8/52 {celebrating}

It was so lovely to celebrate my Dad’s 80th birthday today with all our tribe, including my three members of “Grandad’s Fan Club”, with the t-shirts to prove it.

Happy birthday to the best Dad a girl could wish for. We love you x

52-8-1charlie: I wonder if you’ll remember celebrating your Grandad’s 80th birthday just like I remember how we celebrated my Grandma’s 80th. I wonder if you know just how loved and cherished you are, a member of Grandad’s Fan Club and part of this loud and crazy, wonderful tribe. 

52-8-2nicholas: Oh, it’s so good being able to walk and see the top of that food table now, isn’t it?! You were in your element today, playing with all your cousins and selecting your favourite snacks from the table. While I kept an eye on where you were, I didn’t need to worry about you. You were well nurtured by all your mother hens.

Joining in the 52 Project at Practising Simplicity ~ a portrait of my boys every week in 2015.

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7/52 {love}

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We’ve never been ones to give Valentine’s Day more than a passing nod, but I can’t imagine feeling more loved than I do by all four of these boys, on 14 February or any day. And, I’m never more in love with my husband than when I see how much he loves these three ragamuffins. He makes my heart sing.

With the invitation to celebrate a Valentine’s Day wedding at Mt Tamborine with some lovely friends, we took the opportunity to escape for two nights and enjoyed the peace that accompanies being sans children. Oh the tranquility. It was a fun weekend, a beautiful wedding celebration and a much needed break for two weary souls.

But I did love seeing those three little faces when we returned today.

52-7-3charlie: Before we’d even made it to the front gate after our weekend away, you had run up the stairs and leapt into my arms, wrapping your spindly arms and legs around me. I missed you too. Your enthusiasm for school and thirst for knowledge is making me so happy at the moment, and I loved watching you practise writing your name this afternoon. 

52-7-4 52-7-5nicholas: Whenever you see the camera, you tilt your head and say “cheese”, more than happy to pose and perform when you’re in the mood. In amidst all the real life and chaos, your presence is such a shining light in our lives. If you’re having a cuddle with me and Daddy or one of the boys walks past, you call them in for a group hug. You are the glue, and I just can’t imagine our family without you in it.

Joining in the 52 Project at Practising Simplicity ~ a portrait of my boys every week in 2015.

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6/52 {changing landscape}

DSC_3968Over the past month, the landscape of our family has shifted more noticeably. Our babies are growing up.

Nicholas moved from a cot into a ‘big boy bed’ just after Christmas, and more boxes of baby paraphernalia were packaged up and shared with the newest baby in our tribe. The shift into a bed was relatively pain-free for all of us, thankfully, although some mornings we hear “hello” through the door a little earlier than desirable and he often naps on the carpet beside the door during the day. But, you know, while it’s definitely more convenient having Nicholas contained in a cot (and not having to clean up the tornado after he plays with every last toy until he falls sleep!) I do love watching his surge in independence, knowing that he is now the master of his own bedroom.

Our baby started walking. He is in that in-between stage where he will still crawl if he feels like it’s a safer or faster mode of transport, but it’s lovely to see those little legs getting stronger and more confident each day. I still watch in awe.

As of last Friday, Nicholas now goes to daycare one day per week at the same centre the big boys went to. While I put his name down on the waiting list some time ago, in all honesty, I never actually intended to enrol him. But when I was contacted by the daycare centre about an available place, I realised it was me who wasn’t ready. I knew in my heart that my little social butterfly would love spending the day playing with other children and learning through their interactions.

Charlie started Prep, and we now have two boys at school. Charlie is so different to Sam and I did have moments of worrying whether he was truly ready, but I have to say that so far I am impressed with how well he has taken being a ‘big school boy’ in his stride. Oh sure, we’re still working on independence and some mornings he’d much prefer to play ninja turtles than get off to school, but we’re only in week three. Charlie has a beautiful teacher who I am sure will nurture his creative spirit beautifully and gently keep him in line.

My biggest boy was very ready for the move into Grade One. Sam was looking forward to finally being able to wear navy socks, rather than light blue Prep socks, but not so keen on the idea of the “heaps” of homework he had heard Grade One had in store. He has lost even more teeth and more are growing in the spaces, and he can tie his own shoelaces now. With his beautiful teacher to guide the way, I can’t wait to see all he achieves this year.

And, I, too have been venturing out of my comfort zone and have just returned to work alongside my beloved husband and the fabulous team at Grassroots IT. While my brain felt slightly weary after day one, I am looking forward to sinking my teeth into some projects and hopefully adding even more value to our business in 2015.

I remember when Sam was teeny and I somehow didn’t want him to get any older than 12 weeks because then I wouldn’t have a ‘newborn’ anymore. But, of course, he did keep growing and changing and I delighted in each new phase, new milestone, new development that I had the honour of witnessing as his mother.

I could dwell on the fact that my babies are growing up, and there is something very special about their ‘littleness’ which I will continue to cherish every day, but I know that there is also so much good yet to come.

Here’s to changing landscapes and new beginnings.

“And suddenly you just know it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” ~ Meister Eckhart

52-6-1charlie: So handsome with your new haircut and in your school uniform. I can hardly believe that you are a big school boy when it feels like just a moment ago I brought home my snuggly second baby. I am so proud of you and the beautiful boy you are growing into.

