The most bizarre thing happened to me today & although I have other blog posts planned for this week I really just wanted to write about this mainly to get it out of my system!
Today was the first day in nearly 3 weeks that I haven't had Henry with me, so I was feeling a little soppy when he left with his Daddy this morning for a day with his Nanna, but as soon as he was gone I was actually relieved that I would be able to sit down and get some admin work done without a little 'helper' demanding I hand over the laptop so he can play Cbeebies games! The day went on as planned, and I certainly wasn't feeling overly sad or emotional. I was teaching a private tuition student in Clifton this afternoon which went really well and I was in a good mood as I walked to the bus stop on my way home. However just as I boarded the bus a song came on my iPod that really reminded me of Henry's first few months. I sat down and was overwhelmed with the feeling that I was about to cry, I'm not normally an overly emotional person and I absolutely hate crying! I will avoid it at all costs if I can as it really makes me uneasy, but thinking of Henry as a baby and how fast the time has passed since he arrived had me choking back tears. Then the thought that everything is about to change for all of us had me actually sobbingand the more I tried to stop the worse it became.
I could not shake the feeling that having a second baby is going to affect the special relationship that I have with Henry. We are so incredibly close, and he really is a Mama's boy. I'm there whenever he needs me and he knows this. The only nights that I have been away from him were when I was hospitalised at the beginning of this pregnancy. He really is my little shadow and my little buddy. Sitting on that bus today I suddenly realised that our lives are about to change so much! I felt so guilty and worried that the arrival of a new baby would break Henry's heart and make him feel less loved somehow, and scared that I would struggle to give him everything that he needs from me with the demands of a new baby as well. I know that I have enough love for both of them, but that doesn't mean that Henry will know that does it? He's growing up so quickly and It looks like he will be starting a local Pre-school soon, what if having a baby around means that I don't get to savour these last precious moments of his toddlerhood?
My reasons for having a second child were never because I didn't feel that Henry was enough. He is, and if I had only been able to have one child I would have been so happy and thankful that I got to be his Mama. My reasons for having a second child were because I wanted Henry to have the same close relationship with a sibling that I have with my sister. My parents are divorced and during so many occasions in our lives my sister & I have been each others support system. Very often in times of crisis we are each other's first port of call, and when nobody else seems to understand what we are going through we seem to be able to have that understanding for each other. Don't get me wrong there have been many times where we could have happily throttled each other, and many, MANY arguments over the years, but all is forgiven quickly and no grudge is held. Even when we are mad at each other if something were to happen we would always be there for each other in a flash. I think it's rare to find that closeness & level of forgiveness in friends. I want Henry to have the chance to have that close relationship with a sibling and I know that he will be a fantastic big brother.........but right now all I feel is guilt for the fact that I am about to turn my precious little boy's world upside down!
So I sat on the completely packed bus in rush hour traffic and cried the whole way home! I was the crazy pregnant lady sat at the back of the Number 90 bus sobbing silently.....the women in front of me turned around to offer me a tissue and ask if I was ok! I don't think I have ever been more embarrassed! Rather than explain to her that my hormones had turned me into a emotional mess over my ability to be a good Mama, I lied and said that I had had a hard day at work and was feeling overly emotional thanks to pregnancy hormones. I cannot believe that I had such a meltdown on a packed bus in rush hour traffic, I couldn't have managed it in the privacy of my own home?!
I guess I wanted to write this down so that in a few months I can write another post telling myself that everything was OK and Henry is fine with the arrival of his little sister.
Because I am being silly aren't I?
There are now just under 10 weeks left until baby girl is due to make her big entrance in to the world. It's odd as by this stage in my pregnancy with Henry we were so organised and prepared for his arrival that it really felt like the world revolved around my pregnancy and our impending parenthood. We had shopping trips most weekends to look at baby stuff, we were going to NCT classes and I went to a pregnancy yoga class every week. This time things have been very different! We are busy looking after Henry, we now own a house that constantly needs things doing to it and we both have been very busy with work.......this doesn't leave us with much free time to daydream about our new baby.
