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Saturday, December 31, 2011

A happy, busy, exciting, tiresome Christmas

Last Monday I linked up a post: all I want for Christmas is to be happy. I'm pleased to say that the day did go well, mostly. Yay! Stay tuned for some pics and things but for now I'll just do my Me and YOU write up.

When I wrote that post I didn't mean it as in I wanted everything to go perfectly, I just wanted to not get upset and stressed out about any stupid little things and let it ruin the day. It was for the benefit of my mum more than anyone else because I know that's all she would want from me. We bought my parents gifts, rather nice ones, but they would mean nothing if I couldn't pull my act together for the day. On Christmas day I wanted to work extra special hard to be joyful and nice regardless of the circumstances I found myself in.

It's sad that I need to make goals like that but at least I'm honest. I am certainly not the only one who is sometimes guilty of trying so hard to have something go so perfectly that I end up being disappointed or am too busy in the details to enjoy myself. For Christmas day I just wanted to allow myself to relax. I struggle to find the line between having fun and being lazy/irresponsible. As a parent of young children it can be a rather narrow line at times. I am not sure when I should step in to correct Alexis and when I should allow her the freedom to experiment and learn. I usually say "as long as she is not hurting herself or anyone else" but even that can be blurry at times. If I allow her to eat a lot of sugar knowing it will make her tired, grumpy, clumsy and irritable when it wears off, am I doing her any favours? Not really, but if I don't allow her to eat that extra lolly is it really worth all the tears?

Being aware of all this Corey and I sat down a few days before Christmas and came up with a game plan. For Christmas day we would ease up the reigns. On Christmas day (and Christmas day alone) Alexis could eat whatever she wanted, drink whatever she wanted (all she knows is milk, water and juice at this stage) and didn't need to have a nap. She didn't need to eat a proper lunch but she need to be calm while the adults were eating. She could open up her new toys and if something got lost well something got lost. I certainly didn't want a "no it has to stay in the box until we get home" fight. She would be expected to share anything she did open with Isabella for the day, so if she didn't want to share it she had to keep it safe. We discussed all this with Alexis and we weren't sure how much she understood but we felt like we did the right thing talking about it.

You know what? For the most part I am incredibly proud of how well she did. I'm really proud of William too and also of Isabella although obviously I can't take credit for her behaviour. The three kids did very very well and had a ball. They did eat some decent things (grapes are very healthy, right?) and they played very well together almost all the time. Of course there were a few moments of tizzies over whose turn it was to play with the big red car toy and there were a few tears over nappy changes and there were a few times Alexis bashed her head on the new swing set but all in all it was an awesome day.

We did have to separate the girls by late afternoon though. An abundance of sugar, an overload of excitement and an absence of sleep hit both girls hard. Had any of us adults had more energy instead of coming down off our sugar highs and paying for lack of sleep the nights leading up to Christmas it might have been easier! It was an awkward time when we were trying to get Isabella to nap but I was wanting to keep Alexis up because if she slept then (4pm) she'd be up all night. I took Alexis out to the swings to get her out of the way and have some precious one on one time but Isabella wasn't going to have a sleep (I can't blame her) and came out too. Unfortunately the girls were just so excited yet groggy by that stage that it was an accident waiting to happen so I could not let that one slide. Alexis had a disgustingly dirty nappy anyway so I took her inside to change her. You would have thought I was trying to murder her she screamed so loud it physically hurt my ears.

I am grateful that she is young enough that she can be distracted with a quick easy dinner and bottle. She had calmed down but when she realised it was time to come home she was not impressed! She was asleep by the top of the street and transfered into her bed when we got home. Thankfully. Of course she woke up at 2am and I had to coax her back to sleep (in the big bed with me it was just easier) every half hour until 7. It didn't really bother me because I'd been awake since midnight wanting to get her presents out of the car and look through them all. Like mother like daughter hey?

Unfortunately we're still having sleep battles with her now. We had just got her sleeping properly and now we're back at square one. I am well and truly over it. She wouldn't go to bed until 11pm tonight. That's a story for another day though, for now, I must get some sleep before William wakes up. If only new years eve was tonight, I have made it til midnight! (Well I had a nap, from 7pm - 9pm, long story. Thanks Corey.) I just had to post this because it's already five days late.

This is being linked up to my "Me and YOU: Let's pretend it's Monday" post. I'm the only one who linked up this week but that's OK. I'm glad my readers have been busy having a wonderful Christmas time with family and friends. I thought I'd at least better do it though.

Stay tuned for the next Me and YOU Monday coming up on Monday 2nd January. If you have a new years resolution post, why not get ready to link that up?

How was your Christmas day?

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Me and YOU - Just pretend it's Monday

Hey everyone, I'm posting this early because I don't want to be blogging Christmas night. Obviously I can't tell you how last week's goal went until after Christmas day, so I will link up my post when I get around to writing it. I thought I'd put this up early in case anyone wants to get there's over and done with and link early. Of course I'm not expecting it, but if you want to the choice is yours.

I've had a great week leading up to Christmas. My parents took Alexis for a play date with her cousin on Wednesday morning and kept her until midday Thursday. Yes I realise those two sentences in succession make me seem mean, but for those who have actually HAD a 22 month old I'm sure you can understand where I'm coming from. It gave me some valuable one-on-one time with William, gave me a chance to rest a bit, and allowed me to finalise the Christmas shopping without mummy's little whinger helper. On Wednesday night and Thursday morning Corey and I got stuck in and cleaned the house ready for our visitor today and so we don't have to worry about it over the weekend. Yay! I managed to wrap a few Christmas presents Thursday morning and it gave William and I a chance to miss Alexis so we were in for a nice long cuddle when she got home.

