Friday, July 29, 2011

Things I Know is on holidays at daisy's blog...



Still know stuff this week? The very lovely Daisy, Roo & Too is hosting it for me while I party it up at Blogopolis!

Why not head over and link up?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Working with.

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When I was in labor with Willow and it came to the pointy end my mindset shifted. I felt that bulge of the head about to be born (there is always that moment for me where I think "NO WAY is THAT going to fit out THERE"-but it always does) and I started resisting. The whole labor I felt like I was able to work with my body but in this moment (and it only was a moment but it felt like so much longer than that) I fought it. Suddenly I felt panic and then pain. My midwife and doula were able to talk me off a ledge (I actually had my hand over Willows crown going nononononono) and I started to work with my body again. I started to push. And it felt good. Even though there was << pain, oh the pain and impossible feeling of being stretched and ooooopen and she is going to come out my bum owowowowow my buuuuummmmm>> but it felt somehow good and right and easier than trying to hold her head in.

Sometimes I feel like that with parenting. I feel like I resist and try to swim upstream. I start getting into battles of the wills with my kids and start working against them rather than working with. And like labor sometimes it is fucking hard to keep my head and look to the bigger picture. And even though it is not all rainbows and unicorns there is something that just feels right when we are on the same side.

And like labor there is good in the difficult and reward in the work. Sometimes you need reminding of how not to resist and how freaking out gets you nowhere fun.

And it's nice to remember that the child you are wanting to control or punish was once a wee babe in your arms and you counted their fingers and toes as your heart swelled with love and you felt grateful that such a precious creature was trusted to you for safekeeping.

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Writing practice with Masterchef

Tannah is eager to write. She is writing lists and copying words that she knows.

Tannah is also a devotee of Masterchef. And we all know how I feel about following your cgild's interests.

So I made Tannah her very own Masterchef book out of one of the magazines complete with the names of her favorite contestants and judges to copy.

Sometimes she copies onto another piece of paper.
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Sometimes she copies directly into the book
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And her favorites names are getting very well practiced
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It was such and easy and cheap project for me and it has been very well received.



Monday, July 25, 2011

Not my a-Gender

When Harper stopped wearing nappies she was initiated into our tradition of going to Target and picking a packet or two of whatever cool licensed undies you fancy. She chose a packet of Rio ones and a packet of Lightening McQueen jocks.

Now at 2 years old the pouch at the front for the anatomical differences is small so I was completely cool with her choice. Harper is a HUGE cars fan. We went up to the counter and Harper very proudly handed her choices over to the checkout child (truly she looked about 11) and said "dese my new undies. I wear undies. I dot litnin akeen!"

The reply was "oh you can't get these! These are boys undies! That movie is for boys!"

I watched my 2 year old's face drop and I reassured Harper that the undies were for whoever wanted them and there is no such thing as a boys movie. Then I may have ranted just a bit at the checkout child. We took Harper's choices home and I have seethed about it every time I have watched my child run to the drawer and pick her fave "litnin akeen" jocks with a huge grin on her face.
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Harper's bed Lightening McQueen and faeries!

I have three daughters so I am growing tired of all of the gender assumptions and stereotyping. There are so many phrases I would be delighted if I never heard again like "ooh she's rough-she can be your boy" and "it must be so nice to not have any messy, noisy boys" (truly-messy and noisy? come to my house at about 5pm). I'm tired of hearing my girls being praised for being "pretty" or that something is a "boys toy" that they would have no interest in. The recent Toy catalogs that were divided into boys and girls sections made my eyes roll to the back of my head. Glowless recently posted about how her son was told he was "too cute to be a boy". Truly.

On the flip side I'm a little concerned about the backlash. Banning pink or avoiding the stereotyped toys altogether even though a child may be interested is, in my opinion, not helpful either.

