Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fountain Gate Fresh Food Section, Shopping before 9am, Picnic, Timomatic.

In the past few months, I've been doing my food and everyday shopping at the new and improved Fountain Gate. Everything I need is right next to each other at the Fountain Gate Fresh Food Section up on Level 2 of the shopping centre. Coles, Breadtop, Fish Pier, Fruit and Veg Shop.. and a plentiful of butchers in case I need to get some meat and can't be bothered going to Tasman Meats. It is so convenient to just go to one place and get all the shopping done without hopping in and out of the car to get from one place to another for various things. It not only saves time and money, but also saves the energy of dealing with an 8 month old who is tagging along!

Yes, I can probably get everything I need from Coles. BUT the seafood, meat, fruit and veg are not the cheapest and freshest at Coles. Sorry, Coles. You can't beat the real fresh food people no matter what you claim in your ads... sorry, sorry I still love you Coles! You guys make the best cookies :p

The fruit and veg shop at Fountain Gate offers a great range of fresh food, and when I say great range, I really do mean great range! I've been buying papayas and okras from them, and they are cheap! Ginger is an abundance there, and they only cost 1/3 of the price Coles sells them for. Plus, they have a whole back section dedicated to a selection of Asian condiments and sauces so I'm very happy!

Fish head from Fish Pier only $1 each... it's good to be me! Aka a total fish head fanatic...
My personal favorite is "Fish Pier" the seafood shop right outside of Coles. Not only do they sell a whole lot of beautiful fish and seafood, their prices are quite reasonable! I personally wouldn't spend $30/kg on filleted fish, so I pay $8/kg for a whole Tilapia. Yes, they sell TILAPIA! Most Aussies would probably have no idea what to do with them, but they are so perfect for me to just steam for 20 minutes with ginger and mushrooms / black bean paste. Yummo!!

Mum's Steamed Tilapia.. yummy!
So this whole place is great for my weekly shopping... but there is a huge catch. It is FOUNTAIN GATE, only the biggest, busiest, craziest local shopping centre that EVERYONE in the area goes to, and there are A LOT of people in this area. So, it is almost impossible to find parking most days, it is total chaos and you cannot walk a straight line because people just seem to keep coming towards you!!!

That is why I do my shopping before 9am. It is the BEST time to be out shopping! Micah wakes up at 6am, has his feed, has his play, has his breakfast, and nappy changed, and then I go and have a quick shower.. and off we go! We do our shopping and then Micah comes home tired and ready for his morning nap. It is so perfect. Parking is never an issue, I always find a spot closest to the entrance quite easily. Feels like I have the entire shopping centre all to myself, although it's technically not that empty.. some people seem to have the same idea... but we all respect each other. We all calmly stroll through the aisles, and we all walk nice and gently without seeming irritated or in a hurry on a normal busy day. We almost have a "secret code" amongst each other - where we give each other looks and smile and think "Good morning, great time to be here isn't it?!" It is SO good, and all the shops I need to get to are open nice and early so it works out really well!!

Our Mums Group decided to go out and have a picnic out in the sun yesterday, instead of our usual play centre meet ups. It was a great sunny day! I am SO excited that winter is almost over.. I can't wait for spring and summer and be able to enjoy the great outdoors and fresh air more often!! To be able to be out on our decking more often! To have people over for a BBQ! Ohh... and to have hay fever... boooo... but let's not focus on the bad stuff. The GOOD stuff definitely outweighs hay fever, except on a really bad day.

It was so good to see all our babies together, playing happily under the sun and on the grass. Just melts my heart whenever we take photos of them all together.. I really, really hope Micah gets to keep his buddies for a very long time and that they all will get to grow up together and hang out regularly!

Micah did a little Free Standing stunt... although it may not count because he was leaning against the activity table. Oh well, I will get a photo of him Free Standing eventually!! He's been doing it a few times today already!

Later that day, Micah and I went back to Fountain Gate to see Timomatic perform. The place was packed with screaming teenage fans, but we got a good spot upstairs looking down from the cinema. Perfect for my big camera to zoom in, hehe. It was great to see him perform 3 songs, but then we had to leave because Micah started getting restless and started crying. Sad that I didn't get to see the rest of the show but glad I saw him perform "Incredible" which is currently one of my favorite songs.

