Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas wishes

What are yours? Mine are simple this year - and things just aren't going to cut it. My Nan is ill - she's been diagnosed with cancer, pretty much everywhere. She has it in about 5 different organs, as well as throughout her bones, and swelling at a fracture on her spine threatening to press on nerves. They are starting treatment on the spot on her spine to try and stop the possibility or paraplegia, and are talking about chemo as a palliative care move. After losing Pa earlier in the year, she is ready to be with him again, and is coping pretty well with the dr's assessment that she has months, not years.

So our christmas wish - that her new meds help her cope with the enormous amount of pain she's in over the christmas period, so she can enjoy the time we'll have with her family ... all our family from pretty much all over the country are flying in for christmas, which is going to be awesome. That when she goes, it's with dignity. She's a lady, my Nan, and the thought of her hanging on and losing her dignity, needing people to wash her, and feed her, and having machines keep her alive, is really far more painful a thought than that of losing her. So we're praying for a wonderful, blessed, and peaceful end to an awesome life.

So, after that depressing start to a christmas post ... who's ready for santa? Not this little black duck! I've battled the Plaza three days in the past week (anyone who's been to Penrith around Christmas knows EXACTLY what I'm talking about!!) and I've had amazing luck - driven pretty much straight into a parking spot! That, dear readers, is where the luck ended though. I've wandered around aimlessly, not able to find anything that really takes my fancy. I had a run-in with one manager from a store which will remain nameless, but then was saved by another - God Bless Glenn, who saved my bacon with my DS-loving 6 year old who is desperate for a blue one off Santa! I've got to say though, she's missing out from Santa ... I decided this year I don't want some random fat guy in a red suit getting the credit for the kick-arse presents I've been slaving over, so the really good ones are coming from me and Dennis!! So that's been my dilemma, actually ... coming up with a present that looks substantial enough to be a Santa gift, but isn't going to break the bank - we didn't want to spend too much this year, and I'm trying my hardest to stick to that! We eventually found some great gifts, but there are still little bits and pieces to be sourced. My kingdom for a decent junk shop!! And I'm battling that age-old issue ... what to get our next door neighbours who I KNOW have been baking yet again, to give us a special hand-made christmas gift. Is a large box of Cadbury's Favourites a suitable enough gift in return for hours slaving over a hot stove? Probably not, but that's as good as it's going to get!! lol

I whipped this up last night. How cool are these colours! I stumbled across these papers in a LSS, that used to be a fabric store. It has the best collection of scrapping and habby stuff, omg ... I was in heaven! And a gorgeous wooden book shaped box. I've been dropping hints, but I think I'm going to have to go and buy it myself for christmas! This is Pink Paislee Vintage moon paper - the owl and branch are cut from another sheet from the range. It's officially my first non-square layout! Those of you who know me know how stressed I would be getting at the thought of how this is going to look in my album .... but I've solved that dilemma, it just needs to go back to back with a layout done on Kraft cardstock, and has no brads or stitching, etc, peeking through the back around the edges! lol Yes, I'm anal. I keep looking at this layout and thinking it needs something else, but it took less than 15 minutes, and I love the colours in the pp - every time I add something else I keep taking it off again! So it's going to stay like this. How hot are we? ROFL.

This one uses some beautiful Basic Grey papers and alphas, and Melissa Frances and Fancy Pants trims. I love how the colours of the paper match the colours in the water!

This one is from a little while ago, but it caught my eye again while I was adding pics, so I thought I'd share it too ... how big is my Kelsey girl getting? Sigh ... it makes me proud and sad all at the same time.

K, off to tell Kieran, aged 14 and waaaay too cool for his own good, that he's coming to get a Santa photo taken today. Wish me luck! PMSL.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's my birthday and I'll whinge if I want to!!

OMG ... what kind of person subjects themselves to pain on their birthday? This kind, apparently! It was my birthday yesterday, by the way, just in case you were wondering ... happy birthday to me! lol
So, the pain - well, we had Karate. I would normally have skipped it - I'm all for a good excuse not to go to training. But Kelsey was grading. And she ROCKED!!!! She's now an orange belt with white stripe. Go you little ninja you! So since I was there, I stayed for the adults class ... they knew I was around, it was a bit hard to sneak out. OMG ... OMG ... OOOOO MMMMM GGGGGG. Who knew that there were so many kinds of push-ups? We did normal pushups. We did scorpion pushups. We did some wierd kind of yoga-like prayer pushups (I tell you, I was praying during them ... ouch!) We did the specially patented, Kumiai-Ryu, "I'm a sadistic bastard and want to inflict as much pain as is humanly possible in a 60 minute period" pushups. And do I hurt today? Yes I do. Will I hurt tomorrow? You bet your sore little butt-muscles I will! But am I proud of myself? Abso-friggin-lotuley! I kicked all my tension from work out. I did some serious kicks that I've NEVER been able to do before. And, this overweight and unfit 34 year old held her own with teenagers and black belts. Go me!!

Hmmm ... what else? Well, it's time for a message from our sponsors ... lol. Who loves scrapping? Who loves Kaiser? Well, if the answer is you, my friend, then get yourself to ScrapTherapy, where this month's MAN of the month is Kaisercraft! Such nice new ranges in - you'll love them! Plus, the beautiful new Clear albums - I can't wait to play with these! Everything is super-cheap - some of the ranges this month are reduced more than Lee-anne's usual generous 20%!

This is my favourite otp of the moment - our "Christmas wishes" hanger! Kaiser papers and bauble album - cute huh? The back of the decos have a piece of clear plastic on them, so we can write our christmas wishes, and then they can be wiped off and used again for next year. I really like this!

A layout for the Therapy monthly challenge - to scrap a layout using one of a few great christmas quotes. I love this one, it's one of my faves, and this pic from last year of my kids plus our cousin Phoenix is so nice.
This album, a Kaiser one, is part of the girls' christmas present. It's got Veronica's lyrics, pics, and concert tickets. They are just going to go nuts - they think the concert is WAAAY too expensive. I can't wait to see the looks on their faces!
K, I'd better go - I've got so many teacher presents to make, and so little time. This is the problem with making something really awesome one year - they all begin to expect it when you've established a precedent! That'll teach me ... lol.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A rarity ... a totally wonderful day, in every single way.

You know those days that are just awesome? When you feel like you've done something good, you enjoy your day, and you go to sleep content? That was yesterday. I took my senior English class to some workshops yesterday, one of them run by an old lecturer of mine from uni, and they were awesome. I learnt a lot. They learnt a lot. We had a good time, and had some really interesting thought-provoking conversations. I found a totally divine second-hand book store, and brought a couple of books, one of which I'm about half way through and LOVING. I could have done some serious damage to some of those shelves with someone else's credit card!
The big deal, though, was the workshops. They inspired me to stop just dreaming about doing some post-grad literature study, but to actually start doing it. I've decided that a PhD is probably a bit out of my ball park at the moment, so I'm researching Masters Degrees .... anyone know any good distance ed English Lit Masters courses around? I spend an hour or so searching around last night, but I'm so out of touch with academia - I don't know if I'm looking in the wrong spots, or what I'm after just simply doesn't exist!

So, after some research research last night, I did some scrapping. And I got HEAPS done!! Pretty happy with them all too, so that's a good thing. Do you wanna see? Well too bad if you don't ... go and check out someone else's blog then! lol

I finally finished a layout for Scrapping the Music in time to enter it ... amazing really! I love the song that was the prompt for this week.
This was my totally sexy hair cut, just before my current sexy hair cut! lol I seriously hardly EVER go to the hairdressers, and I'd just gotten this 'do done about 4 weeks before I shaved my head ... what a waste, huh?

Two layouts of the girls at physi this year - I didn't deliberately do them using the same things, it was a bit of a mistake, but they look really good sitting next to each other in my album.

These two are some yummy American Crafts products - still on sale at Scrap Therapy until the end of the month. The Christmas one is over in the forum as a step-by-step, if you want to have a go at it!
Well, I think my bath is ready - hot water, bubbles, a glass of red, candles, and a new old book. What could be better? Night all!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

What a MAN!!!