Don't get me wrong, there are a few "girls toys" that I just will not allow in my house like sexualized fashion dolls, anything that tells my kids that beauty is the most important asset a woman can have and the movie "The Little Mermaid" (give away your special talent and leave your loving family to stalk a man you have never met? No thanks)-but I feel the same way about some of the "boys toys" too. We don't have any guns you shoot at each other or toys based on violent M rated movies like Transformers or Batman.

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I try to follow my girls lead. We have a lot of Barbie dolls, Polly Pockets and Ponyville at the moment. We also have a Hot Wheels track, duplo and a train set that get a lot of love. The movie Cars is equally as enjoyed as Tangled. When they play dress ups they often choose the faerie dresses and they sometimes choose the construction helmet and goggles. Pink is just another colour with no more attention payed to it than blue or black or yellow. We have Buzz Lightyear and Tinkerbell pjs.

I want my daughters to know that the world is their oyster and any choice is OK. I don't want them to feel like they are denying their desires towards toys and clothes (with the exception of those I strongly object to regardless of gender) and I want to absolutely discourage the idea that something is either in camp boy or camp girl.

I think there are real differences between the sexes-but I don't think it's up to us to pre define what those things are.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Things I Know-one week until Blogopolis!



Happy Friday everyone and welcome to the Things I Know linkup! I know I'm really enjoying reading through all of the links each week-big thanks to everyone who joins in, especially my regulars :) If you want to link up just write your own Things I Know post on your blog with a link back to this post and then add it below.

This week my post is all about the upcoming Blogopolis which is in my fair city next weekend

Here is what I know-


-Catching up with other people who use the internet to communicate is never going to be good for the amount of time I spend online

-I'm hoping to maybe be in photographs looking a little less drunk and red faced from dancing than Ausblogcon

-No one is going to stop reading your blog or unfollow you on Twitter because your ass is too fat or you don't have a million dollar outfit. I hope people going realize this and don't let themselves be worried.

-Staying in town away from my kiddos for 2 nights makes me both excited and nervous

-staying somewhere plush like Oaks On Lonsdale makes it a bit easier

-Eco Toys are awesome for sponsoring me to go! You should totally go and buy your kids some beautiful toys from them. You could even visit their shop while you are in Melbourne.

-I'm so excited about catching up with so many bloggers! Some I've met before and some I haven't

-I'm completely not shy so please come up and say hello. If my kids have their way I'll be there looking like this
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-I also know that I'm not going to be available to host this link up next Friday as I'll be busy networking (going WOOOOO!! at people). So Things I Know will be back in a fortnight.....


so what do you know?





-




Thursday, July 21, 2011

For Kristie

I write this post with tears in my eyes and a heavy heart for a woman whom I have met in the flesh only briefly. But the internet is a community that many underestimate the power of. For I have known this woman and her family online for years. I have watched her beautiful daughter grow, I was sad to hear when a baby stayed in her womb only a short time and I, like many others, followed her long journey to conceive again. I am one of many who were delighted to know that a baby grew in her body and was happily anticipating the birth.

And my heart, like many others, broke for her when I heard that her much longed for baby boy was born still.

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I write this (and you can read other tributes HERE) so that Kristie might feel the support of those of us who know her online. So that she, her partner Ally and their Daughter Tara know that they are in so many people's thoughts. That there have been many candles lit for your sweet boy Avery.

Sending you so much love and strength Kristie xoxo

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Messy art with multi aged kids

For us, having three kids and no outside school means that sometimes I have to adapt an art activity for one or more of my girls so they can all join in. Making art and mess are things that both rate highly on the fun scale at our place and no matter what else is happening if I get the paints out I can be pretty sure all three will come running. Because there is around 2 years between each of my children there are some pretty big developmental differences-not to mention they each have their own way of liking to create!
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6 year old Tannah is very organized and has clear ideas of what she is setting out to create

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For 2 year old Harper it's more about the sensory play


Here are some strategies I use so that everyone is happy at messy art time.


