Playing Pirates

I’m not sure where it comes from but Monkey has a little love of Pirates. It could be from a pirate episode of Postman Pat or that pirate programme on cbeebies Swashbuckle (does that do anyone else’s head in?) or it could just be because he has loved looking through cardboard tubes for a long time. We call them telescopes and his Nanny and Pops say things like “I don’t see no ships” in a piratey voice whenever he has one. Maybe it is a combination of these things but wherever he has got it from Monkey likes all things pirate.

So for a while we have it in mind that we would like to do some pirate themed fun and on one weekend recently we had some spare time and Hubs decided he and Monkey would make a treasure chest and some treasure.

They had great fun painting the chest and making treasure out of tin foil and painting those.

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Then another day in the week Monkey and I drew a treasure map. Monkey told me where to put the cross and he drew some ponds… then I had to go get LM and came back to discover there was some lakes added on too and the X is now at the bottom of a lake ;) whatever you say Monkey! I drew on some trees and then was instructed to draw peppa pig and her house – so that is what the red and pink bits in the top corner are supposed to be lol! Hmm maybe Peppa Pig has something to do with his interest in pirates?

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To continue the piratey fun we then made Monkey his own pirate hat.

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He loved running around with his hat and telescope, but the treasure map held very little interest for him. The real winner with this activity is the treasure chest and treasure. He absolutely adores his treasure chest and can spend ages in the conservatory (excuse the mess, this is the messy play room/laundry drying area) putting the treasure in and taking it out, posting his treasure through the telescope, and collecting it all in one of his treasure cups.

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The hat and telescope often end up in the treasure chest too bless him! It has been great fun doing all of the pirate activities and best of all it is an activity that lasts as he loves playing with his treasure!!

It’s the first time we have really done a themed week of activities, but I think we will again.

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Me & Mine January 15

For a while I have seen other blogger’s Me & Mine posts and been envious of all the gorgeous shots of their families growing as the months have gone by. The lovely hosts are running it again this year so I decided to try and join in.

I am not 100% confident that we will manage to get a lovely family shot every month but I am certainly going to try as I love a good family photo.

Here is January’s effort, a couple of shots of us at The National Railway Museum. They aren’t the best shots, it was really dark in there so most of the photos came out blurry or just a bit dark and any which had Monkey smiling in them too of course had to be the blurry ones! But here we are, our little family of 4 starting out the New Year!

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dear beautiful

Troublesome

The best word to describe this week is troublesome. It hasn’t been a bad week and some parts of it have been really quite good, and lovely, but the children at least have definitely been a bit troublesome at times.

Monkey’s behaviour has certainly kept us on our toes this week. I’m not sure exactly why but since starting playgroup (which is going really well, more on that next week as I don’t want to tempt fate at the moment!) his behaviour had home has gone a little downhill. Whether it is because he is more tired as now twice a week he has busy afternoons, whereas before he nearly always had quiet, restful afternoons, whether it is because he is seeing other children’s behaviour at playgroup, or whether he is just acting up because we have started taking him to playgrup and because his baby sister is taking up a lot of my attention, I am really not sure.

Or it could just he growing into the terrible twos which we have been lucky with up until this point. Either way, the tantrums have stepped up a notch as has the yelling of no and don’t want to at every opportunity. It is taking threats to get him to eat even his favourite foods. That sounds worse than it is, I basically just threaten to throw it away (and he knows we are serious as we have done it in the past) which makes him suddenly realise he does want to eat it after all when he likes the food anyway, if he doesn’t want to eat it at all he just says ok, so I have to follow through!). He has been on the naughty spot after daddy lost it with him on a car journey when he was trying to get out of his car seat. He is threatened with going straight to bed with no stories every night  in order to get him to have a bath, which is getting old. We then have another tantrum when it is time to get out of the bath,. He doesn’t want to get in but then loves it so much he doesn’t want to get out.

Sometimes in addition to the threats his toys “talk” to him and they are often much more successful at persuading him to eat something or do something than Mummy and Daddy are! His postman pat toy (and this morning LM’s squeaky crocodile) helps at mealtimes and Herbie the hedgehog (a hand puppet) helps persuade him to do things in the evenings. In some ways I really don’t like doing this, but also I just can’t handle the stress of having stand-offs when trying to get him to do the simplest things. As at the moment there is about a hundred stand-offs a day and I don’t have the energy!

I do feel for him though as I know a lot of it is just attention seeking. His baby sister is also being troublesome this week which is taking a lot of my attention. I am trying really hard to focus on him too but it’s not easy when she won’t stay asleep for more than half an hour at a time and is also fussy when she is awake. Not entirely sure why this is,but she is starting to teethe and is dribbling loads and chewing her teeth constantly. Monkey got his 1st tooth at 4 mths so I guess it is not a complete surprise but she is definitely more restless too.

It’s difficult to know if this is because of the teething or something else but I do feel like it is potentially giving her tummy aches, (apparently this is due to the properties in their drool, which when swallowed creates gas in their intestines(?)) so am on the hunt for teething remedies. We used ashton and parsons powders with Monkey but they contain lactose and while she is fussy anyway it doesn’t seem the right time to re-introduce lactose to her diet. Thanks to all the twitter peeps for their help with suggestions, fingers crossed we find something that works. I am intrigued by amber necklaces and anklets but not convinced yet, we have some teethers from Dr Brown’s on the way and have just started using Chamomilla by Weleda, so I am sure I will keep you posted!

The Reading Residence

Fun at the Farm & Playing Pooh Sticks

Not to far from where we live is Sacrewell Farm. It is a great child friendly place to go and I have blogged out it before. It is lovely but the entry price is a little expensive for us to be able to visit too frequently. Last Saturday they had an open day which meant it was free entry for everyone so they could talk about what was happening over the year. Well we couldn’t resist so we wrapped up warm and headed over.

Of course being a free open day, it was packed! They have an amazing play barn and we had hoped to have a play but there was a queue to get in throughout the day and we decide not to bother. It was actually a lovely sunny day and we wanted to make the most of it by being outdoors even though it was freezing and very, very muddy!

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Monkey loved seeing the animals (even a pretend one!)…

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though we all got a fright when he went to say hello to a goat, and it rammed the fence trying to get at him! It shocked us all but thankfully Auntie Ericha saved the day by telling Monkey that the goat was just saying hello. It was a bit scary but we know what Monkey is like for getting scared and that fear hanging around for a long old time, so it helps to persuade him that it wasn’t that scary really!

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There is a little stream running through the farm and who can resist a game of pooh sticks? We have tried to do it with Monkey before but he didn’t really get it at the time. This time however he loved it!

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So much so that he didn’t want to stop in fact and just kept saying all day “I know, throw sticks in river!” over and again! We have created a monster!! ;) I don’t mind though, I have such strong memories of looking for sticks to play pooh sticks with as a kid! Such great simple fun :)

Do your kids love pooh sticks?

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The truth about Making a baby smile

I love seeing our baby girl smile, it lights up my day and makes the difficult patches easier to bear. Honestly look at this gorgeous face!

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So we do whatever we can to bring out thse smiles. We grin, we coo, we gurn repeatedly. I am sure we all do it but behind every one of these smiles, is a whole lot of mummy and daddy looking like eejits. Just as a bit of fun I thought I would share some of the ridiculus faces we pull to bring out a smile :) enjoy!

daft facesYep even Hubs’ grumpy face brings out a smile lol!

And then the fun began...
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#MaternityMondays week 4

Well here we are, week four of #MaternityMondays! Thank you so much to everyone for linking up, we really appreciate it and we love reading your posts!

It’s been a bit of an up and down week this last week as I was feeling very tired and low to start with but things have improved a lot and I am feeling much more positive and like myself again. This week LM turned 3 months so I am sharing my post about what she is up to at the moment and some gorgeous smily pics of her :)

Now it is over to you! Please grab our badge and share the linky love by commenting on a few other blog posts, it would be lovely if we could grow a little community to share the highs and lows of motherhood and parenting. It is my turn to host this week and I am really looking forward to reading your posts!

The linky is open Mondays only from 6.30am to midnight.

Don’t forget to tweet your link using #MaternityMondays, and if you tag us in we will retweet, we are @EmmaLander2 and @BecomingaSAHM

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Postnatal Yoga and my Weight Loss so far

I am nearly one month in to my weight loss journey, and well it’s been a bit up and down to be honest!

Diet

I am following the idea of the original Weight Watchers plan. My MIL had all the books and paperwork which meant there was no cost involved, and I am not a huge one for joining groups. Hubs introduced me to WW when  I wanted to lose weight after Monkey and I found it worked really well for me.

I like to think of it as an everything in moderation diet because nothing is completely off-limits. You get a points allowance (much like the current WW system) and you work out how many points are in any food and then you can add up how much you are eating throughout the day to meet your allowance. Points come from calories (70 calories per point) and saturated fat (4g sat fat per point) and your personal points allowance is calculated using your current weight, height, activity level etc.  I am not sure how the current system works but I think it takes more nutritional values into consideration than just calories and sat fat.

The reason it worked for me so well the first time was because it really made me pay attention to what I was eating, and how many calories were in everything I ate. I could still eat anything I liked but when things have a points value associated with them, and you have daily total, I found that I would make healthier choices, eat foods with lower points, as it meant I could eat more throughout the day.

I did really well on it the first time round and had high hopes it would be pretty easy again but it has been a bit harder so far. I started off really well and according to the scales lost about 5lbs in the first week. then things  very much leveled off, even though I was still following the same plan. I have written before how I am not relying totally on the scales as I am not sure how accurate they are as a measure, and how for me, it is more about how I fit in certain items of clothing.

The trouble is though that it is easy to feel disheartened when the needle on the scales stops moving south. It is easy, when feeling disheartened, to go off the rails a little, and I have definitely done that a few times. I could make excuses, we still have a very small baby, I am still shattered after being up in the night with her and then looking after her and a toddler every day… and they are very true, but that is how I got overweight in the first place and not good enough reasons for going back to old habits.

The good news, I have lost weight. I can now do up my red shorts – I mean they are still ridiculously, uncomfortably tight but I can do them up, which I could not even nearly do 2 weeks ago. So regardless of what the scales say, I have lost inches and I need to focus on that.

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Not exactly a huge difference from 2 weeks ago but hey it is a start!

Exercise

I have been walking more and I went to a postnatal yoga class last week which was really good. My back has been terrible over the last month or two, so when I saw the taster session for postnatal yoga I was immediately interested. The class was great, the instructor took things very slowly and said it was all about rebuilding the strength in our muscles. The exercises (mainly breathing exercises) were very simple but effective and I could feel them working.

The downside? Little Miss. The idea is that you take your baby to the class and they will either doze to the side or happily gurgle at you while you do the exercises and at times you can include  them in the class. Most of the other babies there did that, LM ooh no. She wanted feeding shortly after the class started – not easy to lie down doing back strengthening breathing exercises when feeding a baby! Then she needed burping, then she wasn’t happy on her back. Out of the hour long class I got to do about 10-15 mins of the exercises and was watching the rest of the time. Better than nothing and the one exercise I remember does help when I find the time to do it at home.

I would love to carry on the class but with LM having no routine at the moment I don’t feel like there is much point. I don’t want to pay for an hours session if I can’t actually do the exercises. I know she is only a few months old and a few  people have said I shouldn’t be impatient, it is just what a baby is like and I get it, but it is hard to carve out time for myself when every day is so totally different. I keep changing my mind whether to join up or not, and, well I shall keep you posted I guess. The other option is to get a dvd I can do at home but it is very difficult to know which one is good. Any recommendations for a gentle post-natal exercise dvd, please share it!

I need to concentrate on strengthening my back though as it has gotten worse this last week. For a few days my whole left side has been very painful, from my neck all the way down to my knee. My knee especially has been agony at times. Hubs has regular physio for his back and because I was so uncomfortable he looked after the kids for me on Friday afternoon and gave me his appointment. It definitely helped and is all just stemming from my issues with my lower back, so I really, really have to make time to work on it if I want things to improve. I shall keep you posted with how that is going!

I need my body to be strong again and carrying excess weight isn’t helping either so I am re-doubling my efforts to stick to the diet – and I need to ask hubs to stop tempting me with offers of my favourite naughty foods in the evenings. I actually crochet-ed some baby booties for LM recently and concentrating on something and keeping my hands busy definitely stopped me snacking so much, so I think I need to crochet some more things, if only for that reason lol!

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The National Railway Museum in York

Some really good friends of ours live in Newcastle, which is around a 4 hour journey from where we live. In order to see each other a bit more often we are trying to meet in the middle a bit more – making day trips with small children much more manageable. For our first such meet up, my friend suggested the National Railway Museum in York.

We considered going on the train but it was going to be about £100 without a seat for Monkey, plus the added stress of where to put LM and her buggy, so we wimped and out and went in the car. The train would have taken a little over an hour whereas it was nearer 2 hours in the car, but we were comfortable and LM slept both there and back which was brilliant!

