Friday, March 30, 2012

The week of Learning...

I have learnt so many things this week.....

:  Macie is a seriously determined little girl who can declare an almighty Mexican Stand-Off - but she is also funny, loving and caring.  Ever since the "Dummy Episode" she has been a delight....with a few 'off' moments like yesterday but today is a new day. 

:  Sleep deprivation makes time fly at the speed of sound.  Surely five weeks haven't passed since Will came into our lives? 

:  As long as we have nappies - I don't care if we are running low on bread, milk and butter!  Oh the priorities!!

:  Things that work with the first child won't work with the second.  Self-Settling and Tizzy Hall will be the death of me.

:   Heath still loves me even after I throw my acid tongue at him at 2am in the morning.  He is a serious keeper.

:  I find colouring-in with Macie like therapy.  She usually throws the pens in and goes to play with something else and I will find myself still sitting there 20 minutes later still colouring in. 

:  My love for town is wearing thin....but then we go to the Park with our friends and I feel like I am rejuvenated with enough friendship and support to last another week. 

:  I am excited to be taking bookings for my seriously excited.  Newborns, Brothers, BEAUTY!

:  I love surprise visits....especially when they are from my Mum who doesn't care if my laundry basket is overflowing and the floor needs to be vacuumed. 

and most importantly,

:  that I am a Mum and it's ok to play the bad cop - because at the end of the day, when I tuck Macie into bed she cuddles me, kisses me and tells me how much she loves me. 

I have survived another week.  I am feeling stronger.  I am Woman.  Hear me ROAR!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Brand New Day

As predicted, today has been a brand new day.  Today has been rosey with a happy girl and a happy boy....and a husbo that came home for lunch.  My kinda day. 

I took the advice from all the beautiful, wise and experienced Mamas on my facebook page and declared this morning our special morning while Will slept.  We made Bunny Ears, we read books in bed, we cuddled, we sang and we spent some time in the garden (that is dying from my lack of attention on the greenies and more attention on our new little family!).

Results?  Fricken amazing.  The "D" word hasn't even been mentioned.  No attempt has been made to kidnap Will's dummy and hold it ransom and she even went down for a daysleep without screaming for it (as was the case last night).  I only have to count to TWO before she does what I ask and most importantly, she still loves me.

Being a Mum is a constant mind game as you question if you are doing the right thing, parenting correctly and leading your children on the right path for a happy and successful future.  It can be something as simple as whether or not to make a doctors appointment about a runny nose or cutting off the a lifeline such as a dummy.  It can make you cry to hear your children's misery, and can make you high-5 the air when you have a win and that gut instinct paid off. 

And as for this little guy.....he made my day by starting to give us little smiles....and something so small was so huge on a day like yesterday. 

Good Cop VS Bad Cop

This morning Heath called me to check on how my day was going with the two kids.  He was spraying at one of the paddocks up the road and wasn't going to be home for lunch or to be able to pop in.  I laughed that he called to 'checkup' on me....but maybe he had a premonition on how shit of a day it was really going to be.  Maybe he was secretly trying to warn and prepare me.....

It was bound to happen but the 'honeymoon period' with Big Sis is wearing off fast.  Boundaries are being pushed, tantrums are at an all-time high and tuning out to her Mummy's requests constantly is the new black.  I have spent the week at home to try and get her to adjust to our new life with William....and maybe today was the "Peaking Day" that they talk about and tomorrow will be rosey....

Today was the very first day that I actually followed through on a threat.  After 2 hours of fighting her daytime sleep (something that Macie needs and usually sleeps for upto 3 hours a day), she decided to throw her dummy at the wall.  I grabbed it and in the heat of the moment asked her "Do you want me to chop it off"....and my stubborn and spirited girl replied defiantly "YES".  So, I did. 

Worst Mum of the Day award?  You betcha.  To say that Macie was devastated is an understatement but after the tears were dried, she understood that she lost it because she was naughty.  Well she understood until it was bedtime and she just expected me to give her a new one. I can report that I stuck to my guns.  She just never expected me to actually do it.  I am the best at threatening to do things but never following through. 

But sometimes, I have to be the bad cop to be the good cop.  I am doing her no favours by teaching her that she can get away with having tantrums and being rude.  She will get nowhere with that attitude and she needs to learn that she is an Indian - and all adults in her life are the Chiefs - no matter who they are....but especially her parents. 

My mum always says to me "She is only a baby Han"....and yes, she is - but she is a spirited, strong-willed, determined and intelligent little girl that needs to be lovingly directed on the right path. 
Yes - the mummy guilt is seeping through my veins and making my heart heavy as I listen to her crying out for her dummy.  Yes - I am questioning every decision I made today.  Yes - I am considering just grabbing a goddamn dummy to make her happy again.  I hate my happy girl being sad.

But sometimes you have just gotta be the bad be the good cop in the end. 
And like I always say.....tomorrow is a BRAND NEW DAY! 

Anyone else been in this boat and want to give some advice from one mama to another?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

{Photoshoot} Gorgeous Gorgeous Girls

Before Christmas, I had the pleasure of capturing the beauty of these gorgeous girls.  I have had to keep them under lock & key until canvas' were printed and given as gifts so I am so happy that I am able to share these gorgeous girls with you. 

There is nothing more rewarding to visit these gorgeous girls and see my photography on a big canvas on their wall!! 


I am itching to get back behind the camera and slowly going to be taking bookings over the next few months as William settles into life at the cottage.  To make a booking for a photo shoot - please don't hestiate to contact me via e-mail at  X 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Cuddles and Kisses

I have declared that I need a few days at home with nowhere to go and nowhere to be (obviously Anna Bligh & Campbell Newman have other ideas) so that is what I am doing.  Getting out of the house for a morning in town is a challenge at the moment so I am raising the white flag for a few days and spending some much-needed time at home. 

It was inevitable after three weeks of getting away with anything, our Big Girl has decided to stomp all over the boundaries.  90% of the time she is beautiful, funny and cheeky - but the other 10% are needless to say, very interesting!  Now that life is settling down a fraction, it's time to search for her manners with some healthy boundaries and lots of special cuddles and kisses. 

Heath and I have been trying to make a conscience effort to spend lots of one-on-one time with our Big Girl.  Lots of playdough, colouring in, cooking, and obviously the usual adventures out on the farm with her Daddy.  Usually if she gets some intensive time with either of us during the day, then she is an angel....if not, watch out!

She still makes me laugh though....especially when she comes out looking like this when I ask her to grab a shirt for out Fashion Week!

thanks iPhone for capturing not only Macie - but my messy house too!
As for the Little Man, he seems to be settling into life at the Cottage with his crazy sister family and adjusting to the endless kisses and cuddles from us all, especially Macie.  It's quiet amusing that he cracks it when Macie goes to kiss him...such a boy thing to do!! 

He hates being swaddled, loves being bathed, is a gutso with the bottle (no wonder my supply couldn't keep up to him!) and I can't believe that a month will have passed on Sunday since he arrived. It doesn't matter that Heath & I pass out on the couch at 8pm each night from exhaustion - because it's all worth it....especially when they go and do this!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Welcome to William

I have to thank each and every one of you who contacted me about my decision regarding breastfeeding Will.  I was completely blown away by the number of e-mails I received from beautiful women who felt that they could 'confide' in me as they feared what the public would say if they said how hard breastfeeding was.  It made me happy that I had created a 'safe place' for women to write and talk about their journey but then again, I felt sad that society has put so much pressure on these beautiful women to comply even though it may send them over the edge with depression, pain and loneliness.  Motherhood is the best job in the world - but it is also challenging and isolating.  So next time you decide to judge, think twice - because supporting other mums can go such a long way in their journey in motherhood and make them feel loved and heard. 


Last weekend we packed up the kids in the car and headed away for the weekend to visit my family and introduce our darling baby Will to everyone.  It had been nearly 8 weeks since I had been home to see everyone and to say my feet were itching was an understatement.

To set the scene, my mum is a child of five - in an Irish family - and all the family of over 30 (except 4 of us) lives in town and meets regularly every week.  I have always described my family as a "Wanna-Be Greek Family" and when we had Macie in the private hospital in Toowoomba, it was nothing to have over 10 visitors in our room each visiting period!  The nurses thought we were nuts!! 

As usual, they all totally blew us away over the weekend. They were all dying to meet Will and a simple "Morning Tea" to welcome him to the family turned into a rather large affair with friends and family cuddling him and loving Macie like they saw us all the time. Family are amazing like matter the distance or the time between visits - they love you unconditionally.

One of the most beautiful moments over the weekend was introducing Will to my beautiful Grandma "GG".  Will is Grandma's ninth great-grandchild and in my books, that is truly amazing.  Even more amazing was that my unsettled and unhappy boy just slept so contently in her arms - like every little grandchild has done.  They must know that cuddles with Grandma are so very special.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Life is amazing...

Life as a family of four is busy, rewarding, challenging and tiring.  I know I should be saying that I am organised and have everything totally under control....but you know me - I like to keep things real and wear my heart on my sleeve. 

Life is crazy - yet amazing here at the Cottage at the moment.....and nine times out of ten I have my beautiful Macie to thank for reminding me of this. 

Some days I feel like I am totally acing the whole "Mum of Two" bizzo....and then to mix it up, I have a shocker of a day and I find myself hugging Macie and silently shedding a few tears of exhaustion into the crease of her neck while she pats my back and tells me "It's OK Mummy".  She then grabs my hand and leads me to the couch for "Cuddles" and BAM....Life is back to amazing. 

The other day Macie came up to me and asked "Are you alright Mummy?  Your eyes are wet" and I sat on the floor and told her I was fine.  She pointed to my stomach and asked "Sore Belly Mummy?" and I said "No darling".  She then pointed to my boobs and said "Sore Boobies Mummy?" and I laughed and said "No darling - I just get sad when Willy is sad."  She then smiled at me and said "It's alright Mummy, Willy is happy now - he will be alright".....and she was right.  Everything will be OK and alright....and with the insight from my beautiful two year was back to amazing again. 

Will is now three weeks old and we are starting to see the light at the end of the "unsettled and unhappy" phase.  Wind has been haunting his tiny little belly the past few weeks and we seem to be finally getting on top of that.  He loves to scream without warning and I find myself chanting "Please don't be reflux, Please don't be reflux" over and over in my mind until he falls asleep peacefully and sleeps for hours on end and my fears settle.  I find myself asking Macie "Were you like this?"....and she looks at me with a blank expression and says "Yep Mummy".  Then I laugh and life is back to amazing again. 

I have accepted the fact that no matter what I do, I am not made to breastfeed my children.  Macie was a bottle baby from 5 days and all during my pregnancy with Will, it was the only thing I wanted to do....but after three weeks of the constant worry about supply, medication, expressing, lots of tears and an unsettled baby - I decided stop.  Don't shoot me because I know all too well the benefits of breastfeeding and have beat myself up about it over the past few weeks.  I am just so lucky to have a very supportive husband and family to understand how hard it was to make my decision and then support me...because they know as well as I do that "Life IS all OK"

....and Life IS amazing.

Monday, March 12, 2012

I Hear You...

Flicking through the channels on Sunday, I came across the movie "Mr Holland's Opus" which is an oldie, a goodie and a movie that always left an impact on my heart.  It was a movie that provoked emotions with me all those years ago when I watched how a parent reacted to the diagnosis of his son being hearing impaired.  A reaction that resulted into distancing himself from his son and not even learning to sign or communicate with him properly until much later on in his life. 

It sparked emotions for me again on Sunday while watching it. 

I remember vividly the day Macie received her "Referred" status on her hearing test.  She was only 2 days old and I sat there crying and blaming myself while Heath reassured me that it was just a part of her and definitely not a disability.  I knew this....but it felt so good to be reminded.  It was the end of my tears for my girl.  Instead it spurred me on to be the ultimate role model for her and to provide her with an environment where she could feel comfortable, loved and never held back by her hearing loss.   That was the environment my parents created for me....and in turn Heath and I will create for her. 
Macie & I at one of the many many tests!
Perhaps this movie sparked emotions because Will received his "PASS" on his hearing test on Saturday.  It was such a weird moment for Heath and I.  Obviously, like any parent, we were happy for Will - but as we said - "It would never have been an issue for us or him" - just like it will never be for Macie.

