Felix: swinging high.

Antonia: under the weather and over-tired, at last submits to being strapped into the stroller. Felix took this. Michael has taken to calling her Beethoven, because of the curls. ‘What’s Beethoven’, asks Felix. It has led to some sweet moments of the two of them sitting on his lap, watching a performance of Ode to Joy on youtube.

It’s almost exactly a year since I took these photos in the old town in Fredrikstad. I thought to myself – I’ll go back and take another one of the pair of them on that sofa in that cafe. We met up with a good friend and her two year old and went to the train museum, but our favourite cafe was completely packed, so no sofa photo. Antonia has been in poor shape, but I enjoyed the misty autumn afternoon anyway. The kids were tired after half an hour in the playground, so no time for landscape photos either, but that little town is so pretty this time of year, it’s good for the soul.

Linking with Jodi for a portrait of my children once a week in 2015.




I almost didn’t bother with a post this week, because I already had two portraits I love in this post from Wednesday. But then Michael snapped this sweet one of Antonia wearing a box. On Friday we went for a walk in the forest with some friends and ended up an an awesome playground. Felix was in heaven. We went there with his best friend and two other boys their age, and they did not stop racing about together for nearly three hours. Felix was so enraptured with the place he begged us to take him back there on Sunday, so we did.

Linking with Jodi for a portrait of my children once a week in 2015.

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And here are a couple of the four boys all together. I love how they show how energetic and connected they all are, tearing about in their own little world.

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Felix eye view


Felix commandeered the camera while we were getting the house ready to eat plum cake with our friends this morning. The photos are exactly as he took them – I haven’t altered them at all. I think they are rather charming – screaming toddler and all. (She will not tolerate the vacuum cleaner.) You don’t normally get photos of this stuff. The plum cake was delicious – my first attempt at a german style cake, made with plums from my colleague’s garden.

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Thirteen months


Darling Antonia, you will be fourteen months before I know it, but I just want to say, I am enjoying my little one and a bit year old so very much.


You are affectionate, energetic, funny, and always ready to explore. You love to go outside, and will point at the window and say ‘ooooh!’, walk up to the door and slap your hand on it, or find your shoes and sit down and try to put them on, begging me to help. You’re quite good at walking on your own now, but still prefer a helping hand, and go much faster if we’re trailing along beside you.


You still love books. We read you many books, every day. Your favourite thing is to read a few pages with me and then a few pages with Michael. A familiar sight is you sidling round the kitchen door, ‘Brown Bear’ in your hands. ‘Eh, eh?’ you say. You adore songs, too. They other night I sang you ‘star light, star bright’, just before I put you to bed, and your eyes went all sparkly, you smiled a secret smile, and you started opening and shutting your hands to be a twinkling star. They must have been singing ‘twinkle twinkle’ in barnehage with you, so we have been doing it together now, and you just adore it, and can do most of the actions already. You make your twinkling hands when you see a picture of a star, too.


You adore necklaces. I often see you with my little camera hanging from your neck, or our baby monitor, or, pretty much anything you can find.


You are a lot happier in barnehage now but it was good to give you a few days off this week to recover from various ailments and just hang out a bit. You have twelve teeth now, as all four molars have cut through. The photos in this post contain almost all my favourite clothes for you right now – the green and purple tunics that my Mum knitted for you, your leggings with woodland creatures on, and your colourful Norwegian cardigan. You wear these in rotation with your grey overalls – will have to make sure I get a picture of them soon, too.


You’re not keen on fruit, porridge, or bread but you love vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, peas, zucchini, mushrooms (you adore mushrooms!), potatoes, and, more recently, carrots and sweetcorn. So far you haven’t warmed to sweet potato at all. You like fish, and your favourite food is dairy – plain yoghurt, cow’s milk, cream, cheese. At home I only give you cow’s milk if you see Felix having some and demand it. You still drink plenty of breastmilk, which you call ‘merh’, especially at night. Your least favourite thing (to put it mildly) is having your teeth brushed, but you forgive me afterwards every time.


You’ve just started trying out a few more words – your latest is ‘toe!’, whilst holding your toes in glee. You say ‘look’, and a version of ‘hello’, and almost mama and dada – you definitely connect us with those sounds, but don’t quite use them in conversation yet. You understand an awful lot – if I mention trampolines, for example, you say ‘wow-wow-wow’, and expect to be taken outside to bounce immediately. This morning you were quite clingy and demanding an endless feed, and eventually I explained – ‘you’re not going to barnehage today, you’re staying with me all day, you can go and play now’, and you did.

You must be puzzling out so much language right now, as you hear 95% Norwegian in barnehage, English from Felix and me, and German from Michael. This evening we were looking at stars in your bedtime book, and you were so excited when I said the Norwegian word for star, stjerne. Ah, it is sweet that you like stars already, my Antonia Elinor Celeste.

You love to wave and beam at people, and you’re so pleased to see us every morning. Dear, soft, strong, cuddly-koala Antonia, we love you so.


The last day of September


It’s høstferie this week, which is basically the autumn school holidays, just one week. There’s no teaching at university either. I had planned to use this time to get ahead on class preparation and rewrite an article, but Antonia has been sick (not dreadfully sick, though but they kept sending her home from barnehage). I couldn’t send her today so I decided to keep Felix home as well. We’ve all been hit by a cold this week, actually, so it is good to have a little pause.

We walked to our favourite cafe in the harbour, and Felix devoured his favourite custard bun. The ritual of the custard bun began when he was barely one, and he hasn’t tired of it yet.


Antonia doesn’t like buns but she was happy enough drinking the foam from my latte and playing with a fireman’s helmet. They have a few boxes of toys, a play kitchen and a play table, enough to keep the little ones occupied for a while.


They both pottered around with the toys quite happily for a bit. These are some of my very favourite moments – the sun slanting through the cafe, contented children, mine, a breath, a pause…


Then we wandered around the harbour before meeting up with friends in the afternoon.


The clouds and sun were all silky in the water.



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Antonia: walking with her brother. She got so many comments that day on her curls, her shoes, her woollen dress.

Felix: sunglasses and ghostbusters, what can I say. He would only acquiesce to being in the photos because I promised that he could take some himself, afterwards.

I took these at an autumn market in the gardens of a local manor house on Saturday. I only remembered about photos when it was almost time to leave. We’ll have to go back one day and take some more. It was so gorgeous. The light, the trees. The harbour glittering in the background. This time of year is just to very beautiful. It’s getting dark earlier each day and even sunny days have a brisk edge to them, but we have been ridiculously lucky recently when it comes to sunshine. I love the misty mornings too, and Felix has been commenting on the pink, pink clouds on the way to barnehage in the mornings. It is so lovely and so fleeting. One can almost – almost – forget about November.

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And these are Felix’s photos.

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This last one is blurry but I love it anyway – the light reminds me of an impressionist painting, and Antonia is so happy waving her oak branch.


Linking with Jodi for a portrait of my children once a week in 2015.




