Thursday, September 10, 2015

Mama date - Matilda

Waaaaay back in May, Myl bought Lu and I Matilda tickets for mothers day.
It seemed like forever away but August came up before we knew it and off we went for a very special mama date.

We spent most of the day as a family in Leichhardt, our old hood. We showed the girls our old house and they cared about as much as I care about the cricket score so that was ok.
We walked around and sighed at how much things had changed and how things had stayed the same but we hadn't etc.

Then we drove down into the city and parked near darling harbour.
After a very seriously close shave with darling harbour, in which two small girls (we won't say who they belong to) were chasing seagulls and almost went for a swim, we parted ways. Smalls and Myl off for dumplings in Chinatown and a train (YES) trip home and Lu and I off for an adventure like no other.

We had plenty of time to spare so we had dinner at Pancakes on the Rocks on Darling Harbour. (Lus' choice) A music film clip from The Hobbit came up on the TV screen and Lu asked me why there were so many Santas on the hill.

With dinner done we headed for the theatre. We were pretty early and so spent a while walking uuuuup and dooooown and uuuuup and doooown the swirly staircases looking at the magic Elsa snow. Lu wanted to buy all the souvenirs but we settled for a photo instead.

At last it was time to go in and Lu started shrieking with excitement.
We both loved the show. I was a bit nervous to see how Lu would go with The Trunchbull but she seemed to like it. That or she's mentally blocked it.
She liked the funny bits and loved that most of the people on stage were kids. We may have a career change from ballerina to musical star in the works.

Lu was buzzing after it finished. She was singing the songs and skipped and ran all the way to the car.
But little girls are little girls and she fell fast asleep in the car on the way home as I cursed at Siri driving through the city.



And now, I can't get the songs out of my head. The girls are treated daily to mama renditions of all the songs. At least they're an appreciative audience.




Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Mermaid Song

Ever wondered what happens when you meet a mermaid on the beach?
Lu and I did, and so we wrote this song.

Watch for some sweet tunes and four year old stage banter.
My favourite bit is Lu's chorus solo.

Fun times.





More singing hilarity over here.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Dad



I have so many memories of my dad growing up.
He's not the kind of Dad you'd forget. He was around. He was interested.
He is interested still.

He was the kind of Dad who was there when you needed him and there when you didn't want him.
There when you need help and there to stop you doing the things you shouldn't.

I've got lots of memories but tonight as I reflect on my Dad one memory sticks out.

It was a Friday. I was seventeen.
I'd had a long week at school and finished it off with a game of basket ball.
My long weeks were looong. School all day and music practice well into the evening.
I can't really remember the specifics but I was tired and upset.

We were in the car, my dad and I.
I think I had that look on my face.
You know the look of a seventeen year old girl who's had a long and tiring week.
But it was more, I can't remember what it was exactly but I was having friend dramas and it was the end. of. the. world.

He asked me what was wrong and in a rare share of emotions I told him.
I think it must have sounded more like the noise of water coming out of the blow hole of a whale coupled with the whale making those whale noises they like to make.
But it was something.

I remember he just listened, and then he just held me.
(We weren't driving by the way, just sitting.)

My big, independent, headstrong, seventeen year old self in the arms of my ever loving dada.

It wasn't the first time he did such a thing, and there have been a few times since but I'm remembering this particular time tonight with a thankful heart that I have a dad who loves me.

A dad who has always loved me.

I have a lifetime of memories and though they may not be perfect, there has always been love.
And that has made all the difference.




Apologies to my brother for the shiny white face...



Wednesday, August 12, 2015

on sticking things up yer nose.

On Sunday I shared this photo on Instagram along with a story about Smalls sticking something up her nose.
Here are all the gory details.
So that I don't forget.



For as long as I can remember, Sunday lunch has been from the bakery.
When I was little we would go to the little Vietnamese hot bread shop in town and would each get to order our savoury (sausage rolls of course) and sweet (caramel tart) of choice.

These tasty treats would be devoured when we got home. Sausage rolls would be cut into slices and dipped in tomato sauce. First one bite out of each slice, and then another.*
The caramel tart was an eagerly awaited dessert. First the cream, then the thick gooey caramel with a
buttery pastry finale.

You could say it's a family tradition.

Aside from a few years churching down the road from $6.50 Thai, we have kept up this family tradition. It is particularly nice to share sweet bakery treats with our two little girls.

They've wandered from the righteous path of sausage roll eating and much prefer a cheese and bacon roll. Or (because Australians like to shorten everything) as we call it, the Bacon Roll.**

This fated Sunday young Smalls was munching on her Bacon Roll quite happily.
Myl and I were chatting (no doubt about something very important) when up pipes a tiny voice.

"Bacon stuck up my nose."

If ever there was a sentence to strike horror into the minds of two parents it would be these.

My first response was disbelief. Bacon she said? No, she just means snot. She's got snot up her nose.

"You're ok," I reassured her. "it's just snot."
"No, bacon roll up my nose."

...

I then moved on to anger.

"Smalls! You must not stick things up your nose! Why did you do this thing! Why me!"

And then to bargaining.

"Come sit on Dada's lap, let me have a look. I'm just going to shove these tweezers up your nose and you'll be alright."

Removing a piece of white bread from the nasal cavity of a two year old is no easy task.
To her credit, Smalls sat very still while I tried to pluck the soggy glutenous clump from her nostril.
After removing a few tiny specs, I gave up lest the roll become permanently lodged in her nose or brain or something.

It was time for Myl to have a go but Smalls was done.
She was sad. She had grown attached to the idea of having a little bready friend up her nose and was not ready to part ways. The tears fell and we decided that the Bacon Roll would come out one way or another.

