31 May 2010

Birthday party for the monkeys

This week we have been bombarded by rain, rain and more rain. Starting on Monday and going strong all week. I would love to know how many mm has fallen, and Wellington hasn't even had it as bad as other places around NZ. So an indoors week it has been one way or another..


Mylo's settling at daycare went brilliantly, all the teachers seemed very pleased with his progress. They said he had been 'cruisy' 'happy to explore' and 'really friendly'. As a parent, you couldn't ask for any better feedback! Unfortunately, he then came down with a nasty mucousy cold on Friday night, which on top of hand, foot and mouth a week or so back means he has been somewhat in the wars. We will need to see how he copes with this coming week by taking each day at a time.

Noah enjoyed a few the early pickups this week, coming home with me when Mylo was finished for the day. One of the afternoons we took our first trip to Junglerama (indoor playground) in a long time to escape our four walls. We ate dinosaur shaped toast, and made a dinosaur birthday card for one of Mark's friends. The creativity overflowed further into the weekend, and the craft pages I cut out of the Little Treasures magazines came in handy once again, when we hit upon the idea of throwing Noah's monkeys a birthday party.

What do you think we gave the monkeys for a present? A banana - what else! We made a card with bananas on it saying 'Happy Birthday Monkeys' with Noah carefully tracing the letters. We also made cupcakes with banana coloured icing, put 5 candles in - one for each monkey, and sung them happy birthday before blowing the candles out and devouring the cupcakes.

And way to spice up bathtime - Noah, Mylo and I had a candlelit bath this evening for a bit of a twist on our usual bathtime fun.

Who says you can't have just as much fun when it's raining and miserable outside!

24 May 2010

200 and still going strong...

It's hard even for me to believe but this is actually post number 200! That in itself deserves a special mention I think!

I checked back to see when post 100 was.. and it was in fact this time last year. It's hard to believe this blog is 3 years old but in the past year we've actually doubled the number of posts - I've clearly been feeding my addiction with being at home and having more time on my hands! Anyway, post number 100 wasn't anything particularly special, but post number 101 was far more memorable, being the post where we found out that we were going to be adding another boy to the family...here's a trip down memory lane for you...


It's quite likely that the frequency of posts will slow down a bit again now that I am heading back to work next week. Speaking of which, I realise that I haven't specifically talked about my plans on the blog, but I wanted to wait until everything was in place and confirmed and all the right communications had been made first.

Prior to going on maternity leave, I had been working as a Finance Manager at M-co, where I had been for seven years. M-co was then taken over by NZX (the NZ stock exchange) in June last year. At the time, I moved across with the rest of the M-co staff (20 people), and me and my Assistant Accountant became part of the larger NZX finance team  (7 others), but it was only for a short time, as I went on maternity leave in September.

I had been with M-co through many different iterations and changes within the company, including the restructure and redundancy of the rest of my team which had me then managing Corporate Services with just a part-time Assistant Accountant to assist. M-co was always a fantastic place to work, and had provided me with so many opportunities, especially sponsoring me through my six years of university and Chartered Accountancy study. But having finishing my study, and with the sale of M-co to NZX, a lot of the reasons for staying had come to an end.

So when one of my old managers from M-co, Steve Gregan, approached me whilst on maternity leave to ask if I would be interested in a role working for him at Learning Media, I was open to the idea on many fronts. Firstly, Learning Media is in the education industry which really interests me since I very nearly became a secondary school teacher way back when I was studying at university for my original Japanese degree. Secondly, the Financial Controller role is a newly created role and will encompass more than just typical Finance responsibilities, and I had really enjoyed the additional non-Finance responsibilities of my most recent role at M-co prior to the company's sale. Added to that, the prospect of working with Steve again (I had worked with him for 3 years until 2005) was also really appealing.

Learning Media is an SOE (state-owned enterprise for those not in the know), which means it is owned by the Government, but operates as a commercial entity. Its mission is to 'enable effective learning at all ages' and its vision 'learning that makes a difference'. There are about 100 people in the company, based in Wellington CBD. If you want to know more, check out the website: http://www.learningmedia.co.nz/. This is where you can find me from Monday!

