Diaper Bags!

Since the birth of Ava I have used my handbag twice. Now, carefully residing in the zipped pocket of my diaper bag is my phone and my wallet. I am constantly searching for my lip balm, eye lash curlers and a pen- but who has the arms to have a handbag AND a diaper bag?? I remember, quite a number of years ago, diaper bags were very plain in design- they are were made of easy washable material and looked like a duffel bag I may take for school sport.. I was gifted with a beautiful Oroton Diaper Bag (similar one here– mine is red)- while it is beautiful, If I was to pick a diaper bag I would definitely pick a larger one.

I did a roundup here of all the items I have in my diaper bag- I can confidently say that I have used everything in my diaper bag numerous times (including the change of outfits!)

Below are a few beautifully designed diaper bags I found- some I have seen in person, others I have looked at different images and reviews online. With prices ranging from AUD300+ down to AUD80, I hope this helps you to think outside the box of a simple diaper bag from Target or Kmart! There’s no reason why mums can’t be fashionable and practical!!

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one- Isle of Charlie Finlay Nappy Bag // two- Oroton Signature O Baby Bag (on sale for AUD149!!!!) // three- Kate Spade classic nylon leapard harmony baby bag // four- Oi Oi Indigco Ecipse Dot Carry All Nappy Bag (on sale for AUD126!) and Chocolate Leather Satchel Nappy Bag (on sale for AUD231!) // five- Duo Signature Diaper Backpack // six- Ju-Ju-Be Legacy Super Be Diaper Bag

I’m thankful..

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This, my friends, is a picture from my night on Thursday…I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of thankfulness as I sat on the couch with Ava asleep on my lap.

Motherhood has been one learning experience after another- learning Ava’s feeding cues and distinguishing her cries, laughing over the new sounds she makes and feeling in awe of how much she is growing every day! While she can’t talk yet and is still very much in a cycle of sleeping and eating all day every day it has been life changing watching her grow and knowing that she is our little bundle of joy! I love our little girl so much already..

I initially started listing all the things I was thankful for but the list was becoming too extensive- we would be here all weekend! Just the simple act of holding Ava as she fell asleep led me to be thankful for so many things:

..formula (so she didn’t go hungry),

..a roof over our heads (protecting us from the wind and rain),

..two arms (so I could hold her),

..blankets and clothing (to keep us warm as we sat downstairs)

..both our health’s

It’s easy to always be wanting things- bigger homes, newer cars, more furniture, new electronics, a better job – sometimes you need to just take a breath and think on all the things you have already been blessed with!

 

A flare for the dramatic..

A few months ago I wrote a post about Ava’s nursery- we decided to go with pastel’s and whites.

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dsc_00541If you have seen our house you will notice that I definitely like whites and neutral colours. Our lounge-room and dining area are very Scandinavian- grey couches, timber and white dining set, white walls etc. Everyone has warned me that keeping our walls white is going to be a challenge when Ava gets bigger!!

While I love neutrals, I’ve recently come across a few nursery’s that are dramatic to say the least! I have to admit they are incredible even though they are totally opposite my normal style!

Below are some of my favourite’s I’ve found- maybe for our next baby I will be become a bit more adventurous with the nursery!!

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One- Unknown Source // Two- Annabella Charles // Three- SMP Living // Four- Barefoot Blonde // Five- A Cup of Jo // Six- Inspired by this // Seven- Bash Please // Eight- Baby Center (original source not working) // Nine- Domino // Ten- Wasting time wisely

 

In my Diaper bag..

I had a reader ask me about what I carry in my diaper bag when Ava and I go out- I’m very much a no fuss kind of person in that I carry around what is needed- nothing more. I don’t think there is anything worse than rummaging through a bag of baby items trying to find a teeny tiny pacifier while your baby is screaming her head off so everything I have is practical.

*I used to carry around one extra outfit until she pooed through one day and I didn’t have a spare in case she did it again. My mum recommended always carrying around two changes of clothes which has served us well so far!

The weather will obviously dictate which onesies and items are needed- here in Sydney we’ve just headed into Spring, so the weather is somewhat cool hence the long sleeve onesies and beanie.

Also, depending on what time we go out I will bring a bottle (of breast milk). All the below items fit nicely into my diaper bag. I’ve tagged a similar diaper bag from Oroton as I can only find the one I have on ebay.  Hopefully this is helpful!!

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one- swaddle // two- 5-6 nappies // three- nappy bags // four- baby wipes // five- hand sanitizer // six- pacifier // seven- two singlets // eight and nine- two onesies // ten- baby sleeping bag // eleven- beanie // twelve- diaper bag (I have this one) // thirteen- two bibs

Free events around Sydney!

CLIMB HIGHThere are a few websites floating around that have lists of free events for kids around Sydney. When I started Growing a Bebé, I wanted to make it a point to post about good free events for other mums however trying to cover all the different websites was a bit hard. Below are my top picks for September for ages beginning roughly at 3. On a side note- I would recommend clicking on the clicks to make sure you don’t need to register in advance for the event!

September 2016

Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
        01 02 03
       
Storytime– Ultimo
Rock ‘n’ Rhyme– Glebe
 
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Lego Free Play– Waterloo
 
Kids Makerspace– Surry Hills
Storytime– Ultimo
Rock ‘n’ Rhyme– Glebe
Smooth Festival of Chocolate– The Rocks
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Smooth Festival of Chocolate– The Rocks
Festival of the winds (Kite festival)– Waverley

 

Mum and Bub- Exercise your mood week begins- Redfern
Lego Free Play– Waterloo
 
Storytime– Ultimo
Rock ‘n’ Rhyme– Glebe 
 
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Lego Free Play– Waterloo
 
Storytime– Ultimo
Rock ‘n’ Rhyme– Glebe
The essential Baby and Toddler Show– Moore Park
The essential Baby and Toddler Show– Moore Park
Family Fun Day and Outdoor Movie– Double Bay 
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 The essential Baby and Toddler Show– Moore Park
Convoy for Kids- Truckies care for kids– Sydney Olympic Park
Circus Solarus Dinosaur Dig begins- Sydney Olympic Park
Lego Free Play– Waterloo
Create a giant Peach mobile– Stanmore
 
 
Create a giant Peach mobile– Dulwich Hill

Special Mentions

10 days on..

Leaves and Lemons Border Vintage Baby Shower PosterAva has been in our lives for 10 days now. What an incredible 10 days it has been. It’s amazing to think that this little person didn’t exist 9 months ago and yet here she is on the outside- feeding and sleeping like a champion! All those scans and pin pricks, the check ups and the preparation- everything for those 9 months led us to today. Looking down at my daughter I can’t help but get emotional as to how amazing God truly is.

Ava has been growing well. Because I received an early discharge from hospital (we were going stir crazy) we’ve had a few follow-up visits from a midwife at home. Everything has checked out fine a week on- Ava’s almost back to her birth weight which is great. A little Vitamin D deficient (which is quite common)- we went for a big walk yesterday in the sun to try and naturally help that (I think she got a little sun burnt- oops!!!) Reminder #1- buy some baby sunscreen!

We were prepared for parenthood in that we had nappies (diapers), bottles, a cot- all the material things you need to have a baby at home but nothing prepared me for the weight of responsibility I would feel after bringing our daughter home. People warned me of the 3 day cry- apparently your hormones drop off after birth around day 3 and lots of tears can ensue- let’s just say I’ve had the tears on day 3, day 5, day 7, day 8…

I’m sure there are various contributing factors to the tears:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Being mummy 24/7 for the past 10 days
  • Not going into work and having that social interaction

It has been a massive learning curve which I know will continue for the rest of her life- I’m comforted by the thought that she won’t be this little forever though! Of course we don’t want time to go too fast but at the moment I want to seriously bubble wrap her.

She had her first and second vomit yesterday- we think it may have been the amount of orange juice I drank- I bawled like a baby when she threw up. I have seriously turned into that parent… Did I mention that Greg and I stayed up looking at a video of her farting once she went to sleep earlier this week? We promised ourselves that we wouldn’t become those people.. We hang our heads in shame..

I got out of the house on Tuesday night which was amazing! Ava stayed home with daddy.. He did well until it was time to  burp her- after a few failed attempts he texted and let me know that he would just hold her until I got home, accompanied by this photo (we’ve come up with some great captions it..):

IMG_1128 It was quite funny.. Of course she eventually fell asleep 2 minutes before I walked in the door. It was nice going into Church and playing the piano again (I haven’t touched a piano in 2 weeks)!

Overall the beginnings of motherhood have been full of high’s and low’s- I can’t believe we’re already 10 days in and at the same time I can’t believe we’re only 10 days in!

We are so grateful for family and friends who have surrounded us with so much love and support- we couldn’t have done it without them!

Ava, my baby girl- you are so loved..

..and so the journey continues.

Introducing Ava!

IMG_1074It all began on Monday, the 22nd of August. We were at my grandma’s celebrating her 77th birthday..  I think it was mid cronut that I experienced, what I now know to be a contraction. I complained that my stomach hurt really bad- my mum quickly started arranging pillows on the couch so I could lay down, but just as fast as the pain came it went away.. It didn’t cross my mind that what I had experienced was a contraction. We all had a good laugh and kept eating dessert.

Fast forward a few minutes- I went to the bathroom where I had a bloody show however there was a lot of red fresh blood. We freaked out.. It’s one thing to see pale pink blood but another thing to see fresh red blood at 39/40 weeks pregnant.

We called the hospital who advised us to come in within the hour. If you know my husband, you know that he mentally began keeping track of the time. We quickly packed up our things and headed home- we needed to drop off the groceries I had bought just that morning and grab our toiletries in case we were having a baby that night!

About 10min out from the hospital we started feeling the car pulling to the right and a sound which resembled the beginnings of a flat tyre! We couldn’t believe it! We quickly pulled over (my mum had been following in her car) and began checking the tyre’s- It was slightly raining and I remember telling Greg that he should reverse and drive a little so I could look at the tyre’s.. I was having mild contractions. We couldn’t see any flat so we figured that there was a nail in one of the tyres. The stress level of my husband was beginning to sky rocket- remember his mental countdown of an hour? We were now at about 50 of the 60 minutes..

Praying we would be able to make it to the hospital without getting a flat tyre we quickly pulled back out onto the highway – after parking I had another contraction but it wasn’t long or super hard however I do remember having to breath through it.
We made our way in to the hospital- they gave me a gown and began the process of checking me. I was 3.5cm. Generally, they would send you home until you were dilated 4cm but because I was bleeding and had gestational diabetes they kept me at hospital.

They check you every 4 hours, but from 9:30pm Monday night till approx. 5:30am on Tuesday morning I had only progressed to 4cm and my waters hadn’t broken. At 7:45am (my next check) I was at 6cm and they decided to break my waters. Up until this stage the pain had been manageable- Greg was laying in the bed beside me, and as a coping mechanism I would grab his shirt and breath into it while shaking my leg. It sounds kind of ridiculous but it was helping me get through the pain quite effectively!

Around 10am the pain was becoming unbearable so I asked for the gas- I was bouncing on an exercise ball and sucking gas every time a contraction came around. The gas made me super queasy, and made the room spin, but it was taking the edge off of the contractions.

When I hit 7cm I decided to get into the bath- I wanted a water birth so I figured this would help progress things- big mistake. As soon as I got into the water and had my first contraction the pain was unbearable- there was nothing for me to push against or bounce up and down on- I think I had 3 contractions in the tub and decided that there was no way I could have the baby in the bath. I hit the wall of pain. I was desperate for an epidural.

Thank God the anaesthetist was on the floor- It felt like he appeared within minutes of me asking for the epidural. After telling me all the side effects that could happen as a result of getting an epidural we started getting situated to get the needle. All I kept telling myself was not to move. I had 3 contractions while he was trying to get the epidural in- I believe God helped me to barely feel them because I knew they were coming but I was able to block out the pain and sit like a rock. After hitting additional cartilage the first time, he found the right area the second time.

I was given a low block which took the pain but still allowed me to move my legs. Almost as soon as I got the epidural I started shaking- the shakes continued right up until I was pushing. This was probably one of the most traumatic parts for my mum. She coped really well (from what I remember) except seeing me shake and in so much pain.

Another thing I experienced was intense pressure every contraction. The epidural was fantastic but the pressure from her head was almost as painful as contractions so I was sucking the gas even though I had an epidural.

Fast forward to around 4:30pm and I was finally 10cm so I could begin pushing.

I can’t even describe the intense pain and pressure I felt.

The hour and a half of pushing was the most traumatic part of my labour. Between intense contractions I don’t remember much- my mum tells me that she would call my name because it was as if I lost consciousness between contractions. Once I felt a contraction coming I would “wake up” to a spinning room and push.

I can’t remember most of the pushing experience- I do remember lying to the midwife though when she asked me if a contraction was still there for a 4th push (we were doing sets of 3 pushes) and I lied saying no.. Of course she knew it was there- her hand was on my tummy..haha..You can’t just change the rules like that!

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After Ava was born and we checked if she was indeed a girl- we did skin to skin and started the recovery process.

Due to the intense pushing I broke blood vessels in my eyes and face. My eyes, 8 days on, have started clearing up but my face has pretty much gone back to normal.

Physically- I feel great considering I gave birth a week ago and I’m back in my pre-pregnancy clothes with only a little baby bump.

Birthing Ava was the most traumatic and difficult thing I have ever experienced but it was worth it!

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The “joys” of pregnancy!