Here are the videos I manage to take while I was there! Sorry the videos are shaky, I had to hold the camera with just one hand while the other was holding Micah's hand, trying to keep him from crying. Worked most of the time, although if you listen carefully you will hear Micah whinging in the background anyway! Oh well..

After such a big, busy day yesterday. Micah and I are going to be homebound these next two days! Just chill, relax, catch up on house chores, get lots of snoozes and cuddles together.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Week 38: Sleeping Through, No Night Feeds, Modelling Agency Update, Free Standing.

It has been 4 nights in a row now since I've weaned Micah off night feeds, and I think it's going well. He has really only "slept through the night" on the 2nd night. Other nights he will wake up in the middle of the night and start crying, probably asking for a feed, but I have left him there to cry until he resettles himself. Sounds terrible, I know.. but he doesn't cry for more than 5-10 minutes and goes right back to sleep. I keep thinking if I did go in there it would make things worse, him knowing that I'm there would mean he will be more alert therefore harder to fall back to sleep, and him smelling me would make him think I'm about to give him a feed... so I just leave him in his cot. He usually just cries for 3 seconds, then stops, then another few seconds, then stop anyway... so it's not like he's distressed. I think we're getting pretty good at differentiating his cries and those "whingy" cries usually stop fairly quickly. So all is good, he seems to be adjusting really well and I FINALLY don't have to get up in the middle of the night to feed him. That was really starting to get quite exhausting, so glad that phase is over!

Micah's first time in a coupe - and he loved it!
So we've decided that we WILL go ahead with signing Micah up for Bettina Management - a child modelling agency based in the Docklands. We might as well give it a go, I know there is no guarantee of finding work, but hopefully Micah will get some experience out of it. His photoshoot is booked in for next Thursday and that in itself is exciting!

I love this photo of Micah and his cousin Elijah, even though Micah looks very unsure haha!
Micah and I went to my sister in law's yesterday to have a play with Micah's cousins as well as to see his Nana and Granddad. It was a fun morning, and Micah got to play out in the sun for a bit and get pushed around in a coupe! It's a nice change for him to not be playing all by himself, as well as play with different toys in a different environment. 

Most exciting of all, while he was hanging out with his granddad he let go of whatever he was holding onto and was FREE STANDING!! Such a clever boy... he will be 9 months in a week and a half, will that be enough time for him to learn how to walk? Lol, maybe not. Maybe he won't walk at 9 months but he will definitely walk by 10 months at the rate he's going!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

This is me procrastinating...

I'm sitting here thinking I should really work on my next blog post for Kimba's Kitchen due on Friday. Yes, I have deadlines for my other blog! On here, it's more relaxed and no pressure to come up with content week after week... and yet I find myself not only blogging each week, but sometimes I blog a few times a week! I suppose it is a lot easier to just blog about life in general when you're living it, and of course to write about your one and only child who pretty much consumes all of your thoughts, energy and time.

Don't get me wrong, I love my food blog and I love writing for my food blog and of course I love cooking and eating to put together some content for my food blog. But to be honest, because my food blog has now become more "commercial" than it is personal, sometimes it feels like work... hahahaa, so here I am "escaping" to this blog to procrastinate!

Micah and I had a fairly lazy day today. I started off the day with a list of things I would like to do e.g. do a load of washing, do the dishes, vacuum the floors, grocery shopping, fill out forms for Micah's modelling agency application, fill out forms for Centrelink application, write blog post (haha!) etc etc... but I ended up doing none of them. None. So what did I do all day? Well, I did manage to do one thing that wasn't on my list. I cooked a Lamb Casserole for Micah and freezed many portions for his future meals. Hooray!

Other than that, I spent time with him playing and talking and snuggling and snoozing throughout the day. It was a wonderful lazy day and I absolutely love snuggling with my little man.

During his playtime though, I fell asleep on the couch while he was playing and it wasn't long before he was onto me and decided to come and wake me up. He pulled himself up and stood next to the couch and started "swiping" his hands and "slapping" me, and he "kissed" me and I woke up with him basically eating my face! Cheeky little boy, I was enjoying my snooze! That was also when I decided to just pick him up and lay him next to me on the couch and we snoozed together.

Very happy with everything at the moment. Micah's a lot more independent now that he is more "steady" when it comes to standing up and stuff. When he was first doing it, we had to watch him and be with him ALL the time to catch him when he falls. Now he hardly falls unless he's distracted or too tired to focus on what he's doing. So it's all good, I can be in the kitchen doing other things and keeping an eye on him at the same time while he crawls around and plays with his toys or just stand there and look at me, lol.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Week 37: 8-Month Review

Last week, Micah was scheduled to go to his 8-month Maternal & Child Health (MCH) appointment at our usual MCH centre... let's just call our usual place Centre A. Unfortunately I was very sick last week so I had to call to reschedule my appointment. Unfortunately, due to the massive baby boom in the area (everyone's having kids these days) Centre A was fully booked and the only time available was 6 weeks away.. that won't work for an 8-month check up when he is 8 months old NOW!

So I told the lady on the phone that I was happy to drive to another location and see a different nurse in another centre in the local surrounding area that had an available time slot. Centre B had availability this week. So I said okay. So Micah and I went to Centre B yesterday for his 8-month check up and review.

Our appointment was at 10.45am and I arrived nice and early at 10.35am. When I arrived, there was a lady waiting with her bub. We got to chat and I asked what time her appointment was (there was only one consult room and one nurse)... and she said 10.15! Wait a minute... if it's 10.35 now, and she's not even in that room yet, doesn't that mean I get delayed another 30 minutes on top of the 10 minutes I already have to wait because I got there early?! Not cool. Sure enough, she went in at 10.45 and came out at 11.20. So we ended up waiting 45 minutes altogether... not cool! Especially when you have a restless toddler and have a lunch date with a friend after the appointment. No respect for other people's time... tsk tsk. Centre A has always been fairly on time. The most I ever had to wait was 5-10 minutes. Boo Centre B.

The nurse wasn't that pleasant either. She was a cranky old lady with very traditional views and no people skills. I really hate to say bad things about people but I just need to vent... why do we even go to these MCH appointments. Can't we just see our GP? Whom we know we like and can trust? A lot of these nurses put their own personal spin into their advice to us when it comes to raising our kids. Yes, OUR kids so why do they get to tell us how to raise OUR kids?!

The best advice anyone has ever given me was to "raise our own child the way it suits us, because we know our baby best, and every baby is different".

I won't get into too much detail as to what this nurse said, because it annoys me everytime I think about it so I want to forget it and not document it on my blog (which might remind me someday).

Phew, it's only Tuesday and I already feel like it's been a big week. I have a few blog projects on the go so been keeping very busy with those. I have been treated to eating out the past few days, which is very rare these days! We went out to brunch over the weekend (for a blog post), I caught up with a friend on Monday for lunch at a local cafe, and today I went to the Botanical restaurant in South Yarra to be part of the judging panel for a new flavour of soup for La Zuppa. That blog post will be coming up very soon. It was a very lovely afternoon and we were all treated to an amazing 6-course meal! 

While I was out in the city for the lunch event today, Micah was babysat by a lovely family friend. He did very well considering I didn't breastfeed him for almost 8 hours! I suppose that's the benefit of him being a bit older and eating solids. I have never seen him so happy to see me when I went to pick him up! Makes me feel all gooey and warm inside. I enjoyed my baby-free afternoon, but at the same time I did miss him. He got lots of cuddles and kisses when we got home :)

Anyway, I need to go to bed. It is a normal thing these days for me to be in bed by 9pm. Routine can be so exhausting! Thankfully, Micah's been sleeping a lot better at night so I've been getting good blocks of 6-7 hours sleep. The only problem is, my body is still not used to it, so I end up waking up every 3 hours anyway before falling back to sleep knowing Micah is still asleep.

Ohh.... sleep. I need that. I need that NOW. See ya!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Week 36: New Videos, Sick Mum, Happy Boy.

"My Daddy Rocks" and "Mummy's Little Rockstar"... love it!

