Friday, 20 February 2015

FUN ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS - featuring PIPSTICKS


Spending one on one creative time with this guy is so important to me. He has taken Archie coming into our lives completely in his stride, and as much as I love daily activities as a three, I know that it is also important that they get that much needed one on one time from me also, for Caleb especially with his speech.

Recently we have adored stickering (hmm pretty sure that's not a word, but I'm going with it ;)) together thanks to Pipsticks.

Pipsticks is a monthly kids sticker subscription with the most gorgeous sticker packages delivered straight to your door. It also happens to be the brainchild of a lovely mama herself, Maureen. I adore not only finding new companies with a great idea, but companies that are ran by mothers themselves. I always find it so inspiring. You can read more about Maureen and what inspired her here.

Anyhoo back to the sticker fun!



On opening the pack I was met with squeals of delight from Caleb that got higher and higher as he spotted all the different sheets. Like seriously, my poor ears. What was really wonderful for us is that it's a great task for focusing on Caleb's speech, naming what all the stickers were, the colours, the shapes etc.

This was such an enjoyable thing to do together, especially since I was quite the sticker enthusiast when I was younger. Any of you UK lot remember Stationary Box??! I swear I kept that place afloat with my pocket money!










For us it was also a great task to work on Caleb's focus. This is one I always find tricky as Caleb is a really physical kid, he's at his happiest when he's running about. I don't want to ever force him to do sit down activities, but I equally know that it's important that he does. It was lovely to see him so focused when playing with the stickers, it wasn't a chore keeping him alert and entertained, the stickers did that for me. Win, win.

It's lovely watching Caleb's interests unfold outwith running around like a Tasmanian devil, I honestly think it's the key to his speech development.  He's slowing down, taking in the world more, his curiosity for what everything is called grows daily. It is a pleasure to watch and even lovelier to be a part of.

For all you sticker fans out there Pipsticks, is offering you a free months subscription if you sign up to either a six or twelve month subscription. All you need to do is enter LITTLEHOUSE11 at checkout, or if you don't want to commit to a subscription why not try their taster pack and see if it's something your children would enjoy, and yourself of course ;)

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

The little BIG moments #3


His eyes shine with glee as the stones leave his hand and hit the water. The winter sun beats down on our faces, and his laughter and squeals of delight fill the air.

I'm reminded of the sheer joy in the simplest of pleasures. I may be trying to teach him how to make boats out of leaves but he is the one teaching me (as always) the big life lessons. It's incredible when you think about it really, two years old and he's got it sussed.

I've recently come to the conclusion that nothing can prepare you for being a parent to a toddler. One minute you're cradling a baby, the next minute you are in the thick of toddlerhood, and let me tell you, it is a messy business. You question yourself a thousand times a day as to whether you are making the right parenting choices, and you know what? Sometimes I'm not, but that's okay. I'm learning to not beat myself up when we've had particular trying day. Caleb isn't asking for perfection from me, which is good, as perfect mother I am not. I'm wising up however that this 'perfect mother' figure we conjure up in our minds, is exactly that, a figment of our imagination, a mythical creature. She does not exist! Mistakes are okay, and learning from them is what is key. Even if you have to make the mistake several (hundred) times ;)

For I know now as Caleb grows, so will I as a parent.

Here's hoping he never gets too old to throw stones in a pond and make leaf boats with his old mama though.





Thursday, 12 February 2015

TALKING BABY ANNOUNCEMENTS (PAST NOT PRESENT ;)) WITH M&S BABY


Where does the time go? Over 8 months old and growing bigger by the day.

The lovely people over at Marks and Spencer asked us to share how we announced our pregnancy with Archie, and the question could not have come at a more perfect time seeing as I've been feeling pretty nostalgic these last few weeks, knowing that soon Archie will be 9 months old. Like, seriously, whaaat?! He will have been with us the exact amount of time that I carried him inside me. Our baby boy.

I knew straight away I was pregnant, days before my period was even due. I just felt, different. I also knew that this baby was strong, at the time I pushed that feeling to the back of my mind, not wanting myself to fall in love with this baby too much after suffering a miscarriage earlier in the year. But who was I kidding? I was in love already, head over heels in love from the minute that I felt, different.

The weeks that then followed were agonising. Waiting for that 12 weeks scan felt like an eternity. I tried my best to stay positive and upbeat but I just couldn't rest until I saw Archie dancing on that screen with a heartbeat so strong.

