autumn

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There is something wonderful and lively in the air today. Something fresh and spicy. Something cool. The sun is shining a little bit differently through my window. Bringing the sparkle of Autumn into my house and my hair and my breath.

I love Autumn.

I especially love Autumn after what feels like a very long and hot and dry summer with a sweaty baby strapped to my chest, restless and sticky throughout balmy, sleepless nights.

Warm socks and long sleeves were required for most of the morning today. Dreams of hot coffee warming chilled fingers – layers of jeans, scarves and proper shoes – covering my babies heads with warm woolies crocheted by my own hand – morning frost – rich red leaves – crunching underfoot – stocks and soups – were abundant today.

The afternoon was warm and sunny and shoes were no where to be seen, yet I am still going to bed with Autumn in my house and my hair and on my breath.

watching

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I was at a friend’s house the other day. There were three mamas and six children including myself and my own. We each had a toddler and a small baby, my Pixie being the youngest of all.

At one point we were all chatting and doing our thing – all the regular things one does when one is trying to have a conversation and mind small children simultaneously, that is. I needed to go to the loo and as I walked away Pixie started squawking. One of the other mamas swooped down and placed her on their hip.

I remember at that moment somewhere in my mind noting how my friend was holding the pixie: with ease on her left hip, her left arm supporting her back and her left hand underneath Pixie’s armpit. I came home and later that afternoon found myself holding her in exactly the same way, testing out where it was comfortable on my hip, and recalling the way my friend’s arm supported her back.

It was another reminder of how we learn, as mothers. How we instinctually watch one another to find out how to do things with our babies. I mentioned this to another friend of mine over coffee on the weekend, and she nodded telling me how just the other day she had watched me sway her little seven week old babe to sleep at a barbeque at my house and had gone home to try it herself.

We lead blessed lives here in this country, but as a result of our ‘modern’ lifestyles, while we are at home, alone, parenting and raising our children, we do miss out on some of the most basic of life lessons: instinctually watching and learning from other women.

I often find myself yearning and craving contact from other women during the {sometimes long} days at home. Wise words from a mother who has done it all before me. The soft arms of another woman to hold my child while my hands are occupied elsewhere. The guidance and support and knowledge that comes from being part of group.

Tell me, do you feel it too?

here we are

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Home again, home again. Here we are. Sandy and smelling of the sea. Warm and pleasantly tired.

I have come home a little bit sick, but for the first time in a long time I feel truly well rested and at peace. Excited about what 2013 will bring. I am a firm believer that New Year’s resolutions should begin on February 1st… and end somewhere around the end of November. Or at a stretch, mid December. Do you agree? January for me is about family and rest and holidays and rejuvenation and deep, deep thought and consideration. About your life, your loves, your hopes, your expectations. Your habits, your ideals. I take a notebook everywhere I go, and its thin spine has become worn over these holidays. Buttery pages are falling out in every direction, corners torn and scuffed. My notes are almost illegible, but there they are, in black and red and blue and green and purple. Finally the time to think and breathe and scratch down words on paper.

Now we are back to our real lives, the sea air behind us. There is some change and adventure on the horizon for us, we have had the chance to talk to each other and pen out a little plan for ourselves and our girls over the next few years. I’m sure when the time comes, you will be the first to hear.

This year will be a busy one, I will be back at uni come mid-year [oh dear, how to fit in homework between my babies and my crochet…], we are planning a few market stalls, a few mini-breaks. We are de-cluttering and minimising [for REAL this time], and spending more time at home to tickle our girls, play with our dogs and bunny, and tend our slowly improving veggie patch.

What is in store for you this year?

P.S. The last photo, I just love! Two men, two baby slings. One holding a [very old] dog and one holding a baby. Deep in conversation down a winding bush track. My step-dad and my love.

on the first of the first

There was a couple walking along with a little girl and a loaf of bread. The man was earthy looking. Long shorts, brown toes, an easy walk. The woman was beautifully rounded and classic. Soft dark hair slung back. Skipping twice to their every step was a little brown button of a girl, her clear skin tinged by the golden summer sun. The couple walked slowly, their loaf of bread swinging in the soft weathered hands of the man. They stopped along the path, next to my car where I was breastfeeding. The woman smelled a flower and motioned to the girl who, standing tiptoed, grasped the flower with both hands and breathed it in before skipping away. The three walked hand in hand.

This was amidst a busy beach town street, bustling with city folk sporting pink blistered skin, more accustomed to skinny white tubes of fluorescent light than the warm rays of the sun. I watched them walk by, embodying everything I hope for and think about when I imagine a summer holiday. They looked truly happy and well rested. Content in each other’s company and the blue sky and their loaf of bread. While other people were wandering around, slower than normal but still with a big city edge to their gait, they smiled and strolled on, seemingly oblivious to anything but each other and the sun shining on their backs.

They reminded me how lucky we are to be on summer holidays. To have a place to stay away from our busy lives and the big smoke. To be together with extended family. To hold my children in my arms and enjoy their smiles and laughter and chubby legs. Not to worry about anything much.

