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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‘Just the 2 of Us’ 2015 – #7

‘Just the 2 of Us’ 2015 – #7

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This week we had some friends staying and we only have one car.  James was, as usual, mostly at work and I was driving my friend and her family around most of the beginning of the week.  It was so lovely to have Martina working with us and know that Judah was happy playing at home.  I know what it’s like having two so close in age, so instead of throwing Martina in at the deep end I kept Eden with me as we were running errands.

Judah and Martina were able to really bond, playing with play-doh, watching Fireman Sam, Toy Story 3 and he would take a nap on the couch with her.  Martina would send me little whatsapp shots of our sleeping little man, or whatever he was up to at the time.  Nice, because I didn’t ask for this, but it does help to ease my conscience and know that he is happy.  So, I was free to just be with Eden.  Sometimes, I forget what it’s like to have just one child with me.  To be able to walk around with my baby perched on my hip and have her with me, like my little best pal.  Mothers of one child or more will remember this feeling.  Little babies are so dependent that you take them with you everywhere.  They are pretty much an extension of who you are until they old enough to go to nursery, or you return to work.  If you have more than one, you will identify with the fact (especially if you have 2 under 2 or 3 under 3) that this is never quite the same with the second, or subsequent children.  Younger siblings pretty much have to fall in line, and get on with it as they are carted around to dance recitals, school runs etc.  When Eden was less mobile she would constantly be attached to me in a sling.  It was much easier to run around after my death (just) defying toddler.  She was so small that when she got to about 10 months I realised that I should probably let her down on the floor more as I felt like I was stunting her progress.  I would almost forget she was there as she would just snuggle in and only whinge if she was hungry.

This week it was lovely to be able to have some one on one time with my baby again.  We were able to have lots of cuddles, play with toys, sing nursery rhymes.  All things we try and squeeze in normally but this time I had lots of moments over a couple of days as my friend needed to run some errands.  Even just being able to push the buggy around without constantly checking that I have three other children with me, was just so much more peaceful.  I had a little taste of what it will be like when Judah goes to nursery.  I don’t want to rush it here in any way.  I’m sad that it will all come to an end in September and I will have to start sharing my baby boy with the world, but I know that I will be able to bond with my little girl afresh in new ways.  It will be a new season in my Motherhood journey.

Eden turned 15 months this week, so I will be writing her a little letter of how much I’ve seen her change this month.  I won’t write it all again on this post.  I just loved chatting with my baby girl this week and having lots of cuddles.  If you’ve had any one on one time with any of your littlies this week, from a stolen moment to an outing, feel free to grab the badge and link up below, make sure to hashtag on twitter #justus2 and I will be able to find you and retweet…
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‘Just the 2 of Us’ 2015 – #5

‘Just the 2 of Us’ 2015 – #5

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Every Sunday morning and most evenings too you will find my family and I at our local church.  I’ve been attending church my whole life, I made a decision to go for myself at 11 years old when I realised what it really meant for me.  I haven’t gone to church ‘with’ my parents from the age of 15.  I started going to the local church round the corner from where we lived so I could just get involved with the weekly activities and it was somewhere I could take myself.

The church that we attend now has an amazing children’s work, they take them from age 1 and walking so that the parents can enjoy the service without having to worry about the children disrupting.  As Eden still isn’t ‘officially’ walking, she does take some steps, but doesn’t walk properly yet, she stays in the service with James and I.  We tend to take it in turns going up into the baby area to be with her.  She likes the music and claps along, but once anyone starts talking, she’s at an age where she just wants to play so we take her into the baby area where there is a TV link from the service downstairs and she can play happily whilst we listen to the sermon.

It has dawned on me recently that this time just playing with her at church will soon be over.  If she is anything like Judah, once she is old enough and goes through into the kids work, that’s it, she will be lost to the system, and wouldn’t want to stay out with us in the baby area even if we wanted her to.  They just have so much fun.  Judah regularly asks me mid-week if we can go to church, he loves it there, playing, singing, dancing, doing crafts with his friends.

