November 2014 | Rosy Cheeks & Muddy Feet

Emilie - Sixteen Months.

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Sixteen months.. I was just saying to Anthony this morning that in some ways she now seems so grown up but in other ways she still feels like a baby to me. I try and not compare Emilie to James when he was her age but she definitely appears 'younger' than he did at sixteen months. Although they look so similar :) 

She is definitely our little diva. Still a temperamental soul and so unpredictable that she regularly gives me whiplash with her mood swings. Any change to her routine and she lets us know about it. On the other hand though she is so loving and this past month is loving snuggling up with either of us. Several times a day she comes to me with her dummy and cloth and I have to stop everything to sit down on the sofa and cuddle. I'm not complaining. This age is fun and snuggle time just adds to that. 

A year ago today at just four months old.. {Thank you Time Hop}



The biggest milestone achieved this month was that Emilie started walking! She can now walk from one side of the living room to the other.. She just chooses not to do it very often.. I'm guessing that she thinks that crawling is faster. She also refuses to walk if anyone other than myself, James or Anthony are in the room or on any other floor surface (i.e - the kitchen floor!) I know she'll get their in her own time but she's been teasing us for a long time now! 

A few photos of my phone from this month.. 


{The Mummy I pulled the plug out face}



{Feeding herself a yoghurt for the first time}


Happy SIXTEEN months Boo Boo!

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Blogmas 2014!

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Here we are on the last weekend of November! How is that even possible? We're off to James' school christmas fair this afternoon so I'm just popping in quickly to tell you all that I'm part in Blogmas 2014! Sandra is hosting this challenge and I'm looking forward to sharing all things Christmas! Fancy joining in? Here at the prompts for the month of December then each day just head over to her blog and link up :)


I'll be back tomorrow with Emilie's sixteen month update :)

Happy Saturday! 

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Just A Stay At Home Mum?

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I was at the hospital on Tuesday with James for an assessment with an Occupational Therapist. Whilst James was playing with one of the ladies and being assessed I was with another lady filling out paperwork and consent forms. When she asked me what my occupation was I replied..

"I'm just a stay at home Mum"

As soon as I answered, I asked myself why I had said that.. Just.. There is nothing just about being a stay at home Mum.. Sure if we wanted to then we could sit in our PJ's all day. We can choose to snuggle with the kids and watch Disney movies instead of traipsing around in the rain. We could nap whilst the baby naps (when there isn't dishes, laundry or a mountain of other chores to do!) 

On the flip side though, there are no holidays, no weekends off.. No clocking out at 5pm. No rolling over at 4am and ignoring the crying baby. We get up in the morning, whether we feel good or not, and we make breakfasts. We feed babies. We make beds. We pack lunches whilst breaking up fights. We stop the toddler from climbing onto the radiator (I done this twice this morning!), whilst trying to convince them that brushing their teeth is a good thing. We walk the kids to school in the freezing cold and then head home to clean up the house that was finally spotless the night before. We try and get the little ones to nap whilst trying to find something semi-healthy for dinner. We switch laundry from the washing machine to the dryer and look at the piles of clean clothes wondering if they will ever make it back into the draws. We clean up from lunch and sweep the floors again. We pay the bills and try to meal plan in the time the baby sleeps. We head back out to school and then try to get homework, dinner and baths in so that they have enough time to play before bedtime. We finally get the kids into bed and hope against hope that at least one of them will sleep through the night. We tidy up from dinner and sweep the floor again. We remember that the clothes are still in the dryer. We then remember that we haven't showered yet today. We collapse into the chair and wonder if we really need a shower or if it can wait until tomorrow. We try to have a coherent conversation with our husbands. We actually wonder if we've spoken to another adult at all that day. We sleep with one ear still listening out incase anyone needs you. 

The next time someone asks me what my occupation is I am going to be proud to say, 'I'm a stay at home Mum..' Theres no just in that.. 


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Epilepsy Awareness Month.

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Epilepsy. It's a word that you here a lot in our house. I don't talk a lot about James having epilepsy here because it's his medical information and when he's grown up he might not want that information out there for all to see. However with November being dedicated to this illness I wanted to write a bit about it. 

Before 2008 Epilepsy, to me, was the kind of seizures that you see on the television. The 'typical' seizures. People lying on the floor, unconscious, and their muscles contracting uncontrollably. These I've learnt are Grand mal or Tonic Clonic seizures. What I didn't know back then was that there are so many other kinds of seizures. Sometimes a certain tic that a person has can be a seizure. Epilepsy is so broad and there are so many factors to it. 

