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28.2.11

Date Night...A Recommendation!


Life before our son seems like such a distant memory now, and a memory which is quite faded! I can’t really remember what we’d do! We’d go for a walks sometimes, go out for a meal, got for days out but our evenings and weekends must have been quite boring.
I worked every Saturday, and my husband would sometimes work on a Sunday morning, I would also have to occasionally work the odd Sunday too.

I can’t even think about what we would talk about. Now our conversations are filled with talking about our son, future plans for days out and mini breaks and holidays, and currently we are spending our evenings discussing baby names (sort of, the name has been chosen) prams, buggies, birth plans, etc.

On my 24th birthday we spent the afternoon at the beach in Kessingland with our son, sat and had a drink and nibbles at the lovely pub there then made our way home and my husband cooked me a three course meal. Rather than a meal out for special occasions my husband would cook for us and we’d make our conservatory [dining room] look “romantic”, normally wash down our food with champagne and wine and finish by watching a film or our wedding dvd.
For my 24th my mum came round and sat in the front room with our son whilst we were confined to the kitchen and conservatory. We were sat at the table and I noticed a real silence. At first I thought it was because we were so used to the cries and baby babble from our 3 month old son but then I realised what it actually was, neither of us were talking, we literally had nothing to talk about. And I hated it. After a couple of hints to my husband to start a conversation, being met with a reply of “what do you want to talk about?” I felt a bit lost. What DID I want to talk about?? My life, at that time, was predominantly based around breastfeeding, nappies, poo, naps and crying. Not really anything that made for amazing conversation across dinner.
We spent most of the meal discussing how nice the meal was, and listening out for hungry cries.
From that moment on “date nights” became very important to us. We would drop Charles off at my mums and pop into town to one of two of the restaurants we liked. Although we’d only stay for under an hour at times, an hour and a half max, the quality “reconnection” time was much needed….even if all we did was talk about breastfeeding, nappies, poo, sleep [lack of]. Just being in a different environment with only each other to focus on was lovely.
Photo courtesy of Nicki Baxter x
One of our first proper date nights post baby was when we attended my husbands school reunion. Being almost 10 years younger than him and others who would be attending did make me feel slightly anxious but it was fab. I was accepted straight away and welcomed by everyone. Unfortunately the turn out wasn’t as good as the organiser had hoped but it meant we all enjoyed each others company a lot more and were able to have proper conversations, rather than short chats, and able to form some proper friendships.
My husband took me on a short tour of his school and it was nice for him to explain to me how the school had changed since he had been there, how he felt being back there, which lessons he had in each room. I felt like I got to know him a little bit better. This was our first time leaving Charles with someone else (my mother in law in this case) and I felt uncomfortable without him but we stayed for 3 hours and then headed home. It was nice to see our son again, but I also really enjoyed that quality time with my husband.
For my 25th birthday last year we went out for the day, sans toddler! It was the longest I had ever been away from him in 15 months so I was rather emotional but I had an amazing day. We hired a boat for the day and travelled along the Norfolk Broads. We stopped at 3 pubs for drinks and had brought our own “posh picnic” and champagne to enjoy on the boat.
Having to work together to get the boat moored up and moving in the first place was fun and we were really able to enjoy each others company, a full 7 hours of each others company! Discovering different villages we hadn’t seen before, being able to both enjoy a drink without worrying about driving home (my dad was taxi for us), talking about a wide range of topics and relaxing was exactly what the love doctor ordered.
We are both firm believers that couples need that time together, just them, without the children, to focus on each other. We aren’t ready to have a weekend away from our son, and he is yet to have an overnight stay at his nanny’s. We don’t feel it’s necessary just yet.


So far this year we’ve enjoyed 3 date nights. One was to a friends 30th birthday party, we stayed out from the crowd and sat on a table quite far away so we could sit and have a chat and a proper catch up. My mum looked after Charles again and we felt sneaky because he had no idea she was downstairs and that we went out!
For Valentines Day this year we broke tradition and went out to celebrate. Leaving Charles at home with my mum (although this time he woke up and realised Nanny was there) we headed out for a meal. My husband used to be the one who would have to drive but another positive over me passing my driving test last year is that he is now able to enjoy a drink (or 2, or 3) and I can drive home, not a problem at all now I can’t drink anyway!
We don’t normally celebrate Valentines really but this year we used it as an excuse to have our date night at the same time. And it was really really enjoyable.

This Wednesday we have a date night planned. We are heading to the city for Nandos and to the cinema, this is something we did ALL the time when we first got together, expect Nandos wasn’t there then, we visited Pizza Hut instead!
I can’t wait to spend that special time with him.

I’ve also come to realise that we don’t NEED to have conversation in our lives, if we have a meal and we are silent the majority of the time it really doesn’t matter. Just being in each others company without distraction is enough for us.

