Tuesday, 19 August 2014

BREAST OR BOTTLE?


Breast is best.

I can honestly say I LOATHE that slogan.

That said slogan has A LOT to answer for. Okay I'll quit it with the capital letters, but this is one topic that gets me hot under the collar, can you tell?! ;)

Seriously though, all slogans like that do is put pressure on the mother. Pressure that is absolutely not needed. As if caring for a newborn isn't hard enough already!

When my first born, Caleb was born he latched on immediately. I thought great! That's that then, or so I thought. What I didn't plan for was the hormones that it took to produce the milk to send my skin into crazy town. Yep, acute acne on my face and back. I do not exaggerate when I say the pain was excruciating, and this is coming from a girl who at that point had only given birth weeks previous :/. I couldn't even wash my face without it feeling like I was splashing acid on it. I couldn't sleep properly at night because I would wake every time my face turned and touched the pillow. I couldn't even hug my own child close or smother him in kisses in fear of my now heavily infected skin touching his. I was in short, devastated.

My GP was at a complete loss with what to do with me as I was breastfeeding, so referred me to a dermatologist. I will be forever grateful to the NHS and the person who cancelled their appointment last minute. I was seen immediately.

What followed was a course of treatment that meant I was unable to breastfeed.

I cannot tell you the amount of guilt I piled on myself for choosing to take the treatment. Deep down I knew I was making the right decision, as the acne was so bad it was affecting my well being, but making the decision to stop was gut wrenching. Caleb was so happy on the breast, I felt like I was taking that away from him, and as the media seems to portray, giving him a substandard replacement. I knew I couldn't continue how I was though, and so I begrudgingly fed Caleb exclusively with formula.

And what did I go on to discover...

The best way to feed a baby, in my humble opinion, is whatever suits babe and mama. If that's breast, great. If it's bottle (expressed or formula), great.

A fed baby is a happy baby. A happy baby is a happy mama.

Hmmm maybe I'll get into this slogan making business myself ;)

So with that said, this time around I went in with a very clear head when it came to feeding Archie. Whatever suited us best, and by us I mean our entire family. It turns out, for now, breast.

I'll be honest and say I'm thrilled to be breastfeeding again, but that is because Archie is happy, and I am happy, and I will feed as long as those two facts remain.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

JUMPING BACK INTO NORMALITY


Normal life is knocking at our door. Also known as Michael going back to work after being off for six whole weeks. Our pregnancy and the arrival of Archie was impeccable really. Not long after Archie was born Michael was on summer holidays from school. Amazing, right?!

Together we have been able to figure out this crazy life as a family of four, and we didn't kill each other in the process. A round of applause please ;)

The problem I have now though is that Mikey has been so amazing (my rock, and the boys hero) that I'm kind of terrified of doing this alone. A mama of two. Full time. I've got soooo many questions buzzing in my head....

Will I be able to meet the very different needs of a baby and a toddler?

Which one do I go to first if they're BOTH crying?! (Seriously, how am I meant to choose!!)

How is a supermarket trip exactly going to work?

When does a home officially turn into a hovel because it hasn't seen a cleaning product in while????!

I could go on, and on, and on.

The thing is I know what the answer is. There is NO answer. I'm just going to have to figure it out. Some days are going to work, and other days are not. Simple as.

And so it begins. The life as a mama of two. Although scared, deep down I'm excited. I'm about to embark on the biggest challenge of my life. I mean, if I can do this, I can do anything, right?

Oh and the picture. Turns out when we jump, one is extremely camp and the other one likes to show off their many chins. What a pair we make!!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

HOLIBOBS & A BLOGGING RETHINK


You guys, we survived our first family holiday abroad!!!!

Yes that's right, we packed ourselves, our two year old and eight week old and boarded a flight to Portugal. Are we crazy you may ask? Well, yes, but this is a little crazy even for us. The holiday was actually booked before we even fell pregnant. We thought about cancelling but were swayed by the fact it was with Michael's family and we knew the extra hands would make it achievable, hell maybe even enjoyable. 

I am happy to report we were 100% correct.

The flights (the part I was most nervous about) turned out to be a dream. We made a flight goodie bag for Caleb, an idea from my travelling Instagram mama friends, which went down a storm with him. Every time he became restless we pulled out yet another treat from his bag, it would appear we're doubling up as magicians as well as parents these days ;). Though seriously, I cannot recommend this idea enough for a travelling toddler. We filled Caleb's goodie bag with his favourite food treats, a Thomas the Tank magazine (Tom is the bomb in our house currently), a colouring book, a sticker book and a few cheap small toys. Archie boy was a champ and slept the whole way. My numb arm can testify to that.

So flight over, now was time to hollllllllliday!!! Or not, as it felt in the first few (tricky) days. Poor Archie went on a feeding frenzy which then of course meant poor me, and Caleb had a mean case of the no naps and late nights combo, which all will know leads to a delightful toddler :/

But once we got over those first few days, we all started to relax and enjoy a much needed break, oh and sun, glorious, glorious sun!!

The boys did amazing in the heat, it actually chilled Caleb out a ton and induced two daily naps. Yes, I am currently looking into emigrating to some exotic hot location. That's not extreme behaviour from a tired mama, right?! Also talking of naps, the boys pretty much napped at the same time!!! Now that is something I definitely hope we brought home with us, along with the mountain of washing ;)

Happy holidays, happy days, and like with any good holiday I've come home feeling refreshed. I've also had time to think about this poor neglected blog of mine whilst I was away too. The demands and tiredness of being a mama of two has left little room for anything else let alone blogging. I actually toyed with the idea to stop blogging altogether. I'm an all or nothing kinda girl and I feel if I can't do this space justice then I shouldn't really do it at all.