But I figured I should consult Google anyway. I figured typing BACON ROLL UP CHILD'S NOSE
would probably come up with hundreds if not thousands of results.

Google did not disappoint.

A few links down I found this gem. I had to click.

Vaccum removal of object stuck in childs nose.

Complete with step by step instructions AND diagrams is a "how to" on gettin' things out of yer nose.

Perfect.

In our house the vacuum cleaner is called the Vacuum Monster. It slinks around sucking up peoples toys when they didn't put them away.
Lots of fun.
I vacuum the house to shrieks and screams and the sound of little girls picking up their toys and then running to hide under their doonas. FEAR.

But recently, the girls have taken to requesting the vacuum cleaner suck up their hair.
I'm not sure why.
It's a bit strange.
But they like it.

Anyway, It made me think that maybe, just maybe I could stick some kind of straw/vacuum cleaner contraption up Smalls nose and she wouldn't mind.

After explaining the deal to her, Smalls realised that she had already gone through the four stages of grief and the only place left to go was acceptance.

She sat peacefully in Dadas lap while I showed her my fun yellow sucky straw.
She was keen.
Towards the nostril we went.

It didn't take long.
The noise of a small hunk of bread being sucked up a vacuum cleaner sounds exactly as you think it would.
We were done.

"That was fun." She said.

"Smalls," I said "You must never stick anything up your nose. Where does food go?"

"In your mouth!" She shreiked. And giggled.

We'll keep her.

And so ends the tale of the bacon roll up the nose. Stay tuned next week for sultanas? Lego heads? maybe a whole baguette?



*Yes I am aware I have had strange habits.
**Our bakery puts little bits of garlic on the cheese and bacon rolls so they ARE particularly delicious.

Monday, August 10, 2015

tuscanybrown - the shop!


A few days ago I fulfilled a long time dream of mine.
I opened an Etsy store of my very own.

I'd been making little shrinkie earrings and my creativity got a little out of control.
I couldn't possibly wear that many earrings so I've decided to put them out in the big ole
internetty world and see what happens.

Come on over here and check out the shop.

I just finished packaging up my first two orders and they are on their way to happy homes today.
I think I might have had more fun wrapping and decorating the parcels than I did making the earrings. Just quietly.

I'm still a bit of an Etsy n00b but it's fun to learn.
Lu is very excited that I have a shop but is kinda confused about where it is...




Tuesday, August 4, 2015

reclaiming joy - as we are thankful



Tonight I made one of my favourite dinners. It's a risotto of my own invention with chorizo and sweet potato. It's lovely to make and lovely to eat.
After chopping and stirring and plating it up with a generous amount of parmesan cheese on top, I placed the dish of love in front of my big girl.

For not the first time, she pushed her bowl away.
One look, a groan, and it was pushed away.
I took a deep breath and let out my usual spiel about this being the only dinner and she didn't have to like it but she did have to try it etc. etc.
And then the four of us all joined hands to say grace.
Miss Dinner Pusher volunteered and cheerfully said "Thankyou God" for the food in front of her.
And then she began to eat.

It is no perfect analogy. It was more likely hunger that got the better of her, and she was perhaps spurred on by the hope of mango sorbet, but I like to think that a few moments spent saying thankyou for her food gave a reason to enjoy it.

Being thankful changes our attitude.
What a world of entitlement we live in. We expect what we want when we want it. It's hard to wait because things seem to be able to come so quickly. I feel the tension of looking at fancy homes in magazines without realising that they come at a cost of either years working hard or oodles of debt.
I see it exposed rather harshly in the four year old who would rather her chorizo be not covered in rice thankyouverymuch, but see it more sinisterly in my own desires.

But an attitude of thankfulness lets me look around at where I AM and what I HAVE and be happy for that and in that. The four year old realises (ha!) that she has food when so many children around the world do not and the adult is thankful for the roof over her head, the abundance of clothing and furniture...

Of course these things, though ensnaring are trivial at the end of the day.
When hard times come sometimes it is not enough to just perk up and look at the bright side.

Being thankful puts hard things into perspective. It doesn't make them disappear.
When hard times come and we sit in the bottom of the deepest valley our thankfulness does not rest
on our delicious food or our nice clothes. These things we would gladly trade for a lift out of the mud.
Our thankfulness and our joy (remember that tears streaming down kind of joy) comes from knowing God and his steadfast love.

Psalm 136
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.
Why are we thankful? How can we be thankful in hard times? Not because of the hard thing.
No way! Sometimes the hard things we go through in life can teach us helpful things but we are
never expected to be thankful for them. How could you?

But we are thankful because of the perspective that God brings.
He is good. His love endures forever.

The psalm goes on to talk about God creating the world, saving his people from slavery, keeping his promise to protect and care for them. They suffer, they wander in the desert for 40 years, they go to war. But one thing, His love endures forever.

And so it gives us a reason to be thankful in the depths of despair because though we suffer, there is one who is loving with an enduring forever kind of love.

Being thankful shows us that we are not in control.
This is true in a big way when we look at the love of God but also in everything else too.
When you say thankyou, you are recognising your dependence on others. That someone did something for you that you either could not or did not do yourself.

I love control. I love planing things and knowing things and working things out.

It's taken me a while but I'm learning to say thankyou in my own kitchen.
I like to do all the things.
Mainly because I enjoy them, but it's a huge joy to let others offer to help and see what a team can do. I find I'm constantly surprised by the little tips and tricks I learn.
I'm constantly overwhelmed with gratitude by the servant heartedness of people.

It's good to learn that I am not the one in control or the only one that can do things.
So good, because it's so so true.
How often do we go it alone and then complain at the end of the day that you didn't get to enjoy the <insert thing you missed while you were being crazy>?

