#AtoZchallenge “P”

P is for Perfection

How to use the letter “P” into my family theme? I thought of Parenting– but l’ve talked about that. Planning a family? Hmmm l didn’t actually plan mine! So lm going to chat about Perfection it’s over rated!

When l was a first time Mother l stupidly thought l had to do everything perfectly. I think it might have seemed like l was doing okay, l think it was really my first child Jasmin was easy! So she made me look good. I thought l had to do everything perfectly l was kidding myself. There is no such thing as Perfection and l was the only one putting myself under that pressure (there’s another “P” word!)

When child number two came along Amber, Jasmin was 22 months old. Though Amber was also an easy baby, she was lazy! Jasmin Walked at 9 months, she spoke, she did stuff. Amber had her own language that apparently only Jasmin understood because she would say “My Sister needs a drink” Amber had beautiful blonde curls, which l fought over to get them brushed and looking neat! Both girls slept really well but Jasmin knew by the music on a TV l watched every day that it was “Bedtime Mummy, come on sister” and off they’d head to bed! Amber wouldn’t crawl, she wouldn’t talk and certainly wouldn’t walk until she was 22 months old!

Then along came Jarrah and things started to unravel. At about three years old life got hard! I thought “Wow! So this is what having a boy is like” but it wasn’t and it wasn’t until he was diagnosed with his ADHD and ODD that l realised nothing was going quite right and what had happened to my perfect life?!

I guess my eyes were opened to my lack of perfection when my first husband blamed me for the way Jarrah was “It’s your fault he’s a Mummy’s boy!” The Doctors tried to reassure me that was untrue but you know once a seed is sown it sprouts and then you begin to question.. “What did l do wrong? What should l have done? What could l have done differently?” Suddenly not only was l NOT perfect l was suddenly a failure and then the marriage went too and oh gosh now l was a single parent and flawed!

Not only did l fail my son l failed at my marriage vows. Then l was told in a fit of rage “If our Mother dies it’ll be your fault!” Because my ex sister and l had a disagreement and l refused to drive in the car with her to see our Mother. So now l’ve failed as a Daughter and Sister- gee 2000 was shaping up perfectly!! Then one day l was watching Oprah Winfrey and l had a light bulb moment when she was talking to Maya Angelou and one of them said ….

Image result for oprah quotes about when you know better

I cried A LOT! I realised l didn’t have to be Perfect, just Perfect for my children.

I’m the only one who tries to be perfect, for myself, for other people but really l know there’s no such thing as Perfection.

Now l do the best l can and be happy with knowing l did the best l could. I’ve stopped “Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda” and now l say that was then this is now moving right along!!

Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.

Salvador Dali

#AtoZChallenge “O”

O! How to work O into my theme!

O! It’s been concerning how to fit the letter O into my theme. As obviously don’t have any “O” named children. One Granddaughter who’ll you will meet at S has the middle name Olivia which is the female equivalent to my Dad’s middle name Oliver. There are our O’s

Hmm short post today OR l could think of some O words and tie them into my theme like “Organised” as anyone who is a parent will tell you Organisation is an important part of daily life. Especially if you are working parents but even if you are not there are still things that need Organising– lunches need to be made, we always made the school and work lunches the night before to make our mornings smoother. Breakfast needs to be organised and medications, school routines, drop offs and pick ups, luckily for me school has always been around the corner within walking distance. Then if you have sporty children practice and game days need organising and if you are on any committees, more organisation needed there!! And let’s not forget the most important two things, the family’s evening meal AND my personal favourite BEDTIME, all these things need organising! My husband worked a hard job leaving home at 7.00 am and returning by 6.00pm and so l would aim to be so organised he wouldn’t need to do anything at home. I offered to go back to work when Star son started school at 5 years old but he insisted l stay home for ease for school holidays and those occasional sick days.

I used those years to hone my home making skills. How could l get everything done up to an imaginary standard (it was only me putting this pressure on myself!) and then have anything left for me? I took myself off to Art Classes. One day a week l’d have a half morning to myself, another level of organisation needed to come into play since l had to force myself out of the house to walk down to that art class and get through the art class and get home. Some have said l have a mild form of agoraphobia, because l never went anywhere on my own or by myself. A social worker once accused me of hiding behind my children.

My Occupation was Mother first then wife. I have always claimed l don’t earn a wage unless you count my wages in hugs and kisses. My husband recently retired from paid work and he was telling someone while we were on holidays, she turned to me and asked “Do you still work?” And somewhere the quip came “Oh! I’ll never be retired lm a Full-time Grandma!” For a long time l felt guilty about NOT working but without any training besides housework and child raising what could l do? Then l went through that period that l guess most Mothers go through “What is my purpose in this life? Why am l here?” Being at home all day can be overwhelming too much alone time means too much thinking time, l got sad wondering “Is this it? Is there nothing more for me? Did Jehovah create me “just” to be this?!” So l was having a whine to an online friend who pointed out that Jehovah’s plan is not ours to know but that maybe it wasn’t what l was “supposed to be doing” but who l was raising, maybe my children and indeed Grandchildren were my life’s work. Maybe l WAS doing exactly what l was supposed to be doing!” Light bulb moment!

Organising has always been my thing. When my Star Son was 6 months old my husband and l volunteered to help with a Rock n Roll Club. He smartly nominated me to be Secretary and then added “Oh she can do the Treasury too! She’s home all day!” My Organisation skills just back fired because now l had Five Children a Husband and a Rock n Roll club to run! But that’s OKAY because he was nominated as President. Part of our Official duties were write a section of the magazine his section was “Prez Sez” and mind was “Kimmy Kittens corner” l had to do reminders or whatever Secretary stuff l needed to share and of course countless emails and in those days Snail Mail. It was hard work especially when we had to pick up, pack up and post off 200 magazines four times a year!! All over the world! Then l was offered the chance to do an article in the magazine, huge! So l did and it was an amazing thrill l think l ended up writing four articles Merv Benton, Hillbilly Hellcats, Wanda Jackson and the Donettes. We were also able to attend live shows so we could interview people or review their show or promote their CDS. Which meant sometimes dressing up 50’s style and dancing the night away. It’s a wonder l wasn’t like Cinderella and turning into a pumpkin at Midnight! And then came the Radio shows. ALL of these things, Secretary/Treasurer/article writer/ Radio shows these all took huge amount of time and energy and yes! Organisation but we had a great time we had all five of our children on duty, selling raffle tickets at dances and taking tickets at the front door, setting up and packing up and of course dancing the night away! People knew if they expected to see us they expected at least one child more often than not all five!

