Sunday, February 27, 2011

Simple pleasures-a visit to the creek

I drive past this little creek often and have been wanting to go and let the girls explore. Yesterday the sun was out, Luke was home and we had no plans. So we packed up a few things and went up for a look.

Tannah and Willow were keen to dip their feet in and check it out
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Harper was happy to look on form the sideline
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There were lots of little fishes and tadpoles to look at, as well as all the flora both in and out of the water.
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We took some jars to catch some specimens in to observe up close (we let them all go)
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And poor Luke was feasted on by a leech! This freaked the girls OUT. They were disturbed by the whole thing and fussed over their Dad, applying band aids to stop the bleeding (so much blood!)and checking in with him for ages after.
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We had a lovely day. After some exploration we sat under a big shady tree and had a snack before leaving and we took the long way home and all 3 little nature enthusiasts were sound asleep within no time :)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

3 Weeks to go!!



3 weeks from today I'll be elbow deep in awesome bloggers at the Aussie Bloggers Conference. Can I just say I'm a little excited??

I'm working my way down the list of attendees and checking out their blogs. So many awesome blogs. Mine may not be in the "well known bloggers" category, my content might be wildly different from the content of lots of these blogs and I am incredibly clueless when it comes to how to do anything on the blog except for write posts but all of the attendees, myself included, have a great big something in common.

We all love to blog! We are all great at sharing our lives, providing information and inspiring (and sometimes dividing) people through this media. Some bloggers have sponsors to the conference & some of us wouldn't have a clue what to put in a media kit if they had one (or maybe that's just me...)and our subscribers and hits for our blog might be worlds apart but I'm sure on the day we will all find things to chat about with each other.

I hope none of the less recognized (me!) or new bloggers feel intimidated by some of the blog superstars who are attending. Remember-we are all there to learn something, meet people and wax lyrical about blogging-which may or may not bore the pants off some of your friends. I'm also going to put it out there that a few drinks and a dance on a weekend away from the family might not go astray for me either. Although I'm still not sure if "letting my hair down" in a room full of people who's shared interest is putting stuff on the internet is such a great idea.

I'm going to the conference as myself. I'll be there with my armpit hair, cluelessness about blog design and multi coloured tights. I'm hoping that everyone there is as honest about themselves in real life as they are on their blogs. I hope my lack of social awkwardness doesn't freak people out.

Mostly I'm looking forward to meeting lots of ace new people and learning lots of new things. If you're going to be at the conference please come up and say hello!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Things I know

Things I Know is now a link up! Would love for you to share what you know this week.

-toddlers who have meltdowns at the supermarket can make you frustrated but adults who stare at her with disapproving looks can make you downright mad!
-having a diary, calendar and wall planner are only useful if I write in and check on these things
-it's OK to call a home day if we need one
-it's OK to call a friend for a visit if you need one
-sometimes the "straw" that broke the camels back is actually sequins in the carpet
-don't assume the scrunched up pieces of paper in the kids bedroom are rubbish, they may be "food" for the My Little Ponies
-hommus, when eaten in large enough quantities, can influence the smell of a child's nappy. Same goes for blueberries.
-kids give great names to new pets.

This is Strawberry
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This is Kiwifruit
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and this is Watermelon
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So what do you know this week? Share in the Things I Know linkup!



Thursday, February 24, 2011

An eternal newbie.

I am ALWAYS going to be new at this.


Though I have 3 kids I'm always new at being a Mama of my oldest child as she is always the oldest child I've parented. My other two children are so individual that trying to be the same way with all 3 is insulting to all of us. The dynamics of the ages and stages of my girls changes from day to day and sometimes from hour to hour. I'm faced with new challenges and new discoveries so regularly that sometimes the learning curve can seem steep. I've had some challenges in the last few days that have had me wondering if I know anything at all.

This is not a declaration of frustration (though I can feel frustrated sometimes)or an admission of defeat but just the reality of the situation. On the flip side there is always room for growth and discovery. Parenting certainly feels like a journey!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

We Play! Fairy Gardens

We Play



Tannah and Willow Have become construction experts of late. They are building all sorts of houses and what not for their Zhu Zhu pets and My Little Ponies and such. Many of these houses are held together with shoelaces-I don't know where they picked it up but they can tie the most incredible knots!

Over the weekend after watching Tinkerbell and The Great Fairy Rescue (again!) they decided it was time to branch out into fairy housing.

