13 again....

Today is my birthday. I am now 31.
My aunt sent me a sweet card, a cute one she had, that was for a 13 year old - 13 :: 31.

I don't know what it's meant to feel like at 31, can't remember 13. So. I'm feeling okay. 31 is sitting nicely in my head - the thought and idea of it. Not freaking me out.
I spent a beautiful afternoon at my sister's house, with some lovely and very dear and special friends. No kids! Did you hear that - NO kids. I didn't want to leave. I could have sat up and chatted all night to those women. And nibbled on the food they all brought, and the bubbly (we can still call it champagne, can't we, even though we all know it's not). And listened to the music. And smelt the roses over and over again. Well, those I can - Sylve gave them to me - David Austin's. So heady and full and sensuous.
And then I headed over to my in-laws; where my mother-in-law had made a beautiful and simply perfect dinner for us. She makes these lovely baked sweet potato (white ones) in long sticks, and they go all caramel-ey. And grilled veges (eggplant, zucchini, capsicum) and adds them to a rocket and feta salad. And of course a special meat (though since I came into their life, I know that she always makes special care and thought to provide me - the vegetarian - with delicious alternatives).

And then a yummy cake. Topped with fresh raspberries.
And Sylve offered fresh raspberries too, on her little chocolate cake treats.
These are quite a delicacy here, and I gobbled their sweet globules of fresh (the ones that Sam didn't eat!).
So, despite the whinge and mess from the kids this morning; a beautiful birthday. And some lovely and thoughtful and just right for me presents. You know when you only get a few presents, but they are right. That's the best, hey!

Left over cake tomorrow. May have to find some friends to share it with; or take the kids on a picnic (if the rain eases for a moment).

:: 31 :: A year of becoming an adult and enjoying things slower, and respecting myself, and taking more time for myself. Of stopping. Of laughing and giggling. And singing and running. And creating. So much creating is bursting out of my seams; eager to evolve into itself.

Sam turned 35; he still is a young man to me - the sweet person who I met and fell in love with all that time ago.

list of things

Time is squashed up, in my head I can't see or think. I've got tunnel vision, and things are slipping off the edges of my earth / viewpoint. I have lots to tell you, so I'm going to try and condense into short points.
:: I have (finally) randomly chosen two winners for my magazine giveaway. Anna and Elizabeth, please send me your address details. (ellieabeck AT hotmail DOT com). We'll see how long it takes me to get to the post office.
:: Recently I joined in with this children's giveaway, sort of as a stand against the CPSIA that has been threatening the livelihood of a lot of handcrafters and small businesses. I think things have sorted out, for the meantime at least there's a bit of relief in the emergency of the issue. My swap partner is Bean.I have until Tuesday to finish and post my item. I *think* I will get it finished tonight (okay... umm tomorrow), as all I have to do is iron and then top stitch the last little bit. Photos so far haven't proven to be too successful (hopefully tomorrow they'll work out better). It's a fairly biggish doll blanket / wrap thing. I knew straight away that I wouldn't be able to make a softie or anything similar that I'd be happy with. I'm really happy with the way this has turned out. Saccharine pinks and blues and lavenders, and very pretty, but hopefully something that will be loved for a long time.
I am also making one for Mishi's 2nd birthday, which is on Thursday. I just know that she'll love to have a special piece to wrap her babies, or picnic with them, or put them to bed.
:: A dear blogland friend has started a very special project called Craft Hope. The current project is to sew pillowcase dresses for some children who don't get to have pretty and handcrafted items in their lives. Children from the Pan de Vita shelter in Mexico.:: This is a small stack of the first cards I've been sewing for the Stitches & Craft Show (S&C). Many many many more cards are needed to be cut and sewn, and then enveloped and packaged before the month is up. This is just the start.:: This afternoon I really loved walking home from work, wearing my own skirt. Designed and sewn by me, in a rush on Christmas morning, a frantic stress that I wanted something new to wear. I had this fabric, which my sister found for me at the second hand shop - a structured cotton, but like an upholstery fabric in a way. Very textured and ornate. The first time I washed it to red ran onto the white, but upon the second wash it came out, and I soaked it in some pre-coloured water, which gave the white this glorious redish brown sheen.This morning I was complimented for my skirt by my friend - magazine editor and her husband/stylist/designer. We were at a fashion shoot for the next issue. I wasn't modelling or anything, but .... you know, like, well my husband was! A skate board shoot - with my man showing off his board tricks. I'll show you when the issue has been published. Bit exciting, hey. (Think it's about time I got myself a full length mirror, this photo is taken from up on Ari's top bunk bed).
:: I want to write a whole post about this, but will mention it here (in case I run out of *time* to do the whole big thing). It's been almost two weeks now since Mishi has had any mummy milk. Yes, that means she's been weaned. I think I would possibly be sadder if I wasn't so pleased to have that extra bit of sleep it brings (occassionally). At the same time she's finished with nappies - though we still have some accidents with bed wetting.
:: I haven't had much time to check out all my regular bloggy reads as often as I would love. So, if any of you notice anything you think I really need to know in blogland please do tell me.
:: At work today I made a really long and quite unrealistic list of what I need to achieve in the next two weeks, at least, for getting ready for S & C. Tomorrow I think I'll rewrite it, and actually add things like have a shower, play with my kids, do the shopping, cook some dinner, wash the dinners, take the kids to the park, return the overdue library books, say hello/goodbye to my husband (as he races off to work, or I race off to work), talk to my family, plan a birthday party, make a birthday cake (or two), sew a new birthday dress, drink my tea even if it is cold, blog...... Busy month ahead.Okay. That's enough for now, hey. Thanks for sticking with me to the end of this epic update (written on my very slow 10yr-old borrowed computer).

