Category Archives: Parenting

Sargeant Christmas Tradition #1

AKA And *that* is how you do Christmas Movies.

Today is the day!! The very first day of Christmas excitement!!

We’ve been busily making gifts for each other and planning secret plans to make people smile but this is one of the non-traditional traditions that is expected in our house. No secret surprises here, though I’ve added a couple of new titles to the list.  Christmas in a house full of nerdy movie buffs wouldn’t be complete without watching the best Christmas movies ever made. And while I know my list isn’t exhaustive – Harry Potter isn’t even on there – it is one that keeps us highly entertained without the eye-bleeding sweetness of traditional Christmas movies.

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Setting a land speed record while decorating for a birthday party

I’m still having trouble getting my head around the fact that my daughter has turned 16 in the last couple of weeks. My sweet little baby with the blonde ringlets is gone and in her place stands a fiercely independent young woman who is smart and funny and confident and beautiful and everything I wish I was at her age.

She is also a disorganised swine.

So when she gave me 4 days notice that she was changing the date of her birthday party and I didn’t have any time to prepare for it because I had to work and do other boring grown up things I was a bit disappointed because I had huge decorating plans that I thought I had a couple of weekends to bring together.

It turns out that when you only have 2 hours some cardboard and scissors in order to bring a party together that you can do okay as long as you’re going for the ‘sleepover fun’ style rather than ‘holy crap this is amazing’ style.

Bek wanted a 1920’s style poker party where they gambled on monopoly and go fish. I had grand plans for it, but with no time to shop, make and decorate we toned it down to a playing card themed decorating style with a quick tip of the hat to the 1920’s. I’d already begun a Pinterest board to gather decorating ideas so I quickly had a squiz and then made my templates. I completely love the way the doors turned out.

Super happy with how quick and easy and awesome these are.
The kitten thinks he is going to get credit for how super quick and easy and awesome these are. But I’m not that nice. No credit for you.

They particularly fabulous Morgaine Ford-Workman of Madcap Frenzy supplied the printables I used to decorate the front door:

ClosedProhibitionSign

1920sSlangand I also used her brilliant list of 1920’s slang.  I printed out enough copies for all of them so that they could use them while playing poker.

Bek was amazing with her contribution to the affair. She realised the day before that she didn’t have enough monopoly money for everyone to be able to play so she went online to get pictures of monopoly money and she photoshopped her friend’s faces into the middle and printed out stacks of the stuff.

beks_monopoly_money

I’d say it was a successful sleepover party in the end, they played games, ate pizza around the fire out the back and then roasted marshmallows and cooked damper on a stick (if you’ve never done this, you should embrace your inner Girl Guide and give it a red hot Aussie try). Sang Avenue Q songs around the fire (editing out the bits the little girls next door shouldn’t hear) and laughed. So much laughter. Such a beautiful noise for a proud Mumma to hear.

I can’t tell you how much I love that at 16 my daughter and her friends are not trying to grow up too fast, wanting loud parties without parents present and that I can trust a group of them of mixed sexes to all sleep in the lounge together. I know I was not this awesome or trustworthy at her age and I all can say is “I’m sorry, Mum. It turns out that being a decent teenager skips a generation…”

Weird feet. And a freedom celebration.

Individual.  Funny. Empathic.

All the things I value highly in a child and my daughter has them all.  I can remember (and it doesn’t feel like very long ago, but in reality it is about 5 years ago) her getting so upset and having me whisper retorts for her to use in the ‘pun wars’ the older kids would have with my husband because she wanted to join in but wasn’t old enough to come up with the jokes.

Its hard to believe now.  She has become the most amazingly funny and quirky individual who has had us in stitches all weekend.

Our fabulous (and quite young compared to us at only 24) friend came to visit last weekend and Ash spent quite a lot of time with her splashing in the ocean on rainy days and failing miserably at navigation and trying on her clothes.  Well, scarves really.  All of them. And mine. All of them. At the same time.

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Me (laughing and leaning in to kiss her): “I love you”

Ash: “I love you too”

Me: “You’re so weird”

Ash:  (looks down, looks back up, looks down forlorn) “Its my feet, isn’t it?”

Whole room erupts in laughter.  It couldn’t be the 12 scarves she was wearing at once making her look like a snowman dressed by small children, must definitely be the perfectly normal feet…

So here’s the thing – I’ve decided to try and crowd fund a celebration of sorts.  This year it is my 40th birthday, my husband’s 40th birthday, my son’s 21st birthday and my daughter’s 16th. But more importantly, this year is the first year that it feels like we have finally found the light at the end of the tunnel.  At the risk of oversharing, here it is:

I lived 16 years in an unhappy and domestically violent marriage.  We don’t need to go into it too much, but suffice to say that I learned early how to keep myself physically safe from my drug addicted, alcoholic ex husband and I minimised the physical side of things.  That didn’t stop the emotional, sexual and social abuse from happening and it didn’t make him a good father, but I never forgot how easy it was to find myself in a position where I had ‘walked into a door’.

In 2008 I finally left him.  It was to the point where it wasn’t hidden from the children and I was desperately unhappy.  So my children and I, and one of his who opted to stay with me, started our lives together by sitting down and deciding the type of home and lives we wanted to create.  They wanted fun, laughter, creativity, fairness, stability, bright colours on the walls and lots of family time and I have done my level best to give it to them.

Over the last 7 months I have been trying to get passports for my daughters but their father wouldn’t sign the forms.  His resonses to me asking him to sign forms for them have looked a lot like this:

You want passport applications signed . So for this to happen you need to have the AVO removed….”

“Seems you have raised the girls badly as they refuse tn treat me with the respect I deserve as a parent so they wont be getting passports even though I have the forms sitting here”

“I have nothing to loose by standing my ground and demanding changes . The longer it takes the more I want changed , the list has already grown”

He has also asked for $2,000 to sign the forms.

And sent our youngest child a picture of the signed forms and told her she can’t have them unless she does what he says.

We have had our passport applications with the Minister’s Delegate with DFAT’s Passports Office for the past 7 months.  And I have finally received word that they have been approved.  Yes, you heard it.  My daughters have passports winging their way to us as I type.  Regardless of his power and control antics.  Over Christmas he decided that he didn’t want to have anything to do with his children ever again also.  Sounds harsh, but you wouldn’t believe how our youngest has blossomed since the instability has left her life.  Best thing that could have happened after 7 ½ years of trying to work on a peaceable parenting relationship while dealing with family abuse.

So, I want to find an amazing way to let the girls know they have passports. As I don’t have the money to take them to the airport and present them to the girls as we go through check in on the way to a long weekend in NZ, I was thinking about taking them on the cruise we were planning on taking last year when I started making them their beach beds in this post.  Unfortunately I became temporarily unemployed and that money bought us food and rent instead.  It would be amazing to present the girls with the passports and travel documents at the same time. I should be able to save the final $500 for the deposit by the end of the month to surprise them.  Perhaps have a bedroom pizza picnic and have them inside a pizza box.  Or maybe put them inside the dishwasher before I go to work and then they would find them when they got home and started doing their chores.  Or create a treasure hunt with the passports at the end. I quite like the pizza picnic idea tbh.

Any better ideas?  I’d love it to be big and extravagant like an overseas surprise holiday but I don’t have the funds for that.

My crowd funding account can be found here:

http://www.gofundme.com/trbr9h4m

Please help me do something amazing for my children and if you can’t contribute, share this page, and my gofundme page on facebook, in emails, on twitter but not on myspace.  The only things on myspace are tumbleweeds and crickets.