We haven't really bought anything new for her yet (apart from 2 sleepsuits that i bought straight after finding out that she was a girl) and I don't think that we will be buying much for her to be honest. It's not because I don't want to, but because we just don't need as much this time around. Not only do we have most of the essentials left over from when Henry was a baby, but we are also a lot smarter in terms of the difference between what you actually need when you have a baby and what the shops, books & magazines tell you that you're really going to need. We bought so many things when Henry was tiny that we hardly used because we thought it was essential, we could have saved a small fortune if we had known just how unessential these items were! The only things that we really need are:
- Clothes for the baby (obviously)......but instead of the cute & every expensive Baby Gap outfits that we had in newborn sizes when Henry was born, this time we will just be stocking up on plain sleep suits, vests & cardigans. Cute looking clothes were all well and good & they make your hormonal heart melt when you're shopping at 8 months pregnant, but they are a pain to put on the baby! Clothes need to be easy to put on & get off because they get covered in baby poo & sick several times a day!! We have been so lucky this time as work colleagues & friends have recently had babies and we have been given lots of clothes for her to puke & poop over to her hearts content! :)
- Somewhere for her to sleep. We have a cotbed & Moses Basket that she will inherit from her big brother, so the only thing we need to get is a new mattress (although this does pain me slightly as Henry always preferred to sleep in with us so the mattress that we have is practically unused). We will probably co-sleep a lot again, just because it is so much easier when you are breastfeeding, but I think we will be turning the cot in to a co-sleeper this time as i really don't think there is enough room in our double bed for 2 adults, a baby and a toddler who somehow manages to take up 90% of the bed by himself!
- Muslins!!! You can literally never have enough! Henry was a very sicky baby& he seemed to take enjoyment in returning half of his feed back over us on a daily basis so we needed lots of muslins to protect us from the post feed explosions for quite some time. However they came in handy for so much more too! Until Henry was about a year old we never went anywhere without a good stash of muslins on us. They were used as breastfeeding covers, changing mats, sun shades, blankets, bibs & floor mats when we started weening, and general cleaning up. I LOVE these large muslin blankets from Aden & Anais! I bought about 10 of them when Henry was tiny & although they aren't cheap they are one of the few things that I can honestly say have been worth their weight in gold! If you are expecting or know somebody who is these would make a great present!
- Sling/Baby carrier. Last time we went through quite a selection of slings and carriers before we found ones that we liked, were easy to use and comfortable for all of us. When I was pregnant I bought a Baba Sling convinced it was perfect for me.....it wasn't! I hated it & Henry hated it so it was only used once & then promptly sold on eBay. I also bought a more traditional carrier from Mama's & Papa's that was very similar to the BabyBjorn style that you see a lot. However once again this just wasn't right for me, I didn't like all of the straps & buckles and Henry never felt secure against me & I needed him to be secure as I was often bending over to pick up the dogs ball or his mess too! In the end we found the Moby Wrap & it was perfect! Henry loved it & I finally had my hands back. I could carry him around so comfortably that we used it a lot....when i was cooking dinner, hoovering or out walking! It was invaluable during those first 6 months & I intend to use it again this time, especially as I'll be needing my hands free to entertain a toddler too this time! We also have a Ergo Carrier that we used once Henry became a bit too heavy for the Moby Wrap. We have only just stopped using this now, and that's only because our independent toddler wants to be free to roam rather than in a carrier now.
- A Breast pump & a few bottles: I used my breast pump a lot in the early days with Henry as i had some supply issues, but I must admit that I got a little lazy with it once we had an established routine. I wish i hadn't done this because a 3 months old Henry decided that he hated bottles of any kind and refused to feed any way except straight from me! This meant that I had very little time away from him until he had weaned enough to give me a few hours off without him screaming the place down in hunger. This time I will be returning to work much sooner so will need to keep up the pumping and hope that little lady is much happier with the bottle than her Brother was! I bought 2 pumps last time, an electric one and a cheap manual one. The electric one was rubbish! I never got a good amount of milk out using it & it was always very slow. My cheap manual one was excellent though and I could get a bottle of milk expressed very quickly with it. Lesson learnt that expensive & fancy is NOT always better! The pump i used was the Phillips Advent manual pump. I also bought their storage cups that were great for freezing milk, and also for storing baby sized portions of food once we weened Henry.
- Carseat & Pushchair. We bought our beloved Quinny Buzz pushchair & Maxi Cosi Carseat second hand (In excellent condition!) and I'm so glad that we didn't waste the extra £500 buying new, even though some people were a bit snobby about it! It lasted us for years and we recently sold it to put some extra pennies towards a new double pushchair. We have opted for the Britax B-Dual pushchair & matching carseat as it can be used as a single or a double, and it's really easy to use (A must when you've got two children in tow!). Once again though we bought the travel system second hand. We were very lucky as it literally has never been used so is in perfect condition!
So as you can see most of the essentials we either still have from last time or we have been lucky enough to have been given second hand by friends or family. The only new things that we needed were the pushchair which we have now bought and we need a new mattress for the Moses basket. Obviously we will be buying nappies etc, but they have become part of our day to day life as we still need them for Henry so I don't really think of them as a big purchase. However I don't claim to know it all just because I've had one baby already, and I'd love to hear from some other 2nd or 3rd time Mama's to find out what they couldn't have survived without whilst trying to raise 2 or more little ones!
