Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Squeal

v. squealed, squeal·ing, squeals
v.intr. 1. To give forth a loud shrill cry or sound.

Stella has a new trick and thinks its pretty fun, although I dont concur. She squeals a hair raising, flower wilting, ear covering, dog barking squeal. Every 2 minutes at least. I know it is just her exploring her vocals and learning how to get a reaction, but when the neighbours start to peer out worried behind their curtains and my ears start to ring, it gets a little frustrating. Correction; a lot frustrating. I am at a loss as to how to stop it. I've tried the frown and the 'No', but that just gives her the reaction she's looking for. I've tried ignoring it, but really, it sounds as though someone is being murdered over here! 

Any suggestions and tips would be much appreciated. Between now and then, im sporting ear muffs.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Operation Energise

First week of mama being healthy (ish) has been successful! I came down with a cold mid week and to be honest, it's the best thing that could have happened! I felt rotten and my body was craving nothing but pure goodness; so I answered it with an abundance of fruit, vegetables, juice, soups and stews. A friend swears by eating raw garlic, so I mustered up the courage to give it a go. It had bite! But I think it nearly burnt all the germs away and definitely made me feel a little better. Old wives tale or not, I'd recommend giving it a go.

Change one (A better breakfast) has become a habit already, I now eat a good breakfast every morning as opposed to a sugar laden one. Change two (less black tea) is going well, although I have found I prefer herbal teas with a cold anyway. Change three (balanced tea every night) is starting to become the norm, but I have caved and just eaten something quick and small for tea before collapsing into bed a few nights. I will aim to continue improving my last meal of the day. Change four (water and iron supplements) is still amazing. Water wakes me up quickly and obviously my body was parched, the iron is still working its mineral magic!

This week I have four new changes. I am thanking the iron for giving me the energy to even be bothered making these changes. If you do one thing to improve your health, let it be a blood test to determine what you are lacking.

Change #1 No more morning naps. Even as I write this I'm still not entirely sure that its necessary and might be crossing my fingers on one hand behind my back. But, maybe that mama nap is sapping energy rather than providing it. I'll give it a trial.

Change #2 to walk every second day. I've been doing this for the past two weeks purely by coincidence and its felt really good

Change #3 Stop adding sugar to cups of tea gradually. I have tried the cold turkey thing, the shakes and mood swings aren't worth it. I am cutting back from two teaspoons to one.

Change #4 Eat more green. I rarely eat anything green, I know I should. Broccoli, lettuce, celery, spinach is on the menu.

So there, four easy changes for the next week. There will still be slip-ups and bad habits, but I am one step closer to getting healthier and one step further away from being terribly unhealthy. I am heading interstate for 3 days this week which will test my commitment, shopping is great exercise though and eating out can be healthy (ish) perhaps. Also, I am a little late to jump on board with Danielles '8 weeks to a better me' challenge, but this is on a very similar track, head over and have a look.

I will update next week with more progress and changes to make! Wish me luck! 

Threads and Trends

Mama wears: Dress by Supre, Tights by Cotton On, Cardigan by Sportsgirl, Beret thrifted from the Charity Party, Brooch by That Vintage.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Stella and Evie playdate.

Both Ali and I were in rather grumpy moods Friday morning; our babies wouldn't have their morning sleeps and we were getting nothing done. We are also telepathic, and were both thinking the same thing..."She wont sleep, I'm in a bad mood, wanna go for a walk?" It's indescribably cool to have a friend like that, who is happy to hang out at the last minute and put up with trackies, a messy house and a grumpy mama and baby combo. We bundled up the little protesters and pounded the pavement with our prams.

Exercise, chai latte, gossip. A bad day soon turned into a great day. Ali and Evie stayed the whole afternoon, the babes played, shared crackers (literally from one mouth to the other) and pushed each other along on the trike. They ate dinner together and bathed together.

Friday walks and hangouts with these two are my favourite! 

It was really hard to get good quality photos, when one baby kept still the other would move. And (yes, I've said it before) I am incompetent with a camera. These ones however are my favourite.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Confess the Mess

Children are messy. Babies; not so much. But at around 9 and a half months things seem to get messier and messier. Self feeding begins, crawling begins, never ending mess begins.

