Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Swimming Pool Sharks

My grandad lived with our family for the majority of my life.  It was awesome.  He was a gorgeous little Irish man with a big heart.  Sadly, he passed away a few years ago from diabetes, and he is sorely missed. He was a wonderful grandad.

My grandad and I.

When we were in primary and my mum went back to work, my brother and I would come home from school and hang out with grandad for a while.  My dad is a builder so no matter where we lived, he would always create a house that accommodated grandad so he could have his own space when he wanted it.  Whether it was a downstairs apartment with a kitchen, TV room, bathroom and 2 bedrooms, or a whole floor to himself. It was such a great set up and worked really well for everyone.

My brother and I would spend a fair bit of time hanging out with grandad and sometimes we would watch movies together or he would cook us yummy things.  One time I remember visiting him and he was already watching the James Bond movie ‘Thunderball‘.  I walked into his lounge room just as two men were pushed into a beautiful pool, and an evil man opened a secret door and some sharks swam into the pool and ate the two men.  Then, of course, James Bond ended up in the pool….but he managed to escape!  Wow, the image of the shark door opening and sharks swimming into a backyard pool stuck with me for a quite a while.  I am a very visual person and I have to be careful what movies I expose my brain too.  If I am not careful, I can be taunted by a ridiculous movie for years. So I developed a fear of swimming in any kind of pool alone. I would be okay if someone else was swimming in the pool with me, but as soon as they left I would freak out and just hang out on the pool steps, being careful to not let my legs dangle over the sides into the deep bit. CHOMP!

I have taught myself to get over this pool-shark fear (I know it was completely ridiculous), although I can STILL get a little nervous if I am in an Olympic sized pool by my lonesome self.

Another layer of my shark phobia was formed when I used to do nippers (lifesaving for kids).  I was in Year 5 (nine years old) when we went on an overnight camp to Camden Haven and stayed with a heap of other kids in the Surf Lifesaving Club.  The movie the adult leaders decided to show us all as we tucked into our sleeping bags for the night was ‘Jaws‘.  The one where the lady is swimming at night in the beginning of the movie and she holds onto a buoy and gets eaten alive.  Yeah, that one. The next day we had our camp competition where we had to swim out a fair distance around a buoy and back again.  I was physically sick with fear and ended up having to go home.  From never having a problem swimming out in the ocean deep, to being frozen with fear if I couldn’t touch the sand.  Mum said after that nippers camp I was very reluctant to go to any carnivals, and if they did manage to get me in the water I would lead on the way out to the buoy…but keep stopping until others caught up, then swim, then wait, then go around the buoy and absolutely smash my swim back to shore in an instant.  My fear made me quite successful at nippers 🙂

I will swim in the ocean now, and in a pool, but I have not gotten over my fear of sharks.  A picture of them sends shivers down my spine.  I spotted an article recently which was about a man trying to prove that sharks are not as dangerous as we think.  He went paddleboarding out to greet a great white shark to demonstrate this.

Insane!  Unfortunately, his bravery (?) didn’t do what he intended…for me at least.  I am still fearful of the freaky things.

Nic & Fertility & Meanies

Keith, Nicole & Sunday

I first read about Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman’s new baby via www.mamamia.com.au.  Hearing that their beautiful baby, Faith, was brought into the world via surrogacy didn’t cause ME any concern, but boy was I shocked by the venom some people spewed into the comments section of Mia’s post. Obviously having a baby any other way other than ‘naturally’ was evil and selfish. They aimed their hatred at Nicole herself and there was no end of judgement on the issue of  how Keith and Nicole had their baby Faith.  So many people were bitter about the fact that they ‘thought’ Nic chose surrogacy so she wouldn’t ruin her figure or career, or that her eggs had dried up cause she had left having a baby until she was in her early 40’s thanks to her selfishness in having a career.  Very rarely did anyone see that one of the main reasons most people have to head down the road of surrogacy (or any other help to bring their bundle of joy into the world) is because they have had fertility problems that have plagued them for years….and yes, your age does increase as the years go by…duh.  I found it interesting that most people who had an ‘opinion’ on what Nicole “should’ve” and “shouldn’t” have done and “how DARE she”,  have all got their own children who they seemed to have gotten quite easily.  They also don’t seem to mind judging before they hear the full story (and no, the story that the media likes to portray doesn’t count). I say, before you slander someone, take a walk in their shoes!

