Thursday, 31 December 2015


a portrait of my son, once a week, every week in 2015

Jimmy: Posing with penguins...

So, we may have been in Chicago recently, which goes a little way in explaining the "radio silence" here of late. And we may have gone to the Lincoln Park Zoo to see the Christmas lights...

More on the trip later, but Jimmy and Daddy can be seen here, posing in front of some illuminated penguins. It was difficult to get a good light balance because of how bright the penguins were (or I need to get better at photography...). I would like to point out that it was about 5 pm when I took these photos, no sunlight, the Zoo was crowded, and I can't remember if Jimmy is "smiling" or making his scary face... We enjoyed the Zoo.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

First snow!

There is nothing like the first snow to break the winter funk (or winter blues) that the short days bring with them.

Yes, the weather does need to be cold for it to snow, but!

Snow illuminates the landscape.

The world seems quieter.

Everyone seems to stay indoors.

But we find snow calls for attention and invites us outside.

Somehow the cold air is not as cold as it is when there is no snow.

The fresh, unmarked snow is beautiful.

Little footprints in snow are my favourite.

Jimmy's footprints are the best.

Falling snow is wonderful too, soft flurries seen from the shelter of our apartment. Sometimes it's fun to be out in it, and sometimes the north wind makes the snow extra icy.

Yesterday morning we woke up to the first snow of the winter and while I am sick (more on that another time), it has lifted my spirits. As Daddy took Jimmy to daycare, I snuck out and took a picture of them as they headed out. The morning was cold but so pleasant, I would have liked to spend more time out there... Next snow right?

Sunday, 27 December 2015


a portrait of my son, once a week, every week in 2015

Jimmy: Collecting leaves for Mummy!

Oh man... Daddy and Jimmy took the recycling out (with camera in tow) and Jimmy wanted to collect leaves for me - because I collect leaves and bring them home. When they returned home, with a bin full of leaves, I totally misunderstood and totally overreacted and told Jimmy to "get that out of here. NOW."

He took it well. I think I was under the weather, and I will admit to overreacting and I do feel guilty about it... especially when days later Michael showed me these photos he took of Jimmy doing something just for me... Oh man... Jimmy had so much fun with those leaves. He really is a sweet, gentle (and patient, forgiving) child, my boy.

Friday, 11 December 2015

It's a lovely world...

(These are my shoes, and they belonged at a Climate March last weekend.)

Yes, there is great inequality. There is injustice, war, violence, pollution, deforestation... but last Monday morning, while checking my email I noticed something lovely:

Outnumbering the emails about Black Friday and Cyber Monday were emails about the People's Climate March.

We didn't make it to one, but family and friends did.

Over 750,000 did. Even in Paris.

A drop in the ocean perhaps, but a loud and lovely drop.

It reminded me that people care about this planet we call home, care about what we're doing to it.

All those emails and then news stories were a welcome reminder that there are people out there who care more about looking after our home than saving a few dollars when they buy something they might not really need.

I was feeling all warm and fuzzy, thinking that perhaps, just perhaps, we, the people of the world, can make the world less crap, one issue at a time.

Here's to the Paris climate talks resulting in meaningful action and change on a grand scale - because it's needed.

Monday, 7 December 2015


a portrait of my son, once a week, every week in 2015

Jimmy: Going to the park!

Michael took Jimmy to the park yesterday afternoon, while I stayed home and felt sorry for myself because my throat is sore. (Mild cold-thingy. No fun.) Jimmy insisted on wearing his sandals. It was just warm enough.

On the way to the park, there is this stand of tallgrass and Jimmy had fun running through it. Jimmy also enjoyed the walk to the park, the park, and generally being outside.

Thank you for the photos Michael!

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Icy days...

With four days of cold rain, sleet, a smattering of snow, and mostly subzero temperatures, everything was covered in ice... here are some photos, all taken by Michael. Enjoy!

These two are possibly my favourites...

Can you see Jimmy and me? We're there, you might have to turn your computer or phone upside down ;)

Ice on ice on ice and then some icicles... Are you feeling cold now? There was so much ice that I refused to ride my bike to work on Monday (more on the bike later, I hope), but managed to ride it today without incident - although Michael and I had to walk over a few patches of ice... we did so very carefully. By lunchtime there was no more ice on the ground and the light snow this evening melted as it landed. Snow is more fun than ice. Both are pretty.

Monday, 30 November 2015


a portrait of my son, once a week, every week in 2015

Jimmy: Icy...

Oh man... Winter seems to have arrived with 4 days of icy rain, and a smattering of snow. The rain freezes on the grass, the trees, the roof, the gutters, fruit and flowers. The ice is so thick it is weighing down the trees, even breaking some branches. We've been indoors when not going out for dinner or to keep the stir-crazies at bay.

Michael took this photo of Jimmy and me eating icicles we removed from pine needles. There was ample supple.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Giving thanks...

