Saturday, December 29, 2012

Well, that's it. Christmas is over for another year.

Our tree was trimmed, and the train around its base was a spectacular hit with the small humans.

There really is nothing like having children to bring the magic of Christmas to life again. We made sure to put out some food for Santa and his reindeer. He liked the wine, by all accounts.

We had a lovely Christmas Eve at our house - both our families, and all the kiddoes having a fabulous time in the pool. Christmas Day is a bit hectic with driving from one side of Brisbane to the other, so this is our way of kicking back and enjoying a slower more relaxed pace.

My refurbished cane setting was well-used. And the twinadoes had such a brilliant afternoon and evening with their cousins.

On Christmas morning the boys delighted in giving out our presents and tearing the wrapping off their own before heading off on our way.

And today we're off to the beach for a couple of weeks. I can't wait.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas crafting et al

I can't believe Christmas is less than a week away! I'm not close to organised yet, but I'm strangely calm.

We've been having a lovely couple of weeks with some essential Christmas crafting:

We made a gingerbread house. Well, we decorated one. I'm lucky it survived to be honest. The boys were somewhat hyped up on all the lollies they kept shoving in their mouths, and didn't really grasp the concept of 'gentle', 'wait your turn', or 'let's make it pretty'...

I'm still decorating the house with christmas bits and pieces and decided to make use of the boys' blackboard, which takes up nearly a whole wall in the kitchen. I drew this for them while they slept one day, and you should have seen their faces when they woke and saw it!

The boys have been obsessed with letters and words recently, and can very easily read the letters out of any words they see. They can also read quite a few sight words, and have started wanting to know how to write. They wanted to know how to spell 'ho ho ho', so after I told them, they started scrawling it over every available surface! My beautiful tree was the first casualty.

And if you can't tell, the below is 'Lachlan', written by Lachlan, all by himself when I wasn't even looking. I turned around, and there it was. What a cutie pie!

It's been super hot here in Brisbane, so there has been a lot of this:

and this:

Kindy is finished for the year, so we whipped up these gifts for the boys' teachers. A little pot, a gardening glove, a packet of forget-me-nots, and a hand-stamped card with handmade chevron kraft paper envelope.

Good kindy photos too:

Our gardenias are out. I love them.

And I bought my Christmas Day dress.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Cane sofa refurb update

Yesterday was a fabulous day for painting. Dry air, a slight breeze, and warm but nothing like the 39 degrees we had earlier in the week.

I am so happy with how my street-side sofa find is working out so far. I adore the vibrant blue and while I also contemplated a french grey (which I'm sure would have been beautiful and elegant), I just couldn't go past this colour.

It still needs another coat and the poor thing has had a bit of a hard life. Some of the seat spindles (are they called spindles?) are missing, and although it still feels sturdy, I'm sure it's a slippery slope once a few go.  Just to be safe, I'm going to get a piece of ply cut to the seat size, paint it to blend in, and add the seat cushions on top.

Next stop; fabric shopping!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

And here comes the Christmas train

Look what I found...

... on the SIDE OF THE ROAD.

I know!

I'm going to paint her turquoise to match my reburbished cane chair. I'm sure they'll be very happy together.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The first day of Christmas

We're a 'put the tree up on December first' family. So, yesterday was the day.

Here it is in all its [almost] monochromatic glory.

And here are some of my favourite ornaments. Hmm, some people don't like glitter and sequins. I'm not one of them! I don't think you can ever have too much silver, or too much glitter.

And look at that gorgeous teeny tiny train engine, complete with glittered wheels, of course. My boys are rather train obsessed, especially Hame.

I put some fairy lights in my kitchen. Why not have a prettily framed view if you can. Besides, if it's good enough for Nigella, it's good enough for me.

Rocky has also perfected his 'Gangnam Style' moves and has been busting them out all weekend. I filmed him, but unfortunately his dancefloor prowess has also coincided with a nudist phase, so there'll be no sharing here on the www. But if I can capture him doing it clothed, you can bet it will be here.

I'm procrastinating. I really am. We've had a 'welcome to summer' day to celebrate my lovely mother-in-law's birthday, spending the afternoon in our beautiful breezy garden with champagne and then hours splashing about in the pool with cousins, parents and siblings. It's been fabulous on this sweltering hot day. But now I should be working. In fact, I have three speeches to finish writing.