But then I asked myself, why did I start blogging in the first place?

The answer...

To document our life as a family, but also for me to have a creative space. A space that although centred around my family is a place just for me. I need that, probably now more than ever. So I'm sticking around, folks. I hope you don't mind. I can't promise anything past baby brain babbling, pretty much business as usual then ;)

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

OUR VERY OWN PRIDE OF THE COMMONWEALTH GAMES


Words can not describe the pride I felt for that husband of mine as I watched him carry the baton for the Commonwealth Games. A honour bestowed upon people for their outstanding work in the community.

For Michael that is bringing sports to young children. Inspiring them to learn new skills, to build their confidence in themselves and their abilities. Which is so much more than just sport itself.

I know what a good job, Michael does, but to watch others celebrate just how hard he works completely warms my heart. Seeing all the children cheer him on the side lines brought tears to my eyes. Yep, I was 'that' wife! But hey we're talking just weeks after the birth of Archie, I was always going be an emotional mess, right?! ;)

June 2014, forever will be an amazing month in our lives to remember.

Let the games begin...


Caleb made sure he had the best view to see his Daddy. Thanks, Uncle Liam ;)


Passing the baton on :)


Thursday, 17 July 2014

BACK TO BAMBURGH - PART ONE


I can't quite believe it's been nearly a year since we first decided to pack the car up and head out to Bamburgh for a mini break. It was a break that was a turning point for us after our miscarriage, and for that reason it really has held a special place in our hearts. So we've decided to make it a yearly trip, and what a difference a year makes!

Last year we went there with delicate hearts, rejoicing the fact we had a beautiful, happy and healthy boy, but also feeling the acute pain of loss.

This year we visit Bamburgh as a family of four. I cannot tell you how incredibly lucky and blessed we feel.

We decided this time to stay at The Victoria Hotel, after Caleb had been so taken with the wendy house when we had stopped there for for lunch last year, and it did not disappoint. I cannot recommend this hotel enough if you have kids. The hotel and its staff are really child-friendly, even providing cot beds free of charge for little ones, and the food is just as good as we remembered :)


Once again Caleb insisted on his lunch in the wendy house, clearly he felt his chips needed cooked a little more ;)


Hello, tomato sauce face!


Little dreamboat chilling in the shade ♥


Bamburgh is just as beautiful as we remembered, if not more so.


Oh these two, they really have my heart the way they love on each other. Sometimes I can't decide who's the biggest kid out of them and I love that. Most of the time ;)




Caleb trying to sample Daddy's beer :P


Mama's juice :) :) :)


I have to say on this break all our dining experiences with Caleb and Archie were fantastic. Michael and I have never shied away from eating out as a family as we have always loved going to restaurants, but that's not to say it's always been enjoyable. Toddlers and restaurants can be a tricky combo, but for whatever reason, maybe Caleb getting a little older, he was a dream dining partner this holiday. Let's hope it continues!

You can find our first trip to Bamburgh here.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

THE DAY OUR TWO BOYS MET


Oh boy, if we're talking about highlights in our lives, I'd pretty much say this is the one that tops them all. Watching our two boys meet for the first time was nothing short of magical.

We had no idea how the first meeting would go, Caleb loves babies so we knew that was a positive, but how would he feel about 'his' mummy and daddy coming home with a baby, his brother? Of course we'd talked about it lots with him but at this age you never know just how much they're actually absorbing. The answer to that is, a whole lot.

When we first arrived home, all excited rushing in, we were met by my mum who informed us the big brother had gone for a nap. A nap?! It was 3.30pm and Caleb NEVER takes a nap that late, I couldn't help but think, 'typical'. The three of us then proceeded to stare at Archie for an hour and a half whilst we anxiously waited for Caleb to wake up. As it passed 5pm we knew we'd have to wake him up, especially if we had any hope of him sleeping that night ;)

There was one slight problem though, waking Caleb up from a nap is not a pretty sight. I knew there would be tears, and tears there was. Michael woke him and brought him into the living room sobbing his heart out. Not exactly what I had in mind for their first meeting :/

With his head buried into Michael's chest, Caleb hadn't even realised Archie was in the room. After a few minutes he started to calm down and could finally hear us tell him that there was someone here to meet him. With tears streaming down his face his head whipped around and caught sight of Archie, and with it followed the biggest smile I have ever seen, with the oh so audible 'HI! HI! HI!'.

Off he jumped from Michael's knee to crouch down by Archie, I literally thought my heart would burst. It was now me who was in tears!! Just when I thought my emotions couldn't take anymore Caleb then ran off with Grandma Liverpool to return with a card he had helped write and presents he helped pick. He then proceeded to show Archie it all and talk him through it. Never, ever, have I ever felt pride quite like it. Even as I type I am welling up with the memory of this moment. 

Pure magic.

Our two boys.


Saturday, 14 June 2014

BOY, OH BOY! IT'S A BABY BOY!!


Sorry for the radio silence!!

It gives me great pleasure to introduce our son to you, Archie.

He was born 3rd June at 9.55pm, weighing a glorious 9lb 1oz. Since his arrival it's been a bit of a whirlwind. A whirlwind I'll explain better once I get the chance to spend longer than five minutes at a computer. I promise I'll be back before 2030 ;)

In the meantime, I'm going to be loving hard on my household of boys. Boys that make me so proud on a daily basis. I've got Caleb, who is a natural big brother, he literally makes my heart melt a thousand times a day. Archie, who is so super chilled he goes by the nickname, Dreamboat, and that husband of mine....I don't know what I'd do without him.

I look forward to sharing more of the last few weeks with you very soon, in the meantime if you'd like to follow our Instagram @thislittlehouse_ I try to post a little daily insight into our life as a family of four over there and we'd love for you to join us.
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