May has been a month of ‘being’… Noticing the funny dialogue between Hudson and Ivy as they order each other around in their imaginative scenarios. Smiling when Ivy changes her baby’s nappy for the sixth time in a row in five minutes. Witnessing the first beautiful smiles of an uncurling newborn. Joining in with the contagious giggles when the elder three crowd in delight around our playful dog, Gus. That isn’t to say that there haven’t been disastrous moments – there have been some doozies (I’m looking at you Mother’s Day)- but on the whole this month has been lived at a remarkably refreshing pace.
There is something almost comforting about settling into ‘survival mode’. When the main focuses of your existence revolve around eating, sleeping and keeping everyone alive, there isn’t a whole lot to be angsty about. Inevitably, the moments when I attempt to seize the day and pursue non-essential organisation and baking tasks that everything becomes a little more stressful and I suffer disappointment when I fail to achieve my unrealistic objectives.
What I’m Reading
Truly Madly Guilty
Having been a fan of podcasts for some time, it made sense that I should branch into audio books. This was my first real experience and I appreciated the difference. Moriarty is – as always – a magician with words, characters and storylines. This book revolves around a particular tragedy that took place at a suburban BBQ and how that one chance moment fractured the lives of everyone that was connected with it. I love the way that Moriarty weaves in back stories, layers and humour into her writing, and unravels the plot in complex stages. One negative was that I didn’t find the main characters of Erika and Clementine to be likeable (as I have found the main characters to be in previous books of hers), but I understood them better by the end of the book. I also thought the first half of the book was a little too long and frustrating with the big build up. On a side note: I wish I could be half the entertainer that Vid is – his cheese strudel, cremeschnitte and marinated pork on the spit has made me want to throw a big dinner party.
The Husband’s Secret
So it must be a Liane Moriarty type of month… Another audio book selection and I mostly enjoyed this one, though perhaps not as much as the others by the author. I identified a lot with Cecilia Fitzpatrick and her internal narrative, though I did find the character of Rachel Crowley to be a little frustrating. Moriarty deals well with issues of grief, love, marriage, divorce and secrecy in this book and expertly pulls the characters together for an interesting plot line. Overall, a book worth reading but perhaps not one I would want to read again.
I have been reading this one for a while now, and I find it mostly interesting, though perhaps not as insightful as I was expecting. I enjoy reading of concepts communicated through memoir, though sometimes it felt as if perhaps the author didn’t quite have a deep grasp on slow living (apart from the aesthetic minimalist design preference). For me the practice of making money from weaving advertisements into blog post narratives just seems a little insincere to then be rising above as an expert in minimalism. However, all that aside, I do respect the author and enjoy listening to her as a co-host on The Simple Show, and find her to be quite engaging and authentic in person. I think the issue for me is in her written voice perhaps?
What I’m Watching
Downton Abbey (Seasons 4 and 5)
I had been an avid fan of Downton since the beginning, however the show lost me when it decided to kill off a second spouse just after their baby had been born. I realise that this decision had more to do with the external circumstances of the actor, but the frustration meant that I didn’t return to watch the show for a while. Coming back now has been like returning to a cosy setting that you have fond memories for and rediscovering all the characters again has ignited my nostalgia and I’m really enjoying the experience.
Returning to this classic had me waxing nostalgic in this post, and it brought me a lot of joy to see that the next generation also connects with the lyrical tunes, the colourful characters and playful adventures. I also found it fascinating to view the film through the lens of the Enneagram, if you are into that!
Anne with an ‘E’
One of my fondest memories as a child was being woken up by my excited parents who informed us that they had discovered the most amazing series that they thought we would enjoy. The Megan Follows ‘Anne of Green Gables’ became a much watched classic in our household and I loved it. I was a little apprehensive at the thought of a remake, thinking there was absolutely no way that the previous version could be rivalled. I don’t think I will be watching this one over and over, but I did appreciate the way that this series delved more into Anne’s background and focused on different storylines than the previous imagining. AmyBeth McNulty is compelling as a spunky, passionate, emotional Anne and I’m looking forward to future seasons.
Beauty and the Beast
I have a soft spot in my heart for remakes… there is something so fascinating about watching a much loved classic reinterpreted and this was no exception. I particularly love it when movies are remade with real actors as I feel that it makes the story come alive. This film felt more like the theatre production than the Disney original and the songs definitely ring over and over in your head after the credits have rolled. I liked the way that the screenplay went into more depth in the characters’ backgrounds and made the actions of each seem more believable. Overall a good production and one that we all enjoyed (minus the scary bits for the kids).
