Thursday, October 28

A Photographer In The Making

A Photographer In The Making

Elizabeth took these photos the other morning on my iphone ... She had actually originally hijacked my phone to play "Cut The Rope" (very addictive game for all you iphone users out there!), but then the next thing I know, she came up to me and was showing me the iphone whilst saying "Look Mum, I took a photo of the TV!" (That's the third photo you see there)... then a couple of seconds later... "Mum, I took a photo of Catherine!" (that's the second photo)... then lastly, I think her best effort was her photo of Jemima and Big Ted... (I actually love that photo... she composed it beautifully!)... Great to see her perspective of the world and what's important to her... LOL... :)

Thursday, October 21

5 months....

5 months

And the days continue to fly by... Catherine appears to have hit a new groove the last couple of nights (it's likely to change, but hey enjoying it while I can)... She's been having a big top up of formula of about 180ml before bed and has been having only one feed over night at about 3-4am (so that's 9 hours between feeds!), where previously she would normally wake around 12am-1am for a feed ask first then wake again at 3-4am... she still wakes a few times during the night, but it mostly easily to resettle by just popping the dummy back in... We generally have a one hour period somewhere where she is really restless and it takes multiple goes (often having to go in every 10 minutes for about an hour) to get her to finally settle, but she has done some 4 hour stretches at night... so that's some huge progress ... combined with self settling to sleep for her naps and bedtime and I feel like Catherine is just developing in leaps and bounds! The disadvantage of her dropping to one feed overnight is that she only needs to feed from one breast because it's so full at 3-4am... so my other side is just about ready to explode, so I have had to express the other breast after the feed so I'm not in pain and can go back to sleep...

In separate news, I am soooo over the illnesses we keep catching ... Phan got the flu quite bad on Tuesday... and now Elizabeth's come down with a weird spontaneous vomiting bug... she seems perfectly fine and normal... had a very slight temperature this morning, but seriously she's happy just sitting and resting watching Playschool and eating... She eats... then she throws up within 30 minutes of eating... then within minutes of her finishing a vomit she pesters me for more food... and I mean pester... After the third vomit by 10am, I wanted her to take a break from eating, but no... I kid you not, every 2 minutes she was asking for a piece of toast... asking if it was toasting yet... asking if she could have it with vegemite... then singing a random song about vegemite... In the end I relented and gave her some toast... and then she threw up again... I am just grateful she is a happy vomiter today! And she has also learnt to warn me when she wants to throw up and can throw up into a bowl now, which reduces the mess... we've only had to do one change of clothes and one clean up off the tiles ... She did manage to keep her lunch down (ga kho and rice) and then I made her go and have a nap, so she seems refreshed after that rest...

Monday, October 18

Seven Years Flies When You're Having Fun...


Today is our wedding anniversary... seven years already of married happiness... and we still remain as commited to each other today as we were on that day seven years ago when we said "I do"...

Phan took a day off work today (he'd worked all weekend)... He worked from home in the morning and then we all went out for a fancy lunch as a family to Brett's Wharf...

And *WOW*... what a meal... We had probably the best seafood meal we've ever had - amazingly delicious... There was a view of the water and we had several pelicans sitting right outside our window which Elizabeth loved watching... And also the City Cat service went past quite often, which Elizabeth enjoyed pointing out everytime they went past. The service was impeccable and considering the high brow nature of the restaurant, it was surprisingly very child friendly - the waitress brought out colouring in pages and crayons to amuse Elizabeth and there was a kid's menu (main, drink and dessert) that cost $1 for every year of age of the child... so it was supposed to cost $3 for Elizabeth... We didn't realise until we'd left the restaurant, but they didn't end up charging us at all for Elizabeth's meal, and considering the quality of her meal, that was incredibly generous!!! (We did leave a tip, but would have tipped more had we realised they'd given us her meal free!!!) The girls were both exceptionally behaved too and we were able to enjoy our meal at a leisurely pace...

The photos above were taken on my iphone using the hipstamatic app that I'm currently obsessed with (and that top left photo of me, Phan and Catherine was taken by Elizabeth - she's pretty good huh?!?!)... but we also took my G10... so for the foodies amongst us here are some proper pics of what we had -


Elizabeth had calamari with chips... OMG, I had a taste and it was the best calamari ever... so tender... Elizabeth ate 3/4 of the calamari too.. she loved it!




We ordered the seafood plate and a half dozen oyster's kilpatrick to share. The top photo is the seafood plate and it's exact description was -

seafood plate - mooloolaba prawns, natural oyster, salmon brandade, char grilled squid chorizo and capsicum, western australian lobster and avocado cocktail, beer battered fish, tartare sauce, grilled tiger prawn, seared scallop and haert of palm salad, french fries, aioli.

