My Heart, Your Home: June 2013   

Saturday, 29 June 2013


Evelyn: Making memories
Zalia: Growing steadily

My seven sins

From the moment I knew what a tattoo was, I knew that I wanted one. Many. And I just could not wait until I was old enough, and no longer living under my Mother's roof for me to get my very first one. My Mum gave me one very solid piece of advice in relation to getting a tattoo. It wasn't the "only sailors and criminals have tattoos" or the "you get a tattoo and you are not welcome in my house again" threat, or the "why ruin such beautiful skin?" question. Or any of the other words she threw at me when I talked about wanting a tattoo. All of those words went unheard. But the words that I still remember, and the words that I will repeat to my children (if they ever want their own tattoos), is to have your tattoo on a piece of paper in a high traffic area for a year. If you get sick of it, then it is not the tattoo for you, if you still love it, then go ahead. 

A tattoo is a huge commitment. It is for life. You cannot walk away from it, you cannot divorce it, you cant give it the silent treatment and you cannot forget it. Its there, following you around and reminding you of the very reason you got it, the pain that it entailed and the thrill, until your very last breathe of life. A promise to yourself. A promise that you can never break. I have talked before about my hate of a promise, my hate of having a promise broken. So when I decided to get my very first tattoo, it was no light hearted decision. It was something that I put on my wall for months on end. It was something I designed myself and I thought about every single day. It was my first promise to myself, and a reminder to always do what will make me happy and it is my favourite tattoo, to date. My promise.

My first tattoo is small and simple. A dedication to a man who inspired me to live a full and honest life. A Mr. John Lennon. And his song, my song, Imagine. Before I heard that song for the first time I was listening to top 40 music. The music of my peers. Then I heard 'Imagine' and my entire life changed. The way I listened to music, the music I listened to, the way I lived. All of it was inspired by that song and his very powerful words. So I chose to carry them with me. I have the word, 'Imagine' written in my writing, beneath the musical notes that are played when he sings 'its easy if you try', tattooed on my hip.

My second tattoo I got for my Step-Father. I had just moved home to Australia, from New Zealand, and within a month I was given some of the most horrible news. Craig had terminal cancer. Cancer of the liver. Inoperable. Months to live. I was in shock and obviously extremely sad. I watched him fight that cancer like a soldier. He was told he had possibly three months and he kicked that cancers butt for 7 months before leaving us behind and moving heaven-side. While he was still here I told him how proud I was of him, his strength and courage and bravery. I told him I wanted to dedicate a part of me, to him and his life. He said yes. So I got this - 'Keeping the Faith Alive' - only weeks before he passed away. He was proud and so was I. I chose those words because he did and he still does. 

My third and fourth tattoos I got in the one sitting. It was not long after Craig passed away and I had completely lost my way. I had said goodbye to a family member, broken up with my boyfriend of four years, moved into a new home in a new suburb on my own. I spent three months basically in silence in that home. I chose not to have a TV and spent my tummy running and swimming every morning and afternoon. I had secluded myself in a garden flat and pushed myself into nature and my own thoughts. Times were deep. 

I chose, 'it was then that I carried you' with two footprints. The final line of Craig's, (and my) favourite poem 'Footprints'. It represents many things to me. The time of Craig's illness, where I had helped to carry him and my Mum and my Brother to the end, even they are convinced now days that I didn't. Carrying myself through my life, from strength to strength, pillar to pillar, with my own courage and bravery and strength and most importantly, my own independence. It now also signifies my two beautiful Daughters and my body's ability to carry them earth-side, and to continue to carry them for life.

While I was getting that tattoo I decided to also have 'Cogito Ergo Sum' written on my wrist. This is latin for, I think therefore I am. A reminder that no matter how deep and dark and lonely life can be, I will always have myself and my thoughts and that will be enough to get me through.

