Thursday, January 27, 2011

Summer fun!

Well, I can't say it's been particularly warm this Summer in Victoria but we're slowly starting to have some hot days (funnily enough these photos are from a 24 degree day!) The kids are always asking if they can fill up their pool so the other day I relented and let them have the hose. I went inside to do a few things while keeping an eye on them out the window and a few minutes later Jacob had discovered that he could squirt water on his slide which made him slide down it very fast. He was in fits of giggles over it! Esme soon joined in and a whole lot of chaos ensued with kids zooming down the slide and landing splat on their bottoms!

Jacob decides to squirt water on his slide

Esme soon joins in on the fun!

Jacob demonstrating to Esme how to turn the hose on and off

Esme delighs in squirting everyone and everything in her sight!

Of course, there was also some good old water fights with the hose with everyone getting their share of being squirted (including Mummy!) It really goes to show that it's the simple things that kids enjoy the most.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Spirits of the Sky at Healesville Sanctuary

A couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to get tickets to the media launch of the new bird show at Healesville Sanctuary (being a FOTZ member really does have it's perks!) The original show which featured birds of prey had been running for a number of years and the Sanctuary thought it was time for a change. Despite Jacob's initial reservations (last time we saw the show he was a little scared when the birds flew so close overhead) we all really enjoyed it. As well as all the regular birds of prey we also saw parrots and watched them perform some tricks.

An Eclectus parrot - such gorgeous colours!

This buzzard displays the strength of it's beak by breaking a plaster cast egg open!

This Corella demonstrates it's gift of the gab!

Wedge-tailed eagle - what a magnificent animal!

After the show finished we wandered round and watched the other animals. We were lucky enough to arrive at the animal hospital just in time to watch an operation. Some birds were being surgically sexed. The vet in charge talked about how Australian Zoos send birds to each other to ensure that the birds they breed are selected from the widest gene pool available - to avoid in-breeding basically! Depending on whether these particular birds were male or female would determine whether they were sent to Sydney or Western Australia.

Jacob was really interested in touching the stuffed animals that were on display and looking at all the bones. It was interesting to feel the texture of all the animals' fur. Some were soft and some were rough. I think Esme got a bit of a shock when she put her hand on the Echidna and realised the spikes were actually quite sharp. We enjoyed seeing all the different Australian animals although I think the highlight (for all of us!) was seeing the Echidna up close through the Cafe windows - such funny little creatures!

Up close and personal with some pelicans. Esme got a bit of a fright when she got a little too close to a pelican and it turned around to chase her!

Watching the Echidnas through the Cafe windows

'Prickles' the koala munching on some gum leaves. He was so close!

All in all, it was a really lovely day (despite almost hitting an Echidna on the road on the way home!) The kids were so good and walked for ages without complaining. It days like these that I love being a Mum.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A weekend at Hotham

Every January we head up to Hotham for a weekend. We're family members at a ski lodge up there so we participate in a work party to get some work done around the place. Despite the long drive (it's a 5 hour drive although it takes a lot longer than that with Esme in the car!) it's always really nice to get away for a weekend. We try to make the car trip as pleasant as possible and stop at least every couple of hours to let the kids have a play. There are some really great parks along the way that we've discovered since having kids! On the way up we stopped at Howitt Park Adventure Playground, which is in Bright. It's a huge playground with lots of things for the kids to explore. It's also right by the Ovens River and has an area that you can swim in, as well as a slide into the river.

Jacob tries out the slide at the Howitt Park Adventure Playground

Esme on the flying fox, with only a little help from Mummy. I can't believe she can hold her own weight!

Esme and Daddy relaxing by the river

Walking over the bridge to the other side of the River

While we were at the lodge we decided to walk up one of the ski runs nearby - the Big D. It's always funny seeing the slopes without snow on them and the lifts all packed up. It's so quiet up there in Summer that it's hard to imagine just how busy it can get in Winter! It was such a beautiful, sunny day on the Saturday. On the Saturday evening though we had a huge thunderstorm hit! It was kind of eerie.

It was Jacob's idea to walk up the slope!

