31 Dec 2014

2014 ... The Year That Was

As we all prepare for another New Year's Eve of celebrating with family and love ones, I like to reflect on this past year and what key milestones shaped it.

Things that stand out to me this year include:

  • Starting CrossFit and really taking my fitness seriously. 
  • Celebrating Kai's dedication and his 1st birthday.
  • This blog getting some love from an My Child Magazine.
  • Celebrating key yearly milestones like, Ian and I's wedding anniversary, our birthday's and Eli's 3rd birthday.
  • Finally selling the investment property we previously struggled to sell. 
  • Weddings!! So many weddings this year! But I love weddings. I love celebrating two best friends commit to being exclusive to each other forever.
A few key parenting milestones included: 

  • Toilet training Eli.
  • Getting Kai to finally fall asleep unassisted
  • Watching my boys grow and develop right under my nose. It's amazing how much they change in such a short period of time. One day I get the new phase they're in, then a few days later it all changes again. It's confusing, tiring, challenging but I'm grateful to be there for it all. 

We all tend to look back on the year and think about what could have been, instead of appreciating it for what it was. At this time we also tend to start recommitting to ourselves (starting tomorrow) to become better than this past year. Usually setting big goals with no real thought process on how to achieve it, ending in failure and disappointment sooner than we started. 

As this year ends I encourage you to reflect and celebrate what was great about your year. If you think 'there wasn't anything great about 2014 for me' then be grateful. Be content you've had a steady year with no dramas or major set backs. Be thankful for your family, your amazing friends, your job, a roof over your head or even the fact that you've been consistently healthy this year. 

Enjoy your new year's eve. I hope it's cheerful, you're spending it with the people that mean the most to you and you get to enjoy the fireworks. I just hope I can stay up past midnight ...

Happy New Year!!

24 Dec 2014

Merry Christmas

As we all start to begin our Christmas celebrations, I'd like to send my warmest wishes.

It's so easy to loose sight in the real meaning of Christmas ... why we stop work and celebrate this momentous time of the year. 

This year, now that Eli is a little bit older I've been telling him the story of a special baby who was born on the 25th December thousands of years ago. I've explained to him for us, the significance of this child is the true meaning of Christmas. It's not about what gifts you get or don't get, it's about celebrating the birth of Jesus, spending time with family, being grateful and appreciating what you have been blessed with. I've told him that although he may get lots of gifts, Christmas reminds us of the important to share, give and be kind to one another. 

I know I can't expect him to understand everything, but we can build on it in the years to come. 

Like every year, Christmas Eve will be spent with my family and once 12am hits we open presents. Christmas Day we will attend church for their quick one hour service, then lunch at my brother in law's family home. I can't wait to see my family, enjoy each other's company and eat a lot of food!

What's Christmas tradition do you guys do at Christmas? How do spend this time of the year at your home?

From me, Gen-Y Mum (aka Camielle) wishing you and your family a merry and safe Christmas. God bless. 

16 Dec 2014

Things I Miss About Work

I've been asked about when, if I will ever go back to work a lot recently. I don't know why? But believe it or not I actually like to work ... and I was pretty good at what I use to do, but doesn't mean I loved it. My personality, my character, the skills I naturally posses, my attitude and my head space ... I'm built to be in the workforce. Fortunately or unfortunately I'm also a woman and I never image children would make me question my prowess. 

I use to work in a similar working environment and for similar employers as Ian. Most days he comes home from being away for 11 hours and tells me about how busy his day was, or the current incident he's trying to resolve or difficult person he had to deal with, and I think, "I don't want to go back to that. The long commute, dealing with idiots. Then coming home stressed, tired and taking it out on the boys."

I know it's like that at every job sometimes, but until I figure out what I want to do next work wise, I think I'm not on the "employment market". That being said there are things I miss about working though. Here are the main points I miss most about working ...

1. Making Money
No brainer. I miss earning an income and the benefits of two incomes for a household. I miss having a little more extra in our savings, a little bit extra to buy what we want now, a little bit extra so we're not so conscious of the family budget and a little bit extra to spend on myself guilt free. 

2. Looking Like a Woman
Because I don't work I live in pj's most days, I don't bother with make up cause I only ever venture out to shopping centres and playgrounds, and most days I don't even bother brushing my hair. I miss wearing nice new outfits, slapping on a pretty face and playing around with different hair styles. 

3. Eating Different Types of Food
Anyone who works in town (Sydney) knows there's so much variety of food available everywhere. I miss the pork belly from City Hotel, ramen from Gumshara, japanese from Akaneya and level 5 food court at Westfield City. I miss my morning Campos coffee, walnut and banana bread and the baguettes from Taste. I miss eating lunch at a reasonable time in general, eating food I didn't prepare for myself and eating uninterrupted and at my own pace. 

4. Having Adult Conversations
Just to talk about anything else besides the boys or being a parent. I miss hearing office gossip, other people to talk to about the recent celebrity break up, or share opinions on the latest news headlines. 

5. Shopping
Anyone who works in town knows the variety of retailers available right outside your office. It can be dangerous but a bit of retail therapy is a nice way to give yourself a break from work. Also it allows you to get errands done without compromising family time on the weekend. 

6. Using My Brain
Work although can be repetitive or tedious at times, requires you to use your brain (hopefully) to complete your tasks. Things you use to do everyday you slowly forget when you're not doing it so often. I was pretty sharp with Microsoft Word and Excel before I left work, but even as the programs update in functionality and layout, I find myself getting lost trying to do the simplest edits.  

7. Dates with Hubby
Date nights are pretty rare so Ian and I use to enjoy having lunch together without the kids. We usually go some place that we really want to eat at, and would be such a hassle (or inappropriate) if we brought the kids with us. I remember one time after I had Eli and I was already back at work we had lunch at Prime ... cause we could. 

8. Catching up with people
Especially as people have their own families its getting harder to catch up with friends during weekends. Luckily a lot of my friends also work in town so it gave us an opportunity to see each other and catch up over lunch, coffee or drinks during the weekdays instead. 

Are you currently not working? What do you miss about work right now?

Linking up with Jess for #IBOT

15 Dec 2014

Before You Offer Your Child Another Snack

A few weeks ago we noticed a hole or decay on one of Eli's tooth. Concern we took him to our dentist who referred us to a paediatric dentist who specialises in his type of clientele - young children. Upon examination we learn he had developed three holes in three different teeth and that they required filing.

