Through your eyes – at the beach

When we tell you we are going to the beach, your eyes widen and a huge smile appears.  In the car we tell you we will go for a swim and make sandcastles – and if you are really lucky you might get an ice cream.

We arrive and you announce we are ‘all done’ and start telling us again we are at the beach.

You are patient as we unload the car, slather both yourself and your brother in sunscreen and walk towards the beach.  As we walk through the park and get our first glimpse of the sparkling ocean, you point at it excitedly and keep saying ‘beach beach beach’.

Your excitement is obvious, you want to walk on the sand and help us set up.  You become impatient as you get changed into your swimming gear, and yet another layer of sunscreen is applied.

We pick up your bucket and shovel and you take your Dad’s hand as you drag him towards the water, all the while shouting ‘beach, beach, beach’….. just in case we didn’t know where we were!

I sit in the shade with your baby brother and can feel the cool sea breeze touching my face and the hot sand between my toes.  I feel overwhelming happiness as I watch you pulling your Dad towards the water.

I watch you come to a sudden stop as you get closer to the water, you look up at your Dad with an expression of uncertainty – the water here is different, you are used to the calm stillness of your pool at home.  You tentatively make your way closer to the water, as the first ripples of water touch your feet.  You shriek with delight, your whole face lights up and you look up at Dad to make sure he is still there and has seen it to.

As the water rushes back out, you again call out with excitement, your feet sink into the sand and you find the whole experience to be hilarious.  The waves again roll in and I can see your confidence grow, as you start to splash around in the water.

A larger wave comes in and you tumble over, you quickly get up and after a quick look at Daddy to make sure everything is ok, you cackle with delight and ask for more!

As the time passes, and you become more sure of yourself, you hold onto Daddy’s hand as you begin to explore, stopping to look at shells and rocks on the sand.

You run your hands through the sand, picking up handfuls of it and letting the grains gently run between your fingers.  You help Daddy dig a great big hole, and think it is great when you need his help to climb out.

When it’s time to go, you do protest.  There is so much more you want to experience, but you begrudgingly hold our hands as we walk back up the sand.

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Linking up today with Essentially Jess for IBOT.

Our Rainbow

I have sat down countless times over the past two weeks trying to write this post.  There have even been a couple of times when I have felt I had nearly nailed it, then after a further read it just hasn’t sounded right.
This weekend, our big boy, our ‘rainbow baby’ turns two.
What I wanted to write about was the journey that led us to his arrival.  The utter devastation we experienced when his big brother was born sleeping and his big sister passed away in my arms.  The anxious journey we then went on during his pregnancy, the countless hospital admissions, scans and tests, each of which seemed to bring more bad news – further complications and bigger hurdles we would have to jump, in the hope of bringing him home.  Then there was the journey we experienced during his six week NICU stay and the challenges we faced bringing a premature baby home.
I wanted to talk about how hard it was to bond with him whilst I was pregnant, and then when he was born as I’d spent my whole pregnancy convincing myself I would again be burying our child – even to the point we did not order the headstone for our twins grave, just in case we needed to add another name.
I wrote about how I struggled with anxiety for the better part of his first year, constantly worrying he was not reaching milestones, not gaining weight, looking for any potential health problems because of his prematurity and the fear he would fall ill and return to hospital.
I tried to put into words the emotions that ran through my head (and still do) every time someone would ask ‘Is he your first?’
I attempted to write about the expectations I felt others now had of me – I now had a baby, I should be ‘fine’ and no longer grieving the babies we had lost.
When I tried to tell this story, the way it deserves to be told, it just didn’t sound right.  So instead:
Happy 2nd Birthday to our precious, special man.  You will never know the love and light you have bought to us, or how much you are truly treasured.  Your rainbow continues to grow and shine brighter each day.
We love you xx
***A rainbow baby is a baby born after experiencing the death of a child/loss of a pregnancy.  It can mean many things to different people, I like to think of it as an acknowledgment that the beauty of a rainbow doesn’t erase the damage of a storm a family has experienced and continues to deal with, instead it means that something beautiful and full of light and happiness has emerged from amongst the darkness of the clouds.  The storm clouds may still linger, but the beauty of the rainbow provides light and hope to help counterbalance the darkness.

2014 – One Word

After weeks of pondering, deliberating and having strange arguments in my head (I’m positive I wasn’t talking out loud) as to what my word for the year would be, the inspiration came to me during a simple ordinary moment.

Simple.

That’s it.. That’s my word for 2014.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about surviving being my word for 2013.  I have been faced with many challenges over the past year, and have achieved both positive and not so positive results.  One of the biggest lessons I have learnt is to enjoy and cherish  the simple, everyday moments of my life.

My husband constantly  occasionally reminds me I can overcomplicate things. As much as it pains me to say this (and this will be good test to see if he actually reads my blog as he claims!), he is right.  Over the past few years, all too often I find myself over analysing every single thing…. everything from a passing comment by a stranger, to a routine test/scan, would have me looking for hidden meanings/worst case scenarios and how I would manage them.