James was unwell this weekend which meant that I was unable to steal any time away one on one with the children as I was playing with them all (check out the video we made on our youtube channel by clicking on the icon to your right).  It’s nice to remember that on the rare Sunday’s that there are no other babies up in the baby area, this is one on one time that I get with my little princess.  I’m able to just watch her entertaining herself with the toys without having to fight with her brother, or having to teach them how to share.  Just to watch her enjoying being on her own, and snuggling into me when she wants without having to fight for attention.  To see her clapping happily along to the songs that come on throughout the service.  I just love seeing her develop into her own little person before my eyes.

She’s started saying ‘I want it’ when she sees her lunch prepared now, she follows me around saying ‘I want milk’ if I dare to give her some water in her drinking cup.  I love that she is developing her personality, likes, dislikes, identifying her needs, telling me when to change her nappy etc (as if I didn’t already know).  My teeny tiny baby is becoming a toddler, and although she’s still in age 3-6 months clothes, I can no longer be in denial.  She is growing up.

Part of me can’t wait until I can just stay in the service like all the other adults without babies, but I’m also just trying to appreciate every last that I’m getting to have.  I don’t know which Sunday on our own in the baby area will be my last.  After the whirlwind Judah and Eden provided, the year of 2 under 2 is so difficult, and I have the utmost respect for all who go through it, I was glad that Eden would be our last baby.  I’m really pleased that it all happened the way it did, even if it wasn’t our choice to have them so close together.  The time they have together now is brilliant.  They of course need complete and utter constant supervision but they entertain each other, and I have to practically be invited to play with them.  They are happy playing together and I know that in September Judah will be attending nursery and the year after at school.  Then I will have plenty of time with Eden on her own, but in this season where there are always two of them at my side, I will treasure these times in the baby area whilst I still can.  Soon they’ll be gone and my toddler will be off enjoying her own children’s service with her siblings and friends.  For now, it’s just the two of us, but for how long… who knows?

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‘Just the 2 of Us’ 2015 – #3

‘Just the 2 of Us’ 2015 – #3

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Driving home from school last Thursday, our eldest Isis Mae, decided to tell me that she needed various things for her school trip the day after.  Hmm…. this was interesting as we were nearly home, we had no spare money, there wouldn’t be a great deal of shops open once James was back from work, and she had to be at school early the next day. Panic struck.  Nanny to the rescue, James’ mum said they would pay for the parts that Isis needed so once James was home from work, I took Miss Isis off to Sports Direct to buy her the things she needed.

This is so rare, being able to go shopping with Isis on my own.  It just doesn’t happen.  So we decided to not rush and take our time weighing up the best options, price wise and fashionably.  She was so excited for her trip but was going to be outdoors for the majority of it and the weather was freezing.  We worked out what she needed, she had no trainers, well, she has some twinkle toes but they will not cut it for rock climbing, and also, they’re brand new, if she still fit in her old ones, maybe she could’ve worn those but… yep, trainers were a necessity.  She has some school pumps but informed me that one of those was missing.  Why do they always lose one?  As it was so cold, she needed base layers…. to be honest I was quite frustrated that school would plan such a heavy outdoor themed trip at this time of year… she also needed some waterproofs.  She had a new tracksuit for Christmas (pictured above) from my Auntie so she had decided she would like to wear that.  I told her that so long as she kept her waterproofs on outside she could wear it, as her brand new tracksuit was supposed to be for to and from dance on a Saturday.

We enjoyed looking around together, because of the practical need that was involved Isis didn’t really get too much choice other than my asking when I picked up said base layers, ‘are these okay?, do you like these?’ etc.  when it came to the trainers again, we were focussing on flexibility, grip as they would be used for rock climbing, and walking in frosty conditions.  I found a pair that would be suitable but they weren’t the most attractive.  Isis found a pair that she loved, they were a pink version of some teal ones that I own.  She tried them on and was really excited to buy them.  So they were a definite.