To be thankful is to say that others have extreme value. They have ways to help and things to teach you.
What a relief to know you don't have to do it all! Phew!

But what a challenge!
I know I find it easier to tear things down, to moan and complain and find the reasons why I am hardly done by.

But what joy there is in being thankful.
To look at the world in a new light, to depend on and enjoy the help from others, and most importantly to sit nestled in the joy of knowing God who is worth thanking, for his love that endures forever.


Image Credit - She Reads Truth
For a bible reading plan on the topic of Thankfulness click here or check out the She Reads Truth
app in the iTunes app store.


For more in the series

Reclaiming Joy - As We Remember

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

tiptoe fairies

Lu started singing this little song about fairies tiptoing about. She would dance around the house singing "Tiptoooooeeeee faaaaaiiiirrrriiiieesssssss!"
If you have or know small children I'm sure you can imagine.

Then one night she decided to teach me the song. I felt very special.

It came with actions.

It went something like this.

Tiptoe fairies going down by the river road.
We can't see them because they are very tiny and small and we can't see them.
Nobody can see them.
Nobody can see them.
Nobody can see them.
Nobody can see them.
Nobody can see them.
Nobody can see them.
Nobody can see them.
Nobody can see them. (No, I did not make a typo. This kid likes repetition.)
Nobody can see them walking right towards you

You get the drift.

I like to strum my guitar and sing songs to the girls as they go to sleep so i decided to turn Lu's ramblings  delightful lyrics into a song we could sing together.
I think she kind of likes the idea although (as you will see) she still gets a bit fed up when I don't sing it right.

And then of course, she was asking if we could record it.
Every night. For the whole week.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

luna park

One Sunday the girls and I decided to go on an adventure.
Myl works on Sundays and we had just come back from holidays.
It still felt like holidays so we decided to take advantage of $2.50 Sunday tickets and headed into the city.

It was a perfect warm winters day with a clear blue sky. It was begging to be enjoyed.

It was an evolving plan as we caught the train. I wasn't really sure where we would end up but we decided after much chatting, (A two and four year year old, you can imagine the powers of reasoning) to go and ride the ferris wheel at Luna Park.

I had not been to Luna Park since high school. My brother and I went together while our parents were at a wedding reception. It was a really fun and unforgettable night. We have a rather embarrassing roller coaster photo to prove it.

I had a lot of fun with the girls too.
They liked the lights and the ferris wheel and the strange clowns.
But no oh no they did not want to high five the strange clowns. We draw the line.

We caught the ferry there and then across to Darling Harbour for pancakes.

We probably got back a bit to late, stayed out a bit too long but we all had a tonne of fun.
It was one of those outings that just works.
Sometimes I leave the house with the girls and wish I had not stepped out of the safety of the front door.

This was not one of those times.


















Monday, July 27, 2015

holidays

It's been a little dusty over here.
We've been away on camps and holidays and all over the place but now, after a crazy sore throat infection (phew!) I'm back into routine. 
Hello Term Three.
I even got up early this morning.

But I've got some lovely snaps to share with you all. We holidayed on the south coast with Myls siblings. It was all kinds of good. The fresh sea air and the mountain forest views, the tasty food, fine company and conversation. 

The girls really like their uncles and aunt. I think there is a special level of attention a small child gets from an aunt or uncle that a parent is unwilling/able to give? They were in a happy place. 

Poor little Smalls kept falling asleep late in the afternoon, usually in the car on the way back from somewhere which meant she was rather fond of partying up late in her room. Usually with strong encouragement from Lu. 
But holidays are made for late nights and later mornings, respectably timed breakfasts and lazy days. 

We found a squillion shells on the beach and spent one afternoon building beach fairy castles. 
The water was much too cold to even dip our toes in but it was lovely to sit and stare out at. 

We conquered my our fears of heights walking along twenty metre high platforms dangling out in the air and scaled a swaying tower twice that height. The girls are much braver than I am. 

We drove through the forest and kept a keen eye out for wolves. (As one does) 

We came home to the groans of Lu. She wanted to stay at our holiday house forever.












Thursday, May 28, 2015

shrinkie dinkie

We were at the craft shop the other day and they had a 50% off sale.
Nothing gets me going more than 50% off. It's a perfect opportunity to buy twice as much as you would already.

Or in this case. To walk in to a store and buy lots of very VERY useful things. Amirite?

I'd been looking out for some shrink plastic ever since seeing a very nice tutorial for making shrinkie jewellery in Mollie Makes but could only find it online with a hefty postage fee.
So you can imagine my delight when I saw it in that very craft store for (ahem) 50 blessed percent off.

The plastic was in. the. bag.

And so, the girls and I have had lots of fun experimenting.

It started off as one of those crafts that Mama does while the girls draw or paint because
- It's kinda tricky to draw on the plastic when you have small hands.
- I'm still a recovering control freak.

but then I realised that Lu could draw on a piece of paper, put the plastic over the top and colour in the drawing, and then I could trace her drawing onto the plastic with a black texta.

This makes for some very sweet (almost) completely kid made brooches.



Wednesday, May 27, 2015

sessions with a 4yo

Today I've got a special hilarious treat for you.
It's a video of me and the little one singing a little song.

I learned a few lessons.

1. Put a mirror in front of a preschooler and she wont be able to help being "fabulous."

2. If you sing a song enough times to your kid they will remember it.

3. Let it Go is not the only song in a small child's repertoire.

4. Once again, the imperfect things are often the best.


Enjoy.

video

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

21/52





I cut the girls hair this week. Yes me.
Yes, I'm a little bit crazy.
No, they did not cut my hair.

It actually turned out pretty well.