You know what I love about the site I am sooooo blessedly on the Design Team for? Scrap Therapy has an awesome Manufacturer of the Month thing going on ... affectionately called the MAN of the month. The forum is buzzing every month, just before the announcement, not only trying to guess the real MAN (as in scrapping manufacturer) but also coming up with a new MAN - a real life, hot, often shirtless one - that Julie will scrap into a cute little ATC each month. It seriously rocks! Check out the Scrap Therapy blog for this month's MAN ... nice, very nice!

So, the REAL MAN of the month is one of my faves ... American Crafts!! Gotta love the colours. Gotta love the variety. Gotta love the ALBUMS!!!! Gotta love the cardstock. And, most importantly - GOTTA LOVE THE THICKERS! The really exciting thing is that every month, the MAN of the Month is on sale - 20%! (hence the shirtless thing, I think. 20% off ... roughly 20% of the outfit would be a shirt ... get it? Yeah, I know, I'm grasping at straws ... shutting up now. lol) So, this month American Crafts is on sale at 20% off the prices listed in store - the reduced price will come up as you go through checkout. This applies to everything but the cardstock, which is already at the rediculously low price of 55cents, so buy up big on that anyway!

Here are a couple of MAN Creations that I've done so far - both are using the Amplified range, which is vibrant and gorgeous, but also really versatile. So many of the sheets in this range are embossed, die cut, or foiled - just beautiful! I've also used the obligatory Thickers, and the journalling blocks are done using the AC clear stickers - love them to bits!

This one isn't AC, but I wanted to share it anyway - this was a layout I did just after attending the Relay for Life in Blacktown. It was such an emotional event, and I came home finally ready to scrap this amazing man. Love ya, Pa! (Basic Grey Granola, in case you were wondering!)

Ok, that's about it for me ... I've got so much going on here at the moment I can't even see straight! Reports to write, stuff to scrap, floors to mop, kids to nurse (Kieran has tonsilitis again, Tayla has an allergic reaction to something, and I'm feeling crappy!) and at some point in all that I need to remember to breathe. So what do I do? That's right, I blog ... of course! LOL

Oh, a quick note - I haven't forgotten about the rak draw for people who donated to the head shave thing for breast cancer research ... I'm just waiting on a few names from our lovely GNI organisers, and I'll get it done.

K, all, off I go - cya later! Mwah!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Yumm ...

I'm so in love with Peters Creme brulee icecream right now- and my husband for getting it for me! What a legend - I love that man! (even if he does have longer hair than me ... he he)

I've been having some fun scrapping this week - some stuff I can't share just yet, so keep an eye out for that soon, but here is some stuff I can share!
I did both these layouts for the CC at LSBS, and I love them! The "In focus" one was thanks to a colour challenge set by the beautiful Tracy, and I just love it - it is something I would normally never do! The other one was done in my effort to use up my stash, so I can feel a bit better about just having placed a couple of orders ... lol. So, Goofy Girl is mostly Fancy Pants, with some Heidi and American Crafts alphas, just in case you were wondering! lol I also used up a HEAP of Love Elsie papers I had sitting here - I don't feel so bad about buying the whole Melissa Frances Thankful range now! Actually, I didn't feel bad about buying it anyway - it's too nice for words. So pretty and girly -really me. Plus, I got some of the vintage trims and embellishments, and some ticket tags ... watch out for some baldy pics scrapped in pretty pink coming soon to a computer screen near you! lol

These two layouts aren't mine, as much as I'd like to take credit for them. Kelsey did these - isn't she a talented little cookie? She was given an 8.5x11 album for her birthday last year, and she loves scrapping that size. Her album is almost full, and she's decided she wants a ring-binder one next - seriously, how many 8 year olds decide they want to upgrade their scrapping albums for christmas? Too funny!

So, back to work this week with no hair - and the reaction I got from the kids was overwhelming! One girl was in tears - she couldn't believe that someone would willingly do that to their hair. The best reaction, though, came from one of our resident bad-boys. He had been kicked out of class, and was on his way to see the deputy principal, and I was walking the same way. I'd just put a bandanna on, because my head was FREEZING (we've had a cold snap here this week - just my luck!) and he told me that he'd just brought the same bandanna for his Nan, because she has cancer. I told him why I was wearing it, and why I'd shaved my head, and this tough guy who takes everyone on whenever he gets a chance said "you're a f*cking legend Miss."So there you go ... I'm a legend!! lol Moments like that - that's why I love my job. Something little, a seemingly insignificant conversation in the corridor, and it makes a connection. And that's what teaching is all about - making the most of those little connections in the hope that when it matters, you can make a big difference. Moments like that make me LOVE teenagers - they swear heaps, they give you attitude like you wouldn't believe, but they are honest and appreciative when it counts. I wouldn't work anywhere else! (NOTE TO SELF: RE-READ THIS NEXT TIME YOU ARE HAVING A SHITTY DAY/ WEEK/ MONTH/ TERM/ YEAR AT WORK!)

K, I'm off to play with my new pretty things! Take care, luv ya, thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A new 'do.

What a couple of days. I can't really begin to tell you all how touched I am at this point. I've been planning the head shave for a couple of weeks now, and we were supposed to be doing it next weekend, but I got a phonecall on Thursday night to say that Shelley's hair was starting to come out, and I thought we'd be moving it forward. So, yesterday, the scissors came out, the clippers were plugged in, and the hair was cut. And I love it! Not the type of haircut I'd normally ask for, but it feels really cool, and I'm so honoured to have been able to do this for someone amazing.
So, speaking of amazing people ... there are a lot of them out there! On Friday night, Tracy Belinda and I headed off to Canon headquarters for a Scrapbooking Memories Pixma party, and got to chat to a truly wonderful woman. Melissa Frances (you can can check out her website if you don't know her!) was there with her fiance Brian, and we had the chance to talk to them thoughout the night. Melissa shared her experiences as a breast cancer survivor, and it was very touching. It also gave me hope - we've been focusing on now with Shelley, and not so much on the future, and this reminded me why it's important that we raise money for research into this disease, so that there are more stories like hers. Anyway, we told her about my impending shave, and I was really honoured by her reaction. To be told what a truly special thing it was by someone who would know what that would mean to a breast cancer sufferer ... it really touched me. It was an evening I won't forget in a hurry!

Other amazing people at the SM party ... well, there were heaps. I felt so privileged to be there among all these names that I recognised from the mags, or the forums, and whose work I admired. The awesome Sara Pearcy, looking totally glowing (partly due to the projector shining in her face! lol) gave us some great tips on photography. We got to play with some AWESOME printers ... omg, A3+ sized photos onto rag paper - I'm in love! And, I've found glossy prints that make me happy in my heart!!

So saturday ... I was stressing out a bit because we didn't know when we were doing the shave. It was looking like we were going to be waiting till today, and I was SOOO ready to go. Then my sis rang me and said "do you want to come down here now and we'll do it?" I was there in a shot. I tell you, we have some seriously funny photos from during - never in my life have I had short hair like it was after we hacked off the plaits. Or a mowhawk. Or a racing stripe down the middle! In fact, my mum came down to watch because she's never seen my head - I was born with a heap of thick black hair, so this is officially the first time my scalp has seen the light of day! And I've gotta tell you, I really liked it short - I'm looking forward to it getting a bit longer than it is now so I can play around with some different hairstyles!!

So the wierd - well, I didn't realise how much like velcro my head would be. Seriously, taking my hat off at softball - it was EXACTLY like ripping the two sides of velcro apart. Freaky! Or, how much my head would stick to my pillow case. We shaved with the clippers, then when I got home I went over it again with a razor, but my hair is so thick that there is still the tiniest bit of stubble. Oh yeah - I have something cool to share! I have a new weight loss tip. Firstly, what you do is grow your hair for most of your life, with only occasional trims chucked in. You make sure you are born with rediculously thick hair. And then, you shave it all off. Hey presto, you'll be almost 2 kilos lighter. Seriously! I weighed myself before and after, and it was 1.85kilos difference. Too funny!

So, you're really only here to see photos aren't you? Well, without further ado, I'd like to introduce you to - TAMARA'S HEAD!!

