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Month: August 2012

Pregnant Pause

Pregnant Pause

When I was pregnant, I remember thinking that I needed to capture my growing bump throughout my pregnancy. I wanted to do it in a creative way, something along the lines of those cool Mums who photograph their growing belly each day and then put all the photos together to make a cute little twenty video, compressing nine months into twenty or so seconds. Well, like all good intentions time got away from me, and I either forgot, couldn’t be bothered (to get off the couch) or was busy doing something else that pregnant people do. So many people told me to ‘stop and smell the roses’ – capture the moment so you don’t forget it.  The thing is, time goes so fast these days that it’s hard to stop and take it all in, and this makes me sad.

I was looking back through the (thousands of) photos that I have taken this year of our darling little girl. We don’t have to worry about having missed any moments in Ella’s life so far…let’s just say her life is extremely well documented! Before Ella was born, my husband gave me a fabulous SLR camera as a Christmas gift. However, I noticed that whilst we have hundreds of photos of Ella, there are hardly any of her with her Dad, and even less with me. I have been trying really hard of late to make sure that I capture precious moments of her with her dad. Often what happens however, is the person who remembers to take all the photos ends up not being in any. I guess I’ll have to make a conscious effort to remind friends and family to make sure that I get snapped holding my little one or else I will end up having nothing to show for it!

Whilst looking through the photos on my iPhone, I found the few photos I took of myself whilst pregnant. Mainly in response to others’ requests for pictures showing my growing belly. It’s so funny to look back on how much my body changed over those months, and hot it has once again transformed back into  a semblance of its old self. To be honest, I remember saying throughout my pregnancy that I would;t miss the bowling like ball that I carried around, but really, I do. I look at these pictures and remember feeling a sense of awe that something was growing inside of me. At the same time, it was so hard to imagine and comprehend, even after looking at the scans. I guess what made it real were the beautiful kicks that I felt each day. These kicks, whilst bordering on karate chops in the end, grew stronger and stronger until the final weeks when Ella clearly loved the idea of pushing my ribs outward until they almost broke. Whilst at the time this felt really painful, the tumble turns that she often perfected is something that I remember with love. It was a little reminder each day that slowly but surely, she was coming.

In Melbourne, we are today celebrating the last day of winter. I cannot wait for the warmer weather and long summer nights spent at the beach. These photos reminded me of how hot it was in the final stages of my pregnancy. Laying on the couch with our dog Lloyd, no energy! The day I went into labour it was 42 degrees and we spent the day at the beach and in car yards looking for a new car! This summer will bring with it a different set of photos – hopefully lots of beautiful beach shots, swimming for the first time with our baby girl.

I can’t wait!

Apptastic Parenting 2.0

Apptastic Parenting 2.0

In one of my earlier blogs, I talked about some of the fantastic apps that have really helped with the daily tasks of being a new Mum. Many people have talked about how these apps have helped them too, and I thought that I would continue to share any apps that I have come across that either bring about a sense of calm to a Mum or Dad’s day, help capture a beautiful memory or inform in a simple and clear way. Here are a few apps that I have downloaded lately:

Baby Karaoke – FREE

For many new parents, the idea of learning those endless nursery rhymes can be enough to give you a headache! This simple app was developed but the site and plays five common nursery rhymes in the form of little videos. Playable on your iPhone or iPad, this app is an essential for any Mum or Dad who need a refresher course in ‘Row, Row, Row your boat’ or ‘Open Shut Them!’ Singalong and learn at the same time!

Click on the image to the left to be taken to the iTunes store

Elmo loves ABC’s – $4.99

This has to be one of Ella’s favourites so far. There is a FREE base version that allows you to access some letters of the alphabet, but for $4.99, this app is worth it. Obviously, it is tailored for pre-school aged children, but the colours, sounds and animations capture the attention of any child. Elmo invites kids to practice writing their letters, playing games, identifying images, drawing and colouring in etc. It also shows cute little videos that help kids learn the alphabet. This app is creative, interactive and heaps of fun…even for Mums and Dads!

Click on the image to the left to be taken to the iTunes store

Diptic – 99c

This app allows you to combine multiple photos taken on either your iPhone or iPad, or those imported from a camera. It provides you with various different layouts that help you create a montage /collage of photos, with the ability to then save this as a single image. Images can be shared via Facebook, twitter, Flikr, Tumblr or Posterous. It also contains 15 filters and rounded borders to give you the ability to transform any basic image into a mini masterpiece.

Click on the image to the left to be taken to the iTunes store

Artinphoto – 99c

This app provides you to add / mix sketches within photos taken on your mobile device. Click on anywhere within your photo and a sketch box is created to transform your photo into a work of art. Choose a variety of hands to make it look like the sketch is being held in front of the real photo. The image to the right is an example of what can be done! It’s one of those apps that is so imaginative…something that can really change a basic image into something wonderful!

