January 16, 2013

My Pregnancy Scrapbook [in Full]

I've made this post public for two reasons: 

1. To share with my family and friends who have listened to me talk about this project for a long time now; and

2. To inspire anyone who happens to find this post through search engines that there are many ways to document a pregnancy, and digital scrapbooking is one of them. :)

Just after Christmas, I finished working on my pregnancy scrapbook which had been over two years in the making. I taught myself digital scrapbooking when I was pregnant with Rowan so that I could undertake this project, and when I look back over my earlier layouts to the more recent ones in the book, I can really tell the difference. I thought about remaking a few of them before printing, but resisted the urge because I have memories associated with these earlier pages. So instead I tweaked the shadows and fixed up any glaring mistakes, and sent it all off for printing.

I printed with an Australian company called 123Cheese, as I had a coupon I'd bought earlier during 2012 with this purpose in mind. Basically, I got a $100+ project printed for $30, including postage/shipping. I was impressed with that, and had printed with the company before (photobooks, not digital scrapbooking projects) so I could vouch for their printing quality. Blurb are another printing company that I recommend, their quality is phenomenal but they are more expensive (you can search out coupons online pretty easily though, there are generally 15% coupons floating around; even up to 25% off before Christmas).

Anyway, back to the book... it was quite literally a labour of love and although I've shared pages here and there from it before, I've never posted it in its entirety before now. So without further ado, here are some pictures of the printed book itself and all week-by-week layouts. Lots of text (mainly for me to look back on, plenty of belly pictures and all the things I deemed important to tell at the time. I've had people ask me if I'd go to this much "effort" for subsequent pregnancies and I've said no, though I'd probably do a more abridged version if time allowed.

Some of the text/pictures might be difficult to make out, but that's due to the compression and resizing. In the printed book, everything looks crystal clear - even the thin journalling fonts. :)

The book itself; hardcover and linen-bound, printed in 12x12".
Hand for size comparision!

An example of layouts in the book (weeks 16-17)

The printing quality is exceptional, though a stitch-bound album would have been lovely,
glue-bound was only available from this company.

Following the week-by-week pages, I have his (lengthy) birth story, and a spread of 10 photographs of Rowan's first week in the world


To view all pictures at a better size, click on one of them and it will take you to a full-windowed gallery (displaying bigger than in this post)

Inside front cover

January 7, 2013

Rowan at 21 Months

Rowan has been going through big changes since I last wrote a 'developmental' entry. Here's a little of what has been happening:

He was initially becoming frustrated with communication. It was obvious to us that Rowan was wanting to tell us more but he didn't really seem to know how. Perhaps this meant his speech wasn't keeping up with his brain. It resulted in a lot of toddler meltdowns up until just before Christmas, when he suddenly woke up one morning and was able to string 2-3 word sentences together (yes, it literally happened that fast...!). Our extended family commented on how his vocabulary suddenly expanded, and we were amazed too. We're hearing phrases such as "door open Mummy", "key door Rowie" and "food hot blow".

Rowan refers to himself as "Rowie" (it must be easier for him to say?) and goes between calling us Mama/Dada and Mummy/Daddy. He's learning new words every day (or so it seems at the moment).

A phrase we're hearing a lot is "Rowie do it!", and that means EVERYTHING. Rowan is wanting to be fiercely independent at the moment and we're trying to encourage safety and boundaries (as in gentle discipline) a lot more than in previous months. We know that he understands, there are plenty of toddler tantrums involved, and last night when he refused to settle down for milk or books before bed and instead wanted to open the door to the loungeroom, he was put to bed without the regular comforts. He howled/screamed for about two minutes before passing out cold and sleeping for 12 hours straight (and here I thought I'd traumatised the poor boy; it was me who was more affected!)

Rowan is interacting with books and television more lately, telling us "uh oh" when objects/people crash or fall over (for example). When the closing credits to a show are on, he tells you "buh bye" while waving. His sense of recognising brands is a little frightening to me - we don't shop a lot (as in non-grocery shopping), and I didn't think I had commercial TV stations on much in our house, but Rowan recognises ads for Target, Hungry Jacks and Big W.

Some of his recent favourites are:

Books - Too Many Pears (Jackie French) / There's a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Having a Birthday Party (Hazel Edwards) / anything from the Hairy Maclary series (Lynley Dodd).

TV - Peppa Pig, Giggle and Hoot.

Foods - Rice Bubbles, blackberries, strawberries, canned peaches and pears (but won't touch fresh peaches this year!), toast, hard-boiled egg (only the white, egg yolk is the only food he physically gags himself with).

Phrases - "Rowie do it" / "Ohhhh yeah!" / "Mama car beep beep".

After Rowan managed to do a small poo on the toilet by himself the other day (!!!), I decided a teachable moment might be upon us and purchased a seat insert for our toilet. Proudly Rowan walked with the seat around the shops (it has a carry handle) and told the cashier “Rowie poo poo”, which was just as hilarious as it was sweet! :D

We haven’t started the real learning yet, but Rowan’s definitely making the connection between the toilet and how you use it. I don’t want to make a big deal of it, as I’m guessing he’s still a bit young yet and though he has more control over his bladder/bowels than what he used to a couple of months ago, I’m not expecting anything. Since the toilet seat purchase, he’s been getting into the novelty of the seat, and is watching us both very intently when we use the toilet, commenting a lot on what he sees (ie, “paper dry dry” and “Ohhhh.... Mama poo. BIG!”). Alas, life with a toddler. Check in your privacy forever. ;)

January 3, 2013

Our Christmases

We celebrated Christmas with my husband's family interstate this year (we do alternate years in Melbourne and Hobart, especially important now given that grandchildren are involved!), and it was a busy, whirlwind of an adventure filled with family, food and time spent in the inflatable pool that Rowan received. He was a tad overstimulated on the day, not thinking much of opening presents (though exclaiming with joy about clothing with tags on it!) and taking a couple of bites of Christmas lunch before turning it away and asking for strawberries. Very typical Rowan. 

Here are some pictures from our Christmases (the week before we celebrated with my family, who live in Melbourne)

Rowan with my Mum (his Nana)

He served himself up Christmas dinner with my family and was ever so proud!
(biscuits and dip) Needless to say, a plate of 'proper' dinner was also added to his tray.

He was absolutely ecstatic about getting his very own police car
(Rowan had been trying out the buttons on one for several weeks at a shop apparently)

Playing peekaboo games with my Dad.

This picture (and the ones following) were from our Hobart Christmas.
Rowan received an electric car which he had fun 'driving' all around the decking.

Bath time adventures (we don't have a bath at home, so this was a novelty)

Fun in the sun, in the pool. :)

Walking with Daddy on Christmas Eve in Richmond.

Drinking water out of a goblet on Christmas Day (before abandoning his dinner in favour of strawberries).

A family picture, also taken on Christmas Day.

Plane-spotting before it was time to leave Hobart.