If you need me, I'll be cuddling my new sewing machine and stroking my Kindle.

At least, that's what I said to friends on my 30th birthday. The reality was more "If you need me I'll be sitting on my lounge room floor holding a baby who won't sleep and partied from 12-2am then from 5am onwards, sitting next to a toddler who also woke at 5am. She's watching every episode of Peppa Pig ever produced on the iPad. And I'm holding my Kindle."

So it was safe to say that my days of a lavish, hedonistic birthday are well behind me. This year I turned 30 and was absolutely spoiled rotten by both sides of my family - they all pitched in and purchased me a new Janome sewing machine. Her name is Janine, and she's beautiful. She's far more detailed and fancy than my Elna could ever dream of being, and does amazing things like auto lock stitching and one touch buttonholes. I'm fairly sure she does more than that, but my days of spending ALL day playing with new birthday presents are also well behind me. I snatch 35min blocks here and there among Pippa's catnapping day schedule, and am mostly sleep deprived from staying up late quilting. The sewing shop that Mr S purchased Janine from offers free lessons, so I'll be heading in there soon to get a bigger overview. May I just point out that Mr S chose Janine with no assistance - the man is amazing.

Lucy loves Janine too.


Kindle rocks my world.

And a Kindle. Mr S bought me a Kindle and MY GOODNESS ME I am a convert. My brother is a walking advertisement for Kindles, but I never really got it. I mean, why would you choose to read a screen when you could touch a book. The answer is, you'd choose to read a screen that doesn't feel like you're reading a screen (no eye strain!) and you can do it one handed whilst feeding a small child or whilst having "Quiet Time" (Peppa Pig is on) with a toddler. The books are also much cheaper than print books and I'm fairly sure I just lost my job in a bookshop with that last phrase.

The Kindle rocks my world. I'm actually reading books again, after a long hiatus of not reading much at all, or re reading books I already owned because I never got to go to a shop to buy books since being on maternity leave.

If you'd care to see my Kindle Wish List, you may find it here. If you have any suggestions of books I might enjoy reading, please let me know! I'm still a book browser, and I find it hard to browse online. If only there was somewhere that sold Kindle books and I could ask a friendly shop assistant "If I liked this, what should I read next?" - ah, the online shopping lament, no?

Adios, my twenties.

This is my last evening of being a twenty-something. Tomorrow, I become a thirty-something. Weird.

It's strange to be finally turning thirty, because I felt like it would never happen. I watched everyone around me turn thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, but I seemed to perpetually stay in my twenties.

I don't really remember turning twenty, aside from feeling the sting of adulthood. The fact I only felt it at twenty is ridiculous, by that stage Mr S and I had been dating for almost three years and living together for almost two.

Thirty feels different, like perhaps this is the breathing space I've always wanted and I'll fill my own skin comfortably. I'm excited about being thirty.

Tonight I thought about all the things I'd wanted to do in my life so far:
  • Earn a living as a musician. Tick.
  • Get married to Mr S. Tick.
  • Have babies with Mr S. Tick. Tick.
  • Play at awesome festivals as a musician. Tick.
  • Record albums of my own songs. Tick.
  • Work as a graphic designer. Tick.
  • Own a home. Tick.
  • Go to New Zealand. Tick.
  • Go to the South of France and travel from one side (Cannes) to the other. 

So, to be completely honest, that's amazing. Maybe my French daydream delights in the planning, not the fruition. Oh, how I love to plan.

Vanity-wise, I'm not particularly wrinkled, I'm not grey haired (I asked my hairdresser to check) and I'm not overweight. That's right, this week heralded a surprising return to Pre-Pippa weight. Feeding a monster-sized baby, chasing a toddler and doing 20min of exercise most days has seen me lose 23 kg (18.5kg if you subtract Pippa's birth weight) in 14 weeks. I'm shocked and secretly delighted.

My twenties were the most fun filled, saddest, most fulfilling time of my life thus far. I can't wait to see how my thirties pans out.

