Tag Archives: Family


18 months!
You’ve come a long way baby!

Don’t mind me… I’m only a day late for the 18 month milestone post…!

Niamh. My ‘Neeva’ – or ‘Diva’ if she’s being one – or, most frequently, ‘Viva’, which I think I latched onto because of her amazing joie de vivre. She has enough of that for all of us, I think! Finn has of recent times dubbed her ‘Miss Snuv’. Not sure why, and despite stumbling across a ‘snuv’ or two in a Dr Seuss book, Finn tells me he made it up himself. Sort of cute, though probably not something she’ll want to be sticking around in a couple of decades.

She is pure energy, this one. Slightly scary, yet inspirational, in her absolute fearlessness. She was climbing before she was walking, and she has never stopped, forever pushing the limits of what I’ll allow her to scale before I intervene. She’s incredibly sociable – kids seem to flock to her in the playground, and she frequently seeks out some other mother’s lap to occupy during library storytime. Raising such an extrovert is a completely new and fascinating experience for me. She’s incredibly headstrong, as well, and already, I foresee a somewhat, uh, challenging couple of years ahead. That’s not all. I start to feel rather faint whenever someone mentions teenagerhood.

Niamh doesn’t talk a lot. At 18 months she has only a few clearly recognizable words, and a smattering of other funny little half-words – ‘du’ for duck, ‘mi’ for milk, ‘be’ for bed, ‘mir’ for mirror, ‘muh’ for more, and so on. Oh, and she has a respectable collection of animal noises too! None of the ‘No, she’s not talking yet’ conversations are worrying me at this point. Here, at least, she is practically identical in development to Finn. At 18 months, we feared he would never talk. Six months later, we feared he would never shut up (we were right!) Because we anticipated this with Niamh, I started doing a little sign language with her at about 9 months. We borrowed the ‘Tiny Talk’ book and DVD from a neighbour. Tiny Talk is partly based on Auslan (Australian Sign Language), and partly based on signs babies naturally make. (Both my kids practically came out of the womb making the sign for ‘eat’, for example).

‘Milk’ and ‘eat’ were the first signs Niamh and I used together (oh, and ‘done’, which was just a sign Niamh came up with naturally), and really I didn’t do much more until some time after she turned one. At some point she picked up on the ‘more’ I had been signing to her a bit, and signed it back. That’s when I realised what excellent potential there was for communicating. Niamh now recognizes (and uses most of) about 20 different signs. Most helpful are ‘milk’ (which she also tends to use for generic ‘drink’ now that she’s no longer breastfeeding), ‘eat’, ‘done’, ‘more’, ‘help’, ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘please/thankyou’ (the same sign, though she only consistently signs for please), and ‘down’. ‘Ball’ and ‘duck’ (accompanied by a very commendable quacking noise) are two of her other favourites. The other day she was scribbling on a bit of paper, when she turned to me and informed me that her drawing was a ‘ball’. It was an excellent moment. Signs give her ‘words’ for telling us things. Even though Finn understood everything we said to him at the same age, and could demonstrate a lot of his knowledge, he didn’t actually have ‘words’ to just tell us stuff – communication with him was a lot about reading body language, and often guesswork on our part.

Mini Charlie impersonator
This impromptu impersonation of Charlie had us all in fits. This was pizza night about six weeks ago, and we had been playing with sequins earlier in the week, sticking them on our noses and whatnot. Niamh plonked this piece of olive under her nose and (obviously) though it incredibly hilarious. Her sense of humour is wicked.

My beautiful girl. You are a wonder and a delight to know. Happy One-And-A-Half!

Makin’ Stuff II

Until a few days ago, we had in our house this scary looking thing:
(I refer to the one on the right, not either of the others, though the one in the middle scares me a little too!)

