Monday, 12 December 2016

#highlightsreel // cousins at the cape

Well, it probably looks like all we do is go to the beach, but really it's just the only time I bother to lug my big camera along these days.... I think the key observations here are both that I am falling more in love with the beach while also getting a lot lazier when it comes to taking photos. Who am I anymore?! Ha!

Anyway, a couple months back, we drove down to the Victorian coast to spend a delightfully low key long weekend with my little sister, her partner and their three little girls. We stayed at their family's beach house and basically did nothing but chill out, wander down to the beach for walks and plenty of beach play... and then stayed up late chatting and playing Uno after the kids went to bed each night! It was nothing short of bliss!

Best of all was seeing the cousins now getting old enough to really enjoy hanging out and playing together... making memories and building those family bonds, hurrah! They really had a blast.

May there be many more adventures to come!


So thankful for family and for time spent together... it's a rich blessing indeed xx

Friday, 2 December 2016

a letter-writing journal // staying connected with your kids

As our children grow and especially once they head off to school, it can be a little jarring to realise that they are becoming their own little people, with emerging private worlds of their own. It is a glorious thing of course.... we want them to be independent! But like most parents, I've also been really aware of wanting to keep those channels of communication open as they start to venture into the big wide world! Especially as these early years slowly but surely morphing into the tween years (and, like, 'tweens' didn't even exist when I was one, lol)... and then the teens. Eeeek...what a ride we have ahead!

I am not even sure now how this precious routine emerged. Something to do with a glut of beautiful little notebooks and a very eager little letter writer and pen pal. My eight year old daughter, Lily, is the kind of kid who pre-writes responses to her pen pal friends so as soon as a letter arrives she has one ready to send in reply. Ha!!!

So, about a year ago we began to write letters to each other in the pages of a journal. These notes were written 'in secret' then the book was surreptitiously placed under the pillow of the other person for them to discover. Often accompanied by a few eager and not-so-subtle hints of 'have you looked under your pillow lately??'

There has been a beautiful and gentle evolution to these letters, especially as her writing skills and stamina have improved over time and her desire grew to write more and more. Lily had the idea that we should ask each other a question in each letter, which we then answer, as well as writing about our day, our thoughts and anything that's happening in our family. It's even been a safe place to write about miscommunications and some hurt feelings. Sometimes, the journal has been passed back and forth several times in a day, other times a week or even a month can go by before it is delivered under a pillow again. Life gets in the way, you know! And that's okay.... the journal is there when we need it. Sometimes I need a few reminders before I get a chance to reply and sometimes I have to teasingly request a little return mail from my daughter too!

How fascinating it is to have a peek into her world, to hear about her favourite things and to be charmed by her questions and insights about life and family and her many dreams and big ideas. She is her own little person, and so utterly lovely to get to know. She is getting to know me too, in a different way (as a real person, not just a mother haha!), as we ask each other questions as friends do.

Right now she is an open book (no pun intended!) and I love how easily we can share our hearts. But in years to come, when emotions and hormones, peers and other influences pervade, my hope is that this simple little journal, and the trust we have established along the way, might provide an avenue to continue to openly communicate with each other through the written word, at times when speech may otherwise fail.

It's also been a bonus to have all our notes bound safely into one book rather than loose papers that often get waylaid... or is that just me?!  Best of all has been having a blossoming conversation with my daughter that I hope and pray will continue to evolve and mature over the years as we do the same.

Day by day, letter by letter, we grow together xx

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Take me home, country roads....

On the long drive home to Canberra from Brisbane, we took a short stop through the little country town where I lived till I was about nine. It was my first time passing through since I had children and while I duly expected a fun little trip down memory lane with my babies, I was rather surprised to be hit pretty full force with a strong wave of emotion and nostalgia. 

It was surreal to say the least, to see my own trio of children standing in front of the house I lived in at their age, part of a sibling trio myself. So many fond memories of that simple little country life, running around barefoot and grubby with my sisters. Feeding scraps to the chickens and bringing the cows up from the paddock after school... yes, those were our chores. How sweet it was to share some of those old stories with the kids. They could barely believe I lived somewhere so 'exotic' haha... and they also found out that we had our own pony. Uh oh!!

