Sunday, 29 March 2015

Ella's 4 month old update

I've been lagging in the blog post department over the last couple of days partially thanks to sleep deprivation and the infamous "four month sleep regression" Ella is currently going through. I'm struggling to stay focused and think properly. Honestly, I'm knackered - my good sleeping baby is now waking at least once per night, the other night was four times!

The four month sleep regression links to a big "leap" in mental development which is currently what we are experiencing. She is smack bang in the middle of "leap 4", a leap that lasts 6 long weeks.

In the last week she's moved into her cot in her own room, which was a big step for me to "let go".  She's learnt to roll from her tummy to her back, to the point now where as soon as I turn my back she's on her tummy. She's also started to roll onto her side, hopefully this is a sign she might be starting to try to roll onto her tummy. 

Her hands are constantly in her mouth, the drool is by the bucket load and I'm having to change her clothes a couple of times a day due to saturation. She's become very vocal and "chatty" and when she wakes up in the morning she is so happy to see me - it melts my heart!

Her interest in toys has increased and she's grabbing them to put them in her mouth but still managing to miss on occasion. One of her favourite toys is a hand knitted little doll which she has started to use as comfort for sleep, cuddling it and rubbing it all over her face.

It's amazing to see her developing and changing on a daily basis I just wish it would slow down a little bit! She's such a joy to be around and I'm loving spending my time with her! I'm trying to cherish every moment as much as I can, sometimes I feel as though if I blink I'll miss it all!

A bit of a basic blog post from me today sorry but my heads all over the place and I can't quite think straight. I'll be back next with yet another baby haul as I may or may not have done some more shopping!

Here's a little video of Ella trying to get the hang of her jolly jumper.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Routines and why I'm not their biggest fan

I am DEFINITELY not a parenting expert but I AM a new Mother who has struggled with trying to establish a routine. I've read numerous books and articles on routines and why they are important. Honestly though? I hate them, they stress me out and make me feel like I'm tied to it and my house.

Initially, the routine we tried was the one commonly suggest by various "baby experts" of three hourly cycles with feeding and bedtime at certain times, if she wasn't awake by that time you were supposed to wake her up. That just didn't sit right with me - the old saying of "never wake a sleeping baby" was advice to live by in my opinion. For me, the routine was just too rigid there was no leeway in the timings you were meant to stick to. How was I mean't to be able to get out of the house and live some form of normal life if I MUST stick to it regardless.

I'm sure there are plenty of other routines that aren't so strict but in reality I'd rather create my own form of "routine". Both Tom, my husband, and I are very laid-back sort of people, this was the case throughout my pregnancy and after birth - my motto was "just go with the flow". So, I suppose you could say, to a certain extent, our parenting method was very much that of baby led parenting.

Is there anything wrong with that though? If it works for us then what's the issue? I don't feel the need to stress myself out by trying to stick to a strict schedule which can sometimes end up, in my opinion, doing the opposite. I know a lot of people would argue against baby led parenting but in reality if it works for us than who are we hurting.

I also think it depends on who you are as a person and how you lived your life before you became a parent. If you are someone that needed a routine for everyday life to function normally then this will probably be the same when you become a parent. For me, I'm not a schedule person and I don't think babies, or at least mine, are either. Don't quote me on that though. I would much prefer to work around her (to a point though, she works around us if I need to go out I'll go out and she just sleeps on the go) for example if she's tired I'll let her sleep or if she's hungry I'll let her eat rather than force her to sleep when she's not tired and eat when she's not hungry.

Don't get me wrong, if you've managed to establish a routine that works for you then thats great it's just not for me. I tried for a couple of weeks to follow to a strict routine but I ended up just getting so wound up when it didn't work out.

As time has gone on and Ella has gotten older she's naturally settled herself into, what I would loosely call, a routine.  I realised that I was keeping her awake longer than she should have been. She was telling me what she needed but I just didn't know how to translate what she was saying. Initially, as a newborn we were unable to get her to sleep before 10pm but as she has gotten older, though, I've made a conscious effort to try and establish a bedtime routine to encourage her to go to bed earlier and earlier. Now her bedtime is between 7 and 7.30 if she's not in bed by this time she becomes very grizzly.

