Then and Now Inspiration

Yesterday when I saw FMS Photo a Day prompt – Then & Now, it took me all of two seconds to decide what my photo would be.  Those of you who know me, or have seen my photo on instagram will know that our two beautiful boys both arrived early – Liam at 30 weeks & 6 days and Aiden at 32 weeks & 1 day (as a premmie parent all those extra days sure do count!!!).  We are incredibly lucky to have two healthy boys, Liam is now 21 months old, and Aiden will be 5 months old this Sunday.

Liam loves his little brother

Liam loves his little brother

He can be a little too enthusiastic sometimes though!

He can be a little too enthusiastic sometimes though!

It is such an overwhelming experience having a prem baby – even if you think you are prepared for it, as we were prior to having Liam.  I spent 6 weeks in hospital before he was born, had visited the NICU, spoken to lactation consultants re: how to express/feed a prem baby, knew what would happen at his birth, understood he would probably require help breathing (despite the cocktail of drugs I had taken to help mature his lungs) and was educated about the ‘typical prem health issues’.  Each week I would check the handout I had been given by the neonatologist outlining the improving survival/disability rates for each week of gestation, and watch the odds slowly improve each week – but when he arrived at 4.12am on the 11th of January 2012, all of that preparation and information went straight out of the window.

We were thrown into a world that revolved around weight gain/loss, feeding tolerances, oxygen saturation levels, heart rate and breathing monitors,  and of course – expressing!  Liam was five days old before I was able to hold him for the first time, even then when his condition had stabilised, we still had to ask permission and seek assistance to hold our own baby and take him out of his humidicrib.  The day he graduated to a ‘big boy cot’ was one of our happiest days, we no longer had to ask permission or for help to hold him!

During this time we received a mountain of support and advice not only from the wonderful midwives at the Mater Mothers Hospital, but also from organisations such as Life’s Little Treasures, PIPA (Preterm Infants Parents Association) and Lil Aussie Prems – all of which helped us survive the NICU/SCN journey.  I found the online parent forums really helpful and also comforting to read in those lonely hours during the night when I was expressing.

When it became apparent that Aiden was also going to make an early arrival, the knowledge and experience we had gained from Liam’s journey was invaluable.  With every gain he made, we knew it was inevitable there would be a couple of steps backwards – as is the life of a prem (in Aiden’s case it was being diagnosed with Chronic Lung Disease at 12 days old and going back onto Oxygen).

Just looking back at the early photos when picking then out for the photo challenge, it bought back a flood of memories from the constant beeping and alarms of monitors, to the smell of antiseptic as you walked out the lift doors.

This Sunday our family is participating in the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation Walk for Prems.  This charity provides a wealth of support and information to families and friends of premature babies.  I am proud to say we will be walking together as a family of six – we will be walking not only for Liam and Aiden, but also their big sister Amber and brother Riley, who were also born prematurely and sadly did not survive. We will be walking for all of the premature babies and their families out there and hope we are able to raise much needed funds to support these families during this tough time.

Sending lots of love to all the families with a baby in nicu/scn xx

 

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT

First cuddle/family photo with Liam - 5 days old

First cuddle/family photo with Liam – 5 days old

First cuddle with Aiden - 2 days old

First cuddle with Aiden – 2 days old

Keeping it in perspective

It’s been a chaotic morning.  We headed out to meet a good friend for a catch up and both the boys decided not to co-operate (the signs it was going to be a crazy day were there when we were getting ready to leave).  Aiden was easy to sort out: feed, wrap up and he will drift off to sleep.  Liam on the other hand……  In all fairness, the chocolate fondue platter my friend and I were sharing was VERY tempting for a toddler, however I was hopeful the babycino I had bought for him, and his trucks and books would keep him distracted….  this was not the case.  We had a lot of crying, cuddling and chocolate ended up everywhere – the plans for our peaceful morning went out the window.

Too tempting for a toddler!

Too tempting for a toddler!

Thankfully this is not the norm for us when we go out – if it was I don’t think I would take the boys anywhere!  I’m still not sure what the cause of this mornings crankiness was, however they both slept for 3 hours when we got home and I’m not complaining!!