The National Railway Museum

The National Railway Museum is the largest railway museum in the UK and home to over a million artefacts showing the history of railway. It is free to enter, though you can make a donation ot purchase a guide book if you wish. A must for any train lover and what little boy doesn’t like trains?

Well, ours, apparently! He had been really excited about going, then as soon as we arrived and walked into the museum.

“I don’t like trains” “I don’t like trains” repeated on loop at least 50 times on the way to the cafe where we headed to feed LM and meet our friends. Ever the contrary toddler eh?

In truth though I can understand why. The building itself is vast, and absolutely filled with trains, including the biggest trains I have ever seen! Hubs is 6’2″ and one of the first trains you can see when you arrive is a Chinese train where the wheels are as tall as hubs… and the whole thing about 3 times his height. Understandably daunting to a 2 year old I think bless him! So in saying “I don’t like trains” I think what he was actually saying was “Hey Mummy I am not sure about this, they are a bit scary! I thought trains were smaller than this!”

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Possible the biggest train I have ever seen, difficult to tell scale as hubs is not that close but trust me, it is huge!

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After having a snack and meeting our friends we hoped Monkey would feel more enthusastic about the trains and took him to have a look inside them. But no, he was  having none if it, typical! This was just him you understand, my friend’s little boy was loving looking at all of the trains and there was lots of other children there enjoying themselves,  There was however a model railway which he adored and didn’t want to leave!

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One train we did get him interested in was, unsurprisingly, the post train! He seriously loves anything “post” related. We did also manage to persuade him that some of the big trains he saw were like “The Greendale Rocket” form Postman Pat so he did enjoy those a little more.

the post train

The post train

Both boys thoroughly enjoyed the great little outdoor playarea, even though it was bitterly cold and so windy that day!

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Dining wise, there is a couple of cafes and restaurants to choose from and there is also a lot of benches and picnic tables available to use, both indoors and outdoors. We had a a morning cuppa, and an afternoon break at the cafes but took our own picnic for lunch and there was lots of families who had done the same. It is always nice that there is seating areas provided for this, and that we didn’t have to sit out in the cold to enjoy our picnic.

The museum has great access for pushchairs and wheelchairs and our boys adored running up and down the ramps – it really is the simple things that entertain children isn’t it? The museum is divided across the road and there is a concourse that runs underneath, with lifts at each end.

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Our boys loved the sweet playarea, which of course, had lots of trains to play with and even Chuggington dressing up clothes! Though I believe they are renovating it soon which I am sure will only improve it.

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There is a variety of exhibitions and so much to see and honestly we barely touched the surface and weren’t really able to take much of it in with small children to entertain. They do demonstrations of trains turning on turntables and we did go to see a show, which sounded great and very entertaining, although we realised it was little above our boys’ level when they started discussing Newton’s laws of motion! I am sure older children would have loved it though.

Waiting for the show, with our wriggly boys!

Waiting for the show, with our wriggly boys!

I think the highlight for our little Monkeys was standing out on the viewing platform watching the trains go in and out of York station. They loved waving at them all as they went by and the train drivers were great, waving back and tooting at them – they must see kids there so much but for them to respond to it is very kind and made their day!

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We had a really lovely day out at the National Railway Museum and will defiitely go again when the kids are a little older too and can appreciate it a little more!

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Improving

My word of the week is “improving.”

With LM turning 3 months things are definitely improving, I am not saying life is totally easy but things are definitely better than they were. Her reflux is much improved and she does sleep well at night so I really shouldn’t complain (though of course I do as I am still shattered by the looking after of a baby and toddler ;)).

After a good start at playgroup things with Monkey went a bit downhill and last Friday I was very much questioning whether it was the right thing to do. Thanks to the lovely supportive ladies on Facebook who reminded me it would get easier, which it did, that day in fact. We seemed to hit rock bottom, and then turn a corner and when I picked him up on onday afternoon he didn’t even cry (he had balled when I dropped him off) and keeps telling me he loves playgroup. So I know it won’t necessarily all be plain sailing and there will still be tears, but things are improving.

My mood is improving too. I started off the week feeling really, really low. I went for dinner with some friends on Monday and it was lovely to see them, but it was a bit of a late night for me (home just after 10pm, so going to sleep around 11, rock and roll I know) and actually knocked me for six a bit. I just felt shattered and tiredness can take me to some very miserable places, mood wise and I am not that fun to be around. Add to that a baby screaming and a toddler coming down with a cold and I wasn’t at all cheerful.

I have pulled myself together a bit and have caught up on some sleep and am feeling a lot better about things. Things aren’t easy or perfect but wallowing and making myself feel down about it all doesn’t help anyone.

How has your week been?

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Little Miss at 3 months

It is different for everyone but for me the first few months with a baby are the hardest. We felt it with Monkey and it has been the same with LM, the first weeks seem to last forever, and yet looking back it feels like the blink of an eye.

Because here we are, we made it, our Little Miss is 3 months old, 11lb 10oz and life is definitely getting easier, albeit gradually!

3 months

So what is she up to at the moment?

Feeding and Pooing

It might seem weird to have these under the same heading but lets face it they are very much linked! It’s over a month since we moved from breastfeeding onto a Lactose Free formula and it has definitely been a much easier month feeds wise. The colic has gone completely and the reflux has been under control with Gaviscon.

The only problem we have had is that the combination of Gaviscon with the lactose free formula has made LM quite constipated at times. We started giving her additional cool boiled water but that didn’t help much so we started giving her sugar water a couple of times a day (mixing a teeny bit of sugar into the boiled water) as I read that it was a traditional remedy and worth trying. It helped loads and for a while she was much less uncomfortable.

Then our HV actually advised that it wasn’t an ideal solution as it can make their kidneys work harder, so we went back to just water. She really didn’t want to drink much and pretty soon was struggling again. We tried the sugar water again but the cheeky minx decided she wasn’t keen on it anymore. She then got really badly constipated and it was horrible seeing her in pain as it took her a long time to do her business. Because the root of the problem was the Gaviscon we decided it would be worth phasing it out, to see how she got on and how bad her reflux is now, as she has been having the Gaviscon at every feed for the last 2 months.

The good news is that she is fine without the Gaviscon. I think there are the odd times at feeds where her reflux bothers her as she has been a little fussier sometimes since we stopped it… But it is not at every feed and there have been no nighttime screaming sessions so she is doing well. The result is much better movements too which is a huge relief!

Sleeping

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I wrote previously about how we were helping LM learn to sleep better by herself and she is doing amazingly well. She had a few days of sleeping 10-11 hours through the night, though she has decided that she doesn’t want to do that anymore :( It was amazing for those few days and we know she can do it! Daytimes are still all over the place, when I started writing this I thought we may have a vague routine, but she has thrown that out of the window again now so re-writing! She has actually decided she wants to be awake for about 31/2 hours at a time now, which is fine by me as long as she is happy.

And she is. The result of the good sleep and being in less pain from colic and reflux is that she is a gorgeously happy girl now. She smiles and coos all the time and is just a joy to be around. A complete contrast to the screaming of the early days poor thing! Yes she still cry’s and fusses and late afternoons can be fun, but it is all so much easier than before. I hate the lack of routine though and am praying that some kind of pattern forms if she is going to be awake a bit longer now. I know, she’s just a baby but I feel so out of control and like a hermit because I struggle to arrange to see anyone because I don’t know what she will be doing and staying home is just less stressful.

Playtime

Ok so there’s not much playtime going on with a 3 month old but it is starting. She adores the monkey and lion faces on her bouncer and sits giggling, grinning and cooing at them for ages which is just lovely! She also bats at the dangly toys and is really enjoying the ones attached to her car seat. I was really impressed that she grabbed onto one of them the other day and held onto it for ages! Monkey was totally uninterested in any toys like this until he was quite a bit older!!

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While she loves lying on her back and kicking her legs, she still doesn’t very much enjoy tummy time. That being said though she is so strong and easily pushes herself up to have a look around and has lifted her legs like she is trying to roll so I am sure in time she will get there!

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Her favourite thing is sitting up, she just loves looking around. She sits on my lap and if I lay her on my knees she is always lifting her head and trying to pull forward. We sit and sing “If you’re happy and you know it” and “heads, shoulders, knees and toes” and ‘row row row” is great for strengthening her “sit up” muscles! Because she loves sitting up so much we have just got out Monkey’s Jumperoo and she sat in it today for the first time. She can’t bounce yet and I have a cushion under her to support her but she definitely likes being in there!

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She is fascinated by mirrors and stares at herself in it, mesmerised! When she saw Daddy in the mirror the other day she could not stop smiling, though she wasn’t interested in seeing the real Daddy, standing right next to her! I think she is a bit of a Daddy’s girl already as she always has smiles for Daddy, even when she is tired!

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