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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Our Dream Come True - An IVF Story

During both of our infertility journey's IVF was a very real possibility. In fact both times we were told very early on that, given our combined fertility issues, it may be our only viable option. The first time we were very lucky to fall pregnant with Clomid only, which even our fertility specialist thought was a miracle, and I still have no idea how it happened. This time, we weren't as lucky.

Staring down the barrel of IVF raises a lot of questions. How will we be able to afford this? How will I be able to handle all the needles when I'm petrified of them? Will our relationship survive the emotional roller-coaster? What if it doesn't work? If it does work, how will I explain it to my child? Surprisingly, the last question was the one that played on my mind the most, even before we started preparing for IVF.

You see despite the fact that IVF is seemingly much more common now than it was 20yrs ago, its still not overly talked about outside of infertility groups. It's still seen as somewhat taboo and is misunderstood by people who haven't gone through it. I can understand why, its a complicated process. It's a hard enough concept to explain to an adult, so how do you explain something like that to a small child?

A few months ago in the midst of our fertility treatment, I stumbled across the perfect answer to this question thanks to local children's author Gilly-Elle Wiltshire. Gilly happened to be in the same IVF support group as me and was in the process of publishing a children's book to help parents explain the IVF journey to their miracle IVF babies. Having gone through IVF herself Gilly initially wrote the book for her own daughter and after reading it to other people realised many other IVF parents would benefit from it as well. I'm happy to report that Gilly's book Our Dream Come True is now published, and in my opinion is the perfect way to let IVF children know how they came into the world. 

Gilly has broken down the complicated concept of IVF into bite sized pieces using age appropriate language so it makes sense to small children. She's used clever rhymes and bright, cartoon like illustrations to convey the process and emotions that go along with it. Gilly is qualified in speech and language therapy and it's clear she's used her understanding of language development to explain a very complex series of events in a way that children will be able to comprehend {and in a way I never would have thought of}. I'm a big believer in using children's books to help explain complex situations to young children and Gilly's book is no exception, in fact I think parents all over will be thanking her for making what could be a very complicated conversation into an engaging picture book. 

I was so excited to be one of the first people to receive a copy of Our Dream Come True as I knew it would be the perfect way to explain to our future baby how they were conceived. As it turns out though, on the morning I had to call the fertility specialist to arrange our IVF cycle, I found out that our IUI had been successful and I was already pregnant. Even though I won't be needing it for this baby, I'm still so grateful that I discovered Gilly's wonderful book. I think it's an amazing book for IVF children and it turns a potentially awkward conversation into a simple one and a celebration of how loved the child is. I know so many friends, readers and acquaintances who would benefit from this book which is why I'm sharing it with you all, despite not needing it myself at this point in time. I'm actually passing my copy on to a dear friend {who conceived via IVF} and if we end up having a 3rd child via IVF in the future I will purchase another copy of Gilly's book when the time comes.

Our Dream Come True can be purchased online at You can also follow Gilly-Elle Wiltshire on Facebook.

Have you ever used a book to explain a hard concept to your children?

Toni x

Disclosure - I received a copy of Our Dream Come True for the purpose of review. I honestly believe this children's book is a must have for all IVF parents and I've passed my gifted copy on to a close friend who conceived her children via IVF. I did not receive payment for this review.

Linking with Kylie

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Mummy Must Have Review | The Creative Toy Shop

One of the things I love most about social media is its ability to create real communities and bring people together. I'll probably never be a "famous" blogger because I don't subscribe to social media strategies such as follow threads, follow/unfollow on Instagram or automating my social accounts in order to grow my numbers, I much prefer to keep things real and develop proper connections with real people, even if that means I don't have as many followers as others. I've made some wonderful friendships with other ladies from all over the world thanks to my Facebook page and Instagram account which was one of the main reasons why I started blogging in the first place. Being a stay at home mum can be lonely a lot of the time and having these connections can make it feel a lot less lonely.

One of the lovely people I've met on Instagram is Brianna from Notes From a Home Educator. Brianna is an in home educator who works with a family of four young boys. She shares the activities they do each day on Instagram to inspire other educators and parents. I share a lot of the activities I do with bub each day on Instagram as well so I've been drawn to similar accounts and Brianna is one person I've developed a friendship with over the last year. She's so generous with sharing her ideas and is constantly inspiring me with her activities. As of this past weekend she's also now opened her own online store selling beautiful educational toys, activity guides, printables and resources. I'd secretly love to do the same, but I'd want to keep all the toys for myself bub, so instead I'll feed my toy addiction by buying from her.
The The Creative Toy Shop stocks gorgeous educational toy brands such as Magna-Tiles, Tegu, Hape and Grimm's {amongst others}. You all know by now I'm a sucker for wooden toys, right? Hape and Grimm's are two of my favourite high quality wooden toy brands so needless to say I now have a huge wish list from her store {don't tell T}. Bub's been lucky enough to add the Grimm's portable doll house to our ever growing wooden toy collection and I dare say we'll probably add more Grimm's toys in the future.

Grimm's are a family run wooden toy brand from Germany, made most famous by their iconic rainbow stackers. They also make a number of other stackers, puzzles and dolls. A common theme across all Grimm's toys is that they're very open ended to provide numerous different learning opportunities, depending on how children choose to explore them. I have to admit back when bub was little I was a big fan of literal toys that had an obvious {and most of the time singular} purpose, most likely because my ocd makes me want to do things the right way and not deviate much from that. Over the past few years I've changed my views and now fully embrace open ended, multi-purpose toys because I've seen just how much they inspire bub's imagination, which brings about many play experiences my literal adult brain may never have thought of. This is one of the reasons why I'm currently replacing all bub's plastic toys with wooden ones.

The Grimm's portable doll house makes the magic of pretend play portable so children can enjoy it anywhere without having to move a heavy doll house from room to room. Bub's had fun playing with hers on her activity table, in the lounge room and even outside. I'm almost certain it'll make a trip to grandma's house soon as well. I just need to get better at making sure it gets packed away after she's finished playing because I'm constantly finding pieces all over the house.

The doll house is made from lime wood coloured with non-toxic water-based dyes. It comes with 14 different pieces that all stack together within the carry case. Pieces include a bookshelf, sink, oven, chairs and table, as well as arched pieces that can be used as beds, walls, sofas {or bridges as bub sometimes does}. Each time bub plays with the doll house it's been in a different layout with different pieces being used as different furniture. As it's so open ended and transient kids wont lose interest as quickly as they would with traditional dolls houses or more literal toys because they're limited only by their imagination. There's also a blue/green and neutral version available because dolls aren't just for girls, just like cars aren't just for boys...

I'm so happy for Brianna as she embarks on this exciting new venture and I hope its a huge success for her, no doubt we'll be helping her with that by shopping up a storm. Make sure you check out the printables section for heaps of downloadable worksheets and puzzles to use at home.

Are you addicted to toys like me?

Toni x

Disclosure - I was provided the Grimm's portable doll house for the purpose of review, however I've already purchased more items myself. All opinions expressed are based on our experience with the product. I did not receive payment for this review. This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Still waiting

Waiting has always been an inevitable part of my life. It's an inevitable part of anybody's life really, so there's no surprise that I'm continually waiting for the things I want.

When I was younger I had to learn to wait for the small things in life. Of course at that time the small things were in fact the big things as far as I was concerned. I remember waiting all day at primary school for the lunch bell to ring so I could then patiently wait in the tuckshop line to buy my favourite apricot balls. Do you remember apricot balls? As far as I was concerned they were the best thing at the tuckshop, and that was quite possibly linked to the fact they were 5c and I could always afford them.

As I got older there was a lot more waiting in lines for things I wanted. At McDonalds on my lunch break, Kmart and even at the movies {remember when we used to go to the movies all the time, before it became a ridiculously expensive outing?}. Although I swear I had a talent for picking the slowest line every single time without fail, each time I could see the end of the line. I knew I would get what I wanted and I could anticipate just how far away I was from getting it.

Fast forward to trying for a baby, while the waiting on the surface was the same, it was inherently different. This time I knew what I wanted and I knew I had to wait, but I had to wait in an invisible line with an invisible end point. For four years before bub was conceived I waited in that invisible line hoping to get to the end and get what I wanted, and eventually I did. For the past 17 months I've been waiting in the same invisible line hoping to once again get to the end and get what I want.

A few months ago I wrote about how I believed if I was patient I'd eventually get what I wanted. I've waited patiently for months, and I still have to wait for many more, but now it's different. For the next 7 months I have to wait, but I can see the end of the line and I know I'll get what I want. I've waited for almost a year and a half for our next baby and in 7 months time I know I'm going to meet them. This time I'm happy to wait and I'm not willing those months to fly by, I want to live in the moment and experience it all. I want to soak it all in and appreciate this period of waiting, because I don't know if I'll ever get to experience it again.