Sunday, October 31, 2010


We don't trick or treat, much to the disappointment of the girls. Every year I think we should co-ordinate with friends who live locally, so they can visit others who have agreed to participate. We do decorate the house though, carve a pumpkin, have a dinner with blood drinks, worm stew and witchy cupcakes.

We also dress up, with varying levels of commitment and enthusiasm.

I don't mind looking terrible, I'm a Medusa type lady with smells, hence the flies.

Ella was a pretty witch.

Leila was a baby.

Daddy was, um, rather unattractive.

The cupcakes were yummy and green!


The last of our leeks, a la vinaigrette. Yum.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


We have a small house, on a very small block (330m2), with a very small garden. We live in the burbs not inner city, so it is small for out this way, but that's the way things worked out for us.

If I had my way, I would go Mediterannean style and squeeze something edible into every square inch of our garden space. I'd be happy to give over some of the reasonably big front yard to raised garden beds so as to extend a little more our vegie patch. I would trellis pumpkins up the side of the house and hang strawberries from the verandah. It's not unreasonable that although Geoff appreciates our fresh veg, he doesn't want to surrender the whole yard to it.

As a result we squeeze things in where we can, like our strawberries. I think I inherited some from mum and dad and they grew, as they do, and had babies of their own, as they also do and we have had a small (maybe 1m x 1m) patch just inside our front gate.

They always amaze me with their generosity. I really don't do anything with them, don't feed them (a shortcoming with me and all our plants) and only water in the middle of summer. I do mulch around them to keep the fruit off the dirt, but that really is it.

Every year they perk up, so green fresh and lush with very alert leaves and bear gorgeous flowers and fruit for us. I'm not sure our bird and possum neighbours have realised that they're there yet, but they will. Generally we see a fruit and think "that will be perfect tomorrow", only to go and discover a slug has eaten everything bar the skin, a possum has taken it completely or a bird has pecked a big hole in it. It's time to drag out the netting and sticks and try to protect those gorgeous globes.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Five nudie girls waiting to be dressed, hopefully they won't have to wait too long.

Honestly, what do I do with my time? I do think life would perhaps be less busy without so many hobbies and interests, but it would also be a lot less interesting.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


I think I can characterise the authors I like and the books I like as all adhering to a certain type. I like my books as I like the people I like, thoughtful. I like books that have a certain type of character, emotionally complex characters, with history.
I saw the movie first, with Robin Wright (no longer Penn) and Keanu Reeves. I love Robin Wright, I find her absolutely gorgeous to look at, fresh and incredibly handsome, but I like her performances too. She is actually the perfect actor to play Pippa from the book, it couldn't have been better cast.
So, it's hard to talk about a book that you read after seeing the film adaptation, particularly so in this case as it's so utterly true to the book. The characters are the pages come to life and it's precised into a whole film perfectly.

There aren't many big moments in this book. There isn't a tangled and complicated plot to explain, it's basically Pippa's life from start to age 50 and all that has happened in that time. It's about how we find ourselves at a certain point, how it can be easy for some to just accept and not question whether it's enough, it's about ultimately choosing oneself.
I loved it. I'm only sorry that Rebecca Miller has only three books, I've loved them all. Hers and Siri Hustvedts books have been favourites this year.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Thank you all for your very thoughtful and helpful comments. I need to relax. I have to resist overthinking things so much; I'm going to stop, listen more, play more and just see how she goes.

We had a lovely walk today, a mother child walk, leisurely, stopped more often than walking. Picking every flower that hung over a fence; collecting sunny boys from the footpath, checking for fairy houses and stopping to make leaf whistles.

In the years to come one of the things I'll miss most about no longer having small children, is that special and unique company on the most routine of outings. Walking with a small child, simply to the shop to get the newspaper, well it's so so special and I realise as time passes, how much I'll miss them. It actually makes my heart ache just thinking about it.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Oh my littlest one, things just don't always come as easy for her.

I've been worrying about this for quite a while now, months, but thought perhaps, perhaps, the issue had resolved itself. I realise now though that it hasn't, but the answer is still unclear to me.

3 year old kinder has not been a resounding success for us, not this time around. We started off well but in mid 2nd term during a bad spell of illnesses for teachers as well as children, she had an unfortunate incident with her teacher. It was a case of being unwell and a little impatient on the part of the teacher and not remembering to recognise the differences in children's reactions to situations. As a result Leila did not want to go to kinder for a long time, a long time. It was very distressing for all of us. We spent 1 1/2 terms staying at every session of kinder, as I personally am not a supporter of the "leave them crying and they'll get over it" approach.

