Thursday, March 27, 2014

Littlest (Week Thirty-Five)

Week Thirty-Five. Getting exceedingly large and completely squashing the rocking horse at the playground. Thank goodness it's not real! Dress from the op-shop. Necklace from my mother-in-law, from when I was pregnant with the Sprocket - a replica baby-carrying-bag or bilum from Papua New Guinea. I'm not entirely sure why I think it's good luck in pregnancy considering maternal and baby mortality rates in PNG… but I do!

Littlest, it's not long now. We're on the homeward stretch.
Every time your Daddy drops your brother and sister off, everyone asks if I'm away having the baby. Every time I talk to somebody they ask when I'm due, obviously expecting me to say 'today' or 'yesterday.'
But no, five weeks to go, and as your siblings were both late, I have no real expectation you'll be here on or before your due date! (But I'd be so grateful if you did come just a tad early, not very early, not next week or the week after, but maybe the week after that?)
Littlest, I'm so impressed that you listened to my pleas last week to flip around and get your head in the right place. There was one day this week when you were clearly transverse, lying right across my tummy. Today you've centred yourself, so we have hopes that you've got yourself into the right position - unfortunately neither myself nor your Daddy can tell your backside from your head, as we're both a little cautious about palpating you too strongly. Of course the obstetrician and the midwife knead you around like a loaf of bread, but they've got a heap more experience. Anyway, full marks for trying and here's hoping that you've positioned yourself head down!
I've been belatedly trying to exercise, Little one, but in the gentlest ways. Now your Daddy's around more I've been going to yoga one evening a week and it's so lovely to have the time to stretch and breath and concentrate on you. It's a very gentle class and the teacher is brilliant at making it even gentler for me. For each pose I'm cushioned and bolstered so we're perfectly supported and it's blissful being completely without pain to breathe deeply and prepare for your birth. You love it - or at least you kicked and rolled and hiccuped constantly all through the last two sessions! The dim light, the soft music, the deep, steady breathing and gentle stretchings are just what I need to help get us ready for you coming into the world.
I'm also loving going swimming. We've been popping into the local pool on the weekend and straight from school and while your siblings love it I'm not sure they love it quite as obsessively and devotedly as I do. Again - pain free. No aching hips, no stiff back, just warmth and weightlessness and gentle lolling. I'm only half joking when I tell your daddy we're going to just stay in the pool until you come out! I'm always the last to want to leave.
At present my best friend is the heat-pack your Daddy got me for my birthday. I even looked at it longingly before heading off for work this week. Surely no one would notice if I just heated it in the microwave at work and slipped it down the back of my skirt? I'm sitting most of the time anyway… Reluctantly I decided that the double-backsided look isn't the most professional look in the world…
At home the heat-pack is nearly constantly either at my back or in the microwave. I'm sure it's a good thing all my ligaments are loosening preparing for you to come out - but it's not very comfortable!
We are getting ever more prepared for your arrival. We put your bassinet together this week, and it's roughly in place, although your space needs a little more tweaking. Your car seat has arrived at your Nana's and there's only a few more little bits and pieces needed for your birth-bag.
I am trying hard not to get overwhelmed with excited anticipation (you're nearly here, you're nearly here, you're nearly here!) but it's very hard.
I am finally willing to believe Autumn is on the way. While I'm still looking eagerly for Autumn leaves,  we've had our first vaguely un-warm days and I live in hopeful expectation that the cold will set in any time now. Today began grey and rainy… but soon became grey and horribly humid.
But soon, surely soon, Autumn will arrive properly, and with it you, my Little Autumn baby! 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Goodbye Choppers. I'm not going to miss you, but Thank you.

(The hotel my fellow volunteer was staying in when the riots in Honiara started. No lives were lost - but scary stuff.) 

