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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Fwd: Phone call

How cute is this email I received from my hubby today. He took Alexis to a play centre while I had a quick power nap then I met them there.

---------- Forwarded message ---------
Subject: Phone call
To: karlee

Hi mummy.

Just wanted to call you to say thanks for letting daddy take me to play. I've climbed up and gone down the slide myself today.

I hope you are having a lovely rest.

I love u so much.

Alexis.




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Thursday, July 28, 2011

$1.65 for my daughter's happiness

This morning I took Alexis to the shops to buy bread. I carried her on my hip because I didn't want to bother with a trolley or pram for such a short shop. She's heavy though and when she wiggles she's hard to hold.

Her eyes latched on to the banana stand. $13 something a kg. I tried to avert her gaze but to no avail. My baby girl absolutely adores bananas. She hadn't had one in a week. There was no getting out of this without tears. So I chose the smallest ripe banana I could find and I gave it to her to carry. Her little eyes beamed with joy.

She held that banana while I grabbed two loaves of bread and stood in line. She reluctantly gave it to the lady to weigh before snatching it back again. This was her prize, her precious.

An elderly gentleman behind me asked curiously, "how much was that one banana?" "$1.65," I said sheepishly. "Well if bub loves them that much," he said. For some reason I felt the need to elaborate, "she hasn't had one in a week and she loves them so much. She would have them everyday but I'd have to go back to work for that." "Well they say the price is going down soon," he said sympathetically. "Eventually," I said. This guy was nice but sometimes people can be so rude. I've heard it all from, "you shouldn't buy them they're ripping you off", to "did you win the lotto", to "where's mine". These comments usually come from women reaking of smoke and clutching gossip magazines.

I strapped Alexis into her carseat still clutching her prized banana. Still in its skin. I wasn't gonna risk her dropping it in the car. I kept justifying the expense to myself as if I'd just bought a new diamond ring for myself. "I don't smoke, I don't gamble, I don't buy coffee, I don't eat out much, I have only had two glasses of alcohol since May 2009 and one of those were free, I don't buy designer clothes or fancy handbags, I don't buy magazines...I can buy my kid a banana."

For goodness sake, it's $1.65, cheaper than a bottle of water or a matchbox car or most food-related treats. Corey and I have found an easy, healthy, shopping bribe. I glanced back at her, having the time of her life holding this banana. I stopped in the drive way to take some photos.



When we got inside I opened the fridge to put the bread away. Alexis put the banana on the shelf and helped herself to an apple. She is still happily munching on the apple half an hour later.

o

Oh this kid confuses me. At least the banana kept her happy at the shops. She got about half an hour's happiness just looking at it. All is not wasted, she'll discover it this afternoon or tomorrow morning and smile at her good fortune. Oh wow, a banana.

There's always the possibility that *I* might get to eat it? Oh gosh that'd be nice ;-). Isn't it funny how I didn't feel guilty buying dinner at Gold Class on the weekend but one little banana raised so many questions. Corey and I can do what we want with our money. We really don't waste money, so we can afford bananas. Feeling frivolous and wasteful for buying fruit is ridiculous. It'd be ok if I didn't get "wow, going all out are we?" glances at the shops every time. I realise we are all mad at supermarket giants for over inflating the prices, but that is not my 17 month old daughter's fault!

What's the stupidest thing you've falsely felt guilty for?       
    

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Being a scientist vs being a mum

So it's now approximately 18 months since I stepped out of the lab on maternity leave and over 6 months since I officially resigned. Sometimes I miss my work but not often. On days I do miss it I get out my glassware (pyrex) and bake. It's not that different to a PCR (multiplying DNA). Lying in my daughter's bed helping her back to sleep this morning I had a realisation:

Life as a stay at home mum is not that different to being a full time scientist.

I have often thought that my background in science has been a waste but now I'm thinking maybe it helped prepare me for motherhood afterall. There are many similarities between working as a scientist and being a mum. I'll list some for you now:

- both are something you do out of love (or fear of doing something else), because the pay sucks.

- there's lots and lots of waiting. In science you have to wait for things to arrive, for things to be processed, for things to incubate, for tests to run, for results to calibrate, for results to be approved, etc. In motherhood you have to wait 9 months for the baby to incubate, the delivery process never goes to plan, then you seem to wait repeatedly (for baby to fall asleep, for baby to wake up, for baby to finish feeding, for the steriliser to finish, for the washing machine to finish, for dinner to cook, for hubby to come home)

- there's days of great discovery mixed with periods of time so monotonous you think, "why did I choose this again?"

- checking emails is exciting 

- you're under pressure to find novel cost effective ways of doing things

- you do the same methods every day and nobody can explain why sometimes they work and sometimes things just don't work.

- you learn to deal with strange smells

- you never really know what's coming in the next batch of foecal specimens

- you wash your hands all the time

- you're on your feet a lot

- there's lots of cleaning

- there's lots of waste

- there's lots of washing up

- multitasking is kind of a must if you want to get all your tasks done

- you attempt to answer questions: who, what, when, where, why?

- you don't want to wear your good clothes to work and you have to change them every day because all matter of nasties get on them.

- crazy hours

- on-call sucks

- at the end of a shift your top priority is a shower

- its much more enjoyable if you have a good team to work with

- you know that some doctors are just absolute idiots

- you audibly grown when some "medical professional" mentions the words flu, whooping cough, outbreak or epidemic on the news  

- everyone thinks it's glorious until they try it themselves

- you're overworked, overtired, underpaid, underappreciated and overwhelmed, but you pride yourself in a job well done knowing that it takes a special kind of person to do what you do. 
- you know deep down that what you do day to day is important and makes a big difference to someone. If you're in diagnostics you know you're helping someone find out what's wrong (or not). If you're in research waiting and waiting for a breakthrough but seemingly getting nowhere, then at least you're getting practice for being a parent.  ;-)

- science and parenting both require patience, persistence, a good sense of humour, copious amounts of caffiene, and your 'drug' of choice (personally I prefer chocolate.)

Being a mum is better though, kids are far more interesting than swabs and tubes of blood. They're better at growing viruses and bacteria than anything in the lab too. 

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Enjoying the warmer weather


Happy Wordless Wednesday. Playing along with My Little Drummer Boys and Faith, Hope and a Whole Lotta Love

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My last few weekends

I wanted to write a post today to support fellow blogger Jess over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mum 's new project: "I blog on Tuesdays". Jess has noticed that Tuesdays are quiet blogging days, thus wants us to post stuff and link it up to hers. Jess' blog is awesome so I wanna join in. I wasn't sure what to write about though. I'm a little too tired to think hard, and I think a light-hearted post is in order after my last two rather serious 'preachy' posts. I have some gorgeous pics I wanna post but I'm saving them for wordless Wednesday tomorrow.

