Growing Pains

Sick bub.

Today I have a sick baby hanging out with me as I go about my day. Mr Hippo in hand, dummy firmly in mouth and head gently resting on her Mamma's back.  Her nose is full of snot and she sounds ever so slightly like a Pug dog as she sniffs and snuffles her way through slumber.  And while I am so happy to know that just being with me is enough to make her feel a bit better, this was not what I had planned for today. Nor this week, for that matter. Oh no! This week was about getting the car fixed, buying safety gear for our soon-to-be second vehicle (a putt-putt motorbike), storing up breastmilk in carefully labelled bottles and orientating Emilia into childcare. This week was supposed to be about getting everything ready for me to go back to work.

I do not feel great about going back to work.  It is necessary and I know once I am there I will enjoy oiling the intellectual cogs in my brain and using skills that I had previously worked so hard to acquire. Mattthias will start looking after Emilia one day a week, which I think they will both love (no pesky Mamma poking her head in wondering if everything is okay) and eventually Emilia will love childcare. Over all her toys and the games that we play at home, her most favourite thing in the world is visiting people.  No matter where we go if there's someone about she'll lean in towards them and give them a big gummy smile. She will love the opportunity of playing with other kids at childcare. And she will still hang out with Mamma or Papa four days a week. It will be okay. It might even be great. But right now it all seems too much.  Right now she's nestled on my back sleeping and there's no where else I'd rather her be.



Little Dresses

Vintage for little girls
It all started with this dress. Spotted and bought from here. And while we ooh'ed and ahh'ed over it at Christmas, my Mum remembered that she thought she might have kept a few of our old baby dresses somewhere for safe keeping.  You know, just in case.  A little while later I was presented with a not so small handful of beautiful cotton dresses and a few velvety ones for when it gets cold.  I'm still not entriely convinced that dresses are the most practical thing for little girls to wear. But they really are so very cute and the vintage ones have some wonderful detailing that you just can't get anymore.  And really, while Emilia is still mostly immobile they aren't that impractical to wear.
Found. New to a good home.
And then to add to my good fortune I found this dress at the local op-shop.  It was the polka dots that drew me in initially but when I got up close I noticed all the beautiful little details and I was sold. When I got home I discovered that it was, in fact, a Mama-made dress.  Someone's Mama or other loving someone (someone's someone, that is) had stitched all those details by hand. Goodness knows who had the heart to send it the op-shop but I am so very glad that I found it and only a little sheepish that I paid only $1.50 for it. Less than a coffee!  Happy days my friends.  Little op-shop, I'll be back.
In the wind


6 months

And just like that my little babe is becoming a girl. Sometimes, just for a moment, I catch a glimpse of the girl that she is becoming. For an instant her baby cheeks and gummy smile give way to a studious and inquisitive gaze and I see the girl she will be at 10. And then 'poof' it's gone and she's a babe in my arms again. 

A babe who (touch wood) is sleeping again!  I'm writing this with slight trepidation for there's a real risk that I might jinx things by blurting it out here, but, just quietly, we seem to have repaired her sleep.  Thank you to everyone who sent words of encouragment and helpful advice.  I'm not sure that we're completely out of the woods yet but we're making progress, and that's more than enough for now.
Sleeping beauty

Emilia at: five months four months, three months, two months



Banksia ManFly-catchersTall boys watching for cloudsShelter from the sun
I'd forgotten about these photos. Fragments of an afternoon spent exploring the Canberra Botanic Gardens.  

I've been in a bit of a creative funk of late, I pick up the camera and think "now what?"  It all seems too hard.  Perhaps I'm over thinking it.  Anyway, I feel like I need a bit of a creative kick up the backside, something to get me moving beyond the funk and back towards making and creating.  And while I've never actually managed to complete a 365, when I look back at some of the photos I took during my failed 365 challenges, I like the photos I took.  Not all of them, no definietly not, but some of them I like.  And some of the best ones (in my opinion) were taken at the 11th hour when I had nothing to give (or so I thought) and I just picked up the camera and snapped. "Hey presto. Photo done. Onto the next task of the day." So I'm contemplating doing a 365 again. 

Maybe I'll start on Monday.



It's no secret that our house has been having a few sleeping problems. E has never been the greatest sleeper, even at the best of times she has always struggled just to let her little body relax into dreamland. Although in hindsight we did have a pretty good thing going when while we were living in Germany.  Once she actually got to sleep, she generally slept well, waking only occasionally for the odd top-up. No problem.  It all went to pieces when we moved to Australia.  I was jetlagged, she was jetlagged and in addition to that completely overwhelmed by the move. For a while we clung to each other like it was nobodies business, an overtired Mama nursing her little girl everytime she made a peep (and she made plenty).   It took a few weeks but we eventually got over the jetlag and Emilia settled into her new home.  Only problem was that the lasting legacy of the whole thing was a fairly fractured sleep routine.  Everytime Emilia woke up she needed me to nurse her back to dreamland.  Sometimes it was twice a night but more often it was 4 or 5.  Last weekend we hit crisis point. There were tears and a sudden realisation that I just physically couldn't keep doing it anymore. What was broken needed fixing.

And so last weekend I stood in a section of the bookshop I never thought I'd be in and spent a good half an hour reading all the baby-sleep bibles. Turns out there's a lot.  With a little bit of reluctance I bought one that sat somewhere between "let your child cry it out" and one that promised a "no-cry" solution.  Nice as a no-cry solution sounds, it just doesn't seem realistic. We started lastnight. Safe to say I didn't sleep much lastnight. Crossed fingers we round a corner tonight and by the end of this week we'll be one the road to recovery and mending our broken sleep. And then... and then I'm hoping that I'll be able to emerge out of the foggy shadow of tiredness that is lurking over me and enjoy the summer.

The picture above is my first selfie for a photo project that I'm doing as part of Urban Muser's "In the Picture" challenge - a selfie a week for 2012. Hopefully I'm up for the challenge.


Between Christmas and New Year


A beach tent bought in the sales, left-overs from a wonderful Christmas feast, three hats, a bottle of sunscreen and some glorious summer weather (at last!) - these were the makings of two wonderful days spent at the beach between Christmas and New Year. I always find that time between Christmas and New Year quite magical. Everything goes quiet.  It's almost as if the world, just for a second, holds it's breath and takes stock before the busy-ness of the new year begins.  There are more dreams and fewer regrets. I am quite convinced that magic happens in those five days, what with everyone making new years resolutions and all.  Everything seems just that little bit sweeter. Oh, but I digress!

I was initially sceptical about the beach tent, it seemed like an indulgent luxury and the traditionalist in me thought that the only things required for a good day at the beach were bathers and a towel. Five minutes of shielding Emilia from the sun and I was a convert.  We even managed a nap under said tent!  In the end, the water was still too cold for little toes, but watching the waves and feeling and tasting the sand was more than enough excitment to begin with. We came home with sand everywhere and that wonderful beach smell of salt and sea mixed with sunscreen and sweat.  They'll be more of these days, I'm sure, but for now the memory will have to do as we head back to work and the daily hum of our new life in Canberra.  The busy-ness has begun again.


A Year in Review

January - Deep winter snow in Vienna, Austria
February - Slow sunrise in Frankfurt, Germany
March - Celebrating Carnivale in Cologne, Germany
April - Late snowfall on the Austrian Alps
May - Early Spring sunshine in Berlin, Germany
June - Catching some morning rays on our balcony in Berlin, Germany
July - welcome Emilia!
Father of the Bride
August - Father of the bride, Vienna Austria
September - Wandering the streets with babe in arms, Berlin Germany
Andrea and Gloria - Berlin-13.jpg
October - Another reunion; this time with kids in tow
Emilia 4 months-26.jpg
November - Goodbye Berlin, Hello Canberra!
December - the beginning of a long summer, Bateman's Bay, Australia

 I think at some stage this year I decided that my 2011 word was going to be rhythm. On reflection I couldn't have chosen a word that would less reflect my year in any way shape or form.  Pregnancy, finishing work, having a baby and then making the momentus decision to move back to Australia was not exactly condusive to finding an easy rhythm in which to wander through life.  There were moments when it seemed as if I'd just tackled one hurdle only to see another, even larger challenge, looming up ahead. Rhythm seemed an elusive concept present only in other people's lives. And yet.

And yet you could perhaps argue that there is rhythm in even the most staccato'd work, that even the most modern of melodies has a rhythm if you allow the music to flow over and around you and let it seep into your pores.  And so if I stop thinking for a few moments and forget about the to-ing and fro-ing, if I just close my eyes and feel the year (as strange as that may seem) I find I did find a rhythm after all. Not a day-to-day rhythm nor the rhythm that comes from the steady beat of a drum or the tredging of feet down a well worn path. No my rhythm was all topsy-turvy, unexpected and slightly out of kilter with what you would predict. A fast-paced rhythm with only the occasional silence that might allow you to catch your breath. And if I'm being perfectly honest I expect that this rhythm will be around for time, because, I discovered, it is the rhythm of Matthias, the rhythm of Emilia and the rhythm of me. It is the rhythm of us.


How were your holidays? Ours went something like this.
Christmas 2012-8.jpg
Christmas 2012-5.jpg
Christmas 2012-94.jpgChristmas 2012-9.jpgChristmas 2012-66.jpgChristmas 2012-27.jpgChristmas 2012-18.jpgChristmas 2012-87.jpgChristmas 2012-49.jpg
As my Dad pointed out it had been six years since all four girls were together in Melbourne for Christmas. And with six years came the addition of five new people to the table. There was more food than any of us could possibly contemplate eating, naps for everyone in the middle of the day, good wine, bonbons, bad jokes and even a Christmas carol or two thrown in at the end of a long but wonderful evening. And at the end of it all we attempted a photo of Nanou and Dapa with the grandkids. I'm hoping that someone else might have got a good one of them all, although the silly one will perhaps always be my favourite.