Friday, 24 February 2012


That's the only way i can explain why the past two weeks have been so much better than the preceding two.  Positive mental attitude.

Nothing tangible has changed.  Chris is still super busy juggling placement, uni and part-time work, Toby is still testing his boundaries, Rudy still fights sleep, and as an added bonus, now also feeds more frequently during the night and has started waking up earlier too?!  So all this considered, you'd think i'd actually be feeling pretty stressed/worn down/fed-up, especially now that we're all ill again (as of yesterday) but in fact i'm feeling...well...pretty good actually :)

We've had quite a busy couple of weeks, which i think helps.  It's always nice to have something to do, especially if that something means you get to see your little ones enjoying themselves, and there has been plenty of that happening.

Last Saturday we went to a joint birthday party for my friend's two little boys who are turning 1 and 3.  They have almost exactly the same age gap as Toby and Rudy (but are a bit further ahead, obviously).  I remember when it was their eldest's 2nd birthday and so their youngest was 3 weeks old, and i was pregnant with Rudy at that point (although only just!) and thinking "so this is what i am letting myself in for!" but my friend is pretty amazing, so made it look a lot easier than i probably do!  Anyway it was a bit of a trek over to the party (an hour's trip in the car) but that worked in our favour as both boys slept soundly pretty much the whole way so were nice and refreshed for the party itself, which was held in their local church hall.  I wasn't sure what to expect but they had tables set up with activities like card-making, cake-decorating, seed-planting etc, plus a big space for the kids to just run around (which a lot of them were making the most of!) and there was party food and games and face painting.  It was a really nice day.  Maybe more so for me than for Chris as for me it meant the added bonus of a quick catch-up with a few of the girls i did my training with, whereas he didn't really know any of the grown-ups.  Toby had a brilliant time though...

We did cake-decorating:

And cake-eating ;)

Lots of running around

Had some party food

And sang happy birthday to the birthday boys
And at some point Toby turned into a pirate!
Excellent! :)

The next day (Sunday) Chris was working a long day (8am to 9.30pm) on placement so i took the boys over to my best friend's house and we had a really lovely day, with yummy lunch (and cake!), lots of cups of tea and a much-needed catch-up, as we don't get to see each other all that often.

Then on Monday we all headed in to town, in the rain as Chris had an eye test and i needed to pick some glasses out.

No that wasn't a typo, it was his eye test, but i also had an eye test back in November and was told i need glasses (which i knew to be honest!) but i couldn't find any glasses i liked, and perhaps was also a bit in denial about needing them.  We did try picking some out a couple of weeks back but Rudy was hungry and Toby was bored and i was frustrated with the whole idea so we gave up.  This time though, both boys were asleep and i found a pair i liked almost straight away.  Unfortunately then Chris came out of his appointment and also needed to pick a new pair of glasses, and that's when it all got a bit trickier.  He's been wearing the same glasses all day every day for a few years now, so fancied a change.  I have got used to his face looking a certain way with a certain pair of glasses on so immediately rejected every single pair that made him look even a bit different! I wasn't being deliberately obstinate, it was an involuntary reaction! Also, financially, one person needing new glasses is an inconvenient expense, but two people needing new glasses is quite a substantial investment! So those two facts, also coupled with the fact that the sales assistant guy was a bit of a pushy arsehole, meant that Chris gave up on the whole idea and is going to have a look around (no pun intended) before making his decision.  Mine have been ordered though, and will be ready to collect next week, at which point my transformation into geekdom will be complete :)

I should add that i don't actually think other spectacle wearers are geeks, it's just when i see myself wearing them, i know for sure, that i really am the actual biggest geek alive.  Which i am, but this way the truth is out there on my face, in plain sight for all to see.

Anyway, it was pouring with rain while we were in town.  Initially Toby was asleep in the quinny (facing forward) and Rudy was on my front in the connecta.  Then when we glasses shopping Toby woke up and wanted out of the pram.  Rudy then woke up shortly after and was getting all hot and bothered in his fleecy sleepsuit in the sling, so i took him out and put him in the empty pram, which he really rather enjoyed, so when it came to heading back to the car we were initially going to try persuade Toby back into the quinny and i was strapping Rudy back on to my chest, but the rain was really coming down and Toby was determined to "do walking" so i put Rudy back in the quinny, but switched the seat to be parent facing and Toby walked holding Chris's hand.  It was the right thing to do as Rudy would have been soaked otherwise, and he was nice and snug with the rain cover on, but he just looked so far away from me down there in a little plastic bubble, it was a bit strange.

