Monday, May 30, 2011

For the love of coffee

Image by tonx

I love coffee.

I have loved it long time, but I'm seeing a definite relationship between how little sleep I get and my love of coffee. At the moment both seem to be peaking.

I am a latte girl. With two sugars, preferably in a gigantic cup.

Some nights I lie in bed wishing I was asleep already, so that it would be morning sooner and I could have a coffee. Trufax.

I will confess to owning a posh coffee machine. Specifically a DeLongi Nespresso Latissima. I did not buy it new, even my love of the caffeine could not justify the expense. But I did buy a reconditioned one at a fraction of the full price and I use it multiple times daily, and it never lets me down. And I Love. It. So. Much.

I guess it's fair to say I am a coffee snob these days. I'll still drink instant if I'm desperate, but I'm just as likely to take tea instead and save my heavy caffeine allowance for the real thing.

Sad but true.

I try to stick to two cups of full strength a day, along with a decaf most days. Although a particularly challenging night with the small two sees that go straight out the window. A Mama's gotta do what a Mama's gotta do.

I love coffee.

If you're interested in health info on coffee pop over to Stuff with Thing who has been musing on coffee today too.

One lump or two?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Best. Marbled. Brownies. Evah.

As a follow on to the very popular best brownies post, today I'm sharing the marbled/cheesecake variation which is equally delicious and a little more dangerous.

I will say these turn out more cakey than the originals, but they're so good that I think in this one instance it is forgivable.

You need:

- 125g butter
- 45g cocoa powder (and for goodness sake get the good stuff!)
- 2 eggs
- 250g caster sugar
- 60g SR flour

- 180g cream cheese
- 1 egg
- 90g caster sugar
- 30g SR flour
- 1tsp vanilla essence

Preheat your oven to 180 C.

First up, melt the butter over a low heat in a small saucepan. Mix in the cocoa and set it aside to cool.

Beat the eggs until they are fluffy. I use electric beaters. Slowly add in the caster sugar whilst you continue beating until it is quite a stiff mixture.

Add the cocoa/butter mixture and watch it sink to the bottom.

Gently mix it all together. Once the cocoa/butter and egg mixtures are completely combined gently fold in the SR flour.

Stop. New bit time.

 Pop the cream cheese, caster sugar and egg in another mixing bowl and whisk it up. Mix in the vanilla essence too.
 Two bowls of yummy. Nice.
 Put about 2/3 of the brownie mix in your slice pan (I used baking paper this time, I can't remember why). Layer the cheesecake mixture on top, then randomly glob the remaining brownie mix on top.
 Use a skewer or similar to make pretty patterns. I over-marbled I think, was a little overly enthusiastic. Twas fun though!

Bake at 180 degrees C for 35-40 mins. The top will feel a little springy when it's done and the middle should be just set.

Nom nom nom enjoy!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Things I Know

Happy Friday Everyone!!

While the inimitable Shae from Yay for Home is off on an excellent adventure, I'm lucky enough to be hosting the Things I Know linky this week.

So here's what I know this week...

* It's easy to forget you have very brightly coloured hair and freak yourself out when you walk past a mirror.

* When your two year old boy has very straight, very strong hair and has a buzzcut while sitting on your lap the results are very prickly.

* A baby girl is about to crawl, and probably would be already if we had more carpet. Instead she's doing a hilarious version of the running man on all fours on our hard floors.

* It's so exciting to have new people following my blog here and on Facebook. Truly and honestly, it makes my day. Hi!!

* I'm trying out Intense Debate for comments here after a recommendation by My IdeaLife over at Digital Parents. I hope I will be able to reply to everyone instead of sending emails out into the ether that never get to their intended reader! What do you guys think of it?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thankful Thursday

A little ode to organisation.

I am so thankful that I am a systems junkie. Even when the wheels fall off in one area (hello lack of washing machine!) I am pretty good at keeping it together in other areas.

This is our entryway... our launchpad. I love how keeping this area clean and functional makes life easier.

The bowl houses sunnies and keys. The basket has beanies, gloves and a scarf in it at the moment and changes with the seasons. The cyclamen are a new addition. I like having a bit of colour as we walk in the door, and it's my little reminder to myself that even though Winter is approaching, Spring will surely follow. The mirror above is nifty for the last minute check over as we walk out the door. Very important when you're likely to have remnants of kids breakfast or baby vomit on your person.