The next tattoo I chose to get is the one I had on my wall for years, I designed it (roughly) myself. Just had the tattooist obviously make it better than my lack of artistic skills was capable of. I adore it. I had this tattoo in Bali by a fabulous artist named Mada. He did it free hand (where as in Australia they have always stencilled it on). To this day I am still amazed by his talent. I decided to have a tiger to remind me of my own personal strength. I have carried myself through many ups and downs through out my life and I have always survived them, independent of anyone else. I come out stronger, faster and braver. My tiger is symbolic of my inner soul. I am woman, hear me roar. 

Lastly, my final tattoo (for now). I had this done on the same Bali trip as my tiger. Whilst I do not regret the tattoo itself, I do regret the memory of it. I had this tattoo done with a girl who was my life long "best" friend. We went on a two week holiday together and I truly believed that she and I would be best friends for life. If we were still talking today, we would have been friends for almost 15 years. But, she decides when she wants to be in my life and when she does not. She has recently decided that she doesn't and she decides that without so much as a word. This is the second time in 5 years that she has done that to me and she leaves me wondering what on earth I have done. She came back into my life after Evelyn was born and I am ashamed to admit that I let her. Then she disappeared again while I was pregnant with Zalia. The gecko, although something I had always wanted, just reminds me of her now. So I now see it as a reminder to no longer let her, or anyone like her, into my life. A reminder to stand strong and not allow people to take advantage and treat me like I am less than even a second thought. My gecko is my reminder that not all people are worthy, even if I want to believe that they are.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

What is beauty?

Raising two girls I constantly worry about how our beauty obsessed society is going to affect them and their self worth. Hell, I worry about my obsession with beauty will affect their self love. Every day we are smothered with images of beautiful people, products to enhance your beauty, beautiful clothes and beautiful things. Beauty. It has become so important. Who looks how, who wears what and who owns the best. 

I attended a dinner party about a year ago, I was taking a back seat in a conversation which became quite heated when the conversation turned to me. Being the only Mother of a Daughter at the table I was asked what my thoughts are on how beauty can allow a woman more opportunities. Wether that be beauty in physical looks, or beauty in appearance (clothes, make up etc). It was not a conversation I particularly wanted to partake in, nor was it a conversation I felt qualified in. Evelyn was just 12 months old so I was not yet raising a woman, or even a girl, I was raising a child, a baby even. 

I had not yet considered how looks would affect my Daughter's life, or if it will at all. In my shock at the question and having limited time to construct a well thought our response I answered simply. I said that:

Yes of course our society thrives on beauty. It is unfortunate that looks can open more doors, but it is a reality. In saying that, I hope that my Daughter will grow to be not only physically beautiful, but smart and intelligent. I hope that she will grow to have doors opened for her, because she deserves them.

The conversation naturally flowed along, covering many corners of the beauty debate. It then landed on bullying. Where I was accused of having no understanding what bullying really was because I would have "only been bullied because you are pretty". I was told that I would have no idea what it was like to eat your lunch in the toilets, or feel so alone, or be taunted and teased on a daily basis. However, I do have an understanding, because those things happened to me too. Regardless of looks, being bullied is being bullied, it is as simple as that. I spent many lunch times in the bathrooms, or the library, or the school counsellors office because I simply could not stand to see those girls one more time. I, by no means, ever felt like I was being bullied because I was pretty. I felt ugly, disliked, judged. 

With beauty, can come acceptance, or rejection. Just like with any other aspect of your personality. Being intelligent can both intimidate and impress your fellow peers. As can being athletic and fit. Being arty, dramatic, musical. Brown hair, red hair, blonde hair, no hair. People will always find a reason to either love you or loathe you. Regardless of how you look.

That comment still offends me today. What makes me pretty to the woman who said those words to me, may be what makes me repulsive to another. I was not bullied because of my looks and it is people who believe that looks can play that bigger part in our world, who cause the problem in the first place. 

Yes, I do believe that the way a person looks can effect the opportunities they receive in their lives. Do I believe it is right? No, I do not. I will spend my time as the Mother to two Daughters teaching them that if you want doors to open for you, you need to open them yourself. If I have learnt anything in life, it is that to receive something because you have earned it, because you deserve it, is far more enjoyable than to just be given something. The pride that you feel when you land that promotion you have been fighting for, or when you receive a high distinction because you spent the hours researching, that is an adrenaline rush like no other. 

