Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Renovation progression and abandonment

So this morning, this happened. 

And look what we took delivery of!!!

 I am completely beside myself with excitement.  Windows!  Doors!

The wood smells delicious.  Like I'm walking through a Swedish Forest.  Or something.

And they've taken the partition away from the loo.  This is a little disturbing.  When I come down the stairs I feel like I should shout out in case someone's on the toot.

What a terrifying thought.

And even more doors.  Which are so big they don't go through the front door.   They had to be lifted over the back verandah.  By about 5 blokes.  Luckily blokes is something we have a lot of at the moment.  Just hopefully not on the loo when I come past it.  

See!  Doors.  You can go in and out of them.  They can slide, fold or just swing.  We have all kinds.  We also have several types of windows.

And so, while these charming fixtures and fittings are fixted and fitted, we are off.  We are abandoning the works for 10 days while we get our holiday on in Bali.  

I am utterly excited.  Because:

This is not our villa.  I would be very happy if it was though.
My feet will be warm. 
I can drink cocktails with my girlfriend.
I can sit near the ocean, or the pool, or go shopping.  
The kids can stop being stuck inside on the top floor watching the rain. 
They can also stop having to go somewhere all the time and just go nowhere except where the mood takes them.  

Actually I wonder how that will go?  We might take a while to settle because we are all a bit fraught.    

And while we're gone the plumber will replumb the something.  Which would have been very inconvenient for us if we had to live through it but as we won't be there, they can knock themselves out.  

And the windows and doors will go in.  And who knows what else will happen.  It will make coming back almost as exciting as going.  Sort of. 

Take care peoplesons, see you in 10 days.  xx  

Image courtesy offpapaija2008/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, 24 June 2013

A (Trivia) Night To Remember.

The Winners!!!!!!

Last Friday night I attended a school fundraiser.  A Trivia Night.  An 80's themed Trivia Night.

Oh my goodness.

It was well attended.  At a school where fundraising events usually either sink spectacularly or are a roaring success, this fell firmly in the roaring success category.

Sold out it was.  Thirty tables of ten.  300 people who all fancied dressing up.

And boy did they fancy it.

There was a table of flouro dressed big hair wearing show ponies.

There was a table with a giant mobile phone (old style) and a guy dressed as Devo, complete with overall and flower pot head.  He made it himself.  (He won my personal best costume).

There were two rubiks cubes.

There was a table of very brave teachers in splashes of flouro.  Who I hope didn't spend all night being approached by parents wanting to talk about their kids.  At one point I photobombed a photo being taken of Sarah's teacher and another parent.  I really hope Sarah's report is already signed off.

There was a table of famous political leaders which was certainly original.  You know, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, the two Pope John Pauls.

There was a table of Michael Jacksons, with a few Thriller ghouls for added interest.

A happy ghoul, with a stolen phone.  
There was a table of Batmen and Catwomen (I think that's what they were).   Lots of tight black shiny material.

And an impressive table of Simply Irresistible backing guitar chicks.  You know, black frocks, red belts, red lippy.  Noice.

There weren't nearly as many Madonna's as I expected.

And our table, well, we were icons of the 80s, representing one of the (arguably) best movies of the decade.  We were Ghostbusters. We created our costumes by doing amazing things with $9 overalls from Bunnings, cardboard boxes and black gaffer tape.

Backpacks. Cardboard box, pool vacuum hose and oodles of gaffer tape. 
Really amazing things.

And it was worth it.  Because WE WON BEST COSTUME!!!

Much to the disgust of the table of Stormtroopers who thought they were better dressed.  But hey, they just threw money at the problem.  We threw gaffer tape.

Speaking of throwing, I threw myself enthusiastically into the making of mine and Mike's costumes, but I had nothing to do with the concept.  That was down to the genius of my tablemates S and S.  They spent much of last Monday morning in Bunnings and when they emerged, blinking into the daylight, they had their ideas firmly in place.  The rest of us lucky ducks just had to follow instructions.

Watch out ghosts, I am very scary. 
Because it was held in the school hall, we were able to BYO alcohol and nibbles, which allowed us to wet our whistles and line our stomachs, before tasty catered food was brought in and delicious chocolate brownies to finish.

The organisers, as always, did a top notch job and the night went off beautifully.  A comedian was hired as MC and he kept things ticking along and us laughing.  We had to pay to use mobile phones and we also had to dob in other tables who were caught out doing this without paying.

There was a lot of unauthorised phone usage.

There was a lot of dobbing.

And despite much of the above we didn't win, being trivially outclassed by a bunch of flouro wearing upstart Kindy parents.   I don't think we even made the top three.  Yes I am a sore loser.

Excessive amounts of champagne were consumed, and at half past midnight I thought it was a great idea to 'kick on' to a friends house for a couple of quiet cleansers.  The minute I got there I realised what a stupid idea this was and where I really needed to be was my bed.  Luckily I was 200m from my house at the time.  My sensible husband was already there, having consumed sensible amounts of beer.

My good friend the Michael Jackson ghoul walked me up the street, leading to confusion from both of us as to how we were to walk each other home and still get home ourselves.  We compromised by going halfway together and then walking to our own homes, shouting 'ARE YOU OK?' to each other until we reached our front doors.

My most humble apologies to all the neighbours for this.

And go the Ghostbusters!!!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The trouble with this time of year.

It all started back in April. 
This time of year completely does my head in.

For one thing, too many birthdays.  Starting with Josh's and his cousin at the end of April, and tracking through to Sarah and Issy in early June, there's four family celebrations and three birthday parties to organise, plan and carry out.

It's six weeks of excessive consumption.  There's pre dinner nibbles, take away dinners, restaurant meals, not to mention family birthday cakes, party birthday cakes and school cupcakes.

This was our dinner on the Queens birthday.  Classy?  
That's a lot of cake mix, and buckets of icing.  I've eaten so much icing. There's always icing left over.  So I eat it.

And the champagne.  Because there's so much to celebrate.  And the red wine.  Because it's cold outside.  And milky coffees, because I need caffeine to keep me going.

AND to make it worse, it's dark, oh so dark in the early morning.  So there ain't no early morning runs going on.  No way.

I'm NOT going out there in the dark and cold at 6am.  I'm just not.  No way.  Nup.  Not til we're well shot of the solstice.

So that leaves exercise for after school drop off, which takes a chunk out of the day that I always resent, or I just don't do it.

At least I'm doing some group sessions with my friend who is a personal trainer.  Because once you commit to a session you feel really crap if you cancel out.  I'm not saying I haven't cancelled out (usually for questionable reasons), but I don't do it very often.

I'm even missing yoga.  Not cardio but strong and stretchy stuff.  Which is lovely.  I've written about it here.  Although I'm missing the last three weeks of term due to real life coming up and smacking me down.

So at least two kg have come to visit.  And they're not going anywhere.   I try every day.  But not hard enough.

It would be helpful if I stopped eating chocolate after dinner.  Or having two coffees.  Or eating the kids leftovers.  Nothing new here under the sun.

And ended here.  It's over.  Sort of. 
So now the birthdays are over.   And so must be the self indulgence.  Except we're going on holiday next week.

And I'm not planning on being all Diety McDiety pants when I'm on holiday, because what sort of a holiday would that be? I've got better things to worry about.  Like what cocktail I'm having next.  Or the classic beach or pool paradox.

Might have to be four kilos I'm losing instead.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Weird questions I'm pondering right now.

1. How many times can you visit the IGA in a day for it to be wrong?  Yesterday I went three times.  A personal best (worst?) for me.  I think at this point, you've bought enough stuff to have warranted the trip to Coles.  But I decided on Monday to stop shopping and run down the pantry supplies because we're going on holiday.   I didn't go today.  But I went to Harris Farm instead.

