Thursday, 15 September 2016

The first few weeks of life as a family of four.



Time flies so incredibly quickly because already it seems we are into week four of Ivy's life and trying to find a new rhythm as a family of four. It's been an amazing, tiring, busy few weeks so far dealing with a toddler so full of energy, a newborn who is a night owl and recovering from pushing a watermelon sized human out of a very small hole.

Ivy

Little Miss Ivy is a very sweet, laid back little thing who feeds like a machine and doesn't much like sleeping in her bassinet - Plunket would have a field day knowing she ends up sleeping with me most nights but it means I at least get some sleep. Not much bothers her, I suppose that's typical of most second born babies, except when she's hungry or being changed. She feeds like crazy and cluster feeds most days from evening and sometimes through the night. She's gaining weight, never having lost any birth weight - she's gained 1.35kg since her birth just over three weeks ago.

Ella

We've been so lucky with Ella so far in that straight away she's fallen in love with her little Sister. All kisses and cuddles are reserved for Ivy - so much so that Mum and Dad don't get so many these days. She's very enthusiastic in her love for Ivy, that we have to remind her to be gentle and to try not to poke her nose so hard

The first week or so was a bit difficult in terms of sleep because Ella would get upset whenever Ivy got upset so quite often during the night, whenever Ivy cried because she was being changed, Ella would wake up crying and come into our room - it would then be very difficult to get Ella back to sleep in her own room. As most of you know Ella, is in a "big girl" bed, very much likes to get in and out of her bed - it has improved hugely though and the getting out of bed is not such a frequent occurrence. So, I guess persevering has paid off! We've got from 50+ "getting out of bed" times to either none or only a few.



Me

The first couple of weeks were a bit painful and uncomfortable following Ivy's birth but I feel amazing now we are going into week four. Compared to my last birthing experience which required a huge amount of recovery time, I feel relieved that I was able to give birth naturally especially as this time around I have a very active toddler in my care.

Obviously, having a newborn equals little to no sleep but I'm lucky in the fact that my Husband is still off work and able to take care of Ella in the mornings so that I can catch up on any lost sleep from the night before. I knew I would be tired so I was prepared for that facts but I actually feel so much happier and way more relaxed then last time, I think my mentality this time round can be attributed to having a much easier recovery, being a second time Mum and having a very chilled out newborn.

That being said I have only been left with both of the girls for a few hours at a time on a handful of occasions. A few of those times were complete and utter chaos from the moment the door closed to the moment my Husband returned home. It'll be very interesting to see how I get on when Hubby goes back to work next Friday - especially as the first four days of him at work involve him being away on two overnights! *maybe I'll do another update on family life after I've had a couple of weeks of hubby being back to work*

It's been so great having him at home for over five weeks, while I'm recovering and getting used to life with two under two, he's been forced to do pretty much everything while i'm stuck dealing with a cluster feeding newborn! I don't know how I would have coped without him and I doubt my mindset would be so good if I didn't have him to lean on. The prospect of him going back to work fills me with fear and apprehension - if I'm honest it makes me want to have a little cry, but for now I will push that to the back of my mind - I know that I will cope (I don't have much choice), it won't be easy, but hopefully we will get ourselves into some sort of routine. Until I do, the baby bouncer and Netflix will have to be my best friends!

In conclusion, life has been great so far and I'm enjoying being a Mum to two beautiful girls. There have been tears, tantrums and exhaustion (not just from Ella) and it's not all been smooth sailing - it never was going to be though was it? Having children is never going to be straightforward, nor was it ever going to be easy! It's time I once again adopt the mantra of "this too shall pass", it will get easier and things will get better with everyday!

I feel so blessed though to have two beautiful little girls, an amazingly involved Husband and to have my body do something I never thought it was capable of doing and therefore making these early days so much easier!

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

My Birth Story - Ivy Mae


For those of you that follow me on social media you will know that on Saturday the 20th of August at 4.58pm I gave birth to another little girl, our second daughter, Ivy Mae.

Now that we are into week three of Ivy's life I think it's time to share the story of how she entered this world - it differs hugely from her big sisters birth, which you can read here - not so long ago!

It all started on the Friday (19/8/16), I'd been having Braxton hicks contractions daily since week 20 of my pregnancy but on this day they were considerably more uncomfortable - to the point of becoming painful. I had told my midwife that I would be seeing her this weekend as I had a feeling (like my first birth) I would be going early - I was due on Sunday the 21st.

As it turns out the timing couldn't have been better. My husband, Tom, had a day off having finished work ready to go on leave the coming Monday. My sister had flown down to Christchurch to spend the night at our place in the hopes that I might go into labour when she was there so she could take care of Ella. 

