Sunday, 29 May 2011

My latest time saver...

I love things that save time. Having four kids, time is something I could do with more of. I also love pretty things. This week, I was introduced to Hipstamatic.

Hipstamatic is an iphone app that puts a filter on your photos and inserts them into distressed frames - all you have to do is smile, point, click! So naturally I went crazy and photographed everything. Here are some of the photos.
This scarf was bought with some birthday money from my MIL.
The filter has made it a completely different colour.
Still not the actual colour, but love this combination!
Rose and Grace. Grace is the spitting image of Rose at that age.
Cate painting some dolls house furniture.
Josephine upset because she chose a fairy wand and
crown instead of the painting set at the shops.
Even sad she is adorable.
Easily forgotten with a cuddle.
My birthday flowers in my favourite pink glass vase.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

The week that was

This week has been a week of extremes!

Now this may be confusing, so I thought I would bullet point some of the things that have affected my waves of emotions this week -

  • Bronte was put to sleep. {sad}
  • My birthday. {smile}
  • Cute, new, painless smile at the dentist. {straight smile}
  • 2 injections into my gums - drool, sore teeth and must go back next week to complete. {spit + sook}
  • A close friends father had some wonderful news. {smile}
  • Helped a friend pack to move house. {sore}
  • Had a joint birthday party with a friend with lots of amazing pressies. {smile smile}
  • Kids cubby house got vandalised. {scowl}
  • Finally got building approval. {skip}
  • Had Rose's school assembly, and she was amazing!! {superb}
  • Went to a friends school musical (she is the drama teacher). {super}
  • 2 sick babies. {snot}
  • Taught Cate how to sew. She made yo-yo headbands, all by herself. {smile}
  • She proudly gave one to her teacher, only for her to smile, say thanks and put it away - not to be seen since! {sad}
  • Sitting at home, on a Saturday night with my favourite person in the whole world. {swoon}
  • Watching football {sigh}
So, there it is. Now that it is over, I can say that I had a wonderful birthday week, aside from the obvious. For me, this week was very much about my friends and family.

I was awoken on my birthday by four little girls with their scrawled birthday letters and a beautiful set of pink champagne flutes. After taking the big girls to school, it was just me and my two small babies in the morning, then we met Dean's mum and nanna for lunch. Tea was take away and it was lovely having Dean home early from work so we could all eat together. 

Wednesday night we drove for an hour to see my friend Katherine's school musical. It was wonderful. Josephine is still talking about it! It was, however, a freezing cold night and I think it aided in Cate and Grace waking sick up on Thursday. I would have gladly kept them all home from school. I don't need an excuse - I love having them home (and anything to get out of that hour trip to and from school). But, Rose had her school assembly and was dressed and ready for school in record time! She was so excited, it made me excited.

I spent the day at home, making soup and teaching Cate how to sew while Josephine and Grace played 'mums and babies'. She made a yo-yo rosette, sewed it to a matching headband and decided to give it to her teacher. Cate has a lovely teacher, but I was sad for my child when she just took the gift that she had taken hours to make, smiled and put it away.

The assembly was just amazing. I was late (thanks to the traffic), so had to stand outside the door, but everyone was lovely and let me squeeze in to take some photos and to make sure Rose saw that I was there. I was so proud of her. She danced her heart out! 

Friday, I went to work. I work with another Jo and her birthday is the same week as mine. We have very similar tastes, so our boss has a great time buying our presents. Being in design, he has the best taste in everything and always finds the most amazing gifts. We have morning tea and swap gifts and spend the next hour talking about how wonderful everything is. From my workmates I got a book about wallpaper, some bookends, a bag for my laptop, a magenta scarf, a bag of pink balloons, a bunch of flowers, scented draw liners, and ... I can't remember. Jo received some equally fantastic gifts. I loved a box of curios in the cutest packaging for making gift tags. We then went out for lunch. Not much work was done.

I haven't seen my parents and sister yet, so I do get to drag out my birthday a little bit - at least until Wednesday when I have to hand the candles over to Cate.

Thank you to everyone for your love this week, whether it be a hug for Bronte or birthday wishes.


Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Happy birthday to me...

Pink crystal champagne glasses. Perfect present. 

Plus, my baby has been at the farm for three sleeps, so her coming home is the best present a mum can ask for. She ran up to me and gave me the biggest hug ever. I love it when they miss you as much as you miss them.  {heart}

Thank you to my beautiful husband and my 4 sweet babies for a coffee in bed and pink presents.

Now to the dentist for present number 2...




Monday, 23 May 2011

Goodbye Bronte

Today our dog Bronte went to doggy heaven.

I write this post with a tremendous amount of guilt. Dean and I decided after we had our last baby we would get a dog to grow up with them. We had a list of "doggie do's" that a beagle filled. According to Dean's research, they are easily trained, great with kids and the right size for our back yard.

For Christmas 2008, Santa delivered a gorgeous little puppy. They woke early, searching the house for their presents from Santa, noticing a sound coming from the laundry. Once they opened the door and he bounded towards them, all we heard were terrified screams! For the rest of the day they all stayed on the couch with their legs pulled up in fear.

Sadly, over the next 2 years, this didn't improve much. Our backyard went from a fertile, luscious haven where the girls played in their cubby house and on the swings, to a dusty, chewed toy graveyard. The girls were terrified to go outside. Bronte was exuberant and boisterous and would knock them over and nip at them while they screamed and begged to be picked up. Cate would occasionally profess to love him and play with him in spurts before coming back inside. Josephine and Rose were never seen outside with him again. But he loved Grace. She was little when he was and she wasn't afraid of him.

We had numerous discussions about what we were going to do. Bronte deserved a family that would play with him and love him, not a family that had him locked outside. I realised that I wasn't a dog person. There, I said it. I'm not a dog lover. I love Bronte, but not dogs. I wanted him to be happy and I felt guilty I couldn't give him what he needed. I told myself that if he was a child, and it wasn't working, I couldn't just give him back!

We hoped that after the renovation, the girls would be bigger and he would be older and calmer and it would just be ok. We couldn't bring him with us to our temporary accommodation so he went to live with my Aunty, Uncle and cousins - all dog lovers, and their 2 other dogs. He was happy. We visited him and Grace ran up to the window yelling, "my doggie". They all went outside and cuddled him and he remembered them. He was happy.

After being there for a few weeks, Bronte started having fits. He was diagnosed with epilepsy, common in beagles. Since then his medication has just gone up and up. He has been on valium also to calm him but after a few weeks, the dose becomes too low and he starts fitting again. How much sedation and medication can one little dog take. He was spending his days unable to get up and walk, too drowsy to do anything.

After another trip to the vet yesterday, we made the heart wrenching decision to have him put to sleep. Cate cried for hours. I cried. I don't even know what to do. It doesn't come naturally to me to know what to do about this, I've never had a dog before. I feel like there should be something more. I can't describe the feelings of guilt I have about his life. A good pet owner would have been by his side but I couldn't bear the thought of having to explain this to my children. Life, death, illness. I can't do that, not today.

Thank you to my Aunty and her family. You loved him how we should have. He was welcomed into your home and a part of your family.

Good night little Bronte. I'm sorry we weren't the family you deserved, that this life was short and confusing for you. Rest peacefully. We love you. x

Sunday, 22 May 2011

A night to (try to) remember!

Last night was my sister's 30th. I must say it was a sensory delight - as I knew it would be. For the eyes, there were paper lanterns with tea light candles hanging from the ceilings, fresh flowers and cupcakes adorned in lace and a lather of pink icing. The food was phenomenal. Prawns on skewers, mini burgers and bruschetta along with hours of other minuscule morsels to choose from. Then to top it off - the cocktails. Being a person seduced by colour, my choice was easy - cosmopolitans with a raft of pink fairy floss crowned atop, mmm.

It was also an opportunity to frock up and take some photos of the adults for a change. There are very few photos of both myself and my sister or Dean and I. As with most parents, the photos are of the kids or of one parent with them. So I had to post these, if just for mum to enjoy!

Great night sis!

Friday, 20 May 2011

Current loves.

