Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Above the trees

This is our third winter living back on the south coast, and the second year we have not fled north for the winter holidays. Last year because we were moving house, and this year because we have a new baby who I suspect would not appreciate the three days in a car it takes to get to the tropics from these parts.

For many years my family would hook up the boat and head up the Great Northern Highway each July, not stopping until we reached Ningaloo for two weeks in the sun. And while given a choice I would still hit the road in search of red dirt, blue water and sunshine, winter in the southern forests has grown on me. It isn't until spring that I find myself really longing for sun and warmth once more.

Our holiday at home was a chance to slow down and recover from winter colds and a busy term. We didn't have many things planned, but we did want to climb a peak that we have been meaning to get up for years. After two attempts were thwarted by bouts of illness we finally made it up with my brother and his little boy on the last day of the holidays. It was possibly the coldest place to change a nappy in the entire south west (and the kids were terribly under dressed) but the views to the ranges inland and back to the coast were amazing. And just getting above the trees was enough to recharge my solar batteries for a little while longer.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Three months

A newborn no longer, Thea is all smiles and dimples and chubby thighs. She is truly the most delightful baby; content to lie back and watch the hustle and bustle of family life, but so very chatty when attention is focused on her. She coos and gurgles with an intensity of expression that can tell a whole story already. (I think that Quinn understands her best, with one foot still in infancy although the other is firmly planted in boyhood.) Thea is much more verbal than any of her brothers were at her age - one of those gender differences inherent from birth. She still spends much of each day nestled in her sling, but is coming out into the world much more and enjoying her time there. She is big and strong and seems much older somehow than three months; holding her head up at birth, rolling over at four weeks and too tall for her newborn clothes by six weeks of age. I am hoping that she won't grow up so very fast, but savouring each moment with her just in case she does.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

After the storm

The boys were sleeping over at Grandma's house when the storm hit. It buffeted our house on the hill all through the night and I snuggled in close to my baby as the wind howled and thumped around the verandahs. I think there would likely have been three extra bodies in the bed had they been home.

Pulling the curtains open to survey the damage in the morning, Grant noticed the light streaming though our front windows before he spotted the big old gum tree that had been torn up by its roots and sent tumbling into the paddocks across the road. Fortunately the resident horses had not spotted their escape route before the gaps were roped off.

The boys were out this morning examining the big hole in the ground where once a mighty marri stood. We are all feeling a little sad for its loss, but rejoicing in the extra morning sunshine now shining down on us from the north. It is a year since we moved in and the photo voltaic panels we installed on our roof soon after are now buzzing with those early morning rays.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Sea foam and salt spray

I have been nurturing hopes of getting back in the water these holidays. So when the sun came out this week we strapped the boards to the roof rack, piled the kids into the car and headed out to one of our favourite breaks. The tide was so high when we got there that there was no chance of getting the car onto the beach and around the bay - the waves were crashing into the dunes as each new set rolled in. Instead we ventured around the headland and took one look at the swell before deciding that a walk might be more our scene. The boards stayed on the car and we watched the dark wetsuit clad figures bobbing around the bay before striking out towards the rockpools at the other end of the beach. A pod of whales cruised past, spouting misty plumes of spray. Thea slept snuggled against my body in her sling while the boys collected rocks and shells and clambered over the lichen covered rocks and scrubby dunes to get a better view of the whales. And it didn't matter one whit that we did not get to surf. The winter sunshine and sea spray and the sand between our toes were every bit as rejuvenating.


He turned eight the weekend before the holidays. He is lanky and lean and loves to read as much as he loves to kick a ball around. So we met his friends in the park by the forest and they kicked the footy, climbed trees, clambered over logs and even read a little. There was orange cake in the shape of a soccer ball (which more than one adult mistook for a pineapple, but the boys thought the business). And the sun shone down on us for the first time since Lewis' first birthday, which made us smile even more.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Three of a kind

Sometimes I find myself staring at this beautiful baby girl of mine and I feel like I am falling through time, back to when her big brothers were born. I watch her and am transported back to a moment I had thought forgotten with the curl of a lip or wave of an arm. The way her head turns towards the clean winter light with that dreamy look in her eye. Sometimes I find myself reaching for the camera to snap the same image over and over again.

From top: Thea eight weeks old, Lewis eight weeks old, Quinn 12 weeks old.