Thursday, March 29, 2012

Breastfeeding support and play dates....

Recently my local ABA group had their planning meeting which I attended, it's where we plot and plan our groups topics and gatherings for the next 6 months (I will be a trainee counsellor soon). At the meeting we decided that aside from our monthly meeting where a topic is covered by a group counsellor we would also trial informal play date/morning tea gatherings. It's no surprise that when any type of group meets more regularly it builds bonds, friendship, relationships and trust in the attendees. People then feel more supported and part of a community, generally of like minded people.

Talking this morning to two of the new mums that attended our morning tea, which was held in one of our trainee counsellors homes, it's so clear how new first time mums especially need that chance to sit with someone with similar parenting styles and values and feel validated.

New mums get so bombarded with advice about feeding, sleeping, routines, soothing, holding, carrying and everything else in between. I've noticed particularly in the new mums who have made the decision and commitment to breastfeed are often getting feeding a settling advice, that is often contradictory to the mothers desires and natural instincts. The sad thing however is that comments made to a breastfeeding mother about what she is doing and how she is doing it can often have the mother doubt her natural instincts and undermine the breastfeeding relationship she is so desperately trying to establish.

Pic - early days haze, the journey is different each time, this is Sarah 13 months ago.

Telling a mother she should not feed her baby to sleep.
If you hold baby all the time you will spoil them and build a rod for your back.
Asking new mothers with babes that are weeks old about sleep routines and patterns.
And so many other statements put pressure on mothers to have their baby conform to these apposed ideals to the mother, which often sees so many babes these days put on the bottle before 6 months.

All mothers want to feel supported don't they, regardless of their choices? As mothers most of us parent by gut and what we feel is the best for our baby. If something in the pit of the stomach doesn't feel right, we don't do it.........that's that natural instinct telling THAT mother how to do it. So when it comes to that breastfeeding mum, please be kind to her, she's just listening to her baby, her heart, her gut......she's listening to a natural instinct. She may say her by wakes often to feed and doesn't sleep through, and wants to be held ALOT. It's what some breastfeed babies do, rather than offer comment or criticism please just offer a hand or word of encouragement. That breastfeeding mum will soon find a natural rhythm and pattern with her baby, give her time to do that, support that, offer to cook a meal, run some errands for her. Support her, trust her, trust she knows what her instinct is telling her to do and she will get there. That breastfeeding mum, doesn't want you to solve her problems she just wants encouragement in her journey to breastfeed, if you don't understand her choice to do so that's fine, just trust her.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Loving the Library: Hullabazoo....

Thank you to those who dropped by last week for the first Loving the Library, if you missed it you can check it out here. This weeks Loving the Library is a phenomenal one and it is written by two Australian women, sisters in fact. So if you haven't picked up Hullabazoo, I suggest you do.
{pic source}
Author: Lisa Hollier
Illustrator: Tracey Roper
Publisher: Penguin

At 32 pages this book was likely written with a 5 year old plus in mind. However in saying that it was no deterrent whatsoever to us borrowing the book and the level of enjoyment for both Cohen and us.

The story is of Lochlan, who goes on a trip to the zoo with his dad. Lochlan and his dad watch the crocodiles but when an unfortunate incident with his red hat occurs it sets off an incredible chain of events sending the zoo into chaos......animal mania.....HULLABAZOO.

Lochlan comes to the rescue with a scheme to save the day and restore calm, with the help of a donkey.

What's great about this book:
* the fast past rhyming adds to the excitement if this story making you feel that you are amongst the action.
* the illustrations are amazing, so full of real life detail, the illustrations tell the story just as well as the text.
* the animals, lots and lots of animals.......straight from my horses mouth Cohen.

Another fantastic book to borrow, in fact I should say if you can go buy it even, it is such an exciting book. The books author and illustrator are sisters who created the story for Lisa's son Lochlan who inspired the story. This fact alone is clearly present in the storyline and illustrations. It's a must read book which you will find hard to believe is only these sisters first book.

Final comments:
Although the storyline is aimed at children slightly older than Cohen (who is about to turn 3), he fully understood the concepts in the storyline which lead to a lot of interesting discussion afterwards. At the end of the day the illustrations are so captivating that you could tailor and shorten the story for a young child's enjoyment if need be, even though we didn't find it necessary.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Just words for a sweet girl....