I am currently trying to encourage two of my friends, who both admit to having a struggle with their relationships at the moment, to organise some time for them and their partners, just for dinner and cinema, or an hour down the pub without their children, for some catch up, quality “we time”. Both are coming up with excuses to not do it but I 100% believe that this time together would make everything better.
I think we all have time in our busy schedules to just say STOP to other plans (be it gym time, soap night, snooker club etc), and to remind ourselves just why we have chosen to spend the rest of our lives with the person we have….and date nights do just that.
Give it a go.

27.2.11

Fun with a Cardboard box (or 12)

http://fun.familyeducation.com/images/Cardboard_Box_Toy_H.jpg
My neighbour and very good friend is moving, along with her husband, three year old son and one year old twin boys in the next couple of months (could be as soon as 4 weeks)
Tonight, via the amazing Blackberry Messenger (which we could not live without) we were discussing what fun could be had with the cardboard boxes after they had finished unpacking:
  1. A train. Line boxes up to make individual carriages.
  2. A car/s.
  3. A boat/s.
  4. House/s. 
  5. Robot costumes
  6. A slide. Flat cardboard box, leant against a sofa/coffee table {plenty of cushions around!) hey presto 
  7. A den. Build the boxes around the corner of a room and stick a BOYS ONLY, GIRLS SMELL [except for mummy] poster to the front. Hey presto for the second time! 
  8. A tv screen 
  9. A stage, depending on strength of boxes and weight of children! 
  10. A toy box/storage box. Decorate it by painting, using felt pens, d├ęcoupage using magazine images, drawings, wrapping paper or wallpaper/border samples or simply grab some funky wrapping paper and glue it all over the box!
Or simply.......just as a hiding place!!.......Peekaboo!!

http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/97535566/Riser

Silent Sunday


Silent Sunday

26.2.11

Wedding Memories Playlist.

Once again via Twitter I discovered another meme to get involved with. This time its Mumra Playlists!
              
The rules:
“Lets share some playlists with each other, any musical styles are welcome.
You never know we might find some great new music we haven't heard before... It could be your 'Going to sleep' playlist or your 'In the bath' playlist, your 'Break up' playlist or your 'Feel good' songs.
Why not add them to your blog for people to enjoy and link back to this post so we can all have a browse.”

One of the huge plus sides to having a husband who works in production/media is the unlimited access to a huge selection of songs!
 
For our wedding, my husband made a disc of songs we both felt were special and had the “right” words. These songs were played through the hotel before I arrived (we thought this would be better than “life music”) and also became a soundtrack for our Wedding DVD.

Here is a selection from the playlist (that I can remember, oops, pregnancy and baby brain to blame)

Ricky Martin: Private Emotion (song I walked down the aisle to)


Daniel Bedingfield: If You’re Not The One (our first dance)

Boy Meets Girl: Waiting for a Star

Barry White: My First, My last, My Everything

Donna Lewis: I Love You, Always Forever

Vanessa Carlton: A Thousand Miles

Lionel Ritchie: Penny Lover

Beverley Knight: Greatest Day


 Hope the videos all work :-)

Tutti fruitti, mint choc chip, breast milk?



http://resources2.news.com.au/images/2011/02/25/1226011/686234-ice-cream.jpg


I’m sure I can’t be the only person to have blogged about this, or to have something to say about it.

From the start I’d like to point out:

1: I am very very pro breastfeeding, there was no decision to be made over whether or not any of my children would be breastfed or formula fed. (and luckily I have a husband who is also very pro breastfeeding)

2: I had a very painful first 8 days of breastfeeding with Charles; he was diagnosed at 4 days old with tongue tie which was due to be snipped 4 days after the diagnosis. It was a very tough and agonizing start to what I imagined to be an amazing experience but we got through it, without needing to mix feed or to express and give a bottle.

3: I accept that there could be issues with my children or with me that mean I may not be able to breastfeed (unable to latch, milk supply problems, medication etc) and that in case the only option for me will be to formula feed.

4: I would never tell a mum that she should NOT bottle feed. But at the same time, I can’t help but to not like seeing a young baby being fed with a bottle, but I’d never tell a mum she shouldn’t be doing it….and in fact there is more chance of me being told not to breastfeed than for a mum not to be told to bottle feed so I am not sorry for my opinion on this.

5: I don’t want to turn this into a breast vs formula debate :-)


When I first read about the plans for a restuarant to buy breast milk from mothers to make ice cream my first thoughts were “and?!”
In the back of a book I have which is about mothers (and one fathers!) breastfeeding experiences there is a recipe for breast milk ice cream. So it wasn’t entirely unheard of for me.
I then thought that there wasn’t such a big deal, breast milk really is no different to cows’ milk surely? Although part of me can understand peoples uncomfortable feelings toward tasting it and eating it, I hate the fact that people think of it as human waste rather than something which is naturally supposed to come out of our bodies to feed us (if that makes sense, not sure how to word it!)
Someone once said to me, when I stated that I tasted my own breast milk regularly (if I won’t eat/drink it myself then I won’t give it to my son is one of my “rules”) that it was like drinking my own wee. I was shocked by this comment and when the person was then asked to explain why they thought this, they stuttered and realised that maybe it wasn’t a good thing to say!

