Checking in from the world of motherhood…

I did say before that I didn’t really want this to be a fully dedicated pregnancy/baby blog but at the moment, this seems to be all that’s happening in my life (and I can’t complain!).

Here are 5 things I learned this week:

1. Babies will do things in their time (particularly newborns). They will tell you when they are hungry, wet, bored, tired, etc. And initially, you may not understand them but just give them a few days and soon you’ll be able to understand him/her a lot better.

Initially I used to get quite upset hearing him cry (which in turn, made him more upset) but now I realise that it’s just his way of communicating, and he just needs lots of cuddles.

2. It’s essential to have a great stroller. This was our first choice:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iidYvhs4QRA
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nfortunately, it’s not within our budget. It’s available in Australia at the moment for around $1500 (which is actually not bad for the features it has).

Instead, we opted for the Steelcraft Strider Compact, which is really well made. It’s lightweight, folds up easily, and can fit baby all the way from newborn to 20kg. It gives us the option to have rear or front facing, and we could even put in a 2nd seat should we have another child in the next few years *hint hint*. Jacob gives his seal of approval.

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3. Breastfeeding hurts! Well, it differs for each person but I believe there’s still a certain period of time to get used to it on top of the soreness of the delivery, etc. At the hospital, they gave me lanolin cream to treat my nipples but unfortunately, I’m allergic to lanolin. Thank goodness for Hydrogel Breast Feeding Pads! They’re called Mothermates and can be purchased from pharmacies – really helped me heal quickly.

Your breasts also get sore, especially when your milk comes in – I found a shower in the evening helps greatly (also with your mood, which is my next point).

4. I put up a bit of a discussion online regarding something I call “evening blues”, and quite a few mums agreed that they had experienced something similar. I think it’s a mixture of lack of sleep, the healing process from the labour and the emotional effect of the whole situation (hormones and all). Have you felt this before? I’ve found that it’s best to take a walk in the evening, have a nice shower (or bath if you want to indulge) and have an early night. 🙂

5. Don’t be sloppy with doing up diapers! I have to admit that before Jacob was born, I had never changed a nappy before and had no idea what to do. I’ve sorta got the hang of it now, but on some nights where I’m sore, sleepy and just couldn’t care less, I don’t get the diaper on right (i.e. too loose). This has resulted in many different disasters hence why I should really perfect my technique.

And this is the pic of the day – love my little boy. He is so cute:

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Just a little snippet of joy

I can’t believe I’ve survived motherhood for a week already… wow, what a ride!

I honestly haven’t had the time to think, haven’t had enough sleep etc. so I’ll just share a few pictures of my lovely little bundle. Here’s me tired but embracing my little one:

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Fresh out of the oven on his first day! 🙂

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Daddy dressing up baby for the very first time! 🙂 He also got to catch the baby as he was born and cut the cord…

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And here are some pictures with friends and family:

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Looking cute with his pacifier. I know that some people think that babies should not have pacifiers from this young, but it was recommended to us because he wasn’t sleeping and was working himself into fits all the time. He’s much happier now.

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I love my little Jacob. 🙂

Pieces of the past and promises of a future

The wait is on! I’m now 39 weeks and 3 days, and in honest truth, I’m a little impatient and just can’t wait to meet bubs. I’m trying to keep relaxed and to fit into my own skin – I’ve heard that stress can actually delay labour, so I’ve got to keep worry to a minimum.

Over the last few months, there were times where I felt rather disconnected from bubs and just couldn’t get a clear picture of what to expect from him and her. But I think that we’ve grown closer in the process and I think I know his or her personality quite a lot better now.

Today I was looking through some of the things I wrote when I was in my teen years, and it surprised me how dark a lot of the themes were. I was actually looking for a piece of my writing to dedicate to baby Zilm, but a lot of these themes are unsuitable… I think that I was always quite an emotional person, and perhaps I dwelt on certain dramatic things a lot more than I should have.

