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
The Weaning Adventures – Starting Out

The Weaning Adventures – Starting Out

We have been weaning the twins for about 3 weeks now and to be honest, it’s not going great.

We started weaning both the boys before 6 months (naughty Mummy!) and they demolished their meals almost from day 1. I’m sure they would have licked the bowls clean given half a chance! But the girls just don’t seem interested. They’ve never really been hungry babies. If they took 4 x 8oz bottles a day we were lucky.

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I’ve tried weaning them the same way I did the boys, starting off with vegetable purees but they pull faces like I’m trying to poison them and shower me with the offending food! Neither of which is a cool look!

So, I have done what I always said I would never do and moved to the sweeter purees and banana porridge. I’m not sure if it’s a myth to make you feel like a terrible parent but, I was always told not to start weaning on fruits as you give baby a sweet tooth.

They are starting to eat some fruity puree but they never really eat a lot and most of it ends up dribbled down their faces. They just don’t seem overly bothered by food yet.

I have considered if I should go down the baby led weaning (BLW) route. They would then be able to decide what they eat and how much but I think not knowing how much they have eaten would stress me out. Plus, I’m not sure I could deal with the mess. B and O make enough mess on their own without adding in 2 babies hurling food everywhere! I already feel like I’m forever sweeping up food debris.

For now we will persevere with the purees and see how it goes. They are still really young and quite small so I think it’s just taking them a bit longer than most. We have their new high chairs coming next week so maybe that will improve the feeding. I’m sure they won’t want to drink just milk for the rest of their lives!

You would never believe I’ve done this twice before!

A Day In The Life Of A Mum To 4

A Day In The Life Of A Mum To 4

I’ve never really been one for strict routines. When the boys were babies, we used to go with the flow and most of the time it worked really well. It meant we could go out and about without it interfering with nap or feed time too much. I have friends with very strict routines and they allow themselves almost no freedom. They cannot come out at certain times of the day and I didn’t want to become like that.

When the twins came along, we decided that things had to change. No longer could we use a baby led approach as there were now far too many babies in the house! So, we adopted a routine and it has been working pretty well. The routine does have flexibility so we are not completely housebound and the routine is relaxing slightly as everyone gets older. Here is a day in my life.

Our days usually start about the same time and if we go out for the day we try to travel at nap time.

7.30 am – wakey, wakey, rise and shine. Anybody who is not already awake gets woken. First job of the day is a production line of nappy changes!

8.00 am – feeding of the masses. It’s breakfast time for the boys while I make the girls bottles.

8.30 am – baby feeding time. I’ve mastered the art of feeding both at the same time so this has halved the amount of time taken. The boys tend to watch a bit of Cbeebies while I do this.

9.00 am – activity time or off to nursery on a Thursday and Friday. I try and set an activity up for the boys so I can grab a few minutes to do something like tummy time with the girls. On a Tuesday my lovely Home Start volunteer comes around this time and entertains the boys. They love having someone different to play with.

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10.00 am – twin nap time. Parenting suddenly gets so much easier when there’s only 2! I realise how easy life was with just 2! I’ll try and play a game with the boys while their sisters are asleep so they get a little bit more of Mummy’s attention.

12.00 noon – lunch time for the biggest ones and around the time the twins usually wake. I feed the biggest ones and myself first while the girls have a kick around on the floor (it’s the safest time).

12.30 pm – solid food time for the girls. Before I clear up too much I let them add to the decoration on the floor!

1.00 pm – clear away lunch items and load the dishwasher. Make bottles for the girls and carry on feeding. After lunch is quiet hour for the boys. We try to watch a film and have a few minutes peace, quiet and rest.

2.00 pm – it’s girlie nap time again so once they are asleep I have time to play with the boys. We tend to try do something active like put on music and dance around like nutters or go play in the garden. One afternoon, a few weeks ago, we played in the snow and last week we planted all our spring bulbs.

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3.30 pm – the twins are usually awake by now. I’ll get them out their cot and bring them down to play with the boys. They love playing with their sisters and can often be found waving a rattle in their face or kissing them. That’s probably how the girls get poorly so often!

4.00 pm – it’s bottle time again. Sometimes the boys like to help otherwise they are left to their own devices for half an hour while I feed. We’ll probably have Cbeebies on or they’ll play their new favourite game, supermarkets.

5.00 pm – it’s time to start thinking about dinner and battling to keep O awake. He dropped his nap around his 1st birthday and refuses to have it even though he needs it. This means that from late afternoon, if we have been busy, he gets very sleepy. If he naps we wouldn’t be able to get him to bed at night so have to keep him awake!

5.45 pm – dinner time. Feeding time at the zoo begins all over again!

