Wednesday, 27 February 2013

they whistle while they work

... well, I guess it's more singing than whistling, but you get the gist!

Pretty much every day the kids unstack the dishwasher, usually after breakfast. It is their main 'family contribution' chore that *I* am consistent with getting them to do... in fact now I pretty much rely on them!

What once was a prolonged project (especially with a distractable toddler) has become a pretty streamlined operation, with the two of them managing to completely unstack it in about ten minutes. There have been seasons of dragging feet, but now they just jump in and cheerfully and quickly get the job done.

This morning I was taking care of Miles in another room and listening to them sing 'Jesus loves the little children' together, and giggling and chatting as they merrily attended to their task.

Siblings singing and laughing together whilst undertaking household chores? Yeah, pretty much a mother's dream, haha! Well, mine at least. I had to take a moment to stop and give thanks to God for these sweet kids and their happy, helpful hearts. So very, very thankful for my blessings.

Don't get me wrong - many times this task has been punctuated with complaints, squabbles (who gets to put the grater away, who shut the drawer too quickly, who isn't helping enough) or by a two-year-old wandering off in distraction and so on. Well, I don't know why the cheese grater is such hot property, and my plastics and cutlery drawers are usually in chaos thanks to the best-stacking-efforts of a toddler and preschooler. But we persevere, we train and encourage, they improve over time and it has all been Oh.So.Worth.It.

'Cos this scene? Delightful! 

(And besides, I now have a good excuse for the messy state of my kitchen cupboards.... 
I can just blame the kids!)

A discussion about who is closing the drawer this time. (E: Lily, it's my turn!).
They open and shut it after every dish.  I just let them work out their own technique, however ineffective, lol!! 

When a two year old who can't see into the drawer puts away the cutlery, it sometimes looks like this and even worse.
It just makes me smile.... yep, totally worth a messy cutlery drawer!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

8/52 - on her bike


Parenting confession... our 4.5 year old has hardly ever ridden a bike. Well, I could give plenty of reasons excuses why (a girl who chooses making craft over bike-riding offers, no footpaths or parks by our house for easy access, etc etc) but at the end of the day, it's just one of those things that slipped through the cracks. Yes, I find there are certain parenting to do's I just realise one day we kinda 'forgot' to do (or rather, we didn't push), like the whole bike riding thing. Oh, the shame. 

So, today, Mark dragged out the second-hand bike given to us by some kind neighbours a while back and also (somewhat) dragged out a girl who insisted she would much rather be creating a cat out of a shoe box (don't worry, she finished that later that day). We realised a level little cul-de-sac across from our house was the perfect training ground. Lily is a cautious Little Miss with physical stuff like this, a little nervous and a little quick to say 'it's too hard' and stop trying. So it was also a good opportunity to work on perseverance and improving skills too. 

Although we realised she is already outgrowing the bike (doh!), after a little bit of encouragement and some assistance with some push-starts... before too long, she was cruising along and her beaming smile said it all. She did it. And now? She asks every day to go out to riding again and gets better, faster and more confident each time. Well, perhaps she is making up for lost time! Those training wheels may be off before we know it!


Daddy's been doing a lot of gardening. His little sidekick is quick to call 'I help you gardening, Daddy!' as soon as he sees him pull out the gardening gear. Mark got him his own adorable little pair of gardening gloves so he can help dig, weed and carry. Not much of that actually happens (playing with sticks is more fun), but he is dressed for the occasion so that's something, right!?


Cupid's Bow

(fitting for my little angel)

Project 52: A portrait of my children, once a week, every week for 2013.

More highlights from the week that was...

A kiss from a princess...

Reading to her brother - never too early to start!

Miles endures another overly-affectionate hug. He is loved.

This image makes me smile as I suspect loving neck-embraces will in a few short years turn into wrestling choke-holds?! 

Lily takes her turn holding Baby. Note Eli in the background, pillow on lap, awaiting his turn.
I think I need to work out some kind of ticketing system!!

Rainy day snuggled in bed with my baby. Bliss.

Milk Moustache

Multi-tasking Daddy!

Cruising on his scooter...

In my arms // The looks he gives

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

#2 - Baby Daze (Four Weeks)

Miles is now four weeks old.... how on earth did that happen?!

Our little man is waking up more each day. Love seeing him being so alert and watching his dark blue eyes tracking his older siblings racing all around him! He is a tough little dude too, withstanding all the snuggles and smothering hugs from his adoring brother and sister.

Sleeping: Being the 'poor third child' he has been roaming the house in his bassinette till now - initially and mostly in our bedroom, then we started wheeling him into the lounge room outside our bedroom overnight (with bedroom door open). Only a couple metres away but enough to help me sleep better not hearing every little Snuffle&Squeak! Around 3.5 weeks he suddenly transitioned from waking twice in the night to feed (about 1.30am and 4am) to mostly only waking once at around 3.30am which is very reasonable, thankyouverymuchyoungsir! I can handle one feed a night!

