Jan 18, 2017

A big ol' recap

A little/big recap of the craziness that is December+January.

We had a great Christmas and I'm a big Christmas fan... but honestly I'm relieved it's over now and we can move on. No offence Christmas but you can be high maintenance sometimes.

My mum still fills our stockings and it might be the best part - JellyBelly gourmet beans are my love language.

We celebrated at Calum's parents' place with this epic view...

.. and at my parent's place where the views weren't so bad either. I guess there are some perks to living on a city that sits on a bunch of dormant volcanos hills.

As well as opening a few gifts at our own place with just the 3 of us. This year Ella's main present from us was a balance bike which she was super excited about - or was it more the Peppa Pig helmet? We'll never know.
[She rearranged all the low hanging decorations]
 One issue I have with NZ or the whole Southern Hemisphere is that everything happens at once. Christmas + summer holidays + end-of-year-everything-events ... then during winter and that loooong stretch in the middle of the year literally nothing happens. NOTHING. But the bonus I guess is that after the chaos of Christmas you get to take off on your Summer holiday and forget that your house is a dump of wrapping paper and festive decs that you'll have to deal with when you get home, along with unpacking a week or two worth of laundry and/or sand.

This was our first Summer holiday just the 3 of us and it was SO nice to wind down that way. 2017 is looking pretty crazy for us so we were making the most of every minute of quality time together and blissful weather. Ella and Calum were total buddies at everything my heavy pregnant butt wasn't up for - like running up Mt Mounganui (my 2 yr old ran!) and catching loads of waves on their board (my bump was majorly in the way for that).

[The Mount]

We were in the Bay of Plenty and every day was full of exploring different beaches, parks, bushwalks, waterfalls, etc.

[Heading out to walk up Drury Hill]
[McLaren Falls park]

[Can you spot all the people? There are hundreds of waterfalls and swimming holes at the top of this cliff area, and river below]

And then we came back home and I was surprised by how nice and spacious our house is. Maybe staying in a one bedroom unit was good for that?!

2017 is looking big, daunting, challenging, exciting. 
Aside from a new baby due in like 7 weeks (wwhhhhaatttt?!!!) we also have my husband starting out on his own with a new business venture, my toddler starting Kindy and toilet training and moving to a proper 'big-girl bedroom' and it just feels like so many changes are happening at once. We are looking forward to seeing how it all works out!

Anyway, my 2.5 yr old just climbed on my lap and started kissing my cheeks with little giggles in between. She's just figured out how to kiss and make the normal kiss noise and is really chuffed with herself and it's SO CUTE. Sometimes we pinch ourselves with this kid.

And that's a recap of life lately!

Dec 22, 2016

A christmassy day in the [real] life: toddler + pregnant edition.

I can't be the only one who feels suddenly overwhelmed at this time of year. I LOVE Christmas - baking, decorating, getting organised and giving gifts... those are all my favourite things. But it's still 3 days away and I can't believe I'm saying this but.... I'm ready for it to be done so we can all move on. 

Traffic jams, crowded malls, a zillion different end of year events (most of which require you to bring food or gifts), AND the beginning of our summer holidays, booking accommodation and planning road trips with toddlers.... it all gets crazy. Not to mention being pregnant which makes me often feel faint or sore or just plain exhausted.... and toilet training a 2.5 yr old which in essence means, I spend my days trying to convince her to sit on the potty and try to get something out because I KNOW that at any minute it's going to come out anyway and it won't be pretty.... followed by the ensuing debate with a toddler about how pretending to sit on the potty for 0.000001 milli-seconds and then jumping up and yelling"it's not working! the wees is not working" and running stark naked down the hallway to deposit said wees onto the carpet or dining room floor is not a very good strategy... and listening to myself saying things that now seem so normal but surely are weird to the average person like "Just do some good waiting and then do a little push and maybe the poo will come out and you can get a special treat"..... So yeah, Christmas may be the big thing we're all looking towards but I'm just spending my days with a spray bottle of dettol, throwing old towesl over suspicious puddles, trying to convince myself that when my toddler points out a brown stain on our cream dining room chair and announces "Dat's POO mummy!" that surely it's not poo. Surely there's not actually poo on my dining room chair. I'm sure it's chocolate. OH PLEASE CAN IT BE CHOCOLATE.