If you are pregnant and you haven’t heard of Line Severinsen you need to look her up on instagram or google stat!

The mother of two and illustrator has created cartoons depicting the “joys” of pregnancy and motherhood! I have to admit, most of the pregnancy cartoons were hilarious and so very true! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who has experienced some of the “un-said” experiences of pregnancy! Below are some of my favourite!

Menu Planning

Hopefully without sounding too insane, I love organising and planning! Lists are one of my favourite things to make! I’ll write a list at the beginning of the week of everything I need to do and then make lists daily of specific things for that day, all the while crossing of things from the weekly list. When it comes to organising my husband and I with breakfast, lunches and dinner it’s no different- I have been menu planning for years so I’m sure this will be a time-saver in the coming months when a newborn is introduced to the family.

*on a side note- yes I do make my husband’s lunch- he doesn’t work anywhere near a cafe or a shopping centre- and as you will see, menu planning ensures he has something (somewhat) healthy to eat instead of grabbing fast food.

My menu planning regime is very simple.

My first recommendation is to list everything you have in your pantry, freezer and fridge. You don’t have to do this every week, but when you initially take the jump to start menu planning you’ll want to know what you have- for example you may have been buying spaghetti noodles every time you go shopping and you now have 4 packets, or you may have a can of chickpeas from a year ago sitting in your pantry.

Before you even start to plan for the coming week or month try to use up the things you forgot you had! Our goal is to reduce any hoarding and over- buying, essentially saving money!

There are websites which can help you find recipes for those ingredients you have stockpiled such as Supercook and Foodwise.

Next, you’re going to want to create a template or system for planning that works for you. Because there are only two of us (and generally we can eat the same things) I menu plan like the below:

Monday

B- Toast

L- Chicken and Salad

D- Spaghetti with meatballs

If we have something to attend at night I will make a note of it so I know to cook our dinner for the following night the night before:

Monday

B- Toast

L- Chicken and Salad

D- (Music Practice) Spaghetti with meatballs

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Don’t be afraid of leftovers and having them the next day for lunch. No one wants to eat the same meal 3 nights in a row, but by accounting for the same meal one more time that week (if you were to make spaghetti on Tuesday night, it would last till Thursday lunch)- it will help with wastage and planning.

Next, I go through my menu meal by meal and write down the ingredients I will need (example in the above picture). I categorise these by Diary, Fresh, Meat etc because that’s generally how the grocery store is set up that we go to. You can categorise them whichever way works easiest for you.

Of course I add things after this to the list that I know we need- cereal, bread, museli bars but essentially I have my main meals accounted for. Do I forget things- yep! Do I purchase something I don’t need because it’s on sale or my unborn baby is telling me I need it- yep! But overall, menu planning can be exciting and budget saving!

I have created a free template for how I menu plan here. I’ve also added a printable template for a grocery list here. There are a few templates that I came across which are slightly different which may work for you (photos are hyperlinked):

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My last tip (that we definitely implement) is consolidating cooking. For example, this week we had BBQ lamb on Tuesday night- I also had Greg BBQ the chicken for Wednesday and Thursday’s meal. This saved on cooking time for me, as well as having the meals ready a lot faster when needed as opposed to waiting for the meat to bake that night.

Hopefully you have read through some helpful tips that you can implement to make life easier!

Nursery Design!

For the nursery we decided to get rid of our study/2nd guest room. It wasn’t a very hard decision as we hardly ever used the room- however we did decide to keep the large double bed futon in there- in helps when we have guests and they have kids. The only problem that caused though was that we didn’t have much room to work with (which I guess is okay when your baby is super small)- check back with us once she turns 2 or 3!

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Below are most of the exact items we purchased (with a few similar products for those that have been discontinued). I went with mainly neutral items (that we already had) and soft touches of pink and coral (I’m not a hot pink kind of gal).

The nursery is one of the most beautiful rooms in our home- we can’t wait to fill it with a little baby!!

While I know it’s not 100% finished, I wanted to give a little peak into this special room..

Nursery

 

one-Ikea dresser // two- Bible verse printable // three- adhesive watercolour polka dots*

four- I love you forever printable // five- Ours was the Karlstad (similar one)

six- Ours was a bright yellow lamp, painted white (similar one) // seven – Ottoman

eight- Ikea cot // nine- Ikea cot skirt // ten- Faux fur // eleven- Peonies

* You can purchase in Sydney from Rose Furniture

Not tagged:

Kmart Stockholm side table

Kmart frame (for large image)

Kmart frame (for smaller print)

Burrow & Be Muslin wrap hanging on cot

Our nursery: