Another month has rolled around, how did it happen so quickly? We are already in mid March! We have passed another milestone though, Flixster is crawling! This is wonderful and scary all at the same time.

Wonderful because he’s not getting so frustrated at trying to get things that he can see but scary because theses so many small things around that the boy plays with like Lego that I need to be extra vigilant about. It’s easy to baby proof the house first time around but this time its hard to keep an eye on the boy and what he’s leaving around too.
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Flixster is chasing the boy around everywhere (at his low-speed for now!) which is driving the boy a little mad as everything he has Flixster wants.

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Most of the time I have to do the shiny object distraction technique to try to give Flixster some other focus rather than wanting what the boy currently has. The boy is being very patient with him but I have to remind him now and then about snatching!

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I do love the love between them though although I wonder for how much longer I will keep having to repeat “Gently”. I seem to be a broken record with that as the boy’s hugs usually resemble a wrestlers neck hold!

I love bath time together and Flixster adores his big brother, I think this is my favourite siblings photo for the month. They aren’t hugging or looking directly at the camera, but it just shows them getting along and at the start of what I hope is a lifelong friendship together.

 

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dear beautiful

Unwritten Rules of Shopping in Aldi or Lidl

There are some unwritten rules of shopping in Aldi or Lidl, read on I will try to explain them!

I’ve been shopping in Aldi and Lidl for a couple of years. In the last few months I’ve noticed just how busy it’s getting. They used to be a fairly quiet place to shop. I think it’s fabulous that so many people have now discovered the treasures that they hold. But I also chuckle to myself every time I go in the shop and see someone who has clearly never been before. New shoppers stand out by a mile!

Shopping at Aldi and Lidl is unlike any other supermarkets experience. There is an unspoken and unwritten set of rules to follow when shopping there. If you’ve never been there before it can be quite daunting at first. So long as you grasp the rules quickly you will soon be fitting in like the rest of us! The planning starts before you leave the house too so don’t just expect to turn up!

The Rules (The unwritten rules!)

1) Bags – As with all shops now you’ll need to take your own bags, while they do sell them at the till for emergencies what you really need is some nice wide bottomed hessian type bags. They are perfect for packing up everything at the end, so you can see when you get home where everything is. I did see the other day someone in there with some fab bags that clip onto the shopping trolley and sort of line it. They looked fab and perfect for shopping there. I’ll be on the look out for those. Also make sure you take more bags than you think you’ll need. Trust me you always need the extra ones! No one ever goes to Aldi or Lidl and leaves with just an item or two!

2) £1 coin or a shopping trolley token. The trolleys always need them and even though you might think you can get away with a basket for just a few items, you never leave with just a few. Once you’re inside you’ll end up wanting to buy more than a basket full! Always have your coin or token ready for the trolleys.

3) The aisles won’t look anything like you are used to, theres way less choice which is a good thing. Believe me when theres only one type of baked beans it takes seconds to pick them up. Last time I went to Tesco to buy beans there was nearly a whole aisle of them, it took me ages to make my choice.

Although all the different beans looked great you’ll waste no time picking beans in Aldi, just pick them up! Although there are some branded goods most of the brands are their own and having tried most of them you probably won’t notice any difference between your usual brand and the Aldi or Lidl one. So just take a punt and try them, your purse will thank you!

4) The middle of the store is usually reserved for a variety of household goods stored in metal cage type storage bins which change on a regular basis. Each week new things are added. Try not to block the aisle hanging around the items though! If you want to know the price of something just look up, its usually there somewhere!

5) Wine – Don’t overlook it, you may be in a budget supermarket however both Aldi and Lidl sell some really great award winning wines. At great prices, the prosecco is fabulous! They usually have descriptions up as well as any awards, have a good look at them all. This is one of my favourite unwritten rules!

6) Checkouts – If you have a trolley full of shopping go against your instincts and pick the longest queue! Why you might ask? Well you need as much time as possible to remove all your shopping from the trolley and put it onto the belt before the cashier starts putting it through the till. If you spot someone with just a few items always ask if they want to go before you. Not only will they be grateful for getting through quicker but it buys you more time to get all the shopping on the belt.

7) Once all the shopping is loaded onto the belt get ready to whizz your trolley round to the other side of the cashier. There is no space to pack your bags there. I will say this only once…..

DO NOT TRY TO PACK YOUR BAGS AT THE TILL!

As soon as the item is scanned get it in the trolley. The lovely workers of Aldi and Lidl are the fastest scanners I know. The shopping will be coming towards you in a blur. If you get behind with putting things back in the trolley just do the one arm sweeper movement to get the shopping in the trolley, so long as there’s no eggs already scanned through you’ll probably be ok! If you want the shopping in any order in the trolley then you have to plan ahead and put it on the belt in that order. Don’t try to do it as its coming at you at 90mph through the till!

