Archive | September, 2012

E-mail to the real estate agent

27 Sep

As I’m sure you’re aware, we live in a slightly (to moderately) dodgy 2 bedroom apartment whilst we save money for a house deposit. Houses are expensive down under. Anyway, whenever something needs fixing, it takes ages and sometimes threatening emails (threatening to call emergency plumbers and so forth and then make the owners foot the bill, not threatening their person or anything like that. That’s not how I roll) to make anything happen. The door of one of the cupboards in the kitchen fell off when we first moved in, and that’s yet to be fixed. But that’s not really a must fix, so it doesn’t bother me too much. It’s just kind of annoying.

Let me just clarify: It’s not the real estate agent who manages the apartment that is the problem, she tells the owners whenever a problem arises (or so I’m led to believe), it’s the owners who just don’t bother to do anything. They prefer “fixing” things themselves and I don’t know, maybe they just can’t be bothered or something. Maybe I need a cattle prod. Then when they do come, they just show up. No phone call, no appointment. They just show up. Once they came when I was sick, hadn’t showered, and was laying around on the couch in nothing but my fuzzy pink bathrobe. Awesome. You can read about that here and here.

Why am I telling you this? Because we have another problem. Sigh. Our bedroom door won’t shut. And the tap in the bathroom doesn’t turn off properly. So I wrote the estate agent another email. Seriously, this is word for word, I copied and pasted this bad boy straight from my sent box (including the illustration):

Hi Taryn,

I know it’s hard to get the owners of the apartment to actually fix anything (please don’t forward this email to them…), but it’s been about a month since the last inspection where I showed what’s-her-name the problems of the apartment. And I haven’t heard a peep about when they will be fixed.
In case she didn’t tell you, the door to Aaron’s and my bedroom is broken. Well, not so much the door as the little thing that comes out of the side of the door to actually keep the door shut. I’m not sure what it’s called. Anyway, our bedroom door is missing this little thing because it decided that it did not want to retract when we turned the door handle to let us into our bedroom. We were locked out. I do quite like sleeping in my bed rather than the couch, so Aaron got out his tools and took the whole door handle off, along with the little thing that latches the door. He discovered that the little thing, let’s call it Bob to make things easier, was in fact broken.
So Aaron put the door handle back on, sans Bob, and now we can’t shut our door.
That may seem like no big deal, but we have 2 small children, one of whom thinks it’s absolutely essential to taste everything he comes across. And by taste, I mean shoves in his mouth. He also enjoys pulling everything possible off shelves King Kong style and making a giant mess. He’s cheeky, what can I say.
We have over 100 board games in our bedroom, so you can imagine the chaos that said child creates when he enters our room. Which is easy because the door won’t shut. Plus most of the games have tiny parts, which, as I pointed out, he enjoys putting in his mouth. He did once choke on a sticker and I had to call an ambulance, so I’m a little petrified of what may happen should he decide to attempt ingestion of board game pieces. Please see the attached illustration.

When he gets into the board games, he does that smile that is so big he has to close his eyes to accomodate his pudgy cheeks.

We have been pulling a big oil fin heater in front of the door to block Daniel from entering our room, but the cheeky monkey has recently discovered that he can make like a battering ram and force his way in. This is obviously quite a problem for us.
Furthermore, the cold tap in the bathroom is getting worse. I know the owners know about that one because one of them said he’d come back to fix it months ago, but you know how that goes….
Now when we go to turn it off, a little trickle keeps coming out. We have to turn it on full boar, then turn it off again whilst it makes noises resembling a dying whale. Sometimes it turns all the way off then, but other times we have to repeat the process up to 5 times. That could be just an annoyance, but Hannah has recently learned how to turn the tap on to wash her own hands. She can also open the door all by herself. So sometimes she goes in there, does her business, washes her hands, can’t turn the tap off because it’s crap, and then comes back out. I’m none the wiser that she’s even been in the bathroom and the tap is trickling water for hours before I notice.
Lucky for me I don’t pay the water bill…. And I’m not going to pay for excess water either. Not when the owners know about the crap tap.
Anyway, if you could maybe give the owners a little please-fix-stuff-in-the-apartment kick up the backside, that would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Sheri
We’ll see what sort of response this gets. I’ll keep you posted.
UPDATE: I only sent the email yesterday at nearly 5pm, and I’ve already received a response AND the owners called and arranged a time to come and fix stuff. Booyah. See, amusing emails are far better than mean ones. As Taryn wrote back “I always enjoy reading your emails, and now they come with illustrations too! Haha.” I’m glad she has a sense of humour because I can imagine that a lot of estate agents would find that sort of email obnoxious and get their noses all out of joint.

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Plants vs. Zombies

27 Sep

Aaron loves playing computer games. As far as I know, he always has. Sometimes I sit next to him and write on my computer, or read a book while he plays games on his computer.

Plop. Plop. It sounded like something squishy hitting something else.

“What are you playing?” I asked Aaron a couple years ago.

I looked at his computer screen.

Plants vs. Zombies.” He told me.

I watched him for a while. Funny cartoon zombies were walking towards a house while Aaron was planting all sorts of whacky plants that defended his house. Peas were shooting out of a charming green pea plant and hitting the zombies in the face. The zombies were eating his plants as they went. It made me giggle.

“You should try it.” Aaron told me. And then I was hooked. After Hannah went to bed at night, we’d sit together and play Plants vs. Zombies, sometimes for hours.