Ah, best get on with it then.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas traditions and finding my sparkle

The lovely Amanda over at Homely One kickstarted my Christmas spirit this year.

I have been feeling decidedly un-Christmassy. I don't know why really. I think it's easy for Christmas to get all just a bit too much. Too much stuff, too much waste, too much expectation.

But after reading Amanda's post about family traditions, I started thinking about ours and slowly, but surely, that Christmas sparkle started to take hold. I realised that there is a lot to love about taking the time to share special moments and create memories.

These are the things I cherish:
  • Putting up the tree, accompanied by champagne and Frank Sinatra
  • The obligatory Santa photo
  • Taking the boys into the city at night to see the big tree, the Christmas windows and to pick out their 'special' ornament. Each year they get a fancy schmancy one and when they eventually leave home (sniff), they will have a lifetime of beautiful decorations to take with them
  • Watching the Carols by Candlelight and singing our lungs out
  • Going to visit the Christmas Lights - there are some crazy people out there who do the most ridiculous things to their houses at Christmas time and I'm in the front row. I love seeing how bonkers people get for Christmas; it's sweet really
  • Working out what Christmas baking I'm going to do and then enjoying a couple of full baking days with the boys. This year, my SIL and the boys' cousins are going to join in too
  • Baking the Christmas ham on Christmas Eve and making an occasion of the first carving
  • Finding one new 'what to do with leftover christmas ham' recipe each year to add to the repertoire
  • Ham sandwiches! 
  • Christmas crafts with the boys. This year, I've planned for them to make Christmas button collages and we're going to attempt a piece of artwork for each set of the grandparentals
  • Getting a porcelain photo ornament for each of the boys made

The things I do just for me, really, are:
  • Buying all the Christmas magazines and reading them slowly across the whole month
  • Putting fairy lights all over the house and garden and flatly refusing to let anyone turn the overhead lights on. Ever. Some have said I'm slightly nuts when it comes to fairy lights.
  • Indulging in some late night bubble baths, with bubbles of the champagne variety and my 'Christmas' book

And the things that T and I do together are:
  • Wrapping the presents at night by fairy light (stupid idea really - can't see a bloody thing) and Christmas Carols
  • Writing the boys a Christmas letter
  • Sharing one special gift with each other on Christmas Eve with some bubbly after the boys are all tucked up in bed asleep 
There, I feel better already. Hello Christmas sparkle!

pic from pinterest here

Monday, November 26, 2012

From this....

... to this

... in the blink of an eye.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Letter to my babies: A moment of parenting paralysis


Yesterday I had a profound 'I don't know what to do in this situation' parenting moment.

We were at our local Westfield, checking out the summer fashions, when you were both suddenly fixated - hypnotised even - by a very beautiful pair of pink glitter covered sandals. They were gorgeous. As if they wouldn't be. Pink. Glitter. As far as I'm concerned, you can never have too many sparkles.

Of course you wanted them. Why wouldn't you? They were shiny and pretty and fun and - most importantly - pink.  You adore pink. You love it with all your hearts. Especially you, Rocky.

And why shouldn't you have them? You are three. You have no idea or understanding of gender. I love that about you. I love that nothing in your world is distorted by society's - frankly quite bizarre - expectations of gender roles or socially constructed mores around behaviour for 'boys' and 'girls'.

But you know what? I didn't know what to do. I was very careful NOT to say "Oh no, they're for girls". But I was stuck. Honestly, truly, stuck. Because, actually, I don't have a problem with you wearing pink sparkly sandals if that's what you want to wear. I don't want to stifle your creativity. I don't want to create barriers around you when you're still learning about yourself and the world. And quite honestly, I think more people could benefit from feeling confident in their own tastes and their own choices, without worrying about what other people think.

I want you to learn that what you think about yourself is a whole load more important than what others think of you.

But I couldn't help acknowledge that if I did let you have them, other people would start on at you with all of that gendered rubbish. I could just hear voices saying "why are you wearing girls' shoes?" "oh you funny little boy wearing girls' shoes" or even worse, "what are you doing to your boys, letting them wear girls' shoes".

And then I thought that would be worse. Because you'd be hearing it constantly from other people in an environment that wouldn't allow your dad and me to explain it properly.

So I did all I could do. Reminded you that we were looking for shorts, not shoes, and bought you these - in all their proud pink glory :)

You haven't taken them off yet, and they're currently in the wash so you can wear them again tomorrow. I love you my little men. Boys can totally wear pink.