[Literally she is sitting on a pee puddle]

I feel like a good blogger would write a post about their Christmas decor and show how brilliantly festive their house is but like, would you even notice our "Christmas Decor" (aka fake tree) over all the Duplo, upturned toy baskets and mountains of couch cushions that have been stacked up to make a "slide" off the sofa? I keep thinking there must be some secret to keeping your house clean all the time because everybody else does but holy cheeseballs, I've tried everything and there is literally no solution except me bending down and then straightening back up 600 times a day to pick stuff up off the floor. And I know I've mentioned this before but heartburn/pregnancy reflux is no joke - and aside from not being able to physically squish my bump in enough to double over, and having basically no thigh muscles whatsoever - stomach acid bubbling up my throat and gagging me every time I lean forward is just not ideal. I dream of having a giant wireless vaccuum that sucks up toys and then organises them into boxes. Not unrealistic at all....

[Token picture of peppermint creams that I made yesterday because I am a slave to punishment and must make ALL THE THINGS at Christmas-time like a 50's housewife but one who is really, really tired and should just have not bothered]

Today was my last day of Christmas baking weeehoooo and I THINK it was also my last time venturing into a shop before Christmas to buy a present. At least until Christmas eve when I need to get fresh strawberries for Christmas dessert... along with every other person who lives in New Zealand. See you in the supermarket queues on the 24th, Kiwi friends.

Last year I made most of our gifts from scratch and whilst it was a bit stressful/intense it was actually also quite relaxing because I got to avoid shops altogether! I don't think I even ventured into the mall once. After all the money we've already spent on Christmas this year, I think I'm definitely going to consider making gifts again next year. Or coming up with some kind of strict budget that spreads the costs out over several months. I think having Christmas in the middle of Summer doesn't help because you end up spending so much money in January on your summer accommodation etc too.

Ugh, like, am I ever going to make a point or is this blog post truly going to be nothing more than rambles? I'm really, really tired so, rambles sounds about as complex as I can get right now. What was my point? Was there a point? Christmas is stressful? Probably that. Life with a toddler and a baby-in-the-belly is a whole new level of messy.

[Unrelated picture from my grandma's funeral a couple weeks ago, because I feel guilty for all this complaining and I do LOVE THEM, honest.]

Did I tell you about our guest room that is literally buried in gifts and wrapping paper and potential-nursery-crafts in case I ever get enough energy to do some proper nesting? Or how I can't use either of our laundry baskets right now as they have been used to dump paperwork in, in the hopes that one day my husband will be un-busy enough to sort through some of it, just so that I can partially clear the dining room table so we can eat there? And that those laundry baskets full of paperwork are sitting on our bedroom floor and every time I place a lovely pile of clean, folded, freshly done laundry on my husband's side of the bed for him to put away, he simply dumps it on top of the laundry basket that's full of paperwork and now there is a mountain of clean and/or possibly not clean clothing on top of a mountain or miscellaneous written correspondence?? And it's threatening to topple on top of whatever other random items the toddler has left in our room (husband's bedside table is piled with stories about Tinkerbell and 'That's not my puppy" that I suspect weren't actually his choice of reading material). Or how out of our 8 dining chairs, only THREE have survived to sit at our ginormous table because the rest have ripped or horribly stained upholstery so we've shoved them out of sight into other rooms or under the house? Make that two because one apparently has POO ON IT. 

I knew mum-life would be glamorous but I didn't know it would be this glamorous.
[Hey baby boy MacLeod, hope you're enjoying the zen of my womb while you still can...]

Well, I'd love to stay and chat about absolutely nothing but I have a towel on the dining room floor that has been soaking up pee all day and I SUPPOSE I should pick it up and then get disinfectant and then go downstairs and get some hot water and a mop and then drag my pregnant butt back upstairs with the bucket sloshing on my socks and mop that mess up, but not until after vaccuuming as there are crumbs everywhere that should be dealt with before mopping. OR I could just spritz some dettol on the floor and half-heartedly dab at it with a paper towel and call it a day. You'll never know.


Dec 6, 2016

Little household hacks I need

A boring blog post about things I wish didn't excite me so much but could seriously make my housewife life way more efficient.

1. This divided laundry basket for carrying clean clothes after they are dry. We use a basket like the plastic one shown, but that secret fabric divider thing is genius! Instead of biffing all of your clean washing into the basket, carrying it upstairs, dumping it on the couch, folding a bajillion items of clothing into piles to go to different people's rooms.... you just fold as you take off the washing line and plonk each person's clothes into their section. I just wish it divided into 3 equal parts (or that the divider was moveable).
It has other functions too and was designed by a mum, like every other sensible thing that was ever designed. (OK I'm speculating). See more about it here.

