Monday, July 14, 2014


Dear Olive,
Clancy: after noticing him running his hands over the thick corduroy of the lounge, we got the poor boy a play mobile.
Olive: cosy winter snuggles in bed with Clancy, every morning.

Linking up with Jodi.

Sunday, July 6, 2014


Dear Olive,
Olive: Pigtails. They really just add to your zany. (And my, I did a good job on that part, didn't I.)
Clancy: so not a newborn anymore. (*sob*)

Linking up with Jodi.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Dear Olive,
It's finally soup weather in Sydney! My gorgeous friend Ceinwen made us a sweet potato and corn soup when Clancy was born and it was so delicious that I got the recipe from her and made it yesterday. It came from one of the Moosewood cookbooks - if anyone is around my age and raised by vegetarian, hippy parents, they may remember Moosewood? The fonts and illustrations and everything about them are so nostalgic for me. One of the books is titled The Enchanted Broccoli Forest! (I'll be dusting off your Moosewood books and having a look next time I'm up there, Dad.)

Southwestern corn & sweet potato soup 
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 crushed garlic cloves (I used about 6)
1 small fresh chilli, chopped
3 cups stock (I used my chicken broth)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 medium sweet potato, diced (about 2 cups)
1/2 red capsicum, finely chopped
3 cups corn kernels
salt & pepper to taste

a squeeze of lemon, a dollop of yoghurt, plus some coriander to serve

Basically, simmer it all up, puree half the mix, add the toppings and voila! A beautiful winter warmer.

Monday, June 23, 2014


Dear Olive,
I'm hanging on by a thread in this portrait project, and this week I'm too empty in the brain to think of captions for these ... so here they are without.
PS My friend Greer sent Clancy that pixie hat - so adorable! Check out her etsy store here.)

Joining in with Jodi.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


Dear Olive,
Clancy: so many smiles (and laughs!); he has all of us well and truly under his spell.
Olive: "...and I already loved him" you said, describing to a friend the very first time you met Clancy. I don't know why it's surprised me, but in spite of him bringing so much change into your life, that love hasn't wavered once.

Linking up with Jodi.

Friday, June 13, 2014


Dear Olive,
Olive: my Dads very old pony died last week, and when I told you, you said it would be very sad if she died because someone shot her with a gun when she was young, but she died of oldness, so it's ok.
Clancy: eyes on Olive, always.

Linking up with Jodi.

Friday, June 6, 2014

healing mastitis

Dear Olive,
Two weeks ago I came down with mastitis. After breastfeeding you for almost two and a half years without a single bout, it wasn't something I ever thought I'd get; and it was every bit as dreadful as I'd heard. At 4 in the morning, I woke up with the worst flu-type aches through my body, and an excruciatingly painful breast. I was shocked at how sick I was, and at how quickly it had come on. Having not taken antibiotics for about twenty years, they are always an absolute last resort for me, so I wanted to share what I did to resolve my infection here, in case anyone else is looking for ways they can treat their mastitis naturally - and effectively. Shane went to work and I was far too sick to get to a shop to get anything for myself, so I just had to use what I had on hand.
Straight away, I piled on the clothes until I was sweating (I was shivering and freezing when I woke up) and tried to get Clancy to feed as much as I could off the painful side, massaging it as he fed (OUCH). I got into a hot hot hot shower a couple of times throughout the day and massaged the painful breast, and I kept cold cabbage leaves in my bra, changing them regularly. I drank a couple of enormous cups of chicken broth*, and I dosed myself up on the immune boosting supplements that I had in the cupboard - cod liver oil and vitamin c, to help my body fight the infection. (Plus some herbs that Shane picked up from the naturopath later in the day for me.) I also drank lots of ginger and turmeric tea (a great inflammation reducer - and the hot cup doubled as a hot compress, as I held it against the painful site). Shane couldn't get away from work until late in the afternoon and my amazing friend Clare picked you up and took you out for HOURS so I could rest and look after the far less physically demanding Clancy. (Thank you, Clare, you amazing woman, you!) I actually couldn't believe the recovery I made - from the 4am wake up, I felt remarkably better by that afternoon, and by the time I woke up the next morning, all that was left was a little breast soreness. I kept up the cabbage leaves and the vitamins and herbs for the next few days to make sure the infection was well and truly kicked.
The only thing I'm left with now, is anxiety that it'll return! I never want to return to that hell! So I've been keeping up (in much smaller doses) the ginger tea and the supplements. And I'm going to keep a far closer eye on my breasts for any lumps in the hope that I can massage them out before they become infected. And, hopefully, with luck, that'll be my first and last experience of mastitis.
(Obviously, I'm not a practitioner, this is just my personal story. I'd love to hear what's worked for others?)

A friend of mine has taught me to make my chicken broth with chicken feet - gross, I know, but it gives the most amazingly thick, gelatinous, broth; incredibly healing and healthful.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


Dear Olive,
Olive: our brooding teenager.
Clancy: he's been smiling at us since mothers day, but it's so very hard to capture a smile in a baby who just wants to frown at the camera and flap his arms!

Linking up with Jodi.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Dear Olive,
Olive: I look at this photo, and I want to cry. For you, for how much you love Shane, for how much you need him right now. For how often he's at work.
Clancy: staring, always staring. (Usually at Olive, but this time at the bats or the trees, or something.)

Linking up with Jodi.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

a month of clancy

Dear Olive, 
Clancy turned one month old on the weekend. But honestly it feels as though he's belonged to us forever. I must admit, never in my wildest dreams did I envisage I'd be the mother of a son, but now that he's here, I couldn't possibly imagine how he'd be anyone else. And while some days do feel a bit like some kind of horror newborn groundhog day (a never ending cycle of crying/feeding/vomiting/changing/crying/rocking/catnapping, all while attempting to find reserves to stay calm and play vets/get thrashed at memory/build some wild fantasy lego construction for you), I can't quite believe how quickly we've settled into our new life as four (and in particular my new life as a stay at home Mum of two). I worked out early on that getting us out of the flat - ideally with friends - is the best thing for us all. Clancy happily sleeps for an hour or two in the sling or the pram, you get to release some energy (away from my side! What a relief!), and I get to bore a poor friend with a blow by blow account of Clancys sleepings and wakings and feedings of the previous day and night. 
Actually, even the harder times are really not as bad as they sound. Because it's all so filled with love. We are just exploding with love for our boy! You can't stop kissing him**, from the moment you wake up each day - and neither can Shane or I. And the amazing beauty of the second child, is the wonderful inner calmness within me; the absolute certain knowledge that it will all pass so soon*.

*Sometimes it just feels like an eternity at the time: the days are long, but the years short and all that.
**You've started carrying him around. He's always in a different spot if I leave the room (even though I've asked you not to lift him unless I'm there to help you.) Shit!

Sunday, May 18, 2014


Dear Olive,
Olive: dancing up a storm in the autumn sun at a friends dance show (I couldn't just pick one this week!)
Clancy: so much like Olive, but also like your own little self

Linking up with Jodi.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

hop hop hop

Dear Olive,
I read an analogy on motherhood the other day that really resonated with me: on the one hand, becoming a mother is like losing a leg, but on the other hand, it's like winning the lottery. It's much the same way I feel. Would I rather have two legs but live in a caravan? Probably not. Because in addition to losing a part of myself, I have been gifted a whole lot more.
Here I am on mothers day, hopping around on my one leg - feeding Clancy in the sling, and trying to explain to an extremely uncooperative you why it would be nice for us to have a photo on my first mothers day as a mum of two. Feeling every part of that missing leg, but with the knowledge that I've been given a whole world of incredible love and wonder in the two of you.
I hope all the Mums had a wonderful mothers day (on one leg or two).

Monday, May 12, 2014


Dear Olive,
Olive: at least the dusk sky was a delight.
Clancy: feed, vomit, catnap, cry, feed, vomit, change, feed, catnap. REPEAT.

Joining in with Jodi.

Monday, May 5, 2014


Dear Olive,
Olive: whilst you adore your little brother and hold him several times a day, this face was because I said you could watch Bondi Vet that night on tv.
Clancy: the cuddliest little koala (and also the best dressed boy on the block in his Sapling Child outfit! Thank you Peta xx).

Linking up with Jodi.

Monday, April 28, 2014


Dear Olive,
Clancy: tiny feet, with long skinny toes; peeling.
Olive: big feet, with long skinny toes; and glittery nail polish.

Linking up with Jodi.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Dear Olive,
Two portraits this week!
Olive: you've got a baby brother, and - I dearly hope - a life long friend.
Clancy: not so keen on the nappy changes.

Linking up with Jodi

Welcome to the family

Dear Olive,
Easter weekend became pretty special for us when Clancy Cash swam into our world in the wee hours of good friday. We're exhausted, and there's vomit and breastmilk on everything, but we're madly, madly in love. We're a family of four and it feels so right.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

zwischen / in-between

Dear Olive,
I'm finding this period of waiting for my labour and my baby a deeply reclusive, emotional, and introspective time. One that is filled with a strange mix of frustration and calmness. I felt it as a definite shift around 38 weeks pregnant; I stopped wanting to be social, and instead just wanted to wait in private. Time to just be.

My lovely friend Jodi mentioned the concept of zwischen/between to me in a comment on my waiting, waiting post, and then beautiful Ash sent me the link to THIS article. I read it sitting on the grass at South Bondi, overlooking a calm grey sea. And I cried and cried.

PS For anyone who is thinking of texting "is there any news?" ... please don't. There's not. But we'll be sure to let you know when there is.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Dear Olive,
Before two weeks is out, you'll be a big sister.

Linking up with Jodi.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Dear Olive,
Sitting on the table, drawing. Your drawings have become more and more intricate and complicated lately. So much story on just one page!

Linking up with Jodi.

Friday, April 4, 2014

waiting, waiting

Dear Olive,
Tomorrow, I'll be 39 weeks pregnant; the house is spotless, curtains have been sewn, pictures have been hung. Baby clothes are washed and folded, there are unopened packets of newborn nappies in the garage, and a few cooked meals in the freezer. We even finished watching the final series of breaking bad last night.  I've nested about as much as I want to, and now, along with being immensely tired, the waiting has begun. I pretty much feel like just staying in until this baby comes out - which is altogether impossible with you around, needing so much more out of each day than I do. Rather ironically, just as I am hitting my least energetic phase, your energy levels are all of a sudden boundless, and there is no way of wearing you out anymore. Even more than your intense level of physical energy, it's the mental energy that wears me down the most. It's a constant barrage of ideas/questions/negotiations/creating/songs/stream of consciousness type conversations firing out at me all day long.  Even when you're playing alone, it's conducted out loud. As tiring as it all is, we're figuring it out. And I actually feel quite content in the waiting.* Perhaps I'm not yet ready for this baby. In any case, I surrender to my body to know when it's time.
PS I was at the birth centre having an appointment this morning when an amazing Mum was wheeled in on an ambulance stretcher; she was beaming, and holding her brand new, born at home in an hour baby. (After having a cesarean for her first baby.) What a woman!
*So far. I am well aware this may change extremely quickly after 40 weeks!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Dear Olive,
Life's just one big song and dance.

Linking up with Practising Simplicity.

Monday, March 24, 2014


Dear Olive,
This week we've had Mum, how did you and Dad meet and mate? And You know, I didn't see Dad give you any sperm.

Linking up with Jodi.

Friday, March 21, 2014

preparing for birth

Dear Olive,
Tomorrow, I'll be 37 weeks pregnant. (And I've got my bloat on to prove it.) I'm feeling a little hurried to begin preparing my mind and body for my labour - but here we go! When I was preparing for your birth, there was one main thought that kept coming back to me ... I may not be able to control what will happen, but I can control how I handle it. And throughout it all (which, briefly, was a 17 hour, non-progressing, transfer out of the birth centre into the delivery ward to be augmented on cyntocin kind of labour which ended in a normal vaginal delivery), I managed to stay - more or less - calm and happy. I'm not sure how accurate this is, but my midwife told me she'd never seen a woman making jokes at full dilation before. The whole process of giving birth to you was just so extraordinary - an experience I still feel grateful for. And that is the attitude I hope to take into the birth room with me again this time: calmness and positivity. (And whenever they seem to be flailing, that's when I expect Shane to step in. You reading this, Shane?) 
Although I must admit, while I'm looking forward to this labour, there are some doubts creeping in (what if I can't handle it, what if I end up needing a cesarean, etc). So I'm turning to some trusted resources to help ensure I don't take them on board.
- Janet Balaskas Active Birth was hands down the most useful thing I read leading up to my labour with you. I borrowed a copy from the library a couple of weeks ago, and I'm finding it equally as inspiring this time round. (It's worth it for the awesome photos of women giving birth in the 80's alone.) "The whole process of conceiving a baby, being pregnant, giving birth and mothering is part of the sexual and spiritual life of a woman, and is basically rooted in the natural and undisturbed unfolding of a series of psychological events."
- Who can go past natural birth legend midwife Ina May Gaskin. She's got a tonne of great books, and you can watch her TED talk here.
- I'm trying to incorporate a little meditation and breathing practice into my daily life. (And actually, this is more like every other day kind of daily practice.) I did a calm birth course when I was pregnant with you, and I realised very early on in my labour how much it helped me to just focus on my breath through each contraction.
- On top of that, basically I'm hoping my body still holds the memory for what it did four and a half years ago!
As an aside, you've had this assumption that you'd be there, and I must say, at the beginning of my pregnancy, it felt like the most natural and obvious path; to include you in the birth. My brother and I were at my sisters birth and it was a terribly exciting and memorable occasion - but it was at home, and I suppose being at home, we didn't need any looking after, we just came and went as we pleased from the room. (It was also a very short and straightforward labour.) And as my labour looms, I've started doubting that having you there is the best plan. (Has anyone had any experience with having their older children at the birth? Especially those labouring in a hospital or birth centre setting?) I guess I had better hurry up and get my alternative plans in place! And just to bring relief to my friend Clare (thank you for the text), I'm off to pack my hospital bag.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


Dear Olive,
I've been really uninspired to take photos lately; I blame the lethargy of late pregnancy. But I did take the camera along when we went up to centennial park this week. It had been a pretty crappy morning and of course getting out was just what we both needed to turn around the mood of the day. We fed the ducks, and then we wandered through lachlan swamp - it's damp and muddy and wild and home to thousands and thousands of bats. I took this photo just before one of the bats poo'd on me - nailing me on my shoulder, my hand, and my camera. There was just so much of it, you assured me it couldn't be anything but bat diarrhoea.

Linking up with Jodi.

Friday, March 14, 2014

art safari

Dear Olive,
Sometimes I wonder why we live in a city. We pay all the exorbitant prices for housing and food, put up with the worlds most dreadful traffic and parking situations, yet we don't really take enough advantage of all the great things living in this city has to offer. Instead, we seem to treat Bondi something like a remote island, contentedly hanging around within its safe, familiar borders. So when my friend Susie offered us a couple of tickets to come along on an art safari, we immediately said yes. I'm so glad we did - it was so fun! You seem to really need these structured activities in your life at the moment; you certainly get a lot out of them anyway. We brought your cousin Poppy along with us and the two of you had a ball (you pretended to be sisters which was really sweet - there was a lot of hand holding). The class is run with just a small group of kids and there was a story, a gallery tour with hands on activities, and a craft session - all designed to get you thinking and talking about modern art. You enjoyed all of it, but YOU LOVE CRAFT. I can pretty much guarantee that you will always be the last kid standing at the craft table, and yes, this time, ever so predictably, the rest of the class had left the room and the teacher was packing up around us, as you finished off your picture. 
I really need to remember to get us off the island more often.
(For Sydney people, March is bring a friend for free month! See here for a listing of all the classes - there's lots of different classes for kids of all ages.)
PS You made the monster picture.