This is why in 2014 I’m keeping it simple.

*  I will live more in the moment. I will soak up every special moment I share with my precious boys – my husband included!

*  I will stop worrying so much about what I think people are thinking and expecting of me.

* I will stop looking for hidden meanings in EVERYTHING!

*  I will slow down and enjoy the simple pleasures of life such as feeling the grass beneath my feet, and the sunshine on my face as we play outside in this beautiful Queensland weather.

* I will do more of the things that I enjoy – reading, writing and of course baking!

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Do you have a word for 2014?

I look forward to sharing my journey with you this year, and thank you all again for your support xx

I’m linking up today with Maxabellaloves Happy New Year everyone!

Good bye 2013

This is it, the final day of 2013 is upon us.  For many it’s a time to reflect on what has been, and think about what we want to achieve in the coming year.  Personally I have been thinking about these things for the past couple of months, and have started implementing strategies to help me achieve my goals in the new year.

I am pleased to say good bye to 2013, not because it has been a terrible year, it has been an important year of personal growth for me. Sitting here typing away, while all of my boys are asleep (daddy included) I feel content.  I am in awe of the special little family my husband and I have created – with a lot of help from some incredibly talented and lovely Doctors!  I am content with my life right now.  Yes, there are challenges which lay ahead of us, and goals we are working towards, but right now sitting here having my second cup of coffee for the day (hey I’m allowed, it’s 5.15am!) and watching the sky lighten as a new day unfolds, I am content with my life.

It has been both the good and not so good experiences this year which have shaped me, and this morning I’d like to share some of my highlights of this year…..

* Sharing the pregnancy journey with my sister – albeit for a short time!

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* Welcoming another precious little boy into our family

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* Watching Liam master new skills…. and work on others!

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* Having the privilege of spending the final weeks of my sister’s pregnancy with her, and meeting her precious little man shortly after his birth

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* Finally taking the plunge and starting my blog! It’s also been a wonderful excuse to justify all of my baking!

Vanilla cupcakes

* Getting out and about with my boys

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* Being a Wife, Mum, Sister, Daughter…..

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* And being me…

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Finally, below is one of my first blog posts – remembering my Nan on what would have been her 106th birthday.  It was my early experiences sitting in her kitchen all those years ago, that ignited my passion for baking and cooking.

Happy Birthday Nan

My new 'Nana Bowl' and one of her recipe books

Thank you for all of your support over the past few months and I wish you all a happy and safe new year and all the best for a wonderful 2014 xx

Linking up today with Essentially Jess for the final #IBOT of the year

Monkey See Monkey Do

With our little man racing towards his second birthday, it seems as though every day he is amazing us with new words and tricks he has discovered.  What has really been an eyeopener over the past couple of months is the role we are playing in teaching him these new skills.  This was made quite obvious over the weekend, when Liam started running around yelling ‘shoo fly’ when I picked up the can of fly spray to hunt down the couple of flies buzzing around (I have a bit of a ‘thing’ having flies buzzing around the house – Scott calls it an obsession).

It’s really only now sinking in (yes, I know I should have realised this earlier), the massive role we as parents play in shaping our kids into the people they will become.  It’s not only what we say and how we say it, but also our everyday behaviours which they observe and act out.

I'm not complaining about this!

I’m not complaining about this!

This topic came up during a conversation with friends over the weekend, and we all could relate to stories about our toddlers knowing their way around our smartphones/ipads etc. It was only last week, that I caught Liam proudly sitting up at the bench, chatting away on my phone whilst typing on the computer.  Whilst this all seems like harmless fun, it has made me much more aware of the time I spend on these devices, and trying to limit their use.

Oh dear!

Oh dear!

Fortunately (I think), he has also picked up on some of our less glamourous behaviours, and is super keen to help pack/unpack the dishwasher, vacuum and has a bizarre fascination wiping surfaces with cloths.

We have been mindful for quite some time about the language we use, to the point where I now play audiobooks and kids CDs in the car, as some of the words he started to repeat from the radio were a little disturbing – however if I hear the Wonky Donkey one more time, I will not be held responsible……..

What is the strangest behaviours/words your child has picked up from you?

Linking up with the amazing Essentially Jess for IBOT

Self Confidence

Yesterday’s photo a day prompt was mirror, and all day I was thinking about what kind of shot I could take – preferably one that doesn’t have me in it! You see the thing is I’m not super happy with the way I look at the moment.  I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with my body shape/size, and long ago I accepted that I am one of those people who has to watch what they eat and exercise regularly to maintain a ‘healthy’ weight.  I’ve also come to terms  with the fact that I’m also not someone whose weight just ‘falls off’ while they breast feed, in fact for me it is the opposite…. damn you hormones!

The thing is that I enjoy exercising, and I feel great about myself whilst I’m doing it, and afterwards as well… it’s just getting and perhaps more importantly keeping the motivation to do it.  I’ve recently switched to a gym that is much closer to home and has more ‘friendly’ class times and this seems to be helping.

I know that I am lacking a bit of self confidence. We can put so much pressure on ourselves to live up to unrealistic expectations (my due date was around the same as Princess Kate & Kim Kardashian and look at them now….), that we unfairingly (that is so a word!) compare ourselves to others.

A few weeks ago I spent a few self indulgent hours at the hairdresser, and whilst reading the November issue of Marie Claire I came across the article ‘Instant Confidence’. It outlined some simple strategies which researchers believe will improve your self belief/self confidence and let’s be honest, we could all do with a bit more self belief I think.

* Coffee!!!  YAY!!  I’m happy to go along with any research that supports drinking coffee!  Admittedly, I do really enjoy my early morning coffee before the chaos of the day starts, and I do miss it when I skip it (I’m so not addicted).

* Sit up straight – hmmm.. I do agree, I’m trying to sit up as straight as I can now and admittedly I feel a bit more important!!

* Change your hair colour – sorted, appointment in two weeks!

* Clean out your wallet- with the theory being by managing this everyday area of your life, it will help you feel more in control in other aspects of your life. I took this challenge and also included cleaning out my handbag.  Considering I found sultanas that I believe started off as grapes in a container down the bottom of my bag, I’m feeling much more in control!

* Exercise!  Well this one is a bit of a no brainer, and I totally agree with it.  The research they quote is exercising for at lease 20 minutes at the gym will improve your mood for up to 12 hours.  I totally agree with this, I feel so much better about myself (and others!!) after exercising.

I know that I am being tough on myself, and realistically I know that I probably won’t ever be completely happy with the way I look.  It seems as though we are hardwired to always have one aspect of ourselves that we think needs improvement.

In the meantime, I’m trying to work on improving my self confidence and be proud of the way I look – this body of mine has spent the majority of the past three years either pregnant, or being pumped full of hormones for IVF, and has produced four children – so I probably should cut it some slack!

In the end I compromised and included a head shot in my photo, and with the magic of filters, I was pretty happy with how the shot turned out.

So I’m putting it out there – what strategies/tips do you have to help improve self confidence?

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Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT

What were you doing a year ago?

Can you remember what you were doing a year ago?  If you had stopped and written a letter to your future self, what would you have said?

This is special week for us, this time last year, we were down in Victoria celebrating my sister’s wedding, and entering the second week of the dreaded two week wait to find out if our latest round of IVF had been successful.  Then this same week two years ago, I was 24 weeks pregnant with Liam and admitted to hospital until he arrived… this time three years ago, we were finding out we were pregnant with our twins – but that’s a story for another time.

Going back to last year, it was our seventh embryo transfer, so unfortunately we had become all too familiar with the process, and knowing what signs to look out for that may indicate a positive or negative result.

Aiden's first photo - 5 days 'old'

Aiden’s first photo – 5 days ‘old’

During the early days of the two week wait, I’d allowed myself a rare moment of positivity and checked what my due date would be, if the transfer was successful.  I knew it was going to be late July,  what I was not prepared for was a due date of the 21st of July 2013 – Amber and Riley’s due date had been the 20th of July 2011 – I admit to having mixed emotions about that, but tried to take it as a positive sign.

Throughout the second week I’d had my suspicions –  I’d had the day of nausea, and a huge wave of exhaustion had began to overwhelm me, both of which happened early on in my previous two pregnancies.  Always the pessimist I kept telling myself it was all in my head – because then if it wasn’t successful it would be easier to deal with if I hadn’t gotten my hopes up right?!? Even when three home pregnancy tests were positive, and I received the phone call from our nurse confirming positive blood test results, the news didn’t fully sink in.  Whilst we were extremely happy and excited to be expecting a baby (why else would we have gone through IVF?), there was a sense of apprehension and even fear, about what was going to happen next, would I have similar complications as my previous two pregnancies, would I need to be on hospital bed rest again, would we have another premature baby?

Twelve months on and instead of over analysing every twinge I have, and praying each time I give myself another injection that it’s helping our baby grow, I am instead sitting here  listening to our happy and healthy (and not to mention gorgeous – biased I know!) five month old chatting up a storm.  Upstairs our equally gorgeous 21 month old is still fast asleep.  If someone had of told me this time twelve months, or even two years ago that we would be in this position, I would have never believed them! Throughout our journey into parenthood there have certainly been times when I felt like we’d never have two healthy babies at home with us. I feel incredibly blessed to have our two beautiful boys..  It’s amazing how much can happen in a year – and how fast it can go!

Out for lunch for Melbourne Cup

Out for lunch for Melbourne Cup

What were you doing this time twelve months ago?

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT