Your baby will sleep…….I promise

Baby Sleep
Thanks so much to Sovereign for sponsoring this post.  As part of their #lifetakecharge campaign Sovereign have identified sleep, along with eating well, exercise and happiness, as four essential pillars to well being and I couldn’t agree more!

Sleep (and in many cases, the lack thereof) can be all consuming, markedly more so when you are juggling your own sleep requirements with those of a baby or toddler!  Being awake {usually multiple times} in those strange, dead hours of the night is weird, it wrecks havoc on your brain and body which desperately needs rest and recovery after the physical, emotional and mental strain of welcoming your new baby.  Tending to your child with some degree of parental prowess after being screamed awake at 3am is surely one of humanities most under-rated tasks, though new parents are blessed {?} with that instant hyper-alert awakeness that only your crying child can evoke.  I’m 10 years deep in this parenting gig, and the sound of my eldest son stirring in the night can still wake me from twenty paces I kid you not.

When I think back 16 short months to Nixon’s hazy newborn days, the one thing I regret is stressing so much about how much sleep he was getting, or not getting.  With some hindsight, and a slightly less foggy brain, I have realized that his wee micro-naps of half an hour here and there suited him perfectly in that transitional first three months.  He has always been an excellent sleeper at night (except for the first month post-op) and a hyper-vigilant somewhat rubbish sleeper during the day.  Obsessing and counting the minutes he slept did nothing to help either of us move past each difficult sleep regression and milestone.
What did help in the early days was a pencil and notebook.

I started recording the basic details of his day; wake up times, feeding times, alert times, sleep times.  What emerged was a pattern that I recognised immediately as our eldest son had blissfully nursed himself to sleep for the best part of his first 6 months, every nap and every bedtime.  This worked beautifully for Ethan and I but it wasn’t working with Nixon.  I switched things around to a pattern of wake, feed, play, sleep – with only a small comfort nurse before naps and bedtimes.  This ensured that Nix went to bed awake and quickly settled himself to sleep.  Previously his hyper-vigilance would result in him waking after around 15 minutes if I popped him to bed after falling asleep while nursing.

Figuring out a daytime schedule that worked for us set us up for wonderful sleep patterns at night – mostly.  I fully believe that sleep encourages more sleep.  To this day Nix will have a disturbed, unsettled sleep at night if he has not slept well during the day.  We definitely went through some rough patches where Nixon would wake every two hours wanting to nurse back to sleep, and these nights were the  l o n g e s t  and hardest of my life.  I cried and I totally bitched at Dave because he couldn’t do a damn thing for a baby that only wanted me and my milk.  

By 9 months I knew Nixon was old enough (and I was brave enough!) to start cutting down those dreaded night feeds.  Dave and I made a plan, we woke together, watched the clock, knew how long we would let Nix attempt to settle himself and we knew what we would do if things weren’t going to plan.  Four days later and we had a baby sleeping through the night.

This all went out the window after multiple hospital stays and Nixon’s pull-through operation, but we revisited our night-time strategy and within a week, bub was back on track and we were once again getting an acceptable amount of sleep.

As I mentioned previously, getting Nix to sleep during the day used to cause me so much anxiety.  It’s taken 16 months but I’ve pretty much got it under control, this week anyway!  Before naptime we read a book, change Nixon’s nappy, get the cot and sleep sac ready, pull the blind and settle down for a quick breast-feed in the same spot.  Every.  Single.  Time.  Nixon knows what’s going on, there are no surprises and sleep usually follows.  

Finding a good routine is hard, and trying to adhere to one can sometimes make you feel like a big, boring stickler, but I truly believe that a consistent routine helps babies, toddlers and big kids sleep and sleep well.  

Bon nuit xx

 

 

This is why we can no longer be friends on Facebook

Facebook Unfriend
When I was 21 I quit my Masters program, packed up and headed to the states by myself on my OE.  I initially spent three months as an au pair in California before I headed south-east to Florida where I would remain for three years – and meet my future husband for the first time.

I really consider these years in the south to be the most formative, and some of the best in my life so far.  I met so many amazing people, many of whom I consider to be some of my best friends, people with beliefs and backgrounds so fundamentally different to my own that there were certain subjects that could never, ever be broached for fear of our differences coming between our friendship.

