CJ @ 9 months

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Nine months! CJ has been out of my belly almost as long as he was in there and we can’t see any of the baby in him any more – he is all little boy! Especially in shorts weather where you can see those long long legs that he got from his mama! This month was a pretty eventful month for us:

  • He had his first overnight hospital stay. High temperatures led to high heart rate episodes and we were quickly referred from an after hours clinic to the local hospital where they ran tests and observed him to make sure it was nothing more serious than a virus. He hated the big metal cots, instead preferring to cat nap in his stroller. He was so brave though, I’m a very proud mama.
  • He says “addaddy” and “mum”, the first with excitement and the second usually with annoyance when I haven’t done something quickly enough. It’s quite funny, I have the TV on in the background while cooking dinner and CJ will usually pay very little attention to it but the moment he hears the theme song for Neighbours it’s all “Addaddy? Addaddy?” because he knows it’s usually the time his daddy gets home
  • He’s still a huge music fan. We crack ourselves up by having dance parties to T. Swift’s “Shake It Off” and he had both Papa M and I dying of cuteness when he started singing along to the “Friday” remix on the Vodafone ad
  • He’s got four teeth – the top two have just cut through at the same time, poor guy
  • He went on holiday for the first time! Call it fatigue, call it budgetary constraints… I’m not actually entirely sure why we haven’t managed to go on holiday until now. Nevertheless, despite CJ cutting those teeth and Papa M getting an unfortunately-timed case of Hand, Foot & Mouth disease, we did have a great time. CJ was a total rockstar at sleeping in his portacot but still not a fan of sleeping in the car – it seems like 50 mins is his max, regardless of the length of trip
  • We have hands & knees! We still don’t have forward motion (he tends to worm himself backwards from this point) but crawling can’t be too far off! I’m so excited for this to happen for him, he gets so frustrated and lies down with his head on the floor looking very sad when he can’t get it to work
  • He absolutely HATES the sound of me tearing off the baking paper out of the dispenser. He has no problem with me tearing it with my hands, no problem with me tearing plastic wrap out of the dispenser but we have tears every single time I line a baking tray!
  • CJ graduated to the big boy seat of the grocery trolley – he’s a very sturdy sitter now so we’re confident that he can last a shopping trip in the seat without toppling over
  • He is starting to become more fond of baby-led weaning – otherwise known as “I’ll have what you’re having, thanks”. Foods that he’s tried in the last month includes sushi (loved it) and corn fritter
  • He’s becoming very determined – I fear that he’s headstrong like his mother. If he doesn’t want to be carried, he will practically throw himself out of your arms. I see more than a few “battles of the wills” in our future

The month ahead looks pretty exciting! The weekends are absolutely packed with parties and adventure in the lead up to Christmas and we have lots of fun weekday events as well. Our little extroverted dude loves to socialize so it will be a great month for him!

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Spring Getaway: Five hot tips to road-tripping with your infant

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A quiet moment under the tree in the park

We knocked our goal of a spring getaway on the head! Despite CJ teething (a grand total of four teeth now) and poor Papa M recovering Hand, Foot & Mouth disease (what a trooper!) we managed to have a lovely, relaxing time. Here’s a few tips from our experience:

1) Plan for your travel to take twice as long. This might seem like a no-brainer, but we really misunderstood how much a wee one slows down your pace when traveling over long distances! Poopy nappies, bottle breaks and even lunches take far longer when you have a wee one in tow! Continue reading

Hospital Stays

A week later, I finally feel like I’m in the right head space (and caught up on enough sleep) to write about this. On Thursday last week we had an overnight stay at the hospital.

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Poor wee mite with his splinted little IV mitten

We’ve been blessed with having a very healthy wee button of a child. Despite going out frequently, often sharing toys (and spit, let’s be real here) and food with other kids he doesn’t seem to contract his “fair share” of colds – something I was particularly concerned about especially when giving up breast feeding. Upon arriving home from a tutoring client last Thursday around 9:30pm, I could tell that something wasn’t right. CJ started running a fever and getting what we referred to as very grunty. Stripping him down didn’t seem to help and the panadol had done absolutely nothing so we bundled him in the car to take him to the 24 hour clinic, about 45 minutes drive from home.

