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Balloon Friday

Oh sweet Friday… It’s getting dark and I can hear the usual winding down noises from the bathroom. My partner is patiently trying to coax a tired toddler into the tub and to bed. I’m thankful I get to just sit here and feel like a swollen lead balloon with far too little space on the inside. I know that in a while they’ll call my name and I’ll go sing some lullabies, get a few cuddles and sit outside the bedroom for 10 minutes in the dark listening to Anakin play with his diggers in bed before I can assume my horizontal on the sofa with a glass of Maggie Beer’s non alcoholic sparking wine. (The only non alcoholic wine worth drinking. It’s delicious and I dare say better than most alcoholic sparkling wines.) I’m exhausted. Baby has been surprisingly quiet so far today, perhaps it is just waiting for me to lie down. I feel heavy and stretched. But I also feel pretty darn great. Life is in a good place. We’re not where we want to be with it all, but I am happy, very happy. This year, as hard as it has been and as much as it has kicked us in the face, has also been good. I’ve let go of a lot of hurt, I’m letting go of more every day, I’m facing fears and learning to manage them. And as heavily pregnant as I feel tonight I feel lighter than ever, and stronger than I’ve ever been.

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Speaking of strong… babywearing a big, heavy toddler to sleep when pregnant makes you feel pretty strong too. Desperate times and all that. I seriously could not live without the Tula. (Picture taken at 18 weeks.)

 

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It also doesn’t hurt that spring has sprung in all it’s glory and temperatures are hitting the 20+. Life is good. I feel damn lucky.

Happy Friday from all of us!

xx

39/52 – Night-time

A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, for the 3rd year of his life. 

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Anakin: Bath time, bed time… these rituals we’ve had since you were born that have slowly evolved, slowly (yet way too fast) seen you grow up and more independent. I know,  I say this a lot, but you’re growing up so fast. But it is also at night-time I most often see how little you still are and how much you are still my baby. Too tired, too overwhelmed, you sometimes fall to pieces and the only thing in the whole wide world that will soothe you is being wrapped up in my arms while we ride it out together. I think we both need those moments just as much as we need the laughs, the hugs and all the good times. Perhaps it is in those fragile moments I grow the most as a mother. 

***

I started writing a bit this week, but I’ve been too tired to finish anything. By nap time in the afternoon all my good intentions vanish and I’ve just needed to relax and catch up on rest. I’m not very good at resting or taking it easy, but the past  few weeks have been brutal and made me realise I can’t keep this up. It means things slow down and take time, but I just can’t keep pushing myself. I’ve tried to keep activities local and to half days. I try not to do too much housework, which is hard when everything desperately needs a good clean. I’ll vacuum two rooms and have to lie down because I’m just out of breath. It so different this time around. The baby is much more active than I can remember Anakin being. Perhaps it is just that I feel it better this time around, but it’s always on the move. It’s so far down that I can pull my shirt up and see the pokes from the outside already. Driving back and forth to Bendigo today to take down my show was hard. The baby was pushing down and making it so uncomfortable to sit that I started wondering how on earth it will feel by the end. Please, little baby, use the space that’s there while you have it. You can’t stay doubled up at the bottom all the time!

38/52- Urban traveller

A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, for the 3rd year of his life. 

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Anakin: Any excuse to catch the train is a good one for you. You absolutely love it. As I still don’t have a license we’re mostly urban travellers when we’re just the two of us. Last weekend we spent an afternoon in the sunshine with some friends and their new baby. You were ecstatic running around their backyard playing with the dog, a wheelbarrow and some pieces of wood. Having to catch the train there and back was just an added bonus. 

***

I’m still without a computer which makes things trickier these days. But in some ways I’ve loved it. I like to unplug. It helps me refocus and spend more time doing things I love and that frankly are far more important. But I’ve been itching to get some time to write so hopefully this coming week I’ll get to scratch that itch.

We did our weekly shop today. After getting what we could at the market we went to the supermarket. As I was walking around gathering things and talking to Anakin it struck me how incredibly happy I was and how lovely it was to realise that in the middle of such a mundane task as shopping. Anakin was bubbling with happiness over a new digger we’d just picked up for him. He woke up earlier this week and told me how much he wanted a big, new yellow digger. He didn’t need one, but when we happened to stumble upon a really good, cheap one today I couldn’t help myself. His joy pays for whatever he gets over and over again. He’s not the kind that gives a new toy an hour of play and then forgets about it. He adores it, he takes it to bed and it is his prize possession for months on end. Believe me when I say that there’s usually a lot of construction vehicles taking up space in our bed before I move them to make room for myself at night. I can only imagine how happy he’ll be if I can find the book Goodnight, goodnight Construction site. 

37/52 – Getting ready for the show

A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, for the 3rd year of his life. 

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Anakin: Helping out while we hang my assessment show, Tales of Transformation, in Bendigo. You never stop amazing me with how incredibly easy you are to take places. It was a long day and a late night, but you were a true champion all the way through. You rarely complain, you’re rarely in a bad mood and you always delight whoever has the pleasure of spending time with you. I couldn’t be prouder, my love. (Photo by my partner.) 

***

Thank you for your well wishes and kind words after our last post. I really appreciate it. It’s so nice to hear voices from “the other side” of the screen. I’m largely without a computer these days so my replies are slow and so is my posting. There is so much I’m still waiting to share once I have a laptop and a few free afternoons. I’ll get around to sharing my work soon as well, both artworks and from the sewing machine.

Don’t be a stranger.

xx Dida

Breaking silence

It’s been a bit quiet around here hasn’t it? With the exception of the 52 project there hasn’t been much going on here of late. Believe me, there’s been plenty going on, just not here.

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At first it was a matter of just not having time to write and process images as I was getting down to crunch time for my Masters degree. (Now how that all wrapped up is another story.) As you can imagine juggling being a stay at home mum with writing a thesis and creating a large body of work is a huge workload. On top of that I was slowly trying to get a micro business going of handmade kids clothes. (Still working on that one.) What little time there was left I needed to just catch my breath and to spend with my family.

But as the year went on and winter hit my silence was also grounded in other reasons. Every year, around the same time, I seem to retreat and have a bit of a stock take of my life and the people in it. And this year I finally decided it was time to let go, of old hurt and the people who had caused it for so long. I started a process of pulling some people closer while letting others go. I was growing tired of feeding certain relationships that only went one way.

And the blog became part of that process. Through sharing intimate looks into our lives I was enabling some people to feel connected and informed without having to give anything back. For the most part I’m ok with that, but for a time I needed it to stop. I needed to just let some bridges burn and stop fighting an uphill battle. So I started to hold back. A lot. Some weeks it was easy, others were hard.

But recently I’ve come to realise that I am losing more than I am winning. This blog isn’t mainly about sharing thoughts and images with you or with everybody else, it’s about us. Its main function has always been to document our journey as a family, for better and for worse. It’s to make sure there is a story for Anakin to discover and hopefully cherish as he grows older, it’s for me to remember the little things, the big things and to reflect and look back on. This is our story. This is our document.

Everything else, everyone else who reads it, enjoys it or cares about it is just a bonus. A good bonus, but not why it exists in the first place. And so as major events were unfolding I was losing by not documenting it. As was Anakin and my partner.

So I guess you could say this is me telling myself to get on with it, to get back to winning and not sit by watching burnt bridges turn to ash. There are many chapters I need to get to, things I need to process, things I feel a need to share and have wanted to share for a while, but I guess one thing stands out as needing to be said first. Of all the secrets we’ve kept, and we’ve kept it from most people, this is by far the biggest one.

 

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Our little (or not so little) baby bump is 20 weeks and kicking up a storm. We are over the moon about this little person joining our family, due late January.

 

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We weren’t planning a big announcement of any sort and it’s been nice to have such a gem of a secret, only shared with a few close friends and loved ones. And I’ve really enjoyed sharing the news with people as we see them or talk to them as opposed to shouting it from a rooftop for all the world to hear. We kept it close and personal.

But as this most likely is my last pregnancy and this blog also is this little persons’ document there are too many things to say and to photograph to keep quiet. Neither could I hide from the camera forever.

 

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So here it is. Our little big secret, not so secret anymore. And we’re loving it!!

36/52- The simple joys

A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, for the 3rd year of his life.

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Anakin: Your smile is like sunshine, it lights up any room. It has this amazing ability to expel any shadow. Your laughter is the purest sound I know. Our most precious moments are about sharing the simple joys. Playing in the family bed while changing sheets, taking the time for a good snuggle, waking up to you stroking my face, building great, big cars and pretending that we’re tractors, horses, dogs or firemen, enjoying the feel of naked skin touching. The simple joys are the best ones. 