Anyway, through thinking about the breast milk ice cream further last night, I realised that actually, I’m not ok with it. I can understand that some mothers may want to sell it to make some pocket money, but I can’t help but think there their milk would be appreciated heaps more at a milk bank, hospital, special care unit etc. Wouldn’t there be more satisfaction for a mother knowing that her breast milk was helping a baby grow and stay alive, than to go towards some company trying a new recipe to get more customers through the door and make more profit?? I understand the mums are being offered £15 for every ten ounces of breast milk, which is a great amount of money but, for me, its priceless, and I’d rather give it away for free to a baby in need, than for £15 a bottle!
I also can’t help but think how much will go to waste. What will people order more of, chocolate ice cream or breast milk ice cream?  What if people order it and don’t like it? Then it thrown away and that milk is wasted. Ok it might only be an ounce but sometimes an ounce is that little bit that a baby needs.

As far as I am aware, through milk donation groups on Facebook, there are milk banks and mothers out there screaming for EBM for their babies, so some company coming along wanting to do something “extreme” for some promotion and to get their names out there is inappropriate and out of place. There should be MORE promotion for milk banks, and infact more milk banks set up, than for more ice cream parlours to offer breast milk ice cream.
I had a high supply of milk when feeding Charles. From what I can remember it wasn’t until 12 months, if not after that I eventually was able to give up wearing breastpads (which the majority of the time I had to double up because my supply was that high)
I strongly considered donating my milk to my local hospital but was never made aware of how to go about doing so, and wasn’t encouraged by midwives or health visitors who I mentioned this too. So was never able to donate.
It is definitely something I would consider this time though, and would look into a lot more, even if it means going to the hospital with the milk in a cool box and just handing it over!  Now I have seen the benefits of breast milk on my own son I feel stronger than I ever did that breast is best.
At around 2 weeks old Charles was on antibiotics for oral thrush. This was the only time in the time that he was breastfed that he ever needed antibiotics. He never suffered with ear infections, chest infections; unlike other friends of his (who were formula fed or mix fed) As soon as we stopped breastfeeding he picked up his first chest infection resulting in him being prescribed antibiotics! So the benefits are clear to see, and we are proof of that!

I’m not sure that adults eating breast milk ice cream is going to provide any benefits at all, whereas if donated to a hospital or milk bank, could essentially, save a babies life.

25.2.11

Five Things I Want My Children to Know....

....About Me.

1: I have regrets, and I don’t think that regrets are a bad thing.
I regret not going to college and for choosing to continue in high school and join Sixth Form. I left with A Levels I can do nothing with, yet, had I of gone to college, I could be running my own day care centre by now or at least be working in one and doing a business management course to eventually run my own day care centre. I also regret not learning to drive sooner, and for wasting money when I worked. An overdraft which I can’t get out of in the near future which I didn’t even need when taking it out is one of my biggest regrets!
I also regret things to do with family, without going into detail I want you to know that sometimes you do have to think about yourself, and not try to please others, I have done this on too many occasions and it has gone unnoticed and unappreciated, assess the situation, see if its worth fighting for and making the effort for. Do second chances, but nothing more.

2: I am open minded, I have certain things I believe in, but I never push my beliefs onto anyone else. I always listen to what other people believe in, and their opinions, but would never try to change them, and expect people to respect my beliefs and opinions in return.
I would never turn someone away or exclude them from my life just because we don’t agree on something or live in a particular way.
I am confident and comfortable in what I believe in and I hope that you are exactly the same.

3: [Charles] I was sad that you took so well to giving up breastfeeding. You were always such a “mummy milk monster” that I thought that I would be forcing you to stop, but you making that decision out of the blue by yourself knocked me! I am so glad that we managed to carry on for 18 months after our tricky and challenging first 8 days due to your tongue tie and then the 2 weeks after whilst we I settled into the fact that everything was ok after the consultant snipped it.
I am so proud of you for doing so well at giving up and for not needing it anymore and for accepting that my milk supply obviously wasn’t as amazing as it was before I became pregnant. Those 18 months will always be so special to me.
4: I really do love you more than anything/anyone else in this world, and always will.
I never ever imagined that I could have as much love as I do. As I am writing this I only have one child and am growing the second so best to aim this statement to Charles.
Everything and I mean everything you do amazes me and makes me proud.
Every single day I love you more and more, and it seems like its impossible that tomorrow I will love you more, but I will. 
5: I cry….a lot! But it doesn’t mean I’m sad, upset, angry or disappointed. I cry a lot when I’m happy, I cry when I’m proud, I cry over a lot of things. Crying isn’t anything to be ashamed of. It doesn’t make you weak. Crying is natural, its an emotion we all have, everybody cries sometimes, some just do it more than others…and there is nothing wrong with that.
If you ever need to cry, let it out. If other people don’t like it then you can always come to me and cry on me or with me. I’ll never think you are pathetic or “a girl” for crying.
Even daddy cries sometimes ;-)