The start of this week wasn't great. I was down with a nasty bug that left me feeling run down, killer headaches and mild fevers. I couldn't handle looking after Micah at 5.30am when he would normally wake up and his multiple night feeds. Thankfully, my amazing husband worked from home on Monday and looked after him in the morning so I could sleep and rest, and later that day hubby's parents came over and helped look after Micah while I went to the doctor's. 

Later that night, Micah slept the best he has ever slept in months... he slept from 7pm - 7am waking up only ONCE to feed at midnight. That meant I slept for 6 hours straight... and boy I really needed that! Woke up feeling great this morning, so refreshed and ready to take on the world again. Might even show up at Mums Group today for a change, lol. Hopefully this would be a turning point, and not a once off! Micah's being a good kid right now, letting me sit here on the couch and blog while he quietly and happily plays with his toys.

And what a little adventurer he is. He walks on his walker pretty well now (if you missed it, here's a video of Micah walking) and crawls around his now secured play area and sits up and plays with various toys. Very independent little kid, as long as he knows I'm not far of course... and as long as he is not tired, grumpy, hungry or has a dirty nappy, lol.

And here are just a couple of videos of my happy boy :)

And finally, I recently submitted a few photos of Micah to a Baby Modelling Agency in Melbourne and we got a call back from the people at the agency saying they were very impressed with the photos and would like us to come in for an interview. We're just testing the waters at the moment, it's a no obligations interview and we're really just sussing out what's out there. We are aware that most agencies charge a fee to just get started, with no guarantee of getting work, so we will definitely tread carefully.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Obsessed with Photos Much?

We all know I already take way too many photos of my boy Micah. Seriously, I don't know any other parent who is obsessed with taking photos of their child more than I am. It's ridiculous really, but I know someday I will be so glad I took this many photos of him... he grows up so quickly that he looks different every single week and I know looking back I will be glad I captured all those different stages of him looking different and doing different things.

A few weeks ago at Fountain Gate Shopping Centre, I decided to take up a Professional Photographer's offer of taking Micah's photos for free. The only catch is, if I wanted a photo to keep that would cost $8.50. That's not too bad, right? Plus I get a free fridge magnet. So really I get two professional shots of Micah for $8.50. Ok cool. Let's do it. Micah was so tired just before the photo shoot, but he somehow smiled so generously for our lovely photographer. What is he doing to me?! Is he trying to tempt me to buy more shots of him looking cute?! If he didn't smile so much, it would've been easier to NOT be tempted to purchase more.... aaahhhh but I managed to fight temptation anyway, but that's for later on in this story.

I went back to Fountain Gate today to pick up the single photo + fridge magnet I already paid for, as well as to view all the rest of the photos from the shoot and be tempted by the salesperson to spend more money. I was determined NOT to spend any more money. After all, I already have so many great shots of Micah and really no matter how cute the photos are I am not prepared to spend hundreds of dollars on them. I was there just to pick up my two photos... in and out.

So there were 9 poses altogether, each pose has been printed as a set of 10 prints in various sizes. To purchase ALL 9 poses, 90 photos and a CD would've costed $540. No way am I ever going to spend that money. So the lady asked what my budget was... and I said no more than $100. She started her counter offer with $200. I said no, happy to take my 2 shots and go.... then she offered me $150 as her lowest offer for all 9 sets. I said no again.... I offered her $120. She said no. So I said that's okay I'm happy to just take the 2 shots I came for, and I really was quite happy with just the 2 shots!

Finally, she offered me $120 for 4 sets (not all 9) of photos. I thought about it for a minute... because out of all 9 sets, there were probably only 5 I really, really liked. Which meant I could have all the ones I liked... because I already have 2 and can choose 4 more.... I thought for about 1 minute and said no again. SO glad I already take so many great photos of Micah at home, I was so much less tempted than I probably would've been if I didn't have all the wonderful photos of Micah already!

