28 Mar 2016

Project Life // Week Three

Week three has to be my favourite week yet. I love the colours and textures. Turquoise and pink are a real Glitter Girl combo and worked well with the mix of newborn baby girl pics and toddler pics. I used a post-it note to make the title card and love this background paper with its feminine alphabet print.

The left hand side has stories and pictures about my girly day out with The Baby where we went for lunch in Harrogate and then got her birth certificate, cute pram and snuggle baby pics, The Toddler having sensory play threading cheerios onto spaghetti and soft play fun with my friend and her little girl.

I liked the angle of this picture and how adoringly they are both looking at The Baby. I stapled the embellishment on to add some texture.

The right side has a black and white SLR shot of the siblings, her six week update, pictures of our family walk to Swintsy Resovoir, The Toddler going on his early Saturday morning swim dates with daddy and building a snowman in the garden.

Stamping, sequin, wood veneer hearts and washi tape were the main embellishments on this side. 

I adore the happy look on The Toddler's face in this picture with his arm bands on. I love that they spend that quality time together and that I get to bond with my baby girl and possibly have a little lie in - depending on her napping.

21 Mar 2016

Let's talk about breast feeding..

I have spoken before about my struggle with breast feeding with The Toddler and the guilt I felt when I had to bottle feeding after the first few days. So this time around I was ready to be more assertive with the decision that I made about feeding. I decided I would give it a go again, but if it didn't work out than I was fine with bottle feeding too and I wouldn't allow myself to feel pressured into it.

S, how was it that the day after she was born history repeated itself? There I was sobbing uncontrollably in the very same maternity ward and feeling all those feels again? I was meant to be more confident and in control second time around - wasn't I?

But she latched on - which he never did. Straight out of surgery she was whimpering and the midwife informed me she was hungry. 'Here we go,' I rolled my eyes. At least he had given me a day before he was hungry and the drama began.

So I gingerly placed her to my chest and she just latched on and started feeding. It was amazing. I couldn't believe it could be this easy. The midwives all joked that girls are so much better at latching on than 'lazy boys.' She fed briefly and then I was rolled back to the maternity ward feeling really pleased with myself. 

As the day went on she fed some more and it was okay. However it only seemed to work well on one side and so I got quite sore. The midwives were really busy and I kept buzzing them for help and support and often it would take a while for them to arrive. Being terribly English I resented having to push the buzzer and get help every time she wanted to feed.

That night was okay as she wasn't terribly hungry and they brought me one of those perspex cots that attaches to the side of my bed and so I could just put my hand on her belly and rock her to sleep rather than feeding her every time.

The following day things got more intense and sore. She seemed to want to feed all day and she had a really strong suck. My nipple was getting more and more sore and I was starting to dread every time I heard her little hungry whimper. I couldn't go gooey over her cuteness, bask in her newborn scent and enjoy the moment as feeding was the only thing on my mind.

Around me other mothers were having the same battle and through the none-too-discreet curtains you could get a sense of their experiences. Not able to latch on. Struggling to get the sleepy baby to feed. Not able to go home until they could feed the baby. Not wanting to 'give in' but finding breast feeding such a struggle. Milk not coming in yet. 

I felt for them and wanted to break down the barriers and share with them how the struggle is real. But you know we're all English so...

By the evening the battle of supply and demand continued and I was weary and wounded. The Belgian was going to stay for the night to support me (as they changed the rules and now allowed partners to stay overnight if you wanted to.) However he got a phone call and the Calvary needed him.

My very vocal meltdown was apparently not very subtle and a midwife nipped in to see how things were going. Cue full on waterworks and feeling very silly. They were more understanding this time around and talked me through different options. They suggested feeding her with a plastic cup that she would lap up like a little cat. It was very cute.

But I felt like a failure again.

Even though I had promised myself it wouldn't be like this and I would be fine with whatever decision I made.