8) Once you’ve paid your bill (and got over how much you’ve saved!) quickly move away from the till to the packing bench. If its full and it tends to get like that at the weekend then just wait for a spot. Get your bags out and start to pack up, replacing the bags in the trolley as room is made for them. Once you’re packed you’re pretty much done. On the way out pick up a leaflet for next weeks special offers, it’ll save you time looking next week and stop you looking like a newbie!

If you have any more tips to add please do let me know!

 

 

 

Dear Boys,

I’ve not written to you in a while. I just didn’t want to just repeat the same thing over again. I wanted to make sure I had something to tell you.

Boy – You’ve said some adorable things recently. Its moments when I hear you say loving things to me, Flixster or Daddy that make my heart melt. Yesterday when I was brushing my hair you insisted on using the brush too saying you didn’t want to look like a ‘Squarecrow’. It was just beautiful. You are so loving with Flixster too, always trying to cheer him up if he’s sad, or play peek a boo to keep him entertained.

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Sometimes though I do wonder if you can’t exhale without speaking or making a noise, even when you’re eating you have to make a humming noise. I was chatting to you the other day and politely asking you to keep the noise down in the back of the car as I was trying to concentrate and you came back with ‘Sorry Mummy I can’t turn the volume down on my voice as I’ve got a big massive chicken inside me and he keeps making me loud!’ I laughed so much I nearly cried! I don’t know where you get these things from!

While we were on my bed changing Flixsters nappy the other day I was gentle playing with his feet. You came over took one sniff and exclaimed ‘Pooooooooooweeeeey, his feet smell of Halloween things and Halloween dresses’. That was a weird one, since we are now in March!

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We’re still waiting to find out which school you’ll be going to, we’ll find out in April. I dearly hope you’ll be ready for school being an August baby. It’s going to be a tough transition for you I think as you don’t deal well with change but I will prepare you as best I can for it. I can’t imagine you in a school uniform but the time will soon be upon us and you’ll be my baby no longer. I never thought I’d be a crying mum at the gates but the closer we get the more I’m getting emotional about it.

Flixster – Time is passing so quickly, a little too quickly. This week you’re turning 11 months, not far from your first birthday already. This last week you’ve tried so hard to learn to crawl and to some extend you’ve managed it now. It’s a mix of wiggling, pushing and rolling, but you’re getting where you want to be, and thats usually where I don’t want you to be! Yesterday on the way to Grandma’s I had to stop the car quickly after your brother exclaimed that he thought you were eating paper, then he shouted no mummy its LEGO! Indeed you were eating two pieces of lego, goodness knows if they’d been in your mouth since we left the house or if you’d concealed them in your hand then later popped them in your mouth. I really do have to keep an extra eye out for you now you’re on the move.

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You’ve started nursery but I don’t think you like it one bit, and all I can say is sorry. Sorry you have to go there, sorry we have to leave you. Sorry you don’t understand why we’re not there for you but one day I will explain to you why. I know the people there look after you and your brother is very happy there. It’s a lovely place and I know you’re safe but being such an attached baby I think you’re finding the transition hard. I can’t not work though, I have to go back to work to earn money to keep us in our home. I just hope you settle in soon. I’m sending in breastmilk for you to have so hopefully that’s bringing you comfort during the day. I love you so much and it’s hard to see you upset there, but we don’t have any other option right now.

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Together you are playing, although boy I’m not sure you’re too keen on how mobile and interested Flixster is in all your toys. I’m trying to explain to you that Flixster isn’t actually snatching on purpose, he just wants to see what your doing. His face still lights up when you enter the room, I think you’re going to be good friends.

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Please always remember I love you unconditionally ….forever.

Love Mummy x

 

 

 

February is almost at a close (how did it happen so quickly?) and I seem to have run out of time to get a whole family shot. So that’s my first learning point. So this months ‘Me and Mine’ is going to be made of lots of photos of us as a family.

This month there has been lots going on for such a short month. I’ve never been keen on February. I guess maybe as its seems as far away from Christmas as you can get. January doesn’t count because it still seems part of it and it’s still fresh in our minds.

This month Flixster went to his first birthday party. A little boy that we know from breastfeeding group was turning one and invited a few of us along to a baby sensory circus themed party. It was lots of fun!
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The boys have been growing together and are playing with each other more and more, which is lovely to see.

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Flixster and I had a private consultation with a sling specialist to learn how to use the wrap for back carries. It was money very well spent as I now know how to safely put him up on my back.

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We spent a lovely sunny Sunday in Lytham with my mum and dad which I wrote about in a previous post.
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And I captured this shot of myself with the boys, we weren’t dressed up but we were having lovely cuddles.

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{February 2015)

 

Mummy is currently enjoying:
Watching the new series of ‘House of Cards’
The view from the kitchen window now the front garden is complete
Looking forward to our Center Parcs trip

Daddy is currently enjoying:
Reading ‘Gone Girl’
Trying different teas from around the world
Playing ‘Halo – Master Chief Collection’ on Xbox

The boy is currently enjoying:
Watching ‘Twirlywoos’ on Cbeebies
Reading Biff, Chip and Kipper Books
Playing jigsaws – he did a 35 piece one all by himself

 

Flixster is currently enjoying:
Trying lots more foods
His first swimming lesson
Still trying to crawl – almost there!

