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Date added: 19/01/2012 Thanks for celebrating!

So, our 1000 liker celebration has come to a close (just as we nudge past 1700 likers!). A huge thanks to everyone for their entry and for having some fun with us. I am thrilled to announce that the winner of the Whale Spout dress of her choice is... Kym Squire! A huge congratulations to you Kym :)

Kym has chosen the Lotus dress for her little girl, but the Molly dress that received the most votes in the celebration was... the Bluebird!

The Bluebird was very closely followed (by just one vote!) by both the Flutter and Lotus dresses.

Thanks again to everyone for taking part and stay tuned for our 2000 liker celebration which may not be too far away!

Kate x

 

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Date added: 15/01/2012 Week 2 - Photo of the week

This past weekend my family had a mini holiday and we went to Melbourne for a 'sleepover'! We had a combined 1st and 3rd birthday party at friends on Saturday, followed by an afternoon at ACMI in Federation Square, and then dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant in Richmond - dinner is always a BIG choice when we go to the city, it has to be something we can't get in our hometown, and Vietnamese it was this time!

The birthday party was a highlight - they had the very clever 'Fairy Sparkles' to entertain the kids, and she ended her routine with some brilliant face painting of EVERY child! Apart from her patience, she did a fantastic job and the kids loved her. My 3 year old climbed into the chair and was asked what she wanted - her immediate response was 'Tiger'! So, here is my Tiger girl...

Complete with cupcake, and checking with me to see if she's allowed to eat 'these little bally thingys' that were decorated on the cupcake! I think she looks rather cat like too :)

Enjoy,

Kate x

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Date added: 08/01/2012 My photo of the week - week 1

With the welcoming of 2012 there has been lots discussion about New Years Resolutions and life challenges to begin. There are some wonderful Blogs and Facebook pages that I follow that are both encouraging and challenging you to things such as the 'January photo a day project' (https://www.facebook.com/#!/FatMumSlim) or '52 weeks to simplify your life' (http://www.homelifesimplified.com.au/52-weeks-to-simplify-your-life-syl-week-1/). 

As I've got older, I've realised that I'm not so great with long term commitments or setting and reaching goals, unless I'm super-passionate about them (ie, my marriage, my children, and Whale Spout :)). I do like to be organised and I love taking photos, mainly of my children, but I could never commit to a 365 day photo challenge.

So, I've decided to set my own challenge for 2012... to post one photo a week that I took and love! I'm thinking that it will be rather easy, but time will tell...

Here is my photo of the week - week 1:

It's a scene very typical of the Australian summer - my family in our backyard enjoying a Christmas present (the new slip'n'slide) on a hot January day, vegie garden, shed, and golden retriever included! I especially love my 3 y.o. in the background being her normal over-excited self!!

Hope you enjoy it too - 1 down, 51 to go!

Kate x 

 

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Date added: 02/01/2012 Time to celebrate :)

Welcome to 2012! I wish you all a very safe, healthy and happy year and may you reach all of your goals (or more realistically, at least one of them!)!

When I launched Whale Spout just over 2 months ago, one of my initial goals was to reach 250 Facebook likers by 31 Dec 2011. Well, not only did I reach that goal, I well and truly surpassed it. As of 31 Dec 2011, my Whale Spout Facbook page has 1186 likers... wow!! So, to celebrate reaching this goal and to thank my lovely likers for your support, it's time for some fun :)

To thank you for your kindness I have up for grabs one of my yet-to-be-released Molly Dresses! Here is the burning question:

To enter:

1. Comment below with your answer to the question, including who you would give the dress to and what size is required (6 months to 5 years). Please include your email address so I know how to contact you!

2. For a bonus entry, ensure that you 'like' Whale Spout on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/WhaleSpoutAUS and let me know in an additional comment below.

3. For another bonus entry, sign up to the Whale Spout Mailing List to receive our newsletter at http://whalespout.com.au/contact-us.html (scroll down on the right hand side) and let me know in an additional comment below.

Entries close at 8pm (AEDST) on Wednesday 18th January 2012. Entry is open worldwide and postage is included in the prize. The winner will be determined by random.org and notified directly, and will then be announced on the Whale Spout Facebook page and here on the blog.  

Good luck, have fun, and I can't wait to hear which dress is your fave!

Kate x

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Date added: 19/12/2011 It all finally makes sense

Today was my 5 year old daughter's last day of kinder. If you had have told me back in February, when kinder started, that I would be upset on the last day, I would have quite possibly laughed in your face! I was unexpectedly emotional when we had the Christmas party today, I didn't realise how much I relied on and appreciated kinder in both my and my daughter's lives... the routine, the friendly faces, the smiles, the kids excitement at the start (and end) of every session, and most of all, the wonderful teachers.

