Monday, 29 June 2015


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

Jimmy: Jimmy, ready, go!

It's hot. It's summer. And Jimmy is back in the water! He's jumping in, kicking, moving his arms, making his way to the surface (with a little help), even treading water (with Mum or Dad helping to keep his head above the surface).

Swimmy-Jimmy!! Yay for summer!

Oh, all photos were taken by Michael, with his GoPro.

And there are four photos this week because this is the halfway week!!

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Quick reads...

We've been feeling the heat the last few days. The weather calls for light, cotton clothes, and two hats in some cases! And while there has been a cooler day or two in the mix, it's still hot. Jimmy and I have been stuck inside for what feels like days, no thanks to my knee - which is getting better - but we'll make the most of the cooler day and head to the nearby park.

Happy weekend!

The 9 best ice cream shops in Kansas.

A very pretty and creative work studio.

My heart goes out to those suffering from the heatwave in Pakistan.

9 ways sleep deprivation can damage your life.

Quite the amazing placenta.

Did Watson and Crick really steal Franklin's work?

For all the mums heading to the beach or pool.

One of the best pieces on breastfeeding and following baby's lead I've read in a long time.

And last breastfeeding item: these photos are stunning!

Taylor Swift for the win.

A fun eye test.

Arrow have their own website!

Thursday, 25 June 2015


Don't let the honeysuckle fool you - this isn't about bee stings... it's about my knee...

I managed to dislocate my left kneecap yesterday. How? I'm still not sure... I was rolling around on the floor, picking up hairs the vacuum missed, and somehow I moved my leg so that POP! my kneecap slipped out of place. The ensuing seconds were some of the longest seconds I have experienced in a very long time... And then POP! it was back in place.

Only everything hurt. From my foot to my hip.

This is not the first time I have dislocated a kneecap, and everything I did that time was, well, wrong. Last time I iced it, kept off it, ended up hurting my good leg, and a few days later was on crutches for a week. And I had a dancing exam in 4 weeks time - I didn't take the exam.

So, this time? Please remember that I am not a medical professional, so I have probably done something wrong this time too, but here goes: this time I gently moved my knee and gently rubbed it, kept moving the joint just enough to stop it from seizing up and put a little weight on it, albeit a little gingerly, and often using my arms to help get me off the floor. The pain was a little nauseating, and the whole thing draining, but my knee was still usable.

When I woke up this morning I was pleasantly surprised to find my knee a lot less sore. Still tender, but much easier to use than yesterday.

Jimmy has been incredibly patient and we have manage to avoid further aggravation of the injury. Michael is also being wonderful, and while I am still using my leg, I am also staying off it as much as needed. It would be wonderful to have family close by who could come and take Jimmy for a good run-around, but no...

Hopefully I'll be fully functional in a few days, although I might wait a full week before carrying Jimmy for more than 1 minute. And hopefully I haven't done any damage to my knee due to the lack of ice or gentle use.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

I'm a published writer...

In Womankind magazine! Yes, my ~600 word piece for the No News Week challenge made the cut, and is published alongside 10 other entries in the May-July 2015 edition.

I was a little hesitant to share the news that I am now published because I wanted to see it for myself. And here it is, all the way from Australia - thanks Dad! (aka Pop)

All the No News Week entries are very good and the rest of the magazine is excellent - I am enjoying reading it in bits and pieces. I love the lack of ads. The weight of the paper is perfect and the whole thing is beautifully put together.

And there is a little piece of my writing in there. And while I am happy to see my words in print, the words are not all happy. How could it be, when a young man I know drowned that week? It was so hard being so far away from friends and family that week, but I know the week was even harder for those back home. In what little way it can be, I want to dedicate my little piece of writing to them.

As the magazine has been on sale in Australia for a while now, I can only assume that most of my family and friends have read the piece. I know the copy in my possession was read by a few people before it was posted to me.

I thought my magazine reading days were almost done, limited to knitting magazines and the occasional green or country lifestyle magazines, but no, I think I have a new favourite.

The equivalent US edition has just come out, so I might try to get my hands on a copy, just to compare. I'm also a little tempted to get a subscription...

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Over the weekend we...

Welcomed the turning of the seasons by staying inside most of the time, venturing to the pool and the school playground (where everything was a little too hot to touch even at 10am in the morning), and sleeping under the ceiling fan. It was well over 35 C on Saturday, and only slightly cooler on Sunday.

Yay... It's now summer-proper...

But the sun will set a little earlier and rise a little later each and every day. Some days will be very hot, like today, and others will be not as hot but muggy. The morning light will slowly move back across the kitchen and then to the side of the living room where we eat our meals. And then it will be autumn and then winter...

Ah the tilting of the Earth's axis. It is very, very important - I just wish that there wasn't so far to walk to the bus stop.

