Archive for July, 2019

None of us have it together mama – so stop comparing yourself!

Posted by Amy Aquilini

This is another write up that hits pretty close to home… for all of us. Every mum these days is trying to be a super mum, trying to make sure your kids are getting enough stimulation – but not too much, making sure they’re eating healthy and are always well, and are well behaved when we go out. But come on, lets face it, all of our beautiful little munchkins are at times are all little assholes that have been sent to test us, to show every other person out there what we’re made of.

That perfect mum, yeah… she’s a myth! I had my first son in 2017 and did everything from making all of his baby food, didn’t allow him to eat anything processed, bathed him everyday from a new born, would clean my floors everyday, took him to playgroup every week, stuck our routine like glue – you name it. I honestly thought “what is everyone winging about? This is easy!” Fuck I was naive!

But seriously, none of us really know what we’re made of until we have two, and I mean go through two separate pregnancies, none of this “oh I have twins, this is so hard, I’m not going back and having anymore” BULLSHIT. You realise it’s going to be so much harder when you have to chase after a toddler, you have to get up every… single… day… because you don’t have a choice. It’s not your child’s fault you can’t keep your legs shut. Haha – You don’t get a chance to rest when you want or need to for that matter.

So… my second bub is 11 weeks old now, I still have a clean house – put bub in baby carrier and off I go – but I don’t look after myself as well. My nails are currently an embarrassment and my hair is so oily we could deep fry chips in it. Yes I do get help because of my disability, but no where as much as I used to so now I’ve adapted to push through and get shit done. Even on my worst days, I make myself get at least one chore and make sure the boy’s bottles are made up.

When it comes to looking after myself, I will always put my health and fitness before anything else. Getting fat again is my ultimate fear! Exercising makes me function so much more efficiently. I don’t get much time to go to the gym at the moment, so I force myself to go walking – even if I have both boys with me. My plan at the moment is get down to a size 10-12 then tone the shit out of my body! #mommystrong

I was searching the net one night – aimlessly and found a site for Mumcations… I thought that would be so awesome! I can see me and my friend now (she has ffff five kids!) It could get rather messy! I would so much rather that than going with my husband. A kidless vacation means no kids… Even the big ones – “Babe I can’t find this” – ummm it’s right in front of you (hits myself in the head).

I have always tried to portray myself as strong, emotionally and physically. I guess that comes with a brain injury – at times you feel people think your “different”. Even though I come across as a cold hard bitch at times, I still have feelings but.

Now, after my second kid I don’t give two shits about any criticism that comes my way, I’ll be over here… doing my own thing. If you don’t like it… well, anyone who knows me well enough knows what comes next. 🙂

Aquo Xx

https://www.kidspot.com.au/parenting/parenthood/mums/none-of-us-have-it-together-mama-so-stop-comparing/news-story/4efeb6433f4be204dfc02c8b54c97463?utm_source=kidspot&utm_campaign=EditorialSF&utm_content=SocialFlow&utm_medium=Facebook

Organised Mumma…

Posted by Amy Aquilini

So today is Saturday and today I have a mega velcro baby. I was planning on having a pretty laxed day, because I woke up feeling like crap! WRONG! I saw things needed to be done so I pulled up my big girl pants, had my banoffee smoothie (recipe will follow), a berocca and started smashing out jobs. The baby is 10 + 1 days old and last night slept from 7pmish to just after 3am this morning so I woke up feeling like a new person (until now, he’s has slept 4hrs max). Edit:- Now he sleeps from 8pm till 5am! yay!

I decided that today was going to be the day I start working out again… IT WAS POSSIBLY THE BEST DECISION I HAVE MADE IN MY LIFE…. EVERRR! I am feeling so energised, dealing with two screaming kids is so much easier, dealing with people in general is so much easier! I decided to do a bit of cardio and some weights for 20 minutes and I did it with the baby in the carrier and a toddler jumping on me. It was awesome. I’m going to start turning back to the Fitmom program that Sharny & Julius Keiser started in 2012 and has since become a very successful platform for those wanting to get healthy.

Mums – How good would it be if we could have the same set routine everyday! But I’m a realist and I know that that will never happen! it would be good right?? NO, it would be amazing! I find that getting up even half an hour before the boys get up and have my breaky smoothie and my morning coffee in peace watching the sunrise and process my day, check the calendar and both my electronic diary (phone) and my paper based diary.

If a load of washing has to be put on I will go do that, make sure dinner has been taken out of the freezer, make sure there are enough baby wipes – if not,make more, make sure my toddler has a lunchbox packed for the day (even if we’re at home, Mr independence likes to go to the fridge and get what he wants… AT 2!), put a loaf of bread on (I love my bread maker), and make sure both boy’s bottles are ready in the fridge. It doesn’t happen like that everyday, but I like my Mondays to start of like that, it helps the rest of the week to go a little smoother.

For a snack I like to make my own nut mix:

I don’t measure ANYTHING! I use any nuts, seeds & fruit I have around the house so it works with anything… BE CREATIVE!

