Thursday, June 26, 2008

Kids, cats, and breakfast

Family Friday...

Lolly Cat - "Wake me up again and I'll have to scratch you"

Below: Harmonie at her school's Healthy Breakfast

Tucking in....

Dadda Time

Happy gardeners...

Hope your week was as good as ours!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hypoxi - hype or hot?

So there I was. Trussed up in what felt like a rubber mini-skirt, heart-rate monitor attached to my chest, heat monitor tied around one thigh.
Was I:
A. Indulging in some kind of bizarre sexual activity?
B. Undergoing a strange and kinky medical examination?
C. Being probed by aliens?
Actually, the answer is None of the Above.
Always keen to jump on a Quick Fix when it comes to diet and exercise, I was trying out a unique form of exercise called Hypoxi.
To be honest, I’m always sceptical about magical solutions to weight loss. And Hypoxi sounded like some rare kind of medical condition. “Bronwyn’s come down with a terrible case of Hypoxi.” Or perhaps a trendy way to put someone in their place. “Now come on, that idea is completely Hypoxi!” Or even an insult. "Hi Poxy".
But my mate, media personality Bianca Dye swears by it, and with celebrities like Robbie Williams, Cheryl Cole, Anna Friel, and Jordan talking it up, I thought Hypoxi was worth a try.
So how does it work?
Basically, Hypoxi is much like riding an exercise bike, except your lower body is encased in a chamber from the tummy down – using the above-mentioned rubber skirt as a seal. The idea is that low pressure within the chamber forces fatty acid into the blood stream, where it is burnt up by the muscles during the exercise. The makers claim the exercise helps improve circulation; detoxifies; boosts metabolism, targets stubborn fat on tummy, butt and thighs; firms skin; causes weight and centimetre loss; and improves the appearance of cellulite and veins. Some women have been able to go down two dress sizes in just a few weeks!
I did my session at the Body Designers Mt Gravatt clinic in Brisbane (
The personal trainer was friendly and positive, and didn’t make me feel like a Frumpy Mummy at all.
And once inside the chamber, I was surprisingly comfortable. With a telly on featuring the latest video hits, a glass of water at hand, and the personal trainer slipping in and out to chat, my 30 metres went by quite pleasantly. I basically cycled for 30 minutes, monitoring my heart rate to ensure it didn't work too hard, or too slow. Afterwards, I felt energised, as I always do after exercise. Plus, my lower body temperature had risen by 7 degrees, which meant my circulation had been given a significant boost.
I didn't expect immediate weight loss, and there wasn't. Apparently, at least 10-12 30-minute sessions (three per week) are necessary to show the best results.
My introductory session was free, but I’m impressed enough by the comfort, the testimonials, and the research behind it, to want to give it a try. Hypoxi is already popular in Europe and is much cheaper than liposuction or surgery. Plus, I have arthritis, and gentle exercise in a warm environment is much safer for me than, say, gym or running.
The down side? Hypoxi costs AUD65 a session, though there are discounts available for bulk purchases.
Even so, I’m seriously considering trying it in a few weeks, once school holidays are over.
Am I crazy, or should I go for it?
Let me know your thoughts – and tell me what kind of exercise has worked for you.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

All about the shoes

I hate yummy mummy celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker, Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham.
It’s not their ginormous pay-cheques, stunning good looks, cool husbands, or designer wardrobes I covet … no, it’s their ability to walk in high heels.
Each week, it seems, new photos and videos of them strutting red carpets in fabulous outfits and even more enviable shoes appear to make mere mortals feel inadequate.
It’s cruel, I tell you!
Somehow, pushing two tiny human beings out of my Front Bottom, also dispensed with my ability to wear stilettos.
Pre-pregnancy, wearing high heels was de rigeur. In fact, in view of my height, it was a necessity.
Whether it was travelling to an interview, catching up with friends, or heading out to dance all night, stilettos, heels or FMBs were always the order of the day. They made me taller, gave me confidence, helped me feel sexier. I never fell over while wearing them – although I may have lost one occasionally, after a few too many glasses of vino. And there was the time when I unwittingly, left a shoe on an escalator – only to have a charming young man retrieve it, carry it back down to me, and present it with a flourish.
Ahh, happy days.
Flash forward to Pregnancy Number 1. Within months of finding out there was a Bun In The Oven, I had piled on loads of weight, and I quickly lost my centre of gravity.
Stubbornly persisting on waddle around in high heels, I soon discovered the error of my ways. After a few nasty incidents, usually involving lots of swaggering, and many gutters, my husband Kyle banned heels.
There was a brief period, in between babies, where I felt confident enough to try again. A day at the races, my brother’s 40th birthday party, Date Night with my man … but I was always happy to slip them off at the end of the day. My endurance had taken a tumble.
I felt I was pregnant again, before I knew it. I’d become clumsy again, had fallen over a couple of times, and had unbearable tummy pain.
A test revealed another child was on its way.
This time, I chucked the sexy shoes in the back of the wardrobe. I felt sure I’d be able to wear them after Angel Number 2 arrived, right? Wrong.
On the rare occasions since her arrival that I’ve donned my heels, I can usually be spotted falling, collapsing, and/or sliding down hills. Usually carrying a fresh-baked batch of patty cakes for a school fundraiser.
I don’t know what’s happened but my ability to walk in Seriously Sexy Shoes has been seriously challenged.
Nowadays, I still want to feel sexy, tall and powerful – but I don’t want to end up looking like an Eeejit.
And now research has proven that high heels are a health hazard - causing falls, back pain, bone fractures, and even hip replacement surgery - in wannabe yummy-mummies.
That’s why I dislike celebs like Posh, Gwenny, and SJP.
Not content with being rich, famous, successful yummy mummies, they insist on rubbing their shoe-wearing abilities in my face.
It’s nothing personal, girls, you understand. It’s All About The Shoes.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Family Friday

Just another week in our lives...

Chase in a rare pose - sleepy and quiet. With all his special teddies.

Dinner with Dadda - right.

Harmonie is a real speed demon.

When Kyle gets home from his trips, Narnie Cat immediately goes and sits in his suit-carrier. Do you think she wants to go with him next time?

And here she is, catching up
on her favourite soaps.

See you next week!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Almost single

School sports day

Okay, I admit it, I’ve been slack. At least when it comes to blog-writing.
Yes, as a few of my mates have twittered and emailed to remind me, it has been a while since I updated my blog.
That’s why, I thought, this time I’ll write about why it’s taken me so long to drop by.
Here’s the thing: Life, as you know, is busy.
And for the past few months, my husband has been working out of town much more often than usual. Mostly, he gets home on weekends, but last weekend, he didn’t make it.
Now don’t get me wrong. Kyle is a wonderful husband, Dad, and is fantastic at his job. He works hard, and we miss him heaps when he is away – and vice versa.
And the kids and I still managed to have a really pleasant weekend.
But let me just say this: Single parenting within a marriage sucks!
Look at it from my perspective. While Kyle is away, he gets to eat out every night, stay in expensive hotels, hang out at airport lounges, and even see the occasional movie, all in child-free, pester-free peace. There are no lunches to make, homework to supervise, or permission forms to fill in. (All right, all right, I know he actually has to work while he’s away too!)
Meanwhile, as the one left at home holding the rather large ‘babies’, I get all the negatives of single parenting, without the positives.
No weekends off. No weeks-off or holiday relief. No dates, gym, or me time. And I still have to put time and effort into maintaining a marriage rather than being blissful selfish, as single people can.
Not that I mind all that. It’s the way our lives work, and most of the time, its fine.
But every now and then, I get a teensy, bit antsy about it all.
Case in point:
When Kyle arrived home the other day, it wasn’t long before he was tossing toys around, and marvelling at the laundry which had piled up on the lounge.
“How did this place get so messy?” he asked. “What did you do all week?”
Surprisingly, I didn’t kill him. Or poo on his side of the bed, as one of my Twitter pals so charmingly suggested as punishment for naughty husbands.
But Kyle, if you’re reading this, here’s a short list. While you were away I:
* Managed to keep up with my own work, mostly, filing a couple of travel stories and reviews
* Changed all the beds
* Cleaned the bathrooms
* Swept, vacuumed and mopped
* Did lunches
* Cooked and cleaned up afterwards
* Went shopping with the kids – without killing them
* Did the school run
* Attended school sports day
* Rescued dogs when they escaped during school sports day
* Bought bottle of champagne and delivered it to nice lady who kept the dogs at her place until I could get there
* Read to the kids each night
* Supervised homework
* Caught up with visiting relatives
* Washed dogs
* Fed, watered, clothed the animals
* Had a couple of play dates (for the kids, not me)
* Soothed green ant bites and asthma wounds
* Did a zillion loads of washing, and got about half of it put away
* Had kids home sick a couple of days
* Yelled. A lot.
I know the place was still messy on his return, but honestly, sometimes the Mummy Fairy gets a little bit tired.
On the odd occasion, when situations have been reversed, and I’ve been the one to go away, I always come back to find:
No housework, laundry or shopping has been done, and Nana and friends have been roped in to helping my exhausted husband out with the kids. Poor lamb.
But he and the kids are always gloriously happy, so I guess I will forgive him.

NB: No husbands have been hurt in the writing of this blog.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The week that was

Family Friday

Chase joines Harmonie in her My Little Pony games. More grounds for blackmail - one day!

Harmonie's Prep class does assembly

Our pampered puppies. BTW Daisy loves to sleep with her precious bowls - just in case food magically appears!

Our friendly neighbourhood kangaroos

Monday, June 9, 2008

The long weekend

Left: The kids and their cubby

It was a long weekend, here in Oz, and with Kyle home for a few days, we decided to dedicate it to Quality Family Time.
On Saturday, Kyle rewarded my long stint of solo parenting by watching Enchanted with the kids, while I did some pester-free shopping on my own. While I was a bit Meh about having to miss some time with McDreamy, the chance to shop alone was too good to refuse. Oh, the bliss! I’d forgotten how wonderful it was to spend money without:
· Having to buy a lot of expensive crap
· Refusing to buy a lot of expensive crap and enduring the tantrums which result
· Chasing kids from one end of the supermarket to the other
· Lugging around a five-year-old when her legs get tired (which is every five minutes)
· Screaming like a fishwife when one of the kids plays up (which is every five minutes).
· Saying No. A lot.
The kids spent much of the day building and playing in a cubby in the front yard. The dogs and cats joined in the fun too, while Kyle and I pottered around in the background.
Next morning we headed to the markets for breakfast and let the kids spend the money they earned for sleeping in their own beds while Kyle was away. ($1 per night. A bit steep I know, but me getting a good night’s sleep? Priceless).
We didn't forget the dogs. They ended up with some snazzy winter coats. See?

Left: Zack in his winter finery, and the pair of them (below).

Sunday afternoon involved art and crafts (below),

reading, and a relaxing barbie with friends that evening.
Finally, on Monday, there was a day of cooking (left) and just hanging out. In the afternoon, Kyle took Harmonie shopping, while I played the piano with Chase.
I rounded off the weekend, with a couple of glasses of red and the latest episode of Desperate Housewives, while Kyle caught up on WOW.
You know, in the old days, pre-kids, our quiet weekend probably wouldn’t have rated. But these days, a few days at home are just what the doctor ordered.
How do other parents spend family weekends? I’d love to hear what you get up to.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Family Friday

Family Friday

Welcome to a new DizzyMum tradition.

Each Friday will feature photos of my fun, fabulous, funky, family. (Do you think there are some more F-words I could get in there? Nothing rude please!)

Left: Harmonie and one of her best friends, Zack.

Right: Narnie Cat. Not looking impressed at wearing a wig.

Left: And the culprit!

Right: Dizzy Daisy

More next week!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The power of tea. And cappuccinos.

Pic: So much more than a simple cuppa...

This morning, my tousled Little Princess padded into the kitchen and sleepily asked for a cappuccino.

Not her usual ‘hot chocolate’ (Milo and chocolate flavouring). Not a bubbacino. But a real cappuccino. “Like you Mumma”.

Guilty as charged. I can't start the day without a strong, skim milk frothy cup of heaven, and clearly, Harmonie has picked up on my addiction.

Okay, obviously I’m not going to give a five-year-old caffeine. Harmonie’s cappuccino is just milk froth with chocolate powder on top. But as I watched her sipping it contentedly, it got me thinking: Isn’t if funny how kids are influenced by their parents?

Recently, my son Chase was in the middle of a temper tantrum and couldn't seem to get himself out of it. I can’t even remember what sparked it: Probably something major like his favourite TV show not being on, getting told off for trying to kill his sister, or being denied ice-cream for dinner. Whatever the case, he was angry, teary, defiant and out of control.

I tried all the usual child-calming tricks. Time out. Cuddles. Threats. Bribes. Whispering. Shouting.
Nothing worked.

Look, I sympathise with kids when they're in Full Tanty Mode. Adults find it hard to calm down when they're in the middle of a dispute, so why do we expect kids to do it so effortlessly?Frustrated myself, and having counted to ten, I finally thought: What calms me down when I’m stressed and out of control? And I realised: Usually, a soothing cup of tea or a medicinal glass of wine (or three!) does the trick.

Clearly, the wine is an option for the Monkey Man! So I went over to him, and quietly asked if he would like a cup of tea.
He stopped, mid-rant, immediately, and looked at me with interest. “What did you say?” he asked.
“I asked if you would like a cup of tea,” I said calmly. “When I’m angry or stressed about something, I find a cup of tea makes me feel better.”

Chase has never had tea before. I see a sparkle come into his eye and know I’ve won.
Tantrum forgotten, we spend the next 20 minutes or so making the tea – Good Aussie breakfast tea, weak, topped up with soy milk, and a couple of sugars. Chase is entranced by the ritual, and I sit beside him, chatting, while he drinks it. “You’re right Mum, I do feel better,” he says when he’s finished.

As I watch him walk happily towards his colouring books, I smile. It’s rare in parenting – at least at my home – that it all comes together. Suddenly, I feel like Super Mumma! Peace is restored and I had something to do with it. Parenting doesn’t get much better than that!

Now, whenever Chase is feeling anxious, teary, or sick, he’ll come to the kitchen and ask for a cup of tea.
My husband thinks I’m crazy giving the Monkey Man caffeine, but honestly, it’s half weak tea, half-milk. He’d probably get more caffeine from a bar of chocolate!
And when Chase is drinking it, I always make time to sit with him and chat. Usually I have a cup with him.

I’m hoping it will turn into one of those family rituals that will help to bond us for life.

I just have to make sure my habits are relatively harmless - at least the ones they see. I don't want them coming home from school one day in the future and saying: Can I please have a wine, Mum? Preferably something with bubbles?"

Anyone else got any kid-wrangling tips to share? Or are there family rituals that enhance your life?
I’d love to hear them!