The Nearby Adventure

August 23, 2016 by Vicki

Sometimes I am reminded that you needn’t go far to have great adventures.

Over the weekend I rediscovered this. We visited the You Yangs Regional Park which is about a twenty five minute drive from home and yet it’s like we were far away and in another world.

It’s quiet there, and there are lots of trees and the occasional trail bike rider but otherwise it feels secluded and tranquil.

We went to celebrate a friends birthday which was a great excuse to get our boys out of the house and into the fresh air. Time to break the cooped up winter feeling.

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Today I’m linking up with Kylie Purcell – Capturing Life with all the bloggers who blog on Tuesdays for #IBOT!

Mama. Wifey. Hero.

August 16, 2016 by Vicki

Image 16-08-2016 at 9.48 AMLast week I had a little absence from the blog. Unintentional lulls on this space seem to happen after I bust out three posts in one week (this one & this one & this one). That seems to be a rhythm in my life right now. All or nuthin’.

The sleepiness hangs in the air here. It’s part winters fault, but mostly the sleep deprivation.

Baby Mango, God love him, he is the worst sleeper. They told me the third would be better.

With the broken sleep I feel fragile right now and prepared to ride any number of emotional tsunamis. I am regularly in conflict with myself about going easy and not keeping up with my expectations about productivity. The days seem slow being stuck in my vacant mombie existence, wanting to do more but not having the stamina to activate it. Some days I feel glued down to this existence and I am left wondering when it will ever change.

I constantly wonder if it’s the right time to be proactive about making changes? Trying to wean Mango off the night boobs? Yet there always seems to be a justified event or milestone that sees me pity him and dish up the boobs on demand.

The last couple of weeks he’s had premature molars arrive, and then a nasty meeting with some carpet and the worst burn under his nostrils you ever did see. Then he started daycare.

That deserves it’s own paragraph. I sent my baby to daycare! Now I don’t know if I should feel guilty about that but I’m not going to lie, I was full of glee last Wednesday when I got up and started packing them all up to leave the house. Three children where out of the house for a full day. Holy flippin’ batballs! It felt good. Better than good. Nirvana!

Alone time cannot be over rated. Nor can one moving about at their own pace and freely making decisions without children demanding all the shit and dictating the schedule. I embraced the quiet. I breathed. I turbo cleaned and then slept.

And seemingly Mango thought nothing of it. A star student they tell me. No tears, two sleeps, ate everything. Such reports soothed any niggling doubts I might have had but to be honest, I need a break so badly that I just can’t care. I am so mummy burnt out that I need the day off, this little indulgence. I can’t allow myself to care too much because it’s time to put myself first on this. I can’t keep up the all day thing and the all night thing giving, giving, giving. I can’t play mama, wifey, hero for every one, every single minute. To be a better mummy I need this.

And I am okay with saying that.

I’m okay with saying Wednesdays are my new favourite day.

How do you feel about daycare?

Do you put self care ahead of your children sometimes?

(Today I’m linking up with Kylie Purtell – Capturing Life with all the groovy bloggy cats and their Tuesday musings for #IBOT)

The One About Funky Breastfeeding Fashion!

August 5, 2016 by Vicki

I have breastfed for a tally of 48 months and still counting.

Although I’ve gotten to the point where I am totally coolio with pulling up my tee and boobing as is, there are times when I’ve really needed more modest and comfortable feeding options. For example I’m not such a fan of getting my jiggly jelly post partum  belly out with my newborn.

The daggyness of many feeding fashion options outright offends me. They’re 120% fugly! Can I hear a big AMEN?!?

So in honour of Breastfeeding Week I’ve collected some favourite breastfeeding friendly fashion options that are out there just for those feeding mamma’s who are in need and still want to look hip!

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The Wrap from Frank & Dolly’s

These are made from linen and exude quality and comfort. And isn’t a wrap easy? The best to access your boobie pantry for the bubs and easily adjustable as your boobs inflate. Unfortunately as this post went live the Peacock colour, as pictured, has sold out but it’s also available in Navy, Plum, Clove, Rust, Black and are just as sassy.