There were weird zombies with cones on their heads. Football zombies. The sound effects were great. Not disturbing, but funny. The game isn’t at all gory or gross, it’s silly, and fun. And hitting zombies in the face with peas is highly addictive. I suggest you try it. It gets harder at night time, and as the levels go up so you don’t get bored.

This post was sponsored by Big Fish Games.

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Rear facing car seats

27 Sep

As Hannah approached her first birthday, I was so excited that I could finally turn her car seat around. She’d be able to face forward and see what was going on like a big girl. It would be a milestone. Her car seat had to be rear facing until 9 kgs or 1 year. And she was (is) small, so the 9 kilos thing wasn’t happening before she turned 1.

I was going to turn that seat around the minute I could. Until my friend posted a video on Facebook.

Oh. My. Gosh. In 38 seconds, my mind was changed. I didn’t turn her seat around until the last possible minute, when she got too big to safely rear face in that particular (or any here in Australia) car seat. And when I did, all she could see was the back of a head rest. She’d had a better view facing backwards. Sigh.

If they made rear facing car seats for kids over 9kgs/1 year old, I’d put both of mine in them in a heart beat.

But wait – they DO make rear facing car seats for kids over 9kgs/ 1 year old! What?! That’s right, they do. Just not over here. Sigh.

I have lots of readers from the UK. Well, there are rear facing car seats available to you for kids up to 18kg/4 years.  Most of you just don’t know about them.

In Nordic countries, kids are rear facing until 4. And guess what? Child fatalities in car crashes are significantly lower.

Infographic courtesy of www.rearfacing.motors.co.uk

 

 

Remember the way the forward facing child’s head flew forward in the crash video?

That sounds pretty painful!  Rear facing car seats are up to 5 times safer for kids up to the age of 4.

I know what you’re thinking. How can a 3 year old sit rear facing, where will her legs go? Yeah, that’s a fair thought.

photo courtesy of carseatblog.com

Kids are actually very comfortable sitting like that. Hannah always gets me to put the foot rest on the pram to it’s highest position so she can sit like that in the pram. She prefers sitting like that. Plus, there have not been any cases of  a child breaking his/her legs in a car crash when sitting in a rear facing car seat. However, leg injuries are common in crashes when a child is facing forward.

How can you keep an eye on your rear facing child? Mirrors.

photo courtesy of ibabystore

Gee, I sure wish I could buy a rear facing car seat for Hannah and Daniel. How is it that there is all this proof of the seats being so much safer, but it is not law, nor are the seats even readily available in lots of countries? That’s pretty outrageous if you ask me. I might have to lobby the government. Anything to keep my kids safe.

For more information about rear facing car seats, including rear facing myths, how to fit rear facing seats, where to buy rear facing car seats, and to watch informational videos, go to rearfacing.motors.co.uk.

This post was written by me and sponsored by rearfacing.motors.co.uk

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Hannah’s story

26 Sep

“Mommy, I have a new story!”

“Ok baby, can you tell it to me please?!”

“It goes like this: King Daddy left the door open and then in comes a huge and big and big and big dinosaur. And then the door broke! Then they fixed the door. It was blue. Then the dinosaur breaked the door again because I left the door open. And then mommy made dinner, macaroni and cheese, and we all ate dinner. But Mommy’s crown got all messy and dirty, so I washed it and it was all clean and I put it back on her head.”

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Pee before racing

24 Sep

5am. Ugh, time to wake up. I’ve been trying to get up at 5am for the last week so I can do some blogging and stuff before everyone gets up. Because by night time when the kids are asleep, I just can’t be bothered.

I got up at 5 about…well…fine, it was once. Humph. I’m still working on it.

But last weekend, we had to get up at 5 for a good reason: It was race day. Every time Aaron runs in a race, Hannah talks about how she wants to go in one and win her own medal. So we entered the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival Family Fun run. 3.5 kilometers of Aaron running with Hannah/carrying her on his shoulders, me pushing Daniel in a pram.

We planned to get there with 15-20 minutes spare before the race started. That was, of course, before we saw the line for the elevator down from the train platform to the ground. I wasn’t the only one pushing a pram. Seems half of Sydney also decided to run the race with their kids in prams. And they all got off the train at the same time as us and needed to get down to the starting line. Sigh.

Me and Hannah on the train, ready for our race. Yeah, I totally wore my tennis skirt. And how cute is Hannah!?

Skirt Sports Women’s Gym Girl Ultra Skirt

I really needed to pee. Ok, I didn’t need to go that bad, but I knew I was about to run 3.5 kilometers, and we all know what happend that one time at the gym.

The bathrooms at the station were blocked off. I guess they didn’t want crazy lines right where people are leaving the ticket gates. That probably wouldn’t have worked so well. But I still wasn’t impressed. I needed to pee before the race darn it.

By the time we finally got out of the train station, it was 3 minutes til race time. We planned to high tail it straight to the back of the queue at the starting line, with a quick stop for me at the smelly, disgusting porta-potties. Or whatever they’re called over here.

Stepping out of the station only got us sucked into the extremely slow moving river of people all making their way to the park near the start line. Come on people, THREE MINUTES! Pick up the pace some! But no, they didn’t. Snails pace. With a giant pram, we had no way to get around the snails. Sigh.

Whatever, I can pee fast. I could just quickly duck to the bathroom and then catch up with Aaron and the kids and start the race.

Then I saw the lines. Sigh. Sure there were about a hundred porta-potties, but there were also like 4 people waiting for each one. Sigh.

“I’ll just have to run without peeing first.” I told Aaron.

“Do you have to go really bad?” he asked me.

