Friday, 28 November 2008

To Be Delightful

I think we have a lot to learn from the old girls. I don't mean the quite old girls, like myself, I mean the really old girls - i.e., you're barely in this club aged 80, sister!

I've been thinking about them ever since I met my friend Margaret's new step-girlfriend. That's what she calls her, because she is the new girlfriend of her late mother's boyfriend....Still with me? To explain: Margaret's late mother had a boyfriend, Peter. Sadly, Margaret's mother died a couple of years ago and Peter now has a new babe, the Step-Girlfriend. And as he had become a big part of my friend's family when he was dating their mother, Pete's new octogenarian arm candy has been enthusiastically welcomed, too, although she is no relation by either blood or marriage. But, my goodness, she is fabulous!

It's not just the size-8 figure, the defined waist, or the way she walks as though she were about to break into a quickstep at any moment. It's not even her perfectly kept nails or her beautifully set silver-white hair. No, that's all good but it's not the heart of it.

Of course, her clothes help. She's always immaculate in a cashmere twin-set and pearls for casual day wear, a suit for smart days and a selection of lovely, below-the-knee, waisted dresses for dinner or cocktails. I'm told that it's proper long gowns if there's a chance of a dance at an evening event. She never wears trousers, and always wears heels. But while she's very well turned out, there's more to her appeal than grooming.

The really amazing thing is that the Step-Girlfriend is not the only one I know of this marvellous breed. Two more immediately spring to mind, both mothers of good friends, in their 90's and a delight to behold and spend time with. And that, I think, is the crux of the charm of these golden girls.

They aim, at all times, to be delightful.

They always look interested in what you're saying, even if you rather suspect they can't quite hear you.

I do understand that this could be perceived as a hangover from the 1950's man-pleasing mode, when women were expected to adopt a perfect-wife persona, hiding their real needs and feelings under a wipe-clean, easy-care veneer of feminine charm. That would be terribly depressing, and I really don't think it is what I am seeing in these luminous ladies.

Rather it is a refined form of self-discipline, always to put on a delighted and delightful demeanour, whatever you're really going through inside, as a courtesy to others.

In our age of let-it-all-hang-out, where people exert no self-control when it comes to venting about whatever is getting them down at any given moment - regardless of the effect their mood may have on others - it really is a pleasant change.

And I don't excuse myself from that criticism. I'm a shocker for letting whatever I'm feeling - be it frustration with a slow supermarket queue, or a genuine concern - play across my face like a Reuters screen. Not nice.

So, while I'm all in favour of being real about my feelings in the appropriate context, I think there's a lot to be learned from these shining members of an older generation.

I would very much like to learn how to be delightful!

Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, 2007 - Two very delightful sculptures.

My 86 year old mother - Beryl, myself and my 96 year old Aunt Mary. Two very delightful women.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Let Us Be Thankful

With an open heart I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving.
I envision an evolving world where peace and love prevail.

The information below gives a brief history of Thanksgiving which will be of interest to those like myself not from the USA.

In 1621, after a hard and devastating first year in the New World the Pilgrim's fall harvest was very successful and plentiful. There was corn, fruits, vegetables, along with fish which was packed in salt, and meat that was smoke cured over fires. They found they had enough food to put away for the winter.

The Pilgrims had beaten the odds. They built homes in the wilderness, they raised enough crops to keep them alive during the long coming winter, and they were at peace with their Indian neighbors. Their Governor, William Bradford, proclaimed a day of thanksgiving that was to be shared by all the colonists and the neighboring Native American Indians.

The custom of an annually celebrated Thanksgiving, held after the harvest, continued through the years. During the American Revolution (late 1770's) a day of national thanksgiving was suggested by the Continental Congress.

In 1817 New York State adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom. By the middle of the 19th century many other states also celebrated a Thanksgiving Day. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed a national day of thanksgiving. Since then each president has issued a Thanksgiving Day proclamation, usually designating the fourth Thursday of each November as the holiday.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

A Different Perspective

I am a great fan and admirer of Cirque Du Soleil and over the years have been very fortunate to see a number of their absolutely sensational shows.

At each of these shows, I have joined thousands of other people in the circus tent to reflect in total awe on the amazing and seemingly impossible acrobatic feats in each performance. When this is coupled with the larger than life sense of theatre that engulfs everyone, it leaves you inspired and full of appreciation for what you have just seen.

