A Summer of Fun!

Already, the summer of 2017 seems a distant memory as we are hurtling towards Autumn.  It seemed like that the summer break passed by in the blink of an eye, and here I am back at work with a thud of reality. It’s been a while since I’ve written a post about what we’ve been up to, but we have been busy bees having lots of adventures and making memories.

Finishing Work: This summer saw me leaving a job I’d been in for five years, my longest serving teaching post to date. It was most definitely the end of era (well for me anyway) leaving what I’d known for five years and my comfort zone. Whilst I am incredibly sad not to be working with some truly great friends anymore, I am excited about my new prospects: working in a more part time role and being able to spend some more days at home with H and L. We are still adjusting to our new routine, which I’m sure will be sorted by the end of the week.  I see smile every time I walk upstairs and see my beautiful leaving gift has taken up pride of place at the top of my stairs where I can see it everyday.


Our Spanish Holiday: I am lucky enough to work in an independent school, with this it brings an earlier finish for summer. Because of this, we were able to go to Spain before the main state school holidays had started. So on July 8th, we flew to Barcelona for our holiday on the outskirts of Girona with 10 of our friends and their families (4 children in total). The villa was set in beautiful grounds atop a hillside with gorgeous views of the Spanish countryside. It took us a few days to get H’s courage up and get him in the pool (he wouldn’t go in the pool at all on our holiday in 2016!), after the first success it was difficult to get him out! My favourite day by far was our day at the beach. H absolutely loved it (although I’m not sure the Spanish tourists approved of his naked bum!), L needed a touch more convincing on the sea front but still a very enjoyable day by all!


What I’ve been reading: I tried to read a few books over the summer. Gone are the days when I could read for hours on end I the summer, with a 3 and 1 year chomping at my heels, it’s rare I get my book out before bedtime. We were lucky enough to have a cheeky weekend away without the children (courtesy of my parents) and I managed to read a book over the weekend inbetween sightseeing around Knaresborough (see review here). But, here is my list of summer reads:

1. Jojo Moyes – The One Plus One

2. Sylvia Day – One With You

3. Milly Johnson – The Queen of Wishful Thinking

4. Lucie Wheeler – The First Time Mums Club

5. Milly Johnson – Sunshine Over Wildflower Cottage [currently reading, and enjoying]

Decorating: this summer has seen a decorating mission!! The house has been in dire need of some updating as it’s virtually not been touched since before H was born, if at all. I had a weeks grace of paid nursery care for both H and L, so I worked like a trojan for 3.5 days to sort the hallway, and paint the front door and garage.  I can safely say I won’t be in a hurry to paint the bannister again!! After a few weeks off, I set to work in the kitchen. This time I didn’t have the luxury of childcare, so it was an evening job.  Each wall required three coats (I know!), I repainted the Welsh dresser and half moon table too.  We also bought new dining chairs as our old ones were disintegrated.  Its now almost finished, I just need to get my custom made pallet wood shelf up and paint the skirting boards and it will be done.  I am so so pleased with how its turned out and absolutely love it! Next on the list is Lily’s bedroom which will be October half terms job.


Memories:  There have been many memories made and such wonderful times with the children this summer, and I still can’t believe its all come to an end, although I do love some puddle jumping and leaf kicking, so I will be welcoming Autumn with open arms (one of my favourite seasons).  Highlights of the summer memories have to be: splashing in the pool and at the beach in Spain, our childfree weekend, lazy mornings, baking, seeing family, the village produce show, the zoo, and many more.

The next few weeks see quite a hectic social calendar for the children, and my little L turns two. More on that in a few weeks.