6.30 pm – Daddy is home just in time for bath and bed. The boys have to tidy up all their toys before they go up to bed. Luckily O is a bit of a clean freak and loves a good tidy!

7.00 pm – I change and feed the girls while Daddy does the boys bedtime story. Usually everyone is sound asleep by 7.30 and I collapse in a heap, satisfied that I did a fairly good job keeping everyone alive! Actually, scrap the collapsing in a heap. I start the household chores otherwise they would never get done.

Our IVF Journey: All the fun of living life with twins
Mummy Is The Biggest Liar!

Mummy Is The Biggest Liar!

It’s Saturday morning and all is calm. There are no raised voices and the boys are playing nicely together. The girls are kicking around on the floor cooing at each other. This can only mean one thing – Daddy is at home!

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All week long my job title is not Mummy but referee! I am forever breaking up fights and stopping the children from killing each other. When Daddy texts and ask how the kids are during the day, I give him the honest truth, our children are monsters! They destroy the house, climb all over the furniture and have extremely selective hearing when I’m talking to them.

At the weekends they are all sweetness and light. Daddy simply cannot understand how these sweet, angelic children can do half the things I moan about during the week. They obey commands, play nicely, keep the house relatively tidy and don’t upset Daddy. He can take them out without the car seat fights that I frequently inform him I have!

My children make me look like a massive liar! Does this happen to all Mums or is it just me?

What magically happens to my children at 5.30 on a Friday? Where can I buy some of this super power that Daddy has, as I drastically need some of it during the week? And, when are my children going to stop making me look like a liar?

The Dad Network
Mami 2 Five
Bedtime Stories

Bedtime Stories

According to a study conducted by Alton Towers Resort this week, 4 out of 5 children don’t get a bedtime story. For us this is an integral part of our bedtime routine and my favourite time of the day.

We sit the boys together in the youngest ones bedroom and all cuddle up together while we read at least one story but sometimes I get sweet talked into more!

Our current favourite books are

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The Dinosaur That Pooped A Planet by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Pointer. It’s a catchy rhyming book plus it has pooped in the title, my kids were bound to love it!

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Aliens Love Underpants by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort. This book came with a really cute, cuddly alien in pants which O loves to tuck into bed at night. A very colourful book with a catchy story.

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The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson. Every parent knows this story and can probably recite it off by heart like we can. It’s a lovely story which the boys join in with reading. It also has the sound buttons that they can press at various points through the book (or continuously as ours do!)

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Dig Dig Digging by Margaret Mayo and Alex Ayliffe. My boys are vehicle mad and this book covers them all. Ambulances, tractors even road rollers have a catchy, rhyming verses about them which my boys love.

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The Snowman and The Snowdog based on characters by Raymond Briggs. Everyone knows the story of The Snowman and this is a sort of sequel. It is beautifully illustrated and the story is just so lovely. This also has a fantastic CD of the story being read by the wonderful voice of Benedict Cumberbatch! Good for both Mum and kids!

I’m always on the lookout for new books for the children so what are your favourite books? Do you read bedtime stories?

Mums' Days
Product Review – Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep

Product Review – Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep

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My Perfect Prep in prime position in my kitchen!

There is nothing more upsetting than listening to your baby scream for food while you desperately try to cool down a volcanic bottle of milk under the cold tap. Now multiply that by 2 and that was how I envisioned our first few weeks with the twins would go.
We had heard about this miracle product with our last baby but at the time it was brand new and very expensive. It also seemed like an unnecessary luxury when a flask of cooled boiled water had always sufficed.

With twins plus other small, attention seeking children in the house, anything that can save time while leaving you a spare hand is invaluable.

The Perfect Prep creates the ready to drink bottle of milk in under 2 minutes. Firstly, it gives you a shot of boiling water to sterilise the milk powder. Once you’ve added your powder, the machine tops up the bottle to your desired number of ounces with cold filtered water. You add the lid, give it a shake and voila, one perfect temperature bottle.

The Perfect Prep requires a filter which needs changing occasionally. The machine gives you a red light warning when the filter is running out, then a flashing red light when the filter is completely out so you don’t need to change it immediately the light comes on.

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Perfect Prep Filter

Filters cost around £8 and can be purchased from most baby retailers. The packaging states it lasts up to 3 months. We are on filter 3 now after six months of use which I don’t think is too bad given the amount of bottles we make.

The only downside to this machine is the ear splitting beep the machine gives out several times during its cycle. I can understand the need to warn people that boiling water has been produced but, this product goes into houses with small children where, waking a sleeping baby is a deadly sin! Tone it down just a little bit please Tommee Tippee!

This is definitely the best baby purchase we have ever made and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to other expectant parents for a single or multiple babies.