Looking down at the road from the (almost) top. Jacob wanted to keep going but Esme and I had had enough by then!

On the way home we stopped at the Yea Railway Reserve Playground. This is a very cool playground (and the shadesail over the top of the whole playground was pretty cool too!) It's situated on an old railway site so the playground has a bit of a train related theme.

This train slide had a motion sensor and made train noises when the kids went nearby

Jacob was quite taken with this conveyor belt that moved.

Esme thought it was funny when Mummy tried to sit on the rocker with her and made it tip to one side

It was a lovely weekend. I'm not sure when we are going to make it back to the lodge again though. We would normally go up in July to the snow but with a baby due in late June/early July I'm not sure what we're going to do! I think Jacob will be a little disappointed if we don't go though...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hope and Healing

I've been keeping a secret for quite awhile now but it just hasn't felt like the right time to say anything on here. We've slowly been telling everyone over the past few weeks though so I think it is time to 'fess up. I'm pregnant again. Almost 17 weeks in fact. Many of you will have read the story of my ectopic pregnancy and subsequent miscarriage so will understand my apprehensions about sharing this news. Even at this stage of pregnancy I still have my fears and doubts although these are easing a little as I feel the baby moving and kicking.

We found out that I was pregnant at the end of October. I knew that I was pregnant because I'd been having a few symptoms, even before my period was due. I still ended up doing a test though that was positive (what is it about pregnancy tests that make us feel compelled to do them?!) I'd done a lot to prepare for this pregnancy. I'd worked hard to eat well and look after myself, I'd starting dropping the amount of breastfeeds that Esme was having and I'd been regularly going to get acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine (which I continued doing every 2 weeks until I got to 12 weeks). I didn't expect to get pregnant so quickly after the miscarriage (I had one period and then I was pregnant) but I figured that my body was ready to conceive again and I had to trust it.

This pregnancy was different to the others I'd lost right from the start. The morning sickness kicked in even before my period was due (which it never did with my other two), as did the extreme tiredness and light-headedness. Even though I felt queasy 24/7 I was always grateful that I felt like this and that it was a sign of a healthy pregnancy. Whenever it disappeared for awhile I used to get a bit panicked (just ask Chris!) We decided that we weren't going to tell anyone until we got to 12 weeks.

Things never go exactly as planned and at about 8 weeks along I woke up in the morning with quite intense pain on my left side - the same side that I'd had the ectopic pregnancy on (funnily enough I lost the last baby at 8 weeks so maybe it was some sort of subconscious reaction to that). I didn't want to risk anything so went straight to emergency. I ended up having to tell Mum and Dad so that they could come with me to the hospital and look after the kids! While I was in hospital they did an ultrasound. Although previously I had decided that we weren't going to have any ultrasounds this pregnancy, it was the best thing to do considering my history and seeing the little heartbeat on the screen was just amazing! Not long after I'd been in emergency the pain had disappeared. I'm not sure that I ever really got an answer for the pain although the Doctor did say that I had a small cyst on my left ovary.

Since that trip to emergency though, things have been moving along nicely. My biggest struggle at the moment is learning to trust my body again and working through these two pregnancies I've lost as this pregnancy has brought up a lot of emotion around them. I am finding it hard to get excited about this pregnancy and feel guilt often about this. This is part of the reason why I have been so slow telling people about this pregnancy too. It feels strange when I tell people and they are happy for me because I don't really feel that way myself. I had my first appointment with my independent midwife, Jan, on the weekend and we had a chat about all of this. She is lovely and helped to reassure me that what I am feeling is normal (Jan was there for Esme's birth and supported me through my journey of losing my two babies so understands where I am coming from). She explained that there is a part of me that feels guilt for being excited about this pregnancy, that I feel I am forgetting about the two babies I lost. She also said that I am trying to forget that I am pregnant, for the same reasons. It's so true. I'm hoping that as this pregnancy progresses I will be able to let this fear go. The due date of our next baby is coming up in early April so I hope that I will be able to do something to both grieve for my lost babies and celebrate the new one that I am nurturing.