Another organisation skill lm famous for is party planning! My children have always had themed parties. Clowns, Circus, Princess, all kinds! When the Bloke turned 50 we had an “Hawaiian 5-0h” party, l made every guest a name tag with their Hawaiian name and they all received leis and l even cooked a full Hawaiian menu, us girls all wore grass skirts and played Hawaiian music! Some of his work friends came and thought how outrageous l was planning this! The whole house was decorated and because February in Australia is the end of Summer we had a hot steamy night! And there is another O word “Ohana” it’s Hawaiian for Family!!

For my 40th we had an “Arabian nights” theme complete with a real belly dancer and Turkish food! I decorated the house like a palace and the children loved it!! Jasmin’s 21 was Burlesque themed and we all learnt to do special dances and hired Burlesque costumes and again had a real burlesque dancer attend, all her favourite foods and burlesque music. When l do a thing l go all out! Amber’s 21st was a Masquerade party black and silver theme. We party hard!

Our Best Themed party was our Medieval Wedding. We had both been married previously and so decided this time let’s have fun. So my Bestie and l spent 15 months planning this opulent wedding, fancy invitations, the whole house turned into a castle. We even made shields and invested in candelabra for each wedding table. The whole bridal party and most of our guests decked out In Medieval garb, our celebrant had contacts with a reenactment group so we hired real swords for the Blokes to carry and everyone had a medieval name my Bestie was Lady Hawk, my husband Lord Robert while l was Lady Kim and our Star son just turned two was “Prince of Cute!” We also had some bird keepers attend in costume with a Wedge Tail Eagle and a Kestrel for photos, we got married in a grove of Peppercorn trees named “Peppercorn Chapel” and we were hand fasted and jumped the broom and each child jumped with us to signify a joining of two families. A real bag piper piped us into place. What an amazing day! One of the guests contacted the local paper who sent a photographer and then the big newspaper contacted us and asked if we would share the details in a double page spread for their wedding special.

The Blokes with their swords.. Rob holding “The Price of Cute“
Being handfasted.

Oh dear this post has gotten so long so lm going to stop but l realise l can incorporate more O words.. maybe l’ll continue tomorrow when there’s no #AtoZchallenge post required.

#AtoZchallenge “N”

Letter N

I sat here last night with my second daughter who is currently 38 weeks pregnant, anytime now baby V will be here. Another tiny branch on our expanding Family Tree, another little leaf! And l spoke to my daughter about letter N..

“Tomorrow is letter N in my Blogging challenge” l told Amber- my first blog posting! “How can l use N to relate to family. We have no N names” We do but l divorced that Sister so she remains nameless.

And then it hit me… “Names” they start with N. And it’s such a volatile subject, you either Love or Hate your name. You can put up with it or change it but it’s uniquely yours.

My name is Kim Lorraine Hine (born Scarffe) I got a lot of teasing at school, l guess most kids do. First you get the silly rhyming sing song teasing “Kim Dim Sim” and then you get the stupid ones where they change your name from Scarffe to Necktie or Neck warmer. Kids are cruel. I didn’t much like my name and then a boy called Kym came to our class and they started the “Kim and Kym sitting in the tree K I S S I N G” sing song. No wonder l spent all my free time in the school library- books don’t tease you! And My Dad always said “If you’ve got a book you’ve got a friend!”

I once asked the Mother “Why did you name me Kim? Why that name?” Why not Kimberly a little more glamorous or Sophia or Margaret.. Why Kim? Her reply “I didn’t name you!” Ohhh shot down! Apparently the women who was to be my “Godmother” was so excited about my arrival much more than the Mother! She made my whole wardrobe and bedding sewn and knitted and crocheted, according to the Mother to thank her for her kindness the Mother gave her naming rights, she named me “Kim Lorraine” I hate Lorraine. I never tell my middle name l sign documents Kim L Hine.

I never did get to ask that beautiful lady my favourite adult, besides my Dad- “Aunty Kath” why she named me that but l did know she never had a daughter only sons, maybe that would have been HER girl name. My childhood years l spent a LOT of time with Aunty Kath and Uncle Bill. It always seemed as though she had so much more time for me. She let me help cook and clean and we’d catch the tram to the shops and l’d walk the dog with Uncle Bill each afternoon and play in their garden, surrounded by books, games and lessons on Uncle Bills piano. Aunty Kath taught me to knit. Only happy memories of time spent with Aunty Kath and Uncle Bill.

When l went to see her to tell her l was expecting Jasmin she was over the moon though by then she had her own Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren. By the time Jasmin was born l had a huge package of outfits all lovingly sewn and crocheted, dresses, jackets with matching bootees and bonnets and blankets! She won her first baby show in an outfit made by Aunty Kath!

So when it came time to choose my children’s names l had a long list. My boy was always going to be “Travers John” because l read a Mills and Boon book once and the Scottish Laird was named Travers and he had an Irish deer hound called Megan (yes l wanted the dog too! I love them!) and of course John after my Dad!

For some reason l don’t recall now but all the names l had chosen for a girl for Jasmin (Apart from Scarlett Olivia which my in-laws quickly outvoted me on!) started with “J” if you read My blog post for J you’ll have read the name choices and eventually we decided on Jasmin (after the flower) and Elizabeth (after the Dr. who delivered her) my Father in law quickly called her “Jezza” after his favourite football player at the time Carlton’s great Alex Jesaulenko. One of my Sisters tried to call her “Jazzy” and l hated it! I refused to call her that. When she was about 8 yrs old The Mother lived in a block of units and there was an elderly Russian Man he called her “Jasminka” because he told us that’s what he would call her in Russian and eventually it got shortened to “Minka”

Then came Amber named by the Dr. because l really had not chosen a girls name she was “Amber Lynn” just randomly plucked Lynn- someone suggested Lorraine like my middle name l objected strongly! Amber Lynn it was. My then husband, always called her Bambi because her first Christmas l had brought a plush reindeer and had it on display Amber loved that deer and we called it Bambi. So forever after Amber and Bambi were inseparable. Amber Bambi now just “Ambee” or “Bambee”

By the time the boy actually arrived l was so over Travers it was no longer a choice. Whatever name he had his middle name was John. So l went to see my In Laws and took my list.. Noah- Nope too religious. Ezekiel- nope the same l was trying to appeal to my very Catholic Mother in law by choosing biblical names. Rhett- too flashy. Travers- no l forget that reasoning. And so l suggested Nature themed names River, Thorn, Ridge (Bold and the beautiful TV show was popular then) no no NO! And then l said Jarrah! Jasmin is a flower, Amber is the petrified sap of a tree and Jarrah is a big tall Australian eucalyptus tree. My FIL said “If you do- l will only call him “Woody” l didn’t mind that since Toy Story was popular then too and the leading character voiced by Tom Hanks was “Woody” the cowboy!