I went blogging today and found these adorable pictures. They are from some of the websites I have listed in my favourites. They make me smile after composing my emotional previous post.
Eye candy. Dean would never forgive me.
I will be doing a pink/orange combination.
Love the colour combo. 
Adore.

Rose wants yellow and pink? Not sure.

Don't mind this yellow, but how could I not love anything Sarah.

Wanting a mismatched dining setting but thinking
I might have the same chair in different colours.

Cate eight years ago.

Her impending birthday is making me nostalgic.

Cate came into this world at 6.12am on a Sunday morning. I had spent the day before, against my doctors orders, carrying around my cousins newborn daughter. I was on strict bed rest. Not to leave the hospital or walk further than to the elevator and back in case I went into labour. My waters had broken weeks earlier and it was only a matter of time!

It was routine that Dean would finish work each night and come and sit with me for a few hours before going back home alone, but on this particular night, he was going to a birthday celebration for one of his friends. I called him at about 9pm to tell him I'd been feeling funny for a few hours and that the midwives were concerned. They had medicated me to try and stop the contractions. At 1pm I called him in to meet me in the labour ward. Our parents were called and came straight away.

I was terrified. The funny thing was that I was in a maternity hospital, my membranes had ruptured, and nobody thought to give me any anti-natal classes! So screaming it was! I'd had a fever, so there was no epidural allowed. So screaming it was! I do remember being given the gas and Dean constantly saying to me, "suck - don't blow into the tube!".

My parents and Dean's mum arrived to come in and see me screaming. Mum remembers walking out at 6.10 and the twins were born at 6.12am. Cate had Evie in her arms and then it was quiet. No more screaming, no more people. I was left in the room, alone. Cate was taken to the intensive care unit with Dean and I was left to cradle my baby who kicked me and lived off me for 6 months. Who died in my womb and will be forever in my heart. She looked exactly like Cate, but smaller.

Leaving the hospital was extremely difficult, we hadn't even had our first cuddle. I was expressing milk every three hours alone in the cold and dark. I had been through birth, life, death and now I was separated from the only thing I had left to show for it. We had to learn how to look after a premature baby. By the time she came home, I joked that we could have almost given her a blood test ourselves.

Cate was not a normal premmie. She improved in leaps and bounds. She was to be monitored for 5 years regularly by paediatricians but after a year, was told she didn't need to come back. There were moments though. I remember one day, walking out of the nursery and refusing to go back after she turned blue in my arms. I was devastated that she would stop breathing while I was holding her. I was her mum.

We decided that we would always talk about Evie and that we would blow out a candle on Cate's birthday cakes every year for her too. She is mentioned by the girls constantly. She is included in their family drawings. Over the years she had gone from being another girl lined up next to us, to being an angel in the sky, to being a cross in the sun. They have never asked for details, but know that she died in mummy's tummy and that she looks just like Cate. One day when they have children of their own, we might show them photos of her. She wore a dress made specially for her. Cate wore an identical dress, cut and wrapped around all of the cords attached to her and her tiny body.

These are very sad memories, but to me they are also, beautiful ones. I don't know where we got the strength. I don't know what would have happened had we decided not to have the laser surgery. We might have ended up with two beautiful girls instead of one. We could have lost them both. Would we have still had a second, third or fourth child? We will never know. I am grateful for my beautiful children but feel that I will always feel a twinge of sadness for one I don't have. I do, however, have an angel to wake up to every day that shared her face and brings joy and delight to our lives every day.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

A week to celebrate.

May in our family is always busy, particularly the end of it.

We have my big girl, my sister and my birthdays within 8 days. This year my little sister turns the big 3 oh! Happy birthday Tam. I hope you have a wonderful birthday week.

My Cate is turning 8 this year. Wow, where has the time gone? One minute she was born and our only baby, and the next she is eight and the big sister to three.

A few weeks ago she was totally exhausted from a busy week at school and after seeing that "Hannah Montana" was coming to town, told us that she wanted to go and see her. Now I can only imagine the stress on a parent having to navigate a child through a crowd of pre-teen girls at a concert, but can you imagine how traumatising it would be to an innocent 8 year old to actually see "Hannah" writhing around on stage like she does? I would need some therapy myself! So needless to say there was an immediate "no" from Dad. This prompted an emotional "you don't love me (and more that I won't mention)", from Her Royal Heartless!

