Monday, December 31, 2012

Thanks 2012

The past twelve months have delivered such a smorgasboard of events, emotions and achievements.  As I look back, I marvel on how much Macie has blossomed, how big William has grown and how our marriage has strengthed and bonded over sleepless nights and vomit-covered shoulders.
I find it difficult to digest the fact that twelve months has passed and we are entering into yet another year to ride the exhilarating, scary and often challenging rollercoaster of life. 
2012 has made us laugh so hard that we cried,
cried so deeply that we sobbed,
smiled so broadly that our cheeks ached,
and as always, has made us grateful for the life we lead.
It has taught us how influencial a piece of chocolate can be when potty-training is failing,
or how two children can successfully make a white couch turn beige.
It has taught us that all arguments can be solved by a simple three rounds of "Paper. Scissors. Rock",
and that a cold rum and a debrief at the end of every day is just like paying for therapy. 
In February, our lives were blessed doubly when William James decided to join our family.  After a serene and drug-free birth in our local town, we walked out of the hospital less than 24 hours later to go home as a family of four.  He has completed our family. 
He has taught us a lot - but the biggest thing he has taught us is that our hearts don't ever stop loving.  Every single day as Macie and William awake, we fall in love with them that little bit more.....and especially at night when they are peacefully sleeping in their beds - fully content with their worlds that we have created for them.  They teach us how to love each and every day.
  We have had christenings, weddings, beach visits, and have created many many special memories.
 We have watched Macie grow and blossom into a delightful little girl.  It's hard to believe that she will be starting Kindy in 2014 and next year will be her last year at home.  She is such a beautiful and caring big sister to Willsy and he absolutely idolises her.  I see so much of me in her.  She is fiery, determined, independent and has attitude.  She gets cranky when she is hungry which I do, and she sings like I do....which isn't exactly a trait that she will be thanking me for later on.  She is our free-spirit.  The life of the party (when things are going her way) and she has more confidence than some adults do in a lifetime.  I'm intrigued as to what 2013 will bring with our Big Girl....
And as for the husbo....we have survived a very busy, hectic and often chaotic year with a newborn, a very busy toddler, my photography taking off, a very demanding farmlife schedule and life in general.  We have had our arguments, our mexican stand offs at 2am in the morning as to whose turn it was to get up to William and our disagreements - but we always come out of it stronger, happier and more in love than ever.  Life will continue to test us - throwing us curveballs, hurdles and bends in the road - and I am very thankful that I have such a compassionate, strong, stubborn and funny husbo to hold hands with along the way.
So, thanks 2012.

You have treated us well.
You have given us life.
You have given us health.
You have given us love.
You have given us wealth.

And for that, we are grateful.  X

Sunday, December 30, 2012

What Christmas is really about....

As I scroll through the photos of Christmas - I feel grateful, lucky and blessed. 
I see nothing but family who surround us with love, friendship and support. 
I feel every ounce of their love for not only me but for my beautiful little family.
(Collection of images by Paul & I)
It brings me back to Christmas Eve as I sat in Church for the Christmas mass while my babies were safely tucked into bed with Heath.  The priest's sermon struck me as he begged for us to search and find for the real meaning of Christmas and not to be disappointed when the festive season doesn't turn out the way you had planned - when the children dismiss the presents, the sugar highs create tantrums and the hype ends before it even gets the chance to start. 
He begged us to look past the commercialism, the presents, the food and the hype.....and really see what Christmas is all about. 
That is "Just Being". 
Being able to acknowledge the true love, support, friendship and joy that surrounds us. 
Being able to acknowledge the family who love us. 
The friends who enjoy us. 
The work which we are blessed to have,
and, the life which we are privileged to lead.    
It was a long overdue reminder to me after spending Advent with all the hype of Christmas, adding to the mix Bruce the Elf.  It was all about gifts, "special" treats, blah blah blah.....but was I really teaching Macie the true meaning of Christmas?  
Teaching her that even through the jungle of wrapping paper, ribbon and toys - the people in our lives are so much more important?  That a simple hug, kiss and a "I love you" is the biggest gift as opposed to a scooter or a new bag. 
So even though our Christmas was amazingly magical, 2013 will be all about "Just Being". 
As I feel that may be just the most important message that my darling children need.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dont forget the Reindeers....

Another day of hibernation here.  Yes, yes - my children are going bonkers but it's so important to wind down before we hit the Silly Season in full force.  Come tomorrow and it's something to celebrate every day for the next week. 

But today, we got down to business and did the really, really important stuff.
Reindeer Food. 

It's an important ritual really.  We can't let Santa or his crew get hungry.
Reindeer Food consists of the following:

Snow (Coconut)
Candy Canes
and Magic (Sparkles)
Of course we had the little hands in the candy canes....but it is now all packaged up and ready for us to take to Mimi & Poppys to spread on their lawn for Christmas Eve.  I'm sure Poppy can't wait for us to 'fertilise' his lush lawn with only the best.  Right Poppy?
Tomorrow it's Santa Cookies - even though Macie has advised me that Santa needs a beer (because only guys with beards drink beers ya know), a vegemite sandwich and some cheese.  How can I say no to that!!

A bit hard to digest that it's only 6 days until Christmas.....what are you guys up to?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Jingle Bells....

Over the past week, I have had the moral dilemma of wanting to give my children everything for Christmas and being stung with the attitude.  Obviously - when I say children - I mean that Macie gets the attitude and Willsy gets the poops because of the attitude. 

So, as a result of a whopper tantrum down the main street and a few other little incidents - I took a few steps away from doing something ultra special every day.  Instead of doing things "Just Cause" - I started to do things as a reward for Macie being awesome.

Don't get me wrong.  This darling little girl is awesome the majority of the time.  She is funny, cheeky and confident.  Sometimes all these attributes overflow to create a deadly combination - something we need to ensure that is reigned in at all times.  One of the biggest rules in our house is that we all get rewarded for good things.  We don't want our kids to be bratty and spoilted.  We want them to be appreciative and loving.  Such important qualities in life.

With saying that, there has been some serious Christmas Cheer going on in the cottage.  A trip to town to do the Christmas Lights (Willsy was not impressed by this at all), Daycare Santa BBQs and recitals, trip to Toowoomba to visit the fam before Christmas, and obviously - Bruce is still a major part of the family too.
Now I have to be honest.  I had my last photo session last Tuesday for the year of 2012.  I did over 40 sessions for 2012, plus had a baby, played wife to a very busy husbo, blah blah blah.  I am physically and emotionally spent.  Needless to say, once those images were edited and handed out to my clients - I crashed.  One night I was asleep on the couch in no less than 2 minutes after putting the kids to bed.  Another night, it was at least 10 minutes later!  I am soooo exhausted.  So most nights in the last week, Bruce has been quickly placed somewhere in the middle of the night while I drag my sorry-self to bed. 

We have done lots of little activities over the past few days (photos courtesy of my iPhone)....
A little wreath for Moo's door. 
Moo's cheering squad at her little recital for Daycare.  My kids are so damn lucky to have these gorgeous people in their lives. 
Little Canvas' for gifts! 
DIY Decorations.
DIY Gingerbread Trains. 
Cute Christmas Mobiles!
Thank god for the Husbo hiding Elf while I snore and drool on the couch!
Posting Santa Letters
After a busy weekend away and another busy weekend/Christmas ahead of us - I have declared the cottage a hibernation zone.  2012 - as amazing as it has been - has crept up on us and we are exhausted.  We are going to hang at home and recentre. Tomorrow we are going to be singing carols, making rum balls, Santa cookies and special snow globes.  It's time to step back and appreciate my gorgeous little family in all their glory. 
For they will only be little for such a short time. 
Bruce is totally busted like all the rest of us!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

9 months....

This little guy turned 9 months old recently. 

It's all a bit hard to believe.  It only feels like yesterday as I was rocking on the fitball in labour and anticipating his arrival.  He has completed our family 100% and it's so fufilling knowing that we are now a happy and content family.
In all the latest blog posts that I have done, Poor Willsy is asleep.  He doesn't deal with arts & craft too well....always ends up trying to eat the glue or attack Bruce which results in tears from Macie and then it's a domino effect!
- He is cheeky and funny.
- He loves a good game.
- He grunts at Macie when she starts singing like a Rockstar.
- He is a Swiper from way back.  Just the other day he swiped a gecko that Heath was trying to 'relocate' and ended up trying to eat it.
- He will eat almost anything....mud, dirt, geckos and all.
- He is snuggly and most definitely a Mum & Dad boy.  He clings on for all life when someone else tries to take him.
- Any oppurtunity he sees, he can & will pull Macies hair.
- He is rough and tough.  We always thought Macie was a bruiser but Will is taking the definition of that word to new heights.
- He is on the move - usually heading straight for the Christmas Tree!  Four decorations have become casualties as a result of his movements.
- He is a real home body - happy when he is in his safe place with his nearest and dearest.
- He is completely content being on a tractor, bike, quad.
We love you the moon and back - and then back again.  X

On the sixth day of Christmas....

I would love to put a photo of Bruce up.....but I have to be honest.  I fell asleep on the couch and only remembered in the wee hours of the night that we hadn't done anything!!! EEEEEKKKK!  So he was very un-creatively placed on top of the curtain.....not even photo worthy.  I seem to be falling asleep anywhere these days....2012 and all it's craziness is finally starting to catch up on me.

With that being said, we did get creative yesterday though!  After Day 5's situation, Macie wrote a letter to Bruce to apologise.  After seeing her beautiful writing, all my 'screamy-ness' (is that even a word) disappeared.  This kid continues to amaze me each and every day.
iPhone pic
So, thanks to Macie's beautiful Ma who purchased her these amazing books, we got set to do some Christmas Decorations. 
One thing led to another and we ended up making Christmas Cards for all her special people with the decorations....

Plans for today are PJ day due to a little cough from a little girl...and a fourth tooth for a little boy....and maybe because my body is screaming at me to STOP before another crazy weekend of photo sessions!  Four more sessions to go for god - where has the year gone? 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

On the fifth day of Christmas....

