Archive for December 2007

 

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Best of Snippets of Life 2007

31 December 2007

January 2007

My husband and I took a trip down south for my cousin’s wedding, where I wore THAT dress.

My boys went on their first fishing adventure.

I started eating a slice of toast and 1 egg every morning. I still do! Don’t know what that does to my health though.

February 2007

Callum started Kindergarten

I launched myself into organic gardening and set up a worm farm.

I started dressing my children the same. I have always loathed this practice. But now it’s just so much easier to buy the same shirt in a size 4 and size 2. No fights. No arguments. No room for the kid who wants to “try something different” and wear his pyjama shirt to a party.

March 2007

Sean turns two

For the first time in 10 years, I picked up a painted brush and some oils and started to paint!

This is probably my favourite photo of my two boys. I love how they look so completely and utterly happy.

My Organic Cheese and Chive Scone Recipe was a big hit with my readers!

April 2007

My mother turned 60, and we organised our first studio photography portraits.

Callum turned four

We started playing fortnightly social soccer with friends.

May 2007

One minute the kids behave in the most shocking and appalling way, then they’ll do something so unbelievably cute, you can’t help but want to cuddle them forever.

I love my husband.

What SHOULD kids eat each day. 7 months later and it’s still oh so very hard.

June 2007

A hour by hour breakdown of my day. One of my more popular posts for the month.

I ate a grub.

After I wrote about my Sheep Poo Tea, I think I received 70 emails in something like 2 minutes. Apparently it was not sheep poo, but a kind of blossoming tea.

Went to a great Hollywood Dress Up party!

July 2007

I turned 29 and had a whole festival of events! I also had a contemplative reflection on what it meant that I was turning 30 next year. I asked others what their thoughts were and I edited and compiled them into a post here.

Sean at 28 months began a very difficult “Terrible Two” stage.

I confessed to the world that I have joined some friends to put on a group art exhibition.

August 2007

Sean eats our hermit crab (kind of).

We went on a travelling camping holiday to Coral Bay and Exmouth. We stayed at an amazing and isolated campsite by the beach, but we had to take a scary road that looked like the surface of the moon to get there!

September 2007

The boys were baptised.

I wrote out the essence of my parenting experience, so far – “Parenting Is”. It was also one of my most popular posts.

The very first time my kids laid eyes on a video game (wii).

The Official Blurb for my upcoming Art Exhibition.

October 2007

The opening night of my group art exhibition! A complete success!

Sean gets a new bike.

We begin trying for a third baby, and I start “documenting” my steps and thoughts in my blog post series, Making Baby 3.

Tips for a Stay At Home Mum – How To Stay Sane! Another one of my popular posts!

I begin writing about photography and how to take great photos.

November 2007

I tried to do this crazy thing, which involved writing a blog post for everyday of the month. I changed the way I wrote posts, put heaps more thought and planning into each post, but I seriously burnt out in the end!

I write out two Photoshop Tutorials. How To Put An Object On A White Background, How to Select an Object from its Background and How to Enhance Your Photographs Using Layer Blending Modes. These posts were extremely popular!

An update on my boys, aged 4.5 and 2.5.

It’s been a year since my husband and I employed a babysitter, so we can have time alone together on a weekly basis.

Roast Vegetable Pasta Salad Recipe – Another really popular post.

December 2007

With new changes happening in our lives, and the Christmas and holiday season approaching, December was a really busy month for us.

My Play Dough Recipe was very popular.

Sean used to be excellent with his potty training at a really young age. But now he’s gone completely backwards, not sure why and I am clueless as to what to try next. The cloth nappies have been very helpful and we’re ALMOST THERE!

I found some old toddler photos of myself!

I discovered that I am very close to becoming An Uncool Parent!


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Christmas Leftovers Recipe – Turkey Pasta Salad

29 December 2007

Left Over Christmas Turkey Pasta Salad

I don’t know about you, but I still have half a turkey and leg of ham in my fridge.

We have been eating Christmas leftovers for breakfast, lunch and dinner! It’s driving me crazy!

Anyway, here’s my Leftover Christmas Turkey Pasta Salad Recipe

2 cups of shredded turkey
4 – 5 large tablespoons of sundried tomato pesto
375g of spaghetti pasta
handful of fresh chopped capsicums, halved cherry tomatoes, spinach and basil leaves
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil at the end

Cook and drain pasta. Toss everything. Serve warm.


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Making Baby 3, Part 11: Lets Talk About Sex

28 December 2007

In our quest to have a third baby, my husband and I decided that, since we already have two boys, there was no harm in trying to conceive a girl – or rather, using natural techniques that increased the chances of conceiving a girl.

We’ve been following various recommendations outlined in a popular technique called The Shettles Method, by Dr Shettles in her book, How To Choose the Sex Of Your Baby.

I’ve already written about the importance of timing sex, tracking your mucus cycle.

So according to the Shettles method, if you want a girl, you have to have sex in a particular way.

1) Shallow penetration.

Woman on the bottom. Good. Old. Missionary. Just lie still thanks.

The reason for having shallow penetration is so that the sperm will be deposited further away from the cervix, which is more acidic and will disadvantage the weaker boy sperm.

Plus it also gives the slow swimming, but longer lasting girl sperm a greater chance of reaching the egg.

2) Woman can NOT orgasm.

Apparently, when a woman orgasms, the acidity levels change in the uterus, making it more favourable for boy sperm.

Also the contractions felt during an orgasm usually assist the sperm up into the cervix and towards the egg. This means the faster swimming boy sperm have an advantage over the girl sperm.

So there you have it.

If you want a girl, you have to have BORING SEX!

(I wonder what it means that I have two boys! Ha!)

Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.


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On Presents

27 December 2007

My husband and I are not a Present Giving Couple.

When people ask me, “What did you get your husband for Christmas? Or what did your husband get you?” I say with a cunning and mischievous smile “Trust me, you don’t want to know…”

Truth is, we didn’t buy each other anything! We are not really into dropping hints. Or secret shopping and planning surprises.

I don’t ask my husband to buy me anything – because, if I wanted something, I’d just go out and buy it myself!

In fact, if my husband felt the need to surprise me, and bought me the designer handbag which he had noticed I swooned over while reading a magazine, I’d be SO ANGRY WITH HIM because I’d rather have a new digital camera.

And if he had bought me the digital camera, I believe our money would have been better spent buying a new couch.

So my husband and I made a sacred pact. No presents. Unless specifically requested.

This is what I received for Christmas. I consider them, with much amusement, to be a rather telling indication of my miscellaneous personality.

Pearl earrings

Pearls

Environmentally friendly laundry care pack

Laundry Stuff

Battlestar Galactica DVD series 3

BSG


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Christmas Festivities 2007

26 December 2007

We had Christmas Eve dinner at our place for my side of the family. A few of my family members were out of town, so it was a dinner party of 5 adults and 2 kids. It was small, sweet and oh so simple.

Weeks prior to the evening, my father said, “I want to cook the turkey!” and my mother said, “Let me cook the ham!” So I feigned disappointment and said, “Oh well. I guess I’ll just make a salad… and buy some bread?”

Heh. So it must be said that our Christmas was very cruisey. No madness or stress to be had! I was so thankful!

The kids helped me set the table, tie ribbons on the glasses, light the candles and make name cards.

Christmas 2007

I had a giggling episode in the kitchen as my mother unwrapped the Christmas ham. It looked exactly like it did in the magazine!

Christmas 2007

After dinner we gathered around the Christmas tree. We all swapped presents, opened them together and gleefully ooh and aahed over gifts and dessert.

Christmas 2007

It was definitely an evening of family – simply being together and having a lovely time with the people we love most.


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Wishing You A Merry Christmas 2007

25 December 2007

Christmas 2007

Hi everyone! I wish everyone an absolutely wonderful Christmas this year! I hope that you and your family have a lovely time full of food, family, love and most of all joy!

(This graphic above was an artwork I was “commissioned” to design centred around my interpretation of the theme JOY.)


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Christmas Gift Tags

23 December 2007

Christmas Gift Tags


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Christmas Cards 2007

22 December 2007

Christmas Cards for 2007

Every day since my 4.5yo has ended kindergarten for the year, he has been harassing me to DO CRAFT. LET’S DO SOME DRAWING. LET’S MAKE SOMETHING. I NEED PAPER. I NEEEEED TO GLUE SOMETHING.

Thus I decided to let the kids make Christmas cards this year.

Also my parents bought the kids some Magic Marker Pens – markers that change colour when a “magic” pen is applied. The kids had so much fun with them.

Usually during drawing time, I don’t set any rules or guidelines. I let them do what they like. Give them a chance to let their creativity go wild. If they want to colour outside the lines, use only one colour, draw five legged dogs, draw on the same spot until they can’t see what they are drawing, so be it. It’s my NO RULE rule.

Sometimes Callum will ask me, “Mum. Am I allowed to draw a cave with buttons and a door that goes inside the mountain?”

I will answer, “My son, of course you are allowed! There are no rules when it comes to drawing! It’s your picture and you can draw whatever you like!”

