Johanna

April 22, 2014 by Vicki

Wild. Un-tamable. Angry. She roars.

A large commodity who’s unpredictability makes me feel completely vulnerable. A mere spec which could be tangled and lost in her violent clutches forever. She isn’t apologetic.

I am scared of her. As I should be and yet I am bewildered and smitten with such raw gob smacking beauty. I have met with her only twice and yet she is my favorite of her kind.

This is Johanna.

DSC_02841-DSC_02131-DSC_02611-DSC_0259 1-DSC_02371-DSC_0251

This beach is famous for two things. Surf and shipwrecks. It looks like it should be the set for the film The Piano.

When I visit I’m transported to another time. Sucked into a swirl of daydreams.

It’s captured my heart, that Johanna Beach.

Camping Crazies

April 22, 2014 by Vicki

So we’re back. Participating in the land of hygiene, heaters and WIFI. Boy they’re some wondrous inventions. That first shower back at home was Nirvana.  Nothing can teach you gratefulness like a bout of bush camping.

4 nights in the bush with a toddler and a newly crawling infant. I can confirm we were being very ambitious if we expected to maintain our sanity. Very ambitious indeed.

We had a pretty spot, don’t get me wrong. The Otways don’t disappoint. It was a five star tree view and teamed with plenty of fire wood and our penthouse like tent it had all the makings of a camping vacay dream.

I’d thought of (and packed) virtually everything. I mean look at this play pen brilliance:

1-DSC_09461-DSC_0965

Neat or what? It kept Baby Vick contained and happy for a good five minutes before the discontent started. This kid wanted to eat dirt on a full time basis. If I had a thing about keeping him shiny clean at all times we would have departed in a Nano second.

DSC_0294

I could cope with the dirt but the night times where a little on the hellish side. Little Vick who is toilet trained took up wetting his camp bed every single night. 3 times one night to be exact. The clean up woke his baby brother every time who demanded some boobing action which was nothing short of an Antarctic experience. The dark hours were way colder than I could have anticipated. I had to channel my inner Eskimo and wear sixteen layers whilst all rolled up in my sleeping bag just to survive the night. The fear of my boys contracting pneumonia meant I was checking them seventeen hundred times a night too.

All the night time shenanigans left me feeling raw and very unfriendly. One morning at 5am when Little Vick demanded it was time to get up and he woke his brother up deliberately. This was all whilst it was raining which ensured we were confined to the tent and bickering and whinging ate away at me until in my sleep stolen state I had a full blown Mummy melt down. I could have given any toddler a run for their tantrum-ing  money. Think cursing, tears, random movements of limbs. It wasn’t pretty.  I started counting down to home time.

It certainly wasn’t the holiday which I had been looking forward to. There was no sipping wine by the camp fire reading my Frankie magazine like I had taken solace in daydreaming about. When that opportunity might have presented itself I was falling asleep upright and rolled off to bed.

Although the night time biz didn’t let up, we seemed to gradually settle into the camping lifestyle. Time slowed and a different rhythm took hold. We enjoyed looking for fire wood, boiling the billy in the coals and commentating about the mating Koalas next to our tent. We enjoyed some great walks including a trek to the remote Station Beach.

1-DSC_0980

1-DSC_1037

{And how about that for Mummy porn for ya? Mr Vick carrying both children whilst I strolled leisurely with two free arms!}

We also loooooved a visit to Melba Gully which is infamous for it’s cutesy glow worms which call the rainforest home. Little Vick was awe struck at these little midgie thingys.

We’ve been camping so many times before. All of the challenges seem obvious in hindsight but still I was surprised and my camping ego was bruised and a little disheartened but I’ve learnt this: you need sleep in the bank to cope with the outlay required to camp with young kids. It requires a bag full of energy and a world full of patience and if you roll up already exhausted and frazzled, it’s a recipe for mummy melt downs and vacay bickering. Mr Vick kept reminding me that we were doing it for the kids. We’re in the memory creating caper here. I fondly recall my camping days as a kid as some of the best filed away and judging by Little Vick’s complaints about wanting to camp forever we must be winning at creating happy experiences.