2. A dirty-clothes hamper in each bedroom.
We have one single laundry hamper upstairs in the hallway that we all hurl our dirty clothes in the direction of, and usually miss. When people are coming round I spend about 5 minutes frantically picking socks and t-shirts off the surrounding floor in a 5 metre radius and then putting the lid on the hamper to hide our stinky mess. To be honest, the bending down and picking up routine is what I hate the most. At 6 months pregnant I find every time I bend over - apart from mere squished-belly discomfort - I end up sicking up stomach contents into my mouth. GOOD TIMES.

Part of me rebels against this idea because I'm like "MORE belongings???????!" but all I would have to do is add a basket to Ella's room, and another for the new baby when he comes.
Not this boring colour, but maybe something like this (from The Warehouse) with handles so I can hang it on a hook by their door and not sick into my mouth from bending down to pick it up?

 3. A triple laundry sorter in the laundry
So you get the dirty clothes baskets from the bedrooms, carry them down to the laundry and then, instead of dumping the contents onto the floor (like me) to sort them into piles, you actually sort them straight into this contraption and then they're all ready to go. And you don't have to sick into your mouth while you do it. Win.
Laundry Sorter with 3 Removable Bags
This is from Kmart Australia. I wonder if they have them in NZ? And will they ever start listing their products online, or is New Zealand destined to go without decent online shopping for all eternity?

4. A rubbish bin in our bathroom. 
Sounds obvious, but empty toothpaste tubes etc just end up lingering forEVS in our house because everyone is too lazy to take them into another room and throw them away. And that's just another clean-up job to add to my list every time guests are popping in.

5. Some kind of paperwork system
We've shifted 90% of our files to the cloud recently so the whole "file this into a manilla folder and call it a day" isn't happening. We don't even need (or have) a filing cabinet anymore. But we have a dining room table... covered in piles of things that need to be dealt with constantly. And it's crap, because I would like to use the table for eating at, and be able to wipe up crumbs without dissolving documents.
Related image
Something like this on the wall? Since we have NO free surface areas. I just need to find where they can be purchased in New Zealand?!

6. Get this system for wrapping paper, on the back of a wardrobe door
All our wardrobe doors are sliding ones but there is ONE door in our house where this might work.
Currently we have a corner of a wardrobe where wrapping paper and gift bags go to die / get crumpled up and buried under shoes until needed.
Image result for wrapping paper on back of door
I vant it. All.

7. Training the toddler to stop biffing everything on the floor the instant she's not using it. 
I CAN follow her around barking repetitively about every single thing that she just dropped the second she was bored of it, but if you have a toddler you know how painfully slow that process is. Urg.

8. Get a housekeeper :D
Now, I'm not fussy, but I just want someone who can clean every single corner of our home once a week and also organise all the crap they find and also put away every stray item of clothing into it's correct place and perhaps do a few loads of laundry and cook dinner while they create a meal plan for the following week and arrange for delivery of our grocery shopping and mow our treacherous lawn/s. And not be creepy or nosy. Shouldn't be hard to find the perfect person, I'm sure. #budgetistwentybuckspermonth #goodlucktome

Image result for mrs doubtfire
You'll do.

Nov 29, 2016

Preventing hyperemesis gravidarum (severe pregnancy sickness)

This post is about how I avoided horrific, debilitating pregnancy sickness this time around. Most people will have no interest here, but I would love to help other sufferers so please send them this post! This info is really hard to find and, in my experience, doctors and obstetricians do not have the answers and advice that sufferers need!


So, at 25 weeks pregnant and distinctly less sick that I was last time with full-blown Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), I'm ready to share the steps that I took to help avoid HG this time. 

Like most HG sufferers, my GP and Obstetrician had all told me that there was nothing I could do to ever prevent or lessen HG. On hearing that my mum had it for all her pregnancies, and that I had it with Ella, they gave me about a 90-100% chance of experiencing HG for all my pregnancies. Also like most HG mothers, this bought on feelings of panic and anxiety and a bit of post-traumatic stress when it came time to think about having another baby. I started freaking out and my desperate researching led me to a facebook group called Preventing Hyperemesis Gravidarum. And within that support group of desperate, determined and traumatised women was where I found all the answers that medical professionals had not been able to give me. I implemented all their suggested techniques based on their own experiences for what helped. There was gold here that I'd not come across anywhere else, and for the most part, it worked.

Here's the protocol I followed PRE-PREGNANCY:

As many months before pregnancy as possible (for me I had about 3 months of prep before conceiving, but use whatever length of time you have) I took the following:

1. Magnesium  
  • Liposomal Magnesium. This is a liquid and is the only form of magnesium that doesn't cause stomach upset. It was worth every cent. Side note - I slept AMAZINGLY once I started on this and even found it successfully treated and prevented my migraines which I normally rely on strong drugs for.
  •  I also purchased Ethical Nutrients Mega Mag magnesium tablets for once I was pregnant, knowing that I may not be able to stomach the taste of the liquid mag once pregnant. I was right.
  • Another note: I was advised to avoid magnesium oxide and magnesium citrate. It comes in heaps of forms and some are more bio-available than others. The ones above are good.

2. B vitamins
 The most important ones are:
  • B6, in the form of "P-5-P" is best.
  • B1 also known as thiamine.
  • B12 in the form of cobalamin NOT the synthetic form cyanocobalamin which many brands use and literally contains cyanide.
To get my these I took:
  • Biobalance bio-active B complex (this covered all the above forms)
  • An extra B1 supplement (I used Solgar brand. I could probably just have used the one above but wanted extra)
  • Extra folate - folic acid is compulsory for NZ preggos and I opted for the form 'folate' which is absorbed by more people. (It's complicated but see here about MTHFR gene mutation.)

3. For gut health - important.
  • Fermented Cod Liver Oil - "Blue Ice" from Green Pastures brand. Also comes in flavours and capsules. This is a superfood for your health and contains co-enzyme Q10 and vitamin K which are great for HG prep, apparently.
  • Eating fermented foods. I just bought a can of sauerkraut and forced myself to eat some most days.   
  • I also took L Glutamine occasionally as this is healing for the intestine. There are some theories that gut health is the root cause of many other problems, which can be the root cause of HG, so I was just trying to cover my bases here!

4. For the liver - also important.
Your liver is what processes your hormones and cleans your blood. I have ALWAYS mocked liver cleanses and such as it seems stupid to me - your liver's job is to clean you so why on earth is there this trend to 'cleanse' your liver?!! 
BUT, while I don't trust many 'liver cleanses' you find online I have come to realise the vital role of optimising our liver performance if you suffer from HG. We get HG because our bodies react to the excessive hormones of pregnancy - both oestrogen and Human Growth Hormone. If your liver can't keep up with processing and flushing them, you have more of these hormones in your system and therefore are more sick.

I took:
  • I attempted turmeric capsules and milk thistle capsules as these are both liver wonder foods. Most people can handle them but they made me feel really ill (constant cramps, wonky cycles, stomach upset etc) so I stopped.

5. Diet. 
I adopted a Paleo style diet that was grain free, sugar free, dairy free and refined-carb free. To be honest, once I had it going it was much easier than it sounds. The key for me was doing a grocery shop beforehand and making sure I had all the healthy alternatives I needed - I kept lots of nuts, seeds, a little dried fruit, and organic cocconut sugar on hand for emergencies! I found Danielle Walker's Against All Grain" cookbook and blog invaluable during this time. 

Again, these diets are something I was previously skeptical of (or more like, openly mocking) but after reading so many stories of people overcoming terrible conditions with it, and now my own experience of avoiding HG, I'm all for it!

6. Prayer.
I had done all this work but couldn't shake the feeling that some part of my prep was missing. One day some of the amazing women at our church offered to pray for me and, say what you like, but for me that the missing piece and made all the difference.

P.S how daunting does this look!? I ordered so may supplements before figuring out those that I really needed and were best (above).

OKAY, Now for PART 2, once you are pregnant!

 1. Drop all liver cleanse supplements over ovulation and then once you are pregnant. Most of them are not safe for pregnancy.

2. Magnesium - continue taking in whatever form you can stomach. I bought a magnesium spray that you can spray directly to the skin and is them absorbed into the bloodstream. It works immediately to counteract nausea and is great if swallowing is tough.

3. B vitamins - continue taking. Make sure you have enough B6 (in form P-5-P) and even take this separately if you can.

4. Fermented food, probiotics - continue taking for as long as you can stomach it.

5. DOXYLAMINE - (known under brand names 'Diclegis'. 'Unisom', 'Restavit' and 'Diclectin' depending where you live.) this is an anti-histamine that combats nausea IF you begin taking it from the time of a positive pregnancy test. Obviously a doctor can't prescribe you something before you even have symptoms, but this needs to be taken BEFORE the nausea begins. It builds up in your system and for many people, like me, successfully prevents the nauea taking over. You can't get doxyamine in New Zealand but there is an easy solution - buy it on Amazon. The cheapest brand I found is called "Kirklands Sleep Aid". Yes, it's also used as a sleeping pill and will make you drowsy the first week until you adapt. But IT'S WORTH IT. I was on ondansetron throughout my entire pregnancy with Ella and it stopped me vomiting as much, but didn't lower the debilitating nausea. It also has hideous side effects. For me, I have only needed doxylamine to combat nausea and vomiting this time.

