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.



Sunday, 14 December 2014

EASY PEASY CHRISTMAS WRAPPING DIY


Gahh can you believe it's less than two weeks to Christmas?! I'd love to tell you I'm all ready for it but that would be a downright lie, and moi is hosting Christmas this year (eek!), for the first time ever (double eek!). I wonder if my family are as nervous as I am?! ;)

Sooooo, if like me you've still to buy half your presents and wrap them, I thought I'd share with you a little easy, peasy DIY. Do it yourself, you gasp. Like you haven't got enough already to do, right?! But I promise it is so super easy, cheap and a nice little personal touch to your presents.

All you need is a paper roll (mine is from Ikea, a huge roll at just £3), washi tape (also Ikea), bakers twine, and a good ole Sharpie pen.

Oh and on a side note, can I just say how amazing washi tape is when wrapping gifts, GAME CHANGER! None of the endlessly searching for the end of the sellotape and then ending up taping yourself more than the gift itself. A quick tear of washi tape and your present is wrapped before you know it. Oh washi tape, how I love thee.

Anyhoo, I'll stop rambling, if I go on it really will be Christmas.


What makes this an even easier DIY is that you can do it as you wrap your presents, so you kill two birds with one stone. Simply cut the paper to the size you'll need for your gift. 

With your sharpie pen you could create any design you wanted. I personally went for a repeat design of Christmas words and phrases.

noel  /  joy  /  ho ho ho  /  santa baby


There you have it, a simple DIY, with a personal touch. I wish I could claim the tags were my own, but that would be another downright lie, jeez who's got time to make their own gift tag?! ;) They are from Marks and Spencer :)

Thursday, 4 December 2014

FOOD FOR THOUGHT




Hi, my name is, Tired.

Or you can call me, Broken Record.

I'll let you decide, I'm too tired to ;)

Apologies if this post doesn't make much sense, and please ignore my grammar and spelling mistakes. As I clearly do :p

So yep, back to tiredness...

Hardly surprising you might think with a toddler and a baby, although they are a big part of my tiredness I'm actually to blame as well. You see, I've been running on empty recently, like literally. In my rush to make sure the boys are fed, watered and happy, I've been forgetting about myself.

Mama needs to eat too!!!

And I ain't talking about your kid's mushy, slobbery leftovers. I'm talking proper meals!!! It's only been in the last few weeks I've really let this slip, ironically as Archie has started weaning it seems I've put myself on the crappiest diet of all. It's all rushed snacks and cups of coffee. I'm on caffeine, sugar highs and then, you know it, low, low lows. Throw in cracking headaches and I knew I needed to sort myself out.

I used to always meal plan, and that is something I have definitely let go as our busy lives have got busier. So I'm going back to basics. Meal planning done, A cook off in our kitchen like the good old days happened this week. Casseroles, soups, and lots of lovely purees for Archie boy, are all currently taking up our fridge and freezer.

Food for thought. Lots and lots of food!

As a result I've had so much more energy this week and zero headaches. I'm still tired, of course I am, my big cook off does not magically make a toddler and baby sleep through the night, I wish! I do however no longer feel sick tired. My energy levels are so much better, and I don't get to midday anymore and feel completely exhausted, only mildly so ;)

This week has been about remembering that I'm important too. Yes, the boys are my top priority but that doesn't mean forgetting about my own needs also. Balance is key, and I'm on the road to figuring out this new routine of ours.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

MILESTONES - TALKING THE TALK


Milestones.

As parents we expect them. We wait for them. We talk about them. We obsess about them, and then without even realising we compare them too.

Oh my child is crawling.

My child is walking.

My child is talking.

My child........and the list goes on.

We're all guilty of it. That chance to brag about our child's achievements. Who can blame us, that pride has got to burst out of somewhere, right?!

But what about when they don't hit a particular milestone? What then?

For us with Caleb that has been speech. From the youngest age Caleb has talked in his own language, wonderful big stories, facial expressions and hand gestures galore. Everyone told us, he'll be an early talker.

Quite the opposite in fact.

