2019

It’s been almost a year since I’ve written anything here. And holy actual shit SO MUCH has happened in that time.

In no particular order;

  1. We had our third baby! Hooray for Fergus
  2. I stopped drinking. More on that later
  3. My kids got BIG
  4. I took on more responsibility within Playcentre and while quietly kacking it am not doing a very terrible job so far

Today Phil said to me “do you love to write?”. “Why yes I do” was my reply, which started off a chain of reflection… Why wasn’t I writing? What did I want to write about? Did I want to write at all? Where would I even start? I figured going through the ol’ blog was a good place to start, so I yanked it up with the intention of deleting, faffing with and jooshing up Penny Lane Parents to fit with where I was headed next.

Then I fell down a rabbit hole of old blog reading and was all why would I delete this? These posts, which at one point I poured a lot into, shaped who I was now and getting rid of them would be to fiddle with the integrity of what I was trying to relate – truth, humour and stories.

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Big kids!
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The new guy x

So I’ll keep them. And I’ll re read them from time to time and it will be a wonderful collection of memories and mammaries (#somuchbreastfeeding) to shape my path ahead.

Stick around team, I’ve got more to say and I reckon you’ll want to hear it x

C xx

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Zero Waste, BabyΒ 

Staying with the theme of reduced/zero waste, I thought I’d write a wee checklist for new mama’s who are wanting to minimise their waste.

Disclaimer: these suggestions are based on my trials and experiences. Feel free to add any suggestions in the comments! Also, new babies can be a shock to the system so don’t undertake anything that will stress you out ❀

Cloth Nappies and Wipes

We have used cloth mostly full time since our 3 year old was 4 days old. I suggest reading up on some different types and working out what may fit your little one. There are some fantastic Facebook pages that are chock full of information including brand discussions, benefits of different materials, wash routines, tips for extra absorbency etc. You can also get some fantastic deals in the buy/sell nappy groups.

I found a good wash routine intrinsic to my success with cloth. I would rinse, dry pail, do a pre rinse and then a wash. This still works for me, two kids later πŸ‘Œ

As for wipes, there are many options, but I found a roll of Chux cloths cut to size work a treat.

Buy Secondhand, Buy Quality 

It’s so easy to get carried away with purchasing baby items but the reality is, they really don’t need that much. A safe place to sleep, a few swaddles if that’s your jam, some burp cloth/muzzies/all around useful squares of cotton that become your best friend and some good clothing basics is a great start. I love Nature Baby, but I don’t love the price tag, so I trawl Trade Me and Facebook for all the bargains. Because babies grow so much in the first few months, I’ve managed to find a bunch of gorgeous, organic cotton basics in fabulous condition at a fraction of the price. I’ve also just purchased a bunch of flat white nappies at a steal, which will be used for everything but can be turned into rags when we are done.

If you do buy better quality items second hand, it’s fairly easy to on-sell, therefore reducing the amount of goods being bought new! Win!

Play Time 

For when bubs is a wee bit older, google Heuristic treasure box to check out some awesome ideas for play. Some suggestions that we used are; wee wooden utensils (spoons, honey dippers), preserving rings, ribbon, egg cartons, shower puffs, pot scourers, measuring spoons and so on and so forth.

Obviously use your common sense around age and supervision requirements. Perhaps save the scissors till they’re a year at least.

πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰πŸ˜˜

Bath Time 

Generally, babies don’t need any bath products, but if you do like a wee bit of something then the likes of Ethique and many other NZ companies do gentle shampoo/body wash bars for littles. With a light scent, natural ingredients and zero plastic it’s a zero waste thumbs up πŸ‘πŸ‘

Dinner Time

Another for older littles πŸ˜€ It’s incredibly easy to make baby food and you can have fun with it too! Combos of puree fruit and veg are super duper simple and can be frozen and popped into a wee pot or the microwave when needed. I enjoyed adding a bit of light herb to my pepe’s kai and I used silicon trays from KMart, which froze a portion roughly twice the size of a standard ice cube tray. 

