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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Medicating Mamma



I suppose it's been coming for a long while. I resisted and resisted and resisted but finally the day came when I simply held up my hands and said "Ok. I'll try it. I've tried everything else and nothing is changing. Maybe this will help." And so here I am. One week into taking SSRI's to control that nasty PND Fairy who has made another appearance. In some ways I'm honestly glad. The decision has been made and while it was agonising making it, it is less so in its execution. I get up, I take a tablet, I feel better. That's it really. The hardest part was trying to figure out what was worse. Psychologically damaging my kids with the rampant anger that I can't seem to figure out OR potentially psychologically (or physically) damaging my boy by taking the anti-depressants (a small amount of which comes through the breastmilk).  There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about the long term effects of this decision on my rapidly developing wee boy. It worries me. Truly. I just don't think that the kind of mother I was rapidly becoming - one that lit up like a flare at the slightest irritation and shouted more than she talked - was going to do him any good - and I worry all the time about how much damage my emotional rollercoaster ride has cost Lily. So this was the only reasonable decision to make. When your naturopath tells you there is nothing else for it, then I suppose you have to sit up and listen. I was on the strongest natural remedies there were and it wasn't even touching the sides. Besides, I don't want to miss the day-to-day joys of life with my kids and I don't want to put any more stress on my marriage. I need to give my kids and my all too understanding husband a break from 'cranky mommy' and find my softer, funnier side again. She's been missing for far too long.


Can I tell you a secret though? I feel weak. I do. (And this is in no way a judgement on anyone who is, like me, seeking mediation to cope with life). But I look at the life my mother led (with four kids not just two) and I look at the life my sister leads with 6 kids (4 adopted, two natural - one of whom has ADHD, ADD, Aspergers and is a high functioning Autistic) and I wonder why, with all the love and support I have (that they did not) that I am not coping better. I know people say not to compare yourself to others but it's hard not to. These are the women of my family and I feel like I am letting them down. That I a letting myself down. I mean, I should be able to do this without medication, right? It's just raising two children. I am privileged enough to not have to work and can be with them every day. They are wonderful, beautiful, funny kids and I adore them. Yet. I struggle. Why? I don't know. I can blame my childhood sure but isn't it up to us how much we let the past affect our future? I'm sure there is some deep seated resentments about mothering and whatnot but again, I chose this life. I am blessed to have two healthy, gorgeous babies to love and cherish, so why is it often so hard. The reason I decided to take the medication was because I found myself thinking that Beanie would just be better off without me. I felt for the first time that I just wanted to run away. I have NEVER felt that way before. Never. Admittedly, that day was a bad one but I took Finn and I got in the car and I truly was not sure I was ever coming back. I drove around the hills in the dark for over two hours and when I got back my hubby and my girl were waiting for me. Beanie wouldn't go to sleep until I came home. And I felt ashamed of myself for wanting to leave her.


The guilt that comes with motherhood is immense for some of us. The fear that our mistakes will make permanent marks on our children's childhood and lead to terrible emotional and psychological problems later on, is truly terrifying. The shame that comes with each mistake. The pain of knowing that you have made yet another scar on a little life. These are the things I can't live with. I don't want this to be my mothering legacy. I want to do it better. I want to see their faces light up when we play. I want to see them reach out to me for help or a hug or just because I'm there. I want them to know that their mother loves them and I want to show them that love by being here, by being fully present in the moment with them. I want to at least start to find the joy again because four years is a long time for it to be gone.


So far so good (if you ignore the nausea and the slightly squirrely tummy). It seems to be helping a little bit every day. I find myself not so anxious, not so irritated. Believe me when I say that this is a big improvement. I got through a whole week last week and barely shouted at all. Again- big change. Lily's behaviour has improved. I'm not sure if that's in response to me relaxing or because she's finally coming out of the stubborn, rude, oppositional place she's been residing in for the last year and a bit. It's hard to know but it isn't hard to appreciate the changes. Maybe I should have done this sooner. No doubt there will be guilt around that if I think too hard about it. I tried so hard to do it any other way but here I am. At least there is the possibility of change here right now and I'm very grateful for that. Maybe the lesson here is learning when to ask for help and know which help to take. All I can do is wait and see.


In reality, life moves along so unbelievably quickly and I don't want to miss any more of it feeling bad. I mean look at them. Look at how much they have changed already. Blink and it's gone. 





Lily's fourth birthday party.


My gorgeous violet eyed Finn - 5 months (photo taken by Laura of Warmth and Light Photography). 



Me, tired but happy. As opposed to just tired.

So I guess this is where I am at right now. For better or worse this is the decision I have made. There is a lot of work ahead of me - inner as well as outer - but I ask only for a pause in my head between the spark and the flame - just long enough to blow it out before it consumes me.


That's not too much to ask, is it?



Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Place Where Health Resides

Is about a million bloody miles away from our house.


How I'm Feeling Right Now

ARGH! Can I just have a gigantic whinge please? OK. As of today, we have ALL been ill consistently and without a break for 14 sodding weeks. 14. I am not exaggerating. I am currently hacking and wheezing my way through my THIRD chest infection (complete with flu like symptoms) and am enjoying the many and varied psychedelic effects of my third round of antibiotics. Lily is over her ear infection (and her recent fever) but is still partially deaf and snotty. Finn has just finished his second round of antibiotics (for his chest infection) and, as yet, has not caught this latest bug. Michael went away to Brisbane for work on Monday and by Monday afternoon I was in the grip of this latest delight. So over it. So not fun caring for two children, one of whom refuses to sleep for more than 20 minute stretches during the day, when all you want to do is take enough panadol to floor a rhino, and sleep. Hah! Fat chance of any of that!



Oh I do love my boy. His smiles light up my life and when he chuckles, ye Gods, it doth melt my foolish heart. Still, the little beggar makes me cross and shouty when he cries (and cries and cries and cries and cries) and nothing I do makes it better. Not picking him up, not putting him down, (heaven forbid I do that), not lying down, not sitting up in his chair, not his dummy and, drum roll please, often not even the beloved boobie. He is, at the moment and probably due to everyone's prolonged illnesses and mummies antibiotics, a grumpy little fecker! 


In truth, it's sheer slog at the moment and not much of the joy of the newborn or anything else for that matter. Beanie is still in her oppositional and defiant stage and increasingly I am resorting to threats and time outs, neither of which are much fun for either of us, to get her to do ANYTHING. Still, I can see that our power struggles are only going to get worse unless I change my approach. I just don't have the energy to do it right now. Not with a sick baby and a sick mummy and absolutely no energy for anything. 


