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The return from this last trip to the states brought up a lot of emotions for me as Australia certainly felt more like home. Maybe it was the fact that I got so sick over there (thank goodness for travel insurance) or it could have been that we spent so much time in Hawaii with other Australians for our friends’ wedding. Whatever the reason, as much as I loved every minute of our vacation, I couldn’t dismiss a feeling of homesickness…for Australia.

I belong to a few forums and Facebook groups for American expats living abroad. We actually joined most of those groups before we moved thinking, “Who better to give us tips and information than people who had already lived through it?” Back then, my major concerns were primarily about how giving birth in Australia would differ from the experience of having my first in Los Angeles. When I first read about midwives and public hospitals, my American brain immediately imagined some very different scenarios from the Australian reality. We talked about schools for my daughter and I learned quickly new meanings for the terms Kindergarten and creche. I thought with such a small language barrier (I mean it is English, but I stumbled with words like arvo and tea for ages!) it would be a breeze to settle in. I was surprised at how much was so different just under the surface of familiarity. Six years on and I now feel like an Aussie. Albeit one with an American accent. I am even getting my Australian citizenship next month! I will stand with others from different former homes as we pledge to be great Australians. I will get a tiny Aussie flag, a native plant (that I will try my best not to kill) and a gorgeous certificate that says I belong. I hope they make us sing the national anthem because I actually know it now! The next time I fly to the states it will be on an Australian passport. MY very own Australian passport. It is a strange feeling to have a dream you never knew you had finally come true!

This means that I am now in a position to help others considering this giant move around the world to a new home down under. We have quite a few expats in our primary school community. It is always fun to go out for a coffee and chat about our experiences. If we are going out for coffee, clearly they have made the hard journey already, but for those just starting to consider it, I encourage you to reach out to bloggers who have moved to the country that is your destination. I am happy to hear from you!

Don’t miss it… Click here for my top advice to those considering a move from USA to AUS!

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The kids had a day off from school last Friday. The teachers had to go in, but students got their own long weekend. I decided it would be the perfect chance to take Gemma and her BFF (her mom is a teacher at school) out for one of our favourite adventures, Op Shopping! 

There are so many treasures to be found in second hand stores, but since we tend to pick over our local ones on a weekly basis, I decided to head to a different neighbourhood. That meant I would need to look up locations and plan our day. We would need lunch and to not stray too far from home as I was also taking the two girls and another friend to a birthday party that night. So first stop was for the best hot chocolate in town. I treated myself to a nice coffee with a shot of chocolate.


Back in the car, I took a moment be fore driving to build our op shop route in the Ford Territory Titanium’s dashboard navigation system. With way points plotted out on the map to include three stores, dumplings for lunch and public parking in the area, we were set. It is such a luxury to have the navigation in the car, but quite the necessity as I am still not too comfortable with getting around Melbourne on my own! Usually I have to stop a few times to check my phone. We were looking for books mainly, but it turns out the girls had more fun on the exercise bike and trying on questionable footwear.

Wait! To see the footwear in question and read more, click here.

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One minute it is fine and the next, it is broken. The blog design, that is. I am taking the mixup in my blog header as a sign that it is finally time to stop being afraid of whatever it is I am avoiding and get this new blog look released. I have been meaning to do so for months and months now and have actually been staring at my delightful new logo since before we went to Hawaii. Only a handful of others have seen it. It isn’t that I don’t love it. Actually the opposite…it is perfect and I guess I felt like I wasn’t deserving it. The curse of the perpetual procrastinator has got to be broken. I have let little things stop me from putting all my attention into that project. This isn’t a new behaviour, I am infamous for stiffling my own progress. I eventually get it done. I always do, but I want to start doing it with less worry. Fewer nights spent staring into the dark space beside my bed thinking about how much I need to do, but paralysed against actually getting it done. This week I mean business. There are a few big things on my schedule and I will accomplish them without letting my fear screw it up. It might not go as planned, you might land here at the moment that the whole thing has gone pear shaped, but what is the worst that can happen? You see my mess? I am judged? That’s OK, I think I am ready to handle that. I am bigger than my anxieties.

She might not know it, but Gemma showed me that yesterday when she climbed stuff at a birthday party despite being afraid. Her fears were twofold and battling against each other causing her to pause. One was of not going high enough and being judged by her peers which met head-on with her fear of going all the way to the top and being faced with uncertainty.

I’m going to make sure I tell Gemma what she taught me as soon as she gets up tomorrow. While I might not be able to really put words to exactly what it is that frightens me, I do know that I am tired of always being late because I am stuck here holding the door shut just in case. Come on in, whatever! Excuse the mess, I am a bit busy getting stuff done.

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They call them “transitional objects” in psychology circles, but around here they are just favourites. They certainly aren’t going anywhere. Why does society see them as transitional anyway? Why do we expect them to go away? Why do kids get forced to stop comforting behaviours or cast away beloved objects to appear more grown up when many adults just adopt their own tools like smoking, drinking or even fingernail biting to regain some of that calm? Often the world is an overwhelming place with big scary things that even I can’t make sense of. If a small stuffed bunny (duck, blanket or whatever) helps, who am I to demand it be gone. And further more, if I as their parent am OK with it, why do perfect strangers feel it is their duty to tell my kids they are “too old for that”? What evil are they ridding from the world when they admonish a child for taking care of their own needs? I’m sure they have their own habits. We all do and I am not even going to qualify them as bad. It isn’t my place.