The second photo is what my plate looked like when I loaded it up... :)

The third photo was a winter salad we ordered... it was presented beautifully with some lavender and had the best sourdough croutons!



For dessert, Phan had the caramelised white chocolate cheesecake, winter fruits, phillis clark's lost bread and I had the sticky date pudding with vanilla ice cream, chocolate, arabic praline... It's also worth mentioning there was thin piping of salted caramel on my dessert too, it just added a delightful salty contrast to the sweetness of the pudding and the caramel sauce... I didn't take a photo, but Elizabeth got two scoops of vanilla icecream (proper vanilla icecream too, with vanilla bean through it!) with chocolate topping and sprinkles... she was in heaven!

And a couple more general pics from lunch...


Elizabeth making Catherine laugh ...


And a family photo taken by our very attentive waitress, Janna.

A beautiful afternoon out... and a very memorable way to celebrate our anniversary...

Saturday, October 16

Interview With An Almost 4 Year Old


Phan bought me Beauty and the Beast (my favourite animated film of all time) on blu ray yesterday and he scored a deal at Target where you got a lockable disney secret diary for free with it. In the diary there are lots of cute little girly things to do... write a profile of yourself, put pictures of yourself in it, write secret messages in code, plus little stories from all the Disney princesses... Elizabeth is in love with the diary... she loves how it has a lock on it and loves putting in on and trying to lock and unlock it (we have to do it for her)!!! One of the activities in the book was to answer a few questions on what your favourite thing were, so I thought I would ask Elizabeth the questions and see what she said... (I did have to leave out a few things like the favourite pop star and favourite pop group queestions and changed the favourite subject at school to favourite activity at kindy...)

Here are her answers:

Favourite Colour - Purple
Favourite Number - 1
Favourite Animal - Crocodile
Favourite Insect - Caterpillar (She knew what an insect was and said caterpillar straight off the bat)
Favourite Activity At Kindy - Drawing
Favourite TV Show - Driver Dan Story Train (what the? I'm pretty sure it's Playschool)
Favourite Disney Movie - Beauty and the Beast
Favourite Disney Character - Cinderella
Favourite Song - Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Favourite Book - The Secret Diary (which is the book these questions came from)
Favourite Food - Ga Kho and Rice
Favourite Sport - Swimming
Favourite Game - Playing Dolls and Hide & Seek
Favourite Drink - Juice
Favourite Smell - Ga Kho and Rice
Favourite Flowers - All of them

Friday, October 15

Canon Photo5

The deadlines are looming for photo5 and I've managed to only do 2 of the briefs... nothing amazingly creative, so not expecting to win or anything, but they were an interesting challenge ...

The Water Droplet Brief -

Canon Photo5 - Water Droplet Brief

The Incense Brief -
(This brief was quite painful - I kept trying to move the incense sticks and dropping hot ash on my hand/arm... which is why I ended up lying them down... I was sick of burning myself!)

Canon Photo5 - Incense Brief

Light A Candle Tonight at 7pm For Babies Lost to Miscarriage and Stillbirth

Light A Candle on October 15 @ 7pm for babies lost to Miscarriage & Stillbirth

This is something that is very close to my heart that I have never had the courage to share publicly until now... In between the births of my two beautiful girls Elizabeth and Catherine, I had a miscarriage... I was a week away from going to have my 12 week ultrasound when I started having some unexpected bleeding... some blood tests and an ultrasound revealed that the baby that should have been 11 weeks, was dating at only 6 weeks and 3 days... There were some terribly long days of waiting in limbo as there was a possibility that our dates might be wrong as my HCG levels matched the levels of a 6 week baby, but as I had felt in my heart when I first saw the ultrasound, we had lost our baby ...

I can honestly say that there have only been two times in my life when I have experienced such painful heartache... the first was when I lost my mum to cancer, the second was when we lost our baby, the baby we never got to meet or hold... Such a sadness you wouldn't wish upon anybody, but that happens to so many women around the world. It is something that changes your whole heart and being... A grief that shakes your soul but gives you such a deeper appreciation of what blessings you already have in your life... Every day I thank God for giving us our two beautiful girls and pray that our little angel baby is watching over us...

So tonight I will be lighting a candle at 7pm in rememberance of our angel baby and all the other angel babies out there who have left this world too soon...

This little clip was something a friend posted on Facebook today which made me cry... it captures it all so beautifully in images and music...

Big Sister Looking After Little Sister

Beth & Cate

Elizabeth - "Mum, can I hold Catherine and watch TV with her?"
Me - "Okay... wait a second..."

