Tomorrow.

June 15, 2017

After tomorrow morning, we won’t have to wait anymore. We’ll know for sure that our baby has stopped growing. We’ll know for sure that I’ll be having a procedure to remove the pregnancy. We’ll know for sure that the next few months mean rest, recovery and doing what feels good. Things like writing and cooking and walking. Tomorrow we’ll know for sure that in a few weeks, Ben, Joan and I will pack our bags and scoot off to Byron Bay for a holiday. Because why not? We’re firmly in “let’s live this life and treat ourselves” mode. This week has been hard. I feel so incredibly drained. Drained from processing the news that this pregnancy looked to be on its way out. Drained from feeling all the feelings that come up when you hear the baby you dreamed about is not going to be. Drained from grieving this little life who was such a dear thought. Drained. Tired. Ready to move on.

I’m not someone who represses feelings and deals with them later. When times are hard, without conscious choice, I open my heart and flood myself with feelings. I cry and feel and talk and write and share. And then I pause, because doing so is intense and sometimes I need to not feel. This week, I have found comfort and distraction in winter walks, belly laughs with Joan and BBC’s Pride and Prejudice. These things have helped me rest my brain and filled my heart with pure joy. I suspect I’ll do a lot more of this next week, too. Every morning when I wake, I am still slapped in the face with this new reality. And it hurts so, so bad to have that jolt, that shock and realisation that this is not just a bad dream. But we’re getting used to it. I remember struggling with the waking shock when my brother died, too. Fuck. Life. It’s full.

So, here we are, waiting for one more day. My Mother-in-law is playing in the living room with Joan, and I’m taking a few hours to rest and work and write, whatever feels good in the moment. Ben is working from home because he wants to be close. And, to be honest, I’m scared of having a miscarriage without him nearby. I have prepared myself to receive the news tomorrow that my hormone levels are very low and there is now no heartbeat, no growth. No baby. As much as one can prepare themselves. I still feel nauseated, because regardless of whether my baby is growing, there are still hormones in my body, and on top of that, this whole ordeal is sickening. But you know what? Even though I feel sick and sad and the thought of feeling any more is exhausting, I’m ok. Working in the field of pre and post-natal nutrition has given me a great understanding of the hardships that come with pregnancy. With creating life comes the risk of losing life, and I always, always knew and accepted this. My mother had a miscarriage between my younger brother and myself, and I expected on my journey to three babies, I would have one too. It’s just oftentimes part of the deal, part of the process to healthy babies. And to be honest, the fact that we were able to become pregnant at all is something that brings me immense joy and gratitude. We’ll lose this baby, but I WAS PREGNANT. That is a big, big deal and every second, even now, the knowledge warms my heart. And I can’t help but feel excited for my next pregnancy, my next baby.

We all process things differently and are comforted by different things. While the fact of how common miscarriage is may cause some fear, it has always been a comfort to me to know that it is not under my control. This is a time to surrender to the process, to trust my body and my wise babies. When I was pregnant with Joan, if ever I felt worried or began to overthink, I would tell myself to “trust”, and I’d breathe easy. I’ve been saying “trust” to myself a lot this week. Surrendering is liberating. And while I’ve grieved and cried NO and longed for this baby, the thing that shines through it all, the thing that makes me feel best, is recognising and articulating my gratitude. Because I do feel so incredibly grateful to be growing babies, and I wholly accept this painful experience as part of the process to meeting our next, healthy baby. I’m not trying to sugar coat things or bring on a lesson to make it all worth it. This is just how I feel. This is just me, folks, my feelings raw and unedited and for no-one else’s benefit but my own. Writing gives me clarity and punctuates the good I feel amongst the hurt.

Ooomf. I’m exhausted. To feel grief and gratitude and excitement and sadness all at once is a lot. I’m tired of feeling, tired of waiting. I defrosted a serve of beef rendang from the freezer so tonight, when Joan is asleep, Ben and I can skip the dishes and snuggle, watching House of Cards and searching for Byron Bay houses on Air BnB. Escaping feels good right now.

UPDATE: while my hormone levels are increasing, my baby appears to have stopped developing. As we expected, I will be having a procedure next week to remove the pregnancy tissue. We are receiving great care, I feel connected to my OB and am thankful for the way she affirmed how common miscarriage is and that it’s just part of making babies. She said it while I was thinking it. She said it in an understanding and caring, yet relaxed manner, and I am so grateful for that.

I’m no stranger to loss, to life not going quite as you’d like. Losing my brother was the hardest thing I have ever had to live through. And yet, I also know that so much good can come from the bad times. I’m excited for our good to come out of this – for Joan to be a big sister to a little baby we could never imagine NOT having, who won’t have been able to be here if this current pregnancy was viable. And though Joan will be little older than we’d begun to imagine, I think this will actually make the transition easier, for her and myself. So it’s a strange thing, the way I feel. To feel sad but also know that things will be even better than I could have hoped. Reminding myself of this and trusting in the process is what makes me feel like dancing around the room with Joan, it’s what makes me want to keep those baby slippers my mum bought on my bedside table. I can’t NOT feel excited, folks. I just can’t.

A few days after I missed my period. May 11th, 2017.

Heidi xo

Almond Butter Smoothie

June 7, 2017

almond butter banana smoothie

Thankfully, when Joan woke just a moment ago following a brief 30 minute nap, she stopped repeating “Wake up!” and drifted back to sleep. It appears even my perpetually congested self can sing her back to sleep. So here I am, snuggling my babe with a stuffy nose, writing about breakfast.

This morning I made a smoothie that tasted too darn good, I had to share it with you. I’ve got a number of smoothie recipes on the blog, smoothie bowls, too, and they’re not very different from this version. But it made me happy, so up it goes.

Ok, I just had a coughing fit and she stayed asleep. Perhaps it’ll be a long one!

Update: it wasn’t.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

May 29, 2017

chocolate chip cookies 1
I have crumbs on my neck and down my back. I noticed them while singing Joan to sleep just now, and realised they must have come from the cookies we baked this morning. We’ve baked a lot of cookies this past month. So much so, that if I were to offer Joan a cookie upon waking, there’s a good chance she’d say no*, because she’s entirely sick of them. How’s that for food habituation?

Cookies began covering my counter following a craving for chocolate chip bites. And then I got to thinking it would be neat to create a nut-free version of this recipe (which I adore and make often) for my clients with nut-free kids. Over the weeks, I trialled many different recipes and received vastly different results, ranging from “fine” to “oh good Lord, no”. We ate batches made with regular wholemeal flour, wholegrain spelt and unbleached white spelt (unbleached spelt, either wholegrain or white, won); with and without tahini (it’s a great addition), using honey instead of maple (the honey cookie was baaaaaaad, so in order to compensate for the price of maple syrup, I reduced the portion); with baking soda and with baking powder (soda works best); and with cacao nibs in place of chocolate (dark chocolate, all the way). It seems I won’t have to tire Joan with constant offerings of “choket chip cookie”s for a while, because, friends, we have ourselves a winner. The cookie I crowned is simple to assemble, bakes in no time, is nut-free AND egg-free (which means Joan’s egg-free pal can eat them), and, most importantly, fulfils the expectations one develops when those three glorious words, “chocolate chip cookie”, are paired together.
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Happenings 18.5.17

May 18, 2017

ben joan home
* written over the end of April/beginning of May, in dribs and drabs as I catch moments here and there.

DOING: sitting in bed, next to sleeping Joan and a mound of soft toys. It’s 6:47pm. Ben and I planned a date dinner, so I fed Joan early and got her to bed. A pot of water for pasta is coming to the boil as I wait for him to get home from work.

HEARING: the white noise app, “Heavy rain”, drowning out the noise I make while typing on my laptop.

READING:  In my last post, I mentioned that I wasn’t super into this book, but it really picked up towards the end and had some good twists. I also liked reading about the frosty Icelandic setting while tucked up in bed. Yesterday I got an alert from the library that this book is ready for me to collect, so that’s next on my list.

LOOKING: forward to dinner. I am HUNGRY. Whenever Ben and I decide to have a date meal, it’s usually pasta. Yesterday I took a portion of lentil + tomato ragu from the freezer, and we’ll eat it with spaghetti and, as always, a greedy portion of parmesan cheese.

And right in front of me is a vase full of green and white. Flowers in my bedroom make me happy.
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A simple crumble

May 7, 2017

crumble

I had a cookie recipe all lined up to share with you (a chocolate chip cookie recipe, at that), but then I went and made crumble for breakfast, and here we are. After sharing the process on Instagram stories, I received a number of requests for a more detailed recipe. Ben and Joan have gone to the shops for bread, spring onions and a vegetable juice, and I stayed home to write. The Amélie Soundtrack is playing in the background, only slightly louder than the rain hitting the windows, and I’m hoping to get this done before they return. Today feels like a lazy, woollen jumper-wearing, ‘Joan take the lead and order us around’ kind of day. I expect we’ll be having tea parties and pretending to cook scrambled eggs. We may even make real scrambled eggs for lunch.

I grew up eating apple crumble regularly, at least monthly. Does my memory serve me correctly, Mum? It was our most frequent dessert, that I know for sure. Mum’s crumble uses butter, as do most recipes out there, however, months ago, when I saw a recipe that required neither melting butter nor working it in with my hands, I jumped at it. Any recipe with olive oil and maple syrup tends to be a favourite in this house (in fact, those chocolate chip cookies are made with olive oil and maple syrup, too). And although it doesn’t taste quite as delicious as my mum’s crumble, the process is so incredibly simple and satisfying that it has become our default recipe. Here it is. And a happy Sunday to you.

p.s. cookie recipe soon.
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Lentil salad

April 26, 2017

cardboard car
Joan calls condiments, “soup”. Whenever there’s a bottle on the table, be it a chutney, hot sauce or apple cider vinegar, she will continually ask for “more soup!” until I end up having to put it out of sight. The funny names for seemingly ordinary things is one of our favourite things about this age, as she learns to speak. Ben and I grin like love-sick fools whenever Joan asks for “patate” on her toothbrush. One day, probably soon, she’ll realise it’s called “toothpaste”. One day she won’t call tomatoes “naipoes” or orange “onu”, and she’ll ask for peanut butter instead of “peanie butter”. For now, we’re soaking it up, encouraging it, even. “More soup, Joan?”, I asked over the weekend, as I drizzled more apple cider vinegar on my lentils. “More soup! Joanie, soup!”, she replied.

The three of us spent Anzac Day pottering around the house, building cars from cardboard boxes and cooking lentils. There was a block of haloumi in the fridge, which I fried, and used to create a little salad with chopped vegetables from our farm box. I made a simple, sharp dressing out of apple cider vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, and decorated it with fennel fronds and toasted seeds. When we sat down to eat, I decided the dish needed even more acidity, so I drizzled extra vinegar over the lentils (not before offering Joan more soup, of course). It made for a lovely lunch, so I decided to share the recipe with you today (which means, hurrah! After multiple requests, I am finally describing my lentil cooking process. Though be warned, it’s terribly simple). I can imagine plumping up this dish with fish (whether fresh, cooked fillets or canned+oil-packed), diced boiled eggs or shredded chicken. Some quinoa would work, too, though then you would would certainly want to double the dressing. And do scatter a little more apple cider vinegar over the dish while you eat. The lentils soak it up and beg for more.
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Easter 2017

April 18, 2017

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Our little family of three had the loveliest Easter long weekend. After a busy and full couple of months, Ben and I were craving a longer break than our regular Saturday, Sunday, back to work on Monday. Four free days were just what we needed to fill up our cups and find our feetEach morning after breakfast, I retreated to my writing desk and dove into work, leaving Ben and Joan to do chores, make cubbies and eat snacks. Building Duplo houses for her soft toys was the only pressing task at hand, and by giving Joan his full attention he was able to step away from his to-do lists and have a proper mental break. Meanwhile, I was able to create and find fulfilment in that area of my heart, which allowed me to come back to my loves refreshed and ready. Ready to eat, as it were. This weekend was filled with long lunches and easter eggs. In order to avoid dealing with caffeine + sugar highs, I chose carob eggs for my 19month old. After tasting one, any guilt of depriving her of a Lindt bunny evaporated because, dang, that “chocolate” is TASTY. A few days before the weekend, I purchased a bunch of little carob eggs, along one with one giant egg, and on Easter Sunday I brought them to Red Hill for our family lunch. Long before my brother and his girlfriend arrived, Joan spotted one nestled on the windowsill, its shiny wrapper shimmering in the sun. What a lesson in patience that was. Joan waited by the front door, listening for his footsteps on the stone path and every now and then exclaiming, “Jackson! Come on!”. She knew that when they arrived, that egg would be hers. As they walked through the front door, Joan grabbed her basket and made a beeline for the back door, running past the eggs I had hidden in clear view, towards that shiny egg by the window. Watching her look for little treasures and put them in her basket filled my heart with more joy than I ever knew a person could experience. That is the magic of childhood, isn’t it? After most of the eggs were found (thought there may still be one hidden in my father’s shoe), we sat down for lunch, which included woodfired pizza, Anna Jones’ greens pie and Autumn panzanella, and homemade sourdough hot cross buns. Ben and I brought a bottle of Moët to share, which we were gifted 8 months ago. We were saving it for a special occasion, and I cannot think of a more special day than this one.

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Happenings 14.4.17

April 14, 2017

laundry

* written over the month of April, in dribs and drabs as I catch moments here and there.

DOING: sitting next to Joan while she naps and typing on my computer. She’s still not sleeping for longer than 40 minutes for her day nap, however by parking myself close by I can sometimes encourage a longer snooze if I rest my hand on her belly when she rouses. I’ve spilt a lot of coffee on her bed sheets this past month.

HEARING: the white noise app. I think Joan must expect that it always rains heavily when she sleeps.

LOOKING: at the coffee stains on Joan’s sheets. I’m still working my way through our laundry after camping last weekend (I had a decent pile waiting even before we left), so these sheets are not a priority. Perhaps they should be, but a coffee-scented room is a touch more enjoyable than a nappy-bin scented one, so I haven’t rushed to clean them. Also, I’m a big fan of drying our washing outside on the clothes line, and there’s only so many sheets one can hang while avoiding downpours.

DRINKING: coffee. How many times have I mentioned coffee in this post?

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The start of something wonderful

April 4, 2017

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Each year, a few days after Christmas, my family of five would pack our car and head up the coast to Depot Beach. The nine hour drive was a fine price to pay for weeks of freedom in nature with friends. Our days were spent swimming, playing, refuelling, creating inappropriate songs and singing them in the shower block, chasing the daily newspaper delivery van to purchase Killer Pythons and Nerds, and on the occasional rainy day, reading books in our tents. At night, we slept soundly, having exhausted ourselves in the great outdoors. I have fond memories of this time, and always imagined I’d offer my kids the same experience. Ben didn’t camp as a kid, and if he’s honest, would prefer to spend the night in a hotel, however I continued mentioning the idea, determined to show him how great it can be. I wanted our little family to begin creating precious camping of our own. Recently, when friends invited us on a trip, Ben immediately said, “Great!”, and didn’t hesitate when I showed him the tent I wanted to purchase. I think he did it for Joan. Like most children, she adores the outdoors, and the thought of making her happy was reason enough to agree.

The tent of my childhood was large, green and canvas. It felt secure, spacious and cozy, and I wanted the same for our family. My friend Vanessa, who had invited us camping, raved about her Canvas Camp tent, a big, bell-shaped beauty, so I followed her lead. The weekend the tent arrived, we assembled it in our backyard. The set-up was straight forward and didn’t take long at all. As Ben and I secured the base, Joan skipped along the edge, announcing, “Hammer! Hammer!”. I had forgotten how satisfying it is to hammer tent poles into the ground. When it was up, we lay inside and marvelled at our portable home. I told Ben I could imagine Joan having backyard sleepovers with friends in the coming years, which made him smile. We both agreed we’d made the right purchase. This tent is not a couple of hundred dollars, it’s decently more than that, however we saw it as an investment in comfort and happiness, and a push to get out there and create memories – to camp often and to camp well. To help with the cost, I contacted the company and asked if they’d be keen to give a discount in exchange for some pictures here and on Instagram, and they kindly agreed. Well, upon Ben and my mum’s encouragement I contacted them. I’m not in the habit of asking for discounts, and I don’t enjoy doing it, but I asked politely and explained that I’d totally buy the tent regardless and they were casually cool about it all. I guess that’s a sign to put myself out there more? Perhaps. Anyway, there’s my full disclosure for you! If you’re considering purchasing one of these tents, I want you to know that it is the bee’s knees, and you will be thrilled. We bought the 5m variety, which is huge and gave us an incredible amount of space, even with our blow-up Queen bed from Aldi. I’m looking forward to making our tent even more homely on our next trip, perhaps with a little reading chair and table, and a cabinet for cups and pots.

So where did we camp? Vanessa found a stellar spot along the Blairgowrie foreshore that was an ideal mix of green, dirt and beach – the perfect, gentle introduction for our first family camping trip. On our camp stove, which we’d borrowed from my parents, we made meals of porridge (with dates and coconut milk), scrambled eggs (with toast cooked over the camp stove in one of these things) and pasta (with jarred pesto, spinach, canned chickpeas and tuna). We went into town for takeaway coffees and sipped them as our babes played in the sand. When the kids went to bed in the evening, we sat outside under twinkly lights with wine, cheese and chocolate. It was lovely. I’m pleased to say that Ben is now a camper. As much as I hoped he’d enjoy himself, I didn’t want to force my passion onto my husband, so it was wonderful to see him “get it” on his own. Relaxing in a chair with a mug of tea that he’d made by heating water over the camp stove, I saw him watching Joan. She was soaking up every inch of space, exploring the bushes and running around the camp site in waterproof pants, a cup of water in her dirty fingernail hands and wet shoes from running in the water. She was in her element and we were happy. This is indeed the start of something wonderful.

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Happenings 19.3.17

March 19, 2017

desk
* written over the month of March, in dribs and drabs as I catch moments here and there.

DOING: sitting at my writing desk in the corner of our bedroom. Joan is napping in her room and I’m taking a moment to write. This past month, we moved Joan into her own bed for naps (see this post for more details), and while she falls asleep happily (her very own “Beddy!” is still a novelty), she rarely sleeps more than 45 minutes. This means I only answer a handful of emails and barely finish my coffee before we’re back at it, but it also means that she’s sincerely ready to conk out by 7pm, and that is AWESOME. Ben has been away for work a bit lately, usually for 4 nights at a time, and on these occasions it is always a treat if Joan goes down easily. And you know, what? I have been really enjoying my evening solo time. I have a shower, then spend a crazy long time stretching and moisturising, getting clean and relaxed and comfortable. I’ll get myself a snack and quietly cozy into our big bed, beside Joan, and watch a show on my computer. Little things like fresh sheets, clean feet and a bowl of yoghurt + honey are my bliss.

HEARING: Vallis Alps. I found these guys over the summer and have been listening to them on repeat. “Young” became my Summer anthem.

LOOKING: at the light on my desk. It’s mid-morning and the sun is shining through the trees, causing shadows of leaves to sway over my desk. Autumn is my favourite time of year. The air is clean and crisp, and the leaves are yellow and orange and brown and crunchy. Collecting and crunching leaves is something I love to do, and this Autumn I plan on making Joan my leaf-collecting + crunching sidekick.

DRINKING: coffee. My weekday routine of late has to make a coffee as soon as Joan naps, which tends to be around 11:30am. I usually have a green tea in the morning, which keeps me going until my beloved, peaceful coffee moment.

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