The top drawer of the tallboy has my handbag and nappy bag in it, the drawers below are for the kids shoes and our shoes repsectively.

The shelves of the side table have things that I need to return/post/pass on and the little drawer at the bottom has miscellaneous stuff that is nifty to have in grabbing distance. Like a screwdriver lol.

What are you thankful for this Thursday?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Cop that Winter. Take your grey dreariness elsewhere, we want colour!

Yesterday Nikki from Styling You asked about Winter hair makeovers... here's mine! Go have a look around her blog, it's award winning with good reason.

I'm playing Wordless Wednesday with My Little Drummer Boys, come play along!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mummy Maintenance

Image by kelp1966

Once upon a time, in the land before children, I was a high(ish) maintenance woman.

I had my hair cut and coloured. I got waxed. I got tinted and shaped.

I went to the gym. I LOVED going to the gym.

I had all the time in the world and only myself to worry about.

Ahhh those halcyon days.

These days I have four small people and a supertrucker to care for.

Luckily I know an extremely awesome chicky who comes and cuts/colours my hair at my home. Just as well, no way is my baby letting me sit in a salon for a few hours at the moment.

I got my legs waxed for my sister's wedding. Last October. Just as well it was a pretty chilly Summer.

I do paint my toenails when the weather is warm and look after my feet a bit. So not since about January this year.

I do my eyebrows because people can actually see my face.

I wear makeup most days... albeit the 'four minute face' of mineral foundation and mascara.

I get by on the bare minimum (for me) maintenance wise these days. I wouldn't trade my busy, wonderful, child-filled life for anything, but I will admit I sometimes wish I had a little more time to do things that make me feel a bit less Mumsy.

Actually, a shower on my own once in a while would be nice too!

What Mummy Maintenance do you do? And how has it changed?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Menu Monday: Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

So as I said last week, I try to be pretty organised when it comes to dinners for our family. And I'm hoping lots of you are here to share your recipes! I love cooking, but tend to find favourites and not diverge very much from them. It's time for a menu shake up at my house!

Image by eyesore9

So my contribution is this super yummo chicken korma, that's mild enough for little people too. I like to add a little extra spice to mine and the supertrucker's at the end. Best thing about this recipe is that all my kids will eat it. All. Win.

Oh and the chooka up there, what a creepy looking one hey? But I forgot to take photos when I made this last, and a chook is a chook. Right?

This is for a really big batch by the way, should serve 10ish. Obviously you can halve it if you want to, I do things huge then freeze half because I'm a systems junkie.

Chicken Korma

You need:

- Splash of oil
- 4 chicken breast fillets (skinfree)
- 1 clove chopped garlic. Or that minced stuff you keep in the fridge.
- 1 large onion chopped fairly finely.
- 1 teaspoon each of ground ginger, cinnamon and turmeric
- 1 400g tin of diced tomatoes
- 200g natural yoghurt
- 200g cream
- Salt, pepper & chilli flakes to taste.

* You can chop up the chicken however you like, or leave the breasts whole if that floats your boat. I tend to dice it pretty small as I have small people with little mouths. Brown the chicken in the olive oil. If you are using whole breasts make sure you check that they are cooked through before continuing.

* Toss in the ginger, cinnamon and turmeric and allow the spices to coat the chicken for a minute or two. Smells yummy right?

* Turn your stove to a medium heat and add the tomatoes. Mix through and allow to simmer for ten minutes or so.

* Stir in the cream and yoghurt, and once it is heated through serve with rice, naan bread, pappadums or whatever else you fancy. Once I've served up for my kids I add some salt, pepper and a little chilli for the grownups.

Please note you can totally substitute the cream for more yoghurt if you're aiming for a lower fat option. I've done it before and it's still super yummo.


PS Please feel free to add sweet stuff too, every good dinner deserves a delicious desert yes?

PPS The linky will remian open for a fortnight or so, please feel free to add an existing or new post at any time. I'm hoping to do this monthly or so, love to have you join us!

I'm flogging my blog with Glowless because these recipes need to be shared! 

Friday, May 20, 2011

On toddlers, little old ladies and Rapture.