(*I get Elizabeth sitting on the couch, then put Catherine in her lap*)

Elizabeth (talking to Catherine) - "We can watch a movie together Catherine and when the movie is finished you can go back to Mummy, okay...?"

(By the way, they were only only watching playschool, not a movie...)

I am just loving seeing how Elizabeth interacts with Catherine these days... they really do adore each other.


Oh and here's our little Miss Catherine again... she's been delightful this week (after last week's wonder week)... so happy and smiley and we've some major progress in the sleep department... Up until now, everytime she has needed to go to have a nap/sleep, I have had to hold her on my lap (often just lay her on a pillow) and pat or rub her back or bounce my knee up and down or rock her... It was quite an effort and took anywhere from 5 minutes to 45 minutes... But all of a sudden, since Monday... I can now put her down for a nap/sleep in her cot while she is awake but tired and she will go to sleep without me needed to touch or pat her or even be in the room... She just self-settles herself as long as she has the dummy... And she tend to roll onto her side and likes to push her feet off the bars of the cot, so quite often she ends up spinning 180 degrees in the cot... but doesn't bother me as long as she's happy ... it's really amazing! And now, I have this extra time on my hands!!! Who know how long this phase is going to last, but I'm really enjoying it and making the most of it while it lasts! The only reason I ended up trying this out was that for a few days last weekend, I noticed she was getting harder and harder to settle with me holding her and she just seemed so wriggly like she couldn't get comfortable, so I just put her down to give me a break at one point and voila, next thing I knew she was asleep. Overnight sleeps still not great, but hey, I can live with it since we're making progress elsewhere in the sleep department!

Also, I've been sick again... some weird flu thing again... I'm really over getting sick... I need an immune system boost!

Tuesday, October 12

I'm Going To Wear A Beautiful Dress And Daddy Is Going To Bride Me...

Wedding Dress Ups

I took these photos last week when the weather was gorgeous (unlike this week, where it has rained and rained and rained... actually our suburb recorded 200mm+ in the last 24 hours... crazy!)... We have rediscovered a piece of tulle in our dress up collection and Elizabeth has loved walking around with it as a veil... She has said some pretty funny things about getting married (Last week she and Catherine were going to get married), but today she said to me "I'm going to wear a beautiful dress and Daddy is going to bride me"... when I asked her for more details she said "I'm going to marry Daddy because I like him..."... LOL... she is such a Daddy's girl at the moment.

And for the benefit of Ong Ba who aren't on facebook, here's a video of the girls today... I just love seeing them interact together ... Elizabeth is so random with her singing, yet Catherine is totally enthralled by it all -

Monday, October 11

Daddy You're Home... No More Sleeps!

Well you may have noticed a distinct lack of activity from me on the blog and on Facebook... Phan was off at a conference in Melbourne for a few days last week and then had to stop in Sydney for a friend's wedding on Sunday... so for the first time I was on my own with both the girls ... it was a daunting task to begin with, but I ended up managing okay... There was only one really tiring 24 hour period I had to deal with, but on the whole, the girls were well behaved and Elizabeth was so understanding of the fact that Phan had to go away for a few days... We explained he had to go away for work and told her it would be 5 sleeps 'til Daddy came home... So every morning she would wake up and ask me "How many sleeps 'til Daddy comes home?" and we would count down the days...

Phan left early on Wednesday morning at 6am... Unfortunately, Phan and I were both awakened by Elizabeth at 5am... she was having a coughing fit and was crying 'cos she'd thrown up some water that she had drunk... and overnight she had developed a fever... Got some Dymadon into her (she's so much better with taking medicine these days... when she was little she used to gag and cry and resist so badly.... but she doesn't gag or resist at all anymore... she knows it helps to make her feel better...) and had her rest in bed... Seeing as Phan was leaving soon-ish, I stayed up... and Elizabeth must have heard us talking 'cos she came out at 5:30am... What an early start to the day for her! She got to say goodbye to Phan... and then within about 10 minutes of him leaving she'd crashed out and fell asleep on the loungeroom floor for an extra 40 minutes... She must have just wanted to get up early to see him off... I was really quite anxious all day on Wednesday 'cos I hate it when Elizabeth is sick, but having her sick and Phan not around really had me on edge... Mid-morning, she bit her tongue, starting crying and then threw up all over herself and the rug ... It was around that time that Catherine also decided to lose the plot and start crying 'cos she was tired... so I had to prioritise getting Elizabeth in the bath and all cleaned up and into fresh clothes and then put Catherine to bed... I started worrying that this might be a gastro-type bug, so when Catherine woke from her nap, we ducked out to the chemist to grab some nurofen (in case the fever got bad and I needed to alternate it with panadol) and some electrolyte iceblocks ... Thank goodness all the worrying ended up being for nothing, her fever turned out to be some weird 12 hour bug thing... she was fine that evening and pretty much completely back to normal the next day!

