Category Archives: A bit of me

Pregnancy brain ….. when even thinking of a blog post title is too much….

The fact that I’ve been sitting here staring blankly at the screen for about 10 whole minutes just about sums up this article….. my brain actually just shuts off… not distracted…. just a whole lot of _____________________________ and occasional blinking!

Pregnancy induced brain uselessness (official medical term that is), can hit at any time and manifests in a multiple of exciting ways…. such as frequently popping the kettle in the fridge (apparently an everyday occurrence for my beloved pregnant SIL Sarah), attempts at adult conversation just coming out as mumbled, fat-tongued gibberish usually only experienced after dental work, never arriving at the right place or time for anything scheduled and always ALWAYS stopping in a state of dumb confusion when entering a room thinking ‘what the hell did I come in here for again?’

This is me every.single.day! Please please please reassure me with some sort of ‘it happens to every one’, ‘it’ll pass as soon as that baby is out’, ‘it’s actually a sign of advanced intelligence’…. because right now I’m feeling like a pretty useless, mentally stumped, rapidly expanding whale who’s brain has decided to vacate for nine months.

So far my pregnancy brain (or momnesia as google just informed me) hasn’t caused any serious injury or death to anyone….. not as far as I can remember anyway. It just rattles me enough to not undertake anything too vital that it can’t handle being done 100% completely wrong, if at all….. which of course my husband loves…. I’m sooooo useful right now.

I’ve recently undertaken some wonderfully helpful (and simple) tricks to help me get through this pregnancy with hopefully, in the very least, remembering how to get to the hospital.

Lists, lists, lists!….

The surefire way to make a dent in the jumbled, mumbled mess of whirling emotions, reminders, tasks and distractions is to right it ALL down… I have a chronic, possibly diagnosable obsession with writing lists! I have a list currently open on my PC titled ‘Lists of Lists to Write’. No joke! I have to categorise the craziness happening in my mind before I can tackle any of it. Any time I feel overwhelmed (which let’s be honest, with added hormones these days is pretty damn often) one of the best ways for me to cool my lid is to write it all out…… I currently have my next three months whittled out in to twelve lists! It keeps me sane….. well…. marginally more sane

Buy a diary

And I mean an actual tangible one… made out of trees and everything. Buy one that you love, looks good, not so big that you’ll never have it with you and preferably shows the whole week across two pages. Sit down at some stage every week, scribble out anything scheduled, write out things you’d like to tackle that week (but keep it low pressure, because some weeks just surviving should earn you a medal) and if all this task gets you is actually learning what day today is…. then YAY!

Basic meals and emergency food

For me, things were certainly easier with my first pregnancy in terms of keeping fed. But the added responsibility of feeding an 18 month old is most days almost enough to undo me! I am perfectly happy (and this growing bump seems super keen as well) to live off constant vegemite toast and M&Ms….. but I don’t think I’m being overly health-conscious in striving for a bit more variety in my toddler’s diet over this 9 month stretch. And little Evie’s routine (which I love, love, love) doesn’t allow tooooo much room for me to totally blank out when it’s time for a meal. So two of my saviours have been to have a freezer stock of super easy, go-to meals, like veggie slice/savoury muffins; and to always have eggs on hand…. maybe random, but eggs have got to be the greatest meal-time creation ever! Many a last minute omelette, scrambled eggs or good ol’ hard boiled egg have been whipped up in this house. It’s a healthy no brainer, and I probably only overcook/destroy on average 30% of them 🙂 That’s good stats for ‘pregnancy brain’ cooking, don’t ask about my continued failed attempts at ‘simple, no-fail’ fritters.

But my biggest saviour has been actually allowing myself to be mentally rubbish for the time being… because every single brain cell has been re-assigned to focus entirely on growing this mini human inside  of me into the perfect combination of healthy, cute, polite and sassy! That’s backed by science right? I’m just careful about what I promise people and try to keep everyone’s expectations nice and low 🙂 The fact that I’ve kept this post relatively on track (please don’t ask how many weeks/hours it’s taken for me to write/stare blankly at it) has earned me at least some emoji high-fives?!!

So once again, be nice to yourself as your mind and body keeps throwing you curveballs ….. and have a good laugh!! … see the funny side to your pregnancy fog! I know a few of my nearest and dearest definitely get a giggle out of me….. I might as well join them!

