Category: Talks

Back to work!

Lately I’ve had a lot weighing on my mind; Pete’s work have been reshuffling so he’s back in a role he’s unhappy with, further from home and school. In a rush of dissatisfaction right after the change, he was looking for a new job and found something that I would be suitable for. Really suitable. Almost a precise counter to the position I’m on maternity leave from.

At the same time I mentioned that someone I’d been working with just moved across the country for a position that appeared to pay very well, and since then it’s been sinking in that I’ll need to get used to the idea of going back to work.

At the start we were anticipating huge childcare fees and that left both of us wondering if it would be financially worthwhile, however I pointed out to Pete that his new job is close to his mum’s house and she had offered to take Olivia when I go back to work.

It probably sounds a bit trite but the thought of going back to work and leaving her with others is terrifying – even if they are family. People don’t necessarily listen to or agree with opinions on parenting, and right now I’m having problems getting Olivia to sleep anywhere but my arms. I hate seeing her cry and the idea of not being there for her when she needs me brings tears to my eyes (especially since her favourite noises right now are a variation on mamam and mumum noises!).

I really did think this wouldn’t be as hard as it is, that she would have been babysat at least once by now, but we haven’t left her with anyone else yet.

It’s something we really need to work on, so we can all be a bit more comfortable when the time comes for her to spend time with other people – I’ll need to speak to our community health nurse and see if she’s got any suggestions!

Rediscovering the lost (to me) art of the Library

Over the weekend my Dad recounted a little story from my childhood to Pete; the first readers I brought home from school when I was little were twice handed to Dad with a very sincere request for him to read to me. He didn’t think anything of it until he found, by talking to my teacher, that I was supposed to be reading to him as part of my homework! Needless to say, I didn’t get away with that trick any longer, and my Dad was certain to get me to read to him every night, and would from then on only read with me – two pages from me for every one he read out.

That, and his own interest in the written and spoken word bred a love of reading into me that took me through awkward primary school years, where a teacher reiterated a request for reading to be left for English and not Maths, and high school classes where I took every English course I could. I still wish I could have done ESL as well as the other two streams.

All of those years, and for any time I spend on public transport, I’ve kept a book in my bag to keep myself occupied. Lately it’s been a Kindle, my old faithful replaced last year by a Paperwhite when it stopped displaying anything but the charging screen.

All of these years, buying books from eBay, Book Depository, the lival secondhand book shop, downloading from Amazon – one might imagine my library membership would have been well excercised!

Nope. Apparently I completely forgot about the principle of the public library system.

Pete and I were walking with Olivia down the main street on Saturday, having just visited the grocer where he organises a fruit delivery for his work. I’d mentioned joining the library again when I was taking Olivia to our mums and babies group but was distracted on the day I’d planned to and never quite got back around to it. We wandered up to the counter and checked to see if I was still a member. I signed up when I was a kid but dropped off of the system when they upgraded, so I arranged a new membership. The rules have changed so much! You can have up to 100 items out, and rather than a local network of five libraries, the whole state shares resources and books can be dropped off and transferred to and from any location!

Honestly, you’d think I’d just discovered a new planet the way I’m going on but it was pretty exciting to peruse the cooking section and realise I can try all of the books and then buy any that I find particularly indispensable, instead of thinking that something looks good only to find I never use it (sorry Jamie’s Comfort Food, you’re gorgeous but Whole Food Slow Cooked speaks to me).

Anyway, Pete had to take our fruit and vegetables back to the car so we could carry Olivia and all of the books I borrowed. I’ve got them for a month so I started with the smallest, a little handbook called Fermentation for Beginners; it explains the roots and basic science of fermentation, then covers basic recipes from sourdough and pickles to kvass. It’s inspired me to try starting sourdough (again, I’ve never quite been able to get into the swing of it and keep up) and I’ve already decided I’d like my own copy in paperback because it seems like a really handy little book to keep around.

Hopefully we can go back again soon when we have a bit more time and I can check out the gardening section since we didn’t see much beyond the baby section (I grabbed a book on baby sign language) and the cooking section (as much as I could carry down the street without hurting myself). I can’t believe I haven’t been taking advantage of the library for so long – free books!

Does anyone have any book recommendations? I’d love some suggestions of things to look out for!

Getting things done!

I don’t know about you, but Autumn and Spring are my absolute favourite seasons. The days can be cool, warm, sunny and sleeting all in the same day, but you don’t seem to experience the same extremes of temperature (I honestly am not good with 40 degrees celcius. I’m the worst Australian.).

