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Month: June 2012

Four generations of Chadwick women

Four generations of Chadwick women

Ella is a lucky girl in so many ways. Lucky to be so loved, lucky to be the first grandchild on both sides of our family and extremely lucky enough to have her great Grandmother and Great Grandfather in her life. My Nanna and Pop have sixteen grandchildren and five great grandchildren. All of the great grandchildren are girls….go figure! When Ella was a couple of days old, she met her Great Nan and we had this fantastic photo of her, myself, my Mum and Ella. Having this photo made me realise not only how lucky Ella is, but how fortunate I am to have four generations of Chadwick women, healthy and full of life in that room. It must be so wonderful for my own Mum too, to be able to share her role in begin a Grandmother with her Mum.

Even though there are decades between us all, this photo shows how close we are. Nan immediately took to Ella with love and joy. It was as if she was holding her own child again…I hadn’t seen her that animated before! To think that Nan has had such an amazing influence on so many people…her efforts over the years in raring five of her own children and then the many great grandchildren that followed. What really amazed me though was how, even at 89, Nan took to Ella with such ease and confidence –  a true reflection of a wonderful Mother.

This year Nanna is 90 and we will be celebrating in style in September. I cannot wait for Ella to grow and get to know her Great Nan, or Nola Bowla as we lovingly call her! I’m sure that she will love hearing Nan’s stories of being a great singer and loving life when she was a child. How the world has truly changed, but I’m so glad that some things always stay the same.

We are all so blessed to have both her and Pop in our lives, and I look forward to the years ahead.

Apptastic Parenting!

Apptastic Parenting!

Being a new Mum, coupled together with being a bit of a technology nerd is proving to be quite a bit of fun. As a teacher, I have embraced technology in every sense of the word. I have been a Mac fan for the last ten years, and have spent much of that time searching for software programs and apps that engage learners and assist them to make learning fun and interesting.

As a new Mum, there are so many aspects of technology that I have stumbled across to help make my job either easier in some ways, or more exciting! The world of apps has really brought to life many of the every day jobs that a Mum has to complete. From breast feeding, to reading about developmental leaps, I have found a variety of apps that have really helped me over the past four months.  Having these apps on my phone has meant that I don’t need to remember or carry around pencils, pens, cameras, notepads, books etc. It is all stored in one simple place.

I thought that I would share some of the apps that I have used so far…these apps have been used by me, not Ella as she is still too young to understand that my iPhone is more than just colours and cool sounds! That said, I’m sure she will be ‘swiping’ in no time!

  1. 1. iBaby Feed

This App literally saved by breastfeeding life! I don’t know about other Mums, but I have felt like I live my life by a clock, but never know what time it is! This app is designed by and for breastfeeding mothers who want to track when and for how long their baby feeds, whether from breast, bottle or expressed milk. It includes a useful reminder for which breast to start on each time. This reminder can be altered to remind for chosen intervals as well as calculating a reminder based on the average time between your feeds.

For some Mums, using a notebook or pad to write down their feeds worked great for them. I know however, that I am a complete fruit loop when it comes to remembering where I have put things down, but I somehow always know where my phone is (most of the time). Using this app was easy, all I needed to remember was the different between right and left, stop and start. This was something that I could do!!! The app gives you a great run down of how many feeds that day, week and month, the average length of feeds and intervals between them. As a new mum this information gave me great peace of mind and also great information that I could give to my doctor or nurse when they asked during the early days. Honestly, I cannot recommend it enough!

             2. The Wonder Weeks

Based in the best selling book by Hetty van de Rijt and her husband Frans X. Plooij, the Wonder Weeks is based on scientific research that details your baby’s stages of mental development and ‘leaps’. I found that during 8-12 weeks, Ella’s sleep went hay wire…she was really clingy (we couldn’t put her down without crying) and generally a little more flat than she had been in the weeks before. The wonder weeks gives you an outline of how babies go through stages where they learn significant skills and new information that can really put a strain on their little bodies, hence causing them to be a little more ‘monsterish’ than usual.

This app is the summary version of the book. It contains sections to help you ‘know what is going on inside the head of your baby, and to help them make this leap more easily. It helps parents by:

  • showing when your baby makes leaps in their mental development
  • What your baby can understand and learn after this mental leap
  • what your baby can do after this leap
  • What you can do to help your baby

It also gives you a chart to help show where your baby may lie in terms of wonder weeks, stormy and sunny periods. The wonder weeks were recommended to me by our Maternal Health Nurse in our Mothers Group. As with anything, I’ve learned to read and then take away what makes sense, but not fixate too much on the detail. It sure does beat Googling (don’t do that!), but I always still read with a sense of objectivity.