That night I woke at precisely 1.45am to my first contraction. I had wondered how I'd know what contractions would feel like but I VERY quickly remembered. These were pretty painful straightaway but were only about 10mins apart and lasting 1min, so I let Tom know what was going on and we both went back to bed to try and get some sleep.

At 6.30am, I phoned my midwife who suggested we go into the hospital to see how things were progressing. In the last month of my pregnancy Ivy was never engaged, so we had thought it was progressing much the same as my first pregnancy and we would probably end up with another caesarean. So, I woke my sister up, gave her some last minute instructions, put our bags in the car, kissed my beautiful firstborn goodbye (which very quickly became a tearful goodbye as Elła didn't want me to go) and started the hour long trip to the hospital.

We got to the hospital at about 8.30am, my midwife did an internal and found I was only 4cms dilated. The Doctors came in to assess the situation, since I had a previous caesarean they weren't going to leave me too long if I wasn't progressing naturally on my own, I had said I didn't want to be induced so the call was made to give me an epidural, break my waters and give it a few hours to see how things were progressing.

The anaesthetist arrived an hour later and administered the epidural, my waters were then broken and I was left to hopefully dilate. The epidural, initially only work down one side of my body so I was still able to feel the contractions, it took a couple more top ups and adjusting of position to get it working properly. By this time it was about 12.30, and I was still only 5cm.

It was now just a waiting game to see if would dilate anymore or if we would be making the call for a caesarean. At 2.30pm we asked the Doctors to check me again to see how far along I was and it turned out in only a short amount of time I had gone from 5cm to almost fully dilated!

Now, I had a different dilemma on my hands - I had to wrap my head around the fact that I was about to give birth naturally! Up until this point it had never crossed my mind that it was a possibility. Obviously, it's always a possibility but I think I had convinced myself that I would be having another csection - my pregnancy had been much the same as Ella's, she had never been engaged and was also posterior so I had just assumed I was incapable of birthing my babies naturally.

About 30mins later I could feel pressure in my rear end and I could start to feel contractions again - meaning the epidural was starting to wear off. I was told it was time to push my baby out - and because last time I'd had a caesarean - I was given 2 hours to get my baby out before they intervened.
After an hour and a half I was told that my baby was starting to get tired - so was I - and her heartbeat was dropping too much during contractions. It didn't help that she was posterior and her head was at an awkward angle. All of a sudden there were about ten people in the room, my legs were put up in stirrups and they were getting ready to use intervention in the form of forceps or vontouse.

This made me panic a little as I really didn't want forceps used on my baby, nor did I want an episiotomy - especially since I could now feel EVERYTHING - I distinctly remember telling my midwife I wanted one hole not two. I needn't have worried because with the next contraction, the threat of forceps and the change of position, one big push managed to turn her from posterior into the right position and turned her head in the right direction - out she came a perfectly tiny, hairy cone headed little girl.

Our second beautiful little girl, Ivy Mae, was born at 4.58pm, weighing 6lbs14oz and measuring at 49cm in length! I had managed to push out a little human - the feeling was like no other!


I'd had only a minor 2nd degree tear so while I had skin-to-skin and Miss Ivy latched on for her first feed (10mins after birth) I was stitched up.

Ivy's birth differed so hugely from Ella's birth, so much so I remember repeatedly saying "I can't believe I just did that!". It was such a positive experience, even with the pain, for me and I feel so blessed to have been able to give birth to another beautiful little girl.





Wednesday, 17 August 2016

What's in my hospital bag!



As of today I am officially due in four days so I thought it was about time I shared what I packed in my hospital bag - now that I've finally finished packing it. I've sort of left it to the last minute considering with Ella I was all packed by 35 weeks compared to now at 39 weeks 3 days! Oh well better late than never, good thing this baby has stayed put for now.

I realise I have probably over packed again but I learnt from last time that you just never know how things are going to go. With Ella I was totally over packed but I ended up using everything and needing more! Because I had a c-section I had a two day stay in hospital and then a five day stay at my local birthing centre - which wasn't as planned!

This time though, I should hopefully only have the maximum two day hospital stay even if I end up having another c-section as I want and need to get back home to Ella as soon as possible. I am not planning on going to a birthing centre after my hospital discharge but you can never be too sure, so once again I've packed plenty.

So, here goes. This is what I have packed for myself and baby!



Baby's bag

I hate that this child is referred to as baby, since we don't know what we are having everything I have packed is "gender neutral" not that I have an issue with gender specific clothing or colours. This bag is just a luggage carry on from Strandbags if I remember rightly.

I have packed:

5x all in ones


The three on the left are all in ones from Marks & Spencers London, the navy and white striped all in one is Bonds Australia and the mint green striped all in one (not gender neutral) is Carters from Farmers (a hand me down from Ella, i'm pretty sure Carters is no longer sold at Farmers).