The great thing about not having to shop much for little lady is that I have been able to focus my energy on making things for her. I have been knitting and crocheting up a storm lately making little things for my winter baby to keep her warm! I know that being a second child can be tough as you get so many hand me downs so I hope that making all of these one off handmade items for her makes her feel special. I also love the idea of keeping all of the things that I made for my children to pass on to them if they have children. There is something so special about something that has been made with love especially for your family isn't there?
I must admit that my knitting & crochet got off to a very slow start thanks to a mixture of my sickness and the extreme heat that we have had this summer! Knitting in 30 degree heat just feels a bit strange even for me! However now that the weather has cooled down i'm on a roll. She has a selection of hand knitted hats, like the one below:
I've also been knitting cardigans to go over her sleep suits as she'll be so tiny this winter & need some extra warmth. My favourite one so far is the garter stitch wrap cardigan. I'm not normally a huge fan of garter stitch, but i just love the simplicity of it, and the colours are beautiful. I used some ribbon that I got free with Mollie Makes Magazine ages ago, so it's a stash buster too!
I've also been knitting up lots of booties for her, mainly because they are so quick to make. When I'm tired & knitting something before i go to bed I need something quick, easy but satisfying to make & these fit the bill. You can find the pattern here on my blog
from last year.
Also after FINALLY learning to crochet last year after over a decade of attempts it has been lovely to be finally able to make a granny square blanket for the baby. I love the look of crochet blankets and the main reason I wanted to learn to crochet was so that I could make them for myself. I have to admit that making a winter blanket in the heat that we have been experiencing was a bit of an experience (especially when I'm already boiling hot because it feels like I have a hot water bottle strapped to my stomach!) but it was worth every minute I spent crocheting! I'm rather in love with it & I hope that it gets many years of use in her bedroom!
I have also made her some granny square bunting to hang over her cot, and a selection of other hats, cardigans, mittens etc, but I haven't had time to photograph them to show you all. I think I'll have to do another post to show off all of her handmade gifts from her Mama.
Not one to be left out either I'm also making myself a new pair of slippers & a lace shawl to use whilst Breast feeding in the colder months. Mama needs some presents too!! :)
If any of you are interested in knitting something similar to the baby clothes pictured here there are still some places left on August's & September's Baby Knitting Classes.
(sorry for the shameless plug, but I'm really excited about these classes for obvious reasons!).
I hope you all have a lovely weekend & I'll be back with more baby and craft updates soon!
Those of you who know me or have followed me on twitter for a long time will know that pregnancy doesn't really come easily to me. I am lucky enough that falling pregnant has never been an issue however staying pregnant is. I had 3 miscarriages before I had Henry, and I had a really tough pregnancy with that included Hyperemesis Gravidarum (you can read about my personal experience of HG here
or find out more about Hyperemesis at www.hyperemesis.org
) , 3 unexplained bleeds, then being told that Henry may have had a heart defect that wasn't compatible with life at his 20 week scan followed by catching swine flu at 8 months pregnant! I mean seriously it really felt like I couldn't catch a break, but then Henry was born after a quick & relatively easy labour and all of a sudden the trials and tribulations of pregnancy paled into insignificance. I was finally a mama to the most beautiful baby boy I had ever seen and he was totally worth it! However I wasn't in a hurry to repeat the experience. But over time the memories faded and my mama hormones kicked in! I really wanted a sibling for Henry and I convinced myself that I might be lucky with my second pregnancy and only have normal symptoms.
It was never going to be that simple though was it?! However here I am after 3 more miscarriages (yes that's 6 in total now....I must be mad right?!) and I am now nearly 16 weeks pregnancy with what will hopefully be baby number 2 due in October, and we are so relieved & happy to have made it to the second trimester. However it seems my body really doesn't like being pregnant AT ALL because I have Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) again, and it's actually been worse this time! I have 24/7 nausea and haven't been able to keep any food or drink down even with a cocktail of anti-sickness drugs in my system. Because of this I have so far been hospitalised twice due to severe dehydration and my body going into ketosis (where your liver produces ketones as a result of your body having to burn it's fat stores because it's not receiving any nutrients due to starvation). I have no energy, I'm often disorientated due to dehydration, I don't really like to leave the house because i'm so sick all of the time and weak, I am unable to drive or travel any distance in the car because it makes the sickness worse and I am unable to work (which isn't great at all when you are self-employed with a new business). In short it feels like my body is struggling to keep going and life has stopped since this pregnancy began. I know that all sounds very melodramatic but after 12 weeks of this I am left feeling exhausted and depressed by it all. That really doesn't feel right after wanting the pregnancy so much, I feel like i should be walking on air and smiling constantly not crying and vomiting constantly.