So then a couple days ago, because we had insurance assessors coming to do stuff in our bedroom/ensuite  during the day (due to a little flooding incident which gave some drama to our last week!) I rolled his bassinette into the guest room which is going to be temporarily his till I do some more room shuffling. So there he has stayed as all that rolling around was getting a bit out of hand, haha! With both bedroom doors open I can hear him no problem at night and now that he is generally only waking once, there is not too much of me groggily staggering back and forth in the dark. My little bear seems happy wherever he sleeps and that now includes his 'temporary accommodations  of the guest room/nursery! All his clothes are in baskets around the room, with a change mat and changing gear all laid out on the guest's double bed - it's all very mish-mash but he doesn't seem to care! Ohhh, when I remember how precisely Lily's room was assembled months before she was born... things do change, huh!

With Miles in his temporary room for the foreseeable  future, the next stage is a bunk bed in Lily's room for Eli to move in and share, so Miles can then transfer to Eli's room/cot... then the next medium-term stage (seriously, so many stages!!) in probably a couple of years will be moving the boys in together with the bunks and Lily will have her own room. Phew. I'm sure that has confused every reader - if you need me to draw you a diagram just let me know, haha! And who knows if it will all unfold like that, we will just see how things go and assess and reshuffle as required depending on how everyone handles the changes. Thankfully with four bedrooms we do have quite a few options - but our preference is to keep the guest room as a guest room for when lovely friends and family come to stay! Plus, call me old school, but I think room-sharing is good for kids!

Teeny baby ears, hair, hands... every bit of him is so precious.

Routine:  Miles is still cruising along on a great little flexible three-hour routine. He is still feeding three hourly in the day - mostly I wake him for a feed or he wakes himself at around the three-hour mark. Sometimes I manage to squeeze in an extra feed or two if he wakes early. Over the early evening if he stirs, I will give him an extra feed to boost him up for the overnight stretch! I am watching out for growth spurts and also expecting some fussy/unsettled periods in the coming week as it's a Wonder Week approaching around 5 weeks. He is doing good with self-settling, just drifting off to sleep on his own most of the time when I put him down after the right wake time (which is currently 45-60 minutes, depending on sleepy cues). If he fusses, picking him up for a burp and a cuddle, then trying again usually sends him right off to sleep - or if that fails, giving him five minutes to settle himself does the trick.

Feeding: He is still breastfeeding with gusto and packing on the pounds. Friends are commenting how much he has grown already - not sure how much he weighs exactly but he is for sure getting chubbier and heavier. He is such a speedy eater (5-10 minutes on one side at the most) - I have no idea how he gets so much to eat in such a short time, but the rapid growth and countless wet nappies tells me he is getting more than enough!

And...Miles has just hit his 'baby acne' stage, poor darling! Even with his red spotty skin, we assure him he is the most beautiful baby in the world (gotta boost the self esteem, haha). His little neck is getting stronger as he tries to keep an eye on the family movements! He does well being toted around on family outings, though with Mark back at work full time as of next week, I will see how we go flying totally solo!

Having to bundle all three kids in and out of the car twice a day on my own for Lily's school days is a bit of a hoopla... ugh. Although Miles mostly sleeps through it now, I hate taking him from his cosy bed to put him in and out of the car, and I cringe at the thought of all the disrupted naps that will be happening throughout the year due to pick up and drop off. Trying to think through various ways to work around that, so will report on how that goes!

Well, at just four weeks there is not too much else to report.... he is such a sweet little fellow, and I am very grateful that the rumours I heard about the 3rd kid just 'slotting into the family' appearing to so far be true! Funny how quickly you change from not being able to imagine that new child to not being able to imagine life without them!

Month one has flown. The coming months will surely whip by too.... but not before I get my fill of newborn snuggles and smooches! I like to just sniff his little head when I rock him... (is that weird?!)

Monday, 18 February 2013

MILEStones... One Month

My little dude is already one month old!

Just as I did with Eli (and wish I had thought to start earlier with Lily), I plan to take monthly portraits of Miles to track this rapidly evolving first year. 

I usually just write or print off a little sign with the month on it that the baby quickly learns to grab/rip/chew. Tricky. But last week I received in the post an absolutely charming little gift... a whole set of singlets with the months ironed on!! They were a wonderfully thoughtful present from Tarnya, who I 'met' through last year's Documenting Delight project. Go check out her blog Get In the Good Light and prepare to be stunned not only at the cuteness of her son but also her incredible photography talents....she amazes and inspires me. She also touched my heart with such a sweet gift that will be soooo appreciated and utilised this year - thank you, lovely lady!

I could not resist displaying the whole adorable stack (each singlet appropriately sized of course) and just marveling at this 'year at a glance' that I think is going to go Way Too Fast for this mum!!!

Anyway.... to rewind just a bit, back to that first day at home....