Beauty, to me, is about the way you present yourself. Beauty is about your insides. Smile, and the whole world smiles with you. Let the world see you, the depths of you. Bare your soul, that will make you the "prettiest" version of yourself. These are lessons that I will teach my children.  

In striving to ensure my Daughters know that their worth is not based on the way they physically look I have taught myself to let go of my own beauty obsessed, self worth and I am beginning to see that I am so much more than I appear. Beauty is not an adjective for someone's looks, beauty is an adjective for a whole person. 

What is Beauty?

Beauty is you, in every form.


Sunday, 23 June 2013

You are THREE months old

When I wrote your two month post, you weren't actually two months. You were 6 weeks. I was tired and incredibly confused. I realised it was past the 20th of the month by some considerable time and in my sleep deprived haze, I confused what month was what. I was, by no means, wishing the time away. Those 6 weeks were long, extremely long, and I was living moment by moment with no real attention to which way was what.

You have suffered, my darling. Your first three months earth side have been hard for you, torturous and in return, have been torturous on me. There is nothing more emotionally painful than watching a teeny tiny baby in the amount of pain you have been. I love you, so much that I feel like my heart could momentarily combust and every time you looked at me with your furrowed brow and your pleading screams, I would just ache. I felt sick watching you, knowing there really was nothing I can do but hold you, sing to you and assure you that one day everything will be okay.

We seem to have found one day. We got a diagnosis for you. When I last wrote to you, we had not yet been to the Drs. But since then, we found out at that very point in time you had an awful case of oral thrush and you suffer with quite severe silent reflux. We now have you on two forms of medication, losec and zantec, and most days are good. You sleep now. You smile. You play. You are happy. We still have some bad days where the reflux is stronger than the medicines, but most days we conquer.

Since those medications you and I have been able to enjoy each other. You have been able to enjoy life. Each morning you wake up and you see my face and you gush, with the brightest most beautiful smile. You stare deep into my eyes, you look past them. When you look at me, I feel like you are looking within me, directly into the depths of my soul. You know me, you know more about me than I do and you love me, so intensely. You watch my every move, and the minute I disappear from your sight, you beg for me to come back. It is a beautiful love, the love you have for me. So raw, so intense, so dependant. And I love you right back with the same intensity. It is a tremendous, extraordinary, kind of feeling. Unbreakable. 

You laughed your very first laugh only days before you three month milestone. So eager to learn and to grow before your time. Your first smile at 4 weeks and your first laugh at 11. You chuckle. A deep, groaning kind of laugh. Incredibly cute. I have been lucky enough to have caught it on camera and I watch it, over and over again. It makes my whole body smile, your incredible laugh. Your incredible being. 

I loved you from the very first moment I made you. I loved you through out your entire creation. But, the moment you were put into my arms, a new love was formed. A love saved only for you, Zalia Sky. Our love. And with every passing day that love blossoms. It grows, it folds, it morphs and it doubles. Our love. 

You are magical and you have filled our lives with a type of magic that we never knew before.

I love you, Dear Zali Bear

25/52 {The Chicken Edition}

Evelyn: Hours upon hours of talking, cuddling, playing and giggling with your new friends, the bok boks. Your maternal side has suddenly appeared.

Zalia: No interest in the chickens, instead you watch my every move with scrutiny and interest.

Peaches and Bonnie: Our new pets, here to teach my girls gentle care, maintenance and responsibility.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Raising girls into women

As a child, a teenager, I was so desperate to be accepted, anywhere, by anyone. I was so eager to be liked. I was terribly fragile and incredibly trusting and completely confused. I had no real sense of "me". Always feeling like I was the ugly duckling and the left one out. My Sister had amazing story telling abilities, she was fun and carefree and beautiful. My Brother, the baby, smart and handsome and talented. I always felt like I was not quite as beautiful, no where near as fun and by no means, smart. I was just me. Just the middle child with no true talents or likeable characteristics. Boring, self conscious, quiet and horribly shy with just... nothing to offer the world.

I wanted, so badly, to be seen. To be heard. I ached for a group of girlfriends who would just accept me as a part of their friends. I had friends, of course, but never a group. A select few from different parts of my life. I was an acquired taste. The girls that didn't like me, really didn't like me. Threatening me as I walked across the school yard. Following me and screaming obscenities at me. Pulling my hair as I walked into my class rooms, or trying to push me down stairs for looking at them the wrong way. Treatment, that to this day, still makes me tear to think about. Mostly, I just wanted to be friends with them, which made me feel more and more ashamed of myself. "How can you want to be friends with people who think so poorly of you, Jess?".

Because of this desperate need to fit in somewhere, I started turning to the wrong people. I made friendships, with the people who were giving me attention. The wrong kind of attention. I allowed myself to be swept up in the sweet words of boys. Swept away by the unpredictable and amazing highs of drugs. Carried away with parties, with a drink behind me I felt fun, confident and sometimes even beautiful. I became less liked by the girls who already didn't like me and never truly found my place. Being a teenager was a difficult time, a long lesson in life.

A lesson that I am still learning from today. A lesson that causes me great concern when it comes to raising my own two Daughters. I worry about Evelyn and Zalia going down the same track as their Mother. I want my girls to keep their gentle and trusting natures. I want them to believe in the world and in people. I want them to trust that there is good. But, how do you teach them all of those things, all the while teaching them to be wary? Not everyone will do right by them, not everyone can be trusted. But how do you teach them this without them becoming timid and frightened? 

I want to instil a confidence in my Daughters that never allows them to become so desperate to be liked. I want them to know that they are liked, they are loved, by me and their Father and that there will be people who love them just as much. Anyone else is not worth their time or their patience. I want to teach them to have faith in themselves and to believe. Believe that there are people who will accept them. Believe that they are worth those people, don't settle for just anyone. But how to teach them this, without giving them an air of snobbery or arrogance?

I want my children to know that they are beautiful, both inside and out. I don't want that to ever be a question. I want them to love their bodies in any form they become. I want them to both have confidence to show their inner beauty to the world, to know that what they have to offer is worth something, that it is beautiful. I want to teach them that beauty is about how you feel, not about how you look. 

I want my Daughters to know that they have and will continue to change the world, just by being themselves. Just by being in the world, they have made it a better place. I want them to know that just by being in my life, in their friends life, they bring sunshine on a grey day. 

Young girls are so fragile. So naive. So trusting. So impressionable. How do you teach them? How do you teach them all they need to know to survive in this world, to survive high school, without taking away their very core? Without breaking their vulnerability? Without breaking their trust and their hunger? 

I think about how I am going to raise my Daughters every day. I worry about how my decisions will affect their outcome. I am terrified that I will not be able to teach them the skills they need to be strong, but gentle. To be trusting, but wary. To be passionate, but guarded. To be confident, but humble. Raising girls into women will be my life's biggest challenge... and achievement. It will be a forever changing adventure, full of lessons and stories a long the way.


Evelyn: Imaginative play, you are forever a wonder to me
Zalia: Meeting your uncle for the very first time

Friday, 14 June 2013

Falling in love with family

I took my family to the Australia Reptile Park yesterday for a day of family fun. I felt like, after the last 12 weeks, we deserved to have a day out enjoying the world and each other. The day was so sickly sweet, one of those days where you just fall so in love with your life and your family and you just cannot wipe that smile of your face. The type of day that you get in the car and make the trip home and the whole way you gush about how much fun you have had. 

Yesterday, I fell head over heels, completely and totally in love with my family, just that little bit more. When Evelyn was first born, someone said to me "You will think you love her as much as possible, until you wake up tomorrow". Motherhood really is like that, isn't it? Every day you wake up and you just love them that little bit more.

