Thursday, November 21, 2013

Happy Birthday Josie

Hello :D.

A year ago, I was basking in the loveliness of newborn snuggles. Today, it's all about the girl who can never get enough cuddles, who is so loving and kind, who adores her big brother and barely ever stops smiling.

Let's have some stats...
Likes: cats, cheese, bouncing, stealing electronics, shoes, brushing hair, dancing, cuddles.
Dislikes: being cleaned, sleeping at night, balloons, closed doors.
Height/weight: tiny/feather.
Teeth: 4 (centre bottom and vampire top).
Skills: walking, climbing stairs, turning the computer on and off, eating, inserting fingers into nostrils.

To the happiest baby in the world: I love you, and happy birthday ;)

Pre-birthday celebrations with her cousin

Jacob helping her open the present he chose and wrapped himself

Birthday breakfast

Eating her birthday badge

Birthday lunch, courtesy of Dad's amazing sandwich-cutting skillz

Frugal trip out to see the fish in the local aquatics shop

Birthday dinner at Pizza Hut

Not quite big enough to reach the table easily; big enough to eat pasta with a grown-up fork 

Opening presents before bed (such a drawn-out day! We had to accommodate Jacob being in school...)

Happiness :D 

Giggles :D

My love.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Let sleeping babies lie

It's snowing again, and insomnia is rife. I've got so many blog posts to catch up on, so I thought I'd do one now without thinking, to give me the impetus to do more tomorrow.

Yesterday (or the day before, as it's after midnight now), Josie had an epic sick whilst playing on her playmate. Playmat! DYAC. Excellent parents that we are, we didn't notice until it had nicely pooled round the back of her head and in her hair.

I gave her a lovely hair wash in a little bowl, which left her with a delicious cloud of silky hair (Silky the fairy from Enid Blyton's Faraway Tree stories? That's my girl). I lay her down for some tummy time, and she immediately started snogging the towel she was lying on. Being too lazy to get up, I fed her there on the floor, and she fell asleep in perhaps the most gorgeous pose ever. Naked and beautiful and soft and warm. I covered her with a blanket and snuck away for 5 minutes of peace.

She doesn't sleep much, and I can't get enough of her when she does ;)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Series of Unexpected Events

Really, this post isn't going to be as exciting as it sounds.  We haven't been on any unexpected adventures today - the furthest I went was to school to pick Jacob up and back.  Even then, I didn't get out the car; instead I stayed in the warm with girlface while Jamie went to pick up boyface.

It just occurred to me that with her ladyship turning 7 weeks old tomorrow, a lot of things haven't exactly gone as planned, but they've ended up pretty awesome, regardless.

  1. I didn't expect to go overdue.  Let alone 12 days overdue.  That was fun.
  2. I didn't expect to have another long birth.  Let alone a 40-hour one.  Everyone says second labours are faster, so I thought this one would fly by.  My midwife said I'm just designed to have breech babies and long labours.  She also said I had my boy and my girl now, and that was enough for anyone.  What does she know eh*?
  3. I didn't expect Josie to be a pro at breastfeeding.  I count every day as a massive achievement - even though it's really been pretty struggle free.  In fact, I can recall two incidences where I thought to myself: "Blimey, I wish we had some formula".  Even then, I don't think I would have used it, had it been there.
  4. I didn't expect to not use a sling until she was 9 days old - I went a bit mad on preparing my new-baby stash but haven't used it half as much as I'd anticipated.  She likes sleeping in her basket, or in her bouncy chair.  Or on her Daddy.  I go for the easiest option, and if I don't have to walk around the house sweating (post-partum hot flushes, lovely), then I'm not going to.
  5. I didn't expect to get to nearly 7 weeks and still be in disposable nappies.  But people keep giving us free ones and it's just so much easier.  We did have a nappy emergency today, and even then I didn't find myself reaching for a reusable (although I did try her in one afterwards), but instead I whipped a muslin up into a makeshift nappy and secured it with a freezer-bag clip.  Ever resourceful, me.
  6. I didn't expect her to be such a Daddy's girl.  She follows his voice around, and would rather cuddle and smile at him than anyone else.
  7. I didn't expect to look at her and melt, each and every time.  She's incredible.

