Wednesday, October 1, 2014

N is for nappies

Let's talk nappies! Right from the beginning of pregnancy with Ellie, I was determined to use cloth. It was something I wanted to do, for the environment, and because I think they're marvellous. I signed Mr Fork and I up for workshops and did endless research online about what sort to use, which brands were better and the must have accessories to go with them (handy hint, a little squirt or home made equivalent will save your sanity!). I stalked the companies I was interested in to make sure that I bought at the best time and got the biggest bargains going. I've written a post about things I'd wish someone had told me about cloth nappies before.

Some of Ellie's early nappies
I should just lay it out there: with a newborn, you are going to get poop on you. It is just inevitable. Sure it's gross, but you get used to it, after all, there are lots of terrible things that could get on you, and you are washable. If you get used to touching poop, then it's just one more step to rinse it off and wash the poop catchers. Babies need quite a lot of washing done anyway I found. It's just as easy to clean a few extra items since I'd be in the laundry so much.

Minkie nappies - so soft and colourful!
When we started daycare, that was one of the questions that I asked every centre: were they happy to change my daughter's cloth nappies? All of them were fine with it, but they wouldn't rinse the nappies, just throw them in the bucket I provided. That was fine with me, even if it did add an extra task to my days (ever tried to rinse off dried on poop? It's pretty gross). Anyway, Ellie was in cloth nappies full time until probably her first birthday when her day care said she was just holding on too long and wetting through too often. I kept her in cloth at home for awhile longer, and then folded to peer pressure from Mr Fork and allowed him to switch her to disposable. Much like the breast vs bottle debate, I know that there is no one solution that fits everybody and I will do what suits my family best at the time.

I have kept my stash of beautiful cloth nappies (and flats too!), and Attila will also wear them when big enough (I tend to grow small babies).

I do love the look of a little baby with a big fluffy cloth bum.

Do you use cloth nappies, either full time or otherwise? Any tips?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Recipe: Easy Coconut bread - toddler and freezer friendly

Lately I've been on a bit of a baking binge. I'd guess that it has something to do with nesting, and something to do with knowing the bone numbing tiredness that comes with having a new baby and wanting to stave off some stress by knowing that at least my freezer has food in it. Also, one of Ellie's current great joys in life is to help with the baking - I'm not sure whether it's the pouring and mixing of ingredients, the eating of the batter when she thinks I'm not looking, or the finished product that has the appeal, but who am I to thwart her?

Coconut bread
I think this is a great recipe - it's quick, easy, freezes well and best of all, is toddler approved. Winner all around!

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used raw)
  • 1 cup milk (I used a 155ml can of coconut cream and made up the extra 1/4 cup with soy milk)
Method:

  1. Preheat a fan forced oven to 170C and line a loaf pan with baking paper.
  2. Put all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and combine.
  3. Pour into pan and bake.
I told you it was easy! Eat as is, or top with butter or icing. I don't think it needs either, with the coconut cream the bread is sweet enough and doesn't need anything extra.

Notes:
  • The recipe freezes beautifully. I cut it into pieces and freeze each slice individually for ease of defrosting and future snacking.
  • You could easily make this into cupcakes as well, just adjust the baking time to suit.
  • I ran out, but if you use gluten free flour, you're ticking all the dietary bases with this recipe, which also makes it perfect to share with friends.
  • A splash of vanilla essence added would also be delicious.
Delicious, crumby and more-ish!
Inspire me! What are your freezer friendly meals/snacks?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Things I'm looking forward to post pregnancy

Inspired by a Facebook post recently, I decided to compile a list of things that I'm really looking forward to post pregnancy. At first, getting pregnant is awesome! You're still small enough to be comfortable, it's exciting and you're all glowing and happy. Then later, as things progress, you gradually get more uncomfortable and resentful of what you can't have. Probably, even if I could have everything on my list, I wouldn't, but it's the sheer fact that I just can't that makes me want them more.

What kicked off the whole thought process? Well, I had to go to the physio, and they have a special pillow that lets you lie on your stomach. It was LOVELY. I imagine in fact, that I looked something like this:
 

Source
So, in no particular order, other things I am looking forward to post birth:
  • Lying in a position other than on my side. I may starfish and wallow around on my back immediately after delivery I am looking forward to it that much (another seal picture of that below, it is that cute)
  • A sneaky glass of wine
  • Walking without waddling
  • Rolling over in bed without it needing to be (at least) a three point maneuver
  • Tiny person snuggles
  • Soft cheeses! 
  • Decent time periods without needing to wee
  • New baby smell
  • Sushi
  • Having a choice in clothing again (my pregnancy wardrobe is small)
  • Being able to wear heels if I want to
  • Painting my own toes
  • Eating a decent sized meal without indigestion
Source

I'd like to say sleep but I figure that's not something I'll get any more of...

Have I missed anything important here?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

M is for mothering

Lately, as I have begun to slow down a bit with this pregnancy, I have often wished that I had someone nearby that I could just call up and say, 'hey, please come and watch Ellie for me while I sleep and lie down and rest while Attila squirms around'. Even in the early days with the constant seasickness of nausea when I couldn't tell anyone yet, I just lay on the couch or bed and had toys strewn around for Ellie while I tried to ride through the waves of sickness because there was no one that I could call for that kind of help.

Mr Fork has had to do a few overnight trips lately too, and at seven-plus months pregnant with Attila, it has been difficult to manage these on my own. It hurts to bend and pick up Ellie. I am tired and sore and bad tempered. Showering is hard enough for just me, let alone cleaning a small person who just wants to be picked up and danced madly around in the water too.


A little out dated now, but you get the idea

At times like those, I miss my mother. I don't often speak about her, but during this time she is often on my mind, especially when I have questions that my dad can't answer. Like, how long was she in labour? Was breastfeeding easy for her? When did I walk? What was my first word? Did she get nauseous? Was her second pregnancy easier? I get so jealous when people talk about being pregnant and how ill they feel but luckily they have their mother over to help watch the toddler and to clean and cook and ensure that they were sent to bed to rest in peace. And how hard it all is. Hard? 'Hard' is having to suck it up because no one can come over and help you. And you have to do the cooking and cleaning and mothering and wife-ing while sick and large because there isn't anyone else. But that's my problem, not theirs… because really, it's just me being jealous about how lucky they are. And sometimes... it's lovely having a limpet like toddler who must sleep touching you. Other times, I'd love to have some space to just lie down and let the stress of the day drain away in solitude.

My own personal limpet
Mr Fork has always said his mother would come and help me if I asked. I know she would too. But really, I'd be too uncomfortable to whine to her like I could to my own family. I couldn't ask her to clean or pick up the detritus of the house. My dad and stepmother are too far away to ask, although I know they would if they could too (although it would kill them to have to say no, so I would never even voice it). There is no friend I have who I would feel comfortable asking to come and see me naked in the shower (Ellie likes company when she washes) and help me shower Ellie and I, or to put their own busy life on hold to help. So I just… don't. I put up… and until now, I've shut up.

Let's be clear, Ellie is not deprived of love. She has so many people who adore her, and she has Mr Fork's mother, and my stepmother, so she has grandmothers. But my mother has not met her. She has not acknowledged she has a grandchild, and another one on the way and that just kills me. It especially kills me because pregnancy makes me long for my mother, and I can't imagine ever not wanting Ellie and Attila in my life. So I have to conclude that it is my mother who misses out on their fabulousness and all the wonder of watching them grow up. And I will have to live with being a motherless mother. Most of the time, that's ok, I can deal with it.

My children though? They will never know what that feels like. I will make sure of it. I will be there for them and bear witness to all the gladness and sadness of their lives. That is what mothering is. Unconditional love. Selflessness. Acceptance of limpet like cuddles and that your life isn't actually all your own anymore.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pregnancy glamour in the third trimester

Find my first post about the realities of pregnancy here.