Toby thought it was hilarious running through the rain with his Daddy though.  I had my camera in my changing bag as that's pretty much where it lives and did a quick snapshot as i didn't want it to get too wet and ended up with this fab picture of the two of them:

Tuesday was Pancake Day and that was a disaster.  I burnt most of them, Toby wouldn't eat his (even though i gave him the non-burnt ones), Rudy was screaming, seemingly not wanting ANYONE to eat ANY pancakes, the smoke alarm was going off.  In the end i gave the pancakes to the dog, strapped both boys in the double buggy and went for a walk and felt a lot better after some fresh air (plus, as a bonus, they both fell asleep, so i had a bit of peace, albeit briefly!)

On Wednesday we went to the sling meet social at a soft play centre we've never been to before and it was fantastic, i was really impressed.  I don't know if i've said this before but Toby isn't the most daring of toddlers when it comes to the whole running, jumping, climbing-trees thing that boys are "supposed' to do, and needs a bit of encouragement when it comes to his physical capabilites, but after we'd been there for a bit and he'd settled in and i'd accompanied him into the actual play area a couple of times and he'd got a feel for it all, he started venturing a bit further into the play area, and then at one point i was having a conversation with someone and realised i couldn't see him anymore, so did a quick scan and thought "Is that? can't be...It is! It's Tobias...all the way up there!" and he was basically, well, as high as it gets! Clambering up a squidgy staircase towards the ceiling! It was brilliant to see him so confident and having such fun.  Later he seemed to make a little friend and they were riding together in this "Ice Cream Van" ride that someone kept putting money into (no idea who- i certainly didn't!) and then chasing each other around on trikes and generally having a great time.

I also made a couple of new friends, or talked to a couple of people i hadn't met before anyway ;) and one of the sling meet organisers gave me a demo on how to use a wrap to do a side/hip carry which was great as i've been considering getting a ring sling for Rudy as he's so nosy and interested in what is happening that he's finding the stretchy wrap really restrictive/frustrating now and seems to be trying to battle his way out whenever he's in there, but at the same time does enjoy being carried and does need to be able to go to sleep when he gets to that point.  Anyway i saw this particular mama using a wrap to carry very much like a ring sling and was really sold on the idea of doing that instead.  That way, i am spending the same amount of money (more or less) but getting more for it as i can do lots of different carries with the same wrap.  Or at least, that's the theory anyway.  Whether or not i actually manage to master lots of different carries is another matter!

We shall soon see though as fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately, depending on how you look at it!) i had paypal funds from the ebay selling i have been doing recently, and our very first wrap will be on it's way to us come Monday- yippee! I'm actually pretty excited, just hoping it's not too much of a steep learning curve after the stretchy!

Then yesterday (see, i did say it has been a busy couple of weeks!) it was Rudy's first Aquababies lesson.  He enjoyed the first half of it and screamed for the second half, but he was hungry, bless him and after a good feed in the changing rooms he was quite contented and blissed out.  He fell fast asleep on the way home and stayed asleep for quite a while, then woke up briefly had a bit of a look around and some cuddles but still looked shattered so i took him to bed!

Today we did zilch.  We went to the shops for a few bits but other than that nothing at all really.  We've all come down with a cold (again!) and are all snotty with rattly coughs.  Chris had to go into placement anyway so me and the boys just took it easy at home, watching Charlie and Lola on DVD and doing colouring-in for the most part.

And so, you see, two busy and on the whole, fun weeks! Let's just hope my PMA survives this latest virus!

Let's end with a cute photo just because ;) Taken on Valentines Day:

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Time flies when you're having fun

Or even when you're not, as it turns out!

In all fairness this week has improved as it has gone along, it started out fairly dismally, with me feeling utterly pants and like i was doing an abysmal job of keeping my children happy, and has improved a little each day since.

I think Wednesday was the turning point.  With us all being  ill recently we've been spending such a lot of time cooped up indoors.  No one has wanted to visit, obviously, us being germ-ridden and all, and i have found it really isolating.  I'm not what you'd call a social butterfly but i do find it hard when days and days go by and the only adult conversation i have is a brief "handover" to Chris on how the boys have been and what we've been up to, in between him coming in from placement and heading out to work.  That coupled with me feeling generally rotten physically, and also dealing with some complicated emotional stuff has really made for a fairly miserable mix these past couple of weeks, but by Wednesday we were all finally well enough to visit actual people without infecting them, so we went over to Bradford to visit some of my family.