In the meantime, I'm spending this week trying to enjoy some special one-on-one time with Mylo, and adjusting my brain to come to terms with the end of my wonderful mummy-at-home days. Mylo starts transitioning to daycare on Wednesday for 2 hrs, then 4 hours Thursday and 6 hours on Friday. I'm hoping to do a rare spot of retail therapy and get a couple of new (i.e. non maternity!) items for the work wardrobe during this time to take my mind off the fact that my little dude is not with me. I also may get the chance to help out with Noah's kakariki (green) library group trip to the library on Friday morning. Mylo, Baba and I did this two weeks ago and really enjoyed the experience, and as I may not get the chance again for a wee while, it's another one of those 'seize the moment' moments.

To all of our faithful family and friends out there who read our blog, we'd love to mark the 200th post with a comment or two from some of you, especially those who never have commented before, so come on don't be shy!

Just click on the 'Comments' link at the bottom of this post, and then a pop-up window will appear to write your message. Select 'name/URL' from the identity option and put your name in here so we know who all you lovely people are.

And a big thank you from us  at MNM's to all the readers out there who take the time to follow our musings on family life!

Rainbows and Stick People

The quality of Noah's artwork has improved dramatically over the past few months, along with his letter writing skills. He is writing his name really well all on his own now, and takes the chance to practice each morning on the kid's sign-in sheet at daycare.

Yesterday, Mark played a game with Noah, asking him to draw something and then Mark would guess what it was. Noah chose to draw a person - too cool! I think that it looks a little like Mike Wazowski from Monsters Inc :-)

Last Friday was Rainbow Dress Up Day at daycare for Noah's head teacher's last day. As we were a little short on colourful clothes, I decided to get a little creative and make some rainbow accessories - a rainbow necklace, wand (which evolved from the leftover paper after making the necklace) and a rainbow to go on his back. Mark said the teachers mentioned when he picked Noah up how impressed they were with our efforts. A little bit of fun goes a long way!

It was also good practice for me to recall ROYGBIV (colours of the rainbow). Even though Noah and I had seen a rainbow outside earlier in the week (which hasn't happened for ages), I still had to look up on Google images to remember quite how the indigo and violet shades should look!  How long has it been since you made or drew a rainbow?!

19 May 2010

Action Man

With every month that passes (and it'll be 8 months tomorrow), we grow to love and cherish our mischievous Mylo a little more.

I have Mischief on my Mind

He is such a character, and keeps us highly entertained. We already have a few nicknames for him along the lines of 'little dynamo', 'fiddle fingers', and 'wheels man'. Here is a snapshot of what he is up to at the moment:

Commando crawling at speed everywhere. One minute he's here, the next he's gone, and I can usually find him halfway up the hallway chewing on the doorstopper from the bathroom or all the way down in Noah's room investigating his toys.

People awareness. He also notices when we leave the room and tries to follow us. He often farewells Daddy and Noah by peeking through the bars of the gate across the top of the stairs in the morning.

Considering climbing. He has pulled himself up to standing against the stepladder and on our bottom stairs a few times and he really enjoys the sensation of being upright against the furniture, although he's not what you'd call 'cruising' yet.
    I'll have this mastered in no time
Balloon fascination. Noah tends to leave these lying around and we have to move them north in a hurry when we find Mylo playing with them.

Loves rolling a ball backwards and forwards.
Music lover. Always lights up with a big smile when I put music on the iPod for us to sing or dance along to. The Wiggles is always a hit.

Tickly boy. He anticipates the tickles coming when I play 'Round and round the garden, like a teddy bear, one step two step, tickle you under there'.

Favourite song. Row Row Row your Boat is still the favourite.

Food. He's having 3 solid meals a day now and 4 bottles. Still definitely favours fruit over veges, but we have managed to gradually reduce the amount of fruit mixed with veg to about 1/3. He's also having mouthfuls of blended meals like pasta bolognese, tuna bake, chicken risotto. Pear is still the biggest favourite of his blended fruit but he will also happily eat bites of feijoa, kiwifruit, and blueberries. Tried a hot cross bun the other day and loved it, and enjoys yoghurt which we've introduced lately (no surprise there, it's sweet!).
    Carnage after playing with half a kiwifruit! 
Little Fish. He loved the hour we all spent at Karori pool on Sunday. He has no fear, and is completely at ease in the water. I think he would have stayed there all day given half the chance. He loves sharing a deeper bath with me some evenings and tries to splash as much water out of the bath as possible, or dives forward to grab toys. It's all I can do to hold onto him so he doesn't drown himself he's such an energetic, slippery fish!

