Sunday 29 January 2012

The Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth

Today we spent a nice morning at the Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth. It's free to visit, although donations are welcomed. There were several different enclosures where you could see the donkeys, and you could get really close to them. It was pushchair friendly, which was good as Harry can be a bit of a reluctant walker.

The Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth

As well as seeing the donkeys we also enjoyed the pushchair accessible maze, Ram took Harry and I took Mia so that we could see who found the way to the centre and out first. Of course, the girls won!

Saturday 28 January 2012

Escot Gardens, Ottery St Mary, Devon

We're currently having a short break at Mazzard Farm in Devon, and having a great time. Today the weather was cold but sunny, and so we went to Escot Gardens, Maze and Forest Adventure which is just down the road.

It was a cold day, but luckily even though it was out of season everything was still open. You can take a trail through the woods, which passes lots of interesting small attractions. The first place that we stopped was the Maze, which we quickly realised was a serious affair. I waited outside with Mia while Ram ventured in with Harry, but he soon found out that bridges were involved, which wasn't going to work with a pushchair. He hadn't got far, but I still had to climb up onto one of the bridges and direct him out. Probably a good job that I did, it wasn't a good place to get stuck for hours with a whingy toddler!

A bit further around we encountered the drop slide, which I was very excited about, having seen some video of it on the website. I must admit that after climbing all the way to the top, when I found myself sitting on a narrow ledge above a steep vertical drop, I very nearly came straight back down again, but I resisted the fact that every fibre of my being was screaming at me not to, and launched myself straight down. Well it was fantastic, and I couldn't wait to go back for another go (and this time I even kept my eyes open!). I probably could have stayed on it all day if I didn't have the family to attend to!

Escot Gardens, Ottery St Mary, Devon

Next we found a big outdoor play area for Harry. Sometimes it surprises me that even though he's quite small and not particularly athletic, he loves climbing on things and can manage pretty well, even on quite high or narrow equipment. Most of the play area was really aimed at older children, but with my help we had a pretty good go at it.

Mia was getting a bit crotchety by this point, so after we'd had a good look around the other outdoor areas we went to the indoor play barn to give her a break from the pushchair. The play barn was a good size, with plenty of equipment for all ages. I know that not all parents are fans, but I've always found soft play areas great for Harry and he loves them. There were a few seats around the edge and vending machines for drinks and snacks. We had brought our own food, and it was a nice warm place to get some lunch inside the little ones.

Escot Gardens, Ottery St Mary, Devon

Mia is growing up so fast, and every day she is interacting with us all, and especially Harry, more and more. They had a great time going down the slide together and he was delighted that she was joining in with something that he was doing.

We had a great time at Escot and would fully recommend it. We spent a morning there, but on a warmer day or with older children you could easily spend longer. I did feel that it was a little pricey for out of season, when there are no special events on and your activities are limited by the weather, but if you live nearby there are season tickets available which would work out to be really good value.

Thursday 26 January 2012

Baby led weaning?

So after my recent blogging about how successfully I was weaning Mia with the purees it happened - she began to refuse the spoon, at almost exactly the same age that Harry did. There is an interesting difference though. Harry not only refused to be spoon-fed, he was just entirely disinterested in food. Dinner became a running buffet - puree, yogurt, cheese, breadsticks, rice cakes, vegetable sticks, pieces of fruit...only for him to just watch each item fall as he dropped it over the side of his highchair. A health visitor marvelled that she had never seen a baby so interested in food, yet refuse to actually eat anything. Of course, with hindsight he was obviously eating all that he needed, but when it's your first you can't help but worry.

Mia is different. Although she refused a spoonful of puree from me, when I dropped some onto her highchair tray by accident, she stuck her fingers in to it, and then stuffed them into her mouth. With some trepidation, I put some more down on the tray, and watched in amazement as she gobbled down the puree that she had refused moments before. A loaded spoon put down on her tray was grabbed and stuffed into her mouth. I couldn't believe it.

