I’ll Be Home for Christmas.

I am going home for Christmas.  Home to New Zealand, to join with my Mum, Sister, Brother and their families and grandchildren and in-laws.  I am excited to be flying off in 3 days.  I haven’t had many extended family Christmases over the years.  When married to a Pastor, that was our busy time and after those years, it was the most expensive time to travel – so it just didn’t happen.  In the 35 years I’ve lived in Australia, this will be only my third Christmas home.  So I am excited.

Kiwi Christmas

I have always referred to New Zealand as my home because that is my birth place but having lived in Australia significantly longer than I did in NZ, I know that Australia is my real home now.  My Boys are Australian and I always find that as much as I love to visit my beautiful country of birth, by the end of my trip I am ready to go Home!

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*Pavlova Christmas Wreath with fresh berries.

So I am excited for my visit but I can also feel the sadness creeping up on me, as leaving day approaches.  This will be the first Christmas since we became a family, that I won’t be with any of my Boys on Christmas Day.  Some of us have been apart previously, but I have always had at least one of my Boys with me.  This year I could have had all 3 of them with me but circumstances prevailed.  (Story for another post!)   So my Boys will Christmas together and I will Christmas in NZ!

Not that I have missed out.  We have already shared Christmas celebrations with 2 of my Australian families and their kids.

Typical Aussie Christmas Day lunch.

And I hope to share some Christmas cheer with my BFF  before we go to spend  An Evening with Oprah tomorrow night.  Did I even tell you that? ….. Oprah and Me!!!!!!  Bucket list ticking off happening right there!


But I digress … It was so great to see my Boys in the pool with our friends kidlets or twirling them around and around or just generally having fun. Backyard cricket was the game of their day – pool cricket was what they were taught by the 3 & 6 year olds last night!!  Surely, it seems only yesterday that they were the ones being tossed in the pool or enjoying their presents.

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So, I prepare for my journey home with joy and anticipation.  Looking forward to making memories and filling my heart with love and blessings.  But each day, I may just be caught in thought of what those gorgeous Men that Adrian and I made together, might be doing at Home?  Knowing they are there for each other and totally enjoying their special Christmas together.

Illustration by Julie Vivas from the book The Nativity.

*Pavlova Christmas Wreath with fresh berries recipe here.

Mandy’s G20 Spa Update: Conclusion.

The G20 in Brisbane is over.  Vlad left early!  Barack wowed the Uni Students!  Tones … well Tones was just Tones!  Most of the road closures will be slowly getting back to normal but the weekend was anything but normal!  We had days of this –

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It was ridiculously hot which meant any Spa activities that needed me to leave the house and the air conditioning, were well and truly forgotten!  It was actually too hot to walk the 100 metres to our Community pool, remove the cover, swim, replace the cover, then walk the 100 metres back to the house!  So, the weekend of pampering and relaxation of myself changed quite a lot.

I was amazed to notice that the minute I announced the fact of having a pampering weekend and gave myself permission to have a relaxing weekend – I became revitalized and energetic.  Ploughing into those tasks that have previously been beyond me.  Tasks like tackling Mt Washmore!  Like organising my wardrobe and packing away my Winter woollens.  I washed and packed away winter bedding. Of course, because of the weather, it was a nightmare to hang out the washing but it did dry in a heartbeat!

You know, I never did slather, smooth, pluck or exfoliate anything but I really don’t mind.  My mind was fed and nourished with the beauty of music and words.  And I achieved many satisfying outcomes within my home.  No, my home is not picture perfect nor sparkling from top to bottom.  But it is a more serene and organised place in which to feel calm and motivated.  I wanted to give myself a hug and I did!  And it felt good!

Here are some photos of other things that made me feel relaxed, calm and motivated on the G20 weekend.

A Kookaburra and a Peewee dropped in for a well needed drink.
A Kookaburra and a Peewee dropped in for a well needed drink.
The All Blacks had a narrow win against Scotland.
The All Blacks had a narrow win against Scotland.
Mettwurst, cheese & crackers for lunch.
Mettwurst, cheese & crackers for lunch.
Mango season is well and truly here.
Mango season is well and truly here.
My bedroom minus Mt Washmore!
My bedroom minus Mt Washmore!

I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful I feel with all those clothes having been sorted, folded and packed away.  Yes, there is ironing to be done but next weekend I will receive a whirlwind visit from my New Zealand nephew and seeing as he is my Sister’s son – I’m hoping that her love of ironing has been passed down the generation!  I am not holding my breath, though!

The other soul nourishment from my G20 Spa Weekend, came from Glennon Doyle Melton and her wonderfully down to earth blog,  Momastery. Her blog and her book, Carry On Warrior are continued sources of encouragement and laughter in my daily life.  I would love you to discover for yourself her inspirational words.  Here are a couple of snippets to whet your appetite.

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You are not a mess

So, what do you find nourishing and uplifting?  Maybe you will be surprised to discover that relaxation and pampering can come from the most unexpected places e.g my conquering of Mt Washmore!

Productivity v Procrastination.

Yesterday was one of those wonderful days.  Full of productivity and procrastination.  How can it have been both, you ask?  Let me explain!

For the last couple of months I have been suffering with increasing pain, from an angry bursa in my right shoulder.  It has meant that neither my sleep nor the use of my right arm has been good.  So last Monday, I had an ultrasound and eventually, a cortisone shot in the grumpy shoulder.  You may well ask why I let it go for so long before getting it seen to?  Well, the truth is that I have had the same problem before and spent $7k on an operation to get it fixed.  I was so angry and disappointed with the result, that I could not begin to even consider the expense of having it done again.  So, I put up with it!   But then I began to wonder (as the pain increased) if it was, in fact, the left shoulder I had had the surgery on – the other shoulder.  Do you know that I simply could not remember which shoulder it was?  I searched for paperwork to no avail.  I had people check me for the keyholes – still no luck.  So I took myself off to the GP and sure enough, it was indeed my other shoulder.  My left shoulder, that had been operated on less than 12 months ago, was doing very well thank you very much but my right shoulder was grumpy and sore.  I can’t believe I couldn’t remember which shoulder I had in a sling etc for all those weeks!!!

Anyway, armed with a newly cortisoned shoulder (can you see what I did there?) by yesterday it was beginning to feel better.  There were jobs to be done that had been lying around in wait for some time e.g. the clothes situation from https://themandydiaries.wordpress.com/2014/09/10/im-drowning/ 

Blog bedroom

Today would be the day to tackle that and I proceeded to pile all the clothes onto my bed!

So I began ……….  vacuuming  and then I mopped the floors!  It made sense to me!  They were both jobs that were desperately overdue and it made my Unit smell clean and fresh.  Next I tackled the bathrooms;  I did two loads of washing; emptied the inside bins and cleaned the cat litter box; scrubbed out and refilled the bird bath – then I stood and watched the birds enjoy the fresh cool water!

As it was a hot day, I then turned on the airconditioner and had a cooling shower and  a few minutes on the couch, before tackling the chicken satay I was keen to make for dinner.  All went to plan and a clean fresh Mandy, sat down in a clean fresh house, to eat my yummy dinner, washed down with a delicious gin & tonic!

satay & glasses

It was about this time that the arm broke off my glasses!  I tried to stick it together with tape but it would not work.  I tried wearing them with only one arm but they just kept slipping off!  These were my TV watching glasses and I had at least two football games to watch yet, so I was not all that impressed.  Anyway, I had a good dinner in a clean house so I thought I shouldn’t really be mad – although watching TV with my reading/computer glasses was blurry to say the least.  Much later I wandered contentedly into my bedroom to get ready for bed to be greeted by this ……..

Clothes 1

I had completely forgotten that I had intended to attack the clothes situation!  There they  were.  Piled three stories high. On my bed!  Mt Washmore!  I felt like screaming.  I, once again had put off  doing the thing that was stressing me out the most.

Clothes 2

Now I could focus on what I didn’t do or I could focus on what I did do.  I chose the latter.  Well done, I told myself.  Tomorrow I would do the clothes!  Tomorrow!

This morning I woke up feeling as if my shoulder and me had been hit by a bus!  Yes, I had completely over estimated the ability of my shoulder.  I had totally over done it.  I could not even stretch my arms to brush my hair ….. so ….. once again the clothes would have to wait for another day or two!  How annoying – not!  Yes it would be a day on the couch, watching TV through my broken glasses.

Wonky glasses
Wonky glasses but nice shaped eyebrows!

But be warned people – if you visit me this week, you WILL  be sorting and folding clothes!

Weekend over!

My Awesome Week!

I’ve had an awesome week!

It started with a really fun night with my favourite people at the Robbie Williams concert.  I’ve only really been in love with 3 men in my life – the first being Rod Stewart, the second being my beloved departed husband Adrian,  and the third being Robbie Williams.  So, it was fun to take BossBoy & BabyBoy to experience  their mother screaming like a 16 year old, over a performer, for the first time!  We were joined by their Aussie Sisters and we had so much fun but we did miss BerlinBoy.

Robbie Swing

My awesome week continued a few days later, with dinner at my place with some of my favourite young people and their  gorgeous little men.  I love it when people arrive at my house and the kids feel at home straight away.  They know and love the toys in my toy box; they are cuddly and happy; they are confident to ask for what they want but always polite.  Good job Mum & Dad B!

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One of my favourite things about dining with the B Family, is when the boys say Grace before we eat.  Kids know what we need to be thankful for – for people, for lovely days, for visitors & for food! Sometimes Grace is short and sweet, sometimes it is a shaggy dog story but it always leaves me feeling warm inside.

Next, on my awesome week was the celebration with my dear friend, G, of her birthday.  We went to our favourite Indian restaurant and enjoyed the familiar menu and realised that in the 4 or so years we had been eating there, we had never tried the desserts!  So we did and discovered the most delicious tastes around.  Yes!  We will eat dessert there again!

Glenys Birthday

My awesome week continued with the Australian Football League (AFL) Grand Final where my team was not playing.  However, this is a traditional family day for the Weber Family and the Boys make their way home to my place and we include any other surrogate family members that wish to join us.  This year we were joined by  A, a sister from another mother, who was an AFL novice but she was a quick learner.  We ate, drank, chose a team to support and had fun like only family can have.  We don’t enjoy watching at a Bar or in a large crowd.  We like to watch & analyse & discuss & tease each other & appreciate good play.  We did all of this and Adrian would have been proud of us.  The team we chose to support won – well done Hawks!  The players we each picked at the beginning of the game to be best player came first with 10 points & second equal with 9 points!  We are great judges and we know it!!  We miss Adrian  a lot on Grand Final Day but the tradition and ritual we follow each year helps.


So, has it been the great food, drinks or entertainment that has made my  week awesome?  Or has it been the beautiful weather that we are enjoying in Brisbane at this time of year?  Or has it been the fabulous sport that I love so much?

No!  It has been  the wonderful people I have spent this week with!  They are my family here in Australia.  They give to me in a totally loving way.  They care about me and I care about them.  I may not live close to many of my blood family but this family that have chosen me, give me all the love and support and fun I need.  I am grateful  for the love and laughter and fun and care, as are my blood family!  They are my AWESOME family.

Group Robbie

By the way – I have tickets to see Rod Stewart in April next year! I am truly blessed!


My Little Home!

A about year ago, I sold the home, our family had lived in for 21 years.   It was hard! It was time!  Did I say it was hard?

It was the home that our boys grew up in.

It had a cricket pitch in the yard, which was  rumoured to have halted the fitness campaign of an overseas cricket star, with a long term shoulder injury!

It had an indoor cricket pitch in the hallway which boasted many dings in the walls to symbolize sixes or fours, hit with pride using the handmade mini cricket bat!

It had a wonderful indoor soccer field (same hallway different season) where hall soccer was played on the knees after a visiting soccer star was rumoured to have given himself a decent bout of concussion, after going for a header – only to hit his head on the ceiling!

It had the best AFL oval you could ever want, with cathedral ceilings & well made couches just perfect for taking speccies over ones brother!  This also, sometimes became a wrestling ring, where strategically placed furniture hid holes in the wall, after the odd knee or foot went through!

The only trouble was – that there were no longer any Boys living at  home to make use of the facilities and the Groundsman had gone to live in the place that is perfect in every way and the drinks carrier was tired of trying to keep the Sports Centre in tip top shape for those once a year tournaments.

So I sold our family home.  And it was hard!

I now have my own little home.  It doesn’t have the palatial arenas that our family home had, but it is full of love & laughter & tall tales of achievements of sporting glory from days gone by.  It is still the place that sportsmen gather to dissect the game and  bring their injuries to the best first aider in the business.  And one day, I hope it will draw the next  generation of sportsmen & women to create their own arenas and  tall tales to share on those special family get together’s.

And then it won’t be so hard!

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