{Me & Mine} 2015 – July

{Me & Mine} 2015 – July

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Daddy is loving : 

* The extra bed space on the nights Mummy is at work

* Packet noodles (fast becoming a work staple – oops)

* His new iPhone 6 now that Mummy has upgraded

* Having the car to himself now Mummy has a new car

Mummy is loving :

* Her new job and meeting new people

* Wearing make-up again (taking some time for herself)

* Having quality time with the children now school is out

* Practicing singing with Isis who is sharing her first gig with Mummy

* Doing lots of editing, planning for the future of the blog (rebrand)

Isis is loving :

* experimenting with little bits of make-up that Mummy and Daddy allow her to

* her new iPhone 4S now that Daddy has Mummy’s old phone

* herself!!! It’s amazing seeing her confidence explode after months of zero confidence at the end of last year

* singing, YouTubing, modelling, finding her creativity in many ways

Shayla-Rae is loving : 

playing with Judah all the time, they are the cutest of friends

* watching our YouTube challenges, sitting and laughing so much

* going to the park now school is out

* accessories, accessories, accessories

Judah is loving : 

* Team Umizoomi

* when Mummy gets back from work in the mornings

* our new ‘Super Car’

* having all his ‘girls’ to hang out with in the holidays

Eden is loving : 

* terrorising everybody

* pretending she’s using the potty

* going down the biggest slides she can find (this child knows no fear)

* anything girlie, trying to steal Mummy’s make-up, her sisters handbags, headbands, bracelets etc.

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Life has been extremely fast paced recently.  With the loss of our au pair, and my working night shifts, it’s certainly never dull.  We have a second car, a blue Zafira that fits us all in.  The children have nicknamed her ‘Blue Betty’ and we are loving all being able to go places even if Daddy is at work and all together as a family on a Saturday.  It feels so freeing.  We were able to all go to the park the other day.  It would take us an hour to walk, but it’s a few minutes in the car.  We have so much fun all at the park.  We’ve been able to go and visit friends, attend family events without having to organise a convoy of cars.  It’s just amazing and we are so grateful to James’ grandad for giving us money towards buying ‘Blue Betty’ and also his parents for loaning us the rest.

We’re still in an adjusting stage but we’re loving every minute of it.  All the children are so happy and playing together amazingly, Eden is now at that perfect age.  I love that they’re all able to play together without our involvement.  James and I often just sit watching how sweetly they interact.  I can’t wait for our holidays together in a couple of weeks and all the holidays we have planned for the next year.  It makes such a difference having a second wage.

From all of us loving life and enjoying our little family so much we hope you and yours are great too.

dear beautiful

{Me & Mine} 2015 – May

{Me & Mine} 2015 – May

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Daddy is loving

* His new job by the sea

* Being able to take cheeky lunch breaks with us

* stashing sweets in the car (seriously it’s like a tuck shop)

* all our YouTube challenges

* Mummy being able to move and being happy

Mummy is loving

* Being able to move YAY!!!  Feels like it’s been forever but wuhoo!

* Vlogging, having lots of fun editing

* Sneaking off to the cinema with Isis

* Beach fun and summer days approaching

* Stealing our girls extra with all the Bank Holidays and Half Terms

Isis is loving

* Making YouTube videos with Mummy

* watching Pitch Perfect 2

* listening to Pitch Perfect 2 soundtrack

* putting on lots of make-up and pretending she’s Taylor Swift

* doing Shayla’s hair

Shayla-Rae is loving

* School, she just excels there

* her new phone at other Mummy’s

* playing in the sunshine

* days spent at the park

* smashing whipped cream into Mummy’s face

Judah is loving

* wearing his new hats

* going out lots on his scooter

* walks in the woodlands searching for the Gruffalo

* Minions as always (can’t wait to see his face on his birthday next month)

* Picking beautiful flowers for Mummy

Eden is loving

* singing ‘Peanut Butter Jelly Time’

* wearing headbands again – YAY!

* her pacifier (really need to figure out how to get rid of this now)

* mimicking everything we say

* telling us she loves us

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I can’t believe we missed the last couple of months.  I take so many photos but always forget to make sure to take some with me in them.  I’m getting better at that recently.  It’s getting harder to photograph us as a family without Eden running off so these were the best ones that we could grab.  We may need to think more creatively next month.  I’m really happy at the moment, and just loving spending time with all our children.  I cannot wait for the Summer Holidays.  I love when we can see the girls longer.  With not having a car to do the school run and dropping a day in the term times, it just doesn’t feel long enough.  In the Summer we will be able to see them more and I can’t wait for our 2 weeks with them all to ourselves.

