Gone but not forgotten

It’s been over two months since I visited my blog. Over 2 months since I sat and read my favourite blogs. I’ve been gone but I certainly have not forgotten about my little place on the world wide web! I blame my return to work and a desire to be free from the computer in the evening.

I have buried my head into being back at work 3 days a week and all that comes with the delights and stresses of juggling managing a classroom and my two babies. I am loving work, loving it! I won’t try and pretend that the fortnightly paycheck isn’t my favourite part because it so totally is and it totally rocks (omg! See what happens when you’re around pre-teens 3 days a week!). I have been blessed with an amazing group of students, making it a delight walking back through that door! It takes a shift in the way you manage your house to make working with youngsters easier. The lack of time and spare brain power can be exhausting but I try to keep things in perspective and remember I am not superwoman! My kids love their crèche which makes the two days they are there so much easier. The girls who care for my little L do so with such love – she hasn’t had the easiest of times of late so it’s lovely to see that she’s wriggled into their hearts.C spends the days she’s not at crèche asking to go to crèche and asks if her carers can come everywhere with us! They are her “best friends” she tells me! You can’t ask for more than that!

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Poor L has spent a considerable amount of time at our doctor and the pediatrician. Concerned that she had been sick for a long time and didn’t appear to be growing, I took her in; she was lighter than she had been 4 months earlier 😦 She was whisked off for tests with the only conclusive thing coming back an iron deficiency. It has been a few months of absolutely roller coaster’ing with her. 2 days of happiness followed promptly by a week of sadness. Some days up, other days down. We’ve had amazing nights followed by the nights from hell! In this time she has been on antibiotics, ventolin for suspected asthma, iron supplements which then stuffed up her bowels, Zantac for suspected reflux – there was a time when 8 doses a day were going into her with no sign of improvement and me becoming increasingly stressed and frustrated. Over the weeks she has gone from the happy bundle of energy we knew to somewhat of a Velcro baby, attached to my hip when we are together. We seem to have turned a corner in the last couple of weeks with a brighter little girl waking up each morning. She had continued to progress and is mimicking our actions, showing a real desire to be one of us and getting so awfully close to taking those first few real steps. She will be a mums-girls for some time I’m sure but it has been so lovely to see her happy to go off on her for a sustained period of time.

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She recently turned 1 and had an absolute ball at her party! I didn’t see her all afternoon as she crawled and explored all over the place, lapping up the attention. A party is always such a great way to get the people you love together and it was great having our friends and tiny family there to celebrate. My husband once again put on his ‘Dad of the Year’ hat and designed her cake and put a lot of time and effort into catering for the day.

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C is becoming more and more grown up by the day and continues to flaunt her independence wherever she can! She talks…..and talks……and talks all day long! Is marvelous and extremely tiring!!! She has the most amazing memory bank of songs and busies herself putting on shows an making up songs about what she’s doing. Its not very peaceful at our house! Her latest new skill is drawing people – a potato look-a-like body with arms and legs and a tuft of hair- and these are cropping up everywhere! Another shift in her craft is the pre-planning that goes into it rather than naming it once it’s done, “I’m going to make a park,” “I’m drawing Humpty on the wall,” amazing when you think back to what she was doing this time last year! She’s also sporting a fabulous layered hair-do and very short fringe after having to rush to my hairdresser to save a home hairdressing job!! C+scissors+hiding in the playhouse whilst daddy changes a nappy… I’ll let you fill in the blanks!!! I have to quickly explain the story to people who comment on his lovely her layered hair looks – I don’t style my toddler’s hair as part of our everyday life!!!

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With holidays approaching, I will endeavor to catchup on the happenings of my blog-friends and will be back soon, hopefully with a bit more inspiration than I managed to muster up for this pre-bed post!

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Checking in

I can’t wait to sit down in bed this evening and read all the posts sitting in my Reader un-read! There is peace in our house at a reasonable delightful hour for the first time in a while – hubby has even snuck out to get a cheeky Indian takeaway whilst the babes sleep!