Bullet Journal #101

Dotted Leuchtturm1917

 

Back in the new year, I trialled the idea of keeping a ‘Bullet Journal’ in my trusty old Filofax starting with a 2017 Bucket List, and a Book List.  Last month, I decided to dive into the bullet journal world with two feet (with some encourage from the ever useful life guru that is Hayley from Home!). Well, what can I say, I am a bit hooked…

Here are Five Things that will help get you started on your first bullet journal:

1. You can use any notebook or pad – I had a trial go in my trusty Filofax notes pages. Only when I decided to get a bit more adventurous did I plum for the Leuchtturm 1917 dotted notebook because I liked the flexibility it gave with the dotted squares rather than lined or squared. But you can use virtually anything! There are some incredible people you can follow on instagram: ‘Adventurous_Planning_Cat’ uses a Filofax ballet hournal with some fantastic layouts. She even prints her own dotted paper. ‘Boho Berry’ uses a Leuchtturm and her pages are simply stunning.

July memories, Packing list, August, Book list, Birthdays, Blogs, linkies

 

2. You can start anytime – Unlike a traditional diary that will go from Jan- Dec or Sept-Aug; you can start whenever you like with a bullet Journal. You could even start mid month, that’s the beauty of a ‘Bujo’ !

3. You can set it out however you like – after doing a few pages here and there, I decided to start setting out a monthly page with a memories page afterwards. The ‘Memories’ are by far one of my favourites. It really showcases all the fun adventures we’ve had over the month.

Allotment plan and May memories (my favourite page)

 

4. Creative organisation – an easy way to describe a bullet journal is: all your to do lists, dreams and a diary all in one. Have you ever found some diaries just don’t meet all of your needs? A bullet journal is a way of having a diary, but set out exactly how you want. I’m trying a double page spread for the next few months with a corner for ‘to do next month’. Over the summer I’m going to do a spot of research and see how I might change my set up for the month and/or weeks for the new academic year.

June spread

 

5. Daunting at first but loads of fun – at first I was really quite apprehensive about starting as I didn’t want to make a mistake in my precious new notepad. I’m a bit OCD like that. I love everything to be neat, always have. I was nervous about doodling pictures for fear of it looking awful. I did an outline of my first page in pencil and then went over it in pen. However, a few weeks later, and I just go for it now, but I do wile away the time drifting through Pinterest searching for new ideas for pages, layouts, and doodles.

July, June memories, Recipes, Bucket list, DIY list Master shopping list

 

One thing to watch out for is ‘ghosting’. This is where the pen bleeds though the paper. I’m currently using the Staedler fine tips which are great, but prior to buying them I was using Wilko own which worked fine.  The only reason I bought the Staedtler was because the red ran out in my Wilko pack and I LOVE station. The Staedtler ones were ynder £10 from Amazon and only a couple of pounds more than the pack of 20.

Ideas and thoughts for new pages are always as welcome.  I’m currently thinking of starting a Netflix/Series one, but I need to pick some new series to watch first. I might try and keep a sleep diary for L for a month and see if there’s a pattern to her night wakings.

Happy reading.

Bloggers and Linkies to follow:

@boho.berry

@adventurous_planner_cat

@bulletjournaler

#bujo

#bulletjournal

#bulletjournalinspiration

‘Bad Mum-itis’

What is ‘Bad Mum-itis’?

I think we all suffer from this at some point. I know I have and still have my moments! I suppose Bad Mum-itis is your inner Mum conscience….


As Mums, we are constantly fighting a battle to be the ‘Supermum’, bake cakes, have a tidy house, make wholesome healthy meals every night or do something your friends did or just being better.  I’ve managed to keep two small humans alive, fed, watered and happy for 3 and 1.5yrs.

The fact remains; we are all GREAT Mums and we shouldn’t be second guessing ourselves or our ability. I think the very fact we do this to ourselves or strive for better makes us fantastic at what we do, because we care. 

These are exactly the values I want to instill in my children; not the negative side, but the positive: that I care about doing better, having the resilience to forget despite a bad day. Motherhood is a HUGE learning curve (a steep one too!) but that’s all part of the fun. I’m not ashamed to say I’m probably ‘winging it’ 99% of the time or take the easy route just for some peace and quiet (hence why my 19 month still co sleeps with us because I actually get some sleep!).