3 x plain white singlets (these were are bargain at about $2.50 each on sale from T&T, 100% cotton)


2x T-shirt onesies from Marks & Spencers (I may even pack an extra one)


3x newborn hats


The knitted bunny eared hat is from Cotton on Kids, the two on the right are pack from Marks & Spencers (to match the all in ones)

1x Love To Dream swaddle suit and 1x muslin swaddle (not pictured)


Ella would never stay in a standard swaddle so we used the love to dream swaddle, which was great because she liked sleeping with her arms above her head but still allowed her to feel secure. I've included a muslin swaddle (not pictured) just in case this baby doesn't like the swaddle suit or prefers a traditional swaddle.

2x blankets. The one on the left is a muslin dream blanket from Aden and Anais and the knitted one on the right is from kmart. I know the hospital provides blankets but I like to take a couple of my own just to be on the safe side. I may even take another one as well.


Even though we don't yet know what we are having, I have packed a girly "going home" outfit just incase we are having a girl. This is the one Ella wore home.


Most hospitals and birthing centres do provide nappies and wipes but I still like to have my own handy just in case. I'm taking one packet of disposable cloth wipes from Thinkwise (I don't like to use wet wipes on my newborns unless I really have to) and 10 treasures newborn nappies - I just preferred these with Ella.


I think that is pretty much everything I needed/used with Ella although I will probably add a couple of flannel type cloths for any potential spilling episodes and another cardigan, but generally the hospitals have it covered. Not to mention or forget the capsule which is yet to be installed in the car!

For me:




This bag is a weekender bag I got from Colette Hayman. I haven't bothered taking photos of any of the clothes I'm taking - it's not as much fun as cute baby clothing so i'll just list what i'm taking.

- 2 nursing singlets
- 2 t-shirt nursing tops
- 2 nursing bras
- 1 long sleeved nursing top (bearing in mind that it's ridiculously hot in the hospital)
- 1 nursing hoodie
- 2 loose comfy cardigans
- 3 pairs of maternity underwear (I may end up adding more)
- 3 pairs of ankle socks
- 2 pairs of pyjama bottoms
- 2 pairs of basic leggings
- Slippers
- Shoes

In terms of toiletries I went to kmart and the supermarket and bought a whole heap of miniature things, so much easier to pack!



I have:

- Toothbrush
- Toothpaste
- Mouthwash
- Tissues
- Deodourant
- Hand cream
- Facial Moisturiser
- Dry shampoo
- Bodywash (eco store)
- Shampoo (eco store)
- Conditioner (eco store)
- Body lotion (eco store
- hair brush (not pictured)
- Spare hair ties


As with baby the hospital generally has most things covered when it comes to maternity essentials but the serial overpacker I am likes to take my own just incase.

I have one packet of maternity pads, four pairs of breast pads (these are my favourite ones from Rite Aid, which I got from pharmacy direct) and two packets of Hydrogel breast discs which were a lifesaver last time for painfully cracked nipples (also from Pharmacy direct).

I am also going to take some make-up with me, call me vain but a little make-up applied makes me feel better and a little more like myself. I am taking foundation, powder, mascara, blush, lipstick and eyebrow powder.

Added extras:

That is pretty much everything I feel like I'll need but here are some other ideas for things that could come in handy - especially if you think you might be staying a bit longer.

- Snacks for during labour or for your other half.
- Water or powerade (for you or your other half)
- Microwave meals (were great for my Hubby to have when he didn't get fed by the hospital or birthing centre).
- Your own pillow
- A nursing pillow (can be really useful, I loved mine)
- Camera and charger (charge it before you go and make sure you have space on your memory card)
- Cellphone
- Loose change for hospital vending machines, parking machines or just for a coffee (to keep your other half awake).
- A wheat bag (good for your back during labour or to warm up baby's bed while they are feeding, some birthing centres have these on hand)
- Nipple cream can be helpful, lansinoh nipple cream is quite good but I found that bit of breastmilk rubbed in worked just as well.
- Ural sachets (helps to take the sting out when going to the loo)
- Any medications or supplements you need to take


Hopefully I haven't forgotten to add anything but if worst comes to worst Hubby will he sent home to pick up anything I may have forgotten.

I hope that by sharing this with you it might give you some ideas as to what to pack in your own hospital bag!




Monday, 30 May 2016

REVIEW - Hot Milk Lingerie Nursing Bra + GIVEAWAY

I was so excited to receive an email from Hotmilk Lingerie the other day asking if I would like to try out one of their nursing bras and seeing as I am now 28 weeks pregnant and at the beginning of the third trimester it couldn't be better timing really - so, I jumped at the chance!