What are your ‘pregnancy brain’ stories? Share them in the comments section for some collective laughs and to reassure me that I’m not alone!

xxx

Elise

Image – Modern Family

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Pregnancy really messes with your body…

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds - source pop sugar.com

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds – source pop sugar.com

Curse you Blake Lively!!!!!….. It would really have done the world of good to the female populations’ self confidence if the stunning Blake Lively ballooned out like a swollen whale and was plagued with hormonal acne while pregnant…. but alas, apparently having Ryan Reynolds draped over her arm as the ultimate man candy wasn’t enough of a blessing, she blossomed into that glowing, magical pregnancy unicorn that I hate to know exists. Now I honestly don’t wish any curses upon her, and really do HATE mum-shaming culture but damn it bites sometimes! Being pregnant with number two I’m living in a little bit of fear of the massive weight gain I put on the first time around (25 kilos!!!!….. yes 25 kilograms on a nice average 62 kilo frame…. it was a waddling, swollen nightmare). I’ve been trying so much harder this time to look after my body (and in turn this growing baby), but to also appreciate and allow the necessary changes to happen. Because last time it was only really in hindsight that I realised how awesome being pregnant was, and how proud of my body I was. It totally completely sucks sometimes, I hate having the skin of a teenager for months, and proper elephant ankles (second only to Kim Kardashian’s whoppers when pregnant with North….. those pictures were my comfort)….. but my body honestly rocked it sometimes! Even with my breaking of the bathroom scales, I came out with only two minor stretch marks that soon faded into insignificance! My average B cup boobs totally owned the breast feeding thing, even though they loved to leak like tears in The Notebook. And at the end of the day my insanely clever insides managed to create and grow an entire perfectly proportioned human…. something that no male can ever do, no matter how fabulous or how many California’s they Govern. So if you are interested in any way at all, feel free to peruse your way through my pearls of incredibly substantiated wisdom in caring for that bump….

  • Do something active. This has been my salvation second time around… I am about as active and physically committed to exercise as Jabba the Hut on a good day! But horrible pain in my hips from them constantly expanding and the fear of having absolutely no endurance in labour has given me pretty damn good motivation. I now enjoy frequenting a local Aqua Aerobics class with the company of 40 women at least 30 years my senior, and honestly those old birds can aqua lunge and squat circles around me any day. This combined with a good old Pregnancy Yoga DVD from eBay has kept me feeling so sooooo much better. As always be careful what you’re undertaking physically while pregnant (especially if it’s new) and get the go ahead from your Doctor.
  • Smother that belly. I think each medical professional will give you conflicting advice if this helps or not but over moisturising those new bumps and curves will never do you any harm. In the very least you get a free massage out of the partner every now and then (threatening them with googled images of horrific stretch mark damage is usually enough). I started the habit nice and early, as soon as those two lines appeared I made sure there were oils and moisturisers always at the ready. Have even convinced Evie (my 18 month old) that rubbing cream on mummy’s belly is really fun…. still working on her neck massaging skills.
  • Magnesium and TEDS for fat feet and muscle cramps. If crazy hormones and snoring isn’t enough already to turn off your man then just wait until he sees you in a super hot pair of hospital support stockings! I get the worst fluid retention if I’m on my feet for anything more than one hour and wearing anything more attractive than CROCS or Nanna’s Paediatric Clogs. It’s not a pretty sight for anyone and is only surpassed by the vision of my uncoordinated struggle to pull on the super tight TED socks (that my wonderful father smuggles home for me from work at the Hospital). But these socks coupled with a few sprays of 100% Pure Magnesium Oil onto the soles of my feet seriously works wonders  for my fluid build up, those demonic calf muscle cramps and even help me sleep better. Seriously, buy some magnesium oil (wouldn’t recommend spraying it anywhere near your growing bump without a Drs thumbs up or any broken skin), it lasts forever! And go visit anyone you may be slightly acquainted with in hospital in the aim to steal their hospital bed socks …… or buy some from the chemist if you’re rolling in extra change
  • Beware Pregnancy Arms…. These things will put any bingo hall to shame and have a tendency to haunt you in Facebook tags for years to come. A little motivation goes a long way and I have a particular photo of myself around 8 months pregnant with Evie that is stuck on that social media wall of shame which shows my previously shapely arms as headless lumpy figures standing awkwardly close to my side. It is my absolute least favourite image of myself and although keeping my arms slim (or as slim as possible for someone who retains fluid like a camel) is an entirely selfish aesthetic goal, it is one I’m happy to be striving for. And there is thankfully an absolute master of arm sculpting called Tracy Anderson who’s ‘Sexy Arms’ workouts (easily YouTube searched) are deceptively horrendous and effective. Start off with the 4 min one and when you feel like punishing yourself a little further dive into the 12 minute version. And the major perk of strengthening your arms is that you’ll soon be carrying around a 3.5 kilo baby constantly and you’ll be wishing you did absolutely anything to help make that easier.