This morning we had an appointment at the GP for babygirl's six month vaccinations, and to try and get a referral for our toddler boy. The waiting room had the compulsory (probably not clean and sick kids have been playing with them ick) toys so the boy was happy, until we were called in to see the doctor.
Now I get why being asked to leave a pile of toys and go sit in a small room isn't fun, and he reacted appropriately by getting pretty cranky at me. Good two-year-old fun, but he recovered quickly. Until the doctor pulled out the ear thermometer to check the baby's temperature. Even though the doctor was on the other side of the room and I was telling him over and over it wasn't for him, he lost his everloving mind. He stood in the corner screaming, then progressed to head banging, and finally came to me and curled up on my lap sobbing. It broke my heart to see him so incredibly distressed. Especially since I've been seeing him like that increasingly often, and with greater intensity each time.

Anyway we got the baby sorted (bless her little heart, she barely flinched at the needles and was all smiles again within minutes) and the GP asks me if toddler boy's behaviour was worrying to me. Um, yes? That's why he has an appointment too? In that sense I guess it was well timed as the doctor saw for himself the way T-booger zones out and seems incapable of reacting to me or anyone else until he snaps out of it. He also saw that I was exhausted and asked if he sleeps well. No he does not, he wakes hourly at the moment and has done for a few weeks at least, and these meltdowns happen every few days or more. We. Are. Tired.

Referral sorted with mimimal fuss (from me). Goodo.

So we wander into the treatment room for baby's oral vax, and there's a little old lady sitting in there also. She watched on as toddler boy played with the toys in there and babygirl had a feed and a cuddle before we left.

She left the surgery at the same time as we did, and said to me "Your children are lovely, you're a great Mum."

It was so lovely to hear. Clearly she'd missed the meltdown, and no I didn't point out that if my big two were with me as well she may have been of another opinion altogether.

So, off we went to the shopping centre, me filled with the little old lady love. And behold, another little old lady stopped me! As I was waiting for her to tell me my baby is gorgeous or similar, she pressed a card into my hand and said "Please put this in your pocket. It's not too late for you."

She wandered on her merry way, a pleased smile on her face. Meanwhile, should it not be believe IN the Lord Jesus?

Truly, I had no idea what the Rapture even was until yesterday. Today I've had a no doubt beautifully intentioned old woman want to help save me. Admittedly I found it fairly hilarious at the time, but hey if she is right about the timing then she'll be having the last laugh.

And totally aside from that, should the Rapture occur tomorrow I've had a pretty fabulous life filled with pretty fabulous people. I've been blessed with the most beautiful children imaginable. You couldn't ask much more.

Although I'll be cursing that I ordered a new washer and dryer today, we totally could've gone out for a very posh dinner tonight instead ;)

Things I Know

Image by bass_nroll


- When you are a family of six, a working washing machine is a very useful thing to have.

- Researching washing machines and dryers is kind of fun, and kind of stressful. It would be more fun if they were free.

- I've been merrily replying by email to every comment my little blog receives. And have only just realised that a huge amount of those replies will have never been received as the commenter has their email set to private :( So if you've ever commented here and thought me a total rude biatch for not replying to you, I did try!!

- The Zoo is an awesome fun place to take small people. Especially with most excellent big and small company. Best day out I've had in ages!

- I am super excited to be hosting the Things I Know linkup next week while the marvellous Shae from Yay for Home is off on an excellent adventure. See y'all here next Friday!!

I'm sharing Things I Know with Yay for Home! What do you know this week?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Image by Creativity + Timothy K Hamilton

This week I am feeling so thankful for friendship.

My BFF lives a little way away, and I don't get to see her anywhere near as much as I'd like. We have the excuse of distance and babies, and make up for it with sleepovers when we can. I miss her a lot, and I cherish the time we spend together. She's my other sister and I can't imagine my life without her in it.

This week I caught up with a couple of people who I've not seen in too long. And without the excuse of distance either. Just busy lives, the endless interuption of children being sick and not wanting to share that love around, the unexpected interruptions of life.

But here's the great thing about some friendships. Even when time or distance separate us, we can pick up like it was just yesterday we last caught up. Time apart doesn't change the strength or feeling of the friendship. And time spent together is treasured even more.

I am so grateful for the love and support of my friends, and I know I am blessed to have these people in my life.

Speaking of friends, I'm lucky enough to count a few brilliant bloggers amongst my real-life friends. I thought I'd share some of their blogs with you so you can check out for yourselves why I love them so much. I think I'll try and add another few each week, having just realised how many talented writers I get to spend my time with! And I'm grateful for all of them... their written words and their real-life friendship.

Bogue Living - as a card carrying, bought the t-shirt bogan I <3 this blog so much. It tickles all my tickly spots. And the Big M is extremely awesome herself. On top of that she has ridiculously gorgeous little bogue children too.

