Thursday, August 29, 2013

Creative Gifting for Father's Day

A lovely and clever friend inspired me to start a photo tradition for Scott so I thought, why not for the Granddads' too? I love that it is a theme we can follow through every year and include any future munchkin in. This is what Scott's frame looked like while the Granddads' frames had the first pic of E holding a G and a D for G'DAD.

It turned out well enough given how difficult my little subject was. He alternated between tossing the letters - one smashed on my toes and made me think I'd broken something - and having to be enticed to come inspect it if I placed it upright on the ground, taking joy in knocking it over as per the middle picture. 

I am hoping this will be the hardest age to get the shots as I expect next year I can just explain to him what I am doing and hopefully more cooperation will be forthcoming. I'm not the best photographer as evidenced here and this project really brought home how much better an SLR camera would be (fast shutter speed) but I'm pretty happy with how the pictures capture this age and the seriousness of him right now more than anything.

We have added this to our shorts, book and Hot Dad pack so Scott has done pretty well for Father's Day I think. Now just to figure out what we are going to do on the day ... S is working for some of it so we might end up with breakfast out and then my dad for dinner.

What did you get dad for Father's Day?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Organisation and baby's wardrobe

I was really excited to receive a suggested blogging topic this week via my twitter inbox ... I love to write and blog but sometimes thinking up what to talk about stumps me. If you have any suggestions or questions, please send them through!!

This may be a boring post to some but it might just help other mums out there... wardrobe organisation and keeping on top of it given babies need a new wardrobe every 2-3 months (or more) in those early years.

First things first, if you are drowning in clothes (like we do thanks to shopaholic mumma and grammy), separate everything into size and then type of garment - so all your 0000, 000, 00, 0 etc separated by size sorted into neat piles of onesies, shirts and shorts etc.

I must add, I'm paranoid about furniture in E's room after reading a horror story in an Australia newspaper about a 2 year old and a chest of drawers so given E has a built in robe in his room,  I prefer plastic drawers hidden in the cupboard and big heavy hard to move shelving unit for toys and books etc.

The plastic drawers aren't particularly pretty but are hidden away nicely and labelled to help my husband find things and actually dress our boy in a public appropriate outfit. Given we are between seasons and using both Winter and Summer wardrobes (Winter in 0/1 and Summer in 1), our labels are something like this:

  • Hats, socks
  • Singlets, undersuits, bodysuits
  • Daycare clothes - this includes a range of shorts, tees and l/sleeve tees that are all labelled & can be worn for DC and messy play 
  • Leggings, tracksuit pants sz0
  • Tracksuit sets sz0
  • Pants, Jeans sz0
  • Shorts sz1/12-18m
  • Boardshorts, rashsuits/vests
  • Winter pjs & onesies sz0
  • Summer pjs sz1
I hang all of E's tees, shirts, vests, coats, sets and short sleeved play onesies so we can see them therefore we use them. I have them divided into type, sleeve length and colour - very OCD of me I know. I found if they were in a drawer, Scott would just use whatever was on top and E was growing out of clothes before wearing them as anything at the back or bottom was never used.

For me, I have found the best and easiest way to shop a  wardrobe for E is to buy in bulk seasonally from one place during sales time for the following year and add a few extra pieces along the way. Its easy to put together a capsule wardrobe this way as most places concentrate on a colour palette so everything ends up mixing and matching. For example, this Summer, a lot of Ethan's basic wardrobe is from Pumpkin Patch. I bought about 14 pieces this time last year including tees, shorts, overalls and shirts in a range of blues with orange, lime and or yellow so almost all are interchangeable as sets. This saves me when I'm out shopping and think 'oh, I'll just get that shirt' only to come home and find E already has 5 shirts for Summer. This way I know I have the basics and just add to it as I see something I love - like the Sooki pieces when a sale comes up.

I keep all the next season's items I buy in a plastic box in E's wardrobe and in the last month of the season when the weather typically changes here, during Ethan's nap I pull it out, arrange it and cull the existing wardrobe as necessary. This August, I found almost all E's size 0 l/s tees were too short over his little belly so removed all but a few of the bigger ones while all his pants and leggings are still great length and width wise so remain in a drawer labelled accordingly.

