Wednesday, 31 July 2013

30/52 - a half birthday, a full one, and a swim


This week, my firstborn racked up five full years of life with us.

Quite a milestone, five!

We had recently been talking about how once she turned five she could start learning to cook more meals independently - and she was very excited about this. Though at one point she looked at me concerned and asked 'Mummy, when I am five, will you still be an adult?' I told her 'Yes'. She looked relieved 'Oh good, so you will still cook some dinners too, I won't have to cook all the dinners?" Ha! If only ;)

So, for her birthday dinner, I of course asked what she would like to have (could have anything - within reason!). Empowered by this idea of her cooking, she requested soft-boiled eggs with toast soldiers - which she wanted to make herself!!!! Making her own birthday dinner (and so basic!) seemed a bit rough, but who was I to argue with such enthusiasm!? So, make it she did - and she was rather pleased with herself too, taking the task very seriously.

Just another of the 1,000,000 reasons why I love this girl. 

Happy birthday, lovely Lily xx


A big week for my big boy too! Now he has hit three years old, he is old enough to go into swimming classes on his own. And with Miles now six months old, I decided to drum up the energy and enthusiasm required to bundle three kids down to the pool and through showers and dank change rooms during winter! (Admittedly one of my least favourite things to do, like, ever!)

My beautiful boy. He was so brave! I could tell he was just a bit nervous and a little surprised to find himself in the class he has been (literally) clambering to get into after watching Lily for so long. How different it was to see him (so rarely) a little quiet and hesitant... but he went along with everything he was asked to do. It was ever so good for him to need to learn to listen to the teacher too ;) 

He is so water confident, it will be good to see him add some skills to that confidence over the coming months. So proud of him just literally jumping in and getting into it, though it is such a new world to him. And such a change from a little girl who cried for a full term when she started classes!

Swim, little fishie!


Pretty much in love with this image of my baby boy.

We sat him up to the dinner table for the first time at six months old on the dot. He just looked around at all the family in surprise and then broke into this huge joyful beaming grin!! It was soooo cute. He was just thrilled to be up and part of the action with the rest of the family! And we love having him there too.

Now we are complete!

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

More highlights from the week that was...

It was a busy milestone week around here - as we were also planning for Lily's 5th birthday party on the Saturday. She chose a Princess Tea Party theme! Yes, she is well and truly a girly-girl and I no longer try and fight it ;) I just make sure she is always aware there are other options out there for girls too, and they are *all* ok. 

We had thought a fair bit about the 'party policy' for our family... having three kids, we are definitely not going to be having parties for every kid every year - and to be honest, even if we just had one kid, they would not be having a party every year anyway ;) We do like to have big parties for all of their 1st birthdays. It is a fun time to celebrate that special first year and we kinda see it as a way to thank everyone who supported us along the way too. Although the one year old doesn't get much out of it (apart from their first sugar hit in the form of cake!), we figure its a nice photographic memory/milestone for them to look back on.

From there on in, birthdays are just little family get-togethers - at the pre-five age kids just don't really get or appreciate much fuss anyway! But we decided that five is such a gorgeous milestone age, when kids are really starting to form their own friendships and are also able to have the fun of anticipation and planning. So, for our family, five will be the age for their next party :) Who knows what age will be next after that (8? 10? or 21?!)... let's see if we survive this stage first, haha!

So, after I rather belatedly decided I had the energy to put a party together, we broke the news to Lily who was THRILLED to say the least :) She has just been soooooo excited through the whole process, it's been gorgeous. I love that this is such a special event for her and that she can be so involved. We decided to go with the old 'one child/guest for every year of age' invitation approach, so the party would actually be enjoyable and not a house of chaos!! It would be small enough for Lily and her guests to really enjoy hanging out with each other, but still enough people to make it 'festive' - so she got to choose five little friends. Along with my parents and a couple of guests' siblings, it turned out to be the perfect amount! It was also another indicator of this school-age-stage transition for me - there were lots of little (and big) friends I was dying to invite to her party but decided I needed to let her choose her own friends. And so she chose a few of her new little school and playgroup friends. Yes, another sign of the transition - the importance of her school friends in her little world now! As tempted as I was to add a few more dear friends, I knew a smaller party would be more enjoyable/less stressful for all, so made myself stick to it :) So annoying being rational, isn't it?!

One of the loveliest things about planning this party was how eager my sweet girl was to help. Rather than just expecting it to be something *I* did for her, she eagerly offered ideas (games etc) and asked to help with every stage. Um, yes, maybe she will be a little planner/organiser just like her mama!? It was fun to have her involved and made the experience even sweeter. Yes, I have a zillion party pics on file but I must blog sequentially (or the world will explode?!) so first, I must document the week lead up, including of course her actual birthday on the Tuesday before... 

Party food prep: spreading the tomato paste on the Pizza Pinwheels 

Mixing up the birthday cupcakes

Their most beloved task: Egg cracking

The other big milestone (yes, it was a big week for our little tribe!) was our darling Miles turning six months old. I may have had a small tear in my eye as we set up the highchair for the 3rd time, and brought him to the dinner table for the first time. Half way through one year. The end of six months of growing and nourishing a little human solely with my own body (wow, we are a pretty amazing creation, huh?!)... and the end of the convenient era of needing nothing but me to feed him wherever and whenever. Plus, the beginning of mess, haha! Thankfully, we do Baby Led Weaning so the actual food prep is minimal and the whole approach is a pleasure and so fun. I may do a post about our experiences with BLW now we are on our third time through! But anyway, here he is in all his cute glory....

I was in serious denial that he was ready for solids and was pretty sure he would
not be interested in eating for a while, however he surprised me by launching right
in! Sometimes he munches on his finger thinking it's avocado ;)

The kids were having conniptions of excitment because they wanted to see him eat and he wasn't picking anything up at first. Although it's not proper BLW, I caved and held up a bit of avocado in my hand so he could grab my hands and try the food. He was happy and the kids were VERY happy :)

I let her try it once but had to put an end to this pretty quick - baby boy needs to eat in his own time and pace, much to the kid's dismay who are so eager to force-feed, haha!

Night Two: He was taking charge of his own food :) 

A surprise visitor to the dinner table.... Peter Rabbit!

Miles joining us at the table meant a reshuffling of the family seating. Daddy now next to Eli and me between Lily and Miles. Everyone was thrilled and it felt pretty special to have all *five* of us up there together :) Excuse the chaos of the dinner table - we had Egyptian soup and everyone likes different accompaniments (lime, yoghurt, cream, sour cream, warm bread, etc!!). Not a great shot but still a great moment that I wanted to capture and remember :)

Actually, it's a bit boring up here sometimes! 


Although we missed a term of swimming, Lily (literally) dove right in and
got back into it with no worries. Am I the only mother who for some reason
finds the idea of their child being able to swim just this incredible thing?! I am
just so amazed by it!

My little athlete.

Mid-dive! I think her friend is pretty impressed, haha ;)


Birthday Dinner: She wanted a Princess Egg :)

Of course, she wanted to decorate her birthday dinner cupcakes too!

Opening gifts. We gave her a musical jewellery box (a much longed for item), a couple of lovely books and we gifted her our old camera as she is always keen to take photos. She was soooo happy, but unfortunately it had been sitting in a drawer for 2 years and we didn't realise it didn't really work now!  Oops... now looking for an alternative.

First joyful glimpse inside...

A very happy little girl, with little brother always poking his head in too :)

Monday, 29 July 2013

miles.stones // a six month 'half birthday'

Happy half-birthday to my little man! 

Half a year already? Madness!

Yes, it is no surprise that I got a little sentimental over this half-year milestone.... it's a big leap, especially seeing solids introduced. But as these posts are really about the month before (so, Miles' fifth month) I will leave the details of that messy goodness till next time. Suffice to say we have dived in at six months on the dot and doing Baby Led Weaning for the third time around is going great!

Anyway, this hear-by marks the half-way point of an amazing first year with smiley Miles :)

It has been, without doubt, an absolute pleasure! xx



We are in a bit of a tricky phase where he is still on three naps which seems a little too much, but not quite ready to drop to two. Squeezing in proper sleeps and full waketimes is a bit tricky. However it does mean the day is pretty flexible in terms of being able to make up for short naps another time if we have to get him up early to go out or whatever. Depending on whether it's a school day or not, we are mostly looking like this...

7.30am -  Wake, feed, play
9 - 11am - Nap
11am-1pm - Wake, feed, play
1-3pm - Nap
3 - 4.45 - Wake, feed, play
4.45 - 5.30pm - Catnap
5.30 - Wake, feed, play (bath), top up feed
7/7.30pm - Bed
10pm-ish - Dream Feed

Not sure if he will be ready to go to two naps for a while yet, so may just shorten his naptimes to 1.5 hours as his wake time increases. We are both not quite ready to give up the dream feed yet either ;)

You can see all the blonde coming through... 
There is an awful lot of this going on. Hard to capture him flat on his back anymore!

Miles.tones and more...