Today's post is a personal message of love going out there. As I tap away at my keyboard surgeons are amidst day long surgery on a dear friends daughters brain. You see it was about a year go now that Little A (I shall call her here) had a massive seizure at day care, after many tests, scans and further investigation the diagnosis was Rasmussen Syndrome. If you have clicked on the link it described better than I ever could what this syndrome does to a child, it's serious and it's very serious in this case for Little A. Today, the day after her mothers birthday, Little A is having a hemispherectomy, which means that by the end of most peoples working day Little A will have half her brain removed.

For today and for those you will read this, please send some love out into the universe today. Please join me in the hope that surgeons are rested with calm and collected minds and steady hands today as the work upon our dear friends little ones brain. And for those of you who also face difficult times and days ahead I too am sending love out into the universe you too.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Filling up the weekend and soul...

We have just had one of those splendid weekends, that really fills up the soul. So often weekends roll around, and like most other families we are busy running errands and getting odd jobs done that have not been done during the week and everything else. After this past weekend I've been left with so many things to be smiling about, rather than wishing there was another day of the weekend left to catch up on housework before Ben heads to work.

After the weekend I'm smiling because of:

* Ben planting Lily's in the garden.
* Getting a chance to take Cohen to his swimming lesson and to be able to watch his improvement without interruption.
* Great neighbours and impromptu babysitting and impromptu invitations to stay for a BBQ dinner.
* Family fun and celebrating our friends little boys birthday a Fleays Wildlife Centre.

To add to the list there is always snuggles, cuddles, giggles and lay-ins.

What has fed your soul this past weekend?

Oh and before you go, have you checked out the awesome giveaway I have running? Check it out, you don't want to miss out with school holidays coming up.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I've got a Lotta great stuff to tell you....

You might remember the other weekend I attended the Say Hello Bloggers Workshop. It was such a great event and I got to meet some really awesome and inspiring people. It was so encouraging to see the different takes and approaches that people were taking on in harnessing their interests and passions.

For me one of the most exciting people I got to meet was Leonie, who has single handeledly set about putting her dream into action of being able to offer a magazine for children and their parents that is 100% add free. Did you hear that? Add free! If you are anything like myself I find it increasingly frustrating how marketing divisions of toy and junk food corporations etcetera, try to get into our young children's mind so early. If that is a concern for you, or you are just looking for some wholesome let kids be kids fun in the form of a magazine you need not look any further.

Lotta Magazine is all about:
Being ad-free because they believe children should be children before they are consumers. There is no agenda to sell or market the most recent plastic toy or convenience food for kids. It is all about fun, creative things to do with your kids......especially handy for school holidays. Lotta Magazines are packed with over 40 affordable and creative activities for kids.
The magazine is:
Gender neutral.....I know, I know I hear you say, that would be a first, but true and super awesome.
I am in love with this magazine as it, just supports so much of what I try and do in our own home with the kids.

Lotta encourages kids to be creative whilst showing parents and caregivers that it doesn't need to cost you the earth to do so. Whilst giving parents and caregivers the encouragement to easily provide these opportunities for their children. Not to forget how great it is for school holiday at home fun.
As an ex preschool teacher and now a parent who tries to parent as naturally as is appropriate for our lives and children's lives, I can not recommend the mag to you enough.
So with that all being said pop on over and check out the Lotta Magazine site and blog.
If you believe in what Leonie is trying to offer with Lotta Magazine pop back here because she has been ever so generous to offer up two giveaways.
First prize will be the most recent magazine which is Travel themed and is hot of the press, literally.
Second prize is a copy of the previous issue: The Story Issue.
Now if you would like a chance at winning a copy of this great magazine here's what you need to do:
- although I would love for you to be a follower of my blog, I won't make it necessary for entry, but if you'd like to follow me, I'd love to have you.
- however to qualify for entry you must be a follower of Lotta Magazine Facebook page
- extra entries will be given if you share Lotta Magazine Facebook Link, to help get the word out about this awesome mag.
- then just pop back here let me know that you have liked and/or shared Lotta Magazine Facebook page, and sit back and wait to see if you're a lucky winner.
Entries close 8pm QLD time 29th March 2012.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Loving the Library: The Wonky Donkey....

You're here and this is my first "Loving the Library". Being the fist one I wanted to share with you a book with a bonus CD that is getting a lot of mileage here at the moment.
The Wonky Donkey
Author: Craig Smith
Illustrator: Katz Cowley
Publisher: Scholastic New Zealand

I find sometimes the most loved and enjoyed stories in our house are when either Ben or I throughly enjoy the storyline as much as Cohen, it brings more to our experience at story time.
With this hilarious story of The Wonky Donkey, I think you will be hard pressed to find a child who won't like this book. The story is written in a cumulative song form, where you will be introduce to a crazy new description of The Wonky Donkey each time you turn the page.
By the end you will be in love with a spunky, hanky-lanky cranky stinky dinky lanky honk-tonky winky wonky donkey.
What's great about this book:
* repetition and rhyming
* bonus CD of the story in song form, it has that wonderful folk feel to it and even has Sarah (who just turned one) booping along. Truth be told there is even an unofficial music video on YouTube of The Wonky Donkey.......which had a laugh out loud moment for Ben and I.
An utterly enjoyable book that we all enjoy as a family, the CD has been played countless times and we are enjoying every time and aren't sick of it yet. I think this would be a great book to get the attention of reluctant child to sit and listen at story time.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Loving the Library....

Since the redesign has taken affect I have also been working on a new posting schedule. One of the things I have been working on behind the scenes is a weekly feature I hope to be bringing you each week.
Loving the Library is a weekly feature I will be bringing to you each Wednesday, sharing with you what we are enjoying from the library as a family and with the kids. Loving the Library will showcase reading material for children (not always, but it will be a particular focus). I will give genuine opinion and brief overview of story lines and what we (the kids and I) have enjoyed about the book or library materials in question.  I hope this will give you some suggestions to add to your reading list with your children, especially if you have reluctant readers.

 From time to time I will also be focusing interest on adult reading material I have found of interest, as well as sharing information from community information sessions. Overall I hope to showcase the wonderful resources that are available through local libraries for young and old alike.

Loving the Library will be making use of all those libraries that exist, home libraries, local libraries and those informal libraries that exist between friends and community groups. I hope you will enjoy this feature and where I hope to take us on this journey. Make sure you stay tuned over coming weeks, so that you too will have your opportunity to share your "Loving the Library".

Our first Loving the Library will be tomorrow morning and I am particulary excited to be sharing a childrens book that the WHOLE family is loving right now.

Better get the party planning started.....

For the last few months Cohen has been informing me in no uncertain terms that he is having a birthday party. There has been no conversation where he has asked "if" he can have a party, it literally has been a case of "mum when I have my birthday party". He has been informing me of all the finer details to said party, like the cake he would like and guest list, and there must be balloons. Pretty presumptuous for a nearly three year old don't you think?

I'm not sure where but somewhere along the line our little boy got into Toy Story and when Ben's aunt gave Cohen a Buzz Lightyear toy at Chinese New Year (she is Chinese and showers everyone with gifts and money at this time) it was all over from there......the kid is obsessed. So now it's not just a birthday party, it's a Toy Story party.

{pic source}
Ben and I spoke some time ago about our kids and birthday parties and had decided that major party planning was going to be reserved for when the kids are of an age to have a memory of it. But we have backed off from that decision because to, not throw this sassy boy of ours a party that he has been hedging for would just be plain cruel.

Let's get the party started.......
that's right party planning posts are coming.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Squishy cushion play.....

Inspired by the kids reaction to me dumping 5 baskets of laundry on the living room floor and them thinking it was some sort of mountainess wonderland, when I was trying to get the folding done. I set about this week providing them an alternative, so they could have some squishy fun but I could get laundry done.

We gathered up all the cushions in the house, threw them in them in piles on the floor.
Then I threw over a sheet, so that cushions wouldn't be picked by an over exuberant Cohen thrown.
The kids had a wonderful time falling, crawling, jumping, giggling and when they started to feel a little tired of all that physical play the toy play animals came out. At which point I joined in climbing my dinosaur to the top of a cushiony mountain and roaring.

Such a fun, easy thing to do with and for the kids, great for wearing them out on a wet weather day.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Baby wearing at the Hello Blogger Workshop....

Yesterday I spent the day in Brisbane at the Hello Blogger Events Workshop, listening to and being inspired by some awesome Queensland bloggers. I'm still digesting information and my mind is buzzing with thoughts, goals, ideas and possibilities. I will be sharing tidbits and links to some of these wonderful bloggers throughout the week. But as well as having such wonderful and knowledable speakers to listen to a lot of networking went on as bloggers, met other bloggers, discovered new blogs, found like minded people in interests and inspirations.

However for today I wanted to share this sweet moment.
This is Ames from Accidental Wonderland, with her sweet, swishy and fresh little baby girl. I was ever so lucky to give Ames a run down quickly before the workshop started on how to wrap and tie a Hug-a-bub wrap. I had mentioned to Ames at a previous bloggers gathering that a stretchy wrap was a lifesaver with a toddler to run after as well.

So Amy came with wrap in hand and I got to do a demo for her first which meant I got to have a wee little snuggle with little miss, before mumma tried her first attempt at the wrap. I was thrilled to be able to help Ames and even more thrilled that Ames enjoyed her wearing experience with the stretchy wrap yesterday.

Now for the news I have been holding out on.....
Well when I say I've been holding out on you all, it's been in as much as I have been working on things in the lead up to the new blog design being installed. But the news, I have to share seems poignant to this post and helping Ames yesterday. What I wish to share with you is that later this week I will be introducing you to a new member of the Journey to Bliss team, who will be educating us all more on all things Babywearing. So if you have an interest in baby wearing and carriers, or want to know more and expand your knowledge to make informed decisions that are right for you, your children and family, be sure to follow us for the ride.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Daddy's first in over a year....

I said it was going to be a BIG week this week, and it is just that for a variety of reasons. This Sunday is going to mark the first time in over a year that Ben will be left with both of the kids for the whole day. You may ask why this hasn't happened sooner? The two biggest reasons have been Sarah being breastfed and being a very big mummy's girl, not wanting to have me out if sight for long at all. I'm heading to a Bloggers Workshop on Sunday and although I am able to take Sarah if I wish, since buying my ticket it's become apparent it's going to be difficult for me to take in the day and all the information. In such a short period time Sarah has changed so much and is a little busy body and she would have me running here and there and missing out on a lot of wonderful information.

It would seem that in a manner of speaking a switch or at least a partial switch has been flicked in Sarah and she seems a lot more confident and settled in the last few weeks. So we are taking the leap and on Sunday, we are going brave it collectively as a family and I'm going to be child-free for the first time in over a year and DH is going to pull double duty. I do expect to hear some reports of tears and troublesome moments during the day, but I'm really hoping that the day goes well for every body. The last thing I want at the end of the day after being at the workshop is to be picked up in Brisbane by a stressed out daddy and two upset kids.

*the kids just the other day beating daddy up on the belly, I think this will be suggested activity to keep them happy while I'm gone Sunday*

Thankfully with a few things that have changed around here and with Sarah recently, I think we are more likely to have success with the day than an epic fail. Goodness if the day is an epic fail I'm going to feel rotten for "abandoning" my little girl. So the one thing we know works well for Sarah doing swimming lessons with daddy, is if mummy is out of sight, she's out of mind for want of a better phrase to use. So we will be using this tactic for my departure. On another note the recent implantation of snack boxes has been so successful with Cohen that I will be able to arrange one for Sunday so that Ben won't have to worry about whining from Cohen about being hungry, Cohen will be able to help himself. Therefore allowing Ben to be as hands on with Sarah if she is having a hard time.

Oh and because I'm such a lovely wife I'm going to leave Ben with a run down of the days routine and suggestions for distractions for Sarah (he requested it). So please cross your fingers with me for Sunday being a successful day. I'm so super keen for this workshop that I want to be able to take it all in, bring it all home and apply it to bringing you lots of wonderful content here and over at My Vintage Vow.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Oh so pretty......the new blog design

I am so excited that this day has come, and I am posting my first post with this new blog design. I have three thank you's to send out. First to the ever fabulous Melissa from Suger Coat It who has endured countless rambling emails regarding plans for the new design, amongst other crazy ramblings I have about all manner of things. Melissa endures my insanity and I love her for it and putting up with it, and my silly and what is probably quiet obvious questions with quiet obvious answers. If it wasn't for Melissa's efforts I would still be fluffing about talking about wanting to do a redesign. If you've been considering a blog redesign, please stop by Melissa's and check out her links and be sure to shoot her an email, you won't be disappointed.

The second thank you has to go to the wonderful and ever so generous Kerri-Anne from KMCT Photography, who took us on for a photo shoot to help me find the new feel for the blog design. Kerri-Anne is growing and expanding her photography skill set all the time. She captured exactly what our family is like in our header image. She captured Ben and I being Ben and I and the kids being exactly as they are. All though Ben and I are posed the kids aren't they are just doing what they do and that's what is captured here......I love it, it's us.