Yay for Home - Shae is the creator of the Things I Know linky that I love on Fridays. She blogs about life with her three beautiful girls and is the crunchiest of my little crunchy crew. <3 her. Word.

Picklebums - Kate Pickle blogs about life on the Pickle farm with her twin daughters and her smaller boys. She is extremely clever, being a Kate with two girls and two boys ;p She is also an incredibly talented blog fancy-upperer and one of the most generous and genuine people you could ever have the pleasure of reading.

What (or who) are you feeling thankful for this week?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sometimes I feel invisible.

Stretched thin by the endlessly repetitive chores of homemaking.

Exhausted by the requests, frustrated by the demands, blinded by the broken sleep.

I put on a load of washing. I fill/empty/fill/empty the dishwasher. I vaccuum. I mop. I fold and put away the washing. I clean, I tidy, I wipe, I polish.

I cart children here, I take them there, I ferry nearly everywhere.

I miss my husband when he's away. I miss the adult company. But mostly I just miss him.

Some days I pray for it to be the children's bedtime so I can have some peace. Then they go to sleep and I am lonely.

I tweet. I Facebook. I blog. I reach out. I am supported.

I am sometimes asked how I find the time to blog, or to be on Facebook, or to tweet. I don't find the time, the time finds me.

I am not less of a mother because I am active on the interwebs.

I am visible here. I exist. I am a person who can think and write, not just change nappies and prepare food. I am not Mum, I am just Kate.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Yummy Mummy

Once a week or so I do a huge cooking day (kids willing). I try to prepare at least three meals which I divvy up so the supertrucker has single serves to take away with him as well as having enough for a family meal, and I try to make up some biscuit dough or some cinnamon scrolls for the freezer as well.

I have some staples that I do often... cottage pie, pork bolognaise, lemon chicken. All yummy. As we move into Winter I've had the slow cooker out and been moving into stews and lamb shanks and other hearty warming mains.

I started working this way after a Mama Bake last year where most of us ended up bringing our contributions pre-cooked due to time/space/too many kids. It hadn't really occurred to me that I could save so much time during the week by giving up a day here and there to make some dinners. Evenings can be pretty hectic here with readers and homework and playdates and a toddler who has dropped his day sleep and is exhausted by 5pm. Being able to whack something in the microwave and some pasta on the stove is such a win.

That and the fact that half the week the supertrucker isn't here and I'm flying solo... the other half I want to be able to enjoy time with him and not be tied to the stove!

Anyway the systems junkie in me wants to update the repertoire, I really need to include some more vegie heavy or vegetarian meal options in my planning. I do cook at least half the week (including our home made pizza night once a week) but I'm feeling a bit stale and want some inspiration.

So would anyblogger be interested in preparing a recipe post if I set up a blog hop and sharing some fave meals? In say a week or so? I'll share my new fave Chicken Korma recipe, it is sooooo yummy!

Anybody? Bueller?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Best. Brownies. Evah.

I have to say this up front. If you are looking for cakey Brownies this recipe is not for you.

I'll never understand the cakey brownie. If I wanted cakey I'd make a cake. Or maybe cupcakes. Brownies are for when you want sticky, chewy, bittersweet rich yumminess. When you want that top that cracks as they cool, and the edges with the almost overcooked burnt sugary goodness. When you want that barely set, melt in the mouth deliciousness.

I've been making these brownies for many many years, and they never disappoint.

You need:

- 125g butter
- 45g cocoa powder (and for goodness sake get the good stuff!)
- 2 eggs
- 250g caster sugar
- 60g SR flour

Preheat your oven to 180 C.

First up, melt the butter over a low heat in a small saucepan. Once it's melted I use a pastry brush to spread some of the melted butter on my slice tray (which is silicone, but I find the heavy duty sugary things can still stick). Mix in the cocoa and set it aside to cool.

Beat the eggs until they are oh so light and fluffy. I use electric beaters. If you have better arms than me (likely!) you can do it by hand. Whatever. Slowly add in the caster sugar whilst you continue beating until it is quite a stiff mixture.

This is my favourite bit. Add the cocoa/butter mixture and watch it sink to the bottom. My kids think this is ace... good springboard for chats about density and weight.

Gently mix it all together and make pretty patterns as it all combines. Once the cocoa/butter and egg mixtures are completely mixed gently fold in the SR flour.