In the early hours of the morning, my beloved and the kids still sleeping, I frowned as I noticed that something was different.
It took me awhile to puzzle it out, and then I realised that I couldn't hear the helicopters over head. 
Apart from the odd bird song, there was quiet. 
And there had been quiet for hours and hours.
It's been a long time since we haven't heard the choppers flying to and fro overhead. 
While they've never been as constant as the first day of the fires back in February, when there was literally one overhead every five minutes, they've been a steady presence in the weeks since as the firefighters have struggled to put out the fire in the coal mine.
Now the helicopters are gone and, like the rain that steadily falls, I take it as a good sign that we're finally nearly done with our weeks of fire and smoke. Last night we drove to a neighbouring town and travelled through mile after mile of burnt forest - pine plantations and eucalypts were equally ravished.The burning came right into our town, crossing the highway for mile upon mile, stopping metres from some houses.  
Remembering back to that torrid day, the heat so intense that I'd been desperate to escape to the beach - down that road that was clearly an inferno back then, I am so thankful my beloved's wiser council prevailed. 
I don't think we would have been at risk - thankfully no lives were lost in that fire, but we would have been terrified realising we couldn't get home and that our dog was on one side of the fire, and we were on the other, and the only way to retrieve her would be to go through roads of dubious safety - not something we'd risk with the kids.
That day the helicopters, the smoke, the constant updates, the desperate internet search to try to find out how close the fires were, how real the danger was, if we should evacuate or not, and if so where, seeing as most of the roads were cut off by fire, all combined to the feeling of being in a strange nightmare.
I came to see the helicopters, both those that were just checking the area and those with water slung below them, as both a symbol that we were in danger, and a symbol that there were people working hard to keep us safe, both a symptom and a reassuarance.
And it brought back memories. 
It wasn't the first time my beloved and I were caught in a town on fire.
A month after we met (although well before we got together,) a month after I arrived in the Solomon Islands for my volunteer placement, discontented youth burnt down the China town district of Honiara, and for days we were in lockdown, and then evacuated by hercules. 
During that time, also, helicopters were a constant. 
I remember my housemate and I running out onto the verandah in our sarongs to wave at the Australian army people overhead when they arrived on about day three of the rioting. 
Once the army was called in we knew it would be over fairly soon. I was particularly keen on the rioting being brought under control as the weekend previously I'd gone on a village stay on a nearby island and returned with an acute bout of something involving fever and diarrhea. I desperately wanted the roads cleared so I could get to a doctor. We could see the smoke and flames down below us - the house we were house-sitting was on a hill side -and hear the shouting. Once again, we relied on the internet for news, along with the occasional brief phone call from other volunteers. 
A girl from our volunteer intake was staying at one of the major hotels not too far from us, but where a lot of the noise and smoke was coming from, and we phoned her frequently to see if she wanted us to come and pick her up and bring her to the relative safety of our house, as we'd heard hotels were being targeted. (They were mainly owned by Chinese people, who were the particular target of the rioters.) She declined, but regretted it; the hotel was attacked by scores of men wielding machetes and people only just got out in time. The hotel was burnt to the ground, along with the two (yes two, don't ask) work trucks she'd parked outside it. 
My dislike of the majority of ausaid personnel probably began cementing there - I'd asked at my pre-departure briefing if we should be wary about the upcoming elections. The man had pretty much scoffed in my face and said something along the lines of 'don't you worry your head, little girly, we have it all under control.' A-ha. About that. 
I'd also asked about the condition of the National Library that I'd be working in - his response "It has about two books and one of them's a colouring book" seemed unneccesarily flippant. 
After a few days of not leaving the house, a truck came for us and took us to the airport. Unlike earlier intakes (like my Beloved's,) none of whom saw the point, as it was property, rather than people who were being targeted, we didn't mind leaving so much. 
I was still really only focused on getting to a doctor. Unfortunately, our evacuation coincided with the arrival of the vomiting. I managed to throw up in four separate airports. And for anyone who wants to know, a hercules is one of the very worst places in the world to have diarrhea, as the toilet sort of folds out of the wall and is then surrounded by just a little curtain. By then I was so sick I really didn't care.  (It probably wasn't such a bad preparation for my firstborns birth. Complete lack of control, body functions gone haywire, no privacy - and being to sick to care. Take two.) 
Eventually, I arrived back at my parents, going straight from the airport to the doctors and a strange limbo world of recovery and then wondering if, and when, we'd return. 
It seems strange to have so many parallels so many years later. 
The deliberately lit fire, the town in flames, the helicopters, the evacuation, the long period in limbo, not knowing if we could return or not. 
And yet in both cases we've been incredibly lucky - no lives have been lost, although buisnesses have gone under and in the Solomons many families from Chinatown fled, not intending to return. 
Both times we've been able to return safely. Both times I have felt incredibly grateful to the people who came to stabilise the situation. (Although in the Solomons as soon as the Australian army arrived it was pretty much all over, the soldiers appeared to see it as a brief holiday before they headed off to places that were truly dangerous. Putting the fire out in the mine was not a holiday.)  

