Friday, December 30, 2011


Every parent wants their family to be happy. Every parent wants their kids to love each other, to play together and enjoy each other's company. To be friends.
My Poppet, my Sprocket, you're just getting to the age when you are starting to play together. And yes, there are some bruises and bumps, but there are also times like this. 
And it makes my heart sing. 

So That Was Christmas... The Great Migration

So that was our first Christmas in our own house, kids. And you know? - I'm knackered. 
Okay, recovering now, but the day after - (The one after you only slept 4 hours, o my Sprocket?)I could have slept for a couple of decades. 

Christmas Eve was lovely - your Nana and Grandad Budgie and Uncle Pat came and stayed the night and we all walked up to the Crib Service and you were fairly good - by which I mean you kept your crawling under and over pews to a minimum. (Sprocket, I was particularly impressed with how you managed to get under a pew literally only inches above the ground by careful manipulation and wriggling.) There were a lot of helium balloons in the foyer and that helped. 

Then we walked Issy along our normal country road while the sun set and you two, my Poppet and Sprocket, fell asleep like little cherubs and then us big people played Father Christmas and gave each other presents and drank champagne. 


Christmas day you slept in, my Sprocket, and what with packing for The Great Migration, (I know, I know... we are not organised!) getting ready for church, opening presents, doing last minute tidying for The Great was all a little tense. However we were only 15 minutes late for church and a few hours late to Christmas lunch at Great Nana's in Melbourne. We had a great catch-up with folks and your dad showed off his gingerbread house and divine Christmas pudding and we went for a lovely walk in the park there. 

You're getting a theme? You got it... any chance we get... and you're walked... 

After that we drove to Nana and Grandad Budgies for Dinner (and a welcome cup of tea - extremely important) before driving through the rain and flooded roads to the airport at Avalon. And waiting and waiting for the plane. 

Despite the fact you'd been in the car for 4 hours on and off by then you were so good waiting around the airport. My Poppet - you won many many hearts with your sweet smiles. My Sprocket - your look of wonder and awe when the plane (finally) landed was just the best. 

And on the plane you were so so well behaved. Way past your bedtime (and mine) and you were just... angelic! My Poppet, you lay in my lap and nursed and held hands with the girl in the seat behind. My Sprocket - May I just say thankyou Pixar. (And especially Nemo!)

We arrived in Brisbane in the middle of the night - wheeling down to the muggy darkness of Queensland to see all the lights sprawled below and then Grandpa took us to our Sunshine Coast home-away-from-home! Nana and Aunty Bec and Great Nana and old friends from the Solomon Islands, wonderfully scented candles and Christmas trees and great lashings of food and wine and frangipani...and kilos and kilos of prawns! 

So in a way we had two or three Christmas's. Which were all wonderful. But it's taken awhile to catch up on sleep and timezones!

Merry Christmas!

                                            A Christmas Poppet

                                                The Poppet with Uncle Pat

                                             Running home from Christmas Eve service

                                                        Daddy with his mini-me

                                                         Poppet and Granddad Budgie

                                                        Poppet and Sprocket's New Kitchen

                                                       Our Gingerbread House!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

White Christmas

Snow falling, fires crackling, candles glowing. The heady scent of fir and spices.
Although I've never actually experienced a white Christmas, every non-white Christmas feels slightly wrong. Candles. Tick. Fir. Spices. Tick. 
But something's missing. And I think it might be the cold, white stuff. Which is odd, as I suspect it was not snowing on Christ's real birthday. But so it is. 
Despite many trips to the UK I've always managed to miss out on the actual Christmas bit - although on occasions I've stayed so late into November the lights and trees have come up. 
The closest I've actually got was... the Christmas my Sprocket was one.... and my Poppet was about 12 weeks cooking on the inside. Mmmm. Those were really fun flights. 
Not wishful of denying ever-loving parents of their then-only grandchild over Christmas we flew over to the Old Countries on New Years Eve. And... we lucked out. Many places had not yet taken down their Christmas decorations and in Latvia things were still happening in (I think) preparation for the Orthodox Christmas. 
While the highlight of our trip was catching up with relatives and friends (particularly my Pappy who we won't get to see again) seeing a white almost - Christmas was magical. Yep. Even with the morning sickness. (See, you were with us, my Poppet! 5 countries in 21 days before you were even born - you're going to be a traveller, girl!)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

You're not doing what I think you're doing, are you?

Wine is flowing freely, the lights are soft, the sun is setting, laughter and conversation swim around us.
My beloved and I are sitting holding hands under the table and enjoying being just us. There is no little Master Mayhem attempting to climb on the table and upturn the vases and no little Miss Mischief trying to upend my bag and make off with all the most important cards and of course the phone - no wait, she's already got that and put it 'somewhere'. Right.
So we're staring into each others eyes and playing thumbsies and then... my beloved's hand starts creeping higher.
For a second I am stunned. Unable to believe it. I thought we had put all this behind us. 
"You're not doing what I think you're doing are you?" I demand incredulously.
"What, no, of course not," he says, trying, and failing, to look innocent. 
"You are! You so are. Hon, it's a wedding!"
Giggling, I adjust my dress, trying to hide the bathers which I've put on instead of a bra, as, being majorly disorganised I didn't get around to getting a strapless one and figured blue bather straps would be less obvious than black or now-greyish. My cleavage has grown throughout the evening as roughly half a gallon of milk has filled it. I obviously had not been giving my voracious little milker (aka the Poppet) enough credit in her milking skills.
"You didn't mind before," my beloved protests. 
"That was before! And not at a wedding." 
"What's wrong with doing it at a wedding?" 
I groan and roll my eyes. 
"You were Feeling. My. Pulse. You have med-student-itis. Maybe next year you can start all that again. But the exams are over hon." 

Tell me truthfully - is the swimsuit too obvious? 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Whirlwind Weekend

Ooosh. Sigh. 
That's me catching my breath after a lovely jam-packed weekend. My beloved and I had a great time sans kids (much thanks to the inlaws!) up in the ACT and now feel somewhat as if we've been run over by several large, concrete rollers. 
We were invited to the wedding of an old uni friend of my beloved's up in Canberra and we decided to drive up to it, leaving the kids in the capable hands of my beloved's parents and sister. 
After eight scenic hours we arrived in our capital city on Friday night and obviously got lost. Finally finding our hotel (pretty much plonk in the middle of all the ring roads) we sank into the wonder of having a big bed ALL TO OURSELVES! We could sleep stretched out, sprawled out, however we wanted. It was magic. Well. After I'd expressed for half an hour it was magic. 
The following day we met up with my friend, Bec,  who had been my housemate during my volunteer time in Tonga and who I miss so so much. So strange remembering back all those years (lets not mention how many but quite a few) when we where talking about the guys we would someday meet and the kids we wanted to have and knowing that we have now met and married our beloveds and have our precious little ones. Bec's wonderful little boy, Josh, and lovely husband were there and we enjoyed coffee and a stroll in Canberra's truly wonderful Botanical gardens that have wallabies and bearded water dragons (may I just say wow.)
Bec and Jon then introduced us to a fantabulous winery and I was very excited because a. it was my very first winery visit (odd as I grew up less than an hour from the Yarra Valley) and b.) I finally tasted what I was supposed to taste. It wasn't chocolate or lemon after rain or anything, it was in fact, pepper, but the graciano tasted very peppery. And I was very happy. 
Saying goodbye my beloved and I zonked out ( and I de-milk-gorged) until the wedding which was just beautiful. The ceremony was lovely and very moving and the reception tah-da! - was in another stunning winery. (I went from having been to no wineries to two in a single day - very cool!) The bride looked amazing, the groom very happy and the speeches made me cry. (And this despite the fact it was the first time I'd met the bride!) There were hoards of exceptionally cute children which I always think is a plus at weddings and many pretty dresses and shoes to admire. And sigh. I just love weddings. 
But... although it was wonderful being away coming home was the most exciting thing. That bit when we were 15, 10, 5 minutes away and so close to seeing our babies again was so hard! 
But... we are now home, sleepy and grumpy and so so happy to have our little ones around us! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

We did it! First Year Med Done and Dusted.

