Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas 2010

We had a lovely Christmas day. Annabelle opened her presents at home and then we went to my brother's place for lunch, which of course lasted until dinner time!

Boxing Day started out wet and gloomy but it didn't take long for the sun to come out and the cozzies to go on - I was able to take Annabelle for her first proper swim as she's only ever had 2 paddles in a baby pool.

I can't believe that next year we'll have two children opening presents - that's the best Christmas present I could ask for!









It seemed like a good idea to buy a talking toy - it's already driving me mad!













Opening presents with her cousins!


 Maddy and Annabelle









Trying to escape the heat!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Dummy

Many years ago, prior to becoming a parent, I thought the use of dummy's (also known as pacifiers or comforters depending on which part of the world you are in) was unnecessary. I used to hate being at the shops seeing an older child with a dummy in their mouth and I vowed I would never use them with my children - fast forward 20 years and how things have changed as I never leave the house without one in my bag for Annabelle.

When Annabelle was born she had trouble feeding and it was a real struggle to get her to take milk, whether it be by breast or bottle. It didn't help that my milk never came in properly so she had to have a top up bottle until we decided at six weeks to switch her entirely to bottle - I still had no milk and the routine of breast feeding followed by feeding her expressed milk, a bottle and then expressing for the next feed was exhausting, especially as she was feeding every 3 hours.

Annabelle was such a poor feeder we were kept in hospital for 8 days as they tried to get her to gain weight, with little success. By the time we got home colic had set in and so began the cycle of crying and pacing as we tried everything to ease her pain, including a much lauded gripe water that brought some relief but wasn't the miracle cure we'd hoped for!

The only thing that seemed to provide her with any comfort was the use of a dummy, which was actually suggested by her paediatrician and the clinic nurse that came out for a home visit. Apparently the sucking motion helps to move the wind through the body and so began my love/hate relationship with dummies.

My dilemma now is how and when do I get rid of the dummy? All suggestions will be gratefully received!

Annabelle is only 16 months old and while she doesn't have the dummy permanently glued to her mouth there are times, such as when she is tired, that it definitely provides comfort. The flip-side is that when she loses it during the night she cries and we have to go into her room to find it for her - some times up to 5 times a night. With a new baby due any day now I am starting to realise that there is not going to be much sleep happening in our household over the coming months!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Happy Birthday Mason

My lovely nephew Mason turned 3 yesterday - a day of equal importance to his parents as it was for him.

I have mentioned my beautiful niece Isabelle  many times before but for the benefit of any new readers of my blog she passed away after being involved in a low impact car accident more than four years ago - she was 3. The older sister Mason will never get to meet.

So now Noel and Danielle find themselves with a 3 year old again - such a big emotional milestone for them.

Mason was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate and has already undergone several surgeries, with more to come in the future. If anyone has a reason to be shy and introverted it's him but he's such a bubbly, lively little boy who is a joy to be around - and he has the stamina of the energiser bunny! After all girls being born into our family Mason was the first boy, luckily for him he now has a brother, Oliver, as he would have been well and truly outnumbered as we currently have 9 girls to 2 boys - my bubba will be the final addition to the family and we still have another 3 weeks until he/she joins us!

We had a family dinner last night on Mason's actual birthday and today was his birthday party with his friends. I was quite excited about Mason's party as it was Annabelle's first birthday party where she could actually participate - she's only been to one other, her cousin Oliver's, and as she was only 10 months old at the time she slept through most of it!

A fun day was had by all!

A newborn Mason - pic borrowed from Danielle's Blog


 With the cake that his clever Nanna made for him


Enjoying being sung to


 Oliver & Madeleine watch as Mason blows out the candles


It's my party & I'll lick my cake if I want to!!


 Maddy helping to look after her cousin Annabelle


I can't believe my baby is soon to be a big sister


The newest addition to our family, my niece Matilda

Friday, December 10, 2010

4:09

So here I am at 4:09am wishing I was in bed asleep but knowing it's futile to even attempt it as it hasn't been very successful so far tonight, or should that be this morning!

