25/52 {bittersweet}

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As a busy week approaches, it’s easy to focus on the hustle and chaos and feel overwhelmed before it even begins. But there is so much good ahead. And sometimes we need to experience the craziness to appreciate the serenity, we need to fumble around in the darkness to appreciate the light.

So we will endure a week of packing boxes and rearranging furniture before the next phase of our house renovations begin, knowing that (hopefully) soon we’ll be cooking in a new kitchen.

We will feel the sadness of saying farewell to Ben’s Grandma, but appreciate the opportunity to hear wonderful stories of her life and spend time with family and friends who we don’t regularly see.

We will keep busy washing clothes and filling suitcases, knowing that soon we’ll be sharing a holiday with my whole tribe at the beach.

We will try to be patient with crazy, overtired boys who are very ready for school holidays, knowing that soon they will be able to run wild with cousins, breathe in country air and enjoy lack of routines for a couple of weeks.

I will aim to breathe and make manageable lists knowing that, in the grand scheme of life, the kind of busy that involves planning for renovations and family holidays is probably the nicest kind of busy to be living through.

PS. Chocolate cupcakes were from a packet-mix, so no fabulous Thermomix recipes to share. Free from gluten and dairy but not even remotely sugar free.

Mummalove 52-25-1-3nicholas: You loved helping me bake some cupcakes for Sam’s birthday afternoon tea with Grandma and Grandad. It occurred to me that I normally cook while you’re having a nap, and I usually use the Thermomix, so it was a fun and messy session with a bowl, spoon and measuring cups. It was obviously so foreign to be baking something sweet with me that you weren’t even remotely interested in licking the bowl ;) 

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charlie: You were quite happy to taste test a cupcake for me and couldn’t quite wait for Grandma and Grandad to arrive for afternoon tea, you were so hungry (as usual). Only a week to go until you’re on holidays, my darling. I know you are very ready for a break. I’m so proud of how far you’ve come in your first semester of school.

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

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24/52 {seven}

DSC_7521Someone we know turned seven today. Despite driving us crazy on occasion, he is all kinds of wonderful and, especially on birthdays, I am reminded how grateful we are to have Sam in our lives.

The big seventh birthday didn’t quite go according to plan. Ben’s 99 year old Grandmother passed away over the weekend, which is obviously not unexpected at her age but set a solemn tone while the family stopped and gathered and planned for her upcoming farewell. Then an upset tummy for Sam overnight on Saturday led to us postponing a session of jumping at Bounce with a few friends that was scheduled for Sunday. It was probably testament to how poorly Sam was feeling that he agreed, without question, that we needed to call off the birthday outing.

Thankfully, by mid-morning Sam was feeling much better and was madly riding his new scooter up and down our hallway. Once he felt up to eating again, he enjoyed birthday pancakes, and loved receiving a few surprise visits from friends and family who dropped by with presents (pretty sure it was mainly about the presents, but he appreciated the visitors too ;) throughout the day.

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It was very sweet hearing Nicholas sing Happy Birthday to Sam as we opened presents together on the bed this morning and he made sure to give Sam lots of birthday cuddles. We played games and read books, heard cousins sing happy birthday over the phone, watched a Scooby Doo movie and had fish and chips, as requested by the birthday boy. And, although there probably wasn’t as much bouncing and ice-cream as originally anticipated, I think the birthday boy had a pretty great day anyway.

Sometimes it just needs a little shift in perspective.

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Happy 7th birthday, Sambo x

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

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23/52 {long weekends}

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This long weekend seemed to appear out of nowhere and we have welcomed it with open arms, filling it with bits and pieces of unplanned loveliness.

Watering the herbs and having backyard lunchtime picnics.

Wandering to the creek, indulging in a sneaky macaron on the way, and throwing rocks in the water.

Hanging out with the neighbourhood kids as the sun goes down.

Early pizza dinners with friends, complete with dressups and putting on a trampoline show for the mummies, while all the Daddies go to the rugby.

Spontaneous trips to the local markets and buying a mountain of tomatoes to turn into Daddy’s special pasta sauce tomorrow.

Reading a real book on the couch whilst wrapped in a blanket, sipping a warm honey and lemon drink.

Extra weekend days are good for the soul.

Mummalove 52-23-3 Mummalove 52-23-4 Mummalove 52-23-1 Mummalove 52-23-7nicholas: Oh that Daddy of yours makes a good monster, sneaking up and nabbing you by the toes and making you giggle. Watering the herbs is your newest favourite job. I’m pretty sure you’d fill that watering can a thousand times if we let you. I love that you can now fit into the snuggly dressing gown that both the boys wore when they were younger. Pity we can’t keep socks or slippers on you, but we can’t win ’em all. 