All the same, until the kids are a bit older, I think I might just be a resort + kids club kinda girl from now on. At least somewhere I can easily get a Pina Colada for medicinal purposes with a moments notice. Sensible, yes? Yes.

1-DSC_0998

Did you head away this Easter? Are you a camping or resort type?

A Wedding Day

April 15, 2014 by Vicki

Everyone loves a bride. Her aura of perfection. A nervous groom. An exchanging of eternal promises. Smiles. Old friends. Awkward speeches. Decadent food.

This was my Saturday. I was not at the big bloggy schmooze-fest that many of my fellow bloggers were enjoying, but I was celebrating promises and love. Taking photos for the bride who was being impeccably groomed and readied for her entrance.

1-Tanya & Josh's Wedding 108

1-Tanya & Josh's Wedding 2241-Tanya & Josh's Wedding 188

1-Tanya & Josh's Wedding 4121-Tanya & Josh's Wedding 062

1-Tanya & Josh's Wedding 7181-Tanya & Josh's Wedding 703

1-Tanya & Josh's Wedding 7561-Tanya & Josh's Wedding 785

1-Tanya & Josh's Wedding 804

1-Tanya & Josh's Wedding 7691-Tanya & Josh's Wedding 760-001

Happy Wednesday x

Camping Nanny Required: Enquire Within

April 14, 2014 by Vicki

Camping with a toddler + baby. What da reckon? Does that sound like a concoction for mental demise or what?

It would appear a case of amnesia has set in. How quickly I can forget.

Last time we attempted camping with Baby Vick I was up every hour and a half during the cold, dark hours and I was so tired I combusted if anyone so much as looked at me (I wrote about it here). Generally fatigue induced knit picking and bickering isn’t my idea of a vacay. Admittedly Baby Vick was a mere 6 months old. He was obviously a bit freaked. Can 4 months make a difference to his attitude?

Little Vick is an old pro. He’s camped in some of the most remote Australian locations and seems to thrive from the clean air and open spaces. Who could forget my little bush grot in Kakadu?

Bush grot

Or my Little Vick who would run full pelt at the Nelson river with a desire to play fishies, only to pull up within a sniff of the wet stuff with me following like a true wombat like, puffing, preggie. That only happened about 158 times a day.

Or my toilet trainee Little Vick who got a bad case of the trots from eating too many of those villainous things called Easter eggs at Blanket Bay National Park ? We packed up after a third day of trying to clean runny poop filled pants without a tap in sight. I shudder to recall.

And yet, we’re lining up to do it again this weekend. With the Easter eggs and all. Yikes.

Little Vick has been counting down to this upcoming camping trip for a good 2 months now. I will be happy to hit the road so the “are we going camping today” questioning can cease.

Today I’ve started the lists. 4 days in advance but if I don’t I will be sure to forget something crucial, perhaps like Baby Vick’s porta cot like last time? The poor babe sleeping on the floor had nothing to do with his poor attitude towards glamping, oh no. Surely not.

There’s always a sense of nervous-ness pre glamping sesh for me because you just never know what you’re going to get with the combination of kids and camping. Or just how little sleep you will get to have to deal with it all.  I guess it’s all creating memories for them isn’t it? Or something like that anyway.

So, any offers to play camp nanny for me then? Just to handle the “fun” stuff.

Are you heading away this Easter? Care to share any of your personal best camping with kids tips?

9 Months In, 9 Months Out

April 7, 2014 by Vicki

DSC_0055DSC_0056My boss is kinda miniature. He’s nine month old. He’s been my boss for both nine month in and nine months out now. Don’t let the cutsy photos lead you to believe anything else.

I never envisaged I would cop such a surly grimace and loud screeching scolding like I do on an hourly basis from such a little person. He is one bossy babe. He preferably would like everyone’s existence around him to be toeing the line and to work according to his agenda, which is formulated on a  moment to moment basis which you just have to telepathically know, of course. I’m good, but not always that good. It’s fair to say Mr Grumpy old man has not left this 9 month old body like I had suspected a month or two ago. Noooo, he is alive and well in my Baby Vick’s character. This is why I battle and fight with him daylong. I have to hold him down (mostly unsuccessfully) to change his nappy, get him dressed, feed him, sit him down, EVERYTHING. This kid is busy, busy, busy.