Just recently I had the opportunity to see the same Cirque Du Soleil show for a second time within a space of about a month. At the first show, my friend and I were seated about thirty rows back from the stage, so you could imagine it was not easy to see all the expressions on the faces of the performers or for us to fully appreciate the passionate effort that they put into their individual performances. However, what we were able to enjoy was the wonderful panorama of the overall performance.

At the second show, we were fortunate to be seated in the second row just a couple of metres from the stage and we could now see close up the performers and their expressions. Equally, having seen the show before, we both looked forward to seeing our favourite segments for the second time.

Driving home after the second show, we talked about which of the two shows we enjoyed the most and also whether it was better to sit close to the stage or further back. We agreed that both shows were equal in terms of their spectacle and enjoyment, but from two totally different perspectives. In seeing the show for the second time, our appreciation of the absolute brilliance of Cirque Du Soleil was significantly enhanced and without doubt will always be remembered.

In the days that followed it occurred to me that there are some parallels between the experience we had at the two Cirque Du Soleil shows and what happens in our every day lives when we deal with the many challenges that face us.

How often do we make a decision about something important to us based on one single viewing of the facts or act just on what are our first impressions of the situation, without taking the time to gain a better feel for things. By way of example, when we read a good book or watch a movie for the first time it is so easy to believe that we now have a full understanding of all that we have just read or seen. Then at some later point, if we read the book or watched the movie for a second time we are almost certain to discover lots of other important things that we missed the first time around.

Whilst we often don’t have the opportunity to consider an important challenge or situation for a second time before we make a decision about the course action we will take, we should always endeavour to make time to stand back and view things from afar in order to gain a perspective of the bigger picture, and then be able to revisit the challenge or situation close up to see the finer detail and further improve our understanding.

In the light of the different perspective that a second viewing can provide to us, we would then be in a better position to make a more balanced and considered decision about the action we should take. I am sure if we all strived to do this, the outcome may very well be as enjoyable and uplifting as my second visit to Cirque Du Soleil.

Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, November 2008 - These two photos are an example of a different perspective of the same sculpture, one from afar and one up close.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

A Sacred Bond

“Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends.” These words of Virginia Woolf are a pointing reminder of the importance of friendship in our lives.

I spent the afternoon with my 'best friend' from my high school days. We hadn't seen each other since 2002, but it seemed like only yesterday.
There were no awkward moments, just laughter and filling in the gaps of those years, with the sad events and the happy ones.

When we think of our friends we immediately think of those people who have been constantly present in our lives, those who have been a stellar support to us in happy times and times of crisis. Perhaps it is not always easy to define friendship. It isn’t built on a list of expectations as is the case with other relationships. But then perhaps it is this freedom, this unspoken tenderness, this amalgamation of faith, trust, support and other beautiful aspects that make it such a sacred bond.

Any person who has ever enjoyed a wonderful bond of friendship will understand the importance of being there for the friend. Life is a continuous learning experience and along the way every person encounters happy moments and trying times. What one needs during the happy times as well as the painful ones is constant support and a true friend knows this only too well. Sometimes it is not always possible to be there for your friend in person but modern technology has allowed people to connect in spite of geographical distances.

Perhaps it is only in friendship that people are capable of giving unconditional acceptance and love to another individual and this is the hallmark of true friendship. It means friends allow each other to be human and commit mistakes and learn from the mistakes. It also means that friends love each other in spite of the mistakes. This acceptance and love also means that friends talk to each other if they have any issues between them and that they treat each other with respect, dignity and kindness. They also give each other the benefit of doubt and try to understand the other person’s perspective.

True friendship also means that our friends encourage us to reach and perform according to our potential and do not transgress our boundaries. In a healthy friendship bond you should never be forced by any of your friends to do anything that you are not comfortable doing. There is genuine concern for the emotional, physical and spiritual well being of each other in this beautiful relationship.

Some of my favourite Friendship quotes.

“Friendship is the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words."
- George Elliot

"Friendship with oneself is all-important because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world."
- Eleanor Roosevelt

"Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of joy you must have somebody to divide it with."
- Mark Twain

"With every friend I love who has been taken into the brown bosom of the earth a part of me has been buried there; but their contribution to my being of happiness, strength and understanding remains to sustain me in an altered world."
- Helen Keller

"What is a friend? A single soul in two bodies."
- Aristotle

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
- Martin Luther King Jr.

