Saturday, 31 December 2011

NYE edition: Happy Birthday Seagull!

Yet again, I have pulled a disappearing act from the blogosphere for the last couple of weeks. In my defence, I haven't had an Internet connection for most of that time. You know, with moving interstate and all. At some stage when my head stops spinning, I'll get around to posting about the move. Right now, I want to shout out a great big "Happy Birthday!" to Seagull.

The last three years have been both the longest and the shortest three years of my life. Seagull started going through the terrible twos at around 18 months and he still has his moments now. Well, not right this instant, as he is in bed sleeping, but I'm sue you all get what I mean.

However, when Seagull is not being a toad or asleep, he is a very sweet little man who brings us much joy and plenty of laughs. It's been occurring to me over the last few weeks just how much Seagull has developed over a very short space of time. We are getting to the point where we are actually able to have a conversation with Seagull. Sure, his syntax is wrong at times, but he'll get it right eventually and everyone else knows what he means in the meantime.

Seagull comes out with the funniest things at times. Thunder Maker told me about a funny conversation he had with Seagull yesterday. It went something like this:
Thunder Maker: What are you doing?
Seagull: Playing with myself.
Thunder Maker glanced down. Sure enough, Seagull had a raging boner.
Seagull: Go away Daddy!
Seagull glared at Thunder Maker as he walked off and got back to business. If this is my little boy at (nearly) three years of age, I don't want to know what he is going to be like as a teenager.

Some of you may remember me going on about how much toilet training sucks earlier this year. Well, I am pleased to announce that Seagull got the hang of doing wees in the toilet about a month or so ago. We're still working on #2's, but Seagull very proudly tells anyone and everyone when he has done wees in the toilet now. He figured out how to do wees standing up the other week, so now he announces "I did wees in toilet standing up!" to anyone that will listen.

On that note, I'd better go get organised for the day. I had planned on making cake pops for Seagull's birthday, but that is so not going to happen now. I'm taking the cheat option and buying one this year.

Lastly, Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all have a fantastic evening tonight and that tomorrow morning treats you kindly. I'm looking forward to writing more blogs and reading everyone else's on the flip side.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Timewarp Tuesday: The Wombat Edition

Rather than subjecting you all to my crap awesome taste in music again, this week is all aboutone of my all-time favourite ads.

As a wee lass, I used to love the RSPCA ad that used to be shown on TV all the time. You know, the one with the wombat. Let me refresh your memory:



Every time the wombat would come on the screen, I'd yell out "Look Mum! Look at the little wombat!" Every single time. I'm sure the RSPCA ad was my mother's favourite ad. After all, what parent doesn't love their child yelling out the same thing over and over again in agitated excitement?

It's funny, because I always used to think that the wombat was wearing a white vest. It wasn't until many years later that I realised that he was all bandaged up.

Oh, and one more thing: how does one train a wombat to perform like a dog?

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Timewarp Tuesday - The ABBA edition

Yes, you heard right. This week is brought to you courtesy of my ABBA addiction, circa 1994. The early 90's were a time of frilled shirts, Frente, and Muriel's Wedding. I was a bit young to get into the movie, but I most certainly noticed the music. I can't remember if I asked for it or if Mum just used her psychic abilities, but I was given ABBA Gold on cassette for Christmas in 1994. It immediately went into my Walkman and stayed there for the next year. Yes, that's right, I listened to nothing but ABBA for a whole year. It was pretty tragic.



While we're at it, here's another song I really liked in the early 90's:



E-mail me with any suggestions or submissions for Timewarp Tuesday. :)

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Mother Moments is getting a facelift

You may have noticed a few changes here in my little corner of the blogosphere. For one, I now have working Facebook and Twitter link buttons.

I was on night shift last week at work, and instead of using my mornings for something productive like study for uni, I surfed the net learning a bit about using HTML and learning how to make buttons for social media sites and HTML tables for displaying the buttons of some of the totally awesome bloggers I follow. Look to the right, under the heading "If you like my stuff, you will love". If you think your button should be there, feel free to drop me a line with a link to your blog (if the HTML button for your code is in a box on your blog somewhere), or just send me an e-mail with the HTML code of your button.

Speaking of HTML code for buttons, I now have my very own button! Feel free to copy and paste the code onto your blog roll. In saying that, I plan to do a makeover to my wallpaper and header soon and I will probably change the button too. If you want, you can wait for that one.

Anyway, I know that they are only fairly minor changes at the moment, but I'm feeling very proud of myself for accomplishing them. Stay tuned for further changes. :)

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Timewarp Tuesday - The Snickers Edition

So, following on from last week and continuing in the advertising vein, I bring to you the Snickers edition.



I was about 4 or 5 when these ads were on TV and all I really remember is the handful of peanuts that becomes a Snickers bar when the person closes their hand then opens it again. It appears from my You Tube surfing extensive research that there were a few ads that all had the handful of peanuts becoming a Snickers bar, but this one made me snort the loudest.

I remember trying to turn a handful of peanuts into a Snickers bar after seeing a Snickers ad. I was very confused at first, then disappointed that all I had after my efforts was a handful of peanuts.

While I was conducting my You Tube surfing extensive research, I also came across this gem:



I had to put this one in the post, purely because of the ridiculous mullets. Man, I wish I had me a mullet like that. *Gag*

Anyway, as I said last week, if you have any suggestions or you want to guest post with your own Timewarp, send me an e-mail.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Timewarp Tuesday - The innaugral edition

Something got me thinking the other day about a particular ad that used to be on TV when I was a kid. With the wonder of You Tube, I was able to go look it up and relive the nostalgia.

It got me thinking more widely of things that I used to enjoy as a kid, which then led to a brilliant idea: "Why don't I blog about this stuff and make a regular blog segment about it?" Why not, indeed. Of course, I happened to have this idea at 6:30am, right as I had to start getting ready for work so it had to wait until the end of the day.

Without any further ado, welcome to the innaugral edition of Timewarp Tuesday, the corner of the blogoverse that dives into the nostalgia of my childhood, of times long past, of long forgotten fragments of life 'back in the day'.

Here is the ad that spawned the creation of Timewarp Tuesday:



I really loved this ad as a kid. Let's face it, we all used to dream of having a remote control car for this express purpose after seeing the ad. I remember begging my parents for a remote control car after seeing this ad. I never got one. Probably because (a) I'm a girl and even though I was a tomboy, I think Mum always held out hope that I'd be more girly. She certainly never pandered to my more boyish tendancies any more than she had to; and (b) because they probably (correctly) suspected that I would try to pull this stunt off. Our nearest Macca's store was a 10 minute drive away. I don't think it was going to work.

Anyway, that's Timewarp Tuesday for this week. I have some more gems for future editions, but if anyone has any suggestions or wants to guest post for Timewarp Tuesday, send me an e-mail.

Snuggles with Wombat

I woke up about 20 minutes before my first alarm was due to go off this morning. I thought about getting up and doing some study before getting ready for work, but suddenly spending the time snuggling with Wombat held more appeal. I turned the first alarm off on my phone and settled in for a snuggle session.

At the moment, Thunder Maker and I are bed sharing with both of our boys. It was always something we fought against with Seagull, but he would generally wake up if we tried to put him back in his cot after a night feed. I think he could sense our agitation with the enforced bed sharing arrangement because he was always a very unsettled sleeper and would kick us in his sleep.

I went back to work part time when Seagull was 11 months old. Seagull went through a feeding frenzy of sorts at just after 12 months old. He would want to feed for about an hour at a time. If I thought he was asleep and tried to remove my breast so I could go back to sleep, he would crack an almighty hissy fit until I put him back to the breast.

When he started getting to the point of feeding like this five times a night, I'd had enough of being sleep deprived. We moved Seagull's cot into his own room and Seagull out of our bed. He protested at first, but we were firm and he started to sleep through. Which was a blessing, given that we found out I was pregnant again a couple of weeks later.

I was determined that Wombat was going to sleep in his cot (in our room) and not in our bed. It lasted until he was about 10 weeks old and would wake up every time I tried to put him back in the cot after a feed. I caved and figured that I'd deal with transitioning him into his own bed later.

Seagull was transitioned from a cot to a bed not long after Wombat was born. He was happy enough being in the bed and slept well enough there, but when we went away for one of my uni residential schools earlier this year, both of the boys ended up sleeping in the larger bed with me and Thunder Maker had the single bed to himself.

When we got home, it was really cold at night and we couldn't afford to run our central heating overnight so we decided to let Seagull continue sleeping in our bed so he didn't get cold down the other end of our very long house all by himself. Seagull no longer thrashes around in his sleep and the arrangement has been working well for all concerned.

So, back to our snuggle this morning. We started off with me laying on my back and Wombat's arm draped over my tummy, but I decided that I wanted to lay on my side. When I rolled over, Wombat rolled over as well so that he was spooning into me.

I can't describe how nice it was laying there, cuddling my baby boy into me. I was marvelling at how snuggly he is and breathing in his scent from his hair, occasionally giving his head kisses. When I looked over him, Wombat had his hand over Seagull's hand. It gives me great joy to see the affection that Wombat and Seagull show for each other, even in their sleep.