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Coral Contrast Collar Cotton Top by Bohemian Traders

I am all about a little bit of feature. Check the buttons and collar! This beauty is currently on sale too!

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Gingham Shirt Dress by Blossom & Glow

Gingham! This number would work super well for an occasion, or a lunch out. A dress with buttons! Hallelujah!

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Utility Jumpsuit by Country Road

I have a jumpsuit which I totally would not have picked as being a. flattering or b. feed friendly but I absolutely had my wrong pants on. Jumpsuits are great options and should not be ruled out!

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Y.A.S Mari Smock Blouse from Asos $104.95

I love a pop of colour and I love a good flowy top to hide that baby gut. I reckon this top covers all comfort and coolness bases.

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Paint Scribble Button Up Dress by Amanda Murphy

For those who love bright prints, you’ll love Amanda Murphy. I saw this on a school Mum and instantly wanted it.

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Excavate Dress by Gorman

I like how comfy this looks and yet it’s got personality with it’s off centre buttons. Gorman always dishes up personality AND this one is on sale right now! Meow!

Anything take your fancy?

Any hot tips for finding ace feeding fashion?

(By the way this is not a sponsored post. It’s just an old fashion community service notice for sisters in need or who are just as fashion keen as myself. Peace.)

Our Country Home

August 2, 2016 by Vicki

Sometimes the thought of going away as a family makes me go meh!

The packing up can be a real drainer especially if there are snotty nosed, grizzling kidlets at your feet as you try to pack that car.

But when everyone is buckled in and you hit that road, a little liberated song can beat in your heart!

Breaking routine is good sometimes. Getting out of a rut and allowing spontaneity to rule your world momentarily really can kick the winter blues.

That’s how we felt about last weekend. We ran off to my parents farm for a night and house sat whilst they were away, but really we were being seduced by the thought of their open fire to snuggle up in front of. We crave a good fire in winter especially since we only have a sad little gas heater to get by with at home. There is something compelling about a good flickering fire that we struggle to resist.

Being on the farm is a good chance to enjoy some of the simple things. Fresh air, long grass to kick around in, dirt to examine, fresh eggs to collect, colourful flowers peeking out to say hello, rustic surrounds, a big uninterrupted sky looking down on us and a fresh beginning that comes with the morning frost.

These little things really fill up that pocket within us that keeps us country people at heart.

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DSC_0923DSC_0936DSC_0930DSC_0742DSC_0924I never noticed when I lived there, but there is so much beauty in the slower, humble existence that is country life.

We feel lucky to have a country home away from our town home to escape to from time to time.

Do you have a getaway spot to go to sometimes?

Does an open fire lure you too?

I’m linking up with Kylie Purcell – Capturing Life today for #IBOT

Wintery Blues

August 1, 2016 by Vicki

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Winter has been making me feel pretty shitty this year.

I generally quite like winter. I don’t mind the colder days wearing scarves and boots and hibernating in a cosy warm house slurping soups. So I can’t say it’s just a seasonal thing but this year winter really has been kicking our arse.

I was virtually running on mummy burn out mode before we went to Fiji. That’s why the trip was so important to us. We all needed to breathe and thaw out a bit from previous bad stints of illness.

I assumed Fiji would fix us right up and make us immune to catching anything. Surely that was like calling barley to the universe for a bit?

Nope. Mr Vick got the flu about two days in. The real dealo flu. Think hot sweats and then shaking and needing to wear a jacket in 28 degree weather. He was alive, but only just. He still played the game but it was a struggle, a real struggle.

That would have been enough but Baby Mango got Hand Foot and Mouth disease and cried for two nights non stop. That was cruel and the holiday become not really the recuperating vacay that we’d needed. I was still positive and grateful for the change of scenery, warm weather and not having to cook and clean however. I mean, someone came and made my bed everyday! Even with sick people I could still be grateful. I still got a rest, from some things.

When we got home, his biggest brother Little Vick got Hand Foot and Mouth and why not kick a dog whilst it’s down? Mr Vick also got it, whilst he dealt with his flu that had turned into a chest infection.

To add to our doldrums Baby Vick has had a cough for about five weeks and a number of constant respiratory viruses. Nothing seems to ease it. The cough persists and haunts him during the night and keeps us all awake. He seems to have fevers on and off but the doctor can’t do anything for him, “it’s just viral”.

With one coughing brother, another is sure to get it. Baby Vick has had a nose oozing green snot and somewhere in there he got two premature molars as well.

Then there’s is me. Running between them all. Very little sleep being had.

My immune system is crazy good considering I don’t sleep and I’m surrounded by the swarms of germs and don’t get sick. I pat myself on the back for that but of course as soon as I gloat….

GASTRO. A special treat reserved just for me. It’s never happened before, but I lay in bed all day long. Mummy duties were off.

And because my system finally gave out a pesky cold came along too just to make my week.

So I find myself recuperating slowly and feeling fairly sorry for myself. My moods are ugly as I’m in for mourning the sleep I could have gotten on our intended restful vacay. The sleep I really did need.

But life you know? It’s pretentious to think I should be exempt from all of it’s challenge and complexities. But still…

It seems a bit rotten considering we eat well and take the vitamins and probiotics and drink bone broth and wash our hands and all that. It’s not enough to protect us against the net of germs our little people keep reeling in.

I know we’re not the only family living like this right now. I’m sure we’re apart of the majority actually and I know it’s normal for kids to get between 6-12 colds a year and all that, but give a girl a break ya know??

What I want to know is how do we give ourselves a mighty boost of immunity? How do we confidently give the bird to all the germs? Team you’ve gotta tell me.

How do you combat the winter germ fest?

Living With The One Year Old Mango Baby

July 26, 2016 by Vicki

DSC_0712Flop and dropping in Fiji overshadowed the fact that I now have a one year old. ONE YEARS OLD!

He is a toddler. The baby years are behind. I’m too tired to really feel all the feels that maybe I could about that.

Mango, who is so much happier being on his feet and cruising and having a geezer about everything, has mastered a good sturdy walk now and even lets me put shoes on him (it was a no go there for a bit). Of course it means I have a shadow wherever I go. He is there and everywhere in .5 seconds flat and you can bet if the front door opens or the toiler door slips ajar, then he just zips on through and into those zones that send me running.

This day I obviously didn’t run quick enough.

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I forgot the golden rule. Silence means trouble.

The loo is his favourite hang out. I’m sure he’ll keep that up right until I start asking him to use it.

So he’s curious (obviously) and messy. Fairly typical traits for his age I suppose but sheesh I’d forgotten how exhausting they are. He is fully dedicated to those causes. He will poke his nose in anywhere that is a bit inconvenient for me and shove his hand in and mess it all around, then probably pull it all out on the floor and wander off down the hallway leaving a trail along the way. I find random pieces everything all over the house. Nothing belongs where it should. This lesson about control is sending my a teensy bit mad. We have something like five TV remote controls about the house but naturally when we finally get to sit and watch something we have to hunt through toy boxes and under beds for just one to even turn it on!

I’ve been asked if he’s talking and I have to say, yes, kinda. He’s not like some babies that announce their first word and say it over and over. He yabbers on and off, and more than his brothers ever did at this age. It’s mostly gibberish and then on occasion he will pull out a big word like any three year old would and it sends us all reeling. The perks of having bigger little people teachers hey?

Mango is still very sweet and smiley but he’s also learned how to put on a ripper sourpuss and scold me real good. He can turn on the fiery-ness when he feels there is a great enough cause. He often calls upon it when he wants to prove he is capable enough to do something by himself. I can sense that’s the nearing two year old in him warming up.