The last 12 weeks have been challenging and rewarding. Punishing and extraordinary. Difficult but completely enjoyable. Zalia, although suffering terribly from silent reflux, is such a happy little baby. I can see her joy, her smiles and her love in her eyes. Even through the most impressive fits of screaming and crying, there is this little twinkle in her eyes that say "make me better mummy and I will smile all day for you". She has a hold over me, she can keep me awake all night and she can scream at me for hours on end but my god do I love her. She made her arrival and within moments we all knew that she always meant to be a part of us. She watches all of us with such wonder, her eyes following us where ever we go. Her biggest smiles are saved for her Sister. She belongs, right where she is. She is undoubtedly the best thing we have done for Evelyn. She makes us whole. 

Evelyn has been the most amazingly beautiful and adaptable two year I have ever seen, perhaps I am bias? She has not had a moment of jealousy, she accepted Zalia into her life and has never questioned why she is here. Zalia is her little sister, her baby. She acts as though that has always been so, which makes me believe that they already had a connection. When Evelyn falls and hurts herself, not only will she bring her hurt to me for a kiss, but she then takes it to "sali" and asks for a kiss. Recently when she spent some nights away from home and we picked her up, she wasn't just excited for Mummy and Daddy, but she was excited for Zalia. She spent an hour running to Daddy for a squeeze and a kiss, to Mummy and to Zalia. She loves her, adores her. 

For anyone who has been following our journey on Instagram and Facebook, you would all know that I have been having quite a hard time adjusting to parenting two babies. I have really been struggling with Zalia's reflux. It has been the hardest thing I have ever done. But, I have had some of the best days of my life and my love for my children is extraordinary. It is incredible and indescribable. I am shocked by how easily I have been able to spread my love across the two girls, which was my biggest worry while I was pregnant. 

I havent been able to commit much time to writing here, which is totally okay with me, I am dedicating my time to my girls. Once I find a happy medium at home and am able to work out a way to enjoy time to myself, then I will begin to write more frequently here. Every day I have a thought of a post I would like to write, something I would like to capture for my girls. But come time to be able to sit down in quiet, I mostly fall asleep. So things will stay pretty quiet around here for a little while. 

Know this, I am so grateful for all the support given to me through here, facebook and instagram. So very grateful! You guys have been my saviours and I am thankful to each and every one of you in a way that I could never even begin to explain. I feel like I have built some pretty solid relationships with you and I hope that one day I will be able to extend the same support and encouragement to you, shall you ever need it. 

Life is grand, isn't it? 

Tuesday, 11 June 2013


 Evelyn: Full of cheek, spark and spunk
Zalia: Sleep is so rare, I cant help but stare


Evelyn: You refuse your day naps, we settle with quiet time
Zalia: A smile that will stop the world

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

On the road...

Its been a long time since I have written a post worthy of publishing. Scratch that, its been a long time that I have written a post longer than a couple of sentences. I have not been able to put words down, not for lack of trying. I have multiple draft posts that all start with a line something similar to, "life has been different lately. Sleep. Sleep. Blah Blah Blah. Sleep". 

The thing is that I don't even want to talk about my lack of sleep. I want to talk about my beautiful Daughters. These two wonderful humans that I created. These two amazing souls that are so full of light and love and gentleness. I want to talk about the fact that Evelyn has been the most adaptable child, taking on her role as a Big Sister with such grace. That she asks me to set her up on the lounge for a cuddle and a kiss with Zalia. That she gently puckers her lips, making the perfect sound of a kiss on Zalia's forehead. When Zalia screams and cries, Evelyn asks me "she okay?", then she moves to Zalia's side and she offers her finger for a suck and she pats her head while looking off into the distance. She has been suprising, she is amazing. The love within her just shines from her and I have just never been so proud of her.