I feel so awful because I am constantly letting people down, my students have been left without a teacher suddenly, people who I work with who I have had to cancel events, friends and family have been neglected, and my partner Ken who has suddenly had to become the sole bread winner & main caregiver to Henry as I have been unable to work or help out much at home! However nothing compares to the guilt i feel because I am letting Henry down. As his mama can no I can no longer play all of those energetic games he is used to, I cannot carry him for long, or cook his favourite meals. But worst of all I keep running away from him to be sick. I think my lowest point so far in this pregnancy was when Henry started to cry as i was being sick and came up to me, put his hands around my waist and said "I'm sorry mummy, please stop!" because his toddler logic tells him that saying sorry fixes everything and maybe I was being sick because of him. It's heartbreaking.
Sorry for the long rant, I know pregnancy posts are normally full of beaming smiles and women lovingly rubbing their bellies, but that will all happen soon.
I'm hoping things will improve over the coming weeks and life can get back to normal for a while (at least until the baby arrives) and I can get back to work with all of my lovely students who I haven't been able to see since late February/early March and to start being a good Mama to Henry again. Hopefully then I can also enjoy being pregnant for a little while too, because I'm sure as hell not planning on doing this again!
Believe it or not I started writing this post a month ago, however life has been really busy for us this month (in a good way!) and I never seemed to manage to finish it! However After a fall down the stairs this morning I have injured my back so have been ordered to rest. So the silver lining is that I finally have a reason to lie still and finish telling you all about Henry's birthday!
January was a HORRIBLE month and I was dreading 2013 if it was going to continue the way it started. However I have to say that things improved 100% in February! I have been really busy with Knitting tuition and am now teaching at least 3 days a week which is amazing! I cannot tell you how much I love my work and how being busy with it really does make me a happier person. I have lots lined up for March & April too so i'm really excited.
However that's enough about me, I only mentioned work because I think it's the only thing that stopped me going a little bit crazy over the last few weeks because......The main event this month was that our lovely little boy turned 2! How did the last year pass so quickly?!?!? I've only just recovered from the fact that my baby turned 1 and now he's 2! Don't get me wrong i absolutely love the age Henry is now because he has become the funniest & cleverest little boy i know (He can count to 20 & knows the alphabet!) and really is my best little buddy, but i really am in shock at just how quickly time is passing by since he was born. It feels like somebody has pressed the fast forward button on our lives. Is it the same for everybody? Does life ever slow back down again? It never feels like I get enough time to savour each stage of his development before it has passed like a flash of lighting & we have moved on to something new! I'm hoping that the millions (and that's not an exaggeration!) of photos that we have taken since Henry was born means that we will be able to look back and remember everything clearly even it does feel like we are zooming through his childhood at 100 miles an hour!
Because both me & his Daddy feel that life gets too hectic & we don't all get enough quality time alone as a family we kept Henry's birthday to ourselves without any Grandparents, aunties or friends around. It was a lovely day filled with all of Henry's favourite things. He had blueberry & banana Pancakes for breakfast, followed by presents which included more brio sets for his ever growing train collection and some new books. We then all set off for a train ride on the Avon Valley Steam Railway
. It was the perfect treat for our train obsessed boy & he loved it! I highly recommend it to any local parents!
We ended the day with dinner at Wagamamas (Henry's favourite) and then our little guy was exhausted so had an early night. I spent all of Saturday night baking in preparation for the little tea party we threw at home on Sunday for family so we were forgiven by the Grandparents for not inviting them over on the Saturday. I made a blueberry & mascarpone birthday cake, loads of cupcakes & a chocolate & cherry trifle (A nigella lawson recipe that was AMAZING!) plus the usual mountain of sandwiches. The party was great fun & Henry really enjoyed himself, but it's amazing how small your house feels with 20 adults & children running around in it! It was Mummy & Daddy's turn to be exhausted on sunday as we had family & neighbours around from 11am-10pm! Henry sure knows how to throw a party! :)
It was a lovely weekend full of laughter and generally a much more relaxed affair than his first birthday that fell in the midst of renovating & moving our house. However I have to say I have been left a little shell shocked now because since turning 2 years old all of a sudden there is talk of which play school & school we want him to go to and all of these decisions and events that seemed like forever away as I sat staring at my beautiful newborn baby 2 years ago now seems to be approaching at high speed. I enjoy and embrace every single day I spend with Henry but I guess what I'm trying to say is stop growing up so fast little boy, this Mama just isn't ready.
