Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Okay, so the title of this post is a quote from one of my all time favourite movie characters, Inigo Montoya, from my all time favourite movie, The Princess Bride. (If you haven't seen it, I question whether we can be friends.) 

It seems fairly apt given that I have neglected my blog for so long and way too much has happened to cover in detail. So instead I will give a brief summary...

-To use a cliche, I've been juggling work and motherhood and definitely finding it a challenge.
-We bought a house and moved into said house. Love it. Did not love packing and moving. 
-Our littlest family member is now 18 months old and walking here there and everywhere. 
-It's nearly holiday time...

Yes, two more days of work and I will be free for a glorious six week stretch. Though tomorrow is my last day with my gorgeous Kinders and I'm already feeling emotional. Not so emotional that I'm not ready for a break, mind. I can't wait for summertime adventures and lots of time with my family, especially my little boy who I miss so much when I'm working. I'm also looking forward to breathing some life back into this blog. I promise! 

I will leave you with my current favourite photo, taken two weekends ago... 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Birthday Weekend to Mount Cameron, part 1

I am blogging on my phone and will upload this once we return to civilisation. I am so happy to be in the middle of the bush at the Scottsdale High School Field Study Centre with my little family,  my parents, my sister Lisa and her partner Erik. This centre is the base for school camps and as my dad was the Outdoor Ed teacher for years, my sister and I grew up coming here on weekends and holidays with Mum and Dad. It's a huge cabin in the middle of the Tasmanian bush and possibly my favourite place, ever.  

We drove out here in a convey of three cars this morning and after unpacking and having lunch, spent time on the flying fox which is a blast. I haven't been on it in a good few years- last time was before I had an abseiling accident and developed a fear of heights- and I was determined to do it and enjoy it. As soon as Dad had checked my harness and I was good to go, I stepped straight off the platform and my nerves disappeared as I felt pure exhilaration. Lisa took this photo of me once I landed on the other side. 

Harry brought his Batman costume along and my sister decided to wear the cake and mask and become Bush Woman. 

I'm now sitting on my bunk holding a sleeping bub (who decided he was not going to have his nap in the portacot, in any way shape or form and wanted to snooze on me instead) while everyone else is outside. Once he wakes up it will be time for Happy Hour- a Mount Cameron tradition of drinks and nibbles in the afternoon, which will be even happier as I will be given some birthday gifts and mysterious cake making has been going on in the kitchen. 

Liam is loving having everyone around as well as standing up at the couches in the big main room. I moved eight couches around to create a play area so he is safely away from the fireplace and he loves walking around the couches, especially when members of his family are sitting on them. 

                                                  Loves his Nan and Pop. 

We brought a few toys along as you can see. That Duplo window is by far his favourite toy and he usually has it in his hand at home. 

I was worried that if Liam didn't nap in the cot and I got stuck holding him I would feel left out of things but I actually feel very happy and peaceful sitting here on my bunk, looking out the window at the bush and listening to the birds. I am looking forward to feeding the possums tonight (they know that the centre being occupied means there is a good chance of fruit being given to them on the verandah) and sitting around the fire tonight toasting marshmallows. To be continued...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

It's fun to be one

So after the drama of having to cancel Liam's first birthday party due to him being so unwell, we held a rescheduled party two weeks later with family and friends. I love to cook and bake and decided I wanted to try my hand at making his special cake...a decision I regretted at 5pm the evening before when I was literally up to my elbows in blue icing and had a 'mum's night out' to get to with the lovely ladies from my Mums and Bubs group (our first catch up without the babies and a rare dinner out for many of us). Who knew using a 'grass tip' icing nozzle to create fur on a Cookie Monster cake would be so time consuming, messy and stressful? I persevered and wasn't unhappy with the end result. 

I then got dressed and ready to go out so I could leave as soon as Liam was settled in bed after his bedtime feed. Rookie mistake- as I was getting him out of the bath he did a giant wee all over my pretty dress. Motherhood! Anyway, after a quick change, a breastfeed and a cuddle I was out the door and on my way. After a year of mostly spending evenings at home it seemed surreal to be out after dark. The girls and I had a lovely time. You hear horror stories about mother's groups but I am very glad I joined and found these lovely friends. 

I was home by 10pm to find that Liam was still snoozing away and had woken once in my absence but had settled after a cuddle from his dad. It's been hard having a baby who, even after a lot if work, still is quite wakeful and I've been hesitant to go out at night. It felt liberating to get out of the house for dinner and we are hoping to do it again soon. 

