The real reason you should learn to bite your tongue

Miss J had the hiccups tonight. It was after bed time when she came out to the lounge, hiccuping away. She sat down on my lap and looked at me, oh so seriously, then she asked,
"Mum?" *hicc* "Why is my tongue..." *hicc* "... Trying to run away?" *hicc*

Get Angry

I'm having a moment. Not a love light and bliss one, either.

Today I read this post over at Magneto Bold Too.

I noticed the way people were reacting - with sadness - and this started me thinking about my own emotional reaction to speeding and drink driving, and about the overall effectiveness of these ad campaigns.

Losing M - That makes me sad. But speeding and drink driving - That makes me angry.

I find this distinction is very important.

From the almighty Wikipedia:

Sadness is a mood characterised by feelings of disadvantage loss, and helplessness. When sad, people often become quiet, less energetic and withdrawn.

Anger is an emotional state that may range from minor irritation to intense rage. The physical effects of anger include increased heart rate, blood pressure, and levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline. Some view Anger as part of the fight or flight brain response to the perceived threat of pain. Anger becomes the predominant feeling behaviourally, cognitively and physiologically when a person makes the conscious choice to take action to immediately stop the threatening behaviour of another outside force.

Most of the campaigns that I've seen are very emotive in nature. They go for shock value. They make people cry. They make people feel sad.
This doesn't make sense to me.

When people think of speeding and drink driving I don't want them to feel sad and helpless, or to become quite, less energetic and withdrawn.
I would rather evoke in people an emotion which “becomes the predominant feeling behaviourally, cognitively and physiologically when a person makes the conscious choice to take action to immediately stop the threatening behaviour of another outside force.

I'm not saying that losing a loved one isn't sad. It is devastating and gut wrenching and tragic and horrible and painful beyond belief.
But doesn't sadness seem like a less effective emotion when it comes to preventing speeding and drink driving?

People who have seen these ad campaigns and been affected by them, they might make a better choice. They might remember the tears shed by grieving families, the tears they shed themselves when they saw those images, and that might be enough to change their minds. Certainly this is a win.

But what about those people who didn't feel that same punch in the guts? Those who are too invincible, too tough, or too smart? Will the people around them be too sad, too helpless, too quiet and too withdrawn to speak up?

M was killed by a drink driver doing twice the speed limit. The driver was speeding to get home in time for their favourite television program.
M was on his way home to celebrate our pregnancy. He was not speeding. He was not drunk. He was killed instantly.

His death is sad, and I grieve for him every day.
But drink driving and speeding don't make me sad, they make me angry.

That driver lived, and he too suffers every day. I know this because I speak to him at least once a month. I am not angry with that driver any more, because we are both healing and because he is now consciously making different choices. He is making good choices.

There are still people out there making bad choices, though.
People choosing to speed.
People choosing to drink and drive.
People choosing to kill.

This makes me angry.

I am all for freedom of choice. If people want to choose to get in the car drunk, go too fast and risk their lives, then power to them.
But that choice doesn't just put their own lives at risk. It puts our lives at risk, too.

This should make us angry!

So yes, be sad for the lives lost and for the families and friends who are grieving - But if you're going to be emotional about speeding and drink driving, don't be sad - Be angry.
Don't be silent and withdrawn - Be loud and be outspoken!
Don't be less energetic - Take action!

Speeding and drink driving are threatening behaviours, from an outside force, and it is time to make a conscious choice to stop it.

The fine art of feeding

I've been breastfeeding for a while now. I nursed Miss F and Miss J until they weaned themselves when I was around 6 months pregnant with their sister. Then Miss V arrived and she has been nursing for two years. My point being - I think it's safe to say that by now, we have it down to a pretty fine art.

So, imagine my confusion when tonight, instead of latching on properly, Miss V missed her mark. She missed her mark by a lot. I looked down at her sucking away happily, seemingly oblivious to the fact she was a good distance away from her target.

Then she looked at me and said, "Yum. Chocolate."

Umm.. Note to self: Chocolate goes IN mouth. Not down top.

The Polar Present Surprise!

Budding photographer, Miss F, was in charge of photo-documenting the kewl Polar Present yesterday. Consequently there are a LOT of photos. And I do mean a lot. This is a link to a slide show featuring 36 of her best shots. This is the very, very, short list, down from 280 something.

Because you do not have the parental obligation to be interested in every single one of them, here are a few of my favourites (just please don't tell Miss F)...

Birds eye view (AKA A great excuse for Miss F to stand on a chair):
Side view (image 1 of 100):
It's melting! Sort of!
Hellooo out there...
Side view again (image 34 of 100):'See' shells:The last one before bed:The last last one before bed:
And of course, the morning after:

The Polar Party

Our house turned into a Polar Wonderland today.
A Polar Wonderland that for two magical hours, became a Polar Playground for 15 Polar Bear Cubs.

There was painting and dancing and music making...
Much eating and drinking...
Lots of laughing...
Plenty of love...
And that was just the Mummy Bears.

The Cubs went chocolate frog fishing, paint walking and pony riding...
They passed many parcels and pinned many tails...
Hats were made, then worn...
Cup cakes were iced, then eaten...
The sound of party blowers filled the air...

And the Polar Present Surprise was unveiled:

Miss V's birthday treasures, suspended in a block of Polar Ice!

Nanuk led us on a treasure hunt.
We followed his clues through creeks...
Around corners...
In and out of trees...
Over hay bales...
Under icicles...
Into igloos...
And up snowy mountains...

'Till finally, we found our Polar Prize.
The cake:

Pip and Ray made a guest appearance...
Treasure was hunted and stashed in party bags...
Then the ice started melting...
And it was home time for the visiting cubs.

More on the Polar Present tomorrow...
But for now...


Birthday Cub is sleeping!

Miss V's Vocabulary

Yep, it's all about Miss V this week. This is another post in her honour, and there is still a polar surprise to come...

This one isn't all love light and bliss though, 'cause that would just get boring!
After a couple of comments about Miss V's talking skills I thought it only fair to offer a slightly different perspective.

When we got home this afternoon, Miss V did not want to get out of the car. She insisted I shut all the doors and leave her alone. I obliged, and I went back frequently to ask if she was ready to get out.

These were the words she threw my way when I opened the door at 5 minute intervals:

5: "NO!"

10: "Umm.. NO!"

15: "NO!"

20: "NO!"

25: "NO!"

30: "Ha ha! NO!"

35: "NO!"

40: "NO!"

45: "NO!"

Then my personal favourite..

50: "Access denied, fool!"

That would be a NO then..?

Miss Two

Today's celebrations kicked off with presents in bed at 4:30am.
Pip and Ray are out in force.
We ate cake for breakfast.
We ate cake for lunch.
We wore cake for dinner.

Oh yes, she may be only two, my girl, but she can hold her own in a food fight.
Especially her food fight, in honour of her birthday.

More celebrations still to come... Including one mighty impressive Polar Present.
It is the very essence of kewl.

Stay tuned!

Happy Sunday

We went to Horseland today, to buy a new saddle for the kewl girls.
The person who came over to serve us was not in a very kewl mood. In fact, she was in a very miserable, sour and nasty mood. When I asked if the girls could sit on the saddle we were looking at buying she made a face like I'd just asked her to give me her right arm. Then she got all offended and upset when I decided I didn't actually like the saddle and wasn't going to spend a stupid amount of money on it. She picked it up and slammed it back on it's stand, then turned around to glare at us while we made our exit.

It was at this point that Miss J and Miss F started singing.

Happy Sunday to you!
Happy Sunday to you!
Happy Sunday meanie horse ladyyy....
Happy Sunday to you!



Soon my little baby V will be 2 years old.
Miss V, who has been "almost 2" for months, is now really turning two.
Next week.

So lately I've been reflecting on the past two years, and last night, we had a moment.
We were nursing when Miss V stopped, looked up at me and said, "I'm happy. Are you happy, mum?"

To fully appreciate the kewlness of this moment, a little history is necessary...

When we found out I was pregnant with Miss V's older sisters, Daddy Kewl and I spent hours upon hours talking about our future. We talked about our own childhoods, about those family traditions we wanted to pass on to our children and those that we didn't. We talked about experiences we wanted our children to have, cultures and communities and people and places and ideas that we wanted them to celebrate. We talked about our own values, both as people and as parents. We imagined hundreds of "what if?" scenarios and would constantly throw "what if?" questions at one another, to "test our parenting styles". We also imagined thousands of different lives our children might lead and different paths our family might travel.
We laughed hysterically at ourselves, too, because we knew there was no way we could possibly imagine how our lives would change, or what our parenting styles would be like!
Then the twins arrived, and we laughed even harder.

