Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Santa Photo

Four years ago, for Oscar's first christmas, I decided to take him to get a photo taken with Santa. Rather than heading to the local supermarket, we headed into the city to David Jones. A mini adventure of sorts. So the tradition began.

Every year the photo is a little more disastrous than the last. This year only Iris smiled at Santa. I sat beside Santa with Nora and Oscar on my lap – the only way I could convince them to get anywhere near him. The end result looks like a very strange family photo, with Santa the father!

Maybe I need to do a little prep work before the next photo – take out the previous years photos and discuss.

Tell me do your children get photos taken with Santa? Do they like Santa?

ps Osc asked him for a firetruck.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cockatoo Island

 A couple of weekends ago we were invited to an event on Cockatoo Island. I dressed the babes in their best clothes. We caught a train and a ferry (Oscar's favourite part) and arrived at the beautiful industrial wasteland. After many tears at the actual party (from Nora and Iris), we went exploring. Jumping in dirty puddles and discovering seagull eggs left everyone happy and tired.

All photos by my sis Tess.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Flowers for Friday: Hydrangeas

They're everywhere right now, in their beautiful, magical colour variations. Reminding me of fluffy sunset clouds and old ladies with blue-rinse hair.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The naming of Iris

Choosing a person's name is a pretty big responsibility and I find it to be one of the great joys and great stresses of having children.

While pregnant I collected names from everywhere – online, in playgrounds, friends and family trees. Iris, as a name hadn't been even considered for either Oscar or Nora, but came into consideration after asking Rodge's Abuela (who Nora was named after) for all of her siblings names: Maria Teresa, Irma Esther, Blanca, Maria del Carmen, Rosa del Alba, Juana Iris, Jose Pedro and Adair. Alba, Esther and Iris made my long-list.

Once my shortlist was finalised Iris sat at the very bottom, scraping through because of the family tie, the beautiful meaning (rainbow or messenger) and the bilingual appeal. I thought she'd be a Margaret (after my own grandmother, whose birthday was only days before hers) or a Fern (a long time favourite name). She could have also been an Adelaide, Eve, Ines, Harriet or June. I had all the names written down and packed into my hospital bag.

 Yet as soon as I looked into her puffy red face, I knew she was an Iris. She needed the strength and history of the name Iris. This took me by surprise. I didn't announce her name to anyone for days (not even Rodge). I tried calling her Ines instead. It felt too soft for her. She was definitely the most beautiful Iris ever.

Strangely, as a flower lover, I didn't name her for the flower. I named her for the name alone. Slowly, though, the flower, one which I've never really given a sidelong glance to, has been creeping into our lives and I am certain will now be a firm favourite, following our family wherever we go. To my surprise, in amongst our weeds and mess, we happened to have some iris bulbs, which have been dug up and potted, to now be treasured.

Her initial full name was to be Iris Juliet Pearl, but altogether it felt to heavy. Juliet felt too tragic. She needed a lightness in her name, rather than a name most famous for a youthful suicide. So Juliet was scrapped. Pearl, the meaning of Margaret, was kept. This is where her naming became tricky. Iris ? Pearl. Iris ? Pearl. I was snatching at all the names, searching the long list in vain. Artemis, Thea and Iolanthe were dismissed as too Greek alongside the already Greek Iris. Amy (after my sister) too short. Sunday and September too wordy. I found myself scouring this lady's beautiful (albeit no longer written) blog. I said each of the names in this list aloud.

It was while sitting with my older sister discussing her name choices for her to be born baby, that Eulalie was suggested. Iris Eulalie Pearl. I said it aloud. Perfect. I looked up the meaning. Eloquent. What a brilliant name meaning, what more could you want for a child? A well-spoken woman. I loved the idea. I checked the Spanish version. Iris Eulalia Perla. Again perfect. I was completely smitten.

So we have our smiley little girl, with her beautiful, lyrical, eloquent name. Iris Eulalie Pearl.

We call her Irie most days. Oscar also calls her Iwissy or Penguin.

This post was inspired by Jodi - who kept her naming post much, much briefer.

The top photo shows Iris on her birth day, already at home. The bottom photo shows Iris with her Aunty Amy, her cousin Ottilie (in utero) and her namesake flower.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The story of Imelda

As a child I sucked my thumb. My mum used to sneak into my bedroom at night and pull it out of my mouth. Eventually, after a dentist appointment, my parents decided to give me a 'reward' if I stopped. What did I want more than anything (besides a trip to disneyland)? A porcelain doll.

So, my mum, being the talented person that she is, rather than heading to the toy store, booked herself into a course, and made me a porcelain doll by hand. Cast the porcelain in a mould. Painted the tiny rosebud lips, eyelashes and fingernails. Sewed the beautiful (now very faded) apricot dress and cream bloomers. Placed a crown of roses in her hair. Eventually she also made one for each of my sisters. Each doll unique, with different features.

I named my doll Imelda, because she could fit in a shoebox bed, after 'The Story of Imelda, Who Was Small'. Last week, while visiting my parents, I spotted Imelda resting in a cabinet. Now, as a mum myself, I have so much more appreciation for all the effort and thought that my mum went to, creating heirloom dolls for each of her daughters.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Our backyard

I'm pretty sure my blog is deceiving. If you've popped in here a couple of times, you'd know I love flowers and plants, and could have imagined that I have a beautiful garden surrounding my messy house. This is not so. Our yard is the biggest mess of all. Totally unsafe for my children with lead-filled dirt, old rusty nails and inexplicable bits of junk and rubbish. Even the hills hoist is broken, with only two sides to hang clothes from. All of this is overrun by weeds and surrounded by horrendous brown colourbond fencing.