James has two types of seizures. The main type that he suffers from are called Absence seizures, I call it 'The lights are on but nobody is home.' To many people it may just look like James is staring into space. He stops what he's doing and his face is vacant. No amount of calling to him will snap him out of it until the seizure stops. His first seizure that we were aware of was when he was just over a year old. Sixteen months ago he started having grand map seizures but only in his sleep. To this day, thankfully, he has never had one whilst awake. 

We are still learning all of James' triggers. So far we know that if he gets too hot or is in the sun for too long then that is the biggest trigger for him. I feel so bad that in the heat of summer I have to keep him indoors or in the shade. At school, the teachers know that unless James has a sun hat on he cannot go outside. He has to have a drink bottle filled with water with him at all times at school and he can drink as much as he wants, whether in class or not. 
He is also photo sensitive, the doctors believe that this is why the sun is a trigger for him. 
As time has gone on we now know that if he gets overtired or over hungry, that can bring a seizure on. I am on constant alert with James, always watching and always ready. 

I try so hard not to make James feel different from other children his age. He's not different. 
Last month his seizures starting coming more frequently so after a trip to see his paediatrician and a dosage change on his medicine, things seem to be coming back to normal. I don't ever want James to think that this illness has to hold him back. It doesn't. I don't ever want people to look at him differently or to treat him differently because of it. He's funny and intelligent. He's terrible at keeping secrets. He loves to give cuddles. He's moody in the mornings but full of beans at bedtime. He will eat me out of house and home and still tell me that he's hungry. He loves football. He is terrified of needles. He has a sweet tooth like me and loves twiglets like his Daddy. He loves to hear about when we lived in London but hates the thought of us moving from our current house. He worships his sister and says that his Granddad is his best friend. He wakes up telling me that he doesn't want to go to school but literally runs the whole way there. He is a sore loser. I think if I'd let him then he'd never take his football shirt off. He loves to dance but he gets embarrassed if too many people watch him. His Dad is his hero. His best friends at school change daily. He is sweet and kind. 

He is a normal five year old boy...

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Currently.

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...reading  About ten minutes ago I finished Captivated By You, by Sylvia Day. It's the fourth book in the Crossfire series and I am in love with the characters Gideon & Eva! I cannot wait for the 5th and final book!

...watching Friends is on the TV as background noise. My favourite show! I love how you don't have to think about it when you watch it. You can just sit for thirty minutes and laugh :) 

...eating Nothing.. I've got a roast chicken cooking. 

...loving The weather, apart from the constant rain. Spending another weekend at home with nowhere to be. Emilie taking a few steps every now and then. 

...enjoying Emilie's nap time! She hasn't been sleeping well at all the past week and I am exhausted! She's cranky during the day because she's tired and it seems like we're in a bit of a vicious circle. 

...thinking About when I can put the christmas decorations up! Also that I need to finish shopping for the kids.

...feeling Tired.. Actually exhausted. I need a holiday! 

...hoping That the coming week is better than last week. I need to get into a more positive mind space.

...listening The house is silent apart from Friends on the TV. Emilie is sleeping and James & Anthony are out shopping! The peace and quiet is lovely. 

...Wearing Jeans and a jumper. It's freezing today! 

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Life With Two.

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I've been a Mum of two now for fifteen months. Truthfully, I am only now just starting to get into the swing of things. When I was pregnant with Emilie I was so sure that adding a second little bundle to our family wouldn't change much. We already had one child so our lives were already upside down so what difference would another one make? Ha! If I could go back to eighteen months ago I would give myself a slap!

I'm sure it didn't help that Emilie was (and still is) a temperamental little soul. I always say that Emilie is happy if things are 100% in her favour. We're getting there though and I think I can finally say that I've got a handle of this parenting two gig..

What have I learnt in these past fifteen months?

1 - I will never ever pee alone again.. Or if I actually manage to make it into the bathroom alone within seconds someone is calling "Muuuuummmmm.."

2 - I will not sleep through the night again.. At least not for the next five years..

3 - I will always be doing or thinking for someone else. I'm actually okay with that. From the moment I open my eyes until I fall into bed exhausted at the end of the day I am thinking, planning, or running after someone else. I some times wonder to myself what I done all day before I had children? I must have had so much spare time.

4 - I will spend a lot of my day in awe and amazement at these little beings that I helped to create.

5 - I don't think that I will ever step foot inside a nightclub again.. I've been invited out a few times but firstly I know that I will be asleep in the toilet by 9.30pm. Secondly, waking up before the sun has risen is hard enough without having a hangover to contend with too.

6 - I will continuously see the world through my children's eyes. I love how they react to the smallest of things. Things that I probably take for granted look completely different when I see it through a five year olds way of thinking. I am so excited for Christmas for this very reason!

7 - I will be judged. For how I feed my kids. How I dress them. How I discipline them. When you become a Mum I think you need to grow thicker skin!





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The Funny Things My Kids Say & Do..

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For a few years now I share the funny things that James comes out with on Facebook, mostly so I don't forget them. Today Emilie inspired me to me to write a post dedicated to the funny things my kids say or do..

1 - Distraction works best for Emilie at her age when she is naughty or into something that she shouldn't be. This evening she was sat on the sofa with Anthony and she smacked him around the head. He took her off the sofa and put her down on the floor.  James asked why she wasn't allowed on the sofa.. 

"Because she smacked Daddy so now she's having a time out from the sofa.."

Upon hearing this Emilie crawled over to the corner where James has always been sent to time out, she shut the door and proceeded to sit there... Turns out she understands more than we think :) 

2 - James sticks his tongue out when he is concentrating. If he's drawing, concentrating on a game or trying to master riding his bike, you can guarantee that his tongue will be poking out there.
Over the past three days it appears that Emilie does the same thing. She's been walking, little bits here and there, and always with her little tongue poking out.

3 - Conversation with James the other day.. 

James - "Mum, the other day at school we were raising money for the Macmillan Nurses and I know what they do."
Me - "Whats that then?"
James - "They help to look after people who have cancer........ And Ebola.."

4 - Emilie kissing herself in the mirror.. She even puckers up :)

5 - Every morning James tries to sneak down the stairs when he wakes up, then jumps into the living room and asks.. "Did you think I was a burglar?"



Every day these two make me laugh and as Emilie is getting older and able to play more I dread to think the mischief that they are going to get up to!



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Currently.

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Morning Tea - A doodling baby - James playing the Wii - Emilie testing her legs out. 


...reading  I finished Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult on Friday. It was amazing. I love every book she has written but this was definitely her best. I haven't started a new book yet, I like to leave a few days after I've read a really good book. The characters tend to stay in my head for a bit. 

...watching I recently started watching The Walking Dead. I'd never watched it before so I started from the first season. I'm hooked. Most nights you will find me curled up in bed watching at least one episode before I go to bed.. To prove this I will admit that I am already on season four :) The past few nights I've also had dreams about zombies.. 

...eating We had a roast dinner about two hours ago. I do have a bar of chocolate all ready for once the kids are in bed though! 

...pinning Nothing this week. I've been battling a cold and been feeling pretty pants. 

...loving Today. It has been awesome to stay at home, Anthony is off work and we've spent the day all together. Also tonight Emilie started walking! Up until now she has only taken one or two steps but this evening she was walking from one end of the living room to the other. 

...enjoying My family, the colder weather & cooking (I have found some awesome recipes this week)

...thinking About how proud of my kids I am. They really are amazing little things.

...feeling Inspired but tired. 

...hoping That my cold gets better this week. It's gone to my chest so I sound about 90 years old.

...listening To Anthony & James playing. I can also hear Emilie on the monitor.. She's meant to be sleeping. 

...Wearing My PJ's all ready for a snuggled night.. with maybe one episode of The Walking Dead.



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Myths About Home Births.

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I've been reading a lot online lately about hospital births vs home births. My first birth was in a hospital and for lack of a better word, it was traumatic. The midwife didn't have any bedside manner, we were left alone for long periods of time and then when James' heart rate dropped and didn't come back up the room quickly filled with people and there I was a frightened first time Mum, scared that I was going to loose my baby. Afterwards it wasn't much better. Anthony was kicked out about two hours after James was born, it took me three hours to get a drink and a further five hours after that to get any food. There was no help with breastfeeding and three days later I had never been so relieved to get home.



When I fell pregnant with Emilie I knew that I wanted a home birth but Anthony was dead set against it. He felt that the baby and I would be safer in a hospital. There they had doctors, midwives, surgical teams and a theatre. He felt that if there was another emergency then I would be in the best place. I didn't totally disagree with him and I could see his point but I knew that I would be more relaxed at home especially with my anxiety.

When I was around 33 weeks pregnant I sat down with him and explained my reasons for wanting to try for a home birth and he accepted them and the fact that I was the one that would be giving birth so it was settled.. We were going to try for a home birth..

You should have seen some of the reactions I got when I told people of our plans. You would have thought that I had told people that I was planning on going into the middle of a forest, with no medical assistance to give birth under a tree.. So many times I heard, 'but what if something happens to the baby? How will you live with yourself..'' To this day I still get.. 'But what if something had gone wrong?...' I'm lucky that it all went smoothly but today I wanted to dispel some of the myths that I personally heard from people.


