Saturday, 26 December 2009

Christmas Day


We (well, Princess) woke at dawn, and a bit later we went to the beach... Princess wasn't too sure about the bright sun or the startling surf, but she was very sweet about being cuddled while warm waves slapped her legs.


Then she watched her parents eat and drink too much, while wearing the Christmas dress that her auntie gave her!


And this is the view from the house. Not bad, eh?!

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

The Saffa family is in Coolum (north of Brisbane in Queensland, Australia). It is hot and sunny and humid and tropical, but not so hot that we can't sleep at night. We are cat-sitting for friends. They called us a couple of months ago to ask if we'd like to look after their cat, pool and house near the beach... so the airfares here are our presents to each other this year!

Being on holiday with a baby is very different. After a week here we still haven't made it to the beach because I'm not sure a baby should be mixed with heat and sand! I have taken her into the pool a few times and she doesn't exactly hate it but it's not really fun. By the time we were ready to brave the beach Milord came down with man-flu. As he was beginning to recover Princess caught it off him - poor little mite. Guess who has been the better patient?

On Christmas Day we are hoping that she will be well enough to go to the beach for an hour or so. Just long enough for Milord have a swim and Princess to perhaps dip her feet! Then home to air conditioning and a small roast for two.


I like that it is just us here alone for Christmas... for me Christmas is all about love and family. My Dad comes from a huge family himself, but when he and my mother had kids they decided that Christmas Day was for us 4 alone. On Christmas Eve they'd host a party, and on Boxing Day everyone was invited over for a barbeque and pool party, but Christmas Day itself was just us.

Maybe that's why I loved Christmas so much as a child - no weird relatives or generation conflicts - just us. And presents and food!

My family disintegrated when I was 18 and my parents divorced and since then the season has meant very little. I've had "orphans" Christmases all over the world, which are always great fun - mainly because of no weird relatives or generation conflicts! But really it's just another party with bad presents...


This year I have a family of my own. Suddenly it is no longer just a party but again a celebration of love and family. Milord asked me what I wanted to do for Christmas and my answer was: "Christmas is wherever you and Princess are."

It is Princess' first Christmas, but as she's only just under 4 months old we're not really going the present route this year. For Milord and myself, we have decided that going away for Christmas is our present to each other.

I hope that your Christmas is turning out the way you like it too!

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Post Preggy Body Update

Been a while since I wrote about this... because, in a word, my post-baby body is ... terrible!

I am now 1kg over the weight I was when I got home from hospital after having Princess! My willpower is shot. I have gone up a dress size and I refuse to buy anything at this size, and I refuse to wear maternity stuff, so my wardrobe is extremely limited.

Mom being here for a month was truely wonderful, but not conducive to weight loss. Mom gained 1.5kg while she was here. And so did I. On top of my baby weight!

Aaaargh!!

Now it is December. Milord is on leave until next year. We are about to go away for the holidays. Christmas is looming. I have absolutely no chance of losing weight until January. I am fat. My belly is blobbier than ever before. I am fatter than I have ever been in my life.

So - I'm focusing on January as a new start. I have rejoined Weightwatchers and hired a X-trainer so I have all the tools at my disposal. I am determined to go off the booze for the whole of Jan, and I just know that my fat will melt away at that point. I do about an hour a day on the X-trainer which I've had for a week, and it is making me fitter under the fat... bring on the New Year!

Today's weight: 76.3kg. ugh.

In other news:

My hair is shedding like crazy. Most women dislike this but I'm chuffed! I have such fine hair that when it is thick it goes limp and heavy, and now that it's thinning back to normal I'm getting better lift and volume. I'm also lightening my colour now that Princess is so much easier to handle and root maintenance is not a time issue. I have found a hairdresser locally who does a good short cut and at least my hair looks good!

My boobies have shrunk to a small C. Luckily their shape is still perky.
On the positive side my pre-preggy shirts fit properly again.
On the negative side my belly looks even bigger against little boobs.

I got my first period this year at about 3 months post delivery, and 2 months after stopping breastfeeding. It was a doozie! I've always had light periods, and this was a super-tampon-plus-pad every couple of hours. yuck. I hope the next one is better! No cramping though, for which I am grateful.

Sneezing is no longer a problem bladder-wise so I guess my pelvic floor has regained tone.

Sort of on that subject... Milord has told me that he'd like to try for kid #2 now. I've been saying that when Princess is 6 months old we'll start trying (because I'm almost 38). Which is March and not all that far away. I'm not ready to be pregnant again yet! Even March sounds too soon to go through it all again.