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I found a great half-price outdoor coat that was waterproof, a brilliant walkers jacket.  Isis requested the purple version, there were pink, black and purple.  She loves purple, so purple it was.  I could see she was getting the shopping bug and looking eagerly around at tracksuits too.  I reminded her that she had a tracksuit she could wear already at home.  We then went to the supermarket to buy some lucozade etc. to go in her pack lunch the next day so she would have plenty of energy.  She loves to push the trolley until it gets a bit heavy and therefore difficult to steer, that’s when I take over.  She helped me pack the shopping, it’s so sweet, she always wants to do that now.  Even Shayla has started joining in recently.  It’s cute but difficult in the small space, you know the expression…. too many chefs spoiled the broth.

When we returned home she put on a fashion show for Daddy to show him what we had bought:

First were the base layers, that definitely showed off her slight frame

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Then she put her tracksuit over the top which is the top picture in this post, then she tried on her waterproof trousers and jacket

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She was so excited to go the next day, off she went to bed absolutely beaming.  I was so grateful that Nanny had been able to help us financially.  We would’ve gladly paid if we’d had it as she was just so excited.  It was definitely worth the cost (I know that’s easy for me to say when it wasn’t us paying, but you know what I mean).

When she awoke the next day, I told her to also wear a long sleeved t-shirt above her base layer and below her tracksuit.  She chose this t-shirt that we purchased in our Boxing Day haul 2013, probably the last time we went shopping together, just the two of us.

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She definitely is a Daddy’s girl, so like him in character, mannerisms and just loves being with him.  I love spending time with her as she reminds me of him so much.  Our little comedian.  Isis wrote a blog post about her trip to Hothersall Lodge, so proud of how she loves to be part of the blog.  You can read about her trip if you click here.  Hothersall Lodge asked to include it on their Facebook page and website.  Very proud.
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‘Just the 2 of Us’ 2015 – #2

‘Just the 2 of Us’ 2015 – #2

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awaiting instruction

Sunday morning my little monkey prince had a free taster trial at ‘Rugby Tots‘.  They’re just about to start in our area and we had signed up to hear about the classes as soon as they were available.  James wasn’t feeling too well, so I took our little man.  I think I probably would’ve taken him anyway but I know on some of the weeks Daddy will be going with him.  Judah is in the age 2.5 – 3.5 class.  He was a bit whingy before we were leaving home as he had not long woken up, and evil Mummy wouldn’t let him have a 3rd banana after he’d eaten his breakfast.  I explained that we were going to do something nice and he put his coat on and eagerly came with me.

I had no idea how it would go, his first baby ballet class, he had pretty much hidden in my arms and was unsure about what was going on.  When we arrived, he just ran straight and started giggling happily running around with one of the foam rugby balls.  I had to get him back to take his hat and coat off and sign him in.  With it being the first week, and I guess for the first few he had a name sticker so the coach could decipher which running toddler was which.

In this age group they expect the parents to join in, so each toddler had a parent on the court with them.  I hadn’t realised it would be an activity that we could actually do together.  I was in a dress ready for church afterwards so wasn’t sure how it would go down haha, but was infact really good.  It was nice to have a bonding time with my son, over something that he was so enthusiastically excited over.

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the assault course they ran around

Now this isn’t a review for Rugby Tots although I may write one at one point, I would highly recommend it.  There aren’t too many structured physical activities that I’ve seen for little boys of this age.  The main reason we took him to baby ballet was so he could learn musicality, rhythm, discipline, his left from his right, and timing.  This is so similar, with them having to know the colours, how many hands they hold the rugby ball with (always ‘two’ they had to shout), doing warm ups that including the counting to ten, knowing right and left, body parts etc.  Perfectly designed for this age group.

I was so impressed with the way all these little excited children had been running around like wild animals, but when the coach told them to go and stand on their shape, they did.

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standing on his green circle listening to coach

I had to lead him around the assault course, play catch with him, sit with him and help him do warm ups, hold his hand as he learned to balance and stand up foam cones that had been knocked over previously.  A great exercise, all these little toddlers running around and kicking down all the cones that they could.  So sweet to watch.

