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Monday, 30 December 2013

Aussie Curves - Christmas

Finally! I am able to take part in my first AC challenge postbaby!

Funnily enough, I have actually 'played along' with most of the themes, choosing outfits at some point in the week in accordance with the theme, but I just never got around to taking any photos, so they went unposted.

This week's theme should have been easy enough too, afterall, I was getting dressed up anyway, and surely there would be photos? Well... kind of. I yet again forgot to take any proper outfit photos! I was determined to take part though, and after coming home from a day of shopping I realised I was pretty much wearing the same outfit, just a different necklace, so I had Hubby snap some photos!

Peplum - City Chic
Skirt - City Chic
Sandals - Target
Necklace - Peeptoe

For Christmas Day I wanted something pretty, but comfortable. This outfit was just perfect. I had been lusting after the peplum trend, watching on in envy as so many different styles came out. However, as I was pregnant for most of this year, I could only watch on in envy. 

This is one of my firts purchases post baby! A beautiful floral peplum that can be worn casually or dressed up. What i love the most is that it goes in where i'm smallest, but also perfectly covers my soft post baby belly.

Another lusted after trend was pleather! I really didn't think this would look good, but this pencil skirt is a perfect fit. The best part about this skirt was that any mess spilled on it just wiped right off. A very neccesary feature when you have a newborn and a toddler.

My sandals are my current favourites. They are from Target and are just so comfortable! They actually slip on, with the back part being made from a stretchy velvety fabric. These shoes just seem to glam up the simplest outfit, and I am kicking myself I didn't buy the same pair in the cream and black colour that was also available. I can;t seem to find them instore at the moment. 

The necklace I actually purchased from Danielle (Danimezza) at the plus size market day that we participated in a few months back. It is by Peeptoe. I think it goes perfectly with the sandals, and also adds a bit of bling to a simple outfit. I will confess that I actually wore a different necklace on the day, but I prefer the look of this one! 

I hope you all had a Very Merry Christmas!

Check out what my fellow curvettes wore this silly season!

Christmas 2013

My all time favourite time of year is Christmas. I have always LOVED the magic that surrounds the 'silly season'. I really love everything about it. I adore the decorations, and always put my tree up on the 1st of December, or the weekend before it.

 I love researching every gift and selecting the perfect one for each person. 

Now I have Children, Christmas has become extra special. I love, love, love the mythology that surrounds Santa. I have had personalised Santa sacks made for them. On Christmas eve they get put on their bedroom door handle just before they go to bed. A special key is hung on the front door to ensure Santa can find his way inside.

We carefully select the snacks for Santa  and the reindeer and leave them out so they don't leave hungry.
The excitement of Christmas morning was tangible this year, with Abigail (who is nearly 3) really understanding what was happening.

Marcus... not so much! But nevermind, his Sister 'helped' him open his pressies.

Christmas morning breakfast is a special moment for us to eat together before we are joined by our extended family. We keep it pretty light, as we know there will be plenty of food to be had during the day. 
This year we enjoyed 'Overnight French Toast' (Recipe  to come!) and fresh fruit.

I adore Christmas food, baking special treats that I only make a Christmas, and I take an active part in planning the Christmas day spread, no matter who is hosting it. This year we hosted Christmas at our place, and had my In Laws over.  We had agreed that there would be no pre-lunch nibbles, so we had room for our  beautiful lunch. Lunch was a mostly healthy affair, with different salads and cold meat. Dessert was much more decadent, with an array of slices, fruit, pudding & cheesecake.

It was a beautiful, relaxing Christmas Day surrounded by loving family. Made extra special because it was this Little Man's first!

We backed it up the next day, with a celebration with my side of the family. This one was hosted at my parents place, and we had the most amazing seafood spread. So amazing that I didn't take any photos!!

Christmas this year was one of the best I have had, surrounded by family and friends, and filled with love and laughter. What more could you ask for?

