Thursday, September 30, 2010

I'm back-with lightbulbs!

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We have just returned from 6 days in Adelaide. We drove (9 and a half hours including stops) and stayed with Luke's cousin, her husband and adorable almost 1 year old. The cubby in the photo above is in their back yard and my girls spent a LOT of time out enjoying it. We went to a family do & visited Luke's Nana (Luke is from there originally), went to the Adelaide zoo (awesome! Recommend it!), went to a car boot sale (Luke's cousin is just as into 2nd hand goodies as me, lucky we took the trailer!) and generally spent time hanging out and going to the park.

Can I tell you how lovely it was? It was SO lovely.

And this afternoon I was feeling grouchy with one of the kids and wondering why being on holidays was so fricken easy and without cranking. *cue lightbulb*

There are a few reasons I think.
-Luke was there. 2 parents definitely makes the load easier. Props to all the single parents out there. Also 2 other adults were around a lot of the time as backup. And I got a fair whack of child free time.
-the kids were busy exploring new places and having new experiences. Having a great outside space to play in was so awesome.
-but here is the big honest one. I'm just going to say it and hope I'm not judged too harshly. I controlled my temper because there were other people around. Every time I felt myself getting cross I just stopped myself from raising my voice or cutting off the kids from protesting and actually listened to them and helped out accordingly. And surprise surprise they were much happier and more co operative.

This afternoon I realized that I am capable of parenting without losing my temper. It was such an empowering thought. I'm sure there are 3 other people that will be pretty happy about it too.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Perfectly Imperfect-Day 3

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Those that know anything about Steiner philosophy and how they feel about children and TV will find this amusing. Here is my beautiful seasonal table...right next to the entertainment box of evil.

I'm having a perfectly imperfect week with Kate of Picklebums. Come join in!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Perfectly Imperfect-Day 2

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It's 8am and Harper has already managed to eat a crayon, that's the black smudge on her nose. I've also been cross at her for harassing the dog, I'm tearing my hair out about what to do there. And although the dummy is making her teeth crooked, that it's made out of nasty plastic and that it's a poor substitute for my breast, it's her "doo-doo" all the same.

I'm having a Perfectly Imperfect week along with Picklebums.

Monday, September 20, 2010

My pefectly imperfect life. Day 1

Good company today. I hosted a Mamabake. Where you do a big batch cook and share it with other Mamas who have done the same. As life would have it one of the children of one of the other Mamas was sick so they couldn't come and another family was caught in some awful traffic after a terrible accident so they didn't make it either. The numbers were down but spirits were up, along with a glass of bubbly. Sick child Mama dropped her wares off-what a legend. In my freezer I have cottage pie, pizza/foccacia dough, fried rice and chicken bolognaise. Pretty decent haul I reckon!

3 adults, 8 kids and a whole lot of fun! But now I am ignoring this....

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But dinner is ready to go!

I'm having a perfectly imperfect week this week with Kate of Picklebums. If you want, come join in!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A few links.

Not something I usually do but I have read a few amazing things over the web this week.

-35 Ways to be beautiful over at Adios Barbie has really inspired me. I'm going to print this off and put it on my wall somewhere.

-Not Dabbling in Normal has me wanting to make THIS slow cooked grain breakfast. Yum!

-Lovely Kestrel sent me a link to so wabi sabi. I love the wabi sabi aesthetic and think the idea of "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete" sounds like me!

-Spilt Milk did another great post on Fat Acceptance


-And next week I'm joining in with Picklebums and having an imperfect week. Each day I'll post or photograph something about the beauty, humor and love in the mudane of my everyday imperfect life and celebrating it. Feel free to join in too :)

Happy clicking!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Natural enemies of the school-free Mama