We have been having so much fun making videos for YouTube, it’s become a real thing that we can do as a family.  We can create ideas together, the children like watching me edit (James can’t abide it, he doesn’t know how I have the patience).  They enjoy watching the videos back and it’s lovely to see it helping them grow in confidence.  Isis has made a radical turn around with her self-esteem.  Just before Christmas she hated how she looked, she would never say that she was pretty.  Now she sees herself on camera and tells me ‘I’m gorgeous, I look really pretty there’.  I love the difference.  I hope no-one ever takes it away from her, the world can try so hard to bring us down at times.  I pray that as my self-worth improves it helps them to keep theirs.

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dear beautiful

Me & You {May}

Me & You {May}

Finding time to have couple time, or a date night when you have lots of children is difficult, even when you have an Au Pair.  Martina is here but we are often sooooo tired that the idea of trying to go somewhere when we feel like we’ve survived the day once the babies are in bed, it almost makes it feel like a chore.  We love just snuggling down for the evening as early as 7:30pm.  Once the children are happily in bed we just want to relax and enjoy each other’s company.  Even if we’re not saying anything, nothing beats a cuddle from your bestie when you’re feeling tired.
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We had intended to go out somewhere Saturday night together, but after an eventful day which finished with us having issues with broken keys and struggling to get into the house, it was nearly 10 o’clock before the girls went to bed.  So date night on Saturday did not happen.  It’s now Bank Holiday Monday and we have had a lovely weekend.  Sun, Sea and Sinking Sand at the beach on Saturday.  Mostly tidying and relaxing in the house Sunday, and after we had filmed a ‘Mummy vs Daddy’ challenge for our YouTube channel with the girls, James and I decided to go out for a walk whilst the sun was setting.

Despite having Martina here, this is something we just don’t think to do  Now those Summer nights are (hopefully) approaching, we want to make a habit of just walking around the local woodlands, maybe if it’s particularly warm we can stop at the Inn at the end of our road for a cold drink sat outside on their benches.  I’m looking forward to enjoying many sunsets with James this Summer. Martina goes back home at the end of September, and although of course we can get babysitters (we never do though), I want to make sure that we made the most of the time that we had.

As it’s been a while since we did one of these posts *slaps own wrist* and I had make-up on from filming our ‘Most Likely to… Mummy vs Daddy‘ challenge, we decided to take the camera and tripod out with us.  It was very funny, when I had James holding some bluebells near his face so I could set the camera up and a group of young men all walked past.  The comic timing was brilliant.  James and I were in hysterics, I love how it takes A LOT to embarrass my husband though.  He has no inhibitions or ego (mostly) so he is not easily embarrassed.  It tickled me to see that he felt silly.  This isn’t something I see often, he’s usually playing up to being silly.

I love you James and I’m looking forward to going out with you somewhere this evening.  Don’t EVER change, I’m so grateful God gave you to me, and that you love me so unconditionally.  He really gave me the best when He gave me you.

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If you’d like to watch what we were filming then you can head over to our YouTube channel or click on the video below.

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Siblings 2015 {May}

Siblings 2015 {May}

Wow it’s May already and time for our Siblings post, this year is flying by.  This Friday afternoon James had finished his job all ready to start at a new place on Monday, so he was able to leave work early.  With the way it works at the moment, and us only having one car (it means I don’t have the car to do the school runs) we’ve had to drop the girls days down and we’re only picking them up at around 6:30pm on a Friday.  I used to collect them at 3:10 on a Thursday from school so this has made a big difference to our time together.  The weekends fly by now.  So when James finished early we contacted the girls mum and were privileged to take them on a walk before the sun was setting and we all enjoyed dinner together.

I can’t wait for the Summer Holidays as we’ll be able to collect them earlier in the week again for lots more family fun.  Judah and Eden are at such a wonderful age now.  They play amazingly together, but it never feels as though we’re complete when Isis and Shayla aren’t with us.  I’m really looking forward to all those Summer days together as the blended family that we are.  We’ll be getting a second car, hopefully before September too so then we should be able to carry on with the days as they should be.  The girls miss that extra time with us and they tell us often.  They’re not awkward about it or complain though, they know that if we could we would have them all the time.  They like the arrangement as it was, as they get to see their Mummy and Kerry as much as they see us and neither set of parents is really particularly missing in their lives.

