It’s not going to happen

February 2, 2016

29.1.15 x3

I was supposed to go back to work today.

When planning how long I would break from the clinic, five months seemed like a good amount of time. I thought our baby would be old enough to hang out with her grandmothers for a few hours each week with no issues. She’d probably take a bottle of expressed breastmilk and have a nap, and I’d get to go to work, earn money and keep the clinic running at an easy, gentle pace to begin with, seeing a few friendly clients on a Friday afternoon. Totally manageable.

January arrived and our babe was suddenly four months old. I hadn’t really thought about my impending return to work until another potential client registered interest in seeing me once my maternity leave finished at the end of the month, so we started getting ready. Having Joan feel ok with being away from me seemed like a good place to start. From fairly early on in her life, Joan hasn’t been great with crowds, and even with her grandmothers whom she knows and loves, she’d often FREAK OUT if I wasn’t in sight. She’s a sensitive babe (a velcro baby, as Pinky McKay puts it) who is very observant and curious, taking in all her surroundings, and sometimes she gets overwhelmed and needs help chilling out with the reassurance that I am there. So mum started coming over to look after the baby while I did housework. Joan was happy, she adores her Nana KK and they have a lot of fun together…but I was in the room, I hadn’t really left her. I knew we needed a few attempts of me leaving her with my mum and actually leaving. The first time we did this I went for a swim at the beach, which was down the road from our house. After a minute or so in the water, something in my gut told me I needed to get home, so I dried off, left Ben and my brother and ran all the way back. I heard the screams from the start of the driveway.

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Banana and Peanut Butter Smoothie Bowl

January 27, 2016

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I’m living in an “extra scoop” world at the moment. “Add some more to my plate, please!”… “Is that all the pasta you’re cooking?”…”That looks great, sweetie, but where are your potatoes?”. It seems like Ben and I are constantly feeding my ravenous appetite and I’m constantly eating his leftovers. As I’ve said before, breastfeeding has left me hungry.

After what feels like a long time, I’m having fun in the kitchen. The 11th of January marked one year since I found out I was pregnant, and one year and one week since eating became a chore. But now, food suddenly tastes glorious and I want more! I want to cook and bake and simmer, I want to create and share and eat. And I want to write about it. So here we go. Today I have a morning meal for you, one of my recent favourites. It’s not particularly different from other recipes I’ve posted but that’s because I don’t look at this blog as a way of being creative for you, as selfish and blunt as that sounds. It’s my space to share what’s happening in my life, to document my eats and my world. And lately it’s been all about bananas, nuts, dates and coconut oil. If you are inspired by this recipe, or if it triggers your own kitchen creativity, then that makes me happy. I’d also be happy for you to let me know your favourite smoothie combinations and send some inspiration my way! Simple, unpretentious sharing…that’s what’s going on. I also think I may write up my everyday eats, what I tend to post on instagram, salads and what not, and throw them into a little recipe book you could purchase here. That might happen… but for now, here is a smoothie bowl.

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Happenings, 18.1.16

January 18, 2016

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Hi, folks.

Things have been busy over here, with Christmas, moving house and overseas visitors in amongst the general business that comes with raising a little human. We had a lovely summer break with lots of sunshine, fish and chips and family cuddles in bed. And we’ve had fun settling into our new home, finding space for our furniture, scoping out the local shops and learning the route to the bathroom in the middle of the night without making noise. Joan has had a virus, poor bubba, which meant lots of nappy changes, naps and extra snuggles. She’s feeling much better and things are getting back to normal, in the sense that Ben is up for work at 6 and I’m home with Joan, organising and washing and cooking and making appointments. I’m doing a bit of writing too and have finally started reading books again. I’ve also had an urge to blog. I’ve missed chatting in this space, sharing what’s happening in our world, so here I am, with a page of happenings. I came across the idea of listing what’s been going on lately via Linda. The original “taking stock” idea comes from Pip, and I wanted to bring it to my space in an altered, personalised form, as I found it to be an enjoyable way of documenting and reading our “latelys”. I might do this every now and then, we’ll see. Here are our happenings in the middle of January, 2016, with our four and a half month old baby.
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Date and Cardamom Log

January 8, 2016

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I’m sitting on my living room floor surrounded by moving boxes, bubble wrap and piles of crockery to send to the op shop. Baby Joan is asleep in the pram and I’m giving her a rock every now and then to try and extend the nap as long as possible. We’re moving in three days and there’s still a bit to do.

