Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy holidays!

I'm having a holiday of my own-a trip where I'm not taking my laptop.

I'm popping in to wish my readers a happy holiday season-whichever way you celebrate it- and all the very best for 2011.

I'll be back in a couple of weeks!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's almost Christmas!!!

Photobucket
(my brother and I xmas morning upon spying the presents)

Christmas was always a big deal in my family. We are not religious but we are big on family and good times so we always celebrated it as a family holiday. About spending time together and giving gifts to those you loved. I knew that no matter how hot it was (I grew up in SE Queensland) that my Mum would cook a roast lunch with all the trimmings and if the weather was good we would hit the beach later in the day. We had a tree, usually real that the cat would climb up and knock over at least once.

Photobucket
(me at a xmas party at pre school)

We often traveled interstate to spend xmas with family. We wrote letters to Santa to make sure he knew where we would be. I remember waving to Santa at the shops and feeling excited. No matter how hard times were (and as a child my family hit on some pretty tough times) there was always something under the tree for us to open and lots of little goodies in our Santa sacks. I look back now and wonder how much my parents gave up for themselves to make xmas day special and exciting for us kids-and I'm grateful.

Even as my brother and I grew up xmas was still a hugely fun day. Still with a roast lunch, now with some beer.
Photobucket
(my brother and I xmas day 2000)

I feel a bit sad that hyper commercialism has sucked some of the joy out of this day that can be so magical and fun. I remember the magic of Santa Claus bringing me a present and the anticipation leading up to that day. I remember, as I got older, carefully choosing gifts for my parents and friends. I have such fond memories of the whole holiday season and all the parties and catch ups we would attend and when the myth of Santa was outgrown we continued to celebrate with our loved ones.

Photobucket
(me opening gifts and my grandparents house xmas morning)

I feel like the retailers keep blowing this further and further out of proportion and now those of us (in the hippy la la circles) who celebrate in whichever way we choose can be looked down upon as demons of hyper consumption.

As for me I have the presents wrapped, including the ones from Santa Claus. I'm picking up a (free range)ham tomorrow to share with my inlaws and we're going interstate to spend this xmas with my family. I hope that if you choose to celebrate xmas (and I think it's a very personal choice) you can be unashamedly excited about it like I am.

It's a family tradition that I just love sharing with my children.
Photobucket

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Simple pleasures

Every time I see my biggest girl with her new gappy mouth and her new grown up "Audrey" fringe (named for one of her friends who she adores) I feel a little bit emo in a happy way. She's growing up fast at the moment and it makes my heart swell.

Photobucket

I'm also feeling very organized leading up to our big trip. I love a good list. No really, I absolutely do. I'm a huge fan of Simple Mom's Daily Docket and I've written one for each day this week leading up to family brunch/flight/Luke's birthday/xmas eve. Or at your house it might just be known as "Friday". Having all the little things and social stuff all written down for the next five days at least gives me the illusion of having my shizz together if nothing else.

Hope everyone is finding some time for the simple pleasures in the silly season.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Reconnecting

I've noticed that I've been feeling a bit short with the kids lately and fairly closed to them. We've had a fair bit on and I'm getting back into the swing of Luke's shift change at work-not to mention the upcoming holiday! I thought some time together was in order so I knocked back some plans and we hung out all afternoon.

It was just what we all needed.

I put up the screen house and we pretended we were camping

Photobucket

We hung out there most of the afternoon. Tannah made us a picnic, they gave some teddies "tattoos" and there was a lot of play with their new Toy Story Woody and Jesse dolls. And I listened, completely. And I watched. And I joined in. We laughed, ran, tickled, danced, sang, rested and talked for ages. It was lovely.

We decided it might be fun to make an outdoor cinema so we could watch a movie (Toy Story 3-Tans and Willow are really really into these films at the moment!)so I got the laptop and made the ground all cozy and we watched a movie together. Complete with popcorn.

Photobucket

After we bought everything inside I suggested we might go for a drive to see some xmas lights. That was fun too and the smallest and biggest children fell asleep on the way home. I carried them into their beds and read the middle child a story and tucked her in too.

I've been thinking about how I'm often too busy for the kids. Or I reject their invitations to get involved or help them out too often. And I have been feeling like it's a pain in the butt to help too-which I'm sure shows. I've probably put more energy into resisting and redirecting than going with the flow and getting involved. These beautiful creatures who are my children are the ones who teach me where the joy is each time, and for that I'm grateful.

This afternoon it was s lovely to hang out and reconnect-and realize that it was so easy and nourishing for me too.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

We Play-from Mama's secret stash

We Play


It's no secret that I love to op(thrift)shop. Every so often I come across a cool toy that I think I will just stash away for later. For one of those times when everyone is bored and tetchy I'll have reserves to call on.

Today was one of those days and I remembered the $4 marble run that I picked up a few months ago in an op shop. I had to remember where I'd hidden it...

Photobucket

But I found it and it was a winner! I had to stay pretty close and supervise to make sure that Harper wasn't trying to eat the marbles (I gave Harper her dummy which as least lessened the likelihood of her putting anything else in her mouth while her mouth was full-but I kept an eye on her).

Photobucket

It's handy to have a few things stashed away in case of emergency-and it gives me an excuse to hit op shops and garage sales ;)

Come over to play at the Childhood 101 We Play link up

Monday, December 13, 2010

Trust.

There is a lot of talk of trust in unschooling circles-particularly in the radical unschooling ones-which is awesome. We should trust our kids, I absolutely agree with this-but with how much? It seems that parents being able to trust their instincts is often overlooked and we might ask too much of our children.

Some parents trust their children and may even trust an author or a forum before they will trust themselves. I read and see a lot of parents trusting their instincts less in the name of trusting their children more. Is this a good thing? I'm not sure that it is.