His own personal language remains with just a handful of actual words thrown in. What has grown and developed (thankfully) is his understanding of language. That eased our initial worry massively, but as we passed the two and half year old stage I knew we wanted to seek outside help. Thanks to our lovely Health Visitor we were referred to a Speech Therapist. We were told we should expect to wait up to two months for an appointment but received an appointment pretty much straight away.

I was intrigued and nervous about the appointment. I was eager to hear if there was anything we could be doing to help Caleb, but I also had that niggling feeling of guilt. Is it down to us that Caleb's speech is delayed? Could we have been doing more?

At the appointment I was met with zero judgement, our Speech Therapist listened as I brought her up to speed, and then she sent us away with a rather simple method. She recommended that we allow Caleb to choose an activity every day and for us to play with him for about 10 minutes (anymore and they may tire of it), and whilst we do so we are to narrate the play.

At first I thought, well we do that already.

What we do, however, is make a very common mistake that most parents make that have a child with delayed speech, and that is overloading Caleb with language as we play. Instead we should only narrate the play at the level at which Caleb is speaking. So for us that is only one to two words. This is something we absolutely have not been doing, we did in the early days when Caleb was much younger, but as his understanding of language has grown, and his speech didn't in our panic we've thought we should talking more. All this is doing is overwhelming Caleb, and not giving him the chance to pick up on new words for himself.

So here we are, at the start of our journey. One that may be long and equally may not. Only time will tell, but I'm so pleased we are heading in the right direction.

Anyone else who finds themselves in our shoes, don't beat yourself up, and absolutely don't be afraid to ask for help. Every child is different and will hit their own personal milestones when they are ready, and with some of those milestones they may just need a little help.

You can totally remind me about this post when I complain that Caleb never shuts up ;)

Thursday, 13 November 2014

MY BREASTFEEDING JOURNEY


So, that is us over five months in now. They hand medals out at this stage right?!

Oh, what an incredible journey it has been for the most part, but my goodness also one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life.

You see, Mr Archie boy decided a couple of months ago that he no longer would take a bottle (with expressed milk, might I add :/ ). The timing could not have been worse. I was starting to hit a brick wall with the feeding and felt if Mikey was able to give him just a few bottles it would alleviate some of the pressure off me and help me continue breastfeeding for the foreseeable future, rather than me being forced to throw in the towel due to exhaustion. But Archie took the bottle card off the table and with no extra boobs about, the job was solely on my shoulders, hmmm or boobs rather ;)

It was the four month feeding stage that threw me through a loop, like seriously it even made the early feeding weeks seem like a walk in the park. At four months old Archie was big and looking for a feed every two hours!! Day AND night.

I managed to last three weeks in that routine, medaless (totally a word ;). I knew it was unsustainable though and if it continued like that something was going to have to give. As when it comes to feeding Archie, it's not just him I have to think about it's our family as a whole, and we all know an exhausted mama is good for nobody. NOBODY.

Here's the thing though, as much as I was exhausted, I wasn't ready to stop breastfeeding. Yes, the nights were gruelling, but the daytime feeds made our life quite easy and flexible. I'm a walking, talking food source. No need to plan ahead and certainly no more extra baggage on our day's out. Lord knows, I don't need to be packing and carrying anymore stuff than I already do now for a toddler and a baby. I swear my back. Soooo not friends with me as it is already. Also did I mention in the midst of my moaning that I love breastfeeding?! More than I ever thought I would. That said though I knew for the sake of us as an entire family something did need to change.

We needed a new plan. 

That still involved boobs!

Plan B

The Eviction.

That's right at 5 months old poor Archie got turfed out of our room. The decision that although felt harsh (and a little devastating, as that means he's not a baby baby anymore) I knew was needed. I had a sneaking suspicion his multiple wake ups at night were becoming habit rather than necessity. Plus little Mr was starting to cut down on his feeds in the day (turns out daytime is far more interesting than night time) and save the bulk of his feeds for the night. Alone with mama, snuggled up in the dark, with a fully stocked milk bar, of course he was going wake up every two hours, who wouldn't!

Eviction notice it was then, with guaranteed VIP access to the milk bar when needed, obvs ;), and surprise, surprise we had a sleeping baby. Now I want to give Archie a medal for that!

Another element that has helped with the relentless feeding has been baby rice, and boy was Archie happy about the introduction of that, which makes me look forward to introducing other foods in the not so distant future. 

