IMG_1822So Elroy is now 10 months old.  He’s more active now than ever before and soaking in everything he sees and touches.  He’s commando crawling like lightening and distracted as easily as he is bored with his toys and books.

He’s getting very good at picking himself up and wants to be on his feet as much as possible.

It’s becoming very clear to me that we’re both ready for a bit more than just being home together. Yesterday I took him for a walk around One Tree Hill to get some exercise in and also to look at the animals there.  He loved it.  It was really good for both of us.  But Today, I woke up feeling really tired and didn’t have the energy to do much.  I feel guilty that I am not embracing my role as a “Stay At Home Mom” by spending the day cooped up inside the house.

I only have a little over 2 months left before I return to work.  It’s going to be really hard to leave Elroy in someone else’s care but at the same time it’s becoming really clear to me that he’s ready for so much more than what I can offer at home.  I’m also ready to return to work and keep busy during the day.  Although renovations have taken a lot of my time, I need the structured stress and deadline that work provides.

I plan on actively scheduling in activities for Elroy while I am at home the next couple of months.

  • Wriggle and Rhymes on Thursday mornings if it fits in with Elroy’s nap schedule
  • Coffee group
  • Walk at One Tree Hill or the Domain

I’m going to miss him lots but as a parent, I want him to be happy and participate in life in all aspects.  Socialising and interacting with other kids is definitely the right step towards this.

I had one of those super productive mornings where I woke up, tied up my running shoes and went for a 5K run.  Well, it’s more like a jog at my pace but the point is that I got my heart rate up and broke into a good sweat despite the cold.   Why did I decide to torture myself so early on a cold Winter’s morning?  Well, I’d like to say for good health but really, it’s because I’m vain and I’m wanting to lose some of this post pregnancy flab plus more.

I went to a class Today for new parents.  The class ended up being cancelled as the facilitator mixed up the venue.  But what I found interesting was sitting there with about 15 other moms who were all about my age with babies with the same age as Elroy.  Almost everyone there looked like they were still carrying a bit of their post pregnancy flab.  Some girls were dressed up a bit more than others but they still looked a bit pudgy here and there.  I’m not being critical here, I too am one of those girls just a tad bit pudgy for my liking.

I thought that seeing these girls would make me feel better about my own body image.  But it actually didn’t.  It made me realize that I don’t want to be carrying this extra body weight. Yes I am being a little bit vain, but I really want to fit into some of my old clothes.  The media often says positive body image means being proud of the way you look no matter what size you are.  Yes there is some truth to this, but what is wrong with wanting to be slim and toned so that your flabby bits don’t poke out over your jeans?

I don’t cringe at the sight of my body in the mirror, but I do want to look better.  Will my body image improve as a result of losing a bit of weight?  Absolutely.

So with this in mind, I’m making a declaration that I want to lose about 5 kilos.  Other moms out there might be happy carrying around their post pregnancy flab, but I want more.

ImageAs of yesterday, Elroy is 4 months old.  Since my last update at 7 weeks, he’s grown so much.  One thing that we have struggled with over the last 2 months is his eczema.  It started with a red fungus of sort behind his ear and quickly spread to red flaky patches over his face and body.  Poor little guy was constantly scratching his face because eczema is dry and itchy.

The funny thing is that my own eczema also started to flare up at the same time.  I haven’t had a flare up in a long time but it started on my neck and jawline and over my eyelids.  So as with anything, we went to the Doctor.  She prescribed a concoction of creams and lotions and told me to complete an elimination diet as baby eczema is often caused by a food allergy.

I did as the Doctor said and embarked on a 3 week elimination diet taking out wheat/gluten, nuts, and dairy.  After 3 weeks, I am to add one of the eliminated food groups back.  I grumbled and complained but completed it for 3 weeks and saw some improvement in his eczema.  What I wasn’t expecting was my own digestion to improve.  The constant bloating disappeared as well as the feeling of heaviness after meals.

At the end of the 3 weeks, I added back gluten and wheat.  This led to an instant flare up of eczema on Elroy as well as some digestive discomfort for me.  I found the whole experiment to be fascinating in that it was a mini science experiment that helped me to tune into my body.  I’m still amazed that taking out wheat/gluten has alleviated symptoms that I have been trying to fix with so many creams, lotions, and oils.  I’m also amazed at how much better I feel personally by removing wheat and gluten from my diet.

It’s hard to tell for sure if Elroy’s eczema is caused purely by wheat/gluten allergy as we also made environmental changes by switching our laundry detergent and getting a new air filter for the home ventilation system.  I’ll keep experimenting by adding in wheat/gluten again to see if it results in more symptoms.

