Our little Juni is almost six months old already- babyhood is really such a fleeting moment, isn't it?
The transition from two to three has been much easier for me than from one to two. I have confidence and experience, I’ve cast aside any preconceived ideas of what babies should and shouldn’t be doing and am finally mothering with pride and unapologetic devotion.
Juniper is nowhere near ‘sleeping through the night’. Sometimes she'll sleep a 6-hour block but most of the time she essentially wakes three-hourly from the moment I put her down until she wakes up the next morning.
And do you know what dear Mama? It’s Okay. It’s Okay.
Because she needs me.
Because she is a fully breastfed baby (who has only had a touch of fruit and bone broth thus far). Because she’s hungry and she’s thirsty. Don’t most of us sleep with a glass of water beside our beds?
Because I know this too will pass. Oh my, will this pass- faster than I’d really like. So, so soon those tiny hands, those pudgy cheeks and that soft downy hair will grow to be the strong hands, rosy cheeks and thick hair of a child’s. A toddler’s, then a little girl’s and not too far in the distant future, a woman’s.
Because no, she will never remember my sweet milk or the midnight warmth I provide, but she will always know that there is sweet comfort and warmth in my love.
Because I’m not sick. Because I'm happy. Because in the morning I can still give the rest of my family what they need from me and have just a bit left over for myself. Because, yes of course, I am tired, but to give is to get.
The first week of December I spend a bit of time each day telling them a G-rated interpretation of a St. Nicholas story. In it I try to emphasise in as gentle and a subtle way just why we give gifts at Christmas: to help others in need, to foster and nurture love, generosity, empathy and self- sacrifice within ourselves and for our family and extended community.
On St. Nicholas Eve the children shone their shoes and left them under the tree in the hopes that St. Nicholas might leave a little something for them to enjoy the next morning.
After discovering their tiny treasures, North and Indigo chose one special toy to clean and polish and then donate to a child "who doesn't have very many toys". That evening we perused Oxfam together and chose another gift for a family far across the ocean who are also in need.
When the children are older I'd much prefer to bring the concept alive- volunteering within our community and doing meaningful and helpful work with our own hands as I think many of these values are internalised and learned above all through human connection.
How do you try to demonstrate the real Christmas Spirit in your home?
We've already started getting into the holiday cheer. The other day when things were turning all squiggly and pear-shaped (picture a very wet and rainy day, a crying three-year-old, a bored and rambunctious five-year-old who needed to busy his hands and a baby that was very quickly approaching a feed) I whipped up some homemade salt dough, added colour and presented my littles with "Christmas Saltdough". They had lots of fun shaping the dough into trees, snakes and balls and then the cookie cutters came out to create some delicious Christmas treats.
This Whole Family's Basic Saltdough Recipe
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup salt
1 cup water
1 tablespoon oil
2 teaspoons cream of tartar ~natural red and green food colouring- homemade or store-bought Saltdough is always a favourite in our home and can really steer imaginary play in the right direction. I also find when my kids are using their hands to roll, knead and shape they move to a calmer and more focused space. You can also check out last year's homemadeCinnamon Saltdoughtoo. Have you started any Christmas crafting yet?
Each year from December 1st to Christmas Day we celebrate the Christmas season in a number of ways. I explained our more spiritual advent traditions in the Whole Family Rhythms Summer Newsletter. But today I wanted to share with your our advent activity chain. I write down an activity for each day on a chain link and string the chain up above the fireplace. Each day we take one piece off of the chain and read it outloud.
24th~ Make cookies for Santa ~ Watch a special Nativity Puppet Play
North and Indigo are almost too excited to open up the chain each day to see what thing we'll do to get into the holiday spirit. Most days they wake up at the crack of dawn and you can hear their little feet padding over to the the living room to take a link down. Then you can hear them make their way to our room, they crawl into bed and whisper, "What does it say today? What does it say??"
Inspired by Jodi, I have made the resolution to take a portrait of my children each week throughout the year. Visit her at Che and Fidel for more details and perhaps you'll be inspired too.
We just arrived home from a family holiday near the Great Barrier Reef. We soaked up lots of sun and saltwater, enjoyed clean white hotel sheets and a break from cooking and cleaning and even experienced a once-in-a-lifetime fly in a helicopter. It was such beautiful 'together time' but we're also happy to be home and getting back into our strong daily rhythm. Just a couple weeks away makes you realise as a parent just how important rhythm is to little ones and how strongly they rely on it!
This is a really relaxed recipe. In fact it's so relaxed I didn't measure out any of my ingredients- I kind of just went by sight and texture. You're looking to get a thick batter similar to a muffin mix, not too dry and not too runny.
1 cup of rapadura or brown sugar
1 1/2 cups of spelt flour
1/2 cup of rolled oats
1/2 TBS baking powder
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup of whole milk
dash of vanilla and cinnamon
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup of stewed apples
handful of cane sugar
Mix the dry ingredients together
In a separate bowl mix the wet ingredients together
Combine the two with a wooden spoon
(Ideally if you have time, you could refrigerate this 'wet mixture' for up to 24 hours just to break down some of the grain and make it more digestible. If you do this add a bit more milk before pouring into the cake tin as the batter will have thickened)
Pour into a lined cake tin and add blueberries, stewed apples and a handful of cane sugar to the top
Bake at 180˚C for 25-35 minutes (my oven is slow so it took almost 40)
Remove when cooked all the way through and golden on top