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Friday, April 29, 2016

Life is a rollercoaster

One of the first things people say to me when they find out I'm having trouble conceiving is you just need to stop thinking about it then it'll work. I'm not even going to get into the logic behind that comment, because medical conditions generally don't have a habit of just disappearing by themselves if you stop thinking about them, but I know they kind of mean it from a good place. However, not thinking about trying to conceive is not as easy to do as people may think.

You see I try to stop thinking about it. I try really, really hard. There are even some days where its not consciously on my radar, but its always there in my subconscious. It becomes quite hard to not think about something when your whole life revolves around it.

Now I can hear people chomping at the bit to chime in with "but its not your whole life, there are so many other things in your life. You already have a daughter you should be thinking about her not a baby you don't have".... and various other well meant, but severely ill thought out responses, {yes this is my life, seriously}. They're all right to an extent. There are many other things in my life and my daughter does pretty much consume my whole day {all day, every day}, but that doesn't stop my mind wandering.

The reason I can't stop thinking about it is because days, weeks and months are no longer just arbitrary calendar days to me, they're now days before or after ovulation, weeks of a cycle and months since we started trying to have another baby. Every single day is a reminder of our struggle to conceive because we now live life cycle to cycle.

So while others may look at the calendar and see today as the 29th of May, I see it as day 4 of my cycle. This is week 1, otherwise known as depression week, a reminder that the last cycle didn't work. During week 1 I'm usually an emotional wreck for the first two days. I allow myself a day or two to wallow in the unhappiness of being unsuccessful again, then I need to start taking more medication and switch my focus to this new cycle. The rest of this week and next are filled with daily medication and specialist appointments. Even if I wanted to forget about it, I have physical reminders each day. 

After I finish my medication for the month I then enter the two week wait, where I wait {completely not patiently} to see if this month will finally be our lucky month. Ironically while the two week wait is devoid of pill taking, pathology tests and specialist appointments, its during those two weeks that I think about my maybe baby the most. Because these two weeks are full of renewed hope.

Experiencing infertility is like being on a rollercoaster that never ends, the peaks and troughs just keep coming, over and over again. During week 3 and 4 I'm climbing ever so slowly up to the peak and as much as I want to get excited that someone will come and rescue me off this godforsaken fearful, yet adrenaline filled ride; in reality I'm bracing myself for the inevitable huge drop that is to come. And then it comes, and around and around I go on this continuous ride. 

Did I ever mention I'm shit scared of rollercoasters? Yet I've been on this one for over a year now.

One day I will get to week 4 and instead of facing the huge emotional fall at the end, I will get off this rollercoaster ride and it will all be over. Only then will I be able to not think about it.

Please don't ever tell anyone experiencing fertility issues that they just need to stop thinking about it and it will work. Because we can't.

Toni x

Linking with Grace

*Image used with permission from Cate
Friday, April 22, 2016

8 Ways to Help Toddlers Enjoy Reading

Did you know that as a parent you have the power to boost your child’s learning and set them up for success in life, simply by reading to them every day?

Evidence shows that reading for pleasure from an early age increases brain power, boosts self-esteem and strengthens language and communication skills. So even if your little one is still a toddler, now is a good time to start building their reading habits.

toddler reading a picture book
Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Love to Dream Swaddle UP Original Review

When I was pregnant one of the first things I was told by midwives, friends, family, drs {and even well meaning strangers}, was that I had to swaddle my baby because it would help them sleep. And boy were they right about that. Swaddling definitely made her sleep for longer. The thing they all forgot to tell me is that swaddling is some what of a complicated art form. You need to practice, practice, practice to get it right... and then hope you don't have a houdini baby like I did. Seriously pretty much every single time I swaddled her she'd get out of it within minutes {unless by some miracle she was already asleep when I swaddled her up}. She'd start by poking out a few little fingers, then an arm, then another arm and then it was party time... sleep, what's sleep?