Above everything be kind and forgiving of your body and its changes…. I like to maintain that with a team of stylists I too would look like Blake Lively…. hmmm, maybe more like an average Lena Dunham…. but that’s ok coz I make insanely adorable babies and people would pay good money for that! Stay tuned for some more pregnancy-change related articles….. might be a while away because my next subject is Pregnancy Brain so naturally I have absolutely no idea what to write…. xxx Elise

Surviving an international trip with a 4 month old

The Laynes, Brighton

The Laynes, Brighton

Rewind about 3 years and I was in Sydney meeting up with some English friends travelling through with their 4 month old baby girl… they were stopping in Sydney en route to Los Angeles from London… ‘Crazy!’ Is what I thought, I sat there in absolute awe of this couple who had either the balls or the stupidity required to attempt something like this!

Present day, I am a survivor… I honestly think I deserve a badge or plaque or something 🙂 We did it! Last Christmas my ridiculously good looking hubby and I slummed in on a 36 hour flight journey (and back), braved the wrath of fellow passengers, struggled with a jet lagged baby (our darling bubba Evie), slept in 6 different beds over 3 weeks, and all in all had a wonderfully memorable, exhausting and well worth it trip!

We planned, planned and planned before departing (well I did anyway)… I think I read absolutely everything on the internet which had anything to do with travelling with babies (which in turn made me freak one minute and feel calmly reassured in the next…. the joys of internet contradictions). So  naturally I need to add my 2 cents to this pile (although I do feel my 2 cents is worth a lot more…. 5 cents at least)

Read on for my 7 lessons learnt from international travel with a baby….. (phew)

 

1. Age is key!

As any parent knows, a baby literally changes before your eyes… they grow and develop at an incredible rate! So taking a 4 month old on a plane is going to be verrryyyy different to taking a 14 month old. For us, we found our little Evie was at a great age for long haul flying, at 4 months old she was happiest when being constantly cuddled, slept easily in new places and with noise, and only needed breastfeeding for sustenance. As babies go, she was at a low maintenance age.

Half way there

Half way there

2. Never enough nappies!

Someone suggested doubling the usual nappy/to hour ratio for when on planes and I’m glad I did. It must have something to do with the cabin pressure….. or maybe the hideous plane food travelling through to my milk, because I swear she has never ever pooped so much! You know those teeny tiny bins in the plane bathroom toilets?? I was terrified it was going to be overflowing with 5 hours of travel still to go.

3. When you gotta go….

While we’re on the subject of baby poop… There’s always one comical moment that you’ll joke about being the worst time for your baby to fill their nappy. Yes we joked, and yes we were not the last ones laughing. It was the beginning of our very very long journey home, 40 hours to be precise, we had settled into our seats, seat belts fastened as the plane started to taxi along the runway. My precious, delicate little girl was in my arms with her own seat belt fastened around mine…. she hadn’t pooped in 3 days…. as she gazed at me with her perfect big blue eyes she started to frown…. and go red…. and… oh god…. what was that noise?? Her little body actually shuddered for about 2 minutes as the most horrendous smell seeped through the cabin. The plane hadn’t even taken off at this stage so we were still confined to our seats for what seemed like years (and probably an eternity to the poor souls sitting nearby). It was what is know as a uber poo… filling every single layer of clothing and dousing mum just to be sure. As soon as that seatbelt sign switched off we run like Usain to the toilets. No item of clothing was salvageable, everything was binned. I’m sure somewhere on the net you will be able to find the horror story written from the viewpoint of our fellow passengers.

Me and my winter Bear

Me and my winter Bear

4. Jetlagged baby

Jetlag is a horrible horrible thing for anyone  afflicted by it and I have always hated being struck down with it. But while preparing myself for the usual middle of the night wakings, 3pm nodding off and general uneasiness, I just never even considered that my baby would be jet lagged too. And while adults have the ability to ‘push through’ mentally, bubs just have no bloody idea what is going on….. She would wake up at 2am bright as a daisy, getting more and more frustrated as to why mum and dad wouldn’t play with her, and the afternoons saw her getting ridiculously overtired and agitated. I’m not sure if I actually have any advice as to helping this, except if at all possible try and keep some kind of routine for them to get used to (pretty difficult when visiting and staying with different relatives every two days), and as much sunlight as you can find always helps the body clock.

5. Prepare for lots of luggage

Plan to be comfortable wearing the same outfit A LOT! Because something a whole lot more deserving of valuable luggage space is all the baby stuff! so so so much stuff! Pram, car capsule, capsule base, pram winter cover, pram rain cover (it was England), winter clothes, winter snow suit, so so many baby blankets, baby wipes, nappies, nappies, nappies, bottles, breast pump, breast pads, dummies (pacifiers), teething rusks/medication, comforting blankets/toys, familiar toys…… oh the list goes on and on. Tips are …. use your pram to wheel all the crap around, gate check your pram if your airline allows it, get a GREAT baby carrier to use in airports or while on the plane (safer than walking the aisles with no spare hands), beg borrow and steal baby paraphernalia from your contacts at the other end, and just be ready to spend a lot longer than usual juggling all of your stuff in the airports…. it’s not going to be glamorous or fun… I’m sorry.

Christmas day walk

Christmas day walk

6. Don’t expect relaxation

If we had planned this trip to the other side of the world with expectations of a grand European adventure I am pretty sure I would have been bitterly disappointed. 3 weeks is way too short a time to fly that far, expect a baby to adjust, adjust yourself, and take in exciting sights every day. Although we enjoyed ourselves across England, Holland and Spain, our primary reason for the whole trip was to see our family and introduce them to the newest member of the family. The highlight for me was the entire extended family getting together to celebrate Oma’s 96th birthday in Holland…. incredibly priceless and worth all the jet lag and travel problems in the world. After the whirlwind journey we came home utterly exhausted and entirely in need of a post-holiday holiday.

Oma's 96th

Oma’s 96th

7. Prepare for after

Which takes me to my final point…. prepare for afterwards. If you can swing extra days before returning to work (or return on a Friday) and plan to just recover you will thank me! Bribe family and friends with overseas treats to bring you healthy food for a few days, help with your laundry and make sure you don’t sleep all day…. but only invite people you’re comfortable with seeing you in all of your blood-shot, panda-eyes and pyjama-wearing glory. It took us a reeeaallllly long time to adjust back and recover. Healthier food, sunshine, gentle exercise, fresh air and rest will be your best friend. Which is very easy to say but hard to do when all you want is unhealthy amounts of coffee, hot chips in gravy and a week of staying in bed. And prepare yourself for your little one needing to adjust as well, it took Evie a good two months to get back into her pre-holiday sleeping routine.

So be brave and tackle the dreaded international travel with a baby thing! But for me, I’m staying local for relaxing getaways, the long haul is for family only with little’uns.

Have you survived any big journeys with your baby? What are your sanity-saving tips and tricks?

Baby Wearing Part 1 – my story

My family and I after conquering our 'mountain'

My family and I after conquering our ‘mountain’

I know first hand that the ‘Baby Wearing’ world can be intimidating, confusing and a little bit scary (pictures of strongly opinionated, pram-haters come to mind)…. I’m giving my story and helpful (professional) tips across two posts. Part 1 being my blah blah blah of how I don’t really know much about Baby Wearing (thus giving me a great non-bias or pushy perspective) and Part 2 being the actual informative, helpful advice from interviewing  Jessie and Carley at Wear Your Baby.

As with many things parental, I tend to learn in hindsight. Little Evie is now one year old and even with an intense whirlwind International trip to the other side of the world for Christmas, we have barely touched our baby carrier in the last 12 months. If I’m honest, I never quite got the hang of it, Evie’s chunky thighs always got caught and it was a horrible strain on my neck and shoulders. Convinced I was doing it wrong, the carrier never received much love.