Despite the need for me to pack my pantry and throw out expired bags of flour I never got around to using last year as a result of baby-growing-induced nausea, I’ve chosen to sit and type a blog post. I knew I wanted to share one more recipe from our kitchen by the beach before we move on to a new chapter of our lives. This time last year I was about to discover I was pregnant. I’d suddenly realise why I felt perpetually hungover and why coffee and porridge sounded repulsive, but the thought of a McChicken burger gave me the good kind of chills. I told you I used to Google images of McChickens and send them to my brother while I choked down some sort of healthy, muesli preparation for breakfast in the early weeks of pregnancy, didn’t I? True story. Well, I am pleased to say that I am slowly getting back into the kitchen. In the moments that Joan lets me stop watching her try as hard as she might to build her arm strength, I am filling my recipe notebook with snacks and simple preparations for our little family. They’re not fancy, but they do the trick.

 

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Joan’s First Christmas

December 30, 2015

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Joan brought a new kind of joy to this year’s festivities and gatherings. Usually, let’s be honest, it’s all about the food with my family. And while mum cooked an incredible spread, possibly her most delicious yet, with goose fat potatoes and killer gravy (see here for the usual menu), baby Joan was undoubtedly the most scrumptious thing on Christmas day.

Ben, Joan and I started our morning at home with presents and snuggles in bed. We then went for a walk by the beach, with Joan in a little Santa suit (sorry/not sorry), before heading to mum and dad’s house for fruit salad, coffee and presents by the Christmas tree. More family arrived a couple of hours later and we all sat down to Christmas lunch. Have I mentioned how much fun it is to indulge a breastfeeding appetite? It is.

Joan napped through lunch, clearly not aware of how delicious mum’s overnight pork and stuffed, rolled turkey breast were. Next year she’ll be eating the feast with us and I wonder what she’ll like best…the potatoes, perhaps? Or the ham? It was all outrageously good, the plum pudding too. As a child, I remember feeling genuinely perplexed as to how my family could find plum pudding tasty. Though with each passing year, I found the fruity, spiced pudding and sweet, boozy cream would appeal more and more, until suddenly I was in love and longing for the pud in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Mum gave us a pudding portion to take home and that evening Ben and I ate a little plum pudding with a lot of boozy sauce, two spoons on the one plate as we watched Elf with baby Joan asleep in our arms.

My, what a sweet Christmas.

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Pancakes, a New Home and some Gingerbread Fudge Bites

December 22, 2015

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Just a little post for you before Christmas. There’s pictures of pancakes and sweet baby Joan doing pull-ups, taken one perfect Saturday earlier this month. And to end, a recipe, for any last-minute Christmas gifts you may need. Or simply for yourself. We’re busy moving house at present, so I need all the date balls in every variation, please and thank you, including these festive ones I gifted to friends on the weekend. But let’s get back to those pancakes…

Our family of three had just been to visit our new rental, checking measurements and planning where furniture would go, and dreaming up all the wonderful things we’d do in this new house that already feels like home. It was time to move on and despite the task ahead (moving *ugh*!), we’re excited. I think this will be the fifth or sixth house I’ve lived in since starting this blog. There’s a lot of good that comes with packing up and relocating, a cleansing and reaffirming of possessions and intentions. We are keen to settle in our new place for a good while and to start fresh, with less stuff. A simple, clutter-free life is what we want.

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Three Months with Baby Joan

December 11, 2015

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I think Joan was about five or six weeks old when I felt the fog lift. There’s a sweet, swampy, sleep-deprived fuzziness to that first month, with so much learning and growth happening. You’re living moment to moment in survival mode. But eventually things became clearer.