Of course within five hours of Alexis being home the house was covered in banana, arrowroot biscuit, texta, grass and nappy. Nappy? Her nappy split on the outside and all the little beads fell out. Yes it was a wet nappy and I was just about to change her. By the time I realised where the white powdery stuff was coming from she had spread it quite a distance. I didn't take a photo because I was too busy keeping Alexis out of it and cleaning up. So needless to say the floors have been swept, vacuumed and mopped yet again. This morning we had a mild nappy malfunction that left poop on the couch, but all has been cleaned, yet again. Never a dull moment!

Anyway I'm off for a while now but I will let you know how Christmas day goes when I return.

Wishing you a very joyous and peaceful Christmas. If anyone wants to know more about baby Jesus and who he was and who he became and who he is today don't hesitate to ask.

This linky will be open til 11pm New Year's Eve. I was aiming for the Sunday night but miscalculated. Honestly though I don't mind if you want to skip this week just have yourself a merry little Christmas.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hamilton Sun Review

This post is part of Product Talk by Nuffnang which means I received the product free of charge to review but was not paid and my opinions are honest.

I must admit that I only asked to review these products (3 different types of "Hamilton Sun" sunscreen) because my family was going to the beach and I wanted to score some free sunscreen to try while we were there. I only use sunscreen if I absolutely have to. I know cancer experts say we should use it everyday but I don't because I just don't like sunscreen. I hate the feel of it, I hate the smell of it, I hate the idea of soaking extra chemicals into my skin. My skin is sensitive(ish). I don't come up in rashes but I hate the feeling of things on my skin. I'm strange yes, but I don't like make-up, I don't like perfume and I don't like fancy soaps. I have no routine facial care. I don't use soap on my face but I also don't cleanse or moisturise it or use concealer and I only wear make-up at weddings. I am fortunate enough to not need to I guess. So there's no surprise I'm not a sunscreen fan. I'll use it on my daughter (she has her daddy's very fair skin) but it's not for me.

My idea of sun smart is just not being in the sun in the heat of the day and when I am in the sun wearing a shirt with sleeves, a hat, sunnies, and only being in the sun for the least amount of time possible. Does that make me a bad Aussie? It's a little more complicated than that. You see I love being in the sun, I love the warmth of it, I love the feel of it but I hate sunscreen and I hate being burned. I am also aware that skin cancer is horrible and rampant and something to be avoided at all costs. More than that I have two little people dependent on me, one who is too young to use sunscreen for another 4 months, and the other who is next to impossible to pin down long enough to put sunscreen on. So we stay indoors in the heat of the day and stick to shady areas whenever possible. When I go to the beach though, (or an exhibition or a party at a park etc) I like sunscreen, because nothing ruins a holiday like sunburn. I have only been badly sunburned once, at schoolies. Like many of my schoolies week experiences, bad sunburn is something I never want to experience again.

Unfortunately, the three bottles of Hamilton Sun I was sent to review didn't arrive until a few days after we returned home from our holiday at the beach so I can't comment on its performance. While we were at the beach Corey, Alexis and I scabbed sunscreen (I'm not sure what brand it was) off my parents and we dressed William in long sleeves, a hat and awkwardly sheltered him in our own shadows. We still didn't go out in the heat of the day. We still managed to get a little pink but not badly burned. It wasn't Hamilton sunscreen we were using, but I am now aware from researching further into Hamilton Sun and sunscreen in general that we weren't using sunscreen correctly and that may have been why we were burned. Apparently sunscreen should be applied half an hour before going out into the sun and reapplied every two hours, even if it says 4 hours water resistant, and we didn't use enough.

I was disappointed I wasn't able to review these products at the beach. All I can really say is my opinion on what they felt like on my skin and give you a little background information. I did take them to a family Christmas lunch on Saturday. I put the toddler one on my daughter, got distracted chasing after her, fed the baby, and unfortunately left the sunscreen there. At least I got to use it once first and hopefully somebody found it and I'll get it back. The other two (family and sensitive) I tried on my arms and face and Corey's arms. I did one on each side. Here are my opinions:

All three products

  • Are broad spectrum (meaning they block both UVB and UVA)
    • It was once thought that only UVB caused skin cancer but now it is becoming apparent that UVA can cause it too. Whatever sunscreen you chose make sure it is broad spectrum. Some sunscreens only protect against UVB and can get away with it because it is what causes sunburn. 
  • Provide up to 4 hours water resistance
  • Are SPF 30+

The family sunscreen 

  • I love the convenience factor of one sunscreen for the entire family (excluding William as he is too young) 
  • It is pitched as effective yet gentle enough for everyday use
  • It's the most economical of the three 
  • It has the most active ingredients (probably provides the most comprehensive protection) 
  • It is a little runny but it soaks in quickly and doesn't leave the characteristic "white mark" of sunscreen
  • Unfortunately I don't wearing like it. I really hoped I would.
    • I don't like the fragrance. Although it is a nice alternative to the really potent sunscreen smell of old I don't like the smell of it on me. It's kind of a citrus smell? It's not a bad smell, it's just not for my personal taste (or lack thereof).
    •  Within moments of putting it on I felt itchy, even on my arms and especially on my face (I do have relatively sensitive skin so it's not overly surprising I guess. Also I was really hot and sweaty so it might have reacted with my sweat.)
    • It felt heavy on my arm and as Corey pointed out, it doesn't breathe well. 
  • Within about an hour of putting it on I left Corey with both bubs while I had a shower to stop the itching. I was in the shower for ages. It stopped itching but I couldn't get the sunscreen off. I scrubbed, I soaked, I soaped, but it stayed on. This was a little annoying but guess what, after my shower it doesn't itch anymore and I know that it must be a quality product because it really is water resistant! 
  • I can't compare this to other sunscreens because I used to put sunscreen on just before jumping into the water (which is a no-no) so I never gave them a chance to be itchy or not.
  •  I know that if I was going to be in the sun for hours and hours I would definitely consider using this (despite the things I whinged about) because it absorbs quickly (easy to reapply) and it stays on. 

The toddler one

  • has the least possible amount of active ingredients, which is important for repeated use on delicate skin, whilst still providing both physical barriers to UV and chemical absorption of UV
  • The active ingredients are ones said to be safest for young children
  • It is a little thick and difficult to rub in on a wiggly toddler but at least you know you are using enough. There's really no point in applying any sunscreen if you aren't going to use enough, so, if you're going to the trouble of putting sunscreen on your toddler (which you should) you want to do it right!
  • Is fragrance-free and still smells fairly decent 
  • Has a cute pink lid, which Alexis likes

The sensitive skin sunscreen

  • is by far my favourite in terms of feel.
  • It is not greasy nor gluggy nor is it runny.
  • "It breathes" says Corey. I agree. It allows your skin to breathe freely and once it soaks in (which can take a while) you don't really remember you're wearing it. It doesn't clog your pores. 
  • It is fragrance-free and smells great. 
  • It doesn't itch or irritate my skin. 
  • It has few preservatives. 
  • Unfortunately it is only a physical barrier as it doesn't contain active ingredients that chemically absorb UV radiation 
    • the lack of chemical absorbers is what makes it less allergenic (safe for sensitive skin)
    • it also makes it potentially less effective in protecting skin against sun damage
  • If you normally can't tolerate sunscreen then it is definitely worth a try. 
  • I would consider wearing this more regularly than the family one (for example to the park, to playgroup, on long car trips) as it's more pleasant to wear but if I really wanted high performance sunscreen such as at the beach or a water park I would give the family one another chance

Alexis is always excited to receive new products in the mail. She found it difficult to hold all three bottles at once. It was pretty cute. I think she favours the toddler one, because it's pink of course. 

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Monday, December 19, 2011

All I want for Christmas is to be happy

This is my post to submit to The Mother Experiment: Me and YOU Monday: Dec 19-25

Last week I set myself a goal of not stressing. I knew that not stressing entirely was too hard so I specified not stressing when things don't go as I planned. I knew it was going to be tough. I knew I would have plenty of opportunity to practice because as a mum things very rarely turn out as I had planned.

I often wonder why I even bother planning anything at all. There are days when I can't even go to the toilet without being interupted. If I want to do something after the kids are asleep they will stay up late. If I want to make myself a sandwich and eat it too, forget it. If I want to feed William before we leave he won't be interested but if I plan to get somewhere early he will need a feed. If I time a car trip just right there'll be traffic, roadworks, and slow cars in my way. Yet if I want a slow leisurely drive to let the kids sleep on the way there'll be smooth sailing except for the noisy idiot up tailgating. Sometimes I cannot win.

I still plan because I have to. When I don't plan chaos reigns, things are forgotten and I try to rush out the door realising there's no clean socks or bottles or dummies and failing to realise that the nappy bag is out of wipes.

Plans change beyond my control all the time. Rain happens. Accidents happen. Sickness happens. People decide they don't feel like doing what we had organised. People invite extra people. People don't turn up. Alexis changes her sleep requirements. Nappies need changing.

I need to be organised and have goals for what I want done but I need to be ok to let go when plans change. I cannot justify throwing my hands in the air and dropping the bundle when something doesn't go the way I wanted it to. Yet sometimes I do. It's juvenile and stupid and irritating but sometimes I can not help it.

This week I wanted to not spaz out when my plans changed. I tried hard not to. I was aware of it. Sometimes I did ok. We were at the beach last weekend and we planned not to leave til Tuesday night but as Alexis was sunburned and Corey was feeling sick and I was tired and William's skin was drying out we decided to drive home during the heat of the day instead of trying to contain the kids in the unit. I was ok with the change and the kids slept the whole trip home. Of course when we got home the kids were wide awake and we were wiped out. Corey took Alexis to buy some supplies and fetch dinner while I napped, it was great.

Some plans I wasn't so keen to let go. I had planned to be fully unpacked by Friday so we could relax this weekend. The kids haven't adjusted very well after our mini holiday, so I've had my hands full with them so I'm still not fully unpacked and actually the house is trashed more than ever before. It hurts me and I feel like I failed but it isn't the end of the world. I can cut myself a bit of slack because things have been so full on.

We had a Christmas party Wednesday morning and two Christmas parties on Saturday. Yes, two! I was freaking out about juggling them both on Saturday but doing ok until I realised at one party there would be more people than I had thought, including someone who bullied me in highschool. It threw me.

Highschool was a long time ago and I forgave this person years ago so I'm not sure why it bothered me at all, I figured it was probably because I was looking forward to a quiet, relaxed, small gathering but instead then anticipated total awkwardness. For small groups I will feed bub then and there but with bigger groups I'm worried about making people uncomfortable. Plus I've just realised I wasn't comfortable with the idea of 'exposing myself' (flabby tummy and saggy boobs) to the one who'd helped destroy my confidence as a teenager. Even though this person and I are fine now I guess some wounds go deeper than I realised. Anyway, I didn't want to be left out because I had to go away to feed, so I was upset. We went, it turned out ok, in fact we even had a lot of fun at times. Although I hated sitting inside feeding the baby while hearing everyone else outside laughing and having dessert, at least I was able to watch Alexis open her presents and eat the meal with everyone first.

The kids did really well at both parties even though we were out til way past their bedtime but Sunday morning they both woke up early (and throughout the night as well) even though they had been up very late so they were grizzly clingy little bubs. I myself had a killer headache. So our plans for Sunday kinda flew out the window.

