Tuesday, December 24, 2013

In memory of darling little Arya (22 July 2013 - 22 December 2013)

For one mother in the world, her very worst nightmare has come true. Her arms are empty and her  heart is heavy because her darling little girl was taken much, much, much, too early from her bosom. When MiniMr was born, a friend said to me that from that day forward, my heart was walking outside of my body. So I'm left wondering how this sweet little girl's mother is expected to carry on without her heart?? No mother should ever have to bury a child. Ever. But burying a child that has barely lived seems that much more tragic. Why? Why? Why? I feel so sick with sorrow for her family. There are no words or actions or anything at all that will ease their pain now. Only time. Time. The only thing that can't be hurried, or bought, or taken. Time. The only healer. I'm in utter awe of every single parent that has ever lost a child and is still here to tell the tale. I'm humbled. I'm heartbroken. I'm not sure I'd survive. I pray that I never have to find out.

Rest easy little Arya.
You will never be forgotten.

Friday, December 20, 2013

If only I could I would....FIJI!

I love travelling and have done a fair bit in my time but not nearly enough to satiate my wanderlust! There is still sooooo much that I'd love to see and do and just hope that I'm blessed with enough years to do it all in. As I used to work for LUXURY Holidays & Corporate Travel magazine, I got a bit of a taste for the truely sublime and breathtaking.  But now that I'm otherwise occupied with a pint sized little dynamo (yes, let's blame him for the lack of travel!), I thought I'd treat myself with a regular post called 'If only I could I would...' of where I'd be galavanting if money, time and all other restrictions fell away. 

This week, I'd be on a flight to Fiji with family in tow. I'm feeling like a wee lie on the beach, or around the pool with a (virgin) cocktail is EXACTLY what I need. The plane would be dropping me off at Dolphin Island... actually, no, the plane would drop me off at Fiji International and from there I'd transfer by float plane or helicopter.... I'm not really fussy! And this is what would be waiting for us...

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Love Wednesday...

Rather late than never... and its Wednesday somewhere in the world!  

This week, I got a contribution little readers! Oh, yes, we're seriously on our way to hitting the big time now! Thanks Mz Bex for flagging Stickygram - an awesome site that promises to bring your Instagram photos to life by allowing you to get them printed onto iPhones, iPad covers or magnets... I mean, is there a better way for the world to see how amazingly talented you are behind a camera?? And, hello, FREE SHIPPING WORLDWIDE. Boom. I'm sold.

On the fabulousness of the world wide web, wouldn't it be cool if there was an app with ideas on how to amuse your almost five month old. Hold up.. there is one! Welcome Knoala! The website claims to 'Raise happier kids'... now I'm not sure about that but it sure keeps them happier if they are entertained! Basically, after you've registered, you load all your kid's deets in and where you're based (that's so that they don't give you summery stuff and its -13 degrees outside) and it will suggest activities. Its totally genius I tell you as I often feel like MiniMr and I have rehashed the same songs, funny faces and toys over and over again. Check it out, a total must have for anyone that often has ankle biters on their hands. And just as an aside, the video on their home page makes me a bit teary eyed. Stupid mommy hormones!

Its summer in this part of the world, so along with glorious days comes not so glorious FLIES!!!! Now, I know we're meant to love all of God's creatures alike but I am so NOT a fan. And since we've got MiniMr, my usual line of defence in the aerosol can is not an option. So I purchased a Bug Zapper. And here's the thing... it really works. Not as easy as a quick spray since you have to hunt them down, zap them, and then locate their stunned little bodies to dispose of. And the smaller ones are HARD to catch. But still, sooooo much better than having six of the little fockers swarming around me while breastfeeding. And it works for pretty much everything with tiny wings.

Why oh why oh WHY did we not have uber cute linen like this when I was growing up?? I had a crocheted bed cover and I just know - JUST KNOW - that I would've been happier and had a whole bunch less hang-ups if only I'd had this princess duvet to go to bed with at night. Oh well, I'll indulge my childhood fantasies through my wee boy... I'm sure he won't mind a princess duvet!!! (There is in fact a rather fabulous astronaut one for boys!)

And just because its Christmas, and I just know there are some of you that will be furiously wrapping pressies at 11.10pm on Christmas Eve... only to realise that you forgot the tags. Well fear not as now you can MAKE YOUR OWN. Check it out here. Okay, maybe not really ideal at almost midnight but still cute!

And last but not least, I bet you've been wondering ALL week what's caught my eye on Etsy. Well, wonder no more because here are my little bits of deliciousness...

I'm not sure what's with all my winter picks since its SWELTERING in Auckland at the moment, but how adords are these little baby boots! All together now...'Cuuuuttttteeeeee!"

And I just know there is someone out there that's freezing and ABSOLUTELY requires these little beauties. There are also mo' ones, heart ones, dog ones, even Christmas ones... basically something for everyone. 

Then there's this awesome shop that sells teething paraphernalia. A little bit cute, a little bit quirky, a whole bunch of 'Add to cart please'!

And that's that for another week. 

Um, I don't think there will be a 'Love Wednesday' next week since its likely I'll be comatose from stuffing my face. And the week after is New Year... but then its all systems go! 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Santa's in da house....

Ho, ho, ho. I frecken love Christmas! Love, love, love it! I think its because I'm slightly obsessed with creating traditions and Christmas gives you a truck load of opportunity to do just that. And of course, Christmas is one of the most exciting times if you have a baby... I can now create some awesome Christmas traditions for our family! In reality though, what's likely to happen is that I'll get totally overwhelmed and do nothing. But right this minute... THERE IS SUCH PROMISE!!!!

I can't say that I've started the way I mean to proceed with all this family tradition stuff. I failed miserably at getting Xmas cards out this year - as I have for like, well, the last 10 years or so. I used to make all my own Xmas cards. For real. And then suddenly, I didn't. So this year, MiniMr's first, would have been a GREAT time to get started on that again and send out a homemade card with him on the front dressed all cute and stuff, like a Christmas log or something. Oh, I thought about it. I thought about it heaps. But I NEVER DID A THING!!! For once in my life though, it wasn't plain laziness - babies keep you busy, man!!

I'm on some great mommy sites on Facebook - shout out to all the mamas that are reading this :) - a lot of which are American and man oh man... they do traditions like nobodies business. I've had card envy, tree envy, Santa envy. In fact,  I've had Thanksgiving envy, Halloween envy, you name it envy... I've had it. They just do this stuff so well. Their Santas at EPIC, and the family photos just rocking. It makes me WANNA BE AMERICAN!!!

But back to my reality and the real world, I'm now trying to get some Salt Dough ornaments made (as you all know from a previous post, I'm yet to use the plaster of paris kit I bought to immortalise MiniMr's feet and hands!!!). I must, I must, I must. Its not that hard for goodness sake. And the tree. That was a major 'Should we start getting a real one or just stick to the old trusty artificial tree that has served us so well for the last 10 years or so??'. Lordy, that dilemma bounced around in my head for WEEKS while I talked to people about it and all the pros and cons. Eventually, I just pulled out the frecken tree and put it up. Not like MiniMr is going to know any different at the mo and it might be nice to change to the real thing when he's old enough to be asked his opinion. And then there was the Santa photo...Do I take him to the flashest place in Auckland to do one, and wait a million hours in the queue with screaming kids and disgruntled parents? Or do I just take him to the local shopping mall because again.... ITS NOT LIKE HE KNOWS WHAT'S HAPPENING. Anyway, his father told me that we're not fancy people (although I secretly fancy myself just that) and off we went to the local mall. Well, SANTA NEEDS TO GET A NEW JOB!!!! I'm not sure who looked more somber in the photo - MiniMr or Santa, who was evidently rather over it and already thinking about the cold beer waiting at home. I even had to ask for MiniMr's gift... from the photographer!!! I WANT AN EPIC AMERICAN SANTA!!!!

Anyhoo... on the bright side, the photo is done, the advent calendar was bought (MiniMr had a wee chew on the corner and then moved on) and he's got a Christmas Eve outfit and Christmas Day outfit so its not all a complete fail. And, there'll be another Christmas around in a mere 365 days. Ooooh, and then I'm going to do it all.... homemade cards with a corny family photo on the front, a Christmas book for every night, a homemade advent calendar with teeny tiny gifts, Xmas pj's for the whole month, Salt Dough ornaments for all and sundry, maybe the tree will even be real. Ooooh, and... and... and....   