I remember constantly thinking surely there must be an easier way to do this? 

Of course there was {and still is}, I just hadn't heard of it yet. A few weeks later my friend had her baby and when she started sharing photos of him sleeping {as all new mums do}, I noticed he was in this fancy swaddle pouch looking contraption. My first thought was what in the heck is that, soon followed by where can I get one of those for my baby?

Love to Dream baby Swaddle UP original grey xs

After a quick chat with my friend I discovered the awesome swaddling contraption was a Love to Dream Swaddle UP and she got it from a baby shop a few suburbs away. So from that point on I was determined to go get one. However, I was still recovering from my emergency c-section at the time and couldn't drive yet, so I had to wait until I could co-ordinate a lift with my mum. As luck would have it, the day we went to the baby shop they didn't have a Swaddle UP in the right size {I swear this stuff always happens to me}. Instead they convinced me to buy a larger muslin wrap to try and keep her better contained {which I bought because I didn't want our half hour trip to be pointless}, then I went home still annoyed I couldn't buy the Swaddle UP.

What I didn't realise at the time was that I could've bought it online directly from Love to Dream or CatchWhy didn't anyone tell me this? Probably because like me, they didn't know. It turns out it was right at my fingertips all along.


The Swaddle UP is an ingenious zip up swaddle that allows babies to sleep in an arms up position giving them the same snug feel of being swaddled, but with their arms up they can still self soothe. Without doubt the best feature as far as I'm concerned is that it requires no wrapping at all! Simply put baby in, zip it up and you have a perfect swaddle, every single time. Helle-freaking-lujah.

If that wasn't genius enough, it also has a twin-zipper so nappy changes are quick and easy, no need to take baby completely out. The Swaddle UP design is hip-healthy, allowing the recommended flexion for hips and legs. Using the Swaddle UP also eliminates excess loose fabric in the cot {which is a huge plus for me being an anxious parent} and the covered arm wings prevent baby from scratching their face {no need for mittens, which we all know just fall off anyway}.

But did I mention the best part is how easy it is to use....

By the time I found out all this info though bub was already starting to roll on her side so we went straight to using the Swaddle UP 50/50 which was a lifesaver and a great way to transition her to sleeping bags later. I'm still devastated that I didn't get to use the Swaddle UP Original in the beginning though, because I could of avoided so much stress and frustration trying to contain my little escape artist. I'm definitely getting one for our next baby. {UPDATE: We did indeed get one for our next baby and it was so much easier than wrapping her all the time}.

My friend was lucky enough to use one pretty much from the birth of her son though, so I asked her for some feedback.

What made you decide to use a Swaddle UP?

I was completely useless at swaddling and had seen these previously in a baby store. 3 days after leaving the hospital we picked up a few.

Do you think it helped him sleep better?

He slept really well in them and he slept for longer as he wasn't waking himself up when he wiggled out of the cloth swaddles. We also found we slept better, as we weren't freaking out the cloth swaddles would come loose and smother his face.

What did you find was the best benefit of the Swaddle UP?

It helped Liam sleep longer {and was less stressful for us}.


The Love to Dream Swaddle UP Original is suitable for babies from 0-4 months {or until they start showing signs of rolling} and retails for $39.95. They can be purchased online from Catch, David Jones, Myer, Baby Bunting and other leading baby boutiques. Check the Love to Dream website for you nearest stockists. You can also purchase online from Love to Dream.

Love to Dream swaddle UP Original competition


Thanks to the fabulous team at Love to Dream I have a Swaddle UP Original to giveaway to 3 lucky Finding Myself Young readers. Winners can choose their preferred colour {grey, white, blue or pink} and size. To enter simply leave me a comment below letting me know why you need a Swaddle UP Original in your life

Please remember to also fill out the rafflecopter widget below {so I can contact you if you win}. The easiest way to comment is to choose the name/url option and leave the url section blank. If you're having issues leaving a comment, message me on my Facebook page or email me and I'll help you out.

Good Luck

Toni x

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TERMS & CONDITIONS Competition commences 12:00am April 19th 2016 and ends 12:00am May 3rd 2016. Entry is open to Australian residents only, excluding ACT. Three readers will win one Love to Dream Swaddle UP original. Prize is not transferable. Prize will be delivered by Love to Dream, Finding Myself Young takes no responsibility for prize delivery. 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 gifted a Love to Dream Swaddle UP™ in exchange for this post and giveaway, I did not receive payment. As per my disclosure policy I only accept reviews for items we would genuinely purchase and use. The Swaddle UP™ gifted to me is being passed on to a friend from my mothers group who has just had a premature baby. This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience, which means I may earn a small commission at no cost to you, should you make a purchase.
Monday, April 11, 2016

Clarence the cat

So we have a new member of the family. Meet Clarence the cat.

We went to visit T's mum and came home with a kitten.

Clarence joined us a little over a week ago and seems to be settling in well. Max and Shelby wouldn't talk to us at first, but it appears they've now forgiven us for bringing this crazy little monster into their home. They're even starting to warm up to Clarence too. Max has given him a few kisses on the nose and Shelby has started ignoring him when he pokes her tail. Hopefully by next week they'll all be living harmoniously without any hissing and random hijinks.

Speaking of hijinks, I forgot how crazy kittens are. Its like having all the disruptions of a newborn baby {sleepless nights, taking care of its every need}, but it can already walk and climb and get everywhere its not supposed to. Like behind the tv cabinet, on top of the benches, on the table while we're eating dinner and into the kitchen cabinets. And did I mention they bite? Holy hell. I know its just play biting, but sweet jesus it can hurt when you're being mauled by over zealous little razor blades attached to a hyped up fur ball.

Despite all the drawbacks, he's also been a blessing for so many reasons.

He's filled a hole in our hearts. Going through infertility can leave you with a feeling of emptiness because you long for a baby to love, but can't have one. That feeling of something missing and aching for something to love just grows stronger and stronger the longer it takes to conceive. It's been a year now and the gaping hole in our hearts has been growing and growing. For a few weeks now T has been suggesting we get a kitten {considering he's not overly fond of cats, this was a huge flashing light that something wasn't right}. He admitted he just wanted something he could hold and cuddle and love. Clarence came along at the perfect time. He's healing our hearts and captivating bub's at the same time.

He's been bub's little shadow ever since he arrived. He follows her around and plays with her all day long. Although sometimes she revs him up too much and the over zealous teeth come out then she starts wailing muuuuuuuuuummmmmmy, mummmmmy get the kitty, get the kitty! Of course five minutes after I've rescued her she's looking for him again caaaaaaaaawaaaaaaaance, cawance, where ahhhhhhh you.... And so the cycle continues all day long.

He's the perfect companion for bub and us. For bub he fills the role of a younger sibling while she waits for her baby sisters. And for us he fills the gap in our hearts and gives us something new to love, until our baby comes along. I honestly couldn't imagine my life without my fur babies.

Do you have any pets?

Toni x

Linking with Kirsty & Alicia
Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Best 2020 Educational Toddler Toys From Kmart

If you follow my facebook page or know me in person then you'll be well aware that Kmart is one of my favourite stores. I'm pretty certain I could go there every single week and still find more awesome things to buy. I'm totally obsessed with their homewares and craft items and lately they've been bringing out some pretty awesome kids toys as well. Now that bub is a toddler I've been incorporating learning into her play as often as possible and Kmart seems to have hit the nail on the head with a great range of educational toys for toddlers. I'm all for handmade and high quality toys, but sometimes the cheaper ones have their place too {and lets face it sometimes cheaper is better for the budget too}. So here's my favourite toddler toys from the current range and how we use them for learning.

*While this post was originally published in 2016, I aim to update it regularly as Kmart expand and change their toy range, however as Kmart are constantly updating their product selection I cannot guarantee all products in this post will be readily available*


Open ended educational toys and resources from Kmart Australia


Kmart chunky alphabet puzzle

The chunky alphabet puzzle is hands down my favourite educational kids item I've bought from Kmart probably ever. We're obviously using it for bub to learn the alphabet, but there are many more ways to use it than just as a puzzle. We made a game putting all the letters in an empty wipes container where bub pulled out a letter, then said what it was and found the right spot on the puzzle. We use it to match up with letters in her abc book. We also use the letters in sensory tubs and we use this alfoil puzzle hack to make it even more interesting learn phonics. There are so many possibilities beyond using it as an actual puzzle. 


You really can't go past a good basic set of wooden blocks. There are so many open ended play opportunities. We often build towers, houses, rockets, trees, bridges and castles with our blocks. I also originally taught my daughter colours while we were playing with wooden blocks and we started introducing basic shapes this way too. They're also great for stacking, sorting and counting.


kmart magnetic tile block set

Magnetic tiles are an amazing open ended toy for children of all ages. They can be used for building and imaginary play as well as teaching shapes, colours, literacy and numeracy skills. Check out this post for over 50 different ways to play with magnetic tiles. The Kmart magnetic tiles are a great cost effective introductory set to try out before potentially upgrading to other brands like Connetix or Playmags


kmart whiteboard with alphabet magnets
I bought this 3 in 1 blackboard for my niece at Christmas and have it on my list to buy for bub for her birthday. This product is great because one side is a magnetised whiteboard and the opposite side is a blackboard so there are many different ways for kids to be creative. It also includes chalk, pens and a set of alphabet magnets. The board can be used to learn the alphabet and practice letter recognition, to learn spelling and also for free drawing. I also love that its portable so it can be taken to appointments, restaurants and play dates.


kmart money box colour sorting hack
This counting money box from Kmart has also been one of my favourite purchases as we hacked it into a simple fine motor colour sorting activity. The money box is a great tool for fine motor play and learning money value as is, however when we first got it my girls were too young to understand the value of money so we changed it into a simple colour sorting activity instead. To hack it we simply removed the backing board, turned it around and then stuck coloured dot stickers above each column. The girls have used it with plugging flowers, paddle pop sticks and metal rimmed counters. It's also easy to switch the backing board around and turn it back into a money box which we'll be doing now that my big girl is learning the value of money. My friend Holly from Simplify Create Inspire also hacked the kmart money box into a barefoot investor spend, save, give money box for kids.


The Kmart train table is great as a train table {and also comes with a 70pc train set including tracks, bridges and trains}, however I think the real genius of the train table is that it can be converted into an inexpensive small world table. The simplest way to do this is to buy some artificial grass and get it cut to the size of the train table. From there you can add animal figurines, artificial plants, rocks etc to set up simple or elaborate small worlds. My friend Casey from Little Lifelong Learners has loads of ideas using their train table as a small world table and discovery table over the last few years, swipe across the image above to see just a few of her ideas and read this post to see exactly how to convert the kmart train table into a small world table.


black kmart play tray
The Kmart drinks tray, or as they're more popularly known the kmart play tray is my most favourite investment for play, so much so that we have three different colours. We've used ours hundreds of times over the years for various small world and sensory play set ups. The deep sides and metal base make it perfect for sensory play using either dry or wet materials.

kmart play tray small world play ideas


For more Kmart play ideas join my Facebook Group Kmart & Ikea Play Hacks & Ideas where we share all sorts of ways to use Kmart and Ikea items for play. 

Disclosure - this post is not sponsored by Kmart in any way, I just spend most of my money there so thought I would share the things I've been buying lately. Please note Kmart are constantly updating their product selection and whilst I aim to update this post regularly, I cannot guarantee all products will be available. This post contains some affiliate links to non Kmart products for your convenience which means I may earn a small commission, at no cost to you, should you make a purchase.