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There was a lot of work and much discussion about things the fairies would enjoy. Like friends to meet them, a path to find the way, somewhere soft to sleep and even a saucepan pool-lucky fairies!

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The task at hand now is checking for evidence of fairies having visited the house!

We are playing along with Childhood 101's We Play! Head over for more great play ideas.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Unschool Monday-Cool discussions

We have been having some cool discussions of late, Tannah and I. I love the endless rabbit hole of her thirst for knowledge that can be stimulated from all kinds of places. Now, I'm not so closed minded to think that only school free children get lots of questions answered by their parents but I do think that we have a lot more time to discuss topics at length without the interruption of school.

This week we have started to get into the more nitty gritty stuff of reproduction. Tannah is fascinated by the fact that eggs exist for mammals but that their babies are not hatched from them at birth like in a reptile or a bird. This conversation came from the watching of a David Attenborough doco "Life Of Mammals" (which I cannot recommend enough-the whole "Life of.."series is awesome!)where there was footage of whales mating. Since then there has been a lot of questions about eggs and sperm and mating and the difference between reptiles etc. I'm off to source some books from the library this week on the topic and see what she does with them.

Tannah has wanted a "pink stripe" in her hair for a while and we made that happen this weekend. She is thrilled with the result.
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This led to talks about hair pigment and genetics.

And Monday nights. The night of Mythbusters and Man Vs Wild. Gosh how Tannah LOVES these shows! I don't have the time or the space to even go into all the conversations that have stemmed from these shows. Just tonight we discussed digestive systems after watching Bear Grylls pull a dead sheep apart and the discussion of a "One Inch Punch" by Jamie and Adam led to me getting the ruler out and discussing different measurements. I'm so glad I got over my TV phobia as we really have some great discussions started from all kinds of shows.

I'm really enjoying hearing her say "Mum, can you tell me about..."

I'm joining in with Owlet's Unschool Monday.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Simple Pleasures- pass it on

Have you ever had the gift of food?

Have you ever been blessed with someone dropping food off at your door during tough times or after the birth of a child?

I was reading this post recently about a visit from a food angel. It had me reminiscing about the time after losing a baby that I was surprised with a visit (actually it was the same food angel!) who cam with a huge hug and a bag of food, generously cooked by my friends. No strings, no obligation to come in, just a hug and a drop off and away she went. I was so very grateful.

After my second born arrived I was blessed to have a visit from a woman from the Home Midwifery Association with some meals. It was common place to put your name on the list and when your baby was born a few families would cook for you, lightening the load in the early days.

I have also had the pleasure of cooking meals for other women and their families in times of celebration and in hard times. Sometimes there is nothing you can do to help the situation but a hug and a no strings attached drop off of food is always welcome.

A dear friend of mine has had some family health issues at the moment. A few of us have all cooked a batch meal (or 2 or 3) and I'm going to drop it off tomorrow. I'm not saying this to tell you what a nice person I am but to encourage you to do the same.

Know of a new Mama?
Reading a friends struggles with small children on Facebook?
Know of a family where there has been a death or illness?

Maybe make extra of your next big meal and drop off a serve. No strings, no obligation to hang around. Maybe get a group of friends together a la Mamabake and make a day of it. Baking and sharing meals to lighten the load.

In the spirit of the post I'm going to share with you my "Chicken Bolg". It's entirely my own concoction and I make it for just about every meal drop off I've ever done-there is a batch simmering on the stove as we speak!

500g of chicken mince (free range and organic is best of course!)
1 big leek or 2 small ones
1 grated carrot
1 grated zuchinni
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
some basil and oregano (fresh or dried-whatever you've got!)
2 tblsp tomato paste
1 bottle passata
salt and pepper


Melt a knob of butter(don't be stingy) and add the mince and leek and cook until done
add the grated veg and garlic and cook for a minute or so
add all the rest and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring from time to time.

It will look a bit "wet" but freezing or even reheating will dry it out a bit.

Give a bag of uncooked spaghetti to go with it and it can be served with cheese. Yummo and super easy.

So I'm giving you a challenge to pass it on this week. To think of someone who might appreciate an extra meal in their freezer and make them one. Get cooking!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Things I know

Don't forget that Things I Know is now a link up! Feel free to share what you know this week.

