Oh holidays! How I love thee for the first few weeks then how ready I am for you to end so that I can get stuck into some work. It's ideal in many ways. I've had a break, I'm rested, my head is clear, my goals are set, motivation is building. I'm good to go. The fatal flaw? There are two small boys in my house who will play happily together until the moment I sit at my desk. It's at that moment that they are hungry, bored, fighting, need toilet assistance, can't operate the TV/remote/DVD player/iPad, can't open a bag/box/container or door, have lost something important that cannot be found in any of the obvious places or have just spilled something extraordinarily messy on the couch/carpet/toys/bed/themselves or each other.
There are two weeks until school and daycare resume and I get two and a half days child free each week thanks to my little guy starting three year old kinder (that's preschool in other parts). Unfortunately I have at least eight days a week worth of stuff I want to get done but that's a worry for the future. Maybe in about two weeks time.
In the meantime this is what I've learned:
- People don't change much. I had reason last weekend to catch up with old school friends, some of whom I had not seen for the better part of twenty five years. They were just the same. Circumstances had changed. There had been marriages, divorces, children, new homes, new countries and new jobs but the people were unchanged. Maybe a little older (definitely older, we're talking 25 years here), probably a little wiser but voices, faces, mannerisms, outlook and laughs; the very essence of each person remained the same.
- Along similar lines, good friends will remain that no matter how often you see or speak to them. I just had four fabulous days with a close friend from Sydney who came to visit with her kidlets. We see each other every six months. Despite the best intentions our only communication between times is the odd text message, usually to organise our next catch up. This matters not a jot. The conversation picks up where it left off and we chat, non stop, for four days before heading our separate ways again. The ease of this friendship is an absolute joy.
- I learned a little more about what it is to love someone with a mental health condition from this beautiful, beautiful article on psmag.com. Read it. It will grow you.
- You can buy kids screen based devices, complex plastic toys, remote controlled vehicles, huge play structures and endless things that use batteries, make noise or comprise one thousand pieces but do you know what they love to do? Pick berries. Four kids and one tree covered in ripe mulberries and everyone is happy, if a little messy.
- I've been planning a garden bed. For any gardeners reading you'll appreciate the joy this brings. Unfortunately the only garden bed that can reliably be planned and planted in the face of the epic home construction exercise that we will undertake is on the southern side under the neighbours large pine trees. Hence I have been researching dry and shade loving plants that thrive in frost prone conditions with occasional searing 40 degree plus days. There are three.
- We all know that kids thrive when they're read to regularly but did you know just how much difference exposure to written and spoken words make? I didn't, so this article that Your Brain Health shared on Facebook was fascinating.
- It rained a lot here his week and we discovered 1950s-style concrete stepping stones in our back yard. The joy of old homes and their treasures.
- Finally I've learned that even in mid-January enthusiasm for new goals, new projects and a new year abounds. This week a little gang of us are setting off on a journey of self discovery via my 'Who are you in 2015?' online blog series. Things kick off officially on Monday but if you're interested you can read all about it here.
And here's the week in photos...