Saturday, May 31, 2008

Buy Nothing New update

Since we are rapidly approaching the middle of the year (what, you mean Sophie is three soon? And Lucy is ONE??!!!) I thought I might just ramble a bit about not buying stuff.
I've done very well, I think, with not buying stuff. Some of my happy finds are the big new tv for $70, and the child seat for my bike for nothing (thanks Freecycle). Although I still haven't fitted it to the bike...
One thing that is really hard is the non-immediacy of not buying new things. For example, Hannah wanted some black long sleeved tops to wear under her school t-shirts. Normally, you'd just head down to BigW and pick something up. But I have to just keep it in my head, and keep an eye out when I hit the op shops or garage sales for something that fits the bill. Children's clothes in general are difficult. Kids will keep growing, and the seasons will keep changing. I've bought some things on ebay which I've found a bit frustrating - when I do actually win something, I feel like I pay more than I would at an op shop (but of course less than I would new) and I'm not exactly sure that posting things across the country really fits with the general environmental theme. With op shops, most kids stuff is hideously daggy or of course, never the right size. I'm doing better about buying out-of-season clothes though, if something looks nice and will approximately fit a child of mine, I'll buy it generally, but I do still have a mental block about looking at shorts in winter.
One thing I caved and bought for myself after a long time of looking is a pair of tracksuit pants. I was after something with narrow legs that I could wear on the bike when I didn't want to get all dudded up in the lycra. I didn't want to go with parachute pants, or anything with bands around the bottom, so that pretty much ruled out everything in any op shop I've ever ventured into. In total fitting with this year's Back to the early 90's theme, I ended up buying a surf brand (although not Rusty or Stussy, which would have really fit into the retro theme). And it still took me trying on approximately 400 pairs in a sports/surf shop to find some that were okay, and then paying an exorbitant price just because they have some glittery logo plastered across the butt. But they are nice and narrow-legged, and very comfy. I can see why some people wear trackies all the time!
The next big purchase I see looming is a mountain bike. I've been thinking that I would buy a second-hand one, since for the same price I could get a better quality bike, but Michael convinced me (admittedly it didn't take much convincing) that the problem with a 2nd hand bike, particularly a mountain bike, is that you don't know what's happened to it in the past. It might have, for example, thrown someone off and caused them to roll down a mountain breaking both their shoulders or something. And then sit there all innocent looking just waiting for its next victim. Plus I don't know enough about the components to know what's a good bargain secondhand. All this, tied in nicely with some bonus money from work, points me to buying a new bike. Soon. Of course I don't know where I'd put it as the garage is full of bikes already. Scarily, for a family of five, we own nine bikes!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

I love my kids

It's so much fun having the kids old enough to get really excited about things like Mother's Day. They had been secretly planning my breakfast in bed for a couple of days. There were even a bowl and cup left in my room so they could do practice breakfasts.
I couldn't decide whether we should go out for breakfast (pancakes!) or have breakfast in bed (cold toast and soggy cereal). In the end, sentiment won out over taste...
There was no sleep-in to be had of course, Hannah was awake at about 545 as per usual, and she was out stirring up the other children soon after. I lay in bed listening to muttering and clinking noises. Soon afterwards my grand feast was brought in. All on plastic dishes, to reduce the risk of breakage while carrying them. Very sensible. And yes, cold toast and soggy cereal. And juice and water in (plastic) wine glasses! But all very delicious and beautifully presented. Ryan was of course directing the show, Bethany and Hannah brought the food in,

Photo: Bethany and Hannah with the feast. You can't see the time, but it's about 6:07am at this point!
then Sophie brought my cards in (on a plastic platter, naturally). These were gorgeous, of course. I think there were about six cards, the kids had all made some at school, then one at home signed by all of them, and some others they'd made at home as well. My very favourite bit is on Bethany's card, on the very back. It says 'BLURB. a card from the love of Bethany to mum'.

We took some time after the food was delivered, to remember Poppy, who died on Mother's Day last year. I had got the phone call from Paul just as I was eating my soggy cereal, in fact.

Photo: Sophie delivering my cards.

Photo: Me enjoying my juice in bed.

After the cards, all the kids sang 'Happy Mother's Day' to me.
And then Ryan got the good job - giving me my present. Which well and truly rocked. Wii Fit!! I was obviously pleased with the gift, but more so that the children had thought of it as something I would like. Ryan was at great pains to reassure me that they got it for me, not for themselves. And I am also pleased that Paul is quite happy to help the children buy gifts for me (and of course to pay for the vast majority of it). It is so important for the children to be able to show their love of both parents without feeling that they have to take sides or we resent each other. Choosing and purchasing gifts for a parent is an important development ritual and I am so glad it can be done in the right spirit.
On with the story...
In a true bit of serendipity, we'd only discovered the day before that our tv was not working (we turn it on very infrequently) and I'd happened upon one at a garage sale that was in good condition at a great price, so I'd picked it up in case our old one was unfixable (it's been fixed plenty of times before, I figured my luck's bound to run out one day). So, essentially, it could have been a sad present because we might not have been able to play it, but it all worked out in the end. Well, kind of, since the new tv doesn't fit into our tv cabinet, so it is currently on a coffee table in front of the old cabinet, making the lounge look messy. Yes, it's only the new tv making it look messy. Not the dozens of clothes strewn over the chairs, or the cups left on the table, or the papers all over the computer desk, or all the school bags in a pile in the corner, or the ladder in the middle of the room. All those things just add to the character of the place. The tv though, that's messy. I digress. Here's a photo of me happy with my new toy. I was pleased to see it was packed in with folded cardboard inserts, not styrofoam. Yay, Nintendo.

Photo: Sophie finishing off my cereal.

After the tv setup drama, we had a play on the Wii. And it is so much fun. Highly amusing watching Ryan trying to keep a virtual hula hoop spinning by wiggling around like a maniac. Or Sophie trying to header soccer balls. Or Hannah and Bethany going for a jog on the spot. Oh, Sophie was a classic at jogging. She could not jog on the spot and so ran four steps forwards and backwards about a million times. Highly amusing. I'm sure it's not amusing in the slightest to watch me trying to ski slalom or do the Tree yoga pose.
After much play it was off to the playground at the Aquatic Centre for lunch with the family. Besides the usual suspects we had Tanya's parents and Eva's parents which was nice. Oh, and Emily's boyfriend. Who seems very nice as well. Ha ha ha Emily has a boyfriend!!

Photo: Charlotte and Sophie taking high tea. Note Charlotte's pram full of stuff that must come with her everywhere.

Photo: Which one is the tree? Haunting impersonation.

Photo: Great Nana and her kids (with Jake standing in for Tony). This is the first photo I took and everyone is smiling! I didn't need to take seventeen extra ones after this.

Photo: Miscellaneous people eating and talking.

Photo: More people eating and talking.

Ryan must be growing up, he didn't want to play on the playground much. And he hadn't brought a book, so there was nothing for him to do except ask every 2.5 minutes whether it was time to go home yet. I gave him the camera and he took unannounced profile shots of everyone at lunch. I will refrain from posting any, but suffice to say, not one of them is flattering!