I then had it raised with me that perhaps another year of 3 year old kinder would be a good idea. She is on the younger end, with an early January birthday, but another year, well I wasn't sure that was the answer either. Then things started to pick up, but then last week we had an incident with an older sibling, very nasty and it shook her (and me to be truthful).

So, I don't know what to do. Today wasn't a good day and I've come home obviously thoughtful about what to do and what's best. There are only 6 girls in our class of around 20 children and none of those girls are very outgoing or confident. There is one girl that she is friends with and they both seem to need the other there for support to make them able to cope, but I'm not sure they are really good friends. Then there's the issue of schools moving forward, most of the children in her year will feed through to the other main primary school, I've had that conversation with our teacher, so whomever she may befriend won't follow her to school.
I'm wondering if another 3 year old year would help. She needs more confidence in how to hold herself in that type of social setting. She's certainly not shy, not at all, she's funny, charming, entertaining and really a happy girl. The only way I can think to explain is that she's socially insecure, in that type of setting. It doesn't stay all session or all day, but it's there.

Ideally I want her to meet more children with whom she feels secure and valued. Unfortunately it hasn't worked that way this year. Perhaps staying back another year, a new group of children, but what then. She'll be a year older starting school, I don't know.

If you know the answer, or faced (or are facing) the same issues for your babes, I'd love to hear any pearls you have to share.


Another love token from my babe.

Trying to keep things simple right now as situations are getting a little tricky. Working two days a week ticks along nicely until it doesn't. My MIL had a hip replacement 6 weeks ago and all started off really well but now there have been complications so we continue to be minus 50% childcare, now until who knows. We're juggling for now, but add in husband's travelling and support carers going away and it gets, tricky.

Is anything ever without complication? Sometimes I think if I stayed home full time it would be easier, but we know that has many challenges of its own too. I do tend to get less fraught these days, what can you do? No point expending energy that we have all too little of, getting wound up about those things which you can't control. Plough on and work through.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Sometimes your children surprise you, I mean really surprise you.

While I was working on some dolls I asked Leila what she would like to do while I sewed. Would you like to draw, or paste, make something with play doh? I want to sew mummy, was her reply. She's only 3, so my first thoughts were that she was too young, but I resisted and went to get some hessian. That didn't cut it. I want proper sewing material mum. We compromised with felt.

I kid you not, although she's clearly seen me sewing often, this is the first time she's ever sewn, ever! The needle was not a blunt one, but she didn't prick herself once. She didn't get the thread tangled over the side once. She went front to back in a very relaxed manner.

She helped herself to the beads and sewed them on, alone. She picked out the buttons and sewed them on without instruction. This is all her. Can you tell that I'm gushing?

So, children can surprise you. I, or perhaps more collectively we, tend to make assumptions about what a child can do, but if you don't give them the chance to try, you won't know what they're truly capable of.

And did I mention that she's only 3 1/2!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Only 10 months in a finally posting some new girls, although not completely there yet. I've had a few asking about darker skinned dolls and this is my first attempt at a hand dyed version. The fabric is quite raw looking, but I like it a lot. Leila has now requested a Pippi doll (the orange haired one) but "she needs to be pink Mum. Pink head, pink legs, arms and body". I think that will have to go on our own personal Christmas list, not sure it would be a big seller!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Strictly speaking they're weeds, but en emass aren't they lovely? If you like, look at this gorgeous post, it inspired me.

Saturday, October 09, 2010


The masterchefed sausage rolls and cupcakes; they were made over with eye make up, lipsticks and sparkling hairspray and lunched on the things they'd made, together with mixing their own mocktails. A gorgeous group of girls, all sweet as and a party that was not only fun, but easy. I think we've reached that age where it's almost enough just to be together.

The most beautiful of all 7 year olds. Smiling from the moment she arrived and she hasn't stopped since. Already the greatest of friends, so very gentle and kind, sweet and oh so lovable.

Happy Birthday darling love.

Thursday, October 07, 2010


I've been saving this book for a while. I love the luxury, the indulgence, the wealth of having brand new books, unread, sitting uncreased beside my bed.

