Wednesday, December 31, 2014

World Famous

World famous vanilla slice in Mansfield on new year eve. Hanging out in town waiting for the XRay department to open so we can find out what the damage is to Charlie's shoulder. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

First Tracks

A high country stay in a house, how novel. Enough to make me forget I need to bring warm clothes, damnit.

Milla has her new car seat and seems very happy and comfy. I love being able to see her when I look back.

I've got bruised and bashed up knees, tried riding around the Sawmill Settlement township with my clipped in shoes, need a lot more practice. Wah.

On the road again.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Milla's First Christmas Part 3

It was a long happy Christmas Day. Quiet morning and evening. Busy house and sunny yard during the day. Milla had her usual sleeps and meals and was pleasant during her two sessions of present opening.

Grandma, Milla, and me.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Milla's First Christmas Part 2

Charlie was dead against the Santa photo, but I couldn't resist. It was so ace. Shh! Don't tell him, I'm wrapping up the print to put under the tree. It will be priceless to see his face.

All she wants for Christmas is more food. 
Look at the grin! I know Santa looks like he has the cold dead eyes of a killer weary old man, but he was a delight. He did say Milla was one of the most common names he'd come across this season, along with Amelia and Olivia. So weird how the zeitgeist works.

Milla got the dress from Santa (ha! her Pop and partner), and it's a beauty. It was one of the gifts she (ha! I...) got to unwrap in Christmas Part 1.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


She could watch butterflies all day.

Backyard loveliness at nearly six months.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Milla's First Christmas Part 1

Christmas for us is usually a busy day, with a big of angst on my part about who goes where, when. We have three families in Melbourne to spend time with, and somehow we want to be with all of them, all day. This year will be a little different. We will stay home, no driving, no commuting around. A few years ago I caught the train from Richmond out to Eltham on Christmas morning, with summer puddings in my backpack. It was a hot day, empty train. Things change. No more Rodda Parade house and pine needle smell.

The first part of Christmas was putting up the tree and trimming it. Aunty Em helped and our tree was made by the talented Pat who made our bed too. We only had three decorations, ahem, so have received some heritage baubles from both families to add.

Cool tree, weird decorations... 
On Friday we had the second part of Christmas - Freeland Lane family. Uncle gave Milla her first present, and she was so attentive and engaged opening it up.

Oooh a peak inside.
Milla's arrival does change Christmas somewhat: the first of the next generation for our families, the first kid to entertain. I wonder about Santa / Father Christmas and what we'll say to Milla about him.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

New Seat

The best seat in the house. Milla's new car seat was installed (by her loving father) today into Sooty. She tried it on for size. We are so excited about her facing forward to see where we're headed.

Asleep on the inside.
Sun kissed cheeks. Guilty mum. Love those round thighs and dark eyes.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Mount Stirling

Back to Stirling, finally, with Milla.

Summit baby.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Doughnuts and Avocado

Feeding is exciting. Milla's faces and watching her understanding grow. It's really delightful. And I just started to feel nostalgic about breastfeeding. No sooner does it start to feel right, than it's the beginning of the end. It was so hard, miserable, painful and frustrating. So loaded. And now it's warm and easy and lovely.

Feeding herself strawberry. 
Milla is still quite round, with doughnuts threaded up her thighs. But her limbs are getting longer. She feels damn heavy to pick up. I still get asked 'how old is he?' by idiots in the street.

After a feed at the Big Design Market, out the back.
Charlie and I looked through family albums and to our surprise, Milla looks more like me as a babe, but she looks more like Charlie in daily life. It's weird.

Trying avocado for the first time.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Nectarine and Peter and the Wolf

Giving Milla various bit of fruit to chew on after her daytime meals. She pulverised a slice of nectarine on her tiny hard gums.