Initially I had hoped to either go to church or clean the house. I really wanted to do both but thought I was being flexible when I thought I'd skip church to fix the house up a bit while Corey got some play time with the kids. But I needed a sleep. Corey took Alexis shopping. I thought he was going to the servo to buy milk, he was going to the shopping center to try to find a Christmas present for me (great communication there hey). The plan was to feed William, pop him down for a nap and have a nap myself. But William had a tummy ache and needed to be held. The whole entire time until church usually finishes. If we had been there I would have enjoyed nice long William cuddles while listening to the sermon instead of sitting at home with my phone flat and nextdoor bashing some metal together. I was desperately waiting for Corey to come home and he was deliberately keeping Alexis away so I could sleep.

So I got disappointed that I had missed church for nothing. My little world caved in. By the time they got home I was in a bit of a state. Apart from feeling like I "should" go to church and feeling guilty for saying it was all too hard to go, I actually do *shock* enjoy going to our church. I hate missing out on things and I hate being left behind. I hate having to choose which things to miss out on. It is part of being a parent, learning to put your kids needs ahead of your own, but it does not come easily. I think this is my main issue.

So I've discovered I desperately cling to plans because I try to maintain some level of control over my own life. I try to plan everything out so that I don't miss out on too much, so I can avoid the heartache and feeling lonely and overlooked and hard done by. I try to have everything planned out because otherwise I would never leave the house.

Yes I don't like going out because it's so much effort. So much effort to get ready, so much effort to get there, so much effort to unpack from afterwards, and while I'm there I'm not enjoying myself because I'm preoccupied. I'm preoccupied making sure Alexis doesn't hurt herself or break anything, I'm copping tanties from her for trying to keep her safe or change her nappy, I'm preoccupied either feeding or worrying about feeding, I'm preoccupied trying to stop the kids getting sunburned, stung, pricked on a spikey plant, inhaling smoke... I'm worried about what I can eat without it upsetting William through my milk (I try to avoid sausages, chocolate, onion, egg, too much dairy and too much sugar... at this time of year it's really hard... After Christmas I'm going to examine my diet carefully to find out exactly what he's allergic to but for now I have enough to worry about). I'm preoccupied trying to remember not to ramble on about me and the kids because nobody cares...

We do go out, because humans need social contact, the kids need a change of scenery, somethings you can't get out of, and because I need time out from being at home. At home I am painfully aware of how much work I should be doing. When we are out at least I'm not worried about dishes and washing. Of course when I go out for the sole purpose of avoiding housework it always is there to hit me in the face when I get home...

I'm quite worked up lately. It's hard to relax. I'm failing at everything housework-related, I haven't wrapped presents or posted the ones I needed to post weeks ago. William has had a tummy ache because I ate a few chocolate almonds on the last few weekends and now because I'm on antibiotics to clear a little bit of bacteria in my throat although I don't need them I need to know I'm well enough to see a certain someone who can't get sick (it's complicated). He hasn't been sleeping well, Alexis has been waking at least once a night and being full on all day... I'm exhausted. Yet when the kids finally do sleep I can't switch my brain off.

To top it all off I have a review due on Wednesday, and I'm mad at myself for accepting it when I didn't have time to do what I had to do around the house. I'm mad at myself for being mad at myself because it isn't the time to be mopey and feeling inadequate. It's nearly Christmas, I'm supposed to be organised, energetic and efficient, whilst still happy, fun, joyful. Without caffeine (coffee REALLY upsets William, I know that for sure). Who decided this!!?? How can I be all these things while being woken three or four times a night?


I think this time of year has too much pressure. So my goal is to aim lower. To refuse to let the epic to do list rattle me. To feed in public if I need to and whoever is offended by it can get stuffed. To realise when I'm getting overwhelmed and allow myself to calm down.

My biggest priority is to enjoy Christmas day without angst. I want my kids to have a fun time and not to learn to dread special occasions due to mummy going psycho.

I already know that Christmas day is at my parents house and that is awesome because I already know it's the one place I can truly relax. Almost. Their house is baby-proofed, as much as it could possibly be. It is set up so that wherever they are there is somewhere for me to sit comfortably and feed while still being part of what's happening. I know that mum will have treats for me to eat that aren't chocolate. I know that mum will have plenty of food. I know that dad will have the pool clean enough for William to be able to swim in and the grass nice for Alexis to play on. They are the most organised, thoughtful people I know.

I know that mum and dad and Amanda and Jason and Corey and I can manage three kids. So when my brain tries to tell me I'll have to worry about the Christmas tree and trying to stop Alexis annoying Isabella and trying to stop Alexis pushing (pulling really) the cats too far, I'm going to tell it to shut up. Yeah I will have to tackle a bit of stuff like this but I won't be doing it alone.

All that my mum wants for Christmas is for everyone to be happy. That's all she asks for every single year. Now I'm a mum I get it. I want my family to be happy, because that makes me happy. That's all a mother ever truly wants for Christmas, isn't it? So I'm going to do my part to make it happen, for her.

If you can pray like you've never prayed before for me to somehow get enough sleep on Christmas Eve then that'd be tops! ;-) That's unlikely to happen due to Corey's nemesis, three little words "some assembly required". So hopefully I can be happy even if I am fighting the eyelids.

So my goal is, no matter what happens throughout the week, to put it all behind me on Christmas day and have one day of being relaxed and happy.

It's not that hard. Really. Is it?

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Me and YOU Monday: Dec 19-25

Hi, thanks for stopping by.

Do you know that you can be the YOU in me and YOU Monday? You don't have to be a mum. You don't even have to have a blog, you can join in on Facebook or leave a comment. All you have to do is put yourself out there and say, "I have a problem with" *insert issue here* and I want to change.

On Everybody Loves Raymond the other night Ray didn't like his cousin because he was annoying. His family pointed out that his cousin was a lot like him. Throughout the episode Ray came to the painful realisation that the things his cousin did to annoy everyone were the same bad habits as Ray had. Instead of addressing his own behaviour he tried to change his cousin. He wanted to stay in denial. How often do we do the same thing.