Here is a brief overview of our day:

7 - 8.30 - Wake-up (if she's slept through she wakes at about 7.30 if she's woken up earlier for a feed at say 5 or 6 I put her back down and she'll sleep to 8.30ish.

8.30 - 9.30 - Feed, play time and then back down for a nap this could be anywhere between 30mins to and hour (she's a chronic catnapper)

9.30 am - 6pm - Between these times there is no strict routine I will feed her on demand, usually at about 2 - 3 hourly cycles give or take. I put her down when I see tired signs and again her nap times vary. It allows for time to go out and run errands or go to coffee group or Plunket etc.

5 - 6pm - Is normally "Daddy" time, if Tom is home she'll have time with him then he'll bathe and change her into her bedtime clothes.

6.30 - 7.30pm - Tom gives her a bottle of Formula and then it's bedtime.

So, I suppose you could say we do have a routine of sorts but I wouldn't consider it the suggested routine you'd find in most parenting books.

I think the point I'm trying to make here is - don't stress yourself out trying to force a routine just because you think you need too. If it's not working try and find something that does work for you or let them tell you what they need.

As far as I'm concerned there is no point trying something that just ends up stressing you out. If I could offer one piece of advice, feel free to follow it or ignore it, would be to not put to much pressure on yourself, take each day as it comes and hopefully in time your baby will establish their own natural routine or patterns.

Note: As I have said time and time again, I am by no means a parenting expert. I am just a new Mother trying to find a rhythm with this parenting lark and offering insight into what  has and hasn't worked for me personally. If you can relate to me in my daily struggles and this helps you out too then great!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Memories of my former self

Now that I'm a Mum, I sometimes forget who I was before. It's not a bad thing, it's natural to adapt and change when you become a parent. I actually find it quite amusing to see I've become the person I swore I never would. It's almost hard to remember what my life was like before I had her, it's only been 4 months but already my life has changed hugely.

I've made a few comparisons between my former self and the person I have now. Let me know if you can relate.

1. Referring to myself as Mummy - I. JUST. CAN'T. STOP. It's a problem. I don't even know when i'm doing it. I'm pretty sure, though, it's more often than not. I don't know when I suddenly lost the ability to talk in the first person rather than the third, but apparently that's the only way to talk these days. Not only do  I refer to myself as Mummy but I refer to everyone else by their chosen titles i.e Daddy, Nana, Granddad etc. Gone are the days where I actual have an identity other than mummy. That's ok though, I like being Mummy. But then again I don't have a little person yet, that constantly screams Mummy at me, I can imagine it could get a bit tiring.

2.  Memory Malfunctions - Pre-baby. on occasion I was jokingly called "Mega Memory" I had the ability to memorise all sorts of useless pieces of information. Post-baby? I'm lucky if I can remember the day of the week. I also forget what I'm doing, I walk into a room and can't remember why I went there or what for. I also find myself doing stupid things, like picking up a pen to peel the potatoes instead of the potato peeler or wandering aimlessly around the Supermarket because I've forgotten what I went in for.

3. Appearances - Before baby I used to put on make-up just to go into town or to do the groceries. I had all the time in the world to fluff around with my hair and my face, even then I still managed to be late! I was big on appearances and hated being seen without make-up. Fast forward a few months or so and I still can't stand being seen without make-up but I just don't have the time nor the energy to make the effort. It's a miracle these days if I manage to take a shower un-interrupted, shave my legs or to eat lunch. Oh how times have changed.

4. Leisurely lunches and dinners - Oh the simple things in life get harder post baby. Gone are the days where you could take your time over lunch or dinner. These days it's "lets play pass the baby", where one of you scoffs your meal down whilst the other placates the baby and then switch. Repeat where necessary. Mealtimes also tend to change, lunch becomes anywhere from 2 - 4 and dinner is more like 8 or 9 at night.

5. Sleep - This is a fairly obvious one. Forget sleep ins, forget even full nights of sleep. Pre-baby, if there was a competition for sleeping in I'd have won it. These days though it's quite a different story.

