Oi! We're in full-on dummy withdrawal around these parts. After a bit of prepping and preaning I managed to convince E that giving her dummies to a 'baby' that needed them more was a good idea. On Monday we wrapped up her four remaining dummies in some beautiful wrapping paper. A quick call to a heavily pregnant friend and we were in business. Seriously, what would we do without awesome Mama friends? She didn't drop a beat - of course her new baby would like the dummies! Actually she was just in the car and could pop around and pick them up. On the front step you say? I'll be there in a few minutes... E was less convinced.  After initially being right into the wrapping and sticking at some point she realised that this might actually be really happening and she got that look that kinda said whoa the train's left on this one and I'm not sure I like it.

Safe to say she's hating it. Tantrums with the occasional glimpse at a very articulate little girl. At some point last night between screaming episodes she sat up out of bed and asked "Where dummy gone? I don't want baby have it. I want it back." and a little bit later "I trying. I no want to sleep. It hard."  This, more than anything is breaking my heart. Two more days of this and the dummies are being unpacked and mysteriously appearing around the house again.  Baby can buy it's own.



A few people have asked me what it was like 'honeymooning' with a 2 year old and why we didn't just allow her to have an extended sleep-over with her cousins while we relaxed and enjoyed newly married life.  The short answer is we would have missed her too much.  The longer answer is a complicated mix of parental obligations, the challenges that come with taking a 2 year old out of her comfort zone, the fact that E is part of us and we wanted her there and a very real acknowledgement that our week in Salina was the first time that it had been 'just us' holidaying since E was born. And whilst I admit it probably wasn't a traditional honeymoon it was pretty wonderful.



I appreciate that I'm doing this backwards, but turns out you don't take a lot of photographs on your wedding day. You can, however, take a few on your honeymoon. Which is what I did.  We spent a very lazy week on a sleepy island that makes up part of the Aeolian islands between Sicily and the mainland.  We slept, we ate, we read books and occasionally we mustered up the energy to visit the beach. The summer season officially ends 30th September so we had the place almost to ourselves. Pretty wonderful and the perfect antidote to the craziness that had gone on the two weeks before.  

Back home now with a thump. Jet lag and the reality of routine getting the better of all of us but at least we all now feel recharged enough to deal with whatever comes next.



Random thoughts which may, or may not explain my state of being;

I'm getting married in 3 weeks.
In Sicily. To an Austrian.
The paperwork is not finalised and won't be until 4 days before the wedding.
There is an insurmountable list of things that need "doing" before I leave.
Like my tax.
And three photography assignments (Gah!)
Oh, and I'm interview for jobs for next year.
And filling out endless amounts of paperwork for said jobs.
E had an ear infection. It perforated.
Doctors, doctors, fever, rigors, no sleep, more doctors.
My little babe, who is growing up so very quickly, can now articulate how she's feeling.
And does.
"I no like Doc-tor She-wol, Mama. Mi-mi feel better. Go, Mama, Go."
Bless. Precociousness is a blessing and a curse.
Commuting 1 hour a day for work has confirmed why I (normally) choose to live and work within walking distance of each other.
I hate commuting.
Last week saw me driving 45 minutes across the city to drop (a sick) E off at Mum's house before heading back 1.5 hours in the opposite direction to go to work.
I briefly questioned my sanity.
I also said a small blessing to all mother's out there still 'mothering' their grown-up children.
The election sucks.
No seriously.
My sister is moving house and I don't have time to help her.
Ironically she is still finding time to help me with wedding related stuff.
At some point in my life I vow to repay the favour.
I need to see the dentist (it's been 5 years)
I did some wedding related knitting back in February. At the time I thought I was being perhaps a little too organised.
Now I know better.
E and her cousin's cardigans will not be knit.
At least we all have clothes.
I would like to be here more, but because of all the above I can't.
At some point in my life I will slow down and not take the most complicated route. This, I promise.



I am still without camera. The insurance company did, amazingly, come through but unfortunately my particular camera is out of stock and I am waiting on the next delivery. After pestering perhaps a few too many times last week I've been told that I will be "first to know" when they arrive. I'm resisting the urge to call again. In the meantine my phone will have to suffice.

