Sunday, 26 May 2013

21/52 - helpfulness + hiking


Our little family theme this week was 'helpfulness'. The kids and I talked a lot about what it means to be helpful, why we help each other and how to be helpful to others. We looked out for opportunities to be helpful around the home and gave extra doses of recognition and thankfulness when we spotted it. It is natural for a child's focus to be on their own little world, but I hope to continually open their eyes over time to the needs and activities around them and to see how valuable it is when they step in to lend a hand. Everyone has something to give!

My sweet-hearted Lily had some precious ideas such as tidying up her Daddy's office - Mark sure appreciated finding all his office things tidied into little piles, heehee! One evening she offered to help me make dinner. She worked really hard grating a huge pile of Parmesan and even helped stir the risotto... and we all know that takes some time! 

Love her happy, helpful heart. 


Puppy dog eyes.

Quite literally, as he is in the midst of playing 'Doggies' with Lily. Unsurprisingly, he is the puppy and she is the owner. He scampers around the house, fetching and rolling and happily displaying all his tricks. 

Such an accommodating little brother! Always ready to play and be part of the fun. And who could resist those baby blues?!


The bath is his happy place. Mine too! It's one of my favourite rituals with him... especially since he graduated to the full-size bath tub in recent weeks. In an inch or two of water, he can happily flail about, kicking and splashing to his heart's content. He just loves it and already I see the look of gleeful recognition when I lay him down in the warm water. I love contentedly sitting on the little green stool in the bathroom, continually dripping warm water over him from the wash cloth, rubbing his hair, and laughing, chatting and gently singing with my little happy camper. It is a sweet time, bested only by that delicious moment when I lift him from the water and wrap him quickly and snugly in a cosy big towel. Ain't nothing like a freshly bathed, towel-swaddled baby, is there?

Of course... although this child rarely spits up, five minutes after his cleansing bath, without fail, he always manages to spit up on himself. Cheeky boy! Hmmm, maybe it's his way of ensuring he gets another bath soon?!

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

More highlights from the week that was...

It's been a lovely relaxed week with a renewed sense of energy to devote to my family and home. I have recently wrapped up about four months of Public Relations/Marketing consulting (from home) for an old friend who just starting up a new web business. It is a wonderful business and I really enjoyed being involved in the launch of something so exciting and stretching those old work wings! As fun as it all was, finishing up for now has felt a little like releasing a breath I didn't even realise I was holding. It just feels nice to have recaptured some time and space (both physically and mentally) for my busy young family and I'm grateful I can keep that as my main job for now!

With a Saturday spread before us, we decided to hike up Mt Taylor, a very popular walking track not too far from us. Canberra is getting super frosty but today after the mist cleared, it was a gorgeous blue day and we wanted to get out and enjoy it! We have never done the track with the kids before and certainly did not intend to go the whole way (it is a pretty intense upward climb) but somehow... we did. Admittedly at least three times I suggested at a rest stop that it was probably time to turn back but each time we decided to go 'just a little further'. When Mark suggested 3/4 of the way up that the kids have the little chocolate treat he had smuggled into his jacket, Lily exclaimed 'But Daddy, those are for when we get to the top!'. Shamed by our four year old, on we trekked!! And somehow, some way, we made it to the summit - with me carrying 7ish kilos of baby the whole way (yes, I was pretty proud of myself!). Miles had the time of his life being toted along, he just napped and looked around without a peep the whole morning!

I was super impressed by how well the kids did walking all that way. After we reached the summit there were a few tears from our exhausted little duo who realised we had to walk down again!! But hand-in-hand (it was a steep descent) we finally made it back to the car and cheered for our family accomplishment... it felt pretty satisfying!

Ready to start the walk. Definitely overdressed, we had to carry the coats most of the way! (iPhone pic)

Headed back down...

Lily decided to try and make letters on the floor. Corralling her wriggly
non-literate brother took some effort but they got a pretty good 'T' in the end!

She loves to read to him and I love to see them!


Eli was keen to assist at bath time. Little Bro was happy to see him!


When I said it was hair-washing time, funny little E said 'Mummy, 'dis a new way to wash my hair!' Nice try!

Friday, 24 May 2013

miles.tones // four months

Happy Four Months to Mister Miles!

When taking his four month photos, I gave up on awkwardly propping him on the couch especially when I realised not only was he looking very uncomfortable but he tends to fold his hands so I couldn't see the monthly numbers. Kicking myself a little because now the series of photos won't have the same background but... yeah... oh well!?

At least now he is free to kick and squirm and laugh with abandon...

My, how he grows...


Well, it really feels like my boy is growing up, now he is out of the first three months (newborn stage) and bursting through so many levels of development. He is able to stay awake longer (about 75-90 minutes) and is doing all kinds of new things. We have (on most days) dropped the fourth nap as his wake time has extended, so his general routine looks something like....