Click on the image to the left to be taken to the iTunes store

That should keep any Apptastic Parent busy for a while! Hope you enjoy 🙂

Half way to 1!

Half way to 1!

This week Ella turned six months old! Six months. I simply can’t believe it! It was only a few weeks ago that I was blogging about how the time has gone so quickly. I know I’ve said it before, but I’m not only so proud of our little girl, but so proud of both Dan and I for getting through, relatively unscathed! After six months, I (mostly) feel as though we have a handle on things and can work things out when Ella decides to throw us a curve ball.

The first three months were really a blur – my maternal health nurse calls it ‘Mummy Shock’. It’s so true. People told me that after six weeks you feel as though you come out of a fog. However for me, I think that fog actually set in at six weeks and then I found my way at around three months. I guess it is so different for everyone, but for me, I felt that everyone almost expects first time parents to be living under a rock for the first few weeks. Living with a new baby, learning how to be parents, sleepless nights, breast feeding, poo explosions, crying, settling, doing the ‘mummy jig’. This was all expected to turn us into crazy people, and after a while we would see the light and everything would fall into place. You see for the first six weeks, people are around to help, food is cooked, ironing is lovingly completed and the general sympathy scale is pretty high. Not that you need anyone to feel sorry for you, heck it’s the most exciting time in the world! I just mean that people are there to lend a hand in so many ways, and the excitement of having your precious one here helps that adrenaline keep on pumping to get you through the sleepless nights and feelings of exhaustion. Ella was a pretty chilled out kid from the start and generally slept pretty well.

It was after six weeks that I felt my wheels fall off the wagon a little, as I guess we move on and you get used to this new life with this amazing new little person. See for me, it was when Ella became alert, slept less and started to go through ‘wonder weeks’ that I felt my confidence take a bit of a dive. I guess it’s when you have to step up and take the training wheels off that it becomes a little scary. I remember being really worried about rocking Ella to sleep and ‘setting her up’ to fail. Ella had spent the last six weeks falling asleep on us, and to be honest, we loved it so much we didn’t want to give it up. My husband doesn’t get home from work until about 7pm each night, so any bedtime routine didn’t start until then. There was so much information, so many do’s and don’ts that these few weeks really did my head in as I did what all new Mothers should NOT do – Google.

In my line of work (Deputy Principal of a Primary School) I often have to help solve problems with Technology. You can often hear me saying ‘Google is your friend’. In so many ways, it really is. For tid bits of info, online shopping etc it is a girl’s best friend. But once you jump online to find the answer to your parenting problem, coupled together with a lack of confidence, Google can transform you into a walking time bomb! My friend made a comment that made me put everything into perspective – if you want to find the answer you are looking for, there will be a page somewhere that says what you want to read. It’s so true – on so many parenting pages you can find, or not find what you want to read to reassure yourself. Rocking to sleep is fine, or not fine, your baby needs routine, but hold off if you want to. There is so much information out there – too much. Too many conflicting ideas and theories. For new parents it is hard enough to remember to have a shower! Seriously, I have found the best way to look at it all is to take it with a grain of salt. Talk to your friends and family.

Being the eldest children with the first grandchild on both sides of our family, Dan and I have no older siblings to give us valued advice. Our mates have simply gotten us through. And thank the Lord for them all! I remember the turning point for me was one Friday when I had just had lunch with my cousin Lisa (Mother of 1) and my friend Di (Mother of 2) the day before. They had reassured me that what I was doing was fine (ie. doing the Mummy Jig to get Ella to settle) and that things will slowly change if we try one new thing each day. Funnily enough, after I relaxed a little about what I was doing, Ella was able to self settle quite well and learnt to fall asleep whilst being put down awake in the cot. Since then, she has gone through periods of sleeping through the night, and now wakes again (much to her parents dismay). I guess the rule of thumb is to enjoy what you have whilst you have it. Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Someone sent me the above picture a while ago, and it is such great advice. Everyday may not be good, but there sure is something good in every day! With kids, nothing stays the same for very long. The old saying ‘this too shall pass’ applies to being a parent in so many ways. I hope that hard times pass quickly, but the great times stay around for a while!

I just hope that she doesn’t grow up too fast.

Solid Start

Solid Start

Let’s get one thing straight. Babies and solids is messy work. Very messy work. Starting solids should come with a warning – expect there to be more food on your child (and you), than in their tummy. I should have known this I guess, well in advance of Ella beginning solids. For some reason I thought it would be ok to feed her solids whilst wearing clothes that I would like her to stay in for the rest of the day. Nope. First time Mum fail. See I (naively) thought that something called a ‘bib’ would  neatly wrap around my child’s neck and conveniently catch any spit ups or bits of food that (for some reason) did not end up in the right place. Before Ella was born I even went out and bought her a few gorgeous bibs, hand made with loving care. Hindsight is a beautiful thing.

