2011

Stockings

Our new home. Lots of rooms. Lots of space. Lots of doors. I miss our old home, but I know we will create new memories here. Every day, we are settling in more and more. Today, I actually finished unpacking the last box, and Rick even got the internet set up. My head is filled with a billion thoughts, and my body is running on adrenalin. Will share more in the next few days, but for now here’s a tiny sneak peek. Can you spot the Christmas stockings?

And they’re back

It is officially summer now in Sydney but the rain – stubbornly and annoyingly – refuses to relent. Thankfully, we had a few hours of rare sunshine yesterday so Rick and I whisked the boys off to Balmoral as soon as we spied the blue sky. Not long after midday, though, these majestic clouds started rolling in and it was quite amusing watching all the couples and families fleeing the beach to avoid the downpour. We made it out just in time ourselves.

Anyway, I was working on my visual diary last night using my Cross Process snapshots and I realised just how much I’ve missed sharing them on my blog. Naturally I am loving my Canon 1.4 USM lens, but there’s nothing quite like capturing fleeting moments on the iPhone and then watching my photos being ‘processed’ into dreamy film shots. Plus, the fake analogue shutter sound that’s synonymous with the Cross Process app is just delicious.

So, for better or for worse, I’ve decided to bring back my snapshots. Brace yourselves.

I know you didn’t ask, but I’ve spent the last few days slaving away finishing off the boys’ scrapbooks for the year. Yes, I hereby declare that after tonight, there shall be no more photo-tagging or photo-booking or scrapbooking until the new year. That’s a whole three weeks! Woot!

We got to see our new home yesterday. Being able to actually visualise where we’ll be living has definitely helped me to feel better. It’s a lovely house, with plenty of space for the boys to roam, play and be creative. And my goodness, there is so much storage space. I can’t believe how blessed we are. First step: purge!

Thank you for your kind words on my last post. I’m seeing a bit more colour already. Still, I think it’s good to acknowledge the grey. Only then can we appreciate the colour all the more.

Don’t these photos make you smile? I took them at my friends’ wedding a month and a half ago and they’ve warmed my heart today. I hope they do the same for you.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

The colour grey

Grey.

I am feeling grey.

Parenting wearies me.

Lack of sleep drains me.

Leaving our home saddens me.

Changing churches grieves me.

Moving unsettles me.

The future evades me.

All I can grasp right now is this hour, and the next hour, and perhaps the hour after that.

I am too exhausted to fathom even tomorrow.

I know in my head that I am richly blessed, but my heart is weary. So very weary.

It has been such a long and hard year; so many stumbling blocks have thwarted our path –
I know it is all finally catching up with me now.

Perhaps tomorrow when I rise, I will glimpse colour once more; but for now, all is grey.

All is grey.

I like yum cha. And I like chicken feet.

That’s right: I’m Chinese and slightly eccentric.

Anyway, this particular outing was in celebration of my mum’s, ahem, thirty-fifth birthday – or thereabouts. (Who am I to tell the internet my mum’s real age?)

Pete was a big fan of all the yum cha dishes, which my parents were pretty pleased to see. It’s funny how when Angus isn’t there (like on this particular Friday when he was at daycare), Pete seems to come into his own a bit more. Or maybe it’s simply that we have more time and opportunity and headspace to pay him greater attention and discern all the little things that make him the delightful boy that he is.

To my dearest mum, happy birthday and thanks for everything you do for us.

We love you!

The Instagram bandwagon, that is. Are you on it? If so, kindly leave me your username below so that I can stalk follow you. I’ll leave you nice comments and stuff. Promise.

Anyway, I thought I’d throw in the occasional Instagram shot once in a while. The above is a snap of Jamie’s baby book, which I’m slowly getting up-to-date. After my experience with Pete’s baby book, I was determined with Jamie that I would not leave it until he turned one, because then it just becomes an insurmountable, mammoth task.

A couple of friends have asked me how I find time to do scrapbooking with three children under three. The answer is quite simple: I give up sleep for it. This weekend, I have about five hundred little photos to cut up for the boys’ various scrapbooks and while I can think of at least ten other things I would rather be doing (e.g. sleep), I’m convinced that it’s a worthwhile exercise.

Days often fly by without the chance for me to slow down and appreciate the boys’ hilarious antics and all the ways they’re changing and growing. Scrapbooking allows me to do this. Plus, I know I’m creating something valuable because these are essentially the memoirs of our family – a documentation of our children’s life and our life together as a family.

Thank you to everyone for your condolences for our friends. The memorial service was just perfect – a great testament to their trust in God and the eternal hope we have as Christians. My prayer is that God continues to sustain them – every second of every minute of every hour of every day.

For more creative spaces, go here.

In the mirror

It’s taken me some thirty years, but I’ve finally come to embrace my imperfections and all. Sure, there are days when I feel ‘blah’ and definitely, I could be significantly fitter, but – my freckles, my dark circles, my scars, my post-baby middle… well, they’re simply a part of who I am and there’s no need to change any of it. Plus, my husband tells me every day that I am beautiful, so why should I not believe him?

This photo reminds me a lot of this poem that I wrote about a month after Cameron died. A lot has happened since then, but the truth behind the poem still stands. Our loss, our grief, and our tears alongside our perseverance, our joys, and our laughter – all these can still be seen when I look in the mirror.

Tonight my thoughts and prayers are with our college friends who lost their four month old baby one week ago today. Tomorrow we will go to his memorial service and we will cry and grieve and weep and mourn with his family. All death is tragic, but the loss of your own child – that is something that no-one should have to suffer.

I know Coke isn’t exactly the international health drink, but once summer weather hits, I can’t help but crave it. Plus, Coke Zero can’t be that bad right? (Google disagrees with me, but then, Google thinks everything is bad if you use search terms like “health effects” and “health hazards” and “why does this fizzy drink make me dizzy.”)

During these last few months, I’ve been spending a lot of my Sunday evenings at home with Rick’s parents. They usually arrive in the afternoon and play with the boys then help me feed them, bath them and put them to bed. Did e’er more wonderful in-laws exist? I think not.

But wait – there’s more. Mum (ie. Mary) will always bring dinner. Yes, that’s right. She comes to babysit and she brings us food. Hands down best mother-in-law in the whole wide world (naturally, it goes without saying that she reads my blog too) – definitely one of the many reasons I married Rick.

But back to our Sunday evenings: once the boys are in bed, the three of us will sit in the living room, have dinner together, chat about our week, watch Escape to the Country, and of course wax lyrical about my husband/their son and my children/their grandsons. Throw in several cups of hot tea (not literally), and seriously, it’s close to a perfect evening.

Mary, if you’re reading this (and I know you are), know that I will genuinely miss these Sunday evenings together. Even on the nights when I’ve retreated to the studio “to do some work,” I’ve loved knowing that you and dad were in the lounge, cuddled up and watching The. No 1 Ladies Detective Agency. I know that we will find something else to do together next year, but this year has been truly special – to me, it feels like it’s the end of an era.

(These photos were taken last Sunday night, when I was in the studio… “working.” The clover flower was given to me by Angus, who wanted me to keep it in a safe place. Sadly, it started wilting pretty quickly, so that safe place is now the bin.)

It is Monday morning. I’m driving Angus to the speech therapist.

Me: “Would you like to have a babycino at the cafe afterwards?”
Angus: “Sometimes I have a babycino with marshmallows but today I’m having a milkshake.”

* * *

Angus and I are on the way to a birthday party.

Angus: “Mummy, I like you…today.”

* * *

It is 2am in the morning. Rick and I wake up to the sound of Angus screaming in his room.

Rick goes in to investigate.

Rick: “Angus, what’s wrong?”
Angus: “Daddy, I can’t get penguin to go to sleep!”
Rick: “Okay. Let’s put him on the pillow. He can sleep there.”
Angus: “Is he awake?”
Rick: “No.”
Angus: “Can you check?”
Rick: “Penguin, are you awake?” Silence. “He’s quiet, so he’s asleep.”
Angus: “Put him on his back, daddy!”
Rick: “Okay, he’s on his back now. Go to sleep Angus.
Angus: “Goodnight daddy.”

* * *

It is Sunday morning, and I’m trying to park our Discovery at church.

Angus: “Mummy, you have to park between the two white lines.”

* * *

It is Thursday evening, and I’m a bit upset with Rick for messing up one of the kitchen drawers.

Angus watches as I leave the room.

Angus: “Daddy, can you do the right thing to make mummy happy?”*

*Rick would like me to point out that he usually does. Tis true. He usually does.

Smoky

It got pretty smoky one afternoon last week here in Sydney’s north. Rick thinks it was back burning. I’ll go with what he says since he watches more documentaries than me. I sat on the patio staring at the smoky mist for quite some time – it was inexplicably bewitching.

Received some devastating news tonight. Life is so transient. Cherish those you love.