I usually pull my favourite pieces out of the culled pile (a Nike onesie or Sooki set) and if its still in good condition, I pop it in a box I'm saving for baby #2 in case its a boy. All the rest that hasn't been worn and washed to death goes to my mum for sorting and storing - she keeps it all for my sis and I so we don't need to re-buy absolutely everything next time around.

I've been pretty lucky size wise as E has been spot on in sync with seasons and sizing, at 0000 when born in June then 000 for Winter/early Spring, 00 for Summer and 0 for this Winter into 1s for Summer. Therefore I have been able to time his wardrobe refreshes/replacements with the seasons.

I find keeping up E's wardrobe is constant job and I usually spend 10 mins in there every weekend rotating outfits or re-ordering things while E has a play in his room.

As I mentioned, I'm a little OCD with E (and my) wardrobe so I hope this might offer some helpful tips to others.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I was filling Scott in on the Christmas shopping I've done so far for our nieces and he has asked for my wishlist given my birthday is coming up fast and Christmas is not far behind it. He likes to be organised too he tells me.

Inspired by a blogging trend at the moment, here is my Wishlist: Want Need Read and Wear...







Its a pretty ambitious list as I got a bit carried away on Polyvore ha ha ... and to be realistic, my sister will get me the beauty stuff from the US when she is there in October, the books will be stocking stuffers from family at Christmas, the house items won't be needed until we buy our home (hopefully the right one comes up before Christmas), the car is due to happen anytime now and the clothes I will probably buy in coming weeks.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Monthly update: 14 months

Age: 14 Months

Stats: we actually had him weighed last week and he has dropped slightly to 11kgs in weight (only a 320g drop) which I would say comes from how active he is now and I can tell he's a little taller as his size 0 tops are too short to cover his belly now.

Clothes: my baby is in size 1 and/or 12-18 month clothes. I just sorted his wardrobe out AGAIN as the weather is warming up so much here and removed all the size 0s and added his new Summer wardrobe to the mix.

Favorite Foods: the biggest hits are still cheese and blueberries but other favourites include homemade cheese & vegemite twists, nah nah nah nahs (bananas), grapes and yoghurt ... he especially goes crazy for the squeezy packs.

Favorite Words: Gah gah gah gah ... rising in volume with each gah = ta/please/give me. Bye-bye is said to everyone when he is ready to leave somewhere, walking out of a room to his toys or wants someone to leave ... cheeky boy. Dadadadada is also the other big one here this month... it took him forever to say it and then rarely used so Scott is lapping up it all this month. Lots of sounds happening too - growling at lion/tiger toys, car/motorbike sounds, meowing for cats and barking/woof woof for dogs. Imitation and mimicking too has started so S has been put on notice to watch his language and choice of words.

Favorite Activities: diving onto soft things whether it be a pile of pillows, a doona, the lounge cushions or washing I'm sorting - he throws himself at it and looks up giggling and grinning. Swings at the park are also a big hit and he grins like crazy, throwing his head back. Dancing and music are still number one though and we now say 'dance' and he starts moving about the place or does the actions to Dr Knickbocker and Galumph Went the Little Green Frog - my mum takes him to Rhyme Time on Wednesdays and he is in heaven.

Least Favorite Activities: having the remotes/phone etc taken off him and mummy not picking him up RIGHT NOW. These both lead to all out tantrums including throwing himself on the floor or running off to hide in his tent.

His Favorite Things: his Fisher Price drum set - he sits and plays for ages with it, Fisher Price red wagon & peek a blocks, books still - anything with lift up flaps and trucks/vehicles, puzzles although he has no idea where the pieces go he tries to fit them of just likes tipping them up, CAT shape sorter truck - he loves dumping the toys out of the tray, jumbo talking Elmo - he cuddles it when it says 'You're Elmo's best friend'.

My Favorite Things: Boon feeding pieces - catcha bowl & plate, fluid bottle and utensils. Quackers strawberry crackers and sultanas - perfect snacks for on the go and E loves them. Love to Dream Inventa sleeping bag - perfect weight for night temps here and adjustable vents mean it will still work leading into warmer weather. Skip Hop whale kneeler - I thought this was a silly overdoing it product but picked it up on sale for $5 and its the best $5 spent in a while as it saves mine & S' knees on a nightly basis for bath time. Playschool music CDs -  E loves any and all music and I love remembering all the old ones my mum sung to me and singing them to him.

Signature Moves: Royal waving - seriously, he has the wrist action down pat and is very regal. His run - it involves a waddle and a hand waving all at once.