-make sure everyone is in clothes that we don't mind get messy or put art smocks on. This means I can be focused on helping rather than caring about mess.

-SUPERVISE. Reminding myself here. It might only be 10 minutes before Harper loses interest but if I get distracted *ahemiphoneahem* She can upset the big girls by trying to "help" them with their art or get frustrated when I'm not close by to help. Not to mention paint the walls/floor/her hair.

-make sure there is enough equipment. Each child has a pair of scissors, a few paint brushes etc. Fights breaking out because there is only one of something is not fun for anyone.

-keep a much younger child at a separate table. For younger children messy art is mainly sensory so they will not pay attention to an older child's creation that they may have worked very hard on. It's not fair to expect a younger child to be aware or an older child to be understanding.
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-don't compare artwork! Age is not the only difference. Personality, idea etc etc means that getting out the same materials does not mean similar results. Even in kids the same age. Comparing can be very discouraging-ask questions and make observations.

-if everyone finishes at the same time clean them up in order of age. The older the child the more understanding they will have of waiting and staying put. And remember everything can be cleaned! I'm a big fan of having a bath/wet cloths/towels etc ready to go beforehand if there is going to be a lot of mess

-don't assume that an activity is "too old" or "too young" for a particular child. Set it up and let them have a go if they want to. You might be surprised and they might surprise them selves by mastering something or really enjoying themselves.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Picky-eaters pink smoothie

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Willow has recently decided to give living on mainly air and love a go. It's not my favorite especially since she is sensitive to preservatives, colours and wheat so her food choices are limited from the get go. She has even given up hommus which has been like a food group in this house.

Thing is that she is hungry. And she tells me so. But she struggles to find things that she both enjoys and don't upset her delicate little system. Knowing how her body loves protein I have come up with this smoothie. Which my girls have dubbed "Pink Milk" ala Charlie and Lola.

This is enough to serve 3 kids and two adults.

1 litre of milk
two handfuls of frozen raspberries
tblsp raw honey
1/2 cup of yoghurt (get decent yoghurt!)
1 tblsp raw coconut oil
2 raw egg yolks-these are optional but they really add a tummy filling punch. Use fresh, organic, free range eggs for maximum benefit and safety.

If I have some spinach I add a few leaves as well. You cannot taste them and it changes the milk to greenish which is almost as exciting as pink.

Chuck it all in the blender and WHIZZ

My kids are offended by pips in smoothies so I strain it
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And there you have it! A very easy and delicious way of bulking up a fussy eater's diet.

Serve it cold and chuck all the blender bits in the dishwasher :)
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I'm joining in with Kate says Stuff for her Menu Planning Monday






Helping kids nurture their friendships

Chances are you are like me. You made some friends when your firstborn was a baby through mothers group or parenting groups. Your friendship with these parents has meant your children have probably formed some firm friendships with the children of these parents as well.

In my case when some of Tannah's best friends went to school last year I was worried that their long term firm friendship would start to fade. This worried me for two reasons. mainly because I didn't want my child to feel like everyone was going to school and leaving her behind and that school = I won't be your friend (I'm not anti school just pro unschooling) and I also didn't want my best friend (their Mother) and I to grow apart because our kids didn't want to spend time together.

The same is true for many of my other friends. Our kids enjoy each others company and I value my friendship with their mothers and I didn't want school to automatically mean that Tannah and I lost friends. This scenario would also be relevant for kids going to different schools or starting school in different years.

The Lovely Katepickle's twinadoes have been in school for a year and a half and I'm pleased to say that her kids and my kids friendships-as well as Kate's and mine-are as strong as ever.

Here are some tips to nurturing those friendships.

-Know each others schedules. I am particularly crap at this but it has always helped when I know when kinder/extra curricular activities etc is on so I can make regular plans when the other family is busy.