It occurred to me that they are only little and snuggly for such a short period of time in their lives. Soon enough they will want to sleep in their own beds and they will consider themselves too big for cuddles and snuggles with Mum. For now, I'm going to enjoy every moment where they want to cuddle or snuggle with me.

Except for the cuddles where Wombat decides to bite me. That really hurts.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

The Pontipines

For those of you familiar with "In the Night Garden", you will know all about the antics of the Pontipines. For those of you who don't use it as a babysitter for the kids while cooking dinner watch it with your children, the Pontipines are tiny little dolls that live in a tiny little house in the night garden. There are the two parents and their 8 children.

I happened to see a comment about the Pontipines somewhere the other week that cracked me up. This person reckons that DOCS should be called on the Pontipines. Why, you ask?

Think about it; Mr and Mrs Pontipine are always losing track of where their children are. Half the time they have no idea of where they are. The children are always running away and hiding in the hole in the ground, inside the flower pots or behind the log. Often as not, the children are ditching their parents off to go train surfing on the Ninky Nonk. At least they have the sense to wear their seat belts, I will give them that.

And what do Mr and Mrs Pontipine do when they lose some or all of their children? Do they actually go look for them? No. They get a bit excited about it, then they carry on about with what they were doing and wait for the children to come home of their own volition. Often as not, they sneak back home down the chimney. I'm guessing that the Pontipines don't use their fire very often (if at all), because the children never seem to get burnt or even look dirty after climbing down the chimney.

No wonder the Wattingers, their next door neighbours, don't come to the door when the Pontipines ring thier door bell. Or neglect to turn up to picnics that the Pontipines invite them to. If my next door neighbours' children were always acting in such a wild manner, I wouldn't want my children hanging out with them either.

The Wattingers also have 8 children and they seem to be able to keep track of all of them for the most part. Not that you see the Wattingers all that much. I think they are hiding from the Pontipines. I'll bet that when the Pontipines come to the door, Mr and Mrs Wattinger are all like "Shhh! Quick, get down and hide! If we don't make a sound, maybe they will think we aren't at home and will go away".

Anyway, that's me done taking the piss out of kids TV shows for today. Are there any other kids TV shows you feel are worthy of having the piss taken out of? Maybe I could make a regular feature of it.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Happy 1st Birthday Wombat!

Wow, I can't get over the fact that my baby turns 1 today. It really doesn't seem like it was that long ago that I was meeting him for the very first time. I remember looking at Wombat for the first time and thinking of how different he looked to Seagull at birth. Obviously, I didn't expect him to be a carbon copy of Seagull, but I suppose I expected Wombat to look more similar to Seagull than he did.

I really savoured the first four days that Wombat and I spent in the maternity ward at the local hospital. All the staff were really surprised at how quiet it was on the baby front, given the time of year. They were in no hurry to get rid of us and I was in no hurry to go home. I knew that I would not get as much one-on-one time with Wombat once we got home, so I made the most of the time we had in hospital just to marvel in the sight of him and to get to know him.

Getting home was interesting. I went from having had a really good routine in place to get Seagull and myself ready of a morning and only taking 30 minutes to get both of us ready to suddenly taking 2 hours to get all three of us ready. I put it down to feeling so smashed after the birth.

Seagull seemed to like his little brother from the beginning. I had spent a lot of my time while pregnant telling him that there was a bubby inside of Mummy. He used to like to lift my top up to expose my belly, then rub it to feel Wombat inside of me and say "Bubby". When he was done, he'd pull my top down and toddle away. Seagull did it soon after Wombat was born, while I had him in my arms. I explained to him that Bubby wasn't inside of Mummy anymore and that this is Bubby in Mummy's arms. Even now, he still calls Wombat "Bubby" as often as he calls him by his actual name.

Anyway, I was going to put up a couple of photos of Wombat from my phone, but I have just discovered that attempting to sync my phone with Samsung Kies on Sunday night has corrupted all of the images on my phone. If anyone knows how I can fix it, please leave a comment.

Edit: Don't worry, I just figured out that when I synched my phone on Sunday that instead of downloading all of my photos into Kies, it uploaded a heap of random images on my phone. The original pictures are still there and I am now deleting over 3300 of crap images off my phone. #mothermoment.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Painting the house

Thunder Maker and I bought the house we live in about a year prior to conceiving Seagull. It's a pretty big house and someone who had lived here previously had painted the walls in all the public areas a lovely shade of off-brown. Given that sarcasm is not immediately apparent in the written word, let me assure you that the shade of the paint leaves a lot to be desired. My main issue with it is that it makes the place seem dark and dingy.

After about a year, we decided that we couldn't live with the horrible colour and decided to repaint it. We spent a considerable amount of time at the paint counter of our local hardware store debating what colours we wanted to use. The lady at the paint counter thought that the way we argued debated over different colours was hilarious. In the end we bought some green paint and got to work on a feature wall in our dining area.

The feature wall looks gorgeous. We picked the particular shade of green that we used to compliment a painting that hangs on the wall and we were very pleased with our efforts. About a week later, I found out that I was pregnant with Seagull. Not one to let pregnancy get in the way of a project, we went back to the hardware shop and bought more paint to do the other walls.

 The green wall


Our intention had been to get to work on the remainder of the walls the following weekend, but I started feeling incredibly sick and couldn't stand for more than a few minutes without feeling faint so the painting was temporarily put on hold. By the time I started feeling better again in the second trimester, painting was fairly low down my priority list. To be honest, I think Thunder Maker may have had something to do with convincing me that painting whilst pregnant might not be the smartest move.

The 10 litre tin of paint has been sitting in my laundry since we first bought it. Seeing as we are moving in about 8 weeks time, I've put a rocket up Thunder Maker and told him that it needs to be done, especially as he wants to rent the house out. Today I got the tin of paint out and took it down to the hardware shop. The lady at the paint counter told me that she wasn't game to put it in the paint mixer because it was looking a bit rusted and she didn't feel like having to clean up 10L of paint if it exploded. I took it home and spent 30 minutes mixing it with a big stick.

Thunder Maker and I figured that we could probably get the longest wall done while the boys were asleep. Except they didn't stay asleep for very long. They must have used that sixth sense that kids seem to have for when you are doing something you don't want them involved in to know when to wake up. It was a nice day, so I turfed them both out in the back yard. Don't worry, we could see and hear them from where we were working.

The wall we decided to tackle today runs continuously for nearly the length of our entire house, starting in the dining room, going past the kitchen and finishing on the other end of the lounge room. We figured out pretty quickly that I am crap at operating a roller and that Thunder Maker isn't the greatest at cutting in the edges, so we swapped jobs. Thunder Maker still has to cut in the edges up higher because the wall meets the highest edge of the cathedral style roof and I am too short to reach up that high, even on a ladder. I'm telling you, cathedral ceilings suck big time. I would never buy a house with cathedral ceilings again.

 The corner of the cathedral ceiling. The whitish wall has just had its first coat of paint.

Between interruptions, I got all the cutting in done that I could reach and Thunder Maker got about 2/3 of the rolling done of the first coat of paint. Already the areas that have been done look a lot better. I was keen to get it finished, but Thunder Maker had had enough. I'm hoping that he decides to finish it off tomorrow while the boys are having their afternoon nap. Thunder Maker said that he is going to have a go at getting all the other walls done on Wednesday and Thursday while Seagull is at childcare and he only has one child to worry about.

Hopefully we don't get all sidetracked this time and actually get it done before we move. Hopefully we get it all done by next weekend. Wombat's birthday is on Thursday and we are having some friends over on the weekend for his birthday. I've told Thunder Maker that it has to be done by then because I'm not inviting people into our house with half-painted rooms.

Friday, 21 October 2011

My house smells like fresh cooking

I have a confession to make. I really don't like cooking. It's time consuming, it's messy and my food never comes out looking anything like the pretty pictures alongside the recipes. I've been known to go for weeks at a time ordering take away meals just to avoid cooking. When I say take away, I mean things like Mexican, Chinese or Indian, not junk food.

Thunder Maker doesn't have the greatest skills in the kitchen either. You'd think I could pick out a life partner who could actually cook, hey? I must admit though, I was rather caught up in the emotion of things when we first met rather than thinking with my stomach. Thunder Maker makes a pretty mean stir-fry but if I left all the cooking up to him, I'd be eating stir-fry three times a week. Thanks, but no thanks. I don't love stir-fry that much.

Quite by chance, I heard about a fantastic kitchen gadget called a Thermomix. It cooks, it chops, it does a heap of other stuff and I wanted one. Given that you don't get much change out of $2000 for one, I thought it would be hard to convince Thunder Maker, but he was surprisingly open to it. I organised to have an in-home demo and the rest is history.

I received my Thermomix nearly two weeks ago and I have used it at least once a day every day since. The very first thing I made in it was mango sorbet. I started making fresh bread earlier this week, using the Thermomix to mix/knead the bread. I made chocolate brownies earlier and I have bolognaise sauce cooking in it as I type.

I think what I like so much about it is that I only have one item to clean when I finish cooking. That and I have never owned a decent food processer before. Only a crappy one that cost me $70 and have barely used because it is so messy to use and really painful to clean.

I'm also enjoying being more inventive about what I cook. The recipe book that comes with the Thermomix has a good range of things to get started and I've also discovered the Recipe Thermomix forum. I now make a lot of things from scratch that I would never have attempted before such as my own vegetable stock concentrate (I have a big container of it sitting in the fridge) and grinding spices for curries.

Anyway, the Thermomix has just finished cooking my dinner, so I'm going to go serve up now, then have brownies for desert. :)

*I have not been paid or compensated in any way for this post. I'm just a very happy customer bragging spreading the love about something that has made cooking fun for me.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

I hate toilet training

Toilet training sucks balls. I can't begin to tell you how over it I am.

I've had my MIL asking since just before Seagull's first birthday when I was going to start toilet training him. Thankfully she lives too far away at the moment to be too much of a nuisance about it.

I've been wanting to toilet train Seagull since about March or April this year. I decided one day that I was just going to do it. After a whole Saturday spent going back and forth between the toilet and constantly cleaning up puddles that had been made two minutes after a toilet trip, I decided that Seagull wasn't quite ready to toilet train yet.

On the upside, Seagull got the whole toileting routine down pat. He loves to sit on the toilet. We have a special toilet seat with a step ladder attached to it and Seagull knows how to put it on the toilet. He is really good at pulling his undies down and climbing up onto the seat. He is really good at using toilet paper. Perhaps a little too good. We go through a lot of toilet paper when Seagull goes to the toilet. He's even got flushing the toilet and washing his hands afterwards down pat. He just won't urinate in the @#$%* toilet!

To be fair, we did have a couple of occasions the other week where Seagull seemed to be making a genuine effort and managed to squeeze out a few drops. Since then though, it's been more of the not going in the toilet, then wetting himself later on.

It's at this point that I wish I was at home with Seagull so that I could make a concerted effort to toilet train him. Thunder Maker, bless his cotton socks, is not very persistant or consistent with his toilet training efforts. I think the problem is that he is not very patient with poor Seagull and he gets very impatient with Seagull when he seems to want to use the toilet every 10 minutes, only to do nothing.

We have a potty for Seagull, but he point blank refuses to use it. I think it's because he knows we use the big toilet, so he wants to use it too.

I'm really feeling like we need to get this show on the road. We are moving in 8 weeks time and Seagull is due to start pre-school at the end of January. However, he can't start if he isn't toilet trained. I really want to get it all happening so that we aren't trying to toilet train Seagull during the move or at the very last minute while we are trying to unpack everything at the other end.

Tell me people, how the hell do I get a child to urinate in the toilet? He knows how to go through the toileting routine, he just doesn't seem to have worked out how to wee in the damn thing.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Am I really finished?

I have only ever wanted to have two children. Preferably of the same sex. I have all of that now. I found pregnancy really hard both times and was so glad to have it over and done with after Wombat. Yet now that Wombat is nearly a year old (less than two weeks to go!), I find myself wanting another baby.

I had a chat with Thunder Maker about it the other day and he got rather excited. He has never made any secret of the fact that he would love to have three children, but he was happy enough to stop because that was what I wanted.

I think part of my desire to have another baby stems from the fact that Wombat is now at the age that Seagull was when we first decided that we would start trying for another baby sooner rather than later. We ended up waiting another couple of months so that I wouldn't be pregnant at my sister-in-law's wedding. I suppose it just feels natural to me to be considering having another baby at this point in time.

I know that now is really not a good time to seriously be considering adding to my family. We are moving in about 8 weeks time, I am doing three subjects over summer term so that I can continue to study part time and still finish second year in one year. For that matter, I have to finish uni, full stop. Then there is the practical consideration of not having a car that is capable of holding three car seats and not being able to afford to buy one that does. I drive a hatchback and Thunder Maker drives a dual cab ute.

Even if all of that wasn't an issue, Wombat still breastfeeds at night and I have lactation induced amenorrhoea. That means I don't ovulate. I'll just back quietly away now before you all have a chance to sharpen your pitchforks and aim them in my direction. Anyway, even if I was really keen to have another baby right now, I can't.


To be honest, with all of my long term plans, I'm not really sure where I would find time to fit having another baby into the scheme. That's probably not the best way of expressing it, but the way I see it, I already have two beautiful healthy children. I will hopefully finish uni by the end of 2013, then I want to start putting my degree to good use, so I will need to be working for at least a year to qualify for maternity leave.

I wonder if leaving it that long would be a good idea, given that Seagull and Wombat would be 6 and 4 respectively before we even started trying again. Also, Thunder Maker is 12 years older than me which would make him 43. I wonder if that is asking too much of him.


Anyway, Thunder Maker and I came to the conclusion that we are open to the idea of having another baby, but we are not going to actively consider or pursue it at any point in the foreseeable future.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Have you missed me?

Hi, missed me? I know there's been a lot of tumbleweed gathering in this little corner of the blogosphere lately. What can I say, life got in the way. Between being back at work, looking after my family, studying three subjects for uni this sememster, going to residential school for uni, and organising our move for the end of the year, things have been very hectic. On the upside, I have now done two of my uni exams and my last one is on Monday morning. So long first year! Don't let the door hit your backside on the way out!

Of course, never being one to do things by halves, I decided to check the uni handbook just on the off-chance they'd be offering any of my second year subjects over the summer term. They are! I have enrolled to do three subjects over summer term. This way I can finish second year in the same amount of time as a full time student. Mind you, I realised that the handbook for next year has been released and upon checking it discovered that one of the subjects I've enrolled in is now down as a third year subject instead of a second year subject. Meh. No biggie.

I like the look of the newer subject offerings for my course, but I really wish CQU would just leave it alone for a while and stop changing my subject offerings every single year. On the plus side, at least they are striving to improve their courses. On the minus side, it makes it harder for me to keep up and work out what I actually need to do.

The kids are doing really well at the moment. Wombat started walking the other week. Bang on 11 months. Seagull didn't start walking until he was about 14 months and while I was expecting Wombat to walk earlier than Seagull did, I wasn't expecting it quite so soon. In saying that, Wombat absolutely adores Seagull (and it is very much reciprocated) and just wants to be able to follow him around. He always has the biggest smile on his face whenever he staggers around the lounge room.

Seagull is being a typical two (and 3/4) year old. He's always been fairly headstrong and he is at that age where it has been intensified 100-fold. He is getting better as his language skills develop but I am so over the constant squealing, yelling and whinging. Seagull does come out with some pearlers though. Last night I was getting the boys ready for bed and went to look for Seagull's pyjamas. He yelled out after me "No jamies, Mummy! I want chocolate!"

Thunder Maker is enjoying being at home with the boys. It has been great to see the bond between him and the boys become a closer one. I come home on most days at lunchtime to breastfeed Wombat. His little face lights up when he sees me and he bobs up and down on the spot, huffing and puffing until I pick him up, take him to the lounge and offer him a feed.

A few weeks ago I talked Thunder Maker into going out for lunch on a Saturday. I'm really glad I pushed the issue, because someone who knew him from when he was in the RAAF approached him and asked him what he was doing with himself at the moment. When Thunder Maker said that he is a stay-at-home Dad, he asked him if he would be interested in doing some training development work for a company that he is starting up. Thunder Maker was very keen on the idea. The bloke got back to him on Thursday afternoon and asked if he was still interested and organised a meeting for yesterday.

Thunder Maker went to the meeting yesterday and was very happy with what was offered. He is going to be able to work from home and he doesn't even need to be living in our current location, so will be able to work from home for this bloke's company when we move at the end of the year. We're still not sure what the work load is going to be like, as it is going to be on a contract basis, but Thunder Maker is feeling very optimistic about it. Even if it isn't a full time load, hopefully Thunder Maker will be able to pick up other contracts that enable him to work from home.

Anyway, that's a snapshot of what has been happening in my life over the last few months. I hope to be bringing you more tales of shenannigans and Seagull Gold quotes on a more regular basis.

Monday, 8 August 2011

The Bastard Swing Set From Hell

A while ago, I saw an awesome swing set on sale. I decided that it would be a good idea to get it, given that the only outdoor play equipment I have for Seagull is his Zoom Bike (a plastic tricycle) and a big Tonka truck that his Godmother gave him for his second birthday. I put down a deposit on it, made another payment a fortnight later, then promptly forgot about it.

I finally got around to paying off the remainder last week and set about putting it up. I'm normally pretty good at putting things together and figured that it would take me an hour at most to put together. Yeah, I'll bet you know where this is going. I slightly overestimated my own abilities somewhat.

For a start, it required three ring spanners in the only three sizes that I couldn't find amonst my assortedrandom collection of tools. I found a shifter and a pair of pliers and got to work.

The shifter is a cheap piece of shit and I was constantly having to adjust the damn thing. It took me about an hour just to get the two halves of the top bar of the frame together with the leg supports on either end. As I tried to get the legs in place, the screws that were meant to hold it to the leg supports kept stripping. I ended up going to the local hardware store to buy a pack of screws. I also bought me 2 x 11mm ring spanners while I was there.

