The Past Week

I know when friends of mine live overseas it can be hard to really picture what their life must look like. So here is a little snippet of some of the things that have happened in the past week for me.

I organised vaccinations for Annelise. I had been putting this off as I needed to work out the difference between Australia and Japan, and let’s face it – my vocab skills surrounding vaccinations are not exactly strong. I was brave and called a clinic, collected a schedule and made a booking for first her vaccination on Monday.

Did final birthday preparations for Pippa, and enjoyed celebrating her birthday on Tuesday. We went to Playgroup (run through Heidi’s kinder), enjoyed lunch at JLCC (OMF language school), had dinner at home with Caity, Skyped with Grandparents, and enjoyed cake.

We had an OMF members meeting on Thursday until 3pm, with sessions by our Hokkaido Leader, and National Director. We also broke into small groups, and enjoyed lunch together. After that I went to one of Heidi’s friends apartments. Along with 5 other mums and a bunch of little girls, we chatted and enjoyed afternoon tea together. We then walked home in the dark at around 5pm.

Heidi was sick one night (vomiting), so Paul helped her during one night. In the morning I had to call the Kinder to let them know she wouldn’t come, so please don’t wait for us at the bus stop etc. Another night Annie didn’t get to sleep until 2 and was then up at 6, so I spent a night on the couch, feeding her and bouncing her in the bouncy chair.

Paul and I had a whole day booked to go and get our licences. We don’t need to sit a test, just do the paperwork. And about half an hour into it (after driving for 45 mins to get there) we were told there was one piece of information that we didn’t have, so we will have to go back another time. So we enjoyed a day together (with Annelise) and Paul did much needed clothes shopping, we met with the Training Sector OMF leader for a catch up, I got my text books for starting classes next week, and I bought a jacket with an extra zip section for Annie to be able to fit in while I carry her in the baby carrier to and from class (in the cold!)

We went to Costco today, then to the batting centre and a park. I also went to the Post Office to post a form to the Australian Consulate here in Sapporo so we can finally finish Annie’s passport application. We danced, played and read books this afternoon.

And of course, we did all of those other normal life things like go to classes and study Japanese, keep three young children alive and loved, talked with each other, checked emails and facebook, got up lots at night with babies and kids, wrote a prayer letter, made a continued attempt at making an updated video for our home church, read new books on the Kindle, organised a Koorong order… and I’m sure there was more but that’s all I can think of!

**Sorry for the superficial nature of this blog, but I really wanted to stick to my goal of writing at least once a month, and I haven’t written yet in October AND I need to feed Annelise… so time was of the essence also!! :)**


My Other Blog

It has been a loooong time since blogging here!

This year we have lived in Singapore (1 month) and in Japan (8 months), welcomed a new baby girl and done a whole lot of other stuff too!

That also includes my new blog over at

I’m currently only writing once a month, but a new baby will do that! I’m hoping to write more frequently about our life in Japan once baby sleeps a little more.

I would love it if you could take a look and follow me if you like!

Thanks for reading,


The 19 Month Age Gap


Poor sick Pippa in this photo. I was so glad to find one of the ever elusive double seat trolleys!!

As Pippa gets closer and closer to walking, as she and Heidi begin to ‘play’ more together, as the threat of constant danger from Heidi squashing her decreases, and as they clearly enjoy each others company more and more, I am so glad that these two girls are close in age. Heidi was 19 months and 2 days old when Pippa came into the world. It’s not super close, but I think it’s definitely close enough for us.

Age gaps between children can, of course, be viewed differently from one person to the next. Whether that is due to life circumstances, ones own experiences as a child, the ‘ease’ of a particular baby when thinking of the next, we each have formed our own thoughts, ideas and opinions as to what is best for our own family. And even then, things don’t always go to plan anyway! Our lovely gap was relatively planned (which really is only thanks to God, because He is the one who brings all of these things together), and I saw positives from day one, and am now beginning to see some more lovely benefits. Here are some of them:


No huge issues with jealousy/rivalry

Various Maternal Child Health Nurses (MCHN) mentioned that the age under 2 and over 3 is the best time to introduce a new sibling. This is largely due to sibling jealousy being at its peak in what is commonly known as ‘the terrible twos’. Our experience of Heidi being only 19 months when Pippa was born was largely jealousy free – or so we could tell! Heidi was mostly just excited about the new baby, and was affectionate and interested from the beginning.

