31 December 2011

New Year Resolutions 2012

What would new year's be without a resolution or three?

This year I have decided to make some, but to make them slightly realistic in the hope that I might be able to keep them for a good portion of the year. For example, I will not be resolving to exercise more or eat less sweets.

Below, in no particular order, are my resolutions for next year:

1. De-stress. This will involve not putting myself into situations for which the stress involved is not worth the benefit gained from the activity. It will also involve doing things which I know to keep me calm and sane!

2. Learn to say "no" sometimes. This will assist with point 1 above.

3. Enjoy my family. Watch them, engage with them, play with them, show them how much I love them.

4. Spend less time on the Internet. This means only once or twice per day and putting the iPhone down! Maybe also an Internet-free day once a month or so. This will assist with point 3 above.

5. Listen to music a bit each day (not the nursery rhyme variety).

6. Smile.

Disclaimer: I reserve the right to add, subtract or otherwise amend said resolutions on a whim and without prior notice. Non-fulfillment of resolutions by the end of 2012 is not actionable by any person in any way.


28 December 2011

Friendly chat

There's nothing like a good chat with a friend.

This morning I caught up with an old friend from high school whose parents moved nearby a little while ago. Because of that, I get to see her more often than I used to.

In recent years our lives have followed similar paths with our second children and third children born at around the same time. It was great to relax and chat while the various children played and fed. It was so nice to compare notes about life and have a laugh and a little whinge with someone who's going through the same things as I am. I didn't want to leave, but the kids were getting restless. The good thing about good friendships is that you can just pick up from where you left off next time :-)

26 December 2011

5000 page views!!

I've just seen that my blog has reached 5000 all time page views ... and 1000 of them have been in the past month!

Thank you so much for reading. Sometimes I don't look at the page views, content that the blog is recording aspects of my life to help me to remember in years to come. It might not be everybody's cup of tea, but it's mine - a place where I can express myself and be myself. But I do find the statistics very interesting. It is heartening to see that people read my blog and it keeps me writing. 5000 page views and 24 countries is inspiring!

So thanks so much for reading and feel free to comment on my posts - they make me smile too :-)

Christmas 2011

We've had a lovely couple of days.

Christmas Eve morning we went to a friend's place for breakfast. It was great to catch up with my friend, her husband, her parents, brother and some of their family friends. It was a gorgeous day and very nice to be able to look out over the lake from their balcony. It felt like MissyMoo3 (12 weeks) needed to be fed or held constantly but that is just what she's like most days at the moment.

Christmas Eve Mass was wonderful. Getting there that little bit earlier to get a seat took a bit of organising but once we were there it was all good. There's something so uplifting about a full church at Mass. There were heaps of young families there and so many children participated in various ways. MissyMoo1 (5) asked if she could join in and I said that she could next year, which she was chuffed about. Outside the church afterwards, Hubby and I were able to catch up with our friends while the two big MissyMoos ran around playing with the other kids. MissyMoo3 slept in my arms the whole time!

When we got home, we put reindeer food out on the front lawn and then bikkies and port out for Santa. I didn't really expect MissyMoo2 (2) to know what was happening or be excited but she really was!

Christmas morning, MissyMoo1 was first up at a quarter to six, but thankfully she agreed to hop into bed with us until MissyMoo2 got up. We had a nice easy morning at home unwrapping presents then packed the car to head over to Nonna Par's for lunch!

We ate so much food I seriously felt like I was going to burst by Christmas night. We had some great family time hanging out with Nonna and Par and the big two MissyMoos enjoyed some beach time as well as bike and scooter riding.

There were also tantrums and associated angst due to excitement, late nights and sugar, but I guess that's all part of it!

As for MissyMoo3, well she likes home. She was quite unsettled all weekend, needing to be fed or held (by yours truly) most of the time. So unfortunately I did not get to the beach and it felt like I missed out a bit on stuff with MissyMoo1 and MissyMoo2. But now that we're back home, she's much happier, thank goodness.

It turns out The Fat Cat likes home too. We were a bit worried she'd get hurt or run away as it was the first time we'd gone away overnight since we got her and we left her outside (normally we put her in the laundry at night). But when we arrived home, there she was waiting for us and wanting pats!

And it's not over yet - Hubby is still off work for one more day! Yay for family time!