The last two weeks have been filled with highs and lows. I’ve had a great weekend away at my mum’s, been out a couple of nights, welcomed the arrival of a beautiful baby girl and shopped up a storm so that I am finally wearing clothes that fit my newly improved post-pregnancy body – no more potato sacks! Amongst the joy I have farewelled a dear friend as she embarks on an interstate adventure, been saddened and worried for a dear friend who is unwell at the moment and spent a week very concerned about the health of little L. Ups and downs!!

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July is also a challenging month personally, with many dates serving as a reminder of my dad’s passing 2 years ago. Our close knit ‘inner sanctum’ as he called us, rocked by his relatively sudden departure. It doesn’t get any easier. I haven’t stopped the ‘I must tell dad that’ moments and still catch myself going to send him a text. The Ashes starts tonight – cricket one of our shared passions where we would argue Oz vs England over and over! His birthday has been and gone – it would have been his 63rd. Now the build up is on for the anniversary date this Sunday. Some time over the next few days I will post some information about my fathers illness and passing, a relatively rare disease but one where he defied the odds. It will be a difficult post to write.

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On another note there are a few days left until my return to work 3 days a week. I’m excited to have my own class again and looking forward to the new challenge. The last couple of weeks have been busied with putting in place new organizational systems to help a smooth transition and make sure the house still runs relatively stress free! A routine will be welcomed and the guarantee of hours and income will stop me feeling like I am ‘floating’….or maybe that’s sinking?!!!

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Boogers and Bedtime Battles

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I lay down with my 2 1/2 year old at bedtime. I can’t help but smile at her mass of blonde curls and angelic eyes. I snuggle into her warm pjs and marvel at how cute she looks in them compared to how daggy I look in mine! “What’s that?” she asks (her favourite question at the moment) as she holds her hands millimeters from my eyes so I have no hope of being able to see what ‘that’ is. I sigh, weary from the question that has been asked over and over all day,“I don’t know C.” She grins “It’s a booger.” Peace broken and we laugh.

That just about sums up the week! If snot (sorry, I’m past sugar coating it!) was a trade-able commodity I’m fairly certain we would be challengers for a spot as Australia’s richest family! I have given up attempting to keep myself free from bodily fluids and just wait for D to get home to have a long, lone shower and to put on clean clothes! The girls came home from daycare full of cold last Tuesday and that is how things have stayed. I have attempted to be a good mother (?) and kept the week free and dedicated to staying inside, warm and quiet in an attempt to clear the colds quickly. I think I’ve only achieved in making myself miserable! We’ve missed sunshine because the air is still damp and cold and I was trying to keep the girls warm and toasty, I’ve missed human interaction! Even the joy of having all my food delivered this week was short lived when I realized I had no excuse to go out!!

C has been quiet. She has had long day sleeps and spent most of the week tucked up in my bed watching Peppa Pig on the iPad or lying on the couch watching Play School. I’ve let it go this week and let her rest. Everytime she tries to play she becomes tired and frustrated and ends up in a puddle of tears. She needs her rest. It hasn’t all been miserable. We’ve done our usually rotation or painting and playdough. She played with her dolls and cooked in her kitchen. She’s had up days before seeming to get knocked down with the bug again the next day. She’s battled with us every bedtime wanting more hugs, more water, more milk, multiple bathroom trips, to talk to daddy, to talk to mummy, to sleep on the couch, to sleep in mummy’s bed – you get the drift! She generally crashes by 9pm. At 1:30 this morning I found her sitting in the middle of her bedroom sobbing for Peppa and George – yep! Time for the tv to go off!

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L has been up and down mood wise. One minute clingy, wrapping her monkey legs around me or stiffening her body when I attempt to put her down; the next laughing and seeking out mischief. She has been having mammoth day sleeps too and then is up and down through the early evening. She’s been comfort feeding like a newborn again. She’s had some rough nights. Tonight (last night?) was her first ‘normal L’ night with her more usual 1 wake up. She woke at 3am but sadly I’m here at 6am still very much awake, unable to fall asleep.

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I’ve had a list of quieter things to do with the girls but I’m tired too and admittedly have used spare moments to try and stay on top of the house that I’m trapped in (!) or we’ve just snuggled on the couch. I brought the outside into the playroom this week by pulling the paddling pool in and putting some balls in it for the girls – more for L who loves balls!

