Happy Birthday my Sweetheart.
Today you are five.
I feel as though I don’t have much to say today. Every time I think about you turning five, I feel myself close to tears. I expect that’s normal – you, my biggest girl start school next week – and it is a humungous change for everyone. I’m gonna miss you darling one – I know that’s silly. You’ve been at kindy four days a week for almost the whole year – I should be used to it, right?! But this is different… this feels …different. And it makes me happy and proud and a bit sad too.
Oh man, I know you’re ready for it though – so ready. You are going to L-O-V-E – love school. I can’t wait for you to come home each day and tell me all the wonderful things you’ve learned. It has been amazing to watch your confidence bloom in the last few months – and I just know as you settle into school, that you’re gonna soar!
Ava, I am so proud of the big girl you are becoming. I admire your creativity, your wonderful story-telling, your patience and kindness. I love that you are so clever and thoughtful and persistent. I love the conversations we have – the way you can make me laugh and the clever insights that make me realise your brain never stops ticking!! You bring me immense joy every day. I am so lucky to be your Mama.
Happy Birthday Darling One. I hope you have the most amazing fifth birthday ever.
I love you always and forever
Mama xoxo (times infinity)
My lovely Lola Mae,
Happy Birthday!! Today, you are three.
How can it be that you are three?! I can hardly believe it. Very soon you will be a big kindy girl – I am excited for you – as I know how much you are looking forward to it, but also a little sad that we will no longer have our mornings together. I guess I’m going to have to get used to these bittersweet moments as you grow.
My sweet girl, what a year it has been! Reading your last birthday letter – I can see so many things are the same, but also notice small differences in the way you are growing.
This past year, you have been a little shy, a little more self aware. But when someone gains your trust, you shower them with love and affection. And there are moments when you forget that you are shy – and that heart on your sleeve is there for all to see and delight in. Your laughter is still infectious. You are still a wriggly worm and it is only when you sleep that you are still.
Oh the things that you love – your favourite colour – orange (a coincidence that it is also the favourite colour of your beloved Papa?!) Your favourite foods – sushi, peanut butter and milk. You still love to sing, and I love your shy, proud smile when you finish a song for me. You have become a bit of a puzzle wizard just like your big sister, and also love painting, dancing, building blocks and playing with your dolls.
You really are a home body – you love the idea of adventuring, but I see you at your most content and relaxed when we are at home just pottering about.
You ask approximately 100 questions every hour. Sometimes the same question several times in a row. It is lovely to see you fascinated with the way things work – the reasons why things are the way they are – and I am often amazed at your observations.
I have loved watching your relationship with your sisters develop this year. You are beginning to show some real big sister qualities with Belle (both the good and the bad!!) and she just adores being around you. It is really fun to see the two of you play. Your friendship with Ava is delightful. All those sister secrets and in-jokes – sometimes you two are laughing so hard and I have no idea what is so funny, but it is SO lovely to watch.
Lola Mae, you are such a delight. I am so proud to be able to say I’m your Mama. I hope you have the best birthday ever! The fairies will definitely be celebrating this one with you! Wishing you a lifetime of happiness and dreams come true.
I will love you always and forever. No. Matter. What.
Mama xoxo (times infinity)
Today is your birthday.
Man, you’re getting old!!!
We’ve been together almost half our lives… and I love that it still feels like we’re on this amazing adventure – that the world is ours, and that anything is possible. You make me feel like that (I hope you feel the same).
How is it that we’ve been together for all these years and you still manage to make my heart do flip-flops?? You are my best friend, my love and the most amazing father I know.
Wishing you the most fantastic birthday… and that the year ahead brings you ever closer to your dreams. Happy Birthday Barry.
PS. that photo – yep, well decided I better not put one of just you up there, because I know you HATE that… so went to find one of the two of us together… that one is of us in China in 2008 – that is the last time I can find photographic evidence of us as a couple!
Yesterday (on the last day of 2011) my baby girl turned one. I just can’t believe how quickly 2011 sped by and that my tiny little baby is almost a toddler now!
I don’t have many words today… I feel like we’re still getting to know Belle… We decided before she was born (although we have spent much time throughout this year revisiting the whole issue) that Belle would be our last bubba, and so I have treasured every moment of ‘baby’ that I have been gifted with her. All those little moments, those firsts that are swallowed up by the speed of time before you even know it… first cuddles, first smiles, giggles and kisses, first tastes, babbling, crawling… and most recently, first steps … it has all gone so fast. I still treasure those quiet times we have together when I get to pretend she is still a little baby. My baby.
Belle on the first of January, 2011 – one day old
I have shed a few tears as I pack away baby clothes for the last time and I’m still unreasonably refusing to part with the moses basket that both Belle and Lola slept in for the first few months of their lives. But I am excited that although this first birthday marks the end of an era in our home, we are also ringing in a new one. Tomorrow we embark on our first family camping trip – what is set to be a great adventure! There is much I look forward to as the girls get older, many magical memories we will make together. And while I do look back with the sweetest of memories, I look forward to tomorrow just as much.
So, Happy First Birthday my sweet Belle-Belle. I love you more than you will ever know. Your gorgeous smile and giggles, your feisty nature (yes, even that – which drives me crazy most days!), those beautiful big eyes and the way you have captured all our hearts. I wish for you a life of magical moments and grand adventures, big laughs and loves. You will always be my baby, no matter how you grow. Love you always and forever, Mama xoxo (times infinity)
I hope the last few weeks have treated you well – that your Christmas was full of joy, and you were able to welcome the New Year with love and laughter. As I mentioned, we are off to the Coromandel tomorrow for our first camping adventure! Fingers and toes crossed this weather improves (for the first time in 2 years our water tanks are overflowing!) and wishing you a week filled with lovely adventures!
Tonight, in the shower, as I was explaining to Ava why she couldn’t use soap (because of her eczema), she wanted to know if I had had eczema like that when I was little. I explained that I had not, but that her Daddy had.
She said, “Oh, and you took Daddy to the doctor about that.” (If at all possible, Ava would visit the doctor every day. She is obsessed with stethoscopes and loves to visit just so that they can listen to her heart).
“No,” I said. “When Daddy was little, I was little too.”
“Oh, but then who looked after me?”
“Well you see, when Daddy and I were little you hadn’t been born.”
“But I was in your tummy.”
“Well… no… not really. Mummy and Daddy were little, we hadn’t even met each other. You didn’t exist yet.”
“What does that mean?”
What does that mean? Now I’m sure my darling little four-year-old was not trying to get all deep-and-meaningful tonight… but it raised some questions for me that are always just bubbling under the surface.
It is so strange to think that we are these immensely complex creatures, with millions of thoughts and feelings and dreams, but in terms of the universe we are just this tiny blip. For hundreds of millions of years the world and the universe existed without a you or a me… and then we are born, and we have this incredibly short time to live our lives… and then we die, and we don’t exist anymore – back to the beginning.
I have always been incredibly scared of death. I was brought up in a non-religious home, and I have grown up believing in humanity (that we are here to love and to be good to each other) but not in a higher being. There are still times when I wish I could have been brought up with some faith, so that when I thought of death, I didn’t associate it with this blanket of eternal darkness that makes my palms sweat and my heart beat faster.
Just after Ava was born, I went through a particularly fearful period (suffering from insomnia for almost three months). Long after Barry fell asleep I would toss and turn in bed, unable to sleep as my mind tried to find some sort of solution to this inevitable outcome. I cried, I reasoned, I rationalised… but I couldn’t find an answer.
After making this new life that I loved more than I could have ever imagined, it was harder than ever for me to find peace with the finality and uncertainty of death. Eventually the fear didn’t feel so raw. Most of the time I am able to bury it deep down and carry on with the busy-ness of life, trying to drink in the magic of each moment and ignore the heaviness of my heart. However, these fears always manage to catch up to me at some point, even in the peaceful moments, and my palms sweat and my stomach tightens until I can bury them down again.
For now, she is four. Tomorrow when she wakes up, she probably won’t even remember that we had this conversation. But what about when she has questions like this for real? How do I answer her? I can’t even find the answers for myself.
I don’t mean to burden you with these thoughts. I want this blog to be a joyous and inspiring place, but this was weighing on my mind and I’d be so interested to hear what you think… to know if there is anyone like me who has these thoughts and worries.
Four years ago today, my life changed in the most profound way I can imagine: I became a Mama. Four years ago we welcomed my Ava sweetheart into the world and my life changed forever.