When I was approached by Hotmilk to review one of their bras I must admit I wasn't all that familiar with the brand and what they had to offer, so I decided to do a little bit of Internet surfing and came across their New Zealand website and it turns out they have a huge variety of stylish, high quality nursing bras, sports bras, maternity underwear and sleepwear all designed to offer comfort and support for pregnant and breastfeeding Mums.



Everything available on the site looked so gorgeous and incredibly comfortable, it was a hard choice to make but I decided to go with the "Showoff" nursing bra (in one cup size bigger than I am now, based on the size I was after I gave birth to Ella and when my milk came in) without underwire, that looked to be super comfortable and came in this gorgeous floral print.




Once I had put my order in I couldn't believe just how quickly it arrived in the post, within a couple of days of ordering I had it in my hot little hands and ready to review for you my lovely readers. Before I do though here are a few specs about the bra itself... it features non-wired, soft microfibre fabric,100% cotton lined full cups, wide straps and fastening with easy drop down clips for breastfeeding.

Definitely the first thing I noticed about the bra was just how soft that microfibre fabric was! Not to mention it looked and felt like such a good quality bra. When I put it on I was not disappointed! Even though it has no underwire or cupping so to speak, it did offer great support and felt so comfortable - and at a time where painfully engorged boobs are a given it is nice to know at least my bra will offer some much needed comfort and support! The wide shoulder and back straps offer extra security (the larger sized bras also offer even wider straps for the fuller busted Mamas who require a bit of extra support) and the easy one handed, drop down cups mean you can easily feed your baby quickly without the need to mess around with any fussy clips and fastenings.






Now, that the practicalities are out of the way I should add just how pretty the bra itself is - generally "pretty" and "practical" don't go hand in hand but at a time when you've probably not been able to shower or brush your hair in a good few days (or weeks even) why wouldn't you want some gorgeous lingerie that is not only gorgeous but good quality and practical?

The aim of this review was to offer an honest and open opinion on Hotmilk lingerie's bras. You may think that all I have done is rave about a product that was sent to me but in all honesty I couldn't find any negatives to report because I genuinely love the product I was sent, it's extremely comfortable, supportive, allows room for growth - as my body naturally changes, fits me well and is good quality - what more could you want in a product?

Now that I've gone on and on about this bra, maybe it's time I offer one of you lovely expectant Mums the opportunity to try it for yourself? The lovely people at Hotmilk Lingerie have allowed me to giveaway one of these gorgeous "Showoff" Nursing Bra to one lucky Mama!

I will be running the giveaway over on my Facebook page and he winner will be announced on the 27th of June at 7.30pm NZT.


How to enter? Simple! All you have to do is:

1. Like my Facebook page A Kiwi Mumma


3. Tag some friends who you think might like to own one of these beautiful nursing bras.

Thank you so much to Hotmilk Lingerie for sending me this product to review and giveaway!






Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for my review. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own honest views.

This GIVEAWAY is open to New Zealand residents only.



Tuesday, 24 May 2016

I'm sure you mean well but please...just don't.


As I am now at the beginning of the third trimester i'm starting to get tired, a little grumpy and a tad "ranty" because as I get further along my bump is once again - as is what happens when you are pregnant - becoming more obvious and starting to draw attention.

I'm not sure if it's because I look like a child pregnant with a child, or if it's because nobody's ever seen a short ass pregnant lady before. Either way, the looks, comments, and pointing of strangers (at my belly) gets old pretty quick.

When I was pregnant with Ella, I got so many comments from people who, I'm guessing, thought they somehow had the right to comment on the size of my bump - when in reality, they had no such right. Some of the comments I received were along the lines of "Are you sure there aren't more than one in there?" (The classic question a lot of pregnant women get asked) or "When are you due?" and when I gave my reply of "10 weeks" I got the bewildered reply of "are you sure?" I am yet to recieve those comments this time around but I think that is probably because I'm only just heading into my third trimester and baby is yet to have packed on the pounds - there is plenty of time yet. 

I can understand that the people who say these things don't intend on causing any offence (or at least I hope) and they are intended in a more jovial, joking way but when you receive comments like that everytime you leave the house it's enough to make you want to just stay at home and hibernate.

"Why" you may ask "do you find these offensive?". For a starters, unless you are 100% sure that a woman is pregnant it's really best not to ask because for all you know I could have been carrying leftovers from my last pregnancy or I could be suffering from a medical condition that made my tummy swollen and enlarged. 