Of course, as Heidi has grown, and continues to assert her independence and push boundaries in a normal, healthy, two year old way, we are mindful that we give her the attention she needs (a lot!), and encourage a kind, loving, fun relationship between the two girls. Rather than a relationship marked by comparison, competition and rivalry – all of which can occur much more easily than you would think! That innocent comment that so easily slips out, of “Look! Your sister can do it…” might come from a mostly innocent place, but can quite be detrimental in the long run. And so we keep trying!


They like playing with similar toys

We didn’t have to buy new things for Pippa, or dig toys out of deep, dark storage boxes for Pippa. Sure, we had to move some around, take away some little bits-and-pieces toys, but overall Teddies & Dollies, blocks and musical toys, they are winning toys for both girls. Which means less financial waste on two sets of quite different toys, less mess (although I don’t feel that so much!), and more ways for the girls to interact well with each other. What’s that Heidi? You want to build a tower for Pippa to knock down? What a great idea!! And so on…



They are able to entertain each other 

This is only a relatively new thing, and one that still needs to be fairly closely monitored, but if the girls are in the same room, just the two of them (picture me about half a metre away in the kitchen spying on them), they can actually interact with each other in a way that actually looks like play! Pippa will follow Heidi around the house, at Heidi’s “Come on Pippa!” We can put a CD on, and break out the dance moves together. Pippa’s trademark move of shaking her head like a vigorous ‘No!’ sees us all follow suit in a crazy family dance party. Heidi’s dinosaurs have two people to bring them to life, even if mostly Pippa just chews on Steggy. It’s all so beautiful to watch.

I don’t mean to gloss over the very obvious difficulties and challenges of having two kids close in age. But today I just wanted to reflect on the a few of the positive aspects that we have experienced in our family. I think we can often wish things had been different, or that we would change things if we could, but it can be helpful to stop and think of the good things sometimes.

I am one of four siblings. I have a twin brother, who I am older by 3 minutes. We always had someone around to play with as kids, and I think I was always pretty relaxed at relating to guys because of relating to my brother. My sister is 5, nearly 6 years younger than me. Growing up, I was super happy to have a sister! We shared a room for a long time, shared clothes for a little while, and enjoyed doing things together around the house. Now, although we are different, it is great having a sister a bit younger than me, as we are in quite different life stages, and it’s exciting to see what she does, and what her hopes are for the future. My youngest brother is 8.5 years younger than me, and was always (and still kind of is) like a baby brother. Our relationship was not built on irritating years driving each other mental at home, as I moved out when he was only 10. Rather, it’s one of getting to know each other better as adults, and (I think) of mutual respect and love. While we are all very different, and I don’t think any parents plan for twins straight of the rank, our gaps (or lack of gap!) all have some positive aspects to them.

And let’s face it, we don’t know any different anyway! 🙂 And even when there are significant challenges or difficulties that arise, particularly due to the spacing of us and our siblings, or our children, it is so comforting to me to know that the Lord has made it so. He gives life and breath and everything else. There is no child that is a surprise to Him. No twin-set, no single baby, no age gap that is a surprise to Him. He ordains it all. Isn’t He good?! So very good. As one of the memory verses on a Colin Buchanan CD sings, “We give thanks to you oh God, we give thanks to you! Psalm 75:1”

What are the age gaps between your children? Or perhaps between you and your siblings? And for today, what were some of the positive aspects of those gaps? What would your ‘ideal’ gap be, if it was so simple as to just plan it?




Run Melbourne 10K

Me and the nearly 9 month old Pippa post race!

Me and the nearly 9 month old Pippa post race!

Last Sunday was the BIG day.