My beloved and I have officially passed first year Medicine. 
Yep. I consider I passed too though I've lifted nary a one of the hulking big text books that litter our house. That's called being married. All of the glory and none of the hard work! 
But let me say now I am so proud of my Beloved. 
I can safely say I didn't have a clue what med school was like before this year. How could I? I was an arts student. My undergrad was designed to make me a first class cafe worker. I drifted around with 9 contact hours a week learning about Pirates and their Enemies, Byzantium in the Sixth Century, Early Irish Kings, Queens, Warriors and Goddesses. Don't get me wrong - it was amazing stuff and I loved it and it gave me such a better understanding of the richness and density of history - but it was nothing like this. 
This has been 9-5 classes, 5 days a week - and then study on top of that. Study that has been done at to accommodate rambunctious toddlers and family time. 
I would swear I have literally seen my Beloveds brain shift to accommodate the sheer depth of stuff-he-needs-to-know. He's commented that their haven't been any hard concepts to learn - just A LOT OF STUFF. 
So - yay. We did it. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Arsenal

Don't toddlers have the best range of accessories designed to make us big people go Aaaaw
Their arsenal includes mischievious smiles, infectious giggles, cuddles, big, pleading eyes, tiny liddle clinging fingers, sweet little toes, chubby little cheeks. An evolutionary thing I know but oh so effective. 
The one that has my beloved and I chuckling at the moment is The Voice. 
The cute little fluting voice. The sweet little phrases.  The intonations. The modulations.
"Ma-ma", "Da-da",from the Poppet and "Ghee is happy!" and "Ghee is Sad" from the Sprocket (this generally leads to a request that we alleviate the sad, usually by letting the sad one watch Toy Story.) and "I sorry".
"I sorry" comes up a lot. 
Generally after something has been broken, spilt, spat or majorly hurt. 
My beloved son is presently under the impression it is a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card. 
We are slowly getting him to realise that it is, in fact, not. 
We have this conversation a lot. 
"I am glad that you are sorry that you knocked over your sister/kneed your daddy in the balls/rammed your elbow into my throat/pulled down all the ornaments/spat your water on the floor but there is this thing called consequences my love. Or cause and effect. In other words saying sorry is an important step but there is more to the story." 
I have read that you should treat little people like adults. This struck me as curious. If I treated my toddler as I would an adult (who was not my beloved son nor mentally ill) the level of destruction and pain that said toddler has inflicted would ensure that I would: 

a. throw them out of the house and change the locks
b. call the police
c. get a restraining order. 

As aforementioned toddler is my beloved son and has an entire arsenal of cuteness this (so far) has not happened.
So instead we are working on time-outs. 
As Ghee is three he gets three minutes. Three long minutes plonked on my lap while I tell him precisely why what he did is not acceptable behaviour and what the consequences of this are. (Mummy is sad, daddy is sad, bubba is sad, other children will not want to play with you, you will be ostracised etc, you have spread sick-making germs everywhere, mummy and daddy are cranky they have to 'help' you tidy up all the mess, daddy is still in a miserable heap on the floor all ouchy and will not be able to play with you for the forseeable future) 
I have visions of having to sit my baby boy on my lap at the tender age of 21, for say, having invited his ninety closest friends over for a party and trashing the house, and telling him exactly why this is not the best move in the world for 21 solid minutes, so I think that this strategy might stop at 4. 
But every single time my beloved and I hear that sweet, tremulous "I sorry", our hearts melt just that fraction (that is probably an evolutionary neccessity)
Even when, as happens often, it is the fifth, sixth or seventh time we have heard "I sorry," for that particular offence that day. 
We figure that it is a toddlers role in life to test boundaries and explore the world while it is ours to 

a. keep them alive
b. keep them in one piece
c. keep them happy
and d. teach them to be responsible, curious, caring and self-disciplined human beings.

But let me just say, it is a very good thing that toddlers have that arsenal of cuteness. 


Sunday, December 11, 2011


The best advice I ever received was one word. 
I'd gone to a birthday party and a mum arrived with three boys. 
I'd looked them over carefully and they'd all appeared to be in one piece, happy and well behaved. 
So I'd asked their mum what her secret was and she had thought for a very short space of time and then said:
"After breakfast I take them outside. And after lunch I take them outside. And after dinner - well we go outside." 
"So basically, go outside," I'd clarified. 
She had nodded. 
And thus it was. 
Best words of wisdom ever. And hey, it works for girls just as well as for boys. 
Going over this with my husband he asked if we should build a kennel and after the required glare I said no, but a treehouse might be good. 
We're working on it.
In the meantime here are some fav recent 'Outside' snaps. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Angels

We adjusted our lop-sided halos today and took part in the Nativity Play at church. We were not quite angelic. But we were very close. An hour is a long time for a toddler.

One of the nicest things we have received for Christmas this year is our very own church. 

It's taken a year of looking but we finally found a church (right under our noses, just around the corner) that feels like home. Reflective, thought-provoking sermons, lovely hymns, a friendly congregation and... lots of kids! So this year the Poppet and Sprocket took part in their first nativity play in their very own church.