Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Matchbox Twenty and this past weekend

It was early. Sunday Morning. My eyes popped open. I'd missed one of the concerts I had been looking forward to for MONTHS. My heart sank, my eyes closed again, my head smashed the pillow & I hoped I'd fall back asleep, if just for a little while to try and forget the funk I was feeling. We've had a lot of bills come in during the last month (way more than what we earnt in that time. Two words: 'council' & 'rates'). I'd come -smack down to earth- to the realisation that $160 was simply out of our means. My head said "just accept it" but my heart asked still asked "why?". I'd thought I had made peace with it. But I hadn't. That little green monster was stirring inside. Niggling. Making me so disappointed. For letting myself down once again.

So at 7:30am, day of the second concert in Melbourne, spur of the moment, I made the decision. That was it. I had to do it. My debit card took a pounding and a ticket was purchased. In that swift stroke over the keys of the computer, my entire weekend, the burden I felt on my shoulders, the suffocation of monotony, it all took a complete lift. My head felt clear though my heart was racing. I did something selfish. Took time for myself. Once my mind is set on something, that's it. There's something so thrilling about deciding to do something on a whim, isn't there? Though this time, it was no whim, I knew they would bring it to the table that night. My arms had goosebumps as I printed the ticket. I felt so young, alive and free!

Perhaps with the "un-announcement" of Darren Hayes' retirement by deciding to step out of the limelight recently, I'd frightened myself into thinking the end of my musical world was imminent. That fact is still raw, I don't really want to discuss that yet. The cut is deep. Either way, I knew I just had to be there for this one! So I went and saw one of my most favourite bands live. Matchbox Twenty, featuring Rob Thomas. Driving in the car, I played their latest CD (which I loved as soon as I heard it) and burrowed down reflecting into my thoughts. I left 3 hours early, not wanting to miss any moment. 

Between Matchbox Twenty, Savage Garden and No Doubt, I have the soundtrack to my entire Teenage Years and all of my Twenties. Bring on flirty-thirty next year! (though recently I've made inroads to that too... hehehe ;) ). Back in the day I'd probably have done an in-depth concert review. But my memory since having had children is a shadow of what it used to be. It was never that good to start with. This is not about the actual night, it's about how they make me feel. What I will say though, is, like a fine wine, they have got so much better with age. Looking back on you tube to even four years ago, they have matured.

To me, Matchbox Twenty feel like family. Like a comfy, handmade knit from my Grandmother, a cuppa from mum, a big 'ole hug, they feel like toasty warm slippers. Hearing their songs, there is overtone of seriousness to them like a word of advice from my father. The quick wit and playfulness, like my children. With a comfortable, lived in feel perhaps one would get from a well worn pair of jeans from a sister. Each of their songs a mixture of fractured, scarred, in-perfect REAL life. In such a confused modern world, they are still so easy to connect and identify with. When I don't know the answer, I'll switch them on and sing my little heart out. They're like my own little security blanket. If you have ever been in the car driving with me, you would have heard them playing over the speakers for sure. In that 3mins: 46seconds, everything is OK. And even if it's not, I've been able to release some of the tension. 

With their new album they also have had a little fun. The first two singles "she's so mean" & "put your hands up" have a fresh new jive. Every time I hear the latter I think of how it's reminiscent of Maroon 5. There are some songs on there I can't wait to listen to in summer. Do you ever think how some songs remind you of seasons? of colours? of memories so little yet so significant, you didn't even realise at the time? I hear "overjoyed" saying all the things I wish I had the balls to say, like I used to, and I'm smack bang at the tail end of the nineties. Where you don't have to play safe, where you dare to take risks. It's a place in time musically, I wish more bands could have captured and maintained. Yes, even damn mmmBop. Perhaps that's the whimsical teenager in me, who was forced to grow up early due to my own decisions in life, screaming to escape. "Overjoyed" in particular makes me think of a few things. Pen Pals, and certain E-mails. Of sharing hopes and dreams. The quiet words, secrets shared, in the dark in the middle of the night before Y2K. I just saw the filmclip to "Overjoyed". It truly fits. For 16 years my love for MB20 hasn't faded, if anything, it's stronger than ever. Other fans surely must feel the same, as is the raging success of the new album in so many countries but especially my own.

Sure on enough at this concert they had the flashing lights, the fancy screens, the charming introduction video to entice the mainstream fans. But in reality all it needed was the instruments, the people, and the voice(s). When MB20 and indeed Rob Thomas in his own right tour, to me, the most touching part is when the audience are lost in the music, everything is stripped back and a little honesty is unravelled. Ala the trio of "Smooth" "Natural" and "Ever the same" by Rob in 2010. This time, my highlight was seeing him go out of his way to collect an Aussie flag from a fan, trying not once but about three times to retrieve it, finally asking security to grab it. Then the music played as he raced to the top of the stage and simply sat and chatted to Paul and took the night in. Perhaps he was also preparing for when the crowd went absolutely wild when they played "let's see how far we've come". It was apt for how I was feeling, too.

