Friday, November 30, 2012

Boy Girl

I watch my two from afar. I not only marvel at, but I also celebrate the differences between them, a boy and a girl. I don’t know if the difference is primarily due to their gender or simply because they are two completely different human beings, but I do so love watching their personalities grow each day.

It must be one of the biggest joys in a parents life: watching your child develop into an individual, a completely separate and unique human being.

What a marvel, this little walking, breathing, talking, complex little individual – a completely random mix of mum and dad, with a bit of cousin and a bit of grandparent and a bit of auntie/uncle thrown into the mix. What amazing creations, our children.

Do you often look at your child/niece/nephew/brother/sister etc and suddenly see a “flash”, a glimpse of a cousin, or an auntie, or a grandma in their sweet expression, or the turn of a head? I find that quite delicious, that sudden little flicker of someone else. That link between families is such a beautiful thing, and makes them all the more special to our dearly beloved.

I'm so in love with watching my two.
Skye has always been a random mix between tomboy, and girly-girl. I’m curious to see which side of her personality wins out. Until recently she has always been fearless, throwing herself down slides, onto fast moving objects (gocarts etc). Thrilling in the simple joys of leaping off things and going ever higher and faster. This fearlessness has been toned down in the last few months as she begins to become aware of her own mortality, but I’m hoping its just a stage. On the other hand - the girly-girl side, she is endlessly fascinated with wearing pretty dresses, painting her fingernails any-colour-as-long-as-it’s-a-shade-of-pink, and adorning herself with large amounts of jewellery.

This is the pose she strikes whenever she's jumping around a lot and I say "FREEZE!"  Jazz hands?

Last week I dressed her in shorts and a T-shirt and she scowled and shook her head.  She looked down at herself, then up at me and declared "I'm not a BOY, mummy.  I want to wear a pretty dress!"

My girl has also been endlessly fascinated with nature. All creatures, whether they are stuffed toys, or a humble ant on the concrete, deserve the same amount of affection. Leaving the house requires hugging all the favourite toys goodbye and calling out her adieus to the dogs and cat – but not only that – if she spies a trail of ants on the way to the car, she has to stop and give the ants a cuddle too. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve turned around and found her hugging the concrete.

Perhaps she’s destined to become a tree-hugging hippie?
One of her favourite pastimes at the moment is snuggling next to daddy on the laptop, and googling pictures of Octopus.  Real or toy, doesn't matter.  You Tube Octopus are a hit.  She's going through an Octopus phase.  I find them quite ugly and horrible to look at, but she's fascinated.

The other day we spotted a grasshopper on the outside of the loungeroom window, while we were inside. We spent a large amount of time talking about the grasshopper, and then TO the grasshopper, and then when mummy produced the camera, having our photo taken with it. Then she tried several times to give the grasshopper a hug – from the other side of the glass!

Look mummy, a grasshopper on the other side of the window!

 Can I give him a cuddle?

This is how you hug something that's on the other side of the glass, apparently.

I love this about my girl. She has inherited her parents love of all creatures, great and small. The only thing she fears is spiders, due in no small part, to her mothers hysterical reaction whenever one is found in the house.

Koby on the other hand, although he’s not quite 1, is already showing us he’s a typical boy. He inhales any food put in front of him, and instead of playing with Skye’s "girly" toys, prefers instead to bash things, and throw balls. 
One day I spotted him playing with a small box. He was stuffing small plastic toys in the box, and the last thing didn’t quite fit. Instead of taking it out, or giving up, he proceeded to pick something else up and bash the crap out of the offending item, until it DID fit. Yes I cracked up laughing. I told daddy about it later, and his response?

That’s my boy”.


Father and son already share a love of pushing and shoving each other on the lounge (all while laughing hysterically) - oh, and fart humour. Seriously, dude, he’s not even 1 yet.  He thinks farts are the funniest thing ever.   Oh and he quite likes grinning and fluttering his long eyelashes to any female within striking distance, too.  Charmer, much?  Doesn't take them long to learn, does it?