Because the days are so temperate and, well, enjoyable, I’m more inclined to get out into the garden (not getting sunburnt is another guge benefit actually!).

Today it was the chicken coop’s turn for a bit of attention. I’ve got to draw up a plan for some new nesting boxes for the ladies as they’re currently using an old plastic dog kennel that my mum had for unknown reasons (it’s way too small for their Great Dane), but in the meantime, I’ve shifted out the small pond Pete put in for Panda the duck, the pavers it was resting on, cleaned out Panda’s clamshell as she much prefers it to the pond, cleaned out the coop floor and the nesting areas and gave them fresh hay for nesting.

Now, that probably doesn’t seem an awful lot to anyone BUT it was done under the watchful eye of a certain miss five months, who isn’t normally big on that “sitting in a bouncy and letting mum do stuff” business and who’s being a little less of a cuddle monster now she’s getting over her cold. Sometimes I really marvel at all the time I wasted before she came along, I had so much free time that I wasted on who knows what, not getting important things done. Post baby, most things follow in a descending order from ‘feed baby’, ‘cuddle baby’ and so forth..and I’m not even a super clucky type. Promise.

Anyway, that’s today for me, I hope you’re getting stuff done too!

Tuesday Blues

Do you have those days where you can hardly keep your eyes open and you feel like you’re just treading water?

For some reason, I don’t know how, mine always seem to fall on Tuesdays. Olivia sleeps less on Monday nights, I try and get too many things done at once, and Pete is out of the house at work and school until after nine. Olivia won’t settle for her afternoon nap and hoots at me while she’s feeding and my eyes droop but there’s no chance of a nap.

For some reason I started making lasagne and quiche as though I’ve forgotten that I have a limited amount of time in the kitchen! And I started re-arranging the chicken coop this morning, lifting up and throwing pavers out of the girls’ way so they can investigate the possibility of a bug lunch.

Everything started, nothing finished, I’ll try again tomorrow, hopefully with a bit of sleep and a lot more common sense tucked under my belt.

Monday Ramble

I’m afraid there’s no Harvest Monday for me today, everything’s started to slow down in my garden since the cool change came in. As much as I miss finding new things ready to eat on a daily basis, I haven’t missed the heat – I’ve been able to wear a jumper and had to go hunting for a heavier weight sleeping bag for Olivia this morning! The cold could explain why she didn’t sleep well last night, but she’s five months old, who knows why these things happen.

Our Easter weekend has been pretty low key; we celebrated a friends birthday at a boardgame cafe in the city on Thursday, had a barbecue at my sister’s on Friday and dinner with Pete’s family on Sunday night for his and his father’s birthdays.

Now I’m nestled on our couch with Olivia asleep snuggled up to me, and Pete re-arranging the living room around us. We’re hoping the new set up will be more baby-friendly since she’ll start crawling at some point soon and after that, it’s a steep learning curve through walking, climbing and securing furniture to walls.

Dinner is on the stove and I’m looking forward to a nice warming bowl of chilli, hopefully with enough leftovers for tomorrow.

Last week for me was a bit of a flurry of activity and I’m looking forward to a bit of downtime this week – I might get another one of these guys made!


500 Things – Update Three

This hasn’t been a great time for my 500 Things purge – it’s been two weeks since I updated my list last, and in that time I’ve only gotten rid of 20 things, including the CD racks from my last update. In the last two weeks the little daily timeline that Olivia and I had has gone out the window completely! She’s been teething, going through her fourth Wonder Week (the name is a lie, this one goes for about five weeks) and cluster feeding because she’s decided she doesn’t need a shield anymore! A very tiring time, but amazing (since she’s gone from an 80g weight gain in a fortnight to 400g!).

Fortunately one of the things that we’ve managed to get rid of is a large cargo barrier that Pete bought and never used – it went on Gumtree for $100 and we got $75 for it, so it didn’t cost us anything. I also went through one of the kitchen cupboards and decided I won’t go back to using an old kitchen scale I’ve kept around for four years, and some plastic containers I forgot I even had – so I clearly don’t need them anymore.

Onwards and upwards, this week I’ll try getting rid of more than 20 things!