First we called in on my sister Sophie, she lives with her husband (i still find it a bit weird that my little sister has a "husband") and their two little boys.  Zach is the same age as Toby, and her youngest, Leo is 8 months old.  She's also pregnant with baby number three (yes, she is in fact a CRAZY PERSON!) who they've just found out is a little girly! So my first ever niece is due in June, at which point they will have a 2.5 year old, a 1 year old and a newborn.  Let's not even go there!

So yes, we went to their house first, and it was really nice as Toby and Zach played really well together (and they don't always!) and by some miracle Rudy actually fell asleep whilst we were there without any screaming or protesting about it first!

Then we headed up to my Mum's house, she lives with my other sister, Megan who is 12 and my 9 year old brother Kieran (the baby of the family).  My Mum had the great idea to head to the farm shop so that we could buy something tasty for dinner and so Toby could look at the animals, so that's what we did.  Rudy protested some of the way there and most of the way back, but that's nothing unusual.

Toby liked the pigs best and kept saying "Oik Oik" to them.

He also thought the straw was funny, although he didn't touch it with his hands but he kept looking down at it and saying "Oooh prickly!"

Here he is checking out the goats and holding Grandma's hand-

We got some tasty things from the farm shop and had a nice afternoon back at my Mum's.  I got to chat to my Mum about some stuff that's been on my mind recently which was a help, and Kieran kept Toby amused playing cars.  We didn't get back until late and both boys were very disgruntled as they had essentially "gone to bed" in the car so were none too pleased to be woken up by being taken out of said car and brought in the house but within half an hour or so both were tucked up fast asleep in their appropriate places (Rudy in our bed, Toby in his) and all was well with the world.

I'd picked up a hideously disgusting carrier bag of "free dog bones" from the farm shop for Fudge.  Well now, actually that's a lie.  I'd glanced at the bones and decided i couldn't face carrying them around the shop but my Mum had offered to do it, unfortunately i'd then put them in the boot of my car and happily forgotten all about them so they'd been in there all day while we were out, and they were very...ahem..."fresh" i suppose would be the right word?!?  Hence on Thursday whilst Toby was in nursery, i could be found cleaning blood out of the boot of the car.

I remarked to Chris that i can well see how murderers get caught out, even when they think they've done a bang-up job of cleaning up behind themselves, as the stuff gets everywhere!  I kept finding little blood drops and thinking "What the?!..." Yuk.

Then Thursday evening was Toby's last Aquababies class, which i've already written about so won't go on about that any more!

Friday we had playgroup in the morning, which was nice as it's the 1st time we've been able to go for a few weeks (what with the aforementioned bugs and all)

And this weekend we have mainly been playing with playdough, pirates, fire engines and cars, listing things for sale on ebay, and eating pancakes! I found a box of 10 eggs in the fridge with an expiry date of today so decided i'd get some practice in for the upcoming pancake day and we had pancakes for lunch both yesterday and today!  It's been a quiet one but Chris has been off and we've managed to get a fair bit of tidying/sorting done around the house, which although very dull, does make the difficult days a tad easier when it's only the boys i have to deal with and not a pigsty as well!

Oh and here's a pic of Rudy with his new BFF:

That's Sophie la Girafe.  And a very tasty head she has too! Still no sign of any actual teeth but i'm sure they're on their way.  In any case, i can't see how he can continue with this level of gnawing and drooling if he's not going to get any until his 1st birthday like Toby did!

Rudy is 4 months old (as of yesterday) which is a little scary to be honest as it means time really IS flying.  Chris and i have already had the "back to work" discussions and looked at the figures etc and decided on a plan but i hadn't actually done anything about it...until tonight...when i finally rang work and spoke to my (acting) manager who confirmed that what i want to do should in fact be fine, i just need to put it in writing and we're all set.  So that was a relief.  I had a really bad experience returning to work after mat leave with Toby so i think i'd been preparing myself for something similar this time but it looks like it will be much better :)

Friday, 10 February 2012

The End of an Era (and the start of a new one!)

Yesterday was Toby's final Aquababies lesson (sniff).  He started swimming with Aquababies almost exactly two years ago, he had his first lesson when he was 15 weeks and 5 days old and he loved it.

We've had 'bumps' along the way, periods of time where separation anxiety has sneaked into the pool with us and made some of the activities tricky, periods of time where we've had to miss lessons due to illness and questioned if the money (and to be frank, the lessons are pricey) could be better spent elsewhere but on the whole it's been an amazing two years of great fun!

No matter what else a week has held in store for us, we've always known that for half an hour on a Wednesday/Thursday (we switched days recently) we will have true quality time, not thinking about anything other than Toby and how much fun we're having with him.  At first the lessons were exclusively a "Mummy and Toby" thing but when i was pregnant with Rudy and perpetually ill with one thing or another Chris stepped in and became one of the few "swimming Daddies" at Aquababies for a while, and then of course when i gave birth, i had to stay on dry land for a few weeks so once again he stepped up to the mark and donned his hawaiian print swim-shorts!

