Friday, July 29, 2016

We now have a threenager

Something really odd happened this week....

On Monday I woke up as a mother of a threenager {for those not familiar, this is the colloquial term for 3 year old, once you have one you'll understand why}. Three years old! How did that happen? Well obviously I know how it happened because I've seen it unfold before my eyes over the last 1100 days, however it still seems like one minute I was in a daze wondering where my newborn appeared from {if that statement makes no sense you obviously haven't read my birth story} and now I have a sassy, head strong three going on thirteen year old toddler.

Isn't it funny how pregnancy seems to take 4529 years to end and yet once the baby pops out time seems to go by so quick. It's also ironic that we tend to forget all the hard times that we thought would never end. I'm fairly certain during the first few months of her life when sleep was almost non existent, and we were dealing with a super unsettled baby due to allergies, I didn't think life was going by at a blink-and-you'll-miss-it rate. Yet here I am three years later wondering where all the time went. I'm aware it all seems rather cliche but it really is true. And now I'm worried I'm going to wake up one day soon and she'll be a teenager.

Speaking of teenagers, wow is the term threenager accurate! I thought the last few weeks that we had entered the threenager stage a bit early as the phrases NO!, I don't wan't to and I said NO had been making regular appearances in her vocabulary, however it's like she turned 3 and a switch was flicked and now she's a full blown moody tiny teenager. You know when a caterpillar goes into its cocoon and comes out a butterfly? It's like that, but not as pretty.

There are good parts still though of course like the cuddles for no reason and aww mummy I love you and mummy you're so beautiful at random moments throughout the day, but the rest of the day seems to be peppered with tantrums, mood swings and defiance. I've admired her sense of independence in the past, but after a one hour screaming tantrum over bed time it doesn't seem so endearing anymore. I'm really starting to think that three is a test all us parents need to go through in order to be prepared for the real teenage years. I'm just hoping she's getting all her angst out now and we'll coast through the teens. It could happen, right?

Do you have a threenager too?
Or if you've survived the threenager phase do you have any advice for me?

Toni x


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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Mummy Must Have Review | Go Go Pepe Toys

By now I'm sure you're all aware of our love of play and learning through play. One of the most enjoyable parts of being a mum for me is getting to spend time playing with bub, re-living the childhood I never had. Now that she's almost 3, in less than a week... eek where did that time go, she's very much into imaginary play and is constantly acting out weird and wonderful scenarios with her toys. I'm being very selective with any new toys we add to our collection lately, they have to have an educational purpose or be great for imaginary play, and if they're great for both then even better. I'm also on a quest to replace the majority of her plastic toys with wooden ones. Now that she's a little bit older, and has a better appreciation for her toys, investing in wooden toys that'll last for years {and we can pass down to her siblings} makes a lot of sense. Plus wooden toys have nostalgic charm and are awesome for open ended imaginary play. Of the course the ultimate goal would be to replace her plastic toys with toys that combine all three and are wooden, educational and great for imaginary play, but they're sometimes hard to come by. However, I'm happy to report that our latest addition is just that.

Bernie's number bus is an adorable wooden replica of the famous red double decker London bus, designed by UK toy company Indigo Jamm. The bus comes with 6 numbered and coloured wooden peg people who sit as passengers in the top and bottom levels and can also be removed for playing outside of the bus. The roof and top level of the bus are removable so kids can get the peg people in and out {and in bub's case fill Bernie back up with all sorts of other treasures}. Bernie provides hours of imaginary play and the peg people mean he's also great for teaching numbers, counting, sequencing and colours. Plus he's super cute {which lets face it is sometimes just as important when selecting toys}.


Bernie's number bus by Indigo Jamm


My aunty has lived in London since I was 3 months old and we visited when I was 12 years old. It was the best holiday I've ever been on and I immediately had a homely feeling when I arrived, like I belonged there, it sounds a bit cliche but I've never had that feeling anywhere else. Ever since that trip I've had a huge affinity for London and there's nothing more iconic than the red London bus. I love that this toy reminds me of my time in London and the fun we had exploring the city. Bernie brings the iconic London bus to life in a bright, fun and friendly version kids will love.