In light of recent events, I think we need to stop worrying about what you think you should be doing, or what you aren’t doing and start celebrating what you ARE doing. Because believe it or not, those little humans love you regardless. Live each day as it comes and cherish EVERY moment.

A few of my thoughts lately…. 

Firstly, I really must apologise forbeing a bit lacklustre recently and not writing a blog post for a while. Work has had me so busy, and we’ve been having a bad run of sleep with the little one. So here are some thoughts…

Is it possible to find the right work life balance?

I like to think I was a relaxed Mum with H, but I think the reality was, I probably wasn’t! We were blessed with our first, H, he was reasonably chilled, happy, and a good sleeper from around 12 weeks. However, I think I was a bit of stickler for routine and probably a bit of a ‘Mum-zilla. 

I went back to work just before H was 7 months old (December 2014) which in hindsight was probably a bit too soon. I wish I’d stayed off longer as I missed so much. Anyway, I went back to work part time, working Tuesday-Saturday. I enjoyed my work, spending time with my colleagues and I enjoyed my Mondays with H and other Mummy friends. I was happy. Fast forward to February 2015, I took on a new role at work which meant going back to full time. I was sad to lose my Mondays with H and it did make me value my time on Sundays with H and Daddy more. Little did I know that L was just around the corner, literally! Shortly after accepting and starting my new role, I found out I was 6 weeks pregnant with L. Oops! 

I returned to work properly following L when she was 11 months old. It was ok to start with, but the endless list was tough going, I remember dropping L off at nursery and arriving at work on October 5th 2016, feeling like a terrible Mum for not being with her. I even shed a few tears! I’ve adjusted a bit more to my heavy workload and hours now and I feel like I manage it slightly better, but it is hard going. 

Managing a job, a house, a marriage, and two children is proving more difficult than just one child. And I’m still searching for the right balance. I currently work 5 days in my teaching job, which is actually 0.8. My husband has a long commute so I manage the drop and pick up and most bathtime. It’s quite tiring, but I’m managing with a small amount of sanity left. Roll on the Easter holidays for a ‘rest’ and hopefully less hours come September. 

Jumping From One to Two:

H meets his little sister

My second pregnancy whizzed by and October 2015 soon came, L arrived and so did my maternity leave, albeit somewhat abruptly [see birth stories]. I was determined to have longer off this time and had scrimped and saved throughout my pregnancy to help. The first 10-12 weeks were an absolute blur of expressing, sterilising, nappies, sleepless nights, but I was enjoying spending time with them and admittedly probably enjoying H more as at 18 months, he was just so scrumptious and cute. Poor L would get lugged around to toddler groups and passed around from pillar to post for cuddles. We were lucky enough to have H in nursery two days a week when L was here, which meant I got two days to myself with her. 

When number two comes along, you have to adapt. I had to learn to relax a little (this was quite hard for me particularly as my husband says I’m borderline OCD!). Having two 17 months apart was about survival (still is!). I still throw a tantrum when the schedule gets too much, and go on a cleaning rampage whilst my husband looks on exasperated! I don’t think that will ever change. 

Second and Third Babies:

Most of my Mummy friends I made when H was a baby are on baby two as well so we are in the same boat (which often feels like we’re up the creek without a paddle). Other friends are starting their journey with baby number two (and in some cases two and three!), and I am left pondering whether we should have a third and pining for another round of baby days. My husband isn’t keen (and on the 9/10 days L doesn’t sleep, I don’t think I could cope either!), and I’m fairly sure my in laws would think we’d lost the plot. I think my desire for more babyiesncomes from a fear of our two growing up. I dread September 2018 as it seems so close, yet H seems too little to start school (how is it possible it’s happening so soon!). 

I’m one of three (the forgotten middle child), my sister has three, so it wouldn’t be surprising if a third came along. I love my two; I’m really not sure we’d ever have a third especially as we’re getting on a bit now (over the 30 hill, 33!) and I’m permanently shattered with just two, but I’d never say never. Hats off to those with three, you are superhuman.

