Where to Next?

If I had a dollar for every time I've heard someone say that their friend/sister/cousin/next-door-neighbour fell pregnant naturally after they went through IVF, I'd be a millionaire. Seriously people, IT DOESN'T HELP. And it's certainly not going to happen for us. Thanks, though. ;)

Enough of that though; let me give you a brief update of where we are.

I breastfed Georgia for 12 months. Can you believe it? After all the struggles we had at the beginning, the feeding issues in the special care nursery, the 3-hourly pumping and then subsequent feed/pump/sleep cycles we had for months afterwards - we made it to the one year mark. I'm really proud of how far we made it. We had a pretty good routine of four feeds a day/night {morning, mid-morning, afternoon, bedtime} for several months, so I gradually started dropping her feeds, one at a time, over the weeks. By her first birthday party, we had weaned completely.

I'm so pleased with how it went. We have gone directly from breast milk + solids, to solids + whole cows milk. No bottles, no formula - just cows milk in straw cups. She's done so very well. My boobs had a few odd days of soreness/fullness, but thankfully no mastitis or blocked ducts. Man, have they disappeared now though. Flat boozies.

That said, there was another reason why I wanted to wean. I've had no cycle at all since Georgia was born, apart from the normal post-birth bleeding. No ovulation, no AF - nada. Nothing. Which makes TTC for a future sibling just a little bit hopeless, though not for lack of trying. I've been using OPK strips to see if anything has been happening, and it's not been good. My body, whether it's still suppressed from the nursing, is NOT playing ball. Let's face it; we all know it isn't the breastfeeding that's stalled it; it's my dodgy PCOS ovaries once again not playing ball.

An appointment was made, a fertility specialist visit was conducted - and we're starting to get things moving again for the coming months. First things first, induce a period. Ah progesterone, I've missed you. {NOT.} Hopefully in the next few weeks, I'll get that sorted. Then it's bloods, scans, monitoring, another induced AF. Sometime, maybe June or July? We'll have more actual plans in place.

Until then, it's all about Georgia. My sweet, adorable Georgia. She's all sorts of incredible! More updates soon. :)

Shopping with Target Australia ~ Car Safety

One of my favourite things to do is look around for bargains when it comes to baby products; but there are certain areas where I'm as equally interested in safety as I am in price. One of those products is the trusty car seat. With the Target focus being on all things baby this April, there were plenty of fun options for me to choose from; but I decided to be practical & smart with my shopping choices & focus on travel + transport.

So; let's talk car seats. For me, there are a few things that are of utmost importance: safety, comfort, size & durability. I remember being completely overwhelmed by the choices out there back when I was pregnant with Georgia - for a newbie parent, it's hard not to let the selections get the better of you.

When she was a littl'un, we decided to forgo the stroller/capsule scenario & head straight into the convertible car seat. For us, the reasons were pretty simple: we wanted to get the most use out of it as possible. Most capsules only last until bubs are 6 months old, or they outgrow them in length. The convertible car seats can be used from birth until approximately 4 years of age; for us, that made more sense in the long run. Car seats that are rear facing {which is recommended for a minimum of 6 months in Australia} are safe and well padded, and the reclined feature certainly made it easy for bub to get comfy & settle in.

Funnily enough, we chose a Target-branded car seat way back in those early days, long before I became a Target blog-hubber. We ended up with the Mother's Choice 'Mystique' Convertible Car Seat. I still remember how tiny she looked the first time she was in it; she looks a good bit different in there now! {Nom... feet.}

For safety reasons, we plan on keeping her rear-facing for as long as possible. She's also a bit of a shorty, so her shoulders still fall behind the warning levels. That said, we'll be turning her around in the next few months, so I wanted to make sure she was in the best possible seat when that happens. And while there is nothing on the cards as yet, we'd love to start planning ahead for Baby #2; so it seemed like the perfect time to look at our options for getting a second seat; with a focus on forward facing comfort. After looking at several options at Target, including the Safe and Sound, Mother's Choice & Hipod brands, today we purchased the Hipod 'Cairo' Convertible Car Seat.

This seat looks wonderfully comfortable; it's well padded, and can similarly be used from birth as a rear facing seat, or later on a forward facing seat. The reason we chose the Hipod came down to a few features that I liked;
  • It has the opportunity to be used as both a rear or forward facing seat - so we can use it for Georgia now, and for a future sibling further down the line
  • It has more seatbelt slots; meaning it will last longer than our current car seat as Georgia gets taller. 
  • It has wing-like cushioning, which will shield children well in either mode; piece of mind for bumpy trips.
  • It's not too big; it's quite a narrow seat, and should fit nicely in my small hatchback car.
  • It is able to be reclined slightly in forward facing mode; this will assist Georgia when she adjusts to being turned around, as well as providing slightly more comfort by not sitting completely upright.
  • It's made of wipeable material; NOT velour or suede. Babies are messy and sweaty creatures. Having a car seat that can be easily cleaned, and wouldn't cause bub to be sweaty, was VERY important.
We popped Georgia into the car seat this afternoon to see how she'd cope with sitting in it in forward facing mode; she didn't quite know WHAT was going on, but didn't seem to mind. As you can see, her shoulders are still below that line marker; so from a height perspective, she's still good to be rear facing. Thankfully she's happy facing backwards, with the help of a few important items; a back-of-the-seat mirror, some toys & a good book!
This is a pretty fancy lounge chair, mama!
Seeing her sitting in the car seat gave us a good idea of how much room she has in it to grow; I think the Hipod is going to serve us well over the coming years. We opted to have the car seat professionally fitted into our vehicle last time for peace of mind, and I think we'll do it again with this seat. I recommend always getting a professional to check your car seat once it's been installed, as it's so important for your little ones to be safe in the car.
 Checking out the safety features of her new car seat.
What features do you find most important in a car seat?
Disclosure: This post is part of a collaboration between Target Australia & Breathe Gently. I have been provided vouchers to purchase goods & have been compensated for my time spent on the project. If you're interested in finding out more, or would like to partner with Breathe Gently in the future, please email me.

Rainbow Party Snapshots!

Georgia's birthday was awesome; we're waiting now for our thank you cards to arrive so that I can send those out - she was very loved and VERY spoiled. Here are some of the details from the day. :)

The theme was rainbow - so I had fun creating bits and pieces to match. Georgia's Aunty Hayley & her friend created the perfect rainbow cake, which came out exactly like I'd hoped. All I did was add the bunting & a #1 candle, and we were all set! Foods included rainbow jelly, rainbow marshmallows dipped in white chocolate, chocolate & red velvet cupcakes & rainbow fruit skewers. Georgia enjoyed her taste tests too!
 

It looked just as pretty when it was cut open. Happy birthday, pretty girl. :)
Since Georgia shares a birthday with my Mum, it was only fitting that the OTHER birthday girl got a cake too!
It was such a wonderful day. It turned out just like we'd hoped - and I still can't believe my baby is ONE.

Twelve Months

Georgia turned the big O-N-E on Sunday - and what a day it was. Her party was rainbow themed, and turned out really well. In all of the craziness, I didn't get time to post her monthly blog update; so here goes! :)