Today we visited the "bubbles"

The weather was so nice today that I decided to get us out of the house as much as I could, to combat the constant Pakka/Vanny Man [postman pat] requests which are slowly turning into bigger and bigger tantrums, we had the worst "Pakka" related tantrum yesterday which resulted in a calm down session in his bedroom and then came downstairs and watched Fly Me To The Moon with only a tiny little winge for Pakka which was soon over with.
So this morning, after a winge about Pakka [again] and then a full on tantrum because I refused to give copius amounts of Gripe Water we headed out to Matalan. 30 minutes stuck in traffic we diverted through another part of town with clear roads and shopped. Matalan is normally a nightmare, not due to the shop, but Charles normally hates it, I can't see why. So, armed with his buggy and some biscuits we headed inside. Found some much needed trousers for him, and a shirt in the sale [and a quick browse at the sunglasses, my obsession as soon as the sun comes out!!] and we headed home.
Was surprised to find that as we pulled up on the driveway, and I switched the engine off, to not hear the words "oooooh goney!", Charles' normal reaction to the engine being turned off, so I turned round to see a snoring sleeping toddler. I took the opportunity to quickly clean out the paper, bottles and food packets after our weekend away whilst he remained asleep, sure that as soon as I moved him he would wake up. Thankfully, this wasn't the case, I unstrapped him, lifted him from his seat, walked into the house, up the stairs, into his bed, without him waking! Wow! Since we stopped breastfeeding in mid December naps are a rareity.
I took the opportunity to quickly put some washing out, which I would've done early in the morning had the weatherman not said it would be stormy rain today, grrrr. Had lunch with my husband and caught up on Twitter, Facebook and emails.
At 2.30 was greeted by crying and calls for mummy....a full hour and 45 minutes after he had been placed in his bed! He had lunch, watched Postman Pat and I decided we should go to the beach for a walk, helped by the fact that I found a pound coin in the car and immediately thought of 5 hot sugary doughnuts from the shack on the seafront!
So, we got our coats on [eventually], filled the car up with diesel, and headed for the beach. First port of call was to stop and see my mum who works right next to the beach in a dry cleaners. Then we walked to the beach, as soon as Charles saw the sea he shouted "BUBBLES", its hard to keep him from running straight into the sea! I had only planned a walk along the sea front but after seeing his excitement we headed for the sandy, and now stoney beach. With a constant need to pull him away from the sea our walk was shorter than I hoped.


Sadly as we walked past the doughnut shack they were just closing up, gutted!
Lovely drive home, naming all the animals we'd seen that day and discussing that when we get home, we will go into the garden and see the bunny and give him some dinner, juice [water] and a carrot.
We don't go out enough really, and I have made a vow to myself to make more effort when the weather is nicer. In the summer last year, after passing my driving test, we went to the beach almost everyday, the best thing about living near the coast!! With the new baby due in July I am set on having a lot of "Quality Charlie Time" where I can spoil him with attention and days out....and hopefully some hot sugary doughnuts.

He enjoyed himself really!!

24.2.11

Doing things differently second time around.

A lot of the comments and questions I've had since finding out about boy bump number two revolve around "will you do anything different this time?" "will you breastfeed for as long?" "will you co-sleep?" etc.
Its something I've thought about, going back to the early newborn days and how we did things then, to how we did things at 6 months, 12 months, 18 months and beyond.
We very much did things following Charles' lead. I breastfed on demand, we co-slept [not something I'd planned to do but when we got back from the hospital for our first night together he just did not want to sleep in his moses basket, so co-sleeping started. We slept on a futon in the nursery, leaving my husband in the big comfy king size bed in our bedroom. But it didn't matter at all to me. It was so much easier with night feeds and stupid o clock nappy changes to be in the nursery and meant I [Charles] didn't wake up my husband.

I ended up breastfeeding for 18 months, we co-slept for 6 months and then on and off until Charles was around 12 months. We had no real form of routine until he was 12 months when he decided he wanted to go to bed at 7 every night. 
We spent most of our days cuddling with him asleep on my chest or feeding. He spent some time in a bouncer and then when old enough was in a door bouncer and walker, but nothing could ever beat a mummy cuddle.
He wouldn't take a dummy and would stress over a bottle of EBM (formula was never considered as just not needed or necessary)

This time round, I  will do almost everything the same. Although I have to accept that I won't be able to give constant sleepy cuddles to the new boy as well as entertaining Charles. So we are investing in a swing [thanks to my mum] have a second bouncer [gift from my friend] so we will have one bouncer upstairs, and another bouncer downstairs. We will be buying a second moses basket stand, to encourage us to use it more for naptimes, before we found it such a faff to bring down the basket, then go and get the stand, set it all up to then have to take it all back upstairs again. 
Will possibly use a play nest or sit me up cosy too, and get more use out of the play mat!
Co-sleeping and breastfeeding are a definite on my to do list!
I'd like to avoid dummies this time around again, if possible, but if needed then we will use them. And we will try to encourage the bottled EBM a bit more, so I expect to be doing a lot of pumping!
Meal plans will be better thought out too rather than last minute takeaways.
And, if I can get someone to look after the boys for an hour and a half....a hair cut asap after giving birth!