Feeding herself. 
After dicey milk supply following Bikram, I started mat pilates nearby, will give that a go. These days I have long productive mornings after Milla goes back to bed, housework, bike ride of 40 minutes, then reading, gardening and after that the day can meander in a number of different ways. Today I found Peter and the Wolf on YouTube and played that to Milla while I read about the rules of war.

If I have nothing booked, I feel at a complete loss. If I have more than two things to do in one day, I get anxious. Weird pace of life.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Nearly Five Months

Nearly five months! Charlie is wondering what Milla's Christmas food will be. She's been having sweet potato dinner every night, such an enthusiastic eater. We've padded out the seat of her chair so she can sit up with us at the bench. Look at her feet! So cute. 

Working on her glares. 

Monday, November 24, 2014


A quiet morning here, listening to the rain come and go. Baby sleeping. Dark grey everywhere.

A week slid by, busy times from birthday to Christmas and soon Milla will be six months old. The past week I had two exhausting crying (her, not me) afternoons, a day at uni, a horrible evening on Friday with a hysterical Milla, and a long busy but lovely weekend.

Milla has had sweet potato dinner twice now, after her 5:30pm feed. We may have a new little routine. She pulls a very disgusted face but keeps on taking the spoon and may have even swallowed a little food.

New toy, tired face. 
I went to a baby and kid gear market yesterday, freaked out as I walked in, the sheer busyness and pink of all the second hand clothes. I like markets but maybe not inside? Somehow I managed to get over myself and buy some stuff, toys for 50 cents each, some fabric books for Milla too, and a few pieces of clothes. I discovered the very cute Swedish brand Polarn o. Pyret when buying some green harem style pants for Milla.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Eating and Drinking

I read a comment on a blog regarding 'baby lead weaning', with a mother wondering how you would know a baby is 'interested' in food. Ha, Milla is so interested, it's unmistakable. She may have swallowed her first sweet potato on Saturday, and we've been practicing 'sipping'.

Watching Charlie eat.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Happy Birthday

It was a muted and delightful birthday for me this year. A number of breakfasts, leading into brunches, flowers brought, a lovely baby, a turn around the old hood, some loading up a of a trailer to take junk to the tip (best birthday present!), reading of the latest Vanity Fair, salads, snags and a couple of visitors in the eve, including Jack with a classic trick gift, beautifully wrapped.

We went to find me some cycling shoes, while I was getting fitted (into men's shoes), Charlie and Milla checked out bikes for when she gets a bit bigger.

Knows what she likes.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Odd Spot

Milla had new overalls made for her, custom made, based on my love of this picture, which I posted when about four months pregnant. She tried them on and we strolled to my local cafe, a place where babies get admired. She was sleepy, cute, looking at traffic, licking the bib of the overalls, then hungry, then asleep.

Rolls and spots. 


Morning walk in the yard, girls in pyjamas. Milla now grabs at the trees, I tell her about the nectarines and apricots she'll be eating this summer.

Any resemblance? 
Had an exciting day on Tuesday, when Milla was inadvertently offered honey... Not recommended for babies due to bacteria and risk of botulism. Eep! She's had no symptoms of anything untoward and has eaten just fine since, phew. Just for some more excitement, that evening we had her four-month immunisations, which we walked to in the evening sunshine as a family. She howled for a few terrible seconds, then was soothed by a cuddle and after a few hours forgot about her chubby thighs being pricked.

Her high chair arrived in the post but it was hilarious to put her in it, she's too small, or too short perhaps. So she'll eat on our laps, methinks.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Belated Bedroom

During my pregnancy, I was asked endlessly how the nursery was coming along. Today we started.

It involved putting Milla to sleep on our bed, then quietly moving half a room of junk/gear to the Ballroom. A quick vacuum, hang the bunting and mobile, place the crib, move the bookshelf, arrange select books and toys. The room is still half full of gear/junk but Milla has had her first sleep in her very own bedroom.

She's a winter baby, and seems to be a little unsettled by the heat. She's been getting around in a nappy and heat rash and this afternoon we draped a wet flannel over her round tummy. 

Happy to have Charlie home from work on Friday. 
We're still feeding the same routine (6:30, 10:30, 2:30, 5:30, 8:30) but this week I need to get organised to feed her solids. She's reaching for spoons, holding the side of cups and licking her lips when we eat. 

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Good morning

Waking Milla up. It's 6:30 and I've had breakfast and hung the washing, read some internet, straightened the kitchen and who knows how long my boobs have been leaking for.

Down the hall, don't need to be quiet. I peer in, the back of her head visible in the crib in the corner. No movement. I want to let her sleep. 

Trying swaddle-free.
I call out "good morning", and she stirs, eyes firmly closed. Sitting down next to her, I say it's time to get up, stroke the blanket and start to pull it back and unwind the swaddle. A little frown develops, her feet kick up, arms stretching strong overhead as released. Eyes closed, bottom lip spreading.

I say, "up, up", and pick Milla up, her arms around my neck and shoulder. I love this feeling. She's still asleep, nuzzled in deep. Slowly down the dark hall, I sit down, gently swing her on to my lap and as she starts to whimper, set her to feed.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Sunday afternoon

A trip to the market, just across the way at the Substation. Farmer's Market outside, Artist's Market inside. Perfect. Got Gippsland garlic, some fruit pies, cheese, apples, and birthday presents. Milla fell asleep on the way home.

One sock off. Love those cheeks.
Birthday season is here and last night Milla saw her first birthday candles. It was so wonderful to watch her face. Even more was just how loved she is by family. Got a fab gift from stepsister, accurate right down to the father's eyebrows...

We sure are... 

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Healing and Stepping

Second shot at Bikram. The instructor managed to slip in a theme of 'healing' amongst the rigid Bikram script. At first I didn't really listen or hearing any meaning, but after a while, in the floor series, I realised that it did mean something to me. I am healing. My body is strong, healthy, but still recovering from childbirth and from daily baby-mustering and feeding. My pelvic floor and abdominal muscles still are healing. This is why I'm at yoga and not running! It was so interesting to think about a need to nurture and recover, and to turn towards healing practices.

Charlie took care of Milla while I went to the class, and when I returned she has some more floor baby play time, on her back, rolling side-to-side, then on her tummy, so close to crawling. Then we stood her up, her favourite position. Charlie had her arms lightly and she did something new: put one foot in front of the other, then again, then again. Maybe it was because she was wearing her new Superbaby singlet?

We think she's super. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Bikram and Painting

I've been painting the shed. Not as fun as it sounds. But satisfying nonetheless. Painted Charlie's wall in between him resetting it. It's such a great time to spend in the backyard. Butterflies, nectarines appearing and everything smelling great and growing fast.

Painting progress. 
Yesterday I went back to Bikram. First time in 18 months. I did used to go to the Richmond studio semi-regularly and it felt amazing. It's not advised during pregnancy so it was a long while before I could return. And it requires logistical coordination. So Ma came and looked after Milla as I nervously headed off to the Yarraville studio yesterday morning.

I had tried to research for advice on breastfeeding and Bikram but couldn't find anything. When I arrived at the studio, though, I was informed that my milk might be a bit acidic afterwards and that my baby might notice. Also that my boobs might hurt in poses lying on my tummy, and to do a variation. I intended to take a spot at the back of the class and simply try to stay in the room for the 90 minutes.

But, it was amazing, and I felt so good throughout. But I remembered this is how it always was with Bikram. I would get nervous that it would be hard, and then it was always way more satisfying and exhilarating than I expected. I felt so energised and when I got home, started up the mower, mowed the yard, then made a frittata, and some cacao power slice. Then a dehydration headache set in and after Milla's 2:30pm feed and being put to bed, I took some Panadol Extra and had a nap for an hour. I had drunk litres of water but maybe I need to have electrolytes straight out of class.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Four months

We went to the nurse yesterday for Milla's 'four month checkup'. These appointments were at least weekly when she first arrived, and we'd be a little nervous as she wasn't putting weight on quickly. Now it's something to look forward to - and the measurements yesterday confirmed she is well and thriving. Statistically, she is short and fat with a big head. Ha!

