Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sydney For Under Fives Book Giveaway

Thank you to everyone who left warm and thoughtful comments on my previous post as well as the many emails of support. I'm dealing with the situation as best as I can, but life must go on for those who are living. My friend will always be in my thoughts and I will remember her for her enormous smile, kindness and friendship.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I'm happy to present to you today this amazing book written by mum of 4 children, TV producer and author Seanna Smith. I first saw the book 'Sydney for Under Fives' reviewed in Babyology and just had to grab a copy of it. I found that once my son became a toddler and I couldn't amuse him with rattles anymore, I had to get my skates on and open the front door and show him the wonders of the world. But what do you do and where do you go? Where I live is an assortment of playgrounds and activities but some of them get quite tedious and boring. We had to explore! This book once in my hands opened so many options of fun, educational and interesting activities. It also allowed me to consider visiting some suburbs of Sydney I have never been to.

Seanna kindly donated 2 books for me to the giveaway on my blog. This is a fantastic book for any Sydney resident who has exhausted their own neighbourhoods and is in need of exploring new places. Or it could be an eye-opener to a playground just around the corner you never knew existed. The book can also be a fantastic gift to give to anyone thinking of travelling to Sydney or knowing someone who lives in Sydney and needs to get outside with their children and start enjoying life.

I'm looking forward to summer and I'm sure my son is going to appreciate it too.

Here's an extract about the book:

"Sydney For Under Fives is the best guide to family-friendly places in Sydney. Whether you’re pushing a baby, holding the hand of a toddler or chasing after a preschooler, this is the guidebook every family needs.

Find all the top spots for tots; cafes and restaurants, swimming pools, play centres, safe beaches and dozens of fantastic playgrounds, plus baby-friendly cinemas, art galleries, museums and more. The book details over 300 places which are great to visit with your kids".

Chapter 1. Cafes and Restaurants with Kids
Chapter 2. Best Beaches, Baths and Ocean Pools
Chapter 3. Family-friendly Swimming Pools
Chapter 4. Animals Fierce and Furry
Chapter 5. Playgrounds Deluxe
Chapter 6. Soft Play and Play Centres
Chapter 7. Culture for Kids and Carers
Chapter 8. Stroller Walks to Stretch the Legs
Chapter 9. Public Transport
Chapter 10. The Joy of Playgroup
Chapter 11. Showtime! Music, Theatre and More
Chapter 12. Borrowing Books and Toys
Chapter 13. Baby-friendly Cinemas and Screenings

To enter is quite easy. Become a follower, leave a comment and tell me what your favourite activity is with your children. Please also ensure that your comment leads to your blog or provide your contact to your comment so I can contact you if you are a winner. You do not need to be a blogger; anonymous comments are welcome as long as you let me know who you are and leave a contact in the comment or directly to my email (found in my profile page) The winners will be drawn randomly out of a hat!

Australian residents only can enter.
Competition ends 15th July 2011.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Welcoming ICLW & Thank You Rows of Remembrance

It's been a while since I participated in ICLW. I'm looking forward to reading your blogs. For the new readers - I'm a mum to a gorgeous yet naughty swearing cheeky little man who is nearly 2. He came in to my life after 6 years of infertility. A hard, frustrating and amusing road of assisted conception treatments that failed, a diagnosis and the surgical removal of endometriosis, a miscarriage, drinking disgusting Chinese herbs and then I ah hum, yeah relaxed. Well not quite. My clacker still had the cervical mucous check, the toilet paper inspection cycle. It was the month I let go of negativity and accepted my fate. It also included living healthy - gym and food and finding my spirituality.

My blog started as an avenue for other IF women to read about my journey and hopefully glean some information and hope for their journey. It continues to reach out to the blogosphere as a means of support as well as writing about a slice of my life - as a working mother, as a trying-to-lose-weight woman in her late 30's, as a One Child Family, as an amateur writer and as a parent after experiencing IF.