1 - You'll be safer in a hospital - Midwives are trained professionals. They deliver babies all day every day. Not only that, they are trained to spot an emergency before it arises. When I was 36 weeks pregnant my midwife came to my house. She talked me through what would happen in certain scenarios and how they would deal with it. She also completed a risk assessment. At the time I had a bookcase at the top of my stairs which she informed us to move beforehand incase an ambulance had to be called, so they could get up & down the stairs with a stretcher if needs be.

2 - What about pain relief? True, if you decide on a home birth you are limiting yourself on the pain relief that you will be able to receive but in my living room the night that I had Emilie there was two tanks of gas, waiting if I needed them. As I was in transition the midwife asked me if I wanted some gas and air and I refused. She told me that was fine but if I changed my mind then to let her know. She also had injections with her to help for nausea.

3 - The Mess! An hour after Emilie was born you would not have known that I had just given birth on our living room sofa. The midwives dealt with everything and protective sheets were placed on the floor and the sofa. I didn't even see them clear up but I kind of wish they could come everyday and clean my house.. They did that good of a job :)


4 - The care in a hospital is better - After having both a hospital and a home birth I can safely say the care I received at home was ten times better. I had a midwife with me the whole of the labour. Then as things started progressing a second midwife arrived. I asked why there were two and was told that incase there was an emergency afterwards, there would be a midwife to look after me and one to look after Emilie. They never left my side. Whilst I was pushing, after each contraction Emilie's heart rate and my pulse were checked. They stayed for over four hours after she was born, not leaving until 3.30 in the morning. I couldn't have asked for better care. 

5 - You're putting your baby at risk - Anyone that knows me knows that I would never intentionally harm my children. I do know my own body though. Hospitals scare me. Just being in one send me into an anxiety ridden state which is not good for the baby. At home I knew that I would be more relaxed and comfortable with having my own things around me and being able to move about as I wanted. I trusted myself and my body and if at any point the midwives were concerned and wanted to transfer me to hospital then I would have gone in a second. 


If I had to do it again then without a second of a doubt I would choose a home birth. After having a bad experience with James' birth I was so scared to do it again but Emilie's birth was perfect and kind of restored my faith in midwives :) 



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Hearty Pasta Soup.

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I am a sucker for a few things when it comes to cooking for my family..  Recipes that have the word 'hearty' in them, food that is filling and warm in this cold weather and also meals that are simple and inexpensive to make.  

I'm battling a cold at the minute and this Hearty Pasta Soup is the perfect meal when you're not feeling all that great.. I promise, you will not be disappointed! Even my meat loving husband declared that it was one of the best meals he had tasted.


Ingredients.

1 tbsp olive oil
2 chopped carrots
1 large onion
A pint of vegetable stock
400g chopped tomatoes
A cup of frozen peas
250g of fresh filled tortellini (My filling was Spinach & Ricotta)
Some grated cheese
A handful of chopped fresh basil


Heat the oil in a large pan.

Fry the onions and carrots for five minutes until they start to soften. Then add the stock and tomatoes. Simmer for ten minutes and then add the peas.

One all of the vegetables are tender, stir in the pasta and return to the boil for 3-4 minutes, until the pasta is just cooked.

Add the basil and cook for a further minute.

Serve with a sprinkle of cheese. I also served mine with garlic bread which turned out to be the perfect side dish.

That's all there is too it.. It smells delicious and tastes fantastic!


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Remembrance Day.

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Today is Remembrance Day. A day where we remember the fallen. The people that have given their lives in the conflicts past and present. Today at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month a two minutes silence was held, as it is every year and has been since 1919. 

Today we remember and give thanks to all of the selfless people who fought of us and in the end gave their lives for us. 

We remember and give thanks to those that fought for us and suffered injuries in the line of duty. 

We remember and give thanks to those who are still serving. Who are still fighting for us and everyday put their lives on the line so that we don't have to. 

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. 
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them. 



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Thoughts On Monday.

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Rounding up the weekend. Tying up loose thoughts in my mind.. 


I want this tattoo.. I love the meaning behind having an arrow tattoo. 

"An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming"

****************
I've been thinking a lot this past weekend about how I compare myself to others. It's easy to do with sites such as Instagram, Facebook & Pinterest. What I need to remember though is that person is only sharing a snap shot of their life. She might have a big, beautiful house but she could be longing for a child to hold in her arms. She might have three beautiful children but dreads every morning that she has to leave her kids at nursery because she has to work. She might be great at crafting and makes beautiful creations that everyone runs to buy but she may be crippled by anxiety. I need to remember this when I'm scrolling through my Instagram feed in the morning. I am lucky in so many ways. We could benefit from a bigger house with more space but we have a roof over our heads. I have two beautiful children. I have a husband that I love and who loves me back. We are happy. 