I've been joking about cutting Smalls' hair for months. She had developed the famous baby hair curly mullet. Her hair was always in her face and her curls were everywhere.
Having hair as straight as Tony Abbot I really have little idea about how to manage curls and it was just getting a bit ridiculous.

So, armed with the knowledge that I may cut off my small ones curls forever I asked her if she would like to make an appointment at Salon de Mama. She said "Yes."

I love this kid to bits but she has been known to change her mind more than once a second so I wasn't going to give her time to back up.
I grabbed my comb, scissors and water spray bottle and off we headed to the backyard.

She sat beautifully. Mostly still. I think the fear of the scissors-near-face did it.
She wanted a cuddle a few times because two years old but we got through.
I think it looks pretty cute in a kind of 1920s curly flapper kind of way.

The curls are not as ringletty and sweet as they used to be but I figure they might come back. I might have to do some more curl maintenance googling.


Lu, the Rapunzel wannabe agreed to go next when I told her that the best way to grow long hair is to give it a little cut now and then.*
She's been telling everyone she sees about her "trim" and how special and important it is with the most solemn and serious face. It's very sweet.

Would I do it again?
Perhaps.
It sure beats the $50+ I could have spent at the hairdresser and after all, it's only hair. It will grow back right?



*I assume this is true????

PS - I'm totally copping bad parent points for only posting a picture of one child but the other one was pulling faces she really doesn't want on the internet. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

reclaiming joy - as we remember




joy.

It's a feeling usually associated with dancing round a maypole with a Wigglesesque grin on your face but a feeling I am certain is possible to feel with tears pouring down your face.*

I've been thinking about joy lately.
I've had a number of conversations with people who feel robbed of their joy.
As Christians they know they are safe and secure in the love of God and it's not like they're doubting, they're just not feeling the joy. They feel stuck in the doldrums of following life. Plodding along like elephants holding the tail of the one in front.
I feel this way too sometimes.
It's easy to get stuck in the "doing" and forget the immense joy that the gospel brings.

But this joy doesn't necessarily bring hand waving and manic behaviour. (Though I guess it probably could?) It goes much deeper than that.
It's the wind beneath your sails, the wings that cover over, the intense peace, the hope of a world to come.
It pushes you through the hard times and turns your face heavenward in the good.
It comforts you when you weep and gives you a beat to dance to when you feel on top of the world.

It is joy.
And it comes from God.

But how can we really FEEL it?
How can we reclaim the joy that according to Galatians 6 comes as a fruit of the Holy Spirit?
Well like the small offering of pumpkins and strawberries we have grown in our garden over the summer it takes tending and watering and cultivating.
So to cultivate joy I need to sit and think happy thoughts? Or pull my cheeks back so I'm always smiling? Well...no.

I'm going to write four posts about cultivating and reclaiming the joy that comes with knowing Jesus.

As We Remember
As We Are Thankful
As We See Lives Saved
At The Foot of the Cross


So, As We Remember.

I love the Old Testament.


It's the biggest section of the bible, spans over a huge ammount of time, covers many different literary genres and has some really sticky controversial passages.
But what I love about it is that it contains one bigger story that flows right through the Old and is completed in the New Testament.

It's the story of God and his glory.
How he made the earth and all that is in it. How he made people and never ever ever stopped loving them. Despite the ways they shoved all his creation and love back into his face.
He never ever ever stopped loving them.

As I sit and read the pages of the Old Testament and read each story as a small part of a much bigger narrative I am filled with joy.

I squirm along with the best of them at the scary passages about war and conquest but on the flipside I see a God giving people over to their desire to live away from him.
I see the destruction of the flood that Noah survuived but also see the sadness in the eyes of the God who was grieved to have made us.
I gloss over books where great detail is taken to write down just how many golden bowls belong in the temple and just how many days is good to lie down after having a baby but on the flipside I see a God so holy that even his name could not be spoken.

And this God, this holy revered, powerful, grieved God, in order to be made more glorious, made himself nothing so that we could know him.

What joy. What deep abounding joy.

We must remember what he has done. Just after God brought his people up out of slavery in Egypt he gave them his law, his way to live, and told them not to forget.

10 When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build,11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig,and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied,12 be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. Deuteronomy 6:10-12

He tells his people to pass Gods laws down to their children to talk about them and to write them up for all to see. As we remember what God has done even before we were born, even before Jesus was born we are filled with joy at the power and glory of this eternal God.

So get into it! Get into the Old Testament and see what God has done. See the way he has loved his people. See how his love challenged them sometimes quite brutally but that his love never ended.

And indeed it did not end with the Old Testament. I'm going to talk about the New Testament in another post but lets skip ahead a few years. In the many many years since Jesus there have been Christian men and women who went before us. Their lives at times amaze us with the depth of their faith but even more amaze us with the depth of Gods love for them.

His love extends to the ends of the earth.

I feel a great sense of joy thinking of all the people who have gone before. The ones we have heard about like Martin Luther and John Calvin, like Billy Graham and Mother Theresa and the multitudes who never became well known in this world but who were and are so precious to God.

When we remember what God has done through the ages from the begining of time. When we remember who he is and reflect on his glory.

There, we find joy.




*I heard this description at a womens conference about 10 years ago and it has stuck with me.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Here is the proof

As a follow up to my last post on motherhood.

Tonight I was feeling a bit sad and sorry for myself. It's nearly holidays and everyone has a cold. You know. It's just that sad and sorry time of year.

Anyway, Lu had just started to feel wheezy. She has undiagnosed asthma* and I went to go get her puffer. As is likely to happen with small children I found the medicine parts stored away on top of the fridge, but the spacer was nowhere to be found.

I seached high and low feeling super worried that my little girl may soon find it increasingly harder to breathe. I looked and looked but I couldn't find it. I started to well up. What a bad mum. 