What we did for the Winter Solstice - it was a bit of a bigger deal.

Monday, 22 June 2015


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

Jimmy: Play (with) Mummy's camera.

No, it's not always easy getting a photo of Jimmy, especially when he wants to play with my camera, which happens, which is my default filter is "little fingerprints". It's also not easy to get a photo of Jimmy after he's had a nap, some lunch, monkey bread, and is hanging out with his Daddy on a weekday. I love my boys.

Happy Father's Day and Happy Solstice!

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Quick reads...

It's been feeling like summer, Brisbane summer, and I keep thinking that Christmas is coming, even though we're seeing fireflies and Jimmy's second birthday is coming up. Clearly I'm mixing things up in my head...

This weekend is a big one: the Summer Solstice and Father's Day are both on Sunday. It's also going to be hot. Proper hot. The coming heat wave will not make things any better, but here's to a weekend at home, drinking lots of iced water, staying out of the sun, and enjoying the pool. Happy weekend!

Here are a few things I've enjoyed reading this week:

139 new species identified!! It's very exciting.
I gave it all up...
Luxury-communism anyone?
An interesting look at saying thank you.
The women whom science forgot.
How to recognise the artists of paintings.

Plus some I have been meaning to share for a while:

The Birth Centre at the Royal Brisbane Women's Hospital turned 20 a few months ago.
Green is the new denim.
A gentle, reflective piece on miscarriage.
A crafty life
Why too much Facebook is not good for you.

(How to recognise the artists of paintings via A Cup of Jo, world events and green is the new denim via Reading My Tea Leaves, crafty life via Down to Earth)

Friday, 19 June 2015

Jimmy's first real haircut...

My beautiful, scruffy boy... His first haircut wasn't a proper one... And Daddy has been keen to remove the rest of the curls and scruff ever since. Me? I love those soft baby curls, the hair that is baby soft because it has never known scissors, all that hair that has appeared in the last 12 months.

Oh that hair! But I agreed that it was time. So the other evening, between our late afternoon swim and dinner, Michael and I went about the task of cutting Jimmy's hair.

We used the balcony because it would be easier to clean up the hairs, and strapped Jimmy into his highchair, used an old swaddle and some bulldog clips to cover him, and chocolate and raspberries to keep him happy.

Michael insisted on cutting Jimmy's hair, and as I had done the very, very first cuts, it was only fair that I stepped back and picked up the camera.

I suggested to Michael that he cut the hair around Jimmy's ears first, because it's recommended by the professionals (and it rings true to me after years of cutting the family dog's hair), and Michael did follow that suggestion. He ditched the comb pretty quickly... It was my suggestion to use it... But that comb is no good for helping with haircuts.

Jimmy was happy so long as he had raspberries or chocolate to eat and quickly prompted me for more treats when he had finished his last mouthful.

Those curls are gone... I was really enjoying those curls...

Once he had cut most of Jimmy's hair, Michael asked me to cut Jimmy's fringe and I may have done a little trimming as quickly as I could. There wasn't much hair to cut a fringe... Now there's even less.

That's Jimmy's "more chocolate" face on the left, and because I wanted to do one last trim around his ears Jimmy received his chocolate. See right for Jimmy's "hmmmm chocolate" face.

Done! I don't know how long it actually took us to cut Jimmy's hair, but I do know that he ate a lot of chocolate for a little boy, plus a lot of raspberries, followed by a fair amount of pasta for dinner.

The next day, Jimmy's haircut looked a little more Jimmy-esk, a little more scruffy, but a cleancut version. As sad as I am that the baby curls are gone, I do like the new haircut. Jimmy seems to like it too. How about you?

All photos taken by myself or Michael.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Over the weekend we...

Went to the National Festival of Breads! Some friends told us about it on Friday afternoon and so, we went with them. It was held at the Hilton Garden Inn, downtown Manhattan, KS. It was a bit of fun, and provided some light entertainment on a rainy Saturday morning.

Let's start with the wheat. And the children's display. With a little help from Daddy, Jimmy made up one of these wheat bags containing a few grains of wheat, some water crystals, and some water. Then one of the staff put the bag on a string and made a necklace out of the whole thing.

The necklaces were pretty popular with the children at the Festival. Jimmy was pretty happy with his. And would you look at that hair on his head - it just keeps getting longer and thicker, but it's still baby soft.

And while the necklace was a hit, when Jimmy found the basket of wheat he wanted nothing more than to get his hands in and make a bit of a mess. I couldn't blame him. It was pretty cool and quite the sensory experience.

As much as Jimmy enjoyed the children's area, and the basket of wheat, he kept making his way to the playdough display. The ladies of Kansas Play Klay were lovely and were happy to see Jimmy return again and again to play with the samples of their lovely, velvety, and scented playdough. I wish I could say that we bought some, but we didn't. Some other time perhaps.