Smiles for her daddy, because her whole face lights up when he's in the room.
This month Georgia has:
  • Slowed down on her growth. She's still 9kg, and has dropped back to 50th % - but is growing taller! 74.5cm long.
  • Cut tooth #8 - top four and bottom four are all out now.
  • CRAWLED! She is still preferring to commando, but we're getting a tiny bit of interest in being on our knees, and she's as quick as can be. I'm starting to see what people talk about when they lament on mobile babies; we've lost her up the hallway several times over the last few weeks!
  • Can pull up to her knees now. She still hasn't mastered the art of pulling to stand all the way up, and she's not even remotely keen on standing or cruising furniture, but she's getting places in her own time.
  • Figured out how to get into a sit on her own. She has sat unassisted since she was 6 months old, but we always needed to pop her there in that position. Now she's up, down, in the cot, on the floor, everywhere.
  • Talked up a storm. She will happily 'read' to herself, by turning pages of her books & blathering away.
  • Had her first birthday party. Lots of tears at first - she woke up from a nap, came downstairs and BOOM - all of the peoples! But she had a great time, especially playing with her new little friends.
  • Decided that the cats, and Spencer, are the funniest things ever. She'll chase the cats around the room, and cackles when Spencer licks her toes or her hands. Funny little thing.
  • Weaned. Completely! I am thrilled to have breastfed Georgia until she turned 12 months. We started the process a few weeks ago, and I'll blog about this soon; but by her birthday, she was done. And she's done REALLY well. My boobs, on the other hand... well, we'll catch up eventually.
  • Slept through very well. I'm so proud of how far she's come with her sleeping. Still on 2 day naps, too.
  • Been an absolute delight! I can't believe my baby is no longer a baby - time flies when you're having fun. :)
You can see all of Georgia's week by week pictures by clicking here.

This Time Last Year..

This time last year, it was Good Friday and I was 36+4 weeks pregnant.

I was a ridiculously cheerful pregnant lady for the most part, but not that night - I was cranky & irritable and declared 7.30pm to be bedtime as I was NOT feeling good.

Turns out I wouldn't get any rest at all... not for the next 24 hours, anyway.

{For all those people who said that if it was labour, I'd know it - I say phooey! I was in complete denial for a few hours at least, until I started timing those 'cramps' which were actually contractions... and even then, I was sure it was too early to be labour starting, so I protested the whole way to the hospital!}

Tomorrow, my baby is 1.

Cooking with my Thermomix!

So.... my husband is awesome & has bought me the best 30th birthday present ever - AND I got it early, since my birthday isn't until July. We've invested in a Thermomix! What is that, you say? It's a you-beaut cooking machine - and it is all sorts of amazing. It costs a pretty penny, but the idea is that it replaces a whole stack of your other cooking appliances in one machine, and it lasts for a loooooong time.

Since I've had it, I've been experimenting with different recipes and am so happy with how they've turned out. I've made things I would never have normally tried, like my own breads and pastries. It's VERY cool. The first day, I whipped up a garlic & herb pull-apart bread, and some potato & leek soup. Oh, heaven. Over the next couple of days, I also made beef strogonoff, mocha pudding, and veggie soup with some leftover bits & pieces.

They were great! As was the delightful coconut cake I made for morning tea - rough and crunchy and YUM.

I've cooked for a few people {my guinea pigs, haha} since getting the machine, and it's made a great amount - fed six people pretty easily, mostly with leftovers. Since I loved the bread so much, I did it again; this time paired with minestrone soup. Sweet and sour pork meatballs & veggies were our main, followed by sticky date pudding.
It's tough to choose my favourite item cooked, but the lemon meringue pie I made from scratch last night was pretty awesome. The most ridiculously crumbly shortcrust pastry; amazing tart lemon curd; fluffy peaks of meringue.
I'm really enjoying cooking, and the Thermomix is certainly helping me get my mojo back. I've used the Everyday Cookbook that comes with it for a lot of things, but also started dipping my toes into the forums, which are filled with recipes from other owners. Can't wait to see what else it can do!

Have you used a Thermomix before? Any recommendations or favourite recipes that I should try? :)

Cake Smash!

I've seen a lot of photographers doing cake smashes lately, and I really really wanted to do one with Georgia before her birthday - how fun! We have had a fair few expenses though, so I couldn't justify spending a fortune getting it done, so I decided to attempt to do one myself. They may not be picture perfect, but they were great fun.

I'm really pleased with how they turned out. Baby girl enjoyed herself too - even if she was mostly tentative with the cake. No real smashing here; we are far too ladylike for that! :)

The frosting kept melting - but that didn't stop her from digging into it. This should be the ONLY way to eat cake.
Seriously, too flipping cute for words. Oh hey, this cake comes apart! {Smash! Destroy! Eat!}

 And so began the phase of the cake smash that I like to call 'rainbow frosting boogers'. Behold! Sprinkles.
 I can't believe this is all for me, mum!! :)
At this point, hubby came in to see how she was faring - well, if he isn't her favourite person in the world! She only brings out the happy smiles like this for him. Daddy's girl, through & through.
 Happy ALMOST first birthday, baby girl.