True to his word my FIL never called him his name or either of my girls they were always Jezza, Bambee and Woody. And if you can’t have pet names with your Grandparents who can you?!

Does it really matter what name they have? I thought no one would shorten Jasmin or Amber, they became Jas and Amb- they did! Jarrah that l fought so hard to name is simply Jay and child number 4 you’ll meet him at W he’s had so many names l sometimes yell at him with ALL of his versions of his name.

Names can be traditional, hand me down names like for example the use of “John” In my family both my birth sons and Eldest Grandson have the middle name John after my Dad. I would have named Jarrah his first name John except my Sister best me! And his Middle name is Aaron after Elvis who had died just two weeks before my nephew was born.

Names can also be cyclical like when Jasmin was born on 6th July 1990 there had been six Jessica’s born in June now there are a gazillion 30 year old Jessica’s walking around! And then you get those names like “George” for example made popular by Princess Kate and how many William’s were born after Diana named her first born Prince William.. my Star Son is William (but not for that reason you’ll meet him in W) but then you get the people who take different names and blend them or spell them differently or mix up the letters.. and then you have Michael Jackson who named his child “Blanket” really??! Love them or hate them we all have a name!

My husband you’ll meet at R is Robert no middle name Hine l say “Trouble is his middle name” and everyone calls him Rob, he’s not a Bob or a Bobby he’s Rob or in my case he’s “Bloke” he’s called me “His Shiela” for so long people thought my name was Sheila and so if he accidentally calls me “Kim” lm wondering “Uh oh what did l do wrong?”

I’ve been called Daughter, Sister, Cousin, Wife, ex wife, daughter in law, Bestie, Mother and now Grandmother is by far my most favourite Name.

#AtoZchallenge “M”

M is for Motherhood
M is half way!

Today let’s discuss Motherhood.

Touchy subject because we all have a “Mother” some of us have more than one, Adopted Mothers, Birth Mothers, Step Mothers, and those we WISH were our Mothers. Then there are Mothers in Law. A whole other breed but still they are Mothers.

I’ve met a lot of Mothers, had two Mother in laws and met my Brothers Adoptive Mother, l am a Step Mother, l am a Mother in Law and oh boy have l had Mothers l wished were my own Mother!

And from all these Mothers l have learnt things, taken little bits of their Mothering and made mental notes of “What Not to do” Still that doesn’t make me a perfect Mother, l don’t think there is any such thing. I am still making mistakes and still learning as l go even though my children are now “technically” adults.

I have regrets in the ways l have handled some aspects of my mothering. Things l wished l had spoken out about, got more help with. Things l “Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda” done.

I wonder if the way we Mother is directly linked to the way we were Mothered? I have always tried to Mother and now Grand Mother differently from my own Mother. Simply because l know she could have done better.

One of my favourite movies is “The Devine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood” I love this movie for several reason one is because of the Mother/ Daughter relationships, one because l wish l had a “Sisterhood” and also because it’s set in the deep South of America and l really am drawn to that part of America!!

But the one line from the movie that really kills me and makes my sob out loud every.single.time was when Sidda Lee’s Father comes to see her after the “Ya Ya’s” have kidnapped her to “tell her what she doesn’t think she knows” and Sidda asks her Daddy “Were you loved enough?” And her Daddy replied “Oh- What is Enough?!”

Was l loved enough? By my Dad yes, by my Mother? I don’t believe so. Ask my Daughters that question- l’d be interested to hear their replies….. or would l??

Was l too busy doing menial stuff, cooking, cleaning, laundry to give them love? Is Love tied up to how much time we spend with them or how much money we spend on them? Is Love how many designer clothes they wear or how many sports/dance/extra curricular activities they do? Is Love helping them with their homework or plying with them? For each of us it will differ.

Some Mother’s have more money but less time so they might buy more gifts to make up for less time. Some Mothers might stay home and spend their time with their children and have less money but more time. Who can say which is right or wrong and despite our best intentions we still might be doing Mothering wrong for those children. For me personally it was the stay home and less gifts route. They did not get brand name stuff but they had a safe home, home cooked meals and me waiting for them each afternoon to nag them to do their homework and make them snacks. Is that love or did they miss out?

On Sunday l talked about Babies not coming with instruction manuals and it’s true for Mothers too. When a Baby is born so too is a Mother but apart from the basics how to dress, feed and keep this small bundle alive we are not given a manual on the right way to Mother. We have to learn by trial and error and each child is different and might want or need more or less Mothering.

If any of my children read this blog post please know l tried to love you to my best ability and yes lm sure l’ve failed you in ways big and small. Maybe you can learn from my failings and not do that to your own children. Mothering is hard and dirty and thankless but lm glad l did it.

#AtoZchallenge “L”

L is for Lee

Today lm going to share my Cousin Lee.

Lee Jane McGrath and l have grown up almost like sisters. I am 603 days older than her. Our Mothers were Sisters. We are both the youngest of Five children.

Lee and l went through school together since we both lived close to school and lived around the corner from each other, seven houses apart!

When Lee was Five her Mum passed away and so the neighbour and my Mother stepped in to help with raising Lee.

We started secondary school together and only because of Lee’s brother Reg, who swore up and down- if my Mother let me go to the Secondary school with Lee he would personally keep a close eye on us both. So she agreed.

Lee’s brother was our protector, one day a pair of older girls thought it would be fun to pick on the new girls, until we went running to Reg who was the school’s heart throb! He soon set them straight and they made sure no one else ever bothered us! I think before l left school Lee and l had only been in two different class rooms.

I left at 16 years old and went to work, while Lee stayed and completed year 12 and l think it was a period of maybe three years we lost contact, this of course was before social media.

Eventually we re-connected and by that time l had married and moved to Preston, so Lee moved into our spare room and found herself a job eventually moving into her own rental in Preston. We still had our coffee dates and visits.

We’ve always done things together including being pregnant together. Lee had Tahnee in July and l had Jarrah 40 days later. And she moved into a house around the corner again.

Eventually l met The Bloke and we attended a party thrown by a group of people we chatted to online in the Melbourne locals room and Lee met her Bloke Craig.

Lee and Craig moved to Doncaster about half an hour away and for a while, maybe a total of twelve months, we were NOT living “around the corner” l moved to Sunbury but we had visits, Children’s birthdays and bbq’s, lucky for us The Blokes got on well too!

When l had Star Son we decided we needed a bigger house and so we brought this house and offered Lee and Craig to rent our other house. They agreed and so once again we were living “Around the corner” then Lee announced She was pregnant and so l had Star Son in January and Lee had Rachael in November, 289 days apart. Our children have grown up together with their cousins all going to the same schools, and being cousins just like Lee and l did!

Lee and Craig eventually moved to another part of Sunbury but we spent time together whenever we could. Lee works in a school and so when they needed someone to supervise her school’s Year 12 Exams, she suggested me for the job. At first l didn’t think l was up for the task but it was so much fun dressing up and going to work with Lee each day, about three weeks of the year l was “Working Mum” but more so l was spending heaps of time with Lee!

School holidays mean we get to watch movies and have arty days, today we spent the day together shopping and watching movies at her latest house, surprisingly “Around the corner” from me.

Lee is the exact opposite of me! She’s outspoken and opinionated, she speaks her mind. I remember one time we went to borrow a book from the library and apparently Lee had an outstanding fine. We both argued that the book had been returned and it must have been their error . Lee’s voice got louder as she got angrier and then suddenly she stamps her foot and yells “Well lm NOT PAYING IT!” And storms out of the library. I could have died and wished the floor would open and swallow me!

Another time when we were in Grade 6, Lee loved the TV “The Incredible Hulk” so one day we had a rainy day time table and we’re inside during the lunch break. Lee was telling us all about the show the previous night and going through the actions about how the Incredible Hulk with his hands like claws ripped down the wall, she jumped up on the table and started clawing at the school room posters, l was sitting facing the door and had seen our teacher walk in, trying to warn her as she’s pretending she’s green and angry and ripping down walls she lets out this blood curdling “ROOOOAR” at the same time our very strict teacher yells out in his deep scary voice “Miz MCGRATH!!” Her roar died mid Roar and she slid off the table. And we are still many years later, having fits of laughter over that day!!

Most of my childhood memories and almost all my adult memories have Lee in them, we’ve been together always and hopefully we will always be.

#AtoZchallenge “K”

K- Family starts with Kim
A to Z 2021

With my theme being family l kind of had a rough idea of what each letter would be about so on each days page in my journal l wrote notes. Here is is yesterday’s page!

Heading of journal page for letter J

But then when l got to “K” l was at a blank. I could write about “Kindness” but sometimes they’re not very kind to each other. It comes from having so many different personalities in one family but l think if they were all the same- might it get boring? They keep me on my toes! What else starts with K? Oh hey! I do!

I guess this branch of the family tree, the only few branches l count as “Family” started or branched off to include me so let’s talk about me.

Let’s insert one of my favourite Toby Keith Song right here..

Well, this is my blog, so l mostly talk about stuff that relates to me. Sometimes blogging is a good way to clear your head, sometimes, mostly l brain dump in my journal. That the first thing you should know. I journal about everything. If l said half the things l think or felt oh gosh l don’t know what would happen. Some people are not afraid to speak their minds, they say what they feel and they get on with their lives.

My husband is a classic example. At the start of our marriage l was so NOT used to that way of conversing l just shut down. He would inevitably ask “Are we going to discuss this?” I’d be shaking in my shoes and just shut down. Where as he! He would calmly get his point across and ask for my input but on the spot l could never say what l think, thought or felt, so l shut down! He on the other hand having said his piece, cleared his mind, would roll over and go to sleep! Then KA-Ching ! My mind would switch on and l would magically have all the replies l should have said.. which meant that there’s no sleep for me that night! I’d get myself out of bed take my journal and creep to the living room and say it all there, nice and safe and quiet! Thankfully l don’t do that anymore and l’ve asked him to please bring up his concerns earlier in the evening before bed so that l don’t have to miss out on sleep!!

My cousin is also good at this (you’ll meet her at letter L- oh so that’s tomorrow) .. she just says what she feels and moves on. I appreciate people who can do this even at my “almost middle age” I cannot do it. I think about what l want to say and have imagined conversations in my head but my throat chakra is REALLY blocked and it never comes out so l write! Which makes me seem, l guess weak or a door mat and yes maybe to a point l am OR maybe the Mother taught me one valuable lesson “If you can’t say anything nice- don’t say it at all” pity SHE never took her own advice!

One time an older Sister, there are two, we have different Fathers and l was never allowed to forget that. We had a disagreement, the middle sister started it, and got the older one involved, and as usual l could say nothing against either of them, so l decided to write her a letter. Looking back probably not the wisest choice l made but l got my thoughts and feelings out and according to her “mortally wounded her” would l take it back? Maybe- l honestly don’t know. One time l was having counselling and all this “sister stuff” came up so l rang her and spoke to her and she told me she still had that letter, she said she would be prepared to make a copy and send it to the therapist but she- my therapist said that was against privacy rules or something. I wondered then “What had I written that had caused her to hold on to a letter that apparently had “Mortally wounded” her.. why hadn’t she burnt it?” Maybe because it was true?!

My eldest daughter is starting to find her voice. She has always, actually, thankfully both my girls are more brave than me! Maybe l mothered them differently- l know l did! because that was my goal in Parenting “Be the opposite of my own family”

Another thing about me is l am a book worm. Even from a little girl, l loved books My Dad started that! To the point of perhaps hoarding books! If l liked one author l’d obsess about having ALL their books! I rarely buy new books lm happy to rescue them from library sales or second hand shops! My daughters know any second hand shop we go to that’s where l head to first! But then l read Marie Kondo’s book “The magic of tidying” and while l embraced a lot of her principals and got rid of clothes and items and nick nacks that didn’t “Spark Joy” l never embraced her 30 book rule! I did however use her “Speak Joy” method to cull a LOT of my bookshelf and make way for new books!

Art- that’s another things about me. Before April 2020 and Covid came l used to do something arty every. Single. Day! But when #lockdown came my creativity left me. I’d go down to my art studio and just cry. I guess it was the one safe place that l could do that. I cleaned it out, set up art projects and then l’d just sit there and cry! It’s taken until this year April to feel like it’s time to “restart my art” so l am currently doing a challenge on Instagram with some people with a list of prompts, so far so good let’s see how that goes!

Another random fact about me. I walk everywhere. I have had my driver’s license for 30 years and only driven a handful of times. It’s literally only my ID. I don’t enjoy it at all BUT l love long road trips! I get my crochet done, l get reading done, l sleep well in the car, l’ve even been known to write letters in the car. Luckily my Bloke likes to be in charge so driving for him is not an issue! I try and get 12,000 steps a day and have been known to run up and down the stairs to get those last few steps!

Sad movies.. “always make me cry” as the lyric to that song by Sue Thompson goes. I love to watch a good tear jerking movie my favourites are “Bridges of Madison County” and “Broken Bridges” and of course”The Horse Whisperer” and “Gone with the wind!”

Music- its mixed as mixed as my emotions l love Country first and foremost, old and some new Luke Bryant is my latest discovery.. you tube has a lot to answer for! When l meet the Bloke (Letter R!) he introduced me to Rock n Roll. So of course l knew traditional stuff like Elvis and Fats Domino and yes Johnny Cash but NO! He was talking about the really old stuff, Elvis before the Army and Carl Perkins and the likes. Then we found a happy medium “Rockabilly”- Rock n roll and Country’s love child! we love it. We used to do a community radio program called “Shake, Rattle and Roll” that was our opening and closing theme song. Then we took a break, realised we missed it and went back with “Rock Therapy” also our theme song, sung by Johnny Burnette. In that show we introduced the really old music and done gospel. Each Grandchild has a song that Grandpa plays for them, each of our Children have their own song in fact Star Son (letter W) was born at 4:00pm with Janis Martin singing “Billy Boy!” From the womb he had his song! Now due to listening to music coming from various bedrooms l enjoy Pink and Eminem especially the Puke Song!

We talked about Tabu perfume and New Balance runners a few days ago (it was Sunday!) but l also love chocolate and if it’s got peppermint bonus points! I love cake! Doesn’t matter which type l love cake! Which loves my hips! And mostly l don’t care because my family love me as l am or they do a great job pretending! But sometimes l get on a “health kick” and l’ll cut coffee, I’ve given up sugar and most dairy, but my weakness and it’s one glass every day is Coke a cola. I love the “real thing” but l don’t mind Pepsi either!

So in a nutshell that’s me Kim Lorraine Hine née Scarffe. B- 11th October 1967 I’m not scared to age! It’s just a number and 50 was always my go to number. But when l got there l made the mistake of not having a party instead the whole extended family came out for dinner.. look out 55- when l am “middle age” lm having a huge party!!

#AtoZchallenge “J”

J is where a couple became a family

My theme for this challenge is family. So having said that my “Family” began with J. By the time l got to “J” l was starting to realise that the “family” l was born into we’re not always pleasant. Which is why when l say “Family” it’s usually the ones l have given birth to, Married, inherited and the ones- the very few- l have included in my life.

In 1989 much to my horror l discovered l was pregnant. All those years l had sworn and declared “I am never having children EVER!” All changed in a heartbeat when the Doctor announced “You’re expecting!” It took me a while to shake off the fogginess, stunned! I thought he was going to tell me l had another urinary tract infection! He had told me a few months earlier that often these things right themselves after women have a baby! I had said “Well l’ll take the antibiotics thanks!”

Immediately l went out and brought a journal. I started writing everything down! I remember once asking The Mother some facet of my own childhood only to be told “How would l bloody remember that it was all so long ago!” recalling that conversation l never asked her anything again and decided if my children came to me l would tell them whatever they asked! So l wrote down every.little.thing!

July 6th 1990- July is another J! We had names picked, back then at that hospital they were not in the habit of revealing the baby’s gender so she was a total surprise. We had picked Jessica as her name. So when the Dr asked we proudly told them “Jessica” she said “Ahh Jessica is popular this year l delivered six in June!” I glanced at my husband “We cannot have Jessica!” So we thought about our second choice “Jade” but no middle name.. suddenly she was there.

I had been terrified of giving birth having been raised with older sisters who loved to recall the horrors of child birth, l was convinced l was going to die, my J was born on her due date and back then only 8% of Australian women did that. She was laying on my back bone and gosh the back ache was terrible, this lovely Dr said “Get in the shower” then she told my husband “Get in and do this massage” all three of us in the shower she showed him exactly how to work the pain out of my back and then all of a sudden our “J” did a huge flip and the back ache left l could have kissed that Dr who was slightly surprised at how well it had worked and quickly got ready to deliver this baby!

One look at this precious little bundle her name appeared “Jasmin” after my favourite perfumed flower, one l have never ever been able to grow! Except now l had a living “Jasmin” but no middle name yet.

Once the Dr gave Jasmin to me she told me “we’ll call the baby Dr to look at her” l didn’t pick up on that, first baby, shocked that l hadn’t died l asked the Dr “Is that all?” She was confused and asked “Why, did you want something else?” I told her the horror stories as she sat and held my hand and l told her “I didn’t die” she patted my hand and said “not only did you NOT die you did it all with no pain relief, no screaming, no hysteria, you’re a champion and you must have a high pain threshold.” She was still there when my Dad also “J” John, arrived her shook her hand and thanked her for her job and then he escorted my newborn to the special care nursery. He said “I’m going with her!” They tried to argue and he said to me “I won’t let anything happen to my little Boo” and just like that off they went to special care.