Milla weighed almost double her birth weight - so, 6.3kg yesterday. She's grown about 300 grams a week the past 5 weeks and is 3 centimetres longer. She gets a feed upon waking, usually about 6am, then around 10am, 2pm and supplemented feeds at 5:30pm and 8:30pm.

Milla at four months.
The nurse said that we could start feeding her some food now, which I was really excited about. She's had some licks of food and sits with us when we eat quite often, so it will be quite natural to give her a piece of sweet potato of her very own.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Grampians Paradise

Three years ago we went as a bunch of friends to camp for a weekend just outside Pomonal, at a campground called Grampians Paradise. Charlie and I were used to backcountry camping and the idea of a place with a shower block and camp kitchen was somewhat foreign.

Major Mitchell at Mount William, 2012.
The date was set to be on the birthday of Charlie and another friend, something to celebrate. A surprise cake was made. The weekend was a success, shared food, great weather, the campground was lovely. So we went back last year, with more friends and visitors, and then this year, with some babies.

View from campground, 2013. 
The pregnancy test that showed positive was taken in that toilet block a year ago, and it was amazing to return with Milla in tow exactly twelve months later.

Camping Milla, under the cake umbrella, 2014. 
The camp kitchen, hot showers and easy access are great, and the dawn chorus, wildlife and views make for an excellent camping weekend. Charlie climbed and rode, I did two road rides, we had a picnic with the crew in Halls Gap, and dinners back at camp.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Morning by the Lake

Somehow Milla slept through until 7am, breaking the camping habit of 3am feed. So we got up and sat in the morning sun, listening to chorus of birds and watching trees shimmer in breeze. All the other tents in campground were quiet.

Friday, October 24, 2014


Sleepy after feed in Sooty while Charlie boulders. Sun heating up. Lovely chatting, commentary on the bush.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Home time

Time to get philosophical. We make the lists of highlights, resolutions for the future and plans for the week ahead.

Our final night was a bummer, but perhaps it was bound to be. We were eaten alive by mozzies at Cape Conran, and had a disappointing trip to Marlo pub.

Milla stuck her feet (and a cheeky hand) into the sand on the beach, and to my amazement, spotted a fast moving bat in the dusky sky.

Very small frame of reference. 
Home felt very alien. The backyard looks lush and green, and the weather is balmy. Milla was very wide-eyed all evening, it was quiet strange watching her arrive back home. She cracked us up by sitting like a tiny adult on my lap. Touching her knee is a new thing, learnt in the bath at Mount Vic.

Sitting on the dock of the bay... 
This coming weekend we'll be in the Grampians, where I found out I was pregnant exactly a year ago. We'll camp for two or three nights, following one of our new rules about not staying just one night when out - too much set up, pack up and not enough fun in between.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Honeysuckle and Murrumbidgee

Charlie got his climb, and Milla and I were witness, as we joined him on the 2k approach. We took the Mountain Buggy on the track, Milla howling as it was her feed time. Charlie and I trotted, then ran, looking for the boulder.

Afterwards, to camp. We were the only ones at Honeysuckle, apart from the herds of roos and wallabies. It became clear that we pitched at a popular eating spot, and during the early hours we heard aggressive barking all around our tent.

Dinner was gnocchi with sauce prepared at Mt Vic, we ate in shifts as I double fed Milla,  feeling tired and hoping for an early night. A gamble, as feeding early likely means rising early.

Bundled into her bassinet, Milla went to sleep as I spotted a long tailed shooting star. We crept to bed at 8:30 perhaps. It was very cold, lovely to be snuggled down. Milla woke us at 2:52 and I got up and fed and changed her in Sooty. Happily, she went back to sleep and then it was a chorus of barks and birdsong that got us up a couple of hours later.