The ways our lives have changed in the last four years… it seems such a short time ago, but also so far away I can barely remember what it was like. As Ava is the eldest, I always feel a little guilty that she has had to bear the brunt of our parenting experiments, as we navigate so many firsts together.
I remember right after she was born being so scared and unsure of the decisions I made and how to love her ‘right’. What I have learned (and am still learning) is that as long as I make my choices from a place of love, I can’t really get it too wrong. My sweet Ava is a wonderful teacher. She is patient and kind and forgiving.
Every day I feel lucky to have Ava in my life. And luckier still to be able to say that she is my daughter.
My darling Ava Suzie,
Today is your fourth birthday. I can hardly believe it. How can you be four already? But also, how are you only four?! I have adored watching you blossom this year. Your first year at kindy – making those first steps out into your own world. The friendships you have made are delightful to watch, and it has been amazing to see your confidence grow exponentially.
It has also been so lovely to share more ‘grown up’ moments with you. Some of my favourite times have been those afternoons when the two little ones sleep and we sit next to each other working on our art journals. And, of course, I’ll never forget our very first ‘big girls’ date which we were able to enjoy this winter… you are a pleasure to be around – to talk with and laugh with, and I am so looking forward to seeing our friendship grow.
You became the ‘Biggest’ sister this year… you have two little sisters who think you are the bees knees. Of course you are so kind and gentle with Belle and she adores you. I think you can make her giggle like no one else can! My special joy to behold this year though, has been the friendship that you and Lola have grown. I cannot express how much my heart swells to watch the two of you laugh and giggle and whisper together. It makes me especially proud that you look out for one another and look after one another when one of you is feeling sad, or scared or unsure. I know it won’t be too long before Belle will part of your special sisterhood.
You are my puzzle wizard. A magical story teller with an amazing imagination. A soul that loves to create – to write and draw and make. I love the way you love on your sisters. My heart sings with joy to watch your eyes sparkle when you learn something new.
I so admire the easy way you shower the people you care about with love and laughter and empathy. Thank you for being my helper. For loving me with your open and honest heart. For opening my eyes to the wonder of the world, to the good and the freshness of each day.
My sweet Ava, happy birthday my darling. Today (well, every day, but especially today as I’ll be sending these wishes straight to the birthday fairies!) I wish for you a lifetime of adventure and happiness. A wish that you never lose your hunger for learning and passion for creating. And that as you grow, you will see that your gentle spirit is an amazing gift that you should honour – that your ability to empathise and show kindness are some of your greatest strengths. I am so lucky to be your Mama. I can’t wait to make millions more memories with you. I love you *this* much. Love always and forever, Mama xoxoxo times infinity.
Hello Lovely Adventurer,
Today I am writing about something that I had no intentions of writing about this morning when I got out of bed, but as I was catching up on my rss feed this morning I read this post by my friend Brandy. She is currently running a series of gratitude posts before the imminent arrival of her baby boy.
And it had me in tears. Thinking about the complex relationship between a Mama and daughter. And it made me want to write about my Mama and how grateful I am for her.
The thing that struck me most in Brandy’s post was when she wrote, “I take my mom for granted in so many ways. I concentrate on how we’re different.”
And I know that even though I try to tell my Mama that I love her on a daily basis, I take her for granted too. And I really believe it is so important for those we value and love to know how much they mean to us. Not just to know that they are important, but to know why they are important.
My Mama has always been my advocate, sounding board and my biggest cheerleader.
When I was little, if you’d asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would’ve said that I want to be just like my Mum: a beauty-full, joy-filled woman, who is creative and talented and so strong. A woman who people are naturally drawn to, because she makes them feel special and loved.
She instilled in me an unshakeable belief that anything was possible. That I could never dream too big. And she also taught me that I could never make any mistake big enough to stop her loving me. Nothing could ever be so bad that it couldn’t be undone or put right. I have always known her unconditional love.
My entire life we have been so close. I am one of those lucky ones who is able to say that she is my Mum and also my friend. Of course, we push each other’s buttons sometimes, but we genuinely enjoy each other’s company.
Since becoming a Mama myself, our relationship has changed. Our ties have deepened, as I come to understand her in a way that could only happen once I became a parent myself. I recognise her humanity and vulnerability now in a way that I never could have foreseen. I understand the fierce love she has for me, because it is inside me now.