 

 

dear beautiful

Before I had children people would tell me that the tiredness is hard, the hardest thing of  all. I thought I’d be fine. I thought it would just be similar to normal tiredness but a little worse, nothing a coffee wouldn’t sort out.

Boy was I wrong!

When the boy was a baby I didn’t cope with the tiredness well. I got snappy and short-tempered very easily. I resented having to get up to feed him. I hated it. The boy started sleeping through the night, and just to be clear by that I mean sleeping from 7pm until the morning (anytime after 5am) when he was 7/8 months. I couldn’t have been more thankful when it started to happen. Since then though he’s been a great sleeper. It’s rare for him to wake in the night.

This time around with Flixster I was much better prepared for the tiredness, I knew I’d be doing night feeds for a while. I secretly hoped he’d be a great sleeper from the off. It would have been amazing if he’d have slept through the night from the early weeks, but I know that frequent waking is natural and a protective factor against SIDS. This time though I’ve done things differently, and even though he is still feeding lots of in the night at 10 months I don’t feel as tired.

With Flixster I bed share to try to keep the night feeds simple and easy, something I didn’t do with the boy. I have always followed the safe bed sharing guidelines:

I do breastfeed

I never bed share if I’ve been drinking

I don’t take any drugs or medication so that rule is always followed (Don’t bed share if you do or have)

I don’t smoke

I keep pillows out-of-the-way and avoid blankets (Flixster kicks them off anyway!)

We have a firm mattress with no mattress topper or pillow top

Flixster wasn’t a small baby or pre-term

If I didn’t bedshare I don’t think I’d be the same mummy. We are trying very gently to encourage him to sleep in his cot. Each night sometime between 6pm and 7pm we get him ready for bed with his brother, give him one final feed and then put him down to sleep. It’s taken weeks and weeks of practise to get to the point where he doesn’t cry when we put him in the cot. We’ve been consistent in the approach so that he knows what to expect. We have never let him cry alone in the dark or cry in his cot. If you’d have asked me a fair few weeks ago I wouldn’t have been convinced we’d have even go to this point. However he does at the moment go down well in his cot a bedtime. Just a few months ago he would wake up every 30-45 minutes all evening and we’d forever be going up and down the stairs to try to re-settle him. So I know we’ve moved forward from that. Now he wakes anywhere between 8:30 and 2am for the first night feed. He’s only once gone through to 2am it’s by no means a regular thing (sadly!) So at his first wake up I take him into our bed for the night. I lie on my side to breastfeed him and he usually feeds and goes back to sleep. Sometimes he kicks around for a while not wanting to go back to sleep.I usually drift off too if and when he does.

He then wakes a few more times in the night and each time I feed him. For us its the easiest option. Mainly so I get the most amount of sleep possible. I never look at the time when he wakes, I never count the feeds. I think if I looked at the time I’d be calculating how much sleep I wasn’t getting and that would upset me. Instead I cope by just doing whats easy and gets us through. I know he won’t feed in the night forever. Of course I would rather get lots of sleep and not be interrupted, but I know for now it’s what he needs.

I have friends who finished night feeds within the first 10 weeks, other friends who still have toddlers of 3/4 years old waking in the night. There is no wrong or right age to ‘sleep through’.

How do you cope with night feeds? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

 

I’ve mentioned this before but we’d love to move home. We are already very lucky to live in a nice home, but it’s a home we bought when there was just the two of us and now there’s four! We never imagined when we bought our first house together that we’d have our children here. We both thought that this house would be a starter home and that we’d be moving on before children but with the economy the way it has been the chance to move has never presented itself.
However fast forward 9 years and we would love to move soon.
Our current house was a new build property and we have looked after it. We’ve recently been looking around at other new builds and today I think we may have seen the perfect place. Currently the sales office isn’t even open at the houses so we are watching and waiting, hoping to get in early when it does. I just hope that we’ll have enough deposit for a new place, but if we don’t then we’ll look for something else and accept that it wasn’t meant to be on this occasion and where ever we end up will be the path the universe wanted us to take.
If and when we do move I’ll be sad to say goodbye to the house that has given us so much. We got married here (well not married but we left one day as two people and returned the next day as a married couple). I laboured for most of my first birth at home as I wanted a home birth but it wasn’t meant to be. Flixster was born in our living room and that means that the house will always be special, this address is on his birth certificate as his place of birth. He will carry that with him for the rest of his life.
We’ve had many happy memories here, too many to mention but they are just that, memories. Memories to look back on and smile. As we look to the future though, I’m thinking and dreaming of all the memories we are yet to make as a family, and no matter where we live as long as we have each other we’ll be happy.

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