Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Senor Don Gato (Was a Cat)


Little Moo is loving school life. It seems we have struck gold in the teacher department. Mr. Carpenter is not your stereotypical kindergarten teacher. He is young, well traveled, covered in tattoos, has his eyebrow pierced and is partial to bringing his guitar into the classroom to keep the kids entertained (only in the Inner West!). Most importantly he is patient, gentle, inspiring, kind, encouraging and he makes learning FUN for the kids.

Every night Maddie comes home from school bursting with stories from the day. The other night she started belting out the song 'Every Rose Has It's Thorn'. When Simes asked her where she had learnt the song, she explained that Mr. Carpenter had been teaching them about rhyming and rather than illustrating through your standard kids poems, he decided to get the kids to rock out to a bit of Poison! It was all fun and games until I decided to search YouTube for the original song and a scantily clad woman popped up on the screen! I imagine Mr. Carpenter is teaching the kids the 'G' rated version!

Today was the first assembly for the kindergarten - year 2 kids. Our little lady was the fluffy white cat in the class performance of Senor Don Gato. Bless. Her. World. The lyrics that related to Maddie's character were...

"I adore you," wrote
the ladycat,
who was fluffy, white,
and nice and fat.
There was not a sweeter kitty,
(meow meow meow),
in the country or the city,
(meow, meow, meow)
and she said, she'd wed Don Gato!

This was also my first attempt at making a costume. I think we both did OK, although the placement of the pillow to make her look 'nice and fat', made her look a little bit like Dolly Parton!

I was bursting with pride when our little white cat took to the stage xxx


video

Monday, January 30, 2012

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school. ~Albert Einstein


















































I have such mixed emotions about Maddie starting school on Thursday. On one hand I am incredibly excited for her. I loved school and I am still friends with some of the wonderful people I met in the first few years of my education. I never took the 'education' or academic side of school terribly seriously, but I adored making friends and learning from some of the great teachers I met along the way.

On the other hand I am terrified. Up until now, we have been able to protect Maddie to a degree. She has had the freedom to just be Maddie. We have celebrated her passions and marveled at her development and creativity. The pre-school she attended last year was like a beautiful garden playground over looking Sydney Harbour. Her teachers were incredible. They helped us lay the foundations (being considerate, making friends, developing a thirst for knowledge, understanding self worth, contributing etc), but they also encouraged play, laughter and just being kids. Now, for the first time, she has to 'fit in'.

I remember watching a wonderful speech given by the magnificent Ken Robinson about how schools can kill creativity and every word made SO much sense to me.

http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

As Maddie begins school, my greatest hopes for her are that...

- She has confidence in herself and knows what a magnificent little soul she is.
- She listens and learns but also respectfully challenges when she believes in something.
- She treats everyone she meets with respect and kindness.
- She celebrates her achievements and feels true joy when she works hard and accomplishes something.
- She learns to lose gracefully and understands that making mistakes is sometimes the best way to learn.
- She makes lovely friends and treasures them.
- She has teachers that celebrate who she is and encourage her to follow her passions rather than make her 'fit in'.
- She remembers to laugh and not take it all too seriously.
- She eats her fruit and remembers that going to the toilet is always more important than playing!

Most of all, I hope that she knows that intelligence comes in all shapes and sizes, and although school is a wonderful step in growing and developing, that she is much more valuable than the grades she gets or how quickly she grasps maths / science / English etc! May she develop a true love of knowledge and may studying be a discovery and a joy rather than something she 'has to do'.

One thing is for sure. Simes and I will be behind her every step of the way. As Cyndi Lauper said 'If you're lost, you can look and you will find me. Time after time. If you fall, I will catch you I'll be waiting. Time after time.'

Truth is, I prefer the Eva Cassidy version (may she rest in peace).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWJ3GCWTqqs

Go for it little Mads. We've got your back kid xxxx

Monday, January 23, 2012

A little bit of girl time



























































I decided to take a couple of weeks off work to hang out with Mads before school starts on Feb 2. I just can't get enough of the kid... she makes me smile from ear to ear.

Some things Mads loves at the moment...