Everyday is a Learning Curve:

I’m still learning how to be a good Mum to my two, and I shudder (panic) at the thought of my big one turning three in a couple of months and our ‘baby’ turning two in the autumn. Why does it have to go so fast!? I really didn’t wish away the baby days, but I felt like they the milestones whizzed by in the blink of an eye (another reason I’d love a third, to relish the baby stage just one last time).

This made me giggle, although this is my life ALL the time!

What we’ve learned (so far) when parenting two, it’s ok if:

1. Your kids eat soil (yes both mine have done this and the pink one is very partial to a mouthful of soil)

2. Your kids eat cereal for dinner. 

3. You let them watch the iPad/tv for 20 minutes so you can drink a HOT drink or go to the toilet in peace (FYI: I don’t spent 20 minutes in the toilet!)

4. For your house NOT to be showhome ready all the time (or never!)

5. You have a bad day and feel a bit crap or like you’re not good enough. That right there means you have done a great job because you CARE. 

6. They eat ‘beige’ food. 

7. Not to care about washing your hair anymore, dry shampoo all the way or in my case, do neither!

8. To go out in snot covered jumpers/clothes. 

9. To ONLY wear jeans to go out in public, I’m all about the lounge pants!

10. Well, you can add your own one here…

P.S I’m pretty sure the husband doesn’t read my blog, but if he pours himself a LARGE whiskey tonight I’ll be certain he does read it and has read the comment about having a third!!

P.P.S Turns out, the husband does read my blog and has commented that he would ‘self vasectomise’ (yes he used this very term!) if we had a third child! Ha ha

Birth Stories

Sometimes it’s easy to forget how lucky you are when you get bogged down with the day to day slog. I, for one, am so so grateful to have been blessed with my two beautiful children and I thank my lucky stars everyday that they’re safe and well. But there is that odd occasion (60% of the time) when it’s 1am, and I have to be up for work at 6am, I wish the pink one would just go to sleep!

It amazes me how each and every one of my friends has a totally unique birth story, all different from the last, yet they’re all still precious because no matter how ‘it’ happened, it’s how we came to meet the wonderful little people who stole our hearts at first sight.
Now, I think I am one of those weird people who actually enjoy labour and delivery (although I hated pregnancy!). There is no better feeling than winning the race and getting your prize: the gorgeous little bundle you spent 9 months training for (well 40 weeks is actually 10 months but no one tells you that!). And us women all LOVE a good birth story. And I, am afraid, no different, I love hearing about people’s birth stories. Whether it be a quick labour, a lengthy labour, sweeps, flat tyres on route to hospital (yes, this actually happened to my good friend!), relaxing water births, hypnobirthing or a caesarean, your birth story is something to be proud of and embrace (even if it wasn’t what you had planned) because it is how you met your beautiful baby or babies.

With my first, I had quite a long labour and I don’t think I was quite prepared for how to deal with labour and wanted to lie down or float in the birthing pool, but my body wasn’t keen and consequently made my labour last hours and hours. For some reason my contractions were pretty strong and close together yet it took about 15hrs to go from 4-6cm. I enjoyed being in the birthing pool as it was relaxing, but I wasn’t progressing, so the midwife made the decision to move me to another room , by this point I was so out of it on gas and air that I didn’t care ( I think I passed out at one point!). Within an hr I was fully dilated and exhausted and in a position I hated, but too exhausted to move. I pushed and I pushed and finally, after an agonising (literally) 24hours, our little H had arrived and despite it all being a bit of a car crash down there and me feeling (and looking) like I’d been in a car crash, we had this gorgeous little bundle, weighing 6lb 8oz.

Little H; 10th May 2014, 1.02am, 6lb 8oz

 

Our second little bundle, who arrived just 17 months later; well she was a totally different story. I had measured small all the way through my pregnancy as I had with her brother (I must say that my wonderful community midwife, Alison, whom I was lucky enough to have through both pregnancies was so so thorough and for that I am truly grateful). At 37.5 weeks, I went for my last appointment with the midwife before what I hoped would be birth at 40 weeks, and again I measured small.

I managed to rejig some work commitments to attend what I thought was going to be another routine growth scan, I came away from the hospital late on Friday night being told to come back the following day for a sweep (I’d managed to convince the midwife I was wholly ill prepared for the arrival of No 2 and staved off the sweep for 18hrs). So I drove home in a daze thinking about how both the Moses basket and car seat where still in the garage unwashed. Yikes!

So at 38 weeks, I toddled off to the maternity ward, via Mothercare for some ‘tiny baby’ babygrows knowing the car seat covers and Moses basket sheets were drying on the line! A sweep (these aren’t that pleasant at the best of times, and at 38 weeks I wasn’t disappointed) and some monitoring later I was on my way home safe in the knowledge that if nothing happened overnight I would be induced the following day.

Despite the midwife insinuating I would go into labour overnight, I awoke as usual, still pregnant and no labour pains at all. So after breakfast we all went for a long walk, what would be our last as a threesome.

After lunch, I phoned the maternity ward and dutifully turned up to be induced at 4pm on Sunday night. My husband joined me later on around 7pm and nothing much was happening and at 10pm I sent him home. By midnight, my contractions had picked up and I was pacing the corridor to entertain myself. At 2am, the midwife came back to monitor me and I must say being monitored lying down in full blown active labour is horrific. She had barely strapped me up and my waters broke and in ran about 3 other midwives. I was measured at 7cm, so I quickly rang my husband mid contraction ordering him to come back now as, and I quote ‘it was getting pretty bad now’. I made the call at 2.30am, and I was wheeled round to delivery. I climbed on the bed, had one puff of gas and air and with the next contraction, L arrived at 2.42am. And my husband leisurely strolled in around 2.55am! Our beautiful baby girl, a petite 5lb 8oz was here and perfectly healthy if a little dinky.

Tiny L; 5th October 2015, 2.42am, 5lb 8oz

 

So, whether your birth was exactly what you’d imagined or far from it, be proud of what you achieved and every time you have a day that is less than desirable, just look at your gorgeous little bundles sleeping or playing with their sibling or just being ‘them’.

The ‘Mumchat’

Have you or do you have a ‘Mumchat‘? By Mumchat,  I refer to a chat or sometimes a group chat with friends which is often a brazen, to the point conversation with a general theme of TMI and/or overshare on topics not usually voiced in front of the general public. Whether it be about damaged body parts, leaky boobs, a POO-nami, or just good old embarrassing supermarket toddler tantrum. It is surprising what suddenly becomes acceptable chat when you become a Mum.

I know I had absolutely no qualms about sharing stories about stitches, cracked nipples, anecdotes from sharing an induction room (FYI: the curtain does not soundproof your farts!), the enormous amount of maternity (fanny pads) and breast pads you get through (I could have set up a trust fund with the amount I spent on those things!), and I proudly sent friends pictures of my first 30ml of expressed breast milk on day three like I’d pumped out actual liquid gold!

Mumchat isn’t just birth stories and embarrassing moments with the kids; yes, I’m talking about when your little cherub becomes ‘that child’ in public (i.e Next) and it takes you and your Mum five minutes to force a rigid 18month old into the pushchair through fits of giggles! ‘Mumchat’ is the lighthearted banter with a hint of brazen filth that can often rescue you from a stressful day, cabin fever or your sanity especially if you are already on your third episode of everybody’s favourite pig or incompetent postman and it’s not even breakfast time yet. So, go on, start that Mumchat….

I’m blogging……….

So here it goes….I already enjoy reading a plethora of Mummy bloggers, and have decided to jump into the unknown (well for me anyway).  After searching around, and annoying one of my oldest friend (http://www.hayleyfromhome.co.uk) to within an inch of her patience, I have decided to go for it!?! ‘Adventures With One Of Each’ is my new blog.  A snapshot into family adventures, random ramblings, and probably a constant stream of photos of my little cherubs (H and L). I hope you enjoy some lighthearted reading now and again and hopefully a giggle or two!