So Christmas has been & gone! Did you all have a lovely festive period? I hope so! I had a lovely Christmas! We saw lots of friends & family in the run up to the big day including a full christmas dinner and celebrations on Christmas Eve with Ken's family. We then enjoyed a quiet Christmas Day at home on Christmas Day (Ken especially who took the opportunity to stay in sweat pants all day!). My sister joined us on the day & we cooked our first Christmas dinner, and without wanting to sound like i'm boasting WE RULED!! It went without a hitch or a single argument which surprised everybody because my sister & I have never managed to share a kitchen without bickering in the past. We then traveled home to visit my Mum & Step-dad on boxing day for another round of food, drink & presents!
I feel very lucky to have been able to spend Christmas in my own home with my family and also to have received such lovely & thoughtful gifts from my loved ones. My favourite surprise gift was this beautiful print
from my sister. I have been admiring it for ages on Etsy so was so pleased to open it on Christmas Day! It's by Lucy Smith who often frequents the Tobacco Factory Market if you fancy a look at her work. I also received some lovely clothes from Ken all of which were items I've been lusting over for a while......It would seem that my not so subtle hints weren't wasted after all!
To be fair though I enjoy giving presents the most, I love seeing people's faces as they open the gifts I have bought or made for them. It really makes me happy. This Christmas was the first year that Henry has really understood that something exciting was happening so it was great to witness his wonder at all of the presents, food and lights! His young mind was on overdrive, and eventually we had to call a Christmas time out depriving him of sweets & presents after boxing day as he was HYPER! I think it's fair to say that christmas is a big hit with this boy! He has also made his poor dad & I watch the Polar Express on infinite repeat throughout December so I think he'll be bereft when we cut him off!
Here's a few pictures from our Christmas:
Colour in christmas table cloth = fantastic idea if you have a toddler!
So it's 2013 already! Wow! Where is the time going? I remember having a conversation 10 years ago with a university friend on New Years Eve laughing that in 10 years time we would be toasting 2013's new year as responsible 30 year olds drinking expensive wine instead of our homemade Cherry Cola cocktails using Lidl's finest & cheapest vodka & cherry brandy. Well some of that was true....I am indeed 30, but I didn't toast the new year with expensive wine, in fact since buying our house & having to tighten our purse strings as a result, most of our alcohol purchases are once again from my trusty Lidl! In fact here's the sad truth: If left to my own devices I wouldn't do anything for new year & would be in bed asleep at the stroke of midnight! I love Christmas & all of the festivities surrounding it, but by New Year I'm over it all to be honest & just want a bit of peace & quiet and to crack on with the new year ahead. Does that make me a grumpy old lady? Oh Well! New years day sees our decorations come down & the January spring clean begin and as much as i love seeing the tree go up & filling the house with festive cheer; i also really love how clean & spacious my home is once its all gone.
Last year I blogged my new years resolutions & I actually stuck to them! I have learnt to crochet at last, blogged more and started to teach knitting & I also started to spend more time in the kitchen cooking for fun again. So I hope to have similar success this year if I once again make the resolutions more public. I love having little aims for myself as I really need something to push me to do more......I suffer under the black cloud of depression a lot thanks to my PCOS so very often need something else to focus on and push me forward and get me out of my slump. This years aims are:
1. To get out without Henry either for a run or a brisk walk with George my Collie 5 days a week. Neither myself or Poor George have got as much exercise as I would like recently thanks to 2012's never ending rain. However after a few long outing with just the 2 of us I remember how good it is for both of us! I love getting out & listening to my favourite music loudly in my headphones as we pound through the miles together, and George gets more of my time and attention in the process so it's a win/win really. So far so good with this one.....even if i have gotten soaked!
2. To get more organised with my admin. I hate paperwork, but avoiding it only makes it worse so i'm going to get on top of this in 2013.
3. To keep my washing pile small......at times when I've been exceptionally busy or exceptionally low my washing pile has managed to take over my bedroom & become a mountain. The bigger it is, the worse i feel.....it's a catch 22! So I've started the year with a washing marathon & plan to keep it down. Wish me luck as this is the one I'm most likely to fail in!
4. To learn to let the small things go so I can focus more on the big things. I get stressed about the silliest things sometimes and i really need to stop. It can be exhausting and they really don't matter in the grand scheme of things. I need to take a step back and learn when to walk away from something.
5. Have more family outings. Lack of funds often leave us doing the same things at home or in our local park most weekends. However we have been planning to go swimming as a family for ages, and take a weekend trip to M Shed together. After our family outing in December to the theatre
we realised how much Ken misses out on so plan to do more as a trio at the weekends.
6. To blog through the good & the bad. I only blog when I'm happy.....so when I'm low i go quiet. Not because I don't want to write about it, but because at that time i don't have any motivation to do anything really. However I'm hoping that by aiming for 2 posts a week regardless I'll force myself to keep going & not get stuck in such a rut of "nothingness".
So there you have it.....bye bye 2012 (you were full of real highs & extreme lows) & hello 2013! So far this year is going well & I am full of optimism which can only be a good thing.
