Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Country to Celebrate.

Australia Day. Hot weather, snags on the barbie, drinks in the eskie, Triple J on the radio and friends all around. Australia Day is the day to relax, celebrate and feel grateful for the beautiful country we are so blessed to live in.

This Australia day we decided to host the celebratory BBQ at our house with a few close friends and family. We filled pools for the kids, made a makeshift shadecloth for our courtyard with a bed sheet and Stella wore a not-so-Australian but traditional nonetheless Hawaiian shirtdress.  It was casual and relaxed, with little stress or mess. Just good friends, good food and a good day all round. Nick fired up the new BBQ we received as an engagement present and I went a little overboard with the fruit, cheese and dip platters.

This Australia Day I am grateful and proud...

* To live in a country with such a wonderful public health system
* To be blessed with incredible government funded support networks for new parents such as the community Child Health Clinics.
* Of our passion for helping others in times of need and strong determination for recovery especially during times of crisis such as the Queensland floods. 

What did you do to celebrate? What are you grateful for this year? Happy belated Australia Day!
Plenty of love...

Care to share?

This weeks smile inducers...

* An honest confession from a super lovely blogging lady. Sometimes being pregnant isn't enjoyable and beautiful, sometimes you just feel blah.

* "To live an authentic existence..." This is a beautifully written post about not setting goals and resolutions, but rather living a life that strives towards being the best you can be. Of all the 2012 resolutions of the blogging world I have read, this one is my favourite.

* This. Is. Hilarious. A friend of mine shared it on my Facebook and it really made me giggle. Porn for Pregnant Ladies.

* How did you announce your pregnancy? Rather than a traditional "I'm pregnant", these are some quirky, creative ways of announcing your pregnancy to the world. 

* I love children's parties and have a soft spot for event planning. This website is my ultimate favourite; Theme My Party is an event planning organisation specialising in sweet children's parties. I need more children so I can have more parties! (I did not just say that)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Nom, Nom, Ninner time.


Stella has taken to shouting out "Ninner ninner ninner!" in a very cute tune when she knows dinner is ready, or is anticipating its arrival. This is a significant change from the dinner time dramas we were having two months ago.

Stella would refuse to eat anything that wasn't mashed, or familiar. If it looked new, forget it. It would get thrown and screamed at. For three whole weeks she lived off nothing but yogurt and crackers and I was beginning to get very, very, very frustrated. Dinner time was dreaded in our household. After doing a little research and speaking to our local Child Health Nurse, I felt reassured that her food strikes were quite normal, and with a bit of encouragement would most likely correct themselves. I read a lot of information and received lots of advice that just seemed like common sense, but didn't actually work regardless. In the end, I threw away the rule book and sat down with pen and paper.

I analysed our dinner time antics, trying to pinpoint problems and reflect on rare successes. I wrote list after list of foods that were disliked, rejected, not yet tried and well loved. I then wrote a big grocery list and highlighted some meal ideas in a government funded information booklet I had received. Armed with an abundance of food ideas and new found inspiration, I was ready to tackle the D time. I had the resources to help me through this horrid phase, but what I couldnt find in a book was my attitude. I knew that Stella was picking up on my frustrations and stress which was in turn making our troubles worse. With a deep breath and a fresh mind, I honestly think that over 50% of our new found happily munching toddler came from mamas attitude change.

I thought I would share with you some of the ideas I had and changes we made in our household that have got us to this final point of success. Some may be different to what you have read in your mad frustration fuelled google searches and I hope that maybe I can give you some sense of relief that it will get better. Sometimes reading advice from the 'experts' can be more disheartening than helpful, I am no expert...Just a mother like you, hanging out for drink at the end of a long toddler taming day (well, a mocktail in my case)

Dreaded Dinner Time tips...

* Rest assured how normal this is. Be it caused by teething, new-found independence or a developmental phase...It is normal.

* Remember that all children are different. Little Freddy down the road may eat wonderfully every day, but little Freddy isn't your little Johnny.

* Resist the urge to show anger or frustration in front of your child, this will only harbour negativity during meal times and children very quickly pick up tension, making dinner anticipation stressful for all.

* Pretend not to be phased. Try to adjust your attitude; even if it means faking it. Sing songs whilst cooking dinner, do a special 'dinner dance', get overly excited about the colours of certain fruits and vegetables. It may not seem like its working, but it will make a difference eventually.

* consider the eating environment. Is the child too far away from the rest of the family? Too close to a television or playroom? Also consider eating times, Is your baby too tired? Simply not hungry enough? If possible, can you eat alongside them? 

* Practice what you preach. Yep, that means eating all your veggies too ma! And not pushing your peas to the side, otherwise you'll have a toddler making airplaine noises whilst directing them up your nose.

* Never underestimate the power of a bright new bowl and a funky new spoon. Boon have beautifully bright colours and suction on the bottom of bowls to prevent spaghetti style wall paper.

* Praise, Praise, Praise! If your child does eventually (usually in their own time) try something new or finally eat all that potato, praise them wholeheartedly. Stickers are great treats, as are cuddles and kisses. Sometimes a little sweet treat is totally warranted too...shhhh.. I won't tell anyone!

If all else fails, visit your Child Health Nurse or Doctor and get some advice from an outsider. Avoid talking to other mothers in too much detail about what their children eat, you'll find yourself unnecessarily comparing and worrying. Do however, ask about sneaky little tips and tricks that may have worked for them.

How did you survive the food wars of toddlerhood? Was there a piece of advice that stuck with you and helped you through?

Happy, messy, toddler 'ninner' time!

Ombre Obsessed.

Ombre is simply a french way of saying 'shaded'. Usually with colours graduating from light to dark or dark to light. Trending would be an understatement for Ombre in the world of hairdressing, however now Ombre love is expanding into fashion, homewares, jewellery and wedding decor.

I am a little Ombre obsessed at the moment, probably a little slow to the bandwagon, but nevertheless I'm jumping aboard. Here are some super pretty Ombre finds for you to enjoy...

* Ombre felt wreath in sage, mustard and hunter green by Burlap and Blue 

* Ombre blush feather headband by Mignonne Handmade 

* Sky's clearing dress by Modcloth 

* How-To for an Ombre manicure

And probably my favourite Ombre trend; Ombre cakes!

Monday, January 23, 2012

P is for...

P is for Pregnancy and Pinterest.

Pregnancy insomnia is in full force at the moment. I am unable to fall asleep before midnight, only to be awake again at 2am for a few hours. Considering there is no baby here yet needing to be fed at these hours, they are becoming unproductive and frustrating. I was lucky enough to sleep quite well during my pregnancy with Stella until the very last two months, I was also super lucky to be on maternity leave and be to able to spend my afternoons napping freely. I know this is my body's way of training me for the late night and early morning feeds that are to come, and I feel as though this time around I will be much better prepared. I can cope a little better with lack of sleep and interrupted sleep, I am just wishing the time along so that when my body calls to wake up, its to hold and feed a tiny newborn and sneak a kiss from a toddler, not to wander around the house like a lost puppy.

Which brings me to... What have I been doing at one and two in the morning? Exploring Pinterest mostly! It's a lovely, inspiring, mindless task that can be done no matter how tired I feel. And, it is becoming slightly addictive. I found myself in a slumpy, grumpy mood this afternoon and dreamt of hiding away in a room somewhere with Pinterest. It's a hormonal, pregnant, tired mamas best friend.

Did you experience any pregnancy insomnia? What did you do with all that sleepless time?
Do share all your pregnancy woes with me!

Plenty of love...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Care to share?

This weeks smile inducers...

* I love this loose, rambling and down right wonderful post about discipline in parenting. Do you feel unwanted pressure to discipline your child in ways you don't feel comfortable. Mumma and the Kiddo is one of my new favourite 'real reads'. She keeps it real.

* Birth stories are incredible, I love reading other women's experiences. This birth story however, is insanely incredible! The story of a woman who didn't even know she was pregnant when she went into labour, well worth a read!

* Little Chief Honeybee. How I didn't discover this lovely lady and her beautiful blog earlier is beyond me. Read and be inspired by pretty things.

* This is crafting heaven! If I need a little creative boost and some inspiration this is certainly the place to go. Take a little trip to the pearly gates for yourself; Wild Olive.

Art to smile about.

Remember when I introduced you to My Dad; The Artist? Well it has been a while since I shared with you some more of his incredible works, and work incredibly he has done! These are some of the latest paintings that have surfaced. Many inspired by the time he has spent with his granchildren and the joyous moments he has witnessed them experience. Gearman Gallery artworks can now be found on Facebook, so you can oooooh and aaaaahhh over there also!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

The story of Malachi.

Being the mother of a toddler which can be challenging enough in itself, I find myself wondering how parents of children with special needs manage to stay so positive and strong. I have a friend with a three year old son, who has Autism. She manages to keep a brave face, remain calm and speaks about her experience in a positive light.

I thought I would share with you her story, The Story of Malachi. 

" I was overjoyed the day Malachi was born, it was one of the happiest days of my life. He was a happy baby and completely healthy. He was born a little earlier than I'd like, a little yellow but soon enough he was just a normal baby. A close friend had a little boy the same age so for the first year they grew up together before we decided to move.

When Malachi turned one I started to notice his speech wasn't were it should have been at all, however I decided not to worry I'd take him to see the health nurse. I visited our local health nurse and she barely even looked at him! She said to give it a year or two then we'd do something about it. I decided that that was just not good enough for me. I rang St. Giles (A provider of children's therapy services) and asked if I could please be put on the waiting list for a speech therapist. In my mind his speech was his only problem. After being on the waiting list for a year we finally got the call we'd been waiting for; SPEECH THERAPY TIME! Also around this time I noticed that Malachi was not a very social baby when it came to other children. For this reason I decided to put him in family day care so that there weren't many children and after a while his family day care career got concerned.

