Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mrs Smyth... crafts at a painfully slow rate.

So... I got the sewing bug again. Which I find strange because I wouldn't actually call myself a sewer at all. In late pregnancy I got the itch to borrow a sewing machine and sew a doona cover. And pillowcases. Laydeepants helped me measure things out and I went on my merry way.

Fast forward to now, I've sewed a headscarf for my first week back at work and little else. Then, I started actually reading the Spotlight catalogues that get sent to me every week. There were these sweet sewing-for-dummies panels for Christmas stockings. I still have my Christmas sack (a big plastic printed one with my name on it, but never fear safety standards of the 1980's, there's holes punched in it.) as does Mr S (a fancy handmade one...)

I wanted to make Millie a handmade Christmas stocking. Oh god.

I purchased the necessary materials, looking blankly at the sales assistants when they asked 'Do you want to line it with poplin or straight drill?' and saying things like 'Seam a-what-ance?'

Then I looked at all the materials for about a month. I'd pull them out, look intently at the instructions, hear the baby crying and put it all away again. After this time I decided I could do this. Laydeepants talked me through interfacing, so I went and bought Vlisofix (the only craft product I know the name of, thank you days of quilting.) Turns out, that's not what I needed.

I went back again and said 'Laydeepants uses that grey stuff there. What does that do?'
Spotlight lady: 'How stiff do you want it to be?'
Me: 'How stiff are stockings usually?'
Spotlight lady: 'Other Spotlight lady, how stiff would a stocking be? This lady is making one.'
Other Spotlight lady: 'You don't want stiff do you? Just to bulk it up a bit?'
Me: 'Um... yes?'
Other Spotlight lady: 'You want this.'
Me: 'Ok?'

Sewing it all together.
So I wound up with wadding interfacing. I started assembling and cutting and ironing. And recutting and reironing. (What do you mean stockings have two sides that aren't the same shape? What?)

Rick-Rack assembly.
Now, because I'm difficult like that, I decided my lack of experience was no barrier and that I'd like to add that giant rick-rack along the edges of the stocking. I thought this would work. And blow me down, it did.

The entire time I had a little helper sitting on the floor next to me. This is a rare moment of her not attempting to eat the sewing machine power cord.

 I was then mostly finished apart from the pesky top seams. The instructions on the panel said something... but I just didn't read them closely enough. I thought about it for a good long while, and wound up deciding to add a 'sock' style of band top to it.

Almost done!
In the midst of all of this Millie decided to start waking up every 60-90 minutes at night, so there's no photos of this next little bit because my eyes were bleeding and I was lucky I didn't sew my hands together.

I made the sock, and sewed the hanging tag on the wrong side. So I unpicked it and promptly resewed. With the tag on the right side but on the wrong end. So I unpicked it and resewed it. Properly. Finally.

I decided that the best course of events would be to add the sock to the lining, and I looked at it and thought about it and did lots of pinning. After a few goes at pinning the sock to the lining I sewed. And it wasn't right. So I unpicked and repinned and sewed. Still not right. Unpicked, got a chocolate, walked around, thought about it, had another chocolate. Repinned. Sewed. Still inside out.

More chocolate. Another walk. Then I tried something so ridiculous because I was Out. Of. Ideas. And it worked.

All that was left was the hand stitch the sock facing to the stocking as it was only affixed with the lining.

Does any of this make sense without pictures?


Ok, here's the ending.

It worked. And looks ace. I'm really proud of myself. All that's left to be done is for a friend to hand stitch a felt panel for the front with Millie's name on it, and she's got her own home made stocking for her first Christmas!

Almost done!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Silent Sunday


Head over to Dear Baby G to see the link up for Silent Sunday...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

So... YOU'RE having a baby...

My sister Salad is pregnant with her first child and I keep promising to make a list of what we've found to be 'must haves' in our household.

It's really very daunting because every magazine/shop catalogue/television advertisement will tell you what you really MUST have. To be honest, there's not a lot that you need. I'll cover what we found we needed, but also what we found mighty bloody useful. 

Your hospital midwife/homebirth midwife/antenatal class/Dr/Obstetrician will probably hand you a very simple list of needs. Trust us, it seems like not enough stuff, but it really is.

This list is taken from my hospital book of what you need for bubs in hospital.
  1. 4-6 jumpsuits
  2. 4-6 singlets
  3. 4-6 light weight wraps
  4. Nappies
  5. Wet wipes/facewashers/cotton balls for changing.
  6. Socks/Mittens
  7. Hat
  8. Light weight blanket
Adding to that list of stuff for home is
  1. Somewhere to sleep the baby.
  2. Light weight wraps and blankets, bedding linen and towels.
  3. Jump suits, jackets, singlets, hats socks, mittens face washers and nappies.
Straightforward huh? So that's the 'Need' list, here's our 'useful' list.

Beginning with the business 'I've just had a BABY OH MY GOD' end...
  1. Breast pads. Buy many boxes. You will burn through them in the first week. I recommend Rite-Aid Nursing Pads ($7/box) or Pigeon Premium Breast Pads ($13ish/box).
  2. Breast Pump. I could write a weepingly long letter to Avent professing my thanks for their invention of the Avent IQ breast pump. The skinny (ha!) of it is my recommendation that if you're intending on breastfeeding, purchase a breast pump BEFORE you need one. You can always re-sell it - I was lucky enough to get mine second hand for a song, and then I found out how much it cost new.

    Basically if you're intending to give your bub an expressed milk bottle every now and then or going back to work and expressing bottles further down the track pony up whilst you've still got disposable income and purchase a good quality manual/electric breast pump. There's also the chance that like me, you'll need a breast pump for use before every feed for a really long time. So I recommend buying one before you need it because when and if you need it, you're possibly not going to be in the frame of mind to do research and compare prices. If you can, think of this expense as a bit like insurance... you may not need it, but by golly if you do, you'll be SO glad you've already got one.
  3. Disposable nappies. We use cloth during the day and disposables at night, and when it comes to disposable nappies I worship at the Huggies altar. Nothing contains everything like Huggies. And trust me, in the beginning the volume and velocity of poo is frightening. If you're going the disposable route in the first few weeks/months like we did, buy giant sized boxes. You won't find baby has suddenly outgrown them and you don't want ever to be caught short.
  4. Nappy Sacks. If you're using disposable nappies it's really useful to have disposable nappy sacks. There are heaps of brands available varying in price and eco-friendliness. Think scented. 
  5. Maternity pads. I don't really need to say this do I? But, buy more than you think you'll need, as you're probably not going to want to leave the house in the first week or two. And yes, they're exactly as you would imagine.
  6. Terry flat cloth nappies. We use two kinds. Dickies White flat squares ($20 for 12)for the business end of the change table, and Big Softies coloured squares ($20 for 8) for vomits, dribbles, peek a boo, everything else really. n.b. White for bums and Coloured for faces is a theme we continue through towels and facewashers. Just to be sure.
  7. Face washers. We have a dozen in constant rotation. Mr S uses them as baby wipes with water. I use them for baby distraction toys, wiping mouths etc.
  8. Baby Socks. Babies have sharp nails that don't need trimming immediately. Millie's just peeled off in the first week or so. However, they'll also try to scratch themselves a lot. Mittens are super useful but somewhat ugly. Let your newborn socks do double duty - they make awesome mittens. Poor Millie was still getting around with socks on her hands in winter, I didn't want to buy mittens that would fit for about three weeks as her meaty paws delicate little hands grew so quickly!
  9. Onesies. Jumpsuits. Whatever you call them. Lots of them. Millie had an ability to dirty a nappy, singlet, onesie and the carpet within minutes of having a fresh one on. Have lots on hand.
  10. Singlets. See #8. These are useful in a size bigger than you think you'll need. Babies grow super quickly and bigger singlets are so much easier to put on.
  11. Breastfeeding pillow. I had many problems breastfeeding and I finally caved and purchased a Tetra Nursing Wedge when M was about 7 weeks old. This was literally the only thing that kept me breastfeeding. Highly recommend. Worth every cent, and it was so much cheaper than other pillows.
  12. Bibs. I used a lot of bibs on Millie in the first month (again with the feeding problems) or so whilst I was feeding. I was a bit slow on the uptake and it was only after needing to change her onesie after every feed that I cottoned on to this.
  13. Carpet Spot Cleaner. Maybe your baby will never do anything anywhere near your carpet that will require cleaning. Maybe not. Have some on hand just in case. Trust us.
  14. An extra phone charger or two. I have an iPhone which chows through it's battery life quickly. I have a dock by my bed, a charger next to the couch and a charging cord plugged into my computer. When you can be (happily) pinned by a newborn for a couple of hours at a time it's nice to know that your phone is charged and Facebook, Twitter, email, pizza delivery is only a few clicks away.
  15. Lansinoh. Lanolin cream. It's the business for any newly breastfeeding mama. I still recall a Twitter conversation with Veggie Mama that was along the lines of 'Lansinoh. MY LORD AND SAVIOUR.' It's expensive but you'll probably only need the small tube. Pony up. You won't be sorry.
  16. Wrap Me Up swaddle. In the beginning we found Millie loved to be swaddled, but by golly swaddling the traditional way can be cumbersome. I waxed lyrical about these over here, so I won't do it again. But trust us, and buy one.
That's all I can think of right now. I know there was more, and I thought of it not three hours ago... but now it's 8pm and Millie's asleep and I've only had four hours sleep, so... vacant mind it is.

What can you add to this list for me?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Dad

Dear Dad,

Happy Birthday. Today you would have been 63. But you're not, you'll always be 58.
I tried to find some photos of you and I on my computer to put in this post, to pretty it up and make it more appealing, but I couldn't find many nice ones so there's none at all. The only photo of us that I love is from 1985, and that's pinned up in the kitchen, i.e. from well before the digital age.

If I still lived in Goulburn and you were still alive, Mr S and I would have come to the house in Mount Street where you'd have either cooked a ham on the barbeque or we'd ordered takeaway of some description. There's be Crownies from the Shed Fridge, which you would open with your special bottle opener and Mr S would pretend that he liked Crownies because we know how special you thought they were.

Your present... let's see. A box set of some description, probably a limited edition Star Trek one, perhaps with a fancy metal case, or a new set of cordless headphones for the TV. Bluetooth ones I bet.

The weather would be stinkingly hot or icy cold, but the house would be the perfect temperature from the air conditioner you had installed after I, your youngest child, moved out of home. Thanks.

You'd be cuddling Millie in your lap and telling us that you know you're her favourite and I would be able to see the special bond in both of your eyes.

Mr S and I would share tales of our house that we've bought and you would bestow your advice, wanted or not, on what sort of paint to use and how to apply it.

I'd slip the bakery box of vanilla slices on the bench for you, the paper slightly greasy from the slice touching the paper and you'd rub your hands together and say 'Yummm! I'll take those for morning tea tomorrow. Everyone will want one.'

We'd all be there, my sister with her husband and her 5 months pregnant bump, my brother and his new fiancee, my mother too. We'd be sitting at the big rectangular table in the dining room, and it would be noisy and hot and absolutely lovely.

I wish you were here to celebrate your birthday with us. I am in Tasmania, my sister, her husband, my brother and his fiancee are in Queensland and my mother in Goulburn.

Every day I think about you, but every day I see you in the mirror and I see you in Millie's eyes.

Happy Birthday Peach-Pie. I love you.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Creative Heart

Cooking up a storm...

All of my life I've always created in some way or form. But then, don't most kids? Creativity becomes life when kids are young - hide and seek, dress ups, creating a library from the encyclopaedia set complete with check in cards and pockets... or was that just me?