I also really love that Bernie is helping to reinforce developmental skills for bub while she plays. Each time she opens the lid and removes and replaces the peg people into their holes she's using her fine motor skills as well as her cognitive skills and hand/eye coordination. The fact that the peg people are colour coordinated with their seats also makes it easy for younger kids to recognise and learn colours. Bub already knows her colours, but even if she didn't it would've been easy for her to identify where each peg person is meant to go just by matching them up. Because she already knows her colours I usually add them into our play by saying things like "what colour is number 1?" or "what colour are these seats? "just to reinforce them.



We also use Bernie to reinforce numbers and to practice sequencing. The peg people are a great way to introduce and practice number recognition with younger children. Older children {like bub} can practice putting the people into the seats in the correct order from 1-6 to reinforce sequencing while counting aloud. Of course in addition to all the educational learning opportunities Bernie provides, there's also unlimited hours of imaginary play. Bub is constantly taking him on trips around our lounge room and making the peg people talk to each other as they go on their journeys. She also likes to pretend he's a real bus and stops at different points to pick up more passengers {usually Little People princesses and toy cars} and deliver them to their various destinations.


What I love the most about Bernie's number bus is that it's a toy that really evolves along with your child as they grow. It's recommended for toddlers 12 months and over, but as they get older instead of getting boring, it becomes even more exciting as they learn colours and numbers and can use it in different ways. Bernie would make a great gift for a first birthday that you'll know will still be well loved years later. Bub's nearly 3 and she loves him and I don't see that changing anytime soon. As a side note, I also love that all the edges are curved which makes it much safer for younger children {unlike some wooden toys}.




We got out beloved Bernie bus from Go Go Pepe Toys, an online store that specialises in ethical, unique and sustainable toys. Go Go Pepe Toys have sourced a range of quality toys from Australia and around the world to provide a boutique range of toys you wont find anywhere else. Go Go Pepe stock a range of different toys including arts and crafts, games and puzzles, wooden toys and dolls and dolls houses, amongst others.


WIN AN INDIGO JAMM BERNIE'S NUMBER BUS


Thanks to Go Go Pepe Toys I have one Bernie's number bus to giveaway to a lucky Finding Myself Young reader. To enter simply fill in the rafflecopter form below {so I can contact you if you win} and leave me a comment below letting me know what's your favourite toy from Go Go Pepe Toys and why? You can find all their products here.

If you're having any issues leaving a comment {sometimes it can be a bit temperamental} shoot me an email or send me a message on my Facebook page and I can help you out.

Good Luck!

Toni x
a Rafflecopter giveaway

TERMS & CONDITIONS
Competition commences upon publication and ends at 11:59pm August 1st 2016. One winner will receive a Bernie's number bus from Go Go Pepe Toys RRP $69.95. Finding Myself Young will not be held liable should the prize be lost in transit. Competition is open to Australian residents only, excluding ACT. This competition is a game of skill and will be judged as such. All mandatory entry steps must be completed to constitute a valid entry. Incomplete entries will be deemed invalid and excluded from judging. Winner will have 72hrs to respond or prize will be redrawn. This competition is in no way endorsed, promoted or administered by Facebook.

Disclosure - I was provided a Bernie's number bus from Go Go Pepe Toys for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are based on our experience with the bus. I did not receive payment for this review.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Mummy Must Have Review | There I Am Storybooks

It's no secret that bub loves reading, you only need to take one look at my Instagram account to know that. She especially loves picture books. Even though she can't properly read yet, she loves to tell me the stories from the pictures, even if it's not the same as the actual story. Her favourite book for a while now has been Piranha's Don't Eat Bananas, because they eat bums. Toddlers do love a good bum joke after all. However, she may have a new favourite book as of last week. What could be better than a book about piranha's who love to eat bums I hear you say? We all know it'd have to be pretty good to trump that!

The latest addition to our ever expanding book collection is a personalised book from There I Am Storybooks. In My Driving Adventures bub gets to be the star of every single page. She gets to watch herself go on all sorts of fun adventures and just quietly I think she truly believes she's actually done them all.

