Wednesday, 29 February 2012

February Challenge - Date Night!

So February was valentines. As it goes, that doesn’t mean much in our house... Boyf refuses to celebrate it, and as a result so do I. I don’t want that to sound like I mind though, because I don’t hand on heart, I actually quite like it. I believe in the boyfs morals about why he doesn’t celebrate it, and we do try to display our love for each other throughout the year, so a commercialised day to spend money we haven’t got to keep multi-billionaire card companies in business doesn’t seem right somehow.

So there was no date, no card, no posh food. That doesn’t mean of course that we can’t join in with Living on Love, Lacy’s February Challenge - date night. Do you want to join in the challenge of 2012? You can do so Here

So February was also a difficult month to get out the house as the Boyf’s parents (our childcare) were away on Holiday. This meant that the limited time off that boyf and I have together would also involve a baby frog, which is fine, were all pretty good mates! :-))

Once every five weeks, the boyf and I have a ‘family day together’. It is the only time in a five week period that we have a full weekday off together, so we ALWAYS try to make the most of it. Things have been kinda hard recently, boyf works very long hours, I work four days and am trying to set up a business. So any time off from work I do have is generally spent doing ‘business stuff’. And this month ‘Family Day’ was no exception. 10th Feb, we had to find some locations for me to do my classes, and this was the only realistic day we had to do it, but no matter, I thought, A Family Day it shall be and boyf shall get his date night ;-)

So off we trot in the car, we find two venues which are perfect. I love that boyf and Frog are with me, we pile into each venue, all full of excitement and famliness. We leave (having negotiated an awesome discount on 12 week room hire) bouncing on air, both full of positivity and pride. It occurs to me that it is perfect that this is our family day – after all the whole point of the business is that we are doing it for the family! Having secured our bookings we head into the village to celebrate. I offer to buy us lunch and get a bit carried away, swapping my veggie option to an over sized burger at the last minute. (I regretted that :-s) I sit there feeling very in love with my supportive boyf and very proud of my BLW 10 month old – who is good as gold!

We head home and after the usual routine of afternoon play, bath and bed for frog, I deicide that Date Night shall continue. I have bought in red wine, pizza and garlic bread in preparation. As I want to treat the boyf to a nice relaxing night we choose to watch a boy film, Blade Runner. I’ve never seen it before, it’s bloody brilliant! I love it for many reasons, mainly because it reminds me of the ‘shan-gri-la’ at Glastonbury where the boyf and me had a ball in 2010. As usual it takes us double the time to watch than it should because we have to analyse (or he does) every last detail. I truly love our date night and I feel truly loved.

We may not celebrate Valentines, we may not have, the time, money and freedom of other couples, but what we have is so special, we are best friends, lovers, soul mates. And a simple lunch out, a simple film in can make the perfect day. I want to dedicate this post to my family and thank Lacy for making me write it. xx

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Living on Love - January Challenge

Lovely Lacy from Living on Love has set a challenge...  Every month in 2012 the lovely Lacy will set us a challenge.. something fun to do as a family.

You can join in the challenge Here

Januarys Challenge was to get outdoors and have a free family outing. This was timed perfectly, for my first week back at work. Having quite a tough time adjusting to being away from the frog for 4 days a week, I spent the whole week counting down to Friday when the boyf, froggo and me would be spending the day together.

Just to add the icing on the Friday cake, the weather was bloody perfect. It was one of those cold cold crisp days. The sky was blue and you could see your breath in the air. We as a family decided to wrap up, get out and go to the forest. We had to drive (so I suppose it wasn't completely free) but we loaded up the car with two dogs, one frog, two very happy grown ups, a flask of coffee and a baby carrier.

It was perfect. Thinking about that day brings a tear to my eye, it was so perfect.

We walked and we talked and we walked some more. We breathed fresh air and watched the dogs have the time of their life...

