a visit from the Connells

My best friend, Celia, and her hubby came to visit us this week, and we packed a whole lot of tourism into their 5 days!

Day 1

Auntie Celia & Uncle Chris arrived early Saturday morning, so after sleeping, we just had a lazy day. They played with Archer, I showed them Casuarina, and we had a picnic at the park.

IMG_3774

Day 2

We had a slow start, but in the afternoon we showed the Connells the Waterfront, and our pathetic excuse for a city. We also did the WWII oil storage tunnels which were smaller than I expected, but still sort of fun.

SONY DSC

IMG_3783

IMG_3786

After that, we headed to Mindil Markets, had chinese food, and headed to the beach to watch the sunset. Archer decided he wanted to go swimming, and I decided ‘why not?’, so he swam and rolled in sand – HUGE mess, but he had a blast, and that’s worth a little extra clean up.

IMG_3795

IMG_3801

IMG_3803

IMG_3836

Day 3

We started the day with a jumping crocodile cruise on the Adelaide River. After warning us that the time of day/weather might mean we didn’t see much, we ended up having an amazing cruise! We saw a few little ones, and BOTH of the HUGE ones that we had been warned that we might not see – worth every penny.

DCIM100GOPRO

DCIM100GOPRO

DCIM100GOPRO

IMG_3839

SONY DSC

After the cruise, we headed to the Wildlife Park, and Archer showed the Connells his favourite spots.

SONY DSC

IMG_3840

After naps all around, we headed to our favourite restaurant – you just can’t beat the view.

sun

dinner

Day 4

Kakadu.

really early start because it takes 3 1/2 hours to get to Kakadu, but we eventually made it, and Archer napped in the car.

IMG_3817

IMG_3843

SONY DSC

We only ended up being able to really hit one spot, but it was amazing. We just underestimated how huge the park is, and how much you need a 4×4 to get to most of the places. If you had more time, and a 4×4, I’m sure it would be awesome, but I’m happy to stick with Litchfield, which is only 90mins away from us.

IMG_3832

As well as the super cool rock painting walk, we hit a few of the visitors centres. Archer was insane every time we got out of the car because he’d been bottling all of his energy during the drive, so he was running all over the place – cute, but difficult to wrangle.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

IMG_3844

After lunch at the famous Jabiru bakery, we headed home and played chinese checkers with Celia.

IMG_3845

Day 5

totally exhausted from our previous adventures, we had a welcome day at home. We all vegged, and played with Archer.

Then we made a feast, put on our gear, and watched Origin game 2. After that painful loss, the main event – Offspring! Celia and I LOVE this show, and we usually text each other during it (made annoying by a half-hour time difference), but we’ve never gotten to watch it together! It was awesome; the perfect end to a great trip.

IMG_3854 IMG_3856

We dropped the Connells back at the airport at midnight, and came home and crashed.

***

So glad that we’ll get to see them again when we come to Brisbane in TWO WEEKS!!!!

1 & 1/4

SONY DSC

Darling Archer,

Gee you are funny and delightful! Each day you do something new and usually weird, and I’m just blown away by the little person you are becoming. It is a joy to see you grow, sweet boy.

SONY DSC

~Eat~

You are still totally boob-obsessed and ask for it every single time I sit down, even if you only had it ten minutes earlier. It can get a bit frustrating, but I know it won’t last forever, that I’m lucky to be able to still be breastfeeding you, and that I will miss it when it’s gone.

As for solid food, you have gotten a bit better at eating. You still don’t eat much (probably because you’re full of milk), but you’re throwing it on the ground less. Tuna-pasta bake has been the most successful meal so far – you had 3 plate-fulls. You also had your first ice cream, which you loved, and when I gave you a chocolate bikkie today, you licked the crumbs off of the floor, so I think it’s safe to say that you enjoyed it.

I’ve been giving you cutlery each meal, and I think that’s helping to stop you throwing your food, and you’re getting better at using utensils!

SONY DSC

~Sleep~

I don’t want to jinx it. Let’s just say that it isn’t perfect, but it’s WAY better.

(If I put it in brackets, it won’t count, plus it’s boring and really only for me to remember in years to come) (you’re going down for all of your sleeps easily – I just put you in your bed and walk away! – and you sleep from about 7pm until 8am, with a wake ups around either 11pm, or 4am, sometimes both, sometimes neither)

The debate over one nap or two is still going, but it just really depends on the day, and fortunately you don’t seem too bothered with it changing around.

SONY DSC

~Speak~

None.