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-Crafting. You know what I'm talking about. Glitter glue, googly eyes and getting the hurry up on using up the toilet rolls as quickly as possible so they can be transformed into masterpieces. Special “treasure books” made up of cut up magazines that must be treated with the same reverence as the Dead Sea Scrolls. I think kindergarten was created so Mamas would not have to sweep up offcuts and glitter while cleaning paint off the walls.
-School tour groups. We love the zoo and the museum, we go to both of those places often. I seem to have a special radar for choosing the exact time to be somewhere to collide with 150 kids and 4 teachers who all stand in front of us.
-School holiday time at the library. Where have all the good books and movies gone?? And what's with all the people there?
-Great friends who send their kids to school. Wreck our social life why don't you? At least we can spend lots of time with them over the school holidays when there are no books and movies at the library.
-School uniforms. Tannah wants one because they are “awesome”. I think I'm going to get her one. It sure is going to make those “why aren't you at school?” conversations at the shops a whole lot more interesting.
-The internet. I could spend all day being inspired by other school-free families and their adventures. And then I could put it on Facebook, or tweet the author, or blog about it. Leaving precious little time to do said activity I was so excited about or connect with my children like said article inspired me to do.
-Children who are not gifted. Recently Willow was asked what the sum of 3 + 5 was. She answered “bird”. Hey, she's 3 and I was surprised anyone would think she could answer that, but apparently if I'm “hot-housing her at home” she should. Who knew huh?
-The abundance of awesome activities out there. So many to choose from it hurts my head and overwhelms the kids. Must remember that “doing not much at home” is a valid and necessary activity.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Extraordinary

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I have this photo of Harper and I in a frame on the TV unit. I was tuning out with some trash TV and my eyes wandered and I started looking at this photo. I remember being so thrilled with the first time I saw it that our first moments together had been captured so beautifully (thanks Kate!) and every time I glance at it I'm reminded of her birth.

Last night I started thinking how extraordinary this picture is in today's birth culture. There are so many things about this photo that, sadly, don't happen regularly enough.

-she is in my arms and yet to be held by another person (my Midwife gave her a little push underwater in my direction when she was born so I could pick her up as I was on all fours). No one has taken her away to weigh her, poke and prod her and she was not pulled out of my body by a stranger. All that lovely creamy vernix is still all over her too.

-her cord is still intact. And look at the amazing colour it is with all that oxygenated blood running through it! It stayed intact for another hour or so.

-I'm interested in her. This might sound silly as who isn't interested in their newborn? But many women are too drugged, traumatized or unable to move due to epidural and/or surgery to fully try to engage, or even hold their baby. They want to, but as birth's hormonal pathways have been disrupted it is an uphill battle. I'm not even aware of the photo being taken as my hormones have ensured that I am drinking in my new baby and we are imprinting ourselves on each other, blocking out distractions.

-we are in the water, where I wanted to birth. Too many women are asked to move to a place/position that is for the benefit of the person attending them rather than where they want to be.

-you can still see the stain of the henna that was painted on my belly during my blessingway. I wish more women knew about how amazing a blessingway was!

-Harper is not distressed. I've seen too many photos of babies being distressed in their first moments unnecessarily in the name of "birth stats" and hospital policy.


I will look at this photo with even more appreciation now. Not only at the luck of capturing such an amazing moment, but the fact that we had that moment at all. And the way laws surrounding birth stand in Australia now these moments will become rarer still. And I find that extraordinarily sad.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Scaredey fat.

I have a few things coming up that strike fear into the hearts of fatties everywhere. A family party, 2 concerts and a holiday..a SUMMER holiday. Requiring me in swimmers.

The thing is that I'M mostly ok with my weight. So why the fear??

1-I'm going to have to go shopping for some new clothes. Clothes shopping is the natural enemy of the fat woman. I don't have a ton of cash to spend on fancy gear so I'm going to have to make do with chain store type stuff. I'm an Australian size 18 which is kind of like limbo. I am the last size in the "normal range", if they make it or the 1st size in the plus sizes (I find a 16 in plus sizes fits fine but a regular 16 is too small. Le sigh). So I kind of have a choice between the clothes probably being a little too tight as they are not made for fat women but look "cool" or clothes that fit better (maybe) but that I probably don't like.

2-People will notice that I've put on weight. I hate them noticing. I hate that I hate them noticing.

3-swimmers and the beach. It is these 2 things that make me realize just how far I have to go on my body acceptance journey. I am very self conscious about being on the beach in nothing but swimwear with all the beachy types. The message from the media is clear-fat is disgusting. Not only am I fat. I'm hairy. I loved this post at Definatalie about body hair. I do struggle with feeling exposed in my swimmers. I *want* to look "hot" in swimmers. We are so conditioned to want that. It makes me sad.