I always considered myself a health conscious individual.  But becoming a mother has highlighted this even more.  You hear stories of mothers who overhaul their family’s diet for the sake of health.  I always thought this kind of eating and living was a bit obsessive, but now I understand.

In a way, I have really enjoyed the 3 week elimination diet.  It has sparked up my passion for cooking again through careful meal planning and trying out different recipes.  Yes it’s harder to eat out but I haven’t felt like I’m missing out in any way.  Gluten free is so trendy these days that there is always an alternative.  And Elroy’s smile is well worth the sacrifice.

IMG_6378I can’t believe it’s already been 7 weeks since Elroy was born.  Motherhood so far is all-encompassing and oh very complex that it’s hard to put into words.  It’s as true as the clichés that you read about in magazines and books but also unlike anything that I expected.

The first few weeks were very surreal.  Leaving Birth Care in the morning just a few hours after giving birth.  It was about 7 in the morning and people were starting to come to work.  I remember zoning out to the rest of the world and my focus on Elroy and getting him safely to the car.  At Birth Care, I slept but not a very deep sleep despite being up all night.  It’s like the mother’s instinct kicking in.  I can sleep but not so deeply that I can’t be there for Elroy.

There have been many frustrating moments.  I spent the first few weeks pouring through blogs documenting the first few weeks with a newborn.  I made comparisons.  I bought the Baby Whisperer’s book trying to find a way to give structure to our days.  When it didn’t work, I got mad.  I remember sobbing in the middle of the night after attempting to put Elroy to bed for 2 hours and failing.  Motherhood is a cliche in that it is really hard as everyone says.  I was doing well as everyone said.  90% of the time I was calm and collected.  But the remaining 10% is full of self doubt, guilt, and frustration.  I’m getting a lot more help than everyone else with my mom staying.  How am I going to cope alone?

Then somewhere in the next few weeks, things got better.  It’s like Elroy and I got to know each other.  We somehow figured out a nighttime routine that works for us.  Feed, change diaper, feed, and rock quickly to sleep.  It’s not easy getting up multiple times in the middle of the night, but at least now we know what to expect.

One of the most difficult aspects for me has been the lack of a schedule.  I’m desperate for routine and structure.  This is purely for selfish reasons so that I can schedule in things like exercise and coffee dates or even a trip to the store.  I remember taking Elroy to the grocery store when he was only a week old because I selfishly wanted to leave the house.  He was so uncomfortable in the car.

I’ve spent the majority of this week cooped up inside.  The weather is beautiful but Elroy has a cold so I’m taking extra precaution and keeping him inside.  This means I’m also stuck inside.  It’s not easy, but a small sacrifice to put an end to the sniffles.

But one smile from Elroy makes everything worth it.

IMG_596239 Weeks and 5 days pregnant as at Today.  The last post that I wrote was almost 9 months ago or really at the start of my pregnancy.

Being pregnant is like being on a roller coaster.  I want to reflect on this experience as it really is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.  And I know as time passes, you tend to forget.  So here goes.

First Trimester

I didn’t even realize I was pregnant until I started feeling sick.  Along with that came new sensations such as a strong whiff of someone’s perfume in the lift as well as the smell of food as I walked down the street.  I woke up one Saturday morning and went to the supermarket to buy a pregnancy test.  It came back positive.  In disbelief, I bought another test and it also came back positive.  Still in disbelief, I went to the Doctor who confirmed the pregnancy.  Well- I finally accepted that I was pregnant.

I spent the first 18 weeks consumed by nausea and throwing up daily.  I have a weird phobia about throwing up directly into the toilet so I threw up every night into an ice cream bucket.  The nausea was okay in the morning but got progressively worse as the days passed.  I switched my meals around so I was having salads and protein for breakfast to make sure that I was getting enough nutrients.  I spent most evenings barely able to keep any food down regardless of the fact that I was hungry.

I didn’t start to get excited until our second scan at 13 weeks.  There’s an actual baby growing inside of me.  I can see the head and the spine.  It’s now getting real.

Second Trimester

The nausea passed by 18 weeks which gave me a new burst of energy.  I also told everyone at work which was a huge relief.  Our families were beyond thrilled.  I don’t think my parents ever thought that they would be grandparents.

We found out at our 20 week scan and we’re having a boy.  I was so sure that we were having a girl, but the scan confirmed that it’s definitely a boy.

With the nausea gone, I started eating as I used to before I fell pregnant.  But I found that if I ate too much, then I was back to throwing up as my stomach had shrunk.  But really, after 18 weeks of throwing up, this was nothing.