Ages 3-11
As I grew up there was always creativity front and centre in my life. Speech therapy for a lisp turned into speech and drama lessons turned into acting in school plays, which turned into singing in school plays. The neighbours had a word to my parents when I would ride my BMX bike up and down View St singing the Weetbix song in the wee hours of the morning when I was six, because I loved to sing. Paper crafts, a sewing kit for a birthday when I was young, jingle bells that mysteriously disappeared not long after that Christmas, turning up five years later thanks Mum, stilt walking, drama day camps, choirs and so on and so forth.

Ages 12-16
It wasn't until high school that I discovered I wanted to play a musical instrument. So I rented a flute from my high school and began taking lessons with the approved school teacher. Who I promptly fell out with (He was very snooty, very french and quite mean) and found a lovely teacher called Sarah, who was 19 and the coolest girl ever. She also got me well and truly drunk for the first time when I was 14 and we went to a heavy metal concert after my flute lesson. I can't believe the things you let me do Mum.

Flute took a back seat when I was blessed with a mouth full of braces at age 16, but I kept singing and playing guitar.

Ages 16-22
After I finished my secondary education I applied to and was accepted into a Contemporary Music tertiary qualification run through the Arts and Music Campus at my local TAFE, which was where I met Mr S and his collection of 80's dress shirts. Still crocheting and quilting and paper crafting and baking in the background. We install a recording studio into our house, which terrified (and continues to terrify) me, but it keeps music as a constant in our lives.

I take an interest in all things graphic design, get some software and fiddle and play, eventually fluking myself into a job in Tasmania... southward bound!

Ages 22-27
When I moved to Tasmania in 2005 the first person I met was an 8 months pregnant Mel, who introduced me to the local Australian Songwriters Association group. When Mr S joined me we spent the next four years attending and playing. Somewhere in there I was asked to play a gig at a local pub. I hadn't played on stage for years, let alone played original songs, let alone be paid for it!

I spent the next 6 years making a living from music and graphic design. With lots of help from Mr S I recorded and released two EPs over the last three years. In this time I hit some career highs that have made me feel satisfied with where music has taken me. Cygnet Folk Festival, Australian Blues Music Festival, Falls Festival, Taste Festival, other festivals around Tasmania, radio interviews all over Australia, so much support and airplay from Edge Radio, loads of support from ABC 936 Local, newspaper interviews etc. It's these successes that make me feel content with what I've done and perhaps have quenched my public musical thirst for a little while.

In this time my father falls terminally ill, and I need distracting, so I start baking. And baking. And baking. I also study cake decorating for a year, and fill the kitchen cupboards with yet more creative gear. I can pipe a cake like a mofo.

Ages 27-28
When I fell pregnant my focus shifted and I wasn't driven to music like I usually am. I needed home crafts. I started sewing. I letterpressed all our wedding invitations (sucker for punishment I am), I kept crocheting, I made cards, I made matching chairs and wall canvases and doona covers (nesting Mama times), I cooked gargantuan amounts of food for my freezer (see nesting Mama times, above.)

The one constant in my life is creating. It's an itch, I've got to scratch it. My desk is currently covered in two balls of bamboo yarn (Summer crochet hat for M), two bags of red yarn (leftover project that didn't work), a photo album (to make a flip book for M), a roll of ribbon (ribbon flowers), my Mrs Smyth notebook and a whole lot of crap. And a coffee mug.

Before we dreamed of Millie I read this fantastic book by Rachel Powers called 'A Divided Heart' and whilst I loved it, I didn't really understand it as deeply as I do now. It's a series of interviews with mothers or mothers-to-be and their relationship with their art. It's such a beautifully written book, I think you'd like it...

So now, sometimes, I MUST. I MUST create SOMETHING. Be it baking and decorating a cake or sewing something or crocheting for an hour or strumming my guitar, all the time, there needs to be something.

No matter where my day to day life takes me, next to my family and friends, my creativity is right there, threaded through my life and it anchors me.

What's your anchor?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Silent Sunday

This is part of Silent Sundays. Head over to Dear Baby G and add your link if you're participating.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Out and About

A rarity... but so very beautiful.
A little while back I read an article online somewhere (can't recall, BabyBrain!) about a mother who classified herself as a 'Stay At Home Mum'. Not a 'I am a Mum who doesn't leave the house to work' kind of stay at home Mum, but the kind who stays at home with her kids. As in, everything she does with her kids is home based. I have friends who are the complete opposite to this and live with their kids in the car, zipping around doing all sorts of outings.

I confess, I too am one of these Stay At Home Mums. Why? The few times Millie has kicked up a fuss in the car seat for prolonged periods of time (68km is the new record as of last week) I'm scarred enough to not want a repeat performance. I rattle easily and a screaming, howling muffin in my back seat is really distressing and distracting and makes me feel unsafe driving.

I hear you saying 'Why don't you just stop to settle bub?' I have and I do. She is calmed when we stop and have a cuddle/feed/remove jumper/replace jumper/find a toy but as soon as we move again... BackSeatAgeddon. I prefer to grin and bear it howl along to just get where we're going.

Once we're at our destination she's fine. Has a blast.
Lunch by the river? Sure!
Playing with friends on the grass? Sure!
A walk around the shops? Sure!
Drive home? NOOOOOOO.

So we stay at home. We occasionally venture out into our town and slightly further afield, but again, the last time we did that she screamed all the way home.

Mr S takes her out on their Daddy Daughter Days and she's relatively fine, and when we go out together with M she's also fine, so I know it's just how I deal with it that's the issue here. I feel trapped a lot. I've let friendships fall by the wayside because I can't bear the thought of venturing out for an hour each way of potential screaming. I'm not proud of that and I hope that by keeping up with emails and phone calls my friends will still be there when we're on the other side of this.

I want to change this. I'm mentally planning all sorts of small outings on our days at home and I'll work up to longer drives.

I don't think I'm the only one that feels like this?

Are you a Stay At Home or a Out and About Mum/Dad?

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Girl and her Daddy

On my last day off, when I baked Bretzels, I pottered around the house between baking times and spied on Mr S and Millie.

I watched them through the door between our lounge and dining rooms, and his face was lit up with such tenderness and pure joy at being in Millie's presence as they explored the lounge room.

I see the same expression on my father's face in the photos of us together when I was a baby.

It's only now that I have a daughter of my own that I realise the nature of relationships between girls and their Daddies. It's so very different than a mother's relationship with her baby girl.

Someone told me that Mums are for comfort and Dads are for playing. Millie LOVES to play with Mr S but when somethings wrong for her she starts with 'Mum. Mum. MUM. MUUUUM.' and comes crawling over to me. Then, when she's fed or snugged, back to Mr S she wanders. The irony of this is that during the night I am completely unable to settle her unless it's by a feed. Mr S excels at the rock rock pat pat sleepy dance.

It all started here... about two hours old.
When I look back through my pictures of Millie's first months I can see not only Mr S's love for his little girl, but their bond together has been there from the very beginning. She drinks him in and catalogues his love for her and forms her own love for him.

24 hours old here and oh so curious.

Two days old and she's besotted.

Throughout the coming months I catalogue all of our experiences together. Mr S is a fabulous father, rocking Millie to sleep in the wee hours, helping me get the hang of this breastfeeding malarkey, doing all of our housework and working full time to provide for us, and of course, showing Millie the ropes of our everyday life.

Mr S showing Millie the ropes in our studio.

On my one full work day per week it's 'Daddy Daughter Day'. He sends me photos of their adventures together that melt my heart. He's got a really crappy camera on his phone, so bear with me.

Hanging out in the Botanical Gardens

Smiles for Daddy!

On the beach. She kept grinning after this shot.

Looking stylish.
He loves to carry her in our ErgoBaby backpack and gets a lovely tiny smile when he sees that she's gone to sleep all snuggled in on his chest.