And then I heard footsteps.

"Have you found my puffer?" The little voice asked.
I said that I had not.
"Is your chest hurting too Mama? You look sad." She said.

I like to be honest with my kiddo. I hope it means she wont feel weird if she feels the same things.
"No, I'm not sick like that. Mamas just sad because I feel like I'm not doing a good job of being a Mama."
"Why do you feel like that?"
"Well, because I can't find your puffer and if I can't do that I can't look after you properly."

There was a pause but not much of one.

"It looks like you're a great Mama. I think that you're doing a great job."

My heart broke. Out of the mouths of babes.
You know, she is one of only two people who can tell me that and I know for a fact it is true.
So I'd better believe it.

Crisis was averted. Myl fortuitously walked in the door early from work and popped to the chemist for another spacer and my little girl is sleeping safely tucked up in her blankets.

I'm sitting her feeling humbled and thankful.




*Undiagnosed because she is under 5 and they don't diagnose it that young.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

songs - two for the price of one

I've had a few songs up my sleeve for a while.

The first is a little song I put together with the words of the prayer I pray for the girls each night.
It's short and sweet and Lu says she likes it. So I guess it works.




The second is Amazing Grace - Lullaby version.
With violin.




I've set myself the task of finishing the songs in one setting in one evening. This means they are very far from perfect. Forgive me.
If it were anything more than a hobby I would agonise and make it perfect.
But I think the agony ceases to make it fun.

That being said. Every time I listen to these tracks I hear the imperfections.
So maybe one day I will change the rules.

It was really fun to do.
It was especially nice to get out my violin and use this lovely feature on Garage Band in which you can create a loop and do as many takes of a particular section as you want.

I find the opportunities (as a non professional music playing adult) to get my violin out are few and far between. It's been good to put 13 years of lessons to use.


I hope you enjoy these.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

19/52



1. Scooting along. That look. 

2. Chocolate froyo face and a strong shoulder to lean on. Peashuhh Dada cuddul.

We celebrated Mothers Day on Myls day off. A Thursday. It makes sense. 

The girls had made me a card and brought me breakfast in bed. 
We trekked back to our old hometown and had pie and milkshakes. We walked down King St and I got a new Mothers Day dress. Then we went to Sydney Park and the girls scooted around. Smalls is still a little uncertain and needs a little help in the steering department but Lu is getting really brave. She powers on but needs a little assistance with the brakes. Eek!

The next day I was given a treasure map at home and went round the house (with Lu's assistance) to find presents hidden all over. 
There was an itunes gift card - because I sing with the girls
some pyjamas - for snuggling
some sweets - because we all like sweets to share
and some seeds - because we like to garden together. Friday is our gardening day. 

Each night as I sing the girls to sleep, Lu sits up and says 
"Mum, I've got a present for you."
"What's that?" I say
"A kiss and a hug."
"Ah," I say "that is my favourite present of all."
And so she pops out of bed and comes and gives me a big hug and a big kiss and runs back to bed. 
I was treated to many of my favourite presents this week.

Monday, May 11, 2015

the makings of a mother




Every now and then I try to piece together what it is I'm actually doing with this life I've got.

Between the breakfast in bed and the preschool made cards this weekend I've been reflecting on motherhood.
Mothers Day, why not?

It seems the world has plenty to say.

I've read plenty of articles from ridiculous "10 Worst Mother" click bait to Social Work textbooks detailing child psychology. I've been wary of the books that promise a better child in ten easy steps and I've scanned over comment sections on articles posted on MamaMia just to get a rise out of people.

I can remember wearing myself to exhaustion over a sleep training book when Lu was 9 months old. Writing all the things she was doing down in a notebook and trying to train her to sleep.

Everyone's got an opinion and an idea about how to do it. You could ask me, I've got my ideas too.

And then there's the "Mommy Wars." This confuses me. The only evidence I have seen of these so called wars is in the articles telling us how horrible they are. Or the videos (promoting formula) that tell us they must stop!? Or the comments... Never read the comments.
All the mums I meet are generally happy to let others be and understand from their own lives the difficulty and exhaustion that comes with being a mum and so, despite our difference in style the're happy to be sympathetic and supportive.

But maybe I'm just surrounded by nice people?

And then there's the advertising. All. The. Things.
The 50 essential newborn items.
The 260 soft toys your one year old needs for their development.
The 3948723 single use toys you MUST have.
And now that school looms on the horizon. The choices.
I had always assumed we would just go to the local school (and we still will)
BUT THE CHOICES!
The after school activites to turn your precious one into a genius or a sports superstar or a prima ballerina.
The opportunities!!!!
And the other kids, a mini advertisment in themselves. Often, a guilt trip of where your own kid is at.

I can remember seeing some other 18month old who could count to 10. When we went home Lu was drilled. C'mon child COUNT!

And then there's the way I was raised. Out in the fresh air in the country. Every breath of city air reminds me of what I'm not doing.

And then, and then, and then....

And then there are two sweet girls tucked up into their beds as I write.

They are the ones that made me a mother. They are what I am doing.

They are the manual to read. When they are telling me they want to play faries in the garden, or that they are hungry or that they love special treat late night outings to get sushi and ice cream.
They were the babies that refused to be put into a book I could read about.
The baby that at nine months old just wanted to have milk and a cuddle but at four goes to sleep with a book and comes for a lovely morning cuddle at an incredibly reasonable hour.

They are the little girls who couldn't give a hoot what some other mother thinks about the way they are being brought up. They are completely oblivious.
As hard as it is to believe based on the way I see myself, I am their favourite person.
I know it may not always be so but for now it is.

