It is strange to think that in next month’s recap I will be sharing details of the birth of our new baby! We are firmly in countdown mode at the moment – with lists pinned to the fridge, hospital bags packed, the bassinet steam-cleaned and perched waiting, baby clothes sorted into drawers. I have lurched between feeling panicked that there is so little time to go, to succumbing to overwhelm at the constant drain on my energy. Dave has been very supportive and helpful in these long weeks, picking up a lot of extra tasks around the house, giving me time on the weekends to sleep in or recharge in peace and telling me off when I act like a martyr who can’t possible sit down because there is so much to do.
This month was slow on the writing front, though the times I did write felt cathartic and helped me work through big issues like going back to square one with Hudson’s diagnosis, receiving lessons from my future self and adopting a better sense of perspective in these last few weeks.
I have continued to enjoy using Instagram and participating in the #365Mumtastic challenge, though I have missed a couple of days along the way.
What I’m Reading
The Last Anniversary (Liane Moriarty)
There is something about Moriarty’s books that draws me in – her incredible grasp on human nature and the way she reveals the internal thoughts of each character, the short chapters, the constant shift in perspective and the masterful grasp of timing – she is such a great writer. I found this book set on Scribbly Gum Island to be fascinating and well done – the character of Sophie in particular. I think I will forever hear Aunt Connie’s voice in my head when I am baking now, thanks to the inclusion of so many cooking references and tips. The unravelling of the Munro Baby Mystery was compelling and I really felt for Grace in her struggles with adjusting to motherhood. Definitely recommended.
Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line (Rob Thomas)
Another pick from Anne Bogel’s Unputdownable post, this book was a very easy read. Despite the fact that I haven’t watched the show, I found it easy to connect with the characters and the plot was well delivered. I always love a good mystery and I like it when I’m not easily able to pick who did it. I would be interested in reading the rest of the series for sure.
How the Light Gets In (Louise Penny)
This is my fourth or fifth Chief Inspector Gamache novel, and I still enjoy the series. I think it is a shame that I have read them out of order given that there are so many cross references to other mysteries and character development that occurs throughout the series. This book was mostly compelling – I found it difficult to put down, but there were a few elements that frustrated me or are beginning to grate in Penny’s writing style (repetitive quotations from Ruth’s poems, sentence fragments, over-dramatic conclusions reaching to high levels of government). The Ouellet quintuplet storyline was interesting and I would still recommend the series, just becoming less enamoured with them, I guess.
The Likeness (Tana French)
I think I’ll forever feel like I’ve been to the Whitethorn House and been a ghost in the walls after reading this book. Having not read the first in this series didn’t really make a difference, I enjoyed diving into the story, characters and psychology of Detective Cassie Maddox and Lexie Madison. Set around a murder, undercover agent Cassie Maddox gets a chance to revive her alter-ego in order to solve a mystery and gets caught up in a web of intrigue, politics and friendship. Fascinating read.
What I’m Watching
From some of the reviews of this movie I had pretty low expectations, but maybe that helped because I found the movie mostly engaging. The concept of hibernating people and travelling to a new planet to commence a new life and civilisation was fairly novel, and the setting of the starship Avalon was interesting. Considering the majority of this movie was contained to a handful of characters, the actors did a fairly good job, though there were some very convenient plot points that kept the story moving. A harmless Friday night action film.
Considering this film deals with naturally emotive topics such as the devastation of having a child die of cancer, it is surprising that I found it to have almost zero emotional impact upon me. With the fairly impressive cast and the interesting philosophical topic of the bereaved father (Will Smith) writing letters to Love, Death and Time, I guess I expected more. Dave and I couldn’t quite put our finger on why the film failed to connect, but it definitely fell flat in our household. Contrived, sappy, and a little manipulative. Not one I recommend.
I’m a bit of a sucker for these kinds of films – historical, mathematical, compelling characters, well-written, illuminating in regards to race relations – in short, I really enjoyed it. The three women – Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson – each had compelling stories and they were woven together with the overarching space race expertly. I would love for my kids to watch this movie when they get a little older. An exceptional film.
Don’t watch this film if you aren’t in the mood for a good cry… The story of Saroo, a five year old Indian boy who gets separated from his family and adopted by an Australian family, is a heart-warming, moving and sweeping tale of belonging, home and family. Dave and I absolutely loved this movie and found ourselves so affected by the situation of Saroo and all the other missing children that he represents. I think we cried pretty much every time Nicole Kidman’s character came on screen. So nice to see an Australian film that is well-made and compelling.