What I’m Listening To
The Shauna Niequist Podcast
Shauna happens to be one of my favourite authors. She has such a way of weaving her love of food throughout her writing and her passion for life is contagious. I was so excited to learn that she had a podcast and went right away to listen to the first episode with Tsh Oxenreider. I found the interview with Heather Avis (about their adoption of three children with Down Syndrome) so touching and quite impacting. Looking forward to hearing more episodes in the future.
The Simple Show
I listened to ‘At Home at…Home’, ‘Adventuring in Your Own Home’ and ‘Fostering a Global Worldview’. All great listening.
Sometimes I wonder if our not-yet-six year old is a teenager in disguise. He comes out with the most incredible insights at times…and harbours a completely insufferable attitude at others. He is embracing the whole growing up thing with pride – now the proud owner of a Fidget Spinner (don’t get me started), a beginner in learning to play guitar, an expert in writing to-do lists for himself (hello apple) and a budding footy player at Auskick. He flooded me with heartfelt letters and pictures on Mother’s Day (though those sentiments were perhaps not entirely represented throughout the actual day) and made us proud when he read a prayer in front of the whole school at the Mother’s Day Mass. He is vascillating between his anticipated professions of becoming a teacher or a rock star at present.
Some kind of fashion force has overtaken our previously sartorially disinterested boy as he is now averaging at least three costume changes per day. On the weekend my mind boggled as I peeled off no less than six different tops as he got ready for the bath…I had thought he looked a little bulkier than normal that day. It was delightful to be able to visit Hudson in his element at his Kinder’s Mother’s Day Picnic. It turns out that he also has a hidden talent of painting nails, as he carefully (tongue out in intense concentration) gave me a colourful manicure. Hudson has commenced participation in a weekly kids’ sports program as a special ritual for him and his grandparents and has subsequently shown improvement in the areas of listening and following instructions. We found out on the weekend that he will have to have surgery to remove his adenoids and tonsils and have grommets inserted. We are very hopeful that this will help him to hear and sleep better.
Ivy’s enchanting new nickname for me at the moment is ‘silly’. She uses it liberally despite all my efforts to discourage her pseudo-scornful tone. It secretly makes me smile, but I’m doing my best to stamp it out! At the moment there are at least five babies in her bed that she is taking care of – putting them to sleep, changing their nappies, wiping away their spew. She is very devoted to her new baby brother and begs to hold him at any opportunity. Ivy is obsessed with ‘pottets’ (pockets) and is ecstatic whenever the chosen dress for the day exhibits them. She exclaims with joy when she realises anything she has ‘matches’ with something of yours – eye colour, ‘nittles’ (nipples), belly buttons, crockery colour, hairstyles… to name a few. She makes us snicker a lot at the moment with her perfectly intoned exclamations ‘Oh man’, ‘Are you serious?’, ‘I’m too busy’, ‘Are you listening to me?’.
It is so crazy to think that Harvey is almost six weeks old now. That has completely flown! We are getting into a pretty good rhythm with him now, and he is a very chilled baby thankfully – usually happy to just lie on the playmat or on his bouncer while watching life swirl around him. I was worried about how he would go in the car after having previous bad experiences with Hudson as a baby, but the car seems to be his happy place. The only downsides are that Harvey has been sick with low grade colds on and off for most of that time (due to the endless supply of germs in our household) and he has a rather unsightly bellybutton hernia. We are enjoying seeing him wake up a bit more and even give a few rare smiles.
This month seemed to revolve around Mother’s Day – with special events thrown by the school and Kinder, as well as family events for each side.
There was even the annual Mums v Kids Auskick match that I rugged up for and managed to pretend to be sporty while trying to run as little as possible.
Dave and I escaped for a quick date at the House of Burgers.
We went to Ikea and let the boys experience the delights of Smaland while we spent a leisurely breakfast with only two kids.
I got to have special dates with Hudson and Ivy while Nanny and Grandma looked after Harvey.
We celebrated my sister and her husband’s birthdays with a fun night in their beautiful new house with their crew.
As for the rest of the month we had a few fun crazy hour dinners, the kids had rotating sleepovers with Nanny and Pa and we got through the hazy newborn phase intact. Looking forward to June and Eli’s birthday, and to life becoming a little more adventurous.