It got me thinking how 12 months ago, if I had been in the same situation I would have freaked out, and probably left as quickly as I could and gone straight home – possibly in tears!  Now with the two boys and a bit more experience with this whole ‘mothering thing’ whilst slightly embarrassed that I spent the majority of the time consoling Liam, rather than talking to my friend, I’ve bounced back pretty quickly (and the iced latte I bought on the way home helped!)

I know it was only yesterday that I listed the things I am grateful for, however after this morning I’m doing it again to keep things in perspective!!

* I have two healthy (and normally happy boys) that I get to spend all day with

* We still got outside and to enjoy the beautiful sunshine

* I am blessed to have wonderful, understanding friends!

* Both boys slept for three hours when we got home

* I’m now watching Liam lining up all of his cars to show Aiden

* Did I mention I got an iced latte on the way home? Coffee fixes everything!

What do you do to unwind after a crazy day?

 

Salted Caramel Macarons

When it comes to packaged foods/mixes I am a bit of a snob.  I think it goes back to when we were kids and Mum and Nan would always say ‘packet mix’ cake/biscuits/meals were never as good as the real thing.

When looking through my sister’s pantry, I came across a ‘packet mix’ for vanilla cupcakes, and to be honest, they looked really good! As she is one of the least domesticated people I know, I offered to make them for her, until I noticed the expiry date was two years ago.

This then inspired me to checkout the packaged goodies at the supermarket earlier this week.  It was a strange feeling, I actually felt guilty standing in front of them, and could hear Mum and Nan commenting already!

The ones that caught my eye were by Adriano Zumbo. Like many people, I was introduced to him and his crazy recipes through MasterChef. I can remember watching the contestants attempting to construct his macaron tower and thinking it was an impossible task – especially since I have never made macarons!  Spying a box for ‘Salted Caramel Macarons’ I made the decision to take the plunge.

The dreaded 'packet mix'

The dreaded ‘packet mix’

These were SUPER easy!  I’d also like to think my years of watching MasterChef have paid off.  Whilst the instructions were excellent, I remembered it was important to let them sit before putting into the oven and to not over mix.  The template was a great idea, and I was so proud when an army of perfect little domes came out of the oven.  He suggest cooking time of 14 – 18 minutes, I found 14 minutes was plenty of time in my oven.

Adriano also says the addition of sea salt to the caramel is optional….  I went for it and am so glad I did.  Even Scott my toughest critic was impressed!  The mixture made around 22 complete macarons. I would have had a couple more, except a little boy I know stole a couple from the tray whilst I was distracted feeding his brother – when a toddler goes quiet, you just know something bad is going down…..  They were so good that I even broke my ‘one piece rule’ and went back for a second!!  Now my next challenge will be making them from scratch….

These are fantastic - so happy with the result

These are fantastic – so happy with the result

The week that was….

Well week 2 of baby watch has concluded with STILL NO BABY!  The positive news is that although she is now in hospital until bub arrives, Tiff is now officially full term (a milestone I seem to fall short of!)

37 + 1 week belly!

37 + 1 week belly!

Last Sunday Tiff and I took the boys to Echuca for the morning.  It bought back a lot of memories, we used to spend EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND their as kids visiting our grandparents.  I was planning to take Liam on a paddle steamer ride, but decided an hour long cruise was just TOO long for an on the go toddler.  Instead we went on a horse and carriage ride which he LOVED….

Liam loved our carriage ride

Liam loved our carriage ride

We also went back to Little People’s Art and did some more painting.  Liam chose to paint a Lion this time (when I say chose I was showing him what he could paint and he roared when I said Lion), although he got distracted playing with the trains and I ended up painting most of it, he added the final touches to our masterpiece!

 

Liam is being very affectionate to his little brother at the moment – he can sometimes be a little too enthusiastic though…

Cuddles x

Cuddles x

 

Love x

Love x

We’ve had a lovely time catching up with friends this week.  I’m very lucky to have a great group of friends, some of which I’ve known for 20 + years and although we haven’t seen each other since we were last home 10 months ago, when we catch up it’s like no time has passed.  Catching up with everyone is also a great excuse to have a lot of coffee dates!

Mmmm Coffee...

Mmmm Coffee…

 

On Friday Aiden was Four Months old!  Our little man has come so far, doubling his birthweight already and really interacting with us now.  Luckily I packed the Milestone Cards from Little me Little you.  I love them and just wish I had discovered them earlier and could have used them for Liam as well.

Four Months old

Four Months old

I’m pleased to say I’ve completed my 3/4 year resolutions this week.  This morning I was able to run 2.8km before I had to stop in case I passed out.  Super excited about this achievement, as I’ve never been much of a runner.  My goal is to be able to run the 5k Mothers Day Classic next year.

It’s been over 9 years since I moved to Queensland and i think I’d forgotten how seriously Victorians take their football. Aiden and I went into the shops earlier this afternoon and it was like a ghost town with everyone watching the footy. There were even a heap of stores that had closed early so their staff could watch the footy.

 

I hope you have all had a great week xx

 

Saturday Mornings

Being a stay at home mum, it can sometimes seem like each day is the same.  The boys still need to be fed/dressed/bathed and entertained no matter what the day of the week.

There is something special about Saturday mornings though that I love.  It’s still the three of us when we wake up, as Scott will have already left for his morning ride, everything just seems to be more relaxed. I love being able to spend time together, and Liam being the Daddy’s boy that he is just follows Scott around all day.

This morning I took the opportunity of having Mum look after the boys whilst I went down to the park for a run/walk.  Although it was FREEZING (think jumper, long pants) it was still a beautiful morning and has started my weekend on a positive note – especially since I was able to run 2 laps of the lake without stopping (2.8km – woohoo!!)

All I need now is a coffee and I will be having the perfect Saturday morning!

What is your perfect morning?

 

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My 3/4 Year Resolutions

There are just 14 weeks left until the end of 2013…. FOURTEEN WEEKS!  That’s just over a quarter of the year left to go and only 13 weeks until Christmas (you can thank me later for that reminder).

Rather than waiting for the new year to make resolutions, I’ve decided to make a few promises to myself – starting now.

  • Stop and enjoy the moment. Whether it be playing with the boys, reading stories or just having a quiet coffee whilst they are both asleep, rather than thinking about what I need to do next, or worrying about the mess being made/what we should be doing instead I am going to just STOP and enjoy as I will never have this time back.
  • Having time to myself regularly is non negotiable.  Since I have an abundance of babysitters whilst we are visiting, it has made me realise even just getting out by myself for 45 minutes to go for a walk in the mornings makes me happier and more relaxed, which in turn makes me a better Mum.  A quick catch up with a friend for an hour without the boys reminds me that I can have a conversation which doesn’t revolve around the kids.
  • Make the most of everyday.  We have been lucky enough to have some gorgeous weather the past few days. Instead of sitting around, I’ve been making an effort to get out and about, whether it be down to the park for a play or a day trip. We are having new experiences and creating new memories
  • Take more photos of myself with the boys. Each week I vow to have one photo of myself with either both or one of the boys.

 

What are you going to do to see out 2013 on a high?

 

Me time...

Enjoying some ‘me’ time…

The week that was….

We’ve been back in Victoria for a week now… and STILL NO BABY!!  I shouldn’t complain, Tiff was only 36 weeks yesterday, so hopefully bub stays put for another week or so.

A beautiful bump x

A beautiful bump x

 

The boys have been fantastic, Liam in particular is having a ball with so many new things to look at and do.  He is fascinated watching the cars and trucks driving past Nan’s house.  He also loves saying ‘truck’ and ‘beep beep’. It would be nice if he pronounces the ‘T’ a bit clearer, as it can be confused with another word…..  He is also loving spending time with his Nanas and Poppy and also his Aunty and Uncle.  We are all missing Daddy, Liam loves talking to him on the phone.

Liam LOVES watching the trucks

Liam LOVES watching the trucks

Story time with Nan

Story time with Nan

 

Aiden is also having lots of special cuddles – he has been going through a growth spurt the past week and we are now officially in 000s!!!

Special time with Nan

Special time with Nan

 

The weather hasn’t been too bad.  It’s certainly much cooler than back home, but we’ve at least had a few days of sunshine.

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The highlight of the week was our lunch today to celebrate the upcoming arrival of Tiff’s new bub.  Living interstate we often miss out on a lot of family events, so it’s really special when we can be involved too.

baby shower cake 2 copy

How has your week been?

Why I needed another camera….

After our Father’s Day lunch last weekend, we just happened to go into JB Hi Fi for a browse and then just happened to check out the instant camera I had been looking at for awhile.  Whilst the boys were distracted looking at the TVs, I made the executive decision that we did NEED a Fujifilm Instant Mini 8 camera and made the purchase…. and I LOVE it!

IMG_7313

My new toy!

I am now the owner of an older model canon, a Nikon DSLR, a video camera, as well as the good old Iphone 5.   The way I look at it is that I have a camera for every occassion.

Yes the film for the instant cameras is a bit pricey – $30 for 20 shots.  However I’m not going to use it for everyday snapping.  I’m hanging out to use it when my new niece/nephew arrives in a few weeks time, in the meantime I just had to take a few shots to work it out and I’m very happy with how they have turned out.

What have you bought that you just had to have but probably didn’t really need?

Love these shots!

Love these shots!

The Special Moments

Looking at my now almost 20 month old toddler, I’m reminded at how quickly the time passes and how we can get so caught up in life that we don’t appreciate and savour the special moments of a newborn baby.  I struggle to remember so many of the simple things when Liam was really young, as at the time I was so focused on him moving forward, whether it was with his weight gain or reaching developmental milestones.   This is why I am trying to make the time to enjoy the sweet and simple baby moments with Aiden as I know it will be all too soon and he will also be tearing around the house.  These are some of my favourites….

  • The special time we share when are staring at me whilst feeding
  • When all you want is to be picked up and cuddled and settle as soon as you are in my arms
  • Your first smiles
  • How little you look when you are curled up asleep on your Dad’s chest
  • When you hold onto my finger and don’t want to let go
  • The quiet time we share when it’s just the two of us awake in the middle of the night
  • Laying down with you and appreciating how big and new your world is
  • Your suprised expressions as you experience new sensations
  • The hours that fly by when I’m watching you sleep
  • Your contented look when you have fallen asleep with a full belly
  • The feeling of your gentle breathing on my skin
  • The moment when I realise you totally rely on us and we are your whole world

What other special baby memories do you have?

So sweet x

So sweet x

August Reflection

Wow, another month has flown by (just saying that makes me feel really old!)…. This morning I sat down to reflect on what has happened over the past four weeks, overall we’ve had a pretty good month!

  • We’re LOVING this warmer weather! It’s been much easier to get motivated to go out for a morning walk and we are spending a lot more time outside.  It’s also a reminder that summer is not far away and I have been trying to exercise more (the Michelle Bridges DVDs nearly KILL me) so I don’t have to buy a whole new wardrobe of summer clothes.
xx

xx

  • I survived being a ‘single mum’ for a week when Scott was interstate looking after his Dad.  Interestingly things ran a lot smoother and we were all calmer whilst he was away…….
  • Aiden is now three months old, is almost 4kg (we are soooo close) and is waking only 1-2 times during the night.  What we thought was reflux, turned out to be Influenza B.. Luckily we have avoided any hospital stays (touch wood).
xx

xx

  • Liam has developed an attitude over the past few weeks, and is very keen on seeing how much he can get away with. His new tricks include climbing up onto the kitchen bench and turning on the taps in the sink, throwing dirt at Saxon and doing the vacuuming.

    Yes, he is still in his Pjs and eating tiny teddies on the couch...

    Yes, he is still in his Pjs and eating tiny teddies on the couch…

  • The boys had a great visit with their cousins from Darwin. They loved visiting SeaWorld & Movieworld and we are getting our money’s worth from our annual passes.  It was chaotic at time with four boys under 3, but good chaos!
  • I have been doing a menu plan for the last three weeks, and have been doing just one grocery shop a week. I do nearly have a heart attack at the cost, however when I looked at what we spend throughout the week otherwise, we are ahead.  We are both eating much better too – thanks Michelle Bridges!
  • Yesterday I officially completed a whole month of the FatMumSlim photo a day challenge!  To top it off, my photo from day 29 ‘lucky’ was picked as one of the ‘fab four’ from the entries on Instagram.  Who is joining me this month?
Day 29 - Lucky

‘Fab Four’ Photo Day 29 – Lucky

  • I started this blog!  After thinking about doing it for such a long time, I finally took the plunge.  It’s been a great excuse to do some more baking, although I need some more volunteers to give my treats too as poor Scott has been taking it all to work.

How was your month?