Felix: thinking about something, sporting his new cap from the fire station. Autumn is a good time for kids’ activities around here – yesterday there was the annual Høstmarked in town, complete with baby chicks, sheep, calves, plastic tractors for the kids to ride around a make-shift race course (they both had a turn – Felix cycled his tractor himself but I pushed Antonia). The fire station was open too and Felix got to practice with a fire hose and picked up his cap. On top of all that there was a fun fair as well.

Antonia: loving being left to her own devices with her yoghurt.

Linking with Jodi for a portrait of my children every week in 2015. I’m so pleased to have the good camera back in action again.



Mothering. Friends.

I’ve been on my own with the kids for a little over a week – Michael gets back tomorrow. It’s gone fine, really, though I’m relieved it’s the weekend now and the whole pack lunch-boxes and get the kids to barnehage through the rain in time to get to work and teach thing is over for a while. It’s a bit of a drive out to barnehage and so much nicer when we can take it in turns. I was so tired by Thursday. Restoring the house to order every evening is somewhat gruelling, but I have done it religiously, as not doing it is so much worse. It’s so lovely coming down to a calm clean house every morning, even if it doesn’t stay that way long. It took a bit longer than usual this evening as I had invited a friend over for dinner. Adult conversation is snatched at the expense of toys spreading everywhere…

I’m so very grateful for my girlfriends. These are the friends of my small-children years, and these friendships are so different from that other period of intense friendships, university. Then, time was so stretchy – you could stay up all night, or decide to go camping at the drop of a hat, or talk for three hours in a coffee shop. Now we smile at each other in the playground, or hug briefly at the funfair, or juggle four small people between us as we drink a cup of coffee, or have early dinners at each other’s houses before bath time. It’s easiest to spend time together if our kids get on. And it’s something else we need from each other. When I was twenty, we were seeking the meaning of ourselves and everything, the future was empty blue and promising, we craved intimacy and enlightenment. Now it is good to have friends to share the very particular griefs of motherhood along with the obsessive joys and relentless work, none of which would have made much sense to me when I was twenty. Now I want… someone else with their feet on the ground, as mine are firmly these days. Someone who can meet my eyes through the swirl of activity and say ‘I see you, hang in there, I’m here too’.




Felix: my dear beautiful talking thinking boy. We went to a children’s festival in Fredrikstad with some friends today. It’s a 50 minute drive. My boy hardly drew breath the entire way, telling me about the robot he would invent to protect himself if there was a crocodile in his barnehage. And how very strong the robot would be, and how he could throw houses and even signs up to the moon, and how he would give the bad guys to the police but if they were really really bad guys he would step on them and just squash them. He asked me if I would be frightened of the robot and I said yes. ‘But you wouldn’t need to be, Mummy, he wouldn’t do anything to you. You’re not a bad guy. We’re not bad guys at all.’

Antonia: walking. Walking! Just a few steps at a time but more every day. And her soft soft cheeks and big cuddles. On Monday at work I ache for them.

Linking with Jodi for a portrait of my children every week in 2015.




We had a truly gorgeous weekend, but I have been negligent with photos. The only one I have in which Felix makes an appearance is the top one, where he’s scrambling up to the trampoline in the background. It rained on Saturday but on Sunday morning the sun blazed despite a cold wind. The littlest one is just so happy in the sandpit.

Wednesdsay night

Ten past eight on Wednesday night, mist outside, the candle on the table from dinner still burning. Sleeping children upstairs. In a moment I will finish tidying the kitchen (Michael’s done most of it), have a shower, and read the end of the novel I am teaching tomorrow, making notes as I go. Any and all of that may be interrupted by dear Antonia, but I have already settled her once this evening, so she might sleep for a while. Antonia has been doing better at barnehage this week but she was so tired this evening I wish I had picked her up just a little earlier. Next time.

Our day started at 4 this morning when she wouldn’t go back to sleep. Thankfully we both squeezed in an hour’s nap between 6 and 7 before we had to leave.

My parents left on Monday and it was sad. A full day teaching sonnets on Tuesday cheered me up, and we are doing ok. I had a swim at lunchtime with a friend (I have a pool at work! And one of my best friends works in the exams office and can come swimming with me!), and now my shoulders are pleasantly sore. Oh, the laundry. I forgot about the laundry. Maybe I’ll fold a load of washing before I get to the novel… Maybe not.

Things Fall Apart. It is a quick read and powerful and I’ll never forget how much it moved me when I encountered it as one of the first texts I studied at Adelaide University. This time as I re-read it it touched me differently. As a mother of two children, the description of the loving sibling relationship between Nwoye and the doomed Ikemefuna just about undid me. I actually had to rush out of my office for a breath of different air.

This is my fourth week back at work and I am just about used to it. I’m teaching two literature classes and it’s busy but manageable. It could unravel fast if (when) the kids get sick. I’m sure I will stumble on through.

As I walked back to my car this afternoon it struck me – this is my job now, mine. And it was a nice nice thought.

Antonia took a couple of unassisted steps yesterday – she hardly noticed – she just wanted to get to the door to go outside. It was raining, so I didn’t open it. This evening I acquiesced and we had a little walk together up our driveway and onto the quiet road. She held my hands and stepped and stepped, occasionally getting down on hands and knees, drenching her jeans in the process, to investigate stones or weeds. She was just so excited when we encountered people walking by. ‘Ah! Ah!’ she called to make them look at her, and then she beamed. ‘So flink du er å gå!’ They all said.

I put her to bed a little early then made some promised custard for Felix which we ate together before we cleaned his teeth, and as he chatted away I thought – how lovely he is. How lucky am I.


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Felix: a moment of calm between jumping, balancing, climbing, splashing.

Antonia: on the go as ever!

The sun has not stopped shining for the past two weeks and it has been so lovely. Every evening we’ve been out in the garden, capering about on the trampoline and rolling around in the baby tent (the little ones, at any rate). Today was my parents’ last day before they fly back to Australia, so we had a picnic in the sunshine and then they put up some blinds for me in my bedroom – a job that’s been waiting around for months. Yesterday Dad put up a gate at the bottom of our stairs which means Antonia now has freedom to crawl around the hallway and play with our shoes. Mum was with us all of last week while Dad visited some of his old haunts in Lancashire. It was so excellent to have her around – she picked up the kids from barnehage, giving Antonia half days which I’m sure were much appreciated, cooked, and sorted stuff out for us, like our sandpit and the cupboard under the stairs. It’s very sad to say goodbye but I feel so lucky to have them and to see so much of them. We’re already planning to visit in December, so it’s not goodbye for long.

Linking with Jodi for a portrait of my children every week in 2015.

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Had the most gorgeous day in Fredrikstad with Mum and the kids last Sunday. We stopped at some bronze-age stone circles on the way – we’d driven past the sign so many times it was great to finally have a look. Both kids decided stones are for climbing. Felix discovered some blueberries in the forest. Then we drove on to the old town of Fredrikstad and after lunch and a play at the playground and feeding the goats (Antonia wanted so badly to jump over the fence to give them a kiss) we ended up at the bottom of a grassy slope. We all practiced rolling down – first Felix, then Mum, then me, and then, of course, Antonia – she refused to be left out! We only let her roll down the lowest bit but she was game. I’d forgotten how giddy it makes you feel. And we just lay on the grass and the sun shone and shone and Felix rolled and Antonia picked bits of grass and chewed on them and it was about as perfect as an afternoon can get.



