December 30, 2010

bargain joy

Anyone that knows me knows I love a bargain.  I'm not a hoarder (at least I don't think I am) so I don't just buy things because they are a good bargain, but it definitely sways me when I'm considering a purchase. Lately I've been very considered when spending money and I'm proud of the moments when I've been so strong as to walk away from a clear doozy of a cut-price item because I know I don't need any more stuff.

But, even though I said I wouldn't brave the sales this year, I needed a sheet for our bed so off I went to Myer.  I picked up the sheet (40% off, thank you) and on the way to the checkout spotted a lovely pile of decorative boxes covered in that unmistakeable Orla Kiely print.  "50% off" it said.  So I had a little lookie and found this king size duvet cover, green (Ollie's favourite colour) and covered in cars (Ollie's favourite thing).  50% off.  Slightly hesitant, as this still meant that it was a little overpriced (the original price was $179 so even at 50% off, this seemed like a lot for something I am most likely going to cut up and turn into... cot sheets, pyjamas, anything else), I took it to the cash register, where it was in fact, not 50% off, but three hundred thousand percent off.  $31.  For some lovely fabric and a sweet, reusable box too.  Joy.

aforementioned quilt

Here it is, the finished quilt, washed, dried and ready to send away. And after all those rainy days here's a little bit of sunshine too.

December 27, 2010

all done!

Quilt finished!  OK, I didn't machine quilt it, I tried and failed and I wasn't happy with how it was going. With time of the essence, I decided to hand quilt this gift to our nephew on his first Christmas.  And I know it wasn't ready in time for Christmas (and it would have been had I persevered with the machine quilting) but it's not too late, and the fact that I hand stitched it makes it feel like even more of a personal achievement and I think it will be worth the wait given the love that's gone into the thousands of little stitches.

After deliberating over the colour for the binding, I chose an orangey red fabric from the City Weekend range for Oliver + S.  Initially I was going to go for a safe, lime green colour but found this sweet dotty print and I'm glad I went with it.  I love how it looks against the turquoise blues and it looks a little different.  Binding the quilt was something I found tricky last time I made a quilt (the only time I've ever done it), but I used this great little tutorial to remind me how to do it and actually, binding the quilt was one of the most enjoyable bits of the process for me.

Now onto the next project, a quilt for my little boy Max for his first birthday, which is now just over three months away (really?!).  That one I'm planning to hand quilt, but that doesn't mean I'm giving up on the machine quilting, which I'm determined to master next year.  The list of what I'm going to do in 2011 gets longer and longer.  It's going to be a big year!

December 24, 2010

holiday love

This year's holiday card from us to our dear friends and family, using home made tissue paper snowflakes.  We decided against sending out cards this year and for the first time we sent an email, not only to be green, but to save a few pennies as the list of those we love grows longer every year.  I love to send cards, and maybe we will next year, but for now, this seems like the right way to go.  Happy holidays everyone.

all wrapped up

One of my favourite things to do is to wrap gifts. Wrapping Christmas presents and thinking about the person you are giving to whilst enjoying mulled (or white, depending on where you are) wine and a Christmas movie playing in the background is a complete joy for me.  So, last night, I did just that and made brown paper packages look like the holidays using butcher's twine, some inexpensive red and white paper from the newsagent, red ticking (which I love) and the tissue paper snowflakes I got carried away making for our holiday card.

Contrary to how it seems, we haven't spent much this Christmas, a toy for each of the boys, an inexpensive paddling pool (if it ever stops raining) for them both and a metal lawnmower that I managed to find for $20, which judging by the way Ollie plays with the one at day care and at his friend's house, he will love.  Oh, and since Ollie decided Santa would be bringing him a green car, a little Matchbox car that fits the bill.  Ollie's come such a long way this year.  We've had so many highs and lows, but I feel as though we have turned a corner, and on balance, he's been a good little boy, just learning his way in the world.  Santa would be proud.