I remember with Harry finding a baby led weaning website, a great site, with loads of info. But on the front page there was this summary "You just hand them the food in a suitably-sized piece and if they like it they eat it and if they don’t they won’t. (But they do, really they do… check out the baby with the pork chop)." The problem that I had with Harry was that he really didn't, and this meant that I never felt comfortable with it, because it felt to me as though he was eating nothing. Now I know that all babies are different, and having seen Mia going for it I can appreciate that it was just that Harry hadn't read the website.

So it looks as though Mia feeding herself is the way forward. There are a couple of huge advantages. I can plop (literally) her dinner down in front of her, and then get on with eating my own dinner. Also, very often she can eat the same as Harry, if not all of us. I'm having a lot of success with macaroni pasta in different sauces, which is Harry's favourite food, and then little pieces of fruit for pudding. She has even shared bowls of (cut) grapes with him. It's amazing, considering that she doesn't even have any teeth yet.

Of course there is one disadvantage:

Baby led weaning tips

There is a wealth of information out there on baby led weaning, but here are a few tips of my own:

  • There will be mess. You need a washable cloth (like an old tablecloth) underneath the highchair, and keep everything (surfaces, walls, tabletops) out of reach of those sticky fingers.
  • Buy a highchair which is simple and easily cleaned. We have the Ikea Antilop which is really good and very easy to keep clean (please note, there was a recall on this product in 2012 so do check for information if you have purchased or been given a second hand model). The tray is easy to remove for cleaning once you have the knack, and although it doesn't fold up it has quite a small footprint. It can also be easily taken apart for travel or storage.
  • We usually use bibs with long sleeves and elasticated wrists. On smaller babies they also cover a lot of the lap so you can recycle food.
  • A lot of websites recommend cutting the food up into stick shapes that the baby can grasp. I've found it works (once baby is about 7-8 months old and developing the pincer grip) to cut the food into small pieces, about 1cm square. Then they can put the whole piece into their mouth to chew.
  • Know what to do if baby begins to choke. It can be scary, but don't panic, usually they will dislodge the food themself anyway (or be sick...)
  • Do the messiest meal at dinnertime, or just before you usually bath the baby.
  • Remember that they do get better at eating and aiming the food towards their mouths. The very messy stage doesn't last forever!
  • Baby led weaning is often presented as a total, and possibly controversial, alternative to spoonfeeding. Of course, all babies are going to be eating finger foods, and most people are doing a combination of the two anyway. Just do whatever you and your baby are happiest with, and remember that babies do vary hugely in the actual amounts that they eat!

Wednesday 25 January 2012

Those long winter afternoons

When you're at home with young children, I think that mid-afternoon has to be the worst part of the day. There comes a point when lunch is long finished, everyone is suffering from the afternoon slump, it's too late in the day for a nap and yet there's a long long way to go until bedtime. It's worse in winter, when outside it's cold, dark, wet and unappealing. This is a fairly common sight in our household:

Two cross children at lunch time

Today, the only thing to do was to get out with the scooter and the pushchair. It was a bit of a mission to get everyone fed, changed, to the toilet and dressed up warmly, but it was so worth it.

Children on the way to the playground

It was a bit drizzly, so we didn't stay out too long, but it was long enough to blow away some of the cobwebs, and we were all much more chilled out when we got home.

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Getting back into running

Before children, I was a bit of a gym bunny. Along with my husband, we were there four times a week. I would swim, I did Body Pump classes, I cycled, I stepped and I Power Plated. Things took a bit of a hit when Harry arrived, with then just a brief recovery period before Mia came along. It was not so much the struggle to fit it in, but the constant tiredness made bed a much more attractive option.

It took me a while to get into running on the treadmill, but since I gave it a go a couple of years ago I've found it to be my favourite form of exercise. It's satisfying, I really feel like I've had a good workout when I finish. I also like being able to adjust the workout to my fitness level. By increasing your time and speed, over just a few weeks you can quickly see your stamina improve.

My target is to get back to being able to run 5k in 30 minutes. That seems like a good amount to me -  30 minutes is long enough for a good workout but not so long that I get bored. I need to take it a little easy as I suffered from separated stomach muscles in pregnancy, but my physiotherapist signed me off several months ago, and was happy for me to begin running again as long as I built up to it.

