Monday, 30 March 2015


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

Jimmy: Sandpit pockets.

Michael and Jimmy had been playing in the sandpit (at the school down the road), and on the way home Jimmy kept stopping to tell Michael that there was sand in his pockets. Pockets are a recent discovery for Jimmy, and he really does explore his clothes for pockets when they go on, and throughout the day. It's pretty cute, just like this photo Michael took as Jimmy paused to explore the sandpit in his pockets.


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

Jimmy: Eat sultana, watch birds in tree.

I thought I'd just sneak this in before putting up this weeks photo... We've had a funny two weeks: gastro and human trials (Michael is has almost finished running the human study component of his project, well, the initial trial). The result has been a shake up of our routine, but, gastro aside, it has been a pleasant change, and has meant that we've seen more of Michael in the afternoons, and quite often so have the guys at Arrow Coffee Co.

The week that I was really sick was pretty quiet, and it was hard to entertain a bouncing boy, but when he was hungry, Jimmy was happy to have some sultanas and small biscuits in an enamel cup. He would take his snack and sit watching the birds in the tree, until he was done. Sometimes he wanted more food and would take his refreshed supplies and continue watching the birds. Sometimes I would join him. And one time I took some photos, because I wanted to capture the difference a year can make.

Monday, 23 March 2015


We're here. The weather is lovely. No indications that any tornadoes are on the way...

We're sick is all. Quite sick, but it's a virus and we're getting over it, little by little...

So we're here, we're just at different stages of "not well".

More when we can.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

I'm a mum and that means...

That I'll answer the door in my PJs if you come around before 11 am, because chances are I haven't been out of bed for more than 3 hours, Jimmy is probably still in his PJs, most likely we have no plans to leave the house before lunch, and it never occurs to me "make myself presentable" while hanging around my own home.

Even as a non-mum, the idea of wearing makeup around the house, just so that I looked "presentable" if someone came to the door, seemed silly. Combined with hardly ever wearing makeup and rarely putting my hair up in anything but a bun, it really shouldn't surprise anyone that I usually don't manage to get out of my PJs or yoga pants until after Jimmy has gone down for his nap.

At least, that's how it's been all winter. My routine is overdue for a shake up, and we need to get back into the habit of going to playgroup, but for those mornings when we'll be home until Jimmy brings me shoes and says "go outside", I'll answer the door in my PJs, even at 11 am. No apologies. Who's with me?

Monday, 16 March 2015


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

Jimmy: Super Jimmy!

Super Jimmy dances, barefoot on the tennis court, after 6pm...

And Super Daddy takes photos with his Gopro...

The days are now warm (ok, 15-20 Celsius during the day), and we can even leave windows open in the evening. So, naturally the words "go outside" are uttered at least 10 times a day, unless we are actually already outside. Quick to follow are the words "slide" and "sandpit" and "green ball" and "ride Daddy bike", not necessarily in that order.

And the weather has been so wonderful that Jimmy's requests to go outside cannot be denied - and it's great that we only have to put shoes and a light jumper or vest on, sometimes even sunnies and hats (!!) (Jimmy usually has to put pants on too before we leave the apartment...). And sometimes we don't even need jumpers or shoes... just like Super Jimmy!

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Quick reads...

I was putting this list together and realised that it looks like I'm trying to justify being a stay-at-home mum. I'm not. The only justification I need is Jimmy: he is such a confident, inquisitive, observant, and funny little boy. Michael makes the most of the time he was with Jimmy too, and our decision to have me at home this year has been worth it but the reward is not financial. Part of me thinks I needed this time to heal emotionally after Jimmy's birth and the best way to do that was to spend time with my bubba. Part of me always wanted to spend the first year at home with each of my babies (we only have the one), and I am now happy to return to the workforce, or have another baby. Plus we're a very, very long way from home and it felt important to keep Jimmy close...

Anyway! Hope you're having a lovely weekend!

20 reasons why every breastfeeding mother should cover up.

I love this piece on nursing in NYC.

Five things you should never say to a stay-at-home parent.*

And while we're on the topic of stay-at-home parents, we're not a 'luxury'.

Plus, what a stay-at-home parent is worth.

An amazing find for science.

A sweet little birth story from Brisbane.

Words of warning (and a good laugh) for mothers of boys

Feeling the heat? I planned to share these three a few weeks ago, but didn't manage it so: Hudson River in deep freeze; the cold freezes everything; Polar vortex brings the coldest weather in decades.

And for a dose of cute: Baby chameleons!

Happy Pi Day! Did you celebrate it?

*If anyone can think of 5 things to never say to duel income parents, please let me know! I'm going to start with: why do both of you work, if you don't have to?

(Baby chameleons via A Cup of Jo)

Saturday, 14 March 2015

A little spring cleaning...

The urge to spring clean our apartment has been eating away at me since I realised that we might be going home soon. And even with our change of plans, one way or the other we are going to move (maybe (arg)), and the urge is still there.

But I wanted to wait until it was warm enough to open the place.

And now the weather is warm and the urge to spring clean is irresistible.

So I started small, with a little bag I've had since I was thirteen, that has pretty much always been home to earrings and bobby pins.
I had actually forgotten that I had already cleaned it out before we moved to the USA, so this job was very quick. I threw out some hair pins that I just can't stand using and put another one in the op shop pile.

Before putting everything back in, I lined the bottom of the bag with fresh bobby pins, from a pack I bought here. And in locating the pack of US bobby pins, I started cleaning out the smallest of my two toiletries bags - hairbands, bobby pins, and cosmetics.

So there are now more things to go to the op shop (unused hairbands mostly), and I have made a mental note of the cosmetics that are to be binned when we leave - most of what I have is starting to smell funny or not go on right, and I'm not even sure some of the colours actually suit my complexion.

The reality is I don't actually wear much makeup, and I usually go without. Somedays I don't even wash my face in the morning. It will be nice to reduce my make up collection to what I actually use. I wish I could be as ruthless with my earring collection... One day...

The urge to spring clean has been satisfied, for now, but I'm sure that it won't be long before I clean out the hall cupboard, or the wardrobe in the spare room...

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Early Spring...

It's Spring here in Manhattan, KS! Spring! Ok, so it's really early spring, but daylight savings started over the weekend. And while it could snow again before summer, the nights are now just warm enough to leave the windows open a little and during the day we are down to 2-3 layers, and sunnies.

Yes, the sunglasses are out because the sun is just blinding. As Jimmy said today: sun-bright. Yesterday, when these photos were taken, Jimmy had his sunnies on when we left the apartment and they stayed on until we were at Arrow Coffee Co. I was pretty impressed with how long he kept them on, but then we have been out without them lately, and we have needed them.

It was a lovely day, Tuesday, like the last 5 or so days have been, so when Jimmy woke up from his (rather late) nap, I knew he would need some running around so that he might just go to sleep by 9:30pm... I asked him what he wanted to do. "Ride Daddy bike" was the response. So, we took the bus and walked about the K-State Gardens, sans snow, before meeting up with Michael. Prepare yourself for lots of photos of Jimmy...
Climbing up all by himself...
Checking out the seat...
Just hanging out, you know...

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Missing/Enjoying: Birds...

One of highlights of every phone call, Facetime, or Skype, with our loved ones back in Australia is the birds in the background. They come through clearest when we're catching up with my parents (aka Granny and Pop), probably because my parents in a quiet and well treed part of the country.

And it reminds Michael and I of our old home in Brisbane where we would get currawongs and kookaburras (and native crows, which are much more annoying than the ones here in Manhattan). And we miss them.

When we arrived here, 11 months ago, we had no idea how transient the birds would be over the course of the year: We didn't know that the red cardinals and blue jays would disappear, or that we would see Canadian geese flying overhead (yep, that's them in the first picture and yes they make a loud honking noise as they fly). The turkey vultures flew south for the winter and we have seen other large birds in the sky too. But American robins have been constant and the European starlings have been around all winter too (but they're a pest...). And the little Cedar waxwings are just what winter calls for: yellow. Most of these birds here don't have pretty calls or loud laughs, but they are wonderful nonetheless...

So, in celebration of birds that call Manhattan, KS, their home and those that visit, here are some recent-ish pictures Michael and I have taken of locally found birds:
Starlings in tree #2...
Close up of a cold starling...
Startled starlings...
Cedar waxwings are the best...
The robins are pretty too...
The snow has all gone, but the crabapple still attracts birds with its old fruit. We hear them tweeting away some mornings, and hear the occasional woodpecker searching for grubs. Spring is upon us and we're quite taken with how distinct the changing of the seasons is - it's a nice distraction from our homesickness.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015


We're cancelling our tickets and staying in Manhattan, KS, for another year and a little.

It's great for Michael's project. If Michael gets a few publications, it'll be great for him.

It's nice not to have to leave, to pack up and get on that aeroplane - even if we're only putting it off.


But we miss family and friends back home.

We miss Australia.

We want to start setting up a stable home for Jimmy because in a year and a bit we have to start thinking about schools.

And while I would prefer money not to be an issue, it is: we would love to be back in Australia but there is no work lined up.

So, we [are trying really, really hard to] accept that we should stay here because we will be able to save up more money than we might if we returned to Australia, and the current job market.

Fingers crossed it works out for the best, but it's still a bitter pill to swallow and it's still a bittersweet development.

Monday, 9 March 2015


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

Jimmy: Humph...

"Humph" describes this week for us, even if Jimmy was actually have a really great time at the playground, and was only frowning because of the bright sun. Michael's timing with the camera could not have been better.

Yes, "humph"... We've been waiting on news regarding an extension for Michael's project and coming to terms with a tragic event that has deeply affected people we love and care about back in Australia.

At least the weather has been warm and there are no more giant snowmen around to "chase" Jimmy...

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

A tale of three trees... Part 3

This is my personal favourite series of tree photos. I can't quite explain it... Since discovering the scenic route to Dillons, we pass this tree every week on our way to the shops. So taking a photo of it every week* as it changed from green to bare made sense.

 Possibly the first week with the bike...

 First snow ride/shopping trip...

 *There was one weekend where it was cold, there was snow, and then I was sick, so I did actually miss a week. And then there was the odd week when I forgot my camera... which means that Michael probably has a few photos, but you get a good sense of the tree changing over time.
I'm not sure if there are any buds waiting for the weather to be consistently over 5 degrees C - I'll have to check next time we go past it. Maybe I'll get a photo or two of it looking a little greener... But it might just be the grass that is green.

Monday, 2 March 2015


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

Jimmy: Running from a scary monster... well sort of... 

No snow and cold weather makes me cranky. I think Jimmy feels the same because it can be hard to get him out of the apartment. But if there is snow? Well! It's a different story. Sort of... 

It can still take 10 minutes and two parents to wrangle him into all his layers, but it's always worth it.

And when someone else has gone to the effort of making a really big snow man? Even better!

Thanks go to Michael for getting Jimmy dressed,getting Jimmy to pretend to be running from a monster and taking this lovely photo.