Antonia turns 1 (32/52)



My beautiful baby turned one on Sunday. My adorable, affectionate, adventurous Antonia. Felix was there to open her presents and eat her cake. It brought back memories of Felix’s first birthday. (That party was a little quieter, because of the lack of four year olds tearing around.) But Antonia’s was as lovely as could be. Here’s a photo from the archives, exactly one year earlier, the day Antonia was born:

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Felix was shy of her, to start with, but wanted to give her her bear.

A year. A year with these two beautiful creatures. Antonia has started daycare now and it is hard to be apart, especially from her perspective. When I pick her up we hug and hug and she relaxes quickly, then demands to go scoot around on the bikes outside. She loves to stand on the platform on the back of a tricycle while Felix rides it around.

As ever, she wakes frequently at night to feed, and I stroke her hair and breathe her in. In the morning, I wake to her smile, her earnest wet kisses, her soft soft cheeks.

Felix wants to know when she will turn proper 1, when she will start to talk. He was a little surprised that she didn’t seem much different from the day before.

More from the archives. When Antonia was tiny, all she wanted was to snuggle in close.


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Dear sweet Antonia, at exactly one year old you adore your family and we adore you. You love to be outside and bounce and zoom around, and you love to be on our laps reading books. You have kisses for all of us. You can mmmmmm like a cow, buzz like a bee, meow like a cat, and rah like a lion. When you don’t want something (food, a person) you wave it away fervently. When you do want something you point with great insistence and say eh eh! When I pick you up from barnehage you sing quietly to yourself, ‘mamamamama’. I am so very glad you’re here. We love you. We love you. We love you so.



And more pictures from her party. xxx











Felix: requesting a photo as he swung with Antonia in the playground in town.

Antonia: playing with Michael on our bed. Felix took this – he decided he wanted to take a photo of Michael and Antonia, so he did. I just adore her curls. This age is so much fun. This evening she insisted I put on her shoes (slightly too big for her, saved from when Felix was one), so she could climb the stairs in them. It took me a while to cotton on to her request but she persisted until I understood. She proceeded to crawl around so very pleased with herself, every little while looking back to check that they were still there.

Linking with Jodi for a portrait of my children once a week in 2015.


The sweetest, softest, cuddliest, funniest little girl is beginning barnehage next week. I’m excited about going back to work. But I don’t want to leave her. I don’t want her to cry. She’s going to cry.

I arrived to pick up Felix a bit early today and we played together in the playground with Antonia. Antonia climbed up onto the tray on the back of one of the tricycles, and stood there, holding on, so Felix jumped on and cycled her around, saying ‘look at my baby! It’s her first bike ride!’ It was the cutest thing ever. He cycled her around to the back of the barnehage and gave her a swing. Much higher than I would. She laughed and laughed. Yesterday I picked him up even earlier and they were still inside, so Felix showed Antonia one of the baby toys with little slides to roll balls down. She loves the barnehage. She’s going to be ok.

And today I met one of her new carers, and I already know the leader of her class because she had Felix for much of last year. So. I am cultivating calm. I want Antonia to know that I know she’s going to be alright there. I really wish the two of them were going to be together outside because it would be so nice for Antonia to see a familiar face, but from next week Felix will be in the big kids section and she’ll be in the baby section, which have separate buildings and playgrounds, so their paths will rarely cross.

Today was my last official day of maternity leave. Michael took Felix to barnehage in the morning. Antonia and I pottered around after breakfast. I folded half a load of washing before she demanded that I read books with her. So I read books with her. I trailed behind her as she climbed the stairs. We played in Felix’s room for a bit. I had a cup of tea and she squashed some strawberries. I fed her to sleep upstairs. My good friend dropped in on her last day of her holidays and we had a brief and lovely kid-free chat. Antonia woke up and cuddled with me for a good ten minutes, peeping cheekily over at my friend. I walked into town for an eye exam and Michael took Antonia to a cafe and a playground. I met them and gave her a feed in the park, looked for a new lunchbox for her but couldn’t decide, bought some broccoli for dinner and cucumber for her snacks, let her play in the playroom at the shopping centre for a bit, then went to pick up Felix. A simple day, a good day. There will be others.




Antonia: a girl after my own heart. She loves to climb up onto Felix’s little chair, select a book, then sit down and ‘read’.

Felix: Mum snapped this photo of him sailing his sea plane on our recent holiday on the Swedish coast.

It has been so lovely having my parents around. We stayed down on the Swedish coast for a few nights – a gorgeous place of rocky outcrops and boat-filled harbours. It was a perfect summer holiday. The weather has not been brilliant this summer, so I felt spoilt with two days of sunshine by the sea – playing in the garden behind the B&B, clambering on the rocks at the beach, eating ice cream, cake, fish and pizza at the wharf, mini golf, bouncy castles, and a beautiful watercolour museum.

In one week I go back to work and Antonia starts barnehage. Can you believe it? My parents are off on a trip through Europe for ten days, coming back for the weekend of Antonia’s birthday. So I have some time now to focus on the transition. There are a few things left to sort out – making sure Antonia has all the gear she needs – rain clothes, shoes (she’s never worn shoes!), lunch box, rain boots etc. Not to mention locating all of Felix’s stuff too. I am excited and a little apprehensive, and I hope my dear sweet cuddly Antonia will be ok. I have been mentally preparing for this moment all year, and it is so close now that there is no time for hesitation – merely a few deep breaths before we all plunge in.

But here are some more glimpses of our trip.

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Summer holidays (29/52)


I’m not sure why traveling around the UK with the two of them is relatively easy, even fun, but staying at home for a week with them feels, at times, like sticking pins into my eyes. Well, I sort of know. The travel thing is exciting and novel and there’s always lots to do. Here we do stuff in the mornings and I spend the early afternoon trying to get Antonia to have her nap, and the late afternoon letting her have it, and Felix gets a bit overwrought despite trampolines and craft supplies. But today we had a very nice morning in the newly upgraded playground in town, and on Monday (when I took these photos) we enjoyed going out for a piece of cake at the bakery in the shopping centre.

Michael couldn’t understand why I found the above photo so amusing, but for me it sums up a lot of my days. Antonia: what have you go there, Mummy? Can I have it? Felix: Twirling about in his own little world, covered in cake crumbs, planning his next antic/question/project/point of discussion. The other day we ended up talking about what people looked like in the nineteenth century, because he wanted to know. (He doesn’t know about the nineteenth century, really, but he knows about ‘when there were steam trains’).


Today Antonia got a huge bruise on her head from falling off Felix’s wicker chair, and Felix had a massive melt-down at dinner time, exactly as Michael walked in the door, because he couldn’t stick together the little sticks he was pretending were logs in exactly the way he intended. Good thing they are cute.

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Felix: narrating as always as he explores the kids farm at Nordens Ark – a big animal park about an hour south of us. We went with some friends on Sunday and it was great. There were real tigers and panthers in the other part, but Felix was most enamoured with a wooden cow that you could milk and it squirted out water. He filled a bucket and then tried to give it to the cow to drink!