The bottom pic is me, Shelley in the middle, and my sister. Aren't we a sexy bunch?? lol

Oh, yeah - the Girl's Night In yesterday! I'd like to say a massive thankyou to Karryn and Gill for an amazing job, and to all the sponsors that provided awesome prizes. Also to Cath at LSBS for her contribution to the night. It was wonderful to be a part of such an amazing group of women who were happily giving to a good cause, and I felt so overwhelmed walking in to a massive round of applause ... I can't even begin to tell you all what the comments and support meant to me, I feel really touched. It was great to share a table with some beautiful people too - Michelle, Steph and Missty were great scrapping companions, thanks girls! I hope I didn't take up too much of the table.

And now for the thankyous. Thanks to everyone who has supported me, either through your well-wishes, or your financial contributions. Big or small, they have all made a difference, and added to our total which I THINK is getting very close to $1500. It's still not too late to make a donation ... check out the next post down for the link to donate straight to our Girl's Night In page, via the Cancer Council's totally secure Credit card donation site, and they'll email you a PDF tax invoice straight away, so you can claim it back on your tax next year - gotta love that!! Otherwise, email me and I'll give you some bank details, if you'd rather not use your CC online. Don't forget to leave me a comment if you do make a donation, so I can add your name into the draw for one of a few little prizes I have to give away - a personalised button cupboard (you can see my version in the next post down too) and some scrapping packs, as well as some nice little pamper packs. I also have a Red Earth hair care pack here that I was given a little while ago, which I don't think I need any more - it's been opened so I could smell the yumminess, but not used! lol

I think that's it for me now - I'm off to moisturise my head. I didn't pull my camera out at all at either the SM or GNI events, so if you were there, and got photos, please email them to me! (I know there are some photos of me from the GNI - I felt like I was surrounded by the paparazzi when I arrived! LOL)

And if you are still reading at this point, well done - give yourself a pat on the back! I wonder if this is my longest blog post to date!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Bye bye hair!!

I just want to show you all a picture ...

That's me with hair. In fact, that was me at the beginning of the year with hair - it's a bit longer now!

Take a good look, because it won't be there for long! On Saturday October 25th, it's all coming off. You can read a few posts down about a chick I love to bits - my sister-in-law, Shelley, is undergoing chemo at the moment, fighting Breast Cancer, and my sister and I were talking about shaving our heads to support her. Well, I'm doing it, and I figure with this much hair, I might as well try and raise a bit of money for research as well. A couple of friends are running a Girls Night In event on the 17th of October, and they've let me link my impending baldness to their event - they've even kicked off the donations!

So, if you'd like to help out an awesome cause, and help me feel a little bit better about losing my beloved hair, I'd so love you to be a part of this!

There are a couple of ways you can support the cause ... go to the following link:
You'll find the details for the event that's taking place next weekend, and there is also a link for you to donate using your credit card - it's totally secure, and you'll recieve a tax receipt in the mail. Yes, donations over $2 are tax deductible, you've gotta love that! You can also come along to the GNI, for some paper-crafting fun (if you're into that kind of thing! lol). Gill and Karyn have organised heaps of awesome prizes, and some great classes, so it's going to be a great event.
You can also check out the FACEBOOK PAGE or LIVE PAGE for more details about the event.

If you'd like to donate, but aren't comfortable about putting your CC details in over the internet, please email me - tamara_rodgers@hotmail.com. Gill has set up a bank account to take donations directly, so can give you those details. Any donation, big or small, will be greatly appreciated, and every cent makes a difference.

I'd also like to give a huge thanks to Leeanne at Scrap Therapy, who is letting me advertise this on the forum. I know that she's a huge supporter of the cause, so keep your eyes peeled, there might be another way you can support Breast cancer research, and also your scrapping habit, coming soon!

I also have a special thanks to any of my awesome scrapping friends, or people who I don't know yet from the scrapping world who pop in and support this. I've just completed a really cool little botton cupboard, using some great products from Scrap Therapy, and I have a spare one of these cupboards, not yet decorated. This is what mine looks like:

If you make a donation, and post a comment here to let me know, once the deed is done, I'll be drawing a name out of a hat, and you'll receive a personally decorated cupboard, done to your specifications! If you want it the same as this, that's no drama, but if you'd prefer other colours in the paint (I think hot pink under a black crackle would look awesome!!) or in the paper behind the jars, I'll do it to your specifications. No, the buttons and jars aren't included - you'll have to provide them yourself. lol
I also have a couple of other little goodies that will be making there way to a new home, so if you make a donation, please let me know so I can pop your name in the draw!

So, that's what's happening so far - I'll keep you updated with any new developments. Thanks in advance for supporting such an awesome cause - and keep an eye out here on Saturday 25th of October for post-shave pictures!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Some scrappy weekend stuff

It's cybercrop weekend at Scrap Therapy this weekend - lots of cool ROCKtober challenges! If you need some scrapping time, head on over. The first game was run and won last night, but there is bingo tonight, 7pm NSW time, so pop on in to the forum and make sure you PM me your list of bingo words before we start! There is also an extra challenge this afternoon, in honour of World Card Making day, and some extra giveaway prizes from a few of the DT members, which will be taking place periodically over the weekend - we have some extra Sass Lass goodies that we didn't use from our DT packs, so we are sharing the love!
Here is the layout I did for my theme challenge - you need to use the word "ROCK" somewhere in your journalling, song lyrics for your title, and curves somewhere. I love these pics of Tay, and the Sass Lass papers are too nice for words. They are on sale until tomorrow night - 20% off - so don't miss out if you want some!

This one is one that I did for the monthly Write Stuff challenge in the forum ... to do a layout with no photos. I'm really happy with how it turned out!
I've been having a great time this week - school holidays, so I've been scrapping up a storm. Lot's of new MAN of the month goodness ... I'll share those layouts after tomorrow night, and the big announcement at Therapy.
I took the kids to Taronga Zoo yesterday, with my sister's childcare centre. I was helping supervise a group of 10 little girls, including my 2. We managed to lose Tayla near the gorillas (appropriate really!) and then both Kelsey and Tayla near the penguins - they got caught up listening to the keeper talk. Yes, I was very stressed - not nearly as stressed as poor little Tay the first time though! They had only just noticed we were gone at the penguins when I got back there, thank goodness. One good thing about it was that as much as Tay was stressed, she did the right thing - went and found a keeper, and told them she couldn't find me, and showed them the phone number. The girls were just starting to talk to the penguin keeper when I went back around the corner. So, all those talks about what to do if you are separated paid off!
I got some great photos - loving the Canon EOS 350D! Man, it's heavy though - I didn't realise until I spent a whole day with it around my neck. I've just ordered some great accessories through an online camera store - a lens hood, card reader, new memory card, some filters, and something else ... it's bad when you can't remember huh?? lol It was heaps cheaper than I've found them anywhere else, so I'll definitely be going back there when I need/want more camera goodness!
Ok, I'm off to scrap a bit - and set an alarm on my phone! We have to pick up Kieran after a week at cadets camp. He's going to stink! lol But I know he will have had a great time. Catch you all later!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

An update of sorts.

Well, Kylie gave me a kick up the butt, so I'm updating for her! Are you happy? lol

It's been a week of ... well, stuff. Not so great stuff. Some awesome stuff. Lots of stuff. Hmmm.

Tayla turned 6 last week, and had been counting down to it for ages! It almost felt like a non-event really, because the anticipation had been so high. She did, however, get her most-requested gift - FLOWERS. In fact, she got 2 bunches, so she was feeling mightily spoilt. And, she's taller - measurably so! lol She can now sit on the seats at Red Rooster and her feet touch the floor, which they didn't before, she reliably informed us. So, definitely getting taller and taller in her old age.

September is a big birthday month around here - 2 more to come along were Shelley, my sister-in-law, and Dennis. Shelley's birthday is the day after Tayla's, so they shared a special dinner, and we went out for the second night in a row, on a school night no less - it's no wonder Tay feels so much more grown up now! Dennis' bday is a week after Shelley's, and really marked a sad time for us all ... not because of his getting older (although I think that was sad for him) but because it coincided with us receiving some horrid news. Shelley has Inflammatory Breast Cancer. If you haven't heard of this particularly horrid form of breast cancer before, then you should really check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3s9_UrVtc6c
If you are a woman, or you know a woman (and that should cover you all, huh?) it's really important to be aware of this ... as much as we all know by now about the usual ways of keeping on top of changes in your breasts, this is one that probably wouldn't occur to a lot of people.

