Wednesday, December 17, 2008

it's beginning to look a little bit like Christmas

Well I updated the look of my blog to match the season but I still haven't had time to do an update post. I have one half typed and a pile of photos ready to resize but haven't had enough kid free time to finish anything. For some reason I find it hard to type with the kids around. There's always night time when if we're lucky they will both be asleep for a while but that's when I relax with some digiscrapping for a hour. One of these days I'll catch up properly but for now here's a couple of things I wanted to mention.
Firstly my new look blog is courtesy of the fabulous Mel aka PixelGeek Designs at
She has made these blog kits which come with all the graphics and instructions to dress up the blog like this. Concentrating on the instructions was a little difficult with the kids but really it was very quick to set everything up like this. Next time will be even easier which is a good thing because I'll have to take down the Christmas decorations soon. Christmas is coming up way too fast. Luckily I have just about all my Christmas shopping done. Most of it I was able to do online. I had to as I'm without a car since Graham crashed mine. I'm still hoping to have it back before Christmas but running out of time.

I have some digiscrapping things in store now. It's something new I'm trying and I'm hoping they sell well enough to fund an internet upgrade. We keep using up our monthly internet allowance, even with careful rationing, and it's worse now that Alex has discovered things like the ABC kids website (and IKEA and Bunnings) so the next plan up would be better and would get us through the month. We had a temporary upgrade a few months ago, funded by Graham's work while he was working from home but now he is back at the office we don't have that luxury. So if I can have something new in store each month that sells well I can cover the cost of an upgrade and we can all enjoy the internet again, including Alex.
So I have 2 quickpage sets for sale in Studio mgl at created with Monica's gorgeous kits.
This one is using Crimson Gypsy and is all the right colours for Christmas but is not Christmas themed so can be used and reused for any photos.
previews are clickable :)

and the other quickpage set at Studio mgl is created with Monica's Nameless kit.
This is Nameless - The Album :)

Then over at I have a brag book album created with Shana's beautiful Angel Whispers kit. It's a 4x6" album of 8 photo pages, 8 journaling pages and 3 blank matching pages. Of course there's no reason why you can't put photos on the journaling pages too and vice-versa. These pages are ideal if you're looking for a quick DIY gift for someone. Just add your photos and text, print them out and slide into a little 4x6" pocket photo album. Perfect for a brag book of Grandma's little angels :)

All my quickpages are created at 300dpi and have my 'famous' shadowing :) I paid a lot of attention to detail and left room on each page to add titles and journaling or even extra elements.

and I have a freebie as well :)
Last night I made a couple of layouts using Shana's lush new Christmas kit, Holiday Shimmer

The kit has these cool Christmas lights in it but I wanted to turn them on. So I made myself some light flares in colours to match the lights. I was so happy with how they turned out that I'm giving them away for a short time so everyone can light up their Christmas layouts.
If you want them head on over the Digiscrapaganza store and grab them for free for a limited time. I think you'll have to register with the store to download but it's free and there's a heap of stuff on sale there right now starting from just 50c. If you do grab the light flares leave me a comment here and let me know what you think of them. I'd love to see any layouts you make with them.

Sorry the freebie has finished. You can still get these here but they just aren't free anymore.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Climbing the stairway to heaven

What a day! Alex went to day care where he got hit over the head with a book by another child, Dad came over and built the stairs to our wonderland room, and Ben has been unsettled all day.
Right now he still wont settle and it's 4am. It's bad enough having to make do with sleep in between 3 hourly feeds but even worse if he wont settle between those feeds. This kid just does not want to sleep!
So if I must be awake at least I can blog. I'm having internet problems though so don't know if this will upload. My last few blog posts had to be done over and over again as the images were corrupting during upload. Since then I've found it's not just blogger, I'm having trouble with just about any site that requires a login or upload. We have yet to determine if the problem is my computer, software, the 'new' router or Grahams rewiring of the cabling in the garage. Trouble shooting will have to wait until we both have our hands free, ie when Ben is asleep.

So today Dad installed THE stairs! Nice safe full width stairs so we can get in and out of the room above the garage. They are a work of art too :)
Here's the progress shots. Dad's standing on a ladder in the garage here and that's the 4'6" door above him.

All done and they even hold my weight! They still need carpet and paint to finish but we have to panel the room next.

Ben had his first shower tonight. It was part of a plan to wear him out and make him all warm and sleepy but it didn't work. He liked the water when he was under it but wasn't too happy to be held out for a photo. I had to make the photo black and white because there's a limit to how much pale pink flesh I want on my blog :P

After his bath Ben had one of his quietest ever nappy changes. Not really a change though, just a dressing, but it was nice not to have any screaming. He looked so cute too. I hate the dummy though. The hospital got him started on this dummy. It's part of the process of learning to suck for tube fed babies and most of the time Ben doesn't need it but when he is screaming we'll try anything.

At the moment the change table is a mat on top of my dresser, just until we can move Ben into his own room and get the change table off Alex. Above the dresser I have a mirror on the wall and on the mirror is a black and white photo of Graham and Alex. Alex always liked looking at black and white pictures when he was a baby. He had one stuck on the wall next to his change table, a geometric design. I haven't had time to print something out for Ben yet so I gave him this black and white photo to look at.

I finally got around to uploading some layouts tonight. These are layouts I did a while ago but didn't get to upload because I was in hospital (cept the baby fat one, that had to wait until after I got home for a photo and journaling). They were supposed to be uploaded for Tara Dunstan's opening spot at a new store but it's turned out OK because now she has a whole new store called La-Di-Da Studios and it looks great. Luckily it's one of the few sites that would work for me tonight so I've uploaded these and will spread them to a few more galleries later if I can get things working again. You can find the credit/kit links for these in my La-Di-Da gallery. These are all that's there so far because it's an all new site. and typically I can't even log in there now but I was able to upload earlier. This internet is getting worse and worse.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

over 2.5kgs now!

Now I've updated the blog I'm going to try and make an effort to keep it up again even if it's just a one liner each night. Today I waded my way through 460+ emails and I still haven't caught up there. Tomorrow I hope to finish the emails and catch up with my CTs online.
Today Ben had a visit to the nurse and a weigh in. He is now 2560gms which means he had a really good weight gain this week. Turns out he has actually been drinking nearly twice the min required amount. The nurse confirmed he has an umbilical hernia, something I noticed the other day, but that shouldn't be a problem, Alex had one when he was a baby and it went away. The nurse is happy with Bens progress and next week he sees the Pediatrician instead.
Ben is having more alert periods now and it is so nice to have an interactive baby instead of one that just eats, cries and sleeps. Unfortunately his alert times aren't always appropriate but when they coincide with mine it's the perfect time for photos :)

Dad is coming over tomorrow to put the new stairs in for the 'playroom' so I must get some photos in the morning for the before shots. Alex will be at day care tomorrow so the boys should be able to work in peace.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Oooops I did it again...

Thought it was about time I updated the blog with our new addition.

Benjamin John was born 11:19pm 3rd September, via emergency c-section, under general anaesthetic due to pre-eclampsia, just 5 weeks early at 35 weeks gestation, weighing 1840gms ( I think that's around 4 pounds).
His apgars were 9 & 9, a huge difference from Alex's 1 and 4!
Ben came out crying, needed no breathing assistance, not even oxygen. No drips this time either, just a feeding tube. He had jaundice but improved after just one night under lights. It was disappointing to have another general and miss out on the birth again but I had no choice, it was the safest option. It all happened so quickly. This time though the surgery was a much better experience, I wasn't under as long so I got to see Ben within the hour (just after midnight) and I got to hold him for the first time later that day. The midwife took photos of the surgery for us with my little point and shoot camera so while Graham and I missed out on the birth we at least have some photos of Ben's arrival. Graham then got to introduce my parents and Alex to Ben while I was still in recovery and announce his name. Unfortunately the name didn't suit him so we changed it to Benjamin a few days later :)
The pain was much worse this time though and recovery has taken a lot longer than I expected. To make things worse I got PUPPPS after he was born. It's something that usually happens during pregnancy but I couldn't even get that right. Thankfully that cleared up a few days ago.

It's been pretty chaotic here since Ben was born. A new baby is a lot more work than we expected. We thought it would be easy based on previous experience with Alex but we forgot Alex was 3 months old by the time he came home from the hospital and already had a routine. We are still settling into a routine with Ben. Feeds can take an hour, burping can take an hour and then half an hour later we have to do it all over again. Luckily Graham has time off still and has been doing so much to care for Ben! He is amazing! I couldn't cope without him. Ben is colicky so he just wants to be held all the time and if we put him down he chucks up. So there's a lot of washing and some nights he will just cry and fuss between feeds. Last night the only way we could get him to sleep was to leave the light on, unfortunately we didn't work that out until 5:30am so we didn't get much sleep before his next feed at 7:30am. Ben is in our room until we get the nursery ready and he makes a lot of noise even when he is asleep. He makes chicken noises! We can't wait to get him into his own room and sleeping through.

I'm expressing and bottle feeding breast milk. Ben was too small to breast feed without it tiring him too much so to help him save his energy and grow he gets a nice easy bottle. He is tongue tied too which makes breast feeding extra hard for him. All this means feeds are extra work and I feel like I'm just a milking machine just keeping ahead of Ben. It's working though. He came home weighing 1950gms and then only put on 5gms with a few days of breast feeding. Once we switched to the bottle he put on 160gms in a week and last week was up to 2300gms!