They are the girls who can make fun out of playing with sticks and cutlery and at the same time simply adore all the Disney princesses despite my best efforts to minimise their involvement in our lives. They like playing with duplo but also just like hanging out with Myl and I.
The only time they notice the things we lack is at the toy shop but the memory is easily forgotten.

The only reason I am a mother is because of them. I can take the books and the fancy toys and the awesome after school activities but if I'm doing them for anyone else other than those two little sleeping ones then I'm wasting my time.

Even more so as a Christian I do things for a greater audience. That of my heavenly father who parents perfectly. Knowing that despite my failings it is God who loves my girls more than I do.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

18/52


The queen and her castle.
-
Small and serious.


We went to go see Uncle Ben graduate. The girls thought he was dressed like a pirate. It was hilarious. They liked the statues and the angels in the rafters. We survived with only one toilet break. Good behaviour attained with the promise of cake for afternoon tea. 

It was exciting to ride into the city on the train. Lu now needs a ticket and thinks it's the best thing ever. She slides her ticket into the machine and walks through the barrier with a big smile on her face. We went without the stroller for the first time and it was lovely to be able to sit upstairs on the train and not wait for the lift. I carried Smalls in the Ergo and she fell asleep on the way home. That hasn't happened in a while. 

We walked back to Central from the uni. A well trodden path in our uni days. There are new buildings and new shops and new children but it was nice to walk along with my love. 


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

sing time







































Lately I've been entertaining my hobbies and it's been so good.
You might have noticed that this dusty old blog has been getting a bit of a workout but it's not just the blog.

In stead of sitting and watching Gossip Girl on the nights that Myl is out for work (which has it's place don't get me wrong) I've been setting aside nights for different little hobbies.

Sunday night is blogging night. I put together all the posts for the week. As many as I do in that night is as many that get posted.

Friday night is music night. Oh lovely music night.
I've decided to do a bit of recording. Ideally I'd like to do some recordings of the lullabies I sing to my sweetie pies but I started with a version of the Dusty Springfield song "Son of a Preacher Man."

I really really love the Civil Wars cover of "I Want You Back." It's so incredibly beautiful. The first time I heard it I couldn't think of the song even though it sounded so familiar. Then the penny dropped.

So, inspired by this great track I sought to create my own Motown/Acoustic harmony cover.

Here it is.





I'm using Garage band and a USB mic and am still learning how to use all the settings.
I think each Friday I'll learn a little more and the songs should sound better and better.

I think it's rather fun. Thankyou for indulging my hobby.





Image Credit - Goldmine Mag

Monday, May 4, 2015

dumplings and leadership

Last week we made some dumplings.

I like to cook. I'm a funny mish mash of super control freak perfectionist and random crazy little bit of this and that lady. In plain English it means I like to plan and cook a super meal of my own invention and plan. I like to control my food.

Over the years I've learnt that being crazy lady in the kitchen is a bit silly and when people come over i've learned that it's ok to ask someone to cut up tomatoes or cut bread. (Wild I know.)
Sometimes before a big event i'll write myself a list of things I can ask people to do just so I don't say, "Nothing, nothing!" and then slave myself to death in the kitchen.

So since these sweet little darlings I call daughters arrived on the scene I've had to adjust my standards. I can remember shortly after Lu popped out thinking about the kinds of crafts we could do together. I'd bought a few craft books in anticipation of my super crafty motherhood only to realise that my wee two month old was not very good at weilding scissors and tried to eat all the crayons.

But seriously, I remember Myl coming home one afternoon to a flustered and probably pregnant me sitting red faced in the loungeroom. I was covered with glitter, tissue paper and glue. Lu was crying.
I was poised in my usual craft stance. Leaning over, tongue out (for concentration) fingers moving quickly sticking circles of tissue paper in well thought out patterns on some thick white cardboard.
We had been making cards (obvs) and Lu just didn't get it. She had wanted to play with the paper and screw it into balls. Heck, she probably just wanted to stick the stuff up her nose and would have been quite happy doing it but CRAZY CRAFT MAMA LADY wanted to make cards.
With neat flipping tissue paper circles in well thought out patterns on the flipping white cardboard.
Just like I saw on Pinterest!
Kids these days....

Myles sat me down that night and we had a little chat about expectations of nearly two year olds and complicated crafts etc etc. I'm sure there was icecream involved.

So last week when I pulled out my pork mince and gow gee wrappers to make dumplings only to find a tiny curly haired sweetheart pushing her stool over to help, I thought back on that day and decided to let her.

What fun.

Deep breath.

Yes, you readers who have cooked with children in a ten metre radius, I can see you nodding.

I gave Smalls a wrapper and a spoon and watched her dig into the mince. She spooned the mince onto the wrapper and wet the edge just like I showed her.
Then she did some kind of banned origami manoeuvre, the minced wrapper sitting in her lap. Her face was screwed up in concentration. She was doing that sweet heavy breathing that kids do when they are thinking really hard.
So many times my hand wanted to reach out and just... tuck that... in... squeeze it.... just.... something....just. But I held myself back.
And then she was done.
She proudly held out her achievement for me to see.

"Look Mama, dumpling!"

And so it was.

"More dumpling please."

I gave her another, and another, and then Lu came over.
Now Lu, being four is a little more eager to learn the REAL way to do things. So I gave her a little tutorial. We made a dumpling together side by side. But even though her version was much more structurally sound than Smalls' version it was far from perfect.

"Look at the dumpling I've made." she said, beaming from ear to ear.

So, she made another, and another. We three sat in the kitchen making dumplings and giggling and talking. Myl joined us for the cooking and of course the eating.
These were some tasty dumplings. The girls ate many, shrieking with glee when they picked out a recognisable shape. Proud of the tasty morsel they had made.