So he comes up with some really cool little drawings, such as his Santa Snow Robot on the left, with ice pick hands in case he gets stuck in a frozen puddle, and lots of eyes so he can see through a snow storm.

Unfortunately my 2.5yo doesn’t have the same inclination to drawing as his older brother. Sean is not interested in shapes or forms. He likes colour. Lots of it. He will meticulously colour in pages and pages of flat colour until the marker runs out.

On the right is Sean’s Starry Night. (Ok the stars were done by me.)

Callum's WritingI also let Callum do my card writing. I wrote out the names of recipients on a separate paper, and he copied each onto a card.

I thought his colour coding for boys and girls was kinda cute.

But I tried to convinced him that he needed SPACES between each word. That he should try to keep capital letters at the front of each word. And that all the letters of each word needs to be next to each other.

To which he shooed me away saying, “Rules! Rules! Too many rules! I just want to do it how I like thanks.”

Our Christmas Cards for 2006

Our Christmas Cards for 2005


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Making Baby 3, Part 10: What if she is a BOY?

21 December 2007

Blue PacifierI have two happy, healthy boys. They are active, loud, cute, funny, creative, weird and I just love them to bits.

Yet as my husband and I decided that we were going to begin trying to conceive our third child, we made it no secret that we wanted to try for a girl.

Now, I’m not announcing it as my original gender preference. Nor is it a reflection of how I feel about raising my boys.

I feel it is so natural to have one gender, and wish for a different set of experiences that can only come about from the relationship with the opposite gender.

It’s simply a little wish.

Because in all honesty, I don’t have a deep, intense, emotional yearning to have a GIRL. I don’t have a lifelong desire to brush hair, tie ponytails, fiddle with dresses and tiaras.

I won’t be disappointed or broken-hearted if I my third child turns out to be boy.

I would be thrilled, overjoyed and pleased beyond anything to have another boy!

And I feel that’s the right and healthy way to approach all this.

After all, the chances are 50/50 right?

Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.

Image from Medgadget


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Bumwear Diapers Giveaway

20 December 2007

Bumwear Diaper Giveaways

A few weeks ago I wrote about my thoughts on Cloth vs Disposable Nappies.

Then I tried out and featured an awesome brand of cloth diapers that you can buy online called, Bumwear.

Bumwear also kindly gave me 5 vouchers to give to my readers!

I’ve decided to give them to 5 randomly selected readers, who have emailed me in the past, and mentioned in their email that they have a young child.

I receive something like 1800 emails a year. It’s amazing to get emails from all over the world, to hear other people’s stories and develop new connections and friendships. But to answer each and every one in a meaningful way would be a fulltime job! I feel really bad about not being able to answer all of them… so hopefully these vouchers are a little something I can give back to my readers.

So I’d like to say a big heartfelt thank you to all those who have emailed me!

Congratulations to Sarah, Ailing, Anne, Karen and Melina, I hope you enjoy your Bumwear vouchers!


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Parents Can Never Be Cool

19 December 2007

Transformers and Turtles

I grew up in the 1980s-1990s with lots of BOY cousins. Which meant I knew a bit too much about the Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Robocop, Marvel Superheroes and the NBA All Stars.

So imagine my delight, 15 years later, as I discover that my 4.5yo son is into the exact same BOY STUFF. When he and his friends get together, all they ever talk about are the Autobots and Decepticons, and Leo, Don, Mike and Raph.

Considering that my son has never actually watched any one of those movies or tv shows, I am both shocked and amazed by how much he can absorb by talking to his friends. I’m not too worried about it at the moment, I’m keeping things relaxed and moderate.

In fact, while all the other mothers shrug their shoulders in sheer disinterest, I correct the boys and say things like, “The weapon that Raph carries is not a fork, it’s actually called a SAI.”

Now am I cool or what?

So the other day, Callum was invited to his friend’s birthday dress-up party. Callum chose to go as Spiderman, and I asked him what the birthday boy was dressing up as.
He said, “Oh. Um. Hmm. What’s the name of leader of the Autobots again?”
“Oh you mean, Optimus Prime?” I said casually.
“Yeah that’s it! Optimus Prime!”

So we rock up to the party, and lo and behold the birthday boy is actually wearing a Megatron costume (the leader of the bad guys, for all you uncool people out there). We walk up to him, say happy birthday and give him his present.

Then there was this awkward pause, in which I decided to make polite make chit chat, “Hey that’s a really cool costume!” I said to the birthday boy, “But I thought you were going to be Optimus Prime, because Callum said—“

The next thing I know I feel a little thump on my leg and I look down at Callum, who is looking up at me with these big eyes and this GLARE.

