Thursday, 30 August 2012

Just Because

My kids are so. flipping. cute… I need to share them with you!


Don’t you reckon?

Our Big Day Out

Last week, Pete had to go and do a Professional Development day in a town about 2 hours away. It’s our nearest ‘shopping town’, where people from here go when they want to hit some decent shops. It’s main allure for me is the fact that it has a Spotlight and a Kmart. So when Pete suggested that the kids and I accompany him and spend the day shopping while he was busy learning, I jumped at the chance.

It meant an early morning, and we were dressed and on the road before 7.00am, arriving a little earlier than Pete needed to be there. It was nice having the couple of hours in the car with my husband.. having that bit of time together with a chance to chat without doing anything else was quite lovely.


We noticed when we drove into town that the indoor play centre I had promised to take Mayana to was closed down. Uh-oh!

First stop though.. shopping! Mayana and I shopped till we dropped in Kmart. It’s a fabulous place to buy essentials for kid’s wardrobes, and I also found $5.00 cushions for the crocheted cushion fronts I had been working on!


I got quite a haul for the kids as a start to set up their summer wardrobes. After being in size 0 clothes for nearly a year, Mayana seems to have skipped size one and is suddenly in need of size 2 clothes! This is the first size that we haven’t got clothes put away for (you know, the ones we were given or handed down when she was born), so the first time that I’ve really got to shop for my girl’s wardrobe! Reuben is also into a new size (000) and I need to populate his very unisex wardrobe with a few boy clothes.

Mayana was such a good girl while we were shopping, and after lunch I spotted a nail salon. After finding out that a child’s manicure would only cost me $5.00, I decided that would be a perfect special treat for my girl.


She LOVED it! She was such a good girl, and sat there so still taking it all so seriously. After I gently swayed her from choosing an awful snotty green colour, she settled on bright pink, to match her dress. As she explained the whole process, “First they scratched my nails, then they cleaned them, then they rubbed them, then they painted them. Then I put my hand in the blue lights, then I was done!” It was definitely $5.00 worth spending for the memory it made for her. She has been so careful to keep her gorgeous fingernails safe, and shows anyone who cares to look.

After hitting Spotlight, I still had an hour or so to burn. I spotted a McDonalds across the road and remembered that the playground at this one is better than most. What a fabulous alternative to the play centre I was going to take Mayana too… and all for the price of a much-needed cup of coffee! You can’t beat that!


This particular playground has quite high spaces, and apparently it’s a bit of a maze inside (I’m taking Mayana’s word for it!), and she had fun ‘being an explorer’ and trying to find her way to the highest points. She was the only one in the playground while we were there, and she had an absolute ball.


While Mayana played, Reuben tried his first taste of food out of a packet… He absolutely loved it. It was almost funny, I couldn’t reload the food fast enough, and he would cry and kick in between mouthfuls and gulp down the food as soon as it hit his lips. I think he would have eaten the whole packet if I’d have let him… but I wasn’t sure how his bowels would take it and I for one did not want to be the one to find out.

When Pete had finished, we went and picked him up and took him to Nana’s pantry, a fabulous bulk-buy foodstore, which sells all sorts of dry goods. We’ve been to the store close by to us, but this is the main store, and had SO much more variety. We stocked up on bread mixes, dried fruit, nuts, cereals, grains (hello quinoa!) and seeds. Another huge perk to this particular store is that they also have a gelato section, which ours doesn’t. And oh what delicious ice-cream they make. After quite some time, and a number of tastings, we finally settled on our flavours of choice.


Um. Yum! I think I would drive back to this town for the gelato alone!

I had such a lovely day out with my kiddies. They were both beautifully behaved, and it’s nice to know that we can go out and do things like this with minimal fuss or disruption to our overall routines.

Hopefully Peter has more PD’s to go to in the near future!

Mayana’s Technicolour Dream-Coat

A little while ago I had a stroke of inspiration and decided I wanted to make Mayana a new crocheted cardigan. Out of granny squares. Without a pattern. I drew up a little sketch on the iPad of what I envisaged, and got to work on the granny squares.IMG_1420

My granny squares were small (only three rounds) and worked up quickly. I loved watching my little piles grow, and experimenting with colour combinations. Mayana would periodically come and examine them and tell me which was her current favourite.