As an Aussie fan, we really have been spoilt. As another fan sitting next to me pointed out, MB20 has toured approximately every four years, with Rob touring the 2 years in between. It really is a special band that can make you feel lucky to be a fan.


I've added these at the end, because I don't want any sentiment to be lost, but here are some pictures:

The awesome foursome

I love the connection of guitars and vocals between Kyle and Rob, ever since the first time I saw them tour in '98

And Paul and Rob's banter... hillarious...
Here they are on the big screen at the back of the stage.
Rob's proudly wearing his Aussie flag.

Playing some songs from the new album.. sorry the picture is blurry, my camera started to give up the ghost by then.
Can't wait to sit around in the warmer weather & enjoy these new songs with an ice cold beer!

Last song of the night, Push. I connect with this one especially lately.

I also saw INXS, this time fronted by Ciaran Gribbin. Was wonderful to hear KICK live. An album my dad got me into. I loved it so much I had to buy my own copy. I think I played it until it wore out. My one tiny downside to my night (materialistic I know) was missing out on a kick baseball cap. I really wanted one. They only had the t shirts.

Sexy Leprechaun Ciaran, top left of photo #reowwwww #IsthatabigstagelightorareyoujusthappytoseeMelbourne ?? ;)

An equally enticing photo. Look at all those wonderful guitarists lined up in a pretty row.

Was pleased to see Evermore.... which was extremely wonderful too. My friends walked down the isle to one of their songs a couple of years ago. Lovely. Some of their songs I listen to on my iPod most weeks on my way to the footy.

I'd love to see these guys and Temper Trap together.

I do hope you had a great weekend, too.
Signing off.

Monday, August 20, 2012

An update and LOADS of pictures

Hi all, been a busy couple of weeks here. Mostly working. 
Time for a catch up. Get ready for photos. Lots of 'em.

This is me.. hi!
(leaving for the Red Hill Vintage Fair & Farmers Market)
Cardigan from a vintage store in Fitzroy- it might have been 'Currency' ?

More thifting. Get used to it- I LOVE IT!

I've (hopefully) got yet another project on the go for Miss K's room. I'm wanting to restyle a purple chenille bedspread, stitching doilies onto it to make it a little 'shabby chic' coverlet. If that doesn't work out, I might just try and make her some bunting with them. I have soaked them for a couple of hours in bleach, but some are just coloured too darkly for my liking. Here's the collection so far:

They're kinda like snowflakes- no two seem to be exactly the same

How cute are these hand-knitted, soft baby cardigans? Spotted at the Salvo's in Frankston. Very tempted last week when they were half price! (all clothing was, actually). Just never know if my taste is the same as my friends who have younger kids than mine. 
These would actually fit them- too small for my two.

Saw this fabric at Spotlight... excuse the photo, it's from my iPhone. Thought I might get some & attach it onto a big canvas. I might get another type of fabric (navy maybe?) and put his name on it as a feature. I wish I knew how to make this into an actual doona cover but worried the print might be 'too much' but it would look OK on the wall and not too overpowering. Am I making sense? His room is like a light sky powdery blue colour but it's very bright.

On the wall I think it would complement this pillow slip well (ignore the cream blanket- he stole that from the lounge room) and his lamp shade- not pictured.

Sound asleep on his birthday! Had to wake him up, he wasn't happy about it.

So that was last week. Onto our exciting weekend. We went to see the Napoleon exhibition and had high tea at the National Gallery of Victoria. I highly recommend it!! My little girl was in her element.

This painting took my breath away. So much so, we bought a print of it.
We've had quite alot of fun trying to decide where to place 'Our Napoleon'.

Onto the high tea:

 Mum and I started by enjoying a glass of Champagne (the real stuff!)

My mum and my daughter.

Nom nom nom. The flourless orange cakes were my favourite.

Finally, we finished the weekend with a walk on Balnarring beach. Then came home to have a lovely bath, play boardgames and have yummy vichyssoise soup for dinner. Hooray!

 What a brilliant time. What have you been up to?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pretty things for Miss 9's room

Lately I've been trying to find some cute things for Miss K's room, to make it a little more "tween" with a sweet, innocent twist. I hate licensed products for my kids rooms. I know that comment won't be popular but thought I'd just put that out there. Elmo is probably the only exception. He's so cute!