So I decided to procrastinate read the other blogs first, and I stumbled across this post @ "My big nutshell" which talks about weekends with kids and how difficult they can be to juggle. She asks a question, "what do you do on weekends?"

Like Gemma, I too have noticed how weekends can be hard to manage. It sounds weird, I mean, who doesn't love weekends? I love having hubby home, and Alexis loves having time with her daddy, but we too had noticed that the freefall from structured weekday to weekend had been a little much to handle. Over the last few months we have worked on changing the way weekends happen a little, to make sure that we don't spend the whole time fighting or sitting on our butts or trying to fit everything and anything in and spending the next few days utterly exhausted. So, here's what the last few weekends have been like for Corey, Alexis, Wormy and I.

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We now try to do NOTHING Friday night. We almost always ended up having some social thing or another on a Friday night and we found it exhausting. A good weekend starts with a good Friday night, but when you have kids, a "good" night can mean an easy meal, a quiet play, and an early night. A few weeks ago we did go out, but only to the drive-in (which was so incredibly fun and I got to go in my tracksuit, lol). Knowing that I don't have to do much Friday night means that I tend to work a little harder than normal on Friday to make sure I've done enough to make the weekend as easy as possible for us. I try to make sure that I get all the washing done and all the dishes done during the day and I also try to make sure we have leftovers for Saturday lunch or dinner if I can.

Saturday:
We moved Alexis' swimming lesson to an earlier slot so that it doesn't take up the whole day. We did have the problem of her waking up ridiculously early and nagging us to go until before falling asleep just as it was time for swimming. Now it's a few hours earlier it's easier although nagging still does occur. It's cute nagging though, she gets her towel and swim bag out of the cupboard and carries them around until it's time to go.

When Alexis sleeps (either she falls asleep on the way home from swimming or we put her down for a nap after lunch) it is free time for Corey and I. Often I'll have a nap and he'll read for a while then we'll have lunch (if we haven't already) then do something together. We have "us" time, even if it is just playing Donkey Kong on the wii.

Once she wakes we feed her lunch, chuck the swimming gear in the washing machine, and then it's family time. If it's fine we'll be in the back yard kicking a ball around, if it's not fine we'll all get down on the floor and play with her cars or her duplo or do some colouring etc. The general idea is it's deliberate family time rather than "let Alexis amuse herself while we do housework" time.

The rest of saturday arvo is fairly flexible. Either we'll do the groceries or do some work around the house while Alexis amuses herself. This weekend just gone all three of us had haircuts, which was quite fun because it was Alexis' first.

If we're home Saturday night then Corey cooks dinner. Corey cooks at least once every weekend. The last weekend he has cooked all or part of every meal. It's pretty much a given now, although I try not to take it for granted. Corey cooking suits us because a) he's a better cook than I am anyway b) he likes helping c) I'm usually pretty stuffed by that stage d) we usually have a BBQ to get our red meat fix. When he mans the BBQ I cook some veggies and/or mac n cheese inside, with Alexis' help of course.


Sunday:
Sunday morning is meant to be church but we haven't been in ages because Alexis has been sick and there's been a lot of sickness going through the church. With a child Alexis' age taking her to church is just begging for her to get sick because they all shove everything in their mouths. We need her to not be sick for a few days to go visit someone (it's complicated), so church and playgroup has been off limits for a while unfortunately.

In the mean time we've had so much fun either having cooked breakfasts (which just don't happen any other time) and/or catching up with family. This past Sunday we were at Corey's mum's house for breakky.

Wherever we go on the weekends we always try to be home in time for Alexis to have her day sleep. We don't mind if she falls asleep in the car on the way home as long as there's long enough time for her to stay asleep once we get home. This is mainly for our benefit rather than hers, although we have noticed that when she maintains a steady day sleep she is more likely to not kick up a stink at night time.

This Sunday evening and night just gone Corey and I went on a date to Gold Class while Alexis had some time wtih my parents. We do try to have a date every few Sundays. It keeps us sane and it's good for Alexis too.

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Generally the key to a fun weekend for us is to not try to tackle too much. Obviously there's times when we have to juggle lots of committments, and these are always fun, but for the most part it's easiest if we protect our family time and say "no" to things occasionally. That said though we don't stay home the whole weekend because then I'd just find lots of jobs for us to do.

Speaking of jobs, there are always jobs I "need" done that don't get done. I'm learning to just go "meh" to this. I'd rather Corey spend time with Alexis and I than spend the whole time doing chores and resenting me for it. Besides, if he's going to cook so I get a rest then I'll forgive him not cleaning the floormat or washing the car or whatever random jobs I've decided he needs to do. If he was playing games all weekend it'd be another story ;). If there's things that have been put off for a few weeks though, I write them on a list and the list stays on the bench until we do them. We prioritise what's most important. Usually laundry can wait til Monday apart from the swimming stuff. It's important both of us have a rest on the weekend. For me to rest he has to do more at home than he does during the week, but he has far more time to do it in so it evens out, I think.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

A lesson in grace, taught by Alexis

My 16-month old daughter understands unconditional love far better than me. She has this sense of compassion that could put the "holiest" of saints to shame. I can see her growing into a fine young woman who fully understands the call of Christ on her life. She is so beautiful, so caring, such a joy to everyone she comes into contact with. I am honoured to call her mine, but she isn't really mine. She belongs to Jesus, He just entrusted us to look after her and raise her. What an honour. What a responsibility.

I sometimes wonder why God chose Corey and I to be the parents to Alexis. Every parent thinks their kid is special I know, but this kid IS special. What's so amazing is that she is so kind and considerate and loving even when we don't always model this to her. Don't get me wrong, Corey and I want the very best for our children and we are trying the absolute best we can, but we don't always get it right. Sometimes I get things wrong, very wrong. I'm selfish, I'm hormonal, I'm rude, and I change my mind at the drop of a hat. I'm trying to improve but I have bad days as we all do. Sometimes all I can say to excuse the trash that comes out of my mouth is "I'm so sorry, I was wrong, please forgive me." Praise God that Corey always forgives me and so does Alexis.

Today has been a bad day. I've tried very hard to make it a good day, and good has come from today, but it's been a struggle. I haven't felt well, I've been tired, these hormones are driving me insane, and I've had to fight the urge to spend the day curled up in the foetal position with a bottle (that rum in the cupboard is looking pretty good but I know too much about the dangers of alcohol to a growing foetus). 

There's been times I haven't paid Alexis as much attention as I'd like to because I've been too busy cleaning or being stuck in the bathroom or busy with my own ideas of what she might like to do or being cranky.  This is all because I'm trying too hard to be up and happening and to be a good wife and mum. It seems that some days the harder I try the harder I fall. Some days I should just give up.