Antonia: tired out at the end of the day. She was asleep moments later.

I took hardly any photos this week as we were just settling back into life at home. Linking with Jodi for a portrait of my children once a week in 2015.

Ten months, Eleven

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Dear child, you are so soft. You are all softness. Your hair, your cheeks, your skin. Especially after your bath. Last night when you wouldn’t sleep I stroked and stroked you and you didn’t mind. And neither did I. You give the best, best hugs. When we said goodbye to my cousins in Edinburgh, you leant over from my arms and snuggled your face into each of their chests.


Today you are eleven months old. As soon as you were ten months, you seemed so much older. You mastered waving. You learnt to clap, and clap you did – for me, for your brother, for anyone who smiled at you, and above all for yourself, every time you did something clever and new, such as climbing up Felix’s wicker chair and pulling out all the books from the shelf. Just this past week you have started passing us things and waiting for us to give them back.


You love to read and sing about ducks. We have a book that goes along with the song ‘Five little ducks’ and you are so good at it now, I sing: ‘and mother duck said’, and you pipe up: ‘goh! goh! goh!’, which is a pretty good attempt at a quack. You have since decided that all animals say ‘goh goh goh’, and you are very pleased to pick up a duplo animal, wave it in the air and make your animal sound.


You adore our cat Whitby. You try to kiss him every time he comes close to you. We have a book with a picture of a cat with a furry tummy, and you kiss that, too. You have just started ‘reading’ books instead of merely eating them, and you have an impressive amount of concentration. The other day I found you on Felix’s chair turning the pages of a book, babbling, and pointing at the pictures.


Even more than your cat, you love your people. You greet Felix and Michael every morning with a very pleased smile. When grandma calls us on skype, you wriggle your arms and legs and beam with joy. In the coffee shop the other day Michael called us on skype (I had the computer out cos our internet at home was broken) and you were amazed, you couldn’t stop laughing.


You are brave, and fast, and intrepid. If there are stairs, you must climb them. If there are chairs, you must climb them. If there are stones, you must eat them. If there is a table, you reach up on tippy toes, holding on, to look over it. You can stand on your own for brief seconds. You cruise around clutching the furniture. On the trampoline, you bounce yourself on your knees, saying awah awah awah. If Felix jumps next to you and topples you over you laugh and laugh and get up again.


If you are hungry or tired, you climb on top of me and rest your head on my chest. Breastmilk is still your primary form of sustenance. You often eat a good dinner, but apart from that, snack on cucumbers and me.


On Sunday afternoon we all sat out in the garden, happy to be home and together. It was hot. We remembered Felix lying under the very same trees, only a few months old. I wonder if we would remember that, said Michael, if we hadn’t taken the photos. All the same, I didn’t get out the camera. It was good to just be. You were wearing a navy blue cotton dress covered in white flowers and you sat on the picnic rug for ages, totally engrossed in placing wooden rings and duplo people in and out of a box. Felix wanted us to bounce on trampoline but we persuaded him to blow bubbles instead, and so, for a few moments, we were totally content, watching the colours of the bubbles, trying to catch them. Then you were hungry, so you rested your head on me and I obliged. ‘Nom nom!’ you said affirmingly, before getting down to business.

You are so lovely. We adore you.





Felix: playing hide and seek with his big girl cousins at the Edinburgh castle playground. So small. So determined.

Antonia: getting covered in muddy sand at Portobello beach.

And that’s it. Five days in Edinburgh staying with my cousin and his family, and we’re back in Norway. My kids had the time of their lives hanging out with their second cousins, but that deserves a post of its own. The trip – two and a half weeks in the UK sole parenting the two of them – was excellent in every way. Now for a precious month of summer at home as a family of four before beginning work in August. Bring it on.

Linking with Jodi for a portrait of my children once a week in 2015.




Felix: the boy loves his trains. And grass and stones and stories and running and jumping, and the giggles of his baby sister.

Antonia: she loves the grass and stones and dirt and sticks and leaves and space to crawl and rocks to climb and oh she loves her brother.

Linking with Jodi for a portrait of my children once a week in 2015.

I took these pictures in the museum gardens in York this afternoon. It’s our last day here. We’ve done everything I hoped to. We even made it to the second birthday party of the son of a dear friend yesterday, and it was fabulous. We went back to the train museum today, and later, when the weather cleared, chilled out in the museum gardens. When we arrived I was so utterly tired that when Felix asked me to play with him I sent him off to make friends with random children, left Antonia in the stroller for a minute, and stretched out on the lawn. This could not last long – Antonia insisted on crawling around and I had to watch them both, but I noticed after half an hour or so, I didn’t feel so weary. I did play with Felix, and after a brief battle, the train and the cars went to the supermarket together, and swimming in the sea, and had a sleepover, and it was all rather sweet. There’s no playground in this park but it’s conducive to play anyway – with ruins to jump from and lawns to run about. It was a lovely afternoon.

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And I couldn’t resist posting this one too, although it’s crooked. My little barefoot pudding in the grass – I could just eat her up. Her clothes get filthy at the moment but I have to let her play.


York, London, Children, History, Dreams

travel12 Twelve years ago, nearly to the day, I arrived in London with a huge backpack and a brick of a laptop, brimming with excitement, anticipation, freedom, and a few nerves too. I stayed in a grotty hostel in Earl’s court. I went to British library and marvelled at the medieval manuscripts and hand written poems. I visited Southwark cathedral, because a writer I know told me she loves it. I went to Greenwich with a girl from the Maldives who I met in the hostel. I went to the British Museum and looked at the loot from Sutton Hoo. I wandered around peering at maps and looking anxiously for tube stations. Soon, I would travel around a bit before starting a masters in York. What adventures.

travel9 Last week I arrived in London with Felix and Antonia as my companions. Michael was working in the US for two weeks and I didn’t fancy staying at home alone for that time. I had been wanting to come back to the UK for years, and thought I’d better do it now before my maternity leave is over. We stayed in a clean and shiny hostel near Hyde Park, opposite the natural history museum. Once again I was excited and a little apprehensive. It felt so different. London was exciting the first time but also lonely and somewhat aimless – with all that time on your hands, how do you best spend it? Now I had two small beings to look after and there was no time for loneliness or aimlessness. I felt myself ferrying them around in a little bubble of care. We went to playgrounds and the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum, and I loved it. We took a boat ride with my brother to Greenwich. It was nice to go to parks with a purpose – the promised playground at the end of the walk a mecca for all. I felt I belonged.

london11 travel2 travel3 And early this week I arrived in York. Walking around the town centre on my first day, my heart kept clenching in recognition. These were the streets I walked and rode my bike, the streets in which I dreamed and longed and loved. I kept saying to Felix ‘this is amazing, I feel so strange’. ‘Why Mummy’, he asked, and I only said I lived here once, long ago, with Daddy. Arriving in York twelve years ago was a dream come true – after years of poorly paid care-work, I finally had time to read and think and study again, and forge wonderful friendships, and breathe the fairytale air of the north. That sounds romanticised, and it was, but well, that’s me. In York I did my masters and began my PhD, in York I fell in love. Felix and Antonia would not exist had Michael and I not met here.

