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.

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.

11 May 2015

Little 3- the first 2 months

As I write this I can not believe my baby is almost 2 months old, time seems to have passed in some kind of sleep deprived blur. He seems all grown up all of a sudden and is definitely not tiny anymore having weighed in at 11lb 4oz last week. I saw a new newborn (I can still count Little 3 as a newborn can't I, just for a little bit longer?) the other day and in comparison Little 3 looked massive, it made me feel quite broody again (what on earth, must be sleep deprivation, that or hormones, I'm still recovering from this one!). 

I have to be honest and say although they seem to have passed by in a whirlwind when I look back these past 2 months have been rather hard. The first week after Little 3's birth was spent in hospital with him having treatment for a chest infection (If you missed it that post is here). He would leave me well fed and sleepy to go down to the special care unit every 12 hours for his IV antibiotics and come back to me starving, sobbing and having had yet more blood tests or checks on his dodgy heart (I wasn't allowed to go with him incase you were wondering) which was hard emotionally. 

I missed my family terribly as although Daddy visited every day, it wasn't for long as Little 2 got bored and with Little 1 being at school I didn't see her for 4 days as she found it a bit much after school but I rang her a lot instead. When we did finally get home I was exhausted, you don't get much sleep in a 4 bed ward full of newborns and when they keep waking your baby up to check his temperature! Daddy returned to work 2 days later and I jumped right into the school run with 3 children.

The Easter holidays swiftly followed and with 3 children at home, one of whom wanted feeding roughly every 20 minutes, it was a bit loud and crazy at times, we also had a lot of visitors too but thankfully Daddy had taken the second week off to help me out which allowed me to catch up a bit on sleep and most definitely saved my sanity.

Early morning cuddles in bed
Once he reached a few weeks old we began to learn Little 3's ways, he loves comfort and cuddles and walking around in our arms, he does not like being hungry, dirty or his bouncy chair, he also would only sleep on me and wake the second he was put down no matter how asleep he seemed! With 2 other children who need attention and meals to prepare I was surprised to learn what I could actually do one handed but peeling potatoes isn't one of them! Little 3 often just had to wait a few minutes at times and so there was a great deal of crying in the early days when it was just me at home. 

At a few weeks old he began to be sick and scream after feeds (look out for the post- what's the matter, baby?) which we thought was reflux thus explaining his dislike of lying down and why he was constantly waking crying at night, it is a bit better now but nights are still hit and miss if he is uncomfortable or sick a lot.

Tummy time at 5 weeks

At 6 weeks old Little 3 suddenly 'woke up' and began to show us his real self, awake more in the day now, his beautiful smile lights up his face and he was beginning to talk to us and settle a bit better. He now enjoys spending a few minutes in his cot batting and chatting to his toys and lying on his tummy. Little 3 is such a scrummy little boy who adores and is adored by his big sisters, he saves his best smiles and gurgles for them especially Little 1.

The early days were hard for me with the demands of a newborn, two other children and school/playgroup runs etc and a lot of sick covered washing but we got through it as a family, and the help of others to hold the baby for a bit!, things are slowly getting better and I am looking forwards to sunny weather, enjoying my scrummy new son and gorgeous girls as a new family of 5. 

6 weeks old, all 3 awake and happy!

6 May 2015

A breath of fresh air

Bank holiday weekend was a bit damp and dreary where we live but the rain held off on the Monday so we decided to get out for a breath of fresh air, it was not too chilly but still quite damp so we headed to one of our favourite haunts knowing there was somewhere inside to go if the heavens opened. 

Nanny and Uncle M joined us as we headed to Stratford Park, a short drive away, there is always something to do there. We headed towards the lake with bread in our hands to feed the ducks first but on the way spotted a new toddler play area outside the leisure centre in the middle of the park and with Little 3 fast asleep in the pushchair it only seemed right to let the girls have a play while we popped into the cafe for takeaway coffees and chocolate flapjacks and sat in the warmth of the sun while they let off some steam!

We then set of on our little walk around the lake watching the ducks, coots and swans nesting on the bank. The girls were very interested in several recently felled trees and clambered up and did some 'digging' in the soft rotten stumps.

Last year when we had all those storms at the beginning of the year a huge oak tree uprooted and fell in the park, over the stream, it's trunk was several metres across and it must have been hundreds of years old. The top of the tree was swiftly sawn and removed by the park keepers and we had wondered how they were going to remove the trunk from across the stream. 

When we saw it on this visit, having not been for a couple of months, we saw it had been turned into a bridge, there was a flat top, some steps either end and a safety rail too, what a good idea. I couldn't go over it with the pushchair as it was steep and uneven at the other side so I met the Little Ones a bit further along where we stopped to feed the ducks. 

Little 2 wasn't all that interested in feeding the ducks, she ate her bread, but she did acquire this big stick and dragged it the rest of the way around the park (excuse uncle M's legs in the picture).

We then had a little fun among the trees and wandered up towards the museum.

The museum in the park is great as it is free to enter and often has workshops and activities going on in the holidays. It is a small museum but has rooms dedicated to the geology and archaeological finds from the area, things from the olden days with rooms about the household, children and schools, toys and the history of local railways and waterways. 

The Little Ones never get bored there as in each room are things for the children, books in the school room, dinosaur puzzles in the geology bit, old toys and games of draughts and hoopla and toy trains in the railway section. 

After a quick look at the flowers in the garden it was time to head home. We managed to steer the girls away from the big park on the hill and towards the car as it was looking ominous and everyone was tired but not without noticing a new zip slide and a couple of other additions that were not there the last time we visited, we promised we'd return soon to try them out.

'My legs can't go any further'

We loaded our tired girls and a stirring hungry baby into the car and headed home for tea. 

What did you do last weekend, do you have a favourite place to go time after time?