Goodbye choppers, I'm not going to miss you. 
But I am incredibly grateful that in times of danger you turn up. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Time to get Gummy?

Trying to time capsule as much as I can of this, my last pregnancy, my Beloved has been taking a lot more photos of me than is normal.
And I'm still fairly uncomfortable with it. I'm not used to looking directly at the camera.
And I have noticed that I'm not comfortable smiling, and particularly not comfortable showing any sign of teeth.

Rewind twenty odd years.

After school I catch the train and then the tram into the city. It's the end of a long, hot day and I'm still in my summer school uniform. I'm sweaty and ungainly and I just want to be home.
But it's time for my orthodontist appointment so I find the rooms on Victoria Parade and wait my turn in the blissful air-con.
I've recently had all four of my wisdom teeth taken out, as they were growing horizontally and banging into the teeth next to them. My face swelled up to nearly double it's size and there are now four holes in my gums where food keeps getting caught.
The orthodontist checks on their healing and says they're doing well. Then he looks at me.
"I've noticed that when you smile you cover your mouth because your smile is so gummy. I can fix that."
Puzzled, wondering if I really have been covering my mouth because my smile is gummy, I'm silent.
He whips out a book of 'before and after photos'. Girls before and after he fixed their smiles.
I've already had braces for eighteen months and a plate for eighteen months. I had four extra teeth that had to come out, geting the braces tightened every few months was painful, and it all cost a fortune. My dad refers to my teeth as a 'plane ticket home to scotland'. And they are. But at least my teeth are no longer higgledy-piggledy on top of each other and I'm no longer called a 'vampire guinea-pig', like I'd been in primary school. 
I ask the orthodontist what getting rid of my gummy smile would mean.
Nothing much - just cutting some of my cheekbones away and lifting my whole face up.
I blink.
And then I ask if there's any medical reason to get this done. It sounds a little extreme to do for aesthetic reasons. He wants to cut my bone - which sounds like major surgery and massively expensive - so I'm a little prettier?
He umms and aahs, but basically there's no medical reason why I should have my face ripped apart and redone.
It would just make my smile less gummy.
I say no thank you, and leave. But examining the mirror that night I see a vast expanse of gum, and how my whole top lip disappears when I smile. 

I didn't think I thought about it that much, just some idiot who obviously rated looks a lot more highly than I did. But I'm noticing now that I don't like smiling with my teeth showing. I don't want my gums caught on camera.
Because twenty years ago the professional, sort-of-medical man who'd spent four year mucking around with my teeth,  thought my gummy smile so terrible he thought I should undergo major surgery, at great expense and with great pain, and no small level of risk, because going under anaesthetics does always carry some risks.

I still don't want to smile with my mouth open. To me, my closed-mouth smiles appear guarded and smug. 
And that makes me mad. And it worries me. 
That happened in a time so much less looks focused - at least it seems so to me - and yet I've let that one incident affect me so much.
I worry for my kids. Especially now, when my second daughter is on her way. How will this society twist and distort my girls perceptions of themselves? Make them believe they're anything less than wonderful just the way they are. And boys are not exempt from our cultures focus on appearance.
I hope they never allow something so ridiculous to influence them. But it seems fairly hypocritical, seeing that I have.
Maybe it's time to bring out some gummy smiles.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


- my gorgeous nephew, held by my dad, who is henceforth to be known as 'the baby hog'. We took advantage of free entry to the zoo as our town was so heavily smoke infested, and gathered up friends and family and went on Sunday, and I didn't get to hold the baby once! (Dad did point out that with my substantial bump it might have been tricky to hold him, but the chance would have been nice!)
-a turtle in the reptile house. I would dearly love a turtle. Or two. Or a couple of tortoise.
-the kids in the carousel at the zoo. There's something so magical about a carousel!
-a detail from the carousel.
-ferns at the Morwell National Park.
-Poppet running down steps at the Morwell National Park. The park smelt so good, moist and fresh and eucalypt-y. There was still no water in the stream under the bridge, but there was moss and ferns and moisture in the air and I took big welcome gulps of the air. Autumn seems to be on the way (finally!) so I have hopes that at our next visit there'll be at least a trickle in the stream.
-Making bread. Our first attempt and it was delicious!
-Cutting our bread. We used a Jamie Oliver recipe, but halved it. We also tried to make a sourdough culture last week… with um… not so wonderful results. Hopefully this week we'll perfect it.