I want to talk about the fact that behind all of Zalia's tears and her screams you can see her smile, her happiness. I can tell that these screams are screams of help. They are in no way an indication of her personality. Because her personality is happy, cheeky. As she looks at me, with tears streaming down her face, sounds of despair and distress, she will every so often break out in the most beautiful and loveable smile. It swiftly disappears again to hide behind her pain. I want to talk about how her eyes are full of love for me, in a way that Evelyn's never were. Evelyn loves her Mummy, to the moon and back, there has never been any doubt about that. But Zalia's love for me is visible in those big brown eyes of hers. She watches me cross the room, her eyes follow mine as I sway her to sleep. When I am sleeping next to her, she will wake and her eyes dart stressfully around the room until they land on me. I am her calm and he safe place. Those eyes. It is all in those eyes.

I don't want to be struggling with the lack of sleep. I don't want it to be effecting me and my personality. I don't want for tears to be created from this pure exhaustion. This desperation of just an hour worth of sleep. I don't want to be frustrated. But the truth is that I am frustrated. So very frustrated. Because I know if I was able to get just a little sleep that I wouldn't be frustrated. I wouldn't have tears. I wouldn't be desperate. Because, the truth is, that I am loving being a new Mother again. I have coped with this new baby far better than I did the first time. My house is tidy and clean, I am showered. I am completely, blissfully and undoubtedly happy being a Mummy to my two beautiful Daughters.

But all of these things have been overshadowed by this tiredness. Its not just any tiredness. Its not the normal new born baby type of tiredness. I think that is the hardest part of this journey, is that people think I am crazy. What did I expect? Newborns wake up every few hours. But that is not the case here. She doesn't wake up every few hours. She falls asleep every few hours. For moments. Minutes. Sometimes I get 45 minutes out of her. Mostly not. We don't sleep, at all. 

Two nights ago I completely broke. Not only was Zalia unsettled but Evelyn decided that she didn't need to sleep, at all. She woke just before 1am and she didn't go back to sleep until just before 5am. Which is when Zalia woke for the day. I got a total of 45 minutes sleep that night. Then no one slept through the day and I finally admitted to myself that I just cannot keeping operating this way. It is not healthy or safe for myself, or my family. A Mother is the centre of her family, if she falls apart then the entire family falls apart. We were falling apart, all of us. 

I had not had a chance to change from my pajamas yesterday when I decided that we all needed to get out of the house and into the car for a change of air. I was not in the car for 5 minutes before Evelyn completely passed out. Zalia was screaming. And screaming. And screaming. I knew I needed to drive, where there would be no stopping. So I decided to drive to Anthony's parents house. I called them, with tears welling my eyes, because I didn't want to have to fall into their arms. I asked them if we could visit for an hour or two. When I arrived they swooped in and took a screaming baby from my arms and presented Evelyn with toys and we all sat on the lounge room floor. I sat back, without talking and they just knew. They knew that I needed more help than I had ever let on. So for the second time in my two and a half years of being a Mum, I let them.

They entertained Evelyn for me while I wrangled Zalia into peace. They spent the night convincing me that we needed to stay. So, Anthony got in the car and bought our things and met us there hours later. Then, they spent the rest of the night convincing us that we need to take Zalia home in the morning and we need to spend some time with her, trying to find some way that we can settle her. They convinced me that I needed to spend time, in some sort of quiet, without having to worry about keeping Evelyn entertained. Without having to worry.

They convinced me that I needed them. I shouldn't have needed convincing because I knew. I knew I needed help. So this morning, I packed myself and Zalia into the car and made the drive back home. We spent the day in my bedroom. Feeding, sleeping, playing, feeding, sleeping. Only leaving that room for water or a change of nappy. Tomorrow I plan on doing the exact same thing. 

Then, once I have had some much needed rest. Once I am no longer deprived of what we all deserve. Hopefully, after that, I can talk about all the amazing moments I have had with my Daughters. Like Zalia's first smile at only four weeks. Or Evelyn's vocabulary taking off ever since her Sister arrived. The cuddles and kisses, the love and the laughter. Evelyns pride of her family and Zalia's growth (and hopefully her overcoming her reflux). 

Once I have found my centre again, and therefore my family's centre, then I can get back to being the Mother and the person I know I am and leave this sleep deprived induced insanity.