Shelley is my sister's partner, and they are so totally devoted to each other. My sister had a baby earlier this year, and they, along with Shelley's two grown sons, are such a wonderful family. It's going to be a horrid time ahead, and we are praying for miracles, but we are all scared ... this is a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer, already at Stage 4 and most likely in the lymph nodes.
Telling my kids was sadly not the hardest thing I've had to do this year ... and that's too tragic for words! We went back to Lithgow, where we used to live, last night, for a couple of reasons (I'll talk about them soon!) so I decided to tell them in the car - at least then, I could concentrate on driving while I was talking, and I'd be less likely to burst into tears, which has happened a lot the past couple of days. I know, it's worth crying over, but I also know that my kids have been through a lot this year. I do want them to be aware of what's going on, as they are going to see her a lot, and need to know why she is sick from the chemo, but I also want them not to be too upset and alarmed unless there is a reason for them to be ... does that make sense? It went as well as that type of conversation can go. The heart-breaking bit was when Kelsey said "mummy, thank goodness Tayla doesn't know what that word can mean, but I do. I hope that doesn't happen, because we've been sad enough." I almost lost it - thank goodness for the road! She's taking the whole praying/being positive/helping whenever we can thing very seriously, the little darling. I'm with her ... we've been sad enough this year, I don't think any of us can grieve any more at this point! So, if you are the praying type, they'd all be appreciated. I'm at the point where I just don't feel like I know how to pray, so I'm crying, and just saying "please God" over and over. I think he'll get the message though.

So, this weekend - more mixed stuff! Today was the last of the girls' slightly more informal physical culture competitions, before Champion Girl ones start, and they had a great time - Grandma even came to watch them, which they loved! Kelsey did as well as Kelsey always does - had a ball, grooved along in her own little world, tried her best, and came away with another participation badge to add to her collection. She had a ball! Tayla, on the other hand - she's very competitive. She was soooo convinced that she was going to get First this time - she came third and fourth at the last 2 comps. I kept telling her that she should just concentrate on doing her best, and having a good time, like I always do, but once her section started, it became very obvious that she was likely to get her goal. She is soooooo good! She just seems to switch on. And, she came first. She was so proud of herself - it was really cute!

So, that was the good. The not so good ... today was the day we put Pa's ashes in the memorial wall. Well, some people did anyway. I got there after it was all over, as there was a mixup with the times, and it was on an hour before I could make it there. So I arrived to see his new resting place. And it's nice. He'd like it. He's back at home - my grandparents have lived on the South Coast of NSW for years now, but Portland has always been home. I took some photos of the wall, and the scenery around it, and some great "Pa's hometown" pics- the cement works where he worked for most of his life, the town pool that he helped raise funds for, the house he lived in. And it feels right, him being back in Portland. I'm still a bit bitter about missing the service, especially after hearing at dinner tonight with the family how nice it was, and that everyone got to hold the urn before it was place in the wall ... but that's ok, I'll get over that. I spent a bit of time gathering some photographic memories of my Pa. And they'll last me a lifetime.

I'm treasuring memories at the moment - I've been so aware of the fact that the time we have here is precious, and that we need to grab hold of them whenever we can. So, here are a few special moments I've been scrapping lately. Just some random, fun, wonderful memories that I'm going to treasure. Because they all should count, huh?

I wasn't really sure about the "Dream" one, but it's growing on me - normally I'd cut the crap out of this paper, but it just seems to work. I can just imagine all this stuff going on in her head while she's sleeping - nothing Tayla does is ever simple and uncomplicated! lol

The two bright ones are using the new Sassafras Lass papers, which are on sale this month at Scrap Therapy, so if you are feeling the need for some retail therapy check them out. (New thickers too ... who could resist? Not me!) There is also some great stuff going on in the forum too - new challenges, new competition, it's full steam ahead! I may have mentioned I love Scrap Therapy before ... let me tell you why. It's not just because of the top products, service, etc etc. It's because the people there, from the top down, CARE about you. And I've felt very loved and supported over there. I know that I'm among friends. And I've made some awesome friendships there that will last me a lifetime. I'm so grateful for them - from Therapy mum, to fellow Design Therapists, and the therapy attendees. Love you all heaps girls, if you are reading this!

Ok, that's my emotional purge for the night, I'm heading off to bed. Take care of you and yours. And tell them you love them. NOW! Don't wait for a time when it feels like it's your last chance. Do it now. Do it often.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

It's sunday again!

The only thing wrong with a sunday is the day that follows it. Sigh.

Man, what a weekend! Tayla had a gymnastics competition yesterday. It was a State Trial. I have NEVER seen this confident little girl so nervous or excited. She's viewing this as good practice for when she has to do trials to get into the Olympics, God love her. The girl has ambition! Tay is only 5, and trains once a week, whereas most of the other girls competing in her division are a year or 2 older, and train 2 or 3 times a week. We made the decision at the end of last year to only put her in one class, as she started school this year, which wasn't really popular with a couple of the coaches, but I think we made the right decision! Anyway, she is still really little, but she does so well in all her apparatus. The only thing she struggles with is the bars - the little monkey loves them, but there is a particular skill, the pullover, which she has never been able to do. It involves jumping up and pulling herself over the bar, legs going around first, if that makes sense ... anyway, it's very tough for her little muscles. Last comp she had to have a coach help her, and she has been getting very frustrated that she can't do it by herself. Well, yesterday at the competition, my little legend DID A PULLOVER ALL BY HERSELF! She did it in her practice run, and I thought her face was going to split in two, her grin was that big. So then, the judged turn, she went do to it, but couldn't - her feet dropped back to the floor again. Her coach stepped in to help her, but she had another go, and she DID IT AGAIN!!! She was just over the moon. She did so well on all her apparatus, and didn't fall of the beam, which disappointed her at the last comp. She didn't place, and she didn't get selected for the next trial, but does that matter to her? Not at all. Her beaming smile hasn't dimmed at all since yesterday, and she tells everyone who'll listen that she's sooooooo proud of herself because she did something she's never been able to do before, and she did her best routines ever. Gotta love that! That's what junior sports should be about, don't you think? I just hope she keeps that attitude as she goes on.

Here she is after having done her pullover by herself ... she told me on the way home that she wants this one enlarged so she can scrap it. What a cutie!

This weekend has been the announcement of the winner of the Make Believe Masters at Scrap Therapy, and the very talented winner of this years' competition is the wonderful Mandy! There have been a series of surprise challenges this weekend too, and a free class run by yours truly ... this was the sample layout I did. If you want to have a go at it, you can pop on over to the forum and check out the instructions! I'd love to see what you come up with.

Some sad news, but also some great news if you are after a bargain. One of my bestest friends in the world, the gorgeous Nicole, has made the difficult decision to close down her business, Acacia Papercrafts. They are a wholesaler of some fantastic brands, including MME, Daisy Bucket, Reminisce and Everlasting Keepsakes. They have just opened up their ordering process, so that members of the public can order directly, and save heaps! Check out the blurb ...


Acacia Paper Craft is now live to the public... both online and at our premises.

Visit our
website, and register. We will issue you with a username and password (you'll receive advice via email) and you can shop til your hearts content!

We are also open at 5-7/12-14 Campbell Street, Blacktown NSW 2148 from 10 to 2pm Monday to Friday. We are located above Campbell Street Medical Practice. Feel free to pop in for a browse and to grab a bargain!

Tell your friends, family, even strangers in the street! Everything must go! All genuine wholesale pricing, some products even below cost!

Will be looking forward to packing your order (and your friends... and your friend of a friends... and their friends! lol)

Feel free to pass this on to anyone who you think might be interested... there is some great stuff to be had, but it's not going to last forever, so I suggest you get in quickly!

K, that's it from me for today ... take care!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A bit of a sunday share!