If finger food is your thing, steamed veges were a hit in my house. River Cottage does a fab Babies and Toddlers recipe book which I have used a ton. The content appeals to my homemade heart as it’s simple, nutritious and delicious

I think that’s all for now! I’m super keen to hear what other’s have done/are doing as my zero waste focus is definitely a journey. Also, links to fave suppliers or products would be fabulous.

Happy hippie-ing, y’all πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰

Love,

Carole x

A big thank you to the lovely mama’s of Due November 2017 for allowing me to pick their brains on this topic. Arohanui ❀

Third times a Charm

Things I am looking forward to about having a third child;

1. I am way less worried.

About pregnancy, about childbirth and about bringing another little into our household. While I know each of these things will be different to my previous two, because I am expecting it I am much more able to go with the flow. I’m expecting to go post date, I’m expecting the transition from 2 to 3 to have it’s ups and downs and I know how hormonal pregnancy and early post partum can be. I’m much less stressed going into this with some knowledge.

2. Sleep deprivation is killer, but it ends.

I have tied myself in knots over my children’s sleep. Fretted and cried and stressed and raged and none of it helped. My newborn is unlikely to sleep through the night. My 6 month old is unlikely to sleep through the night. For a time, I will need toothpicks for my eyelids. And that’s ok.

3. I know what I need.

Good coffee, a daily shower, the odd meal cooked for me that I can stash away in the freezer, a reasonably tidy house, company, space. And this time, I’m not afraid to ask.

4. Adding to the love.

My kids love each other, sometimes this presents as screaming at each other (#blessed) but generally, they’re awesome pals. I can’t wait for that love to increase even more.

5. Completing our family.

There is something about this pregnancy that feels really final. I never felt that with Tilly or George and I am super comfortable with it. Tilly keeps saying “at Christmas, our family will be finished”. I feel it too, kid ❀

6. I get to have a baby.

And through the nausea, tiredness, hormones and random anxiety – I still never underestimate how lucky we are.

To all those levelling up their parenting by adding to their family, or thinking about it, I want to send you so much love. You’re going to smash it πŸ‘Š

Love,

Carole x

Waste Not, Want NotΒ 

Hello chickens! It’s been a wee while, hasn’t it? I do intend to be a bit more regular with the blog but lifeing gets in the way 😴😴

In a nod to the start of Plastic Free July, I wanted to post a few of the changes our family is making and why.

There are components of waste free that I grew up with, without realising it. My grandparents, who raised me for a good portion of my childhood, always had vege gardens, fruit trees and compost bins. Nana also (and still does) bottle fruit, jams, jellies and chutneys – using whatever is seasonal. As a result, I am passionate about this – a view the Hubs shares – and together, we model this to our children.

Further to this, we have a desire to raise awareness about how we are disposing of our rubbish. We in the West are privileged to have bins and bags that we can fill up and pop out to be collected, never to be thought of again. This lack of conscious connection on our part has (I think) contributed towards a rather lazy attitude around rubbish disposal. Similarly, recycle bins have done the same. And while aspects of recycling are certainly better than landfill disposal, it’s not quite the green impact we think it is.. 

So, we are trying to reduce what leaves our household. Some of these things have been common practise for years; the likes of composting, gardens, cloth nappies and wipes (since we had our first child 3 years ago), homemade cleaning products and preserving/freezing fruit and vegetables. However we have pushed ourselves a bit more recently, as we gather more information and become more educated. 

Currently, I am setting two or three small goals to implement over the course of a few weeks. Because I want these to be lasting, achievable changes I am taking a slower approach to ensure it works for our family. Some basic changes like reusable shopping and produce bags, refilling our own containers at bulk food stores and cutting out the use of all plastic bags. I’m also moving from room to room, seeing how I can make changes, and we have recently started using gorgeous shampoo, conditioner and facial cleanse bars from Ethique which I highly recommend!

On a similar vein, Hubs has found some old timber that has been stashed in the ceiling of our garage since we purchased our house and he has used this to build some wonderful raised vege beds. Using what we have already goes hand in hand with reducing our waste.

