Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Making a home, in someone else's house

This weekend we moved out. After almost six months of lodging with my parents since we sold our house (which you can see here), and multiple delays in the start of the building of our house, we decided it was time we needed some more space of our own. Our stuff was slowly seeping into every crevice of my parents house, it's hard not to take over when there are two of them, and four of us. We ran out of storage space and were starting to feel a bit cramped. As nice as it is to have the extra pairs of hands around and help whenever you need it, I think it is equally as nice to have a place that is 'yours' a place that you can decorate and dictate they way you want it. Well to a certain extent with a rental property. I was so excited just to raid the storage unit where all our belongings are and just use some of my own stuff again.

It is nice just to see how our little family works as a unit again, especially now that their are four of us. It felt like I was in a bit of a limbo for the last 6 months and couldn't really settle into a good routine. I'm so, so grateful that my folks were generous enough to let us takeover stay at their house, but when you are so used to doing things your way, it takes a little adjusting to do things another persons way, in their house. We all get along well, and there were no dramas, but we all felt like the time was right for us to expand into our own place again.

I'm adjusting to being by myself with two kids. Today, there was nobody else here to offer me a cup of tea, make toddler snacks or calm a screaming baby, so I didn't get my cuppa until 10am, and the baby screamed while I was stuck in toddler poop hell. The dishes didn't get done until midday, and no unpacking occurred. Ezra came down with a fever, teeth or ear related I suspect. But, we made it through, and we will do it all again tomorrow, and I'm ok with that. My kids are a lot of work, some days are harder than others, and I feel like we will figure out our own rhythm again soon. But, I'm happy, exhausted, but happy. I gave up on expecting to sleep a long time ago!! Oh, and it's just around the corner from my parents house, so it's not like I can't call for backup when I need it. It's also right across the road from the beach, it's pretty hard to feel down on your luck when you look out the window and see the gorgeous ocean

Angus is already at home here
The rest of our belongings, all packed up still

Because its Tuesday, I'm linking up with Jess for #IBOT

And if you haven't entered my Giveaway for an awesome Love to Swaddle UP baby Swaddle, click HERE and enter, it's awesome!!

Karen xx

 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Love To Swaddle UP Organic: Review and Giveaway


 Last month, as you might remember, I had the opportunity to review the awesome 
Love To Dream InVenta Sleep Bag. 
Well today, I have another review from the same innovative people at Love To Dream. 
This time, I am reviewing their Love To Swaddle UP Organic
(which was sent to me to review, but all opinions are mine)

Willow, like most young babies, loves to be held tight or swaddled up tightly, it stops her screaming, settles her and helps to send her off to sleep (as well as constant rocking in the rocking chair). As I am typing this Miss Willow is sound asleep in her cradle, securely bundled up in her Love To Swaddle UP. Before I had even used this swaddle myself, its reputation preceded it. I remember talking to some of my Mothers group Mums about how Ezra loved having his arms up when he slept and would always fight so hard to get them out when I swaddled him. He hated having his arms pinned down to his side, so I basically had to give up swaddling really early on. My Mummy friends raved about the Love To Swaddle Up, but unfortunately for me I found out about this product too late for Ezra, he was already well and truly out of swaddles. 
So, when I was contacted about reviewing one, I was ecstatic, from all the great things I had heard, it was already on my 'must buy for baby' list. In fact, I had already bought several of them, since I found out about them, for all of my friends and family who had had baby showers, but I was still yet to test it out myself. 

I've been using this swaddle pretty much consistently since we bought Willow home from the hospital. I have found she is much like her older brother and hates having her arms strapped down by her side. If I do the traditional swaddle, I hear her straining and groaning to free her arms until she eventually does and then she is usually wide awake by that time, or she just won't have a deep sleep because she keeps startling herself awake. With the unique design of the Love To Swaddle UP, Willow has her hands up by her face already, but they are confined to the swaddle so she doesn't startle herself or scratch her face. I've noticed that she will often will rub her face with her hands or use them to push her dummy into her mouth! So clever, because I'm sure she (like apparently 90% of babies) was used to doing the same thing in the womb. I've noticed that the parts where her hands are, are often dirty or a little damp because she much put them in her mouth throughout the night and helped herself to settle and feel comforted. 

I  honestly really love this product. It takes the pain out of trying to swaddle them tightly, only to find that my little houdini has somehow gotten her arms out and they are flailing around waking her up. It is so easy, just a zip and she can't escape.  I love that it is a certified organic cotton product,  the cotton is so soft and lovely on the skin. The fabric is light weight, stretchy and breathable, giving her the feeling of being wrapped tightly without her getting all sweaty. It has a two way zip, great for keeping her swaddled up while I change those midnight nappies, in a effort to keep a sleepy baby, sleeping! 
I'm pretty confident that you will love this swaddle as much as I do. You can see the rest of the range of innovative and thoughtful products from Love To Dream at www.lovetodream.com.au

The folks at Love To Dream have also offered another Love to Swaddle UP Organic for me to GIVEAWAY to one of you! YAYYY! 

So, if you want one, then come on and enter the giveaway below, it is really easy, and you just might get a super useful product that retails for $41.95 for FREE! You get to pick the size of your choosing, and even if you aren't having a bub soon, I'm sure you know someone who is. They make a great baby shower gift! 

Karen xx 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Seriously cute things for little people

The problem with being stuck on the couch/bed breastfeeding is that it gives me ample time for Internet browsing/shopping on my phone, it is really dangerous for my bank account. I often find myself adding all sorts of things to shopping carts, figuring out sizes, shipping costs and hunting for sales in the wee hours of the morning and barely buying anything. There are way too many really cute things out there. Things that are so hard to resist, the only thing stopping me from going on a crazy shopping spree, is that we need to save for all the extras and hidden costs on our new house, but it is so,so tempting to buy cute things for my kids. In case you wanted to be tempted as well, I thought I would share some of the things I am pining after right now.

Seriously way too cute right.

What are you pining after at the moment?

Karen xx

(P.S Willow is doing awesome! Sleeping all day, partying all night, well slight exaggeration but you get my drift, doing all the normal newborn baby things)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Bringing Home Baby


It's been over two weeks since we brought Willow home from the hospital, and since we have been navigating life with two kids. Joel was able to work from home for the last two weeks, and just went back to his regular schedule on Monday. It was such a huge blessing having him around, especially to entertain Ezra during the days that I was still in recovery mode. Living with my folks has been a massive help as well, my Mum is around during the days to give me a hand, and doing a lot of cooking, she is lapping up those baby cuddles, and when Dad is here on the weekends Ezra is his little shadow. Lets just say I've had it pretty easy so far.

The second time around I feel so acutely aware of how fleeting the sleepy newborn stage is. Willow has been a really good bub so far, I guess it is just a whole lot easier the second time around. I often find myself wondering why I thought having one baby was hard, and wondering what I did with all my time I must have had then. It is still that first baby that takes up most of my time right now! But, of course, the first time round I spent so much more time fretting, figuring out breastfeeding and adjusting to my new life as a mum. This time, thankfully I feel so much more proficient. Willow has been stacking on the weight, and had already put on half a kilo in a week since we left the hospital. She is such a good eater, soon she'll be my little chunky bub I'm sure.

Ezra is adjusting to being a big brother. He really seems to care for his baby sister, which is so sweet to watch. He just has to be careful with the occasional stray elbow or foot. Every morning he jumps into bed and asks for a 'carry', meaning he wants me to put her on his lap for him to hold. He then likes to point out all her facial features and smother her with kisses. He definitely goes a bit over the top sometimes to try and get extra attention, he's shown signs of the green eyed monster making appearances, extra tantrums (which I think comes with the age in general), waking up in the middle of the night and using her dummy and climbing into the bassinet trying to be a baby. I am trying to make sure to spend as much quality time with him as I can, so that he doesn't feel neglected, reading stories, playing play-doh, being the one to put him to bed at night, special Mum and Ezra lunch outings. It is such a big change for a little one. But mostly I'm really impressed with how well he is taking to the changes.

On top of everything else we have been finalising our house plans and hopefully building will start soon!! Yay. We are also moving out of my folks house next week, just around the corner, so still nice and close. Because the build was taking so long to get happening we felt like we should look for a place of our own, it could be another year before the house it built.

Karen xx





Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Slow Cooked Honey-Bourbon Chicken Rolls

Every now and then Joel gets a craving for some Southern Style BBQ, things like pulled pork and bbq ribs that are hard to come by around here. It's one of the foods he misses the most about the USA. Lucky for me, he doesn't expect me to cook this stuff, he makes it himself. We had some visitors come around on Sunday, Joel had that bbq craving and was thinking honey-bourbon chicken, so we opted to make a really easy lunch that can feed a lot of people. This fed 8 adults and there were plenty of left overs for later!!

Ingredients:
1 cup Tomato Sauce (ketchup)
1 small onion diced
1/4 cup bourbon
1 Tbsp Honey
1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
2 Tbsp Molasses
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 Cloves of Garlic minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
Pinch of Cayenne pepper
Pinch of Salt
5 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp Butter
Bread or Rolls

Method:
-Add everything to your slow-cooker and stir so the chicken is completely coated in sauce (except for the rolls of course, that would just be gross)
- Cook on low for 8 hours
- Stir with a spoon to break chicken apart so it becomes shredded.
- Serve with rolls.

I like mine with some cheese and pickles! But each to their own. 

So if you're looking for something easy and slow cooked, this is delicious!! It is that easy that we can make it with a newborn in the house, so that is saying something. I love my slow-cooker for this very reason! 

Karen xx 



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Monday, July 8, 2013

New Places: Old Coast Road Brewery Myalup



On Saturday, after a week of feeling a little housebound, we headed out to visit the Old Coast Road Brewery in Myalup (about 30 min drive from where we are in Mandurah). We had never been there before, but had heard good things! It was our first major trip out with two kids. We all needed to get out and all clear our heads, let Ezra run off some pent up energy, and just have fun as a family. It turned out to be a great place that had something for everyone. Willow sleeps most of the time right now, apart from waking for a feed, so it really wasn't that much more difficult than with one child, except we just had a lot more stuff! 

Joel, had the idea to head out to the brewery (of course) and it just so happened that they had all these activities set up for kids as well. BONUS! A bouncy castle, a petting zoo, pony rides, a big grassed area with footballs and cricket and playground including cubby houses. It was seriously toddler heaven.  The pony ride was such a big hit that every time he sees a pony on TV or somewhere he says 'more'. No wonder he had a massive meltdown when it was time to leave. It was also parent heaven because it was all FREE! I love when places think to cater for kids, it makes it so much more enjoyable and relaxing for us parents.

 We went with the expectation of their Saturday special Spit Roast, but were disappointed that they had sold out by the time we sat down to eat, note to self: Get there early. They made the disappointment a little easier by giving us two free middy's of their beer. Yep, my first beer in a LONG time, I had the Wheat Beer, and I really liked it. Joel had the Apple cider, and claimed it was the best local cider he has tasted to date, and he has tasted a lot of local cider. 

Our food was really lovely, even though it wasn't the spit roast. In the ordering confusion they had forgotten Ezra's meal. But, once we notified them of the omission, they delivered it within a few minutes, and then offered him a free Simmo's ice-cream, which he happily obliged them by eating. I have had too many bad experiences customer service at restaurants in WA that it was actually really refreshing to go to a place that went out of their way to make us happy after they had made mistakes. 

So if you're looking for somewhere to go with the family, I highly recommend the Old Coast Road Brewery, it is about an hour and a half drive south of Perth on the turn off to Harvey. On their website (HERE) they have heaps of activities listed for the rest of July. We may have to head back to sample some more of their food and beers very soon! 




I hope you had a lovely weekend too!! 

Karen xx 





 







Friday, July 5, 2013

First Haircut: No more baby curls

Today I finally decided it was time to get Ezra's hair cut. I've been avoiding it for so long, despite his hair always being in his eyes and having a crazy mop head. I just love those baby curls. I love his long blonde wispy hair, it may look wild, but I couldn't bare to cut it off. 
I guess now that he is a big brother, and he's no long the baby of the family it was time to get him an actual hair style. The hair-dresser did so well considering how fast she had to move and how fidgety he was. I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted, and she got it pretty close, there is just some hair on one side that I think is a little long, yep I am finicky like that. Originally I wanted them to do an 'undercut' at the sides and back, but she thought it wouldn't look right because his hair was too thin. So she just did it with scissors, it looks good. But, not 100% what I was aiming for, but I'm happy, and I think he is pretty impressed with his hair too, he keeps checking himself out in the mirror. 
He had to sit on Dad's lap, and there was no way we were getting a smock on him. But, he got through it without wigging out or screaming. The lollipop obviously did its job properly, keep him appeased so he sits still!! It took him over an hour to finish it, he doesn't quite grasp the lollipop thing yet! 
I am one of those Mums who kept a lock of his hair. I was so nervous before taking him in, I really didn't want a horrible hair cut. I feel lame admitting that, but it was a big deal for me. 
My baby boy looks so much older,  and it's just a reminder of how fast he is growing up. He will be two next month. Eeek, TWO!!!
How long did it take you to get your kids first hair cut? Were you paranoid like me? 



 The End Result. What a big boy. No more baby curls!
 
 

Karen xx
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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Willow's Birth Story



On midday last Friday I sent Joel a text message 'don't want to get your hopes up, but I'm feeling 'tightenings' again'. I'd already had two evenings of contractions earlier in the week, that ended up abruptly stopping, so I was feeling a little skeptical, and didn't want him to rush away from work for no reason again.

This was our conversation after that.


At 12.45pm I called him back basically saying.. Yep, hurry.

He was still an hour drive away!

At 1pm they were getting closer and stronger (about 3-5 mins apart) to the point that I was having a hard time talking or moving through them. By this stage I was convinced it was the real deal this time.

I figured it was probably time to call the hospital and let them know I'll be coming in soon. The Midwife on the phone reassured me, told me to take a shower to ease the pain, and start to get ready to come in. I hung up and tried waiting a little longer for Joel, after about 10 mins I knew that they were getting pretty intense. So my Dad to loaded my stuff in the car and drove me to the hospital. Mum called Joel to let him know that I would meet him there.

The 15 min drive to the hospital was painful, to say the least, it seems soooo long! By this stage the contractions had ramped up even more and were coming at about a minute apart. When we arrived at the hospital at 1.45pm there was no way I could even walk down the hospital corridors to the birthing suite, the contractions were so close together I could barely stand never mind walk. So, even though I felt kinda silly doing it,  I sent Dad in to get me a wheelchair. Yep, just like the movies!

They rushed me into the labour suite, thankfully Joel arrived moments after we did, and both he and my Dad came running into the maternity ward yelling 'which way did the wheelchair go?' I wish I had seen it.

The midwives got me up on the bed and checked my progress. I was already 8cm dilated.
Woah, that was quick. Good thing I didn't wait any longer at home.

Labour continued at around the same intensity. Every contraction I was internally willing my waters to break, but nothing was happening. Through the daze of pain I heard the midwives discussing something stopping my waters breaking and whether they should rupture them, I piped up, and just said 'yep do it, break it, now' or something similar. Turns out the umbilical cord was preventing my waters breaking, I don't know all the details,
but once they ruptured them, it was all on.

It took four or five pushes and only 10 mins, and she slid out onto the bed. Joel tells me they weren't prepared for such a swift arrival and she slid into the bumper at the end of the bed!! What a difference from the excruciating hour of pushing I experienced the first time.

8lbs of beautiful baby girl arrived and was put into my arms just before 4pm.
She cried and did all the normal newborn things. Which is the biggest relief.

She breastfed after about 20 minutes of skin to skin time. I was so, so happy and relieved that she had attached and was feeding so well from the get go. I felt a lot more comfortable and confident in helping her to attach compared to Ezra.

It was such a surreal feeling afterwards as Joel and I sat in the hospital room and adored our gorgeous girl. It all happened so fast, I couldn't believe it was all over already. The hardest part was done, and I didn't even have much time to process it. Once she decided to come, she was in a big hurry. I'm so glad I didn't wait any longer to call Joel, and I'm so glad I didn't delay and end up giving birth on the side of the road!

I was also so surprised this time how good I felt post-delivery. Probably because it wasn't a long labour. But, I think it really also had something to do with the fact that it all happened naturally this time, no contraction inducing drugs flowing through my body. And of course, that my body had done it all before.

We are now at home, adapting to life with two kids, and enjoying some lovely family time.

Karen xx


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