December 15, 2010

first christmas ornaments

I finally got round to baking some salt dough ornaments (using this recipe) while the kids were asleep the other day.  Ollie helped.  Well, he played with the salt dough as if it were play dough while I cut out a few ornaments and poked little holes in the top with an icing nozzle, but that was the point.  It took a couple of attempts to dry the ornaments out (and the second attempt left them a bit too brown) and we didn't have any cookie cutters that were suitably festive but I thought it wouldn't matter what shape they were once covered in red paint and glitter.  And they ended up being a bit lumpy but I suspect this won't be the last time I do this, so there's plenty of time for technique improvement. (Especially if I want them to look like these or these!)

So, last Sunday, after spending the morning with The Wiggles (which was a hit, by the way, and I should think Ollie was the only child there who didn't know who The Wiggles are), I got the paint, glitter and brushes out and ready while the boys were asleep and an afternoon of painting and glittering followed.  I was really keen to do this type of activity with Ollie; I want him to be a part of making something that he can gift so that he can begin to understand the importance of doing good things for others and what it feels like to put your heart into the process.  And even if he doesn't understand, just doing it makes me feel good, and his involvement is a reminder of how these little things that we do with the kids are so rewarding.  Anyway, at the very least, Ollie was captivated for a good hour or so by splodging paint (he asked for the green) sprinkling glitter, then collecting it back up and putting it back in the impossibly small container it came in.  It's a start.

And now we have a dozen festive and sparkly tree ornaments.  They won't pass any tests for being fancy, but I think they look great, and they twinkle just lovely against the fairy lights on our tree.  They're going to make a great gift for his grandmother, day carer Sue and for us, his mama and papa, who end each day exhausted, recounting little stories of what the boys did and said that made us laugh, cry, tear our hair out and burst with pride, sometimes all at the same time.

December 10, 2010

hair cut

After a belly full of pancakes for breakfast, we finally bit the bullet and cut little Max's wild, wild hair!  I have never cut hair before, so this was very nerve wracking.  I got pretty close a couple of weeks ago but chickened out and put the scissors away.  The scissors were my Fiskars sewing scissors, not the best for cutting hair and way too big, but the sharpest ones in the house.

And it looks ok!  The curls on top probably made it easier since you can't really tell how haphazardly it's cut, but I reckon he looks pretty smart but we've still managed to retain some of his curly wildness.  Of course I got a bit too confident once I'd done Max's and there was hair everywhere anyway, so I thought I'd trim Ollie's hair.  Big mistake.  The back looks ok but his fringe is plain square and silly and I daren't try to correct it, I know I'll make it worse.  Ah well, it will grow out and at least I've taken some of the hair off the back of his sweaty little neck, which is particularly so on this 30c day.

Will did a good job of distracting and keeping the boys still;  Ollie was really very good and quite accommodating of the hatchet job his ma was doing (Dr Seuss helped).

And now onwards to enjoying a four day weekend. Will has taken some time off work and we're planning to potter around the house, take the boys to kids' story time at the library, decorate salt dough ornaments (which actually seem a bit soggy, so I need to work out how to fix this before too long), go swimming and hang out.  Oh and there's a birthday party and... The Wiggles.  I can't believe we are taking Ollie and Max to see the so-far-banned-in-our-house Wiggles.  Are we starting something we are going to regret?  Probably.  But they'll love it.  Four day weekend.  Woo!

December 7, 2010

christmas tree

We put up our Christmas tree last weekend.  Yet again, I lamented the lack of a real tree as we hauled the plastic tree out from the loft, which is apparently a very English place to store one's fake Christmas tree.  (Where else would you store it?)  Every year I buy a few more ornaments, so our collection of mainly red and lovely decorations is now as old as our relationship and I still remember the very first Christmas tree we had together in London.  It was (of course) real, and lasted long enough to make our house smell and feel... like Christmas!  But this year I didn't buy any ornaments.  Instead I'm hoping to make salt dough ornaments with Ollie - or at least make the ornaments and let Ollie decorate them (I don't know how much he'll understand they aren't for eating if he sees the cooking process).  I think it will be a sweet addition to our decorations and we'll make a few extra to give to grandparents and aunties and uncles.