Cool winter days and an open fire and I've got my knitting mojo back. I've finally finished a hat for me and I've been trying to quickly knit up a few baby friendly gifts as there seems to be another little baby-boom going on amongst our friends.  All the knitting and crafting goodness has been duely noted by E. Lastnight she insisted on doing a bit herself. Curious to see what exactly she had in mind I loaned her a "to be frogged" jumper. With the exception of not having a piece of wool in her hands, her technique couldn't be faulted. Lots of click-clacking with her eyes firmly fixed on the documentary playing on the Mac.  After a few minutes she was off being busy doing something else although it did get me thinking about crafty, woolly things that she might be able to do herself.

Does anyone have any ideas?  Woolly, crafty things for toddlers. I'm all ears.


a most ordinary, unordinary day

I had high hopes for yesterday. Lists and plans and errands and it was all going so very, very well until I got to Costco. I have a secret love affair with Costo. It is hiddeous and every kind of consumer-ism that I don't like but it happens to be not so very far from my house and, well, a 1-2 monthly trip to Costco allows me to stock-up on essentials that can't be found at the market. Nappies, tinned tomatoes and oats. Huge quantities befitting a family that eats porridge for breakfast and tinned tomatoes with everything for dinner. The nappies are self-explanatory.

But I digress.

Things were being ticked off lists.  E was being adorable (mostly), I had managed to squirrel 2 hours away during nap-time for some very important birthday sewing before dashing out to do the Costco run before dinner.  It was all clicking so marvelously into place. And then I lost my handbag.  Or more precisely, I think someone liberated it from my trolley in the carpark whilst I was wrestling with a not-so-adorable toddler, a ridiculously large trolley and a parking ticket.  When I finally got everything packed away into the car there was a small little knot of anxiousness wondering where my bag was but I dismissed it until I got home. But on unpacking the car it was clear that the bag was not there.  Checking three times didn't help. There was no handbag to be seen.  A trip back to Costco. No bag.  Poof! Gone. Just like that.

As I have tried to reassure myself many times over the last 24 hours it is not all bad. My wallet was thankfully in my hands. As were my keys. I was not mugged. E is safe. I am safe. There was no need to cancel any cards or reapply for pesky things like my driving licence.  E's very special toy "Hippo" that often hangs out in my bag - just in case - was also thankfully in her hands.  But my phone was not. Nor was my camera. They are gone. There were no photos on my camera (thankfully) but many, many photos on my phone which I will never get back.

It's such a silly thing really. They are possesions after all and replaceable. Hopefully insurance might pay for some. Oh but I do feel sick at the thought of it. My lovely, lovely camera gone.


documenting E - a new challenge

I have decided to set myself a huge challenge. I'm going to take a picture of E - or E's things - every day for the next year. It's going to be tough.  Actually, if my previous record with photography challenges is anything to go by, it's going to be almost impossible.  But I want to try. I'm not sure if everything I will document will end up here, but at least for the beginning expect a post a week documenting E.


1/365 : Even in winter all you want to do is be outside. 


2/365 : Mostly you're all over the place - running, hiding and pleading to be outside. Today after my shower I found you quietly doing puzzles. It must have taken you ages to line up the blocks "just so". After you'd finished you put it back on the shelf declaring your were "Fi-fished". I wondered if we'd perhaps taught you too well about the importance of being tidy.


3/365 : You've been so sick this winter. We've tried everything - Vicks vapour rub, humidifiers and lately - Ventolin. You hate it, riggling about all over the place and protesting madly about having the mask put over your face. Tonight I found you giving Teddy and Poupe (your doll) their Ventolin before bed.  "Teddy. Cough." you nodded at me and then "Hold. Still."


4/365 : I wondered what you thought of your first experience of "Australian snow". Were you disappointed?


5/365 : Stories are one of your favourite things at the moment. You take books everywhere - in the car, in the pram and lately you've even started taking them as 'show and tell' to childcare.  A new book everyday. You push books into the hands of anyone and everyone you meet 
"You. Read it?" Mostly they do.


6/365 : You were out of sorts today. I think you might be teething. You keep telling me that you've bitten your mouth and I guess you're gums must be sore. 


