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in the light of the sun

moments of me and my life by the sea

burning questions I asked google this week

1. how to fold origami paper boats

because it’s been on my to fold list for too long now. they’re so easy! see! i added sails and coloured them in with some derwent watercolour pencils because I am totes still in primary school

2. when did the rum diaries start showing in cinemas?

because the other half is a diehard hunter s thompson fan and a dinner/movie date would be nice at least once this year. did you see it?

3. downton abby christmas special

because I just watched season 1 and 2 and whilst I don’t think it’s the most amazing television I have ever watched it is a *bit* addictive. have you seen it? johnny depp?!!

4. how to make your own leggings

because I am sick of all the boring ones I see in shops and the two grey pairs I purchased from kmart for $10 a year or so ago have been worn so frequently they are threadbare and holey. have you ever made leggings?

5. holdsworth centre playgroup hours

because I was crazy enough to take my son to a playgroup in Woollahra with spoilt eastern suburbs kids and their snooty mums and their designer prams and their designer gear and their obnoxious behaviour…at least we got out of the house.

little bit shy and overwhelmed by the prospect of playgroup with the bigger kids running around but liking this big red car a lot!

6. how to make wooden drawers glide easier

because opening and closing the chest of drawers in our bedroom requires herculian effort and i for one am sick of it

7. yann tiersen new album

because we are going to see him at the metro on thursday! and here is some of his amazing new stuff  – 

8. when is mothers day?

because I need to start dropping hints. serious hints. about how awesome I am. just in case my boys forget it.and make sure i organise something for my own awesome mother of course.

What burning questions did you ask google this week? Care to share?!

hugs and kisses

Happy times on the swing. Want to insert bad pun about mood swings here...

Wolfie has really been putting me through my paces lately. He has been so grumpy, frustrated, prone to temper tantrums complete with the arched back and flailing arms. He’s only 1. He even bit me on the arm the other day because I wouldn’t let him eat the cat’s biscuits. I thought I had another year til the tantrums of the terrible twos came into full force. Perhaps he is a fast learner. Perhaps he’s just warming up. Oh hell!

I mostly blame teething troubles which leads to sleeping troubles which leads to overtired toddler troubles. And no-one is at their best when overtired. Don’t I know it!

But whatever the reason I have been trying to cope with this new behaviour with compassion. I try to hug it out. Which can be tough with a wriggly, angry, frustrated toddler writhing and wailing in your arms. But I hold tight and keep hugging. I’m not entirely sure it works but I can’t see the logic in using violence to tell my child I don’t want him to act violently. I have been reading a few other articles with ideas such as this one about empathy and this one about applying the HALT method to better understand difficult behaviour. And if all else fails I step back and count to 10, hoping my blood pressure will drop back down to normal and we can continue whatever task we are trying to get through, such as eating dinner or changing nappies…that and I try to remember we live in an apartment building and everyone will hear me yelling if I lose my cool and think I am a terrible parent so as a last resort I guilt trip myself into remaining calm.

Maybe I’m getting worried about nothing, maybe it’s perfectly normal behaviour, maybe I should let it go but there is a tiny voice in the back of my head freaking out about behavioural issues and anger management and him turning into a beastly bully. It’s hard when you don’t have any previous experience and nothing to compare it to…

If you have any ideas/opinions about tantrums then I’d be interested to know. If you have any ideas about how to maintain your cool in a stressful situation, whether you are a parent or not, I would be VERY interested!!

 

at the farm

sunset at the farm

We skipped town for a week of peace and quiet. No washing machines whirring, no dishwashers draining, no tv blaring, no neighbours banging on the ceiling, no cars beeping, no mobiles ringing, no bright lights, no laptop, no facebook, no distractions.

our olive grove, growing olives for harvest real soon!

Just us three, the birds, the fresh air and billions of stars. I had forgotten about stars. Would you believe it?! I had forgotten how many stars there are to be seen in a rural night sky. Breathtaking stuff. Puts things in perspective again. I’m just a tiny little dot in an enormous universe, that has been in existence for billions of years before me and will continue to exist perhaps billions of years after I am gone.