The irony? It's years of trying to be thinner that have made me fat. There are many studies to show that calorie restrictive diets and excessive exercise make you lose weight-but after the diet ends most (like around 95%) of people put the weight back on-with interest! So those few big, short term weight loss successes I had are part of my body's desire to stay fat now to protect itself from "starvation". So I'll continue to practice Health At Every Size (although I'm sucking at the physical activity part. Three kids. 'nuff said) and keep reading other fat acceptance blogs to stay inspired. And poke in the eye anyone who makes cow noises at me on the beach.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

We Play! crafting

We Play


My girls love to craft. Sticking, cutting, pasting etc etc. It is pretty messy though and because Harper still puts stuff in her mouth it tends to happen when she is asleep. Today there has been much asking "is Harper tired YET??" and now that she is the big 2 can get into it.

Set up
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We use an egg carton to separate all the little bits and bobs
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Serious business this creating
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Some masterpieces drying
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Now for me to clean up....

We're playing along with Childhood 101 We Play! Check out the other great play ideas HERE

I'm also sharing this over at The Nurture Store's Play Academy HERE. Lot's of great play ideas to be found there too!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Food, godamn mothereffing food!

Agghhrrrhhh!!
We have not been eating well of late. I've had a huge attack of the can't be bothereds and convenience food is so, well, convenient. It is so easy to just pop down to the local stupidmarket and grab something that requires little to no preparation. Or even easier, drive to a little window, place an order and have dinner handed to you in a bag.

But is it really as easy as that?

Apart from take away being so expensive (we splurged on Thai food last week. It was healthy but dinner cost us $70!)it is not as easy in the long run. I know how my body feels when I eat well. It feels amazing. I'm happier, sleep well and am full of energy. When the kids eat well there are less arguments and illness.

Willow is particularly sensitive to preservatives, colours and heavily processed food. This includes white flour, sugar and pasturised milk. She has tantrums where she hurts herself that can last for hours, she twitches in her sleep and wets her pants more often.

But it's a fine line.

We live in a society where processed food is normal, where you are being mean if you exclude your child from eating chips that are radioactive orange in colour and addictive. So socially it's an issue. Also by making foods contraband they become more attractive. Putting "good" and "forbidden" labels on food is unhelpful and leads to eating this type of food in secret or feeling guilt. There is also looking at it from a "dieting" point of view. When dieters forbid themselves from certain foods they are prone to bingeing and then abstinence in cycles. And in my own experience by avoiding trigger foods 100% it makes flare ups huge when the foods are encountered because there is no immunity from exposure. In saying all this I don't believe that young children can self regulate foods that are designed to be addictive. Most adults can't. I'm totally OK with being in charge of the food that comes into our home.

So what do we normally do?
Our diet is pretty basic. Meat, poultry and eggs (all free range, grass fed and organic), fruit and vegetables, sourdough bread, spelt pasta and rice and mostly home made snacks. I use spelt flour and rapadura mainly to bake. We also eat corn chips (plain, organic) and hommus should be mentioned as a food group because we eat a ton of it. We eat raw cashews and peanut butter. We eat very little fish as overfishing concerns me. We do eat sustainably fished tuna and take cod liver oil though. We drink raw milk. That's what goes on at home. We can all eat as much or as little as we want (usually, depending on what's available) and there are certainly sweet snacks on offer-they are just home cooked. There is absolute self regulation on amount of food eaten and kind of food. The only rule I have is that I only cook one dinner. If you don't feel like that then you can eat something else, but it has to require no preparation. We are not free from the odd block of chocolate or bottle of soft drink either.
When we are out I subscribe to the anything goes theory. We eat whatever is on offer normally. I think it fills the "forbidden" food eating quota and gives the kids choice in what they are eating. It also makes my life easier as I'm not stressing about it. Does it sometimes backfire? Sure. Willow ate a whole heap of jelly beans when we were at a friends place the other week and I would rather never relive that 24 hours that followed again.

But lately more and more processed and "junk" type foods made it home. And not with a healthy alternative either. So we are all a bit less that our best. I'm planning to get back on track with what I've been buying for everyone's sake. It doesn't feel all that "convenient" now.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Happy fathers day!

