Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Stillbirth - the gift that keeps on giving...

I can't rid myself of these tears.

I have cried so many times over the past two years you would think that there wouldn't be any left. And yet, we cry.

I read a blog entry by a dear DBM friend today, writing about the bitterness she feels every time a new pregnancy is announced. About how she doesn't understand why, she has gone on to have a beautiful living baby, but the bitterness and the pain is still there.

I feel her pain, I really do. There is a pregnancy in our family at the moment. And I find myself feeling the most intense and awful feelings towards both the expectant mother and even, the baby. I do not wish ill on them by any means. But the jealousy and the bitterness are at times overwhelming. I thought that it would lessen once I had my own 'rainbow' baby. That the bitterness would lessen because I too had experienced a pregnancy that ended well. But being on the other side has not lessened the angst I feel when I hear a pregnancy announcement. I want to scowl and spit and throw things. I don't, I do have some self control you know, but I want to.

I want to scream at this BIPP (blissfully ignorant pregnant person) in my family "I hate you! For no other reason than the fact that my baby died and yours probably will not" I want people to remember my starbaby because I think part of it feels like the more babies that come into this world, and into our lives, the less important his tiny, short, brief little life was. The less people will remember him.

Fuck. I'm becoming a person I dont even recognise.

I bought the BIPP a baby gift today. She is over 30 weeks now and I have not said a word to her since she announced it. Not a word. I planned on hating her forever and never holding her baby. Never commenting on it. Pretending it doesnt exist.

Who is this person? This is not me! I love babies!

I can't do it anymore. I feel like I am drowing in my own negativity, in my own hatred and anger. Enough is enough. I have flipped the switch and I will no longer indulge myself and allow myself to feel this way. I will embrace this new child and try to begin the journey towards getting to know the BIPP and hopefully I will feel a little lighter, a little less villain-esque and I can stop invoking years of bad karma.

So I bought her a gift. Then I decided maybe I will keep it for myself.

Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

Monday, March 29, 2010

50,000 Shoes

Interrupting your regular programming to bring you this announcement....

Donate shoes now to the Haitian earthquake victims who desperately need appropriate footwear. As little as $5 (that’s the price of a venti frap, by the way) provides two pairs of shoes.

I have donated to this worthy cause and have also been lucky enough to have another donation made in my name by In Due Time.

Please support Wanda Sykes and Soles4Souls to get shoes to every victim of the Haitian earthquake.

Operation Make My Mama Move (aka Operation 4M)

I have well and truly made advances in my quest to get my mother to move out to our town and quit her job. Shock! Horror!
I may have thrown out the words "stroke", "pulmonary embollism" and "brain aneurism" a few times - as in "if you stay in this job, chained to your desk, taking on increasingly high workloads, you will have a stroke/heart attack/pulmonary embollism etc - and no one will even know because they will assume you are not in your office because you are running around putting out fires because that's what you do all day and no one will even know you are dead on the floor behind your deak and you will be eaten by alsatians!!!" Or something to that effect.

After the "oh you're such a drama queen" comments, a thoughtful look crossed her face and I swear to god I think I saw a light go on above her head.
She had a late start to getting her financial life arranged. She divorced my overbearing (but very wealthy) father 16 years ago and had to start from scratch. At the age of 40 she had to re enter the workforce, save enough money to buy a house, put me through school and raise me up good, and completely rebuild her life.

We left my father with a suitcase of clothes, my bed and 2 coffee mugs. He kept (and sold) everything else that we owned. She literally started from scratch. So it has been very important to her to pay off her house and live without a mortgage. So much so, that she has no regard for how much of her life she is wasting by spending upwards of 16 hours a day in this here office!

I am painting the picture for her of what her life might be like if she follows my simple 3 step plan (1) sell house and buy near us (2) quit stupid stressful job (3) live happily ever after.

