, please feel free to add your link below!

Friday, 17 February 2012

I’m A Weirdo Too!

One of the reasons I started blogging was that I was inspired by the passion, honesty and heart of an amazing blog I had discovered from twitter…Edenland.

Edenland's Fresh Horses Brigade

Today, the author of this blog, Eden has asked us why we blog for her 'Fresh Horse's meme. She has titled her post 'Weirdo bloggers are WEIRDOS'

This title makes me smile, because two weeks into this blogging caper, I was accosted by a lady in the carpark and was told that I should stop writing things on the internet. She said that writing that stuff made me seem mentally imbalanced. After that episode I wrote this post and it still rings true today

This is part of that post

“…..For me, blogging is my voice. As a SAHM I often turn to social media for adult
interaction during the sometimes, very long, and often lonely days. Reading about others experiences on their Blogs and on twitter has really made me feel less isolated and alone. Reading about others has also helped me support and validate my choice to be SAHM.

 Over the past two weeks I have had readers from all over the world look at MY Blog, MY thoughts and MY stories. Maybe some of these readers are struggling with similar issues of their own, maybe they are interested in what other sporting families get up to. Maybe there are some readers who are also dealing with apraxia and can take some solace in the fact they are not alone. Maybe some readers are dealing with passive aggressive bullies in the workplace or at school. Maybe some of the readers are also SAHMs looking to be part of a wider village of other carers who are also at home, with feelings of isolation, looking after children…..”

While blogging gives me a voice, I have since discovered that the most fantastic part of blogging  has been the connections I have made in the blogosphere. It is these relationships that have made blogging such a worthwhile experience.

In writing about my sons battle with apraxia, I have been so incredibly touched by the comments I have received on my posts. People who genuinely care and understand. Without their support  and encouragement, right there in my computer, I would be largely facing this on my own. I would specially like to mention.

I have also connected with other families facing dispraxia. I am simply amazed that I can offer and receive support, advice and encouragement form other parents battling apraxia from the other side of the world.

I have also found other parents that are highly involved with youth sports. I find their advice, knowledge and encouragement such a valuable support to parenting active kids. I have also appreciated their support for my 'Youth Sports Weekend' posts.

One of the unexpected things to come from blogging has been the re-kindling of my interest in photography. I have been inspired by the most talented and creative photography blogs. I now look at he world with much more detail and appreciation and I love the opportunity to share my photos.

Finally, there are those wonderful bloggers who I consider to be my tribe. They have been a constant source of support and encouragement on Twitter and the comments on my blog.

Even though I have been blogging for a little over 3 and a half months, it is the people I have met, and the support I have received that has given me ‘fresh horses to ride’ and made blogging so worth while. I am still discovering my tribe, my journey is just beginning and I am so looking forward to the ride!

If being a blogger makes me seem weird or unbalanced to others than so be it! I wouldn’t swap the wonderful people or the support or encouragement for the world. Nor would I let go of this amazing opportunity to share my voice with the world.

If you would like to see the reasons others blog, and their tribes...go over to Edenland and have a look!