Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Meeting Elke {a birth story of sorts}





I've been thinking about, and procrastinating over writing Elke's birth story. I've never really written a blow by blow birth story before and to be honest, I don't really want to.

It just doesn't sit right with me. As much as I love reading the birth stories of other women and have immense respect for those who choose to eloquently share their experiences, I just don't feel compelled to do the same.

I've tried to put some words on the screen but they just won't come, not yet. Maybe ever.

I don't know why, maybe because it all just seems so far removed from real life. Almost irrelevant, really.

To be honest, I only have one word - sacred.

That moment when you hear your baby utter their first, guttural cry and when you feel their warm, silky soft flesh on yours. The moment when they nod their tiny head all over your chest before latching on and learning to suck followed by sweet, connected slumber. That togetherness, that fierce lioness love.

I simply don't have the skills to do the story justice. There are no words that can adequately unpack the experience.

So i won't even try. I'll just confirm what you'd already know- meeting a human you've grown in your body is nothing short of a miracle. Everything about it is raw and breathtaking and primal and perfect (even when it's not 'perfect').

 A beautiful gift from a loving Creator.

So Elke, the story of your miraculous birth remains yours and mine and your fathers.


having a caesar and being a failure at birth
an attempt at context
birth and advice
case in point



In the coming days i'll share some of the practical things one could expect when having a caesarian section... and you know, a baby, as I feel like that could be useful.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cook It - A Hearty Winter Warmer




Farmer's Cheese Soup is a scrumptious, hearty winter soup that was a staple made by my Mum back in the day. She would serve it in hand turned pottery bowls that had been warmed in the oven. "Don't touch the bowl" she would say "it's HOT", and indeed it was.

I made this to take on our family pic-nic the other day and we reheated it on the gas camp cooker, sizzled our bacon on the camp fire and crisped our mammoth croutons in lashings of butter. It was delicious.

For a fancy twist, replace the bacon with prosciutto- you won't regret it.

INGREDIENTS 

4 tablespoons butter 
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, scraped & diced into 1/4 pieces
2 potatoes, diced into 1/4 pieces (1/2 lb)
1/2 lb cauliflower, trimmed & cut into florets
1/4 lb celeriac, peeled & diced into 1/4 pieces
6 cups chicken stock
4 slices lean bacon
4 slices white home style bread
4 ounces gouda cheese, sliced to 1/8-inch thick (wax removed)


DIRECTIONS

1. In a Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat; add vegetables and sauté until onion is golden brown (5-7 minutes).
2. Pour in the stock; bring to a boil over high heat.
3. Partially cover pan, and lower heat.
4. Simmer until vegetables are tender crisp (20 minutes).
5. In a heavy skillet, fry the bacon over medium heat until brown and crisp around the edges, and most of the fat has cooked off.
6. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
7. Fry the bread in the bacon grease so that it is crisp and brown on both sides.
8. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
9. Preheat-broiler to its highest setting.
10. Float the bacon on top of the soup, and top each slice with a piece of the fried bread.
11. Arrange cheese slices over top, covering bread and surface of soup completely.
12. Slide dutch oven into broiler so top is about 3 inches from heat source and broil until cheese melts and turns a light golden brown (2-3 minutes).


recipe from here.

What was a staple soup in your place when you were growing up?
Pumpkin? Am I right?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Stills: A Weekly Collection










1. Podding the last.
2. The nappy changers.
3. These two opening presents sent by Lisa of Oliver's Twisty Tales.
4. Dave making green tomato and chilli pickle. It's delicious, would you like the recipe?
5. Zeph's Scarecrow- i'd say this piece is one with Infinite Possibilities.
6. The greatest indulgence- fresh bread with lashings of butter. Dave has been loading our bread with seeds and grains, just to make it a little more, you know... healthy.
7. Lavender from my parents garden.
8. Start now, use what you have, do what you can.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

21/52





All three photo's are from our ambitious family picnic earlier in the week. Why, you may ask?  Because it's all we've done and just about the only time i've got out my camera. I must get back on top of the canon or poor Elke will have very little evidence of her first weeks of life.

Zephie: Covered in soot, dust and dirt.

Pippi: Covered in soot, dust and dirt.

Elke: Protected by your mother so you're not covered in soot, dust and dirt.

As always I'm joining with the masses at Che and Fidel and I'll see you soon for the Stills Collection.



Thursday, May 23, 2013

Further Afield {an ambitious adventure}





 After three weeks of serious hibernation we have emerged, ready to return to the outside world and all it's glory. On Tuesday we packed an assortment of home made delights and the kids into the Kluger and set off for the forest.

The air was crisp as we filled our tin tea cups from the thermos. Hot tea and chocolate slice warmed our  bellies while the children found various ways to ensure they were covered with soot, dust and dirt - chasing, tripping and adventuring as they went.