“No. I just like to pee before I run.”

“It’s not like you have bladder problems, you’ll be ok.”

“THAT’S EXACTLY WHY I WANT TO PEE FIRST!” You know, just in case.

Bang! The race started. We weren’t even in the start line yet. We hurried as fast as we could and got to the back of the line.

I suppose we needn’t have worried. The line was quite long and until people hit the staring arch, they weren’t running. And half of them weren’t running after that either.

“In a few minutes, group C will join us.” We heard over the loudspeaker.

Oops. We were supposed to be in group C. The group for walkers and prams. Not that we planned to walk, but we did have a pram, so by default, that’s where we were supposed to be. Oh well, we were nearly to the arch over the starting line. Group B people, that we were accidentally in with, were supposed to be people who intended to run. I guess no one told them that. Sigh. More snail pace.

Finally, we rounded the bend onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and everyone was able to spread out. And we could start running.

Oh crap. Running with a pram is hard. And we were going uphill. Er….slightly.

Me running with the pram over the harbour bridge

Hannah ran and ran and then ran some more.

Daddy and Hannah running on the Sydney Harbour Bridge

I clenched and clenched and didn’t lose any pee. Phew.

After the bridge there were about 4 photographers waiting to snap everyone and then sell them their photos. Only these slackers were just standing there. They weren’t trying to take photos at all!

“Why aren’t they taking photos!” I yelled across to Aaron. “I want photos of Hannah running in a race! It’s all these moms who will want to buy photos of their kids, not the normal runners!”  I wanted photos that weren’t taken with a crappy $50 point and shoot whilst pushing a pram and running backwards. True story. Any parent whose child is running in their first race is sure to buy the photos. Stupid photographers.

The last photographer must have heard me. He held his digital SLR with the giant long lens up to his face and aimed it directly at Aaron, Hannah, Daniel and me. Or I was stupidly waving while he was focused on someone else. (Turns out he was just pointed at me, with my stupid grin. Aaron was in there too, but Hannah was half cut off. Stupid photographers. Needless to say, we didn’t buy those.)

A little bit later, we crossed the finish line. Not with a very fast time, but with a very happy Hannah, and smiles on all of our faces. Oh, and with no urine in my underpants.

She was so excited to get her medal!

Might as well get our photo with a bear, right?

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Interview with a mom of twins

20 Sep

Have you ever wondered what it’s like having twins? I have.  As soon as I had Hannah, I thought oh my gosh, how could someone take care of TWO babies at the same time! 

Or maybe you haven’t thought about it. Either way, I interviewed a mom of twin girls, Brooke Bigger.

When you went in for your first ultrasound, did you have any idea you were expecting twins?
When I took my first pregnancy test, and it was positive, I made my first appointment with an OB and got in when I was 10 weeks along. We didn’t have any idea we were in for such a ‘treat’!

How did the doctor/sonographer/(whoever told you) tell you?
The OB did a quick ultrasound when I went in for my first appointment at 10 weeks. She says, “Well I have a surprise for you guys, I’m picking up two heartbeats!”…..If I wasn’t already lying down, I think I would have fallen down! I did start crying, and my husband almost fell down. We were barely ready for one, and we get two thrown at us right off the bat!

Are your twins identical?
Yes they are identical

How do you tell them apart?
Right off the bat we put Presley in pink so that we wouldn’t get them mixed up. Presley got a pink hat and Darynn got any other hat to wear. And we always tried to put Presley in a more solid color pink onsie or swaddle blanket. We then found that Darynn had very prominent veins on each side of her head, and Presley did not. So once we figured that out, we quit dressing Presley in all pink. Now that they are 2, their personalities are totally different which makes it easy.

Did you get to eat heaps of extra food when you were pregnant, or is that whole eating for three thing a myth?
The doctors actually put me on a “175 grams of protein per day” diet right off the bat, so yes, I was pretty much eating for 3 LOL. They gave me examples of what I would be eating for each meal and snack….and I thought “How in the world am I going to eat this much food!?” I just ate a lot of cottage cheese, protein bars, yogurt, beans and beef !

After you pushed out the first one, were you like “oh f@#k, I have to do that AGAIN?! Or did you have a cesarian?
I had a c-section at 37 weeks. When you have identicals, they can develop TTTS (Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome), which is when one twin can get more blood/nutrients then the other, and the other can become weaker. So I had to go in for ultrasounds every 2 weeks so that they could keep an eye out for the TTTS. It can also develop all the way up through delivery….so to decrease the chances of them developing the TTTS, the doctor just scheduled my c-section for 37 weeks. But no….we are not planning on having anymore kids! There is a chance that we would have twins again! LOL

Did you breastfeed, and if so, how did that work with 2?
The doctors syringe fed the girls right from the get go. When it was time to feed at the hospital, I would start out nursing them, and then the nurses would slip a tiny tube into their mouths and get formula in on top of the breast milk. My body didn’t produce enough milk for them, I don’t know if its because I never went into labor, but I couldn’t even produce enough for one. I tried, but it just couldn’t happen. So they were pretty much bottle fed from the beginning.

Did they both bottle feed at the same time?  How did that work if you didn’t have anyone else to help?
We bottle fed them at the same time. If my husband wasn’t there to help me, I would set them up in their Fischer Price Rock N Play rocker chairs, and I would sit in a chair and hold the bottle for them. Once they ate more, I tucked a blanket under each side of the rocker to make a little sling for the bottles so I didn’t have to sit there and hold the bottles up for them! I had to get creative in how I fed them, or else my back would get really sore for bending over all the time! LOL

Did they both wake up at the same time in the night for a feed?
If one woke up, we would just wake the other up to keep them on the same schedule. That is the most important thing I think as a parent of twins, getting them on the same schedule right off the bat! It saved me in the sleep and sanity department!

