30 April 2012
As Tiny Owlet grows, the rhythm of our days takes on a new shape. And her confidence in venturing out into the world, keeping pace with her sisters, grows.
On days where we are at home, we've begun walking around the neighbourhood after morning tea. We move at Tiny's pace. Slowing down as she jumps over tiny hurdles. Laughing as she waddles along with a gleeful expression, taking in her world as an active participant.
These walks take time... But goodness she can walk far.
Occasionally she wanders off to look at things on her own, but always returns to the comfort of walking with her sisters by her side...
Sometimes we stop at the neighbourhood cafe before continuing on home for a big nap. How very lucky we are, all of us, to slow right down like this. To just take our time and talk and walk and learn together. To see the the world as Tiny sees it. One Tiny step at a time.
29 April 2012
27 April 2012
Tiny Owlet loves books. They are her most favourite thing at the moment, along with the everyday tools she sees us using around the house. Little Owlet and Big Owlet love reading too. All sorts of books and books in different languages are a treat at the moment as they try to make sense of letters and words used in an unfamiliar way...
So, when I was asked to receive and review some books from Glottogon, I jumped at the chance. We do love receiving books in the mail...
Especially ones so beautifully wrapped...
First out of the parcel was a bundle of board books and flash cards, in English. The larger books appealed to Tiny and Little Owlet most, with titles like My Body, My Week and My Manners. Big Owlet happily read them to her sisters. Generally they enjoyed the bright, fun pictures and liked to point out things within them, answering basic comprehension questions at the back. I must say that the book about manners brought on a bunch of eye rolling and eyebrow raising from the older owlets, who are particularly suss about coercive parenting, but they enjoyed the pictures all the same, and the discussion that ensued.
The flash cards provided some fun and discussion for them too. Flash cards are fairly new concept for the owlets, as we don't generally use them at home, but they thought flicking through the pictures and passing them around was pretty fun.
The little board books appealed to Tiny Owlet who loved their size and the colours used within the pictures. The books are particularly light, having a foam core which makes them ideal to pop in my bag for entertaining Tiny while we're out... although I wonder at the environmental effects of using foam for books... I would love to see these books in another language as I think they'd be really useful to all the owlets in that form. Their simplicity and lovely pictures would work marvelously in that format.
Most exciting to us was the bundle of books written in French. We've been slowly introducing the Owlets to the French language, in daily conversation. Huz has been learning French using Rosetta Stone and I'm enjoying reviewing my snippets of knowledge... We loved seeing The Very Hungry Caterpillar there, giving new life to a firm favourite. The books aimed at Big Owlet are terrific, giving us something to nut out and work through together...
And this board book intended for Tiny Owlet is totally hilarious!
She, however is just lost in her total and utter love for books. I'm sure we'll come to know all these Glottogon books well over the coming months as they are shoved under our noses to read over, and over, and over.... I think we'll be wandering back to the Glottogon website to feed her book love over the years, and offer some awesome alternative language learning for all our Owlets. The website looks really useable and full of great titles, so I look forward to getting to know it.
If you'd like to have a chance to get to know the Glottogon range and website, we've been really lucky to have been given a $50 gift voucher code to give away to one lucky reader! Yay! All you have to do is leave a comment with this post, telling me your owlets' favourite books, in any language. I'll draw a winner next Friday afternoon. Best of luck!!
You can find Glottogon on their website, or on Facebook or Twitter. They also have a really handy Youtube channel where you can preview all their DVDs.
The giveaway is only available to Australian residents... Sorry overseas readers!
While I received these books to review, I was not paid to provide comments in this post. All comments are my own.
26 April 2012
Over the summer we spent lots of time barefoot. In fact, when Huz arrived home from his last day of work, looking forward to three months of holidays, he announced that he wouldn't put shoes on again until the next time he had to work... and he didn't! He discovered so many amazing things about the world and himself while barefoot. He's still barefoot whenever he can be. Even at work...
I'm always barefoot while at home and I love it, but over the summer I experimented with my own footwear and discovered something quite surprising (to me). The pain in my knees I'd had for 5yrs could be attributed to my shoes. My beloved Birkenstocks were the cause of the pain and surprisingly, my uber flat ballet flats were the most comfortable pair of shoes I owned. Days spent barefoot ended in happy feet. No wonder the owlets refused to give up their baby shoes. The soft soled leather ones we'd always given them as their feet unfurled... I went looking for an adult version and found Soft Star. To my delight, I found we could design our own. Brilliant!
We set to work, printing out shoe shapes, choosing colours, colouring, matching, measuring feet... who knew shoe buying could turn into the perfect little maths and design project?! The owlets loved choosing their own colour combinations and shoe shapes. They selected sheepskin lining for theirs and loved measuring their feet to work out the correct size. Most especially, they loved picking their favourite colours for their shoes! I can't tell you the number of times we've lamented shoe colour choice in the shops in town. Now we have a rainbow...
I chose favourite colours and a simple mary jane shape, while Huz went for a lace-up in his fave colours and a mix of textures. They're bold, but kind of awesome, I reckon.
The owlets have been inseparable from their shoes. They've dubbed them their "outside slippers", that's how comfy they reckon they are... They are so beautifully made, with such care. Just as we'd imagined. The Soft Star elves did an amazing job.
Today we went out, walking around town in our new shoes for the first time and our rainbow of shoes did turn a few heads, but what I noticed most was the comfort! An afternoon walking around town and my feet just feel happy. They are not cracking and aching like normal. My soft stars have just been comfortable from the word go. And silent! I love walking around gently, not stomping. I can feel the ground beneath me and have a greater sense of where I am because of that. Much like when I'm barefoot. I can say we'll most definitely be buying more soon. I may go as far as to throw out all my other shoes which just might force the issue ;)
This post wasn't sponsored or paid for in any way. We paid for the shoes in full and totally love them, we do! I can tell you though, that I will be posting a product review tomorrow and a super duper giveaway! Get involved, because there's some awesome rewards for you and your owlets ;)
22 April 2012
21 April 2012
I haven’t shared this story here in full before. But I think stories of loss are just as important as joy filled birth stories. I’m not sure why death and miscarriage are so taboo. They are sad, but in them we can find such beauty and raw emotion. They stay with you forever. The little hole left by Pippin is still there for me, three years later, even though another babe has filled his place. He left just after the first flutterings began. I felt his presence from the beginning and on some days, I swear I still feel him around me… Anyhow, this story was written two days after his birth/death. It was Samhain in the pagan calendar, a particularly apt time. A time where death, quiet renewal and drawing inward was happening all around us…
The year ended with a choice of two plans for the following year…
Plan A – have baby now so we have the same 3yr gap and keep life interesting.
Plan B – have baby later when Little Owlet is more independent and have a stable year with no major changes or plans, for a change.
We chose Plan B. Then plan A chose us. So we welcomed the idea of a little one into our hearts and prepared for the year ahead. Huz was particularly excited at the change in plans. The pregnancy proceeded as the others had. All was normal. All was well. The owlets were so excited to have a new sibling and made all sorts of plans for its future. Big Owlet wanted a brother. Little Owlet wanted a sister. I had dreamt about a boy, but it was a swirly, intangible dream…
At eighteen weeks, Huz had to leave for a few nights away for work. For some reason I really didn’t want him to leave. I made plans to go to Melbourne to be with family, but begrudgingly accepted that I needed to stay at home. We kept ourselves busy with friends and waited for Huz’s return. On Wednesday I sat down against a cushion that had been warmed by the sun and felt an instant relief for a pain I hadn’t noticed in my lower back. Later, I noticed a little blood when I went to the loo. Strange. Sinking feeling in my gut. Then the cramping really started. I called Huz who felt confused and helpless. The owlets and I hopped into bed and watched movies. After midnight I noticed that tightenings were happening regularly and the blood was increasing. Not good. In the morning I told the girls what I expected was happening. Big Owlet burst into tears and said “But I don’t want the baby to die!!” Which Little Owlet repeated and then said “Its ok, Mama, we can make another one”. I called Huz and let him know what was going on. More confusion and helplessness, but he was coming home later that day so we would just wait and see. I couldn’t wait to see him. When he arrived home he looked ashen and exhausted, but relieved when I fell into his arms and it began…
At around four o’clock Little Owlet crawled into bed with me for a little breastfeed and tightenings started up again. Stronger this time. Huz entertained the girls while I walked around breathing and stretching. Big Owlet didn’t want to let me leave her sight. She kept checking on me all day. She wanted to do something, call someone, get help. She thought I hadn’t eaten the right foods or something like that. We talked it through, reassured her this was a normal thing and part of life and our family’s story. We couldn’t contact our midwife and Huz and I both knew that hospital wouldn’t help much at this stage… At around 6 o’clock I was pacing and Huz suggested some music. Perfect. Joan as Police Woman popped into my head for some reason and in the middle of the first song I burst into tears, holding Huz, crying and dancing while contracting. Just the release I needed. It was the perfect choice of album, in hindsight. All about death and life and living and loving. I have a habit of picking the soundtrack for events in my life… By the second song, things were in full swing. I crawled and breathed, danced and belly danced and pretended to be a frog with the girls for the contractions. Little Owlet cuddled and kissed me and said “Mama, I love your tiny baby”. Big Owlet continued to observe me with a little concern, but the dancing seemed to put her at ease. At 7 o’clock, Huz put the owlets to bed with a DVD. I felt a pop and quickly made a nest in the bathroom with candles, towels and a heater. A short time later Pippin was born.
At first, I was almost afraid to look, wondering what I’d find… Such a tiny baby bird. So perfect and small. Beautiful and lifeless. He was in a little bag of water that somewhat resembled a jelly mould. I called Huz and we had a look together, through tears. So small. Tiny ears and hands and feet. We took photos. He was a boy. The owlets came and had a look and touched his tiny, perfect hand. I moved to the bath to try to birth the placenta as tightenings were intensifying again. We watched the water turn red. The owlets didn’t want to leave my side. Particularly Big Owlet, who was coaxed back to bed very reluctantly.
