Monday, January 27, 2014

Checking in.

After my blogging bonanza in December things have slowed back down in January. Perhaps it was the lazy summer days; our month of holiday together before we both headed back spent relaxing with no deadlines.

My birthday was lovely. 35 years young. It was spent with just us. After Rob cooked my birthday request for a hot breakfast (fried ham, eggs, tomatoes and bread), we headed to a local nursery so Rob could pick out some plants for my garden. Rob has quite rightly taken ownership of my flower garden, I have not contributed a great deal the past two years, for one (or two) reason or another! So he has revised our planting, as the bulbs are two infrequent for reliable flower colour, he has picked out some perennials to add foliage and flowers too.

Back in the car (after dropping off the plants and a nappy change!), we he headed to the new Apple Shed at Grove for lunch. We snacked on a cheese and charcuterie platter (actually the girls mostly!) and tasted a range of the Willie Smith ciders. 

We are amazed at how the girls behave when eating out. They really enjoy themselves! After a quick wake us up coffee we continued on to Franklin for boxes of apricots and peaches, then onto Red Velvet lounge at Cygnet for more coffee and cake. We headed home to nap before a simple salad for dinner and a bottle of Jansz. A perfect day.

My return to work was fine. Both Rob and I have a few things to fine tune to ensure dinner and bed time doesn't run too late, but we'll sort that out. I am trying online grocery ordering. So at worst we just need to stop at the butcher. My first day was busy, adjusting to my job share situation, finding out what did and didn't happen over the past year, and getting used to our new digs on the Hobart waterfront. I enjoy my morning walk from the car park to work, but the afternoon can be warm (that won't be an issue for long), and of course  I am tired and want to get home. 

After two work days, we had four days off together. We went shopping (for a proper backpack for me!), had taco picnic in a park, took the girls for a walk at Trial bay, visited family up north for a day and today was a quiet day at home hiding from the heat. 

The breezeway was the place to be, with all six of us lazing on the cool concrete floor. Until the girls discovered the dog water bowl for the first time. This resulted in a taste test, eww! After a lot of splashing a change of clothes was needed!

Back to work for me tomorrow and Wednesday, then Rob returns on Thursday and Friday, when it will be back to just the girls and I for the first time in six weeks!

Hope you enjoyed your long weekends too.

Monday, January 20, 2014


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Maggie: We headed out for lunch on Saturday to celebrate my birthday. The girls loved it. We should have ordered them a charcuterie platter of their own as they ate most of ours! This is post lunch, she was feeling a little sleepy, but was still keen to watch people and it appears that she is signalling the waiter!
Elisabeth: She has some classic facial expressions, not sure what this one was about?

Joining in with Jodi at Practising Simplicity.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Returning to work

We had a very quiet day today after a very warm night (for us Tasmanians), both girls were quite unsettled after 1am, which resulted in them both in bed with us.
It had cooled down considerably today, and after breakfast while Rob had some time in the garden I pushed the girls in the pram down to the laundry hut to do some washing. I could see their eyes getting heavy, so I put up the hammock, and rocked Elisabeth in the pram with one hand whilst rocking Maggie and I in the hammock.

I could have snoozed, but instead I enjoyed the moment with my girls. I return to part time work next Wednesday. After 13 months of maternity leave it will be a bit of a readjustment. At the beginning the months ahead seemed to be such a long time, and even when I had a meeting in August with my supervisors, my return still seemed such a long time away. Since Rob has been on holidays with us, I have been mindful of the return date, but instead of letting sadness or worry ruin my remaining days as purely a stay at home Mama I have tried to enjoy each day. 

So today I looked down at a sleeping, snuggling Maggie on my chest in the hammock, and later this afternoon Elisabeth in my lap on the window seat and I soaked in the moment. No iPhone. Just us. I listened to the sounds of our home, the dogs panting in the shade, the washing machine sloshing through a cycle, the buzz of insects, the breeze rustling the grass, a swallow singing above me on the washing line. I looked at the hut, Rob when he walked by covered in Lily pollen, the peaceful look on the girls faces, and high above us,
a wedge tailed eagle, slowly circling higher and higher against the cloudy sky. 

Of course I will be a bit sad to leave next Wednesday morning, but for the first six months Rob will be taking some leave to look after them at home. So I know they will be fine and enjoy some time with their Papa. I am trying not to worry about all the tasks that await my return (I have been warned a few things have slipped in my absence). Or the fact that I thought the girls might have weaned themselves by now, well that will work out too. I'm no stranger to the breast pump, so it will come with me to work, and the girls can drink expressed milk from a bottle or a cup. I am only returning at 50%, so I will still be here most of the time anyway. 

All those things I gazed at or listened to will still be here. Sure I may miss some of those big firsts, but I have witnessed so many this past year, I shouldn't let it upset me so.

Finally I worked out this morning, that just because I'm returning this year, it is not set in stone that it has to stay that way forever. Once I repay my years service, if things are not working out, we can reassess and try a different arrangement that works for our family.  

A friend commented on Facebook recently that I might struggle to cope with tearing myself away from the girls. I replied that I haven't forgotten for the first 112 days of their lives, I did just that, tore myself away as I said goodbye and left them every day in the NICU. That was hard. At least at the end of a work day I will come home to my family. 

