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!