Retailer – Amazon
Price – £55
Purchased – June 2014

A Twinnie Birth Story

A Twinnie Birth Story

It had been a very stressful few weeks with my body beginning to fail. I’ve had gestational diabetes, obstetric cholostasis, massive fluid retention and suspected pre-eclampsia but I am very proud to announce that my 2 beautiful baby girls arrived safely via a planned sunroof exit at 38 weeks and 4 days.

I have felt no end of guilt for the final few weeks as I’ve barely been able to move from the sofa. My two lovely boys have watched ridiculous amounts of television and entertained themselves beautifully and for that I am forever grateful. They have meant these last few stressful weeks passed as easily as possible. I’ve promised the boys that once Mummy was better she would try and be a proper Mummy again.

My plan was never to have a c-section but nature has a strange way of telling you to do something for the best. I was absolutely heartbroken when we went for our final scan and twin 1 was still flexed breech. I remember the snotty, sobbing mess I became in my consultants office. Not a good look! All along we had planned a breech delivery of both twins but now number 1 had her knees out, our plan went out the window. She was not budging!

I came home and got straight on Facebook to my Mummy friends looking for words of reassurance. They all spoke really positively about c-section and how I didn’t need to feel like a failure. It can still be special.

After my initial heartbreak at needing a c-section, I am pleased to report that I really enjoyed the experience. That sounds really strange as it’s such a major operation but, it’s true. My consultant could see how upset I was and planned to give me as natural section as possible. I had my husband with me the whole time which is a good job as I’m terrified of needles and was not looking forward to the spinal. He held my hand and tried his best to distract me while the job was done.

Twin 1 (also known as the problem child for being the cause of my c-section) arrived straight onto my chest where I got my first cuddle of her while they cut her cord. The plan had been to give me a few minutes with twin 1 before her sister made her big arrival but my placenta had other ideas. It started to come away so twin 1 was quickly passed to Dad before a second slimey baby was placed on my chest. At just 2 minutes apart and weighing 7lb 5oz and 7lb, my beautiful twins I and L had entered the world.
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My twins never left my side and I’m over the moon about that. Since discovering we were expecting twins, my biggest fears had been premature arrival and stays on special care. I gave birth to 2 average size singleton babies, not the scrappy and fragile little twins I imagined. I am so grateful that my body did it’s job and cooked these twins for long enough.

Binky Linky
Happy Half Birthday

Happy Half Birthday

Today the girls are 6 months old. How on earth did that happen so quickly? It only seems like yesterday that these 2 slimey and wrinkly babies were deposited on me and now they are twice the size and starting to get on the move.
These are definitely my last babies and I don’t want any more but, I still feel sad that I’ll never have those first magic cuddles and smell that newborn smell again. Let’s hope I get some nieces and nephews soon!!
So, to celebrate the girls half birthday, the boys have decided they want to do some baking. I have found a lovely 2 ingredient recipe for chocolate brownies that even the boys can’t mess up. I shall be back with the results later!

The Weaning Adventures

The Weaning Adventures

The girls have reached the ripe old age of 6 months so the job that I have been putting off for so long, must now be done!

Weaning 1 child was a doddle. A stressful, messy doddle at times but nothing that couldn’t be coped with! Two children at the same time just fills me with horror. Trails of food going in opposite directions, creating a larger area of destruction plus 2 bodies to get from kitchen to bathroom without dripping on the carpet. I’m hyperventilating just thinking about it.

Every Mums Favourite job – Buying A New Pushchair

Every Mums Favourite job – Buying A New Pushchair

With 3 children under 2, the job of finding a pushchair was always going to be a toughie. Do we try find a triple buggy that’s suitable from birth? Do we go for a double buggy for a twin and the 2 year old plus a sling? Do we go for a double buggy and a buggy board?

Living near the home of Kiddicare meant we could go and test drive pretty much every buggy under the sun. The triple buggy was ruled out straight away. It was far too wide and like driving an oil tanker! Who designs these things??

We looked at several double buggies from Britax, ICandy, Obaby, BabyStyle, Out and About, Phil and Teds etc. The one that we came back to again and again was the Britax B Dual. Not the top rated buggy by twin parents but a winner for us.

It was important for me to have a buggy that you could attach 2 car seats to. This was the only way I could see me getting out the house on my own without spending 3 hours building a pushchair and loading it with babies. I also liked the variety of ways it could be used. I can have both twins on it or my 2 year old with one of the twins.

I’m not one of these parents who thinks one of their children will get a complex if they get the bottom seat on a double buggy. Baby stacking is the way forward!

Britax also did Isofix bases and car seats which when you’re trying to load 4 small people into a car is a massive time saver. I really don’t know how I survived having other babies without Isofix seats! I must have wasted hours of my life belting car seats in!

So, now this enormous hulk of black pushchair resides in my garage along with the ton of accessories that come with it. I cannot wait to try it out!