I will post a bit more as the month goes on, I have a few ideas that I’m excited to put in place so stay tuned! 

And before I go, I really encourage you to try one or two changes in your home. You would be amazed at the impact a few, small changes can make.

Image credit: http://www.ecouterre.com/sarah-lazarovics-buyerarchy-of-needs-tells-it-like-it-is/

Happy Saturday, lovelies! Go the AB’s!

Love,

C x

Keeping it Kind OnlineΒ 

This morning I let myself be affected by some responses I got to a thread I posted in a Facebook group. Without going into detail, the thread topic in the group I chose to post was always going to spark discussion. Therefore, I was asking for it – wasn’t I?

Short answer, no.

I’ve seen this happen with so many online groups lately. Groups largely populated by mums, because those are the ones I frequent. A group made up of people who are often tired, constantly questioning their choices and worrying about what they might do better, these are the people we are pendantically tearing down. Essentially making them feel shittier than they already do.

In this instance, I chose to leave. I figured if I was in a place where I felt anxious to post for fear of response, then it wasn’t for me anymore. It wasn’t the first group I’ve left this week, a lovely friend of mine recently posted a spot on status update with a list of things she didn’t feel like she constantly needed questioning on and left those corresponding groups. This inspired me and I ended up doing a similar thing. 

Now, a lot of people in these groups offer fantastic discussion points and the reason I enjoy them is because they encourage me to think more deeply about certain issues. They educate me and open my mind and  that, I’m grateful. Another point I’d like to make is I always try to listen to well supported information as I don’t know everything (I know, shocker πŸ˜‰) and often have benefited from excellent advice, particularly around baby wearing and baby led weaning – two things I was very interested in when I had my first child but didn’t know much about. In some instances, there are certainly situations when choices are right and wrong, from a safety perspective and I am happy to receive support around this.

But it’s the picking apart, the constant questioning and challenging in a way that makes you feel like crap rather than promoting deeper thought. I feel sometimes like people assign themselves certain labels are so concerned about getting their agenda across that they cease to respond in a relevant manner and rather, just poke and tear at any word or statement until the person asking the original question is so tied in knots they have no idea where to next.

One group I belong to, which I adore, is a writers group for mama’s. Such a diverse group and while I’m not a hugely active poster, I read almost everything in there and often turn it over in my head. And I have NEVER felt uncomfortable asking questions or offering my thoughts. A couple of wonderful ladies started a campaign a few weeks back, to Keep It Kind Online, and it was with joy I saw many of my favorite groups and bloggers support this. 

So, what have I learnt from this? Definitely to be more discerning when joining groups but also to think more when I respond to threads.

Is it kind?

Is it relevant?

Is it helpful?

We can share information, or disagree with others without being dicks. Trust me, I’ve seen it πŸ˜‰

Until next time

✌✌

C

Enough.

Once upon a time, many years ago, in a time where brunches were eaten and normal bras were worn, I worked an 8 till 4.30 job as a Social Worker. I loved my job, and had spent 3.5 years and 25k working towards my degree so that I could do the thing I felt most passionate about. To be a voice, an advocate, a support person. To work with people from all walks of life, in a community setting. To listen, to be empathetic, to educate and to be educated.

Fast forward to now, and I am and have been for 3 years, Chief Peanut Butter Toast Maker and Poop Cleaner Upperer. 

When I was pregnant with Tilly, it was a give-in for me that I would go back to work after my year long maternity leave was up. The plan was to try and go part time until Tilly started school. I had worked so hard and had had very little time in my career so giving it up together seemed unfathomable.

Unfortunately, my agency didn’t see the value in taking my position down to a part time job share role. At the time, I was fuming. As a woman, a mother and a feminist I was incensed that there wasn’t more done to support women returning maternity leave. It seemed too hard basket for so many employers, and this made me see red. I remember standing there, 8 month old Tilly on my hip, fighting back tears and asking my bosses how I was supposed to tell my daughter, in good faith, that she could have a family and a career, when the support for this was so obviously absent.

