- Catherine Irwin
- Perth, WA, Australia
- Hi friends. To those I have met in person and the many I haven't - welcome to our nest. Thanks so much for stopping by. I am a mama of six baby birds and wife to one papa bird. Our nest is an intricately woven home, crafted over time, through the highs and lows of life, and many in-betweens. We are soon to leave our Australian nest to re-locate to our second home, the UK. This is our story, of our new life in a new country, the trials and tribulations, bidding goodbye to precious friends and embracing new. I know at times, our wings will be flapping so hard to keep us moving forward that we will tire, however, a little perseverence will bring effortless gliding amongst a soft breeze, and even stronger wings for the journey ahead. Welcome to our flight......
Wednesday, 27 October 2010
We have a strange phenomena happening in our house.
Twin girls and lots of dummies to keep them happy and settled and me also, happy and settled.
The thing is, some days the 'dummy bowl' is full to the brim and the next it is empty and we can't find them anywhere. And I mean we really can't find one single dummy. I recruit the other children to go on a 'dummy hunt' where they look under beds, in toy boxes, the laundry basket, the dogs basket - no dummies - anywhere. It is truly a mystery. But the weirdest thing is, suddenly, they all appear, out of nowhere, and nobody can take credit for finding them or putting them back.
It's causing me to become slightly unhinged, I admit. I think the dummies are joining forces with the socks that go missing periodically, as well as the red pens and the girl's hair clips and elastics, coupled with the boys lego men and my OBH's wallet.
So I decided yesterday to track the journey of these dummies and counted six in the 'dummy bowl' in the morning. The first two were easily accounted for but as the day went on and I got busier, lo and behold, they'd all gone AWOL.
I should probably get out more often!
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
The twins have decided to join the circus.
Twin number two is the circus act and does all the hi-jinks and the footwork as well as works the crowd, being the extra-vert, sociable little button that she is.
She has also cultivated another unique skill by being able to communicate with twin number one, aka, fatty, gentle, laid-back twin, with sounds resembling a crow on a dry desert plain. These calls are loud and harsh and unrelenting when twin number one is not in her view.
Poor number one must feel like she is being hunted. She shuffles about on her belly as quietly as possible, lest number two should spot her and make a bee-line for her attention and affections.
Fortunately, number one has found a hidey-place, one of solitude and refuge and above all away from her circus-performing sibling. It is in the kid's play circus tent and I have seen her secretly and subtlety slipping through the flaps, glancing furtively behind her to make sure she hasn't been seen, then in she goes to steal a few moments of 'me-time'.
I think though, after a while, number one feels guilty, as a far-off sound can be heard from within the tent walls, sounding very much like a crow, in answer to her sister's frantic squawks for location details. And of course, as soon as number two hears her beloved other it is like a homing device and number one's tranquility and alone time is no more.
I know how number one twin feels, as some days, I too, can be found hiding in the tent. I, on the other hand, don't succumb to the calls of the wild (my precious brood) and attempt to hide in there as long as I possibly can.
Saturday, 23 October 2010
You know what has been on my mind lately? Babies!! Not more of them but our twin girls, numbers five and six, for us.
They are moving about. Fast! One is crawling and one is hoovering the floor (commando style). We call her 'the slug'. She is number one, fatty twin.
Now, number two, skinny twin. Teenie, tiny, little pixie girl, is nearly walking. A strong breeze would blow her over but that doesn't deter her from wanting, needing, to be vertical, most of the time. But she is so small! My heart aches as I watch her rush everywhere and get into everything. Why can't they just stay little for a wee bit longer?
Twin two, has a problem. Namely, very, very, poor 'spit control'. She drools and slobbers like I have never seen before or likely will again. The amount of secretions that poor from her mouth are absolutely astounding. I can't even cuddle her properly without her practically slipping from my hands with her goo.
I so love it in the morning when I dress her all clean and fresh, and for a moment, she stays that way, until she opens her mouth and out it all comes, in globules, streams and great big showers of the stuff.