I hope you're all having a great 2013 & I look forward to speaking to you more in the coming year!
I'm so excited for Christmas!! It's our first Christmas as a little family in our new home without our own parents doing the cooking etc for us so I'm getting really into all of the preparations this year! However as per usual I started a long list of hand knitted presents in October......then left them untouched for a few months while i was busy looking after a poorly toddler or trying to keep up with my long list of things to do so I am now in full on speed knitting mode trying to finish all of the homemade presents in time! It will be worth it though as there is nothing quite like giving presents that have been lovingly made especially for the recipient......also although I am usually quite cash poor, thanks to years of yarn, material & button hoarding I am craft supply rich so I may as well turn them into beautiful presents!
I've been wanting to share pictures of all of the lovely things I'm making lately, but i an't until after they have been given or else it will spoil the surprise.....I'll be doing a post Christmas post of all of my homemade projects & I'd love to hear what everybody else made too.
I cannot remember the last Christmas Eve that I did not spend manically knitting trying to finish the last of my homemade gifts, last year it was a giant knitted blanket that i made for my sister. But Christmas Eve to me is sitting in the warm with a glass of mulled wine watching the Polar Express knitting presents! Every year I swear I'll finish everything sooner, but really I do love that feeling of finishing & wrapping the last of those special gifts!
Tonight is the last knit club of 2012 at Cordial & Grace (seriously where did this year go?!) and I am really looking forward to a toddler free evening of knitting & chatting. I love my son to pieces but his idea of helping Mama knit is to run off with my ball of yarn shouting "Mummy's Ball!!".......not really very helpful at all! I think that quite a few of my students from my last Christmas knits class are coming too so it will be lovely to see them all knitting Christmas decorations!
If you are interesting in learning to knit something for Christmas it's not too late, I have places left for my class at the Making Things Pop-Up shop in Cabot's Circus On
19th December 6.30-9pm. It's £16.50 for the evening and this includes all materials and patterns and a glass of mulled wine or spiced berry cordial and yummy gingerbread (i don't like minced pies!). Also because I'm super excited about this class & Christmas in general I'm giving away a present to everybody who signs up to the class to make the evening extra special!! For more details about the class see here
. Also I don't know if you all know but I now offer Knitting lesson Gift vouchers.....so if you know somebody who wants to learn this would be a great Christmas gift. Vouchers are available from £10 and can be emailed so are a great last minute alternative to commercial vouchers. I think it's lovely to take a break from buying generic commercial presents for everybody and to either go handmade or shop local with independent makers You can get some lovely gifts from as little as £5 & they are so much nicer than something mass produced. If you are short of inspiration I would really recommend a trip to Making Things club when you're shopping In Cabots for some fantastic locally made beauties!
It's been a while since I've posted again, but not due to a lack of blogging motivation this time! November hasn't been that kind to our household. W§e have all been ill, I've had a couple of root canals done too after being in horrible dental pain for a few days, and if you follow me on twitter or facebook you'll also know that we had mice in our house too! I initally thought it was rats because my terrified mind convinced me that the rodent i saw was HUGE however apparently they weren't that big. Apparently i'm a drama queen when it comes to rodents! Anyway we had to decamp to the in-laws for a week while we tried to get the issue under control........and well moving your family in to another home with different ideas on how to do things is always interesting isn't it?! Anyway I can't say that I'm sad to see the end of November.....the only real shining glory in November was that I had the mst fantastic Christmas knitting lesson at Cordial & Grace last week! It was such fun & listening to A very She & Him Christmas album while knitting christmas ornaments with a lovely bunch of ladies was a lovely was to end a pretty tiresome month!
So It's now December so it's time to put this misfortunes & stresses of November behind us and start looking forward to the fun & festivities that this month brings! I love Christmas, I always have but I have to admit that i'm a worse with it this year as It will be the first year that we are having our own family Christmas in our own house. We won't be rushing around trying to appease all of the grandparents, but staying home and enjoying a more relaxing day together. This Plus the fact that Henry is starting to appreciate the magic of christmas seems to have us all a bit more excited this year. He loves seeing all of the lights and the fact that there are chocolates wrapped in colourful foil in all of the shops......the thought of making Christmas as magical for him as it was for me as a child fills me with Joy! My mum made Christmas amazing for my sister & I every year regardless of what else was going on in real life! Despite being a single mum who worked full time she always saved up her holiday days up and took lots of time off of work at this time of year to make it extra special. We had lots of traditions that she kept up long in to adulthood for both of us! I guess with Mine, (and his dad is even starting to come around to Chrismas cheer too!) my sister's and My mum's love of Christmas Henry is never going to be short of people who want to do festive activities with him.
