What A Difference 5 Make!

There’s a huge difference between the mum I was with my 1st baby and the mum I am with my 6th.  I hadn’t even held a baby until I held my own and to be honest I had absolutely no idea what I was doing!

It’s a learning on the job type of gig and a quick one at that and now I have 6 babies I have grown in confidence and some days actually think I have some idea of what I’m doing.  Equally other days, absolutely no idea!

Obviously it’s different every time you add a child into your family, and your triumphs/hiccups will change the way you are with the next one as well as circumstances.

A few differences from the 1st to the 6th:-

  • Designer clothes – Sleepsuits for at least the first 3 months

Unless you’re lucky enough to be given things for your 1st baby then you will have to buy them.  First size outfits with shirts and trousers, jackets and cashmere jumpers (that will shrink after the first wash, which will be 30 seconds after you’ve put it on!).  Sleepsuits are the way forward  (and surely more comfortable) and look great with a cardigan or jumper over the top.  Keeping my baby in sleepsuits somehow made the baby days longer, nothing ages a baby more than jeans!

  • Shoes immediately – Not before they’re actually needed

Baby shoes are the cutest thing ever, so why would you not want to buy several pairs!?!  They actually serve no practical purpose and quite quickly become a complete pain when they are kicked off every 30 seconds.

  • Regular nap times – Naps on the move

Once you have more than one child, life is never going to be quite the same again.  You will have a routine of playgroups, mother & toddler groups, music groups and life which will mean that subsequent children will just get dragged around wherever, whenever and will sleep on the move.

  • Playgroups – Friends houses for tea.

Once you’re a mum you will move in different circles and your social life will become the groups you go to.  Once you have met your mum friends you skip the groups and have cuppas at each others houses, once you all have 2 or 3 children you have your own group!

  • Everything is New – Ebay is your best friend.

I never even considered buying second hand for my 1st baby, but today Ebay is my new best-friend.  I wouldn’t have been able to feed my love of buggy’s if not for the bargains on-line!

  • Everything is sterilised to within an inch of it’s life – 5 second rule

The fear of passing germs onto your baby makes you sterilise everything even if you so much as sneeze in the same room as it.  Compared to living life according to the 5 second rule.  A dummy falls on the floor, you pop it in your mouth and give it back to your baby.

  • Everything is washed and ironed – Just being clean is enough

Everything is washed before it’s worn, ironed and put away perfectly.  Compared to buying new clothes that have already been ironed so you don’t have to do it.  Clothes being clean and dry is a bonus.

  • Eager for the next stage – Enjoying the fact they can’t move

Won’t it be great when he can sit up, or crawl, or run!  Always eager for the next stage of development.  Compared to relishing the fact that they stay where you put them and they don’t move, these stages are so short lived and should be treasured before they’re gone.

  • 24 weeks, 3 days and 10 hours pregnant – How many weeks?

From knowing exactly how many hours pregnant you are to having such a busy life you have to think and sometimes even check how many weeks you are.

 

Midwife and Life

 

What’s Your Magic Number?

17 years ago today I married my best friend, my ‘person’ and the father of my future children in the amazing Florida sun.  We had the most amazing 2 weeks and it was when we decided that we wanted to start a family.  I can remember as we were getting on the monorail at Epcot saying “I’d really like to have a baby” and my new Mr H saying “OK!”.

We never discussed how many we were going to have and 1, 2 and 3 followed in quick succession and we had 3 children under 5.  I was never going to have 3 children, as I always felt that someone would be left out which lead to our 4th child.  My desire to have “just one more” was still there and my favourite line of “you’ll never regret having one, but you would regret not having one” swayed our 5th.

I’m a great believer in things happening for a reason, even if it’s difficult to see that reason at the time.  I didn’t want to look back in 10 years and say “I wish we had had another child”.  For a short while, I felt that maybe our family was complete, but then the desire for another came back stronger than ever.  Life threw a few curved balls our way which only heightened my want for another eventually giving us our 6th.

