31 March 2013

My week in bullet points

Happy Easter everybody!

Here is my weekly summary of what we've been up to. For those of you who haven't seen this series of posts from me before, it's a way of helping me keep up with milestones, what we've been up to as a family and general bits and pieces, and is particularly for those weeks that fly by without me having a chance to post much on the blog. It can also serve as a reminder to me to write a longer post on one of the bullet points here and there down the track when time permits.

What a week it's been!

  • Zio N came up to visit from Victoria last weekend. He's been staying with Nonna and Par and we've seen him quite a few times during his stay. It has been wonderful, as the last time we saw him (excluding Skype calls!) was when MissyMoo2 (3) was six months old. Now he has had the chance to play with all three MissyMoos and form bonds which can only come from real cuddles, not virtual ones.
  • MissyMoo3 marked the 18 month milestone by breaking my new glasses. I was angry at her, but I'm angrier at myself for allowing her anywhere near them. An expensive oversight on my part.
  • I had a lovely dinner out with some friends. We catch up for dinner once per month and it's a great opportunity for us to have a laugh and recharge the batteries.
  • It was a bit of a churchy week, being Holy Week and Easter. A mixed bag as far as behaviour from the kids, but I still think it was worth it.
  • The MissyMoos went to a fairy birthday party on Saturday. It was MissyMoo2's friend - her first birthday party invitation from a friend of her own! MissyMoo1 (6) and MissyM|oo3 went along too. There were girls of all ages there, from MissyMoo3 at 18 months all the way up to 10-year-old siblings and friends. So much fun. And so much PINK!
  • EASTER SUNDAY! The Easter Bunny visited our backyard again this year and the MissyMoos had an Easter egg hunt first thing in the morning.

  • Two people have now read my book and have given me positive feedback. Even though they're close to me and I would expect them to be nice, they didn't have to be that nice, so I'm taking their word for it!

Happy Easter everyone. Hope you've had a great week.

29 March 2013

I've written my book - now what?

After my rather rushed announcement on Tuesday morning that my book was finished, I soon began turning my mind to what I will do about it.

As soon as it was done, I sent it to the Old Ducks, Nonna and Gran to have a look at. Early feedback is positive from two of the Old Ducks I ran into last night. So I'm cautiously optimistic that it might be readable!

I'm simultaneously researching submitting manuscripts to publishers and self-publishing. So much new terminology: synopsis, ISBN, legal deposit, ePub, MOBI. I am beginning to form a view as to how to approach things, which I'll share with you once I've given it a bit more thought.

Tonight I have learnt all about how to write a synopsis. I've made a start on my first attempt at one (how tentative does that sound?!). This is something I will not be sharing with you, as my research informs me that a synopsis must give away the ending so the publisher has an idea of whether it would be worthwhile going ahead with the manuscript. I will NOT be telling you the ending. It's too awesome. You'll just have to buy the book (when I manage to publish it!). What I will tell you is that one of the publishers wants a synopsis of no more than 300 words. Cool, short and sweet - I get it. They're busy, they get a lot of submissions, they don't want to waste their time on a wordy synopsis. But my book is 74,460 words and they want a run-down of the main characters, conflict and ending in 300 words? Right, bear with me as I locate my magic wand...

I'm excited and impatient to get things moving, but at the same time, I don't want to jump the gun, do things hastily and potentially make wrong decisions (on big things and little things). So it turns out that writing a book is not the only process; doing something with it is a process of its own. And lucky you, you get to see it unfold. I love me a bit of blog fodder.

What I really need to do first up is be methodical. I need to put together a plan, a strategy, if you like. Then I'll be able to navigate my way through what needs to happen and when in order to achieve my goals. Well, first I should probably set some goals...

My first goal is to get some sleep. Nighty night :-)




28 March 2013

A Year and a Half

My baby is 18 months old.
 
18 months. One and a half years.
 
But she's my baby! That's impossible!
 
A year and a half ago she made a dramatic entrance to the world (yes, I'm shamelessly trying to get more pageviews for her birth story which has dropped out of my all-time top 10).

MissyMoo3 completed our family, cemented new friendships and made all our lives brighter.

She has gone from this:
 

to this:
 

to this:


I am so thankful for my beautiful third daughter. Having three children is hard work, but it is so absolutely, completely worth it (even when I don't feel that way at times - it still is!).
 
MissyMoo3, you are a happy, chatty, lovely little thing. You have settled into day care better than I ever dreamed you would. You are cheeky. You are cuddly. You are sweet. You are funny. I love your words. I love the way you pat me on the behind saying "bum, bum, bum". I love the way you climb into each of your sisters' beds at bedtime to say "nigh nigh" and "mwah".
 
This Thursday I am thankful for you, MissyMoo3.
 
P.S. I forgive you for breaking my new glasses.
 

Linking up for Thankful Thursday with Six by the Bay:


Six By The Bay

 

26 March 2013

I'VE FINISHED!!!!!

I have to go to work this morning. I still have to do MissyMoo1's (6) hair and my make-up, but I have to write this. With that in mind, please forgive me if this blog post is incoherent or rambling in any way.

Last night, three years after I started it, and after six weeks of spending hours each week at night time after the kids were asleep working on it, in an effort to get it done, MY BOOK IS FINISHED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, the first draft. Having said that, I've been reworking at editing it on the way, so it's not as rough as a very first draft.

If you're interested in reading a bit of background on my writing journey with this novel, I've blogged about it here and here.

Last night, I sent it to the Old Ducks to read it as our book club book for next month. I'm a bit nervous about what they'll say, but I'm also excited about receiving some feedback.

It took me a while to get to sleep last night. I went to bed late after working on it and then when it was finished, I just felt so pumped that I couldn't sleep.

Anyway, I'd better go and finish getting ready for work. I just wanted to share this with you!

Hope you have a great day :-)

24 March 2013

My week in bullet points

Hello people, how has your week been?

Well, here are some bullet points all about mine:


  • On Monday, I went shopping for me! Granted, I had two MissyMoos with me, so it was a quick trip, but week's earlier I'd cleared the calendar and set aside the morning as my time to get a few items of clothing for winter and some errands done. Success :-)
  • Tuesday was a big day, as I left before dawn for a morning seminar in Sydney. As I mentioned in my Thankful Thursday post, this meant I missed out on being there to see MissyMoo1 (6) all dressed up for her school walkathon, but I didn't feel like I missed anything thanks to my wonderful family and friends.
  • Wednesday saw me back at the office for the first time in over a week because of the seminars. It felt a little strange...
  • MissyMoo1 had her last piano lesson on Thursday. She was still enjoying it, but we had to reduce the activities to reduce my stress levels and reclaim some family time. I'm hoping she'll keep up with a bit of practising so she doesn't forget the past 12 months' worth of learning.
  • Thursday night was Old Ducks Bookclub. The book we read for this month was:

It was a lovely book, which I really enjoyed reading. Nice and light, relatively speaking, 
after the intensity of The Shack last month.

  • Other than that, I've been working really hard on my manuscript. It's so close to being done, it's teasing me, but I'm hoping to have it ready for the Old Ducks early in the week so they can read it for next month's book club meeting - a bit of constructive criticism before I decide what to do with it next!
  • It has been a beautiful outdoor kind of weekend, with netball yesterday and then time in the playground today. Here's a photo of our little piece of paradise:


I hope you've had a lovely week :-)

23 March 2013

Quote #9


22 March 2013

All in good time

This post first appeared as my March 2013 contribution to Aussie Mum Network.

****************************************************


Time.

It’s a funny thing. It can fly. It can stand still. It can be given. It can be taken. We can have enough of it. Or not.

But one thing is for sure: unless you are Doc Brown or Marty McFly, you can’t get it back (even Dr Who has his own timeline). I have been thinking a lot about this recently.

There is nothing like watching your children grow for a stark – and sometimes confronting – demonstration of the passage of time. Seeing a younger child reach a milestone which an older child achieved seemingly only five minutes earlier can lead us to ask: “Where did the time go?” There is nothing like rushing from A to B, to C, to D, then back to B, over to C and across to E with a carload of kids, to stir an enquiring mind to assess whether time could be used more effectively.

Our perception of time is fluid, and no matter how differently we view it at different periods in our lives, the certainty is that we only have a finite amount of it. I am learning that I want to make the most of it. But “make the most of it” does not have the same meaning all the time. There is nothing wrong with reassessing your life on a regular basis – priorities, contributors to happiness, contributors to stress – and making those adjustments which are needed to keep things on track. Sometimes little tweaks are all that are needed; sometimes a major change could be on the way. Whatever the case may be, this is our time; it is up to us what we do with it.



21 March 2013

Thankful Thursday: A little list

The thing I like about participating in Thankful Thursday is that, even when I'm not feeling overly thankful about one thing in particular, I feel compelled to look for the positives in things. When I do this, I inevitably feel more positive about more things.

So, this week, I've put together a little list of thankful:

  • I'm thankful to have no more work trips to Sydney in the foreseeable future. Although I did get something out of the seminars, I'm tired and I like home better.

  • I'm thankful for good friends and family. With Tuesday's early morning trip to Sydney, I missed seeing MissyMoo1 (6) dressed up in silly socks and a silly hat for her school's walk-a-thon. Hubby and Nonna did a great job of getting her ready in the morning. Nonna texted me a photo of her taken before she went to school. Gina took MissyMoo1 to school so that Nonna wouldn't have to get all three MissyMoos out to the bus stop first thing in the morning. Gina sent me a photo and video of MissyMoo1 during the day. I felt like a part of the day even though I couldn't be there. I'm very thankful to have so much support.

  • I'm thankful that I have nearly finished my manuscript! I have been working on it so hard lately, spending late nights tapping away at the computer and my lunch breaks at work anti-socially scribbling in my notebook. Writing a novel has always been on my bucket list, but the thought that I've actually nearly done it is amazingly exciting!

  • I am thankful that I will be meeting up with the Old Ducks tonight to chat about Maeve Binchey's lovely book, Minding Frankie. I am also so very thankful that these wonderful ladies have agreed to read through my manuscript when it's done.

  • I am thankful for sunshine and cool breezes.

  • I am thankful for time spent drinking Coronas with my husband (not sponsored!)

  • I am thankful for healthy, happy, chatty children.



Linking up for Thankful Thursday with Six by the Bay:


18 March 2013

My week in bullet points

Hi all!

I'm a day late for "My week in bullet points" this week, but I'm not apologising - yesterday afternoon I was having too much fun playing with the MissyMoos in the backyard to worry about blogging!


  • Last week was Catholic Schools Week. On Monday, MissyMoo1's (6) school had an open day. I was so glad it was held on a Monday so I could go. There was a liturgy, then open classrooms followed by a sausage sizzle. It was lovely to be able to look through all the work MissyMoo1 has done already this year and then to sit around and have lunch with my big girl and her friends. The only down-side was that I go the time wrong for pre-school story time in the library, so MissyMoo2 (3) missed out on that. She was a little upset, but got some one-on-one story time that afternoon at home to make up for it.
  • Saturday was a netball gala day for MissyMoo1. Her team of 6 and 7 year olds who had never played a game of netty in their lives played three games and did wonderfully with 1 win, 1 draw and 1 loss. They did some great throwing and catching, and a lot of running around on what ended up being a scorcher of a day. 
  • Sunday was St. Patrick's day. Although we were invited to celebrate with some Irish friends, we decided to stay home, as another day out would have been too much for us. Instead we had some play time outside and the MissyMoos waved around their shamrocks for a bit.
Hope you've had a great week :-)

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17 March 2013

Happy St Patrick's Day

Happy St Patrick's Day everyone!

This St Patrick's Day, I find myself surrounded by Irish influences, with both Gina and B being such important people in my life, and with a new, recently-arrived Irish friend in the mix.

At playgroup on Friday, B came up with a great craft idea for the occasion:


You can't see it, but they're reinforced at the back with green cardboard. The MissyMoos are excited about waving them around at home today!

16 March 2013

The not-so-mysterious disappearance of two front teeth


MissyMoo1 (6) recently lost her fourth baby tooth - the second top middle one.