At this stage you can add anything else you like in your Brownies. Walnuts are good, as are frozen raspberries (especially if your kids don't like them because then you get to eat it all yourself!).

Pour the mixture into your slice pan. Not sure that this actually merits a photo. But I took one so you get to see it anyway.

Bake for 35 minutes or so. When you pull it out it might seem a little bit jiggly still. Jiggly is good, you want it barely set in the middle. Well I do. You may want it fully set. In which case leave it in for another 5 minutes.

The top will continue to crack and the whole thing will shrink as it cools. This is a good thing. Trust me. Let it cool for 5-10 mins before attempting to turn it out of your pan. Eat the crunchy bits that stick to the pan. They are the best!

Slice up and eat!! Gorgeous served warm with icecream. Delicious on their own. Make sure you secretly save the crunchiest corner bits for yourself. Tell the kids they aren't the best bits because look how ugly they are. Works. Trufax.

I'm sharing this recipe over at Help! Mum who is gathering an awesome collection of morning tea ideas. Pop over and be inspired!!

Things I Know

I make extremely awesome and delicious brownies. Recipe will be shared this weekend ;)

I'm so grateful that we have ducted heating! Open fire is lovely ambiance wise but nothing beats cranking up the heater on a freezing cold morning.

When my toddler says "Mum! Yookadees!" he's about to do something I don't like.

Big kids make life with small kids so much easier.

Winter coming so early is not my favourite, but hopefully Spring might do the same.

I'm taking part in my first ever Blog Carnival with Digital Parents and it starts today! You can see my see my submission here.

I know stuff, so does Shae at Yay for Home! What do you know?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Image by SnoShuu
It's been a funny old week. Lots of ups and downs. Some stresses about my boys, but mostly lots of feeling grateful to have them at all, along with my girls of course.

I was pretty unwell yesterday. As a result I did lots of things I never ever do. I stayed in bed and left the school preparation madness up to the supertrucker. I tried to have a nap when the small two did, but failing that I got up and had a bath for the first time since I was about 6 months pregnant. It was lovely to have the water actually cover all of my belly, and to be able to extricate myself without help. Very relaxing.

I then spent pretty much the entire day in my pyjamas on the couch. It was freezing and rainy and yucko so the hubster built a fire for me to rest in front of. And rest I did. He went and got the bigs after school in the pouring rain, and entertained the kids while I just sat around feeling a bit sorry for myself.

Truly, what an awesome hubster he is. Generally because of the the nature of his work I do 99% of the housey and kid stuff. Happily I will add. To be able to truly rest for a whole day and know that he had everything under control and the kids were fed and happy and everything else was such a blessing.

I am so blessed to have such an amazing partner, my kids are blessed to have such an involved, caring, hands-on Dad.

It's Thursday, and I am thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

I'm flogging Thursday's post with Flog Yo Blog Friday which is on Saturday this week. Go figure.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

When the urge strikes...

there's no stopping me!!

My sister and I took a wander through Spotlight last week. Dangerous I know.

We were both drawn to this purple print, we're both purple girls really. I was wanting to make a new bag for myself and offered to make her one as well.

She found this gorgeous grey marbled fabric that I used for contrast, and once I got started I just couldn't stop!!

Plus, I have an issue with matching sets. I like things to match. It galls me that this set doesn't tone in with my pram liners. If I had madder skillz I'd be making a matching purse. Srsly. It's like the three kids issue. Odd numbers. Lack of symmetry. All scary things.

As a result, I'll be sending over a tote bag, matching fabric envelope and keyfob. My little set also has a nappy wallet and matching bib as well.

Oh and the envelopes, why right? Well. I have this bogue friend who wrote this post. Normal people probably thought oh what a great idea, I should do that. I thought 1) as long as I hang around with her I'll be right and 2) how can I make that pretty?

So ta-da! Little fabric envelopes for stuff! Mine currently has the bib in it along with a little packet of tissues, some panadol and some bandaids. Noice. Unusual.

I couldn't resist a couple of fat quarter packs of pastel owls either, so I made a few bibs for the babygirl along with a couple of 'taggies'. She's one of those babies who will ignore the toy in favour of sucking on the tag, so now she can do that all she likes with a fine choice of colours and textures.

Love it when time and energy line up and allow me to create!

Meanwhile watch this space if you're a fan of handmade items... I have a special custom slot giveaway planned for my 100th post in a couple of weeks ;)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Not quite right... the smaller boy edition.