Because of this decision, Hubs and I decided I would resign. At the time, there was no discussion of how long I would be out of paid employment. Not long after I resigned, I fell pregnant with George so life just sort of continued down the now familiar vein. Me working in the home and Hubs working out.

After we moved to Feilding, I started toying with the idea that I may return to work. And I was rather surprised to find that I didn’t have any desire to do so. The drive was gone, and the things that used to fulfil me had shifted. 

Was it the move? Having two children? My involvement in Playcentre in both Christchurch and Feilding? My health? I think possibly all of the things. Simply put, my passion now lay with my family. I love being at home with my children, I love running my household. I am the quintessential organiser. I thrive on arranging, leading, bossing and structuring πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ But, mainly I love watching my children learn and actively participating in that every day. I realise it’s not everyone’s groove, but it’s totally mine.

This realisation didn’t come without apprehension. Was I enough as a stay at home mum? Was I still a feminist? Enough of a role model? Shouldn’t I want to do it all? For awhile, I felt guilty that I didn’t have the desire to work, like I was a cop out. What sort of message was I sending to my daughter? And my son?

Luckily, this apprehension didn’t last long. I realised that I could be all those things to my children on a daily basis. Through my loving, equal partnership with the Hubs, through my communication; with my children, my friends, my family and even the lady I bought my coffee from. Every day, I had opportunities to be a good role model, a feminist, a teacher. 

And now? Now I’m doing the thing I am most passionate about. I am a voice, for my children and others, I am an advocate and a support person for my friends and community. I spend time with many wonderful people from all walks of life in my fantastic Playcentre community. I listen and am empathetic. And everyday I educate and am being educated.
I am enough.

I also make a mean gingerbread loaf πŸ˜‰ Come around for a cuppa some time x

George Picasso
Tilly and her bestie, Alice ❀

Until next time 

Ta ra for now

C x

To three, or not to three..

That seems to be the all-consuming question… 😦😦

When I was pregnant with Tilly, we decided she would be our one and only. At the time, that seemed like a very sensible choice. Neither Hubs or I had spent our earlier years longing for parenthood and the decision to even have one had only been made quite recently #fertile πŸ˜‚ 

Then my back to work plans didn’t work out, and in the course of deciding what next for us, the decision to have a second came about. Three weeks later, so did the baby πŸ˜‰ #actualfertile #seriouslydontevenlookatme

We were blessed with one of each, which was neither here nor there really. No matter what gender George had been, two was our limit.

Or was it?

As with many other areas of our life, moving to Feilding saw us question this. Perhaps, we thought, we could do it again? What’s one more, right??

So we made the decision to try for a third.

And, like many women before me in the throes of TTC, I started tracking ovulation, peeing on more sticks than I care to admit and getting my hopes up every time I cast an admiring eye at a jar of pickles.
Here’s the thing though, I buried myself in it. And I ignored the fact that beneath the surface, quietly simmering away, was doubt. And it needed to be addressed.

Doubt presented itself in many threads of thought. 

Do I want to go through this again? Do I want to give my body up for another two years? The children have just started sleeping. I want to travel sooner. I miss being on stage. The kids are starting to manage quite well with sitters.

And, the most important..

What about my mental health?

That’s what it was about, really. The other reasons were definite contributing factors but the key component was that finally I was feeling well and I wasn’t sure I was willing to potentially compromise that.

Am I selfish? Perhaps. But sometimes we have to be. Sometimes we need to make the hard decision in order to preserve something else. And it is a hard decision. We have put it on hold for 6 months but I’m pretty sure I know what we’ll choose. And there is a slight mourning for the baby that might have been but also a relief that we can move onto the next phase of our lives, as a family of four.

Also, through all of this, I have realised how blessed I am to even be able to make this choice – either way. To all the mama’s who have struggled, or had that choice taken away entirely, my heart is with you ❀

Thanks for reading, pals.

Until next time 
Ta ra for now

C x