I just had a couple of thoughts to add to my previous points about the so-called glamour of pregnancy that no one tells you about.
  • A second pregnancy is so much harder than a first. You can't nap when you want to, because there is a toddler demanding attention. You can't just take to bed and expect people to look after you, because guaranteed, no one understands that mama is tired too.
  • Medical professionals will assume you know what you're doing because you've done it ONCE before. I'm telling you, I blocked out most of my Ellie pregnancy but especially that whole labour part. If I'd remembered all the *fun* stuff, I don't know if I would have gone for round two!
  • That fun stuff I mentioned? The tiny stomach space because Attila is taking up all my internal space, so the constant feeling of either indigestion (if I eat) or raging hunger (if I don't). Lack of internal space also means less bladder room, so frequent bathroom trips.
  • The practicing of internal ballet moves and soccer playing becomes less cute the bigger baby gets - now it's just violent movements instead of cute little flutters. Also the kicking of my bladder, which I could certainly live without.
  • Never, ever underestimate the importance of your pelvic floor. Sure, you might think you've done enough exercises the first time... you haven't. Do more. Trust me.
  • The feeling that I just can't stretch anymore, and how can I possibly have another 6 weeks or so to go? My balance is completely off, and there is still more growing to do?!
  • The chaos that surrounds me. I'm not by any means a clean freak, but I like things tidy. Now, we live in filth (not literally). It's just that Ellie cleans like a toddler, and Mr Fork cleans like a man, so they just don't see mess the way I do. I can't bend down or put in the elbow grease to fix it myself and so I often close my eyes to the mess and enjoy snuggles instead.
 
Finally, I have a parting anecdote to share before I close off my whiney post.
  • I totally understand the urge to throttle one's husband. The other night, Mr Fork hurt his hip playing football. Then, Ellie cried in the middle of the night so he brought her into our bed instead of comforting her in her own room. He then had the nerve to complain because she wanted to snuggle up with him on his pillow. Oh his hip hurt! He didn't have enough room! It was not appreciated when I pointed out that I'm pregnant and carrying around an extra fifth of my body weight right now, with more to gain. That rolling over is hard, that I have to wear a support belt to hold my hips in place and that usually, Ellie sleeps limpet like against me in the bed so that there are three people on my side while he stretches out in glorious spatial luxury alone on his side of the bed. No, all that was brushed aside because his hip hurt and he was squashed. Men!
Make me laugh. Has your significant other just totally not gotten the point?

Monday, September 8, 2014

What's in my Kitchen, September 2014

In my kitchen is...

Experimental ginger cookies. My friend came over and helped me bake a batch of the most delicious cookies. They are yummy anyway, but being something Attila will tolerate makes them extra yummy. Packed full of fresh ginger, walnuts, pepitas and other delicious things, these are one of my favourite things to eat at the moment when Attila won't let me eat anything else. We plan to change up the recipe a bit and turn them into lactation cookies for later on. Stay tuned for that recipe too.



In my kitchen is... 

Hugh Hamilton Ring-in Shiraz Cordial from the McLaren Vale. This was a gift from my fabulous baker friend who thought of her pregnant friend while on a wine tour. It's a non-alcoholic cordial made from grapes and packaged in a beautiful wine bottle, available from a vineyard, but it's not wine. It tastes remarkably like the real thing, and is delicious with both sparkling and still water. One of my favourite things right now! Mr Fork even serves it to me in a wine glass for added authenticity...


In my kitchen is... 

Jelly cups. Not the fun sort I used to make with vodka back in my younger clubbing days either. These are toddler friendly and perfect for the times when Ellie just won't eat anything else. Lately she has been teething again (when is she not!?) and there are meals where she flat out refuses to chew. We were spending a fortune on those pre-made cups with fruit, and I thought it was just as easy to make them myself. I kept a few of the cups, washed them and made up my own mix of jelly and whatever fruit I had handy. She thinks they're pretty awesome and I'm happier knowing that a) they cost a fraction of the pre-made price and b) I can sneak in extra fruit to make me feel like there is some nutrition there. Pictured is strawberry pieces in lime jelly.


In my kitchen is...

Cat Grass. Not edible and not for me, these luscious specimens were a gift for a friend. She has a vegetable garden and a visiting cat thinks it's a lovely place to lie down, usually on top of whatever she is growing. I saw this grass at my local farmers market and thought it might be just the thing to convince that feline to lie elsewhere. I haven't heard whether it was a success yet, but the little pots looked so lovely on the windowsill that I couldn't help take a picture of how green and delicious the grass looked.