***

I’ve been neglecting this blog somewhat this year. I’m planning to make up for that as soon as I can. There’s no lack of words floating around my head or images on my hard drive, but there’s been a lack of time and energy, and a few other things.

I’m hanging my show this Friday and I don’t think there are any words that can explain how excited I am to see them together. I am so proud of this work, I am so incredibly proud of what I’ve made of my life the past three years. It hasn’t been easy, it hasn’t’ been without great sorrow or struggle, but it has been fruitful and it has been rewarding. And the journey is far from complete.

I can’t believe we’re at 36 already. How did we get there so fast?

35/52 – Lost

A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, for the 3rd year of his life.

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Anakin: Helping me test some bulbs on the flash kit by running around in front of the lights. Then suddenly you stopped and there was this. You look so lost in thought, I wonder what was going through your head. I love a great smile, but a serious face can be visually so much more intriguing. 

***

I honestly thought for a couple of days that we were over the hurdle of illness. Two days later (and a gym and creche visit after) Anakin got yet another cold. His immune system is shot from the gastro that started it all and the cold/flu that followed.  As I’m writing this he’s currently strapped on my back asleep in the Tula after having to give up trying to sleep in the bed because of a stuffy nose and constant coughing. Thank goodness for a good carrier. Three minutes in it and he was out like a light. No cough, no constant struggle to breathe through a stuffed nose. It doesn’t do wonders for me and all I had planned for nap time, but this is what we do right? We sacrifice so that our children can have what they need, particularly when they’re unwell. I know my back will be sore from standing like this and I know I’m losing valuable work time, but I couldn’t care less. Sleep and love are the best medicines for illness and providing that is more important than anything.

In other news I’m printing my Masters assessment show which opens September 10th and it is such a joy to finally bring these babies to life. There is just something irreplaceable about the photograph as object, particularly when it is work that has been created during the most life changing and excellent times of pregnancy, birth and motherhood, and which stands as witness and evidence of an enormous personal achievement. I’ll share some of the work with you soon.

xx Dida

Friday Love

I love Fridays. It doesn’t really matter what kind of day you’re already having it’ll get better by the simple fact that it’s Friday.

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We’re having a pretty excellent Friday. We’ve already been to the market, done all the grocery shopping for the week, had fresh, crusty bread for breakfast and free veggie soup for lunch. (Cute kids get a lot of free perks!) The sun is out, the sky is all blue and there are promises of a warm, spring afternoon. After nap time we’re heading out and staying out until dinner time. It’s a good day. It’s a really good day. Most of all because I get to spend it with this guy and I can’t imagine better company for a sunny afternoon. Happy Friday!

 

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34/52 -The Observer

A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, for the 3rd year of his life.

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Anakin: We went for an afternoon stroll to look at some diggers, your fire truck in hand of course, but as soon as we turned the corner there was our neighbour’s car being town after breaking down. We never made it any further. I’m not sure I get the link between boys and big machines and trucks. You were so perfectly content standing there watching it all unfold. Your face full of  serious wonder. I was just happy to watch you watching it. 

***

It seems winter isn’t finished with us yet. We were all on the mend for one day before Anakin came down with a terrible cold and a high fever again. Slowly getting back on his feet, but the past month has really given our health a beating. Even our oldest cat is sick (which is a far more expensive ordeal). But it can only get better from here, right? Spring is on the way and my head is already feeling lighter. The thought of getting into some serious wedding planning fills me with odd excitement and since getting my wedding shoes I often stop to admire them and let myself fill with joy from all the good things that are still to come. There are so many things to look forward to. This weekend has promises of warmer days and I can not wait to lick some sunshine and perhaps even skip the winter coat.

33/52 – Anakin The Builder

A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, for the 3rd year of his life. 

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Anakin: Anakin the Builder, taking a break to help out with the shopping wearing your work helmet (bike helmet worn the wrong way around is a hard hat apparently, just like Bob has) and carrying your saw, just in case you find something that needs fixing. Whenever you go to work on something you pull the helmet down to shield your eyes and if we don’t look you sneak bites of fruit and vegetables in the trolley. 

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