Toby's confidence in the water has increased massively, something i think we take for granted in a way, as it's not until i hear tales of other toddlers screaming and refusing to get into their hotel swimming pools on family holidays that i realise how fortunate we are to have been able to provide him with the opportunity to get used to the water and not see it as something to be scared of, from such an early age.  A lot of what they teach in the lessons is from a water-safety standpoint, like breath-holding on submersion and finding and pulling themselves up on the side of the pool for example.

We're not in the habit of allowing Toby to wander free near the edge of ponds and lakes as a general rule anyway to be honest, but i do get some comfort from knowing that if he were to unexpectedly fall into some water, he would have a better chance of not panicking and making the situation worse, as a result of his time at Aquababies.

We were intended to give up his lessons last summer.  The lessons are always held in small hydrotherapy pools, the one we go to is in a special school for children with disabilities, and so there are the usual half-term holidays and long breaks over summer and Christmas.  When we broke up for the summer last year i was well into my pregnancy with Rudy and it seemed like the natural time to stop, we discussed it and decided there was no point rebooking for the September term as i'd be too heavily pregnant to take him anymore and Chris couldn't guarantee to always be available to take him, and anyway then the baby would be due and we'd likely miss a few weeks which would be a waste of money etc etc...

But Toby was enjoying the lessons SO much at that point and in the end our hearts won over our heads and we rebooked thinking we'd figure out the logistics later, and of course we did.  It turned out swimming when heavily pregnant is actually a delight! I came to look forward to our Aquababies lesson every week so i could submerge my increasingly cumbersome form into some deliciously warm water which for 30 minutes made me feel as floaty light as a feather and also meant that i could do everything i usually could with Toby- hug and squeeze him, tickle him, throw him up in the air, just as i'd always done but could no longer do on dry land due to being so big and so worried about the delicate little thing in my tummy. It was definitely a good move to rebook for an extra term.  But then of course, came crunch time.  It was November, we were now a family of four, we'd put Rudy's name down on the waiting list to start Aquababies lessons, in the meantime could we squeeze one more term in with Toby before his brother started? Well, it turns out, yes, we could.  We had to switch days to Thursdays, which i admit has made this term slightly more hassle and slightly less enjoyable than our previous ones, as Thursday is Toby's one day in nursery, so with Aquababies tagged on the end of it, it became our busiest day... but i still think it has been worthwhile.  Toby hasn't enjoyed the lessons any less despite them being straight after a busy day in nursery, and now that the time has finally come for him to finish swimming with Aquababies, at least i can hand on heart say we kept going with it for as long as we possibly could- he finished yesterday, we have a break of one week and then Rudy starts his Aquababies adventures the following week!

There's no way on earth we could logistically, or financially manage to have them both doing lessons at the same time and although it makes me a little sad that Toby's Aquababies days are behind him now, it's going to be exciting starting the journey all over again with my new little guy.  I also think it's going to be nice for me and Rudy to have that special one-on-one time together in the pool just exclusively focusing on each other, as being the 2nd baby he hasn't really had much of that yet.

We're still planning to take Toby swimming as much as possible as he absolutely loves it and anyway it would be a shame for him to lose the skills and confidence he's built up over the past couple of years.  It isn't going to be easy to do though as it's going to mean all four of us making the time to go together as a family and i expect i'll need to get the boys some little wetsuits too, as we've been spoiled swimming in our lovely warm pool, so any of the regular pools we'll go to are going to be a bit of a shock i think!

So it's a little bittersweet but Chris and i have said all along we want to be fair, and give both our boys the same opportunities where possible, so it's Rudy's turn now.

We have loads and loads of swimming photos, including some amazing ones from an underwater photo shoot  Toby had in October but they're not on the laptop unfortunately, so i've just found a handful of others i'd like to share  :)

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Right. January.

It would appear we're in February already! I know i have been conspicuously absent recently but in my defence i have spent the majority of this week teetering on the brink of total physical and mental collapse so hopefully the 2 people that actually make the effort to read my blog will forgive me ;)

I caught the plague you see, or at least something quite similar in it's presentation, and by Wednesday evening i had a temperature of 39 degrees and my brain had turned into alphabet soup.

Chris came home early from placement to find me trying to run a bath for Toby, barely able to stand i was shaking so much, Toby running around on the landing half dressed and dripping with snot but cheerful as ever and Rudy screaming away on the bed (the latter not being particularly unusual to be fair, it doesn't take much to get him going, in that case just being put down on the bed for a few minutes was enough to royally piss him off)

So, despite my protestations that i felt "f-f-f-freeezing!" Chris attacked me with cool flannels, water and paracetamol and within an hour my temperature was down to 38.7 and i no longer felt that losing consciousness at any minute was a very real possibility.

I continued to feel impressively shite and have a labile temperature for the next couple of days but today i am sat up, on the laptop, dressed in actual clothes (as opposed to Christmas-themed flannel pyjamas) writing this blog, so i think it's safe to say the worst of it must be over.

My head remains foggy, my nose remains snotty and my back aches like i am an old, old woman but knowing my immune system that will all linger for a while yet.

It's not just me (in case you were thinking this was going to be an entirely self-pity entry!) all the boys are poorly too to various extents.  Chris has a cough and looks like he could fall asleep standing up, Toby is like a beautiful little slug, leaving shiny slime trails behind him wherever he goes courtesy of his nose running like a tap, and my poor Rudy bear, his teeny nostrils are easily blocked and he is finding it difficult and frustrating to breathe/feed/sleep, which, to be fair, at 16 weeks of his age, is pretty much all he does.  Alongside nappy-filling and gnawing on his own hands.  Not to be overlooked!  His amber teething necklace and anklet arrived today:

I'm really pleased with the necklace and and anklet anyway, i just hope they help!  Chris is sceptical, but that seems to be a new favourite hobby of his anyway so i'm not taking it personally ;) We had a lively debate about placebos and complementary therapies last night (He's reading "Bad Science" at the minute)

Which sort of leads me on to what i was intending to say when i started writing this!...January! You may (or may not) remember my challenges for the new book and film each month and one new recipe each week.

In January i...


  • "Murderous Manchester" by John J Eddleston and
  • "Classical Education" by Caroline Taggart

they are both non-fiction books and i bought them both in the "12 days of Kindle" sale on Amazon in December.  I really enjoyed them both but Murderous Manchester was definitely the easier read of the two.  Classical Education was very funny though, Caroline Taggart has a really dry witty sense of humour which definitely lightened the heavy subject matter!


  • My Sister's Keeper
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Inception
  • Charlie and the chocolate factory
  • Shrek 4
  • Cloudy with a chance of meatballs
  • Rio (actually, to be honest i was making dinner during this so dipped in and out)
I enjoyed them all, as anyone who has a clue what the story is about will realise, "My Sister's Keeper" was utterly heartbreaking and depressing, but i thought it was quite well done.  I haven't read Jodi Picoult's book that the film is based on, but Chris told me afterwards that apparently the film is quite controversial in that it has a completely different ending altogether from the book, but when he told me the book ending i actually thought i preferred the film version as it seemed more positive and yet also more realistic.

I loved Sherlock Holmes! I'm not sure what else i can say about that except that we've added the second one to our "reserve" list on Love Film now :)

Inception was clever and i liked the cast but i wondered at times what the hell was actually going on, so suspect that perhaps some of it may have gone over my head! I'd like to watch it again i think so that i could spend more time enjoying the story and less worrying about who's dream it was supposed to be!

The others were all "family movies" so mainly watched for Tobias' benefit, although i confess i do have a soft spot for the Shrek movies.  He enjoyed that and Cloudy with a chance of meatballs probably the best, he wasn't really into Charlie and the chocolate factory at all but we were all a bit underwhelmed by it to be honest, and at the end both Chris and i were a little confused questioning if we had in fact completely forgotten how the book ends, but Chris hunted the book out on Toby's bookcase and no, we were right, again the film ending was totally different to the book!  Rio was ok from what i saw of it.


  • Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Apple and Potato Rostis and Corn on the cob

As you can see, somewhat predictably perhaps i have excelled myself with regards to the films and books and got off to a very disappointing start with new recipes.  I am not being too hard on myself though, as January was a tough month with the boys so i feel like not being more experimental with what i feed them is probably the least of my worries.  I will try harder this month though i promise!

I'll end with a photo of the boys, taking an afternoon nap in our bed earlier this week.  It's rare that Toby sleeps during the day and the idea of them both sleeping at the same time, well, that's just plain crazy but on Monday afternoon, shortly after this photo was taken, that is exactly what happened! And although it was just for a couple of hours it was bliss, so much so that i just lay there between them enjoying the tranquility!

Thursday, 2 February 2012


My brain that is!  Due to a combination of stress, illness and a jumbled head!

I will be back when it is less, well...mushy!