Swim if you Can

There’s a song from the late 1930’s called “The Three Little Fishies (Itty Bitty Pool)” by Saxie Dowell.  It’s been a favourite in our house for years, brought to life by Play School (of course!).

One of the lines in the song is ‘”Swim” said the mama fishie “swim if you can”‘.

This is advice that my DB and I are now taking.  This year, for the first time, we enrolled our boys in regular swimming lessons on the weekend.  We found that the twice a year school & vacation swimming was only getting them so far.  They’d progress well during the intensive lessons and then after a break of weeks or even months (depending on when the lessons were held) would have forgotten much of what they’d previously learned.

This term, on a Sunday morning at the bright and early time of 8.20 we head off to the local swimming pool for lessons.  The lessons last for 35 minutes.  DB and I could sit and just watch the boys.  But we’ve decided to take note of the song too – “swim, swim if you can”.  That 35 minutes when the boys do their different lessons at the exact same time gives us a chance to get some much needed exercise.  We take 20 minutes to swim as many laps as we can and still watch the boys for the last 10 minutes or so of their lessons.

In the first week, we struggled to swim 14 laps in that time.  The first two laps were a killer.  Today we did 20 in about 15 or 18 minutes.  Now, the 6th lap is the one that hurts.

This morning as I did my first lap of freestyle I could feel the muscles in my back pull, tighten and then give in.  It felt nice.  I don’t think of anything much while I swim.  Is the band-aid on my toe falling off?  What lap am I up to?  Normally my mind is racing – what I need to do now, in five minutes, what I’ll cook for dinner, the dog needs a walk.

The time spent with DB is valuable, rare time.  A joint interest outside of our family life.  Something that’s just us.  Sometimes you just have to take the opportunities for me, for us, and grab them when you can.

When do you “swim if you can”?


Sometimes it’s good to ask for a second opinion

The other day, I was waiting in a GP’s aptly named waiting room with my Mum.  A man came out of his doctor’s room.  The man was wearing a Chopper’s Motorcycle Club t-shirt, jeans and black boots.  He had tatts.

He was trying to look tough.  But he failed.  Why?  Sure, his t-shirt was tucked in to his jeans and his jeans sat high on his waist – he was a middle-aged tough guy.  No, what ruined his street cred was that around his waist was a bum-bag.  You just can’t look tough when you wear a bum-bag.

That’s why sometimes it’s good to ask for a second opinion.  His question before he left the house should have been  “Do I look tough in this?”.

When 10 Minutes is Just Not Enough

I don’t know if this will be a regular post.  I can think of a few occasions when 10 minutes is just not enough.  For the kids it would be when I give them 10 minutes to finish playing a game.  For me it’s the 10 minutes I have to get ready before we have to get out of the house and off to school & work.

What’s playing on my mind though is something a little more serious.  10 minutes is just not enough time to see your GP when you need something other than a repeat prescription or medical certificate because you’ve got a cold and aren’t really sick enough to need to see a doctor but are too sick to go to work (doctors must hate that).

I have elderly parents (in their 80’s).  I’ve been going to the GP with my Mum lately.  10 minutes is long enough to take her blood pressure and modify her prescriptions to keep the blood pressure levels in check.  It’s not long enough to pursue why her specialist hasn’t got back to us on what her options for further investigations are; or start an ACAT assessment process; or argue that she really does need an ACROD sticker; or for the GP to really understand just how she is coping in her home and with her health.

Her GP doesn’t ‘do’ long bookings because the admin staff overbook him.  Tomorrow I’m going to see him by myself so I can get the message across in 10 minutes without him being distracted by her immediate needs.

I wonder if 10 minutes will be enough?

What’s cookin’ good lookin’?

I did a lot of cooking on the weekend.

I like cooking snacks for my family to have in their lunchboxes throughout the week, and in an effort to keep Bruce occupied and out of his brother’s (reading) hair for a while we tackled Choc-chip cupcakes from one of my favourite recipe sites taste.  To my boy’s disgust we used dark chocolate which I had in a block and chopped up to make ‘chip-like’.  I know, I’m awful subjecting him to Lindt chocolate aren’t I?

They don’t really look like the photo on the website but this was the end result (once again, to Bruce’s disgust I didn’t let him decorate it with lollies & marshmellows, strangely I thought the butter, sugar and chocolate was enough).

Choc-chip vanilla cupcakes

I acknowledge that cupcakes aren’t necessarily the healthiest thing I could put in their lunchboxes but teamed with fruit, a salad sandwich and yoghurt, it’s not the worst either (beats, hands down, a packet of something that has more numbers than actual ingredients).

Inspired by the wonderful Picklebums I tried my hand at bread rolls on Saturday.  They didn’t go well which is no reflection at all on the recipe – instead on the dodgy second-hand bread machine I had.  Despite the screen informing me it was mixing, kneading and rising it was doing not much of anything at all.  I’m not going to be deterred though.  Instead I’m going to get my original bread machine that needs repair fixed, and have another go because I realised that they are cheap as chips to make not to mention really easy.


For lunch on Sunday it was home made pizzas – can you guess which ones are for the adults and which ones are for the boys?  Hint – the vegies kind of give it away.

There's a vegetable there, I'm sure of it








For Sunday dinner I was after something relaxed, relatively easy and that would trick Bruce into eating some veg.  Once again I turned to Picklebums and this time made taco triangles for the kids and curry triangles for the grown-ups.  Bruce ate one, only picking out 1 pea, but Squidge downed 4 without a beat and there were leftovers (lots more than what’s shown here) for my work lunch today.  Success!











What’s cookin’ in your kitchen on the weekend?

Sometimes I wish my kids were more like chooks

I love my kids, don’t get me wrong.  But there are occasions when it would be useful if they were more like the chickens.

Chickorita the Pokemon chicken

I’m thinking particularly in the first instance of Bruce – the boy who will only eat cucumber and potato if we serve it in chunks, boiled & plain, or dressed up to look like chips.

The chickens on the other hand, while also fond of cucumber and potato will have a go at everything I put in front of them.

Being a new chicken owner, I was slightly alarmed one day to notice that one of our chickens had a big lump on her breast.  Being a modern chicken owner I immediately Googled “my chicken has a lump on it’s breast” and discovered that this lump was a crop.  The crop is a storage tank for the chicken.

It’s a very useful way of knowing that my chooks are well fed and so when they come running towards me in their pre-historic dinosaur way expecting food, I can ignore them and just fossic about for their eggs instead.

There are some days when I dearly wish my kids had a crop.  The days when they just go on and on about being starving.  If they had a crop I could know instantly if they were putting it on or not.

Mind you, there are a lot of things to find irritating about the chickens. They peck at the flowers on my thongs thinking they are food (and often miss and hit my toes instead).  They’ve stripped everything green out of the section of the garden they’ve taken over.  They poo in their water and their food and they find crafty new ways to get out of their extensive chicken run (and yet can never seem to find the way back in and so, sit sqwarking like crazy as soon as the sun starts to rise).

At the end of the day I know Bruce will come to like his vegies and they just about know not to ask over and over for something when I’ve said no. They’re not so bad – and are a damn sight more intelligent and funnier than the chooks (and a lot less smelly).

John & Chickorita

Bella stalking the chickens

What’s in a Name?

Some of the hodgehegs that live in our house

Hodgehegs was the mixed up word my second son used for hedgehogs.  We’ve used it so much in our family I now have to stop and think before I write or say it.  I don’t really have a reason why I used it as the name of our blog except that I like it.  And I like the real thing too (unlike someone I used to know who ‘just loves’ frogs but wouldn’t be within 30 cm of the real thing because they are slimey).

My name is the only real name shown here.  It’s an unusual spelling.  I’d like to stress that as I was a baby at the time I had no influence on it’s spelling and therefore refuse to be held accountable to people who can’t spell or pronounce it.  And I’m not that bothered if you can’t do either.

DB is my Dearly Beloved.  We’ve been together for just over 18 years, married for 12 (good on us for getting married in 2000, making that one easier to remember).

Squidge is my 8 year old.  He was given that nickname at birth.  As new parents we were surprised that something so small could produce something quite so, well, squidgy, in his nappy.  He also tended to squidge around an awful lot when trying to change his nappy, making for a squidgy mess.

This Dog Bruce (aka Bruce for short) is my 5 year old.  His nickname comes from a children’s book that I remember having that title but can find no reference to anymore.  This Dog Bruce was about a little dog who went around looking for fun but ended up getting in to mischief instead.  It just has always seemed to suit him.

Apart from we humans, the hodgehegs household is made up of Bella the rescue dog and 2 chooks.  What’s weird about Bella’s name?  Not much but when we ‘rescued’ her, her name was really Bellar and we decided to drop the R.  As for the chooks, Squidge named his Chickorita (inspired by  Pokemon) and Bruce called his John, and sometimes Gravy.  We just can’t help it but refer to John as “he”, even though we know full well he is a she.

What’s in your name?