When did lawn care become so exciting?!

Something strange has been happening to me lately. I don’t… I mean… I just… I don’t know what’s happened to me. Like I mean, I swear it was just yesterday when, but now I’m, and it’s like…

Okay, here it is… It would appear that, somehow, for some reason, I now not only get excited about tools, but I also get an absolute kick out of yard work and lawn care.

WTF?!?!?!

Seriously… what the actual f***?! Since when have I cared about tools and lawn care?

So just to give you some background on this situation, I can honestly say that I barely owned a full set of screwdrivers up until the last 6-12 months. In fact, my “tool box” for the past 3 years has been an old cardboard Huggies Nappies box. And if I pulled out all the tools I owned up until 6-12 months ago, it would consist of a handful of unmatched screwdrivers, a broken hammer, an electric drill with no drill bits, one pair of pliers and a bunch of allen keys that I’ve been steadily accumulating from various furniture purchases over the years. How pathetic is that.

But now… oh my word… Now, I simply can’t go to Bunning’s without getting a full blown, raging hard-on for all the goddamn sexy tools that are so beautifully displayed throughout their wonderfully glorious isles. I’d probably never use even a quarter of the tools that Bunning’s have in stock, but all I know, is that I need them ALL!

I am so obsessed with tools that I not only have a growing collection of sexy, tough, manly tools that I can use to do manly things in and around the manly house in a manly way. But I also have my first ever tool box. Yup, that’s right folks. At the ripe old age of 34 years, I have finally got my first tool box (early Father’s Day present by the way, thanks fam!). And not only that, but it would seem that every time I head to Bunning’s, I literally have to control myself so I don’t come away with a boot load full of new tools. Come to think of it, I actually think Renee has even had to tell me to step away from the tools, and leave the store on a couple of occasions.

And as if that’s not the worst part, in comes the yard work and lawn care.

The only lawn care I was ever even remotely interested in (and interested in is a big overstatement) was whipping around the yard as quickly as I could once a month when I begrudgingly had to mow the lawn. No grass catcher. Let’s just whip around as quickly as I can, leaving clumps of freshly cut grass in my wake. As for the edges, well forget it. I didn’t do edges! Who has time to do edges!

Now however, not only is our lawn beautifully manicured, but the edges are perfect and squared off, I’ve put a garden out the front of the house which I get in and weed regularly, and I’ve created a pebbled walkway with stepping stones out the back from the garage door through to the laundry door. Plus, my latest pet project is building up the inside of our fence for some additional sturdiness and privacy. And you want to know what… I HAVE ENJOYED EVERY SINGLE SECOND OF BEING OUT IN THE YARD DOING EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE THINGS AND I AIN’T EVEN MAD ABOUT IT!!!

Oh man, what has happened to me?

So I’ve heard it said that you go through three phases when it comes to yard maintenance. In your twenties you just don’t care because there are more interesting things to do with your time, so you do the bare minimum to keep it looking at least semi-respectable. In your thirties and forties, you are in PEAK yard maintenance mode. You love your lawn, you love lawn care, and your yard has never looked better. But then, once you hit your fifties and sixties, you go back to not caring about it and start seriously considering concreting over it all so that you don’t have to worry about maintaining it any longer.

Now I don’t know about fifties and sixties (obviously), but I can certainly say that I 100% agree with the fact that I, being in my mid-thirties, am knee deep in peak ‘I love my lawn’ territory. But not only that, I am just in peak I want to fix and maintain everything territory.

I’ve never felt so alive!!!

With that said, I need to go. I haven’t been out in the yard this week and I’m itching for some yard work to do!

Also… Bunning’s trip anyone?

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When you hit PEAK DAD!

When do you know you’ve hit peak dad life (hashtag dad life y’all)?

Like, what was the turning point where you went yup… I have officially made it… I am at peak dad-ness right now. Like, I couldn’t get any more dad if I tried!!! Because I think I had that moment over the weekend god dammit. That’s right… I think I’ve now officially hit peak dad-ness (I’m pretty sure that a word… ADD IT TO THE DICTIONARY GUYS!!!).

WHAT DO YOU MEAN I hear you all asking. Well, let me paint the picture for you.

We decided to do a Westfield run on Sunday. The idea was twofold… We were there to get out of the house, and we were there because Jesse wanted this Peppa Pig bag he spotted three days earlier (we did not hear the end of this f***ing Peppa Pig bag). So after days of Jesse walking around going “I want the Peppa Pig bag”, we finally relented and went on a family outing to Big W.

So we walk into Big W where Jesse spots the infamous Peppa Pig bag he wants, and with giddiness and excitement grabs it from the hook and shows it off to mummy and daddy like he’s just won 5 million on Gold Lotto. Mission complete! He jumps back into the pram with a smile, and we are ready to roll. F*** it, let’s just take a gander around Big W while we’re here. You never know…

Well, truer words have never been spoken. And this is also where you will see why, I feel I have hit PEAK DAD!!!

As we continue to aimlessly meander through the wonder that is the Big W department store, I decide to deviate from main path when we hit the men’s wear section. I wasn’t after anything in particular. But it never hurts to take a quick look.

Well, 6 minutes and 28 seconds later there I am, purchasing a Big W tracksuit. Yup. That’s right. I just bought myself a tracksuit from Big W and I ain’t even mad about it. PEAK DAD MOTHER TRUCKERS! Gone are the days of Nike sweat pants and trendy jumpers. Gone are the days of expensive “active wear”. With this $35 tracksuit purchase, I just hit peak dad-ness and I dare you to tell me otherwise!

Outfit
Big W Circuit Men’s Active Wear Range – Toddler Not Included

Now let me say this. Yes, it probably isn’t the nicest tracksuit you’ve ever seen. But if there is one thing I know, and I do mean there is one thing I know (wink, wink, nudge, nudge), it’s that there is nothing sexier to a wife and mother of two than a dad rocking a $35 Big W tracksuit! Plus… It’s comfortable as fuuuuuu*********!

So I will ask this. When was the moment that you realised, hey… I’ve actually reached PEAK DAD right here? I’ve hit the pinnacle! There is no higher echelon to achieve for as a dad.

And as I sit here, in my $35 Big W tracksuit writing this post, all I can think is damn… this feels good. This whole embracing the dad life really feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

Gone are the days of trying to impress… well I don’t know who I was trying to impress. But gone are those days I tell you… GONE!

Now hold my beer because I’m off to K-Mart to buy some sneakers!

My week as a stay at home Mum

Last week, I took some recreation leave from work.

I would say that I had a weeks holiday, but as I quickly found out, it was about as far from a holiday as you could possibly get!

Let’s call it… ‘My Week As A Stay At Home Mum’.

Okay, let’s start at the beginning. Initially, I was thinking of just having the Friday off, as I was heading to the Broncos match Thursday night and considering I was planning on consuming one too many beers that night, I didn’t want to be hung over at work. I then offered my services to help Renee on Wednesday, and at that point I just though, bugger it, I’ll just take the week off instead.

So here I was coming out of the weekend excited about not having to go to work, and excited about a week of taking it easy and enjoying some down time. Well, after looking at the schedule I had been given I quickly realised that this week was going to be far from a relaxing weeks “holiday”. It turns out, that stay at home mums lead very busy lives. And it was my turn to experience the hectic, non-stop, balls to the wall existence that these mums live every… single… day…

So my schedule went something like this: Monday was play group. Tuesday was Kangatraining. Wednesday, Teddy Bear Picnic. Thursday, Kangatraining and footy. Friday was Music Class. Saturday I cleaned the house. And Sunday, we had Jesse’s third birthday party.

Holy f*** balls batman, how the hell do you mums do this every week!!!

Now I realise we only had one event on each day (except for Thursday, but the footy doesn’t really count), but the organisation, preparation, and even the wind down when you get home with two kids is exhausting! I literally required at least a 1 to 2 hour nap each day just to cope with the stress of it all!

It was non-stop. Like Liam Neeson in that movie… Non-Stop. It was like trying to navigate and escape a skyscraper on Christmas Eve with the name John McClane. It was like… well you get the idea… it was fully hectic as bro!

I know that I’m sort of joking around about it, but in all seriousness, it really was exhausting. I have joked on occasions to Renee that when I go to work every day it’s like my break from the kids, but it really is like that. I now have mad respect for those mums (and dads) who are full time stay at home parents, because it’s a tough job. It pays nothing. And it’s a 24/7 job.