So well done to me, for saying no. Deep down I'm still hoping they'll call me back and say OK to my offer. They're just going to chuck those photos out anyway. If not, I am fully content. These two shots I picked are my absolute favorites and I am so happy with them for what I paid ($8.50, hehe!). Looking at these photos I already see how different Micah looked a few weeks ago compared to now. His front hair is definitely a lot longer now!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Week 35: 8 Months Old

TEETH! (Excuse the casserole face)
My baby boy is officially 8 months old tomorrow. Oh my time really flies! My mum has gone back to Malaysia on Sunday night, and Monday was a real struggle for me. Micah seems a bit grumpier than usual in the morning, possibly because that's when he usually spends the most time with my mum (while I catch up on some sleep). He was a lot happier in the afternoon though, he had an hour nap in his cot and woke up, and I snuggled with him on the couch and we both slept for an hour and a half. So that's a big sleep for him, and a much needed nap for me. I even managed to keep the house tidy, did the dishes and a load of washing! As long as I can keep this up, maintaining the house and keeping on top of the chores should be fine. Thank goodness I managed to stock up on frozen meals last week... our freezer is full with ready to heat food and that's just one less thing to worry about after putting Micah to bed.

Today was a lot better. I think I am slowly getting back into a routine without my mum now. She truly did spoil us! Hubby took care of Micah from 6am - 7am so I could sleep. Then I fed him and he had a morning nap all the way until 9am. So really, I slept in until 9am this morning! He was happy all day, not grumpy at all except when he's tired or hungry. He slept lots today and he ate lots today. Not so much his Weetbix for breakfast (probably because he just woke up from a nap) but he ate lots of custard, and fruit, and casserole for lunch and dinner. Hopefully he sleeps well tonight!

Mr Micah checking out his book collection
By this age, Micah has truly become a big boy. He's now crawling all around the house, and so quick at it too! He pulls himself up and stands whenever possible, and he takes little walks all by himself on the walker. He has lots of teeth! I love his baby talking and love his giggles and laughs. He remembers familiar things e.g. games we play during certain times. He gives high fives, and loves peekaboos. He gives cuddles and kisses. He would happily snuggle without squirming if he's in the right mood. Everything about him is just beautiful. He's my beautiful baby boy and I am so proud of him!

Mr Micah riding on his donkey

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Rafferty's Garden Baby Food

Micah doesn't have any issues eating solids. Just before he was 6 months old, I've introduced him to finger food solids to chew on and to explore different tastes and textures. A month later, I began giving him a combination of finger foods (for learning and exploring) as well as mashed up veggies or pumpkin and potatoes for actual eating. Another month later, Micah is fully capable of feeding himself solid, chopped up fruit (non pureed) and actually eating and swallowing 95% of it. He no longer makes a huge mess on the floor, and whilst there will still be a bit of mess on his high chair, majority of the fruit will go in his mouth and get eaten. No more tongue reflex that pushes food out. He has also learnt to use his many new (and sharp) teeth to chew off bits of the fruit and swallow. Hooray! My boy is eating properly!

Now that the "training" process is considered over and Micah is finally on 3 solid meals per day, I find myself especially struggling when it comes to going out and feeding him. A lot of the meals I've made fresh for him goes straight in the freezer and need to be heated up. When you're out shopping, etc it gets kind of tricky.

That is why I've decided to give Rafferty's Garden range of savoury and sweet fruity baby food a go. They are so many wonderful flavours and conveniently packaged in spout packaging. They are good to serve warm or cold straight out of the packaging. Any leftovers can be refrigerated and consumed within 48 hours. Micah absolutely loves them and I sometimes like to mix some of the savoury flavours with mashed potatoes or steamed rice to add a bit more texture for him at dinner time. He especially loves the fruit flavours and I love having them handy in the pantry for when I run out of fresh fruit, or when we're out and I don't want him to make a mess in public!

The spout packages are $1.99 each so really not the most economical way to feed your baby all the time, but as I said they are great for when you're out and about, as well as to mix with some of the food you're already cooking. The fruit flavours are made out of real fruit and nothing else, so they make a great treat especially when served cold straight out of the refrigerator. 

Micah looking longingly out his window at our neighbour's kids jumping on their trampoline...

P/S: Sadly, this is not a sponsored post. I am writing this wonderful positive review for FREE because good things need to be shared!