-Don't assume that families don't ever want to catch up after school. We have caught up with many of our schooled friends in the afternoons. I wouldn't recommend dropping in unannounced but don't discount an after school visit or an early dinner on a week night.

-Make exciting plans for the school holidays. We had a sleepover last school holidays with 4 of her friends and Tannah slept over at her friends house this holidays. I know some of my first mothers group still go away together despite the kids going to different schools.

-Do an out of school activity together. If you live close by and your kids have a mutual love of dance/music/auskick why not do it together?

-Make a standing regular catch up. Kate and I have dinner almost every Friday night with all of our kids. They come straight from school and stay until lateish. You could do a Sunday breakfast, a play in the park after school or monthly family dinner.

-Once kids get older they can use social media and skype to stay in touch.

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-Invite a mix of kids to birthday parties and the like. Tannah and Willow had a great time at the Zoe and Izzy's Rainbow party and I know that her schooled friends have enjoyed parties with our home educated friends. Don't assume that kids won't get along unless they are all in the same class.

-Make time to catch up with your friend with only some of the kids or without kids at all! Your friendships are important too.


And a point I feel is really important-don't feel that you need to put up with friends that are disrespectful to the choices you have made. Be they home educating or choosing a expensive/huge public school it's not worth it. You and your children deserve friends that make you feel supported, not judged. It's absolutely possible to be friends with a family who send their child to school when you don't-as long as you are still have things in common and are respectful and supportive of the other families choice.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Time flies.

When Tannah was still a belly babe my Mum passed on a jewel of wisdom. She said that no matter how hard it was and how tired I got that before I knew it my kids would be all grown up and I would wonder where the time went.

I have been really feeling this lately and it's no secret that I'm an emo Mama who gets all misty eyed about my lovely kiddos, but so much has happened lately to make me see that my years of parenting babies is over. And it's bittersweet.

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Harper no longer wears nappies-day or night. She no longer breastfeeds and she slept in her sister's bedroom last night at her request. My last baby has been my baby for the shortest time of all. I must admit to shedding some tears at all of these things.

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Willow is about to turn FOUR. And after all these years of her being teeny tiny she is catching up in the height stakes.

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I took this photo this morning and something about makes me see what she is going to look like as a teenager. It made me feel very aware of the swiftness of time indeed.

I love being a Mother. I have loved having my babies close to me in bed, at my breast and in a sling. I will miss the quiet milky moments in the middle of the night. I will miss feeling a small persons weight on my back in a carrier. There are many things I feel a little pang of sadness about in the knowledge that those days are over.

But I'm also very excited for this new phase of my life. The road trip we took recently would have been something I would not have done even six months before. I love seeing Tannah writing me notes and being so interested in the hows and whys of the world around her. I love seeing Willow's joy when she masters something. I love seeing Harper's personality develop and her awareness grow. There is a certain amount more freedom that comes with having older children. There is a certain amount less intensity-at times. I am still a Mother and I am learning all the time.

But forgive this emo Mama if she is feeling all reflective and sentimental as she ponders her babies as they grow up.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Things I Know




Happy Friday everyone!! I know it's technically Thursday night but I'm out the door tomorrow morning so let's pretend this went up Friday morning. Welcome to the Things I Know linkup. If you want to play along write your own Things I Know post, include a link to this post and add you link below-easy! A few comments on the other blogs who link up wouldn't go astray either ;)

Here is what I know this week

-coughing for three weeks has reduced my pelvic floor to jelly.

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-a full day of play looks like this

-TWO WEEKS TO BLOGOPOLIS

-I don't know how to stop myself cracking up every time my 2 year old says "what the heck!"

-30 people linked up last week!! Record breaking!

-I am a hopeless Harry Potter fan. I was at the midnight screening this week crying my eyes out with all of the teens.

-being at the above screening made me feel OLD.

-don't forget to link up and Flog Yo Blog over at Where's My Glow


So what do you know this week?





