Tuesday, 27 January 2015

miles.tones // two years

Our little ray of sunshine is two whole years old! It seems, as it does for all mothers, both forever and yet just a heartbeat away from these magic moments.

Miles is two (yes, even the baby of the family gets to grow up!), and he is most gloriously and assuredly two. Full of spunk, personality and giggles. Like every two year old he is also busy, busy, busy! He may be the youngest but he makes himself heard amidst our noisy clan, that's for sure. At the dinner table the other night he even piped up 'Scuse me!' - trying to get his two cents in! If I am holding him but not listening to him well enough, he takes my cheeks or chin in his chubby little hands and moves my face to look directly at him or whatever other thing he is talking about. So funny! There is something about him, a certain self-assurance... he knows his own mind, this boy :)

What else is going on in the world of this newly-turned-two-year old? Hmmm, milestones.... (I guess I should try to keep track of some!!). Well. He is chatting up a storm. It's incredible to witness the language explosion at this age. He is talking in up to 4 or 5 word sentences at times and breaking out a new word every day (just don't ask me for specifics, let's be real, I don't keep a list, lol). But he is talking and talking, that's for sure. I just love this age, love hearing him able to express his thoughts and opinions more clearly day on day. Everything from 'pinnabudda toast' to 'close wishwasha?' (he is obsessed with closing doors including making sure the dishwasher door is always shut - very detail oriented, this kid!!!!). He also loves to pack away (woot!) - well, for now ;)

He is also now nappy/diaper-free during the day!! Three or four months or so behind the other two kids ('cos he's my third and I just didn't have as much time to take him to the potty, let's be honest!! Oops!). But it is soooo cute to hear him call out 'Go go wee-wee! Kik, kik!!' (quick quick). Potty time is usually a family affair, with the older kids gathering to read him books, and sing a celebration song whenever required!

Miles is without doubt still a cherished little Prince. I can now see how it is soooo easy to spoil the baby of the family, especially as his doting siblings are so quick to grant his every wish. I am trying to make sure he still hears the word 'no' and gets plenty of healthy limits and boundaries! Challenging when he is so darn adorable but we do our best ;)

My little sunshine had a few months of being more like a storm cloud, being rather devastated when every whim was not immediately granted. Just lately though he has started simply responding with a simple, calm 'Okay' when I set a limit, rather than shrieking in disapproval. It is so cute. Luckily by the third child. shrieking and tantrums don't get you too far anyway, it's like 'Oh really, that's all you got?!' heehee... so it seems he has moved on ;)

(fist pump) Ohh yeah, two at last!!
If I lie really still maybe they will stop taking photos...

Dearest Miles, you are a darling little snuggle bug. I love your cheeky grin and those huge eyes which you know how to work, telling me you understand perfectly everything going on around you. I love how you throw yourself at me for 'cuggles'. They are the sweetest moments I treasure. 

Baby boy, you've kept your curls even through your first cut!! No idea how long they will stick around, but I will delight in them while they do :) You love being outside, pottering around after your siblings, trying your best to keep up. Right now your favourite activities are chalk drawing outside, building with Duplo and blocks and zooming cars. You are my first real car-and-truck obsessed kiddo. You love to read books. You are really getting into puzzles like your big brother. You love your siblings, you always ask where they are and beg to play in their room with them. You request a goodnight cuddle with every family member. You also love to identify any items in the home belonging to a family member and immediately reuniting them. Daddy's slippers are toted to him across the house, along with his head torch. Lily's dresses are taken from her cupboard and given to her in the lounge room. My shoes are often pilfered and presented several times a day. We may not actually need those items but we love your pride in being able to deliver them ;) 

You are a social little guy. You love visitors and visiting. Sometimes you get so excited when friends come over, you start performing like a little pony, rolling all over the floor and attempting to stand on your head. We just stand there bemused at the performance! You know the name of so many friends and family, asking after them. You LOVE to go in the car, begging me from first thing in the morning to take you for a drive. You loooove to eat, always ready for a meal. You seem to have a high standard of dress, as you request shoes and a hat first from thing in the morning and wear them all day, even sometimes wearing a hat to bed haha. Oh kiddo, I love seeing all your quirks emerge :)

I admit it's hard to remember at times that you are actually no longer a baby. Although you will always be my baby of course ;) but when given opportunity you show us what a big boy you really are,  following instructions and quite capable of many tasks. Don't ever let your baby status hold you back, little man!

