Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas 2012

As Christmas Day comes to a weary end, I can hear Tobie and Hazel laughing in the bath and the smell of new nailpolish wafts upstairs from Phemie's room. I plan to settle in front of National Lampoons Christmas Vacation with a little Bailys Irish Cream and some Christmas cake and take a big sigh, hang on, before we get too syrupy sweet, Hazel just tolds Tobie to shut up and now I've lost my train of lovely thoughts as those two start bickering from down below. Ok, so, as I was saying, big sigh, it's been a busy one but wonderful I must say. As things started to rev up a few weeks ago, handmade decortaions under way, carols in the park organizing committee gearing up, holiday plans, school breakups, piano concerts, school plays, school picnics, parents thankyou morning teas, my cert 4 looming over me like a black cloud, Christmas traditions galore that I absolutely will not let go of, amongst all of this I just happened to pull over one day to answer my phone and it was indeed a call that would change the next two weeks in the most amazing way. A birth, a client, due in a matter of weeks but deciding on a doula at the last minute. So amongst it all I threw myself into this, this intimate experience of an absolutley gorgeous couple and as I hugged them good bye the other day when they dropped in a gift, I realised that in fact everything else had got done and done with an added joy that came with seeing their beautiful baby born. It has made all the Christmas madness, which I love but do get stressed over and usually end up having some sort of screaming turn (refer to blogs of Christmas past), seem just the more brighter and I will forever be grateful to them for giving me this little Christmas miracle of a doula job!

But of course, there are wonderful friends that gather in the park even though the day is scorching, hand made decorations that were hung with a little more pride this year, Christmas cakes that taste decent (why has nobody ever mentioned how discusting my peach ones have been in the past), kitch decrations that we love hanging on our tree year after year that remind us of places we have loved, watching my girls put up our tree all by themselves, impromptu carols with a slightly smaller but no less enthusiastic group of dear friends after for only the second time in nearly ten years I think, we were officially a wash out on the allocated night, family and friends gathered around today, grandparents particularily enjoying the day, Daryl still wearing the hat I stayed up very very late to secretly make him, watching Hazel chase butterflies with her new net, and not so little girls looking so beautiful and grown up in high heels that only Santa would ever agree to! But the voice of Clark Griswald calls me to the couch and tomorrow we head to the beach for a whole month and I'll knit and read and just be with my family and friends and all that is becoming more familiar there year after year. I feel extemely grateful at this very moment for the huge year of change that I have had but have surprisingly embraced with only the occasional tear for my last little one going off to school. Merry Christmas. It really has been a good one.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Backtracking to Bendigo

What is it about the smell of fleece straight from the sheep's back, the sight of a beautifully spun skein of alpaca or  the prospect of getting into one's pyjamas at 8pm and bunking down for an evening of knitting, crocheting and general crafting, that can turn four 40 something women into a gang of giddy school girls? Well it's the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show of course!

It was our second pilgrimage to the fair but last year we went for only a day and took our children with us. This resulted in a day of time "wasted" in the petting zoo and money that could have been spent on wool instead being spent (I'm thinking wasted), on sustenance for those said children. Sorry kids, next year, this is going to be a "mother's only, all weekend event".

And so aboard the V Line bus we climbed, knitting projects stuffed into an array of bags, the evening a loose end of craft, PJ's, wine and chatter! Whoohoo! My husband at this point is wondering if he has in fact married someone perhaps 30 years his senior, don't worry honey, we got wild!

The Bendigo Sheep and Wool show is an amazing union of the industry, from the breeders of the Western District in their mole skin pants, crisp white shirts and polar fleece vests, to the shearers, their children gathered around to watch their father's compete in the time old tradition of shearing with speed and accuracy. Then of course there are the "crafters", of which I proudly put myself along side. Those eccentric dears in their felted bunny ears and capes. Oh how I look forward to my own transformation one day as senility, eccentricty and wool come together.

And so it is a weekend of planning projects(and knitting), eating scones ( and knitting), sitting in the sun watching the sheep dog trials (and knitting). There are many conversations with all sorts of people from the shearing judges as they tuck into their midday Sunday roasts in the cantine, to the breeders who have come to nervously display their yarn and products from their land. It is an absolutely marvelous weekend but so much more special shared with friends whose lives came together because of our children, then turned to our mutual love of all things crafty to being women I will probably grow old with so treasured and forever. Looking forward to many more weekends in Bendigo.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Never have I had a child so excited about going to camp. She has been a toothy grin for days leading up to her big departure, packing her own bag, completely foused on just how much fun she was going to have. I asked her what she was most excited about to which she replied "Just camp!!!