- Veggie toast from Sonoma or Luxe (the kid definitely inherited her mum's love of good bread)
- Singing to plants (in fact, just singing generally)
- Dancing to her own beat (which definitely doesn't resemble the beat of the song she is listening to!)
- Drawing pictures. Mostly of love hearts, rainbows, mermaids, flowers and happy people (I guess a psychologist would say that was pretty positive?)
- Going to the movies (simply can't get enough of The Muppets)
- Babies! (she is obsessed with Agnes and any other baby she can get her hands on)
- Run up cuddles (they will never get old... although they can sometimes be a little violent!)
- Nudie runs (the kid gets her kit off at every opportunity)
- Sausage dogs (why wouldn't you be?)


Random comments from Maddie...

'Dad, all you need in life is love, laughter, sunshine... oh, and a little bit of chocolate!'

'I'll show you a place full of razzle-e-dazz' (I think it was meant to be razzmatazz!)

'Mum, do I really have to go to school full time. Don't they have a part time option?'

'Mum, isn't it funny how life doesn't always work out the way you planned?' How so Mads? 'I always thought we would have a bigger house than this!'

'Ladies and gentlemen, introducing....' (the line we hear before she enters the room in yet another strange costume)

Treasuring every second of the next few weeks. Can't believe my little minx is going to big school. One chapter closes... another begins xx


Sunday, January 08, 2012

Mindfulness





I'm not really a legitimate blogger. The only reason I put fingers to keyboard is to capture little memories for Maddie to look back on one day. This is particularly important because I have the MOST terrible memory in the history of time. I have never even kept a diary before starting this blog, so it is all very new to me and I feel like a bit of an impostor (truth be told).

It was my cousin Rob's gorgeous wife Beth that inspired me to start a blog. She started one when she got up the duff with her first baby, Daisy. We were living in London and I wanted to keep my family and friends back in Oz updated on all things Maddie.

Beth's writing is beautiful, creative, fearless, hilarious and inspiring. When I have time, I love dropping into her world and that of the incredible women that blog around her. I find it extraordinary that they share their thoughts so freely with the world and it nourishes my soul when I take a peep.

Even though I only really get the time to skim the surface of this world, one of the blogs I discovered suggested coming up with a word for the year. A word that reflects what you hope for the year ahead and how you plan to approach life.

After much consideration, I have decided that my 2012 word will be 'mindful'. I plan to be mindful and live in the moment, instead of fruitlessly running negative thoughts about the past and catastrophising about the future. Mindful of just how lucky I am. And even when I'm not so lucky and things go to shit, mindful of the best way of dealing with the situation and to bravely get on with life!

Dancing to Norman Jay spinning tunes from the Good Times Bus in Hyde Park at the opening of the Sydney Festival with our amazing friends Simon and Nattie made me mindful that life is pretty damn fine. There is nothing quite like a good boogie with thousands of strangers to fill your soul with happiness. I am a 'wooo' girl from way back! Even Mads was 'woooing' by the end of the set.

There was talk that Norman Jay could become an annual event at the festival. Bring. That. Shit. On! He is the master of making people feel good.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Time for a visit from the Tooth Fairy











Maddie's second tooth finally dropped out today (2nd Jan 2012). It had been wobbly for months and the big tooth had already made itself quite at home behind the little tooth (not a good look!).

After much wobbling and apple crunching, it finally came out this morning. You've gotta love a milestone.

A snapshot of the day...

A morning spent removing said wobbly tooth and pottering around the house.
A girls brunch on Glebe Point Road.
A gorgeous afternoon at Neilson Park with Mads and some special mates.
Three separate tantrums from Mads (exhausting!).
Dinner with Benny and Richard and Dimitri's Pizza in Surry Hills (deliciosso!)
Plenty of laughs along the way

I treasure every moment with my little girl. Tantrums and all. She teaches me love, patience and oh, so much more!

Wonder what the tooth fairy going rate is in 2012? Me thinks a gold coin donation should do it xx

Friday, December 30, 2011

Saturday 31st December 2011



]








On the last day of 2011, I'm thankful for...

My beautiful family.
From the most senior to the teeniest.
For their love, generosity, laughter, kindness, wisdom, madness, eccentricity, warmth, wishes, drama, flaws, and everything in between.

My friends.
Not sure you you found us or we found you, but I am beyond grateful for all the gorgeous friends we have in our lives. I learn something new from my friends every day. They never cease to put a smile on my dial.

I plan to leave a few things behind in 2011.

Good bye to:
- judgement
- unnecessary guilt
- fruitless worry
- trying to make things 'perfect'
- trying to be everything to everyone
- overlooking the beauty of small moments
- feeling sorry for myself
- being ungrateful for all that I have

My mind is open to what 2012 will bring.

What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven't happened yet!

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Touch of Dengue Fever















Hello my old friend 'the blog'! It's been over a year since I posted any news, but oh so much has happened in the life of the gorgeous, young Madeleine Grace Nicholls and the Nicholls Family in general. It seems that it took a serious case of Dengue Fever to bring be back to blogging.

We have just returned from the most amazing holiday in Bali with our dear friends. It was by far the most luxurious holiday that we have ever experienced. Just take a look at where we stayed for 10 amazing days...
http://www.casaevaliza.com/

Villa Casa Evaliza. Complete with staff of 6 gorgeous people, we didn't quite know what to do with ourselves. If you needed anything at all, you simply had to ask. In fact, most of the time, you didn't even need to ask because the staff anticipated what you needed. Cool drinks, fresh fruit, afternoon snacks, laundry done, beds made, bathrooms cleaned... it was a holiday in every sense of the word. Pure, unadulterated, relaxation.

Our days were spent going on adventures everywhere from luxury resorts, to quiet mountain villages to a family day at the safari. The people of Bali were so warm, kind and generous. One of my favourite moments was sneaking away for a quiet walk by myself. Everywhere I looked my eyes met with the kindest faces and I felt an almost surreal sense of calm. In fact, I can't remember being that relaxed.

On the last day of our holiday, I woke up at a 40 degree temp. Things were not good. A blood test confirmed that I had contracted Dengue Fever and so began a hideous flight home, a special 'welcome home' greeting from the quarantine officers, and a week of sweating, aching, vomiting, skin itch, etc. It really was a blur of horrible, debilitating illness. Interestingly, it was Simes who had settled into life with a team of staff very naturally. He got a rude shock when he transitioned from having 6 staff to being the primary carer of Maddie and myself. Apart from being one of the funniest bastards I know, Simes certainly knows how to step up in a crisis. He is my rock. A splendid father and a first class husband.

One thing Dengue Fever did was force me to stop. The doctor has forbidden me from returning to work until I am 100% well. This has actually given me time to stop and think. Here's what I have discovered through having some time to think.

2011 was a year of soul searching for me. Though various forces of the universe, I have been sent to a spiritual healer, a health and wellbeing coach, a leadership coach and I have had the opportunity to work for one of the most extraordinary women I have ever met. All these people have imparted words of wisdom what I have desperately tried to hold onto and process in order to become a better mum / wife / career woman / person / friend / sister / daughter. The trouble is, I have been so busy trying to be 'better' that I have forgotten to give thanks for everything that I have!

This morning I walked Maddie to kindergarten. When I got to kindergarten with her, I stayed there and played for over an hour. I spoke to the other mums and dads and spent time with Maddie's teachers. It was bliss. In fact, it will go down as one of my favourite mornings ever. It was such a different experience from running madly to drop Maddie at kindergarten by 8:30am (she is almost always the first kid there) and rushing to get to work by 9am (which I am almost always late for!). But here is what I decided. My life is what it is. The truth is, that I need to work full time at this point in my life. I am lucky to have a job that is interesting and to work with really extraordinary people. Being a full time working mum is bloody hard. All the articles are true. You never really feel like you are succeeding at anything terribly well. But guess what? I have a plan for 2012. Here it is:


I am going to be kinder to myself.
I am going to enjoy every minute that I have with Maddie and Simes.
When I am at work, I am going to be focused, calm and results driven.
When I leave work, I am going to LEAVE WORK and be Kate (wife / mum / friend / daughter / sister). No Blackberry checking in the evenings. Sacred family time!
I am going to be grateful for everything I have and remember that happiness is learning to be grateful.
I am going to turn my frown upside down and remember to laugh every day.
I am going to stop from time to time and write down a little bit about our busy life on this blog. All the good bits and the tougher bits too. Its all part of this messy life.

Mads is now 5 years old! I can't believe it. She starts school at Forest Lodge primary in a matter of weeks. Big school! She is one of the most charming, funny, intelligent, cheeky, glowingly beautiful people I have ever met. She takes my breath away pretty much every time I look at her. I can't wait to be by her side on her first day at school and to watch her blossom as she learns about life, love and the universe. This motherhood gig is a gift that I will never take for granted.

Mum, dad and Uncle Mikey are all heading to Sydney for Christmas and our dear friends from London are also coming for a summer holiday. So many special moments to look forward to and I am going to lap up each and every one of them. So grateful for family, friends and fabulous people. Here's to a bloody marvelous 2012.