minster2 So it felt strange and lovely to be back, in this city which is at once pretty and mysterious, cosy and ancient, cradling and awe inspiring. And it felt odd, to begin with, to have the little ones at my side, to not be able to slip into uninterrupted reveries or read for hours in coffee shops. And I missed Michael. But I soon got used to showing the little ones around, and how lovely it was to see Felix entranced by the stained glass window interactive displays in the minster. ‘They cook glass like dinner’, he told me, ‘did they cook the glass in our house too?’ There is a model train shop near our apartment which I must have walked past hundreds of times but never noticed until now – we have to stop every time to watch the train go through the tunnel.

minster4 minster7 I have visited old friends and old places, I have walked old paths. It feels good to be here. I’m staying in an excellent little apartment just outside the city walls, that just happens to be at a midpoint between the two houses I used to live in. It’s just behind a huge painted sign that is visible from the city walls that says ‘bile beans are good for you’ – impossible not to notice.

minster12 It feels right to be tucked away just here, in a place I rode past and walked past and spotted from the walls – here, now, with two small beings. Here, in a place awash with history, I feel I can almost touch my former lives, my former selves. I can wave, but feel no need to go back. I can wave, also, at the self who may visit here in ten years, in twenty, but I am here now, this moment, and it is good.




Made it to York. Nostalgia plus. Such pivotal years of my life were spent here. It rained this afternoon, so I bought a fancy sticker book about London for Felix and a bath book about rainy days for Antonia in Waterstones, then took them both to the cinema cafe for hot chocolate and hot chips. Travelling solo with two children is not always the most relaxing of endeavours. But on the way to Sainsburys, Felix in the stroller, Antonia in the carrier, a woman noticed I had my hands full and stopped to admire Antonia’s curls. And Felix, too. ‘They are lovely’, she said. And they are. And now they are sleeping, and I have, thanks to Sainsburys, raspberries, creme brulee, tea, chocolate and wine, and all is right in the world.





Felix: asleep with his mouse and his London bus.

Antonia: swinging with my brother. Antonia is discerning with new people but she loved Jon immediately.

I spent this week in London with the kids while Michael was in America. We stayed in a hostel near Hyde Park and visited my brother and his girlfriend, went to six different playgrounds, five museums, and went on the underground, a London bus, taxis, an a boat on the Thames. And walked and walked and walked.


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Felix: at the beach on our last day in Germany.

Antonia: learned to clap this week! What an achievement this is! She is so so pleased with herself. She’s wearing the most gorgeous cardigan here that my Nanna made for her. I took this photo up at the lawns of the fortress where we spent the day with my aunt and uncle, visiting from Australia.

Linking with Jodi for a portrait of my children once a week (a little late, this time) in 2015.


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Felix: posing at a mock castle with Michael’s SLR – Felix had such fun taking photos on our holiday (another post to follow soon, hopefully).

Antonia: loving the beach at Schonberg Strand, near Kiel, on our last day in Germany.

We had a fabulous time in Germany (or Deutchland, as Felix insists), and got home last Sunday. I have so many photos to share with you but our internet is broken! I am snatching ten minutes of internet time in a cafe while Antonia naps in her stroller.

Linking belatedly with Jodi for a portrait of my children once a week in 2015.

Grandparent love


We’ve been staying in a holiday apartment in Kassel, but spending a couple of hours every day with Michael’s folks. They’ve loved having us around for so long. We took these pictures in a restaurant known as the Waffle Queen, which serves the most remarkable array of waffles. They took me here the first spring I was in Kassel, ten years ago. Michael says he doesn’t remember it, but I have been itching to get back every trip since. I had a lebkuchen (christmas gingerbread) waffle with chocolate icecream and sour cherries. It did not disappoint.










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Felix: contemplating something, crumbs and all, in a playground in Luxembourg.

Antonia: so excited to try out the baby back pack. Felix never really got into it, but she was so very pleased with her new view that she sat there smiling to the point of laughter for half an hour, then fell asleep.

Linking with Jodi for a portrait of my children once a week in 2015.

Nine Months


You have learnt to wave and say bye bye. This sounds like a simple thing. It is not, it is not. On Sunday night, I ducked inside from Richard and Polina’s dinner table to fetch a glass of water. When I came back, Polina and her mother told me – ‘she said goodbye when you left’. ‘What?’ I said, astounded. Shortly after that, I picked you up to take you upstairs to bed. I held you on my hip and you looked at everyone, grinning broadly. ‘Bye bye’, they all said. And you waved. You lifted one of your arms, and you waved at them. ‘Ba – bye’, you said hesitantly. And grinned some more.


You waved at your Oma and Opa today, too, when we left. I gave you plenty of time. You smiled and smiled. And then lifted one arm and waved, and my heart flipped over.

You are so very pleased and proud to be learning this social convention. It feels like entering a whole new world. You have to think about it, hard, and you seem a little amazed yourself.


You love to giggle and bounce – I wake every morning to the round and cheerful face of a gambolling baby who dive-bombs my face to plant huge kisses, and then tries to climb on top of me. If you wake in the night and there is not a nipple in your mouth within seconds you give a cry of such desolation – you would think we had abandoned you in a mouldering cave. But you are easily soothed. You are squidgy and soft and never stop exploring. As your Oma says, you have new curls every day. I sing to you: ‘I love you ba-aby, and if it’s quite alright I need you ba-aby’. Felix consoles you in the car if you every get upset: ‘Anti-Banti it’s not so bad.’ Your father calls you Anti-Banti and Bubble Delicious. Dear, dear baby. We love you so.



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Felix: leaning on huge stone ball he discovered in front of a palace in a park in Kassel, Germany.

Antonia: I just love this photo. She was completely blissed out, humming quietly to herself – hhhhhhhhnnnnnnn – and gazing at her Daddy as we explored Luxembourg. Just so happy and relaxed. This weekend, for the first time, she waved and said bye bye.

We are one week in to a three week stint away from home. We are spending most of it in Kassel, with Michael’s parents, but we just returned from a weekend in Luxembourg, staying with my cousin Richard and his family. Richard moved to London from Australia almost exactly the same time I moved to the UK, about 12 years ago. I remember wandering some London markets with him before I started my masters in York. He visited me in York many times and I stayed with him in London frequently – Stansted airport was my main route out of the country and I made full use of the mattress on his floor. We would go out for an indian meal and then stay up late discussing life, love, and everything.  We both met our partners in the UK and now he’s based in Luxembourg and I’m in Norway. Last night we had a BBQ on his balcony and our boys capered around playing hide and seek and ghostbusters as we sipped red wine and Antonia chewed on asparagus. ‘It must have been a bit like this for our parents when we were small’, he said, and it was a funny thought. And a nice one. Watching our sons walking along, holding hands, is one of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen.