I had been nervously anticipating Race Day for a little while, and when I woke just before 7am I was considerably pleased that the original forecast for rain & hail had indeed been incorrect, as the skies greeted me with frost and sun. I ran around getting ready, and decided to only eat two pieces of toast for the fear that my usual breakfast of porridge would not sit well in my stomach during the race. I had put my clothes out the night before, pinned on my race number, even making sure I had the right underwear. I didn’t want to run around disorganised in the morning and miss my train. After breastfeeding Pippa, and saying goodbye to the family I headed off to the train station. It really was a beautiful morning, albeit cold!

I arrived at Flinders Street Station at around 8:30, and with my wave of the 10K starting around 9:30 I was fairly confident I had enough time to do the things I needed to do. First stop, like just about every other female in Australia, was the toilet. The line at the Station was huge, so I ran around and found some at Hungry Jacks. There were even lines there! The solidarity of a group of ladies, clearly in their running gear, standing at a Fast Food Restaurant toilets early on a cold winters morning was great. We smiled knowing smiles at one another, and laughed about the hunt for a toilet, and trying to avoid queues, all the while standing in one.

The next step was bag drop-off, so I headed back to Flinders Street, trying to get to Federation Square. It was so congested. Due to safety, we couldn’t simply cross the road at Flinders, but go down via an underpass and there was a terrible bottleneck. It took maybe 15 minutes simply to get over to Fed Square. I was really glad that Paul had decided to come in later with the girls and the giant double pram (which I love by the way), and would be able to miss the worst of the crowding.

After finally getting across to the bag drop off area, and convincing myself that despite the chilly temperature and icy wind, that I was not cold and didn’t need a jumper, I still had about 20 minutes or so until the race, so I had a look around the place.

I have only done a few Fun Runs – maybe 5 all together. But I think this one might have been the biggest! There were stands for all different kinds of things – charities, companies etc. There were bands playing, games happening, and the atmosphere was generally quite exciting. I tried not to get carried away in it too much, not that I could really as I was feeling increasingly nervous as the time approached.

But before heading over to the Start I made my way down briefly to the World Vision tent to say hello to some friends, who had finished the Half Marathon already (!!), and then off I went.

There were a lot of people doing the 10K (about 7,000), and so that meant that despite having 4 waves of runners, it was still very crowded. I began running with a wave and a smile to a photographer, guessing that I might not want to smile in any of the other photos! Those of you who run a bit will know that some days you step out and feel good from the start. Some days every step you take is hard, and your body seems to fight it the whole way. Unfortunately, I felt pretty rubbish the whole run. I’m not sure why – maybe I was a little hungry, hadn’t gotten enough sleep, was not hydrated enough – whatever it was, it was yuk. So I knew I wasn’t going to be making a good time. So I focused on getting it done as well as I could, and tried to have a good time.

Around the 3K mark my knees were feeling sore (sometimes happens, sometimes doesn’t), so I had a short walk break, but no longer than 30 seconds. I did this a couple of times during the run, as my knees respond well to just a little break and then I can keep on going.

The kilometres felt loooonnnngggggg. Each time we came to a distance marker I felt as though I had done double! Not knowing the course well, or ever having run that way, might have contributed to it.

Towards the end (last few K’s) I was keeping my eyes out for Paul and the girls, but wasn’t sure if I was see them. So I was super excited when I heard “Melly!” and say Paul next to the road with the girls. A big smile and a wave made my day. And as I cam back past them, Heidi was out of the pram and waving too, and that really helped me keep going. By that stage of the run I was just trying to finish and have fun. I spoke with a few people running alongside me, encouraging them to keep going, and that they were doing a great job. I would have been thrilled had someone done that to me, so just figured it would help some others along too.

As I neared the finish line (gotta love a downhill finish!) I was quite eager to stop running! I got across the line and moved on through the crowds, collected my medal and show bag, had my tag taken off my shoe, and slowly (gingerly) made my way to the World Vision tent where I had planned to meet Paul. After a little stretch (not enough!), a banana and some water, Paul found me and I chatted with some friends.

It was a great morning, and although I didn’t make the 60 minute time that I had originally hoped for, I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I was happy to finish in 1:13 – a time that I can hopefully improve on one day! More importantly though, I am so proud, with the help of family and friends, to have raised over $400 for World Vision and the amazing work that they do around the world to help vulnerable and impoverished people. If I had walked the whole thing I would still be proud to have raised the money. What a joy it is to give to others!

I am also so glad to have reached my second (of two) major fitness goals for the year: To run a 10K before Pippa turns 1. Pippa is almost 9 months old, so I have beaten my deadline by 3 months! Yay! And I am happy to be an example of a healthy lifestyle to my two little girls. I love it that when I put on my running clothes Heidi says, “Mummy’s going for a run!” I am FAR from perfect, but I hope to encourage them towards an active and healthy lifestyle.

Finally, thank you for all of the support, encouragement and donations that you have given to this great cause. May we do what we can to make a difference, somehow. Thank you for giving your change to make a change.

PS. In case you were wondering, donations can be made up until the end of August…


Catching Up

It has been just over a month since I last blogged – sorry! I hardly know where to start again tonight, as there are so many things that could be said…I will do my best!


Snapshot of the last month or so:

Busy busy busy as Paul studied for exams
Paul finishes exams
One day to pack for Japan
Two weeks in Japan!
One week at home recovering – mostly trying to sleep
Five days at Phillip Island
One week at home preparing for the upcoming Semester

Throw in the midst some sick kids, an unwell me trying to continue training for the 10K NEXT Sunday, an 8 month old baby who still doesn’t sleep well overnight, a toddler who exhibits at times some challenging behaviours (slightly understated) and I can definitely say it’s been a full on time! So please be gracious in excusing my poor blogging habits. I have had generally poor life habits lately!

Over the next couple of weeks I will play a bit of blog-catch-up as I write about what has been happening over the last while, and reflect on some good things. Thanks for taking the time to reconnect with me and my blog. 🙂


Fitness Friday #5

This week has been more encouraging. I am steadily following the 10K program, and while I’m still a way off the actual 10K, I feel that my running is improving. One of my main struggles is speed. I seem to just run very slowly, without a lot of variation in pace. The program I am doing at the moment though, and my concerted mental effort, have seen me running a little faster. Well, at least I feel like I am anyway!

So far this week I have done 2 of my 3 scheduled runs.

Tuesday: 5 x(6 mins run/1 mins walk) Total time = 35 mins. I went about 5.4K in this time, which considering some of that time is walking, means that I am definitely running faster than before.

Friday: 7 x (4 mins run/1 mins walk) Total time = 35 mins. I got changed and ready to go so that as soon as Paul got home from study I could leave. This worked well, as thunderclouds were looming so I knew my time would be short. I managed to fit the run in before the steady downpour that still continues. I feel like my form is good too. When I know the route I am doing, and have done it a couple of times I run holding my head much higher. Running on paths rather than trails helps with this too. I felt good tonight, but I am working hard.

I have a run tomorrow to look forward to – a 50 minute run (well, run/walk). I hope that the rain can hold off, or at least ease for long enough. I think I might head to a park or running track, rather than just run the streets around home.

My exciting news (well, exciting for me!) is that tonight I spent some birthday money and bought an iPhone armband, and new headphones and am currently in the middle of syncing music to my phone. I am excited to try running with music again.

Do you prefer to run with music or without?


Fitness Friday

This is the first of a hopefully weekly type of post I will write on Fridays, simply for alliterations sake – I know my creativity knows no bounds – about my current fitness happenings.

And so I present to you my most exciting and wonderful news: I have entered into the Run Melbourne 10K race on July 21, 2013!

Well, it’s a little exciting, somewhat wonderful, and considerably scary! But I have paid my dues, signed on the dotted line and officially registered now. There is no going back. Oh dear!

How Will I Do It?