I know this is going to be controversial to some but there is probably good reason you feel awfully uncomfortable as you try and trust your child to self regulate things that we as adults can struggle with. The two most controversial and debated over topics on radical unschooling chat, forums and blogs is probably television and food. It seems to be the "last hurdle" for many to let go of before being able to call themselves radical unschoolers. I've had many chats with other parents who feel so torn with these particular subjects, they feel like their gut is telling them one thing yet by trusting their instincts they are not trusting their child.

For many the argument is things that are natural to children such as sleep, play, learning, exploring and real food are easily trusted in the hands of their children. Things that are not natural to their children such as television, computers (inc games) and processed food are designed to be addictive and by asking our children to self regulate we are asking too much. This does not always mean blanket bans but when a parent gets that feeling in their gut that their child is having trouble self regulating then they can step in.

So do we trust these feelings or do we try and work through them? Are we asking too much? Do we not give our children enough credit?

I don't think it has to be all or nothing. It's good grow and learn as a parent but I think, and it's just my opinion, that it's OK to trust yourself as well. Thoughts?

I'm joining in with Unschool Monday with Owlet.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Simple pleasures-my backyard.

I've said, oh maybe a million times, that we have a small backyard. This in itself is not an issue. Unless we want a house cow..But we do make it work for us and the recent addition of grass instead of crushed rock has made the most enormous difference! We have always made good use of the retaining wall garden beds and grown quite a bit of food in it and we've had a sandpit for a while now but, as the ground underneath was hard and hurty, we've always had to put shoes on and only used the space to walk from the door to our destination. Now we are using the whole yard!

Playing games and rolling in the grass
Photobucket

And last night as I went outside to pack up I loved how the yard looked lived in and how I knew that there had been some serious play that had happened out there.

Like tents made out of sheets, that got blown over complete with toys drying after their "baths".
Photobucket

Tea parties and chasing monsters away.
Photobucket

It makes our house feel so much bigger and looking out onto all of that green grass and growing food you can't help but feel peace.
Photobucket

I love our yard so much! It's a pleasure for sure.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Getting ready for travel tips

Photobucket

We are one of millions of families who are traveling this xmas time. I'm an organized sort of person who travels with kids a lot (my family live interstate and I fly with kids at least twice a year-usually by myself)so I'm in the throes of getting my shizz together for this trip-nothing sucks more than a last minute crazy panic before you leave for the airport. I thought I'd share some stuff that I find useful.

-if you are going somewhere where the weather is going to be different to where you are now check you have appropriate clothes that fit. I've assumed that the "magic bag of hand me downs" that lives in my wardrobe would have enough suitable clothes before only to find out, as I am packing the bag, that I was wrong. Do this weeks in advance to give yourself plenty of time to shop/thrift/borrow.
-check ahead to see what facilities your accommodation has with regards to washing clothes. You can wash more and pack less if the washing stuff is easy.
-start sourcing fun activities little by little. I've been buying a colouring book here and some stickers there to make grab bags to take on the plane. It makes it easier than buying an expensive pack at the airport. Also you can print off colouring pages off the web or pack a scrapbook and let their imaginations run wild.
-make photocopies of your child's birth certificate and put them with your tickets. Make sure your medicare cards and bank cards are not going to expire while you are away.
-if your kids are going to be able to watch a movie on the plane one of 2 things will work. Either a brand new and exciting movie (usually older kids) or the one tried and true favorite that they know by heart. If you are going for a new movie ask your friends and maybe borrow something rather than buy.
-don't take textas on the plane or in the car! Looking for lids rolling around is not fun. Find some wind up crayons.
-organize a housesitter. Truly, it's such piece of mind if you can.Especially with pets. You'll be surprised at your friends who want a holiday!
-recharge batteries for the camera. pack the recharger.
-make a list of things that you use up until you leave so you can pack them last and check it off without forgetting anything. Mine has things on it like phone charger, night light, lip balm, Tannah's Betsy (her much loved stuffed cat), Harper's dummy, vitamins and the kid's hats.
-if you have special dietary needs find a local health food shop. I have one near my parents where they order us in the bread we even can put an order together for my Mum to pick up if I fax it ahead.

I would love to hear other people's travel tips!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Things I know

-if your 3 children are being very quiet in the bathroom expect mess, like perhaps toothpaste all over the benchtop.
-the fact that your child likes a food is no guarantee that they will eat it on any given day
-wobbly teeth can take forever to wobble all the way out
-changing a room around can invite new ways of playing in it and using the space
-it's hard not to get super excited about xmas when your children are
-when your toddler is having a vocabulary explosion remember that she will parrot almost everything that you say. Including the swear words.
-apparently you can never watch Toy Story 2 too many times.
-having no doubts about your decision to unschool is an amazing feeling
-the coffee I have after lunch is becoming a vital part of my afternoon coping skills.
-sometimes it's easier to write guest blog posts than it is to write for my own blog!

What do you know this week?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas time!

It's only a couple of weeks to go-I'm so excited! I've talked about celebrating xmas before-we definitely enjoy the silly season around here!

The tree is up
Photobucket

I've wrapped the presents and almost finished my xmas cards.

The big girls have been waving enthusiastically at Father Christmas when we see him out and about and have even chosen to have a photo this year
Photobucket

Tannah is adamant that Santa is real. We don't do easter and we've talked about how the tooth fairy is a game that parents play when their child loses a tooth. I asked her if she thought Santa was real or a game like the tooth fairy-she looked at me like I was talking in another language and said "Mum, he's REAL". So we're doing all the fun stuff that comes with the make believe of the Santa Claus myth. I'm even going to make the "reindeer food" from The Organized Housewife . As long as my kids want to do the Santa stuff I'm happy to play along, but I'm going to be open when they are questioning the myth.

For now we are counting down the days on the advent calendar, making wrapping paper and talking about what kind of biscuits we might like to bake for Santa.