I have a happy, cuddly and beautiful two year old son. Rapidly approaching three actually.

For a while now we've felt something was not quite right. His speech has not developed as you would expect. He has probably 50 or so words, and will speak in sentences but 95% of it is gobbledygook. He can parrot new words, but doesn't tend to use them. The words he does use often take a while to decipher, which frustrates him a lot when he wants something.

He is the third child. I know full well speech delay is not unusual in kids with older siblings (who do everything for them). I know it's not all that uncommon in boys either. I know.

But something just doesn't feel right.

I took him for his hearing test this morning. We were convinced that the answer would lie there, given his non-response to lots of aural cues.

He had an epic meltdown when the tester showed him the earphones. I'm talking hair pulling, headbanging, screaming and hitting. We decided not to use the.

I engaged him in a game and as the tones were played he was rewarded for his response by this (kinda creepy) dancing elephant thingy in a glass box. Yes, it was as weird as it sounds. He responded perfectly to all the tones, even ones I found nearly impossible to hear.

Then she needed to put a thingo in his ear to check for middle ear damage. Cue meltdown again. He does not tolerate people touching his ears. Not us, not anyone. In the end I had to pin him against me and squeeze him still. He was freaking out. It was not fun.

But it showed everything to be normal there too.

So he's been referred for speech pathology (9 month waiting list. Awesome). And then the guy came in and suggested if he's still having these meltdowns and struggling with language when he's three we should consider a Paed referral to assess for an austism spectrum disorder, as he displays a few markers.

This isn't the first time it's been suggested that he may have high functioning Aspergers or similar. But usually I'm hearing it from people who have no clues.

I really feel that that's not it to be honest. I've worked with (older) Aspie kids and I see my boy's emotional responsiveness and other behaviours and it doesn't sit quite right with me. But I do feel like something is amiss. Not just the speech, but the meltdowns which are relatively new, increasing in frequency and intensity, and nothing like his 'normal' toddler tantrums. The best analogy I can think of is that if you think of a tantrum as a nightmare, these meltdowns are like night terrors. It's like I'm not even there as I try to hold or soothe him. He looks straight through me. And then it ends as abruptly as it started, like he's just woken up. But they happen when he's awake, and seemingly for no reason.

Don't know. I don't want to trouble trouble. I'd love it if he just clicked one day soon and started speaking and grew out of the meltdowns and it was all just one of those developmental things. And maybe he will. I can only hope. But in the meantime I now have more questions than I started with.

Parenting. Again, never boring.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

History Never Repeats

Except when it almost does.

In late 2005 I was the very proud (and tired) Mum of an energetic little boy and a cuddly baby girl. They were a delight (any time before about 7pm) and I thought I was the luckiest Mum ever.

My babies were 20 months apart in age, and to this day I look back at that time as one of the most challenging of my life. As well as the most wonderful.

Fast forward to 2011 and when the now big kids are at school, some days it almost feels like I've stepped back in time. Once again I have an energetic little boy, and the most delightful baby girl imaginable.

The biggest change is that these small two are so very different in personality to the big ones. My big two are still incredibly challenging (and still wonderful). They are both very driven, determined and at times anxious small people. My small two are cruisy, easy going little souls who fill my days with cuddles and giggles. I hope they both remain relaxed and happy as they grow older.

And these days I don't just think, I KNOW I am the luckiest Mummy ever. To be blessed twice over with little pigeon pairs who adore each other, who enjoy each other's company, and who are so appreciative of one another is a joy to behold. And yes, we breed them same same (same same). But also very different :)

I'm sharing some gratitude with Maxabella Loves

Friday, May 6, 2011


A baby is born on a chilly but bright August day. He has been long awaited. The hubster is calling everyone and anyone to tell them the news, and is miffed that his Mum has her answering machine on. His Dad is playing golf so it goes straight to messagebank. He is in the ensuite of the birthing suite when his Mum calls back. He comes out and says she's told him his Dad has collapsed on the golf course. I know I know I know right at that moment, but I can't say the words.

She calls back, he is in the ensuite again for some privacy. His voice changes, he howls. The midwife who is supervising my stitches comments that he's very emotional about his first baby. I say no, his Dad just died. Numb. I never want to hear that voice again.

People, family, come and go. Time has no meaning. I want to hold my baby. So does everyone else. I am bruised and bloody but have to wait to have a shower. More people, his family, so much confusion. Everything seems dim and hazy.

