October 30, 2013


Yes, it's been two months since I updated the blog and it'll probably be another two months before the next post.  Just like my attitude to the gym (one visit a week is better than none), I'm not going to give myself a hard time for not writing more often, and I'm not going to apologise for it either (hello, is anyone even listening?) because I'm actually totally fine with how things are going, and the last thing I need is to stress about letting this part of my life go.

But, there are still times when it's important for me to reflect a little and to record an event, a feeling, a ridiculous situation so that we don't forget it in the jumble of life, and now is one of those times.  Because Ollie is FIVE TODAY!  Surely that deserves a post.

Aside from all the wise words I should insert here about five years of parenthood, what a marvellous little man Ollie's becoming, our awe at time passing etc, the main thing I wanted to write about was the celebration, which was a little different.  Each birthday so far, we've had a party, some little, most big, with lists, organising, lists, a bit of stress, a lot of fun, but mainly a lot of work.  So this time, I gave Ollie an option. You can have a party, I said, or how about you invite five families (you are going to be five after all) to join us for dinner at your favourite restaurant, we'll take cake for pudding and have a little play in a park before hand.  He jumped at the idea of the dinner party, which was perfect for me as we've had two pretty significant birthday parties already this year and with Christmas coming, I need to conserve energy.

Long story, but his beloved favourite restaurant closed down within just a couple of weeks of the big day, so we opted instead for lunch at a pizza cafe we know of, a really great place with lots of space and good pizzas and the added bonus of being at the university grounds, where there are jacarandas (still in bloom), trees to climb, and plenty of space to fly a kite, hurl a frisbee and kick a football.

We had a brilliant morning.  The kids loved it and made their own entertainment when we saw turtles, lizards and even eels!  The extent of my involvement was to take some fruit and crackers for morning tea, picnic blankets, football, kite and frisbee, cameras and some activities (consisting of pens/paper/stickers/party hats) for the kids to do while we waited for pizza.  Oh and the cake.  The very specifically requested square vanilla cake with chocolate frosting and sprinkles, which went down a treat and was particularly enjoyable later that evening with a glass of rosé (for us, not the kids).

Something cute - when we asked Ollie who he wanted to invite, he gave us four suggestions.  "That's nice dear, but you're going to be five, so you can invite a fifth family."  To which he very calmly replied, "No mum, the fifth family will be MY family.  You're all coming too."  At which point it's worth reminding myself that aside from acting like a goofball most of the time, winding me and his brothers up with his bossiness, his inability to eat breakfast and get dressed in less than an hour, he's a little legend.  Heck even with all those things he's a dude I can't help but love with every ounce of my being.

September 1, 2013

a message from the chop busters

Happy Fathers' Day, Dad.  We like to bust your chops and drive you nuts and fight over who gets to sit next to you at dinner.  Now that's love. xxx

August 31, 2013

approximately 13 months of age

At approximately 13 months of age, Hugo dared to take his first unaided steps.  I missed it.  I was at the shops, but Will and Ollie looked up to see Hugo take ten or so zombie style steps before they cheered, the commotion no doubt causing him to plop down onto his padded bottom.

Three days later, he did it for me, a personal show, his little arms outstretched, knees locked, hips swivelling as he lifted his little feet only a couple of inches to shuffle across the floor.

Then about a week after that, he decided being a baby is so passe.  His brothers can kick and scream like the best of them, so why should he miss out?  Especially when his mum is stopping him from climbing into the oven.  That's the time for a face down, fist pumping, snot streaming tantrum.

Then there's absolute blind faced cheek that comes with meal times. Don't like what you've been given to eat?  Fling it across the room and look out of the corner of your eye at your parents before chuckling to oneself that you've discovered yet another way to amuse your brothers/feed your dogs and incite a reaction from your parents, all at the same time.  Now that's multitasking.

No longer a baby is this kid.  He's the third instalment of the saga that is the made-for-tv movie of our nutcase lives.  This week's cliffhanger:  Will Ollie recover from his mega cold and perforated eardrum in time for the local school fete this weekend?

August 1, 2013

green curry

Here is a green curry of pumpkin, mushrooms, spinach, fresh corn and lentils, inspired by the amazing curries at Brisbane's Kitchen Sanitarium, which has become a regular weekday lunch venue. (Which reminds me, we must go to Taro's again soon.)