She leaves a pools of spit wherever she goes. Just like a snail and its silver trail, there goeth twin two and her massive fluid excretions.
At the end of day she is like a slimy, wet, cold and damp creature, akin to a frog, and with about as much energy as one as she bounds about everywhere.
I keep wondering when all this spit will dry up, but so far it shows no sign of abating.
Twin number one on the other hand, HAS NO SPIT AT ALL. Small mercies!
And thank goodness for that. Otherwise we would all be drowning in the stuff and smell like mini sewers.
Thursday, 21 October 2010
I have a new CD to listen to when I run in the mornings. It is Brooke Fraser's latest release. The words of the signature song, 'Flags', has touched a chord with me and I wanted to share it with you.
It reminds me of the gift of friendship, of loves and lives lost and with such empathy it draws out the harshness of life, but also the promise of beauty and restoration.
Sometimes it is kind of tricky when I am running though and all I want to do is stop and have a good cry. I think if I did though I would scare our little community of neighbours. I don't think they would quite know what to do with a sobbing woman sitting on the kid's swing at the local park!
Anway here are some of the words. I hope they resonate with you in some form as well.
Blessings to you all.
Come and tell me your troubles
I am not the answer
But I am a listening ear
Reality, has left you reeling
All facts and no feeling
No faith and all fear
I don't know why good men fall
While the wicked ones stand
And our lives blow about like flags on the land
Who's there first is not important
Good intentions lie dormant
While apathy acts like an ally
My enemy and I are one and the same
I don't know why the innocent fall
While monsters still stand
I don't know why the little one's thirst
But I know the last shall be first
Of this, I am sure
I don't know why our words are so proud
Yet their promise so thin
Whilst our lives continue to blow about like flags in the wind
You, who mourn, will be comforted
You, who hunger, will hunger no more
You, who weep now will laugh again
And you, who are lonely, be lonely no more
The last shall be first
Of this, I am sure
Just reaching for the tissues again!
We have 11 month old twin girls. They were born within four minutes of each other and are poles apart in looks and personality.
Twin number one is a gentle giant. I say 'giant' because she is off-the- scale on the height/weight ratio for her age. Her thighs are like mini tree trunks and her cheeks look like she is storing nuts for the winter.
Twin number two is like a little tiny pixie. She is so small and light and her height/weight ratio is minus 20! It probably has something to do with the fact that she eats like a sparrow and is always on the move. This of course, being the overall secret to weight loss - close the mouth and move the body! And twin two does it to perfection.
Anyway, speaking of twin number one, aka, our little fatty, she loves to eat. She lives for the next highchair sitting. The very sight of anything food related, ie, spoon, bowl or bottle, will have her wiggling and jiggling and clapping her hands. Drop dead cute and bound to make me smile on even my bluest days.
So last night, I had to chuckle when I did the obligatory checking of the kids before shut-eye. As I bent down to give her a kiss I noticed crumbs in her cot. Lots of them. Here's the thing - how does an 11 month old end up with crumbs in her bed? Has she been stealing food secretly, or did she con her sister into saving it in her pockets for a later midnight feast? Or has she been storing it in her chipmunk cheeks to snack on when sleep evades her?
I think I have found the culprit. She grabs food from any source as quick as a flash and then conceals it in her chubby little hands with such a vice-like grip one cannot prise it out. This produces a steamy piece of unrecognisable 'glug' with a strange smell (mixture of sweat, spit and vomit) but apparently to her, it tastes like heaven and is very beneficial when the night-time munchies strike.
In a few weeks they will be one (oh how my heart breaks at that!).
Happy birthday my precious little chipmunks!
Monday, 18 October 2010
Now I know that this is kind of a boring house-wife type of thing. So for all my lovely readers who peruse my posts for their fix of wit (I wish!), humour and a good old chuckle at our expense, you can skip this one.
