I was determined to finally get a post in before the end of this month (I said the same in January, then February but let's make that March)
We are busy, life is marching along, the kids are growing well, milestones are racking up..
Bay has started kindy.. which she has taken to like a duck to water.
Ivo has turned two, which we celebrated with everyone's favourite last minute birthday cake- a Vienetta.
I am back to work full time, which is hectic. As much as I enjoyed the teaching, from a financial point of view the geology is just making more sense right now.
The Mister and I had our 5 year wedding anniversary, which we didn't technically celebrate, but we remembered it on the same day as this picnic and swim.
We've started to think earnestly about our next move. Sometimes staying in N-town for another few years seems like a good idea, but more and more we find ourselves contemplating other options. We seem to take turns talking ourselves in or out of staying. At times we worry that only once we leave will we realise how good we had it here.. Other times the greatest risk seems to be coasting along indefinitely, held captive by work and money.
N-town isn't an easy place to live, nor is it a easy place to leave. I think that once we make up our minds exactly where we are going to go next, it will be easier to work out an exit strategy.
The best things about my week away (in the order that they occurred)
- Getting a cheerful goodbye from my kids and watching them toddle off happily with The Mister.
- Browsing for ages in the airport bookshop while I waited for my plane
- Enjoying a flight where I didn't have to bribe, apologise or reprimand anyone, where there were no spilled drinks to clean up, no nappies to change, no bottoms to wipe, no shoes to find.. I just got to read my book, eat my food, have a hot drink and feel sorry for all the parents travelling with their kids. ha!
- Spend lots of quality one-on-one time with my Sister. We walked, we talked, we swam, we ate, we went to a movie, we read magazines, we discussed baby names, we went to appointments, we looked in the shops, we cooked, we re-arranged some furniture, we had manicures, we ran errands, we had naps.
- Catching up with my wonderful Melbourne based friends (I actually have more friends living in Melbourne now, than I do in Perth.)
- I saw the most incredible thing I have ever seen- my Sister giving birth to my amazing Nephew. His name is Mac, he was 6lb, 12oz, and completely adorable.
- I watched my Sister and Brother-in-Law become parents. So much love!
- I savoured kisses and cuddles with little Mac. So happy that I got two days to spend with him, so sad that we live so far away!
- My growing excitement as I flew back towards my own babies. Excited jumping, bear hugs, toddler smooches, detailed stories, more kisses. Was so nice to see my own little family again!
And now some baby spam:
The good news is in less than four weeks we will all be heading over for an extended holiday. Can't wait for The Mister to meet his newest nephew, and Bay & Ivo to meet their latest cousin!
I booked out flights today... Bring on January!!
It hasn't been all work and no play the last few months.
We've welcomed a new little niece into the family! Little Sana arrived a few weeks early, but is safe and sound and as cute as a button!
We've said goodbye to some really close friends. The worst part about this town is people are always leaving. Waaa!!
We've been watching the sibling bond grow ever stronger. Can you believe these two have started ganging up on me?
We've been going camping as often as we can. Making the most of the spring weather, because it's about to get stupid hot.
Nothing better than watching kids wear themselves out in the fresh air!
Now the pressure is off with uni, I'm really excited to have some more free time before I have to start back at work in Feb.
The rest of our year is going to look like more of the above! Lots of time at the pool, lots of cuddles with my new niece (especially as they are also leaving town in the New Year- sob!), lots of bbqs, lots of icey concoctions and enjoying the company of my kids. The only thing missing of course is our beloved friends, but hopefully we can squeeze in a mini-break to go and visit them soon.
The weddings couldn't have been more wonderful.. Or more different!
My Sister in Law had a relaxed wedding on her parents farm in the WA wheatbelt.
My Sister's wedding was a more formal affair at an exclusive club in Melbourne's CBD.
Each was moving and momentous in it's own way, here are a couple of my favourite shots from each!
photos by Jo Ashworth
photos by Paul McGinty (click on link to see more pics from their wedding including Yours Truly as bridesmaid and a certain knock kneed flower girl)
Both of these beautiful couples are loving married life and I am beyond overjoyed because... both also have babies due later this year!! WooHoo!! I'm so happy to become an Aunty again in September, then once more in December!! How lucky are we!?!
Such exciting times ahead for both sides of our family. Xoxo
We had a professional portrait session for the kids done back in April and our framed photos arrived today!
I'm always a bit unsure about getting professional pics, because they can sometimes look so corny and unnatural.. but as I had some done around Bay's first birthday, I figured I should do the same for Ivo's birthday too.
And I'm so glad I did! Because they turned out wonderful. The kids both look so carefree and I love the country backdrop.. Red dust turned to mud, thanks to a summer storm.
Big thanks to the talented and lovely Bianca for the photos!
There were lots of great pics to choose from and we picked out some really nice close-up photos to send our parents and grandparents as gifts.
The one we chose to get enlarged and framed for ourselves is the last one. We love how it captures their playful spirits and is wonderful record of not only them at their respective ages, but the place in which they are growing up.
I hope everyone had a nice Easter break!
We've been making hot cross buns, hunting for chocolate eggs and even doing some rabbity craft.
Surpringly the biggest hit has been the family of fluffy little ornamental chickens, who Bay has been carting around, taking to bed and playing with non-stop. (Until she gave them a bath now they're just droopy bits of yellow fluff attached to wire feet- but we managed to distract her with some chocolate)
But the best bit is yet to come.. My Sister and Brother-in-law are on there way from Melbourne as we speak! Coming to visit us for a whole week! The weather up here is just perfect at the moment, so it's a great time to be showing them the sights and sounds
The novelty of being back at uni has worn off and now it just feels like a whole lotta work.
It's been head down, bum up for last few months.
I have both kids in daycare twice a week, so I cram as much assignment work into those days as I can. I use midday nap time to catch up on lectures and readings and some nights I do a bit of work after the kids are in bed. Yawn!
I'm really grateful to the Mr. who has been working tirelessly to support me, without complaining (much) about the loss of my income or the daycare costs. And to my Mum, who flew up last long weekend to look after the kids so I could get some extra work done, and is coming back to do the same over Easter. And to my Sister who has been helped me with my referencing, because I hate it so much. And my Mother In Law who is going to look after the kids during the day while I go on my practical experience.
It definitely feels like a team effort. There's no way I could do it without everyone's help.. best keep going :)
What do you do when you are far, far away from your loved one on Valentines Day..?
You take heart shaped biscuits to morning tea. You and your toddler make a fresh strawberry tart for dessert. You take a photo of your kids holding love hearts to send to their poor Dad working nightshift a thousand miles away.
Happy Valentines Day everyone!
I can't believe my baby girl is three whole years old today.
But of course, she's not a baby anymore!
She's a little girl. A big sister. A friend to many. A chatterbox. A sensitive soul. A fast runner. An avid painter. A Diego fan. A studier of photos. A lip biter. A banana bread maker. A book lover. An assertive decision maker. A good hide and seeker. An eager swimmer. A bossy boots sometimes. An enthusiastic Spanish student. A face puller. A lover of nature. An affectionate cuddler. A curious mind. An embarrassing sticky beak. A cautious climber. A very loud singer. An opinion poll taker. A cubby builder. An interpretive dancer. A serious contemplator. An ice cream connoisseur. A dog avoider. A wobbly bike rider. A ticklish giggle pot. A daydreamer. A determined fact finder. A rescuer of drowning insects. A shoe admirer. A smooth rock collector. A Lego builder. An early riser. A story teller. An elaborate game player. A gentle hand holder. And many more things..
Each day more and more of her is revealed to us, and each day she amazes us with her imagination, her exuberance, her perception and her sense of humour.
Bay we love you, more than I even knew possible
It's my Sister-In-Laws wedding this weekend!
Along with her two cousins, Bay has the important job of flower girl!
Here are the super cute dresses the girls will be wearing-
Will also get some tights and cardigans incase it gets chilly.
Bay can't wait to "be a flower" with the other girls.
We are all excited to watch the lovely couple tie the knot!
As he gets older it warms my heart to witness Ivo and Bay forging a real bond. I never get tired of watching them playing little games together, smiling, giggling and chatting.
Ivo absolutely loves Bay. He lights up whenever she walks into the room, he always watches her intently and hangs onto her every word. If I'm feeding him and he hears her voice he will pull off and twist around until he can see her. He saves his biggest, gummiest, cheesiest smiles for her.
Overall I think Bay is also enjoying having a brother. She loves being involved with his care. She helps me chose his outfit for the day (stripes all round!), assists with nappy changes (sometimes I walk into the room to find him undressed and napply-less), she takes charge of bath times (counts his toes to make sure there are still 10 and makes a soapy lather on his tummy) and will run to get me a cloth every time he vomits (which is often- he's a spewy baby).
She refers to him as 'Her Ivo' (very preoccupied with possession at the moment) and proudly tells anyone who will listen all about her brother (The details that she most likes to sprout off is wether he is or isn't crying and the fact that he has a willy) She never tires of giving him kiss-cuddles and if we ever go anywhere without him she spends the entire outing asking me where he is.
But there are also times when she is a bit less sure. If Ivo is crying or fussing a lot, she inevitably becomes quite needy too. Small problems become major dramas- If I am caught up feeding/changing/holding Ivo then things like a few drops of spilt porridge, a broken crayon, an itchy clothing tag are suddenly huge catastrophes needing urgent help. It can be tricky constantly juggling his largely physical needs against her mostly emotional ones.
If Ivo has something Bay wants it too! She has taken a liking to gnawing on rusks, lying in his bouncer (we just hold our breath waiting for the poor springs to snap!), playing with his rattles and squeaky toys and only wanting to read picture books. But she is much less keen on sharing anything with him (even items that actually belong to him!) She keeps very close tabs on what he is touching and will scold him for playing with 'her' things.. But then again she kinda does that to all her friends.. as they do to to her.. (so hoping this sharing aversion is just an age thing..?)
She alternates between fierce independence and a desire to be babied.. At breakfast she might want to pour the milk onto the weetbix all by herself, by lunchtime she is asking to be fed with a spoon. When we walk somewhere she will insist on being carried the whole way, on the way home she'll march along refusing to hold my hand. She wants to dress herself in the clothes she has chosen, but when it's time to get undressed she prefers me to do it for her on the change table. We respect that sometimes she needs to be Little, sometimes she wants to be Big. So we indulge her whenever we can and explain to her when we can't. In most cases we find her interest in each infantile activity gradually wanes of it's own accord.
So far I'm actually very happy that any feelings of resentment Bay may have about Ivos' arrival seem to be directed towards her Parents, rather than Ivo himself. Her life has, of course, changed dramatically- she has to share the attention, time, space and possessions- it must be frustrating.., but of course its's better that she takes it out on us, over him. I've never seen her intentionally hurt him or express any ill will towards him. Rather, she is always concerned with his welfare, is protective (possessive?) of him, includes him in her games (whether he is aware of it or not), teaches him new tricks, misses him when they're apart and engages with him when they're together.
It is one of my main hopes for my children that they remain firm friends, loyal companions and lifelong allies. It is very early days, but I feel they are not off to a bad start.