Fry a finely chopped onion in a little oil.  Add 1/2 jar of Volcom green curry paste (or a sachet of the Mae Ploy brand) and fry for a minute or two.  Add about 1/4 of a butternut squash, chopped into 1" cubes, plus a few smaller pieces (to melt into the curry sauce).  Add in 500ml of coconut milk (the Ayam brand is best) and about a cup of water or stock.  Simmer until the pumpkin is just about tender, then add a handful of chopped mushrooms, cook for a little longer before adding fresh corn kernels, 400g of cooked lentils (tinned is fine, brown/Puy/black lentils work best) and about 200g spinach (frozen would work fine) and a handful of shredded coconut.  Season with fish sauce and palm sugar to taste (I added 1-2 tablespoons of each), a healthy dose of lime juice (I squeezed the bejesus out of one quite juicy one), chopped coriander and serve with steamed rice, topped with fried shallots, coriander leaves and more shredded coconut.

Eat in big, deep bowls, in front of a tv.  Or your significant other if that floats your boat.

Really, really, really tasty.

July 29, 2013

bon anniversaire

On Bastille Day, we celebrated Hugo's first birthday.  It was a lovely little event.  Even the rain and grey skies didn't detract from how joyous it felt to sing 'Happy Birthday' for the very first time to our little dude (and then again to Lola, who was 10 years old only two days prior).

Red, blue, white balloons and streamers were everywhere.  Everyone who came made an effort to look as French as they could, the food was suitably cheesy, the cake was red, white and blue and to make sure everyone had a mouthful of something celebratory and sweet, I also made a pavlova, decorated with red and blue berries and whipped double cream. The food that wasn't obviously French was made so by sticking an Eiffel Tower pennant in it, we drank champagne and listened to French music, including La Marseillaise (of course) and music by Yann Tierson (This music, which makes me so nostalgic for the time Will and I went to the movies for the first time together in Belsize Park to watch Amelie and then walk home in the pouring rain.  It was so impossibly romantic, hearing this quite often makes me cry.)

We had family, friends from Will's uni days, old school friends, neighbours, friends from kindy, friends from the group of mums I've known since I joined their playgroup when Ollie was born and it was probably bigger than it needed to be, but it was just so brilliant to have all these lovely people gathered under our raised house, sheltered from the rain under fairy lights, helping us celebrate, taking photos, taking it in turns to entertain the kids, catching up with each other, making new friends and enjoying the croissants.

One of the sweetest things was opening the many cards we were given, all of which included a note of the charity that had been donated to on Hugo's behalf.  It felt so right to do something like this to mark a year of being so damn blessed to have Hugo in our lives, the sunshine that he is, it felt right not to collect more stuff we just didn't need but instead to ask (respectfully and not without gratitude) that everyone give a few dollars to charity instead.  And everyone did just that.

So there you have it.  A year of Hugo.  (And ten years of Lola.)  It's hard not to feel emotional when I think about the past year (or ten).  It's hard not to feel like crying when I think about the memories we are creating, the things I work so hard to do well, and the things I just know I could do much better.  It's been the most challenging year of my life, yet the most rewarding.  Watching this little monkey of a baby grow into this happy, bouncing, cheeky and independent toddler has been the most wonderful experience so far, it's made me realise the time, it's now.  The stuff I've been looking forward to, the Sunday afternoon movies with my kids, planning birthday parties, the games of make believe, the mornings in the park, getting things ready for show and tell, cooking things I know they'll love to eat, being a parent... all these things I've been looking forward to all my life, they're happening already, right now.  I need to stop and remember that every now and then.

Happy birthday Hugo.  Je t'aime.

June 27, 2013


Here it is, an invitation to le premier anniversaire d'Hugo!  First things first, while this did involve me bossing my husband around in the traditional manner while he sat in front of his iMac, this is pretty much a rip of something I saw on t'internet.  Do I care?  Not really.  I'm a working mum to three preschoolers (is there such a thing as a non-working mum?) with limited time and I know what I like.  So, I saw something I liked and we bastardised it enough to make it feel like ours.  Is that alright?  Probably not, but what we do have is a rather nice little two pager (and the second page was all our doing) inviting way more people than we'll be able to cope with to the auspicious occasion that will be the first birthday of our littlest hobo, born on that very French of days, Bastille Day.