How do you launder an item of clothing that is both coloured and white? I have pondered over this for years and still don't have the answer. For example, my number one son has a top that has dark stripes with white sleeves. Does it belong to the white family or should it join the dark side?
I admit to trying both parties and neither of them leave me completely satisfied with my washing experience. The whites are too easily contaminated by the dark bits and if I swap it around and mix it with the dark entourage, the white bits turn dodgy and I have failed on both accounts. Plus, the kids walk around with grey clothes which, lets face it, is not a good look.
See my dilemma?
Here are my options:
1. I shouldn't be purchasing clothing with the wrong genetic mix
2. I should get a life
3. Can't think of 3.
I think I should go with number two.
Sunday, 17 October 2010
We have had a big weekend, adding to the family way.
The first, after a lot of deliberation, market research and counting of pennies, was the purchase and arrival of Paddy. I really wasn't too fussed about Paddy either way. I was fairly neutral on the subject and at a push, probably would have preferred to leave Paddy at retail wonderland than invite him to live with us.
However .... and hindsight is a wonderful, precious thing, can I just say, I HAVE FALLEN IN LOVE WITH PADDY!!!! Every time I walk into the lounge room and my eyes are drawn to not only his size (!!!) but his presentation and overall clarity, I am truly mesmerized. The kids are now shaking their heads and sighing at all of my swooning and carrying on. 'Mummy, get over it - it's a tv!'. True, however, I never knew what I was missing out on until Paddy came into my life. All 51 inches of pure plasmic joy:)
The other, is Geoffrey. Now, the OBH, has been wanting Geoffrey for a very long time. Probably as long as we have been married. My response has always been to mutter 'Have a look in the Quokka or a Garage Sale'. Now, apparently, there is so much more to owning Geoffrey's than I was aware of (or even really wanted to know). It all has to do with one's balance and stride, along with individualised swing, poise, posture and the ratio of natural ability versus exertion. If one has poor quality Geoffrey's, one is unlikely to continue with the sport, which by the way is beneficial to physical and emotional well-being as well as the encouragement of friendships (and overall happier OBH's) - I am told.
So off went my lovely OBH for a Geoffrey evaluation, along with the mortgage papers and the trust accounts for the children. And home came a beaming OBH and the rather dashing looking Geoffrey (who consequentially, has smaller off-spring junior Geoffrey's which come with the overall package). But seriously, seeing my OBH so happy after 17 years of waiting and longing and hoping was all worth it - every cent. And for the record, Geoffrey didn't cost too much. Just between you and me, I would have let my OBH pay double the amount just to see his child-like face and excitement at being able to play golf again (Geoffrey, of course, being golf clubs!).
However ... I do have to draw the line at one thing. When I walked into our bedroom last night, there was Geoffrey in all his refinement tucked into bed, heads (!) on the pillow and snuggled down under my vintage Cath Kidson throw.
But, then I got to thinking, I wonder if Paddy would fit onto my side?
Wednesday, 13 October 2010
We have had a surprise addition to our already growing family! Quite unexpected and unplanned and now I may have to change the title of my blog.
I am in a dilemma because we really do have our hands full and our days are busy and often chaotic with lots of little people to clothe and feed (you know the drill).
And it is all Garfield's fault and the fact that he/she is a transvestite and apparently isn't a boy but a girl. You see, Garfield, the boy (!) gave birth to the most adorable bunch of ginger and white babies you have ever seen. So what is one to do when one's teenage daughter looks at you with those longing, puppy dog eyes and says that because this was an unplanned pregnancy (I'll say!) who knows what the future holds for them and could we consider an adoption?
Thank goodness I didn't give any of the baby things away because, even though this isn't a human baby, you just never know when the unexpected can happen and it could be me one morning giving birth to a litter of five in the shed down the back. Although, if that happened, for the record, I would have to be committed, especially if my babies had furry ears and were ginger and white!