There was quite a bit to put into perspective. We really needed to sit still for a moment and take a deep slow breath, in and out. Catch our breath, process our thoughts. Consume less, live mindfully, and think about how we can continue to be like this back home. We live in an incredibly expensive pocket of a beautiful city and sometimes it feels like it keeps me alive, sustains my senses, but is strangling me at the same time.

early morning misty mountain view from the verandah

We thought about how to live simpler, how to spend less money in a city that thrives on consumerism. We thought about how to wean our sleepless son from breastfeeding all night long. We thought about how to make our travel dreams come true. We thought about how we would cope living overseas without our support network of family and friends. We thought about how to get jobs in a country where we don’t speak the language. We thought about how I could get a job in a country where I do speak the language. We thought about what it might be like to get a good nights sleep, several nights in a row rather than once in a blue moon.

Now we’ve just got to put those thoughts into action. Bags not starting with the weaning though. I know how to save money, I’ve done that before. But weaning a clingy, incredibly loud, overtired baby in our one bedroom apartment seems like a task too huge for me to tackle right now…

early morning (or late night?!) art activities...

(Ironically, as I type up this post, there has been a power blackout and I have no electricity or internet or tv. The universe is mocking me, right?!)

pets, food and babies

I don’t know why but I resisted the instagram trend for quite some time.

What I thought I was resisting was iphone users taking pics and making them look old skool lomo style without actually having a holga or a diana or film of any description. Well that may still hold true but what I was missing out on whilst trotting away on my moral high horse was the awesome loveliness of endless streams of pretty pictures! Like twitter but prettier!

Admittedly, most of the pictures are of people’s pets, food or babies. But hey, I like pets, food and babies so I am okay with that.

A facebook friend and old uni acquaintance posted this on facebook. I am guilty of the above. I think the message applies for instagram too. But hey, look at my baby!

 

The part I like most about using instagram is that it helps me stay positive when I am tired and frustrated and keeps me looking for the silver lining each day. Reminds me to stop and smell the roses. To look up again. To breath it all in and love it out. And I don’t have to pay to get my film developed. Which is handy when you are a budgeting stay at home mum in a single income household.

But I’ve got to think of photos to take that don’t involve my baby.
That can be my new challenge. The ratio of Wolf shots is very high. But…look at my baby!!

 

 

So if you are on instagram I would love to see your pets, food and babies, or whatever else is happening in your world. I think my username is inthelightofthesun. Let’s hang out instagram style!

 

You Make Me Happy

Our invites gathering on our fridge. Yes, that is our own wedding invitation sitting next to Wolfie's birthday party invite!

Wolf never got to have his first birthday party. It was all planned of course but then he got a nasty vommity stomach bug in the week leading up to it and we thought it best to not spread horrid gastro germs to all his friends and family. I live in hope that we will find another sunny weekend when his Dad is not working and his family and friends are free…sometime before his second birthday rolls around!

Meanwhile I thought I would share with you the invitations that I made for his party because I am rather proud of them if I do say so myself. Whilst not entirely original (is anything these days?) they did take a lot of effort – first paint Wolf’s hands and feet for prints. Try to limit the amount of paint that gets everywhere with a squirmy painted toddler. Scan prints. Photoshop prints into the invite. Print out invites on wonky old printer. Curse. Reprint because they have all come out upside down or lopsided…

A Very Hungry Caterpillar themed birthday invitation

Inside the invite

He does look a bit like an oompa loompa with that big red caterpillar head, doesn’t he? It’s a bit creepy really. But I kinda like creepy sometimes.

I think his feet make beautiful butterflies. They are enormous feet that I actually had to scale down to fit onto an A5 sized sheet of paper…

I also made some mixed tape CDs to give out as party favours to all his guests as I don’t think babies need to eat lollies really and I don’t like all that throw away plastic crap that gets handed out at parties then promptly forgotten and discarded. And everyone loves music right?! Especially this party animal. If there is no music on in our house Wolf demands it be turned on right away with an indignant point at the ipod dock. Then bounces along happily to whatever tunes come out with a smile on his face. Bless him.