This morning we had just hung the clothes  on the line and I wanted to keep her outside doing something fun because I'm trying to limit the amount of time she's pestering me to turn the tv on for her. She loves playing playdoh but the stuff we bought her has disappeared bit by bit and the little she had left had finally dried up. So I decided we would make her own. I have been wanting to make our own for ages but first we didn't have salt (we don't put salt in our food, perioid), and yesterday we had no plain flour.  I had asked Corey to get some on his way home from work yesterday while he was already getting bread and milk. He got everything else so I assumed he had. So this morning I said to Alexis, "yay, let's make play dough".    

While I was trying to convince her to come inside with me she was pulling her clam shell out of its "hiding place" and trying to convince me to fill it with water for her. I have not yet discovered how to adequately explain that it is too cold and that the water tank is dry, so, trying anyway, I didn't pay much attention to the following tantrum as she threw herself on the ground in protest as I tried to pick her up to take her inside.    

I then passed her cries off as being just disappointed that she couldn't go swimming, as I searched high and low for this flour. I thought making playdoh would distract her. I rang Corey, which I know I shouldn't do, but I was just hoping he'd be able to quickly tell me where he put it. He hadn't bought flour. Ok no biggy. But because it was a day when everything is in fact a biggy, I got cross. Now I was most disappointed that instead of saying "sorry sweetheart I forgot," he said "you didn't ask me to buy flour". Instead of thinking he was just tired and stressed yesterday and letting it slide I had to prove him wrong so I checked the email history and clear as day it said "can you please buy milk, bread and flour on your way home or would you like me to do it?" I was upset he tried to make it my fault but also because I was so looking forward to making dough with Alexis. It should not have been a big deal though. 

As explained in my last post, "is your marriage baby proof", I know deep down that my husband forgetting to buy flour doesn't mean he hates me, but if I'm honest with myself, sometimes it does feel like it. It shouldn't, but expecting a pregnant toddler-wrangler to be logical and rational at all times is, well, illogical and irrational. So I had a little meltdown about how unfair life is at times. A pity party for me. Alexis started crying. "It's ok sweety, mummy's not mad at you," I explained, "mummy's just sad". I set her up with her toothpasted toothbrush (random but she loves it and she's really good at cleaning her teeth and while she's teething AGAIN it relieves the pressure) while I had a little lie down. She allowed me to indulged in a few minutes of sooking before she started crying again. I lifted her up on to the bed and she gave me a cuddle. "She is so sweet", I thought to myself. Then I noticed....

I had been too selfish to notice that her knee was in fact bleeding. She had grazed her knee outside. I hadn't realised for so long. No wonder the poor little darling was crying. I felt so terrible. "Oh sweety, I'm sorry I've been a bad mummy today. Please forgive me?" that was all I could say. Do you know what she did? She kissed me. She leaned over and kissed my forehead, so sweet and gentle, like we do for her when she falls down. She knew her mummy was sad and she wanted to make it better. She pat me on the back. Without words she was saying, "it's ok mummy, Alexis is here. I love you". It is a moment I never want to forget.

She was a little upset while I put savlon and a bandaid on her sore knee but she was more upset because she wanted to play with the bandaid. I would love to give her a spare bandaid, but they are so expensive (we buy the pretty princess ones). Also I had her in the high chair (where she couldn't run away) with a juice and a chocolate muffin (guilty mummy much!?) to try to keep her distracted and I didn't want her thinking the bandaid was food... My distractions failed, of course, and I suddenly absolutely had to go to the toilet (of course, why not), so I resorted to the TV as a much better distraction. I actually let her watch Yo Gabba Gabba, what is the world coming to?

I then realised she was tired, so tried to put her to bed without reading stories. Reading stories is part of our bedtime routine, but she won't just let us read a book or two, she usually makes us read a dozen books, or two dozen. So I put her lullabys on and snuggled into bed with her. This is what we've been doing lately and it has been working for us. She wanted to play with the blinds for a while (unfortunately the ONLY place her bed fits is against the window) and I let her, still feeling a little guilty. I decided to fake sleep and see how that went. So I lay there still as can be with my eyes closed. She noticed. Normally she wakes me when I fall asleep before her but today she was so cute. She stumbled over, pulled up the sheet and doona, and covered me up. She tucked me in!!! Then she kissed me goodnight and slid off the side of the bed.

She then chose a few books from her bookshelf, walked them over, placed them up on the bed, and tried to climb up on to the bed. This is where she came unstuck though because her knee was sore. So she cried out. I obviously stopped pretending to be asleep at this point and helped her onto the bed. We snuggled and read stories. Then it was time for her to try to go to sleep. I took the books away. She often cries when she knows it's time to go to sleep but today she didn't. I don't know why, but she didn't play up at all. She rolled up on her side, stroked my face, then closed her eyes and started snoring. Honestly I am not making this up.




This kid is amazing. She is going to be such a good big sister. She is going to be the best mother one day. One day she is going to make some handsome young man the luckiest man in the world. She is going to be the sort of person that people want to be around, in fact she already is. She teaches me every day. I have learned far more from her in the last 16 months than I can ever hope to teach her. I was upset at my husband for forgetting flour, yet she forgave me for neglecting her pain and discomfort. I was feeling down for being a terrible mum, yet she showed me love. I should have been comforting her but she was comforting me. I saw a glimpse of the heart of Christ today, through my little girl.

Throughout my pregnancy with Alexis and ever since her birth Corey and I have always prayed, "God, this baby is yours. Help us raise her. Help her love and feel loved. Let her know you so deeply on a personal level." That is the one good thing we have ever done for her, to acknowledge that we are not perfect but that our God is. We are human, painfully so, but God is perfect. We are weak, but God is strong. We struggle, but God is able. He is growing her into an amazing young woman, perhaps despite our frailties or perhaps even because of them. Maybe He chose us because we knew we weren't good enough? Through this journey God is teaching me too, that although what I do is important and I should always try my best, He is in control.

But he (The Lord) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Is your marriage baby-proof?

I've noticed a few of my friends with bubs have had some relationship issues lately. This has sparked me to think about posting something about maintaining relationships while being a new parent. I'm far from an expert on this (just ask Corey, he'll tell you) yet I think it's important I say something. So here goes nothing. By the way, I don't want to offend my readers who are single mums, I think you do an amazing job, but for those of us who are in a committed relationship my personal belief is that keeping it healthy is absolutely positively worth fighting for. Also because I'm a christian and I'm married I'm gonna say marriage and husband instead of relationship and partner. If that offends you well sorry please forgive me but sometimes political correctness gets on my nerves. If you're a male reader this applies to you too, just change the words to suit you however you want, ok? Gentleman, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong by the way, I love to learn.
  