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L’s had fun climbing in and out and throwing balls. C has had fun trying to teach L how to catch (as pictured). We’ve had throwing competitions, bounced dolls in there, pretended it’s a boat and used an ice cream scoop and plastic cups to turn the balls into scoops of delicious ice cream (trust C to take a perfect rough and tumble gross motor activity and turn it into a concentrated pretend play activity!)

It has been my first taste of winter with multiple children. From the 3 rounds of gastro D and i suffered over a 6 week period, to colds and coughs! The girls have alternated rough days, seeming to pass it round and round to each other as only loving cup-sharing, food sharing sisters could do!! Im hoping we can get it all out of our system so that my return to work in 2 1/2 weeks can be one of energy and good health!

Today I’m fighting back and leaving the house! I have had enough of waiting for it to pass! We will probably all feel a lot better with some warm hot choccies in our tummy and the company of friends!

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Reconnection

It’s so easy with two little ones in the house to become enveloped in nappies, food prep, bag packing, breastfeeds etc, etc, etc! D and I have made a concious effort this year to make sure we are doing things for ourselves. D tinkers at his pen turning hobby at a woodworkers club once a week and plays in-line hockey on the weekend. I train with a group of neighbours in the evening and attempt to run once a week and have just started a once a fortnight cake and coffee date night with my bestie so we can actually finish a conversation! This has been great for both of us!

With all Drew’s family interstate and mine over an hour away, we parent solo (with the amazing support of each other of course!). We have no relatives on white horses sweeping in to save the day, no babysitters to call at a whim! As a result we spend no time on our own. I’m not suggesting we are any worse off than others – hair appointments, docotors appointments, parties,dinner’s out in this house are either a family affair or we fly solo!

Since L came along, we have been swept into the busy-ness that was/is two-under-two!! We managed a 2-hour escape to our friend’s 40th back in March and it was rather amazing!! D works Tuesday-Saturday each week and has his weekend on a Sunday and Monday. When a public holiday falls on a Monday, he gets the Tuesday off, the girl’s creche day. Usually we keep the girls home to benefit from the extra-dad day which is particularly important to my daddy-idolising 2 1/2 year old. This week however we decided to send the girls off and have the day to ourselves…….alone!!!!

We woke like two kids at Christmas time! D got the girls breakfast’ed and dressed in record speed!!! Due to money woes we decided to have a date day at home – besides, every outing we came up with one of would say how nice it would be to go as a family (mmm…maybe we missed the point a bit!!). Our grand idea was to re-do one of our first dates and take our skates to the esplanande in St Kilda, have a skate and then have fish and chips for lunch but sadly Melbourne turned off it’s long weekend sunshine yesterday!! We darted all over town in the morning getting some much-overdue chores done. To a child-less couple this probably sounds like the worse way possible to spend a date but those with little people will appreciate that we got in and out of the car at 5 different locations in 3 hours! Skipping along, silently feeling like something was missing!

Once chores were done we took advantage of the drizzly weather and bunkered down on the couch under the doona and watched 2 movies (2!!!!) complete with movie snacks! It was absolute bliss. By 4:30 I was getting twitchy and we picked up our beautiful girls who had also had a great day – C with hands stained blue from playdough play and L, apparently rather taken with standing in a block box!

It was nice! We needed it! A day to reconnect and remember that underneath all the chaos “we” still exist

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Sibling rivalry

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Notice a theme? Yep – everywhere C goes, little sister is in tow! We are entering a new phase in our girl’s life and there are some..umm..teething problems!

It all started the day L realized she was tall enough to reach up onto C’s play oven…and then her table … and then her beloved pram. Gradually over the last 2 weeks, everything that was C’s has become ‘shared space’. Previously it was only floor games that were interrupted which seemed ok with C as she could pick and choose when she played with L and when she had her own space. Now whenever C stands to play, L can be found staring adoringly at her sister, trying to get her hands into whatever it is that is going on. My husband and i joke that L can teleport as she is so incredibly quick and she uses this speed to follow C around the house (and to provide me with a second audience member when I go to the toilet!) C is finding this difficult as she is, by nature, a bit of a lone ranger. She prefers her own space. I’m sure once L is old enough to be bossed around follow instructions, C will realize what a valuable play buddy she has but at the moment it appears she sees it as one massive intrusion! She has mastered a very subtle push and kick, both of which happen at the speed of light when you take your eyes away for a minute. A bang and then tears are the first you know of it.