There is a funeral. A baby is ten days old. I am in pain, I am bleeding, I have cracked and painful nipples, I can't bear the thought of feeding in front of strangers. The baby stays with my parents during the service. He is serene and lovely. I am not. The son stands in front of so many people and speaks so eloquently of his father. I weep. I can barely see for sleep deprivation and confusion. This was meant to be our time. To be doted upon for producing this perfect child. To be celebrating our first baby. What is going on?

After the funeral a lot of people come to the family home. I hide in a bedroom to subject myself to the agony of feeding my baby. Neither of us quite get it yet. He shits all over his lovely little funeral outfit. It cleans up okay later, but he will never wear it again.

We emerge. The husband is being a gracious host, I barely see him. Everyone wants to hold the baby. The blessing in this dark time. I am too confused/tired/numb/polite to say no. I do not want them to hold my baby. I want to hold my baby.

Weeks pass. I sit up in the early hours feeding the baby yet again. My phone is next to me, I am waiting for a message from my Mum that will shortly come. My Grandpa who I love has died. He had a stroke a few years earlier, we knew it would be soon. It still makes me weep. I remember jumping in bed with him and my Grandma when our family went over to stay with them for Summer holidays. My Mum would bring her parents cups of tea. He would ask me maths questions.

A flight with a four week old baby. So many people comment on how young he is to be flying. Do they think I want to do this? A long car trip, we stop half way and stay at Stone Hut. My sister and I share a unit type room at the place my other Grandma lives. I ask to leave the TV on overnight, the baby will sleep in his pram. Although he doesn't sleep, he wakes and feeds and wakes and feeds. When he sleeps I cannot. I wish for it to be morning. Night is such a waste when you don't sleep anyway.

We drive to Ororoo with my Dad. We see lots of my cousins we haven't seen for a long time. The house we used to stay in has grown smaller, dustier, it has no heart now that my grandparents don't live there. It occurs to me that they were the warmth, not the house.

I weep, ugly crying through the funeral. My Grandma talks to me afterwards, she knows it is not just for my Grandpa. She is glad he saw photos of his first great grandchild before he died. She believes he is in a better place and she has peace.

A baby is six weeks old. We are finally at home and nothing more can happen to us. Except he is sick. He won't wake up. I take him to hospital. They rush him through emergency talking to each other about diseases that frighten me. I watch as they perform a lumbar puncture. The doctor shows the vial of clear liquid to the trainee whatever person and says "this is the liquid that surrounds the baby's brain. It isn't likely meningitis because it dripped out instead of gushing." I feel sick. The baby does not wake.

We spend two nights in the hospital. The baby is on a drip and finally rouses after nearly 24 hours of semi consciousness. My breasts are exploding and painful from not feeding. He cries he cries he cries. A night nurse tells me off, he is bothering the other children. I don't know what to do. She forces a breast into his mouth and he finally quietens. She looks at me like I'm an idiot. Does she not think I had tried that again and again?

Finally we are home. A baby is amazing. He sleeps through the night. He is happy and easy going and fiercely independent already. He is truly the greatest blessing of our lives, we cherish him. We can never have that time back, but we can try to make the most of every moment after. We can appreciate the little things, because we know it can all change in the blink of an eye. We can try, but sometimes it will get too much.

These are the contents of my head.

Things I Know

- When one of your kids takes a photo it's likely to be blurry, especially if everyone in the room is laughing at the time. This does not diminish the joy of giggling with your toddler and having it captured.

- When you bounce the laughing baby not long after a feed, and you have your mouth open, and she is above you... you know what happens next right? I know it too, and yet it still happens sometimes!

- My chat with the school psych the other day has really thrown me. Me, the one who holds it together. The one who is eternally optimistic. The one who always (usually) has a smile on her face. I've had a weird few days, and the SAD's striking this early in the year isn't helping. I am however grateful that it reminds me to be patient and tread gently with those in my life who feel like this all the time.

- My big girl got student of the week for the first time this week, and she is so proud! We couldn't have asked for a smoother school transition for her. She's an April baby and we elected to keep her back rather than send her the year before when she could have started. It has been a great decision for her, she is so confident and capable. She has a fantastic teacher who can't speak highly enough of her which is so lovely to hear as a parent.

I know some stuff this week. So does Shae over at Yay for Home! What do you know?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thankful Thursday: I have a perfect body.

I have a perfect body.

Sure, it may not be perfect by the media's standards. That's because it is healthy. And mine.

It may not be perfect according to the aesthetic preferences of our culture. For the moment. And really that's driven by the media anyway. See above.

It is perfect because it has grown and nurtured four children. It continues to nurture two. It works hard for them, and for me.

It is perfect because it works. Because I have legs which can walk and arms that can cuddle.

It is perfect because it has stretch marks, and cellulite, and floppy bits, and breasts which are showing their years of use.

It is perfect because when it is done feeding the last child, it will be all mine again.

I need to respect it more, and treat it better, but it is still perfect.

I have chronic back pain and sciatica, which reminds me that my body has carried four babies.

I have a funny foot pain thing going on, which reminds me that I have carried infants and toddlers on my hip for many years.

I have terribly bitten fingernails, which reminds me that I am a parent and a wife, and my first concern is never for myself any more.

I have a perfect body, and I am incredibly grateful.

I'm flogging my blog with Glowless
Come flog along!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Me and one of my beautiful sisters. She's gone back home now, and I miss her already. 

Love you Boski.

I'm joining in with My Little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesday. Come play along.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Not quite right.

There's something going on with my big boy.

I spent this morning with the school psychologist having been trying to get my son 'in the system' since he was in Prep. She was lovely, very very thorough. I spent the better part of two hours with her talking about my concerns, about my boy's strengths and weaknesses, about the life he has lived so far.

She asked me about my pregnancy with him, and his birth. And the floodgates opened. I brought her to tears talking about the horrors of the month or so after his birth. Of losing my father-in-law suddenly within minutes of his birth. Of travelling to South Australia with a tiny newborn just weeks later when my Grandpa died. Of spending nights in hospital with my non-responsive baby with suspected (but later proven not to be) meningitis. Of watching him have a lumbar puncture and being horrified myself, but he was too sick to even cry in protest.

Even now looking back it's like a b-grade movie. Something that happened to someone else. But the long term implications are undeniable in terms of the mental health of our family and I need to know my boy will be supported and respected despite his challenges as he grows up.

I also need him to know NOW that seeking help when your 'brain is sick' is not just okay, it's as important as seeing a GP when your body is sick. I can't make anyone else seek the help they need, but I can lead by example. It's time to seek better support for me to. To stop being the packhorse of everyone's emotion and start sharing the load.

Anyway my big boy will have a cognitive assessment next week, and a few weeks after we'll look at the assessment and figure out our best way forward with him to help his anxiety and stress issues.

It's hard when there is *something* wrong but no easy diagnosis or way to address it. I just hope we can give him strategies to employ when it all gets too much for him, and try to help him build a healthy self esteem.

Parenting. Never boring.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

For the love of my family

Occasionally people (strangers) will make the inevitable comments about 'having my hands full' or gasp in mock horror when they realise I have four children.

For starters, it doesn't seem that unusual to me as I have a number of friends with four (and even five) children. Sure it is above the national average, but I also know plenty of people with one child or two, so we must be the ones making up the extra .5 or whatever it is these days.

Aside from that, I am the eldest of four children, all girls (well women nowadays).

We are all three years apart, so there are nine years between me and my youngest sister. Growing up we weren't all that close in some ways... age differences matter more when you are a kid. But we got along alright and I don't remember there ever being a time that any of us hated each other or any protracted fights or anything like that.

These days we are spread out all over the place. One is a South Australian, one lives over an hour away near a bay and the other is just as far the other way out in the country.

Being the eldest (and apparently therefore the suckiest lol) I'm the one still in our hometown, around the corner from our parents. In fairness I've lived further away in the past too, and may well again one day. But I would find a lot of things awfully challenging without the endless support of my Mum and Dad and I love that my children have such a close relationship with them... something we missed out on with our own grandparents who lived in another state.

Anyway this weekend the interstate sister is over as we belatedly celebrate a milestone birthday for my Mum. And having us all in one place reminds why I LOVE having a larger family. These days a family get together isn't just the six of us, there are also three husbands and a partner as well as five children. And it is awesome!! I have extremely cool brothers-in-law. All such different personalities and all amazing people. And it makes me look forward to a day in the future when I will sit at my table with my own grown up children and whoever they hold dear to them as well.

They say friends are the family you choose. I am so blessed that my family are who I would choose anyway. My sisters are amazing women and I love them so much.

Come and share some gratitude with Maxabella Loves