Mom's Proudest Moment:  taking him to the park to play, he tripped and looked fine then opened his mouth to scream and out came the pour of blood - he put his teeth through his lip. I was more upset than him in the end.

Dad's Proudest Moment: Scott was getting E ready for bed and E reached up & leaned in to give him a kiss at the same time Scott whipped his head around ... big headbutt followed by screams and tears. Scott felt awful

Other Milestones: walking down the stairs like a big boy - no more backwards for him, figuring out going forwards on his ride on truck, walking backwards - this is super cute as he does it with his red wagon that plays music and he walks backwards and forwards to the music. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

I've done it again ... completed my Christmas shopping for E and the nieces already - and its only August! I'm on a roll from last year I guess and its so nice to have it out of the way which leaves only my parents, Scott and his parents to buy for - talk about easy!

E is getting so far ... I say so far as Scott is a notorious Christmas shopper and keeps going right up till Christmas eve:

The table and chair set is practical as he will be at about the age to sit at his own little table for drawing and eating come Christmas while the Little People set he has is a hit now and I think will be more so at 18 months. The Fridge Phonics set is a great learning toy that goes on the fridge and helps with alphabet and letter sounds - unfortunately Leap Frog have discontinued the set but I picked this one up new in the box on eBay. Scott is obsessed with being able to 'shoot hoops' with E as he gets bigger so tells me the Little Tikes hoop is a necessity. E loves music and instruments so the B. Parum drum/instrument set is going to be a big hit with him I know for sure. The books are all Mem Fox because let's face it, she has some wonderful stories with great sentiment that we can read over and over. The only left to add is some fun pieces for his stocking as far as I'm concerned - what are some good options on this for an 18 month old? I am liking the idea of a children's electric toothbrush... thoughts?

Gifts for the nieces - I won't tell you who is getting what to keep some mystery in case anyone stumbles across this:

These are the main gifts for the girls but no doubt I will come across a few odds and ends between now and Christmas to add to the lot... things like DVDs, books and stocking stuffers.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Spring wardrobe

This is what I'll be wearing come Spring - brights and mostly shorts (practical for chasing an active little boy here there and everywhere). I have most of these already but will be getting the watch for my birthday and more coloured J Crew tees and MAC lipstick when my sis heads to the US in October.

What's on your list for Spring?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

E and I had a near perfect weekend ... poor S worked most of it.

My Friday kicked off perfectly with an early finish, and delivery of a new washing machine. I have to say, I am a little excited. Its a Beko - which I'm reliably informed is a regarded UK brand) - and a front loader ... I've only ever had and used top loaders. It also has a million different settings from pet hair removal (we don't have a pet) to a dedicated jeans setting. It then only got better over sangria and Mexican with my two favourite ladies while E and S had a boys night in.

Saturday was a perfect Queensland Winter's day with 25d temps and clear blue skies so E and I got out to make the most of it. First up, we did a local 'roadside' with my sister to support our local MP and E was loving being a part of the horn toots and waving ... here he is doing his bit for a better stronger Australia (in his Hawaiian shirt my friend gifted him from the Bahama's).

Exhausted by all the socialising, we headed home for nap time read E slept and I did housework and sorted out his enormous summer wardrobe

When the tiny dictator woke up, we went to meet my dad and all headed to the Botanical gardens to feed the ducks, have a play on the swings and slide and a picnic lunch. I hadn't been for years and now I wonder why as the park was just gorgeous, full of ducks and eels and children and families. Its definitely on our weekend haunts list now though and E had just the absolute best time imaginable, toddling around with a huge grin on his face chasing ducks and giving his granddad a run for his money. It was one of those perfect moments and it reminded me of the message I wrote on my dad's father's day card last year which was his first as a granddad - 'The only thing better than having you as a dad, is knowing my children have you as their granddad.' Its so true in my case.

We headed out for brekky Sunday morning before S went to work and E was a little superstar. He was so happy to be out and about people watching (he's a real sticky-beak) and sat happily in his highchair eating bits of our meals. Sadly S headed to work and the boss and I went home for his nap. After nap time I met up with a friend at another local park for a run around ... E just wants so badly to be a big boy and I was constantly redirecting him to the 1-4yo play ground rather than the 4 plus.