Here are some great Christmas Tradition ideas that I loved and thought I'd share with you:

-Homemade Christmas Advent calendar, with small and personal gifts
-The Christmas stocking, with one gift that stays consistent, eg socks, or an orange, or a bar of white chocolate.
-Christmas book Collection, either in a basket under the tree, or individually gift wrapped so that every night is a surprise as to what book will be read. Start buying a book a year and your collection will be rather meaty in no time.
-The Christmas Bake-off, where the whole family gets together and bakes awesome treats for neighbours, teachers, co-workers and such as gifts.
-The Christmas lights tour, every town has one street that is awesome... make it a tradition to drive along it as a family. Or, why not become that street
-Christmas Eve = one gift to unwrap before bed. With cocoa. And Christmas songs. Love.
-The Tree Trimming, where everyone mucks in and gets that tree put up. Again, cocoa and carols a MUST! 
-The Big Christmas Clean up, an awesome way to get de-cluttering (you know the saying - one in, one out). Plus, by donating good and in working condition stuff to charities etc, you'll also be paying it forward 'cause you know that other saying, 'One man's trash is another man's treasure!' 
-Christmas PJ's, either a few sets that are worn every night on the lead up to the big day, or a special pair that only gets worn on Christmas Eve. Extra points for the families that wear matching. 
-Special Christmas Decoration, where every year  you either allow your child to chose their own decoration, or you choose one for them, and it gets presented to them at the Tree Trimming. Or, here's an even better one... DIY it!! 

What traditions do you have?? I'd love to hear them. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Wonder-weeking wonder...

We're wonder-weeking in this house at the moment.... and its completely FASCINATING!!! You may have noticed that I'm a real information hoarder, I love it and research things up to me eyeballs. When I'm interested in something, I've got to have the books. And now the apps. Only problem is finding the time to get through it all. 

At the moment, I have the following next to my bed, all of which at some point or another have been dragged to the lounge, the kitchen, the computer room, and dare I admit, the toilet! as I grab pockets of time to fill my boots with reading.... 

-Blogging for dummies: Not yet opened
-Mom blogging for dummies: Not yet opened
-The baby-led weaning recipe book: on page 15
-The baby-led weaning cook book: Not yet opened
-Baby-lead weaning: Almost onto chapter 6 (of 8 chapters)
-Your self confident baby: More than half way there
-What to expect: The first year: currently on pg 322 of The Fifth month (I've just covered 'Starting the Cup)
-The Wonder Weeks: I've just finished Chapter 6 on Wonder Week 19: The World of Events

But its Wonder-weeking that I'm on at the moment as MiniMr will be 21 weeks on Saturday so he's right in the midst of Wonder Week 19, which can run for anything from one to six weeks. 

Anyhoo, I noticed last week that he's feeding really badly, mostly in the day (how can 2 minutes on the boob possibly be enough??) and that he's pulling his ears again (how many visits to the Dr for potential ear infections can this mommy make??), and that his settling for sleep has got, well, very unsettled. He also reached for both Mr and I on Saturday at different times when he was being held by people he wasn't familiar with, he's become rather demanding of mommy's time, and he adores the 'little boy that lives in the bathroom' aka his reflection in the mirror. And I'm sure he knows who I'm talking about when I mention daddy... he's eyes light up and he becomes super animated. But, I'd been so busy with general day to day stuff like washing, cooking and baby looking after that I hadn't had chance to read where he was at in this 'leap' even though I knew it was on the radar... at the very same time as the notorious '4 month sleep regression'. BTW - a lot of the above I was blaming on teething.... which I understand will get blamed on for everything from now until 3 years old! 

Well, last night, I pulled the wee pink book out and lo and behold... all the very things I'd noticed - and sometimes been worrying about e.g. feeding!! - was all there in black as white as signs that he's experiencing 'The World of events'. And this my friends, is why I love information. I was utterly fascinated by how on track his development was. Not from a 'Wow, he's so clever, watch him go!' perspective (although, if I'm honest, I have those moments too) but from a 'Wow! How about someone has studied this and ALL babies will be going through a range of this at the moment!'. Just frecken FASCINATING!!!! So after this 'leap', our wee little man will really be his own person for the first and no longer think that he's an extension of me or his dad. He'll explore his surroundings with renewed gusto and I'll no longer be his only toy. Basically, he's a man looking for action!  