If anyone has any natural remedies for viral and bacterial infections that might help us plump up our immunity and get past this, then please share. I am open to anything that might help and stop us passing it back and forth between us.


Yesterday was the worst. I started to feel increasingly ill in the afternoon and I think the antibiotics are having a very strange effect on me. I felt faint and all jittery inside, so I rang my mother-in-law and she came and cooked us a roast and took Lily off my hands, so that I could just cope with Finn. I am blessed indeed to have such a fantastic supportive family of in-laws and I was grateful for the break. However, leading up to Nanna taking Beanie to hers for the night, Beanie and i just had fight after fight after fight. When she finally left, she was subdued and I was beside myself with grief and guilt. All the hugs in the world don't feel enough after one of our spats. And I hate myself for being so easy to anger, so irritable and so impatient with my beautiful girl. When they left I broke down in tears and felt worse than I have in quite a long time. I felt PND low and seriously anxious. I phoned my mother-in-law and asked her to call me when they got home, so that I would know Beanie was safe. Always when I hit this low, I am convinced that the Gods will punish me for my many mothering sins by taking her away from me and I am anxiety ridden until she is returned to me. It's made worse by the fact that I am occasionally intuitive/precognitive in my feelings about things and events, so I never know if I'm feeling so crazy because I am, in fact, crazy or because something bad is going to happen. 


I know. It's not healthy. It's not even particularly sane. But it is possible and it is because of that possibility that the fear is able to get in. The thought of losing her is... well, in all honesty, there aren't words adequate enough to describe how it makes me feel. So I did the only thing that makes me feel better at times like these. I called my hubble. He has this way of calming me down, of making me feel less like a basket-case and of making my head less frenetic and punishing. I don't envy him his task. I am not the easiest of people at the best of times, (and I do wish I was more sunny of personality but intense and feeling and anxious is the best I got, sorry), and this is certainly not the best of times. Anyway, he talked to me until it got a little quieter in there and then I slept as much as my wee boy would let me and felt slightly better this morning.


Beanie - what seems like a lifetime ago.


I live in fear of the PND returning in all it's repugnant fulsomeness. I was only just freeing myself from it's frozen grasp when I got pregnant with Finn. Now, I am watching myself and yes, there are signs. There is the anger and frustration that I am all too familiar with. Those bitter, twisted emotions that take all the colour from my life and mar the bond I have with my children. I am awash with that. Yet, I still find joy in the moments in-between and I take comfort from that. I see the soft-hearted, empathetic nature of my girl  and delight (and suffer) in it, even as I see how easily it will be for those she loves to break that bright heart of hers. I see how brightly she shines with intellect and wisdom far, far beyond her years. I am awed by her spirit, her humour and her ability to  make me laugh with her funny comments and actions. 


And my little man? Well, it's all about the gummy grins and the little chubby thighs. And, of course, those rare chuckles that are making more of an appearance as days go by. I watch as he grows bigger and stronger by the day, despite all the sickness that has plagued his young life so far, and I delight in his daily accomplishments. Bringing his hands to his mouth, trying to swallow his entire fist, filling his nappy with great gusto and reaching out and grasping things with more ability every day. He almost rolled over today and I clapped with joy. It never gets old. It simply reminds me of how Lily did these things too, how precious they are and how quickly these times are over. I don't want to miss a thing. I don't want to look back, as I often do at footage of Beanie as a youngster, and only be able to remember the anger, the grief and the guilt and all the mistakes I made. I don't want to miss the opportunity to revel in these moments. I don't want to be that mother again. I want and need for something to change.  And it has to be me. And I am trying. I have been trying. So hard and for so long. And yet here I am again. I am trying to remind myself that my 'word' for this year is 'Compassion', and show some to myself.


Cuter than any real puppy


How I long to come and write something that is jolly and bright and humourous and full of hope. I can do it. I have done it, but it all seems rather far away right now. I am sure much of it is illness but then there is a lesson in that too it would seem. Asthma after 15 years is certainly something to think about. As are three chest infections in three months. Guess where the seat of grief is in the body? Yup - lungs. 


Anyway, the hubby is back late tomorrow night, so I'll hopefully be able to spend Saturday and Sunday recuperating and being gathered up into his long, warm arms for a much needed hug. This is the longest apart we have been since we met. And as someone who has spent only one week as a single mum to two kids, can I just say that I have nothing but utter respect for single parent families. I can't imagine how hard it was for my mum to raise the four of us alone as she did or for my sister to do it with six, one of whom is autistic. And on nothing. I send out a big hug to all those women (and men) who are doing this alone for whatever reason. It takes a lot of heart and a lot of courage to raise children but it's so much harder when you have no-one with whom to share the joys and the sorrows, or to just get a cuddle from at the end of the very long day. So take one, over cyber-space, from me. Cos I get it.


Me. Sick and Tired. 


I need to go now. I need to sleep if I can. I only came to empty my head and my heart for a while. To make sense of the fragments all swirling madly about and to connect, if only anonymously, with those of similar heart. 


May all the things that lay us low tonight, be gone by morning.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Emergence

Hellooo - I'm back! It's been a while and I've been dying to come and share with you all the stuff that's been going on but I've been so busy. Being a (grumpy, sleep deprived) mum to two gorgeous bubba's is a full time job.

Firstly though, just look at my beautiful boy!


Is he not the most beautiful thing you have ever seen (own children excepted of course)... I'm so in love.

This photo was taken by my good photographer friend Laura, whose website I shall link to when it is up and running. She specialises in family portraits and pregnancy/baby photography and, as you can clearly see, she rocks. I'm lucky enough to be loved enough to get all this expertise for nothing and our Finn Photo Shoot went spectacularly well. I may not be able to resist putting up some more photies in a minute. They are ALL so splendid. We are planning on asking her to do a family shoot with all of us because it's hard to do that kind of shot for yourself.

Oh, who am I kidding, I can't wait -here's another one.


This is what he looks like most of the time, poor colicky wee thing but still, even bawling he's so cute. Mind you, we did subject him to some serious wardrobe changes (hats mainly), he's probably all hatted out here.