7.30am - Wake, Feed, Play
9.00am - Nap (on Lily's school days I try to keep him up till after school drop-off, otherwise he naps more like 8.30am).
11.00 am - Wake, Feed, Play
12.30pm - Nap
2.30pm - Wake, Feed, Play
4.00 pm - Nap
5.30pm - Wake, Feed, Play
7pm - Bedtime
10.30pm - Dreamfeed and Sleep through the night...

We have mostly dropped the double-dream feed... occasionally he still wakes and wants a feed at about 8.30pm... and one night I fed him at 9pm then experimented with not waking him later and he slept from 9pm to 6.30am! But as I would rather he go through to 7.30am, I am going to just keep at the later dreamfeed of 10.30pm for now.

Miles.tones and More...

Miles is full of laughter, chuckles, smiles and 'talking'. He coos and smirks and conveys so much with his eyes... I love his little curious looks. He is so wriggly and can scootch and squirm his way all around a rug, like 360 degrees and quite a way forwards too by kicking his legs around. He is desperately trying to roll (especially back to front) but not quite there yet. He loves his hands and sucks madly on them a lot of the time... and loves to bat at and grab toys.

When he has free play on the blanket, it is fascinating to peer at him unobserved and see the wonder with which he touches, crinkles and bats at toys... the world is just full of amazing things for him to explore. I am giving him lots of time and space to explore and develop at his own pace - without propping, pushing or leading. So as tempting as it is to nudge him over into a full roll on the rug when I see him kicking his legs... (milestone pressure!), I know that the journey of working out how to do it himself is much better than me hurrying him into it. Having older kids too... I know this lesson applies to so much of parenting. Giving them space to learn and fail and push themselves under their own initiative. It requires trust and patience on my part (hard!) so... we are both learning!

Some of our sweetest moments are during feed times, when he catches my eye and suddenly starts grinning up at me... *melt* that look of love just Cannot.Be.Beat.

He is our happy, sweet, cheerful little boy and oh, I adore him. Everywhere we go people comment on how calm and happy he seems... and he truly is. Love mothering this kiddo.

I love you dearly, Little Bear. You are our sunshine xx

Miles gives his best Duck Face

Even better...The Kissy Face.

Rockin' his Baby Mohawk like a boss!

By peering at him over the top of the camera and acting like a monkey, I managed to
distract him from the big black camera and capture the adorable smile I get to see all day!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

20/52 - a mother's day, simple + sweet


Ready to adventure.


He saw a bird. 

Everything in this beautiful world of ours amazes him. 


Is there anything like this moment? 

I snuggle with my boy at a Mother's Day afternoon tea with my wonderful extended family. He slowly releases himself to sleep, perchance to dream while we 'grown-ups' laugh and chat. The noise bubbles around him, easing him to slumber. All the tension releases from his body, transforming him into that soft little 'sack of flour', perfectly molded to my shoulder. He permanently imprints both my heart and my body with his adorable baby shape. Rubbing his back, and occasionally sniffing that sweet head, I can't help but wonder when it will be the last time that my precious child will sleep like this in my arms. 

To hold your sleeping baby is one of the most delicious and blessed privileges. I savour these moments of babyhood, for they are precious and fleeting.

More highlights from the week that was....

Mother's Day weekend. It was lovely. I was so thankful for a weekend of rest, fun and a little extra appreciation from my family. Mark granted me a weekend off from (most of) the nitty-gritty of mothering, which was much-needed and much-appreciated! I spent quite a bit of it relaxing (guilt-free!) in bed. He took care of the kids and cleaned the house... wahoo! Everything was lovely and just as I'd wanted.... or in the least, it was well-intentioned! ;) (You mama's know what I'm sayin', right!?). In our family we have a tradition of celebrating Mother/Father's Day on the Saturday with our little clan, so that on Sunday we can go to church and focus on celebrating our parents without feeling pulled away from our own little family celebration. Of course, it ends up being pretty much a whole weekend of celebration and why-on-earth-not?! :) Usually around this time I would also be popping out for my highly-anticipated annual retreat, but due to a teeny baby still in my arms, I will wait until later in the year for that. It will be worth the wait!

The weekend was full of simple (but oh-so-anticipated) joys like a sleep-in, and breakfast delivered to me in bed with much giggling and sideways-glances from the kids at the tasty treats on the tray. Lily asked when it was going to be Kid's Day. I smirked and told her that every day was Kid's Day (just as my mother had always told me when I asked the same question!). A gorgeous family portrait drawn by the kids was delivered along with a card listing all the things they loved about me - this was my favourite thing! Later that morning we headed out to explore the Sculpure Garden at the Art Gallery and to stroll around Lake Burley Griffin, enjoying coffee and a stunning day amidst the gorgeous Autumn leaves. An afternoon relaxing and reading in bed (so indulgent!), and take away dinner made a delightful day. On Sunday after church, we visited with my family and celebrated my Grandmother, and later made a bevy of calls to our wonderful mothers who are currently all around the country. 

