28 June 2015

Sun, sand and smiles

On our recent holiday to Somerset, one of the things that was on the girls to do lists was to go to the beach, they really love the beach, building sandcastles and flying their kite, they would spent all day pottering in the sand if they could.

This particular visit was to Brean Sands, we did visit Weston Super Mare too another day but it was cloudy, overcast and there was a very cold wind so we opted for the aquarium that day rather than the beach.

On arrival at Brean we headed to the 'beach car park' and paid our fee not realising it was actual parking on the beach itself, we could park anywhere against the rocks on a 2 mile stretch so there was plenty of space between us and the next car.

It was a bright sunny day and really warm in the sun but the wind coming off the downs was quite chilly and rather bracing to say the least so the girls opted for warm jumpers and to keep covered up to stay warm. They played in the sand behind the cars out of the wind a little.

Nanny and Uncle M who were holidaying with us also had their car, we were not as brave as Daddy and the girls and so Little 3 and I hopped into the back of their car (as there were no car seats) and chatted, listened to the radio, had a feed and Little 3 had an afternoon nap too while I actually read a bit of my book. I think it was a better option to keep him in the warm rather than in the wind, the sand was blowing everywhere so I couldn't have put him down anyway.

We had a picnic out of the boot of the car as we didn't fancy chasing our lunch as it blew down the beach or sandy sandwiches either! It was quite good fun. After lunch the girls and Daddy went for a walk/climb along the rocks while Nanny and I took a stroll along the sand. 

A little later Daddy got out the kite and the girls took it in turns running around the beach getting it to fly, they really had to hold on tight as it pulled them along! We had a good time at Brean even though it was windy and the sand has managed to get absolutely everywhere.

Fish and chips for tea anyone?

24 June 2015

Little 3 is 3 months old.

Okay I might be a bit bias, okay a lot, but look at him isn't he blooming gorgeous!! Little 3 has reached the ripe ol' age of three months. I have to be honest and say these past 3 months haven't been easy but there has been a massive leap in his development lately which has made life much easier for everyone, he is now much more settled and crying a lot less as well as smiling, chatting and beginning to giggle. 

Little 3 seems to have outgrown much of his reflux issues that plagued the early days, he is not on any medication now and is not nearly as sick as he was after feeds, he is much more content and the crying fits are a thing of the past. This has also meant a lot less washing for me which is always a bonus as having 3 children the laundry basket is rarely empty. It is lovely to see him happy and not in pain enjoying that sleepy full tummy feeling.

His development has come on leaps and bounds in the last month, he can reach and bat things and has begun to grab toys and attempt to pull them into his mouth. He has found his hands and feet and I like to watch him as he turns his hands over and wiggles his toes looking in awe at his new found playthings. We have had his first giggles this month as well as lots of new sounds too, 'buh buh' is the latest, he loves trying to communicate with his big sisters, smiling and cooing along at them it really is like he is trying to have a conversation with us.

Little 3 likes spending time on the floor under the play gym as well as just having a good kick about. He has been trying very hard at learning to roll, he can now go from his front to back and almost go back the other way but he hasn't quite learnt to move his arm out the way so that he can roll over it and gets stuck on his side with his legs hanging over, but once he is on his tummy he manages to scoot a little way along the floor using his legs and does a very good frog impression lifting his bottom well off the floor, looks like he will be crawling in no time!

Weighing in at 13lb exactly last week. Little 3 has recently undergone a check up and more tests on his irregular heartbeat so I will post further on that when we get the results, fingers crossed it is what we want to hear.

My gorgeous little boy is changing every day and growing up far to fast, I wonder what he will be up to next month-how time flies.

20 June 2015

Jolly holidays

We recently had our first holiday as a family of 5, it was great a sunny week in Somerset chilling out having fun and spending time as a family with Nanny and Uncle M too. Lots of hands to hold Little 3 gave me a much needed break between feeds, the girls got some time with Mummy and Daddy and plenty of extra attention which did them good and we all got plenty of fresh air and exercise too.

We visited Weston Super Mare and the aquarium there, Cheddar Gorge, Wookey Hole caves, the Mendip Hills and Brean beach, there was swimming at a nearby hotel too and lots of playing in the garden at our cottage which was on a beef farm so the girls also enjoyed going to see the cows lots too.