We were very lucky to have a great doctor there who advised us that due to his very high heart rate (at time as high as 190 bpm) and the fact that we lived so far away from the hospital facilities, he wanted us to head into the hospital. He was great in that he wasn’t alarmist about it, just very calm and stated the facts. We drove the fifteen minute drive to the hospital and waited to be seen by the staff registrars. They were concerned enough by his heart rate to admit him to pediatric short stay. Papa M headed home to get some rest and CJ and I settled in for the night.

I have to take this moment as an aside to say that I HATE this hospital usually. I had a cruddy experience in their adult ED department at 19 and more recently this is the hospital that my mother died in and my sister lay in when she broke her back. I have nothing but praise for their pediatric ED, however, they were fantastic and seeing everyone as quickly as they could.

Urine tests (so much fun on an infant – if you want details on how this is actually managed on someone who isn’t yet potty-trained, let me know below) came back clear, ruling out a UTI so they wanted to observe him for a couple of hours before doing blood tests. CJ wasn’t a big fan of the squeaky sided metal cots and he probably got about 45 minutes sleep, me about 20 minutes (my only sleep of the night) before observations had to be completed again. His temperature being persistently high, the decision was made to do blood tests to eliminate anything more sinister.

After a ghastly few minutes as they inserted a line (keeping it in there in case they needed to deliver anything intravenously), they left us to it. CJ wasn’t having a bar of going back in the cot so he drifted off in his stroller. As I looked at him? I felt lucky. Weird right?

I am lucky though, because what for us was just one night of worry and uncomfortable hospital chairs and beds is a long-term reality for some families. I’m lucky because CJ doesn’t have a chronic health condition that requires consistent monitoring. I’m lucky that I live in a country where hospital care is not limited to those with excellent health insurance or large wallets. I’m lucky that educated health professionals are only a 45 minute drive away, even in the middle of the night and I’m lucky that I have the car to drive my son there and get him medical help. I’m lucky to not be doing this on my own and have my husband come pick us up when we’re discharged and I’m so damn tired I feel drunk.

As it turned out, the luckiest thing was that it appears that all it amounted to was one of those pesky childhood viruses and that’s just the way that his body deals with it. A couple of days of misery (not helped at all by the fact he is also teething) with lots of rest and fluids and he’s back to his usual self. We’re definitely counting our blessings here.

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I Read A Lot: Dad’s Recommendations

I’m renowned as a book nerd by those that know me best. I Read A Lot is a semi-regular feature on the blog in which I share with you what I currently have my nose buried in.

I was very lucky growing up to have two parents that both modeled good reading habits and indulged my love of books. We all have different things that help us establish good relationships with our parents and for me and my dad, one of these things was definitely the books that we read. Here are my top three picks of novels we’ve read that I think you’ll enjoy too!

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The Passage by Justin Cronin*

This horror genre novel – although I’d say it leans more towards the thriller end of the spectrum – has blown my mind. In a market saturated with stories of the supernatural, Justin Cronin’s The Passage (and sequel, The Twelve) are superlatively well-written and an entirely engrossing read. Cronin cleverly weaves together the disparate threads of death row inmates, abandoned children, viral outbreaks and post-apocalyptic America into a story that is incredibly difficult to put down.

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The Culture series by Iain M Banks*

It’s sci-fi, but not as we know it. I’m forever grateful to Dad for introducing me to this series when he did – the Culture series, while taking part in the same universe dominated by the technologically advanced Culture society, operates as a series of stand-alone books. There’s no need to remember characters or events from previous novels to enjoy the current novel, great for this often brain-fried mummy here! This is a great entry into reading science-fiction for someone who isn’t particularly familiar with the genre; Time Magazine calls it “space opera at its finest” and I’d concur that the stories are far more about the relationships between characters than the science behind the text.

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The Geodyssey series by Piers Anthony

OK, this is a little bit of a cheat in that I can’t remember which one of my parents first read the book, but these were on high rotation in our house during my late teens, as was Anthony’s Xanth series. It’s been well established that I love a saga novel and this series provides sagas with a difference. Each novel focuses on characters, often torn apart by fate, in various incarnations from the dawn of man to a future not far from now. Each vignette focuses in on the characters operating in a different place and time in history yet manages to provide a cohesive character development from start to finish. I’ve never read anything quite like it and enjoy learning more about moments in history that changed the world.

I hope that you find something that you love in this list! If you have any recommendations for me, maybe from your dad, I’d love to hear them.