I know that it's Christmas on Sunday, so I'm not wanting you to go crazy with goal after goal after goal, but if you want to join in this week then please feel free. It's a crazy time of year so please don't overload yourself with unrealistic expectations. I won't be. Check out my separate post for my goal for this week.

Christmas. It's exhausting.
Normally I say you have to come back next Monday to tell us how you went but because next Monday is boxing day that would be unreasonable. So next week the linky will be open all week for anyone who wants to join but if you know you will be too busy you can still link up this week.

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas. I mean that in a legitimate "peace and joy" Merry rather than a "put a fake smile on to hide the fact you're exhausted from running around like a headless chicken since November and your pants don't fit from too many candy canes". Actually I don't like candy canes. I never have. I don't have the patience for it myself. I'm more of a chocolate sultana/chocolate almond/chocolate peanut lover. William reacts very badly to my milk when I eat chocolate, so I have to decide whether to not eat any, put him on formula for the day, or let him have a tummy ache and vomit. It's a tough decision!

What's your guilty Christmas pleasure?

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Merry Christmas to you William

Dearest William

Welcome to your first Christmas season! Your daddy and I are very excited about sharing Christmas with you and Alexis. This will be our best Christmas so far because you are in it.

You are very special to daddy, Alexis and I. We all love you very very much. You are fun to be around even at this early age. You love swimming, baths, showers, cuddles, soft toys, your pooh bear mobile, doing poopies, and having booby feeds.   

You are only two months old so you probably don't know that it's a special time of year. People don't normally have trees inside the house and you don't normally see flashy lights on roofs and windows. You have had so many presents since you were born but after Christmas time the presents will dry up too. You will get lots of new toys to last from then until your birthday.    
Although you are probably too little to understand what is happening we hope that you have fun anyway.

We celebrate Christmas because Jesus (God's son) came to earth as a baby. Although Christmas isn't on the same date Jesus was born we celebrate it as his birthday. He is very special because he never did anything wrong! Many years later he died so that God wouldn't have to punish us for all the bad things we do. As long as we believe in Jesus and ask him to save us and try to follow him we get to go to heaven. We will explain all this to you when you are older but for now just know that God loves you and has a plan for your life.

We all love you. We love your cheeky smile, chubby cheeks and pudgey tummy. We love your giggles. We even love you when you burp, fart, poop, pee, and vomit. I even love you when you decide you want to feed all day long but it does make things a little tricky. Most of the time when you're 'difficult' it's my fault for eating something naughty that upsets you through my milk.

Little man I'm going to have to warn you that you are likely to have a bit of a tummy ache on boxing day because as much as mummy loves you it just isn't Christmas without chocolate almonds. I'll try hard to not eat too many.

Merry Christmas darling,
Love mummy

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Merry Christmas to you Alexis

Dearest Alexis.

Merry Christmas sweetheart. Mummy loves you so very much. I know you love me very much too. I hope you have the best Christmas and that I get to spend a lot of time playing with you as you try out all your new toys. I am looking forward to daddy being on holidays so he can watch William so I can spend more one-on-one time with you. 

I know you have had a bit of trouble adjusting to having to share mummy with baby William. Can I tell you a secret? Mummy finds it hard too! I love you both so very much and it hurts me when I sometimes have to let one of you cry while I calm the other one. I try to make it even but baby William is still so little and young. It upsets me that I can't always pay you as much attention as you would like. I'm sorry little darling that's just the way it has to be for a little while longer. It would help mummy very much if you would let him sleep instead of poking/prodding/screaming until you wake him up. I know you don't like the gate being up outside his room but I had to stop you climbing into the cot because it's too dangerous.

Your brother loves you very much and I know you love him very much but darling he is not a toy. Sometimes I forget how young you are. You aren't even 22 months old yet. I am trying to remember not to put more responsibility on you than you can handle. I think sometimes I expect too much. That is wrong of me, please forgive me.

I am trying hard to include you all the time and you are trying very hard to be mummy's little helper. You sometimes bring mummy nappies and wipes for William. You love to bring William a dummy, which is very cute but I wish you wouldn't because you try to shove it in his mouth even when he doesn't want it. You are just trying to help because you love your little brother so much.

You are always trying to cuddle William. You pat his head and kiss him. You are easily excited and get upset when mummy says not to sit on/lie on/squash/pull him. You try to pick him up but I say no. You are desperate for him to grow up and play with you like Isabella does. In some ways you are already working out that William can be fun.  I absolutely adore when you play peekaboo with William and he enjoys it too.  You turn the music on his rocker on for him, shake his toys to make them rattle for him and bring him new toys to play with.

Sometimes you are able to tear yourself away from William but it has to be something really exciting like raiding the fridge, watching the Wot-Wots, going to swimming lessons or playing outside. You go off to Sunday school at church even though you are technically too little. The big kids and leaders enjoy you being there. One week Sunday school wasn't meant to be on but you wanted to play so you grabbed Sara (a leader) and dragged her to the door. It was very funny. The whole church laughed and all the kids went down to the playground after you.

You have a very strong will, darling Alexis, but you are also kind, compassionate, loving and affectionate. You are funny. So very very funny. You love to make people laugh. People love to hear you laugh. Your giggle is so very very cute and your smile lights up the room. When you are happy you make it known and when you are sad you make it well known too. You get frustrated frequently at the moment. It is a tricky stage of life. Don't try to grow up too fast baby girl.   

You are desperate to do things like mummy and daddy. You don't like going in the pram. You don't like having to sit in a special carseat but it's the law until you're 7 so you'll have to get used to it. Your two toddler couches are neglected because you insist on sitting on the big couch. You think it's hilarious to squeeze in behind daddy and kick him off. You are interested in deoderant, air freshner, laundry powder, fabric softener, razors, conditioner, skin lotions and things like that. Baby don't get mad at me for not letting you play with things like that, they are too dangerous and it's my job to keep you safe. 

It is a major event to force you into your highchair so I often let you sit at the table. You are normally pretty careful and don't fall off the chair but you do love to hop down with no notice, spreading peanut butter and yoghurt all over the house.  You hate using sippy cups. You find plastic cuttlery offensive. You are always trying to steal adult plates and glasses. You don't like getting your face and hands wiped but you love washing your hands in the sink. Actually you love washing your hands in your cup. Or my cup. Hmmm. 

You are bored with nappies but mummy is waiting until daddy is on holidays to attempt toilet training. I'm waiting because you deserve full attention when learning to use the toilet. The few times I've put you on the toilet William has decided he needs me urgently and it's very difficult to pry you away from the toilet paper. You won't use a potty. I'm also not looking forward to sleepless nights, false alarms, accidents and standing there for half an hour while you mess around. I also worry about germs on your hands because your hands go in your mouth, your eyes, William's mouth and eyes, the fridge, my mouth..  I'm not ready for this! I'm not convinced you are ready but you hate nappies so much it's worth a try.

You are learning new things all the time. You are learning new words. When we are trying to change your nappy you shout "hey" in a very grown up, "hey, leave me alone please this is totally not called for" tone. Do you remember screaming "help! Help!" in the middle of the shops because I tried to carry you away from the eftpos machine? I dread going shopping because of those and the silly ABC ride. Speaking of ABC, you used to say A B C like at the start of your wiggles dvd. I haven't heard you do it in ages. You now go A D A D because of the time you said mummy was M A D.

You really are so clever. You are able to listen to mummy saying long sentences and understand me. You can obey simple instructions (when you want to). When you have had enough sleep (which is rare because you still fight sleep with all your might) and have had enough to eat you are so fun to play with because you have this curiosity about you. You can build block towers all by yourself now. I am very proud of you.

You love to pretend your teddies and dolls are building blocks or drawing or doing this and that, just like on playschool. You love playschool. You love all tv, you're a bit of an addict. When I turn the tv off and ask you to play with your toys it's because too much tv is bad for you. 


My darling I treasure the moments we have when we play together and while I sit there and watch you play. You have a brilliant mind and you grasp new concepts quickly so I understand why you would rather follow mummy around and copy me but it's important to have fun.  You will be all grown up all too soon so for now take the time to play. I do try to sit and play with you when I can but mummy has lots of housework to do so sometimes you need to amuse yourself.

Christmas day will be great because it'll be all about you and William and Isabella. Yes Christmas is all about Jesus but you know what I mean. There will be lots of adults to share the load so we will all have time to sit and play. I am so very much looking forward to Christmas. There is one particular present daddy bought you that we can hardly wait to see your reaction to.

You are going to be so excited. There will be so many lovely things to look at and play with. There will be so many tasty things to eat. Hopefully we can all go for a swim too! You are wonderfully confident in the water now you can even swim from one person to another.

It's going to be such a good day. I can't wait. I hope you don't insist on watching the wiggles the whole time. You love love love love love the wiggles. We recently took you to the Wiggles concert and it was fantastic, even if we did have to buy you a $20 balloon.

I enjoy watching you dance to the wiggles but not all the time. Hopefully at Christmas you will be too busy eating fruit salad and playing with boxes and wrapping paper like last year. Oh, and playing with toys.


Oh it's going to be so fun. Merry Christmas sweetheart.
Love from mummy. 

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Merry Christmas to you Isabella

I've decided to do a series of Christmas letters. This one is for my niece Isabella.

Dear Isabella

I am writing you this letter to tell you just how special you are to me and to wish you a very Merry Christmas. You are the very first person I will write a Christmas letter for this year!

I am very sorry I never posted about your birthday party (in June) even though I promised to. It was a very nice party and I loved the jingle theme. I started a post a few times but waited to ask your mummy and daddy for permission to put photos up and then your cousin Alexis was keeping me very busy and I was sick with baby Wormy (cousin William) in my tummy which made me very sleepy and forgetful. I really wanted to but after a while it seemed like it was too late. Please know that I'm sorry I let you down. Maybe this might make up for it a little bit.

Isabella darling you are my favourite niece. Yes, you are my only niece but that's besides the point.;-) You are growing into a very beautiful, adventurous and clever young lady. I can't believe you aren't even a year and a half old yet. When you fix your mind on something you don't stop trying until you succeed. At less than 18 months old you are walking, running, jumping, talking, eating well, doing wees and poos in the toilet, sleeping in a bed, swimming and, if your mummy doesn't mind me saying, capable of a mighty fine temper tanty! Your tanties don't last too long usually because your mummy and daddy have been teaching you to process your feelings and calm yourself down. At your age this is truly remarkable.

You are a little pocket rocket: small but dynamic. You never stop moving. You don't let a lack of height stop you getting things, you will climb just about anything. You seem to be fearless, which is mostly good but it makes us adults a little nervous at times.

I am a little concerned you won't like the presents we bought you. We chose them in July and at the time they were absolutely perfect for you. You have changed so much since then, I hope you don't find them boring. Actually they should be ok because you love to play. Anything is a toy because you have a good imagination. You also love to "read". You have a story book about a cat and you don't let me read it you insist on reading it to me. Every page is "cat!" You're very cute and persistent.

You are a social butterfly and the life of the party. You like to dance. You have a beautiful smile that you share with anybody but you have a special smile just for me. It's true, your mummy will back me up on this. It's like your normal smile but a little wider and twisted to the side a little bit. It's accompanied by a cheeky look in your eye. I need to give you a nice long cuddle every time I see you which sometimes makes your cousin Alexis a little jealous. 