Silly Mummy made the mistake near the end of class when we were doing some parachute games of coming forward when coach asked and telling Judah to stay on his shape, until I knew what the toddlers were doing.  Well, that was it, no other toddler stayed on their shape, and even though it was for seconds, he believed he was being left out, so for the last 5 minutes of the class he cried.

I felt terrible and was trying to console him…. to which he replied, ‘I’m just tired and crying.’  Wow, I was gobsmacked, my little man was this self-aware at 2 and a half.  He knew he was tired and therefore more teary than usual.  So sweet.  I absolutely LOVE that he can communicate with me, I am even more in love with the fact I somehow have a very self-aware little boy.

I dressed him back in his coat and hat and gave him his drink of water (in his beloved minion cup).  He was much happier.

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tired little eyes
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happy enough to walk out without needing to be carried or crying

I wasn’t sure what to expect when we were setting off to Rugby Tots, but I was so pleasantly surprised, by how well thought out their curriculum was, by how much Judah LOVED it, and how it was a time that we could share together.  This is definitely something that we are signing up for.  It’s an awkward time on a Sunday morning, but between James and I we will be able to manage taking Judah to class and all being at church as a family on time.  So, it’s one I’m looking forward to, even if it does make Sundays a bit more of a rush.
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NB.  This post was not a review but we would highly recommend Rugby Tots, they do free taster sessions in areas all over the country.  Check them out!

Just the 2 of Us – Week Eight

Just the 2 of Us – Week Eight

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poorly Judah

The other night Judah awoke us in a terrible state.  It was the night of Shayla’s birthday party and we’d been asleep for about 2 and a half hours when a little boy snuck into our room in tears.  James went to cuddle him and realised he was covered in something…. James hoped it was tears, unfortunately he was wrong.  Judah was absolutely covered all over him face, the back of his head, all over his body, in a concoction of phlegmy vomit and a runny bum.  It was disgusting, I wished I was a better Mum as James turned the light on and Judah reached out to me for a cuddle *yak* I just couldn’t hold him without contributing some vomit myself *ew*.  James picked him up delicately by his sides and took him to the shower.

James deals with these bodily functions a lot better than I do.  I seem to have a weak stomach for these situations, it seems to have gotten weaker as well since having hyperemesis through both pregnancies.  I deal with all the blood, needles, injections etc.  James doesn’t deal well with that, as all the waiting room heard when we last took Eden to the paediatric unit for some blood tests.  I used to be a dental nurse so I cope better in those situations than he does.

Once Judah was clean, he spent some time hugging the toilet and being sick some more, which was horrible to see, not because of the sick, but because this was the first time we’d ever seen his frail little body in this state and dealing with it himself.  Both James and I nearly cried.  I then took Judah downstairs as he was wide awake but also needed to keep being sick and also going on the potty frequently.  He needed observing and assisting in his little time of need so I stayed up with him.  So from 1:30am (he’d woken us about 12:45am) until 7:30am we were downstairs together.

Obviously, for this post I would normally take lots of photos of my quality time with my little people but this wasn’t really appropriate.  However, as exhausted as I was, I really enjoyed just being able to be with my monkey prince, meeting his needs as best I could.

We watched ‘Dungeons & Dragons’, his current infatuation, for about 2 hours, then he decided he wanted to watch ‘Cats’ which is not the Broadway musical, but in fact ‘Puss in Boots’ this we watched twice through.  I kept him hydrated, stroked his little head and cleaned his little face (and bum) after each little incident.  He kept asking for food, but I wasn’t sure at that stage what we were dealing with so I explained to him that he couldn’t have food as he had a ‘poorly tummy’.  He understood, poor little man.  I gave him some flat lemonade leftover from the party (as advised by a dentist that I used to work for, she always said it was the only acceptable time to drink fizzy pop as it settles tummies and provides some energy) and sang many songs to him.

After a few hours he stopped being sick, and we were able to just snuggle up properly without needing to break for him to bury his head over a bowl.  I just held him and sang his requests which include ‘Jesus loves me’ (think Whitney on The Bodyguard), ‘Peppa Pig theme tune’, numerous songs this sing in Kids Church and ‘twinkle, twinkle’.  Around 5:30 he finally fell asleep which is when I snapped the above photo.  I was too tired to carry him up to bed, so I laid him on the big sofa (on top of a towel I didn’t mind getting ruined of course) and covered him over with some blankets.  I tried to get comfortable on the 2 seater, not as easy but then after watching Judah for a short while managed to catch a small nap.  Drifting in and out of consciousness until at 7:30 I noticed his little body had moved from his sofa and he had gone back upstairs.

I wondered if he’d gone up to wake the girls and start playing, or if he’d heard them awake and gone to join them, but I found him asleep in bed next to Daddy.  I crawled in too and decided I would rest, 2 and a half hours sleep after a late night before party prepping (I’d been up till 3 baking cakes) was just not enough, and unfortunately I wouldn’t be able to go to church that day.  This always makes me sad, but I needed to make sure that I could function and be useful for my family the rest of the week and without much opportunity for rest, in the ensuing days I opted for sleep.

As upsetting and tiring as this whole time was, it was lovely to find some stillness and opportunity to just be with my baby boy for such a long time.  This is an opportunity we don’t get often, although, I can’t say it’s one I will be willing to reoccur anytime soon *winks*.
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Just the 2 of Us – Week Seven

Just the 2 of Us – Week Seven

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awful capture on James’ iPhone 4 whilst zooming in

Last week, Judah and Eden started swimming lessons.  This will be a regular Tuesday occurrence  Judah goes in first for an hour and Eden follows on the hour after.  This is a task I cannot accomplish on my own as someone needs to watch the other child whilst I am in the pool, I have really appreciated James being at home (still waiting for his DBS to come through for him to start work) so that we can start these routines.  Part of me is dreading him starting work as life will then be very different, but my Mum and my sister have already volunteered to help assist in Tuesday’s madness of my going to work in the morning and then the swimming lessons that follow.

Anyway, back to the swimming… it is so lovely to be able to have the quality one on one time with each of them in the pool.  Learning to swim is something that requires trust and security in the person who is holding you in the water, and although at only 10 months Eden of course has grasped this quicker, Judah (who likes to be in control) is learning to trust me.

I remember this fondly with Shayla when she was younger, she would be so secure in my arms, she caught on to swimming so quickly because she knew that I was there when she needed me.  Judah (who doesn’t even like to go on the swing as he wants to be the one to control how he moves) is slowly getting to the place of trust.  When he was younger he had no problems with anything, he trusted us implicitly.  He is now at the age of questioning everything and I was very impressed when he allowed myself and the swimming instructor at alternate times to assist him jumping into the pool.

Eden literally took to swimming like a duck to water, the instructor couldn’t believe that she’d not even been swimming before (well aside from 10 minutes in a hotel pool that was too cold back in March).  She kept referring to her as a water baby.  Also, with Eden though it is misleading as she only looks about 3 months old in size but is exactly where she should be, if not slightly ahead, as a 10 month old.  They’ve both been twice now and loved it.  Judah always seems a bit nervous at first and isn’t quite trying to maneuver himself in the water but NEVER wants to get out, and Eden just loves the lesson, and is ready to get out after an hour as she starts to get chilly then.

I am so proud of them and am really loving this quality time, I almost don’t want Judah to get independent enough to do a Stage 1 class without me, but obviously, even if I wanted to he would never be held back by me *smiles*.  For now though, this is our time.  Just Judah and I, followed by just Eden and I.  Judah also gets to go on the park for some quality time with Daddy once his lesson is finished and has been enjoying that.

Below are some snaps that Daddy captured for me of their time together munching ice-creams.

photo 1 (4) photo 4 (2)
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