Growing up, I always had my sister to share the journey with.  The frustrations, the narrow-minded people, the boys with acid tongues and the employers/customers who were rude.  I had a sister and a friend who I could confide with and know that she knew what I was feeling.  We never made it an issue, instead always venting and then storing it away.  We never played on our hearing loss.  We were never given that opportunity as children to play on it which I am forever grateful to our parents for. 

A small part of me was sad that Macie wouldn't have this to share with Will.  Then I realised that she would have something even more special....she would have ME to share her journey with.  A mother who had dealt with all the ups and downs.  A mother to relate with, to confide in and to take inspiration from. 

I can't wait to teach her to never ever use her hearing loss as an excuse.  To never ever play on it to gain sympathy.  To never ever let it hold her back.  To never ever let it stand in her way.  To never ever see it as a disability.

I was taught that it was an opportunity.  An opportunity to stand tall, be proud and prove to others that Life is what we make of it. 

I see such a bright future over a majestic horizon for my darling girl and I can't wait to share the magical journey with her, hand in hand - forever. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Newborn Shots of William

Just a little snippet of my favourite shots of our darling little William James.  He was named after my Grandfather and Heath's Great-Grandfather - and his Uncle Jamie.  Such special people who we wish he could have met but we know would be watching over him and Macie.  X

Friday, March 9, 2012


There are some things in life that I can't live without....

: my morning coffee
: watching my babies sleep
: my gel breast pads (too much information?!)
: the list just keeps on going, etc, etc, etc....

but more importantly, my mum.

My darling mum came to visit for a couple of nights and I sadly waved her goodbye this morning.  It's times like these when I am holding a newborn and have a two year old clinging to my leg that I really love spending time with MY mum. 

I love being ordered to go for a sleep while meanwhile she is acting like a little housekeeping fairy.  Or when I wake up to find her snuggling on the couch with Macie watching Peppa Pig (what else?) and giggling away.  Or when she can soothe my baby boy like they have known each other for years.  Or when both babies are sleeping, we drink coffee and laugh about how HER baby is having babies and wonder where the years have gone?  We talk and talk and talk....about nothing much but always something important.

PJ cuddles with my babies....she has no idea I took this photo. 
Mums are special and I only hope that I have the same relationship with my babies.  The kind of relationship that is so meticulously measured with respect, friendship and love.  The kind where distance is no barrier and laughter is mandatory. 

She is my Bestest.Friend.Ever.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Little Things...

I am finding myself enjoying the little things at the moment.

Big Sis cuddles while Lil Bro is completely content in her arms.  Be still my beating heart!
It's easy to focus on the lack of sleep, or the ability to snap your husbands head off at 4am or even the possibility that your two children have joined forces at such an early age!   But it is so simple to enjoy and focus on the small and beautiful things too....

 It's pretty easy to enjoy the small things when I watch my babies and the reality of our simple yet beautiful life smacks me in the face on more than one occasion every day.....and I find my eyes welling up with tears and then I smother them in kisses. Watching Macie as a Big Sis totally blows me away. Even when she successfully asks me 43 times for a cuddle while feeding or when she loves her little Bro so much that she feels the need to tickle his feet constantly! That combined with William's relentless tolerance for his Big Sis and my heart just wants to explode.  Dont get me wrong....Big Sis has been up to some serious shenanigans in the past few days - but it's moments like these that make forget...and focus.

So, today of all days on International Women's Day - try to stop and appreciate the beauty of being a woman, a mother, a sister, a daughter and a friend.  It's the small and simple things in life that are so beautiful....and that can make us so blissfully content and happy. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

5 reminders....

5 reminders you know you have a NEWBORN!

1.  You don't realise that your boobs are still hanging out until you realise a cool draft in a spot where there shouldn't be.

2.  You get excited about small when your sister-in-law gives you a Swivel Sweeper and you have to fight with your two year old to use it!  She does make a much prettier housewife than me though!

3.  You realise that the privilege of having a shower without a 30 second curfew is totally under-rated!

4.  Just when you thought your heart couldn't love your babies then see this....

5.  Your big girl turns into a Silent Assassin.....who jumps out of her bed in the early hours of the morning, grabs a block of chocolate from the pantry and quietly goes back to her bed to have a little snack.  When finished she decides to wake up her parents covered head to toe in chocolate....however her parents think it's POO!!  Oh the relief once we realised....we should have got mad....but we laughed! 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Plus One Equals Four

The sunset on Sunday morning was filled with new life, hope and beautiful memories. It was the day that we were going to meet our beautiful baby boy as he has decided that it was the perfect time. I woke up to pains at 5am and excitedly shook Heath to wake him up and declare "IT'S ON BABY!". We were both so excited and scared.....the perfect mixture of both.