52-6-2nicholas: No longer a baby, you left the safety of my arms this week and, with backpack on, ventured into new territory at daycare. I know you will love playing with all the kids and learning new things. I’m sure that some lessons, like not spending all day turning on taps in the bathroom, may come harder than others. I hope that by getting to know you, the children, parents and carers you meet at daycare also learn a few things – just as I have over the past three years.

Joining in the 52 Project at Practising Simplicity ~ a portrait of my boys every week in 2015.

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5/52 {last hurrah}

52-5-3We eagerly anticipated our last-hurrah few days away at the beach before returning to school routines, to indulge in some ‘holiday’ at the end of a month that had felt anything but relaxing. As the date of departure approached and we were in hospital with Sam, who’d been admitted with fevers, we wondered whether we’d make it at all. But we did, although a day later than planned, and it was lovely to have some quality time swimming in the pool, playing at the park, indulging in fish and chips and digging our feet into the sand. While it started off a little rainy, simply the change of scenery, being able to watch the sunset, breathe in the sea air and hear the birds as they busily chattered before bedtime was good for the soul.

You’d think in moments like these I would be great at getting the camera out and capturing the moment. But, no, a few iPhone photos and a lot more internal memories are all that remain…

52-5-1charlie: Your cherubic face on my shoulder, with another one smiling behind it, as we took selfies whilst waiting in the carpark for Daddy and Sam to pick up the unit key. We had arrived safely in Caloundra, albeit a day late and after facing heavy rain as we travelled on the highway up the coast, and we were so excited to have finally made it to holidays. And as you looked at our reflection, you whispered sweetly into my ear, “Mummy, you have green laser beam eyes” ;)

52-5-2nicholas: Such a big boy now, you approach any playground with gusto, loving to climb and face each challenge. You happily make friends and watch big kids and chat to passersby, but if anyone tries to move your big brother’s shoes, they’d better watch out – you are quick to ensure they are returned to their rightful owner ;)

The images from this week have been taken on the iPhone 6.

Joining in the 52 Project at Practising Simplicity ~ a portrait of my boys every week in 2015.

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4/52

52-4-1nicholas: My mini-Maestro, looking so picturesque at your Uncle’s piano. True to the stereotype, you do love music (but who doesn’t, really?). I heard the voice of my late ‘Gram’ as I reminded you to play just “one finger at a time.” I wonder if you will learn the piano one day, as your mother and uncles and aunties have before you.

52-4-2charlie: There’s nothing better than discovering a stash of treasures on our doorstep, especially when they come in the form of a Fireman’s helmet, water backpack and hose. We are so fortunate to have such wonderful neighbours who think of us when handing down special toys and costumes.

The Nikon is feeling very unloved. The images from this week have been taken on the iPhone 6.

Joining in the 52 Project at Practising Simplicity ~ a portrait of my boys every week in 2015.

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3/52

52-3-2charlie: Oh you and your cheeky face and mop of golden hair. If only I knew you were using your multitude of skills for good and not evil. If only I knew for certain that you were going to use that rake in a magic trick and not launch it towards the unsuspecting crowd.

52-3-1nicholas: Your hair was shimmering in the sunlight that was peeking through the trees. Those big brothers always keep you mesmerised with their shenanigans.

Joining in the 52 Project at Practising Simplicity ~ a portrait of my boys every week in 2015.

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2/52 {on the edge}

I probably need to put in a disclaimer that I love and adore my children. I really do. But I am tired. Physically, emotionally and spiritually drained from being their 24/7 beck-and-call girl for the past two months. I know that going back to school will just be a slightly different version of hard work, and I’ll miss the big boys when they are away each day, but I am also very aware that this mother is at breaking point and needs a little space right now. Just a little.

Oh, I don’t have high standards. I don’t expect to be achieving any of that elusive ‘me-time’ or such craziness while everyone is at home with me, but being able to unpack the whole dishwasher at one time or put on a load of washing downstairs without drama ensuing upstairs, or keeping one small area of the house clean and tidy? Oh, that sounds so dreamy right now.

Maybe it’s partly because Sam hasn’t been 100% the past few weeks and I overthink everything, perhaps it’s due to our first ever headlice infestation (and, hopefully, our very last – it totally tipped me over the edge), or maybe I’m just not doing it right, but lately this parenting gig has felt very very hard. Or maybe that’s just parenting.

But I’m trying to take deep breaths and enjoy little moments and embrace the mess. As Gretchen Rubin says, the days are long but the years are so short.

Seeing these beautiful faces on the screen while I know they are sleeping peacefully upstairs definitely helps.

52-2-1charlie: My little home body was so happy to have his special friend, Mikey, over to play while Sam went off to play with our Mikey’s brothers. Home Body and Social Butterfly both happy = win. 

52-2-2nicholas: We know from past experience that, for you, a new skill takes time to develop. While you are now able to walk independently, you still choose when and where you want to do it and some days you are braver than others. We know that you will do it in your own good time, but we are proud of how determined you are. We love watching your proud face when you show off your cleverness.

Joining in the 52 Project at Practising Simplicity ~ a portrait of my boys every week in 2015.

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