So as I enjoy each day of my last week, including my birthday on Saturday, I will store away little memories to smile at during my work day. Of two happy girls with their Papa, a couple of German Shepherds and a small little hut. My family whom I adore in our home. How can I be sad about that?

Monday, January 13, 2014


Well another week and I managed to get the DSLR out a few times this week. Still finding the perfect spots in the house for the right light. I took these two photos this morning in the sun light on our bed.

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Maggie: checking out her new pyjamas. 
Elisabeth: the window behind our bed looks out onto our flower garden, and she is already fascinated by what is out there. Pretty flowers, bees and fairy wrens.

Joining in with Jodi at Practising Simplicity.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


A bit like a new diary awaiting that first entry, it feels a little delicious to start off this year's 52 portrait project from the beginning of the year, rather than gate crashing half way through.

I have challenged myself to take the photos with the DSLR this year, as last year the ease of using the iPhone did tend to dominate my camera choice. With guidance from Rob, I am working on using the camera in manual, and he is doing the post production work in Lightroom.

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Maggie: There is just a certain Maggie-ness to her face here, the slightly cheeky look in her eyes, about to break into a smile.
Elisabeth: She is looking so grown up all of a sudden. Today she stood up by herself and she was so proud. As are we.

Joining in (a little late) with Jodi at her lovely new blog Practising Simplicity.

Friday, January 3, 2014

A new year: welcome 2014

I meant to write a big post looking back at our year. I have been gathering photos into 15 second Flipograms for Instagram and if I can work out how I will try and load them up here as it summarised our year so succinctly (I managed to select only 170 out of the 12,000 we took last year!) Here's a quick summary.

Last year on New Year's Eve I posted a selfie on Instagram with the following caption.

Me. Last day of 2012. Mama of our two gorgeous girls. Wife of the most dear husband. Owned by two furry friends. Happiest at our home, the hut. Bring on 2013, one day at a time. Happy New Year friends.

2012 was a tough year for me. Ending of course with the girls' birth. Only 19 days into their hospital stay I can look back now and see I was scared, but trying to count my blessings at that moment. I knew 2013 would be hard, but I can also see the determination in my eyes and words. 

2013 was hard. We spent the first three months commuting to hospital to see our girls, and then at the end of the day we had to walk out the door and leave them there. The rest of our life was put on hold, our focus entirely on those two tiny girls and their daily improvement and growth.

I took my own advice and got through each day rather than trying to look forward to their homecoming day. I knew there was no point in setting a date, I could end up disappointed. So on that final day when the nurses (who had become our friends) told us we were free to go home, Rob and I were overcome with a range of different emotions. Joy, relief, sadness, fear, disbelief, excitement. You could feel all the tension and worry that had been bottled up for 112 days be released as we said tearful goodbyes to the nurses. I could not have gotten through those long days at hospital without Rob. 

As we walked out the hospital via the air walk, I quickly asked Rob to stop. I snapped a photo that I used to announce our homecoming on Instagram, Facebook and here. It is my favourite photo of 2013. We were overwhelmed by the comments and support as our online friends expressed their joy as they shared the feeling of relief. They had followed our hospital journey since Maggie and Elisabeth's birth day, and knew, perhaps even better than some of our real life friends, what we'd been through to get to that day.  Most people we had not met (and may never meet), but we could tell how heartfelt their comments were.

The rest of the year has been spent at home. The hut is a beautiful home, and I have now spent each season there with our daughters. Tending to those needy days of newborns in autumn. Frequent feeding and nappy changing. Two tiny babies sleeping at the same time!

Watching them start to become aware of their surroundings during winter. Those first smiles and the triumph of those early milestones of grabbing toys and rolling over. My days getting busier as they slept less and rarely at the same time. 

Come spring, and the lengthening daylight hours saw me chasing two increasingly mobile babies around the living room. A play pen became a necessity. But despite the busyness, we watched in delight as they prepared to crawl and finally did, pulled themselves up on furniture and sat up on their own. Elisabeth led the way, but Maggie was not far behind. 

Come summer, eating solids three times a day takes up a lot of a normal day. Providing a few options and helping a little (increasingly less) then cleaning the girls, their high chairs and the surrounding area is quite time consuming. But we are pleased to see them enjoy food. Favourites include meat, buttered sourdough crusts, sugar snap peas, cheese (preferably French chèvre) and peaches. They love a bath now, we usually do it after breakfast as they tend to be in a good mood and enjoy it. Lots of splashing, excited squealing and wriggling.

Of course December was a time of celebration, their first birthday, and first Christmas at home (see my recent posts to read a recap of those days). With Rob on holiday we have been going out a little more. To the dog beach, the Taste of Tasmania, shopping. The girls keenly take in new surroundings, although they weren't impressed with the noise at the taste!

We had a very quiet New Years Eve, a dinner of BBQ'd lamb and a bottle of Jansz Rosé.

I'm not really one for new year's resolutions, but I think my words from last year are just as relevant this year; bring on 2014, one day at a time. 

I welcome 2014, and look forward to new growth and experiences, to increasing love and joy. 

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