The Second Born

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Yes hi, hello. I know, its been ages. Sorry (not sorry!).

I’ve been pretty busy with life, returning to work, wrangling a toddler, growing a baby and having a baby.
But here we are. I felt like I should blog about poor baby #2. The poor second child.

The baby who doesn’t get professional baby photos done, or a cute photo every week with those little cards with how many weeks old they are.


Little do people realise that the second child has it the best. I can say that as a fact for I am a first born and I know this to be true. Second borns get to enjoy being parented by people with actual parenting experience, instead of being the subject of an experiment gone horribly wrong. It’s like getting a haircut from the fully trained hair dresser instead of the apprentice, like having heart surgery from a cardiothoracic surgeon instead of the work experience kid. You get my drift.

Experience matters.

Second borns (and probably all other children after the first borns) are far more resilient, patient and generally just less ..type A. They still get loved the same, everyone’s just more relaxed.

Anyway. We had a textbook pregnancy this time and used a private midwife so I could get measured by the same person all the time. And what do you know – no issues. Bub measured perfectly from start to finish. See, experience matters!

I had morning sickness a lot worse this time, a highlight was puking one morning in front of The man and Angus – but it thankfully went away around about 16 weeks.  We nicknamed this baby “Duckling” just like Angus was “Grape”.

Being pregnant through an Albury summer was great, despite those ridiculously hot days where people would comment “geez you must be feeling the heat today, you poor thing”, I would wave them off bravely with a “better than trying to breastfeed a newborn when its 43 degrees and you’re renovating a house and its shit so you’ve moved out and are living with your parents and their swampie chucked it in at 38 degrees and …” What were we talking about again?

Ahem. I might be holding onto some issues. See, second borns have it better.

Anyway – yes, back to this baby. I started showing earlier this time and carried differently and copped months of “oh you must be due soon”, or “whoa you’re huge” and my two absolute favourites, “when are the twins due” and “you must be having a girl because you look big from behind”.

No I did not make that last one up. And yes, it is more offensive to me now that I did in fact, have a girl. Sorry, #spoileralert.

So my huge arse and I made it up to 35 and a bit weeks and finished up work and then “rested and nested”. Just made that term up. Really I sat around, went out for coffee everyday and then in the last two weeks pulled my finger out and went nuts around the house and yard.

I pressure washed the balcony which is about to get renovated. A truly pointless exercise. And it doesn’t even look that clean. It took me two hours.

I kept up doing parkrun every weekend, because I am stubborn like that, right up to 39 weeks. And I still didn’t come last. I would have made 40 weeks but I had a six day old baby by then and y’know – #priorities.

Anyway, the firstborn is “politely” requesting that I come and assist them as soon as I can so I’d best go and attend to their needs (likely this is that the toast is cut up wrong).

EDIT: despite requesting jam, and me reminding him he doesn’t like jam, I followed instructions for delivery of toast with jam and have now just been advised that “I don’t like it”.

Until next time,

– Jen


#30 What you’ve learned about life so far

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// For the next 50 days I am doing Fat Mum Slim’s 50 things to blog about challenge – in no particular order.

Today’s post is #30 – what I’ve learned about life so far.

Its funny that todays post number – 30 is also my age which ties in nicely with writing down what I’ve learned about life so far. I still regularly fail to apply this learning!!