So far, complete failure.

2. Is it morally wrong to really, really not feel any sympathy for someone with man flu?  And mainly be cross because I haven't got the house to myself?  Apart from the foreman, labourer, apprentice, kitchen guy and electrician working downstairs, I'm really happy being alone during the day.  But it's not happening.  Not today, not yesterday.  I better get my house back tomorrow.

I just wish for once he'd just get a simple cold like normal people do, not a full blown bedridden virus.

3. I failed to send Sarah to an ICAS exam on Monday.  She had to be at school at 7:45.  This is not the kind of thing I forget normally.  But I didn't have it in my calendar, nor on my phone.  And my memory just doesn't cut it on it's own these days.  Can I use the excuse of the birthday party I threw on Sunday?  Or the band festival on Saturday?  I don't think so.  Juggling multiple events is supposed to be my forte.

 I didn't even have a niggle.  No vague feeling I'd missed something.  I just forgot.  Completely.  Am I going mad?

4.  There are too many dancing performances between now and next Wednesday for me to deal with.  Four high ponytails to be created, four strict arrival times, four sets of arrangements for pick up, drop off, tickets.  This is my third year of the dance festival, and I'm still a gibbering mess the week before.  Of course, Sarah is fine.  It's just me who can't cope.

5.  And the totally weirdest thing I'm thinking: sometimes I catch myself wishing that we weren't going to Bali, because I want to be here when the doors and windows are installed.

Isn't that just totally insane?

Don't get me wrong, I still want to go (oh so much), but we're going to miss so much cool stuff while we're gone.  I have not verbalised this madness, and I won't.  I'm just writing it.

We shall not speak of this again.

On the whole, I am tired.  And grumpy.  And I don't want to be nice.  Especially to people with man flu.  You know who you are.

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sunday, 16 June 2013

My theory of the anxious heart tug + birthday party frenzy.

At netball on Saturday, we spectators became unusually philosophical.  Most of us were mothers, watching our girls play.  There was one dad who arrived halfway through the game, having brought his son from rugby.

I put forward an idea that has been niggling me recently.  While I can watch Josh play rugby for hours with no anxiety at all, I struggle watching Sarah play netball, always feeling a little tug on my heartstrings when she misses the ball or steps, or takes too long to throw.

She's happy.  So I should just get over myself, yes? 
They all nodded sagely.  And after a little more discussion, we agreed that there was a sort of connection between you and your eldest child which made you in general, more anxious about their performance in team sports.  This was exacerbated if the child was the same gender as you.

The rugby boy dad agreed, saying he could watch his daughter with pleasure, but became anxious watching his son on the rugby paddock.

I meant to do a poll of more than the five other parents I spoke to at netball, because five isn't exactly a definitive sample of the population.  I tried asking Mike, but he said he liked watching all the kids.  He likes netball and soccer but rugby is in his heart so that's what he likes best, but watching Josh doesn't make him particularly anxious.


I never got to ask anyone else except Josh's mate's dad who came to collect his son from a sleepover at ours (Yes I know I have no room for sleepovers but we had one anyway).  We made pleasant small talk for a while before I plucked up the courage (I don't know him very well), and asked his view on my theory.  He looked puzzled, and started talking about how cross he would get if the soccer team (of 7-8 year olds) he coached started having a chat in the middle of a game instead of playing.

Indeed, that would make anyone a bit stabby.

So my theory is still just a theory.  I'm sure not everyone suffers this anxious heart tug.  My fellow netball mums certainly felt it, and at least one dad.  It could also be dance related, or aligned to academic results.

I tentatively also suggest the anxious heart tug is more likely when your kid is either very good at a sport, so they're playing at a level where every move they make can have an impact on the game, or not so good, so you're always feeling for them with every mistake.

I think this deserves further investigation, maybe I can apply for a grant to study it.  Or do a PhD?

Sarah is having a cracker season in her first year of graded netball.  If by cracker you mean she is enjoying herself (and I do).  She is loving it.  And she is not in first grade, or the second, third, fourth or fifth...I'll stop there but you get the idea.  Bless her.

And the reason I lost focus with the investigation of my theory?  Two major events ate my weekend after sport was over.  One was band related, and the other was Issy's birthday party.

The band festival on Saturday afternoon was just dandy.  'nuff said.  

But then it was time for the party.  My last childrens party of 2013.  Requiring a 6 shaped 'under the sea' cake and much bakery, chocolate crackelery, and way, way too much icing.

Da Daaaaah!!
It went off beautifully, and because it was a joint party, I had a fabulous partner in crime who also spent a large chunk of Sunday baking and preparing.  We halved each others pain, and shared champagne at the venue.  When you share a party with someone it's just easier.  Issy and her mate D are great friends.  They are also holy terrors when in a full birthday party frenzy.

Not one, but two birthday girls. 
It wasn't just them. All twenty-five little girls jumped and climbed and swung and screamed and ate their heads off.  It was a wild and fun filled two hours.  Which went very quickly.

Thank heavens.

Lots of this. 
And finally, after much present opening, there was this.

The present opening raised another important philosophical question entitled: "Is there such a thing as too much Smiggle?".  Not in my view.  Stationery is my idea of heaven.  I think Issy feels the same.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Why 'the groan' sends me up the wall.

Oh, the groan.

You know the one?  When you ask a child to eat dinner?  Put their bowl in the dishwasher? Put dirty clothes in the wash?

It's sort of like this: Ohhhhhhmuuuum.  It's hard to replicate the terrible unfairness of it all they manage to convey by the groan, in writing on this blog.

I will assume that many of you have already heard it.

I'm not asking them to cook the dinner, or put on the dishwasher (although I do expect it to be emptied for me), or do the washing.

I don't think I ask for much at all, just a little RESPECT!

Sometimes I ask Josh to stop bouncing all over the couch playing shooting games.  Just because I'm sick of replacing throw rugs and cushions five times a day.

And what do I get, for this reasonable request?  The groan.

Sometimes even an eye roll.  It drives me bonkers.

As we go through our morning routine, I am met with groans at every step.  I think the operative word here is 'routine'.

For your convenience I have found a definition of routine on dictionary.com.

"commonplace tasks, chores, or duties as must be done regularly or at specified intervals; typical or everyday activity"

Typical or everyday.  Must be done regularly.  Yet every day it's like we've never done it.  Every week there is total surprise that it's library day, or news day.  Issy is gobsmacked that she must be fully dressed, with lunch in bag, hair done, teeth cleaned and shoes on before she is allowed near the barbie dolls.  

So she groans at every step.  Each painfully familiar step.  

On days we have to be at school at 7:45 things run better for some reason.  I think because there is less faffing time open to us.  If we don't have to be at school until 9, we can expand to fit the time available.   We could represent Australia in this regard. 

Tonight I snapped.  After an afternoon of passive aggressive snide remarking from the 10 year old, she was banished to her room until she could show some respect for me and the process that keeps her fed, clothed and relatively organised in her amazing, full and privileged life. 

She is chastened, for now.  I don't expect it to last.  I know she needs to test me, work out her boundaries, even disrespect me occasionally.  To some extent, it's up to me to tune into her new 'normal' as she grows and changes and change my reactions. 

But damn, it's hard sometimes.  Today especially.   

Image courtesy of PinkBlue / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

When living through a reno, perspective is everything.

I think it's important to have some perspective when you're living in a renovation.  For example, sure we have to live here in the noise and the dust but at least we're not dropping $35k on rent.

And we have enough space to store all our furniture and other stuff in the garage and downstairs rooms.  Except the dust has infiltrated everything so it's not as pristine as it would be if it was in storage.  I'm currently pretending this hasn't happened because I have no idea how I'm going to de-dust everything when we move back upstairs.

So here are a few notable benefits of our little upstairs flat.  And I've added for contrast, the downsides, which, if I were a more pessimistic person, I would be troubled by.  Luckily I am an optimist and a bit stupid so I'm completely happy.


1. It's all carpet so dirt and dust is absorbed almost seamlessly into the pile.  Except Josh's vomit stain and where he spilled the curry.

2.  It's warm.  All the time.  Mostly it's because I've forgotten to turn off the heater.

3.  There's not so much space to keep clean.  So my pitiful efforts to do so are more effective due to the smaller space I'm operating in.

Crowded.  Yet homely? 
4.  You know where everything is.  I've noticed it's easier to find lost items because of the limited places they can be.  The night before anyone's library day is much less stressful.  It's almost impossible to lose the books, although Sarah gives it a good nudge.

5.  The kids still have a break out room where they can watch TV, play games and Wii.

6.  I am here when the builders are here so they can ask me questions, refer to me for details and tell me about how they cooked a turducken on the weekend.  Triple J is on in the far background which takes me back pleasantly to my youth.

7.  People ask us round for meals so we don't have to dine a la tiny house all the time.

8.  No one can sneak off and play on their ipod because there is nowhere to sneak to.

9.  The culling and throwing out process we undertook in order to fit everything upstairs was amazing and cathartic.

10.  The view is great.  Even if the balustrades are still ugly.

There's even a birdbath.  Birds really bathe in it. 

1. It's all carpet so goodness knows what's festering in there that we don't know about (are in denial about).  Plus I have to vacuum all the time.

2. We are possibly all suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning due to the heater being on frequently in a confined space.

3.  Having the cleaners is a bit silly when there's not that much space to clean so I have now dismissed them until stage one of building is finished.  This makes me very sad.  Because I am very lazy and hate cleaning.

4.  Our limited storage space means our bedroom which was once an oasis of bedroomness is also a bike storage shed, the piano room and the drying room.

The room that multitasks.
5.  The kid's break out room is also my study.  We do not cohabit well.

6.  I am here while the builders are here, listening (at the moment) to something being ground to pieces or drilled, or something.   Very loudly.

7.  I cannot reciprocate the dinner invitations as quickly as I would like.  Watch out for one helluva diner party in the New Year.

8.  I have to keep telling people off for unauthorised device playing because I keep catching them.  Confiscation is imminent.

9.  The euphoria of throwing out is wearing off, and after two birthdays, crap is creeping back into the house.  Three Build-A-Bears are just the beginning.

10.  There is no downside to a great view.

See, even my downsides aren't really downsides are they?  I'm really scraping the barrel for things to complain about.

I should quit while I'm ahead.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Why I wish I invented Build A Bear

So, Build-A-Bear.

Total. Genius.

It's taken the 5/6/7 year old girl world by storm around these parts.  Until they were banned at school, every second girl child had one under her arm during lunch hour.

To an extent it's also attracting older children including boys, who, while they're happy to accept their own BAB, won't walk around the shops carrying their BAB box, in case someone sees them.  So they make their Mum carry it.

The box.  A big and unmistakable cred killer if you're 8 and a boy. 
The box is quite distinctive.  I now have three.  I would have four but I used Issy's original box (from a birthday party she attended last year) to take the sick (now dead) bird to the vet in.  She has never forgiven me.

I hate our local shopping Mall.  But that's where Build a Bear is.  And Issy was the lucky recipient of a voucher for her birthday (thanks Aunty Nat).  Plus a bit of extra Nana $$ contribution.  In terms of Build A Bear dollars, Issy was loaded.

And thus, on Saturday (her 6th birthday), after sport was over, to the Mall we went.

The other two came along, pocket money saved, a bit of Nana contribution promised and got themselves a bear of their own.

So, here's how it goes.   First you pick your bear, which firstly comes as a head, with a limp, unstuffed body.  Then one of the assistants attaches it to a pipe and the stuffing is blown into the body.  You are allowed to cuddle your bear after it is filled to ensure your stuffing is most satisfactory.  You place a red heart in your bear and it gets sewn up.

Voila.  New stuffed toy to add to collection.

Oh, if only that was the end of it.

Then, there's the clothes.  For your Build-A-Bear must be dressed.  No nude teddy bears around these parts, that's so old fashioned.

Issy managed to spend her considerable fashion budget, in the blink of an eye.  And the result?

Her name, is Snowflake.  Of course. 
Yep, that's a white cat in a matinee jacket.  Your eyes do not deceive you.  She has not been out of Issy's sight since she was stuffed and handed to her.  She has white boots.  Not shown here.  Because I can't find them.

Stripy all over.  Called Colour.  
Sarah did a pretty good job herself, choosing a garish rainbow bear, more casually attired in jeans and converse sneakers, with a pretty sweater.

Josh, who still wanted a bear although he'd probably deny it if you asked him, chose a camouflage style beast, and dressed him in cricket gear (with sneakers- thanks Nana).

And finally...Camo bear.
Once your bear is clothed, you hand a wad of money over the counter and move to the computer to print out their birth certificate.  Here you name your Bear and barcode him to your address, so if he ever wanders off it's like a microchip on your dog.  He/she can be traced back to you.  Well that's a load off my mind.

We were at the workshop for just over an hour.  An endless excruciating hour mainly spent telling Issy she couldn't have a bear ipad or another pair of bear shoes because one pair of white bear boots was enough for any lucky little birthday girl.

While we were there a party of about 10 little girls were all receiving their own bear, another party group arrived just as we left.  

Once your bear comes home, it mainly lies around on the floor, completely forgotten.  It is occasionally used in games where it attends fairy school or a ninja academy or something.

I swear, these Build-A-Bear people are making a fortune.  Why didn't I think of it?  We'd have this reno paid for already.  

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

A letter to our 10 year old.

Ten years ago, a baby angel girl entered the world.

Tomorrow marks a decade of Daddy and I being your parents.  Of us being parents at all.  Such a decade, such love, such utter vulnerability and besottedness.

We didn't know what to do with you.  So we gave you lots of cuddles.  I was terrified of feeding you, so for about 6 weeks I only could ever think ahead to the next feed.   You ended up being one of the fattest babies the world has ever known.

The chubstar.

We spent the first three months holding you until you went to sleep.  Every night.  One of us would eat, then the other.  You refused to be put down.  When I look back on those days, and remember how exhausted we were, I'm so glad we held you.  We didn't want to put you down.

We gave you a baby brother when you were 22 months old.  Still a baby yourself.  By no means a small gap, but small enough.  Then, at 4 years and 2 days we gave you a baby sister.  You took it in your stride.  

Tonight you played saxophone in the band.  Yesterday you danced in the dance group.  You have a go at anything, you're smart, you're kind, you laugh easily and are good natured, easy going, almost always smiling.

I know, I'm your Mum, what else am I going to say but nice stuff.  But really, it's all true.  

You're at an age I just want to bottle.  A gorgeous moment in time where you're balanced between two worlds.  Still innocent, naive, openly loving, not yet self conscious or cynical.

Tomorrow, all day we will celebrate you being in the world.  And how lucky we are that it's us you came to, how overjoyed we are that we got to be your parents.

Happy Birthday Sarah, you are a priceless gift we treasure every day.

Love, Mum and Dad.  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Monday, 3 June 2013

It's winter and we have big holes in the walls. Yippee!

Well it's been 5 weeks so far.  There's been lots of banging, crashing, demolishing.  

There's been dust...oh how there's been dust.  And we have nothing but plywood between us and the elements on the first floor.  

The acro beam forest has been reduced to a few stray beams here and there. 

We have lots of steel beams installed in our roof.

The demolition part is (very nearly) over and now it's time to reconstruct.  It's very exciting.  

We had a a bricklayer for a few days.  He was very nice but quite profane.  He would arrive at 7am and immediately begin swearing about the effing traffic and the effing cars and the effing brick delivery guy and so on.  I didn't know which kids ears to hold my hands over.  And I am no wowser.  

He's gone now for a few months til we do upstairs.  Him and his potty mouth.  Apart from needing his mouth washed out, he was a lovely guy.  And it's not as though I don't drop the f bomb because I do, often.  I've just not come across someone quite so free with it for, well, ever.  

Beyond the plywood is outside.   We are undone every morning and closed up each night.   
Last night the wind whistled through the plyboard.  The rain came in.  It lashed our washing machine which is currently residing outside and killed it.

So today our neighbour washed our towels.  Bless her.  Another neighbour has offered her machine for tomorrow.  Goodness we're lucky.

The old lounge room, before the walls.
And today we started to get walls in new places.  You're looking at our main level bathroom (within the frames), and spare bedroom (to the left of the frame).

The dust is still bad.  So bad that Josh can draw zombies in it.  Nice.  

Zombie attack on the TV cabinet.
I dust every couple of days.  Clearly this isn't enough.  But for someone as lazy as me, it may have to do. 

Sunday, 2 June 2013

The horse riding party in the rain.

At this time of year, I often reflect on the fate which caused us to have two of our children born within two days of one another (different years of course).   It does make the first week of June quite the adventure.  

We began the adventure today, with a horse riding party in Centennial Park.  Five of Sarah's BFFs (you can have more than one these days), came along for a few hours of horse related heaven.  

Sarah, in her horse phase.  Maybe she will grow out of it soon. Although some people never grow out of it.  Aunty N, I'm looking at you.  

Around the small arena.  NOT as much fun as going around the park.  Sorry kids.
Because it was raining, we couldn't go around the park.  Being very organised (or really scared it was going to be cancelled) I rang on Friday when I saw the forecast and asked what the wet weather protocol was.  They said no worries, if it's pouring they can just go around the indoor arena.  They can have a lesson.  It's totally fine.

Foolishly I relaxed.  Sent an email to the other Mums saying it was on, rain or shine, bought cake mix, icing, toppings, lolly bag stuff.  

Then this morning they rang me at 8:30 and said, sorry, we'll have to cancel, it's too rainy.  WTF??  

Not. A. Chance.  I told them we were coming, because of what they told me on Friday.  Rain or Shine.  

I was accompanied by a friend.  She was calm, relaxed and used to break in horses in her youth.  A very handy person to have along on a day like this, just in case anyone needs breaking in. 

I am a shit photographer.  But you get the idea? 
The stables are old.  I was struck by their architecture.  High arches and beautiful woodwork.  

And horses with superhero masks.  

After a few turns around the arena they came back.  They were freezing.  No-one could feel their hands.  I had to wrap the smallest one in my coat and feed her until she thawed out.

Happiness is...combing the tail of a horse.  Who knew? 
For the last little while they learned how to take care of the horses.  They brushes and combed them, including their tails.

It was warmer inside, and they were happy to just be near the horses.  
Then it was horse lunch.
Horsey num num. 
The girls who worked there were great, and clearly hadn't moved out of their horse phase either.  Because some people never do.  They told us about the individual quirks of the horses.  One of the white ones is so well behaved he has even been in magazines as a bridal horse.

We sang the song, cut the cake, ate party food, tried to stay warm and locked ourselves in a phone box (see below).  The planned for picnic in Centennial Park was not possible, so we went for the casual ambience of the boot and helmet room at the stables.  Classy.  

Finally, we headed back to the north.  And by the time we got home, the fucking sun came out.  Unbelievable.  

The kids had fun.  It was a top day.  One party down, two birthdays and one party to go.