I got home, went to use the screws and realised that I'd bought the wrong size, so I had to go back to the hardware store to exchange them for the right size. With the right size screws finally procured, I was finally able to finish putting the frame together.

The first two swings went together easily enough. I also put the trapesze together, but stashed it in my tool box and put up a baby swing for Wombat in its place. With dusk not far off, I only had the lawn swing left to put together. Easy, I thought. I was wrong. The instructions had been fairly average up to this point, but left a lot to the imagination for this last swing. All I wanted was to get the bastard set finished off before dark so the kids would have something to play on when I went back to work. The swing just didn't want to go together straight.

Finally, it was nearly dark and the swing finally decided to cooperate. At last, the bastard swing set from hell was complete. You want to know what the really funny thing about all of this is? Seagull gets afraid of the swings when they are moving. He is happy to sit on the lawn swing, but he screams his head off the instant one of us tries to swing it for him.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

My Breastfeeding Journey

To be honest, the fact that it is World Breastfeeding Week had kind of slipped my mind until I saw Holly Homemaker's post. Now that it is back on my radar, I figure that I should do a post about my breastfeeding journey.

At some stage in the first hour after Seagull's birth, my breastfeeding journey started. The midwife who had been with me when I gave birth asked me if I wanted to feed him. I said yes, so she attached him to the breast for me. I was a bit overwhelmed by everything, but I remember thinking "How the hell did she just attach him and how am I supposed to do that again later?" Seagull fed a few more times that evening and I remember having to buzz for help because I didn't know what to do. His last feed for the night, he finally managed to attach himself and I was so excited.

I can't remember if Seagull woke for a feed a few hours later (I think he did), but I most certainly remember being woken at 1am by a midwife who told me that Seagull's blood sugar and body temperature were low and she wanted to take him to the nursery to warm him up and give him formula. I burst into tears and said that I didn't want Seagull to have formula. She assured me that it would get his blood sugar up more quickly than breastfeeding, so I very reluctantly agreed. In hindsight, I really wish I had refused, but Seagull was my first baby, he was less than 12 hours old, I was exhausted after having 24 hours of contractions before he was born and I didn't know any better.

I woke up at 5:30am and immediately felt lost that Seagull wasn't in the room with me. I went to the nurses desk and asked if I could go see Seagull. The midwife said yes, so I went down to the nursery. The midwife there said that they were about to feed him again and as they were going to insert a nasogastric tube to do it, I should probably leave as it is quite distressing for a parent to watch. Feeling rather lost, I went back to bed.

I woke again at 7am and was determined that Seagull was going to come back to my room with me. The midwife at the nursery was happy to let him leave by this time. Thunder Maker came to visit and we all spent some time as a family. Seagull was sleeping peacefully. Later, one of the midwives who had been with me through my labour started shift and asked how long it had been since Seagull had fed. I realised that it had been 7 hours ago. He had been asleep all that time. When the midwife looked at him, she commented that Seagull looked jaundiced.

We tried to wake Seagull for a feed. He was too sleepy to attach. It was suggested that I hand express colostrum while a student midwife sucked it up into a syringe to feed Seagull. It rapidly became apparent that I had a lot of colostrum, so it was suggested by one of the midwives that Seagull be given another bottle of formula, just to get something into him while I used a breast pump to express colostrum for his feed.

At every feed after that, we attempted to get Seagull to breastfeed to no avail. After each failed attempt, a midwife would feed Seagull the expressed colostrum while I expressed some more for the next feed. I was getting between 80mL and 120mL of colostrum each time I expressed.

Despite all of this, I was determined that I was going to be going home breastfeeding Seagull. Fortunately, on our last night in hospital, there was a wonderful midwife on the graveyard shift. They were short staffed, but she was determined that we were going to get Seagull feeding from the breast. For nearly an hour, she sat down with me in between seeing other new mums and worked with me to get Seagull breastfeeding. Finally, she suggested using a nipple shield. For the first time in three days, I was able to breastfeed Seagull. It wasn't how I envisaged going home, but at least I wasn't still expressing.

For five weeks, I was using nipple shields to breastfeed Seagull. During a feed in the middle of the night, Seagull ripped the nipple shield off and attached himself to the breast. His attachment was all wrong, but I didn't care at that point. Turns out I should have. My nipples became so sore after a couple of days. Particularly the right one. It was inverted, but it was at about this time that Seagull's vaccum cleaner-like suction ripped the tendons holding the nipple in. It became so intensely painful to feed him from that side. To top it all off, I developed mastitis in that breast.

I asked the local lactation consultant for advice because I knew I needed to empty the breast, but it was too painful to feed Seagull from that breast due to the soreness of my nipple. She suggested only feeding Seagull on that side for one of every three feeds and use a breast pump to empty it for the other feeds. After a few days, the nipple healed, the mastitis cleared and things finally became easier. We had finally figured out the best way to help Seagull attach.

I have to share a funny story at this point. Seagull was very boob-obsessed during the duration of the time he breastfed for. One evening when he was about three months old, I was sitting on the lounge next to Thunder Maker, getting ready to feed Seagull. Thunder Maker got a bit excited at the sight of my exposed breast and gave the side of it a rub. Seagull flashed him the biggest death stare. Even once he was attached to the breast, he continuted to give him greasy looks for the next 10 minutes as he fed.

Seagull weaned when he was a bit over 16 months. I was not long into the second trimester of my pregnancy with Wombat and I sensed that he wasn't as into it as he was previously. I decided to go with the "never offer, never refuse" approach and he was asking for feeds about a week apart. One day he tried to attach and couldn't remember how to do it properly. I tried attaching him myself a few times and it didn't work, so I decided that that was it.

When Wombat was born, things were a lot easier. He started looking around for a feed about an hour after he was born. With a bit of positioning help from me, Wombat latched on perfectly for his first feed. This time, I didn't need any help with breastfeeding and it felt good.

Within the first couple of weeks at home, Wombat was throwing up a lot after feeds. We were having to change him and all his bedding each time it happened. I couldn't understand why it was happening because I was making sure that I burped him after feeds. When Wombat was about two weeks old, we had an appointment with a maternal and child health nurse who is also a lactation consultant. I had to feed Wombat during the appointment, and while I was feeding him, I commented on all the vomiting. She noticed that Wombat pulled off when my let-down occurred and she said that my milk ejection reflex looked like it was too strong for Wombat to keep up with. She advised pulling him off and burping him several times during a feed so that he didn't get a massive build-up of wind. Once I started doing that, Wombat stopped throwing up after feeds.

Wombat is now nine months old and is still feeding well. I love cuddling his chubby little body up to me and looking into his eyes as he feeds. Wombat is going through a phase where he likes to do acrobatics as he feeds, so we're coming up with some rather inventive feeding positions at the moment. I'm looking forward to him weaning himself in his own time. I feel so blessed to have had such a beautiful breastfeeding journey with both of my boys.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Revisiting My Blogging Past: My 7 Links

I was recently tagged by Rachel from Because I said so! in a post of hers. I was rather excited by this for two reasons. The first is that someone tagged me, I must be one of the cool kids. The second is that the concept behind being tagged sounds like a fun one. My 7 Links was started by TripBase, which is a travel blog. Basically, I get to revisit seven of my previous posts and tell you all why they they are special to me. At the end I'll tag five more bloggers so they can share the love too.

My most beautiful post: I don't know that any of my posts are particularly beautifully written, but the one that comes most from the heart is Things I love about my kids. I don't consider myself to be particularly maternal, and it was actually something I was worried about when I was pregnant with Seagull. That's why it's particularly nice to remember all the little things I love about Seagull and Wombat.

My most popular post: This was actually my first ever post, Where did my train go? People must have liked reading about the continuation of my baby brain. I need to remember more of those moments and blog about them, seeing as people seem to like reading about my mother moment-induced stuff-ups. :)

My most controversial post: I don't go in for controversy, so I'm just nominating a random post for this one. Why pancakes have eggs in them was written when I was feeling frustrated at not having any eggs in the house to make pancakes with for lunch. I actually tried another variation of eggless pancakes the other day and they were just as crap. Oh, and I just noticed a typo in that post. Oops, my bad.

My most helpful post: I don't set out to write helpful posts as such, but I would have to nominate Baby-Led Weaning for this link. I didn't even know it was an option when weaning Seagull and I think it's nice when people talk about things that are different to the mainstream that have worked for them. It's working really well with Wombat - he really loves being able to feed himself and loves to eye off Seagull's food.

A post whose success surprised me: This is probably my first post, but as I've already nominated it for another link, I'll go with My Parenting Fail. Seagull got two of his fingers stuck past the second knuckles in the kitchen sink the other week while I was feeding Wombat. You'll have to read the post for more details.

A post I feel didn't get the attention it deserved: This would have to be A poem. Thunder Maker wrote this poem for me one day and kindly agreed to my request to put it up on my blog. Thunder Maker wrote a lot of poems when we first met. Some were about me/us, but he was going through a rough patch at the time and writing poems was his way of coping and working through it. He hasn't written any for ages, so I was really touched when he wrote that poem for me just because he could.

The post I'm most proud of: I have to nominate two posts for this one, purely because I can't favour one child over the other. These are Birth of the Seagull and Birth of the Wombat. The proudest moments in my life were immediately after the births of my boys, so it stands to reason that these are the posts I am most proud of.

Now to nominate five lucky bloggers:

Glowless from Where's My Glow
Georgia from Parental Parody
Tara from Our Whirlwind Adventures...
Jocelyn from Life As Mummy Max
Jacqui from CRAP Mamma

Make sure you go and check out all these awesome mummy bloggers.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Return to Work

I just under two weeks I will be returning to work. This is not the way we had planned things. Our plan had been for me to take 12 months maternity leave, then resign so I could stay at home to look after the boys and complete my uni degree. Given that Thunder Maker's job doesn't pay very well, it was probably always a bit of a pipe dream. In saying that, he had a job he was happy in and while he was happy, I was prepared to do without a lot of things to keep him happy.

About four months ago, the organisation that Thunder Maker works for merged with a larger organisation. It effectively became a takeover and the poo hit the fan very quickly. I'm not going to go into all that was wrong, because that would fill up quite a few blog entries that would be better written by Thunder Maker. Suffice to say that the beginning of the end happened when they changed his working location from our home town to one nearly an hour away. This is costing us 15% of his total fortnightly income.

Thunder Maker has spent quite a while looking for a new job, but nothing has presented itself. Thunder Maker is very picky when it comes to applying for jobs, but even when I looked at job ads for him, I just couldn't find anything that fits his skill set. We were starting to get pretty desperate.

Nearly two weeks ago, I got a phone call from my career manager. I knew I was due for a posting next year. I've actually been due for a posting for the last three years, but have managed to drag out my time in our current location by having babies/going on maternity leave. This was the main reason I had planned to resign. We both really like our current location and neither of us really wanted to leave.

My career manager offered me the posting I have always wanted. It's really close to my Dad, my extended family on both sides (my Mum is originally from that area as well, but moved away after her and Dad divorced) and is only a couple of hours away from Thunder Maker's family.

In light of the fact that we decided to accept the posting, it made more sense for me to finish my maternity leave early so that Thunder Maker could resign and become the stay at home parent for the rest of the year. After all, my job pays more than his.

I thought I'd be sad at not getting to spend as long at home with Wombat as I did with Seagull, and even when I did return to work after having Seagull, I went back part time for the first six months. Yes, a part of me is sad, but mainly I'm excited. I think knowing that Thunder Maker is going to be at home with the boys makes it a lot easier.

Now, I've toyed about whether I should reveal a particular something about myself for a while. It is one of the reasons I chose to blog anonymously. To be honest though, I don't think I can blog about my current situation without revealing it and blogging is helping me to get my head around the massive life changes we have decided on.

If you haven't figured it out from some of the language I've used in some of my posts recently, this one in particular, I am a serving member of the ADF. The RAAF, to be precise.

I really love my job, but thought for ages that it would be better for my family if I got out so that they could have locational stability. To be honest though, I've always been a lot more pragmatic than Thunder Maker (he is the dreamer). He is the one looking for the perfect everything, whereas I'm more concerned with keeping a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs and food in our bellies.

At the moment, it makes a lot more sense for me to stick with a job I love that pays well in order to ensure my family is provided for. It's going to be really sad to leave the house we bought four years ago and have brought two newborn babies home to, but I'm feeling really positive about the future.

The Fun Weekend That Was

I had such a big weekend that it has taken me this long to get around to blogging about it. It wasn't a particularly good one, either.

I had big plans for the weekend. They involved getting several loads of backed-up washing done (it's been raining lots over the past couple of weeks) and getting my removal inventory done so I could put in my application for removal. Because I'm organised like that.

Thunder Maker's band had a gig on Saturday night. It was the 50th birthday party of one of the band members. We were all going to go, but I realised at the last minute (Saturday afternoon) that unless they had a raised performance area that 2 year olds can't climb, that the band was going to have themselves a new drummer by the name of Seagull. In light of this, I decided to stay home with the boys.

My first inkling that something wasn't right was when I was talking to my Dad on the phone. I had a headache, so I went and grabbed a glass of water. By the time we finished talking, my tummy felt a bit funny. Sometimes it does that when I'm hungry. I was feeling lazy, so I made toast for us all. I only got through one slice before I realised that I was feeling sick, not hungry. I thought it would be a good idea for us all to get an early night and hopefully I would sleep it off.

Alas, it was not to be. I'd just got both of the boys ready for bed when I felt the overwhelming urge to dash for the toilet. With business taken care of, I got some water into me and crawled into bed. Where Wombat proceeded to crawl over me, using me as a platform for his nocturnal acrobatics whilst having a feed. Of course, he would only fall asleep while laying across my torso. Having an 11kg baby sleep across your torso is uncomfortable at the best of times, let alone when you've just been heaving your guts up.

Once Wombat was finally asleep, I needed to make another dash to the toilet, where both ends decided to let go in unison. I did the only thing one can do in that situation - sat on the toilet and ditched the contents out of the bin beside the toilet very quickly. I was cursing the fact that this had to happen on one of the rare nights Thunder Maker was out, of all nights. I crawled back into bed and tried to get warm.

My night was broken by the delerium of my fever and Wombat's acrobatics. At some point, I had a split second of lucidity and thought that Wombat was probably cutting a tooth. Great. Later, I woke up as Thunder Maker snuck into our room very quietly and realised that I'd actually managed to get some sleep in. I told him about my evening and asked for some lemonade. Thankfully, we had a small bottle in the cupboard. I hooked in gratefully and went back to sleep.

In the morning, Wombat was a much happier chappy. He was grinning away, proudly showing me his new tooth. In a strange way, it made the absolute crapfullness of the previous night worth it.

Thunder Maker was kind enough to take the boys off my hands the next day to give me a chance to lay around in bed and recover.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

A Decision Made

Thunder Maker and I have spent a lot of time talking about our options since I received that phone call on Friday.

To be honest, I was pretty keen to accept the offer straight up. I knew that it was not a decision I could make on my own though. I knew that it was going to take a lot of talking to convince Thunder Maker to go. Surprisingly, right from when I mentioned it, he was a lot more open to it than I was expecting.

We went out for a lovely dinner tonight at the bistro of one of the local pubs and talked it over some more while Seagull was tearing around in the play area. To my surprise, Thunder Maker said that yes, he is happy for us to go. He just wanted to be sure that it was what I really wanted. As he said, what he is doing is fast coming to an end, he is 12 years older than me, so he has already had a chance to pursue different career paths. Now he wants to give me the chance to pursue mine.

In then end, it was a much easier decision for us both to make than I had initially anticipated. I think that one of the major deciding factors for Thunder Maker is that we will only be a couple of hours away from his Mum. It actually works out quite well, because we are close enough to be able to go and visit for the day or a weekend, but far enough away that we won't be in each others pockets. My MIL is a wonderful person who has helped us out in so many ways that I will be eternally grateful for, but she is best handled in small doses that are spaced apart. And those are words that have come directly from Thunder Maker.

It is going to be fantastic that the boys are going to be able to spend time with their grandparents and be able to develop a real relationship with them. It's going to be great that for the first time in 24 years, I'm going to be living right near my Dad. We have always had a good relationship, in spite of the distance of our respective living arrangements, but I've always wanted to be able to just drop over for a beer and a chat. Dad only has daughters, and is quite happy with that, but he loves that he now has grandsons and I'm thrilled that he is now going to be able to spend time with them regularly. Dad is really into cars and all sorts of other traditional blokey things that Thunder Maker isn't into, so I'm really pleased that the boys are going to have someone around to be able to talk to about those sorts of things.

We have decided that Thunder Maker will hand in his notice at work and become the stay at home parent. I'm in the process of organising to go back to work early. The people at work that I've spoken to are pleased that I've changed my mind and decided to stay. I'm really looking forward to putting on my uniform again and being known as me, rather than someone's mother for eight hours a day.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Baby-Led Weaning

I have a confession to make. I'm somewhat of a lazy person. If there's a short cut to be taken, I'm the first to be taking it (as long as someone isn't going to end up hurt).

I hated making up shed loads of mushed up food for Seagull when he was a baby, only to have him turn his nose up at most of it. When he was about 8 months old, our Maternal and Child Health nurse suggested giving Seagull strips of food to eat. He loved it.

A few months later, I found out about something called Baby-Led Weaning. Basically, it involves skipping the puree/mashed food stage and going straight to finger foods. The theory is that this is how the weaning process would have worked before we got all technicmalogical and invented food processors to whizz the crap out of food, turning it to a messy pulp. If you want it explained better than I can, read this and this.

It occurred to me that this is what I had ended up doing with Seagull and I decided that I was going to do it from the start of solids with my next baby. After all, it appealed to my inherent sense of laziness.

When Wombat was a few months old, I bought a book about Baby-Led Weaning and avidly read it. We were away from home when he reached six months, so we just waited until we got home before starting the process. Every night when we had dinner, Wombat would get a couple of sticks of steamed veggies on his high chair tray while we ate. He would pick them up and play with them, but they wouldn't go anywhere near his mouth.

After a few weeks, something seemed to click and Wombat started trying to shovel food down his mouth. If I forgot to give him something to eat at dinner time (I tended to just put a bit extra on my plate to hand him), he would watch my food like a hawk until I gave him something to eat. A lot of it ended up on the floor, but there was food making it into Wombat's mouth as evidenced by the colourful chunks appearing in his nappies a day or two later.

It gives me great satisfaction to see Wombat eating away at meal times. He is becoming more and more keen to eat food and has been cutting right back on his breastfeeds through the day, although he makes up for it through the night. Baby-Led Weaning makes a lot of sense to me. When breastfeeding, Wombat is totally in control of how much he eats. By letting him feed himself finger foods, Wombat is continuing to maintain control of how much food he takes in and is able to stop when he is full. What's not to like about that?

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Decision time

I've found myself at a crossroads career-wise. At the moment, I am on maternity leave from my job. I had been planning on quitting, staying at home with my boys and concentrating on finishing my degree. My current job requires me to move every three or four years, although I have managed to stretch out my time in my current location to six years due to some strategic (although not altogether deliberate) timing of pregnancies. I know that if I go back to work, that I will have to move at the end of this year.

We've become quite settled here; we bought a house just over four years ago, Thunder Maker found a job that he liked until recently (when his employer was taken over by a larger organisation), we have a school in mind for the boys and we have made some really good friends. We really like the lifestyle and the pace of life here.

I got a call from the person who decides where my next move is going to be yesterday morning. He was touching base to see how my maternity leave was going and to let me know where he is going to send me next. I explained to him that I was starting to fill in the myriad of paperwork that needs to be done in order to resign. When he told me that he was planning on sending me to the location that I have been trying to get to for years, I immediately felt conflicted. I said I'd discuss it with Thunder Maker and let him know my decision.

From a purely logical standpoint, it makes more sense to go than to stay. When I'm working full time, I earn more than Thunder Maker. By the time we have to move, Wombat will be about 14 months old, so he won't need me around during the day for breastfeeds. As it is, he is wanting to eat food more and more and feed from me less during the day. We may be able to work things in such a way that Thunder Maker either works from home, works part time or doesn't work at all and does the stay at home Dad thing for a while.

The location that I would be sent to is less than an hour away from my Dad, his wife, my sisters and my Grandma. It's about 2 1/2 hours away from Thunder Maker's Mum, which is a plus. She has been quite unwell with an autoimmune disease that affects the lungs and kidneys this year. Things were very touch and go at one stage, but she managed to pull through. In saying that, Thunder Maker would love to be able to spend more time with her which is just not a possibility at the moment with our current location.

We would only be a couple of hours closer to my Mum, although further north as opposed to south, like we are currently. In saying that, most of her extended family is in the area we would be moving to and she already goes up that way several times a year, so we would end up seeing more of her anyway.

I wasn't sure if Thunder Maker would go for the idea of moving as he has always been quite vocal about wanting to stay here. In saying that, things are not going well in his current job and he hasn't had any luck finding anything else. When I mentioned it to him, he was a lot more open to the idea than I thought he would be. His main concern is that his band are just starting to get to the point of performing for money and getting some material out there and he doesn't really want to leave the band.

Thunder Maker is highly uncertain as to whether he is even going to have a job in another couple of weeks. He sent the big boss a letter the other day to tell her that him spending 15% of his income in travel to get to and from work is not viable. This has happened as the result of the big boss changing his work location from the office in our town to one that's nearly an hour away at less than 24 hours notice. And that is far from the worst thing that has happened since the takeover.

So, now I'm in a position where it seems like my mind may have been made up for me by circumstance. Still, it's a big decision to make.

Friday, 15 July 2011

My Parenting Fail

There was (and still is) something that I really need to blog about and get it off my chest, but as is often the way with two small children, something more dramatic has happened in the meantime. It is somewhat reminiscent of Glowless' incident with Tricky the other day caused by a Parental Parody style parenting fail.*

Wombat didn't have his usual deep sleeps during the day today, more of a quick cat nap here and there. Seagull didn't have a nap at all. On top of that, we went for a walk down the street and Seagull walked nearly the whole way home instead of riding in the pram. The walk normally takes me a good 20 minutes at my walking pace and we were walking at the pace of a 2 1/2 year old, so it was pretty slow and a very long walk for Seagull.

Fast forward to this evening, and both boys are really tired. We all had a bath and got ready for bed. By this time, Wombat was hanging for a feed and a sleep. Thunder Maker is at band practice tonight, so as I usually try to do in this situation, I tried to get Seagull to have a snuggle up against my back while I was feeding Wombat in the bed. Seagull had other ideas.

Seagull has worked out that he can drag our bar stools around into the kitchen. He then climbs up on top of them and helps himself to whatever has been left on top of the bench. I figured that for once, it was all fairly sparse as all dry food items (such as sugar, flour and Weet Bix) had been stashed well out of the realms of a sneaky Seagull.

After a while, some fairly loud Seagull screaming came from the direction of the kitchen. Thinking that Seagull had fallen over and hurt himself, I called for him to come and give me a cuddle, as I still had Wombat attached for his feed. He didn't come. He kept screaming. Then the screaming got so hysterical that it sounded almost like he was laughing. I closed up shop on Wombat (who fortunately stayed asleep) and went to investigate.

I was greeted by the sight of cornflour spread over half the kitchen floor. Nan had made a lemon meringue pie for dessert and left the packet of cornflour on the bench. As I rounded the corner, I saw Seagull up at the kitchen sink, with his toes only just touching the bar stool that he had used to get up there with. I got closer and realised that Seagull had shoved two of his fingers into the drain holes of the sink up to the second knuckles and was stuck. Oh crap.

I gave his hand a tug to see if I could pull it out, which elicited a huge scream. I then pushed the bar stool closer so that his whole body weight wasn't hanging by his fingers and contemplated my next move. Thankfully, common sense kicked in, courtesy of the bottle of dishwashing detergent that sauntered casually into my line of view. I reached over Seagull to grab it, squeezed a heap of it around his fingers and worked it in. The first finger slipped out almost immediately and the second one came out with a bit more gentle persuasion.

Seagull's fingers were big, fat, red and bent at a funny angle. I immediately thought of taking him to the hospital, then realised that Thunder Maker has the car with the car seats in it at band practice. I called the emergency department at the hospital and was told that it was very unlikely that Seagull had broken anything. The nice nurse told me to give him some Panadol, a cuddle and see if he would settle.

By this stage, Seagull's finger was bleeding all over his hand and he was trying to give me a cuddle. Ah, no, not with that bloody hand, he wasn't. I washed his hand off and stuck a band-aid over the bleeding bit. Then I gave him some Panadol. Thankfully, he likes taking medicine and gulped it all down quite gratefully.

Seagull is now snuggled up in bed next to Wombat giving his Teddy big cuddles, apparently not too worse the wear for my parenting fail.

* I say that with much love and humour. Plus, Georgia says that sort of thing about herself all the time. :)

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Ziggy

Just for shits and giggles and because I'm procrastinating from doing the last of my uni work for the week, I've decided to write a post about something that happened pre-children.

Thunder Maker and I went on a trip to Europe. While we were going through security/customs, I thought it would be a really cool idea to buy a toy platypus and take photos of it in various places that we went. Why a platypus? Because I like them, OK?

A toy platypus was henceforth purchased and named Ziggy. I can't remember why we called him Ziggy, but it could have had something to do with the character Ziggy from that awesome show "Quantum Leap". Come on, you know you remember it. And if you don't, shame on you. I'm revealing my nerdiness again, aren't I?

Following is a selection of my photos of Ziggy's trip to Europe:

Ziggy chilling in the QANTAS International Business Class lounge at Tullamarine.

Now, before you all think I'm rolling in money (believe me, I'm not), Thunder Maker happened to have a shed load of frequent flyer points from 10 years worth of hoarding them. We happened to have enough to upgrade our economy tickets to business class for the whole trip to Europe and back.

Ziggy checking out our drinks in business class on the plane.

Ziggy checking out the view from the window on the way to Singapore.

 Ziggy checking out his business class pack.

 Ziggy at the BA Business Class Lounge at Changi Airport.

 Ziggy lazing around a waterhole on the way to Frankfurt.

 Ziggy watching a movie.

 Ziggy at Bodensee in Germany.

 Ziggy eying off our breakfast in Germany. No, not for Ziggy!

 Ziggy outside an old church we went to in Germany.

 Not Ziggy, but I couldn't resist throwing this one in.

 Ziggy checking out the view from Neuschwanstein, Germany.

 Ziggy on the train somewhere in Germany.

 Ziggy looking out the ferry window on the way to Denmark.

We actually started off that morning in Berlin, changed trains at Hamburg, then the train boarded the ferry for the crossing to Denmark. We changed trains again at Copenhagen, but the train had technical issues, so they ditched us at Malmö (first stop in Sweden) and we had to find another train to get us from there to Goteborg.

Ziggy admiring the rock art in Sweden. I really wish I remembered where this was, but we just got packed off in the car one day and taken for a drive to check out some really cool stuff.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Seagull's love affair with 7:30

I think Seagull may have a new love interest. Her name is Leigh Sales.

Seagull's vocabulary has really started to come along in leaps and bounds in the last month or so. He's also starting to comprehend how to answer questions now. He still mimics things that he hears, but he is starting to mimic whole sentences, rather than just key words.

We are super nerds in our house and our night time TV viewing is nearly always ABC1. About a week ago, Seagull started copying Leigh Sales' intro - "7:30, Leigh Sales". He knows that 7:30 comes on after the news, and when he hears the intro music, he now says "7:30 with Leigh Sales". When she actually appears on the TV, he fairly squeals with delight.

The poor little thing was quite confused last Friday night when the state edition of 7:30 came on. He was going on about Leigh Sales during the opening theme and I had to explain that Leigh Sales was not on tonight, it was someone else. Let's just say that 7:30 doesn't have quite the same appeal to Seagull when someone other than Leigh is presenting it.

Seagull was getting all primed for 7:30 on Saturday night and we had to explain to him that Kingdom is on on Saturday nights, not 7:30. That was OK though. Seagull gets quite excited when he sees the ads for Kingdom through the week, pointing him out through the whole commercial. He had lots of cuddles on the lounge with Mama Sidetracked, Daddy Thunder Maker and Bubby Wombat on and off throughout the show and had great fun pointing out Kingdom to us (Kingdom is the surname of the main character of the show for those of you who don't watch the thrilling TV line-up of ABC1 on Saturday evenings).

Last night, Seagull was practically salivating in anticipation of seeing "7:30 with Leigh Sales" again. He was so thrilled when the opening theme started and his excitement reached fever pitch when Leigh appeared on the screen. He was giggling with joy and jumping up and down. The things that excite a 2 year old never cease to amaze me.

Brag post

Yet again, I've been very slack on the blogging front. I've got ideas but I find myself procrastinating. I promise I'll get around to blogging about them. I've been working on some crafty projects lately, so as soon as I find batteries for my camera, I'll take some photos so I can show off my crafty prowess to you all. I probably should endeavour to find my camera as well.

In the meantime, I feel the need to have a bit of a brag about some things.

First of all, I am very pleased to say that I passed both of my uni subjects for last term. In fact, I even got a credit for one of them. Not bad, considering that I got behind with my study in the first week, struggled to catch up, then kind of gave it up as a lost cause in the last few weeks of term. I had been particularly worried about one of my subjects. It was called Physics for Health Sciences and there was all sorts of wrong with the way the course was run as far as I was concerned.

The textbook was pretty crappy in that a lot of the explanations were very vague and there were no worked examples of how to apply the formulae to actual examples. Then there was the sheer amount of work involved - three assignments, weekly multiple choice quizzes, weekly tutorial quizzes and the residential school. Not that the residential school bothered me, but the fact that half the material that was required for it in way of the laboratory manual wasn't even put up on the course website until four days before the res school started. When most of us were already in location attending res school for another subject. It would have been nice if they could have pulled their finger out and organised to have the lab manual printed, bound and sent out to us at the beginning of term like every other lecturer manages to do for their classes. All in all, I felt like there was too much expected of us and that we would have been just as well served to do two assignments and either the tutorial worksheets or the multiple choice quizzes. Don't worry, I said all of this and more in my course evaluation feedback.

With my issues of feeling like I hadn't understood the subject very well and not having looked over the last 3 weeks worth of the course in any great detail, I was worried about how I would do in the exam. It turned out that all of the exam questions were a straight cut and paste from questions from the assignments throughout the term. What was even better is that one of the questions that was worth a quarter of my overall mark was exactly the same, word for word as one of the questions on my last assignment that had only been due in four days earlier. It was meant to be a three hour exam and I finished in just over two hours. I walked out of the exam humming "I'm Walking on Sunshine".

Second term started today and I've already covered all of the work for first week for one of my subjects. I'm doing three subjects this term and have decided to approach how I study a bit differently from normal. Normally, I try to take notes from the textbook, but I end up paraphrasing the whole damn thing. I know it doesn't work for me, so I'm going to focus a lot more on actually watching the lectures online and completing any tutorials/worksheets that the lecturers post on the course websites. One of my textbooks has checkpoint questions throughout each chapter and a "understanding the concepts" section of questions at the end of each chapter. This is what I have already worked through. I know feel like I have lymphocytes, basophils, erythrocytes, etc bleeding out my ears. Ha, funny. I just made reference to bleeding out my ears while talking about different types of blood cells. I'm such a nerd.

After a fair bit of digression, I come to my second point. I've been working on losing some weight. I realise that I really need to pay someone to crack the whip and make me move in order to motivate myself, so I've been attending an outdoor group fitness class. As part of that, we started a nine week winter blitz challenge. Each week we have had a different food challenge as well as an exercise challenge. I haven't done any of the extra exercise challenges purely because I find it hard to get out of the house to do them with two young children in tow.

However, I've found that doing the various food challenges has really got me thinking about the things I was consuming before. I realised when we had to cut out fizzy/sugary drinks in the first week of the challenge that I was actually consuming quite a lot of soft drink. After I spent a week not drinking it at all, I realised that I didn't miss it as much as I thought I would and I have barely touched the stuff since. In general, I'm craving sugar a lot less than I have in the past.

I've been getting a few comments lately from people saying that I'm looking thinner, so I grabbed out a tape measure the other day and wrapped it around my waist. I thought that I'd lost about three or four centimetres until I dug out my measurement sheet from when I first started the challenge. It turns out that I'd actually lost about 10cm from my waist. I was so stoked that I'd lost 10cm in six weeks. There's still another three weeks of the challenge to go, so I'm hoping that I will lose another 5cm from my waist in that time. I didn't think to measure around my hips until a couple of days later and it turns out that I've lost about 10cm from there too.

I'm really pleased to be seeing the results of my work. Before starting out at this whole exercise thing, I really wasn't liking what I was seeing in the mirror as I stepped out of the shower. More importantly, I want my boys to see me making healthy lifestyle choices and to see me enjoying exercise and making it a regular part of my life. Hopefully it will motivate them to exercise for fun when they get older. In the meantime, it will give me the stamina to keep up with them. I'm sure I'm going to need it with two young boys.

Anyway, there you have it. Apparently waking up at 5:30am to go and flog yourself for an hour at a time three days a week before your kids wake up and your husband has to go to work has some merit to it.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Fluffy Mail

I always knew that I was going to use cloth nappies on my kids long before I ever had any. Until a few years before I had Seagull, I just assumed that that was going to involve copious amounts of terry toweling squares and plastic piltchers. I figured that if my Mum could manage it, then so could I.

A friend of mine had a baby about two years before I had Seagull. I was amazed at the cloth nappies she was using on her daughter. They were shaped like disposables and buttoned up and were seriously cute. I wanted to steal them.

When I was pregnant with Seagull, I did my research and decided on a fitted system. For those of you unfamiliar with modern cloth nappies (MCN's), a fitted nappy is the closest thing you can get to the old school terry toweling nappies. They tend to be made out of hemp or bamboo fabric (mine are bamboo) and they need a separate cover to go over the top.

It's at this point that I feel the need to mention what happened with our washing machine the day after we brought Seagull home from hospital. I diligently hooked into the washing, only for our machine to shit itself halfway through the first load. Thankfully, it wasn't the load of nappies that were in there at the time (they were going to be my next load). Unfortunately, the machine started spewing water all over our laundry floor and there is no drainage hole in our laundry floor. Seriously, who builds a house without a drainage hole in the laundry floor?! Fortunately, I happened to notice the water spewage all over the wet areas before it made its way to the carpet. Unfortunately, it was 5 January, one of the whitegoods repairers in town was on holidays and the other was flat out busy. It was only because we told him that we have a 5 day old baby and no way to wash his nappies that we had a 2 day wait as opposed to a weeks wait.

Thunder Maker and my Mum attempted to repair the washing machine themselves to no avail, so we just had to hang tight and wait for the repair man to come. In the meantime, Thunder Maker and I made an early evening trip to the local laundromat sans Seagull (who stayed at home with his Granny) and put our five loads of washing in the machines. There was no one else there, so we hogged most of the machines and did all the washing at once.

When the repair man came, it turns out that the plug in the machine that stops the water from spewing out all over the place had come loose. Once it was put back in, the machine worked perfectly.

Anyway, back to the main story. I decided to try a different type of MCN when Seagull was about 6 months old. I ordered 6 All-in-ones (AIO's) and my addiction to MCN's took off. An AIO is a sized nappy that has a waterproof outer layer (either a smooth PUL fabric or a fluffy minky fabric), so it doesn't need a separate cover. The ones I have have a soaker pad sewn into them, but also have a pocket in the back that you can put additional bamboo inserts into to boost the absorbency.