So here’s 30 things I’ve learned about life so far

1. One step at a time (my Dad taught me this one!)
2. Patience – the more you have of it the better (the man taught me this one!)
3. Everything doesn’t have to be done today (see patience)
4. Be kind. You never know what someone else is going through
5. Ask people questions! Don’t let conversation become one-sided. People like to talk about themselves – get them talking (I have to work pretty hard at this). And LISTEN, really listen. I read something recently about sometimes people aren’t really listening, they’re thinking about what they are going to say next. Be mindful of others!
6. Now is not forever! (see patience). Today might be a bad day right now, but in 30 minutes time things might be better, it might be a bad day in a good week, six months of renovating was really, truly awful but it was six months out of our life. However – see #18
7. 7 + 8 = 15*
8. 8 + 7 = 15
9. Forget the high school mentality – most adults are friendly! If someone acts like they’re in high school by excluding you or not treating you well – steer clear!
10. Don’t mix your drinks!
11. Egg doesn’t go in spaghetti bolognese!
12. Smile! People like smilers! (I constantly need to work on this, I am a frowner!) See –
bitchy resting face
3. When something bad happens, take a deep breath and think ‘this is probably not the
worst thing that will ever happen to me/us’. This is tricky to do while in a fragile
emotional state – in which case see #14. For example the other morning I had a cry
when I couldn’t get our car to start (fragile emotional state as I was up all night with
the little man – but when we found out the man was made redundant few years ago I used this
strategy with great success!
14. A good sleep makes all the difference
15. The female body is pretty amazing what with growing babies, having babies and
breastfeeding! As amazing as it is, my body will never quite be the same after having
kids – and thats okay!
16. You get out what you put in to ANYTHING! This applies to much of my life but I’m noticing it more now.
17. Children are a game changer (for the better!), I never realised the positive impact
having a child would have on all our other relationships!
18. Don’t renovate. Ever again. (sorry Mum and Dad who are about to start)
19. Don’t trust real estate agents (except this one)
20. Most things are okay in moderation – as long as you DO moderate!
21. Its okay to make your health a priority but family comes before fitness
22. I’m not good at maths. And thats ok! I married someone who is!
23. Sometimes I wish I was tougher and that I didn’t wear my heart on my sleeve but I am
now realising thats just me! And thats okay! Its why I have low blood pressure!
24. I’m not sure what I did with my time before I had a baby! Babies are good time
25. For such small bricks, lego takes up a lot of space
26. Its okay to ask for help (still shocking at this one)
27. I still think I didn’t learn much at uni..I have forgotten a lot of what I crammed in before exams, but I learned how to think and research and learn. I’m a bloody good googler.
28. I’m a lot like my Mum. A LOT! So watch out little man!
29. 29, The man’s lucky number. So for #29 I’ve learnt that I’m very very lucky to have him!
30. The number of years I’ve been around. I bet I still have a LOT to learn.IMG_0748

Did I miss anything?

– Jen






* I’ve always struggled with maths and I can remember one night when I was young sitting at the kitchen bench doing maths with Dad and he was coaching me, “whats 7+8″..”15!”, then Mum chimed in “whats 8+7” “15!” over and over until I got it. Or thats what I remember anyway. Its an in me.

The first six, seven, eight, nine and ten weeks are the hardest

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I recently read this article, what no one tells you about motherhoodMy goodness, it is bang on. Especially the part about babies being medieval. So true! “None of us is prepared for this kind of uncivilised intrusion on our beautiful, hand-made lives. Not even if you are wildly maternal”.

They say the first six weeks are the hardest. It is kind of true, and I will continue telling the lie that was told to me, for my friends when they become first time Mums. But its not the end of the sentence. It actually is, ‘the first six weeks are the hardest – because you are not used to it’. After six weeks you just get used to the sleep deprivation and adjust to your new reality!

Once you get used to that, its still just as hard but you’re so sleep deprived you forget what you used to do anyway. Its the letting go of your old normal that is one of the hardest parts.

Although I do think there is a peak in the crying at six weeks. And also, they start to smile around that time so you don’t feel like you are working quite so hard when you get some reward!

Like I said in this post, when I wondered why couldn’t people just be happy and excited for us, why did they have to warn us about how bad it was all going to be…I still stand by this. There’s no point warning future mothers of the impending shitstorm (sometimes literally) that is motherhood, they’re in too deep now anyway.

So now we’re at 10 weeks, 11 weeks on Friday and I am used to my new kind of normal and enjoying it!

One of the things I find the hardest is that you have to be a quick thinker, which I am not. I like to deliberate over things before I make decisions, now I have to make decisions on the fly.

The other thing I find hard is that as my friend Bridgett says, the buck stops with you as Mum. Mum’s are the boss (even if the baby thinks they are the boss) and its a 24-7, never ending, often completely overwhelming responsibility. Unless you’re a stay at home Dad and then I guess its a bit different. Maybe the ‘primary caregiver’ is the boss?

Don’t get me wrong, its not all doom and gloom because as everyone says, ‘they grow up so fast’. And they really do! Well, he’s not talking or walking but already those early days are a distant memory, and now for every bad hour or two or a whole bad day, it passes quickly and something lovely or nice happens and you forget about that awful reflux – or the toe curlingly painful feeding.

I am much more relaxed now. Just because he is screaming his head off now, doesn’t mean that in 5 minutes he won’t be fast asleep or smiling. It’s not permanent. The days go by so fast, it’s amazing.

Every day I learn a bit more, relax a bit more and enjoy him a bit more. It seems like ages ago I was waiting everyday for him to smile, and now I get an enormous goofy grin all the time which I love.. except when its at 2am. Then its known as the ‘f–ing midnight smiley bears’.

We have definitely had a rough week with both of us getting an awful cold. I can’t remember the last time I was so sick. I think not being able to take cold and flu tablets was why it was so bad, I ended up caving and having some by about the fourth day as I was so congested. And I had plenty of milk frozen anyway so it worked out okay. Then just as I turned the corner he got sick, poor snuffly baby.

We are both on the mend, but were too sick to go to mothers group today which I was really looking forward to. But – there is always next week which will be here in a flash.

All I can say is, thank goodness for my parents. I am still staying with them as our renovations crawl along. My Dad stayed up and did the night feeds on my worst night which saved me – I don’t know how I would have managed. Thank you Nanny & Poppy Uns!

Well, I’ve had an hour to myself and spent it blogging and drinking a cup of nescafe blend 43. Yes, really – see above re: adjusting to my new reality.

Until next time!

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– Jen

Learnings from the Sam Miranda Road Race sufferfest

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This weekend just gone I met a few of the Vigor crew at the Sam Miranda winery in the King Valley for the 100km Sam Miranda “Strade Nero” Road Race which included the Strade Nero, a 6km dirt climb.

Like the Mansfield to Mt Buller Race there was no C grade women’s option offered so we were forced to race B grade. I’m still unsure how women who aren’t convinced by their coaches to enter are supposed to get a start in cycling but that seems to be the way that it is and the way it will continue to be.

I do wonder if Cycling Victoria took a punt on a race like this and offered a C grade, and really put it out there so people were aware of it, if more women would enter?

Since the Mt Buller race I have moved to Albury and considerably upped my riding. I would say I am much fitter than I was back then and was therefore not as uncomfortable about riding B grade and was certainly not entertaining thoughts about coming last this time.

About 15 minutes before the race it was announced that A and B grade women would be starting together. Before I could panic Mr Osteohealth (Tom Barry) pointed out that with A grade at the front I certainly wouldn’t have to do anything up there. Nice. That sounds logical. All we had to do was hang on.

As soon as the race started, it was ON. Rach and I exchanged quizzical looks and a couple of ‘frogging hells’ and almost got dropped on the first corner. Right away I noticed I didn’t feel well…at all. We managed to catch up and Rach remembered how to change gears with her new racer Marco (as in Marco A-pollo) running SRAM Red rather than the Shimano 105 she is used to.

The pace was definitely quick and you could quickly lose a couple of metres if you weren’t paying attention. I lost a few metres when someone in front of me got a bit too close to the person in front of them  and took evasive action which got a few heart rates up…or up more than they were anyway!

It was about 10 or 11kms in when some bright spark up the front decided to attack and it was almost all over, three of us dropped out the back, someone from Hawthorn CC, Rach and myself. With Rach behind the other rider my grand plan was too have a nibble on some bartape get the Hawthorn girl behind me and Rach behind her to catch us back up. The first half of my plan went beautifully, Hawthorn got on the back of me, Rach on the back of her, we caught up and… then I blew up. Hawthorn rode merrily away on the back of the pack while I tried not to throw up.

It was then I thought “what the hell is going on”, I’ve been training heaps, I should be keeping up! I felt dizzy and nauseous and just had zero energy. I had a good rest this week and should have been raring to go.

Rach offered me her wheel to sit on as we watch the race disappear up the road and out of sight and I had trouble even hanging on then. A few times I really thought I was going to yack and was fairly sure I wasn’t going to be able to finish.