A GLARE that said, “MUUUUUM. SHUUDUP WILL YA?? YOU’RE GOING TO EMBARRASS ME IN FRONT OF MY FRIENDS!!!”

So I spent the rest of the party sitting in the corner with a paper bag over my head, truly appalled that – against my own sworn childhood promise – I have now become an embarrassing parent.

And my kid is only FOUR.


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Really Cool Cookie Cutters!

18 December 2007

ABC (Already Been Chewed) Gingerbread Men Cookie Cutters
Gingerbread Men Cookie Cutters

Dinocutter for jigsaw puzzle biscuits!
Dinocutter

Leaf Cookie Cutter Set
Leaf Cookie Cutters

Christmas Ornament Cookie Cutter Set

Christmas Ornament Cookie Cutters

Snowflake Cookie Cutter Set

Snowflake Cookie Cutter Set

Nigella Lawson Cookie Cutters (A-Z, 0-9 and shapes)
Nigella Lawson Cookie Cutters


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Blog Loving – Chookoolonks

17 December 2007

Chookooloonks

As part of my usual Monday posts on Blogging, Photography and Design, I’m also reviewing some blogs that I love reading, and greatly admire.

I was first introduced to Karen Walrond several years ago, when she was a writer for Bloggingbaby.com. I clicked over to her personal site, Chookooloonks, and I fell in love with her daily pictures, words, and most of all her love for her daughter.

Not only is she stunning and a beautiful person, her daily writing is refreshing and she captures such a lyrical richness of her life through her photography.

Her site Chookooloonks (a Trinidadian term of endearment) is now a photography blog, but she used to write at her old site about parenting, motherhood, adoption, being a writer and being a pro blogger.

I managed to grab some of her time and ask her a few questions :

Interview

Me: Tell us a bit about yourself.

KW: In a nutshell, I’m a Trinidadian, wife to a Brit, mother to an American, lawyer, photographer, 40-year-old analytical extrovert with the soul of an struggling artist. More or less. I also make a mean rum punch.

Me: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

KW: There were several professions I was pretty intent on becoming when I was a kid. My mother tells me that when I was five, my earliest aspirations were to marry the garbage man (I’m told he was very nice to me). I then wanted to be a geologist, an archeologist, a paleontologist (I call that my “gist” period). Then I wanted to be a linguist. Then an architect. My father convinced me that my talent was in mathematics (it really wasn’t), and so I instead became an engineer. Then a lawyer.

I may do something else, yet. For the record, I never did marry the garbage man.

Me: When you’re having a really bad day, what are some things that will most certainly cheer you up?

KW: My three-year-old daughter, Alex, has an amazing sense of humour for her age, and is sensitive enough to know just what to say to get me to laugh. I have a kind husband who calms me down in a heartbeat. And of course, there’s always my camera, if I need to just get away and focus (hah!) on something else.

Me: You’re from Trinidad and Tobago. I’ve never been there before, can you describe it in a sentence?

KW: The Republic of Trinidad & Tobago is a country of great beauty, friendship, warmth, tropical Caribbean beaches, fabulous food, and incredible music. And I miss it terribly.

Me: A good and bad thing about living in Texas?

KW: A good thing: Texas, and in particular, Houston, is a very easy place to live. It’s really inexpensive, the people are quite friendly, the availability of culture — ballet, symphony, theatre, sports of all kinds — is impressive, and Houston’s variety of truly first class restaurants is its best kept secret.

A bad thing: Texas is a relatively conservative state, and for a multiracial, liberal family like ours, living here can sometimes be challenging.

Me: How did your love for photography begin?

KW: Well, many years (and many pounds!) ago, I used to model. I loved the magic that the photographers could make with their cameras, and I befriended one particular fashion photographer who gave me advice on buying my first camera, and helped me get started. I love shooting pretty much everything, but my first love, largely because of this photographer, is portraiture.

Me: What’s your favourite way to spend time with your daughter?

KW: Alex is actually a pretty great model, so we have a great time playing around with my camera. Lately, we’ve also taken to having chats at coffeehouses (I have cappuccino, she has very weak, milky, sweet tea), and we “discuss what’s going on in our lives.” I tell people that “language” is her superpower, because she’s always had a real facility with communication — so hanging out and talking with her is my absolute favourite thing to do.

Vote for Chookooloonks

Karen’s site has also been nominated for “Best Photography Blog” at the Blogger’s Choice Awards. Go vote for her!


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Making Baby 3, Part 9: Be Good To Your Sperm Makers

14 December 2007

Pink Underwear The other week I wrote about how my preferred sperm donor went to get a sperm analysis and we discovered that he had a very low sperm count.

A normal guy has around 20 million or more sperm in 1ml of semen. Anything less than this is considered to be “low”.

A bit of research shows that it is quite common for men to have a low sperm count, and there are so many reasons why this might happen.

Even the simplest, most basic thing can affect a man’s fertility – his age, his stress levels, his general health, nutrient deficiencies, obesity, overheating, smoking, alcohol, cycling, genetics, free radicals, and the general pollution in the environment!

In most cases, it’s pretty difficult to pinpoint exactly what is the main cause and know what to prescribe in order to increase sperm levels.

Added to this problem, sperm is formed about 3 months before it is actually ejaculated. So if you want to know the cause of your low sperm count, you have to know what you were doing 3 months ago.

Therefore, if you’re a guy and you want your little guys (and girls) to have a greater chance of surviving when they are finally let loose – it’s probably a good idea to make positive changes to your lifestyle NOW!

Plus, if you’re an overweight, meat-eating, stressed-out cyclist, you’d probably be better off doing some swimming and taking a chill pill.

Some unproven old wives tales suggest that men should take cooler baths, no long bike rides, get lots of sleep, less caffeine, take vitamins, no tight jeans, and try to wear loose fitting underwear like boxer shorts, or crotchless underwear.

By the way, please remember that I’m not a medical expert, and that it takes just one sperm to make a baby. AND I’m kidding about the crotchless underwear, unless you’re into that kind of thing – in which case it may probably help you get pregnant!

Anyone know where to buy really “cool” men’s underwear?

Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.

Image from Joe Rivettto


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Kids. Cute. But Weird.

13 December 2007

Kids are continually going through PHASES.

If they’re not scarily obsessed with garden snails, then they have a new habit of making sucking noises with their noses, or they constantly play an annoying game where they say a made up word that rhymes with the last word of MY sentence.

Most of the time, the phase only goes on for a week or two.

And usually, there’s nothing to worry about. You just roll your eyes, and think, “Good grief, what’s next?”

Well my boys’ current obsession is “BEING A CAT”.

Boys As Cats

I found them like this one morning. I kid you not, they were curled up like this for AGES. They insisted on walking on all fours, eating from a bowl off the floor, lapping up milk, chasing birds, playing with string, and – most annoyingly – licking themselves all over.

Weird I tell you.

Nonetheless, I’m thankful they’ve never seen a cat hack up hairballs.


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Cool Toys from KangarooBoo

12 December 2007

I’d love to introduce everyone to an awesome little online toy shop called KangarooBoo.

I actually discovered the site after “meeting” the shop’s owner, Jennic, who at 24 was diagnosed with cancer. Now she is in remission, has 2 young children and has just launched her new toy shop business. I was completely inspired by her life story.

Anyway, what I love best about KangarooBoo is that they specialise in quality wooden toys, they stock a whole range of cool European brands, a portion of all sales are donated to charity, and every toy has been hand selected, which means their range is excellent.

Unfortunately they only ship within the US, so I’ve had to include some Amazon links for my non-US readers.

(Edit: Jennic informs me that if you would like a product shipped internationally, please shoot her an email before you order and she’ll sort something out!)

These are my favourites!

Chopstick Holders (KangarooBoo)
View at Amazon

Chopstick Holders

Animal Upon Animal Game (KangarooBoo)
View at Amazon

Blossom Pram Decoration (KangarooBoo)
View at Amazon

Blossom Pram Decoration

Animal Lacing Beads (KangarooBoo)
View at Amazon

Animal Lacing Beads

Mama Monkey (KangarooBoo)

Mama Monkey

ABC Chunky Puzzle (KangarooBoo)

ABC Chunky Puzzle

Twitterling Mobile

Twitterling Mobile


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Callum’s Kindergarten Concert

11 December 2007

Callum's Christmas ConcertThe other day was Callum’s Kindergarten Christmas concert. As I walked into the room, I saw all the 5 year olds lined up in front, colour coordinated, dressed in silly Christmas hats and I KNEW I WOULD CRY.

Man. I don’t think you can ever prepare yourself for THE FIRST CLASS CONCERT. The cuteness overload, the weepy pride, the heart stabbing gushiness, the happiness swelling up in your throat. It was all too much.

Callum gave the introductory speech, “Welcome to our kindy, here are some of the things we learnt…”.

Ok, ALL the kids had a little speech, but I was completely floored. My son memorised a speech? My son is happy to speak out loud in a crowded room? My son can stand still and talk at the same time? I did not know these things! What kind of water are they drinking over here?

The details leading up to the event was all a big secret. I pestered Callum (in jest) to tell me what was going on, but he wouldn’t tell me. I’m glad he didn’t, because I had such a great time. They sang a whole heap of songs, did a several little dances, received certificates, gave gifts, speeches, flowers.