It's the Thanksgiving weekend, and I know it's been quiet here, but we're here, and there are things to be thankful for:

  • Family. Our little family here. Our family in other countries. 
  • Friends back home and around the world - you are missed.
  • Friends here, for making life here easier.
  • Good health. Yes, sometimes it feels like a stretch, given the toll living overseas is having on Michael and I, but, for the most part, we do have our health.
  • Not having debt. We have our HECS/HELP back in Australia and haven't made back what it cost to move, but we only owe our saving account. There is something nice about that.
  • Tea. Preferably leaf tea, shared with at least one other person.

And thank you for reading, always, always thank you.

Also, thanks to Michael for setting up the timer for the first photo and for taking the photo of Jimmy making tea at the Discovery Center, way back when Grandma was visiting.


a portrait of my son, once a week, every week in 2015

Jimmy: Porridge, with yoghurt and honey.

Showing off his appetite and appreciation for a hot breakfast. Michael took this lovely photo - I love it because it reminds me of a photo of a much younger Jimmy.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Disruptive weeks and stolen days...

There was a big, long draft for this post... and it's gone. Perhaps it's for the best - it was rather long...

Let's just say that there were two weeks that were very disruptive, ending about a week ago. Why? Well, Jimmy had two viruses. Back to back, poor boy.

There were days when we dropped him off at daycare only to be called up because he had a fever or threw up. Sometimes he was fine the following morning and sometimes daycare required that he be fever free before he returned.

There was even a trip to the doctor, just to make sure that Jimmy's cough and fever were nothing serious - and they were nothing serious.

There were days when Jimmy seemed to have energy and appetite, only to end in long naps and slight fever again.

There were two days when Jimmy seemed healthy, so we ran around, even went to the library, just like old times... Sweet, stolen days...

There was a night, or early morning (3 am), when we thought for a second that we had to make a run to the emergency room but it was a tight nappy.

There were days when Jimmy hardly touched his food and nights when he was breastfeeding every hour, not that I was checking.

And then Jimmy started eating again, started running around the living room again, and fully returned to his chirpy, cheeky self.

The first day back at work was the worst: Jimmy screamed at dropoff... The last time I had left him screaming in the arms of non-family he was less than two days old. I couldn't deal. I just couldn't. Jimmy didn't like it either, he missed hanging out at home too, sweet child.

And now we're back in the swing of things, and drop off is smooth, work if fine, and Jimmy is healthy: he is eating more than me and ever so cheeky - it's great, but I miss hanging out with my boy...

P.S. A quick thank you to everyone who checked in while all I was posting was the 52 Project. It's nice to know that you were thinking about us, over at the Playground.

Monday, 16 November 2015


a portrait of my son, once a week, every week in 2015

Jimmy: Enjoying having the energy to enjoy the weather.

Jimmy is back!!!! Running around, throwing things, stuffing food into his mouth, laughing, mucking about... He has recovered fully and come through this first week back at daycare. And the weather was lovely this weekend, so plenty of time was spent outside.

And when I say the weather was lovely, I mean it was warm out of the wind, and pleasant with the right clothing. Jimmy insisted on wearing sandals.

I insisted that Jimmy bring his sneakers with us when we went out on Sunday morning, just in case his feet became too cold. He wore his sandals the whole time. His feet were only a little cold.

All these lovely photos were taken by Michael.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015


a portrait of my son, once a week, every week in 2015

Jimmy: Feeling better...

Daddy (Michael) took this one while Jimmy was enjoying some morning cartoons on the weekend. I love the light, the autumn leaves on the tree outside, but what I love most of all is that Jimmy was starting to feel better after a rough two weeks - I'll tell you about it sometime.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015


a portrait of my son, once a week, every week in 2015

Jimmy: Eat the pumpkin!

Jimmy has been unwell, so he missed out on the Halloween party at his daycare, but on the 31st of October we tried to get him to wear his costume. Not happening. Not even when we convinced him to wear his caterpillar overalls so that he could be a caterpillar inside (and therefore eating) the pumpkin... Ah well, part of me is glad that we didn't go to the effort (and expense) of making what we really wanted to make for Jimmy's costume, while part of me is frustrated that we spent money on a costume that Jimmy will probably never wear for more than 5 seconds. At least the costume is big enough that it fits Daddy, right?

Thursday, 29 October 2015


a portrait of my son, once a week, every week in 2015

Jimmy: running around to stay warm...

I have no words for this photo, only that it was cold and we were outside and having fun. And his face... oh man... he's growing up so fast! Remember this? That blue beanie still fits too...

Friday, 23 October 2015

On the needles: a beanie...

Way back before Jimmy was even born, back when he was inside my belly, and my belly was huge, Michael and I went to the 2013 Peace Festival and I bought this beautiful skein of alpaca from a local spinner. My plan was to make something for our baby with it, only I was going to wait until the baby was born before I did anything - the soft, soft yarn required something special, something that would suit our baby.

It was still untouched back in April, 2014, so it should come as no surprise that the wool made its way across the Pacific Ocean with us (did I mention that I brought wool over here, so that I could work my way through it and be less tempted to buy (even more) wool?).

After lots of umming and ahing, and realising that I hadn't started on any knitted project for Jimmy's 2nd birthday, I wound the skein into a ball and turned the very, very soft alpaca into a beanie.

I may have made the pattern up as I went along...

I did start with a measurement of Jimmy's head, and I did work out how many stitches of 3x3 rib went into 10 cm (or was it an inch or 5? Meh...), so I wasn't flying completely by the seat of my pants... And I kept notes, so that if I ever want to make another one, I have something to work from.

The process was fun and the project small enough to work on in the heat of July and August (I'm a slow knitter, so what). And every time I picked up my needles to work on the beanie I thought of Jimmy, and how the beanie would keep his head warm when his other beanies were not quite big enough or too cozy. I also thought of an old friend and school teacher and I remembered our brief conversation that day at the Peace Festival, and how he was ill and I was reluctant to get too close but still had trouble hearing the few words he said because his throat was so sore due to a recent bout of laryngitis - he would have appreciated the problem solving involved in the making of this beanie...

And now the beanie is finished, and after a very brief evening when the beanie was needed, Jimmy refuses to wear it. I think the fluffy alpaca is a little too warm for the mild autumn fall we're having in Kansas. Ah well! It fits, it stretches, and I know there isn't a photo of it, but the beanie comes to a point and is tied in a knot, because I wasn't wasting any yarn, so it's something of a gumnut beanie. Too bad the reference is lost on Jimmy. Perhaps we should tell him it's an acorn, then he might wear it.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

One for the Scrabble board: biweekly...

From the Free Dictionary:
bi·week·ly (bī-wēk′lē) 
1. Happening every two weeks.
2. Happening twice a week; semiweekly. 
n. pl. bi·week·lies
1. A publication issued every two weeks.
1. Every
 two weeks.

2. Twice a week; semiweekly. See Usage Note.

Yes. It is a word. Perhaps only used in the USA, but it is a word nonetheless.

Biweekly = fortnightly.

Done. Easy. Every two weeks. Biweekly. I may have referred to the word previously, but as I am now being paid biweekly, I thought it was time to formally include it.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Over the weekend we...

Engaged in local autumn fall activities, starting with a pumpkin patch! And not just any pumpkin patch but a pumpkin patch palooza thanks to K-State peoples, Britts Farm, and our lovely friends and neighbours who drove us there and back again (and shared in the fun and excitement of it all).

Because this was intended for college/university students etc, the start was 7 pm. And yes, we managed to get on that haybale ride.

We did need to sign in and get wristbands. Jimmy included. He wasn't sure about the wristband thing to start with, but soon it was forgotten until we returned home.

It was pretty exciting (and a little bit on the cold side) and it was even more exciting when we noticed one of Jimmy's friends, N, and his family, were on the same haybale ride. (Also, because it was cold, N was wearing a coat, a very nice warm coat.)

The ride took us around the edge of the farm, past different crops, and ended by a cornfield and a cornfield maze (!!). When we started we could still see without torches, but we needed them by the end. We definitely needed torches before we finished and to help select a pumpkin. And by torches I mean torch apps on phones - who carries an actual torch when they're not camping?

Once we had our pumpkin we made our way to the bonfire, found N and his family (they snuck off to the easier maze, once we had relocated the entrance to the hard maze), made and ate our very first s'mores.

Yes folks, we made it through the last 18 months without a single one (we did have plenty of toasted marshmallows while on our road trip). The bonfire was the wrong type of fire for s'mores but they were pretty good - the cracker is not sweet, so the whole thing is (fairly) balanced, for a sweet...

We were given our marching orders by Jimmy, and we couldn't complain - the night was turning cold and we were all out of marshmallows. We may have stopped by the farm shop and looked at the available produce and decorative gourds. They were pretty cute, and these ones, as held by Michael, were small and curiously shaped. If we had the money to spend on pretty or curious things that can't be eaten or worn, we might have spent the $10 required to take a few home. It's ok, we already had a pumpkin to take home.

A sweet, round pumpkin no less. Jimmy was fairly protective of it but was also very keen to help Daddy carve it, but he was also keen to keep putting the stem back on...

Jimmy also helped with the first draft of the face, but Daddy stepped in and made something a little more carvable...

Our little Jack-o-Lantern takes pride of place on the table and Jimmy would like it to be illuminated for every meal, but we're sticking to evenings only, even though the mornings are getting darker and we are almost at the stage when we need a light on to eat breakfast... Winter is coming.