Your pure, joyful love and affection always brings me such happiness. Soul soothing, you are. You bring such joy to our family. You completed us in ways I never imagined. You bring us delight and we bring to you our love and devotion. I am so excited to see you unfurl even more in the coming years. Two year olds are my favourite and Buddy - you are top of the list. 

Can't wait to hang out with you more this year, my little tagalong. After two years in the shadow of your siblings, we are suddenly going to get a lot more time just the two of us together and I am really looking forward to getting to know you even better, buddy boy.

My bear, my boo, oh, I just adore you xx

... and in a flash he's off on more two year old adventures....

His collage...

Thursday, 22 January 2015

#thehighlightsreel // our rainy summer

Oh dear. More than three weeks into the new year and nary a photo yet blogged of 2015. Tsk, tsk! Summer holiday mode, family time and other things going on have taken me away from my camera and computer of late - which is ok of course, the break does me good!

This summer is not quite the one we expected and I don't have many photos to show for it thus far (well, many for me, haha!), but many memories are being stored away regardless - treasured, in fact. We are thankful for these warm, often rainy, quiet days of togetherness. 

Here are some snaps from the last three-ish weeks...

Preparing for round #1,372 on the Slip'N''Slide. These kids beg for the Slip'N''Slide all year round, even on the coldest Canberra winter days (bless). It's nice to be able to say Yes at last :)

Too cute. Mark's parents have very kindly stored Mark's beloved teen-years basketball card collection for many many years. Then hauled it across the country in their cross-country move. Now safe back in his hands, he enjoyed the blast from the past while he sorted, culling the collection of several thousand cards down to just a select few. The kids are enjoying picking out some and the rest... who knows?! Needless to say, we won't be retiring early on the value of this collection but it's pretty adorable to see the fond memories it holds :) 

Raindrops are falling on my head...

You know that moment when you just have to take a post-fruit-binge breather??
Right back to it...
My little snuggle bug. He wanders, being brave and adventurous until he circles back around and collapses on top of me with an 'Ahhhhhh'. Settling in for a snuggle and some connection. I am always happy to be his pillow and his resting place xx
Strutting off to the pool again like he owns the place

Mark wanted the kids to have 'special holiday cereal' but as I am avoiding store-bought cereals these days, I decided to try and make my own 'treat' (but actually pretty healthy!) cereal. I mixed raw cacao, a little maple syrup and coconut oil, then stirred it into puffed rice. Baked it in the oven to dry it out and... tadaaaa - healthy 'chocolate puffs'. The kids approved :) (I got the idea from PWK)

We wake up to a sign that says 'Merry Morning', with all our names listed and a bowl of muesli (with milk added!) and serviettes too. Just Lily the Fairy at work once again!
Nothing like a little basket of freshly picked herbs to go with dinner!
Loving having my girl home on holidays. She spends her days whipping up things like this. No stopping her creative force!
Our cherry tomatoes have grown like wildfire.... so much rain, now we just need the sunshine to ripen more up!
Nature's snack machine. The kids burrow in every day, hunting for  handful more red ones. Few actually make it into the house but I have hopes to make some semi-dried tomatoes when they do!

A morning's work. The wisteria vines were snaking all over the patio, so I handed the kids a pair of secetares each and they had a happy morning clipping away! They had a ball. The next morning they pruned half the backyard, haha!

One afternoon the kids announced they were serving us dinner at the coffee table in the loungeroom. Tickets were made with our names on it, the table was set, flowers were placed and we were informed that they themselves would be eating alone in the kitchen (very Downton?) and would serve us ANYTHING we wanted. We were strongly encouraged to want ice cream cones with sprinkles ;) Eli dressed himself in a misbuttoned vest and it was all very proper. The buckets were for handing out our tickets and giving out flowers. These kids are a scream, bless these little munchkins of mine!

More holiday hijinks. They set up a stall consisting mostly of stuff pilfered around the house as well as apples from the tree, flower creations and other items and announced they were having a sale. Eli walked around very business like with a piece of paper to mark Sold/Not Sold for each item. Lily attempted to sell us items for $2-$5 each!!! But I bargained her down to 10 cents each to aquire my own pegs. Sheesh ;)

So proud to have a School Girl Lottie 'She goes to school like me!'
A school holiday outing, quality time with my girl. I took her to the National Museum to
see a wonderful Australian Horse history exhibition called 'Spirited'. It was so sweet to wander around
together, chatting about everything we saw. She was most keen to see the horse hearts and kidneys!

