Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The story I heard

When I was younger my family always called me Jojo. It started with my younger brothers and then went on from there. Actually the whole time I lived in Sydney I was mostly called Jo. It wasn't until I moved to Melbourne that I lost that name and have since only ever really been called Jody. Well I guess I haven't lost it completely my brothers still call me Jojo or Jo and even MrS does too. But mostly I just get Jody, no shortening or nicknames. It's kinda strange. How names work, how they change throughout our lives and signify or define different stages or ages. I mean my surname has changed three times, but that's a whole other story.

A few weeks ago we were all out in our garden lazing around and listening to music whilst the little ones played. MrS put this Blind Pilot album on, I have heard it before but not listened properly. Out of no where MrS said this song reminded him so much of me, it was so sweet, my heart swelled, my husband listened to music and he thought of me. I listened to the words 'Hey you Jojo, yeah I know your name.' sounded innocent, I hummed along and soon fell in love with the song myself. 

Since then I have listened to their album quiet a few times, it's on high rotation in here. So today I thought I'd google the lyrics... Turns out Jojo is a guy 'they might try to keep you from the man you have been'. 

Thanks Honey. 

Still an awesome song. You can check out some more of their stuff here. 
I especially love '3 rounds and a sound'. 

Do you have a nickname? Or did you have one when you were growing up? Did it stick? Or do you have a song that reminds you of someone you love, that doesn't mean what you thought it did?


I'm joining Maxabella over at Kidspot for 52 weeks of grateful.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

How to: Pink ombre layer cake

For Lyla's birthday this year I decided to make a pink layer cake. It was epic. One of the biggest cakes I had made. I trawled the internet for recipes and inspiration, but didn't really find anything I loved. I ended up using a cake recipe from Sweetapolitia and icing from My baking addiction. It took me some time to get my head around it {oh the butter!} and convert the recipes. But once I did it was easy. I was really impressed with how it turned out and surprised by actually how relatively simple it was to make. So I thought I share it with you.

For the cake
341g unsalted butter at room temperature
540g caster sugar
9 egg whites at room temperature
630g plain flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups of milk or buttermilk
1 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pink food colouring

Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Butter and line a 20cm cake pans or five if you have them, I didn't.

In an electric mixer beat butter and sugar on med/high speed. For 3-5mins until pale and fluffy. Lower speed and add egg whites gradually, mixing until fully incorporated.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Mix both vanillas in to milk. Add to butter mixture a little at a time, alternating between flour and milk mixtures. Mix gently until just incorporated. Do not over mix.

Weight whole batter by pouring into a clean bowl on digital kitchen scales. Divide total by amount of layers you need, original recipes is for three but I wanted slightly thinner layers so went for five.

Pour accurate amount into five individual bowls. To colour, add a little food colouring to each bowl, increasing in amount as you go. I basically used 1 drop in the first layer, then 2 in the second and so on. You want it to be a subtle increase from light to dark

Once you are happy with your colours pour cake mix into prepared tin/tins, smooth top and bake in preheated oven for 15-20 mins.

Cake is cooked when an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 mins then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Repeat until or layers are cooked and cooled.

If you are making this cake ahead of time like I did, wrap cooled cakes in double layers of cling film and freeze until the night before you need them.

For the icing
{Note: This was not quiet enough icing for my cake so I doubled the recipe below, which made a huge amount of icing that I used for my cupcakes also. I suggest making one batch first then another if needed.}

1/2 cup of raspberries {blended to a purée then pushed through a fine sieve to remove seeds}
165g unsalted butter at room temperature
110g salted butter at room temperature
1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract
680g icing sugar
2-4 tablespoons very cold milk

Cream butter in an electric mixer. Add vanilla extract and raspberry purée and combine well.
Add sugar a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. After all sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly begin adding cold milk a tablespoon at a time, mixing well on high speed, add until you reach desired consistency.

Remove cakes from freezer. Place bottom layer of cake top side up on cake stand or plate. Spread about 1/2 a cup or so of icing over cake, smooth using a knife. Repeat with all layers. Finish with last cake top side up.
Then spread a thin layer of icing over entire cake to crumb coat. Scrap any excess off using a knife for a smooth finish. Refrigerate cake at this point for at least 30 mins.
Use remaining icing to cover cake and decorate to your liking. Fruit, sprinkles, whatever takes your fancy!

You can serve cake at this point or refrigerate overnight or until needed. Remove from fridge at least an hour or two before serving to come back to room temperature.



Monday, 26 March 2012

{the weekend} the birthday one

As you know Lyla and I celebrated our birthdays over the weekend. My parents made the trip from Sydney to join us and most importantly babysit! MrS and I headed out Friday night with my brother to see our friends bands play {Too Soon! and The Lost Day} It was a great night, surrounded by loads of great people. The bands were awesome, a little heavy for my everyday music taste, but so fun to see live. It brought me right back to my younger days. Child-free and in the mood for celebrating, I really let my hair down, maybe even a little too much so. I really suffered the next day, worst hangover ever. And I had to work too. It wasn't pretty. Lots of sleep and some yummy fish and chips helped, thanks MrS you're the best.   