I love school holidays. Sleeping in. Reading. A few glasses of wine. Dealing with my own kids, and NOT everyone else's. The only thing I don't like about them is that they are so short. Ho hum. We are already halfway through them!
Today is a pretty exciting day - for christmas last year, we got Kieran a voucher for a session in a flight simulator at Flight Experience Darling Harbour. Today is the day! Man, they are hard to book into - they're so busy! The only downside is Dennis can't get off work until 3.30 - Kieran's appointment is 5.30. I was hoping we'd get into the city heaps earlier, and spend some time wandering around, but no, we'll probably just get there in time, with all the expected pilgrim delays! Dennis and I get to be his passengers, so I've got the batteries all charged up! Kierna wants to be a fighter pilot, so he's been hanging for today to get here.
I've been scrapping heaps these holidays! Here are a few of the layouts I've done over the past week. For the last few weeks I was making thankyou cards for Nan to send out after Pa's funeral. (Note to self: get a cuttlebug of your own before you give this one back to Tracey!) I've had fun, pulling out some older products I've had laying around for a while and scrapping just for the fun of it.

A few of these were for the Scraptherapy CC last weekend, and the (Im)perfect one was from Bon's blind scrap - thanks Bon! I've done more this weekend, but I'll upload those next time. K, I'd better go and figure out the best parking for Darling Harbour ... eep! Cya all later!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A great weekend ...

Well, what an awesome weekend! I spent Saturday pottering around the house with the kids. Sunday, I went to lunch with Belinda, and some of her friends, and had the BEST South African lamb burger at Latte-tude in Penrith ... too yummy for words! It was topped off with a bottle of bubbly, in honour of the occasion - we were heading off to see Sex and The City! It was tops. Loved it. Loved even more that I was out of the house, and having a bit of fun ... it seems like it's been a very long time since I've had something to smile about!

The girls stayed at my sister's place, and Kieran at Poppy's, so Dennis and I had the house to ourselves. We watched some TV, and I did some scrapping. Then Monday morning, Dennis got up to go to work, and I slept in. Till about 10am. In TOTAL silence. It was blissful. I got up, and didn't turn the tv on. I didn't turn the radio on. It was just me, all alone in my house. Loved it to bits!! I enjoyed the silence for a while, then did a mountain of housework - washing, folding, sorting, vacuuming, mopping, cleaning, dusting, etc. It completely wore me out, but it felt good at the same time. It felt normal. (Well, anyone who knows me knows that me cleaning is so NOT normal - but you know what I mean! lol)

So, here are a couple of the layouts I scrapped ... I'm pretty happy with them! I did a couple more too, but they are in varying states of completion, so I'll share them when I'm done.

Oh yes ... this is the infamous sketch from ScrapTherapy's Cybercrop on the weekend. I bow in reverence to all the people who are able to produce stunning sketches using their computer, but I'm a pen and paper kind of girl. Aren't the stick figures ... interesting? The kids at work hassle me every time I have to draw on the board. I tell them it could be worse ... I could be their Art teacher! lol This sketch was used as inspiration for my "Big Bro" layout in the post below, and also the "Shine" one here. I'm really happy with Shine actually - love those pics of Tayla!

If you missed the CC, then you can always join in at LSBS this weekend, for their Friday the 13th cybercrop - it's all about black, baby!

Well, that's about it - Dennis is yelling at the TV. Apparently the ref is an idiot. I have NO idea how our kids are still asleep! So I think I'm going to curl up with a good book in bed, and try and get to sleep early tonight. Have a great week, everyone!

Friday, June 06, 2008

One week on

It's been one week of a world without Reg, and as he would have wanted, things are slowly but surely getting back to normal. The kids are fighting with each other again, with intermittent moments of clinging to each other for emotional support. Work, school, housework (well, if the truth be told, not too much housework - as I said, things are getting back to normal! lol).

It's been a pretty productive week at work, considering I missed 2 days of it. I've organised an excursion at the last minute to take my Advanced English class to a Bells Shakespeare performance at another school. I ran a lesson this afternoon with the head teacher, deputy principal and principal as special guests - my year 7 class put on a meal of freeze dried survival style camping food, and had a great time testing out all the food, and inflicting the strawberry icecream dessert onto the guests. It was a lot of fun, but man, I'm exhausted! lol

This weekend is a long weekend here ... I'll be catching up on some of the aforementioned housework (never fear - we won't get to display home tidy, I'm just aiming for non-post-psychlone tidy. I can live in hope!) I have reports to write. Eeeep! I have books to mark. And, at some point this weekend, I would like to get some scrapping done.

There is a CC on this weekend at ScrapTherapy - it's BLING month, and the challenges are all up now, all sparkly and pretty, so hop on over to the forums and check it out! This is my sample layout for my sketch challenge ... omg, you really need to go and check out my sketch, it's the funniest thing you've ever seen. Well, ok, maybe not as funny as 5 second films on YouTube (which you REALLY need to check out if you haven't seen them!) but it tickled my fancy this afternoon and had me in stitches. Hmmm.

Ok, that's about it from me ... have a great weekend, especially those of you who get to have an extra day off!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Well, the day that we were dreading came. On Friday 30th May, just before 2am, Reginald McDiarmid, the truest gentleman I know, left this world. My mum rang us at about 1.30am to let us know that he was failing, and she was on her way down the coast to see him, and then rang us again just after she got there ... Nan didn't want to call her while she was driving to let her know, so she waited until Mum arrived to give her the heart breaking news.

We woke the kids to tell them, and they were understandably devestated. Kieran looked up to Pa so much, and it's going to take him a while to fully deal with it I think - as will the rest of us! Kelsey is being a total trooper - yes, she's upset, and she loved her Pa very much, but she's the kind of person who just wants to protect people around her, so she's being a little legend, trying to cheer Tayla up and keep her mind off it. Tayla ...well, she's only 5, and she has lost her best mate. She knows that she won't see him again, and that she won't ever have another big Pa hug, but every so often over the past few days she just breaks down in tears, saying "I want my Pa!" They were really best mates - the rest of us felt a little bit left out sometimes, I think, as they shared their special moments! Ok, not really left out - but I'm eternally grateful that she has so many wonderful memories to cherish of her relationship with the best man I know.

I don't want to sugar coat it - Pa wasn't all peaches and cream. He's coped with so much in the past couple of decades, it's really a miracle that he'd lasted this long. His personality had changed somewhat, as a result of a brain tumour a while ago, and that meant that there were times when he was grumpy, obnoxious, and a general pain in the butt. Mostly, though, he was a legend. Last year, Nan had to have surgery to repair a macular hole in her eye, and I was Pa's taxi for the day. We got to wander around the city for a while, as we waited for Nan to come out of surgery. Pa is the kind of man, even at 79 and frail, who would gently take my elbow and steer me to the inside of the footpath, so that he was between me and the road, just in case he needed to fend off any stray cars to protect me. Half the time, I didn't even realise he was doing it, till all of a sudden I was on the other side of him, wondering how I got there!

He was a man who knew the value of a good joke.... and thought that a suitably bad joke was priceless. Some of his jokes and stories are forever a part of our family legacy, and I'm so grateful that after the funeral yesterday, we got a chance to reminisce about some of those. There was a lot of laughter, and that's just the way Reggie would have wanted it.

I'll never be able to look at my knees again without thinking of my Pa - he had this habit of creating a rhyme for all his grandkids, and mine was "Tamara Louise with the knobbly knees". We all will cherish that, as much as we used to complain when he called us by our extended names when we were growing up.

I've only been to a few funerals in my lifetime, and only 4 of people that were very close to me. This one was the hardest that I've experienced, but at the same time the most beautiful. Nan and Pa's next door neighbours have 2 sons who were pretty much family. We'd hang out when we were on holidays, and I know that the Clancy's regard Nan and Pa as part of their extended family. It was a total honour, then, that Steven conducted the service with the celebrant at the crematorium. It was so moving that someone who knew Reg was speaking about his impact on those around him. Thanks, Steven, you made a very difficult time much more bearable.