After that first month or so I could move around during the day without feeling like my lower body needed a rest (hot tip: don’t google “what does it mean when you feel like things will fall out of your vagina?”). As much as one can, I adapted to living on less sleep. I began to feel spectacularly rested after two and a half hours of straight slumber. And Ben and I got to know our little baby; her favourite activities, how to get her wind up, how she likes to be calmed, when to cuddle her and when to let her play and explore, when she wants the boob (most of the time) and when she just needs sleep (most of the time). Bubs and I have learnt how to breastfeed together, I’ve learnt how to change nappies and she’s learnt how to fill them. I figured out how to tie my shoelaces while wearing Joan in the Ergo carrier and not disturbing her “just drifting off” stage of sleep. Later on I learnt I should just put my shoes on BEFORE putting her in the carrier… Yes, we’ve learnt a great many things these past three months, our little family of three. And even though all babies and parents are different, I know it can be helpful to read about what other mums and dads are going through, so here are some (oh, just a few) thoughts and ramblings on where we’re at.

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a yoghurt bowl and a carrot

December 2, 2015

Breakfast isn’t so much about food anymore. Pre-baby Joan I’d look forward to lingering over a morning meal of oats, toast, eggs, pancakes and catching up on favourite blogs and articles. I’d wake early just to satisfy whatever craving I had, usually of the porridge variety. It was a sweet time and I loved it, the morning solitude and my carefully prepared meal.

Now my breakfast-time is very different, though still sweet. I’ll assemble some sort of bowl containing the same kind of ingredients as before – oats, milk or yoghurt, nuts and seeds… but my choice of meal is all about speed, how swiftly I can put things together and get back to baby Joan, who will usually be sitting in her bouncer chair. You see, she’s particularly sweet and chatty in the mornings, playing with toys and staring at the sun coming through the blinds, talking to me and herself and her toys…and I don’t want to miss a moment. There are usually dishes in the sink and clothes to be washed, but I ignore the chores in favour of chatting. Recently, bubs has been grasping toys and watching me shake noisy props with wide eyes. This carrot rattle, gifted by a dear friend, is her new favourite.

And so, for breakfast this morning we had a yoghurt bowl, with greek yoghurt, rolled oats, hemp seeds, toasted sunflower seeds and coconut flakes, honey and banana. A yoghurt bowl and a carrot. And it was the sweetest thing.

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What did you have for breakfast today?

Heidi xo

First Dip

November 23, 2015

We’re getting these random hot days as Spring comes to a close and Summer flirts with full-time sunshine (well, as full-time as we get in our corner of the world). Last week we were gifted a day of persisting warmth and so, after Ben finished work and baby Joan had a feed, we headed down to the beach…

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Little changes

November 12, 2015

As I open the cutlery drawer to grab a spoon for breakfast, I find myself giggling over a few funny changes that have taken place since baby Joan was born. There’s the big changes, of course, like constantly having a little person attached to you, no longer sleeping for long stretches and having milk come out of your nipples, but those changes are groundbreaking and obvious. I’m talking about the little things, changes to my routine and habits that perhaps only myself or Ben might notice. I wanted to jot them down because each stage of this baby business sees so much growth, and you often don’t have time to reflect on that. Odd things become your new normal and you can’t remember that they were once odd. That you once got dressed without making sure your bra was padded and your top gave you easy boob access. Or maybe you did… Either way, here are some of the little, sometimes less spoken about changes that I have experienced over the past three months.

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♥ A 10 minute nap feels like 45 minutes, and an hour-long nap feels like three hours.

♥ While in the past a 5am wake-up call felt like a slap in the face, I now love being up at that hour with Joan (provided I’ve had some sleep overnight, that is. And usually I have). It’s quiet, her onesie is soft and warm, and her eyes are cozily dancing between open and closed. We’ll feed and snuggle in bed and watch the sun start to creep through the blinds, before snoozing a little longer.