I have never actually run 10K before. I know to some people 10K is not particularly far, but when you haven’t done it before, it seems quite a big deal. And I am really hoping to be able to run it in 60 minutes or less, which, considering I haven’t ever run 5K in 30 minutes, may be quite a task. But I am going to do my best to train hard. When I run, actually mostly when I do intervals, my motto is “More effort, more reward”. I tend to repeat it over and over again under my breath when I want to quit or give up. And so I think I might stick to that motto.

I am planning to use this running program: RM2011_10kBeginnerv2-1. It looks good to me for these reasons:

1. Only 3 days a week of required running. With 2 little girls it is hard for me to get enough time to run, and so if I can do more, I will, but most of the times 3 runs a week is a stretch. So this suits me well.

2. It tells me the time needed (usually) for each run. This is helpful when I need to say to Paul, “I will be back in X minutes”.

3. This program is free! 🙂

I think the biggest challenge for me won’t be actually going to distance, but will be improving my time and running it in under 60 minutes. I seriously suck at running fast. So this is the challenge for me. It is not going to be easy! Apparently the only way to get faster is to simply run faster. I need to practice running faster! So that’s going to be fun and easy…

And heading into winter is also not a particularly fun time to be gearing up for running outdoors, but that’s life I guess!

Why Do It?

1. There are a group of people from my church who are going to run the Half Marathon, and I was asked to join them. I would love to do that one day, but right now I just can’t manage the time required to train for longer runs, so decided to instead aim for a shorter distance but a quicker time. A doable challenge – I hope!

2. It’s a good way for me to be motivated to exercise. I sometimes find it quite hard to get out of the door, and because I have only a few opportunities where I can get out (like many people), if I don’t seize the moment than often it passes me right by. And let’s fact it, I am still hoping to get back into pre-baby shape, and exercise helps that!

3. Most importantly though, I am trying to raise $700 for World Vision. World Vision do some amazing work amongst needy and vulnerable communities and people groups. We have a lot more to give than we realise I think, and I hope that I can encourage others to dig deep, give a little, and learn that it really is more blessed to give than receive.

What Can You Do?

1. I am so thankful for the many varied readers of my blog. I have been encouraged of late by some dear friends saying, “I love reading your blog” etc. It warms my heart to think that you can be blessed/encouraged or even just have a laugh or enjoy some cute stories of the girls (Hi Emily A!). But in this case I am also very hopeful that you might consider joining me in supporting World Vision by making a donation, however large or small. You can click on the link here on the blog if you are able. Thank you!

2. Join me! I think it would be great to encourage some others to run the 10K with me. If we all try together we can get fit, raise more money for good causes, and have fun together too!

3. Encouragement is huge. Don’t just encourage me either, although that’s nice – encourage others you know who are working towards goals, be it fitness or otherwise. An enthusiastic word of encouragement can make anything seem possible sometimes. It also helps to keep me accountable. I don’t want you to kindly ask how it is all going and to have to confess that I just haven’t been bothered…that’s not a great feeling.

And So…

I’m looking forward to writing an update each Friday about how the training is going, both physically and mentally, and checking in on the number of runs I have done, how they have gone and what has been difficult. I think I will have a lot to say about what has been difficult!

Are there any topics related to fitness you would like to hear more about? If you are keen to start running for the first time you can take a look at this honest and helpful blog, written by Jean who has gone through the Couch-to-5K program herself. Or maybe a gentle walk tomorrow in our lovely unpredictable Melbourne weather could do you some good? Either way, let’s get out there and get moving!

5.1K at Hanging Rock


I began running about 3 months after Heidi was born, so lets say that was about May/June 2011. I decided that I wanted to run a 5K. I had always wanted to run a 5K, but thought that I couldn’t. So I decided to try. Paul was very supportive and each afternoon when our dream baby Heidi had her very predictable nap, I went out for a run. I started with a beginners program, and first reached my goal of running for 20 minutes, and then eventually could run 5K. I still remember those first few months of just simply being able to run a couple of minutes at a time, walking for a while, and then running for another minute or so. The first time I ran for 20 minutes without stopping was such an exciting moment!! I entered into the Melbourne Marathon Festival 5K event. After a bit of a drop in training I still came away with a time of 32:42 for my first ever 5K! At the time I wasn’t actually so happy with my time. I had gone along with a couple of friends, not to run together, but just to be a part of it together. Those friends just happened to be super fit friends, who despite not really training, really had great times and made me feel a little slow and unimpressive. It wasn’t until later that I realised how happy I should have been with that time!

After that run I was somewhat sporadic in my training, mostly due to being pregnant again. From about February 2012 I was sick with morning sickness and stopped running. By the time I had recovered a few months later, my fitness levels were low, as was my motivation. So I didn’t really run again throughout my pregnancy with Pippa. So last year, when Pippa was about 2 months old I decided to start running again. I set myself two goals. The first was to run a 5K by the time of Heidi’s birthday (25th March). I did that, with a time of 35:03. I knew I wasn’t going to run an amazing time, as I had been unwell for a couple of months, despite a fairly good training period before that. I was happy to do 35 minutes off the back of some fairly average training.

My sister was eager to do another run together, so despite not feeling like I had enough time to train properly, I suggested the ‘Run the Rock’ event at Hanging Rock on 27th April (today)! Lucy was keen, and so after checking with Paul, I registered and began to look forward to it. We had visited Hanging Rock a few times on day trips and loved the beautiful picnic areas, so decided to plan a trip together as a family. One of the main reasons I chose this run was the timing. Because I am still breastfeeding Pippa, a 5K at 10:15am on a Saturday was perfect. It meant I could breastfeed Pippa at about 7 when she woke, we could all get ready to go, drive, run, recover and then feed her again. And unlike the majority of runs, being on a Saturday meant we wouldn’t have to miss Church on the Sunday. It was looking perfect!

I only had about 3 weeks of training, and about 3 runs a week. So not too much really, but it was what I could do. And then in the last few days, Heidi started to get really sick. The poor little thing has had a high temperature, and has just been miserable. So at the last minute I had to re-think plans for the run. I really really wanted to go together as a family. Paul’s support and encouragement to me means a lot and is very motivating. But deep down, while in the midst of searching for ways to make it happen all together, I knew that he would have to stay home with Heidi. And thankfully I had a friend (thanks Subashini!) who was very happy to come along with Pippa and I for the morning, so I was able to go ahead with the run.

So this morning, just after 8, Bash, Pippa and I headed up to Hanging Rock. It was exciting to arrive and see lots of cars and people, long lines at the toilets, to hear the energetic and loud music pumping everyone up, and to enjoy a warm-ish Autumn day in a beautiful part of the world. I started to get quite nervous! I hadn’t really felt like that before the other two runs that I had been in, but I was quite conscious of really wanting to run better than the previous 35 minutes. My goal is still to run a sub-30 5K, but I knew that wouldn’t happen without more serious training. I joined in with the pre-race aerobics to warm up a little, and was glad I did, as I worked out a little twinge in my knee before the run, rather than during the first kilometre of the actual run. Warming up is a good idea!

I set out a little to enthusiastically. I didn’t run with a watch, headphones, GPS, phone etc so I didn’t really know how my pace was going. But last time I had started out too slowly in a bid to do negative splits, and this time I over-compensated. I guess this might be something that becomes easier with experience. And there were a few hills, and quite a lot of blustery wind. I struggled between thinking that I really wanted to do a better time, and then reminding myself to have fun and just be happy to be out there. The last kilometre was hard, and I kept saying to myself over and over, under my breath, “Come on Mel, come on!” At one point I said, “I don’t know where the finishing line is!” and someone kindly pointed it out to me in the distance. I needed to see where I was going!

As I neared the finishing line I could see that my time was indeed better than 35 minutes! I sped up towards the end, and hoped that I had run it in about 32 minutes. A few steps after the finish line I dry retched a little, and that was a first for me. That was a bit gross. But I quickly recovered, and headed off to find Bash, with Pippa cosily snuggled up with her in my favourite baby carrier, the Ergo. She had slept the whole time and been a little angel for Bash. Go Pippa! Anyway, I digress… I was so pleased to have improved my time, and when I later found out that I had in fact done a 5.1K in 31:47 I was so pleased! I know it’s not a record breaking time, but for me, that’s not bad. And on the day that Pippa turned 6 months old.