We have all unfortunately been sick for the past 11 weeks, with a cold that just won't go away. It developed into a nasty chest infection two weeks ago and I have had asthma for the first time in 15 years. Even more unfortunately, despite my very best efforts, poor Finn came down with it on Saturday and now has a horrible chesty cough which causes horrible gagging and sometimes projectile vomiting of his feed and conjunctivitus. We are a family plagued with ill health at the moment and I am still barking like a seal despite being on my second round of antibiotics. I'm hoping that as the weather warms up with Spring, it will take the lurgy with it and we will all be happier and breathing more easily soon.

Life with two is interesting. Tiring, frustrating, funny, time consuming and all that jazz but it's also wonderful, heart-warming and so special. I am truly grateful that these precious little souls chose me to wear out, wake up and demand from. It's hard some days and my fuse has sadly not gotten any longer, but I wouldn't have it any other way. They light up my life, they truly do.

I have also been really busy crafting. My mum taught me how to knit while she was over and I've been obsessed since then. I have just finished knitting Finn a pair of dark oak green trousers (which will no doubt finally fit him in the full burning heat of summer!) and I'm in the process of knitting him a red pixie hat. It's great. I can sit in bed and knit and talk or watch a movie or whatnot and it's so relaxing. I just love working with my hands. I've just bought a load of new wools to make another jumper for him (I knitted a trial one up out of some nasty nylon wool that I got from a charity shop and it turned out pretty good) - such wonderful colours and I'm hoping to knit him up some vintage booties with a button and a strap.

I've also been learning to sew. I have made Beanie a beautiful pinnafore dress and head scarf out of some gorgeous birdie fabric. I have some yellow polka dot fabric to make another one. I will have to take some photo's when I have the chance but our camera had pretty much died and my camera phone doesn't do them justice.

I also crafted madly right before Finn's birth (strange nesting impulse maybe?) and I made Lily a magnetic fishing game, complete with felt fishies and twig poles. I mean, I even sewed her a pond with seaweed and lily pads on it. Again, photo's later. I also made all of Finn's bunny rugs and muslin wraps and I made him a black and white striped sock monkey called Chester. He looks like a bandit, so I'm thinking of making him a little sack with $$$$ all over it. Lily keeps calling him 'Chesty' and then wondering why mummy is laughing like a drain...

Now - how exciting. I've been given an award. In fact, it's.....

A Blog With Substance Award



Who knew? I have substance. I am, of course, delighted with this award, especially as I mostly feel I write about absolutely buggar all and then only to amuse myself. So in the spirit of sharing the love...here are the rules for the award:


1.Thank the blogger that gave you the award. Thank you to the lovely wiccan permaculture guru Moonroot who has very kindly chosen my blog for this award. Ta very much lady! May your chickens be ever plump producers of large happy eggs.


2.Sum up your blogging philosophy, motivation, experience, using 5 words.
Oh dear Lord. Me, limited to five words? Be Honest, Laugh At Yourself 

3.Pass the award on to 5 fabulous bloggers with substance. I'm happy to bestow this award (in no particular order) on the following fabulous blogs which always have something worth saying, and say it well:

Well now this bit is hard. Two of the blogs I love have been privatised, so I can't nominate them. One of the blogs I would nominate has just (sadly) quit the blogosphere, so I am a bit limited.

Bluebirdbaby continues to be inspirational to me and Erin always has something to say and a beautiful way of saying it. Her blog that puts a spring in your step and a light in your heart. Check her out.

Holistic Mamma is awesome. Always insightful and very often her posts are written just for me. (Well, that's what it feels like). Check her out for some intelligent, thoughtful and sweet posts.

Mamma Moontime is all lovely Steiner/Waldorf inspired and there are lots of creative, wonderful ideas for play with your wee ones.

The Magic Onions is a place where people like me can find inspiration for raising children and for inspiring children and for playing with children. Me likey.

Rhythm Of The Home is a warm and friendly place full of all manner of goodly things.

And that's it for now. Enjoy the links.

I'll be back as soon as I can.

Monday, June 21, 2010

I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar...

My Beloved.

It is fascinating to me the real beauty that can be experienced in moments of pure surrender. Never has that been made more abundantly clear to me than on Thursday 27th May 2010 when my beautiful chubby cheeked boy finally made his appearance.

I sat on my birthing ball in my study, perfectly at peace with the 'what is' of my situation. I was uncomfortable and 6 days past my due date, I had half heartedly tried some of the suggested ways to augment labour and had really reached a place where I knew with certainty that I didn't want to do anything else to try to hurry this pregnancy up.Though I was barely sleeping, often in pain and still, at times, worried about coping with two children rather than the one, rather demanding, kidlet that I already had, I knew that when the baby and my body were ready, then I would know. I called my doula to let her know that nothing was happening but that I was ok, truly ok, with how everything was and that I was now just in a place of total acceptance. She smiled as she heard the change in my voice but reminded me that she was actually flying out to Adelaide the next morning and therefore wouldn't be around for the next 3 days. I actually laughed out loud. I was simply sure, in that moment, that whomever was at the birth was meant to be at the birth and if that wasn't my excellent friend, then that was as it should be. I knew, I don't know how given my previous birthing experience, but I knew that I would be ok, come what may. I promised to give my back up doula a ring just in case and she was laid up in bed with Tonsillitis, her uncle had just died and she was due at a funeral on the Friday AND the two women for whom she was primary doula still hadn't gone into labour! I laughed again. I told her what I had told Bhava, all would be well. I had simply reached a place where I didn't care when it happened or how it happened, I knew that it simply would happen and all in it's own good time and in it's own perfect way. And so it did.

I felt good. Truly. My little Beanie was with her nanna for the day, so I took mum for lunch. We yomped through a delicious lunch of chips and vinegar and gravy (well i did) and I enjoyed a lovely mug of chai. Part of the way through my chippies, I suddenly realised that the sensation of my baby doing what felt like downward dog in the middle of my belly was, in fact, coming at regular intervals. I asked mum what the time was - it was 12.30pm. Mum asked me if I was timing contractions, I said I wasn't sure but that I would see how regularly these sensations came. I was calm and smiley and continued to eat my lunch. They were coming every five or so minutes. That's when I knew that my baby was on it's way.