Check out the adoring gaze and the makeshift nappy.

*Really though, we're done**.
**But you can never expect the unexpected.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

In gentle exercise news, I decluttered the lounge and put away the new Christmas toys/crap.  It was quite labour intensive, so that'll do me.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Got to dance

Watching Got to Dance with a snoozing baby on my chest counts, right?

Two trips to the doctor's today, and I've officially been prescribed a course of 'taking it easy'.

So I'll be chilling on the exercise front for a little while, but still trying to post every day, because I'm enjoying it and the momentum is here.

I've also just learnt that Ashley Banjo is only 24, which makes me feel:

a) old
b) inappropriate
c) like I'm unlikely to be invited to join Diversity.

Ahh well ;)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

No More Christmas

While we watched the retro children's weekend on CITV today (Super Gran!), we finally took all the Christmas decorations down.  Everything looks very bare now (not bare by normal people's standards, obviously, there's still two layers of furniture round the walls) and it all seems to have gone by too quickly.  Jacob was none too impressed by our retro viewing - he evidently has more sophisticated tastes than we do did (and when we were quite old too, a lot of this stuff was from the early nineties).  We managed to avoid Peppa Pig long enough to watch:

  • Super Gran (Super Gran!)
  • Raggy Dolls
  • The Tomorrow People
  • Rainbow
  • Fraggle Rock
  • Knightmare (haven't watched this yet, I'm very excited)
  • Huxley Pig
  • Puddle Lane

A while ago, we found a load of Puddle Lane books in a charity shop and bought about 10 as I remembered them from my childhood and was feeling all nostalgic.  Jacob loved them, read them over and over, and insisted we carried a few with us wherever we went.  A couple of week's later, we found hundreds more at a Scout Fete and I bought as many as I could carry.  They're still firm favourites, and it was the only time today that he paid any attention to what we were watching.  The opening sequence started, and he said incredulously, "I think this is my Puddle Lane books on the telly!  What's it doing on the telly?" and was very excited to see Toby Spelldragon ("What's Toby doing there!") but wasn't too keen on the magician.

The rest of the time we were de-decorating and watching, he heartbreakingly took the opportunity to draw the following picture.  I don't know how well you can make it out, but he wrote "No More Christmas" (or No=MCisMs, as he puts it) above a picture of a Christmas tree.  He wasn't sad about it, just very matter of fact.  He was mostly excited by the present he found concealed amongst the branches which my Mum had hidden last time she was here - a tradition from my childhood of a present from the 'tree fairy' to be opened when the tree is taken down.  It was a knock-off Schleich penguin which he loved and played crazy flying games with until dinner time.

In other news, my body has decided that I am officially Doing Too Much and it doesn't want to do quite as much, thank you very much (I'll leave the details to your imagination, delicate flower that I am), so the only exercise I got today was undecorating and sleeping.  And feeding.  And dancing to the Super Gran theme tune.  Seriously, Super Gran.  Youtube it.

Happy Christmas.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


We meant to go out for a walk today, but we didn't get back from Tesco until mid-afternoon (Jamie works Saturday mornings) and it would have been dark by 4.30 and I needed a cup of coffee.  And we hadn't had lunch.  Then we were going to go for a night-time walk with Jacob's torch (£3 torch = hands down best Christmas present.  He would have been happy with this and only this.), but he spent 2 hours eating his dinner so that was out too.

Tescoing, and slinging, that's at least a little bit of exercise right there, yes?

And now it's nearly 10pm, and Jamie has gone for a run (oooh, get him), and I'm sitting here trying hard not to think about the apple crumble shortbread in the kitchen.