Points to note:
 - No gifts:  It seems unfair for little Hugo who doesn't have much of his own, but seriously, he doesn't need or want for a thing.  He is surrounded by toys and clothes and love.  Far better that our guests each give a few bucks to charity instead.
 - It's gonna be red, white, blue, guests are expected to adorn one or all of those colours.  Berets optional.
 - There will be champagne.  Normally I don't condone drinking (ahem) at a kid's party.  Well, it's not so much that I don't condone it, but it's more that it's really not necessary (it's a kid's party!)  but no champagne at a Bastille Day party?  Don't be nuts.  And by champagne I probably mean slightly-better-than-average Australian sparkling wine.
 - The invitation features the same bunting I used on the first birthday invitations of Ollie and Max.  This makes me very happy.
 - Hugo is going to be one.  ONE.

year 8

This is me and my husband, starting our eighth year of marriage.  Undoubtedly the last five have been a test of our resilience and ability to juggle more than we thought we could handle, but it's also been a very positive journey so far, and one which I cannot complain about.  With good health (the value of which can't be underestimated), a happy home and enough challenges to provide us with balance, I feel very blessed to be writing these words today.

Happy anniversary, Will, I love you and our children beyond measure.

June 26, 2013


Ollie:  I'm lovely, mum, because I keep making you things

Ollie: I'm giving myself a headache, everything in my brain is all jumbled up, my thinking wires have snapped!

Ollie:  Mum, in my head there are LOTS of BIG love hearts, all for you.

Ollie: (after I'd been cross with him) Dad, I'm so sad, all the love hearts in my head for mum are disappearing.

Me:  How many do you need?
Ollie:  Four
Me:  How many do you have?
Ollie: Three
Me:  So, how many more do you need?
Ollie: One... I'm like a calculator!

Max:  Ollie's going to consplode our house! (he meant 'explode')

Max: (finishing off his first ever packet of Pez candies) I've eaten all my pheasants!

Max:  I'm Buzz Limeyear!

Max:  I actually like bumatoes now! (he means tomatoes) (I hope)

June 21, 2013

this phase

About a week ago, I breastfed my littlest boy for the last time.  I didn't realise it at the time, but I've known it was coming.  I went back to work, expressing lasted a little while, but mainly, the breastfeeds have been restricted to night feeds and the occasional morning feed; so, it was only a matter of time before it'd be hard to sustain the one or two feeds a day he was getting.

I have mixed feelings about it all because I know that if breastfeeding had been that important to me, I would have found a way to continue.  But without listing the reasons it came to an end, one of the feelings I want to remember is how sad I am that it's over.  I'm sad I don't get to give Hugo that connection any more, the cuddliness in the middle of the night, the ability to soothe him almost immediately.  But more than that, I'm sad that this phase of my life is over.  Save for a few months between Max and Hugo, I've been pregnant and/or breastfeeding for the last five years or so.  I'm lucky that I loved it.  I loved being pregnant, carrying my sons, feeling them grow and move and I loved breastfeeding each of my sons for nearly a whole year.  There were times I didn't feel so great about it but more often than not, I felt I was doing the best I could, and that felt amazing.  So, it's a tough thing to admit that phase of our lives is over, we have no intention of adding any more babies to our family (though there is talk of chicks and kittens).  Now, we look onwards, forwards, away from this phase of having these exquisite little babies in our lives, the ones that feel so soft and little, that know so little but learn so much and so quickly, the ones that show their emotions as clearly as can be on those faces that smile, laugh, cry, burp, these babies that you hold almost every moment they're awake, looking forward to the days they'll be more independent but knowing full well those days will make you write soppy words about how sad you are that they're growing up.

Much as I wish I had known Hugo was breastfeeding for the last time, I suppose really, it's a good thing I didn't. It's a good thing it came and went and now it's time to move on.  There are other ways we continue to try our best, and lord knows we fail a LOT, but we keep trying, keep chipping away, trying our damnedest to help shape these little boys into the best that they can be.  But for now, this phase, it's over.  Time to move on.

June 6, 2013

june already

It's become my thing to muse over the passing of time.  I think it means I'm officially grown up, because it's all grown ups ever did when I was a kid (that and spend ages standing on front doorsteps saying goodbye to their grown up friends when we were leaving their houses).  I've said it before, but the passing of time is never as apparent as when you have children in your life, and the days fly by, then the weeks, and the weekends even quicker.  So here we are.  June.  I can now say 'next month, Hugo will be ONE'. How's that!

