The last one

This is my last blog post.

To say that this has been coming for a while would be an understatement. I have started and deleted this so many times that I have now lost count.
Truth be told, this is a bit sad for me.
I have loved this outlet, writing these stories. I have loved the connections it has given me, the common ground, the joy.
It has given me a voice when sometimes in motherhood, you can feel so unheard.
It gave me a hobby on the days where my brain was crying out for something other than nursery rhymes and picture books.
But by far the most important thing it gave me was a way to document these years. These precious years that will one day be a blurred memory, I have so many of them written down on paper and for that I am so pleased.

I am thankful every day that I get to have my life with these children, more than anything I want them to know that they brought the biggest light to my life and the love I have for them is unlike any love I will ever know again.
The stories I have written over the last few years, albeit some poking fun, and some complaining, have all been for them. And I can only hope that one day they will see them and know how much I loved sharing these years at home.

Yes, the stories, they are mostly about Leo. (I see that now that I have transferred them all to file) But I started this blog as a stay at home mum to one child. It has seen me grow from that first-time mum to now, someone who has basically been pregnant or feeding for the last five years straight. My life for the last five years has been all about them, and even if I haven’t had the time to make public the endless stories about how hilarious Maisie is or how whole Posy has made our family feel, it doesn’t mean I haven’t written them.
So now is a time for those secret stories. Not because I like keeping secrets, or I feel like we need to, just because what I have to say, I feel I have said it all before. While my girls might like to read one day just how much I loved watching them sleep and how perfect they made the world seem by the exhaling of a deep and perfect baby sigh, you all don’t need to read that for the um-teenth time, nor do I feel like I need to share it.

While I once had the time to sit and ponder at my computer, now I feel my time is more importantly spent elsewhere.

Thank you for allowing me to share my family with you. Allowing me to share my thoughts and in this and many cases, my ramblings.
Since the beginning, I was always amazed in how many people it allowed me to connect with and it has truly been a privilege. I love this blog, it is something that I have always been extremely proud of and I have loved writing it. The love I have for writing will always be here, continually jotting notes in my phone or on my computer, little poems for the kids, love notes, and rants, only now they will be just for us, or, in some cases, just for me.

Thank you,
Jess  xx.

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And just like that, we are coming back…

We moved at the beginning of last year, wanting to see how this went, wanting to see how we would go. Away from our families, away from our comfort zones, our little family on our next big adventure. We started our adventure excited, and, until this day, we have truly made the most of living by the beach.
Our kids are well and truly beach kids, Leo would happily spend his days kicking the footy and laying in the sand, Maisie in the amongst the waves, and little Posy watching it all from the comfort of her tent. We have tried our hardest to keep busy, to go and find new places, to give our children the best opportunities, to find shells, explore rockpools, eat fish and chips and ice-cream all along the South Coast. We have had the most amazing time, we feel lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the country and I know that the memory of our time here will be treasured forever.

Knowing all this and knowing how much our children love it here may make what I am about to write seem a bit odd but, as much as we love it here, it is now time to go home.

If living here has taught me anything it is that we are the type of people, I am the type of person, that needs my people around me. Home sick is something I thought I could never be as a grown woman, but I think that’s what it was.
We have kept busy, yes, because we love the ocean and it will forever be the place that brings me the most peace, but we kept busy to distract from the fact that we had no one to go visit. No one who would be popping around, no one to mind the kids while Duncan and I needed a much needed catch up, no Grandparents or Aunts and Uncles for our kids to be offloaded to. We had a new baby, children that missed the people that they used to see so often, we had created this amazing lifestyle but we felt alone.
We missed what we had taken for granted in the past. I noticed how happy I was when my sisters would come and how sad I was when they would leave, I spent my time looking forward to the next visit or when we would be going home next.
We were living in arguably one of the most beautiful places that you could be and the only place I wanted to be was where I used to be, closer to our families. So we are doing what will give us the greatest happiness, and that is, getting out of here.

In saying that, I will miss it. I will miss the beach, the sense of freedom it brings. I will miss the sound of the waves, I will miss the water.
I will never and would never regret the decision we made to move here, I will always look back on this time with happy memories, this is where we brought our third little baby home, this is where our big kids learned to love the sea, this is where Leo started preschool. Our time here, although parts of it sad and lonely, was mostly wonderful. It was a chance that not many people get to have, a grown-up gap year, before we enter the world of big school, regimen, routine. Where we would have dinner early just so we could spend evenings at the beach or weekends driving to different towns just so we can build a sandcastle on a different stretch of sand. I will forever be grateful that we took the initial leap and moved, our life for the last year has basically been a holiday and our children have the most fortunate lifestyle because of it. But if being away has taught us anything it is that for us, family, being close to those we love, will always trump lifestyle.

So, let the packing begin! The thought of another interstate move with now three little ones is making me want to run for the hills, but I know this time this is it. This will be our last move, (at least last change of town move), we are moving home to grow up, to start saving towards our forever home, to be closer to our support, and, most importantly, to give our children the utmost wonderful opportunity to grow up surrounded the ones that are most important, our families.

Look out Shepparton, the Moodie’s are coming!

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Mum’s Santa letter

Dear Santa,

First off, I want to assure you, my children like you, they just like the idea of you more than they actually like you.  I think it’s the beard, and maybe the big wintery suit when everyone else is wearing shorts that puts them off. You probably know this already, but they aren’t the biggest fan of talking to any adult they don’t really know so, no offence, but they are not going to sit on your knee and tell you what they want for Christmas this year, (hence the letter).
The four-year-old is also surprisingly suspicious about how you are planning on getting around to everyone’s houses. I’ve told them the whole reindeer thing but I have a feeling he isn’t really buying what I’m selling. Yes, yes, I have used the “if you don’t believe you don’t receive” line and a quick change of topic, for now that is working so I guess that tactic is going to get a good run in years to come.
Now, if you know anything about four-year-olds, which, given your job I’m assuming you do, you will know the questions come thick and fast. The one that seems to be perplexing him the most at the moment is, how exactly you are planning on getting in to the house when there is no fireplace or chimney? I have suggested that we will just leave the door open that night but he is worried a robber will come in and steal our Christmas tree and “beautiful decorations” so if you could give me a hint on how to handle that one that would be great.

Now, for what I am writing about… the requests. The children have been good, despite what my neighbor might tell you (with all the commotion that I am sure they hear daily).
Leo is setting his hopes high with the request of a simple pink yo-yo,  unfortunately when I went to go find the yo-yo for you it became apparent that yo-yo’s haven’t been in fashion for about twenty years and the options were VERY limited. I had to settle for a red, flashing Paw Patrol one, but the second unfortunate thing is that when I suggested that maybe you wouldn’t be able to find a pink one, he said that was fine as long as you didn’t get a red or a black one he would be happy. So maybe a note that goes along with the disappointing red yo-yo would be appreciated. I’m sure, if you would be so kind, some other toys will help fill the void of disappointment that the failing red yo-yo is sure to bring.
Maisie is easy, she wants a snorkel. Not that she knows how to use it or knows what they are for, in fact I am pretty sure she just plans on walking around the house with it but either way, a snorkel please, orange if you’ve got one. I think she would also like a microphone, so she can yell her favourite thing to yell, “Attention please, saying words” in to an actual microphone instead of into the microphone shaped honey dripper that we have given her to play with.
Posy is a baby, she doesn’t know who you are or what is going on, but she is teething and dribbling like nothing else, so at risk of stealing a line from an old-fashioned song, her two front teeth would be fantastic.
And as for myself, well I’ve got a long list, mostly Mum stuff you know, nice kids, clean house, etc. etc. Basically, all I want is just an uninterrupted conversation with my husband, and children who wait until I am free to ask for a snack. Too much to ask? I thought it would be, no problem, I’ll just take a baby that sleeps through the night.

So, Santa, I may have to think of some better reasons as to why you don’t already know Leo’s name when we see you in the shops, or why and how you can be in so many places in December when you have the big job of checking naughty and nice lists. But for now, I am going to let you off the hook, this last month the threat of you not coming has worked wonders, and for that I am grateful.
Thanks for keeping my kids in line, sorry the letter is so late, you are a Christmas miracle worker, right?

Safe Travels and Merry Christmas,

With love, Jess xx

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All the gross things

I’m pretty sure that Leo just wiped his nose on the back of my shirt. The tissues are right next to us but I’m sitting right in front of him so I guess I was the closer option.
That is just one of the gross things that happen to you when you’re a parent.
Snot. Everywhere. And it’s not normal snot, it’s like this thick green disgusting slime that they just sit there with it dragging out their nose and it’s like it doesn’t bother them, it just sits there, dangling, until it gets all the way to their lip and you see them trying to lick it. THEY LICK THEIR SNOT. And you can’t sit there watching them all the time so it happens…. more than you like to admit.
There is no other word for it but disgusting.
But it’s normal. There are so many disgusting things that happen daily that I thought I would share them with you.
This wet patch on my back has inspired me, I should probably go change it but I’m on a roll, so here I go:
1. As I’ve already stated, there is the snot. Thick and green.
2. Then there is food. Not the normal food that goes on their plate. It’s the half chewed up food that they hold in their mouths for a few minutes until you ask them to spit it out and they spit it warm into your hand and it drips, mixed with the hoards of saliva they have been pooling all through your fingers (UGH!)
3. It goes without saying but the nappies, the new baby nappies, with the poo explosions that are so bad the only option is a bath for them and a shower for you, then when you think it can’t get worse than that and they start eating food and need I say no more.
4. The way they don’t just come equipped with table manners, they are grubs, the way they eat and the way that food goes in and then out and then in and then out before it finally goes in again and they swallow it.
5. While we are on food the way it goes everywhere, and it doesn’t matter if you puree it all, feed them on a spoon, they will grab it and smear it all through their hair, all over their face, all over your arm, anywhere. Teaching them to eat is painful, especially if you like things clean, so maybe get over that or buy bulk plastic drop sheets.
6. Then there is how they are always just a little bit sticky. Even after a bath, its like you give them five minutes and they will be sticky somehow, I don’t even know how they do it, they just do.
7. The stickiness seems to become a bit of a household theme, they drag it everywhere, through the house, their little hands touch EVERYTHING, handles, benches, drawers, your keys. The things won’t always be sticky, you do clean, but everything will have it’s moment.
8. On a similar note, there are puddles, spilled drink bottles that they don’t tell you about, secretly removed nappies, there is no greater dread than that of a mother who stands in a puddle and doesn’t know what it is or how long it has been there.
9. Sometimes the puddles are vomit, but that is generally reserved for your clothes. hair or hands (and if you’re really unlucky your mouth). Hence the reason, if you have a newborn, you can start to smell a little bit. It will be on you but you just stop caring. You won’t even know when you cross the line and reach that point, you just will and it’s OK because (believe it or not) you will stop smelling it. That’s right, there is a point in your life as a new parent where having vomit on you is so normal that you stop smelling it.
10. Last but not least is what they do to your car. How gut wrenching it is when you’re driving and you hear those vomit sounds followed by a splash, or how you hear a really wet sneeze followed by “oh noooo” or how there is a random smell when you get in and you find that little way too old bit of apple that they bit off and stuck down the side of their seat for later.

The list could go on I am sure, and maybe I will write another one when I have more time or at a different stage of Mum life, but for now this is a small snippet into the everyday disgustingness that is life with kids.

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**Disclaimer: Their disgustingness can’t be that off putting because I have gone on to have three of them and I still think they are pretty amazing and beautiful… now I’d better go change this top!

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For the birthday boy

It is Leo’s fourth birthday on Monday, just ask him he will tell you.

Four years ago I was waiting, not so patiently, for our baby to come, not knowing who he was or how much he would change our lives. His due date came and went, November 6, it was Melbourne Cup Day that year and I was so sure that would be the day. I hung on to that date my whole pregnancy, convinced we would have our baby by then. Then Cup Day came and went, the days after the Cup came and went and I started to think that this was it, I was just going to be pregnant forever (not really but anyone who has gone over in pregnancy knows what I am talking about). A week after his due date he came in to this world, our big, bald, baby boy.
We knew nothing about being parents. We had never been around babies, I still remember driving home from the hospital in disbelief that they actually let us take him home, that we were responsible, that he was ours.

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We learnt on the job, like most new parents we were thrown in the deep end and we had one choice, to sink or swim. We had our moments, the times where we would look at each other, not knowing what the hell we were doing, so much of his quirks we accepted as normal and it wasn’t until we had our girls that we realized maybe they weren’t so ‘normal’ more just what Leo did. Like the way he fed like he would never eat again, or the way he would vomit ALL THE TIME, with me carrying him around a constant vomit cloth draped over my shoulder, that slight stench following me everywhere. I didn’t know any different. I thought all babies spat up that much, I thought all babies wolfed down their food, I thought all babies dribbled so much they needed at least four changes of clothes a day, but that was just my baby and it was just how he was.

I look at him now and his baby-ness is well and truly gone. That once big and round head has grown a mop of curls which have now all been chopped off because “he likes it short”, his solid little body that was once so heavy, chubby and permanently attached to my hip is now long and spindly, he jumps and he hops and he doesn’t need carrying anymore. He talks, all the time he talks. The boy who was once so shy that the slightest bit of communication from a stranger would warrant his head to firmly bury itself into my legs now answers back and elaborates. He tells stories, he recites things that he has learned, he wants to know how to spell everything, he drives me crazy and he is wonderful.

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This past year in particular he has gone from a toddler to a boy, a little kid.
Tall, cheeky, clever and creative.
He has started preschool, he has become a big brother once again and despite him once telling me he wouldn’t be able to handle another sister he is handling it perfectly. He sings, he dances, he is obsessed with Taylor Swift and he loves drawing rainbows with our names written all around them.
He is still learning to catch and kick a footy, he still struggles to say the ‘S’ sound when it is at the start of a word and he still tells me he doesn’t have friends only teachers at school.
I was once so worried about him all the time. Will this shy boy ever survive anywhere without me? What will he be like when I am not there to comfort him? When he doesn’t have my leg to hide into? Will anyone else ever see how clever and funny he is or will he always be covered in this blanket of shyness?
Then he came out of his shell. He went from a shy 3-year-old to a confident 4-year-old, he is completely different and I am no longer worried. I know he will be just fine.

In many ways, he was our learner baby. The one we practiced on. The one that taught us what worked for us, that taught us that babies don’t follow a textbook or anyone else’s pattern but their own.
He was the reason for much frustration, self-doubt, googling, love, joy and laughter.
He was the one that taught us to be parents, that taught me what it was to be someone’s Mum. He may have only been here four years, but he has shaped who I am, he is a huge part of the reason I am who I am today.

Four years ago I had no idea what amazing chapter I was about to enter into. Now I could never imagine my life without that chapter.
Leo James you changed who we are, you made our lives wonderful and you were the beginning of this wonderful little tribe that we have collected. I will always be grateful that you chose us to be your parents, I will always love the sound of your little sister yelling out “LEO JAMES MOODIE” when she is playing with you and I promise I will always try to appreciate your inquisitive mind, even when your questions are far past the knowledge of my own.

The week of their birthdays I always get sentimental. I think of their birth, I think of my baby, who they were, what they liked, how they have changed, how they have grown.
Ultimately as each birthday passes the same realization seems to hit me every time, these years are going too quickly. I can’t help but feel I just want to bottle it up and remember it all because something tells me I will look back on these as the best years of my life.

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