What I’m Listening To
The Simple Show
Still one of my go-to podcasts, I enjoyed listening to the episodes on ‘Decluttering & Spring Cleaning’, and ‘A Year Without the Internet’ as well as the reading episode focusing on the books The Eyre Affair and Wonder.
The episode with Susan David on Emotional Agility caught my eye and inspired me in terms of rethinking my approach to emotions and the role they play in my life. I now have David’s book downloaded on Kindle and can’t wait to go deeper in understanding this topic.
The Road Back to You
I do love this show and how it has improved and evolved since the first episode, though I really wish they would do more episodes on Type 1’s! I feel like I have listened to so many on type 3’s, 7’s and 9’s but the other numbers have been very underrepresented. This month I listened to Michael Hyatt (Type 3) on ‘The Enneagram in Leadership’ and Lillian Daniel (Type 7) on ‘Being Grounded in Life’s Adventure’.
Missing Richard Simmons
This is not my usual listening style, but I was drawn in by the first few episodes in this podcast that investigates what happened to famous fitness guru, Richard Simmons when he withdrew himself suddenly from the public eye three years ago. I found myself listening to the whole series in the one day even though my interest began to wane a little in the latter episodes. Entertaining but not particularly insightful, accessible even if you don’t really know who Richard Simmons is.
In between the bouts of wrestling, toilet humour and overreactions to being told off, Eli has really ‘levelled up’ in a lot of ways this month. From discovering a sense of responsibility in helping me carry things, to helping unbuckle his sister’s car seat so that we can all get inside more quickly and showing initiative in planning and performing at my Dad’s 60th – suddenly the lectures and lessons I had been giving seem to have sunk in and it is so reassuring. He loves drawing and writing so much at the moment, taking every opportunity to write letters to us, draw pictures for his brother and sister and ask us to help him sound out new words. Things that previously would derail him emotionally are less of an issue and he is recovering much more quickly from setbacks.
Life is never dull with Hudson around. He learned how to wink this month and has been using it relentlessly, particularly when we are telling him off for something. He is still absolutely loving Kinder and has made some good friends of his own which is so nice to see. For so long we were convinced that Hudson may be colour-blind because would show zero interest in identifying colours… until I realised one day that all the ‘Bumblebee’ cars he was pointing out on the road were yellow! It turns out that Hudson is very aware of colours, as long as we speak of them as the Rescue Bots on the TV show – Blades/Orange, Boulder/Green, Chase/Blue, Heatwave/Red. At home he loves mimicking real life in his games with Ivy – having extended conversations on his toy phone, putting Ivy to bed, packing his Kinder bag, getting into pajamas for ‘sleep time’. It is very amusing to watch.
This fiercely independent girl alternates between super sweet (‘I love you so much, Mummy’, ‘It’s OK, Mummy’) and firmly making her will known (refusing to put on shoes, come to the car, eat at the table with us, have baths without screaming). It has been a bit of an emotional month for her, suddenly developing a range of fears or aversions to things as well as constantly battling low-grade sickness. She has mostly retained her playful nature, though, enjoying wrestling with her brothers, clomping around in my high heels, squealing with delight at pretty ‘pincess’ dresses and climbing up to the table constantly to do drawing.
I feel like March was the month of kids’ birthday parties…or maybe that is just the reality of having a child in prep – Eli went to four this month and it was nice to go along and meet other parents of his school friends. As for the rest of the month we had a few adventures – limited in part by my dwindling energy levels – but enjoyable memories all the same.
We used up our Scoopon vouchers with good friends at Gumbuya Park:
Proudly watched our nephew at his cricket final:
Went along to the Food Truck Festival in Berwick and got to hang out with two sets of lovely friends:
Celebrated my Dad’s 60th Birthday with a night to remember:
Lingered outside enjoying a delicious Persian grill at Naomi and Jam’s house:
Visited my sister’s beautiful new house for the very first time:
We had an enjoyable wood-fired pizza dinner with Steve and Sarah and Ethiopian and Sri-Lankan feasts with Nick and Laura:
As for the rest of the month, I got the chance to catch up for brunch with some other school mums at Little by Little cafe in Berwick, escaped for a coffee date with some other lovely ladies at One Fine Day in Beaconsfield and had a long overdue catch up with a lifelong friend at Elevation in Emerald. Dave took the kids out for excursions and swimming trips so that I could rest and there were many fine moments to remember.
March, we ‘got through’ intact and made it to the school holidays! Can’t believe April is baby month….