26 Apr 2014

Easter Break

We've been away the last few days. We went to a little beach side suburb called Currarong just shy of 2.5 hours south of Sydney. 

Firstly let me say how surprised I was at the price difference in renting holiday homes between the north and south beaches of New South Wales. The north is far more pricier and if you're trying to secure a property during the holiday periods like we were, the tariff increase also pushes the prices further up. New South Wales has so many beaches along its coast line so opting for a "less known" or "popular" spot, helps to bring the accommodation costs down. 

We travelled with a few friends, actually my old mixed basketball team. We usually get together frequently, and in the last few years we've also gone away somewhere. This year the Easter and Anzac holiday periods were only a few days apart instead of weeks so a few of us took some extra time off work and enjoyed a whole week away. 

The property where we stayed at, was this two story home right by the water. We loved how accessible it was as it was only 100 meters away from a flat beach and lagoon, general store, fish and chips shop, rock pool, fishing spots and playgrounds. 

Inside the home was simply gorgeous. It was a two story / four bedroom home perfect for large groups of adults. Each bedroom was large, two rooms had ensuites but there was an additional two bathrooms as well. There's a little rumpus area on the bottom floor with a small kitchenette, the lounge area upstairs had ample space and seating, but we all seemed to gravitate to the large balcony to enjoy the impressive view. The property is the only home on the block that is two story so you could really take in the the area from above. There kitchen was fully stocked with almost every kitchen appliance you can think of, catering grade oven, dishwasher, a coffee machine and plenty of plates and cutlery in various shapes and sizes. There was even a second large fridge down stairs in the laundry room.   

I wished I took some photos of the property before we made ourselves at home but you can see what it looks like from the website I booked it from. We definitely enjoyed our stay here and thinking about coming back in summer. 

Here are some photos of various things around the area I did mange to take with my new phone.



Hope you all had a great Easter long weekend!

15 Apr 2014

Kai's Dedication

Last month we dedicated our second son to God. 

We realised it was almost exactly two years ago we held Eli's dedication. If someone told me I'd be throwing another dedication for my second child two years later I would have laughed and never believed them.

Again we just invited family and close friends. The guest list was a little smaller this time around. I noticed as our family grows our circle tightens. 

Ian and I always stress about treating the boys "equally" so it was only fair we celebrated Kai's dedication in the same fashion as his kuya's. 

We had a lovely short ceremony at church however I didn't get to read my love letter out this time around. I dunno why not ... I just got shy? Usually the father says a prayer for the child and we agreed I would just add my bit but I chickened out on the day. 

So here's my love letter and prayer for our son Kai. 
To our son Malachi, 
Before you were even born you were in the thoughts and prayers of family and friends. You stirred our hearts with love for you even before we knew you.

As you formed in the womb clouds of uncertainty made us worry. Nothing was ever certain so we put our faith in God that you would be okay. You arrived … in the most unexpected situations but quickly, safely … and you were perfect. 
Kai know that we your parents and your kuya Eli love you. We may one day forget to say it and at times you may think we don't show it, but know that we your parents love and support you unconditionally. 
We know God has something amazing planned for just for you, as you are destined for great things. Know you are your own person, unique and set apart.

Our encouragement is that you dream big, always taking a leap of faith in everything you put your heart into, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, take risks and be different – may you live life to the fullest.

Your life is has been a blessing to our families and you bring blessings to those who encounter you.

Lord we pray that you protect our son, Kai. May you cover him with your protection and keep him not only forever safe, but in perfect health and continuously blessed. We know you have an amazing life planned for him. May he quickly realise that plan and understand to let you be the center of everything in his life. 
Thank you Lord for blessing us as parents once again. As we navigate through this parenting path we pray that you mould us into the best role models as we possible can be. Thank you for granting us another precious child, whom we dedicate back to you. In Jesus name we pray … 
One of the best gifts we received that day was my sister surprising us by being in the country to attend Kai's dedication. My whole family was in on it but they hadn't been planning it for very long as she only made the decision to come home the Wednesday prior. It was great surprise and best gift ever. Kai and his youngest aunt finally got to meet each other.

Some of my favourite photos from Kai's dedication with family and his god parents.

Photos taken by FT Photography

9 Apr 2014

Scratch Me Not & Bamboo Sleeping Bag Review

The family was at a 1st birthday a few weeks ago and of course at these events you not only catch up with friends but with other families you don't often see. 

I've mentioned previously Kai's been diagnosed with eczema and at this party I was sharing my pain with another mother whose son also had eczema at a young age. We exchanged stories of how heart breaking the condition can be especially when they're having severe episodes and methods we have tried to control it. She recommended a product to me that he son was actually using at that moment. It was the Scratch Me Not mittens. She said she found it useful as the mittens are made of soft fabric which lessens the irritation on the skin.