Then again what's a couple of months difference?

So I've told him to shag me loads and see what happens ;-). Could be a very good holiday season!

*snigger*

Friday, 11 December 2009

Granny's Gone


Mom left for the airport about an hour ago, and I am so sad. She will try to be back again in a year's time...


We were both in tears as she got in the taxi, and I haven't been able to stop snivelling since.


It's going to be a very long year for both of us. *sniff*

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Hyams Beach Revisited

When I was very pregnant we spent a weekend in a beach house at Hyams Beach, 3 hours south of Sydney. The weekend before last we went back again, with Princess and her Granny (Mom). It was wonderful.


While we have a lovely house after all the renovations, it is still nice to get away from the place from time to time - especially for Milord who has many small DIY jobs looking at him whenever he is home. Away from all that he is able to relax properly and really enjoy doing nothing!

Mom and I looked after Princess, and Milord did all the cooking on the barbeque. Plenty of snacks, nibbles and wine were consumed, books were read, jigsaws were built and movies were watched. We saw dolphins and cheeky parrots, although "Jack" the kangaroo didn't visit us this time. I find a 6 foot kangaroo a bit intimidating so I didn't mind not seeing him! Milord and I took back the night feeds to give Mom a break, and she tells me she slept extremely well with the sound of the sea at night.


Princess slept most of the time. She is going through a stage where she cannot sleep anywhere except a bed, so the 3 hour drive to the beach house was a bit hard on her. We stopped halfway there to give her a feed and nappy change, but the poor darling really needed a proper sleep which she just couldn't manage in the carseat. I rode in the back with her to keep her company - we chatted and sang and pulled faces and fiddled with the dummy. By the end of the trip my back was in spasm down one side! Anyhow, when Princess misses a nap she has to make it up before she is happy, so for the next few days she barely woke except for feeds and changing. She had just come right when it was time to head home again!


We swam in the sea a couple of times, and it was lovely once you managed to get in! The beach is on the shore of a very large bay, so the waves are small and there are no currents to worry about. The water was crystal clear and gorgeous.

We had plans to bushwalk and picnic on beaches, but in the end decided that it would be nicer for everyone if we let Princess be relaxed and happy in the house. I don't think she would have appreciated missing a nap to be carried through bush or deposited on a sandy blanket! It was actually rather pleasant to have an excuse to be lazy!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

I am a Granny!

A Guest Post by Saffa Chick's Mom:


What a buzz to be a granny! At the instant I heard that Grace had been born my brain went into instant meltdown and I have never snapped back! I had never been overly bothered about becoming a granny and was quite cool with the thought that I probably would not be presented with grandchildren. Now, how different everything is. I coo at little babies, where in the past I ignored them. I aah at little pink dresses and get excited over bright toys and playthings. In fact, I am now two sandwiches short of a picnic and am destined to never recover. It is heaven!

I had to wait 10 weeks before I could go to Australia and meet Grace and can thank goodness that we have telephones, email and digital cameras, so that I could follow her progress during this time. Of course, I came over at the best time. I let Mommy do all the battling and learning at the beginning and only came on the scene when Grace was turning into a little person in her own right. I have since had a crash course in baby care and can now have Grace all to myself whilst Mommy and Daddy go out on the town! Nice for all of us. At the moment Grace and I are alone in the house and she is in her rocker talking to her bright dangly toys we bought the other day and of which she approves. She has just sunk a bottle of milk and is most content, but that could change in a second when she decides that she wants a change of scene or to be put to bed. Talking of bed, I am sharing a room with her, so I have taken over the night and early morning feeds, as her grunting and groaning wakes me up anyway. This leaves the parents to sleep through and gather strength for when I have to sadly leave. This is no hardship for me as she is so happy to see me and greets me with huge smiles and gurgles. No granny could resist having her all to themselves no matter the time of day or night!

I have also learned to wrap her in a large cot sheet before she goes to bed. I say that I have learned to do this, when what I actually mean is I have a bash at it and Houdini thinks I am hilarious! The idea is that her arms are held tightly against her body as she sleeps on her back and if they are free she thrashes around and startles herself, which wakes her up! Grace Elizabeth Houdini Black@dder can get out of any of my wraps in about 5 minutes. She has a very subtle strength in her arms and her grip is amazing!

