When you're 39 weeks pregnant

 

You are not simply doing the washing, putting things away or getting organised when you are 39 weeks pregnant. Oh No. The world says you are NESTING.

If you do not answer your phone or respond to a text STRAIGHT AWAY, OMG you're probably in labour. The person should probably keep calling you a hundred times to check. No, I'm not in labour. And if I was, I would still not answer the phone. 

"How many weeks are you? Are you ready? Feeling excited? Getting nervous? I have a great birth/pregnancy/baby story to tell you." Please, can you? I am just dyyyyying to hear it. And FYI the less you actually know the person the more they are willing to tell. 

Depending on who you talk to, you will look SMALL or BIG for your weeks. And they can tell you're carrying HIGH or maybe LOW and they can DEFINITELY tell you're carrying a BOY. Or wait, it could be a GIRL. And OMG you've grown! 

Expect to be touched, poked and prodded. Yes, by doctors (duh), but by strangers and passers by too. Apparently I am a certified good luck charm, all you have to do is rub my belly and your wish is my command (ok, I will 100% not deliver on this, so hands off). 

And expect for SO many people to tell you being pregnant was the best time of their lives. Yes, because we all love fluid retention, carpel tunnel syndrome, waking all night long to pee and waddling like a penguin. And me? I especially LOVE not drinking, eating soft cheeses and cutting back on caffeine (said no one ever). 

Thank F you get an adorable little babe at the end of this long nine month journey. We're ready to meet you little mooi number 2! 

While we're still 3

 

Safe to say pregnancy number one is always going to be different to number two. Number one is filled with awe and amazement and babymoons and little trips away, just because. Where pregnancy number two you know what's going to happen (for the most part). It's still amazing and exciting (whoah the human body can do whaaaat?) but the awe has worn off a bit and has been replaced with chasing a tantruming toddler around the supermarket (fun!). 

Instead of napping on the couch and indulging in as many movie sessions as you can, you're probably getting up at 6am with kid number one and then spending the day trying to reason with a child who won't stop crying because he wants to eat crayons for afternoon tea.

So we haven't done a babymoon or any trips away with this second pregnancy. And the nights out for dinner have been few and far between. But hell we just got back from 18 months in Europe so exploring the old hood (Melbourne baby!), and seeing all of the faces we'd missed so much, has been more than awesome enough.

After all, we gotta make the most of all these 'last moments' of being a family of 3. Before we know it there's gonna be four of us and we'll be back to square one, learning how to 'do it' all over again.

It's gonna be a boy!

 

What's the perfect combination? One boy, one girl? Two girls? Two boys? 3 kids? 4 kids? More?

I really have no damn idea. But what I do know is that we are making ANOTHER LITTLE BOY! So not too long away there will be two little boys in our house getting up to all sorts of mischief. Two little boys running laps around the kitchen bench endlessly, all afternoon. Two little boys kicking balls, throwing toys and screaming like dinosaurs at the top of their lungs. There will probably be years of blue rooms, scratched knees, video games, grass stained clothes, ball games and super heroes to come. 

Yep, it's gonna be fun. And if the second kid is anything like our first, it will be all sorts of noisy, chaotic and energetic fun. <3

New year's nap time

 

I swear parenting is just 80% reverse psychology. Seriously, when you want them to do something there’s no way in hell they’re gonna do it and the second you want them to stop it’s the only thing in the world they want to do.

And it’s no different with sleep, well not when it comes to Austin anyway. When you want him to succumb to sleepy land (hmmm I don’t know, maybe at bedtime and naptime could be a good idea?) he is not having a bar of it but then when we think he’ll wake up (or want him to wake up) he just goes on snoozing without a care.  Aaah, so frustrating!

So, on Sunday we had a fabulous little outing to a Chinese New Year celebration, we chose the location specifically for Austin (hello big festival party). The plan was to get him to sleep on the way to lunch and then probably half way through he’d wake up and get to see all the exciting festivities.  So of course he then slept through the entire thing. Ha, poor kid. Not gonna lie, having lunch and being able to walk around while he snoozed was a bit of a luxury. We could almost forget we even had a kid with us. Well, except for the pram.

And I guess really, he’s none the wiser. Except for waking up with an awesome new rooster balloon. There’s always next year, kid. 