So she had alot of colours going on & I was thinking the look was way, way too 'busy'. 
I'm talking colours: purple, pale pink, dark pink, blue, red, white, silver, etc. Too much. 
I'm hoping to leave it now as purpley, white and silver themed (with a bit of glitz). 
I'd really love to be able to get her a chandelier, but we have low cielings so it would have to be a very low one. They can also be extremely expensive, depending on what you find. She currently has a plain oyster light. Still a step up from the ceiling fan my partner used to nearly hit his head on when Miss K was a baby, LOL. I shouldn't laugh at that should I...

MIL loves to buy her things but they don't always match- ie. her blue & red bedspread. I am really trying to cut back on the clutter too. So I'm going to fire some of the stuff she buys her right back to her place. Miss K loves everything so I don't necessarily want to get rid of the things that she buys her, it's not about that.  I just want to be more selective of the things we do keep so that it complements the room more. 

Also, there was way too much furniture in there. Tonight, gone: bookshelf, chest of drawers, dressing table & some books. I'm too tired to do the major cleanup and declutter. The rest of it'll have to happen on the weekend. I did replace the small chest of drawers (that had toys in it) with the Tall Boy from my sons' room. His room now looks like a state of emergency. That too, shall have to wait for another day.

Here are some things I'd love to put in her room:
(it can be dangerous having a new Masters store only a street away)

Maddox light fitting- $49.97
Yuka Marie $100
I love this 3 piece bistro setting, just think it might be too matchy-matchy with her bed.
 Would be cute to set up with a unique doiley in the middle
- taking inspiration from La Belle Miette's tables in Hardware Lane. 

Ok, enough dreaming...here are some actual items I've purchased for her bedroom recently:

Professionally framed Impressionist prints $7.99 each - Savers Frankston
Gorgeous purple cover for Miss K's bedroom $6.95  - Mornington Salvos
White crochet cushion cover $3.99 - Brunswick Savers

Cute chandelier bedside light $19.99 - Aldi
(It's actually white, though it looks beige lit up here)

Silk carnations- Lincraft... I think?!

Happy Tuesday everyone. Hope your day was productive.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Suddenly six... but so much older

Today Master J had his 6th Birthday party. His first big party out of home. We went to the Roller Skating rink, the same one the kids have been practising at for a few weeks now. Needless to say it was a fantastic thrill for him to have his own little people 'get around him' to celebrate. Here is my favourite photo of the day:

How did this happen??! (missing his first tooth here too)

It really was lovely today to be able to simply sit back and watch him play with his friends and enjoy each others company. I remember when I couldn't even have a shower without worrying about him, or what he was doing or if he would need me (hello, that baby witching hour, I don't miss you!).

So tonight sitting down, I had some time to reflect on the blessing he has brought to us all. I'd say his nature is fun loving, fast paced, intelligent, funny & insightful. I struggle to keep up with him most days and some of the things he contemplates & questions really do come from left field (but make complete sense), whilst at other times I feel that I know what he is going to say before he even says it. Even when we have our differences, I feel our bond is solid.

Parenting is such a journey. You're learning about each other every single day, that for many of us, I don't think you get any good at it until you're a Grandparent or even a Great Grandparent. I do know a few exceptions IRL however... you know who you are.

Well in order to celebrate, let's cue the cute baby shots from way back when, shall we...

Fathers Day 2006
Coo-ing and smiling at approx 6 weeks
Hangin' with Great Grandma on his first Christmas Day
Rolling over for the first time on Boxing Day
He had bad eczema until about 5 months combined with horrendous cradle cap,
before it started to clear up and his skin became significantly clearer & gorgeous.

On the move at 8-9 months

He was such a cuddly baby. I couldn't put him down. I truly felt like this was how you were meant to feel having a baby. Enjoyed every moment, after what I now realise was a horrible birth experience with Miss K, no ill feeling towards her, just how things turned out for us all at the time. A positive birth & bonding experience is just so important. I am so grateful I got to experience that 2nd time around.

I did learn after having Master J how strong I felt about breastfeeding that time second time around. I had a struggle first time & was way too afraid to seek advice. After his birth he was placed straight on my chest and he was able to suckle for about 3/4 hour. I truly feel this made a world of difference. First time around I held my daughter for all of 5 minutes & then was unable to hold her due to her health reasons until she was 3 days old. Heartbreaking. With Master J, I was also able to get advice promptly & will be forever grateful to those who were able to help at the time. I'd never, ever, discriminate anyone for not feeding (we went for 4 & 13 months each time) but I do believe if you have the tools, advice & education at hand before you give birth, you just might be able to overcome hurdles you might be facing, depending on the situation -not always to be though.