When I arrived 3 weeks ago Grace was still very much a baby, but she is growing up so fast. When I arrived she was just learning to smile, now she gives great beaming smiles and is close to chuckling. She gurgles and goos and I am teaching her to say Granny before I go! She can hold her head up without you having to hold her neck and can control where she wants to look. There are not so many involuntary headbutts, though you still have to be aware that she may crash into you when you are holding her up on your shoulder! Granny's reactions are sharpening up!

She is really pretty, large blue eyes that crinkle when she smiles, a little turned up nose and a rosebud mouth. She has the sunniest disposition, though she does have a mind of her own too and lets you know it if something is not exactly as she wants it! She reminds me very much of her Mommy and her Auntie Kelly when they were babies, though her Dad is there too, she has the longest toes and will be able pick up golf balls with her bare feet when she is older. I think this should come in handy on the golf course when Granny cannot bend over anymore!

As you can imagine, I have been having a ball buying the cutest outfits for her, all pinks and whites and in the styles Mommy prefers, that is button under the bum so that they do not ride up and end up around her ears when picked up. I also bought various cot accessories, a travelling cot and even a special toy for later when she is sitting up and then learning to walk! The piece de resistance was a pair of shocking pink baby sunglasses which have a headband to keep them on. Hopefully I will get a photo of her in them soon! Luckily the day we hit the shops Grace decided that she had had enough after about an hour, otherwise I think we would have walked out with half the shop and my credit card would have been in meltdown mode!

Grace's Christening was lovely and I was horrified that at one point my eyes welled up and I thought I was going to howl! Luckily I gave myself a quick slap and a talking to and managed to control myself. So you can see how being a Granny has scrambled my brains! I was very proud to be asked to give one of the readings, that made it special and Grace and her Mommy looked quite beautiful. Of course, Grace was a little angel, but what more would you expect from Granny's Best Girl?


In the evenings, when one of us is baby wrangling, the other two share the cooking and come up with their favourite recipes, which has been great fun. Yesterday I made Babotie, a South African dish, which was a great favourite with our family back in the days of yore. The making of this dish was actually triggered by Grace's Grandad asking if anyone had the recipe as he wanted to make it again. I received my original recipe via several different people and I have tweaked it a fair bit to reflect our changing tastes. It was a resounding success last night in the Black@dder household so I am going to add it to this blog as I know that everyone who may be interested in trying it out is a fan of Saffachick and will see it!

Bobotie

750g raw beef (topside) mince
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 slices white bread
1 and a half cups milk (I used skim milk, which worked well, but you can use whatever you have to hand)
3 large eggs
3 Tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon sugar
White vinegar
Butter (I just used what I thought was needed for frying and then dotting the top)
3 bay leaves
Couple of handfuls of sultanas
Salt and pepper (I was quite generous with these, but it is to your taste)

Fry onion in butter till golden.
Break up bread and soak in one cup of milk in a dish.
Mix curry powder, turmeric, sugar and vinegar together in a cup until it is a slightly sloppy paste and add to soaked bread. Mash up well.
Add onion to meat together with bread mixture, salt, pepper, sultanas and 2 eggs.
Mix thoroughly and pack into well-greased dish.
Beat other egg lightly with remainder of milk in the same cup as used for the curry mixture and pour carefully over meat.
Place 3 bay leaves on top and dot with butter.
Place dish in a roasting pan with at least 3 inches of water.
Bake at 160 degrees C for 1 and a half hours.


Serve with long grain rice, sweet chutney (Mango was our choice), coconut, sliced banana, sliced tomato, cubed avocado. Other sambals can be added to your taste.

Yummm!

As you may gather, I am totally in love with being a Granny and totally besotted with my gorgeous granddaughter. I only have one more week here in Sydney and it is going to be a terrible wrench to leave Mommy, Daddy and Granny's Favourite Girl. I am not looking forward to that part! Still, I will be back to see her start to walk and talk and really look forward to that and reacquainting myself with the Best Girl in All the World - Grace Elizabeth!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Christening

This past weekend was hot. Very hot. It was 34C on Friday, 37C on Saturday and 43C on Sunday! For the non-celcius folk, 37C is body temperature.


On Saturday we went to a public swimming pool to cool off. I didn't take Princess in the water, but she seemed to like cuddling next to my clammy swimming costume! In the evening we went to Princess' godparents for a barbeque.