There’s plenty of babbling, and even words like mama, but they aren’t in context or consistent. You will say something (dada, tickle tickle, bubba) a few times, and then just stop one day and we never hear it again. I did get a video this week to send to daddy, and I asked you to wave to daddy, which you did, and then you said something that sounded remarkably like “hi daddy”, so I think you have the ability to speak, but you’re withholding – one day you’ll just come out with a full sentence.

You do understand SO much though. When I ask you to put something back, you {usually} do, when I ask you to put your baby to sleep, you try to put him into your cot, and when I say that it’s time to eat, you climb up into your chair.

SONY DSC

~Loving~

Outside – you stand at the door waiting to be let outside, or just watching the outside world, pretty much all day. I love that, but it’s SO hot in Darwin (even now in the Winter), so I can’t indulge you and just be outside all day.

Withholding affection – If I ask you to kiss anything (doll, a picture of someone, batman, a car, Alex, etc), you do it pretty much straight away, when I ask you to kiss me you turn and walk away. It’s funny, but it’s also kind of heartbreaking. Occasionally (like once a week) you give in, and my heart soars. You’re not very affectionate, little love, you’re just too busy for that I guess.

Cars – real ones, toy ones, tv ones. any kind of car, you love.

Animals

Water play of any kind

Running

Climbing

SONY DSC

~Hating~

Toads – there is a family of disgusting toads living in a hole in our yard. They jumped out and scared you one day, and since then, you avoid that spot, or you stare and point at it, as if warning me.

Loud noises – you still get scared of things like the blender or the garbage truck. you run for me (which I love), but then you want to investigate the scary noise as long as I’m with you, so really it’s love/hate.

SONY DSC

~Signature Moves~

Dancing – all day, everyday. Whenever music, or really sound of any sort, sometimes imaginary sounds that are just in your head, starts you dance. I love it.

Spinning – this is probably one of the things you do that you do all the time for like a week, and then cease to do entirely, but you spin and it is joyful.

‘Round and round the garden’ – this little rhyme, taught to you by your Meema, is your current favourite. It starts by touching your hand, then walks up your arm and tickles under your arm – you hold your hand out to me all day long, and you even sometimes do the whole thing to yourself (without the words of course, but with a giggle at the end).

Showing your tongue – when I ask you where your tongue is, it shoots out like a lizard, and then you hold it out for a little while – killer cute.

SONY DSC

You’re so wonderful, Archer Beck. You are {mostly} a very good listener, and a curious, happy, hilarious little boy. The few times that you don’t listen well, I have to refrain from laughing while putting you in time out because you’re funny even when you’re being naughty. You continue to injure yourself almost daily, but we have successfully avoided the emergency room since the last time, and we’re getting your energy out with a different activity/playgroup each day. You get quite quiet and observant when we go out, as opposed you your wild, haphazard home self – and this is very interesting to watch – you’re equal parts thinker to doer.

You are pure delight. Your smile lights my heart on fire, and your giggle makes my soul sing. You are my happy place sweet boy. I love you so much.

SONY DSC

Love, Mummy

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

 

lately

it’s busy and stressful over here, so I’ll just quickly compile a list of our latest happenings…

My mum came to visit. It was so nice to have company! We hit the markets, shops, wildlife park, waterfront, and dinner with the birthday twins!

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

IMG_3481

IMG_3513

IMG_3519

SONY DSC

IMG_3540

IMG_3534

Our beautiful bunny escaped and was attacked, and had to be put down. Archer loved her so much; he looked for her every morning, and wanted to play with her all day. He went outside yesterday after we got home from the vet, and looked all in her enclosure for her, then when he couldn’t find her, he picked some grass and held it through the fence to try and get her to come (he fed her grass every time) – heartbreaking.

IMG_3376

IMG_3380

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

I have one last assignment, which I REALLY don’t want to do, and then I’m free (until next semester). I’m hoping that once that’s out of the way, I will feel less stressed, but mostly I think this yucky feeling is coming from missing J. Oh well, it won’t last forever.

do i let him hurt himself?

I’m quickly coming to realise that up until now, I’ve really just been a full-time babysitter, not a parent. feed when hungry, cuddle when fussy, change when wet; the first year was really about meeting needs (and having fun), and I mostly found it pretty easy (yes, I was lucky). Real parenting has begun though; now he disobeys (with a cheeky grin), throws fits, and totally tests his boundaries, and for the first time I really feel completely out of my depth.

