Wednesday, May 29, 2013

If you go down in the woods today...

Its almost E's first birthday - I know, where on earth did 12 months go? and of course I couldn't resist theming his party. After a lot of debate with all the 'stakeholders' ... S, mum, my sister... and with options such as Sesame Street, Cars, Jungle Animals, Thomas the Tank all considered, we just couldn't go past mum's pick of ... A Teddy Bear's Picnic!

If you go down in the woods today,
You're sure of a big surprise.
If you go down in the woods today,
You'd better go in disguise.

For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain because
Today's the day the Teddy Bears have their picnic.

Every Teddy Bear who's been good
Is sure of a treat today.
There's lots of marvellous things to eat
And wonderful games to play.

Beneath the trees where nobody sees
They'll hide and seek as long as they please
'Cause that's the way the Teddy Bears have
their picnic.

If you go down in the woods today,
You'd better not go alone.
It's lovely down in the woods today,
But safer to stay at home.

For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain because
Today's the day the Teddy Bears have their picnic.

Picnic time for Teddy Bears...
The little Teddy Bears are having a lovely time today.
Watch them, catch them unawares,
And see them picnic on their holiday.

See them gaily gad about.
They love to play and shout.
They never have any care.

At six o'clock their Mummies and Daddies
Will take them home to bed,
Because they're tired little Teddy Bears.

I just love the book/song and it brings back such happy childhood memories so it seems a fitting way to celebrate E's big day.

We are hosting the party at our home over lunch for some 70 of our nearest and dearest ... the first birthday I think is such a milestone for not only E but for us as well and we want to celebrate it with all of our friends and family.

I've ordered this beautiful invitation from DelightPaperie   and as usual, I haven't been disappointed.

I've taken some inspiration from these posted over on a gorgeous blog called The Whimsical Wife ...

and my vision is a clear sunny Winter day (putting out the positive vibes now) and our backyard scattered with picnic rugs, cushions and teddy bears (E has at least 15 - firstborns' seem to get a lot of plush toys). We will put big cutout cardboard teddies on the fence (when I find some), string up patterned bunting and lanterns around the yard and have some patio heaters to ward off the chill.

I'm so excited to celebrate the most amazing year of our lives. E has truly turned our World upside down in every imaginable way and has brought us more love and joy than we ever dreamed possible. Knowing that we created such an amazing little person and having the privilege of teaching him and watching him grow is incomparable. Every day is different with something special to behold and every day with E is a blessing... even when we're really tired after being up all night with him :)

I'm not sure what we ever did with our time before E came along but I can honestly say, it wasn't even half as much fun!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

My new toy

I must say, Scott does spoil me and I'm very lucky ...

I have been ummming and ahhhhing over whether or not to buy a Kitchenaid mixer for what seems like forever now (years to be honest) but could never quite make a decision. A few months ago, I decided that I really did need a bench mixer but that it didn't have to be a KA - I just couldn't justify the price. With my first mother's day coming up, I decided to drop lots and lots of hints and make Scott's life easy. I researched like crazy, found several top options on sale, sent him pics and store details and waited patiently.

Mother's day comes and goes without a mixer. Imagine my shock after all my subtle (not) hints. Not wanting to appear ungrateful as I certainly was spoiled with my day spa gift, I remained silent but wondering why he didn't just get me the mixer (which was probably cheaper at sale price than the voucher).  Eventually it came up in our conversations and I asked Scott why he didn't get it for me for mother's day after all the hints. Sweetheart that he is told me he just expected me to buy one anytime I wanted and that he thought it would be beyond rude and chauvinistic to gift me a kitchen appliance on mother's day - awww bless.

So off I set to buy one of the mixers on my list. Turns out they weren't on sale anymore :( I did some more research and ended up negotiating a brilliant price on a highly reputed Sunbeam Planetary mixer (over $100 off). I paid for it then the store couldn't find any stock in their store or the other local one despite showing 5 on the computer... Finally after an hour of me waiting around, they offered a refund (kind of them). Ethan thankfully was in good spirits despite the stuff around but me, not so much, having to go home empty handed.

I was filling Scott in on the debacle that night when he told me to just go ahead and buy a KA if I really wanted to. We did some browsing online and came across some reasonable deals but while checking for local stockists, Scott realised he knew a store owner. After some quick wheeling and dealing with his friend, he came home from his soccer match the very next night with a shiny new empire red Kitchenaid!

After we decided to go ahead with a KA, the hardest part was trying to choose a colour! I love the cobalt blue, the pink, the apple green and the ice blue but I figured the silver and red options would be the most practical with any kitchen both now and in the future given it is designed to reside permanently on the bench. The red won out as Scott wants a red coffee machine when our current nespresso finally dies.

I can't wait to get cooking with it but don't know where to start - dinner rolls, brownies, cookies ... Do you have a KA or stand mixer? What is your favourite recipe to use it for?

Monday, May 20, 2013

A timely reminder to get your first aid skills up to date

Just a few week's ago, I experienced the most terrifying moment of my entire life. I am not exaggerating here as I am prone to do... even thinking about it now induces feelings of anxiety and panic and I am still unable to bath Ethan or even enter our downstairs bathroom for that matter just yet.

Ethan had been a little out of sorts one Sunday but still relatively happy, eating etc after a bit of a temp in the morning that came down easily with panadol. Fast forward to the early evening and he was a bit drowsy so instead of waiting for Scott to get home, I decided to bath him and get him to bed. We hopped in the bath together and he was playing although more subdued than usual when suddenly he went rigid, through his head back and started convulsing in my arms. I luckily recognised the convulsion and leapt out of the bath holding him and turned on the shower. The shower was freezing and slow to warm (I knew to put him under lukewarm water) so I grabbed my phone off the vanity (thank goodness I always have it nearby) and dialed 000. I fumbled to unlock and actually get it dialed while trying to calm myself and keep talking to E whose movements were slowing. I laid him on the bath mat when the convulsion stopped and put the phone on speaker ... Ethan started to turn blue while I was waiting for connection to the ambulance and I got down to check the rise and fall of his chest which is when I realised he wasn't breathing. I started mouth to mouth resuscitation, shouting at the operator in between breaths. After maybe 5 breaths, his colour started to return and I kept talking to him, patting him and he started breathing very shallowly.

He wouldn't respond to me but his eyes were open and he was making a sad little mewing sound so I wrapped him in a towel and raced to our room to get dressed all the while talking to the operator and reassuringly to Ethan. He continued to be unresponsive and was very drowsy, closing his eyes which terrified me. I threw on the first dress I could grab, picked up his baby bag and sat at the front door, shaking with fear. The ambulance seemed to take forever (at least 15 mins) and I alternated between tears, trying to stay in control, comforting Ethan/trying to keep him awake and shouting at the operator to please hurry up. I also had no way of contacting Scott as I had to stay on the line to the operator until the ambulance arrived.

After what felt like the longest wait, I met the ambulance at our driveway and they were very reassuring and comforting. They let me keep holding Ethan and strapped us onto the bed. I quickly called Scott, asking him not to panic but to please meet us at the hospital. He was around the corner so made it home just before we left and was able to reassure himself that Ethan was conscious at least. The paramedics applied monitoring equipment to Ethan  and his temperature spiked to 39.4 so they administered so panadol just in case it kept rising.

At the hospital, Ethan was assessed by the paed and monitored on breathing and heart rate monitors. Ethan dozed on and off on me while I finally broke down and sobbed the fear away to Scott. After about two hours there, I asked the paed if I could try and get Ethan to feed and she told me there was nothing better I could do than breastfeed him so I woke him gently and he cuddled in and fed slowly but well - looking back on that moment, it felt like the first moment he was put to my breast after he was born ... like it was all new but we both knew what to do. He brightened immensely after a long feed and his temperature came down steadily after awhile. It was also a great comfort for me to have that closeness with him after such a scary few hours.

It was ultimately decided that he had experienced a febrile convulsion which are relatively common in young children when their temperature spikes too high too fast for their little bodies. It can be linked to a virus but in this case was just one of those things as they could find no source of illness other than the temperature. He continued to have high temps on and off over the following days but they were responsive to panadol and nurofen and eventually passed altogether.