I mean if you had the choice, would you prefer your life to look like this:

Or like this:
And in all honesty - that first image, is very much what she looks like on a daily basis. She is loyal and hardworking and people take advantage of that fact by giving her 5 times the work anyone else has. She is paid highly but what good is that money if you have no life?

I'm getting there. I'm really getting there. I have found her a house in our area that she actually loves and she may even go to an open inspection there soon.

So to any of you out there working ridiculously long hours - I get that you think it's important (and it may well be, I'm not dismissing your need to work) but it is not everything. Money isn't everything. If there is one thing I have learnt from losing people I love, it is that you never know how much time on earth you have. Why work like a dog to have nice "stuff" if you can never enjoy it? Work nearly killed my mother once (literally). Don't let it kill you.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Traditional Honey Biscuits (Cookies)

Thank you for the kind responses on my last post. I always dread hitting "publish" on posts like that for fear of being judged. I know there are so many people out there ttc their first baby for years, and here I am with two live children...complaining! But as always things are more complicated than at first glance. And I thank each of you for your support and love :)

As you are all such good little readers...your reward is my favourite recipe of all time! These are what we gave out as favours to all our friends who came to Monsters Birthday party - in cellophane bags with a thank you tag.

Traditional Honey Biscuits
(I believe in the US they would be called cookies rather than biscuits)
(And because I love you all, I'm even going to put it in metric and imperial measurements!)

This recipe makes lots, and I mean lots of biscuits. Super simple recipe too.

You'll need to melt together in a saucepan:
500g (18oz) Honey
500g (18oz) light brown sugar
3 tablespoons of butter

Then remove from the heat and beat in:
3 eggs
1 teaspoon of powdered cloves
2 teaspoons of mixed spice
2 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda
1 kg (2.2lb) plain flour

I recommend adding the spices to the flour and mixing the flour in slowly (1 cup at a time).
Cover the bowl and leave it overnight.Roll the dough out in batches and use cookie cutters to make fancy shapes - or - roll into balls and flatten on the tray. You need to make sure they are at least as thick as this ^^ or they will be hard and way too crunchy! But hey, if you like your cookies thin and very crunchy...go nuts!

Bake in a moderate oven (160C / 320F) for approximately 15-20 minutes.

The traditional icing (frosting??) we use is egg white, icing sugar and lemon juice, but a thin ordinary icing works fine too. We actually don't ice them anymore, my Rocket is sensitive to sugars so we limit them wherever possible, and we've discovered we prefer them plain!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Puppy Party - part one

The Table:

We had puppy paw prints leading up the driveway, through the entrance and up the stairs to the party. This was great as it meant we did not have to run downstairs to open the door every time someone arrived...they all followed the paw prints!

The banner I made - ignore the "blank" ones - I removed his real name (clearly his real name is not Monster! *gasp* SCANDAL!!)

You can see my Martha Stewart efforts paid off with my pompom there - I have a tutorial on how I made them coming up in a few days - they were very easy!

The Great Wall of Monster. Birth to his First Birthday - my favourite photos. This was a real hit with our guests who spent a lot of time oohing and ahhing over the cuteness that is Monster!

Every table at every party needs fresh flowers. These are from our backyard...very handy...and in the co-ordinating party colours!! And a thankyou in a frame. My favourite part of the decorations.

One of my favourite creations! I printed out the design, my partner laminated it and put double sided adhesive on the front and we stuck the design on the back of clear plastic plates. So simple but SO effective. Will definitely be doing this from now on for all my parties!

A standard at all my parties are dips with pita chips. Simply take a pita bread, and use a cookie cutter to cut shapes out. Stick into the oven at a moderate temperature for about 6 minutes. So tasty and so much healthier than fried potato chips! I have cookie cutters for all occasions...its one thing I spend my money on when deciding on a cookie cutters! I have quite a collection now!