Jasmin had been born with Group B strep and so she spent all her time in the special care nursery and l would go there and feed and interact with her. They were making up her name card for the humidity crib and asked “What is her name?” We told them “Jasmin” the nurse asked “Any middle name?” I asked “What is Dr McKenzies first name?” She said “Oh Elizabeth!” I said “Yes! Her name is Jasmin Elizabeth”

The third day l went to nursery and had a really old bitchy nurse, she was rough with both Jasmin and I and l left in tears after she rudely told me “Well if she survives today she should be ok, these babies usually die by the third day!” What??! Huh?! Die?! I stumbled back to my room and called my husband in tears, he came straight over and as he arrived so too did my Dr who wanted to know about the tears. I explained and she was really angry and went marching down there, my husband followed and said she ripped shreds off that nurse! The Dr used to do her ward rounds with her student midwives and would always proudly tell them “This one is named after me!” The special care nurse had told her the reasoning behind Jasmin’s name. Jasmin’s daughter Aria is also an Elizabeth!

Jasmin was the start of my family and as a baby she was my easiest. Slept through the night at three weeks, did everything she was supposed to do, walked at nine months. I guess Jehovah gave me an easy one to start with!

Amber was the opposite, didn’t walk until 22 months! And then came our third instalment another “J” and a very much anticipated BOY! Finally we were getting our boy. Dream pregnancy no morning sickness, small weight gain all was going well until week 37 apparently the waters surrounding him were leaking and so quickly within a few days l was admitted to hospital and he was induced two weeks early.

August 24th 1994.

Jasmin had been exactly 8 pounds. Amber 9 pound 1 oz and then l had “Jarrah John” 7 pound 7oz. Very different. He was long and gangly and his Grandmother said “Ohh he looks like a skinned rabbit!” She never learnt her own rule “If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all”

Finally our family was complete. Two beautiful girls and now a boy. But there’s that saying “Be careful what you wish for” because almost from the start things went wrong. First he had an un- decended teste, requiring surgery, then at seven weeks on my birthday! He was diagnosed with pneumonia. Rushed into the children’s hospital and kept for a week! The Dr’s wouldn’t let me stay with him because l had two other children who needed me BUT those other children had a Father and Grandparents who could have watched them but l was not given any choice!

While Jarrah was in hospital they also discovered he had “clicky hips” and so was fitted with a harness he had to wear for months except for bathing! So much for my “perfect son”

For a while things went smoothly and yes after all his scares l did treat him with kid gloves and l did spend more time babying him l felt like l had to make up for that time l’d missed with him. Comments started being voiced about “spoiling him” and him being “Mummy’s boy” but l justified all of that and went on rocking him.

Time for Jarrah to start kindergarten. I just “assumed” l soon learnt not to do that! That he would take to Kindy like his sisters had, Jasmin and Amber were both in school by then. Happily settled! Not so with Jarrah from day one he would not seperate from me. At first l stayed with him but that made it worse. Then l’d go home in tears listening to his retreating screams only to be phoned to say “come get him!”

Primary school was even worse! He never settled, l often spent days in his classroom encouraging him to do the work. Going to school excursions to mostly keep Jarrah in check. My husband and l stopped talking about it. Until we got called to the Principals office and then he blamed me for “babying” him. Long story short, she suggested he get screened for anything. Lots of tests and counselling, and Jarrah had a diagnosis and l had a broken marriage.

ADHD ODD to start with- medication and therapy and gosh it’s been a long haul for my much wanted son. Jarrah has not had an easy life, so many different medications, then none at all he decided he didn’t want them. Life has been up and down and there have been long periods of time when Jarrah and l have taken a time out from each other. Because no matter how much you love someone sometimes you’re toxic together.

The final “J” for today is my Father in Law Jock. Actually he was christened Jack lm not sure where Jock came from but it’s how l knew him. Jock’s birthday was 30th July, one day before my own Father John. Do you sometimes wonder if you attract that which you miss the most? My Dad died April 1992 and l met Jock in 2001. But as soon as l met Jock l thought he’s so much like my Dad! And l loved him immediately especially because Jock took the time to interact with a seven year old Jarrah who was in the middle of some horrific stuff. And rather than ignoring him he took the time to get to know Jarrah and Jarrah thrived on that too.

When my Star Son, final child (you’ll meet him at letter W) was little Jock was hands on with the boys. But then he got sick with liver cancer we all had to watch him fade away. One time we were visiting and as we put the children into the car a plane flew overhead and Jock and l both looked up. He asked me “Do you like flying Kim?” I replied l did l love the feeling of strapping into a seat and knowing when l get out adventures await! I told Jock l couldn’t wait until the children were older so l could travel more. Jock looked over at where l stood and asked “Will you do me a favour?” I said of course if l could he went on “Go to Egypt and see the pyramids, they were my favourite place ever!” It was easy to make that promise it was already on my “must see” list because l have a photo of my Dad on a camel in front of the pyramids, he’d been there during WW2 and l had always wanted to go there!

Last year April 19th when my MIL left this world to meet her Jock my husband said “We need to go to Egypt” and so the planning began! My MIL had once told me her favourite place was Morocco and so l asked The Bloke could we add Morocco to our itinerary for Tanny! But then of course Covid has stopped all travel plans so l don’t know when or even if we’ll ever get to Egypt but the planning is still happening.

#AtoZchallenge “I”

I is for Inara
A to Z letter I

“I” was always going to be tricky, not just for my theme but possibly for most. I wasn’t going to use my “I” because it makes me sad but l decided instead to make today an open letter.

I is for Inara Rose who is my first born Grandchild. Inara is a Persian name meaning “Shining light” such a pretty name. Her Mother and my middle son (you’ll meet him Monday at J) used to date and had broken up before he learnt he was going to be a Father. When l got the call from the social worker asking me if l was aware of her l had to be honest and said “I had heard rumours” My Son had come to me and said “She said…” but then “He said..” and then things got very murky. We weren’t really sure. I told the Social worker whom l spoke to frequently that we would require a DNA test and if indeed this was his child “we” as a family would step up and if allowed, help in the raising of this new little girl.

My Son might not have made a lot of good choices in his short life but when he took that DNA test that told him the truth, to my delight he stepped up, he grew up! And l stood with him. Amber also took a great interest and would attend the court cases helping J to understand the legal jargon and keep him focused on the baby steps, he needed to keep on taking. We attended a family mediation session where the Maternal Grandmother refused to make any eye contact with me at all. She refused to discuss anything with Amber in the room and in the end l spent most of the session talking to Inara’s young Mum who was at least willing to talk. We were fighting a loosing battle.

We went through police checks and home checks, anyone who would ever see this child was background checked, why not? We had nothing to hide and as l told the social worker “All we would like is to have visitation rights. Let her know her cousins and Aunts and Uncles and US her Grand parents”

In November 2013 we had a supervised visitation with Inara and the Social worker. All went well. Paperwork was in place and it looked like we might be able to get to know this precious little girl who looked just like her Dad. DNA is powerful and looking at them together my heart ached! You hear horror stories about young Fathers, especially- walking away from their children but J was not like that at all. Suddenly life started to look brighter for him. He set aside his anxieties and caught the train to a weekly meeting where the Maternal Grandmother would drop off Inara and J would spend the day with supervised bonding with his daughter and learning in short how to look after her. Reports were written everything looked rosy, we had her favourite nappies her formula everything he needed to take care of her, one more court visitation and we would be approved to have visitations and she could come to our home, we had a car seat we had her cot, we were all set to go.. until the day before visitation would begin! Somehow, Someway the Maternal Grandmother wore the Social worker down, no, actually she BROKE the social worker who asked to be removed from our case!! And ALL visitations stopped and that was that. We’ve never seen her since! For a while l would contact her Mother on Facebook to ask what to buy Inara for her birthday, for Christmas, asking always “Is there anything she needs?” But her Mother appeared to be stuck in a place between her controlling Mother and me wanting to secretly help out. In the end l stopped because it seemed like l was annoying her.

Occasionally Amber will see the Mother around our town and once she even saw Inara and she came home and said “Oh Mum it was like looking at a little J” and each time my heart breaks a little bit. Inara is missing out on us as much as we are missing out in her.

Dear Inara Rose,

I hope and pray that one day you’ll want to know your Father. I hope one day you’ll come looking for him and ask questions. It’s so much easier these days with Facebook and the Internet and each year l write you a letter on your birthday and post it publicly on my Facebook so that if you ever google your name my letters might show up to you. I hope you come looking for us, I hope that we can let you know our side of the story and despite what you think you know about your life, you don’t know yet, our side of your story. Your files will all have my details my phone numbers and home address are still the same and so when you come l’ll be here with open arms to welcome you to our family, six cousins, two aunts, two uncles, Grandparents and a Dad who misses you every day.

Inara Rose you are loved, have always been and will always be.

Lots of love,

Your Paternal Grandma xox

#AtoZchallenge “H”

H is for Harvey

Today is letter “H” and since my theme is “Family” l could do Happiness but in truth there is only one “H” l need to introduce you to and that’s my darling “Prince Charming” he’s our sixth Grandchild in the countdown and boy number three. He’s our “bulldozer boy” he’s into everything at full speed.

If there’s a bump to be found, a skinned knee, a cut lip or a bruise anywhere Harvey Boy will attract it like a magnet! He only knows one speed and that’s flat out. He likes to climb, and bounce- this child has no fear!

Harvey Boy was born Christmas night in 2019. Harvey is the youngest of three children belonging to daughter number one (her letter is J)

As a Grandparent you’re not allowed to have favourites but each child has something special no one else has got and for me Harvey boy is my snuggler. Right from birth he’s been my cuddling baby. As l would rock him and nurse him l’d pat his little back and sing songs. Now when ever he comes to greet me with his own hugs and kisses his little hand is usually patting my back! When l was writing each child postcards from Tasmania to send home, l kept telling them l was missing my hugs. Harvey is such an enthusiastic hugger he squeezes with all his strength and l never stop him as long as he wants to hug l’ll sit on the floor and hug!

Our daughter managed to keep his name a secret she had a few choices but we never had a clue and so at about 1.00 am in the morning of Boxing Day 2019- our son in law Brett sent us a text with a photo of Harvey Robert named after my husband and my first F-I-L. Daughter number one was always Pa’s best girl! My husband was so shocked he cried!

This little boy is such a stunner! He’s such a cutie but he’s a real boy, if there’s dirt and a bucket of dogs water there’s Harvey with mud pies! His shoes magically seem to disappear whenever he arrives and if the door is ever slammed you can always tell where Harvey is! But oh his little giggle is just so full of mischievousness and his little eyes twinkle with Un dreamt of as yet adventures!

Yesterday we ran into daughter number one at the Post Office and the older two Chase and Aria came over to chat while Harvey was in his pram with Mum who joined us soon and l hear this little voice “Ohhh Grandma!” His little hands reaching for me!! Followed closely by “Where’s Grandpa?!”

As the girls took the older children for a bathroom break l offered to keep Harvey with me so we had a quick game of “Peek a boo” his giggle got louder and louder and people actually stopped to watch us play, he’s such fun, but he got a bit rough and smacked me and l told him “Ouch Harvey that hurt Grandma, l’ll cry!” He was giggling and taunting “Cry Grandma!” so l covered my face with my hands and gave my best academy award winning impersonation of being hurt and crying. Then l feel his little hand on my knee patting me saying “No more cry Grandma!” So l gave him a kiss and said “I love you!” To which he replied as he put one hand on each cheek “I love you too” l tell ya heart melting is my Prince Charming!

Grandma and Harvey huggles

#AtoZchallenge “G”

G is for Grandparenthood

Today l’m going to share about my most favourite title of all “Grandma” being a Grand parent. l was 46 years old when l learnt really unexpectedly that l was going to be a Grandparent. Not once, not even twice then came a sucker punch! THREE within six months of each other!

I guess once l got over the shock of Amber and her “Food poisoning” l started getting excited. Imagine when only a few days later number one daughter (whom you’ll meet at letter J) came with a bomb shell. She too was pregnant. The girls were shocked but l firmly believe Jehovah doesn’t make mistakes and so we got on with things as best we could.

Grandchild-the first born was born in July. Her Father is my middle son, (You’ll meet him at letter J- that’s a busy letter four names so far!) after many long court cases and DNA and all the rest of it- all we wanted was a chance to get to know her. Alas sadly we have no contact with her. Her Maternal Grandmother has custody. My only consolation is that as she gets older and starts to search maybe she’ll come looking for us and we will of course welcome her with loving arms. I’ve met her twice and she is the image of her Dad. I received a phone call from a social worker to let me know in her exact words “Did you know today you became a Grandmother?!” Imagine my shock since l wasn’t expecting that until November. It’s sad to miss out on so much of her life. Maybe we’ll get a chance to share our side with her one day.