Last month, as well as starting a new knitting project (because there's nothing like having thirty half finished craft projects on the go) we were invited for an interview at a very lovely local school for next year's prep enrolments.  Ollie will start school in January and blah blah about how quickly that's come around (actually I'm not sure it has, it seems like the time is right for him to be starting school... maybe I just can't really remember life before babies but it feels like it was a LONG time ago).  We didn't really have a hope of being offered a place.  It's a Catholic school, we aren't Catholic, we didn't even claim to be Christian on our application forms, and were quite blunt about our beliefs (or lack thereof) during our interview.  But we were honest about why we thought this particular school would be great for Ollie (because religion aside, it is a fantastic little school), and we must have put forth a pretty good case because this week we found out he's been offered a place.  Our son, who isn't baptised, or part of any parish, who's parents don't ring any bells or contribute financially or otherwise to a church or nunnery or whatever else there might be, our son got offered a place.

Hooray!  That's great!  But actually, while it's not a bad problem to have, now we don't know whether he should go there or to our local state school, another perfectly good school (sans nuns), one that we are actually very happy for our boys to attend, one we understand to have one of the best reputations in the state.  We were so sure we'd miss out on the Catholic school, we'd stopped thinking about it and we were just fine with our back up plan.  Pleased even.  But now... what to do?

There are pros and cons to each.  The small, intimate teaching environment of the Catholic school, the other children and parents we know there, the awesome teachers, the feel of the place, then there's the academically brilliant state-run school, a secular education, a much bigger school and wider range of facilities, both are local, both are great, both could be wonderful for our boys but... how to choose?  It seems like such a big decision.  The school we choose will be their place for the next 5-6 years, it feels so crucial that we get it right.  And I don't even want to think about what might happen if we get it wrong.

So, we have two weeks to accept the place we've been offered.  It's good to have a deadline, but two weeks seems like a very short amount of time (refer opening paragraph) to make a decision so important.  Especially when it feels like all our decision making energy is spent for this year.  But like I said, it's not a bad situation to be in.  It's just that you and I and anyone that knows us knows we are not the world's best decision makers.  Not that we make bad decisions, just the process involved is... well, involved, and not always painless and maybe one of these days I'll just go with the flow and everything will be just fine.  HAH!

PS I finished the scarf, a peacock blue merino seed stitch scarf.  Yes, it was easy, but even so it felt great to be knitting again after my grandmother taught me when I was about 7.  It's such a vivid memory of my childhood, although I don't think I've knitted since then.  Almost every knit and purl reminded me of her, and even casting on made me emotional, and I'm pretty pleased to say I had the whole thing wrapped up in less than a week.  Felt great actually, and made me think about how maybe I'll be a grannie one day too, and I'll teach my grandchildren cool things.  That'll be nice.

May 25, 2013

decisions pt 2

My parents, the grandparents of my children, live 10,276 miles away.  As if that didn't make it awesome enough, in that same place, there are seasons, twinkly yuletides, explosions of spring and seemingly unending grey skies, save for a few broken weeks in the summer when it's glorious, and there are two days in each one, and every fat bloke embraces the blue skies and lies bare chested during his lunch break on whatever patch of grass he can find reading tabloid newspapers and enjoying a mediocre sandwich and always with a bag of crisps.  Not chips, but crisps.  There are uncles, aunties, cousins, friends of old, many I'd consider as close if not closer than family.

Every day since I arrived in Australia, almost 10 years ago, I have thought about how I miss that place.  I miss those people, the long summer days, the unending winters, the feeling of cosy, the closeness of everything, the history of the architecture, the rolling countryside (it's unrivalled) and I could go on.  It has never occurred to me that perhaps I don't miss that place, but I am simply nostalgic, never been one to adapt to change terribly easily, and always harking back to the good times gone, choosing conveniently to forget about the stuff everyone else remembers in order to look at today and the future with such enthusiasm.  Not me, I prefer the times I know, I dealt with them all so much better than I think I'll deal with the stuff I don't know, so it's only the good stuff I remember, and therefore miss with every bit of myself.

We talk often about going back there.  We met there, we loved life there, had it not been for my then boyfriend's growing ambition to do something with his life, we probably would have stayed there.  We talked about it a lot in the early years if life in Oz and it was always going to happen, but lately, since becoming parents and learning we can't just pack up these little people and take them to where we want to be without acknowledging it mightn't be best for them, it's become a lot harder to talk about moving with any certainty.  These days we realise too, that in the 4+ years since we were last there (in the midst of winter no less), life there is probably very different to what it was then, never mind the rose tinted memories of 10 years ago.  There's a big chance we could make the move and realise it was totally the wrong thing to do.  But is that a good enough reason for not trying at all?

But much as I am now thinking more often of staying rather than going, I can't quite bring myself to stop thinking about the possibilities.  The idea that we might have ruled out moving back there is heartbreaking, even if most of our friends (here and there) don't understand it.  I can't see my life being lived out in Queensland, beautiful though it is (and lord knows I don't miss anything when I'm at Straddie) and perfect though it might be for rambunctious little boys and their love of sandy feet.  But then I can't see how we'd move back either, I'm not a risk taker, and it might make me boring, but the idea of the chaos such a move would cause in my brain...

So the point of this post?  Well, as with most, there isn't one.  It's one of those ramblers, a brain dump, a record of this feeling of fence sitting and don't-know-what-to-do-ness that I'm pretty sure will be resolved by a nutcase trip we're planning for the end of this year back to that place.  Yes, in the midst of winter (Christmas!), when the days are short and dark (fairy lights!) and the holiday season will have taken hold (family time!).  It's been brewing for a while now, and we've decided the cost will always be a barrier, the travelling is 99% going to be hellish, but it's something we just have to do, not just so we have fuel for the ongoing debate of where our lives should be but because after almost 5 years since we were last there, and 10 Christmasses away from home, it will be about freaking time we take the kids over there, see my loved ones and squeeze them tight, and decide what the dickens we should do with the rest of our lives.  And even if we don't, I'm pretty damn excited about the possibility of the kids seeing some snow.  SNOW!

May 23, 2013

decisions, decisions

It's been a month of decision making.  Big decisions and little ones, too.  Deciding to buy a new mattress (totally wish this decision had happened sooner), deciding to replace our crappy old stove (which also resulted in replacing our kitchen bench top), finally deciding on the colours for Hugo's quilt (and accepting it won't be ready for his first birthday) and deciding which school is going to be best for our little Oliver.  All this decision making, in addition to the craziness of day to day life, the nervous energy that seems to keep the balls in the air, a trip to Mount Tamborine, a sweet mothers' day and a 10 month birthday for the littlest boy in the house.  And I'm not sure I've captured even half of what's happened this month.  

When I write it down, when I think about it for a second, it's with a stillness I rarely feel these days.  My mind is awash with Things To Do, be they child related, house related, work related.  There's always something I can be doing, and I'm not one to sit still (not until after my children are sleeping, anyway) so unless I'm doing one of those Things, I can't relax.  But I've come to realise, it's the projects, the doing things, the lists, the organising that keeps me sane.  Keeps me focussed.  Sure, every now and then all this doing takes me away from a moment I should be savouring with my husband, my kids, myself even, but it's not that often I feel like I'm missing out (or that they are for that matter), I quite often feel it's my job to keep these things happening, to keep oiling the machine that is our family life.  It's a conscious decision I make.  I could pretend to be one of those people that lives in the moment, claims letting the housework slide in favour of doing nothing with the kids is the magnanimous thing to do, but I'm not.  I don't see the sense in letting my kids see a me that's not real.  I do stuff, I keep life organised, I read endless stories, let them take day time naps in my arms, take the trips to the park when I really don't feel like it and let them boss me around with a list of things I must make out of Lego.  But all that stuff's only really enjoyable because there's the mundane stuff that has to be done too, don't you think?  The hard work (it's not that hard really), without it the other stuff would just be the every day, and so I guess striking a balance is what's important.  Important because I want my sons to know the play, the quality time, the silliness is all good fun, but working at something, making a conscious decision to do something to the best of your ability, that's important too.  They need to see mum doing stuff they're going to need to learn to do themselves one day, be it working, keeping house, playing with their own children, except with any luck they'll do it a little less maniacally, and a whole lot better.  It's all I hope for, I guess, that our children will grow up to be better than us.  They already are.