One of the things we do when we are on holiday, seeing as it is Little 1's favourite food, is eat ice cream. It started when she was small, we generally holiday in seaside locations as the girls really love the beach and building sandcastles. We have a holiday rule that nearly every day that we are away the girls are allowed an ice cream if they have been good. This year we found a few places selling whoppers, needless to say Little 2 couldn't always finish hers but Daddy was always willing not to let it go to waste!

Little 3 was very good while we were away, he slept a lot in the pushchair and spent some time in the baby carrier too, he was even fantastic and dropped a night feed mid way through the week which was brilliant (it only lasted a week though, maybe it was all the fresh air!).

We all came back feeling very refreshed and refueled, just what we had needed. Here's to more fun filled holidays as a family of 5.

15 June 2015

Defining life with a newborn

When a new baby arrives in your house, whether it is your first or third or more, there are a number of things that suddenly change. That tiny person can take up so much time and energy, add to that the sleep deprivation and when you have other children to take care of sheer exhaustion too. There really did not seem a moment where I was not either looking after the needs of someone small or trying to keep on top of the mess and laundry that 3 children create in those very early days.

So in the early weeks when life is pretty manic, there is a small person permanently attached to your frontage, you are madly trying to brush toothpaste out of a 3 year olds hair while insisting to your 5 year old that she is capable of putting her school shoes on herself five minutes after you should have left for school, there are a few things that take on a whole new meaning (just for a little while, until everything settles into place).

A balanced diet-  Forget the five main food groups, my diet as a mum of a new baby plus two consisted of toast, lots and lots of cold buttered toast and bananas. Toast can be made in minutes with one hand (you'll be surprised what you can do while jiggling a hungry baby when you realise you haven't eaten since yesterday). It might not be gourmet but it is better for you than cake and the toddler seems happy to have toast for lunch as well as breakfast. The bananas are there just to balance everything out, you'd really love to raid the biscuit tin but there is baby weight to shift and bananas tick the box for getting some sort of nutrients too.
As for an evening meal- I think we all got rather fed up of pasta bake! I promise we are eating much better now. 

Me Time- Ha ha this is now almost an impossible concept, having three children and breastfeeding too means currently I am very rarely alone. The closest I get to me time is going to the loo! But it is only a matter of seconds before someone is banging on the door or I begin to hear crying or bickering, so much for a minute to myself. 

Feeling Pampered- These days the luxury of a leisurely bath or time to stand in the shower and relax is practically non-existent. A shower is an in and out job while Daddy holds the apparently starving baby despite him being fed 5 minutes before I jumped in. Pampered these days means not having to rush, having time to shave my legs and maybe even use that lovely leave in conditioner I had for christmas!

Staying Up- This currently has a whole new meaning, evenings are currently spent tied to the sofa cluster feeding waiting for Little 3 to decide he has had enough milk to see him flake out in some sort of milk fueled coma so that I can put him up to bed. Then be it 8pm or midnight when this is achieved I have to make the decision- do I go to bed with him or do I stay up a bit and spent time with Daddy or do some blogging that is seriously being neglected right now! Mostly I opt to go to bed, generally the nights I have stayed up (just until a normal 10pm or so) are the ones where Little 3 decides to feed all night or wake 10 minutes after I have fallen asleep leaving me wishing I had gone to bed earlier! oh the joys.

Good Nights Sleep- In the newborn days a good night was being able to get in 4-5 hours of broken sleep, one where Little 3 would feed and not throw it all back up the moment I laid him down despite having winded him half an hour resulting in a soggy baby and moses basket. These days with the reflux under control I am getting more sleep, a good night is one where he sleeps for a decent chunk of time (we have had 6 or 7 hours a few times now), only wakes twice or sometimes once, a night where the night feeds are short and his eyes do not ping open again as soon as I lay him down. 

Lie In- This is where Daddy is fab. Since Little 3 was born I am the one doing all the night feeds as Daddy sleeps soundly beside me (how he does not wake with the light and snuffling is beyond me), he gets up at the weekend with the girls, is handed a baby with a full tummy and I go back to bed. He then returns an hour or so later with a cup of coffee and a hungry baby- allowing me this extra sleep has definitely helped me catch up and maintained my sanity, although the house does look like a bomb site when I get downstairs!

I started writing this post a month ago whilst in the midst of the blur that is life with a newborn and other children, it has taken me that long to find the time to finish it! However I am pleased to say that things are settling down and getting better slowly, the crazy newborn days are behind us and each day it does get a tiny bit easier. The next bit is the fun bit- teething!!

4 June 2015

'Lost My Name' book review

It is no secret that in our house we love to read, I have written several posts about it in the past, the Little Ones have a fondness for books and they do not let a bedtime pass without a story or three! Little 1 is nearing the end of her reception year at school and has taken to reading like a duck to water flying through the reading levels and is keen to read her school book every night, she has also begun to write some super stories herself.

When we were asked if we would like to review a 'Lost My Name' storybook I immediately said a big 'yes', I had heard some lovely things about them and we were not disappointed.

Each 'Lost My Name' storybook is a magical personalised tale, based on the letters of the child's name. It tells the story of a child who has lost his or her name, and bravely sets off to track down the missing letters.

Picture courtesy of www.lostmy.name

 Along the way the child meets lots of weird and wonderful characters, who each give them the first letter of their own name, in order to spell the child's name.

Picture courtesy of www.lostmy.name

The 'Lost my name' books have a simple storyline told in rhyming text and lots of different friendly characters throughout their pages each with their own little tale to tell. The books are a lovely A4 size and have great quality pages that will withstand a lot of handling. The illustrations are creative and colourful and it's all environmentally friendly too.

Each of the Little Ones received their own personalised book, the girls were delighted especially Little 1 whose name is uncommon and never found on anything in the shops. It was also lovely for Little 3 to receive a book to start a book collection of his own. 

As we read their books Little 1 loved hearing me read and attempting to read her story, she checked off the letters to her name and was thrilled to find her name in print at the end. Little 2 who is 3 can't spell or read yet is just beginning to show an interest in letters and the initial sound in a word. She loved listening to her story repeatedly (and the other two as well) and we used this opportunity to chat about the letters and sounds in her name so these books are educational too.

These books are priced at £18.99 (with free postage and packing). I think they would make wonderful gifts for a special occasion, a birthday, christening, new baby or just for that special little person. Check out the website Lost My Name to create a preview of your own personalised book and see how it all works.

N.B Each of the Little ones received their own 'Lost my name' book in return for this review.

31 May 2015

Father's Day with photo gifts from Snapfish

Father's Day is fast approaching, this year it is Sunday 21st June, we tend to celebrate it with a lie in and breakfast in bed for Daddy, a fun family trip out be it a run on the hills or somewhere nice for lunch and a visit to Grampy usually too. We also like to give Daddy something personal from us, so much better than socks!

This year I was approached by Snapfish and given a voucher to create some photo gifts for Father's Day. We have used Snapfish before in the past many times and have been impressed by their products so I decided now that our family is complete, with the addition of Little 3, we would create some things that Daddy could take to work and look at pictures of all the Little ones while he was busy working hard. 

The process with Snapfish is fairly simple, first upload the pictures you want into an album on their site and then select the item you want to create choosing the size and orientation or framing/border options depending on the product. From there you can follow the process with the designing tool, select the album and pictures you want to use, play around with the photos and shuffle the pictures, even chose one picture to be a feature photo on some products. Then you can add backgrounds and titles, and review and change your item until you are satisfied.

We ordered a photo mousemat (£6.99) for Daddy to take to work. It has the first and most recent pictures of all 3 Little ones on it, I'm sure he will love it. It looks good and I was pleased with it, it would have been nice if the pictures could have filled the mat a bit more rather than the background colour but there is the option to add a title so I expect that is why the space is there. It is printed on a kind of fabric and even close up the texture of the fabric doesn't affect the pictures at all.

I chose to get some photo coasters (£9.99 for six) for us to use at home, there are so many lovely pictures of the children lately it was very hard to chose which ones would look good. It was easy in the creation process to crop and centre the pictures so that they could look their best on the square coasters. The coasters look great and very robust with a tough looking shiny top layer and cork backing underneath. They will make a great addition to our coffee table and probably a talking point too. 

Finally I decided that Daddy would love a canvas print (starting at £29.99) of Little 3. We currently have black and white pictures of the girls in our bedroom and this is one of my favourite pictures of our little boy so far, I knew it was the one to use. I loved the canvas as soon as I'd opened it and it looks so much better in real life. I chose the wrap around canvas 10 x 8 inches and am really impressed with it, the quality is good and it looks impressive from a distance, it came with a hanging kit too.