Miles is babbling like a happy little chatterbox. He is saying 'Dada' and 'Bubba' quite a lot, which sends Lily into conniptions - she is sooooo excited to have him 'talking REAL WORDS, Mummy!!!!!!' and keeps trying to add to his repertoire! Quite amusing seeing Miles get so much coaching.... no pressure, little dude :)

He laughs and giggles and rolls and wriggles - and grasps for anything in range... and scooches around quite a bit too. Loves holding his legs up in the air and staring at them, haha! Not chewing those tootsies yet. Loves copying faces and sounds (when he is in the mood). Loves exploring your face with those little claws too!

I have been pretty conscious about not 'propping' him in unnatural positions, (eg sitting, standing, in jolly jumpers or walkers etc), but he is now in the highchair for solids and sits great and is so strong in his core! It's adorable to see him sitting up with the family. Seriously, the minute we sat him up there, he smiled SO BIG. Like, 'Hooray, I am up with the family and all the action!'. It was gorgeous. Oops, I am supposed to keep all that for next month but anyway!! He is doing great with solids via Baby Led Weaning.

He is still a pretty chilled little baby and I can't see him really crawling for a while, but we will see what happens... I know when he starts crawling is when the trouble starts, haha, so I am in no rush personally ;)
Surprisingly, no teeth yet! Which puts him later than my first two who got two toothypegs at five months. His bottom left one is alllllmost through - sitting right under the skin and feeling sharp but not quite broken through - we will see how long it takes.

Hmmmm, I can't think of too many other details to record here, other than hooray for a half-year birthday with our beautiful boy. Love this kiddo, just love him like crazy. I had forgotten so many sweet pleasures of this age - like how his little eyes track me constantly around the room and as soon as I make eye contact, he bursts into that mega-watt sunshiney grin. I mean.... ain't nothing better than that adorable smile! Exchanging wordless loving gazes with your little one is pretty darn sweet and I could spend all my time doing it. Alas, meals must be cooked and floors swept too ;)

Mum, you still taking photos?!
Oh, I do, do, do love you!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

lily // impossibly five

Impossibly five.

How can it be? She has transformed before me into a child. Isn't there just something about five? Chubby legs now long and lean, hands are strong and dexterous. She engages, observes, converses, plans, imagines.... and organises - oh, how she organises. A girl after my own heart in so many ways!

No longer a baby, a toddler... even preschooler does not seem apt, though that is what she is. A 'child' is all she can be labelled now. Her little years seem far behind. Sometimes it takes my breath away - seeing her aboard this 'growing up' train, it chugging forward along the track and realising there is no turning back now. Five full years behind us (magical years) and many more (I pray) of growing up ahead. I wonder about the foundation that's been laid in those little years. I pray it is a strong one built on faith and our family values. I am excited about the years to come. I watch her blossom before me, and I pray for strength to guide her along the path. A path that we both will need to learn to navigate, with grace for our many missteps along the way!

Her cheeky-silly-giggle face. I love, love, love!

Cracking herself up...full-throttle-happy.

Lily. She enchants me. As our oldest child she will always forge the path, and I will always be trying to keep just ahead, or walking alongside or even tagging at her heels, learning with how to navigate these new ages and stages with her. School challenges, friendships drama, exploring new freedoms and boundaries and so on. So much awaits us both!

I marvel at how aware she is becoming. Socially engaged and observant, she tucks away every little social cue she picks up on, and is just so sensitive and thoughtful. Discreet (she can keep things private, and knows to check with me before asking someone if they are pregnant now!), helpful, and always concerned for others. The other day a friend leaving the house was juggling bags to the car, and Lily was quick to pipe up 'Can I give you a hand carrying something?' and eagerly lugged a bag. *melt* (yes, proud mummy moment).

She yearns to move around in this world and be part of every adventure to be had! She is going places, my little girl. She is so very keen to be a grown up (who can stay up late and not have to follow rules... little does she know?!). Don't rush, darling, these childhood years are precious and fleeting. And I need more time to prepare!! ;)

I have seen her blossom this year, becoming a 'big' big sister. Having a baby when one of my children is old enough to really understand and participate in the experience has been an unexpected pleasure. She tenderly watches out for Miles, care and cuddles, anticipates his needs and fiercely protects. And begs, begs, begs to do more for and with him. Little girl, I pray you are one day blessed with your own baby to cherish - I know you will rock it out, you already nurture and soothe like a pro!

Her relationship with Eli grows deeper and more complex as he gains independence and desires more say. They negotiate and sometimes squabble, but they desire to be together always and so they forge through working out how to play together when they don't quite want to do the same thing. A training ground for life, huh?! I am so grateful for their devoted and adoring friendship. Their bond is so precious to me. Now they share a room, their adventures and hijinks have increased, as they whisper and giggle into the night.

