Sunday 24 February 2019

8 Toddler & Child friendly activities for Spring

The sun has been shining, and the daffodils are really making themselves known. This can only mean one thing (unless we are super unlucky and hit with another late snow)- Spring is right around the corner!

Spring really is a wonderful time for children, especially since it means after a long cold winter, they finally get to go outdoors more and take it all in. Newborn animals, flowers, seeds, baby birds, Easter... I've compiled a little bucket list of all the things we are going to do this season to both have fun and teach them about the changes in the world around them.

Toddler & Child Friendly Activities for Spring

1. Flower Planting

I've been explaining to Isla, that after everything has died or "gone to sleep" in nature during Winter, Spring is the time when everything gets it's colour back! Blossom, new leaves on trees, and new flowers! I want to get some seeds and bulbs and teach her how to plant them so she can see this for herself.

2. Making birds nests

Spring- the birds are tweeting as the sun rises earlier, and the trees are absolutely stuffed with nests ready to hatch the first chicks of the year. A simple craft activity that can be done with twigs, yarn, straw (or anything else you have to hand really!) and some glue. Get it all moulded around something round and non-stick like an inflated balloon, and once it's dry you pop it off and your little ones can display their nest with pride! Throw in some of those cute plastic eggs from the poundshop and they'll be so pleased.

3. Go on a nature walk

It sounds simple, but Spring really is a great opportunity to get outside as the weather warms up. Head outdoors and point out all the changes you can see happening, smell the flowers and take it all in together.

4. Jump in puddles

Spring isn't all sunshine and picnics- in England especially, it's often wet and rainy! Let your little ones throw on their wellies and jump in as many puddles as they can. At least it will be warmer so other than laundry, you don't really need to worry too much about anyone catching a cold and it's a great way for them to use up some energy.

5. Flower Printing

If you have any flowers around that are looking a little sad and limp, why not give them a final purpose? Let your little ones dab paint on the petals and stalk, and use them to print shapes on paper to make a Spring picture or collage! Let them glue petals on or even dip them in paint and just splat with them. Just make sure they know not to pick wild flowers or they'll be hoping to paint with whatever they see outdoors!

6. Pack a Picnic

Isla is obsessed with picnics, she loves eating outdoors and taking a football and all sitting together with sandwiches. It's such a simple thing but something kids of all ages enjoy, and a great way to get away from screens and distractions and get some good fresh air and a bit of vitamin D.

7. Visit a local farm

If you're lucky like us, there'll be plenty of farms around you with baby animals coming any time soon... We were lucky enough to catch some lambs being born last Spring and the children absolutely loved seeing all the baby animals and learning about it all. Most are pretty cheap and it makes a great day out!

8. Go on a bug hunt

With all the flowers and warm (often moist) air, it's the time when all the bugs come out to play. Take your kids out in the garden with some spades and help them look for worms. Or take a magnifying glass and see what you can find in the flowers. It's fun, dirty, and potentially educational- perfect for this time of year.

What do you plan on doing with your little ones this Spring?


Saturday 23 February 2019

Should I feel guilty for being broody?

I'm extremely blessed. I have two beautiful children, who are both healthy and happy, and who I love with all of my heart. It was relatively easy to get pregnant, and despite suffering two miscarriages in my life, my fertility is normal. I can't complain really, right?

Despite all this, I do feel an almost painful urge to have more children. Just one more. I'm one of four myself, and felt it was a little too much.. but two has never felt enough. Often times, I wonder if I my desire for just one more is selfish. Shouldn't I just be happy with what I have? What would I do if I had one more and the feeling didn't pass like I believe it would?

It isn't anything to do with not feeling my children are enough- they are more than enough, they really do make my life worth living. I just can't help but feel like there's someone missing. I haven't met them, and there's a chance they'll never exist, but I really do sense them and pine for them.

Sometimes the feeling is overwhelming. I imagine Christmas in years to come, and I imagine it with a big family, outnumbered, loud and overwhelming but perfect. I imagine my youngest as a big brother. I imagine so much, that it would be easy to get caught up in "what ifs".

It may be hormones- I'm not 30 yet, so it isn't a factor of my biological clock ticking. The experts may say it is simply my natural urges, wanting me to be pregnant and to create life. My husband will say it is the fact I've forgotten how hard pregnancy and labour and the year after are (baby amnesia!). Maybe I feel as though time has slipped through my fingers.