It has taken a LOT for me to become accustomed to more mess and learn to just let it go to a certain extent. I thought I would share with some like minded OCD mothers some of my 'coping with mess' mechanisms.

* Confine the mess to one or two rooms. Keeping one room tidy and clean will keep your sanity for a little longer 

* If you have the energy, do a tidy through before bed time. Waking up to a messy house is like waking up on the wrong side of the bed. 

* If you don't have the energy before bed, write a big list of everything that needs to be done. It will make tackling what seems to be an insurmountable pile of mess the next day a little more achievable. 

* If you do just one thing; let it be the washing. Getting behind on washing, especially in winter is horrid. Many days I have been struggling to find a dry t-shirt and pants. Make washing number one on the list.

* Get out of there. If the mess is getting to you, leave the house and make a mess elsewhere- the park, shopping, someone Else's house (not really, or...really). 

* Don't underestimate the power of a big weekly clean. If you need to let it go, let it go until 'cleaning day'. 

* Lacking motivation? Crank the tunes and consider it exercise. Vigorous housework burns calories! 

* Just breathe. Get the chocolate, get into bed and remember that mess will always be around. Your 11 month old baby however; you wont get those moments back.

So, maybe this post was more to convince myself to ignore the current state of my house and to encourage me to tackle it tomorrow. How do you deal with mess and children? Any quick tips?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Do's and the Dont's.

I have read a few posts on what to do and what not to do when visiting a new mother and her newborn baby. This one is my absolute favourite. Every friend, family member and baby gawker should read this before visiting their new mother friend. It got me thinking of the good, the bad and the ugly things people did and said in my first few months of motherhood and I thought I would devise my own guide to visiting.

So here it is. Please read before clucking over to visit a new baby. If necessary, print it out and keep it in your pocket complete with highlighted significances.

Do not ask "So what do you do all day?" unless you want to screamed at. If you really are interested in what she does all day, ask in a different way for example "How often does he feed and sleep?"

Never visit empty handed. Come with something, anything. Be it a carton of milk, a loaf of bread, a block of chocolate or a borrowed DVD that can be watched at 3am.

Presents are great, although never expected. If you are going to buy, check for a colour preference first. Not everyone loves pink for girls and blue for boys. I remember my Grandmother asking if my nursery was going to be "Lemon or lime?" When I said red, she was speechless. That pink teddy bear in the shop may be gorgeous but it wont look pretty amongst a red adorned nursery.  

If the new mother is breastfeeding make sure she feels comfortable. When you arrive mention that you are happy to pop into the kitchen for a cup of tea for 10 minutes while she gets set up and starts to feed. In those first few weeks, feeding isn't as simple as breast + baby. There is a lot of mucking around with attachment and positioning. It can be more stressful if someone is watching you poke and prod your boobs around to fit in a screaming baby's mouth.

If the mother is not breastfeeding do not ask why. Unless your relationship is very very very close. Don't go there. Don't say a word.  

Make your own cup of coffee on arrival and one for the Mother too. She probably wont think to ask you and if she does ask you, it is out of courtesy. She doesn't really want to get up and make you a cup of coffee. 

Ask what needs doing and put it on your list for your next visit. Maybe take some clothes home to iron, get a grocery list and some cash from her and swing by the supermarket. Really listen to things she is saying. Does she need some meals cooked, is the housework stressing her out, does she just want to be left alone? Listen and take note. 

Think before you speak. Don't ask what the pain of labour is like, don't remark on how loud the baby's cry is, don't comment on her tired appearance. I once had a friend take my baby for a few hours and on return she happily exclaimed "That was so easy, staying home with a baby would be a bludge!". Please don't say that.

Do; respect boundaries.
Do; cuddle and coo over the baby
Do; give her positive affirmations.
Do; keep visiting if you follow all of the above!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Glowing, Single and Inspirational.

This soon-to-be Mama is positively glowing. How she looks so amazing at 37 weeks pregnant is beyond me. I thought I would share with you some photos of my friend Airlie, her bump and share a little of her story


Airlie is 25 and has been single since she was 7 weeks pregnant. She shows such strength and positivity when talking about her unborn daughter and is an inspiration to single parents everywhere. She is proof that being single and pregnant is not reason to be any less positive than any other pregnant woman. What is important is what the future holds and your attitude towards tackling it.

"I've named her Scarlett Maya Kerr and she will be the most beautiful and wonderful part of my whole life. Nothing that I've been through, or could face, can take away from how much I love her. I will always strive to be everything she needs in a family and a role model." 

Isn't she just beautiful! I cannot wait to meet little Scarlett and see how joyful Airlie looks in new motherhood. I know that she will make as wonderful a mother and create a loving, stable environment for her daughter as any other partnered mother. It is my hope that people like Airlie help change the stigma and frowned upon attitudes attached to single parenting.

Mama gets healthy (ish)

 I have very bad eating habits, that became worse when I became single. Living on my own means that I eat lazily and indulge often. I hate cooking and avoid it like the plague. It is not unusual for me to sit down with a block of chocolate and a cup of tea and call it lunch. Yes, yes I can see you shaking your head in disgust. I can hear you telling me how unhealthy that is. Truth is, I know it.

I count my stars lucky that I am not overweight, need to lose weight or have any health issues. But I have one significant side effect of my laziness and pure bad habits...Energy. I am lacking more and more in energy every day. I still get by, still get things done, play with Stella and socialise. But I feel like one hell of a zombie whilst doing so. My body has started to feel really heavy and I feel as though I am dragging myself around. The yawns take over my entire face and I need a very sugary cup of tea to get me through each hour. The more tired and lethargic I get, the lazier I get with my eating, Its like a never ending cycle and I am oh, so, sick of it.

I don't have a good amount of self control and seem to go into a crazed eating frenzy if I deny myself of my favourites for even one day. So, I have decided to make some really simple, achievable, easy changes. Ones I know I can stick to. And who knows, once I start getting more energy from these changes, I may have the energy and motivation to make more!

Change #1 is to eat a better breakfast. Instead of reaching for the sugar, I am forcing myself to have a high fibre breakfast cereal with fruit and grains. Simple change.

Change #2 is to replace cups of black tea with sugar during the day with herbal tea. I still indulge in my sugary wake up call first thing of a morning, But the rest after that are either chamomile or green tea. A small but significant cut back.

Change #3 is to eat dinner every night. I usually graze on junk all through the day and come dinner time I am ready to crash into bed. I have been guilty of eating a packet of chips before bed or something equally as disgusting. Now, I am going to eat dinner. Even if it is only a cup of soup. Every night I must eat dinner.

Change #4 is to drink more water and take iron supplements. This has been the single most effective change I have made yet. Drinking more water has made me feel so much more awake and energised. The iron tablets are something that I should have kept taking after I gave birth (I was taking them during pregnancy) but it slipped my mind on top of everything else. Now that I am taking them again I feel one million times better.

I will continue to document my progress with 'operation energise' as the weeks go on, perhaps this will give me the incentive to push on with my changes knowing that you are reading them.

Wish me luck and send me all your 'eating better' vibes!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Secret Diary of a Single Mother :: The less pleasant bits.

I have always convinced friends and strangers alike of the positives I see in single parenting. Not because I am wearing rose coloured glasses, but because I genuinely feel positivity in my situation and parenting alone.

I get to enjoy my time alone with Stella, Mother and Daughter time. Quality giggle time and often in our pyjamas all day long. I clean my house and it remains clean. The toilet seat is never left up, the hot water never runs out. At the end of the day when I am tired, weary and grumpy I don't have anyone to focus on but Stella and myself. It sounds a little selfish, which is probably right. But I haven't wanted it any other way. Stella still gets to develop and explore a relationship with her Father, and that is quality time that isn't compromised by our differences. While Stella is bonding with her Daddy, I am recuperating, working or getting the housework, meals and washing under control. It is, at times, almost too good to be true.

I have been so busy revelling in the 'good' and trying my hardest to convince others of the good that surrounds me that I don't often see the bad. Of course there is nothing wrong with that! That is entirely the way it should be. But as I said, I don't wear rose coloured glasses. I don't like to sugar coat life. With the good always comes the bad. Or the less pleasant. 

The less pleasant part about being a single parent is by far, the loneliness. A loneliness that cannot be filled with giggles and cuddles from a baby, as beautiful as these are...They don't replace connections with adults. I'm sure that all parents experience isolation and even the baby books warn you of such things. But it's not until you become a new parent, or even a parent for the second, third or fourth time that the word isolation means something more than 'a word starting with i in that book'. Sure, you can catch up with friends and other mothers. But there is only a small window of time during the day that this suits your baby. Not sleep time, not lunch time, not the typical 'restless afternoon' time, not dinner time, not before bed time. And sometimes it's these times that you feel the loneliest.

As a single parent, I feel loneliest at night. When other families are running out their nightly routines. Someone cooks, someone cleans, people eat together and say goodnight together. From 7pm onwards my house is silent, it is just me and the laptop keys clicking away. At times, most times, I love it. I love the space and calm atmosphere, I love the opportunity to think and reflect. But when the house is quiet for that 7th night in a row, my brain is ticking too loudly for liking and I am craving that human connection. To share hopes, dreams, adventures with another adult. That is the less pleasant part of single parenting.

Not often does this play on my mind, nor does it occupy a large part of my worries. It is not the 'worst part of single parenting', merely the less pleasant, yet manageable part.

Have you as a single parent or a parent of any kind experienced this kind of isolation and loneliness? What do you find the less pleasant part of parenting to be? Please share!

Plenty of love...

Care to Share #3

This weeks smile inducers...

* Happy First birthday Delilah! This little fawn is absolutely gorgeous and I have been following her first year of life through Hollys beautiful blog. Delilah is the kind of girl I would love for Stella to one day meet and be friends with. 

* These photos make me feel all fuzzy and happy inside. I hope to have a family as sweet, caring, big and wonderful as this one day! 

* This is magnolia. What a sweet name for a sweet little baby! Please welcome Magnolias Mother to the blogosphere, she is one of my Instagram friends (Ahhh, the joys of modern technology)  

* He's here! Little Arlo came into the world last week and from the sneak peak photos on twitter... He is one handsome little man. 

* What a wonderful idea. Laura has just taken the pledge to wear a handmade item of clothing or jewellery every day for the month of June. Can you make the pledge?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Thread and Trends

Mama wears: Tights by Cotton On, dress by Sportsgirl, jacket by Miss Shop, earrings by That Vintage.

The Charity Party

To celebrate the Nothing New concept I really wanted to host a 'swap party'. I had this vision in my head of people bringing all their pre-loved and unwanted goodies and having a thrift party in my house whilst sharing a wine and some nibbles.

I enlisted the help of Lauren and we hosted The Charity Party on saturday night. The idea was the guests brought all their unwanted items that they would otherwise be happy to donate to charity. There were clothes, shoes, books, baby gear, handbags and household items. Lauren and I had a little fun using our merchandising skills and setting everything up ready to be thrifted. We had bottles and bottles of wine, cheese, dip and crackers and each guest got given a paper bag. We browsed through the goodies picking up another mans trash and making it our own treasure.

It gave such incredible insight as to how much 'stuff' you accumulate in such a short period of time. Also, how much we buy without thinking if we really need it. If the average person is so overcome with habitual consumerism, imagine the amount of 'stuff' that a seasoned shopped would comsume and throw away without a second thought.

It was an amazing night with some amazing ladies, we all had so much fun trying on clothes, rumagging through jewellery and sharing our past treasures. Everyone went home with a bag of new thrifted finds and less a lot of unwanted items. The next day Lauren and I took everything that was left behind and donated it to charity bins.We chose The salvation Army and The Self Help Workplace clothing deposit. Here are some happy snaps of the night (excuse the poor quality instagram/iPhone pictures). Some of the guests included; Sophie, Tahnii and Zoe. Hop on over and say Hi!


Why not get together your friends and host your own Swap party of Charity Party? It really was a wonderful night for socialising and living the "Something old, NOTHING new, something borrowed or renewed" concept.