Monday, 31 March 2008

Fingers Crossed

My fingers are crossed for the people of Zimbabwe. I just hope that Mugabe will now actually step down, finally, and that there is no violence in the meantime.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

12 months

Dear Lily

On Friday you turned one! Congratulations baby girl. I think that turning one is quite an achievement.

The past year has simply been amazing. Your arrival in our lives has changed everything - our priorities, our sleep, our day-to-day activities, our identities and the way that we see the world. You are now the filter through which I view everything - whether it be the height at which someone has chosen to place their glassware or the horror that is what we are still doing to this planet of yours (and your future). I have also come to identify myself as your mother first and foremost and, to my surprise, this doesn't bother me at all. In fact, I really quite like it. You are a very cool little person, Lily, and it is a pleasure to be associated with you.

This past month has been a big one. You have conquered walking and are now incredibly stable and quick (scarily quick, in fact!). This seems to have also freed up your brain for speech and your vocabulary has taken a huge leap forward this past month. You are currently picking up at least one new word a day and it is incredible to watch.

Your vocabulary currently consists of: mama/mum, dada/papa, bubba, duck, dog, ball, ta, bye bye, nigh nigh, monkey (pronounced mo), up, down, more, mmm (for something that is yummy or for cuddles) and no (a new one that you are enjoying at the moment). You have also learned a range of animal noises including: moo (pronounced mmm), baa, neigh, and cheep. And, finally, you have learned a number of random signs that we have created together for things including: star and twinkle twinkle (opening and closing your fists), fish (wiggling your hand), gorilla (beating your chest), and brushing your hair. You can also point to a number of your body parts, including your head, hair, teeth and (your favourite) nose.

This past month you attended your fourth wedding (at the Melbourne Zoo) and we all took a family trip to Tilba. In Tilba we stayed in a little cottage on a farm property and you just loved it. You woke up on both mornings and immediately pointed excitedly outside at the rolling hills. Then you clambered down and stood against the door begging to go outside immediately. Outside, you played so happily on the grass; examining the flowers and leaves, carrying around buckets, and pointing up at the trees with delight. It made me wish that we lived in the country so that you could be surrounded by such a peaceful nature scene everyday. It clearly suited you.

Another big discovery this month was your love of swings and slides. We went to many many new parks and every time we put you on a swing or a slide you would grin from ear to ear and kick your legs with excitement. You are quite the little thrill seeker - I can see roller coasters and hang gliding in your future.

You have also developed a bit of a habit of putting things on your head. The peg basket and a red bucket are your favourite head pieces, but you seem to have fun with many other items too. I am not sure exactly why you do it - sometimes you are clearly playing the clown and hoping to get a laugh out of us, but at other times you seem to simply being enjoying the sensation. Whatever the reason, I hope that this new habit is a bit of a keeper. It really is very cute.

On the weekend we had a party for you and you must have sensed that something was happening because you decided to skip your morning sleep entirely. The result was, well, interesting. Our house filled with people baring gifts and you managed yourself fairly well (considering) - socialising with everyone and showing off your new (fabulous) party dress, but you did let out quite a number of ear piecing yells that surprised people a little. And then you crashed - right in the middle of your party and I had to put you down in your hammock while we all carried on without you. As someone put it the next day - we've all been there Lily and at least you did it with a lot more dignity than some of us!

Anyway, as usual, it has been a blast. I can't wait to see what this month brings us.


Friday, 7 March 2008

Blogger Excellence Award (and our escape plans)

Monday is Canberra Day here in the ACT, which means very little except that we get a public holiday and so we are going to go away (again!) for a long weekend. This time we are heading for beautiful Tilba Tilba on the NSW South Coast and I am very excited. We have hired a little cabin on a property and plan to spend the long weekend relaxing, cooking, reading (when Lily sleeps), and making little trips to the beach and the cute town of Tilba Tilba (where I often dream of living). Photos will come.

For now I must finally get around to awarding the blogger excellence award that both Isil and Half Pint Pixie were so kind as to award to me.

One of the reasons that I have taken so long to do this is that I am torn up inside about the prospect of only choosing 10 blogs. I read many many blogs - far too many - and I love many many of them so by choosing only 10 I will have to leave so many out and I don't want to give anyone the wrong impression... But, I must be a grown up about this and just choose 10 to share with you today. To help myself limit them arbitrarily like this, I am only going to pick blogs by mothers today.

So, here I go:

Here’s the associated small print:

By accepting this Excellent Blog Award, I have to award it to 10 more people whose blogs I find Excellent Award worthy. I can give it to as many people as I want but please award at least 10. Thank you out there for having such great blogs and being such great friends! You deserve this!

If chosen, you agree to the same information above. If chosen, also feel free to award people who have already been awarded…

  1. Isil from Veggie Way. I first started reading Isil's blog before she or I were pregnant because of her fabulous vegan recipes. Then she announced that she was pregnant with the gorgeous Defne and I was very happy because I had just found out that I too was pregnant. She now blogs about attachment parenting as well, but continues to share her wonderful vegan cooking with us all too.
  2. Half Pint Pixie. I discovered HPP's blog through Isil's last year and, as with Isil, felt as though I had stumbled across my dream online mother's group. Her daughter is a few months older than Lily, and their family sounds a lot like ours - they are vegans, they practice attachment parenting, and although they are currently living in their home country, they have traveled and lived all over.
  3. Blue Milk. I first started reading Blue Milk when she stopped past our little blog to leave a comment on a post that I had written about pregnancy and feminism. I clicked over to discover a wonderfully articulate feminist mother who writes about parenting and politics (and everything else) with passion. I don't write about feminism nearly often enough and so I love being able to at least nod along with her posts that are always right on the money.
  4. Ariel from Jabberwocky. Ariel is the mother of a young boy and works as a writer or editor (not sure) and you can tell. She has a lovely way with words and can make the ordinary moments of any day seem intriguing and poetic. I love reading her blog.
  5. Gianna from She Sells Sanctuary. Speaking of poetic - Gianna also has this gift. Her blog is a wonderful mix of everyday parenting (or non-parenting) moments and politics - although like me she has found less to say on politics since Howard's departure. She also blogs at Surfdom.
  6. Helen from Cast Iron Balcony. Helen blogs a little about everything, but I especially love her posts on feminism and politics (not that you can separate the two). She has a sharp pen (keyboard doesn't quite work here, does it?) and can pull apart a crap argument very effectively. It is very fun to read.
  7. Amanda from Soule Mama. This one is kind of a strange inclusion, because she is already incredibly popular and I never ever comment on her blog. However, I really enjoy Amanda's blog - she is the mother of three young children who she unschools (a concept that I am fascinated by). She is also a very talented crafter and takes lovely photographs. I like reading her blog to simply relax and feel happy about the world.
  8. Firstperson thirdcat. Thirdcat is an extremely talented writer who lives in Adelaide. I love reading her blog simply to admire the way that she writes (and also because she is very funny and leads an interesting life).
  9. Pavlov's Cat. Oh I just broke my own rule. Pavlov's Cat is not a mother. However, after having written about another Adelaide writer, I felt compelled to share this one too (for those few of you who haven't visited her blog). PC writes about a little of everything - politics, feminism, gardening, food, Adelaide, family, grief... you know: life, and does it extremely well.
  10. Ampersand Duck. AD is a Canberra blogger who works as an artist using Letterpress and making books. How cool is that? I love reading her blog, because she writes beautifully, she inspires me to be more creative and because it is based in Canberra, my hometown.
OH, there are so many more good blogs - some of which I didn't include simply because they haven't updated lately or (mostly) because I have run out of numbers on my list and I mostly confined myself to mothers. Please also see our blogroll and the vegan bloggers to whom I gave the Rockin' Girl Blogger award to - they are all wonderful.


OK, I am bad at this, but I just have to mention three other blogs by mothers that definetely deserve the Blogging Excellence Award and that I have been reading and loving for too long to leave off my list:

Zoe from Crazybrave. Another Canberra-based blogger, Zoe's internet has been down of late, but when she does update she is extremely funny and manages to make the sharpest points very succinctly.

Cat from Seoul Life. Cat and her partner are American expats living in Korea with their gorgeous little baby Susana. She blogs about life in Korea and parenting and writes beautifully.

Zoe from I've Come Undone. Zoe is an American mother of three children, who blogs about daily life with a real honesty that makes for great reading. I especially loved this recent letter that she wrote to her son Amonte after his experience with surgery.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Tas to cut greenhouse gases by 60 per cent

This morning the ABC posted this story:

The Tasmanian Government will introduce legislation to reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent by the year 2050.

The Premier, Paul Lennon says the target will be based in 1990 levels.

Mr Lennon has used his first speech to parliament this year to outline several other measures to deal with climate.

He says the government's car fleet will be carbon neutral by mid 2010 and State Cabinet will consider making it mandatory for major government buildings to have solar power and hot water installed.

Mr Lennon has also announced an agreement with Greening Australia to offset the government's air travel.

Excellent. The question that remains is: will it be enough? I'm reading George Monbiot's Heat and he is calling for a 90% cut by 2050 in order to keep warming below the crucial 2 degrees threshold. Still 60% is a good start - I wonder if other states will climb on board?

Tuesday, 4 March 2008


We spent last weekend in Melbourne because we were invited to the wedding of a couple of lovely friends that we first met in Laos.
The wedding was on the Saturday evening at the Melbourne Zoo and it was a lovely affair - the ceremony was held under a huge fig tree and the reception was next to an old carousel that ran for the guests while drinks and canopes were being served.

Unfortunately, poor Lily was teething and generally not a very happy little munchkin. She kept letting out loud piercing screams of frustration all evening - when she failed to catch the ducks, when we wouldn't let her pull the peacock's tail, when she had to ride in an elephant instead of on a horse (on the carousel), when she couldn't have everyone's champagne glass... You get the idea. So, as a result, P. spent a good chunk of the ceremony and reception taking her for walks around the zoo to look at the animals. (I also took her for walks and a play on the play equipment, but P. did the lion's share of the distracting).

The rest of our stay, however, Lily was pretty good. She mostly just hung out in the Ergo - both awake and asleep - and we tried to break up our wanderings with the odd stop at parks where she could romp around.

We arrived on Friday morning and headed over to Fitzoy and East Brunswick to browse the shops and grab a bite to eat. The shops were simply brimming with creativity - heaps of local artists had their stuff for sale in all the little boutique shops in this area - and it was really inspiring to see it all. I recognised quite a few items (especially a bunch of softies) from some of the craft blogs that I lurk around and discovered a whole heap of other creative Melbourne people. I also managed to pick up a little bit of fun fabric for my own attempts at creativity - despite sadly failing to actually get to any proper fabric stores.

We found a couple of cute parks for Lily to play in too, and she had an absolute ball. She is just loving swings at the moment, but she also had a great time riding down the slides on our laps and crawling through tunnels between the two of us.

Finally we got a snack at the Veggie Bar, but kind of stuffed up on the food front really. We arrived there between lunch and dinner and ended up eating some fairly boring snack-y food, rather than enjoying the range of vegan options that they had available. Sadly this was to set the tone for our attempted vegan adventures all weekend...

On Saturday we headed out to the South Melbourne markets, where we picked up some lovely fresh bread, olives and domaldes for a mid-morning snack that ended up being lunch. It was lovely to see all the fresh produce at the markets, but other than that they were actually a little disappointing. I was hoping to see some more inspiring sights of creativity, but instead there was a lot of outlet stalls and cheap homewares.

In the afternoon, we headed over to St Kilda, where P used to live, and let Lily run wild on the Esplanade. As you can see (below), she enjoyed herself thoroughly.

In our rush to get to the wedding that evening we forgot to take along the present and so we had to head back over to St Kilda on the Sunday morning in order to drop it off at the family gathering that the Bride and Groom were attending before they left for their honeymoon. Since we were there we decided to check out the Esplanade Markets and this time I was not disappointed. Quite a few stalls at these markets had fantastic things for sale - bags, children's clothes, puppets, etc - all made by local artists using gorgeous fabrics. Once again I felt all inspired and, once again, it was hard work keeping my wallet closed.

Now we are back home and still just trying to keep our heads above water - with Lily, the PhD, P's job, the housework and general life all fighting for attention.

I hope that you all had a lovely weekend.


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