Having grown up as the daughter of a primary school teacher myself, I have seen how attached both the children and parents can be to their teachers. I have seen parents cry to my father, plead with him to teach their child or children year after year, and present him with heartfelt gifts at the end of the year. We always had students knocking at our door in school holidays just to see Dad, and for the years after Dad had finished teaching them. That attachment never really made any sense to me - I knew my Dad was a great teacher (and having been taught by him myself I can testify to that!) - but the adoration was quite strange to me. Until now...

Now, I know. I know how the familiar faces of the teachers can ease my child's fears of returning to kinder after the school holiday break. I know how their gentle questions about my child's weekend, or perhaps an event in her life, can make her feel welcomed and cared for. I know how their genuine interest and concern for my daughter's younger sisters or extended family can make my child feel safe. I know how their welcome hugs can be more sought after than my farewell hugs! I know that my child has found new adults in her life to respect, to care for, and to learn from. Now, finally, I know.

Kate x

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Date added: 30/11/2011 Keep calm and carry on

Tomorrow marks the first day of summer. As excited as I am about that, it also means that we are in December. And December means Christmas... Cue the panic attack!!

I have always loved Christmas, but as the years have gone on - and, more to the point, as the children, nieces and nephews have arrived - I am realising just how exhausting it is! Of course, despite the hours spent deciding on presents, shopping, preparing, cooking, battling Christmas crowds, wrapping, writing Christmas cards etc., the actual day of December 25 is now better than ever. Witnessing the joy of the children opening their presents, the squeals of delight, watching them work out how their present works, hearing little voices singing Christmas carols, the wearing of Christmas hats, and the discussions around how Santa managed to get into our house (as we don't have a chimney) and if the reindeers ate the seed we left on the lawn, make it so special.

It's the lead up to it that's killing me! Even as I kissed my kids in bed tonight, they are desperate for tomorrow to arrive so we can put up the Christmas tree. I'm just wondering how we're going to get the time to put it up tomorrow, between kinder, playgroup, an afternoon playdate and the daily chores! So, as I go to bed tonight (and quite possibly, for the next 25 nights), this will be my mantra:

And I will promise myself that in 2012, I will be prepared for Christmas by the time summer starts!  

Kate x 

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Date added: 15/11/2011 My 15 minutes of fame

Today has been such an exciting day, even more so as it was totally unexpected. It has resulted in endless phone calls, emails and unlimited excitement! So 'what happened?' I hear you say. Well,...

Two weeks ago I responded to a media call out for 'new online businesses' and didn't think much more of it. A few days later I received a phone call from a journalist from The Age newspaper. The Age is the leading newspaper in Victoria, and it has sister papers in other states of Australia - The Sydney Morning Herald in NSW, Brisbane Times in Queensland and WA Today in Western Australia. The journalist told me that she was writing an article on starting online businesses and was looking for advice on different aspects of the process. We spoke for about 15 minutes and she asked me to email her some photos of myself. The journalist also mentioned that she had spoken to a number of other businesses so she wasn't sure if I would actually be mentioned in the article. With that information, I promptly forgot about the discussion and presumed that nothing would result of it. Until today...

After lunch I received a phone call from a friend asking me for my autograph. I was confused and wondering what she was up to, thinking it could have been a joke. Then she informed me that my photo was on the homepage on The Age online. I ran to my laptop, quickly brought up The Age website and was absolutely gobsmacked - there, smiling back at me, was ME! On The Age website... ME! Not only that, I was also on the sister sites too - I was nationwide!!  

The story was initially in a section quite high on the page, and my photo was also rather large (too large for my liking!). Oh, how unbelievably daunting it is to see yourself on a website I look at several times every single day. The story is titled 'A rookie's guide to online selling', and just under the heading is that photo of me (the rookie!). The article itself is very insightful and anyone looking to set up an online business should read it. My actual contribution to the article was quite small, being the token 'business owner'. Although I was called a 'childrenswear designer' in the article, and I quite like that title!

So, there it is - my 15 minutes of fame! It's been a very exciting day, and to be honest, quite exhausting. If anything though, the article has spurred me on to get onto the sewing machine as soon as possible and create some gorgeous children's clothes! Oh, and just in case you're interested, here is the article :)  

http://www.theage.com.au/small-business/smallbiz-tech/a-rookies-guide-to-online-selling-20111115-1ngaw.html

Kate x

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Date added: 07/11/2011 From little things, big things grow

One of my favourite Australian songwriters is Paul Kelly, and I especially love his song 'From little things, big things grow' (written with Kev Carmody). While the lyrics of the song outlined one of the first indigenious land claims in Australia, my daughters recently learnt the literal meaning of the song title through our environment.

