Once you become a parent and your child hits toddler age, you’ll start paying attention to where the best parks are at in your neighbourhood because let’s face it, you’re going to spend a lot of time at them.
Parks have a lot to offer:
- They are an essential energy -burning-tire-your-kid-out activity to ensure you THE PARENT keeps your sanity.
- Parks are fun and challenging for your kids.
- Your kids learn to interact and play with other kids.
- You all get some fresh air.
That’s all good stuff but guess what? It’s also a good opportunity for you, to get a quick workout in. Instead of sipping a latte on the park bench sharing parenting stories with the other mums and dads here’s some fun exercises you can do at pretty much any park. (more…)
It’s that time of year down under and winter is settling in. The common cold is making it’s way around households, workplaces, kindergartens, schools and day care centres. Never fear, the cold buster drink is here!
I got this home recipe off an athlete friend about ten years ago and it’s been my go to anytime I’ve felt a tickle in my throat, or if a bug is going around or generally just when I’ve felt run down and vulnerable to catching ‘something’. It may take some getting used to but I’ve actually grown to like this sweet ‘n’ sour tonic with floating pieces of crunchy, spicy raw ginger.
– 1 tablespoon Manuka Honey
– 1-1.5 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
– 1 cup boiling water
– Fresh ginger slices
It’s very simple to prepare. Just place the Manuka honey, vinegar and fresh ginger slices (I use the potato peeler to get my slices) in a mug and top with boiling water. Stir it up and its ready to go.
You only need to search online for a few minutes to discover the numerous health benefits these ingredients contain (see links below). It’s no surprise this little concoction works wonders. I always travel with Manuka Honey as its not easy to find overseas but the other ingredients are commonly found.
Read more about:
* Manuka Honey – the ‘healing honey’ contains anti-bacterial properties and is indigenous to New Zealand. Manuka honey is made by bees that feed on the flowers of the manuka bush, also known as the tea tree, in New Zealand. Opt for organic if you can.
* Apple Cider Vinegar has numerous health benefits. It truly is a superfluid. Opt for organic if you can.
* Ginger is well know for its medicinal properties one being to soothe a nasty cough.
It’s hard to sum up the first couple of months of Alek’s life. I knew the weeks would fly by and indeed they did and baby Alek has changed so much already. Welcoming a new baby is blissful and so much happens in such a short space of time, not just with the baby but also with mummy which has a trickle on effect to the rest of the family unit.
Here’s the rundown of what we’ve been up to over the last couple of months….
After the birth, I was in hospital for 24hrs and by Alek’s 2nd day of life, we were back down the coast at home in Lorne. Those first 24hrs are truly amazing. For us, it was a beautiful and intimate moment in time. The world outside the hospital walls almost doesn’t exist. Time slows – which is rare these days. Finally, after nine months of wonder and guessing, we finally got to meet our newest family edition and we took our time during that first day to choose his name. When Alek ‘came out’ his limbs were erect and stiff, his palms clenched tightly shut, so tight the midwife could not pry them open. I sensed a certain strength in him – maybe because we’d just had an incredible birth experience together and a strong name seemed fitting. Coming up with a name that is understood across two languages and cultures (Finnish/English) is no easy feat, but soon enough Kai, Lauri and myself came to an agreement. Alek – ‘the protector and defender of man’ resonated with us and felt spot on for our newest little man.
Ahhh the newborn phase. Soak this up as it doesn’t last for long! This phase whizzes by in a flash so much so that I felt like he was changing every time he woke up from a nap! Within the first week, what was left of his umbilical cord dried and fell off. I love how floppy newborns are in the ‘0000’ clothing which is still baggy. He took to feeding without issue and boy is he a feeder. In his first 48 hours of life I counted 12 meconium poos. Yep 12. It just kept coming and coming as he kept feeding and feeding assuring me that his pipes were well and truly functioning.
When the nurse visited us on his 3rd day of life, he’d only lost 40grams which left me feeling proud as punch. Newborns can lose put to 500grams in the first week! At the same time my milk arrived which is one of many post natal unpleasantries. My breasts were rock hard, aching and tender. On the up side, it was a perfect moment for me to trial and test my new BodyICE Woman range of ice/heat packs. I lay in my bed with the ice packs on my boobs (and perineum) and was instantly relieved. Relieved because I wasn’t in pain and relieved to know that I had created an awesome product that so many women will love and need! (Watch this space as we’ll be launching this product soon)
Other unpleasantries I experienced before I forget include:
- In the first week or so, I felt a period pain ache every time I fed. It’s because the uterus is contracting back to its normal size. Crazy! It’s surprising how swollen a belly is after childbirth. You would think once the baby is out that you’re back to wearing your wardrobe…but unfortunately it’s not the case and it takes time to shrink back to normal.
- Bleeding. It’s surprising how much you bleed after childbirth and not something you get warned about. My bleeding stopped after about three weeks but stock up on the heavy duty maternity pads.
- Sore perineum after birth and boobs (especially when the milk arrives) – not surprising really! Cold packs are the key here.
