round and around // the rhythms of small people

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With KB back at work I’m now almost two weeks in to what will be my regular life as mother of three, staying at home while he is at work. I must admit, I am a little on the sleepy side.

While I had an extra pair of hands it was easy to go about our days in holiday mode. We spent some time during that first month down at the beach. We had coffees and went for walks. I slept in. Every. Day.

Now I’m up between 6.30am and 7am regardless of what has occurred overnight. KB leaves the house at about 7.30am and gets home between 6.30pm and on some nights, 8pm. Yesterday was one of those 8pm days. At 9am I was sitting on the couch breastfeeding Pearl while the bigger two danced around with snotty noses and porridge on their chins. I looked up at the clock and my first thought was a grim: I’ve got 11 hours to go. Insert panicked emoji here. ‘

It’s funny how you forget the ways of newborns. I remember the first time around when I finally (quite late in the piece) discovered the concept of Eat Play Sleep. I remember a particular exasperating day where little Birdie was awake ALL DAY. Because I had no idea that I should actually try to put her to sleep at some point. By the end of the day she was screaming and I was beside myself.

Nowadays I know what to look for in a tired baby. I see the familiar jerking of the limbs and Pearl is bundled up and popped into her bassinet (which now, during the day, resides in our lounge room amongst the noise, the shouting and the crying and the mess. It seems she loves a bit of background noise… for the moment anyway). I’m not surprised when I see her face scrunch up only moments after smiling and cooing – I know just how quickly play can turn to sleep, with some encouragement. I recognise those small windows of opportunity where you have your hands free and I know exactly what to do with those moments (go to the toilet, put a wash on, make tea, and eat, in no particular order).

I had forgotten, though, just how quickly these rhythms flow throughout the day, and how time consuming it is to move through each. Feeding, changing, playing, wrapping, cuddling, and sleep for what seems like moments before it all begins again.

While it seems stilted at the moment, as I get used to this new flow to our days I can see a pattern emerging. I am (re)learning to quickly prepare some bite sized snacks for myself in the evenings, to meal plan as best I can, to start the bedtime rhythm earlier than normal (yesterday I ran the bath at 4pm… and three and a half hours later I finally managed to get the girls into bed… with a small amount of smugness that they were all (all) singlehandedly bathed and hair washed and fed and teeth cleaned and read to and kissed and goodnighted).

Now I am sitting here with the Pixie and Pearl asleep, and Birdie is at kinder. It took me over an hour to get P and P to sleep… I haven’t done a food shop so I ate popcorn and a breakfast smoothie for lunch, and now I have to wake them both up in five minutes to go and collect their sister.

I know it will all fall into place eventually.

being all of the things

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mother

wife

friend

person who cleans things up

person who folds things

organiser, sometimes

writer

maker and creator of things

person who likes to be in nature

person who files things and pays bills

person who enjoys some time to themselves

person who wants to learn new things

striver to achieve, something

I read a book recently that aims to help you find out what you want to do in life, and how to achieve it (thanks CR + SP! I love it). It’s great book and one I will refer to often. I had to write a list of all the things I wanted to do and be, and although it was different to this list, it made me realise that you don’t just have to be one thing in life.

But if that is the case, how to fit it all in? Going back to work, life just feels like such a struggle and a juggle. It feels a lot like survival, setting out each day just to get through it and maybe even be slightly organised for the next. My girls are cross, Birdie in particular. I’m tired and KB is just as muddled as I am. Washing is literally climbing the walls, the dog is depressed and on weekends we are all just falling in a heap. I feel as though I am so many things, good things, but at the moment I’m spread so thinly I’m just dipping my toes in each area. There is no immersion.

What is this all about? Am I conforming to the way of the modern family, just going along and doing it because I sense some expectation about the way my life should look? Or do I genuinely want to be here in the midst of all this, paddling around, doing lots of things but never quite reaching 100% in any of them? And if I wasn’t doing this thing – these things – what would life look like? What could it look like?

I love so many of the different aspects of my life – parenting, working, the outdoors… just not all at once. All at once it feels overwhelming, chaotic and dull. You might be imagining me typing this from my studio, looking out a white washed window into a forest, my face pensive and thoughtful. In reality, the lap top is currently on the kitchen bench, I’m typing single words, phrases or sentences at a time, in between making lunch, tidying, vacuuming and playing princess fairies with Birdie.

Balanced? Not so much.

popping in

Pip’s list: for times when stringing words together in any coherent manner is just absolutely not going to happen.

I am…

making a ripply crochet rug.
cooking about to head to my kitchen to make banana cake and mung bean kichari.
drinking coffee, spearmint tea and water.
reading Murray Bail’s Eucalyptus after just finishing Tim Winton’s The Riders a few nights ago.
wanting to clean my house Mary Poppins style.
looking for some motivation today.
playing hide and seek every day.
wasting time.
sewing nothing! Must change that.
wishing I would go to bed earlier, but each night I defy myself and stay up late. Damn you Nashville!
enjoying the beginning of Autumn. Oh, how I love love love Autumn.
waiting for some new shoes for Pixie in the post.
liking seasonal yummy delicious Autumnal foods.
wondering whether I will get a new job soon… and what it will be like to leave my girlies.
loving wearing my slippers for the first time this year.
hoping to start a new bedtime routine with the change of season.
marvelling at how well Birdie is going at kindergarten.
needing to do some life admin.
smelling eucalyptus and peppermint oils in my oil burner.
wearing jeans and cardigans and light scarves and loving it.
following my heart.
noticing subtle shifts in the weather, the skies, the landscape.
knowing that when my motivation is lacking, a new day is around the corner.
thinking about putting the kettle on.
bookmarking job advertisements…
opening pencil cases for the kiddies.
giggling at the antics of two sisters.
feeling a little bit tired, a little bit slow, but also optimistic.

Link up in the comments below if you decide to play, so I can pop over and have a read. xo

the places we go

image-30 Up high on a hill, on the outskirts of an old country town, stands a thick circle of cypress trees. A distinct and purposefully planted row of trees extends from the dark clump, giving the impression from the distance of a driveway. On long walks along a dusty road we have caught glimpses of an old rooftop through the dark leaves, and wondered. Yesterday we sat in our rickety caravan. Mum, my step Dad, Gramps, Birdie, Pixie and me. The rain drizzled down the windows and the sky was dark. We ate salami and cheese toasties and drank hot coffee. We wondered. We wanted to go for a walk but it was cold, it was wet, it was dark, and Pixie and step Dad were recovering from gastro. We wondered. Do you have binoculars? I asked. Not here in the caravan, came the reply. There was only one option. We all piled into the car and drove slowly up the dusty road, circling this way and that around the curves of mountainous green hills, past Nellie the jet black cow, past a yard full to the brim with old farm junk, past two dams, past a rambling weatherboard house, up, and up, and up, until we reached a padlocked gate at the very top. We stood, hands on hips, and looked at one another, then at the gate. We wondered. There was only one option. Over we went, one by one, over the fence. Mum, step Dad, Gramps, Birdie, Pixie and me. We walked along the old driveway until we could see the long line of cypress trees lining the drive. We walked until we could see a little house peeking out from behind a dark clump of old trees with 360 degree views of valleys and farms and ocean. It was at that very moment we realised that the little old house looked decidedly more occupied, than unoccupied. It was at that moment our romantic daydreams of an abandoned house on a hilltop filled with unwanted mint green pyrex bowls, rusted enamel plates, cobwebs, chipped dusty wooden tables with round heat stains from long forgotten teapots, fallen chairs and delicate lace curtains that disintegrate with a light touch, was overtaken by the reality. An old farmhouse, potentially used for storage or perhaps even lived in. An old farmhouse, that was not going to be our secret hideout. An old farmhouse, that was not ours. We turned and walked back down the driveway, climbed back over the fence, picked some flowers, hopped back in the car, drove back down the winding road, past a rambling weatherboard house, past two dams, past a yard filled to the brim with farm junk, past Nellie the jet black cow, down around the curves of mountainous green hills, back down to our little caravan, where we sat drinking hot coffee, thinking and dreaming of old abandoned farmhouses. image-32

my body

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My yoga practice has been very sporadic over the last four weeks due to various illnesses working its way through our family. I finally made it to a class last night.

As we slowly bent forwards into uttanasana and our yoga teacher said stay here for a moment if it suits you, I felt my body contort in discomfort. I quickly decided it didn’t suit me at all to stay there. I was shocked that I was so out of practice after just a couple of weeks.

For the first time I am truly beginning to understand how important it is to look after my body. The one and only body I will ever be given in this life.

I am struggling to remember whether it was my girlfriend or my sister who said this to me (my mind is going as well as my body?), but a couple of weeks ago one of them said they often think about what someone really fit, cool and healthy would do if they had their body. What would they dress it in, what food would they put into it, how much would they exercise and so on, and as a result, how different would they look and feel?

In amongst all my crazy thoughts (and I have a lot) I had NEVER thought anything like this. Now I can’t stop thinking about it. Being “cool” does not come naturally to me, and as a result I am often left looking like a bit of a dork. Admittedly I’m a tad on the lazy side too and often need a herd of people around me to motivate me to go to the gym or get out for a walk, or dare I say… jog… But what would someone super cool or super fit or super motivated do with my body? Would they treat it better than me and feed it more green foods (or less naughty treats) and get it out and about more? Would they flip down into uttanasana and stay for many moments without hesitation?

I got home from yoga and said to Prince Charming with a surly lip – “I’m in my thirties. I can feel it in my bones.”

He sympathised, and quickly reverted into personal trainer mode and encouraged me to enrol in the two-times-a-week ashtanga yoga class I have been drooling over for the past few months since trialling a class. How did I ever manage to be married to someone so motivated and fit and gym-bunny-ish?

So do you know what? Thinking like a super cool and super fit and super motivated person would… I think I just might enrol in that class. It’s only an 11 week term…

staying home

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We have been enjoying a lot of time at home lately. We’ve had a few rounds of tonsilitis, flu, colds, vomiting (yay), and other lovely end-of-wintery illnesses. Many of our friends have been sick too, so all the mamas in my circle have been sending “I miss you” texts and going about our solo ways for the past few weeks.

Something that ordinarily sends me a bit nutty has actually been an absolute blessing. Having to cancel plans and really, truly, actually Slow Down has, in the end, been just what we all needed to close off the winter.

The telly has been on way too much. I’ve been drinking so much coffee because our pot makes enough for two. We’ve spent many a day in our pyjamas and thrown gumboots over the top to go outside. The house has been cleaner despite us all being here all day. Food has been cooked and menus planned. Sewing has been done! Baking has happened.

I think even once everyone recovers and Spring arrives (in just a few days now!) we will stick with this new rhythm of more home time.

It suits us all very nicely.

in a nutshell

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Found a snazzy little list at meet me at mikes (thanks Pip!) and given my computer cord situation I figured a quick post is a good post. If you want to play you can copy and paste the blank list from the link there above.

Making : a mess
Cooking : mushroom and pea buckwheat risotto inspired by this recipe
Drinking : strong coffee
Reading: The Power of Ashtange Yoga by Kino MacGregor
Wanting: a thermomix
Looking: at the Pixie destroying piles of folded washing and Birdie flying a scarf “kite” around the living room, basically watching the contents of my house flying around my head.
Playing: duplo with Birdie
Wasting: coriander at the bottom of my fridge. Sad face.
Sewing: felted wool chook puppets
Wishing: I could enrol in this course so badly bad.
Enjoying: The Time of Our Lives
Waiting: for Prince Charming to get home…
Liking: grapefruits being back in season!
Wondering: what life would be like if I had a nanny… and a cleaner.
Loving: Birdie and her antics
Hoping: I can shake this virus roil soon
Marvelling: at Veggie Mama and her organic box speed cooking
Needing: sleep
Smelling: pooey nappies
Wearing: $7.99 ebay harem pants from China which go against every moral code I have. #fail
Following: new peeps on instagram
Noticing: blossoms appearing on the trees outside my window
Knowing: it would be in my best interests to have a shower
Thinking: about the girls weekend I have coming up NEXT WEEKEND!
Feeling: sick
Bookmarking: recipes
Opening: bills
Giggling: at Birdie and her new found love of toilet talk… I mean, trying hard to discourage it too… of course…
Feeling: sick (twice on the list so I can complain and whinge some more?)

That’s it! Come back and tell me if you complete the list so I can have a look!