Book lover. He loves turning the pages of books - and in particularly lifting the little flaps on the In The Jungle book. He's so dexterous, it amazes me how good his sense of touch is, and the pincer grip he has with finger and thumb together at this age.
Save our sleep. Apart from the last couple of days/nights where he's been unsettled with a cold/fever, he's started to sleep through till about 5.30am or 6am fairly regularly which is nice for us parents to feel we might be finally making some progress on that front!

The next month holds big challenges for us all. Next week Mylo will be settling into his new daycare routine, and then starting full-time on Monday 31st May. It marks the the end of a wonderful 9 months spent at home for me, and I am sad to see it come to an end.

We are sure that Mylo will cope well with the transition as he is so interested in being around people and we know he will enjoy the stimulation of everything going on around him. At the same time though, it pulls at my heartstrings to think of leaving him. At least this time round, the daycare and teachers are familiar to us, and his big brother Noah will be able to look in on him from time to time.

We will be praying that the transition to the next phase in our family adventure goes smoothly for us all.

Serious little dude

Charming little dude!

11 May 2010

Seize the moment

On a beautiful, windless autumn afternoon in the Capital, we seized the moment.

I'm still suffering from one really bad tooth (or in fact lack of!) which is still causing me constant pain and am now on my third round of antibiotics (as well as having to poke a syringe down into the hole now regularly to clean out the pus and blood - sorry too much information I know!). But this afternoon, I decided enough was enough, and made the decision to just forget about it for a bit so I could enjoy a rare afternoon with my two beautiful boys.

The golden sand of Oriental Parade beckoned us closer
Footprints of those who had gone before zigzagged around us 
Shoes were quickly disposed of while bucket and spade came out to play
Other families played a short distance away, each in their own world
Planes flew slowly and majestically past, reflecting back to us the sun
We tested the crystal water, lapping almost silently on this still day
Trousers and sleeves were rolled, but still got wet!
Sand sticking to his toes, Noah tackled the playground
Climbing, crawling, and confident
Sliding, sliding, sailing down
The late afternoon sun glinted on the fishing wharf
And a starfish bobbed amongst gentle ripples

06 May 2010

Yabba Dabba Doo

This is Mylo enjoying some Wiggles tunes yesterday.

He happily sat listening to the music (and his Mummy making some not very intelligent sounds in the background I might add) for over 10 minutes.

More things I'm loving

1. UP & GO. I'd have been lost without these drinks, they have been so handy both for midnight snacks when breastfeeding, and then for meal replacements for me this week on my liquid diet.

Actually I think I'm probably in love with food in general at the moment, because I can't eat most of it! It's been a form of torture seeing and smelling the delicious meals coming out of Mark's kitchen each night, plus I've been cooking up meals to freeze for Mylo during the day and often haven't been able to sample even his blended versions! I think I feel a mini food rampage coming on when I'm back on the hard stuff!

2. Noah's letter recognition and writing. He now writes his name with a little bit of guidance, and practices writing his letters (capital and small) most nights in the condensation of the shower, asking me to guess what he has written. We look at the various bottles of shower gel and shampoo and he tries to spot any of the letters from his 'letter of the week'. This week is H, h so he already decided on Monday that he'd be taking his Westpac Rescue helicopter for show and tell tomorrow. Last week was E, e - has anyone ever tried to think up nouns starting with e? There aren't many that's for sure. We resorted to the dictionary, the obvious ones for show and tell were elephant, egg, and envelope. There are lots of describing words starting with e, just not many nouns. In the end, Noah took the polystyrene Easter Eggs that he had helped Grandma paint at Easter.

3. Baby sign language. We're just starting out with Mylo. We taught Noah how to sign from when he was about 10 months old, and from memory he started signing back to us when he was about a year old. The time it was most useful was between the ages of 12-18 months when he understood so much of what we were saying and yet we couldn't understand his speech at that point. The favourites I remember using from last time were MILK, EAT, MORE, FINISHED, PARDON ME, THANK YOU, CAT, DOG, GIRAFFE, AEROPLANE, HELICOPTER, TURTLE, SLEEP, WHERE. As Mylo is already very dexterous with his fingers and we are starting a bit earlier than we did with Noah, it will be interesting to see how long it is before Mylo responds with his own signs.