You usually play very well with Alexis even though you two fight every now and then. The two of you have developed this game where Alexis chases you for cuddles and kisses and you run around squealing with delight. Then you say you've had enough but Alexis doesn't understand because she's so excited to see you. I'm looking forward to when you turn around and chase her back.

You are very interested in baby William but apart from a cuddle when he was first born and the occasional pat/poke you are content just to examine him from afar and say "bubba". You are very good at not getting jealous when mummy and daddy hold William or play with Alexis. You aren't quite as keen to share nanna and grandad. It's tricky because Alexis has decided that grandad is her favourite toy. Often grandad has both you and Alexis on his lap at once.

I'm very much looking forward to spending Christmas with you and your mummy and daddy and nanna and grandad and uncle Corey and Alexis and baby William. I know it will be busy and loud and a little bit crazy and oh so much fun.

Last Christmas Alexis was crawling and standing up to grab things and you were crawling along behind her. We stuck you both in a plastic tub and it kept the two of you happy for half an hour. You even had a turn pushing Alexis' toy pram but you needed a little help. You thought Christmas food was awesome. You thought the decorations were tasty too.

This year you two will be chasing eachother down the hallway and squabbling over presents and terrorising the cats and begging us to take you for a swim and not likely to sit for a meal. You'll also be spinning, twirling, singing, dancing, cuddling, kissing, and squealing with delight. It's going to be very loud but very fun.

Merry Christmas darling,
Love aunty Karlee

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011


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

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Monday, December 12, 2011

me and YOU and Jesus too

Welcome to the official return of Me and YOU Monday. After a brief stint at going monthly, on Friday 2nd I decided to go back to weekly. This was well received by my 2 regular participants so I hope they have something to share this week. I know that Monday is a hard day but I don't want to interfere with the other link ups throughout the week, so Monday it has to be. As per last time it is fine to link up to a post written during the week before. I myself wrote this post Thursday night and scheduled it because I have a big weekend planned!

I had a generalised goal for the month of December which was to focus more on Jesus. So far so good.

I haven't spent hours reading my bible and journaling like I used to do almost daily before I became a mum. I'd love to but I don't have time. I haven't prayed for long periods of time either. Whenever I tried I'd be interupted or fall asleep. Then again I've just realised I've been awake for hours unable to sleep most nights in between feeds (it's driving me crazy) so I probably should have done some reading and praying then.

The reality of life at this stage of my life is that I have two little people who are very dependent on me. Both kids have had nights where they were up most of the night (I'll blame it on the rainy days but after awhile I really start to question if I'm doing something wrong of epic proportion). So I need to at least try to sleep as much as I can.

I have a 2-month old (yes time has flown) who needs a lot of care and a 21.5-month-old who seems to be having separation anxiety yet again. I cannot find an hour block to do my conventional idea of a 'quiet time' to get lost in it all with God.

I never want to get cross with my kids for interupting time with God because that seems very backward and selfish to me. So what I've done instead is try to keep Jesus part of everyday life. It's hard at times, especially trying to get started, but it's also beautifully simple at times too. I know families where it is second nature and that's where Corey and I want to head although we have a long way to go.

Alexis has been really great with this. She seemed to sense it right from the start (God works through her all the time, it's amazing) and kept bringing us her toddlers bible and "sing and pray" book to read. Now we sing her some songs before bed every night and we all really enjoy it. She still adores her plush nativity set from last Christmas so that gives us many opportunities to share the advent with her as well. I'm not sure how much she understands but we are honouring God by telling her about him and it's really cute when she points to the baby and says "Jesus", although it sounds more like "issss".

To an extent it is hard to constantly pour out love without regular "quiet times" to refresh and refocus. Yet I am pleasantly surprised at just how much I can get just from intentional parenting. Anything that reminds me that Jesus loves me and is aware of my day to day life is beneficial, especially when I'm saying it out loud.

It is difficult to sing "Jesus loves me" every night without starting to believe it. I get a nightly reminder that "they are (I am) weak but He is strong". Alexis' song and prayer book also reminds me that Jesus wants me to shine for him, to be thankful and to be aware of his presence in my day to day life. Corey and I pray for Alexis as we tuck her into bed at night. Rarely a day goes by without me praying (several times) begging God for help juggling my two little cuties.

Slowly but surely God is gaining ground in our home. I haven't won the war to play worship music on the dvd player in the lounge room (because if the dvd player is on it MUST be wiggles or Alexis pesters me until it is) but I can have Christian radio blaring from the bedroom. I still love having it on while folding laundry and breaking out into dance with the kids every so often.

It helps that it is Christmas time. I would have looked like a total fool singing and dancing while getting the pram out of the boot at the shops on Thursday but hey it keeps the children entertained. It was so refreshing to be belting out "oh happy day" instead of hearing some teenage "I want to get in your pants" song. As I was picking William up singing 'when Jesus washed, he washed my sins away" and the smile on my face was real.

Yes I had a rocky start to the week (I always have) but God has been good.

This week's goal in addition to this is to revisit my goal of not stressing out. This time of year can be so stressful and I have turned into a stress bunny again. My stressing helps nobody so its time to let it go. Most specifically I will be tackling not stressing out when things don't go as I planned. I will need your prayers with this one!

So, if you want to link up, jump on in. Feel free to link up a post from earlier this week or to write a fresh one. The only rule is that you tell us how you go next week. Good luck.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Grocery shopping with 2 under 2

Me: "Alexis get your thumb out of his mouth. yucky"
... I guess I should have been more specific
Good ol' bananas save the day again
That's it William, fall asleep, that's much safer. 
Happy Wordless Wednesday with My Little Drummer Boys and Faith, Hope and a Whole Lotta Love.

I have my hands full (as mentioned by several passers by).