Not one to really give me child lots of candy I question how this could have happened. Firstly, I was asked if my son grazes? (eats small amounts of food throughout the day). Yes he does. Being a kid with allergies and also a fuzzy eater, I'm always offering him food even if he just has a bite of it. I learnt the problem with that is, when we eat we produce acid in our mouth, and when not given enough time between last time and next time we produce this acid, it can be harmful to teeth especially young infant teeth that are still very soft.

I also questioned whether fillings were required on baby teeth knowing that adult teeth will replace them one day. I learnt adult teeth don't start coming through until the ages of 8-12, so until then they need their baby teeth. And if their teeth has holes now it will most likely get worse over time if not addressed, resulting in further decay and may require extraction. If you remove baby teeth way before their intended time to fall off, a cap is required to stop the adult tooth from coming through. Ultimately it'll be an even more delicate and complicated (and expensive) procedure if left untreated now.

So last week he had his teeth filled. Leading up to it we had to book their recommended anaesthetist for the procedure because Eli is so young, he's mostly likely unable to comprehend that he needs to sit still throughout the procedure, so he would need to be put under local anaesthetic to subdue him. On the day of the appointment he wasn't aloud to have any food at least six hours prior, this included not having any milk. Plus 1.5 hours prior he had to stick these medicated pads on the back of both hands which, for a three year old was difficult cause all he wanted to do was remove them.

When we arrived at the dentist we filled in more forms, spoke to the anaesthetist and dentist about what was going to happen that day and waited for our turn. Forty minutes later and constantly telling my hungry child he'll have food soon, we went in. There was five people in the room plus myself. Eli lay down on the chair and we all distracted him while the anaesthetist did his job. During our brief earlier that morning, we agreed to give him gas as well cause one of the sedation medication contained an egg protein and we were not going to give it to him just in case he has an adverse reaction.

I think he had the gas mask over his nose for like a few seconds, then he said complained that it smelt funny, pushed it off and attempted to sit up. He was swaying and began to laugh at himself ... the gas was working. We all told him its okay and I gently helped pushed him back onto the chair. Once he was sitting again one of the nurses ushered me put of the room so they can begin.

About 40 minutes laters I was called back into the room where Eli was awake but drowsy. I gently started to wake him and we went back into the waiting room for observations. He did throw up while we were there, so the anaesthetist gave him a tablet that dissolved in his mouth to keep him from vomiting some more.

Another 20 minutes later they removed the catheter from his hand and we were free to go and within the hour he was back to his normal self. He didn't complain about any pain or problems with eating so I guess the procedure was successful. I had a look at the teeth they filled and it looks as good as new. It doesn't even look like he got fillings done, such an advancement from when I got fillings done several years ago.

We will return back in February for a follow up. The dentist did warn me one particular filling my fall off over time cause its on the outer surface and a prominent tooth we use to chew. I also learnt we should be still brushing our children's teeth until the 8 years of age. There's nothing wrong with letting them learn to brush their own teeth but, we should then go back and do a good scrub on their behalf as they don't tend to clean their teeth thoroughly.

Hope our experience have enlightened you in managing your child's baby teeth. I know I've realised how important their young teeth are, and realising that it's not only sweets that can damage them. 

11 Dec 2014

Be Proud

So last week I finally created a Facebook page for my blog. You can see it here and feel free to give it a big thumbs up and Like my page!

I've been avoiding setting it up for awhile for a number of reasons. Mostly because I'm shy, afraid of what people will think and fear of being discovered. What I mean about being discovered is, although I know my blog is not private, and I actually do share personal things on here, (like not thinking of using pseudo names for my kids) -  I don't actually "advertise" my blog out to people. I don't post anything about my blog on my own personal Facebook account and I have a separate instagram account for this blog too.  I actually don't talk about my blog unless someone brings it up and admittedly I get a little shy about it ... Weird I know, cause I'm sharing so much to people I don't even know. 

I remember reading a post from another blogger who wrote how they over came their fear of sharing their blog to others, was when they realised they were proud of their blog. And when you're proud of something you can't help but tell others about it - I like that and I am proud of this little space. 

I get asked by friends what my grand plan is with this blog. It was always just a place to document my experiences, thoughts and life as a new mum. I have thoughts of doing more, and I try to invest as much time into it as I possibly can, but the answer is I really don't know? I have no idea where this blog is headed, but I know I am proud of it. 

So that's why I decided to finally create my blog page. If I'm going to continue to blog and be open to where ever it may take me, I want to put 100% effort into it. And in the social media space that includes covering key platforms such as Facebook. 

Thank you for the encouragement, the follow and the feedback. I love hearing it all! You guys make me blush, you guys inspire me and a make the late nights writing content worth it! 

9 Dec 2014

My 14 Month Old + 3.Something Year Old Boys

It's been awhile since I did one of these. Partly because the past several weeks home life with my boys has been mostly plagued with some form of sickness. We've all been hit with either a virus, or the flu, or conjunctivitis, and we seem to be passing it to each other again and again.

Kids must catch and bring home super bugs, because I've never been this kind of sick ever in my life. I'm not one to get sick often and I can usually solider on when I am, but these last few rounds of sicknesses I've actually been bedridden. During the peak of the illness I was having delusional thoughts like, "This must be how cancer patients feel like ... when you're body is in so much pain, but you can't make it go away." We recover but then we're sick again a few days later. I dunno maybe the contrast in weather conditions plays a part too?

But besides all the sickness, my boys have grown and changed so much these past several weeks. I was looking at Eli just the other night and he looked a little taller than usual so I asked him, "Eli have you grown?" He responded with "Yes, I'm stronger" and lifted his arms to show me his non existent mussels.

His personality has developed even more recently. He's so much more aware of what he's doing that he questions and fights concepts that he disagrees with. Just this morning Ian brought to my attention spat out food he had found hidden under his bag. We believe it was from the day before when Ian told him he couldn't have dessert until he finished the food in his mouth. Refusing to swallow, he must've decided to do something about it and spat it out and attempted to hide the evidence.

We can already see his defiant spirit. Already he argues, gives laser eyes, talks under his breath and tells white lies ... not looking forward to this in his teens. I think Eli and I are very similar and I understand where the attitude is stemming from, so I try and mitigate these types of behaviours before they appear. 

Eli still loves his music. He's still dancing, singing and drumming away to tunes he loves. Right now it's One Direction. One morning to my amazement he danced the routine to Beautiful from Just Dance 4. I was amazed he picked up the moves and routine all on his own and so quickly. 

I was told last week that he'll be moving into the preschool room next year. I feel like its a big deal, it took me half a day to digest the news personally. In this room they start to prep the kids for actual school by having a more structured learning program and removing day naps. This news has triggered the discussion of where he will attend school between Ian and I ................ I'll save that for another post. 

Eli fights for attention. Whatever anyone is doing to Kai, he demands it to be done to him too. If you tickle Kai, he wants to be tickles the same way. If you sing songs with Kai, he wants to get in on the action. If I'm holding Kai, he squeezes in and wants to sit on my lap too. 

His lack of attention at home has resulted in him wanting to spend more time with the grandparents. He's been having more frequent sleep overs - as per his request. He'll tell me he needs to speak to one of the grandparents on the phone, and then asks them to pick him up so he can sleep over, or when we visit and its time to leave he tells us he's not coming cause he's sleeping over. The grandparents are more than happy to have him over of course. 

That means I've had more one on one time with Kai.

And my Kai is one beautiful child. As a mother you can really tell how different your children are, and their differences dictates how you love and interact with them. Kai's spirit is gentle, sweet, observant and resilient ... but he's also tough, fierce and strong.

I love his smile - the "gigil" (filipino word that means trembling and gritting of teeth) face he pulls when he does it. I love how he is even more responsive. He knows the meaning of some words ... well, I assume he does cause he actions them. 

He too loves to dance but slightly different to his kuya's at the same age. Kai either sways his hips side to side, or raises an arm like he's doing a fist pump action to music he must like. 

He wants to crawl at every opportunity. He must gets bored of being held then wriggles as much as possible so that you will want to put him down. However when he's mobile that's when you need to be on your guard the most. Everything Kai finds goes into his mouth. If he can't pick it up with his fingers he will bring his head close and lick it up. I've found him choking on leaves, hard plastic and bark. I've even seen evidence of paper and plastic bags in his mouth too. 

Kai's taste palate has changed slightly. He's over the baby mush and wants what we eat. He prefers food he can chew and hold. It's great though, means I can slowly stop making a separate meal for at least one of my kids. Speaking of food, Eli is now drinking rice milk and he loves it. No more formula for him and onto milk that doesn't require a script ... finally. 

Kai always wants me near and it seems only when we're at home. When we're out I can pass him around to family and friends and he doesn't seem to mind. But at home I step away for too long and he's sooking. Secretly I don't mind though, cause I've realised how much Eli isn't a baby anymore and I'm soaking up these precious baby moments with Kai cause it'll all be over before I know it.

Linking up with Essentially Jess

2 Dec 2014

Yo Gabba Gabba Giveaway

This is a sponsored post. Full disclosure can be read here.

Our family loves Yo Gabba Gabba! I think the boys are drawn to the catchy songs and cheerful characters; Dj Lance Rock, Brobee the little green one, Foofa the pink flowerbubble, Muno the red Cyclops, Toodee the blue cat-dragon and Plex the yellow robot. I'm impressed by the topics they cover and the number of really famous people who make guest appearances on the episodes.

The award winning, live action television series and stage show Yo Gabba Gabba! is back with an exciting new instalmentHaving created a trip stack fan based with their unconventional formula and retro style, Yo Gabba Gabba! has become one of the most popular children's entertainment programs today, engaging everyone from preschoolers to parents and indiemusic lovers alike.

Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is releasing Yo Gabba Gabba! Season 4, Volume 2 on DVD from December 4, 2014, just in time for Christmas. In this volume join the Gabba friends' adventure as they ride to the land of the dinosaurs, help a miniature king restore order to his kingdom and learn new games and crafts at Day Camp. Jason Batemen also guest stars as a bad spy who steals all the balloons from the Gabbaland balloon art party and Josh Holloway teaches the Gabba friends about growing vegetables. 

I'm running a giveaway where you could win a copy of the new Yo Gabba Gabba! DVD. Perfect Christmas present idea for your little person or a fan you may know of. And I'm giving away five copies so there's even more chances to win!

To be in the running all you have to do is Like my new Facebook page Gen-Y Mum Blog, or entering www.facebook.com/genymum into your internet web browser, or clicking on the link here. Then find the link to this post on my Facebook page and comment with which is you or your child's favourite Yo Gabba Gabba! character. 

Good luck!

Giveaway Terms & Conditions:
  • Unfortunately, giveaway is open only to Australian residents.
  • The five (5) winners drawn are final.  
  • Giveaway is open from now and closes 8/12/2014 at 9:00am.
  • Winner will be drawn at 10am and announced on my Facebook page and Instagram so follow me on @genymum to see if you've won.
  • A successful and completed entry must Like Gen-Y Mum Blog page and answer question "Who is your favourite Yo Gabba Gabba! character on facebook page.

1 Dec 2014

November in Review

I'd like to upload on Instagram more often. But being the perfectionist (or introvert) I am I triple guess the image I think about uploading then decide not to do it. Insta, although does not stop you from writing as much or as little as you want to to the attached image, I tend not to write a lot and go over board with the description or #hash tagging. 

So here's a little more of the story behind selected images that I've uploaded on Instagram, and makes up my November.
1 Nov - Went away for the weekend down south with some friends. 

2 Nov - Checked out the famous white sand and turquoise water of Hymes Beach.

3 Nov - Was named member of the month at my CrossFit box because of the effort I've been putting in the gym.

14 Nov - My birthday!! A cronut, or four was in order. You can read about how I spent my birthday here.

16 Nov - Celebrated a friend's kitsch engagement at a uber chic venue at Atura. Its a new hotel right in the middle of no where western Sydney but it felt like Palm Springs Los Angeles. I'm trying to think of a celebration just so I can host something here myself. 

23 Nov - Christmas celebrations have begun. Starting with the Bebots annual Christmas feasting. Everyone brings a plate as always and this year we finally successfully ran a secret santa gift exchange. Previous year was a total fail thank goodness for technology to help us organise the simplest of tasks. 