Alex is being really good with Ben, he wants to help with everything but we are being very cautious about Alex getting too close to Ben because of all the bugs Alex is exposed to at day care. Alex is going to day care on Fridays and often comes down with a cold on Sundays. The big news for Alex is that he is now toilet trained! He wears 'big boy undie pants' as he calls them. We've been making a big fuss over him, telling him how clever he is and how cool his underwear is, only problem is he has a habit of dropping his trousers to show people his undie pants if we mention them :) We've applied for 2 days a week for him at preschool next year. Still waiting to find out if we got them. Alex already knows all his numbers and letters, can spell some words (including Ben now) and can read the same words and can tell the time. So intellectually he is ready for school but he needs to learn to mix a bit more and speak up at school. He goes to day care and just does his own thing and doesn't seem to notice the other children.

Ben looks amazingly like my Dad. That's my Dad as he looks now (minus the beard) not my Dad as a baby. Apparently I looked like Dad as a baby too so I guess Ben takes after my side of the family. He certainly can match my brother for wind production :P
Ben has blue eyes and fuzzy ash blonde hair. He has my pink toned skin rather than Alex's golden tones.
I can't wait to get some decent photos of him, so far it's all just snap shots while everything else is going on but I have quite a few to scrap :)
Here's a pile of photos. I know Dad will say there's too many but I like lots of photos :) I do have some of the delivery that the midwife took for me but I don't think I should share the gory details here.

I promise I will catch up with everyone who's been waiting to hear from me. It's been hard finding time for anything lately between Ben, Alex and the breast pump. I am way behind on my emails and forums but will be making an effort to catch up with everyone soon. Last week I jumped online and started catching up then I copped a dose of mastitis that sent me to bed with fever and vomiting so I gave up on catching up again for a while. I didn't know mastitis could do that. I guess I can't complain about not getting the full experience this time but there are some experiences I can do without. I will NEVER do this again!

This photo was taken just before we left for the hospital. I didn't realise at the time that it would be my last pregnancy photo. We were just going to the hospital because I was feeling pretty bad and my BP was up. I hadn't had a pregnancy photo taken for a while so thought we'd grab some photos while I was dressed and upright :) This is my hurry up and take the shot I need to leave! photo. You can see how swollen I was, all over, I could barely open my eyes, that's from the pre-eclampsia. It is so good to have my eyes and cheekbones back now and to be able to bend my knees.


3 hours later, here's Ben in his crib.


My first photo with Ben. 24 hours after we checked into the labour ward I was moved to the maternity ward and we stopped at special care on the way for a cuddle. That balloon in the front of the photo is my swollen hand not an inflated rubber glove :P


Graham's first cuddle the next day


and me a few days after birth, sore and still swollen with a face full of broken capillaries and bruising from the anaesthetic mask.


I had some beautiful flowers and a lavender plant to cheer me up.


One bunch of flowers came in a box which was just Alex's size.


Graham got cuddles again for Fathers Day. So did I :)


Ben went quite a toxic shade of retro orange with jaundice and he had no energy for a while.

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Ben came home after just over 2 weeks in hospital. He is too small for his car capsule, even with the preemie insert.


Since he came home he has had a lot of cuddles from Daddy.


Ben cries, drinks, has a nappy change, chucks up and has a clothes change and then snoozes on Daddy for a while before starting all over again.


Here's all my boys :)


Alex still asks about Mommy's tummy and this is what he did with his balloon.


We are making special time for Alex each day when Ben is asleep so that Alex wont feel left out. So far there's no sign of any problems but special Alex time doesn't hurt :) Of course Alex time has to include the camera, especially now the weather is nicer and there's more light for photos (no the shots in red weren't all taken the same day, Alex just has 2 red jumpers and wears them a lot).


Look how big Alex is getting! He has his Uncle Jim's wide shoulders.

Compare that photo to these of him a year ago. He looks all grown up now.

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Ben's first bath at home was a success. Alex used to scream when we bathed him but Ben doesn't scream until we take him out. We do have a baby bath but he is  too small for it so the sink works better for now.

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Dad's been fixing up our 'playroom' above the garage for us. It's only 4'6" high and unfortunately there's no room to raise the ceiling or lower the floor to make it more usable but it's the right height for Alex to play and us as long as we are sitting. So Dad (and Graham) have strengthened the floor from underneath and are going to panel the walls. Dad's also moved the door in so we can have a full width set of stairs to make it safer to get into the room and we are going to carpet the floor. Then we will move our junk up there so Alex can have the back bedroom and Ben can have the nursery. We'll finally be able to move Alex's toys out of the lounge room into his bedroom and the new playroom.


It's such a good sized space, it's a shame we can't stand up in there, it would make a great photo studio. The lighting is so nice.


Graham has been going all fuzzy while he is at home.

Ben went to Mom and Dad's and had cuddles with his Nana.


Another bath photo and all clean ready for bed. His 00000 size suits are fitting now :)


Graham's been teaching Ben how to use the computer.


and here's some pre birth photos of the boys I didn't get to put up earlier.

In the garden on a cold day


and my little rock DJ


I haven't had time for any scrapping since Ben was born and I'm really missing my creative outlet. I hope to have some time to scrap soon. A few months ago I had a series of books make with my layouts of Alex. 6 books so far and I think I've got enough Alex layouts to do another book now.