Sunday, 16 July 2017

a wander in the trees together

After our magical snow adventures, we spent a lovely afternoon wandering through the trees at the Arboretum (well, more scampering around, in the case of the kids!), before our dear friends had to start the long journey home. 

This little woodland elf....

Peeling paper bark from the trees...

The theme of the week soon became 'pranks', namely a (very mild and good humoured) prank-war between the boys and the girls. 

The following is a series of photos I snapped of the kids discussing previous prank successes, and then the girls whispering and giggling up up a storm, as they gleefully discussed their next attack. They were in their own world and it was so lovely to capture these unguarded moments. 

Priya and Lily have the most precious bond. They shared a room and whispered all night, played all day and just had the most delightful time together. Oh, the simple beauty of girlhood friendships.

Georgia, you are such a beautiful mum! A rare little family snap (how well coordinated are they??!) xx

We love these guys, our little twinning family, and can't wait till we can hang out again.

Oh, and Arboretum, I love you too!!

Sunday, 9 July 2017

26.52 snow adventures // fun with friends

We live pretty close to the snow but I have admittedly been pretty slack about taking the kids there.... all that driving and snow-gear-gathering just all seemed a bit much. #lazymum

My lovely friend Georgia, her three kids and her sister drove alllll the way down from Queensland for a visit recently and they were keen to embrace a 'proper snow day'. It was the motivation I needed to make it happen and I am sooooooo glad I did. It was such a fun and magical day, the kids had a blast and we did too. It was even more fun going with our dear friends, seeing our horde of kids playing together (we have 3 sets of same age and gender duos, so it's pretty perfect!) and embracing a bit of childhood fun ourselves, sliding down a massive snow hill on our bottoms at top speed was frankly hysterical!!! 

Most of the photos I snapped on my phone and are up on my Instagram but here are the few I managed to take with frosty fingers on my big camera. 

Why walk when you can get towed, right, Florin??

Beautiful frosty Thredbo..... you can't tell in this photo properly but it was actually SNOWING!! So magical!

I promise he is not passing out from hypothermia, he is just mucking around!!! ;) As per usual!

Florin, you little snowman, are the cutest!

Making the childhood classic - snowman! With coal for eyes and carrot for nose.... #prepared

The all important placing of the nose.
This crew! They are all such good buddies and had such a fun day! Miles hugging Florin is toooooo cute!

Snowman abandoned as the kids run off to climb the hill. So sad!

This boy had sooooo much fun in the snow. Even though he was soaked by the end of it, he never once complained of the cold and just kept exclaiming 'I love snow days! It's so beautiful! Thank you Mummy for this fun day!' #melt 

Theo, speed demon!

Mark, getting some serious speed too!!! People were flying down this hill, it was so awesome!

I just love this little image. At eight, Lily is allllll about her friends, so to have a snow adventure with her little soul sister, Priya, was just a dream come true for her! They had the best fun, two little adventurers!

Well earned hot chips at the end of an incredible day!!

Thanks Georgia and Co. for a fantastic day (let's not talk about the phone incident haha!) and for motivating us to all go on such an awesome and unforgettable adventure. 
We love your beautiful family to pieces!!! xx

Project 52: A portrait of my family, once a week, every week, in 2017.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

25.52 that sibling life // little brother

I just can't even.

If these photos don't summarise life with an adoring/annoying younger sibling, well, I just don't know what does!?!

Ah, the plight of the long suffering (yet secretly loving it) (I think) older sister. Noisy and boy-sey he may be, but he loves and adores you, truly.

One day, I pray, you will be all grown, and you will be the dearest of friends, united in shared memories of family life and someone to roll your eyes with at all the weird ways of your parents. I know it won't be perfect but just remember, sweet kiddos, that no one else has shared this unique family life like you and your siblings have. I pray that this shared childhood experience bonds you, so you can support each other through whatever life is going to throw at you. Siblings can be such a rich blessing to each other. Flawed and messy though our family may be, if I can emerge from this these early years of parenting knowing that I have helped nurture a strong bond between my children, that you will be there to cheer each other on and support each other when we are gone, I will be so very happy and grateful.

I pray that you will love each other through the mess and cheer each other on through every success.

Project 52: A portrait of my family, once a week, every week, in 2017.  
(posted with Lily's permission!)

Sunday, 25 June 2017

24.52 little feet, big steps

My little lady, on the cusp of nine and very much in the 'tween' zone. Eager to leave 'little girl' things behind, especially anything pink and sparkly...

(oh, to think those days of fairy wings and tulle skirts were so very fleeting.... #sniffsniff). 

She is so innately ready to spread her wings (just a little), so eager to find those moments of independence, her own (small) place in the big world.

Lately, she has been asking to take a walk around the block we live on during the afternoons. Those little feet, positively itching to step out into the world on her own, just in small, manageable doses.

As a mother, I am caught between society's constant alternate messaging of  -

'You have to watch them every minute or you are a terrible, neglectful parent and something terrible will happen to them...'


'In our day, we roamed the neighbourhood till dark, no mobile phones, wild and free and exploring the world, this is how childhood should be...'

I listen to my gut and we choose the path that is right for us, freedom within boundaries.

I can see how much she needs this, she craves it and it seems intuitively right, this small and calculated risk. Loosening the apron strings, letting her venture out just a little.

So off she sets, around the block. A one-woman-exploration adventure.

Not too long later, she returns, beaming. Buzzing with the thrill of her bravery and accomplishment. Her smile is so wide, she is glowing with pride and self-satisfaction. Reports of all the animals she saw, neighbours she greeted and things she observed out in this wonderful world.

It's become a fairly regular thing, a little outing when those itchy feet need a little bit of independence. A stroll around the block. Just a small adventure in our very quiet neighbourhood, but it seems to soothe her spirit immensely.

Mission: Accomplished. 

Project 52: A portrait of my family once a week, every week, in 2015. 

Sunday, 18 June 2017

23.52 washing on the line and a little teamwork in the brotherhood

These brothers. 

They love each other, they have so much fun together, but they also tend to rile each other up quite a bit. 

One annoys the other, the other over reacts, and so it escalates into bickering, and on and on! 

Maybe that sounds familiar?! 


On another note, the boys share a room and lately have been getting into the habit of putting barely-worn, still-clean clothes (like PJs worn for just one night or a hoodie they wore just for a couple hours) into the laundry hamper (and filthy clothes back into their wardrobes?!! Whyyyyy. Arghhhh). They definitely weren't intentionally trying to make more work or put it in the wrong place, but it was more just them rushing and not taking time to properly check their clothes (with perhaps a dash of laziness), which meant I was sorting through or laundering a lot of clean clothes. Ain't nobody got time for that!! ;) 

Even after several reminders and taking time to show them how to inspect their clothes, it still didn't seem to be sinking in. When I saw their hamper overflowing once more, I decided it was time for a more hands-on lesson. Not a punishment, but just a practical opportunity to experience how much work goes into a load of laundry and why we don't want to be washing clean clothes!

I told the boys they would be getting a chance to do a complete load of laundry by themselves. Eli and Lily have done this before (I often get them to do some of their own loads during the school holidays as it's just not practical right now for them to do all their washing during the school terms!). Miles hasn't done a full laundry process before (they usually just fold and put away clean clothes), so Eli eagerly got to show him the ropes in his best big brother style!

They took on the challenge with a great attitude, I am pleased to report.

Little hands carried the overflowing hamper to the laundry. Step-stools were fetched and feet clambered up. They sorted and piled their laundry into the machine, while perched on stools. They poured in the detergent and turned on the machine (the button pressing is of course the best bit).

When the chime rang an hour or so later, they had the mammoth task of pulling damp, heavy washing all out of the machine and into a basket. Then another mountain to climb - carrying that heavy basket of wet clothes outside to the clothes line, all the way at the back of the yard. I wasn't sure it was physically possible for them, but working together, they used all their muscles and got it out there. Strong boys, taking pleasure in working hard! 

Chairs were dragged out so they could reach the line, the intricacies of pegging well enough to keep heavy clothes hanging was investigated and eventually conquered. They were doing it all on their own, and they were doing wonderfully! Then things got tricky. The age old issue emerged of two people trying to peg clothes on a spinning washing line at the same time.... each trying to pull the Hills Hoist in their direction. Soon, the squabbling commenced. Uh-oh.

I had been lingering in the garden to ensure they got themselves sorted okay and safely on the chairs. As the bickering started over who was pulling the line in which direction before someone else was ready... I almost intervened but realised I had to let them work it through themselves. 

'You guys, you have a problem but I really think you can work this out together. You have a job to do and if you work as a team, it's going to be much more fun and get done much more quickly. I believe you can sort this out, why not talk about it to find a solution!'

And with that, I went back inside. To be honest, totally unsure how this would play out!! At first voiced were raised but then all was quiet. Then giggling and happy voices. Then ten minutes later, they came barrelling back inside, shrieking for me to come observe their handiwork. Out I came, where they proudly showed me a line full of (somewhat dubiously pegged, but I didn't mention that!) clothes on the line. 

They had done the job, they had worked together, they had worked through their issues and they were bursting with pride at a job well done!

And the next day, they faithfully unpegged it all and brought in to sort, fold and put away.


The hoped-for side effect soon became apparent. They became more careful about considering what clothes needed to be washed and what could be put aside for another wear. (Sidenote: If you are the kind of home-keeper who washes towels after a single use or a hoodie after a single wear, you are probably judging me hard right now, lol!!!!!). But there has been an unexpected and wonderful other side effect too... since that opportunity to work on a project together and even work through conflict and resolve it in order to get the job done, their relationship has really blossomed and strengthened. There has been noticeably less (note, I am not saying zero!) squabbling and bickering, there has been a noticeable strengthening of their friendship. Better play together, more kindness and understanding, more team work and more enjoyment of each other.

I am so grateful. Yes, for the lessening of the laundry, but even more so, for the strengthening of their relationship. I tell them all the time that brothers can be your best friend and I really hope and pray it is true for them.

Of course, it's not a one-time-miracle-fix or 100% cure. Living with people is hard, siblings and spouses included, so conflict is an inevitable part of life together. Messy, imperfect, growing together in life. But these baby steps in the right direction are something to be celebrated. And particularly because a little challenge that I gave with one aim had an even richer benefit than I expected. 

I guess we are all just learning on the job xx

Project 52: A portrait of my family, once a week, every week, in 2017.