We told close family and a few friends we were expecting before we had the scan, as their love and support in those tentative weeks helped us immensely, and then after the scan we actually questioned whether we should tell anyone else. Should we maybe wait until the 20 week scan?

That's when I realised I didn't want to spend this entire pregnancy worrying if I might lose the baby. I wanted to celebrate this pregnancy. Being pregnant has got to be one of the truly most incredible experiences of my life. Yes, it's damn scary, but my goodness is it beautiful. I didn't want fear to take away that joy. I wanted to embrace the happiness I felt, this little life growing inside of me, and I wanted to share our news in a happy way. So once all of those close to us knew, we decided to have a little fun with announcing here on the blog. For those who have been with us a while, you may remember the post, you can read the full version here.


I have to tell you, announcing our pregnancy this way was good for the soul. My worry was replaced with the excitement and the sweet, sweet anticipation of meeting this new baby of ours. Also having others share our joy reminded me how truly lucky we were to have this baby and all the support around us.

My advice to others sharing their big news? I can only recommend when sharing this news, do it how the hell you like. If you want to scream it from the roof tops then go for it, scream as loud as you can. If you'd prefer to keep it quiet, than absolutely. This is your pregnancy, and although you may not have control over how your pregnancy goes, how you tell people is one thing you have complete control over. Do what makes you happy, for what a special and happy time it is to have a little bebe growing inside you stronger everyday.

Another thing I initially didn't let myself do was buy anything early on in my pregnancy with Archie, like if I did I was tempting fate or something. In time this went away, thank goodness, because let's be honest planning and buying for a new baby is the BEST thing ever. Don't even get me started on newborn onesies I may well just cry.

Marks and Spencer has currently just launched M&S baby, it has everything you could possibly need for a newborn under one roof, including lots of inspiration for your little ones nursery too. Oh it seems like just yesterday I was at this stage.


There are so many beautiful items, whether you know the sex of your baby or not, and if you keep your eyes peeled M&S will be running a twitter competition soon giving you the chance to win £1000 for your baby's nursery!

Gahh, reminiscing and writing this post makes me wonder whether there may be a baby number three for us. I always said I would only have two but......ahhh well I guess that is another post entirely, and probably a chat with my husband :p


Sunday, 8 February 2015

The little BIG moments #2


So how does life work with two little's under three?

The honest answer...

Some days it does.

Some days it doesn't.

The days when you feel like you're winning makes life sweeter than sweet. Dressed before noon, naps taken, food on the table, washing hung and dried, not to mention getting to drink HOT coffee, yep, that's right, not lukewarm, not cold, but hot! Oh those are the good days, when I feel like I can wear that mama badge with pride. When I feel like I've got this.

Then there are the other days. When the naps are refused, the food comes out of a packet or a box, our underwear and socks may be clean but the rest is questionable :/, and coffee is not enjoyed but downed like my life depended on it. 

My husband can come home to either a scene of serenity or downright chaos. I've often wondered whether he listens at the door to determine exactly what he's about to walk into.

But no matter what day we're having, even if all three of us have been reduced to tears at various points in the day, you can guarantee there has been plenty of laughs, cuddles and smiles, and isn't that what it is really all about? 

After all a bad day does not a bad mother make.

Within everyday there will be the little BIG moments, that let you know you are doing more than okay. That you are actually doing a pretty kick ass job at this mothering malarkey. For all that matters is you love and are loved, and sometimes, just sometimes you get to drink hot coffee ;)

Oh and if you're really lucky your child may even share his jelly sweets with you! As Archie fed, Caleb slipped jelly rings on my fingers and planted the sweetest slobbery kisses on my lips. Pure love right there. 

The little BIG moments.









Sunday, 1 February 2015

The little BIG moments #1

Life is beautiful, but it sure as hell gets muddled up with daily stresses and anxieties.

I've been feeling so tired of late (thanks to a gorgeous teething boy ;) that negativity and general blahness (totally a word ;) have been creeping in. Without realising it this mood of mine is stealing precious moments away from me. One day my boys are going to be fully grown and they are not going to want to hang off  around their dear old mum. Do I really want to look back at this time with regret?