Mama, I am so grateful for all that you have made me. For all that you have taught me. For all the moments that we have shared together. I want you to know that I have always felt your unconditional love and your strength behind me and because of that I know that my life will be filled with adventure and possibility.
I hope that one day the girls will be able to say the same about me. If so, I will feel as though I have succeeded.
You are an amazing woman and I am so lucky that you are my Mama. I hope you know that.
Two years ago today, my lovely little Lola Mae came speeding into this world. Sort of. I was a week overdue, the size of a house, and more than ready for her arrival. So there was a bit of waiting involved, but when she finally decided that she was ready, she arrived in record time. Three hours after realising I was actually in labour, and 20 minutes after arriving at the hospital she was in my arms and we were saying our first hellos. This brief birth story is an excellent way of summing up her character… Lola likes to do things on her own terms and in her own time, but once she decides she wants to do something, it must be done NOW. She is an adventurer and a dare-devil and a full-to-the-brim type of kid.
When she was a bubba, she was off-the-charts gigantic. I’m pretty sure I was making cream not milk. We called her our buddha baby, because of her gorgeous round head (and belly) and the smile permanently plastered on her face.
She has always been on the move, in a hurry to get to where she is going, and to catch up to her favourite person in the world, her big sister, Ava. She was walking (and I was chasing) at ten months. She loves to dance, to jump, to skip… She has no fear. She is a dare-devil. Will jump off anything. Will attempt all sorts of acrobatics. Always requires at least one eye on her at all times, and as a consequence is covered in bruises almost all the time.
She loves to sing. I hear her all the time, singing… it is the most delightful thing to hear your sweet child singing to herself, just because it makes her happy.
She is my second-born and I remember worrying so much before she was born, how could I ever love another child as much as I loved my first. I think it’s natural once you have had one child and discovered that explosion of love upon becoming a mother, how could you have room for more of that? It’s like trying to imagine how big the universe is… they say it’s so big you actually can’t picture it. Well, I worried and fretted, but there was really no need. My capacity to love my children is infinite. It is so big I can’t even picture it. I fell in love the instant I saw her. And smelled her. And held her close to me.
My Darling Lola Mae,
Happy Birthday Sweetheart. Today you are two. It’s so funny, but I can’t imagine my life without you. My days before you and before this family are a haze… I wanted to take a moment and tell you all about your two-year-old self. You are a morning person. You wake me and Daddy up before the sun comes up most days. You are lucky you are so cute. Your favourite thing to do each day is the kindy run. You can’t wait until it is your turn, but for now you delight in the time you get to spend there during our pick-up and drop-offs. You love to eat. As soon as you suspect dinner is ready you hop on your chair and wait for it to be served, if I take too long, then I’m in big trouble!! Your favourite foods are eggs (any kind, as long as it’s eggs) and frozen peas and corn. You call Ava ‘yeah-yeah’… we all do now. You love to help Mama in the kitchen. You love to do puzzles. You are currently obsessed with sylvanians. You sing all the time, and you have the most beautiful voice. Your favourite stories are Mrs Wishy-Washy and Hand,Hand, Fingers, Thumb. Every night before bed when we do ‘favie thing’ you tell us that yours was the zoo. Every night for about a month. Even though we have not been to the zoo for about a month. I love that.
I love that you laugh from deep-down in your belly. Your laugh is a head turner. I love when you hurt yourself and you make me kiss it and it is instantly better. I love to listen to you talk. I can’t always understand what you are telling me, but I love it all the same. I love it when I am cross with you and you come close to me and whisper sorry and give me a cuddle. I love that you never walk anywhere. You strut, or stomp or run or dance or skip. I love the moments when you are still and you let me cuddle you or snuggle next to you.
I love and admire that you live your life ferociously (like a lion). I hope it is something that you never lose. Whatever emotion you are feeling, you overflow with it. Like your Nana says, you wear your heart on your sleeve. Whatever happens sweet Lola Mae, never forget that your life is an adventure. That the world is there for you to explore. Love and laugh and find joy in that ferocious, determined way of yours. Don’t concern yourself too much with sadness or anger or melancholy… but know that when you have those feelings I am here for you. I will always be here for you. No. Matter. What. I love you *this* much. Love always and forever, Mama xoxo times infinity.