Please vote

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

A year in the life of The Mother Experiment

Today (Saturday 3rd December 2011) is my blog's first anniversary. It's hard to believe that it's a whole year since I wrote that first post: "What is the mother experiment?"

Within hours of that first post I had used my iPod touch to write a post about how my daughter was sick and I felt powerless but I liked being able to comfort her just by holding her. It is called comforted by comforting and it remains, to this day, one of my favourite posts. By the next day I was saying how I wished she'd love me that little bit less and let me get sleep in another of my favourites "no naps for mum mum mum mum".

Reading back over my earliest entries I realise that I have learned so much in the last year. I have linked to some of my favourite posts here. I by no means expect you to read them all but I have spent a lot of time on this because I hope you can read over the titles and read any that you find most interesting.

I have learned that being a mum means:

I've really struggled with the housewife part of being a stay at home mum, and you can read about it in posts such as: 

I've documented many milestones, such as

It is so important to invest time in your marriage

I have learned a lot about God through my relationship with my children
I've posted things just for laughs such as
I've also learned a lot about blogging:

I've also posted some gorgeous pics. This link will show the most recent wordless Wednesday entries. 

I've also shared some rather difficult stories of personal growth pursuits in my Me and YOU Monday project. This link will show the most recent entries. 

I have learned that every day is a massive day. Every day has challenges and opportunities for adventure. Every day has opportunities to smile. I cannot control my kids or my husband but I need to learn to control myself. I have learned that I love being a mum, most of the time. I have learned that it is my attitude that effects how I see the world. I have learned that God has blessed me so very much and that I want to live every day filled with joy. I am not there yet but hopefully by this time next year I'll have so much to share about that too. 

Whether you have been following The Mother Experiment from the start, for a little while, or are just stopping by, thank you for your support. It means so much to me. 

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Alexis is starting to show an interest in letters. The following. Script is what happened yesterday afternoon.

Alexis shoves her magnadoodle in my face 
Me: "Alexis what do you want mummy to draw?"
Alexis: "D"
me: "ok what else?"
Alexis: "A"
Me: "ok, anything else?"
Alexis: "D".
Me: "Wow that spells dad. What else should I draw?"
Alexis: "mumma"
Me: "how do I spell that?'
Alexis: "mmm"
Me: "M. What else?"
Alexis: "A"
Me: "ok I guess that works what else?"
Alexis: "D"

Look at the magnadoodle.


Cheeky little monkey!

Yes Alexis' favourite letters are A and D. I shouldn't be surprised. She has no idea what's so funny but it gave me a chuckle. She spent the next two hours shouting "A.D." at random intervals thinking she was hilarious. Gotta love her she's so cute.


How do your kids accidentally make you laugh?

If this made you smile please consider voting for me in the circle of moms comp.

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Friday, December 2, 2011

I changed my mind again: back to weekly

G'day everyone welcome to Friday. Guess what? I've changed my mind again. I'm a woman, it's my prerogatives. What am I talking about?

Yesterday was the first of December and thus was supposed to signal the second month of Me and YOU Monthly. Now over the week before I had thought about this and kept trying to remind myself to set something up. Although I had several bad mood days during the month where I had thought about posting "Me and YOU Monthly is cancelled in light of me no longer giving a toss" but I really had meant to keep going. Yesterday I forgot until I remembered at about 2pm, so I quickly did this rushed post asking whether to do it or not.

This morning I was quickly sneaking a peak at Kristy's and Rhianna's blogs and they were so very sweet. I really am proud of how well they've done. I made great progress when I first started Me and YOU Monthly but now all the things I'd worked on are plaguing me again. I'm stressing again, my language and thought-life are terrible, I'm upset about not being able to do all I want to do, it seems like all that hard work was in vain. I know though that I've done it before so I can do it again. I can beat this. Life is pretty tricky right now but I can get through it, because I have.

So, after a little bit of deliberation, a little bit of sleep deprivation, and my impulsive nature that my readers have learned to love, I've decided... to go back to weekly link-ups. This is because a) changing it to monthly didn't really help increase participants b) changing it to monthly allowed me to shelve my goal c) I NEED IT. I'm feeling pretty weak at the moment, so let's go back to weekly (yes that's lame, I can't help it). As mums we have the tendency to have martyr complexes don't we. "I can't take time for me, it's too hard, I'm too busy" etc, but we are not infallible. When we don't take time for ourselves the whole family suffers.

So, as of Monday 12th my Me and YOU project will go back to being me and YOU Monday. Confused? Yeah me too, a little. Today is Friday, so I'm going to add a linky to this and it will open til  Tuesday. I would like you to participate, if you are willing and able. If you don't have a blog leave a comment. As Kristy and Rhianna have shown me, this is important.  I'm just going to have to be prepared. I'm more likely to remember the day than the date. It's pretty hard to forget it's Monday!

So there you go. Back to weekly. Yay.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Woops I forgot about me and YOU

Hey all. I just realised that it's 1st December today meaning that I was supposed to have Me and YOU Monthly up and happening. I just plain forgot. Sorry.
If anyone had anything prepared let me know and I'll get a link up happening tonight after the kids are asleep. Otherwise we might just let it die hey?
Kristy, Rhianna, what do you think? Honestly. Did you forget too?
It's a very busy time of year. Please forgive me.
Anyway to all who find themselves reading this I wish you a merry lead up to Christmas. Don't forget to hug those precious cherubs you're working so hard to get everything perfect for.
Enjoy putting up your trees (unless you did it earlier like we did).
Anyway, my goal for last month was not using the internet part of my phone too much. I sucked at it but now I had to hand the awesome loan phone back and have a dodgy replacement I'm using it far less.  
My goal for December: spending more time with and thinking about Jesus. He is, afterall, the reason for CHRISTmas.
Have a good one,

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