My uncle spoke on behalf of Nan, my mum and my Aunty, and I was so choked up. Uncle Pete is a genuine nice bloke, and I haven't seen a lot of him in recent years, but I haven't ever seen a tear in his eye before yesterday, let alone heard him struggling to speak through his sorrow. My sister and I were speaking on behalf of the grandkids, and had to follow Uncle Pete ... that was a difficult task. We had decided we wanted to really focus on what a great guy he was - all our memories about Pa revolve around the tricks, and the jokes, and the funny times, so we spoke a lot about those things - the memories of our Pa that we will cherish for a lifetime and beyond. It was hard, but we got through it with our heads held high, and by the end there were a lot of smiles and chuckles in honour of a man who loved to make people laugh. I hope I made you proud, Pa!

My kids wanted to contribute something to our speech, and that was probably the hardest thing for me. Lorraine and I read a paragraph each, and the way it worked out was that I got to read Kieran's paragraph, which was the first of the great grandkids' comments. I almost lost it then - mostly because I saw his eyes fill up with renewed tears when he heard me say his name. Here is what my kids wrote about their Pa...

Kieran says:
I love Pa. every time I shook his hand he wouldn't let go. He would keep shaking for about 90 seconds. Sometimes my hand would go numb! So, every time someone shakes my hand I'll think of Pa shaking my hand till it was about to fall off, and all the good times we had together. Although he is not here, he will never let go of me.

Kelsey says:
I love my Pa so much. I will always remember him. He would always try to tell me that there was something on my top, and when I would look, he would tap me on the nose. Every time I would say "there's nothing there", and he would say "there is this time, go on, look, just there!" I would know that there was nothing there but I would still look, and he'd get my nose every time. Every time anyone touches my nose, I'll think of Pa trying to get me again.

Tayla says:
Pa is my best buddy. He always plays tricks on me. He would get me to start saying the alphabet, and said "A". I'd say "B", and he would say "I hope he stings you before me!" He would give me the best hugs and kisses, and tickled me all the time. He liked to make me laugh. He is living in my heart now, and every time I laugh, that's my Pa being glad that I'm happy.

Little legends, aren't they?

The final paragraph of our eulogy was written thanks to some inspiring words from Allison, an online friend from LSBS. I closed by saying this:

Pa was a one in a million – they broke the mould when he came along, and the world could do with more men like him. It comforts me to know that he’s probably up there right now, not just rebuilding that mould, but finding a way to make it better – if anyone could, it’s our Pa. We all have many fond memories of our Pa, and they’ll be with us for the rest of our lives. He is a very special person who will always have a special place in our hearts.

Thanks Allison, it was really a perfect thought for my Pa.

I went for a viewing yesterday morning before the funeral, and anyone who has done this will understand when I say that it was one of the most harrowing experiences of my life. I was expecting... well, actually I don't know what I was expecting. But I'm glad I did it. Wasn't expecting Pa's hands to be so cold, and afterwards I realised how stupid that was - I don't know why I was shocked when I touched them. Somehow, it was him, but it wasn't, if that makes sense ... I'm still trying to process it in my head, but at least I wasn't focusing on what was in that big brown box at the front when I was speaking, so that was a blessing. This picture is how I prefer to remember Pa ... with Tay sitting on his lap, where she invariably was when he was around!

His coffin had a gorgeous photo of him sitting on it - not in a suit, which seemed a little wrong, but in a flanalette shirt and jumper, laughing at someone off camera. His beloved Tigers jersey was draped over the top, and his other favourite posessions, a "Best Buddies" beanie bear Tay gave him for christmas, and a necklace Kieran gave him for luck in the hospital, were also on there. We had brought some roses, and at the end of the service the celebrant gave us a moment to lay a flower on the coffin if we wanted to. My kids were the first ones up - Tayla kissed her hand and touched Pa's footy jumper, which was such a sweet thing to do. It made me really proud of them, and fairly certain that they are going to be ok - they are all handling it ok, although very differently to each other.

How am I handling it? That's a great question. Ok, I think. I'm looking forward to some "alone" time to just cry for a while, but it's hard because whenever Tayla sees me upset, she loses it again, and I don't know if that's really helping her. So I'm being strong while I need to, and hanging out for Dennis to have a few days off work - he's working every day for the next three weeks, as his Assistant Manager is on holidays, so it took a lot of shuffling for him to get yesterday off work for the funeral. My sister is going to look after the kids on Sunday, and I'm catching up with some girlfriends to see Sex and the City ... it's kind of obligatory to see that with a group of girlfriends, isn't it?

So, back to work tomorrow, and I've got a massive pile of paperwork to catch up on, plus reports to write for both year 7 and 8. Life goes on, huh? Today, Kieran headed off to Canberra for a GAT excursion, and I drove Kelsey to Springwood to catch up with her class - she was supposed to go on her very first camp yesterday, for 3 days, so she missed the first day, but was excited to get there this morning. It's been pouring down rain though, so fingers crossed it's not too miserable for her. Tayla and I, after all the running around this morning, have been just veging out in front of the TV. I've been scrapping a little bit -getting a sample layout for a this weekend's cybercrop at ScrapTherapy ready. It's all about the bling this month, so if you are interested in a great weekend of scrapping, pop over to the forums and say hi!

Well, that's about it for today ... I just really wanted to get some of that down while it was fresh in my head. Thanks heaps to everyone who has been popping by and leaving comments of support, or emailing me or posting on forums. I appreciate it more than you know.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Life is what happens when your busy making other plans.

That's totally how I'm feeling right now. Seriously, who would schedule a time like this in their lives? Who would decide that you were going to experience so much pain? I tell people that my grandfather is in hospital, probably dying, and I get the whole "oh, how old is he? well, he's had a good life" ... and I swear, if one more person tells me that I'll choke them till they are a pretty shade of purple. It's a much nicer colour than blue! Yes, I'm aware he is old! Yes, his body has suffered through more than any one person should be able to survive. But he is my Pa. He was there when I didn't have a dad around. Even though he isn't outwardly affectionate, I've always known that I've been totally unconditionally loved by him. I've always known that I've made him proud. And I can't even get my head around a world without Reg ... but at the same time, I can't bear to see him suffering the way he is. So how do I feel? On and off ok. Mostly the most conflicted and miserable I've been in a long time. Even when we were going through everything with Kieran last year, I felt like that in that there was something I could do ... but now, I'm helpless. And seeing Pa laying in hospital, too tired to even tell a joke, makes me feel even more helpless.
It's been 2 weeks. I've been down to see him 3 times. Last time was the best and worst. On Wednesday, he was telling me jokes, fighting with me, and going off at me for not attending the rally for the teacher's strike. All TOTALLY my Pa - he tells the worst jokes I've ever heard, he's a staunch unionist, and he loves to argue. The next day, he could hardly keep his eyes opened, and was struggling to breath, let alone talk. And when I lay down at night, I have those two men in my head ... both of them him, but neither of them quite right. It's breaking my heart.
The other broken hearts around here belong to my kids, and all for slightly different reasons. Tayla and Pa are best mates. To try and prepare a 5 year old for the fact that the biggest man in her life outside her daddy might not be here for long - that's just too hard. But it's too cruel to not even let her know that he's really sick, and she's not silly - she saw it in his eyes when we took them down last weekend to see him. Kieran, well he's just a mess, and I don't blame him! He gave Pa his necklace, and that brought Pa to tears - noone in our family can remember that happening very much (well, not since Kieran offered him a lung if he needed it when his lungs collapsed last year!) And Kelsey is just being Kelsey - holding it in, being strong for everyone. I guess maybe I'm more worried about her than anyone.
So where to from here? He survived surgery the other day, which was more than we expected. He's still in ICU, and making ever so tiny improvements, but mostly he is just hanging on. It could be days, it could be weeks or months. I don't know how much more I can take. And I read that, and I feel so guilty, because this shouldn't be about me - he's going through so much more! So I'm praying when I can, but I don't know what to pray for. Lost. So totally lost, and I don't know what do feel or think about it anymore.

