staying home

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We have been enjoying a lot of time at home lately. We’ve had a few rounds of tonsilitis, flu, colds, vomiting (yay), and other lovely end-of-wintery illnesses. Many of our friends have been sick too, so all the mamas in my circle have been sending “I miss you” texts and going about our solo ways for the past few weeks.

Something that ordinarily sends me a bit nutty has actually been an absolute blessing. Having to cancel plans and really, truly, actually Slow Down has, in the end, been just what we all needed to close off the winter.

The telly has been on way too much. I’ve been drinking so much coffee because our pot makes enough for two. We’ve spent many a day in our pyjamas and thrown gumboots over the top to go outside. The house has been cleaner despite us all being here all day. Food has been cooked and menus planned. Sewing has been done! Baking has happened.

I think even once everyone recovers and Spring arrives (in just a few days now!) we will stick with this new rhythm of more home time.

It suits us all very nicely.

some things i am trying to do

Number one thing: reduce iphone contact time

Number two thing: follow a daily rhythm (and invent one first)

I have read a few books and other things lately, and a couple have stood out more than others.

One book that has left its mark is by Sara Avant Stover called The Way of the Happy Woman: Living the Best Year of Your Life. It sounds a bit self-helpy, but it really truly isn’t. Reading it has given me a great sense of clarity in my life. I borrowed it from the library, devoured it, yelled at the computer when it told me I couldn’t renew it and as such will soon be purchasing my very own copy.

One thing that was impressed on me by reading this book was, despite the keen awareness I have of my childrens’ daily rhythm, I actually have no sense of order or rhythm myself, to guide me through my mornings, my days, my evenings. As a result I often wake at different times, start my day in a variety of scattered and rushed and harebrained ways, and similarly seem to enter bed on the same note: a cacophony of washing, television, dishes, toy tidying, procrastinating and an overuse of my computer and iphone.

Which consequently leads me to my next realisation… or should I say, acceptance: I am addicted to my iphone. I love the damned thing and hate it all at the same time. But having any sense of rhythm just can’t happen with my iphone by my side. They completely counteract one another. I have realised that at night when I get into bed I think I’ll just check instagram before I read my book. More often than not I end up trawling the apps on my phone for over an hour before being too exhausted to read and too wired from my phone to sleep. I used to read so many books, and thanks to my iphone, it’s taking me months to get through one novel, if I ever make it to the end at all.

The first big change I have made to achieve the number one thing I want to do: turn my iphone off in the evenings and leave it in the kitchen until the next morning. YAY! I admitted to my mum the other day that I was doing this – and subsequently finding it really, really hard. That is when I realised that I was truly hooked to the stupid thing, when I was finding it tough to go to bed without it. It’s embarrassing to admit this, but it’s true. While you’re all sleeping lovingly with your partners, I’m spooning my electronic device. Mmmm cosy…

The other thing I watched that spurred me on to make this change was the video you can find here. While I don’t text and drive, I have a terrible habit of checking my phone at the [red] lights, constantly. When I watched the video, I felt such a sadness, that this is what we are doing to ourselves, and I realised I was only one step away from the people on the screen. There is nothing that can’t wait until you get home.

Aside from leaving my phone in the kitchen overnight, the other things I’m trying to do or have done are: leave my phone on silent, put it in the boot while driving, turn it off every now and then during the day, wait until I have my hands free before checking messages, let it go to voicemail if it rings and it’s not a good time, leave it on the corner bench of my kitchen, so it’s not sitting right there while I’m having meals with my family, playing with my girls… just generally trying to keep it further away from me than it usually is. I have also disconnected my email from my phone, which was just another thing to check all the time. Now I have to make a conscious effort to check my email from my computer, at a time that suits me.

As a result of keeping my phone [further away than] at arms length I am beginning to feel freer, believe it or not. It sounds stupid but it’s true. I am letting go of potential “photo opportunities” for instagram or other, I am finding I am less distracted and more able to live in the moment.

It also frees up SO MUCH mind space… wow, there is actually a mind in here behind my iphone. I don’t have to google to find a thought or an answer. Amazing revelations here today people!

Number two thing: a rhythm to my existence. With the iphone out of the way it brings me to my second thing. I’ve been really sick over the last few weeks, as a result of being a bit run down. I’ve stayed at home a lot more than normal, and although I’ve had a bit of cabin fever, I have also had the opportunity to create a bit more flow to my day. I’ve created a morning routine which works around the kids and includes a hot cup of tea and a relaxed breakfast without having to rush off anywhere first thing. I have also started to build some structure to my evenings now that the Pixie is sleeping a little more reliably at the moment.

It’s amazing what a difference just a few adjustments in the morning and evening have made to my life. The washing has been done, the house has been tidy and as a result I have been calmer and felt more in control. Apart from the other day, but we’ll just let that one slide… I’m looking forward to creating more rhythm for myself over the coming weeks. I’m a creature of habit, boring but true.

What are you trying to do less or more of in your life? What are you doing to make the change? Discuss!

 

a mini break

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We took off down to the beach five days ago. A wintery, blustery, windy, soulful, refreshing time we had. We are back home now feeling relaxed, but of course not as relaxed as one would like once the pressures of life and all its administration return to flood us.

My favourite part of our time away was heading off for the afternoon with Prince Charming. We made left-over roast lamb sandwiches and chose a 6km bushwalk along the coast. It was just brilliant! Simple bliss. Just the two of us, stopping midway on a sandy beach to have our sandwiches before walking back. While we were walking down the little bush track we realised with amazement that it was actually the first time we had gone out together and left the children with the grandparents since the pesky pixie was born! Didn’t take us nearly as long the first time around!

I have been asking many questions of myself and Prince Charming lately. Who are we, what is our capital P Plan, where are we headed, which path will we take, and so on. We seem to have hit a time in our life where we are faced with a number of options, which is nice but also a bit daunting. One of the options is to stay put and do nothing different, which we have decided we will do, for a spell. I’m a dreamer but the Mr is a sensible chap, he only likes to delve into big plans if he has some sense they might actually happen. Boo to that Prince Charming.

My mouth spilled questions on our journey back from the beach. Then I got home and after the unpacking of the car, the dinner rush, the bedtime sagas, I sat a moment and had a little scan of a few blogs. I stumbled across this post and it was once again the little reminder I needed to stay put, in body and in mind, and be content with where we are at this moment.

What have you been doing this school holidays?

holidaying

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I haven’t been getting the camera out much lately. Life has been flowing on day by day and we have been living it. A nice feeling really, not to be constantly viewing your life through the lens. Life first, lens second.

Now it’s holidays. Oh, how I love the holidays. The holiday feeling. Watching movies in the afternoons. Hearing the call of our kettle, filling hot water bottles and bringing our biggest mugs forward from the back of the cupboard for steaming cups of herbal tea in the evenings. Wearing loose trackies and jumpers around the house. Sometimes staying in pyjamas all day… oh, wait… 😉 Opening the blinds to the wintery sunlight…

In a couple of days we will head down to the beach. I love the beach in winter. I love rugging up and wandering the shores in the cold. I especially love it when the beaches are empty, don’t you? All the better to go home to the beach house couch and cosy dinners.

So for now I will just share with you a some more instagram pics, come and say hello there if you like, I’m there every day… @motherwho.

What are you doing this school holidays? Do the holidays mean anything to you or do you just work your way through? If you are in the Northern Hemisphere I think it is the middle of the super long summer break is it not? If so, enjoy! If down here, I hope the fire is stoked and you have a hot cuppa in hand.

Final note – having a school teacher for a husband: I recommend it.

autumn rains

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Good morning Monday. It was a long summer, wasn’t it. As the rain gently pitter pats our tin roof, and cracks of thunder punctuate the seasonal sounds (and upset my dogs), my heart is warmed with thoughts of hunkering down for the cooler months ahead.

Ah, Autumn. You are here. Finally.

Welcome.

(And today, a very warm and loud happy birthday to my love.)

 

thinking about: a wintery wardrobe

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The door slightly ajar to let in the Autumn breeze, warm lavender and bergamot oils drifting in the air. I find myself on the couch, tired of my bed yet still needing rest and recuperation from this nasty bug. Forcing myself to rest, trying not to look down at the floor littered with blocks and puzzle pieces and abandoned dolls and teddies.

I have been thinking lately about the cooler months, about leading a smaller life while I’m on maternity leave, cutting back where we can and making do with what we have. It’s inevitable though, that small children grow. Suprising fact, is it not? As such, I have been looking in Birdie’s drawers, realising that she is going to need a wardrobe upheaval to ensure she is kept toasty warm over winter.

I’ve been scouring the web for patterns and tutorials and ideas, deciding that perhaps this year will be the one that I attempt to make staple seasonal outfits for the girls, and maybe even myself. They have many a pair of homemade pants and pyjamas, and of course hats, but I’d like to expand the repertoire.

These are just a couple of the things I am considering for the girls:

:: An upcycled top into a dress

:: A girl’s tunic

And for me:

:: Wiksten Tova (after having made the Wiksten Tank I would definitely give this one a go)

:: A wrap top (please note, I am not pregnant, I just really like wrap tops!)