A little Jillaroo (iphone)

And that wraps up our #highlightsreel. Will try to get back to posting weekly-ish from here on in!!!

What's on your highlights reel this week? Feel free to share in the comments :) 

Friday, 16 January 2015

camp life

Once more we filled the gap between Christmas chaos and a brand spanking new year with a retreat to the bush, surrounded for a week by some wonderful folk. Camp Challenge is always a wonderful time of refreshment, faith and fun but this year was really something special. 

I kinda got too lazy to photograph much of it, too busy chatting with friends old and new! The other 'issue' was the kids were having just wayyyy too much fun, zipping around camp with a tribe of little friends, I could hardly keep track of them, let alone photograph them ;) They went to wonderfully engaging Bible classes, plus they swam, played games and sports, and just explored like little wild things. Lily and Eli barely even ate meals with us in the meal hall, constantly slinking off to join little friends at their table - too cool for their parents already!?? ;) Lucky we shared a cottage so we got to see them at bedtime, haha. They grow so much every camp, transforming between the start and end it seems. I love to watch them flourish during our annual family pilgrimage. I love the quiet time away with God and church family, and the amazing memories we store away each year. Good times, all around :)

Our camp theme banner. The amazing woman who organised the children's classes asked Lily and Eli to each paint a picture of a sky on an A4 sheet of paper. She took those away and then projected and merged the two pics onto this huge banner which she hand painted! Isn't it amazing!! Needless to say, Lily and Eli were impressed when they saw it :) Eli painted that adorable sun and Lily painted the rest of the scene. Love it :)

But whyyyyy can't I have everything I want, Mama?! 
There was a little station for writing encouraging notes to other people at camp. I loved glancing over to see Lily and her buddy Ella, discussing the note table and writing one themselves!

Blurry photo of my little Batman, zooming around the fort playground. The kids spent many happy hours on this fortress over the week.

Each night of camp I organise a different kind of entertainment. Each year we hold a fundraising auction to help people come to camp who can't afford it. The auction items are wide ranging and mostly just fun, silly or sweet stuff (like auctioning off being your friend for a day, or collecting your meal in the cafeteria) - people are so generous, they might bd $100 for the honour!! Lily and Ella decided to get involved and auction off their considerable face painting skills. Completely unprompted, they spent the afternoon practising and even wrote out this adorable script. MELT!!! As I was hosting the night I didn't get any photos but suffice to say, it was so sweet. I didnt think they would quite make it through but they followed their script perfectly which made it even cuter. I think they thought everyone was going to line up for face painting right away?? Love the end line about rushing off to wet their face painting brushes! :)

These gorgeous teen girls were auctioning off their hair braiding skills - and did a few sample strips on me! Ooh, I felt fancy :) It brought back memories of primary school, friends going off to holiday in Bali and coming back with a head full of tiny braids. Oh how I longed for a head full of tiny braids!! And ok, maybe a Bali trip too ;) This is as close as I will probably get :)
Tshirt painting was a fun craft. Lily painted this message on her own shirt, saying 'Now I don't need to tell people I love them, I just wear this shirt!!'

Friendships blossoming between all ages - one of the best bits of camp. Miles was having a glorious time with his friend Samantha. He would scurry over to this wall and stand there grinning, a glint in his eye, pretending he didn't want to be caught....
Till Sammie came and scooped him up and upside down.... with peals of laughter and giggles. She would put him down, he would scurry back to the wall... rinse and repeat till long after I wandered away :)

NYE - We always have a dress up theme. This year was 'Back to the Future'. Not sure how
Peter Pan fits into that, except it was a little outfit we had that fit, so we went with it!

Peter Pan quickly joined by a fierce yet cheery (though rather wild-haired!) Captain Hook!
It's a sort of Love/Choke kind of relationship....
Peter Pan and Captain Hook, putting aside differences to celebrate the new year!

Our rag tag family. 
Mark and I went back to the 70's in our vintage London gear. 

Peter Pan was in awe, upon meeting a beautiful Belle...
And had to immediately tell her about an emergency at the playground...

So I am beginning to realise I no longer have a girl, a boy and a baby. No, no, I now have a girl and two boys. And this littlest boy is really getting into gear. His latest joy is tackling Eli (much to E's pleasure). They then fall to the ground, rolling around and laughing. Half the time it ends in tears but it doesn't seem to stop them. Oh brother ;) 

Brotherly love looks a lot like this :)