Finally the last thank you goes to all my friends, family and readers, you've endured countless comments about a redesign coming. I am so thankful for you sticking with me and I hope that you like the new design and what I have in store here over the coming weeks and months. I personally am so excited about what the future holds for Journey to Bliss. I hope you will continue to join me.

Lastly please bare with us though as we tweak a few things here and there with the design, oh and keep an eye out under the header as I get down to breaking my content down for easier access and or exciting plans I have.

Much love to you all.

Monday, March 5, 2012

It's going to be a BIG week....

I've said it, I've hinted at it, I've talked about but to my loyal readers this is the week, the new blog design will be installed. What it also means is that it is also the start to lots of wonderful things I hope to be bringing to you in the way of content and information. I have been spending a lot of down time making contacts, brainstorming ideas, posts, projects and all sorts of wonderful things. For some time now and with my small readership with this here blog its been like a diary, a place to come heal and share my life through my ups and downs with the loss of my twin baby girls Elle and Meg. But it has also been my Journey to Bliss and my diary in becoming a mummy and all the day to day stuff that encompasses that and the way we parent with our earthbound children.

*just a little tease with the feel of the new design and the imagery you might expect when we click over this week*

It's my hope that you will enjoy all the things I have install for you whilst also continuing to let you see into my life and it's journeys good, bad or otherwise. What I have install for you comes from my heart and I hope you will continue to be a part of my support team and community as we grow. I'm so excited about this year and what lies beyond that, after all we have been through in nearly four years....lossing 4 babies and receiving 2 earthbound, after a diagnosis of PTSD (oh and don't forget a littl bit of OCD thrown in ther too) and everything else. I finally feel like I'm in a place I can start to find ways to help others too, whilst still delivering you me, my life, my family and so much more.

I'm on a Journey to Bliss, are you coming for the ride?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Snack boxes more notes.....

I thought I would follow up on snack boxes post earlier this week, as I have had a few people enquire with me about how I have it work for us so Cohen isn't eating everything in one go, as well as a few other points. So if you're interested in giving these a go here are some things you might find handy to know that I've learnt so far.

Firstly be sure to pop over and see Deb at Learn With Play at Home, as she as an extensive post of pointers that has assisted her.

So here are my notes.....

* I provide more than enough options or the day, so it makes it easy to gently reinforce that what he has in his boxes is for the rest of the day until dinner time. He hasn't eaten it all in one go yet.

* I provide a lunch and other snack options, with that being said if he decided to eat his lunch option in the morning so be it, he has other healthy options to choose from for the rest of the day. I'm not really concerned, as long as he is eating throughout the day, from the healthy options (of course there is a rare treat in there) I don't think I have much to worry about.

* I don't include drinks ie. poppers, juice etc. As we only really offer water and milk, which I will assist him with if his cup or drink bottle has emptied.

* I make up my snack boxes whilst Cohen has breakfast or plays quietly in the kitchen. When I'm finished I show him his options for the day and explain them to him. At which point he will ask questions about anything different or new.

* You don't need any special supplies to do snack boxes but I'm sure most families with children these days are going to have cookie cutters, cupcake patties or silicone moulds. But for the record I picked my food picks up at a Japanese Grocery Store and the silicone moulds at a $2 shop. I picked up all this stuff and more last year when I was trialling some bento and muffin tin snacks for Cohen.There are heaps of bento supplies available online too if you care to have a search around. In fact you could also do snack boxes in a muffin tin if you really wanted to.

* I keep the snack boxes in the fridge down the bottom shelf and Cohen just let's me know he is wanting something from his snack box and goes and helps him self.

* I have found starting these snack boxes now at nearly three years old is working a lot better than my bento attempts last year, because of his ability to understand how it works. With that being said I'm trying some mini snack boxes for Sarah, which is basically a mixed box of goodies in finger food style.........great for those baby led solid families.

Other than the points above one of the biggest benefits I'm finding for me personally is that the use of the snack boxes is allowing us to be much more organised and free with our days. If I decide at short notice I'd like to take the kids out for an impromptu outing, I can just grab the snack boxes and an ice brick and our small esky and pop it in the car and we're right to go for the rest of the day. No worries about feeding, whining kids whilst out or resorting to takeaway because of an unplanned outing throwing our day out. Overall I'm loving it, we're getting out and doing more.

I hope some of these points have helped you.

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