All the love in the universe,

Your mama

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My Christmas wish-list

I have been eyeing off some rather spectacular things all year - my own little wish-list I guess.

I love this Anthropologie watch.

I'm lusting after some blue and white china. I adore it. My gorgeous Nana had the most beautiful blue and white china dinner service. I don't know where it ended up after she died. Having some of this in my house would remind me of her I think.

In fact, that whole vignette would be divine!

I'd love a big porcelain milk pitcher to use as a vase. If only I lived somewhere that peonies were in season for more than a fortnight!

I'm dying to get my hands on this.

And maybe a chevron ginger jar.

That's it really. Not much. Just some pretties. And my Donna Hay Mag subscription.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How I got my sleep back

If there’s something I’ve learned in this tumultuous toddler time, it’s that behaviour is learned. That consistency is key. And that bribing (I mean, rewarding good behaviour, of course) is essential.
The twinadoes are adorable, utterly adorable, but often ‘spirited’. We have just come out of a very dark period, the darkest, in fact; months and months and months of endless wake ups and nocturnal visitations throughout the night.

The hubster and I were utterly exhausted. I can’t even describe it. I am sure you must know what I mean. Sleep deprivation is so debilitating.

Just one of the many unwelcome effects of this was that we just didn’t have the energy to change the situation. We knew we should just put our feet down, return the twinadoes to their beds as many times as it took, and do it every.single.time, but the reality was that we were so bloody tired we literally couldn’t get up. We didn’t have the energy. Or the will. In fact, sometimes I would wake up with a twin either side of me and not even know how long they’d been there. Such was the extent of my exhaustion. When I did manage to catch those ten minutes either side of a night-time visitor, I was practically comatose.

I don’t know exactly what it was that changed (I expect it was something to do with realising that I had my witch’s broom on full rotation for about a fortnight and was not being the best version of myself), but one day something snapped and I thought, “Enough is enough. I need to take back my sleep. I need to take back my life. I need to enjoy it again.”
So we did.

And it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be.

Now, I’m not saying this is going to work for everyone, but this is what worked for us. And to put it in perspective from the outset, my children are motivated by praise. They love it when they do something ‘right’, or ‘good’. This, my friends, is their currency.
So, to the toy shop we went. I let them pick out two ‘reward presents’ and a packet of stickers each. I made a 14-day reward chart that I stuck to their bedroom door.  I explained  - about a gazillion times – that for each night they stayed in their own beds, they would get a sticker on their chart. And at the end of a week’s worth of stickers, they would get one of their reward presents. I also encouraged them to tell everyone who crossed their path about the plan. Grandparents, kindy teachers, shop assistants, random strangers; no-one was immune. I figured if they said it out loud enough, they might actually start to believe it. Of course I put their presents on display, but out of reach. A little bit mean maybe, but definitely motivating.

I can’t believe how quickly it worked.
One little man got it straight first night in. Honestly. He went to sleep, woke up once, I called out something about a sticker, or a present, or maybe both, and he went straight back to sleep.

The other one did get up a couple of times, but we somehow found it in us to march him straight back each time, reinforcing the sleep –sticker–reward relationship. The next night he woke up, but didn’t get up. The third night, he didn’t wake at all.
That was over two weeks ago, and things are still going well.  I can’t believe the difference it’s made. Who knew how much a good night’s sleep can make the world a much nicer place!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Playing catchup

I've woken up with a spring in my step today, because these little darlings (look at thos two blonde heads!).....
ARE SLEEPING!!!!!!!!!!! IN THEIR OWN BEDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ALL NIGHT LONG!!!!!!!!!!!
Check out that sleep chart. That was yesterday. Today I was very happy to add another sticker to the row. In fact, the past two nights they haven't woken at all! I can't remember the last time I had two nights in a row of unbroken sleep, and I genuinely feel like a new person. Like I can take on the world. Like I can enjoy the day and look forward to the next one. I don't think I realised just how tired I actually was.
The boys and I have been having fun. I drew some townhouses on their chalkboard for art time colouring-in. The sun is now purple and the grass is orange. Why not?
 Nature 'treasure hunts' are BIG at the moment. The boys are enjoying them immensely. And I love seeing what they come up with. Look at that single blade of grass and that single rosemary leaf. Aren't kids just divine?
This is often how you'll find us when we're on one of these treasure hunts. They really are the best of mates.