It hasn't all been so grim ... the weekend provided us with a few moments of joy. Kieran had a cadets duty, for the opening of Blacktown Festival, and there was a military display thing at Nurragingy Reserve, so we took the kids down. It was a lot of fun, and even though tanks and jeeps aren't really my thing, it was great to get the kids out of the house, watch them ooh and aah over the parachutists and ponys, and run around in excitement over the waterfall and the icecream truck.
Sunday was the beautiful Bella-Rai's naming day, and my sister and her partner did a fantastic job ... I was using their camera, so as soon as I get the pictures I'll share some. Kieran is Bella's godfather, and Kelsey and Tayla are her "Guardian Angels" - they love that idea, and it was such a sweet gesture. They all got lovely cross necklaces, and Tayla in particular took her role very seriously - she was considering before she said "yes" when asked if she would be the guardian angel and take on that responsibility during the service. Too cute!

Hmmm ... that' s about all I can write now. I have a shocking headache, and should probably go to bed, but I think I just needed a bit of an emotional purge tonight! Thanks for persevering, if you made it this far. And go and give the special people in your life big hugs, or ring them and tell them you love them. Life is too short to assume that you'll have time to do it later.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A monday share ...

Love it. Love it, love it, love it. Thanks Kerryn for sharing this with me! Love it.
That's it for today, really - just another reminder to myself to check this out regularly. Did you hear that Tamara? Go off and check that out again! And a reminder (read the hangover post!) that you are NOT 21 anymore ... you aren't even 16 ... and square poles are designed to hold up patios. That's it. Nuff said.

Oh yeah - Miss Holly has a blog! Thanks to her lovely mummy, Miss Shelee, she's joined the world wide web. Welcome, gorgeous!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Mother's Day Reflection

I just posted this over at ScrapTherapy - it started off as a "Happy Mother's Day" post, but I had a very close friend firmly in my mind as I was writing it, and it got deep and meaningful. I thought I'd post it here too.

To all the mothers of children, present and absent.
To all those who nurture children who they didn't birth, but they love all the same.
To all those who are aunties, sisters, friends and neighbours, who offer a maternal ear, or shoulder, or hand when needed.
To all those who long to hold a baby but have not been blessed.
To all those who have not given birth, and have no desire to.
To all those who nurture their fur-babies.
Who love unconditionally.
Who make the world a better place through their presence.

My life has been nurtured and enriched by so many women.
I have been touched by a biological mother.
By a mother of a close friend, who saved my life on more than one occasion.
By a woman whose womb had never produced an offspring but nonetheless impacted on the world around her deeply - both as a teacher, and a lifelong friend.
By a grandmother, and more aunts that I can number.
By a sister who, by choice, wasn't able to have children in the conventional way, but has this year realised her dream of motherhood, and celebrates her first mother's day this year.
And by friends, both mothers and not, who make the world a better place through their compassion.
Their humour.
Their ability to make rainbows out of the darkest storms.
Their persistence and perserverance.
And their deep and abiding love.

Thankyou to all those women in my life.
And thankyou to those women in yours.
Have a wonderful day today, you beautiful women, no matter what your circumstances and experiences.
You hold a truly honoured place in this world, and I am honoured to be counted amongst you.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

What a week!

Man, I've only been back at work for 4 days, but I'm already in need of a holiday. It's program review week at work ... so what does that mean? Well, basically a lot of trees have given their lives this week, my friends. Piles of paper, all attempting to justify our pedagogical decisions. We've been collecting books, organising outcomes markbooks, and documenting every breath we have taken this term. Fun, huh? I'm sure there was something else I was supposed to be doing in my chosen career... ah yes, teaching! Maybe I'll get to that when we get through all the paperwork.

A quick text update - thanks for all the comments and advice on my 1984 dilemma. I've ended up changing my text choices for this term, and am doing a close study on Othello instead (LOVE Iago, what a legend!!) so I can give myself a bit more time to prepare a more interesting (and less snooze-inducing) comparative study program for next term. I'm feeling much better about it, so that's good. Hopefully my yr11 class enjoy Iago as much as me. One of the girls in my class told me about a Bollywood film version of Othello - anyone know any good places in Australia to pick up Indian films? I'd love to get a hold of it - as long as it's subtitled in English!

Scrapping wise, I'm looking forward to a big weekend! ScrapTherapy have their first retreat on this weekend, and I'm not going (boo hoo), but I get to stay home and run the cybercrop which is running this weekend with Julie (woo hoo!!) There is going to be a Blind Scrapping challenge tomorrow night, too, run by Scrapping4Kaytie ... I can't wait, I'm loving blind scrapping. Too much fun!

The other super exciting thing (well for me anyway) is that my kit for my first OTP class at Scrap Therapy has gone on sale - it's going to be great. The class is on May 17th, and you'll get to make a gorgeous mini album using a Kaiser crown album, and some beautiful Daisy Bucket papers. Check out the info in the forum HERE, and take a look at my cool kit - it's really good value!

Ok, I have an Othello program to finish writing by tomorrow, so I'd better go and get cracking.
Take care!

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Check this out regularly.
Especially Tiny Art 35. "I am bulletproof because I have to be".
And Tiny Art 31. I'm going to try to embrace my wobbly bits (metaphorically speaking of course).
Thanks Alison Shearer for sharing the link to this blog - love the art, it's just so inspiring!

So ... an intellectual rant. I hate 1984. Sorry, Aldous Huxley, you've utterly failed to grab me. And the rantings of your army of zealots, proclaiming your genius and wisdom, and insisting that it is a work of genius, have failed to sway me. I'm supposed to teach this to a class? Heaven help me. I seriously need to reconsider my options. What I REALLY need is a time machine to return me to a point in the not too distant past when the Board of Studies was meeting to set the new NSW HSC Text Prescriptions, and stop them from adding Brave New World into the Extension course ... then I'd be free to teach it this year to my year 11 class. What do you think my chances are of that happening before school goes back in 8 days time ... slim?? Ah well ... it's either 1984 or Animal Farm. Or, if anyone has any brilliant ideas of a novel to teach in a comparative unit with AI (Speilberg film) or in fact, with any film in a comparative unit, I'd be only too pleased to hear about it. I'm desperate!! I can't convince myself that the interminably boring passages of Winston reading "The Book" are worth ploughing through - how do I even attempt to convince a group of cynical smart 16 and 17 year olds that they should? Oh, the pain! Oh, the drama!

K, I'm going to bed now to dream of an agonizing and painful world ... of Big Brother and lack of freedom, and being 8 days away from excruciating drudgery. Oh wait, that's not a dream - that's going back to work and having to teach 1984. Can you believe Big Brother is about to come back on, by the way? The first housemate was revealed during dance tonight ... ugggh is all I have to say about that. Ugggh.

Friday, April 18, 2008

What a month

Well, holidays are almost halfway over - it's not fair! I haven't had a chance to do even 10% of the things that I wanted to catch up on, either at home, or the massive pile of work I have to do before school goes back. Arrgggh!

So, a quick catch up - I got to demo for Matisse at the Royal Easter Show at Homebush last month, with the totally gorgeous and amazingly talented Lisa Pate. She even came for a sleepover - and was SOOOO patient after being driven all over the countryside while I ran around after my son, who is apparently incapable of knowing that he needs to take his cadets boots on a cadets camp - go figure! Love ya Lisa, it was so much fun. (And yes - I was only that cool calm and collected because you were in the car - if I was by myself I would have been swearing and cursing about it!)

Kelsey turned 8 on Monday - and seriously, who knew that 8 was so much more grown up and mature than 7? It's just wrong! She seems to be so much taller than she was a few weeks ago. She has a school camp coming up in a couple of months, and she'll be away for 3 days - all these things are combining to make me feel very sad that my little girl is not so little any more. She's not too big for cuddles with mummy, though. Happy birthday sweetypie, I love you heaps! She got so spoilt - new DS games, new clothes, and her special present - her membership to the Swarovski Crystal Society was renewed, so that for the next 3 years she'll get special members' only pieces of crystal, as well as special mail. This is something my mum got both girls on their 5th birthday, and it lasts for 3 years, so every third year she does the renewal for them, and they just love it.