Carole King, Celine Dion, Gloria Estefan & Shania Twain - You've Got A Friend

Monday, 17 November 2008

Who Are You?

Caroline over at The Zen in You has been writing some very insightful posts (she is a fellow Sagittarian so I expect nothing less...) and the one on 'Confronting Fears' reminded me of a story that was read to us in Philosophy a couple of months ago.

In a remote mountain village the head of the village died and leadership was passed on to his son.

Now the people had lived many years under the control of a huge monster who loomed like a shadow over the village.

Whenever anyone tried to find freedom this large shadow appeared with a loud voice echoing through the mountain. The villagers always retreated at the sight of the dark image.

The young man who was now the leader realised the time had come to confront this monster. He went out with a group of villagers and as soon as they appeared at the edge of the village the huge shadow appeared. They stepped back in fright.

The young man observed how the shadow became bigger and the voice louder as they retreated. He paused and then bravely took a step towards the shadow. It seemed to become slightly smaller. He stepped again and his view was confirmed, the shadow became less and the voice less powerful.

He continued moving towards it until at his feet was the source of the shadow. He plucked up this small ephemeral object in his had and asked

"Who are you?"

Fear was the weak feeble reply.

He closed his hand and it disappeared entirely.

The moral of the story was to 'Observe Fear and let it pass through you'.

Manly, Sydney, June 2008 - BEFORE

Manly, Sydney, June 2008 - AFTER

Saturday, 15 November 2008

A Meaningful Apology

Sorry is a powerful word. Whether used individually or collectively, it carries an emotional force that, in the best of circumstances, is life-changing.

Yet when it comes to healing serious hurt or conflict, I am increasingly sure that saying sorry is rarely enough.

An apology has its greatest power when someone unreservedly acknowledges the harm they have done to other people. Admitting "I caused this" is difficult. It can take many people a long time and much backsliding to get that point. Making excuses, looking for "both sides to the story", feeling miserable or resentful that you have been caught out, or self-pitying because your dignity and reputation are now sullied are all quite different responses from recognising and unconditionally regretting the damaging effects of your choices and actions on other people's lives.

A meaningful apology leaves excuses behind. It must arise from a willingness to take complete responsibility for your actions, but even that is not enough. It must also be based on a resolve not to cause such pain again. Fear of losing other people's love and respect, rationalisations, panic: all of that is essentially self-focused. It's about "you", not "them" and is even a faint hope that you might get away with it next time.

I have heard several painful stories where people talked about much-loved family members who are fluent in the language of apology but seemingly unable to make any real change to their behaviour. While each story is different, that awful sense of "Here we go again" is much the same.

I can add my own situation to these stories where by my ex-husband was very controlling and emotionally and verbally abusive. He degraded me to the lowest emotional point of my life. He knew just what buttons to press to hurt me by throwing everything from my past back into my face. And when he realised he had pushed me to the point of leaving, it was always the same "Lets give it another go, I am sorry, I will change".........I finally left in March 2000 after 15 years but that is another story for another day.

Conventional psychological thinking pushes people to find reasons why they or their loved ones are behaving badly: terrible parents, parents who were too kind; too much money or too little; poor self-image or excessive ego. Almost any scenario will do.

Some factors are significant. We don't enter or move through life with equal gifts or insights. But "reasons why" can also be perilously distracting. The primary cause of behaviour that hurts other people is rarely in the past. The past matters, but less than the way someone thinks about themselves and other people right now, in the present moment.

Are they willing to recognise their power to care about other people whether or not they "feel like it"?

My husband and the other people all see themselves as the primary victims of their own behaviour. The suffering they are causing others is less urgent for them than their own emotional needs and desires. Until they reverse that, and make their daily choices with far more active regard for other people, whatever sorrow they may feel for the pain they are causing will remain muted and ineffective.

Waking up to our power to harm - or uplift - others is crucial to emotional maturity.
It is the way out of self-centredness and, while challenging, is the only way to make saying sorry meaningful.

What it adds up to is taking unconditional responsibility for the effect of all our choices and actions on other people.

Stanwell Park, Sydney, July 2007: "The Path We Walk"

Friday, 14 November 2008

Reality Check.....The Mighty Have Fallen

THE markets have gone up, the markets have gone down; they have yo-yoed their way through winter and spring. At the end of this hysterical few months, surely we can spare a little sympathy for those who are doing it toughest - the merchant bankers and the money-market wizards.

This week, they have emerged from their city towers, blinking into the sunlight, into a world they hardly recognise. Vainly they wait for their chauffeur to pick them up from the footpath. There is no chauffeur. There is no chauffeur? But how does one possibly get around?

A bus. Someone needs to tell them about the bus. Large rectangular object. On wheels. Has driver. Doesn't come for ages, then three come at once.

A bus, you say? Oh yes. Buy a 10-ticket thingy at newsagency, three colours available, buy the cheap one. If caught with blue ticket on red route, feign a grand mal seizure. Or just make a run for it. Now the main method of exercise for man on street.

I imagine him, the one-time master of the universe, standing lonely on a city corner, cardboard box under the arm. In the box a framed photo of his yacht (sold), Porsche (returned) and three daughters (in grief counselling - the cancellation of their David Jones accounts was quite a blow).

It's the first morning of the rest of his life and he's eager to ask his welfare officer for more details of this new world and how it works.

Yes, the bus, thank you for explaining the bus. But what of other cities? What if I need to travel by air?

Air travel? Right you are. No problem. There are seats down the back. You'll have noticed that little curtain. Bit of a surprise. There's a whole other cabin back there. Trick is to turn right rather than left when entering plane. Soon get the hang of it.

And, yet, sooner or later, the body blow has to come. He's going to need to know about the existence of taxation.

Taxation, you say? Oh, yes, most people pay it every year. It's like a tithe to the government, which they use to provide roads, schools and bank bail-outs.

The colour drains from his face. Every single year? You pay your own money to the government every single year? You are joking, right?

Actually, weekly. Deducted from pay. Hard to get out of, if one is on normal wicket. Best be cheerful about it.

Sculpture by the Sea - Nov 2004 - If the bus becomes too expensive there is always the bicycle!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Lest We Forget - 11:11

Today being the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month is a very special day for me for many reasons.

First and foremost it is Remembrance Day - To remember the fallen and those still fighting wars. This video below called 'Lest We Forget' was created by shohmyoh and the music 'The Green Fields Of France' by Dropkick Murphys. I personally would like to say thank you, veterans and soldiers, for the freedoms we enjoy today. You will never be forgotten.

Secondly, some of you already know about my quirky experience with Eleven Eleven (11:11). I started seeing 11:11 on digital clocks in the 1980's. It made me smile when I saw it but it wasn't until 1995 when I mentioned it to a close friend and discovered she had been seeing the same thing that we thought it must have a meaning. Without further ado (love that saying) we googled it and here is what we learned.
"11:11 is a wake-up call for lightworkers. Lightworkers are people who signed up for a "green beret" type of mission when they were on the spirit plane (before being incarnated on Earth). What the mission is, in short, is to hold as much Light as possible, as strongly as possible, on this planet".

Postscript - I saw 11:11 this morning on my computer clock and my blog archive has 11 postings for September and October and I promise you I didn't cheat and create 11 posts knowingly!

Finally I would like to add a poem by Marianne Williamson called 'Our Deepest Fear'.
I found this description on the web that accurately describes my feelings about the poem.

"Marianne Williamson's poem, Our Deepest Fear, has been inspiring people for decades with its deeply resonating message about our fear of greatness, of standing out from the pack".

"If you've ever felt that paralysing fear of stepping forward and presenting yourself to public scrutity, you may find your first impulse is to label it a fear of failure. But in Our Deepest Fear, Marianne Williamson addresses the other side of that feeling, the fear of being better than your peers, perhaps even daring to be the best".

"It's a powerful message".

Our Deepest Fear
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness,that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?
Actually who are we not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people
won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And when we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

- Marianne Williamson

Note About Nelson Mandela
This quote is often found on the Internet incorrectly credited to Nelson Mandela from his Inauguration Speech, 1994, especially the last sentence of that quote, “As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

For reference, here are links to two official African government sites with Nelson Mandela's 1994 Inauguration Speech:

Mandela: Inauguration Address - Cape Town, 09 May 1994, via South Africa Government Online Official Web site.

Statement Of The President Of The African National Congress Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela At His Inauguration As President Of The Democratic Republic Of South Africa Union Buildings - Pretoria, 10 May 1994, via ANC's (African National Congress) Official Web site.

This Sculpture by the Sea 2008 exhibitor Steinunn Thorarinsdottir from Iceland named this 'Look and See'.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Complex Dance - Belonging and Inclusion

In philosophy last week we discussed whether we were an 'includer' by nature - or not?

This is something that we can easily fail to develop in ourselves and may not value or develop in children. Yet the capacity and willingness to think about others and include them makes a profound difference for people of all ages. It could be a child at pre-school who is willing to share, an adult at a party who keeps an eye out for anyone standing on their own, a colleague who will take the time to show a newcomer around a workplace, or someone happy to draw others out and help them feel affirmed and welcome.

In so many situations a moment of generosity and thoughtfulness can make all the difference between someone feeling like an outsider, with all the agonies that can produce, and feeling included.

The image of a child standing alone in a crowded playground, without the protection of company and friends, certainly haunts me.

Feeling included is vital for our emotional health and wellbeing and it will affect dramatically how we think about other people as well as ourselves. It will also affect whether we see the world as essentially friendly or hostile. Because most of us underestimate our own personal power and overestimate other people's, we are likely to spend far more time worrying about being left out rather than whether and how we are including others.

Yet this is always a complex dance. We have chances to be included; we have at least as many chances to offer that vital sense of inclusion to others.

Behaving in ways that are welcoming and inclusive lifts our own spirits - at any age. In fact, being actively inclusive and friendly does wonders for most people's personal and social confidence. Nevertheless, there will always be some people who remain fearful that reaching out to others will make them seem needy or vulnerable.

It's tempting to believe that other people have an easier time feeling part of things than we do. Yet being real about our own insecurities should help us see how common they are and what we could do about them. In fact, honesty about our own social vulnerability creates a good basis for empathy and can give us the courage to be proactive rather than daunted.

Acknowledging your power to bring other people in rather than leave them out already makes a difference.

I am amazed at how many people complain about feeling left out or overlooked while never considering how they might save others from similar experiences. Including others is a win-win situation: great for them, great for ourselves.

Some people are naturally attuned to others, always keeping an eye out for those on the margins or those feeling new or unsure in any social situation. They are society's treasures and we can all learn from them. I feel very privileged to know many people like this and grateful they are part of my life.

An easy sense of belonging is essential to feeling safe, inwardly and outwardly. Whatever our age or status, we are free to appreciate that sense of belonging and to offer it freely to others.

It is an exceptionally uplifting way to move through the world!

Yet another 'Sculpture by the Sea' Exhibit - Nov 2003

Nov 2008, 'Sculpture by the Sea' - We are all very different and at the same time very similar!

Friday, 7 November 2008

Can He Fix It

Thousands in a Chicago park. Utterly enraptured by the moment and the man. Shiny cheeked with joy.

"Two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century."

That's what he inherits. The worst of times. Cometh the man.

"This victory alone is not the change we seek, it is only the chance to make that change."

It's just five years since Barack Obama came from next to nothing to the US Senate. A black man, now president, a life and a half from slavery. This changes not only American politics but something subliminal and effective at the heart of us all.

"The enduring power of our ideals ... unyielding hope."

Which is something we can share.

"That American creed ... yes we can."


Now if Barack needs any help he can always call upon 'Bob the Builder' because WE ALL KNOW BOB CAN FIX IT!!!

Another Sculpture by the Sea exhibit at Bondi, November 2008 alluding what the world hopes Barack Obama can achieve.

I call this Sculpture by the Sea exhibit, November 2007 - United Together

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

A Pleasant Surprise

Much to my surprise (and I mean it) I received this award last week from a wonderful, thoughtful, humorous, talented (I could go on and on and on) blogger AVT Coach. I told her what a happy blogger I was before she so kindly bestowed upon me the scribbler award, and how my head won't fit through the door now!!! Seriously though, I feel very honoured to have received this award....thanks Coach!

Here are the rules of the game.

1. Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.
2. Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
3. Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.
4. Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit This Post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!
5. Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

Now as you may or may not know, my philosophy is 'rules are made to be broken', so I am handing out the Superior Scribbler Award to THREE very deserving bloggers. If you enjoy poetry and photography, do yourself a favour and visit these very talented bloggers, YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!!!

1. Jen - JenX67 - One of my favourites I called 'poetry in motion' is 'Fall Foliage in Oklahoma City'

2. Ron - Troubled Ramblings. This poem especially touched my heart - 'Couldn't Sleep'

3. Roban - Moments in Time
Last but certainly not least is a very beautiful poem called 'Life' meaningful.

Another photo taken at Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2007, reminds me of how we reach out to each other and support one another unconditionally.