Being into guitar and piano, I wrote songs as well and it was something I prided myself in, even though I’m not exactly a great singer. I remembered that I wrote a lullaby and despite the deeper message within the song, I just wanted to share it. One day, perhaps I’ll record it on Youtube or something. But for now, here it is:

So many blank pages
and the ink’s run dry
our souls walk through the ages
never knowing the reason why

And the water’s getting deeper
as our hearts intertwine
I’ll forever be your keeper
as you’ll always be mine

Go to sleep my little baby
Rest your head upon my cheek
We’ll meet some other day, maybe
But for now just go to sleep

My life is like a river
as it flows to the sea
Time will paint us silver
it only waits for you and me

Go to sleep my little baby
Rest your head upon my cheek
We’ll meet some other day, maybe
But for now just go to sleep

And though it may seem
like I’m gone
In you my soul lives on
Darling go to sleep
and things will be alright
You’ll see me when you close, close your eyes

(piano interlude)

Go to sleep my little baby
Rest your head upon my cheek
We’ll meet some other day, maybe
But for now just go to sleep
But for now just go to sleep
But for now just go to sleep…

I think that I did go through a few harrowing experiences in my teen years, many I have to admit were self-inflicted. Writing was indeed my channel and my escape, and I’m glad that in many cases, the sun comes out to shine after a storm.

This brings me to think about the rainbow that Skittles and I saw on our walk today – it was almost a triple rainbow, and was really magnificent against the dark sky. 

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So, baby Zilm, I do look forward to meeting you. I can’t promise that you won’t have to walk a rocky, crooked path but I do promise that I will be with you every step of the way and will be that rainbow in your stormy sky, as you will be in mine.

Wall-sticker woes…

It was a typical rainy winter’s day today, hence why I have time for a blog post. I was supposed to go out shopping and catch up with friends, but it’s nice to be at home on rainy days like these.

Anyway, since I was confined in the premises today, I decided to try to put up my wall stickers which I bought to make my toilet area look a little more interesting. At the moment, there’s only a silly picture that I bought from a garage sale that says “If there’s anything I can’t stand, it’s someone who talks while I’m interrupting.”

After 30 minutes of toil, this is the result:

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Being my pregnant self, I went to the toilet less than an hour later and this is what I found:

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I checked a while ago and the left bit has fallen off too. Sigh! I sorta blame myself because I should have washed the wall down with sugar soap first – I just gave it a gentle wipe down with water. Oh well, at least the stickers were only $5 from Ebay…

I do hope I’m more successful with my wall stickers for my baby! Dan and I have decided that we won’t go overboard with it as we don’t want it to look too cluttered, especially with all the furniture we already have in the room. Just something cute or funky. Once we’ve decided, pics will be up! 🙂

Skittles and I also watched some documentaries together. I really enjoyed the one about babies – just what to expect in the first few days/weeks of life with your newborn. Skittles immensely enjoyed the other one which had baboons running across the screen – she’s trying to catch them here.

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Wow, time flies – it’s dinnertime and I cooked some salmon! Silly baby brain me forgot to thaw it out properly hence why some of the crispy skin fell off… *sob* It was still yummy though. The best way to keep the skin crispy is by sprinkling it with sea salt – I like to sprinkle on dried oregano as well.

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Finally, as a way to close off the post and open the Sabbath (which is a time of rest that we SDAs celebrate), I just wanted to share this song by Nichole Nordeman. Sometimes I find a lot of gospel songs sound the same (e.g. only using the same 4 chords and similar chord progressions too), but Nichole has a slightly different style to that. Her voice is gorgeous and I just love how her lyrics resonate such real situations and feelings.

If you want, feel free to check her song out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXCXEb1Qupg

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

A bit of an eating/shopping post!

I never imagined how much I’d enjoy a clean house! 🙂 An uncluttered house helps me keep an uncluttered mind… Dan and I had to clean up for a meeting at our place, and it’s spurred me on to try and get the other rooms clean as well. Let’s see how long this stint will last though!

I was crossing my fingers earlier in the week that the baby wouldn’t come before Wednesday, because we were planning to go out for dinner with friends. We went for some Mexican food and some of us topped it off with decadent chocolate desserts.

Firstly, I have to admit to you that I would be a terrible food blogger because I don’t take pictures of my food. I sometimes find it slightly embarrassing, especially in fine dining. Plus, my phone doesn’t do a great job of it (and I have shaky hands, so the photo is almost always blurry when I take it). And usually, I just want to eat! 🙂

But anyway, last night we went to Zapata’s Mexican Restaurant on Melbourne Street. Loved the decor but couldn’t say the same about the service. Perhaps I was expecting a bit more since they’ve won lots of awards. Fair enough, it’s hard to serve a table of 12, but despite putting the cover numbers on the table (which is not very classy, in my opinion), they still had to call out the names of the dishes and got the bill a bit mixed up in the end.

Simple hospitality solution: Allocate the table to just one waiter (to reduce confusion) and get that waiter to remember the cover numbers and be in charge of all the orders. Instead of writing cover numbers on the table (which didn’t work anyway), just have a system, such as the person with the back of their chair facing the bar being number 1, then going clockwise from that person.
When bringing out the food, bring them out by cover number or at least refer to the docket when serving. And I would have sorted out the bills out in advance since it was clear which people were couples, which were paying alone to avoid the confusion at the end.

If anyone wants to hire me to manage their restaurant, do drop me a line- haha! I have to admit that as crazy as it can be working in restaurants, I LOVE it! It’s fast-paced, diverse, confusing/chaotic at times, yet it’s all about giving people a personal and memorable experience (and of course, serving delicious food!) At least the food was pretty yummy – stole some pics off their website!

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Wednesdays are half price Nachos nights! If you ever go there, get the special nachos because the plain one only comes with cheese, spring onion and jalapenos!

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I have to admit my Bistec Ranchero was delicious! Finely marinated and really tender even though I asked for medium well. Daniel had Chilli Colorado which didn’t have any spice at all, and was relatively mediocre (but he was happy I gave him some of my steak).

Anyway, some of us decided to venture over to Chocolatree, which was one of our favourite chocolate joints back when we lived in North Adelaide. It was probably a bit decadent of me, but I decided to order a Nutty Waffle – looks like this except add nuts, take away the strawberries:

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It was delicious, though I think I would have fancied it better with dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate. They do some awesome hot chocolates as well – dark mint hot chocolate is probably my favourite!

Anyway, this might be the last restaurant meal out for a while, so I just thought I’d make a big deal about it. 🙂 I’ll have to experiment with more dishes at home, and I do promise I’ll take a few pictures then!

Today I decided to do a bit of online shopping, for a few reasons:
– I had a gift card to use (I like to use them soon after I get them in case they get lost)
– The store had 15% off all stock today

Here are my purchases, which should come in the mail sometime next week:

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If you haven’t guessed which store this is, it’s Peter Alexander! 🙂 They do have some cute stuff, though I’m not really a pink, lacy, fluffy sorta person. I have to admit I love the concept of “one a day” things. I’ve bought Daniel Monday to Sunday undies, so I thought I should have some for myself too.

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I was looking around for PJs and nightgowns, but can’t justify buying one (especially since I just wear old T-shirts and stuff to bed). But then I found this awesome cosmetic bag – it was actually in the Men’s section but I just love it! Whenever we go on short holidays, I always struggle to find a nice bag for my toiletries (and I must admit, the last time I used a sandwich zip-lock bag!)

If you’re interested, their 15% off sale is only until midnight tonight (probably EST, so about 8 hours left!). Just want to say a big Thank You to the AIB staff (my previous workplace) for contributing to the gift card!

On a final note, I was speaking to some of my girlfriends about pelvic floor exercises and I just thought I’d share the importance of doing these exercises, even when not pregnant.

Exercising these muscles helps in the long run with controlling your bladder and your bowels. In pregnancy, these muscles undergo further stress due to hormonal changes, and from other pregnancy symptoms like constipation.

I was a bit lazy (and cocky too) initially, thinking I needn’t bother doing these exercises. But then, a few weeks ago, I caught a cold and I tell you, I suffered a few leakages every time I sneezed. I admit that I don’t do the exercises as often as I’m supposed to (I keep forgetting!), but doing some is probably better than doing none.

Even if you’re not pregnant, there are factors that could cause this muscle to grow week, such as being overweight, continuously lifting heavy things or simply growing older. And this also affects men too, hence it’s just as important that you guys work these muscles too!

I’ll just leave you with this handy link should you wish to learn more about it: http://www.thewomens.org.au/Pelvicfloorexercises

Have a lovely rest of the week! 🙂

Lianne’s Tips (and other things I did this weekend)

This thing about ‘tips’ is a bit of an inside joke at work, about a set of tips our boss once presented to us. Anyway, I did have an enjoyable weekend and did my best to get a bit of housework done. No, no nesting instinct yet… *sigh*

Anyway, I just wanted to share a few housekeeping tips that I learned (some, the hard way) this weekend:

  • You CAN iron shirts when they’re damp, like even straight out of the washing machine (though I usually put them on a hanger for a while to air out and dry a bit)
  • Every time I change my sheets, I have to hunt down the different pieces here and there. If you don’t want to get your sheet sets mixed up, tuck the sheet set into one of the pillowcases and stack them according to size. 
  • Something I struggle with is clutter – I just need to keep everything, don’t I? It’s the little things that build up to become big things, so I’ve decided that I’ll establish some ground rules:
    – Get rid of all junk mail. Don’t be tempted by vouchers that you won’t ever use.
    – If it takes less than one minute to do it, do it. Throw something into the bin instead of putting it on the table. 
    – No more taking freebies, Lianne. 
    – Get more hooks so you won’t put stuff all over the floor.
    – When in doubt, throw it out (or give it to an op shop). No more being sentimental.
  • Why struggle washing big things (like huge pots, large trays, range hood covers, etc.) in your sink when you can soak and wash them in your bath tub? I had a good time scrubbing them there – so much more room!
  • If you’re using the off-the-shelf oven cleaner, use gloves as they’re corrosive! Next time I do it, I’ll just use water and baking soda. Mix 4 tbsp of baking soda to a litre of water, mix it in a spray bottle and spray it all over the oven. Let it soak in for at least an hour, then use a scraper to get the carbon bits off.
  • (This is an obvious tip) Don’t decide to clean your oven when you’re about to prepare something baked for lunch and dinner. Foiled my cooking plans and we had to have toasties and pizza.
  • As a final note, I found a list of blogs with some awesome housekeeping tips. I’ll check them out sometime: http://www.housekeeping.org/blog/30-blogs-with-the-best-housekeeping-tips/
  • One last random tip: when you forget that you hung your dress on a hook (to take a photo of it), just pretend you were being artsy. I guess it sorta does go with the decor, doesn’t it? 

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Anyway, since I’m now 38 weeks, I was thinking of doing another pregnancy post. 

How far along? 38 Weeks

Total weight gain: Went from 53kg to 65kg. Wow, I’ve never ever been this heavy before!

Maternity clothes? My maternity pants are STILL too big for me haha! Since I’ve stopped work, I’ve graduated to wearing Daniel’s shirts as they’re just the right size and so much more comfy!

Stretch marks? Mum says it’s in my genes that we don’t get stretch marks. Well, that’s a bonus! 🙂

Sleep: I honestly have to admit that this pregnancy has been treating me well on the sleep front. Yes, I do wake up once or twice a night but I go straight back to sleep after. My crazy dreams may be contagious though – Dan’s had a few crazy one and he’s also sleep-talked to me a few times! 

Best moment this week: Well, this week’s really just started.. I suppose it was good that we had a spot of spring weather and that Skittles and I saw a koala in the reserve near our house. It was just sitting on a low branch sunning itself.

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Miss Anything? Being agile. I used to be able to slip into the tightest corners, but now my belly gets in the way! I also miss sashimi… 

Movement: The baby is still really quite active. It’s funny to see my belly go all misshapen when it turns and kicks, etc. 

Food cravings: My favourites this week are bananas, Tim Tams and Up&Go’s. This could be related to the fact that I usually can’t be bothered cooking lunch for myself, hence I end up having 2 Up&Go’s and a banana at lunch (and a Tim Tam with hot choc for afternoon tea). I will be more motivated this week!

Baby Shopping: I forgot to take a photo of it, but I basically went on a huge shop for baby stuff at Target. Bought some sheet sets, diapers, toiletries and also got some feeding tops for myself. I must control myself from buying more clothes – they’re just so cute!

Labor Signs: None yet actually! I’m waiting… Cramps once in a while but they’re just Braxton Hicks. 

Belly Button in or out? Pretty much out. 🙂

Symptoms: I have to admit this has been a good pregnancy. Just a few aches and pains here and there, tiredness at times, but I find it does improve if I’m up and about (and it helps me sleep well at night too). I’m also a little easily angered (especially by Skittles!).

Next appointment: Thursday again. Not sure why these were spaced 2 weeks apart but I guess all has been good, so I won’t complain. 

Looking forward to: Our little baby to join us soon, and to find the perfect name for our baby! 

The babymoon and other pregnancy luxuries…

I think I made quite good use of this first week off work. Some of my highlights of the week:

  • Wrapping up some things at work – I knew I would forget some things, like handing in my key card etc. I’m still not used to the fact that I’m not working – it just feels like I’m holidays for a few days and I’m expected to go back to work next Monday.
  • Signing up with Centrelink – it’s such a blessing living in Australia where they actually support you financially for a certain period of time when your baby is born. Of course, the process can take a while, hence why I’m trying to apply early.
  • Buying more baby stuff – I love shopping on Gumtree, honestly. Bought a Baby Bjorn carrier for $80 and the lady also gave me her vibrating rocker that plays music. I still have to head out and buy a few more things at some point.
  • Walking Skittles a few times – We managed to get a bit of sunny spring weather, so I took Skittles down to the reserve. Lovely blossoms all around!

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  • Routine blood tests for pregnancy – I’m so used to blood tests now…
  • Got my hair cut – I’m blessed with thick hair but it can get so incredibly thick sometimes! I swear I lose at least 500g (if not more) when I get a haircut.
  • Meeting up with my girlfriends – In a previous post, I might have mentioned that my girlfriends and I love having hot pot. We’re such creatures of habit (but it was yummy mind you!) Look at me stuffing my face, haha!

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Evidently, I’m quite tired today from all the gallivanting, so going to take it easy. My main goal today is to work on a playlist for my labour – mostly relaxing songs, but also energetic ones where I can chill out and sing along (probably only in the early stages anyway). Music has an amazing way of influencing emotions (and I’m hoping it’ll distract me from the pain too!).

This is my all time favourite song though: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1DRDcGlSsE
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f I was only allowed to listen to one song in this world, it would be this one (and even if I couldn’t listen to it, I can play it on the piano so it would resonate with me forever).

Anyway, the main point of my post today was really to talk about my recent Babymoon… Now, before you think that I am a woman of too many indulgences, we actually had a free 1 night stay on a loyalty card we had – and what better way to enjoy it but somewhere memorable yet close to home?

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We went to the Novotel Barossa over the weekend – it’s a relatively secluded resort set against the beautiful backdrop of the Barossa Valley, and it was also the place Daniel and I spent our wedding night.

We initially were planning to go out for some nature walks, perhaps explore the nearby town Tanunda – but it was a bit cold and rainy, so we spent more time indoors. I’m not sure what your idea of fun is, but we really enjoyed our time talking, playing board games, taking baths (separately cos the tub was too small – why are you so tall, Daniel?) and lounging around in the soft fluffy bathrobes. I love hotel bathrobes!

Another highlight was the food – we decided to be lazy and have both meals in the hotel restaurant. I can’t say much for the service (but then again, I have high standards as I used to work in F&B and pick up on any parts of the order of service that they miss) but the food was great!

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I had this for dinner – the salmon was cooked to perfection and all the other elements blended together well. A great hearty dish for a cold night – though a reminder to pregnant ladies, don’t eat too much fish to prevent high mercury levels.

For other expecting mums, I highly recommend taking a babymoon somewhere – preferably during your second trimester. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or action-packed (though if you want to, go right ahead!) – but it’s just a great way to celebrate the event with your partner and to enjoy being husband and wife before the many new duties come along!

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Anyway, that’s all for now! I should really head out to the shops to get more baby essentials. Enjoy your Friday everybody!

Skittles the celebrity…

When I first got Skittles, I envisioned starting a Youtube channel to share her silly escapades. Unfortunately, I never got around to doing this and I was never able to capture many of her ‘finest’ moments on camera (like tearing off our car number plate or swinging a bantam chicken around).

But we did manage to catch this video this weekend – she stayed over at our friend’s place while we were away on our babymoon (more details on that in my next post) and I believe she tired herself out silly. Love my silly dog!