My dream was to labour at home in my safe place with my family surrounding me. I wanted to have control of the labour - I wanted to embrace it and I didn't want a million blood pressure checks and false hopes from nurses. Macie was induced and the whole experience of her birth was so medicated....and I wanted the complete opposite from that.  For months I had studied Hypnobirthing and in the last few weeks I spent hours a day on my fitball, listening to music, practicing my breathing and also accupunture. 

I spent the morning rocking on the fitball with Macie on my back. It was like she knew something was going on. She would stroke my head and rub my belly throughout a contraction. I thought I would find it distracting...but I found it soothing and beautiful to be able to share this with my beautiful little girl.   In between contractions I played with Macie, laughed with Heath and pottered around the house.  Heath was asking me every hour - "Do you think we should head to the hospital Babe?"....and I would answer "They will just send us home or tell me that I am only 4cm dilated after all this time....let's wait another hour." We spoke to our midwife via text and each text from her would say "Come in when you are ready...." Eventually the contractions got stronger, longer and closer together so I sang and rocked Macie to sleep, Heath rang his Mum to look after her and we decided to set off to the hospital.

We live 32km from the hospital on a bumpy highway.....I will never ever forget this trip. It was the longest trip of my life. I couldn't get on all fours as my belly was too big, so I just hung on for dear life and tried to breathe my way through the contractions to town. We found time to laugh at the fact that we just had to be stuck behind 3 trucks!!  We always said that we would head to town when my contractions were 5 minutes apart and 1 minute long - that would mean that I would only have to breathe through maximum 5 contraction on the way. That plan went out the window when we stopped counting on the 12th contraction....

Upon arrival at the hospital, I was told that I was infact 9cm dilated and this baby was going to be born within the hour....and he was.  At 4.50pm, William James was born weighing 7lb 14oz! He was born in the shower as I declared that I could not (and WOULD not!) move. Never in my life would I have imagined having a natural drug-free birth, but I did and now I can appreciate the beauty and magic of a human body so much more. Don't get me was like I was hallucinating the word EPIDURAL....but it was too late for anything!

So a few hours after arriving to the hospital, we were walking out of the labour ward and to our room.  It felt surreal - amazing, scary and surreal.  We were so lucky to have the most amazing midwives who spent my whole pregnancy understanding what I wanted and were so supportive.  They just 'knew' when I needed them, what I wanted and how to explain to Heath that it was too late for an epidural and he was begging for them to give it to me!! They are more than just midwives - they are friends that shared such an amazing experience with us.

Quite possibly the best moment out of the last five days has been when Macie first walked in to meet her little brother.  Her face lit up, and she just said "Baby" over and over.  It was love at first sight.  Ever since, she has been the ever-so-helpful Big Sis - with a tiny bit of attitude but nothing that wasn't expected.  She loves to cuddle him and kiss him - and William actually loves it too.  He settles so beautifully when she is holding him or when they are lying on their little couch together.  It makes my heart (and uterus with afterpains) go absolutely bonkers watching them both.

As for Heath - he has been the most beautiful, supportive, caring and loving husband and Daddy that I could have wished for.  While Sorghum Harvest was in full swing and I could see him itching at the bit to get out there and help - he stayed home and supported me in our first five days as a family of four.  I am so thankful that his parents and our neighbours have been so great in making sure Harvest went off without a hitch without Heath and I am a bit sad to think that he is going to be back on the job next week.  I have loved having him home and watching him with William in one arm and Macie in the other....and then seeing that little twinkle in his eye....that twinkle that screams "I'M A PROUD DADDY!".
Everyone bathed and in PJS by 5pm.  Sleep deprieved much?
So life is busy yet beautiful with our family of four.  I am tired and sore yet deliriously happy. 

William has made our family complete. 

More newborn photos to come!!

**A big thankyou to Pa McNulty for the photos! **