Monday, 24 December 2012

12 Days of Christmas - Latte Mum style

Happy Christmas Eve to you all! I hope you're surrounded by friends and family, sipping on something special and enjoying the festive fare in preparation for tomorrow. I couldn't resist one last post for the year, especially for those of you that like a good Christmas sing-a-long!

If you follow me on Facebook here, you'll have seen my 12 Days of Christmas countdown as we near the big day. Here's the final line and full verse for your caroling pleasure!

On the twelfth day of Christmas my little love gave to me...
12 Months then “one”ing {happy almost birthday my gorgeous boy}
11 Attempts at walking
10 Fake horns beeping
9 Moves for dancing
8 Teeth for grinning
7 Stars for wishing
6 Arms-a-waving
5 Heart siiiiings!
4 Maybe words
3 Play pens
2 Baby loves
And a big mid-afternoon sleeeeeeep!

For those traditionalists out there, here's the original verse:

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
12 Drummers drumming
11 Pipers piping
10 Lords-a-leaping
9 Ladies dancing
8 Maids-a-milking
7 Swans-a-swimming
6 Geese-a-laying
5 Gold riiiiings!
4 Colly birds
3 French hens
2 Turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas. See you in 2013 where I will bring you all the excitement from the 1st birthday party! xxx

Friday, 21 December 2012

Oh the humanity

If the Mayans are right, today is our last day on earth. I'm sure there are many around the globe wondering if we're deserving of "the end". From Jillian Meagher to the Sandy Hook shootings, we have been shown the worst of humanity in 2012. These stories are impossible to ignore.

I really hope the sun rises for us again tomorrow. I've got my baby's first Christmas and birthday to celebrate next week. We have my husband's parents 40th wedding anniversary to celebrate in February. We have our first house to buy, new babies to welcome into the family, new places to explore, our lives to live.

I really hope the sun rises for us on 1 January 2013, and the world wakes up with a new determination to be good, to be kind to people, to be generous, loving, caring and compassionate to one another. I hope we embrace our planet and help put it back together.

We all have a lot to be hopeful for, because humanity has also shone as bright as the sun this year too.

Some of the best good news stories of 2012 (in my humble opinion) include:
  • Britain rocked our socks off with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, the incredible London Olympics and then, just to top it all off, the announcement that Kate has a royal bun in the oven
  • We inserted a gallop into our dance move repertoire, after going Gangnam Style - giddy up!
  • The bright sparks at NASA landed a rover on Mars
  • And in keeping with the space cadet theme, Felix Baumgartner (the crazy cat) skydived to earth from space
  • Did you even know that the first person was cured of HIV this year?
  • And Aussie woman Amanda Boxtel turned bionic and walked for the first time in 20 years, after becoming a paraplegic in a horrific skiing accident - the best bit, she says, is hugging people heart to heart (which she couldn't do when sitting down)
And so, it seems, we have a lot to be proud of too this year.

This is my last proper post for 2012 my gorgeous Latte Mums, as I'm leaving on a jet plane bright and early tomorrow morning for our Christmas break. It has been WONDERFUL having you all here - hearing your thoughts, enjoying our chats, knowing you've shared a piece of my most momentous year. I'm so looking forward to sharing more virtual lattes with you in early January when I'm back.

Wishing you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year... jolly holly! x

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Bridging the gap between mums and not-yet-mums

I fought and won against the frump on Sunday; successfully getting all dolled up for a wonderful girls lunch by the harbour involving fruity wine, fresh seafood, people watching, good conversation and... no baby. The only way to top my happiness would be if the boys had found babysitters for the night, chartered one of those fancy boats bobbing at the pier where we were lunching, and beckoned us on board with bottles of champagne!

I love my beautiful bubba, but it was utter bliss to my soul to have that little break from him.

The girly group was a combo of mums and not-yet-mums, and even though the mums in the group were quick to exclaim how wonderful it was to be childfree, it wasn't long before we were chatting openly about our little ones. It was at this point I noticed a familiar look in the eyes of the not-yet-mums. A look that I hadn't experienced since pre-pregnancy. A look that says it all - "is it really that bad?!"

Were we talking about the endless crying or the sleepless nights or the cheeky personalities that cannot be tamed? I can't remember, but either way, that glum look from the not-yet-mums was probably justified.

This wasn't the first time I've found myself adding to the perceived negativity of parenting more and more lately. Why do I do it? Quite simply, I've come to realise that mums have to laugh at ourselves, laugh at our babies and laugh at life's challenges to get through it all. As a mum, nothing takes our cares away more than hearing how another mum dealt with an explosive nappy in the supermarket, and then sharing a similarly funny story about finding a newly mobile baby about to swallow a piece of sodden cardboard bitten from one of his favourite books.

That being said, it does bother me and here's the reason why.

I remember what it was like to look to the future through rose tinted glasses with many a romantic vision about becoming a mother, and how quickly those happy visions would dissipate when I'd hear those "funny" stories that would, quite frankly, freak me out. I resented some of the mothers that would openly share what could only be described as horror stories. In actual fact, had I not been so intent on having children, some of those stories could have put me off completely. The reality is, more and more young couples are choosing lifestyle over families for this very reason.

After discovering all of the beauty and happiness of being a mum firsthand, Latte Mum was born out of a desire to share more positive and uplifting stories that might tip the scales back into a real and balanced position. I feel very strongly about this and hate to think I'm contributing to feelings of horror in any future parents.

Picture taken from free Google images
So, in an attempt to reclaim some balance on the scales and bridge the gap between us, here's what I want to say to both sides...

To the mums (myself included):
Newsflash - it wasn't socially acceptable to talk in public about bodily fluids, horror medical situations or bedroom antics before you were a mum, and nothing's changed! The couple at the table next to you don't want to hear it, and neither do your pre-parent girlfriends (you know, the ones that saw you for a couple of months post-baby but have mysteriously stopped calling)! I'm a massive fan of Mothers Groups and connecting with other parents as I think it's essential to share ideas, gain advice and support, we just need to be more mindful of who else is in earshot. I'm sure in your sleepy state you're keen to give a reality check to those yet to step into parenthood, but why can't they keep their rose tinted glasses on for a little longer? Anyway, when the time comes they'll no doubt get through their own unique parenting experience in the same way you have - step by step, day by day.

To the not-yet-mums:
Take any parenting horror stories you hear with a grain of salt. The "negative" stories you're hearing are mostly funny to us, and it's unlikely anything is being said to you with the intention of putting you off parenthood. Truth be told, becoming a mum is incredible, life changing, uplifting and joyful - and most mums will agree with me. For every sleepless night, there's a thousand smiles, giggles, hugs and beautiful moments that erase any negativity in a heartbeat - you will find out soon enough.

*Do you have any words of advice or pointers for mums and not-yet-mums to keep in mind?

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Fighting the frump

I have a confession. Lately I've been more Whatever Mum than Latte Mum. I don't know how or when it happened, but I've suddenly realised that I now find it perfectly acceptable to leave the house with vegemite smeared on my pants and the faint smell of old milk on my top.

I swore this would never happen to me.
So, I made a real effort for Mothers Group this past week. I slathered a face mask on the night before, pulled out a bright polish to pop on my nails and even washed my hair. Do you want to know the results?

- It took longer than usual to get out the door to playgroup (surprise, surprise)
- Bubs was more impatient than ever to get in his pram and outside (surprise, surprise, surprise)
- I got a few random looks from the construction workers down the road (not ideal)
- Everyone in my lovely Mothers Group was busy xmas shopping or back at work, so there was noone to appreciate the fruits of my labour anyway (oh well)
- My bright nails in particular did make me feel a bit happier (small win, I guess?)

It's funny though isn't it? We can be sooooo adamant about how we will act in situations before we've ever experienced it, only to find that the masses were right all along once we're actually there. I mean, I entertained romantic ideas of dressing my baby in pristine white designer outfits every time we went out for coffee and me carrying some kind of new-mother halo / glow wherever I went. Well, I guess I've succeeded if an overwashed-white-onesie-that's-now-beige and concealer-under-tired-eyes counts?!

The thing is... I just love it here. I love having vegemite on my pants. It means I've cuddled my baby without worrying about what mess he has on his fingers. It means I care more about life than what I look like (most of the time). It means I'm a mum, a very proud mum.

*Tell me, is there anything you swore you would or wouldn't do as a parent that you've changed your mind on?

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Homemade Christmas Cards

Here are some easy peasy Christmas card designs that you can get the whole family involved with - from toddler to teenager and beyond. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them!

This Christmas will be my first as a mum. I’ll get to watch my little one unwrap his first present, taste a little bit of Christmas pudding and maybe even pull on a bonbon. I can’t wait. But with his first birthday happening just four days later, it’s more important than ever that I keep this holiday season hassle-free to avoid an anxiety attack.

As such, I’ve been focusing on the special but straightforward touches that will add some extra sparkle to Christmas this year. One of which are these fun, festive and easy peasy homemade Christmas cards that I created with the help of my baby boy. I’ve shared three different design ideas that are ideal for kids of all ages (literally from toddler to teenager) – Rudolph, a pop-out Christmas tree, and a Christmas stocking complete with candy canes. These homemade delights are always a crowd pleaser, so get cracking!