On Sunday we had Princess baptised. Milord reckons he's a lapsed Presbyterian so we found our nearest Presbyterian church and asked if she could be baptised there. They were thrilled, so we gathered friends and family for the ceremony, which was part of the service.


It was a bit churchy... but that's what you get for having a church ceremony I suppose. I'm not a believer - I have trouble with the idea of sin, heaven and hell - without which religeon loses its point. Milord isn't a believer either, but I think sometimes that he would like to be... which would be fine with me, really. We will give Princess exposure to Christianity and it will be her choice to believe or not. When I was a kid my parents sent me along to Sunday school every week and I loved it. I'm sure she will too!

It was hot. Very hot.


Milord's sister has a christening dress that Milord's mum made 18 years ago and was worn by his 2 nieces at their christenings. I was so chuffed when she offered it for Princess' use. It is a beautiful long satin dress, with lacey bits. Princess looked... like a princess!

But it was hot. Very hot. I spent the whole ceremony fanning my baby or blowing on her to cool her down! She slept though the entire thing, for which I was very grateful. She barely even twitched when the minister poured water on her head.


After the service we had nibbles and champagne with the congregation and our friends in the church hall. And it was hot. Very hot.

In the early afternoon we changed Princess into a cooler dress and a few of us went to an air-conditioned pub for a few hours. Oh, that was nice!

Late afternoon we sadly had to go home. We'd closed the house up so it was 32C inside as opposed to the 42C outside.

Still hot though. Very hot.


Mom, Milord and I all put on swimming costumes and got into a cool bath together! Luckily our bath is enormous, but it was still a little bit intimate! Princess also came in with us and we chatted and drank wine in the nice cool bath... we're going to buy a paddling pool very soon!

Then a light meal and attempting to sleep under the ceiling fans.

A cold wind sprang up on Sunday night and since then it has been cool and drizzly. We're loving it after the hot weather and Princess has been asleep for most of two days - utterly exhausted by her adventurous weekend!

Friday, 20 November 2009

Saturday, 14 November 2009

11 Weeks


I still don't know how other new moms blog as much as they do. When I have free time I run around cleaning and tidying, then I make a meal and sit down with my book for half an hour before Princess is up again. I'm lucky if I keep up with my emails, and there I cheat anyway because I know a lot of my friends and family keep tabs on me here!

Princess is nearly 11 weeks old.

She is now sleeping for a least an 8 hour stretch most nights. Her evening "Toxic Time" where she will not settle for up to 4 hours after 6pm, which makes preparing and eating dinner very difficult, seems to be easing. That started in week 5, so we've have 6 weeks of awkward evenings. This is normal, all babies do it, and it seems to be their way of tanking up on food at nightfall. Lately she is still ratty at 6pm no matter how I schedule her naps or how much I let her eat, but she's settling earlier and earlier. We now get her down between 8 and 9, and then she has a good long sleep.

Of course this means that she is waking around 4am or 5am for a feed, but at least I've had 6 hours sleep by then myself. Generally I can grab another hour or two from 5 or 6am too. Once she starts sleeping from 7pm-ish I'll consider waking her at 10pm for a "dreamfeed" to hopefully get her to sleep until dawn and so fit in with her parent's sleeping paterns!


We're getting lots of smiles and I'm sure she did a little giggle yesterday. It is so nice to be getting something back after all this tending. We also have gurgles and coos: "ahgha" and "oooeh" in this tiny girlie voice, with eye contact and a little smile - oh so cute! If I repeat the sounds back to her she'll do them again a few times. Milord thinks I'm losing my mind, and now I know why people googoo at babies!

Of course with the new vocal range we're also getting better howls and screams when she's hungry/wet/tired/gassy/hot/bright. Did you know a tired baby can be happily cooing in your arms and then will suddenly scream their head off for a couple of minutes before conking out completely? Huh.

Bathtime is becoming more fun, although I spend most of my time trying to stop her drinking the bathwater! I took her into the shower with me last weekend... she didn't seem to mind unless the spray was actually bouncing off my shoulders into her face. The spray onto her own back and head was fine. I'm glad - I figure teaching her to swim will be a lot easier if she doesn't mind getting her face wet.


Milord and I are making an effort to have quality time together lately. I realised last week that several days had gone by without a hug between us because Princess was always in the way. When she was asleep we'd be busy or asleep ourselves. That's no way to run a marriage! While we're being terrific parents we also have to remember to be good husband and wife too.