In my kitchen is...

Red Bean and Taro Cake. I had a birthday recently, and I was absolutely spoiled. My mother in law made me a layered red bean and taro cake in the style of those desserts you get at yum cha to celebrate. I can't tell you exactly what is in it, but there is definitely coconut, agar agar, and of course, red bean and taro. It is absolutely delicious but very dense, and best eaten often and in small pieces.

 

In my kitchen is...
 
Fresh flowers. I adore flowers in the home, but I don't often spoil myself and indulge. I was thrilled to receive this beautiful bunch from Mr Fork and Ellie for my birthday. I'm a huge fan of oriental lilies and I'm waiting impatiently for these beauties to open up and fragrance my kitchen. 


I am linking this post in with Fig Jam and Lime Cordial's monthly In My Kitchen event. Go have a peek through other kitchens around the globe!

What's in your kitchen this month?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

L is for Laughter

Laughter... I really do think it's the best medicine there is. The day that I first heard Ellie laugh was magical. It was just a little chuckle while we were playing, but I froze for a moment and when I looked at her, she was just all lit up with pure joy. I actually have an audio recording on my phone of one of her first laughs. It cracks me up even now. I was making kissing noises and kissing her toes and tummy and she lost the plot. She was laughing her baby laugh so hard that she was snorting at the same time. It's adorable!
 
As her mama, I love finding the things that make her laugh. Now, she chuckles with glee at lots of things.

  • She loves tickles. Both being tickled, and "tickling" you. More often than not her tickles are actually pokes and pinches, but she is trying and so I laugh for her because I know the intention is there. We are also staying strong with teaching boundaries and are careful to stop or be stopped if the word is given.
  • She loves texture. Blankets and jackets and soft teddy bears rubbed on her cheek are delightful.
  • Great delight is also taken in blowing raspberries onto my belly and talking to her "brovver". 
  • She is so active. She loves going to the park and swinging, using the slides and throwing herself around. She loves playing catch, dancing to something with a beat (Pharrell's 'Happy' is a constant winner). She will also come to you and ask to be swung around, flung upside down or carried for a piggy back ride. She loves hide and seek and peekaboo, especially when she thinks she is getting the better of you and you can't find or see her. All of these things produce gorgeous giggles (mostly minus the snorts these days).
 
I also think that laughter is healing and definitely helps break up some of the stress that parenting can bring. Especially in the early days of motherhood (oh how I try not to think of those too much, especially with Attila so close now), things just happen, and if you don't laugh at yourself, you might end up crying. Here are a couple of my pearlers:
  • Wrangling new born Ellie and I into fresh clean outfits, then having her simultaneously throw up on me and create a poopsplosion that her nappy and outfit couldn't contain. Realising that the shirt I was wearing had to be removed over my head and was now covered with excretion from each end...
  • Sleep deprived and home alone with Ellie after Mr Fork had exhausted his paternity leave. She wouldn't stop crying. After trying everything, I wrapped her against me and she finally slept, but all attempts to lay her down were futile. I ate lunch standing up, swaying from side to side with toast crumbs raining down on to her bald-ish little head, laughing like a loon. Mr Fork came home to find me still pacing manically around the house, Ellie sleeping quietly and innocently.
  • Finally getting some much needed shuteye, only to hear Mr Fork scream with what I can only describe as horror, and yell for assistance. Dash into the nursery to see him (and half the room including the rug) coated with poop. Obviously Ellie was not done and when he'd lifted her to change the nappy over, she'd taken advantage of the angle and let loose. Oh the horror.
Then there's the things that Ellie does both intentionally and unintentionally that make us laugh, such as:
  • The way she calls her dressing gown 'kitty' (it's a hello kitty one). And she can't quite pronounce kitty so it sounds a bit rude.
  • When she does something naughty and realises I'm unhappy with her - she'll throw herself at me shouting "Sowwy! Cuddle!" then clasp me in a toddler death grip. It's all I can do not to smother her with kisses but instead accept her apology with dignity.
What has made you laugh lately?

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