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DSC_0666DSC_0630He’s an international traveler now too. Fancy having a first birthday and two days later getting out his passport and jetting off to an international destination? I knew nothing like it as a child. My first trip overseas was when I was 18 years old and I paid for it myself. Interestingly it was to Fiji, and it was with Mr Vick but that’s a story for another day.

Of course he was a complete baby rockstar in Fiji because he is the white buddha baby, with blonde hair and blue eyes. Trifecta in terms of amazingness to the locals. They honed in on him and flapped all the attention about him, hoping to get a mere smile. Mid shift they would flick open their mobile phones and take a picture of him. I was all like, um, huh? aren’t I the tourist here?

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He took the attention, of course. He showed very little concern about snuggling up with strangers. I’ve noticed that about Mango. There is a certain comfortableness and trust that he has. Is that a thing with third borns?

If you asked him how his Fiji experience was and he was able to comment I’m pretty sure he would say it was fairly shitty considering he contracted Hand Foot and Mouth disease. Isn’t that bag of fun balls? I think he screamed two night flats. Happy holiday!

The real issue, that is an every day thing, is his night wakings. I kid you not when I tell you that I still attend to his cries during the night three to four times. For the most part I don’t mind delivering the needed comfort that he desires ie. my boobs because he is already proving being small is for a short time and this season will not last, but then again on the other hand I am not managing my sleep deprivation as well as I have previously. Previously I have not had three children. So I am all arms up in the air about it. How long should I keep playing his game? I think I’m going to have to be the one who makes the shift because seemingly it’s not something he is growing out of. I’m such a dummy to believe that that will happen every time.

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It’s easy to harp on about the illness, the messiness, the sleeplessness but every so often Mr Vick and I will be watching him and he will turn around and smile at us and say something in his cute gibberish lingo and then he’ll lurch himself towards us for a big squeeze and we comment that this is a precious time. Being one is really special. It’s the best of both worlds. Babyhood and childhood mashed into one. And this in between child can teach us so much, even the third!

Anyone else parenting a one year old?

What age did you first travel over seas?

Today I’m linking up with Kylie Purtell – Capturing Life for A Happy Birthday IBOT special.

When Fiji Nearly Didn’t Happen

July 19, 2016 by Vicki

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Fiji nearly never happened.

We arrived at the airport with excitement in our eyes, even in the weary little ones. Our flight was at 11pm and everything had sailed swimmingly well with getting to the airport. We’d unloading the car, caught the bus to the terminal with our pile of bags and children in tow with ease. We had it covered. It felt like the holiday had already started.

Check in was going to be easy because I’d already done it online, so it was just a matter of checking our passports and handing our baggage in. Easy peasy.

That was until the flight lady behind the counter started examining one of our passports more closely and whispering to her colleague next to her. Still, we had no cause for concern. Right?

The flight lady very diplomatically informed us that Little Vick’s passport was only valid for a further four months, however to travel to Fiji, immigration requires a passport to be valid for six months.

Alarm instantly rung through my every inch. BUT IT’S A VALID PASSPORT I said in my head.

Flight lady went to the boss lady to talk it over. Surely, she was going to see sense in the matter and somehow shoo us through. This will all just be a scare!

No. Boss lady calls us over to her desk and proceeds to tell us that we won’t be able to fly tonight. Just like that. “You’re not flying tonight, this will not be accepted”! My mouth dropped (don’t do this to me, don’t do this to me, don’t do this to me….)

Apparently we would need to get a letter from the consulate in Canberra via email the next day to say we’re good and well citizens and Fiji should feel okay about letting us in. And apparently we should have looked at the immigration website because it’s all there in black and white for the reading. Our bad.

Boss ladies next suggestion was for three of us to travel that night on our booked seats and two should follow the next night and can she book that for us now? We looked at her with our dead pan eyes. Seriously?

Mr Vick instantly told her that we would not be separating. Boss lady explained that the flight the next night was already over booked so she couldn’t guarantee that there would be seats for five. Mr Vick again very sternly said we would not be separating.

I could feel a battle coming on. Deep breaths, deep breaths… my mind was instantly filled with all the things. Why didn’t I just update the passport when I got the two other Vicklets done? Don’t they know how much we need this holiday? Don’t they know how hard we’ve worked to make this holiday happen? Don’t they know? And then, why would we check the immigration website? It’s Fiji – it’s virtually an extended state of Australia! And then, can I pull a teary? Can I squeeze a tear out? Nup, nothin’.

She continued to stare at us willing us to make a decision and for it to be the one she was telling us to take. I explained that we had a returned flight booked for a week later and showed her our accomodation details just to clarify that we clearly had no intention of staying any longer. Still no deal so I asked her if she could at least see if there was any seats available for the next night and how much the difference would cost us.

The wait seemed like an eternity whilst she went off to make phone calls and look all very serious and proper. The free time we had was suddenly disappearing and they closed the flight and the terminal was emptying as everyone was making their way to the gate to board. My heart was racing.

Boss lady whilst still on the phone whispers to me that the seats to fly the following night would cost $2000!! WHAT? I felt ill.

More waiting. So many things were swimming through my head. I paced up and down trying to get Baby Mango to sleep in my carrier.

A few moments latter she puts the receiver down and smiles. Immigration was willing to give us a pass this time but next time we will need to read the guidelines of immigration when flying internationally.

Lesson learnt, lesson definitely learnt. Check the immigration website team even for those things completely unexpected. Travel smart.

Have you ever had problems at check in?

Do you read the immigration websites of countries you’re visiting?

Today I’m linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT

Coupling in Fiji

July 12, 2016 by Vicki

DSC_0655The hardest thing about parenting three little people is being with your partner all the time but only being and talking parent. Not so much couple.

In the last six years Mr Vick and I can count the number of dates we’ve been on on one hand. Okay, maybe two but the point is it’s a rare commodity and I never wanted to become one of these couples. For that reason going to Fiji was very important to us.

We needed to go all the way to Fiji to have a break from kids. It’s true. We have a smaller community around us at home to help out with the Vicklets and when they can they’re usually only for short bursts of time which we are always super grateful for but Mr Vick and I were in need of something a bit more to really recharge.

For this reason we chose our destination almost solely on the reputation of the Kids Club. The kids had to be happy to go to Kids Club each day. HAD TO BE. And they were (I wrote about how well kids fit into Fiji yesterday here)

This allowed Mr Vick and I firstly to thaw out a bit. Mr Vick has had a constant flow of colds and chest infections for the last few months, which typically continued even when we were away. He was ultra sick with cold sweats and then wearing jackets to keep warm (IN FIJI for gawds sake!). I was holidaying with flu man. Not as sexy as I envisaged but he had a change of recuperating  and we still had time together.

I had also been at my parenting capacity and on the borderline of mummy burn out, so I also needed some time to not play mum but alternatively to play Vicki and wife. We didn’t have to do much. We just needed some moments without kids.

Laying beside each other at the pool without a sound was a luxury.

Talking to each other about adult stuff without interruption was a luxury.

Eating tapas in peace and not having our food stolen from our mouth was a luxury.

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The view from at our tapas date with not a child in sight!

Going for a walk and not carrying a child was a luxury.

Having a massage together was a luxury.

Having a milk bath together and sharing champagne was a luxury. Really, it really really was.

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The view from our milk bath

In those little moments we were able to connect and revitalise again ready to push through the next chapter as a unit.

Sure, we were still in parent mode on and off throughout the day but knowing there was dedicated time for just us daily was a liberating and nourishing thing. Of course we can’t always nick off to Fiji to create couple time so we need to figure out a way to make it a reality at home. That will be the challenge.

I will try and remember how I felt on our first day. I was looking at Mr Vick and thinking “hello husband!!!”. I felt like I hadn’t really seen him for six years. I watched him on the side of the pool and thought wow he is still here. I noticed this patient soul who had been waiting for me all this time to duck my head out of crazy mother land and give him some deserved time. Finally in Fiji we got to meet in the same place without all the interruptions and nagging responsibilities.