Did you/Do you dress them the same? Do you prefer dressing them the same, or different?
I dress them similar. I usually buy the same/similar shirt in different colors or designs. Occasionally I will dress the same.

What is the best thing about having twins?
We get twice as many kisses and hugs, and twice as many cuddles. I love that they have a built in playmate and best friend….they will always have each other!

What is the worst thing?
The fighting between them, and the tantrums! Oh, and double the dirty diapers! I think I changed 9 poopy diapers in one day before!!

Do they eat the same things, or do you have to make 2 separate meals for them (because that would suck!)?
They eat the same thing….I will refuse to make them different meals!

Do they fight for lap space and time with you?
Occasionally….but I end up just putting one on each side of me, they typically don’t fight over me or their dad.

How do you go grocery shopping? Do they have twin carts/trolleys over there?
If I have to take them with me, I just put them in their stroller and hang a basket off the stroller. But if I have to get a lot of items, I wait to go until after my husband gets home, or I have my mom come watch them.

Do they all share a room?
Yep!

Did they reach milestones at the same time?
Usually within about a week or two of each other. Presley took her first steps first, then Darynn was two weeks behind her.

How did you take them out when they were babies? Did you carry one and put the other in a sling? Double stroller?
Double stroller, or my husband and I would each carry one.

Do they like playing together or do they mostly fight?
For the most part they play really well together, there are daily fights over toys, but we have been teaching them to share ever since they could start taking toys from each other. And we try to buy toys in twos so they can each have the same toy.

What is your most embarrassing story involving the twins?
Honestly….my husband and I can’t think of an embarrassing story!! The girls have always been really good, and we were always good about changing their diapers after every meal and as needed (so no horrible blowout stories).

What is the best advice you could give to someone about to have twins?
Getting them on the same schedule right off the bat! If you let them have their own schedules, you will never get sleep!

Anything you want to add?
I would say the one item that saved me, was the Fischer Price Rock N Play rocker. My girls spent a lot of time in theirs, they slept in them, they ate in them, they played in them. They keep your baby at a 45 degree angle, which really saved us on the spit up! It made it easy to push them from room to room, and I didn’t have to worry about them getting into anything while I was taking a shower or getting some chores done…. We really got our monies worth out of those things, and they were only like $30 a piece! I think we used them up until the girls were a year old!

How much weight did you gain when you were pregnant?
About 65 pounds (29.4kg)! 😦

How did you lose all that weight?
I didn’t do much, it just started coming off when I got back on my normal diet. I did start going on nightly walks down our road, but it was nothing that really got my blood pumping! LOL

Did the skin on your stomach get all…how do I put it…saggy? You know, that look when you stretch something out a lot and then put it back to shape, but it looks all funny?
I heard about a body wrap that helps to tighten, tone, and firm your skin by ItWorks, from a friend on Facebook, so I decided to give it a try. It totally worked for me! My stretch marks weren’t as noticeable, and my belly button looked normal again for the first time since I got pregnant…. and all this happened in a matter of 3 days! My “sag” wasn’t as saggy and I knew I had to get the word out about this wrap, so I decided to sign up and spread the word!

So you are a distributor for ItWorks. Tell us a little bit about the wraps.
The wraps are all natural, and they can be cut to target anywhere on the body that needs a little tightening up. You wear the wrap for 45 minutes, and you can start seeing results in that amount of time! The wrap ingredients continue to work for 72 hours after removing the wrap. All you have to do is drink water, about 1/2 your body weight in water ounces a day for those 3 days. Some people don’t see results after the first wrap, since everyone’s bodies are different. Some people may need to use 2-3 wraps before seeing results. Results can be as subtle as changing the texture of the skin in that wrapped area, to reducing the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite. Results can last anywhere from 2 months up to 6 months depending on the persons lifestyle and eating habits.

Of course, I had to try one of these wraps. I saw lots of posts on Facebook about them by Brooke (we went to high school together, just FYI…), but hadn’t heard of them before that.

She sent me one ages ago, but you’re not supposed to use them when breastfeeding, so it just sat there, waiting. Sigh.

I know, Daniel has been weaned for a few weeks now, but I also wanted to wait until I had a kid free 45 minutes so I didn’t have anyone wanting to be picked up, messing up the wrap, or worse, pulling on it in delight. You know how cheeky my kids are!

I opened the packet and unfolded the wrap, applying the lotion side on my stomach. The skin on my stomach has been stretched to the limit twice now, then shrunk back to size. Unfortunately, it has that stretched-then-shrunk look to it as well. Sigh. Especially around my belly button. My measurements before the wrap were: 26 inches (66.04cm) around the smallest part of my waist, and 28″ (71.12 cm) around my waist at belly button height.

Wrap is on, with cling wrap over it to keep it in place

It felt quite cold. I thought it was just because that’s how lotion always is when you first put it on (unless it’s hot outside of course). But it stayed cold the whole time. At least it felt cold. And tingly. It was nice. I felt like I was getting some sort of swish spa body treatment done. Except that I was doing the dishes while wearing the wrap. Gotta multi task when you have 2 kids! It would have been much nicer to sit on the couch and watch a cheesy chick flick while I waited the 45 minutes. Or maybe laying down and reading a book. Oh well.

When I took the wrap off, I rubbed the excess lotion into my skin, took some photos and measured myself again. I wasn’t actually expecting to lose anything. 26 inches around the smallest part of my waist. 27.5 inches around my belly button (69.85 cm). What?! I’m not complaining though.

My skin felt really smooth and soft and lovely. Less stretched looking? I’m not sure.

Over the next 3 days, I continued to measure and take photos. My measurements went back to what they were before wrapping. Until today, 72 hours after wrapping. Now, the smallest part of my waist is 25.5 inches, and around my belly button is 27.5. My stomach feels less poochy at the bottom, and I feel less bloated. The skin around my belly button is still saggy/stretched looking, but the skin below my belly button feels firmer.

Progressive shots. Not sure what happened to my day 2 photos. I think the camera ate them. Sigh.

Progressive, from the side. If you’re wondering about that scar on my hip, it’s where they took a chunk of bone to stick in my leg. But that’s another story for another day. No, I’m not trying to make the scar less obvious with the wrap, I like my scar.

Over all, I really liked the wrap experience. I think with regular wrapping my belly button skin would probably improve a lot.

If you would like to buy your own wraps, supplements, etc. or have a wrap party (you can even have online wrap parties!), contact Brooke. She can ship the wraps to you anywhere in the world:

Brooke’s It Works website

Phone number (USA) 425-328-7627. We offer a Loyal Customer program where Loyals get products at wholesale cost (they pay what I pay), saving 20-50% on their orders. Only 3 monthly orders is required for the first 3 months, after that they can order when they want and get the Loyal Customer price for life. There is no minimum purchase amount, and the Loyal Customer can change what is sent to them each month so they don’t always have to get the same thing. They start saving on their very first order.

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Ball in the toilet

17 Sep

The weather has been so nice recently. The sun is shining. The birds are singing. Or making obnoxious noises. Bloody birds. We can wear shorts without being too cold or dripping with sweat. So of course we want to be outside.

We don’t have a yard (or even a balcony), so we invite ourselves to Grandma’s house when we feel like getting our hands dirty. The backyard is filled with all sorts of kids’ things. A slide, cubby house, tricycles, mini trampoline, etc. Not to mention my vegetable garden.

My purple pea plant. It’s so big it grew over it’s support fence. The pea pods are a deep purple colour. Awesome, I know.

The kids also love seeing Grandma (and YaYa, when she’s there) when we visit. Hannah especially. Hannah adores Grandma.

Last time we went, Grandma wasn’t there. No worries, I have a key. We played anyway. I got out Hannah’s tunnel and the kids spent most of their time pushing balls inside the tunnel and giggling.

Melissa & Doug Happy Giddy Tunnel

I got all this stuff before Daniel was born. Hence all the pink and purple…

“Mommy, I have to go poo poo!” Hannah yelled. She clearly needed to go right then, too busy playing to notice or acknowledge the need to go before she really needed to.

At home she’d just let herself into the bathroom. But at Grandma’s house, the door handles tower above her head. She can’t even remotely reach them. I had to go with her.

“Ok, I just have to get Daniel. Just hold it a little longer baby!”

Daniel was in the tunnel. He saw me coming towards him and decided to crawl as fast as he could to the middle, giggling as he went.

“DANIEL! Come on bud, you have to come out now.” He kept going towards the other side. Thinking I could outsmart a 1 year old,  I ran over to the other end of the tunnel to nab him and bring him inside with us. I couldn’t leave him out there by himself. He likes to climb the cement steps that have no fence on the sides and could easily fall face first off the top. I know because when Hannah was little, she did that once. Except there happened to be a wheelbarrow full of weeds right next to the stairs, so she didn’t get hurt.

As I got to the end of the tunnel, he giggled and crawled to the other side again. Did I mention how cheeky my son is?

“Mommy, it’s too late!” Hannah was grabbing her butt through her pants upset that there was something besides her butt to grab. (I’m glad she wasn’t grabbing inside her pants….)

“Ok baby, I’m just trying to get Daniel, hold the rest in if you can!”

Cheeky boy was still going end to end in the tunnel, giggling all the while. I picked up one end of the tunnel and held it in the air so he couldn’t run around it anymore.

“Ha! Got you!” He tried to escape, but my grip was too strong. I carried him inside with one of the pink balls in his hand.

I looked in Hannah’s underwear. 1 little nugget.

I pulled down her underpants, nugget still inside and put her on the little potty. Daniel was running around at the other end of the bathroom, pulling on all the towels.

I opened the lid of the toilet and brought the underwear over the bowl, shaking to remove the nugget.

“NO DANIEL!!!!”

He came out of nowhere. Cheeky little ninja boy.

I could see the bright pink ball in my peripheral vision, quickly going from chubby baby hand to water in the toilet bowl.

I reached out with the hand that wasn’t holding the underwear in attempt to grab the ball before it went in the toilet.

But it all happened so fast.

I missed.

Just as I reached out with my non-underwear holding hand, the poo nugget fell from the undies, hitting my arm at the same time the ball hit the toilet water.

Sigh.

If you enjoyed reading this, please vote for my blog. All you have to do is click the link below. That’s it… Clicking the link brings you to the Top Mommy Blogs home page. You don’t have to do anything else. Any clicks from my site to theirs is a vote.  THANKS!
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Reasons Why Banking Cord Blood is Important

13 Sep

This weeks guest post is written and sponsored by www.lifebankusa.com

Reasons Why Banking Cord Blood is Important

After their children are born, a lot of parents are overwhelmed of fun thoughts of their
future with their kids. Their birthday celebrations, special trips, sports events, and other life
milestones are sometimes pictured and developing life-threatening conditions is the last thing on
their minds.