I returned to work part time just before Seagull was 12 months old. His childcare centre were happy to use cloth nappies on him, so to make things easier on them, I decided to buy some more nappies that didn't require a separate cover. By this stage, the manufacturers of the nappies I'd already been using introduced a multi-fit pocket system. They also have a waterproof outer layer, but you can change the rise of the nappy by using snaps on the front of the nappy to adjust it to the appropriate size. They have a pocket in the back like an AIO, but they don't have any absorbent material sewn into them, so you need to put the inserts in yourself. The advantage to this is that you take them out to wash them and the drying time is a lot quicker.

When I found out I was expecting Wombat, I figured that I was all set for nappies. What I didn't count on was Wombat being such a lard arse big baby. It quickly became apparent that Wombat was going to outgrow the nappies that I already have long before he was ready to toilet train. This gave me an excuse to fuel my addiction buy more cloth nappies. Since February, I have had a set of large AIO's on lay-by. I paid them off a bit over a week ago and was greeted by the beautiful sight of a large parcel early yesterday morning. Fluffy mail had arrived!

I eagerly ripped into the package and checked out all the fluffy goodness. Bliss! Seagull and Wombat were quite fascinated by all the fluffy mail as well. Seagull's bliss moment arrived when I asked him to help me load them all into the washing machine. What can I say? We all <3 fluffy mail in our house. :)

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Ripped off!

Before Seagull started talking, Thunder Maker and I used to muse whether his first word was going to be "mama" or "dadda". Turns out that it was going to be neither. Seagull's first word was "baby". Nice to know where his priorities were (and still are, for that matter).

As much as I was hoping that Wombat's first word was going to be "mama", I knew that it was probably going to be "dadda". My boys absolutely adore their father. They love their mama, and I'm the one they come looking for when they want some comfort and security, but dadda is who the cool kids love to hang out with in my family.

Sure enough, a few weeks ago, Wombat came out with "dadda". The funny thing is that he only ever says it when Thunder Maker isn't around, so I've been the only one to hear him say it so far. That's cool, I thought, I'll get my "mama" next.

What I was forgetting is how besotted Wombat is with Seagull. His whole face lights up every time he sees Seagull. He's a big fan of tapping Seagull to get his attention so that they can play.

Anyway, we all wake up this afternoon from a nap and Wombat comes out with his second word. Only it's not "mama". It's "brother". At this point in time, I am feeling really ripped off. He's probably going to say the pet's names before he says "mama" at this rate.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Exam time

If you happen to follow my blog regularly, you may have noticed that all has been quiet in this corner of the world over the last few weeks. Unfortunately, uni stuff was getting on top of me and was taking up way more of my time than I would have liked.

Since getting home, I've had two physics assignments due and countless online quizzes to do for both physics and human body systems. This is all on top of my normal family life. The really sucky thing is that I misread an e-mail from my physics lecturer while I was in Rockhampton. I thought that he had given us a week's extension on our second assignment (the first one was done earlier in the term), which suited me because I hadn't finished it while we were in Rockhampton and it was supposed to be due the day after we got home after driving for four days. Turns out that it was for a tutorial and not the assignment, as I found out when I went to submit the assignment a week late. Fortunately, my lecturer said that he would still accept it.

The third physics assignment was due on Monday night just gone, two weeks after I finished the second assignment. In true Sidetracked style, I left it until the Sunday to start it. Fortunately, it was a lot easier than the second assignment. Still, I was up until 2am on Monday morning working on it, then finished it early Monday evening. After I had submitted the assignment, I set to work on the nine multiple choice quizzes that I had also left until the last minute and were due in that night. I ended up finishing those just after 2am (turns out the cut off time was 5:55am). I was very thankful that Seagull and Wombat chose to sleep in until 9:30am that morning. I had also finished eleven multiple choice quizzes for human body systems the week before.

My human body systems exam was on Monday (yes, I was sitting up until the wee hours doing physics work instead of revising for my exam). I thought I was pretty well all over it, but there were some really curly questions in the exam that I wasn't expecting. Still, I reckon I did well enough to pass, and you know what they say, P's get degrees.

My physics exam was on Thursday and I was pretty stressed out in the lead up to it. I knew that I had done nowhere near enough study and was really worried that I wasn't going to pass and would have to repeat the subject again next year. When I got into the exam, I was pleasantly surprised. All of the questions were a straight cut and paste out of the multiple choice quizzes and our assignments. In fact, one of the questions that was worth 25 marks in the exam was exactly the same as one of the questions in the third assignment. I was all over that one like a rash, making sure that I answered it. It was meant to be a three hour exam, but I finished it in just over two hours. It was such a good feeling.

I don't actually find out my final marks for my subjects until 1 July, but I'm feeling a lot better about it all now than I was at this time last week. Given that I'm going to be doing three subjects next term, I'm going to be using my down time to do a bit of reading on next term's subjects before they start. I don't want to get behind again, especially as I'm doing one more subject than what I usually do.

Last stop Rockhampton

After spending a couple of days with our wonderful friend in Brisbane, it was time to continue on with our trip. I managed to get everything packed the night before and convince Thunder Maker to load the car up so that we wouldn't have to do it in the morning. For once, we actually got away when we said we would.

On the drive, we noticed signs for a place called Sexie Coffie. I thought it was rather amusing and Thunder Maker is always sucked in by a gimmick involving a picture of a pair of legs and a cup of coffee, so we went through their drive-through at Marybourough. All I can say is best. chai latte. ever. Seagull was pretty impressed with his big babychino too. Seagull is a real sucker for a babychino. We can't get coffee/chai latte for ourselves without getting him a babychino.

By the time we got into Rockhampton, I was ready for a lie down. I made Thunder Maker go and get the key. There had been a mix-up and the family sized on-site caravan (how deliciously bogan, I know) that we were meant to be staying in had been given to someone else. The van that we ended up with was way too small for all four of us, so the caravan park manager kindly offered us an on-site cabin for the night at no extra cost.

The cabin we ended up in was actually the same one Thunder Maker, Seagull and I had stayed in 18 months previously when we were last up that way. The only reason we weren't staying in the cabin for the length of our stay this time is because half of their cabins had been washed away/damaged in the floods and the other half had already been fully booked out for part of the time we were staying up there by the time I had gotten organised enough to make the booking.

The next morning, we were able to move into our family sized van. There was a double bed and a single bed in the van. The double bed was on a platform that was supposed to be up against the wall of the van, but part of the wall had buckled out, so there was a slight gap in between the two. Me, having a typical mother moment, went to have an afternoon nap and forgot to take my mobile phone out of my pocket. You know where this is going, don't you? Yep, my phone fell out of my pocket and down the gap while I was sleeping. The gap was too small for me to get my hand down and there was no other way of accessing it. To cut a long story short, the caravan park manager had to drill a few holes in the floor of the caravan with his hole bit from underneath the van and reach up into it to rescue my phone.

I started my residential school the next morning. I got the times mixed up and thought that I had to be at the uni for an 8am start. Turns out that we were actually starting at 9am. Fortunately, I wasn't the only person who mixed the times up and I got chatting to one of my classmates. It turned out that she was doing the same two subjects that I was, so we agreed to pair up for the lab work for both subjects.

Meanwhile, the boys were all having a whale of a time without me. In the time that I was in classes, Wombat became a lot more aware of Seagull and vice versa. For the first time, Wombat was interacting with Seagull. As Thunder Maker said, trips to Rockhampton are a real bonding experience for the males in our family. Even when I got home of an evening, the boys would quite happily muck around with each other on the double bed.

 Seagull and Wombat

At night, I was sharing the double bed with Wombat and Seagull and Thunder Maker had the single bed to himself. One night I was woken up by movements and the sound of giggling. I rolled over to look, and there was Wombat and Seagull mucking around and playing with each other in the middle of the night. The funny thing is, I'm pretty sure Wombat rolled over and hit Seagull gently until he woke up to get him to play.

The day after my res school finished, we started the long trip back home. Rather than boring you with a whole post all about the drive, I'll just mention a couple of highlights here.

While we were packing up our stuff to leave, a couple of rainbow lorikeets landed on the ground right next to our car. Seagull loves birds and thought that the lorikeets were wonderful. After a couple of minutes, they went across the road to one of the other caravans. We had been chatting to the occupants of this particular van when we passed them over the last couple of days, and when they saw that Seagull was interested in the birds, they got out a piece of bread for him to feed them.

Seagull feeding the birdie. If you like his hoodie, check out Mm is for me.


Thunder Maker and I were conducting a highly scientific social experiment. We were driving past a lot of roadworks and Thunder Maker hypothesised that the friendliness of the lolly pop people at roadworks sites is directly proportional to their proximity to an Esky. With the hypothesis in place, we set out to test it by waving to every lolly pop person we saw. For the most part (there was the odd exception in both cases), the closer a lolly pop person was to an Esky, the more likely we were to get a smile and a wave in return.

On the second day of our journey, we were driving through a small northern NSW town and Seagull became rather animated. His talking went something along the lines of "Hello birdies, hello trees, hello bogans!" to a couple who happened to be minding their own business walking along the footpath. Just in case Thunder Maker and I were in doubt as to what he had said, Seagull then proceeded to say "hello bogans!" again about ten times.