4. Sunny windless afternoons. On Sunday (before the dry socket kicked in) I took in some fresh air on a gentle walk to the dairy and back. Loved the late afternoon sun shining on the side of Mt Victoria, and the vivid blue sky. It felt so crisp, and wintry all of a sudden, and the sun's warmth is definitely a much watered down version of what it was even a few weeks back. And then I realised it is May already, so the weather was totally in keeping with a late autumn afternoon!

5. Flash Forward. The first season has been ace, lots of twists and turns. And Mark Benford makes good eye candy (oops did I say that out loud?). I'm just hoping it doesn't lose the plot like LOST did so many seasons ago.

6. Boy The Movie - Oh how I laughed (as did Mark). It poked fun at the Maori culture in such a clever, but not unreasonable way. But it also had its poignant moments too. I'm not sure how well it would be understood by non-Kiwis though - most of the humour was very local. The dance during the credits which was part Michael Jackson's Thriller/part haka was fabulous. I really could have adopted Boy's little brother Rocky. And with other character's names like Alamein, Chardonnay, and Dynasty, how could this movie not be delightful. See it if you haven't!


Rocky's got magic powers. Alamein is the best Dad in the world. Just not in this world.
Welcome to my interesting world.

7. Homemade cards with my 'stampin up' prize kit. Keeping a low profile after my operation meant I haven't had much time to pop out to buy cards (like for Mothers Day). So instead I've enjoyed being a little creative and saving a few doleros in the process.

8. Little Treasures craft ideas. Even when I've finished with the magazines, I always go through and tear out the craft/play sections and put them in a folder for future reference. Last weekend, this resulted in some fun new games for us to try out.

What's Missing - we spread about a dozen items (mostly toys) on a blanket and then while one person wasn't looking, the other took an item (or two) away. The person then had to guess what was missing. Noah was incredibly good at this. But then he has a fantastic memory, so why should we be surprised?

Balloon boxing - we strung 3 balloons up on some string in the air between 2 chairs and boxed/kicked them. I must say quite a good stress reliever. Must remember that for the future.

Balloon Tennis - we then took the balloons off but left the string up for a net, and made some racquets/bats from rolled up newspapers. This kept Noah entertained for quite some time. So simple, but a really good game for his age and stage.

9. Cherry tomatoes - the last of this year's produce is ripening in the kitchen as we speak. Even Mylo has been trying them.

10. Being an at home mum. Especially now there's only 3 more weeks to go. My current mantra : Must, must, must make the most of every moment.

04 May 2010

Onwards and upwards

Now that crawling (albeit still the commando variety) has been successfully mastered at speed, I can actually see Mylo's little brain thinking 'Hmmm, what's next?'. Ummm, that would be climbing!

He's already managing to get himself successfully out of the blow-up elephant pool if I sit him in it. Not gracefully mind you, it's more of a combination giant belly flop then roll onto his back. Still impressive to watch though.

Well this just won't do, how do I find a way out of here? Like this.

And just to prove I'm not a one hit wonder, I think I'll do it again.

This morning he decided the stairs were fair game, and after trying to eat the carpet on the first step for a while, got himself up onto his feet and hands before doing a little pirouette and ending up in a heap mashed up against the wall.

I wasn't really trying to climb up, Mum. I'm just resting. Yeah right.
P.S. Mylo you look like so much like your UK Grandad in this shot its unreal!

He really seems to be in a big hurry to learn how to do everything, this boy. I love / it scares me that he is so adventurous at just 7.5 months. He's been attending the school of hard knocks, and the clunk and bash we hear as he knocks his head on tables, chairs or walls is only met with a minor grizzle, its very rare from him to dissolve into full-scale tears (which would be more like his brother!).

He's fast learning the word 'no', at this stage this is mostly reserved for when we catch him playing with the power points. Even though they all have protectors in them, some lines need to be drawn now!

I'm fast learning that Life will never be dull with Mr. Mischief in our house!

Brotherly love in the bath, I love it!