Hope your xmas build up (if you do xmas) is just as fun as ours is.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Big kids

I spent a night out on Saturday. A whole night out. I went into the city where a friend and I attended a meetup of Melbourne fat acceptance peeps and then we headed into the city for a bit and then we crashed at a place in St Kilda.

No kids, no husband. For the first time since having kids I was completely child free overnight.

It was fine. I worked myself up into a bit of a state on Saturday morning worrying about how Harper would go, but I settled myself down. Harper is so fine with other trusted adults, she rarely feeds overnight (even then it's not until after 4am)and her father was going to be the one looking after her.

Apparently she never even asked for me! It was Tannah who was upset-mainly because she thought I was somewhere fun and she wasn't going to get to go.

My night was great. I met new people, had interesting conversation, ate some yummy food, laughed lots and drank a bit too much.

I had an epiphany about why I was so stressed about going solo for a whole night. For the last 6 years I have been the Mama of babies and I've spent a chunk of that time pregnant as well. It feels like I'm moving into a whole new phase of parenting and I'm losing that old identity. To admit my youngest is old enough and happy enough to leave overnight is admitting that I don't have any babies anymore and that it doesn't always have to be me plus at least one child.

Liberating and scary all at once....

Friday, December 3, 2010

Things I know-the basics

Because I'm such an expert (read have 3 children and am still a functioning member of society) sometimes new Mamas or Mamas of one child ask me questions about how I do it or what advice I found the most helpful. I thought I'd give you some of the things I know that have helped me the most on my parenting journey.

-don't have a clock in your bedroom that you can see if you have a wakeful baby. I found that rolling over and thinking "uuggghhh we were awake 40 minutes ago" or "eeekkk only 3 hours until I have to get up" was not helpful and it made me feel stressed. Of course if you have a sleeping baby feel free to have one so you can feel smug when you see that you have been asleep for 7 hours.
-learn how to breastfeed lying down. Especially if you are co-sleeping. More sleep and lees wide awake time for both you and your baby, and we all know things seem better after sleep!
-follow your baby, not a routine. I found that all my babies found a rhythm that was relatively predictable on their own but stressing about when baby "should" be asleep and for how long was just frustrating. Letting them sleep when they are tired, wake up when they have had enough and eat when they are hungry can be incredibly freeing. Of course helping a tired child to bed or a restless one to stay asleep has to happen in a lot of cases, but it's the baby, not the clock who can dictate this.
-know what age appropriate behavior is. Don't expect too much from your children. 2 year olds have no concept of sharing, babies don't have the mental capacity for manipulation and a 4 year old might have trouble controlling their impulses. And so on. Expecting too much sets you both up for a fall and a lot of frustration and disconnect.
-accept help. Ask for it. Talk, blog, join a forum, join a mothers group-whatever works for you.
-know the house won't collapse and no one will alert the authorities if you choose bed over the dishes sometimes.
-if you have a car keep a bag in the boot with a full change of clothes for all of your children and maybe a clean top for you. And perhaps a towel. One day you will need to access this.
-eat as well as you can and try to get even a little bit of exercise. It makes a huge difference on both your physical and emotional health. But know that choosing a drive thru dinner when times are tough does not make you a bad Mama.
-treat your children as individuals who have their own unique likes, dislikes, quirks, hopes, fears and personalities. Expecting your child to be someone they are not helps no one. Embrace who they are.
-and lastly give yourself some credit. Raising children is a tough gig and most people do the absolute best they can with the information and resources they have at the time. Know that by raising your child with respect and love you are changing the world.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Flatbread

Photobucket

I'm always on the look out for easy recepies that I can use spelt flour in place of regular wheat flour. Especially bready type things. I received my copy of Otherways and there was a yummy recepie for this flat bread that needed no yeast and was pretty fast as far as breads go.

You'll need-
250g plain flour and extra for dusting bench, roller etc (I used spelt flour)
1tbsp olive oil and extra for the frypan
1tsp of salt
150ml warm water

Photobucket

Mix the salt and flour together and add the oil to the water
add them all together and mix with your hands (or spoon) then tip out onto a floured bench and knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and plump
leave to rest for about 15 minutes
knead again & cut into 8 equal parts. Roll each segment until it's a thin round.
heat a small frypan with a little oil, fry the flatbread on each side for about a minute. You'll see dark spots appear and the bread will puff a little. Keep them under a warm tea towel until they are all cooked.
(the directions in Otherways are much more concise than mine!)

We ate ours with eggs from our chooks but the possibilities are endless! I think they would be delicious with dips.

Photobucket

Enjoy! We did!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Unschooling, tidiness and rhythm

I think a lot of people hear the label "unschooling" and immediately think "chaos". At our place that is absolutely not the case.

I am a fairly organized and tidy person. I think anyone who has been to my place knows I like minimal stuff kept in some sort of order. This does not mean we live in a museum that is not child friendly, but everything has a place and it means that the kids can find and access what they are looking for pretty readily. As we still have a baby around the place it also means I can keep inappropriate things in high places for the big girls to do when Harper is asleep or I am able to supervise and help fully.

Photobucket

At the end of each day I pack up. Sometimes the kids join in, sometimes they don't. After a lot of soul searching and deschooling I came to a place where I was not getting pissed off at the lack of help. The tidiness thing is my issue and I think it's part of helping them learn by keeping a house that is uncluttered and user friendly.

We also have no set times that things must happen, but we certainly have a rhythm. I always liked the Steiner idea that life has an in and an out breath. I really agree that naturally we seek to live like that. Seeking outward stimulation and activities and then resting and having downtime. This rhythm seems to happen of it's own accord for us and the in and out breath is both a daily and weekly happening.

I think that it is a misconception that most unschoolers also "unparent", leaving the kids to their own devices with no outside help and no rhythm to their life. Certainly there is enormous room for flexibility and unschooling will look different in each family but it doesn't have to be chaos and disorder.