Funnily, I can appreciate moments like that. I can distinctly remember similar times when I begged my mother for something equally ridiculous and her telling me no also. I can now look back at those times and say that they are the answers that actually proved she loved me. I will remind Cate of these when she is older and perhaps needs a hug when her child has broken her heart with declarations of dislike too.

What to buy an 8 year old? 
I am considering getting her art classes. Between school, homework and the renovation, she doesn't get much time to play with "toys", so I think she will feel very special and grown up going to art classes. Now to find somewhere nearby!

So what will her ninth year bring us? 
Every day I look at her in awe and am so proud of how she is growing up. She is so considerate and witty. I love her sense of humour and enjoy her curiosity. I know she will be everything she desires and do it with grace. I look forward to watching her grow but feel a twinge of sadness at how fast it is going.

Happy birthday Baby. x

Monday, 16 May 2011

Parenting shmarenting...

To those who don't have children, I am sure the difference in parenting styles can be simply defined by those who breast-feed and those who don't.  Well I breast-fed all of my children and I can assure you it is not that simple!

Over the past few months, I have been forced to question a few of the ways I parent my children. I spoke with a lady, who was recommended to me to help with some strategies for Cate's nightmares, only to walk away feeling very inadequate with my own life. After establishing that all the the ideas she had, I was already doing (the nightmares left that night and haven't returned), the conversation was then redirected at me. Did I have enough vitamins in my diet, was I getting enough sleep, do I have enough time for each child, do I spend too much time with them individually? I could go on, but as you can see, I couldn't have picked the right answer even if I had the exam in advance!

I went through a number of emotions that week, and there were a few tears shed. I thought a lot about how my choices would impact on my children. Apparently because I have a different diet to them, (I am vegetarian), it can cause eating disorders in girls. And when do I spend time on me? You answer that question, when does any mother spend any time on them. I wake up and until they go to sleep, it is about them. Then when they go to bed, it is about my husband and I. There is no me anymore. I am a mum. Me = 4 kids.

After talking about it to exhaustion, I concluded that I am one person and could easily cry myself to sleep every night, thinking about the damage my decisions could make on their precious lives, but I do the best I can and if it wasn't great that day, I will try harder the next.

I have also noticed, more lately than ever before, that your differences in parenting can affect your children's relationships with other children. I am currently conflicted by an incident that happened at the park a couple of weeks ago. One of my girls was being tormented by someone else's child whose parent didn't consider their behaviour to be wrong. What can I do? I would have disciplined my child for behaving that way. I am aware that children should sometimes be left to settle disputes themselves, but my child was physically shaking and crying. How can I say that I am a better mother than this woman? I know she loves her child, and am sure she would be upset if her child were hurt, but where is one person right and another wrong?

Fortunately, at the end of every day, I go to bed with a wonderful man who believes in the same things that I do. We raise our children a mixture of the ways we were raised, bringing the best from each of our upbringings. He tells me when I make the wrong decisions in his absence, and, encourages me when I am feeling like I have made a mistake. But best of all, he believes I am the best mother in the world. Thankfully, because I am the one nurturing his children when he is not home!

Being a mum. Thankless yet rewarding, the hardest, most fulfilling job in the world.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

I love you Dad

Grumpy and Cate.
With Mother’s Day a distant memory, I feel the need to share the love with my dad.

My parents live a couple of hours away on a farm and dad rarely ventures to the big smoke. He does come down on occasion and loves visiting his grandchildren, but all of a sudden he will just get up and announce that it is time to go. My sister and I both live within half an hour of each other so he is forced to come down to see us 2 out of every three Christmas’ but insists that Easter it spent up there with him and mum.

My dad was a truck driver so wasn’t around much whilst I was growing up. By the time he moved to where he is now, I moved to the city and my sister was off to boarding school. All of a sudden he was home and we weren’t. Now he will tell anyone who will listen that he regrets not being around to watch us grow up. But as they say, hindsight is a beautiful thing! Thankfully I think this is what makes him such a wonderful grandfather. My children adore him and I watch in awe sometimes at the lengths he will go for them. I am often shocked at the amount of power our children have over him. He is a softer, more patient person than the person we saw in our childhood.