One of these people is a lovely guy, ex-military, very far right-conservative {whereas I am an Obama loving liberal!}.  A couple of weeks ago he posted a video on FB showing IS soldiers torturing tiny naked babies, probably murdering them but there is no way I could watch until the end.  I didn’t choose to watch this btw, Facebook’s autoplay feature was enabled so I glimpsed enough to bring me to tears before I was able to hide this obscene footage from my timeline.

I have thought about this every day.  It shreds my heart a little more each time I think of what those sick bastards are doing over there.  I wholeheartedly support the USA in their efforts to obliterate this terrorist threat that is recruiting soldiers from every corner of this world.  I am proud that the New Zealand Prime Minister is committing troops to the war effort – we don’t have military so they can sit around twiddling their thumbs after all!  I am aware.  I watch the news daily, I read the papers daily, I KNOW what those sick f*cks are doing to women, children and other innocent civilians.  My head is not in the sand.

What I do not need, is to see my friends post videos of women being stoned to death and babies being murdered.

No-one in the world should have to bear witness to the murder of another human being.  No-one.

I should not have to witness this via trivial, arbitrary social media.  Reposting footage of someones death, even in times of war is no different to watching a snuff film – except it’s free.  Death is not cheap.  Life is not cheap.  Sharing these videos does not increase peoples ‘awareness’ of the issues, all it does is numb us all , relegating someones life to a measure equal to grumpy cat and ice bucket challenges.

You were almost incensed by my message to you, in which I implored you to stop posting these videos, suggesting I unfriend you.

So I have.  I know you don’t care, that you see me as ‘close-minded’ or whatever.

You’re still my friend, just not on Facebook x

Hello Nixon | Some nights, Mummy drinks bourbon

I pretty sure I’m going to rebrand the blog, possibly considering “The Screaming Toddler & The Barking Dogs”.

What do we think?

Tuesday sucked.  And then there was today.

I spent ALL day yesterday in the kitchen without cooking a damn thing.  Just trying to clean the bastard……..whilst saying “Nixon get down. Nixon get down, NIXON GET DOWN” on repeat.  Kid can climb on the bench where he likes to sit and eat avocados like apples, only he spits out little pieces of skin as he runs around the house as I try and catch him.  No really, it’s so cute.  Right.

We had a catch up today with some friends I’ve known since high school, so you know, I was expecting it to be a relaxed affair.  It totally was {in terms of the lovely adult company} but I think I left with one last, raw nerve jangling and zinging as if I was tightrope walking on a live power line.  Nix just ran me ragged, nothing out of the ordinary, just a constant state of up-end someones water in the house, bee-line down to the driveway, try and rappel down the retaining wall, climb UP the slide while others are trying to go down, back to the driveway, throw a fit because your hot-wheels won’t drive in the grass, throw a fit because you’ve eaten all of your lunch and Mum’s pantry is at home, throw a fit because that’s the WRONG side, you wanted to feed on the other side, try your hand at the retaining wall again…….

I couldn’t wait to leave.  Isn’t that terrible.  I loved seeing my friends but the baby wrangling is HARD right now.  

Mum helped me re-arrange the living room this afternoon so his bench climbing days are now over.  We never baby-proofed for Ethan, yet every small thing I remove, lock or lock-down for Nixon makes my chest relax just a little bit more.

I think I need more mummy training.  I have a ‘spirited’ little baby who’s default attire should include a safety helmet.  Also, if he’s going to insist on mowing back avocados sans utensils {or adult supervision} he’s going to have to just learn to like the skin, am I right?

Good Advice | Stop Caring so much

Radio Hauraki is pretty much a part of my DNA. I grew up listening to Dad rock out to DJ Kevin Black playing Dire Straights, Led Zeppelin and ACDC while cruising in his ute, albeit horribly embarrassed by his ute as a teenage girl is prone to be! I always loved Dad’s music though. Now I’m all grown up I still listen to Hauraki though it has transitioned from classic rock into Melissa and Dave’s Ultimate alt/indie/pop rock station, which I LOVE.
I never considered my staple radio station to be a source of blog inspo, but I was driving to my hair appointment yesterday morning when I heard the best piece of advice given by the on-air dj;

Stop caring so much

The story went something like this; the dj had been having trouble sleeping for an entire week, so instead of worrying and stressing about it he decided to roll with it, grab an amaze book and make being awake in the wee small hours productive but still relaxing. Basically he decided to stop caring and accept the situation as a temporary bump in the road and try and find some positives in being awake at all hours.