That weird koala-headed thing is a doll stroller from years back – best guess is it belonged to my sister. The frame is still in good shape, however the cover has never fitted well, and, though I don’t think you can make it out clearly here, has been held together with string, rubber-bands, a nappy-pin and a big wad of blutac. When Finn started trundling his teddies around in it a couple of years back, I promised I would try and make a new cover. So… now you see how bad my procrastination can really be! 😥

When Niamh started getting interested in Baby Jack (Scary Doll), I idly thought of buying a new stroller. A quick trip through Toy Kingdom assured me that I could have a new dolly pusher, as long as I wanted it in, lets see… pink, pink, or, oh yes… PINK! Anyway, I bit the bullet and decided it couldn’t possibly be that difficult to sew a new cover, after all. Oh yes, and some bright spark decided it might be fun to have a reversible cover, what’s more. (That would be me. D’oh.)

Some time and many curse words later, after staying up until midnight on Monday finishing the thing… and then finishing it some more on Tuesday while Niamh was napping… aaaand then finally finishing it some more after picking Finn up from pre-school, we have one super-dooper swanky new cover (and one cute boy who isn’t too cool to be photographed with his teddybear):


(yes, I know. It’s pink. Oh well.)

But wait, that’s not all:


Ta da! It’s also green and blue. Hooray! (See – I’m not really anti-pink, I’m just pro-choice 😉 )

I tried to convince Niamh to take it for a test drive, but she decided to go with a mechanical inspection instead. That’s my girl!



Yes, it’s true. I’m another year older and another year wider wiser. Happy Birthday to me 😆

For my inner-hippie, Dermot and the kids gave me a permaculture book. For my inner-geek, a GPS navigator (also from Mum and Stepdad). Actually, perhaps that’s for my inner-hippie as well. To, you know… “find myself”!

Anyone who knows me knows I have the World’s Worst sense of direction. Absolutely shocking. Thankfully I married an excellent navigator, but now, when he’s not available, a lovely man named Tim is going to tell me exactly where to go :giggle: Hooray for birthdays. Now, can someone tell me exactly when I am going to feel like a grown-up?

Bounce Bounce, Zzzzzz

I’m an Auntie! Well, a step-Auntie if you want to be a pedant, but I don’t. My sister Imogen had her first baby in the wee hours of this morning. A beautiful baby girl, Lilly Jessica :love: Niamh and I made the four-hour round trip to see her this afternoon. Mog looked thoroughly exhausted (bub was born by c-section after a long and arduous labour), but I’m sure she’ll be fine, and Lilly was just lovely. Niamh was well behaved and even let me have a few baby snuggles.

I spent last night making a few more bibs – three for Lilly (cute gender neutral ones, since I still didn’t know which variety of baby she would be at that point), and another for Niamh. (Marita and Karen, I will definitely try and get you an action shot, soon. Niamh was being a most uncooperative model the other day, and courtesy of all the dribble, all the bibs are currently in the washing pile!)

And now… I’m exhausted myself. I’m off in search of a better night’s sleep than last night, then tomorrow I’m off to Tannia’s to chill out for a little while.

Stuff 1 & Stuff 2

(Aka a-very-boring-blog-post)

Stuff 1
My order arrived a few days back, and the bits I couldn’t remember were a couple of Elizabeth’s Designs charts: Red Door and Nature’s Alphabet. Nice! I saw Junette’s finished Nature’s Alphabet ages ago, and liked it then, but when I saw Carol’s finished fobs (here, here, here… and more…), I was completely sold. So pretty!

Stuff 2
It appears Niamh suddenly prefers bottle to boob at bedtime. I am simultaneously saddened yet relieved it wasn’t difficult. Only snuggly-in-bed-morning-feeds left now, and who knows how few of those to go 🙁

Not Quite, but Almost…



I seem to have been AWOL again. Oh well. You know. Same old stuff. Actually, these past couple of weeks, I’ve been pretty busy. And somewhat social. How unusual! It must be the Springing of the weather, I think. I love the changes as Winter gives way to Spring. Each year, I get all aquiver at the first sight of a blooming Magnolia! The warmer weather over the last couple of weeks has seen us out in the garden – tidying up a little, making plans, moving fruit trees to make room for a new shed… even a little harvesting – check out our first (ever) broccoli:

We are so proud!