Thankfully he has been well since and shows no ill effects or signs so we can only hope we never have to go through that again. I on the other hand still have a little anxiety around the whole memory and still tear up just thinking about it let alone talking about it. I know that will fade but its still a little too raw and fresh for me. I can only be enormously grateful for my whole life of Surf Life Saving training and that I was able to keep a relatively calm head and recognised the convulsion for what it was. After this experience, I definitely encourage all parents to enroll in a first aid course or at least familiarise yourself with ailments that are common in childhood as you just never know when you will need the knowledge, even in your own home.

Friday, May 17, 2013

So, I'm not really a real estate girl anymore...

Such a fraud I know.

After almost 15 years in the real estate industry, I've recently changed jobs and in doing so, industry also. Its a positive new chapter in my life and there are several exciting developments coming up in the next 6-12 months ... life is very very good but I can't tell you anymore than that right now.

But don't worry, its not all changes and big announcements here. I'm still a shopaholic ... here are a few of my latest favourite purchases:

The black skort and  jogging blazer in navy from Zara

In other news, I'm also selling Tupperware in all of my spare time. I have always been addicted to the pretty plastics of Tupperware - stems from my mother I'm sure who was a Tupperware dealer when I was small. My sister and I have never been able to resist the stuff and our houses are full of it. I've also never minded hosting or going to parties - I think its a great excuse to catch up with girlfriends (even if only 2 come) and you always get something free. On this basis, I also figured it wouldn't be a bad thing to earn some extra discretionary spending money that I can use to support my shopping... dressing Ethan is expensive when you shop as much as me ha ha. Turns out I'm a pretty good salesperson still and despite not pushing it at all (maybe during next round of mat leave), I have topped the group sales a few times, won a kitchen full of gadgets and goods (including the Compact Cookware set and the knife set) and made some $$. Its a win win I tell you plus Tupperware have some brilliant products I have come to love more than ever since having a baby in the house. Things like the fridge smarts which lengthen the life of chopped watermelon to days not hours and the good old Modular Mates that have my pantry looking organised when the rest of my house is chaos or even my mandochef which makes chips and salads fun and easy.

Are you a Tupper-addict? What's your favourite piece?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

My first Mother's Day

My first Mother's Day dawned early ... Ethan was up 'ma ma ma' ing at the crack of dawn. Being Mother's Day, Scott very kindly took him and let me stay snuggled in bed for an extra couple of hours - bliss... especially on a cold miserable morning. I was then spoilt with breakfast in bed, a Bucks Fizz' and cuddles with both my boys.

Scott and Ethan bought me a beautiful card each (Scott out does himself with thoughtful cards and messages) and a 5 hour day spa voucher to enjoy in the coming weeks.

We had a packed schedule for the day with my first Mother's Day well and truly hijacked by two of my three little nieces so there was no time for a leisurely slow start once breakfast was eaten. It was time to shower, dress the boy (in the cutest little Country Road outfit I had bought him - my mother & Scott wanted him to wear something else but as I told them, 'he will wear what I decide, because I'M THE MOTHER' ha ha) and get all the gifts we had to tote around ready.

First stop at 10am was our niece's naming day at my in-laws home. It was a lovely ceremony with little Mollie looking very sweet in a party dress. Scott was godfather and I read a beautiful poem during while Ethan chased the dog and performed for all the guests - he laps up attention. We had time to stay after for a quick catchup with Scott's parents, aunt & uncle and his cousin and cousin's wife who is due anyday now with their first baby - a boy. It was lovely to speak with the soon to be mama and answer her questions, reassure her and generally offer some support. Before too long, it was time to hand out gifts and head off to our next event.

Royal Doulton Disney Minnie Mouse set for our niece

Kiehls gift pack for mother in law 

Stop 2 was my eldest niece's first birthday at her grandparents' (my sis in laws) property. There was a jumping castle, chickens, bird aviary ... Ethan was in heaven. It was also a lovely to catch up with all of our family and friends over a BBQ lunch. My sister and I enjoyed a bottle of Moet with lunch in celebration of our first Mothers Day ... which led to some dutch courage that came in handy.