6. Cluttering news feeds with baby pictures and status updates - These days the subject of my Facebook updates, Instagram posts and tweets are all baby related. I'm sure I must be annoying the crap out of people but I just can't help it! I remember thinking, before child, I must not become one of those Mum's that only ever post pictures of their children or constant updates about them. Not that there is anything wrong with that - I was very naive before baby - I just wanted my life to still exist as per normal little did I know that now my life would revolve around her.

7. Conversation - These days I mainly socialise with other parents and so, naturally the conversation always revolves around our babies. From sleep cycles to bowel movements and everything in between. Gone are the days of talking about normal everyday things. My conversations will be forever filled with discussions about babies.

8. Excitement over bowel movements - Yes, you read right. When I introduced Ella to formula her bowel movements weren't regular and she went for three days without anything, the days following were spent waiting for her to do number twos and trying to encourage her bowels to move. It even got to the point where Hubby would get home and asked if she'd done a poo yet. Really? That's our hot topic of conversation now. If you'd told me a couple of years ago that I would get excited about a bowel movement I would have laughed in your face.

9. Talking about my baby - CONSTANTLY - I just can't help myself, I know I'm doing it but I can't stop myself. My world revolves around her and I need to tell everyone about it and her baby milestones. I'm so overwhelmed with love for her and so damn proud of what we created that I just have to share it. Whether you want to hear it or not. Take this blog for example it revolves entirely around her!

My life has changed in such a massive way and in doing so I have too. I wouldn't change anything or go back, I achieved most of what I wanted before having her and feel like I was completely ready for that change. I don't miss my former self or the life I had before because I feel completely fulfilled. Sure, I miss my sleep, being able to shower on a regular basis or have leisurely lunches but she's so 100% percent worth it . From the little giggle, to the cheeky smile, those dimpled chubby cheeks and everything in-between makes me so happy and complete that I don't know where I would be without her!

She melts my heart.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

"Unhelpful" comments to make to a parent

There seems to be a theme to my blog posts, it's not intentional believe me but I sometimes wish people would think before they spoke. Since I've become a Mother, or even while I was pregnant, people seemed to think they could say what they want without any forethought into how it might make me feel. I think the same goes for every other Mother. Because we've decided to procreate we become subject to other people's thoughts and "well meaning" advice whether we ask for it or not. So, I've compiled a small list of unhelpful comments myself and no doubt others may have received at some point during our parenting journeys.

1. "You think it's hard now? Wait until you've got a toddler and a newborn!

This to me is one of the most unhelpful comments I've received following my membership to the Motherhood Club. Congratulations on being super Mum who is successfully parenting not only one child but two while I sit here barely managing to go to the loo or have a shower with just one. Please, is it really necessary to instil the fear of God into a new Mum that's still trying to learn the in's and outs of her first child without sending her into hysterics about the prospect of what her future may hold? Let her get through this first before you torment her.

2. "Don't wish away this time with your baby it goes so quickly and before you know it they're grown up"

This is a comment with good intentions but in reality it's not all that helpful to a Mum that is sleep deprived, hasn't had a shower in a week, reeks of baby vomit and whose ears are ringing with the sound of a screaming infant. I saw a quote the other day on Pinterest "the days are long but the years are short" I know this is true but at times when your ripping your hair out in frustration or exhaustion hearing comments like "you should be grateful" or "make the most of it" are bound to make any Mother want to slap you in the face. Being a Mother is hard work and those that make these comments clearly don't know or have forgotten just how hard it can be. A blog post I read the other day "I am grateful now fuck off" by Mama said, Boganette, pretty much sums this up perfectly!

3. "Is your child sleeping through yet?"

The topic of sleep is a contentious one, the amount of times I have spoken to someone and the first question that they ask me is this one - it's ridiculous. Why is it that we are so obsessed with sleep? Is it because the people that ask don't have children that sleep through? and they're trying to make themselves better? I find myself not really being able to answer this one. All I know is, ask a sleep deprived Mum this and see her reaction.

4. "Oh she's sleeping through?" scoff scoff "Make the most of it while it lasts"

Once again on the topic of sleep. We have been fortunate enough to have a reasonably good sleeper  - not all nights, let me make this clear - most nights. Upon offering this news to someone (who shall remain nameless), who asked might I add, how she was sleeping his reply was this unhelpful comment. Way to rain on our parade! We were relieved that we were starting to have reasonably good sleeps only to be told the future wasn't so bright. Why!?! Why the need to tell us this? Can't they let us live in our happy little bubble for a bit longer?