After breakfast, I had a short ride, and Charlie packed. On to Jindabyne. A short cut became a dead end as a huge river crossing appeared foolish. Exciting times as Charlie took a dip and I looked on. Along the way we considered our next move. Would we still try for Kosciusko? Where would we camp our final night? We stopped again by the Murrumbidgee River and I fed Milla, I reckon this is where she got her first sunburn. Guilty mum.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Apollo flies, and we land out near Canberra.

Honeysuckle campsite chosen for proximity to a bouldering area. Maybe I can get a ride in too.

We left the Blue Mountains, another beautiful morning, packing up the house, feeding Milla at 4:30 and 7am. Cheerful and round looking kid. Head towards Goulburn.

I make sure to look up bakeries, not wanting a repeat of the disappointing pasty of Singleton. Luckily Goulburn has a few, and the big merino is right next to a winning bakery.

A feed for the family, a well-timed nappy 'splosion, goofy photos at the merino and then along dry Lake George to the crapital. Sunny and brisk, typical weather.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


It's not usual. In fact, it's the anniversary of bushfire up here in the Blue Mountains. But last night, it snowed. We watched from the cosy lounge, showing Milla through the window. Long, heavy, drifts that lay still the following afternoon. Beautiful and totally unexpected. The power was off all night and we lay in bed wondering what our next move was.

I headed off to a second yoga class, in Blackheath. Along the way, trees down and snowmen built. At the fitness centre, no footprints in the snow, and I sensed class wouldn't be on. Another student appeared, swiped in and offered to lead me in the class... Very generous and delightful. We had a quiet hour and then I headed back to Mt Vic.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mount Victoria House

A beautiful day. Family and lover and outdoor times. True holiday feeling. 

My first sighting of the Blue Mountains, light hitting just so. We had a lovely morning walk around Newnes, finishing just as the rain approached. Then on the road. Bakery lunch in Katoomba, epic nappy change in Coles car park. On to our AirBnB stay in Mt Vic. Turned out to be proximate to a family holiday memory spot of Charlie's.

Great views, cosy house, a bathtub in the sun room, a spot to watch the storm roll in. Charlie cooked dinner, Milla played on the floor while we ate, then we watched her face as Lord of the Rings was put on the telly.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Blue Mountains

Long hard day. The first tough times in a while.

We left Newcastle already tired, and though excited to be on the road together, maybe we were a little sad to farewell our fab hosts.

Back to navigating, with tired brain, not sure when Milla started. It was awful, an hysterical howling that wouldn't cease and defied our theories. We were trying for Newnes camp, in the Wolgan.

After dark, many content wombats spotted, we reached camp, exhausted. I feed. Charlie does everything else. We creep around, get into tent. Milla wakes us at 4:19 and won't settle. Feed with bottle.

Clear night and brilliant moon, I get up around 6:30 and feed, so tired, in a very beautiful place.

Newcastle life

Brilliant sunny spring weekend of activities. Charlie rode the mountain bike trails and we walked through bush to lagoon and ocean. Milla's first trip to the beach.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Newcastle: first flight

The flight was uneventful: what everyone wants. Milla and I were at the back of the plane with the row to ourselves.

Nursing at take off and landing worked a treat, and then Milla gazed around happily for the middle thirty minutes. The only thing that stopped her in her tracks was the pilot's announcement.

Charlie picked us up from the airport in the warm sunshine and we headed to town.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Strange days

Two and a half days solo. Charlie left today in Sooty to head north and Milla and I waved him off. She's had a funny couple of days and now, it's midnight and she's still asleep from her 5pm feed. I'm heating some of the pumpkin soup from the freezer and will gently wake her after I've eaten my supper.

Both my parents visited today, and Milla did some tummy time and talking. I discovered a blazing red patch of skin in the folds of her chin, maybe where some milk had come to rest. Not an easy place to clean and dry. I gave her a bath and used the hairdryer to try to clean the chin rolls, angling her so her curious little face would turn just so.