We left, popped briefly into a shop on the way home and then hopped into the car and drove back home. Mum was concerned about me driving the car but really, it was completely fine. I wasn't panicked, I wasn't in pain, I was just in labour. I rang the hubble and said that I thought something was happening but, as I wasn't sure if it was labour or just pre-labour, I would call him back in an hour. 45 minutes later I told him to come home. I then went upstairs, finished packing my hospital bag, dusted my shelves, put together the changing area and got it all baby friendly and then went downstairs to watch Anchorman. Michael came home to me occasionally standing and circling my hips during a contraction but mostly chortling away to anchorman whilst sitting on my ball. I called my doula, who was ecstatic that she would actually get to be at the birth. At around 4pm we decided that, though it might be early, we should get to the birthing centre just to ensure we had a room and a chance to birth in water. 1 hour later my doula arrived to me deep in labour and 3 more hours later I pushed my not so wee boy out into the world. I was, in fact, only one push away from birthing him in the birthing pool but his heart rate dropped and I only made it one step away from the bath before his head was out and the deed was done.


I did it. I DID IT! I was/am so ecstatically happy that I managed to birth my Finlay Gabriel MacDonald Skarbek (or Finn as he is known) naturally and on Buddha's birthday no less! I so proud that I did it without drugs - it was my deepest wish to have a natural birth. I didn't get to birth in water but I did labour in water and in the end, he was born in his amniotic sac, so he got to have a water birth even if i didn't! Apparently, being born in the sac is the gentlest way for a child to be born but it's also quite rare. Michael caught him but had a hell of a job hanging onto him because he was so slippery! And we found out that the reason his heart rate dropped was because the cord was wrapped around his neck once, but he was plump and chubby cheeked and, amazingly, silent. He was passed through my legs and up to me to hold and I yelled out in surprise, "It's a boy!" Finally he let out a yell and he hasn't been silent since! And when I found out I had birthed an 8lb 10oz  baby boy naturally, I was even more proud of myself. You cannot imagine the joy of doing something that you simply didn't know you were capable of doing but sincerely hoped that you were. I knew this was likely to be my last pregnancy and I so wanted to do it my way. and I did. I breathed and surrendered and breathed and surrendered and roared and surrendered as my body did amazing things. As I opened and moved with the waves that undulated through me. As my mouth said 'No!' but my mind said, 'Yes. This is what we want. Yes.' As my husband and my doula let me squeeze the life out of their hands and whispered words of comfort and strength to me. As I remembered the women who encircled me and held me in this precious space of birthing. As I chose, each moment, to let go and let it take me in a way that I have never been able to before. That is the magic of birthing. It is the work of birthing. It is a path of life that could be taken every day, if we could but remember to breathe and let go. It was truly magical.

I won't lie and say it didn't hurt in places. It did. But you know what I kept saying to myself? "It's not pain yet Kitty, it may get to pain later, but it's not pain yet." And it got me through the hard parts. I birthed my beautiful boy in just 8 hours compared to the 40 hours and massive interventions I had with Beanie. I felt I took my place among the tribe of birthing women and felt I finally I belonged there. Now I know there are many ways to birth, many choices and many women who birth. I simply know that for me, this is where I wanted to be, this was the choice I made and this was the path that I followed. And sweet Jesu did it ever make me happy. And so, here he is getting a cuddle from his awesome big sister. My beautiful indigo eyed sleepy-boy Finn, who looks just like his handsome daddy.


*In the background you can just see the black and white striped sock monkey I made for him in the days before his birth when i went sewing mad! The monkey looks like a bandit, which I kinda love and we named him Chester, though Beanie calls him Chesty by mistake which makes my mother laugh like a drain.

PS. I put together this totally awesome play list for the birth and at some point during my labour journey I heard Wendy Rule singing 'Breathe....breathe'. It was pretty amazing. Check the track on her 4 Elements album (can't find a link, sorry). Oh and also enjoy a little Ashana who brought much peace and
Buddha love to the room.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Samhain Shower

The Altar

It was a beautiful day. My mother shower fell on the festival of Samhain (Beltaine in the North) and we began with all the triumphant beauty of a sunny Autumn day.

All of the women gathered in the red tent that had been set up in our lounge room. The red tent that has been the backdrop for some many rites of passage, so many brides, so many mamma's-to-be and so many celebrations of lifes gifts. The red tent that my hubby and I had created with our own two hands, that has been embellished and seasoned by the hard work and love of Lausy and Tracey during the many years that we have worked together, and that has meant so much to so many.


Flower Crown

I was welcomed into the ruby womb space through an archway of raised arms, my little Beansters included, while two of my women drummed for me. It was funny and sweet and symbolic of returning to a safe, pre-birth space where I was held and loved in total and absolute joy. I was welcomed and smudged and crowned with flowers as I contemplated the imminent arrival of a second precious little flower into our family. I was given the opportunity to share my fears and to offer my gratitude for all that I have and to let it all go into the perfection of the moment, knowing that there is only one way out of this journey now and that is through it. Trying to find that trust inside of me that knows how to live this birthing journey and trusting the baby inside of me to tell me when and how to move with the tide when it eventually rises.

Becoming a Big Sister

Lily was honoured with her very own flower crown (and totally outshone her mother in it's wearing) and was gifted with her very own Big Sister ceremony. A simple outpouring of love from my big hearted sisters with a blessing on her changing status. Nothing fancy or difficult for a little one to understand, simply an acknowledgment that as my life changes, so does hers.

And then the time of the pappa arrived. He read out a letter to his beautiful wife (that's me) and to his new, as yet unknown, baby. It was beautiful, moving and eloquent as only my man can be and reminded me yet again of how very, very lucky I am to have such a man at my side and in my arms (when he fits!).


My Man, My Child, My Belly and Me
There was not a dry eye in the house for most of the proceedings and I surprised myself by how much I could cry in company. I wouldn't say it was exactly a comfortable experience to be so vulnerable, even with the women who love me and whom I love so much, but it was a cleansing. I think, in some small way my inability to control myself, as I spend so much of my life trying to do, broke down barriers that have needed breaching for a long time. Indeed, when asked about what fears these beautiful women had for me in life and in labour, 'not reaching out for help' was definitely at the top of the list. They reminded me that they know when I'm struggling, even as I try to hide it or retreat in the face of it. They reminded me that I am held even when I think that I am alone. They reminded me that my community of women is so much more than the individuals within it, it is a place to be healed and to be seen, even when you are at your worst and cannot even face yourself. A deep and wonderful blessing indeed.

Beautiful, beautiful Beanie
It was an unforgettable day. Chanting, playing, creating, honouring, sharing and feasting together. Samhain could not have been celebrated more joyfully or more poignantly. And the ripe round bellies of two others of my circle, added to the beauty of the day. I know that I will be just as blessed to attend their Mother Showers when their time comes, as I have been to sit inside my own sacred circle of women and be blessed by their warmth.