Not being able to eat made things even worse, just the thought of food was making my stomach quiver but luckily I was drinking well and had carb drink and water which was something.

We had a chuckle at the sprint stage, which I basically rolled through with Rach taking the ‘win’ in our ‘unofficial C grade’ race. We got just through the first KOM when the B grade guys caught us, well four of them and their spares car. After the descent the rest of B grade passed us in a bunch then the rest in dribs and drabs.

We’d just hit the Strade Nero (6km dirt climb) when we came across a lone B grade rider doing the awkward ‘I’ve got a puncture shuffle’ and stopped to see if he was okay. He said he had a spare in the spares van but that had gone with the break and wasn’t behind them. I gave him a tube and some co2 but the valve on my tube was too short. The A grade guys were passing us by now so I gave Rhys Pollock a cheer, and then the A grade spares stopped and gave the guy a wheel.

He kindly rode with us for a little while and had a chat and when a couple of A graders who’d dropped off went past he hopped on their wheel and was off.

By now we were climbing in all kinds of strange dirt, some slippery mud, some gravelly bits but it was interesting enough I didn’t feel like I was climbing! Tom drove past and said only a km and a half to the top, which I actually heard as ‘only an hour and a half to go’..either way it wasn’t pleasant!

I think luckily for us, Marita had long gone from the top so there was no way back for us except to ride. I know I would have been pretty tempted to get in if she’d been waiting there, but it would have killed me to do that. I would much rather really suffer for another 40kms than DNF. So suffer we did. I still wasn’t eating, I tried a little nibble on a dextro bar but my stomach said that was a terrible idea so gave up.

The next 10 kms were great fun descending into Whitfield, where I stopped at the pub for a wee. What??! You can do that in recreational rides!! On the way down we saw one female rider waiting with the sag wagon, and another walking along with her bike with a bad tear in the tyre.

After we got out of Whitfield it was really time to suffer, but I managed to get the dextro bar down which helped. The headwind…was challenging. Time to bite some bartape! I was struggling to even get to 30kmh in the wind and it honestly felt like we were doing a turns of few hundred metres and swapping, but strangely I was feeling better and better. Somewhere around here Rach mentioned the sag wagon lumbering along behind us and we were both pretty adamant we were NOT getting in it. Thankfully they stayed a good distance behind although we did feel a bit of pressure!

With around 20kms to go I think Rach said the words I’d said about the start of the race “I’M FROGGED”. We both popped a gel, well I got half of mine down before deciding the rest probably wouldn’t stay down.

I was counting down every few kms out loud to Rach and with about 4 kms to go I started to question whether the race was exactly 100kms. I didn’t voice my concerns outloud because we were both in agony but when we got to 98kms with no familiar landmarks I realised it was going to be longer.

About that time when we were both ready to throw our bikes into a paddock Steve and Marita drove up next to us and cheered us on and said it was only just down the road and then a right hand turn and then a left hand turn and ride over a rainbow and then you are pretty much there. We glowered back at them and there was some banter about how we’d already done 100 frogging kms and could they please pull over ASAP and let us in.

Not that we would have. There is something quite weird about what your mind does when you are SO close to finishing a race but it feels so FAR! Maybe its a just me, but I love it. Sicko.

For probably the last 30kms of the race there’d been a little carrot in red and white in front of us, not sure which grade he was from but we tried so hard to catch him, probably missed him by a few hundred metres in the end! It definitely helped having him there though!

But eventually we finished and somehow managed to get off our bikes. Tough, tough race.

ImageSo, what went wrong? After checking out the results from the rest of B grade we were still well off the mark of being competitive. My upset stomach and the combination of A + B grade into one mega-awful grade were the two culprits.
I was sick for a couple of days after the race and am just feeling human again now, but I didn’t eat well at all the week before the race. I was away for work and while I was well rested I probably stuffed up nutrition wise. Not being able to eat much during the race made it even worse.