Previous Total: 323
This Week: 20
New Total: 343

500 Things – Update Two

Well, so far the third week of 500 Things has been going well for me – on Saturday Pete went target shooting with our friend Charl; I had a train case for his wife/my best friend Sarah and I got Pete to take it with him. On Sunday I got a response to my Freecycle offer and the mirrors went that afternoon! Pete helped the lady who collected them put them in her car and I got to tick off two large items from my list of stuff I don’t need. That night I sorted another bag of hand me down baby clothes and counted 57 items we’ll pass on to people we know who are having babies (current count is around 5!).

Monday rolled around and a co-sleeping pod we’d used for three nights before Olivia moved into her cot went to a lady from Gumtree for $20.

Over the next couple of days, I went through the last bag of hand me down baby clothes, putting eight items in the discard pile..then the CD wallets I ordered arrived. I’m sick of storing so many CD cases in the open, so all of my CDs are going in the wallets and the cases are being stashed under the bed. The CD racks can now be donated to the local op shop.

Now I’m eyeing off the kitchen cabinets – surely there’s more stuff in there that I don’t need!

Previous Total: 247
This Week: 76
New Total: 323

500 Things – Update One

So while I’m working on restoring my old posts, I’m still also trying to get to my goal of donating or selling 500 things before the end of the year. At last count, we were up to 192 completely random items, including two tables, one of which was a beautiful 50’s laminate dinner table that I used as my sewing table (I’m not sad, just nostalgic!).

Since then I haven’t had much of an opportunity to get rid of things, though I did manage to sort through a big bag of baby clothes that have been handed down to us. Things that won’t fit Olivia totalled 55, including some unused dummies from sets she’s proven don’t meet her requirements (girl hates dummies!). I’ve popped them to the side and I’ll pass them on to one of the (at least four) pregnant ladies I know will be collecting things for their little ones.

Previous Total: 192
This Week: 55
New Total: 247

While I’ve still got lots of hand me down baby clothes to go through, I’ve also put some glass storage jars and mirrors on Freecycle, hopefully they can be of use to someone new!

Ring sling success!

When I first found out I was pregnant, I knew that I wanted to ‘wear’ my baby. But there’s so many different types of carriers on the market, I really couldn’t figure out which would be most suitable for us (babies are headstrong creatures and have their own preferences…trust me).

While we were expecting, we bought an ErgoBaby Original; I was pretty certain that a structured carrier would suit me the best because of my pre-existing back issues – one relatively minor, awkward fall during a roller derby practise followed by no treatment for a few years did a number on my lower back and pelvis. Then, of course, we had an emergency caesarean section – you really don’t want anything touching a fresh wound on your abdomen. I decided that a stretchy would work well, and I’m sure it would have, if I was more coordinated in wrapping it and Olivia didn’t scream every time I tried to put her in when I’d finally managed to origami myself into five metres of jersey.

Back to square one.

Cut to a month ago and we go to catch up with a couple of derby chums of mine, Dave and Jade. Two children at her feet and one on the way, Jade scoops Olivia out of my (tired) arms for a cuddle and pops her into a ring sling. Now, I’d completely discounted slings because of my dodgy back and a weird assumption that the over the shoulder nature of a sling would unbalance me – Jade has had her own back issues in the past, so when she offered to lend me the sling I was already changing my mind.

I’ve been using it since then, and it’s saved my bacon (and my arms) a couple of times. Notably for me, when I took the train into Adelaide for a physio visit and Olivia insisted on being carried and it meant that I had both hands free to push her pram around! The one time I forgot it was when I’d parked a short walk from my mother’s group last Thursday and the pram refused to unfold; so I carried Olivia, her nappy bag and my tote down the street and decided I really did need to get myself into gear and find my own sling.

Cue a sleepless night on Thursday; a certain someone was up, bright eyed and bushy tailed, and once she drifted off I couldn’t quite get myself to sleep. I hit Gumtree and browsed around for a while, disappointed that no one is selling the chickens I want. Bored, I searched for ring slings and found an Oscha ring sling nearby for only $50!

We picked it up last night. It’s an older style but it’s in great condition and really comfortable, and the woman I bought it from mentioned it was her first, and the one that started her wrap collection. Right now I think I’m not determined enough to try and get myself into a woven wrap, though some of the designs could sway me one day…

In the interests of helping a friend expecting her first baby, we’re also organising a little get together so she can try on a few different kinds of wraps. Even though baby will get the final say, it gives her a chance to try and figure out what works for her first (and hopefully, she won’t have to get to her third carrier before that happens!).

The communities I’ve discovered since being pregnant really make me wonder how expectant mothers who don’t have anyone to count on get by; without the help of my friends, I’d still be trying to figure out what would work for me!