Another thing I will do differently this time round is to get more wear out of the clothes we have. Thankfully with having another boy a lot of the clothes will be recycled, I got into a habit with Charles of just sticking him in a white bodysuit all day (it was summer and we spent most of our time at home due to me not being able to drive)
This time I will also go out more. I passed my driving test last June, just after Charles' first birthday and it was the best thing I'd ever done....and also not doing it sooner and being so restricted for Charles' first year is one of my, if not my only, regret.

Would be interested to hear [read] any tips anyone has for coping with a newborn and toddler.....what to do and what not to do etc.
I need to prove people wrong and show I can cope :-)

23.2.11

Soundtrack of my Life.

Thank you to @ipswichmummy [Him, me and three] for tagging me in her Soundtrack of my Life post.
I love music and have a variety if tastes, will listen to most things [within reason].
Found this extremely hard to cut down to just 5 songs. Would also have loved to feature Hanson, (was bullied in middle school for liking loving them!) Simply Red, Tom Jones, Timbaland, A1, George Michael and Pat Benetar.......not forgetting The Darkness!

If you have an ipod, mp3 player, spotify playlist that you think says a lot about you I’d like you to join me in putting your playlist on shuffle and listing your first 5 tracks. You can add a note about why you have that particular track on your playlist if you’d like to.  We all have a track or two we wouldn’t like to admit to having on a playlist so no cheating by skipping a track!!
[ok I did cheat as my iPod isn't charged, I don't have an mp3 player and have no idea what Spotify is really so have picked 5 songs I know for a fact would have been in the running]

1: Vuelve: Ricky Martin. I could list every single song by Ricky Martin. This one though is my ultimate favourite. Its a Spanish song, and the title of one of my favourite albums of his. The video is equally as amazing as the song. I walked down the aisle on my wedding day to Private Emotion. And was lucky enough to see at Earls Court around 10 years ago! [Being afraid of heights has its benefits, our seats were changed from stupidly high up to around 10 rows back from the left of the stage, where noone else appeared to be seated. Also happened to be the place Ricky Martin went off stage for outfit changes!) My dream was to hear him perform this song live, especially as I was going through a tough time when we saw him, and my dream came true. Lucky girl :-)
 

2: Behind Closed Doors: Peter Andre: Again there are many Peter Andre songs I could choose. Especially those from his most recent two albums. I was lucky enough to see him in concert last year at the UEA in Norwich. The room is quite small and personal which made it even more amazing. He opened to Behind Closed Doors and then performed it once again later on, only this time acapella.


3: Steps: One For Sorrow. I am a Steps fan and totally not ashamed of it! I knew all of the dance moves, and lead most of the dances at school discos when Steps came on. Difficult to choose a favourite song seeing as I loved so many of them but this one is probably my Ulitmate favourite. Catchy, cheesy, great choreography, proper Steps through and through.(I was stuck between Steps and A1)

4: Daniel Bedingfield: If You're Not The One.  Mine and my husbands "song". It came out around the time we got together, my husband worked full time as a radio presenter when we met and played the song a lot on his shows. We both felt it was a song special to us. I am aware that the words aren't completely necessary for a couple in love [which is a comment I've had many times from others] but it depends on how you disect the words and the meanings behind the song.
It was the obvious choice for our first dance at our wedding and still to this day makes my eyes fill up when I hear it.
My husband met Daniel Bedingfield on two occassions. The first was when we'd been together just over 8 months at T4s Pop Beach in Great Yarmouth. He got Daniels autograph for me which was lovely, especially as they both felt very awkward about it, and it was secretly filmed by the local news channel which was broadcast the next day. Very embarrassing for my husband. 
Then a few months after we married they met again at Summer XS concert in Bedfordshire. My husband was going to mention to Daniel that we'd used this song as our first dance, but, Daniel was in a hyper mood and ended up swearing on air so the interview was cut short!

5: Starry Eyed: Ellie Goulding. The song that introduced me to one of the most amazing voices around at the moment. It took me a while to find out her name because I always caught the song on the radio when driving, and missed her name I forgot it by the time I got home. Eventually I found out and headed straight to You Tube and listened to other songs such as Guns and Horses, The Writer and Under The Sheets
I was lucky enough last year to also see Ellie at the UEA in November. I hadn't listened to her album, simply because I was aware that she was re-releasing the album with extra songs on....I'm not silly ;-) I'll be honest, I was wary because there are so many times that singers sound amazing on studio recorded singles and I was concerned that she couldn't be THIS good live. I was wrong! Note perfect, passionate, there was not one moment during the whole of the concert that my body wasn't goosebump free. (Unfortunately I was around 6 weeks pregnant at this point and feeling tired, bloated and sick so couldn't bounce around as much as I wanted to!)
If I had the chance to go back again I would, and if you get the chance to see her I urge you to go! You would not be disappointed.
Now.....I dare you to listen to this song and not tap your foot or move in any kind of way....impossible!