How lovely to be in such a state of summery bliss. Even though I have to remind myself to check in and appreciate it every now and then.

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sometimes

Sometimes I hold my lips against my newborn’s face, and breathe her in.

Sometimes I pretend to go to the toilet so I can have five minutes alone.

Sometimes I think of the term a knob of butter and use it as an excuse to put as much butter as I want in the fry pan.

Sometimes I convince myself it’s going to rain so I don’t have to go for a walk.

Sometimes I stare out the windows and am desperate to escape the confines of my home.

Sometimes I enjoy painting and puzzles more than my two year old.

Sometimes I dance and sing and jump around my house when I am home alone with my kids.

Sometimes I ignore my phone when it rings.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be someone else. Someone rich, someone skinny or someone with long fingernails. Someone into facts and figures or microwave meals.

Sometimes I wonder what other people are feeling behind all the smiles and hello hello’s and how are you’s.

Sometimes I stay up longer than it takes to breastfeed, enjoying the quiet and the deepness of the night and the solitude.

Most of the time I just flow through my day to day, and don’t have time to think about any of these things.

mid week

:: the sun has been shining

:: we got a new-old pram that you need a licence to steer

:: my feet have red stains on them from my summer sandals

:: my little chick likes to sleep with her left arm out of her swaddle

:: my big chick has a runny nose

:: I’m very tired, but very excellent

:: I ate the remainder of the liquorice allsorts overnight

:: I didn’t get up to clean my teeth

:: I got a present in the mail today (thank you so much Meg xo)

:: Everyone in the house is asleep but me

 

rough and tumble

Your first baby is such a delicate little treasure. You inch your way around them when they are on the floor, gingerly pass them to your husband. You cradle their floppy little heads and support their necks and watch on with anxious eyes as other people hold them the wrong way. You softly wipe their faces and bottoms with the gentlest touch. You don’t listen to loud music and avoid the television when they are around.

Enter: second baby. They are thrown this way and that, dummies hurled into their mouths, things waved in their faces, grabbed out of harms way at a moment’s notice as a toddler hurtles towards them. They are poked and prodded by chubby fingers and asked, “Do you like this? Do you like THIS?” Poke, prod, shove. They are in the car and out of the car, listening to toddler tunes and shrieks and stomps.

Oh, how times have changed.

quietly…

Slowing down.

Talking less.

Getting foggy headed (more than usual).

Feeling tiredsy.

Sticking close to home.

Hanging out with my girl, who was a baby, a true baby, just a second ago… I swear it, honest. Now she is into fairytales and magic and horror of all horrors: anything and everything “pink.”

There’s never been a better time for Prince Charming to be on school holidays. Making me cups of tea and putting up with most of my very simple and basic and reasonable demands (I didn’t think liquorice allsorts were too much to ask for at 11pm…)

Waiting, patiently. Quietly.

*photos by Mardi Sommerfeld. More on that later.

a day at the zoo

We spent almost the whole day at Melbourne Zoo yesterday. We were lucky enough to have a friend who works at the zoo on shift, and as we followed her around the elephant trail, we felt as though we had our very own tour guide. Besides learning all the names of the elephants and orang-utans, hearing about their individual personalities, and who is friends with who behind the scenes, we also learnt a lot about palm oil and the zoo’s campaign Don’t Palm Us Off.

Did you know that…

“In the past six months, approximately 15% of the remaining 10,000 hectares of Tripa Peatland forest has been illegally cleared, and more than 20 fires continue to rage in the reserve. The main reason for this unsustainable rainforest loss is the ever-increasing demand for palm oil.” 

It’s really easy to help to make a difference. Remember, you vote with your wallet! Here is a list of products you can keep your eye out for at the supermarket, and if you wish to avoid palm oil and help support the orang-utans, you could avoid products containing these things…

Palm oil in food:

:: Vegetable oil (which is gross anyway guys)

:: Sodium Laureth Sulphate

:: Sodium Lauryl Sulphates

:: Sodium Dodecyl Sulphate

:: Palmate

:: Palm Oil Kernal

:: Palmitate

Palm oil in cosmetics:

:: Elaeis Guineensis

:: Glyceryl Stearate

:: Stearic Acid

Chemicals containing palm oil

:: Steareth-2

:: Steareth-20

:: Sodium Lauryl Sulphate

:: Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate

:: Hydrated Palm Glycerides

:: Sodium Isostearoyl Lactylaye

:: Cetyl Palmitate & Octyl Palmitate

You can read more about this here and also download fact sheets and so on.

We were talking about how some people have said they don’t like the zoo and think it is cruel to keep the animals locked up. Of course in an ideal world there would be no need for zoos, however given the damage humans have created in the world, and the number of animals that are threatened by extinction as a result, the zoo is a wonderful place enabling life to continue for a number of species, and also bringing issues such as palm oil to the attention of the public. My friend also said to me “And besides all that, it is so important that people can come here to connect with the animals.” So true.

Something that, sadly, the majority of us no longer do in our day to day lives.