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the brightest lightest one ever ...

oh i do love a shiny new year,
tis my fabby fav thing of all without a doubt.
more than birthdays, more than christmases.

this shiny new year will be all about
living in the moment of here and now.
letting the past go
trusting the future will take care of its self
and seeing the extra ordinary in the ordinary.
each and every day
right wherever my little feet happen to be planted.

i will not be making a list of resolutions
for the coming shiny new year.
rather i will be making a list of words.
daily reminders of being present in the moment
rather than drifting backwards or looking too far forwards.

hippity happy shiny new year to you dearest readers,
here's to it being the brightest, lightest one ever


The Queen's Christmas Message

may your days be ...

merry & bright

joyful & light

merry christmas dearies!!!

joyful thriftstore update ...

on weds, Our #4 had an interview for a job at the new thriftstore opening up in the town next door. this is tres exciting and even more so to arrive home and find a message saying could he come back on monday for a second interview! he is thinking he may be a shelf stacker, i am thinking he may be tres good at that, what with being 6' 2". both him and myself are a little giddy about the thought of him having a job at a thrift store. 
all fingers, toes, paws and claws are crossed here in mossy shed.

on saturday a most magnificent couch found me, it found me when i was least expecting it and truth be told, as i am magically tidying up forever and ever it was most inconvenient that she should catch my eye and tug at my heart. upon close inspection with my adopted auntie, her man, Our #4 and my reluctant man it was all agreed a couch such as this is a rare find indeedy!

twenty four hours later and a lot of convincing on my behalf, the most magnificent couch was loaded into the back of the car, strapped in for safety to lessen the worry of her ending up on the side of the freeway, she came home to mossy shed. 

my first intentions were for her to live outdoors under the overhang, waiting for warmer weather, and little green friends to start keeping her company. i was smitten by her wood sides, fabby fabric and could see the potential if i dared to start to mess around with her skirts. 

after one night outside i began to fret for my newly found friend, for damp and cold can play havoc with our health and that of furniture left out back round here. upon arrival home from work the next day, i told my man i felt it would be a wrong doing to leave her out there, my man agreed it would and so in she came from the cold.

fortunately my magical tidying up has left many gaps in our shed, but on the other hand, the whole point of my magical tidying up was to make gaps and to breath and not fill those lovely empty gaps up again. i must confess i was a little fretful my 'new~to~me, old~to~another' couch would cause me to feel overwhelmed as she filled in a rather large gap in my atelier of sorts, 

but my fretting ways were soon cast aside when she sat there resplendent in her little corner. i asked "do you bring me joy?" as per my magical tidying up book, my couch sung out loud and clear "i do oh yes i do"
i covered her seat cushions in one of two beautiful lace bed throws i also found on saturday's thrift store pottle, i wonder if they came from the same donator, for both appear to be quite at home together as though they are old friends

and as i stepped back, pondering her skirts, i felt nothing but joy to see her there,
waiting patiently for a moment in this busy week for me to sit with a cup of mint tea and continue upon my path of enlightenment, this time with Louise Hay

wise little piggies ...

last christmas,
 Mister Muchly went to see Santa.

he asked Santa for a friend
it took a little while for Santa to work his magic
but in Spring a friend was found

this christmas,
Mister Muchly suggested to his trusty sidekick
Twiglet Piglet,
she might like to go and see Santa 

(waiting patiently for the car ride into town)
and so they did.

however neither Mister Muchly
nor Twiglet Piglet 
were fooled by this year's Santa
pointing out he did not look
old enough to drive a sleigh.
Mister Muchly was so not convinced
he tried on several occasions
to remove his beard
before being tackled into a safe grip by 'Santa'

upon perusal of the photo,
i am thinking they are quite wise little piggies

the kindest thing i did for myself this week ...

 was finish reading

if perchance you too are on the path to self awareness
or maybe you are right at the start 
not quite knowing which way to turn
i do not think you could go wrong
with picking this book up 
and starting right at the beginning.
when i read books such as these
i always start at the very beginning,
never jumping in at random pages
for i believe each chapter builds on the previous one
and quite often, 
actually more than often
i have to pause for thought,
reread and then continue.
and more often than not
i get to the end
and know i will need to reread the whole thing
just to clarify i read what was there
and not what i thought was there.

the back of our loo door is full of wise words
i have gleamed from books 
over the past three years.
however the daily reminder
i gleamed from Brene Brown's book
will not be on the back of the door
but on the kitchen wall
to remind me each and every day
how far i have come,
of where i am now
and how muchly further i have to go 
in this enlightening, 
tricky dicky at times, 
journey of mine

i said this was the kindest thing i had done for myself this week
it was a fib,
it turns out to be the kindest thing i have done for myself all year.

rebellious ways ...

 yesterday i made some easy peasy envelope cushion covers 
for our granny couch,
out of an old sanderson slipcover 
i made donkey's years ago.

i was not supposed to be doing such a thing

but i did it anyway

sometimes i marvel at my rebellious ways

pondering paint ...

tis all quiet again in the shed, not that my folks are particularly rowdy sort of folks, just that there are not as many bods around. i am spending the next few days wisely inbetween must~dos like working at the yarn shop, cleaning, laundry, cooking and christmas gifts finding, with thoughts of paint. not just any old paint but chalk paint (ummm, Tif, didn't you dabble in that before and it nearly drove you to the funny farm?) and not just any old chalk paint colour, but graphite.

my mother brought along with her a few copies of english magazines as she knows how much i enjoy a good old ganders at homes from my homeland. well one little article stopped me in my page turning tracks and it was an article about Annie Sloan and her latest book on chalk painting your nest and the world around you and there was one picture of a wall painted in graphite which made my heart skip and my cogs start to turn.

so last week on one of our pottles together, me and my folks located a can of graphite chalk paint and now my shed is empty for two weeks i am looking around for some willing victims. one willing victim will be our kitchen window frame. i think i have found another one, tis a huge old vintage framed piece of art and then there is the victim who had no choice, willing or not, i wanted to see what the paint was like. so yesterday, the day i spent all day in my pajamas, in between doing gleeful joyful tree trimming and the likes, i painted my drawer shelf on the wall to see what would be.

well, tis most graphite and dark and tis most chalk like. 
as one would expect if one paints something with graphite chalk paint.

as i am in the midst of tidying up forever and ever, never to tidy again, this means vignettes and collections of sorts have to be kept to a minimum or else they breed all over the walls and cupboards. so my drawer shelf is one of the few places i can change out with happy collections and feel this is okay because it is contained. 

when i ponder it from afar 

or up close, it looks to me like a diorama or shadow box of sorts. i like this muchly, i like how whatever i put in it, unless it is black or graphite, will pop happily and joyfully.
i have high hopes i will like my kitchen window frame and picture frame equally so although the matte~ness of it has me a little fretful...

footynote: please excuse continuing pants photos due to pants lighting, Colin the computer and his iffy monitoring issues and my long term separation with Carlos the Camera and ability to only see the world through squares.

makers market nitty gritty and whatnot and this and that ....

hello hello, 
we have been tres busy bees with 
my folks visiting, 
thanksgiving family time,

which included puzzle and game playing for all

holiday window dressing for the yarn store
and beavering away for the Makers Market 
which is upon us tomorrow.

i have also done a smidgen of joyful blinging 
as i do like a bit of christmas bling. 
this year i am going for minimal bling 
to see if i can make it through to the new year 
without me fighting the urge 
to pop it all back in the attic. 

i will share my bling next week, 
however today i will share Makers Market nitty gritty. 
if you follow along with my daily instagram postings 
you will have seen most if not all of these pics, 
but if you do not, 
then hurrah hooray! 
it will not feel like you are watching repeats on the telly.

a motley crew is gathering for the makers market in my 'atelier of sorts'

my dad took up calligraphy a little whiles ago and kindly agreed to making handwritten signs. he earnt a gold sticky star for his troubles

my mum did a fabby job at paper bag typing, however she did not earn a gold sticky star because unfortunately she typed some very rude words mid typing duties, implying the elf duties she had been given were quite crappity crap. rebelling in the elf quarters does not lead to gold sticky stars, i am afraid. tsk tsk

with limited table top space, i got creative with my leaning tower of lampshades thus making a most handy dandy holder for the vintage hmong dingle dangles and hand painted hearts 

my folks were tres good with their elf duties, oh! except for my mum's rebellious typing ways, oh! and except for her bleeding episode on the button cards .... mmmm, yes i have come to the conclusion my mum is quite a pesky elf and am quite sure she is the sort of elf who will be making noises about unions and fair pay before long

if you would like to come visit me 
and my little table of handmade, vintage, eclectic~ness, 
(but not my elves,
for alas and alack, the elves fly home tomorrow, 
sniff sniff)
i would be most delighted, 
for more nitty gritty you can clickity click right 

thank you kindly

Eliza's Newborn Pictures

These pictures were taken a week before we closed on Meadowbrook. You wouldn't know it by looking at them, but I was barely holding it together. Four kids, a newborn, packing, I had gone back to work the week before. We took all of the pictures in my bedroom, because it was the only room that wasn't completely or partially packed. Boxes everywhere, exposed nail holes on the walls. A mess. Me, the house, my life. I ordered 5 dresses from ASOS (free expedited shipping and free returns, can I get an hallelujah?!) and wore the only one that fit. And thank goodness one fit!

I have learned so much about myself over the last year; I imagine this growth is just the beginning. One of the things I have come to appreciate is that I don't let the bad stuff ruin what's good. A new baby. A new sister. The love that comes from that, all good stuff. The rest of it? It's over and I survived.

I knew even though so many parts of that week were parts I would want to forget, this moment wasn't one of them. It's so easy to talk about (or think about) our problems, but it's so much more enjoyable to talk about (or think about) our joys. These photos are some of my greatest joys.

Eliza's Birth Story

I am not sure how this happened, but my baby is a month old today. It's been a blurry whirlwind. I know all parents say that, but given the events of the last month, mixed with having a newborn, truer words have never been spoken. I thought, since I didn't get to it sooner, that today would be an apropos day to finish her birth story.

Eliza's due date is still a mystery to me, though I am sticking with my guns that her actual due date was October 18. Her chart at my OB still says October 15. So depending on who you believe she was either 3 or 5 days late. Friends couldn't believe that with all of the stress in my life, I didn't deliver preterm, but I kept saying that she was waiting for it to be safe to come out, waiting for me to secure us a house, waiting for it to be calmer.

In the weeks leading up to her birth my OB's talked frequently about induction. The first time was because her fluid was looking low, but they waited and checked her again a few days later and my fluid was better. The second time was because I was already 4 cm dilated and full-term, with a history of laboring fast. They warned me there was a good chance I wouldn't make it to the hospital. But I really wanted to have a gradual labor, with time spent at home, I wanted her to come on her terms. I wanted it to be just like the movies, where a woman's water breaks and she smiles and says, "it's time!" and gets driven to the hospital by the frenetic, but lovingly concerned husband.

The week of her due date I had an appointment to see my therapist and I talked to her about the lady at the pizza place and the night in the bathtub. We had already talked about my reiki sessions and the idea of spirit guides. Sidenote, what I love about my therapist is that she believes in spirituality and the law of attraction, but is also a real LMHC. In a conversation that I believe was no accident, she told me that all of the things I have been practicing and reading about were all based on a book called A Course in Miracles (which I have since downloaded but, sadly, have yet to read). She told me about Gabby Bernstein, who wrote a book called Spirit Junkie, and said that Gabby was fun to follow on Instagram.