- Strained pelvic floor. I remember on day three post birth, I walked Kai to Kindergarten which is down a big hill. Not a good idea because I felt it on the way back up and was tender for the rest of the day. You really need to go easy on the pelvic floor muscles as they’ve been through the ringer!
- Fatigue – I would say the first week of interrupted sleep and constant feeding felt pretty good. I just charged through it. By weeks two and three however, fatigue kicks in and energy wanes. That’s when you really need some back up support and I was lucky to have loads of help from my family.
- Milky – that stuff gets everywhere and I found myself changing my clothes and pj’s almost as often as Alek. Stock up on breast pads and get some good maternity nighties/pj’s to wear to bed.
- Mastitis – at about week 5, I got a blocked milk duct which is absolutely horrible. I used heat packs (again my BodyICE Woman prototypes came in handy!) and expressed as much as I could. I got fever and my whole body ached but miraculously I managed to get rid of it within 24hrs without antibiotics by continuing to feed, express, heat and massage. Ouch!
The cycle of feeding, burping, changing and laundry can seem never ending in the first couple of months and life becomes a bit of a fog. Alek has been a very easy baby (so far) so we’re very lucky. By about 6 weeks he started to fall into a pattern of consistently sleeping through – i.e: from about 10:30 -6:30, then he would feed and go back to sleep until about 9am. It doesn’t happen every night but it’s sooooo good to get a good stretch of sleep. I can’t imagine how exhausting it would be to try and comfort a screaming baby night after night. The constant feeding and changing is demanding enough! He’s already out of his newborn nappies weighing in over 6kgs now. His chubby creases are so cute and I’ve had to start packing away some of his clothes that are too small.
Personally, I’m feeling really good and the fact that Alek is a cruisy baby is the reason for that! Physically, I’m shrinking back to normal and have a couple of kg’s to lose before I get back to pre-pregnancy weight. It’s nice to start fitting back into my normal clothes! Strangely, my linear nigra (dark belly line) is still quite dark, so I’m wondering when that will fade. I’ve been walking loads as well as getting into the gym when I can. I just take Alek with me and he usually sleeps whilst I work out. I’ve also been able to get back into surfing which I am LOVING right now. I just express a bottle of milk which buys me a couple of hours of ‘me time’ which is so important for my sanity otherwise I find I get a little cranky and crazy! I
All in all, life is good. The first couple of months of going from three to four has been full but we’re adjusting well and finding a balance. Kai has taken on the big brother role and started 3-yr old Kindergarten. He’s very sweet to his little brother and thankfully has had loads of attention from his grandparents which has helped us parents give Alek the time he needs. xx
When my first-born son Kai was a newborn, I didn’t get any professional shots taken of him. I just didn’t get around to it, so when the opportunity arose to be a part of a newborn photography workshop with Alek, I enthusiastically accepted. The newborn phase passes by so quickly and Alek has changed so much even in just 2 weeks, so I wanted to capture him in the here and now before it’s too late.
The photographer, Lorna Kirkby aka the ‘baby whisperer’ and her lovely assistant Emily opened my eyes to the art of newborn photography. Sitting in the natural light of Lorna’s home with photography students closely watching and absorbing her every move, I got to see first hand, the skill, effort an technique involved in capturing artistically beautiful photographs of newborn babies. It’s no easy task and there’s a lot involved in getting a newborn to sit, lie and pose peacefully and majestically.
The room is warmed to keep the baby comfortable throughout the nappy changes, wrapping and unwrapping. Simultaneously, Lorna plays white noise off her iPhone, turns on a nifty gadget called a Baby Shusher and even has an in-utero heart beat playing in the background. In her cool, gentle confident manner, Lorna effortlessly showed us and her students how to soothe, wrap and position a newborn baby in order to ‘get the shot’.
The dads in my life are pretty marvellous. My dad is a man of incredible effort, work ethic and generosity. My husband and dad to Kai…well what can I say. He’s the most patient, flexible, supportive, loving guy I know who left his homeland of Finland along with his friends and family for me. I could go on…but you get the gist. Lucky girl.
In celebration of the wonderful dads in my life, I’ve put together a Father’s Day Feast – a meal I know they’ll love. The best part about this menu is that it’s super easy, delicious, great for the health conscious and a simple way to feed a crowd….which in my family, amounts to quite a few people. You’ll notice I haven’t included a desert, but I find the best accompaniment with this menu is a delicious fruit platter and an espresso coffee. Just what my dad’s like! Enjoy!
FATHERS DAY FEAST
Porcini Mushroom Sauce
Super Green Salad
Boiled Kipfler Potatoes
Sourdough Rye Bread
Being a professional aerial skier and married to a Fin who is an ex pro mogul skier, it’s hard not to get excited when the ski season rolls around. Even more so now that our son Kai is at the ripe age of 3 and is ‘ski ready’. We put him on skis for the first time at 2yrs old in the Finnish winter (bloody cold) merely to test the waters and see how keen he was. It wasn’t long before he was up and down the magic carpet, circling laps on the little kiddy slope. A few days later, he was on the chair lift. As parents, it was all smiles and we were proud as punch.
Any parent will know that you can’t force a toddler to do anything but here’s a few things you can do but warm them up to the idea of skiing and to ensure your little one has a good first experience on skis: