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.

My Mug List

We’ve all heard of ‘Bucket Lists’ – so what is a Mug List?

Last week a friend and I enjoyed the luxury of catching up without kids for a coffee.  It was an odd feeling leaving the house without my boys, and not having to think about the logistics of where the pram would fit, availability of a highchair and kids menus was  refreshing.  It’s also amazing the amount and depth of conversation you can cover when you aren’t interrupting each other with comments such as ‘don’t eat the butter, please sit down and don’t pinch your brother’.

Over coffee (of course) we got to talking about an all too familiar topic for me… That time on a Sunday afternoon when you look back over your weekend, the precious couple of days you have with your whole family, and realise you haven’t really done anything.  I’m guilty of this, and I’m sure there are plenty of others out there who are in the same boat – well I’m going to tell myself that anyway!  I’m guilty of telling myself, and my husband, that I am going to do this, we must go there – but all too often everyday life gets in the way and it’s easy to find an ‘excuse’ not to go somewhere or do something.  We both vowed that this was going to be our year to not just talk about what we were going to do – but to actually do it.

This gave us the idea of making a list each month of things we wanted to accomplish – whether it be something we wanted to do with our kids, or a personal goal.  We agreed the  name ‘bucket list’ wasn’t really appropriate, and as we were having a coffee (and I was drinking from the biggest mug available), we decided to name our idea The Mug list.

At the beginning of each month, we will write a list of things we want to do or achieve.  It can be anything – activities with the kids, personal goals – the possibilities are endless.  The idea is to display the list somewhere you can see it (and most importantly remember what’s on it!) and you can then make off your items as the month progresses.

For me, 2014 is a year of keeping it simple….  enjoying the simple, everyday moments of life, and trying not overcomplicating things.  That’s why I decided to kick off my list with what I hope will be easy, achievable goals.  I decided to share my list in an attempt to make me accountable for following through, and I’ll share my shortcomings success at the end of each month.

Feel free to join me, what will you put on your Mug List for January?

January MUG list

 

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT.

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…

sep13 hazelnut and caramel slice mirror

 

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

To my big boy

Mothers Guilt…. We’ve all experienced it – in many cases it can even start before the baby has arrived!  I simply love being a Mum to my two little boys, watching them growing up and helping them to discover their world is the most amazing and fulfilling job I have ever had.  My Mother’s guilt is always lurking in the background though – I will feel guilty when frustrated about having to read Dear Zoo for the 15th time, when Liam has toast for lunch if it’s one of those days, for either spending too much time with one of them when the other also wants my attention, or wishing I could spend more quality time with them one on one.

I had been feeling particularly guilty lately for not spending as much ‘fun’ time with Liam as I used to.  In between trying to get him to sleep in his own room through the night, our half hearted attempt at toilet training and the day to day trials of having a toddler and a baby it’s been tough.  To try and ease my guilt, I decided we’d go along to Rhyme Time at our local Library, confident that Liam would enjoy himself and we would have a fun morning out together. This is a letter I wrote to him after our day.

Dear Liam,

I know this year has been hard on you.  You didn’t understand why Mum couldn’t play with you as much when I pregnant with your little brother, or why I had to stay in hospital and leave you at home.  After your brother was born,  you barely saw us for the first four weeks as you were shipped around between different babysitters. Then this tiny little person came to live with us, someone you weren’t allowed to touch or play with, and were always being told to stay away from.

That’s why this morning was important. It was an opportunity for us to enjoy some time together, just like we used to. You love to read, sing and dance.  I wanted to have some fun with you, I don’t want to always be telling you off, or rushing around. For this half hour I want to be able to enjoy having fun and being silly with my big boy.

Once we arrive, you know where to go – straight up the back where all the other little kids are.  You are so excited, there are books everywhere! And you are allowed to pick them up, look at them and I even tell you we can take some home with us!  All by yourself, you pick a book about your favourite things – trucks…. As soon as I see it I smile, you really are too clever.

We find a spot, and even though your friends are there, you still want to sit on my knee.  You are so excited to have found your truck book you are loudly pointing out all the different trucks you can see. Aiden senses that we need this time, just the two of us.  He happily watches us from the pram, all smiles.

As they are getting ready to start, you glance up to see what all the fuss is about.  The music starts, and you pause from your book to see what is going on. The singing starts and you see the other children stand up and start dancing about.

You clap your hands, a huge smile spreading across your face.

You join in the actions, all the while still clutching at your book.

You are so happy, you are having fun

You look back at me to make sure I’m still there.

Watching you wriggle around dancing makes my heart melt.

Afterwards, you run around having fun with your friends, looking at more books – all the while with a big smile on your face.  These are the moments I will remember when I’m getting cranky or frustrated, these are the moments that remind me why I love being your Mum.

xx

music man

Dear Aiden- 6 months

Dear Aiden,

Tomorrow it will be six months since you came into our world.  You are our happy and cuddly little man. You are relaxed and content, just happy to sit back and take in the chaos around you.

I love how your eyes light up when you see me first thing in the morning

I love that you will break out into a big happy smile when I talk and sing to you

I love watching you laugh and smile at your big brother

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I love watching you explore and take in the world around you

I love the time we spend together, just the two of us

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I love that you need me

I love that I am more confident looking after you than I was with your brother

I love that you are with us

You have come so far over the past six months, and I love seeing more of your little personality coming through. Although in some ways I feel like I am grieving the newborn phase.

I miss our special, quiet moments during the night when it was just the two of us awake.

I miss your happy and contented face as you would drift back to sleep with a full tummy.

I even miss the times when you would wake up just for a cuddle, when all you wanted was your Mum.

There are no words special enough to describe the joy and love you have bought our family.  My heart swells when I hear you cheeky little laugh, when you grab hold of my finger and simply when you stare into my eyes and smile.

We love you Aiden

Love Mum xx

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Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT

 

 

A milestone not listed in any baby record books

Yesterday I had what may possibly be my best parenting moment yet (asides from bringing both of the boys home from hospital of course).

Our first cuddle - 5 days old

Our first cuddle – 5 days old

Drumroll……   Liam said ‘love you Mum’.  Ok, so maybe it sounded a little more like ‘ruv you mum’ – but I’m going with it.  To say that my heart melted would be an understatement, I was so overcome by emotion it sent a shiver through me. Initially I wasn’t sure if I had heard him right, and asked him to say it again just to be sure (and I just wanted to hear it again!), and there it was –  I was right.

After a week of illness and a suspected case of the measles (thankfully the test was negative), hearing these three beautiful words nearly bought me to tears.

Once again I am reminded of just how special my little boy is, and that I don’t think I could love him anymore if I tried.

Enjoying some Mummy & Liam cuddles before Aiden was born

Enjoying some Mummy & Liam cuddles before Aiden was born

What has been your best parenting moment?

Happy Saturday everyone x

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

To my sister

To my Sister,

It’s been so much harder to come home after my last visit than in the past. After spending five days together, our first time together both as Mothers, it has made me appreciate the special relationship that we have all the more.  We’ve been through a lot together over the years.  Yes, we haven’t always gotten along (there was a lot of arguing when we were kids!), but as we’ve gotten older I feel the dynamic of our relationship has changed from that of siblings to best friends.

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You have been the one that I have always turned to first for comfort and advice during the roller coaster that has been the past five years.  Your support and compassion has always been unwavering, and you have been my greatest cheerleader as well as ‘keeping it real’ when needed.

Now that you are embarking on your journey into motherhood, I can only hope that I can provide you with some of the support that you have so selflessly given me.  Watching your face light up with love every time you look at your precious little man (even when he is having his crazy time) brings me so much happiness.

It’s a tough gig being a mum, especially in those early weeks and months.  It can all feel like a blur of crying/nappies/feeding/clothing changes (both yours and bubs)/ pumping… the list goes on.  On top of that you are also adjusting to having a new little person in your life amidst an influx of visitors, appointments, and the never ending advice everyone feels like they should give you…  all whilst you are physically and emotionally recovering from the birth!

I know you sometimes have your doubts about what you are doing/what you are meant to be doing – and believe me everyone does, but as we’ve talked and laughed about before, no matter what we do there is always going to be someone out there who thinks we are wrong (and maybe a little crazy too).

It’s not always going to be easy, and you may ask yourself what you have gotten into, the best advice I can give you when it feels like this is to sit down, cuddle and stare at your little man.  Just absorb every tiny detail of his face, his tiny little fingers and his smile.  It’s not always going to be this way, in just a few short months you will look back in amazement at how quickly the time has gone, and how big your little man has become.

I will always be there for you – even if it’s just for a rant during the middle of the night. And remember when you are up for the fourth time in one night, or you are sleeping in the lounge room on the recliner – you are an awesome Mum….. just like I knew you always would be.

xx

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Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT

October Reflection

If there was a theme for October, I would have to say it was family.  We started the month in Bendigo on baby watch and we’ve ended the month back here again!  It’s been an amazing time for us being able to spend so much time with our family, and the fact that we were here when the newest member arrived was incredibly special.

We've clocked up a few frequent flyer points this month

We’ve clocked up a few frequent flyer points this month

Highlights of our month have been:

* Of course the arrival of our new nephew/cousin Flynn. I’m so happy to have another healthy baby boy join our family, and I know our three boys will grow up best mates (and no doubt will get into all sorts of trouble).

Troublemakers already

Troublemakers already

* Aiden started solids, finally reached 5kg, is now 5 months old (3 mths corrected) and is trying his hardest to roll over (Liam does try to help)

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* Liam has moved into a big boy bed and after a few false starts, he seems to have sorted himself out now

Seriously?

Seriously?

* We’ve been loving the gorgeous spring weather and have been spending a lot of time at our local park. Liam just loves going down the slide

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* We love our coffee dates, whether it’s catching up with friends, or just a date with my boys, we have a great time getting out and about (most of the time anyway!)

Concentrating hard

Concentrating hard

Even Aiden loves to go out too!

Even Aiden loves to go out too!

* I completed the full month of the FatMumSlim photo a day challenge.  I am still really enjoying this, and look forward to capturing a photo which represents the daily prompt – come and join me!

October

October

 

* Looking back at the photos I’ve taken last month, there are quite a few ‘sleep’ themed ones. Here are a few of my favourites

baby Liam

baby Liam

 

Someone is getting a bit big for their bassinet

Someone is getting a bit big for their bassinet

 

This doesn't look comfy!

This doesn’t look comfy!

* One of the best experiences from the past month has been the increasing interaction between Liam and Aiden. Whilst it’s not always positive – especially for Aiden, watching Liam cuddling his little brother and Aiden smile back at him just melts my heart… that is until Liam then starts trying to pull him along the ground!

Liam loves his little brother

Liam loves his little brother

I hope everyone has had a wonderful month – bring on November

xx