In the beginning of time, this blog was where it all began.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…
I miss blogging. I miss crafting words and photos together and sharing stories about my life.
But I want to craft it a home here. Here in my sacred space, my own website, my own personal Narnia of miracles.
I miss writing. I miss long form sharing. I miss going deeper.
So I’ve been dreaming up ways to make it happen.
Each week or two, I’m going to do these Leonie Scrapbook posts. Where I’ve been, what I’ve been doing, what I love.
Pool together all the photos and words I write in tiny, caught moments.
And perhaps successfully, perhaps unsuccessfully, weave a thread between them.
Either way, it will be fun.
I am excited to announce the inaugural publishing of a Leonie Scrapbook post.
May it divine, may it be delicious, may it be a long and luscious ride.
Thank you from the bottom of heart for sharing this journey with me.
I’ve been on the hunt for new shoes.
Not just any shoes.
Shoes that actually FIT my ginormous Amazon goddess sized “hooves” (as Mr D calls them).
I’m a size 11.
I finally got these babies. Comfortable and warm and wide to accommodate sprawling feet far more used to being barefoot.
They are NAOT brand – incase you’re a fellow Amazon-footed goddess!
Adorable daughter, doting father.
This Beth. Oh she’s a funny, sweet, vivacious, ridiculous, adorable baby.
She is a strawberry blonde gnome pixie. She looks just like me when I was a baby.
She’s so very different from our Starry girl. Ostara is sensitive. SO sensitive. She doesn’t cope well with loud noises or things that are fast or anything that feels too scary. She wasn’t a baby you could throw up into the air. She still isn’t. She would crawl right back up into my uterus if she could. She neeeeeeeeds her mama. She never really slept that well. She woke up between 4-8 times a night every single damn night for 2.5 years. Her longest nap was an hour, which she gave up before she was 2. She is beautiful + gentle + kind + compassionate. Also: hard work. Especially as a baby.
Beth in contrast is easy. I could have 4 Beths with the same amount of energy it takes to raise 1 Starry. Beth walks to the kitchen on her knees (it’s her preferred method of travel). She clambers up and gets herself apples + bread off the counter. Wanders off to eat it somewhere in a corner. She isn’t as fearful. She isn’t scared of strangers.
She sleeps. She sleeps. She sleeps. Oh the great relief of Oh My God This Child Sleeps. As a baby she would sleep up to 8 hours during the day, entertain us for a few hours, then pike out again for the night. She’d just wake up every 3 or 4 hours for a quick 5 minute feed and then be done with it (compared to Ostara’s epic hour-long+ feeds). Even now – at 15 months – she will have daily naps that can stretch for 3 hours… even FOUR. FOUR. What the bleep? Sometimes she sleeps that long I start to worry. And then I start getting bored. And then she wakes up for a few hours. Then goes to sleep just a few hours later. She’ll go to bed at 5:30pm and wake up at 7am (with one or two wakeups for a bottle).
She’s robust and boisterous and a little tiger. And she tests our temper and our patience and our ability to keep her safe from doing stupid shit. But she is also One That Sleeps.
And One That Sleeps is infinitely a millionty billionty times easier than one that doesn’t.
Also: she doesn’t need me as much as Ostara did. She simply doesn’t. Ostara didn’t cope well with being away from me for two or three hours at this age. I can be gone for two or three days with Beth at the same age, and she is totally cool just hanging with her Daddy.
We both feel so damn lucky that we said YES to number two. Beth is what we didn’t expect, but exactly what we all needed.
Beth teaches Ostara how to be more self-contained and self-assured. How to not worry so much. How to run open-armed into life, knowing she’ll be met with safety and love.
And Ostara pours love on her. Gives her deep assurance that she is adored every step of the way. That she loves to see her bloom.
Ostara’s favourite thing to say about Beth:
“Ohhhhh… Beff. SOOOOOOOOOO CUTE! Such a little darling!”
And our sweet, sensitive girl who was so hard to keep settled in the earlier years is more calm in her body now.
She lives in a dreamy princess world all of her own.
She is a gifted artist. Her kindy teachers and other parents tell me that she is sweet + thoughtful with other kids. She likes to watch what other kids are making and creating and tell them how wonderfully they are doing.
She says she wants to be a baker of cupcakes when she grows up.
And that she will deliver them to Beth on a motorbike, who will be a worker on a computer, and a mother.
She drew me a picture of all my favourite things: her, Beth, a horse, a dolphin, a butterfly and a mermaid with boobs.
I get giddy with joy watching her drawings change + get more detailed. It’s basically my favourite part of parenting.
It’s been two years this week that I discovered I was pregnant with Beth. See the secret in my eyes?
I didn’t know then that in saying yes to Beth, I was also saying yes to hyperemesis gravidarum.
I will never, ever say yes to hyperemesis gravidarum again, or even the opportunity to experience it.
I had my fallopian tubes removed earlier this year to give that safety to myself.
I have mixed feelings about the great challenge that was facing me two years ago, one that I didn’t see just in that moment.