It's Father's Day here in Australia and I'm going to share some photos.

Here are some of my wonderful Dad who I love very much. It's a shame I don't have a scanner so I can't share some great photos of him being my Dad when I was a little girl.

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Him walking me down the aisle at my wedding

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with baby Tannah

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with baby Willow

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with Harper on our last trip up there

I miss living close to him but I love that we can chat on the phone. I feel blessed to have such an involved Dad who I am close with. Love you Dad.


Here are some of Luke with our kids. He is an amazing Dad. Patient, affectionate and hands on. The girls (and I!) appreciate and love him lots.

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vacuuming with Tannah in the ergo

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sleeping after being on screaming baby duty

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with baby Harper

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helping Willow check out her new sister at Harper's birth

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fun times with his girls

You rock Luke, your daughters will be grateful.

I'm also in the fortunate position to have a father-in-law who is great and adores my kids so he rates a mention too.

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with Tannah ans Willow

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with Willow at Dreamworld

So a big thanks to all the Dads in my life. Especially mine.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Next phase...

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Willow is no longer breastfeeding. It's been about 3 weeks since her last feed. If she asks to start up again I'm going to refuse.

I can't believe I breastfed one of my children until her third birthday. I feel incredibly proud of myself. In the early days with Tannah when it seemed like an uphill battle, actually it WAS an uphill battle, and I thought it would NEVER get easy I would have laughed at the thought of feeding for that long. I had no intention of being one of "those" Mothers who breastfed their kids forever. But once Tans and I got the hang of it and was better informed it was so incredibly easy and beautiful I fed her until just after her second birthday-a month before Willow was born. When I found out I was pregnant with Harper Willow was not quite a year old so I knew I would be breastfeeding through a pregnancy again and was hopeful that tandem feeding would happen at least until she turned two.
I won't lie to you and say tandem feeding was easy or always enjoyable but it was amazing! I'll never forget Willow's face when my milk came in after Harper was born and her eyes widened and she said "Mama-boo milk in there!".
It was getting unpleasant with a lot of mucking around, nipple licking and not drinking the milk of late so I suggested to her that it might be time to give it up and she seemed unfazed. So I gave her a nudge and the next time she asked I said no. She said "OK, cuddle then!" and has only asked one other time. There have been no tears and no drama.
This might surprise many that I initiated the weaning but I truly believe that breastfeeding is a relationship between mother and child (not baby). Willow was no longer drinking my milk but playing at the breast, this made me uncomfortable so I discussed it with her, assessed her readiness and made my move.

It's bittersweet. It makes her seem older and that tool in parenting toolbox is gone. But then there is always a next phase to grow on together.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Suggestions?

OK readers of my blog.

I am about to enroll Tannah as a home-educated child *cue music, dun dun duuuuunnn* and want to keep a loose documentation for my own interest, the kids to look back on and in case I have to show we are covering the key learning areas in a natural learning environment. I've decided the easiest way to do this will be to blog it.

I want a great name for this blog and I would love to hear suggestions. Remembering I may have to give an official schooly checker inner type person the URL one day, keep it clean huh?

Fire away creative people!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Boooring

I know my blog is lacking content of late and I'm going to tell you why.

There is something about me sitting in front of the screen that makes my children need me immediately. They hate the disconnect of me on the computer. They see my laptop as a challenge and seek to break me from it's embrace as soon as we try for quality time.

I get it. Really. I *do* ignore them a bit while on here. I am less available and more likely to give an answer of "uh huh" while not really knowing what I agreed to or really hearing their story. I have been known to be annoyed at destruction that has gone on while I was paying zero attention to what was going on outside the interwebs.

So I've been trying really hard to engage more and surf less. I have been using my iPhone a bit for the surfing too. But I do think I'm going to lay off that little gadget as well. Apart from the fact my right thumb hurts (the shame, RSI from iPhone overuse)I'm finding it a little addictive. Does it really matter what someone's kid who I never met who is the child of a person I went to primary school with just did? Do I really need Facebook? Can I survive without knowing what Darth Vader has to say on Twitter?

I'm pretty sure I can. I'm not dropping out, but I am scaling back.

But I am going to make the effort to blog more. Because I really do love to blog.
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