Joining with the lovely Em of The Beetle Shack for moments from our week. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014


Sprocket - we've just taken our first ever home-baked loaf of bread out of the oven and I was (of course, blush) taking photos of it. Sprocket decided he wanted to be in the photo and stuck his head up in front of the bread.
Poppet- after a day doing 'hard and dangerous work' (Sprocket's description) at school and childcare, we went for a picnic in the Morwell National Park. Poppet is munching thoughtfully on a gold pirate coin as she stares up at the trees. So far we haven't seen any native fauna here (except a couple of wallabies) but I keep taking the kids back in hopes of an echidna or wombat. And the air just smells so beautiful!

Joining with the lovely Jodi of Practicing Simplicity for a photo of my little ones once a week, every week in 2014. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Littlest (Week 34)

(Week 34 - Wearing: Top from my lovely sister-in-law, leggings from an op-shop ) 

Littlest, you're at week thirty-four now, and getting some serious size to you.
Your bones are hardening, your immune system is kicking in and your fingernails are fairly complete, although your toenails still have a bit of growing. You are also pushing and punching like crazy.
But please, listen up Little One - you need to flip! As in, you need to do a half-summersault and turn around.
At our last obstetricians appointment it was seen that you'd switched around and your head is now tucked under my ribs. And dear-one, while I completely understand that this is probably much more comfortable - I wouldn't want to be standing on my head for a few months - it is important that you turn around.
We'll be going to the obstetrician again in a couple of weeks, and if you could turn by then it'll save a lot of stress and potential interventions.
I'll do all I can with swimming lots and all, (although I'm not sure how I'll go with the handstands in the water one site recommends, I tend to get water up my nose) but if you could work on it too, that would be grand.
The midwife seems to think that as you're my third after two (fairly) straight-forward births the obstetrician would be fine with a normal birth if you're still breech, and as he's old-school and I believe has a fair amount of experience with breech births, I feel very comfortable with that.  However, if that obstetrician is not on call at the relevant time, a lot of the obstetricians and midwives don't have a lot of experience delivering breech babies - in which case it becomes more dangerous for you and we'd probably opt for a caesarean.
And, well, Little one, I just won't have time to recover from a caesarean. Much as we love you, Littlest, there's no escaping the fact you're a third baby, and as such a lot of your time will be spent schlepping your brother and sister from place to place. We'll be back on the school run pretty much as soon as we're out of hospital, because if there's one thing I've learnt about medical degrees?
They don't accept doctors certificates.
Or time off for dead relatives or babies being born. If you don't do the hours… well, you repeat the year. Your Daddy will be there for your birth, he'll be on rotation in the next ward while we're in the hospital so will probably pop in for lunch and morning teas and things, but unless you come early, he won't be home for any of your first days. Which means that whole resting/non-driving after a caesarean thing?… would not be happening.
You really, really need to turn around. I've been explaining all this to you as we go through our days and you kick and roll, as if in agreement, but so far I haven't felt any major flipping. Of course, there's still a lot of time. Your Nana says I was breech almost up to my birth, so I have complete confidence you'll get onto this in time. (Preferably before we try the 'external cephalic version' manipulation in a few weeks.)
Littlest, grow well, and flip!

Linking with the lovely TOI of Life of TOI and Erica of To the Sea for Blogger Baby Boom.