♥ I now only eat from big spoons. Gone (for now) are the days of dainty spoons and fumbling with rice grains on a fork. Don’t even talk to me about chopsticks, instead please hand me the biggest spoon you can find, as I need to feed my face swiftly and reduce the chance of dropping muesli on my baby’s head, who is probably asleep on my chest. Soup and hot coffee are a no-go, obviously. Cool food and fluids are all I can eat when bubs is on me (which is most of the time).

♥ More to the above point, I previously favoured pretty bowls and plates, op shop gems with gold trimming. They are now living on the lower shelf, as I only reach for things that can be put in the dishwasher. True story, my brother came over when Joan was about 5 weeks old and I suggested we all take turns eating cake from the same plate so we could get away with dirtying only one dish. Based on the looks on my brother and husband’s faces, I inquired as to whether I’d gone too far. Apparently I had.

♥ A shower has never meant so much to me.

♥ I have endless podcasts backed up in my feed, ready to be devoured. Before our bubs came along I would hunger for the next episode of This American Life, Death, Sex and Money, The Longest Shortest Time, etc, but now I rarely get through a whole episode in the car or when on a walk because I’m too busy talking to Joan. I have seven Spilled Milk episodes to listen to! That’s a record.

♥ Baby poo is a legitimately interesting topic of conversation.

♥  I’ve become a super speedy ninja when it comes to putting clothes away and tidying our house. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in five minutes. It’s also amazing how a tidy house can make you feel like less of a sleep-deprived nutcase.

♥ Avocados are now, officially, the best food ever, combining deliciousness, convenience and nutrition. Eggs are a close second, followed by nuts.

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♥ A cup of coffee has never meant so much to me.

♥ I now see my boobs as Joan food-bags and consequently have no qualms about whipping them out in public when she needs a feed. Pre-baby this behaviour may have resulted in an arrest but now, I’m the opposite of bashful. Normalising breastfeeding is important to me. I try to cover myself to some degree but I also don’t hide away.

♥ I must have snacks on me at all times. In my bag, next to my bed, in my pockets, in the car. All day every day, snacks.

♥ More to the above point, a jar of nut butter has never meant so much to me.

♥ My hand bag is now a nappy bag (this one – totally worth the money) and it weighs 257kg. Seriously, I must get better at packing light. But I kinda feel like I need 10 spare nappies per outing.

♥ Family dinner no longer means Ben and I sitting together watching an episode (or half) of The Wire with meals on our lap. Side note: I love the idea of a family dinner at the table, but during the week we’re totally on the couch. Currently, I’m happy if I cook one day a week and rely on the other days to be throw together meals. We assemble some sort of dinner, bring our plates to the couch and on goes The Wire. These two things are the same. But now, instead of 8pm we are eating at 6 or 7pm. The volume is lower and subtitles are on, as we don’t want Joanie to learn how to negotiate a drug deal. If Joan is peaceful and not hungry yet, we’ll pop her in the bouncer and she sits there like a happy cherub, watching the two of us eat. We usually get through a few minutes of dinner, constantly rewinding our show because we’re too busy laughing at what Joan is doing, before she gets sick of the bouncer and wants in on the fun. I’ll feed bubs while Ben finishes his dinner, and then we head upstairs to her room, put the salt lamp on and we begin the settling routine. I’ll finish my meal on the daybed in Joanie’s room while Ben burps and settles her, and then all go to bed in our room. In the future, I’m sure Ben and I will want to sit down for dinner and moment of “just us”, but right now we’re taking all the sleep we can get. It’s our new definition of a family meal and we love it.

♥ Getting into bed is such a treat. Lying down, arms free, back rested…it’s complete bliss, in a way I could never have imagined. At bedtime we always joke, “see you in five hours”, praying that we get solid block of sleep. You never know when your babe will wake for a feeding, some nights it’s after three hours and sometimes we indeed get a beautiful five hour stretch. Either way, those first moments of rest are absolutely A.M.A.Z.I.N.G, filled with the sweet, silly hope that tonight might be the night baby Joan sleeps through.

And there you have it. Just a few little thoughts, some funny little changes, all because of this little cherub…

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Heidi xo