29 Nov - More Christmas celebrating (or feasting) this time with some long time friends. A friend generously offered her home and set up an awesome inflatable pool that included slides and water guns to help keep the kids cool. Again too much awesome food and generous gifts exchanged. I love these girls and how our families have grown over the years. 

Feel free to follow me on insta @genymum 

28 Nov 2014

The Problem With Parents Today

You hear and read this statement all the time, 'parenting 10, 20, 30 years ago is different to how parenting is today'. Raising children evolves as the parenting land scape changes. It needs to to keep up, to assimilate to the rapid changes in society, technology, parenting methods ... everything

I had a conversation with an older parent and the topic of parenting sacrificing came about. I sat there, listened and was semi lectured on the differences between how they sacrificed as parents in their day versus how parents of today sacrifice for their children. My parents taught me good manners and not to talk back to elders, so of course I bit my tongue and listening to her make judgements on the parents of today.

Well she doesn't have a blog does she? So I'm going to rant on here the points I would've said to her hadn't I not been so ... polite ...
  • You spoke about sacrifices you made to give your children what (you thought) they valued, but really those things weren't that important to them. You were too tunnel vision in what you thought would make them happy. What kids want isn't that hard, all they really want is for their parents to be there. 
  • You're such a snob about particular areas and demographics but you were once of them too. You know, working class. It's because of your history and background you're able to have what you have now. 
  • Just because I'm not working doesn't mean I'm not making sacrifices. I'm not at home relaxing all day, doing nothing. I had career aspirations, dreams I've had to put on hold. As you would know as a mother, you're the one always making sacrifices for your family. We just value different things, therefore have different definition of what sacrifice is. 
  • Parenting 20 years ago you guys shipped family over to help you raise your kids and probably didn't pay them for their assistance. Today we don't want to burden our parents or family with the full responsibility of looking after our children, so we send our kids to expensive childcare centres. A cost that you probably didn't have to factor when you were raising children, on top of other financial commitments. 
  • Don't assume all Gen-Y's just spend all their disposable income on material things .... I can assure you I am / my family are an exception. The fact that I am at home is no accident. It has been a financially calculated decision. 
  • Lastly I don't understand why you're complaining when the whole purpose of what you did during your parenting days was so your children could live a little bit more comfortably than you did. They are. You achieved what you were working so hard and hoping to see happen one day, so why does it bother you so much?
Argh!! ... I just had to get that out ... 
I could feel my blood boiling during that conversation and I knew even if I did try and explain things to this person they wouldn't see past their own opinions. Cause that's old people for you ...

What comments do you hate hearing about parenting of parents today?

25 Nov 2014

Protection ... Do You Need It?

Being at home, I get the opportunity to enjoy some day time television. It's pretty rare though as ABC4Kids usually gets precedence over anything I want to watch.

The one thing I noticed about day time viewing is the amount of insurance ads that gets aired and the variety of products, such as insurance for cars, insurance to protect you, insurance for your dogs, insurance to cover your funeral costs ... the list goes on.

Insurance, in particular life insurance, is something that we hear about, we see on tv but most people don't actually understand what it is. Discussing life insurance can be uncomfortable too because it's talking about protecting yourself from situations that you don't want to happen.

I worked in the insurance industry for many years. I wasn't in sales but in IT, in particular the project side of the companies I worked for. I helped these companies build or configure their systems around the products they offered the public. Over the years I finally got my head around the differences between the various insurance products, information I will try to explain so you too can understand the differences.
Note: My explanations and examples are very general. Every insurance product on the market varies and have different terms, conditions and exclusions. Considering any product you should read the Product Disclosure Statement to understand what these are.
What is life insurance?  It is a contract agreement between you (or name of person whose name is on the policy) and insurance company that they will pay a set amount of money if a certain event occurs. How much and what event would trigger a claim depends on the type of life insurance product you have and the conditions of the contract.  The main life insurance products available on the market are:

Insurance policy to cover your life. Its an amount paid to your nominated beneficiaries when you die. For example if you died, your partner or family will get a set sum amount from the insurance company where your policy was held.

A lump sum amount paid to your family to cover the costs associated with your funeral in the event of your death. For example you died, your family would get a set amount of money to cover the funeral costs from the insurance company your funeral cover was with.

Income Protection
Insurance to cover your salary (or part of it) in the event you're unable to work, ensuring you're still receiving an income. For example if you got really sick due to a major illness like cancer and required extended time off work for treatment, this insurance product will supplement your salary while you're away from work.

Total & Permanent Disablement
Insurance policy where you would be awarded a lump sum amount of money in the event you're unable to work due to an illness. For example if you were in a car accident, you became paralysed and unable to continue working, this insurance product will award you a set amount of money.

Insurance where you are awarded a set amount of money in the event you are diagnosed with a critical illness. The difference with this product is that it does not rely on your ability to go to work. For example you own a trauma policy and you find out you have cancer. You can claim against this policy to be awarded an amount of money that could go towards the medical costs.

I didn't want to go into great detail about these products, unless you guys want me to .. and happy to do that too, in a future post. 

So should you get some form of life insurance? Some say life insurance is a waste of money. So is gym membership if you're not going to the gym. It's completely a personal choice and something to really think about.

My personal thoughts are, you insure your car, why not insurer your self? Without you, that car insurance wouldn't get paid anyways. When you have children you tend to wonder whether they'll be okay if you were not around, and putting a plan into place to ensure they are is only natural. 

If you're thinking about or want to know more about these types of products, do speak to an advisor who is qualified to give you financial advice. They should assess your situation and determine the best product or products for your needs. Or at least be able to answer all your questions and hopefully explain and educate you more on life insurance.  

I hope I have explains the different types of life insurance products out there clearly. Let me know if not or if you would like further explanation on any products. Is there a life insurance term or word you've heard and curious to know what it means? What are your thoughts on life insurance in general?

Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT

14 Nov 2014

It's My Birthday!!

Another year another Cam (birth) day!! 

It was my birthday today. The past few years I've kinda made a little effort to celebrate my birthday. Why? Because I've realised it's the one day where it can be all about me ... cause every other day it's not. I'd like to stress that fact out, especially if you're one who doesn't normally celebrate their birthday's ... do make a song and dance about it. It's the one day you could get away with being a little "all about me!!". 

Every other day is all about everything else going on in your life, whether it's work, the kids, the business - but your birthday is the one day you can be selfish and be good to yourself. 

Celebrate you. 

Do something, eat whatever you want without guilt, spend it with who you want to see, relax, party, be disconnected if you want ...  just enjoy and celebrate your birth day.

Last year on my birthday I posted 32 things about me so I'm going to repeat it with 33 new things about me.
  1. As a kid my aspirations were to be a singer.
  2. So when I was older I did take some singing lessons for a very short period of time ... and realised I wasn't very good at it. 
  3. I prefer the beach and summer over winter season.
  4. I have a big smile and tiny teeth. 
  5. I took tennis lessons for a short period of time.
  6. I love online shopping, what woman doesn't these days? I even do the groceries online sometimes. 
  7. I like to cook and not too shabby in the kitchen, however I'm no baker.
  8. In recent year I've noticed I skim read a lot and have a short attention span. 
  9. My favourite number is 13. 
  10. I love chocolate. 
  11. Hamburgers are my thing. I'm always on the hunt for look for quality hamburgers in Sydney and or when traveling. 
  12. I was born in the Philippines. My family and I migrated here when I was four years of age. 
  13. I naturally have wavy hair but, since we always want the opposite of what we have I usually straighten it. My wavy hair is the reason why I can curl or put my hair in waves and it maintains it shape for hours. 
  14. I'm a bit funny about my feet. I'm a bit conscious about them. 
  15. I'm currently the president of our strata committee.
  16. I'm naturally quiet. 
  17. I'm opinionated about discussion topics, but can't decide on where to eat out for Sunday lunch. 
  18. My dream holiday would be to go to the Maldives.  
  19. I tend to see the positive in most situations and be optimistic. 
  20. Besides my two pregnancies, in the past I have put on a lot of weight, and lost it three other times in my life. First two times I would admit it was through basically starving myself and not eating, which probably explains why I put the weight back on. Hence why I value fitness and exercise a lot because I know my body needs to work to keep the kilos at bay, I was not gifted with slim genes.
  21. I have two sisters. 
  22. I have two sons.
  23. I've always wanted to learn how to surf and hopefully actually do it day.
  24. Favourite city I've visited so far would be New York but I'd love to travel throughout Italy for an extended period of time one day. 
  25. I haven't seen an episode of Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones. Ok I lied I have seen an episode of Breaking Bad and GoT but it didn't interest me at all. 
  26. I can be impulsive. If I want something I'll go get it and I make decisions quickly. 
  27. I do actually want to see other parts of Australia one day, in particular Perth and Tasmania. They seem like really beautiful places in the world. 
  28. I use to work in IT (information technology) mostly in the finance and insurance sector. 
  29. English is not my strong suit so my spelling, grammer and pronunciation can be pretty poor. Which is ironic cause I have a blog. 
  30. Although I'm left handed I'm a little ambidextrous. I shoot the basketball, play bowling, bat and throw with my right. 
  31. If you couldn't already tell my new hobby (obsession) is CrossFit. 
  32. I hate horror and thriller movies. 
  33. My favourite colour is purple.
For my birthday my sweet husband had a full day planned, he even sent me an itinerary a few hours prior. But yesterday afternoon we noticed Eli's right eye was producing some lovely white green puss. We assumed he had caught conjunctivitis and was confirmed when we went to the doctors first thing this morning. So our plans had to be scaled down to avoid spreading the germs to others and being on antibiotics, he's probably more sensitive to light. 

We originally had plans to have breakfast at Brewtown, lunch at the new burger joint in town called Burger Project. Then head over to Wet'n'Wild in the afternoon to cool down, (it was forecasted to be in the high thirties that day) and then a movie that evening after we dropped the boys off with my inlaws. 
Instead we did make it to Brewtown for brunch, went to a major shopping mall and I did some credit card damage, and by passing discovered a another burger joint called Good Time Burger and was surprisingly really good.

Brewtown goodness
Wood smoked salmon, curried Israeli coucous, poached egg, coriander and lime
Grilled black sausage, eggplant puree, fennel and blood orange salad with goats cheese
Chocolate filled cronut

Naked wagyu burger 
Juicy Lucy burger
Chunky chips

11 Nov 2014

Things Only Parents of Kids With Eczema Understand

I am a parent of two kids with eczema. I have eczema that can flare up too. I've noticed there's a series of routines and behaviours a parent of a child with eczema do. Parents of kids who have eczema can relate to the following:

You know the name of every topical steroid cream on the market.

You know the 7 days on and 5 days off routine.

You suggest days out to the beach not because you like the sun and sand but because the salt water has natural medicating powers on eczema skin.

You secretly hate it when other people point out your kids has eczema.

You hate the summer season cause your child's eczema usually flares up during the heat.

You hate winter cause the season usually dries your child's skin, causing them to itch and irritate their eczema.

You always carry moisturiser with you everywhere.

You get dressed last or at least after you have moisturised the kids to avoid cross contaminating their greasy creams on your clothes.

You get tired of hearing treatment advice from everyone.

You share all your eczema stories and suggestions to anyone who asks you questions on the topic.

You've tried everything to help your child overcome their eczema from creams, ointments, non traditional medicine, salt therapy, changing their diet - there's no bullet treatment that works for everyone.

You buy litre pumps of sorbolene cream and get excited when they're on special. 

You only buy cotton everything - bedsheets, clothing, towels etc.

You know the names of all the recommended eczema specialist / doctors are in your area. 

You only buy products tailored for sensitive skin, including but not limited to dish clothing detergents, soaps, shampoo, conditioner, sun screen ... incase the kids use  these products.

At some point you get grease on your floors, walls, couch, bedsheets, toys, chairs, tv, fridge ... basically any surface in your home your child can touch, because their skin is usually covered in moisturiser and transfer it onto everything.

You don't let your child's skin touch grass often cause it irritates it, even if they're not allergic to grass. And if they have you know they're bathing as soon as they get home. 

You're always telling your child to "Stop scratching!"

Do you have one I missed? What practices or behaviours do you do because of your kids eczema?

Linking up with Essentially Jess

8 Nov 2014

Hyams Beach

Last weekend we went away to Callala, a peaceful beach side suburb south of Sydney. We went away with a few friends. Some who did and some who did not have kids. I was surprised we were able to find a home that could accomodate so many guest under the one roof but we did. The property was right by the beach so we could walk out of the back yard and straight onto the beach foreshore. 

On Sunday we headed to Hyams Beach. Personally I've never been to this beach, so I was really keen to see it since where we were staying was so close and I've heard a lot about this particular beach. It has a reputation to have the whitest sand in the world that squeak, and water that has beautiful shades of green and turquoise. 

It was another forty minutes drive from where we stayed, but it was so worth it. Everything you hear about this place is true ... it really is beautiful. You kind of forget you're still in Sydney taking in the view, it feels more exotic. 

The day we were there was perfect too. The sun was out, it was warm but not burning, the water was cool at first, but after a few minutes of adjusting the temperature was perfect. After you get out of the water you dry so quickly too, maybe its from all the reflection from the sand? And the sand ... it's so fine and so soft on your skin, not that usual grainy texture you find at most beaches. 

I love going to the beach and I really like this beach. We need to head out there more often. If live in Sydney and you haven't seen this beach yet, you must. It is after all, titled with having the world's whitest sand, according to The Guinness World Records. That probably explains why there were tour buses of tourists that arrive throughout the day. 

Now I want to go back this weekend ....

Have a good weekend!

Only a few more days left before my giveaway closes. To win a $40 Menu Log voucher to use at any restaurants on their site, all you need to do is subscribe to my blog by clicking here. Please read full terms of this giveaway here. Good luck!!

4 Nov 2014

Advice for Buying First Investment Home

I purchased my first home in 2004 when I was 23 years of age. At the time I didn't think it was a big deal. Maybe because it was just something I knew I had to accomplish ... thanks dad. The property and interest rate land scape was very different back then. So although properties weren't as expensive as they are today, I was paying a mortgage with an interest rate of 13% (compared to today's average rate of 5.6%). At the time I complained and questioned why I'm was even doing this to myself, when I could be enjoying my money like every other 23 year old.

Fast forward to 2014 and we've purchased two more homes and sold one in 2011. I don't claim to know everything but I thought I'd share my advice for purchasing your first investment home:

Just Do It
If you've been saving for this big step but worried about whether you can afford the repayments, concern about affordability, unsure of the property market .... stop making excuses for yourself and just do it. Sometimes its not until we get through things do we realise it wasn't as bad as we thought it would be. 

I think back on when we first found out we were going to be parents, and a big worry I had was whether we were financially ready .... seems we're fine. Things work out, you adjust accordingly and the situation is usually not as difficult as you thought it would be.

No Emotional Attachment 
A friend who is looking to buy his first investment home was telling me about his lack of success in finding a potential first investment. He complained about the properties he had seen and he said "I think about if I lived there ...." I stopped him and pointed out what he just said. You should have no emotional attachment to an investment home. You're not buying a property for you to live in. If you were of course you should be very picky, but if it is an investment you should have a different mind set and look out for different things when looking at properties.

Don't Be a Snob
When we were selling one of our investment properties we showed it to a few friends to try and sell it privately. One friend wanted to get her son into property investment and asked us about looking at the house. I ran into her son at a party and mentioned that his mum and I spoke, however his response was different to his mother's and he questioned the area of the property. 

Quietly I was annoyed, offended and thought, "So you think you can afford Cronulla do you?" You need to be realistic. You need to do your homework and look out for potential growth area's, suburbs of blue collared families, find out area's where there are future infrastructure plans, how about buying in another state other than Sydney? - Again its about having an investor mind set.
Buy Cheap
Talking to another potential first time property investor, they mentioned "I've been pre approved for $900,000" You don't want to be paying off a $900K loan, unless its a home you're living in. You want to buy an investment that's as cheap as possible so the repayments aren't taking up too much of income. I actually suggest figuring out the loan repayment on an X amount mortgage, there are many online mortgage repayment calculators but the bank (or building society) you do decide to go with to get your loan should also provide this information to you as well. 

Buy Off The Plan 
Keep an look out for off the plan opportunities. Prices are usually more favourable because the property is yet to be developed. Once the property is complete the value usually goes up, (so you've already made a small amount of profit if you wanted to sell) hence why once finished will drive prices up. Only disadvantage is you don't physically see or get your property until it is complete, but unless you plan to live in it that's not a big deal. 

Think Long Term
Don't be turned off by trends, comments about property prices, suggestions on when's a good time to buy or sell, stories of people who buy property X and sold it two years later for Y amount more. Investments property is considered long term investments ... think years. Any property does increase in value over time, but that time period can vary, and no one can predict how long you need to hold on to a property before it's a good time to sell it. You need to be prepared to be paying off the loan, shouldering the cost of any repairs, insurance, strata fees etc for several years before you may see any return on your investment. 

Speak to People
I naturally always ask for recommendations or advice from people. That's why I reference Trip Advisor when planning a holiday, go to forums like Whirlpool to read people's opinions on a topic or product, and have a Taste account so I can read reviews on recipes before I decide to tackle it. 

I feel the same way about major decisions like getting into property investment. Speak to people who know their stuff and have experience. I've spoke before about people who are in position to give advice but don't have anything to show for it. You should speak to qualified financial experts but also speak to people who have been there and done it. They probably have more insight and information to share based on their personal experience. 

Also be open to paying for quality advice or service too. We all know the saying 'you get what you pay for', so if you're turned off by fees and only want free advice all the time expect you may get poor and cheap service too. 

Have you thought about investing in property? Why haven't you taken the leap yet? Care to share your fears? Have you ever purchased an investment property? What's the one advice or lesson have you would share from your experience?

Don't forget to enter my giveaway where you can win a $40 Menu Log voucher to use at any restaurants on their site. To be in the running just subscribe to my blog and for more info please click here

29 Oct 2014

How to Wean My Baby Off Breastfeeding?

Kai's thirteen months old now and I think I'm going to start weaning him off the boob. Why? Cause he really looks for it now, pulling my shirt and does a little tanti when he can't find it himself. I've even tried to cover them to prevent him from getting to it and he gets so mad! 

For awhile I thought he only wanted the boob at night for comfort, but lately he wants it for .... whenever he feels like it, when he's bored, while watching tv ... I think he treats me like a dummy. 

I always thought since I was at home I wouldn't rush this and maybe this time let bub dictate this decision. No, I don't want to be breastfeeding a seven year old and in my head I think "that's not going to happen to us" ... but who knows? 

With Eli I weaned when he was eight months. I'd had gone back to work, and although I had all intentions to continue breastfeeding until he was at least twelve month old, my supply diminished considerably. I don't even remember how I weaned it just happened really. I guess dropping down from regular feeds to pumping twice a day helped the process. Eli was a lot younger, so he was none the wiser. Kai on the other hand, being older, and already declines food he doesn't want, is a little more persistent. And because Kai is wanting the boob on demand lately I've noticed a bit of an increase in supply and fear the weaning this time might not be so ... easy.

I've heard personal stories of painful engorged breasts for days, leakages and advice that once you decide to wean, you got to stay strong and stick to it. It's been likened to quitting smoking ... surely it can't be that bad?

So I'm asking for some advice and tips here. 

How old was your baby when you weaned him or her off the boob? What was your experience? And any tips to make the change as comfortable and pain free for me and Kai

24 Oct 2014

Menu Log Review + Giveaway

I don't know about your house hold but we often buy take away. I was recently asked to try out Menu Log. What's great about their service is you go online, see what restaurants are available in your area, order, pay and have your food delivered right to your door - all from the comfort of your computer (or laptop, or smart phone).

The order process is so easy ...
1. Go to www.menulog.com.au they even have an app you can download so you can access your local restaurants even easier.

2. Type in your suburb or the suburb you want to do a search on to see what restaurants are available in that area.

3. Once you've specified the suburb to search a list of all restaurants in the area will pop up. You can narrow the results even more by filtering by a few specific cuisines, minimum order requirements, rating or specials being offered by the various restaurants.

4. Once you've decided which restaurant you want to order from, you simply select the restaurant from the list, and their menu will appear for you to select dishes.

5. Food is grouped into similar dishes so its very easy to navigate through the menu. Once you have decided on a dish you want you just add it to your order by selecting the + button.

6. Once your finish selecting your dishes you simply press the Place Order button. The page will update asking for delivery and contact information.

7. Lastly you're asked your credit card information for payment and once processed your order is sent to the restaurant.

8. You should receive an email from Menu Log stating your order has now been forwarded to the restaurant you selected.

I ordered from Go Sing cause we were feeling like Chinese that evening. I don't know about you but we always order the same dishes from Chinese restaurants - combination chow mein, honey chicken, special fried rice and crispy chicken. We've never ordered from this place before but decided to based on its high rating and number of reviews. We were very satisfied with our decision as every dish was actually really delicious and tasty. We'll definitely be ordering from Go Sing again.

I'm running a giveaway. A $40 voucher to spend on any restaurant listed on Menu Log. So if you'd like a night off from cooking or maybe want to gift a family or friend a free meal why not enter?

To win simply subscribe to my blog by clicking here
Please note to complete subscription (and entry) you need to activate your subscription by waiting to receive a confirmation email and clicking on the link attached, thank you.

Other Giveaway terms and conditions:
  • Winner will be randomly selected on Monday, 10th November at 9am AEST and will be announced on my instagram account @genymum so follow me on instagram too so you can find out if you won.
  • Unfortunately the giveaway is only available to Australian residents.
  • Voucher can be used on any restaurant listed on Menu Log.
  • Voucher can only be used if order is home delivered. 
  • Voucher must be used within a month post 11/11/2014
Good luck and don't forget to subscribe to win!!

This was a sponsored post by Menu Log

21 Oct 2014

How Do You Know Your Child Has Food Allergies?

I've mentioned previously that both Eli and Kai have food allergies. It was pretty severe with Eli, so much so that we carry anapen around with us at all times.

Unfortunately food allergies are very common in children now, but fortunately there are preventive measures in place in most childcare centres and schools to help children and parents manage their condition. 

Being a parent to two kids with allergies I get asked a few questions about this topic. I'd like to share a few of the commonly asked questions I get ...

How did you know your son had allergies?
With Eli how we found out was when we attempted to give him formula. It was a can of stock standard formula that you can get from any supermarket or chemist. After he had a few sips he projectile vomited, and within minutes developed hives around his face and all over his body. His face went puffy, he developed red circles under his eyes and he was really itchy.

We took him to the GP and he was looked straight away. They administered some antihistamine to ease the itch and another form of medication to help with the hives.

A few days later we had to return once his body had returned to normal to do a skin (or prick) test to start the process of determining what he was allergic to; and develop a plan to manage it.

The initial prick test identified he was allergic to cows milk, eggs, wheat, soy, nuts and seafood. We were given a referral to see a paediatrician who specialises in allergies, who conducted another round of the prick test and blood test to measure Eli's immune system's response to particular foods, by checking the amount of allergy type antibiotics are in his blood stream.

Eli recovering from a recent allergic reaction

What can I do to prevent my kids from getting food allergies?
That is the million dollar question. Right now research and medicine is unable to pin point how or why one develops allergies to one or more types of foods. As I mentioned food allergies has been on the increase the past several years, however the understanding of it is still in its infancy. No one knows whether it is something developed during the womb, something passed on hereditarily, environmental factors or even diet.

Personally, I have my own theory based on no research, and the fact that food allergies are common in developed countries, and changing my own diet ... but I'll keep those opinions to myself. 

How do you know if my child has allergies?
Look out for reactions your child may be displaying. Typical reactions include sudden itchiness around the face or body, hives, vomiting, diarrhoea, swelling of the face, and if your child is old enough to tell you they may mention a tingling in their mouth and or tummy pains.

Some children exhibit these symptoms instantly like Eli does. He'll start scratching furiously and his skin will start to go red when he's eaten something he's allergic to. Kai however, takes several minutes. One time we were out at a pub and I gave him some of my mash potatoes. Forty minutes later he was scratching his head and another twenty minutes later he started projectile vomiting.

What should I do if I think my child is having an allergic reaction to something?
Firstly, try and remember what it was you last fed your child before he showed symptoms and avoid giving that particular food to your child in the mean time. Common food allergies are nuts, cows milk and eggs but kids could be allergic to various types of foods. For example my friend's daughter is allergic to peas. 