The Love Letters series is my opportunity to tell you a bit more about my personal story… and I guess, as I’m telling you my story, I should just start at the start.
But where is my start? I feel like I’ve had so many new beginnings, even just in my adult life I could pick from a few:
- moving out of home
- finishing uni and getting a ‘real job’
- getting married
- my overseas adventures
- And then, of course, welcoming each of my three bubbas into the world.
My lovely gals – *if you want to know the definition of impossible, try to get 3 bubbas to look at you and smile at the same time!*
So here’s the story of how three of my new beginnings got their names:
My Ava Sweetheart
Ava wasn’t going to be an Ava, even before I was pregnant I was fairly certain that if we had a baby girl, her name would be Ruby. So how did we end up with an Ava? It’s not a romantic story. I love the stories people tell of gazing into the baby’s eyes and automatically knowing who she was destined to be. No, that’s not for us though. I am too much of a planner for that. I had to have her name many months before she was even due. I found Ava’s name in the very first baby name book I picked up. As soon as I spoke the name aloud, it was instant agreement. I didn’t even get past the ‘A’s’ And so our little Ava, who’s name means ‘like a bird’, is destined to fly high.
My Lovely Lola Mae
I loved the name Lola even before I was pregnant with her. After Ava was born, I discovered Lauren Child’s series of Charlie & Lola books… and I have always been a fan of the famous Kinks song (never mind what the song is actually about!!). It was that easy, no back and forth (and I honestly can’t imagine Lola having any other name – she is such a ‘Lola’!) – And what I love is that just as Ava is thoughtful and beautiful and delicate just as her name evokes, my Lola is strong-willed and grounded and more than a little bit lovely, just as her name suggests.
My Beautiful Bubba Belle
So, finally, our little Belle-Belle. Months and months of debating names… well really… me suggesting names and Barry turning them down… and honestly I thought we were going to have a baby that would be known as ‘Baby of Hana Colmar’ for the first few months of her life! (I know a guy that was known by the name of his road for the first 7 weeks of his life because his parents couldn’t decide!) Once you’re up to baby girl #3, it turns out, agreeing on a name is highly unlikely. I tried to pull out the ‘I-have-to-give-birth-so-I-should-get-naming-rights’ card, but Barry wouldn’t have a bar of it. There were about three names we kept coming back to, and at the top of that list was Bella… but it was making Top 10 lists all over the place, and that put me off a bit.
By coincidence, we already had an art print for each of the girls from the very talented Mandy Sutcliffe’s Belle & Boo Collection. In an act of desperation (only half serious, really!) I told Barry to pick a name from the remaining collection so that each baby could have their very own piece of art. Instead of an Evie or a Lila, without even realising it, we named our baby after a Disney princess (Beauty and the Beast, anyone?)! And, even though we are just getting to know Belle, I can see that she has a beautiful spirit, just like her name evokes.
*You can find a huge variety of Belle & Boo products on the Belle and Boo website or at their etsy shop. We have the Ava with Wings, Lola Freedom and Belle and Boo Fly a Kite prints. Oh, and if you want to know the meaning of adorable – check out the gorgeous clothing range they’ve got going on!*
Do you have a great story about the naming of someone in your family? Or about someone you know who epitomizes the meaning of their name? I would love to hear all about it… choosing a name is so amazing and I really do believe that people grow into their names so please share your stories with me in the comments section below.
I’m an organising super-freak. True story. Unfortunately for me (and my family), the truth is, I am actually an organising super-freak with chaotic tendencies. The truth is, I love the lists and the planning stages of organisation, but in reality I lack somewhat on the follow-through. However, that’s another story for another day.
My point with the above admission was to say that I have blog posts and ideas planned out my ears. I literally have ideas for the various categories I have been telling you about lately for the next year and a half (and then some!) … but, amongst this organisational-wonderland, I knew that with A Happy Adventure I wanted to be able to have a space for spontaneous moments. Love Letters is a series that will allow me to do just that.
The Love Letters series is a collection of letters/pictures/thoughts for you, my lovely readers, so that I can share with you those things closest to me… thoughts on Mama-hood and lovely husbands and every day life in general. It will be a space when I may just ramble along, letting you know whatever is on my mind at any given time. It’s the series that you will probably see me at my most open and vulnerable.