And the thing I'm most looking forward to from this leap.... when he responds to 'Leo' for the first time. 

PS For all new moms, do yourself a favour and grab a copy of 'The Wonder Weeks' by Hetty van de Rijt and Frans Plooij. You won't regret it.    

Love Wednesday FAIL...

Sheesh, we were almost there team, so very, very close... but it just didn't happen. Bright side though is that I'll post a meaty 'Love Wednesday' next week! 

I thought though since I LOVED this, it would be a good stand in. Go and grab the tissues, click play and be ready for your feel good juices to crank up! It's Christmasssssss time! 


Monday, December 9, 2013

Once upon a time...

...I had all the opportunity in the world to enjoy a leisurely cup of tea on the couch with some biscotti and a magazine. Now its at the top of the stairs waiting for a teething babe to settle, with maybe a quick flick through the first few pages of a mag that's two months old, a few of sips of a partially warm cup of tea, and biscotti that would be considered breakfast. 

Once upon a time....
I never left the house without making the bed first. Now its a good day if I can get back in to it without getting tangled up in anything other than bedding.

Once upon a time...
I would never have worn something that wasn't ironed. Now, if it smells clean and looks clean, we're good to go.

Once upon a time.... 
I got ready for the day in my bedroom. Now its mostly in the hallway, spare room, or laundry, using whatever mirror I can find that's not fogged up.  

Once upon a time....
My dishes never piled up. Okay, that's a lie, they always did and its likely they always will! 

But once upon a time, I did not have this rolling around in the bed with me first thing in the morning, giggling with me at noon and snuggling at night .... so it seems like a reasonable trade I thought.
Over to you mamas... what has changed for you?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

And then they grow up....

I think its fair to say that I was NOT a fan of motherhood in the first 14 weeks. Don't get me wrong; every time I looked at my wee boy I was overwhelmed with love. But I was also just, well, overwhelmed full stop. I think I might even be guilty of wishing some of my days away! But now, well, now it all feels like its going much too fast and my baby boy is pretty much growing up before my very eyes. 

He's rolling now - its the cutest thing ever!! - and I have a very strong feeling that my non-sleeper is to become a sleeper, as with this new found talent comes tummy and side sleeping... and this little guy LOVES IT!!!! Once we get over the initial rolling around like a seal on its tummy, and mommy having to save arms and legs that are stuck out of the cot bars (that's the crib for all my wonderful American readers), he's off to noo-noo land and out cold. Earlier in the week, he slept for 3 hours straight in the afternoon. THREE HOURS!!! That's unheard of in the day if he's not using mommy as his mattress. I had a chance to sort out all his clothes (how is it possible that he'll soon be in 6-9 months stuff!!), do the dishes AND some blogging. Gosh, it got to the point where I was almost, well, bored, and wondering when he was going to wake up!! I am so not used to that anymore.

And then that night, after he found his groove, albeit across the cot so that I had to move him, he was out until midnight. Which is a bit earlier than usual but I never heard a peep again until just before 5 am that morning. That's right. 5am!!! There was no early morning feed, just straight through to 5am. Which is great, but also so so so sad because if I'm honest, I love breastfeeding my boy and getting cuddles in bed at night. Night times are my favourite, with both my loves all tucked up and sleeping. Ironically, it was night times that I hated the most in the beginning... they stretched out endlessly before me with sore nips, engorged boob and an unsettled baby. Sometimes in the early morning, I would just go outside and absorb the first rays of sun in quiet relief. Oh, life, you're such a fickle old thing!

