Yum Char Too Far!


I’ve helped raise four incredibly LOUD, frequently hilarious, occasionally dry-humoured, and undeniably small humans. They didn’t stand much of a chance in the size department, when you take into account our family’s Hobbit-like stature.


This past few weeks the three eldest children have come to me at various points offering me teeth. Seems to be a spate of baby teeth making their way into my palm. Eldest is losing molars, while the 6 year old is finally catching up and dropping his baby teeth.


Sunday, we took them to Yum Char, and between major meltdowns, tears over a lack of cranberry juice (they had apple juice FFS! Please chill out!), and hiking 15 blocks with the baby (who isn’t a baby so much, as a 2 ½ year old noise making, play-by-play breaking lump of cute that insists on being carried everywhere) to get some Panadol™ suspension liquid, I guess we had an okay brunch?


There was no blood shed, or black eyes, and no one puked on the table, so all in all, I’ve had much worse meals with any number of my children.


After saying goodbye to the friends we invited that I did not get to speak with, we took the kids to the amazing new park in Takapuna that you’ve all heard of. It would seem that most of you were also there over the weekend, as about half of Greenhithe and certainly a good chunk of the greater North Shore area was at the beach and zero parking was available.


The park plan went fairly well. Children split off into groups. Steph of course found friends, and Adam went comfortably into the “red zone” for a good 10 minutes. The park is a fairly decent place for him to have a meltdown as it is safe for him to stomp around for a bit, and he can hide under trees and things, and it is generally pretty easy to find and retrieve him if need be. As long as he is in no way endangering himself or others, I am a pretty happy camper when it comes to my passionate middle child. I crave a decisive diagnosis for him, as he spends so much of his life angry and anxious, the kind and empathetic Adam only gets to hang out and be adored occasionally. I know that the kinder, gentler and less anxious Adam really likes the bridges he builds with people. Sigh. That kid breaks my heart and fills it up and I adore him… and he exhausts me.


Speaking of exhausted, James fell asleep in the car on the way home. Love when they do that. Phteven delivered him to bed where he had a fabulous four hour extended nap. So GUESS what we did? Any parent could easily decipher our plan… We also had a nap. Naps. Are. Fabulous.


Later, after waking up, I ventured out with Steph who was incredibly tween-like and difficult throughout our errand-running voyage to Glenfield. Seriously, she has turned into a teenager and I can’t say I like it or feel ready for any of the adventures that could lie ahead of us if my own difficult youth are any indication of what is in store… Eep.


So I got home, fed the troops, and tidied up a bit in the hopes of convincing our long suffering Lou not to quit on us. She performs miracles with the children and our house every week, and I can honestly say she’s irreplaceable.


After feeding them, and literally throwing some Christmas lights around the place, I was grabbing an ice water from the fridge, and my soul mate Phteven trudged into the kitchen after being on the trampoline with the kids for a spell. He’s pretty old, and a bit rounder than his usual self these days, so escapades on the stretched canvas with our bendy and boundless babes is often enough to wear the forty-something-year-old-fella out.


There was a look on his face that every parent knows. It is a look that can only be described as exhausted, anxious, incredulous, and complete contentment, with a dash of “what was I THINKING!” thrown in for good measure.


Anyway, this look on his face solicited only one reaction, I threw my arms around him and laughed so hard my sides and face hurt.


The truth is, we have an amazing level of help and scaffolding around us in the form of friends, family and even people we employ who help us raise our quirky kids. The weekends remind us how much we appreciate and rely on all the many people who are helping us to shape the hearts and minds of our four fabulous offspring.


So, now, I shall go and turn the television off, shuffle the kids to their rooms after brushing their teeth, and have a long, hot bath. BY MYSELF! Because this weekend, even necessary bathroom breaks did not occur without constant interruptions.


After my bath, I’ll be up half the night doing the work I’ve neglected for the past three days, because I’ve been wrapped up in the cozy reality I’ve gone and built for myself, with four quirky kids, and a long suffering Phteven. They all drive me nuts, and I occasionally dream of running away somewhere peaceful where the only person I need concern myself with is ME!!!!… Then I stop, and look around at the chaos and the Love and the secure sense of belonging I get to share with my family and anyone who steps foot in this house, and I realize that things are fairly fine just as they are.


Hope you had a great weekend.


Thank you for reading.








