We have been away for the weekend and I am now frantic with all the things I want to do before Christmas.  Aargh!  I love this time, but I am a little crazy at the moment.  I guess I could have not chosen to go away and relax on the weekend. But with our Kombi beckoning us away, how could we resist.  I think I might just be more crazy now, if I hadn't taken the time off.  It was so nice. 
Highlights of the weekend...

Holding Tia's hand as she did laps of our campsite, because there were tears whenever we stopped.  (She will be walking so soon!)

Watching Laney run away from the waves, and then run straight back to the water.

Watching Ro fly our new super stunt kite on the beach.

Sitting around drinking beers with new friends.

Talking to Ro, with no (Thaw, computer, housework) distractions.

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas.

These photos are courtesy of Ro's blog. He took some lovely photos.

Not that long ago I joined a group of crafters who are a very talented and gorgeous bunch of chicks.  They are all lovely to hang out with and I have lots of fun catching up with them once a fortnight.  Although initially I felt a little intimidated by the talent they all have for their chosen craft (as I am a wannabe, and not really good at anything crafty) I have found that they have inspired me to do things more creatively in general.  As I started planning for Christmas, I have been thinking, "what can I make for....." or "how can I wrap these".  Instead of just going to the shop and buying presents and patterned wrapping paper, I am willing to give myself a go at doing it myself.  This is not something I really would have attempted in the past. And I am really enjoying it.
I love to cook and bake, and generally struggle to find time for it, but I have been making time to do it.  Making cupcakes and chocolates. And I have also been practicing my new crafty skill of crocheting. It's nice to find something that relaxes me, and involves "making".  So thanks to all of you lovely girls, for inspiring me.

My first attempt at a crocheted flower, which I made into a brooch for a friend's birthday.
My first crocheted heart.  It's hanging on our tree now.
My little hand-made chockies which I gave my crafty friends at our last get-together.

Our little Dottie is sick, and hopefully will be OK by the weekend.
Laney is coming down off a week-long birthday high.
We've been enjoying dining alfresco in our new pergola - until the weather turned! This is Ro showing off his homegrown potatoes.


Barbie roasts with all the veg from our own garden.
Discovered we actually had a kitchen table under all that mess.
Love this picture Laney drew of me in my car.

OK, so I know I have been slack.  My Mum, blogging friends, old friends in Melbourne and anyone else who I see tells me I "really should update" my blog.  I realise I have been slack, and I apologise wholeheartedly.  Just to let you all know what has been holding me up - it's this little thing called Thaw.  My, how I would like to swear as I write this, but I am just not that rude.  OK, so maybe I would if this was verbal, but I just can't bear to write it.  This issue was a.. well... hard one.  We left lots of things to the last minute, and consequently had a rough couple of weeks leading up to the print deadline.  There were temper tantrums from the adults instead of the children, there was lots of wine consumed, and a lot of late nights and restless sleeps.  But in the end we got it done, and came out the other end with a magazine.  And I think it looks pretty good, just quietly. I promise I will post more regularly now.  

Tia loves that tinsel
No real tree for us.  First we have to put it together.
Our little backyard is an awesome oasis now.  So green and now with a table and chairs under cover.
This is where we  have hung out every night since Ro put the roof on the pergola, and we got our second-hand table and chairs.
The kitchen table represents the last few days well.  Laney's birthday presents and thaw orders ready for the post.It's been a crazy balancing act.
A special day on our advent calendar. Our beautiful Laney's 4th birthday.

I have been watching this classic mini-series with Laney and as a mum I think I even appreciate the little red-headed girl even more than I did when I was a little girl myself. She is feisty and sticks up for herself, is honest, imaginative and clever. I just love it. The characters are just so good, and I love the idea of having many "kindred spirits" come into your life.

OK, so I also had a thing for Gilbert.

This is just before she breaks her slate over Gilberts head, I think. Love that bit!

I have been taking photos lately, so that I can show you all what I have been doing, without having to write much. I much prefer saying it with pictures. (Thanks to Pete for some of the family shots.)