Sunday afternoon was the best part of the weekend as we got to catch up with one of my favourite families. S has been friends with T & N for many years and I hit it off with them as soon as we met - before children. They have 2 of the most gorgeous children I have ever met and catching up with them is always an absolute pleasure.  Time literally flies and 4 hours goes in the blink of an eye (like yesterday). Their children are almost 4 and 2 and they absolutely adore 'baby Ethan'. Their little boy often tells E, 'you're my best friend baby Ethan' and last night both insisted on sitting next to next to him while they ate dinner. E was in his element dancing with them to Hi 5 then insisted on a sippy of milk while they had theirs - even though he doesn't have bottles. N and I had a great time catching up over several glasses of wine while feeding and entertaining children as the guys made us pizzas for dinner. 4 hours literally flew and we barely took a breath - I couldn't have  picked a better way to end my weekend than with these guys. I love having great friends like this where we can enjoy a casual dinner and catchup with the children running around over a cheeky vino.

Monday, August 12, 2013

I wrapped up a busyish end to the past week with a day spent at my 'other' office... the beautiful Parliament House in Brisbane. The day was ridiculously entertaining with news of Beattie being parachuted into a Queensland seat for the Federal election meaning Question Time was particularly rambunctious. Indeed, I felt like clapping the LNP ministers on several occasions for their quick wit and clever answers. I also had the pleasure of hosting some delightful young community leaders on behalf of my boss for lunch in the members dining room. It is so reassuring to know there are some switched on youth out there and a rare opportunity to spend time with them.

Now on to the bigger issues ... I think I mentioned in my teething post (or maybe I didn't) that with Ethan's teething, we have been going through a fussy stage with his dinners. I'm finding textures are a big thing for him at the moment and he is spitting out anything grainy like rice, quinoa and the like. I'm having to be really on my game in this case with a few options up my sleeve. A typical dinner might be some steamed fish marinated with lemon & olive oil, some quinoa with brown rice & herbs, a combination of veg and some fruit pieces or a beef casserole slow cooked with extra veg mixed through. A fail safe lately is a boiled egg but also I've been making up a batch of pumpkin soup tweaked for E (no salt etc) that I freeze into cubes. If I'm having trouble getting him to eat steamed veg or rice, I defrost a cube, stir it through his steamed veg and he is more inclined to eat it.

I'm looking forward to getting more creative with his dinners after this fussiness passes with some themed tasting plates, shapes and the like. Its important to me to ensure E has a good attitude towards food with an emphasis on it being enjoyable, colourful and tasty. I don't ever want meals to be a battle ground and I think a good approach now sets up good habits for the future.

Dinner time is also getting more and more messy as E exerts his independence by wanting to feed himself. In my research of mummy blogs, I came across Boon feeding products. Toys R Us was having a 25% off sale on them so I snapped up most of the range and so far they have been a great investment. The bowl and place both suction to the table and have a 'catcha' silicon piece I arrange so its directly under E eliminating an enormous amount of mess. The cutlery is great too as its soft and has a bendy head allowing you to position the head to the left or right - as little people haven't figured out the placement of spoon/fork to lips and tend to go from the side. A sippy cup was also part of the range and always looking for a new better option, I added it to my bag. It doesn't leak when held upside down, is impossibly hard to sip out of for me but E seems to love it and have no troubles. Its also well designed for little hands to hold and looks pretty cute too. I'm something of an expert on sippy cups if my collection is anything to go by - I should note though, I got lucky as E happily drinks from all of these but I tend to mix it up for him due to location vs spillage (at home or on the go) and so he can learn the new techniques each offers like sucking through a straw.

What's your go to sippy cup and any tasting plate recs to share?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Father's Day is coming up fast and this year for Scott, I have already sorted out gifts from Ethan and I.

We have so far:

The book, Because Your Daddy Loves You - Ethan loves reading and stories so this is a special one they can share.

Super Dry cargo shorts - a little more fun than his usual block colour options and just in time for the warmer weather. 

A Hottest Dad pack filled with his favourite gourmet hot sauce - I totally borrowed this idea from one of my favourite blogs, 'Little Baby Garvin' as its such a fun, practical and inexpensive idea that I know will be well received given Scott's penchant for spicy and hot.

Scott's ideal gift would be another baby but as I explained to him, we have a house move in our immediate future (when we find the right one to buy) and we still haven't slept through the night since E was born so give me a few months.

To celebrate, we will probably go out for brunch with my family and then dinner with Scott's family... it seems inevitable our celebrations will be hijacked by family events for the foreseeable future but that's okay. 

Some other great options for dad's out there include:

And here's some pics from last night of the little guy who gave us a reason to celebrate father's day and made Scott a daddy...

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Beautiful reminders for a beautiful life

I am reposting this from a beautiful blog, 'and this bag was, like, dancing with me' - read more here...

1. push yourself to get up before the rest of the world - start with 7am, then 6am, then 5:30am. go to the nearest hill with a big coat and a scarf and watch the sun rise.

2. push yourself to fall asleep earlier - start with 11pm, then 10pm, then 9pm. wake up in the morning feeling re-energized and comfortable. 

3. erase processed food from your diet. start with no lollies, chips, biscuits, then erase pasta, rice, cereal, then bread. use the rule that if a child couldn’t identify what was in it, you don’t eat it.

4. get into the habit of cooking yourself a beautiful breakfast. fry tomatoes and mushrooms in real butter and garlic, fry an egg, slice up a fresh avocado and squirt way too much lemon on it. sit and eat it and do nothing else. 

5. stretch. start by reaching for the sky as hard as you can, then trying to touch your toes. roll your head. stretch your fingers. stretch everything.

6. buy a 1L water bottle. start with pushing yourself to drink the whole thing in a day, then try drinking it twice.

7. buy a beautiful diary and a beautiful black pen. write down everything you do, including dinner dates, appointments, assignments, coffees, what you need to do that day. no detail is too small.

8. strip your bed of your sheets and empty your underwear draw into the washing machine. put a massive scoop of scented fabric softener in there and wash. make your bed in full.

9. organise your room. fold all your clothes (and bag what you don’t want), clean your mirror, your laptop, vacuum the floor. light a beautiful candle.

10. have a luxurious shower with your favourite music playing. wash your hair, scrub your body, brush your teeth. lather your whole body in moisturiser, get familiar with the part between your toes, your inner thighs, the back of your neck.

11. push yourself to go for a walk. take your headphones, go to the beach and walk. smile at strangers walking the other way and be surprised how many smile back. bring your dog and observe the dog’s behaviour. realise you can learn from your dog.

12. message old friends with personal jokes. reminisce. suggest a catch up soon, even if you don’t follow through. push yourself to follow through.

14. think long and hard about what interests you. crime? sex? boarding school? long-forgotten romance etiquette? find a book about it and read it. there is a book about literally everything. 

15. become the person you would ideally fall in love with. let cars merge into your lane when driving. pay double for parking tickets and leave a second one in the machine. stick your tongue out at babies. compliment people on their cute clothes. challenge yourself to not ridicule anyone for a whole day. then two. then a week. walk with a straight posture. look people in the eye. ask people about their story. talk to acquaintances so they become friends.

16. lie in the sunshine. daydream about the life you would lead if failure wasn’t a thing. open your eyes. take small steps to make it happen for you.
The Gold Coast turned on a perfect Winter day for us this weekend so E and I got out and made the most of it. I had to 'work' on Saturday morning at the local Farmers Markets ... where I may or may not have got in to a heated debate with the local Labor candidate. In fairness, I only wanted to know what benefits there would be directly to my family if we voted Labor... they couldn't answer and instead descended into quite the attack on me.

That's beside the point though... the local Farmers Markets were fabulous and I snapped up the most delicious produce including pears and apples all the way from Stanthorpe, strawberries picked that morning and delicious packages of quinoa meals with various herbs and spices - I got a Satay and a Herb/Olive one. These are going to be ideal for work lunches I see or dinner with some grilled chicken. (I'll post the brand details when I get home)

I took E home for a nap ... poor poppet was exhausted from running all over the markets with Grammy and Granddad and then we ducked out to the shops so I could pick up a few things. E of course had to walk everywhere and thought it was hilarious to climb into the clothing racks and hide. I had to abandon the pram more than once to chase him as he made his escape from me amongst fits of giggles. He really is just a such a super fun interactive age and while its exhausting, its completely delightful too.

Spent the afternoon with my dad and sis at my parents' house having happy hour, helping dad with some chores and playing with the babies ... we dressed E up in a tutu much too dad and Scott's disgust. E wasn't too sure about it himself, pulling at it but I figure its a good one for his 21st.

