5 Great Things About My April

5 Great Things About My April

1. The girls Christening

We unfortunately had to postpone this in January due to a death in the family but the girls will finally get their Christening day this month. This month has worked out slightly better in a way as they are now being Christened by the same vicar that married us and Christened the boys.

2. Finding out which school B is going to

I have been stressing about this for months. We moved house at the end of 2013 to get into the catchment area of a great village school. It is always oversubscribed but I’m fairly confident we should get a place. I cannot wait for B to go to school. As a September baby, he is more than ready for school and I know he’ll love it.

3. Easter

The kids don’t tend to eat too many sweets and we only finished eating last year’s eggs in February! No doubt the same relatives who didn’t listen last year will fill the house with chocolate again! I will have that dreadful task of helping to eat the eggs. It’s always such a hardship!

4. My birthday

I am the big 3-0! Of course, when people ask my age, I will still respond with 21! I’m not looking forward to this birthday but who does! I wonder if hubby will remember! I’ve been dropping plenty of hints about what I want to do for my birthday. I went all out for his last year with a weekend away. He better remember that!

5. Thomas Land at Drayton Manor

I am going to brave it and take both boys to Thomas Land on my own. I thought I would give their parent and toddler days a try as neither of the boys are at school yet. Really looking forward to trying out Thomas Land and so are the boys. I wonder how I’ll get on taking them both on my own though!

Binky Linky

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To Return To Work Or Not To Return To Work, That Is The Question

To Return To Work Or Not To Return To Work, That Is The Question

I am halfway through my maternity leave and the time has come to decide what I want to do at the end of my leave.

I really am torn. I love my job and the small amount of independence it gives me but I am missing so much of my beautiful children’s first few years.

My job is quite complicated. I have been at the same company for a long time yet, as it is entirely male dominated (engineering), I have failed to progress. I’m sure the fact that I have a family has not helped matters either. I really love what I do. I just don’t enjoy the company! I have worked hard and racked up an awful lot of debt to get my job and feel incredibly proud that I have a career job.

At the end of my first maternity leave, I was devastated about going back to work. I’d spent every waking minute of the last 9 months with my little man and the thought of suddenly not having him was awful. I only went back to work part-time but I cried for the first few days as it felt like a piece of me was missing. After the first few days, I realised this wasn’t so bad. I suddenly had a new found sense of freedom. I could turn my music in the car up really loud, I could go to the toilet without being followed and I managed to drink hot cups of tea. My little man was also having a fantastic time with Nanna and Grandad doing things he wouldn’t normally do with me and being spoilt rotten!

The drawback to my return to work was that I missed my first born taking his first unaided steps. I was absolutely heartbroken and wish my parents hadn’t said anything but I can’t change that now.

I’m wondering if now is the time for a career break and change. I would get to see my children grow up through their baby years and be able to go and qualify in something I have always wanted to do.

When I left university, I had accepted a place on a teacher training course. When I went for my interview, I left feeling really worried that I wasn’t ready ‘life experience’ wise. I was at least 10 years younger than everybody else there and it frightened me. I turned down my place a week before term began and took my job instead. I think I credit this as one of my biggest mistakes in life.

Over the last 8 years, I have mentioned non-stop about going to do my teacher training and keep searching for courses but we have never been in the financial situation for me to be able to leave my job. I have channelled my inner frustrated teacher by volunteering with the Brownies and educating my children.

My Mum always stayed at home while we were young and I always felt so privileged that I got to stay home all the time with her and not sent off to a childminder like my friends. I loved my time with my Mum and it became even more special once I started school. She was always there for all our special assemblies and concerts throughout school. My return to work would mean I would miss a lot of these important events.

It’s such a massive decision to make and one I’m nervous about making. I’m worried I will lose a part of me and just be seen as a Mummy and nothing else. I’m worried about not having any time away from my children. I love them to pieces but I’ll admit that it can be suffocating at times. I’m also worried that if I go back to work, my children will grow up so quickly and I’ll miss it all. I just don’t know what to do for the best.

Mummascribbles

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A Week Of Chickenpox Crafts

A Week Of Chickenpox Crafts

Chickenpox has finally arrived. We’ve had a few brushes with infected children in the past and never been “lucky” enough to catch it! This time the biggest one has brought it into the house.

I always hoped we’d get it before the twins arrived so I wouldn’t have to deal with 4 infections at once but it looks like that is my destiny.

Monday
The boys just fancied colouring in today. Nothing too exciting as I think he was feeling pretty sorry for himself. I thought I’d join in with the activity too! It would be rude not to and I find it strangely therapeutic.