Easy on a Sunday morning

Noah has also been enjoying the fact that Mylo seems more interested in playing with/near him lately. He is a very tolerant and gentle big brother that's for sure. Although we did wait till Mylo was asleep to build this great tower using every single block in the house. Noah built most of it himself, and I was quite amazed at how much his block building skills have developed lately. Add to that, the rocket and crocodile he built at daycare last week were proudly put on display for the other children and parents to see. Go champ!

Escargot anyone?

I must share a funny moment I had this morning with you all. It really brightened my day, when the past few days have been a little hard going!

I was merrily working on the computer and had Mylo within eyesight. I thought he was playing with the abacus that I had put out for him. Then I heard a funny crunching noise, and saw him with his fingers in his mouth.

On closer inspection, when I put my finger in his mouth to try to flick the object out, I discovered he had been happily munching on a snail which was now in several bits.....!

Firstly, I've never seen a snail inside our house before, and I certainly didn't notice it on the carpet. Trust our Little Explorer (aka Fiddle Fingers) to find it and decide it was fit for consumption! He's so different to his big brother, I don't remember ever having to fish anything like that out of Noah's mouth. Oh, the fun we're going to have with you Mylo...

Dry Socket and Parasthesia

Before I embarked on this whole wisdom tooth extraction business, I'd never really given the process much thought. And to be honest, I treally tried not to think about it much beforehand as it freaked me out a little. Mind you I don't know anyone in their right mind who would want to dwell on the thought of the mouth/teeth pain, stitches and swelling that was to come.

Now I have two new phrases to add to my life experiences. Dry socket and parasthesia. I was really hoping to escape the first and hadn't given the second a second thought. All was going well in the business of recovery until day 4 when within a couple of hours my jaw suddenly swelled up and started throbbing, my glands in my neck became enlarged and painful, and it became difficult to open my mouth, or even swallow. At this point, I was close to finishing the 30 Panadeine I'd been prescribed, so had to send Mark out to after hours to get some more. My trusty icepack which hadn't seen much use for a day or so, suddenly became a necessity again. And an emergency dash back to Mr. Oral Surgeon was required first thing Monday morning to put a dressing in the troublesome hole. Tasted like cloves, not very appetising. At it's worst, dry socket has been compared to the pain of childbirth, and whilst I definitely didn't have it that bad, it wasn't the most fun 24 hours I've ever had either. For those not in the know, it's where the blood clot in the hole where the teeth was gets dislodged and the bone is exposed. Doesn't sound like it should be a big deal really but anyone who has had it (and I'm surprised the number of people I've had commiserating with their experiences!) will tell you otherwise!

So yesterday was a pretty tough day even though it was just me and Mylo at home, I struggled just doing the bare essentials, and really welcomed the sight of Mark and Noah home early at 4pm. After dragging myself upstairs for some horizontal time (and surprise to me I think I even dozed off at one point), I started to slowly feel better last night, and much better this morning. I can gauge this because I haven't had to take any Panadeine since 6pm last night, whereas before that I was on a 6-8 hourly diet of pills.

Anyway, onto the other cool word. Parasthesia. Even once the local anaesthetic wore off 12 or so hours after the operation, I still have a very numb patch in half my lower lip and chin on the same side that I've had all the dry socket trouble. I'm really hoping that any damage to the nerves will repair itself over the course of the next few weeks, as it feels decidedly odd at the moment.

My diet has been totally liquid to date, and think I will maintain it for a few more days to give my troubled tooth time to catch up a bit on the healing process. I've got a good daily menu going though:

UP & GO Breakfast drink

Morning tea
Warm coffee (I so wasn't going to give up my coffee!)

Yoghurt/Pureed fruit

Afternoon tea
Banana/UP & GO smoothie

Packet soup
Icecream/pureed fruit

And to add to that there's the cocktail of Panadeine/anti-inflammatories/salt & antibacterial mouthwashes/arnica creams/homeopathic remedies/icepack.

I haven't ventured out in public yet as the bruises on either side of my face are still pretty obvious, and I thought I'd spare Mark potentially getting labelled a wife basher!

All in all, not a journey for the faint of heart. But I'm very hopeful that I'm on the up now though! Thank you to everyone for their prayers, I know there has been many sent heavenward for me over the past week, and I really appreciate it!


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