Hard to resist those big brown eyes

They were in testosterone heaven the other day when hubby's mate brought over his new bike.  Don't worry, daddy was holding onto Koby tightly from the other side (10 points if you can spot daddy behind the bike)

He has his daddy’s short temper and just a smidge of an attitude already. But he has my hazel eyes, and seems to love musical instruments like his uncle John. Much to my delight, he’s also as affectionate as his daddy. Sometimes when he’s sitting on my lap, I hear him make a “mmmmmm” sound. When I look down at him, he’s got his lips pursed together in a kiss, face upturned, waiting for me to plant a big fat smoochy kiss on him. Then he wraps his arms around me, and places his head gently into the crook of my neck… Awww…

Whats the best thing about watching your kids grow up?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tis the season

Well I'm floating in and out from my "funk" of my last post.  The excitement of this time of year is infectious, with an almost-3-year-old around, she's constantly pointing out things like Christmas Trees at the shops, fairy lights, Santa hats, tinsel, and toys in catalogues.  Nothing escapes her notice, everything is downright thrilling.  I'm so eager to put the Christmas Tree up this year, that I'm almost counting down the days.

Ask her where Santa lives, and she excitedly declares "The NORTH POLE!!"

We have plans to go visit Santa at the shopping mall sometime very soon, and we also might send him a letter.  She has known what she wants for quite some time - a scooter.  A pink one.  The other day she said it had to be a 'Barbie' one.

"Oh?" I said "Not a Dora one?".

"No, mummy.  A Barbie one."

Oh dear.  Unfortunately Santa already bought a Dora one, some months ago in fact, and its hiding under our bed in readiness for the big day.

The other night, daddy asked her if she thought Santa would come down our chimney.  She looked at him like he had rocks in his head.  "Nooooo, daddy!  hehehe" -- obviously she hasn't heard that part of the story yet!

So how does he get in?

(deep concentration) - "through the door?"

How can you be down in the dumps, with so much excited anticipation around?

Amidst all this Christmas cheer, Koby's 1st birthday is fast approaching.  There is a mixture of emotions about this.  How did my little man get to be almost ONE?  It astounds me how fast the years are flashing past.  They will be in high school before I know it, and all this will seem like a blur.

Best I remind myself to stop and smell the roses again eh?

Soaking up some random lovliness from the last few weeks:

First steps:

He took his first steps last week, and we were excited and proud and so happy.  

Skye took her first steps at exactly 10 months, and every day afterwards I had all the time in the world to spend with her, to encourage her and help her practice, so she was very steady on her feet within about a week of starting.  I think Koby will be much slower, primarily because I cant devote the same amount of attention to his endeavours.  Skye gets supremely jealous whenever we encourage him to walk, so his 'practice' sessions are either very short, or done on the sly when Skye napping.   He also seems to have a much shorter attention span!

Wearing a pearl choker as a princess crown... as you do.

Because as we all know, one of the best things about going to visit your Nanna is raiding her jewellery collection and putting on every single thing you can find. Nanna has an abundance of costume jewellery. Skye doesn’t care if its “real” or not, she just wants to put it in, and that’s all that matters.

Our current favourite is "my crown". She never fails to ask for it. Its actually a ‘pearl’ choker. After putting it on every week, she admires herself in the mirror for a good few minutes. Priceless. Who needs diamonds?

Wearing mummy's shoes is another favourite:

Running Races

I’m not sure where it came from, but Skye loves practicing her running. She hunkers down in position on the carpet at night, and says “Mummy can I do runnings?”

So then I have to say “READY… SET… GO!” and clap my hands together to simulate the gun going off.
She then races through the lounge room, through the kitchen, and down the hallway, until she’s back to the start. We can do this over and over, and you can guarantee that I’ll get tired of it before she does.

We did this the other week outside, and she ran around me and Koby, dodging the washing line and the odd tree… wearing herself out in the process.

Love the expression on her face - and the assortment of bracelets!
Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012


A lovely sunset from a few weeks ago, taken from my driveway


I’m feeling a bit lost at sea, like a boat without a rudder, a horse without a rider. A GPS without a destination, if you will.

I’ve had a sudden realization, a dawning of understanding, of why I’m feeling so displaced.

It’s the first time in 5 years that I’ve not had a personal plan for my future.

In 2007, we started trying to fall pregnant – a massive struggle, and then after 18 months of disappointment - in late 2009, we finally had our beautiful daughter, now almost 3. With that came a huge shift in lifestyle, as any parent knows. But I knew then that I was not “done” with one, and that to complete our family, we needed another precious little life to join the ranks of our clan.

And so we planned for baby number 2, Koby, who was conceived just a few months after throwing caution to the wind. He’s now 11 months.

And now Koby has been fully weaned, and I’m suddenly feeling quite introspective. Yes I’m feeling a little bit sad that the special time of nursing my little baby boy is now over, and this time its for good. My final baby. No more breastfeeding. Apparently it can be quite normal to suffer a form of delayed-onset-post-partum-depression when you finish weaning your baby, regardless of their age. It’s the drop in hormones: prolactin and oxytocin. Damn hormones.