One of the small tables on our roof deck with some dress ups for the kids. I also had home made playdough (in a co-ordinating colour of course!!) and musical instruments for the kids and adults to play with.
Party bags and favours. I designed and made all of the co-ordinating stationery items - the party hats, the blowers/horns, the water bottle labels, the gift bags etc. using the puppy paper I posted earlier. The bubbles had stickers of easter pictures on was easy to make stickers out of my designs to go over the top! I do wish I had managed to find a set of all green bubble it matched ;)

These were the favours we gave out to everyone who attended (only the kids got gift bags). They were very well received and SO SIMPLE to make! I actually plan on posting this recipe later in the week, it is a traditional family recipe (from the german side of my family) for honey biscuits. They are divine. I've been having one with my morning cup of tea every day this week!

And of course...the BIRTHDAY CAKE! Isn't it a hoot? I've tried so many times to make fancy shaped cakes for all sorts of occasions and they never turn out the way they look in my head. This one came out perfectly and was so incredibly simple. Everyone thought it was fantastic and laughed a lot too. Monster loved picking the cocoa bombs off the top and eating them!

Last but not least...these are the favours I made for each child at 3am the night before the party! They each got to adopt a puppy, I made adoption certificates and got them to sign them and name their puppy. This is what I meant when I said NEVER AGAIN! But they were so darn adorable that it was worth it!

More photos to come later in the week of more party goodness...and the recipe and a few craft tutes too. Oh and stay tuned for my massive IVF rant...yeah good times over here!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

DBM Support - FAIL

There is another DBM (deadbabymom) at my work.

We didnt used to work on the same floor and I had minimal interaction with her. When she got pregnant, I had just lost my Starbaby. When she got pre-eclampsia and was rushed to hospital, I was pregnant with Monster baby.

When her baby had to be induced at 25 weeks because if he wasn't, they would both die, I was at home.

When he died in the NICU after fighting for two months, I was on leave.

When she and I were both back at work, I had a newborn and she didn't. I avoided her. When he first died, I wanted to be there for her, but I didnt really even know her. I should have reached out and I didnt.

We now work on the same floor. I went into her office to get something that was stored in there and saw a bag full of tiny tiny knitted hats. I stopped dead in my tracks. I knew what they were for. I wanted to ask her "do you knit these?" I wanted to say "its wonderful" I wanted to say "I wish we'd had a tiny hat for Starbaby's head" I wanted to say "I think about J--- sometimes too" I wanted to say "you are not alone, you are not the only one".

Instead I grabbed what I needed and fled back to my desk with tears in my eyes.


Good Morning - a contradiction in terms

Hello my pretties.

I have a number of posts in the works - including some tutorials on the decorations I made, and the party favours I slaved over at 2am. I told my partner "Next time I decide to go all etsy on a party...SLAP ME."

You know the worst part? I didn't even get a photo of them all lined up before they were given out! My partner says to me "oh well you'll just have to make some more and take photos of them!" I couldn't work out whether to cry or to slap her!

It's a difficult morning this morning. On a good day, I am not a morning person. But today is not a good day. Monster is still waking at all hours of the night with his little cough and it's wearing me down! This morning it was so difficult just to open my eyes, I stumbled out of bed and barely made it to work on time. Actually, truth be told I was 10 minutes late and Rocket went to school with left over party food in his lunchbox! Ah the shame, the shame.

I just went to the bathroom though and caught sight of myself and did a double take. Is that what I look like today? I almost cried (again...I get teary when I'm tired!) How embarrassing. My hair is unwashed and looking limp and terrible, my face is pale (and not in a china doll a pneumonia patient way) my eyes look tired and the outfit is just barely passable. I ran back to my desk for my emergency fixer upper supplies...only to find someone has pinched all of my bobby pins! I had to make do with one hair comb and some bright pink lipgloss. Again I say ah the shame, the shame.