Walking in the hills behind our house.

Shopping with Dad.

Having Millie has made me enjoy such simple pleasures again and when you stop to see the world through her eyes - it's such a joyful, fascinating place. And as a parent it's fun too - when else can you justifiably sing and dance up the supermarket aisles?

We've started taking Millie swimming and he gently swishes her through the water, his hands firmly around her chubby middle. She loves it. He loves it more too.

Swimming! Yeah!

Whenever I see the two of them playing together it reminds me of the kid's song 'We're Going On a Bear Hunt'. They explore everything together and I'm reminded precisely of why I wanted to have children with this man.

'We're going on a bear hunt / I'm not scared'

No matter how sleepless our nights or crying filled our days when he talks about Millie his voice is always filled with love and pride. He is unwavering in his love for being a father and husband. Millie and I are lucky ladies.

As this photo was taken she said 'Dad'.

Friday, November 11, 2011

FFS Friday

On the tail end of an overtired, frustrating week that makes me wish I could handle hard liquor... here it is.
Perhaps we should call this Weekly First World Problems...

I swear, I understand about teething for poor Divine Miss M. Why? Because one of my wisdom teeth is coming through. Awesome. #FFS

Bogan Neighbours have been on fire this week. A loud, bogan argument between the residents in said Bogan House that consisted of a lot of shouting and sentences beginning with F-words. Apparently we f-n don't f-n understand that it's all his f-n stuff. F-n. #FFS

Bogan Neighbours have also been revving their cars for a good proportion of the day. #FFS

There's been a fly in the lounge room all day that despite my fervent thwacking with a newspaper efforts is still alive. #FFS

Mr S sleeps through most things. #FFS

Divine Miss M cannot sleep particularly well with her teething, and wakes up every four hours overnight. #FFS

By 6pm most days I don't want anyone to touch me. PERSONAL SPACE PLEASE. #FFS

Most of the pegs on my clothesline don't actually hold the washing in place. #FFS

Whilst sewing this week I was mere stitches from finishing and the sewing machine needle snapped in half. I live 'Out Of Town'. #FFS

That's it folks. There have been plenty of joys this week too, I'll fill you in later.

Dear Baby G

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

So... your friend's having a baby...

Yes, this is my mailbox.
This is the first in a series of posts about baby stuff. My sister & her husband are having their first baby and my friend's just announced her first pregnancy too, so I figured it was as good a time as any to lay out a few things for them.

We were so lucky to be surrounded by such generous friends before and after Millie was born. Since I was about 4 months pregnant friends would (and still do) turn up with buckets of clothes for us to sift through. I think I've passed on about 4-5 full garbage bags of clothes to friends and various charities. And Millie still has more clothes than we could ever wear out.

So I thought I'd write a list for my sister Salad and my friend Sarah, but in all honesty, this list is probably for you, potential gift buyer.

In my experience there's three kinds of gift buying for babies and their parents: Sensible things (plain white singlets, Wondersuits, vodka), The SO Useful But Highly Pricey So New Parents Can't Afford It (Wrap Me Ups, digital baby monitors, 1L Bombay Sapphire) and The Pricey But Lordy Me I'm Stoked You Bought It For Us (beautiful baby hats, a handmade blanket, good quality bibs, top shelf scotch).

Let's cover all three, shall we?

Sensible Things
My mother in law excels at purchasing within this category and most things she's purchased for us have been absolute workhorse items.

Size 0 Hoodie= Winter Coat.