*Affiliate Links

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Spring Getaway: Update

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It’s great how when you put ideas out there in the world, things start to happen. Papa M and I were big travelers (domestic and international) before CJ came along and I was definitely getting a case of itchy feet! We’d left it far too late in the year to organize a holiday over the new year period – seriously, you practically have to book your accommodation the previous new year – and so a spring getaway looked just the ticket. The M household will soon be off to New Zealand’s (hopefully) sunny North!

Travelling with an infant is not the easiest thing to do, but we’ve got a plan in place for how to break up the drive and we hope it will go smoothly. CJ is pretty used to being carted here, there and everywhere around Auckland and Waikato so we’re hoping that the slightly longer trip won’t phase him too much! It’s good practice anyway for next year, in which we’re already looking forward to at least two flights and two car journeys!

Once in the Bay of Islands we hope to do a more in-depth exploration of the area than we have done in former visits; previously we used the area as a home base to head off on day-long jaunts that didn’t take into account meal times and nap times! We’re looking forward to playing on the beaches, going for bush walks (thanks, handy Ergo front pack!) and maybe even CJ’s first boat ride. I’m so excited this is happening and can’t wait to report back on what worked (and what didn’t) for us.

Do you have any hot tips for infant-friendly activities in the Bay of Islands? Let me know below.

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Getting back on the (healthy) horse: Introduction

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It’s that time of year where you see all the headlines coming out: “Get in shape for summer!” “Four weeks to that perfect summer body” “Look hot on the beach in just ten days” “Are you bikini bod ready?”. This article is not one of those. I’ve struggled with my weight long enough to know that weight loss is a journey, not a race to a finish line that is mere months away. And quite frankly, anyone who has a body can be bikini bod ready, that’s far more about confidence than your weight, shape or size.

About three years ago I lost 15kgs, bringing me within 10kgs of my goal weight. On my wedding day I was the skinniest I had been in years and I felt great! The picture above was taken on our mini-moon – as you can see, I still wasn’t what one would call slim but I felt really good about myself and my health. Dealing with the fall out of my mother’s passing and fertility issues saw me gain back 7kg – not ideal, but I still felt healthy in body and chose to focus on my mental health first.

While pregnant I enjoyed (for the first time in a very long time) eating whatever I wanted without consequence. I was very slow to gain weight and overall only gained the recommendation of 8-12kg. Three weeks after CJ was born I was down to my pre-pregnancy weight. With our rough start to breastfeeding, I was very concerned about maintaining supply so was chugging back Complan smoothies. I also had an insatiable sweet tooth for the first time in my life and really struggled to get out and exercise for the first three months or so of CJ’s life. All this added up to gaining back around 5kgs of that pregnancy weight, something I was less than happy about.

I no longer have to worry about maintaining supply and that sweet tooth craving largely vanished with the end of our breastfeeding relationship. Better weather means that it’s easier to get outdoors and exercise – I can’t justify a gym membership and crèche fees while I’m not working – and CJ being that little bit older makes me happier to take him out on days that are not so nice.

So here’s the deal:
Over the next year, you’ll see a few posts pop up dealing with my journey back to my goal weight. I’m not going to share the number because my number at 5’10″ with solid build may be different to your number, but it’s a goal of 25kgs in a year – a sustainable loss of around 500g a week. No fad diets here, I’m still a foodie at heart. There’ll still be posts on dining out because that’s inherently part of who I am. It’s just about being smarter and working out a little harder, eventually getting to the healthy weight that ensures CJ has his mum around as long as possible.

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Loving It: 30.10.14

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This little dude loves to party – dressed up and ready to go

I’m loving the Christmas decorations in the shops this year. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday but the last couple of years have lost a little bit of their shine with not having my mum around to celebrate with us. This year is CJ’s first Christmas and it feels like the joy is back in the holiday for me.

We always say that CJ has big feelings – he’s very happy or very sad or very frustrated – so I think this toy will be great for him as he grows older as a way to learn to explain his emotions.

I think we’re pretty set on Rarotonga as our major holiday destination next year but this article definitely has me thinking about Fiji’s Denerau Island in future.

I’ll be the first to admit that my prayer practice is a little shoddy. I’ve been working on this lately and it’s been great to see how when you hand things over to whatever higher power you believe in (in my case, that’s the Christian God) that things actually start to happen even if they aren’t the way you first thought they would. I know that sounds cryptic, but all in good time my friends.