A-maze-ing adventures

 

As far as parks go, this little section of Albert Park Lake called 'Middle Park Community Playground' has only a small selection of trees, basically no lush grass and not a pretty flower or garden bed in sight... but I don't think any of the kids who come here give a flying flap, because it DOES have the hugest and bestest adventure playground. Mazes upon mazes weave around a central area, with wooden towers, crawl holes and sandpits making this one of the funnest parks we've been to.

This fabulous space is a hot spot for kids parties with public bbq's, seating and toilets all in the area. And if your kids have any energy left after all of their running around you could pop over to the lake and let the fun continue. Woo! 

Ahoy there Amsterdam

 
amst5.jpg

Amsterdam at Christmas time has to be the prettiest damn thing I've ever seen. You know, not that I've seen it in Summer, or Autumn or any other time... ever... but just take my word for it, it's damn pretty. 

The city itself is super cute, like a large village. And over December there's constant showers which makes a beautiful mist over the whole place. That combined with all of the festive decorations and beautiful fairy lights adorning the whole place makes it feel like Santa is gonna pop around the corner at any given moment.

We stayed in the Jordaan area which was so perfect with a child. Right on the beautiful canal scene and close enough to all of the action but far enough away from the crazy night life.

For most people Amsterdam would make you think of debaucherous nights out, sitting around in 'special' cafes and visiting the red light district (just for a look, of course). So we were happily surprised (yip yip yipee!) to discover there is still HEAPS to do after avoiding all of these haunts, and especially with kids.

We started the fun with a canal cruise by the Blue Boat Company, who do a special kids pack to keep the littles entertained when seeing all of the sights. The NEMO Science museum was AH-mazing; Austin had the absolute best time of his life here. We visited the Dam Square and all of its gorj christmas lights, ate crepes for dinner, hunted down famous apple pie and visited the markets. 

So much fun and so special for our last little European vacay. Thinking the next one will be a fair dinkum aussie affair.

 

London winter lovin'

 

London in winter is cold and damp and dark. The people are grumpy. The days are short and good old witching hour seems to go on forrrever (thank you very much to the sun going down at 3.30pm).

BUT every now and then you get one of those glorious days where the sun is out, the temperature is on the right side of freezing (wooo!) and there are about 100 million autumn leaves to play in. Yep, last weekend was one of those fabulous days. And to top it off with a Lizzy's breakfast was perfection.

Now, if we could just get the weather gods to comply more often Londoners might turn into happy little campers all year round (even in the cold, damp and dark winter).

Party People

 

We went to a rave and it was exactly how I remember them being... kidding! It was a family rave, so there were a few (huge) differences:

1. A kid came to the rave with us. Wait that's our kid! Yep, and despite me thinking it was a fabulous idea to bring him in while he was sleeping the kid had a fab time! You know, after he got over the shock of waking up in a darkened room full of people dancing to music. 

2. There was THE most amazing pirate cake stand. Why didn't every nightclub have one of these back in the day? Marshmallow-pops, salted caramel brownies, red velvet cupcakes... Ok, I am stopping this cake list before I get some serious cravings.

3. The side room was dedicated to all things baby. Yep, for the 0-3 set this was the place to be. Ball pits, tunnel mazes and a spectacular play dough zone. 

4. And the beats. The beats were GOOD. If only Austin would've let us dance to the music. Every time we tried we got the 'nooooo'. How is it we are already the embarrassing parents and he's only 2? I thought we had at least two more years up our sleeve. 

Oh, and how did I forget the most important part - the bar was open for all the mums and dads. Wooo! Big Fish Little Fish sure delivered the goods on our first family rave. 

11 things to do with kids in the London summer

1.     Splash in a fountain.

If you’re not near a beach or a pool then the next best thing is to let the kids cool off in a fountain. If you’re not from England this probably sounds like a bit of a strange concept… but the kids love it! The English aren’t shy either, if it’s 18 degrees or higher the kids are getting their kit off and running totally wild. Some of our fave fountains to cool off in are: Granary Square (with fabulous coffee next door at Caravan), Princess Diana Fountain and Jeppe Hein’s Appearing Rooms at Southbank.

Image source: kingscross.co.uk

Image source: kingscross.co.uk

2.     Laze in the park.

When the sun is shining Londoners sure know how to make the most of it. They go outdoors and stay there, setting up deck chairs, picnic rugs, hell they may as well bring the kitchen sink with them. Heaps of parks have a Lido or paddling pool and the kids will be sure to make the most of the ice-cream van waiting at the gates. Some of our faves are Hyde Park (there are so many areas in Hyde Park you could spend several days exploring, try The Princess Diana Memorial Playground or sitting out front of the lake 'The Serpentine'), Alexandra Palace and Clissold Park.

