I love sleeping.  I love a big sleep in, I love an early night and I even love a nap in the middle of the day.  Not all on the same day of course but you get the point.  Therefore lack of sleep has been by far the most difficult challenge of parenting for me.  I hate to admit but I know that how much I enjoy being a mother is totally related to how much sleep I am getting.  These days I am getting a lot so I am immensely enjoying parenting.  I am also enjoying Nina the more she talks as well (something else I love as people who know me know) but this post is about sleep.

Nina is now sleeping through the night, from 7.30pm to 6.30am approximately.   Apart from a glass of water here and there I have not had to get up to her since about three days after I stopped breastfeeding about 2 months ago.  It’s wonderful.  I am still not over it at all.  I guess after 1 year and 9 months of getting up through the night (apart from two days before we left Syd) one becomes to realise what a blessing a full night’s sleep it.  I am also grateful that she can put herself to sleep.  I hope I will stay as grateful as I am.  Every night I go to bed and I actually feel excited knowing that I won’t have to get up.

She also continues to have nice long naps of about 1.5 hours.  It’s probably been 5 months of that now too and I am still very grateful as well.  As a baby she only ever had 40 minute naps and mostly that was in our arms or in the car so reliable naps is also something I do not take for granted at all.  I have now seen a number of new mothers breast feed their babies to sleep and then put them down in a cot or bed and they just stay asleep for an hour or so at a time.  I cannot believe that it can be that easy.  As said Nina would never nap for that long and as soon as we put her down she would wake up and cry.  People would often say that it was because I got her used to it.  Maybe I did but it was because from the first days in the hospital she would just scream every time I put her down.  I guess when you have spent ages trying to get her to sleep you are loathe to wake her up by putting her down.

I would totally recommend the book “The No Cry Sleep Solution”.  It took awhile but we now have a toddler who sleeps amazingly well.  Sometimes I wish she would wake a little later but I am lucky that I only have to get up that 3 times a week as Martin does the other 4.  She is happier and we are much happier for it too.  Yay for sleep.



As we all know there are many different levels of friendship.  I did a quick little google search and found that most people suggest there are four categories of friends.  People have many different names for these levels but basically it goes something like this.

Level 1 friends:  are people you say hello to and maybe stop and chat for awhile if you run into them at the cafe or bar. They’re probably friends of yours on Facebook, but if it weren’t for Facebook, they would have almost no clue what’s going on in your life.

Level 2 friends:  encompass a lot of people like co-workers and others you see and talk to regularly but don’t necessarily get together much. Occasionally, you might have lunch or you might invite them to a big party you’re having, but the expectations of your relationship are low and the interactions are casual.

Category 3 friends:  can get more complicated, because the relationship is deeper, but the expectations often aren’t clear. They’re your go-to friends when you feel like getting a group of people together, or you feel like inviting someone over for dinner.  You spend time together maybe once or twice a month, but there is still at a bit of a distance.

Category 4 friends: understand you.  They get who you are at your core, which means you can completely be yourself around them, without worrying what they will think.  Whenever you feel the urge to see them, they’re thrilled to see you if they possibly can.

While in some ways this notion of having cetgories of friendship is a little bit crass and obviously relationships are far more complicated than this I do find it kind of helpful too.  It perhaps makes me realise why, despite having a number of friends here in Peru, I often feel a bit lonely.  I guess it’s because I have no friends who I would put into category four.  It also makes me feel like it’s okay to share at different levels with different people and have different expectations of different relationships as well as myself in different relationships.  While I do often discount the less intimate levels of friendships I really shouldn’t and I have come to cherish having different types of friendship and I am grateful for all the people in my life.  Truly everyone can’t be an intimate friend and it’s often fun to just get together on a lighter level.

In saying that my closest friends are most definitely one of the things I am most grateful for in my life.  Really, without them I don’t think I would have survived some of the more difficult times in my life.  Throughout my twenties especially my closest friends really supported me to become the kind of person I really wanted to be.  Recently, I have been thinking about that a lot.  Sometimes I struggle to feel like I am making any difference in the world at all.  Perhaps it’s a misguided idea but it’s got me to thinking about who had made a difference in my life and I realise it’s not people with grand ideas who have come into my life to try to make a difference but rather my close friends and family who listen to me and allow me to be who I am warts and all.  Which has in turn lead me to feel like the best way we can change the world is to be a good friend and family member.  Willing to walk with people wherever they go and let them be who they are even the more difficult parts of them.

Currently my friend Emily is visiting Peru from Sweden with her husband Rocky.  Emily and I volunteered together back in 2003.  I met Martin the same night she met Rocky.  We only knew each other for 10 months before I returned to Aus early 2004 but we have stayed in touch ever since.  It has been fairly sporadic especially over the last few years but spending time together over this last month it has not felt like we haven’t seen each other for 8 years.  For me that is another sign of a really good friend.  Someone you cannot see for years and years but when you do it’s like you were never apart.  It has been wonderful to have her here but it’s going to be hard when she leaves.  I was used to not having really intimate friends around to talk to but now I have gotton used to it again I will feel it when she goes.  Lucky my mum will be here 10 days later.  My mum is certainly a very close friend as well.

Thank you God for friendship!!!!


Pirate Nina and other cuties

You may have noticed from the photos but Nina is a bit cross eyed.  We first noticed this when she was about 4 months old and we took her to an optometrist but he said it should correct itself and if not to bring her back around two.  She is now approaching her second birthday and it was getting significantly worse so we took her to an optometrist here.  He said they should be fine and we can correct by her wearing a patch on her eyes for hopefully just a few months.  We alternate the eye every second day.  She doesn’t like having it put on but once on it no longer seems to bother he particularly.  It’s now been almost two months and they are getting a bit better so hopefully not too much longer.  I promised Jem photos a few weeks back so here they are.  She looks a bit like a pirate.  A cute one though.

Nina has become  avery affectionate little girl.  Most of the time.  Here she is giving me a really good hug.

And one for her cousin Alma.  Aren’t they the cutest.




Reunions, weddings, parties……

There’s been a lot of parties here in Chulu over the last few weeks.  As mentioned in a previous post we have a number of old friends visiting from around Peru and around the world. We had a big reunion a few weeks back which I posted about.  It was a special night although most nights since we have been gathering somewhere to talk and reminisce.  Here are some photos. 

As everyone was here to celebrate our good friends Victor and Karyn finally decided to get married after many years together.  Here we all are looking lovely.





Then Emily and Rocky’s son celebrated his fourth birthday party.  Here is the birthday boy with his parents and very happy grandparents.

Nina is such a messy party animal.

And then some other friends from the States who got married there had a small, very simple ceremony and then party to celebrate.  It was the most amazing setting as you can see.  Definitely my kind of wedding.







Back in the days when we lived in the commie house in Enmore we talked about vulnerability a lot.  Although, for me becoming a mum has made reall understand my own vulnerability.  Being a parent has made me very aware of all the things that could happen to a child that are out of my control and many of these things I don’t believe I could cope with at all.  Before becoming a mum I thought I would be able to cope with almost anything, having to admit that I probably couldn’t makes me feel vulnerable.  Being a parent has also made me aware of many more faults and limitations that I have. Being constantly faced with these things makes me feel vulnerable as well.

These kinds of feelings of vulnerability have given me a much less idealised view of vulnerability than I had back in Enmore.  I also am a little more cautious these days about choosing really safe places to be vulnerable.  In saying that I do still believe that coming to accept our vulnerability in this world is a really important part of the journey.  Particularly in the journey of faith we need to acknowledge our total dependence on God.  I also still believe that sharing our vulnerability is really crucial to community living and being in close relationships.

First Birth in Peru.

On Friday I finally supported a woman in birth here in Peru.  There have been three other women who I was supporting but the first two had to go to Piura for a caesarean and the third just didn’t ring so I was starting to feel like it was never going to happen but then it did.  While there were certainly lots and lots of things that I thought were terribly done in the end I think it went about as well as I could have hoped for.  Mainly, the fact the dad was able to attend the whole labour and birth.  It was a battle that is for sure but I think we managed to do it without too much distraction to the birthing woman so that is good.  He was the first male to attend a birth at the Chulucanas hospital and here’s hoping that from now on in it won’t be so hard.

It was a 12 hour birth, about half at home and half in the hospital.  I was there for only about 1 hour of the home part.  It was going well and I was gently encouraging her to stay a bit longer as I knew the hospital part would be awful, but she was getting a bit nervous and keen to go.   When we got there she had to go through the emergency department before she could be admitted which is crazy.  Certainly not a place conducive to birthing but it’s protocol.  While they examined her and made her answer a series of questions about her pregnancy and address details etc which they really should have already had I called one of the midwives who I have contact with to see if we could get the dad in.  I explained he was really keen to be involved and that he had been a really good support to her thus far.  I also really pushed the point that it is really important for bonding with the baby etc for him to be there.  She reluctantly agreed to ask.  She came back and said he could be at the actual birth but would have to wait outside during the rest of the labour as there was another woman in the room as well.  In the meantime they were now wheeling her into maternity.  She asked if she could walk as it was less painful but they insisted she be wheeled.  I asked why given it was less painful for her and better for birthing to which they replied it was the rules.  I let it drop as I had a more important battle to fight on behalf of the father so I suggested he wheel her in and then he just stayed.  When they came to chuck him out we moved some dividers around which gave the other woman plenty of privacy.  Really they should have just been there in the first place, I have no idea why not but then again there were a lot of things I have no idea about.  Later someone else came and tried to chuck him out but I volunteered myself to leave instead.  I waited outside for about an hour and then went back in.  She was now 8cm and was starting to find things pretty hard and so was he so I took over the encouraging words and massage.  He stayed but seemed to need me to do most of the work   The staff seemed to finally notice how much better she was with a us both there so left us alone.