I’ve wanted to try Chia Pudding for so long, and this recipe from In Rhi’s Pantry sounds amazing – now to get on that when the week is not quite so busy!

It’s definitely hard to explain to someone without kids – and even some working parents – the need for a SAHM to have a break. This article summarizes it so beautifully. I love CJ but some days being a mum is EXHAUSTING.

We’re off to a mini photoshoot with coffee group this morning – let’s hope my little poser is his usual sweet self and we get a nice pic for the Christmas card!

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Five things to do on a long weekend…

when it’s just not possible to go away?

As our Facebook and Instagram feeds fill with pictures of our friends at their holiday homes, camping in their tents or at beachside motels it can be hard not to feel a little FOMO. Labour Weekend has just been and gone in New Zealand and (if I can be perfectly honest here) I just did not get organized in time to plan us a little getaway. We don’t have the luxury of our parents owning a holiday home which means that we have to take our chances and book in with the masses. While we’ve arranged a little off-peak getaway in a few weeks’ time, we were left to make the most of our holiday weekend right in our own backyard.

Tackle a project that’s been put on the back burner

Papa M and I relocated our office to our spare room (sorry future guests, you’ve been relegated to air mattress on the floor) and got the basics into the right place but the rest of it was just one hell of a big mess. It was the kind of situation where it was going to get a lot worse before it got better so doing it piecemeal during nap times wasn’t going to work either – it would render the office almost completely unusable! Papa M got put in charge of child care and I spent a large chunk of the day putting everything to rights. An ordered desk makes me SO happy and it is so much easier to keep track of what needs to be done.

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Having fun at Shore City – too little to enter this Smiggle competition though!

Shopping the sales

As part of our Saturday adventure, we went to the mall to pick up a couple of things. I noticed many of the stores had some decent sales and it is the perfect time to nail down that Christmas shopping before the silly season starts! Papa M picked up part of my Christmas present (I know what it is, but not what type) for 20% off which means more money for presents for me! While I’m not an advocate for over-consumption and shopping for shopping’s sake, I am an advocate of being fiscally responsible and picking up presents during sales throughout the year

Spend time with family and friends

We were delighted to attend a birthday party this weekend – our friend Julie’s son was turning two! We found out that CJ absolutely loves hearing the birthday song – he was getting a bit ratty as it was past his nap time at that point and the song totally calmed him. That’s my music-lover alright! We also enjoyed a traditional Sunday roast dinner with Papa M’s family which was also a great time. It’s so easy in this busy technology-filled world to let the face-to-face visits slide and think that digitally stopping by is enough. Long weekends are an opportunity to change this!

Explore somewhere new

The birthday party was held in Onepoto Domain on Auckland’s North Shore. We’d never been there before and it was really great to have a new place to explore! There’s duck ponds, wide open grassy fields for play, a bike track and awesome playground areas. Pre-baby, Papa M and I loved to get out and explore and it’s still a huge priority for us to be able to do that as a family. We definitely want our children to grow up with a sense of adventure.

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Spend time in nature

Initially we’d planned to tackle a bush walk on Monday but the overcast weather had us worrying about slippery conditions. We still wanted to get out in nature despite the chance of rain so we changed it up and headed to a local duck pond instead. CJ was still totally buzzed by the experience and Papa M and I got our fresh air and exercise for the day. You don’t have to be on holiday to explore the great outdoors, there’s probably some fantastic nature walks in your own “back yard.

Staying at home for a long weekend doesn’t mean that you need to literally stay at home. With a little research and planning it’s easy to make it a fun-filled weekend for the whole family. Do you have any hot tips to avoid FOMO and have fun?

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M is for Mama: P is for pregnancy announcements

Not mine, by the way. It’s okay Papa M, you can stop having a heart attack right now.

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Our pregnancy announcement for CJ – hubby loves the NBA despite living in little old NZ

After winter, the spring has come and like a flood so have the pregnancy announcements. We know what you were getting up to on those cold dark nights – nudge nudge wink wink. At the moment they are averaging about one a week and every one fills me with pure joy. I’ve been privy to knowing about a couple of pregnancies prior to public announcement and they have me bursting at the seams wanting to tell the world; I’m not even the mother! While we’re certainly not in a position to have a second child – I have fitness and financial goals to get in order, not to mention get my head in the game for it too – each sweet announcement makes me smile. But truth be told? I didn’t always feel this way.

As you know if you’ve been following the blog for a while, getting pregnant didn’t happen overnight for us. There were chiropractor visits, ovulation tests, acupuncture and seven months of impatient waiting before we got there. I’m loathe to admit it now but it started taking me a while to actually be happy for people, despite my joyful “Congratulations!” when I found out they were with child. In what was possibly one of my ugliest moments I got quite angry at the announcement of someone who had quite adamantly voiced that she was never going to have another baby. I know others who have waited far longer and those for whom their dream of having children hasn’t ever come true. I can’t imagine what these announcements must feel like if you hear them year after year while your own arms are still empty.

I think the most important thing to appreciate as an expectant parent is that as much as some people want to be excited for you, they just can’t. Not yet. Not right now. Easing the pressure off them and not expecting them to behave a certain way can be beneficial for your relationship in the long run. In our case, a close friend had been trying for years to get pregnant and so I disclosed to her in a text before making the announcement. I told her our news and simply said that I understood that she might have mixed feelings about the situation and to just get in touch when she was ready. I know, however, that fertility battles are often a hidden struggle and that my gleeful public announcement may still have trodden on a few nerves.

Do you have a take on this situation? Have you been in the position of either the announcer or the not-so-happy receiver of the announcement? What would have made the situation better for you?

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CJ @ 8 months

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Eight months is such a fun age – well, for the most part anyway! I marvel every day at the wonderful boy our son is becoming. I did wonder whether I would miss the “baby” stage as he approached toddlerhood but it’s quite the opposite. I can’t wait to see CJ grow and become even more of his wonderful self! So what’s going on at 8 months?

  • Two teeth and he appears to be growing a fang! Not the usual order of things but we know by now that babies don’t read the rule book
  • He loves eating ANYTHING that I’m eating – totally calling this the baby diet. The most random thing he has eaten so far has to be tomato with balsamic vinegar from J’s salad – and despite pulling some funny faces he liked it
  • He HATES getting changed and the only thing that seems to help when he gets worked up is yelling out “Despite all my rage I’m still just a rat in a cage”! I have no idea why this works, but like most parenting things you don’t knock it if it’s working.
  • He is trying so damn hard to crawl but just hasn’t managed to get up on his knees yet. It’s pretty hilarious to watch, his arms and legs are going absolutely mental and then he just freezes in what we call his skydiving pose:

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  • We’re starting to plan for my return to part-time work next year and will be interviewing carers for CJ within the next month. Part of me wishes that I could just stay home with him always but I know that’s not the best move for our family
  • He is confidently sitting unsupported – it was like one day he just realized that he could do it and there he was. There’s always the occasional tumble when he gets distracted by something across the room but he handles falling over a lot better too.
  • He’s just started holding himself up against furniture but is pretty unsteady on it – I’m secretly grateful that he’s not showing signs of being an early walker
  • He decided overnight that he wasn’t having a bar of swaddling at all. I’d admittedly begun to worry that we’d still be loosely wrapping him when he was three, but it turned out that he was quite happy to tell us when he was ready
  • On the downside, getting him to sleep is an absolute mare at the moment – there’s so much going on in that brain of his that he is finding it hard to switch off. He thinks that any lying down is crawling practice time. We have to rock him (thank goodness for the rocking chair) and I’ll sing to him until he is relaxed and drowsy. Gone are the days where we could just pop him in the cot and leave
  • He can be very verbal – when he’s happy, he’ll keep repeating “Eaggy! Eaggy! Eaggy!” which clearly means something to him. The only thing we can think of is that he’s copying me saying “It’s good!” but who knows…
  • He met up with Corrine’s lovely wee girl Charlie for the first time since Charlie has been outside the womb – yay for blogger babies
  • We spent the better part of a day at my old (and soon to be new again) workplace, hanging out with teachers and students. My little charmer had them all cooing madly over him – that boy is going to be a worry when he’s older

We’re definitely starting to get a little more flexible and have started to take him to BBQs and get togethers that don’t specifically pivot around parents with kids. We do get a few sideways looks from some of the childless people – “Who brought the baby?” – but for the most part the events are really enjoyable and our wee social butterfly loves hanging out with all the people! It’s good to have a little buddy who is willing to tag along on our adventures.

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