Only recently a friend lent me her carrier as a last minute saviour for some Sunday afternoon ‘hiking’ (don’t mistake me for anything resembling fit and active…. was an hour return trip up and down a hill sized mountain….. still enough to render me breathless and on my knees more times than I’d care to admit). Hubby carried Evie up the mountain (hill) and I carried her down… was enough to open my eyes to the world of a properly worn carrier! No neck and shoulder strain, super comfortable and Evie even had a little nap in it.

So started my foray into interpreting the Baby Wearing world. Each to their own, but I wasn’t keen on 24 hour attachment to my bub. One reason (for me) being that we do want a large-ish family and I feel like there’s probably a limit to how many babies/toddlers can be permanently strapped to me… But I have certainly learnt that in different seasons (teething, sickness etc) it’s ok to overdose your child with cuddles and affection, they generally need it in the crappy days. And lots of Baby Wearing contact would be soothing and comforting for bub while still giving mum two hands to fold laundry, bake Martha Stewart cakes and sew adorable baby outfits… OR make coffee and buy ridiculous amounts of things through Mummy Instagram shopping….

After my initial scoping, I had a bit more of an idea as to what we (Hubby and I) wanted.

  • Black – soooo easy to dress up or down 😉 …. and hide dirt and stains so I won’t need to wash as much. YES!
  • One with a forward facing option, because my one year old gets so bored facing my chest for too long that she actually tried to pull my collarbones off the other day. (educated note: the benefits of chatting to Baby Wearing professionals, forward facing is not the best ergonomically for babies, especially newborns, so should only be for limited amounts of time)
  • One with a hip/waist band – to limit strain on shoulders and neck

Feeling super in-the-know with what I wanted I wandered into a (nameless) Baby store…. after fumbling with the demonstration models, trying to interpret the backs of the boxes and looking ridiculously awkward for about half an hour, I left probably feeling a bit more overwhelmed than preferred.

Then most of my online searches for help tended to churn up mountains of strongly opinionated (and opposing) points and ‘rules’. My head started to hurt…

And then I hit gold! Perfect timing moment! Just when I needed clarification and help most, a beautiful friend from years back started an online Baby Wearing store!!! Beauty!… I barely gave her time to settle into the new business before pouncing with a request for an interview! Surely other mum’s have found the whole Baby Wearing deal a bit daunting and in my own (selfish) information seeking journey I could only hope that it’ll help others as well.

So I sat down with the wonderful Jessie and Carley from Wear Your Baby…. our multiple little ones scooting around our toes (and destroying their magazine collection)…. and picked their brains for how to simplify the different types of carriers, what suits what, the basic simple rules to remember…. and came out feeling so much more prepared.

And at the end of it all I’ve come away with a wonderful carrier that I love, have used multiple times this week already (so has Hubby), and a lot more confidence in being a Baby Wearing mum (albeit definitely part-time).

Part 2. including the wonderful advice and help I received from Jessie and Carley will be up on the blog within the week.

Let me know your thoughts ladies! (and men)….. how do you go baby wearing or not baby wearing? Would love to hear your tales 🙂

xxx

A Winter One-derland – Evie’s First Birthday

I feel like this post needs to come with a disclaimer…. I know how many people feel about over-the-top, pretentious first birthdays….. but, I LOVE them! haha. I am all for fancy bashes, and considering I’m an Events Coordinator who hasn’t worked for 12 months, little Evie really didn’t stand a chance when it came to her first birthday.

I don’t like over spending though so keeping to a teeny tiny budget we had a really beautiful afternoon party with family and our closest friends.

The piñata

We hung strings of cotton wool (snow) from the cardboard cutout clouds.

Our little party girl (dress chosen by her adoring daddy)

The best little party favours for the kid guests

Snowman cups of popcorn

We borrowed everyone’s Christmas trees for a wintry forest… our QLD palm trees didn’t quite cut it

Hanging snowflakes

‘Dad of the Year’! Made a Frozen photo booth that all the kids loved

Kept the cake simple (I am no cake decorator and no matter what Pinterest tells me, I will not try)

All in all we had a lot of fun and I really loved pulling it all together.

There’s no need to spend thousands, but don’t let the haters stop you throwing a party! 🙂 If all else fails I’ll come along!!! 🙂