I could have totally ushered the girls out of the kitchen to watch playschool or go read a book with dada that night. I've done it before and I'm sure I'll do it again.
But that night we made dumplings together.
They were far from perfect, but I think part of being a mama, teaching and leading my girls, is letting them have a red hot go.

They learn that they have skills to refine and value to add to the world.
I learn something too. That it's ok to take a deep breath and not try to be so perfect all the time.

The dumplings that taste the yummiest are the ones made with willing and eager hands.









Sunday, May 3, 2015

my parents




My dad told my husband once;

"The best way to love your kids, is to love their mother."

If this is true, then I am one very loved child.

My parents have been married for 35 years today. They are spending their wedding anniversary in Rome.

Paris for 30, Rome for 35.
I wonder where they'll go for 40.

In this world of convenience and self-love 35 years is no mean feat.
As I see marriages around me struggle and crumble I see their love remain, and grow and thrive.

I am so thankful for my parents marriage as I am thankful for them.
I'm so thankful for the way my dad would never let any of my siblings or I say a bad word about our mum.
I am so thankful for the way my Mum never whinges or complains about Dad even though this seems to be the most popular way wives react to their husbands in popular culture.
I'm thankful for the babysitters I got to know, which means my parents were often out together on dates, investing in their marriage.
I'm thankful for the times we saw them dancing or cuddling in the kitchen. We would squeeze in between them and join in. Myl and I do this now, these are precious moments.
I'm thankful for all the holidays we took together, the places we went as a family.

I'm so thankful for the way that their marriage has thrived after they've become empty nesters.
In fact I think they are secretly so glad we are all gone.
They still go on dates and spend time together. They might even dance in the kitchen?
Heck, they've gone overseas twice! They're loving it!

They have set a fine example of a loving marriage to my siblings and I.
I am so thankful for that.
And thankful for them.

Happy Anniversary Mum and Dad.
Have a good time on your Roman holiday.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

what babycino is that

You may have noticed that we go out to cafes a lot.
We do, it's true.
Having been born in Sydney's Inner West our girls are well at home surrounded by
Eddison light bulbs and artfully torn leather lounges.
They know their piccolo latte from their flat whites
and they know exactly how a babycino should be served.

So now that we live in the burbs we're on the hunt for the best babycino they have to offer.

Sadly I had a ton more photos on my phone but it has been lost forever into the abyss.

So enjoy these five. Click on the names for websites and locations.


Penshurst Deli & Cafe - $?

Your basic babycino. Froth, chocolate on top. In a paper cup for tiny unsteady hands.
No marshmallow but produced the perfect babycino monobrow.
Enjoyed by 1 out of 2 girls. The other had a pink milkshake.
A solid effort but by no means the best.
They have some nice caged in outdoor seating so we could enjoy the fresh air but not have our kids run into traffic.


The Palms Cafe - $1

Myl took Smalls here while we were on our church weekend away.
She spilt the babycino all over him. He wore it well.
Extra points for 100's and 1000's which added extra colour to his pants.


Laughing Goat Cafe - $0

HANDS DOWN BEST BABYCINOS EVER. The lady in the cafe came over when we entered and
asked if the girls could have a babycino and that she made them for free for all the kidlets.
Heck yes we said and out came the most phenomenal babycinos.
Froth, chocolate, 100's and 1000's, marshmallows, a chocolate flipping freckle AND a marshmallow.

This place is amazing. We spent ages enjoying breakfast and playing eye spy with the squillions of things they have decorated the place with.

Top cafe and my winner of the Babycino Cup.... which doesn't exist.


Lugarno Deli Cafe - $?

Standard fare babycino with TWO marshmallows and a teeny tiny cookie. Pretty good.
We can't remember how much it costs. I'd be willing to pay for this one.
The service is really nice too and they have high chairs.

I know this isn't about food but we ordered the girls pancakes to share and they brought out one serve of pancakes on two girl sized plates and it was just awesome.

This is our go-to before church breakfast or babycino place.



Meeting Morgan - $?

The new hipster cafe in town with super hipster babycinos.
Just look at that thing, it's flipping adorable in it's teeny tiny mason jar with it's ickle marshmallow.
I was all taking photos of it and Lu walked up and said,
"Look at that babycino, it's so small!"
And then she drank it down in one teeny tiny gulp.

Points for being so so rad but really, it's just too small.


Just a note, nobody paid me for these reviews. Nobody gave me anything for free. Except the goat place with their flippin' awesome cinos. But everyone gets em for free there.




Monday, April 27, 2015

two years old

smalls is two years old

She is a bursting bundle of opposites.
Her happy is oh so happy and her sad could darn near break your heart.
And that serious face...
She gets very shy around people she doesn't know but is a crazy daredevil when she's comfortable.
One minute she wants her shoes on, the next minute off.
She'd like to wear this dress, no this dress, no this dress!

Shes such a chatty little fella. She gives a running commentary on life and finishes most sentences with, "K?"
She's invented a dance called the lolly dance (performed when sweets are nearby) and sings
beautiful songs to us all. She also wrote her own knock knock joke.

Knock Knock
Who's there?
Trees.
Trees who?
Trees fall down.
*laughter*

What a wit.

She also says pweeeeeese! She used to call rabbits "Peter butt's" (Peter Rabbit inspired) but now she
just calls them rabbits. It's nice when kids gain language but kinda sad when they don't use cute
baby words anymore.

Her most used sentence is "Cuddle Mama." Which, though adorable, gets a little taxing after the 3927423946273469237th time while cooking dinner.

She likes to eat all the food and is quite taken with babycinos. With marshmallow of course.
She likes helping me cook dinner or bake. She is a very efficient beater licker and would eat
all the cookie dough without bothering to bake it. (Wouldn't we all)

She uses the potty like a pro. Most of the time...