6. Eat what you can. By week 6-7 I ditched the diet and ate carbs every 40 mins as that was the only thing that (combined with the supplements and doxylamine) quelled the nausea I was experiencing. 

From there on I've had a completely different pregnancy to my HG hell when pregnant with Ella. I haven't had to put my 2 yr old into full-time care, and I've been able to do normal activities.
I avoided cooking and preparing food for the first 20 weeks as that made me feel super queasy, but now at 25 weeks I can handle being in the kitchen again. My quality of life has been retained and I feel so lucky!

If you know someone who has suffered Hyperemesis or severe morning sickness please forward them here because this info is REALLY HARD TO FIND outside of the facebook support group/s. And get them to join the FB group 'Preventing Hyperemesis Gravidarum' too because it's filled with advice and empathy from hundreds of us experiencing the same thing.

Nov 18, 2016

Things, and stuff.

Couldn't decide whether to call this post Things, and stuff; or Stuff, and things.
My life is pretty complicated these days.......

1. THIS WEEK. How much more cray could it get (I don't dare ask). Starting with the election results on the other side of the world throwing everything and everyone into a frenzy of curse words and lengthy arguments with a healthy side of snarkiness seeing as all this happens on social media so everyone can hide behind their screen and have a good vent without needing to observe the usual convention of say, being nice to people; and finishing with flooding and earthquakes down here in little old New Zealand. AND my new nephew was born today. All the things!

2. Ever just not want to read the news ever again? I already avoid anything with the word 'toddler' in it as it's always something that makes my mummy-heart spaz out with horror/disgust/sadness/etc. Driveways, drainholes, swimming pools, ARG. But now I'm also seeing things about say, babies being hacked with machetes in Sudan while their mums and sisters are being gang-raped and it's like, how much more can our world take? (A lot, probably... we humans are pretty pro at ***ing everything up are we not.)

3.  People are so different. It's fascinating that 2 people who grew up in the same culture and communities can have VASTLY different strong opinions about the same things...and seemingly not be that different from each other in any other way. I try to remind myself that most of us are coming at our various views (political opinions etc) from a good heart, even if that manifests in completely different ways. (And honestly, sometimes with the media being SO biased towards one side I find myself asking, "What is TRUTH?!" just like Pilate before Jesus' trial and execution because I'm so deep like that... ;) )

4. After these recent big earthquakes in Wellington I would kind of like my husband never to work in his office building in town ever again in case the next big one strikes during daylight hours and you know, kills everyone. Hundreds of really tall unsturdy buildings built right on a fault line in a city that is competely isolated from the rest of the country with ONE road in and out that would be munted in a quake. Sounds just peachy. Who's with me????

[On my mind]

5. I put up our Christmas tree like a week ago. All the low-hanging fruit decorations have already been removed by my daughter to display in her 'shop'. Aka on a plastic storage box. Then she calls to me "Hey shop lady, what you like?" and if I say "Ummm could I have that candy cane decoration back please" she goes "That's 10 dollars" takes my money and then runs off with the decoration. Such a thief.

6. Ella 'reads' for like an hour a day by herself. I don't know what we did to deserve this but I'll take it. Sometimes she even says "I'm tired, I just need go to bed.... with my books" so that she can sit in her cot surrounded by all her papery belongings and bark at me "Close the door!" so she can read/rip pages in peace.

7. That girl is a sweetheart. She often says she needs to look at the baby, comes over and lifts my shirt, pats my tummy saying "Aww! it's so coot! It's in your belly button! It's not come out for a long time."

8. Speaking of 'coot' she comes clothes shopping with me and selects items off their hangers like say a pair of boring black pants and exclaims "Ohh! Dat's so coot!"

9. She sometimes calls Calum 'Daddy bear' just casually. BLESS.

10. I'm stumped. I made cookies? And they were really good? I guess that's enough of a new item to finish this list!

(And incase you missed it, our Baby News. I can't believe I've blogged twice this month already...:D )