 
The Circle is Sacred

And to cap it all off, my mum had flown all the way from the UK at the tender age of 79 to share the day with me and to be a part of this monumental journey into the unknown. She's hoping it's a boy.

Three Generations

And so, as the full moon wanes, as the heavy rains flood the gardens, as autumn takes of hold of my senses and my rhythms I find myself, if not at peace, then at a place of acceptance. Trusting that when my time comes I will be ready, I will find strength, I will be enough. I am able to ride the occasional tide of panic, I am able to sit with all that is and not try so hard to change it. I am able to be here, in this place of suspended animation, waiting for the door to be flung open and for my descent into the unknown to begin. I am able, despite my flaws and my often graceless handling of life's difficulties, to acknowledge how very blessed I am, to see the beauty and the wonder of my life in it's unfolding because this IS my life happening. I am a part of it unfolding whether I am willing or unwilling to participate fully. The 'what is' IS and I am here, witnessing, uncomfortable, afraid, stoical, unready, willing and waiting for it all to unfold into it's inevitable perfection. And I am grateful.

After all, look at what I already have.

Mine

All Mine

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Waiting


I wait.

It's what I do.

Beanie and Bump

Big Hands, Little Hands, Huge Belly

Sshh mamma, I think the baby is trying to tell me something...

It's probably saying something like - hey woman, it's getting cramped in here if the current activity level is anything to go by. Never a quiet moment in there. It's all elbows, heels, bum and back in rapid succession. Then there's the odd lovely punch in the cervix which causes me to intake breath sharply and practice my breathing. Sheesh.

Still, though I heartily look forward to the day I am no longer part whale/part woman, I am also still not ready to greet this new baby and all that will come before that. The fear swells and recedes and swells again and I'm ok with that. The ambivalence about actually holding the new baby in my arms is more troubling but I think that it's more to do with my own fears of not coping with the challenges of two sweet spirits in my lap, arms and heart, than because I genuinely feel nothing.

This pregnancy has been the same and different to the one that brought me my beautiful Beanie girl. The same worries, discomforts and complaints but different in that I have not had the luxury of contemplation and conversation with this little soul. I am doing more of the inner birthing work as the weeks flee before me and the inevitable day approaches where my breathing techniques will become more than just vague theory but still I feel so unprepared. Maybe that's ok too. Maybe you can never truly be prepared for such a life changing event, even if you've done it before! Going from one to two babes will be no less life changing than going from none to one I'm sure. I just wish I felt more excited about it. Less fearful. Less irritated and stressed.

My body is working hard and I am deeply, painfully uncomfortable for the most part. Searing deep backache and burning hips are now a regular part of each day and night. An inability to work far or stand for long exacerbates the problem. Sleep is now a galaxy far, far away that I would like to visit sometimes. Rest...well...my own mother is here to support me and so there is more of an opportunity to rest here and there. But at nearly 80 and with Beanie bouncing around like a jack in the box and demanding almost as much attention from Grannie Charlotte as she does from me, it's hard work on my poor jetlagged mamma.

And so, I wait. Trepidacious. Cautiously hopeful. Strangely detached. A little afraid. Strong. Confused. Emotional. Unready, willing and, as always, trying so very hard to be enough, exactly as I am. 


*Beautiful photos taken by the very talented Sol-y-luna

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Birthing From Within



I have had such an interesting journey in just the last few days that I am curious about what is unfolding for me this time around.

I mentioned in my last blog that I was about to start work with a doula. And work we did. I have chosen to have a doula present at this birth for many reasons, but primarily because I need there to be one person there intimately familiar with birth and able to support both my hubble and myself as we journey this next precious little soul into being. My choice was made easy by finding a woman who is deeply spiritual, strong and earthy, like a tree with muddy roots, and with a mothering energy that easily moves into warrior when the need arises. I need that and I trust that. She has already taken me to some deep places and I am grateful for the work that we are doing together, even when every atom of my being tries to shut down and run in the opposite direction rather than face the anger and the sadness that run so deep in me.

In addition to this work, the hubble and I had an almost child-free weekend as we embarked on our Calmbirthing journey with the gorgeous people from About Birth. The lovely Lael has been a friend for a good few years now and I am always amazed at how deep she can take me with just a few intuitive comments. Our calmbirthing classes were amazing and in just those few hours spent with lael, something deep within me shifted. I finally allowed myself to see that not all of Lily's birth was a failure, which is how I have most often viewed it and where much of the grief around motherhood stemmed from. Some tiny prompt from Lael sat with me all that first night as I practised the calmbreath and somewhere, in the depths of the night, an amazing insight arose. My birth with Lily was difficult. My waters broke at 11.30pm at night and I went straight into the most intense and excruciating pain I had ever experienced. And no, I'm not exaggerating. The problem was an undiagnosed posterior baby and so I was sure that something was 'wrong' with me, which sent me spinning into fear. Fear is not a good labour companion. However, in the next 6 hours, I managed (without any professional support and with only two beloved but equally bewildered loved ones present), and deep in the grip of both terror and pain, to dilate to 5 cm. Basically, the hardest centimetres to dilate are the first 5 and I did it whilst fighting tooth and nail instead of surrendering to the process of birth, which I might have been able to do had anyone told me that what was happening was normal and not a potential disaster. Now, this might not sound like much but what occurred to me was that if my amazing body was powerful enough to still dilate to 5cm, while flooded with adrenalin and with me unconsciously working against it's every physical need, then what might it have done if I had felt safe and had been able to surrender? It might not have made a difference to the amount of dilation, but it would most definitely have made a difference to the amount of pain I experienced and to the fear and worry I journeyed with. And so, with some astonishment, I finally realised that I had done amazingly well to get so far without help and without guidance regardless of all the interventions that followed. If there had been one person there who could have told me to change positions, to try and breathe with the contractions, to stay calm - I may have been able to do it all without intervention. However, that was not mine and Lily's birth journey. But it reassured me that no matter what state I am in mentally, my body still knows what to do and how to do the work of birthing. If I can simply show up and try to remain calm and not let the fear take me, then this birth can be everything I want it to be, even if I end up having to take a different route to the one I planned. As Lael put it, "it's not where you birth your baby, but how you do it that counts." If you are present and calm, then that baby will have the best entry into the world, even if your choices are limited by unforseen circumstances, and she should know. She's had it all in birth - a forceps delivery like mine, a beautiful home waterbirth and a last minute caesarean with a footling breech in severe distress. It gives me hope and with hope comes a feeling of anticipation. A feeling of almost looking forward to the journey of labour and birthing as an opportunity to complete the journey.

It's also interesting that this past week, in the lead up to my calmbirthing work with Lael, has been an exercise in facing many of my fears for this pregnancy head on. During my last midwifery appointment, while they were measuring my belly, the midwife got that look on her face that every woman dreads. It's a mixture of confusion, worry and tension that leads them to say, 'I'd just like to get a second opinion on this...' before returning with a second midwife. The reason for the concern, as it turned out, was that the first midwife couldn't get an accurate reading on the bump due to, what she thought, was an excess amount of fluid around the baby. The second midwife, whose hands were soft and warm and gentle compared to the hard poking hands of the first, measured with ease and gave her opinion. There was some discussion about the amount of fluid and whether it was 'too much' and the second midwife seemed unperturbed but said come back in two weeks rather than four and we'll see how we are doing then. Now the upshot of all of this is that I then confronted the first midwife with a few questions designed to get to what the problem was. Reluctant though she was to share. It turns out that there is a condition called 'hydramnios' or 'polyhydramnios' which is an excess of amniotic fluid in the third trimester. Apparently, amniotic fluid increases until around 34 weeks and then slowly decreases towards birth. The worry with excess amniotic fluid after this time is that it 'can' cause some birthing issues such as a cord prolapse during labour or placental abruption. The baby is not in any danger due to the excess fluid in pregnancy but there is also a risk that the excess fluid indicates a problem with the baby - such as chromosomal difficulties or a gastrointenstinal blockage causing the baby to be unable to swallow the fluid as they normal do. I wasn't sure what to do with this information so late in the pregnancy, so I left it at that and went home. If there is still excess fluid next week, then I will be referred for a sonogram to measure the amount of fluid and check the babies development. Once that has been done the results will dictate what sort of 'risk' I present to the birthing centre and I may be referred over to the main hospital for the birth, reducing drastically my risk of having a waterbirth.

It's a lot to take in. Possible birth defects with my child, the risk of another highly interventionist birth and of being potentially encouraged towards a ceasarean to prevent calamity. All of my fears - BANG! - right there in my face at 32 weeks pregnant. And I didn't spin out. I'm quite proud of that. This is not to say that there is not niggling worry but I simply chose to remain focused on the outcome I want for this baby - a gentle birth - and allowed myself to recognise that, as I have no control over the ultimate outcome at this point, there is no sense in worrying myself to death about it. What I feel instinctively is that I am being given an opportunity to face these fears, deal with them and let them go, come what may at the conclusion. I can only be present with the 'what is' and allow the journey to unfold with as little stress from me as I can manage. What I can do is remain present with this little one, realise that the medical profession, including the midwives that work in the birthing centres, are educated in a culture of fear regarding birth and that any possibility of risk, no matter how remote, will cause them to take appropriate steps to prevent danger to mother or baby. That is their job. It does not mean that what they fear WILL happen, just that they must take precautions against the 'what if's'. I can live with that. I have to. What I don't have to do is take on their fear. My feeling at the moment is that the baby is fine. I am fine. I carry a lot of water in pregnancy, just like I did with Lily and, as I had a private midwife then, it may be that this is what it was like with Lily but no-one noticed or it didn't concern them enough to mention it. I do remember having a very late scan (due to choleostatis in late pregnancy with Beanie) and it showing that she had an olympic sized swimming pool to play in even though she was overdue.


So, what else can I do but trust that this is part of the journey, a gift of fear to move through and an opportunity to shift yet more uneccessary silt before the real work of labour and birthing this child comes into play. I am learning the uncomfortable art of sitting with all that is unknown in my life and learning that all I can do is breathe, trust, pray and wait. What will be, will be and I cannot know why, or where this path will lead me until I arrive.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

And Also This...



This made me feel calmer and more centred just listening to it.

I Hope You Dance



Ok, I realise that the above may reveal a little more about me than I might wish. I would therefore like to justify my choice by saying two things. I am not a fan of country music,(I find it one of the more self indulgent types of music and therefore a little hard to stomach, though I do love the titles of the songs ('If You Leave Can I Come To?' and 'You Ran Away With My Best Friend And I Sure Do Miss Him') and I admit to having a soft spot for 'Sweet Home Alabama'). Secondly, it was a little text reminder from a good friend in the UK that reminded me of this particular song and why I had apparently played it "over and over" during a very difficult time in my life. The friend in question is about to get married and I can't be there as I'm due the same day as her wedding! She intends to walk down the aisle to this song and I think, given everything she's been through to get to this place in her life, it is wonderfully appropriate. So there you go. Justification over.

Ahem.

In other news, the bump has dropped. I have another eight weeks to go and apparently the bump dropping has given people carte blanche to comment constantly about how low it is. I literally couldn't get away from one woman who insisted on commenting (with horror) on how low my belly is and how high she carried her son until the week of the birth...and then I got a play by play of how big he was and how small her pelvis was and how it ended in a caesarian...yadda yadda yadda. Why do people do that? I mean, I get that they think that it's forming a connection and that maybe it's interesting to share birth horror stories with pregnant women (thanks) but many of these comments are tainted with a kind of obnoxious attention. As if by comparing themselves to me and coming off more favourably, it makes them better people, their choices better or their experiences better. It pisses me off a bit to be honest. *sigh* I think that given how complicated life often is and how tiring being pregnant is, we should be left alone to enjoy (or not) our individual experiences of pregnancy without people feeling it's their solemn duty to point out anomalies, imperfections or share unbidden their most intimate birthing experiences with us. Is that too much to ask for?

On top of all of that I have been feeling a bit wibbly in general. This pregnancy has rushed by with unseemly haste and I am now standing on the threshold of the next birth/death gateway with my new bubby. I am aware that I have dropped early. I am also aware that I may not get to enjoy the fullness of the next eight weeks because it could happen at any time. And I. Am. Not. Ready. Not even close. I meant to do so many things differently this pregnancy. I did. I meant to meditate regularly and do pre-natal yoga. I haven't. I guess I'm learning to accept that this is just the way I am but it's not going to help me when D-Day arrives, is it? The pelvic instability thing has worsened and the back ache has deepened, which has meant that my mobility has been compromised and the nature of the instability means that the yoga poses that I am most drawn to, are the ones which would make the instability worse. *sigh 2* I feel trapped in a large body that is becoming less workable and comfortable by the day. Add to that the fear that I might go into labour early and have a premmie baby with all the intervention that will bring about, and you have one nervous mamma.

The baby's got hiccups. It's very cute.

Anyway, I don't want to rant on. I am not in a very calm or centred place right now. I am slightly unnerved by the swiftness with which everything is moving and how unprepared I am for everything that is to come, despite my best efforts. I'm about to start working with my doula this week and that gives me some hope that we can get to a place of, if not peace, then relative calm before the upcoming birth. I am also due to do my Calmbirthing classes this weekend, so at least there will be one new tool in my birthing repertoire this time.

I sound panicked don't I.

I just want this birth to be a good experience for me and the baby and I know how badly things can go wrong. I'm trying to focus on the things that will help me to bring about a better birth but I guess it's natural for the fears to come up first, to have some attention given to them, before they pass away. At least that is what I am hoping.

More later.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Nesting in the Eye of the Storm


Well hello there.

What a weird and wonderful couple of days it's been. In this tree-like womb we call home we have been literally bombarded with torrential rain, high winds and hail stones the size of golf balls. And no - I'm honestly NOT exaggerating. In fact, we always thought that it was an exaggeration when people said that - until they hit our side (plastic) roof on Friday afternoon and punched 37 holes in the one side and 5 in the other AND cracked one of our skylights. Then we saw the golf ball sized pieces of hail up close and personal and filmed them, and the damage they caused, for posterity. And insurance claims.

And then came the downpour and the use of every kitchen utensil that could hold water. At one point we had 18 different receptacles on the floor and it was still like wading through a toddler's pool to get to empty them. It was WET people. Very, very wet. And we mopped and emptied and mopped and emptied some more. We had to heave armchairs and tables and furniture out of the area as we held umbrellas in our hands. It was actually quite comical. By the time evening came we were very sore, stiff and more than a little damp. We retreated to a hot bath and slept fitfully whilst dreaming of water flooding the rest of the house. Thankfully, this did not turn out to be the case. The floor was wet, the buckets, saucepans, mixing bowls, baking tins et al needed emptying but it was contained to the little outdoor/indoor sunroom area and all was well, relatively speaking.

Yesterday, the hubble spent the day up on the severely battered roof trying to patch holes with duct tape, parcel tape and tarps in the hopes of reducing some of the water intake due in the second lot of storms predicted for that afternoon. Thankfully, when the next torrential downpour arrived (and boy did it ever) there was not the predicted second round of hail. I'm not sure what's left of the roof would have survived to be honest. The repairs didn't hold up all that well. Sadly, it turns out that tarp is not waterproof but the tape did pretty well. However, we did see the return of most of our water containing receptacles. And this morning, well, let's just say that we haven't been in there yet, but when we do we'll be needing our wellies and our mops. Again.

And what did I do when not mopping and moving bowls around to catch drips? I nested like something demented. Yes. I went under the house, dug through all the bags to find the 'unisex' baby clothes that have been stored under there for nearly 3 years, brought them upstairs, mooed through them very slowly, often saying to the hubble, 'Oh. Look at this one. Can you believe Beanie used to be so small?' before moving on to the next cute, teensy little outfit or pair of bootees or minute pair of socks. And then it was to the washing machine. Many, many loads of tiny clothes later and mamma had to move all of her clothes out of all the drawers previously known as hers, to make room for the newest tiny little space invader when it arrives. In just a mere 10 weeks. Oh, so many tiny nappies and tiny outfits and tiny bunny rugs and that's just the stuff that will work for both sexes. There are two more bags under the house of just GIRL stuff. If I have another girl, I'll have to move house to fit all the stuff in! Where in God's name did I used to put it all? Seriously!

And then there was the washing of the car seat, the washing of the car seat covers, the buying of the new booster seat for 'big Sis', the washing and storing of the pusher, the purchasing of a new 'Arm's Reach Co-sleeper' from ebay and the driving out to Braeburn to pick it up. Thankfully, that was the hubble's job. Except that they forgot to pack the most vital piece of the co-sleeper puzzle - the mattress and so we will have to go back and get that or get them to deliver it to the city, as it's a 4 hour round trip for us to get to them again. Still, I'm very excited by the co-sleeper - it's very convenient for a co-sleeping mamma like myself. I just roll over and pick up the baby to breastfeed in the night and then pop him/her back in the co-sleeper when done. No fuss, no drama, just maximum amount of sleep between feeds and a very happy baby.

The hubble also spent the long weekend painting curtain rails, fitting curtain rails and putting up curtains. It's only taken us about a year to do the family room. Now we have to do the same for the living room.

It's odd to think that in just a few more weeks there will be a new little brother or sister for Beanie. A new little life to care for and love and hopefully not screw up too much. I somehow can't really get my head around it. It seems too, I don't know... immense. Our girl is already the centre of our Universe, how will that work when there is another little love-bug to share that Universe with? We both think that Beanie will be an amazing big sister. She's such a compassionate, caring and switched on child already and she is so tapped into the baby. She kisses the belly every day and says good morning or good night or I love you to the baby. She draws pictures of me with the baby inside of me. She talks about the baby with me and seems to understand the whole process much more clearly than any other 3-yr old I've met. No doubt there will be a few teething problems but overall, we're not anticipating much in the way of sibling rivalry. It will be interesting to see if we're right.

And so, here I am. Big, round and expectant in more ways than one. Trying to cope with other types of water's breaking and beginning the final countdown to this pregnancy journey's end. May it all be just a (minor) storm in a DD Cup in the end.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Feeling Disconnected



Just discovered this amazing new voice (new to me!) and am being spirited away by it's ethereal beauty as we speak. Anyway, just wanted to share.

And speaking of sharing. Is anyone out there? Whilst I don't write for anyone but myself on the whole, it's nice to get the occasional comment and recently there's been a howling empty void with not a single nice cyber-voice to fill it. Uh-oh, am I getting needy now? Just wondered where everyone had gone?