Someone else has been discovering a love for the great outdoors:


The littlest one quite likes going adventuring (seen here amongst our lovely broad beans). She frequently starts the day off by requesting ‘shoes-on-and-off-we-go’ (okay, not in words, exactly, but you get the idea). I’m not a terribly good morning person, so our walks usually have to wait until a bit later, but we’ve been having a good time exploring the world, and she does like to ‘help’ in the garden. By help, I mean ‘eat worms’. (So far not successfully, but not for want of trying!)

We did another bit of adventuring, too, and discovered a wonderful playground a few suburbs over, where I spent some time trying to take photographs of kids who refused to look at me:


Or sit still for more than two seconds:

(That’s my lovely sister-in-law and her little boy in the midground there.)

What else? Well, Marita came to visit us last week, and we spent a lovely hour or so playing show-and-tell over coffee. That brings the total number of online stitchy friends I have met to four, and so far not an axe-wielding maniac among them! Actually, bizarrely enough, Marita and I had already met, briefly. We’re both part of the Melbourne Freecycle group, and a month or two back, she came over to pick up some miscellaneous needlework magazines I was getting rid of. It was funny to realise the prior connection, and it’s nice to know someone local, not halfway across the universe like those other Melbourne stitchers I know!

Speaking of stitching, I have been doing verrrry little. I started ‘A Simple Life’, by Elizabeth’s Designs. I also signed up for another exchange. I know, I know, I promised myself I wasn’t going to. But somehow it ‘just happened’! I’m going to be making some kind of ‘small’ for somebody, as part of an exchange on the Rotation Stitchers’ BB. Not sure what yet, but ideas are forming. Must get a move on that.

Also, I’ve discovered that knitting is not as completely beyond me as I always thought it was. I have been doing a little bit of here-and-there practice and learning, and I think I’m kind of getting there. Enough to be ready to start my first bona-fide non-scarf garment, anyway. I’ll let you know how it goes… say in about a year or two!

Moody Blues

My Blogger’s block has morphed into Stitcher’s block. Dammit.

I’ve been trying to frame a post for ages now… months. A post to try and explain how I’ve been feeling this past year.

I haven’t felt fully ‘engaged’ with my life, for some time. That sounds odd, I think. But I’m not sure how else to put it. Looking back, I think things fell of the rails somewhere back before last October. About the time I realised Niamh wasn’t going to just start sleeping anytime soon. Suddenly, all the things I had to do/wanted to do were mounting up, and just the feeling of having a never-ending ‘to-do’ list was having a ‘don’t do’ effect on me – I began to feel paralysed with anxiety. By the feeling of not having enough time. As a result, I began to achieve very little at all. The lead up to Christmas was the worst, I remember feeling as if I would never make it – in hindsight, I did a bunch of Christmassy/crafty stuff with Finn, and maybe the problem was feeling like I had to do more, instead of actually just sitting still to enjoy what we did have time for.

I did wonder for a while whether I had very mild postnatal depression. Possibly I did(/do). I don’t think I’m particularly alarmed by this, or consider that intervention was(/is) necessary, rather it just feels like a downturn in life’s rollercoaster. A fairly long, drawn out downturn, I grant you.

Some weeks this year have been better than others. Niamh has been sleeping much, much better now since March/April. But still, many weeks, I look back over and can’t recall doing much other than clothing, feeding and entertaining two hard-to-please kids. My enthusiasm for stitching/sewing/gardening/blogging waxes and wanes with the good and bad weeks. (This week is not a great week for another reason – I started it out with Strep throat, and the antibiotics I’m on are treating me to some less-than-pleasant side-effects :yuk: )

So, uh… that’s my cards on the table, as it were. This is not something I would ordinarily throw out to the whole www-iverse. It has just reached the point where I was either going to say something or pull the plug on the blog, and I decided I didn’t want to lose the blog. Not just yet. Also, I apologize to my friends on whose blogs I have been seen less and less lately. I have been reading, not always with my full attention, and I don’t always manage to come over and comment. Sorry ’bout that. I’m still around, I still love you 🙂

PS. The pic above? That’s something I did achieve this week – my first attempt at the no-knead bread recipe that swept blogland earlier in the year. Not bad looking, huh? The inside was not as perfect as the out, but still, it disappeared in a day.