Third Trimester

I envisioned that I would be so much bigger by the third trimester.  But it’s only in the last couple of weeks that I started to “pop.”  I’m really starting to feel the pregnancy with the bump getting bigger and bigger.

Sleeping is a challenge as I sleep with a giant body pillow as well as a normal pillow tucked between the legs.  Despite this, I spend all night tossing and turning.   I also wake up several times a night to go use the bathroom.  And the heat…it’s the middle of the summer and I don’t even bother sleeping with a duvet anymore.

Although I have a ton of energy in the morning, by the afternoon I’m definitely feeling tired.  I have been leaving work at 5PM on the dot.  I’ve been off work for 2 weeks now for some much needed rest.

I miss working out hard.  I miss going for jogs which have now turned into walks.  I miss being able to sleep on my back.  I am also running out of clothes to wear as the bump gets bigger every day.

D is working hard on the renovations.  Since we found out, he finished the main bedroom, toilet, and we’re now working on the bathroom.  The house is looking better and better each day.  My nesting instinct has kicked in hard and I spend my weekends cleaning and organizing.  I just want everything to be perfect.

It’s not long to go now and we’re both getting really excited.  I can’t wait to meet him and introduce him to the rest of the world.

I can’t believe that It’s been a month since we’ve been back from our holiday.  I’ve been a bit lazy and putting off writing on this blog.  But I’m keen to continue to write as it’s a nice way to look back as we tend to forget the little things in life.

New York was amazing.  I wanted to visit New York because it seems like so much more than a city. It’s the setting of so many movies and books.  It’s often a character in itself in stories and blogs.  It seems to be a place where writer flock to.  It seems to be a place where you can be totally anonymous but somebody at the same time.

I knew that I wanted the experience of living in New York City.  So we opted to rent an apartment from a reputable letting agency rather than an expensive hotel in Manhattan.  We ended up with a cute studio in Long Island City, Queens which is only a 7 minute subway ride to Manhattan.  And it ended up being 50% cheaper.

I loved the vibe of Long Island City.  It was mellow, the people were cool, and had a real community feel.  We also spent a bit of time in Brooklyn which was also really awesome.  I loved the old brownstone buildings with views of Manhattan.

Some trends I noticed in NYC:

  • French bulldogs.  I thought it was hilarious that a breed of dog is so trendy that every other dog you see is a French Bulldog.
  • Cupcakes.  Cupcakes everywhere in different themes and all sorts of flavors.
  • Toms vegan shoes.  They cost about ~$50 for a really basic pair of cloth shoes, but the idea is that all the profits go to charity.
  • Hipsters.  I talked about this in the last post of Downtown LA, but it was even more prevalent in NY.  In my opinion, Hipsters are those who mastered the art of trying not to look like you tried too hard (if that makes any sense).

My personal highlights from the trip:

  • Cindy Sherman exhibition at MOMA.  I first studied Cindy Sherman in high school and it’s interesting to have a look at her work now 10 plus year later as an adult and it makes so much more sense.
  • Our apartment in Long Island City.  It was such a cute place with good access to public transport.
  • Waking up in the morning, walking down to the local Deli for a Peanut Butter and Jam toasted Bagel with a big coffee for less than $5.00.  There will never be anywhere in Auckland where I can get the same.
  • Catching up with my friend Alex and hanging out in Brooklyn.  We went to a really neat concert with trapeze artists performing to a band.  Way cool.

I’ve been living in New Zealand coming up to 10 years. Although I come back once a year to visit my family, I haven’t lived here for a long time and the place has definitely changed. I know that I’ve also changed in the sense that I’m now in my early 30′s with responsibilities and a few more life experiences. But it’s still a strange feeling to feel like a tourist in my own home town.

D and I took the bus Today and went to Downtown LA. The place has changed so much since I left 10 years ago. It’s still littered with little shops around the fashion district and a wide array of ethic and fast food joints around the streets. But there is also a group of “hipsters” who live in the renovated lofts in Downtown LA walking their dogs especially around Gallery Row.

We had an amazing day walking around Downtown LA, taking random photos on Instagram and of course people watching. Some of the highlights from Today include:

  • St. Vincent’s Court- A little alleyway off Hill Street with a cluster of Greek restaurants and really cute looking buildings.
  • Hive Gallery- I saw the coolest paining of a bear dressed like a gangster.\
  • Raw Spicy Tuna Roll- made with almonds instead of rice. Tastes surprisingly like real sushi.
  • Dogs everywhere. A couple walking 3 bull dogs told us that all the apartments in the area allow dogs and there is a good community of dog lovers.

One thing is for sure. I need to go back and have another look at Downtown LA as one afternoon is not enough to soak up the atmosphere of the area.

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