While I placated an unsettled Elke, Dave and the kids built a fire to crispen mammoth croutons and crackle bacon. Once they were ready we piled them atop the hearty vegetable soup we had made the day before. As the flies raced us to our bowls, we devoured said delicacies.

It was an ambitious adventure for our first as a family of five - a long drive, a fancy pants hand crafted pic nic, real crockery, a fire, you know, the works. But it was so much fun and hilariously chaotic. On more than one occasion Dave and I looked at each other, laughed and knowingly shook our heads.

Life is wonderful.

These are the golden days - the ones we will always fondly remember. When our babes are tiny and adorable and want nothing more than our time and attention. To hold our hands and tell us tall tales about astronauts and the ocean. To kiss us on the lips and cuddle us at the hips.


Forgive me for being nauseatingly sweet but i'd like to document both the beautiful and the totally irritating. Kids are nut cases, nothing is truer but gosh they a little love buckets, overflowing with goodness.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wearing: The Round



 Like I mentioned yesterday, the post baby 'round' is here and I suspect it will be staying. So why not embrace it? Yes it's hard to dress and can be rather cumbersome but so are small children, and we put up with them just fine.

I'm yet to muster the courage to pull out any denim jeans from my wardrobe so I've been living in glorified track pants and floating knits. On this occasion I opted for tights (control panels included), a floating jersey dress by Tigerlilly and my very favourite cape layered over a studded Country Road boyfriend cardi. Elke kept warm in beautiful alpaca threads sent as a gift from Sally at Fawn and Fox.

Yesterday we packed a filling winter pic-nic and escaped the house for the woods where these photo's were taken. Tomorrow, I'll tell you all about it.... because it's like, totally exciting.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Like A Lovers Hug





There is something special about being the mum of a new born, it doesn't matter how many times over- it's always the same. Maybe it's the rush of hormones or the pride in having grown a tiny human. Maybe it's having a husband who's home from work and the fabulous extra family time. Maybe it's delicious hot meals that miraculously arrive on your door step from generous friends and family. It could be the sleep induced delirium or possibly the girth that all of the above ensures.

Yes, thats it. For me it's the girth- you know, the chub.

It's special and sacred and homely, that post baby 'roundness' and it lingers like a lovers hug.

I've got it, and I like it.

You know why? Because when I look in the mirror I see a little more of my mother. That warm, generous, soft mother of mine. The one who dried my toddler tears when I cried and tolerated my obnoxious adolescent antics. The one who, along with my Dad, cares for my own babies so that I can have a rest. That mum.

She's got the post baby 'roundness' too (though not quite as much as I do).

So today, in honour of her I dug out the The Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits and baked a classic. One of my favourites, actually.

Chocolate Fudge Bars were a staple in our house growing up (covered in sprinkles, naturally) and recently I've been craving them. These ones will be devoured by my own children, leaving dark chocolate smears on their beautiful faces.

Recipe



1 cup plain flour
½ cup sugar
1 cup coconut
1 tablespoon cocoa
185g butter
½ teaspoon vanilla

Chocolate Icing
1 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
30g butter
1½ tablespoons hot water
coconut
Sift dry ingredients into bowl, add melted butter and vanilla, mix well. Press mixture over base of greased 28cm x 18cm lamington tin. Bake in moderate oven 20 minutes. Cool in tin.
When cold, ice with Chocolate Icing, sprinkle with coconut. Cut into bars when icing has set.
Chocolate Icing: Sift icing sugar and cocoa into small bowl, add melted butter and water, mix until the icing is smooth and glossy.



Tell me you know this recipe. Was it a childhood staple for you too (fellow 80's babies)?


p.s the winner of the 'Baby's Here' giveaway will be announced on the original post between 8pm and 9pm tonight. Make sure you check back to see if it was you.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Stills: A Weekly Collection {the domestic edition}








1. Piles and piles of washing. I must be nutty because since having my new washing machine*, I have taken great delight in making the clothes clean. Even sorting isn't a chore (who the hell am I?). As I fold and organise endless amounts of clean towels, sheets and clothes I can be head remarking 'oh my gosh, I just can't believe how clean this is'- it's only now that i realise how crap my last machine was. 

2. There were three in the bed.

3. X marks the spot. Drawing maps and searching for treasure.

4. I know I said no coffee, but I just can't help it.

5. Lavender and Country Style (no, i haven't had time to read it)

6. More washing. What can I say?

7. We bought this swing just before Pippi was born. It's one of those items that I was never going to have when Zeph was born (because I was going to be a superior parent, you know) but I can safely say, it's a bloody miracle worker. if you have a baby or are going to have a baby, cut yourself some slack and get a swing!