She's finally getting her four last teeth. The canine ones. They are taking such a long time to pop up.
I think we can attribute 3927423946273469236 of the "cuddle mamas" to these teeth.

She loves the swing, and digging, and baby dolls, and GABBA!, and 123 wheeeeeeeee, and dropping
Lucy off at preschool, (and pushing the preschool boys when they are playing with the toy she would
like and making them cry).

She likes her sister. They run around and play and laugh.
And then someone starts screaming. Usually Norah.

She shrieks with glee when she hears the front door and Dada comes home. She thinks his beard
is hilarious.

She's my crazy little pint sized dinosaur girl. I love her (and her intensity) so so much.






Why yes I did have to go back to Christmas to find a picture of her both smiling and clothed.



But that's nothing till you've seen the picture of the girls dressed up in Chinese traditional dress at the Friendship gardens on instagram. *snort*


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Books We Love - Husband edition

This special editon of Books We Love comes from my dear lovely Myl. It's one of my favourtie things to watch him snuggled up on the lounge with a book and two cuddly girls. 



I love reading with my daughters. The first reason I enjoy reading because I get to go on an adventure with my daughters. It is like we have access to every world, universe, time period by opening a book and diving into the story. Whether we are wondering where the green sheep is or whether Aslan will save the day a new world of adventure awaits. The second reason is that I have enjoyed seeing the stories we read become apart of their stories. Children are so readily influenced by the world around them as they learn who they are and what the world is like that they exist in. It is a great blessing to read stories and see those stories become apart of the personalities of my daughters. I rejoice as I see them enjoy being protected like Lucy from Narnia, or being brave like the paper bag princess, or knowing that what they need most when they are scared is a cuddly bear to look after them. We all care about our children and we know that so many things influence who they are and how they experience life. It is wonderful bringing the voices Donaldson, Smith, Omerod, Lester and more to help teach my daughters of the wonder of life they may experience. 


Image Credit School Library Journal

  • The Lion, the witch, and the Wardrobe - The Chronicles of Narnia - C S Lewis
    • My eldest Daughter was named after one of the main characters in this book. We loved the character and therefore we loved the name. It was the first book I read to her as she lay sleeping on my chest as a little baby. One time I was reading it to her and she cried appropriately when Edmund betrays his brother and sisters. In this wonderful tale of difficult pasts and wonderful futures where animals can talk and you can have tea with a faun it feels like anything is possible. I love the way this story stretches my daughters imaginations. There is a look of wonder as I see her mind working a thousand miles an hour to imagine the place of Narnia and the fun to be had there. 

  • Maudie and Bear - Jan Omerod
    • I read this to both my daughters. It a series of stories of Maudie (a little blonde girl) and bear (a bear) as they go about everyday life. They encounter such problems as what they should wear when going for a bike ride and what to have morning tea as well as issues like how to act when you have accidentally hurt a friend. I love this story simply because I am bear and my daughter is Maudie. It feels like Omerod has written a book about us, for us. We have played day long games where I am always referred to as bear and my daughter is always Maudie (I am sternly corrected if I get that wrong and call her by her real name). At the end of one of the stories where Maudie is particular flustered by the events of the day and she is overwhelmed in tears bear’s response teaches me how to look after a little girl who is flustered and overwhelmed with tears. Sometimes little girls just need to sit in someones lap and be cuddled with a warm drink. 

  • Magic Beach - Alison Lester
    • I love this book because it makes such a clear connection between life and imagination. The book follows the pattern of one page describing the situation that you might expect at a beach and then the next page enters the imaginative mind and allows us as readers to enter the world of adventure. Waves are wild white horses galloping past, sand castles are places to protect from dragons, little boats are large yachts looking out for pirates, sea shells are treasures left by the pirates as they steal ashore in the middle of the night. This book captures the joy I see in the freedom that imagination gives my children. Every circumstance has the potential for new events. Blank pieces of paper in the car become treasure maps that only my daughter can read and direct us from. Every piece of wood or stick becomes a wand from which magic changes the world around us. Dragons often appear and are to be hidden from. Life is not boring with imaginative children as the regular things of life become so much more. 

  • The Paper Bag Princess - Robert Munsch
    • I love this story because it teaches my daughter that she can be more then a pretty face. She is capable and creative. She can learn and run and try hard and be brave and not wait for her prince charming to save her but take on the world herself. I can be pretty negative towards princess movies/books/themes because generally the princess seems to make ridiculous choices for the sake of a man i.e Ariel from the little mermaid gives up her greatest gift for the sake of loving a man. My hope for my daughter is not that she will settle for something because that is what she has but that she would be a princess who fights her own battles and travels her adventures. The paper bag princess doesn't settle for the silly prince who only cares about how she looks but goes off into the distance knowing there is more to her then a pretty face. She is wise, creative, clever, and above all brave. All things I hope for my little ones. 

  • Sunshine - Jan Omerod
    • This story has no words, only pictures. Yet it is not a simplistic picture book. It tells the story of a little girl and what life looks like for her each morning. I love this book because I get to tell the story with my girls. We look at the pictures and tell the story together. As they have gotten older they have noticed more details and they told the story better. They have added emotions and facial expressions. They know the funny bits and the sweet bits so they look forward to them. I like this book because more then any other book we tell the story together based on the pictures before us. It readily becomes a story we make together. My favourite part is where the little girl wakes up her daddy by giving him a kiss on the cheek. This has now become apart of our family tradition, sometimes I fall asleep just to get a little kiss. 



  • Honourable mentions - The kings happiness - Ikea, Anything by Julia Donaldson and Axel Schaeffer, Matilda by Roald Dahl, BFG by Roald Dahl, Where is the green sheep?

All image credit Amazon.com unless otherwise stated