5. "Your life will never be the same again"

This is definitely true but I don't know why it's always used in such a negative light. Yes, my life has changed but it's changed, in my perspective, for the better. Having children is not the end of my life, it's the start of a different more exciting chapter in an already fulfilling life.

So, there you have it just a few unhelpful comments and why I'd suggest you refrain from saying them to any poor, unsuspecting parent. I know you may mean well, but seriously we don't need to hear it. The next time you go to say something along these line please think about it before you actually spit it out.

Note: I'm not trying to offend anyone by this post. I'm being honest. The aim of my blog is transparency therefore this post is no different. I welcome your comments whether you agree with me or not :-) 

Monday, 16 March 2015

Our story - Part 2 - Our Wedding.

Following on from my previous post, our engagement story, see here, is obviously the next step in our story - our wedding!

We were engaged for 18 months before we got married, which should be plenty of time to organise a wedding - right? It still felt like a last minute rush and I wish I could say it went off without a hitch. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case, we chose the 17 of December 2011 which just so happened to be the worst Summer New Zealand had in 100 years. So, basically it poured down the whole month and our wedding day was no exception!

Because we are both country people we really wanted to get married somewhere that we both loved and what better place to get married on Tom's family farm, it's such a beautiful place with a beautiful outlook and a place that we both are privileged enough to call home.  The aim was to get married in the garden but luckily we had a back up in the form of an old wool shed which was converted into a makeshift ceremony space. With the help of both of our families, it was cleaned out, de-cobwebbed and decorated - and transformed!

Our photographer is the same one who has done all our shoots, Dan Mason Photography, he's amazing! If you're getting married, I would highly recommend him.

The details...

The colour palette was a mix of pastel colours and cream.

The Reception was held in a hay barn with a marquee lining, bunting decorated the top and cake tables. Lanterns were used as centrepieces, jars filled with roses in varying shades and burlap as table runners. The favours were jars of homemade lemon curd and strawberry jam painstakingly made by hubby's Mum.

The cake unfortunately didn't quite survive it's trip and broke in a few places but was luckily salvaged by the amazing catering team.

The Bridesmaids consisted of my little sister and two really close friends. They wore a pale pink, knee length dress belted at the waist.

 My dress was an Essence design satin, fitted fishtail gown with buttons down the back and bling front and back, from Alma J Bridal Boutique. I also wore a long full length veil and sparkly champagne coloured heels from Chinese Laundry.

The night before the wedding my whole family and bridesmaids stayed at a boutique hotel in Warkworth.

Tom and his groomsmen wore charcoal grey suits, from a suit hire company that I won't mention on here as I don't want to promote them, with a white vest, for Tom, and silver vests for the boys and ties in matching colours - they looked so smart!

The morning of the wedding brought torrential downpours and by the time I walked down to the garden my dress was a muddied mess, but my favourite part of the whole day had to be our ceremony. It was so personal to us, my Grandmother was the celebrant who officiated the ceremony which I wrote by hand. Both Tom and I wrote our own vows and not an eye in the place remained dry.

Because of the rain it affected how easily we negotiated our way around for bridal party photo's, the farm tracks were so bogged down with made it made things bit difficult. The rain also prevented us from spending the time getting photo's and it started to rain about and hour or so after we started. We still got some awesome pictures, our photographer was so created and managed to make the most of the location and the weather.

I've always been big into horses, I've been riding for 17 years, I even worked with them for several years as well so I knew I wanted to incorporate them somehow. I didn't have my own horse at the time so a good friend of mine graciously provided her gorgeous steed for the photo's. Ridge was a star with model good looks!

Even though the weather was crappy, we still had an amazing time! We made the most of it and at the end of the day it was just a minor detail in an otherwise incredible day to remember.

I think I may have gone a bit overboard with the pics in this post but it was so hard to choose and was great to look back and think about what and amazing day we had.

I can't believe it's been over three years since we got married, time flies so quickly! So, the next post coming up is our first anniversary shoot!