Thursday, December 22, 2011

Watson Family Christmas Letter 2011

For the last few years I’ve had the time to put together a Christmas letter in a lovely professional newsletter format, pdf it and send it off. Not this year. I’m sorry to say this blog is it as with 3 children under 6 (one now 6 month’s old), a full time job, part-time lecturing at Uni and a small business I don’t really have the time to do this. Usually a Christmas letter is a bit show offy about how wonderful the year has been. I could write this up as we have indeed had magical moments like the birth of Mack, but it’s not all roses and I’d hate to lie. On the upside we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world with the most amazing facilities and we’re safe.

We had a fantastic first half of the year. Mack was born on 6 June and he is simply the most amazing and wonderful baby to complete our family of 5. He’s a very happy baby and quite go with the flow which I suppose he has to be considering his birth order. But phew, I’m so happy we’ve been gifted with our bubba that was so huge he had to come out early and he reminds me a little of Jabba the hut! He’s now 6 month’s old and weighs only about 2 kgs less than Keirabella who turns 4 in a few weeks. He may have a fabulous career as a sumo wrestler.

I struggled at the end of the pregnancy not only because I crazily walked over hot coals at an Anthony Robbins event (and have an embedded coal in my foot to prove it) but for the third time in five years (I’ve been pregnant almost two and a half years out of 5) I wasn’t able to dance on tabletops, eat soft cheese or drink copiously. My hip that was broken after giving birth to Keirabella was at risk, and quite sore, and I had to be very careful with everything I did. Towards the end of the pregnancy I was walking like my 97 year old Grandma, but instead of a support frame I was lugging school bags, library books, water bottles and swimming gear around for the 1.5 hour school journey every day (3 hours total in a day).

Our brilliant idea of getting an au pair to help me force feed the children, dunk them in the bath and cope with their protests as we ripped a brush through their bird’s nest hair and help with the school run backfired when we ended up with a strict militant German who everyone was scared of, but we survived. The German did her time and left and we got a new au pair from Austria who turned out to be wonderful. Jenny is the 3rd honorary daughter of the family and is loved by all of us. Her only weakness is an inability to use the iron properly and our clothes all look like we’re in competition with foil lolly wrappers. We can cope with that much better than the fear of being doomed forever and being criticised for hanging the kid’s clothes up in the wrong section.

Jenny’s influence has extended to my purchase of clothes as I bought a batch of non iron wrap dresses to make her life easier! This leads me to budgeting. A few month’s after our beautiful Mack was born we got thrown into having to budget for every last cent when a stalker at Mark’s work (which was our primary source of income) made it too difficult for him to stay and he switched to a new role elsewhere.

My need for security and concerns over running a family on 1 volatile income launched me back into fulltime work with a 5 month old baby, no sleep at night and running a household routine for 6 people that is akin to an under 6rs soccer game. No-one really knows where the ball is, half of us are crying at any one time about something trivial, people from the sidelines are yelling out conflicting advice and the goal posts seem to move whenever we get near them - or we get wiped out by a tsunami just when we think we have it together. It's had an impact on La Bella as although La Bella is successful in earning the equivalent to a receptionist level salary it's not enough to sustain all of us - yet! I'll have to work out how to balance it all.

The family budgeting process has been an interesting one as I’ve worked out just how much I spend on desperate interstate daily phone calls with Kate, my new technology addiction, chocolate, drunken bids at charity balls and the real killer: how much we actually spend on alcohol – oh dear!

The medical bills this year went through the roof with a birth and then surgery for Bella. Keirabella got sicker and sicker during the year with sleep apnoea and fever after fever, endless infections and huge weight loss. She had her tonsils and adenoids out a month ago and she seems to be thriving although her weight still worries me. None of us are exactly the build of a stick insect in our family but Keirabella seems destined to become a supermodel as she’s way too skinny!!! She’s still on my Mummy worry radar but I am comforted (and horrified) by the fact that if she could she’d eat nothing but chocolate and chips and seems to hold off on eating anything healthy until she gets her own way.

Lakeisha is a beautiful headstrong little girl who has a few select friends, loves to play with the boys and keeps swapping her dresses and other girly clothing with her male friends as soon as she gets them into her bedroom (a behaviour I hope she doesn’t repeat in 10 year’s time). Lakeisha wants an IPAD or Xbox for Christmas. Keirabella is a party animal that is friends with everyone and is massively into princesses and fairies (which Lakeisha proclaims she HATES). She’s usually dressed in fairy costumes that swim on her due to her small size and I’m constantly having to fix her wings and mend her wands. She wants chocolate or something princessy for Christmas. Mack is already tearing around the house in his walker, is accessing the lower drawers in the kitchen and takes great delight in ramming us against a wall or pulling our hair. He’s constantly eating and moving and laughs at every opportunity he gets.

We need more laughter next year and we’ll all have at least a week off over Christmas with friends and family which is going to be fabulous. We spent some valuable time with Greg and Danielle in Cairns for their wedding, we caught up with Bec on the Gold Coast and we hope that we can spend more time next year with our friends. We’ve planned a holiday to Bali next year with Laurie and Matt and Tim and Penny plus families, so we’re looking forward to playing with the kids, relaxing, swimming, drinking and getting cheap massages.

The Christmas holiday coming up in a few days is needed as after a few week’s of me taking a new job in November and being excited about it paying much more than I’d ever expect I began the new role and discovered that I had no desk for a week, the boss never said hello, no-one seemed to be clear on what benefits the project would deliver, and I had to work closely with someone who was completely incompetent, who liked to work alone, that preferred to communicate by email when they were sitting right next to me and who admitted they didn’t like socialising or people!!! Can you imagine me getting on with this person? After a few weeks I finished a planning document that colleagues told me would normally take 4 month’s to write (I did it in 2 weeks) and I chose to walk! It was nice to receive hugs of support and tears from people I’d only known for a few weeks!

I’m really pleased I was completely fickle about this as I’m now working for the most wonderful organisation with the most fabulous boss who says hello regularly, I have flexibility of work hours, a desk, a mobile phone, free fruit, a laptop, staff, a carpark in the city, I’m surrounded by clever, lovely people, I like my role and I have all the support I could ever need! Yay! There really are some toxic workplaces out there.

So just when we thought we had it together Mark’s anonymous stalker comes out of the woodwork the week before Christmas to try and sabotage his career again!!! I’d really love to just sit this person down and explain that their actions are hurting a whole family and that I’ve been ripped out of maternity leave and separated from my beautiful baby boy earlier than planned because of this person, but I suspect that they’re a jealous, crazy, malicious person and they may actually get some glee from this thought. I’m not sure they will get much traction as the powers that be are sensible and think it’s the actions of an unstable person but it’s not nice to think someone hates your husband that much that they’re seeking to ruin him.

I’m sure we’ll get through next year in one piece but first we need to survive Christmas Eve at our place with 13 people, lunch at the Tradie’s the following day and then a trip down to Merimbula to see Mark’s family and relax on the beach in the current un-beachy temperatures of 20 degrees average.

We’ve learnt this year that I’m having no more children (ever!), that we have very supportive friends and family, and that sometimes life knocks you sideways but you simply need to dust it off and keep going...

I have a feeling that next year is going to be AMAZINGLY good.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

October holiday time out...

We’ve had a quiet but exciting month. This month I was featured in Mother and Baby magazine for tips on how to run an online business. I’d completely forgotten about this until I was lazing around with Mack and the girls reading on our holiday and Lakeisha was reading over my shoulder. She pointed to my name and said ‘Isn’t that you, Mummy’. And indeed it was!!!

We went for a holiday to the Gold Coast and usually I organise for people to man the office but it was October school holidays and I think everyone around me just needs a break. I want to thank our very patient customers who coped with receiving their orders a week late. We had a lovely time and now it’s back to business. This month I’m working on adding some chapters to Mumpreneur Online, organising Christmas stock and doing some change management consulting.

We’ve sold out of some of our necklaces and we’re working next week on asking Irene (China), Birute (Lithuania) and Angus (Bali) to make some more for us in time for Christmas orders. Block colours are very ‘in’ this season and it’s been nice to see that our fashion predictions have resulted in the popularity of the new green and red resin necklaces. We have some orange and yellow to come as well!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Honey joy - Kill joy!

I always pride myself as being a mum that can keep on top of the kid’s homework. Mind you Lakeisha is in Kindy so how hard should it be?? Trying to get the weekly homework task completed with a 3 month old baby and a 3 year old to look after as well is Difficult with a capital D! I have no idea how we’ll cope when she reaches high school as the home work is killing me!

Last week in Week 9 she was supposed to find a favourite art work and describe it to the class but I got the weeks mixed up (we get notification in advance to help us plan- or maybe it’s just to confuse us) and I accidentally helped her do homework for week 10. It’s okay as the sweet best friend who she’s been in trouble for fighting with twice this week – apparently both at fault) lent her one of her favourite pieces of art – Phew!

But week 10 was to make a favourite recipe, and write down the ingredients and instructions – so there I was in week 9 with lots and lots of rocky road……………..

10 kilos later…………….

Tonight I sat down to eat our dinner and somehow mistakenly chewed a hot chilli in our stir fry that I thought was a capsicum. In a dash to quench the pain I quickly downed my soft drink. Only to realise when I’d finished it that I’d served myself a very liberal nip of vodka in my coca cola tonight in a normal glass (my excuse was that we are budgeting so I may as well use the vodka in the cupboard as it’s cheaper than buying wine or cider) and I had accidentally just downed it in 5 seconds. Oops!!

Feeling very happy with Mack and Bella in bed Lakeisha and I tackled the homework and decided to make honey joys which we’ve never done before. The instructions said to bake for 10 mins in a 150 degree oven. 5 minutes later I could smell burning and lo and behold the tips of the cornflakes were charcoal.

I have never contemplated drink driving in my life but the thought crossed my mind when I realised we’d run out of cornflakes. The look on Lakeisha’s face was enough to make any mother feel like caterpillar poo!

Trying not to have a meltdown in front of Lakeisha and assuring her it was all just fine I called out for Mark to rescue me – and yes he did!

He painstakingly picked out the burnt flakes, re-arranged the leftovers and then we placed them in the warm over with the controls turned off to re-melt them!

OMG! I love him!!!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I'm streamlining my life and work so that it can merge together and achieve better work life balance. Mack is now only waking once in the night so life is a little easier, although Bella has developed into the most amazing DIVA ever and Lakeisha seems to be fighting a lot with her best friend so it balances out!

That means that this blog will now cover La Bella, Mumpreneur Online, my training and communications consultancy work and Watson family life. Wow! Rather than running 3 blogs I'm now running one!! I'm setting up a central website but it will link to the other main websites so don't worry you can still visit La Bella and Mumpreneur Online websites directly.

The last few weeks have been completely crazy while I sort this out and I have to thank my very patient team members and friends who have coped with me nutting all of this out and probably driving them crazy.

Corporate Princess is now the umbrella for my other businesses and although they sit separately they all have a central tagline which is to be both practical and pretty. Pretty in helping people and programs to look good and be successful but also in the terminology of being 'pretty' helpful!

I'll also weave in the Watson family life and how we all cope and hold it together in a crazy life with a corporate princess at the helm!!

Now that I have myself sorted we're off to Queensland for the October school holidays. All 7 of us! Yep me, hubbie, the 3 kids, Grandma and Jenny (our lovely new au pair).

My challenge for today is to write a training program on understanding workplace behaviour for Acorn, pack La Bella orders, start drafting the newsletter, order new business cards and start thinking about the new website, organise paper work for Bella's surgery in November, take Lakeisha to piano lessons and help Lakeisha with her homework which is to bake 25 of her favourite 'dish' to take to class tomorrow (she writes out the recipe). On top of that my Nanna has been taken to hospital with heart pain - but somehow we will get it all done and everyone will still feel loved at the end!

It somehow seems easier than yesterday's challenge which was to find a new suit that caters for my extra baby weight and doesn't make me still look pregnant and then go off to 3 business meetings (all with men). It's been 3 months but I can't really use Mack as an excuse around Christmas - or can I?

Watch this space!