Today being December 1st marks the beginning of advent and the first year that Henry seems excited and gets involved. Last year after seeing the idea on Pinterest I spent October and November scouring charity shops for 24 Christmas themed books for his book advent calendar. We're doing it again this year too, with each book wrapped in brown paper & numbered 1-24. Christmas eve is obviously going to be the night before christmas, but he also has a new pair of christmas Pyjamas wrapped up ready to wear to bed that night.
A few of the books wrapped up for our advent calendar....
He also has a chocolate advent calendar and a set of advent crackers that are each filled with a little character to make up a Nativity scene throughout december. This was originally on sale last year in M&S for the rather steep price of £20, but my Mum bought it in the January Sales ready for this year. Although the crackers will only last for this year next year each of the characters will be wrapped up with the books so it will become part of our yearly traditions. Henry loved this morning & seemed really excited by all the surprises that were waiting for him! He even requested to watch The Polar Express too, bringing the DVD up to his dad saying "Choo Choo train!! All aboard!!"........well it did seem like a pretty perfect way to start December!
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Mary being taken for a toddler tour.....thankfully she's still in one piece!
We're off to a Christmas market tomorrow where Henry will get to ride on a mini steam train which i know he is going to love! I hope you all have a lovely weekend too!
If you want to make the Knitted Christmas ornaments at the start of the post you can still book in to one of my Christmas classes & I'll be popping the collection of patterns up for sale over the weekend on Ravelry & Etsy too.
P.P.S. Watch out for a little giveaway at the beginning of next week because I'm feeling particularly festive! :)
So it's been over a month since i last posted anything.........this wasn't a planned break, it just happened. I became a bit internet weary & all of a sudden I just stopped going online. It was a mixture of being too busy to sit down & document life & being a bit disillusioned with the internet why I choose to document my life here.
This is quite unusual for me, I have used twitter & reading other people's blogs as a support tool & general escapism ever since Henry was newborn. I would sit for hours at a time either breastfeeding or holding a sleeping baby after a feed with only my iPhone for company. I made some amazing 'real life' friends this way & I don't think I would have been able to start up & continue with The Homemade Mama without the support I found online. However Lately there has been quite a shift in the way social media is being used and I'm not sure if I like it all that much to be honest. I log in to twitter, my google reader account & the dreaded facebook only to be bombarded with 80% sponsored posts & advertising.
I don't read blogs or go online to win free things in giveaways or to see what people are buying so that in some aspirational bid for their lifestyle I can run out & buy the same products. I go online so that at the end of a long tiring day (which a lot of them are) I can either be comforted by the fact that I am not alone in feeling exhausted/stressed/overwhelmed/or just plain grumpy or I can find something inspirational and beautiful to read about that reminds me that life is pretty amazing and full of lovely things despite my lack of sleep/money/time/motivation (delete as appropriate). It gets a bit much when you log in to find that 20 people are all trying to sell you the same cleaning product & trying to make cleaning sound fun..............Newsflash: This is not the 1950s so you are not going to sell me anything by trying to convince me that housework is going to be great fun. While i'm hiding from the mountain of washing that needs doing by looking on the internet instead, I don't want to be constantly told how amazing washing powder is & how much you all adore doing your washing!
Don't get me wrong there are still amazing blogs & accounts out there which I still love to read, many of whom accept advertisers but there doesn't seem to be the balance that there used to be & somedays I really have to search to find content that isn't trying to sell me something. But the problem isn't with the blogs & accounts I follow, it is totally with me. I mean don't you find that once you've noticed something irritating you begin to focus on it? Instead of just skimming over the bits I didn't want to read I would scoff & get annoyed about it. Looking back it's quite ridiculous getting annoyed about something that nobody is forcing me to read & that I can easily ignore.......but alas the brain of a tired & stressed Mama does have the tendency to get irritated about the minor or even irrational things in life (well this tired mama does anyway!).
Anyway that's enough of my moaning, what I'm trying to say is that I started to question why I go online and why I wanted to blog. I don't care about where I am in any blogging popularity charts or how many followers I have. In fact I don't even know if anybody reads anything I post. So I stopped, and at first it felt quite liberating taking a step back from all things internet based, but then I started to miss it. I missed checking in to see what people were up to, I missed the support that I get from people when I have a tough day, but mostly i missed documenting all of the good things that happen in my life. I found that when I stopped writing about the good days & the things that made me happy they somehow started to blend in with the bad days more & I just wasn't as positive about things. It's silly isn't it, but it's true that taking the time to write about & share all the fun things we do as a family or the new things that Henry has done, or new craft projects that i have made seems to make me appreciate those moments more before they get lost in every day life.
So I'm back......even though i'm not sure anybody noticed I was gone in the first place. :) I love autumn, and there have been so many instances where I have wanted to share a recipe I loved, or pictures of a beautiful walk in the Autumn Sun or even a project that I have finished ready for my stash of homemade Christmas presents.......yes that's right I'm starting to get quite excited about christmas! So I think I need somewhere to share it all so that Ken doesn't get too annoyed with me just babbling on about it so much to him!
Despite all of my moaning here are a few of the blogs that I have really enjoyed lately:Little Green Shed
: Lou always has something beautiful & Inspirational to show you that will brighten up your day. Nimble Fingers & Steady eyebrows:
I adore this blog filled with letters between friends Annie & Laura! It's full of the simple things in life. Sew Scrumptious:
A must read for fabric addicts & crafty Mamas. Louise also organises a charity effort which makes pillowcase dresses for charity. Over 2,000 dresses have been distributed to girls living in Malawi, Kenya, India, Ghana and Uganda. You can get involved if you like what you read as she is running a free pillowcase dress sewing workshop at Cordial & Grace
. Bristol Craft:
Bethany's blog is 100% inspiration & full of beautiful pictures. I'm only saying what you're thinking:
A diamond of honesty in a sea of 'perfect Mummy' blogs.
And to finish off here are a few pictures of recently enjoyed things from the last month:
After 20 years of trying I have finally learnt to crochet thanks to some amazing tips on crocheting for knitters from my fantastic & very crafty Auntie Hilda!
Autumn walks in the park
Oh yes I did......i reorganised my bookcase by colour so that it was full of rainbows! A sign that I am indeed a bit of a loser! ;)
Henry getting his groove on & dancing the night away at his Auntie Jess's 30th Birthday party.....I don't think there is anything cuter than a toddler dancing!
Running a packed out Wool & Knitting craft room at Windmill Hill City farm.....literally hundreds of people had a go making things with yarn! It was fantastic!
Going back to my Mum's to watch the Carnival in Warminster. Henry LOVED it as it was full of trucks & Tractors that played music. :)
Last Sunday we went for Sunday lunch at The Ethicurean
as a little treat. We don't really go out anymore unless it's for special occasions so it was nice just to do something for the sake of it. As I mentioned before we went to the Ethicurean last year on my birthday, it's such a peaceful place and can be a welcome escape from the city sometimes as it really feels like you're miles from anywhere when you are there.
Anyway the point of this post is because I was looking through pictures from the 2 September visits and I cannot believe what a difference a year makes! Henry was nearly 7 months old when we visited last time & wasn't mobile at all. He was still a little baby really (although at the time I couldn't believe how big he was getting!). Now he's 19months old, and spent every moment he could running around the gardens with energy that only a toddler possesses! Sometimes you don't realise just how quickly your children change because it happens so gradually. I feel like I don't get to savour Henry as much as I would like because life gets in the way sometimes, and we always seem to be so busy. Every now and again though I stop in my tracks & take a moment to appreciate what an amazing little boy he is & how much he learns and changes every week! He really does take my breath away.
It was lovely to take him there again as a toddler because he really got to enjoy the place fully and spent every spare moment running around asking what everything was.......although they no longer serve macaroni cheese as their children's meal which is Henry's all time favourite food so there was a bit of disappointment after being promised that for lunch!
Anyway that's enough of my soppy Mama ramblings! Have a lovely evening!
This weekend has been a bit of a non-event on the whole. We had lots of plans to make the most of the lovely weather & a few belated birthday celebrations, but I came down with something nasty on Friday night & ended up having to spend Saturday mainly in bed feeling quite sorry for myself. I'm feeling quite a lot better this afternoon so hopefully I'll be back to 100% for the week ahead.
Despite me being ill, one major thing has happened this weekend.......Henry, who turns 19months old today is no longer in his cot! We turned his cotbed in to just a bed! Argh!!! How is my baby big enough to be in a bed?!? He slept on just a matress on the floor when we were away last weekend & seemed to sleep better than in his cot because he wasn't bashing himself on the bars all of the time, so the time seemed right to make the change at home too.
He loves it already & has spent all evening climbing on & off the bed & having a good time showing Daddy his new bed. He's just got out of the bath & run over to his bed straight away & jumped on it completely soaking wet & naked!
We have bought a mesh side to put on the bed because he seems to do some form of toddler gymnastics in his sleep & I'm convinced that he'll roll out of his little toddler bed. I'm sure I'm being over protective & he'd be fine without it, but it makes me feel better having it there.
So there you have it.....my baby really isn't a baby any more! I will feel a little sad as I put him to bed tonight knowing that we really are leaving behind his baby days, however I'm so proud of how well he seems to handle all of the changes & developments that toddlerdom brings him. I guess tonight will be the real test as to whether he actually stays in his bed! Wish us luck!!