I'm joining in (a day late!) with Owlet for Unschool Monday. Check out her link up for other ideas.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Simple pleasures

We've had a HEAP of rain over the last week. Wait, month..hang on, year? let's just say that dams all over Victoria are full.

Which means MUD!! Glorious mud! And playing with our Green Toys recycled plastic tea set from Eco Toys

The kids were out in the newly grassed backyard having a ball making mudpies.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Love seeing them get messy!

Photobucket

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The hit list and the shit list

Y'all love a blog in point form right? I thought so.

In my crazy busy life there is lots happening so I'm going to put some things out there on either the hit or the shit list. You get the idea. Let's start with the good stuff.

THE HIT LIST
-Grass! Not the "wacky tobaccy" kind but turf. We have had our yard leveled out and turf laid. It looks AMAZING and the kids are enjoying having such a usable space. We've got more seedlings to get in as well, I'll give you pictures when it's all finished.
-Date night. My husband and I had our first date night since...I can't remember actually. It was our anniversary and we went out for dinner and to see a movie. I love my husband. He's awesome.
-tabouli. I'm not sure you can understand my obsession with this stuff. My bestie's Mum makes the best though. It's almost worth having another baby to have her make me oodles of tabouli like she did when I was pregnant with Harper. Actually, maybe I need to find some other way.
-Having my xmas shizz together. Yep, all organized and smug about it too.
-Damn you auto correct
is the funniest thing on the web at the minute. It has me LOLing for real every time I go there.
-a clean car. I washed and vacuumed my car this week. I MUST do it more often-so shiny and no crumbs! To be fair it was cleaned out to find the source of a mystery car smell...which turned out to be a dirty nappy that got hidden in the pram for about 5 days. It smelled about as good as you might imagine.
-hanging out with friends while the kids play. Bliss.


THE SHIT LIST
-having my email account hacked. Apart from the fact I have had that email addy for fricken ever and I had to delete it the hacker stole my contacts list and made it as though I was trying to peddle macbooks and the like to my friends. Fuckers.
-meltdowns, tantrums, whatever you want to call them they suck.
-Harper spitting chewed up food out all over the place, or yoghurt, or water. Finding a partially masticated banana in the barbie house is GROSS.
-snails. They are eating my garden! I have resorted to not so organic means as I'm not sharing any more beer with them.
-my 3 year old's obsession with playing "Yo Gabba Gabba" all day. It makes her talk in a bad American accent and I always have to be Muno, the one who looks like a giant red dildo.
-supplements. I really should be taking some and giving some to Harper but I'm CRAP at remembering. I know "there's an app for that".


So that's a peek into my life at the moment..how about you?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Epic week.

We've had an epic week. Busy busy busy.

I've been to the movies *twice* (Harry Potter and ahem, Jackass 3D) Luke and I went out on a date for our 6th wedding anniversary, xmas shopping, time with friends, having our back garden fixed up and the general business of life with kids.

I'm not complaining, it's been lovely actually. But I totally dropped the all on the blog this week. Actually the internet in general.

Catch you all soon with an actual blog post about an actual topic lol

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I got an award!

Photobucket

Yay! An award! And versatile is a pretty apt description of my blog lol.

Task 1. Thank the person who gave you the award: Big thank you to Jayne at Random Ramblings of an Unhinged Mind

Task 2. Share 7 things about yourself:

1)I have a peanut butter obsession. I eat it on pancakes amongst other things. Don't eat the peanut butter at my place...unless you are comfortable with my fingers having been in there.

2)The idea of sharing drink bottles with my kids makes me want to gag. Clean up vomit-sure! Wipe a pooey bum-no problem! Get an atom of saliva or food in my water-BLERGH.

3)I am 14 days younger than my husband

4)I wanted to be an actress or a vet when I was in high school. I was pretty good at acting and won some awards and went on to be a vet nurse-which cured me of wanting to be a vet lol.

5)I'm a bibliophile. I LOVE to read. I could read by the time I was 4. Before kids I used to knock back at least one book per week, often more. I loved commuting to the city by train because of all the extra reading time! I'm pretty open to genre and author-anything but Twilight really haha. In english class, I used to get the reading list for my grade and go read all the books in the first few weeks of the year. I re-read books I love over and over. My favorite books are To Kill a Mockingbird (not a coincidence my daughter is Harper) by Harper Lee, The Stand by Stephen King and The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.

6)As much as I love living in Melbourne I regularly get homesick for my hometown of the Gold Coast in Queensland and miss my family and friends there terribly.

7)I'm a crier. I cry in movies, when I'm upset or overwhelmed, when the lyrics of a song move me. I cried when the winner of junior Masterchef was announced.


Task 3. Pass the award onto 12 Bloggers you have recently discovered. I'll try for recent but no promises. Also Jayne covered a few I would have done-check her list out.


1) Disney princess Recovery. I LOVE this blog! "the experiences of one parent and my quest to reclaim my daughter's imagination after it was hijacked by Disney Princesses."

2)Honest To Betsy. A great Natural Mama blog

3)With Hands and Hearts Full. Beautiful blog of a homeschooling Mama of 6.

4)Restless Wanderer. Love her in real life, love her blog. Homebirth, breastfeeding, doula-ing, home education. All topics I love!

5)Bowl Of Stones. Lovely Steiner home educating Mama. Beautiful blog.

6)Homebirth-a Midwife Mutiny. Blog by an amazing midwife in South Australia. If you are interested in homebirth you should read this.

7)Majikfaerie. Great Aussie unschooling, midwifing blog.

8)Planning With Kids. I get lots of great ideas from this blog!

9)The Parenting Passageway. Not a new blog to me but always worth a mention. If you are after an inspirational parenting blog with a Steiner angle, check it out.