The party went well and Liam enjoyed playing with some of his little friends. He was spectacularly underwhelmed by his cake but oh well. It tasted good anyway. 

I still find it hard to believe that I have a one year old son. He is such a funny cheeky boy and I miss him a lot on the three days a week I'm back at work. I'm currently on term holidays and have been enjoying lots of time with Liam, Rob and the kids as well as fitting in some time to rest and recharge during Liam's naps. Pesto has discovered that I may be on the couch at certain times as well and has been using it to his advantage. 

We are off into the true Tasmanian wilderness on Friday to celebrate my 30th birthday at Mount Cameron. If I find it hard to believe that I have a one year old, I find it even harder to believe that I am turning thirty! I don't feel thirty. It should be a great weekend and I can't wait to head into the bush. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A pox on you

What's been happening around here? Many things... 

So my little Liam is one year old. I have no idea how that happened. His birthday was on Sunday and we had a Sesame Street party with our nearest and dearest planned, but spanners were thrown when he went and caught chickenpox. Yep. I ended up in the emergency room on Friday night with a very sick and dehydrated little boy and a sense of panic, after two sleepless nights and a lot of unhappiness from my baby. Rob had to stay at home with the other two children, who were slumbering on oblivious to all the drama. His sister happened to be in town, having flown in for their grandmother's funeral, and came to the hospital to be with me and take turns holding and rocking our miserable little one. Four hours later we were home again, reassured that we were doing all the right things at home and that the rash that had popped up within an hour wasn't as sinister as I had feared. The emergency room on a Friday night is a strange place. No one wants to be there and no one wants to look at anyone else, but yet you can't help looking and wondering. 

I was very glad to get home and also glad I had gone for peace of mind. Saturday was spent holding Liam in my arms as whenever he is sick he just wants to be held. 

Not many pox on his face- just everywhere else! 

As mentioned above we had a party planned for Sunday but in light of the chickenpox we postponed it and just had close family come over for presents. My wonderful mother organised food and a little cake at the last minute as I was too exhausted to even think about that stuff. He perked up a little but was nowhere near his happy self and wasn't what you could call impressed by his presents. 

Even though he had no appetite we offered him a bit of cake to try (baby's first sugar...) but that didn't impress him much either. I was just so grateful to have him breastfeeding again. He is all about breastfeeding normally but didn't want a feed for 24 hours as he felt so unwell, starting from 5am Friday, which along with the rash prompted my dash to emergency that evening. As well as being desperately worried that he wouldn't feed and only wanted a few sips of water, I felt lost not feeding him. It is so special to me and gives me such a sense of joy and peace and fulfilment. When he finally accepted a feed on Saturday morning I cried with relief and knew he would be okay. 

He is on the mend now and we are definitely starting to see our happy boy reemerge. The rash is awful and I feel terrible for him. I feel like I've come through a war (a feeling any parent with a sick child will find familiar!) and am utterly exhausted. It's also been exhausting being back at work, though I have settled in again faster than I thought I would. I am loving finding my feet as a Kinder teacher again though it is hard being away from Liam three days a week. We have also had a lot going on with a death in the family and other family members flying in. 

We have rescheduled Liam's party for a few weeks time and I am hoping it all goes well, particularly my attempt to make a Cookie Monster cake. 

A fairly joyless post unfortunately. My next one should be full of party goodness. A few weeks from now is my 30th birthday (WHAT???!!) and I am very excited about a little trip we will be taking into the true Tasmanian wilderness, so expect a post about that, too...

I leave you with a shot of someone in the house who remains unaffected by all the recent stress and turmoil. Though she did get her claw stuck in the carpet briefly today, which must have been very upsetting. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A poem for my sweet boy

Tomorrow, my maternity leave ends. I wrote the following for my Liam.

I will hold you close against my heart
Kiss your cheek, and in your softness feel at peace 
Hold you close and breathe you in, deeply, sweetly. 

I will feel your hand against my skin 
Small and trusting, safe and warm
And feel your fingers stroke me
With love and gentleness. 

On your breath, the sweet scent of my milk 
Rising like a promise, like a poem
Hold you, nourish you, keep you safe
And in your heartbeat, hear my own. 

I will kiss you goodbye, and feel the pain of parting
I will feel my arms yearn to hold your trusting weight
I will say farewell, sweet boy, and walk away 
But I will still be yours, and you mine

Every time for me, a little death 
The pain of parting, the hearts beating alone 
Every time for me, and each for you. 

