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?

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One becomes two.

I’ve probably picked the worst time ever to start a blog.

I can hear the sound of white noise playing in my toddler Jacob’s room, while I am rocking my almost-4 week old Jared to the tunes of Ludovico Einaudi’s amazing piano and string arrangements, which always seems to send him into peaceful slumber.

I can still taste the chocolate in my mouth that I convinced myself that I needed in order to stay awake, and I can smell the yoghurty hint of milk stains on my top. Hubby and I wanted to watch TV tonight, but the baby was fussing and frankly we’re too tired to start up a new series. In fact, tired has become part of my personality.

But amidst the daze of sleep deprivation, I feel a burning sense of inspiration. I’m embarking on a new journey going from one kid to two, and like it or not, I have to keep on paddling to keep this ship afloat.

~~~

I always knew I wanted to have at least two children. I’m an only child and while I did grow up with plenty to keep me occupied, there was always this longing for a sibling – in particular, a big brother. Someone who would rough up this self-proclaimed tomboy and to have someone to fight with for all the right reasons, but ultimately one who watched out for me in a love-hate fashion.

The day before Jared was born, I had the ultimate blues with regards to Jacob. He was my baby – my one and only, my pride and joy. He was the one who built me up but also broke me down. And he knew he held first place in my eyes, but now he was about to be dethroned.

We had tried our best to prepare Jacob for D-day – we read some amazing books about babies, talked about baby names and picked baby clothes together. He would talk to my tummy and tell the baby “I love you” in the sweetest way he could.

My waters broke the night before I had Jared, hence Jacob was whisked away in the morning to spend the day with his cousins. My last kiss I gave him tasted bittersweet – the next time I would see him, I would be introducing him to his new brother.

I spent a bit of that day cooking and cleaning, and the rest of it crying my eyes out. What if I hadn’t prepared him enough and it left him feeling sad and lonely? What if I couldn’t cope with the demands of both kids and I wasn’t able to give Jacob the love he deserved? Was my heart big enough for two?

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And then, they met.

My little boy was overjoyed to meet the “baby in mummy’s tummy” – the expression on his fact just says it all, doesn’t it?

So far, it’s obviously not been all fun and games, but every day has a hint of joy in it. I look forward to many new adventures as a family of four (or five, if you want to count our dastardly dog), and look forward to sharing them here as well.

Before the year is up…

Talk about a long hiatus. Yes, sorry, I know I have been AWOL but the last few months have been so jam packed that I thought it best to take a break and do justice to certain areas in my life. And now, most of the things have settled down so I’m thinking of getting back into writing!!!

As of yesterday, my little boy is already 16 months old! Can you believe it? I have a fully-fledged toddler (and a hyper one at that)!!!

So, I thought I’d do a little monthly update to show how far we’ve come so far.

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Little Mr here has 14 teeth and counting!

Height: 81cm

Weight: Almost 10kg, yippie!

Eating:
We initially struggled with his eating – he used to be very finnicky and naughty, throwing most of his meal on the floor. His weight plateaued for a while but since he started walking, things have started picking up and he is a pro right now! You should have seen him wolf down his pizza tonight! He also eats a lot of fruit, which I am quite happy about – and he loves a good fruit smoothie which we have plenty of since it’s summertime.

Favourites: Blueberries, Watermelon, Grapes, Pear, Cheese, Spring Rolls, Chicken, Peas, Corn on Cob, Any sort of Rice, Pasta, Yoghurt.

Sleep: Yes, sleep is a little patchy, and we struggles especially when he first learned to walk. He just LOVES to be awake to do things but he needs to rest for his own good. He is moving to his own room soon (we have finally moved furniture around so his cot can fit in the room) so things should improve from there, I hope! But he still looks adorable when he sleeps, doesn’t he?

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Mobility:
Jacob started walking just shy of 15 months. He had been standing for a while and trying to do stepping movements, but never really got past two steps. Then one day, at church, I think something must have just clicked. He just got up and walked right across the room, and hasn’t looked back since.

In the last few weeks, he’s really picked up speed and is relatively difficult to manage. He runs away from me in the shopping mall and climbs things like chairs, tables, bookcases, etc. No drawers or doors are safe from him so we are slowly child-locking everything. He is relatively clever at working out how things works so he opens tubes and bottles etc. He is loveable but so darn high maintenance at times!

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Words words words:
This little boy is talkative!!! I think his first word was “car” and he said “dada” around the same time. Some of his early words were mama, nana (banana), wawa (flower), star, nanny (his grandmother) and dua (dog). He also has some interesting words, like “murr” for bird, “aah” for a drink and “mannum/my-num” for dummy. And now he talks about books and balls and shoes and the moon. We are SOOO proud of him but we get pretty tired hearing the same words all day long.

