I’m sitting here in front of the heater. The kids are all in bed (if not asleep!) and KB is not expected home until late tonight. I am rarely alone, so I did get a bit giddy at the thought of an hour by myself at home in the evening. The evenings have a certain calm and quiet about them that is difficult to replicate during the day, don’t you think?
I don’t know if it’s because I’ve exercised this morning and had a large coffee, but I’m feeling all energised and ready for life today. Not that I don’t feel ready for life normally, but I have more energy than usual for some reason.
I am a searcher by nature. Constantly searching for: things to read, things to learn, things to eat, things to think, things to do. Always searching for
We took a drive out to a beautiful pine forest yesterday and proceeded to wander around it with some friends. I didn’t think I liked pine trees very much, always favouring the familiar pale greens and greys of the Australian bush over the grim regiment of large pines. Yesterday though, these slender ladies made quite an impression on me.
I have been sitting here for about five minutes wondering how to start this post. Peach turned one last week and I’m still musing over how it seemed to come about so quickly. So quickly, it seems, I can barely believe it has come and gone. I want to take the time to think about her, to mull over her softness, to wonder how I would have ever lived my life without knowing her.
She is such a round little beauty of a baby. When I was pregnant with her I was asked by a friend to describe what I thought she was like. I thought for a moment and replied: Happy. And she was and she is. The happiest little creature. From the moment she was born she really hardly cried, so much so that I commented on it to various people, wondering if she should be crying more than she was! Don’t get me wrong, she certainly does cry, but her problems are always very easily fixed with a cuddle or a tickle (or a piece of toast!). I do hope this is a quality she maintains throughout her life.
Being the third child, she generally rolls with the punches… she gets dragged from here to there and really loves nothing more than watching her big sisters play. She’s always trying to get involved in their games, and has no qualms about letting them know if she believes she is being treated unfairly (eg. when they retrieve their toys from her fierce little grip in a highly ungraceful manner).
Her favourite thing to do is to collect shoes from the shoe basket and to place little toys and the like inside. KB sent me a photo from work the other day after he had retrieved a puzzle piece from inside his work shoe. Coming up in second place is clanging things together, anything really, wooden spoons, blocks, pencils. She is rarely found without something in her hand.
She is not yet walking, and instead of crawling she is the first of my children to do a bum shuffle. It’s quite funny to watch and although it stresses me out and ruins all her pants, I have come to accept that she is just not going to crawl. One of these days she will pull herself up to walk and I will forget this phase of dirty bottoms and socks. The other two were also late walkers, Bird at 19 months and Pixie at 17 months. While they both crawled, the Pixie had a highly unorthodox method utilising one knee and one elongated foot. It was bizarre, but she too popped up one day and began walking.
Her favourite food is blueberries, just like her sisters. And, like them, she prefers to feed herself and gives me the cold shoulder along with a very loud yell almost automatically if I poke a spoon in her direction.
She has her two bottom teeth, which I think she got around eight months (see what attention to detail the third child gets!?), and has had an awful week teething. Tonight as I put her to bed I could see two sore lumps protruding from her upper gum and she has just been miserable, which is out of character. It feels like each girl has been more sensitive to teething – either that or I have become more observant! It appears more teeth will arrive very soon.
Like the Pixie, little Peach is not a fan of sleeping. We haven’t had a full night’s sleep in over a year and I am suitably exhausted. But unlike last time, when I fretted and moaned and stressed about the lack of sleep, I have to say it has been easiER this time. It’s not easY by any stretch of the imagination. The stress of laying your head on the pillow each night knowing you’ll be awakened again and again and possibly: again. It’s needless to say that it is not fun, per se. But then I’m laying there as she cradles her little body in towards mine, and it fits perfectly, like it was made especially to curl in that very space. Somehow, just somehow, all is forgiven and that is how we spend our nights. I do look forward to her sleeping overnight – more than that, I look forward to going to bed without the anxiety of being woken. I don’t feel I’m explaining this very well, but I’m sure all you sleepless mamas out there know what I mean.
While I have just loved having babies so, so much, I’m really looking forward to the coming year. I’m looking forward to watching my girls and my family grow now, I’m looking forward to more sleep (please!), I’m looking forward to getting some of myself back, but also giving more as they get older and their needs change.
So to finish up: thank you darling Pea, for rounding us all out, for bringing us endless joy, and for being the bright shining star that you are. Thanks to you, I will never again doubt my heart’s ability to offer endless love and compassion. Thanks to you, I feel whole. And I really mean that.
I’ve been feeling pretty flat and unmotivated the last little while. It may be obvious to you when this happens as my posts slow down and I lose momentum. Part of the reason for my silence lately though has been because my grandpa was incredibly ill, and passed away towards the end of May, on my birthday. The weeks leading up to his death were intense for our family, with many hours spent by his bedside. We were all living in a little bubble, it seems strange now to be out in the light again.
A few hours after he died, my Mum and I left the hospice and we were driving to my Aunty’s place. The baby was screaming blue murder in the back seat and it was a Friday evening. We had to drive down Chapel Street, which those of you in Melbourne will know for its restaurants and good times. I’m from wayyyyy over the other side of the city so I don’t ever go there, but there we were, driving along, stricken with grief after having just watched someone we love breathe their final breaths, and there were lights, cars, traffic, people everywhere going out for dinner, smiling, laughing, and generally having a great time. It was so strange to see that life doesn’t stop for anyone or anything.
Since then life really has just pushed on. It’s the baby’s first birthday this Saturday, and we had the family over last weekend to kick off her birthday week. We were meant to have a picnic, but typical Melbourne rained all day so we had everyone at our place. We were pretty unprepared given we had planned to go to a local state forest, but we pulled it off. I made this cake and it was an absolute hit. I will be repeating it this Friday when I have my mother’s group over for a little birthday celebration. I’m going to try making it gluten free for Friday though as my beautiful friend A has just been diagnosed with coeliacs and I don’t want her to miss out! Hopefully it turns out ok.
In other news as usual I have washing coming out my ears, I can never seem to get on top of it, I refuse to spend my days doing nothing but washing, but maybe if I did, maybe then it would be done? Washing is such a mystery to me, I tell myself that everyone else has it under control but perhaps I am just deluded. I hate it! I told myself this morning that I was going to clean out the girls’ clothes today and throw everything out, figuring that then I would have less to wash and put away…? I think I might be onto something… then I got overwhelmed and looked the other way.
When I’m feeling like everything is just too much, I really try to pay attention to what I’m eating. It’s times like these that I want to reach for the sugar, the cake, the chocolate, and I have to practice a lot of willpower to stop myself from doing this. I’m by no means perfect! But I do try to make sure that I’m getting some bang for my buck when I choose what goes in my mouth. The picture above is today’s lunch for the three of us – me, the Pixie and the baby. It’s probably one of my favourite meals, basically just a bowl thrown together with a combination of things we have on hand with some nuts and seeds chucked on top. This bowl includes a mint, pea and couscous salad my mother in law made on the weekend, toasted nori, fermented cabbage, pickled onions, beetroot, spinach, sweet potato, cherry tomatoes, and some sprouts. The Pixie had half an avocado (she calls it an avocado bowl), some sweet potato, toasted nori (she calls that mermaid food), and a choc pop that Birdie and I made yesterday – basically a bliss ball coated in chocolate made from coconut oil, maple syrup and raw cacao. It does have a pretty strong taste so she wasn’t a huge fan of it, but I gave some to the baby (probably shouldn’t have given cacao is a stimulant, I’ll regret that tonight) and she devoured it! She also had some sweet potato.
The smoothie pictured is a version of the basic smoothie I make everyday using up leftover cooked oats from the girls’ breakky:
+ Almond milk
+ Coconut cream
+ Avocado (because I don’t like bananas unless they are in a cake!)
+ Chia seeds
+ Left over oats
+ A few dates
I have a version of that every morning and there is usually some left over. Sometimes I freeze it and have it as nicecream. Yum!
Well that is all from me for now. I’ve got a baby tapping me on the leg and a Pixie wanting me to help with a puzzle so I had best stop this ramble here.
Hope you’re all having a wonderful start to the week!
When a package containing three books for my daughters arrived in the post a couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The lovely people at lostmy.name had contacted me to tell me about their books and offered to send me one for each of my girlies, in return for this book review*. I receive many emails of this nature, and say no to most of them. But I had a look at the website and after a few emails backwards and forwards, I agreed. And when the books arrived I was ever so glad I had!
The personalised soft cover books are printed on lovely thick matte paper, and contain wild stories about little girls (or boys) who have lost their name. Each book is unique: when you order you type in your child’s name, sex and you can then choose a character to be pictured throughout. Lucky for me, there were three girls to choose from, so each of my three books has a different character to represent each kid. The stories are written in poem form and once I got the flow I found them entertaining to read.
The character wakes up one morning only to realise she has lost her name, and goes on a wonderful adventure to try to find herself. Along the way she meets a collection of animals and creatures who offer a letter to help her. By the end of the book your little character has received each letter of their name, which was a wonderful surprise for both Bird (aged six) and Pixie (aged three and a half). (I’ve saved the third book to give little Peach for her first birthday in a couple of weeks! And those of you who are long time readers will know I don’t just throw any old thing into the present pile for the girls’ birthdays.)
As I needed three books, during the ordering process I was asked if I would like to exchange some of the creatures to avoid repetition in the books, which I thought was a great touch. As we have multiple Ls and Es and As throughout the girls’ names, I think there ended up being one repeated creature in two of the books, but aside from that they were all fresh and individual. The children didn’t seem to notice the repetition as I was reading, and upon finishing begged me to read them again immediately. When ordering you can also preview your book before purchasing.
While the books are quite lengthy (and would be more so if your child had a very long name), the illustrations are engaging and the poem format easy to read.
Now the good news is that the folk at lostmy.name are offering one motherwho reader a free book!
You can enter the giveaway a maximum of three times by:
1/ subscribing to motherwho via email (over on the side bar)
2/ liking motherwho on facebook
3/ sharing this giveaway on Facebook or instagram
Leave a comment here with your email address for each entry so that I can contact you if you are the winner. The competition will be closed on Sunday 5th June at midnight and the winner will be announced on Monday 6th. Good luck!
++ COMMENTS CLOSED, CONGRATULATIONS AMBERB! ++
* While I did agree to write this review in exchange for three books, I have written an honest post with my true opinion of these books.
It’s Monday and we had the most glorious weekend. It started when I was presented with a hot coffee first thing and told to drink it in bed. I opened the curtain and let the light stream in and sat with Birdie curled up next to me and slowly sipped.
I spent five hours in the kitchen with my three little helpers yesterday afternoon, and I feel so organised for the week. I made tamari trail mix, raw trail mix, salted caramel bliss balls (with nuts for those eating at home), coconut cacao bliss balls (with seeds for those taking to work/school), sneaky veg muffins, sweet potato and lentil frittata, and a giant batch of kitchari (a traditional Ayurvedic recipe which is gentle on tummies and great to eat during the change of season into Autumn. I made enough for a family meal + five adult lunches). I was planning on making red kidney bean bolognese sauce as well for one of our dinners this week but we ran out of time, I will make that in the next few days. The girls donned their aprons (the baby joined us with a rusk and contributed with some squeals here and there) and helped to pour, mix, roll, chop and grate. Things are slower with them in the kitchen and I have to make a conscious effort to include them and allow things to go at a slower pace.
We went to a local native plant sale, met some friends and took turns minding children and wandering around. We bought some natives for our garden and even found time to plant a few.
On Saturday KB took all three girls out and I stayed at home for the whole morning cleaning the house, I think this was a major contributing factor to the calm flow that followed us throughout the remainder of our weekend. It took about four hours, but oh! What a difference it made to our attitudes and our time spent at home over the weekend, without falling over things and each other. Now we just have to try to maintain our sense of order, for a little while at least.
It’s weekends like these I like best, with time to think and potter and make. I hope you had a wonderful one too, wherever you may be.
I went to visit my Gran today. She taught me how to knit… again. She taught me years ago and I did knit a few things (read: anything you can make based on a knit/purl square or rectangle, so… a scarf and a headband and a pair of fingerless gloves I think are the three things I can add to my knitting CV…ha!). A while back I thought to myself, damnit I’ve knitted before and I will bloody knit again. I watched a video on youtube, attempted a cast on, ended up in a pile of loosely tangled wool and two sticks. I threw the whole thing to the other side of the room in a tantrum and admitted to myself that that day was not going to be the day I reinvented myself as Lucy Who Knits.
Today was much better, I practised casting on with my Gran who, very patiently, let me do it over and over again in front of her for about ten minutes while she nodded and said Yes Dear when I exclaimed loudly that I could do it I could do it I could do it! Meanwhile she was knitting a square – she told me she had tried to convince the other ladies in her retirement village to all knit a square in order to make a communal blanket which they could then raffle off (to raise funds for what, I didn’t ask). She said no one was into her idea so if no one was keen by the time she finished her singular square she would give it to me to use as a face washer instead. Last time she knitted squares she and some friends yarn bombed the local library.
So this week I am determined to knit a square, I’m seeing her again in a couple of weeks and promised I would come back with something to show for her efforts with me today!
In other crafty news I’ve been making a fair few things lately. Craft is so infinitely good for my soul and every time I pick up my crochet hook or material or sewing machine (not that I pick it up, as such, but we all hear my meaning yes? Too late and too tired to delete that sentence and try again) I get into the zone. You know, the craft zone? Craft is the only thing that stops me from thinking, stressing, over analysing things. Keeping my hands busy with making is my medicine, it saves me in those moments when my head is going to burst with overwhelm, when my to-to list is off the planet or just at any time really. I cannot believe that I nearly failed Year 8 Textiles because I was too busy writing on my pencil case in whiteout and staring at pictures of Jimi Hendrix. I didn’t click with my teacher and after a bad experience with a patchwork cushion I didn’t even attempt anything remotely close to making something again until I had a baby. All those years wasted!
I digress. It’s so late and I’m ridiculously sleep deprived but now I’m here you’ll have to put up with me! Righto. Where was I? Oh yes, in the first picture above you can see a kimono I made last week. I haven’t finished any of the seams or anything like that; given it was for me I gave myself a break. Plus I wanted to wear it pronto so I used every short cut I could. Not many were needed though as this is SUCH a simple project. Google DIY kimono and you’ll find heaps of different tutorials showing you how to make it. Easy peasy!
The next picture shows a cardigan I just finished crocheting for the bebe, the pattern is this sweet yoke baby cardigan which is fairly simple to whip up as well. I’m thinking of making a few more of these for winter and for a few friends, they would make a very sweet little present. The wool I used was 8 ply but it was rather on the thin side so the 6-12mo size I have made is almost too small. I made one with a thicker 8ply when Pixie was a baby and it ended up being too thick, so I’ll have to test it again on the 12mo size and see how it comes up. It’s very cute though and I honestly can’t get enough of the veggie buttons. So glad I finally found something to use them on as I’ve been carrying them around for a while now.
Next on the make list:
+ knit a square
+ finish blanket before 2020
+ more sweet yoke cardis
+ a few skirts for upcoming kid birthdays
And with that, goodnight to you all, and to all, a good night.
It is so easy to get caught up in the daily grind. The washing, the meal prep, the entertainment, the shopping lists, the to-dos. Over the holidays I had a lot of time to consider my life and how each day is spent. When I had just one baby at home the days seemed long and sometimes, empty. I did whatever I wanted; the days were slow and fairly carefree, which has only been recognised in hindsight, of course.
Nowadays with school and kindergarten drop offs and pick ups, my days seem surprisingly chaotic and full, and not always in a good way. I’m finding it hard to adjust and I feel like a real wimp for saying so.
My goal this term is to try to create more down time, more white space. I have a tendency to book up every moment, to say yes to everything, to schedule things in. I’ve started writing “home” on some days on our calendar, to remind myself that in between the necessary driving and delivering of children, I (we) need time to breathe. It’s not just to make sure that dinner is on the table (my goal is to have it ready by 5pm in order to get baths and bedtimes happening at a reasonable hour for my Bird, who finds it very difficult to wind down in the evenings… some would say she’s a lot like her mama). It’s also because the poor baby isn’t in any sort of daily rhythm and she is now ten months old (today!). She has most of her sleeps in the car or the ergo or the pram and they are usually short lived, either due to necessity or just because she barely sleeps a wink (like her sister). Overnight she wakes three times at minimum and has done since she was born. It’s fair to say I’m tired, and I’m guessing she is too! Yes, there is yet another reason for us to take things down a notch.