To the Sea

Monday, March 17, 2014

Littlest (week 33)

This is a little late, Littlest.
We're already up to week thirty-four (woosh, but time is whizzing by!) But let's pretend it's still week thirty-three.
You continue to wiggle and squirm almost constantly and when I have a braxton-hicks I can feel the hard outcasing of your womb from half way up my ribs right down to the top of my thighs. I'm not entirely sure if you've moved around or not - kicking or punchings come from all areas. Your back does seem very firmly on my right side though. The braxton-hicks are coming with increasing strength and for increasing amounts of time and are increasingly uncomfortable. If I'm walking while one hits it feels a bit like someone dropped a concrete ball on my bladder and cervix. I try not to think that it's only going to get more intense from here, and rather concentrate on it being practice for you coming out easily and quickly.
Night-times are still very long. Whichever side I lie on I end with aching hips, and every time I roll or sit up my pelvic bones are incredibly painful. I'm incredibly grateful for the heat-pack your daddy got me for my birthday, and he re-heats it three or four times a night. We're seeing the obstetrician tomorrow so hopefully he has some ideas.
Up until now I haven't paid much attention to the whole 'coming out' part of you being inside me. I've pushed it aside and thought 'there's plenty of time for that later' and concentrated on how you're growing each week.
Now as there's increasingly less time, I'm thinking about it more and more. Not just the incredible moment when we finally get to meet you and hold you and see who you are and admire your little fingers and toes, but you know, the whole coming-out.
Your Daddy and I are still watching One Born Every Minute every week, a documentary about a maternity ward in the UK, but I'm watching it with an increasingly furrowed brow as realisation sinks in that this is becoming ever more relevant to me.
Having been through it twice, my thoughts are possibly more prosaic than they were with your siblings. With your brother I was sure that I'd breath him out in a 'rush' in the birthing pool. With your sister I was hoping I didn't bleed as much as I did with your brother and she was a leetle bit quicker.
With you,  Little one, I want us both healthy on the far side and apart from that I'm more concerned about whether your grandparents will arrive in time to look after your siblings or whether they'll be in the birthing rooms when you arrive. While I think your sister would love being around for your birth, I suspect your brother would find it a bit traumatic. (Obviously, this isn't the whole truth. I will, of course, be handing over a carefully researched birth plan based on current best practice, but it will only have about seven points on it and be half a page, unlike the - rather amusing, in retrospect- novel I prepared for your brother.)
I'm also (finally) letting myself prepare your space. We pick up your bassinet on Saturday (thank-you ebay and Choice Magazine) and I'm very excited. I was a bit surprised that of the twenty-four bassinets Choice reviewed they only deemed two to meet safety standards, especially as the one I wanted wasn't among the two, but in the end we decided to go with one of the recommended one. What can I say? Your Daddy and I are both suckers for the stats.
And our hospital bags are nearly half-way packed. There's still a lot of things I need to re-wash and pick up from your grandparents, but I think within the next two weeks we should be all ready in case you make an unexpectedly early appearance. I'm still half-hoping that you'll decide to make an appearance around the thirty-eight week mark rather than the forty-one weeks your siblings chose for their emergence. And if you do… that's only five weeks away!  Maybe I'd better hurry up on the preparations!
Car seats are of course high on our list of things-to-do. Namely, which capsules will squeeze best next to your brother and sisters car-restraints, and rate highly on safety. Decisions, decisions! We've still got the capsule we used for your brother and sister, and we might try it out soon for size, but as it's been out in the shed for the last three years, I'm a tad worried about it's condition. Next weeks task!
In the photo above I'm wearing a maternity top that your Grandmother wore when I was the baby growing inside. I'll have to dig out the photo of her wearing it when she's holding me as a baby, it's one of my favourites. So far, I've avoided the temptation to buy any new stuff (apart from a brief hiccup around Christmas when I directed my Beloved as to my Christmas present and spent Christmas money) and I haven't felt like I've needed anything extra. Of course, nursing clothes might be a different story!
Your sister and brother are still very excited about your arrival. Your sister told you a long story this week and gives my tummy big kisses. Your brother gives my tummy reassuring pats. Neither of them remembers you when they decide to climb on me. And it's so hard saying that I just can't pick them up anymore. I can't lift your brother up onto the flying fox, I can't carry your sister around… It's hard for them to understand.
Grow well Littlest, not long now!