10)Apron Stringz. Also not a new blog to me but I'm always inspired by this radical housewife's honesty.

11)Natural Parents Network. New site! Lots of great info and blog posts over there. It even has a forum.

12)Earthy Motherhood. Great blog about just that!

Phew! That should keep you going for a while!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Unschool Monday

Photobucket

I'm joining in this week with the lovely Owlet for her Unschool Monday.


Water water everywhere. Tannah and Willow are obsessed with water at the moment. They like to fill up containers of all sizes and float things in them. They like to cut up paper and fill their glasses of water with them. They like to add food dye and sparkles and make "potions". They like to wash all their toys and use a spray bottle. They like to jump in puddles and tip water in the sandpit. They like to help me hose the seedlings. They like to fill up their measuring scales and try to make them even.


Who knew science could be so wet?

Check out the link up HERE for other great unschooling blogs.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

It's OK.

I had a horrible day yesterday. Just one of those days that was long and hard. Throw a bit of PMS into the mix and it was a recipe for disaster.

I have really struggled with the last 6 months of mothering 3 children. I found the first 6 months relatively easy. It was not without ups and downs (such is life)but I was not collapsing into bed each night exhausted or counting down the minutes until Luke arrives home. The reality of having 3 children born so close together has set in.

Yesterday there was retrieving chewed up pastels from the toddlers mouth, being drawn in to adjudicate fights between the older 2, endless requests for help, weeing into undies, being chastised for selecting the wrong cup for milk and sandpit toys being bought onto the couch. It all sounds pretty petty right?

And it is. But it's OK to feel overwhelmed sometimes. Being the main carer for 3 small people the majority of the time is hard work.

It's taken me a long time to realize that it is only that. It's hard, draining work sometimes. It just is what it is.

It doesn't mean that I love my kids any less or that I'm doing anything wrong. It is not an attack on friends or family to make them feel they're not doing enough. It is not a cry for help. It does not make me question how I parent. It is not a sign of weakness or whining. It is not comparing my situation to anyone else's. It doesn't mean I don't love my life and feel grateful everyday.

It just is what it is.

When Tannah was a baby I struggled. I really struggled. I find it painful to even think about how hard that first year was for me. Instead of saying "This is hard" I kept my chin up and soldiered on because I made that admission up to be something that it is not. And by doing that I made it harder for myself. Sometimes being a parent is hard. It just is what it is.

By making it OK for me to say that I can decompress. I can be honest. I can ask for help. I can take time out. By turning it into a statement and not a judgment of myself or my kids it takes the guilt out of that admission.


If you find parenting hard at times it's OK.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Things I know

-oil pastels are tasty. I don't know this personally but they must be nice because Harper loves to eat them.
-bath water is tasty. See above.
-investigate how the snail population is in your garden before you plant your seedlings.
-watching your child conquer a fear will make your heart swell.
-co-sleeping is less fun when you have to also share your bed with your child's favorite My Little Pony.
-The same goes for breastfeeding
-sometimes going with the flow makes Mama impatient. I want Tannah to like listening to chapter books now! I want to relive my youth by reading Charlotte's Web aloud.
-the washing. It never ends
-It is almost impossible not to catch giggling from delighted children.
-my children still think I'm cool for singing along to the music at the supermarket. I'm aware this could end at some point.

What do you know this week?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Brain constipation...

I have a few very interesting ideas rolling around in my head that i would like to blog. About not freaking out about spontaneous praise, and how being honest about being a natural parent influences other people, about birth snobbery and even about the recent storyline of Packed to The Rafters. Really.

But every time I sit down to write it's like pulling teeth and I delete the drivel I'm squeezing out. But it's all in there...waiting to go. I need some bloggers laxative to get the ideas moooving on out.

In the meantime here are a couple of links to places I've been around the blogosphere of late.

My story "Blossoms" appeared on the wonderful site With Tears Of Love. This site is about sharing, supporting and understanding stories of baby loss.

I've also been a guest blogger on Bring Birth Home talking about how my birth trauma even invaded my first beautiful homebirth and how I wish I'd stayed home the first time. There is lots of other content over there to inspire and empower women to give birth at home.

Righto. Now to try and remove the block....

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

We Play! Potions and mud pies.

We Play


Photobucket

My girls are loving messy play at the moment. Making "potions" is rating highly. If the weather is bad they make them inside with food dye and paper and water. But if the weather is fine, like today, they make them outside out of mud, water and sand. With some plants and rocks thrown in for good measure.

Photobucket

Looks delicious right? How about a cup?

Photobucket

I'm playing along with Childhood 101's We Play! You can check out a heap of great play ideas (and maybe add your own) HERE

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Simple pleasures

I think I'm going to try and do this every Sunday. It's nice to look at some of life's simple pleasures and things that make us happy

Butterflies that land on your hands
Photobucket

Fluffy yellow chicks
Photobucket

Carousel rides
Photobucket

Sprouting seeds
Photobucket


Happy, sparkly eyes
Photobucket

Hope your Sunday is full of simple pleasures too

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Because I'm a fat woman...

I love this post from Janet Fraser about being a birthing woman and discovered it is based on a quote from Women's liberation in the 80's. This post over at Corpulent has had me thinking about how accepting of my body I really am. I used to wear bikinis. I'd like to start wearing them again..I digress. I love the idea of a fat manifesto, a fatifesto?

I have written this from the perspective of being a fat woman because that's all I know how to be.