So we are going through a bit of a phase where I am getting my first taste as the role of mediator! Leaving them to play together, alone, is not an option at the moment. L is spending a lot of our playtime on the floor using me to balance herself to her feet so she can practice standing unassisted and this constant contact between the two of us has lead to some jealously. C has become masterful at sliding herself between me and L so she can get a sneaky cuddle and also knows exactly when to turn on her two-year-old charm! Today was pure bliss as each girl slept for over 3 hour with not one minute of their sleep times crossing over. As frustrating as my lack of rest was, each girl had 3 hours of solo playtime to touch what they wanted when they wanted, to cruise and climb at will, to swing on the swing without having to give it up for the next person’s turn.

I have no doubt that people with older children are scoffing at this post in a knowing ‘just you wait’ kind of way!!!!! I know ..sort of…that this is just the beginning! I didn’t expect to have such an active, busy baby just yet – I was hoping things would move a little slower!

For every difficult play period there are of course still the very sweet moments. The way C cheers L on as she pushes her trolley around the house, the way L claps along to C’s shows, the way C always clarifies with me the L is coming with us when we are going somewhere. I am told that C spends her outside time at daycare, loitering outside of L’s room, peering through the windows. In fact when I picked her up this week she was surprised that L was awake, clearly aware that when I had arrived she had been in bed.

And as with all phases, this will pass and it will get easier…..right before it gets challenging in a whole new way!!!

XxGoodnight

Not L’s best look but I love C’s smile! My fav photo of them together is not net-safe as it is two gorgeous bare bottoms standing waiting for their bath!

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Thanking some fellow bloggers…

versatile-blogger-award http://kaelamoore.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/liebster-award.jpg?w=179&h=172 Beautiful Mama Blog Award

Over the last month, the very generous Valerie from Atlanta Mom of Three and Mommy Training Wheels have nominated me for some blogging awards. As a terribly un-attentive blogger (I have my good weeks 😉 I haven’t stumbled onto WordPress to blog myself and as such have rudely left the awarders un-thanked and the awards unaccepted.

One of my fellow bloggers accepted a couple of awards in one post – I;ve decided to steal this idea. To add to the crime, I’ve scrolled through me Reader and (hanging head in shame) can’t find the post to acknowledge the brilliant mamma who came up with this idea. If it was you, please, please, please comment and post a link to your blog!!!!

I will combine the criteria for the awards together into one acceptance post! Please excuse the length of it! Some time in the near future I will do a post linking you to some of my favourite blogs.

11 Facts About Me

1. This is the first time I have written a post on a computer and I’m not enjoying it!!

2. I was born and lived for 7 years in the UK in a fabulously English looking house, close to a village green.

3. After moving to Australia, I spent the next chapter of my life living a fabulously Australian life on land which housed koalas and possums and snakes and also backed onto a creek and the ‘bush’. We even found gold on our property.

4. I get horribly homesick and always have. Until highschool I couldn’t make it through a sleep over without my parents being called to collect me,

5. I hate making phonecalls and would rather drive to ask my questions or send an email!

6. I’m terrified of public transport. Just when I hit the age where I wanted to get around, I met my husband who already had a license and car so I was spoilt and never needed to drive anywhere!

7. Up until the birth of C I was an avid netballer. Lived at the netball courts in my younger days, regularly played twice a week in my later teens and adult life! My pelvis and hips have still not recovered from the turbulent arrival of C.

8. On the arrival of C – I have had 2 precipitate labours – I’ve been in labour less than 2 1/2 hours in my entire life with two healthy girls as evidence!

9. I can consume a horrendous amount of chocolate and biscuits in a very short time.

10. I am addicted to reality-style tv shows – The Block, Masterchef, My Kitchen Rules, Big Brother… you name it!

11. We moved into the house we built 6 years ago and are still no where near finished :-/

3 Things I love about motherhood

1) No matter how bad the world around you seems, no matter how bad the day has been, no matter how many mistakes you have made, there is always someone who loves you unconditionally and will show you that will a cuddle!