My Driving Adventures is a gorgeous book that allows your little one to be the star of the story. They'll go on a range of exciting adventures as the book retells the story of their best day ever. My Driving Adventures brings adventures across land, sea and air to life across 28 fun filled pages. The book combines vibrant, colourful illustrations with simple rhyming text to appeal to 1-4 yr olds. It'll most definitely captivate their imagination and have their full attention from beginning to end.




Bub's grown up surrounded by little boys {she was the only girl in 7 at mothers group}, so whether or not she would've loved cars and trucks, they were thrust into her world from a very young age. Although judging by her enthusiasm for all things automobiles I dare say she would've developed a love for them on her own anyway. She loves planes, trains, construction vehicles {anything with wheels really} so when we read the book for the first time she was crazy excited that she got to go on all the adventures herself. Instead of just reading about them in a story book, she was actually in the book and felt like she really did go on all the adventures.


Bub gets so excited every time we read the book, she can't wipe the smile off her face. She loves telling me exactly what she's doing on each page. "Look mummy I'm dwiving a biiiig wubbish truck and picking up all dis rubbish bins". There are 10 different vehicles in the book and without revealing all of them, I'm pretty sure her favourites include the crane and the train. "Mummy I'm using dis cwane to pick up all these lots and lots of bricks. Look they going up up up in the sky, then I put them down down down again".

I think her all time favourite is the rocket ship though. Her love affair with rockets developed at an early age thanks to various cartoons and she's still fascinated with them {I guess we all are to some extent aren't we?}. When she opened the rocket page her eyes lit up and she yelled out "WOW mummy I went to space!!! Look there's an alien too. I made friends with the alien, we best friends".


Each page of the book includes her name {I've blurred it for privacy} and has a cute little rhyme explaining what she's doing in each vehicle. Of course she loves making up her own version and extending the story as well. It's been so lovely watching her face light up when she reads the book and listening to her enthusiasm as she tells me about her adventures.

My Driving Adventures not only captivates children's imagination and provides a great picture book for them as toddlers, it's also a great keepsake for later on. I love that I now have a book that perfectly describes her adventurous personality and also includes a photo of her that I can look back on when she's grown up to remember these early years. It'll also be great for her to look back on later as well and we've included a personal message from us in the front cover {which you can do when you order the book}. There I Am Storybooks would also make an awesome unique birthday or Christmas present. If you know someone who'd love to receive one of these books read below for a special discount code and a chance to win your own copy of My Driving Adventures.


WIN A PERSONALISED MY DRIVING ADVENTURES BOOK



Thanks to There I Am Storybooks, you have a chance to win a truly unique My Driving Adventures storybook. The book will be personalised with your little one's name and photo so they can see themselves as the star of the story driving all vehicles that kids love including diggers, fire engines, rubbish trucks and even spaceships. To enter simply fill in the rafflecopter widget below {so I can contact you if you win} and leave me a comment letting me know who you would like to win the book for and why?

And if you want to get your hands on a personalised book right away, There I Am Storybooks have given me an exclusive discount code for you guys. Simply use the code FERRY to save $5 off the price of the book when ordering from https://thereiamstorybooks.com.

Toni x

Please note the winner will be required to send a hi-res image and the child's first name to There I Am Storybooks so that the book can be created.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TERMS & CONDITIONS
Competition commences upon publication and ends at 11:59pm July 26th 2016. One winner will receive a personalised My Driving Adventures book from There I Am Storybooks RRP $39.99. Prize will be delivered by There I Am Storybooks, Finding Myself Young takes no responsibility for delivery and will not be held liable should the prize be lost in transit. Competition is open to Australian residents only, excluding ACT. This competition is a game of skill and will be judged as such. All mandatory entry steps must be completed to constitute a valid entry. Incomplete entries will be deemed invalid and excluded from judging. Winner will have 72hrs to respond or prize will be redrawn. This competition is in no way endorsed, promoted or administered by Facebook.

* Discount code is valid until August 31st 2016


Disclosure - I received a copy of My Driving Adventures for the purpose of review. All opinions and cute toddler speak expressed above are based on our experience with the book. I did not receive payment for this review.


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Monday, July 11, 2016

This is my life now

Daddy's just arrived home from a twelve hour shift, he walks in the door greeted by an overly excited bub, but before he's finished saying hello to her my alarm starts blaring from my phone. We look at each other from across the room, we know exactly what it means, so we start planning our secret escape. We make an excuse to go upstairs and try to scurry away hoping bub doesn't follow us. Thankfully she doesn't. She remains blissfully unaware caught up in the latest PJ Masks episode on the iPad {which she's watched 456 times now, but still isn't bored of}, so we sneak away for a few minutes. She doesn't even notice we're gone, she's too engrossed by Owlette and Cat Boy to care, but the whole time I feel like I'm neglecting her leaving her alone for five minutes. Then before we know it, it's all over and we're back downstairs, business as usual getting on with our night. This is our life now, every evening plays out exactly the same.

Fifteen months ago, when we began our journey trying for baby number 2, I never even contemplated that we would be where we are today. I wasn't completely naive, I knew there would be fertility treatment of some sort in our future before we managed to get pregnant again {despite holding onto the hope that by some miracle it might happen naturally this time around}. I knew there would be months of waiting. I knew there would be ups and downs, swinging from anticipation to disappointment. I knew there would be countless appointments, tests and ultrasounds. Infertility is not new to us, we know how it works. And of course all of these things happened, but unlike last time they haven't worked. We're still not pregnant.



Even though it took years to have bub, it was a relatively straight forward process in the end. Once T and I decided to go see a specialist we were unbelievably lucky and got pregnant with very limited intervention. I have no idea how, because given all the fertility issues we have it shouldn't have been that easy {I still find it ironic that I refer to months of trying + tests + medication as easy}. But nevertheless it was easy and it did work, we got pregnant and we had a baby. Because of this I've always believed in the back of my mind that it would happen again.

Clearly last time was a major fluke, or divine intervention, or fairies sprinkled their magical baby dust on us.... whatever it was it's not happening now. Instead of smiling on us the universe is giving us the proverbial finger behind our back and the fairies, well I can only assume they've moved into their new fairy house and forgotten we even exist. The reality is this time its going to be a lot harder and take a lot longer.

The rollercoaster has gotten a lot bumpier and scarier. The uncertainty is overwhelming and my anxiety is revelling in it. Yet we continue on this ride, because as usual getting off would be harder than holding on.

I never thought we'd get to the point where I'm being injected with needles each and every night like clockwork. Voluntarily laying down while a needle is stuck into my belly for ten seconds was never meant to become my reality. It wasn't even on my radar. I'm petrified of needles. I'm talking completely and utterly petrified. My hands go clammy, my heart rate goes nuts, I feel dizzy, I get pins and needles {oh the irony} and I sometimes even see spots because my body has such a huge meltdown. Talking about needles {and even writing this paragraph} is enough to make me feel woozy and start hyperventilating. I'm that scared of them

Yet each night at 7pm, while other people are probably having dinner, I'm lying down on my bed gritting my teeth, closing my eyes and willingly being injected. I honestly never thought we'd be doing this because I didn't think I had it in me to go through with it. More than a week into it and I still have no idea how I'm doing it, but I am. Surprisingly enough it's become quite routine. What sort of fucked up reality is this where storing needles in our fridge and being injected with hormones by my partner each night feels like a normal thing to do? Excuse my french, but seriously this is not what they teach you making a baby will be like in sex ed classes at school.

But this is what making a baby is like for us, whether we like it or not. So we accept it while secretly hoping each month will finally be our month and we can be done with all this.

Funnily enough I'm actually grateful that this journey is making me face my fears. Sometimes you don't realise how strong you really are until you face your fears and come out the other side.

If you're about to embark on this journey and are petrified too, know that you can do it. Somehow you will find the strength inside you to get through it. And hopefully we'll both come out of it with our precious miracle babies.

Toni x
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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Mummy Must Have Review | Calafant craft models

In a world that's becoming increasingly digital, its nice {and some would argue, quite necessary} for kids to have some quiet, screen free activities to balance out all the technology they use each day. While I'm not adverse to bub playing with kids apps on the iPad or watching a bit of ABC Kids, we also spend a lot of time engaging in screen free activities. We love playing with sensory tubs, creating masterpieces from playdough, putting together puzzles, and doing all sorts of arts and crafts. She particularly enjoys drawing, painting and colouring at the moment. Now that her imagination is more active she loves to express it all on paper. I love seeing her bring her dream worlds alive through craft and play so when I heard about Calafant craft models I knew she'd love them.


CALAFANT CRAFT MODELS


Calafant make a range of creative craft models designed to bring children's imaginations to life through colouring, building and playing. Made in Germany from recycled cardboard, the models come flat packed and are pre-cut and pre-punched for easy interlocking assembly. Calafant models come in many shapes and sizes including pirate ships, castles, cars, rocket ships, whole village sets and many more. They're graded level 1, 2 or 3 based on the intricacy of the deign and degree of difficulty to construct. All models come blank so children can bring the designs to life with any colour combinations they like {it can get pretty interesting with a 2yr old believe me}. Calafant also have a range of fun cardboard face masks which children can colour then turn into a 3D mask.



We've had heaps of fun playing with some Level 1 Calafant models over the past few weeks. Level 1 models are the smallest and simplest of the Calafant models {perfect for toddlers} and they come with 6 different coloured pens to decorate them. Bub loves colouring so she didn't need any encouragement to start decorating the models. Without a doubt her favourite one was the horse and carriage because it has horsies and its almost an identical match to her fisher and price princess horse and carriage.




The Calafant models have been a life saver during the witching hours late in the afternoon when bub is irritable and needs some down time before dinner. Colouring the models holds her attention span for longer than a lot of other activities as she focuses on choosing the perfect colour for each section, then colouring in within the lines. They're a great interactive activity for parents to get involved with too, she loves when we colour them in with her. I have to admit though having OCD it's quite challenging for me to deal with her putting random colours all over the place! I just have to learn to seriously let it go for the sake of her fun {I'm getting better at it, but I'm still cringing on the inside}. 

My OCD was particularly tested when she coloured in her puppy face mask. I was cheering on the inside when she started colouring the little heart red, but it quickly went downhill from there and now we have a "wainbow puppy". The Calafant masks are also made from recycled cardboard and come in a range of cute characters, we got the puppy and pony set. The masks easily become 3D once they've been decorated and kids can make their mouths move open and shut by pushing the sides of the masks in and out slightly. Bub's had so much fun running around the house pretending to be a puppy. She particularly loves hiding and jumping out to scare us with it {so I guess the fact that it has scary looking red eyes is quite appropriate}.



Calafant models certainly provide an engaging, creative and interactive experience for both parents and kids to enjoy. Not only do they allow kids to express themselves through decorating the models, they also provide hours of imaginary play once the models are put together. Bub's had so much fun choosing which colours to use then watching them come to life in 3D. We coloured ours with the felt pens that came with the set, but they could also be coloured with crayons, pencils, paints and even decorated with sequins and embellishments. In fact we might add some embellishments to one of ours as another little craft activity soon.

The larger Calafant models would make a fun activity for multiple kids to get involved in at a birthday party or even at a mother's group get together. The smaller models and masks would also make great party favours for a birthday party and would be great as stocking fillers at Christmas. Not to mention they'd be a good distraction for children during long car trips, or during long appointments {we often take busy bags with us to hospital appointments to keep her entertained while waiting and the small models would be perfect for them}.
We got our Calafant models from Toy Fiesta, a family run online toy store that specialises in skill building toys. Given my penchant for educational toys and learning through play, Toy Fiesta has quickly become one of my favourite online toy stores. I first discovered Toy Fiesta at the Essential Baby and Toddler Show in March this year. I fell in love with the toys they had on display and went online to browse further, which of course led to me buying a heap of awesome educational toys. We use all our Toy Fiesta toys for so many different learning activities each week, I dare say I will buy more from them in the future.

Do/did your kids love bringing their imagination to life through arts and craft?

Toni x


Disclosure - I was provided the featured Calafant models for the purpose of review after being contacted by Toy Fiesta. All opinions expressed are based on our experience with the products. I did not receive payment for this review and have previously purchased items from Toy Fiesta.

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