Lunchtime yesterday my mum rang to tell me that she was at the hospital with my dad. He had woken up feeling unwell and had asked her to bring him to the city (a three hour drive) to see a doctor. He was experiencing shortness of breath, sweating and chest pains. They had gotten half way, when they decided she should stop at the closest hospital.

After a day of anxiety, fear and little communication, dad was diagnosed with Supraventricular Tachycardia - according to Wikipedia, can be caused by stress or emotion. Great, thanks to a very vague mother, something my sister and I were heading towards ourselves!! Now, don’t misinterpret my sarcasm. Mum did exactly what I did with my children - failed to give them the whole truth and show how afraid I was. But, my children are babies and don’t understand, Tami and I are adults! Today I can see that she realised she was too far away to control our emotions.

Unfortunately, today is just another day for him. He arrived home this morning and went straight back to work like nothing had happened - but something did. I was made to think about his mortality. How would I explain it to my children? How do I get out of bed and be a mother to my children when I am a daughter to him? I want this to not just be another day for me. I want him to know that he is a great father. He will not be remembered for his absence, but for the amazing times we spent together. I have a million things that I could say and thank him for, but sometimes “I love you” says everything you ever wanted to say, and promises all the things you want it to, all at once.

I love you Dad.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Mother's Day II


So the dust has settled and I am loving my new laptop. I'm not actually typing this on it as I used up all of my internet downloads updating all of the software before moving it to the laptop. I am using Dean's iPad.

Due to the renovation, our office is to become more like a large filing cupboard! With the new age of wifi technology, we decided that having a larger living area and smaller office, was the better way to go. We will have a desk upstairs in our bedroom and the kids will have one in their playroom so a laptop was on the shopping list. Dean has been on the look out and he called me last week to say he'd found one - unfortunately when he'd gone to the shop with the kids on Saturday to pick it up, it was "closed".

Fast forward to Mother's Day morning and there amongst my beautiful gifts was a large box with a laptop picture on it!! Dean is very good at doing things like that but Rose is not. She blabs every time. I didn't even notice when Cate kept saying to me "the shop was closed mum", over and over again, just begging me to force the truth out of her.

So I got the laptop for Mother's Day. I also got a wireless mouse, a Marc Jacobs Daisy perfume box with the body lotion AND the perfume and a pink pair of sheepskin slippers. Joy. (I have attached a photo of the bits and pieces.) Josephine gave me a framed photo of the two of us and a drawing she did. Rose gave me a cupcake card, the inside saying, "You're like icing on a cake, you make my life sweeter". It came with a letter holder made from paper plates. Inside it was an envelope with a letter she'd written -
Dear mum,
Happy Mother's Day. I love you. You are a nice mum. I'm going to make you a cofe (coffee) in bed. You stay in bed, you stay in bed all day.
Lostte (lots?) of love from Rose

From Cate, I got a card with her photo on it, a drawing of me and a letter she typed in IT. It said -
Jesus loves you.
Our whole family loves you.
No matter what I still love you.
Not good at making stuff
but you are fantastic at designing.
Every day I love you.

Wow, totally confused by this! When I asked her about what I wasn't good at making, she got all defensive and told me I couldn't make tissue roses! Even more confused now!

Grace spent the day telling Dean, "happy muddas day daddy". Maybe next year!
They were angels all day. Unfortunately, we had no bread so they did have to get daddy out of bed to go to the shops so they could make breakfast. I got a perfect latte from Cate and later they helped daddy make eggs on toast - all served in bed.

Because we went to see the ballet, Cinderella, the night before, the girls did hop into our bed at lunch for some quiet time. To me that is like an invitation to the royal wedding - I'm there! What a great reason to hop back in to bed. Cuddles with sleepy girls in the middle of the day - Bliss!

Love, love, love my girls and my boy. Thank you for the best day. I will do all the cooking and cleaning this week - you've earnt a rest!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Mother's Day I

Today is Mother's Day - my favorite day of the year.

