Wednesday, 28 April 2010

wedding bliss

weddings are fun!

I had the great pleasure of witnessing a dear friend of mine getting married on Saturday, it was a wedding that I have known about for a long time, and have looked forward to from the moment that I met the girl in question {if it's not obvious, my friend was the groom}. Not only have I been anticipating the marriage of these two people, but I have been so excited about having a night off. A night staying at a hotel in the city. A night of no kids, and some adult company. A night to dress up. and a night to p.a.r.t.y.

A significant part of last week was taken up with preparations for the grand event; instead of spending 'knitting night' knitting, I spent it trying on a barrage of dresses from my sister and nic ~ thank-goodness that they had so many to choose from because I was delighted with the one that I wore {so much so that I will be propositioning it's owner on any chance of either buying the dress from her, or getting some tips on how to copy said dress}.

Of course once I had the dress under control, my next mission was shoes... and I knew what I wanted. Stilettos of course! I've had the pleasure of watching various mothers, drop various children off at kinder, at various times wearing the most stunning of stilettos, and although I find the notion of kid wrangling in stilettos slightly, well impossible really, I was still gobsmacked by how gorgeous some of the stilettos have been. After much internet trawling I knew exactly the pair that I wanted.

Anyway, the wedding itself was excellent and extremely funny. The celebrant spun a wonderful tale about how the couple met and the state of play in their relationship now. The bride was resplendent in a two-part gown, and obviously both amused and in love with her, now husband. My friend was exactly as I imagined, relaxed {so much so that he wore his birkenstocks with his wedding suit} and so totally in love with his bride. The after party was excellent with good company, much drinking and catching up with old {and current} friends.

All in all an excellent night! and one that I will remember fondly for all time. Now, back to reality...

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

telling a story

a story about a curious child

I've always loved the idea of reading a book to my children before bed each night, but in reality it's never worked for us. There is something about having a child sitting on either side of me, with the 'too bright' bedroom light, and the arguments over which story to read tonight, that has meant that it's just never worked for long. Sure we've tried a few times, and there is always much enthusiasm, from them, and many books, and much fuss. Not really what I have in mind when I think of a lovely relaxing pre-bedtime story session; it's just too stressful.

reading

Now we love books, and Cam and I are definitely book lovers {aka book worms} and were both that way from a very young age; and it is very important to us to foster this love of books and the written word in our children. So over the Summer I tried something a little different. After Angus and Daisy have their bath, and are in the pajamas and are tucked up in bed, we give them their kisses and cuddles goodnight, and then I take my seat on the end of Angus' bed and I tell them a story.

There is no book involved, it's just a story that I know so well that I can modify to suit their age and stage, and tell it to them. Pure story-telling.

the pictures are exquisite

For a long while our story has been Goldilocks and the three bears, and my version goes something like this:

Once upon a time there was three bears who lived in a house in the woods. One morning they came down stairs and Mama bear made them all some porridge. When the porridge was ready they all sat down at the table, papa bear took a big spoonful and discovered the the porridge was "too hot", so they all decided to go for a walk in the woods while their porridge cooled down.

While they out walking a little girl called Goldilocks just happened to be walking by, she had never seen this house in the woods so she walked up and knocked on the door, nobody answered, so she went in anyway. When she got inside she saw three chairs around the table; first she sat in the biggest chair, but it was much too hard. Then she sat in the middle sized chair, but it was much too soft, so she sat in the smallest chair, and it was perfect... and then it broke!

Next she saw that there was three bowls of porridge on the table, and she was quite hungry, so she tried the porridge in the biggest bowl, but it was much too hot. Then she tried the porridge in the middle sized bowl, but it was much too cold, so she tried the porridge in the smallest bowl, and it was perfect... so she gobbled it all up.

After eating all that porridge she was feeling very tired, so she walked up the stairs and found three beds. First she lay down in the biggest bed, but it was much too hard. Then she lay down on the middle sized bed, but it was much too soft, then she lay down in the smallest bed, and it was perfect... so she went straight to sleep.

Soon the three bears came home from their walk and when they walked into the house, the Daddy bear said "SOMEBODY'S BEEN EATING MY PORRIDGE!" and the Mama bear said "Somebody's been eating my porridge!" and the baby bear said "Somebody's been eating my porridge... and they've eaten it all up! ".

Then the father bear said "SOMEBODY'S BEEN SITTING IN MY CHAIR!" and the Mama bear said "and Somebody's been sitting in my chair!" and the baby bear said "and somebody's been sitting in my chair... and they've broken it!"

Next the three bears went upstairs, and the Daddy bear said "SOMEBODY'S BEEN LAYING ON MY BED!" and the Mama bear said "Somebody's been laying on my bed!" and the baby bear said "and somebody's been laying in my bed.... and here she is, fast asleep"

At that, Goldilocks woke up! saw three bears looking at her! jumped out of bed! and ran down the stairs! out the front door! and off into the woods!... and she never came back again!

The End.

Well this adaption of the story has been working a treat, right up until I found a new book by Lauren Child. Do you remember her? we all fell quite in love with her book "The Princess and the Pea" about a year ago... and it is much read around here, mostly because I love the metre and rhyme of the story. Well while I was out last week, I came across another of her books {surprise, surprise!} Goldilocks and the three bears, and I tell you, I sat right down where I was and read it from cover-to-cover, partly because I wanted to know if I had been telling it right, and partly because I just love the way that Lauren writes. Needless to say that book came home with me.

three of everything...

On arriving home, amidst much excitement, I sat right down with Angus and Daisy and read them our 'new' version of Goldilocks. They loved it as much as I did, and of course we read it again straight away. However something happened that I didn't anticipate... come bedtime that night, when I tried to tell them our usual version of Goldilocks, I received all manner of corrections... "That's not how it went!"... "what about the apples?".... etcetera, etcetera...

Ready for reading

So I did what any lateral thinking Mummy would do in that situation, I changed stories... we are now telling the story of the "Three Billy Goats Gruff" each night, and how they had no grass in their paddock and had to get across the bridge with the nasty troll who wants to "Gobble them up!" so that they could "eat sweet grass in the other paddock"... I'm not sure if I really want to find an official version of this one though, I quite like our version.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

i ❤ my garden

homegrown broccoli

Remember how inspired I was after being able to play in my Dad's vegie patch over Summer? and remember how I got right in {with a little help from my family} and started my very own?... well last time that I mentioned it, I don't think that I was completely forthcoming on the fact that this garden is mine.

Mine. Mine. Mine!

I do share it, sort of. I let Daisy 'help' me thin the little {and sometimes fat} green caterpillers that like to devour my broccoli :: I let Angus fossick through the mulch and find millepedes :: I spend time out there with the kids pointing out which ones are weeds {"yes, you can pull that one out"}, and which one are plants :: I share any produce with my family :: but fundamentally it is my garden.

B1 :: with notes

Now that doesn't sound like too much of a big deal, I know. But, in the past we have tried various gardens that have all flopped, and the reason that they have failed? well I really think that is because we had shared ownership of them, and as a result after the initial enthusiasm everyone sort of petered off and left it to others to do the watering, weeding and nurturing.

B2 :: with notes

Well not this time. This time I have been very clear to all and sundry that it is my garden, and I have taken great pride in researching my plants, chatting to 'older heads' about my garden concerns or obstacles, looking after and nurturing my plants, and of course harvesting the beautiful bounty {and then of course revelling in the joy of sharing said bounty in the form of a beautifully cooked meal}.

B3 :: with notes

One of the things that I have found about my garden, which I was sort of {but not really} expecting, is that it is such a haven for me. I can potter around out there and feel totally relaxed, there is no pressure on me to be or do anything. I feel nurtured myself after spending an hour or two weeding, or planting, or inspecting my plants for pests. I love that my garden is completely chemical free, and I'm not interested in boosting it along in a non-natural way. I want my vegetables to grow at their own rate, the way nature intended, and then enjoy all of the flavour that brings; and then once we have enjoyed eating said produce, I love that I can then cut up the scraps, add them to my bokashi bucket, and use the bokashi juice to feed the rest of my plants when I water.

Can you see the joy that I am getting here?... really, if you are so inclined, I can't recommend this 'vegie gardening' thing enough.

Monday, 19 April 2010

looking after the essentials

a welcome baby boy gift

A good friend of mine recently had their second child, and I knew straight away just what I wanted to make* for them. It's a zip up bag to hold those essential baby things that you need when you are just popping out for a little while, maybe to run some errands or a quick visit for a much needed cuppa.

baby essentials

The bag currently contains :: a cloth nappy {for spills or accidents} :: a couple of newborn disposable nappies :: a wondersuit :: a singlet :: a packet of wipes :: some nappy sacks :: and a tube of bottom balm. Everything that you would need in a pinch.