***************

Emilie is still struggling with her three back teeth that are coming through and this weekend she's been a grouch. Last night though for the first time in - I can't even tell you how long - she slept through the night! Today she has been full of smiles and giggles. A full nights sleep for the Mummy doesn't hurt either ;)

***************

A conversation between James and I last week.. 

James - 'Mum, you like chocolate right?'
Me - 'Yep..'
James - Well if you let me have the laptop in bed tonight then I'll give you one of my sweets from Halloween.. Is that a deal?'
Nice try kiddo..


Here's to a new week! 



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Five On Friday.

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This week has gone so fast. James' school didn't go back from half term until Tuesday so in my head I keep thinking it's only Thursday. I'm not complaining. A short week works for us..

Five On Friday..

1// Poor Emilie has had a tough week. She didn't seem herself all day Tuesday. She was grouchy and clingy and I thought that it may be her three teeth that are still coming through. Late that afternoon though she developed a fever and just sat in my lap for over an hour cuddling me. She refused her bedtime milk and at 6pm I asked her if she wanted to go to bed. She nodded and waved.. Poor girl. She seems a lot better now but those teeth are still bothering her.



2// James decided that he wanted to learn how to weld with Daddy.. It was so cute although my Mummy heart was terrified the whole time! He loved it though :)




3// I started reading Jodi Picoult's new book, Leaving Time, yesterday and I cannot put it down. I love her books and she is definitely my favourite author. Her writing is faultless and her story lines are gripping.



4// This week the weather has turned. It is bitterly cold and the school runs at 8.30am are not fun! It was so weird with it still being so warm in October but now I'm kind of wishing for Spring already! 

5// With everything that has been going on the past few weeks (that's for another post) I have been struggling with my anxiety. This morning I gave myself a well needed kick up the backside. I need to stop letting my anxiety control my moods and therefore my life. 

Here's to the end of the week! 



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Emilie - Fifteen Months Old.

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Four days ago Emilie turned fifteen months old.. Looking back at when James was that age it feels like he was so much older than she seems but I think that was because he was walking at twelve months old. This past month if she is in the right mood then she will walk holding onto my hands but if she doesn't want to then she doesn't move! She's a stubborn little thing when she wants to be. 

My gosh can she talk though! If we're around people then she doesn't say a word but when we're at home she doesn't stop and is coming out with new words daily. Sometimes it takes me a few attempts to work out what a new word is but we get there in the end. 


Some words she uses daily are.. juice, dog, down, peppa, bath, wa-wa & cloth (Her dummy and comfort blanket) bye bye. 

Emilie will eat anything that you put in front of her. The only thing that she refuses is cows milk so for now she is still having two bottles of formula a day. One in the morning and one in the evening. 

It's been a good month overall and I love seeing my little girls personality shine through more and more each day. She is obsessed with her big brother and tomorrow when he goes back to school after the half term break I think she's really going to miss him.. As am I! 



Happy FIFTEEN months Boo Boo! 

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A Sunday Roast.

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Before Emilie came along, every Sunday you would find me in the kitchen cooking up a Sunday roast dinner. Whether it was Chicken, Beef, Pork or Turkey.. Without fail by 3pm we would be sat down eating mountains of food..

Then my temperamental little soul came along and honestly, just putting food on the table at the end of the day was an accomplishment, let alone a roast with all the trimmings.

Then last month after a request from James I made a Sunday dinner and we all sat down together around the table to eat. During the week with Anthony working we don't get to eat together. The kids eat first and then Anthony eats when he comes in and I just end up grazing throughout the day. That first Sunday though, whilst we were all sat down together James announced..

"This is lovely. We should do this every Sunday. I like eating with you all..."

So for the past four Sundays that is what we have done. I love waking up on a Sunday morning and putting the meat in the slow cooker and then waiting for those lovely smells to fill the house. I peel the potatoes and slice carrots whilst mixing up stuffing and rolling it into balls. It's therapeutic and even though by the time I've cooked it all and cleaned up the horrendous amounts of pots, pans and plates, I am tired..  However, I am also happy. There is nothing I like more than knowing that I have provided a nutritious meal for my family. I like that one time during the week where we all sit together. James chatters away whilst Emilie mushes more food into her hair than what actually makes it into her mouth.

I like to think about what it will be like in a few years time when Emilie is also chattering away or when they're both eager to help me cook. Sundays for us have become about battening down the hatches and family.

{Pre gravy.. Ignore the massive amounts of stuffing balls!!} 

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