I'm not feeling guilty about it, I'm going to watch one of my guilty pleasures instead: Girls of the Playboy Mansion.  Feeding a baby night and day (a baby who can't be fed in bed due to aforementioned projectile vomiting issues - I'm not going to be scrubbing milk out of my mattress every day) means watching a whole lot of telly (well it does for me, I'm sure I could do something more useful with my time, but I'm not going to).  I've learnt when all the good stuff is on, and persuaded Jacob that feeding = Mummy's turn with the remote.  And whilst I like all kinds of serious, funny, good and clever telly shows, I also like to watch a whole lot of crap.  In no particular order, my recent (guilty) delights include:

  • Friends (obviously, and only because Jamie makes me feel guilty about it)
  • America's Next Top Model
  • Hawaii Five-O
  • Girls of the Playboy Mansion
  • 15/16/17/18 Kids and Counting
  • Dog the Bounty Hunter
  • Homes under the Hammer (but really, who doesn't?)
  • Traffic Cops
  • Dawson's Creek
  • Little House on the Prairie

I've watched GOTPM (there's a clunky acronym, if there ever was one) for years, and whilst it should be the type of thing I utterly abhor, I've fallen in love with Holly, Kendra and Bridget and feel fully invested in their lives.  The last episode was on the other night and now it's started again from the beginning, and I'm enjoying it just as much.  I'm not going to apologise for this ;)

Hawaii Five-O is a recent addition to the list, which my sister-in-law introduced me to just after Josie was born.  It's been repeated in the mornings while Jacob is at school, and it's great.  It's funny, and cheesy, and fast-paced, and neatly wrapped up in 42 minutes.  I love it.

So not exactly top-notch viewing, but they all make me happy, and I'd rather watch one of them than something that requires concentrating and paying-attention-to, which might be difficult when I get distracted thinking how utterly delicious my daughter's cheeks are or look down to see her smiling up at me.


Guilty pleasures are far more pleasurable than normal stuff.  Which is why I'd rather read a pony book that I've read a thousand times since I was nine, instead of one of the books I got given for Christmas.  I'll get round to them in due course, but right now I'm reading "I wanted a pony" and I'm enjoying the hell out of it.

And I won't mention that Jamie, despite his intellectual, bookish, oooh-look-at-me-I-got-a-First persona, enjoys, and even records, Jeremy Kyle.  I therefore think I win.

The view from my chair

Testing mobile Blogger app. Any excuse for a photo of my girl ;)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Coping with Two

I've touched on the fact that Jamie is at University at the moment, but I don't think I've fully gone into details. He finished his Open University degree earlier in the year and scored himself a place on a Master's degree to study Creative Writing.  It's technically a full-time degree, so he spends two days a week physically at University, and has gone part-time at work, working 2 half-days and 1 full day.  I thought this was going to be incredibly difficult, having a new baby and a husband with so many commitments, but actually it means he's around a lot more than he would otherwise have been, even if he is constantly trying to find some peace and quiet to do some writing.

Friday is his full day in work, and at the moment it's really the only day that I'm left alone with both children for any prolonged period of time.  I haven't quite got the hang of it yet (and the state of the house is testament to that) but I'm getting better all the time.

Today, I came up with a Winter Walk Treasure Hunt (I had to be careful to omit the word 'treasure', or Jacob would have been expecting an x-marks-the-spot and Actual Treasure) to keep us busy, and act as my activity for the day to boot.

I found this tiny clipboard in my stationery drawer and scribbled down the first 5 things I could think of (the first on the list was 'a crane', because there had been a crane at a house round the corner earlier on.  When we got outside, I could immediately see it had gone, so I changed it to an unimaginative 'bird'.  Will do better next time.).  I gave it to Jacob and he almost exploded with delight.  We then spent about an hour getting our coats and boots on, and stuffing drinks and snacks and tissues into Jacob's rucksack, and persuading him he didn't need to bring Tiger with him, and yes he did need to wear a coat and a hat, and no we couldn't leave Josie at home, and could he please not walk back into the lounge once he had his wellies on but wait patiently by the door while I got Josie in the sling and PLEASE I'll just be a minute and stop hanging off the coatrack and don't hide the front door key okay ready let's go .

Finding 'something unusual' - a pile of chopped logs

One of our last-minute Christmas presents for Jacob was the Early Learning Centre digital camera, and at half-price with an extra 20% off it was a mere £17ish.  He was very excited about it when he opened it, but hasn't paid much attention to it since.  His treasure hunt list said he had to take a photo of everything he found today, so we took it with us and took photos of all his finds.  I mostly took photos of him finding his Things, and was pleasantly surprised with how they came out.  The ones he took were much more out-of-focus, but I'm sure he'll get the hang of it in due course.