Running has made me realise in a very tangible way that if you work hard for something, you can reach the goals that you set out to achieve. It reminds me of the blessing that a healthy body is, and of the importance of getting outdoors for your mental health. It teaches me lessons in perseverance and mental determination. And I haven’t even done many long runs yet! Our bodies are amazing, and it is exciting to see what they are capable of when we work hard.

I am now looking forward to running my first 10K at The Age Run Melbourne festival at the end of July. I am thinking of joining the World Vision team, so if you are interested in partnering with me in that, please let me know. Alternatively, if you would like to join me and do a 10K, let me know that too! More on that to come though…Stay tuned for updates!

Feeling Weary and Fickle


Last night we had some friends come over for dinner. (Hi Matt & Cazz!) After dinner as we sat on the couch enjoying some hot drinks together Cazz asked me how I was finding life with the two girls and enjoying being a ‘Stay At Home Mum’. I don’t know if I was really able to answer the question well. Which got me to thinking about why it was such a hard question. 

I love being at home with my girls. I am so thankful that we have the means and ability as a family for me to not have to go to work (paid employment more specifically) each day, or even just a few days in the week. 

I am so very glad that I am the person that these two precious gifts get to spend each day with. I want to be the one who is shaping, teaching, influencing and loving them consistently each day of the week.

My girls are a delight to me. They fill me with joy, laughter and enthusiasm for life.

And yet…

I’m so tired a lot of the time. I don’t get enough sleep because Pippa is not sleeping well at the moment. And Heidi is taking longer to get to sleep, and rising earlier. And she needs her sleep, so is consistently a lot grumpier than usual.

I don’t get a lot of down time in the day because now matter how hard I try, the girls just don’t always sleep at the same time.

Now that Pippa is starting to eat solids the mornings just seem to be full and stressful. Breastfeed Pippa, while keeping Heidi happy. Change Pippa. Empty potty. Express some milk. Get Heidi dressed. Prepare some food for Pippa. Feed Pippa, or watch her with some finger food. And so on it goes. Breakfast for me? I usually manage to eat, but it’s not a nice quiet time. It’s hectic! Always hectic!

And the afternoons are tricky too, because I need to start thinking about dinner, cooking, feeding Pippa again etc… 

So it’s really hard. It’s challenging. My patience wears thin far too easily. I want to be the bubbly, happy, fun Mummy who has the days full of Pinterest worthy activities for her Toddler, while bouncing the happy baby on her (perfectly fashionable outfitted) knee. Actually, I would be happy to settle just for part of that: I don’t mind so much about looking amazing. Because lets face it, vomit and other such things find there way into crevices, onto shoulders and over hair in the blink of the eye these days.

I don’t think that parenting will ever be easy, but I think the challenges will change. Right now my challenge is time. Time for anything except for getting through the day. There is so much energy, effort and care required just to keep two little people alive, fed, dressed (mostly) and somewhat content each day. Let alone shopping, cooking, exercise, relationships and any other kind of thing. I am thankful that for the most part the relational side of things is easy at the moment. The girls love me because I am their Mummy. They want to be with me. I know that this is one aspect that can greatly change with years and age. So I don’t take that for granted. But there are some real unique challenges to this stage of life, and I hope (and think) I’m not the only one who struggles with them. When I reflected on my previous post ‘The Small Sacrifices’ I realised a lot of the challenges had mostly to do with having two small children, more than having to do with Paul and I. There is just so little time for anything.

I feel very fickle. Some days are amazing. Like when we had a lovely time at PlayGroup, and after nap time Heidi played outside by herself for about an hour – a miracle! And then there are other days, where nothing seems to go very well. So I feel weary and fickle, and unable to adequately talk about how my life is going. And yet I know this is just a season. That it will all go by so quickly and I will miss the delights of watching these little creatures learning new things every day. From new words and funny sentences, to the gorgeousness of fat baby things – I know it won’t last. And yet, here in the thick of it, the days are long and not always easy. 

So forgive me if my answer to how life is going right now changes from moment to moment. Because that is life for me right now. And I love it – most of the time. 

7 Fun Toddler Ideas

It is hard to keep a toddler happy, healthy and busy every day. Very hard! But lately I have found a few new activities that Heidi has loved. This doesn’t mean she will always love them, or that she will do them for hours, but they have been helpful over the last couple of weeks. So I thought I would share in the hope that someone else out there might get some use out of them.

1. Mud Puddle Fun


There has been a small, round dirt patch in our backyard for a while. I think it used to be the place where a fire barrel was, or something like that. The other day I was thinking of ways to encourage Heidi to spend more time playing in the backyard, and voila! The Mud Puddle was created. I basically just poured water on the dirt, filled some buckets, kiddie watering cans, grabbed some outdoor toys, took off Heidi’s good clothes and let her go. Word of advice: Give in to the fact that childhood, play, and in particular muddy play will be incredibly messy. Be prepared to bath or shower the kids as soon as the activity needs to be done. Heidi has had a brilliant time with the Mud Puddle. She has played with it in various ways for hours. It is a great sensory experience, with hard dirt under her feet, squishy mud between her toes and water splashing her legs. It encourages creative play by incorporating a few toys and a new environment for them to be in. It gives an opportunity for independent play skills to grow too.

2. Playdough Kitchens


Heidi’s birthday gift recently was a huge container of tea set toys, cooking toys and play food. She loves them, and I am so glad that she has been enjoying them – eBay purchase win! But I discovered that when I added some Playdough to the mix that she loved it even more! I am constantly trying to think of activities to keep Heidi entertained while she can sit up at the table during meal prep/clean up time. This was a big hit! There is something about combining two kind of toys that she just loved. And of course, Sophie the Doll was in on the action too – she is a favourite at the moment.

3. Teddy Bear Picnic


While this is by no means an original idea, it is still a good one! The combination of being outdoors, having teddies and dolls nearby, using water, grass, gum-nuts etc in the teapot and cups meant that Heidi had an absolute blast with this. And I have to admit, it was pretty fun for me too.

4. Indoor Picnic Dinner


We don’t usually have Fish & Chips, as Paul can’t eat it most of the time. But one night before going to church we decided we would have an easy dinner and this is what we ended up doing. It was fun, easy to clean up and a great time together as a family.

5. Cubbies From Blankets


A few weeks ago the heatwave of the Never Ending Summer in Melbourne finally did come to an end. But for a month or so it was really too hot to spend much time outside. Especially because water play was not an option for 3 weeks with Heidi’s broken wrist. And so the Cubby began. I simply turned our two couches around (they normally face each other with a coffee table in between), moved the coffee table, made a roof with a blanket, placed a nice soft blanket on the floor and piled in the cushions and pillows. It was lovely in there, that I have to admit that I actually had a little nap in there myself when the girls were in bed! We had lots of little books and dolls in there too – two of Heidi’s always favourite things.

6. Dancing. Lots of Dancing.


Heidi loves to dance, and hey, who doesn’t? So most days, at least twice a day, the music goes on and the dancing begins. Or the spinning, more specifically. And Heidi will run around looking for her ‘dancing skirt’ and Sophie the Doll to dance with her. It’s a great activity for exercise, coordination, and most importantly, fun!

7. Painting Outdoors


I tried a home-made paint recipe today which was fun. It probably ended up being a bit watery but it was perfect for painting the path with. Heidi also liked just rubbing it on her legs and arms. And considering it was made from corn flour, water and food dye – that was fine! We did have the Chalk/White Board easel out with paper, but it wasn’t as popular as painting everything else.

Hopefully some of these ideas will be useful to you! What are some things you do to keep your busy toddler entertained on those long days at home?