I'm doing what I can to help the feelings level out, though I know they wont fully. I've spoken to Jack about it a lot, and got it all off my chest which has been an outstanding help. I'm being as proactive as I can to spend all my time and love with the children I do have. That said, there are times when I drive myself silly looking at their newborn photos and my old pregnancy photos... it's counterproductive of me I know, but as much as it makes the broodiness worse, it also reminds me that I have what I have.

I feel like I am constantly trying to justify myself. I feel I need to justify why I want another child, and that is it okay to want more children, and to reassure an imaginary person that I do love my life as it is but it just would be nice... it's so hard to not feel guilty for feeling like this.

It's on the table, and I suppose with life we just have to see what happens. I think the best thing I did in all this, was to talk to Jack about it as he never really understood that I wasn't joking when I'd mention number three.

So my question is really, should I be feeling guilty for how I feel? Or am I just over thinking what is a perfectly unselfish and normal way of feeling?

Let me know.

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Monday 18 February 2019

Our Rustic DIY Wedding

I can't believe I'm married!

When I met Jack, he wasn't overly sold on the concept of marriage, and it wasn't until we'd already had two children that he decided to pop the question and ask me to be his wife. It meant a lot to me- to fully declare how we felt to everyone else, as well as joining our families together officially. I'd legally get to take his name and share the name of my children.

We decided we wouldn't wait too long between getting engaged and actually getting hitched, and after viewing just two venues, we booked it for just over a year later! We chose one of the more beautiful sites local to us- The Danish Camp in Willington.. the site is by a river, surrounded by trees and fields and everything a nature lover could ask for. All solid wood and greenery and a huge lodge/marquee. Perfect for the theme we were going for.

We wanted our wedding to reflect us and who we are- we didn't want it to be too fancy, and we didn't want it to seem like we were trying hard to impress. We like the simple things, and we also wanted to keep it budget friendly so we could continue saving for a mortgage.

Much to any pinterest lovers delight, we went for a rustic wood and "forest" feel with all our decor, and re purposed and recycled most of it to fit the theme! Think lots of old jars, hessian, pallets and other wood features... I designed and created everything from invites to favour boxes and other than the clothes, pretty much everything was DIY!

For our flowers, we went to the local Sainsburys and walked out with £50 worth of bouquets- I just picked up colours and combinations I liked, as well as a whole ton of gyposphila. It took hours of trimming but we managed to create two larger bunches, two smaller posies and we had enough leftover to fill the jars and decorate around the room.

Our cake wasn't a hugely important part to us, as it was just the the cutting and I'd read so much can be wasted... I spent £30 on nice cupcakes and a larger "Cupcake" for the top from Tesco, and I think it was perfect! None went to waste as people could just grab them and have them througout the night.

I re purposed four pallets for the occasion. I sanded and stained them (with help from Jack and my Sister) and I used two for photo boards, with old baby and childhood photos of both me and Jack. The third, I used to hold the table plan I designed on photoshop (to match our invites and all the other wedding stationary I created at home!) and the final one I carefully painted to welcome our guests. Other than paint, all of this was free as the frames were donated by everyone we knew as well!

We even managed to find a beaten up old suitcase, which worked perfectly as a free card box once I'd given it a bit of a clean and thrown some flowers at it. We used a polaroid camera for our guest book, and I managed to find bulk sweets online to make a sweetie area for the guests!

It was the most beautiful day. Doing a DIY wedding is definitely straining as it takes so much time, and the end result feels so far away... but now it's over I'd definitely do it again in a heartbeat.


Saturday 16 February 2019

My Copper Coil FELL OUT!

This is a warning folks- this post is going to contain a lot of "tmi" and be a little graphic because yes, I am going to be talking about periods and fannies and birth control.... back away while you still can.

After the disaster of using nearly all of the hormonal birth control options over the last 8 years (think angry murderous cow at all times) I opted to get the copper coil following Archer's birth around 18 months ago.

Hormone free, up to ten years of retirement for the old baby box, and supposedly unnoticeable once it was in? Sign me up. I skipped off to the doctors and got it as soon as healthily possible. I was told there might be some discomfort ranging from a few hours to a few weeks tops, and that as long as I could feel the strings, I would be fine.

