Sass and Spice

29/52

29/52

29/52

”A portrait of our children, once a week, every week, in 2014″

Nyla: Lazy in bed. Too bad you can’t be this at night time as jet lag is still affecting you…

Lily: ” I’m king of the castle and you’re the dirty rascal!” Isn’t it strange that all kids sing this when they are at the playground?

This week’s photos were taken with the Olympus OM-D E-M10 on loan.

Linking up to Practising Simplicity’s 52 portrait a week challenge for 29/52.

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28/52

28/52

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”A portrait of our children, once a week, every week, in 2014″

Some scenes from our last week at my in-laws. Lily laughing hysterically mid-photo for no particular reason and Nyla learning to walk.

Pictures taken on our trip in England and using the Olympus OM-D E-M10 on loan.

Linking up to Practising Simplicity’s 52 portrait a week challenge for 28/52.

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27/52

27/52

27/52

”A portrait of our children, once a week, every week, in 2014″

Lily: We were at a summer fair and you saw the bouncing castle from afar….you could easily stay on for the entire day!

Nyla: Being sick and on the onset of toddlerhood has made you very grumpy this week!

Pictures taken on our trip in England and using the Olympus OM-D E-M10 on loan.

Linking up to Practising Simplicity’s 52 portrait a week challenge for 27/52.

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26/52

26/52

25/52

”A portrait of our children, once a week, every week, in 2014″

Lily: Absolute delight at making cupcakes with her Grandma…

Nyla: Into anything and everything…including trying to eat the flowers!

Photos taken in England using the Olympus OM-D E-M10 camera on loan.

Linking up to Practising Simplicity’s 52 portrait a week challenge for 26/52.

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My Child Magazine – new digital only version

My Child magazine

Have you checked out the new digital-only version of My Child Magazine* (http://www.mychildmagazine.com.au/) ? It’s aimed at pregnant women, new mothers and parents of children aged 0-8 and features parenting articles and cool maternity/baby/kid products. The magazine used to be published in print format quarterly in Australia but it is now only available monthly in a digital format so therefore accessible to parents around the world. The magazine is also independently produced by a small team with even the editor working from her study at home – a very typical work-from-home mother scenario. I’ve been asked to review the magazine and have to admit that I’m very much a digital magazine novice as I still prefer to feel the smooth paper between my fingers and rip out inspirational pages. But even though I do enjoy reading a paper-based magazine, I do think the digital version is more eco-friendly (my home is ridden with magazines at the moment), compact and convenient to take anywhere and just a simple click can take you to a stockist to immediately buy a product or bookmark/pin an article for further reading.

My Child magazine

When I first went to the magazine it took me a while to set up the font size big enough for me to read but also to position the page so it could fit on the screen without the need to constantly scroll down. I also found doing this got me accidentally clicking on ads which would open another internet page. And also like a paper-based magazine, there are lot of ads in the beginning so I found myself clicking a lot just to get to the article that was of interest to me.

But once I sorted out the navigation and page set up, there were plenty of cool products to drool over and insightful articles such as toddler taming tips and active birth to even a second-time parent such as me. I’m having to organise my daughter’s first birthday party online too so will find the direct links to stockists/products to be especially useful. Compared to their previous paper-based versions, the digital version has a lot more pages.

And now that I take the train to work, this magazine will be useful to read on my tablet and my husband will be glad I won’t be subscribing to yet another paper based magazine. Get the July issue here (it’s FREE to subscribe) and let me know what you think…

* I was asked my My Child magazine to provide an honest review on their new digital magazine. No payment or product has been given for this review.

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25/52

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”A portrait of our children, once a week, every week, in 2014″

Both girls having fun on the slide until Lily lands on Nyla’s head and makes her cry. It was at that point I put down the camera…

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Linking up to Practising Simplicity’s 52 portrait a week challenge for 25/52.

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Labour…so what is it really like?