She will return this afternoon, probably exhausted and a bit deflated now that camp is over. But her dinner request of pie floater and apple crisp awaits to soften the blow. Missed you my wee Tobes, you have a love of life that is inspirational!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

WINTER DAYS AT LORNE - Out for a walk, home for a nap!

Back Home

I need to acknowlege that it has been a really big six months for me. And at the end of that six months I saw a baby born. So whilst the study continues (Cert 1V), I do however, really feel the need to go back to making Tobie's blanket, planting some veggies, finishing Lucinda's quilt, folding some washing. It's OK to just be here, at home, and I really feel that I need to come back into it. During the past month particularly, I have felt like I have lived in a bubble, waiting for the baby, finishing my course, leaving the college that I have really grown to love. But with this thing that has just been mine, has for some reason, come a need for privacy and time and quiet. But now, today, I am home alone again and I realise I miss the noise, and the chatter and the  being the centre of the wheel that as mothers we just are. I love that vision of family spinnng around the one central core, the mother who stands in themiddle and lets it whirl around and around her.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Trust the Process

I find myself in very unfamiliar territory. I am home alone. Not like when I'm home during school hours and I'm rushing to get a million things done, nor the sort of home alone like when Daryl is away and I'm home alone with five kids. No, this is actually home alone. By myself, not even the dog. Just me. For a few days. But no I'm not lounging in bed with a glass of wine eating Pringles, nor am I spring cleaning which has always been a dream of mine if I ever found myself in this situaltion. Kaye Allan you know what I'm talkin' bout. No, instead I am writing, and eating a pear. You see, I am waiting. Waiting for a baby to be born. Am I am learning a very important lesson about babies and birth and that is to Trust the Process.

You see for the last six months I have been training to be a doula. What's a doula you may ask? A doula is a person who gives a woman and her family support before, during and after the birth of their baby. It has been something I have wanted to do for a very very long time and I knew that when Hazel started school, the time was finally right. And how right it has been in terms of the amazing women I have found myself amongst, and how right this very moment feels as I sit here typing,  all the other bits and pieces I have done whilst my girls have been growing, has bought me to this very place, this place where I sit and I wait. And sometime in the next week, I will be called to go and support this couple as they bring their child into the world. It feels like such a privledge to be a part of that incredibly intimate space, and I won't kid myself, I am pretty bloody nervous. I have been "on call" now for a month, an incredibly nerve wracking month of checking my phone every 5 minutes, no drinking (at all, yes that's right, not a drop), and feeling like I am on an absolute rollercoaster, one minute just dreading that phone call which will inevitably result in me seeing a baby come out of someone's vagina, to feeling complete an utter excitement as I wait to enter into this sacred realm of birth. To be honest, the first emotion has been the prominent.

There is a mantra in the Doula world, Trust the Process. I thought I did by the end of week twenty. But in the last few days I have realised that I am with a couple who truly believe their baby will come when he is ready. I am with a couple who believe that birth really is the most natural and safe process. This woman knows that right now her baby is well and safe, and that he should be given more time. She comes away from her hospital appointments feeling unsupported and judged. And of course, if a time should come where her baby is no longer safe and well, then her decision will be different. But at this very moment she feels he deserves the time he needs, no induction, no time constraints, he is not ready to be born.

So now I wait. Daryl and the girls are on their way to the farm, stopping at Nagambi for a meal at the pub. It's quiet, and I so appreciate the fact that I can be alone with these thoughts and when the time comes it will just be me and my doula bag walking out the front door, no calls to make or kids to sort.
"Role with it Stace", were Daryl's words to me. It's funny though, he says he couldn't stand this job but actually, my gorgeous calm rock of a husband, you would make an excellent Doula, in fact, you proved that four times!

I'll just keep crocheting the little blanket I decided to make for my first client ( won't make a habit of that), I'll have another cup of tea and an omlette for dinner. Climb into bed early because you never know what little bundle the night may bring....or not.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


It's cold outside, Daryl has gone to the farm until Monday, I have five kids. I'm tired. We had a lovely night last night at Ange and John's eating all things North American. Shel's six layer dip was a sensation! But today I'm tired, and cranky, and although I've had thoughts about taking the girls our for a drive to the country side, I actually know that's not going to happen. And so I stupidly, like I don't know myself at all, suggest we all do some sewing!!!AM I INSANE?  Let me give you some background. I'm a control freak, AND I'm tired. But what the heck, let's throw caution to the wind and dust off the Janome.