 Finding an evergreen tree - Holly

It was extremely muddy and surprisingly warm, so we came back very dirty and sweaty.  After a feed for Josie and beans on toast for Jacob and I, we all decamped upstairs and had baths.  I had a bath while Jacob read to Josie, then I bathed her while he got undressed, then he bathed himself while I dried and dressed her.

Back downstairs, she fed again as he watched Room on the Broom for the seventy-billionth time, and we ended the day warm, clean and snuggly.  I even had him in bed and asleep by 7.15, which I haven't managed even with Jamie here for weeks.

To anyone who's had more than one baby for a while, I'm sure you're laughing at me and my feeble attempts at a normal life.  But right now, it feels like a huge achievement merely surviving the day, let alone getting out and about and doing something that Jacob deems fun.  I even managed to squeeze a nap in before Jamie came home and Josie woke up for another feed.  I can totally do this ;)

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Day Four

Sport: Walking
Distance: 1.48 mi
Duration: 01 hours 02 minutes 24 seconds
At: 04.01.13 15:12

(info courtesy of runtastic)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Finding Time

Josie had her six-week birthday yesterday.  Hand-in-hand with this goes a huge growth spurt, which means she likes to feed from around 7pm-2am, angrily headbutting me when the milk is not quite as freely available as she would like.  Regardless of how the rest of the night has gone, I seem to wake the following morning as drained and exhausted as if I'd not slept at all.  Handily, Jamie doesn't start back at University until the end of January, so he's available to keep an eye on the children while I try and catch up on sleep for an hour here or there during the day.  I'm finding it hard to find the time during daylight hours to get out for a walk, and as I'm stuck on the sofa feeding all evening, there's no time for exercise then either.

This evening, I managed exactly 11 minutes of Wii Fit-ing, before she started screeching again.  She does a good line in screeching.

So my activity for today goes something like this:

  • Wii Fit - 11 minutes
  • Breastfeeding - hours and hours and hours and hours (although not as many hours as yesterday)

I've written elsewhere about our struggles with breastfeeding the first time around.  I was given pethidine during my labour with Jacob and he was born very sleepy - so sleepy that he was not at all interested in latching on and I wasn't shown how to express for him for nearly 24 hours, after which time we were both on a downward spiral into not-latching and supply issues.  There were other issues too, and we limped and struggled on for just over six months of mixed feeding.  He never went more than a day or two without having formula: I just wasn't prepared for how difficult it would be, and had no support network set up for coping with the difficulties we had.

It tore me apart.  I used to spend hours sitting on the sofa, looking through breastfeeding photos on flickr, reading kellymom and various blogs and forums, trying to learn how to boost supply, how to cope with a poor latch, how to deal with the pain, and how to avoid similar problems in the future.  I desperately wanted another baby, just so that I could have another go at getting breastfeeding right.

Over time, I learnt to let it go, stopped reading things that upset me and started to accept that I'd done my very best and it wasn't the end of the world.  And what's more, it wouldn't be the end of the world if it didn't work out this time either.

Josie had other plans - she was born onto my stomach (no pethidine this time, I was adamant about that on my birth plan) and after the cord had stopped pulsing and was cut, she was taken very briefly to be checked as she was very mucousy, and then she was dumped back onto my stomach.  While I loved her, she did the whole breast-crawl thing (which was amazing), latched herself on and fed and fed and fed.  She just knows what to do - she has a perfect latch, she feeds for nine minutes exactly (most of the time), and apart from thrush and some scary projectile vomiting which we're learning to deal with, we've had no problems.  She hasn't had a drop of formula, and I'm unimaginably proud of that.

And as she's doing the milk squawk just now, I'll have to leave it at that.  Go us ;)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I heart IKEA

Christmas holiday cabin fever got to us all today, and we escaped along a scarily-foggy motorway to Cardiff, to spend the day in IKEA.  I don't really understand why people use the Marmite-principle to describe IKEA, I can't see what there is to dislike about it.