So well played stay at home mums. I take my hat off to you.

The question from here however, is would I do it again? The answer, is absofreakinglutely. I loved every single minute being able to spend every waking minute with Renee, Jesse and Jasper. And I think they loved it too.

Parents of daughters: the dating my daughter but is getting old

I’m sure you’ve heard people say it. You might have even said it yourself.

You know, that inevitable comment made by parents of girls. Something along the lines of how she’s not allowed to date until she’s 30 or how Dad will greet her future boyfriends with a shotgun in hand.

This so-called joke annoys me so much! I know it’s just a thing people say and it’s meant to be funny and light-hearted but really? I mean what message is it sending our daughters and sons?

As a Mum of boys the insinuation that they will be somehow unworthy of dating these daughters or that they will be incapable of respecting girls and are to be avoided at all costs is insulting and ridiculous.

Admittedly, I’ve never been a teenage boy and I know there are a fair few douche bags out there. But there’s loads of parents like us doing our best to raise exemplary men. Men that will treat ladies like Queens. Men that any parent would be lucky to have as a son-in-law.

On the flip side to this, what about the girls? What is this teaching them about themselves or their male counterparts? That we don’t trust them? Or that they are incapable of making good decisions? Surely, we are striving to raise daughters who can make quality decisions about who they associate with and eventually date. I know if I had a daughter I would want to raise her to be confident in herself and her judge of character. I’d want to teach her to respect and value herself and trust her instincts. The attitude that boys are somehow the villain or are predators of girls is just unnecessary and damaging.

I know, I know, it’s just a joke. Well, I’m not laughing.

Jesse’s Hat

A blankie… a teddy bear… a favourite toy… a dummy (or pacifier for you international readers out there)…

Most babies/kids go through the phase of becoming attached to that one particular item that they just can’t possibly live without it. They must know where it is at all times and if they don’t, well, you don’t really want to have to deal with the repercussions of that.

Well, it would seem that Jesse is currently smack bang in the thick of serious attachment mode. But not with a blankie, teddy or his favourite toy. Oh no, he is seriously head over heels in love with his hat!

That’s right… his hat! This is a kid that used to hate wearing hats so much that whenever you put one on him, he would rip it off strait away, throw it to the ground and give you death stares as though it was the absolute worst possible thing you could have ever done to him.

He is so attached to his hat in fact, that there isn’t a single moment of time from when he wakes, to when he sleeps, that it isn’t glued to his head. Oh yes, that’s right. As soon as he gets up in the morning… BANG! On goes the hat. And there it stays right up until bath time where his head gets a 5-10 minute reprieve. But as soon as he is dressed and ready for bed… BANG! On goes the hat again.

He even wears it to bed, and will only remove it once he feels like he is ready to fall asleep. Don’t you dare try to take it off his head before then. Because you will be told in no uncertain terms that you are in trouble for touching his hat.

I mean look at that thing… it doesn’t even look like what’s it’s supposed to look like any more. He’s worn it that long that it’s completely lost its shape. The brim has the major droops going on. And if you can believe it, it’s actually supposed to be a fedora, not a straw bucket hat that looks like it’s come from a bad scarecrow Halloween costume.

But with that said, every single day when he wakes up only to make his way over to his hat to put it on for the day, all we can do is smile and giggle at the absolute adorableness that Jesse and his well-loved hat brings.

So the question of the day is, have your kids become attached to something? And if so, is it something unusual like Jesse’s hat, or something more common like the family teddy or blankie?

And with all that said, I am no sitting here wondering how Jesse will react when the hat no longer fits, or finally falls apart on him.

Shit… I don’e even want to think about it…

Life Before and After Kids

I miss my old life.

I miss OUR old life? Yes, I’m pretty sure he said ‘our’.

I mean, does anyone really have a life when you’re a teenager? We’ve been together since we were 19.

I guess it doesn’t really make a difference which word he used. It still sent a shock wave through my body and hit my heart with a thud.

I suppose it’s normal for parents to feel this way. I miss parts of our life before kids sometimes too.

I (vaguely) remember being able to just pick up and go out on the spur of the moment with no hesitation. Now, it’s a good solid hour of intense planning, preparation and packing just to leave the house for an hour at the local Westfields.