Since becoming a mum nearly eight years ago I have realized that nothing can compare to the feeling of love you have for your children. I look at my mum and wonder if she still feels that way about me. I don't think that age, distance, or the fact that they won't need me as much as they do now, could change the amount I love my children, so I suspect my mum feels the same. She tells me every time we speak and see each other that she loves me and shows me with everything that she does, but just like the feeling of loss and devastation, you can't imagine anyone else knowing exactly how you feel.

Another thing I have realized is that all of my parenting decisions are a reflection of how my mother parented and continues to parent me. I try to mimic the wonderful things about her and try my hardest to not make the same mistakes I feel she did. I am not naive to think that I am the only daughter to behave this way and hope that maybe by the time my grandchildren come along their parenting will be perfect because of my mum and me!

The other piece of motherly wisdom I now have is that kids remember the darndest things! I have memories of the most amazing birthday cakes and Christmas', but to my mum, these were not the highlights of my childhood. So I feel that I can thank her for the delusions of grandeur, whether they be true or not, and the obsession I have with making my children's birthdays just as perfect!

Waking up today to four adorable girls all excited by their colorful school creations it was easy to feel like I was the only mother in the world, but, I have spent the week leading up to today devastated for two other mothers in my city - one waiting for their child to wake up, and another mourning the shock loss of her two children. I hope that for those mothers and all of those others who have lost a child, or those who have lost their mother, that today was a day of love and reflection for you too.

I will go to sleep tonight feeling completely blessed to have the most amazing children and mother still with me and a prayer for my Evie who isn't. Thank you mum for who you made me and how you continue to mother and love me even now I have the responsibility of doing the same to my children. I love you very much. x

To my babies, when you were first born, in the middle of the night when you woke for a feed and everyone else was asleep, I would sit in the soft light just staring at you in wonder at how I made the most beautiful thing in the world. I still go and lie next to you while you sleep and measure your long limbs against mine hoping you will never grow up. I hope I make you as proud as you make me every day. xx

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Hmmm...

After 3 weeks on holidays, 3 of the girls are back at school tomorrow. I am going to miss them but today was like the last few nights of pregnancy - torture to make you want it over! I had to pull them off each other today. By dinnertime it was tempting to let them just maul each other.

We have had an amazing school holidays. Very few fights and me wanting them to never end, but today has me ready more than ever for tomorrow. Cate also had a wart burnt with some dry ice tonight and I am sure the neighbours could hear her abuse. Rose had one done months ago and laughed through the whole thing - not Cate. Please let it fall off as we will not be repeating this process.

Dean has gone to bed with a fever. I had an "Everybody loves Raymond" moment when I felt his head and said, "oh, a slight fever about 37.5 degrees". I was right. A few Panadol, more clothes and a kiss goodnight and he is asleep. I imagine in about 20 minutes he will be back to normal temperature and ripping all his extra clothes off! Fun night ahead for me.

Tomorrow is Mothers' Day mass at school and after spending the past two years in tears for the remainder of the day, I am boycotting it. May is just packed full of tearful days for me. Mothers day, my birthday and then Cate and Evie's birthdays. Evie is missing her eighth birthday this year.

Change of subject and mum is coming down in the morning, so a day with her, my hair getting done and a new laptop is sure to be fabulous. I am also going to the ballet this weekend (Cinderella), with the 3 big girls. Very excited.

Will try to get some shots of Mothers day on Sunday for a post next week.

Brights...

Just to prove that not everything is pastel and pink, here are some of my favourite brights of the girls.
Josephine aged 2.
Grace aged 2.


Cate aged 3.
Rose aged 2.


Tea Party

I so love these photos. I set up the tea-set in the backyard a few years ago and just started taking photos. Shame we have no backyard at the moment except for a rather large green pool - I would love to take some more like this with Grace in them.

I have used some fantastic, romantic actions with these photos that suited them perfectly.

Not normally beach-goers!

We are not normally beach dwellers. Raging waves and 4 girls that don't swim very confidently aren't usually a match made in heaven - but as you can see, they do make great photos! These were taken at Rottnest Island a couple of years apart as the baby in the first one is Grace and the baby in the right photo is Josephine.

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