Sunday, 17 November 2013

Turning Sad into Glad

Sometimes thinking of things to be thankful for is easy. Sometimes it's not. A few things happened this week which made me huff and puff and some other things happened which made me want to pull out my hair, but when I was reflecting on my first Thing of Thankful for this week's Ten Things of Thankful blog hop, it made me realise that sometimes good things come our way masquerading as bad things and our challenge is to unearth the good that exists in every situation.

1. On Friday, for example, Ben missed the bus to school. I had pointed out to him that if he took 35 minutes to eat a bowl of cereal, it was highly likely that he would miss the bus, but when I saw him heading back up the drive with tears streaming down his face because he had wanted to go to school so badly, I begrudgingly put on my walking shoes (it took almost another 35 minutes to find them), got his sister out of her cot and put her in the pram.

We had never walked to school before and I was not sure if we were even going to make it. For a start, I had never been able to take Annalisa for a walk in her pram that had lasted more than ten minutes before she had hit the high notes to let me know she had well and truly had enough. Added to that, the school is not exactly close to our house. I estimated it would take at least 45 minutes to get there. That would be an hour and half return; almost ten times longer than Annalisa had ever spent in her pram, but ...

We risked it and low and behold, she stayed asleep almost the whole way. We walked briskly (Ben had to run to keep up with me for some of the way) and so it only took 35 minutes. The best part though was that the walk itself was beautiful. The footpaths that we had to take bypassed the main roads and took us down little alleyways and patches of bush that we didn't even knew existed. Plus we saw:

* a paddock full of sheep with some adorable little baby lambs;

* a big mob of kangaroos hanging out together in another paddock and

* an enormous spider web which was covered in dew and had caught the morning light which had formed a beautiful rainbow inside it

(This photo comes from here. I was in too much of a hurry to stop and take a photo :)

While I was walking back home, I kept marvelling at how something that seemed so annoying initially had ended up turning out so well. Ben and I had some wonderful and unexpected encounters with nature that morning and when I got home, I felt more energised than I think I have since before I was pregnant with his sister. I doubt we'll make walking to school a regular thing from now on, but it definitely made me realise that in not exercising I am really missing out on something that makes me feel fantastic. I think the experience also taught Ben that it's not the end of the world when things don't always go according to plan and we can often find ways around our problems.

2. Ben turned nine not long ago and we organised a pool party to celebrate. To cut a long story short, we didn't get a whole lot of RSVPs to the invitations. I was quite annoyed by how inconsiderate some of the other mothers were to not even bother to RSVP, especially when that meant that I over-catered quite significantly. The positive side is that there were loads of leftover lolly bags (lolly is Aussie for 'candy', for my American friends) meaning that I have been pigging out on choccies on a daily basis ever since - maybe not so good for my waistline, but oh so good for my morale :)

3.I had to bake a batch of biscuits for a cake stall that Ben's class is putting on to raise funds for their next excursion. I left it to the very last minute and popped them in the oven in the morning while Ben was getting ready to go to school. In between telling him to hurry up and eat his breakfast and trying to do 37 other things at once, I got distracted and burnt the bejesus out of them. (I know, a photo would be good here, but I was too upset to think of it at the time).

I had just used up all the last of the ingredients making that batch and the only thing left in the cupboard that I could possibly use to make something appropriate was a gluten-free packet mix for profiteroles. I'd never made them before and had no idea if they would turn out, especially under pressure. But they turned out beautifully and Ben told me after school that Emily, the girl he has an enormous crush on, had bought one and had told him "Ben, your mum makes the best profiteroles in the world". That kept me smiling for at least two days straight.

4. I'm on a bit of a lasagne-making roll at the moment. I know they take quite a while to prepare, but it's always worth it to hear that chorus of mmmmmmmm go round the dinner table afterwards. The other night I was just putting a magnificent creation into the oven when the oven rack fell and the entire lasagne came crashing onto the kitchen floor. After I had a little cry and a sulk and seriously considered making everyone go to bed without any dinner, I cleaned it up, dug out a recipe book and tried a completely different recipe. Even though our dinner was late, it was delicious and I was so happy to have discovered something new (blog post on this new recipe to follow in the near future!)

5. Our coffee machine recently bit the dust. Not good. The plus side is that my partner has been going down to the café down the road each morning this week and buying us take-away coffee. Not so good for our budget, but it makes me feel very spoilt. It's a bit like going on a holiday without the holiday.

6. Our computer has been pretty slow lately. Not so good for someone who's becoming increasing addicted to blogging, but at least it has meant I've attended to some long-neglected housework and have revisited my bookshelf - something else I had neglected since starting this blog.

7. My partner lost his new pair of shoes this week. I know, I know, how do you lose a pair of shoes? (I suppose this highlights the exact extent to which I had neglected the housework). The plus side was that during the course of looking for them, we did locate the following items:

* the only potato peeler in the house that actually works;

* a whole lot of films I didn't even know we owned and

* a card that two of my students from last year had given me for my birthday. The message inside was so lovely and re-reading it made me feel all warm and fuzzy all over again ...

And yes, we eventually found the shoes too. He'd left them at our neighbours' place. As you do.

8.  Ben was playing around with the home phone last night and accidentally called someone whose number was saved in our phone but who we don't know very well. Nobody picked up the phone, but a little while later, I got a call back from a private number and a woman's voice said "I'm just returning a missed call". I apologised for disturbing her, but she didn't mind at all. Even though I've only actually met her twice in my life, we ended up talking for over an hour and arranged to catch up with her and her baby granddaughter next week.

9. Ben started Little Athletics a couple of weeks ago. Although three of the girls in his class are also going along, he was a bit disappointed that none of the boys in his class were interested in joining. We've been doing some carpooling these last few weeks and he has really started to get on well with the girls though and even spent one afternoon after athletics swimming with them in the pool at house of one of them. It's lovely to see him interacting so naturally with girls.

10. Ben's room was hideously untidy this weekend and cleaning it up was not what I felt like doing with my Saturday afternoon. I really had to use every trick in the book to cajole him into tidying it and even then he was still not co-operating. As a last resort, I reluctantly started to help him do it. He had so many clothes in his wardrobe that didn't fit him any more that we could probably have clothed the entire prepubescent population of Belgium. We ended up collecting four plastic bags full of clothes to donate to charity and Ben got really enthusiastic about the whole thing, saying "Can we donate this too?" over and over again, even for things that still fit him. I wish I'd taken before and after photos of the spring clean. By the end of it, the room looked great, we were both smiling again and we felt good that we'd not only de-cluttered but also been able to give to those in need.

Reflecting on the positives that I have found in this week's 'negatives' reminded me of a quote that I love:

Have a wonderful week everyone. xx

Ten Things of Thankful

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