After 6 months of speech therapy we went back for a usual session. The therapist seemed nervous... She sat me down and told me that Malachi had made very little progress and believed he had some symptoms of Autism. I thought very little of it. Then he was refereed to see a occupational therapist and a teacher. Both when they met him had concerns. More time went on and in some areas he showed no signs of improvement. We then were referred to see a pediatrician who said he was on the Autism spectrum and that we need to get into the Autism assessment team as soon as possible. Before we can do that Malachi needs to have blood and urine samples to make sure that he hasn't got any genetic disorders before they make their final verdict on his condition. They all believe he is mildly Autistic.

This year Malachi starts pre-kinder so his therapy will become more intense and he'll be starting on a programme hat teaches him how to use visuals to communicate with me, called the PECS programme. So he can communicate to me without frustration which causes alot of tantrums when he can't explain what he wants or needs. We have been granted funding to get a private specialist. In Malachis case early intervention will help him be ready for the future.

Every time I meet someone new I get asked a million and one questions. The thing I struggle with the most is taking Malachi to a playground and watching as he tries to play with other children. The other children ignore him because he can't communicate. It hurts that my nearly 3 year old has to deal with that. My personal advice would be if the professionals don't take your concerns seriously, don't give up. If I had not had this feeling and stuck with it we wouldn't be able to have early intervention. My advice would be follow your heart. If you know that something is wrong with your child or you have fears don't seek just one opinion but see two or three people to make sure ."

These links may be helpful if you suspect your child has difficulties or are concerned at all about their development. Early intervention and incredible support networks can often help parents deal with the challenges of raising a child with special needs.

St Giles 
PECS programme
Autism Tasmania

A shade to love.

 Lately, I have been in love with all things prettily peachy coloured; Peach, Apricot and Coral. I have collected quite the supply of peachy dresses, nail polish, earrings and children's clothes over the past few months and my appetite still isn't satiated. Mama wants more peach!

I have put together a little online wish list of the prettiest shades for you to enjoy...Now you can get your fix too!

Strike a Prose heel by Modcloth

Convertible peach dress by Dalina from Etsy

Coral Mesh Bra by Urban Outfitters

Lauren Moffatt dress from Modcloth 

Bubble lace romper by Chica Bootique from Etsy

Revlon top speed nail enamel in Peachy

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Resolutions to keep, resolutions to break.

I specifically didnt set any New Years Resolutions on New Years eve, or New Years day. Actually, I didnt set any at all for the first two weeks of the new year! I didnt want to set unrealistic goals for myself that may create unnecessary guilt, pressure or stress. Infact, the only resolution I briefly thought of was not to have resolutions. Well, that resolution was one to break. Because here I am...well...making resolutions. *Sigh*

I have had some time to reflect whilst doing a spot of housework today and realised that there are infact a few things I would like to change, improve and eliminate in this new year. All in different aspects of my life, all to different degrees of difficulty, priority and challenge. I thought I would share with you my list of resolutions to keep. 

I recently went through a brief period of complete deflation. I felt totally uninspired and not challened creatively. I felt very down about my achievements surrounding my passion; writing about parenting, crafting and creating and maintaining this blog. In fact I very nearly gave up Winter Love entirely. I dont know where I pulled the inner strength to continue on or how I managed to find some inspiration, but I am very happy that I did. This year I want to stay inspired by reading the works of others more regularly, jotting down fleeting thoughts more often and keeping a clear vision of the goals I want to achieve with passion.

When things are feeling busy, hectic and I start to feel rushed and stressed...I am going to breathe. Sounds simple but it really is something I need to work on. Don't necessarily stop what you are doing or slow down but just breathe properly. Slowly and thoughtfully, calmly and controlled.

I never understood the phrase "Are you a feeder?" in parenting until now, because now I have become a feeder. I seem to get some kind of satisfaction from feeding my child, which I am sure all parents do to some degree. But it can get a little out of control. If Stella has been a really good girl, I will feed her something indulgent. When she is sad or upset, I will feed her something comforting. When she does something clever and new, I will feed her something celebratory. See what I mean? Out of hand. Tomorrow I am going to the newsagency and bulk buying some shiney stickers. I am going to stop being am emotional feeder!

Nick does a LOT around the house to help me out, sometimes he does things so often and quietly that I forget to really say Thankyou. A well meant, from the heart, thankyou.

This is something I didnt do with my first pregnancy. I had every intention but just didn't end up doing them, at all. This lead to slight discomfort after Stellas birth and that dreaded "Oh my god I'm going to wet my pants" feeling when I walked or coughed. Over time, this improved almost back to a normal state but since becoming pregnant again, I can feel the weakness re-occuring. Instead of saying "I should", "I will", "I need"...I am saying to my self daily I AM practicing my pelvic floors today, and tomorrow and you know what? I did it yesterday as well!  

And they are my 5 resolutions to keep. Achievable, managable and totally un-breakable!
What resolutions did you make this year? Have you broken any? re evaluated any? If you have blogged about your new years resolutions, feel free to leave a link so I can read them for myself.

...Plenty of love...

Sleeping Stella.

I am obsessed with taking photos of Stella as she sleeps, it is the sweetest way to see the how dramatically she changes from month to month and year to year. I call it my 'Sleeping Stella diary', weird or wonderful? Either way, it's so beautiful to look back on.