Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Letter to Bobbin - two years

I've taken your photo with this doll since you were born
Happy birthday, my amazing girl!

It has been two whole years since you made your entrance earthside in a gentle waterbirth, which to this day still gives me tingles when I think about it.

And you are just like your birth; you are joyful, hard work, beautiful, frustrating, gentle and simply wonderful. Oh, and also a bit of a pain in the ass! Heh.

You've not had the best run, health wise, in these last few months. You are such a robust chick that we were all surprised you needed two weeks in hospital with pneumonia! But while you were there you charmed the nurses by singing renditions of 'Shake it off', and made friends with the other kids. Then you got chicken pox from somewhere, although it didn't really phase you at all. A few spots on both your hands was all that showed up, and you were slightly grumpier than usual. You loved having your big brother home to play with while you were both quarantined, so all up, it was quite a nice time.

You're seeing the doctors at the childrens' hospital at the moment because your guts are funny. But don't panic, your brother had a funky head and he turned out fine. They are investigating you for Hirschsprung's disease, but if you have it, I think it's a pretty mild case.

You are the most verbose toddler I have ever met. Which has helped immensely when you were unwell because you could tell us what hurt and how much. You talk and sing non stop, and I adore hearing you make up little scenes with your toys. The funny little things that I want to remember are how when you drop food you'll say "Sprocky will eat it" if we're home or "ahhh, leave it for the birds" if we're out. The last few weeks you've been declaring that everything you have you "got it my birthday" - be it a toy, food, socks, anything!


For your actual birthday you are getting a walking pig, a Cabbage Patch doll (mainly because I always wanted one), and a Duplo set. You continue to be really eclectic in your tastes and will often leave the house with "baby" and a motorbike toy or monster truck. You love to dress up as superheroes and swoosh around with a cape, but refuse to wear shoes or pants every other day, randomly undressing whenever you feel like it. Including in the middle of shopping centres. You tend to leave your 'Elsa shoes' on a bit more often, so they're in high rotation right now which is ace because I think they're awesome. Blue sparkles, what's not to love?

You like dropping Tricky off at school and would love nothing more than to be able to stay there and play with the others. His friends swarm around you, and you relish the attention. You were allowed to stay when I was parent helper recently and you thought it was brilliant. You go to playgroup once a week and love spending time with the other kids. You and your little bestie are so cute together - you both have older brothers and are quite similar, so you get along really well.

You're rough, robust, caring, funny and fearless - you climb things at the park that some kids twice your age don't attempt. We step back and let you do it, just spotting you on new things, or we'll be met with screams of "I DO MYSELF!". If you fall and I offer you a hug or for it to be kissed better, you declare "No, I alright". So independent. So tough.

I'm not sure if it's the way you play, your immense vocab, or your general understanding of the world, but you seem so much older than you are. You're already in a big girl bed, and you took it in your stride like a champion. I've always said your brother was an old soul and you were a brand new one - that intense wonder and amazement at the world, the way you just want to get out and experience everything. Maybe that's it? Whatever it is, I feel like you're turning three or four today, and not two. But there you are, my teeny two year old.

You are a mighty girl and I'm so proud of you.

Thank you for being you.

Love Mama xxx

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Don't get the Book Week blues

This is a C1 post
For full details please see my disclosure policy
I freakin' LOVE Book Week.

Because my love of all things literature, (particularly children's books and reading with kids), and my love of costumes can triumphantly combine to ensure adorable children get dressed up and get excited about reading. BOOYAH!!!

Seriously, it's my favourite time of the school year.

The peeps at Costume Box sent some costumes for Tricks and Bobbin to play in, and because we're well in to our costumes and have a few already, they made sure to send me some that weren't just for this week, but forever. Because costumes are not just for Book Week. You have to love them, and take care of them, and clean up after them, and oops, I've gone off on a tangent.

Tricks is lovin' his Batman costume. It lights up, so he is well chuffed. He went in to MapGuy's work for a few hours the other day and insisted on wearing it. "Mum, do you think people will think I'm the real Batman?". Yeah, dude, you've got the Christian Bale voice going on, they'll all think you're him.

A video posted by glow (@glowless) on
It's a smidge too big for him right now because he's at the beginning of that size range, but it means he will get a good two years out of it and for now I just roll up the legs. It's all built in muscles or "boobies" as he'll tell you, utility belt, and a freakin' sweet mask cape combo with ears that actually stay up! Because there is nothing worse than Batman with sad, droopy ears.

Bobbin was sent a monster costume, and it could not be more appropriate. Because she's cute, and growly, and has fangs. Or something like that. She adores it and keeps picking up a little monster puppet we have and saying it's her baby. TOTES ADORBS! It makes me think of Boo from Monster's Inc and she keeps saying "Raaaar" at everyone when she wears it.

168 photos and these two of Bobbin were the best. Kid doesn't stop moving.
If the idea of dressing your kids up fills you with dread, check out the Costume Box blog for Book Week costume ideas (it's quite gendered, but you can ignore that - I do) or head straight to the store and get a cool costume with free express delivery for orders over $75 (or $5.99 for orders under $75) - yes, even to WA!! I couldn't believe it when I got my order the next business day, I'm used to waiting 7-10 days even for "rush" mail.

What are your kids dressing up as? I'm gonna dress up at school pick up time :) 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Slow progress is still progress - a #GlowGetsFit update


The last time I joined I gym I was 18 and in my first year of uni. I was around 55kg and thought I was fat (oh, the hilarity!) so I joined the campus gym all "yeah, let's do this, let's get totally smokin' hot".

That feeling lasted about three weeks. After a handful of sessions did not see me looking like a supermodel I gave up. Because motivation and I are not usually on speaking terms.

But this time, something has shifted. I'm enjoying going to the gym. I can hear you now: "Wait, what? Who are you and what have you done with the real Glow? I mean c'mon, really?". But I mean it. At least right now I do, who knows what next week will bring.

It's been about five weeks and I've gone to the gym at least five times a week. More times in the first week than I ever went to the uni gym, actually. I do pump class, combat, yoga, weights, or sometimes I'm just a cardio bunny and I jog on the treadmill. I have no idea about jogging, but I can sustain 7km/hour for 1.6km without stopping. Everyone else on Instagram is running marathons and here I am rejoicing at 1.6km, but for me that is huge. HUGE!

As someone who has suffered from a diagnosed chronic pain disorder for over a decade (and the decade before that when it was non diagnosed and involved a shit load of trips to the childrens' hospital for nuclear scans and what not), exercise is still very new to me.

I mean, I had an ACROD pass for ten years for Christ's sake. Disabled parking! My muscles and ligaments were so pathetic at their job that I was allowed the same parking privileges as those with exploding hearts and peeps in wheelchairs. Granted I rarely used it because I was always abused by people who have no idea what an invisible disability is, but still, I had the pass. I was on a disability pension because I couldn't always get out of bed (I was also a bit crazy at the time, but let's just stick with musculoskeletal shiz right now, OK?) and here I am now, running on a freakin' treadmill and attending pump classes.

I still feel my usual pain, though it has lessened over the years a bit (I gave up my ACROD permit). Well, either that or I just got used to it with the help of hundreds of hours of mindfulness training and therapy. It's definitely still there, but the post exercise pain drowns it out. Like when you're super itchy and you shove your hand under hot water so the heat cancels the itch, the work out pain is cancelling out the "me" pain.

I'm not really sounding like a good advertisement for the gym right now, am I? Go exercise and you'll hurt way more! But it's different pain. It's pain for a reason. I did something kickass to elicit these aching muscles, rather than just waking up unable to walk for no reason.

If I can't get to the gym, I spend about twenty minutes on the elliptical (the one I scored for free at bulk rubbish which is AWESOME and works perfectly except for the temperature gauge - why do I need one of those though?) and will do some sit ups and kettle bell work at home. Or yoga so the kids can join in.

I haven't weighed myself since I started. I don't feel the need to because this isn't about being skinny. I want to be strong. I want to be fit. And I can feel it happening already, slowly but surely. I can ride further, jog further (the fact I can jog at all is awesome, really), lift heavier things, walk up stairs without needing the handrail. So many things I couldn't do before. But saying that, I wouldn't turn down some associated weight loss, just so I could fit in my damn clothes again. It would be nice, not gonna lie.

So here I am, getting fitter. Getting stronger. Feeling the urge to share inspirational fitness memes (it's a sickness, I apologize). Wanting to buy new workout pants. Listing the pros and cons of Garmins vs Fitbits. Taping my aching feet and shins. And feeling fucking awesome.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Itchy and Scratchy Show starring Tricky and Bobbin



I was sitting in the car outside Tricky's school when I first saw it. I'd been using the time to draft a blog post in my head about how I'm so tired that as soon as the kids are in bed I'm either at the gym, tidying up, or in bed. It was all tiny violins, neglected blog, WOE IS ME bullshit. But these tiny red dots blew all that away.

We were half an hour early because the rigmarole involved in going home, struggling to get a toddler out of and then back in to the car after fifteen minutes just wasn't worth it. In those fifteen minutes Bobbin would be guaranteed to strip off or fall asleep or hurt herself, or all bloody three. Because shit happens at pick up time, it's Murphy's Law.

I had her in the front seat with me and she was playing with all the buttons (I still don't have my wipers back on the setting I like) when I noticed a few red dots on her hands that hadn't been there when we'd been having a late lunch an hour earlier.

Oh, shit.

She continued to play while I consulted Dr Google on the symptoms of Hand, Foot and Mouth. All the photos I could find were well established cases, I wanted to know what it looked like just when it was popping up.

A pregnant friend pulled up behind me and I freaked out, grabbed my phone and texted her.

"Don't come near us. Bobbin has some spots and I don't know what they are."

I kept Bobbin as distant from others as I could at pick up and we didn't stick around. At home I examined Tricks and the only blemish on his skin was a bite on his leg that had been there a few days. Checking Bobbin again, there were more spots. Shit.

I consulted Dr Google some more and got afternoon snacks ready. As I handed Tricky his plate, I saw dots...

SHIT.

Within the next hour they'd clustered on his hands, elbows, and knees. It was insane how fast they popped up. I made a doctor's appointment for the next morning and wondered what the protocol was for taking highly infectious children to the local shopping centre that houses the GP's surgery.

Tricky was up six times before midnight, which is a new record for him. The Trickster wakes between three and six times a night usually (and yes, we've tried almost everything, and we're waiting on some help right now), but he was so itchy he couldn't sleep. I'd bathed him in stinky pinetarsol and dotted calamine all over him, but he was still wanting to rip his skin off his ankles. I ended up holding my warm cup of tea on the itchy areas, and the heat seemed to work.

By morning Tricky had more spots, but still mainly clustered in the same areas, and Bobbin only had the ones on her hands still. Despite neither having spots on their feet or in their mouths (that I could see), I was still thinking HFM.

The doctor looked all over Tricks.

"Is he fully immunised?"

"Yep, they both are."

"I think it's Chicken Pox."

Part of me was all "OH FUCK" and then the other part of me was "HOORAY IT'S NOT HFM!". You can re-catch HFM from yourself over and over again if you're not careful (the virus sheds in fecal matter for up to 11 weeks after you've had it), and let's face it, kids are pretty feral sometimes, at least with Varicella you build an immunity.

She called in another doctor for a second opinion because of the unusual presentation. I wanted to tell them that it's always my bloody family that has atypical presentations (13 days in hospital for atypical pnuemonia anyone?), and to keep their minds open. Doctor two disagreed. He said it was something else. They had a fabulous debate with big medical words in it, and all the while gently looking over Tricks.

He stood there, silently, for fifteen minutes while the doctors tried to figure out exactly what was going on.

"You're doing so well, mate, you're being super brave" I said.

His little face crumpled and his lip quivered as he said "I don't want to be here any more."

My heart broke and I scooped him up in to a cuddle, while Bobbin stripped off her own clothes and played with the curtain, grabbed the stethoscope and declared "I a doctor, now!" to anyone who would listen.

We left with a diagnosis of "most likely Chicken Pox" with an unusual presentation because of the vaccine keeping it milder.

I think this is just the universe having a joke on me for complaining about being tired. It's telling me to shut up, stop whining, and get on with it. So that's what I'll do... mostly. I'll still complain a bit, yeah?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Choc chip cookie dough protein balls

This is a S3 post - I received a Cuisine Companion for review purposes
For full details please see my disclosure policy



I've been playing with some recipes for protein balls lately. Bliss Balls. Amaze Balls. Whatever you want to call them, it's just fun to be able to say balls a lot, right? Balls.

Most of my recipe creations invovle me throwing random seeds and nuts in, whizzing it up and hoping for the best. This has resulted in me having some very sad balls. Over processed balls. Powdery balls. Even cardboard tasting balls. When you're including these in your diet to replace delicious Mars bars then cardboard balls just ain't gonna cut it.

I've been working on this one for a while now. I could have googled someone else's recipe but I really wanted to see if I could translate what was in my head (and what my taste buds were calling out for) in to a recipe. I think I've done it. Because these Amaze Balls really are amazeballs.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/3 cup cashews (I use roasted unsalted)
  • 16 dried dates
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tablespoon protein powder (vanilla flavour preferably)
  • 1/3 cup choc chips
Method:
  •  Soak your dates in the boiling water for a few minutes
  • While they're soaking, place almonds, cashews, vanilla and protein in the Cuisine Companion and blitz on speed 12 for 10 seconds. If you're using a different food processor, you want it to be small chunks after this stage
  • When your dates are a bit soft, add them to the bowl and blitz again on speed 12 for 10 seconds. Don't discard the water just yet
  • If the mix is not coming together, add a few teaspoons of the date water to help it combine
  • When it's at your desired consistency (don't over process, it will be like nut butter and won't form) take a teaspoon of the mixture out, add two or three choc chips to it and roll it in to a small ball. It's easier if your hands are slightly damp but not wet
  • Repeat until you've done it all, I usually get about 25 from this recipe
  • Refrigerate until set, try not to eat them all at once!
These are a great little hit of sweetness to help with cravings and they're not terrible for you. You can use cacao nibs or sugar free choc chips if you'd like to make them healthier, and if you're using fresh dates, start with half the amount and add more if necessary.

Enjoy your balls!

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