After all the flack, I was really impressed by Nicole’s interview on 60 minutes last Sunday night.  She was open about her struggles to have children and her miscarriage.  She put it all out in the open, so that women can take comfort in knowing that fertility issues are not so taboo anymore.  That would have been a hard thing for her to do.

I hope those mean-spirited people who trashed Nicole on Mia’s site took a big slice of humble pie and ate is s.l.o.w.l.y…..

I have taken the below information straight from the keyboard of Emily Jade O’Keeffe which she posted on her marvellous blog (that you can find HERE).

Here is a celebration of celebrity couples who have admitted to using fertility treatments and welcomed healthy, beautiful babies. They give us hope.

Courteney Cox-Arquette of Friends and her actor ex-husband David Arquette. The couple underwent many IVF attempts and suffered several miscarriages, with Courteney being open about “being able to get but not stay pregnant” before welcoming daughter Coco Riley Arquette in May 2004.

Brooke Shields and her husband Chris Henchy were also public about their use of fertility treatments to conceive for the first time. The result, after a rumored seven IVF attempts, daughter, Rowan Francis, 3 1/2. Her book, Down Comes the Rain, chronicles Brooke’s struggles with PPD and infertility.

Desperate Housewives star Marcia Cross reportedly put her honeymoon on hold to have fertility treatment to conceive. She spoke of the troubles and reality of becoming pregnant after 40, saying,

I don’t like the average woman being misled into thinking that fertility is something that goes on forever. When a woman gets older, they get a donor egg, which doesn’t make the baby any less beautiful or perfect. One’s own eggs only last so long, and sometimes at 43 or 44 you can have your own baby, but statistically it’s very difficult and expensive. You don’t want to wait that long.

Dixie Chick sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Robison have been open about using IVF to conceive their two sets of fraternal twins, as well as Emily’s son. Martie has daughters Kathleen and Eva, while Emily has son Gus, 4, and twins Henry and Julianna, 21 months.

Hugh Jackman and his wife Deborra Lee Furness tried multiple times to have a baby, but it did not happen for them. Instead, they adopted Oscar, and Ava, of his son, Hugh has said,

We still wanted to adopt. That was our plan: we’ll have two and we’ll adopt one. Anyway we didn’t have children. We tried and that was tough. But the moment Oscar arrived, it just felt like he was always meant to come that way. I forget he’s adopted; he’s just my son.

Celine Dion went through numerous fertility treatments before conceiving son Rene-Charles, 6 and then her new twins.

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis and husband Christopher Guest, revealed that they adopted after struggles conceiving. Jamie wrote a book, Tell Me Again About the Night I was Born to “Let children who joined their families through adoption know that their own birth stories were exciting too.”

Sharon Stone apparently suffers from recurrent early miscarriages and instead adopted sons Roan Joseph, Laird Vonne and Quinn Kelly.

Actress Kirstie Alley also struggled with infertility. Openly mentioning her struggle to become pregnant, her miscarriage(s) and the toll that it took on her marriage. Eventually Kirstie and her husband adopted. They are now divorced, but their children are William, 14, and Lillie, 12.

Model Christie Brinkley suffered three miscarriages in the process of IVF, in order to eventually conceive her daughter. At 44, she gave birth to daughter, Sailor Lee.

Jane Seymour went through IVF to conceive her twins, after having two miscarriages. Jane was almost 45 when she welcomed John Stacy and Kristopher Steven in 1995.

I am a Total Potato Head.