:: Two hour tunic (I doubt this would take me two hours with kids around but a weekend, perhaps!)

Even if I just made one of these things along with some new pants and pj’s I would be happy.

fighting time

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When either of the girls are ill, I move through a natural process of shutting down. Cancelling activities and catch ups, closing the house in, lighting oil burners, dripping droplets of herbs into little mouths. Touching foreheads, [attempting] to sooth angry sick tears.

The last few days however, it has been me who has been sick. Uncharacteristically sick. Nausea, dizziness, aching bones and utter, total and absolute exhaustion. I have had to remind myself to give myself the same care as I would one of the other members of my family. But I have found it almost intolerable. When I needed help yesterday to get out of the bath and dry myself, I felt so annoyed. I have things to do! A day wasted! A wash that didn’t get put on! Homemade pizzas turned into cheese toasties! A rabbit’s hutch that did not get cleaned out and my list abandoned! More importantly, frustrated that it’s school holidays and time as a family goes down the drain while I’m lolling around in bed.

Today I’m feeling much better, but still weak and to be honest, quite depressed. My appetite has come back a little and I have ventured out of the bedroom. I have tried to remind myself that on a normal day I would kill to lie around and watch trashy shows in bed, stay in my pj’s all day and close my eyes when the urge arose.

So, dear readers, I need to resign from the battle of time. Fighting each hour and each day that goes by that I don’t do something useful. Before I got sick I was fighting a market deadline then my Birdie’s birthday, an occasion that was full of joy, however the entire week leading up to it was much less than joyful due to all the self-imposed deadlines I set myself for what had to be done and how it all had to be. I wonder what would have really happened if I didn’t have the house clean on the day of her birthday, or if I had (heaven forbid) bought the cake…

A gentle reminder to myself and all the other mama’s and papa’s out there, thrashing through lists in the day and up all night with non-sleeping babes: It’s actually ok to imperative to look after yourself. Take that bath, lie on the couch when you have five minutes. Make a cup of tea. There is always time for tea. Nothing much will happen if you don’t put that wash on. You’ll just have to put two on tomorrow. No biggie.

Hope you’re all well as we transition into a very late Autumn here… or a lovely bountiful Spring elsewhere!

 

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.

and the birds were singing, to calm us down…

Sigh.

Laura Marling. Holidays. Barbeques. Sleep ins.

I’ve left them behind and shuffled back to the city. I’m itchy. And not because I had head lice about a month ago for the first time in my 29 years! Just that niggling kind of restless itchy. As I sat there laboriously wrenching that nasty little comb through my conditioner soaked locks, I dreamt of Christmas and the time on the coast that was to come. And now I’m back.

I listened to the tunes of Laura Marling while I was giving birth.

And I listened again over summer as I sat under the ancient oak next to my mum’s caravan.

We were on summer holidays. We took a breath. A deep inhalation before the new year begins and begins and begins. Just the three of us… and our beloved dogs of course. The bunny was sent on a private retreat with some family and off we went.

Our first night at the van proved anything but restful with Bird coming down rapidly with her Daddy’s cold. We finally got her to sleep at midnight only for her to wake every hour after in fits of snotty wails and sobs.

The next day we took shifts with her so the other could sleep. A slightly rough beginning to our holiday but as Mum said in response to a miserable whiny text message I sent her: “At least you are on holiday! No schedule. No time restrictions.”

Yes. She was right.

It’s a quiet part of the world, where mum’s caravan sits in country Victoria. Not a traditional holiday destination which is partly why we like it so much. It’s just twenty minutes from the beach and in amongst rolling hills and fresh air.

After the caravan, we drove down and around a few bends of coastland to the hustle and bustle of the seaside, to the in-law’s beach house. By the time we arrived home two days ago we had had such a well rounded break. We contemplated the Christmas season. The sudden halt after the rush was welcomed, but each year it seems almost abrupt.

We’ve been back in the big smoke for just two days now, and already I feel almost as though I never left. I’m trying to hang on, desperately, to those holiday things. You know the ones I mean. Holiday type things like getting up for a walk each morning and taking in the air. Seeing the sea, going for coffee, reading the paper. Suduko! Ah, Suduko. Heading out for a walk at 5pm and not looking at the clock. Eating dinner late and only ever barbeques and salad. Never being able to find your shoes because you haven’t been wearing them. Not having to change into your pj’s when you get home because the clothes you’re already wearing are comfy enough. No fuss.

There are a few things I had the time and the space to think about. Things I want to do this year and be. I don’t want to have too many goals because then I’ll get disheartened. But a few is nice, I think. A few little ideas to keep you on track, to remind you of that time in summer you sat with your barefeet, a glass of wine and an open heart under the evening sky.