We bought Laney new bathers recently, so we had to model them. Here's serious....

Here is excited...
We've done a bit of drawing...


Catching up with family for important celebrations....

The happy couple talked about wedding plans...
We enjoyed the weather...
by having bbq's, and eating sausages in bread...

and now the restrictions have loosened, even watered the garden with a (shock, horror) hose!
Look at the gorgeous rewards Ro's hard work in reaping...

I have even been experimenting in preparation for the silly season...

My blanket will be ready, just in time for Summer. Oh well.

Man, it is hard to be disciplined when you go down to the beach for a break. The beer and fish 'n' chips were calling to me. I was very well behaved considering the temptations around me, and have still managed to maintain the 4 kilo weightloss that I have achieved so far on this new regime. But I certainly didn't lose any weight while we were down there.

Had a wonderful time playing in the sand with the girls in Apollo Bay, where we stayed for just two nights. Just what the doctor ordered for all of us. We couldn't get the smile off Helena's face. (Not that you would want to really.)

Am getting around as much as possible by foot and by my fabulous old Malvern Star. (Love my new basket. It fits quite a bit in there.) Let's hope the weight keeps coming off.

Hope you are enjoying the sunshine as much as me.

What a glorious day it is outside. I have just been for a walk, by myself, to do some errands, and felt an extra spring in my step as I enjoyed the sunshine! Laney and I have our new Summer dresses on - Laney's cost a whole $1, at the church fete this weekend.

On the weekend we had another wonderful time. One of the things we did was go to a friend, Sarah's, birthday party at Plaster Funhouse, which is now a feature in the garden. And we rearranged all the books on the bookshelves since we had purchased a lot more lately. Fun, fun fun.

Oh and the diet is going well so far. Not feeling so hungry all the time like I was in the beginning.

Just have to show off how my blanket is going. Having fun.

Laney in her new dress

The books, during the chaos.

The bookshelves after the reshuffle.

The view out the kitchen window this afternoon. So nice! All we need now is the grapes to grow
over the pergola, and a long table and chairs for underneath. I'm commissioning my dad to make
them from recycled timber.

I am embarking on a health regime!

OK, so I have to put this out there, much like the Magda Szubanski's and Julia Morris' of the world, because once you announce it to people, you have to stick to it, so that you don't look like a big loser. Well, actually a Biggest Loser is probably what I want to look like, but then you get the picture.

I don't want to lose a HEAP of weight, but just get more healthy, and fit. When I had my first bub, I lost all the (10 kg) weight that I put on, in a matter of 6 weeks (miraculously), so I just went to town when I was pregnant the second time. Big mistake! Tia is already 1, and I have still only lost 10 of the enormous 18 kgs that I put on with her pregnancy.

So here it is. I am going to do it. You just watch me. I have to. (I really want to buy new clothes, and refuse to buy them for my current size!)

Could totally see myself wearing something like this, this Summer. How pretty is it!?

From the Sartorialist

What a week I've had. It's just been filled with good stuff, and I really have enjoyed it. Thursday last week was craft night, and it was at my place this time. What a fun night we all had. Rohan decided to join us all, and he almost became a new member - thankfully I reminded him that he couldn't join, because I need him to stay at home on craft nights and look after the girls. Phew! Was great to see all the girls, and talk about craft, babies, crocheted penises and all the usual stuff.

Friday night - friends, wine, fun.

Saturday - walk and lunch at the pub with my beautiful girls in the sunshine, while Ro photographed a wedding.

Sunday - Just the four of us. Walk to cafe for brekky. Drive to Daylesford for market. Drive to Hepburn for lunch/picnic/wine/play/ on the grass at Lavendula.

How much fun!

Laney hasn't learnt how to cuddle gently yet. "She's just so cute!"she says.

Tia is randomly standing up and having little "Ta-da" moments - not walking yet though.

Laney is obsessing about her upcoming birthday and Christmas, and marking things she wants in catalogues with a "x"

Tia has just discovered that the baby in the mirror is actually her.

Just love this shopping list that Laney has been working on.

Really enjoying the crocheting. Just need more patterns.