When it cam time to actually birth she had to be moved to a birthing room.  Here in Peru women can still not birth in the positions they choose but have to lie down with their legs up for the doctor.  We were told only one of us could go so of course it was the father.  I waited just outside and after the baby was born they let me go in.  They were stitching her up and the baby was lying on the table all alone while the dad tried to support his partner.  Knowing that babies are born needing contact with their parents and looking for their eyes and I quickly called the father over and told him to pick up his son and look into eyes.  He did that while I went and sat by the mother to offer her encouragement at a hand to squeeze while they stitched her up without any pain relief.

When, finally that was over and she was able to feed her baby with the proud dad cuddled up to her, I left them to bond as a family without interruptions as it should be.  I cannot say I left with same joy as I had left the other births I had been part of.  I was feeling very frustrated about so much of the procedures previously mentioned.  As well as I had been appalled by the treatment given to the other woman there.  She was all alone and kept screaming out with the contractions.  When she did they would all tell her to calm down.  She was an older lady and thus was asked by various different nurses how many children she had.  She would tell them five and then they would say something like, “then you knew it would be like this, calm down”.  I wanted so much to offer her some encouraging words or something but I felt it was important I stay with the woman who I was there to support as well as I truly believe the work of a doula is based upon trust and an on going relationship which I did not have with the woman at all but she was very much on my heart as I left.

I had hoped when I had got here that I would be able to change some of these things.   I no longer think that will happen.   However, I do hope that maybe this birth in which a man attended for the first time in this hospital will set some sort of precedent.  I do hope that maybe some of the midwives saw the positive benefits of some encouraging words and will give it a try.  I guess you never know what happens with the seeds you plant.


I am probably one of few thirty years old who can say they are lucky enough to have 4 living and still very healthy grandparents.  All four of them have always been very generous with me in lots of different ways and have impacted on my life greatly.  Here’s some ways how.

I was reading a little while ago about raising resilient children.  One of the things they said was that having rituals was very important.  My grandparents on my mum’s side really gave me that when I was growing up.  I remember for every birthday in the family we would always get together.  My grandmother would make it feel very special by cooking yummy food and setting the table really nicely.  When the cake came out it would be decorated with candles of course but also a miniature figure of Bambi.  Bambi was a part of everyone’s birthday and we were very fond of her.  Little things like that make us feel connected to and part of a family.  Even though they are small I think they are very important.  We also had Christmas rituals and special foods. It was always the same but I loved it.  My grandparents also hired a house most years up in Shoal Bay which was always one of the highlights of my year.  I would look forward to it the whole year round and I am grateful to them for that.

My grandparents on my dad’s side had 8 children and now have 17 grandchildren and 1 great grand child.  As someone who thinks they’ll only have one I think that is pretty impressive.  Despite there being so many people they are very good at making you feel part of the family exactly as you are.  I wouldn’t say we stay in touch much when I am not in Tamworth but when I am there it feels like home.  They are always interested and listen well to what I’ve been doing good parts and hard parts as well.  I really value that.

What fascinates me

Writing these posts is actually a fair bit of work.  I find after writing one that I need a few days to think about the next topic.  When writing the list and committing to try to write everyday I didn’t really pay attention to how big these topics really were.  Thus I think they will continue to come less regularly.  But I have enjoyed thinking about many of these things, which is a good thing as I don’t think anyone is reading them.  I have especially enjoyed thinking about this one.  It has made me even more aware of how fascinating a place the world is.  So I could write a never ending list I think but I have decided to limit myself to five.  Here they are, in no particular order.

History:  History was my favourite subject at school and I still find it fascinating.  This year I have had the privilege of visiting a number of sacred sites here in Peru of ancient cultures and I have found it so interesting.  And last night I watched the Iron Lady about Margaret Thatcher.  While I am certainly not a great fan I learned a lot.  I wish we would learn more from our history and stop making the same mistakes over and over.

Birth:  No surprises that I would write this but I find the whole process of birth such a miracle.  How a baby grows inside its mother’s stomach and then is birthed instinctively looking for its mother’s face and breast milk is truly extraordinary in my opinion.

People:  People engage in lots of boring gossip which is a shame because people are very interesting.  Until now I have never heard someones life story that wasn’t really interesting. 

Theology:  I can talk about God and religion and all things related forever.  I probably read more about it than anything else too.  It’s totally fascinating.

Culture:  As I am currently living in a different culture I am particularly aware of this one.  I honestly do find it fascinating the way culture shapes us into who we are.  Although sometimes it downright frustrating too.


We had such a special night last night. Some old friends from Chulucanas are visiting from various places around the globe, Emily and Rocky are visiting from Sweden, Luiggi is visiting from France, Walter is visiting from Lima and Eliu and Michele are visiting from the US. When I lived here 9 years ago we would all hang out most weekends in Donal’s garden. We would always talk politics, sing songs with a guitar and drink too much til the early hours of the morning. Some of my favourite memories are there. So in honour of all the visitors we organised a reunion there last night and we did just that. It was such a fin night and reminded me of all the things I love about Chulucanas and the people here.