It's hard to imagine that something this cute and small could turn the world around them into chaos.
Yes, this is a photo of Alexis one day old. She was amazing, she was beautiful, she was perfect, the sight of her filled me with love for my husband. She was everything I'd ever dreamed of. My life was complete. Then we took her home from hospital and the fun really started.

Marital/relational stress is probably one of if not the most common issue new parents face yet it's rarely talked about. I haven't done any statistical research but I know so many "happy couples" start having issues when they have kids. I don't know why it's so hush hush either. Maybe because we feel like we are failures if we have fights with our spouses, or maybe because we have had "women need to be submissive to their husbands" drummed into us over and over again or maybe because we don't want to make our problems worse by speaking up or maybe because we feel nobody will listen. Whatever the reason, you don't have to broadcast if you're having issues with your hubby but it is healthy to know that it is normal, there is nothing wrong with you, many many people face this, and you can get through it.    

It might help to think about why you are suddenly fighting with the one you love so much. There are so many reasons that are so simple yet so complicated at the same time. Often one little thing can seem to be a major disaster but there's almost always more factors bubbling away under the surface. Think about how much your lives have changed since bub was born. There's the obvious things like  sleep depravation, increase in household chores, increase in financial stress, and decrease in leisure time. There's also things like postnatal hormones in a woman's body, decreased alone time with your partner, increased visitation from family (yes this can increase stress no matter how much you love your family... or his..), increased tension in general (if you are always worried about bub). How you interact with your husband may have changed. It's a very unfortunate trend of stay at home mums to fuss over their babies in kind loving voices but bellow at their husbands. Have you started accidentally mothering your husband? More than likely having a baby has effected things in the bedroom too....

It's important to realise that boys and girls think differently. It's all well and good to say, "he doesn't understand how hard being a mum is," but don't say that to your significant other as if it is a reason to hate them. Most new dads try incredibly hard to be supportive but try as hard as they like, men won't be able to fully understand. They won't understand how your heart aches for this child. They won't understand how you can't stop thinking about the baby. They can't understand how difficult breastfeeding is, or if you really wanted to breastfeed but can't they won't understand how much that might be hurting you. If you were once a career woman and are suddenly on maternity leave or have resigned or have dropped down to part-time then men aren't likely to understand how isolating it can be and how you crave intellectual stimulation. They might understand how hard it is to suddenly to be domesticated and live on a budget but they might not understand how you feel about that. If you are juggling work as well then you have even more stress and I don't know how you can cope with that. I imagine leaving your baby would be hard to do no matter how much you enjoy your work or how much you know you are doing the financially responsible thing for your family. Dads think differently to mums so they can't be expected to understand what goes on in our heads. Half the time I can't understand what goes on in my head so why do I waste everyones time and energy expecting Corey to?

It's important to realise that as much as our men "don't understand" us we can't really understand what it's  like to be a dad either. We need them to provide financially but we suddenly need them to help around the house more: washing, cooking, cleaning. We need their help changing the baby,  bathing baby, holding the baby. We expect them to work full-time and be supportive at home. We don't like to hear our men complain, especially in the first few weeks, because, "hello, I'm still recovering from pushing this giant blob out my..." 

Looking back I expected the world from my husband when Alexis was born. Sure it was MY body that was messed up. It was MY hormones that went through the roof. It was MY emotions that were scoring high enough on the postnatal depression scores to spark concern from the nurses (but not high enough for them to do anything about it). It was MY career that was over and MY dreams of med school thrown out the window.  It was ME who Alexis wanted whenever I tried to sleep, shower, or eat. It was affecting me so much, no doubt about it, that nobody noticed just how much it was affecting Corey too.      

It's an enormous change in a young man's life to become a father. Many men suddenly feel overwhelmed with responsibility: to provide, to lead, to protect. Some men go over the top, others can't face it and act childish, some appear unphased on the surface, but over a beer to a mate I'm sure most would admit they are petrified. They can feel like they haven't got a clue what they're doing with the tiny vunerable "car alarm that sh$ts". Yelling "I told you to read the baby books before she was born" at them doesn't really help. Neither does telling them they are useless or asking "seriously, is there something wrong with your brain?" (Go on, call me a rude mean horrible wife but I bet you've at least thought it at least once.)

Not only is computer game time, drinking time, and loving
-from-the-wifey  time reduced, they have psychological changes too. The woman they love changes drastically and they have to juggle not being the sole object of her affection. Men can feel like they have been replaced. Men can get jealous of baby taking all of their wife's attention and also of the baby preferring to be with the mum.  It would break Corey's heart when he'd come home from a long day at work and want to cuddle his daughter (and I would be desperate to fob her off for a while) and Alexis would decide she absolutely had to have a breastfeed as soon as he walked in the door. Instead of getting cuddles with me or her he'd be delegated cooking duties.

I'd like to say it gets easier as it gets older. In a way it does, looking back, but yet there will always be challenges. Once bub starts solids it opens up a whole new way for dads to interact with their babies. It also, however, greatly increases the amount of cooking, cleaning and dishes to fight over. Once bub can crawl it makes playtime really fun but you then have to start paying attention to what is on the floor. Once bub can stand and walk it is so much fun and it is so easy to interact with a toddler, but then they get in to everything and they start resisting sleep. Corey leaves things Alexis shouldn't play with in places she can reach. It drives me nuts but there's no point bashing him up over it. Whenever he finds a good hiding spot she finds a way to get into it anyway, so what's the point.

The problem with parenting is that whenever we feel we are starting to have it all worked out, our beautiful children change. Do you agree? Alexis seems to go from one milestone or difficult stage to another. In the first two years or so bubs are consistently learning new skills, growing, teething, or getting sick. It's a fact of life. This can put incredible strain on parents. Well it affects me as a mum anyway because I sometimes feel like I can not keep up with Alexis, so there must be something wrong with me. It's not uncommon to project this stress onto Corey and then little inconveniences like him not mowing the lawn or him leaving a container in the office (or bringing a weeks worth of containers home when I finally conquered the massive pile of dishes) can become a big issue.

I think it's really important to keep things in perspective. This is next to impossible, mind you, but do try to set aside time to calm down and think about things like this every so often. Stress in relationships can effect babies feeding, sleeping, metabolism and temprament. When Corey and I fight it negatively affects Alexis (and baby Wormy), so when you and your partner fight it probably affects your kids too. As hard as it is, try to keep your home happy and free from tension.