Now Eden is well and truly walking, it is so great to see them all play together.  They’re so happy and content in each others company.  They barely need any interaction from us, they just want feeding, cleaning and putting to bed at an appropriate time so they have the energy to do it all again the next day.  James and I are just enjoying just soaking in their joy when they’re all together and playing.  Isis is always just singing, Shayla is becoming more assertive as she can dictate to Judah and Eden the way Isis has dictated to her all these years.  It’s only ever about what songs to sing and what games to play, and they happily follow.  She’s not a mean boss.
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So, these photos were taken on our outing Friday and you can read all about our Ordinary Moments walking in the woodlands if you click here.

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dear beautiful

Siblings 2015 {March} – Mother’s Day Special (Daddy Edition)

Siblings 2015 {March} – Mother’s Day Special (Daddy Edition)

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Last weekend I wasn’t feeling my best, we all got ready and were about to head out to capture our Siblings photos, as it was our last chance to do this before the girls went back to their Mum’s.  I started to feel extremely dizzy and almost passed out.  I had to lie down on the sofa and drink lots of fluid, I think I had forgotten to drink enough.  Either way, I was gutted as going out for a walk in the woods to take photos was not really the best idea at that moment.  My amazing husband stepped up and said, I will take them and I’ll get some photos for the Siblings post.

Bless him, this really touched my heart.  I was in a bad mood from feeling unwell and didn’t really allow him to see how much this meant at the time.  I also was frustrated looking through the photos as there were many things that I would have tweaked i.e. pulling down Eden’s dress so you could see she was in fact dressed properly.  Making sure Eden didn’t look like she was being dragged around, making sure Eden at least looked as though she was safely being carried, of course she was safe as Daddy was right there, but these little touches, and the removal of her pacifier would’ve been tweaks I’d have carried out.  Despite my whinging, I guess from frustration that I hadn’t been able to be involved, my wonderful husband had taken the time to capture these for me, and they had been creative.

So enjoy our Mother’s Day Siblings Special…. the Daddy Edition.

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Thank you Daddy for taking the time to do this for me, it was an awesome Mother’s Day present. You made sure that we had a March Siblings photo shoot and we could keep building our memories. I love you and I’m sorry if I’m a whinge bag when I’m unwell. You truly are the greatest husband ever.

dear beautiful

{Me & Mine} 2015 – February

{Me & Mine} 2015 – February

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February is the month of my birthday, February is the month of Valentines Day.  This is a month that I look forward to most years.  This year it just snuck up on me.  I think when you stop expecting things to be special it’s more of a surprise when the beautiful moments just happen.  These photos were taken on my birthday.  We had enjoyed a lovely relaxing morning and then gone for a walk locally before settling down for a girlie evening.  I wrote about it here and you’ll be able to see the video of beautifully ordinary day.  I will always love this video as it encapsulated everything that I feel when I look at these photographs and yet, so much more.

This month :-

James is loving :

passing his driving test – wuhoo!

lots of interviews with new job prospects

wearing lots of suits to work as I get more on top of the laundry

the 20p per extra filling on the work cafeteria sandwiches

our new gluten free diet as we are cooking for Martina

Eden is loving :

walking, finally bless her

chatting and humming the theme tune to Fireman Sam

dancing along to any happy sounding music she hears

lots of cuddles, still a very cuddly baby

all food, nothing new there

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Shayla-Rae is loving :

all things school related, it has not grown old at all for her

baking, she’s made many things this month at home and at school

trying new hairstyles from the cutegirlshairstyles youtube channel

spending time with family

ham and cheese sandwiches

Isis is loving:

performing in her first pantomime Peter Pan (she was amazing, and will be writing a blog post for us soon)

the end of all the long rehearsals for Peter Pan

her new scooter that was for Eden but Eden won’t be able to use for a while yet from ‘Bright Surprise

planning her superhero birthday party for next month

always leaving a last morsel on her plate

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Judah is loving :

learning how to use the scooter (he’s really good at it)

Fireman Sam – yep, still

Toy Story 3, I’m so pleased he’s discovered he likes this

Being finally 100% nappy free

playing the minion game on Martina’s phone (and now my iPad)