I’IMG_5698m happy to say that on the day of his 9 month birthday he got his crawl on. Thank feck. His moodiness leading up to it was almost unbearable (kinda like a husband who isn’t getting laid enough). Now he is a crawling pro and can whip up quite a bit of speed often catching me out. So a more contented babe we have who is wearing the carpet thin by cutting laps between the front door and the bath. Seemingly if he can’t escape he wouldn’t mind a bath, his favourite past time activity. It has also enabled him to investigate the thing called the toilet. If the door is left even slightly ajar Baby Vick knows and he can be found scouring the bowl and trying to figure out what exactly goes on in there. I hope this is a good sign for easing toilet training, yes? Crawling was all very nice for about half a day before Baby Vick decided he’d mastered it and would tackle the next step. Crawling was a mere stepping stone on the path to (world) domination. With pure determination written right across his little brow he began fearlessly pulling himself up on anything that was deemed semi stable. We’ve had a few spills. A few tears. A few egg on head type scenarios. A few bruises which has spurred strangers to question how he managed to get it? My answer always being meh, I don’t remember which time it was.

This kid is tough. Don’t expect a cuddle or to be allowed to give any affection. You’ll get the flick. The brush off. The cold shoulder. Affection is not on the agenda. The only exception to the rule is if you’re his Daddy. Daddy is a rock star so he is allowed a cuddle if he growls like a hungry tiger or sleepy bear like creature. Yes, growling like a Neanderthal is the key to the occasional cuddle. Either way, Mummy doesn’t cut it.  I think he might have forgotten exactly who it is that gets up and feeds him in the dark hours. Hmmm.Drumming Flynn 9 months

Speaking of which, when is that going to let up hey? I’m starting to wonder when he will get the hint that the milk bar is closed for maintenance come nightfall. Surely the 3 servings of Spag Bol and tub of yoghurt not to mention the half an hour breast slurping session prior to bedtime is more than some full grown adults would consume, not to mention keeping up the slurps throughout the night (2, sometimes 3). Teeth do not help the cause. The week he started crawling he thought he’d bust out two teeth. Fun week that one.

His air of confidence means he is not a clingy baby and he doesn’t seem to get offended if I pop out for some Mummy time. I do rate that. That’s is A OK with me. I do also think his little sign language which he has developed himself is pretty wicked. Clever little grump has ways of making us understand with a slight shake or hand signal. Of course his hand waving is a sure hit with his audiences.

For the most part a normal day for Baby Vick is following his big brother around conceiving ways to nick his favourite trucks and cars and sometimes getting a full 10 seconds with one or two before his brother screams and head locks him on the ground. That desire to nick just never goes no matter how roughed up he gets and of course, his big brothers desire to not share is also never swayed. I’m starting to see some tutoring with a boxing referee might be my only hope in the future.

When I try and remember the early days with Baby Vick it feels a good 9 years ago, not just 9 months ago. I’ve started getting used of the idea that a 1st birthday actually isn’t too far away. Then it will be baby who? So I’ll hold onto images likes these:sleeping flynn 9 months

The kid mightn’t give out cuddles but he does do adorable photos so we’ll keep him for a bit longer ;) xx

 

HULK sized Mummy

April 3, 2014 by Vicki

I’m starting something new. It might seem contradictory to what I wrote recently about being totally accepting of my body and image, but my jeans are getting tight and I had ANOTHER person ask me if I was pregnant.

I do not want to look pregnant forever. Especially when I’m not and as far as I know it’s not the ‘it’ thing for this season.

The thing with me is, I just adore food. It’s my drug.

I especially like food that is sugar infested. It’s been my pick me up during my baby rearing years and I do applaud it for being my savior in many moments. When morale and energy is low and the chance of a snooze is zilch the next best thing is a slather of melted chocolate and/or a gallon of fizz in my belly. CLEARLY I blame motherhood. It’s most definitely not got anything to do with my will power. Oh no.

I do have some factors working against me. I feed 3 boys. They eat like the earth is going to stop producing food overnight and they might starve before sunrise. It’s easy to serve up a HULK sized meal to match the rest. I also have been breastfeeding a HULK sized baby who has required gallons of my milk which siphons my body of every good nutrient available, so extra calories are required to keep up the upkeep and to stay alive.  BUT. The breastfeeding has slowed gradually but my eating has not. I’m still shoveling things into my mouth at a full time rate and would you believe it? I’ve start putting on weight on top of my already post baby weight. It seems cruel. Couldn’t I be granted a kg gaining free card or something for my hard work over the past few months?

I now have a wedding to attend next week with nothing that I can fit my HULK sized boobs and suspiciously rounded belly into. Little can be done about that in the span of week, obviously, but it has spurred me onto be a little more aware of my eating-thrift ways.

Yesterday I served myself up a healthy, home made soup. It was warm and comforting but at the end was it satisfying? GAWD NO. I was looking for something else. I was scratching about the pantry for a snack that wasn’t going to put me into the junk food dog house but all I could think of was bread with spoonfuls of honey on it, chocolate slabs, ice-cream with topping and sprinkles, Tim Tams, chocolate coated muesli bars, Cheezils and I would have stooped so low to eat cooking chocolate buds, if I hadn’t already disposed of them the day before.  My brain has clearly been poisoned by my eating habits.

I had a banana and a cup of Chai tea. Yipee.

Now I face another day of being “good” and I’m feeling a bit anxious about it. Clearly I am suffering withdrawals already from my drug but I must give it a shot so that I feel better about myself and I want to practice being the healthy guru that I so often bullshit proclaim to be.

Be sure, I am a believer in moderation. I have done the strict diet thing and gave that the boot a good four years ago when I walked away (actually pregnant) from the acting industry. I also believe I have deserved to eat however I’ve wanted to given my pregnant or newborn state. I’ve been fair about that. I just know I’m starting to feel unhealthy and I am actually all about the health. It’s not just about vanity, I want to stay fit and young and stuff. That’s my choice.  Regardless of our choices, as Mummy’s we all know this is the truth about ourselves right?  Eating Goddess

How do you stop putting food in your mouth? Fess up all your good snack alternative pleeeeeease xx

Wordless Wednesday: Through my Lens

April 2, 2014 by Vicki

Captured and kept, some of my favorite things for the week.

The spectacle of nature:

DSC_0994Organic baby food right up! From tree to table:

DSC_0066

An Iranian birthday celebration:

DSC_1066Seeing my baby boys fuzzy hair in the Indian Summers golden rays:

DSC_0058Ivy, a  beautiful nuisance:DSC_0998This face:

DSC_0045

What are some of your favorite sights so far this week?

Happenings

April 1, 2014 by Vicki

My love affair with lists is at play again today. It’s not the first time. I think a list can say a lot so here is mine as of today:

Making:  My amateur sewing skills have vamped up a level and I’ve made Baby Vick a sleeping bag. It actually worked! WIN! So I’m making another ready for the wintery chill which will inevitably sweep over us any moment now.

Cooking: way too many mince dishes. Baby Vick raves about a bit of mince and eats more than my adult belly can consume in one sitting. So Spag Bol, Sheppard Pie & Tarcos are being made at an ungodly rate. Can you help a girlfriend out and share a new mince dish recipe perhaps?

Drinking: green cordial. It’s my naughty delight.

Reading: are you kidding? I’ve forgotten what it feels like to hold a novel (and not fall asleep) and I have to go the doctors to get an opportunity to scan a glossy, trash bag magazine every now and again.

Wanting: our family vacay in August to the tropics to HURRY THE HELL UP!

Looking: at the neighbours overloaded Lemon tree and wondering if whilst she is away, I could pull a shifty?  Lemon slice could go quite nicely.

Playing: fire fighters on a daily basis ‘cos I’m a miniature, fireman, wannabes slave

Sewing: intentions to make a cloud pillow. Pinterest inspired, naturally.

Wishing: I was skinner but needing chocolate like an addict needs crack.

Enjoying: This gorgeous, sunny Indian Summer. If it were a hunk of a man I would kiss it!

Waiting: for a full nights sleep. Still. 9 months on.

Wondering: like everyone, about the flight MH370 mystery.

Loving: Pinterest. Long time lover. Committed for life.