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Can you believe it was nearly a year ago when I gave birth to Nyla? This is a long post so I hope you are comfortable with a cup of tea…

I remember the time when first pregnant I laid my eyes on those double lines on the test. Trembling, I was both excited beyond belief but fearful of the unknown – that unknown frontier with being a parent for the first time but for me more so about giving birth. And for a scaredy cat like me, going through birth was definitely going to be beyond anything I had ever experienced before.

So is it painful? Yes, probably the most pain I’ve ever felt in my life but certainly not a horrific experience like in the movies. With the right preparation and support network, the pain is manageable; and just to give you an example of my pain threshold, I’m holding to dear life and demanding for aesthetic for a simple scale and clean at the dentist – I’m a total wimp! The key for me was not hiding my head in the sand; instead I chose to preparing myself with knowledge with a ‘can do’ attitude rather than not believing that my mind and body could handle it.

The first part of the pain are the contractions. They don’t last longer than a minute and you have a couple of minutes between each contraction. The contractions feel like a real intense stomach cramp but the pain intensifies as time goes by to the point that you are gripping on to the bed, grinding your teeth and then howling like a wild animal as each contraction thunders through your body like a huge wave.

The second part of pain is the pushing. This is where it can get a bit gory and embarrassing  (well to someone who hasn’t given birth before) and the whole tearing and crowning aspect used to scare me to death but on two occasions I’ve been fortunate to not have any major tearing (second time I actually had none!) or an episiotomy. So even though it’s certainly not a walk in the park, the pain is definitely manageable and in most cases when it’s all over you don’t remember how much it hurt.

For my first labour, Lily was positioned posterior which meant for a more painful labour as you feel the pain all over your back as well as the usual tummy area. After 20+ hours lets just say ‘feeling absolutely exhausted’ was an understatement and when I had to be hooked up I opted for the epidural and all the pain was lifted instantly. The contractions disappeared and I didn’t even feel the pushing as she was ‘vacuumed’ out. All I could feel was that something slippery was being dragged out of me.

With Nyla I went total natural…yeap totally drug free. There was a point when I suddenly started to lose confidence in myself (a phase called ‘transition’) and was at the point of breaking down. So when the hospital told me I was at the last stage and ready to push, all that emotion lifted and I was determined to get through it with positive energy again. That adrenalin helped and afterwards I didn’t even remember the pain of pushing to be that different to doing a a number two. Seriously!

Here is the advice I usually give to my girlfriends about giving birth:

  • Prepare for childbirth - The hospital runs antenatal classes but I learnt a lot more through classes run at the community midwifery group. I also wanted to go natural but didn’t know how to achieve this so took up hypnobirthing (highly recommended) which helped me immensely with breathing techniques, self relaxation techniques and a positive belief.
  • Birth your own way - You might want a natural birth or choose the epidural or have an elective caesarean or have a home birth. Everyone is different but make sure your decisions are well informed. At the end of the day it is your birthing experience and your body. For a natural birth, investigate different birthing positions.
  • Write down and communicate your birth preferences - Communicate with your doctor/midwive regularly with the type of birth you would prefer. Write down the preferences you have if things don’t go to plan and show it to them. It’s important to feel like you are part of the birthing process and to keep positive no matter the outcome.
  • Choose your birthing centre wisely - If you are in Australia book the Obstetrician AND a birthing centre as soon as you can. The Obstetrician and birthing centres book really early so you just need to get on the list and then after doing research choose if you want to go down the private hospital route or natural at a birthing centre. The private hospitals have strict protocols so it is more likely to be more medical intervention at your birth (i.e. emergency caesarean, episiotomy etc) and at a birthing centre you will have to prepared that if you can’t go natural or if intervention is needed, you will be transported to the nearest public hospital. Basically choose the birthing support which runs true with your birthing preferences.
  • Have a Doula/birth partner - If I was to give birth again for the first time, I would have chosen a doula because a lot of the time my husband and I were pretty much alone in the birthing suite and would have been useful to have someone experienced with the birthing process to encourage us through and provide us support. My husband was my birth partner for both births (he even did the hypnobirthing course with me) and I also signed up for a student midwife for my second birth (but sadly she missed it!).
  • Avoid listening to horror birth stories  - People love sharing the drama rather than something that went smooth sailing right? And even though it’s useful to know that things don’t always go to plan and you aren’t 100% control of the situation, it’s not helpful when you are pregnant and most likely already shit scared. So hard as it is, try not listen too intently to these stories as they do nothing to help you keep in a positive mindset or gain any confidence.

So you will hurt, get the shakes, make animal noises, cry out for your mother and it’s bloody; but the emotion and energy is more powerful than I could have ever imagined – it’s exhilarating, full of adrenaline and your heart explodes with all the love in the world once your baby is delivered safely in your arms. And cliche as it sounds, that is why it is worth it.

Click here for Lily’s birth story.

Click here for Nyla’s birth story.

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24/52

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”A portrait of our children, once a week, every week, in 2014″

Nyla: This photo was taken after a night of 4 hours sleep! Thank goodness no one is doing a 52 project of me as I looked 100 times worst – completely shattered!!!

Lily: Here you are making a card for your Aunty’s birthday. After 10 minutes you get really indecisive so start again – you got there at the end though! You seem to be in this creative phase of making things from scrap paper and odd pieces of string.

Linking up to Practising Simplicity’s 52 portrait a week challenge for 24/52.

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Dear Baby: 9 and 10 months

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My monthly letters to Nyla during her first year

Dear Baby,

Geez it seems like I’ve done it again and combined two months into one letter again! So sincere apologies and if I wasn’t doing the 52 photography project I’ll probably feel even worst!

See that amber teething necklace you are wearing? Well I’m 100% confident that it DOESN’T work, as you’ve been drooling and waking up a lot in the middle of the night due to pain. At any chance you get ,you grab my iPhone to bite or you choose to chew vigorously on the coffee table.

At 9 months and 10 months you are down to three milk feeds a day and at 10 months you are only now having only one breastfeed a day. You don’t eat as much as your sister did but you enjoy feeding yourself and are good at telling us when you are finished…by shaking your head furiously and tipping the bowl of food over!

It’s probably boring for readers to hear again that we are still in struggle town with your night sleep. We will be in the UK soon so after that and just before your 1st birthday (I know can you believe it??) we’ll have to seek some professional help if it hasn’t improved. It’s just so hard with your parents both working and your sister due at daycare the next day…

You continue to get stronger by pulling yourself up to stand and at 10 months you are cruising furniture quite confidently. You are pretty stable with your legs so I suspect your first steps will happen soon. Crawling is even faster now and when I sit down to relax you very quickly storm yourself over on all fours and then use me as a climbing pole as you brace yourself to stand up!

Your hair of fluff is slowing becoming thicker and your babbling is getting quickly even though you still prefer to say ‘Dadda’ over ‘Mumma’ (which I’ve only heard you say twice!). You love clapping your hands as I sing nursery rhymes (‘Twinkle Twinkle’ is your favourite just like your sister!) and waving and saying “Hewoh!!”.

Now that the days are getting colder and we are rugged up in all our cosy knits, I’m reminded that we have come full circle as it’s nearly been a year since you came into this world. You have officially existed longer out of my body than inside now and before we know it, the baby stage will be over…

Love your Mummy x

Read my 8 month to Nyla here.

 

 

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23/52

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”A portrait of our children, once a week, every week, in 2014″

Lily: You have habit of laughing at your jokes even though you still need to fine-tune your comedic skills…

Nyla: We are back to waking up twice in the night again!! This just proves that all kids are unique as I’m not doing anything remarkably different with Nyla than when Lily was a baby (who slept through the night at 4 months).

At the end of the day, I’m just grateful that I have these two little personalities in my life. Difficult it can be on some days (and nights)  it’s all worth it seeing them smile everyday…

Linking up to Practising Simplicity’s 52 portrait a week challenge for 23/52.

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