Merry Christmas everyone xx

25 December 2011

Christmas bib for MissyMoo3

This one's a keeper!

24 December 2011

Biscuits for Santa

MissyMoo1 (5) and MissyMoo2 (2) had fun helping me with the icing.

Some were for Santa ... and the rest were for me!

23 December 2011

MissyMoo2's first haircut

The other day I cut a fringe for MissyMoo2 (2).

MissyMoo1 (5) had a fringe at that age and I had been adamant that MissyMoo2 wouldn't have one, as it had been a bit of a pain keeping MissyMoo1's trim and she eventually grew it out.

The other day though I noticed some wisps of new hair growing and falling over MissyMoo2's forehead. It looked a bit like a fringe and it looked lovely. So the decision was made without much fuss.

Out onto the back deck we went. My positivity caught on and MissyMoo2 was happy ... until she saw the scissors. The poor thing was convinced that cutting her hair was going to hurt and she would not believe MissyMoo2 and I telling her otherwise. She wriggled a bit and kept moving her head which made it a bit difficult to cut her hair. But, given her fear, she was actually really good.

Just after I cut it, I had a "what have I done?" moment, as I tried to determine if I had cut it evenly or too short. But it didn't last long.

MissyMoo2 loves her fringe and doesn't need to push hair out of her face all the time. I love it too - it somehow makes her look older and super cute all at once!

22 December 2011

MissyMoo3 at 12 weeks

I figured it was about time I posted another update on MissyMoo3 generally, for me to look back at and remember as well as for you to read, as I know from past experience that when looking back on this stage of a baby's life, a lot of it is a blur.

12 weeks is that magical age when things should start getting easier - routines begin to appear if they haven't already and newborn problems like colic are grown out of.

We have some semblance of a routine emerging. There's usually a morning nap of some sort, although it can be quite short. All her day naps are short but somewhere between 7:30pm and 9pm, MissyMoo3 goes to sleep for the night. Last week, she slept through the night most nights, but for the past three nights she has woken for a 2am feeds. I'm hoping we go back to sleeping through - that was brilliant!

Feeding is well and truly established and a lot of the trouble MissyMoo3 had with wind in the early days has settled down.

MissyMoo3 does a lot more with her awake time now. When we're home she likes to sit in her bouncer and tap at her toys. She follows people with her eyes and smiles a lot. It's awkward holding her in the harness so she prefers to sort of "sit" on people's laps facing out for some people watching.

She is putting on weight and her features are constantly changing. She still looks a lot like MissyMoo1 (5) did as a baby, but not as much as she used to. And her hair is falling out. She still has quite a bit at the back and on top (well, more than her sisters did!) but she has little bald and thin patches on the sides.

I'm really happy that she is past that really newborn stage now. I've always found the year comprising pregnancy and the first three months of baby's life to be quite difficult. This is the time when baby begins giving back and there is more immediate reward for all the love and energy that has been put in so far - the smiles, googoo gaga noises, the development of bub's personality. It's exciting!

19 December 2011

Pavlik harness

Here is a diagram of what it looks like, if you're wondering.

Photo obtained from hipdysplasia.org

17 December 2011

Little fish

MissyMoo1 (5) and MissyMoo2 (2) have been doing swimming lessons again this term after a break during the winter months. MissyMoo1 picked up from where she left off and has progressed really well.

MissyMoo2 still has a parent in the pool with her for her lessons. She started the term being very scared of the water and clinging to Hubby like a little koala. She got a bit better each week but firmly refused to put her eyes in the water.

Hubby and I have shared going in the water with MissyMoo2 and I was with her today. Her progress over the last three or four weeks has been remarkable. At that point she asked to wear her goggles but was still worried about putting her face in the water. Today, she was like a different kid. She did heaps of kicking and paddling, and she put her face under water every time without swallowing any!!

It's so rewarding to see her progress. I'm a proud mamma!

16 December 2011

Chocolate crackles

Can you believe that until recently I had never made chocolate crackles?

I got the recipe from a cereal box aaaages ago and the recipe looks pretty simple. A few times I had considered making them, looked at the recipe, thought "What on earth is copha?", then walked away.

A few days ago, with online grocery shopping as my friend, I typed "copha" into the search box and lo and behold it appeared!