Alexandra Palace

Alexandra Palace

3.     Hide from rain at a museum.

Ok, London gets a bad rap for being ‘rainy’ but we’ve had hardly any rain over summer. The only thing is when it does rain it pours for several days in a row. Perfect opportunity to get out and see some of the fabulous London museums. Some of our faves are: Geffreye Museum, The V&A Museum and the Science Museum. If you check their websites prior to visiting most will run additional programs and events over the summer holidays, so extra fun for the kids.

Geffreye Museum

Geffreye Museum

4. Visit a West End show.

Over summer the Society of London Theatre run ‘Kids Week’ where kids go free to some of London’s top shows. The Lion King, Wizard of Oz, The Gruffalow… the choices are endless.

Kids Week West End

Kids Week West End

5. Get back to nature at one of London’s natural reserves.

Sometimes the best thing for kids is plonking them outside and letting them explore. There are some great spots throughout London. Our faves are Woodberry Wetlands (nothing to do with the great coffee also on site) and Camley Street Natural Park, right near Kings Cross Station. There are a heap more places to visit listed on the Wild London website. 

Woodberry Wetlands

Woodberry Wetlands

6. Go to the Zoo.

The zoo is always a hit with kids right? The London Zoo is huge with themed exhibits, playground areas and of course heaps of animals.

London Zoo

London Zoo

7. Do something touristy.

Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, They Eye… there are so many choices. Or you could jump on the big red tourist bus and see them all.

The Eye

The Eye

8. Visit the beach.

Well you could visit an actual beach (Southend-on-sea or Mersea Island aren’t too far away) but depending on where you are it could be a 1-2 hour journey or even longer which makes it a very long day trip. Sooooo, next best thing visit Beach East! It’s a man made ‘beach’ in Stratford. Basically a HUGE sandpit with paddle pool surrounded by boardwalk games and rides. Gives the littles a beach experience without leaving the city. 

Beach East

Beach East

9. Pig out at the food market.

Now this one may be tricky depending on the age of your kids. If they’re young enough to be strapped in or pushed around, or you trust they’re not gonna make a run for it then perfect! London’s food markets get super busy but for good reason, they’re so damn yummy. The array of fresh produce, yummy meals and shouting vendors is sure to get your kids attention. Our faves are the Broadway Market and Borough Markets.

Broadway Market

Broadway Market

10. Visit a city farm.

There’s a heap of farms across the city all different shapes and sizes, but each one gives the kids a little taste of farm life. Our faves are Spitalfields and Hackney City Farm

 

11. Go to a rave.

Ok, this might seem like an odd one, but it is all the rage (pun intended). Family raves pop up all over London and throughout England in the summer, playing old school tunes for mum and dad while the kids have a blast in the play area with tents and tunnels, crafts tables and ball pools. Not bad while the adults sip on some prosecco. We’ll be trying out a rave by BFLF in October, if you haven’t been to one before come and check it out with us!

All of the totally normal things that drive me mad after having a kid

 
  1. Squeaky doors. And squeaky floorboards. I think we can include squeaky pram wheels here too. Can we just stop all squeaking people? There is nothing worse than getting your kid to sleep, or half asleep and trying to do the stealth sneak out only to be thwarted by the damn squeaky floorboards.
     
  2. People who beep their horn when my kid is sleeping in the pram. A**holes.
     
  3. People who give you advice on how to get your fussy eater to eat, bad sleeper to sleep, tantrum maker to stop tantrum-ing. Literally none of the ‘helpful’ advice you’ve just given is helpful. None.
     
  4. People who talk loudly on the street when I’m trying to get Austin to fall asleep. Seriously. How. Dare. You.
     
  5. People who walk as a pack on the footpath and make no room to let you past. Like seriously, do you want me to move on to the road with the kid and the pram? Move the F over. It’s a two-way footpath people.
     
  6. Restaurants and cafes that don’t take my order the second I sit down. Ok, I am on a timeframe people, and that kid sitting next to me is my alarm clock. I need a coffee stat. Let’s not mess around!
     
  7. People without kids who talk about how much sleep they’ve had. Or how much sleep they haven’t had. Or pretty much anything to do with sleep. Zip it.

Whoa, I sound like an old cranky woman don’t I? I probably just walk around the streets scowling like a mad person so people talk loudly, beep their horns and don’t take my orders so that they can avoid me. Hmmm. I might just think on that awhile.