Saturday was a quiet night in (I made S watch GI Joe Retaliation - not bad, not great) and Sunday was another perfect day so E and I did some cleaning, he had a nap and then we headed to Burleigh park to meet my sis, niece, brother and his girlfriend. Traffic and people were crazy and parking was a nightmare but we got there eventually and E had a fabulous time on the playground equipment before settling down for a relaxed picnic with fish and chips and slurpees in the shade. He also set out to meet as many people in the park as possible, walking up to random groups to babble, wave and point.

Rounded out Sunday night with my dad over for a roast dinner then some baking ... this is an old favourite I used to make when I was young from the Women's Weekly Beautiful Biscuits book - Cheese Twists. Super simple, just puff pastry plaited then brushed with egg white and sprinkled with cheese and paprika. I add a brush of vegemite too and they are delicious. A great snack on the go for Scott, E and I - I may have already eaten 2 today.

I have some citrus and passionfruits I really need to use up so was thinking of doing some cupcakes tonight unless anyone has any better ideas.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Let's talk teeth

Ethan cut his first teeth with the bottom 2 coming through in January of this year (6/7 months). It was not my favourite part of breast feeding as he was keen to test those chompers out at any opportunity on anything that was put in his mouth, including my poor nipples. Indeed it got so bad with him actually breaking the skin several times and drawing blood that I seriously considered weaning. 

Each time he bit down early on, I would try not to react (scream) and pull him off, look firmly at him, say no and put him down and end the feed. This would lead to hysterical crying and a very hard to calm baby more often than not. Instead, I found it worked better for me to be hyper-vigilant (after getting so lazy and not having to pay any attention to the actual process since the early days) and ensure he was latched and feeding properly and if not, to take him off before he had the chance to start playing and clamp down. A little persistence with this and thankfully the biting ended.

From those first 2 teeth, the top 2 followed very quickly and then the others just seem to keep coming. At 1 he has some 8 teeth and right now is cutting the first of his top 2 and bottom 2 molars ... yep, that's right, 4 molars at once! 

Now I don't think we have had too hard a time with teething up until now ... but honestly, E is such a bad sleeper anyway, who would know... but OH MY GOODNESS, these molars are giving us hell! Not since our early days of reflux have we seen E react with such pain. He has gone right off his food, only taking cold fruits and anything pureed or very soft (boiled eggs are a good one) and he is having fits of pain involving arching and writhing where he won't calm until we get panadol or nurofen into him and even then it takes a lot of soothing. Unfortunately the worst of this is happening at 3/4am EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.

Needless to say, Scott and I are shattered with exhaustion at the moment and its a real struggle to get up and get going in the morning. The worst part though is watching E go through this pain ... I checked inside his mouth yesterday and you can see the whites have started to cut through - I imagine it must be awfully painful. 

Here are my tips for teeth and teething:

Very early on, my mother gave us a Playgro pack featuring baby toothbrush and gum massagers (the one pictured) and suggested starting E on a routine of brushing his teeth... as in from 6/8 weeks. I did think it was a little silly but we just incorporated it at bath time and he loved clamping down on those massagers when he was cutting his teeth. Fast forward to 6/7 months and he happily started brushing his own teeth in the bath. I keep a brush for him in our holder too and every morning when I brush my teeth, he joins me and does his. We only use the brush and water but will look at starting him on a low fluoride paste soon. Its never too early to start good habits I guess and I'm really grateful my mother set us up for this. I hear you can also start just using a wet face washer on gums and new teeth too.

When food refusal happens, get creative to get the good stuff into them - E this week had finely chopped carrots and noodles mixed in baby fruit gel and mini veg muffins packed with zucchini, mushroom, carrot & cheese then spread with hommus. I make big batches of baby-friendly pumpkin soup and freeze it in cubes then add a defrosted cube to his steamed veg &/or pasta &/or meat if he wont take it sometimes due to texture or taste. We also have our go to banana and strawberries very finely chopped in apple puree refrigerated and boiled eggs - especially good when you can't get any meat into them.

Teething toys are mostly a waste of time in our experience ... we have them all from the Nuby long lasting keys, Sophie giraffe to the dummy shaped ones. Best I found for soothing sore gums was a good old wet face washer kept in the freezer and the Nuby nibbler filled with cold melon or pear.

Teething gels can be good but need regular application. We have the Hylands gel and it seems to give some relief but only lasts a short time. I have heard good things about the Hylands teething tabs (dis-solvable under the tongue) but we haven't tried them and I also have the Brauers Teething Relief Remedy but haven't seen much response if any to it.

Keep panadol and nurofen on hand... its especially handy at 4am and it really does give relief where nothing else does. Ethan unfortunately has suddenly decided he doesn't like medicine though (after a year of easily and happily lapping up his reflux meds) so getting 6-8ml of panadol into him is quite the battle, especially as he is quite big and strong now. To combat this, I either have to tip him up on my lap and put the dropper towards the back of his mouth or wrap him in a towel/blanket to pin his arms and legs then get it into the side of his mouth.

Remember, it only lasts a short while ... well around 2 years but that's not long in the scheme of things and then you have to figure out what the going rate is for the Tooth Fairy!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Planning and keeping on top of things

So, going back to work full time after having E meant I had to be super organised - even more than usual - just to keep on top of the basics. Lucky for me, I love lists and planning ... and trust me, both are vital to having any sense of order among the chaos.

It can be really hard and draining juggling the roles of wife, mother/mother to be and employee along with all the other responsibilities we have so this is where organisation is key to helping you keep the majority of balls in the air the majority of time while keeping your sanity.

For starters, I use a weekly planner on our fridge to track all appointments etc for the 3 of us including swimming lessons for Ethan, Scott's weekly soccer games, work events, social occasions, dr & dentist check-ups and Ethan's movements (which grandmother he is with & what their plans are). The Kikki K weekly planner is a simple inexpensive option that I use.

Menu planning is a big part of keeping it altogether too and while I don't necessarily like to be locked into one thing - if it says chicken, I guarantee I want beef - I have a running list on my ipad 'notes' with meals on rotation. From that list, I choose 12 dinners each fortnight and grocery shop for those. I then choose one each morning for that night and delete it from the list - it’s a bit more flex and easier to stick to than forward planning each night. It minimises waste and it means that after a long day at work followed by E's dinner, bath, bed routine, we aren't left at 8pm at night trying to figure out what to cook and either having toast or not eating till 9pm.

My ipad 'notes' is a life saver as my mini is always with me (prior, I just used my iPhone 'notes)' and I keep a 'to do' list in there for the week and under each day, I keep record of what I have on, calls I need to make, reminders to get/bring and I write one or two chores - ie. washing, strip the bed, vacuum etc so that if all else fails, I get one main piece of housework done and it’s not so overwhelming as trying to get it all done on the weekend or a day when E doesn't sleep or cooperate ... it also makes me feel good to delete off the list once something is done, makes me feel like I'm getting somewhere and less overwhelmed. 

I also keep running lists in 'notes' of present ideas for family and friends etc, groceries, ideas for social occasions (E's first birthday for example), what I need to sell on ebay, what I need to buy for home or our wardrobes, movies I want to see/download, songs to download, my wish list, restaurants I like or want to try, makeup info - what shade in what brand for foundations... you get the idea, yes I love lists.

Prep both bub's and your outfit the night before and even think about what you are all going to have for breakfast! I cannot stress this enough! There is nothing worse than the alarm not going, bub sleeping in for a change or the power going off (yes, this has all happened to me) and you are standing around in your wardrobe dithering over what to wear then doing the same again in bub's wardrobe. It either makes you late or eats up valuable time you could be using to unpack the dishwasher, eat breakfast and read a story to bub.

Going back to work after baby is going to be a wrench at 6 months or even 24 months but time doesn't make it easier. I cried my first day back but I now accept it as a necessary evil (disposable income, skills, exercising my brain and stimulation, adult company) and actually enjoy the freedom that comes with work - bathroom breaks at will, hot food/drinks etc.

I have found also that Ethan is such a social baby, who actually plays/responds really well with other children and I think its because he spends time with others regularly in different environments. He gets the best of my time, Scott's and his grandmothers' time and our undivided attention when we are with him which he thrives on. I also love that my going back to work has emphasised quality time with him and I really do make the most of every minute more so than when I was with him every day and took it for granted a little if I'm honest.

I'm still yet to squeeze in any time for exercise but we are getting there and hopefully as the weather warms up, I will be able to get in some early morning walking other than just my power stroll and morning tea with E, my sister and niece on Saturdays.