We are choosing to have another homebirth this time round - not that there's really any other option for us after Esme's wonderful birth last time! I'm really looking forward to the birth and holding a little baby safely in my arms. I'm also so grateful that I have been blessed with the opportunity to carry another little baby - for that I will always be thankful.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Grass Critters

For Christmas last year, one of my friends gave the kids kits for making their own grass heads. In the kit there were instructions for making a grass head, a bag of moss, a bag of grass seeds, a bag of items for decorating them, a stocking and a cup. It was such a great idea for a present. The kids were so excited when they opened it up and realised it was something they could make!

The kit for making a grass head

Jacob puts some moss in the stocking

And all decorated! An interesting looking grass head ;)

Esme puts grass seed in the top of the stocking

Esme's is decorated too. Mummy took a bit of artistic license with this one ;)

A week and a half after we made them and they have grown a decent head of hair.

The kids are now looking forward to giving their grass heads a haircut - I think we'll wait a little longer to do that though otherwise they might end up with no hair ;)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Going stir crazy and an awesome new playground!

So I've posted before about how I love the slower pace of school holidays. Nice slow starts to the morning, no rushing to be somewhere at a certain time, kids can play with things that don't usually get a chance to. Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, my love of school holidays doesn't always extend to Summer holidays. I find the Summer holidays start to drag after awhile, usually after Chris has gone back to work and I'm struggling to entertain two kids who are a bit sick of being home all the time and constantly fighting with each other. Usually, lots of our friends go away at this time so we can't even catch up with them (Chris chooses to take his official holidays in early Feb).

Anyway, being a bit over being at home, yesterday we decided to head out and visit a playground that we hadn't been to before (although I had heard good things about it). It was the Montrose Community Playground (about 20 mins away and just over the hill for us!). I don't know what I was expecting but this playground was seriously awesome! Great for older children and younger children as well. There were lots of places for imaginative play, as well as expanding on kid's physical abilities as well. Here's some of our photos from yesterday.

The only down side to this playground is there's not a lot of shade! It was hotter than I expected yesterday so we didn't end up staying too long (especially considering I'd forgotten to put sunscreen on us all!)


People who know me will know that I love to op-shop and that I love to sew. So, really, using upcycled materials in my sewing projects is a logical next step! It was about a year ago that I came across this beautiful vintage sheet in an op shop (it's actually a Sheridan sheet). I also found a plain brown sheet at the same time so I teamed them up and they provided me with inspiration for a number of sewing projects.

Reversible bucket hat for me!

Reversible wrap skirt for me. The belt bucket is recycled from an old pair of pants that I didn't like anymore. I did buy the ribbon new though ;)

Kid's dress with matching head scarf

Shorts (well, they actually turned out to be more 3/4 length pants on Esme) and matching top

Back view of the shorts

I managed to make all these items from two sheets which cost under $10 at the op shop. I still have quite a bit of the sheet with flowers on too so I can see more projects coming up in the future. Now I just need to find more time to do more op shopping!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Gumnut gnomes and tiny toadstools

I went to visit a friend the other day and when we went for a walk I discovered a beautiful gum tree. I'd seen a few blog posts a while ago about making kid's toys from gum nuts so decided to see what I could come up with. This is the end result:

Four little gnomes, all complete!

A close up of one of the gnomes

They were so simple to make (although a little time consuming!) All they require is a gum nut, old fashioned wooden clothespeg, some felt and thread and glue. You simply glue the gum nut onto the wooden peg and then make some clothes. I just cut out a couple of rectangular pieces of felt for pants and a top and cone-shaped piece for the hat. Then I stitched up the back of the hat and did some blanket stitching around the edge of the hat and the top.

Toadstools all finished - can you guess which ones the kids did?

I also decided to make some toadstools while I was at it - another easy thing to do! All they need is a polystyrene ball cut in half and then a clothes peg pushed into the base. Paint it with red paint, add some white spots and you have your very own toadstool.

The kids were able to help paint the toadstools

Jacob was quite proud of his efforts I think!

The kids quite enjoyed playing with the gnomes and toadstools when they were all finished. Although now they are fighting over which toadstool and gnome belong to each other ;)

Visit We play at Childhood 101 for more great play ideas
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