Sunday, July 31, 2011

Operation room relocation

We are in the middle of moving Erin into her own room.  She has been sharing with Abby since she started sleeping through the night at around 8 months of age (I know!  How lucky are we!  Trust me, the others took much longer.  In fact one of them still visits us every night).  Anyway...

We decided Abby really needs her own space now.  A space away from her annoying brother (whose current obsession is pretending to be a dog).  A space where she can play with her lego and glitter glue without them being eaten by her sister.  

And we have the luxury of 4 bedrooms so it makes sense for each of the kids to have their own room.

But.  And it's a big but.  This move means I've had to give up my sewing room.  And  jam it all into one corner of the living room.  

Which is a problem for two reasons (other than just simply find a spot for everything).  Firstly, I am a messy sewer.   And while I used to be able to close the door on my mess, now I will have to face it every single day.  Or keep it tidy.

Secondly, my sewing machine is very noisy.  And since most of my sewing is done at night when the kids are in bed and Chris is watching something boring on tv, now he won't be able to hear his boring shows.  

So maybe it won't be too long until I get myself a little outdoor studio. Or score myself a new whizz-bang (quiet) sewing machine.  

The problem is this - when we moved into this house five years ago we had one baby who had a small number of toys.  So we had two whole rooms to spare.   But as we've had more kids and the kids have grown and their toy collections have grown and my sewing hobby has grown we no longer have any spare rooms.  And we're finding it very hard to find a home for everything.  That's the challenge for the weekend.

The kids toys and books have been relocated to their bedrooms.  Abby's craft corner that was in my sewing room is  now in her bedroom.  Erin's cot and change table have moved into my sewing room.  My sewing stuff has taken over one bookshelf in the living room and the stuff that was on there has been moved to the kitchen, the coffee table and the hallway.  The rest of my sewing stuff has found a new home in the laundry.  And we're only half way there.   

Friday, July 29, 2011

Rest day

Since Abby started school a year ago it feels like we never see her any more.  And the bits we do see aren't always the best bits.  After school we often get visited by grumpy, tired, my-brain-is-frazzled Abby.  And the weekends seem to fly by so we can't always cram in enough quality family fun.

So from time to time (maybe once a fortnight) I pick her up early from school or drop her off late.  And sometimes she even has the whole day off.  Often it's because she's just plain tired and needs to rest.  But sometimes it's just because I don't want her to miss out on any of the fun things we do at home.

Like yesterday.  It was 20 degrees and sunny in Adelaide.  Definitely a beach day.  So we picked her up early from school and headed to the seaside for some ice cream and frolicking in the sand (or eating it in Erin's case).

I'm not sure what the school policy is on 'mental health days' but I don't spend a lot of time worrying about it. I feel I am doing what's best for Abby and the entire family.  Maybe I would feel differently if she was struggling at school, but she's not.  Maybe I would feel differently if she didn't love school, but she does (in fact I often have to talk her into having these rest days).  Maybe I would feel differently if all my kids were at school and she wasn't missing out on any of the fun we have at home.  Maybe I would feel differently if she was a bit older and would miss some important learning by having time off, but she's only in Reception.

In the meantime, we'll continue plucking her out of school for afternoons like these...

Monday, July 25, 2011

The birthday party

Abby turned six last week!  She decided to celebrate with a little party with some of her friends.

Six?! How did that happen!
She is a winter baby so our only choice was to have the party at home or outsource to McDonald's, the bowling alley, fairy land, gymnastics etc as most parents seem to do these days.  Outsourcing makes sense because it's so easy.  No planning, no preparation and no cleaning up!  But I refuse to do it.  Partly because of the cost.  But also because I think the focus of the party should be on the birthday person and they often get forgotten in the mayhem of outsourced birthday parties.   Most parties don't even allow time to open the presents!  That's the best bit!

So we had a simple party at home.  Because although I'm against outsourced parties I'm also against too much planning, preparation and cleaning up!

Abby chose the cake first and that made it easy to choose the theme -  Teddy Bear's Picnic.  She made the invitations, wrote the guest list (only 10 - phew!), and decided on the food and the games.

The invitations!
For the game prizes we visited some of the cutesy Japanese shops at the markets and stocked up on teddy bear paraphernalia (nothing over the top just pens, post-its, key rings, coin purses etc).  And yes, there was only one prize in pass parcel.  And yes, some of the kids were outraged!

The party bags were tricky because I didn't want them to be full of useless plastic crap but I also didn't want to spend lots of money.  I sewed the party bags (fabric from Spotlight), we made some teddy bear shaped chocolates and put a few lollies in but I was completely stuck for what else to put in.  Fortuitously, I stumbled upon a set of 12 silicone teddy bear cup cake pans one day.  We put them together with the recipe for chocolate crackles.  Party bags done.