I love Rebecca Miller's writings. I love the simplicity of her style but the mood most of all. I started "The Secret Lives of Pippa Lee" on the way home tonight, I'm only 20 pages in, but already there's a short passage I'd like to share. Ella turns 7 in two more sleeps, I think I'm in a, whatever the opposite (in terms of passage of time and looking forward rather than back) of reflective is, mood.

A few months ago, in her old life, she would no sooner have had a friendship with Dot Nadeau than flown around the room. Their friends were editors, novelists, critics, poets. Yet Pippa had never felt fully at ease in their hypercivilized company. Only with her twins, when they were young - only then had she felt fully secure in who she was. Grace and Ben had looked up at her with such certainty in their little faces, and called her Mama. They knew, so she knew. Now her babies were gone. They called sometimes, came home to visit. Occassionally they all went out for lunch together. But they didn't look at Pippa the way they once had."

I'm not sad, but I appreciate so much all I have and I know that nothing stays still, so I need to cherish it all the more.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


I seem to be moving as if in treacle in terms of getting things done for Ella's party. I feel like I'm moving a lot, doing a lot, but very little is getting done! This morning included trips to Lincraft, JB HiFi, Officeworks and the $2 shop - all in different locations - all on the list. Four ticks, thank goodness, but by lunchtime Leila and I were ready for a nap.

5m of butterfly garlands sewn - tick. 12 aprons edged with ties, only pockets left to add.

I go to my paying job tomorrow, so best get a move on.

Monday, October 04, 2010


We often refer to situations or reactions as clichéd, often without any experience of that particular place, but until we get to a point where that experience, emotion or situation is directly relevant to us, they're just words with little understanding.

It was back to work for me last week after 3 weeks of holidays. On one of the days the girls had a sleepover with nan and pa and Geoff and I took the bus in to the city together. As we sat at the lights there was a young mother with two young children in a pram waiting for the lights to change. I hadn’t realized I was staring until Geoff startled me. I had been looking at her, realising her situation, the point at life she's at and realized that I am now approaching being a cliché.

The day before I’d returned to work on a promise of a new role, changed duties, an improved situation. The first email that greeted me was a dept wide communication advising that the role intended for me had been filled full time (rather than part time). Despite having had more than one conversation with my manager there was no, I'm sorry, no further explanation, nothing. I was disappointed, but not surprised, it’s become a bit of thing in my current role, hollow promises. So I had this running through my mind whilst looking at this young mother.

The flow on from that was thinking forward to how life changes once your children become more independent. I have mentioned before that at almost 41 a 3rd child isn't on the cards for me, so that phase of mother babies and young children is moving ever further away from me. I thought of how you need to begin redefining your life, your place sooner than I'd imagined. In turn I raced forward to realising how important it is to do something you're enthusiastic about, workwise, something that you can draw energy from.

Perhaps I didn't think enough about it when I was younger, I didn't realise the options, wasn't taught to expect as much as people are today. As you get older and you move on through the stages I feel it even more important to do something that fulfills you, because everything else keeps on moving on.

I tend to burble I know but trust me, this thought process raced through my head in a matter of minutes, much less time than it's taken to relate it here. It made me realise that until I make my real dream come true, I want to do something that makes me feel better about things, so I started to make a list. I started writing down a list of companies that I like or am interested in, places I could imagine being involved with.
  • Simon Johnson, food purveyors
  • Cafe Vue at Heide
  • Red Shed at Gruyere
  • Aesop
  • The Big Group
  • Elk Accessories
  • Montsalvaat

The last one on the list, Montsalvaat. I hadn't been there since I was about 12, but have thought about it often. We went yesterday and after this one snapshot, the camera ran out of battery charge, so frustrating.

It was just as gorgeous as I remember, more so in fact. The girls adored it and even Geoff, who'd never been before, was talking about how wonderful it was in bed last night. It recharged me, it inspired me, the little places that people find and make for themselves in this world is admirable. I'm going to start carving out more of a space for myself, more Victoria space, so that as life moves ever forward, as there is less and less need for mother space in the same way, I'll have a lot of "me" ready to fill up those gaps.

Saturday, October 02, 2010


Last night we were in socks, trackies and jumpers with the heating on. Today we were in skirts, singlets, no shoes and sitting outside in glorious sunshine for our GF (v2) bbq lunch. Every window was thrown open and fresh sunny air filled all our rooms.

This afternoon we've been deep in birthday preparations for our first baby or our biggest baby, depending which way you look at it. As usual I've set myself a task, but it's one of many occasions we celebrate with our girls for which I gladly run myself ragged.