My method is to spend 30 minutes on the treadmill, alternating between brisk walking and running. Gradually I am increasing the amount of time that I spend running and decreasing the amount of time that I spend walking. In my last session I managed to run for 26 out of the 30 minutes. The next step is to run for the entire 30 minutes, but at a slower speed, then gradually increase the speed so that I can cover 5k.

I'm hoping that in a few weeks time I'll be at my goal!

Monday 23 January 2012

Listography - Top 5 Biscuits

This week the theme for the Listography at Kate Takes 5 is Top 5 Biscuits. Now this is a list that I won't have a problem compiling.

1 - Bourbon biscuits. When I was pregnant for the second time, if I had a craving this was it. On my working days I would go out at lunchtime, buy a packet and quietly scoff the lot at my desk. Occasionally I would reluctantly offer them around to my colleagues, silently hoping that they were all on diets and would refuse. I also find that they are a very economical snack, as even the cheap value ones are just as tasty.

2 - Chocolate digestives, in particular the dark chocolate ones.

3 - Fox's Shortcake Rounds. These are only purchased when on special offer as they are quite pricy and you don't get many in a pack. They have a very generous chocolate to biscuit ratio, and are absolutely delicious.

4 - Rich Tea Biscuits. Because they are quite plain, I tend to view these as a somewhat healthier alternative to a chocolate biscuit. I don't tend to check calories on things, so I can't confirm if this is indeed the case (I suspect not).

5 - Cadbury's Chocolate Fingers. Once a treat found only at birthday parties, these seem to make their way regularly in to our household by way of special offers. It is very surprising that there seem to be so many in a pack, yet they don't last long at all.

Sunday 22 January 2012

Button Moon Birthday Cake

I have a tip when making Birthday cakes for very little ones. Instead of saying "What would you like for your Birthday cake darling?" instead use a statement like "How would you like an 'x' Birthday cake?" where 'x' is something that you want to or can easily make. I'm not sure up to what age you can get away with this, but it certainly worked very well with Harry, and he was thrilled with his Button Moon cake. In terms of cakes, you really can't get much simpler. A plain Victoria sandwich cake with yellow butter icing and four chocolate buttons in the centre!

Button Moon birthday cake

Friday 20 January 2012

Now we are three...

So now Harry is three, and rather appropriately my eye was caught by an article which details 36 activities that, according to research by Cow & Gate, all toddlers should have done by the time they reach three. It's a fun list, although I think that many of these things toddlers manage to do without any input or prompting from parents. But just for the record then, here's how well he has managed:

1. Made a mud pie - not on my watch although suspect this may be done at nursery.
2. Baked a cake - yes
3. Finger painted - yes
4. Sung loudly in public - his speciality is 'Wheels on the Bus' on, you've guessed it, the bus.
5. Climbed a big hill - well he's started to lots of times but it usually ends up with "carry me!"
6. Picked fruit - he's picked raspberries on Grandad's allotment.
7. Danced with no inhibitions - all the time!
9. Been chased by a monster - I am assuming that this is not in the literal sense, as that is not an example of good parenting. Pretend monsters, yes, many times.
10. Jumped in a puddle so hard the water went in mummy's shoe too - yes
11. Belly-flopped - no, not really a big swimmer this one.
12. Fed the ducks - yes
13. Blown bubbles - yes
14. Had a teddy bears' picnic - yes
15. Chosen a favourite book - well it changes all the time, but yes
16. Ridden on the top of double-decker bus - yes, at the Worthing Bus Rally.
17. Visited a museum - yes, lots of them.
20. Grown cress in the shape of your name - we have grown cress, but on a pretend head.
21. Worn pants on your head - not something I've ever thought of doing with him...
22. Ridden the tea-cups at the fair - yes
23. Flown a paper aeroplane - yes, this was a recent distraction on a rather trying visit to a supermarket.
24. Pooed in the bath - unfortunately, yes (and lots of other places).
25. Stayed the night away from home - lots of times.
26. Ridden on daddy's shoulders - no, but he has ridden on Grandad's.
27. Scribbled somewhere you shouldn't - actually he's quite good at not doing this, although the first time I gave him a crayon in his bedroom he did draw on the chest of drawers.
28. Cleaned your own teeth - probably capable but rarely does it.
29. Answered the phone - not answered it but he does talk on it, but only when he's in the mood.
30. Mastered a party piece - we used to make him dance and wiggle his bottom...
32. Bought something in a shop - pretend shops lots of times but not a real shop. He doesn't even get pocket money.
33. Set your sights on a future career (pirate, fairy or builder, perhaps?) - don't think he understands the concept. As far as he is concerned Daddy talks on the phone all day and Mummy works on the computer (I do call blogging work...)
34. Told a fib - yes ("Are you doing a poo, Harry?" "No!")
35. Made up an inappropriate nickname for someone - not really inappropriate, but he calls my parents 'Grandma and Grandad Train' because they have a vast collection of my brother's old trainsets at their house for him to play with.
36. Broken something valuable - yes, there was the digital camera in the toilet incident.

So it looks like we've managed most of them without really trying! The thing that made the biggest impression on me from this article was that it looks as though his toddler years are now over. I guess that now he is a pre-schooler. My baby is growing up!

Thursday 19 January 2012

Happy 3rd Birthday Harry

So today it's Harry's third birthday. We're having a rather low-key celebration today as we're gearing up for a big party with family on Saturday, so he only got presents from us and Mia. Mia 'bought' him a wind-up dinosaur and we bought him a Trunki which he loves.

Child playing with new Trunki

I feel a bit more emotional about his birthday this year. I spent most of his babyhood waiting for him to grow up and be more interesting, and now he's reached that point and I don't want it to go so quickly. We had a small birthday cake for breakfast and tonight we're braving Pizza Hut. Happy Birthday Harry!

Tuesday 17 January 2012

Listography - Top 5 Tips for Bloggers

This week, Kate Takes 5 is asking for our top 5 tips for bloggers. I do still feel like a new blogger, but hopefully I've got some tips to pass on!

1 - Read and interact with other blogs. I found the blogging world extremely daunting at first, because there are so many out there. But you quickly get to know the sort of blogs that you enjoy reading, and find bloggers that adopt a similar style to your own. I read most of my blogs through Google Reader, which is a really easy way to keep up to date with new posts, and I can easily read most blogs on my phone this way. Also leave plenty of comments, and not just in the hope of receiving comments in return. I love getting comments, even just a quick note to say that you enjoyed the post!

2 - Join blogging networks. It's a great way to find new blogs to read and for readers to find you. I've joined a few but it becomes exhausting trying to keep up with lots of different communities so find out where you feel most comfortable and focus your efforts there.

3 - Don't obsess about stats. I use StatCounter to check my stats, and when I first installed it I would check it constantly. Now I find it much more satisfying to check less often, as there is (hopefully!) more likely to be a bigger change!

4 - Think very carefully about who may be reading your blog. It is very easy for people to track you down online, especially if you are as open about sharing names and photographs as I am. If you want to write about personal issues, consider remaining anonymous, otherwise you will find that you are always reading back what you write through the eyes of the people that you know are reading it. Also remember that once you have hit publish, what you have written can never really be deleted. There is a very good chance that your children will read your blog one day. Personally, I don't write anything that I wouldn't want my children to read when they are older, but they are still tiny and I accept that if I continue to blog as they grow older there may be things that they don't want me to share with the world.

5 - I love taking part in memes, blog hops, photo challenges and other ways to link up with other bloggers like the Listography. They are a great way to both get some inspiration and to read different interpretations on a theme. But don't rely on them too much, remember to make sure that you still have plenty of original content of your own. Also, unless you are writing a review blog, be sure to intersperse with more interesting content to keep readers that will just skip the review or sponsored posts.

Sunday 15 January 2012

Comfort objects and Harry's Giraffe

I think that most people have some sort of teddy or other comfort object that they have had since they were a baby. I have my teddy, who I must admit still sometimes comes out for cuddles when I'm home alone. And Harry has his Giraffe:

Boy with his comfort object giraffe

Giraffe was a present from my brother when Harry was born. Harry hasn't cottoned on to the fact yet that there are actually two Giraffes, after we managed to source a second identical one. He was too young to notice the difference when new Giraffe appeared, and now we rotate them so they are pretty much identical. Giraffe only leaves the house when Harry will be sleeping elsewhere, as I've read far too many sad tales of lost teddies. As a reminder, at my local Tesco for a long time there was a poster above the Customer Service desk saying "Please take us home" along with a picture of dozens of stuffed animals that had been lost in the store.

I prefer Giraffe to live in the airing cupboard. When Harry was younger he would suck on him and make him all soggy, so the airing cupboard gave him the opportunity to dry out a bit. I originally only let Harry have him at bedtime and naptimes, until my friend (a clinical psychologist) told me that I should let him have Giraffe all the time, as he was his comfort object and his source of consistency. So, reluctantly, Giraffe is around most of the time at home now. Luckily Harry is quite happy to leave him at home when we go out. If he hurts himself or he is feeling tired, he always asks for Giraffe (after me of course...most of the time...).

Lately, Giraffe has also started to develop a personality. He talks in a gruff little voice, he says "Harry", "Mummy", "Daddy" and "Mia". Interestingly this corresponded with Mia starting to make noises which Harry interprets as the same words (they aren't, she's not that advanced!). Harry also asks his opinion on things and has little conversations with him. When we are out in the car he will quite often pretend to ring Giraffe on the phone to tell him what we're up to. I'm just waiting for the day when we have to set a place for Giraffe at the table!

Friday 13 January 2012

Our new summerhouse

Along with our new house, I was very excited to inherit a summerhouse in the garden. Our seller also (with our permission!) left behind some old toys – play food, a tea set, toy saucepans and utensils. She had a daughter, and there was a huge selection of Polly Pocket dolls, clothes and accessories. There are even a couple of small pieces of furniture in there.

Old summerhouse in the garden

I have big plans for this summerhouse. My Dad has already kindly fixed the roof, but otherwise it seems in good condition - it is even carpeted. It is a good size and has a little porch at the front. I need to give it a good clean inside and out, evict the spiders and clean the furniture. Then I might paint it, and I want to make some little curtains and put some pictures up on the walls. On the porch I want to put out some pots with flowers in, perhaps ones that Harry has helped me to plant.

Child washing toys in a bowl

It’s a job to wait until the warmer weather really (or at least until we’ve got the main house sorted out!) but we did make a start today. I brought in all the old toys and sorted through them, and then Harry helped me to give them all a good wash. I mended a broken drawer, so now we have plenty of storage space. All Harry’s garden toys can live out there too, and his sandpit toys before we put out his sandpit. I think it will be a lovely place for him to play in.

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Adventures with playdough

I’m a bit OCD when it comes to play dough. I like to keep all the colours separate, and one colour has to be put away before another comes out. Our extruder is brilliant, but I do obsess over making sure that every last piece of play dough is removed before we put it away. Play dough doesn’t last forever though, and Harry’s original play dough is starting to get a bit grotty and hard. So I decided it was time to chuck it out and replace it with some new stuff, and before I did that we had one last play with it.

I took a tray and built a road outline with the play dough. Then I filled in the gaps around the edge and in the middle (mixing the colours! The horror!). There wasn’t enough to cover the tray so I filled in the gaps with some pudding rice that I found during the move that was out of date (you could use anything small, like rice or lentils). We had a big lake in the middle, and fields around the edges.

We decorated it with the bits of pasta and buttons that we use in the play dough anyway, and a few small animals and trees from the farm set. I even made some very simple boats from cardboard. It doesn’t quite compete with the play dough playscapes that I used as inspiration but we had just as much fun making it as we did playing with it.

Mixing up different colours of play dough

It might even keep for a few days before we throw it out!

Tuesday 10 January 2012

Angmering Library and Children and Family Centre

It was always going to be high on my priority list to find the local library. I used to take Harry to the nearest one to our old house a lot when he was a baby, but it was still a half hour walk with the pushchair and as he got bigger he became more impatient on the journey. Then when Mia came along it was too far for him to walk, as we don’t have a double buggy.  

So I was thrilled to discover that Angmering Library is just a few minutes walk from our house. It is not the biggest of libraries, but the children’s section has plenty of books, and to Harry’s absolute delight a wooden ‘book train’. It even had a computer with simple games for children to play, although to be honest it completely stumped me, I couldn’t get it to do anything that I wanted it to. 

In the same building is the Children and Family Centre. Again, it’s not the biggest, but it has a lovely garden out the back and the ladies there were very friendly and welcoming. Twice a week they run a toy library, so we came home today with a toy dump truck and a Gruffalo Story Sack, with stuffed creatures to act out the story and some extra themed books and games. They also run lots of other activities, so there is plenty there to keep us busy. 

These are my first steps towards getting to know some other parents with small children. It’s always good to get out of the house into a different environment, and hopefully I’ll start to see the same faces out and about.

Child playing on toy train in the local library

Monday 9 January 2012

Village Life – exploring Angmering

Today was my first opportunity to get out with Mia in the pushchair and begin to explore the village of Angmering where we now live. We have been so busy in the house that it was my first opportunity to see what is on our doorstep. And I was delighted to discover that the village really is on our doorstep! Within a few minutes walk I found a newsagent, hairdresser, small supermarket, Post Office, Medical Centre, Village Hall, library and Children and Family Centre as well as a few other small shops. Maybe I am easily pleased, but that is most of my needs met. 

We now live on a new estate which joins onto the ‘old’ village. This estate was build about ten years ago and it is a huge development. I can’t imagine what the residents of the ‘old’ village must have thought when it was built. The estate has a Community Centre in the middle, playgrounds and a large green area in the middle, but most of the facilities are found in the village itself.  

There seems to be a real sense of community and everyone is very friendly. I had a long chat with the lady in the Children and Family Centre, she gave me a tour and told me about some of the many activities and groups that there are for families. I also love living so close to the library. I will miss living down a footpath from a massive supermarket, but I think that all these other things within walking distance more than make up for that.  

Walking around the village itself is not particularly toddler friendly, with some narrow footpaths and a lack of pavements. But I’m looking forward to getting out with the little ones and joining in!

Sunday 8 January 2012

Unpacking and settling in

As stressed as I was with the anticipation of moving house, one thing that I hadn't really considered was just how long it was going to take us to get back to normal. Perhaps because our things were packed for us, it wasn't until I started opening boxes at this end that I realised just how much stuff we were going to have to find a home for. We are very lucky that our new house has plenty of storage space, so we will be able to fit everything in, but there are many decisions to be made about where to put things and how to come up with the best storage solutions.

We had the carpets cleaned the day after we moved in, so most of the boxes were stored on the top floor of our three storey house in an uncarpeted room. Now we are faced with the task of moving everything back downstairs again. There are also decisions to be made about where to position furniture, and then it needs to be reassembled and fixed to the walls.

One thing that is certain is that the whole process would be much harder without the fantastic support of my parents. It really is almost impossible to get much done with a demanding baby and inquisitive toddler under your feet. My parents have been brilliant at keeping the little ones occupied and out of the way so that we can get on with things, and they are also great at spotting things that need doing, and quietly getting on with them.

It looks as though we'll be without proper internet for a week or so more yet. We have ways and means of getting a connection, but we have to restrict our usage!

Thursday 5 January 2012

Moving house with a baby and a toddler

We did it! We successfully moved house with a toddler and a baby! And while it's not an experience that I'd like to repeat in a hurry, it really wasn't that bad. We had done a lot of preparation with Harry on what was happening, for example we made sure that he knew that everything was coming with us to the new house. We took him out to show him the lorry and to watch as the first things were loaded on.

The men arrived very early and started taking things out right away. There was a little bit of a worry mid-morning when it looked as though everything wasn't going to fit on the lorry, but they disappeared and came back with another. Unfortunately I had confused the Scottish packer the day before by telling him in conversation that we had exchanged before Christmas. He thought this meant that we had completed and they could take the lorry to the new house, unload it, and then return for a second trip. Whoops.

Moving house with a baby and a toddler

When the upstairs had been loaded I set up a camp in Harry's old bedroom with some toys and snacks to keep the little ones out of the way while the last things were packed downstairs. Harry had a great time running around the empty house. We completed very early, about 11 am, so we were in the new house around midday.

Moving house with a baby and a toddler

The lady selling the house had left it beautifully clean and it's in really good condition. We are very pleased with it, it is a lovely house. We have plenty of space and lots of storage. Our sofa never really looked right in the old house, and now it fits perfectly. Our television and entertainment centre can also sit nicely in the corner where they belong, rather than across the middle of the living room. We even have a smaller room which we can use as a playroom, rather than having toys stacked up in the living room.

Moving house with a baby and a toddler

It's going to take us a long time to get everything sorted. We have boxes piled up everywhere, and because we had it packed for us I don't know where anything is. I don't want to rush into unpacking because I want to make sure that everything is stored in the best place. We will also be without our regular internet access for a little while, so I may go a bit quiet. But so relieved that it's done!

Tuesday 3 January 2012

Goodbye house

So tomorrow is moving day and today was packing day. Most of our things are now in boxes (and a lot more boxes that I expected...I can't believe that we have so much stuff). We are really excited about moving to the new house, it's in a nicer area and we will have a lot more space. But we have been very happy here and it will be sad to leave. I have lots of special memories from this house.

  • We moved here from a little two bedroom flat, before children, where we had the television, sofa and computer all in one room. When we moved into the house it felt so big, and it was really hard to adjust to being on separate floors. It felt really lonely!
  • My favourite room is Harry's room. We decorated it in a farmyard theme, with green hills, blue sky with clouds and a sun in the corner. It had glow in the dark stars on the ceiling and farmyard animal stickers on the walls. We only recently decorated Mia's room. It was pale pink with a butterfly light, butterfly border and bright pink curtains.
  • Whenever I look at the bath I remember lying there while pregnant with Harry listening to classical music (didn't happen so often second pregnancy) and being in it while in labour with Mia!
  • We have a huge under the stairs cupboard which is the same size as a small room. It's great for throwing in toys at the end of the day, and Harry loves shutting himself in there with a torch.
  • Every inch of the upstairs landing is very familiar to me from long evenings spent walking up and down trying to get babies to sleep, or wandering up and down throughout the night attending to the frequent and demanding needs of said babies.

This house has seen us grow from carefree couple to a little family. I hope that the new owners will be as happy here as we have been.

Boxes packed up for moving house

Sunday 1 January 2012

New Year's Resolutions

My most important New Year's Resolution this year is to get back to the dress size that I was at the beginning of December. Unfortunately, stopping breastfeeding has not been good for my figure, and trousers which were hanging off me then are now uncomfortably tight. So on the assumption that if I can gain it in a month I can lose it in a month, I'll be off the chocolates and biscuits for a while.

The New Year is a new start for us as we move into our new house, so the rest of my resolutions are a bit up in the air at the moment. We've already had a clear out and declutter, and we'll be cleaning the house as we move in.

One thing that I am keen to do is to get involved in the local community. This is something that isn't too difficult when you have children as there are plenty of activities to help you get to know other parents, as long as you make the effort. I do have some friends in the area we are moving to, and it would also be nice if I could find some sort of 'grown up' activity to take part in, perhaps an evening class or group. I'm going to make a big effort to get to know the local area, and I intend to devote a new section of my blog to what we get up to, as well as local events and activities.

Also on the blogging front I'd like to get to know lots more blogs. I have a number of favourites but I know that there are loads out there that would appeal. I want to challenge myself to discover a number of 'new to me' blogs each week, and I'll share them here.

Mainly though I need to make sure that I make the most of my final six months or so of maternity leave. There isn't likely to be any more, and although I will be returning to work part-time for the time being, I will miss being able to live to my own schedule. Although it is very hard being at home with a baby and a toddler, I am loving being at home with my two little ones.

Happy New Year to all my readers!