How can it be that life moves on, through so many winding paths, and yet this little farmhouse remains, basically identical to the day we left it....those two palm trees, the fig tree, the huge pepper tree on the right, the loooooong driveway (felt like miles as a little kid) which we walked to and from the bus each school day... often I was also lugging my cello.

The same rusty old mail box still remains.... looking even rustier and a great deal wonkier, yet still standing, still in use. I remember being terrified of spiders when I reached inside for the mail.

When I was about four, my grandmother bought some of our land from us to build a house next to ours. We had a connecting driveway about 100 metres long and we loved running along it to go visit her after school, where she would teach us to garden (we each had our own little garden bed set aside for us) and to bake (we each had our own particular biscuit recipe we would bake with her each time... sadly I can no longer remember what mine was though). Oh, Granny. She was very old school, super strict, a lady of the highest order...tough as nails yet as elegant as an aristocrat. All about manners and decorum and so on. She was strong and she was amazing, having lived a fascinating life filled with writing and theatre and travelling to Europe as a Red Cross nurse in World War Two. She spent so much time telling us stories and family history, walking us through the house and showing us all her incredible family heirlooms and antiques. She passed away when I was about twelve and I often wish I had known her better, as an adult. To have soaked in and better understood her stories, who she was as a strong, creative, passionate woman.

Her mailbox still stands. Her hand painted lettering fading but still neat and tidy after all these years (thirtyish?!)... I expect our surname got scratched off by new owners! But 'Weetwood' still remained. Granny named her home thus after the heritage listed home that had been part of our family in decades past. How lovely it is to see 'Weetwood' still standing.

As we stood there, taking photos of the mail box, the current owner came driving up. Being the country, he was friendly - even when discovering some random family taking photos of his letterbox!! And being the country, he still knew of our family, remembered meeting my Dad. We had a good chat about the neighbours living in our old home, and how long he had lived at my grandmother's place. He chuckled and said he had always meant to update the letterbox but never quite got around to it. Life moves slow in the country and I could only be grateful for that thread still connecting me to my past, a thread far stronger than I expected it to be.

Thank you, country roads, for that trip down memory lane..... nothing quite like a heavy dose of nostalgia x

Thursday, 20 October 2016

giveaway! win a stainless steel bento lunchbox + trio of reusable bags!

Hey folks, just popping in to say I am currently a fantastic giveaway on my Facebook and Instagram!!!

The prize is a stainless steel bento lunchbox and a trio of reusable sandwich/snack bags from the simply fantastic Litter Free Living

You all know I LOVE reusable and plastic free options wherever possible so suffice to say I have fallen in love with all of Litter Free Living's lovely wares. Another amazing WAHM too :) 

Feel free to pop over and enter!! I am giving away a set of each at each location.

Enter the Facebook giveaway HERE.

Enter the Instagram giveaway HERE.

All the best, lovelies xx

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

#highlightsreel // the sand and the sea, where the children roam free

After a week spent volunteering as a family in July, we road tripped up to Brisbane to spend a little time by the beach, with family and friends. 

It was sweet indeed :)

When the label fits... wear it with pride!!

Lily spent a lot of time walking up and down the beach with my Dad's dog, hoping people would think he was hers ;)

By the longest bridge in the Southern Hemisphere, at low tide on the mudflats. Our favourite place to run free and explore.
That magical moment when you happen to capture a teeny crab leaping from a hand...

...and that magical moment when they just happen to be walking like this...all in order, all in a line? Abbey Bridge?! ;)

We met up with my lovely, ridiculously over-talented, generally amazing friend Tarnya and her son Thomas one day at New Farm Park. Eli and Thomas clicked instantly. I just wish they could play every day! Also, Tarnya knows all the secret amazing spots for photos around there... like these incredible orange trumpet blossoms around the performing arts school. Just... wow. I think I could take photographs there all day every day!!!

Today she was like 'You can take some photos of me, Mum'. A rare occurrence so
I was happy to oblige. Oh, that sweet smile x

Just two sweet boys, trying out a little innocent 'break and enter'...
Three little loves, I heart you!

Circus on the outside, watching the circus on the inside...
(yes, they are really circus performers, practising inside! it was amazing!)