MissyMoo1 (5) loves to help in the kitchen, but because I'm often in a rush to cook things before the next time MissyMoo2 (11 weeks) needs me, I don't ask her to join me very often. This time was different though. We stood at the kitchen bench, MissyMoo1 on a stool and MissyMoo2 (2) on a chair, and the big MissyMoos took turns at putting the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl. I put in the melted copha and mixed it up, then the MissyMoos had fun putting the mixture into little cupcake patties (and MissyMoo2 also put a fair amount of it into her mouth).

They don't look as chocolatey as they could. Most of the chocolate is at the bottom - I think the copha was still too warm when we mixed it in. Rookie mistake!

4 cups Rice Bubbles
1 cup icing sugar
1 cup dessicated coconut
3 tbsps cocoa
250g copha

1. Put Rice Bubbles, icing sugar, coconut and cocoa into a large mixing bowl.
2. Slowly melt copha in a saucepan on low heat, then allow to cool slightly.
3. Pour copha into mixing bowl, then stir until combined.
4. Spoon mixture into patties and refrigerate until set.

Hip humbug

Well MissyMoo3 (11 weeks) has been in the Pavlik hip harness for 6 weeks now, which meant it was time for her to have an ultrasound and a check-up with the doctor to see if it could come off.

At first I had it in my head that she'd only be in it for the 6 weeks, as MissyMoo1 had only been in it for 5 weeks when she was a baby. But a couple of weeks ago, MissyMoo3's physiotherapist told me to be prepared for it to stay on for a further 6 weeks, because that was a trend they had been seeing lately, particularly with our doctor's patients.

I'm so glad she told me that.

From that point on I didn't even allow myself to entertain the notion that it might come off after 6 weeks. I thought of the check-up as an interim measure to assess progress, knowing that if I allowed myself even a glimmer of hope of the harness coming off, I would be disappointed if it had to stay on.

It stayed on.

There has been improvement. The hip's angles need to be 60 degrees to be normal. Before the harness, MissyMoo3's were 47 and now they're 53 - getting there.

It is disappointing, there's no doubt about it. It feels a bit like we're missing out on the good newborn stuff - the snuggly cuddles - it's so awkward to hold her. Those few minutes per week when she's in the bath without her harness on are precious - it feels like I have my baby back. But I also know that I prefer this scenario to worrying myself sick about potential surgery as is the case with MissyMoo2 (2). I also realise that we are actually very lucky - I see that every week at the physio department with other kids much worse off than MissyMoo3. I know it also from medical issues that friends and extended family have. So I'm trying not to complain.

I'm pleased that I was able to condition myself to getting through the day by lowering my expectations over the past couple of weeks. It meant that I was able to have a conversation with the doctor without bursting into tears. It meant that I was able to matter-of-factly arrange MissyMoo3's physio appointments for the next five weeks. It meant that I was able to spend some quality time with the big MissyMoos when I returned home from the hospital - painting toenails and making chocolate crackles - without falling into a blubbering mess.

Yes, she'll have the harness on over Christmas - bah humbug. But at least we're having an unseasonably cold summer. If that keeps up she won't be too uncomfortable.


13 December 2011

Vegetable experiment

My recent attempt at making vegetables more interesting for the MissyMoos:

Didn't work.

Christmas lights ... unlit

Christmas lights must be just another of those traditions which originated in the northern hemisphere.

We don't really do Christmas lights at our place. We have a set of indoor lights which you can see from our front window, but that's it. It's quite pathetic really.

What we do like to do though is drive around and look at other people's lights. So last night we put the kids in their pjs and started driving around while listening to a Hi 5 Christmas cd to get into the mood. It was before half past 7 at night so it was still light and not many people had turned their lights on. I suppose this wouldn't be an issue where it's winter right now. After about 15mins in the car the MissyMoos were all asleep and it was left to Hubby and I to do some lights spotting.

Maybe it was because it gets dark so late in summer, maybe it was because all those people with solar powered Christmas lights couldn't use them as we've barely seen the sun in 2 weeks, whatever the reason, there wasn't much happening.

The saving grace was a street near ours, which can always be relied on to look magical at this time of year. There are lots of lights and displays there but they're still tasteful and not over the top. We drove by on our way home at 8pm and it was getting dark. The lights were on and it looked lovely.