The party bags
We knew we had to do something at the beginning of the party to keep everyone entertained while we were waiting for all the guests to arrive so they didn't go too crazy.  At the last minute we had a great idea to read them some teddy bear themed books.  Chris donned the teddy bear ears Abby had made for him and read We're going on a bear hunt, Goldilocks, Bears in the Night etc etc.  The kids loved this!

The kids are captivated by Chris' story-telling!
We made a teddy bear shaped pinata (bugger no photos), played musical pass the bears, pin the bow-tie on the teddy, dancing statues and pass the parcel.  Six year olds love games!  They had fun.

Because we were trying to limit the amount of pre-party parental stress, we didn't serve hot food.  Or anything that couldn't be made the day before.  Just the usual party favourites - fairy bread (in a teddy bear shape of course!), chocolate crackles, honey joys and a fruit platter.  I got out all my little op shop plates and tea cups which the kids loved and the table looked great (bugger no photos).

The cake was the Teddy Bear from this kid's party cake bible.  He was very cute.

The best photo we have of the cake

Some of the mums stayed and chatted so I made them a coffee and we ducked over to the bakery and bought a carrot cake so they didn't have to eat the party food!

At the end of the party we took a group photo of all the guests and their teddy bears and sent it to them as a thankyou card.

We kept the party short.  Only an hour and a half.  Perfect.  And apart from when Abby forgot her birthday party etiquette and blew the candles out before we'd finished singing happy birthday, it really was stress free.   And since I had to ferry Abby to another kid's party straight after hers, I didn't even have to do the cleaning up!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My creative space

Birthday presents for the baby.


All the usual holiday shennanigans

snail races
puddle jumping
lots of baking of sweet treats
many visits to the park
play dates with friends and cousins
and riding on public transport just for fun

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Kate posted about her school uniform the other day.  You know, the clothes you wear day in and day out.  The ones you can throw on without thinking much about. 

I often wish  I had a uniform.  I don't really like thinking about what I'm going to wear every day.  Does it match?  Is it comfy?  Is it weather appropriate?  Is it clean?  And can I actually find it?  Too many questions for early in the morning.  Multiplied by 2 because Erin hasn't figured out how to dress herself yet and Rory just refuses to (I'm sure Abby was dressing herself by 3!)

And being a school mum means I actually have to leave the house twice a day.  So I need to look semi-presentable and wear clothes I'm not afraid to be seen in.  

But this week it dawned on me I think I actually do have a school uniform.  My 'schooliform' (as Lola says) consists of comfy skirts (often one of these), comfy shoes and some sort of top I can breastfeed in.  Nothing new (cause we're not buying new clothes this year only op-shop and handmade), just stuff I've had in my wardrobe for years.  And nothing that looks like what everyone else is wearing (or I try not to anyway). 

I wish I could wear dresses and tunics but I've gotta feed that baby on a regular basis and I'd prefer not to have to get undressed each time I do it.  And I would looooove to just chuck on my jeans but I only have one pair of jeans and they are my skinny jeans.  The ones I bought just after I had Rory when I was really skinny (the upside of PND).  They fit now but when I wear them I can't breath.  And I kinda need to breath.  And bend over to wipe bottoms.  And crouch down to pick up babies and mess.  So jeans are out.

Which leaves me with a very limited wardrobe.  But at least I don't have to think too much about what I'm going to wear every day.  What shall I wear?  Oh, let's go for 'same again or a variation thereof' shall we?  

Presenting my schooliform: 

 All photos taken by Abby with her broken arm.  

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Baby quilts

For my sister.  Who had a baby boy in March.  The whale fabric was left over from some pyjamas I made for my nephews for Christmas last year.  I put it together with some random blues, reds and greys from my stash.  Spots and stripes mostly.  And made a pattern!  Which is unusual for me.  Normally I just sew everything together then stand back and squint my eyes to make sure it looks ok.  This method hasn't failed me yet.  

And this one is for my best friend who is having a baby girl any day now.  She's not a girly girl so these colours are much better for her than pink.  I made this one using a jelly roll from Spotlight.  I wasn't sure about it at first because, you know, Spotlight.  There's such a stigma surrounding fabrics from Spotlight.  So not cool.  Not cool that is until cool Aunty Cookie started using them (she did!  somewhere.  I just can't find the link).  Cool now.  

The arrival of these two new babies is perfect for us because we have been able to offload all our baby gear to good homes.  Which is much easier than selling it or dumping it at the op shop.  And even though my heart decides from time to time it's not finished having babies my head knows better.  And my heart is less likely to be swayed by my head if all the baby stuff has gone to new homes.  My heart will just have to be content cuddling other people's new babies.

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