Mummalove 52-23-6charlie: Not only is Daddy a good monster, but he completely got on board with your idea to create a giraffe when you appeared with a long stick and a blanket and told him to put shoes on his hands. But not before you had a ride on his back. Lucky Daddy is a patient man.

Mummalove 52-23-5Sam: Who took my baby and replaced him with a teenager? You have lost two teeth in the past week, and you are very excited about turning seven next weekend. My handsome boy is growing up. 

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

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22/52 {birthday wishes}

Two birthdays in the house made for a busy end of May.

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Even when the boys were tiny and not inclined to recognise that their favourite person was celebrating a special day, I was determined not to let my birthday fly completely under the radar and began the tradition of cooking my own birthday cake. This year, I received the wonderful gift of a weekend escape, so didn’t expect anything more than being smothered in kisses by my boys on my actual birthday, but it was very sweet when they appeared at my bedside, each with a bunch of roses in a different colour. The big boys were rather miffed that they weren’t allowed to stay home from school to be with me on my birthday though ;)

After dropping the boys off at school, Nicholas and I enjoyed morning tea with one of my closest friends and then we went home and I baked while he napped. My mum, sister and baby Polly came over for afternoon tea and shared in tea and birthday cupcakes (ala Quirky Cooking), then the five Loves went out for dinner at a local favourite spot so I didn’t have to cook or clean up. Motherhood may mean that birthdays aren’t quite as wild as they used to be (I’m kidding… my birthdays were never that wild), but I did have a lovely day.

Later that week, it was Daddlove’s turn for a celebration and I had been hatching a birthday plan. The boys enjoyed delivering one gift each and lots of cuddles to Daddy in the morning, which Ben loved, and Charlie’s whole Prep class sang happy birthday to him and clapped all the way up to 39, which I’ve no doubt was also a birthday highlight. But the real present was taking him out to a place he’d been wanting to go for forever – the Brisbane Jazz Club. Sans kids and under the guise of a romantic birthday dinner for two, we headed towards the city in a cab and, about a block away, I heard the little gasp of recognition as he worked out where we were going.

As we walked into the jazz club, two of our dear friends were already waiting at a table for four. Surprise! And then, before long, two more friends arrived, and another two and another two and one more couple, and pretty soon we had a jazz party for twelve going on. As soon as the music began and we heard the enchanting sounds of Charlotte McLean and the band, the look on Ben’s face was priceless and I knew he was in his happy place. Food, wine, good friends, jazz, river views and a night at the Stamford later, I’m pretty sure this birthday celebration will be hard to beat. Given that next year’s birthday is a more significant milestone, I’m really going to have to get planning early to top this one!

As is often the case, it was fun to celebrate my own birthday, but so much more fun to plan someone else’s.

Happy birthday my love. May there be many more celebrations ahead x

Mummalove 52-22-4nicholas: You were very brave when you took a dive into concrete this week, and didn’t let it faze you for long, but you did end up with a graze across your chin and quality bruise underneath. The graze looked even more impressive when you ate frozen blueberries later that night and the purple sunk in! Whoops. 

Mummalove 52-22-1charlie: You weren’t very interested in having your photo taken this week, so it required bribery and I was granted only two shots. I love how your long eyelashes glisten in the fading sunlight.

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

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21/52 {breathing space}

Mummalove 52-21-3After spending a busy week solo-parenting while Ben was in Sydney, whilst also fighting off the beginnings of a cold, I was very ready for some breathing space by the time he returned home.

A few weeks earlier, an image appeared in my Instagram feed from the gorgeous Emma Kate Co, detailing a workshop she was collaborating on at Paper Runway in Byron Bay. I fell in love with Emma’s design work over a year ago, so was excited by the opportunity to spend an afternoon sharing in her creativity and immediately emailed Ben to see if I could have a ticket for my birthday. Within five minutes, an email confirmation had come through from Paper Runway confirming my place. God love my husband and a conveniently timed upcoming birthday.

The following week, a text arrived from a lovely friend I have met through our chromosomally-enhanced kids. “Umm, I know it’s a bit random, but would you consider doing this Paper Runway workshop with me?” Would I ever. The Universe was conspiring.

So, Ben arrived home late Friday night and on Saturday morning, I packed a bag and hit the road, bound for Byron Bay.

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We had such a fun afternoon of creative play at the HeartFirst workshop, gathering with about 20 women from all different backgrounds within the simple but lovely space at Paper Runway. We were welcomed with a beautiful reflection by Carly Stephan, encouraged to play with black ink and write words from our heart, we explored photography with our phones and were introduced to new apps. We indulged in a beautiful afternoon tea by 100 Mile Table, and were given beautiful gifts to take home. Above all, it was so lovely to be there just to play, without specifically needing to have an agenda or outcome.