If you join in please post a link in the comments box below. For those that are tagged, I won't be offended if you choose not to take part.

I tag:


When you grow up.....

I’ve always enjoyed reading the stories where mothers write to their 16/18 year old son or daughter.

I wanted to put my own spin on it and instead of writing a letter, which I would eventually like to do, I wanted to write about what I want my son to be and to be like when he grows up.

Charles:
When you grow up, I want you to be:

A caring man who thinks about others and will help others. Someone who everyone can rely on, who everyone is pleased to see. I want you to be a pillar of the community, or be someone who everyone is aware of, in a positive way. 
I want you to have a job you enjoy, and put your all into.
I want you to have a constant smile on your face and to enjoy life. To soldier on no matter what life throws at you.

I want you to be passionate, not just about work but about anything you put your mind to.
I want you to be proud of yourself, even over tiny things that may not matter to anyone else.
I don't necessarily want you to be popular, or have a huge group of friends, but I want you to have some special friendships, some friends you can rely on 100%, who will never let you down. 
I want you to be successful, not necessarily by earning lots of money, but by succeeding in whatever you put your mind to. 
I want you to be passionate, to know exactly what you want.
I want you to be a good judge of character, and to never have to experience anyone letting you down or hurting you.
I want you to be confident, I want you to stand up for what you believe in, but to also have an open mind and allow other people to express their opinions and to listen to what other people have to say and believe in also.
I want you to be interested in the world, interested to know where you come from, interested in your life as a little boy. 
I want you to be interested in all the photographs we have ever taken of you and of all of us a family. I want you to be interested in all of the places we've been, and to want to do the same with your family.
I want you to know that you can come to me at anytime about anything. For help, for a shoulder, for a cuddle....for anything.
I want you to know I will never judge you, I will always be there for you no matter what.
And of course I want you to know that I will always love you and I want you to know how important love is. And how important a close family is, how important contact is and that time is precious, and should never be wasted.


#thegallery: Expressions

Very excited to be taking part in Sticky Fingers: The Gallery for the very first time! Although I've only properly taken to blogging in the last 2 weeks I have read blogs for months, and been very interested in seeing photos entered for The Gallery, and its something I've always wanted to be part of.

This week's theme is: Expressions.
Laughing, crying, angry, sad, happy, yelling, smiling, shocked, pained, peaceful.
Let's get expressive.
I have a very expressive toddler so it makes sense that I would use a photo of him. Only I can't decide which one. So here is a selection.

<3 Content <3

Excited!!
Happiness, Laughter and Love [watching Upsy Daisy, his first crush]

Surprise [we have no idea why he looked at the label though]



22.2.11

21st Century Films. Movie Meme Number One.

After requesting on Twitter about wanting to join in with Memes and similar I was excited to see that fellow blogger Hannah over at http://www.metalmummy.co.uk/ was starting her own Movie based Meme!
As an (ex) GCSE and A Level Media student it felt wrong for me to not join in. Although the majority of my knowledge and anything I learnt from Media has gradually frazzled away due to pregnancy brain and baby brain but my love for the subject is still there, somewhere.

The theme and task:  21st Century Films. You can choose any genre of film, any actor, any actress and any reason for choosing it. It can be your favourite film of the whole decade, the scariest film, the most heart-wrenching, the most thought-provoking. 

Immediately my head ran through all the films I love, 2 stood out for me in particular, One Hour Photo and the Saw series. Heather, aka SAHMlovingit on Twitter made the decision for me and my chosen subject is One Hour Photo! Which is probably for the best, as I'm not sure its best that my dark side comes out so early on in my blogging ;-)

So, One Hour Photo. Here we go.
http://www.danheller.com/Movies/OneHourPhoto/OneHourPhoto-3-big.jpg
I should make a confession here first. Robin Williams is my older man crush. There I said it. Its normally met with shocked and stunned faces, which I can understand, sort of.
Robin Williams character is completely different from my other favourite character of his, Mrs Doubtfire. His look is completely different, and this is how we are first introduced to the innocence of this individual.

I'm going to be honest, I am finding it hard to describe the film and explain it in such a way that shows just how amazing it is. So, I ask you please to visit The Synopsis so you can see what its about. Although be warned, it gives you a lot of description and will ruin the ending! Alternatively, here is a run down in bullet points (with no spoilers at all):