The picture above of dear little Hazel doing something to a piece of hesian, is by far only a snippet of what is really going on. In the background I am asking ( read screaming) at Ailee "Have you read the instruction manual? The bobbin has jammed, there is cotton bunching. Those two words together make my blood pressure rise..bobbin and bunching!!! I have a friend who always reminds me that the reason sewing machines are so heavy is so that you can't hurl them across the room, but I reacon I could give a fair go. And so, swearing under my breath ( yeh right, they heard), as I dig away to recover the tangled mess from the guts of this horrific creature, I stop for a moment only to realise that Ailee is standing behind me, tears running down her face. Oh dear. Memories of similar horrid sewing moments from my own childhood (my mother standing behind me weeping as I have a total meltdown), come flooding back. The warning signs were there, I AM TIRED, and under no circumstances should I be allowed near that sewing machine, particularily when it involves one of my children! At least I had the good sense to stop. Pack the damn thing up, apologise, and suggest that perhaps it would be lovely to book into a little sewing class at the sewing shop at Highpoint (look out Gwen, I'm coming back!), and learn to sew...together. Ailee agreed and is now happily sitting on the couch hand sewing her bunting and watching some crap on the Disney Channel, which is in fact what she wanted to do from the start but oh no, I was determined....will I ever learn.

Tobie and I made some lovely bread for lunch which everyone smothered in avocado, cheese and tomatoes, yum. But then I had to go an wreck it with bloody craft! I love craft but I just do not have the patience to teach my own children. It's so frustrating but when there are five of them all needing assistance, well I just can't do it. I think I need to make a rule, one at a time, give each of them patience and time. And so Ailee and I will head up to Highpoint for our sewing lesson, I'll sit with Lucinda and work out her crochet pattern, I will search for that calico that Tobie needs for her project and I'll sit with Hazel while she learns to hand sew, giving her the time and focus she deserves. But right now, I'm going to hop into bed with my own knitting and watch a movie. And that's OK. Fortunately for Phemie, she's not that into craft, or maybe she's just so scarred from me teaching her to knit! She is actually in the kitchen baking some lovely chocolate tarte, she is completely confident in the baking department and I haven't really taught her a thing...hmm...there is probably something to that.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Another Autumn has come. It is my favorite season, holding all that I love, I never want it to end. It's Harvest time, the girls are camping at the farm, picking the fruit, hunting for eggs, celebrating a birthday,  sunny and crisp in the morning as I carry my coffee to the porch ( only to be driven back inside by the stench of rotting rabbits under the house), wood piles up by the back door ready for the first real need for warmth, the sound of the footy in the background.

I really love those things about Autumn I know I can rely on each year. The leaves will fall, the walnuts will go to market, another birthday for my girls, the sound of laughter from the trampoline, cleaning the dust from every surface after the harvest has finished, the endless cups of tea and cake, concerts in the shearing shed at the end of the day. But I also know that things will change. As I watched the kids frantically search for eggs in the grass, I wondered if next year might just be a little bit different. I remember so vividly one of Phemie's first easter egg hunts. It was in our backyard in Kensington. She was two. Ailee and Lucinda was still in special care, at the Women's Hospital,  it would be the last time that our eyes and time was just for her.

I hope the farm is somewhere she will always feel like she can be that child. Open skies, her family around, no pressures, just her, in her PJ's collecting Easter eggs.

Friday, February 17, 2012


The moment I have been dreading. My baby Hazel puts on her uniform and new shoes, so excited that the day is finally here, big smile on her face, finally with her sisters off to school, embracing it like she does everything, with joy and enthusiasm. Yes the moment I have been dreading. So it's not all about me, I know I know, please stop reminding me, move on, be happy for her. Please don't get me wrong, I am so happy for her and I have rest assured guarded her from my own misery, and I was so brave as she unpeeled my fingers from hers and waved me off, until I got outside. There was Chris Angus. Phemie's prep teacher, long serving and motherly. " Oh hello Stacey, how are you doing? Well before I new it I was in this woman's arms howling like an idiot.

It is now the end of week two and it feels good to debrief. But I miss her chatter and the sound of Dora drifting over to the kitchen, it's just not the same watching by myself. And I've started my doula training but oh so much talk of babies and birth and recounting my own experiences has been both painful and cathartic.

So just for the record, I have loved loved loved my slow rythmic days with little ones around the house, and whilst it's so lovely to finally have a coffee with my dear friends and not have to hand over my iphone just to get some peace and quiet, and now I can listen to talk back in the car and not Justine Clark, I'm feeling a bit stuck in this strange place, eager to go forward with new things but at the same time, struggling I guess, just a bit, to view this time as mine and not wish instead that it was still theirs....