Since MiniMr was very small, at around 5am or so, he becomes very unsettled and bucks around like a crazy person. So I started to bring him into bed with us. Initially, he slept with Mr because the smell of my milk would send him into a tailspin (and I avoided all unnecessary latching in those early days!). But as he got bigger, he started sleeping in my arms as, dare I admit, we both feel asleep breastfeeding. So that became the status quo. But over the last few days, I've started thinking that he might be getting too big for that now and is probably a lot more comfortable in his cot after a feed where he can stretch out. Mr kept saying to me that I do it because I love the cuddles, and I would vehemently defend myself and say that it's because I just want to sleep and this is what I need to do for us all to have that! But it turns out he might be right... I think I really do love the cuddles. I love to feel his warm 'n squishy little body wrapped around mine, chubby arms thrown out in complete trust that I'll always be there to hold him and never let him fall. Its utterly, utterly delicious and makes my heart swell so big, I fear it might burst.

Oh, I know there will be other, different cuddles but these cuddles now, while he's still so tiny and can be completely enveloped in my arms, will always be so very very special to me... and I'm sure just a few more (million) mornings like that won't hurt either of us!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Love Wednesday...

Funny how some weeks just get away with you, without any real rhyme or reason as to why. Well, this has been one of those weeks. Mr was away in Palmerston North for some training for the entire weekend, so it loomed before me like a gaping chasm of 'What the fluff will MiniMr and I get up to??'. We were fine though, even after two rather unsettled nights and one very tired mama. I even managed to get my Monday post all typed, checked and ready to roll... it was just the picture that needed to be sorted. For that, I needed an editing program so I decided to download Picasa. Sounds easy enough, doesn't it? Well, here's a bit of advice for you.... whatever Picasa downloads from your system, and you delete because you don't want certain images on Picasa.... IT DELETES THE ENTIRE FOLDER FROM YOUR HARD DRIVE!!!! Thank goodness I realized this before the trash was emptied. And double thank goodness that iPhoto doesn't allow you to delete from Picasa like it does folders because it would have been even more of a debacle then!!!! I only hope I got it all back.... I'm yet to come clean to Mr... he is going to go ape shit! 

Sooooo, I spent aaaaages trying to work out what the hell I'd done... and as all new mama's will know, the window of free time is fairly limited. So no post! But hey, at least the next one is ready to go for later in the week. 

Let's get cracking on Love Wednesday why don't we....

If you will be breastfeeding, then please know this all you new or soon to be mamas.... it's very likely that most of your clothes will be useless during this time in your life. Yes, probably even all that maternity stuff you so excitedly bought. Crazy, I know.... another range of clothing to be purchased. For me, tops and leggings have pretty much become the staple. Just normal tops though because breastfeeding ones have mostly not been to my taste. But this introduced another dilemma - the post-baby tummy dilemma... on top of huge milky boobies and the feeds that kind of have to take place outside of the home occasionally. Luckily, I stumbled across these beauties so that no one needs to stab their eyes out - the clip-on cami from BreastmatesAnd while you are there, grab some hydrogel pads for nips that want to commit suicide and these bust out beanies that are soooo wrong, they are right!

I have to say, some people have come up with some pretty novel ideas for some pretty boring things. Like this construction dinner set... how could dinner time - or in fact anytime - ever be boring with these. Love it! 

Ah, and here's something I've wanted to do for MiniMr and still haven't... and um, he's only going to be 5 months soon!!! But for those much more organised mommies, or for those looking for a great Baby Shower pressie, check out this Inkless Printing Kit. Yes, you so need it to record those teeny tiny feet and hands. You'll look back and soooo not believe that once your precious parcel was THAT small.

Moving over to what the USA has on offer, how amazing are these Colour Discovery Boxes?? Almost makes me want to re-learn my colours! And for those of you that are like me and have family that live on far away shores, these 'All about me' personalised books are perfect for little ones to learn about family near and far.

And a last wee treat for those of you that live in Auckland. If you're craving a very good cupcake, head to Bluebells Cakery in Hillsborough. The surroundings are sweetness personified and all the food we tried exceptionally good. I had no coffee though, so if you do head that way and indulge in some of the brown stuff, do let me know what you think. And if you're not in Auckland.... have no fear; they now have a cook book out so you can purchase that and whip up a delightful tea party to impress all your friends. I was seriously tempted to purchase one myself its so gorgeously presented but since I don't really bake, I restrained myself. I'm not sure though that when I return I will be able to hold myself back on a second occasion.

There is more.... but it will have to wait for next week otherwise I'll never get this up. Let me know what you think, or if you've seen any bits and bobs that you know I'll just love for Love Wednesday.