Many parents fail to take the possibility of the said predicament that is why their children
suffer serious consequences. On the other hand, there are some who consider the likelihood of
developing severe illness and make it a point to bank their newborn’s cord blood.

What is cord blood and how does it help?

Cord blood is the blood that persists in an infant’s umbilical cord after he/she has been
delivered. In the past, it was considered as medical wastes and was immediately thrown away.
However, extensive medical researchers have confirmed that the said blood is rich in stem
cells—biological cells—that are branded by many medical experts as the body’s master cells.

Stem cells are the groundwork of blood and organ tissues, they are well capable of
rejuvenating and regenerating cells that are affected by severe health conditions. Discovered in
the late 1980s cord blood stem cells have become a more convenient alternative to bone marrow
stem cells.

At present, the stem cells that are found in the said blood are safely and effectively being
used to save countless lives and its uses have tremendously improved over the past two decades.

As their uses drastically expand, so does the possibility that the stored cells may be
required by direct members of the family. Studies show that the possibility of needing a stem cell
transplant is quite high. Putting the aforementioned information into consideration, banking a
substantial amount of cord blood can be very beneficial.

Cord blood stem cells are utilized to treat around 70 different health conditions that
include brain injury, cerebral palsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and juvenile diabetes, among others.
With the steady improvement in the medical and technological field, the list may become longer
in the near future. Currently, there are several private and public clinical trials that are performed
across the US and the potential of discovering new treatment remedies is simply promising.

Conclusion

In the end, it can be mentioned that banking a substantial amount of cord blood, is one of
the best things that parents can do for their children. This is because life-saving commodities can
be immediately administered when one’s child or direct members of the family develop serious
health ailments. Simply put, it is an investment that carries endless gains.

If you enjoyed reading this, please vote for my blog. All you have to do is click the link below. That’s it… Clicking the link brings you to the Top Mommy Blogs home page. You don’t have to do anything else. Any clicks from my site to theirs is a vote.  THANKS!
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Like a teen again

12 Sep

A lot changes when you’re 18. You finish high school. You can vote. You apply for university (if you want to). But when I was 18, I was over here. I wasn’t allowed to vote here, and I never registered to vote in the U.S. because I was here. I did actually apply for a university course as an international student when I was 19, but months later got a letter back saying they didn’t offer that course anymore. By then it was too late to apply for another course. Awesome. So I had to quickly apply to do a TAFE (like a vocational college) course instead. I had to do some form of higher education to get a new visa so I could stay here. I’d already used my working visa (which for an American in Australia, you can only do once and only for 4 months).

So, I did one year of Commercial Photography at TAFE, which wasn’t at all like the brochure made it out to be. I didn’t want to work with large format cameras and do studio shots of vegetables and the like. I’m not even remotely interested in that kind of photography. The course brochure didn’t even say commercial photography, it just said photography and had a description talking about portraits and landscapes and studio lighting for portraits. Oh well, it got me in the country at least, however much it sucked.

Last night, I paid my application fee and pushed that little submit button on my university application. Finally. Now I have to wait until January to hear back. Oh the waiting. I’m not sure how university applications work in the U.S., but over here, all I had to do was go to the University Admissions Committee website, fill out all of my info, qualifications, and preferences, pay the fee, and then hit submit. You can put down up to 9 preferences which can be for any university in Australia, in any course. So if I wanted to apply for Forensic Science at my local uni and then 8 other universities as well, I could. Not that I did. I can’t really go too far to do my course. Kids and stuff.  So I applied for Forensic Science at 2 different schools and then a bunch of other science courses at the closest university.

Easy. Only one application to fill out, and that’s that. They start at your top preference and if you get in to that course, they stop there. If you don’t get in (because too many other people applied for the same course and they have better academic scores and so forth), they move to your second choice, and so on. It’s quite a good system.

My preferences. Minus the where-they-are-details. There are weirdos on the interwebs.

I went to an open day at the university I want to go to a few weeks ago because I had no idea how to apply or what to do to get in. I went to lectures all day about the courses I was interested in, and how to apply as a “mature aged student.” I’m pretty sure I was the oldest one in the room even at the “applying for uni as a mature aged student” lecture. Sigh. Not that anyone probably noticed, since I was smaller than all of them (I’m only 5 foot 2!), and wearing my super awesome pink sequinned Vans. Or maybe they all thought I was that weird try-hard old person who looked ridiculous in young persons clothes. Sigh.

They had  all sorts of booths set up, a petting zoo, aboriginal performances, and…wait for it… people passing out freshly cooked Australian icons. I tried some kangaroo and some crocodile while I was there. They were actually pretty good. I know, right? The girl who won’t even eat beef eats kangaroo.

Aboriginal boy doing a traditional dance

There were also people dressed up as random things walking around and taking photos with people. Not what you’d expect from a university open day, but it was fun. Yes, I did take a photography course, but these photos were all taken with a $50 point and shoot, so don’t judge my skills by these photos (or pretty much any on this blog actually). Plus I didn’t feel like getting out of my seat to take the picture, so….

Not quite sure what that is

Not only did I apply for uni this weekend, but I voted. For the first time ever, at the ripe age of 29. I was actually quite excited until we got there and were told we were in the wrong place. We went to Aaron’s old primary school, where he’s always voted. They couldn’t find our names and told us we had to go to one closer to our house (that was only about a 5 minute drive mind you). Fine. Whatever. We went to his high school instead.