2) Getting to watch my children grow and develop into their own little people. Getting excited at each new development, new movement, new word!

3) Always having a friend to talk to – it might be about dolly and her sore leg or a bunch of ‘ma, da, ba’ jibberish but you’re never lonely!

Answer’s to Questions asked about me:

1.If you could be any animal, what would you be? A fly – I’m a gossip and would love to listen in on people’s lives somewhat un-noticed!

2. If something were named in your honor what would it be? A block of chocolate?!! Seriously, I think I show an incredible amount of resilience when life slaps me in the face so a resilience award would be nice to acknowledge the times I’ve held it together when I could have fallen apart.

3. If you could change your name what would you change it to? I’ve always loved my name but did go through a phase where I wanted to change the spelling!

4. What’s the furthest away from home you’ve been? My current home – Malaysia. Will trump that with Hawaii in October!

5. What’s your favourite drink? It was Diet Coke until my husband banished soft drink from our home in his quest for sugar-free’ness. Now it’s a naughty hot choccie with my bestie in the evening or with my girls when we go to the shops!

6. What came first the chicken or the egg? The egg

7. If you could learn another language what would it be? I used to speak, read and write Mandarin but have forgotten it all. I’d like to re-learn!

8. Besides blogging what are your hobbies? Hobbies have been somewhat absent in my post-baby life. I seem to be so time poor…or waste so much time on time-wasting activities! I train with a group of neighbours and a personal trainer once a week and I run. Running has got me through some very, very dark days and it really is me-time and the only time I can genuinely say I don’t think about my kids and everything that needs to get done. I have dabbled in scrapbooking and sewing but seriously lack the fine motor skills to be successful at either.

9. What is the funniest board/table game you’ve ever played? No board games are fun when I play with my incredibly competitive husband! In fact over the years we have stopped being invited to games nights! Absolute Baulderdash is my favourite though!

10. Complete this sentence. Clouds are funny because… they have the choice to be light and skinny and yet choose to be round and fat!

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She sells seashells

So many posts to read, very kind awards to accept! A horrible stomach bug hit me Mother’s Day night. It has taken every ounce of the tiny amount of energy I had to get over it, only to have it hit me again. I’ve made some decisions and come July my little family of four has some adjusting to do which will ultimately lead to a very positive outcome for us all but is also a little daunting….but I think more exciting than anything.. I think (I’ll expand another day!). This post has been in draft form for ages so thought it was worth finishing off!!

One of the advantages to having an obsessive sister is that she has many collections from her childhood, all in pristine condition. She has given several toys and collectables to C and all look as good as the day she as given them. I have been asking my mum for the shell collection for sometime and she kindly delivered on Mother’s Day a container of beautifully cared for shells.

The first thing C did with the shells was take them into the garden and place them very carefully, one-by-one, into a planter box she has claimed as her own. She dug with them, used them to ‘cut’ leaves, buried them and then left them there. A couple of days later, with dinner to prepare, a baby who spends dinner prep time clinging to my leg as I shuffle around the kitchen and a toddler repeatedly saying “what about ….” and asking for another type of food I don’t have in the pantry, I made a dash to the planter box, rescued the shells and set the girls up!

I put the dirty shells into a container, placed a container of water in the middle and am empty container on the other side. I tinted the water blue just to make it look a bit spesh! I showed C how to work from left to right (pre reading and writing skills….check!) to clean the dirty shells and put them into a new container once clean.

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She loved it! Of course once the cleaning was done the shells returned to the water and were used for scooping and splashing.

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I set L up in her high chair with some blue water on her tray, some carefully selected shells and woke bath toys. I was worried if she gummed some of the more delicate shells with the same gusto she attacked food that she might break them and cut her mouth. The high chair is the only place, that water play with L doesn’t turn into a swimming lesson! The girl loves her water! My husband and I make jokes about her being able to teleport because she seems to move at the speed of light to our water fountain on the decking if our sliding door is left open!

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C was really taken by the shells so after she went to bed I set up the following invitation to play for her:

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As I heard her feet patter though the house the following morning I could hear the familiar “Oh look!” she enjoyed her shells for a few days before they began to played with more carelessly, a sign that she is tiring and that it’s time for break!

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