bedside table

Now, to a lot of you, a bedside table may not be such an important or noteworthy thing. Not even the actual table itself, but the fact of having a table. Of having the space for a bedside table.
For about the past almost four years we have shared our bed(room) with one and then two little children. When my son was born of course he slept in our room. First in a little bassinet, then in a cot that was pushed up against our bed. But mainly, really, he slept in our bed. Actually, he spent quite a lot of time sleeping on my chest. Which, really I loved and miss so much.
We managed to move him out of our room, and into his own room before my daughter was born. Mostly he did stay in his room, with times of coming into our bed half way through the night. Yet when Mishi was born Ari wanted to come back into our room. He didn't want to be on his own, with the rest of his family in one big bed together. And I understand. I didn't want him in his own room. I wanted my whole family in with me.
So, that's how it's been for the past 19months. Four in the bed. Ari in his own little kid bed, but pushed up against our bed, so easily rolling and tossing into our bed. And Mishi in our bed too, generally right beside me, generally drinking lots of milk from me a lot of the night.

But there comes a time when you say enough is truly enough. And you need to kick the kids out of your room! Does anyone know where I'm coming from? I so want them to be able to jump into bed with us, but not until at least 7am (or okay, 6am I'll put up with...).

I have lovely memories of sleeping in the bed with my mum and dad, or of climbing into their bed in the morning. Those lovely talks and tickles that a family has before they have to get up and go out into the world. The way, as a kid, you can lie and listen to your mum and dad talking, and be part of that adult world for a few moments. As things talked about in the family bed are precious and true and love and warm. Memories. I hope there are lots of kids out there that have the opportunity to have such warm memories as I have of those moments of my childhood. I hope my own children do.

Yet - I know for my own sanity that I need to have the space for a proper sleep, without kids tossing and turning or kicking or suckling or waking me endlessly. I need to have a decent night's sleep to continue to be a better mother during the day. Finally, I have no guilt at putting them in their own beds, in their own room.
And boy have I liked having our room to ourselves again. Of having the space for a bedside table, With flowers - jasmine flowers have filled our room with the most intoxicating aromas of spring. Of having a lamp, and possibly night time reading - though the reading hasn't quite happened with all the sleepless nights preparing for Red Seed Studio!

And now, with only one bed and a "proper" bedroom set up, I have been making the bed each morning. It feels lovely to see a fresh, neat bed, and not a tumble of sheets and mixed up doonas.

Of course, Mishi still spends many hours in our bed, but slowly I can feel that will ease. They both go fairly happily (mostly) into their own beds. In their own lovely little room, a room for siblings to play and read and make believe and sleep and tell secrets!

language :: 17 month

Yesterday, Mishi said her own name for the very first time. She was lying down, while I changed her nappy, and she pointed - with both her hands - to her chest and said "Mishi". Today, while she was sitting in the little wooden highchair at Sylvie's house, she looked at me, with a knowing smile, and a tilt of her head and said "Mishi Mishi Mishi". And she smiled at me, with pleasure and delight; and I smiled at her with pleasure and delight and pride.

Each day she says a new word, often more than one word. She is so quick at mimicking Ari, constantly repeating words that he says. Often it's 'pooh pooh', knowing the joke as she says it. She has so many words now, that I'm not sure I can even put them all down here. Some words are more prevalent in our days, while other words appear momentarily as she repeats them. Sometimes she doesn't have words, but lots of little chattering noises, I know she's talking, but can't understand what she's actually saying. Sometimes she just talks and chatters to the dolls or the teddies, and often little singing sounds to herself.
'bird'; one of her very first words.

'no'; generally very emphatically, and lots of humour, and a cheeky smile. And big shaking of her head, more times than necessary.

'bye'; very quietly, and just as often when the person has actually gone. She is saying it on the phone now; sitting there not saying a word, but listening intently and then finally saying 'bye' when we tell her it's time to go.

'chook' and 'duck' and 'sheep' and 'cat' - 'Loulou' (which is our cat's name - and she knows the difference between other cats and Loulou). She says 'Ash' quite often, and 'Ari', but very quietly, not quite saying all the sounds - more like 'Asz' and 'A-i'.

'baus' (bath); 'shwr' (shower); 'tees' (teeth).

And sounds in songs - like in a "Froggy went a Courtin'*"she knows the 'uh-hum uh-hum' bit.

Of course, 'Mama', 'Mummy', and 'Daddy'. Last week she called Granddad (Sam's dad) 'dada'.

Yesterday she said 'knock knock', when Ari was saying jokes.

So many of her sounds I can hear words in, but I think that other people wouldn't be able to recognise it as a proper word. Generally Ari and I can understand best because we are with her all day, and we talk to her and listen to her. Sam too knows her words. And Grandma Mary (Sam's mum) can make out words too because she is really there with the kids, when she's with them - know what I mean?

She really is quite an observant little girl; taking everything in and reacting to things. She finds bits of things on the table, or fluff on the floor, and will take off to put them in the bin. A few weeks ago when a friend was visiting and we were all in our kitchen, my friend said to one of the bigger kids that she would sit on a cushion. Mishi went off into the lounge room and brought a cushion back for my friend to sit on. My friend and I looked at each other with a bit of disbelief.
The same day she brought socks to Ash, that he had discarded in our front room. I had been asking him for quite a while to put them on - it's Winter here. She had heard me saying over and over to him to put them on, and noticed that he was ignoring me. She gave the socks to him and said 'szoks'.

Last night she said 'bub-bels', while we sat on the front steps and blew from the bubble blower. A two-syllable word.
And recently 'flwr' has made it's way into her vocabulary - and she stops and reaches down and picks one, and sniffs it and passes it up to me. Knowing the love I take in being given flowers collected by my babies. Little clover flowers or grass seeds or colourful seedpods.

I'm sure there are more words that I can't think about now. Each day she changes again, and reaches a little higher into girl, rather than baby.

Tonight she learnt how to jump like a frog; crouching right down on the ground and then jumping up to stand-straight legs stretching onto her tippy-toes. A few times she actually jumped off the floor.

She really is so much of herself. Her personality shines through. I can see aspects of who she may be - quite a sweet girl, yet also I know she will have her own will. A very strong will about what she wants and doesn't want. She already knows how to pout, and crying to get her way. She knows how to woo people around her, with her smile and sweet pretty face.

She dances with such abandon, happily clapping her hands or spinning round and round until she's dizzy. Or nodding her head in beat with the music, and bopping her legs about.

It's past her 17month date, and I have been slack with doing these little updates. I find it hard to remember the precious moments at the end of the day - how will I remember them in five or 25 years? She will ask me things about herself as a baby or child, those things that I yearn to know about myself (but my Mother can never answer, and my Father doesn't remember). So, Mishi darling, I hope this is enough for when you have children of your own.

Maybe you could read Amy's notes of her daughter, who is only two months older than Mish. Most of what I read about little Junie, is what I see Mishi doing, or know she will be doing in milliseconds.
*I did a search for this, but couldn't find a version like the two we have - both are quite innocent and don't include the pistol and sword part; but do a search if you don't know what song I mean. It's quite fun. We have this CD (which we love, and even I can listen to on repeat and repeat and repeat) and this one (which Ari loves so much - we know each song, and even the order they play in!).


Well, it's happened. I've passed that milestone - and fairly easily too. I'm thirty now. Friday just past was my birthday. I've wanted to write here lately, but internet speed is too slow for me to bother*.

So, yes, anyway. Now I'm 30! I was wondering if it really was something so scary or wonderful or different. Does being thirty mean that I have to be a real grown-up? If so, I'm not sure that I'm quite qualified for that role. I mean, yes, I have kids, a mortgage, a two-car family, and all the rest that makes me a grown up. I know that everyone feels like a kid or adolescent still - even those beautifully wise 'older' people.

In my mind I'm still 23 or 24. That's how old I was when Mum died. So, somehow I don't think of myself as thirty, or even twenty nine. And I don't dress or act the way I perceive 'real grown-ups' behave.

I kept thinking that it wasn't going to be a really big milestone for me. I mean, I've experienced the death of my Mother - which is the most extreme thing I feel or know or experience. And the birth of my two children - which, also, is the most extreme thing I feel or know or experience. So, I guess I was thinking that I had already grown up in more ways that I wanted to.
But, on the day before my birthday I receive some really beautiful letters and a present from two of my Aunts and a close family friend - all who have been Mothering roles and figures in my life at some time or other. All who I have deep ingrained memories of, and love from and towards. It made me stop and think more about this birthday. And, of course, made me saddened that my own Mother wouldn't be ringing me or sharing the day or stories with me. Yet, made me happy to know that there were people who thought (knew) that this was a special day to be celebrated and remembered.

This glorious drawing is the card Ashey gave us for our birthday**. It's me, Ari on the swing, Mishi on the slide, and Sam with the great spiky hair. And then Sam's car - Blackie - on the end (looking a little like an elephant).
And on my birthday I received flowers; from a dear friend who lives in London; from my sister and nephew - picked from vacant streetlots. And cards and phone calls and presents and...... and I felt so loved and thought-about.

So, I guess, really it was / is a special time for me. To stop and think about the woman I am becoming. Without my Mother here, but with other mothers and friends and family, and people who know me and care about me. Thank you to all those people.

And thanks to the friends and family who helped me celebrate with a lovely fireside party at my sister's house. Watching me jump on the trampoline with my children, and singing birthday songs together, and laughing and talking and remembering and creating new memories.
*We have some friends staying and between all of us, have passed our monthly upload limits - so internet has been speed capped.
**Did I mention that Sam and I share a birthday? He's four years older than me. We actually met a week before my 20th birthday, ten years ago. Makes remembering each other's birthdays easy!

baby steps

I feel so slack not having posted about this earlier - seeing as how this blog is supposed to be some form of record-keeping of my children's' growing up. Arh well, I'm doing it now, hey!

Mishi has been standing more and more confidently these past few weeks, and taking steps. The first time she walked more than one tumbly step, I wasn't in the room. But since then, she has been getting steadier on her feet, and feeling so proud of herself. She often doesn't walk if you ask her to, she doesn't like it to be a 'show'. But if you ask her to give something to someone on the other side of the room, she wobbles off happily. Standing up and sitting down are easy for her now, which means when she starts to feel wobbly she just sits down, then gets herself up again.
Mainly, she is still crawling, but the walking is happening more and more each day. And she dances, too. Such excellent body swaying - holding herself steady in the middle of the floor and clapping and swinging, and leg bopping. She sure has some excellent rhythm. And she loves clapping, when she hears someone singing about 'clap your hands'.

She is also saying more sounds with little words forming. I'm sure no-one else hears them, but I sure do. When we sang Happy Birthday yesterday at our morning tea picnic*, she surely sung 'ha' and then clapped her hands, and held her arms up above her head in excitement.
More and more she knows what she wants, and she sure tells us. Already I can see that she is a little drama queen, and that she knows how to work it! She also knows so much of what is happening around her, and wants to be involved in everything that Ari or Ashi does. This morning Ari was sitting on a soccer ball, and Mishi simply had to do it too. She wiggled about, bottom in the air, trying to perch on the ball. And when I ask her to lay her head down for a new nappy, she plops it down on a pillow, with her bottom poking up into the air. Not the most practical way to change a nappy, but very cute to see. Often she sleeps like this** - isn't it one of the sweetest poses of a baby?
We've been dressing her in those full baby suits for bed lately (getting a bit colder here, now), and it makes her look so much like a little bub. I think I keep forgetting that she's already 13 months old - and moving closer and closer to the toddler age.
*We have to sing Happy Birthday a few times a week in our house. Ari talks and talks about his birthday quite often, even though it's not until October. So, we have a candle and sing. Sometimes a doll or teddy or baby animal has a birthday for us to celebrate. I don't mind indulging this little bit of magic, I love celebrations too.
**Not my photo or my baby. I couldn't find any photos of my own, that showed her so cute (with clothes on at least - we've had a hot Summer!). While searching flickr I found this. Looks comfy, hey!