May 7, 2013

bird day

The themed party has become the standard in our house.  I used to think themed parties were a bit over the top, unnecessary, I mean the theme is birthday, the food is cake and the decor... it's the cute-as-pie kid!  But then I realised how much fun theming a party can be, especially when the theme is picked for you by that cute-as-pie kid that doesn't know what is involved in organising a party, nevermind a robot themed one, or as in this case, a bird themed one.

After Ollie's 4th birthday party, every time there was mention of Max's birthday (and quite often when there was not), he'd remind us that he wanted a birdie party.  I was never really sure what this would involve, but figured there'd be a bird on the invitation and a bird shaped cake and some kind of bird food. Cue the interweb for inspiration... except it wasn't there!  Angry Birds themed party?  Sure, there's a million pictures of that, and everyone loves a vintage bird themed whatever (usually wedding) but nothing along the lines of cute-but-not-girly-birdy, so with this one, I really did need to think about it.  It went a bit like this:

The usual creative process: I'm the bossy one, he's the talented one.  Read all about it here.

We figured the best thing to bring to a bird party would be birds (and in fact the birthday boy was quite keen to invite the actual birds in our garden and beyond to his special day).  So, I set about finding a tonne of images of birds, painted, photographed, drawn, and then printed them out in colour on cheap card.  We must have had about 50 or so in total.  These we strung up so we could hang them in trees, under our house, in our house, everywhere.  They looked freaking great!  Then of course there were balloons and fairy lights because every party needs those.

I kept it simple.  For the first time ever I didn't try and do absolutely everything myself, and ordered in sausage rolls from our local awesome bakery (they were a hit) but I did make mini quiches (which I did a week in advance and then froze, defrosting and reheating them on the day of the party - easy).  We baked butter cookies in the shape of 3s and birds, the kids loved helping with this, and there was fruit, cheese, jelly (the grown ups love it as much as the kids) and a couple of little bowls of chips.  No big bowls of sweets and lollies, and not one kid missed them.

Ridiculous.  Bird shaped.  Big.  Very delicious.  For my own information, I made the vanilla cake I always make.  I froze the offcuts which we ate for days afterwards with home made vanilla custard.  It sounds sick.  It wasn't.

I'm not a big fan of party favours but there's no denying they're a godsend when you want to either get your kids out of a party, or get other people's kids out of your own home, so they have their uses.  I chose not to put too much junk in the noodle boxes that were adorned with randomly cut bird house shapes taken from my old stash of Frankie magazines (sigh) but bird stickers, bubbles for the girls, toy trucks for the boys (yeah it's typecasting, who cares) and a little home made bird shaped cookie.  And a mini lollipop (well, I don't want to be the mother of the child who's parties nobody wants to go to because there's no candy).  Loved how these turned out.

I realise now that it's not possible to rely on the kids being outdoors as being sufficient to keep them entertained.  It works on my kids, they really only need a bucket, a spade, some water and some dirt but there were girls coming to this party so I had to be realistic about entertaining them.  Cue free bird printables and a table set up with pens and pencils.  Predictably, a hit with the girls and largely ignored by the boys.  We also made bird houses using giant cardboard boxes salvaged from kindy, so simple, painted with leftover emulsion paint and roofed with cardboard shingles.  And yes, the kids loved these too, because all children like to clamber into big boxes.  They looked great too.  Oh and there was an egg hunt.  Eggs come from birds, I believe, and it was Easter, and although we aren't Christian, all children love hunting for little wooden eggs if they are promised a swap with chocolate ones at the end of it.

Anyway, Ollie helped decorate paper cups with birds, I wore a birdie necklace and we had some pretty awesome bird fashion on a couple of the dads.  I wrote absurd lists (it's no use pretending I can do it any other way) and fretted about things only I will ever know weren't quite birdy enough. I would have liked to have dressed up like a flamingo.  I would have liked to have made Max some wings so he could at least pretend to fly.  I would have liked to have printed out some big birds, emus, ostriches etc on A1 or even bigger to put in our garden.  I would have liked there to have been more feathers and to have themed the food.  I would have liked to have done lots of things but the party we threw was just right and in the end it didn't matter what we didn't do. An awesome time was had by all.