Our romance has never ended. Having the Vicklets might have dulled the intensity but it’s still burning, but only if we keep it that way.

How do you create couple time?

Have you been to Fiji?

(Today I’m linking up with Essentially Jess for I Blog On Tuesdays)

Kids Visiting Fiji

July 11, 2016 by Vicki

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We visited Fiji fourteen years ago as a young loved up couple. Our visit this time was destined to be very different with three Vicklets in tow but after our first experience we knew Fiji was the right place for a family vacay.

I have not met one person who has been to Fiji who wouldn’t say the Fijians are the most warm and hospitable culture. Dead set, they’re so wonderful they almost make me feel bad for not pulling my socks up and making more effort. With their big smiles and enthusiastic “Bula!!” every time they see you, it’s easy to be won over. Kids are no acceptation.

Fijians have a real appreciation for children. It’s obvious when you watch them interact. They have a very special knack of connecting with little people. They get down on their level and they make all the funny noises and pull all the funny faces. They’re complimentary and they want to know their names and remember them for future interactions. They make them feel important and equal.

The Vicklets were not in the resort any longer than 12 hours and they were known by all wherever they went.  They were buttered up on every interaction. They felt so good just being there and in Little Vick’s words “they filled up his bucket”.

This kind of breeding happiness in kidlets can only make them feel at ease and trust (which is super when you’re sending them to kids club) and help everyone have a relaxing, harmonious time away. I don’t know if the Fijians deliberately recognise this or if it’s just their nature, either way kudos to them.

Our Vicklets connected with a number of individuals that they would talk about all day long after an encounter. They were captivated by them. I think for my gang they loved the cheekiness and zest for fun that seems to be embedded in the Fijian men.

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I mean look at those smiles! Normally I can’t get them to look at the camera and smile like that for no one.

We chose our resort (the Outrigger Beach Resort) solely on the Kids Club. It had to be superior to ensure our Vicklets were well cared for and well entertained so they would willingly attend every day. The Fijians had this under control of course so our Vicklets trotted off quite happily and feed fish, did crab racing, weaving, ice cream eating challenges, face painting, all kinds of marvellous kiddy business.

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Something that really won me over was that they had a free nanny service available at breakfast time. Wouldn’t we all love one of those full time? There was a morning (or two) when we were lining up for our monster buffet breakfast and Baby Mango wasn’t going to play the game so the nanny stepped in and took him to a little creche set up on the other side of the restaurant. He was happy because he got to play and have one on one attention and we were happy because we didn’t have a wriggly, grizzly Mango on our hands. In fact if the kids were ever a bit ya know, kiddy and shuffling around, yelling, running away or crying someone would step in and pick them up, play a game, pull faces whatever it took to shift the focus and give us a moment of not having to parent and that I sooooo appreciated. They loved a cuddle and getting a smile from my Vicklets and the thrill seemed to be completely mutual and genuine.

Many people have asked me if Fiji is a good place for a family holiday and the answer to that is absolutely. To date I have not been anywhere else that is on the same calibre when it comes to accomodating kids, entertaining kids and appreciating kids. It’s a beautiful thing!

Have you been to Fiji?

What culture in your travels have you discovered to be beautiful with kids?

A Fijian Photo Special!

July 7, 2016 by Vicki

Bula!

We have returned from Pina Colada paradise (aka Fiji) where the theme was most definitely flop and drop and only move to bring your cocktail to your mouth. Just my kinda place.

There’s nothing really unlikable about Fiji. That’s a fair evaluation I’d say.

Yet, would you believe we’ve returned and all fallen sick. The fun of it! So I don’t have the gusto to write a big post today about our Fijian times but I will share some snaps with you ‘cos some of you have been asking to have a sticky beak.

So here is Fiji in a photo album for you:

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DSC_0720DSC_0708Stories to come team. Many stories to come.

How was your week? I’m guessing a bit less blue skies?