Finally the time had come to begin piecing them together…


To begin with I did the back and sleeves as one piece…


And the front in two pieces with their sleeves. It looked cute. I tried it on Mayana, and realised it was going to be too small. I started to add granny stripe rows to pad it out a bit, but it was all wrong. My original plan was not going to work.


In true Zoey style (it wouldn’t be a Zoey crochet project it it wasn’t completely pulled apart at least once!) the coat came apart.. back to my simple piles of granny squares. I nutted out the problems I was having, invented a half a granny square pattern (see the purple and green half squares in the picture below) and set back to it.


This time, I joined the squares using a different method, so there was a raised white border between each square. I think this helped to break it up a bit, and I was much happier with this effect. I also created the sleeves separately to the body this time, using granny stripes instead of making more granny squares. Again, I was happy with the effect this gave, and I think it was nice to have the squares a little more broken up.


I finished the whole thing off with a bit of a granny stripe border and the cutest edging from a pattern I found on the Attic24 blog. I experimented with the border a bit and figured out how to make a collar too. Oh. My. Gosh. Seriously the cutest thing I have ever created.


And there she is. My most beautiful princess in her gorgeous technicolour dream-coat. Made and designed by me. She’s chosen pink loveheart buttons that will finish it off. I am so proud of this thing! It’s such a cool thing to go from an imagining to some scratchings on a touch screen and then to a piece of clothing!! I seriously want one of my own!

What do you think?

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Four Months

Mister Reuben..


Four months seems so big! You are no longer my squishy newborn… you’re getting bigger and learning new things every day. More of that personality of yours is starting to shine through, and I’m beginning to figure out who you are and what you like and what you don’t like.



This month we have had a few firsts… like your first solids for example! So far you’ve tasted pear, pumpkin, apple, sweet potato, avocado, cauliflower, carrot and of course farex. You love the fruits, and are getting a bit better with some of the veggies. The other day we went away for the day, so I brought an organic apple and mango puree from Aldi for you. You went berserk for it! I couldn’t fill up the spoon quick enough! I think you’d eat that every day if you could, but I don’t want you getting a sweet tooth too early on. Plus, I want you to eat the food I’ve made you!


You also had your first chiropractic visit. Your vomiting was getting to a stage where Mama just couldn’t cope any more. We went out to your sister’s dance concert one evening after you’d eaten pumpkin, and you vomited bright orange vomit the whole time. Literally filled two ‘pukey cloths’.. and then some. The next day after your feeds you vomited huge puddles all over my floors (thank God they’re wooden!) every time. You have vomited like this since pretty much the day you were born, and of course the more you’re wanting to eat, the bigger the vomits. That day though, I had just had enough. On the verge of tears I rang to make an appointment with the Chiropractor – a lovely man who goes to church with us. I know that chiropractic can be a little controversial, but at this point I was willing to try anything. The session went well, he made a few adjustments to your spine and we were on our way. I also got some advice from my doctor-uncle that afternoon, and he suggested trying a few different things including cutting down the volume of your feeds a little and trying out some infant gaviscon. I’m a very bad scientist and changed too many variables at once, so I can’t be sure what the determining factor is… but the good news is SOMETHING IS WORKING! At the very least I’m confident that the chiropractic has helped your sleep. You’re so much more settled, much easier to get to sleep and having beautiful long naps through the day with no fuss at all, and no waking between sleep cycles. At this point I’m only giving you a half dose of gaviscon and only in your bottles… which is only two out of five or six feeds a day. And these days, you’re lucky to do maybe two or three tiny possits after each feed… which is SUCH a nice change from the massive puddles of vomits that you were literally doing constantly all day long… even hours after you’d fed!

I feel like our life has changed! I’m no longer scared to give you to other people to hold, and I don’t have to have a terry cloth draped over every outfit, you no longer need three changes of clothes a day, and best of all… I no longer smell of puke!


You’re getting stronger every day little man. You can quite easily roll from your tummy to your back, and with a little help you have no worries going from your back to your tummy. Today, I watched you do that all by yourself for the very first time! You haven’t repeated it for Papa to see yet though.. cheeky boy. You love to be upright, and like to stand up on our laps while we hold your hands. I don’t think that sitting will be too far off for you. When you are on your tummy you push yourself right off the ground, and you manage to wiggle yourself halfway around the lounge room when I lay you on your sheepskin! You’re also enjoying the new experience of using the Jolly Jumper!


Your nights are going well, we are down to one wakeup a night now, with the occasional night sleeping right through (oh how I wish they were more often). Your Papa now will often give you a bottle in the night, he loves the time to snuggle you. I think he misses you a lot, and he’s finding it a little hard not being with you all the time when he was so hands on and always there when Mayana was born.


You’re still drooling like a mad thing, and those teeth are just there… little white dots all along your gums. You LOVE chewing on my fingers, and I can tell you that sometimes it hurts, and I’m not necessarily looking forward to the extra pain that will accompany those little pearly whites of yours.


You’re beginning to really recognise people Reubs, and when you see someone that you love.. especially your sister or your Papa, you flap your arms and legs and grin so big your face nearly splits in half. I love the way you flap your arms about when you’re excited, it’s super cute. You still adore your sister, and she is the one who can calm you down best. The other day you woke up from your nap in a really bad funk. You screamed until your throat was hoarse and nothing I did would calm you down. I was just about beside myself, until your sister walked up to you and began to sing you a song. Two words into the song you stopped crying and by the end of it you were grinning at her. Amazing she is, I’m so glad to have her around!


You’re far more chatty this month, we hear lots of cooing and grunting from you. You are so close to giggling, especially if I tickle your ribs. You kind of make this big “Ha!” sound, just on the edge of a chuckle but not quite there. I can’t wait.


I love you Reuben, you’re my favourite ray of sunshine and I love your guts.

Love, Mama

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Reuben’s Dedication

We had Reuben dedicated last weekend. I intended to blog about it much sooner, but all of a sudden here we are, nearly two weeks after the fact! Where does the time go?

Reuben’s dedication was absolutely wonderful. In case anyone is wondering, a dedication is somewhere between a baby baptism or christening and a naming ceremony.

IMG_7416Reuben was beautifully behaved, and barely made a peep for the entire service.

It was about Peter and I affirming our intentions to raise Reuben in the ways of God and entrusting him to the plans that God has for his life. We also had Reuben’s Godparents (my sister, Alexie and our lovely friends Brad & Petrina) alongside us, and they made a promise to help us to do these things, as well as making their own commitment to praying for him, and helping to guide him along life’s path.


The service was incredibly beautiful. I’ve been to many such services in my time, and I can honestly say that this was my favourite… Our pastor did such a lovely job at interweaving the dedication into the service, instead of just tacking the dedication part on at the end. His sermon was about what it means to be a parent, and the concept of ‘it takes a village’ and how much more true and important it is in the church. I loved it, and I loved that our church family was part of our special day too.


We were so blessed to have many family and friends join us for the day. Members from both sides of our family (including extended and adopted!) travelled to be with us.

IMG_7404It meant a lot for me to have my Pop with us at the church service.

Some of our favourite friends, the Johansens (Mayana’s Godparents) travelled all the way from Brisbane to be with us… this was made even more special by the fact that they brought their beautiful son Max with them. It was the first time we had met Max, and he is soooo precious and my heart melted watching our beautiful friends be such beautiful parents.

IMG_7498Reuben & Max are destined to be best friends. Mayana in fact declared that they will be “Best buddies forever and ever!” Katherine & I wholeheartedly agree! (By the way, Max is 8 weeks old to Reuben’s 16 in this photo! My kid is a runt!!)

IMG_7513Mayana used her sweet big-sister skills to love up her ‘fairy-god-brother’

After the dedication service, our friends and family joined us for a picnic in the rose gardens across from our house. There was fun and laughter and delicious cake, and a lovely afternoon was had by all.


Thank you to everyone who came to be a part of Reuben’s big day. We feel so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family to support us in our parenthood journey.




Week 17

Seventeen was a lovely week… filled with friends and family and Reuben’s dedication. One of our highlights was having the lovely Johansen’s visit us with their beautiful baby Max… who we were SO excited about meeting. Max and Reuben are to be best buddies… they really have no choice in the matter.

More on the dedication to come…

Monday, 13 August 2012

fifteen + sixteen


Week 15


Week 16

Reuben you are growing up so fast! These past two weeks have been very full and busy. You have had some rough days, and I know you are going through a wonder week. We are also trying to sort out what is going on with your feeds and how to make things work for you. I am so. sick. of. puke. and really looking forward to the day when you get past this phase. We’ve had a trip down to the coast, and people staying with us, and I guess being a bit out of whack with all of that has not helped. I think you’re getting back on track now though.

I love you mister! And I can’t believe you’re just a few days off being four months old already!

Friday, 3 August 2012

Fun Lunches

In my never-ending efforts to get my Mayana Berry eating, I have this week challenged myself to make lunch super exciting and deliciously healthy for her….


Monday: Dried mango hair, crackers with cream cheese and cherry tomato eyes, date nose, celery with peanut butter and craisin mouth + walnut ears.


Tuesday: Vegemite wrap hair, cherry tomato eyes, snowpea nose, celery with cream cheese and craisin mouth and peanut butter cookie ears.


Wednesday: Caterpillar with rye bread body stuck together with peanut paste, capsicum legs, cherry tomato and raisin eyes, and celery antennae and mouth.

The best news is… every single morsel of food was devoured from all of these plates! Go Mayana! Anyone got any more creative ideas to throw at me?.

(Thursday & Friday are kindy days, and we’ve been doing ‘muffin tin’ lunches, including goodies like star-shaped sandwiches, dried fruit, celery and carrot sticks with dip, apple slinkies, wraps.. and other favourites!)

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Being at Home

Can you believe Reuben is only 15 weeks old and people are already asking me if I’m ready to go back to work yet. Admittedly it’s mostly people from work… I can’t help it if I’m just so wonderful that they can’t go on without me! But there are a few who are seriously asking if I’m over it.

In a word, the answer is no. I am not a career-driven type of person. I love my work, and I get great satisfaction from it, but nothing can beat being a full time Mama. It’s seriously awesome. And busy. And much, much different and more work with two than it ever was with one.

But I honestly really love it. People wonder what a stay-at-home-mum does all day… well I can tell you that my days don’t include Oprah or Doctor Phil.

So here’s a snapshot of what my life as a stay at home mum looks like.

Every day, we get up and have breakfast together as a family. If it is sunny, we go out to the veranda, which is the warmest place in our house on a cold wintery morning. We all hang out and chat together and Pete gets lots of cuddles before he heads off to work. Once he’s gone, I get the kitchen tidied up, and often Reuben will go down for a nap… it depends what is on that day. I have found that having a certain ‘thing’ that we do on each day helps to put some routine and structure into our days, and Mayana especially likes to know what is going to happen each day.

On Monday’s, Mayana and I ‘do learning’. This means that we do our letter of the week in our alphabet book, and do some pages out of whichever of her ‘learning books’ takes her fancy that day (these are just a collection of various number/letter/preschool activity books that I have picked up around the place…. she adores them). I try to do some kind of art project in this time as well.


This week we worked on the letter ‘B’

Sometimes this is cut short if Reuben decides to have a short nap, but we pick it up later in the day or work around him. Monday’s are fairly cruisy. I catch up on washing and housework. We often will go for a walk down to town to do some errands. We try to go for a walk most days. We don’t live far from town, and it does all three of us good to be out in the fresh air. Sometimes I put Reuben in the sling and push Mayana in the pram, but a lot of the time she would prefer to walk. I sometimes can’t get over just how far she can go.. she rarely runs out of steam! If I need something little from the shops, I find it easier in some ways to walk to town than to get the kids in and out of the car and find a park. Plus the exercise feels good! 

Reuben generally has three naps a day, with one of them usually being a good long one. He is usually happy to have these wherever we are, but I do like to try and let him have at least one of his naps in his own bed. Mondays are probably the only day that he gets to have all of them at home.

Tuesdays are our busiest days. We have Mainly Music (a singing dancing playgroup with a killer morning tea) in the mornings. Mayana loves this.


Mayana likes to be up the front ‘helping’ Petrina show everyone how it’s done.

Lately we have been walking to Music.. it is about a 10 minute walk around the corner. We leave for this at the time I usually put Reuben down for his nap. I find that if I put Reuben in the ‘magic sling’ (which is what we call my Moby Wrap because of its magic ability to immediately put Reuben to sleep), he will nod off before I’m out of the driveway, and stay asleep for the whole music part of the morning.. waking just in time for his mid-morning feed at morning tea time. Perfect! If we need to go to town for anything, we will do that after music, but usually we just go straight home. This week I had a few things to get in town, and we went for a big walk. I ended up with two sleeping children, and treated myself to a thickshake to celebrate!


A sleeping Mayana? Unheard of!!

On Tuesday night Once Upon a Time is on TV. Mayana adores this show, and the deal is that if she has a sleep she can stay up and watch it (the mummy-censored version which often includes a lot of blankets over heads and blocked ears). Her having a sleep also helps her to be a little more focussed for her dance class on Tuesday afternoons. Her classes are at my school, and we often go a little earlier so that I can pop in and say hi to my friends at work. They like to see Mr Reuben, and are all wrapped around Mayana’s little finger.

We usually make it home from dancing a little while before Pete. Every day when Pete gets home from work, he takes the kids for a bath. It is nice to have a little bit of ‘me-time’ at the end of each day, and Pete laps up the short parts of the day he gets to spend with his kids. I will often go for a shower and then get dinner started. I feed Reuben after his bath and pop him into bed. He’s usually asking to go to bed by about 6.30pm. Once he’s down we have dinner together.

On Wednesdays we go to the library. Our local library runs a fantastic ‘Storytime’ program for free. It includes singing and a story, followed by a craft. Mayana loves it, and I’m super impressed by how good the program is.


Getting our craft on at the library.

We usually drive down to that, but this week Pete took the car so we walked. I hadn’t walked to the library before and was surprised that it only took us about 20 minutes. I think providing the weather is good, we might make that more of a habit too. One of the best things about the library program is that it runs in three sessions.. at 9.30, 10.30 and 11.30. So depending on how our morning goes, will are generally guaranteed to have one session that will work for us.

We do our grocery shopping every second Wednesday. I like to wait for Pete to get home from work and do it together, as I have NOT enjoyed the times that I have done groceries on my own with two kids. When we are all together, of course they are both perfectly behaved angels… last night for example I had Reuben asleep in the trolley and Mayana very helpfully collecting items from the shelves as directed. But when I am on my own either one or both of them spends at least half of the time screaming, and I end up very on edge and snapping at the other and making everything worse. So it is better for everyone’s general health and safety to have two parents on hand for grocery shopping.

Thursday and Friday are Mayana’s kindy days. She loves kindy and gets a lot out of it. She goes to a brilliant centre, with wonderful teachers, and I feel that for her, the social experience that she gets to have with other children and without me present is very beneficial for her. As an eldest child, she has spent most of her life around adults, and it does her good to learn how to interact with little people her own age .

On Thursdays our town has a market. I like to buy fresh produce and beautiful flowers from the markets, and Mayana likes the popcorn stand which hands out free samples. We will often leave not long after Pete does and pop through the markets before I take Mayana to Kindy. Once she is dropped off, Reuben and I come home and get things done. Thursdays are a good day to get lots of washing and jobs done without a Mayana underfoot. I can never get over how different it feels to just have one at home with me!


Market flowers!

Fridays, after Mayana gets taken to Kindy, I head into town with Reuben to visit Alison, our wonderful health nurse. Reuben and I often pop into a coffee shop afterwards, and occasionally we get invited to a playgroup by one of our friends. The rest of the day I tend to have a ‘me’ day. I mean, of course Reuben is there, and I have to tend to him --- which oftentimes doesn’t leave much time for me at all… but I just don’t do too much. I might read a little, or catch up on some crochet, or bake, or just play with my boy. I pick Mayana up at around 3-ish and we sometimes go on an afternoon tea date. And then Papa gets home and it’s the weekend!!

So no, being at home is not boring. It couldn’t be more busy and I can't imagine fitting work in with all of this! At this point I can’t figure out which day/s I’d be willing to sacrifice to even go back to work. Pete and I are still in discussion about our plans for me for next year. I have a bit more praying to do about it… give me another few months and I’ll get back to you.

For now, I’m just revelling in this season of being a stay at home mum, and thanking God every day that I’m blessed enough to be able to do it!


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