Once my items were ordered I received emails confirming the order with estimated delivery dates, then dispatch notifications followed. All my items were dispatched as they were ready and I received all my items on the first date within the delivery window stated in the email, which left me feeling happily informed about the delivery process of my gifts ensuring Daddy did not spot them arriving in the mail.

Once again I am pleased with the quality of the photo products I have received from Snapfish and will be ordering more in the future. If you would like to create photo gifts for Father's Day then last order date to receive items in time is June 15th 2015.

N.B I received £40 credit to spend on photo gifts for Father's Day with Snapfish in return for this post.

20 May 2015

A giant pink pig

There is a little park not far from our house that we go to most days, sometimes after the school run and others to burn a little energy and let off some steam. On a recent trip to the park there had been a new addition, an enormous pink plastic ride on pig!

Of course this pig was a massive hit with the Little Ones and every other child in the park too it seems. It is now the first thing that they run to and the last thing they have to have another turn on before leaving.

The Little Ones love the park whatever the weather and always have fun there. Little 2 has been building up her confidence climbing the rope ladder and shimmying up the firemans pole, she is also getting daring whooshing down the slide although Mummy is apparently boring as I insist she always goes feet first!

Little 1 learnt to swing herself back in the summer and now spends ages getting as high as she possibly can, she will spend absolutely ages on the swings now.

Little 3 is too little to enjoy the park just yet but he always has a good nap in the fresh air and when he is awake he beams as he watches his big sisters running around.

We have several small parks within a few minutes walk of our house and the girls often have trouble agreeing on which one to go to but where ever we go they always have fun and don't want to leave, especially this one now there is the addition of the pink plastic pig!

15 May 2015

What's the matter, baby?

Little 3 didn't have the smoothest start in life what with his chest infection and extended hospital stay from inhaling meconium as he was born, the poor thing, but once we were home and settled things seemed to be going well.

Then when he was 2 weeks old he began being sick during and after feeds (we are breastfeeding). Not loads but every feed without fail and for an hour or so after too. He also began to scream randomly during feeds, and I mean scream, full on sweating, red face and white frightened eyes kind of crying, and sometimes for a time after the feed too, I could tell he was in pain, it was horrible to see him doing it and all I could do was try to console him until it passed, which thankfully was usually only around a minute each time. 

I didn't know what it was, maybe wind or colic, could it be reflux or something else? It didn't seem to be wind though as he always gave a hefty burp after a feed with relatively little effort on my part. I bought some Infacol as we had used it with the girls when they had trouble getting wind up but it didn't help him and just made Little 3 sicker so I didn't use it long. 

Little 1 had colic when she was a newborn and would cry relentlessly all evening drawing her knees up in pain and then fall asleep finally with exhaustion. Little 3's symptoms were different and didn't seem like colic, it happened every feed, day and night and only lasted a minute or so and he didn't cry excessively at night either so I didn't think it was that.

I took him to baby clinic and had a chat with the health visitor who suggested it could be reflux causing him the pain, although he wasn't being that sick she thought that stomach fluid was coming back up and causing him discomfort.

It took 3 weeks to get to see the gp after talking to the health visitor, first being fobbed off by a triage nurse on the phone despite me requesting to be seen and then we saw another so called senior nurse who declared he probably had reflux but it wasn't that bad so she wouldn't prescribe anything to help him. Eventually at 6 weeks old we saw a gp who listened to me explain what had been happening the past month, he thought it was a combination of reflux and  maybe colic and prescribed something to help with the reflux, as a starting point (I'm not sure he really knew how to help with the pain/screaming). It worked straight away and the following day we had a totally different happy baby, there was a bit less sick and surprisingly the screaming just stopped too. 

Unfortunately as a side effect of the medication Little 3 got constipated so we had to stop it after a few days. We expected that once the medication was out of his system the screaming would return but so far 3 weeks on it hasn't, something the gp found rather surprising when we chatted to him about it at our 8 week check this week. He now thinks that all the antibiotics Little 3 had when he was first born upset the balance of his digestive system and that he was getting some kind of stomach cramps when he fed. The calming nature of the medication he was given seemed just enough to settle not only his stomach but his gut too. 

Now at almost 9 weeks old feeds are much more pleasant and we are both happier. The sicking isn't as bad as it was, we have decided not to try other medication at the moment and although the sicking creates rather a lot of washing for me we are just glad that Little 3 is no longer in pain.

First smiles caught on camera

Have you had a similar experience, I'd love to hear if other children who had antibiotics at birth suffered anything similar to Little 3.