After the workshop, Ruth and I adjourned to The Balcony for a drink and tapas, to debrief and catch up. We watched the rainy street below from our balcony perch, shared stories and mulled over relevant issues without having to compete with small children for airspace.   It was a rare treat to spend quality time together. Tapas turned into dinner, but before long the table beside us filled up with a large group of noisy gentlemen and my sore throat was finding it difficult to rise to the challenge, so Ruth started her trek home and I made my way back to the hotel room I was calling home for the night.

As a mother of small children, the opportunity to spend time alone is rare, let alone a whole 24 hours. I think the idea of being alone for a whole night was so amazing to me that I’d completely talked it up to myself. The reality, on the other hand, was that I was so unused to being alone that it felt really uncomfortable. The hotel room was quite lovely, but my overactive imagination heard every noise and played out every possible scenario, which made it difficult to sleep peacefully. Rather than sit with a cup of tea and read in peace before having an early night, as I had previously envisaged, I put the television on for company and ended up falling asleep beside it far too late. I was thankful when the sun finally came up, but I did enjoy a little sleep in.

After a beautiful breakfast at one of our favourites, Byron Fresh, I indulged in a spot of shopping and picked up a few birthday presents. I actually don’t have much patience for shopping, but it was so lovely to wander without having little family members begging me to buy random items or waiting impatiently for me to return! Liberty Trading Co and Sweet Papillon are two of my favourite stores at Byron, but there are so many delightful treasures to choose from.

Mummalove 52-21-6 Mummalove 52-21-7I wandered up to the beach to soak in the sea air and sink my toes into the sand at least once before heading out of town. I had one more spot I wanted to visit before returning to my family – The Farm.

From the moment I arrived, I fell in love with The Farm. It is one of those places where I immediately thought of the many friends and family members who would also love it and wished I could teleport them there to spend the morning with me. A paragraph won’t do it justice, but suffice to say that it is very family friendly and everything from the food to the coffee, the fresh produce to the florist, the playground to the wide open spaces, and every step in between (including the amenities) is done very well. It is obvious that much thought has gone into the design and running of this wonderful space. It is a must-visit.

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I loved almost every moment of my alone time, but just like a horse who travels faster on the return journey, I galloped home to see my boys again. I sang loudly to my playlist on the drive home and my brain buzzed with ideas and dreams and thoughts that it doesn’t seem to have space for when I’m at home being a domestic goddess ;) I think I bounced through the doors when I made it home, eager to see my family.

Breathing space is definitely good for the soul, but home is where my heart is.

Mummalove 52-21-1nicholas: It was so lovely to have Daddy back again after a whole week away in Sydney. Throughout the week, you occasionally did shrug your shoulders and ask where “Da?” was, so you were very pleased when you got some sleepy cuddles with him on Saturday morning.

Mummalove 52-21-14charlie: You love your new dragon dressing gown (complete with tail) so much that I’m pretty sure you’ve worn it to bed a few times, which is probably good given you find it hard to keep a blanket on. Your blue eyes twinkle when you think of an idea or story to share with us.

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

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20/52

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Mummalove 52-20-1 nicholas: We had fun playing with bubbles in the garden and I do love your squeals of delight. Oh kiddo, when you hunch up your shoulders and give that coy smile? Pretty sure it’s so cute, it’s practically illegal ;) You are such a great little helper, putting away dishes from the dishwasher or taking a little pile of folded clothes to your room. I love seeing glimpses of the big independent boy you are becoming. 

Mummalove 52-20-5charlie: I’m very pleased to report that we seem to have had a breakthrough with our before-school routine and the past week of mornings have been so much more calm and pleasant. Hallelujah. You deserved a special afternoon tea treat for keeping on track.

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

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19/52 {mother’s day}

Mummalove 52-19-4So lucky to be the mother of these three beautiful boys, as tough as that job can be sometimes.

Mummalove 52-19-6 Mummalove 52-19-5 So grateful for the love of a beautiful and gracious mother, and a wonderfully supportive mother-in-law, as well as an amazing array of sisters, sisters-in-law and friends to share in this journey of motherhood with.

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My heart is with the warrior mothers who find it difficult to celebrate today. My friends, you are so loved and never forgotten.

As I mentioned last year, I try to get a photo with the boys each year on Mother’s Day. And what is a family photo without rabbit ears. Cheeky rabbits ;)

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Sending much love to all the beautiful women I know on this Mother’s Day.

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