The line there was horrendous, so Aaron waited in line while I followed the inquisitive exploring kids around as they ran weaved in and out of the line and tried to touch peoples bicycles and pointed at stuff.

“Der!” Daniel would say with glee whilst pointing to a tree. Or a bush. Or any plant. He loves plants. Every time we go anywhere he points out all the plants and trees. He’s random.

When we finally got in, we got our giant vote ballots (seriously, they are about the size of 2 sheets of paper joined together) only to find out that the people we wanted to vote for weren’t on our ballots. What? Apparently they break up our council (like a county) into quadrants and in each one there are different people to vote for. I have no idea why since the people who get elected will be running the entire council, not just our quadrant (I think), but whatever.

Daniel was attempting to flail out of my arms so he could run wild in the school as I tried to make sense of the weird above the line or below the line voting system. Not the pleasant voting experience I imagined, but I got to vote none the less. Sigh.

Below the line voting. Photo credit: AEC

Above the line voting. Photo credit: AEC

Voting. You can’t see, but I was holding Daniel with my other arm.

When we finished, we went to the shopping centre and bought Hannah a pair of running shoes for the race next weekend. She’s so excited! We’re all going in a fun run. But you’ll hear about that later.

PLEASE VOTE!

If you enjoyed reading this, please vote for my blog. All you have to do is click the link below. That’s it… Clicking the link brings you to the Top Mommy Blogs home page. You don’t have to do anything else. Any clicks from my site to theirs is a vote.  THANKS!
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Flashback Friday – Stalking silverchair

8 Sep

The year was 1999. I was 16 years old. I got into music when I was about 14 years old. My very fist favourite band was silverchair, and I haven’t ever had another favourite band. It’s always been them. It still is. Even though they have since broken up (sad face).

Silverchair are an Australian band that got discovered when they were like 12. If you’re seen those new Qantas commercials, you’ve heard Daniel Johns, the lead singer. The song is lyric-less, but still features his voice. And he wrote the music too.

Anyway, when I was younger, I, like thousands of other girls, thought I was going to marry Daniel Johns.

I used to drool over Daniel Johns. Before he started wearing eyeliner.

I’ve seen silverchair play approximately 5 times. But in 1999? 3 times. And that’s pretty good considering I lived in the U.S. and they are from Australia.

My friend Lyndsey, who was also rather obsessed with silverchair, and I always has these crazy schemes to get backstage and meet Daniel Johns. Who cares about the rest of the band, we wanted to meet Daniel Johns (yes, I may have a child named Daniel John. I know what you’re thinking, but we did not name him after Daniel Johns. Yes, I know how improbable that sounds, but seriously, it was unintentional. His middle name was always going to be John because it’s Aaron’s middle name, and Daniel was the only first name we agreed on. Plus I had a dream before we got pregnant with him that Hannah had a little brother and his name was Daniel. Convinced now?)

The first time Lyndsey and I saw silverchair was at the insane concert on a mountain in the snow. You could go snowboarding, and then watch some bands play. Insane, right? Lyndsey and I decided that during silverchair’s set, she’d pretend to pass out, then we’d both crowd surf to the front, over the barrier, and then to first aid. Which in our teenage minds, was right next door to silverchair’s dressing room.

Silverchair came on, my other friend and I moshed, screamed, had a blast. I don’t know what happened to Lyndsey. She seemed to disappear into thin air. I guess I was enjoying the music too much to notice when Lyndsey actually did pass out and have to crowd surf, unconscious, to the front and over the barrier. Not that the front was far, we were in the third or so row, slipping and sliding as we jumped up and down to the music on the compacted snow.

The left photo shows the stage in the snow. The right is Daniel Johns from where I was in the crowd. Notice in front of me was only the security guard and official photographers. Booyah.

At the end of the concert a voice came over the loudspeaker telling my friends and me to go to the first aid tent to reunite with Lyndsey.

I got all excited. I was actually being invited by name backstage?!

A security guard showed us where to go. There was a lone tent with a first aid cross on the top, nowhere near the actual back stage/dressing room area. Sigh. At least Lyndsey was ok.

But we were still determined. We don’t give up easily.

4 months later (why they came out twice in one year, I’m not sure, but they did, and I wasn’t about to complain), as I was driving my crappy van down the road, I heard an ad on my favourite radio station, 107.7, The End. Hang on, the radio (amongst many other things) in my van didn’t work. I must have been somewhere else. Silverchair was doing an End Session.  Why is that so awesome? An End Session (at least in those days, don’t know about now) was where a band went to a recording studio to play a very small, intimate concert (that was recorded) in front of about 30 people.

We had to go. But obviously something like that was not easy to get in to.  In fact, it was just plain annoying. You had to call up and be the 7th or whatever they decided caller.

We didn’t like those odds. So we thought outside the box, only as 2 16 year olds could. We found out when the call ins started. We had to get in before then. We had to secure our tickets. We found out where the radio station was located. We brainstormed.

Cookies. The main morning DJ was rather…um…obese. And what to obese men like? Cookies. We spent all day in the sweltering in Lyndsey’s trailer (what, you forgot? I was from a trailer too) heat wave of July heat, slaving over the stove perfecting out sugar cookies and decorating them to look like the morning DJs.

The next morning, I drove us to Seattle at ridiculous o’clock in the morning to deliver our cookies. Ok, so we didn’t actually think the whole getting in thing out much. When we got there, the building was locked. Obviously. It was 5am. We waited, standing around like we were meant to be there.