Maybe when the kids are older, we can go a bit later. In the meantime, it's a good way to get them to sleep!

12 December 2011

Sleeping baby

Last night MissyMoo3 (11 weeks) slept for 9 hours!! 8:30pm until 5:30am. The night before she slept from 8:45pm until 4:15am. Please keep it up MissyMoo3!

11 December 2011

Mummy me time

Our big weekend last weekend was immediately followed my me (and MissyMoo3 [10 weeks]) getting a cold. Add into the mix an evening pre-school Christmas concert on Tuesday, out-of-sorts children and a variety of hip harness induced stresses, and you'll understand why over the past few days I've been feeling a little cRaZy.

My wonderful Hubby recognised this and offered to take care of all three MissyMoos so I could have some time-out and a civilised late lunch at my favourite local cafe.

It started well. I got a car park right out the front and didn't have to wait in line to order. The service was fantastic too - I had barely sat down before my coffee - well, decaf - was brought to me at my outdoor table opposite the beautiful lake. I began to relax; take in my surroundings instead of trying to monitor five different things happening at once.

But then I overheard the conversation of the people at table behind me - two parents, an adult daughter and the grandma. Dad was speaking rather tersely to mum at which point daughter began telling dad off and grandma wanted to leave. Voices weren't raised; they didn't need to be. You could have cut the tension with a knife.

I could feel my shoulders tightening at the angst that was being circulated through the air. I didn't turn around. Because I knew that if I did it could have been like a spark in a room with a gas leak. I would have said something. Something like: "I HAVE ONE HOUR, JUST ONE HOUR ON MY OWN, ONE HOUR WITH NO WHINGING, NO CRYING, NO SHOUTING, NO ARGUING. ONE HOUR JUST FOR ME AND I HAVE TO LISTEN TO THIS?!"

Thankfully, just as I was contemplating moving tables to avoid an explosion of that nature, they left.

And I exhaled.

The rest of the outing was wonderful. I had Camembert and Feta for the first time in about a year and I tried dukkah for the first time - oh wow it tasted amazing! The only thing missing was wine ;-)

I ate my antipasto and gazed out at the lake. And I again began to feel a bit like a person in my own right.

iPhone app

Today I discovered that blogger now has an iPhone app. Woohoo, I can now blog while I'm breastfeeding!

10 December 2011

Karaoke dreaming

A friend of mine posted something on her facebook status today about going out to karaoke tonight and it got me thinking...

I love karaoke and I used to do it all the time before the MissyMoos came along. Have I done it since? To my amazement I realised that, aside from playstation sing star in a couple of living rooms, it's been 6 years since I have done karaoke! No way!

I began reminiscing about the weekly (and sometimes twice-weekly) karaoke sessions in my uni days at the pub down the road from where I lived. After that phase of life was over, karaoke stayed with me when, as a junior lawyer in the city, I would go with fellow graduate friends to a nearby bar after work and win drink vouchers for us in the karaoke competition.

But of course that all stopped once I was pregnant with MissyMoo1. I stopped going out, I stopped drinking, and I pretty much stopped singing.

I don't miss the hangovers or the pub scene, but when all three MissyMoos are screaming for one reason or another and my achievement for the day is having managed to prepare dinner (but not eat it with everyone else as MissyMoo3 felt the need to have her feed at the same time), it's not hard to glimpse some green grass on the "other" side. I might just have to go for a drive around the block one night after the MissyMoos have gone to bed so I can belt out a tune without them being in the car with me!

07 December 2011

'Tis the season!

I love putting up the Christmas tree. It's now becoming a tradition in our little family each year to put it up together as a family to the sound of Christmas carols playing in the background. This year MissyMoo1 (5) was really helpful,MissyMoo2 (2) had a great time pulling the tinsel out of the box and MissyMoo3 (10 weeks) watched from the safety and comfort of her bouncer.

Mmm chocolate

A couple of weeks ago, Uncle J (Hubby's brother) came to visit bearing gifts from his recent trip to the U.S.

Let's just say they didn't last very long in the house of a chocaholic mamma who has bred chocaholic daughters!!

No bowl choc bit slice

I made a slice for when some friends came over to visit on Saturday. I have been making it for years, as a friend's Mum used to make it way back in our high school years when a bunch of us would go over to her house. We all thought it was her special recipe at the time but it turns out she got it from the Australian Women's Weekly! It's really easy to make and delicious too!

Anyway, our guests loved the slice and one of them asked me for the recipe, so I thought I'd also put it on the blog.

90g butter, melted (I use un salted butter)
1 cup (125g) sweet biscuit crumbs (Arnotts Nice are good)
1 1/2 cups (185g) choc bits
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped mixed nuts
400g can sweetened condensed milk

Grease a 23cm square slab pan, cover base with baking paper, grease paper. Pour butter into prepared pan, sprinkle evenly with biscuits, choc bits, coconut and nuts. Drizzle with condensed milk. Bake in moderate oven for about 30 mins. Cool in pan before cutting. Store in fridge. Keeps about a week.

Our HUGE Weekend

It's Wedneday and we're still recovering from the hangover of a massive weekend of family outings. Now I'm not afraid of a little outing or two, but last weekend was jam packed. Thankfully this sort of thing only happens with us at this time of year. I don't know how some people live like that all the time - they have more energy than me!

First stop was playgroup. Given the day ahead (see below) I would have just not showed up that day but for a couple of things I had to do there. I had to pick up some Avon stuff I'd bought from a friend (needed my new lippies for the weekend!) but also, very importantly, I asked a good friend to be a Godmother to MissyMoo3 (10 weeks).

We lasted about half an hour at playgroup and then had go to our next engagement. The afternoon before, MissyMoo3 had had somewhat of an explosion from the rear end and as a result her hip harness was soiled. So next up it was an extra trip to the hospital so the physio could fit a clean harness.

Well that was our morning gone. MissyMoo1 (5) and MissyMoo2 (2) ate their packed lunches in the waiting room of the paediatric physiotherapy department while I fed MissyMoo3. Then it was a 40 minute drive home for some down time, baths and an important phone call to another friend asking her to also be a Godmother to MissyMoo3.

Next up was Hubby's work kids Christmas party. We were there from just before 5pm until 6pm. We had a sausage sizzle, the kids got awesome presents, MissyMoo1 had a go on the jumping castle and MissyMoo2 sat on Santa's lap.

Then it was off to MissyMoo1's pre-school disco 5 minutes drive up the road. MissyMoo1 had a great time dancing with her friends, MissyMoo2 adopted underneath a table as a cubby house and MissyMoo3 fed and tried to sleep, which was difficult. With two older sisters, MissyMoo3 is used to noise. The music wasn't so much of a problem as the intermittent high pitched a screaming of a toddler at the table next to us.

We left the disco at 8:30pm - 1 hour after the MissyMoos' bed time.

Morning : swimming lessons for MissyMoo1 and MissyMoo2.

Afternoon: friends came over to visit. The boys went downstairs, drank beer and watched cricket. The big girls stayed upstairs, fed their babies , chatted and watched the little girls play. It was a really good afternoon and went really quicky, as good times tend to do.

My work kids Christmas party. It was at a farm about an hour's drive from our place (the one we nearly went to for MissyMoo2's 2nd birthday). We left home at 9:30am and got home at about 3:30pm. It was a great day out - lots of animals to play with and bottle-feed, awesome presents for the kids and a visit from Santa. It was a gorgeous sunny beginning-of-summer day until about ten minutes before we left when a storm hit; we had to make a run for the car and, thanks to great teamwork, Hubby & I managed to get the three MissyMoos, pram and presents into the car in record time. We still got a bit wet though :-(

Then at 7pm, MissyMoo3 and I went out to the baptism meeting (yes, I remembered, unlike last month!)

By the drive home Sunday night I was feeling the beginnings of a sore throat...

It was a great fun-filled weekend! But the after-effects of full days and late nights are tired, grumpy children (and parents). Right now I'm appreciating a bit of much-needed down time.

01 December 2011

Nativity scene project: moving in

The nativity scene is complete with "hay" i.e. grass from outside, thanks Hubby for the suggestion.

So now all the figurines have moved in. They look pretty good even if I say so myself. Unfortunately the proper figurines aren't plastic like the sheep we have borrowed from the farm playset, so we've already had to have words to MissyMoo2 (2) not to bash them against the top of the shelf. I hope they last through the Christmas season!

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