As I sat in the audience of mums and dads, all with goofy smiles and video cameras, I had this awesome feeling that… being a parent was pretty cool.


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Blog Loving – So Close

10 December 2007

So Close, by Tertia Albertyn

As part of my usual Monday posts on Blogging, Photography and Design, I’m also reviewing some blogs that I love reading, and greatly admire.

Tertia Albertyn writes at So Close – a website that charts her life after infertility, with twins!

She battled through 4 years of infertility and went through nine IVFs. In Jan 2004, her son Ben was born prematurely at 26 weeks, and passed away 10 days later. In Jan 2005, she gave birth to twins, Adam and Kate, who are now almost 3 years old.

She writes about her daily adventures as mother, wife, author, blogger – her writing makes me choke with laughter, her everyday activities make me chuckle with recognition, and her infertility story breaks my heart and makes every molecule in me weep bitterly.

It’s a shattering and devastating journey, yet hilarious, wonderful, mischievous, and full of everyday joy.

As I pour through her site, my god, the way she tackles the issues and realities of her life, the way she bares her soul to the world… makes me pale with respect and awe. I truly am inspired.

Tertia has written a book about her journey, entitled So Close : Infertile and addicted to hope. It’s coming out on Amazon in April 2008. But I’ve found her book on Fishpond and Amazon UK, where you can place a pre-order.

I managed to grab some of her time and ask her a few questions :

Interview

Karen: On your blog, you write about your “life after infertility”. Sharing such an incredible, powerful, moving story with the world must have some blessings/rewards! What is the best thing that has ever happened because of your blog?

Tertia: Wow, so many good things. I guess the obvious best thing was getting a book deal out of it. A South African publisher read my blog and decided they liked the way I wrote and felt that I had a compelling story to tell, and offered me a book deal. I use the phrase ‘book deal’ in its figurative sense because in South Africa you do not write a book for money, you write it for love. There is NO money in writing a book in this country. But that’s ok, I wanted to share my story.

The real ‘best thing’ about my blog is the amazing connections I have made with people from all over the world. I thrive on it; it inspires me, motivates me, grounds me, connects me, teaches me, humbles me. Having a blog is like a 24 hour on call best friend, nurse, doctor, shrink, shoulder to cry on and friend to rant to. I have ‘met’ the most amazing people. After my babies were born, I got gifts from all over the world, the USA, Europe, Japan, Israel, New Zealand… it was amazing.

Karen: When you’re having a crap day, what are the things most likely to crack a smile on your face?

Tertia: The crazy things my kids say. They come up with the funniest things. Three is a damn cute age. They are naughty little shits, but they are damn cute too. I think I will keep them.

Karen: I know almost nothing about South Africa, except that you’ve got hot rugby players. Please summarise South Africa in one sentence!

Tertia: We also have hot bloggers.
South Africa is a country is country of intense contrasts, so much opportunity alongside so much poverty, so much optimism alongside so much fear (crime), so new yet so old, so first world, yet so ‘third world’, so sophisticated yet so rural. Black and white. Old and young. Rich valleys, lush forests, dry plains. Such contrasts. A painful past, a hopeful future.

Oh, you wanted just a sentence. So difficult. I am so passionate about my country. South Africa is a land of hope and opportunity.

Karen: What is the best and worst thing about being living in South Africa?

Tertia: The best thing – being in Africa. The rich earth, the space, the weather. This is a beautiful country.

The worst thing – without doubt, the crime. We have a terrible problem with crime here. Just about the worst in the world.

Karen: Do you speak any other languages than English?

Tertia: When I grew up in the apartheid years, we were forced to do Afrikaans at school. So I speak English and Afrikaans (which is very similar to Dutch / Flemish)

Karen: I haven’t read your book “So Close : Infertile and addicted to hope” yet, but I loved reading your thoughts on it. What made you decide to write a book and share your story?

Tertia: As I mentioned above, a publisher approached me with an offer. Everyone had been telling me for years to write a book, but I could only write it when I had my ‘happily ever after’. I started writing the book when my twins were a few months old. It was only once I had my final chapter that I could start the book.

The really exciting news is that the book should be released in the UK next April. Which means it will EVENTUALLY be on Amazon.

Vote for So Close

Tertia’s site has also been nominated for “Best Parenting Blog” and “Hottest Mommy Blogger” at the Blogger’s Choice Awards. Vote for her! She needs some love!

(I’m also nominated for Best Parenting Blog, Best Design Blog, Best Blog of All Time, and Hottest Mommy Blogger – but you can vote for more than one person in each category!)