Lightbulb.

  • Still eating carbs when everyone else is on the raw food/paleo/live on cashews and dates kick?
    Who cares? Make some scones.
  • Your blog’s not getting noticed, your stats are stagnant, and PR’s be like ??
    Who cares? Write on sister you didn’t start writing so PR peeps would read you blog {’cause they won’t} so don’t lose track.
  • Your kid is as addicted to Minecraft as you are to Instagram.
    Who cares?  Minecraft has excellent redeeming educational properties and if you have found a community of friends on IG go and hang with them when you need to.
  • Short poppies hating on your success and got you feeling self-conscious and stressy?
    Rise above. And stop caring of course.

“Lions don’t lose sleep over the opinions of sheep”.

Namaste blog readers, namaste.

Giveaway {closed} | Sealord Hot Manuka Smoked Salmon

Sealord Hot Manuka Smoked Salmon just took out the Massey University Supreme Award at the 2014 New Zealand Food Awards! It is New Zealand’s most distinguished food award, so naturally they’re pretty stoked and want to celebrate.
I have two luscious packs to give away, each containing a Sealord cooler bag, apron and recipe book and one of each of the three Hot Manuka Smoked Salmon flavours!

Just head over to The Best Nest’s Facebook Page, LIKE us and tag a friend in the comments section under that drool-worthy salmon pic, comp ends 22/10/2014 Good luck!

Show and Tell | Vintage Deck Chair Revival

Vintage Deck Chair

Aren’t these chairs simply the poster child of summers past? My Poppa is in full spring clean mode and de-cluttering everything so I was super stoked to find two of these classic deck chairs in his garage just waiting for another summer with our family. I LOVED the original canvas but 35+ years of New Zealand sun had well and truly finished these beauties off. Pop purchased these from the original Farmers Department Store on Hobson St – I have such great memories of that building and our family shopping trips there.
I had really good intentions about buying UV stable canvas as recommended by my Aunty but…….I saw this Mexican woven cotton canvas in Spotlight and knew it was a deal-breaker. It was cheap and perfect for me so if I have to replace it in a few years so be it, the chair frames may not even last that long anyway.
So, to make the seats a little bit stronger I folded the length of fabric in half, whizzed a quick seam down the side and then used small nails at close intervals to attach the fabric to the frame.
And, it worked!
These are the most comfortable chairs ever, very happy to have finished this wee project off before summer hits (I’ve had the fabric stashed for maybe 6 months or so!).

Vintage Deck Chairs
Joining in with lovely Leonie at Sunshine x 3

Cook Eat | Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Brioche Recipe

 

These puppies are bad news brown.  Don’t make them then come crying to me all like “I’ve put on 27 kilos because of BRIOCHE”.  I know, I feel your pain, now eat you pain away, brioche makes everything better x

The basic dough recipe is from the Little and Friday Cookbook – Celebrations, the method is mine x

This is not a quick recipe so stick with scones if you’re in a hurry. 

Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Brioche
Print
Ingredients
  1. 550ml milk
  2. 3 tsp instant dry yeast
  3. 6.5 cups flour
  4. 3 tsp salt
  5. 1/2 cup caster sugar
  6. 3 eggs
  7. 140g diced butter
Instructions
  1. - In a saucepan heat milk over medium heat until lukewarm, remove from heat and sprinkle yeast over. Stir until dissolved.
  2. - Place dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Using an electric beater with dough hook, mix at low speed.
  3. - Add yeast mixture and eggs to bowl, continuing to mix at low speed until a sticky dough forms. (This was all my mixer could handle, the dough is very tough and sticky so I finished the rest by hand).
  4. - Stop mixer and scrape down dough from sides of bowl. Increase to medium and mix for 10 minutes until dough is elastic and shiny and pulls away from edge of bowl. If doing this by hand, tip dough onto bench and knead for 10 minutes.
  5. - Gradually add butter.
  6. - Cover bowl with a tea towel and leave dough to prove/rise until it has almost doubled in size, it's now ready to use.
  7. Here I divided the dough in two as I wanted to try two different rolls.
  8. - Roll each half out into a rectangle approx. 50cm x 30cm
  9. - Spread melted butter on each and sprinkle liberally with a mix of brown sugar and cinnamon
  10. - Roll half the dough lengthwise and cut into pinwheels approx 3cm thick
  11. - I cut the other half into short strips and tied in knots.
  12. - Place rolls in greased muffin tins and let rise for half an hour or so until dough is puffy again
  13. - Bake at 180° for 12-15 minutes
Notes
  1. I preferred the pinwheel option best.
  2. These freeze beautifully for lunchboxes.
Adapted from Little & Friday Celebrations
Adapted from Little & Friday Celebrations
http://www.thebestnest.co.nz/

