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