Skye just threw me for a 6 this morning. She came running and asked if she could have some popcorn. And then out of the blue asked:

“Mummy? Are you happy?”

I knelt down and hugged her and reassured her I was completely happy, with so many wonderful things in my life to be grateful for. What a perceptive little girl.

So: What now?

Like any parent, my goal in life is to bring up our two little creations as kind, compassionate, thoughtful and intelligent human beings… I want them to know love and feel love and give love as naturally as breathing. I want them to be all that they can be, to make themselves proud and to believe that they can achieve anything that they set their mind to…

Yes, that’s my ideal for THEM, and my goal as a parent.

But whats next for me personally?

I don’t know. And before you say it, no, I’m not planning on having another baby!

I understand that my worth in life is not defined by what I do “for a living”. I’m a stay-at-home mum, and happy to be. We are a little bit old-fashioned that way I guess. It’s a full-on, 24 hour a day job, and sometimes it feels overwhelming to have so much responsibility, to have so much influence on our children. Also, I have no burning desire to re-enter the corporate world, so that’s not what I’m talking about.

But I do need to find a new creative outlet. I need to feel more fulfilled somehow. Its not that we’re not busy – we pretty much have something on every day of the week for the kids, swimming, playgroup, play dates, running errands and doing chores etc.

I used to be a fitness fanatic, but I lost my mojo for many months… its slowly coming back. I’m in my second week of sticking to an exercise plan and I’m starting to feel my energy levels revive, so I’m sure that will help.

Currently I’m using the upcoming Birthday and Christmas period to give me some focus – both kids birthdays are in December so we’re having a joint birthday party for them, which is going to be epic and requires a lot of planning and organizing.

What happens in the New Year is another story. It’s a new phase in life that will take some time to adjust to.

At this point I don’t have an answer.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Epic Fiji holiday blog post

We are back from Fiji!

We had a lovely, relaxing time, been home for over a week and a half now and I’ve been trying to get this blog post done but I've been struggling to find the time to finish it! So I’ve been chipping away at it, piece by piece, until, well – here we are.

Let me start by saying, I’m never ever, EVER taking a red-eye flight again. I mean seriously, I’ve had two babies, I KNOW what its like to be sleep deprived, but we discovered that we are way too old to be staying awake for two days straight. And drinking copious amounts of alcohol on top of that? Bad idea. Bad, bad idea.

So while our human-babies, and our fur-babies were being well looked after back home (awesome house-sitter looked after the furry ones, awesome in-laws looked after the human ones), we clamboured aboard the plane at midnight and then arrived at Nadi International Airport, Fiji, 3 hours later, sans sleep. Local time, 5am.

And then began the endless day of WAITING. 2 hour wait at Nadi airport for the transfer to Denarau at 7am. Nothing open, nothing to do. Transfer via coach to Denarau. (on a side note: oh the things we saw from the bus, on that 20 minute drive from Nadi to Denarau… the most memorable being a house under construction, where instead of scaffolding and steel props to hold up the roof, they were using tree branches… our eyes nearly popped out of our heads!)
Arrive at Denarau, 1.5 hour wait until the transfer boat to the Island. Once on the boat, it was 1.5 hours to Mana. Once we arrived at Mana (it was still only 10.30 in the morning!) we then had to wait 3.5 hours til our accommodation was ready. Slightly exhaustipated. Slightly giddy with fatigue. Slightly sick and tired of waiting. Never, never, never doing the red-eye flight again.

Did I mention I’m never doing a red-eye flight again? o_O

When we finally got our accommodation, we found out we’d been upgraded. Originally we had booked in to a Deluxe Ocean View Bure (a stand-alone, thatched hut thingy). So an upgrade to an Ocean Front Suite on the other side of the island was not unwelcome. A two storey suite, much more room to spread out, two bathrooms, big lounge area etc. Nice.

Exterior of the Ocean Front Suites on South Beach

View from the middle landing, into lounge/dining area

The upstairs balcony.  Lots of alcohol was consumed here!

But then we made the rookie mistake of cracking open our duty free booze and having our first holiday beverage on the balcony… and then when some of our friends began arriving (for the wedding on the Friday), we started on cocktails at dinner… and then more duty free grog back in their room after dinner… oh what a night! Hubby was pretty plastered, but at least I had the good sense to slow down once I started feeling smashed!