-

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hairy Maclary

I'm one of THOSE "dirty hippies". One of those women who chooses not to shave her body hair. Au naturale if you like.

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When I was pregnant with Willow I got to the big round belly part of the pregnancy and I just couldn't reach my legs anymore. It was winter so I thought society could cut a woman a break if I wore long pants. After my babe was earthside and I could touch my toes again I started thinking about just why it was that I needed to shave my legs anyway. It was a part of my "maintenance" that I had hated for years. Apart from the societal pressure to have smooth legs it just seemed silly to me. So I stopped.

I got a few negative comments initially from a few places. It felt brave and kind of radical to fly in the face of the beauty ideals I had followed for so long. Then it became no big deal. It is just hair after all.

A couple of years later myself with my hairy legs and smooth armpits were having a deep and meaningful chat with some other women. Some of whom chose to forgo shaving all together. One of them bought up the fact that she went through puberty-why should she continue to pretend to be a girl when she was a woman?

It really got me thinking.

She was so right. The cleanliness factor is such a crock. If men are not filthy for having underarm hair then why are women? What of soap and deodorant? Why was I continuing to remove hair that I really didn't have a problem with? It suddenly felt important to me for my daughters to know that their post pubescent bodies were not dirty or ugly and that they didn't need to remain looking like a child after they became an adult.

So I stopped shaving all together.

And of course I have had some delightful comments, but they are few and far between. The first time I went out, all dressed up, in a sleeveless dress I felt very self conscious, but now I barely even think about it. I have given birth to three children so it might not come as a shock to you that I have gone through puberty and the hair just comes with the territory.


But now it's no big deal. It's just hair after all.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Things I Know




Happy Friday! Welcome to the Things I Know linkup. If you want to join in write a Things I Know on your blog including a link back to this post an then add your link below-easy!

Here is what I know this week-

-sometimes trips to the supermarket with all three kids have me wanting to shout out netspeak. "OMFG!! FML!! Y U No stop touching stuff??"

-sometimes said trips to the stupidmarket means wine shows up magically on the shopping list

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-ducks must wish that people would just bring a bag of something else other than stale bread already

-it is almost impossible for me to just fold one load of washing. Instead I seem only to be able to to wait until a weeks worth of clean clothes take over the lounge room.

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-new puppies are at risk of being cuddled to death

-Glowless is hilarious. Check out her video parody on this week's Flog Yo Blog Friday-and link up too!

So what do you know this week?




Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Slow cooker chicken stock and old-school chicken soup

There is nothing like eating hearty, home-cooked comfort food when you are unwell. My Old-School chicken soup is not fancy or hard to make but it's very nourishing. It's my take on my grandmothers recipe and it's easy to add a little extra punch or pizazz if you want to but I know it's been enjoyed as it is in my family for at least three generations.

An important element of a good soup is a good stock. I make my stock in the slow cooker after our roast chook on a Sunday night. I throw the carcass and ingredients in after dinner and wake up Monday morning to a pot of stock.

Slow Cooker Chicken Stock

1 free-range chicken carcass
1 brown onion
1 whole leek
1 carrot
1 celery stick
1 bay leaf
splash of vinegar
salt and pepper

Put all of these things in your slow cooker and cover with water. I chop the onion in half and cut the leek so it fits but that's about it. Put the slow cooker onto low and leave overnight or for about 10-12 hours. Allow to cool and strain the big bits out by tipping the liquid into another container through a colander. Then strain the liquid again through a very fine mesh sieve.

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And that's it! Chicken stock! Freeze into whatever portions you like or use for the soup.

Old-School Chicken Soup

8 free range chicken legs-poached, cooled and meat removed
2L chicken stock
1 leek, white part only finely chopped
1 large carrot finely chopped
1 large potato finely chopped (I'm partial to dutch creams)
1 handful of rice
salt and pepper
tablespoon of butter

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Melt butter in a large pot and add the leek and cook until transparent. Add the carrot and potato and coat in the leek and butter mix. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Add the chicken, salt and pepper to taste and cook for 10 minutes. Add the handful of rice and cook for a further 5-10 minutes over low heat until the rice and vegetables are tender. Serve piping hot with a buttery roll-add a tablespoon of cream if you wish.