So much focus is placed on simply the birth, no one ever tells you how hard feeding can be for -let's face it- MOST people. It hurts. It's exhausting. You're always hungry- you might feel like you're eating for Australia. (It's not meant to hurt, but until you find your rhythm it bloody does!!). In our case, Master J had tongue-tie. We had to source a surgeon and the difference it made was immediate. If that was my first born I wouldn't have been brave enough to continue on. That's my advice for new mums: don't be afraid to seek help when you might need it, even if you think you're going alright. And always accept help when it's offered. Having a birth plan is great but on it make sure you put 'be open to everything' because you can't plan everything in life. But you can try your best.

And that's what I've been trying to do for my kids lately, for example, they have been offered play dates and I've allowed myself to let go of control a little & accept other people's (generous) help. I've allowed them to visit other peoples places without me. This is a huge step for me in the trust, faith and 'letting go' department let me tell you- type A personality all the way!! But oh, it has been really great for them & just the shy-but-newly-self-confident smiles I've been receiving back from them both have been so rewarding. I look forward to them having some more friends over soon too in return so I can repay the faith.

Suddenly six, but so much older...

~ Chris

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Closing your eyes & being open to new things

Closing your eyes and being at one with the moment
Today we were off to Skating lessons. A short time ago at a Christmas in July dinner we 'accidentally' won an auction item to have a fully catered skating party. I thought this would be a good idea for something completely different for the kids to try. In the Summer months they participate in Little Athletics, and I have to say, it has been so beneficial for their development. I love my little people dearly, but they can be very unco-ordinated (take after my side in the genes with that!). Since doing Little Athletics Miss K has gone from more than a year behind her peers at school to the generally accepted level. I'm very pleased for her! Massive effort on her part really listening to her (fantastic) coach. She also struggles with remembering instructions properly so I've noticed an improvement there too. As well as her motivation to give things a go when before she would have written something off as being ready-made for the Too Hard Basket. Sport is very good for them on many levels.

So in preparation for tomorrow's party, in the weeks leading up to the big day I thought it would be a good idea to actually embrace this sport with a focus on balance, concentration, skill and attitude. Surprise, surprise, the one who struggles the most with co-ordination has seemed to have benefited the most. While the one who usually fares a little better in the co-ordination front is struggling. I think this is in part to do with Master J's listening skills. Little dude who is always in a hurry! Even in his sleep, it seems (he strained his thumb falling out of bed last night, poor bugger- as you can see him inspecting in the first picture. It looks hillarious because he looks like he's checking out his nails).

A few pics from how it went down -don't even get me started with the safety gear, they have the full kit but refuse to wear it. I'm slowly grinding them down on that front:

Life can be so rewarding when you give things a try and succeed.

Hope you all had an enjoyable Saturday, I'm signing off to watch my Saints tackle the Filthy Pies.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

First post!

Hello out there.
Like possibly millions before me, I'm composing my first ever blog post. It's not actually very scary at all, unlike the picture I'd painted inside my brain. I think it helps to know that I'm no wordsmith. Have finally decided to take the plunge and create a little version of my world on the Internet. In the last year or two I've read so many lovely blogs & I feel now would be a good time to release a little creativity. I hope to present a real version of the things I'm currently enjoying from day to day and hope I'll not present as being too narcissistic.

Allow me to introduce myself a little, my name is Chris, I'm 29 (very tempted to type 28, is that the age we women start lying about our ages, girls?! Because in my head I keep sticking with that number). Here's a few more things about me and things I like:

I live on the Mornington Peninsula, have always lived here, and I absolutely love it! 

Red Bluff at Mornington
 Together with my partner, our 2 kids & one furbaby. We've been very blessed with our 'pidgeon pair' one girl and one boy. My ying and yang, they're complete opposites. Sometimes this tests me a great deal but deep down I really love the fact they're truly their own little people.

The two loves of my life

 I do enjoy AFL footy, love my Saints!

Mighty sainters
I like music. I'd post a picture of Darren Hayes here but I'm too scared to break copyright.

I do enjoy arty crafty affairs (but I'm barely dipping my feet in the water in any of my endeavors).

My current obsession is opshopping and everything vintage. Love the idea of how it is recycling and repurposing things that would otherwise end up neglected OR landfill. I also love to hear stories of things passed down with love from one generation to another.

Vintage Shoes: The Vintage Shed
I also love flowers. Wish I wasn't so terrified about bugs & spiders, well anything creepy crawly really. Flowers feed your heart.

Pierre De Ronsaad rose from my backyard

And cooking, of course. I love food. Food nourishes the soul.

Some of my baking, savoury mini quiches
Tea towel: Provincial Home Living

Look forward to meeting some new bloggy types and interacting with you.