Friday, August 31, 2012

Flowers for Friday: Farewell Winter

I know I've posted hellebores before but they are seriously old-fashioned gorgeousness. So here is a whole bunch. (Picked from my mum's garden).

Also known as the Winter Rose, they are a little goodbye to Winter.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A scavenger hunt for pink

I woke this morning to two dirty nappies, a fight with a toddler about shoes and no milk. Sigh. No milk meant no porridge and after a night of breastfeeding, I needed porridge. Luckily, today was a planned lazy day (we have many planned lazy days), so after nappies, another breastfeed, resolution over the shoes, we headed downstairs, Oscar on foot, Nora in the babybjorn, for milk.

Picking up milk took an entire hour, as it involved spending 45 minutes watching a parked council truck with flashing lights. Luckily, there was a café nearby for takeaway coffee. Strangely however, this was the perfect way to start the day. Watching the enthusiasm and excitement of a toddler over something as mundane as a council truck is actually really special. That and I could smell the jasmine in the breeze, reminding me it is pretty much Spring.

Today turned out to be a beautiful lazy day, as I let Oscar dictate all we did (bar nappy changes and nap times – he will never say, 'hey mum, change my nappy' or 'mum, I just threw that tantrum because I really need to go to bed'). He played with his cars, we read books, had a shower together, watched tv (while I breastfeed Nora some more), hid under the doona on our bed, cuddled Nora, giggled, tickled, played with ice cubes and went on a scavenger hunt for the colour pink.

We filled a basket with some smaller items, scarves, ribbons and toys and photographed others, my shirts, the remains of a geranium (Osc can be quite destructive), Nora's pants and snippets of pink in the mess on my dresser.

When Rodge arrived home, he took Oscar to the park, leaving Nora and I in peace to start dinner. All in all, a pretty perfect day.

What do you do on your lazy days?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Hello. Not so recently I've won the leibster award. Liebster means dearest in German. The award is given to blogs that have less than 200 followers as a way of raising their profile and giving encouragement. I'm feeling rather slack and ungracious, as I have been quite slow to respond. Better late than never!

Card from my great-great grandmother's scrapbook

I'd like to thank Shelley from four point four. Shelley lives in a small Australian country town, where she takes seriously lovely photos of her day to day life ...

and Jo from Binds you to me. Jo lives in Scotland, where she loves all things 1970's (from vintage pottery to fashions) and has the two most brilliantly red-headed children I've ever seen.

They both nominated me days from the other. Please take a peek at their lovely blogs.

Here are a few more captivating blogs, which if they choose can pass on the award:
a is for love
gypsy lou 
the boys and the birds

Enjoy surfing!

ps I don't think I've followed the leibster rules exactly here, but I figured it is mainly about sharing some love.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Fifties Fair

Yesterday Nora and I headed out to the beautiful tree-filled suburb of Wahroonga. We found a shady patch on the grass around Rose Seidler House, where we chatted and watched the immaculate beautifully dressed people pass by. I was expecting havoc and crowds, but in the end it was actually quite relaxing.

I didn't really take many photos, for some better pictures check out my sister's tumblr. (She went in the afternoon – after we'd left).

While we spent our morning there, Rodge and Oscar headed in the opposite direction to fill up on meat and dance to some candombe drumming at the Festival de Uruguay at Fairfield Showground. 

All in all, a lovely Sunday.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Flowers for Friday: pink blossoms

I know I've already posted my anemone for this Friday, but I couldn't help but also add these blossoms and bees. You can feel the change towards Spring everywhere. The skies are clear and the wind is strong. I may be doing double flowers for friday posts all Spring!

Thinking of pink, Oscar has decided it is his very favourite colour. He threw a tantrum in the supermarket because I wouldn't buy the pink milk (skim milk has a pink label). He loved pointing at all the pink camellias at my mum's yesterday. This morning while dressing him I was chasing him round with a blue t-shirt which he was refusing to wear, when I pulled out a salmon pink stripey one from his wardrobe, he happily put it on. I think it is lovely that he has made up his mind and is not yet aware of silly societal differences placed on gender. If he likes pink, then he likes pink. I like pink to.

Flowers for Friday: the first Anemone

Not too long after the fire occurred, I was feeling a little despondent – some online shopping ensued, resulting in the purchase of bulbs for our new garden. The first flower has appeared. Anemones are so strikingly pretty.

PS I'm heading to the fifties fair this weekend. Wish me luck as I navigate the crowds with bubs in tow.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Embroidering hearts IV

Almost finished.

Our new home: walls and windows

New walls and windows in the kitchen

Dulux Water Fern – colour choice for the study

Mess on our back porch

Lavender in the backyard

Slowly, slowly. Keeping us preoccupied. The waiting (for tradesmen, for progress, for resolution), is giving our days a stagnant feeling. I know I have to be patient, but persistent and we will get there.

I loved this post by Jodi – we are all sick cleansing right now. I'm off to buy some fennel for dinner. Using Emily's recipe.

PS I'm excited about the Sole Society Giveaway. I hope you have all entered.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Flowers for Friday: Oscar's Orchid

I've never been an Orchid fan. They have always seemed like a slightly creepy flower. Then when Oscar was born, we were given this beautiful Phalaenopsis as a gift by my grandparents. Now, I'm completely enamoured. This is the first sprig of flowers in two years. Stunning, no?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Raspberry and Pear Cake

This week on Tuesday I invaded my sister's house (while she was at work) and baked Oscar's birthday cake. Beautiful house, no? I get serious stained glass window envy.

Anyway, to finish off what has been a week long celebration of Oscar, (both online and off), I thought I should share the recipe I used to make his birthday cake. I was given this recipe by my Aunt Louise (who tells me she found it somewhere online ... provenance now unknown). It was delicious and due to all the fruit (and butter) wonderfully moist. I served it with fresh cream.

Raspberry and Pear Cake
180g softened BUTTER
180g SUGAR
2 tbs MILK
2 ripe PEARS, peeled, cored and chopped into little bits (I didn't have the forethought to buy pears and leave them to ripen, so I used canned)
250g fresh or frozen RASPBERRIES (I used frozen, as they aren't in season)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. (If fan-forced at 150C)
Line 20cm springform pan with baking paper.

Cream butter and sugar thoroughly and add eggs and beat again.

Put mixer on low, and gradually add mixed flour and almond meal. It will become very thick. Add milk and mix thoroughly.

Remove from mixer and gradually add chopped pears by hand.
Add frozen raspberries, making sure they don't stick together. (Don't let them defrost or it goes mushy).

Place mix into prepared cake tin and smooth over the top with a knife.

Put the cake in the oven and bake for approx 1 hour and 15mins. Then test. If it starts to burn on the edges but is not cooked properly in the centre, just turn off the oven and leave the cake in for another half hour or so.

Or if using fan forced approx 1 hour and then test. And if mostly cooked turn off the oven and leave it.

Remove from pan when cool.

The party

We had a mini celebration last night, in honour of two years of Oscar. We were joined by the grandparents and aunts and uncles in our apartment (where he was born), for schnitzel sandwiches, present opening and cake. Oscar happily stayed awake until 10pm!

The dinosaurs were a gift from Aunt Tess and Uncle Joe, they have moveable lower jaws, so naturally Oscar fed them cake as soon as the candles were blown out.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The birth of Oscar

I am a private person and have been debating whether to post this or not. In the end, my love of reading other people's birth stories won me over. I decided that if I enjoy reading everyone elses, then I should give something back. Here is Oscar's birth story, two years after he was born.

When I woke, the day after Oscar was officially due, I felt strange pains straight away, but chose to ignore them. I'd heard that first babies are notoriously late and in my head I still had another week, maybe two before he would be born.

The weather was cold and a little wet. Rodge walked and I waddled down to a local café to meet my sister's boyfriend, Joe for coffee. I realised I was having mild contractions, but decided to keep them to myself.

Rodge and Joe headed off – to inspect a car that Joe wanted to buy. I wandered home, pausing every now and then for a contraction. They were not too painful and didn't really bother me. I decided I had better take it easy, as I figured I'd be having a baby soon. By soon, I was still thinking maybe in a day or two – I'd heard pre-labour pains can occur for awhile. It never occurred to me that I may be in labour!

I can not remember what I did that day. I think I did some washing. Maybe I read a book or watched a dvd. I know I spent the entire day just pottering about our apartment, pausing here and there for a contraction.

Sometime early afternoon the contractions seemed to get stronger – I tried to call Rodge, but he'd gone to his candombe drumming and I knew he wouldn't hear the phone anyway.

When Rodge arrived home, I let him know that we'd probably have to go to the hospital some time. He decided to do a bit of grocery shopping, so we could have a lovely last pre-baby dinner. He cooked some pork ribs in five spice and made a delicious salad. As we ate, I had to pause regularly for contractions. I remember saying to Rodge that I couldn't be in true labour yet as the midwife at our natural birth classes had informed us that when in labour you loose all your appetite. I was starving and ate a good sized portion!

After dinner Rodge called the midwife who told him to start timing contractions, and to call back when either my water broke or my contractions were 5 minutes apart, lasting for a minute each and like that regularly for an hour. My contractions were fairly irregular, between 6 and 10 minutes apart and rather short, lasting between 30 and 45 seconds. Sometimes I had difficulty telling Rodge exactly when the contraction started or ended, as they had a wave-like quality to them.

Rodge started running round the apartment, organising bags and bits, charging the camera battery, tiding. At one stage he ducked down to the 7-11 to buy himself some V for energy and a bottle of apple juice for me.

I started to watch the first ever episode of Offspring, which I thought was fitting, as it was about a midwife. Sometime while I was watching Offspring, I said to Rodge, I think I might lie down and headed into the bedroom. Just as I sat down on our bed, I thought, actually, I think I might go do a poo. So I went to the toilet and did a poo. As I stood up from the toilet, I felt a bit shaky. I promptly lay down on the bathroom floor. Rodge tried to convince me to move somewhere more comfy or hop in the shower. When that didn't work he rushed off to get some blankets to make me a little nest. I asked Rodge to turn off all the lights. I wanted quiet. I wanted dark.

I think by this stage Rodge called the midwife again, who asked to speak to me. Later I was told that because I could hold a coherent conversation and I wasn't screaming, they didn't think I'd be having the baby anytime soon. I told them that I felt this immense amount of pressure on the lower back and in my bottom and that the contractions really hurt. The midwife said I should hop in the shower. I chose not to.

Just after Rodge hung up, in the middle of a contraction, I felt a pop and the pressure decreased. My water broke. He called the midwife back, let her know the water was clear. She told us to stay put for a bit longer. That the contractions weren't long enough and that as it was my first baby, it could be much longer.

On the next contraction, I told Rodge that I could feel the baby coming out. He asked if he could turn on the light and have a look. I actually hesitated here, as we had agreed that he didn't need to look down that end ... but the light went on and he looked. He didn't say anything to me, but grabbed his phone and called the midwife straight back. I heard him say to her, ummmm, am I supposed to see movement down there? He told her that he could see hair on the inside. She first assured him that this was completely normal, then told him to hang up and call 000 immediately.

It happened very quickly from there, I think Oscar was born 3 or 4 short, intense contractions afterwards. Rodge was on the phone to the 000 lady the entire time. I heard Rodge say, she isn't pushing. I never had to push. I never felt that urge to push that everyone talks about. Oscar just came out with the strength of the contractions. The lady tried to make me lie on my back to slow the labour – so uncomfortable. And she told Rodge to put his hand down there and apply slight pressure to slow the head coming out. That was when I started yelling – I did not want Rodge to touch me!

Between all of this Rodge had to let the two ambulance men in. We live in a security apartment, so first they had to ring via intercom twice, then Rodge had to duck outside to press the button on the lift. All the while juggling the 000 lady on the phone. He made it back in time to catch Oscar. I love that he was the first person to hold our son. He remembers feeling relieved to hear him cry.

When the ambulance men (whose names I swore I would remember, but have long since forgotten) came in, they unwrapped the cord from round Oscar's shoulder and handed him to me. It all felt unreal. I will admit that the love didn't overwhelm me then, but came later. He was small and red and squishy. He had short, wrinkly fingers with very long fingernails. His face was round like the moon.

The second ambulance officer was very excited. It was his first birth. He asked if we had a camera. Rodge ran off to find it, but apparently the death stare I gave them stopped them all in their tracks. What can I say? I was lying in a t-shirt on the bathroom floor, just having gone through labour, with two strange men looking at my nether regions. The last thing I wanted was a photograph. Now I wish we had had one. A visual record of an amazing moment.

They bundled us all into the ambulance and gave me a drip (which the midwife tut-tutted when we arrived at the hospital and promptly removed). Rodge got to hold Oscar the whole way to the hospital. He says he feels very, very lucky for that precious time with his newborn son. I birthed the placenta just before we arrived.

At the hospital we were admitted to the birth centre, where we were able to spend the rest of the night. Rodge's mum and Abuela came by, emotional and excited to meet Oscar. I had a shower and received a few stitches for a second degree tear. In my memory those stitches were far more painful than the labour.

Our first night as a family of three. When Oscar was on me he would not let go, he would latch on to my nipple and suck strongly. Eventually we all slept restlessly, fretfully, for two or three hours, together on the same bed. 

Even now Rodge and I occasionally look at each other, then start giggling. A little bit surprised that our beautiful little boy was accidently born at home.

With our day old Oscar at RPA hospital. Photo by my sister Aym.

Monday, August 13, 2012

My sleeping newborns

I came across these photos while reminiscing the other day. Nora on the left at 3 days old and Oscar on the right at 10 days old. I cannot stop looking them. So beautiful. Our two little babies. Hopefully they grow up to be the best of friends.

Wednesday is Oscar's second birthday, I'm thinking I may share his birth story. Did you share your childrens' birth stories or are you a little shy like me?

Friday, August 10, 2012

We went away

A couple of weeks ago, I could feel that I hadn't been leaving the apartment, the suburb, the bustle as often as I should have been. I found that Oscar was watching a bit too much tele, and I was, well I was spending a bit too much time here, on my laptop. I knew we had to go away, to a screen free place and run around. Explore. As silly as it sounds, I was craving a little reconnection with nature.

Other highlights – seeing a whale and her calf taking shelter in the bay and finding the satin bower bird bower, all surrounded by blue plastic, with a careful arrangement of wattle flowers at the entrance. Also, of course catching up with an old friend Cat, her beau Dave and my sis Aym.

Flowers for Friday: The sky has been blue this week

Well it was blue. You could feel Spring. Now it is Winter again.

The poinsettia is in our soon to be backyard.

I love Ibis – I get to watch them fly past our apartment window, honking, in their V formation. It makes me sad sometimes, to see them looking dirty, scavenging from bins. I imagine what life must have been like for them, before we stripped away the trees.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Monday, August 6, 2012

Our new home: floors and flowers

The renovations have been slow, but signs of progress are beginning to appear. The rear of the house has beautiful new floorboards (yet to be polished). I LOVE them. There are  holes in the roof (for skylights) and gutters have been fixed. I've chosen paint colours and painted test patches – the middle picture shows our bedroom colour, Dulux Glass Bead.

In the front yard, the little hardenbergia that we purchased at Marrickville Community Nursery has its first flowers. Maybe, hopefully, we'll be moving in in Spring.

To read what happened to our house look here. Please note that not all of this is covered by insurance, some (eg skylights) are renovations we planned on doing in the future, but are doing now, to make use of our access to a knowledgable builder.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Flowers for Friday: Hellebore

A shy little plant, the flowers always facing the ground, the true beauty only revealed when picked - or in this case, the camera is set to auto and captures it from below. Yes, that is my wispy hair and big forehead in the background!

The  holiday photos will have to wait until next week (I purchased a SD card reader, only to discover that it was faulty.)