In other unrelated news, I have fairy lights in my stairwell. Why not? I'm the only female in the house so I think it is my duty to make things as pretty as possible.

And to top things off, one of my very dear friends Marri (she owns the amazing Bolly & Bear) is getting married today! I can't wait. There's nothing better than love is there?

Speaking of love, T and I met 15 years ago. 15 years! That's nearly half my life. Love him so much. Wow, life was so different then. We were both so young - just starting out at uni. Our biggest concerns were where to head out to on a Saturday night (well, that and exams of course). Looking back, I think my biggest concern ought to have been my wardrobe. What was I thinking!!?? Anyhow, I think it's fitting that we're off to celebrate some special love today.




Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Taking the sleep by the horns

Things are changing in this house! We are going to solve this sleeping situation once and for all. I'm determined!

The boys have always been such good sleepers. But not anymore. They take forever to go to sleep at night, despite the same routine. They also wake throughout the night and come running into our bedroom and our bed.

The problem isn't really them; it's us. We're inconsistent. Some nights we are firm, resistant to their cries, and return them to their beds. Other nights we are just so bloody tired we either don't have the energy to resist, or, sometimes, don't even realise they are in with us until hours later.

It's been going on for so long now that neither T nor I can remember the last time we had a full night's sleep. I've also developed what must surely be an axiety-related insomnia issue. The minute I wake up, that's it for me. I can't get back to sleep for hours and hours, despite trying so very hard to. My brain starts whirring and that's it. I usually manage to drift back off, sometime around 5am, which is when Hamish usually decides to join us, and I'm awake again.

The most difficult part of parenting for me was always going to be the sleep deprivation. I've always needed a lot of sleep, and I'm not great without it. I get overly emotional, more highly strung, and rather a bit too shouty. And teary. It's not pretty.

Anyhow. No more!

Enter the sleep reward charts.

I took the boys shopping yesterday and let them pick out two rewards each and a packet of stickers. The idea is that they earn a sticker each morning they wake up after sleeping in their own beds for the whole night. When they've earned seven stickers, they get the first reward. Then after the second week, they get the second reward. Hopefully two weeks will be enough to create new habits.

Last night was night one. Both boys earned their sticker. That's not to say we slept uninterrupted all night. Oh no no no no. We were awake. A lot. In fact, I have been awake since 3.23am. But the important thing is the boys stayed in their beds. They tried. They woke. They called out. They got up. But we didn't give in. They were really excited to earn their stickers this morning, and maybe the light at the end of the tunnel just got a bit brighter.

Monday, October 8, 2012

I've really been getting my craft on lately. Any excuse to get the staple gun out....

A newly upholstered ottoman for our rumpus room downstairs. The previous sharp-cornered coffee table was just an accident waiting to happen with the twinadoes.

There. A much softer landing surface.

This fabric is gorgeous. I have heaps left over so some cushions will be made.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Another lovely spot to sit

These cushions are already showing their value. Look how perfectly they match my beloved cane chair. Sigh. It doesn't take much to make me happy :)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A spot in the garden

I read this somewhere today, but I can't find it again. So, the credit isn't mine, but the truth it contains is:

"This is surely the most challenging time in our lives; raising babies, pulling purse strings and deciding which dreams are allowed to become reality."

To find calm amongst the chaos is so important. To dream big, but keep my toes in touch with the ground is critical.

In other news, I've been wanting to make better use of my beautiful garden so mum and I made these gorgeous cushions today. Welcome to my new favourite sitting spot.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

This is where you lay your head

Bedtime is farcical in this house. Bedtime is strictly 7.15pm. The boys watch for it on the clock and then race to their beds. We read two stories and sing a song, tuck them in, kiss their cheeks, and whisper goodnight. And all is quiet. For about 30 seconds.

Then they get up. Again. And again. And again and again and again. They empty their shelves and drawers. Giggle and chat crescendos into hysterical hyper laughter. And out they come again. We're lucky if they're asleep by 8.30 - gently sleeping and deeply breathing amongst a room that looks as though its been ransacked.

We have tried threats, shouts, time outs, ignoring it, playing along, separating them, and everything else we can think of. We have been at the point where we almost decided that actually separating them for good - into their own separate bedrooms - might be the answer. 