Sunday, March 16, 2014


-Roses from my parents gardens. 
-Poppet's bruised knees as she climbs up to look for my 'treasures'. Anything sparkly, shiny or fragile she loves. But she also spends a lot of time wrestling with, and running after, her brother. Hence the bruised knees! 
-I told Poppet no more teve for the day and she buried herself under my quilt to cry and sulk. Finally she slept in her little burrow. 
-Poppet and I at the park. I'm wearing a maternity top of my mum's from the '70s. Sometimes there's a point to hoarding… I'm just trying to work out where the line is... 
-Sprocket and Poppet exchanging a pretend ransom of 'gold and lollies' - I think something to do with the Daddy-Troll who has been chasing them around the lake, but the story line got me a bit confused. 
-Welcome storm clouds.The cooler weather and the rain has been wonderful. I'm hoping for a real down-pour soon! The fire at the mine seems all but out, and we're only getting the occasional few hours here and there of ash and smoke. It's so wonderful to be able to go into the garden again, to leave the windows open. Every new shower seems to bring us closer to the fire finally being extinguished. 
-Sprocket at school sports day. We're navigating the hard crossing into the world of school. Leaving my little boy in the classroom every morning when he's all teary is breaking my heart. I'm hoping now things are more settled he'll start enjoying it more… 

Joining with the lovely Em of The Beetle Shack for moments from our week. 


Sprocket - chocolate on his face and a stick in his hands. What could be better?
Poppet - reflective at the playground.

Joinign with the lovely Jodi of Practicing Simplicity for a photo of my kids once a week, every week, in 2014. 

Monday, March 10, 2014


- Driving home through the fire damage. For miles and miles along the freeway there is burnt forest. It stops at the edge of out town. If we had known how close and how extensive it was I think we would have driven to the next town along. The fire damage is on both sides of the freeway, and the strip in the middle is also burnt - no wonder the road was closed for so long! 
-Poppet and Sprocket at Healesville Sanctuary. They loved how tame the birds were and that in some of the aviaries they got to feed them. As residents from my town flee the smoke of home we've been offered free access to the zoos and museums of Melbourne - a lovely gesture and much appreciated! 
-Sprocket and Poppet inside a big, burnt out tree at the sanctuary. 
-A nest in the platypus pond at the sanctuary. I'm thirty-three weeks pregnant now, and thinking a lot about nesting! It's getting so close...
- A graceful carving of a swan at the sanctuary. I love the wood tones, the curve of the swan's neck and how the gleaming wood catches the light. I'm about to start editing a novel I wrote awhile back centring on an Irish myth about four children turned to swans, so I'm taking the carving as a good luck sign! 
-Poppet, explaining something to me. 
-The kids, playing with spinning tops at their Nana and Grandpa's. 

Joining with the lovely Em of The Beetle Shack for moments from our week. 

This week has been a little lot chaotic and for a lot of the week my computer has been at the apple shop so I haven't been uploading photos. (Thank you kids for getting watermelon all over the track-pad! A more heartfelt thanks to the great customer service at the apple shop - they cleaned it up for free… and made my computer all glossy and new looking at the same time. Not a lot they could do about the scratches and dents of a lot of love and use, but it's so clean it doesn't look like mine!) 
We just heard the wonderful news the fire in the mine in our town is 'under control' so we're doing happy dances and are deeply, deeply thankful to all the wonderful firefighters who have fought so long and so hard and in such bad conditions to put it out. The smoke this morning was worse than it's been in awhile… but it should all be cleared up soon! 

Sunday, March 9, 2014


Poppet- joyful at Nana and Grandpa's. She's clutching Lullaby Moon, her beloved pony (although she insists she's a unicorn.) We had fifteen minutes of tears over Lullaby Moon not coming to Nana and Grandpa's and even turned the car around to return to the house (mainly for my swimmers, but while searching for said swimmers I also looked for Lullabye Moon.)  I returned with peace offerings of other ponies, which were rejected… and three minutes later Poppet found Lullaby Moon in a bag at her feet…

Sprocket - feeding the parrots at Healesville Sanctuary. They landed on hats and arms as well and the kids were entranced. Due to the smoke residents in our part of the world are getting free entry to the Melbourne Zoos and we took advantage of this to go to Healesville Sanctuary while we were staying with my parents. I am hoping all the places we've taken the Sprocket have (sort of) made up for the school he's missed while we've fled the toxic air.

Joining with the lovely Jodi of Practising Simplicity for a portrait of my kids once a week, every week, in 2014.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Littlest (week 32)

Littlest, we're back in our own house, our own town, and I can finally start preparing properly for your arrival.
Yesterday, the rain began to fall. Softly, steadily. The sky was grey and the rain fell and kept falling for most of the day. It was completely unforecast and welcomed with utter joy and thanksgiving.
Finally, finally, the end is in sight.
Finally, it seems like these last few horrible and unsettled weeks might soon be done with.
First heatwave, then fire, then smoke like something out of Mordor (as one newspaper reported it) but now, six weeks later, it seems we can take a deep breath, and move into Autumn.
This morning the sky is still grey and low-hanging and the air is full of moisture. That would be the fresh, clean air, which is now all in the blue and as good as Melbourne - indeed it's better than some Melbourne suburbs. Today the kids can play outside and we can get started on putting everything to rights.
I can get back into nesting mode.
Sweet one, I can finally say that you're due next month, albeit still a whole eight weeks away. However 'next month' sounds a lot closer than eight weeks. You're pushing around more, trying to stretch, and your reach is longer. I feel exploratory hands down in my pelvis, then kicks up by my ribs. You press out against one side of my stomach and then there'll be a flurry of movements on the other side. I feel the round of your rump, or occasionally the long line of a leg. You're approaching two kilograms and are about forty-two centimetres long, although very crowded and squished. And while two kilos is getting quite large... I do wonder where the other eight kilos I've put on has gone.
Actually, I try not to.
While most of the earlier niggles have gone, I am deeply regretting my lack of exercise in the early months (if you discount running to the bathroom) as everything aches. Three am sees me rising from bed, unable to sleep for aching hips. All night I toss and turn, unable to get comfortable. (By which I mean slowly, cumberously, painfully ease over from side to side.) These last weeks I've been able to check the air quality almost every hour, (2am, 3am, 4am) now that seems un-necessary I'm waddling stiffly through to the couch to read for a few hours instead.
'Ooof' and 'Aaaaf' are the most common sounds I make, especially as I try to rise from our futon bed or out of an arm chair. It is most definitely time to get the heat packs out and start making frequent trips to the pool.
Poppet said this morning that she needed to make way for 'the big mummy', and yesterday she said she wasn't listening to any 'old mummy' anymore. Way to get treat privileges revoked kiddo. Littlest, I'm hoping you do not display such attitude at three and a half!
Next month Littlest, we meet you next month! (Unless you're late like your brother and sister, but you'll be my punctual baby, won't you. Please!)

Saturday, March 1, 2014


-Sprocket giving Poppet  a boost up to the water fountain. She wanted to try water from each of the four fountains so he boosted her up to each. I love how beautifully they (sometimes) play.
-Sprocket and Poppet holding hands when their play-date arrived at the park. Seventeen-month old babies are a bit daunting at first!
-A frog at the Melbourne Museum. The kids had the most amazing time and us adults enjoyed it as well. The forest in the middle, with the bowerbirds, lizards, turtles, fish and crayfish was a massive hit… but so was everything else!
-Poppet going through one of the archways at the William Rickett's Sanctuary out in the hills. A beautifully green and shady place although the sculptures en masse were a little… unsettling. Details were stunning, however.
-A handful of possums. Sculptures at the William Rickett Sanctuary.
- At the Olinda Rhododendron Gardens. Poppet admiring a photo of the gardens in Spring. They were still beautiful when we went, but their main attraction was hydrangeas rather than rhododendrons. I was drooling over the hydrangeas though. A beautiful expanse of space full of stunning plants. However, steep, very steep. I'm still recovering!
-Hydrangeas at the rhododendron gardens.
-Poppet and her cousin at my birthday and Littlest's 'hey you're nearly here' party last weekend.
-With my little ones at my party.
-With my Poppet at the Dolphin Fountain at the Fitzroy Gardens, where we had a picnic party.

The mine near our house is still on fire so we're still staying with my parents in Melbourne. While it is lovely being with family and exploring the parks and museums of Melbourne, it is unsettling not knowing when we'll be able to go home.
It sounds like the firefighters are doing an amazing job on the blaze, so I do hope we'll be able to return in a couple of weeks… The thought of cleaning up all the ash and smoke that has invaded our house does not fill me with joy. But I will try to think of it as extra-nesting cleaning for Littlest, just wearing a face mask.

Joining with the lovely Em of The Beetle Shack for moments from our week.