I will walk into your sight 
Work-weary, pressed down by my day 
But in seeing you, your smile, such a joy
Sweet balm for the spirit and the soul

I will take you into my arms 
And hold you tight 
And kiss your cheek 
And feel our hearts together, 
Beating just as strongly as they ever did, 
And I will see the whole world in your smile. 
And I will be the whole world in your eyes. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The five second rule gone wrong

So we've all heard of the five-second rule. Wherein if you drop a piece of food, it's fine to eat it if you grab it within five seconds. I am a believer in this rule. Rob is not. To be fair, as he is visually impaired I can see why he doesn't subscribe to this theory. He doesn't allow the children to do so either and thinks it's gross when I do it. But I do it anyway. Because let's face a busy mum, if I am grabbing a piece of chocolate on my way through the kitchen and it slips out of my sleep-deprived fingers and hits the kitchen floor- well, that's my chocolate and I am going to eat it, damn it.

However, I may have recently taken things too far. 

It was last Friday night and the kids and baby were all asleep in bed so Rob and I were enjoying some grown-up time. (By this I mean sitting on the couch in our pjs watching half an hour of a movie before I declare I am too tired and head to bed at 8pm. The wild life of motherhood.) To complete the cosy scene, my cat Pesto was nestled against my legs, purring like no tomorrow. He is much cuddlier in the colder months, leading me to feel slightly used. 

On this particular night, Rob and I felt peckish so he went to raid the pantry for something vaguely resembling junk food. It being the end of the week, I didn't hold out much hope. He returned with a Tupperware container half full of cheese flavoured rice crackers that we put in the children's lunch boxes. Crunchy, cheesy, vaguely resembling junk food. As he put the open container on the couch between us, Pesto leaned forwards with interest to sniff at it but then decided it was too much effort and settled back against my legs. 

We crunched into them as we continued watching (look, I just said it was 'a movie' but we may have been watching Titanic. Don't judge us) and all too soon they were gone. Drat. I was starting to enjoy the strangely orange cheese flavour. I got up and left the room to wash my hands and when I returned saw a piece of cracker where I had been sitting, which I had obviously dropped. 

Completely without thinking, I grabbed it and put it in my mouth, only to discover to my dawning horror that it was soggy. 


Cat....interested....sitting next to me...oh God. 

Yep, I now had a piece of cracker in my mouth that the cat had tasted and then spat out. I guess he didn't like the powdered orange cheese. 

After I ran to the sink and spat it out myself, I explained to Rob what had happened as he had only heard my noises of horror. He immediately began laughing uproariously while telling me it served me right and that it would teach me. 

Has it? Maybe. Probably not. But next time I will be more careful and make sure the five second rule is actually only five seconds. I love my cat, but that love doesn't extend to eating food he has had in his mouth and then rejected. No way. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Ready or Not....

So... In one month I will be saying farewell to maternity leave, kissing my sweet boy goodbye a few days a week and heading back to work. That year went INSANELY quickly. I have loved having so much time at home with my boy and I am really dreading my return to work. I think it will be hard on both of us but...I know we can do it. At least I have a job that I enjoy, though like all jobs there are good bits and bad bits. Here are some things I'm looking forwards to about returning to teaching...

*Having a pay check. Yep. I put that one first. I've been on Leave Without Pay for a while now after using all my paid leave and I'm not going to pretend I'm not wildly excited about actually being paid again. 

* Moments of hilarity throughout the day due to the fact that kids really do say the darnedest things. Like the time I was singing Five Little Ducks with my kinder class and rhetorically asked "Where do you think the little ducks are?" only to have one boy answer "Perhaps a fox dragged them away and ate them." Or the time a grade 2 student was playing a language game and arranging word cards to make sentences...and proudly read out "My dad rides the hairy mother." Moments like that require an intense amount of willpower in order not to burst out laughing. I love it, really I do. 

* Watching children grow and develop under my care. Sounds cliched but it's true. 

* Having fun with my students. Am I the only teacher joining in on the playground and going down the slide or riding tandem on little pedal bikes or dressing up in strange op-shop fashions in the costume corner? Yes. Do I care that I'm the only one? No. Playing rocks, and students adore having their teacher join in on the fun. 

And here are some things I am not looking forwards to...

* Germs. Kids have a lot of them and they have no qualms about sneezing or coughing right into one's face. Yuck. Teachers pick up a lot of colds. 

* Staff meetings. Enough said. No one enjoys them. No one. 

* Having to have my act together ready to leave the house at 7.45 in order to be at work by 8 so I have time to organise stuff before the students arrive at 8.30 onwards. Those people who snidely remark that teaching must be "an easy job- 9 to 3 and so many holidays!" clearly have no idea. I am up early these days, of course (it happens when you have a baby) but that doesn't mean I am dressed and ready to face the day that early. Blerrrggghhh. 

* Missing my boy. It's going to be hard. I know that. As I said before, it will be hard for both of us and I expect the transitional period to be tough. However, I know he will be in such good hands with either his daddy or his nan and pop. And I know that seeing this cheeky face when I return home will fill me with such joy. 

(Inside out jumper on head= court jester

Until next time... 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

What I Should Be Doing

We had one of those days on Saturday. 

Liam has become a lot better at napping since we went through sleep school but still has the odd 'off' day and Saturday was one of them. Basically he told naps and self settling to eff off and decided he wanted to have all his naps on me after/during extended breastfeeding sessions. He let me know about his decision in no uncertain terms. 

The morning session lasted an hour. An hour of sitting there holding my sweet boy while he nursed and snoozed, snoozed and nursed. Then he woke up, we walked up to the polling station with the children and then hit up the playground, and then came home in time for his afternoon nap. 

Nope. That one was a ridiculous idea too. So once again I found myself on my bed, holding him. An hour stretched into two, then towards three. I could hear the rest of the family at the other end of the house. I could hear my own thoughts. 

There were things I needed to get done today while he was napping...there are things I should be doing...I should be stricter on him and persist with getting him into bed. I should be spending time with the rest of the family, doing chores and housework, cooking, working on my scrapbook, having me time...

Then I stopped, and took a breath. I looked at my little boy, so peaceful in my arms, one little hand soft and warm against my breast, his eyes closed as he slept deeply and sweetly. As I held his trusting weight, I realised. What I 'should' have been doing...was exactly what I was doing. Holding, nurturing, loving. Being in the moment with my baby, as he is growing so very fast and all too soon, the times when he lay in my arms and nursed and snoozed, snoozed and nursed will be but a memory. There was no one else who needed me in that moment as he did. And just as equally, I needed him. So I held him a little tighter, and I breathed him in, and I let go of what I should be doing and gave myself to the moment. 

And what a perfect moment it was. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

All Nighters

Staying awake all night in my early 20's looked like this: 

Example 1: Uni assignment due in three days, oh my god! Consume Diet Coke while staring at computer screen. Eventually decide to go to bed and work on it in the morning as far too tired now. Go to bed, be unable to sleep due to caffeine. Lie there, jittery and anxious. Feel alone. 

Example 2: Drinks. Many. Ah, to be 22 again. World of pain to follow. Feel alone in my misery. 

Example 3: My old friend, insomnia. Lie awake for hours, retreat to couch to watch random Nicole Kidman movie and eat toast. Feel alone. forward to my late twenties. (Pause while I reel in horror that I am in my late twenties. I had a moment the other day when I realised I am three years older than the characters on Friends when the show began. What??!! Next thing we know I'll be the same age as the Sex and the City girls. How did this happen?)
Anyway. I digress. Staying up all night is a different scenario now.

Example 1: Heavily pregnant. Lie on couch as bed has become torture rack. Watch random episodes of Survivor. Feel a little person performing acrobatics in my tummy. Feel close to my unborn baby even in the midst of my sleepless frustration. 

Example 2: Sick baby. The last week has been a long one as my little boy has been very unwell and unwilling to settle anywhere but my arms at night. Last night we progressed to him settling in his pram for short periods but it's still a delicate situation. I don't know about you, but trying to sleep while sitting up holding a 11.5kg seven month old baby is not an easy feat. Tonight he progressed from wanting to be held tight against me to rolling around and making me his personal mattress. Filled with the optimism tinged with desperation one only feels when it is 4.30am and no sleep has been had, I gently lowered him to the bed next to me in the hopes that we could peacefully lie next to each other for a few hours of co-sleeping slumber. The next thing I knew, by the dim glow of the night light, I could see a pair of eyes looking into mine. Then a cheeky grin spread across his face. Then he whispered what sounded like "Oh. Mama," as he rolled towards me, took my face in his hands and chuckled. Yep, the virus is leaving him and returning my happy boy to me. Suddenly I didn't feel so tired. Instead I felt so grateful that even when I am up all night now, I am not alone. 

And the best part? I just put him into his own bed and he has happily self settled after rolling around chatting to himself while I wrote this. It's time for me to bury my head in the pillow, reclaim my bed and my body for the first time in a week and- 


Oh, god. Yep. That would be about right. Come on then Pesto. Feel free to climb aboard and make me into your own personal mattress. 

Goodnight. Xxx