The secret path (20/52)

walk Okay it’s not really a secret path, it was only a secret from me, not being a particularly avid map reader. I am in fact a terrible map reader, to the great and recurring frustration of a certain nearest and dearest. But Michael got a book of family friendly walks for his birthday, and I am determined to use it. The first one starts a mere five minute walk from our door, and follows a hidden valley down into town, so we can end up in our favourite cafe. I had never noticed noticed the beginning of the footpath sneaking past a garden, although I have walked past it so many times. walk2 After initially being nervous that it would ‘take too long’, Felix thought ‘oh, come one’ (his words) and decided to join the adventure. We first walked it yesterday and got drenched by a sudden downpour half way down (part of the adventure, I assured Felix). We spotted the waterfall but couldn’t walk past it, as the path there was steep, narrow and muddy, and I had the stroller with me. Luckily there was a way out back to the main road at that point. Today we walked it again, taking Antonia in the ergo carrier instead. walk5 Felix was impressed the stream criss-crossed the path via a series of pipes. walk6 I couldn’t believe this was all just here, so close to the road we drive up and down daily. It felt a little bit like I’d stumbled through a fairy door to a magical forest. Which is romanticising things considerably, but, well, that’s me. walk3walk9 We nearly didn’t take the steep muddy path after all (I had visions of one or other of us tumbling down the slope, and how was I to rescue Felix with Antonia strapped to my chest), but after Felix’s howl of disappointment I thought why not give it a go. It wasn’t as bad as it looked and the scary bit didn’t last for long. We were very proud of ourselves to come out the other side. I can’t wait to explore some more! walk4

Barnas Dag II


Looking back on this post from last year made me so nostalgic. Who is that little boy clutching his raggedy bear, nervous about meeting the police? Bear still sleeps with Felix but he is not essential and never leaves the house. Felix wears the same overalls but we don’t need to roll them up any more. This year at Barnas Dag, we met up with some friends and had a gorgeous day. Felix played the piano in our favourite cafe, examined the tulips, bounced on a bouncy castle, got to try a fire hose, and queued impatiently to sit in the fire engine.


Once it was his turn he efficiently tried every switch he could get his hands on, until he actually managed to turn on the siren! Luckily he managed to turn it off again just as fast.


We didn’t succeed in getting a fireman’s hat this time as we were at the shopping centre at the wrong time, but Felix did spot two men dressed as what he assumed to be ghost-busters, and as we walked back, he didn’t stop asking me what the ghost-busters were doing there, because he thought ghosts didn’t come out during the day. Maybe ghosts are real, Mummy, he said.





Felix: off for an adventure, umbrella in hand, prancing along the wall of a ruined Norwegian farm house on our way to find some bronze age stone carvings. We were cooped up at home on Monday and Tuesday as Felix was sick, so by Wednesday we were ready to explore.

Antonia: Nine months old yesterday, gleefully showing off her newest skill, covered in strawberry stains from breakfast. Everyone tells me she’ll be walking soon. I tell her there’s no rush!

Linking with Jodi of a portrait of my children once a week in 2015.






Munchkins by the sea


It’s the tail-end of a long weekend here and I’m pleased to report that we did something fun outside every day. On Friday we went to an outdoor kids day in the forest with some friends, and Felix got to shoot an airgun. (With some help from me and careful supervision from the experts.) There were other activities as well, mostly aimed at slightly older kids. It was a little stressful as we weren’t sure how it all worked and to be honest we have a preference for quiet trips to the forest, but I’m glad we went, and I’d be game to go again next year. We took the camera but didn’t have the right card in it, so no photos.


Yesterday I took the kids to the harbour in the morning (see previous post), and today we went with some German friends to a beach in Sweden. I had tried to meet them there nearly two years ago and got lost on the way, so this time I made sure we followed them.


Felix had a wonderful time hopping on the rocks, peering at the shrimp that our friends caught in the net, and trying to build a dam in a little stream.


It was also a good weekend for baking: waffles, scones, pancakes and ANZAC biscuits, as well as a delicious vegetarian shepherd’s pie, and Michael mowed the lawn.


We tend to fall into a rut and just do the same old things, so I’m glad with a little encouragement from our friends we tried out a couple of different things. I also managed to play with Felix a couple of times – this doesn’t sound like much but too often I get to the end of a day which has been punctuated by repeated requests to play with him, and find that I have not. So during Antonia’s first nap this morning instead of saying immediately ‘no I can’t – I need to do this first…’, I said ‘ok’, when he told me we would play with the digger and the truck. He drove the tiny digger around on the mini truck, and it was my job to dig the holes. ‘What are you going to dig, Mummy?’ ‘A foundation for the new town hall,’ I said, remembering Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, which Mum has read to Felix lots of times. So we dug lots of foundations and used the magnet shapes to build buildings on top of them, and it was lovely. rosso3

I felt a bit flat and aimless at the beginning of last week, but I managed to turn it around, making sure I spent time with friends and their children. On Thursday I took Antonia to an ‘open’ barnehage – a place with kindergarten facilities but you can’t leave kids there – you have to stay and play with them. She was badly in need of some new stimulation and she had a ball – I’ll definitely go again this week. Everyone keeps saying to enjoy this time before I go back to work, so I have decided that I will. And it is so nice on a Sunday evening to have the memories of the silvery light on the water and the little balls of seaweed, and the clear air all around.





My boy, bearing a gift. Felix loves flowers. A couple of weeks ago, when we were in Fredrikstad, he picked six different kinds of brand new spring flowers on the way from the park to the car, and was devastated that they had mostly died by the time we got home. Just under a year ago in Fredrikstad he managed to badly cut his finger on a rose thorn, and still talks about how some pink flowers are spiky.

We took his bike into town today and he rode around the harbour, like this time last year. After a cinnamon roll at our favourite cafe Felix rode around and around the harbour – it was a golden, expansive, perfect five minutes and he picked a flower for me. Then he realised the outing was not going to include a toy shop and suddenly he ran out of energy and the ride back to the car was not so relaxing. But you get to choose which five minutes to hold on to, right?

Dear Antonia. The photo I wish I took of her happened yesterday: Antonia sitting in a tiny island of space in the midst of a sea of ALL the wooden trains and train tracks strewn about her, grinning up at me, cheerfully chewing on the tail of a plastic stegosaurus. Felix had decided to tip all the trains out while we were busy packing a picnic lunch (and to visualise this properly, you probably need to be familiar with quite how many trains live here), but we couldn’t be annoyed – the two of them were so delightfully content, sifting through the trains and tracks together.

But the camera was not nearby. So here is my darling in the cafe at the harbour today, just before we went out there with Felix’s bike. Some of my friends have said all along she reminds them of my Mum, and in this photo I see it.

Linking with Jodi for a portrait of my children once a week in 2015.

And now I have to show you all the other photos I took of Felix, because they are just too adorable. The dandelion is now wilting in my bag, after I rescued it from being eaten by Antonia in the park. But who could resist?

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Nine months later


It’s nearly nine months since Antonia was born – we are nearly at the point that she has spent more of her life outside of me than inside. Tonight the long spring evening was calling my name and I snuck out for a walk, as I did nearly every night for the last four months of my pregnancy. I could not stay out long – Antonia is a notoriously bad sleeper and I didn’t want to leave Michael with an inconsolable baby. Though, touch wood, the evenings are improving slightly at the moment and pretty soon I think there’ll be a two hour window when she doesn’t need me, so hopefully more evening walks are in my future. They are just utterly lovely – quiet, glassy, cool, the sky strewn with pastel clouds, and no small creatures asking me to play, or for another drink, or why can’t they have jelly for breakfast, or MAYBE they can have a new toy, just MAYBE, or even snuggling or sucking or crying, or crawling under coffee tables. Just the pale sky and the tiny leaves on the hedges.

Thanks in part to how wretchedly sick I was about a month ago, I now fit comfortably into all the clothes I wore before I got pregnant. I no longer need to roll over sideways to sit up in bed. The ability to sit up directly from lying down still impresses me – it took nearly half a year to return. I’ve been wearing my old favourite pair of jeans, and it’s funny to think about the point at which they got too tight, the small firm lump I never tired of checking was still there, that grew and grew. Before bed I would look at myself in the mirror, with wonder.


A pregnancy draws your attention inside, within. I found it ridiculously difficult to concentrate on work in my last trimester. To the point at which I delayed and delayed finishing an article that I ended up having to write in Australia, and to which I am still adding the finishing touches. It would have been easier then. But I just couldn’t.

I had waited so long for this pregnancy. In June 2013 I sat on the sofa for two weeks, knitting. I had just been through surgery to take care of my third consecutive miscarriage, at close to ten weeks. The first two had been much earlier but so sad all the same, and now I didn’t know if it would ever work for me again. It seemed extra cruel that my latest miscarriage happened around the due date of the first one. So I ordered some thick, soft organic cotton, and made a baby blanket. My head and my heart didn’t believe at that point that I would ever have another baby, but my fingers did. I let myself imagine a baby lying on the blanket on the floor. I had no idea how much of Antonia’s early life would be spent wrapped up in it. I called it the magic blanket: it soothed her and me perfectly every time.

For by the end of November I was pregnant. I suspected before I even took the test, because things smelled different. And within a couple of days of knowing, I was sure it was a girl. I remember pushing Felix on the swing in Stirling, Australia, feeling revoltingly nauseous, around nine weeks pregnant, saying to Mum – ‘It’s definitely a girl. I’m just saying this to you now so later you believe me when I tell you I knew all along.’ ‘Don’t be so sure!’ she said. But I was.


Of course, for the first twelve weeks or so, I was very nervous. And unspeakably tired. And pretty sick – much sicker than I had been with Felix. Not as awful as many women have it, but not pleasant. I was in Australia for the second half of the first trimester, and I told my parents and grandparents what was happening, but few others. I hit twelve weeks just as we left, but I didn’t want to say anything publicly before another scan. I’d had two scans in Australia – one around seven and one at ten weeks – and the little flickering heartbeat was the most beautiful thing in the world. We had a lovely radiologist doing the second scan, and she moved us to another machine so she could print us out a picture. ‘The most important thing’, she joked. ‘No,’ I said, staring in relief at the tiny, persistent heartbeat, ‘that’s the most important thing.’

I remember up to around 20 weeks, or maybe more, looping a hair-tie around the button of my jeans so I could keep wearing them. I had to let work know around 16 weeks, because it was getting obvious, at least to the most discerning of my colleagues.

I am writing all this down now while it is still a recent memory so I don’t forget. The nicest things about that pregnancy were: my chats with Felix, such as those I recorded here and here; my long evening walks; the gorgeous summer weeks I spent with Felix at the lake; and feeling Antonia’s little kicks while I was at work. I interviewed for my dream job when I was about twenty weeks pregnant, and I got it, because Norway is amazing like that. And when they told me I’d won my job, I went downstairs to the little cafe, and sat with a coffee and the article I was reading, as Antonia prodded me gently, feeling like the luckiest person on earth. And all the time, it was you.




Felix: his latest creation: squares inside cubes. These magnet shapes were his birthday present from my Grandma, and he has played with them so much.

Antonia: crawling at great speed across the hallway, curly as anything after her bath.

Today was Michael’s birthday and we invited some friends over and had a lovely but busy time eating marzipan cake and ANZAC biscuits. I’ve been finding it hard to keep up the photographs recently, so I snapped these just before bedtime this evening (a bit like last week). But I don’t mind the very ordinary moments they capture  – the kids’ scatty energy at 6.30pm, the open dishwasher, the hallway. We won’t always live here, I guess, and I do love this house – its squareness, its snugness, its windows. Antonia is so very pleased that she can open the door from the lounge to the hall herself, and crawl all the way across it and into the bathroom. And Felix, these days, is a non-stop creator – rockets and balls out of magnet shapes, drawings of trees and flags, geometric patterns with his little plastic beads.

Linking with Jodi for a portrait of my children once a week in 2015.

And I couldn’t resist a couple of extra shots of the curls.

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Happy birthday Mum


This week I bought myself some baggy terracotta coloured pants, and wearing them I feel a little as though I am channeling my Mum, as she was about 30 years ago, when she was young(er), when she had small children. I’m sure she had pants a bit like them. She’s told me many times that the happiest years of her life were those when her children were little. I don’t feel she’s dismissing other times in her life when she says this, but little children are so grounding, you need to be so present with them, it is special. And uncomplicated in a way, although certainly challenging.

Mum always says she loved being 30; she felt when she turned 30 she had it all sorted out. Of course, she adds, shortly after that it all came crumbling down. But I admire the way she sorts it out after all, again and again. (Mostly by realising it doesn’t need to be all sorted out, I think, but loving and trusting and being present anyway.)

Anyway, I was walking into town the other day, feeling a bit like my Mum and trying to remember what she was like when she was my age, and younger than my age – she was only 25 when I was born, but I was 35 when Antonia was born. I remember her wearing autumnal colours and knitting herself a jumper with llamas on it, and talking to me from the kitchen as I drew at the table. And she would buy huge blocks of real clay for us to make things with. And all the time she was piecing together the beginnings of a new career, having decided not to go back to teaching history in high schools.

She will still do anything in the world for me, without it seeming an imposition. She’s happy to mend my clothes, listen without judgement, come for late night walks with me, chat on skype whenever the fancy takes me, play endlessly with Felix, change Antonia’s diapers, travel across the world to be with me when my babies are born. All this and work full time and be similarly grounding and reflective for our whole extended family, the children and young adults she counsels, the psychologists and social workers she manages and mentors, and pretty much anyone else who needs her. Even Antonia adores her, beaming already as soon as I turn on skype.

Her best friend, her sister, her parents and my dad are all having (or have had) dinner with her, so my birthday wish for Mum is a walk in the sun, nowhere special to be, no problems to solve for anyone, a moment to breathe, like the one I had on Wednesday, walking into town in the shiny spring sunshine, daydreaming in my terracotta pants.

Sending you so much love from all of us – we can’t wait to see you in July. xxx


Eight months


I’ve written this post in my head so many times, but I’d better get something down before my dear munchkin is nine months! This month, dear girl, you have been on the move. You mastered crawling (and cut your two top teeth) the week we got back from Germany, so just before you turned eight months. And you have picked up speed ever since. You love doors, swinging them back and forth and then crawling through the doorway, especially the door between the hallway and the lounge. Right next to it is our wood oven, which is also very popular (we’re not lighting it at the moment) and you’ve even managed to open it a couple of times.


When you’ve had enough exploring you always crawl back to me, cling on to my legs, saying mmmmm mmmmmm mmmmm. When I pick you up you hug me tight, pulling my face towards you and sucking my cheek, or burying your head in my chest. It’s pretty fantastic.

It just about makes up for our (very) fragmented nights, when you need me so.


At exactly eight months, you weighed 11.65kg, and were 75.5cm.

You have just now, and eight and a half months, started actually swallowing a bit more food. Broccoli and strawberries are still popular, you’re getting good at eating fish, and you’re quite partial to a hot chip. (Not the best idea I know, better start avoiding that…) Plain yoghurt is one of your favourite things ever, and you also love cheese. When we all sit down to eat, you say quietly ‘nom nom nom!’ and it is truly adorable.

You and your brother are quite a team.


The last couple of days it’s been warm enough to play outside in the afternoon and evening and you have loved it – you giggle your head off if we bounce you on the trampoline, and you love to cruise the grass, sampling grass and twigs, looking for baby pinecones (which I promptly confiscate).

I feel so ridiculously lucky. I love you so.


A room of my own


I braved a solo trip to IKEA last week, Antonia in tow, to buy a carpet and an armchair I’ve been coveting for two years. I wasn’t sure the chair would fit in the car, and it nearly didn’t. After fifteen minutes pushing and heaving and repositioning in the drizzling rain, Antonia perched obligingly on the front seat, I was just about to give up when I finally managed to shut the car boot. I raised my arms in triumph and a passing couple cheered. ‘Super mama!’ they said.


I’m a bit in love with the chair and the rug, and am certain they will be conducive to writing and reading, once I work out what to do with the very lightly sleeping baby in the adjoining room…

The week before I took both kids and we got a bed for Felix.


He’s very pleased with it, and pleased as well with the little mouse he talked me into buying for him, which has slept with him every night since. He named it Antonia Elinor Celeste.




Felix: chilling out on a Sunday evening after a busy weekend of baking, socialising, and bouncing in the sun.

Antonia: doing the same.

Often there’s a sweet spot after dinner in which the kids are happy enough to bumble around for a while and we can even drink a cup of tea. This evening Felix was a little overwrought after a full afternoon playing with Michael and our visitors – he was still demanding loudly that we play with him,  but we all needed quiet, so Thomas the Tank Engine and pita bread pizza came to the rescue. There is quite a lot of satisfaction in giving your kid exactly what they need when they need it. Antonia had more energy to play after a big drink of milk. Now both munchkins are asleep (for the moment at least) and we are savouring the quiet. Happy Sunday evening to you all. x

Linking with Jodi for a portrait of my children once a week in 2015.





Today we went to the Inspiria Science Center for the birthday party of one of Felix’s classmates. Felix could not get enough. He was still scampering around, testing out the various exhibits four hours after we arrived, when everyone else had gone home. His favourite was a magnetic parachute launcher, but these giant amber coloured beads gave me the best photo. Antonia enjoyed herself as well – after a long nap in the ergo she was pretty excited to clamber all the way to the end of this tunnel and out again.

Linking with Jodi for a portrait of my children every week in 2015.

More fun below.

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Happy Easter!


We normally go away for Easter, and so, for that matter, do most of our friends. This time, we all stayed put, and it has been so nice. I’ve made hot cross buns (twice), done Easter crafts with Felix, lit candles, chilled out with the family, dressed Antonia up like a little bunny, and taken the kids on a walk to look for beavers. And today we went around to our friend’s house for an Easter egg hunt – four little boys careering round the garden collecting their sweets were a sight to behold. Happy Easter!

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14.52felix 14.52antonia

Felix, sporting a new crooked haircut (it always takes me a few days to straighten up the ends), lets me take photos of him in the window of the harbour cafe as he gleefully repeats some nonsense phrase that appeals to him for some reason or another, probably concerning planes or cars. He immediately wants to look at the pictures of him saying whatever it was. We’ve just been to the dentist, next door, and are having a coffee (me) and a bun (him) before I take him back to barnehage. I have a fever (and will be so very unwell for most of the week) but it is a nice morning all the same.

Antonia, unapologetic, has crawled into the centre of Felix’s train track. Felix has tried a variety of strategies to thwart her efforts, such as barricades of toys and chairs, but nothing works. ‘Mummy! Watch her! She’s getting there! Stop her!’ Luckily she’s not so destructive as she was during her first few successful encounters with it, now she’s explored it thoroughly already.

It’s been so enchanting watching the little crawling bundle exploring her space. I watched her realise she could crawl round corners. ‘Heh! Hah!’ puff puff puff ‘Dadadadada!’ as she engines along towards Felix’s play kitchen. I plopped her in the kitchen the other day when I was making breakfast, so she would stay away from the aforementioned train track. She bumbled around a little bit, and then she noticed the doorway. She looked through the doorway, to Felix playing. Norwegian doorways all have a bit of raised wood that you need to step over to go through them (I’m not really sure why, maybe something to do with heat retention), and up till now it had visually contained her within a room. But I could see her thinking – hang on, I could get over that. ‘Hah!’ she said, ‘heh!’ And then ‘maaaaeh!’, when after five minutes it still didn’t work. To begin with she couldn’t get her knees over, but later in the day she mastered it, spending a good half an hour crawling back and forth over it once she’d figured it out. I’m so proud of my clambering explorer, and I dearly wish I could let her loose in my Grandma’s kitchen.

Linking with Jodi for a portrait of my children once a week in 2015.


A long way away


Thinking of my cousin Hannah and her husband Lochie today, and the loss, too sad for words, of their daughter Chelsea Anne, who died mere days before she was meant to be born, for no good reason. As I go to bed in Norway, a new day starts in Australia, and it is her funeral. We wish it did not have to be. We wish we could all wake up into any other world.






Here is Felix in Berlin as he prepares to go down the steepest slide I have ever seen. The boy has no fear.

And Antonia not appreciating being made to pose looking into the sun. She has the sweetest little lips. Antonia has mastered crawling forwards this week and cut a top tooth (and nearly a second one). I meant to try to take some photos of her crawling to reach her brother’s train track, but I have not been well at all this weekend, so will try another time.

Linking with Jodi for a portrait of my children once a week in 2015.




What was I saying about spring?


We’re back in Norway. I spent Antonia’s midday nap today shovelling snow.


It’s pretty cosy inside though. Here’s our toy storage space in our living room, with an added box of baby toys. It’s been fun revisiting the things Felix used to play with. The two wicker baskets are still stuffed to the top with wooden trains and tracks, in use almost daily. This week Antonia has perfected crawling forward, so the tracks are frequently in peril.


I finally managed to hang up a picture of the two of them that I took last year. ‘Do what you love.’


More love in the park


I just love this photo Michael snapped of the three of us. Felix is showing me a triangular stone. We went back there today and he found a stone shaped like the tail of a plane. He insisted I actually look at it instead of just saying ‘hmmmm, that’s great’, and it really was!


We are in Germany at the moment and Oma and Opa have been soaking in their grandchildren.