Hubby on the other hand, did not feel too well the next day. In fact, he laid off alcohol completely until the wedding on Friday.

We spent the next few days on the kayaks, cruising over the coral reefs, going for massive walks along the beach and into the rainforest areas (I think they said that Mana is 300 acres, but you can walk around it in half a day), snorkeling in the beautiful aqua ocean, reading on the beach, glass bottom boat trip, meeting our friends for happy hour bingo and more cocktails… not to mention the resort entertainment – kava ceremony, Meke show, crab racing, bonfire night, bands playing in the lounge bar…

Lots of palm trees, as you'd expect

This was the view from our room.  The beach is just beyond the trees.

And the water was as aqua as expected.  The brown patches in the water, close to shore, are seaweed.  The coral wasn't too much further out though.

You can see the drop off here.  We did all our snorkeling out there off South Beach.

Rock pools

During our massive walk around Mana, heading towards Sunset Beach

Having a rest during our walk

This was outside the wedding chapel, just a stunning view over Sunset Beach.  Note the height of the railings though!  There is a 5 foot drop to rocks below, I dont think that foot-high railing is going to do much!

En Route to the Tuilawa lookout.

Tuilawa lookout, with round tree branches for floor boards!

Ahhh, but the view was so worth it!

Meke Show

Heading out on the glass bottomed boat


Glass bottomed boat trip

Fish and coral from the glass bottomed boat.  Pretty much what we saw while snorkeling too


On Friday the 19th, we witnessed some of our dearest friends finally tie the knot, in a beautiful ceremony, in a little chapel on Sunset Beach. The choir sang – their voices echoing and harmonising in their traditional Fijian songs, and everyone had goosebumps. Not a dry eye in the house. Very special, and very happy that we were there to be a part of their big day.

Before heading out to the wedding chapel

Our awesome friends, on their beautiful day

Some observations:
The locals are so friendly. Everywhere you went, you heard “Bula!!” (Hello!). From the gardeners and maintenance men raking up leaves, the cleaning ladies, the kids club staff, even the man driving the rubbish truck – they all waved and called out “Bula!” whenever they saw you. I don’t think you’d get that in Australia. After a day of it, we all started saying it to each other – the more drinks you had, the more “BULAAAAAAAAHHHH!” it became. Even now, back home for almost two weeks, we’re still saying it. We’ve even taught Skye to say it.
And continuing with the "friendly" theme - where ever you arrive, you get a welcoming performance - Fijian men, resplendent in Hawaiian-style shirts, strumming on guitars and singing in harmony to welcome you.  Awesome.

You have to get used to “Fiji time”. Nothing happens in a hurry. You order a drink and you MIGHT get it within half an hour. You might have to ask again. One morning I asked for a coffee three times before it finally arrived, and by then I was finished breakfast. At the a la carte restaurant it took over 1.5 hours for the meal to arrive. When we questioned how much longer it would be, a waiter cheekily asked “why, are you in a hurry?”. The reply: “No – we’re just hungry”. So we ate in the buffet most days.  We were all pretty cruisey about it, and mostly just laughed about it.
The sand – its not like the sand in Queensland. We’ve come to the conclusion that we are pretty spoiled for beaches in Australia. Our sand is really super fine, nice to walk on, and easily rinses off or falls off after a bit of walking. The sand in Fiji is really coarse, the grains are much bigger – its coral sand I guess. That shit sticks to you and WILL NOT COME OFF, unless you use vigorous force!
Hamming it up on the beach...

The sun in Fiji is FIERCE. Stepping outside in the sun, you can instantly feel the rays biting into your skin. You pretty much need to reapply 30+ sunscreen every hour, to avoid being burned. Most of us discovered this the hard way.  On the first day I only reapplied it every couple of hours, and ended up with a very red back.
Sun begins to set over Sunset Beach...

By the 3rd day we were really missing the kids, even more so when we found out that Koby had developed an ear infection and was on antibiotics. We started spending a large amount of time reminiscing over photos and videos of them on our phones, and getting misty-eyed and slightly homesick. So we were more than ready to come back home to our little ones. Yes, its nice to go away, but its even nicer to come home.
And hows this for arsey: from the time the plane landed back in Brisbane, to walking out of the airport front doors, it took 35 minutes. And yes, we declared everything we’d brought in. Home in record time to a weeks worth of cuddles in one night. Koby broke my heart a little when he didn’t quite know who I was at first, but I think he’s finally remembered his mama!

Theres no place like home.