Unlike nutrition, the combination of grades is something I have no control over, but it most definitely impacted on us, the C grade riders who had to ride B grade. I do wonder if my stomach had been okay and we’d just raced B grade without the combination of A grade, if the result would have been different. I hope so. Although had we stayed on rather than dropping off the distance probably would have been a challenge later.

The only way to get better at this is to race more. Also…maybe do some speedwork and practice cornering :-p

Thanks again to Rach for looking out for me. And Liam, Steve, Marita, Tom & Lisa for your support!

Also thanks to the organisers, it was a top location and the fact you could get a good coffee before the race, and good wine afterwards….its the way bike racing should be!

Bring on Tour of Bright…(ahem!….in c grade!).

– Jen

Things aren’t looking very good, its true – so I’ll just stay here and chew.

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As you may or may not know readers the man has recently moved back to Albury for work. I say Albury instead of Wodonga (where he actually works) because I don’t really like Wodonga. Sorry to those of you who live there or know people who live there, or who have ever been there.

Anyway, so with the man gone, I’m fending for myself for a few months. While I always had an inkling that the man took care of most of the household chores it has become readily apparent to me that ‘most’ actually equals all.

Cooking, cleaning, washing, cat litterbox changing, bringing in the mail, taking the bins out, bringing them in, dishwasher stacking, dishwasher unpacking, sharpening Schroddy’s claws, shopping, unpacking the shopping, flossing the cats teeth, just general household stuff..the list is endless! Sure I cook here and there…but this is out of control! I barely have time to go to work, let alone sleep and train!

I’m mostly coping okay, not freaked out about being home alone at night like I thought I might be. The other night I even went and checked the mail at night without sprinting back to the front door. But after work and training its pretty hard to come home and be bothered to cook for one. For a person who doesn’t train like I do this might not be such an issue but with the amount I’m doing, I haven’t been feeling too great trying to train after a week of no red meat or vegetables!

Thankfully, and this is what this post is about (you knew I’d get to the point eventually) I’ve had some really really lovely people offer to cook for me, have me over for dinner, cook me meals and bring them into work for me, meet me for dinner etc. Some are even just people I work with and I have to say each offer made my day! It really really did, I was pretty chuffed!

It made me so happy to know that there are people I know out there who are so lovely! Special mention must go to my step-mother-in-law (SMIL?) who cooked me enough tuna mornay to last me three nights, so I could freeze some for later.

I finally made some time this weekend to cook enough meals to freeze which will last me a week or so, and with next week being full of Christmas BBQs and the man returning later in the week, I won’t have to resort to anymore tuna and salad or cereal for dinners! I also got the house cleaned up, cleared out the pantry (anyone want some fish sauce from 2007?), baked twice (for the aforementioned BBQs) and just got more organised.

And hey! I found time to blog.

– Jen
p.s. The title of this post is from ‘Christmas is going to the dogs’ by The Eels, one of my favourite Christmas songs.

Who says I can’t be free, from all of things that I used to be..

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Last night I had a major ‘ah ha’ moment. I would say, for a very very long time I’ve struggled with not fitting in anywhere. I don’t feel like too many people ‘get me’. I’m incredibly lucky that the friends I do have, most of who are complete opposites – like me for who I am (whatever that is). They don’t try and force me to be something I’m not.

I’ll be honest, I used to get incredibly nervous about hanging out with one friend in particular. She’s smart, hilarious, extremely confident (or comes across that way) and always looks fantastic. To me, even on a good day I always feel underdressed and pretty much the daggiest person ever. I’d say its only in the last twelve months that I’ve come to accept she really doesn’t care what I look like, but really just likes me for who I am. I’m almost 26, if I haven’t developed fashion sense by now, its not going to happen.

So, this ‘ah ha’ moment I had has been building for awhile. I’m starting to figure out who I am. Where I fit in, how I operate. I care much, much less about what people think.

Let me put it this way. Last night when I walked into the Northcote Social Club and saw everyone sitting legs crossed on the floor, listening to Tessa and The Typecast drinking Coopers Pale Ale, I felt like I fitted in. In fact, I wished I’d left my bike shirt on!

I could not stop grinning!

I’m a stereotype, I don’t know what you call it though. But I’m very happy to be it.

– Jen