Snow (kind of)

Not a lot of snow on the mountains yet. Almost none in fact. No matter.  There was just enough for a bit of tobogganing and a quick snowball fight before we packed it in and had snacks in the sun.


breath. love. laugh.

This is what I've learnt over the last month. Sometimes change is good.  Sometimes no job might actually be better than a bad job.  Help can come from unexpected places and from unexpected people. Say yes if it's offered. Dust yourself off and keep going. Keep planning, keep dreaming. Sometimes the in-between-not-what-you-really-want might actually be exactly what you need.  Cut yourself a break. Breath. Love. Learn to laugh again. Proper belly laughs. Cry. Feel the frosty mornings and the chilly sea air.  Don't worry too much. It will be okay.

I'm feeling decidedly better again. Truth be told I hadn't quite realised how "not better" I'd been feeling until I actually started feeling again.  I've made a few changes around here. A bit of spring cleaning if you will. In the process I've switched over to Bloglovin' for my feeds. I'm still not entirely sure what the end of Google Reader will mean, but it seems to be important. If you haven't 'crossed over' yet then I suggest you do before the end of the month or you might find yourself without your favourite blogs. Bloglovin' or Feedly seem to be the picks of the blog feeding bunch.



I (we) survived a week of me flying solo. Hurrah! In the midst of the week there were two, yes two, sleeps through the whole night. I will not say it loudly but I do believe we may, perhaps, if we are very, very lucky getting semi-close to E feeling safe and secure enough to go it alone between the hours of eight and six. It has been a long journey but she is an impressionable lady and the suggestion that she might be able to sleep through the whole night - just like Otto (her cousin) - seems to have worked where the thousands of other methods we've implemented over the last two years have failed.

So buoyed by two nights solid sleep, M's return and some beautiful winter weather, we ventured to the Zoo and the beach.  Not a bad way to spend a weekend really.



No words for this one. Just E. My loveable, cheeky almost two year old E. 
Can it really be 2 years already?



I'm solo parenting this week. It's been a while since M has taken a long-ish trip and I admit I wasn't looking forward to it.  This time I decided to just slow down and take the opportunity to just "be" with E as much as possible.  To coax her through this time without her 'Papa' with as much grace and good humour as I could muster. In doing this I've let some things go. We haven't had toilet paper in the house since Sunday. We ran out of tissues yesterday morning. Thankfully we had some hand towels underneath the kitchen sink which seem to work and are not nearly as scratchy as you might initially think. I will make it to the shops before M gets back but so far spending time with E, with space in the between-times for me, has seemed much more important.

Last night E slept through, the whole night - I woke up to hear her singing to herself at 5.45 and my heart nearly exploded with happiness. The whole night! Happy baby sounds! A well rested Mama! These are things I wasn't expecting from the week. Oh happy day!



The mess that I alluded to last post is still not resolved. It's unlikely to be resolved for some time probably. Messes generally aren't.  I liken it to a ball of wool that's been played with by a kitten (or a toddler, as the case may be). It takes time, patience and a couple of episodes of Game of Thrones to untangle the mess. But eventually you do get there. And we will too.  

I start a new job next week and I'm quietly optimistic that it will be good. It will be different at any rate and at the moment different is good. 

If you're curious about the photos - I took them as part of my latest photography assignment - the Yarra River by night.  Despite owning a tripod, I've been quite lax in using it and have almost never ventured out after dark with photography as the main objective. The Yarra takes on a split personality at night - all sexy on the south bank with a quiet, slightly seedy undertow on the north. I found myself drawn to exploring the industrial lines and the solitude of the north side which somehow perfectly captured the sentiment of the river on a cold, wet night in May. 



I keep dipping in and out of this space.  I want to be here but I’m not quite sure how. It seemed much easier before. Life seemed much easier, in general. Before Melbourne. Before Canberra. Before I decided to uproot up our little family halfway around the world and demand that we call it ‘home’. 

Life is a bit messy at the moment. It’s messy and I’m a little reluctant to write about it for fear of sounding a little self-absorbed and pitiful. Perhaps the hardest thing about writing about ‘the now’ is the admission that 18 months into our Australian adventure it still doesn’t feel like home. There are so many reasons why - some of them have to do with us - but many of them are about Australia. I love this country. I dragged M and E here because I thought we could love it. Perhaps not immediately but I really, honestly thought that we could grow to love this place and that Australia would love us back. But it hasn’t. And we don’t.  I feel guilty for that, and somehow responsible too, even though conceptually I realise that there is nothing I can do.

There’s other stuff too.  An unfulfilling job, the anger of time spent away from E in an unfulfilling job, the push and pull of motherhood, of career, of tending to friendships and relationship, of finding time for ‘me’ only to realise it means less time for them. It’s normal stuff mostly but there seems to be a lot of it at the moment and it’s messy and a bit ugly and when you’re not feeling entirely peachy about your own life you don’t exactly feel like writing about it. You definitely can’t imagine anyone else wanting to read about it.

But today a friend posted this on her facebook page. And then I read this. And then this. I also listened to all of Patti Smith's interview here. She's cool. Actually all of these ladies are cool.  They made me  realise that maybe I might have something to say after all. I'm particularly smitten with Dear Olive, she might just be a new blog crush of mine.



I went on a school excursion to Cranbourne Botanical Gardens a few weeks ago. I was a little sceptical at first - Cranbourne doesn't exactly spring to mind when you think about beauty or adventures of a photography kind - but it turned out to be wonderful. The gardens are new, the last section was only opened last year, and they still have a bit of growing to do before becoming properly established but even now they showcase Australian flora in a way that I haven't seen before and it it's really quite wonderful. 

The structures of the garden are supposed to take you on a journey from the outback to the coastal inlets and out to the sea. Personally I didn't really buy into all that, I just enjoyed wandering around and discovering what was around the next corner.  All of the plants have been carefully selected to represent the different parts of Australia and yet none (none!) have the ability to seed at become weeds in the surround bush. This in itself is an amazing ecological feet.  If you're Melbourne based, the gardens really aren't so very far away and they're well worth a visit. I'm already looking forward to my next trip back when the trees have grown just that little bit more.


Love and Adoration

You have no idea how besotted E is with her cousin. No idea. Every single thing that Rowan does she thinks is awesome. Jumping - awesome. Running backwards - awesome. Sniffing snot back up your nose - awesome. We spent the day hanging out together on Tuesday, it being school holidays at all, and I have to admit, he was pretty awesome. Especially to her. He didn't mind one bit that all she wanted to do was hold his hand, sit on his lap, lean up next to him and snuggle. And we're not just talking about for a little bit of the day - we're talking six solid hours of in-your-face toddler love. When he asked why E always needed to be touching him, I said it was because she thought he was the coolest, funkiest boy to have lived. His response? "I'm not the funkiest boy I know; there are boys who dress funkier than me".  When he said that my heart jumped into my mouth and I had flash backs to school and the cool-kids and all that angsty stuff that I'm so glad to have left well and truly behind.  Part of me thought that he's far too young for all that and I was tempted to just dismiss the comment and pretend that it never happened. Or say some complete 'bull' about how he was wrong and everyone was funky in their own way or some shit like that.  Instead I told him that being the funkiest or the coolest didn't matter too much as long as you had good friends.  I don't know if it was the right thing to say but it seemed better than a lie.  And besides, even if he's not the funkiest kid, being patient enough to tolerate E trampling all over him and his toys for the day - Awesome!


Autumn Harvest

My Dad grows grapes. Not professionally but as a hobby. He planted the vines from seedling almost seven years ago and this is the fourth year he's been able to pick.  Goodness me, it's a fickle business this farming! Last year the wind got to most of the blossom before fertilisation this year it was the foxes. Yup, foxes.  Despite netting the vines well before the fruit ripened about 10-20% of the total harvest was scurried away by a family who, I think anyway, has taken up camp under the wood shed. Despite the small crop we went up and helped pick a couple of weekends ago. All in all it took less than half a day. E spent most of the time taste testing directly off the vine. I spent most of the time documenting photographing the occasion. We celebrated at the end with a bottle from the 2008 vintage and declared the weekend a success. Foxes and all.