Happy Washing

The fabric that I chose was Happy Washing, the perfect design for both the recipient and the purpose of the bag. My friend was a vetrinarian nurse before she had children, and adores animals {especially dogs} so I loved the cheeky puppy on this fabric... and how could I resist a bag, that is intended for washing up baby's bum, saying "Happy Washing" and show-casing all those adorable washing lines? I could not.

baby essentials bag

The inside is lined with some natural linen that I've had for ages, and sports one simple pocket for holding nappy liners or possibly some cash and a mobile phone. Now to find the time to pop over and meet the little fellow and hand over our gift. I really do hope that they like it.

* totally inspired by the lovely bag that Di made for the same purpose, which you can read about here.

Friday, 16 April 2010

sometimes I need a good kick in the pants

play time

I had kinder duty with Daisy's group today, and it was just the kick in the pants that I needed. I didn't realise that I was on duty until quite late in the week, and by then my 'go to' child minder already had social plans of her own. I found myself in a position where I had to take all three children with me, which, when I broke it down wasn't so bad,Daisy, of course, is supposed to be there anyway, Angus is happy to join in with the group {as it's the same teachers that he had last year} and I wear Mia in an ergo carrier most of the time that I am there.

However, it didn't stop me from being a grumpy, stressed Mum before kinder duty. I had a bad attitude; I didn't want to go to kinder, I didn't want to be the one who had to get the kids ready for kinder, and I certainly didn't want to be on kinder duty. I got stuck in my bad mood and found that I was cranky, and impatient, and yelling {a lot}.

cool?... no, they are just like Grandpa's!

Of course there is something about being in front of other people that tends to clean up ones behaviour, so when I got to kinder I found that I let go of my bad mood a little, and slowly I started to see the goodness in my children again. With no pressure to have the housework done, or get the laundry hung out, there was time for me to stand back a little and just watch them play, and socialise, and show what sweet children they really are.

momentarily distracted

During the time that I was there, Daisy asked me {a number of times} "why are you still here?"..."you can go now!"

To which I replied "I can't go Daisy, I am on kinder duty today"

"well you can go now Mummy" she told me

"no I can't Daisy, I am here to help"

"Well I don't want your help! You can go now Mama"

"it's okay, I don't have to help you Daisy, I can help the other children" and I would move to a different area of the room and let her have her space.

snack time

It really got me thinking, especially about how I spend a lot of time at home trying to get other things done, and expect them to play with each other, or quietly with their toys a lot. It also got me thinking about how Daisy sees kinder as 'her time' and how I was imposing on that time and space by being there. It also got me thinking about spending more time being present and available to my kids when we are at home.

As usual, when I can't see the forest for the trees... I buy a book; The Secret of Happy Children by Steve Biddulph; so far so good, hopefully this will reset us back on a path of more present and attentive parenting, and spending a little more time just living in the moment. I'll be sure to get back to you...

Thursday, 15 April 2010

prototype

prototype front

I've been wanting to make this top for such a long time, I saw something similar {by Gap I think} a long time ago, and then as it happened Leslie was wearing one on one of our craft weekends. But it has taken me a while to build up the courage to, not only make my first 'adult sized' garment, but also to make up my own pattern {although I did need a little technical assistance from my Mum and Nic}.

making it up

I bought a few meters of gingham poly-cotton from Spotlight, in various colours; and decided to use my least-favourite colourway as the prototype. There are some changes that I need to make for the next one, but overall I am happy with the way that this turned out, and I've been assured that because the body is cut on the bias, the 'fall' will improve once it has been washed. This is a good thing because at the moment it's 'popping' out a little more than I would like.

prototype back

Now off I go back to the sewing machine to work on a few more of these... so that they are ready for next Summer!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

ten months + a bit

teeth

You passed your 10 month milestone while we were away, and it really did slip by quite un-noticed; but as I've forgotten so much about your brother and sister at this age, I really must record what your are up to now. All too soon, we will all be older and this too will be only a memory.

Lets start with your teeth, of which I have now become quite used to {all six of them!} You cut your seventh tooth while we were away, changing you from a waking-once-at-night to a waking- very-often and then co-sleeping-with-me baby, it all became clear one day later in the week when I spotted your brand new tooth. Now the wait begins for the matching one...

chasing your big brotherinvestigating the light boxstanding

You've begun to stand, a straightening of your legs into a sort of climbing A-frame, quickly became a primal urge to just-get-up. You were pulling yourself up on anything and everything that you could, and now you are able to hold my hands and stand yourself up, climb up to have a sticky at what your older siblings are up to {just out of your reach} and soon, I think, you will be starting to step those little legs of yours about the place {although I could be wrong, I also thought that you would be crawling before now, but you are just not interested, commando-ing and standing are all you are interested in}.

intrigued

You are fascinated by so many of the things that you encounter, and of course everything, and I do mean everything, goes straight into your mouth. Unlike your siblings before you, it is much harder these days to keep all the choking hazards away from you, and many times each day you find a little something to chew on {or choke on} that you shouldn't have. Bits of foil from the recent easter eggs have been most common, but there's food wrappers, bits of leaves, little toy blocks, a magnet from the fridge, and the occasional millepede. I for one, will be very glad when you do finally start toddling around, even if only to keep you from being the resident 'street-sweeper'.

pancakes each morning

As usual, you are dragging me along in the 'food department'; you are happy feeding yourself all manner of solid things - although I do think that pancakes for breakfast each morning of our holiday was definitely a highlight. Now that we are back you are enjoying your usual bellami mush from breaky {followed by a long sleep when our schedule allows} but you are more than happy to eat the chunky stews and casserole that your Daddy makes you, or chomp on a vegemite or cheese sandwich if we are trying to feed everyone at once. I always seem to find this stage so difficult and don't feel that I offer you anywhere near enough foods, oh well, there are always areas that we can improve on, right?


You are a joy and a shining light in our home, Happy Ten Months my baby!

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

school holiday knitting

cabled yoke

When I said that the knitting time was plentiful, I did not lie. In the first week of our holiday I spent much time sitting in the sun, knitting, while my children played around me. I would then spend an hour or two sitting up in bed in the evening, after my children were safely tucked in theirs, and do a little more knitting.

My objective?... to start and finish the Baby Cable Yoke Jacket by Cotton & Cloud*. I didn't quite make it, but in my defense I did end my holiday three days prematurely, and I did keep knitting when I got home, finally finishing it on Friday night. So I guess in some convoluted, completely irrelevant way, I did accomplish what I set out to do.

The funny thing is, that I needn't have rushed {sort of goes without saying when it comes to the slow sport of knitting, right?} but really, I made the 12-24 months sizing, and Mia is small for her age anyway, so the finished piece is so large that I can't even put it on her for some photos. At a guess I would say we are about four {or more} months away from her being able to wear it.

So the actual knitting? I found this piece really interesting to knit. There are a lot of components to knit, and then they all come together to finally cumulate into knitting the banding around the body and the hood. It all seemed a little complicated when I first read the pattern through, but a quick look at the suggested you-tube videos {included in the pattern} quickly allayed any fears that I had.

It was my first time knitting cable, and I can honestly say that it was a cinch; as was the crochet provisional cast-on, the only thing that I found tricky in this one was the one-row button holes, for some reason I ended up with a hole next to each button hole, as large as the hole itself!?! Not quite sure what I did wrong there, but it was very easily fixed while I was weaving my ends in at the end.

The yarn I purchased from the Bendigo Woollen Mill, my first purchase and certainly something that I shall be repeating. The wool is nice, not sublime like some of my more expensive yarns, but definitely nice. It's the luxury yarn in a 10 ply, so this Jacket is going to be very warm. As a bonus, I now have a set of sample cards for the mill so any other purchases that I make will be easier as I now know exactly what colours the yarns are.

I think though I will be taking a little break from my knitting, as I am sporting a few over-use injuries, and I can hear my {new} sewing machine beckoning rather loudly, so expect to see some new projects of the sewing persuasion very soon.

* Raveled here, and another photograph here.

Monday, 12 April 2010

we're back...

heading home

I find myself breaking our holiday into very distinct parts; there was the first week where the weather was mild, the 'waking up time' reasonable, and the knitting time plentiful.

knitting on the beach preventing knots

heading out

pancakes each morning beach play

Then there was the mid-point which included and easter egg hunt, hot crossed buns and a hot cup of tea, lots of chocolate {too much for one of my little ones}, and the end of daylight savings.

"there's one!" the hunt

finding found

easter eggs

Then there was the second week where we the wind howled cold and fast, wake-time was pre-dawn {well actually it was more like the middle of the night}, knitting time disappeared, and it all got too hard. By Tuesday night I'd had enough and decided to come home early.

starting to stand morning hot chocolate

rainy day

searching

We had a great time, and it was nice to be away from all of the deadlines and pressures of the school term, but we're ready to start in again now... back to routines and play-dates, and a lot less chocolate!