Things have been pootling along as normal recently except for an increasing sense of disconnection from everything on my part. I'm 28 months pregnant (somewhere around 7 months or so) and have yet to really drop into this pregnancy in any discernible way. It's not denial. I KNOW I'm having a baby - he/she is kicking me quite distinctly as i write but I just haven't had the time, (or perhaps found or allowed myself the time) to really connect with what's going on in any real way. Lily is, as always, the centre of my Universe. Everything I do seems to orbit around her and her needs and I don't say that in a resentful way (well, not today at any rate!). It's more that a demanding, curious and energetic three yr old is difficult to ignore, even when I try really hard. This new bub that grows more energetic by the day has had short shrift when it comes to my attention. Maybe that's just the way with second children, I don't know. Certainly there are times I am concerned about how I'm going to juggle the demands of two very different and very needy little people at the same time and not lose the plot. I remember how much time I had for my pregnancy with Beanie. I talked to the bump all the time, spent time meditating and preparing for her arrival. The most I've been able to do is spend one weekend in an insane amount of nesting - which is surely a little early given that I've got at least another 13 weeks to go. Lots of cleaning and bad tempered planning and nagging the hubble to get things out from under the house and buy me a new chest of drawers etc.

I have even been interviewing Doulas (people who are there solely for the emotional and spiritual support of the birthing woman) and that has been bringing up some interesting emotions for me. There is one woman I like who I think I could work well with, but I'm wondering how I'll let anyone behind these tall walls I tend to erect when I feel unsafe. Sol-y-Luna could tell you what I'm talking about I'm sure. She's been with me on this journey before. However, there have also been several big 'No's' for me too. All these different energies that are around birthing women and all of them do the same job essentially - their blurbs are the same, they all offer the same services with the same platitudes. It's a little like fishing in a vast ocean and trying to catch a specific type of fish. The right fish for our little birthing aquarium. Right now it feels a little overwhelming.



Still, there has been precious little space in my heart, mind and soul created for this new little being that's already over half way to arriving. It concerns me a fair bit. I don't want to go into shock when the baby arrives in the physical, feeling like I am not ready. It's not so much a practical readiness, we still have all the stuff from Beanie's early days. I just don't feel present with any of it. Like it's all happening to someone else and I'm just the one experiencing the extreme discomfort of late pregnancy. Hoh yes! It's bloody uncomfortable. I'd forgotten how much. Perhaps, on second thoughts, I AM in denial? It seems so huge, to be bringing this new life into the one that already seems crammed with life. Lily is such a huge character and I'm often such a reluctant mother. Not for lack of love. The love I have for my girl is more than I can bear sometimes, it's so intense and sometimes a little scary. It's more for lack of understanding or time or my ability to be present with 'what is' and not fight the process of mothering and being a mother so much. I fight for peace and calm where none is to be found and that is the source of all my suffering. Struggling to be somewhere other than where one is, is the source of everybody's suffering according to Buddhist philosophy. But the acceptance, that elludes me. Often. Like, every day. Surrender. Well, we've already been there and not done that, haven't we? I don't do surrender. Oh, i want to. Really, I do. But it's just so hard to let go and trust. And maybe that's where this disconnection is coming from. I can't seem to let myself go into it and trust that wherever this next part of the journey takes me, all will be well. Because, will it? Will it really be ok? Will I cope? Will I be held in those moments when I most need to be held? More importantly, will I LET myself be held when I most need to be held? Will I be able to show up and do the work of labour and birthing and mothering this most precious of bundles? Can I do this again? Give myself over to the absolute power of birthing and raising another independent little soul. Can I take on that responsibility and not fuck it up?

Disconnection seems an obvious option now, doesn't it? All these huge questions. All these undulating nebulous queries that will, if I let them, take me deep into this pregnancy journey and into this child's life. No wonder I'm road runnering in the opposite direction. It feels heavy just to write about them and have them there in black and white for me to look at. I don't want to fail again. That's the God's honest truth. I don't want to fail myself or this child like I feel I have failed Beanie. And yet, what choice do i have but to be my flawed, unfinished, unsure self? There is no-one in here but me. Now THAT's a scary thought. Or a liberating one, depending on how you look at it.

See what comes of self-reflection?

Buggar.

Monday, February 8, 2010

You got me hotter'n Georgia Asphalt!

To quote my favourite Laura Derne line from the movie 'Wild at Heart'.



But her reason for being smoking hot is, alas, not the same as mine. I am hot because of the bloody stinking heat and I will categorically state for the record that I hate it. I do. I know, as a pommie whingebag, I should be lapping up the high temperatures, the blue cloudless skies and the complete lack of an ozone layer - but I would honestly rather be at home, in England, enjoying the complete lack of sun and the frequent snow showers. Oh the thought of rugging up and sitting in front of a roaring fire with a hot chocolate while the snow piles up outside is almost more than I can bear. I am not a Summer chick. I am an Autumn and Winter chick and I cannot wait for them to arrive and relieve me of this tedious, odious heat.

It doesn't help of course that I am 25 weeks pregnant and already have my own little internal furnace going 24/7. Adding insult to injury is the fact that the temperature has a twisted tendency to stay above 26 degrees even at night, causing much sleepless tossing and turning and seeking of cool places to put one's inflated body. Ack! I will, eventually, show a picture of the beach ball that my body now emulates but right now, it's just too hot to even contemplate such perverse action.

Because I really don't have a lot to say and lots has happened, I thought I would do a pictoral representation of recent days. That's if I can get my camera to relinquish its visual goodies. It's been a bit temperamental of late, so we shall see...

Lily's first ever day at Kinder. I know - Ahhhh...:


Lily's fine artistic representation of her pregnant mummy. Note the comb over hairdo:


Lily's 'button sewing' felt scarf - hand crafted all by her own self:


Some photo's taken by the Beanster. Good eye, no?


I love this photo she took. It's red and there's movement in it. I have no idea what it is but I likes it.


The Bunny what mummy made...


Actually, I'm rather proud of this. It's from a 'cashmere bunny' tutorial here and I made it in just over an hour, out of a thrifted super soft fluffy yellow cardigan that, I suspect, had been shown no love since the late 80's. I have enough for a small army of them and I've been using the scraps and cut-offs from my (WIP) patchwork quilt for the Beanie. One day I'll finish that too.

Oh, I don't really do New Year's Resolutions and all that bollocky stuff (mainly because I hate the New Year pandemonium and I never keep resolutions) but I did make myself one promise this year and that was to find and make one completely new recipe every week. I have pretty much done it too - whoohoo! If you haven't already been here, take a look at 'too good to be true' because I've made the pasta, the frittata, the stir fry sauce AND the chicken and wild rice soup from there. All have been totally yummy. Well done Sasa!

I'll keep you updated about new and exciting food discoveries as I find and discover them.

Ok. That's it for now. I can hear my daughter having a minor meltdown and the cavalry might be needed.

Sees ya lata.