I guess I should actually do some work...all my party photos are at home so I will post them when I get home from work tonight - If you're here from ICLW - check back on me later today!!


one last thing - a small request. My soul sister - a fellow DBM with 7 little starbabies of her own, is pregnant with her long awaited little girl. She has entered a contest with one of her belly photos which I just adore. Please go to her blog and follow the link to vote for her beautiful photo of little Stella in utero :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

man the party stations!

It has been a very, very long week!

To sum it up - the little Monster got sick Monday night, which meant I had to take Tues and Wed off work. Good timing, no? Lots of time at home to do party stuff, right? HA! Not so much. He was stuck to me like a koala in a cyclone. There was no putting him down for anything. So not too much was actually achieved during my days at home.

Then Friday my mother was taking both boys overnight so we could prepare the house and all the party decorations etc...and on her way home she rings me "do you think Monster could have whooping cough?" I googled it while she was on the phone, and despite the fact that he has been immunised against it, I was instantly convinced that's what he had. I threw my hands in the air and wanted to cry. "All for nothing!" I raged. "All those 2am nights getting party stuff organised and I'm going to have to cancel! Our interstate visitors are coming for nothing!"
So I downed tools and declared the party OFF. Sat down and ate chinese while watching Transformers instead.

Took Monster to the Drs on Saturday morning, where the Dr laughed at me and told me "dont be silly thats not whooping cough. He will be fine for his party!"

Cue me returning home screaming "Man the party stations! All hands on deck!" and trying to make up for the 16 hours of sulking I had done instead of preparation.

I was up until roughly 3am on Saturday night...then as I was going to bed Monster woke up crying and kept me awake most of the rest of the night.

Sunday morning was panic stations. There were cupcakes to be made, a birthday cake to be made, and cut, and decorated, 2 dozen quiche to be made, food to be put out, more pom poms to be made, party hats and party bags to be put together, balloons to be blown, kennel to be cleaned, etc etc ad nauseum.

And then..........80% of people didnt show up.

And I was so exhausted and out of it that I barely remember any of it. All in all, disappointing and enough for me to declare "NO MORE PARTIES" last night.

But let's be serious. I adore parties. Most of the fun, for me, is in the planning.
The whole no-one turning up thing though...I could definitely do without :(

party photos, crafts and how-to tutorials to come tomorrow :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Puppy Party Sneak Peek

Monster Baby's birthday party is this Sunday. I was absurdly excited to plan it, but unfortunately life has firmly got in the way and a lot of my planning has been laft far too late to pull off all the things I wanted to do :(
On the upside, a fortunate find has led to a whole new theme (still going with puppies though...little man demands it!)
For a sneaky peek...

<---- this is some paper we stumbled upon in a dollar store and that I am using for all of the matching stationery (gift boxes/decorations/napkins/party hats/water bottle labels/cookie bag labels/cupcake toppers etc)

These are our guideline colours - but now I am leaning more towards lots of shades of brown and a hint of green with less blue. I do already have some adorable blue dog bowls in these shades so blue has to be in there!

And these ----> are my craft project for this evening. Let's see if I can pull them off. Martha Stewart seems to think they are easy but methinks she may be more experienced than I!!

Stay Tuned for some more party goodness in the next few days :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Catch of the Day...

I must have this!

It's a cute little fish...that turns into SUSHI with a quick flip inside out! Given my little Monster's obsession with sushi...I think he'll go nuts for this. And how super cute is it??

You can find the instructions on Cut Out + Keep here or by clicking on the picture above.
Stay tuned for a step by step tutorial on how I made this...provided that I can actually complete it and have it look any good!!


Oh my gosh they have squid to sushi as well! My Rocket's favourite food evah is squid (squiddy!) and he will go mad for this. Looks like I'll be going to the craft store after work today!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I heart my town

I love my local community.

I actually live in a traditionally poor area which has had a recent influx of wealthy people here to buy up the beachfront properties, tear them down and build ugly McMansions along the foreshore....but I digress.

I love my area. My mother doesn't quite agree.