For months now, Ella has had a drawer of dozens of bibs, not being used. I also (naively) thought for a fleeting moment that maybe I wouldn’t need so many. How on earth could a child need so many bibs. Now that Ella has started solids….I understand why. Mess, mess and more mess. In fact, most of the bibs that I bought her just don’t cut it! New Mums should be warned against buying gorgeous little bibs with handmade embroidery and appliqué. The only advice you need is, buy big ones. The bigger the better. In fact, someone should make an outfit made out of giant bibs that Mums can slip onto their child before feeds and wip off into the wash afterwards. Now that would be money well spent! I’ve since learned that you can buy plastic ones and even one variety that has a large scoop like container on the front to catch all the mess. Wonderful! Something I would have liked to know a month ago!

Starting solids with babies is a confusing topic for most new mums. To start with, there is so much debate about when to start, how to start, what foods and when, how much, sweet or savoury, home made or bought, it’s enough to make you go batty! When Ella was born, the advice was six months. Now the advice is between four and six months. I had been looking for signs of readiness for a while…Ella watched us eat, was gnawing on everything (teething??) and lately has started waking in the night again for feeds after a somewhat blissful month of sleeping through the night. So starting solids was something that I thought would be fairly straight forward in that when she was ready, she would chow down like a master.

Let’s just say that I’ve worked out that it’s not as easy as that. For starters, we first gave her rice cereal and she did not seem interested in that one bit. Not that I blame her, it is disgusting stuff. So I mixed it with breast milk, then pears and tried to make the whole experience ‘fun’ for her. All I can say is that my little girl certainly hasn’t developed her appetite yet. She certainly enjoys the experience more with her Daddy. Yes, he thinks he is more fun than me! Don’t get me wrong, I love this new stage of her development, but at times it feels like a whole lot of hoop jumping! Steaming, stewing, blitzing, pureeing…all to end up on her shirt front. Needless to say for about a week, I was a little frustrated, and I’m sure Ella wasn’t far from it either.

Advice from friends has been a real blessing in terms of putting things in perspective and not rushing things. Every baby is so different. Focussing on introducing foods slowly to look for any allergies is really the basis for starting at this age. Since we started (about a month ago) she has now shown a real love of pears, but I guess she can’t survive on a sole diet of this sweet fruit in various forms. Pumpkin was next (much to her Daddy’s disgust) and she certainly shared his sentiments early on in the piece. My little pumpkin wore more on her face and clothes than anything. Today she ‘wolfed’ down sweet potato which is promising. I guess I’ll just continue to take it one day at a time and build up her taste buds and familiarity with using her mouth in this new way.

In the mean time, I’ll stock up on extra large bibs and lots of them.

A girl’s right to shoes

A girl’s right to shoes

In my last post I talked about the vast array of clothes that Ella has been given, and grown out of, all in a matter of five months. I talked about the amazing kids wear available at the moment, and how I have been outed by my husband as living my new fashion life through my baby girl. Well I can certainly say that this is correct when it comes to baby shoes. Ella’s feet are still a little too small to fit into most baby shoes out there, but this hasn’t stopped me accumulating seven pairs of gorgeous shoes for Ella’s little tootsies so far. At the moment, she can only fit into one pair, but that’s ok, it just means more shoes to grow into.

When my cousin had her first baby, I thought it would be a great idea to buy her a pair of gorgeous shoes that she could keep forever as a memory. They were beautiful little pink ballet slippers that looked as though the tippy toe had been dipped in silver. She loved them straight away and always talked about how people commented on how beautiful they were. I was so excited that when Ella was born, she came to see us in the hospital and presented her with her own very first pair of shoes. Beautiful red slippers with white polka dots. It was such a gorgeous thought, and something that I will keep for Ella long after she grows out of them. She is yet to grow into them, but once again, that’s ok. Something to look forward to.

My Aunty recently returned from a European holiday and brought back a very cool pair of baby Reebok’s, all the way from London. I must say that Dan and I were very excited about the idea of her running around with these on. It will be a few months away yet (hopefully) but when she finally finds her feet, I’m sure she will love running around in these cool runners! It will be so exciting to see the look on her face when she runs around like a crazy kid!

Then there are the beautiful black patent Mary Jane’s that my friend Liz gave her. Just like the beautiful grey coat, I cannot wait to see these beauties adorn her little toes. What a lucky girl Ella is to have a gorgeous pair of shiny black shoes to look forward to! The perfect accessory to any outfit! Now all we need is for her feet to grow a little more so she can fit into them!

So far, Ella has only worn one pair of shoes. A gorgeous daisy pair I bought for her myself. On the first day she wore them she kept her feet high up in the air for most of the day. I’m sure she wondered what these colourful things were on her feet. I’m sure she will get used to them quickly and develop her own sense of style!

Shoes are a wonderful present to give to new born babies. Such a gorgeous gift to keep for years to come, once their tootsies have grown too big, or they have worn them out. I’m sure Ella will be wearing out the soles of her shoes with all the running around she will be doing in a few months time!