Secondly, when you tell an exhausted, hormonal pregnant women (or insinuate) that she is either really big or really small it can be taken quite personally. You see, we are well aware of what size we are. We spend a good nine months growing a human being, going through all the joys pregnancy brings, bearing all the stretchmarks that little person creates on our bodies and we look in the mirror each day and notice how big or small we are all whilst counting down the days until we are no longer pregnant. WE ARE WELL AWARE. You may think it's helpful or funny to point it out but as a matter of fact it bloody well is NOT!

As women in general, we tend to be very critical of ourselves and the way we look. When we're pregnant it tends to be a lot worse. I know I have days where I don't feel great about myself and when you're just feeling HUGE and a complete stranger (or even worse, someone you consider family or a friend) comes up to you just to comment on your size, and by doing so, just re-enforces the fact that you really are HUGE! Sometimes, it even happens on those days when you leave the house feeling pretty good about yourself and like you are in fact rocking your bump only for someone to pass a comment that completely brings you back down to earth. It doesn't feel good. It sucks. It can hurt and you sure as hell don't forget it in a hurry.

I'm not quite sure why people seem to be so surprised by the size of a pregnant woman's belly, it's enough to make you think they don't know much about the birds and the bees. After all, when you conceive a child and carry it for nine months, generally, your stomach increases in size to accommodate said child.

So, please if you are the sort of person that likes to comment on the size of a pregnant woman's tummy... PLEASE! JUST DON'T. We don't enjoy it. For, we know we are quite big or quite small. We are sure (unless you are actually carrying twins) there is just one in there - thanks to the accuracy of scan technology these days. We know the size of our ass is getting bigger, or we're retaining water. We know exactly when we are due, because we spend most of the nine months counting down the weeks until our baby arrives. We know we look tired, or exhausted because fact of the matter is being pregnant IS tiring and exhausting.

If you really MUST say something, or you just can't help yourself, why don't you offer a compliment instead? Wouldn't that be nice? Something along the lines of "Congratulations, you look great!". Instead of criticising, or making jokey comments why not compliment her? I know it would sure as hell make her day and put a little spring in her step to help her get through each day of a very long and tiring 9 month journey.


Sunday, 17 April 2016

Contemplating life as a Mum of two - my fears and worries.







This has been playing on my mind for sometime now, ever since I found out I was pregnant with number two it's bothered me. In fact, it's bothered me so much I ended up in tears because I was petrified. It may sound silly or to you it may not be worth crying over - bearing in mind that I am a hormonal pregnant lady - to me it was a big deal and still is - I also know for sure I am not the only Mother to have felt this way.

When I decided to become a Mother I was so excited about the prospect of having a child and the bond I expected to have with her. When she arrived it was safe to say that those feelings far surpassed my expectations, I was completely overwhelmed with love for her. I never could have anticipated just how strong those feelings were and as time has gone on, as she's gotten older and as her personality has grown, those feelings continue to intensify. 

What I didn't anticipate, however, was the predicament I am currently in now. Maybe predicament is the wrong word? Whatever word is appropriate, I find myself feeling nervous and on edge about the prospect of what having another child might do our relationship as Mother and Daughter. 

That sounds awful really when you think about it but in all honestly I have struggled to feel broody, or clucky in anticipation of the arrival of baby number two. Don't get me wrong it's not that I'm not excited about its imminent arrival. It's more the fact that this time around I find myself having to deal with a lot of other feelings and emotions that I didn't experience when I was pregnant with Ella. I suppose it doesn't help that I'm constantly preoccupied with an energetic toddler who takes up all of my spare time. This does not leave much room for daydreaming about delicious little newborn cuddles.

Ella has gotten to the age now where she calls me Mum and she comes to me of her own accord for a hug and a kiss. When I'm in the kitchen preparing lunch or dinner she'll come up behind me and wrap her arms around my legs. We have such a strong bond now that I worry how it will be affected when I have a newborn that requires more attention and care than Ella needs. I understand that Ella's bond with her Dad will strengthen but a part of me is terrified at the thought of whether we will lose our bond.

I know I am probably being completely irrational but it's something that's been playing on my mind ever since I found out I was pregnant. Another part of me worries about how much Ella will miss out on when she is no longer the only child. Will she pick up on that? Will she think that she's not important anymore? or will she think that Mummy doesn't have as much time for her anymore? 

At the end of the day, I'm sure she will be fine. I know that it's just my thoughts getting the better of me and my brain working on overdrive (as it does). I think it comes down to, in part, my selfish need for her to need me as her Mother and for her to look to me as the nurturer. 

I'm fully aware that this post is full of rhetorical questions that no one could possibly answer. I fully understand that no one could answer these questions in a way that will satisfy me until I find out for myself when baby number 2 arrives. It could be that I love Ella so much and my heart is so filled with love for her that i question how could I possibly love another so much? The logical part of my brain knows that these questions are ridiculous. Maybe i can take some comfort in knowing that my heart has so much more love to give. If i didn't know that my heart has so much room to love, why else did I yearn to have another baby?

