Thursday, 24 October 2013

2014- A year to get organised

I missed the RSVP date to a wedding invitation today. When we had our wedding in 2008, we had the same thing happen to us. It is so annoying, having to chase up RSVP's to your own wedding. I lamented to my husband, "how rude of them", "what a waste of an invitation." All those things.
And now I've gone and done exactly the thing that I couldn't stand myself, to somebody else.

This was to a girl, who I've known a long time. Our Mothers were high school friends, and we kind of grew up with each other, despite living in different states. I think of Lauren, and I think of endless afternoon games of Rummikub, and Milo's at her Nanna's house during Lauren's school holiday visits. And, to be honest, they are afternoons that I have often thought of . Because, I love Rummikub, and have never been able to find anyone else since, who is happy to play back to back games with me. (I tried with my husband, but he was completely disinterested. He prefers to play Scrabble and cheat using words that aren't really words.)
I'll be honest. Organisation, is not my strong suit. After our first child, my attempts at organisation were hanging by a thread. Now after our second, it's kind of gone completely out of the window. If something has a due date, whether it be a bill, library book, or RSVP (!!!), then you can almost guarantee, that I'm going to miss that due date.

After sending a heartfelt apology and explanation, regarding my still ongoing case of baby brain, I decided that I REALLY need to sort my shit out from now on. Pre-girls, I would never have done such a thing.

So my attempt to get myself organised, starts now.

In the past, I've tried all types of diaries and layouts, in an attempt to be as organised as possible. I've tried a digital type diary, on both my ipad and my phone. The reminders were great when they popped up, but it did actually require you to enter the details into the diary for that to work. Suffice to say, it didn't last too long. The reality is, I'm a visual person. I need to see and flick through the pages of my diary to really appreciate what is on my to do list for that day and week.

What I have found that works for me. A 7 days to a page diary. A5 size. Not too big to be overly bulky, not too small to be useless and difficult to write in. Unless you're a man. Than a big diary seems to be always the more popular choice. And if you're a daily list maker like my husband. Than the biggest diary you can find.

This year I've chosen this lovely little number from Kikki K. Yellow (of course).

And coloured pens, to highlight different appointments, birthdays, activities, due dates for bills and so on.

Typically, I've always kept my diary away in a corner somewhere, nice and neat. Pulled it out, when I needed to use it. But I'm aiming to keep it in a new reserved spot in the kitchen, to compensate for my lack of a desk (let's not analyse the kitchen being my now new office spot.) And a new routine to go with it. After making the girls their breakfast, and while I'm making my morning coffee and own breakfast, I will visit my diary. Every morning. Glance at my day. My week ahead. Like a normal person would do. Sounds basic doesn't it! And makes me wonder, why I haven't been doing this all along.

How do you diary? And keep on top of all those to do's, whilst being totally distracted by looking after young children.

Monday, 21 October 2013

A little Giveaway { Closed }

This year I am organised for Christmas. Santa Claus can put down the credit card now.
With my only option being online shopping, I made sure I shopped with a list. Both girls, are notoriously well looked after in the gift department at any given time. But there is something about the sweetness (mostly) of daughters, that always makes you feel that you need to buy them just that little something else.

That would be me and childrens books. I just can't help myself when it comes to buying books for the girls. Childrens books are just the loveliest of things. Their innocence captures me everytime. As do the illustrations. We buy. We borrow from the library. And I never quite tire from them.

I started this blog with relatively strong feelings of embarrassment, and well, awkwardness. Which still exists. I still haven't shared the existence of this blog with people that I've met while living in this part of the world. A blog, just feels so, self-promontional. Which isn't really me. So as a little thankyou for reading my blog. And for all your support, lovely messages and encouragement, a small giveaway. Two childrens books that I'm currently in love with. One set aside for Christmas. One that we already read and enjoy. I'm sorry if you are the Mum of boys. Both of these books are a little girly. But they'd make a great present for somebody else I'm sure!

Ruby Red Shoes by Kate Knapp.
The charming story of an adorable little hare who lives in a colourful caravan with her grandmother. The story and the illustrations are just gorgeous, and so heart warming. And Ruby's vegetable garden, is just amazing. Mine, falls dismally short of hers. I can't wait for Santa to deliver this book for Christmas.

Grace has a Secret by Prudence Holling and Phillipa Ray.
I have blogged about this book here. This book has such a lovely storyline and simple message, about a little girl with a big heart, who tries to change the world through a simple act of kindness. It is also illustrated by the lovely and talented Liz Braid, who designed the header for my blog.

To enter, please like my page on facebook (if you don't already), and share this post on your page. Please comment 'shared', so that I can put your name into the draw. Or you can comment below on my blog page, leaving your email address, so that I can contact you. The winner will be chosen on Thursday night (Pilbara time.) Thanks for reading and good luck!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

To the Beach

An afternoon at the beach.
There's nothing quite like it.
Carefree, sunny weather.
Beautiful daughters. Full of fun.
Completely occupied. Playing in the sand. Eating the sand. Splashing in the shallows. Collecting shells.
I've lived near the ocean all of my life.
For the first time. I find myself in a place, five hours drive from the nearest shore.
And appreciating, for the first time, just how much the smell, sound and spirit of the ocean, soothes my soul.
It must be that Sagittarian fire in me. That craves the cool of the water. Or something.
Until our next dip.

Friday, 18 October 2013

The Timing of the Friendly Wave

A long straight road. With nothing but red dirt, dry grass, cattle and the odd mountain range to amuse yourself with.
It makes for boring stuff.
There's nothing quite like the spontaneous friendly wave (more of a lift of the finger from the steering wheel really), from the very occasional passing car to break things up a little bit.
We've enjoyed this courteous gesture and hello while travelling in this part of the world.
But we've lived here long enough now to start returning the favor, and spreading the love to others.
The secret to the spontaneous wave is timing. With both cars travelling at high speeds, in the opposite direction, you can easily miss the most opportune time to do this. Getting your wave not only noticed, but most importantly, allowing time for a reciprocal wave.
My tip, start waving as soon as you can see oncoming traffic. It's your best chance.
My husband prefers a more casual approach. Attempting to judge the best time, and waving when the car is almost on us. He's had a lot of missed waves, way too late waves that couldn't be even seen, let alone get many waves back.
The enthusiastic waver always wins. And also gets occasional toots from passing road trains (that's a truck with a very long load, in case you weren't aware). 
A good tip to remember, if ever you're driving in this past of the world.

Fuel anyone? The dustiest roadhouse I've ever seen!

A Road Trip with Children

Our first real holiday out of town.
And our longest drive yet. Seven hours or thereabouts. For this part of the world, I guess that isn't considered huge. But it will be long for us. Especially with two toddlers in tow. Funny how that changes things. In the past, I've found these drives suffer their good and their bad moments. The more prepared I can be, the better we are able to avoid "must get out of my car seat now" kicking spasms.
For me, I love the big drives. A chance for me to sit down and relax. And just be stuck in my seat. Almost always, I will also fall asleep myself. My husband, I'm sure, probably just enjoys the peace and quiet from the 3 of us. And the chance to choose his own music to listen to. Without Peppa Pig oinking in the background.

It's ridiculous, how much  you need to pack now that we have the two girls. Their things, literally fill the car. Between the portacot, nappies, high chair, their clothes, there will be hardly any room left for our stuff. Which is why we now have a Pod on top of the car. So we can bring a change of clothes for ourselves
Travelling with young children, definetly comes with it's difficulties.  Travelling light, takes on a whole new meaning now. I find it almost impossible to pack light. But I do attempt to pack smart. If anything, I try to pack light for myself. To compensate for the overabundance of child related items.

Here are a few things I've discovered that work well for us, during our short time on the road.
1. You need less toys than you think. Pack next to none. You're going to a new place, everything can be exciting. Make it an adventure.
2. Pack laundry soap, just in case. Red dirt gets in to everything, clothes can get dirty very quickly. Save yourself packing numerous, most likely needed, changes of clothes.
3. Pack lots of small, toddler friendly snacks. Not just for the long car trips, but for restuarants, in case meals don't arrive before the hungry toddler tantrum.
4. Save a special, new toy just for the car trip. Something easy to use, with no small pieces. I love the water painting notebook by Melissa and Doug. You can buy it here from Classic Baby. It keeps both girls entertained and quiet for long spaces of time. And uses a refillable water pen. Easy. I try to bring it out for long car trips only.
5. Always find room for a couple of bottle of wines for the (hopefully) quiet evenings.
6. Keep your expectations low. I don't mean this in a negative way. But sometimes if you prepare for the worst, then you are often pleasantly surprised when it comes to travelling with young children. Though sometimes, your worst nightmares, do come true too.
8. Be flexible. This is one I need to remind myself of often. You're not going to have everything that you usually have at home. And it might not flow quite so well. But it's for a good reason. A holiday, full of new experiences and excitements. As long as everybody is happy, nobody is crying, tired and whiney then it's not a big deal.
7. Try and keep a sense of humour and fun. It is catching.
8. Oh yes, and an Ipad full of Peppa Pig, Angelina Ballerina and Charlie and Lola works too.

Do you have any trips on packing light with children? Doing a road trip with children?

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

The Vegetable Garden { An Update }

Six weeks ago, we planted our first vegetable garden.
We have tomatoes growing and those inconsistent and devilish parsley seedlings, have been to hell and back two, three , seven or nine times (depending on your source), and finally sprouted also.
Instead of being a chore, we have really enjoyed caring for, and watching the garden grow. Twice daily watering, and a little weeding is all it has needed from us so far. Too early, to claim that I have a green thumb. But time passed enough, to at least claim that I am a willing and eager grower. Attentive, if nothing else.
There's not a tomato, slowly ripening, that we don't know about. Or a seedling, that we're not patiently waiting for. It has been a peaceful distraction, in an otherwise, toddler busy backyard.


Excuse the weeds please. They're gone now!

Monday, 7 October 2013

Glamping it up at Karijini Eco Resort

We are back after a weekend away of adventure at Karijini National Park. Our first night away, from the same same boringness of this town. We chose a hot, 38 degree weekend, to explore the nearby Karijini National Park. By nearby, I mean just under 200 km's away. That's classified local up here.
It's remote. Rugged. And stunningly beautiful.

My husband and I had been here before, years ago. But this was the first time with the girls. We chose the more child friendly pools of Fern Pool and Fortescue Falls. Part of the Dales Gorges.
A relaxed walk, despite the numerous stairs, found us at the shady "rockpools" (as my daughter calls them). A baby carrier is a must here. As is a sense of adventure, to help propel my eldest daughter along at a reasonable pace, now that she prefers to walk more, rather than be carried. And of course, so were my ugly shoes.

I use a Tula baby carrier. I've bought other brands, and borrowed different brands from friends. Trying to find one that suited me. This is easily my favourite. Slim fitting, comfortable to wear. All those things.
I wasn't able to find one in the shops to buy. But you can find them online here.
After all that walking and coaxing, and on such a hot day, it was a relief to be able to take a swim and enjoy a picnic lunch next to the water. Even with so many other people, enjoying the same things, it was still relaxed and peaceful. And also, lots of fun. My daughter, watching people jump in. Talking all things French with visiting tourists. And trying not to slip over on the slippery rocks in the shallow parts of the pools.

We were lucky enough, to spend the night, glamping under the stars at the amazing Karijini eco resort. Domed tents, scattered throughout the landscape. Some powered, some not. All non-airconditioned, but positioned for natural ventilated comfort. Our first night, all sleeping in the one room together. And a tent of all things. The Mum in me, who likes to knock of at 7pm bedtime, was a little nervous about how that was all going to unfold.

In one word, our stay there was perfect. Our eldest, nicknamed the tent, a cubby. And the two, spent the whole time, exploring, playing. Eating icecream on the deck. Showering in the open aired bathroom. Collecting rocks. And we managed something we haven't been able to do for awhile in the day time with our charmingly busy two daughters. Read the paper. Undisturbed. Drank wine. Undisturbed.

An early tea in the alfresco restaurant, was short and sharp. It had been a long day in the hot sun. Everyone was tired. But the food was yummy. Wild barramundi, emu, cooked in front of us, complete with flaming pans.

And bedtime, well that worked out ok too. Later than normal. But that was ok. And after much chitter chatter between the girls, when they should have been asleep, which was amusing at first but not so funny after awhile, it soon became funny again. As we listened to our eldest telling off the other, "shhhhhhh, nigh nighs now Jessie please." Silence eventually followed, and my husband and I sat on the deck outside the tent. With a bottle of wine. No phones, laptop or tv. With only the light of the stars. We sat in almost darkness and talked. It was nice for a change. And just what we needed.
Day to day life's been busy lately. We needed a little holiday, and this was perfect.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

An Illustration

After a little bit of effort. I finally came across the lovely Liz Braid. Illustrator extraordinaire, who has created a beautiful, watercolour design for my blog header. Liz, is also the illustrator from one of our current favourite childrens books, Grace has a Secret. You can read my blog about this lovely book here.
Thanks to Liz, for all her efforts, back and forth emails and general patience with me. I'm still learning how to customise and use my blog. I can see, it being an ongoing journey of tweaking this and that for me.
I'm not sure how professional this blog will be. But I'm enjoying writing again, and having people read about our life up here. If nothing else, it's nice to have a beautiful design, so I at least feel the part!
It doesn't take much guessing to know, who the lovely two little lasses are skipping along. The two littlest big parts of my world. Hope you like it, as much I do.
Thanks Liz.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The Dirty Crawler

My little one, is growing up so quickly. No longer just crawling, she is now pulling herself up on everything that her little arms can reach, and trying to walk. Just like her big sister.
I couldn't wait for her to start crawling. Our eldest skipped this stage, almost completely. But the reality of crawling, in this part of the world, is just tiring. Constant red dirt knees. Red dirt hand prints that spread first all over your clothes, then all over your floor, before they reach all of your walls. My house isn't spotless, but I still feel like I'm cleaning all the time. And stain removing.

We had a relaxed afternoon today, spent in the backyard, with no concern for the red dirt all over ourselves. I rarely feel quite this relaxed about the dirt factor. And it was lucky that I felt this way about it today. As we ended up with an upended full potty, spread all over the ground. And a crawling toddler, blazing her way through it, before I had the chance to stop her. Poop. Literally.

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