So anyway, our little girl is called Maisy and she will be a brilliant friend for our puppy dog, Flora (that is the plan anyway) as they eat, sleep and co-habit. Well that is the plan anyway. However in my past experience of keeping cats, they actually end up keeping you instead of the other way around.
Did I mention I am allergic to cats?
Did I also mention that I am a complete and utter soft touch?
Monday, 11 October 2010
Herb and Feta Cheese Souffle with Parmesan Shavings
Serves 4 happy diners!
60g olive oil spread
1/3 cup plain flour
1 1/2 cups milk
130g feta cheese
2tbs finely chopped chives
2tbs finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup Parmesan
4 eggs separated
Preheat oven to 180c
Melt the spread. Add flour and stir over medium heat for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring to boil and whisk 2 minutes.
Transfer mixture to large bowl. Add cheeses & herbs and stir until melted. Stir in egg yolks. Beat egg whites until soft peaks (in separate bowl). Gently fold egg whites into souffle mixture.
Pour into 4 x 1cup ramekins (greased). Please into a baking dish with enough hot water to reach halfway up sides of dishes.
Bake 30 mins or until puffed and golden.
Scoff IMMEDIATELY amongst rapturous praise!!
The Best Ever, Ever, Carrot Cupcakes with Maple Frosting (in the world!!)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tspns mixed spice
2 cups firmly packed grated carrot (about four medium carrots)
maple cream cheese frosting
80g cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 1/4 cups icing sugar
Preheat oven to 180c
Line 12 hole muffin pans with paper cases.
Stir oil, eggs, flour, sugar and spice together. Add carrot.
Bake for 30 mins.
When cool spread with frosting.
Frosting: Beat butter, cream cheese and syrup together until fluffy. Gradually add the icing sugar. Top with roasted pecan if desired.
Yummo, yummo! Enjoyo!!
Saturday, 9 October 2010
Last night my OBH and I made a cheese and chive souffle' worthy of Masterchef critique.
We were in raptures over our magnificent puffs of egg, fetta cheese and parmesan, enhanced with fresh home-grown parsley and chives. I was super excited as I finally had the chance to use my new vintage blue and white ramekin dishes.
The kids however were less than impressed, commenting that they felt like they were eating spoonfulls of cloud fluff with no taste and the texture was a bit dodgy for their liking. We reminded them that they were indeed fortunate to be sitting down to such a fancy dish when most children would be eating fish fingers and oven chips with peas on a Saturday night. Their faces told me that they would trade their fancy, fluffy souffle' for fish fingers any night of the week.
My OBH and I ignored all of this and tucked into our little pleasures with OBH saying every few minutes that this was the highlight of his day. A bit of scoffing and muffled groans were to be heard from the offspring at OBH's constant raptures.
Unfortunately, in OBH's excitement and haste to consume another ramekin full of lovliness my brand new vintage bowl slipped from his hand and smashed all over the floor. What a shame, now I have to go and buy a whole new set. A trip to the kitchen shop is imminent and who knows what else might be on special when I go. I can never pass up a bargain.
This morning I dutifully made everybody fresh hummingbird muffins for breakfast. They were super yummy, straight from the oven. Lovely and moist with banana, crushed pineapple, coconut and lashings of butter of course. We topped them with a cream cheese and honey frosting and ate them all in one sitting. OBH however just couldn't help himself and waxed lyrical about last night's souffle once again (he was a Chef for 28 years!), to which I secretly thought that maybe, just maybe, there was a bit of overkill on the souffle' front. But hey, at least I am appreciated, and there is leftovers today (could be dodgy though - reheated in the microwave), much to the disgust of the children.
ps - will post the recipie soon, if anybody would like to give it a try and impress their 'other better halves'!
Thursday, 7 October 2010
Spring has sprung and I couldn't be more pleased.
There is a certain smell that heralds the start of warmer months. In the mornings the air outside is heavily perfumed with just-watered sweet grass, the bees are busy with their work for the day and everywhere I look there is new life. Baby buds cover bushes and shrubs and colourful flowers finally appear in gardens and parks. I wake now to the sun on my face and baby birds crying for their breakfast.
The smell of barbeque's grilling meat at night accompanied by the faint scent of citronella is totally mesmerising to me. Eating outdoors creates a magical quality and for us, opens up fun and light conversation with the kids. And talking of the kids, they love it and jump up to help prepare dinner, set up the table and pack away (although it could be the promise of ice-cream that encourages this process!). And the best thing about outdoor dining is the relaxed attitude I have. Crumbs on the table and decking, no problem, the dog will hoover them up. No washing of pans afterwards or scrubbing meat of skillets. Bliss!
I can't wait to wear some of my pretty summer dresses and flip flops and discard all of the layers I have been piling on over the past few months. My laundry becomes a bit easier too, as we all wear less clothes. Now that is something to get excited about!
It is easy to take for granted the blessing of our warmer months here in Australia. After living in the UK for a few years I realised how much climate affects quality of life, and I must say, I struggled with the grey days and seemingly endless lack of sunshine.
So when my days are full of work and endless caring for others' needs, I need to remind myself of the aspects of my life and environment that make me happy. It is often all of the little things in a day which have the greatest impact and for me it comes down to the warmth of the sun, balmy nights, good food, fun with my family and an icy cold glass of white wine.
My only problem now is my lilly-white skin, kind of anaemic looking and certainly void of the healthy sun-blushed complexion I desire. Hmm, a spray tan might be on the cards to welcome these summer months. From me to you, enjoy!
Tuesday, 5 October 2010
I think my kids have had enough of each other these holidays, and these are only the short ones. What am I going to do when the Christmas holidays knock on my front door and set up residence in my lounge room for 6 whole weeks?
It all started with a bit of niggling, then a few pokes and pushes (accidentally, of course) and then the dreaded whining and inevitably ends with tears and tantrums.
Maybe there is an air of something in my house because even my gentle and ever so kind Dad had a tantrum in my house the other day - and it was in front of my friend! Said Father was on our computer which characteristically was not complying and then it happened. At first it was just a bit of an impatient click of the tongue, then the head went in his heads and a low growl was emitted. I am not sure whether any profanities were expelled, if they were they would have been very much under his breath with all of the eyes and ears of little people in our house. The foot was stamped a few times and a foul look came across his usual pleasant and lovely face. Thankfully, my OBH, the servant that he is, went over to offer a hand. I am surprised Dad didn't snap it off! Anyway, when it was all over, I gave my beloved Dad a withering look and enquired whether he had finished and could he please not have a paddy in my house in front of my friend. He slithered home soon after that. Haven't seen or heard from him in a few days.
So today, I have decided is going to be a good day. Even though I can hear the rumblings of discontent from the other end of the house, I am stoic in my belief that we have all shed the monkeys from our back. And anyway, I am not going to be here. I am off to a Day Spa today for a delicious pamper of body and soul. I may never return - just kidding!
Monday, 4 October 2010
This morning I went out for breakfast with my firstborn daughter and as of now I am finally settled in our new area. And it was all because of a muffin - a delicious, blueberry and maple syrup muffin, to be exact.
I am a simple girl at heart really, despite all of my complexities.
A few days ago I mentioned to my OBH that I hadn't found my place, my local hang-out (ie great coffee and home-made muffins) where I could go and escape and 'just be' for half an hour on my own. And hey presto, today I found it.
To boot, my new haunt is on the water, has a live band playing and is surrounded by tasteful boutiques and even better, most importantly, the muffin was perfect, straight from the oven, crisp on the outside but warm and soft in the middle. Seriously, you couldn't wipe the smile from my face and I excitedly blurted all of this to the poor waitress as we were leaving who gave me a 'you don't get out much' look!
Anyway, I came home, still with a silly grin on my face and announced to my OBH that I was now officially settled in our new geographical location thanks to a generous dollop of cake mixture!