Hoping: Little Vick doesn’t get a bad case of the trots again this Easter (suspecting too much chocolate as the culprit) whilst we’re camping with just a drop dunny.

Marveling: at how Mother Nature thanks me for putting on a load of washing by a sudden clap of thunder of darkening of the skies.

Needing: a clone. You with me?

Smelling: the smell of stewed apples from our kitchen. I’ve been an excellent house wifey today.

Wearing: Some very questionable short shorts not fit for public view.

Liking: the last few days of daylight savings and sneaking a game of cricket in with my boys before bedtime. I like that I always get to be the batter EVEN MORE.

Noticing: how talented I am. Typing this one handed whilst carrying a teething, cuddly Baby Vick in his Bjorn carrier.

Knowing: I wont be getting to the gym today. Story of my life.

Thinking: I’d rather not.

Feeling: a little too relaxed about the state of my house knowing we’re having visitors later. I see a frenzy ahead.

Bookmarking: A gorgeous blog titled Chateau de Gudanes which tracks two Aussies who are renovating an abandoned French Chateau. Oh the romance of it all!

Opening: a new packet of yoghurt icy poles in this household is like discovering Nirvana.

Giggling: at giggling. It’s infectious. Two little people, then me.

DSC_0041

So what would your list look like at the moment?

(This list has been flogged gazillions of times now but originally it was the genius of Meet Me At Mikes)

Bound

March 24, 2014 by Vicki

A friend of mine has just arrived home with a newborn lovely. Her texts are filled with helpless exhaustion and dismay about the state of her emotions and once ordered life.

It’s taken me back. Only 9 months ago it was my story. It feels like an eternity ago. I have automatically separated myself away from that chapter, quite happily. Haven’t we all???

I so wanted to write this post whilst I was living it but I just couldn’t. Now that I am out of the thick of it I can be honest about it because I know it was a stage. My feelings weren’t lasting. They didn’t define who I am or my qualities as a mother. I doubted that however 8 months ago. I feared judgement.

Becoming a mother for the second time felt surprisingly different than what I expected. The glory of the moment was fleeting. I wasn’t the Mummy rock star that I was first time around. Me becoming a mother was so yesterdays news so I couldn’t ride the exhilarating wave of attention that I was thrust onto first time around. It was just straight into the hard yakka with no spotlight.

Mostly there was a void which crushed me. It was there right from the very beginning. I so wanted that moment when Baby Vick arrived to be overwhelmed with emotion and enjoy a complete feeling of gratitude and love. I wanted to be smitten with love right down to my core. I trusted that’s how I would feel but in the actuality of the moment I remember staring at this hulk like baby who has caused me great physical pain and mental aguish and thought: I don’t know this little being. He was a stranger to me. He did not look the way I imagined. Admittedly I think I just expected Little Vick all over again, a clone. Baby Vick was different in every way. He was fat (4.6kg). He had dark hair and didn’t remind me of anyone particularly. I had just watched him slide right out of me but I felt like this baby wasn’t mine at all. The feeling of holding a stranger was lasting. Longer than I’d hoped for. It just didn’t feel like I’d expected and that scared me. No one else with a newborn had ever mentioned feeling separate to the new baby, that they weren’t bonding. I felt isolated and I told not a soul for fear of being scrutinised and perhaps being labelled postnatally depressed.

Everyone told me he was beautiful. I guess he was. I think I could see what they were seeing, maybe, but I just couldn’t quite feel it. I wanted soooo desperately to feel it, to be overwhelmed by this little persons perfections and marvel at what we’d created.

He just wasn’t his brother. The being who I had spent the past 3 years of my life investing in, caring for and loving. That bond was unshakable and it felt like the new baby was only taking me away from that. I felt like I was betraying my Little Vick. Back then when I finally managed a one on one moment with him at the very end of the day, often sharing a story before bidding him goodnight, I felt inadequate. Afterwards I would weep. I was giving all day long. All of me and yet it was just not enough for that little boy that was my heart. I couldn’t give enough. I was letting him down.

When I looked at Baby Vick I saw exhaustion. The source of my fragile state. The undoing of my normally controlled self. I could only trust that one day I would love him with the same depth I had reserved for his brother. I could only hope that I would open myself up to it. I had to just keep working and trusting.my baby

{On the outside, I looked like any other doting, adoring mother}

I felt empty about Baby Vick for a few months. It wasn’t until Baby Vick awoke from his sleepy 4th trimester newborn state and he started to make eye contact, and show an interest in the going ons and of course smiling, that I began to warm. There was a real person under that sleepy cover after all.

Even now I look at him and he is entirely different to what I am familiar with. He is polar opposites to his brother. That’s been consistent from the time he was born to right now 9 months later. He doesn’t give me easy rewards like his charismatic brother did. He is more serious, moody, driven, stubborn and less affectionate. He is fiercely independent and always has his own agenda. He is a Daddy’s boy. He often doesn’t ask for me and yet when we do share a moment and he lights up it makes it even more special. I feel that smitten love that I so desperately asked for nine months ago now in watching his little eyes curiously glued to a bird passing by his bedroom window, in watching him joyously snuggle into his fluffy blanket when going to bed, in watching him shaking his ridiculously big baby head when I say no and watching him infectiously giggle in the back seat of the car with his brother.

It’s there, the love, the bond. It just took time and it’s appeared and felt in different ways.

For those who are in the thick of the newborn haze and feeling very little, know it isn’t leaving a permanent stamp. It’s temporary. If there is a void, it will fill up. Underneath the strong currents of exhaustion lies a connection that is growing with every moment of sleep lost and every moment of your time given. You are bound in a way that no two other human beings ever could be. Right now, you’re probably just blinded by exhaustion and too tired to see. sleeping mother

{Photo source}

xx

Belgium: The Nation of Shits & Giggles

March 20, 2014 by Vicki

I spoke about the to die for desert bar and the all night get down and boogy Flemish wedding reception last week here, but what I didn’t get around to telling you about is another little wedding tradition which left my jaw swinging wide open over and over again like it was on a mechanical hinge.

In Belgium when the new Mr & Mrs arrive home for their first night of married life, probably with one thing in mind (…sleep?), they’re confronted with a gauntlet of carefully constructed “decoration”. In most cases their homes are nothing short of being entirely trashed. In Australia someone would be put up on a vandalism charge, no joshin’.

When we pulled up at my friend Evelien’s home, the newly married one, the front lawn was decorated fairly morbidly and I could clearly see how carefully planned and executed this all was by some devilishly louts that call themselves loving friends.

beligum home post weddingYou might think it was Halloween but nope just a happy wedding celebration.

Allow me to do some Flemish translation for you. That sign reads RIP, Evelien (bride) now wears the pants Wim (groom)… you’re life is over now you’re married…  or something to that effect. How uplifting.

The front lawn was just the start.

The Flemish like their beer. Obviously ‘cos they’re kinda famous for it but this, this staggered me. When the bride and groom went around the side to attempt to get in the door this is what they were up against:belgium beer

Empty. Every. Single. One. Many a beer belly made for the cause I’m thinking.

The door was bound up making it impossible to enter pretty much unless you had a chainsaw to smash your way through and just in case the couple were contemplating giving up getting inside and considered commencing sexy times on the grass (‘cos that’s what a bride wants to do in her wedding dress) the backyard was just as impossible not having a square 30 cm’s without some kind of trash over it. Beer bottles, shredded paper, streamers. Not exactly where you’d want to be laying your behind.

Guess what this newly married couple where doing on day one? And guess who became the knocked up cleaner for the day?

3 hours later after continuously stepping on bottle tops, lugging garbage bags about and pulling off shredded paper from my body I decided it would have been easier to just throw a match in and set the entire thing alight but given my bed for the night was inside, I had to just keep playing Sadie. Fox me.

belgium post wedding clean upTeam clean up about 1 hour in

I felt like sending the vandals an invoice for my holiday time. Of course they were no were to be seen.

Although the cleaning was a ginormous job it conveyed just how serious the Flemish are about having fun. Laughing. Puling pranks. News worthy ones at that ‘cos this made the newspaper the following day which says a lot about their spirits.

Judging by this tradition I’d say Belgium is the nation of shits and giggles and I kinda like that.

What unusual wedding traditions have you seen or experienced?

Have you attended an international wedding?