Let's just put it out there that I was born and raised in the privilege of The Hills. My childhood friends were the children of multi-millionaires. I moved away (as soon as I could) when I was seventeen (and pregnant with Rocket). I moved to a wealthy area along the coast. Every two years, I moved a little further north and liked it a little bit more. When I landed in our current community, it was like coming home. Everyone I know who moves here, or even comes for a visit, cannot get over how friendly everyone is!

Of course it helps for us that it is the gayest community in our state :)
The local church is run by a lesbian minister, and it is a safe place for us to raise our children, as free as we can be from homophobia. There are out teachers at the school, and in every local business....but I digress again.

The point is gay or straight, everyone is welcome. There are a large number of group homes in my area, populated with the people most of society choose to forget. These older men are some genuine, warm, friendly people who just want a fair go. Every business owner along the shopping strip generally know them by name, and people stop in the streets to talk to them. They sit on the foreshore and play guitar and play with their three legged dog. It is a safe place for all.

It is an area where the teenage boys are more likely to be seen with fishing rods heading to the river or the jetty, or on scooters and skateboards at the park. Kids still play footy and cricket in the streets.

Someone I know interstate commented after hearing me rave about our community
- oh I see why your house prices are so moved to the 1950's!
And it's kind of true. And you know what? Maybe that's why I love it.

My mother is warming to it. I now find myself embarking on mission:impossible...getting her to move here. It would make a dramatic improvement to her life and make her debt free as she would have ample money from selling her house and buying a really nice one down here.

Wish me luck...this won't be easy!

image of my town circa 1978.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Renovation Hell

I'm in the middle of renovation hell at the moment so excuse my lack of posting...there are a number of posts I have brewing in my mind but no time to get them all "on paper". I'm taking a short break because I just can't take it anymore!

Today so far a contractor bodged up the silicone around the top of the external cladding he installed, meaning I will have to get a million metres of quad to cover it up ($$ I dont have) and the electrician took 4 hours (yes FOUR HOURS) to move a light switch (and look in the roof). And all the timbers I bought yesterday are warped and twisted!

It got to the point with the electrician where I had to ring his head office and bitch them out. They pulled him off the job and sent someone around to inspect it and I felt SO BAD for him...I just wanted them to give me a discount!

Cue me hiding in my car not wanting to see him because I felt so bad for him.
Cue him knocking on the window to talk to me!


Did I mention that I think I broke my foot yesterday? Well one bone in the top of my foot. That was a drama in and of itself...I was getting frustrated waiting for someone to assist me with loading up all these timbers for the deck I need to build, so I thought I'd give it a crack on my own *insert eye roll here*. Yeah didnt realise it was quite so heavy...and tried to put it back down but it rolled off the racks onto my foot.

I, of course, was wearing ballet flats *headdesk*.

So I stood there and watched as all the blood rushed to it and my whole foot turned purple! I thought I was going to pass out/throw up (whichever came first!) Then the purple dissipated and it went back to its normal colour (albeit twice the size it should be).

Dude came to help me load up and I pretended nothing happened! Hot damn though, trying to put my shoes on this morning? NOT FUN!

But yeah, so another low point of my morning today was laying out all these timbers I loaded (and unloaded single handed yesterday) and finding that 50% of them are warped and cant be used! D'oh.


The only funny point so far today was when the contractor basically called the electrician a sissy for not wanting to drill through asbestos sheeting! I was in hysterics inside as I listened to the old codger telling the electrician to just drill through it
- But it's asbestos!
- Pfft. So?
- So I guess if you use a vacuum to suck up the dust as you drill...
- *rolls his eyes* Here I'll do it.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

One Whole Year of Monsterish Goodness

It is so hard to believe, but my ickle baby Monster is officially one year old today. To be honest with you, I was never sure we would even make it this far. The pure terror of losing him has faded, but we still check on him four or five times a night.

He is such a funny little rabbit. He smiles constantly and can light up a room.

