Tuesday, September 30, 2008


We had such a wonderful day celebrating Che's first year. He was oh so happy and playful, laughing and giggling and dancing away. And yes I look at him now and see a one-year-old. He pulls tight around my neck when I cuddle him now, he blows kisses into the air and laughs into his belly. And all that has happened in last few days. It has been beautiful to watch him play with his birthday gifts and laugh with all his birthday well-wishers who came to visit for cake. I'm so proud to be his Muma.

I enjoyed organising his little party and wrapping his presents...but it was the opportunity to reflect on and remember the past year that really made my day. I created a little birthday table for him last week. And as I placed each momento on the table I came to understand how precious a child's birthday is for a parent. His blessing bracelet, his hospital band, the candle my mum lit at my blessingway and the same candle I lit during my labour, the mala beads he wore at his naming day and the necklace and pendant blessed by a Sage in Bhutan and given to him by his Ommi. Gentle reminders of his many blessings. And a firm reminder that he has and continues to enrich our every day.

Amidst the cake and the giggles there were lots of beautiful presents to unwrap and we all adore them. Especially this wonderful handmade homemade "Che Che train" from Che's newest little friend, Lilly. Thanks Lilly, it will be treasured forever. x

For me, birthdays have taken on a whole new meaning.

Monday, September 29, 2008

birthday boy

So special. Happy 1st Birthday Baby Boy!

Is there anything better than unwrapping presents in bed? Paper and ribbon flying everywhere, so much excitement...perhaps a little overwhelming. How cute does he look in his little red caboose Birthday crown?! There is so much to celebrate and so much to reflect on. A year of new life and a whole bundle of firsts. And today, for me, it's time to contemplate how life has changed because of this little man. It is, after all, a birth-day.

30 days of gratitude : 16

When I started this blog I thought I would post a few photos every now and then to share with friends and family overseas. Six months on and it has become a little bit more than that. It seems that there are quite a few of you that visit regularly, people that I have never met before. Funnily enough you seem to have a fair bit in common with me and no doubt if we lived in the same neighborhood we'd regularly meet up for coffee and cake.

For now I'm enjoying the sweetness of comments and loving the opportunity to wander around and find out what you have been up to.

And I'm bursting with gratitude...I'm very flattered. Because last week two lovely ones - madeline and megan gave me blog awards. Thank you so much ladies. The rules say I have to pick seven of my favourite blogs (14 because I got two awards)...but I couldn't just pick 14. You know I like your blog if I've ever left a comment so please, accept this award!

Potty Mouth Mama has also tagged me. Here's how to play...

1) Link to the person who tagged you
2) Mention the rules
3) Tell six quirky yet boring, unspectacular details about yourself
4) Tag six other bloggers by linking to them
5) Go to each person’s blog and leave a comment that lets them know they’ve been tagged

I'm finding it a bit hard to grasp the concept of quirky/boring but here goes:

1. Apparently I sound like a magazine when I talk. I didn't figure this one out - Daniel did. Apparently I have the ability to say the absolute perfect sentence at the right time and that deems me 'magazine talker' worthy.

2. For the entire year of my HSC I studied. 4 hours each weeknight, 8 hours a day on the weekend. It worked, I got the mark I needed. I still can't believe my discipline.

3. I used to work at Alannah Hill. For those of you that know her designs you'll understand that it wasn't your average retail fashion job. I had to wear heels, red lipstick and flowers or feathers (the more the better) in my hair - all the time. It was my closest experience to being in a bubble. I'd be dressed head-to-toe in pink/floral/lace/roses etc etc looking like a little doll and I would feel completely normal. It was when I stepped out onto the street that I realised how over the top I looked. Oh the looks!

4. I've written a book on bridal fashion. I had 8 weeks to interview Australia's top 20 bridal designers and write 20,000 words on the history and style of wedding gowns.

5. Yoga changed my life. I began practicing at the studio where I was taught by Mardi. I was planning on heading for London to escape heartache but decided against it because of a big tax bill. Thank goodness for the tax bill. I began studying yoga to become a teacher, Mardi introduced me to her son...Daniel and I fell in love, 5 months later we were pregnant, we got engaged, our baby boy turns one tomorrow. It literally changed my life.

6. I've been christened twice. Once in the Anglican church, once in the Catholic church. Funny thing is, I don't go to church.

And finally...6 others who should share their quirky/boring (isn't that a contradiction?) personal facts...

the nutrients of life
ethel loves fred
the story hour

Must go...I have birthday presents to wrap. Oh I'm so excited for our little boy tomorrow!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

cowboys & indians

Oh how we had fun. Little cowboys and indians joyfully running wild and they all came together to celebrate Baby Che's 1st Birthday. It was warm and windy but so lovely to hang out under the trees and hit the pinata till the lollies rained down.

Baby goat Victor was happy with his little patch of grass and sweet treats put smiles on lots of faces.

Daniel and I feel so blessed that Che gets to grow up with so many wonderful little people. We feel pretty lucky to know their parents too.

I've only just realised that it was on this day last year, in the evening, that so much of it began. Daniel and I ate dinner and then we watched this. I said out loud: "I am so ready to do this."

Che must have heard me because one hour later my belly began to contract.

Friday, September 26, 2008

30 days of gratitude : 15

Thankfully we are all on the mend and getting ready for tomorrow's celebrations. These marshmallow creatures are making an appearance, as is a baby goat named Victor. My little cowboy is getting ready to eat cake, yell Hip Hip Hooray and remind everyone, with absolute certainty, that he is going to be 1 (index finger pointed to the sky).

These little boots...I couldn't resist them. I'll keep them forever. Gratitude today for little boots and little feet to fill them.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

30 days of gratitude : 14

One of those days.
One of those weeks.
snotty nose
bad cough
unsettled sleep
bump on the head
not interested in food
diagnosed ear infection
fall down the stairs
bleeding mouth
cut lip
swollen lip
guilty muma

...and then I met a lady called Liz. A nurse and Australian Breastfeeding Association representative. Who told me that in a baby's first year breastmilk should be their number one source of everything. Food comes second. Breastmilk is magical. Breastmilk will help heal his cut lip and keep him energised and vitalised while he recovers from his infection. I shouldn't worry about how much 'food' he is eating, I shouldn't worry that he is just a little tucker. He is happy and active and loved - the keys to growth.

Did you know that the world average length for breastfeeding is four years? And the western average is three months. Are western mothers ignoring the basic and most vital part of mothering? How can a jar of formula be more appealing than a soft, cushiony breast?

"So many mothers think that because they loose the Dolly Pardon 'look' they think their milk has dried up. There is no truth in that at all - it's just a natural change the body undergoes as it adjusts to feeding. There is still plenty of milk in those breasts," says Liz.

I was thinking I would wean Che at around this time - 12 months. But no, that won't be happening. I will keep feeding him all that natural goodness until he decides that perhaps he'd rather have a babychinno. Marshmallow on the side.

I doubt Liz will read this but today I am grateful to her and her comforting, reassuring words. Because sometimes, as a mum, you just need a bit of reassurance. You need to be told you're doing the right thing.

I needed to be reminded that I have a little boy.

And little boys tend to
and fall
and bump
and bruise.

At the moment
I can hear a giggle
and this makes me smile
so much.
I am so grateful
for a giggle
for happiness, healing and health.

Monday, September 22, 2008

30 days of gratitude : 13

Since becoming a mum I have truly learned the meaning of, among many things, patience. Of enjoying the present moment even if it is challenging.

One evening, a few months ago, when the calming/settling/putting to sleep phase was taking much longer than usual I became aware of patience in its fullness. I was hungry for dinner and desperate to sit down and talk with Daniel. I was tired, needy of a shower and a pillow. I didn't really want to be spending so much time getting Che into bed. As I sat in his room singing to him, chanting to him, rocking him, I became aware of the preciousness of the moment. How lucky I was to be spending these quiet moments before sleep with my little boy.

After he was asleep and dreaming I crept out of the room and went to Daniel. "You've really got to try and enjoy times like that don't you. Because if you become tense and annoyed by the situation you're just going to end up loathing it, eh?" He agreed.

In the last few weeks I've come to know what the morning looks like when you rise with the sun. When you awake to a little face pressed against yours or if you're unlucky, your hair being pulled. Every morning I have wished for just a bit more sleep. And I must admit, I'm not fantastic at getting up and dealing with the day when it is so so early. But this morning I got up and got going, pottering about as Che crawled along behind me.

And I was treated with beautiful spring light pouring in from outside. I placed Che on the chair and chatted to him as he sat there. I grabbed the camera and as I snapped away I managed to observe so many little nuances - little outbursts of happiness, moments of wonder, utter cheekiness. Perhaps it was my reward for being patient.

He's almost one. I just can't believe it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

yoga on sundays :: mantra

Irrespective of religion, tradition, belief or lifestyle I think this mantra will resonate with you.

do good
be good

the eightfold path of
Swami Sivananda Saraswati

Enjoy your week...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

30 days of gratitude : 12

Yesterday was a firm reminder of how hot our summers can be. It was sticky and humid and very very warm for September. I spent the day resting and feeding Che - he had a fever and just wanted to lie next to (or on) me. It is just so awful to see him unwell - I get so worried. No doubt it is an experience that all mothers can relate to.

As we rested and talked quietly to each other I did manage to read a few chapters of Rachel Power's book The Divided Heart - Art and Motherhood.

Oh Ms Power, I am so grateful to her. I have never met her, only read her words, her very beautiful words. In this intelligent and insightful read, she has interviewed some of Australia's most respected artists, writers and actors - all of whom are women and mothers. And they speak about their art, their creative passions and their role as mother and how it is hard, so so hard to balance the two. They are all divided.

It got me thinking about the last year and the way motherhood has changed me as a writer. I have so much more fuel, so much more passion for words and yet so little time to sit and write. Yes, words get written between stirring soup and playing with Che but there are some times when I wish I could have a full day to work at my craft. And if I did? Perhaps the illusive mother guilt would arise and I would sit at my computer torn and questioning.

Can we have it all? As mothers and artists. In time, yes. When our children are little and needy? Maybe, maybe not. Alice Garner speaks candidly about her role as mother to Rachel Power. Her reality being that her life as actor had to take a back-step so she could raise her little one. She chose to do it that way because she couldn't bear to miss out on those precious first few years.

Becoming a mum has unleashed a raw energy within me that I didn't have before. My writing is easily more emotive and lyrical and yet, at the same time, I have managed to become more analytical. Wonderful advancements for a writer and so bitter-sweet because of my lack of 'writing' time. A short story, a news feature, a novel will get written. There are sentences on notepads, cooking books, in my phone. But for now I am a muma, proudly so and soaking up all the experiences so that one day I can reflect on them and compose, in words, a story.

The story has already begun, there are words on paper but I have accepted that it may be a piece years in the making. Dream big, write when I can and if the dishes and the washing have to pile-up - so be it.

An art piece & motherhood...two immensely creative journeys - it's finding the balance that's so hard.

Friday, September 19, 2008

30 days of gratitude : 11

Yesterday I got out of bed and wrote a to-do list. It was long. And I was a little disappointed about my lack of spring cleaning...September will be over in 10 days time and there hasn't been much 'decluttering' going on.

Instead of staying inside, surrounded by the sight of a fairly messy house I closed the door behind me and went out for coffee. Coffee seems to inspire my organisation skills, creativity too.

Today, the air was warm and while Che slept I opened up the house and dusted away. It felt good to clean, to make things pretty, and it made me realise how much I adore warm days.

I love the spontaneity of life in Spring and Summer. Waking up in the warmth and throwing a dress on - no need to worry about layering. Lazy days at the beach, evenings spent at the local pizzeria, ice-cream at odd times of the day.

This afternoon I happened to witness Baby Che in his first ardho muktasana (downward facing dog pose). He stretched in the sunshine, the sand between his toes, fingers and teeth. My Baby Yogi connected to the earth beneath him.

I'm so grateful that we can take our living 'outside'.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

30 days of gratitude : 10

I gave this card to Daniel on his birthday two years ago. I hadn't known him long but at that stage we both knew we were going to be together for life. A few months later we conceived Ché - yes, it all happened very fast.

It was his birthday on Monday and when he hopped into bed that night he told me that it was the best birthday he'd ever had. This made me so very very happy.

I'm so grateful for my wonderful man. He's the greatest.

30 days of gratitude : 9

I generally don't like the wind. It makes me feel irritable and flighty. I usually stay inside with the windows shut. But yesterday Dada wanted to fly his kite so we headed to the local park and as the wind whipped around us I realised how beautiful wind-swept photos are. It's so easy to capture movement when a breeze is around. Gratitude, today, for the wind.

My favourite skirt - red, patchwork, gypsy-style, handmade...$6 op-shop treasure;

Che loves the wind, he loves the feeling of it on his face. Apparently he thinks my jokes are pretty funny. Fresh air + funniness = lots of giggles;

Saturday, September 13, 2008

30 days of gratitude : 8

On this day last year I looked like this:

At the time I felt puffy, heavy and slightly fed-up. I was close to 40 weeks pregnant and was happy to spend my time at home - day by day I internalised and became more focused on the imminent birth of my baby. That's Daniel's birthday present on the table...tomorrow is his birthday.

At the time I looked in the mirror and found it difficult to see any semblance of myself. I was sad about my stretch marks (Daniel says: "they're sexy, like tiger stripes") and I found it hard to believe that I would return to my 'light' self.

Why am I grateful?

Because now I look at that photo and see a beautiful, beaming pregnant woman so close to experiencing a joyous birth.

So thank you Daniel for capturing this moment so that in retrospect I can see the beauty that I was blind to.

30 days of gratitude : 7

Today I am grateful for sunshine on my back, lazy afternoons near the water's edge, eating sand and coffee at sunset. Yes...it has been a very very good day.

Friday, September 12, 2008

party time

I'm organising a birthday party for Ché. I admit that it's probably more for my amusement than his. I know that he'll enjoy the balloons and sweet treats but in creating this celebration I am hoping to create a memory. I know that one day, sometime soon, he will look at photos of his 1st birthday party and see love and happiness. I hope so.

It is also a chance for family and friends to gather and to recognise the part they have played in Ché's first year. A chance to "play games and eat yummy food" and the perfect opportunity to dress-up...and make a teepee.

As I plan this little 'do I am spending much of my time reflecting on the past year and subsequently feeling slightly emotional. It just goes so fast. I am busily finishing his photo album and collecting thoughts in his 'baby book'. I am thinking about the big belly I had this time last year and the rising anticipation that was so palpable. I am reflecting on the incredibly clear memories of labour and birthing - the rise and the fall of contractions, the deep breathing, the soft haze surrounding my whole being. And of course, those fragile moments after birth when I first held him to my chest, my heart. He cried and as soon as Daniel started talking he stopped his wailing and looked straight into Daniel's eyes. It was a magic moment - immediate recognition of his father.

One year on and I'm feeling the need to celebrate. Indeed, a wonderful year.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

30 days of gratitude : 6

...gratitude for the petals that have fallen from the stem...

30 days of gratitude : 5

I am proudly a stay-at-home-muma. And i am grateful...I feel lucky. So lucky that I can stay with my baby and watch him closely everyday. I feel blessed that I get to witness the intense concentration as he learns something new, his serious look as he is deep in thought and his wonderful expression of amazement when he sees something so new and exciting. Like a bird pecking at the ground or a helicopter flying overhead.

Monday, September 8, 2008

30 days of gratitude : 4

We live in a beautiful part of the world. And for that I am grateful.
Today we could smell the salt from the sea and feel the warmth of the sun heralding the onset of Spring. Lots of things to look at, to taste and to touch;

Sunday, September 7, 2008

30 days of gratitude : 3

Is it possible to be grateful for the nature strip? That bit of grass between someone's house and the street? Yes, I think it is. And today I am bursting with gratitude. Because my lovely Dad found a little red wagon a few weeks ago. The most adorable vintage red wagon that Che fits in so well. And soon when Che is old enough and strong enough he will be able to pull it along himself. His very own little red wagon. Shouldn't every little boy have one? Yes, I think so.

My parents still live in the little cottage I grew up in. I love that I can take Che there and see him explore the garden that I watched my Mum and Dad grow. And yesterday he chased the chickens for the first time. With no fear or worry he had a chat with one hen;

shared some herbs with the others;

and followed them all to the vegie patch;

Gratitude for the opportunity to let Che explore the garden I grew up in. An abundant garden tended with love. A set of little hands to touch its grass and a little mouth to taste its treasures.

yoga on sundays :: our teachers

Many yogis follow the spiritual teachings of a guru. Many gurus honour and respect the presence of the teachers that have come before themselves.

Our first teacher is our Mother.
Our second teacher is our Father.
We learn from many teachers in our life, in childhood, through adolescence and adulthood.

Today, here in Australia, is Fathers Day. What did your Dad teach you?

My Dad taught me to tread gently on the earth and encouraged in me a love of Mother Nature. And now I teach Che those same things.

Today was Daniel's first Father's Day. A recognition and celebration of (almost) one whole year of endless love, guidance and nurturing. He is a beautiful Dada and I feel blessed to be sharing this parenting journey with him.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

30 days of gratitude : 2

It's difficult to feel grateful when a tummy bug invades your home. That awful kind of bug that starts on the baby, then travels to the Daddy and eventually to the Mummy. And just as Bub is feeling like he wants to play and eat again his parents are wiped out with exhaustion and deliberating over a single slice of vegemite toast.

Yes, it was awful and now I can write this and be oh so grateful for good health. And for breastfeeding. It brought me so much comfort to know that even if Baby Ché wasn't interested in food he was still drinking enough milk - milk that would help him heal. So grateful.

Grateful also for Grandmas and their deliveries of chicken noodle soup, fresh muffins, lemonade and a bunch of tulips.

You can tell from the polaroid taken this afternoon that my little snugglepot (good resemblance eh?) has stayed pretty close to his Muma these last few days. What a shock to the system it must be for a little one to feel sick in the tummy. And now that he has been sick I truly believe what I have been told - that a child's awareness heightens after sickness and all of a sudden they are much more aware of the world around them. Today I looked at him and believed he was almost one - he is so dreamy, so interested...wondering and pondering.

So now I do plan to catch up on 30 days of gratitude in September and start enjoying spring - although our grey, windy cold weather wasn't very enticing today.

I'm grateful also for the wonderful thing that is karma. Earlier in the week I was having terrible problems with blogger and the formatting of my blog (don't copy text from a word doc to a blog post - it mucks up the html). Kindly, Michelle from Leni and Rose offered me endless advice over emails. Just so happens that her name was pulled out of the hat for the clothkits giveaway. No surprise really...she deserves it.