Because we are fat women and
Because we are told we are too disgusting, too lazy, too ugly, too smelly, too stupid, too gluttonous , and no one will ever want to have sex with us, love us, enjoy our bodies, because we are told we have no will power, eat too much, exercise too little, sit around eating donuts all day, because we get horrible, degrading things shouted at us by complete strangers, because we get unsolicited dieting advice, because we can’t possibly get married without trying to lose weight, because finding clothes that are comfortable, fashionable and easy to buy is difficult, because people think fat is a death sentence, because we get our bodies policed, because the media is constantly telling us that there is only one way to look beautiful, because we are offered dangerous alternatives like surgery and calorie restricted diets and excessive exercise, because it’s none of anyone’s business what I do with my body, because we are taught to hate fat, because health comes from eating well and moving your body-regardless of size, because bodies come in all shapes and sizes and fat bodies should not mean shame and discrimination and disgust…and so for these and many other reasons I’m part of the fat acceptance movement

Who's with me?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Spring?? Where'd you go?

It's so cold and miserable here today. Again. I have been feeling my pull to "spring clean" my house and my life and what I want to do is throw open the doors and windows and let in some fresh air and sunlight. Instead I'm starting my spring cleaning in a closed house-I even have the heating on tonight.

I'm almost reptilian in my need for sunlight and warmth. I can only handle the cold for so long before I feel myself start to fade. I like to wear as little as possible dammit! I like line dried washing!

Despite all the soul sucking effects of a long long winter I have some spring type stuff going on here

-I'm cleaning my whole house out. Yep. Every cupboard and drawer, shelf and box is being scrutinized as to the usefulness of it's contents. I LOVE to declutter. It's amazing for the soul!
-we are having grass laid in the garden and are having some landscaping done to make the space more user friendly
-we are starting to plant our food for the coming months
-and we have these new additions to the Yay For Homestead. 5 Baby chicks. Bok Bok (her real name) has been sitting on some fertile eggs that were gifted to us by a friend. The whole process was very exciting and now we are all delighting in "Mother Hen" and her babies peep peeping around the yard.
Photobucket

I'm going to keep watching the weather forecast and get outside now the kids are mostly better. Bring on spring!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Things I know-the home from hospital edition

Photobucket

-There is nothing to prepare you for having a child so sick that they cannot wake up fully, stand up or eat
-There really is no place like home
-a good and caring nurse is worth their weight in gold
-sleeping on a bed that doesn't crackle with plastic protector everything is so quiet
-hospital food really isn't that bad
-getting a private room is probably the only advantage to not knowing exactly what is wrong with your sick child
-having an toddler who is not eating makes you so so grateful that you are breatfeeding
-only expensive, fancy disposables contain liquid poo fountains of the toddler variety.
-when you have been away from your big kids for 3 nights they will look older when you see them again
-seeing your very sick child start to turn a corner towards getting better will make you so very grateful, especially when you see some of the long term patients at the children's hospital you are at
-getting the all clear for meningococcal will make you feel like high fiving the doctor
-getting the OK to go home with instructions to "rest up and breastfed as often as you can" will make you feel like hugging the doctor
-looking beside you and seeing this on your own couch in your own home is too wonderful to put into words

Photobucket

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Be careful what you wish for

I have spent the last 2 nights in the childrens hospital with Harper. I'll be here tonight and possibly tomorrow night as well. She is sick, very sick with a virus that we are awaiting final results on before we can give it a name, if we can.

It all started so innocently. Vomiting, diahorrea, a bit of a cough and a mild temperture. Then she developed a rash. You know, one of those rashes that you are told to go straight to the hospital when you see it. Her temperature started to climb. She was still, quiet and drowsy. When I got to the hospital I was put into priority to see someone. I started to feel sick with worry. Blood tests, IV fluid, IV antibiotics, poking, prodding-and Harper stayed still.Yesterday she barely moved. She was semi conscious most of the time and so so hot with a fever. The rash spread. All she had eaten in over 24 hours has been breastmilk, and I'm so grateful I'm breastfeeding. There was talk of lumbar puncture if no improvement in the morning.

Last night when Luke had gone home I started to cry (again) and started making bargains with the universe. Please let her be OK. Please can she get better. I hoped that some of my christian friends might have been praying too to cover my bases. I tried my favorite visulaization of me at Harper's 21st with all 3 girls as happy, healthy adults. I held her and said over and over again in my mind "Harper's body is strong, healthy and well".

Then I thought about all the things I had been wishing for lately.
"I wish she's just be still and quiet"
"I wish I could just have 5 minutes to myself"
"I wish she'd just stop once in a while"
"I wish I could just forget about the housework for a while"

I got my wish. There I was with a still, quiet toddler. With no one else to talk to and no housework to worry about. My big two girls were at home (as I write this it is the longest time I have been apart from either of them) and I had all the space I wanted.

It was a sharp reminder to be grateful for all that I have.

I have 3 beautiful, amazing children. I have a comfortable home filled with food and the people I love the best. My life is busy in a good way. My husband is my best friend. I have such fantastic friends and family both near and far, in real life and online who's support and messages and wishes have meant such a lot to me.

Harper has improved today. This morning she stood up and she gave the nuses hell when they were trying to do her obs. She has eaten half a banana. The rash has stopped growing. If she keeps improving we might get to go home tomorrow. She is still very sick and can't stay awake for more than an hour-but she is improving.

I can't wait to get her home and have her climbing, running, yelling and eating me out of house and home. I can't wait to see my big girls. I can't wait to sleep in my own bed.

And when I get home, I'm changing my wish list.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Love/hate

That's me and the internet. I love it, I hate it.

I love all the interesting blogs, ideas, forums, social networking etc. I hate how it's a never ending rabbit hole.

For every one awesome blog or inspiring person to follow on twitter there are thousands more waiting in the wings. I find the screen addictive and with an iPhone I can waste hours entertaining myself and ignoring real life. I find myself asking the kids to wait while I read an article or ignore house stuff to go back and read hours I have missed on Twitter.

I don't think this is making me happy.

I do think I'm finding a compulsion to know what's happening. To see photos of the children of a person I haven't spoken to since the third grade, to read articles people link to-knowing they will piss me off, to follow blogs that I don't love to be polite in the blogging world.