The boys (my brothers, brother in law and friends) had decided to set up a super sized slip and slide in the yard as it was the perfect slope and length. We all watched on in laughter and then Karly and I, not to be outdone by the boys in the family, decided to give them a run for their money. In some borrowed swimmers, Karly and I (and soon after, my sis in law) were slipping and sliding with the boys much to everyone's surprise - well, not really surprise given we are known to jump to a challenge. Ethan came down a few times with me  as well and thought it was hilarious whereas the birthday girl wasn't so sure.

We (my sis and I & families) gifted birthday girl a ltd edition glitter Cozy Coupe 

Twas the night before Mother's Day book & Les Miserables DVD set for my mum
The afternoon ended on a very high note and we headed home to bath a very worn out little boy who fell asleep almost instantly.

My father and our best friend (and Ethan's godfather) joined us for a delicious dinner cooked by Scott - garlic pepper chicken with green beans and jasmine rice - and I promptly fell asleep after I finished eating waiting for 60 minutes to come on.

What a fabulous Mothers Day with wonderful memories made.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The light at the end of the tunnel

I know I must be the World's most unreliable blogger ...but to be honest, as amazing as life has been since we had Ethan, its been pretty tough too and I have found myself with very little time or motivation to blog.

Becoming a mother is pretty much the most incredible life changing experience... it's pretty lonely at times too. The spontaneity is gone from my life for the most part and with that, so have a few friends it seems. For a long period there during pregnancy and early days with a new baby, I felt very isolated (not in a postnatal way) from my former life and I was saddened by the shift even whilst being happier than I ever thought possible.

10 months on (I know, TEN MONTHS) and its not all doom and gloom though as one of my most important friendships has grown and cemented even further ... my sister and I have never been closer and she is my best and brightest cheerleader. I've also been lucky enough to connect with an amazing group of women and mothers across Australia that provide me with unquestioning support, friendship and advice. I've had the pleasure to meet a lot of them and their beautiful children in real life and look forward to meeting everyone else at some stage.

E's silent reflux continues to affect him (and subsequently us) but is manageable with the prescribed Losec which reduces the acid in his tummy and provides no other side effects. He loves food and I think I've mentioned previously, he took to it from its first introduction and continues to be a curious eater with a healthy appetite. We have realised that even now, we have to avoid acidic foods like tomato, citrus and yoghurt which still cause a flare up in his reflux and this can be harder than it would seem given tomato/tomato puree is used in quite a lot of cooking and means I have to get a bit more inventive in his meals. One of his favourites at the moment are homemade hamburger patties ... I use ground beef, a little sausage mince to keep it moist (beef dries out too much on its own), an egg and lots of grated vegies (carrot, zucchini etc). I make up a big batch and freeze them in mini portions as meatballs then we just defrost a serve as needed, pan fry them and serve. Ethan can't get enough of them. He's at a great age in his development where we can take him out for meals and give him samples of our plate ... we had a lot of fun a few Sunday's ago where he enjoyed a dumpling dinner with us and was a huge fan of the shredded duck and bean sprouts.

E remains a terrible sleeper, waking often during the night and difficult with daytime naps - some days are better than others. To this end, we are doing what works for our little family and what feels right to us... we  bf to sleep, co-sleeping and comforting as required. Its hard sometimes and disruptive to our sleep but we figure he is only going to be this young and dependent for such a short time in scheme of things and so to make the most of the extra cuddles. We are not entirely comfortable with 'training' him and prefer gentle methods. This is an entirely personal choice and its so important for families to do what works best for them without judgement from others. One of the sleep advisors I do have an affinity with is Dr Jay Gordon. His methods seem reassuring -

As Ethan grows, he changes so rapidly and last week things were looking very bleak as far as sleep whereas just this week, we are seeing some improvements and are getting more sleep overnight. His wakeups vary but some mornings (like today), we are lucky enough to get a sleep in till 7am.

Life is very very good overall and I have many blessings to be thankful for. Hopefully you will hear more of me in coming days as I have my first Mother's Day to post about including sharing some antics we got up to - my sister and I mixed it up with the boys and showed that motherhood hasn't made us boring ... pics included :)