Quite a few months ago, my older girls were exploring with their Grandmother near a lake. They were collecting different things they could find - stones, gumnuts, leaves, feathers, and most importantly, acorns.

The girls were quite curious about the acorns, so when they arrived home, my Mum planted 3 or 4 of the acorns in a pot and sent the pot home with girls.

Needless to say, the acorns were quickly forgotten about, and rarely watered. Then, six weeks ago, I noticed that something had started growing in that pot.

I actually had to ask the girls what is was they had planted in there, as it had been such a long time. They were trying to tell me 'seeds from a tree' and we finally figured out that it was the acorns!

So now, many, many months after the girls planted some acorns with their Grandmother, we now have a small Oak Tree growing in a pot! I have been warned not to plant it in our residential garden (as they can grow up to 30 metres in diameter!), so for now, we will watch it grow in it's little pot.

Although this exercise required a lot of patience - so much, in fact, that the entire project was forgotten! - my girls now have an appreciation that 'From little things, big thing grow'.

Kate x

 

Date added: 24/10/2011 A dog's life

Tomorrow marks the 7th birthday of my husband's and my first baby. Our first foray into the world of sleepless nights, responsibility and everlasting, undying love. Not to mention unbroken loyalty, endless walks, wet noses and face-licks. Yes, tomorrow marks 7 years since the birth of our 'fur-baby' - our golden retriever, Bonnie.

We got Bonnie in the first year of our marriage, not long after we had bought out first home. It was an exciting time and having Bonnie made us feel like a real family. We got Bonnie at the same time that a workmate of mine got Bonnie's sister, Bali. At the time, I was working for a brilliant travel company, Intrepid Travel, and the workplace was dog friendly - this was the sealer in the deal as we didn't want to get a puppy and then leave her home for 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. So, from day one, Bonnie came to work with me and spent the day playing with her sister (and most of the Intrepid staff!). 

As the years went on Bonnie lost the status of our number one baby as the real babies came along, although that just meant she had more people to spoil her! From day one she was a gentle giant to our three girls. In fact, having a baby who only slept in her pram meant that Bonnie got more walks than before - a win/win outcome! These days Bonnie is still an integral member of the family, but she's no longer allowed inside and is at the lower end of the family foodchain. She gets endless cuddles from the girls, and just the other evening our 12 month old crawled up to Bonnie and gently rested her head on top of Bonnie's head. Bonnie didn't flinch at all, and almost seemed to smile.

To celebrate Bonnie's 7th birthday - and you can bet that there will be a cake made for her! - below is a link to some footage of Bonnie the day after we brought her home... Happy Birthday Bonnie Boo :)      

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvot1lJ7y2I

Kate x 

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Date added: 07/10/2011 Welcome

 

Welcome to Whale Spout! This little dream of mine has been over 16 months in the making and I am thrilled that it is finally up and running. The first thoughts of Whale Spout came about when my husband and I discovered at our 20 week ultrasound that baby number 3 would also be girl number 3 – eeek! 

Amongst the hundreds of pink, girly thoughts that crossed my mind was one of fear: ‘how I am I going to protect three young girls from a society that seems to want them to grow up more quickly than ever before?’. This was closely followed by ‘just how much are these three girls going to cost us in clothing over the years?’. After thinking long and hard, I came to the conclusion that the best way to protect them (and to save money!) is to make their clothes for them, just as my Mum had made my clothes when I was a child. So, I borrowed my Mum’s old sewing machine, and, managing to fit my heavily pregnant tummy at the sewing table, made some skirts and embellished t-shirts for my two older girls. 

Surprising, I found that I really enjoyed sewing (and actually found it to be quite relaxing!), and loved the sense of accomplishment once an item was finished. I especially loved the gratitude and awe from my girls (see, Mummy can do more than make a sandwich!). Soon after I posted some photos of the girls wearing their new outfits on Facebook – then the orders from friends and family started coming in. It was a light bulb moment: could I actually achieve a sense of satisfaction from doing something I love, solve one of my main concerns regarding the influence of society and media over young girls and continue to be a stay at home Mum? Well, we will soon find out!

After taking a self-imposed maternity leave for the last 12 months to plan for Whale Spout and to enjoy those first precious months of my littlest ones life, my little baby girl has now turned 1. And so, finally, Whale Spout has been launched. It’s a new chapter for me and a new chapter for my family. I look forward to you joining us on this journey…welcome aboard!

Kate x  

 

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