The night I went into labor with Eliza, I climbed into the tub at the end of another long day, and began scrolling through my phone to entertain myself, as I often do in the bath. After surfing Facebook and clearing out emails, I hopped on Instagram. I remember feeling overwhelmed with life and wondering if this baby was ever going to come out. And I thought about my conversation with my therapist and remembered the suggestion about Gabby Bernstein and searched her profile. Her post that day was this:

I started thinking more about why Eliza had yet to come. As of my 40 week appointment I was 5 cm dilated and 70% effaced. I had been progressing steadily from week 37 on, and each week my OB's scratched their heads at how she was still hanging tough with my body so far along. I thought about this mantra, and wondered if my own fears were holding me back from delivering her. Fears of how I would survive as a single mom of four under four; fears about whether I am enough for these babies; fears about how raw it would feel to labor with her dad, who was no longer my husband, by my side; fears about being wide open and vulnerable and alone; fears about being homeless. So many fears.

I decided to give it a try. I sat back in the tub, closed my eyes and began to breathe. About a half hour later my phone buzzed with a text message from my brother asking if I was still awake and if I wanted to talk. It was 9:42 p.m. I jokingly told him that I'd call him when I got out of the tub so that it wouldn't be awkward, and we had a bit of stupid sibling banter (that I'm including, because the whole convo cracks me up).

By 9:50 p.m. I was on my fourth heavy contraction and calling Joe to get him to help me out of the tub. These weren't the little Braxton-Hicks contractions I had been having for months. I knew this was the real deal. I called Joe and he was walking the dog, I calmly said, "I need you to come home, I need help." And then I hung up and called our nanny. 

She was roughly 30 minutes away, and again I calmly said, "okay". But in my head I was thinking I didn't even have 30 minutes. I wondered if she would still want to work for our family if she watched me deliver a baby in my living room. I wondered if I would want to employ someone who saw that much of me. And then I had another contraction and my crazy thoughts disappeared. My contractions were strong and coming fast. I called my OB and left a message that I was in labor with the answering service.

Joe got home and we finished throwing stuff in my hospital bag, I paced my bedroom, bending over the bed or the dresser with each contraction. At that point they were under 5 minutes apart. Joe called our nanny for a sit rep two or three more times. She got to our house at 10:15 p.m. and I was already walking to the car. The contractions were coming faster and getting stronger. 

We flew down the driveway and got stuck behind the most conservative driver that ever lived. It was around that time that the on-call OB called me back. She asked all the normal questions (how far along I am, how dilated I was at the last appointment, how fast my contractions were coming, what kid was this for me, how far we were from the hospital) I squeaked out my responses in between contractions...over 40 weeks...5-6 cm...1-2 minutes...number four...35 minutes away. She later admitted she didn't think we'd make it to the hospital after speaking to me on the phone. 

We got on the highway and it was raining. I could see the speedometer reading 90-95 mph and I kept telling Joe to slow down, that I was afraid of his speed. He works at the hospital in which I delivered all four kids and he kept telling me to calm down, focus on keeping her in, and let him drive, that he knew the road, and he would get us there safely. We made it almost two exits before we got pulled over. Joe kept trying to get out of the car to tell the officer that I was in labor and I was screaming at him to stay inside so that the cop didn't draw a weapon or something. And then I was screaming in pain. Joe started shouting out the window, "My wife is in labor! My wife is in labor!" The cop took his sweet ass time getting out of his car and then meandered over to our car even more slowly. When he got close enough to be in earshot, he looked at Joe confused and then shone his light in on me. I was mid-contraction and moaning wildly. The officer, who was all of 22, looked panicked and started waving us forward, shouting, "You're all set! Just go! Just go!"

We passed four more cop cars on the way to the hospital, and didn't get pulled over again. So while this guy didn't give us a police escort (probably didn't want to deliver my baby on the highway), it seems like he did, at least, radio ahead. 