Regretful that I wasn't in the moment, that I was too tired or too busy. Does it really matter if there are toys everywhere? Or that pasta has been served three nights in a row? Or that the laundry pile would have you believe that there are over a hundred people living in this house? None of these things are what really matters. I'm never going to look back on this time and think, woah Claire, you did really good with the laundry, well done you ;)

Granted I need to keep on top of these things to some degree for my own sanity, plus I really don't want anyone in this family turning into a penne pasta tube ;), but I will not let them lay so heavy on my tired mind that it zaps the enjoyment out of everyday life. 

So, I've decided to start a little weekly series on this old blog of mine, to celebrate the little moments in life. The moments that although may seem simple, are to me, some of the most beautiful.

I couldn't think of a better way to start this series off than with these pictures I took of Archie with his great grandparents. 


There aren't words big enough to describe what my nan and grandad mean to me, I cannot thank them enough for everything they have done for us and continue to do. My favourite childhood memories reside in the walls of their home. Memories of baking with my nan, building blanket forts on the washing line with my grandad, not to mention gardening, baking, knitting, dressing up (in all of my nan's amazing 60s and 70s clothes and shoes. I tell you it was a sad, sad, day when I outgrew my nan's shoes!)


It was under that roof I learnt to play cards and numerous other board games (they even indulged my love of Monopoly, now that is unconditionally love right there ;), the list really does go on. The happiest of childhood memories.




I know I hit the grandparent jackpot and I am so happy for Caleb and Archie that they have them in their lives. Seeing them together smiling and laughing, makes my heart burst with love. Simple moments, that are so beautiful that if you're fully present, they take your breath away. Moments that make this life what it's all about. 

The little BIG moments ♥

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

CHANGE & GROWTH


Change.

I used to thrive on change. Live for it even. I feared things remaining the same. I always had a feeling that something more exciting was just around the corner.

Now, I'm quite the opposite. 

I want to hit the 'pause' button all the time. Store these precious moments up.

It would appear I'm around that much longed for corner, and I like my little spot. So much so, that the idea of change now freaks me out.

When did this happen to me? I think this question can also be put alongside, when on earth did I become a mother of two??! ;)

I need to remember that although I am happy with my life I don't need to fear change. Change is growth, and I have the perfect people to change and grow alongside.

I have a feeling 2015 is going to be one of my favourite years yet.


Tuesday, 13 January 2015

HEY JANUARY, LET'S TALK CHRISTMAS ;)


A belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!!

Oh Christmas 2014, you were wonderful. Absolutely wonderful.

I hosted.

Everyone survived ;)

Seriously though, I adored hosting. I thought it would be quite stressful, but it really wasn't. I'd made a conscious decision just before Christmas to stop the pursuit of perfection.

Perfection = Killjoy

I chose instead of running around like a headless chicken, or turkey ;), trying to make everything 'perfect', I would instead enjoy our very own imperfect Christmas.

You see there is one thing I'm learning about myself with age, and that is, the more I faff the more I stress, the more I stress the more I mess things up. Perfect moments become missed moments, 'cause well I was too bloody concerned about making them perfect that I forgot to enjoy them.

I started my biggest 2015 resolution early, and I'm so glad I did.

Simplifying and embracing imperfection.

So instead of focusing on fancy gifts and fancy food, I lapped up every second of the boys big smiles. Archie's first Christmas and for Caleb the first Christmas where the excitement well and truly swept him up. I honestly think two years old is the most beautiful age for Christmas. They really see it for what it is, family and love, and although they are excited about the gifts it's by no means their main focus. Once again those toddlers have a way of schooling us in a thing or two ;)

Oh and guess what, turns out when you let go of wanting everything perfect, and embrace imperfection, it turns out to be your very own type of perfect. Who. Knew? ;)

Here are some shots of our imperfect, perfect Christmas...


Caleb and Archie had their own tree in their room this year. This was a little tradition my mum did with me when I was younger and I have the fondest memories of it. Caleb was in heaven, it was such a joy to watch him garishly dress his tree. I think each branch averaged about three baubles! The boy's having their own tree also meant Caleb kept his paws off the main tree in our living room. Yes, Grandma Liverpool, your cunning plan from yesteryear all makes sense now ;)


and then the main event happened....


Christmas Eve bubbles :)


Christmas morning, so many smiles, which sadly I missed, but then not so sad as I was too busy enjoying them to capture them on camera.



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