In the thick fog of the four month feeding frenzy, I really couldn't understand how women continued to feed past this stage, some for years to come, but now that I'm in the light at the end of the tunnel I realise how much easier it becomes. Archie's feeds are now much more spread out and completely manageable with our busy lifestyle. Soon he'll be eating food and only looking for a morning and evening feed from me. It's a day I don't want to come around too quickly. As although I've said it's one of the hardest thing I've ever done, the good outweighs the bad a million times over, and I know as many mothers have told me, I will miss it badly one day. Those moments in the dead of night, when it feels like it's just him and me in the whole wide world, snuggled warmly against each other. I know I'll go on to treasure these moments forever, and I'll even miss the moments when I was so tired I thought I would cry. Who am I kidding, the moments I actually did cry.

I love this journey we're on together, Archie.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

RETAIL THERAPY FOR A MAMA OF TWO



I've shopped online for years, it used to be when I couldn't get an item in store I would then search in hope on the net. Now however, online shopping is my MAIN way of shopping. Yep, turns out toddlers ain't the biggest fans of retail therapy, throw a baby into the mix and forget about it ;)

So most of my shopping happens from the comfort of my own couch, coffee in hand, debit card in the other, oh and Archie attached to my boob. You know how it goes ;)

In actual fact, online shopping has spurred the bargain hunter in me once more (I was an avid thrifter in my pre-kids days) as it's now so easy to find the products you love at the best possible prices. Although, I am still an old fashioned shopper at heart and do get weary of purchasing from sites I'm not familiar with when it comes to the big purchases. Therefore, I like to stick with the well established companies, especially those that offer a price match, one such site is, Babydino.com. It has everything from pushchairs, to nursery furniture, toys, bedding, and the list goes on. All your baby needs under one roof and the knowledge that they will match the most competitive prices out there. As a customer I really like that. We are flooded nowadays with so many online shops and retailers it gets overwhelming. Give me a site where I feel like a valued customer and where I know I'm getting the best price possible and I'll keep coming back.

I mentioned above they sold prams too. Boy, oh boy, do I wish I knew about this site back when we pram shopped for Caleb. We didn't plan to have two babies so close together so didn't give any of the strollers that could be converted into a double a second glance, it seemed nonsensical to us. Who's laughing now :/

At Babydino, if you purchase your stroller with them and your circumstances change or you no longer need your pram anymore they offer a buy back service. How good is that?! You can read more about that here. I think this is a cracking idea and is something we absolutely would have used. Team that with the price match promise and I really think this is the go to site for your pushchair. They've got all the big brands not to mention the new Babyzen Yoyo pushchair. Have you heard of Babyzen?


Okay, I'm a little excited by this brand and keep talking to my mama friends about it. I've got my eye on it for when Caleb well and truly ditches the pram and it's just Archie to push around. It's a pushchair, that wait for it, can be folded down, has a strap and can be carried on your shoulder!!!

A pram bag, now that is the stuff of pram dreams right there.

I can just see it making city life and travelling near and far so much easier, it's also small enough to be stored in most overhead cabin compartments on flights. No waiting to get your stroller at baggage control. Can you tell I'm all for baby products that make life so much easier?! ;) Oh and it looks good to, yep, you know me, I like a nice looking stroller ;)

If you're purchasing this stroller for a newborn than Babyzen Yoyo 0+ is suitable from birth and includes a newborn nest for your little one to snuggle in. I find this particularly amazing that such a lightweight and compact pram can offer the comfort and support for a newborn, it really does make it the ultimate city pram. Once you're baby is 6 months plus you can purchase the seat base and colour pack separately to convert it into a pram to see your baby through to the toddler years. If you're baby is 6 months upwards already then the Babyzen Yoyo is the one you want and you can read more here about that particular model.

That's the wondrous thing about online, you get to hear about all the new products that are out or due to come out, and for me that's thanks to blogging and my babies no longer allowing me to shop on the high street ;)

If like myself you've always got your eyes peeled for the next big thing in baby products you can like Babydino's facebook page here to keep you updated.

I mean when there is a pram bag out there, what is next?! ;)


Thanks to a little distraction known as Caleb and Archie my online shopping never gets out of hand ;)
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