As for me, my weight is horrible. I have rejoined Weightwatchers and hope this plus the walking I make a point of getting out to do will start having an effect. I am 3kg over my pre-pregnancy weight. This isn't a huge amount but it's just not shifting and I can't fit into my old trousers, shorts and summer dresses. Growl. Wish me luck!

Mom leaves England today to travel here. She'll arrive on Monday morning and I can't wait! I'm planning walks in the park, coffee overlooking the beach, and picnics and beer gardens and all sorts of granny-and-baby-friendly stuff.


Mommy was too lazy to hoik out the baby bath...

Friday, 6 November 2009

Big Fish in a Small Pond...


Princess moved from her bassinette...


to her cot this week!

She looks lost in it! It doesn't help that you can't have anything in the bed with her because of smothering concerns. That's also why she's tucked down the end of the bed - so that she can't wriggling her head under the blankets.

My baby is growing so fast. Just 9 weeks ago she barely took up half the bassinette.

I was worried that she wouldn't like the bed after the closeness of the bassinette, but it doesn't seem to worry her. I did swaddle her tightly for her first few naps, but right now she's sleeping happily with her arms flung out.

Now I just have to figure out what to do while Mom stays in Princess' room for most of a month in 2 weeks time. Princess is such a noisy sleeper I don't really want to inflict her on her Granny at night... or on us!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Sculpture by the Sea

Last week we went to Sculpture by the Sea, an annual event at Bondi Beach. Along the coastal walk towards Coogee oodles of artists get to exhibit a work of sculpture. It is a competition and points are awarded for various things including how well it works in its location.








It was a lovely day - quite warm but with a fresh breeze. Princess had her first outing in the baby carrier, wearing her first sunhat and her first application of sunscreen.

She slept the whole way after a bit of grumbling, and then we sat under a tree and fed her and had a sandwich overlooking Bondi Beach.

Lovely!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Routines


It is a very hot day - over 35C - and I am indoors with all the doors and windows closed. My thermometer says it is 28C inside and with a fan blowing on me it's quite nice, really.

Princess should be asleep for an hour. Let's see if I can catch up on some posting. I'm getting a bit slack. I know I should post about being a mommy for my own reference - this is my diary after all. But others read my diary - won't they get bored?

Hmm. Too bad. Someday I may have a life outside baby smiles and interesting poo, but honestly this is kind of it for me right now, so I guess that's what I'll be posting!

So.


Princess is 2 months old, and 9 weeks old today. The time has flown, although it also feels like forever. Was I ever not a mommy? Who was that cashed-up carefree person?

I wrote down some point-form notes to blog about. Looking at them they say rather a lot so I'll just post 'em as they are:

sleeping thru
pesto poo
smiles (mostly for Dad)
legs in air
kicking into corners
size 00
outgrowing bassinette
eyes dark blue
enjoying baths a lot more

weaned off breastfeeding
back in C cups
back in pretty underwire bras!
weight not good

That's pretty much it in a nutshell!

Princess has begun to settle into a routine now - not an imposed one, just one she's fallen into. She wakes about 7am for a feed and plays and naps until 10 when she feeds and then has a long sleep until about 2. Then feed and play and nap until 6 when she's suddenly a cranky little nibbling thing until between 9 and 10 when she suddenly goes to sleep. If we're lucky she'll sleep through to 7 the next morning. If not then she'll wake at 2am for another feed.

She's "slept though" (8 hours or more in one go) for the last 3 nights in a row! Of course Milord and I start waking after 5 hours to look at the clock and to check the monitor is working every 15 minutes because we are now so used to waking in the night! I'm still tired though, as there is a fair bit of sleep debt.

On the whole she's a very happy baby. The evening crankiness is normal at this age. Poor Milord gets home from work at 6pm just as she becomes a pain in the butt! Luckily (although we'd rather he had more work) he's only working 3 days (his company is in trouble and has made him semi-redundant) a week, so he sees her in happy mode for the other 4.

As for me, I'm getting a routine too. This week looks like this:

Mon: exercise in park, lunch with friends, change and wash bed linen
Tue: Mothers Group, blog, snooze
Wed: exercise in park, clean bathrooms
Thu: Milord home, clean floors
Fri: Milord home, exercise in park, change and wash towels
Sat/Sun: Papers in bed, late brunches, catch up with friends

My weight is not going down. It will, as soon as I stop eating so much! We have a bowl of Halloween candy hanging around at the moment which really doesn't help. At least I am now having a bit of exercise to boost my metabolism.