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Tuesday
I bought some picture beads a few weeks ago as an emergency activity for a rainy day. Today was the rainy day. B loved this an spent well over an hour designing a star. O on the other hand just wanted to stick his clammy hand into the beads and spread them everywhere!

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Wednesday
A seasonal activity today with the creation of chocolate easter nests. This didn’t go quite as planned and most of the Mini Eggs got consumed before they got onto the nests! Tears were shed.

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Thursday
A day off childcare for me – well, sort of. The boys normally go to nursery today then onto their grandparents for a few hours. No nursery this week for B but the grandparents still agreed to have him.

Friday
Craft of today was salt dough. We made hand and footprints that I can hang around the house and remember how small my children once were.
The boys loved this as it involved getting pretty messy and watching Mummy stress as little bit of dough end up everywhere!

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I think we’ve managed to avoid too much boredom this week. Now is the countdown to see if the other 3 catch it and we have to get crafty again!

Linked up with Let Kids Be Kids and Sunday Stars

Proud Mummy Moment

Proud Mummy Moment

This is a photo of B riding his bike taken a few days ago. He loves his bike and it was bought as a 3rd birthday present which he didn’t get much opportunity to use it. This photo means the absolute world to me and I shall explain why.

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A year ago, almost to the day, my lovely little boy had what looked like a silly accident which left him with the most horrific injury.

We were enjoying an unexpected day with Daddy at home when B and O had one of their regular fallings out over a toy. B bit O and he retaliated by pushing B away. Whether it was the push away or the getting up to run off that did it, we will never know but the result was a blue light trip to hospital and an x-ray that looked like this.

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B had completely snapped his femur in 2. My poor baby had an injury that is more commonly seen in high speed car crashes and required a trip to surgery for repair. I was in the early stages of my twin pregnancy so I was absolutely beside myself with worry, as was Daddy. The hour or so that he was in surgery was honestly the longest of my life.

We had a 3 night stay in hospital and then he spent 12 weeks in a 1 and a half hip spica plaster cast. For those that don’t know what that is, it’s from ribs to toes on one leg and knee on the other. Everything was a struggle. He couldn’t move to go to the toilet and we were completely housebound as he couldn’t go in the car.

My poor little man was so sad. He was laid on a sunlounger in the living room and spent the first few weeks watching TV and playing on his tablet. We had lots of visits from family and friends which cheered him up for a while but he was really down. My active little 3 year old, who climbs on everything and runs everywhere, was completely immobile.

The doctors weren’t sure how well it would heal but were optimistic as he was so young. When the cast came off all the signs were good. It took him nearly a week before he would stand on it and 6 months before he lost his limp and could walk any distance.

We had to buy a double pushchair early so we could push him around when he got tired. We got so many disapproving looks that we were pushing him around and made me feel like a terrible parent. He just looked like a lazy child as he had no noticeable disability.

He now has a slightly shorter left leg which should hopefully catch up over time. Thankfully it has healed really well and he has been left with no lasting damage. He still attacks his brother though, so this whole incident has taught him nothing!

This photo is the first opportunity he’s had to go on his bike since his accident and I felt so unbelievably proud and pleased to see him doing this. I’m hoping for not more broken bones in our house ever again!

Mami 2 Five
Couch25k Week 3 – Completed

Couch25k Week 3 – Completed

It’s been a really hectic few weeks hence why there was no update last week.

I began week 3 of the programme, did 2 of the 3 runs and then with weekends away and my pilates restarting, run 3 kept getting put off.

My first 2 runs went great. I actually managed the 3 minute running sessions and didn’t feel too bad after them. Although, I think I did swear at the podcast lady on my final 3 minute run when she happily told me to begin my run just as I reached the bottom of a hill!

My 3rd run was delayed by several days. I have just returned to my pilates class and I couldn’t manage a run for a few days after my first class! I was a little bit broken and didn’t think it was wise. When I did go out for my 3rd run, I binned the podcast and went solo.

We live on a big circular estate so I did a few laps of it. After my 5 minute warm up I went for it. I ran and pushed myself for as long as I could. I kept setting myself goals like “I’ll get to the next lamppost and see how I feel” or “I’ll get to the corner of the next road”. I managed to run just over half the estate (including uphill sections) and I felt very proud of myself. I felt like I’d pushed myself harder than the podcast would have done.

I’ve done 1 more run since and managed 2 good, continuous 5 minute runnning blocks which is a massive improvement for me. I set out with the intention of running as much as I could, only slowing down for the minimum amount of time to catch my breath back. It seemed to work and when I got home I noticed I had taken 30 seconds off my pace time!

I’m really enjoying running which I never thought I would say. I fully intend to keep it up and my next goal is to be able to run a full lap of our estate. It doesn’t seem an enormous goal but we’re going with baby steps so I feel like I am achieving something.

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Our First Family Holiday – The Planning

Our First Family Holiday – The Planning

We’re going on holiday!

This may seem like a really stupid idea but we are going to fly half way around the world with 4 small children and an amount of luggage that could rival the Beckhams having a weekend away!

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This is a holiday we have been forced into going on as a very close family member is getting married but, it is the perfect opportunity for us to go away and have lots of extra pairs of hands.

We will be travelling with grandparents and Uncles plus lots of family friends so we are hoping to have lots of different people to distract our children on the flight.

We have 14 months until we travel yet, I can already feel the panic setting in about being stuck in a tin tube for 10 hours with my kids! I have bought 2 Trunkis for our trip in the hope of filling them with distraction methods.

I am not so worried about the boys as they will be 5 and 3 by the time we travel. They are usually easily pleased by a movie or some games and at least they have their own seat. My biggest worry is the twins. They will be 20 months and I know they are going to be full of energy and hard to amuse.

I think am still scarred by our holiday several years ago when we thought it would be a great idea to take a 12 month old on a 2 and a half hour flight to Spain. I have been on long haul flights before but they felt short in comparison! It’s a wonder we have more than 1 child to be honest, as B spent the entire flight jumping up and down on Daddy’s lap! No amount of toys or snacks or distraction by grandparents would calm him down.

We’ve been hit by the curse of the large family and haven’t been able to get a room large enough to sleep us all. If this was a normal holiday it wouldn’t be a problem as we would just find a different hotel but, we needed to be staying in the hotel they’re getting married at. We have had to offload 2 of our children into the grandparents room! They say it’s not a problem now but, when they’ve been woken up at 6am for the 10th day in a row, I can imagine the novelty will wear off!

For the next 14 months you will have holiday updates to look forward to. I’m sure there will be lots of stresses to come as we try and get 2 adults, 4 children, 125kg of luggage and 175 nappies to the other side of the planet!

So, what are your top tips for travelling with small children? No suggestions about sending them in the cargo hold. Apparently that’s frowned upon!

Running in Lavender
My Mum

My Mum

In honour of Mothers Day, I thought I’d would tell you all about my wonderful Mum.

Everybody thinks they have the most amazing Mum ever and I am no different. She is wonderful and the reason I was so desperate for a daughter (or two), so I can hopefully have the same relationship with them.

My Mum has put up with so much rubbish from me while I was growing up yet she never once stopped loving me. I was an awful teenager and really put her through some stressful stuff!

Mum didn’t work while we were young and, being a Mummy myself now, I realise how much hard work that was. She was with us 24/7 and that’s a full on job. She always made sure we had things to do or places to go so we didn’t get too bored and start fighting!

Some of my favourite memories of growing up come from the days out in London she used to take us on. The best ones were always the trips to the Science and Natural History Museum. It was because of these trips that I ended up working where I do and I thank my Mum for my now love of museums and all things science.

Now, we have the best relationship ever and she helps me out so much. If it wasn’t for her, I would never have been able to go back to work. She looked after my boys and it’s now subject to discussion whether she takes all 4 of them when I go back this time. She’s not phased by it at all!

She was an absolute star while I was pregnant with the twins and hardly able to moved off the sofa. She also kept me company while I was in hospital after the twins were born and came to our house every day for a few weeks, once hubby had gone back to work, to help me with the bigger 2 while I recovered from my c-section.

I loved wedding dress shopping with her and the look on her face when we told her we were expecting our first baby. I love the way she got so choked up with happiness as she got me ready to marry my hubby and when we rang her to tell her she was a Nanna. She really is a Mum in a million and I hope I’m half as good a Mum as she is.

Happy Mothers Day Mum. You may annoy me at times with your weird and wonderful take on the world but, I love you so much.

One Lovely Blog Award

One Lovely Blog Award

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Lucky me has been nominated twice for this award so thank you very much to the lovely Wee Maw and ModerateMum for this. Here are my 7 facts about me.

1. I’m a vegetarian and have been since I was 10. My husband and all my children eat meat. It’s up to my kids what they decide to eat and not my decision to make.

2. My second son was born on my living room floor, completely unplanned and, was minutes away from being delivered by my husband. Read what happened here.