When your relationship is struggling or you feel like you are drifting apart and you aren't sure where to go from there here are some things you can try:
1)Remind yourself why you fell in love with this person. 
2)Write a list of all your husband does to help. (See my list from 6 months ago)
3)Think about how you may have hurt your husband(deliberately or not) and ask for forgiveness. This is really hard but it is so worth it.
4)Tell your hubby that you love him and that you appreciate what he does for you. Be specific. This will boost his self-confidence. Men aren't immune to feeling incompetent!
5)Ask him if there's little things you do that upset him and if there's one particular thing he'd like you to work on.  
6)If you really do need your spouse to be more supportive try giving him a choice of a few things he is capable of doing and ask him to pick which one(s) he would consider taking responsibility of. 
7)Try really hard to set aside time and money for a date. Get a babysitter, it's worth it and it's healthy for your kids to learn that you will leave them sometimes but you will return. Either go out and do something unususal or stay in and relax and have vital one-on-one time. It is amazing how easily things can improve when you invest some time into your relationship again. 
8) Make a conscious effort to have fun as a family. Staying in watching movies and playing with toys is good but try to get outside the house for fresh air and sunshine and get active. This is scientifically proven to increase feel-good hormones. You don't have to go to a themepark or anywhere fancy, you can go for a walk or to the local park or just kick a ball around the backyard. Some of our favourite moments are the few minutes we spend kicking the soccer ball around watching Alexis chase it and Corey ends up tackling Alexis and rolling her down the hill. You can't buy memories like that.


Sometimes things just don't work out. If you aren't married or things are getting reall nasty I can't and won't attempt to judge whether it's best for you to slug it out or run, but if there is any hope at all in your mind that you can make it work and you and the bub aren't in physical danger then don't make a decision to run while you're sleep deprived, hormonal and hurting. I think in most circumstances trying little steps like these doesn't hurt and almost always helps. Obviously as a Christian I believe that marriage is meant to last "til death do us part." Hopefully putting things like this into practice will encourage you to hope that is far far away not just around the corner. Remember to be patient with eachother, as you are both tired and stressed and you have both had your lives changed dramatically recently.  

If you are a Christian then you should pray for your marriage on a regular basis. Satan hates healthy families because he knows how powerful they are. He throws everything he can at us to keep us fighting amongst ourselves instead of united and strong fighting him. Even if you don't believe in spiritual things you at least can realise how much stress can cripple relationships.  Parenting is a lot easier if you work with your partner instead of against them. (Yes I used partner this time because you ARE partners, partnering together to achieve a common goal.) You are both on the same side afterall, you both want what's best for the children. Sometimes what's best for the kids is putting your marriage first. Children need a happy home more than a clean home, a big home, a tidy home, or a home full of toys.

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Wordless Wednesday: sunglasses fail

Playing along with My Little Drummer Boys and Faith, Hope and a Whole Lotta Love

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Flashback: starting solids

I've had a comment from an anonymous reader asking me for some information on starting solids. I'm happy to help, but just remember I'm not an expert. I've only had experience with one child, so I can only tell you my experiences so far and point out same places to go for more information. Thinking about starting solids has reminded me that it is almost a year since Alexis first tried solid food. Almost a year, goodness me the time has flown.

When to start introducing solids
Corey and I started Alexis on solids somewhere between 4 and 5 months old. The official advice these days is to wait until 6 months, but we knew that Alexis was well and truly ready. We were observing signs in her such as head and neck control, watching us eat, sitting up well with support, pretending to eat, putting toys in her mouth, and pretty much crying for food whenever she saw us eating. We checked her over with a child health nurse to get the go ahead but you don't have to do this.

What to start with
For the current recommendations on what to start introducing to your baby and when it's best to check out the child health information you received in hospital when your child was born (if you got one. I got one in the red child health folder), or websites such as baby centre or kidspot.

It's best to avoid things that can cause allergies until bub is older and his/her digestive system is more mature. Things that the 'experts' say to avoid are nuts, eggs, wheat, fish, dairy, mushrooms and honey until between 8 and 12 months (different for different foods). Some bubs are also allergic to strawberries so keep that in mind.

We started with Farex (baby rice cereal) for the first few days. I know many people who don't try farex they just go straight to vegetables, which is fine. Whatever you choose you want to pick something that is relatively bland so you don't spoil baby with sweet tasty foods straight away. (Apparently this limits your chances of having a fussy toddler, although I've yet to meet a toddler who is not fussy with food, regardless of how well you start off.) It's in baby's best interest to pick something high in iron, because at about the same time they start solids their bodies start using up their iron reserves. If you use a commercial cereal like we did, prepare it with baby's usual milk (breastmilk or formula). Alexis had no idea what formula was but expressing didn't work well for me so after a few weeks of farex we started just mixing it with cooled boiled water but we added a serve of pureed pear or apple to make it more interesting and nutritious.

The order that we introduced foods to Alexis went somewhere along the lines of baby rice, sweet potato (a mistake in a way because it was so sweet, but a necessity in another way because she wasn't that keen on farex because it tastes disgusting. The sweet potato encouraged her to really take well to eating solids), pear, carrot, pumpkin, apple, potato, brocolli, banana, or something along those lines. Interestingly, Alexis still does not eat potato.

When to feed baby
Pick a time of day when you and your baby and your partner are all likely to be happy and relaxed. It's good to make sure bub is hungry but not starving. We started at lunch time on a Saturday. Personally I think it's really important to get bubs dad involved if that's possible in your situation. Corey absolutely loved feeding Alexis her solids and she benefited from the time with him and it gave me a chance to sit back and watch.

How much do you give?
Start by offering a few tablespoons. Don't sweat if baby doesn't finish it. It's disheartening preparing food that they turn their noses up at or swat away but this is an important part of them developing independence and regulating their appetite. If they gobble it all down, offer more the next time. Start with only one meal a day for a while and then you will know when bub is ready to go to two (and eventually three) meals a day because they will let you know. By 8 or 9 months bubs are usually eating three meals and having snacks during the day.

Expect a change in poo
Introducing farex will probably make bub constipated for a day or two. It's normal but it's not pleasant. Be prepared. Also, when he/she does poop it'll stink, especially if you're used to a baby with breastmilk poos. Oh, and when you start solids you pretty much get out what you put in, so don't panic when you introduce baby to sweet potato or pumpkin bubba's poop will turn orange, and when you give them brocolli it'll go green. It's quite funny really.

What equipment do you need?
All you really need is a plastic bowl and plastic spoon and bib, but I recommend you give bub their own spoon to hold to help them feel like they are a part of it. I gave Alexis a spoon for each hand to stop her grabbing at the spoon we were trying to feed her from. I also recommend you put a messy mat or old towel on the floor or just be prepared to clean up. You can either hold bub on your lap or your partner's lap (or grandparent or aunty or whoever) or use a highchair. We started with Alexis on my lap while Corey fed her, which was OK as long as I expected to get dirty. We very quickly invested in a nice soft padded highchair though so she had more independence and this was necessary when she went to two meals a day because I needed to be able to feed her by myself.

