Thursday, December 27, 2007

The joy that was

our Christmas. Pretty much summed up in the photo of Christmas Eve which involved food and champagne and then of Christmas morning which focussed on the girls. That's pretty much how the days continued - oodles of champagne and lots of child focus - as it should be.

Hope yours was a fine one - bring on the next year!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Very excitable

is how I'd describe the first bottle from my first batch of home brew. This photo is fairly calm compared to the first pour. There's no lack of effervescence, how about the flavour? Well I do like a range of beers, but the extremely hoppy ones aren't my favourite. This is probably a little too hoppy for me, but Geoff assures me that he finds it very drinkable!

It's not Christmas for me

without panetonne. I started making it about 4 or 5 years ago and Christmas morning now just isn't right without one toasted on the side of a cup of coffee.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Southern Lights

We had dear friends over last night and after dinner the bigger kids made their own Southern Lights in the middle of the second day of downpours. The photo's a little fuzzy, but the lights look great!

My favourite cuddle

position from the smallest one.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Our first 12 months of

formal education for Ella, namely 3 year old kinder, ends today. I think i feel a lot more nostalgic about it than she does, most probably because I know it means school is 12 months closer.

Today is the kinder party and Ella wanted to take presents for all her friends. Over the last few days she's been making the tags with all sorts of stamps and labels and today we make the gingerbread, decorated and wrapped them. She felt the Little Red Riding hood outfit was appropriate given the basket.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Another tick

Finally finished Ella's stocking.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

And so she climbs

Every cushion, pillow, doona and blanket now surrounds the base of the couch, the beds and the chairs. Leila has well and truly discovered climbing and is fearless. She is 11 months and has started to run and climbs like a monkey!

Gingerbread Architecture 101

Step 1 Read through your plans

Step 2 Have your foregirl assemble the workers

Step 3 Realise that your walls aren't so straight because you really should have cut your "timber" after it had been baked rather than before.

Step 4 Prepare strong concrete

Step 5 Get ready to raise the walls

Step 6 Hold your breath while the concrete goes off

Step 7 The interior decorators can finally move in to complete the process inside and out.

Step 8 E voila! an ooey gooey sticky delicious gingerbread house!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Slow to get started

When I was growing up we always put up our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve - that was our family's tradition. These days you see decorations going up as early as November.

Yesterday I relented and we've started the decorating process. I figure that it's fun having the house decorated, so why not enjoy it as long as you can and after all, it's only two weeks to go!

One of our early advent calendar activities was to make some decorations, but suffice to say I've been a little tardy with them, they're still a work in progress although almost there. Today is gingerbread house day, so we'll see how my scheduling goes with that!

Friday, December 07, 2007

I Survived

my first two days back at work and am actually surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

I didn't have any nerves, no stomach churning beforehand. I was made to feel so welcome, particularly by Fran, the colleague I'll be working most closely with. I guess knowing the environment, some of the people, some of the frameworks helped. Also, having my gorgeous sets of grandparents caring for our girls is major relief.

It was different second time round - I wasn't anywhere near as terrified of being away from Leila as I was from Ella - honestly, I didn't worry at all! She hasn't taken it without a fuss though - she didn't nap at all today - she was awake from 6am to 6:30pm when I got home. She saw me, gave me the hugest cuddle ever, really snuggled in, had a big feed and went out like a light. Geoff's out with mates tonight for a rare Christmas get together, so all three girls may well be asleep before it's dark.

I feel strangely content - life's good.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Putting things right

Last night Ella got up again, we talked and decided that we'd make a poster of all the foods that she's happy to eat. This is just the first page. If there is something on these pages that she is served for dinner then she has to try and eat it without a fuss. Tonight went well. There are other pages, almost all fruits are on another, it's not so bad, I just need to keep things in perspective.
First day back at work tomorrow. Dinner's ready to go; bags packed; clothes laid out for the girls - only me to organise now.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I'm not proud

of myself tonight. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned Ella's changing eating habits - we'll things are getting worse. I lost it tonight. Those of you who have had problems may understand how completely frustrating a child who refuses to eat is.

I had told myself that I would offer her things I know she'll eat and have pretty much stuck to that in between alternating things that I feel she should like to eat. Tonight it was a her night - rice with baby corn, peas, carrots and snow peas. She wouldn't eat more than the rice. It's just before 6pm and I've sent her to bed. I told her I didn't like her much at the moment and that I was angry and she had to stay in bed until mummy calmed down. I yelled. I wasn't nice. I feel like crap.

I don't know how to manage this, it's an ever reducing circle which is coming close to including only fruit and starches - plain pasta, rice, cous cous - nothing more.

Part of my frustration is the maternal desire to feed your child; part is that I just don't understand; but is that I don't have much left at the end of the day for a fight over dinner - it's just the straw that I simply can't carry.

I'll apologise to her before we go to bed properly. I'll explain why I was so upset. I'll try and get her to explain why she won't eat so many things that have never previously been an issue. I'll make it okay and find a way forward but for now, I simply feel like crap.

Monday, December 03, 2007

We have a climber

in our midst - hence the graze on the face.

We also wrote and addressed, stamped and stickered all our Kids Craft Weekly christmas card swap. We received our addresses yesterday and have friends in Chile, Spain, Turkey, the US and Australia too - such a wonderful idea - I must make a donation to Amber's wonderful website and I only realised today that she's based in NSW.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Kinder Christmas Party

I think it looks as hot in these photos as it was. Even Ella said "it's not warm mum, it's hot". So glad we had the evaporative cooling put in last year, how middle aged does that sound!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

What makes up a day

At the moment I feel particularly stretched. There are not enough minutes in the hours that Leila naps, not enough hours in the days and the weeks are getting shorter. The girls seem to be getting less tidy and as a result I seem to be picking up the same things more and more. There seems to be more stuff to do and less time to do it in.

Yesterday I felt stressed, honestly, in my own home with just the girls with me. My parents came over in the morning too to visit and help out, but I had to rush out on a hot day and do a couple of errands in shops that drove me mad! Bad drivers, pension day, hot weather - a terrible combination of elements.

I think my frustration stems mostly from the fact that I'm back to work on Thursday next week. It's only two days a week but it's daunting. My old pre Leila role isn't available to me any more so it's a new role with new colleagues and new tasks that I'm unfamiliar with. It feels sooo hard. In some ways it's easier than it was with Ella, that felt truly heartbreaking to leave her. Callously perhaps I feel more at ease with leaving Leila in that I know she'll be well looked after and happy, if a little put out. It's a lack of confidence but it's also just wondering how on earth I'll manage. The same tasks will still need to be done around here but in two less days and I'll add to the mix an element of guilt which means I'll feel I have to do them better.

There will be positives though, I'm working because I want to. When I worked before Leila, again only two days a week, the balance was great for me. I like to have a balance of my own life at work and then my home life and two days is perfect for that . You have to compromise on the role you can hold, possibly you don't feel as challenged as perception is that the contribution you can make in two days is limited, but I'm prepared to wear that. The upside for me is that I don't want something where I'm worrying about being able to leave on time, where it's impossible to have a family day, it's a trade off.

I also need to learn to not be so hard on myself. Yesterday was a busy day. I do feel that I'm always chasing my tail, but aside from the errands in the morning (Bunnings, Spotlight, post office on pension day), I also managed to do breakfasts, lunches, dinners x two combinations; made paper with Ella for friends whose parties are today; made cards for the same friends; cut out Ella's new christmas stocking; cleaned the house; did the ironing; played inside and out etc etc. I'm no hero, we all work this hard every day I know, but some times I have to remind myself, as we all should, that I don't sit around all day, that I'm feeling stretched for a reason. It is hard to slow down though - there's so much to do, so much I want to do - and not enough time.

And an added frustration yesterday was that nan's gorgeous advent calendar went up alongside our activity one. Hers, however, is covered in presents and it was more than our big girl could bear, the waiting. As a mother you understand, you try and sympathise, but after hours of harranging, it's sooooo wearing! Mental note to self, next year, don't put it up until the big babe is in bed!

Friday, November 30, 2007

While I'm

trying to do this.

The girls are doing this.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Another tick

This is Leila's first Christmas, so she needs a stocking. I love this - I must admit it's a copy made with my own fair hands, I can't justify the cost to buy one of the originals. Ella's had the same once since she was born, but now wants a new one too, fair enough, so I'm going to make the gingerbread house one for her.

I've had this stocking since I was a babe, still use it every year, made for me by my mum.

Jingly Jangly

I took the girls shopping this afternoon, the priority was to get 3 presents for parties that Ella's attending over the next few days, but we got sidetracked. There's a kids clothing shop called Cotton On Kids - fairly basic stuff, all cotton, at reasonable prices. There was a deal of cotton summer dresses - buy 2 get 1 free - so we bought.

When your children are small you dress them, before long, I think with girls particularly, they start dressing themselves and involving themselves in the shopping. Yet again they aren't to be mirrors of ourselves, but it's hard when they like things you just wouldn't choose yourself. Ella and I agreed easily on the first two dresses, but for the 3rd she fell in love with the jingly, jangly dress. It's hot pink, has silver stripes and those indian style little medallions at the bottom that make a noise wherever she walks. I love it too because before, when we took the photos, she said "mum, I love this dress, it's my very first jingly, jangly one". How can you not love it!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Show me the greens

Our little vegie garden is coming on in leaps and bounds. We've always had something every season, but this year have planted a little garden complete with Sally Scarecrow. It's not a huge area at all, perhaps 1.5 x 2m, but it's amazing how productive it can be. Already fruits are set and everything is looking very lush. Let's hope that the baby's bath water continues to agree with our veg!