Keen to try anything outside of steroid ointments and drugs I thought I'd give this product a go. I found a supplier who stocked the product and also another product I wanted to try, the Bamboo Baby Sleeping Bag. Once I received the products I used them on Kai straight away. 

The Scratch Me Not mittens are like a bolero, so it only covers the child's shoulders and arms. It can be worn over or even under child's clothing. At the sleeves there is extra fabric which can be flipped over to cover the child's hands preventing them from scratching or you can keep it as is so the child can still use their hands. 

The Bamboo Baby Bag is a zip up sleeping bag with arm sleeves to keep your child from scratching at night. The sleeves are adjustable so you can make them longer as your child grows. The bag can be used up to age two or whenever your child physically out grows the bag. 

After three weeks of using these products I can definitely see some improvements on Kai's skin. The benefits I've realised include:
  • His eczema was mostly around his neck and face and because he's not rubbing these areas with his hands or synthetic fabric its not as red and irritated anymore. I realised using socks to cover his hands with probably flaring his skin up more as they are made of quite rough fabric where as the mitten are made of silk.  
  • The products are of high quality breathable fabric, I'd even say resilient. Only because with a 6 month old these products were subjected to saliva, vomit, greasy ointments and regular rotation in the washing machine, and they still cleaned well and maintained their shape. And because they are of high quality material it's gentle on sensitive skin. 
  • The sleeping bag is great for nights because I can put Kai into it and not worry about putting another blanket over him wondering if he's warm enough at night. On the warmer nights I'd put him in a singlet, a nappy and the bag over him. As parents of eczema kids know it better to keep them slightly under dress so they don't over heat and sweat.
  • The sleeping bag has a double zipper feature so I could change Kai's nappy without having to remove the bag off his body. This was especially great as he would try and scratch his body when ever his hands had the opportunity. 
  • I use the the mittens during the day and the bag at night and he seems to be sleeping much better because he's not rubbing his skin with rough fabrics or scratching his skin.
Only down side I would say is:
  • I keep the mittens on him all day and as I mentioned they tend to get exposed to all elements a 6 month old would subject on a piece of clothing to. I've gotten food on the mittens, spit on the sleeping bag, its gotten greasy moisturiser all over it so be prepared to wash these items frequently or purchase another set for rotation. 
  • Sleeping bags are big enough to accommodate up to a two year old which means they are quiet big for a 6 month old baby. There are pockets where you can adjust the arm length to make it shorter however I found excess material would still come out of the pockets.
Regardless, I can't rave enough about the improvement to my son's wellness since using these products. Of course you still need to be on top of your child's condition by applying appropriate creams, follow any advice your doctor has given you and constantly ensuring your child's skin is moisturised. However these products have helped me control my son's scratching and manage his eczema.

You can purchase these products and or read more about them on Bamboo Baby's web site. You can purchase these products on Bamboo Baby individually or they also have bundle packs

First day of using the mittens. Kai's very red and irritated face

 Kai sleeping with the Scratch Me Not mittens on

Peaceful in the Bamboo Baby Sleeping Bag

Sponsored post by Bamboo Buddy

5 Apr 2014

Sleep Training Day 3 & 4

This is a continuation of a previous post. If you want to know how our first two days of sleep training went please read that first. 

Tuesday, 1st April

8:00 Kai woke up. I changed his nappy, fed him milk and solids then had play time. 
9:15 We read a book and put him in his cot for his morning nap. I turned mobiliser on, offered him his dummy then walked out of the room. He whimpers, rolls around the cot and observes his surroundings. I go back several times to hand comfort him. 
10:10 He is finally asleep. 
10:40 He is woken up by Eli. Tried to put him back to sleep but he seems to be more alert so we had play time instead. 
11:10 Breast fed him and started routine again. Read a book and into the cot with the mobiliser on. He's crying but only mildly. I go back in every couple of minutes to hand comfort him. 
12:20 Got to waiting 5 minutes before comforting him before he finally fell asleep. 
12:40 Got woken up by a loud sound. Tried to return him back to sleep and start the process of comfort settling him again. 
13:30 Got to 7 minutes of waiting and he was still not asleep so decided to give it a break. I changed his nappy, removed a layer of clothing and fed him. I noticed he looked sleepy so I moved him into the cot and began timed comfort settling.  
14:05 It got to 5 minutes of waiting before he finally fell asleep. I did pick him up once cause he was really upset and he looked so exhausted and I wanted to give him a big hug and kiss.
15:30 He woke up. Fed him milk, had some play time and fed him some food.
17:17 Commenced night time routine. Bath, read a book, good night cuddles and into the cot.
18:15 Still not asleep and has been crying since I put him in the cot. Decided to stop and breastfed him since he's due anyways. 
18:40 Returned him into the cot, mobiliser on and commenced timed comfort settling.
19:30 He's finally asleep. He seemed more upset today crying constantly. 
20:30 He woke up but I waited 2 minutes before turning on the mobiliser on and gentle hand settling. 
20:40 He's fallen back asleep. 

Today he got just under 15 hours of sleep. 

Wednesday, 2nd April

00:00 He woke up so I fed him then returned him back into the cot. He fell asleep straight away.
4:00 Woke up. Gave him the dummy and turned mobiliser on. He fell asleep within 5 minutes. 
7:40 Woke Kai up as I was putting him into the car. I had to drop Eli off to childcare and Kai was going to be looked after by the in laws.
15:30 Returned to the in laws and was told he didn't sleep until 10 minutes prior to be arriving. Was told his skin was really irritating him today and could be the reason why he barely slept. 
15:50 Kai wakes up. 
16:45 Arrive back home from childcare pick up and feed Kai milk then some food.
17:30 Commenced night time routine. Bath, read a book, goodnight cuddles.
18:00 Placed into the cot
18:49 He is finally asleep. Took 9 minutes of timed comfort settling.  
23:00 He woke up. Fed him and returned him into his cot. He fell asleep straight away. 

Today he got around 14 hours of sleep. 

4 Apr 2014

Sleep Training Day 1 & 2

Why we started sleep training? Some background ...

Sunday, 30th March

Today we begin enforcing a day routine. The day routine we decided to do for Kai is once he wakes I breastfeed him. Then feed him some solid food, some play time for 1-1.5 hours, read a book, cuddles and kisses then into the cot for his nap. In the cot we're going to turn the mobiliser on as it plays music and hopefully that will help him establish that when he hears this it's time for sleep.

For his night time routine we decided to start around 5:30pm. Routine will consist of a milk feed, then some solids, light play time for about 30 minutes of less. Then a bath, read a book, goodnight cuddles then placed into the cot. 

We predict he will of course protest so we decided we would do the control crying method. Control crying is when you put your baby in his cot and walking away the return after a few minutes. Then return back into the room to hand comfort him or any form of comforting except picking him up until he calms down. You would repeat this process until the baby finally falls asleep increasing the time you return back into the room by one minute after each iteration. We don't mind hearing Kai cry just not for too long. We don't mind walking away and letting him cry cause if we stood by his cot comforting him until he settled down we know we'd cave in and pick him up. And the key to sleep training is consistency and for the parents not to break.

8:00 Time Kai woke up.
9:00 Kai is put into the cot after following the day routine we set above. Of course he cried while he was in there so we would return every few minutes to hand settle him, and speak words of love and encouragement to calm him down.
10:00 He's finally fallen asleep. 
10:30 Woken up by Eli's loud voice as he came into the room. Waited two minutes before putting the mobiliser back on and a dummy in his mouth. It worked he fell asleep in a few minutes. 
11:00 Woke up. Fed him milk then gave him some solid food.
We had a day out planned as it was the last day before my sister flies back to London so we had to all go. 
12:30 Slept in my arms for 30 minutes.
14:00 Slept in Ian's arms for 30 minutes.
17:30 Arrive home and decide to start night time routine now. I fed him milk although he didn't seem that interested. Offered food but he was too upset to eat. We bathed him, read a book, had our cuddles and said our goodnight's.
18:22 We put him in the cot and turned on the mobiliser on. Cried, waited for a set timed period then hand settled until he was a little calmer then walked out. 
19:28 He finally fell asleep. 
23:30 He woke up. I breastfed him. He fell asleep on the boob and as soon as he did I moved him into the cot. He woke but I turned on the mobiliser, placed dummy in his mouth, said goodnight and walked away. He whimpered for a few minutes but eventually fell asleep. 

All up he got just under 14 hours of sleep today which is the suggested amount of sleep for a 6 month old

Monday 31st March

2:30 He woke up so I fed him again. He didn't seem sleepy and quite alert so I changed his nappy, put warmer clothing on him and put him in his Bamboo Baby Sleeping Bag as it is a little cooler by now. I put him back into the cot, turned the mobiliser on and walked away. He was whimpering but I decided I wasn't going to go back to him unless he started to actually cry. I could hear him rolling around the cot.
3:30 Fell back asleep. 
8:00 Kai wakes up. I breastfed him and offer him solids. He didn't seem too interested in the food and only had a few bites. He plays for a few minutes but seems irritated. I moisturise him as he's also currently going through an eczema episode.
9:00 I put him back into his sleeping bag, read him a book, gave him some kisses and put him into the cot. He only whimpered for a few minutes. 
9:15 He's asleep.
11:00 We wake him as he has his immunisation appointment that day. At the doctors he has his shots and I discussed my concerns about his eczema. It has spread from not just his neck and now to his tummy and arms. The doctor thinks it could be allergies so he's booked in next week to do the allergy prick test. I'm hoping I don't have another kid with allergies but I'm now avoiding certain foods (eggs, cows milk and nuts) just to be sure. We spend the rest of the afternoon with my sister as she flies back to London that evening. At my parent place Kai probably got an hour's worth of sleep broken into two 30 minutes naps. 
17:30 Arrive home and begin night routine. Milk, solids, bath, book and good night cuddles.
18:08 Kai is put into the cot. He cries on and off and we return back into the room several times to hand settle him. 
19:04 We go to waiting 8 minutes before going into the room by the time he finally fell asleep.

All up he got a little over 14 hours of sleep today. Now we're thinking the eczema is probably impacting his ability to get to sleep as well.

Read about our Day 3 & 4 experience.

2 Apr 2014

Sleep Training Kai

Those who know me personally would know that we've been trying to get Kai to fall asleep unassisted. We don't want to wait until he's two years of age, like we did with Eli before we over come this hurdle.

Our expectation isn't that we want him to sleep through the night, that would be a bonus. We just don't want to continue to rock him or for me to give him the boob to fall asleep. It's not even the fact that we don't want to do these things but he's kinda over those tactics too. The process takes longer and longer each time and ultimately he's becoming over tired and us irritated. And because he doesn't know how to sleep he doesn't sleep very long either. So the process to get him to fall asleep seems forever constant.

So we decided he's got to learn how to fall asleep unassisted. I've read so many things online about sleeping techniques and methods but I stumbled across a blog which gave me the encouragement, information and confidence to really commit to achieving this. I realised a some things after reading a few articles on this blog:
  • We need to establish a regular and consistent day routine as well if we want to see any success with the night time one. We never did routines with Eli, he was fine without one but in hind sight maybe we should have gave it a go if babies thrive best on one. I guess we didn't establish a routine with Eli due to our living arrangements at the time and my attitude towards having a routine. My belief previously was that I wasn't going to let my child's sleep schedule tie me down from getting on with my day or tasks I needed to do. If anything I thought the stimulation probably would help tire them out. 
  • Both my children are not getting enough sleep and are most likely over tired. This probably explains why Eli is napping later in the day, Kai's really short day naps, early wake ups and resistance to sleep. These things impacts their behaviour and could be the reasons why Eli throws more melt downs than before, how defiant he's become and the frequency of his temper tantrums. They both need more sleep than how much they're getting now.  
  • Choose a sleep training method that is best for us and Kai. I have asked a few people on how they over came their sleeping battles and then tried to enforce it on Kai with no success. I realised we need to figure out which method or components of various methods we're comfortable in doing and hopefully will work on Kai. Because what ever it is we need to be consistent in doing it for .... ever really. 
So armed with some info and motivation to really nip this in the butt we decided to do this. Looking at our calendar and our weekly schedule it seemed there's really no good time to start cause we're never just at home 24/7 for days on end. I do childcare drop off and pick up, Kai spends time with the grandparents, we have play dates with other kids, I need to do the groceries etc. So we decided to just start now. It's like diet and exercise, there's always excuses why not and there's no time like the present. 

So next few days will document how we go with our journey. Hopefully its not too painful or take too long.

You can read about our first couple of day's experience here.

1 Apr 2014

March in Review

  • 5/03 - Date night and we were able to watched a live stand up performance of comedian Dave Chappelle in town. Funny guy but I think the stuff he use to do on his tv series were funnier. 
  • 6/03 - Wedding rehearsals for Eli. He was the coin bearer for one of our closest friend's wedding. He did okay although he was a bit shy on the day. I shouldn't have woken him up from his nap a few minutes before game time, he was in a bit of a mood.
  • 8/03 - An awesome wedding for an amazing couple. These two people are like family to us. We've known them individually for years and shared many funny memories with them and can't wait to share more. 
  • 10/03 - Another date night this time to see Bruno Mars. I'm glad we got to see him now cause I predict he's just going to get better and bigger in the music industry. 
  • 14/03 - My best friend's baby is born. Their baby is ridiculously cute he has so much hair ... Kai's jealous. So happy for this couple and I don't know if other mothers feel this but, it's nice when a close friend also enters motherhood. Its like this unspoken secret society that your friend is now part of. There's like this other layer of conversation topics and emotions that you guys can now have.  
  • 22/03 Kai's Dedication. We along with our families and a few friends dedicated our son Kai to God. 
  • My baby sister surprised me and everyone else except my sister and mum, by coming back home to be present for Kai's dedication. It was great to have her back from the UK even if it was just a little over a week. She finally got to meet Kai!
  • This month I noticed I discussed other components of parenting besides just talking about how I feel or what my boys were up to. Don't get me wrong I still do a lot of that but this month I just had other things to say. 
March was really busy for us. Almost every weekend we had back to back events to attend. It's nice to keep busy but with two young children I worry they may be getting over tired sometimes.  
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