It is, in no particular order:

  • inside
  • warm
  • well-organised
  • pleasingly-laid out
  • like looking around people's houses without having to talk to them
  • aspirational (who doesn't want a library comprising Billy bookcases?)
  • affordable

and it has:

  • great storage solutions
  • pleasing textiles and design
  • simple children's toys
  • useful children's equipment
  • play areas all over the place
  • indoor and outdoor playgrounds
  • a free creche (free!  We haven't got to use this yet, "Maybe when I'm four," says Jacob)
  • all kinds of free crap for Family members (free fruit, cheap children's meals, free coffee, free ice cream, reduced other things)
  • RIDICULOUS reductions on Christmas decorations (I bought a load of stuff for next year, which should have cost about £50, and cost me £4.50)
  • a comfortable nursing area if you're shy about getting your baps out, and lots of seating areas all over the place if you're not (I made use of both today)
  • amazing meatballs and cinnamon rolls

Essentially, it's like a great family day out, if you want to dress up a shopping trip as a great family day out.  If I lived in Cardiff, I'd be there all the time.  We spent nearly 5 hours there today, at least 3 of which were walking around, and I'm really feeling it in my legs now.

Following Josie's birth, I had some tests done on my 'offensive-smelling placenta' (oooh, there's a phrase you want to hear after forty hours of labour) and what first showed Group G Strep (not overly worrying) then showed up as Group B Strep (lots of panicky 'AWOOOOOGA!' noises from everyone and a readmittance to hospital).  This meant that (I'm going to try and be delicate here, I'm probably going to fail) my stitched-up lady-area also got infected with GBS, and caused me lots of mobility difficulties and unimaginable pain.  I got stuck in the bath, purely because I couldn't bear the pain of trying to get out.  I was prescribed rest, rest, and more rest.  I wasn't allowed to go for a walk round the block.  I went a little stir-crazy, but as I could barely get off the sofa, there wasn't much I could do about it.

When I started to feel better and could walk again, I went for a walk around the village, and ached afterwards as though I'd run a 10k (I say this, never having run a 10k.  I imagine your legs are quite sore on the following day).  That was a mere 3 weeks ago, and I haven't really built much stamina up since then.

Which all goes to say that a 3-hour walk round IKEA for me, is like running a marathon for your average person, and I'm therefore entering it as my exercise for today.  For good measure, I did 19 minutes of Wii Fit (according to which, I've put on a pound since yesterday) and beat my high score in the Hula Hooping.  I rock.

I'm off to devour my new IKEA catalogue while my delicious girl snores quietly in my ear.  Good night ;)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Janathoon 2012 Participant Logo

Right.  New year, operation blog more.  Helen put it much more succinctly than I could in her New Year blog post here.  The bit that shouted at me, was this:

"I've been rubbish about writing the blog, which frustrates me, because I love having the record, and I love feeling that anyone ever reads it, and I know I'd have more chance of people reading it regularly if I actually wrote anything on it..."

I've already missed writing in any form about six whole weeks of my daughter's life.  I loved having the blog when Jacob was small, and I regretted not having started it earlier.  I love looking back on old posts, and seeing what we did and how Jacob has grown.  I feel guilty about it all the time - not recording things enough - although I do think it's important to fall into the self-perpetuating cycle of doing stuff just to blog about it.

Jamie pointed me in the direction of Janathon, a month-long project to take some form of exercise every day, and blog about it.  As I'm finally better and able to move again, I'd like to start walking.  By no means am I going to be back in my pre-pregnancy jeans any time soon, but I would like to fit in some trousers which aren't yoga pants.  Yoga pants are not conducive to being worn in wet weather - I keep coming home looking like MC Hammer.

I will therefore be aiming to do a little bit of the following every day, and do a blog post which makes mention of what I've done, although that won't be the main focus.  My activities may include:
  • walking
  • Wii fit
  • yoga
  • swimming
  • some other type of easy exercise that I haven't yet thought of
  • and, if push comes to shove, breastfeeding.  After all, it uses 500 calories a day, so that kicks all other forms of exercise (that I'm capable of)'s arse.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Day One

Sport: Walking
Distance: 2.98 km
Duration: 01 hours 04 minutes 57 seconds
At: 01.01.13 15:36

(info courtesy of runtastic PRO)

(disclaimer: I reserve the right to utterly fail at this.  I have a newborn, give me a break :D)

My 2012

January = lines

February = beach 

March = three 

April = DJ 

May = smizing 

June = niece 

July = Ireland 

August = hot 

September = school 

October = walks 

November = Josie 

December = happy