There were things for the adults too. Mostly presentations and a few stands, a raffle or two and a few handouts. And we could see the breadmaking finalists in action - they were preparing their entries for the afternoon judging.

I was pretty taken with this collection of flour bags. They were so colourful and detailed. They put my small collection of flour bags from Kialla Pure Foods to shame, but then these days cloth flour bags are few and far between.

Jimmy was quite taken with the flour bag cow, although he thought it was a dog. I may have to make him something similar, when I am reunited with my flour bag collection.

After we were done at the Festival, we headed up to the rooftop of the car park and took in the view. In early spring those white letters (KS) on the hill are very visible. They are visible from the top of the Discovery Center (which I really should write about). We may have checked out Arlan's Wine & Cheese, across the road from the Hilton. We may have bought some cheese...

Tuesday, 16 June 2015


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

Jimmy: It's Owl...

We have a serious thing going on with the Gruffalo. And when I say serious, I mean it: Jimmy is quoting the book/movie without prompting and when we're watching the movie, Jimmy will say the lines before the characters... It's quite something.

I have Michael to thank for this weeks photo, and Jimmy for putting on the Owl puppet - Michael and I made the puppet last autumn fall, and it is pretty cool. (We may have made Snake, and we may have the materials to make Fox. We might be encouraging this obsession...)

Thursday, 11 June 2015

17-year periodical cicadas!

As I mentioned the other day, something really exciting happened: I found a (dead) 17-year periodical cicada (on the lid of our recycling bins). When we went to the Kansas Sampler Festival, we found out that this was the year! that they were coming out, I totally lost any sense of composure. 

Well, somehow I managed to keep my cool on Sunday and brought this baby home. Michael proceeded to take these pictures. It was pretty exciting and we've been happily listening to the cicadas singing since we first realised they were out. 

The periodicals are smaller than the cicadas that we saw last year - they are out too. Cicadas are little sound bites from home. Their songs are reassuring, even if they are different. I'm still in disbelief that we're here and the periodicals are out.... 

When I first heard about them in a seminar, way back in 2007 towards the end of my Honours year, I thought they were amazing and knew that I wanted to see them, but I didn't investigate the issues of "when?" and "where?" because I was overwhelmed by life at the time - my siblings were overseas, the family dog had been euthanized, Honours was coming to an end, and I was moving to Samoa for a year... So, yeah, I put the information about the periodical cicadas in a safe place and kept going with the daily business of life.

And now I've seen them and so has Michael. Most likely, Jimmy will not remember them, but we have pictures to prove that he was next to this (dead) 17-year periodical while Daddy was taking some pretty pictures. I feel like being here, while these periodical are coming out, is us witnessing part of history: we can't control it; we have helped record it; and we are unlikely to ever see it again.

And if you're wondering: this cicada is a female 17-year periodical; the periodicals should be around and singing for a wonderful 4 weeks; Michael and I enjoying it.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Over the weekend we...

Didn't get up to much over the weekend. It didn't rain, even though a storm passed just to the north of Manhattan in the very early hours of Saturday morning - so Saturday involved catching up on some rest and sleep.

We spent a few hours at the pool over the course of the two days - it's been hot, and humid after a few weeks of rain and storms, and the pool provides a nice escape, even if the concrete is very hot.

Everything is green beyond belief. For this Queenslander, it feels like we're living in an irrigated field, only green is the default for this time of year. The number of storms we've had in the last few weeks are not normal, once every 10 or so years according to one local.

There may have been a close-call with the sourdough starter. I was prepared to let it go, but Michael's response said it all "What?! And eat marshmallow [bread]?" and so, it has been saved and I am amazed at what can come from less than half a teaspoon of starter.

I spent a little time fixing my favourite backpack, although I didn't end up using the fabric. The time was well worth it, because I'm not ready to replace my Deuter Act Trail yet - it's starting to develop that lovely smell of old tents (and mildew) and at eight years old, it's still looking good.

The best thing to happen all weekend is getting its own post, so stay tuned.

Monday, 8 June 2015


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

Jimmy: Ready for the pool!

Thanks to Michael for taking this one on his GoPro as we were heading to the pool this afternoon.

And yes, we have our Swimmy-Jimmy back! The pool has been open for two weeks now, but for the first week the water wasn't really warm enough for a little boy to enjoy it. The last week has seen the rain and storms decrease in frequency, the humidity has been high and the heat feels like high-summer, even though it's only just getting started...

And Jimmy has started swimming again! He's still a little unsure of the water, but his confidence in the water is growing, and he just loves the exercise of getting out of the apartment.

Here's to a Swimmy-Jimmy summer!