The Second Sunday of Advent

I spent this past Sunday morning, the second Sunday in Advent, listening to my father who I hold in absolute esteem preach a short and gentle sermon at Auckland Hospital.

I brought my youngest of four children, as the religious freedom and critical thought we encourage in this household has meant the older three kids have decided to identify as agnostic or atheist.

Spirituality can be a fortifying, freeing, and incredibly powerful force. Religion can be a stifling, dangerous, and incredibly destructive one. Neither of these statements are infallibly true, yet, in my 3+ decades of experiences on this planet, there seems to be a plethora of personal and recounted experiences that support both of these observations.

Okay. I’ll scrap the big words now, and just get to the point I am trying to make.

Life is incredibly strange, unfair, beautiful, mysterious, difficult, confounding, enlightening, joyous and heartbreaking. We’ve all got to make our own decisions on how we handle the things that happen to us, and around us, and in a lot of cases, religion and/or spirituality can be something that some of us take an active interest in throughout our lives, or during particular seasons of our existence.

I envy people with faith. There’s a tree surgeon I went to high school with named Tyson who is a meditating, vibrating rock-star of spirituality, and his lengthy and earnest posts on spirituality make me smile and feel warm and safe. I don’t necessarily understand or ascribe to a lot of what he says, but I think it is incredibly cool that he feels the way he does and surrounds himself with others who share his vibe.

My dad has a faith that is beautiful. He is incredibly non-judgmental, but never blind to his own or others faults or faux pas. His staunch Southern Austrian heritage has been infected with my vivacious mother’s more hippy leanings, and my dad has evolved into a funny, tolerant, kind, and incredibly honorable human who clings to his own faith and leaves other the freedom to be on their own journey.

After the service, dad had to go and give communion to some bed ridden patients who had asked for him to do so. So I went down and waited for him to join me for a coffee before I carried on with my day.

Waiting for dad, I got to briefly watch the world go by in that hospital, and it broke my heart and filled it up, and here’s why:

There were countless pregnant women waddling past me that morning, and just as many newborns being gingerly carried to the car by new parents. I’ve been playfully asking my husband to get his “westicles” tied back together so we can have one last bite at the apple before I am too old to grow another human. There is no chance that this is something that will happen, because four fabulous children keep us all on our toes and require a full compliment of family, friends and employees to help raise, and we are not equipped to start over now that our youngest is nearly out of diapers.


I’m guessing this picture is meant baby Jesus and John the Baptist in their mum’s tums… Important parts of biblical rhetoric, and proof that growing and caring for babies is a thing that humans have been doing for a long, long time…

Watching life happen, and babies arrive reminded me of all the friends and family we have who gave birth to babies that they had grown in their hearts and bodies. Most of the time, the journey of parenthood heads in the direction of raising a human to some level of independence, and seriously questioning if there is the strength to carry on and do so occasionally. Then, there are the angels. Hospitals remind me of the angels. The parents, and family and friends that, for one reason or another, had to say goodbye as children were called to the next part of their soul’s journey, leaving a gaping hole in their hearts and lives of those left here on this earth as they departed.

There was a 92-year-old woman at the service this Sunday as well. She was frail, and had that crepe paper skin that is donned by many nonagenarians. She was really quite beautiful. Her daughter was talkative like me. We had a great chat. Then, the old woman sat with bright eyes and a peaceful smile and looked lovingly into my face as I greeted her.


I need to spend more time talking to and listening to my parents, grandfather, mother-in-law and friends in their 80’s and beyond. There is a wisdom and immortality in the stories that they tell, and it is an honour to be able to think back on the stories my grand memere told me, and that connection to the past is something truly magical.

The second Sunday of advent’s theme is Love.

If you identify as religious, or spiritual or atheist, Love is something that I can almost certainly guarantee plays a huge part in your life.

So I’d like to take a moment to thank my dad for giving me an opportunity to reflect on Love and life and spirituality.  I am no closer to identifying with any particular religion after a reflective Sunday at the Auckland hospital.

I’ll be joining my dad at the local church this coming third Sunday of Advent as he is taking that sermon as well.

As we all manage the chaos and comfort of the holiday season, I hope that somewhere there’s a miracle that touches you in a meaningful and spiritual way, and that you find peace if you’ve been struggling, and enjoy joy as it presents itself.

Have a great day.  Thank you for reading.