For lunchbox fillers I buy a block of cheese that I cut in little squares and put in snack bags (I wash and reuse them as I go through so many). I also buy 2 or 3 boxes of crackers and divide them up into snack bags, and I make sure there are yoghurts (kid ones & adult ones).

This recipe is out of “The healthy mix” by Nikalene Riddle formulated for use with a thermomix

I have learnt the art of speed cleaning – which is all about getting the essentials done without taking up too much of your precious time. During the week, I make sure the essentials get done and on Fridays I get in and do everything I can’t do myself with the help of a support worker. The following blog is all about speed cleaning:-

Speed cleaning – https://www.kidspot.com.au/lifestyle/home/home-solutions/how-to-speed-clean-your-entire-house-in-under-an-hour/news-story/233482497e6b5b63aca995365314e592

Since I have lost over 20kg since the operation to have a plate put in to hold my shoulder in place (as I had a severe brachial plexus injury from my accident), the plate is now sticking out of my arm and causing so much pain – it’s epic! With two kids it is a massive hinderance! Most days, I just have to push through and get shit done – mums out there, can you relate?

I never want to be seen as a failure as a mother first then a friend. My friends mean the world to me – as after my accident I lost many of my so called friends. However, my kids come before anything! my husband, and even my dad – my dad and I are so close. I weanted to see what other mums out there have to say, I found the following blog and much of what is written hits home – BIG TIME.

10 Truths you need to hear when you feel like a failure as a mum – https://keeperofthehome.org/10-truths-you-need-to-hear-when-you-feel-like-a-failure-as-a-mom/

It is so true that you believe the lies you tell yourself when your tired, stressed, run down. Our failures, weaknesses and sins are NOT who we are! The fact that you even care means that there is always room for improvement, growth and adversity. You have to take life in, make the best decisions for yourself (even though we all struggle with that at times) and your kids. When I became a parent I realised that I was in charge of keeping a small human alive and I needed to have more structure in my life.

So yeah – when I became a parent I realised that I was in charge of keeping a small human alive and I needed to have more structure in my life to make sure things ran as smoothly as humanly possible to make living with my disabilities and two little boys as easy as it can be. I still struggle, don’t get me wrong…. I have my blowouts to blow off some steam but then I return to be the best mum I can be for my boys – that means being organised.

Aquo Xx

Raise your kids on a healthy diet…

Posted by Amy Aquilini

I believe that the best thing you can do for your babies is to introduce a healthy diet from when they begin to eat solids as recommended by the healthy eating pyramid. Statistics show that if parents maintain a healthy diet, their children are 75% more likely to follow same.

But… I’ve gone all next level healthy mummy. I try my hardest to check the nutritional labels on everything and stick to the one serving size – it would be awesome if I was able to do this with everything in the kitchen…. But – I’m a realist…. Andddd I know with 2 boys under 2 that ain’t gonna happen!

My eldest son was 2 before he ate anything that was even a little bit processed, and I’m not even sorry – not even a little bit! I have a well behaved toddler. Well – As much as possible for a toddler. Once we started to introduce processed foods, we noticed his behavior receded and took a week or so to readjust.

Benefits of raising your children to be healthy include:

All vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. However, some stand out for their exceptional health benefits. Some individuals benefit more from certain vegetables than others, depending on their diet, overall health, and nutritional needs.

Healthy eating can help children maintain a healthy weight, avoid certain health problems, stabilize their energy, and sharpen their minds. A healthy diet can also have a positive effect on a child’s mental and emotional health, helping to prevent conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and ADHD.

Eating well can support a child’s healthy growth and development into adulthood and may even play a role in lowering the risk of suicide in young people. If your child/children has already been diagnosed with a mental health problem, a healthy diet can help your child to manage the symptoms and help control their health.

It’s important to remember that your kids aren’t born with a craving for French fries and pizza and an aversion to broccoli and carrots. This conditioning happens over time as kids are exposed to more and more unhealthy food choices. However, it is possible to reprogram your children’s food cravings so that they crave healthier foods instead. My two year old son loves fresh fruit & vegetables. His lunchbox for daycare includes:- Carrot & Hummus, A Vegemite sandwich on homemade bread, Sultanas, Strawberries or a piece of fruit & a sometimes snack (weetbix slice or any kids snacks down the health-food isle at Woolies. Most days, he comes home with an empty lunchbox.

We have started toilet training and the other day I hear “Mum I want hummus!” while he was sitting on the toilet – to get him to stay there he got it!

The sooner you introduce wholesome, nutritious foods into your kids’ diets, the easier they’ll be able to develop a healthy relationship with food that can last them a lifetime.

Since having my first child in 2017 I have developed a much healthier relationship with food. What motivated me to become healthy in the first place was how fat I became! I reached the larger size of 18 and not quite size 20. I completely lost my sex drive and was so unhappy in my overall self. I worked away at it everyday, I learnt so much about nutrition, fitness, mental & physical health and all the information that comes with it.

Whether your children are toddlers or in their teens, children develop a natural want for the foods they enjoy the most. To encourage healthy eating habits, the challenge is to make healthy choices appealing and fun. Using fun names for fruit and veg is an awesome trick! Broccoli in our house is called baby trees, mix different colours together to make a rainbow, incorporate their current favourite thing into it by using the same colours, etc. Be creative!

Here’s a list of helpful links to get you started:

Make healthy options available by keeping plenty of fruit, vegetables, and healthy beverages (water, milk, pure fruit juice) on hand – I don’t actually keep unhealthy snacks in my house unless it’s a special occasion. Don’t force your kids to clean their plates, and never use food as a reward or bribe.

Aquo Xx

Wedding Snaps….

Posted by Amy Aquilini

So… we were married on 2/06/2018, yes… 2018!!! It’s now over a year since we were married and I/We haven’t gotten even one printed! How long was it before you had your wedding photos printed/hanging around your house?

Drop me a comment!

Unlike selecting your other wedding vendors (music, flower arrangements, cake), photographs aren’t things you can hear, smell, taste or even see at first—it’s a big decision, possibly the biggest, because this will be one of the ways you remember your big day…. FOREVER! You don’t really know what you’re getting until months after when you finally receive your photos/videos. That means careful research and selectiveness regarding professional skills, artistic style and personal demeanour are extra important when choosing your photographer.

How did you choose your photographer?

If I had the chance to do it again, I would have done A LOT more homework before settling for my photographer. However, my circumstances sucked and I hope not many others out there cop what I did. So… It was months before my wedding BUT I was absolutely devastated when my photographer told me she couldn’t do it as she was moving down south (I so would have flown her up to Cairns), so I got to searching for photographers from the Tablelands & surrounds. It sucked because on top of that, I also had everything else to organise. I pretty much just went off reviews and had a few stalks of her Facebook page and made a decision.

FYI – my first choice was Sarah Jay, who did my maternity shoot for my first bubba. Check out her photos, her page is A-MAZING!!! CLICK HERE!

Image by Sarah Jay Images

In choosing your photographer, don’t base your decision solely on what you see in their highlights gallery or Facebook like I did. For good reason, photographers show prospective clients a portfolio of their best pictures, all from different weddings, so you’re seeing the best of the best. The problem with that is you won’t get a well-rounded idea of their work. Ask to see two or three full galleries from real weddings they’ve shot (not someone else at their company) so you can get a better idea of what your complete collection of photos might look like after the wedding.

If you see that the full gallery photos are just about as good as the ones chosen in the highlight gallery (that is, they’re all so good it’s impossible to choose!), you’re on the right track. And ask to see at least one or two complete albums of weddings that are in similar settings to yours. For example, if you’re planning an indoor affair with dark lighting, don’t just look at weddings shot outdoors in natural sunlight. And if you’re planning to say “I do” on a beach at sunset, you’ll want to see examples of that.

When reviewing a photographer’s album, look for the key moments you want captured: Did they get photos of both the bride and the groom when they locked eyes for the first time? Also look for crispness of images, thoughtful compositions (does a shot look good the way it was framed, or is there too much clutter in the frame?) and good lighting (beware of washed-out pictures where small details are blurred—unless that’s the style you’re after). It’s also very important that you detect sensitivity in capturing people’s emotions; make sure the photographer’s subjects look relaxed, not like deer caught in headlights. While you two are important, of course, you want to see smiling shots of your friends too.

Don’t underestimate the importance of liking and bonding with your photographer. This is why I initially chose Sarah Jay! Our personalities just meshed, she even made my husband ridiculously comfortable (and that doesn’t happen)! You need to look at the following: Are their mannerisms off-putting? In order to get the best photos, go with a pro who has a firm grasp of social graces but is bold enough to go out hunting for great images and who, above all, puts you at ease and doesn’t irritate you in any way.

Remember: They’ll be shadowing your every move, and the more comfortable both of you are with the photographer, the better the photos will turn out. Likewise, you don’t want the photographer to offend or annoy any guests, but to shoot them in their best light in an unobtrusive way. To get the best photos, your photographer needs to be assertive enough to seek out great moments, cajoling enough to coax relaxed smiles and natural stances from guests, and calm enough to be a positive force. They should ask lots of questions and be a good listener. 

I got lucky… VERY LUCKY, as my second choice, Rachelle Angela Photography wasn’t too shabby. She made us feel comfortable in every way which was a massive plus!

Image by Rachelle Angela Photography

All jokes aside – I had a list for everything! Songs I want played to photos I want taken – I had a whole file of lists that were for the vendors of our big day and then more for every other little thing that was involved on the day! Having a checklist ensures that you don’t miss something you want and wish later you would have gotten. Always bring that to their attention, like if someone is coming from out of state, have that list ready so they don’t get overlooked on the day of because it’s chaos. Seriously! your big day will be one of the most chaotic days of your entire life!

Two cane farmers, amazing light and so much love – Image by Rachelle Angela Photography

Aquo Xx

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