This is number 3 of my 5-part meal post.

A hot, steamy, fluffy spud is sometimes all I ever ask for (except for a spoon of Nutella of course!).  I think it comes from my Irish father, and his love of potatoes growing up…perhaps ingrained in our genes?

My dad’s taste for potatoes began with his love of the vegetable  kind, but then he took it one step further and he nicknamed his only daughter, his first-born, me – affectionally….spud.  Now you can see the reason for my blog name. It is just not because I am a potato obsessor, but it is a childhood reference to my quite large (fine…massive) head, and to make matters worse, I was bald for quite sometime as a baby, so yes the name did catch on, even to this day.  Although I believe it is more proportionate now….

My gorgeous round head.

I just can't seem to keep my spud-head upright.

head.too.heavy.

So now we have all had a good laugh, I’ll get back to being a bit more serious.  ‘Unearthing the Spud’ represents an uncovering/discovery/understanding of myself (the spud part).  It is also mirroring the way things can sometimes be hidden (the vegetable spud…you would have a hard time hiding the spud-head) for it to be then revealed at the right time.  Just like how God reveals things to us in certain times of our lives.

That explains my blog title, but now let me get back to food.

I love having people over and cooking up a mass of spuds in the oven that have been pricked by a fork, covered in olive oil and a sprinkle of cracked pepper and sea salt.  Chuck in the oven for an hour until cooked through.  Serve on a big platter with bowls and bowls of toppings.  Sour cream is a MUST, bacon/ham, shallots, red capsicum, mushrooms, mince, cheese, guacamole, salsa, tomato, baby spinach, beans, etc. It is a really laid-back, social way to eat. Once we had a visitor from Japan.  A teacher who wanted to spend a night in a real Aussie home.  We served her baked spuds and she had never tried them before.  The sour cream freaked her out a little, but she ended up loving it.  We even chucked in some kangaroo to the choices of other toppings, which she devoured.  It is always a compliment to see a tiny, skinny person woof down food that you make!

Roasts & Reindeer Droppings

I am a big fan of traditions.  Ask my husband and he will tell you that I bring up the idea of traditions all the time.  I love how they can be passed down through the generations, and can instill a strong bond of family and home.

I looked up Simple Mom for more information and ideas on family traditions: Traditions don’t have to be extravagant, intense or require a lot of planning. They can be as simple as reading to your child every night in the same comfy chair, having a movie and pizza night every Friday or discussing things you are grateful for around the dinner table each evening. Traditions are the glue that keeps a family together. We all have very busy lifestyles, and adding a small tradition here or there can make all the difference to your family.

Christmas Eve dinner with my family.

Family traditions that I grew up with:

  • Birthdays: we had a roast dinner, complete with mum’s amazing carrot cake! When we got in our late teens we would go to Hogs Breath.
  • After school: my grandad used to live in a granny flat under our house and every day after school my brother and I would come straight in from school and go down to see him (mum and dad were working) and he would always have homemade rice pudding or Nutella sandwiches ready and waiting for us.  We would sit down and talk about our day while spending time with him.  This may be why I love Nutella so much!
  • Christmas Eve with my side of the family: church, roast (complete with candles and table decorations), watch the carols on telly and play board games.
  • The Oscars: mum and I meet up and have a girls night at her place or mine, complete with chocolate and popcorn, while we “ooh” and “aah” over the frocks.
  • Christmas Day: my husband and I alternate between our families each year.
  • Christmas with my side of the family: cooked breakfast (with a few reindeer droppings on my brothers plate…choc covered licorice), open presents while eating Ferrero Rocher’s, lazy lunch on the veranda, relax for the day by playing games or reading or sleeping or swimming, if you are hungry (which we usually aren’t) you pick at the leftovers from the day for dinner.
  • Shabbat: my husband and I celebrate Shabbat every Friday night when we are home complete with the candles, a special home cooked meal, and Bible study.

What is your favourite family tradition? How will you create a new family tradition?