Is that a dimple?

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Royal mail

Packages addressed to Milla have arrived since before she was called Milla (notably 'Lil Stevie'). A lucky kid.

Special delivery. 
Yesterday she received Royal Mail from Scotland, a package of thoughtful goodies, including a cuddle toy themed 'Guess how much I love you'. It's soft and lovely and of course compliments the book, which I read at least once a day before Milla is put to bed.

Another milestone, for the whole family, as yesterday I went to work to attend a seminar from 10:30am to 3:30pm. Charlie took leave and stayed home with Milla for the day. We only missed one feed, and though I packed the pump with me, I wasn't so uncomfortable that I needed to use it.

It was hard to get out of the house in the morning and I was emotional on the way in, but felt okay once I arrived in the city. Charlie sent some updates on the activities and it sounded like they were having a sweet day together.

Charlie photo of baby gym time.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Life at 3 months

It was a strange morning. Charlie got up early for a spin, I kept sleeping, and when Milla woke around 5:30am, Charlie collected her, changed and played with her before bringing her to me for a feed. She was full of morning smiles and bounce, and my body was ready to feed! But Milla lay back and just smiled and chatted and cooed, not interested to eat. I persisted for a while, then let her chat and play for an hour before putting her back to bed.

Looking at the camera, getting distracted. 
Planning for our trip next week, I've been researching how to fly with babies. It'll be a big day! The flight to Newcastle is 90 minutes, in the middle of the day. I'm hoping I can guard against Milla getting worn out with all the excitement of the new places.

Last night we had our first sit-down restaurant dinner, at the fab Station Hotel. Milla was dressed to the nines and full of cute after I'd given her an epic feed and bottle. She was so so curious, shiny-eyed, looking around. The place was noisy, full of smells and so interesting! After maybe 15 minutes, it was nappy change and cuddle, and then into the Ergo. Charlie walked with her outside, rain hood up to do sensory deprivation, and she fell into a deep sleep in a few minutes. We then ate dinner and it was very easy and she stayed warm and cosy in the Ergo.

I'm reading up on how to work with her now! Wanting to make the most of the development boom. Montessori stuff is so interesting - these posts about three and four month activities especially.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Yesterday Milla reached out for a toy on her gym, we were so proud. Charlie sat with her, coaxing her and gently removing fist from mouth, until she fully made the transition and reached out again and again with her open hand to bat the toy.

Leap! Joy!
The rest of the day she was exhausted, we went visiting and she slept in the car and grizzled at lunch. We'd had a shower together and her hair was spiky and it was perhaps the hottest day of her life so she was dressed in shorts. She looked cute and to my eye, very smart!

She howled in the evening, which is the routine at the moment, though I never get used to it. Particularly when tears appear.

Today we did some tummy time and she was focussed and calm, watching my hands drum across the floor in big arcs and trying to crawl towards me. I quickly put her down to sleep after that effort.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Grand camp

Milla's first ride in Sooty. She woke up late, and grinning, too busy smiling to feed this morning. Funny kid. Lots of bustling around packing the car, bike, stroller, tents, what have we forgotten?

Headed back to Sheepyard for another night. Sunshine forecast.

Getting sleepy.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Three months

No longer a newborn, Milla is definitely our baby. She held her bottle last night, taking it from Charlie and feeding herself as we looked on in delight and shock.

Clever kid.
I love that she is so quick to smile. I love the sound of her yawns and sighs. This week she rolled a few times, and during tummy time, when a mirror was put in front of her, she quickly smiled at the 'other' baby.

Rolling for the first time.
We're still sleeping well, I had the longest sleep in a year, from 9:30 through to 5am without waking to Milla crying out, or my imagination. Usually, after a feed around 5am for Milla and peanut butter toast for me, we both go back to bed after Charlie goes to work, and get up a couple of hours later to start the day in earnest.