3. I met my husband on our first day at secondary school but we didn’t become a couple until a few weeks before we left sixth form.

4. I am cack-handed. I am very dominantly right handed but I cannot pour a kettle or drain a pan with my right hand at all!

5. I am a born and bred London girl who chose to go to university on a farm and now lives in The Fens. All the hustle of the city was just not for me.

6. I have a GCSE in Latin. It’s a grade E but it’s my proudest achievement. The teacher was so convinced I had a U coming my way and I actually got a grade!

7. I am a qualified scuba diver but I am terrified of water! We were in Egypt, hubby was diving, I was bored so I thought what the hell! Never dived since!

So, now the hard part – nominating some other blogs for this lovely award. Therefore I nominate:

Charliejamesmum
Laura_babykicks
Austerityknocks
Mummystylist
Meandmebabber
Maminwonderland
Life_asweknow
Irishmammyblog
Soundinglike
Gemma_mummybio

Apologies if you’ve already been nominated. I did look while having a nose at your blogs. I’m looking forward to reading your 7 facts.

When 2 Became 3 – My First Birth Story

When 2 Became 3 – My First Birth Story

September 2010

My due date with B was 31st August and right from the start everyone had been telling me to hang on to him as long as possible so he made it in to the new school year as the eldest. My due date came and went and so did the disappointment that came with it.

I saw my midwife the day after my due date and all was well. I’d had a complete problem free pregnancy and she was happy to let me carry on as I was but booked me in for a sweep at 41+1.

We tried all the old wives tales to try bring on labour and nothing worked. At 41 weeks we sat down on the sofa in the evening to catch up on our TV viewing from the week. We’d put on some silly American comedy and all of a sudden, mid belly laugh, my waters broke. I leapt off the sofa as quickly as a heavily pregnant woman can and headed for the safety of the downstairs loo while G went for clean clothes! I think panic set it as I knew this was the start of my labour and I didn’t really know what to expect.

We rang delivery suite and told them what was going on. They sent me straight to bed and told me to ring back when I started having regular contractions. We headed off to bed after checking my bags had everything we needed, but I couldn’t sleep. I was nervous about what was going to happen yet excited at the same time. G however, was snoring away!!

I must have just drifted off when I started to get some tightenings. It was about 3am so I just lay in bed quietly timing them so I didn’t wake G. I knew we could be in for a long day so I wanted him to get as much rest as possible.

At 4am the pain started to ramp up a bit so I went and ran a bath. This disturbed G so he came and sat on the toilet seat (as you do) timing my contractions while I was in the bath. I remember I was starving hungry so I sent him to get me cheese and onion rolls from the fridge which I proceeded to eat in the bath. Every time a contraction started coming he would remove said cheese roll from my grip so it didn’t get a dunk in the bath.

At around 5.30 I was getting the magic 3 contractions in 10 minutes so we called the hospital. They told us they thought it was too early to come in as “first babies take forever”. We pointed out that we didn’t want to be trying to get to the hospital in rush hour as it’s a nightmare so we were coming now.

The drive to the hospital was excruciating! I had to lay the seat almost flat to get comfortable and everytime I had a contraction I’m sure I nearly ripped the door handle off! Of course G managed to find every bump in the road as well. The drive only too about 20 minutes but it was definitely the longest 20 minutes of my life! I couldn’t wait to get out the car.

All throughout my pregnancy I had been desperate for a water birth on the midwife led unit. I already knew a water birth was out the question as my friend had given birth a few days before and been informed the pool was out of action for the foreseeable future.

We arrived at the hospital and headed for delivery suite. As it was the small hours, the only entrance open was A&E so I had to walk through the reception area and passed all the resus rooms to get into the main body of the hospital. It took forever as I was having almost constant contractions. We finally made delivery suite and I asked to use the midwife unit. I nearly had a breakdown when they told me it was closed as they didn’t have the staff. The perils of a September baby I guess!

I was taken to a room on delivery and told to make myself comfy(!) and a midwife would be back soon to check me and give pain relief. It took 45 minutes for a midwife to come back and I think I may have sworn when she finally arrived. I told her I thought I was pushing and was told that wasn’t possible as I hadn’t been in labour long enough!

Thankfully, the midwife disappeared to get me something to stop me pushing and in the time she was gone they managed to find me a midwife and trainee who were prepared to transfer me to the midwife unit. After much complaining about having to move, I did shuffle to the unit. It was so much nicer. Calm lighting, mats and balls everywhere and not a piece of medical equipment in sight. I got myself set up on all fours in a corner with some mats while the nurses got their coats off.

They checked me almost straight away and found it was 9.5cms which she could stretch to 10. I was ready to push and hadn’t been making it up! I did a small inner cheer as I was expecting them to say I was about 4cms and I was being a massive drama queen!

The midwives wanted 5 minutes to get ready then I started pushing. They left me to do exactly what my body wanted and didn’t interfere. I pushed for about 15 minutes before I knew the head was about to be born. The midwife gave me great instructions on when to push or pant to avoid too much damage.

A few minutes later and B was born and he was passed straight to me. I’m not sure how I managed to turn round with baby still attached to me but I did and we had lovely skin to skin. I immediately fell in love with this mucky and alien looking little boy. Daddy was the lucky person who got to cut the cord and somehow ended up looking like he had just undertaken major surgery!

Daddy had a quick cuddle and took B to be weighed. He weighed in at a massive 9lb 1.5oz (not a stitch to be had thankfully).

The midwives brought us in the magic tea and toast, which truly is the best ever. We sat chatting with them while they did their paperwork and discovered that this was the trainees first delivery. She was so excited and chuffed with herself. I didn’t have the heart to point out that I did all the hard work!

The midwives then left us alone while we got to know this little person and began calling our family. It was so lovely ringing our Mums and saying “good morning Nanna”. There was lots of tears of happiness that he had finally arrived. Also, lots of approval at our name choice. We have always been very keen not to share our name choices until baby is born. It saves too many people giving an opinion on your favourite name when it’s not their choice.

I was so pleased with how my birth went. I had brought this little person into the world safely and with no intervention. I would have done it all over again instantly.

Girls Day Out – Fairfield Hall, Bedfordshire

Girls Day Out – Fairfield Hall, Bedfordshire

My best friend was 30 back in December and I had absolutely no idea what to buy her. We have known each other since we were 2 years old so I wanted to get her something special and something that she wouldn’t buy for herself. I also wanted it to be something she would remember so, I booked her a spa day. I thought it would be rude to send her on her own so I booked myself a spa day too! We are both hard working Mummies so I think we deserve it.

I looked at several spas before I booked and decided on Fairfield Hall in Bedfordshire. The photos on the website looked beautiful and they had a good choice of spa packages to suit every budget.

We arrived late morning and were shown straight into the spa where we had to fill in all our paperwork for the treatments we were having later. We were also given our spa bags containing a robe, towel and slippers (additional £3 charge).

After a quick tour of the facilities we headed straight for the pool. Although completely underground with no natural light, it looked amazing.

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I am a massive wimp when it comes to getting into water and I will make a massive drama if it’s cold! This pool was so warm and for the first time ever in my life, I got straight under the water. We had a lovely swim and a natter before deciding to head off to get some lunch.

The Orchard is the on site restaurant which can be used by both members and anybody who walks in off the street. We arrived for lunch in our robes and slippers (which apparently is fine in a spa) but, felt very out of place amongst everyone else who was dressed. Certainly an experience to be lunching in public in your robe!

There is a really good lunch menu with plenty of choice and all very reasonably priced. We both opted for a 2 filling omelette with salad and coleslaw which were £6.50 each.

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The food tasted lovely and there was plenty there for lunch. The staff were very attentive and there was a good atmosphere which meant we could chat without feeling we had to keep quiet.

Our treatments were booked for 1pm so we went back to the spa as soon as we had finished lunch. We took a seat on an amazing hot stone bed while we waited to be called.

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These were so comfortable and gave me a lovely warm bottom and back!

We had booked a Swedish back, neck and shoulder massage plus a facial. Our therapists, Stacey and Shelley, came and collected us and took us into a double treatment room presumably so we could talk but, neither of us uttered a word for a whole hour!

When they had finished we were so chilled out and relaxed that neither of us wanted to get up from the bed! I was a bit worried about having a Swedish as I’ve always thought they were a bit brutal but it was actually really nice. It certainly got the stress knots out my shoulders.

I had to take a few photos of the spa area as it was amazing.

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After our treatments, we headed back down to the pool and had another swim. We also tried out the jacuzzi and sauna. It was so lovely spending time with my bestie. We both have children and since their arrival we very rarely get a chance to have a good chat. One of us is usually chasing after a child at soft play so we snatch a quick chat in between! Lazing around in the jacuzzi gave us the perfect opportunity to catch up and realise how much we’ve missed each other.

We finished our day off with a very healthy bowl of chips and some drinks back in the restaurant. We have decided that we will definitely be doing this again. It’s a beautiful spa and we had such a great day.

Packing my Suitcase
Beautwins