But yet we can't.

Why? Because they're children. Sharing a room is one of the most wonderful things about childhood. We are lucky they are such good friends, lucky they adore each other and don't tire of each other's company. They DO sleep. Even if it is eventually. And what is a few books strewn around in the face of a magical childhood with your best mate by your side?

So they'll stay together. Until they tell us they don't want to. We have realised it's not our decision to make.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Boys, you're three. THREE!

My babies are three, and I adore them. I feel very very lucky to be their mama. When I was pregnant, and even since, people have told me that parenting can be hellish and for little reward. I just don't agree. I adore it. I think it's the biggest privilege in my life. Sure, bed time is a circus every.single.night, and my patience wears thin [sometimes more than sometimes], but I never wish I was anywhere else. I've never wished it away. I'm lucky x


You're three, going on 34. In the weeks leading up to your birthday, you were telling anyone who'd listen that you were "two now, but next week, at my birfday, I will be sirty-four". You just want to be like your daddy.

You are still the world's biggest talker.  You narrate every minute of the time you're awake. Your language is extraordinary in fact. You know words, concepts and ideas that make me gasp out loud in shock. You're a rapid visual learner, so you can read lots of sight words and are obsessed with spelling. You read everything in sight and want to know what it says if it's a word you don't know.

Your tantrums ended almost as rapidly as they began (thank goodness), and you are generally a happy, delighted and delighful little boy.

You sneak into our bed at about 6am each day for snuggles and you are just beside yourself with happiness when you do. You curl up close with your daddy and I hear you whisper "I love you" to him. Then you creep across to me, put your tiny hands on my cheeks and tell me you love me too. Then you fall into a happy slumber with a smile on your face. You are a very very affectionate little boy.

You're big now too. Really big. So tall! I look at you tearing around the back garden and find it so hard to believe that when you were first born all ten of your fingers wrapped around the very tip of my pinkie finger. You were so so tiny.

You adore singing. And you can sing! Whenever we're out and about people come up to you and tell you you have the voice of an angel and it's such a delight to hear you singing without any self-consciousness. Your favourite tune (which is rapidly becoming my least favourite, if I'm honest, because it's all I hear!) is the Morningtown Ride by The Seekers. You love it. You even sing it every day you're at kindy for your class.

You are so like me in so many ways - eager to please, a memoriser, a chatterbox, always trying to make people smile, just a little bit bossy, and more than a bit OCD (remind me to tell you about the blankets!). And in so many physical ways you're so much like your daddy. You're a version of him in miniature. Like twins :)

You don't like being alone. But we're working on getting you to enjoy 'self-directed play' (or so they call it).

We are immensely proud of you, you chirpy, clever, happy, singing angel.

All the love in the universe,
Your Mama

My darling Hamey-bear,

Happy third birthday, angel-boy.

I just adore you, my baby. You are so soft, and so gentle. You're always ready for a cuddle and there's nothing better than feeling your precious soft cheek against mine.

You are obsessed with Thomas and his friends. You know all their names - every single last one. You know if they're "steamies" or "diesels". You know which ones need what coal. You know which have tenders and which have carriages. Which 'huff', and which 'puff'.

You take a collection with you to bed every single night. Some nights, I'm surprised there's any room for you at all. But you insist. And later on, just before he goes to bed himself, your daddy sneaks in and removes them all from your gentle grasp and puts them on your bedside table.

You're perfectly content with your own company, and happy to play in your own imagination. You love books and insist on two stories every night. One from a book, and one "from your mouth mummy". And then you need a song. You usually pick the rainbow song, but sometimes you want something from deep within your own imagination and then mine gets a work-out!

You're a little chatterbox and you're starting to give Roc a run for his money. You have started asserting yourself more and more and simply shouting over the top of him if he doesn't stop to let you get a word in!

And even thought you're so big now - THREE! - you're still my baby. You come in for cuddles at 5am every morning, which I know I will miss when you stop. You're a wriggler, so not much more sleeping happens at my end after that, but you just need me to be snuggled up against you. "Mummy tucks" are the best thing in your world I think.

If you ask Daddy though, I think he'd say that when you launch yourself at him, throw your arms around his neck, and squeeeeeeeze out the biggest hug you can muster, that nothing can beat it.

I love you so much my kind, gentle, sweet, funny little boy.

All the love in the universe