So grab yourself a few timtams and a cuppa. Put up your feet and relax and read about my adventures.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Rows for Remembrance for recently posting me my crotchet little blanket in acknowledgement of my miscarriage in June 2008.

"Rows for Remembrance was created to minister to mothers and fathers who are sometimes forgotten in traditional ministry. Some parents never hold a baby in their arms, but forever hold them in their hearts. This ministry is designed to bring them a way of remembering their little ones, no matter how short the time they were carried with them.

Rows for Remembrance strives to bring hope to families who feel like their world is crashing around them. We also strive to provide a lasting memory as a comfort to the families we call our Angel Families.

If you would like to help, please see our How To Help page. If you would like to receive a blanket in memory of your child, please see our Apply For A Blanket page."

Friday, June 17, 2011

It Ends With Something Sweet

The Sydney wind blew my perfectly straight hair today into a fuzz ball. It usually hangs long down to my waist. I’m scared to comb it for fear the whole lot gets pulled out. As I get older the hair falls out and I’ve noticed wrinkles on my olive skin face. Some I recognise from a bygone era of smoking the Winnie Blues. Others have recently introduced themselves to me. Hello Arseholes. I look out the window and know that I live in Australia. My eucalyptus tree needs some loving. Like my hair, its branches hang long and low kissing the aloe vera pot. There’s no koala in there though. She died of syphilis. Poor love.

My memory is also starting to fade. I’m not sure whether it’s because I am getting older or because I’m a parent now - a repercussion of pregnancy maybe? I know there’s plenty to do – laundry, cooking, dishes, and mopping but all I can think of right now is my son. The little guy who still says “no” to everything. Yet his vocabulary in English and Greek is so advanced. He can say and point to all his body parts in both languages. Parrots and understands all our words. He (not surprisingly) has caught on to the 'fuck' word. Not just your usual fuck – a drop in the ocean kind of thing. No, the fuck when he crashes his trike into the wall or drops his juice on the floor. Yeah that one. The emotion filled "I did a doozy but I know I shouldn't say it" fuck. He also has this ridiculous almost obsessive fascination for The Wiggles. “Wiggles, Wiggles, Dorothy, Wags, Henry, Wiggles, Toot Toot, Big Wed Car, Woogles”. I hear this every day, almost all day. He is relentless in his pursuit to force me to pop on any one of their DVD’s. The fucking colourful skivvy wearing Wiggles. Or better known as The Cockroaches back in the 80’s.

I can’t remember the last time I read a book from beginning to end. I have so many sitting on the bookshelf begging and pleading for me to crack their spines, flick the insects and delight in its words. Anything recent that resembles a book was to review BabyCentre’s Pregnancy Book – a favour for the editor and now in a plane heading towards a dear pregnant friends hands. I highly recommend it. I might just have to lock the bathroom door, sink into the bathtub, let off a soap bomb and pour a glass of red wine. Anything to help me unwind and to remember to be me again.

How is it possible that my beautiful mother, who is heading towards her 60’s and babysits my son 3 days a week. Puts up with the old man’s bitching and my younger sisters whingeing. Does all the housework because that’s what good-Greek-women-do yet can still pull off this delicious tasty treat for us to eat?

I’m definitely from a different generation.

KATAIFI - καταϊφι (Almond & Walnut Syrup Pastries)



• 1 1/2 cups almonds, skin on, roughly chopped
• 1/4 cup caster sugar
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
• 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
• 375g packet kataifi pastry
• 250g unsalted butter, melted
• Syrup
• 1 lemon
• 4 cups white sugar
• 1/2 cup honey
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 6 whole cloves


1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a 2cm deep, 24cm x 30cm (base) slab pan. Combine almonds, sugar, cinnamon, breadcrumbs, vanilla sugar and egg in a bowl. Mix until well combined.

2. Lightly pull pastry apart. Place on a plate. Cover with a damp tea towel to prevent pastry drying out. Using 1/2 cup tightly-packed pastry, spread strands out to a 7cm-wide, 30cm-long strip. Lightly brush with butter.

3. Place 1 tablespoon almond mixture along short end of pastry closest to you. Roll up tightly and place in pan. Repeat with remaining pastry, butter and filling, leaving 1cm between rolls. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden.

4. Make syrup: Meanwhile, peel 1 large strip of rind from lemon and remove pith. Juice lemon. Place lemon rind, 1/4 cup lemon juice, sugar, honey, cinnamon stick, cloves and 2 cups cold water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to high. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20 minutes or until syrup thickens slightly.

5. Drizzle hot syrup over warm pastries. Allow to cool completely. Serve.

Enjoy! I know I will ....with my red wine.

“My creed is that; Happiness is the only good. The place to be happy is here. The time to be happy is now. The way to be happy is to make others so.” ~ Robert Green Ingersoll.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sending Out Some Love - (Semi) Wordless Wednesday

There's been too much sorrow these last few weeks. Miscarriage, loss, failed cycles, relationship breakdowns. Estranged relationships between mothers and daughters. Odd mother in laws. Even a soon-to-be birth hasn't gone to plan. Pregnancy bleedings and writers block. Anxiety.

Some blogs remind me of old Western Movies - tumbleweeds blazing through and a whistling wind for company. Emails unanswered. Questions still hanging in the air.

People need their space.

However, there are still those like me, hoping that you are OK. All I can do is show you a picture just so you know that I am thinking of you and care.

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Book Giveaway Winner

Thank you to everyone who left lovely comments on this post and for participating in The Infertility Handbook giveaway.

Without further adieu, the winner is:

Enjoy the book and I hope the information and support it offers finally delivers you a baby in your arms. I wish you all the best in this IF journey. For those who missed out, the link is on the left sidebar if you would like to purchase the book. I highly recommend it!

I'll be having another book giveaway very soon. Seanna Smith who wrote Sydney for Under Fives has kindly offered 2 books. For a sneak peak, go here.

Thank you to everyone who left beautiful and supportive comments on this post. Miscarriage has always been a taboo subject and I hope some understanding of it has been explained as well as providing much needed love and support for its survivors. There are many organisations both here in Australia (bottom left sidebar) and overseas if you would like to find out more information or need help and support.

My IF Journey Success Story is also featured in Stree Free Infertility. Please go and check it out and read other wonderful women's success stories too.

I'm taking a short break from blogging as I've been invited to do a guest post on Marty-hood and need to get my motivation on. I've also been invited to put in a submission to hopefully acquire a paid writing opportunity in an upcoming blogazine. So we'll see how that pans out.  I need help with ideas on topics! I seriously need some inspiration and more time!

I'll still be reading your blogs and my comments will still be rolling.

See you soon.

(If you've been having issues with commenting on blogger, the following has been suggested by the Blogger Hotline:  Don't tick the 'stay signed in' box when you sign in. Go to 'tools', click on the 'delete browsing history' - tick all the boxes - press 'delete'. Or download google chrome)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Another Dedication, To You Dear Chon

Please be advised that the following post will contain memories and description of miscarriage and thoughts of suicide and feelings of depression. This post is brutally honest and has no intention of offence but to allow someone dear to me to know that I understand and acknowledge what she is going through.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I know it was very hard for Tee to write her post. She told me she couldn't, but I am proud of her that she did. If there was going to be anyone who acknowledged Chon's miscarriage first in a post it would be her. Tee your heart is so strong and honest considering you have your own battle to win against infertility and miscarriage. Your friendship is immeasurable. I'm glad that if ever life throws something horrible to me, you will be there with your everlasting support and love.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Dear Chon,

I woke up to the news via a sms that you were bleeding. My heart sank yet I held on to hope. Hope that it was just an implantation bleed and the little bean burrowing in to your uterus, making itself comfortable. I know you laughed when I sms you the term "fanny fart" as an explanation of pressure being released. I thought my stupid humour would at least make you smile, just for a moment, amongst the anxiety and sadness you were feeling.

A day later it was all over. Any inkling I had of hope was destroyed by reading your post. Your blood levels were not reflective of a pregnancy, the ultrasound did not detect a fetus. I was shattered and knew exactly how you were feeling. I felt useless sitting in Sydney reading your news, all I wanted to do was run, run as fast as I could to Melbourne and hug you. Emails and sms just doesn't justify the connection, but it was all I had to show my support and understanding.

I know that feeling. I know the minute it was confirmed that you were pregnant, all you wanted to do was hide and maybe camp out in a cave for the next 9 months until that kid was born. After all these years of trying, the IVF treatments and transfers and the endless operations just didn't qualify you as a happy fertile who jumped with glee and rang the world of your news. A stolen hug and kiss with your husband - he feels the same as you - the excitement of the extended family. In my case, my mother cranked up the Greek music and bellydanced her heart out. You were happy to see their happiness but deep down in your soul you were not ready to celebrate. No not like any other fertile woman. Infertility robbed you of that.

I know that feeling. The blood, some cramps. Those pregnancy symptoms diminished. Women's intuition - you just knew. But like a robot, you went to get the bloods and the scan, craving for hope. Praying to God that there was just a glitch in the system. You were prepared to deal with a difficult pregnancy, just as long as there were signs of life.

At 6 weeks 1 day, my bleeds started and faded and started again. At the hospital my hcg levels had wavered. There was no increase but the nurse had optimism. The radiologist didn't, the heartbeat was only 72  - anything over 100 was considered viable. At 6 weeks 6 days I saw it, it looked like a little kidney. Fell out of me into my hand. Covered in blood. I wrapped it with a tissue and buried it with my dog. They could at least play in heaven together. 6 weeks, 6 days, 6 years of IF, Friday the 13th. The devil entered my life.

I know that feeling. Carrying a fetus, my baby - it was dieing. I knew it was dieing, its heartbeat decreasing as I watched TV. I knew what was going on inside me. Waiting for something to fucking happen.

After all these years of infertility to finally kick the goal and then the trophy be taken away from you. It utterly sucks. Suicide was my first thought. Crawling into a dark hole and just withering into nothing. Death seemed so much more simpler than telling my husband and my parents that it was all over. But it doesn't end in just tears does it?

I know that feeling. Dark thoughts and paranoia - I will never be a mother now. Miscarriage added to my Resume of Failure. Walking around like a zombie - household chores tick, work tick, cook dinner tick, go shopping tick - see a baby in a pram - cry tick. And lets do that all over again....Waiting for my period to return. Waiting for another cycle to begin. Waiting - what do I do now?

And then I found them - Ree, Kelly and Felicity. I've never acknowledged them till now. Other women who survived miscarriage. The website we both know about - the Miscarriage Support Board. They picked me up on fucked up days, they made me laugh. Most of all they knew and they were there. It was because of their support and encouragement that I survived too.

One of them asked me once - Do you still want to be a mother? Yes I replied.

"Then get your skates on. You can grieve for your little one. Never to be forgotten. You were pregnant, but now you are a mother to an angel and one day you will be a mother to a live and healthy baby. There is still hope."

You know how my story ends. I know we are not the same and my experience is not yours. But my heart aches for you, we are sisters now more so than ever.

Your journey does not end here.

Please grieve, be sad, hate the world. Let those tears flow. Don't you dare feel guilty though - you are not to blame. Connect with the support that is surrounding you and loving you. Find other survivors and most importantly, if it gets too tough get counselling. I did and it did help me acknowledge my experience and focus on my next steps towards motherhood.

I really care for you mate. I know we haven't met in real life but we will one day. And that day will be glorious, because you are my friend.

Love Athena.

"My little one
You have left us too soon
Though my body can no longer hold you
I hold you forever in my heart
As precious and beautiful as this flower caught in time
A mother's love does not forget"
~ Author Unknown