I remember as a child wondering why my beloved Mum didn't want me to spend my hard-earned $2 on a classy perfume from the school Mother's Day stall and instead always insisted she loved handmade stuff by us the best of all. How could this be, I wondered - why would she want our scrappy handmade stuff when she could have a lovely purchased gift. Now I am a mother and am thankful to now know what she knew. For Mother's Day I don't want to buy into the commercialism and I don't want or need piles of gifts to feel loved. I just want time with my family, I want time to rest and reflect, and most of all I want those scrappy little handmade cards.

May it never be said about me that 'she didn't know how good she had it'. I know. I know. God has blessed me abundantly with an embarrassment of riches... to be 'mother' to these precious three. In all its glory, challenges, failings, exhaustions, frustrations, and sweet moments, I am grateful. It is a calling and a title I am beyond proud to wear... and to live... every day for the rest of my life.

Greeted by a bunch of blessings in the morning makes a happy (but still groggy - ha!) mother. 

Exploring the Sculpture Garden at the National Art Gallery

'Umm... is this supposed to be fun?'

Overexposed but still a sweet moment with 2./3 of my cherubs. 

Family Portrait by Lily... heehee!

Me and my Girl x

Love this city...
Mark took the kids grocery shopping (good man!) and when they spotted the aisles of flowers the kid went crazy with excitement and begged to buy some for me (well played, Supermarket Marketing Team, well played). Lily happily selected some gorgeous yellow roses (love!) and Eli picked the balloon he is madly waving that says 'You're Special'. The sweetest thing was how they barrelled inside to present them to me, shrieking 'HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!'. *melt*

My little ray of Sunshine...his throaty, gaspy, little chuckle is pure delight. Such a happy, happy boy.

A rainy and quiet day was perfect for experimenting with home-made facepaint. Just corn flour, food colouring, a little water and lotion mixed up quickly for a lot of messy fun! Even I got a makeover, haha.

These days he is constantly sucking his perfectly-folded hands. Drooling like mad too. Teething already?!
She made herself a kite and was thrilled when the breeze waved it around a little.
Ain't nothing better than watching her creativity unfold...

Story time (with a gorgeous book that was Mark's as a kid) with my three most precious blessings...
what better way to end a Mother's day?

Saturday, 11 May 2013

19/52 - a boy, a brother and a bee


My getting-so-big girl gets ready to go on a late Friday night shopping session with Daddy (just quietly, I think they were looking for a Mother's Day gift even though I always say *no bought gifts* for Mother's Day!). 

Daddy dressed her up too - I was impressed with the cute outfit he put together!

She was super-dooper excited to be heading out with just him... and At Night, Past Bedtime, no less. Giddy with excitement, she had a blast and bounced back in two hours later with tales of a chocolate milk shared with Dad. Precious. 

Looking at her Daddy, excited for their special Father/Daughter adventure. 


An Autumnal stroll with my two little fellows (while Sister was at school) turned into quite the adventure after Eli asked to walk Bee along in his trolley and I agreed. He was thrilled, to say the least! 

I can't believe I haven't introduced Eli's beloved Bee before. He has always been the kind of kid to cling fiercely to routine, familiarity and the things he knows and loves. We never pushed a 'lovey' type toy but kids have their way of making their own connection and slowly but surely, Bee rose to the top of the overflowing toy pile. He is actually a wheatbag gifted so kindly by a sweet friend (so he can be heated in the microwave in winter for extra toasty cuddles - his tummy is the wheatbag). Eli adores him and totes him around the house for all manner of play... they have hilarious conversations and all kinds of role play are acted out between the two... Bee is usually the baby getting into all kinds of mischief. Bee is sadly not usually permitted to go outside, so Eli props him by the door to 'watch'. I love observing his imaginative play. They are best buddies and Eli was so pleased to take Bee on his very first outdoor adventure - a walk around the block!

The walk was slow but delicious with the soft Autumn light and colourful fallen leaves all around. Autumn is Canberra at its most glorious.

This week's portrait... it's just the sum of Eli - a boy, some sticks, his Bee and his transport!


My little ray of soothing sunshine.

(Those eyebrows are sure getting a work out these days). 

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

More highlights from the week that was...

I am struggling to capture Miles' fully-fledged grin which is a shame cos it is so adorable!
This night, he was laughing and chatting, then every time I picked up the camera he stopped to stare at this big black
thing. When I put it down he would start laughing again! It happened over and over, this talk/smile is as close as I got!

Mark reads a Bible story to the kids each night and lately the kids have
started acting out the stories as he reads. They love helping the stories
come to life! This is Eli as John attempting to baptise Lily/Jesus in the river... 

Ready to stroll... and Bee is ready too!


love the protective little hold!

He saw a plane!
a boy and his beloved bee

he saw a cat. his reactions to everything in life are this big! 

'he not happy now, mummy'

The Long Walk Home (he suggested leaving the trolley  behind, half way home.., sorry, Dude, keep pushing!)