My contractions were 1-2 minutes long coming every 1-2 minutes. They were painful and I was literally holding her in with all of my might. Joe kept telling me, "Just keep her in, Nik, just keep her in." I was breathing and moaning and holding myself up with the oh shit handle, the whole time thinking I was going to deliver her in my husband's car. 

We got to the hospital and the valet was already gone. Joe threw the car in park and left it running. I was freaking out because it's not the best city and I was afraid someone would steal our car. In hindsight, it was a funny thing to be worried about given the fact that I was literally giving birth in the entrance of the hospital. There were no wheelchairs and the elevator was farther away from us than the stairs, so we took the stairs. I walked up two flights of stairs, stopping to breathe through each contraction, to get to the next bank of elevators that would take us to labor and delivery. A hospital employee who was on break or starting their shift or something, held the elevator door for us and when he realized that I was literally having my baby right there, he ran ahead of us off the elevator and alerted the nursing staff. 

Several nurses came running around a corner, one had a wheelchair, but I couldn't sit. I just did not want to sit. They got me into a room and I stood next to my hospital bed, leaning forward on it to work through a few more contractions. Joe went to go move the car. I remember thinking he wouldn't make it back in time. I took my clothes off and got into my gown. I was checked into the hospital system at 10:57 p.m. 

A young nurse came in to start my IV, I was having back to back contractions. I told her I didn't want an IV and she grabbed my arm to start the line, and that's when I verbally assaulted her telling her to stop touching me with her pointy stick. I didn't see that nurse again. 

They asked me if I wanted an epidural and I said yes and then no again immediately. I remember thinking there wouldn't be time, there wasn't enough time. I knew if it hurt that much that I was close and it would be over soon. A nurse checked me and I was 7 cm, when my OB came in a few minutes later she checked me and I was fully dilated and ready to push.

The first few contractions felt wild and out of control. My OB gowned up and sat down as I started to push, and my water exploded with a force that surprised everyone in the room. The pain got even more intense and I became even more frightened. I thought about the pain and the fears and all of the things keeping me wild and scared, and then something shifted with my next breath. I exhaled and let it all go, giving into the process, giving into the fear, surrendering. 

As I focused on my breathing, I got very quiet. And then I pushed and pushed and pushed. In between contractions I actually had (short) breaks to regroup a bit. I stayed quiet, except to say a few times that I was tired, or that I didn't want to ever do this again. And then on one contraction Joe, my OB and the nurse that was helping to hold my leg started encouraging me to push a little longer and a little harder. My OB told me to stop pushing, she adjusted Eliza and then she told me to push again and a few seconds later I felt her pass through my body and my perfect baby was on my chest. 

I looked at her and I cried, "We did it baby girl. We did it. It's just you and me. It was always you and me. We did it." And I wept and kissed her sweet face. I got to hold her for over an hour and nurse her. Her grip and her latch were strong, and we sat together. Nursing and clutching each other.

Eliza James was born on October 21 at 11:27 p.m. weighing 7 pounds, 13 ounces and was 20" long.

My perfect, spiky-haired, gorgeous baby girl came into the world 1 hour and 45 minutes after I opened my eyes in that bathtub.

Because I had no IV, they couldn't push pitocin to deliver my placenta and that took almost a half hour. I actually felt guilty for holding up my OB, but when my body was ready I could feel the contractions start again, and I pushed through one contraction and the placenta passed me, the room cleared out, and I was alone with my baby girl. Joe came back from calling his parents and our nanny and said goodnight and we were alone together again. My miracle baby and I, holding onto each other.

I now understand why people preach about natural births. I'm so glad I held out and let her come on her own terms. From beginning to end, her birth was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. Once I let go of my fears, it was so peaceful and so natural. I understand now why I was given the gift of this child, this little healer, this tiny warrior. I am thankful each and every day.

{ 1 week old }

{ 2 weeks old }

{ 3 weeks old }

{ 4 weeks old }


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