He was sleeping and then suddenly gave this huge sleepy 'smile'.... too cute!

My wise little man at one month old...
Okay, time I need you to slow down a little!!

You know, I usually can't see anything of myself in my kids but with
Miles for the first time, I do see glimpses of myself as a baby...
except he is much, much cuter, of course!

Just had to include this one....

I was meaning to collage them all together but my editing software is being glitchy (or maybe it's just my brain that is glitchy today!), so rather than driving myself crazy trying to work it out I will just leave it till next month and hope for your forgiveness for the scattered posting here! Also the second Baby Daze installment will be coming soon too.

Oh, baby Miles. You are one month old... it seems like so much longer and yet shorter all at the same time. All I know is that you are the perfect fit for our family and we are all utterly in love with you. My dreamy, delightful, delicious baby boy. I honestly cannot imagine not having you here with us. Love, love, love you xx

Sunday, 17 February 2013


Lily -

My fluttering little fairy, so excited for our Girl's Adventure to the movies.... 


Just a cheery little fellow. He makes me laugh like nobody else.

Miles - 

Little bathroom sinks just perfect for cosy baby baths....

Project 52: A portrait of my children once a week, every week, in 2013.

Other highlights from the week that was....

They set themselves up at the craft table together. This is Lily's domain and now Eli is getting old enough
she lets him sit and craft with her as he is now less likely to destroy everything in toddler-fashion!
However I hear her sharing a few home truths as they work 'Eli, even though we call you a big boy, you are really still
a little boy because I'm four and you're two.'

They sing 'I've got the joy, joy, joy down in my heart' together as they merrily
craft away. 

He misses his sister deeply when she is at school. He spent the whole day
wearing this backpack slung over his shoulder and asking every five minutes if it
was time to pick Lily up yet!

Saturday, 16 February 2013

me, my girl, and a movie

High time for a Girl's Adventure!

My lovely friend Amber invited Lily and I to come along with her and her daughter Harper to a local cinema which was showing some of the older Disney movies on Saturday mornings for a reduced price. A girlie outing with our dear friends seemed like the perfect little opportunity for some quality time with my girl. 

Now that I am no longer pregnant or sick and feeling pretty recovered from the birth, I was keen to spend some one-on-one time with my little lady. After her first week of school last week, the poor darling was a wreck over last weekend. I think the emotional (and  physical) stress of a new school full of new people for full days had really wiped her out and she was a bit of a mess by Friday! And although she is completely enamored with her sweet baby brother, I am sure the recent changes to our family and her little life also played a part... that is a lot of change in just three weeks for a little person to cope with. 

I had wondered how long it would take her to adjust to the toll of full-day schooling but am relieved that this week, even though she went for three days, she seemed much more settled and able to cope and was back to her usual cheery self. Nonetheless, a mother-daughter outing seemed like just what we needed... as I have to admit with a new baby to care for, handling her emotions as well also took its toll on me!

The night before I tried Miles on his first bottle of expressed breast milk and he drank it like a champ, which meant I could leave him home with  Daddy and Eli today (boy's day!!) so I could just focus on hanging out with Lily. By the way, pleased to report all the boys did just fine on their morning flying solo!

Do I even need to say how excited Lily was at the idea of an outing to the movies (first time ever!), including cafe lunch afterwards, and her dear friend Harper?! Yeah...she was over the moon!

Happy squealy scrunchy faces are the best.


Kids were encouraged to dress up for the special screenings and this is the
outfit Lily chose! 

A fluttering little fairy...

Two old friends catching up on the  latest goss in line at the cinema!! Too funny...

Scampering up the stairs....

Eagerly anticipating the start of the movie....

The movie (Mulan) was just-ok... a little bit battle-filled for me and my girl's taste. However she and Harper were happy to giggle and share snacks through the boring/heavy bits and Lily got through her first full movie session just fine. We topped off the outing with a delicious lunch afterwards (indulgent!) and the little girls' eager chatter was matched only by Amber and I also enthusiastically catching up and swapping news!

Giddy chit-chat at the cafe afterwards...

Lily and Harper split a strawberry milkshake... what a treat!

Two fairies have a little play before our magical adventure comes to an end...

My favourite bit? The long and quiet car rides just talking with my daughter. So much of the constant chatter in our home takes place between siblings -  it was lovely to have time to talk just with her - about school, the baby, the rubbish tip (we drove past), children without mummies and daddies, and what ever else came to her mind... 

Oh, she is growing up. 

Right before my eyes and yet somehow it's still surprising. Her once chubby baby legs get longer and leaner, her vocabulary explodes, her world view expands, and her questions struggle to keep up with her limitless ideas. Much of life with children is made up of teaching, training, caretaking, developing character and so on...  Days like this are simply for getting to know each other better. And I love getting to know this heart - her tender little heart. As her mother, I yearn to know more of what I already love. I want to know her better so I can love and raise her better and show her all the more how loved by God and her parents she is. So very loved.