We talked to Phan almost every night on Skype and but there were 2 nights when he couldn't get to a computer, so we had to use the phone... An indication of how hi-tech Elizabeth is - she doesn't know how to use a phone properly since we skype so much... She would just sit there holding the phone and I would have to tell her to talk so Phan could hear her... and then she would do something like put on a headband and expect Phan to see... or she kept looking at the iphone screen to see if she could see Phan... it was hilarious... She was quite disappointed she couldn't see Phan... LOL... Oh and another hi-tech thing... We obviously don't watch much free-to-air TV and she only watches recorded PVR shows because she ended up watching the Hunchback of Notredame on Saturday night on TV (and loved it), but when the ad break came on she was like "Oh Mum, it's finished." and I had to explain it would be back on in a few minutes and when it came back she was all excited and saying "It's back on, it's back on!"... and then the next ad break would come on and she would say the same thing again... it took a few ad breaks for her to get the hang of it... But then when she did finally understand she came up to me and said "Mum, I don't like ad breaks..." ... LOL... she wanted me to get rid of them, but I couldn't!... Seriously, way too spoilt with the PVR here!

I also ventured out to Chermside by myself with both the girls on the weekend... I needed to get out of the house as being housebound was starting to drive me a bit crazy... So I braved the shops and the girls were both so good... We had sushi for lunch and I bought a cute new outfit for Elizabeth to wear to Catherine's baptism in a few weeks time... As we were leaving, Catherine fell asleep in the Ergo, so I thought I'd let Catherine get a bit of sleep and Elizabeth and I browsed the accessories store "equip" together... My goodness, Elizabeth loved it... she loved looking at the bracelets and bangles and earrings and seeing all the different shiny sparkly costume jewellery... It was just so lovely, fun and girly and she just seemed so grown up now... She didn't ask for anything (she never does), but we tried on some girly headbands with flowers on them and I could see she really liked one of the headbands so I asked her if we should buy it for her and she was thrilled... Then she wanted me to have a new headband too, so she picked one out for me... (she has good taste by the way!)... So here's a pic of her wearing the headband she picked out all by herself! (I'll take a photo later of the headband she picked out for me)

The Pink Flowery Headband

As a result of us measuring time by counting down the sleeps, Elizabeth also started measuring other things by "sleeps"... for example... when baking a pretend cupcake in the bath she told me it was going to take 10 sleeps to cook! (That would be one overdone, rock-hard cupcake!)

And possibly one of the cutest things she said to me was on Sunday night as I said there was only one more sleep to go she said to me... "Yay... only one more sleep. I'm going to give Daddy a big hug. And a kiss." Awww... still makes my heart melt when I remember how she said it.

So happy to have Phan back safe and sound ... We have all missed him so much...

Friday, October 8

20 Weeks Old

20 Weeks

Her big sister
Bath time
Being outside
Watching Mummy hanging out the lanudry
Watching NRL on TV
Playing singing & dancing games
Being in the sling

Car Rides
Bedtime & Naptime
Loud sneezes
Being by herself
Her bottle (for the first 2 minutes, but then will calm down about it)

Happy 20 weeks Miss Catherine... It's been a fun journey learning about you so far and seeing your little personality starting to develop...

Tuesday, October 5

Looking So Grown Up Already!

Looking So Grown Up Already!

It's been warm here lately... so yesterday I put Catherine in a dress since it was so warm... doesn't she look like a big girl already?... And she fits nicely into that 00 sized dress!!!

Catherine is going through another wonder week... Started yesterday when she stayed up for 4 hours in the afternoon and then became impossible to settle to sleep and kept waking up frequently... Just when you think you're settling into a routine, they up and change everything on you...