The day we celebrated Miss V's impending arrival was also the day of Daddy Kewl's departure.
In the midst of my grief, I was terrified I was going to have a sad baby - That I would pass all of my pain on to her and that she would be born sad.
The thought that she was feeling what I was feeling and that this would be her first experience of life was almost more than I could stand.

All through my pregnancy, my greatest wish was for Miss V to be happy. This was the only scenario I wanted to imagine for us and the only "what if?" I could entertain.
I vowed that every day I would seize the happy moments and experience them with every fibre of my being. I vowed to find as many as possible, to celebrate them with my girls and to be thankful for them with all of my heart.

Next week, we celebrate two whole years of incredible, fabulous, amazing, magical, joyous moments, and I am thankful for these with all of my heart.

Last night when Miss V stopped nursing, looked up at me and said, "I'm happy. Are you happy, mum?", I looked into her eyes and the purist joy filled every fibre of our being.

Yes, Miss V. We are happy.

Word of the week

Today we went to visit a friend, H, who owns a hardware store in town. H likes teaching the girls about all the different bits of equipment and the girls like being her 'helpers'.
Today there were a stack of pots that needed to be loaded onto a trolley and moved to another wall. Miss J and Miss V dived right in and started stacking, Miss F did not.
H asked her if she'd like to help too, and Miss F replied..

"No thanks. I'm an intellectual."


Stinky Germans

We were sitting at our favourite cafe today when Miss J announced, very loudly, "I don't like Germans. They are yucky and stinky and I want them to go away forever."
After I stopped choking... I replied, "People from Germany are people, just like us J. They come from a different place, that's all."
Miss J, "They're not proper people, they're Germans! And they should go back away, and not come and be pesky and sick and disgusting near us."
Me, "People aren't pesky or sick just because they come from somewhere else."
Miss J, "Yeah, Germans are too stinky and annoying and grose! We should catch them all and send them away, 'sept we're not allowed, are we?"

At this point we had the attention of the entire cafe.
The entire German cafe.

Me, "No Miss J, we are definitely not allowed. That would be very mean and unfair. We can't make other people go away because we don't like them, and coming from a different country isn't a reason not to like another person..."
Miss J, "Not people, stinky GERMANS!"
Me, "Miss J, people from Germany are still people!"
Miss J, "No mum - GERMANS!"

Then she made the sign for "mouse" and I nearly passed out with relief.

"OH.. You mean VERMIN!"

"Ye-ah. Stinky vermin."

Mothers Day is Everyday

Here in the kewl house we don't really celebrate Mothers Day. It's just not something that 'clicks' with me, so I choose not to make a big deal out of it.

This afternoon we stopped at the shops on the way home and the attendant asked the girls if they had a nice mothers day yesterday.
Miss J asked, "What's that?"
The (slightly baffled) attendant explained that, "Mothers day is a day when you give your mum lots of cuddles and do special things to tell her you love her."

Miss J replied, "Oh, we do that everyday!"

So true. And so kewl.

Wishing all you mums out there happy everydays.

James and the olive branch

It's a beautiful day here today. The sun is out and there is a cool breeze, just perfect for playing outside. We spent the morning hanging out with the horses, then Miss J helped Miss V wash the dogs (ie. attack them with the hose) while Miss F wandered around taking photos.

We weathered a minor storm from Miss F when it was time to head back inside for lunch. She cracked it big time when I got up to go inside. "But MUM! (Insert unintelligible wailing here) MUM! WAIT!" I figured it was just the fallout from an unsettled week, so I let her scream it out. She joined us at the table fairly quickly and she seemed to have calmed herself down, even if she was still shooting me filthy looks.

After lunch I decided I'd had enough filth for one day, so I hooked the camera up to the computer, olive branch style, and asked Miss F to show me her photos.
Her 67 photos, to be precise.

Olive branch accepted, the show began - complete with running commentary.
Twenty three of them were of "Al holding Misster Baskey Ball", and they looked something like this:

The rest of them were of "James", and they looked like this:

Oh yeah, Miss F was really working that olive branch.

I sat through forty four photos of grass.
Not only that, I pretended to be interested in every single one of them.
Am I kewl, or what?

Yeah, I am. So kewl I was about to delete every last blade - Then I had a brain wave...

"Miss F, who is James?"
"That's James..." She pointed at the screen.
"There..." She pointed again.
"Show me one more time?"

"Right there!"

"Oh KEWL!"

"Ye-ah. That was right before you dropped Misster Basskey Ball on him."
She flung me a look so filthy I'll be cleaning dirt out of my ears for weeks.

Oh dear.

The unintelligible wailing suddenly became intelligible.

"But MUM! You just squished James! MUM! WAIT!"

And with that, Miss F let go of the olive branch and it flicked back and thwacked me on the forehead.

Not kewl, mum.

Do you know self defence?

Last week I found myself in a dangerous situation.
In front of me stood a person with a knife, angry and desperate and unwell.
Behind me was the hallway leading to where my girls lay awake in their beds.

Basic self defence moves allowed me to deflect an advance and remove the knife from the equation. I came out of that dangerous situation with two stitches and three scared, but otherwise safe children.
It could have been much worse.

When you learn self defence you hope that you never actually need to use your skills, but it is always better to be safe than sorry.
As a woman, self defence is an empowering skill to have for yourself.
As a mum it could be crucial for your children's safety.

So do you know self defence?

Pip and Ray!

We turned the corner and the road changed from asphalt to dirt. We drove up hill a little way, then turned another corner and drove over a stretch of potholes. Then we slowed, turned into our driveway and began our decent home. Right on cue, three sleepy children stirred from the back seat.

Miss J said, "Hi house! We're ho-ome!"
Miss V signed "home" and clapped her hands happily.
Miss F yelled, "Pip!" and we all shouted, "RAY!!!"
Nelly was so excited she peed before she got out of the car. I didn't get annoyed though - I knew how she felt.
When we walked in our front door again for the first time since last Friday, I sprang a leak too (I cried. Just in case you needed reassuring).

"Happy tears, mum?"
"Yes Miss F. Blissful and relieved and VERY happy tears."
"OK. Just checking."

Things have been a little unsettled for us lately. We had an unexpected guest, got thrown some unexpected challenges, had some unexpected outcomes and went on an unexpected road trip.
And you know what?
I've decided I like 'expected'!

But we're home now, and I have just one thing left to say...



Today is Photo Challenge day over at Mountaingirls Musings.
This week's theme is 'light', which for this post translates to 'sunlight', and then to 'sunrise'. Creativity is part of the challenge, right?

These photos also come with a story.

On the second anniversary of M's death, I went to our favourite place in the world and I watched the sun rise.

There is something so incredibly sacred about those moments, right at the beginning of new day. Like the entire universe is holding it's breath.
Slowly the sun rises, we begin again, and the universe exhales.

As I sat waiting for the sun to come up that morning, my grief felt like a heavy weight in my chest, pinning me to the bottom of the ocean.
I realised I'd been holding my breath for too long. My world had become dark and cold and lonely - And I realised it was time to rise, to begin again, and to exhale.

I took a breath, and I began to hum. I didn't recognise the tune at first, but when it came to me I smiled.

On the second anniversary of M's death, I went to our favourite place in the world, I watched the sun rise, and I sang.

And you probably don't want to hear tomorrow's another day

Well I promise you you'll see the sun again

And you're asking me why pain's the only way to happiness

And I promise you you'll see the sun again

I promise you you'll see the sun again.


I ran into S, a work colleague and friend, in town today. She is a fabulous, loud, over the top, light up the room, best friends with everyone kind of gal. When we get together the results tend to be somewhat, well, loud and over the top. Today was no exception.
After we air kissed about a hundred times she announced to the world that she was wearing her "washing day undies" and they were currently "exploring the great divide". Then she unleashed her affections on the girls.

F and J have met her before and they both adore her. They giggled and twirled and air kissed like there was no tomorrow.
It was a new experience for Miss V though, and my kewl, calm and collected little earth girl was not so impressed.

S: "Who's this little cherub then?! Aren't you just the most precious little gorgie porgie thing I've ever seen?!!"

Miss V: "No. I'm V. And you're standing too close."

Darling S was speechless.