How to prepare the food:
I think steaming is best. We invested in an all-in-one steamer/blender which we used a lot in the first few months. It's good because it uses the water you cook the veggies/fruit/meat in to puree it so it maintains flavour and nutrients. The only problem with this way is that it only makes a tiny amount of food (and Alexis had a big appetite) so we soon changed to steaming on the stove and then blending in batches.

For recipe ideas ask your friends, google "baby food recipes", check out the websites I linked to earlier, or just use your gut instinct. Bubs don't need fancy food and they don't need sugar, honey or salt. We usually just cooked veggies on their own and served a variety but some vegetables puree, freeze, and reheat better when you combine them, such as mixing sweet potato with carrot and potato with brocolli. We always gave Alexis fruit with her rice cereal once she had tried fruit. I always tried to encourage her to have a drink of water with meals too.

Final advice: Make it fun!
Introducing solids is a very exciting time for you and your baby. Take your time, involve grandparents or close friends if you like, and praise your baby for giving it a go. Never rush bub. Some babies might like to be the centre of attention, others might like to eat when you eat. Go with what suits your bubs personality (and yours).

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Are you neglecting your skin?

As a mother of a busy toddler I find it very hard to spend time on myself. As a pregnant lady I know that my skin dries out very easily because my body's top priority is keeping the baby inside me healthy. As a wife though, I still want to be "feminine" and have nice soft, silky skin. As someone with a wasted science degree, I know that the skin is the body's largest organ and very important in defending our bodies from the outside world. As someone who watched too much daytime television before my daughter was born I know that how I treat my skin now will influence how wrinkly and old I look in later years. As someone who has battled dry skin since adolescence, I know that for me the onset of winter means at least three months of pain and stinging from dry cracked skin. All these parts of who I am mean that I am well aware that it is important for me to eat well, drink plenty of water, and use a decent moisturiser. Yet since my daughter Alexis was born my moisturising routine is virtually non-existent. Well it was, until now.

As a mother I want the best for my kids, so it seemed selfish to spend time moisturising on a daily basis. I would let my skin get so dry that my hands would crack up so bad they would bleed and be incredibly painful. Then I would have the difficult task of trying to get them to stop bleeding and to heal, while still having motherly duties such as doing the dishes (over and over and over again), washing the laundry, and washing my hands after wiping bottoms/noses/faces (over and over and over again). I wasn't having much luck, that's for sure. I remember days crying in pain, and nights saying to my husband "you'll have to do the dishes tonight, I can't".

At this point I tried to find a good moisturiser but my skin had become so delicate that putting moisturiser on my hands was so painful. Some moisturisers didn't sting, but they smelt so bad I couldn't stand to wear them over night. During the day I have to wash my hands so often I couldn't keep anything on long enough to do any good. As a one-income family I couldn't justify spending a small fortune on various moisturisers to try, especially if they weren't likely to work.

Imagine how excited I was when I was invited to participate in my very first product review, Vaseline Dry Skin Conditioning Lotion, as part of Product Talk by Nuffnang. I was a little apprehensive at first, but after realising I was allowed to write my honest opinion regardless of what that was, I was very keen. I'm not being paid for this post but I did receive a free bottle of Vaseline Dry Skin Conditioning Lotion to review and keep.




First impressions:
Before I even started using it I was impressed by the bottle. That sounds lame I know, but it's true. I was sent a 375mL bottle that retails for $7.29. It contains vitamins A, E and B5, which I vaguely remember being a good thing. The pump action bottle is really handy because it takes up less space than a cake of soap so it can sit on the basin in the ensuite quite easily without getting in the way. This is good because if I have to actually go searching for where I've hidden my moisturiser from my daughter (or where she's hidden it because I failed to find a good hiding place) I'm less likely to use it.

How does it feel?:
It doesn't sting! Even when I put it directly on to my dry and bleeding hands it didn't sting. This is a huge plus. I even attempted putting it on freshly shaved legs (how often does that happen for mums with young kids?) and it doesn't sting those either. Neither does it feel greasy. It soaks in very quickly so it doesn't take too long to apply and you don't need to use very much of it. I didn't get a rash either, which is something I actually have to watch out for because I do have sensitive skin and pregnant women can develop allergies to strange things.

How does it smell?:
Don't let the brand name "vaseline" put you off, it doesn't smell like the good ol' vaseline you'd stick on squeaky door frames, so don't worry. It has a pleasant smell but it's not overpowering. I can put it on my whole body at night and not be bothered by the smell.

Does it work?:
Definitely. My hands have cleared up very well in the short amount of time I've used it. They don't sting or itch. I'm going to have to come up with a new excuse to convince my husband to change our daughter's pooey nappies! I should mention though that the instructions say to use it once a day. I used the moisturiser on my hands quite frequently (multiple times a day) but I was quite slack at using it on the rest of my body. I'm a busy young mum after all, and old habits (aka neglecting my skin) will die hard. It's good to know that it is gentle enough to use repeatedly but thorough enough to work if you forget for a day or two. All over my body my skin feels smoother and softer.

The ultimate test: my husband's opinion:
I had fun telling my husband I was reviewing a new moisturiser and needed his help. I didn't really need his help but it was fun to ask plus I did legitimately want to know his opinion on it. Corey loves massaging me, and hey what pregnant woman doesn't love being massaged!? So I asked him to moisturise me with the new lotion. He agreed, but I could see he was tentative. His eyes said, "everytime I moisturise you my hands smell like your grandmother for a few days". He was pleasantly surprised when he tried the moisturiser to find that it didn't smell like old ladies, or lavender, or feet, or like a zillion flowers died in your room overnight. He loved the pump bottle because he didn't have to worry about putting the lid back on like he normally would (or leaving it off and knocking it over). He even noticed that his hands felt "really nice" (don't you love how descriptive men are) from the moisturiser that had soaked into them while he was moisturising me. A win-win I must say.

Conclusions:
I would definitely recommend that you try the Vaseline Dry Skin Conditioning Lotion. You can buy a 200mL bottle for only $4.99, so it is not likely to stretch the budget to give it a try. At only $10.99 for 750 mL this is a product that I will be using from now on. Maybe with this moisturiser on my side, winter and I can finally stop being enemies.

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Yes we peeked... It's a .....

So, the moment you've all been waiting for (not really but anyway...) is finally here. The big announcement. We know the sex of our baby. (If you're wondering, "yeah, so what?", my post "to peek or not to peek" saying we weren't sure if we wanted to find out or not sparked a lot of interest.) We ended up finding out at the second morphology scan. Yes it was about a month ago... slack I know but hey I'm telling you now.
Baby Wormy is....



A baby... 

He's a boy!!!