Saturday, 28 December 2013

How we prepared Number 1 for the arrival of Number 2

One of my biggest concerns when we fell pregnant was how we were going to prepare our Daughter for the arrival of a sibling. We figured it would help that she would be 2.5 by the time her sibling arrived., and so hopefully be able to understand what was going to happen. Sort of.  However, we still wanted to make sure that she was prepared.

Started by talking to her and showing pictures of babies

We started by telling her that we would be having a baby Brother or Sister for her. We showed her pictures of babies. We also explained that the baby would be in Mummy's belly, and showed her pictures of that.

Took her to see an ultrasound 

We took her to our 12 week Nuchal scan. To be honest she lost interest very quickly, but she was very smitten with the ultrasound photos. So much so, that that's how we had her announce the pregnancy to family! She was given the photos and proudly showed them off, informing everyone that she was going to be a Big Sister.

Make a big deal about her becoming a 'Big Sister'

Everyone made a very big deal about her becoming a 'Big Sister'. We talked to her about how she would have a baby sibling, and we would point out examples of older siblings from other families she knew, such as her cousins.

Bought her a book

I went on the hunt for a book that might explain what having a baby sibling around was gong to be like. I was very fussy about what I wanted. I didn't want anything too wordy, and I wanted clear pictures. I was so happy when I stumbled across the perfect book.

Baby and Me by Emma Dodd

This book was perfect because it features moving parts on each page. The Sister goes through all the things she does to help her baby doll, such as bath it, feed it, change it's nappy and put it to sleep. To make it suit our needs better wherever they used the word 'dolly' I swapped it for baby. Abbie loved the book, and we were able to talk to her about all the special things we would be doing with the baby.

Transitioned her to her 'Big Girl' room early

We wanted to keep the nursery as is, so that meant moving Abbie to her own room. I didn't want her to associate being moved out of her bedroom with the baby's arrival, and w wanted her to be settled in advance. However, we did talk to her about how she was getting this new room because she was a 'Big Girl' and no a baby anymore.

She was very excited to see the room slowly come together, and really loved it when we did the big reveal. She loved it so much that she actually transitioned from the cot to the bed seamlessly. Setting up her room has turned out to be a great idea as she loves playing in it, and will happily go in her room for a play (or not so happily be sent in there for time out!). She saw it as something special that happened because a baby was coming, as opposed to something negative.

Spent time with other babies

Meeting her friend Liam

It just so happened that there was a bit of a baby boom amongst our friends just before we fell pregnant. Thus meant we were able to introduce Abbie to other babies, and talk to her about how she had to be gentle, and what she could/ could not do with a baby

Had her choose her sibling a gift

We took Abbie to a playschool concert. At the end we were choosing her a toy, when I thought to ask her to choose one for her baby. She decided she wanted to buy the baby a small version of Big Ted. She was very excited to choose it, and put it in the cot when we came home.

Before the baby was born I bought a same sized version if Litte Ted. So now Marcus has Big Ted from his Big Sister, and Abbie has Little Ted from her Little Brother!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Freezer Meals - Maltese Pasta Bake

This is another pasta based freezer meal. Really, I think pasta based meals are some of the best to freeze, as they usually cook so well, if not better!

This is a classic family staple in my Husbands family, and has become one I adore too. It is like a cross between and Italian Lasagne and a Greek Pasticcio but without the bechamel! Yummo! It is super easy to make. It is even easier if you have made a big pot of Bolognese ahead of time. I often make a huge pot of bolognese and then divide it up and freeze it. That can be used to make Spaghetti, Lasagne or Pasta Bake! For this recipe I am going to assume that you have already made your favourite bolognese ahead of time.

Maltese Pasta Bake

Serves 6


2 cups cooked bolognese sauce ( Check out my recipe here)
1 packet Penne Pasta - Cooked
5 Eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (set aside approx 1/4 of it to sprinkle on top)
1 cup grated cheese

In a big bowl stir the bolognaise, cooked pasta, parmesan and eggs together. Pour into baking dish.
Top with the remaining cheese.

Bake in moderate oven for approx 45 Minutes.