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Favourite pastimes:
– Dancing/singing to songs and rhymes we know. He’s great at “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” (he sings the ‘star’ bit and does some actions) and also joins in with “Incy Wincy Spider”, “Pat a Cake”, “Head Shoulders Knees and Toes” (he only gets as far as head as it’s a bit fast).
– Drawing – I think he’s going to be a budding artist. He goes through our stationery drawers to find pens and markers to use. And despite my giving him scrap paper to draw on, he always looks for important documents to draw on (failing which, he will draw on the wall or tiles).
– Playing with other kids especially his cousins. He recognises them and points them out in pictures – they usually have an awesome time playing together and it’s great that they’re all relatively close in age.

family photoWe took some awesome family photos the other day!
– Playing with water and swimming. He loves ANYTHING to do with water. When we’re outside, he goes straight to the dog bowl and puts his hands in it. Hence why I’m buying him a sand & water table for Christmas (shhh don’t tell him!)
– Playing with Skittles. He LOVES dogs and just goes right up to them and plays with them. Skittles has knocked him over a few times but I think they’re both getting more used to each other. My babies are so cute!!!

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Only a few more sleeps to Christmas, and I know the time is going to fly by. I am praying that Jacob doesn’t destroy more ornaments on our Christmas tree – he’s already broken a few baubles and often redecorates when I’m not looking.

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Just as a fond memory of mine, here’s Jacob being baby Jesus in last year’s nativity at Lobethal. How time flies! Merry Christmas everyone, and may you enjoy this time with friends and family!

jacob christmasHis first artwork from childcare

20141208_104050He doesn’t look too happy to see Santa. Oh well!

Cutie Pie Stickers (a.k.a. my new business)

So, I’m finally going to tell you all what I’ve been up to with this business. I have bought an online wall sticker business!! Yippie!! Okay, I think I’m getting overexcited here, but I’m really quite happy to have a pet project to work on (which hopefully will make me a bit of money, or at least earn my capital back for a start).

Firstly, add this to your bookmarks – http://www.cutiepiestickers.com.au/
Okay, thank you! 🙂
Next, please like us on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/cutiepiestickers
Okay, thanks again!

Why “Cutie Pie Stickers”, you may ask? Well, I actually didn’t choose the name because I didn’t start the business from scratch. Looking at the platform that it uses, in retrospect, I could have actually started something like it but I think it would have taken me quite a bit of time and skill to develop. And it’s hard when Jacob’s awake because he automatically wants to use my computer every time I’m on it. Or he does things like break my home entertainment speakers or the blinds like he did when I was doing some editing work the other day. Le sigh.

Here is my cute little boy, my mascot, on the swings – he loved being pushed though he nearly fell out because he insisted on leaning forward:

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Here are some of our awesome stickers on the website (which actually link you to the page too if you click on them):

ImageHow about some cute alphabet stickers for your baby’s nursery, playroom or even all around the house?

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There’s just something about birds in their little birdhouses that make one feel happy and joyful.

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All things French seem to be the way to go in home decor – this would look awesome on a feature wall.

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There’s nothing cooler than Spiderman breaking through your wall.

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For the music lovers. 🙂

I’m shopping around for more wall sticker designs as well and I also promise that I’ll have more boyish designs (think superheroes!). I’m also looking for good quotes to add to the list, cos I love to put up a good quote somewhere that I’ll see often, to put a smile on my face.

Anyway, please wish me luck! I am new to this game and any advice is most welcomed. Also, I might mention that I may be interested in getting some Australian-based bloggers to do reviews of my products for me. If you’re keen, just drop me a comment below or contact me on the Contact Me page on the Cutie Pie Stickers website.

Have a great day folks!

Bargains galore!

If you haven’t already realised, I’m a bit of a bargain hunter (and take pride in it). I love second hand stuff though I am quite particular about the things that I buy, hence I make sure they’re still in good shape. I thought I’d share some of my picks of the month.

I was shopping around for some size 1 clothes and found this fuzzzzzyyyy jumpsuit. Yes, size 1 – can you believe it? Jacob’s still relatively light (8.6kg) but he has grown a bit taller so he’s sorta in limbo between size 0 and 1. Anyway, this jumpsuit was of The Hungry Caterpillar variety too, which can be quite pricy new. Guess how much I paid? $3!

ImageI got the jumpsuit from Savers, a new secondhand store close by that’s really huge and has heaps of stuff to choose from – yippie! There were lots of great toys too – here’s what I got for Jacob for $3 as well:

ImageA cash register!! And it works well and does the whole ka-ching sound too. Jacob doesn’t quite understand it yet but he loves pressing the buttons anyway.

Another favourite source of mine for bargains is Gumtree – lots of great stuff available, but you have to have a keen eye and be quick about it! I told myself that I wouldn’t buy Jacob a walker but went against my word and bought him this one:

ImageIt’s quite a stable one though, so I’m not too worried about him falling (and he’s gotten a lot more stable lately too). I like this one because you can move the top bit around so it becomes a wagon to pull around too. Guess how much? $10 only! And since the same person was selling this item, I got a bit tempted and bought this for him too:

ImageI think it suits him nicely (and he loved honking the horn)! 😉 And it was only $10 too, whoopee.

I reckon I’m pretty happy with my purchases and look forward to many hours of playtime. Jacob’s growing up so quickly and is able to do so many more things now – makes his mum so proud! Here he is playing the ukulele!

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This week I had some lovely moments with him – took him swimming at an aquatic centre (I think this really is the tail end of our sunny weather) and we had fun splashing around. Took him to a park, assisted him down the slide a few times and just played on the grass. 

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I love my baby so much – I know he’s growing up, but he’ll always be my baby. I love his tiny hands and his gorgeous grin; his flailing arms when he’s excited and his little personality quirks. What a wonderful thing it is to be a mum! 🙂

 

How to help a new mum…

So, three of my friends were pregnant all around the same time and finally, all their babies are here! The first one was born exactly 6 months (to the day) after Jacob was born, the next one exactly 3 weeks after and the final baby was born on Monday night. I can’t wait for all 4 babies to be together to take some photos together!

In the last few months, I have experienced so many new mums (and their new babies, of course) and there’s been so much trial and error on my part with giving them the support from my end. When I say new mums, I don’t mean just mums who have had their first baby – but any mum who’s just had a baby, be it their first, second, third or fourth child! From experience, these are some of the best things you could do for a new mum…

1. Cook for her
I’m not sure about Caucasians here, but us Asians LOVE a good clear soup when we’re not feeling our best – beef soup’s probably the favourite as it’s just so nourishing! In the Chinese culture, some mums have a ‘confinement’ period where they take it easy and have to follow a strict dietary plan which involves lots of soups! But what I found anyway is that soup is good to encourage breast milk production, so you should have some (even if you’re not Asian, haha!).

If you can’t think of anything to cook (or if you have your hands full), a fruit platter is always welcomed! Or just buy takeaway or treat her to a meal. She’ll thank you as that’s one less meal to cook!

20140408_083711_AndroidJacob my sweetheart is cooking some food for me (though I don’t eat plastic shapes)

2. Help her with cleaning
Even now, I still struggle with finding the time to clean the house – today I managed to vacuum the floor while Jacob was in his cot playing with this musical phone/remote that my parents gave to him. Now he’s mobile, he always finds something to mess up – and don’t even talk to me about eating. Yesterday we had egg yolk smeared all over the high chair and pieces all over the floor.

But yes, I digress – new mums have SO much to take in that the last thing on their mind will be to clean up the house, or at least the last thing they will get to do aside from rocking, feeding, changing, etc. So just offer to do a load of dishes before you go, or even pop their laundry onto the line or fold some clothes. 🙂

3. Offer to babysit
While I love Jacob to bits, there are times that I wish that I could put him away for one hour, just for some me time. I am sometimes wary about getting a babysitter for Jacob, and at times I’d rather not spend money on such things when I can just suck it up and take care of him anyway. But every mum needs a break – so babysitting is a great gift.

Of course, this all depends on your confidence and experience. Before Jacob was born, I admit I would never have offered to babysit for anyone because I’d be so afraid that I’d not know what to do. Even now, I’m happy to babysit babies but am not as sure what to do with toddlers and older kids. What you could just do is hang out with the mum and mind the baby while she can do what she wants to do – even that is a help.

4. Help her run errands
This is particularly handy for ladies who have had C-sections who can’t drive for 6 weeks! There will always be things to do like getting groceries, picking up other kids from school, etc. This helps if you can drive, of course, but even if you don’t, just do what’s in your power to do.

20140408_102116_AndroidJacob can’t drive but he can take out the trash! (Haha, don’t worry – I don’t let my baby touch trash. That’s just a bag of clothes!)

5. Help provide her with resources
I’m not sure about other mums, but I’m an Internet consulter – that is, I always consult the internet to find out information. I know in the first few months (and even now), I search about things like breastfeeding, immunisation, baby poo, etc. When I find good resources, I’m always happy to share with other mums. If you’re a researcher like me (or if you like to pick up brochures from here and there), pick something up for your new mum to read. Do keep in mind to not “push ideas” onto the new mum though – this information is just there for her perusal but in no way are you dictating the way she should parent her child.

6. Spend a bit more time together
One thing I found with motherhood is that sometimes it can be a bit lonely – when your partner is working all day and you’re stuck at home with the baby, it can just drive you up the wall. I know it’s hard for people who work full time, but if you do have time to spend with your new mum, just go over for a visit (or organise to go and have a coffee perhaps). She’ll appreciate the break (and you get plus points if you carry her baby for a while!)

7. Just be a listening ear
I think what’s been really good in these few months of motherhood for me is having people to talk/rant to about the big and small stresses. Like when you have a poo explosion, or when he has a “I want you to carry me all the time” day. Because sharing the burden just makes it lighter and soon enough, you’ll realise it wasn’t such a big burden anyway, and will find the grace to laugh about it.

20140406_080554_AndroidJacob is a great listening ear – plus, he doesn’t give unwanted advice!

New mums out there – do you think I hit the nail on the head? Are there other things that you appreciated when you were a new mum?

I admit that I haven’t done all of these things for the mums I know, but I have tried to do what I can to help them. And I know that little things count – I remember the little things that people did for me when Jacob was little, and I’m so grateful for it. My mum was wonderful with helping me take charge of the house too, getting all the other stuff done so I could just focus on the baby.

But anyway, congratulations to all the new mums I know and I hope that you are all having a wonderful time with your babies. Do enjoy this time lots because you can’t get it back. Photos and videos can immortalize the way your baby is, but he’ll be different every day and one fine day, you’ll look back and wish you were there again – just holding him or her in your arms.

Over and out! 🙂

Breastfeeding Fashion…

Firstly, before I go into stuff about myself, Jacob had his 6 month check up today so I have his stats.
Head circumference = 43cm (a bit under average)
Weight = 8.33kg (above average)
Height = 70cm (above average)

He was such an angel at the clinic and was happy the whole time – even right after his shots, I just gave him a cuddle and blew his belly and he was laughing again. Here he is exploring his playpen on his new road rug:

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I can’t believe I’m writing about this, but then again, I think it’s something so crucial to me at this point and yet something quite overlooked at times. There is so much advertised about maternity clothing but not so much about ‘breastfeeding’ clothing i.e. clothes that you can wear when you’re breastfeeding so you don’t have to lift up your shirt and expose yourself completely to feed the baby.

So, here I’ll share a few basic ways to transform your wardrobe while also being ‘accessible’ to a hungry baby. And the point with me is that I’m a cheapskate and I don’t really like spending money on myself, so it’s a minimalist’s point of view. Please take note: it’s mostly summer clothing because it’s been warm over here.

Firstly, I am well aware that there are breastfeeding shawls that can hide the baby and the nudity effectively to a point that you could wear anything you like. I use one whenever I can, but Jacob HATES it especially in warm weather. He just refuses to drink and fusses and flails til I uncover him. Hence the need for me to find some appropriate pieces of clothing that do not bare all when baby is intent on having a drink in some highly public location. I don’t have anything against breastfeeding in public, but as a personal choice, I much prefer to do it somewhere, quietly and privately. In the meantime, Jacob uses my breastfeeding shawl as a blanket instead:

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Firstly, you need to don yourself with a chocolate sundae! 🙂 Haha okay I’m too indulgent. In this same picture (behind the awesome sundae) is my breastfeeding top – there are different ones on the market with flaps or peepholes incorporated into the design. These are probably the easiest – I got this one off Ebay for less than $10. The sundae is from Chocolateria San Churros (gosh I love that place!).

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Alright, well I guess in terms of basics, maternity tank tops are a must. I practically lived in them for the first month (despite it being winter – sorry I have terrible seasonal dress sense). They are awesome but also a bit tacky and I felt a bit bogan wearing them out sometimes. But sometimes it’s quite subtle – like the picture below (as the attention is mostly on Jacob).

ImageA no-brainer is probably to wear button ups. I much preferred the casual button ups over the officey type clothing, though some were a bit too loose to a point of looking daggy. I suppose as long as you don’t pair it with something loose and baggy, they’ll work. Yet again, any outfit paired up with chocolate works. 🙂

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My pet peeve was choosing a dress to wear, because you can always pull up your top to feed (in a dire situation) but you can’t exactly pull up your entire dress to feed. I found some dresses with front buttons or a press stud (like the one below)- in winter, I’d wear the maternity tank underneath. I also found dresses with front zips and V neck / empire waistline dresses handy. Isn’t Jacob so tiny here? I miss him being that size!

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Probably one of my favourite ways to ‘hide’ a breastfeeding tank top is by layering it over with a crop top or bolero. I just bought this pink one the other day and just love how it can dress up a simple outfit. Please excuse the fact that I looked stoned because I had a huge day of driving/running here and there.

ImageI hope this helps (especially to all you new mums out there). There is so much to learn with your baby, and there’s one size fits all manual… And you spend so much time working out how your baby ticks, to a point that you almost forget about yourself. Please don’t forget about yourself, because a healthy and happy mum is essential for a happy baby.

So, put on some pretty clothing, do your hair and remember that you are gorgeous. Even if there is a bit of baby puke on your shoulder. 

Over and out. 😉