Maybe these are irrational fears that all Mothers face at some point in their lives. I know for a fact that my own Mother and Father feel just as much love for me as they have felt for my younger Sister. Maybe the answers to my questions lie in the fact that the human heart is forever expanding to accommodate for new loves that may not have existed before.






Tuesday, 12 April 2016

NEW RECIPE | Brown Butter Cinnamon Crinkle Cookies

It's been awhile since I've had the energy to do any baking, it always involves so much cleaning - just something I haven't been able to think about - but I saw these "Brown Butter Cinnamon Crinkle Cookies" the other day over on Cookies and Cups and they looked too good to not to give them a try!

They don't take very long to do, I managed to do them even with Ella tugging on my sleeves - as she seems to do even more frequently these days.

They were actually quite tasty, a different sort of flavour and texture unlike your typical cookie.

So, here you go...

Brown Butter Cinnamon Crinkle Cookies



You will need:

10 tablespoons butter (roughly 142 grams)
2½ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup icing sugar


1. Place the butter in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the butter melts and begins to foam. Continue to cook, whisking (or swirling the pan) frequently until the butter becomes an amber color, this should take 2-3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

3. Add the granulated and brown sugar into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Pour the cooled butter into the sugars and mix on medium speed to combine. Add in the eggs and vanilla, mixing just until smooth.

4. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Cover the mixing bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

5. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.

6. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Set aside.

7. Place the icing in a shallow bowl. Divide the chilled dough into 1- tablespoon sized balls. Roll each ball into the powdered sugar and place onto the prepared pan, about 2- inches apart.

8. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are set.

9. Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

YUM!

These are so tasty and so worth the cleaning down!



Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Pregnancy update - 20 weeks - the halfway mark

As I announced my pregnancy fairly late this time round, I decided that it would be good to do a general pregnancy update as we are now officially at the halfway mark!

I am 20 weeks today and due with baby number 2 on the 24th of August 2016.

This pregnancy has similarities to when I was pregnant with Ella but it also differs.



Symptoms so far:

- Morning sickness up until 17 weeks with bouts of nausea in the evenings still.
- Lower back pain
- Ligament pain
- Tiredness
- Tender stomach and boobs
- Breaking out in spots

Much the same as Ella except morning sickness finished at 15 weeks with no continuing nausea, although I think the reason I'm still feeling nauseous at times is because I'm tired all the time - thanks to having a toddler which I didn't have the first time round, I should have appreciated my toddler free pregnancy way more!

______________________________________________________

Weight before pregnancy: 55kgs
Weight currently: 61kgs

As you can see I've already gained 6kgs at 20 weeks and I'm under strict instructions (from my OB) to not exceed anymore than 12kgs in total - unlike last time where I gained 20!

______________________________________________________

We had our 20 week anatomy scan on Monday and according to the Sonographer baby looked well and is growing accordingly. We are not finding out the sex this time around - although not my choice - so this one will be a surprise! The organiser/planner/surprise hater in me is finding it quite difficult not knowing but I promised my Husband that if we found out the first time he could have his surprise the second time around.




The scan took a maximum of 50mins which was so different with Ella who wouldn't stop wriggling and kicking in her anatomy scan, so much so the scan took over 2 hours! It seems this baby is so much more relaxed.

I started to feel movement and little baby kicks - totally the best part of pregnancy - at about 19 weeks as I have an anterior placenta which means baby is well covered and it's harder to feel movement.
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I have met with my Midwife twice so far and everything is tracking much the same as last time. This time, however, I have met with and Obstetrician at the Hospital to discuss my options to try for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) as you will know that Ella ended up as an emergency c-section due to lack of progress and dilation.

They don't see why I can't try again for a natural birth but I have been told that I will be birthing at the Hospital (rather than a birthing unit) and if I don't progress (cervix dilation) at an active rate then a c-section will happen a lot quicker - as Syntocinon won't be given this time due to the possibility of my scar rupturing.

I also have to watch my weight in hopes of not having another 8lbs+ baby - which will make a natural labour, for me, more possible!

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All and all, everything is heading along nicely, I'm feeling pretty good just with the odd twinge and minor discomfort. I can't quite believe I'm already at the halfway mark!


In 20 weeks I'll have another newborn and I'll be a Mother to two-under-two! Eeep!

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

What we are up to at the moment - day-to-day life and a special announcement.

I know I've already done a "where we've been" post but I have good reason (I promise) to post this one as well.

Where we are

As you may know we have upped sticks and moved to Christchurch for my Husbands job. We are currently living in a small one bedroom flat and Ella is back in our room - short term.