The resulting pasta bake should be able to be sliced into squares/rectangles and served.
If freezing, freeze unbaked, then bake in moderate oven with foil 'lid' until nearly cooked, then remove so the top can brown.
This dish is even better if you bake it earlier in the day, let it cool, then put it back in the oven to rewarm about 15 minutes before. This is how my MIL often does it, and it slices up perfectly.
The recipe is so easy, double it nd have one for dinner and freeze another dish!!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Marcus' Birth Story

I had a fantastic pregnancy with very few issues. We did have a fright after his first ultrasound, as my OB/GYN had trouble finding a heartbeat, and when found it was very low. We were advised to come back in two weeks, and either the heartbeat would be stronger.. or it would not be there. You can imagine the agonising wait, as I stressed and shed many tears. Thankfully, our next appointment revealed a very strong heartbeat. He was already living up to his namesake, and reminding us how 'fortunate' we were.

My only other issue was I had to have clexane injections through the pregnancy, due to developing a DVT the year prior. I remained active through my pregnancy, and worked hard to keep off as much weight as possible. However, from 30 weeks my belly grew at an alarming rate, and my OB/GYN started mentioning that I was going to end up with a large baby.

A 38 Weeks

As I was using Clexane injections my OB suggested that I may want to consider an induction date. It was revealed that if I went into spontaneous labour within 12 hours of my last injection I would be unable to have an epidural should I want it. Given that my Dr was expecting at least an 8 pound baby, he suggested I may want the option. I readily agreed, although I had not used an epidural with my Daughter, however I was unsure how different this labour would be.

As my induction date neared I felt very nervous. The baby was still high and not showing signs of moving down. I was questioning whether I should be forcing bubs out if he was not ready, and was worried about having an induction as my last labour was spontaneous. I reread my birth skills book 'Birth Skills' by Ju Ju Sundin and chose a few coping tools that I would use should I be induced. 

Finally the night before my induction came around. I was to go in the night before and have tape inserted to soften the cervix.  Once we were settled into the delivery room a midwife completed an internal. She informed me I was actually already 3cm dilated, and said she would call my OB to see what he wanted to do. 5 mins later we were told to go home and come back in the morning! 

The delivery room

As we already had arranged for our Daughter to have a sleepover at my Parents place, Hubby and I decided to enjoy the evening and go out. We stopped off at our local town centre and enjoyed dinner and gelato, before heading home to relax. I was actually really lovely to spend that quality time together.

The next day we arrived at the hospital again at 7 am and were again set up in the delivery room. I was checked again, and had the syncatocin drip inserted. My OB arrived to break my waters at about 8:20 am, and within 20 minutes the first labour pain started.

At first they were mild, however the gained in intensity rather quickly and I started using my birth skills. I found when I had my daughter that if I could distract myself from the pain and focused another sensation then I could cope with pain much better. As a contraction built I tapped my fingers on the side of my monitoring machine, concentrating on the sound and the pattern of my tapping.  Contractions were consistently 2 minutes apart and lasting for 30 seconds for the next hour, while building in intensity. I started using more tools, such as a rattle that I would softly shake with one hand and shake harder as a contraction built, concentrating on the noise. I found standing was most comfortable, especially because my waters leaked continuously throughout. I later moved onto my knees , resting my head and arms on the bed and closing my eyes to rest between contractions. This stage of my labour had been going for about an hour and a half hours, before  I realised I had not used any gas yet! 

As I was nearing transition stage the labour pains became very strong. I used the gas, shook the rattle near my ear and had Mike rub my lower back. I finally got to a point where I told Mike I really could not take much more pain, and I needed to know how far I had progressed. He called the midwife and she checked me. I had progressed to nearly 8 cms, however bubs was still not engaged and was too high. She told me we were going to have to start working really hard together to get him down and we would need to start the pushing stage.

This stage I struggled with the most.  As a contraction would build she would push my cervix down in an attempt to get it below Bub’s head. I had to help by pushing . The pushing sensation was incredible but painful, and I struggled with getting the push right at times because the pain got the better of me. She told me I was going to have to keep working very hard, and I heard her call for another midwife and inform them she felt there would be issues with birthing the shoulders.This concerned me a bit, but I tried not to think about it.