As of today I have approximately 3 weeks left until our new baby is born and I have reached a point where getting comfortable in bed is difficult to do. Laying on my back is not recommended as the baby's weight applies pressure to the large vein that carries blood back to the heart from the feet and legs, and is uncomfortable anyway. When I lay on my left side, which is the recommended sleeping position during pregnancy as it supposedly improves circulation to the heart and allows for the best blood flow to the fetus, uterus, and kidneys my hands go numb and I wake up anyway! It's very difficult to sleep in one position all night, which partly explains why I am still awake at 4 in the morning!

My other reason for being awake is because Annabelle is also having a bad night and keeps waking up every 20 minutes or so and getting into bed only to have to get back up again not long afterwards is making me feel sick so I am fighting the stinging eyes and trying to do something productive instead.

I am wondering if Annabelle is about to cut another tooth as she always gets restless when she is teething and she doesn't have a temperature or runny nose so she doesn't appear to be sick in any way. I am thankful that she is easy to settle as a few soothing words and getting her to lay down again are all that are normally required, however two nights of doing this repeatedly is starting to take its toll on me!

Sadly, I think my lack of sleep is affecting me in other areas as I am feeling quite apathetic about Christmas - and it's normally my favourite time of year! I keep looking at the presents that are in the spare room and I think to myself  'I must get in there and wrap those' but so far it hasn't happened. I'm now at the point where I really need to wrap presents as some have to be posted to people and I'll be cutting it fine if I don't do it now.

I'm also feeling undecided about putting up a tree this year. Last year I was thrilled with my tree, it was covered in ornaments that I had brought back from my holidays overseas and I had about 5 different sets of lights on it - it looked fabulous! I normally put the tree up on 1 December but Annabelle is only 15 months and I haven't found a place to put it where she won't get to it and so instead I've done nothing.

I think it's time I got myself sorted as Christmas is coming whether I am ready or not and then straight after that our baby is going to join us - I need to stop ignoring both facts and get organised.

So now my plan for today is to wrap presents, put up Christmas decorations and wash newborn baby clothes in preparation of the new addition. I'm definitely going to do that today, but first I think I might go and have a nap!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It's Good to Be Home

I am now 32 weeks along with this pregnancy and I have to say the last couple of weeks have proven to be exhausting. I remember being tired when I was pregnant with Annabelle but of course I didn't have another child at home to look after - plus I have been working 3 days a week and my commute is 4 hours each day.

By mid last week I was really starting to feel awful, and the fact that I've had a head cold for more than 3 weeks, with no sign of it budging, isn't helping. I woke up Friday and I couldn't put my finger on it but I just didn't feel 'right' so I rang and left a message with work to say I wouldn't be in.

Annabelle goes to day care on a Friday so I got her ready and waved her off and then it happened, a very strange sensation that started with my vision. All of a sudden I could see flashing lights, mostly pink and silver, in my right eye making it very difficult to see.

I googled 'blurred vision during pregnancy' and I came across several articles that said to seek medical attention as it was probably pre-eclampsia. I rang the birthing unit of my local hospital to get advice and I have to say I was disappointed in their attitude as they told me in no uncertain terms not to go there. I then rang my OBs office and the ladies there were fantastic and told me to come in immediately.

As I don't drive I decided to ring a taxi as my symptoms were worsening and by the time I got to the OBs office my right arm was numb and the right side of my face was paralysed, thankfully only temporarily.  I suddenly realised it might have been more serious than I suspected when my Doctor mentioned the word stroke! Before I could blink I was on my way to hospital, yes, the same hospital that turned me away and the same hospital that is walking distance from my house!

Thankfully they took me into emergency fairly quickly and hooked me up to machines and started all sorts of tests... the hardest bit was answering their questions as I was having difficulty reading - everything looked like hieroglyphics - and forming proper sentences. It was a strange feeling knowing I wasn't saying the right thing but being unable to form the right word.

About 4 years ago I experienced two migraines quite close together that involved blurred spots in my vision and a tingle in my right arm but nothing as scary as this! Thankfully I could remember the name of the neurologist that treated me so the hospital was able to obtain my records from him and it saved me having to undergo specific tests again! 

I spent just over 24 hours in the high dependency unit - my first ever night away from Annabelle so there were a few tears in the morning - and then I was transferred onto the ward sharing a room with 3 men all over the age of 70; now that was an experience!

After 3 days and a barrage of tests I was finally allowed to go home with the diagnosis of a Sporadic Hemiplegic Migraine! As you can imagine I was relieved that I hadn't had a major stroke but Hemiplegic Migraines come with their own issues as they are rare but severe, and can also lead to strokes - in fact sufferers are twice as likely to have a stroke as non migraine sufferers - and the more frequent the attack the more likely to cause brain damage .

While I am pregnant there isn't much they can do for me in the way of treatment but after this baby is born, which now looks like it might be brought forward, the Docs will sort out a treatment plan for me.

So for now I am resting up, I've had to finish up with work 4 weeks earlier than planned, and I am hoping that the weeks until our new family member joins us are uneventful.

One can always hope!

Wordless Wednesday - Just 'Cos






More Aussie Wordless Wednesday and also over at My Little Drummer Boys

Friday, November 12, 2010

Once More Unto the Breach

When I was pregnant with Annabelle I developed high blood pressure, which meant a stay in hospital on bed rest and leaving work earlier than I'd hoped. It was good at the time but it actually meant I had less time at home with her after she was born as I had exhausted all my leave and had to return to work when she was only 6 months old, thankfully only part time.

This pregnancy has been completely different to Annabelle's, which is why I've been convinced from day one that I am having a boy. The morning sickness was far worse, and still pays me the occasional visit, the heartburn has kicked in a lot earlier (Gaviscon and Mylanta are my new best friends) and the exhaustion doesn't seem to want to leave me - regardless of how much sleep I have (the fact that we have a 14 month old probably has something to do with the last bit).

The upside to all this is that I've actually lost weight, 6 kilos to be exact. I'm not exactly sure where the loss has come from as it certainly hasn't left my butt - it's a shame we can't choose these things isn't it! I have to add that I haven't been trying to lose weight, however I'm putting it down to two bouts of gastro and horrendous morning sickness.

Of course the most important thing is the health of the baby, who is measuring correctly and appears healthy on all the scans. This time around I am hoping for a nice healthy sized baby as Annabelle was induced two weeks early and weighed 2700 grams (5.9 pounds). ). Even 0000 outfits were too big for her so I had to go and buy premmie clothes for her to wear, although technically she was considered full term. I have since been told that high blood pressure affects the placenta, which in turn affects the size of the baby!

So, despite the weight loss, tiredness and everything else I had been travelling along quite well and I’d been feeling pretty pleased with myself that my blood pressure had remained stable – until I reached my 29th week and then everything went pear shaped!

I’ve already had a trip to hospital to be monitored, poked, prodded and scanned and now I am the owner of my very own blood pressure machine as I have to take readings several times a day and then email them to my Obstetrician – what fun!

Although this bubba isn’t due until the 14th January I’ve been told I will probably have a December baby – please let bubba hang on until after 25th December! The realisation that I only have about 7 weeks to go is both exciting and a little scary as we’re neither mentally nor physically prepared.

I guess it’s time to stop procrastinating and start getting organised – looks like we’ll be buying a cot this weekend!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Creative Space - 11.11.10

This week I am taking part of My Creative Space so I thought it was a good time to point out that I have started a craft blog called Annabelle and Fred, which is charting my journey making handmade baby rattles, mobiles and soft toys - and where I have posted a picture for My Creative Space.

I am hoping to eventually have enough stock to take to a market - but with a 14 month old and another on the way my plans may be too ambitious - we'll just have to see what happens!

In the meantime you can pop over to The Homespun World of Annabelle and Fred, which is my business Facebook page, to see what I have completed so far!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Frittata Fingers

I don't often post recipes but this one has been such a success with my 14 month old I thought I'd share it!

Frittata Fingers
Ingredients
1 medium zucchini grated (about half a cup)
1 medium carrot grated (about half a cup)
1 small tin creamed corn - 135g
1 small onion chopped finely
1-2 small broccoli florets finely chopped (just the tops, no stems)
4 eggs lightly whisked
grated cheese - 1/3 cup
1 Tablespoon sifted plain flour
2 teaspoons olive oil

Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line a square cake pan, ( I actually use a rectangular lamington pan as I prefer the frittata a bit thinner as it is easy for little fingers to hold).

Heat oil in a frypan over medium heat and add zucchini, carrot, broccoli and onions. Cook mixture for about 5 minutes until veggies are softer. remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Whisk eggs in a large bowl and add cheese, sifted flour and vegetable mix Stir until well combined.

Pour mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until set. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes before placing on a plate to cool completely

Cut into fingers.


I have previously substituted the creamed corn for shredded chicken - I used a small 85g tin, or sweet potato, both of which were successful (it just depends on what I have in the cupboard and fridge!)

I freeze the fingers in packets of two and they make good day care food as Annabelle will eat them cold and she can actually feed herself. If I serve them to her for dinner I heat them up and serve them with cheesy mashed potato and pumpkin.

The frittata can also become an adult dish with the addition of seasoning, parsley, garlic (which is cooked with the onion), omitting the brocolli and replacing the corn with some bacon.

Serve warm in squares with a lovely crisp green salad - and a glass of wine if you wish!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What's In a Name

Aaron and I have approximately 10 weeks to go until the new addition to the family arrives. That means there’s only 10 weeks left for us to come up with names that we both like.

Sounds easy doesn’t it.

It isn’t.

We’ve recently settled into a ritual, usually just before we go to sleep, where I run a bunch of names by him and he says no, no, no. Then he suggests a few back to me, usually something silly and to do with fishing like Snapper or Trout, at which point I say no and then I get told to be quiet and go to sleep.

Are you starting to get the picture?

These are just some of the names Aaron has said no to:

Girls                                                     Boys
Bethany                                               William
Grace                                                   James
Sophie                                                  Liam
Amelia                                                  Connor
Heather                                                Thomas
Fiona                                                    Duncan
Ava                                                     Lucas
Raewyn                                                Mathew
Marae                                                  Buster
Elisabeth                                              Angus
Stella                                                   Edward
Claire                                                   Harry
Olivia                                                   Joshua
Mackenzie                                            Riley
Abbey                                                 Finley or Finn
Gabrielle                                              Austin
Piper                                                   Bailey


I wouldn't mind all the 'no's' if I was given an alternative or even a short list of a few names but so far he hasn't come up with any girls names and the only boys name he likes is Freddie (or is it Freddy???)

Not Frederick, not Fred, just Freddie.

And he won't budge. 

Of course he we made the mistake of telling people Freddie is on our shortlist of boys names and the usual response is: 'You're not serious are you?' or 'You can't do that to a child'.

And still he won't budge. In fact he's now referring to the bump as Freddie.

As for girls names we don't even have a shortlist. Nothing, Nada, none.... zip, zero, zilch!!!

Name suggestions please as I've run out of ideas???

Thursday, October 14, 2010

He Was Here; and He Was Loved

Last Friday I attended the funeral of baby Stefan, the two-week old son of my friend Jane. In the past 4 years I have been to 3 children's funeral's, my niece Isabelle who died after a low-impact car accident, my cousin Natasha who had leukaemia and now Stefan, who suffered complications during his birth but eventually succumbed to pneumonia.

You never get used to seeing the small coffin.

Nobody enjoys funerals but when the person is older and has had the chance to live a good life their funeral, while sad, can also be a celebration of their life and the things they achieved. The same can't be said for a child.

Losing a child isn't just the loss of the physical form, it's the loss of the  life you envisaged, all the things you planned/hoped to do together. Parents always wonder what their children will be like when they grow up, will they marry, have children, be studious or sporty... when you lose a child you also lose that dream.

It's an awful feeling looking into the face of a grief stricken parent knowing that nothing you say can bring them comfort - there are no magic words that can erase their pain.

My beautiful friend Jane somehow composed herself enough to read out the following poem, which she adapted for Stefan's funeral.

Beloveds, now we know that we know nothing
Now that our bright and shining star can slip away from our fingertips
Like a puff of summer wind

Without notice, our dear love can escape our doting embrace,
Sing our songs among the stars and walk our dances across the face of the moon

In the instant we learn, that Stefan is gone we know nothing
No clocks can tell our time and no oceans can rush our tides
With the abrupt absence of our treasure

Though we are many, each of us is achingly alone
Piercingly alone
Only when we confess our confusion can we remember that he was a gift to us
and we did have him

He came to us from the Creator, love from his parents in abundance
Despite the suffering of his life he was sheathed in parental love, and family love

We looked forward to his arrival with passion, compassion and humour
and never took him for granted
We had him

Whether we knew who he was or did not know, he was ours and we were his
We had him

Beautiful, delighting our eyes
He suffered and he fought so very, very hard....
And he was stronger than anyone we’ve ever known

We were enchanted with him because he held nothing
He gave us all he had been given

Today we are missing our beautiful boy, Stefan Andreas Charles

But we do know that we had him
And we are the world.

Four years on and we are still grieving the loss of Isabelle so I know Jane and Colin have a long dark road ahead of them.  There is a difference between moving on and moving forward and I hope Jane and Colin find the strength to move forward while always keeping Stefan in their hearts.

And I sincerely hope I never have to attend the funeral of another child.

Ever again

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Blue Mountains

A few months ago I decided we needed a long weekend away, or a mini-break as I like to call it.

We'd had a few hectic months what with birthdays, Blessings and baby showers and seeing as we have another baby due at the end of the year we decided we should have a weekend away while we still can!

My sister in law Danielle was due to have her baby in mid-September so we booked our 4 day break for the first weekend in September, giving us plenty of time to be back in time for the birth (the due date was mid-September) - or so we thought!

Aaron and I were initially undecided as to where to spend the weekend and we were leaning towards a resort called Bannisters, which is down the coast, mostly because we discovered English chef Rick Stein has a restaurant there (thanks to pay-TV we have seen every episode of every series more than once).

In the end we decided to spend the weekend in the mountains rather than by the sea and so a booking at a gorgeous place called 'Secret Garden Cottage' was made.

Finally our weekend rolled around and our early morning departure was greeted with heavy rain, things were not looking good.  My lovely Dad took us to the train station so we didn't get soaked and thankfully it was only sprinkling at the other end so we arrived at the cottage nice and dry.

Once we had a look around we understood why the cottage was called 'Secret Garden', there were so many nooks and crannies to investigate with seating areas and fish ponds nestled away amongst the greenery.

Aaron lit the fire, which Annabelle thought was fantastic, and we settled in for the night. The following morning we explored the Blue Mountains, despite the strong winds, and finished up at the Three Sisters - which was just as impressive as I remembered from my childhood.

Day 1 - we had rain.

Day 2 - we had gale force winds.

Day 3 - we had glorious sunshine but we didn't get much of a chance to enjoy it as we had to leave a day early as my sister in law had baby Matilda two weeks earlier than her due date!

On our first night Aaron lit a fire, which enthralled Annabelle


The stunning back garden


A beautiful spot to have breakfast








Annabelle & Daddy


Mummy, Annabelle & the Baby Bump


The stunning Blue Mountains


The Three Sisters


Afternoon tea at the Three Sisters


I loved the old fashioned high chair - it works better than our modern one!


Miss Annabelle enjoying the train ride home.


The reason for our early departure, the very gorgeous Matilda Louise