-A toddlers head vs a step is never going to come out in favor of the toddler
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-I may never be able to watch Toy Story 3 or Charlotte's Web without getting a little misty eyed
-don't doubt that your wildlife mad 5 year old will be able to identify rare and endangered animals you have never heard of
-everything can be cleaned!!
-when a friend is having a hard time and you cannot fix it for her you can always try to fill her freezer with meals.
-it's great that my kids have different interests, but I wish they were all in the same place at the same time!


What do you know this week?


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

We Play! And we get messy!

We Play



I used to be worried about mess. That it would take me ages to clean up after the girls if they were doing a particularly messy activity
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Of course they did not share my worry for all things messy and love to do things that get grot everywhere
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I've learned that it actually takes almost no time at all to clean up even the biggest of messes, both on the kids them selves and whatever part of the house or yard they are in. It has never taken me more than 5-10 minutes to clean up. Which in the scale of things is no time at all
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But also it's important for kids to get messy! Not only do they love it but it's great developmentally for children to be able to explore all sorts of textures and mediums in their own way (read-without you freaking out!).
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So grab a drop sheet or kick them outside, fill up the bath ready for filthy kids and let them go for it!

I'm playing along with Childhood 101's WE PLAY! link up. Check it out for other great play ideas.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Be kind to yourself

I've been having a pretty rough time with Harper lately. She's getting teeth and is more grumpy and out of sorts than usual. When she is being, for lack of a better word-a shit, I try and remind myself that she is having it rough too, not getting as much sleep as she'd like and feeling a bit miserable. Point is I cut her some slack and try to take it extra slow to react. It doesn't always work and I have been cross with her on more than a few occasions. It's not my plan to get mad or irritated but when my reserves are down and I'm having the same conversation for the billionth time with a baby who is just about to turn two I'm not at my best.

It got me thinking about how we can be so hard on ourselves as parents. How we are quick to give our kids a break in less than optimal circumstances and just as quick to let ourselves drown in Mama guilt for not being the parent we want to be 100% of the time. This can be a slippery slope to using having a shit day as an excuse to be cranky and taking it out on the kids. I am suggesting however, that we be kind to ourselves as parents.

I strive to be Queen Of My Home and hold the space for my kids. It's hard work and sometimes it has me feeling overwhelmed. While I am blessed with an amazing husband who is such a partner in parenting he is at work often and I am the main care provider for our girls. I'm the one who deals with all of the nighttime parenting, all of the bedtime stuff and most of the daily upsets and frustrations of our daughters. And some days, as hard as I try, I have nothing left to give except short answers and unhelpful remarks. Sometimes it's me crying as well as the kids. Life is not all sunshine and happy faces.

So I'm making a pledge to myself. After I reconnect with my children after losing my "crown" I'm going to take a moment and be kind to myself, cut myself some slack and remind myself that I'm doing the best that I can.

I hope that you will too.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Things I know

-watching Bear Grylls drink his own urine from a snake skin in Man Vs Wild can almost make 5 year old leave the room gagging
-watching Adam and Jamie blow stuff up on Mythbusters cab make the same 5 year old jump out of her chair and cheer.
-if you want to impress your children, grow multi coloured carrots!
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-the phrase "I DO DAT!!" from your almost 2 year old can get way overused
-the T-Box (like tivo kinda) will only record the shows you want if you leave it switched on at the point.
-your husband can move the compost bin, but he may not want to talk about the experience
-snow globe V tiles. The tiles always win.
-I'm the guest blogger over at Eco Toys Blog today blogging about our journey to homeschooling.

Things I Know is now a link up! Come and add what you know this week.



Thursday, February 10, 2011

My poor head

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Look at this adorable face. Who knew this beautiful child could be capable of giving her mother a concussion and a splitting headache for 3 days.

Monday night in the wee hours I was woken by her bony heel smashing into the bridge of my nose. I screamed, I cried, I bled all over myself. My husband, 3 year old and the culprit herself slept on through the drama.

I woke the next day very sore and sorry and not quite right in the head. The progressed to some pretty serious pain and a strange sort of foggy feeling and the light hurting my eyes. The next day I felt clear but had two very puffy and dark eyes, a swollen nose and still some pain. Today I'm OK but only while the pain killers are working. I'm a little stunned at how much it hurts!

And it seems there may be an actual danger to co-sleeping-tiny, bony heels!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Unschool Monday-grateful

Not only would Tannah have started prep last week but Willow would have started 3 year old kinder as well. I must say it feels like a bit of a milestone for us that this would have been "the week" when our school life started and that we would have had 2 kids in the system.