Sunday we took the little ones and the grandparents to the pool for a swim and some fun. We then spent the afternoon with our closest friends to continue the birthday celebrations with more drinks and cake. We had a great time, Lyla loved it and my Mum made a pretty awesome sponge cake for us.

It really was a wonderful birthday weekend. So fun and exhausting. I'm still recovering.

Thank you so much to everyone who sent Lyla and I birthday wishes.

I hope you had a good weekend too!


Friday, 23 March 2012

Lyla Eve - the story of your birth

On the eve of your birthday, it seems only fitting that I share this story. It is a simple story but one I have wanted to write for sometime now. I just didn't know where to start, I still don't, but i'll do my best.

In July 2009 I hadn't really been feeling very well, I convinced myself that my symptoms were all pointing to pregnancy, even though MrS thought otherwise, I did a pregnancy test. Negative. A week later I was still feeling unwell, I sneakily did another test. Positive. I couldn't believe it, I was shocked even though I was sure I was pregnant before taking the test, I did another couple to be sure. I called MrS in and told him to take a look in the bathroom where I had left the last test. He confirmed it, two pink lines, clear as day, you were on your way.

It was such a surprise, we hadn't really been actively trying to conceive, but had decided that since Riley was nine months old and just weaned himself, that we would just go with the flow and see what happened, it took us a while to fall pregnant the first time, surely it would again? Apparently not.

The first trimester was so hard, much harder than it was with Riley. It was different, this time I had terrible morning/all day sickness, I couldn't stomach anything apart from rice, jam toast and black tea. I also had low vitamin D and iron as well as incredibly tiredness. I found it so difficult to deal with those things while running around after Riley who was only just starting to find his feet. I couldn't have done it without MrS, he was amazing.

Thankfully it all improved during the second trimester and I could enjoy the more exciting parts of pregnancy, we decided not to find out what sex the baby would be, but preferred to keep it a surprise. I was obsessed with names and would spend hours reading and looking up names, I loved so many and simply couldn't make up my mind!

I was very lucky to have uncomplicated pregnancies and was able to see a midwife at the hospital for all my checkups which was great, it meant I had less waiting for doctors and I had some really lovely midwifes taking care of me.

We were all so excited and couldn't wait for your arrival. I would dream of you and would imagine what you would look like. I loved being pregnant, every part of it, but mostly feeling your every movement. Your kicking and wriggling was always so reassuring to me. And you had the hiccups constantly.

We made all the preparations we could for your arrival, I washed all the little newborn clothes, shopped, cooked, baked and froze meals. We spent lots of family time together, talking and pondering about what our life as four would be like. We arranged for my brother to stay with us for the last weeks, so that he could be here to take care of Riley, my labor with him had been only four hours so I was expecting this one to be even quicker.

Your due date was the 24th of March, but I didn't quiet believe it, I thought you would arrive a week or so early like Riley did. I told everyone you were due on the 20th. But that was not the case, my family arrived to welcome you and as the days past by I grew more anxious of your arrival. As I readied myself for bed one evening, I knew you would make your appearance sometime soon, I could feel it, although I had no pain or discomfort I knew you were close. I laid some clothes out for MrS and myself, popped a few last minute things into my bag and settled in to bed. I slept soundly until 4am when I was woken by what I thought to be a strong braxton hicks, it passed fairly quickly and I dozed back to sleep. At 5am I woke again, this time with a little more discomfort and stronger period pain type feeling, I knew this was it and got up to go to the toilet, as soon as I did my waters broke. I came back to bed and woke MrS, who rang the hospital as I got dressed. The hospital were pretty keen for me to stay at home and in no hurry to come in, they didn't think I sounded like I was in labor. I thought different and insisted we were coming in. Although my contractions were no worse than strong period pain they were coming fast and often. I had downloaded some contraction timing app on my phone which I used for about 10 mins, but each was about 2 mins apart. Time to get to the hospital. We took our bags to the car, woke my brother to let him know we were leaving and he was to look after Riley.