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Enjoy!

Monday, July 4, 2011

evolution of me

Sometimes it's hard for me to think about that first year of motherhood.

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For me, it was hard. Incredibly hard. The violence that was Tannah's birth left me with PTSD and the injury that she sustained from being dragged out by her scalp left her in a lot of pain. There were lots of tears. Hers and mine. It only occurred to me about a year ago that maybe sobbing in the shower and while I drove around in the car every day is not what's considered in the realm of coping. I felt like a constant failure. I used to lie on the floor with my baby and watch the clock until Luke got home. I was not expecting Motherhood to be so damn HARD. I never knew it was possible to be awake for that long without amphetamines. I still remember trying to make a speech at Tannah's first birthday and crying so hard I couldn't speak. Everyone thought I was moved by emotion but truthfully I was so exhilarated that I'd made it a year-I was alive!

And I'll admit a big part of my grief was for my old life. And feeling bad that I was grieving.

I have had times over the years where it has felt like I have given up too much. Times when I have yearned for spontaneity, sleep ins, my body to be my own, silence and sex.

But recently I have discovered that you don't really give up these things. You just shelve some of them for a while.

Last week, when I had the flu, I took cold and flu medication. This might seem like a little thing but after 7 years of being pregnant and/or breastfeeding it was nice to have that option back on the table. After years of being awake for large periods of time every night I am now only being woken briefly a couple of times-and sometimes I get 8 hours unbroken sleep. True! The girls are big enough for a bit more spontaneity. It may take me an extra 20 minutes to pack a bag but I know that we can shoot off to the other side of town with an hours notice. And as for sex....well that's slowly but surely making a comeback too.


I can honestly say that my old life doesn't feel gone anymore. It just feels different. New and improved even. Rather than feeling like my old life died and wallowing in grief for how things were I feel like my life evolved and I have become better for it. It has only been in the last few months that I have not felt regularly overwhelmed by the enormity of raising my amazing girls-and raising them well. Having 3 children (and 2 miscarriages) in 4 years has certainly tested me in ways that have, at times, been exhausting, frustrating and just plain hard. I have had times where I felt like I have lost myself and wished for daycare and full time employment.

But the secret is that I was here all along. Growing and evolving and sometimes waiting in the wings-but always there. I think sometimes the challenge of being a great parent can make us grow so much that we seem like a different person with a whole other life.

Kelly at Be A Fun Mum has written on the same topic today and her quote sums it up better that I could
So, if you’re in the midst of raising little kids, feeling weary and my story rings true to you, I’m telling you from the other side: What you are doing is vital, even when no one notices. It’s an investment, so keep on keeping on and keep on loving the moment. While it may not be clear now, you’ll look back and see all the moments for what they are: pieces of a beautiful masterpiece.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Things I Know



Happy Friday! Welcome to the Things I Know linkup. If you want to join in write a Things I Know on your blog including a link back to this post an then add your link below-easy!

Here is what I know this week-

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-parents find lots of positive words to describe their quirky kids. I'm choosing to call Harper "creative"

-the flu can go suck it. What a waste of a week.

-my kids are emotionally involved in the outcome of Masterchef

-turning on the computer ensures that there will be a fight, injury, empty belly or wet pants within five minutes.

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-everyone loves a great op-shop find

-the noise guinea pigs make at you when they are hungry is 2 parts "aww how cute" and 1 part "shut-up! I'm coming!"

-Looking at all of the gorgeous Waldorf inspired classrooms on Pinterest makes me want to throw out every plastic toy we own

-You can Flog Yo Blog over with Glowless as Where's My Glow? She totally knows stuff this week.




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