Monday, 3 November 2008

You Tell Me

Lately I have been reading some beautiful poetry that different bloggers have written and it reminded me of a book I bought back in 1979 called 'You Tell Me' written by Roger McGough and Michael Rosen.

This book of humorous poems has stayed close by my side all these years. I often share the poems with my friends when they come over and a small group of us can even recite some of them off by heart.......what joy this book have given us.

Here are 4 of my favourites:

I'm a nooligan
don't give a toss
in our class
I'm the boss
(well, one of them)

I'm a nooligan
got a nard 'ead
step out of line
and you're dead
(well bleedin)

I'm a nooligan
I spray my name
all over town
footballs me game
(well, watchin)

I'm a nooligan
violence is fun
gonna be a nassassin
or a nired gun
(well, a soldier)

Every evening after tea
grandad would take his bucket for a walk.

An empty bucket

When I asked him why
he said because it was easier to carry
than a full one

granddad had
an answer
for everything

is stand in the hot sun
at the end of a long queue for ice creams
watching all the people who've just brought theirs
coming away from the queue
giving their ice creams their very first lick.

I was sitting in the sitting room
toying with some toys
when from a door marked: 'GRUESOME'
There came a GRUESOME noise.

Cautiously I opened it
and there to my surprise
a litte GRUE lay sitting
with tears in its eyes.

'Oh little GRUE please tell me
what is it ails thee so?'
'Well I'm so small,' he sobbed,
'GRUESSES don't want to know'

'Exercises are the answer,
Each morning you must DO SOME'
He thanked me, smiled,
and do you know what?
The very next day he......

I took this photo at 'Sculpture by the Sea' last week, it evokes what a 'Nooligan' or a 'Gruesome' might look like!

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Birth Order of Children

This delightful piece came via an email. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did. Love to hear Octamom's views on this one.

A New Life
1st baby: You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as your Obstetrician/Gynecologist confirms your pregnancy.
2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible.
3rd baby: Your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes.

Preparing for the Birth:
1st baby: You practice your breathing religiously.
2nd baby: You don't bother because you remember that last time, breathing didn't do a thing.
3rd baby : You ask for an epidural in your eighth month.

The Layette:
1st baby: You pre-wash newborn's clothes, colour-coordinate them, and fold them neatly in the baby's little bureau.
2nd baby: You check to make sure that the clothes are clean and discard only the ones with the darkest stains.
3rd baby: Boys can wear pink, can't they?

1st baby: At the first sign of distress, a whimper, a frown, you pick up the baby.
2nd baby: You pick the baby up when her wails threaten to wake your first born.
3rd baby: You teach your three-year-old how to rewind the mechanical swing.

1st baby: If the pacifier falls on the floor, you put it away until you can go home and wash and boil it.
2nd baby: When the pacifier falls on the floor, you squirt it off with some juice from the baby's bottle.
3rd baby: You wipe it off on your shirt and pop it back in.

1st baby: You change your baby's diapers every hour, whether they need it or not.
2nd baby: You change their diaper every two to three hours, if needed.
3rd baby: You try to change their diaper before others start to
complainabout the smell or you see it sagging to their knees.

1st baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics, Baby Swing, Baby Zoo, Baby Movies and Baby Story Hour.
2nd baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics.
3rd baby: You take your infant to the supermarket and the dry cleaners.

Going Out:
1st baby: The first time you leave your baby with a sitter, you call home five times.
2nd baby: Just before you walk out the door, you remember to leave a number where you can be reached.
3rd baby: You leave instructions for the sitter to call only if she sees blood.

At Home:
1st baby: You spend a good bit of every day just gazing at the baby.
2nd baby: You spend a bit of everyday watching to be sure your older child isn't squeezing, poking, or hitting the baby.
3rd baby: You spend a little bit of every day hiding from the children.

Swallowing Coins (a favourite):
1st child: When first child swallows a coin, you rush the child to the hospital and demand x-rays.
2nd child: When second child swallows a coin, you carefully watch for the coin to pass.
3rd child: When third child swallows a coin you deduct it from his allowance!

GRANDCHILDREN: God's reward for allowing your children to live!

Another photo taken whilst barging in Eastern France, June 2008. I was so pleased I had my camera at the ready as this is the only shot I got of this beautiful swan family.