The reason for the temporary accommodation is because we are having a house built in a different part of Christchurch. It's all very exciting, the framing is up, the guttering and roof is hopefully going on next week. It is due to be completed at the beginning to middle of June - which can't come soon enough! 



It's a bit cramped currently, but it's not for too long. The Landlords who own the flat are so lovely and so accommodating they've even allowed us to use their heated pool - which is a huge novelty!

We've also been travelling all over Christchurch, to look around, from the City Centre, to Akaroa, to Lake Coleridge, Lake Ellesmere, Amberley, the East Coast and beyond. It's been heaps of fun exploring and finding out where everything is and where we want to be based.

My next task is to join a couple of local Mum groups to try and make some new friends as I think it's important for Ella to socialise.  We are lucky to already have our friend just around the corner, who is the same age as Ella who we see fairly regularly.

I've also put Ella on the waiting list for swimming lessons, so that we can keep her confident and learning to swim.

Ella update

As you've probably seen in my recent post or photos on Facebook Ella has grown and changed a lot.


She is:

- 16 months old today
- Weighing in at 11.6kg (at her 15month check-up)
- 78cm tall
- She has 8 teeth (4 on the top and 4 on the bottom)
- Walking (Started walking at 14 months, a couple of days after we moved to Christchurch)
- Babbling/talking
- She can say Mum, Dad, what's this or what's that?, hello and Yum etc.Plus, lots of sounds, noises and general chatting.
- She knows what a cow is and whenever she sees one (real or otherwise) she moos at it.
- She can point to her or our tummies when you ask her to. She can bring you certain things, like her dummy or her cuddly bunny. She tries to jump, when you say to.

Update about me?

Well, if you haven't guessed already thanks to the Facebook update that brought you here. 

I am PREGNANT with baby number two!



I am currently 19 weeks pregnant today and due on the 24th of August.

This was also a BIG reason for my absence from blogging, I was extremely tired and suffering from morning sickness. I'm feeling better now, still tired of course, but not so sick. I still have the occasional bout of nausea but I think that's due to tiredness.

I will be posting an update on my pregnancy so far and how things have been going in a couple of days.

We are very excited at the prospect of Ella having a little brother or sister in 4 and half months or so and I can't wait to keep you updated on what those months brings. 

It also means I will have two under two! Eep! Ella will be 21 months by the time baby number two arrives.

Me at 17weeks.





Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Life with a toddler - a whole new ball game!

As I mentioned in my last post Ella is now 15 months old (approaching 16 months very soon), she's walking, babbling and using some words - generally, little Ms Independant. I'm not sure quite when this changed, or when she became a toddler but it's happened, the inevitable has happened - she's no longer my little baby!

With the beginnings of toddlerhood brings a whole new set of challenges - ones I'm not quite sure I was 100% prepared for. You know when those annoying parents say to you "If you think you're tired now, wait until you have a toddler!" well as much as it pains me to admit it - they were right! 

I mean bloody hell, she's exhausting, she's literally a walking "toddler tornado"! Don't get me wrong, some days she can be absolute sweetness itself and other days it's like she's been replaced with a little, cute looking, unassuming devil child.

The following are some of the few observations I have made over the last couple of months...

1. Do not offer toddler food or drink he/she doesn't want, this will result in an epic tantrum. How, you may ask, am I supposed to know if they don't or didn't want it? Well, simple really, you must be a mind reader. The other day, I offered Ella a drink of water (how dare I offer nourishment and sustenance to my child!) which then resulted in her throwing herself on the floor like life wasn't worth living.

2. If toddler actually does happen to take offered food or drink, (Yay!) but then decides he/she doesn't actually want it there is no hesitation in spitting out whatever partially chewed food is left or throwing it on the floor.

3. It doesn't matter whether or not you are eating exactly the same food as said toddler, you can bet your life they want what you've got on YOUR plate.

4. The smallest most unassuming things can cause the most epic toddler shit fits. For example, offering food, not giving food, giving food toddler DID want (but actually doesn't), not allowing toddler to grab my nose with her little clawed vice grip, not allowing her to walk onto a road or to play with light sockets or to jump on my stomach or pull my hair and so on and so forth...you get the gist.

5. Allow extra time for EVERYTHING. Everything takes twice as long as it used to. Leaving the house, or leaving anywhere for that matter, changing a nappy, bathing or showering said child, putting the washing on the line etc etc

6. Toddlers are like magnets to danger, you name it they want it or want to be near it. Roads? Sure, why not. Hot ovens? Yea, so much fun. Climbing onto things and almost falling off? Yea, living on the edge. Eating random things off the path or out of gutters? Mmm, yea tasty.

7. Tantrums, whilst normally quite entertaining and sometimes a little embarrassing, can be quite tricky. When an 11.6kg ball of muscle decides she doesn't want to do anything it's quite hard to make think otherwise. She throws herself onto the floor, arches her bank, goes limp, thrashes and kicks around. Only 2 or 3 tantrums in one day is considered to be a "good day".

8. You could own every single toy under the sun BUT you can guarantee your toddler would rather play with anything other than those toys. For example, a cell phone, the remote control, a keyboard, pulling all the wipes out of the packet, the stones in the garden, the toilet seat etc. 

It's pretty certain that toddlers are unusual little creatures, with huge personalities for the size of the person. They know (in their minds) what they want and what they definately DON'T want. One minute they could be the sweetest, most affectionate and calmest little thing then the next...turn into an absolute screaming, violent little dictator.

It can't be easy knowing what you want but not knowing how to communicate properly with someone or not being able to translate into words or gestures what you need. This new "phase" has been an interesting experience (one of many) and by far one of the most difficult. They are learning and changing at such a rapid rate, it's quite hard to keep up!

I'm sure those of you that have a toddler/s or have been through this stage can relate. To those of you that are yet to go through this or are fast approaching it, all I can say is "good luck"!



Monday, 21 March 2016

I'm back - where have I been?


It's been a long while since I sat down in front of my computer and started to write, in fact it's only been a month or two but it feels like a lifetime and few things have changed since then.

Now, I feel like it's a good time for me to get back into the blogging world, I do miss it because when I was in the "zone" I enjoyed writing. I enjoyed putting my thoughts and feelings down on paper - it was a great outlet for my thoughts when my head was getting a bit too "cluttered" - as it is most days really.

As I was saying a lot has happened in the short time i've been "offline" so I think it's only fair, before I launch into general blog content, I fill you in.

Firstly, Ella and I have officially packed up and moved to Christchurch. We packed up everything we could fit into a borrowed van and moved down to Christchurch where we are living in a temporary rental until we can secure a more permanent place to live. 

One of the main reasons why we made the move earlier than anticipated was because I was really struggling to cope on my own - having spent six months solo parenting, only seeing my Husband every three weeks or so. Whilst struggling to cope with solo parenting I had a lot of other personal issues going on, not just, with myself but within my family.

So, from trying to parent Ella, to trying to keep up with household jobs, to extreme tiredness, to family issues it was all becoming too much and it had got to the point where I needed help, before things got worse and before I ended up having a break down - that was seriously where I thought I was headed. I needed to talk things over with someone, to clear my head when it felt like I had a permanent haze hanging over me. I sought help through my GP and luckily I was able to have funded counselling sessions to help me get back on track.

While all this was going on blogging (and rightly so) took a back seat, my mind was a haze so how could I keep trotting out original, decent material?

I feel at this point now, I'm starting to get back to normal, I'm feeling more in control - partially thanks to having our family back together, but also in thanks to having offloaded a couple of years worth of baggage onto someone who can help me make sense of whats gone on.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still tired - there hasn't been a time when I haven't felt at least a little bit tired since becoming a parent, but I'm sure you can all relate? There are still times where I struggle, but I've discovered that's normal, that's real life. We can't be expected to always have our shit together nor can we be expected to always be chirpy and happy, life just isn't like that and if anything it's taught me that life is full of up's and down's - it's just a matter of taking each day as it comes and getting through it.

My head is now feeling clearer and Ella, myself and my Husband are all back together living under one roof as a family - now we're embarking on new adventures (in more ways than one) in Christchurch and I feel like I may have a few bits of new material up my sleeve - mainly in thanks to now having a fully fledged, walking and tantruming toddler!

Yes, that's right my beautiful little Ella, the one who inspired this blog is now a walking, babbling toddler already suffering from early onset of the "terrible twos"!


This part of my life, and Ella's life, is a WHOLE new journey and a fresh set of challenges. Just when you think you've got it sorted... then BOOM toddlerhood rears it's (very) ugly head and you're thrown in the deep end once more.

 So, thanks to my lovely baby who is no longer a baby, over the next few weeks/months/years I am gaining a fresh set of experiences and observations to share with you as a (slightly) bewildered, tired, exasperated Mother to a 15 month old - who finds herself sighing more frequently and looking increasingly more dishevelled than ever before!

 On another note - how the hell do I have a 15 month old? Also, I take back what I said about newborn being the hardest stage, NUH UH this is whole new ball game! Give me strength.

So, my precious readers, those that have continued to stay with me throughout my "disappearance" I'm hoping you will find that the sarcastic, dry sense of humour in me is back and better than ever!

I hope you'll continue to follow me on my Motherhood journey and thanks for "hanging" in there while I took a much needed break.


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