Before you start: Be a safe mum as well as a fun one! Definitely get the kids involved, but make sure an adult is on hand to help and supervise.

· Scissors
· Pencil and eraser
· Black marker pen
· Stapler
· Glue stick and glue suited for thicker card (I used UHU Clear Gum)
· Kids craft paint and a sponge roller
· Coloured card (I used red and green)
· Coloured paper for the Rudolph card (I used dark brown, beige and red)
· White transparent paper for the stocking card (but plain white will do)
· Sparkly, fun, decorative stickers or any other embellishments you’d like to use (like glitter and googly eyes for Rudolph)

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer:
1. Take a piece of card (I used red), score and fold in half
2. Draw the outline of Rudolph in pencil - I simply drew a small semi-circle on top, connected to a larger semi-circle on bottom, with large circle mouth area, small circle for nose, ears and straight antlers – leave enough space for the hand prints at the top
3. Use roller to roll-on paint to little hands (I used yellow), then stamp hand prints on top of antlers
4. Wait for paint to dry
5. Rip small pieces of coloured paper then use glue stick to stick onto Rudolph – I used dark brown for the face, beige for the mouth area and ears, and red for the nose (of course)!
· Variation –decorate Rudolph using markers, coloured pencils and different materials
6. Wait for glue to dry
7. Use a black marker pen to go over your pencil lines to give Rudolph definition, and then finish off with googly eyes (or simply draw-in eyes) – voila!

3D Christmas Tree:
1. Take a piece of green card, score and fold in half
2. Make a Christmas tree template on a separate piece of card and cut out (I used this one:
3. Use a pencil to trace the outline of the tree template onto your card, allowing enough room at the top for the hand painted star
4. Use roller to roll-on paint to a little hand (I used yellow), then stamp at the top of the tree to make the star
5. Wait for paint to dry
6. Fold card back in half so that the pencil template is on the outside, then use scissors to cut the curvy lines that signify each layer of the tree (don’t cut the sides)
7. Fold each of those layers back and forth on the sides to create a definite fold
8. Push tree inside the card, so that it’s inverted and pops out (when you close the card you should see a gap where the tree once was)
9. Use a piece of coloured paper to stick to the outside of your card (I used red), and add a Christmas message
10. Use stickers and embellishments to decorate the Christmas tree – done!
· Variation – if you’re giving this card to a child, why not include some of the stickers with the card so they can decorate the tree themselves!

Christmas Stocking:
1. Take a piece of red card, score and fold in half
2. Take a piece of white transparent paper (or plain white) and fold in half
3. Use roller to roll-on paint to little hands (I used red), then allow them to stamp and finger paint one side of the transparent paper
· Variation –decorate with glitter, coloured pens and stickers instead
4. Make a simple stocking template on a separate piece of card and cut out
5. Use a pencil to trace the outline of the stocking template on the non-decorated side of the transparent paper
6. Use scissors to cut out stocking to give you two mirror-image stocking shapes
7. Staple the two stocking shapes together, leaving the top of the stocking open and ensuring the decorated side is on the outside
8. Use glue suitable for card to stick the stocking to the front of your red card, ensuring the decorated side faces outwards
9. Allow for glue to dry, and then pop a candy cane or two inside – yum!
· Variation – include cash or vouchers in the stocking if you’re feeling generous

*Are there any other homemade Christmas card designs you particularly love? Feel free to comment or message me with any ideas or questions you have on the above.

Note: This post first appeared on Be A Fun Mum - check it out for many more amazing ideas for the home and family.

Monday, 3 December 2012

What a year

I cannot believe it's December. Later this month my baby will celebrate his first Christmas, turn 1 and then say goodbye to the most eventful of years. It has been, without doubt, the most important year of my life. A year filled with experiences that have forever changed me and sent me spinning down a path that I never imagined existed.

Before the last of 2012 fades, I wanted to remember this momentous year with a single photo that represents it all. What a year it has been.

I watched the New Years fireworks on TV in hospital, with tears in my eyes and a beautiful newborn baby asleep in his cot (the first baby born in Australia in 2012 was just down the hall from us.). I felt like those fireworks were meant for me, and I feel fireworks in my heart every time I look at that wee face.
For all the twists and turns, highs and lows, giggles and cries this year, I will be forever thankful that I got to experience it all.

Here's one more photo with a festive twist. From my family to yours, Merry Christmas. I'll be back very soon with a crafty idea that will get the kids busy for the holiday season, stay tuned!

First Christmas and first birthday coming up!
 *What are you thankful for this year?