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Sunday in the Garden : Basil

9 December 2007

Basil

Sometimes I’m pretty close to giving up on this whole “organic gardening” thing – because trying to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs without chemical pesticides is really hard.

In a very ironic way, I now appreciate why farmers choose to spray their crops, and why I would rather pay extra to buy pesticide-free organic produce.

Anyway, I’ve finally found ONE spot in my garden where snails, slugs and caterpillars can’t touch my herbs. My basil is so much happier there.


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Making Baby 3, Part 8: Being Mrs Clucky

7 December 2007

Making Baby 3Hi everyone! Meet the newest member of my family!

This cute little bundle of pink is Chelsea, my new niece. She’s 2 days old and she’s incredibly soft and squishy. She also has that new baby smell, which makes my ovaries glimmer with desire.

I love babies. I love their smell, their wrinkly skin, their baby sounds, their soft hair, their little noses, their teeny tiny fingers and toes.

In Australia, “being clucky” refers to that conscious or unconscious need to have a baby. I assume the terms comes from the sound a chicken makes when looking after its chicks.

Well, I’m a clucky woman, and even more so now that I’ve decided that I WANT ANOTHER BABY.

A few months ago, my 4 year old made me a rice bag baby based on his exact birth weight.

I recently found this “rice bag baby” under my son’s bed. I dragged it out, dusted it off, and as I picked it up carefully, I held it in my arms in THAT WAY YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO CARRY REAL BABIES.

Then instead of walking to the cupboard to put the rice baby back, I suddenly deviated to the living room. I sat down on the couch and cradled the little baby in my arms, thinking, “Oh my. I remember doing this only yesterday. I could get used to this.”

Yes. I felt stupid. It was, after all, a bag of rice.

But ah, when you rock a baby to sleep, you can’t help but feel overwhelmed – like you’re doing the most important job in the universe.

WHERE’S THIS BABY? I NEED ONE NOW!!

(By the way. I’m not pregnant this month.)

Click here to see the evolving story of Making Baby 3.


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Perth Massive 2007

6 December 2007

Admiring the mirror frame in the women's toiletsThe other night, my husband and I went to a digital and computing industry end-of-year celebration, Massive 2007. Seemed like everyone was there – from hard core digital artists, to techie game developers, to the business web types, to the brainy computer geeks of the SIGGRAPH world.

It was held at the much raved about, newly renovated club, The Library (previously The Church).

I always feel that these events are for people to do their annual networking. And I always wish I could go to these events and do some serious networking.

But I can’t seem to take my Christmas networking very seriously. I have half a drink and the next thing I know, I’m having conversations about marinated olives, medieval nightclub décor and how to pick up hot chicks at a REAL library.

I managed to meet a whole lot of new people though, so it was quite fun.

Near the end, I strolled into an oddly lit room, decked out with black leather padded walls, embossed black velvet textiles, a window wall with glass beads, and bright pink disco lights. It was all very lush.

Standing beside a plasma screen fireplace and under the stuffed moose head, were two very hot guys with beers. I suddenly did a double take and realised that I “knew” one of the guys from the blogging circles of Perth.

The Scouta Boys

We chatted for about 5 seconds, then I realised that they were setting up for a video podcast, as part of their show Scouta TV – where they talk about the weird, wonderful, popular and most talked-about videos and podcasts on the internet.

So if you’re a bit like me, you’d probably be insanely curious to hear two young, hot, intelligent, Aussie geek guys talk about online videos and other geeky stuff. Not to mention, you’d probably be so out of the loop, you need someone to tell you what’s cool.

Check it out! It’s pretty good! And geeks are hot.


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My Dusty Photo Album : Karen Aged 2 – 4

5 December 2007

The other day I wanted to show my kids some pictures of me growing up on Christmas Island – where I was born.

We dug through my old box of baby photos and I told them stories of jungles, turtles, coral beaches and crabs. It was like a fairy tale. A different world.

I thought I’d share some photos on my site, starting with some photos of me aged 2 to 4!

Karen Age 2

I was born in 1978. I have one older brother and one younger sister.

After my mother had me, she continued to work full time. My brother and I would go to a “day care” which was basically some close family friends. Apparently we had a whole host of babysitters – all of whom I can’t remember!

My mother eventually stopped working and became a stay at home mother when my younger sister was born.

Karen Age 3

Even though there is a closer age gap between my brother and I, I was closer to my younger sister – only because my brother wouldn’t play Barbie Dolls with me, and I could boss my sister around.

I wasn’t really a girly-princess girl. I remember exploring jungles, climbing trees, and catching crabs, as well as playing with dolls, dressing up and cooking mud pies.