 

Back on Track | 78 Days Left

Sunset at my houseWhat’s been happening since we last spoke guys? Have you got your shit together? Ticked everything off your lists and made new ones? I hope so. I mean we all know that we can sit around and wait for change, for the moon and the stars to align with that winning lotto ticket but seriously, the quickest way to effect change is to BE the change.  Man that sounds fruity but I can honestly say since penning my initial 100 Days left post I have given myself an awesome kick-start and made some changes I’m really happy with.
So. In saying that, time to be accountable! What have I been up to?
1. Finances
 – Boy have I stopped spending. Which is awesome as we are in the midst of waiting for that first monthly pay-check after previously being paid weekly. We have also had a couple of big bills come up so a revamp of the finances couldn’t have come at a better time really. I haven’t taken a look at the budget yet, but that is top of my To-Do list.

 – I have opened another savings account and set up an auto payment to start saving for our 2015 winter holiday. Having something to look forward to is nice and very important as an individual and as a family I think.

2. Health
 – I went cold turkey and kicked the chocolate problem into touch. I was pretty surprised that I was able to do it so easily, without any major headaches etc. 10/10 on that one! Alcohol consumption is down a little. Not as much as I’d like but this week has started off well and Dave and I are on a mission to continue!

 – We have always been an active family but maintaining daily exercise is a recognised and agreed upon priority for everyone.  We are all supporting and helping each other find the time for our daily run or walks.

3. House & Home
Things have been cranking at home. We have stopped procrastinating and started doing. This has been helping knock some big projects off as well as totally increasing productivity on just the day to day family level. I’m trying to instil into Dave and Ethan the old trick of looking around as you leave a room to see if there is anything that belongs in the direction in which you’re heading. This would help a lot with keeping things a bit tidier.

4. Blog
Ahhh. Blogging kind of feels like a Bathurst race (or something equally as epic, not lol). I find I build up steam, get a really good run going with some great content, get my writing mojo cranking, peeps are stoked and commenting and sharing and there are butterflies just flying out of the computer screen…………….. And then life gets in the way (and Nixon quits napping, and school holidays are holidaying yadda yadda). And then nothing. So frustrating.  I can’t see this changing really, unless I set aside some serious weekend hours to schedule posts and try to get ahead.  My plan of getting up a bit earlier to blog has given way to exercise which has to be the priority.  So I’m still muddling through.

So that’s that.  It’s so great to see what you’ve all been up to on Twitter and Instagram, making little changes here and there.  Life hacks, we all need them now and then x

Project 52 | 41/52

“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014.”

Nixon and Digger

nixon: so, dad took you to farmer’s unsupervised and despite offering you ‘numerous smaller toys’ this large digger was apparently all that your little heart desired.  i can’t even imagine what life would be like if we had a girl!

Tired Ethan

ethan: i have never, ever seen you this tired.  the second week of the school holidays was even busier than the first and after a series of sleep-overs and playdates plus a dinner party with friends last night i am quite sure that you have milked every second from the last two weeks.  the best thing is, you are still smiling.  right now as i type {at 7pm}, you are practising wrestling moves on the trampoline, smiling, happy, grubby and tired x

linking with www.practisingsimplicity.com

Project 52 | 40/52

“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014.”

Nixon Eats Marmite Scroll

nixon: the eating.  my god.  you never stop with the hangry.  food, milk, water all of the time.  your dad and i baked a big batch of marmite and cheese and ham and cheese scrolls to pop in the freezer just for you and your massive appetite.  your feet are also massive.  the future does not bode well for our grocery bill.

Indoor Climbing Aucklandethan: first week of the holidays went swimmingly!  we made a list of all the things we wanted to do and it 100% obliterated the boredom, plus had the awesome effect i was hoping for: “mum, these are the BEST holidays ever!”.  and you know what?  we had a total stay-cation that week, spent minimal money and had two happy boys {sometimes more} all week.  i will totally be making an activity list every school holidays from now on.

linking with www.practisingsimplicity.com