IMG_3121

Currently the issue is where to draw the line between neglectful, and hovering.

Let me paint you a picture…Archer has suddenly discovered a love of climbing. He walks from one chair to the next, pulls it out from the table with ease, and then climbs up on to it. Usually he stands there, just taking in his new viewpoint, and he’s pretty good at carefully getting down again, but he has fallen. This is a child who injures himself multiple times a day, and has been to ED more than once, and every time that he hurts himself I wonder whether I should remove every chair from our house, or put gates on everything, or even get him a helmet.

IMG_3135

I find myself stuck between my duty to protect this precious little person that has been entrusted to me, and my duty to nurture his creative, adventurous, and curious self.

IMG_3183

At the moment, I would rather suffer more injuries than squash his freedom to explore, and I know that there’s a balance between being too hands-off and too hands-on, and I’m just searching for that fulcrum (check out that use of a 6th grade science fair project – smooth).

IMG_3192

I would love to hear other people’s thoughts, or tips on this, because I’m pretty lost and trying to make it up as I go over here!

Mother’s Day {in pictures}

This year, we were missing Daddy, but I had a great day with my little man.

I let him sleep with me last night and he didn’t wake up unit 5am! Then he gave me a sleep in until 7:30 – score! Then I got my present – a kiss when I asked for one! (that never happens – I ask at least 500 times a day, and maybe once a week I get one and my heart soars).

IMG_3220

IMG_3223

IMG_3226

IMG_3227

After a perfect start to the day, we had bacon & eggs for breakfast…

IMG_3230

…then we headed to the waterfront. I thought there were markets on from 9-2, so I had visions of leisurely checking them out with Archer, then having a little swim and an ice cream picnic. But when we arrived, tents were only just being set up, so I must have gotten it wrong. So instead, we did the small walk around, then had a little swim and play in the sand. The ice cream shop wasn’t open, so we just took off – time for Archer to have a nap anyway.

IMG_3232

IMG_3235

IMG_3236

IMG_3237

On the way home, there was a group of motorbikes in front of us. Archer is obsessed with motorbikes, and he watched them with his mouth hanging wide open, as I stalked them for as long as I could.

IMG_3240

IMG_3241

I thought Archie would fall asleep in the car, so I planned on getting myself Maccas for lunch, but the bikes kept him awake, so I added a happy meal to the order and we had a Maccas picnic on the floor.

IMG_3243

IMG_3244

IMG_3245

IMG_3246

IMG_3249

IMG_3253

After Archer’s 2 hours long nap (score!), we headed to the park to play for a little while. I badly planned though, so it was the hottest part of the day and we didn’t stay long.

IMG_3257

IMG_3260

IMG_3261

IMG_3263

IMG_3264

IMG_3265

It was hot, so we bailed on the park and headed to Target to play with toys and pick up some super glue. I’m a sucker, so we left with a few things. The highlight was watching Archer run from aisle to aisle touching every single toy. He’d find one he really liked, and then refuse to leave its presence – cutest child alive.IMG_3267

IMG_3268

IMG_3269(really, I bought these for me)

IMG_3272

Tacos, & Archer’s favourite, corn for dinner.

IMG_3273

Bedtime stories with DaddyIMG_3274

Now I’m {going to} watch crappy tv & eat the chocolate sunday I saved from lunch, while procrastinating uni assignments.

Today was magical. Every day is magical. Getting to spend this time with my precious boy means everything to me – I am so blessed. So today while everyone was celebrating their Mums (and happy Mother’s Day to all of mine), I got to celebrate with the little guy who made me one – and it was perfect.

Being in the wars

It’s been an eventful week – we said goodbye to Daddy, and we spent some time in the Emergency Department – twice – for different things. This is that story, and like The Odyssey before it, it’s looooong, so consider yourself warned.

Visit #1

I’ve been keeping an eye on Archer’s sore finger, which is now lacking it’s nail, and it was pretty swollen and red, but we all kind of figured it was new, pink skin, and that it was normal, because he was still using it normally. Then Wednesday morning, we headed to playgroup, and while we were there, Archer hit his sore finger. Now, he hasn’t slowed at all since injuring it, he bumps it all day every day, but this time he must have really hit it, because he SCREAMED for a solid 5 minutes. When something really hurts him, he tries to run away, not knowing that the pain will come with him, it’s heartbreaking – and as I held him while he screamed, he was clawing at me trying to get away. It was horrible.