Someone came by and opened the door. We casually went in after him. YES! We were inside. We checked the sign that told us what was on each floor. 107.7: top floor.

We went to the elevator. Sigh. You had to have a swipe card to push the button and actually go anywhere. Our door friend was not going to our floor.

But hang on, there were stairs. 20 something flights of them. Awesome. We had to take a few breaks along the way, but we made it to the top and found the wonderful door that led to the radio station.

Locked. Bugger.

We pounded on that door for 5 minutes. No one came. Maybe they were ignoring the 2 crazy girls with cookies wearing silverchair t-shirts. Or maybe they didn’t hear us.

We walked all the way back down. And back outside. There was an intercom out there.

I pushed the button and waited. “Hello?” a voice said, more asking than stating.

I told them we spent the whole previous day making cookies for the DJ’s and could we possibly come upstairs and give them out?

“Yeah, ok. I’m sure Andy Savage likes cookies.”

The door opened, and the elevator button worked. We rode it to the top and suddenly we were there. They actually let us into the studio where they were on air, broadcasting the breakfast show.

They spoke to us on air. They were impressed with our cookies and their likeness to the DJs. They enjoyed eating them. But only after we took a bite first to prove they weren’t poisoned.

They were amused. Their bellies were full, this was our chance.

I don’t remember exactly what I said (I was the talker mostly), but I mentioned the End Session, and said we had to go.

“If you can think of some way to earn the tickets by the end of the show, then we’ll talk.” Andy told us.

We stayed in the studio all morning. Scheming. Plotting.

“How about a scavenger hunt?” I said. “We could go around Seattle, collecting 107 different things and if we do it, we win the tickets.”

They were clearly impressed. What can I say, I’m an ideas woman.

They thought about it for a bit.

“Ok, if you girls can collect 107 different pieces of crap from different businesses for free from the start of the show tomorrow until the end of the show, we’ll give you the very first tickets to the End Session.”

We were ecstatic. I knew we could do it. Free stuff? Ha, we were experts at free stuff. We spent every summer at the fair, showing horses and going around to all the different booths collecting free stuff. Not because we wanted it really, but because it was fun. It’s just what we did.

The next morning, we drove back to the radio station at ridiculous o’clock in the morning. It was the summer don’t forget, school wasn’t on, and I wasn’t working that day. I don’t think. Or maybe I called in sick.

One of the DJs drove Lyndsey and me around in my van, stopping all the time so we could jump out and ask business for free crap. The first few gave us very strange looks, but still complied, giving us things like used disgusting wash clothes, and packets of sugar.

My van. Yes, it was awesome. I loved my van.

We checked in regularly with the radio station, broadcasting where we were and what we were doing. People started expecting us and having things ready to give to us as soon as we arrived. It was fantastic.

We had 3 hours, but still, it was tight. Our time was almost up and we were one item short.

The DJ drove through a construction area with lots of cones.

“Just open the door and grab a cone.” He told us.

He drove really slowly, and we stealthily grabbed the cone, bringing our total to 107, and securing our tickets. Not to mention we had a blast doing it.

My End Session pass. Yeah, I still have it.

The station regularly made people do different scavenger hunts for tickets after that.

A couple weeks later, it was End Session day. We got in line early and got to sit (on the floor, there were not chairs or anything) right up front. Just a few short feet from Daniel Johns. We were mesmerised. Here is a link to one of the songs recorded that day:

http://www2.1077theend.com/listen/silverchair-anas-song

Afterwards, we were told that the guys would be coming out to meet us fans, sign stuff, and take photos. Oh. My. Gosh. I nearly wet myself I was so excited. This was it. I was about to meet Daniel Johns.

Except he didn’t come out. Everyone else did. But not him. Not the holy grail of our teenage dreams. Wanker.

Ben Gillies (the drummer) and me after the End Session. Why yes, I am giving him bunny ears. I am cool like that.

That’s ok, they were playing a show that very night just down the street. A normal show. One you buy tickets to go and see. Of course we’d already bought our tickets the day they went on sale.

silverchair’s touring keyboarder (he wasn’t actually part of the band) after the End Session. I wish I could get away with blond hair and burgundy foils now. 

We decided to put the passing out plan to action once again. This wasn’t the snow, so there wouldn’t be a random first aid tent this time. No, the first aid station had to be backstage.

We got near the front as usual. We’d get there even if it meant we had to scratch and bite and kick. It was silverchair after all. We didn’t want to put operation pass out into motion too early. We didn’t want to miss the concert and besides, Daniel Johns wasn’t going to be backstage if he was in the middle of singing.

So we waited. Then near the end, it was a go. Lyndsey “passed out” so convincingly I wasn’t sure if she really had passed out. We surfed over the barrier to the waiting security guards who carried Lyndsey with me following to the first aid station. Which was just off the front of the building. Nowhere near the dressing rooms. Or even the hallway that Daniel Johns would walk down at the end of the show. Sigh.

13 years later, and I still haven’t met Daniel Johns. Sigh.

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway on my other blog. You could win a $100 voucher for Magnabilities jewellery. They ship worldwide, thus the competition is open to everyone and $100 can get you a lot of stuff. Enter here.

If you enjoyed reading this, please vote for my blog. All you have to do is click the link below. That’s it… Clicking the link brings you to the Top Mommy Blogs home page. You don’t have to do anything else. Any clicks from my site to theirs is a vote.  THANKS!
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