April 30, 2013

a good month

It's the end of April.  Almost a whole month has passed without a post, and I couldn't let that happen. In April, we had Max's awesome bird-day party (it deserves its own post I think), my 37th birthday, complete with bunting and spectacular cake, my dad turned 60 and I couldn't let these things just slide, as if they hadn't happened, when really, they were almost all consuming as we did our best to celebrate the birthdays in the only way we know how (with food and cake).  We even did boring stuff, but big stuff, like filling out application forms for school enrolments, because Ollie will be starting prep next year, and we worked long hours, bringing emails and numbers home to write and crunch, feeling hard done by but  satisfied when it was all done.  But then we did lovely things too, like taking days off, with the boys and without, enjoying each other's company, deluxe lunches and simple ones too, made deluxe by the fact we were together.  Ollie drew more than ever, rediscovered his love of Lego, Max grew so attached to his new pet (toy) lorikeet that we have to say good morning to it, and Hugo, he crawls everywhere now (quickly too), stands, claps, waves, faces forwards in his car seat and laughs and laughs and still wants a cuddle in the middle of the night.

So you see, I couldn't let April pass without a mention.  It was too good for that.

March 31, 2013

three years

Max, three years around this sun, three years of those eyelashes, of being companion to your big brother, of being the laughing, joyous little soul in our lives, three years of fuzzy haired wonder, thank yoop!  Just when I think I know you, you come out with something I couldn't have predicted ('birdie party mum!') and just when I think I know you again, you remind me, you're not someone's brother, you're Max, you're you, a special, unique being, only more special because you get to be a big brother and a little brother, you get to learn and lead but most importantly you get to be Max.

Happy birthday darling, I adore you, every ticklish bit of you.

March 28, 2013


When we downloaded our last batch of 'real' photos, taken with our Nikon SLR, I realised how little we use it and how much our phones have become the main tool for capturing life's little moments.  The downloads went back months, and almost all of them are of Hugo.  How he's changed in the last couple of months.  No longer a baby, but a bouncing, chirpy, cuddly little pie.  He's boisterous, likes a good tickle and a chuck around, he likes twatting things with big sticks, kicking and splashing in the bath tub and chewing on pretty much anything.  He's crawling - all that started at 8 months.  Not so much crawling as slapping the floor with his hands and pulling himself around, commando style.  He's got speed as well as style.  He's pulling himself up to standing.  Sigh.  He also likes to keep me on my toes, some nights sleeping soundly for 12 hours straight, other nights waking twice or more.  It's ok.  He's been a bit under the weather lately and we all know what it feels like trying to rest when you have a rotten cold.  Not only that, but actually, I love to let him breastfeed quietly, letting me stroke his soft, fluffy hair, massage his chunky little feet, kiss his hands... it's such a contrast to his energetic, squawky self of the day time that's suddenly become so aware of exactly what he wants.

Ollie's writing skills are suddenly so impressive.  I spelled out the word 'security' (at his request) last night, and he managed almost every letter unaided (even if some of them were upside down and back to front), but the best thing about it was the awesome little house he'd drawn just next to his new word.  He loves to sit with his pens, paper and scissors, drawing little pictures, cutting them out, drawing more, cutting more, writing our names on his creations and presenting them to us with great pride.  We're in the process of working out where he'll go to school next year and realising what a big decision it is and how life is about to change for him, and for us.  In the mean time, he drew the most awesome carrot yesterday.

Max will be three this weekend.  Which of course means the 'terrible twos' will officially end.  No, that's not fair, it's not terrible.  He's a loving boy with a vivid imagination.  He likes to pretend he's a frog, a robot, a machine, a garbage truck and his latest alter ego is 'Night Man'... sure he has a fiery (Arian?) temper and knows how best to throw a tantrum, but apart from when I'm dealing with it, it's fine.  He's learning to manage his emotions and I get that putting sunscreen on to go kindy is totally not what he wants to do when the alternative is playing Lego City.  He's going through the same phase Ollie went through, scowling at the camera and preferring to run around maniacally rather than posing for a photo.  It's ok. He's magic with his little brother Hugo.  I can't wait to spoil him this weekend.  I want to see his kind, sweet and handsome face when he opens his presents, when he blows his candles out, when he eats the chocolate cake I'm planning to make for him.