  • Plain coloured singlets in a variety of sizes. I suggest from 000-1. The bigger the more easy to put on your a) precious bendy newborn b) your wiggling, twisting, vocal 7 month old.
  • Bonds Wondersuits. Again start with 000 sizing, anything smaller won't generally get much wear.
  • Packet of 10 Facewashers. These will get used for everything, but probably rarely for washing faces.
  • Baby socks. Newborn sizes are gorgeous, but don't forget about the 6mo+ sizing. 
  • Baby booties.
  • Muslins.
  • Your favourite brand of wet wipes (trust me, new parents have NO idea, and we used every kind we were given until we found some we liked. Alcohol free & soap free is a MUST.)
  • Baby toys. We were given lots of toys that saw us through to about 4 months, and it's always useful if they're toys that won't be interesting until bubs is grasping or able to move their head around with a bit of control. Millie was given a Lamaze dragon that she still loves now and was a gift from our mates Geoff and Dani. They gave us Bruce The Confident Dragon when they asked what could they get - I said the most useful thing they got. There you have it.
  • Clothes. Don't buy anything that buttons up the back or anything that doesn't button up the front. I don't think Millie wore anything that didn't button up the front until she was about 3 months old. I was too afraid of breaking her! The most useful piece of clothing we were given was a navy zip through hoodie in a size 0 from my brother Ben and his girlfriend Stacey. Millie wore it all through winter as a winter coat, and because it's a size 0 it went over EVERYTHING. Brilliant.

So Useful But Highly Pricey So New Parents Can't Afford It

Wrap Me Up. Picture from Love To Dream.
  • Wrap Me Up. We were given one & loaned two. Amazing. M spent so much time in these instead of fussing with swaddling all the time, but at $40 they're not really affordable for everyone. Band together & buy your friend at least one - they'll thank you. We also purchased one the next size and we've only just stopped using it.
  • Seriously. Buy your friend one.
  • If your friends are cloth nappying, get them a voucher from somewhere like Darlings Down Under (although there are heaps of places) that sells a variety of nappies. Or buy them your favourite kind. Again, at $15-$40 ea MCNs can get pricey, so any extra are much appreciated. My work did a collection and bought us two Baby Beehinds MultiFits and that was the best gift they could have given me!
  • A platter of Mum & Dad's favourite food. My bestie Charlotte stocked my fridge at home with brie, prosciutto, coca cola and dips and chutneys and lots of easy to eat yummy food that I couldn't necessarily have in pregnancy.
  • A good thermal cup. Gone are the days (mostly) of a piping hot cup of tea that you need to blow on to cool enough to drink. It took me a few months to cotton on to it, but I remembered that I had these Bodum Canteen cups and now my coffee stays hot enough to not want to throw it at the wall. They're also a good small size and not plastic. I loathe massive thermal coffee mugs with plastic handles and plastic outers, so I find these cups perfect.
  • A digital ear thermometer. My in laws gave us this Braun one and it's so handy to quickly check your screaming volume knob stuck on 11 bundle of joy's temperature, to rule out a fever if nothing else. If they hadn't gifted us this one I'd be trying to sort it out with the free Panadol forehead strip at 2am.
  • A nice notepad and a nice pen. My mate Evie gave us a fancy little notepad and a beautiful pen in hospital as she said every Dr, Nurse, Midwife, Physio etc would tell us something and we wouldn't remember it. And it was the handiest thing we were given in hospital. We recorded Millie's feeds in it in the beginning and then when our midwife asked us when she'd fed we could flick through and find it, because lord knows I couldn't even tell you what day it was.
  • Walking in the sunshine using my ErgoBaby
  • An ErgoBaby. Obviously this is a highly priced item, and I know that everyone likes a different baby carrier but I'd be stuck and sad without our ErgoBaby. I purchased mine second hand but I'd happily pony up for a new one. If your friend is of the baby wearing kind, this carrier is ace.

The Pricey But Lordy Me I'm Stoked You Bought It For Us
Millie is very lucky to have lots of substitute Aunts and Uncles who buy her a lot of very pretty things. This is also great because Mr S and I are a bit sensible, and her Aunts and Uncles buy her things I'd LOVE to, but can't quite justify.
Out for a wintery walk with my Toshi hat on.
  • Millie was given this Pink Pussycat Toshi hat by her Auntie Skye and Auntie Jennie, and it is SO soft and warm, and lasted the entire winter without a tear or even a pill. I'm sad she's outgrown it.
  • Beautiful fairy lights for above a cot. So pretty!
  • A handmade quilt. Millie was given one made by my bestie Charlotte's Mum and it hangs above her cot at the moment. I believe every child deserves at least one handmade blankie.
  • Good bibs. Left to my own devices I'd probably have bought cheap bibs. But again, we were given so many bibs and my favourites are the good, heavyweight handmade ones. Snaps are a must - Millie can pull the velcro ones off!
  • A 'lovey'. Again, left to my own devices Millie would probably have some square of towel or the like, but she was given a Kaloo Liberty Doudou Comforter and loves going to bed with it now. The Kaloos are soft and cuddly and just the right size for Millie's meaty paws little hands to hold.
  • A 'nice' jumper. Regardless of all of the second hand clothes we have for Millie, it's so nice to put on a 'nice' jumper/hoodie when we're going out somewhere. It could be the country girl in me, but I love the idea of having a 'good' outfit to pull out if we're going somewhere special.
This is all things to purchase, but honestly one of the most valued gifts you can give is your time.
I had a difficult labour resulting in a caesarian section, and whilst I had to be up and moving I couldn't do much beyond sitting on the couch. Friends drove down (we are 50kms from Hobart) and did the washing up, made me lunch, hung out the washing, did more washing, held the baby, put frozen meals in the freezer, vacuumed and left. Amazing.

The best gift from family was from my mother. She spent two weeks with us starting a little from before Millie's birth until she was 10 days old. Mum stayed in Franklin (10km away) and would turn up at 8am every morning, make us breakfast and cups of tea, lunches and dinners. She did washing, washed the floors, vacuumed, held Millie for hours on end whilst Mr S and I slept, and was just here. But not in the way. Then we'd eat dinner and she'd go home. Rinse, lather, repeat.

I was initially apprehensive about this arrangement because I was worried about Mum being in our space. However this was the best gift we could have asked for. Mum got to bond with Millie whilst being the help we needed but didn't realise we needed. Thank you Mum!

So this is my list for now... what can you add?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Photo Digest.

My friends, it turns out that a crawling baby makes things on a whole SO much easier. Day to day, Millie has more independence and is so happy to explore. This stage is so much fun. She crawls around and explores the lounge room. After a hasty day of childproofing (because it turns out that in our house, crawling was not a gradual thing, just an instantaneous happening) the lounge room is MilReady (tm).

So I have a bit of no-baby-in-my-arms time now. However, crawling is not enough for my darling.

She wants to walk.


Three days after she learned to crawl I caught her in my peripheral vision pulling herself up and planking, yoga style on a box. And now the coffee table.

Seven days after that I saw her planking on her Fisher Price walker and pushing it forward, taking four steps in the process.

Again, WHAT?

So Mr S and I spend our days putting cushions in front of the pointy edges of the coffee table, replacing the cushions around the pointy edges of the coffee table when she decides it's ace fun to pull them out everywhere, nursing her bruised forehead, crawling around the floor with her, putting CDs out of each, nursing her bruised cheekbones, replacing the cushions again, nursing her bruised head... you get the idea.

I haven't mentioned the talking either.

Two weeks ago she busted out 'DADADADAD'. Thanks kid. I love that I spend most of my days, and most 5ams with you and you can't wait to see your father. Then last week I heard a faint 'Mamamama'.

On the weekend she crawled up to me, tugged my trouser leg and said 'Mama? Mama?' Melt.

Yesterday she learned to clap. This learning business, it never stops, does it? She's experimenting with some other sounds appearing and it's so fascinating to watch her change and grow every day.

Here's some photos from our week for you to moon over look at...

Hanging by the river in Huonville

Sunday arvo with Dad.

Millie & her boyf Oliver.

Millie's first Amy Kendall & The Kitchenhands band rehearsal.

She's an Aussie kid with her Saos.

Millie spies... 


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