Ollie got a little bossy and obsessive about putting baubles on the tree without any help (and we only broke one - not bad), but it was the first year that we were able to get him involved and excited about adorning the tree with hundreds of lights and ornaments.  Max slept through the whole thing and woke to find Christmas in his home.

It's December but it doesn't feel Christmassy, not even with the tree twinkling as I write this.  It's not cold, frosty, dark... atmospheric.  I pine (no pun intended) for home, friends, family, winter and mulled wine at this time of year more than any other, and I will never feel the spirit of the holiday season while it's hot, sunny and humid.  This is my 7th Christmas here in Australia and every year I think it might be the last as we think about our future and whether it will be here or back in Europe.  Every year I think I miss out on really truly enjoying an antipodean Christmas by thinking too much about the experience I could be having back home which perhaps isn't as special as I remember it to be.  Maybe this year will be different.

December 6, 2010

quilt top complete!

This post was going to be titled 'making a start', then it was going to be called 'quilt in progress' but much to my surprise, I've made more progress on this little project in two days than I gave myself credit for!  

And here it is, a quilt top, which I started two days ago, now complete. I think it took about 8 hours from first cut, which is pretty good going since it's only my second ever quilt.  I'm hoping to machine quilt it and I've bought a new walking foot for my little sewing machine.  I'm not sure how I'm going to go about it, but I've come this far and I'm determined to give machine quilting a go.

It's a Christmas gift so I'm keen to finish the quilting soon so that it will be ready in time - another reason for machine quilting.  And time (as ever) is scarce as the next few weekends (including the holiday season) will most likely be occupied by us working on the house as recently we've managed to create more jobs than we have the time (and possibly) the skills to complete.  (Cleaning the outside of our house seemed like a good idea until it became apparent we actually need to paint it).

And so, after all my procrastinating, I'm really happy with how it looks so far.  All it really takes is that first cut and some commitment (and little boys that sleep).

December 4, 2010

pizza night

I am trying to keep a little ritual going in our house that Friday night is pizza night.  We like to make our pizzas from scratch (using Jamie Oliver's pizza dough recipe and Giorgio Locatelli's tomato sauce recipe), which isn't hard but it does take a bit of forethought and time, something I don't always have when I'm looking after the boys.  Will and I used to do Friday night pizzas more regularly before we became a family and now that Ollie seems to be more enthusiastic about eating new, different food, I'm keen to get it happening again.  At the very least it means we don't have to think about what we're having for dinner one night of the week.

Anyway, last Friday, we managed to make some delicious pizzas and it made me want to do it again and every Friday.  And then, when the boys are a little older, it can be pizza and movie night.  I see us hiring a kid friendly movie, and maybe one for us to watch after the kids are in bed, and they'll help us make the pizzas and then we'll all eat them, yum.  Won't that be cute?

December 1, 2010

countdown to christmas

I came across this magazine via a favourite, Sweet Fine Day a few weeks ago, and it's going to be the inspiration for all my holiday gift giving, wrapping and cheer this season.  I'd like to think I will be making most of my gifts this year, but since it's 1 December and my sewing machine is hidden under a pile of laundry, it may not happen.  At the very least, I am going to make the ginger shortbread on page 128 and if it's as good as it looks, it'll be a sweet gift for our friends and neighbours.

November 25, 2010

banana pikelets

Delicious, filling, kid friendly and moderately nutritious.  Ollie, who's not normally a fan of pancakes (I know!) snaffled these up and asked for more.  I modified this recipe.  Next time I think I'm going to try substituting the plain flour with wholemeal and adding some golden syrup in place of some of the sugar.

2 cups plain flour (250g)
2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp butter (40g)
1 1/2 cups milk (350ml)
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup caster sugar (75g)
2 mashed, sweet, ripe bananas

Melt butter.
Sift the flour and baking powder (or use 2 cups self raising flour and I prefer to give it a good stir with a whisk).
Whisk together the melted butter, eggs, milk and sugar and add to the flour mixture, beating out any lumps.
Stir in the well mashed bananas.
Drop tablespoons of the mixture into a moderately hot non-stick frying pan, turning when bubbles appear on the surface of the pikelet.
Eat hot out of the pan or warm or cold, with butter and jam and cream. Or just as they are.

November 23, 2010

deeks and his new haircut

The weather's getting hotter.  Poor long haired Deacon suffers in the summer so we usually get his fur clipped a couple of times, giving him some welcome relief from his normally gorgeous, long, shaded red coat.

Last Friday was his first clipping of the summer and these photographs were taken on the afternoon of his pampering.  Doesn't he look smart?  The blue bows lasted about an hour (well, they were compromising his machismo, somewhat), but the poor nervous soul, who doesn't enjoy being groomed hid under the chair in Max's room for a lot longer than that.  Aw Deeksie, you'll thank us come Christmas.

November 22, 2010

max's first day

This morning, I spent my first ever morning away from Ollie and Max when they weren't being looked after by their pa.  I should say, however that they were with Sue, the lady that has looked after Ollie since I went back to work when he was 9 months old, and for all intents and purposes, Sue is as close a member of our family than anyone, and certainly nobody else knows Ollie as well as she does.

So it was with some nerves but with a lot of comfort that Will and I drove Ollie and Max up to Sue's house this morning so that he could start his day care journey and hopefully be accustomed to his new environment by the time I start work again in just under two months.  We're doing what we did with Ollie and easing Max into his new routine, building up from a couple of hours to a full day with Sue by Christmas.

Today would have been his first day with Sue regardless, but a couple of days ago I was asked to attend a meeting in town with a new client this morning.  I'm not due to go back to work until mid January and there was no obligation to attend but I thought it might be a good idea to have a trial childcare/work drop off and also to distract me from the hand wringing and fretting I was no doubt going to do if I'd just come straight home after dropping Max off.  And we're trying to save money so a trip to the shops was out of the question and it's impossible for me to read a book or watch a movie without thinking about the housework.  Anyway, I agreed to attend the meeting and while it stopped a bit of the hand wringing, I fretted nonetheless and was visibly tetchy when the hour long meeting turned into two hours and then three and I was very glad to get out of there and ring Sue from the nearest payphone to check on both boys before getting in the car and picking up Max while his brother slept peacefully in his cot at Sue's.

When I got there, Max was sitting up, playing happily, and I got the most adorable little smile from him when he saw me.  He didn't complain and want to be picked up straight away, he carried on playing while I talked to Sue about their morning together, which in her own words was 'a reasonable success'.  I had been worried about Ollie too, but he seemed to take it in his stride, and was big brotherly enough to recognise the change in his normal routine at Sue's as being positive.

I knew it would be alright, and there's a way to go to get him into a routine that he and Sue (and the other children) are happy with, not to mention Ollie might well start objecting to his little brother invading his time with Sue when he realises it's permanent, but for now, I'm relieved that this initial hurdle is over.

Going back to work is going to be really, really hard.

November 18, 2010

brush strokes and a new perspective

Ollie brought his first paintings home from day care yesterday.  They are so beautiful!  I love the colours, the glitter, the dog eared corners and the way they make me imagine him clutching a paintbrush, concentrating on making his mark.  Sue, the lovely lady that looks after Ollie at her home said he was engrossed and demonstrated again that when he's doing something he's interested in, his attention span is quite amazing.

When we got home, we reflected on his day:

me:  Ollie, I love your paintings
Ollie:  (nodding earnestly) paintings!
me:  Did you like painting?
Ollie:  haha (nods)
me:  What colours did you paint with?
Ollie:  (pointing at blue and green) Boo.  Geen.

Ollie loves to scribble and it's a joy to watch his skill develop.  He hunches over the little table and actually holds his crayon in quite a grown up way (rather than clutching the crayon in his fist).  My next project for the boys is to organise a little craft area that goes beyond the butcher's paper taped to the coffee table to encourage Ollie to express himself in this enlightening way.

And Max, dear little Max.  He's had a mouth ulcer under his tongue for a week now (I think from his new little bottom teeth) which has affected how he's been eating and consequently he's been waking many times in the night, hungry.  Thankfully, he's now feeding much better during the day and he seems to be happier, but the most remarkable thing of all is that he is now sitting up, largely unaided, and has a fresh, new perspective of the world.  I think he knows it too and is pretty happy with his new skill.

He still has wild hair.

November 17, 2010

a royal wedding

I am a huge fan of the British Monarchy and I'm a sucker for all those documentaries about Queenie and her family.  To say that I am excited about the upcoming nuptials is an understatement.  I adore the romance of it all, the regalia and the sweetness of little William giving his mama's ring to his love.  I may have to sew some red, white and blue bunting to adorn the house and garden for the royal wedding party I'm going to have next year, even if I'm the only guest.

(Image from here)
Aah.  I loved the ring then, and I love it now.

November 15, 2010

days like these


It wasn’t a weekend I thought I’d have anything to say about, but the more I think about it, the more I reflect on what’s truly worth documenting, and the more I’d say this weekend was as memorable as any other I’ve had in a long while.

After the chaos of last weekend’s birthday party and a week of more emotional ups and downs than I care to experience again for a long while, it was somewhat of a relief to approach the weekend with no plans and enough prior organisation to be able to actually relax, rather than running around trying to get things done and be places.

Saturday morning saw the return of Ollie’s swimming lesson, which we’ve missed for three weekends now due to snotty noses, the Noosa triathlon (which I never did write about) and Ollie’s birthday party.  It was a well timed break, as Ollie’s been less than enthusiastic about his swimming lately, not so much about being in the pool, but about having to be told what to do (nothing new there, then).   We’ve even ended lessons early, letting him tell us when he’s had enough, instead of making him go through the nursery rhymes and monkey-monkeying when he’d rather not.  But he seemed to enjoy swimming on Saturday, and after his lesson he had a splash in the mushroom pool, a little wading pool with mushrooms that spray icy cold water, pretty good fun for what ended up being a hot, sunny morning. 

And then we came home and hung out in the garden.  Ollie helped pot one of the many houseplants that need repotting (he really did help) and seemed to love it.  Max watched from his shady spot under our sweet jacaranda and I took a few photographs, lamenting the coming end of spring and the glorious green and floral display that is our garden.  

An impromptu visit from his Great Aunty Anne, possibly Ollie’s favourite person pretty much sealed the Saturday deal, especially when Will’s cousin Ben came with her, giving Ollie the perfect opportunity to show off his toys, practice giving ‘respect’ and shaking Ben by the hand. 

Sunday was almost as good, but we didn’t sleep well, as Max has an ulcer in his mouth that is preventing him from enjoying his food and so he’s hungry, all the time, drinking only milk.  Poor little guy seems so forlorn, but I guess we have to accept that it will take time for him to feel better and it’s not so bad now that we know what’s wrong.  Ollie handled a trip to the bakery, a visit to the doctor with his brother and the dull task of grocery shopping in his stride and even seemed to enjoy his meals.  And I can't quite believe that the boys both slept for over two hours and lunch time, and even more unbelievable is that I took a nap too.  

So, none of this seems terribly exciting, important or noteworthy, but it all happened without a tantrum, without tears and with the kind of enthusiasm and sweetness that I crave with my boys.  Maybe it's because we didn't let the expectation of a tantrum ruin what we wanted to do, or maybe Ollie's just realising it's actually a lot of fun when he tries to communicate with us.  Or maybe it was just a one off great weekend.  Either way, it’s days like these that make it.

November 7, 2010

party time!

We've just finished a weekend of birthday partying.  The threat of bad weather remained just that, and we had beautiful clear, blue, sunny skies.  We held the party indoors anyway (the forecast was for showers and a thunderstorm) and our little house didn't feel so little once we'd moved the furniture around, put up my bunting and opened up the doors and windows.

The house looked so colourful and the we made just the right amount of food, cake and party bags (paper lunch bags, tied with string and filled with home made cookies, a Matchbox car and stickers) and every toy was scattered around the house with little people's sticky fingers on and in everything.  The food was delicious and home made (cookies, birthday cake, sandwiches, fruit, corn chips, avocado dip and salsa, obligatory chocolate rice crispies) and everyone seemed to have a lot of fun, kids and grown-ups alike.  It was just how a party should be.

And Ollie?  He had a blast.  He was a little over excited when the first guests arrived and a bit miffed with his favourite truck being so popular with his cousins, but he soon settled down and handled everyone playing with his toys and taking over his territory remarkably well, especially since he decided not to have a nap before his guests arrived (yikes!).  Ollie even seemed to love the chorus of 'Happy Birthday' and was pretty happy with his birthday cake, not to mention the cookies he managed to consume.  There were a few moments in the afternoon when I caught him sitting quietly, playing with his cars, noise and activity around him, in his own, happy little world.  Max was a good little guy, too.  He's had a couple of unsettled days (teeth?) but seemed to take the 30 or so mainly new people in his house in his stride (although the balloons did make him cry).  His kind eyes and sweet, calm temperament were a predictable hit with everyone.  

After the boys were bathed and in bed, Will and I ended the day with a quick tidy up and a well earned early night, and thankfully our boys let us sleep until the morning.  And today, we spent the day slowly opening each of the very thoughtful and generous gifts from Ollie's friends and family.  My feet still ache and I'm knackered from the build up to the big day, but it was all worth it.

November 4, 2010


Finally, a finished project to write about.  It's taken a week of dedication to self imposed deadlines to complete this very festive, homemade fabric party garland.  I'm an inexperienced sewer so I didn't embark on this with any level of skill, but I did know what I wanted it to look like and that's always a good start.

I used this fabric bundle from Purl Soho, which I bought a little while back.  It is a collection of 52 fat eighths of fabric, enough for the coloured bit of their colour wheel quilt.  Though it's stunning, I didn't want to make the quilt, but I knew I could do something with all that fabric as I have an affinity for all things colour ordered (our vinyl, cds, books and dare I admit to it, my wardrobe is all ordered by colour) so I convinced myself to buy the bundle.  I'm glad I did, because a few weeks ago, I was lying in bed, not able to sleep, frustrated with my lack of progress in getting to know my relatively new sewing machine and decided I needed a project to mark Ollie's second birthday.  And so it came to me that a party garland of every colour of the rainbow would look brilliant in our green garden, or against our white VJ walls.  I had the fabric, I just needed to get on with it.  So I did!

Cutting the fabric was the most time consuming part of the process, but I like repetitive, meditative labour, and a couple of hours over a couple of evenings saw the triangles cut and ordered.  I managed to get two flags out of each fat eighth, but these are double sided so that the garland should look good from any angle and added to the colour wheel bundle from my own stash.  (I saved a small scrap from each piece of fabric and I'm thinking of making a permanent mini-garland (with ribbon rather than bias tape) for Max's room.)

I sewed along the longer edges of each flag to prevent the raw edges from fraying too much (I think a little fraying will look nice over time), and I used a pale grey thread (I couldn't find any invisible thread, but the grey is hardly visible).  I realised half way through that I should be chain piecing them together rather than doing them individually and once I'd had this epiphany (I am a beginner) I zipped through them and the flags were all ready to go.

I made some bias tape, double folded (in half lengthways and then raw edges folded into the middle) and pressed it, ready to sew to the flags.  I had some cute blue binding leftover from Ollie's quilt but it was a little wider than I needed it to be and there wasn't quite enough.  But, I did have enough natural muslin to make the 20 or so metres of tape that I needed and before too long, it was done and ready to use. I pinned the flags to the tape and started sewing last night and this afternoon, sewed the last couple of dozen flags onto the tape.

I couldn't wait to hang it, so while the boys were sleeping, I haphazardly hung it in our dining area, took a shaky snapshot to email to Will at work and sat back to admire my handiwork.  I am very happy with the end result and it's better than I had envisaged it.  Our house is now ready for a party.


Before they disappear, here are some photographs of the blooms on our jacaranda tree, which we planted just after we moved into this home four years ago this month.  It's the first time the tree has blossomed; we've waited and waited and finally, it has added some beautiful colour to our garden, giving us that final nod that summer is well and truly on its way.

I will miss the jacarandas when we leave Brisbane.  But I won't miss the summer.

November 3, 2010

new tooth

Little Max has a tooth!  I didn't think I would be as excited as I was to discover the tiny little white tooth, but it was so lovely to see our little boy reach his next milestone.  He's yet to sit up for more than a short moment and doesn't like spending much time on his tummy, so it's going to be a while before he's mobile (he'll know when it's time) but he's definitely growing up, reminding us that while we're lavishing attention on his louder, bigger brother, he's there too.  Cute as a button.

November 2, 2010

another journey around the sun

Oliver James Downes:  Two years old.

Ollie's birthday was the most brilliant day I think I have spent with him in a very long time.  We chatted about this and that, we played chase, we read stories, we ate our meals with enthusiasm, we played with our new wooden workbench and a new orange car and I got more spontaneous hugs than I could count.  Ollie's dad spent a couple of hours with him in the morning before work, setting up his workbench and chatting to his nanni and nanna on Skype, and while the boys were asleep at lunch time, I started planning his birthday party and spent more than a moment reflecting on the incredible day I gave birth to Oliver.

It was a day that reminded me that in between the chores and tasks that can't be ignored, it can be so much fun to hang out with Ollie (although he wouldn't let us sing 'Happy Birthday' to him) and I forget this all to easily when I'm struggling to juggle everything and Ollie's having a bad day.  It was so refreshing and energizing to have such a positive day with Ollie, made even more special because it was his birthday.

He's just a normal, crazy haired kid with good days and bad, and I don't think I'd appreciate him nearly as much as I do if everyday was easy.  Happy birthday, Ollie.

October 27, 2010

first cut

Last night, Will was working late.  The boys were fed, bathed and went to bed with no fuss (may this become a trend) and I ate a dinner of beans on toast.  It was deliberate that dinner be so quick and easy (and satisfying) because I wanted to make the most of the quiet time to start on a little project to mark our son's second birthday.

So, with Radio 4 streaming on my laptop and the evening rain for company (a surefire recipe for homesickness), I sat down, rotary cutter in hand and made the first cut.

October 25, 2010

difficult days

The last couple of days, my patience (what little there is of it) has been almost entirely worn thin.  I love Ollie so much, but right now, motherhood is not proving enjoyable.

The screaming at bedtime is particularly tough, and we are going through a difficult period of hysterical tantrums and clinginess, making daycare drop offs and pick ups emotionally trying.  Each night for the last few, I've gone to bed feeling inadequate for losing my temper and shouting at Ollie when he needs patience, something which I've always lacked and am struggling to find more of.

I suppose I am looking for some reassurance that what I'm going through is normal, and that our son is going to grow up to be a charming, well mannered, kind hearted and communicative young man.  Somebody, anybody, please tell me this will happen.

October 23, 2010


They are short lived in the sun but they are spectacular.  This is the first year they have bloomed so incredibly; you can smell the perfume as you pull into our driveway!

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