Lily has found vulnerability this year... the girl who has always found friendship in everyone she encountered had her tender heart a little broken by some tricky friendship issues. It is new for her to encounter such things and new to me helping navigate it - how to encourage, whether to step in, how to support, equip and guide her in this crazy complex world of female friendship. Being skilled in choosing good friends can save a world of hurt... but it is one of life's realities to have to deal with a bit of drama too. Always be kind, my little one, but choose wisely to whom you give your time and heart!

Those eyes have got a twinkle, no doubt about it.

She is a party animal. Every morning she asks 'Who's coming over today?' (Admittedly, usually someone!). At any gathering, she eagerly counts numbers and always wishes for a few more. She loves people all around her. The more, the better. She remembers details about friends and family that I have long forgotten and can tend to get almost hysterical with excitement when we have a group of visitors. A little social butterfly.

She has emotions. Many. Often every shade of the rainbow can appear in a short time space. They are worn on her sleeve. She is a happy, cheerful, easy going kid but is also tender hearted and quick to tears when disappointed, hurt, frustrated, embarrassed, or just plain tired. Tears, oh tears, they are aplenty. Is there anything like the tears of a young girl?! I have to bite my lip at times, almost smiling at the seemingly minor things that can send her to floods of heartfelt tears.... but they appear only at home in the privacy and comfort of family. Out in the world, I see her breath deep and soldier on. Although it can be exhausting, managing those very damp emotions, it is sorta nice to know she has a safe place to let them all flood out. I know she will take some hard knocks in years to come, but at her core she is strong (God goes with her!) and I know she will get through as she learns to temper her tenderness with resilience.

She has a simple and sweet faith, with Jesus a friend whom she carries everywhere in her heart. When I told her she could choose a show to watch because it was her birthday, she chose a Bible Stories DVD 'because God has blessed me on my birthday'. I mean, seriously!! The faith at the heart of our home and family seeps into her daily life and is in the heart of every value we instill. When it flows back out naturally from her heart and mouth it is such a gift. I am grateful to see her question, search and soak up the truest and most valuable truths and, oh, how I pray they will live in and transform her heart. God be with you.

As much as I loved my teeny baby girl and cutesy little toddler, it is true when wise older parents say 'it just keeps getting better'. More than a plaything or a doll or a busy bee to run after or entertain, she is now her own girl. She has ideas, plans, activities. She entertains herself and invites me into her world of play. It is fascinating to see the girl within unfold, to see her drink in and navigate the intricacies of the world and see it all anew through her eyes. I love just chatting with her and hearing all her views and news. She wants to understand and be part of every grown up conversation (ummmm yeah, I need to be more careful with what I talk about in her presence!).

I am so grateful to call this sweet girl my own. So privileged to watch her grow and flourish. It has been five wonderful years mothering her. Five incredible years (both amazing and terrifying) of motherhood for myself. God truly blessed me with such a child. As we learn and grow together, I just know I love, love, love her. And when I risk tying myself up in knots, over-analysing this parenting gig or kicking myself for failing, I remind myself that that love is actually the key.

God works out the rest.

Happy 5th birthday, Little Lily xx

This is she... sweet cardigan mixed with filthy play shoes.
Yep, she can dress up but she can also run and jump and play in the dirt!


Watching The Sound of Music, playing with friends, parties, presents, dressing up (tutus and fairy wings always preferred), box construction, drawing, painting and craft, cooking, reading.


Mushrooms, hurting herself, wearing jeans, trackpants, or jumpers, getting 'sweaty'.

An Interview with Lily @ 5

What are you going to be when you grow up?
A Ballerina Teacher

What’s that going to be like?
It's going to be fun!

What are your favourite toys?
My favourite teddy bear and my new music box

Who are your best friends?
Elsie, Emily and Eden

What makes you happy?

What makes you sad?
People fighting

When you dream at night, what do you dream about?
I dream about stars floating on my leg (giggles)

What do you like to do with Daddy?
I like wrestling with him.

What do you like to do with Mummy?
I like watching a movie with her

What do you like to do with Eli?
I like playing Mummies and Daddies - and chasey!

What do you like to do with Miles?
I like giving him a big smooshy hug.

What’s your favourite colour?
Pink, purple, silver and gold

What’s your favourite book?
Nursery Rhymes (a big fairy tales and nursery rhymes compilation we have)

What does Daddy do during the day?
He goes to work and sometimes on Saturdays he stays home. At work - he works and spends money and brings home the bacon.

What does Mummy do during the day? 
Mummy stays home and looks after me and Eli and Miles and sometimes you go out to your meeting. 

What do you do during the day?
I stay home and play with Eli.

It's good to be five because.....
You get to stay up a little bit later. :)