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

Instead this week we have plans for the library, the zoo, a catch up with friends, a day at the park with other school free families with some shopping and home time thrown in. Right now Harper is asleep and Tannah and Willow are making bead necklaces at the dining table while singing songs to each other.


I feel so grateful that we have chosen this path.


I feel 100% confident in our decision to lead an unschooling life. I have no second thoughts about not sending our children to school. I can't say enough how free it feels to have the world at our feet and the opportunity to immerse ourselves in it.

We're joining in with Owlet for Unschool Monday.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Simple pleasures-more backyard photos

Those who are bored to tears by garden photos look away now.

I share lots of these because I want to people to be inspired to make the best of a small space. We have eaten a LOT of food out of our garden recently including raspberries, strawberries,
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carrots, silverbeet,
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peppermint, basil, cucumbers, tomatoes, peaches,
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sage, thyme and of course eggs from the chooks.
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We're having a lot of success growing things in barrels
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And the raised garden bed have really made a difference with all the rain we've had.
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I really do get a lot of joy out of the lush, green oasis we've created!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Tannah's first day at school...

Wait...what??

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Her first day of SWIM school.

Sorry, but the timing that her first day at swim school coincided with the first day of school for our state was worth a photo.

She loved it :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Never far

Harper rolls in on her ankles pretty badly when she walks, bad enough that she has kind of knock knees and trips over a bit. What does this have to do with birth trauma? I didn't realize that a simple trip to the chiropractor would trigger my PTSD.

Tannah had a LOT of osteo and a bit of chiro treatment in her first year of life to try and correct or at least make the injury she sustained in her violent birth more bearable. She rarely enjoyed these visits (though after she always had such great and restful sleep!)and often cried and screamed in my arms while being worked on. Before I addressed my birth trauma and before I acknowledged the PTSD I would have to contain myself while this was happening but I always felt like I couldn't breathe. The guilt and feeling that I had failed to protect her was like a stone in my chest.

And I would often have flashbacks while she cried-the pitch of her cry during treatment was similar to the pitch of her cry after she was born while being poked and prodded at. While I tried to hold my shit together if I closed my eyes I would often SEE the room in which she was born. It was awful. I would always go home and sob. If Luke was home (I kept all of my "failings" from him) I would run a shower and cry in there. It was a struggle to go to these appointments for me but the positive effect they had on Tannah made me go.


I had no idea that taking another child almost 6 years later would bring it all up for me again.

Today when the chiro started working on Harper she was fine, but only for so long. She suddenly crawled up on my chest, wrapped her arms around my neck and started to wail. It was like no time had passed. All of a sudden it felt hard to breathe and the rock in my chest was back. That old internal dialogue of "stop it stop it stop it you're HURTING her" and the failure, oh god that wave of crushing failure to protect my child, surged over me. After her appointment finished I hurried to the car and burst into tears. The kids were all really worried. Our trip to the park we had planned after was cut short because I just kept randomly crying or feeling short of breath. I started to replay Tannah's birth over in my head. That continued at home. Thank goodness I was able to occupy the kids so I could try and regain my composure.I got it back eventually. I feel exhausted.


It made me think of an offhand comment made on a crappy morning TV show a while ago that "birth is just one day" in the context that women need to get over themselves and just suck it up and do what is "best" for their baby and hand their birth over to an "expert".


Let me tell you for some of us it's FAR more than just one day.


Tannah will be six in a couple of months (SIX!!)and the trauma I carry from the sheer violence of her birth is never far. It's not something that upsets me every day anymore-for a long time it did, EVERY day-but it only takes something to trigger me and I'm reliving it. Those feelings of being out of control and intense failure to protect my firstborn can come bubbling up and I feel like I'm back crying in the shower at the hospital. The birth of my first child is so bittersweet and I'll never get that back. One day? Are you fucking kidding me?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Unschool Monday-The Pendulum

I had one of the biggest A-HA! moments the other day. I was listening to the Humans Being podcast and Sarah Parent was talking about power struggles with your children as a pendulum.

Think of the power struggles as a push and pull-pendulum goes one way then it goes the other way. If there is no push and pull the pendulum swings back and forth in smaller swings until it gradually will settle in the middle. If one side gives a big push the other side can't help but to pull back and then there is a period until it settles back in the middle again.

It made a lot of sense to me.

It's a short and sweet Unschool Monday post today but I'm sure you can find longer ones at Owlet's Unschool Monday linkup
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