* I bought this one, if your interested. I can strongly recommend it- mine was delivered to my front door days after purchase. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

20/52




Zeph: On a windy morning by the sea at one of our most frequented parks. I see your baby face here.

Pippi: Being a lion. We were sent these beautiful crocheted masks as a thoughtful 'entertain the big kids when the baby arrives' gift from La De Dah Kids. They have been a wonderful invitation into the world of imaginary play.

Elke: Darling bear, we've been doing a bit of this lately. Pulling the car over, getting you out for a little bit of a burp and a vom before strapping you back in and going on our way.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Down, But Not Out










In a cruel twist of fate, our family was shot down with a stomach bug early this week.

When Zeph started vomiting, I started praying, not for him and his health but for me (because i'm selfish like that). Please, please, please could I be spared violent convulsions whilst stooped over the porcelain throne two weeks post c section, please?

No?

okay.

As the bug swiftly engulfed the entire family (leaving Elke alone, fortunately) I found myself in the all too familiar position of calling mum and dad. God bless parents and their never ending 'presentness' - don't ask me what I would do with out them.

Mum and Dad arrived within half an hour to take the big kids for the morning. When they returned some 6 hours later, Dave and I had still not risen from our crumpled bed sheets. We had slept the entire time, waking only to feed Elke and unenthusiastically change her nappy.

Fortunately, a couple of days of rest was all it took to see this little family back up and at 'em.

Yesterday we packed ourselves up and headed to a deserted, waterfront park, one of our favourites, for a play and a pic-nic. Talking like pirates (it's a 'boat' park, after all) and enacting desperate rescue scenarios kept us entertained for over an hour until the drive back home ensured sweet slumber was upon us again.

Here's to good health... until the next bug rolls around.



*photo's from a previous park trip last week. See that coffee cup next to me in the top image- that was my last coffee for quite some time. It would appear that caffeine and dairy upset Elke's baby tum.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"The Baby's Here" Giveaway {valued at $1500}




Since making the news about my pregnancy known to you, my blog friends, I have received nothing but support and encouragement. I have so enjoyed your funny stories, words of wisdom, comradery, emails and comments over the past 6 months.  It's been a real delight to be apart of this blogging community during such an important season in my life.

But now, THE BABY IS HERE!

Before Elke was born I spent a bit of time putting together something special for you, as a means of saying thank you, you know for being awesome.

I know many of you (so so many) are currently pregnant, have newborns or are somewhere on the 'motherhood' journey and I wanted to celebrate with you!

Here we have a mammoth 'Baby's Here' giveaway filled with $1500 worth of treasure for mumma's, their homes and their babies. Special prints for bare walls, fruity cushions for behind your tired back, scented candles to relax you, organic skin care products to make you feel human and a selection of other useful items. Full details below.

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1. Baby safe chewing bangle and necklace by Harper and HudsonHARPER+HUDSON is an Australian owned label, designing and creating nontoxic chewable jewellery for yummy mummies. All designs are made using 100% food grade silicone that is safe for baby’s gums and emerging teeth and free of nasty chemicals such as BPA, PVC, phthalates, cadmium and lead. Our jewellery is perfect for mum’s who love to look chic, but are worried about little hands and mouths tugging and chewing on their jewels! TOTAL RRP $59.90

2. These adorable sea creature prints come as a set of 3, with the 'Lucas the Crab' print being personalised with your child's details, making it the perfect set to hang in your child's room. From the beautiful range at Coco & Ella. RRP $60

3. Alphabet and Numbers print by jenimdesign. This crisp 50 x 70cm poster is digitally printed onto premium quality stock semi-gloss paper and fits perfectly into Ikea 'RIBBA' & 'STROMBY' frames. RRP $70
4. This unique Pouch Handmade fabric collage has been lovingly made by hand in Australia, using vintage & repurposed fabrics and papers applied to 100% recycled white card.The artwork is approx 43cm x 30cm (A3)unframed. Each artwork is unique, no two works are the same. RRP $50

5. Add some fragrant ambience to your home with a luxurious soy wax candles by Seven Dandelions. Sweet Pea and Vanilla is a lovely, fragrant blend of warm vanilla with a pretty floral bouquet. The perfect indulgent treat for a breastfeeding mumma. RRP $24.95

6. Gorgeous yellow and white chevron cushion featuring handprinted "You are my sunshine" on a linen patch. This cushion measures 50 x50cm and comes complete with insert and a zipper closure. This cushion is sure to make you smile and is part of the lovely range at Coco and Milo. RRP $65

7 & 8. These beautiful handmade cushions by Linnea will be an asset to any home. Perfect for propping up your back while feeding or adding some fun to you living room. Linnea works out of her Melbourne studio where she designs, screenprints and creates all her products. RRP $80

9.This sweet Fox Baby Bib by PinkNounou is printed on high quality soft and robust cotton fabric and is great for catching all messes from your little ones. Thick cotton fabric on the front side of the baby bib and terry cloth fabric on the reverse for a quick and easy clean up (impermeable on the inside). Ribbon tie-up closure for easy access and its suitable for both babies and toddlers. RRP $15

10. This sweet Soft Toy Rabbit in pajamas is your baby’s best playing friend, soft, fun and colorful! It’s made of soft cotton or flannel fabrics and has a small rattle inside. From the fruity range at PinkNounou RRP $40

11. This beautiful package contains the Sweet Orange Foaming Cleanser,Hibiscus Extract Ultra-Lift Day Creme, Cranberry Bio Exfoliating Scrub and the Antioxidant Rich Nightly Repair Nectar all housed in a beautiful gift box by La Mav. The perfect organic treat for a tired mothers skin (I use this range myself and it's pretty special). RRP $202.95
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12. Tram scroll's are the new 'black'  and this range of birthdate keepsake's is perfect for parents to have a CANVAS of one of the most important dates of their lives. This  bespoke keepsake is by Quint Design and will come customised to your specifications. 50x75cm RRP $188

13 - 14. This adorable duo is from the stunning collection of treats at Nana Huchy. Your children will love Jack the Giraffe and Livi the Lion- the perfect sleep and play companions. RRP $62

15 - 17. This beautiful collection of Silkberry Baby items has a buttery soft and silky feel and is breathable and hypo-allergenic. No bleaching or dying is used, with an all natural yarn colour that is good for a baby's sensitive skin. Easy to care for and machine washable. Perfect for you new little treasure. Total RRP $61.85

18. Oh you know, just $259.40 worth of the best organic makeup on the market. You will receive Certified Organic Eye Makeup Remover,  Mineral Eyeshadow in Gun Metal,  Kabuki Brush, Mineral Foundation, Light Reflect Creme and Liptsick in Naked Ambition all from the Organic, Vegan collection at INIKA.



19. Luxury perfumed Voyager candle ethically made in Melbourne. Inspired by travel and named after gardens around the world, each candle references the experience of being a 'voyager'. Developed together with Australia's finest perfumes, Voyager's fragrances are unlike any other.  RRP $49

20. Stunning red and white polka pot cot sheet set for your little bundle. From the stunning hand made range at Red Plum Linen and includes a white fitted sheet, white flat sheet and pillowcase with red polka dot trim. RRP $104.95

21. Cloud 9 cushion cover from The Organic Mamas - soft as a baby's skin, perfect for your little eco-baby. 100% organic cotton canvas cushion cover lovingly handmade in a studio in Sydney using fabric grown, woven, and printed in the United States using non-toxic pigments. RRP $49

22. Witjuti is a green company which uses recyclable and eco-friendly products.  This lightweight wrap cardigan is versatile and comfortable. Great for any season, you will carry it in your bag for all occasions when it gets cool. Perfect for maternity wear and breastfeeding mumma's. RRP $74.95

23. Easy to clean, machine washable Ribbons Baby Bib from the beautiful range at Amelia's Amorie. RRP $31.90

24. Pixel Stripe Handy Nappy and Wipe Bag by Amelia's Amorie This handy nappy and wipe bag is machine washable easily fits into your handbag when you're popping out to the shops or for a coffee and would prefer not to take a whole nappy bag along with you. RRP $53.90 


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I'm using raffflecopter for this giveaway- I think it's fairly self explanatory (with the benefit of keeping your email confidential), if you run into any problems please let me know and i'll do my best to sort them out. The winner will be announced one week from today at 8pm EST.




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 13, 2013

Stills - A Weekly Collection








1. Fresh vibrant blooms from my beautiful sister Amy.
2. A box full of AMAZING food that was left on our door step by my darling friend Eliza. We have been so very well looked after by our family, friends and neighbours - we've cooked dinner once in the past week (royal 'we' - Dave cooked) yet have eaten nutritious feats for lunch and dinner every single day.
3. Baby knits. Seriously, I can't get enough. Babies are kind of like dolls, right?
4. Smiles. Some might like to think it's gas, but i like to think it's love.
5. There's been a lot of story tine happening around here. A good way of keeping the children stationary for a few minutes.
6. The end of a shamelessly unceremonious mothers day. Soft cheeses by candle light- good enough for me... but next year i'd like at least one kid made card, please!
7. She and I.
Sorry I missed last week and didn't visit your blogs the week before- such rudeness on my part!

If you still posted your weekly stills last week- feel free to link them in here along with this weeks, i'd love to see what you've been up to.