I am loving :

having our amazing au pair with us now

feeling less stressed and enjoying more time with the children

a slightly cleaner home

that things are on the up in lots of ways

Breaking Down the Riffs – check out Natalie Weiss on youtube

I’m looking forward to what next month will bring and then definitely the month after as James should be earning a much stronger wage.  I am looking to go back out singing so things should really start to shift to a positive direction around then.  Life is a lot less stressful already and I couldn’t ask for anything more.me and mine February, family portrait, blended family, dontcallmestepmummy, mummy blog, family portrait project
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Me & You {February}

Me & You {February}

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This month has been one of our most stressful in the four years that we have been together.  We’ve come to a financial crossroads.  You know that phrase ‘the night is always darkest before the dawn’?  Well, we are just about to see the dawn but it’s all looking very messy at the moment.  If you’ve been a blog follower from the beginning you will know my husband only graduated university last July and started work in October.  As a Social Worker, being able to drive was kind of crucial.  He passed his driving test last week after completing a three day intensive course.  We are so proud of him, but the contract he is on at the moment is with an agency and because he took those days off, of course he doesn’t get paid for them.  Was a bit of a gamble but it desperately needed doing and because he passed first time – Wuhoo!!! – his earning potential has now increased.  Lots of interviews lined up, again, he will lose pay to attend, and then probably have to work a month in hand (he currently gets paid weekly) but the dawn is about to break.  We’re just going to struggle in the interim.

Due to this, (and the arrival of Martina) we obviously have NO spare money.  None at all.  His parents brought us a load of food shopping yesterday as they always do when they come to visit and it has NEVER been more appreciated.  So helpful to know there are full cupboards when there’s 7 mouths to feed daily.  We decided we would stay in and take some time together just chilling and watching a movie.  This is something we do often, so it wasn’t like anything in particularly special but we made sure that we went outside first and took some photographs of ourselves for this months Me & You.

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These photographs were just taken in the private carpark we share with 3 neighbours behind our house.  They must’ve wondered what we were doing.  We had tried to go out for a walk but the hailstone decided to make an appearance.  Not much longer after we’d all gone back inside, the sun came out.  Was very frustrating but at least we managed to capture these before it started to hail again.  I was disappointed that we hadn’t managed to go anywhere before this month’s project was due, but we have had an interesting week, with friends staying in our already very full house.  We will be going out somewhere this week, somewhere free or very cheap of course, but we will make sure that we make the effort.

We watched the movie ‘Country Strong’ on Netflix.  A little bit dark, but if you like ‘Nashville’ you would probably enjoy it.  Country music and lives of celebrities facing substance abuse problems.  It wasn’t the sort of movie that left you feeling all romantic, but it held both of our attentions whilst we snuggled on the couch and it was thought provoking.  I love Leighton Meester (Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl) and enjoyed her role in this.  She’s great at playing sweet characters, very ‘Cher’ like – Alicia Silverstone in Clueless – and I think she has a great voice.

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We’re all a little bit under the weather at the moment, but having Martina here has been brilliant for us as a couple, and our stress levels.  I’ve been well enough to potter on and get things done in the house whilst Martina supervises the children playing.  James has been able to go to work knowing that I’m not going to pass out and leave the children unattended.  A genuine concern of ours when I’m having a bad health day.  Getting on top of the housework slowly and knowing that we won’t lose anymore money because James can go to work every day however I’m feeling.  It has eased the tensions between us and I’m so glad that we took the plunge in hiring an au pair.  She has been invaluable already.  I’m enjoying having my husband back and less stressed even though things look most bleak at the moment.  We can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I’m not sure about next month, but I’m convinced by April’s Me & You, we’ll be able to go for a great night out together, dinner and a movie?? Wow, now that would really be pushing the boat out *chuckles*.
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Siblings 2015 {February}

Siblings 2015 {February}

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I am finding it more and more difficult to choose between pictures for the Siblings project.  I’m always torn between, one of their faces looking a bit more precious in a picture, and it’s hard to find one where they are all at their most radiant, if I was a whizz with photoshop I would have the ULTIMATE siblings photo, but I am not, and so, our photos are all natural and captures of those milliseconds where the intonation of their faces change moment to moment.

If you read ‘Our Great Outdoors 2015 Bucketlist’ post this week,  you will see that we snook off to the beach after the children finished school on Friday, as Judah wanted to build sandcastles… it was freezing and of course I didn’t remember to take a bucket and spade, but once they were there they just wanted to run around and play.  I decided it would be a great time to get the camera out and take some photos for this Siblings project as we had the girls with us.  So much nicer now the evenings are staying lighter longer to be able to do anything outdoors after school has finished.