The other day, with reckless abandon, we packed a picnic lunch, got in the car and went for a bushwalk (see picture). I am always shocked to get out there and realise this is where we live. The time spent in nature worked wonders for all of us and when we got back to the car I really felt regenerated. It was then that my decision was made to make a conscious effort to create more space simply to breathe.
Today after school drop off we came straight home. Baby P is having a sleep and miraculously it’s been 35 minutes so far (totally jinxed myself then and she literally started crying as I pressed full stop). The Pixie is home from kinder with a cough and is watching Octonauts. The breakfast dishes have been washed (thanks to a simple but super tip from my mum – to fill up the sink with hot soapy water first thing and dump all the dishes in there as you go) and today my one goal is to do a few loads of washing and hopefully write a few incredibly late thank you cards for gifts we received when Baby was born (OOPS!).
What are you all up to today? I hope you find some time for yourself, wherever you are.
It’s late afternoon and the sun is streaming through my back door into the kitchen. Lentil and red kidney bean soup is being heated on the stove, fruit is being stewed to add to yoghurt and probiotics for a snuffly baby for dinner, cacao nib cookies have been cooked for school and kinder lunches, and honey ambrosia has been made to dollop on porridge in the early mornings. I’ve also got a batch of gelatine-based jelly setting in the fridge which I am hoping the big two will be happy enough to eat (it doesn’t taste quite like the jelly they get at the Nana’s houses!) The baby is playing on her mat while I busy myself in the kitchen and the older two are planting some seedlings with KB out the back. I can feel that lightness that comes with a baby becoming more independent, when they are able to entertain themselves for a while on the floor with a pile of blocks or some kitchen spoons or a rusk. The days of constant holding and cradling have, once again, come to an end. She is ten months old tomorrow.
Today I’ve been busy trying to prepare us for the school routine. School holidays have also come to an end, although the idea of school every day is one that still seems foreign to me, it’s going to take a while to get used to the monotony of it all (for many years to come).
Over the holidays we’ve baked bread, we’ve gone walking, we’ve made easter crowns, we’ve sewed, we’ve crafted, we’ve cooked, we’ve cleaned, we’ve celebrated Bird’s sixth birthday. We have done a lot of work around the house and in our garden and it feels great (I won’t mention the overflowing washing basket, the clothes unfolded or the state of our bedroom). We’ve planted out some seedlings for a (very) small Autumn harvest; we are still learning and feeling our way with the veggie patch. We’ve moved upwards, to one large apple crate and a few smaller veg crates and pots dotted with basil, strawberries, brocolli, bok choy, and beetroot. It was an Epic Fail for us with our tomatoes over summer (seriously, tomatoes and yoghurt are two things I just cannot get a handle on) but we had a few delicious rounds of crispy, sweet snow peas which made us feel better.
We reviewed our budget so that I can continue to do minimal and short term work, rather than going back to work permanently just at the moment. Oh boy, it’s tight! But with three kids it becomes both incredibly difficult to arrange childcare, and also the preciousness of this time becomes abundantly clear with each child shooting up and up and off and off. With the decision that I’ll be home longer, we’re also thinking about giving up the Pixie’s day at childcare which we have been hanging onto for dear life – our centre doesn’t even keep a waiting list any more as they are so full and in demand. When I returned to work last time it was near impossible to get the two girls in on the same day, I think I changed my working days two or three times to compensate. It’s a tough decision to let it go, as we also highly value consistency for the girls and I don’t want to chop and change, but the savings we will make as a result will surely be worth it.
Speaking of savings, these holidays we also found out we have a saver and a spender (what is done with easter eggs says a lot about a person). Friends, I’m sure you won’t need long to figure out which is Bird and which is Pixie…
My feet hurt from the last three hours spent in the kitchen. I think it’s time for a shower, some hot soup and crusty bread for dinner and an early night.
A big week awaits.