Karen Age 4

Thinking back, I can’t recall any outstanding, defining moments of my childhood. Nothing bad happened, nothing impacted or influenced my life in a distinct or incredible way.

I only have lots of happy, colourful, blurry, fun, innocent memories of being a kid.

Perhaps that in itself is a great gift to pass to my own kids.


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Bumwear Cloth Diapers

4 December 2007

Sean in a Cloth Diaper

You may have noticed that I have changed the type of ads I have on my website (on the right!). These new ads are much more relevant to readers of this website – and look much nicer too!

One of them is for a brand of diaper called Bumwear!

Well, a few weeks ago I wrote about Cloth Nappies vs Disposable Nappies.

I asked if anyone could recommend me a brand of re-usable cloth nappies/diapers that I could buy over the internet. The response was overwhelming – and I’m sorry I haven’t been able to reply to each email individually – thanks so much! I had more than 30 brands of cloth nappies/diapers recommended to me!

The brand of cloth nappy that was MOST recommended to me was Bumwear Cloth Diapers. I liked the name immediately.

As I clicked onto the site and browsed around, the first thing that I fell in love with was how cute the nappies looked. The range of patterns were bold and colourful! They looked like a cool piece of clothing, worn to be shown off, rather than a bulky, papery bundle that you try to hide.

They looked hardy, well-made and of really good quality. Also, the design of the Bumwear diapers have no Velcro, so they look better than other diaper brands I browsed.

I contacted Rita, creator of the Bumwear brand and mother of FIVE children. I asked her if she could send me a sample – if I really liked it, I’d write about it, and run an ad.

So I have received them in the mail, touched them, smelt them, tried them on my kids, washed them, then reused them. And I will admit to being utterly impressed. THEY ARE SO COOL!!

I got Sean (2.5yo) to try some Training Pants (as pictured above). His toilet training has gone a bit backwards lately, and I’ve been reluctant to put a nappy on him during the day, lest he gets lazy and goes backwards even more. So the Training Pants have been great.

(I feel so environmentally friendly too.)

Sean is very happy with them. They are soft and fleecy on the inside, so they feel like “nice pants” rather than a “papery nappy”. And they DON’T LEAK. Washing is very easy, and the nappy folds out flat for faster drying. The parcel that came in the mail included a excellent How To Wear instructions with step-by-step photos, and washing and care instructions.

Bumwear’s best selling diapers are the One Size Pocket Diapers. They fit a baby from 5kgs until they are about 2 years old. I was very curious about this claim – how could a “one sized diaper” fit such a large range of bum sizes?

But as I fiddled with them and worked out how the buttons work, I was instantly impressed with its design. There are multiple little fasteners, so it adjusts really well. I didn’t have a newborn baby lying around, so the kids and I buttoned up various sized teddy bears. Heh.

Teddy's modelling Cloth Pocket Diapers

Little Ted (left) who has a huge ass for his size, models the biggest setting for the One Size Pocket Diaper, Dog (centre) who is much slender, models the same One Size Pocket Diaper at the medium setting. It goes even smaller! Very cool!

Mr Bunny (right) who has a micro-bum without his cottontail, models the Petite Diaper, which is designed specially for newborn babies, weighing from birth to 8kgs.

Overall I was pretty impressed and blown away by Bumwear’s product, amount of information and attention to detail. The Bumwear website is user-friendly, chock full of really useful information, and a stocks a wide range of other products – swim diapers, cotton prefold diapers, and diaper accessories.

I am also inspired by Rita’s personal story of how the cloth diaper is not just a business interest of hers, it really is part of her life and her whole family!

So I’m completely happy to recommend Bumwear Cloth Diapers. I totally expect to use this brand with Baby 3!


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The Best Play Dough Recipe!

3 December 2007

Make Play Dough

I’m not sure where I got this play dough recipe, but it is certainly the best one I’ve ever tried!

It’s smooth, nice consistency, great elasticity, it’s not sticky, it’s non-toxic and it keeps for 3-5 months in the fridge.

Plus I just love it when it comes out of the pot and it’s still hot and squishy!

Ingredients
2 cups of flour
½ cup of salt
4 tablespoons of cream of tartar
1 tablespoons of oil
2 cups of water
food colouring (if you want)

Directions
1) Mix flour, salt and cream of tartar.
2) Stir in oil, water and food colouring.
3) Cook slowly until mixture thickens, stirring continuously. It takes about 10 minutes to thicken.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The play dough will keep for about 3 months.

Made By Us

Left : Callum (4.5yo) decided to make dinner.
Middle : Sean (2.5yo) made a Pokey Man.
Right : I showed off and made a Dinosaur Cat.




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