Two hours later, Huz began to worry about the blood I’d lost and the time it was taking to birth the placenta. I was in a huge amount of pain, like none I’ve felt before, or since, and feeling woozy from it. Huz called around for advice online and called our last midwife who suggested going to the hospital. She said we’d probably face an ambulance, five hours waiting around and a D&C… Um, no thanks!! After seeing Huz’s look of distress though, I agreed to calling an ambulance… And that was all the impetus I needed to birth the placenta. It arrived while he was on the phone to the stressy Ambo guy who was shouting in his ear. Phew! Relief. Its over. We can go to bed. Huz was overcome with the emotion and stress of it all and burst into tears while I hopped in the shower. Then he got a blood nose. Blood everywhere. From both of us! It looked like a crime scene. We had a giggle and a cry while we cleaned up and snuggled into bed with some food, while our amazing owlets snored and sighed near us. I called Dad and Mum and told them the news… I felt a strange sense of calm and like all was right. Sad, but right.
We got through it. Together. Our little family all working to help and love one another and create a protective, comfortable and warm space to welcome little Pippin. We have gone somewhere we never thought we would and will come out the other side with love and stronger as a family for it. In the next few days we’ll be finding a spot in the garden for Pippin and a tree to plant over him. We’ll be relaxing as much as possible and planning our future again. Back to plan B.
In the following days, we felt cocooned by love from family and friends around us. My sister flew down and nurtured us beautifully. Listened to us recount the events of our amazing, sad week. It really was a huge turning point for us. It cemented our relationship and enabled us to communicate and work as a team as we hadn’t before. It highlighted the love that was there and strengthened it tenfold. Birth, death and everything in between will do that…
** The photo above was taken on my birthday, three years ago, just before losing Pippin.
19 April 2012
Look at that grin! Yes, this is the girl who, one month ago, needed to be carried and lifted onto a pony half this size. It's the same girl who, this time last year, was afraid of dogs and pretty much everything that moved. This is the girl who faced all of those fears. Now she rides horses.
Actually, not only that... she stands on them! We take her to fortnightly riding lessons where she gets to challenge herself in her own time and do things that amaze even her. It's magic to watch as she's overcome by joy, doing something on her own. Something new.
This is the girl who, until last week, was afraid to put her face under water, even in the shower. Who sat beside me as we gently lowered our faces in to the pool and giggled as I waved at her below the water as she saw under there for the very first time. "Mum, I'm so pleased with myself!" She said, beaming over dinner that night... It didn't matter what I thought and I love that. She didn't need my approval, because she knows she always has it. Of course, my heart was full to bursting, as it often is, watching her branch out on her own, finding her own way and her own confidence. Actually, these pictures make my lip go all wobbly... You see, Little Owlet was always so attached to me, more so than the others. She needed me for so much. Changed the way I parented and challenged me to open my heart, just that little bit more... I rose to meet her and I'm so glad that I did, because now that attachment has led to a strength and determination that is unwavering and comes from the calm assurance that you are backed always by love.
16 April 2012
The universe is on my side at the moment... Or at least it was last Thursday. I was scrolling down my facebook feed when I noticed that random.org had chosen me to win a giveaway prize pack of cakes. Huz had just gone sugar free, and having tasted the delectable delights from Three Bees Cakes before, I knew he'd be challenged. A friend who also bakes beautiful cakes and goodies, but refined sugar free was also having a giveaway... "Wouldn't it be great if we won those too, so we'd all have something yummo to nibble...", I said to Huz. And an hour later, my friend's little boy pulled my name out of a hat :) I probably should have gone and bought a lottery ticket. By Saturday afternoon, we were in possession of all the gorgeous cakes and treats... Some of Mrs Rees cakes didn't quite make it to the tasting session - Oh Em Gee, her carrot cakes are amazing! You can find her Energy Slice and Cacao Balls and Date and Ginger (heaven) Biscuits in most places that sell good, healthy food around Hobart.
As for the Three Bees Cakes, well just look at them! Track them down if you can... So gorgeous and so flavour filled...
Tiny agreed too. Thanks, universe.
15 April 2012
Actually, this is how we began our weekend... Huz had the day off and after a drive and a swim, we stopped off for fish & chips and a wander. We visited the beach just below the house where Little Owlet was born. Big Owlet and I wandered up and down this beach almost every day when she was just two years old. Such a beautiful spot and on Friday night, it was perfect. The water was surprisingly warm, and the light! The light on these Autumn afternoons is so golden - everything looks amazing drenched in it. We collected shells, balanced on rocks and paddled as we watched as a bride and groom at the far end of the beach made memories of that day too... It really was such a lovely afternoon. An echo of Summer and reminder of why that work/life balance is so important to us. Something we're hoping to nurture this year and beyond...
Do you look forward to the weekends as much as we do? Do you think society has it right with working weeks the length that they are? Around here, we kind of feel like four days is enough for working on one thing. Five days is just too long... Of course, we have the luxury and privilege to imagine a life with less work, but it does seem a long time to be away from the peeps you love the most, don't you think? Anyhow, I hope your weekend was beautiful and your week shapes up to be even better.xx