It is impossible to be cross at him, as he endeavours to make you laugh constantly.

He is obsessed with animals, in particular dogs and birds. If he sees one his eyes widen, and he points while shrieking "ooh ooh OOH".

He thinks his eldest brother is hi-larious (oh dear) and has a curious fascination with anything that was his star-brothers (decorations, toys, outfits, photos).

He adores sushi. I gave it to him once (as a joke) and he wouldn't give it back!

He is now walking more than crawling and can say "Mama" but no one is sure he even knows he is doing it!

For his birthday he had a morning tea complete with dog bone shaped cakes, lemon crisps and arrowroot biscuits. He had special birthday sushi for lunch and a trip to the markets and walk at the beach.

His big party is still to come in a few weeks time.

Happy Birthday
ittle Monster

We love you so much.

Imge Used Copyright Hallmark Coutts Canada 10 B 181-6

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday. The new Monday.

I was having such a bad day today. I used to look forward to Fridays all week but lately they are just the worst day of the week for me! Every Friday for the past few months at least three things have gone wrong. Today it was having an agent tell me that our investment property is worth far less than we thought. She was also shocked at the rent we were receiving and did not expect that they could match it if we wanted to hang onto it instead of selling.

Then some work we were having done on our development property has turned out to look AWFUL, and we have committed to paying $5,000 for it - and I hate it! Also the guy didnt even turn up today, which means that it sets us back and we cant spend the weekend doing what we were going to do, and it sets everything back by a week! I had a good ol' freak out and rang my love swearing like a sailor about "those fucking asshats doing it all wrong and not turning up".

But then something good happened (more later), and here I sit in my nice house watching my monster baby play with grated cheese and cucumber in his highchair, and I am forced to count my blessings. I have a wonderful life. Sometimes you really need to sit back and appreciate what you have. And I have a lot to appreciate.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Three Short Days

It is an unfortunate fact of my current life that I cannot be a full time mother/housewife. Oh how I wished we lived in the 50s so that my biggest concern through the day was what I would cook for dinner. Unfortunately, given that we are not yet in a place where our properties provide us with much income, I am forced to spend part of my week (albeit the smaller part of my week) in the office. I am starting to believe my actual job title is "dogsbody" or, as I was referred to the other day "chicken's feed". Thanks Jo. Just another reminder of what I gave up when I chose not to get myself a career but just a job to pay the bills. I prefer the term Girl Friday thank you very much.

So here I sit...thinking of the hundred or so things that demand my attention at home...and unable to do any of them! What this means is that when I return from work the house is in a shambles and remains so until my working days are done for the week.

I spend the first day back at home dealing with the nuclear fallout that my family manages to create in three short days. You would be amazed at what can happen to a well ordered house and life in three short days!

Hopefully once this monkey is off my back (and by monkey I mean of course the two properties that are draining my finances week by week) things will be in a more permanent order, we will have more money available, and hopefully I can drop to two short days at work.

If any of you are supermoms who work full time and manage not to have your house cave in on you have any tips or tricks for me I would be so appreciative. Turns out I'm not so good at this work/home balance thing...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Decisions, decisions

I am in Dilemma City at present.

I am planning my Monster Baby's first birthday bash and...well...I keep changing my mind on theme. Parties are a BIG. DEAL. in this house and the theme is the most important thing to decide. Once that's done it's easy. I've been hemming and hawing for WEEKS now and have been told invitations must. be. done. today.

Problem is...I'm still undecided on theme!

So help me out, dear internets.

- Puppy Dogs. MB is crazy mad in love with dogs. He stands at the window and squeals while banging his hands on the glass whenever someone walks one past our house. Even books with pictures of dogs make him squeal.

OPTION B - Little Monsters. This is a no brainer...he is my little monster, and I've come across the cutest graphics to use and adorable party favours.

I keep going from one to the other, back to the first one, changing my's driving me nuts! What do you think?


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