We have a new Stampin' Up! Idea Book and Catalogue, and it's sooooo nice!! I also earned a free stamp set from a promo that was running in February, and that arrived on Monday - I just LOVE it, it's soooo me! A whole heap of definition stamps - one for every letter of the alphabet. It's an expensive set, but well worth it - I know I'm going to use it heaps! If you are interested in a hard copy of the new Idea Book and Catalogue, email me or leave a comment - they are normally $12.95 PLUS postage, but as a special offer for special people (that's you!) I'll mail it free for you. So what's so special about the new catty? Textured cardstock. Beautiful new papers. Gorgeous ribbons. Stamps, stamps, and more stamps! New In-Color inks and cardstocks. Beautiful new papers. (Can you tell I love the new papers?) It's way too nice for words! You can check out the online catty through the links on the side of the blog.

Monday, March 24, 2008

A few Public holiday Monday reads

I just wanted to share a few links - mainly so I can come back and find them again later! This is what has been helping me procrastinate today.

In Praise of the Elephant Girls ... yep, that's me in a nutshell, so much so that I had to take a few minutes to ponder the all-round significance of it. Still kind of in shock actually.
Post Secret I revist this every so often, and there never fails to be a secret which speaks to my soul. Love it.
Journal Revolution - it's a top read, but I was totally sold by the "2008- the year of wanting to do less" pic ... OMG! So in my head. lol

K, off to do less now!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A bit of Stampin' Up! News, and a bit of a layout share!

Hi all,

well the time is drawing near for a new SU catty ... and omg, it's just divine. A few teething problems, but it doesn't make me love it any less! If you are interested in having one mailed out to you, for $12 including postage, with a special voucher included, email me at tamara_rodgers@hotmail.com! Otherwise, keep an eye out on April 1 for the link to the beautiful new Idea Book And Catalogue, so you can drool over all the new stuff ... very very pretty!

If you are in mourning for anything that is retiring, get in quick to place an order! As a special offer until the end of this month ONLY, I'm giving a 15% discount on all SU orders - but they need to get to me ASAP, and payment must be received before March 31st so I can put the orders through in time! Contact me if you aren't sure if the products you are interested in are retiring. Don't forget, the links to both the Idea Book And Catalogue, and the Summer Mini catalogue, are in the sidebar of my blog, and the Summer Mini is ending too - a lot from there hasn't made it into our new catty, so don't miss out!

Ok, so that's the advertising section of the post over and done with. Man, it's been busy around here! The girls had their easter hat/crazy hair parade on Thursday, and we had so much fun getting them organised. Tayla's hat has a whole heap of chickens around the outside, all doing different activities - there is even a chicken named after her kindy teacher! Kelsey's hair is plaited with a wire coat hanger through it, so it sticks WAY up in the air - a little hard to tell in the angle of this photo, but it was way cool. I've just noticed this is a belly button shot - that's all for you, Helen, cause I just know how much you love them! ROFL
I've been so busy with work, that it's been such a relief to have 4 days off to catch up on some scrapping, and just spend some time with family and friends. LOVING it!! Tayla was funny this morning - she woke up sulking because the Easter Bunny brought chocolate (which she doesn't really like) and was only appeased when she discovered she had new Dora pj's as well. Thank goodness for a last minute dash to Target.
My Mother in law is staying here with us this weekend, and the kids are loving it - and my grandparents are staying at my mum's house, so the kids are getting spoilt rotten this weekend! On top of that, we have the beautiful new addition to the family, Bella-Rai, just being too adorable for words ... I could so eat her up, with her cute chubby cheeks! All in all, it's been a pretty awesome easter weekend, and we still have another day to go before we have to go back to work - TOPS!!

So here is some of the scrapping - these first two were done using Sassafras Lass gorgeous papers. Sassafras Lass is the Manufacturer of the Month at ScrapTherapy, so pop on over and check out the wonderful stuff Nat has in stock, and share you Sassafras Lass creations with us!
This last one is a layout I did of my ?"$#@!!#$ 13 year old son (can you tell what kind of day I'm having with him?) This was for the Survivor comp at Chookscraps - I'm really happy with it. Still need to fill in some of those spots on the crossword though, but maybe not today ... who knows what it would end up saying?? LOL
K, I guess I should go and be hospitable ... enjoy the rest of your long weekend, everyone, and give the people you love must a big warm squishy hug, either in person, or by email. It's about time you told them how much they mean to you!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Raindrops keep falling on my head

You know what I love about rain? The more you get, the more chance you have of seeing a rainbow. Today, I'm thanking God for all the rainbows in my life - they make the rain bearable!

So what have we been up to? The usual ... working, working, working, running around after the kids, working a bit more. We have a new car - well, new to us, and hopefully a decent enough P.O.S. that it'll hold together until we are a bit more financially back on our feet, and can buy something more new new!

The girls BOTH came home with special awards from school today - their school picks one person per class each week to receive a special award for living up to the rule of the week, nd both Kelsey and Tayla came rushing out of class this afternoon holding a big gold award. Too cool!

Kieran got to meet some of the dancers from So You Think You Can Dance today, on an excursion into the city ... that's not what the excursion was for, it was just a cool side-event. He got some autographs, but no photos, so here's hoping we can get some copies of the ones that his friends took.

Anything else? Hmmm ... not really! I'm so looking forward to the long weekend next weekend. I really need a break! I've been scrapping a bit, and getting ready to scrap a bit more. I did this layout recently for ChookScraps Survivor - I had been kicked off the island, but I'm back this week as an intruder!! woo hoo! I've no doubt I'll be back on Castaway Island soon, but it's a bit of fun.

If you're interested in some cool savings, Nat has a 40% OFF sale over at Scrap Therapy - way too tempting for words, really! I'm only telling you now because I stocked up on some of my fave 2scoops papers, so I don't need to race you there - lol.
Oh yes, one more exciting thing!! This saturday, I'm playing in our softball grand final! We've had such a disrupted season, with heaps of games being called off due to rain. The past couple of games have been so much fun, and we've played heaps better than we had before, so we're going in to Saturday's game ready for some fun, and not expecting anything else.
K, that's it for me - off to get ready for work tomorrow, and to try and get an early night ... I'm so sick of not sleeping properly, I'm hoping that sheer exhaustion will put me over the edge tonight!

Take care, and I wish you all lots of rainbows in your life!

Friday, February 22, 2008

A little bit of news, and a whole lot of stuff!!

Wow, it's been a busy month! The first exciting thing to happen since my last post was that Tayla, who has been hanging to start school for a year now, actually got to go. Woo hoo! No tears (not even from me!) she was just in such a rush to go that we had to force her to stop and give us a kiss before she bolted up the steps! She's super excited, too, as she's in a K-1 composite class, and has the same teacher that Kelsey had in Kindy. She's doing so well - not that we are surprised! Here she is pushing past everyone to get up the stairs - just a little bit heart breaking actually.

So what else has been happening? Hmmm ... lots! Dennis was offered not one job, but two! That was pretty cool ... so he picked one, and on Sunday he's flying to Melbourne for training, before he returns home to take over as store manager of his very own store. It's a big step up for him, and he's soooo ready for it - I'm really proud of him, and very excited for him!! Love you, babe!
It's been exciting for me on the scrapping front - lots of scrapping going on, lots of great layouts that I totally LOVE, and some super-exciting news. First, a layout share though. This first one is from the LSBS cybercrop, and was done using one of Cath's totally awesome sketches - I've been doing a lot of bright stuff lately, and I just love this! MME paper. Noice!!
The next couple are Scrap Therapy layouts - the first for the cybercrop, and the second for Scrapping with the Stars, which has just wrapped up over there. Congrats to everyone managed to complete all ten rounds, you rock!
The other cool news from Therapy is .... oh yes. I'm doing a cool series of technique step-by-steps using chalks! Check them out in the forums HERE if you want to see how totally talented I am! (Man, I really need to work on this self-esteem issue I have, don't I?? lol) I'm sure there was something else. What was it?????? Ah, that's right. I'm now the newest member of the Scrap Therapy DT - I'm a Design Therapist! How awesome is that? I'm so excited, and really grateful to Nat for the opportunity to work with some super-cool DT people over there. I'll be teaching a class on Friday 29th, to kick off a weekend of awesome step-by-steps, so make sure you check them out!

Ok, that's it for me ... I'm off to clean up my table so I can get some scrapping done. Have a great weekend everyone!