You Make Me Happy CD
You Make Me Happy, Wolfie's Favourite Songs for You, On His First Birthday
The Playlist

I used a cd cover template from this website. The title was inspired by this AshleyG artwork. The background to the playlist was ‘borrowed’ (stolen!) from this amazing artist. I figure since it’s not for profit, just for smiles and love, that those artists won’t mind me using them as inspiration. It’s probably illegal to even make a mixtape these days anyway right?! Why stop there?!!

There is actually only 3 childrens songs on this mixtape, the rest are just songs that Wolf enjoys bopping along to, or having some quiet calm down time with. I believe there has to be some kind of compromise when it comes to music and kids – everyone has to enjoy listening to it! Needless to say this is on high rotation in our house and it never fails to lift the mood on a weary or dreary day.

If you’d like a copy of Wolfie’s mixtape birthday songs, you’re more than welcome to one, whether you are an adult or parent! I have a whole pile of them forlornly wishing to be played and enjoyed… Let me know and we’ll post one out to you!

 

(Also, tom just pointed out to me that we have 3 images of people smoking on our fridge! that’s so uncool! Better sort that out pronto…)

 

save the paper wildlife – amateur hour at the crafting table

Image
Washi Tape and Paper Bunny

I was feeling a bit inspired last night and wanted to create some washi tape art as a present for my cousin’s baby girl. How long do you think it would take for someone to cut a bit of paper and tape and stick it together? 15, 20 minutes? Hours later it was almost midnight and I still wasn’t happy with the result.

I just don’t dig it. It looks stupid. I just can’t do cute faces. Or maybe the frames are too small? Or the colours wrong? Or the shapes? 

Here are my other attempts…

 

Image

 

I don’t know. Any idea’s on how to save these little critters from the bin?

 

 

 

 

 

 

living in the library

Are you handy around the house? Do you have a handy man perhaps? I wish I knew how to use the drill. I located the drill, located some screws and sockety things, marked the spots where to drill in the wall and set about nagging my husband to do the rest. Luckily for me he obliged on the one day off he had this week. Then he had a hell of a time getting the things in… screws broke off in the wall, drill bits bent and twisted, shelves were hung slightly less than straight…but I did not complain. All I could see was the awesome!

Wolf's reading corner in his room

Wolfie sleeps in a sunroom next to our bedroom. It feels a little bit like shoving Harry Potter in a cupboard under the stairs – but Harry turned out alright so I think Wolf will be fine. We live in a one bedroom apartment and as such space is at a premium. Despite the fact that Wolf is already in the smallest room in our home, he also has to share it with a giant Expedit bookcase from Ikea. So it’s kinda like he sleeps in a library. Which is amazing, of course!

In keeping with the library theme I thought it would be nice to brighten up the walls with some books on display. Enter the Ikea Ribba frame shelves!

Please excuse the fuzzy iphone photos, we were too excited to find the real camera. Look! Books!

Wolf loves them. I love them. Tom loves that we love them. It was worth all the DIY pain.

You may have noticed the 4 Ikea Ribba frames hung above the shelves – another act of DIY pain as they don’t supply the correct hooks to make them hang from the wall, thanks Ikea, and so I had to buy four more frames to use their sawtooth hooks and wire them up myself. Ridiculous. But I purchased those prints well before Wolf was even born and they had been sitting there, in the frames, waiting patiently to be hung so I am pleased they are finally on display! They are pages from a vintage children’s book from the 50s. I took a gamble that we were having a boy and that we might name him Wolf. Lucky he was a boy otherwise we might have had to call our daughter Flow!

Ah Ikea. It fills you with inspiration and potential then you get it home and want to end it all. Maybe it’s best I don’t learn how to use the drill after all.

EDIT – Hmm since it is International Women’s Day today I think ending this post on how I probably won’t bother to learn how to use a drill and how I get my husband to do all the handywork around the house is a bit misleading. Well. Maybe it’s not misleading but I do want to say I am up for more than your usual gender stereotypes. (I am also bone lazy and would rather someone else do the hard work around the house sometimes! But as a feminist I believe I have a choice.)

Yes, I am a stay at home mum these days, and a wife. I don’t get paid for my work and I don’t help pay our bills. But I definitely consider myself equal to my partner, and to others, and believe I have the right to choose what I want to do with my life and how I live it. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by so many amazing women; inspirational, courageous, bold, nurturing, intelligent and compassionate women who support me on a daily basis. Thank you for making me proud to be a woman.

do you smile at strangers?

awesome babar poster via pinterest

I have a favourite second hand book store. It is within walking distance of my home. They make great coffee. They serve tasty, affordable food of the savoury and sweet variety. They have comfy couches and big tables to sit at. They always have books I want to buy and I rarely leave empty handed.  They have an awesome facebook page which makes me want to visit them all the time. I am always ‘liking’ their status updates.

But when I get there the experience is often tainted by THE grumpiest owner ever, who must be allergic to smiling and I always leave desperately wishing that she would flash me her pearly whites. Just once.

Don’t get me wrong, she’s no Bernard Black. But either way, I don’t feel very welcome in her presence, which is a sad state to be in when you are in a small local business struggling in tough financial times selling second hand books.

Perhaps it makes me a very needy customer for wanting a smile with my customer service? I should be satisfied with my book purchase and hot coffee? I should just keep hitting like on their facebook updates? I should just quit trying to feel good and spread the love by exercising facial muscles in the company of strangers?

A smile costs nothing. It would hardly add to their business costs. But still, I won’t judge. What do I know about running a second hand book store cafe?!

Incidentally, not only did I smile last time I was there but I even laughed out loud. Wolfie and I popped in to purchase his one and only birthday present from his parents – a mint condition copy of Babar’s World Tour. When funds are tight you have to prioritise, you grow out of clothes, but never books. As we were paying for our purchase the guy behind the counter asked –

“Is that Fox?”
“No, it’s Wolf” I replied. “Wait, what did you say, sorry?”
“Oh we have a regular customer who has a baby who looks just like yours and his name is Fox. I thought it was you guys.”

So Wolf has a doppelganger named Fox! What are the chances?!

Anyway I will leave you with some Babar as I dream about smiling at strangers all around the world…

le voyage de babar

“Pack a sweater, a bathing suit and a pair of pyjamas. Wear comfortable shoes,” Babar said to his children one morning. ” Your mother and I have a surprise for you. We are taking you around the world!” “You will see places different from Celestville and ways of life that are different from the one you know.”

– from Babar’s World Tour by Laurent de Brunhoff.

true grit served with a side of flatbread

Last night, after a particularly loooooong day of dealing with a sick bubba who is recovering from an entire week of vomiting and is starving for food and constant attention and breast milk even though he never usually cares about any of these things at all, deep breath, I was informed by my darling partner that it was our 9 year anniversary.

I immediately crumpled into tears. For the 86th time that day. I had completely forgotten. I was that person who had forgotten to shower their beloved with love and appreciation on the anniversary of their blossoming life together. I had not bought flowers, made a nice, thoughtful meal or even penned a simple love note. All I had done was send him frustrated text messages all day long documenting how little sanity I had left and begging him to come home from work.

Well at least he knows he’s needed. I also needed him to make dinner as I simply could not summon the energy for it.

True Grit

We settled down on the couch with our dinner and a wine to watch True Grit. The Coen Brothers version, which is truly a masterpiece and I hold a special place for it in my heart. I will never forget the first time we saw this film. The eve of our very last dinner and date night as a duo. Early labour pains kicked in at 2am that night. I sure needed true grit to get through that experience.

Even though I forgot our anniversary this year, I like to think that our partnership has true grit. You know, a firmness of mind or spirit; unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger.

And that even though I have been so overwhelmed by being a mother, I think I can be a mother with true grit as well.

And the flatbread you ask? Well I was reading about “the flat bread theory” over on Quiet Paws and it was like Tracey knew exactly what I needed to read, make and eat to nourish my soul. In her words –

“a truly great recipe is one which works with you time and time again, until one day the end result goes from being something great to something amazing. Cooking therefore becomes a form of creative collaboration between maker and recipe, with the partnership only revealing its full potential after a certain passage of time.”

Read the rest of her post here and get the recipe while you are at it.
I’m gonna summon some energy and make that flatbread and it’s going to taste like delicious true grit. I just know it!

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