51 weeks old!

We're in the home stretch - this time next week, Georgia will be a year old. I've been taking her photos week by week (& monthly, too) for a full year, and am so glad I did. It's an awesome way to look back & see how she's grown.

The week ahead is going to be busy. House cleaning, party planning & organising for the birthday - as well as my late Nanna's birthday on Monday, my brother/SIL's first wedding anniversary, and my Mum's birthday too! Hard to believe that at their wedding last year, I was 35 weeks pregnant and was going to POP the following week.

Seriously - check out that belly! Size of a house. I still can't believe that a) my belly was that big & b) she fit in there!


Georgia is doing really well. Crawling all over the place, starting to show more interest in being on hands & knees, and enjoying practising standing with one of us helping her. She's reading books, saying a few more words (cat! ta! wa-ter!) and back to sleeping well. It's nice to have my happy baby back. She's getting tall, and I'm really interested in finding out her height and weight when we have her 1 year check-up soon.

I'm really, really excited about her birthday party. I know it's one she won't remember, but I am really happy to be celebrating it with friends and family, old and new. I don't know how we would have gotten through the last year without a good support system, and seeing how much they love Georgia makes me warm & fuzzy. Plus - cake! :)

Hopes & Dreams: 3 Months In!

We're almost a quarter of the way through 2014 already, can you believe it? I thought I might take the time to update on how things are going around these parts, because I'm feeling pretty darned great about this year.

  • Georgia ~ I've been taking lots of pictures, and watching her growing up from a wee baby into this cute little toddler. In the last few weeks, she seems to have shot up again - her face has changed, she's lost a lot of her chunky baby thighs (sniff) -- growing too fast. She's been through the wars with some more teething & a cold, and we've been starting to wean; meaning we've had a clingy, sad wee one for a while. Thankfully we're coming out the other side, and that trademark cheeky grin has come out again. :)
  • Read ~ I'm currently reading 'Twelve Years a Slave', which is book #5 of the year so far. I've also just purchased all of the 'Game of Thrones' novels as a bundle for $20 - so I have a LOT of epic reads ahead of me. I've read the first two, but I keep getting distracted...

  • Move ~ I have consistently exercised every Monday/Wednesday/Friday since January 1st, with no excuses. Mostly runs, but sometimes workout DVDs and/or walks. I'm down almost 7kg and feeling really good, running 5km stretches now.

  • Cook ~ I'm really proud of how much I've cooked so far this year. We haven't spent a lot on eating out at all, apart from the odd Thai food meal with friends. And, best of all, I'm lucky enough to be getting a shiny new cooking device for my 30th, which will help to REALLY spice things up in the kitchen.

  • TTC ~ Watch this space; not a great deal of things to report here yet, but we're working on it!
How's your year going so far?

Babyhood & Beyond

The days are starting to speed up, and my little girl is almost a year old - I am SO not ready for this!

We're still commando crawling, but not much else - but that's ok. She's a happy kid, who is beautiful and funny and smart, and will NOT be walking on her first birthday. I hate that I've spent several of the past months comparing her to other babies, and I hate that deep down I still feel sad that she's behind in those respects; milestones can kiss my arse. Instead, I'm focusing on her growing up and enjoying what she can do.

The more I look at her photographs or watch her playing independently, the more I see a little girl, not a baby. It's bittersweet; I miss the baby stage so much, but I love this new stage too. Listening to her talk to herself, to us, to the cats, it's hilarious. She waves to anyone who says hi/bye to her, and is fascinated with books - turning the pages, blabbing away and feeling the textures in those touchy/feely novels. She's adorable.

I'm going to enjoy this fleeting last month of babyhood - but I'm also looking ahead. I'm so very excited to teach this little girl the ways of the world and watch her discover new things every day.





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