I have it.

I have PROOF that not every day is rosey at the Cottage.  In fact - it's been a bit 'screamy' here today. 

We woke up this morning to find that Bruce had been tampered with in the wee hours of the a certain little girl below that I won't name *ahem* Macie *ahem*. 

Butter wouldn't melt, right? 

We asked if she touched him and she replied with a "I didn't do it, Harry did it."  Just for the record, her imaginary friend Harry gets all the blame.  Poor Harry.

This resulted into a long, serious spiel about lying....and maybe a phonecall from Santa.

I'm happy to report that Bruce is now safely up high in the Christmas tree to witness the happenings of the cottage - screaming and all. 

And as a result of lying, (which has a ZERO tolerance policy in the Cottage) the Advent Box has gone into hiding until tomorrow.

Is it bedtime yet?

Please tell me that this doesn't only happen in my house!

Monday, December 3, 2012

On the fourth day of Christmas...

Bruce had a big date with Snow last night.....
I made the fatal mistake of leaving Husbo in charge of setting them up.  Thankfully I could hear nothing but cheeky giggles and must admit I nearly died of laughter too.....but Snow was repositioned to a more G-Rated suitable posie and Macie was amazed again this morning. 

Admittedly, Macie wasn't too impressed with Snow ditching her for Bruce....but when asked by Leanne from the Post Office on our trip to town she proudly pronounced that "Bruce is with MY Barbie". 

I am a little blown away by just how popular Bruce is!  So many people stopped us today in town today to ask what Bruce was up to!  It just goes to show how many people follow this blog....and I still can't get my head around it.  Thank you to everyone for your support...and your interest in our very small life at the Cottage.

Today, it was bribery & corruption for a special activity only once a certain little girl had a nap. 

I'm pretty sure that Bruce delivered the goods....
And now the er *ahem* beautiful Christmas tree is now hanging proudly from our Tree.

Until Tomorrow.....

On the third day of Christmas....

As I write this, I am listening to Silent Night by Rachel Leahcar.  I'm addicted to it.  It sounds like the angels are singing to me.  I get all choked up and remember the long summer afternoons that I spent when I was a child singing to Christmas Carols with my sister.  We used to pump up the good ol CD player and sing our hearts out.  Why?  Because we could.  Christmas is such a magical time of the year....

Things have been pretty magical here at the Cottage too.  If we cancel out the ridiculously 40+ heat we endured over the weekend with our air conditioners decided to call it has been really magical!

Bruce has been a tad cheeky.....
Calling Barbie for his big date
Yesterday, we received a beautiful parcel in the mail from my parents, Mimi & Poppy.  This was the kids surprise for the day....
Christmas Bears for the kids to snuggle during the month of Christmas!  They absolutely loved it!
And I love them....

Saturday, December 1, 2012

On the second day of Christmas...

On the second day of Christmas, Bruce the Elf was found getting into the Country Spirit and bucking on Daddy's replica horses! 

And for the Second Day of Advent.....Bruce the Elf left a fun activity (which is so damn easy to do!)....

All you need is:
1.  1 length of paper that fits around your childs head (like a headband)
2.  1 piece of brown paper to trace your childs hands - as this makes the antlers of the reindeer.
3.  2 round black dots (I just cut these from black paper)
4.  2 small white dots
5.  1 big red dot
6.  A stapler
7.  Scissors
8.  Glue

Firstly, measure the long length of paper to fit your childs head and staple together.  Trace your childs hands and then cut them out.  Staple the antlers onto the headband and then add the eyes and nose to make your RUDOLPH!  So so easy and so so much fun!

The talk around the cottage is that Bruce the Elf has the hots for that case, I better go and make sure she is all dressed pretty for her hot date tonight!

Friday, November 30, 2012

On the first day of Christmas....

Santa's visit and the arrival of Elf was a huge hit.  As the kids law goes - Macie fell asleep in the car on the way home but was quickly awake and excited as soon as she got word that Santa had visited the cottage while she was gone.  Willsy was very excited too....;)

Then she realised that Santa left a present under the tree.....a book all about his special "Someone" that he left for the month of Christmas....
To be honest, I didn't know how Elf would go down....but she declared that she loves him.  And then lovingly named him "Bruce" (you have to name your Elf).
And then she realised that Santa's snow footprints actually taste like icing that really was the icing on the cake!! (Pardon the pun!)
It was hilarious as when Willsy decided to blow bubbles with his dinner last night, Macie very seriously said to him "Mate, watch out - Bruce is watching and he will tell Santa.  Be good Willsy".  Heath & I couldn't hold our laughter with that one! 
So this morning, we were awoken by "DADDDY - BRUUUCE IS HIDING!!!!".  She then proceeded to run to our room, grab Heath out of bed and just had to show him. 
And Bruce the Elf bought back something very special - because if you are a good kids then you get special things. 
God I love Christmas...I wonder what Bruce the Elf will have up his sleeve for tomorrow?

As for today - we are off to endure the heat wave that has hit the cottage.  Maybe I should have a quiet word with Bruce the Elf and ask for a Winter Wonderland....