Mikus was born on a drizzly night in April, 2005. The labour was fast and furious, 1.5 hours long, complete with a break-neck drive to the hospital and the actual birth in the Accidents and Emergencies department of the Royal Brisbane Hospital.  As it turns out, it seems that the intensity and purpose with which my youngest son came into the world was also an indication of his temperament and purpose as a person!.  In the pic above, Mikus is around 1/2 an hour old.  He was well over 4 kg (about 2 weeks overcooked), and his head was so big it didn't fit the newborn hat we had brought to hospital with us.  So the nurses thoughtfully knotted a "Queensland Health" baby singlet to keep his head warm...

Next morning in hosptial.  A very proud big brother, with his cheek full of jelly beans.

Best place to bathe newborns - the kitchen sink.  Bloody annoying when they grow too long and you have to revert to the standard baby bath.  When Mikus was born, all of the midwives and nurses kept commenting that he looked like an "old soul". "He's been here before!" many of them commented. Their comments come back to me quite often - I sometimes suspect they were right.

The post-feed knockout

Mmm, toast in one hand, baby in the other...

When Mikus was around six weeks old we flew back to Latvia and fairly soon after drove out to a remote country property to celebrate midsummer's eve.  This is one of a series of photos we have taken "breast feeding in exotic locations" - but that's a whole other set of posts ;)

Matiss had his first fencing competition last night and did extremely well for someone who has only been doing it for a few months. He won one bout ( fight, match ?? Ive got to learn the fencing lingo) and came home with a trophy. One very pleased little boy!....look for the fencer with blue trackpants, white piping...

A small video (kid on the left)

Some more pics

Everyone is having babies at the moment:  two of my sister-in-laws are pregnant or have newborns, friends are announcing their 2nd or 3rd pregnancies, cousins are busy picking baby names and buying strollers. Now I'm pretty sure that my time of pregnancy and newborns is over, but all this talk of breastfeeding and sleepy, milky bundles is making me a little nostalgic.  So I looked through some of our baby photos the other night and thought I'd share a few. Here's a few pics of Tiss in his first month or so of life.  Next post will be devoted to Mikus ;)

 After a 9 hour labour, Tiss came into the world around 11am on 28 August 2002. We stayed for a whole week in the 5 star luxury that was the Mater Mother's Hospital in Brisbane.  Tiss obviously still remembers sleeping in the womb!

It was August - spring in Australia.  In the background you can see my abandoned "chicken tractor".  I loved having chooks! 
Sleepy post-feed

Māra, I told you Tiss had a tinge of red hair when he was born ;) 

On Monday we marked a sigificant point in the reconstruction of our "renovators delight" by celebrating the traditional "spāres svētki", or roof-beam celebration. Apparently this tradition is not exclusive to Latvia, it is also celebrated in other countries in Europe and the US.
Monday was a fairly cold day, but we had got to the stage where, after many months of preparation, the roof beams were finally completed. I took an old oak wreath from Midsummer's eve (I should have made a huge, fresh, leafy wreath, but all of the leaves are now gone from the trees, and in here wreaths made from pine or spruce needles associate with funerals, so I wasn't going to go there) and the carpenters raised it above the roof on a wooden post. We perched for a while under the beams, me clinging on for dear life, and later climbed down to the second floor to drink homemade honey moonshine and eat freshly baked raisin scrolls, to raise our glasses to the carpenters and the longevity of the roof, and to the peace and harmony of the people who will live beneath it.
This day marked what I hope is a turning point for us with the house. After my last post about the building process, things got a whole lot more desperate. The second storey ended up having to be totally demolished on account of its apalling condition, our rented metal scaffolding was stolen from the building site which ended up costing megabucks, the rainy season started in earnest with days and days of sleet and freezing rain soaking through our roofless building an our backyard full of rotting, sodden wood. I had many moments of gnashing my teeth and wishing I could give the whole property back from whence it came. I have great hopes that with the christening of our new roof structure, things will begin to take more shape and along with that encourage a more positive outlook to the project.
Organising the "spāres svētki" was a pleasant surprise, mostly because it was the builders who insisted we celebrate. It was heartening to see that these young Latvian men, who are modern by every standard, and are fairly scornful of the idea of preserving the old, be so adamant about maintaining this pre-christian custom. They told me that it is considered very poor form if the owner does not stop work to celebrate and treat the builders, and if this happens, builders tend to put up a pair of holey trousers in place of the wreath.
Once the roofing is put on to the beams, the wreath is taken down and put into the attic space, to be kept there for the life of the roof. Let's hope it will be there for a long time to come!

This weekend we completed the first scene from Star Wars Uncut - Scene 105, Tusken Raiders ride a Bantha. The boys drew masks and got themselves dressed up whilst I had to crawl around in the mud with dodgy looking horns coming out of my head. They learnt alot about costuming, continuity and editing and hopefully our scene will get selected. We have to redo the audio during the week but you can hear in this version the original Star Wars audio. Mook wants the next scene to be the "Help me Obi-wan, you're my only hope" scene so perhaps you might get to see her with coffee scrolls on the side of her head.... the boys though might want to do a Jawa scene. I , on the other hand, reckon I could pull off a long haired Luke Skywalker!


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