I calmed him down, we had a nice day, but I noticed that he wasn’t using his finger. Then as I was getting us ready for dinner (that was in the oven), Archer fell and started screaming, and fighting again. He was pulling at his finger, and it took me another 5 minutes to calm him down. The last doctor we saw said to watch out for him not using it, it getting really red, and if we were concerned, to take him to the ED. So after calls to J, and friends and my mum (who are both nurses), I decided that I would rather be the silly mother who took her son to ED for nothing, than the silly mother who didn’t take her son in when it was something. So I put dinner in the fridge, packed a bag and we headed to ED.

The minute we walked in, I knew it was a really busy night. We got triaged, I worried that they were judging me (I never should have worked in ED!), then we waited. It was bed time, and I had hoped Archer would sleep in the wrap, but no luck – there was too much to see, so he pretty happily just stayed in his wrap looking around. After about an hour, we were called through to a second waiting room, there were toys, so Archer played with some other injured kids while we waited about another hour.

Finally the doctor called us through, and had a look. He said he couldn’t be sure whether there was a little infection, but it didn’t look like a hugely worrying one. After I swore that it was more red and swollen than it was a week before, he decided to give us another X-ray. Once again, thank goodness for the wrap – Archer was able to stay strapped to my chest, in his safe place, throughout the exam, and the X-ray – it made everything SO much easier.

IMG_3032

The X-ray showed that the tiny tip of his bone actually had been broken, but they  didn’t seem at all concerned with that and said it would heal on its own. After discussing it with his boss, the doctor decided that the plastic surgeons didn’t need to see it, and that a round of antibiotics should take care of it – so we were sent home with a script. It was a really long night, but I’m happy we got it checked out.

Visit #2

This is turning out to be WAY longer than I thought – sorry! You have free will, and don’t have to continue reading, because visit 2 is way longer!

The next day, we were both tired, Archer had a 3 1/2 hour long nap (wish I’d slept too!), and then we headed to Alex (the birthday twin)’s house for dinner. The babies were adorable, playing together, eating together – pure magic. It was also really nice to have some company, and a nice way to unwind after our stressful night.

IMG_3045

IMG_3050

After the babies ate their dinner, they clearly needed a bath. So in they went, and more magic memories were made. Archer was trying to climb up the side, when his hands slipped out from under him, and his face cracked against the side of the bath. Now, Archer hits his head many times a day, and usually I just ask him if he’s alright, give him a little hug and he goes back to playing; but sometimes, you hear them and you know they’re bad. I immediately grabbed him out of the water, and then leaned back to have a look, dreading what I would see. Blood. Blood all over my precious boy’s face. This time I stayed calm, it certainly wasn’t as horrifying as his dangling finger, and I didn’t have J to take charge. So Tom wrapped us in a towel and I headed to the kitchen to have a better look.

Once the blood was wiped away, it looked like a small, but pretty open (if that makes sense) cut on his top lip. Tom (who’s a nurse) tried to have a look as best he could, and it looked like his tooth had gone through his lip – deep breath – so we had to go back to the ED. Archer had stopped crying at this point, and it wasn’t even bleeding anymore (he has exceptional clotting), so he was playing with Alex while I loaded up our stuff and we headed back to ED.

IMG_3087

A less busy night – yay! We only waited in the first waiting room for maybe 10 minutes after being triaged, then another {maybe} 40 minutes in the second waiting room. The nurse who had triaged us the night before kept walking by and staring at us – we’re memorable with our rainbow wrap – which was slightly amusing. The nurses were lovely and made Archer balloon animals with the gloves, and took his obs.

IMG_3089

Once the doctor saw us, he had a better look at Archer’s lip and said that it hadn’t gone through his lip (phew!), it was just bruised on the inside and split on the outside. Then the drama began. The question became whether to stitch it or not. It was too small to obviously need stitching, but potentially too big to just leave, plus, it was on his face. So plastics was called.

While waiting for plastics, the doctor from the previous night happened to walk by. He stopped and said “oh no! did his finger get worse!?”, and I replied “oh no, he just injured himself again, his finger actually looks a lot better today”. He had a look, and agreed that it looked better, then we had a little laugh about the fact that we were meeting with plastics after all.

The Plastics reg arrived, had a look, asked a bunch of questions, and then basically said that it would only need one stitch, but that because Archer would move around, and they need him to be still, he would need to be put under general anaesthesia, and so it was probably better to just wait and see how it heals, and if the scar is bad, he can have a scar revision when he’s older. “That’s what I would do, if it were my daughter” he said, “but I have to call my boss first”. So he took a photo, sent it to the plastics consultant, and then they chatted on the phone.

IMG_3091

When he came back, he said that his boss disagreed and felt that it needed to be stitched. The poor doctor was in a terrible position because he had to go back on his advice, so he told me to trust the consultant because he’d been doing it for longer and was more senior. So we did.

At first the plan was to go home, and come back in the morning, but after another chat with his boss, the reg said that we needed to be admitted overnight because Archer had to fast from midnight. So I agreed.

I had nothing, and I knew we’d be there for a long time, so I asked if I could go home and get stuff. They said yeah, so we raced home, quickly packed a bag, and raced back to Tom and Morgan’s, where we parked the car (they live close and I didn’t want to pay for parking for that long). We arrived back at ED, had more obs taken, and gave Archer his final boob, then headed upstairs.

The ward was one big room with curtains separating the patients. It was late so everyone else was asleep. We had a pull out chair/bed for me, next to a cot for Archer. ED gave the handover report, and all the ward nurses said;

“oh, it’s so small. why are they doing surgery?”

Finally we were left alone to sleep around midnight. Archer slept through nicely (I was nervous that he wouldn’t, and he’d wake all of the other hurt babies and tired mummies), but I was freezing, and woke up to all of the crying babies. At 4:30 am I finally gave up, got cleaned up, and watched some tv on my iPad. Around 6am, Archer woke up; it was still dark, everyone seemed to still be sleeping, and he was getting very cranky that he couldn’t have his morning boob. So I wrapped him and we did laps around the halls while I called and updated people. New nurses arrived for the day shift, and came in for hand-over, and said;

“oh, it’s so small. why are they doing surgery?”

IMG_3093

Somehow I managed to keep him relatively happy in spite of his hangry (hungry + angry) state, and true to their word that we would be first on the surgery list, we headed down to pre-op on time. Once there, nurses, interns, and the anaesthetist came to see him and talk to me; the nurse brought me theatre gear (shoe covers, hair covers, gown etc), the interns asked a whole bunch of pre-op questions, and the anaesthetist wanted to speak to me about the anaesthesia; the first thing they all said was;

“oh, it’s so small. why are they doing surgery?”

IMG_3098

At this point, after hearing that over and over again, I started to become very uncomfortable about doing this; the interns were checking for veins to put an IV into, and saying he’d be a difficult stick, and the anaesthetist was saying that there are studies suggesting that general anaesthesia in children under 2 can be damaging to their brains.

While I’m sure that the potential, small risk of general anaesthesia on a child is worth it in cases where surgery is necessary, I started to think that it wasn’t worth it just to potentially save my son a scar. The IVs, the sedation, the stitches, the recovery all started to make a tiny scar seem so insignificant, especially when the decision was being questioned by every single medical professional that saw him. So I voiced my concerns. I told the nurse, the interns, and the anaesthetist that I wanted to speak to the plastics guy before we proceeded because I needed to know whether this needed to be done.

He arrived and we proceeded to have a super awkward chat, where I could tell that he was backed into a corner a bit, and was trying not to let on that he was angry that everyone had been questioning their decision to operate. I stood there surrounded by nurses, interns, the anaesthetist and the plastics reg, and said that I wasn’t comfortable with all that had to be done just to fix a scar.  I said I was sorry for wasting their time, but everyone was lovely and reassured me that it was ok and that I’d made the right decision, and I was given the all-clear to feed Archer.

IMG_3102

As I fed him, I wondered whether I’d made the right decision, worried about what would happen if I hadn’t and felt guilty about all the trouble we’d gone through for nothing. The plastics reg asked if we would stick around because the consultant wanted to speak to us, so we agreed and went back up to the ward to wait for him and for a plastics follow-up appointment to be made. This was around 9am. We were supposed to wait an hour, but it was much longer.

IMG_3097

I put Archer down for a nap, watched shows while he slept, and then continued to try to entertain him, while waiting. I said I wasn’t going to wait anymore, and asked them to just make our follow up appointment. I also checked Facebook…

IMG_3104

…earlier I had given an update on Facebook saying that we had decided against surgery, along with pictures. When I checked my Facebook that afternoon I found comments from friends who are nurses and doctors at my {ex} hospital in Brisbane – people I trust, and like. They were saying that it wasn’t so much the size of his cut that led to them wanting to stitch, but the location. They were also saying that they use much less invasive and dangerous sedation methods, and they questioned why those hadn’t been offered to me. Suddenly my decision was called in to question (by myself, these people were just being helpful); in light of this new info, I didn’t know if I’d made the right decision.

I started to get really frustrated and angry, firstly that we’d been waiting for WAY longer than we’d been told, and secondly, because I felt like I hadn’t been given the information that I needed to make an informed decision. No one had ever mentioned that the location of the cut was why a stitch was recommended, only the size; so when all of those people questioned that, so did I. So I decided to wait for plastics, so that I could try to get the information I needed. So we waited more.

IMG_3105

IMG_3107

Finally they sent an intern to talk to me. I told her that I’d gotten more info from Brisbane, and explained that I felt I wasn’t told what I need to know, and she answered my questions. I asked why a stitch had been recommended – she said because they wanted to make sure that his lip line stayed straight (the cut was across his lip line). I asked why other sedation options hadn’t been offered – she  said that I’d have to talk to anaesthesia about that.

After confirming that the stitch was simply cosmetic, I decided to stick with my decision, and get us out of there.

IMG_3109

This whole experience became a lesson in trusting my mama-gut, the importance of getting the right information, and in finding my big-girl pants and speaking up when I’m uncomfortable with something. In the end, I’m frustrated that we wasted all of that time, and with the miscommunications/lack of information, but I feel like I made the right decisions for my son at each crossroad, with the information I was given at each one.

Safe to say, I don’t want to go back to ED for a looooong time – almost as long as it’s taken you to read this story ;)

Brisbane {in photos}

So it took me longer than I thought to find the time to do this – but we’re currently in family hibernation mode, gearing up for another loooong separation, so that’s >blogging.

Anyhoo…so I’ve edited down our Brisbane photos a lot but there are still about 30 in this post, so consider yourself warned. Fortunately, I think the only people who really read this are my grandmother and Celia, and they both want bulk photos – you’re welcome! I took either entirely too many photos of an event, or no photos at all, so there are many fun things that didn’t even get documented. Are you ready to begin?…

***

IMG_2692Archer is obsessed with animals – including my mum’s old, grumpy, long haired chihuahua, Pico. Pico hates Archer but allows him to live because of the food offerings Archer makes at each meal time.

IMG_2700

IMG_2706We arrived at 6am after flying all night, and Archer had a really hard time napping in the new surroundings. He finally passed out in his Wizard (my sister’s chosen name) arms while we grocery shopped.

IMG_2708We did A LOT of walking

IMG_2733My step-sister-in-law (got it?) got married! Archer in a bow-tie is more than I can handle.

IMG_2752The balloon was his favourite part.

IMG_2769My little animal lover with Nanny & Papa’s chickens

IMG_2775SLIDES!

IMG_2785Archer loved playing piano with his Uncle Jimmy!

This is also the day where we really quickly, last minute decided to bring J to Brisbane. It’s a long story, but basically, we thought we would see him before he left for Malaysia, but then the Army changed their minds about sending him back to Darwin between pre-deployment stuff in Adelaide and them leaving, soooo we decided to just use his staff travel (his parents both work for airlines) to bring him to Brisbane so we could see him before he went. We had 4 fun days together, and surprised our family and friends with his visit, and it meant that he was there when Archer hurt himself.

Fortunately, the army changed their minds again, and did send him home, so we’re currently hibernating as a family before he leaves next week.

IMG_2820{pretty much} the whole Conwell Clan headed to these awesome rock pools down at Southport…

IMG_2823…then to a very fun park!

IMG_2830We managed to sneak away and see the Lego Movie!

IMG_2834That happened, then we had to say b’bye to Daddy :(

IMG_2856Due to our cancelled Townsville plans, we had extra time to kill in Brisbane, and more time with Nanny (who had worked almost every day of our trip up until now, but had taken time off to come to TSV with us)!

IMG_2857We stumbled upon this adorable  easter egg hunt in a small corner of Carindale, and then went on a hunt for the perfect motorbike toy (since Archer developed an obsession with Papa’s bikes, and every subsequent motorbike seen)

IMG_2871A beautiful day in the city with Nanny, G’nana (my grandmother), and Wizard turned into one of the highlights of the trip!

IMG_2872We stopped at the Mater (where I used to work, and Nanny still does), had lunch, walked through Southbank, and went to the GoMA and Art Gallery – perfect!

IMG_2873

IMG_2874

IMG_2877

IMG_2879

IMG_2881

IMG_2886

IMG_2891

IMG_2894Archer’s highlight was riding the escalator.