Today has been a really strange routine... I think we're transitioning into longer awake periods... Started at 7:30am... she stayed up happily for 2 hours (unheard of for her, she normally loses it by 1.5 hours) and then had a mini catnap of 20 minutes! (normally her naps are 45 minutes, so this was mega short!)... So then I decided to get out to do grocery shopping... I put Catherine in the shopping trolley with a baby seat in it for the first time... she lasted 3/4 of the shopping trip before she wanted me to put her in the sling, so that was pretty good. Elizabeth was a good little helper walking with me and helping me pick out vegies and fruit and "helping" me push the trolley... She normally likes to sit in the trolley, but there was no room for her since Catherine was in the seat, but she didn't make a fuss over it at all... Catherine stayed awake the whole shopping trip... came home, gave her a feed and by that time she'd been awake for another 2 hours and was starting to fall asleep on my shoulder (very cute!), so I put her down for another nap (very easily, no protesting cry like she normally does) and then *bam* awake after 30 minutes! Then out to play in the lounge and she was rolling and talking alot, but only lasted 1 hour before getting tired, so I put her down for another nap... Elizabeth was also tired, so I pulled out some mattresses and we all camped out in Catherine's room... Catherine ended up sleeping for 2.5 hours!!! All the catnapping caught up with her... I did have to resettle her a few times, but it was reasonably easy... I managed a 40 minute nap and Elizabeth also slept for 1.5 hours (and even slept through Catherine fussing while I was resettling her)... So we all had nice recharged batteries in the afternoon. Fed Catherine and then got dinner going and Catherine ended up staying awake again for 2 hours! Manage to get her to have a 20 minute catnap while I was holding her (she was madly protesting against this nap... she was very very very angry!) and then up again... did a bath and a feed. I've started comp feeding her 1 bottle of formula in the evening, as my supply has been dropping a lot in the evenings and I just haven't been able to keep up with her wanting to feed every 2-3 hours at night!!! She does protest against the bottle to start with, but once she gets on it, she's fine and drinks about 100ml. After her feed she played for awhile... and ended up staying awake for 1.5 hours! Top up with some breastmilk and finally to bed at 8pm! We'll see how we go tonight... Hopefully the wonder week passes quickly... *fingers crossed*...

Sunday, October 3

Outtakes - Big Sister | Little Sister

Outtakes - Big Sister | Little Sister

This is probably my favourite outtake from September... The only reason this didn't make the cut was because I took it in the late afternoon, and I think I had already posted up my photo-of-the-day that particular day... But I just loooove this photo of the girls...

Outtakes - More Baby Cuteness

Outtakes - More Baby Cuteness

Gee, I really do have a tonne of cute baby photos of Catherine from September...

Outtakes - Oh So Tired

Outtakes - Tired

Elizabeth having an afternoon nap one day... and for the photography inclined - this was shot at ISO 25600! Awesome yes?

Outtakes - Playdough Fun

Outtakes - Playdough Fun

Elizabeth and I were playing with playdough one day last month and I had the random thought to try and do something creative with the playdough as my photo-a-day... I ended up taking a photo of something better that day though, so this didn't make the cut... but I remember the process of taking this photo being hilarious, because Elizabeth kept trying to make off with the dot from my "i"... there was a lot of laughing and "give me back my dot"... going on... funny memories...

Saturday, October 2

Outtakes - Beautiful Lashes

Outtakes - Beautiful Lashes

She looks like she's sleeping so peacefully in this photo, but really, she just blinked for a moment and I managed to catch it... LOL... I do love how long her lashes look in this shot...

Outtakes - Pretty Flower

Outtakes - Pretty Flower

Outtakes - Wilted

Outtakes - Wilted

Outtakes - Delicate Bubbles

Outtakes - Delicate Bubbles

Another bubble shot... I love the light in this one...

Friday, October 1

Outtakes - She Has Her Daddy's Eyes (And His Eyebrows)

She Has Her Daddy's Eyes... (And His Eyebrows)

Well... as a result of the photo-a-day last month, I have a tonne of outtakes, so I thought I may as well share some of them... so here's the first of many...

Also, in other updates... took Catherine to have her 4 month needles last Tuesday... she's a pretty tough little trooper... it didn't seem to really affect her mood at all (in fact, she was actually super happy and smiley that afternoon and in the subsequent days)... All she had was a very slight fever which I dosed her with one lot of panadol and she was fine after that. I remember Elizabeth being a mega grump and very unsettled after her 4 month needles... so I'm glad that didn't happen this time around.

Also, Catherine's starting to move a bit... She can spin 360 degrees on her back... Last night at 3am, she decided it was an appropriate to time to play... and stayed up for an hour... I just left her in the cot for 30 minutes and when she started making too much noise, I went to get her and she had spun 180 degrees in the cot... was quite amusing actually... too bad it was such an early hour of the day... She made up for it this afternoon though, 'cos she had a 2 hour nap (with a 15 min resettle in the middle) and I managed a nice 1.5 hour nap to compensate... ahh....

On the whole, Catherine is quite a smiley, happy, *talkative* baby... she really tries to talk to us all the time... I don't remember Elizabeth talking this much... so I'm bracing myself that Catherine is going to be talking our ear off when she's older!