  • Robin Williams plays, Seymour “Sy” Parrish, a technician in a photo lab at SavMart’s in Los Angeles
  • He is a lonely man with no one special in his life. His life is all about work.
  • He becomes obsessed with his favourite customers after developing their photos for years. The Yorkin family, Will, Nina and their son Jake. He admires their happiness and how perfect their life seems to be. He knows almost everything there is to know about them and eventually, begins to stalk them.
  • His obsession with the family results in him creating a collage on a wall in his apartment out of photos of theirs, which he has been secretly collecting copies of over the years.
  • Jake notices quite early on that Sy is a shy and lonely man. Something which Nina eventually realises too. Sy is able to spark a connection to Nina when he notices a book she has been reading, he pretends to be interested in the book too, just to be able to talk to her.
  • Certain events happen which equal in Sy hating the man he had once admired and looked up to. This equals Sy to react in a very dramatic way……
  • NOW GO WATCH IT to find out what happens next.
One thing I love about this film, other than Robin Williams' amazing performance, is that you are constantly wondering whats going to happen next, constantly wanting to jump into to film to help this man, to give him a hug, to stop him from doing what he's about to do.
Although the way he acts, and the things he does, are all very creepy and at times uncomfortable to watch, you really can't help but feel connected to the character.
The style of filming is soft and colours are somewhat dull, which helps to create the mood of the story and of what is going on and going to happen.

This film had me gripped from the beginning. Even the promotional artwork for the film had me hooked before I'd even watched it!
http://www.impawards.com/2002/posters/one_hour_photo_ver2.jpg
I can't sell this film at all. My brain is fried today after an unnecessary debate on Facebook late last night which has also resulted in a pounding migraine but there was no way I wanted to miss out on this Meme!
I urge you to watch it if you haven't already. And if you have watched it, then go and watch it again....I most certainly want to!

20.2.11

Catalogue Parties....marmite??

I am one of those people who you invite to a Body Shop at Home, Jamie at Home, Tupperware Party, Ann Summers Party, Handbag and Jewellery Party, who will, without fail, find any excuse to not turn up.
Like marmite, you either love them or hate them!

I hate them, and, I just don't "get" them. 

In my life, I have been to one Ann Summers party, and I hated it. Ok the games were fun-ish, and I'm most certainly not the type of person to take offence to sexual references etc but sitting faking orgasms and shouting swear words in front of people I'd only just met is not my idea of fun.....infact I'm not overally comfortable doing that infront of people I've known for years and years!
But it's not just that, I hate the pressure that is put on attendees of these parties. 
"You don't have to buy anything, just come and look at the brochure"
How does the above quote actually make sense? If I do not have to buy anything, or want to buy anything or indeed if I cannot afford to buy anything then why would I want to be tempted by a brochure? I know the kind of person I am, I would put in an order, after being told I can pay at a later date, and then panic about finding the £10 for an egg cup which I don't really need or want.

The only parties I feel I'd want to attend are the Body Shop ones, although if I wanted or needed something would simply visit the store, or a candle party-which would be very dangerous for my bank balance as I have an obsession with buying scented candles!

I can see that these parties are a good way of socialising. But, in most cases I only know the host, and don't really want to sit in their house and find my first conversation when meeting a new person will be "so how many vibrators do you have already?" 

I also feel very much that the person inviting me, whether or not this is the case, only wants me there to make the numbers up, especially as by doing so, means that their commission is bumped up and that their free gift is better because of the higher numbers. I also wish to add that the person who invites me to the majority of these parties never invites me round for just a cup of tea and a gossip, only when she has a party.

So, I leave this now needing to think up the next excuse for the upcoming party I have been invited to, or is it acceptable to just say "I can't buy anything sorry, so won't make it, but thank you for inviting me"??

Its a boy!

Grrr to having dodgy internet access for a week, finally sorted fingers crossed so blog update required!

We had our 20 week scan on Wednesday and were very happy to find out that we are expecting another boy! We had both predicted a boy just before we walked into the hospital but as both of our parents had a boy and a girl we felt comfortable that we would have a girl....not that we expected a girl, but we felt it was 'right' for it to be a girl.
Confession time
I always wanted a boy as my first child, and was over the moon when we found out we were indeed having a boy first. I'd always hoped then to have a girl, my plan was always two children, a nice even number with a family of four. But after having Charles I changed my mind, and felt I was more of a "mummy to two boys" kind of gal! I've always been a girly girl in the sense of I don't like climbing trees, I like love make up, I can't run, football bores me, etc...although I'm not overally keen on the colour pink,I've always preferred blue ;-)
(not that that makes any difference at all!) I couldn't look at girls and think "awwww I want a girl", because I didn't.
One of my close friends has a girl and although I think the world of her, she never made me have the urge of wanting a girl. I was always more than happy with my boy, and decided a boy is what I wanted next. When I found out we were expecting this baby my first thoughts were of a boy, but gradually a pink feeling crept in and within no time at all I was aching for a girl. I would look at girls, of all young ages, and feel like I needed a daughter. I felt that there was a gap in my life and a girl needed to fill it. This urge became so strong that I ended up in tears almost every day (blame the hormones) and my mum confessed that she was concerned about how I would handle the scan if told the baby was another boy. And it worried me too.
Then the Friday before the scan, I had a wake up call. All of a sudden the sex actually didn't matter at all. Yes my preference would have been for a girl, but feeling disappointed at 'it' being a boy would go against everything I believe in and be wrong, and unhealthy!
So when we spotted the "extra bit between his legs" I did have a couple of tears roll down my face, but not of disappointment, but of relief that I didn't feel the disappointment that I still worried was hidden inside me somewhere.
Now we can't stop thinking of all the positives of having another boy!

I do feel that there is part of me which will miss having the relationship with a daughter which is as amazing as the relationship I have with my own mother, but I keep reminding myself that even if I did have a daughter, it doesn't necessarily mean I would automatically have a close relationship with her.

Better learn the offside rule and practise climbing trees instead!

11.2.11

Pink or Blue....is it really that bad finding out?


Finding Out The Sex

For us there was absolutely no question for us over whether or not we wanted to find out the sex of our first baby….of course we did! There was far too much temptation and for us, if we can know, then we will know.
I remember when we went into the scan, I was sure we were having a boy, 100% sure. We asked the sonographer if she could tell us the sex then to please do so, she was a little funny at first and stated that she couldn’t promise she can tell us but if she can see anything she will let us know, I said that I understood, she also said about it not being 100% accurate, again I said I understood.
We were then told…..boy! I had been talking to the sonographer quite a lot during the scan and she seemed to loosen up and be a little more friendly than overally professional, which was lovely!
I asked her to take her professional hat off for a second and asked if she was me, would she confidently buy blue clothes. She said yes! So, result!! 

We didn't keep the sex a surprise from family and friends, and if the pregnancy came up in conversation with strangers (which it does tend to when you are walking around with a big bump) we would share the sex then, if asked. 
I was surprised to hear a few comments from 2 family members (my dad and my nan) friends and strangers stating that we had 'ruined the surprise' and that 'giving birth won't be as special now'. These weren't jokey comments, they were completely serious, which shocked me even more.

For me, knowing the sex meant I was more prepared for his arrival, we had chosen his name, which he reacted to whenever we spoke to 'bump' and made us feel like we had that bond with him already, although I am not saying that someone who doesn't choose to find out the sex of their baby has any less of a bond.
We didn't feel like we had lost out on anything by finding out the sex, and I don't think that by not knowing the sex would've made my labour and birthing experience any different at all.
I'm also quite impatient!

I asked via Twitter, Bountys baby forum whether any other mums found out the sex of their baby and the reasons for doing so:
  • @MetalMummy84 "I did so I could prepare for her arrival. Although for the first 2 scans, they thought she was a boy, so prepped wrong!" [cont after reply] "We prepped and got a few boy outfits, planned names and found out at 24wks she was a girl. Oops!" Metal Mummy Blog
  • Vicky on Bounty replied: "i have 4 girls...we didn't get the chance to find out the sex of the first 2, but with the second 2 we found out we were haveing girls at the 20 wk scan...this time round i want a surprise as the best part about going through that hard labour is the joy at being told what sex your baby is or even looking for yourself"
  • Esther on Bounty replied: "i am due 2nd July 2011, i am finding out the sex next week (can't wait).  i didn't find out with my first child, but decided that we would this time as we have so much girl stuff that if i am having a girl, i need to star sorting through it, if i have a boy, i need to start seeling it off!  Also, the last time i got to about 28-30 weeks and started to get really frustrated at not knowing the sex!!!!!
    Last time i did all the old wifes tales and a lot of them were true, tried it again this time, but found they all seem to contradict each other. 
    Will let you know what i am having next week.  My little girl has also said that I am having a boy, my sister is pregnant and is not finding out the sex, my little girl beieves she is having a girl. 
Once Charles was born the very first thing I did as he was pulled to the top of the water [water birth] was to check I did indeed have a boy.
I felt like I hadn't lost out on the 'surprise' element because 
  1. I didn't know what kind of labour I was going to have.
  2. I didn't know what he would look like, how much hair he would have, what colour his hair would be.
  3. I didn't know whether or not I'd be able to breastfeed.
  4. I didn't know what sleeping would be like, if we would get into a routine.
  5. I didn't know if we would bond straight away.
  6. I didn't know what kind of personality he would have.
  7. etc etc etc
I found this article about the Ultrasound diagnosis of fetal gender very interesting. It includes information of a study by B J Whitlow et al, entitled "First trimester diagnosis of gender" and goes into further detail of the accuracy of gender diagnosis.
Reading this article has made me feel slightly less anxious if we are told the sex of this baby is a girl. We have previously been told [by friends] and read on baby forums that there is less chance of a sonographer being correct if they state the baby is a girl than if they state a boy, so I felt that couldn't go ahead and buy dresses or skirts and so on. But judging by the photos in the article it is clear to see that although there is no visable penis, there is "accurate indication of the female gender". 

I personally don't see any right or wrong answer over whether or not someone should or shouldn't find out the sex of their baby. And I think there are far too many debates on baby forums with far too strong opinions on the subject. 
I think its the same as our parenting choices....if we choose to do something a certain way, who is to tell us we are doing wrong?
What I think is clear is that it most certainly doesn't ruin the experience of giving birth or effect the love and bond between parent and child.