Last week Rodge picked up all the bricks out the back and stacked them neatly down the side of our house. Literally thousands of bricks. It was a mammoth task. Next week, we are starting some major yard renovating and I couldn't be more excited. My uncle is a landscape architect and has drawn us up some truly wonderful plans. Eventually we will have veggie patches and fruit trees, a proper parrilla (uruguayan bbq) for Rodge to cook his beloved asado on and of course a passionfruit vine. One day it'll be seriously beautiful.

ps These photos don't have some strange filter added to them, they were taken a few weeks ago on that very smokey Wednesday, when the sky turned an ominous shade of orange.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


I've been promising myself that I'll start doing my silly little creative bits and pieces again. Everyday, I've been saying to myself, this evening, once the children are in bed, I'll pull out that project I've been meaning to finish. Then, when that time rolls around – when Oscar and Nora are quiet and the kitchen is tidy – I either collapse in front of a screen or lie down with Iris and feed her to sleep, generally falling asleep myself in the process.

This week my mother-in-law returned from a month in Uruguay and goodness was I happy to see her!* Today she took Oscar and Nora to her place, so I organised to head to Tess' house. My other sis Aym and her new baby Tillie joined us, we ate a delicious lunch (thanks Tess), settled the babes, boiled the kettle and attempted to become calligraphers.**

I was a little impatient. My page of practice strokes (the messy one with the blotches) completely shows that. I've learnt that it is an artform that must be done slowly and with care.

*Although we have had a good month – Mabelle's absence meant that I simply spent an awful lot more time with my long suffering mum and sisters.

**Tess owns this beautiful book.

Monday, November 18, 2013


1 Monday afternoon rain
2 Madonna lily
3 Gathered treasures
4 Cheeky!
5 Admiring the shadows
6 Nora
7 One of my favourite views
8 They don't eat the crusts, a bad habit they picked up from me

We went on a mini break this week. The kidlets and I spent one night at my parents' and a few more up the coast with my sister. Although hectic, it was also pretty perfect. We woke to the sound of kookaburras and kites (and Nora excited to be in the same room as Iris and me),we explored, ate well and marvelled in the open space.

Linking to Em.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Some favourites

Our kitchen is filled with the scent of a faded gardenia which my mum gifted me as we left her home the other night. Gardenias always smell like Christmas. This year has flown, really flown by, but they always fly once you have children, do they not?

I thought I'd share a little list of favourite bits and pieces I've admired this week from this online world –

Hope you're enjoying your weekend.

photos: A favourite nasturtium teacup at my mum's house, which one day, I will paint. My sister's rug. Gardenia bloom.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

This is my suburb: the birdbath

I have a soft-spot for this creepy birdbath on Wharf Street. The whole garden is actually beautifully planted, as is the verge of the laneway down the side. Whoever lives there is wonderfully clever.

Monday, November 11, 2013


1 Nora tasting mussels for the very first time. To my surprise she loved them and ate about five or six.
2 I can only assume that this photo was taken by Oscar.
3 Summer is just around the corner.

Not many photos this week, even though much fun was had. I spent a lot of time with my sisters and my new niece. Hope your week is wonderful. Linking to the talented Emily.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The first ever self portrait.

Oscar drew his FIRST EVER self portrait the other day – complete with a big orange eye, a bigger multi-coloured eye and black shoes. I know it doesn't look like much, but I got pretty excited and have being showing it to every. single. person. near and (now) far!

I suggested we draw portraits again this morning and he just looked at me like I was silly and said, "I can just take a photo mummy." Humph. The attitude of a three year old being raised in a digital age.

Nora, on the other hand loves when she gets hold of textas, but her favourite canvas is definitely her skin. Followed by her wardrobe door. Paper is totally unnecessary.

Tell me, do your toddlers like drawing? Or are they like Osc and want to reach for the instant gratification of a digital camera? Do you even let your bubs near a camera?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Luna Park

On Saturday morning I woke up with a fierce desire to take the children up a ferris wheel (I blame 'Little Ted's Big Adventure'). I dismissed the thought as I surveyed the mess that was home and the contents of the laundry. When Rodge stumbled out of bed a couple of hours later (we attempt to take it in turns to sleep in on weekends without plans), he said, "So what do you want to do today?" I may have rolled my eyes grumpily and gestured to the increasing mess surrounding me. He may have rolled his eyes back. Coffee was made. Rodge began a second breakfast for the kidlets and I crazily thought about the ferris wheel.

Rodge said to me "I want to go to Luna Park".
"I think we should go to Luna Park"
I looked at him, amazed. "Did I say that aloud?"
"Did I mention the ferris wheel before?"
"No." He looked at me like I was bonkers.
"Well, I've been thinking about it all morning."

So we went. We had fun. All five of us went up the ferris wheel. And you know what, the mess at home didn't go anywhere, but that didn't matter!

Sunday, November 3, 2013


1 Monday morning rain on parsley gone to seed.
2 Collaborative artwork adorning my wall. Thanks, Tess, Osc and Nora.
3 Oak leaf hydrangea in my parents' magical garden.
4 Happy blue eyed Iris. She started giggling this week! A deep, little laugh that is oh so cute.
5 Friday night. Rodge went to the soccer. I managed dinner and bath time alone for only the second time since Irie's birth. Amazingly Oscar and Nora fell asleep early. Iris and I had a good cooing conversation before she went to bed (full of breastmilk and wrapped tightly). Alone, I lit some beeswax candles while tidying before settling down to watch Hanna on tv. It was all surprisingly peaceful.

I took so few photos this week, that I almost didn't take part. Linking up with Em – who has a beautiful, extensive selection.