I love being in touch with friends-both in real life and online. I love finding inspiring stuff to read. I love being entertained. But I think my net usage has gone beyond this.

Can I just blog, read blogs I adore and cull my facebook friends?

Watch this space....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Happy

I'm sitting here in the SUN which is coming through the window and listening to my big 2 involved in a serious game while they are crafting. The smallest is asleep and the dog is on her bed. My dishwasher is empty and the washing is on the line. Tomorrow is payday and I still have a little petrol in the car. We have plans for the park this afternoon.

I can't help but smile.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Simple pleasures

Some simple pleasures for Sunday.

Licking the bowl
Photobucket

Games that last for hours
Photobucket


Being presented with home made treasures
Photobucket


Homemade custard
Photobucket


1 cup of cream- I use raw cream which can be tricky to get. Use Double cream in it's place but don't use ultra pasturised watery cream
1 cup of milk- again I use raw but full fat milk works too (bonus points if organic)
pure vanilla
1/2 cup rapadura- raw sugar works fine too
5 free range egg yolks-or 7 if you have bantam chooks like us :)

Heat the milk, cream and a decent splash of vanilla in a saucepan until almost boiling, whisking as you go. Take off the heat.
Once that is done beat the yolks and sugar until it's glossy. Add this to the milk mix and put back on a low heat constantly whisking until it thickens. Don't burn your mouth trying to eat it all at once when it's done. You can eat this hot, cold, poured over something etc-we're having it over brownie for dessert!

Hope your Sunday was full of simple pleasures too!

A concert!

In my life before children I liked to go see bands. A lot. Part of the reason I chose Melbourne over anywhere else when I decided to leave the Gold Coast was the music scene. My ex was actually IN a band and Luke loves live music as much as me. I went to the Big Day Out festival for 10 years straight and part of my weekly wage went to gigs and CD's (in the olden days before iPods).

The last gig I went to was to see Magic Dirt at the Prince of Wales. I'm pretty sure that was the night I got pregnant with Tannah. That was over 6 years ago.

I have missed seeing bands but kids and pregnancy have not made it easy to just pop out of a few hours to a loud bar. I was looking forward to a time when it was possible to get back into the occasional gig. When Powderfinger announced their final tour I jumped on the chance to go.

Luke and I lined up his parents to mind all 3 kids and he took the day off work as it was on a Friday afternoon and we had to drive over an hour to get to the venue. Exciting times.

We woke on Friday morning to rain. Lots of rain. And it was cold! Did I mention that this was an outdoor event?? I felt really nervous about driving all that way in crappy weather, but we pressed on. By the time we got there it was still raining and the temperature had plummeted. I looked up the local temperature on my iPhone and it said with the wind chill it was about 1 degree. In spring. Truly.

Here is us lining up to get in
Photobucket
Ponchos are cool right?

But by the time we got in there the rain had stopped and it was under a huge tent. I must say it's the first gig I have ever been to where I wore a parka and beanie the entire time!
Photobucket

We had an AMAZING night. All the acts-including the supports Paul Dempsey and JET -were brilliant! We danced, we sang, we made the "wwooooooooo!!"noise after songs. We enjoyed each others company without the kids.

It was really nice to be at a place where I'm not knee deep in babies and was able to do something with just Luke and I. It was kind of a milestone for us :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My current Otherways article and other places I am

I'm getting around at the moment. I had a guest post on Nursing Freedom about being a Tandem Mama and I'm on the blog roll for the new site Natural Parents Network which looks amazing!

This is my article called "Overdoing It" in the current Otherways magazine-


My first born, much loved though she is, is unfortunately a bit of a “practice child”. Not meaning that we do experiments on her but rather that she is our first everything, so we often learn a lot from her by parenting. And sometimes we learn what not to do by stuffing it up a bit the first time.
Tannah loves those “Buddies” movies with talking dogs in them, they are of the Disney variety and are set in the U.S.A. One of them is about Christmas time and it is by far the red hot favorite. And it led to a lesson-for me.
Tannah told me that she would like us to have snow this Christmas. I told her that it would be summer here and it wouldn't snow.
“Why does it snow where the Santa Buddies live and not here?” she asked.
I was excited. That sounded like a question about something that could involve a trip to the library and strewing some books around. Suddenly it seemed that I could “teach” her about hemispheres and the earth's rotation and so on.
I set to work. First I tried explaining the concept of the equator and the rotation of the earth around the sun. She looked a little confused. Next I went to You Tube and found some awesome short movies on the subject and we watched them and I tried to answer her questions. She lost interest pretty quickly so we left it there.
Except I couldn't. I got some books out and strewed them around. Carefully choosing books where the focus was on pictures not words. No interest. I figured it must have been my explaining that caused her to drop it so quickly. So I set up the torch and a couple of tennis balls in the dark. She loved this! Not for the reason of understanding the earth's rotation around the sun via visual experiments. But because torches and tennis balls in the dark are awesome fun!
I had forgotten one of the many commandments about raining young children. “Thou shalt not give huge long winded answers, thou shalt give short and simple ones and elaborate if asked to”.
A couple of days later Tannah came and said “but I want it to snow at our house on Christmas day!” I said that it wouldn't because it would be summer here at Christmas, not winter like in the movie. She said “why?”.
“Because we are the opposite to the U.S.A when it comes to seasons. When it is summer here it is winter there and when it is winter here it is summer there. It's really hot over there right now.”
And after all the careful thought, tennis balls, torches and You Tube do you know what her answer was?
“Oh OK. Maybe we can just go there for Christmas one year then.”
Too easy huh? I guess I could have just said that in the first place and trusted that she would ask for more information if she wanted it. At least we both learned that tennis balls and torches in dark rooms is great fun!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Living Chemical Free Seminar with Dr Sarah Lantz

‘Our Children will ask…What were our parents thinking?

Why did they produce toxic chemicals and then allow them to get in to our bodies?

