Snow Play!

It’s well and truly winter here in Adelaide, which puts me in the mood for snow! Sadly, it doesn’t snow here (though funnily enough, last night a bit of snow fell on Mt Lofty). But at the local ice skating rink, they ran a snow play day for kids – count us in!

It took us ages to get ready for it as I was trying to work out how to dress the kids. While it’s an indoor rink, it’s really cold in there so I just wanted to make sure they were rugged up enough. I just put them in a number of different layers and rummaged the shed, and actually found winter stuff that could fit. What do you think?

I wouldn’t say that Jacob really loved the snow. He did attempt to build things with it at first, but then he was daunted by how cold it was. I was thankful that I’d bought two pairs of gloves for Jacob as it was good to change it over halfway so his fingers didn’t get too cold.

Then he got into a tube and I pulled him around, which he loved and kept yelling “Faster!” but there was only so much I could do with Jared in a baby carrier (he was fast asleep). I watched some dads there catapulting their kids around at top speed – maybe I should have asked one of them if they were willing to do that for Jacob! We also tried the toboggans and sleds but tubes were easiest to handle for me at least.

Jared then woke up and I squeezed him into a snowsuit (it was for 3-6 month olds but he is just a bit too chunky). The picture of him on the tube is particularly hilarious because he wasn’t actually able to move his arms cos the suit was so tight. I only left him in it for a little while because he started getting a bit grumpy about his limited mobility – he was in about 5 layers underneath that so he wasn’t really that cold.

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Overall a fantastic day – an icy cold playtime and complimentary hot drinks to warm us up. Also, a lovely lady asked if I wanted a photo with the boys – so here it is! I admit I wasn’t rugged up as much as I could have been, but I kept warm cuddling Jared and chasing after Jacob.

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What are you up to this winter?

Slow cooking for dummies

So, you know how you have those moments where you head to the supermarket to buy just one thing and come back with ten clearance items you need to eat within the next 2 days, some sort of exotic fruit with a name you can’t even pronounce, three different types of breakfast cereals, cat food even though you don’t own a cat, a new toaster and half of aisle 10?

Well, no, I didn’t actually buy all of that, but I did pop by the shops just to get milk and instead I bought half the week’s supply of groceries as well as a slow cooker. Yes, that’s right, I bought a slow cooker from a supermarket. In my defense, it was on offer and I had been thinking of buying one in recent days, but just never quite made it to the places I wanted to buy them from.

This comes along with the notion of trying desperately to eat healthier. I admit I have been a nutritional disaster of late and that’s also been rubbing off on my family, since I am the one preparing the meals. I do admit that we’ve have Asian takeaway and KFC sometime this week, and those are probably my weak spots because if you give me a choice, I could have that more or less every night!

Part of my “excuse” is that it’s hard to cook a proper meal with a busy toddler and a cuddly baby. I wouldn’t call Jared clingy, but he likes to be held and if I leave the kids unsupervised for even 5 minutes, Jacob often ends up trying to undress Jared or draw on his face. I’ve relied on Jared’s brief naptimes (often 30mins at a go) to do any food prep and have just popped things into the oven rather than stir fry things, unless hubby is home.

But now I have a slow cooker, this will be bliss! I look forward to getting my meals ready in the morning and then cleaning up the kitchen before lunchtime! And looking forward to being able to cook in larger portions so we can all have lunch prepared for the next day too!

So, hit me up with some of your best slow cooker recipes! I’m looking forward to making some delicious homecooked meals.

On an ending note, here are just a couple of things we did this week. Jared is starting to get the feel of play cafes while I’ve put Jacob to work already, though it became a rather soapy affair.

4 month update

We had Jared’s 4 month check up and immunisations today. He was in such a good mood that I felt so bad to subject him to a needle in each thigh. The GP was amazed at how happy he was to be undressed to be measured and weighed – he loves being changed and laughs when I take his arms out of his sleeves as it tickles him. He’s a merry ol soul!

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So, at 4 months and 1 week, Jared weighs 8.43kg and is 68cm long/tall. He’s on the higher end of the charts, which is great but is also why I have to go back to the chiropractor to get my back adjusted because of all the times I’ve done my back while carrying him.

Another thing I learned today was about the shift in the introduction of solids. Back when I had Jacob, we were told that anytime between 4 and 6 months was fine and to just introduce slowly such as give one food for a few days before trying another food, and to hold back on introducing “high-risk” food that cause allergies such as eggs, dairy, peanuts, etc. But now, it’s pretty much start at 4 months on the dot and introduce a number of things one after the other including things like eggs and nuts, as this actually helps in the scheme of reducing the likelihood of allergies.

Hence Jared has been upgraded to the status of “high chair”. He loved sitting in it but I put in a pillow to prop him as he’s still a bit wobbly. We tried some mashed banana with a bit of BM today – he mainly licked it as he still has the tongue thrust reflex, but I reckon he liked the taste nevertheless. I’m sure he’ll get the hang of it soon!

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I may be biased, but Jared is such a delight. He is just happy most of the time unless there is a reason to be unhappy, such as a dirty nappy or his brother sitting on him. I am looking forward to many more of his milestones – some of the main ones we’ve seen of late are being able to roll from front to back (but not the other way round), sitting up for short periods of time, gooing and gaaing, and just most of the other things babies do at his age.

Also, on a closing note, one thing I love about winter is all the rain. Growing up in the tropics, rain never bothered me, and my body is finally acclimatizing to the cold. Rain equals muddy puddles! We went puddle jumping the other day and found the biggest puddle ever (which he eventually fell into, ugh!).

Have a nice week everyone!

Some toddler life lessons…

We’ve had a number of busy days and late nights, including a staff party, an 18th birthday, singing at an old folk’s home, a church games night and 2 bonfires! I’m actually surprised at how well Jacob is taking all this, without his catch up naps too! But I think I’m going to take it easy the next few days to get him back and rested so he doesn’t just explode on me one day!

But over the past few days, we’ve had quite a few funny moments that really encapsulate life with a toddler, and also have reminded me that one can’t be too careful.

One of these lessons is don’t have permanent markers in your house. Just don’t. Even if they’re hidden in a pencil case in the middle stationery drawer in the study behind closed doors. Because your toddler will find it, and he will use it. This is now our wall calendar – thank goodness it actually was down on the table at the time, not on the wall, otherwise the wall would be blue too!

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Jacob also has a knack of colouring in things that he likes. Like in his colouring books, he’ll full on colour the faces of the things he likes, such as Thomas the Tank Engine’s face or all over Elmo. Here he got hold of some junk mail and has expressed a great preference to a certain bakery item – if you read the small print, it’s iced donuts.

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Another lesson (or more like a fact) is that toddlers sometimes don’t intentionally want to be funny, but they just are. At playgroup, we were discussing Australian animals and the craft for the day was to make an emu with a paper plate and ice cream sticks. Jacob worked hard at it with the other kids and when he was done, he said loudly “The flamingo is finished!!!” I think all us grown ups had a bit of a giggle. Here is his flamingo:

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Also, a quiet toddler is usually a toddler who is up to mischief. I was making breakfast for Jacob and things went quiet – I thought he was in his room, but clearly he was in our room and had climbed into the cot. Yes, those are stickers on Jared’s face. Jared didn’t seem too fussed about it…

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But one important lesson I’ve learned is that my world would be a duller place without my toddler. Happy 2 years and 10 months, Jacob – less than 2 months to your birthday now! Can you believe it? And Jared is 4 months old tomorrow – time flies when you’re having fun!

Breaking point.

I wouldn’t call myself the expressive type – it probably will be my downfall one day. I’m just the type of person who just functions until I can function no more. Sometimes it’s worth it, just to get by, and other times I reckon it is just detrimental to my health.

Lately, I reached one of those breaking points- the trigger probably was the whole giving away the dog thing, but really there is so much more going on the background. It’s no mean feat taking care of an almost 3 year old and a 3 month old as well – I’m not going to lie, there are days that I have depended on the TV to gain us all some sanity, and there are nights that I don’t know if I want to go to sleep for the fear that I will see every hour of the night before the morning…

Not to mention my meagre attempt at keeping the house clean (and being thwarted by the toddler every time) as well as external commitments to things like church, work, etc. which I think are good for me, but are also just another thing to add into the plethora of things already going on in my head.

And then there’s the guilt – the guilt of not doing enough for my dog. The guilt of not doing enough for my husband and my children. The guilt of calling myself a Christian but not devoting enough time to building my relationship with God. The guilt of not having a stable career to give my husband an opportunity to be a full-time dad. The guilt of the uncertain future, daunting as much as it is promising. The guilt of not having the courage to do certain things or the wisdom to let go of other things.

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But anyway, that point – it broke last weekend. And thank goodness I had the long weekend to recover, because I think it helped me become functional again. Also, thank goodness for the sunshine, because everything feels better in the sunlight. And I can’t admit I have everything worked out, but I feel that perhaps I am taking small steps in the right direction again.

I suppose I’m trying to give a bit of advice here, though I never listen to my own advice, do I? Don’t let things reach a breaking point. If something is bugging you, don’t just sweep it under the doormat. Talk about it, write about it, sing about it even. Let it come out into the open so that it doesn’t poison your mind and your heart. And then let it go – let it float away, until you feel as light as a feather and can face the next thing life is going to throw at you. And then be at peace, with your decisions and with yourself.

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Anyway, I’m going to pull out this gem from my youth. I used to write songs since a child but perhaps the “darker” songs emerged from as early as 12 years old. I think I was about 14 when I wrote this – I only vaguely remember the melody, but I remember why I wrote it:

look again, am I the one that you know?
look inside, cos I’m the one you don’t understand
look around, it is falling in place
look at me, I am frozen in time

cos it’s hard to breathe
and inside my eyes it’s zero degrees
and I’m looking for the fire, the flame
but it’s gone, blown out, just like you…

and I was afraid this would happen
and I am afraid I can’t control myself
so I didn’t know that it was the breaking point
now my blood is cold and I can’t go on…

now I find, that it isn’t that simple
now I see, what the meaning of sacrifice is
now I know, how unities divide
and now I feel I can no longer survive

cos it’s hard to get by
and in my eyes
I’m frozen in a lie
and I’m looking for the fire, the flame
but it’s gone, blown out, just like you…
but it’s gone, put out, just like you…

and I was afraid this would happen
and I am afraid I cant control myself
so I didn’t know that it was the breaking point
now my blood is cold and I can’t go on…

how long is eternity
can it return my destiny
how long is life going on, going on, going on…

look again, am I the one that you know?
look inside, cos I’m the one you don’t understand
look around, it is falling in place
look at me, I am… going on, going on…

and I was afraid this would happen
and I am afraid I can’t control myself
so I didn’t know that it was the breaking point
now my blood is cold and I cant go on…

and I was afraid this would happen
and I am afraid I can’t control myself
so I didn’t know that it was the breaking point
now my blood is cold and I cant go on…

Here’s to the 14-year-old wisdom of my youth, something I need to call upon time and time again. 🙂 Have a great week!

2016 Bupa Blog Awards

We’ve had a few “downers” of late – I think it’s been a bit of a streak in the last few months or so. We’ve had quite a few kitchen appliances fail on us, like first our microwave oven, then our convection oven, and even our actual oven too – I never knew that oven doors could fall off, but so be it. We’ve also had car troubles, which have already cost plenty, and then a couple of days ago, someone drove into the side of our car and took off. Sigh.

But really, the heaviest thing weighing on my mind is the fact that we are quite seriously rehoming our dog, Skittles. We have thought about it on and off, for a number of reasons, but the main one being that she kept getting out of the house so we put her on a chain while trying to work out some solution, but nothing ever seemed to work. And we did get a dog trainer, but with two kids, a lot of the training was just going right out the window, with only ourselves to blame.

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She is on trial at the moment at a home where she’ll have a companion dog too, as well as a couple of primary-aged kids to play with. I am trying to imagine it in a sense that she’s getting married and will be living on with the in-laws. It’s not confirmed yet, but it sure is looking good. I have considered several times to march over there and get her back, but I really honestly want her to be happy too.

I never imagined I’d be the type of person who would give up my pet. In fact, she doesn’t feel like just a pet – she was my first child; one who I had to toilet train and to set boundaries with and even went to puppy school with. The one who I would have to boot off the sofa time and time again, the one who would nearly yank my arm off every time we took her for a walk, the one who even escaped so often into the neighbour’s garden that they took a picture of her lazing on their deckchair.

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I’m not sure how this will pan out, but I cannot deny this looming sense of loss.

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I know my rant above has nothing to do with the title, but it was one of the “ups” amidst the downs. I got an email saying that my blog was nominated in the 2016 Bupa Blog Awards, which is a real privilege. I don’t know if I’ll win (but I sure would like to) but it did put a smile in my face amidst the storm. You can read more about the blog awards HERE – the next stage will be to cross my fingers and see if I qualify as one of the finalists on the 4th of July. 🙂

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Trendy Thursday

There are times that I get too caught up in the tough parts of toddlerhood that I don’t savour the funny bits enough. Jacob can be an incredibly challenging kid but he is also the most hilarious kid I’ve ever known (I may be biased though).

Here are a couple of funny things he has said to me in the last month or so. For those who have me on Facebook, you might have seen a few of these before, but laugh anyway! XD

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Jacob picks up strange lines/phrases from different things he watches or places he goes. I’m not sure where he got this one from, but he once told me “You break it, you buy it.” And the other day he said “You’d better eat your food before the ducks come.” Hmm…

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We were at Officeworks waiting for printing, so Jacob was drawing a picture. I asked him “What are you drawing?” and he says “It’s a duck. A long duck. Can you see his mouth?” Err.. I guess he must like ducks.

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I’m on my computer typing an email and Jacob comes up to me and hands me a Lego man and motorbike.
Jacob: Mummy, please hold my Lego.
Me: Oh, okay, sure. (Takes it from him)
Jacob: Okay, you play Lego. Now I’ll use your computer. (And he sits in front of me and starts using my computer).

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I admit that I sometimes smack Jacob when he is doing something very naughty or dangerous, and sometimes I warn him “You don’t want me to smack you, do you?”

The other day I told him he wasn’t allowed to do something and he says “Mummy, don’t be naughty. I’m gonna smack you REALLLLY hard! On your bottom!!!” Hmm..

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I don’t keep many of Jacob’s paintings as they are mostly a blur of colours, just like this. But today I asked him “What did you paint?” and he’s like “I painted a smoothie.” Yup, I guess it looks like a smoothie!

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Jacob comes up randomly and says “Mummy, I’m going to break your heart.”
I’m like “Really??”
And I realise he’s got a heart hairclip of mine and has it poised in his hand, ready to snap it.
Yes, my child, you probably will break my heart one day. But I will go on loving you nevertheless.

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On a final note, I have decided to start up a “Trendy Thursday” post where I’ll be posting Jacob’s choice of clothing for the day. I’m trying to get him to choose his clothing more often so he can stay still enough for me to get him dressed!

Today, I simply insisted on a singlet underneath but let him choose the rest. I was almost disappointed by how sensible he was – he opted for a navy undersuit, a grey long sleeved hooded T and jeans. But then, he decided to accessorize by taking my laundry basket sticker off the basket and wearing it like a badge of honour.

Then I gave Jared a bath and naturally, Jacob got completely wet so I let him pick a second outfit. He said he wanted to wear red, and was pretty serious about it – red from head to toe! But then he put on a black monster jumper which actually made it look not too bad. I suppose I’ll have a little fashionista on my hands soon!