I remember dragging out the single mattress to the lounge room floor and snuggling while we binge watched our fave shows (on DVD might I add), drank beers and ate junk food until we were nearly falling asleep. Now we’re lucky to get in an episode of anything without interruption.

I remember the days of spontaneous weekends away. Spontaneous sex. Spontaneous anything really. And now we consider it a good day if we remember to kiss each other a few times and maybe even go to bed at the same time.

But ugh… is our life now so terrible?

I also remember a time when we longed for a baby. When every month was met with disappointment and the ache of not knowing whether we’d ever have a child.

And now we have two. Two beautiful, healthy, cute-as-all-get-out baby boys.

Two is a game changer, no doubt. A toddler and a baby is down right exhausting sometimes. It has required a big adjustment for the both of us.

And when they go to school we will have to adjust again. And when they’re teenagers we will have to adjust again. And when they grow up and leave home we will have to adjust again. And when they have families of their own we will have to adjust again.

I always try to remember how fleeting this time is. Pretty soon they’ll be too big to carry. They won’t need us to help them go to sleep at night. And they won’t want us to kiss their knees better or wipe their runny noses. They won’t always be dependent on us for everything and we will gradually get back pieces of who we used to be.

And then, we will miss these days. We will miss scooping up a baby in our arms. We will miss tiny hands wrapped around our fingers. We will miss all the bodies in our bed at night and waking up to their little smiles in the mornings. We will miss little arms wrapped tightly around our necks and hearing the sweet sound of baby giggles.

So, my dear Husband, please hang in there. This season of our life will soon give way to the next one. I know it’s hard right now. Trust me, I feel the weight on my shoulders (and my hip) each day too.

But I also feel the magic, the beauty and like I’m the luckiest girl in the world.

I count it all joy for everyday I wake up next to you. And no matter what season of life we’re in, that I can count on.

So, you going for round three??

“When are you going to have another baby?”

“So, you going for round three?”

“You should have another baby. Just one more!”

“Go on… just one more. You might regret it if you don’t.”

“Don’t rule it out. Because you never know, it could happen.”

When you’re a young, married couple as we once were, the questions about when you are going to have kids seem to be inevitable. It’s as if society just automatically assumes everyone who fits the above criteria wants to have children.

However, that one simple questions can cut deep in a couple, especially if you’ve been trying for a long time and have been unsuccessful (as we’ve mentioned in the past, it took us 18 months to conceive the first time round), or have found out you are unable to have children at all.

And then you have kids. Two beautiful, healthy, happy boys who both look like dad (much to his delight) but are actually mummy’s boys most of the time (much to her delight). They are loved by everyone, and they love everyone.

Jesse Jack Barton 1
The day after the birth of Jesse

And then, as if someone has hit reset on the console, the questions start coming in yet again. “When are you going to have another baby?”

Now it’s not entirely a rude question now that we have children. In fact, its a pretty standard question when engaging in small talk with parents. I know we’ve asked it completely innocently.

Well we were sitting down having a chat about our baby boys (is Jesse still a baby?) and the conversation took a turn into the territory of more kids. We’ve both been asked the questions about having another baby. But had we ever sat down and really discussed it?

“Tell me the honest truth, do you want to have another baby?”

I asked Renee as we sat there discussing our perfect little family.

“If your asking me right now, my answer is hell no!”

Well that’s a relief! It seems we’re both feeling pretty maxed out with two children. A toddler and a baby can be hard yakka!

P4190276
The birth of Jasper

And then we began to think… why is our desire to procreate again or not of so much interest to others?

One of the typical reactions I’ve encountered when speaking about how we are happy with two children, and don’t want any more babies is, “You never know, you could change your mind…” or “It could happen…”

At the end of the day, those with children have a choice to make. And that choice, being whether or not to have more children, is a personal choice. It’s their choice. And it’s a choice that is made together, as husband and wife.

I don’t know how many of those of you reading this post are at that point in your life, but how did the conversation happen in your house? Have you discussed having more children? And most importantly, did you both agree with each other?

For us, well Jesse is our handsome, sweet and loving big boy. And Jasper is our chubby and cheeky sequel. Why mess with perfection?!

And besides, any more kids and we’d be outnumbered!

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Our Family Unit