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This weekend I was reading in my room. Cuddled in my throw blankets with my favourite one from my childhood tucked up at my shoulder, my daughters came to just be with me. I am comfort to them and they are to me, but we are not always with each other. We can’t be. It is one of the first sorrows we realise as humans, we are all separate. Clover rested on her elbows at the side of the bed, thumb in mouth and fingers twirling her Nunny’s ears. She is six, but she knows hard truths. She has heard sad things. Her life of joy is tempered by occasional glimpses of the big bad world. But with that Nunny, she can manage disappointments, overcome sad and rejoice in the joy. That Nunny is merely a tangible representation of what is already inside her. Nunny is a tool that grounds Clover to a base of love.

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These days I follow her around picking up balls of Nunny fluff, stuffing that drifts silently out of the many holes that have been worn despite care all over her delicate fabric. Every day for years, Nunny has been loved deeply and even when she is more mending than original material, Nunny will still be loved for she is the favourite. 

favourite-my-family-lens Like my children, holding on to special things gives me comfort. I have a few items that are meaningful to only me, but it is my collection of favourite memories that gets me through the worst of times. The camera is a tool that gathers those moments for me. Having something like the OM-D E-M10 in my hands, I can transform transitional into lasting.

Have you got a favourite thing?

 A few Olympus OM-D E-M10 features that shined during this particular test.

Art Filter: I tried shooting with an art filter this time instead of adding it in camera after as I had done before. I was happy with the subtle distortion I got from “Diorama” used for the portraits. With the simple setting I wanted something to add a bit of interest to the setting without overpowering the overall look. I did miss the focus on her eyes just a tiny bit on a few shots that I did not keep, but that was more user error as I was not too keen on moving from my comfy spot to actually check my focus on the LCD. I just held the camera out in front of her which meant I was looking at the LCD from the side.

WiFi and Smart Phone App: This really is game changing technology for me as a blogger. From taking these photos, syncing my favourites over the built in WiFi feature, then editing the shots in Lightroom on the iPad and blogging without ever touching the laptop is such a welcome freedom. Each step along the way works seamlessly together.

Battery Life: The battery that comes with the OM-D E-M10 lasts quite a long time. I had the camera in my bag by my bed when the girls came in to join me while I was reading this weekend. I had not charged the battery since before we left on our trip to the Grampians the week before and had shot quite a few frames daily since, yet there were still a full three green bars of energy! The light was exquisite, the day was lazy and Clover was just tired enough to stand still…the moments would have been lost if I had to wait for a battery to charge.I just love that this camera is alway ready to do a great job.

As a Kidspot Voices of 2014 Personal and Parenting Top 30 blogger, I was given the opportunity by Olympus to test their OM-D E-M10 camera with the standard 14-42mm lens for a few months. From the 30th of June (although I started a bit early to not miss Hawaii) through the 30th of August, I will be posting my thoughts on and images taken with my new favourite camera. Different aspects of the camera will be featured in different posts, so consider the entire series my complete review. All images in these posts will be from the Olympus OM-D E-M10. For outtakes, special shots and more, follow along with my Olympus adventures through the hashtag #myfamilylens on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

 

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Seems I forgot a few folders! 

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The Porcupine shoots.

July 21, 2014

Gemma has always been called “The Porcupine” because she is cute, but not very cuddly. While she is less prickly these days, I still think it fits. Here are her selects from the last few months as seen through her lens. It is the second in the new blog series #theviewfromtheir cameras! One thing I […]

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The view from “their”

July 18, 2014

Their camera that is… (see what I did there?) Welcome to a new section of the blog where I will be sharing images that the kids take! Called “Smalls, Swoop and The Porcupine”, here you will see what my kids see through their camera lens. I teach them following my own program, littleSIDEKLICK, and they […]

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What was once a dream is now a memory. The rest of our Hawaiian adventure through #myfamilylens

July 17, 2014

I remember just over a year ago when we heard the news that my husband’s best friend and his partner were finally getting married. Over a shaky Skype connection from our holiday rental in Queensland to their gorgeous apartment in Brooklyn, they asked my husband to be a best man. The news just kept getting […]

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Weekend Getaway and establishing the DSZ for a pleasant drive … Paint The Town Ford

July 15, 2014

Moving our family from Los Angeles to Melbourne was a very big decision made up of many small considerations. Some things we had to give up for others that were more important to us. Luckily, there are a few elements that we just sort of exchanged. We traded one beach for another and like Los […]

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Milestones are few and far between these days, but I caught one recently through #myfamilylens!

July 7, 2014

ETA: I know that at NEARLY six, the twins were a bit old for floaties, but despite many lessons (and even an intensive before the trip) they were never strong swimmers like their big sister. I guess the case was that it was not yet their time. They know best for themselves. As their parents, […]

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