I'm going to take lots of photos, too.  Photographs of chocolate eggs being eaten, of party preparations, of cake being smooshed and gifts being opened.  I will try to use our Nikon, but my first choice will surely be my iPhone.  I've found that taking photos with my iPhone is so much fun. Little images that would look and feel silly being taken with a giant SLR enable a creative view of the world, one in which I see colours, expressions, light in a way I can't with the SLR.  It's a good little game to play, looking for those snippets, seeing things in a hazy, filtered but (paradoxically) eye-opening way.  But every now and then I get fed up with my phone the constant checking of work emails, personal emails, facebook, instagram, and so I have no-phone days, when I choose not to look at that screen when there are real life children to look at and proper conversations to have.  Of course I never miss taking photos, I could do it all day, I never want to forget a single moment of life with these boys of mine, but those phoneless days, they are a reminder that always looking for a photo maybe makes me miss out on being in the moment instead.  And so, they are good days.  They are all good days.

March 3, 2013

going forward

Despite the flurry of the last few posts, it's been difficult to find the enthusiasm to keep the blog going lately.  The last couple of months in particular have been somewhat of an emotional roller coaster, my ever lingering anxiety elevated by amongst other things, changes in breastfeeding patterns, preparing for my return to work and coming to terms with Hugo being looked after by the nursery staff at kindy.  This last one is particularly tough, our happy little Hugo has never had a moment away from me or his pa, so it's been with considerable heartache that I've been spending as much time as possible with him in the nursery while his brothers play in the kindy, getting to know the nursery staff and the way things work there so that I could ease him (and me) into the idea of being looked after by someone new.

Such emotional upheavals from every direction seem to be taking their toll somewhat and to say that I am oft finding it difficult to cope would be an understatement.  It's been easy to write the odd post about this and that, the food, the funny things the kids say, but it feels my posts lack something of what I really think and feel, and that's not very easy for me to do right now.  So I think now, it's time to pare back a little.  While I still love this blog, the little history it already seems to have created and its ability to hold me accountable to get out there and enjoy life, I need to be realistic about how much I want to post and how often.  Some days I get anxious that even with a tiny number of readers, there's stuff here that feels so private.  Other days I can't help but embrace the internet and let it all hang out.  Mostly though, I do want to keep it going, marking little milestones and collecting images and feelings that I am trying to etch into my mind forever but over the next little while, while I deal with somewhat of a reset of my head and heart, posts will probably be few and far between, but still important enough that when my boys do read this blog in years to come, they'll understand and appreciate why I chose to document our lives in this way and will get to read more of what comes from my heart.  And like me, I hope they'll be grateful for it, too.

March 2, 2013

busy bees

Here are some instagrams, almost all of which are my husband's doing (thanks @wilbirdy) documenting some of what the kids are into at the moment, which includes:

 - Driving to the scrap yard a couple of suburbs away to see if the material handler is in action;
 - Painting (mainly in pink, it would seem);
 - Hosing rain water into the dirt pit where the grass won't grow and getting very very muddy;
 - Baking playdough pies and making playdough emergency vehicles;
 - Cutting paper into tiny little pieces and using it as garbage in their toy garbage trucks;
 - Drawing and drawing and drawing and drawing... I'm still in awe of this fantastic cross section of a mulching truck that Ollie drew a few days ago.  The detail!

And then, last weekend and for reasons unknown to me, Ollie and Max were very insistent that we should make bee suits for them to wear.

We obliged.

February 28, 2013

the last day of summer

The last day of summer (phew!).  And so it seemed fitting to make this mango and aubergine soba noodle salad by Ottolenghi.  Some tried and tested variations (and in my view improvements) to his original recipe:

 - Be generous with the aubergine.  He says to use two, I would say use two of the biggest bad boys you can find.  Or three normal ones.
 - Cube and toss the aubergine in olive oil and roast for 25 mins in a hot oven.  It's easier and less oily than pan frying in the 300ml of oil he suggests, though I don't for a second disagree that a well fried and daresay oily piece of aubergine is something delicious.
 - Use less sugar in the dressing.  He suggests 40g.  I used 20g and still thought it was too sweet.
 - Use more lime, the tanginess is deluxe and I think much nicer than the taste of the rice vinegar.
 - Thinly slice the red onion and steep it in the lime juice.  It's less oniony and goes a nice puce pink colour.
 - Don't bother weighing the herbs, just use what you think looks right.  Life is too short to weigh basil leaves.
 - Don't believe him when it says 'serves 4'.  The two of us ate the whole lot within minutes of me putting down the camera.  Incredibly, the recipe in the book (a bible of sorts in this house) says 'serves 6'.

The end.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...