      3.  Read me stories

Although Ella is only 4 months old, this app (available on iPhone and iPad) contains 30 great stories that are interactive and fun. The characters come to life with their cute little voices. The colours are vibrant and story lines simple enough for little kids to understand. My husband Daniel loves reading Mr Chilli to her and considering that Pizza is his favourite meal, I’m sure that he will be reading it to her for many years to come!

The app allows you to preview some of the books for free, but there is a small cost to purchase the entire library. They also make other apps for children with great stories for bedtime!

      4. Popsicolour

I am the biggest fan of Instagram and the effects that can transform any old photo into a Masterpiece. Popsicolour is awesome. It allows you to transform any photo into a water colour work of art. Imagine taking a cute photo of your gorgeous bub and then creating a water colour artwork for a frame in your home.

I’ve been tweaking with a few photos in my library and this is the best one so far….

This is the original….                                  This is the Popsicolour version!

I look forward to tweaking with these Apps to capture Ella as she grows in a cool and colourful way!

Nursery Fun

Nursery Fun

This weekend Daniel and I put some of the finishing touches to Ella’s bedroom. We purchased some fabulous floating shelves from Ikea to display (and store) some of the vast number of toys, books and other trinkets that Ella has been given since being born. Creating a wonderful place for Ella to sleep and play has been such a joyous part of having her come into our lives. I must admit that I wouldn’t call myself a budding Interior Designer, but we are so thrilled with how her room has turned out. Some of my favourite  things in this room are the wall decal (purchased on Etsy, all the way from Canada) and the pink Apples given to her by my wonderful friend Paris who has the most beautiful Childrens’ Homewares business – Little Tinkers.  I also adore the amazing Alice in Wonderland Red armchair in the corner. It’s quite funny that this chair was originally intended on being a feeding chair, but I am yet to feed Ella in it! Although not the most practical feeding chair, I think it looks fabulous in her room!

Designing her room was something that we both wanted to do together. From the colours, to the tree decal to the cot and arm chair, Dan and I both wanted to create a room for her that would feel warm, happy and most of all…calming!! The room has undergone a complete transformation from it’s original use as our spare room. It also doubled as my so called ‘dressing room’ – something that I’m sure I’ll never get back again! This room was originally meant to be the master bedroom in our house, given that it also has the benefit of an adjoining en suite. It also has beautiful doors that open onto a little veranda, something that I hope Ella will thoroughly enjoy in the summer months as she can play between her room and our front yard.

I remember growing up and loving my own bedroom. As a kid I shared a room with my sister, and we would play for hours on end with our dolls’ house, Barbies and My Little Ponies. Yes, yes…I was a complete girly girl, and I’m sure in many ways, Ella will become one too (if her aunties have anything to do with it).

I just hope that she grows to love her room as much as her parents have loved creating it for her.

P.S….two great apps for any techno Mums or Dads out there are iHandy Level – a fabulous spirit level to help with installing those shelves! I also took the picture below using Pano – a great photography tool that allows you to take panoramic shots by merging together individual photos.

Rolley Polley Ella

Rolley Polley Ella

Today Ella rolled over for the first time! From front to back…this is a milestone that many Mums and Dads wait for for weeks on end! It was so exciting to see the look on her face, she didn’t quite know what to think! A little frightened of the sensation and a sense of falling that she had never experienced before! When we were taking our ‘parenting’ class, we learned a fascinating fact about the development of skills in children – children learn skills in a sequential order from the head down to their feet. I had never thought about development in this way before. First they learn to control their eyes – to fix their gaze and adjust their focus on familiar and unfamiliar objects. Then their development flows onto controlling their mouths, neck, arms and hands, sitting up and finally their feet where they crawl and eventually walk! I am so excited to see how Ella develops over the coming months and how her expressions show her delight as she masters new skills. I’ve been told that this can also bring on some frustration in the form of major hissy fits as she tries, but often fails, to repeat this newly found skill. I’m sure that she will give us an insight into how she will crack it in the future (flash forward to supermarket aisles and shopping centre tantrums).