Happy Birthday to me, and a special thought for my Mum, who thirty years ago today gave birth to her last baby. (I've decided that Mums get shafted on their kids birthdays - who did all the work here huh? HUH?)

Plans for my thirties?

Stay tuned.

Happy Birthday Peach.

Dear Dad,
Ever stylin'

It's your birthday again. Again? Really? Time is flying by at the moment.

There's Pippa, you see. She's suddenly three and a bit weeks old and life is a bit crazy. In a good way. She's got this way of just looking at you, and you're certain that she's got it all figured out already, at only three weeks old. She smells divine and is such a delicious mystery. Millie is ever gorgeous, looking more and more like me as a baby (hence the ever gorgeous, y'know?) and turning into a Toddler Lady before our very eyes. I'm pretty sure you'd think she was the best thing since Vanilla Slices.

I'm not sure that you ever imagined yourself surrounded by grandchildren, but Dad, if you were here, you would be. Sally and I would also be leaving the room at opportune moments... leaving you to change dirty nappies. Hey - you always wanted to be a grandfather! Ha!

You're never far from my thoughts. Millie's stunning blue eyes are your eyes. My nose, your nose. (thanks a bunch, by the way.) Your four brothers? Identical to you. My brother Ben? Sounds just like you on the phone. It's freaky.

I think of you every Saturday night when there's nothing on television but freakin' Star Trek: Next Generation. Don't get me wrong, I love Picard with the best of them, but EVERY Saturday night? You'd bloody love it.

You would have been 64 today. Instead, you'll always be 58. Which is far too young for you to be missing from our lives, and I live in hope that by the time I'm 58 no one will needlessly die of cancer. I hope that by the time Millie and Pippa are 58, cancer is just a dirty word.

Love always,
Amy

NAY NAY!


FFS Fri.... er Saturday.

Yesterday I couldn't bring myself to whine. It was Divine Miss M's first birthday, which brought upon a beautiful festive spirit to the Smyth house. Mr S had to work (booo) so DMM and I played. ALL day. It was such fun. This has been such an ace week all up that I can't bring myself to think of things to whinge about.
Millie's birthday party is tomorrow. The last two days have been torrential showers and there's snow to 700m. Brilliant. On that note, I'm sure I will have lots of material for next week's FFS, beginning with WHY ARE THERE NO BUTCHERS OPEN ON A SATURDAY? But ahem, that is another story.
On to the shiny things...

Mr S' birthday
My gorgeous man had a birthday last Saturday. As tradition dictates, we make each other a cake every year. Mr S is not allowed to wear many clothes whilst baking my cake. I do not bow to any such suggestions when it is my turn, nor does Mr S insist upon any such suggestions. Thank god. I recently purchased a copy of Australian Women's Weekly Children's Birthday Cake Book, the book of my childhood that we did not own nor did I have any cakes baked for me out of.
Mr S on the other hand recalls the train cake, the swimming pool cake (epic fail... the pool went everywhere), and several others. His mother is a baking demi-god.
Every year Mr S requests 'Smyth's Chocolate Cake' for his cake. We have dancing together for 12 years, and for the 11 of those that I've made 'Smyth's Chocolate Cake', not once has there been a 'PERFECT!'. It's usually more like
'Oooh cake!'
'What do you think of it?'
'Well... it's ok but Mum's is a bit richer/softer/more cooked/less cooked/not so rich.'
I know, I need to stop asking, right?
This year I looked him in the eye and said 'What sort of cake do you want?' He looked me back in the eye and said 'Smyth's Chocolate Cake' at the same time as I interjected 'Any cake except that flipping Smyth cake.'
So. Smyth cake it was. But not just any Smyth Cake. He looked the new AWW Children's Birthday Cake Book and asked if he could choose a cake out of it... I groaned inwardly but said 'Sure! Choose away!' He did not choose and rushed off to work the next morning saying 'Something simple please.'
I went to the IGA and bought a packet of M&M's, a packet of chocolate sprinkles and a packet of TeeVee snacks. With the hope that the baking demi-gods would invoke my cake decorating training and come up with something for me.
Lo and behold, the baking gods smiled and the cake was perfect. I now know what I did differently to the recipe and I have notated it! While M took a nap I came up with this...
He was pretty bloody happy with his Racing Track cake (not from the book thankyouverymuch) and I crowned myself a fellow Wife of Awesome. He even 'vroom! vroom!'d the racing cars. WIN.

Racing Track cake.

Candy overload.

Mars Bar cars with white chocolate wheel, cachou eyes and silver
sprinkle hubcabs.

Vroom! Vroom!

I started playing guitar again this week. Millie helped
by carefully placing a spoon in the soundhole for me.

Millie sharing her birthday breakfast with Lucy.

Birthday pikelets. (I am turning into my mother.)

DMM enjoying her new couch and new handbag.

Lucy enjoying Millie's new couch.

A lovely day was had by all.

Hey girl...

Hey girl...

I just found home grown raspberries in our freezer. Should I put some in the white chocolate mud cake I'm baking you for your birthday?
Yes. Yes Ryan Gosling Mr S, you should.


Hey girl...

I don't need any help. I know you're tired, so you go to bed and watch The Good Wife. I'll stay up and watch the cake then I'll do the dishes I've used so you don't need to do any housework on your birthday.


Hey girl...

I don't like to buy birthday cards, I like to make them from photographs I've taken hiking in the wilderness. I know it's late but I stayed up to hand make you a birthday card from me, then one from Divine Miss M too.

Happy Birthday to me!
And I haven't even talked about the awesome presents he and Millie got me.

No Mr S' had their dignity harmed in the creation of the post. The first conversation actually happened. The second and third were unsaid, but the events are true. Yes, I am the luckiest girl in the world. No, you can't have him, he's mine. 

Have no idea what I'm talking about with Hey Girl? Check this out. There are many variations, but the craft one still remains my favourite.

Happy Birthday Dad

Dear Dad,

Happy Birthday. Today you would have been 63. But you're not, you'll always be 58.
I tried to find some photos of you and I on my computer to put in this post, to pretty it up and make it more appealing, but I couldn't find many nice ones so there's none at all. The only photo of us that I love is from 1985, and that's pinned up in the kitchen, i.e. from well before the digital age.

If I still lived in Goulburn and you were still alive, Mr S and I would have come to the house in Mount Street where you'd have either cooked a ham on the barbeque or we'd ordered takeaway of some description. There's be Crownies from the Shed Fridge, which you would open with your special bottle opener and Mr S would pretend that he liked Crownies because we know how special you thought they were.

Your present... let's see. A box set of some description, probably a limited edition Star Trek one, perhaps with a fancy metal case, or a new set of cordless headphones for the TV. Bluetooth ones I bet.

The weather would be stinkingly hot or icy cold, but the house would be the perfect temperature from the air conditioner you had installed after I, your youngest child, moved out of home. Thanks.


You'd be cuddling Millie in your lap and telling us that you know you're her favourite and I would be able to see the special bond in both of your eyes.

Mr S and I would share tales of our house that we've bought and you would bestow your advice, wanted or not, on what sort of paint to use and how to apply it.

I'd slip the bakery box of vanilla slices on the bench for you, the paper slightly greasy from the slice touching the paper and you'd rub your hands together and say 'Yummm! I'll take those for morning tea tomorrow. Everyone will want one.'

We'd all be there, my sister with her husband and her 5 months pregnant bump, my brother and his new fiancee, my mother too. We'd be sitting at the big rectangular table in the dining room, and it would be noisy and hot and absolutely lovely.

I wish you were here to celebrate your birthday with us. I am in Tasmania, my sister, her husband, my brother and his fiancee are in Queensland and my mother in Goulburn.

Every day I think about you, but every day I see you in the mirror and I see you in Millie's eyes.

Happy Birthday Peach-Pie. I love you.