Now every month since then, I have to say, it has been like that scene from The Shining. For those who haven't seen this movie, basically they open the lift doors and there is a literal tsunami of blood that fills the corridor. This is not a metaphor, this has happened for 18 months straight. The doctor tutted a little and reassured me that yes heavier periods can be a side affect... but I am talking 13 days straight of not even being able to use a tampon or walk. I hold my hands up to women who go through this naturally without it being caused by birth control. You are true troopers.

The heaviness would leave me weak, depressed, unable to go out without the fear I'd be leaving a little breadcrumb trail of blood. It was horrific. But I could feel my strings, so nothing was wrong right?

Adding into this, was the fact that for 18 months I was absolutely certain I could feel it when getting intimate with Jack. It hurt so much, and it just felt like the thing was hitting me in the cervix from the inside and pinching- occasionally I'd move slightly and it would feel sharp.

In hindsight, I really should have seen the GP, but everything I'd been told and read about just said if I could find my strings, it was fine, and after yet another call we had arranged me an appointment in a fortnight to check it and remove it if I wanted.

But then the cramps started. We were walking around London, and honest to god it felt like early labour. My stomach was contracting, worsened by walking or sudden movements. I kept thinking I was constipated- I had an urge to push and nothing was moving. It was horrific, and pain killers wouldn't touch it. This went on for two whole days before I finally sat on the toilet again and tried to go to the bathroom and then it happened.

The thing actually fell down into the toilet.

The entire coil. Strings and all. All the copper. It looked massive!

I couldn't believe it- had my cervix and fanny literally opened 2 inches wide and it just fell out? Was I dying? Was it broken? Was I broken?

I phoned the doctor in a panic, who summarised that due to how it'd felt the last 18 months, it was probably in the wrong place the entire time and the contractions were my body literally rejecting it. Apparently, the chances of rejection again are heightened now. It's rare, but she wasn't even surprised and jokingly commented on the fact I could cancel my removal appointment now. I wasn't bloody laughing....

I actually gave birth to my birth control.

It's a relief that it's gone though, if I'm being honest. My stomach already feels better, as well as my downstairs. Everything changed as soon as it came out and clearly it was just something my body just didn't agree with. I'm hoping my monthly cycles settle down a little too now (though I'll have to cancel my stocks in Tampax now that I don't buy 4 boxes a month).

Has anyone else experienced this with the copper coil? Let me know!

Where has life taken us?

Well, time flies when you're having fun right? I'm ashamed to say this little blog of mine has been on the back burner for far too long. Only one post last year- how awful of me! But I mean it, we've really been having the most wonderful time and life has changed for us all in so many ways.

Last year, I spent 11 straight months planning our wedding essentially on my own (huge shout out to my little sister who had to put up with the brunt of me delegating tasks and complaining) and it was an experience I am so thankful for. There'll be a post shortly with all the gory and beautiful details.

We've had holidays, and many spontaneous weekends away and trips here and there. Anyone who knows me and Jack will know that we love a last minute decision- they're definitely the most fun.

Isla turned three last May, and in September she started preschool five days a week (only 3 hours mind you, but that just means two school runs in such a short period of time...usually in the rain) and also started performing and learning with a local professional ballet school- so that has been taking up a lot of our time as well!

Archer has changed so much, and looking back at my old blog posts about his development as a baby has left me secretly pining for the time to stop, or for another baby, or a puppy, or anything small as squishy to love and He's walking, chattering away, cuddling, sleeping through the night when he feels like it (which is not often) and generally an all around big boy now. He turns two in June- how??

I think it's healthy to step back sometimes when it comes to blogging. I've been known to flit through hobbies as often as I change my sheets. This last year alone I've started teaching myself photography, tried to learn to knit, tried to crochet, tried to sew a memory quilt out of all the old baby clothes, tried to organise my house... the list is endless. I'm glad to finally have the time to come back and write again though. I find spilling my thoughts for a handful of people to skim through is such a good thing for the mind, and on top of that it saves me chewing Jack's ear off when he gets home because really I ramble about the most random things and he's actually taken to phoning me on the way home so I can get as much out as possible before he walks into the mad house craving silence.

I'm glad to be back.

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