IMG_2907Capalaba Produce indulged my little animal lover – his head nearly spun around Exorcist-style because he didn’t know which animal to look at first!

IMG_2927It was so nice to see the cousins play together for the first time – Archer’s been too little all of the other times.

IMG_2928

IMG_2947My big boy learnt to go down the slide on his own!

IMG_2955Our last day was Easter. We went to church (where I spent the whole time playing with Archer in the empty nursery), then they had a big egg hunt, but Archer was more interested in playing with the toys, and so failed to collect any eggs (that’s alright, Mama didn’t need aaaaany more chocolate (yeah, right!)). Then a family lunch, physical labor, and repeated requests to sit on the motorbike or push the lawn mower – which Nanny, of course, fell for.

Not pictured are, well, many things. Dinners with friends, family, ambulance trips, meeting Wizard’s boyfriend, shopping at DFO, etc, etc. Sometimes running after a 1-year-old leads to a lack of photos. But really, did we need any more? I think 30 is probably enough!

Now that we’re home, we’re looking forward to catching up with our friends, and having visitors over the next few months!

A massive change of plans

We’ve been in Brisbane for the last few weeks – hence the blog silence. The trip was super eventful, and will definitely have to be broken up into multiple blog posts. Today we’ll begin with Archer’s first trip to the Emergency Department, a massive parenting fail, and a HUGE change of plans…

The day arrived where our time in Brisbane was finished, and we had to head to Townsville for my Uni workshop. Nanny (my mum) and I spent the morning packing our bags, checking the weather reports (which assured us that the cyclone would not hit Townsville), and soaking up our last few hours with J (more on that tomorrow).

Our flight was at 4pm, so being Conwells, we wanted to be there at about 2, so we decided to go out for lunch on the way, but Nanny wanted a run before we left, so she geared up and took off, leaving J, me, and Archer at home.

Archer was following me around the house while I finished packing, and that’s how he ended up following me into my sister’s room where I was looking for a book bag. On the way out, I knew Archer was following me, but I lost track of where exactly he was, and absentmindedly shut the door. Now you have to know this about my sister’s door – it sticks. It hits the frame and then you have to give it a really hard pull, sometimes more than once, to close it. So when the door stuck, I didn’t think anything of it, and I gave it a pull (or two, or maybe even three). It wasn’t until that third pull that Archer screamed – he tends to take a minute to respond to pain. I looked down and his finger was in the hinge side of the door. Horrified, I quickly opened it, and as soon as I did, I could see that it wasn’t just a little crush/bruise – there was blood, and it was hanging weirdly.

At this point, it appears that I ceased to function – I always thought I was good in a crisis (and I do think I would have pulled it together) but apparently not. Archer’s ultra-scream, and probably my own, alerted J that there was a problem and he came running. After seeing the blood and a non-responsive me just staring at his hand, J grabbed Archer and ran outside with him. I ran after, screaming “OH MY GOD, DID I CUT HIS FINGER OFF!?”. When we reached the back yard, we had a better look at his finger, and yep – it looked like I’d almost taken the top off – the tip of his finger wasn’t lined up with the rest of his finger, and the nail looked like it was chopped in half. J and I looked at each other and knew we had to get to the hospital. Fortunately my bag was already packed for TSV, so I just grabbed it, and the keys, and then started to panic and sob.

We ran out of the garage and were about to get in the car, when the neighbours came running over – they had heard the screaming (Archer’s and ours). I was sobbing, Archer was screaming, and J was covered with blood. Annie, the neighbour, asked me what happened, and I said “I cut my baby’s finger  off”, between sobs. She immediately grabbed my phone and called 000 (911 for you Americans). In retrospect, I wish we had just driven, but at this point I was panicking thinking my baby’s finger was nearly cut in half, so I just went with it.

The ambulance eventually arrived, and after having a look, didn’t think it was as bad as it looked – made me feel super silly for calling them, but they were nice about it. J rode in the back with Archer still in his arms – Archer kept trying to pull at his injured finger, so J had to muscle him to prevent him making it worse – and I rode up front.

IMG_2832

IMG_2833

IMG_2834

At this point the panic was beginning to subside, and I was realising that of course Archer wasn’t going to die from a cut finger, haha. After a small wait, we were taken through to a bed. After x-rays, and an examination, the doctor decided that the injury hadn’t reached or broken the bone (thank God!), and that what had essentially happened is that the fingernail had been ripped up from the base of its bed and then cut down the sides, creating a kind of hinge on which his finger tip was hanging. It looked more brutal than it was – he didn’t need surgery and they didn’t even stitch it. After a really good clean out, it was put back together with steri-strips and bandaged up. Archer was such a good boy – he even slept at one point (probably exhausted from all of the screaming, and relaxed by the sedative).

IMG_2836

We were discharged with instructions to come back in 7 days to check how it was healing – which resulted in me having to delay our flight back to Darwin.

I decided that I didn’t want to bother with trying to move our TSV flights. The finger situation had been stressful enough, and I just wanted a few relaxing days for us to heal, so we just cancelled the flights. Turned out to be better though, because TSV did get the edge of the cyclone, and the workshop was pretty much cancelled anyway, and our flights were refunded.

J had to head back to Darwin that night, but I’m SO thankful that he was there. I hurt our baby, and it was the most horrible feeling of my life. I’m so glad J was there to take care of Archer – couldn’t have done it without him.

A week later, the bandages came off and we were amazed with how it’s healing! He will lose the nail, but a new one should grow. He’s been very brave, but I never ever want to take my child to ED again – it’s terrible.

IMG_2924

Next time, I’ll share with you the more fun aspects of our trip

DIY: no-sew nursing tank top

Firstly…how cute is our new blog…I love it because it connects to Archer’s LOVE of animals so well (and the little fish swim while you scroll – adorable!). I’m thinking of renaming the blog, but can’t think of anything brilliant, so if you have ideas, let me know.

***

I’ve been meaning to do this blog post for months, like we’re talking double digit months. I posted a nursing tank-top tutorial before, which explains why you would even want one of these (if you don’t already know), but it required sewing, and who has time for that!? Not I, said the tired Mama. So without further ado, I bring you the no-sew, diy nursing tank top…

1.Start with a spaghetti strap tank top – I’m not sure if it would work with the tank tops that have built-in bras, but since the point of this is to attach to your nursing bra anyway, it’s best to use one without one – I like the ones from Cotton On.

IMG_2624

2. Make a loop at the front end of the tank top strap. Now, I started by using this loop around the bra clip, but as you’ll see, the next step makes it a whole lot better.

IMG_2625

3. Pull the part of the shirt that meets with the strap through the little loop, which will create another loop.

IMG_2632

IMG_2628

4. Now this is the loop which goes around your bra clip. The difference between which loop you use can be seen below. You can cut the rest of the strap off of the tank top if you want, I do on some, and not on others.

IMG_2633

Left: the first loop, Right: second loop

IMG_2631

IMG_2630

And there you have it! The easiest, and cheapest nursing tank top that you can get! Happy Breastfeeding!

The Hunger Games: 1-year-old style {and unrelated pictures}

IMG_2174

Archer refuses to eat.

Lunchtime today is the perfect example of the food battle we’ve been fighting over here…

IMG_2180

…Archer’s whining because he’s hungry, so I head for the kitchen to try and come up with a healthy meal; this in itself is difficult, because I’ve never been one to have actual breakfasts or lunches, so coming up with real meals is challenging.

Attempt #1: a tortilla with honey on it, rolled up. He licks it, then puts it down, and proceeds to avoid even looking in its direction while continuing to whine. I try to offer it to him, but he does the concrete-mouth, hit away thing.

Attempt #2: crackers. while I’m cooking attempt #3, I give him some crackers, which he has a lot of fun breaking into tiny pieces, but I’m pretty sure none of those pieces are ingested.

Attempt #3: zuchini… I actually planned to serve this with the tortilla (sounds gross now), but they were cooking while the tortilla battle raged. I hand him a little spike of delicious looking zuchini, and he takes a bite!!! I’m rejoicing, but that’s the only bite he ever takes.

Attempt #4: I’m having tuna, so I offer Archer a bite, he opens his mouth a tiny tiny bit, and I shove a microscopic piece in his mouth…he spits it out straight away…and now I’ve angered the beast. He begins to pick up all of the rejected food scattered over his tray, and throws them on the floor, laughing all the way (Ho, Ho, Ho).

IMG_2184

So to recap – I think he actually swallowed one, tiny bite of zuchini.

IMG_2191

You may be wondering, does he eat at all? why yes, yes he does; grapes. He will eat grapes all day long, I’ve never seen him reject a grape, and funnily enough (my tired mom brain only just put this one together) he will eat raisins/sultanas too. So grapes…whatever their form are the only food my child will eat.

IMG_2290

No wonder he asks for boob every few hours day and night.

gah!

IMG_2296