Were they so arrogant to think that our bodies would not be affected?’ Dr Sarah Lantz PhD

If you are in or around Melbourne this Saturday get to the Living Chemical Free Seminar, hosted by Eco Toys, brings together the bestselling author, speaker and children’s health advocate Dr Sarah Lantz.

From the Eco Toys Blog-

If you want to know how to raise healthy children in a toxic world you simply can’t afford to miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from and be inspired by one of the world’s leading experts on chemicals and the effects on children’s health today. The presentation will address:

* Why babies are being born pre-polluted, the chemicals they are born with, and what makes kids particularly susceptible;
* How the chemicals found in your children’s food are hindering their development, lowering IQ scores and triggering attention and behavior disorders;
* Why Australia continues to use chemicals that are banned or restricted in other countries across the world;
* What’s really on your dinner table and in your children’s medication – vital information EVERY PARENT should know!
* How you can begin to implement health changes and practices for you and your children that help cleanse the body of chemicals.
* Solutions and strategies for raising healthy children (and adults) in a toxic world.

Date: Sat 16th October

Time: 12.30pm – 3pm (registration 12.30- 1pm)

Venue: Hawthorn Town Hall – 360 Burwood rd, Hawthorn



TICKETS $30 - SEATS LIMITED BOOK NOW!

Or contact Melinda on 9078 7500 (discounts apply for group bookings)

There will be a vibrant marketplace with local sustainable businesses showcasing their products, plus plenty of great give-ways, samples and specials.



This INSPIRING PRESENTATION WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE !

To read more click HERE

Monday, October 11, 2010

As I collapse into my chair.

Harper is 18 months old. Harper is an inquisitive, busy, curious and strong willed toddler. She behaves in a way absolutely appropriate for her age.

Photobucket

Did you see how I used positive language there? Because what I wanted to say was that Harper is exhausting, stubborn, cranky, rough, single minded, aggravating and exasperating. She doesn't stop. She will not be distracted from what she is doing-even if it is trying to cuddle a dog that is going to bite her. She never ever takes no or being distracted with good grace. Who am I kidding, if I try and distract her she goes right back to what she was doing while flashing me daggers. There are lots of tears and throwing herself down on the ground.

I'm tired. I'm out of ideas.

I know that this is all normal behavior-if not on the extreme end of normal. I know that all these traits are going to make her an amazing adult (hell, she's an amazing kid!). I know that I don't always deal with it all terribly well. But how do I parent respectfully when she cracks the shits at me and fights me about not letting her swallow a marble or run in front of a dozen 6 year olds skipping towards her? And let us not speak of having a full bowl of yoghurt thrown back at me because..well I don't know why that upset her seeings as she got me the bowl and yoghurt and asked for help.

I know this too shall pass and I know when she is able to talk more it will get easier. I know that being the youngest of 3 born all so close together must be tough. I'm doing the best I can with the resources I have so that we BOTH come out of this period with our emotions in tact. I love her so much and part of who she is is this amazing and huge personality, I don't want to squash that.

But in the meantime can I just get a little break sometimes..pretty please?

(I must say I have toyed with this post for a while because it sounds so negative but THIS over at With Hearts and Hands Full inspired me to put it down! Thanks C)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

It's official

I put the paperwork in the mail today to register Tannah as a home educated student. I know it might not seem like much but I'm excited about continuing on our school-free journey.

Short and sweet tonight-but also a big thing for us :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

YES Project-rest of the week

Photobucket

OK so I dropped the ball on this one lol. But it's Luke's week to work afternoon shift and that always makes life somewhat full on.

I have said yes lots this week like getting soaked at the park (see above photo), helping with the cooking and cleaning and craft at times I would usually have said no. I have learned that I was saying no to a LOT. Taking a moment to think before I say no to a request has been really eye opening for me. I usually say no in the name of efficiency and getting things done quicker. Meaning not letting the kids join in with the day to day stuff as much as they would like to. Also turning down messy projects (though really, none of them have taken longer than 5 minutes to clean up) if I'd just tidied up or was about to. I also learned that I ignore and put the kids off when the computer/iPhone is in close reach. That's a no brainer right? But do I really want them to think that every time I'm in front of a screen that they come automatic second?

It was just such a great exercise for me to turn on my awareness to saying YES! Anyone else have any yes moments to share?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

YES project-day 2

Yesterday was a crappy day. One of those days where I longed for live in grandparents or a full time job. I wonder if the children are realizing my shift to more freedom and are trying to push me to see how big that freedom goes. There were tantrums at the park, a skinned knee, cupcakes made with forgotten ingredients, super hungry, needy kids and a glass of milk spilled all over the kitchen bench and in my wallet. I felt like I didn't get a minute to just stop and BE. It was exhausting.

But I did say yes to helping with the cooking. Even helping with the hot stuff. Tannah. Willow and I stewed rhubarb that was given to us form a lovely friend's garden.

Photobucket

Oh, and Willow wore her pajamas to the park.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

YES Project-Day 1

Photobucket

Tannah and Willow asked to get their new counting bears out, and the scales. After about 5 minutes of sorting them and playing "Mama bear has triplets" Tannah asked for water. Harper can sometimes be a barrier to water play inside-as cool as I try to be about mess and age appropriate stuff like emptying containers I do draw the line at entire buckets of water on the tiles ( she gets plenty of water play outside). But Harper was asleep so I said absolutely yes.

We discovered that the bears floated (I thought they'd sink!) and then Mama bear was having a waterbirth with the triplets. They measured out the buckets with water to try and get them to sit evenly, they saw how many bears could float at once and later they bathed some My Little Ponies. Was there a spill? Yes, more than one. Was it easy to clean up? YES. A couple of towels and a change of clothes and all dry!

It's always good to be reminded of how very easy water actually is to clean up!
Related Posts with Thumbnails