Here's the before photo:

And here's the after:

It fell out in "maths class" on Wednesday. It sounds even funnier when she says it. We also get her to say "sausage sizzle" a lot. It's hilarious. Now she plays up to it, even saying phrases from the book pictured above, like "Sister Suzie sitting on a thistle"!

You may remember MissyMoo1's tooth fairy, Miranda. MissyMoo1 took the opportunity to write her another note ...


... and of course, the lovely Miranda fairy responded:


MissyMoo1 was thrilled and took her note to school for news the next day :-)

14 March 2013

Thankful for Conferences

I've never attended a blogging conference and I don't see myself doing so in the near future. Not because I don't want to, just because it is not a priority for me at the moment. Between three young MissyMoos, work and not living in a capital city, blogging conferences just aren't on my radar.

But, March is silly season for lawyer's conferences and seminars. You see, lawyers wishing to maintain a current practising certificate in New South Wales need to complete 10 points of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) each year which equates to 10 hours of seminars (there are other ways of making up the points but I won't go into that here). The 12 month period we have to do this in runs from 1 April to 30 March. So come March, lawyers all over the state are looking at their CLE records, scratching their heads and madly registering for and attending anything relevant to their areas of practice.

That's me. With four points already up my sleeve from November (go me!), I entered March with six to go. Three were obtained yesterday and a further three will be earned next week. Yesterday I drove to Sydney, making the absolute most of a long drive in an empty car, turning up the radio and belting out quite a few tunes in blissful anonymity.



But I digress.

From my reading of all the excitement in the lead-up to DPCON13 and my observation from the sidelines of DPCON12 (i.e. reading Facebook and Twitter updates), conferences of the blogging variety look to be exciting, interesting and, above all, social events - full of life, colour and chatter. A lawyer's conference generally isn't. Especially when you go alone. Perhaps it's because law stuff is my work and blogging is my fun, but what I saw yesterday was in almost comedic contrast to pictures I've seen of blogging conferences.

Picture this: tables lined up in neat rows covered in navy blue, men in black suits and ... silence.

(In fairness, there were a few women there - a couple of us even ventured to wear colourful clothing - but despite the research which keeps telling us that female law graduates outnumber their male counterparts, these affairs still seem to be fairly male dominated.)

I'm not sure if it's a Sydney thing, or a lawyer thing, or a Sydney lawyer thing, but there it was. In the 10 minutes prior to the seminar, there were 30 people in a room and ... not a sound. No eye contact, no greetings, just the occasional beeping of a smart phone and clinking of coffee cup to saucer.




We're a serious bunch.

I must say though, first impressions, the commute and the pounding headache I had at the end of the day aside, I am thankful I was able to go to this particular CLE session. As with anything, if the content is interesting, the speakers are of a high quality and the mode of presentation is engaging (I'm not talking dancing on tables and wearing silly hats here, just keeping me awake will suffice!), then it ticks all the boxes.

For me personally, going to lawyer conferences is highly inconvenient. There is a lot of juggling involved with the MissyMoos and, frankly, I don't like disruption to our routine, which is hectic enough already for me. Essentially, I go because I have to. But sometimes, when all those boxes are ticked, I find that I get a lot more out of attendance than just CLE points. Due to the location of my work and the type of work I do, I am geographically removed from a lot of the "experts". Going to conferences exposes me to highly experienced and knowledgeable practitioners who impart their knowledge with ease (usually). Sometimes, I can learn plenty just from some of their aside comments, let alone their actual presentations.

So I'm thankful that I get the opportunity to go to these things from time to time, to learn new things and to see things from a different perspective. I'm thankful that I don't feel like a complete dodo and actually understand some of what they're on about, which tells me I'm becoming more experienced and knowledgeable over time. I'm thankful that I'm so well supported at home and at work - otherwise it would just be impossible to go. I'm also thankful for the quietness of home - a day in Sydney really makes me appreciate it all the more!


Linking up for Thankful Thursday with Six by the Bay:


12 March 2013

Gli Arancini di Montalbano - Andrea Camilleri

Ho già finito leggere Gli Arancini di Montalbano, scritto da Andrea Camilleri. Questa é la terza volta che l'ho letto.



Non capisco ogni parola, ma ne capisco la maggior parte, quindi non ho avuto problema capire i racconti. I racconti sono interessanti - ogni giallo ha anche un po' d'umorismo, coi personaggi simpatici.

Grazia alla lingua, i racconti scritti da Andrea Camilleri non sono solo i gialli scritto bene. Hanno qual'cosa di più, specialmente per me. Quando leggo questi racconti scritti in siciliano, sento in mente come parlano i siciliani e mi ricordo come parlavano i miei nonni. Non sono solo le parole del dialetto scelti dall'autore, ma i racconti mostrano anche il modo di parlare veramente siciliano.

Per esempio:

  • Lu sceccu m'avia ruttu lu bùmmulu (L'asino ha rotto la mia anfora)
  • Cu é? (Chi é?)
  • Trasisse (Entrate)
  • Stasìra feci tanticchia di pasta cu i bròcculi (Stasera faccio un po' di pasta coi broccoli)
Come mi piace il dialetto siciliano!

Gli Arancini di Montalbano - Andrea Camilleri (English)

I've just finished reading Gli Arancini di Montalbano by Andrea Camilleri.



I don't understand every word, but I understand most of them, so I didn't have a problem understanding the stories. The stories are interesting - each mystery also has a bit of humour, with easily likeable characters.

Thanks to the language, the stories written by Andrea Camilleri aren't just well-written mysteries. They have something more, especially for me. When I read these stories written in Sicilian, I hear in my mind how the Sicilians speak and I remember how my grandparents spoke. Not only just the words of the dialect which the author chooses to use, but the stories also demonstrate the way of speaking which is truly Sicilian.

The following examples appear as Sicilian / Italian / English:
  • Lu sceccu m'avia ruttu lu bùmmulu / L'asino ha rotto la mia anfora / The donkey broke my amphora
  • Cu é? / Chi é? / Who's there?
  • Trasisse / Entrate / Come in
  • Stasìra feci tanticchia di pasta cu i bròcculi / Stasera faccio un po' di pasta coi broccoli / This evening I'm making a bit of pasta with broccoli
If you're interested in reading the stories, they have been translated into English. There is also a television series of the Inspector Montalbano stories - I think it's up to about series 5 now.

Book: Paperback. I own this. Purchased from a bookshop.
Rating: I've given it 4 stars on Goodreads.
One-liner: This book is written in Sicilian dialect by Andrea Camilleri. Love it :-)

10 March 2013

My week in bullet points

Hello, it's summary time!

This has been a week of milestones for my little ones. Here's a snippet:


  • MissyMoo3 (17 months) climbed onto the dining table this week, much to my distress. She has been able to climb onto the chairs for a few weeks, but this time she went that little bit further, getting one knee up onto the table, then another. I let her do it to crawling position, then swiftly whisked her off the table before she had a chance to get to her feet!
  • MissyMoo2 (3) had her first playdate. Now that she is at pre-school, she has made a couple of friends in her own right. The girls played so nicely together and it's lovely to see MissyMoo2 stepping out of her big sister's shadow in a way.
  • MissyMoo3 jumped! And each time she tries to do it, she says "DUMP!"
  • MissyMoo1 (6) had her first netball training session. B is her coach. (That lady is Wonder Woman - I have no idea how she fits in everything she does in life. And you know, I suspect she may be the real Wonder Woman. I've never seen them together in the same room. Just sayin'). MissyMoo1 enjoyed training. All the girls are in year 1 & 2 and almost all are beginners. It will be good for them to learn those skills and get outside for a run around each week with their friends.
  • MissyMoo3 cut teeth numbers 11 and 12.
  • MissyMoo1 rode her bike without training wheels for the first time (last time she tried, they had to go back on).
  • MissyMoo1's school reader was all about ears on different animals. Did you know grasshoppers' ears are on their legs?
Me: Imagine if your ears were on your legs.
MissyMoo2: I want my ears to be on my belly button.


Hope you've had a great week!
xx

07 March 2013

Bubble fun

My dad recently gave me his "old" digital SLR camera. The sun finally came out on Sunday so we had some much-needed backyard time.

I'm thankful for simple bubble fun, even if 5 minutes later we were back inside because MissyMoo2 (3) fell flat on her face on some concrete...






Linking up for Thankful Thursday with Six by the Bay:

06 March 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Home Grown

Our vine's first passionfruit:


Wordless Wednesday link up at:


05 March 2013

French Knitting

MissyMoo1 (6) asked me to teach her how to knit.

Perhaps it's wisdom, perhaps it's a distinct lack of courage, but I decided that knitting with two needles was not something I was prepared to attempt to teach my six-year-old just yet. I vaguely recalled having attempted French knitting at a young age, so I decided to do what everyone does to re-learn a skill: I Googled it.

The Kidspot website has instructions on how to make a French knitting "machine", as we're calling it, and how to do the knitting too.

So, while the MissyMoos were crafting on the weekend, I got to work too.

All set up and ready to go
Stick paddle pop sticks around a toilet roll
Littlest Petshop contact around the outside
Once the "machine" was done, it was time to get knitting.

I'm so proud of MissyMoo1 (6). She concentrated, listened and showed patience when things didn't quite work out the first time.


She persevered, and after a couple of hours, she had come up with this:

A present for her Daddy, as Hubby had a sore throat
It's amazing how quickly she picked it up. It is just reinforcing to me how good it will be for me to spend more time teaching my children some more of the things I've learnt how to do.


04 March 2013

Indoor entertainment...

Another day, another rainy day. By Sunday morning, the poor MissyMoos had been cooped up inside for way too long.

I had been trying to keep them entertained, so inevitably the craft cupboard doors had been flung open, and a tornado of glue sticks, bobbles, stickers and crepe paper had blown through the living room.


At least it kept them occupied for an hour or so.


Thank goodness the sun came out later in the day!

03 March 2013

Francesca's Festa of Favourites - March 2013



This is the third of my monthly link ups: Francesca's Festa of Favourites.

The response has exceeded my expectations and hopes over the past two months. Thanks so much to those who linked up. I encourage you to go and check out all the lovely posts there.

I've closed February's link up now, but never fear, the March link up is here!

So come and join in with 

Francesca's Festa of Favourites for March


If you're not sure what I'm on about, here's a recap: "Festa" in Italian means a celebration, a party. This link-up is a place where you can place links to your favourite posts in a given month, but here's the difference: they don't have to be posts you've written (although they can be). You can link to any post for the month that, for you, has been a must-read, that you're proud of, or that you think is funny.

What's the benefit? I'm lazy, so I hope that by the end of the month, it provides me with a summary of cool posts to read. If you're lazy, you can sponge off the list too :-) 

Now as well as being lazy, I'm also not into spending money on my blog, so I haven't used one of those super-dooper paid linky party tools, so this is a free one. A few people had trouble with it last at the start, but I've found that as long as you remember to have ".html" at the end of the URL, it usually works. (Let me know in the comments if you have trouble and I'll try to fix it). The disadvantage of the free one is that there are no thumbnails, so you'll need to be creative with your words to get people to want to click on the link!

So, here you are, any time through March, feel free to link up posts you love.

Welcome to Francesca's Festa of Favourites!!



My week in bullet points

This week has been a slow one. I had a cold for most of the week, so it took all my efforts just to get through the day-to-day.

The MissyMoos provided some entertainment though!


  • Here's a Kidspeak Gem from MissyMoo2 (3):
MM2: Mum?
F: Yeah.
MM2: No, I'm talking to a different mum.
F: How many mums do you have?
MM2: 5.
  • About half an hour before dinner on Monday night, MissyMoo3 (16 months) climbed up into MissyMoo1's (6) seat at the table and banged her hands on the table shouting: "Din din, din din!"
  • Friday night, Nonna & Par came over to babysit and we went to a dinner party at some friends' house. It was a wonderful night spent with good friends, with lots of laughs - side-splitting stuff actually.
Hope you've had a good week. What did you get up to?
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