Sunday, July 31, 2011

My new job.

I told you I left my old work to go somewhere new and I can now tell you all about it.

I have all of my gadgets and have started meeting people.

It is exciting, especially as I get to talk about blogging and marketing and tweeting and Facebook and the benefits these communication channels can provide an organisation

I get to work with professional people that are really keen to use social media to provide information, to share their knowledge and at the same time learn ways to fine tune their own practices.

From here on I will be working as the Social Media Manager for St Vincents Private Hospital, concentrating on the maternity section. They have great doctors and nurses with knowledge to share, resources that we can all tap into and they have trusted me to be the one to get that out to you.

I actually had Popps at St Vincents so I even have some first hand experience of the place, a good marketer always trials the product  first (unless you are working for a funeral parlour, asbestos lawyer, shark diver... actually maybe a good marketer is careful of what they try).

If you are on twitter you can follow St Vincents Private at @StVincentsPriv it will be a great source of information for all parents and will have giveaways and prizes along the way that will relate to parents at all stages of life.

And if you are not on twitter...where the bloody hell are you?

OK, OK, for those of you on facebook, the page will be up and running as soon as I can get it organised for you.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dear Daddy

Dear Daddy,

We have been busy.

There was gymnastics and gym crèche and food shopping.

There was a little bit of Telly watching.



And some face painting and playing with Mums phone. This one is a spider I painted.



I played some hop scotch in the sun, really it is true, it was sunny.



Immy asked about you a lot and kept trying to send you kisses on the phone.




There was some reading.






And Mum has been trying to get Immy to sleep for ages but is not having much luck.

See check this out Immy is being a character and Mum just looks over it all.



I miss you,

Love Popps xxxxxxoooooxxxxx

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How to do nothing.

Mr H is away at a conference, he is sunning himself in better climates than freezing cold Melbourne.

He calls regularly to chat and see how we are and sends through funny photos at the request of the Little Hueys, they don't want to see normal images, they want him to be pulling faces and making them laugh.

He keeps asking what we are up to, but you know how when you are in the middle of things it seems that you are just doing 'nothing'. So that is what he hears.

Actually we are doing a little bit more than nothing.

I have been to the gym, and the girls to creche where they made a few more glitter glue images for the fridge. They have now eaten through two bowls of fruit and I had to resort to tinned fruit this evening to keep up the supplies. We are also on to the UHT milk as I forgot I had no one to call and grab some on the way home.

We have been to the library and the park, dropped things back to the neighbours on one side and begged the retired couple on the other to walk the dog if they didn't mind taking her with them. Thankfully they seem happy to and also brought in my bins today which is a huge thing when you get home from work with two hungry kids who have been at creche all day and are begging for food, like NOW, please, we're hungry, really hungry...

We have read books, lots of them, had concerts complete with tap shoes and may have some dents in the kitchen floors. We videoed the concerts and then spent hours looking at photo albums, a good reminder that if we are robbed and they take our photo albums they may think we have only had one child.

There has been making of pancakes and refusals from the littlest Huey to eat breakfast now that Mr H has introduced her to Coco Pops and Mumma refuses to buy them again.

There have been cranky pants worn by all of us at one time or another and lots of happy moments.

And there has been wearing of coats at all times and tonight as the temperature falls again the heating may even be left on.

What have you been doing while you are doing 'nothing'?


Photobucket

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Blogging elsewhere

I am visiting a rather pretty little place today.

If you like cupcakes (yes, yes I do) frocks (certainly) and pink (can never have enough) then pop over to Cupcakes, Frocks and Pink where today I am talking about why we made the decision to give Popps an extra year at home.







- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, July 22, 2011

A letter to the world, again.

Hello world, Me again.

Just giving you an update on where things are at since my last letter. See a lot happens in six months when you've only been around for thirty.

I like to talk. A Lot.

My favourite thing to say is "but I love it sooo much" this makes people smile and often give me whatever I want.


round and round and round I go.

You know I love wearing dresses, but Mum she won't iron them so she buys these iron free ones, they are no good, they hardly spin and are not what a princess would wear. So I hide them under my bed, under the kitchen table and in the laundry. Hopefully Mum will stop buying them soon.



That's me and stripey blankLet.


Has anyone seen my spare blankLets. You know, the stripey ones. I like to sniff them to go to sleep and the new ones just don't smell the same. Dad has lost two old blankLets lately and even though they have my name and number on them nothing has shown up. If the last ones disappear Mum says it will be 'hell for days', not sure what she means but she is not using her happy voice when she says it. I might make a reward poster for them. I could do that with the craft glue, I really love to use glue. And textas, did you know that texta does not come off the fabric on the doors in the car? No, me either, who knew?


I am also exceptional at dancing. I got to join a class for three and four year olds, I look little compared to some of them but I love it, especially when we use our noisy shoes. The teacher calls them tap shoes, but they just go bang bang bang, with Hi 5 playing on the HighPod.

This is me having a treatment at our backyard beauty parlour.


Hey, do you guys know Dora, she has a scary fox called swiper, I don't like him, Dad says he lives in the water in rivers and dams and I shouldn't go near them. But I still haven't seen him when I have been checking out the water ways.

But you know what I really don't like? Boys. They are scary and yukky and I call them Poo. If they come to visit I have been known to try and shut them into the old rabbit hutch and lock the door, I also do this to my dog, she loves it.

Somedays I look so grown up and talk so much that you would think I was a kinder kid, then other days you can still see the baby in me, growing up fast, with a cheeky giggle, a talkative nature and dependent streak that will take me far.



Smudgy ice-cream licks and kisses to you all,
Immy



Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Be careful what you don't wish for.

I used to wish that if I could have my time again I might have a different career.

I wished for one of two other options to come true. Something that I expect would have been a little more exciting, fulfilling and also pay the bills. First on the list I wanted to be a back up dancer for Tina Turner, touring the world while I danced on stage every night. Failing that I was happy to be a travel journalist, preferably on Getaway, trying out great places, meeting new people and seeing the world and then sharing it with everyone else so they too got to hear about the rest of the world.

Well, my dream has come true.

I am going to be a back up dancer for Tina Turner!!

Not really. She still has standards that I can't shake to.

Nor am I about to join the cast of Getaway, or even Postcards.

But I am traveling to a new place and trying out a new hotel. I am off to Walhalla (or as some more well travelled workies pronunce it 'Val Ha La' .

I will be traveling with some other bloggers, to try out a hotel and the surrounding area. To check out the local scenery and trial a section of Victoria I am yet to visit and then I have been asked to tell you what I think of it.

I have no idea what to expect or how I will go leaving the kids (pretty sure I am all good with that though). My fellow travellers are all other Mums all looking forward to a restful break in a pretty place.

We will be heading to the Star Hotel.



Have you been there? Do you know where Walhalla is? Have you been to the festival of the lights?

I am expecting that I might need my slippers, which I will wear while I sit by the fire and read a book, fine wine by my side.

And maybe go to bed dreaming of when I get to be dancing with Tina.





I will be traveling, staying and relaxing thanks to Brand Meets Blog and the Star Hotel.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Marketing stuff always thrills me


When I see a nifty little marketing gimmick doing great work it still thrills me.

Easily pleased I know!

This popped in to my email box today. A custom made patch asking for my support for jeans for genes day.






I have always supported the Children's Medical Research Institute. Cures are just one of those things that are out there, we just have to find them.

Check out their Facebook page for more ways to get involved this year and to make your own little patch.






Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I made a decision

A few months ago I had a few phone calls, a couple of meetings, lots of emails and then spent a couple of weeks trying to make a decision about my job, my life, our future.

I found myself with chest pain, the doctor decided it was anxiety. I thought heart attack, but it seems I was over reacting some what. See, I am great at making decisions for other people, fabulous at it. But for myself, not so much. If I could have paid someone to make the choice for me I would have.

Eventually a decision was made. I gave notice at my work, my work that has offered me such excellent work life balance, supported me to learn more about social media in the corporate environment, trusted me when I made up answers for them, accepted that I am a Mum first and a worker second. A place that knew the importance of gadgets for getting the job done when a girl finds herself tweeting, blogging and moderating LinkedIn for the legal industry.

I worked with a team of interesting, funny, intelligent, challenging, professional, knowledge sharing and supportive people, from Marketing types, to journos, to lawyers from all walks of life to my fabulous PR and comms mentor @KAOSVIC (you should follow her, she is all types of amazing).

Leaving them and the happy work cocoon I have swam in for the past few years was not an easy decision.

But I have.

I will miss them.

Naturally I wouldn't be leaving to go just anywhere.

My new job shall be challenging, scary, terrifying, exciting, full on, satisfying and a totally new concept. I am thrilled to have had it fall in my lap from the karma gods and can't wait to tell you all about it next week.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I am calling an Intervention

I am really quite nervous.

But I know it is time. I need to call an Invention. To get straight to the point. Be very very brutal.

I need to call an intervention on myself.

I have a wardrobe full of clothes that are well past their use by date, of clothes I am keeping until I fit into again.

I have clothes that I swear I will sew the hems up or buttons on to, that I will repair and wear again.

All these clothes swamp my drawers to overflowing and they drip out encouraging me to wear them, especially the really comfy ones. The trackie pants I wore when pregnant are so comfy now still, but lately I have been wearing them out of the house, not just to get to the gym and back, but to the library, the shops and the park.

What is that about!!

Considering Popps is now five, the work suits I am waiting to fit into are pretty much out of date if when I do one day lose the baby weight I doubt I will want to wear them again anyway.

I have clothes I bought while I lived in Ireland that I have kept because I loved it there so much and even just looking at them makes me happy. One of those tops I can barely get an arm in let alone over my head (Miss Meg will remember Goldy Top, we shared this top to wear out on special occasions!) I will never throw Goldy out, but do I really need the other stuff still, my gap jeans with the ripped knees (still my most fav jeans ever) I can't replace them, ever.

All these clothes make it look like I have a few options to wear, but I really don't.

It is time to get the bag and throw it all out.

I know I should. I know it shouldn't be so hard.

But I am going to struggle...what if I one day need it again?

So help me out bloggy readers, how do you force yourself to throw out the old comfy worn out clobber and accept your new post baby, post twenty something body at the same time?



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Our magical play space

Play spaces for modern kids are nothing like they used to be, for better or worse we give our kids shit loads of plastic where once it was old milo cans to be used as stilts with a piece of old string.

Our backyards are smaller, safer and controlled.

We try and offer a range of things to stimulate young minds, allow brain development and co-ordination, to build healthy bodies and minds that will grow to be the amazing adults of the future.

Then, if you're us, you build a beauty parlour in your own backyard.

The cubby house that was here when we arrived was ok. Pretty basic. Made with cheapo pine and some tin.

One spider web and the fearless Huey's were never seen there again.

Mr H decided it was used so little that he was going to rip it down, I convinced him to give it a lick of paint, to change the name from cubby to 'beauty parlour' and now in the warmer months or when other kids come to play it is a haven for them all.

I started by throwing out all the rubbish that used to be in it. Grabbed a plastic table cloth from spot light to use for the floor and emptied out ten years of old make up from the bathroom for them to use any way they liked. The inside walls are painted white and pink with a few wall stickers thrown in.

A couple of chairs from the side of the road got a lick of red paint and a few items from the reject shop finished it off.

One wall was already a blackboard, we painted it again and it is often used as the 'price list' board.



Facepaint from the reject shop and lots of cheapie cotton buds have allowed for many many hours of fun in there now. It is messy, there is little beauty in the traditional sense (which was never the actual aim), there is counting of dollars (leaves) and interactive play between all ages. There is a fake hairdryer, brushes and hair clips for the hairdressers that visit and pretend hairdryers for the boys that prefer noisy options, though most end up with facepaint all over them and their nails freshly painted.

In true burby backyard style, it is bordered by the sand pit and the compost heap.

In the spring the blossoms from the neighbours fruit trees hang over the fence and make it a rather magical space to play.







Photobucket

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The latest hit on our book shelf

With three years between them night time story time means we have to read the little Huey's different books, this makes for a lot of reading and on nights when we are doing it single handed it is tricky to get the right balance of books.

Popps has moved past Annie's Chair and Immy is not up to Uno's Garden.

By chance we found a gem at the library last visit (and we are now paying late fees on it we have had it so long).






Ladybug Girl is a delightful book about a little girl who makes herself into Ladybug Girl whenever she needs to, just to play, to have fun, to make friends or to help herself be brave. In the one above she gets over her fear of the ocean. She is fun and silly and knows how to have a good time. Immy particularly likes the dog Bingo and thinks he is the same as our dog Peppa, while Popps likes the way Ladybug Girl speaks to her family members, such as reminding Mum that she said today is a good day for ice cream, and some days call for a double scoop.

It is a library find that will be coming to stay.


Are there any others you know of that meet the two and five year old test all at once?






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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Help. Which toys do I really need?




We do need more of this.


Which toys do I really need? Because I have all the ones we don't use.

Recently I had a discussion on facebook with an early childhood educator from Childhood 101.

There were a few issues discussed but what I took away most was how wrong the toys are in this house. I have often been perplexed at just why my kids can't entertain themselves very well. We don't really have a lot of toys as I just got sick of buying things they never played with. Immy is a big fan of dolls and babies and prams, but Popps has never really had anything that really just entertained her for a half hour or so.

Other than craft, drawing, sticking, writing, gluing, cutting.

Childhood101 was discussing that as a basic, a child should have some building blocks and toy animals to play with.

We had neither. There is a megablocks wagon that is emptied and they use the wagon but the blocks were rarely played with.

As for animals, there are none.

This week a box of Duplo arrived, I had won it over at Ah the Possibilities, it is a car wash with a little mechanic man. Before opening it I explained this was a toy for Immy. Not really expecting Popps to have an interest anyway. Super wrong. She has wanted her hands all over it and happily played on the floor with it while we prepared dinner - only after bribing Immy with another toy so she would give it up.

I bought some plain wooden blocks. Clearly we need more, 100 is just not enough to build the worlds largest castle and fence and playground and...

I have also been watching the boys over at My Little Drummer Boys love playing with Lego, so I purchased a basic box to see how it would go. Fabulous. Another half hour of play without that usual "Mum, look at me, Mum, play with me".

We still dont have any animals. Yet.

So I am now asking, what are the basic toys that you think keep a child engaged. What toys do they keep playing with rather than use once and never see again?


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Happy hand me downs





Passing on some kids clothes to a friend is a simple thing to do. We all pretty much pass them on if they haven't been worn out first. But sometimes we forget how much the person at the other end is happy to receive them.

I have always loved a bag of surprise clothes for the girls and tonight I got the most lovely text thanking me for a bag I sent on.

Anytime Ms E. Anytime at all.




Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Investing for the Kids

This post is a follow on from my post about Invest. Save. Live with some details of what we do for the girls to get them into the savings habit.

Please note I am not a financial adviser. I am a Mummy Blogger. This is not to be read as advice. It is simply a plan we have, it may work, it may not. Do not plan your future on what you read on my blog. But plan to save when or where you can, cross your fingers, toes and eyes that no shit sandwiches come your way and hopefully things will be ok.





This idea is not my own, I purchased a book five years ago called "How to give your children a $1million each" by Ashley Ormond. The book has a lot more information in it and is worth a read.

But it really is pretty simple.

We have an account set up for each child. We use UBank, usaver online accounts - for no other reason than I liked their marketing material and the rates were good when we were setting them up. This is not an endorsement for them specifically.

The plan is that you put in one dollar per day into the kids accounts, we do $15 per fortnight.

Small children often get small amounts of money given to them, at birth, christenings, birthdays, Christmas and from loving family members. We put nearly all this into their savings accounts. Now that Popps is 5 and is starting to have more interest and understanding in money, she is given some to spend, some to save in her piggy bank and the rest goes to the account. The piggy bank ends up in her investment account in the end though - for now.

In years to come when the girls start their own part time jobs they will be required to add $15 per pay to this investment account too.

But what is it for, what do we get out of giving this to them?

Well, for us it isn't about giving them a car or a house deposit at some predetermined age.

These accounts will be able to show them how to invest money, how to save and how to manage what they earn. It will one day teach them directly about compound interest and the benefits of putting money away, and that every dollar saved now can help in the future.

The money wont be given as a gift at any stage in life, in fact there is no real plan of when we will pass it over, only that when it is the money will hopefully be spent on investments or to give them the freedom to pursue what they are passionate about, they may even be able to consider time off work - but they will be 50 by then!

If we didn't decide to do this five years ago Popps would have about $17.50 in her account, instead it now has just under $5000, of which we have only contributed around $385 a year... see $3000 in interest and adding in some 20 cent coins from Great Granny Iris. There is no way ever we would be able to give her this money otherwise. No Chance. None, Zip. Hell would freeze over with glitter glue and we would be wearing rags to visit it. But we can't access this ever. Not even to upgrade the 1993 Honda to have a working 'wireless'!

Here is a snippet from the book that I like:

If $1 is put aside every day over 50 years, the amount will be $18,250 ($365 x 50). But if that $1 per day goes into an investment fund and stays there it will turn into around $1 million. And that $1 million can produce an investment income of around $50,000 to $80,000 per year which is more than many people earn by working.

Now wouldn't that be nice.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

In print






I still haven't seen it in it's printed form.

My name.

My story.

Would never ever have expected this to happen.

I quite like it.

Latest edition of Melbourne's Child magazine (and maybe some other states too) has me in it.

Cool bananas.




Sunday, July 3, 2011

Invest. Save. Live. How we save money.

Around the blog spaces that I read, more and more people are discussing money, times being a bit tighter than before, some are worried about renting or have had to sell the house or are worrying about hard times they have fallen on.

Many are asking, what are your tips? What can you share that gets you through bad times or keeps you out of them?

I have been hesitant to write too much, after all we are not driving around in new cars, we have a big mortgage, our kids are not too special to not be wearing hand me downs.

This process works for us, if things are tight for you right now you probably think you can't do it, but you really can. At least you can set up the accounts and organise the direct debits to occur.

It may not make you rich and certainly won't make you famous, but it should provide you with more control of your money, allow for better financial independence and prevent sleepless nights worrying about unexpected bills.

Whatever you earn, it gets split like this:

Invest 10%
Save 10%
Live on the rest.

As your income improves, make the percentage in save and invest a little bit higher. If you are in a really tough time, drop it to a couple of dollars, just to keep/begin the habit.

Rules for Invest:
This is easy. Set up an online savings account and have 10% of your take home salary/allowance automatically put into this account.

This can include superannuation or making additional payments on your home loan, but remember you can't get your super out and your mortgage may have fees to access some funds.

Never touch it.

Never.

Unless it is going towards an investment purchase such as a house, shares, etc. A car is not, ever, an investment.

Do not have easy access to this account, eg, make it one without an ATM card.

Save

This is another online savings account that you open and have 10% put into. This account is left to accumulate over time. When the fridge blows up, you can get at it. If the health insurance is causing you grief, dip in. But mainly, use it for saving for things. For instance, if you want a weekend away, save up to $500 and when you reach it then book your trip. If you need new tyres for the car, you can access savings. Regular bills like power and groceries are not paid from savings.

If you can trust yourself, you can be like Mr H and have envelopes. He writes the object he wants on the outside and puts his money in til he has enough, then off he goes to Bunnings or JB HIFI.


Live.

We live on 80% of what we earn. This goes up and down a lot, especially as I have never returned to work full time since Popps was born. I have had two full years with no income and received no maternity leave pay and Mr H is a shift worker so his pay changes depending on the fortnight. If we can't live on this amount than we are living beyond our means. When we are struggling to pay the bills it means we have bought too much that fortnight. Usually on going out, food, wine, magazines or something not really 'essential' (though fun)!


Get Started:

No matter where you are at, just get started. When I was on mat leave we had an account that just got $1 a week, but it kept the system going.

If your living financially with Invest, Save, Live (which is my own little concoction and not a tested system by anyone other than our household) there are a couple of other things to know.

Buy now and pay later schemes are gifts directly from the devil. Only people already wealthy gain from these. If you think you can afford it, than put it in the savings account.

Your credit card should be a debit card if you are using it for online shopping.

Time is the best thing to help you save money. Just get started, get the accounts set up, get the habit going, once you start you hardly notice the money going, especially if it leaves before you even see it in your account.

Friday, July 1, 2011

A letter.


Dear Bum,

It is time we had a little chat. Time for you to take a really good look at yourself and your behaviour of late.

Not long ago when boobs where working double shifts around the clock, you allowed numerous amounts of sugary substance to be consumed and didn't complain at all. You remembered your rightful place and acknowledged that your goal in life was to enable legs to walk and back to remain intact.

Don't think it has gone unnoticed that you are trying to do a complete takeover, no polite merger and acquisition policy with you, slowly but surely you are taking full control.

You have started to sag and seem to want to cuddle close to knees while at the same time creep up to takeover back.

At times you seem to want to run off entirely and if it were not for the purchase of a good belt you would spill over the top of jeans in a horrid muffin top way...on the back!

It is also noted that you are getting all lazy with elasticity issues and are not stretching properly. As you are well aware this causes marks that not even magic eraser from Bunnings can address.

Enough. You really are a bum head.

Regards

Brain, on behalf of rest of body.






- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


When a fart is not funny.

We all know the Kindergarten yard can be a tough place to hang. What with all that sand and play dough and only one person being able to play the Mum when playing in the home corner.

It's a tough gig.

Popps has slowly settled in and had found her place in the playground hierarchy.

It may have just slipped a few notches.

Yesterday they were playing fashion shows and they needed to strut their stuff down the footpath like a model. This is not something she was too keen about and didn't really like playing. She thought she would make it more fun.

She descibed it all like this: "Well Mum, when I got to the turn, I put my bum in the air and pretended to do a big fart, the other girls said 'that's not funny, that's not fashion show stuff'. They said I couldn't play with them anymore."

"They said I wasn't allowed to play with them as I was not funny and said I was silly."

While I was proud of her for belittling their silly game I just asked what she did when they said that.

"I just did another big pretend fart to them and walked off. I told them fashion shows is a silly game anyway."

One of the girls is a definite Queen Bee character, I asked if she played with Queen Bee afterwards.

But no, apparenly her faux pas was enough to be on the 'do not play' list for the rest of the day.

Opps, looks like farts are not as funny to the rest of the world as they are at our house
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