Speak to your GP to review your child's symptoms to determine whether they do have allergies. Mention what you fed your child, what reactions they exhibited and discuss what you should do in the event your child shows these symptoms again. You may also want to discuss some testing to confirm allergies.

If you're child is being looked after by someone else also mention to them not to feed your child certain foods they could be allergic to. 

What should I do if I want to know for sure my child has allergies?
Contact your GP and ask if they do the prick test to confirm whether your child is allergic to particular foods. If they don't do it ask your GP to recommend another practice that does, or a doctor they know who has some knowledge in this field. Or you can contact the children hospital in your state as they would do it and have more contacts for you, I know Westmead Children's Hospital  in Sydney provide this service.

I'm still breastfeeding but I think he may have food allergies so should I avoid certain foods so it's not carried across to my child?
I'd suggest trial and error. If you're still breastfeeding and think your child has allergies, again try to remember what it was you ate last that may be causing the symptoms and remove from your diet to see if there is an improvement in your child's condition. 

For example Kai had rashes around his face and body for weeks that would go away even after we saw the doctor and was given steroid cream to tackle the condition. I was still breastfeeding at the time and our doctor suggested it could be food allergies since his symptoms hadn't improved. We did the skin prick test and results indicated he was allergic to cows milk and eggs. At the time I did start eating more eggs in my diet trying to increase my protein intake so I stopped eating eggs and avoided milk if I could. There was an improvement in Kai's skin after I made these changes.

To read more information I recommend going to the Australiasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy website. I'm also happy to share more info, answer questions or provide some contacts based on personal experiences so feel free to email me on gen.y.mum@gmail.com 

Disclaimer: Information above is based on personal experience and advice I was given for on my sons' situation. You should always speak to a medical professional to discuss your situation. 

16 Oct 2014

Jarryd Hayne Hate

Yesterday Jarryd Hayne announced to the public that he's quitting the NRL to pursue a chance at the US based football sport gridiron

I'm not a big NRL sports watcher nor do I support any particular team, but my husband does. He loves his Parramatta Eels, I guess it stems from going to an affiliated high school, so he's a little devastated that the star player is leaving the team. 

What surprised me the most from hearing of this news was the amount of people online and on social media doubting his ability to make it in the National Football League


I don't get why people would be so ... unsupportive? I remember seeing on one of my social media accounts of someone who quotes positive affirmations statuses discredit his ability to cut it amongst the potential competition. That's not being very .... positive ...  affirmative ... if that's even a correct statement?

I feel a sense to defend Mr Jarryd Hayne and his decision. Not because my husband is a big Parra fan but because I think we need to give this talent some credit and some support.

Firstly, I watched the press conference speech he made addressing his decision. And anyone who did should already understand maybe the number one reason why he's leaving the NRL. 
"I feel like I've done everything I can in the game ... Like I said there's goals but you got to enjoy the journey ..." 
He's not enjoying playing NRL anymore. Anyone whose worked in a job they've stopped enjoying or hate, surely can relate to this. Why stay when you're not motivated? So many people stay in jobs for years doing something they hate - this guy has done something about that, why hate?

So he's going to attempt a career in a different football code. How can people assume he won't make it? How negative is that? It's like telling someone who previously was an accountant and decided to pursue their dreams to open a cafe, that you hope they fail. I don't think people would normally say such things to others, so why would people doubt that he could keep up against the competition in the states? Why hate?

As I mentioned I'm not overly a big NRL fan, but I appreciate talent when I see it. Watching Jarryd Hayne play and seeing him master his skill over the years you can tell he's gifted at what he does. Anyone who thrives at being great at something will want to push themselves, and maybe trying a different sport is his way of challenging and enhancing his talent. Jarryd is at the peak of his career, he's still young, fit and his body hasn't failed him with injuries yet. So of course he's going to consider opportunities that could be life changing. We all have some regret in life where if we had made a different decision, wondered what could have been? Jarryd probably doesn't want to do that with this opportunity. He's seizing his moment, so let him ... why hate?

Lastly, I would like to point out he belongs to generation Y, therefore he's achievement orientated, attention craving and has a high expectation on life. So it's not wonder he's looking out for what's in his best interest. 

Good luck Jarryd. Hope your talent and success will shut your doubters up. We wish you all the best as you have a crack at the NFL. 

Your Fans

14 Oct 2014

The Truth About Having Two Children

A few of my friends are either considering, expecting or recently had their second child. Being one of the first amongst my circle of friends to have had a baby and then another one I'm usually asked what it's like having two children. I've previously blogged about what to expect in those early days but here's some real truths about raising two children ...

1. Your home will be neglected even more
When it was just Eli I cleaned the whole house on a weekly basis. No I didn't do it all on one day I spread the tasks over the week but everything got done weekly. The floors, the bathrooms, the washing, the ironing, groceries and ran errands. With two children it's even harder to get stuff done especially getting on top of keeping your house looking like a show room. It's a combination of lack of time and lack of ... caring. 

2. You will be even more tired but unable to rest
Remember when you had your first child and the advice you use to get about the lack of sleep was to sleep when your baby sleeps. Yep that doesn't happen when you have a second child. Unless your first child is going to childcare or is being looked after by someone most of the time, you don't get the luxury of sleeping when your baby does. I think my boys tag team on keeping me up, only falling asleep when the other wakes up - they do this all day and night.

3. You don't get out
When you only had one child you would meet up with friends for brunch or play dates, you could do the groceries with one child, you would brave going to events as a solo parent with just your child, but with two kids you don't even dare. They're too young and unpredictable to risk being out of the home by yourself. I don't think I even ask to meet up with people anymore because it's too hard unless the parent to child ratio is either equal or higher on the parent side. 

4. You will wonder why you ever complained about the pains of having one child
You thought one child was hard, it's nothing compared to raising two. You think back to that period of time with fond memories and realise how much easier it was. The simplest task is twice as hard with two, (and especially when you're alone) like getting the kids into the car, organising a night out or even getting out for walks.

5. Your heart will double in size
As a parent of one child you wonder how will you love another child as much as you do with your first. I don't know how to explain it but you do ... and as equally. They are so unique and different to your first and that's what you fall in love with. How differently they hit milestones, how differently the look, how differently they find things amusing ... their differences is a welcome experience that opens your heart even more. 

Parents of two or more children what other truths would you share about raising multiple children?
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