So although she’s Second born – Sweetpea (you’ll meet her in S) l call her my firstborn Grandchild. She has lived with me her whole life apart from maybe 9 months in a few seperate sections. Sweetpea is Amber’s first daughter. When Amber was looking for names she went through the baby journal l had kept and found a name l’d chosen for My first daughter but not been brave enough to use. Scarlett Olivia after of course Scarlett O’Hara but also my Dad’s middle name is Oliver so Olivia was in reference to my Dad. Amber chose to honour my Dad her Grandpa but choosing that name for her daughter.

Sweetpea was born 21st November 2013. Amber was having some troubles and so the midwife wrapped her in a towel and handed her to me and said “Here Grandma hold this!” And l have EVER SINCE! That first hour l welcomed her to the world and told her about her new family and how very loved she was and l promised her “l would love her till the day l died” she was such a tiny thing.

The midwives had asked me earlier in the day “What will your Grandchildren call you?” I was a young Grandma only just 47. So they were all shocked that l would choose to be called “Grandma” they all had their own suggestions one even went as far as to say “But Grandma sounds soooo old and you’re not old!” I thanked her and told her l was about to make Grandma trendy – time to bring her back into fashion! My Grandchildren called my first in-laws “Nanny and Pa” my own Mother was “Nanny” and before he died my Dad had been “Poppa” l said no thanks to Nanny it sounds like a goat!

Two weeks later l was back at the same hospital for Chase’s birth. You met him at letter “C” a cesarean this time and oh! One look at his squishy little face it was instant love! Daughter number one was in a shared house with friends and so l asked her to stay for a few days to get some rest and get used to her wound and moving around more carefully, so l could be on hand to help. So for one week l had two of my three Grand babies living with me it was amazing!

I cried so hard when she left and returned to her own home but luckily they didn’t live far and so we had plenty of visits and play dates for the cousins.

Daughter number one got married in 2015 with an almost two year old Chase as ring barer and his two year old cousin Sweetpea as flower girl, and l walked them all down the aisle. Little did we know- Grandchild number four was on board as well!

August of 2016 had us meet the pixie faced Aria Elizabeth who told me today “Grandma my whole name is Aria Elizabeth and her surname” l nodded and said yes that’s right.. she said “My Mummy named me Elizabeth after her!” Yes that is also right “but do you know why Grandma chose Mummy’s middle name of Elizabeth?” I asked her. She said No so l explained that the Doctor who helped her Mummy be born was called “Elizabeth” and that’s why. She was surprised. Then it was Chase’s turn to tell me his middle name is John. I asked him “Do you know why?” He shook his head and l told him he was named after MY Dad who’s first name was John” he sighed “That’s cool!” And both your Uncles have John as their middle names! “Wow” he said and then Sweetpea’s asked “What about my name Grandma?” I explained she had her Great Grandfathers Middle name.. “wow” they were all surprised! And then to celebrate we took this selfie!!

Scarlett, Chase and Aria with Grandma April 8th 2021

Next to join our growing brood was “Little Dude” You’ll meet him in letter (R with his Grandpa!) but he is the son of our eldest son Christopher (Kit) and daughter in law Esther. Our Little Dude was born July 28th 2018. We were hoping he’d come a little later to be born on his Great Grandpa’s birthday. Instead he wears his middle name! Kit and Esther and Little Dude live in Castlemaine about a little over an hour from us, but we go up or Esther brings him down every few weeks so he can get to know his cousins.

Lastly (For the moment) is our darling “Prince Charming” he was another surprise and daughter number one and her husband Brett and the children had just returned from a week away on holiday so we were hearing about the apartment and the theme parks and then Chase says “Oh and Grandma- Mummy’s got a baby in her tummy!” I don’t know who was more shocked Me or my Daughter lol apparently l wasn’t supposed to know just yet!

I remember as her due date got closer, we walked and walked, she tried all the mid wives old wives tales about drinking this tea and eating that even one day eating a whole pineapple 🍍 but Prince Charming wasn’t having any of that he’d come when he was good and ready and do we watched his due date slip on past.

Christmas Day 2018 Grandma’s doing Christmas lunch and remember Christmas in Australia is Summer it was hot! We had the house all cooled down to keep baby “Little Dude” at his first Christmas cool and Daughter number one just didn’t look good. She picked at her food and got up and walked a bit and finally decided at dessert time she needed to go to the hospital!

“Prince Charming” (You’ll meet him tomorrow in H) was born at 10 pm Christmas Day 2019. Our biggest Grand child yet 9 pounds plus! My daughter had hoped he wouldn’t be born on Christmas Day because it’ll be confusing for birthdays etc but as babies do they come when they’re ready.

Which brings us to Number seven. Technically she’s got three weeks but Midwives tell you week 37 is classed as term and so it’s a waiting game. Amber’s bags are packed, and the baby’s things are ready and hopefully she’ll come in time to make it into this Challenge her name begins with V! I will be a Grandma seven times. And l’m so excited as though she is the first!

I love being a Grandma learning all these very different personalities, their funny little quirks and their loveable little habits. While we were away recently we sent them postcards each week and by the time l got to the final one l felt really teary and realised l’m really missing those squeezy little hugs! I was ready to go home! Esther says Little Dude keeps his postcards on the fridge and as he walks past he touches it and says “Grandpa!” Because l made the Bloke write something! Why should l have all the fun?!

Sweetpea is loud and outgoing we always know where she is in the room. But if you get her at a certain time she tells the best most in depth stories. She wants to be a Vet when she’s grown!

Chase is more quiet and into his sport, he still puts up with my hugs and kisses just. Last week we went to watch him play Basketball and Football season is soon upon us.

Aria is our academy award winner in future years, she speaks with a fluent American accent thanks to Disney movies, she sings and dances and is a clown! Today l ran into them at the post office and she exclaimed “Oh Grandma!! What are you doing here!” Big hugs- l only saw her yesterday!!

Little Dude is cautious he likes to check out the place before committing. I always sneak kisses and he always giggles! But once he’s in his own surroundings he’s got such an infectious giggle.

Then we have our Prince Charming the Bulldozer! He only knows one speed FLAT OUT! It’s not unusual for him to be sporting a bruise or a bump on his head or a cut on his knee he just doesn’t stop! He’s only just learnt to say Grandma and l love it when he’s in his pram and holding my hand as we walk along, he’s such a kissable boy!!

I wonder what baby V will be like when she comes whatever she is she’ll have to learn to adapt to keep up with this crazy family.