Later That Month…

The Blogger’s block continues. But I have been stitching. A few secret things – more on those later. And, surprise, surprise, I dragged something out from beneath the mountain of unfinished-finished-things:

I stitched this Teresa Wentzler freebie bookmark back in 2004. Finally, I actually made it into a bookmark! And used it, what’s more:

I used this stuff to fuse the fabric together:

I don’t know how kosher that is with regards to longevity of the stitching, but watch me not care. Also not caring about the lumpy seam up the back of the bookmark. The front looks good, and it does what it should, and that’s all that matters 🙂

Also in the interim since my last post, I spent a lovely afternoon meeting some fellow Melburnian stitchers – Junette, Anne and I descended on Tannia’s house where she plied us with food and wine, and we whiled a few hours away chatting and getting in some quality kitty time. Niamh came along, and made short work of befriending all and sundry, except perhaps Banjo, who remained unconvinced. It was lovely, and I hope we do it again sooner rather than later.

Then, we spent this weekend just past away for a couple of days with Dermot’s (large) family. Annually, on the weekend following Queen’s Birthday, we hire a school-camp facility (dorm rooms, communal showers and kitchen – you know the kind of thing) and spend two days eating, drinking and being generally merry, all in celebration of his grandmother’s birthday. She was 87 this year, and we all had a wonderful weekend. Here’s to many more like it 😆

The Birthday

   “Will report back with photos, hopefully.”

That last word of the last post may have been a bit premonitory! Important events in this family’s life seem to be marked by a distinct lack of decent photographs. (Don’t even ask me about our wedding. Just don’t.) In this case, as with Dermot’s 30th birthday three weeks ago, we were so busy trying to keep people fed and happy that neither of us got behind the camera much. We did, however, have a really lovely time, and everybody was well fed and happy, so that and the memories really are all that count. I did manage a few photos – this first one is on party day – the day before her birthday.
Legwarmers, courtesy Babylegs. These things are great!
Cute red dress, courtesy my wonderful friend Jane
Wiggles DVD, courtesy Uncle Stu
Dinky red cap, courtesy Grandpa
Backwards-cap-wearin’-style, all her very own 🙂

And here we have our gorgeous 1 year old and big brother on her birthday – note the Russian dolls we gave her. I must get a good photograph of these to show you, they’re beautiful.


And then there’s this last one – which is something I wouldn’t normally show you, as it is such an unattractive shot of myself (note bags under eyes, and yes, my eyebrows need serious attention – and yes, if you look closely, you can see Niamh has inherited those same crazy eyebrows, poor girl!) But something about this photograph really works for me – it was taken the afternoon of her birthday, after we experienced a pretty rough night following the party, and I think it sums up the feeling of the last year pretty succinctly, don’t you?

For what it’s worth, she went on to sleep eleven hours that night, so all is forgiven again 🙂

Again with the Hardanger!

Be wary – the little people, they strike when you are least prepared. And nick off with your latest finish!

Haha. Moments after this shot, Niamh was ‘posing’ the ornament up against the wall, just like Mummy :giggle: I have photos of that too, but they’re just too blurry, and besides, this one captures that glint in her eye just perfectly!

So here then is my latest finish – Scissors Keeper (only it isn’t) from the book ‘Hardanger Embroidery’ by Jill Carter. It’s stitched with one of my hand dyed #8 perle cottons and a couple of DMC pinks which I don’t think were perfect choices, really. I just grabbed whatever I could find because I was itching to start this. Both sides are identical, and it’s finished this as a pillow-style Christmas ornament instead of a fob.

Can you spot the suspended beads in the Dove’s eyes? How about now:


Good trick, no? I like this a lot, and I’m planning to do another in a different colourway, and with larger beads (again, I just grabbed what came easily to hand). There are a couple of other pieces in this book that I’d like to stitch, too. Next up – the Pincushion, I think.