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Eden loved sitting on these little steps, each step was just a bit longer than her ankle to knee so as she was sitting it was the perfect height for her.  She almost looks as though she’s standing (she practically is, but with some support).  She liked being able to sit and pose herself.  It was quite sweet, like she understood what we always were doing with the camera and now she could be a part of it and pose all on her own.  It’s funny when babies become so independent.  Judah is now at a stage where he doesn’t let us know if he’s going to the toilet, he just takes himself off, flushes the chain – this is something his older sisters could learn from him, washes his hands assisted by his little step, it’s very sweet how much he wants to do everything “by my own”.

Shayla and Isis are both doing so well at school.  Shayla has transitioned into school life so easily and she loves it.  Her teachers love her and every day I pick her up she presents me with something she’s made, baked or painted.   She stereotypically can never remember what she’s done with her day if you ask her, the answer is always “I don’t know” but she always remembers what she had for lunch.  Isis has come on leaps and bounds since we stopped all the interaction with the schools ‘play therapist’ and also since moving up a school year.  She’s doing fantastic.  There was an incident this week with a child who was picking on her, but a quick visit into the school from ‘other Mummy’ and the teachers being aware and keeping them away from each other soon resolved that.  I’d had a heads up from their Mum and when I followed up with the Head Thursday at pick up, everything had been smoothed out, so long may that continue.

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We’re so proud of our beautiful children and I often think about how blessed we are that they are all good sleepers, usually happy, easy going children.  Some people like to believe it’s a product of good parenting and instilling discipline.  I do believe part of that is true, but also, I’m aware that you can have all the routine in the world and some children really struggle with sleeping.  I don’t ever want to take that for granted.  I see others struggling and my heart goes out to them, but I don’t think I can relate with that issue.  Sure, I definitely knew sleep deprivation (real, I’m seeing imaginary people, sleep deprivation) once I’d had Judah and his 5 day labour, but after that, it wasn’t easy, but certainly easier than most have it.  I believe that God knows where my limit is and the way I struggle to juggle the four of them and the washing/ messes they produce.  This was apparently all I could cope with, so He left it there *chuckles*.

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Remembering to be grateful is helping me with my postnatal depression.  There’s a lot in our lives going on at the moment that I don’t always write about because this isn’t the best platform for it.  I know though that whatever issues we’re struggling with, we have so much to be thankful for.  We all have our health, it may not be very exciting but there’s always food in the cupboards and we live somewhere with radiators, running water and lots of space.
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Our little people and their carefree play, their interactions with each other and joy usually expressed on their face reminds me that there is much in our lives to be thankful for.  I’m so excited for all that is coming up in our futures and how I get to be a part of helping these little people to grow and develop in their giftings, confidence and individuality.  Being a Mum really is the best job in the world.

dear beautiful

{Me & Mine} 2015 – January

{Me & Mine} 2015 – January

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Earlier this month we set off out about to the woodland area across from our front door. Having tried and failed miserably to participate in the Me & Mine challenge last year, this year I stopped with the excuses and bought a tripod. No more excuses as to why I can’t be in the family photographs that I so love to take. In fact as much as I am not a fan of being in front of the camera, it was so much fun posing with the children as the self-timered flash kept coming.

I had hoped to get out again at some point for some snowy pictures, but it just didn’t stick around where we live other than at times when Daddy was at work and the girls were at school. As I trekked around a Wintery wonderland yesterday with the babies, I was sad that I didn’t have the rest of the family with me and our trusty tripod.

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I know this year will be so much more of a success and we look forward to capturing our family pictures. I had such a positive response to our family portrait on my personal facebook page earlier in the month. I know that as the year goes on it will really chronicle us a family and I’m already excited to look back next year at how the children have grown and all the happy memories we’ve captured together.

This month we had fun, we had captured our Siblings photo and if you saw that post earlier in the month you’d remember my husband was covered in mud from falling down the embankment. That didn’t stop us from snapping away to get some shots of us all together.

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I’m so excited for this project, can you tell? I will probably mention it on every post this year. Very grateful to Lucy and the ‘Me & Mine’ team for inspiring me to get in front of the camera sometimes, these are the photos I know I’ll treasure forever and the little ones will be able to see Mummy was part of their memories, not just always the one behind the camera.

dear beautiful