When we found a bench we stopped for a coffee and took pictures of each other in the sunlight...

I'm having a really tough time of adapting to this chapter of my life. I miss my family terribly, I have an aching in my heart when I think of my life at work while other people watch over frog. Other people giving her breakfast, watching her crawl, develop, giggle. I know that it has to be done, and I know things will get easier but for now... Its so tough.

I really needed this day. This perfect wonderful day. the outdoors are available to us at any time, sometime we need a little push to appreciate them. Thank you Lacy, genuinely and whole heartedly, thank you xx

Saturday, 31 December 2011

2012... a whole new year..

Welcome to 2012!

We have now all said goodbye to 2011, a year which saw the birth of my wonderful Frog and which saw the most amount of personal growth for me. Its a year that may never be topped, but I dont want the momentum to slow down or stop, so Im getting right onto 2012... keeping my passions strong.

So as frog transforms from a baby to a little person, I want her to develop at her own pace, full of confidence and love. I was her to feel secure and safe, to know that he family are always there and that its okay to try new thing.... most of all I just want her to know that everything is okay.

I return to my day job in 9 days. Working four days Frogs childcare is split between, nursery, her Daddy and her grandparents. In all honesty if our circumstances were different I wouldn't be returning to (that) work just now, but I must be grateful for the 9 1/2 months that we have shared, so many mothers are not so lucky. Both Frog and I have benefited greatly from the time that we have had together.

I wouldn't want to be a Full Time SAHM, but I would be doing the work that I want to do, the work that makes me passionate and which I feel I am now destined to follow, so this brings me on to my other New Beginning for 2012. I will be starting my own business, this is incredibly exciting, not that I think I will make my millions through my birthing company, but I do truly believe in the cause. I hope that it will give Frog and I more time together and in the long run I hope it will become my day job. I want to escape the daily drudge, the rat race, the stress of doing a job that doesn't make me tick. I want my work to be me, to represent me, I want to love what I do, and do it because I love to do it. I want the Frog to learn the freedom and desire that comes from being self employed, I want her to see and know a different me.

2012 is just the beginning, Im going to start slowly, with training and expanding my knowledge. Then in May I hope to begin teaching Lazy Daisy birthing classes. By the end of the year I hope we will be in full swing, finding a balance between day job, passions, motherhood and family life.

2011, lit the candle within me, it made my passions shine. The Frog like a guidance light showed me the way. My only hope for 2012 is that the flame grows and grows.

“You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.
As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” Steve Jobs 1955 - 2011.

Happy New Year xx

The big fat blog of the year...

January 2011
Was Kinda Uneventful.  We had moved into our house on Christmas Eve and Boyf was obsessed with building a safe house for our little bambino that was due in three months time. It was snowing. The house was in chaos. I was feeling more and more pregnant and getting more and more tired. I struggled with my pregnancy more than most. My memory of january is pretty pants.

The snow had started to melt, but the house remained in chaos. I became more and more stressed about not having an organised place to have a) a home birth and b) a newborn. Boyf promised tools down by the beginning of March. I was feeling worse and had to reduce my hours at work. I was swollen.. every bloody where!!

Along came a frog. On 25th March 2011, 5 days after finishing work our beautiful miracle was born. Our birth was amazing, our newborn was beautiful. My world was complete.
The first month. Wow thats tough, no? Zero sleep, constantly feeding. Trying to do everything. Nothing fits. and this little tiny, little thing, cries.....alot! To be honest, I didn't find it that hard, she fed brilliantly, she didn't sleep, but I was on such a high I didn't care. I loved my precious little bundle. I loved holding her, feeding her, kissing her. We bonded so well. Many funny poo moments, me learning to dress this screaming doll... the first time she opened her eyes, the first time she smiled.... yes April was a precious month.

A holiday to Cyprus when Frog was 9 weeks old. In hindsight it was really hard work, but we did it, it gave me massive confidence and it gave the three of us some time together as a family. Cyprus was a key moment in our journey and one which I am so grateful for. It was a beautiful holiday with very happy memories. We did it, us. Our little family.

Frog and I are getting to know each other more and more. While Boyf is at work, we are getting around going to baby groups and doing the family big shop. My memory of June is me... pushing the pram very fast.. almost running.. Being late for something or other.. I am trying really hard to live a wonderful and active life... and I am managing.. just. Life is good.. Frog is three month old and things are slowly getting easier.

Boyf and I go on a date. It is a success for us, but frog has a terrible time. I feel awful and vow not to go out again until she is 14! It is Frogs Christening. It's a fantastic day and she looks amazing, all of our friends and family are there and I get a bit tipsy. Everyone is happy. By the end of July, Frogs sleeping habbits are worse than ever.. I am very very sleep deprived.

Possibly the worst month of the year. Due to Frogs terrible sleeping habits I decide to wean her.. a mistake. I start with a bit of baby rice. She becomes a little constipated but nothing a little breast milk wont shift. Then at the end of august I stay with one of my friends for the weekend, I am drinking so I decide to give Frog a mix of expressed milk and formula. I end up drinking more than expected and as a result Frog has more formula then expected. This combined with the early weaning was all too much for the little boo and on 23rd Aug she was rushed to hospital with a blockage in her tummy. No words can describe the awful fear that passed through me. I am haunted forever by that day. it was awful.
Is a much better month! After the awfulness that was August we decide to get away in September and have a wet week in Wales. We go to Porthmadog for a week in a caravan. It rains every day. Its brilliant! the three of us all snuggled up each day, reading books, eating, playing with Frog. We have a fabulous week, its lovely. I slowly start trying to wean Frog again, but again she ends up in hospital. It was 24th Sept, one day before she is six months old. I look at it as a positive. I promise myself to return to exclusive breastfeeding and I am introduced to Baby Led Weaning. It's a revolution.

Its my birthday!!!! We plan to go out, but I don't really want to. After Frog being ill, I don't want to do anything other than hold her and feed her. So we stay in and get a take away, its perfect! October is quite tough, since returning to EBF frog is feeding every two hours, Im getting a bit too skinny and Im knackered. Everyone is pressuring me to feed her more solids / formula but I stick to my guns and I am right to. By the end of Oct she is secure and happy. She had Bowen treatment on her bowel which is amazing and she is like a different baby! I am introduced to the 'no cry sleep solution' It's bloody brilliant! Finally we start to sleep.

Its Boyf's birthday!!! Well on the 29th it is! We decide this time we are going to go out.. so I spend the month preparing. This is also a good test to see if I can express for when I return to work. I've always been rubbish at expressing, but this time I have to make it work. I get less that 1oz the first few times. There are 12 bags in the freezer and its only enough for one bottle. It's time to face the fact I'm not going to be able to breastfeed when I return to work. Anyway, boyf and I go out, we drink wine, we are home before midnight and we have an amazing time together. We are all so content. I'm not sure I could be happier!

I stop breastfeeding. I take this very hard, it has an effect on me physically and psychologically that I wasn't expecting. There are some good aspects to it. Frog is sleeping better, she appears happier, Boyf can feed her now and I can have a Christmas drink. But I miss it terribly, Im gutted, I feel very sad about the fact I stopped too soon, very sad indeed. Anyway... We have a wonderful Christmas together. Frog is amazing on Christmas day, she is wonderful. Boyf and I are skint, we buy each other very silly presents that make us both laugh and love each other even more. This Christmas means more than any other ever has. I feel incredibly blessed. I love my life. I love 2011.

P.S...... The house will get finished in 2012 ;-)

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Goodbye sweet nursing bra's... I miss you..

This is a very hard post for me to Publish. 

As anyone who knows me or reads my sh@t will know, I am very pro-breastfeeding. I hope to train as a breastfeeding councillor and to help people in the way in which, I was helped in the early days. So it fills me with sadness to say that on 1st Dec 2011 I officially stopped breastfeeding frog (although I have fed a few times since) That was the official stop date. :-( Frog is only 9 months old, I wanted her to have Mummys milk for 2 years, or at least 12 months, but our wonderful, special journey has come to an end. 
After trying to change jobs, trying different ways of expressing, working out every which way to manipulate my shifts it became clear that i wasn’t going to be able to keep feeding once I returned to work on 9th January. I wanted to give us both time to adapt and if I am being brutally honest there were some selfish reasons for me stopping too. I wanted (or thought I did) to be able to spend more than two hours away from frog without having to plan for it like a military operation, and shamefully I wanted to have a Christmas drink without having to worry about units, calculating hours, feelings of guilt in case alcohol is still in my system. Everyone else thought it was the right time, and so did I ... so I stopped, and now my milk has gone. 
So why do I feel so awful? Well, mostly it is for the frog, I really wanted her to have the best start for the longest time possible. Also for me, I feel all the emotions I expected to, regret, guilt, loss, failure, grief? I miss it.. I really miss feeding her! I miss the closeness we shared and the fact that ONLY I could have that with her, it was our bond, our thing. 
Maybe most of the feelings I have are caused by the hormonal changes within me. Very quickly your body let you know that things have.... changed. Frog misses it too, for the first two weeks, she head butted me constantly, threw her open mouth onto me as her signal that she wanted to nurse. She has stopped that now too.. she knows, that her milk now comes from Dr Brown, not Mama frog. 
I am very proud of our journey together, When I was pregnant I wasn’t even sure I would breastfeed, then when I had her, I aimed for 4 months. I almost gave up after 5 weeks and I honestly think that if I wasn’t going back to work we would still be going strong. We got to (almost) 9 months and had many problems along the way. I have learnt so much about this amazing nurturing skill. I am very grateful to the frog for giving me this fantastic experience, and I have nothing but fond memories of feeding my little girl. She is wonderful and so am I.
I will always be a strong supporter of breastfeeding Mama’s. I will always smile at the lonesome Mum trying to breastfeed in a coffee shop with a scarf in one hand, fidgeting baby in the other, I will always give a hug to the mother who says “she’s still every two hours’ or ‘I know she’s comfort feeding ..but..’ ... But also, after the last month, I will ALWAYS listen to the Mum who tries breastfeeding and stops for whatever reason, because breastfeeding isn’t easy, but stopping is very very hard. 
Goodbye sweet nursing bras. I will remember your awkwardness, your unsupportive style, and your unflattering designs, with nothing but fondness and love. 
Until next time... Goodbye xx

Monday, 26 December 2011

Best year of my life.... EVER!

In thirteen days my maternity leave comes to an end. I return to work, and life will return to 'normal'. Well our new normal.

When I left work on 17th March 2011, more than one person asked, "How long are you having off?"
"Nine months" I replied. And more than one woman said to me "Oh I couldn't wait to get back, it drove me insane, no adult conversation". I am not that woman.

I can honestly say that the last nine months have been the best of my life. I love my daughter like I never knew possible, and I feel closer to the boyf than I ever have. We have all slipped into our new roles brilliantly and I have enjoyed morphing into my new 'Mummy' role.

It hasn't all been a bed of roses, there have been many tears, one or two screaming fits, and more than once feelings of complete and utter failure, but on the whole...  When ever I look back over March - Dec 2011 ... it is all ... bloody brilliant.

This year has changed my life, not only because I have become a Mother, but because I have changed my outlook, my beliefs, my dreams, values and my world. I have been shook to the core and what has emerged is a person so different to the one I was before.

2011 was amazing, but what makes me so blinking excited is that I know.... I bloody know... that 2012 is going to be pretty awesome too.

Merry Christmas my lovely people, and a very very happy new year xx