We are all very excited to be having a little boy. Corey is over the moon. Alexis is happy she gets to stay our littlest princess. I feel very lucky to have "one of each". I would have been equally happy if he was a girl, but once I knew he's a boy I've been very excited about "boy things". We aren't real big on gender stereotypes here but that didn't exactly deter us from laybying "blokey" toys for him for Christmas. (Have you seen our gorgeous photos of Alexis and Corey having fun running wild through the toy sale?)

We always said that if we found out the sex it wouldn't change much but it has. It's stopped a lot of staying up all hours of the night wondering. It does also seem easier for Corey and I to bond with a "him" instead of an "it". We HAVE named him but we will keep it to ourselves until he's born. It wasn't really intentional I just can't get this name out of my head. I just hope nobody names their son what we've picked in the meantime. It's always a risk but we want to save some mystery for when he's born.

Unfortunately we don't have any ultrasound photos of baby Wormy because we got our scans done for free at the hospital. It feels weird not having any photos so I think we will have to invest in a 3D scan to get some photos..  I will get them to double check he's a boy there too, just in case they got it wrong the first time. The lady seemed pretty confident but I've heard stories of people getting it wrong! How weird it would be to be expecting a little man and have named him and painted up a door plaque etc and then deliver a girl!  I don't understand though how they could get it wrong though, its not rocket science is it.  

Anyway, another 15 weeks or so left of this pregnancy. We can hardly wait to meet you baby Wormy. Love you little man.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - I'm NOT sleepy


Linking up with my little drummer boys and faith hope and a whole lotta love.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Uncharted milestones

Here are some things that I think should be in baby books that aren't. I wish I'd kept a record of them with Alexis. Maybe I will with Baby Wormy but I probably won't. I have been so slack with Alexis' teething records and height chart let alone anything else. Wouldn't it be fun though to know when your baby first did things like this?
 
- first put playdough in hair
- first refused the breast
- first refused to go in the highchair
- first pushed another child over
- first said bad dad
- first said dumb mum
- first looked at you like you were on crack
- first cried when you returned from a date because she didn't want to leave her grandparents' house 
- first ran away from you to avoid a nappy change
- first tipped bath water all over you
- first said "Wiggles" and did the wiggles fingers
- first climbed into the fridge to get something specific
- first put favourite soft toy in clothes dryer
- first blew bubbles in the bath
- first tried to insist that she was driving
- first picked up mummy's mobile to call daddy
- first found a present you had intended to hide until Christmas
- first kissed you
- first patted you on the back
- first pulled all the dvds out of the dvd tower
- first pulled all the cds out of the cd rack
- first shoved a foreign object in *insert location of choice such as nose, ear, eye, VCR.*
- first moved the windscreen wiper knob while playing in the car so when you put the keys back in the ignition to wind the windows back up the wipers came on scaring the life out of you

It's amazing how young bubs can be when they master things like this. Don't you think?

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Daddy's little fish

I love it when I am organised enough to go to swimming lessons with Corey and Alexis on a saturday morning. We initially started Alexis on swimming lessons to give her and Corey some bonding time while I ran around and did housework. When I became pregnant with Wormy I would use the time to have a nap. Sometimes though I'm feeling well or Corey is a little crook and requests I accompany him to dress Alexis while he gets changed afterwards. I love the opportunity to go and watch.



Alexis is truly happy in the water. She's a real water baby. She has no shortage of confidence and she adores the songs they sing and the actions they do. She seems to know the whole lesson off by heart. She practices being instructor with her soft toys and dollies at home.

I love her smile and giggle and big bright eyes she has in lessons. Most of all I feel privileged to intrude. It is invaluable daddy daughter time. Alexis is very lucky to have this special time with her daddy. When we contemplated stopping lessons for winter due to health and  finance reasons Corey openly said he wasnt ready to part with this special time either. I don't blame him one bit.

This morning is our first lesson in an earlier time slot. We changed it so it wouldn't take up the whole day. This morning Alexis decided to sleep in (does it count as a sleep in if we were up with her from 2-6am? Teething is a real pest) so we had a mad rush to het there in time. Nevertheless I think I like this class.

The class consists of three young men with three beautiful daughters. It's a lovely sight to see. These three young men are holding their babies, singing to them, cuddling them. It's an awesome thing to witness. There really is nothing cuter than a man with a baby. Mine of course, is the cutest.  The buff guy without a shirt isn't bad either, but Corey is my hotty, and holding our child makes him the cutest man on the planet. I'm not here to perve though, far from it. I'm only here to help.

Best of all none of the babies were crying they were just loving the water and loving the time with their daddies. I'm so glad we can afford this special opportunity for Alexis and Corey. She isn't really learning how to swim. She refuses to kick her legs. She can blow bubbles though and she holds her breath under water, so that's something. Really anything that encourages fathers and daughters to bond has to be worth the cost right? Corey's singing ability is improving too!   

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Friday, July 8, 2011

Thank God the holidays are over

I am perfectly aware that this blog post's title makes me sound like an evil witch. A grinch. A she-devil. A mean mean mean selfish lady. Yeah, well, I'll cop the flack. I'll probably even cop it from my parents, who are in a profession which back to school means back to work for them too. It's been fun to catch up a little more with my folks, but, with all my heart I cannot WAIT for school to go back. Is it Monday? Tuesday?

Now I know what you're thinking, I don't have school age children. Yes that's true. I don't have school age children and I'm not a student. I'm just a selfish stay at home mum who wants my normal schedule back. I want, quite frankly, to go to the shops and it not take an extra hour. I want to go to the bank without fear of school holiday antics. I want to be able to take my daughter to the park. And most importantly, I want to be able to nap.

I know that admitting this is like putting a sign on my head saying "child-hater" but it's not really the case. I love children... in small doses. Children are OK - if their parents make some sort of effort to control them. Good luck with that though. To be honest it's not that I want the children to disappear, most of all it's that I want the lady next door to go back to work. Let me explain.

The lady next door has been home all holidays. With the risk of being judgemental, she doesn't seem to give a brass razoo about her kids. She has had a different friend over every day. From about midday to about 10pm her and her friend sit on the back veranda (which happens to be right next to my bedroom window)and giggle and laugh and talk obnoxiously loudly while the children throw things at each other, run riot, and scream at the top of their lungs. The only time I've heard her adress the children at all is to swear at one of them for touching something poisonous and yell at him to "wash your f..... hands". Charming. Just what I like to hear when I'm trying to drift off to sleep.

The spare room is at the other end of the house and I've tried it a few times, but it is on the street where the tribe the neighbourhood children gather. It's great to hear children happily together, but if they run their bikes into my car or kick a football into my garage door one more time I might have to put my cranky pants on and go see their parents. That's if I could work out who belongs to who. It seems like every kid from the suburb has decided to assemble at the house directly across from us. Then again maybe it's just their family. It is a pretty big family with a zillion littlies running around all the time let alone when the bigger kids aren't in school.

I know I'm horrible. I'm selfish. I'm mean. Maybe it's the angst from hearing the pre-teens nextdoor screaming at the top of their lungs for the last half hour.

At least for the last two weeks I've been more productive on the housework front. We've eaten well, most of the time, and we've rarely run out of clothes. Still, when Alexis is teething and sick so not sleeping well at night and baby Wormy kicks me with gusto at random intervals waking me up, I do wish I could have a gentle nap for half an hour or so once a day. It wouldn't really hurt now would it?

Any stay at home mums game enough to empathise with me on this one?

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Blog posts never written - a sort of "to do" list

Oh my gosh where to start. There are so many things I want to blog about but I'm not sure where the best place to start is. Time has been incredibly limited lately and so all these little posts I mentally wrote have never been jotted down or typed up. Do you mentally write your blog posts? By this I mean I'll be driving or eating or showering or cooking or doing the dishes or whatever and an idea for a post will come into my head and I'll start "writing" it out in my head. I allow it to develop and progress and run with it for a little while to see how it goes. Most of the time I continue what I'm doing, think whether it will work as a post or not, and try to remember to get around to it later. This seems to work for me. Some people sit at the computer at a designated time saying "this is blog time" but that is not my style. Sometimes I drop what I'm doing and "must blog about this NOW", such as when Alexis trampled chocolate cake throughout the bedroom and when I'm tired and cranky and want more sleep but Alexis won't go to her father and leave me in peace. Most of the time though I realise that it's not appropriate to drop everything and blog then and there, and thus a lot of posts never get officially written.

I used to have the best memory. I used to be able to remember every little detail days, weeks, months, even years after the event. These days I'm lucky to remember to take my pregnancy multi-vitamin or to always make sure there's enough milk in the fridge for Alexis to have a bottle or to buy a birthday card in time to send down to our family in NSW, or to take the sharp knives off the kitchen table after meals... Slight break while I go take my vitamin. Now where was I?

Then there's the posts that don't get written because the timing isn't right. Corey and I have a little announcement to make regarding baby Wormy. In my post to peek or not to peek I rambled on about how Corey and I were unsure if we wanted to find out the sex of the baby or not. As explained in the post, we had always said we would find out this time around but weren't sure if we wanted to relive the excitement of the surprise we had when Alexis was born. This post attracted a lot of interesting comments. In the end, we didn't find out... at our first morphology scan. Wormy got bored part way through the first scan and decided not to let the sonographers see his/her pretty face and wouldn't stay still long enough to let them check his/her heart. So we had to go back a week later. We were not impressed at having to go in again, considering I prepared for an hour, made Corey be late to work again because Alexis was being impossible, and waited (with a screaming toddler) for at least half an hour (while busting to go to the toilet. To then be told to empty my bladder once I got in there because the bladder was pushing the baby into an akward position. So that's why I felt like I was going to explode?)for a five minute scan. We decided that while we were there we were going to find out the sex. So we did.

I had a whole post mentally prepared about it. I didn't write it because we wanted to tell our families in person first. With a family member in hospital and another overseas it took a while to get the word out. By then it seemed to late to just go "oh by the way, it's a...". So I had a big post lined up, in my head of course, I never wrote it. Then it was leading up to my niece's birthday and we didn't want to detract from that, so we didn't. Then a cousin had a baby. Then it was my mumma's birthday. Basically we're at the stage now where everyone thinks we don't know so it's like, "um, do we announce it now?" Anyway, the announcement deserves a post of its own, so I'll just tease you for now. "I know something you don't know!" If you would like to have a guess of baby's sex feel free to do so in a comment.

Baby Wormy's big announcement is only one post of many that were never written. Here's some examples of posts I would love to have written. Who knows, maybe this can be my bloggy to-do list and I'll come back here and add the links when each post is done.

- 'Doll abuse'. What I spent the night of April 29 doing (while most were watching the royal wedding) will have your stomach churning

- she has to sleep eventually right?

- how do I balance a baby belly, a toddler, and a sick husband?

- WE PEEKED!.. It's a ....

- online shopping: a convenient pain in the backside

- party in the jungle: Happy Birthday "Bubba Bella"

- R is for routine, and rack off

- Size 2 gender differences even more noticeable

- Ok so maybe getting her to bed earlier is a great idea... but how to get her to stay asleep?

- So that's what 8 hours sleep feels like

- So that's how stay at home mums get bored, THEIR kids SLEEP!

- Oh goody, another tooth, oh, 5 teeth coming at once? Why not!

and recently...

- Why won't she stop coughing?

- What the heck is that rash?

- Four doctors appointments in three days

- What the heck am I doing wrong?

and

- come on it was only a few late nights, go back to your "routine" now.

I wonder if these posts will ever be written. Any titles take your fancy more than others? If you make a request I'll try to fill in the gaps. :) Eventually...

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Toy sale fun






Playing Wordless Wednesday along with Faith, Hope and a Whole Lotta Love and My Little Drummer Boys

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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Slow cooker - third attempt

My third attempt at using the slow cooker occurred on Wednesday. I felt like a bit of a cheater that day, with the groceries being delivered, the slow-cooker taking care of dinner, the washing machine and dryer doing the laundry and the dishwasher doing the dishes.

Even with all these modern conveniences, day to day life as a struggling housewife is tiresome and it's still difficult to get everything done. What did the good old housewives of the past do without these modern gizmos? That's probably why they had lots of children, so they could delegate chores to them. That and they didn't have all the fancy distractions we have.

Anyway, my third attempt at slow cooking was much more successful than the first and second attempts. I made "chicken, bacon and potato" (original name, not). I followed the packet recipe and it wasn't until it was in the pot I realised there were no vegetables (potato doesn't count from a nutrition point of view). So its not the healthiest. Also it is a very plain looking dish. One colour really, it's quite ugly. It is, however, very very yummy.

It was still a lot of effort. I don't really see it being much less effort than cooking on the stove. I still defrosted and cut the chicken. I still browned (probably even cooked) the chicken and bacon. I know you technically don't need to but I am probably always going to, especially while pregnant. I still had to wash and peel the potatoes and slice them. Instead of having all this done by 6pm it had to be done by 10am. So I rushed around a lot. "Slow" cooking yes but not slow preparation. The potatoes went in raw, but how hard is it to steam or boil some potatoes? 

That said though, at least it was edible this time. It is convenient in that it makes large volumes (6-8 servings). For left overs I stirred some frozen veg through, and that worked a treat. I didn't take a photo of it, because I was too busy eating it, but just imagine the other picture but with little bits of green, orange and yellow (a bag of "just add radiation" peas, beans, carrot and corn, does it get any better than that?

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