29 Aug 2014

Planning a 1st Birthday ... Cam Style


It's no secret I love planning stuff. I use to have two motto's attached to my old My Space profile and one of them was
"Failure to plan is planning for failure."
I love researching, sourcing, organising and seeing ideas come together. I'm actually a bit of a nazi when it comes to "planning". I have been known to not be fun to plan with because I'm so .... detailed and become a "micro manager" during the process. I don't really care if people make fun of my attention to detail cause it's usually the people who are opposite to me who do. Don't hate me cause I care about details. Some people are like me some people aren't - I accept that so let me be me. 

If you follow me on Insta you may see I'm in the process of planning Kai's 1st birthday. Party planning isn't rocket science but surprisingly people can feel a sense of "I don't know where to start" feeling and can ultimately be a very stressful process. Also first time parents may feel lost as they are new to the whole "kids party" planning scene. 

So in the next couple of days I will share some of my tips and actual process in planning a kids (or any kind) party, from someone who loves planning. My aim isn't to show off how I do parties but to maybe help others to better plan theirs. 

Parties are like a project there's research that needs to be done, decisions that need to be made, people to coordinate, communication, vendors to select, working through the night so the kids aren't in the way to do tasks, budgets to stick to .... have I scared you yet?? ... Told you I was crazy!!

But stick with me I'll hopefully give you some pointers, suggestions and ideas with your next party planning.  

25 Aug 2014

11 Years

Today is Ian and I's anniversary since we started dating. That was 11 years ago and no we don't celebrate it anymore. We were only reminded of this event because a reminder popped up in an email. 

I don't usually talk about my husband in great detail in this blog. Again because its personal and I don't really want to share that side of my life online but to celebrate this milestone here are 11 things about us.

1. We met in high school when we were fifteen years of age, dated for a year and broke up. We crossed paths again in our early twenties and flames rekindled.

2. Ian was my first serious boyfriend and first love. 

3. How Ian proposed to me was he pretended to have won a prize at work. That prize was a sea plane out to Cottage Point Inn for lunch. He didn't propose there like he thought he would as he was nervous and was waiting for the right moment to do it, instead he did it afterwards.

4. Ian's the more patient, relaxed, calm partner between us, I am the opposite. Ian is book smart, I'm street smart. I'm always optimistic in ever situation, Ian can get frazzled when he's in unfamiliar situations.

5. I took Ian as my partner to my year 10 formal and he took me to his. 

6. I know I was pretty daggy in high school, so much so that Ian thought I was an exchange student who just arrived to Australia when he first saw me. When he makes fun of girls who look "fresh off the boat" I usually respond in a joke stating that that's his type anyways. 

7. Secretly our song is really "I want you back" by NSync and when we hear it on the radio we sing and dance to it like we're groupies. 

8. First present he ever gave me was an engraved bracelet.

9. Our first date which was a movie, I think it was Jerry Maguire, was a flop. I had to leave before the movie started cause I had to get home at an agreed time with my mum. I lied about who I was meeting up with (because I wasn't aloud to have a boyfriend) and she was suspicious, so she gave me a short window of time to be out. 

10. Our birthday's are only 5 days apart.

11. Ian's the sensitive one, I'm a little more thick skinned. I'm impulsive, he assesses risks before making decisions. Ian's more considerate, I lose my patience easily. 

Happy anniversary Sweetheart. Look at what we've shared and have since we started our union. Thank you for making my every wish come true. I love you even more seeing you as an amazing father to our children. You're a great example to our boys on how to be a gentlemen by the way you treat and love me. 

Circa 2003 - Harbourlife

 Circa 2004

Circa 2005 - Fiji

20 Aug 2014

The Truth About Sleeping Through the Night

Lately in our household Ian and I have been dreading the nights, because lately our evening, early mornings have been the most difficult. 

The boys are just not sleeping well and not sleeping longer through the night like they usually/suppose to. Kai wakes and doesn't seem to settle back to sleep at all. The methods we use to use to get him to fall back asleep isn't working, so he keeps himself and us awake longer. Eli has reverted back to wanting one of us to be close to him while he falls asleep, so every time he wakes during the night he either crawls into our bed or gets upset he can't see us anymore.

It seems as soon as we've settled one and we've fallen back asleep, the other will then wake and the vicious cycle starts again. So we're both left tired, exhausted and annoyed at each other and at the boys.

As a SAHM I feel the expectation that I must attend to them most of the time but I get sick of it too. The broken sleep, constantly trying to calm all the crying down ..... it's just so deflating at times.

One of the reasons why I stopped reading "your child's development at x" information is because as a first time parent, when you read the information, you kind of assume or hope the expected development would occur with your child, but reality you soon realise it isn't the case 90% of the time. Here are some of the misleading information about sleeping through the night I've read and was banking would occur when my kids hit those milestones:
  • Once your child starts solids they will sleep longer cause their tummies are fuller. Food and the amount a child has does not play a factor in a child sleeping through the night. There are days you have to chase Eli around with a spoon cause he won't eat anything and other days he can't get enough of food but his sleep patterns aren't any different. Then there's Kai who loves to and doesn't turn down any food and he too struggles to sleep through the night.
  • Once your child starts daycare or preschool they will sleep through the night cause they're exhausted from all the playing during the day. Yes I can put my child to bed earlier on days he's been to child care or hadn't had a nap that day, but he's definitely not sleeping through the night. Sometimes Eli doesn't sit for hours he just walks back and forth at home and stands around all day, he's not tired at all. 
  • Once you implement a strict nightly routine, they'll sleep through the night. No, we try and stick to a nightly routine but they're not sleeping through the night. Sometimes Kai still wakes several times at night, despite being able to fall asleep on his own. And Eli has a very strict routine so he knows its time for bed but he still wakes. 
Let me set the expectations for parents what "sleeping through the night" really means - it's getting your kids to stay asleep for a few or several (if you're lucky) hours. Kai usually sleeps from 6pm - 6am and may wake between 2-4 times a night for a cuddle or comfort feed. Eli sleeps from 9pm - 7am and usually wakes 1-3 times a night and comes into our room wanting to get in our bed, but we take him back to his and he falls asleep minutes later. Parents who say their kids who are younger than ten sleep through the night are ... lying or have a distorted definition of that term. 

I'm looking forward to, and hopefully in the near future when my kids are finally sleeping through the night. I'm not even going to ask for advice or tips on how to get kids to sleep through the night cause honestly I think kids just do it in their own time. Until then I'm a walking zombie half the time. 

11 Aug 2014

ESL

Any kid growing up in the nineties would know what ESL stands for. It's English as a Second Language if you're wondering .. or forgot.

I say this because growing up a lot of my friends were like me, first generation migrants to Australia. I moved here from the Philippines when I was five years old, so english was not the first language I learnt. 

I remember there were special ESL classes available in some schools to help migrant students focus on improving their english reading and writing. These special services were however the butt of all jokes, as in going to an ESL class or being referenced to ESL was deemed uncool and embarrassing. 

I married a filipino man so our children's ethnicity is also 100% filipino. We booked our first family holiday this week. We're off to the Philippines in May next year. I'm extremely excited for a number of reasons. 

However my mother pointed out something that I've totally haven't noticed until she mentioned it ... my children don't understand our native language. Ian and I don't speak tagalog at home therefore not exposing their ears and mind to it. It dawned on me I'm going to be taking my kids to a country where they may not understand the people they encounter. Thankfully Philippines is one of those countries where almost everyone does speak english, but still they won't understand the great grandparents or the casual conversations in tagalog between family. 

I also started to wonder whether I'm doing them a disservice by not giving them the opportunity to pick it up? My dad is from another island in the Philippines, he actually speaks another dialect called Cebuano and I've always wished he taught us how to speak that language too. 

Ian actually doesn't really understand tagalog. He was born here and initially his parents did speak to him in tagalog. However he went to childcare really young and was struggling to communicate with his carers. The childcare centre advised his parents to speak to him in english so they can understand what he's saying ... today that's called racial discrimination ... but it was the early eighties and people were more narrow minded back then. So really I need to be the one to take the lead on this second language situation. 

They say the younger the child, the easier it is for them to pick up a new language quickly. Language is like a musical instrument, it needs to be practiced so you don't forget and you remember how to read and play music. It's been awhile since I used my instrument it going to sound horrible ...

If this guy can do it I'm sure my kids have hope.

Do you speak to your children in your native tongue? Any advice on how to get children to participate in replying or speaking back in another language?

7 Aug 2014

Can you do me a favour?

Can you fill in a survey about this blog for me?

It shouldn't take very long. All answers are anonymous so please feel free to be honest ... I'd prefer it actually.

I've never really asked for any feedback on my blog before and that's what the survey is about. A pulse if you like of how this blog is tracking.

Why the sudden urge to get feedback? I'm curious. I'm questioning my writing style and the direction of my blog. I know I started this blog to capture key moments of my life as a new parent and I still want to do that, I just wonder whether there's room for improvement?

The more feedback the better so please complete my survey ... you can find it by clicking on here.

Thanks

6 Aug 2014

Eli's 3rd Birthday

It was Eli's 3rd birthday a few days ago. We celebrated it by having an intimate lunch at a local pub and on the actual day, we had a family day out to Wild Life Sydney Zoo. So a quiet little affair this year, no overseas holidays like last year

A few happy snaps of the birthday boy and his birthday celebrations. 

 Yes that's sprinkles all over his lips. He ate four pieces of fairy bread that day

 Massive mocha cake that I think I ate half of during the span of one week


Oh hi Kai cakes!!

 At the Wild Life Zoo and the birthday boy screaming at ever corner cause he was freaked out by all the live animals



1 Aug 2014

July in Review

I haven't done one of these in a few months. Here's a snap shot of my month of July via Instagram. You can follow me on insta on @genymum


  • 1/07 - Short family holiday to Queensland. 
  • 2/07 - Checked out the Reebok CrossFit gym in Queensland. These members don't mess around. They're pretty serious about their workouts, even the coaches are tough as a few of my reps didn't count cause I wasn't squatting low enough. I've realised I need to push myself harder and not just give up when it's uncomfortable. The experience was eye opening but has motivated me to want to work harder and get stronger.
  • 17/07 - A year ago we were in Hawaii
  • 11/07 - Checked out the annual Winterlight Festival at Parramatta. They key attraction to this place is the outdoor ice skating ring and if you don't plan to get in there and skate there isn't else much to see and do. So remind me not to bother going next year until the boys are big enough to enjoy the ice skating ring.
  • 29/07 - Eli's 3rd birthday!! We celebrated by going to the Wild Life Sydney Zoo. We were suppose to have family over for dinner but Ian and Kai weren't feeling the best and opted for a quiet night in.