News from Spring

I thought I would swing by to update you on few things I have been up to lately. After a holiday visiting family in the country, Camping at Wombeyan caves followed by a relaxing few days at the beach, we returned refreshed and ready for the lead up to Christmas... maybe.

I recently joined Illustrators Australia, I'm very excited to be part of this great resource for Illustrators. You can see my little page over here.

I painted a piece of timber for the "9x5 show" for the Illustrators Australia CARNIVALE exhibition. I was inspired by a past trip to Venice and Padua. If you happen to be in Melbourne you can visit the 9X5 Exhibition at SPACE 39, Lvl 2, 39 Little Collins St, Melbourne. Opening night is this Friday the 9th November 6pm-9pm.

Last Saturday I made the long trek into the Blue Mountains to "Pinerolo" Margaret Hamilton's children's book cottage in Blackheath. She runs courses on children's book publishing among other things. It was so lovely to be swept up in her enthusiasm for the books she has created over the years and all the amazing writers and illustrators she has worked with. She was also joined by renowned illustrator Wayne Harris who showed us many of his award winning books and and the original illustrations he created for them.

I enjoyed Margaret's extensive Owl collection, original collections of artwork from many amazing artists including one of my former tutors Tony Oliver. I didn't get a chance to have a good peek at her book collection.

Beach Holiday

Just spent 10 days on a traditional Lloyd summer holiday with extended in-law family; around 30 of us in total this year. By traditional, see patched up beach umbrella which has seen its fair share of beach holidays. The break was much needed after December craziness... Bah humbug (Honestly dislike pre-Christmas more and more each year). Came back home a few days ago feeling refreshed and invigorated, ready to start 2012 with renewed enthuisiasm. Again vowing to think of ways to create a stress free Christmas this year.

Feeding problems

The last 10 weeks have been the hardest weeks in my life thus far...

Written at 7 weeks old Well my bub is 7 weeks old now. I must say that my first was not an "easy" bub but I can honestly say that looking after him was a walk in the park compared to my experience so far with Zoe.

E had reflux as a bub and was constantly regurgitating his feeds, where here I think Zoe has what is called silent reflux. I feed her on a slope so her head is up high so gravity helps her with digestion. When I put her down flat for a play, or on her front for tummy time she will scream the house down. I need to hold her upright on my shoulder for at least half an hour to an hour for her to digest after a feed and then put her in her bassinet which is propped up by towels. If I'm lucky she'll go to sleep. But mostly she is hungry again by that stage and we start the process all over again. She is using up so much energy through lack of sleep and crying that she isn't gaining weight. Although she is getting taller. If I need to put her down to tend to something else I put her in her bouncer which has a good angle to it, she is sometimes happy enough in this position for a short while unless she is having a particularly bad bout of reflux.

8 Weeks old. Her Paediatrician admits us to hospital "Failure to thrive." She is diagnosed with insufficient suck and reflux. We had tried feeding her with all different types of bottles at home and she couldn't get milk from any of them. We ended up feeding her with those plastic syringes you get with children's medicine. In hospital she has all sorts of tests for various problems that babies can have. She has an ultrasound, barium test (scary), blood test (just horrible) and urine test (messy). All of these tests come back clear thankfully except for the barium which confirms that she has reflux.

Zoe is 10 weeks old now
and she is finally putting on weight. She is having breastfeeds and then is supplement fed with a nifty bottle called the Haberman feeder. This great bottle allows her to feed a lot quicker. She is also taking a supplement called poly-joule powder. It basically extra carbs to give her more calories (energy).

I am taking motillium to boost my milk supply since Zoe cannot draw the milk well and keep my milk coming strong. And I'm pumping when I can. I'm also eating all the things that are meant to help with milk supply.... Weleda breastfeeding tea (which contains fenugreek), steamed fish (the Chinese believe this helps) and sago (Indians say this helps).

And now I am looking towards breastfeeding her normally, am trying to see Speech Pathologist who specializes in infant feeding problems. There are only a few who practise in Sydney.

Some pages that have been useful...
Fact sheet on bottles

And then there were four...

Our Spring baby was born one stormy night in September. We named her Zoe which seems fitting as the name means "Life". There was something magical to me about the night she was born. She was a big girl at 4.35kg and 54cm long. Zoe and her big brother have been keeping me busy!

Bringing Zoe home.

Sleeping on Daddy.

Spring in the garden

Catching up on some posts... I have been otherwise occupied having my spring baby! I'll update on that soon. Meanwhile all the flowers and bees are out in our garden. When it rains you can hear frogs chirping happily from their leafy homes, and the bell birds tinking away at the tops of the trees. I love this time of year.

Our news!

We are very excited that we have another baby on the way! It is due in mid September. I haven't been too unwell morning sickness but I have a bad back already. It doesn't help that I have my little poppet to pick up and cuddle, put in the car, take out of the car and whisk out of mischief!

We have also been in a big rush to try and get our home the way we want it before the second baby arrives. That way we can focus on enjoying being a family... In the to-be-babies room there is a pull down wall bed, which we don't use, so I need to sell that on Gumtree (like Craigslist) and paint the room in some nice light and bright colours. At the moment it is submarine grey in there - how lovely. We have been doing lots of weed removal in the garden and painting inside among other things. I purchased some vegetable seeds yesterday and we have a new compost bin. The plan is to make a start on a vegetable garden...

Picnic at the beach

On the weekend we visited a friend who lives near the beach, we had a picnic in a little cove and took E for a paddle. I just love finding fun things in nature like these red and black Waratah anemones! There were also lots of little schools of fish, if you were fast enough you could catch them with your cupped hands.

Give me colour...

You know when your life just doesn't feel quite right? Like you aren't making the right choices or priorities? I feel like that right now.

I'm finally losing the post baby weight and feeling more comfortable with my body size (which I'm over the moon about) but it's at the gym - and I don't really like being there. I'm not sure I need machines, televisions and pump classes. I really really miss my lovely old Yoga centre in Perth. I'll have to find somewhere new to go where I feel peaceful.

Plus I so need to tick off some chores like doing the tax (it's a big one this year) and all the paperwork housekeeping stuff which is cluttering my brain right now. So I can move on to expressing myself on paper. I've got some artwork busting to get out!!

I also need more colour in my life. I've been choosing paint colours in boring creams and tans for our house because I wanted a "blank canvas" to put artwork up on, but now I'm thinking... that's wrong. We need more colour!!