I didn’t see that I was going to face the most horrific illness I’ve ever experienced. One that stripped me of my self and my life for nine months. Misery, despair, agony.
It also brought me the biggest blessing of all: dearest Beth. And a Leonie who is stronger, wiser, more compassionate, more empathic to the aches and pains and despairs of the world.
RELATED: SO EASY BEING A MUMPRENEUR. HA!
A Lil Love Note To Myself:
Come home Leonie, come home. Come home to your self, your dreams, your visions, your values. Come home to your body, to what makes you thrive. Come home to the greatest love and friend and muse you have ever known… Your own sweet self. Waiting for you, as always. Arms outstretched.
And a love letter to Mr D:
We went to the beach today for the first time in too long. A month of chest infections and gastro had us all out of juice. And when we got there the blues was bright and healing and the waves shone and we remembered ourselves again. And I took off, running, stretching out limbs that needed unfurling. Splashed in the tide, played chase with the waves. Chris walked behind, pushing Beth’s pram, smiling that smile he has, the one that says he thinks he is quite lucky with his lot in life. “You look like an Alsation that’s been let off its leash”, he said. I laughed. “You’re right!”
Mr D, you have never ever ever even looked at me like I’m weird, much less said anything. You always think whatever I say or do, whatever shenanigans I get up to is either so normal you don’t bat an eyelid or so funny you get the chuckles. You think I’m utterly normal in the nicest of ways. I think you’re the first person who’s ever thought that.
Throwback Saturday: to that time I won Miss Proserpine Showgirl 2001. OF COURSE. #thingsyoudidntknowaboutme
I also headed off to Launceston on the other side of the island for a speaking gig.
I talked to Mr D about doing the trip with the girls, and he said:
I would rather eat shit than drive with Screechy Baby in a car for 3 hours.
(Beth is indeed a chilled out baby who sleeps. But holy FUCK she hates cars with a deep, residing passion.)
So instead I went with my sweet friend Jill. We decided to make it a three day mama’s retreat.
We stayed at a beautiful Airbnb. Jill asked if we could get takeaway dinners and eat it on the couch in pyjamas.
That’s EXACTLY what we did.
I also slept in till 11 AM. Jeepers.
We went to a vegan place for lunch only to bail when we realised:
Fuck Kale, We Want Waffles With Ice Cream.
So we hunted till we found. And was victorious in eating Breakfast For Lunch for TWO DAYS RUNNING. BOO YAH!
I also was interviewed on ABC radio + managed to do the whole interview WITHOUT SWEARING.
Seriously guys, I was WINNNNNING.
Then it was off to the event at night time, and met so many beautiful, talented, passionate women.
So bloody glad to do this work of helping them take their work to the world in the biggest, brightest, most abundant way possible.
Afterwards, I overheard some of them talking about tea + biscuits back at their place, and invited self along. Mwahahahaha!
It ended up being one of those serendipitous, divine evenings that evolved into a women’s circle + oracle card reading + tears + truth-telling. So deeply healing, and what a blessing.
And home again the next day!
And a typical conversation you have as a parent:
Chris: Honey, Beth has a lollipop. Did you give it to her?
Me: No. That’s weird. Where did she get it from?
Chris: No idea. Starry, did you give Beth a lollipop?
Chris: Did you get one out of the cupboard and leave it on the bin? (The bin is Beth’s favourite foraging spot. She’s a freegan in the making.)
Chris: I wonder where Beth got the lollipop from then.
Starry: Well, sometimes when I don’t want to finish a lollipop, I just stick it down the side of the couch.
We rescue the lollipop from Beth’s mouth. It is covered in fur and dirt. Magical. Just magical. #realparenting #kidsarenuts #adorablebutinsane
Some people like to celebrate the ends of major work projects by getting drunk or going out to a nice dinner. I like to really go all and get myself a giant unicorn balloon.
Me after a charming family dinner. I feel so relaxed and calm. My children sit down and eat their food so well, and we can eat our warm meals in peace. Parenting little Walking Emotional and Physical Disaster Zones is soooooo easy. #not
While we were wresting the baby into pyjamas (it takes two of us, and even then we are understaffed for the task at hand), I said to my love
“You know, if we hadn’t had kids, we could have become Tantric Masters by now.”
He just stared blankly at me with the glaze of PTSD (Parenting is Terribly Stressful, Duh.)
#truelove #blessed #justlikeahuggiesad
Like mother, like daughter.
Aussies, I found it in Big W incase you want to have matching babies with me.
I hosted a live meetup to eat PANCAKES! On a TRAIN! At a place called… WAIT FOR IT… PANCAKE TRAIN.
For Mother’s Day, I told Dawsie/Mr D/Chris that I was going to go to a hotel for the night, and thanks so much for thinking of me and giving me what I wanted.
He thought I was kidding, but I wasn’t. And I kept on drilling it in, until the week before Mother’s Day he said:
So which hotel are you going to on Mother’s Day?
And I thought:
I woke up the morning of Mother’s Day, spent the morning and had lunch with my lil family. Chris bought me some hippy blanket ponchos – obviously he knows the way to my heart. Mwahahaha!
Then when Beth went down for her nap, I trolloped out of the house + went to Henry Jones Art Hotel which was pretty damn cool.
I walked around the city for the afternoon ALL BY MYSELF. I went to the bookstore ALL BY MYSELF. I got to look at books (GASP!) without children running around like demonic banshees! I sat and had a cup of tea and JOURNALLED! IN THE QUIET!
Me. Drunk social media-ing. Total alcohol lightweight. About three minutes before I flaked.
Went back to the hotel, had a bath. Ordered room service (THE GREATEST THING KNOWN TO MOTHERKIND!) Had two beers + got so drunk I passed out at 8pm. I was kind of annoyed with myself for that. I was hoping to stay up and REALLY rave by reading more books. IN ALL THAT QUIETNESS.
Woke up, had scrumptious hipster breakfast buffet. And headed home.
I read this book while I was away. Highly highly recommend!
“Honey, can you put your washing away?”
“No, I’m sitting in a sunbeam.”
Most of my past few months have been spent doing hundreds of illustrations for the 2016 workbook collection.
I decided this year to completely redesign them + add a shit tonne of content to them, including recommended resources + suggested activities for each area. I’m majorly proud of them, and can’t wait for you to see them!
We try + get to the beach as often as we can to go for walks + plays. It’s just magical.
Beth + Starry at our favourite beach.
Beth looks like a sad old fisherman here. Mwahahahaha!
We’ve been going on family adventures.
To the Salamanca Markets. To the beach. To the city.
We DID go to MONA with two young children.
That consisted of getting there wayyyy too early, freezing our vaginas off waiting for it to open, getting in and our kids lasting the whole 10 minutes that it took for us to quickly trawl the MONA giftstore + grab three books, and get some (delicious) takeaway food from their cafe.
Then we drove home.
That’s kind of what adventures like little kids are most of the time.
Running to just capture a peek at the essence of a place.
And leaving before meltdown o’clock.
My sweet friend Helena came to visit with her beautiful lil girl Freya for a weekend house party of tea + colouring.
We met when we were 16 at boarding school. She’s one of my oldest and dearest of friends.
And what a blessing it is to watch our sweet girls connect together.
Lena has been going through her own horrid journey through hyperemesis gravidarum (what are the bloody odds?). Thankfully, it’s mostly subsided.
It was so good to just bitch + moan + say comforting mmmms to each other.
We celebrated our 14 year date-a-versary not so long ago.
This is what I wrote on our anniversary:
Mr D, 14 years ago today was our very first date. We went to the ocean together. I was two hours late because I was mustering cattle and covered with cow blood and shit. I had a 3 second shower, pulled on old jeans and a wife beater, forgot shoes and stuck my head out the car window as I drove to dry my hair. You told me later that you thought I looked perfect… That you knew I was the girl for you.
Finally… A date hey? A date. Four months after falling in love at first sight at work, four months of being hopelessly crushed out on that hot guy from work who was totally out of my league, four months of out if body experiences every time my eyes locked on yours, telling me over and over that something big lay between our souls, and I couldn’t bare to leave Proserpine without finding out what.
As it turns out… It was fourteen years and counting… Of a love that has taught me so much. It was our two daughters and our life we’ve created together. It was adventures around the world and around the country, and two fluffy dogs, and making art late Saturday nights, listening to music, drinking port. It is bookstores and markets and reading in sunbeams. It is a life that is resolutely our own.
You have made me laugh more than anyone I’ve ever known. You surprise me constantly with your wisdom and insights and the things that thrill you. You have been my best friend, my co-parent, my lover, my soulmate, my husband, my coach. You have given me the gift of two daughters, and been resolutely by my side as they were born. You have been my carer through the horrific depths of serious illness.
You have steadfastly believed in me and given up so much in order to take care of our girls and let me go for my dreams. You’ve talked me through many a dark night, many a painful challenge. You’ve reminded me to keep things simple. You are deeply, intensely loyal. You are a monk to our marriage.
Thank you for all the yesterdays and todays and tomorrows. I love you Dawsie!
REAL TALK INCASE YOU THINK WE ARE ALL FAIRYTALE UP IN HERE:
I need to say here as well because it’s important: we don’t have a ready-made easy love. We didn’t in the beginning at least. We are here today because of relationship counselling, and both of our commitment to getting over our own shit. I am very grateful that Chris is dedicated to his own growth and transformation… And that he’s willing to do the work with me to make this be a good, thriving thing. #realtalk #thankfuckfortherapy
I handcrafted myself a bath table. And by “handcrafted” I mean “found an old shelf in the shed and turned it upside down.” FUCK I AM PINTERESTABLE.
I think that’s the perfect way to finish off this inaugural Leonie Scrapbooks post! Ha!
I’m sending you all big love + joy,
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