Shortly after The Belgian left my favourite support worker came in saying she'd been so excited when she'd seen my name on the board. So apparently there was a most needy board and I was top of the list that day. 

She sat with me for an hour and we just chatted like friends, about her kids and motherhood: the struggles, the triumphs and all the emotions linked to newborns. She was really understanding and open. She helped me to feel human again as she fed my baby with the little beaker. Half an hour later (with the help of some ear plugs) I was sleeping like a baby and I had a much better night.

In the morning I was ready to leave. I'd made peace with my decision. I was going to mixed feed  - pumping and bottles. So the baby was fed and my poor engorged breasts got a rest. I knew from friends that when they say that breast feeding doesn't hurt, it is mostly a lie, as its always tricky and especially when you aren't used to it. I also know some mums who took to it like a duck to water and found it a really positive and beautiful experience. 

I have so much respect for women who breast feed as it is so time consuming and you can feel like you are chained to your bed or sofa. With a toddler it must be twice as hard - the pumping certainly was. I know mums who have breast fed twins and this must be exhausting. So yes we should champion it, but we should also realise that it is not possible for every woman. 

Some people had barely even said hello before they were asking if I was breast feeding and how else can you respond but go through the whole saga? Men too - as if I want to discuss my boobs with you, And why should you have to justify yourself? It is your baby. Your (slightly defective) nipples. And your decision.

15 Mar 2016

Wild Ones // Yorkshire Sculpture Park Kaws

Ever since we saw about this exhibition at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park we knew we wanted to go and check it out. The Toddler is obsessed with Mickey Mouse and these giant sculptures definitely have a Disneyesque feel to them. 

It was pretty boggy, due to all the recent rain, these two were equipped for the conditions in their wellies but I wore my converse and they are still caked in mud now. I think the toddlers favourite part was splashing in the puddles - as per usual.

There are loads of interesting exhibits and sculptures to see that are there all year round. It's a really big site and a long route if you walk along the whole thing - we took a shorter route but The Toddler was still shattered by the end.

Everyone was taking pictures of these sculptures and they were definitely the main attraction. I thought that the name of the artist sounded Scandinavian but he's actually American.

The above was one of my favourites as it looks like a toddler peeking out behind his mummy. 

The Baby was having a little jaunt in the carrier. I was worried about her little feet being cold - but they get so warm against your body that I didn't want to put her in a snow suit.

I loved The Toddler's curiosity and how he could just roam around freely checking all the exhibits out.

Near the end of our visit we had a walk up a very steep and muddy hill to get back to the car. We had to play a very time consuming game of throwing a penny ahead for the toddler to fetch to get him up the hill. He wanted a 'carry' but he was too muddy and heavy for that - plus I was already carrying The Baby and he's been a bit of mummy's boy lately - it's always 'mummy turn' for everything. In the end we bribed him with an ice-cream - only a two year old could want a mini milk in sub zero temperatures.

I would recommend anyone living close to go and check it out as it is only on until June 12th. Even from further afield it is worth a road trip. One guy were chatting to was from Surrey but his mother lives in Wakefield and so he specifically planned a visit to her so he could see this exhibit - after watching it on the news. More information on the exhibit here and do watch the video of the construction as its fascinating. 


Siblings Project // March

This expression on her face is hilarious in this picture. He's become very affectionate with her and likes to cuddle her and tries to carry her around the room. She finds it more than a little disturbing! I too get worried as he teeters and staggers around with his pudgy little hands gripping her waist or neck in a bit of a death grip - daddy finds it very amusing.

He is very sweet in that he always wants her around - which if I'm honest is the opposite of what I expected as he used to get jealous of me holding other babies and even our friend's dog got pushed off me lap. However he seems to know that she belongs and we are not a complete family unless she's around and involved too. 

For example if she's napping upstairs or in her Moses basket he asks, "where'd Mia go?" Also in the morning he always comes into our room and is very concerned when he can't see her straight away. Also when I picked him up from playgroup one of the ladies was holding her whilst I changed him into his wellies and he was staring at her intently and saying, "My Mia! My Mia!" Like he thought that he was never getting her back again.

This month she has started smiling a lot and giggling a bit too. She loves tracking her big brother as he bounds around the room and smiles away at him. I can already see a sweet bond between them and I look forward to even more precious moments together as they get older.

Linking up with the lovely Katie over at Mummy, Daddy, Me 

13 Mar 2016

Family Fun // Geronimo Festival

Does your little one love a bit of CBeebies after a hard day of playing?
Would they love to meet Justin Fletcher, Mr Bloom (yes please, say all the mums), Cook & Line from Swashbuckle, Andy Day and Alex Winters?
Do they enjoy baby sensory like my little one?
Do they love a bit of baby ballet and baby yoga? We haven't tried these but I'm sure it would be fun to give it a try.
Do they go crazy for soft play like my tearaway toddler? 
Would they enjoy getting their face painted and taking part in a silent disco?
Would they love to do it in the stunning surrounding of Harewood House or Tatton Park? We've had a day out to Harewood House and its stunning with loads of fun activities for pre-schoolers including penguins and adventure playgrounds.
Would you love to spend the May bank holiday doing something family centred and fun for all of the family?
If you answered yes to all of the above then check out the Geronimo Festival 2016 website.
This is The Toddler's face when I told him we had family passes for the day to go to Harewood House. 

Geronimo is aimed at families with children aged between 2 and 12 years old.  Tickets are priced at £25.00 p.p. for a one-day ticket with under 2’s going free. I think this is a really reasonable price for all of the activities on offer - there truly will be something for everyone and every type of child.

With much, more including:
Face Painting / Live Music / Victorian Fun Fair / Silent Disco / Baby Rave / Roller Rink
Drumming Workshops / Kidz Kitchen / Arts & Crafts / Boomchickkaboom
Crocodile Joe / Rent A Beast / Petting Farm / Den Building  / Graffiti Workshops
Camel Rides**  / Donkey Rides / Giant Tortoise / Ferret World
Zumba Classes / Bollywood Lessons / Science Made Simple / Clay Workshops
VIP Puppets / Junk Orchestra / Hair Braiding / Mask Making
Stone Carving / Cookery Classes / Henna Workshops / Forest School
We just hope that The Toddler doesn't take things too far , like he usually does on family days out...

I will be hosting a giveaway soon so keep on checking my blog and twitter for more details.
Hopefully I will see some of you there.
I feel incredibly lucky to have been selected as a Blog ambassador for 
this event and am being gifted a family pass. I was already looking into the event before I was offered this chance and so it is something that I am genuinely excited about.

4 Mar 2016

Project Life // Week Two

So this week I was inspired after watching some of the Kelly Purkey process videos. I decided I liked the look of square corners - not such a great discovery when you have lots of cards with rounded corners. So I turned to an old 6 by 6 pad by Dear Lizzie (Serendipity) and enjoyed making my own cards.

The photos and stories on the left side are all about my first week flying solo with two kids. I planned a whole day based around the letter A where we read books about airplanes, made alphabet puzzles and paper airplanes, ate apple and did some art work and so the top two rows show the pictures and tell the story of this. I love the candid shot of them bottom right as this is us right now - too much screen time so I can feed The Baby.

I used the Project Life app to make the collage and then got it printed on free prints. If you choose not to pay the extra for a square print you just have to trim the edges of your 4 by 6 to get the square photo.

I trimmed the 'just us' card to get the square edges - another tip from Kelly.  I like to use the existing phrases and sentiments as little titles and journaling prompts.

The right hand side has pictures and stories about our monthly pass to Wacky Warehouse, The Toddlers obsession with profiteroles and The Baby's weekly update.

These pictures are printed from the free prints app as well. I stamped (badly - I keep meaning to redo it) the weekly card and used one of my many date stamps.

I used staples, little sentiments and letter stickers to embellish this side. 

Be back soon with week 3... 

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