Happenings 7.8.17

* written over the months of July and beginning of August.

DOING: sitting on our couch. For a little while, Joan was back to needing me close when she slept, but that's passed (for now). These days I often find myself journalling during her nap, curled up on the couch with a hot drink.

HEARING: the Pride & Prejudice soundtrack (the Keira knightly version), playing via YouTube. I've got headphones in and it's loud. I love loud piano. To think of all the years I yelled down the hall to my older brother, "Stop playing piano so loudly!". Ha.

LOOKING: forward to Joan's second birthday. We're having a party with a small group of loved ones on the day she turns two. There'll be coffee + breakfast food + cake, as well as balloons and bubbles. Joan has been interested in birthdays for a while, ever since she began associating them with cake + candles (what's not to love?). Most days, at random moments, she will announce, "Joanie birfday Awwwwgust!", and I have been itching to throw her a special party with a few of her favourite people.

DRINKING: A turmeric latte (like my previous happenings post, made with this powder I was kindly sent to sample). I drink one of these golden beauties at least three times a week, as I find them supremely warming in this frosty weather. I've also been drinking a lot of green tea lately. Years ago I was bonkers for the stuff, but I went off it when I was pregnant with Joan. Green tea is now back in my life, many days replacing my morning coffee *GASP!!!!* I've been a coffee lover for a long time, but since coming home from Byron Bay (where I was having two cups most days, mind you), I haven't wanted it as often. I think this change in desire is mostly due to the fact that I now have dedicated work times, and I'm not simply trying to fit it in here and there. I adore the ritual of making a coffee, the flavour, too, but I REALLY love the buzz it gives me, the boost in productivity. When Joan was younger and napping more often (and for longer blocks), I would fuel myself with a cup of coffee and work while she slept (and I also craved a cup to help keep me awake). These days, I cannot realistically get work done this way. She doesn't nap long enough (an hour, if I'm lucky), so I cannot properly sink my teeth into anything. Paying bills, organising and writing blog posts, I can do. Work? Nope. So I save it for the hours I have dedicated childcare (which in my case, involves family coming over) and on the weekends when Ben is home. I didn't realise coffee for me was so inextricably linked to work, but there you go.

WANTING: an outdoor couch. I have my eye on this one. I dream about lounging on it while breastfeeding a newborn next year in the Spring or Summer time...


EATING + COOKING: I'm still super into making quinoa + veggie bowls, with lentils, eggs or canned fish. We're eating a lot of legumes - making dahl, using lentils to bulk-up our bolognese, or our new favourite, Ness' sweet potato falafel (from her cookbook). The above picture is Joan helping me make falafel by adding spices to the food processor. We're not eating much meat at the moment, from an environmental and cost point of view (we buy sustainably farmed meat and it's expensive, and after our recent holiday we're back to saving our pennies!) Though we have been making chicken broth on repeat, as this month Joan and I have been unwell on and off (side note: I have been reminded to save and freeze veggie scraps to add to stock. It's an excellent idea, and one I never remember to do, but I will!)

Joan and I continue to eat sourdough toast for breakfast or lunch most days. Recently I've been devouring slices of Flinders Sourdough's dark rye, with avocado, butter or almond butter, and alongside scrambled eggs. Hmmmm what else have I been making? Ah! I've made a few batches of these date balls (swapping the flaxmeal for hemp seeds), which remain a firm favourite. And a batch of chocolate chip cookies, too, with walnuts added. Oh, and I also made a version of this cake, which was delicious. It's been a chocolate month.

DECIDING: no big life decisions over here, we're plodding along pretty nicely.  Oh, actually, we are considering what mattress to buy Joan (she needs a new one, and we're getting a King Single so Ben can fit next to her more comfortably when we eventually move her into her own room for the overnight sleep). I came across these sights (one and two) but ahhhh I don't know and I HATE product research. Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Does anyone have any recommendations?

ENJOYING: the increase in length of time that Joan happily plays by herself. Her interest in self-guided, solo play is unpredictable and mood-dependent, but these days she's increasingly lost in her own world. I'll look over from the kitchen and she'll be pretending to cook or caring for her teddy bears, and I'll have a few decent moments of time to myself, to cook, clean or enjoy a cup of tea with a few pages of a book.

WATCHING: I watched The Handmaid's Tale, and found it incredibly unsettling. I barely got through the first scene, but I did enjoy watching it in the end. My friend has encouraged me to give Outlander a go, so that's next on my list. After I finish This Is Us, which I bought on ITunes and have been watching every now and then, savouring the episodes and making the season last. It's a warm, fuzzy show for me, and I almost always end up crying. Milo Ventimiglia's character slays me, and because he looks like my brother I end up imagining him in that role, as an amazing Dad, it's too much for my heart. So, tears. But I like it. Update: I finished season 1. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Jack! My heart.

READING:  I recently collected this book from the library, and so far I'm enjoying it. I read another of the author's books in June, and really enjoyed her style of story telling. Joan has been reading lots of Spot books lately. There's something about Spot, she just adores him! And our current evening ritual involves reading The Tiger Who Came To Tea twice before bed. It's a childhood favourite of mine, and I'm so happy Joan likes it.

WEARING: jeans and cozy knits. Always and forever.

BUYING: our toaster recently died, so we bought a new one with a Harvey Norman voucher we'd been waiting to use. This is the one we got (though it was most certainly not as expensive as this picture claims) and it's absolutely brilliant. And felt all the more like a treat because we didn't have to spend any money!

PLANNING: Joan's birthday party.

CRAVING: chocolate! Give me all the raw cacao - in smoothies, date balls, hot cacao, chocolate bars, whatever! It's never hit the spot so spectacularly.

LOVING: chocolate.

SAVOURING: chocolate.

PLAYING: outside. And LOVING it. The days are slightly warmer and the sunshine is glorious. We've been tidying up the garden, raking and pruning (I now know how to prune. It's a big deal for me) and having picnics on the grass. Joan will help me sweep a little, then play in her sandpit. And before we head back inside we often pick a lemon from our tree. Ben and I were planning on buying Joan a lemon tree for her first birthday. A month before she turned one we purchased our home, which had the lemon tree of our dreams in the backyard. Whenever I see it I feel rich.

FEELING: it fluctuates, though generally, I'm feeling really good - energetic, inspired and excited are words that spring to mind. Some days I've got normal hormonal fluctuation stuff going on, which leaves me drained, sore (pimply, crampy, headachey) and pining for the couch + tea + a book. But that's not very often and, to be honest, I welcome those womanly feelings. I take it as a sign to nurture my body in the way it needs, with fresh air, chocolate and cozy clothes. Despite the fact that Joan has been more wakeful lately (those molars!), I'm feeling pretty well-rested. Over the past couple of weeks I've been better at shutting Netflix off and reading before bed, which always improves my sleep. Sleep is such a big deal.

I continue to enjoy being home with Joan full time, with just a small amount of work. We have a good routine happening in terms of my work + non-work days, and things flow nicely day-to-day. The two of us have slow, gentle weekdays, which counteracts Ben's busy, non-stop work pace, and together on the weekends we meet somewhere in between. Joan and I have similar needs and interests, so most of the time it's easy to keep us both happy. I find I'm having lots of *pinch me this is perfect* parenting/life/love moments. And I've got things to look forward to every month, which helps me savour the present and feel content with where we are, which is a limbo of sorts as we wait a little while longer before trying for bub number two, again. This month it's Joan's birthday. Next month it's the ballet (I'm off to the ballet as a birthday treat for myself, I turn 32 in September). October is a big birthday month for our family, which means more cake and spring sunshine. And we'll be getting ready to go to Hong Kong in late November for Ben's cousin's wedding. Many good and grounding things are making this time in limbo full and fulfilling.

Happenings posts inspired by Pip.