By this time it was about 5:30am, we piled into the car, it was an uncomfortable trip, the contractions started coming thick and fast and were becoming more painful. 5:45am we arrived at the hospital they directed us to a birthing suite and told to wait for a midwife to come. I knew this was it now, I knew you wouldn't be to far away. I made a few trips to the toilet, stomped the pain out around the room. MrS and I chatted in between contractions and made jokes as we waited to be seen. Then transition, I started getting a little panicy, no one had seen us yet, I told MrS if this baby was going to take any longer I wanted drugs. The midwife and doctor arrived around 6:10am, I was pacing the room, they still didn't really think I was seriously in labor, I asked for an internal or something at least, I laid on the bed and then I heard the midwife say 'I can't feel anything..' great I thought, this is going to be a long day. Then she explained that I was fully dilated, that's why she couldn't feel anything! I got back off the bed and continued with my pacing, stopping now occasionally as each wave of pain came. The doctor insisted I have a cannula put in my arm, which I wasn't too happy about but complied. The doctor left and the midwife asked me if I was ready to push and I said 'yes'. I pushed with each contraction and was guided by the midwife, who's name I don't remember, she was wise and direct and it worked for me.

You came into this world in such a hurry, it took you a few seconds to take a breath, the midwives gave you a good rub and then I heard the cry I had been longing for, 'it's a girl' MrS exclaimed, I couldn't believe it, tears flowed as they past her straight to me and I held her close. She feed almost immediately and nuzzled into my chest. I love the warmth of her body on mine. Such an amazing and exhilarating feeling, so much love, words can't even describe.

You were born weighing 7lb 11oz. At at 6:35am, on 24th of March my very own birthday, in roughly 2.5 hours from my first contraction. We named you Lyla Eve, a name MrS suggested, a name we loved. You were tiny and so beautiful, your face was covered in red little spots, from the pressure of your speedy birth we called them strawberry freckles, you were the sweetest thing and still are.

I loved birthing you. And I know I am so lucky that it went so smoothly, that it was all surprisingly bearable and that I didn't need a single stitch. Thank you.

I feel so blessed to be your mama, so blessed to have you in our lives and grateful to share this special day together.

You have grown so much in these last two years, the time has past so quickly yet I feel like I have known you always. We are so similar, strong, determined, independent, generous and kind. I see so much of me in you, I don't know if that's a good thing or not.

Happy birthday gorgeous girl, you are so loved.


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Lyla turns two {the party}

On Tuesday morning I had a little party to celebrate Lyla's second birthday! {Even though her actual birthday isn't until Saturday} I didn't get a chance to take many photos once all our lovely friends arrived, as Lyla reverted into a little koala baby, seems the poor little thing was a tad overwhelmed by it all, which is understandable.
We all still had a really fun time, I am really pleased with how everything turned out, that all my efforts paid off and was pretty chuffed that my cake actually turned out! Lyla felt more comfortable towards the end {thanks to peppa pig - my arm was killing me from lugging her around all morning!} And she was back to her normal chirpy self. She loved opening all her gorgeous presents and was very spoilt!

We've got more celebrations planned for the weekend, with my parents arriving from Sydney on Friday, it's all happening! Can't wait to tell you all about it!


Friday, 16 March 2012

Falling into place

Things have been a little hectic around here this week. Last minute party planning, things to do, things to buy,  lots of baking and cooking to be done, not to mention the cleaning. That's on top of all the usual day to day running around, kinder drop offs and pick ups, catch ups and play dates.

Phew, its been exhausting. But I'm grateful that it's all falling in to place. That it's all coming together. And I just can't wait.

Linking up with the ever lovely Maxabella.

Happy weekend my friends.


Thursday, 15 March 2012

party mode

I don't know where this month has gone. Lyla will be two in nine days. Nine days and my baby will be two. Can you believe it? I can't... that's why I had to say it twice. Time really goes by too quickly, now I understand why all parents seem to say that. Anyhow, I debated whether or not I would have a party for her. I was going to have one, then I wasn't and then on Monday I decided I would. Talk about indecisive and last minute! So this coming Tuesday I am having a morning tea to celebrate, with some of our dearest friends. I say to myself and all invited, that it will be nothing, it will be small and minimal fuss made. But then I find myself in full party mode, making pink ombre layer cakes, party bags and dreaming of over the top decorations.

I just can't seem to help myself. I have been shopping everyday for different things, I have been waking at night thinking about everything I need to do. Planing. Baking. List making. Anxiety. It is crazy here and my hubby wants to kill me {not really} I always go over the top. I can't resist. I love parties. {and it's not even meant to be a party, just morning tea!} But I love everything to be perfect and I have to do everything myself. It's like an obsession. I can't stop. I have to go over the top.

So if I am not around so much this week, forgive me, my mind is in full party mode.

What do you do for your kiddies birthdays? 

I hope your having a good week?


Monday, 12 March 2012

{the weekend} the long one

Work. Rest and then some more rest. Our weekends lately have been quiet uneventful, I must sound so lazy. But honest I'm not, alright maybe just a little. We had lovely friends over for dinner Saturday night, Sunday was swimming and yummy fish and chips, Monday, the bonus day, was spent at ikea then relaxing in our sunny backyard. All done as a family. Just the way I like it.

How was your weekend?

x jody
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