I must admit though that as I write this, I am looking around our house at all of the ‘child proofing’ that needs to be done. I wonder how far we should go with this and whether or not we will consider everything! There are obvious hazards like power points, cleaning products etc, but what do we do about furniture items such as low coffee tables and floor lamps? I guess this is something that we will take in our stride and just ensure that we stay on our toes….at least until she is on hers!

Instagram your memories

Instagram your memories

I have a confession to make. I’m an Instagram addict. This is hardly surprising as anything new and cool that arises in the area of technology generally takes a few days to become my new obsession. What I love about Instagram is a few things:

  1.  The ability to transform seemingly random photos into masterpieces with the fabulous effects, blur / focus options and frames. This means that any random Mum can take beautiful snaps of their precious children with the use of their iPhone or android phone. Capturing memories on the go is something that we all can do with this fabulous app.
  2. The ability to share photos instantly with loved ones and store them in a feed forever. All you need is to be logged in as a user.
  3. The ability to tag photos with keywords and / or meaningful captions e.g. #fabulous #memories #stayyoungforever
  4. The ability to comment on your own and other Instagram addict’s photos. It’s always nice to have someone love a photo as much as you do.
  5. You can access your snaps across space and time. This means your memories travel with you.

As parents, we are so busy. I can only imagine how much busier my life is going to get once Ella crawls and runs around like a crazy kid! Instagram means that I can capture precious memories of her growing and being cute in the park, at Nanna’s, at a friend’s place…anywhere.

Gotta love that!

Here are a few pics I’ve added to my feed over the past few days…..I can’t wait to capture Ella’s gorgeous smile as she grows…if I’m quick enough!

I love Mummy!
Welcome to our ‘Happy Ella After’ Blog

Welcome to our ‘Happy Ella After’ Blog

On the 26th Februrary 2012, my husband Daniel and I became the proud parents of our beautiful baby girl, Ella Grace. It was an instinctive thing that we immediately reached for the camera to document this amazing moment in our lives. Within seconds, our baby girl was featured in many photographs with her tired but amazed parents looking at her adoringly. Since that moment in time, we have found ourselves taking photos endlessly. Whether it be on our camera, iPhone or iPad, the ability to capture her first smiles, blue eyes and cheeky grin has been something that has brought us much joy.

In my world at the moment, it seems that babies are everywhere. When I mean everywhere, I mean that Daniel and I counted twenty friends who were pregnant and expecting their first or second children in the first half of 2012. Incredibly, this means that we have been blessed with people who are sharing similar highs and lows, joys and struggles as we tackle the challenge of learning to be a Mum and Dad. It still makes me laugh to think that we are parents. Parents of who we think (of course), is the most gorgeous little girl on the planet. Taking photos and videos of her growing and developing is something that we hope will help us to enjoy each and every moment, as well as keep her tiny and cute for maybe just that little bit longer.

Sharing these photos with our family and friends has also been something that we have both enjoyed immensely. Whether it be via email, Facebook or Instagram, being able to instantly share these happy memories with the people we love only makes this time more amazing. This world that our baby girl is going to grow up in is so incredibly different from the one that we knew as young children in so many ways. Digital cameras mean that we can capture that perfect shot, and share it within seconds, with anyone, anywhere! I was at my Mum’s the other day and looked at the vast array of photo albums that adorn the study walls. It amazed me to think that I haven’t placed a photo in an album in over ten years. The last complete album that I have was for my wedding, and that was made by our photographer. To think that my Mum spent so much time developing photos and placing them lovingly in albums, many with captions to remember the moment. It makes me a little sad to think that we do not do this anymore. To add to this, last week my iPhoto library on my Mac crashed. Thousands of photos could have been lost (and believe me, they have been in the past), and if it wasn’t for my back up, then Ella’s first few months could have been wiped out.

This made me think about making sure that I document this time in a way that is safe, so that we and her can look back over these amazing months. A friend recently asked me If I had thought about creating a blog to do just this, with the hope that one day, Ella might write her own posts to add to mine. I thought this was a great idea, and given that I have blogged about technology in education for a while, I thought that this something that I would love to do. Not only capture photos in time, but also stories that other people might find familiar and can relate to. It has been the support of great family and friends that has helped us through this challenging yet amazing time. I hope that this blog can help us to share the amazing moments in time that we have each day with our baby girl. Hopefully one day she can read over this and know how much we love her, more than we ever thought possible.

A special thanks goes to Ellie @ Pitter Patter Portraits for her amazing photos of our beautiful girl….