 At points the pain overwhelmed me and I was telling Mike that I was scared and that I needed to know it was going to be over soon. He pointed out that it had been very fast, that it was nearly 11:30 and that I was doing so well to be at this stage already.

Once he was down far enough the Midwife called for my OB to come, so I knew it was near the end. This part is very much a blur for me, even though I had not used anything other than gas, and had stopped that a while ago, I was in a bit of a daze. Several midwives were called in to assist, and there was more discussion about the head and shoulders. My midwife told me I had to really really push, and really concentrate on it. She mentioned how it would be best for them not to have to use forceps so I had to work hard.

The midwives were helping me hold my legs my by this point, and with each contraction pushed my knees up almost to my shoulders while I had to push down really hard. Again, I started to feel a little overwhelmed and needed encouragement to concentrate on getting the pushing right. I tried to visualise how my pushing would be moving my baby down and out, and I found this helped.

 I kept going until they told me the head was coming out, but then I was told I had to stop pushing.  I know things were a bit frantic around me as they held my legs, and I asked them to guide me in what to do. My OB was reassuring telling me I was going great just to not push, that I was doing incredible. All I am really aware of at this point is the pressure and the intense burning sensation as Bub's head was partly out but they had me stop.

Mike later told me my OB had to use his hands to reach in around the head and hook into the shoulders to twist and tug him out. I just felt the burning sensation and pressure build and then finally an almost popping relief as my baby was pulled out.

Baby was put instantly on my chest and rubbed, and I looked to see that I had a baby boy! Marcus was breathing but was a bit dazed and in shock himself. They quickly weighed and checked him then gave him back for me to cuddle.

Meanwhile my OB was also having to tug out the placenta and he commented he hadn't had one that difficult to remove in a while. He then told me I was ‘incredible’ and that I had only one minor graze and that I had been very brave. Truthfully I still was not fully aware of what had happened other than there was a bit of trouble with the shoulders.

Physically I felt sore, my hips in particular really hurt, but after an hour I was able to get up and was escorted to the shower. I felt sore all over, but was on such a high. I was proud that I had achieved another epidural free birth, without any tearing.

Marcus did get a fractured collarbone due to getting stuck and being pulled out. However he seems fine and other than being understandably sore I am also fine. Best of all, I have a BEAUTIFUL baby boy to squeeze and enjoy!

Marcus Fortunato Xerri  was 4.3 kg when born, his head 38cm , and was born at 12:08 after about 3.5 hr labour

Monday, 9 December 2013

Introducing Marcus Fortunato

I have been somewhat MIA on the blog lately. I haven't participated in an Aussie Curves challenge for a while, or done any other blogging. I was preoccupied you see... I gave birth and have been enjoying every moment of my new baby.

I found it difficult to participate in any of the AC challenges at the end of my pregnancy. Mainly because my belly became HUGE and I lived in a few maternity dresses, a pair of maternity shorts and large tunic tops. Which did not fit well with any of the challenges!

The reason why I was unable to fit into most of my wardrobe was definitely revealed on the 15th November when my Son entered the world.

I was induced at 8:30am and labour started shortly after. I had a speedy labour, with Marcus arriving at 12:08pm. He weighed in at a whopping 4.3kg (9.8 pounds), which was nearly double his Sister's weight when born!

I have been in a state of bliss since. He is a beautiful, content baby. He loves to be cuddled, and sleeps really well. Perhaps the greatest blessing has been seeing how loved he is by Abigail. She adores him, completely. She loves nothing more than cuddling him, and kissing his forehead, with her curls always tickling his face.

I have so much I want to share such as

- My struggles with breastfeeding and the decision to formula feed
- A full birth story
- How we prepared Abigail for our new arrival
- What craft activities we have been doing (aka entertain the toddler)
- What Christmas treats we will be making (and a few recipes)

So I am going to try to make time to write up a few more posts. In the meantime, i'm just going to keep soakng up this beautiful boy, and keep enjoying every minute of holding my precious new born, as time flies by so quickly!