I don’t especially enjoy being pregnant and although our 6th wasn’t text book (like the others) it was the most enjoyable pregnancy I had, feeling content and some days forgetting I was even pregnant!  I love giving birth (crazy I know) but for me life doesn’t get more real and magical than that moment.

After the birth of our 6th baby, because of complications, I felt confident that our family was complete.  However, over the last few months that feeling of “just one more” has reared it’s head, and really once you have 6 children, what is one more?

It’s difficult to tell yourself that your family is complete when you’re not so sure.  I believe it’s a decision that you need to come to by yourself, no one can tell you you’re done (unless medically the decision is taken away).  I know that we are incredibly blessed to have the most amazing family and it seems very selfish to want more and in some ways wouldn’t it be nice to have a switch that you could turn off!  For me, being a mum is everything, and what I’m meant to do.

Whatever the future has in store for us, whether our family is complete or not, who knows?!? – I’m pretty sure Mr H would say we’re done, although he’s been saying that since 2!  Life, right now is great, and for that I have the man who has stood beside me through the best and worst times of my life to thank.  I am rich in so many ways and when my time comes, there will be no regrets!

Am I the only crazy in the village who will always want just one more?!

 

 

Midwife and Life

 

Bird Feeder Cookies

As the weather gets colder we find ourselves spending more time indoors and that can lead to full-blown bouncing off the walls cabin fever.  So at this time of year I like to have some quick and easy crafts to do, like these bird feeder cookies.  They’re child (and Mum) friendly, inexpensive, not too messy and really great for the birds – a parenting win!

You’ll Need:-

  • 3/4 cup of small birdseed
  • 1 packet of gelatin
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • Cookie cutters
  • Baking paper
  • String

Method:-

  • Bring water to the boil over a medium heat and add packet of gelatin;
  • Stir until dissolved (1-2 mins) then take off the heat and leave for 5 mins;
  • Add bird seed and mix well;
  • Place the cookie cutters on the baking paper and fill with the bird seed mix.  Push down to make sure they hold firm;
  • Stick a straw in the top of each cookie cutter to create a hole;
  • Leave to set overnight;
  • Carefully push the bird seed cookies out of the cutters and thread string through the hole at the top and tie with a loop;
  • Hang on a tree/branch outside!

By hanging the cookies near a window you can do a little bit of bird watching, count how many birds you spot and what types you have in your garden – All whilst having a cup of tea in the warm!!!

 

 

Midwife and Life

 

The Bedtime Battle

Now the festivities are over and the children are back to school it also means back to routine.  We are all finding it hard to go to bed and get up earlier than we have been over the last couple of weeks.  There’s been a lot of faffing around once they’ve gone to bed and thinking that’s the perfect time to tidy their room, ask really important questions, want some food, need the toilet or a decide they need a new night light!

I thought this would be a good time to revisit the Hurr House Bedtime Routine and remind the children how it should go.  I say should because just lately it’s been a bit hit and miss which is no fun for anyone.

Hurr House Bedtime

  • No electrical items after tea and when you go to bed they are to be put on the kitchen table.
  • When it’s your bedtime you will have half an hour in your room to faff around.  This is for reading, writing, colouring etc nothing electrical or loud.  This is a chance to wind down, switch off and relax ready to catch some zzzzz’s!
  • After your half an hour it’s (time for a book with Mum or Dad – younger children) then lights out.
  • If you are found faffing around after this then you will lose time off the next nights bedtime.  You will only get one warning.  Persistent faffing will result in a 6 o’clock bedtime (yes I have really done this!)
  • You need to have brushed your teeth and had a tiddle before lights out NOT after.

We’ve always had staggered bedtimes and that’s always worked really well for us.   Generally we have a house of good sleepers.

Felix (5) – Bedroom at 6.30, lights out at 7.00

Neve (8) – Bedroom 7.15 lights out at 7.45

Gracie (11) -Bed at 8.00 lights out at 8.30

Poppy (13) – Bed at 8.30 lights out at 9.00

We’re not so strict at the weekend or in the holidays but during the school week it’s important we have a routine because everyone gets so tired.  It’s really important that the children sleep because it has such a negative impact when they’re overtired.

How does bedtime look in your house?

 

DAD TALK – January, Here I Come!

I was really looking forward to Christmas this year, it really seemed to creep up on us quickly although we were as prepared as we have ever been. It felt different, calm relaxed almost peaceful.

It started well with my first park run on the Saturday before although being my first run in a crowd for a long while and I spent the night before quite anxious about seeing people again after a while. It appears any anxiety was unfounded and it was just that needless worries.

Christmas Eve was the same a very relaxed day and a few trips out and last minute preparations and we were good to go. Santa had checked the area for squeaky floor boards and hidden hazards, children were in bed and as far as we could tell asleep, so I decided to take my medication one being sleep inducing and then disaster struck footsteps, talking 3 awake😩. Children were resettled but unfortunately not sufficiently enough for Santa to come and said medication was taking effect. I was trying to fight it but in the end I don’t remember it happening but I was fast asleep. I awoke in a panic, what time was it? were children awake? had Santa been? luckily on this occasion I believe Mrs Claus had stepped in and saved the day, PHEW!

Now normally we have so many presents under the tree being a family of 8 that we decided to try and manage it this year with just stockings and one main present, and friends and family bought experiences such as horse riding lessons etc. We ourselves went down the electrical item route, although I don’t agree in using it as a babysitter it does have some really good points. The children love using audible and the family ability on the iCloud is superb so that they can access everybody’s music and film. They also have some excellent teaching apps that they find fun and imformative and with the right restrictions I have no problem with it. After all it really is a different world now! So when we came downstairs at a respectable 6-15 (happy with that) the tree was full but not overflowing with boundless plastic items and hoards of unnecessary items to add to the already overflowing playroom. We still had the game of catch up for thank you notes, now who was that from, did you read the label, and that’s lovely.

Christmas Day lunch was lovely and even better as we didn’t have to lift a finger, glorious! Also the obligatory Boxing Day Hare and Hounds run through countless streams, bogs, forest and the dreaded Horsford drewary whilst this year dressed as Bertie Bassett all in the name of charity. Although didn’t feel very charitable when our navigator, who shall remain nameless, got us lost in the woods adding an extra 2 1/2 miles on to the already tortuous run. Then with family games (although losing my Monopoly crown to the new property mogul 8 year old Neve) woodland wet boggy walks and forthcoming visits to and from family the week flew by. Probably our most relaxed enjoyable Christmas ever, I think it may have to do with not having the mass of expectations on having the perfect day it all just flowed from one day to the next.

New Year’s Eve we have our own tradition of playing lots of games a buffet tea and we wrap up prizes so each child gets a couple of gifts. We thought about taping fireworks on the early news and putting clocks forward (tricksy parenting) but as it was everyone was in bed by 10, Happy New Year!

As you will know from previous blogs I am suffering from a bit of depression due to a back injury and although my back is no closer to being resolved my resolutions involved my mental health. I’m still finding it really hard in the mornings so my resolutions are to have my alarm for 6.30 ( the Harry Potter alarm clock I got for Christmas #iknow will come in handy here). We have a mile loop around our house which I will run giving me motivation and wellbeing. This will also knock onto showering and breakfast and ready for work by 7:30 it’s a win win. So hopefully 2018 will see my back resolved, medication not needed, running back to normal, excess weight lost but most important I will get back to being myself.

Happy New Year, all the best for 2018!

New Year Goals

Christmas is gone, the tree is down and there is a whole new year ahead of us.  January is full of hope, opportunity and excitement.  2017 has been kind to me in so many ways but equally it has been a very testing year physically and emotionally.  I will say goodbye and breathe a sigh of relief that the year is finished.  What will 2018 bring?  I have absolutely no idea!

Every year since I can remember I have set myself goals on New Year’s Eve, and this year is no different.  So here they are, I’ve tried to be realistic and not set the bar too high!

 

No Spend January

This is something I’ve done for the last few years.  I don’t buy anything in January unless it is absolutely necessary – that includes going into the sales!!

 

Writing in a Journal

I’d had my eye of Fearne Cotton’s Happy Journal for a while and I was lucky enough to get it for Christmas.  I’m so excited to get started on it, I’ve even bought a new pen (stationery Nerd!)  A chance to write joy into everyday and let go of perfect.

 

Declutter

Although we had a massive clear out when we moved house 10 months ago the house needs a blinking good sort out.  Each room feels muddled and there are piles of ‘things’ everywhere!

 

Look After Myself

You cannot pour from an empty kettle.  Enough said!

 

Healthy Eating

Be more conscious of what I and we are eating as a family.  I don’t like to say the word diet, but……..

 

To Wear Everything In My Wardrobe Atleast Once

I have a ridiculous amount of clothes yet always manage to wear the same few outfits.  Wear it or lose it!

 

To Wear Lipstick

I don’t mean a bright red one!  My Nanny always said you can change your mood by putting on a lipstick, so this one’s for her.

 

Be Grateful

A mushy one – Be grateful for everything I have, everyday even when life is difficult.

 

Happy 2018 to you all and a massive thank you for following me and my ramblings x

 

Larger Family Christmas

The things I love most about Christmas are food, family/friends and of course presents!  It’s a time for magic on the most spectacular scale with people coming together and showing impressive acts of kindness and love.

Having a larger family makes the festive season even better, and here are my top 5 reasons:-

We have a ready made party, without having to invite anyone round!

With a family of 8 every occasion/birthday is a party.  Put up some balloons, party poppers and banners and da da da you have a party right there.  You don’t have to worry about asking anyone else, and at times (let’s be honest) you don’t want to have to ‘entertain’ other people but if you do, it’s not long before you’re into double figures – the more the merrier!

 

Want To Play A Game?

Christmas is the board game and Let’s Dance season in our house and there is always someone who wants to play.  There doesn’t need to be any compulsory Mum and Dad playing (although Mr H doesn’t need to be asked twice and is a Let’s Dance Ninja!) as there’s enough children to play.  One year we a had Sing Star competition, it’s surprising how competitive you can get against your own children (and husband!).

 

Soooo Many Presents

No, not all for me, in fact very few of them are for me or Mr H but combined the family present count is HUGE.  8 people, an average of 7 presents each = 56 presents under the tree, and I can tell you that looks pretty special.

 

There Is Always Food

We have a huge number of buffets over the festive period and it’s always an impressive spread.  These are my favourite mealtimes, we have proper party food where cheese and pineapple on a stick are compulsory.  Whether it’s leftovers, food specially prepared, a present we’ve been given or snuffled food from Nanny’s house we have food galore.  There’s always someone willing to prepare it (put it on a plate) and eat it!  Chances are with 6 children, someone will always be hungry.

 

We’re All Believers

For the past 15 years there’s always been a tiny person in our house, so there is always Christmas magic by the bucket full.  For the ones who have reached ‘that age’ they keep the magic alive for the younger ones and join in with all the fun.

 

Christmas Is Coming!

December is upon us and we are officially in the Festive Season.  It is now acceptable to eat and drink ridiculous amounts of sweets, mince pies, shortbread and mulled wine each and every day whilst eating chocolate for breakfast – what’s not to love?!?

We headed to Blicking Hall in Norfolk where the house and gardens have been lit up with thousands of lights for Christmas.  I have to be honest, although it’s December I haven’t been feeling as “festive” as I wanted to but this has kicked it off BIG TIME!!!

It was busy and we had to wait to get into the carpark but it was well worth it.   The house was colourfully lit up and there were small Christmas Trees all the way down the driveway.  The gardens and courtyard were a sea of lights and there were Christmas songs playing, it would have been rude not to sing along!

All the lights led on from each other naturally taking you around the gardens into the walled gardens and back to the front of the house.  There were Venison Burgers, Mulled Wine, Soup and Hot drinks available at several pop-up cafes along the way as well as the main restaurant being open.

 

The children loved finding all of Father Christmas’ reindeers that were all around the gardens and we’re even going to try and have a go at building our own at home!

There was a real air of Christmas Magic and it has really kick started our Christmas.  No children were lost, minimal tantrums and no injuries, so I think that’s a successful trip.

If you live nearby it’s really worth a visit.  Christmas at Blickling is open until 10th December, 11am-6pm and if you’re a member of the National Trust, it’s FREE!

 

DAD TALK – Light At The End Of The Tunnel

As I write this I’m lying in bed in my work clothes pain shooting down my back and my mind has won another battle,  I don’t know what I expected, a magic cure perhaps. Take the tablets and I’ll Be all Sister Maria twirling and singing on a mountain top?

Well unfortunately for me days like today still happen.  The lack of sleep, the constant pressures from the outside world as well as the expectation from within myself, the pain in my back and it feels like a weakness to mentally give in and hide in bed.  I’ve learnt that isn’t what it is, at some point a little kink of light will show I’ll get up I’ll deal with the day and I’ll know I am recovering.

The trouble is people cannot physically see anything and I have to admit you feel like a fraud, oh yes multiple fractures in my spine and the small matter of depression , oh poor you and then the embarrassment factor as you notice people shut down ‘ NUT JOB’.  No please don’t skirt over it, talk to me about it, I’m not ashamed and talking actually helps would you believe, and quite the contrary I’m still the same person and yes, ok maybe a little nut job, but aren’t we all? Bad days will happen but they’re not bad weeks or months anymore.

Luckily  I have some amazing clients who put up with my erratic nature and are just about allowing me to keep the business going, the Doctors is on speed dial although unless you go through triage at 8 am in the morning ‘the next available appointment is 10.50 on the 25th of February’  could you make it? Yep we’ve all been there, pull your hair out as you think A: hope not to be ill then and B: who blinking well knows it’s two months away! As you say, “oh that sounds great”.

I have some amazing friends who have offered lots of support and I’m sad to say I perhaps haven’t taken advantage of there generosity and kindness, instead I have pushed people away. I can’t explain why but I guess I just didn’t want to wear the mask of pretence it’s exhausting but as I have been dealing with it I realise it’s ok to just be who you are that day and to lean on people. It’s the simple things like receiving a text ‘fancy a run’ and although I say no more than yes when you’re out there pounding the pavement in the fresh air with nature around you, having someone converse with you or just listening to you ramble that support is worth the world. So thank you all, please keep persisting.

Mrs H is an absolute rock as are our six children, they all deserve so much credit as I’m well aware it really hasn’t been easy.  I had a pretence that I’ve been using to keep home, happy, light and fun but when I hit the bottom it became quite hard and for a while I just lost all interaction any responsibility around the home, I was almost a ghost.  They accommodated me understood what I needed and allowed me the time to be, I cannot underestimate the strength and love that it took for Mrs Hurr to see me so low yet not allow it to take her down, everyone participated in the running of the house, they all seemed to accept an unsaid word and realised it was time to pitch in as a family unit.

It isn’t all roses and perfect families we are just perfectly imperfect, we do have two teenagers who are finding their feet in the world and with each other and normality resumes most days as they can’t bare the site of each other, children who get undressed and throw clothes and toys where they happen to be standing at that moment, we hear I’m hungry, he hit me she’s been in my room a thousand times a day, thank god for anti depressants I’m as cool as cucumber now, ha ha!

I cannot communicate how proud I am as a husband and a father of my beautiful family.

Last  night whilst preparing Felix for bed I got one of the most rewarding joyful moments  he merely asked “are you coming to watch the school play Dad”  to which I replied “I wouldn’t miss it for the world ‘ he then said “I don’t want you to” to which my heart sank but persevered “don’t want me to what” to which he replied get ready #joyfulmoment “I don’t want you to miss it you are the best dad in the world” tears stream, big hug and kiss super proud emotional wreck of a Dad .

Bring on Christmas and all the joy that come with it.

#lightattheendoftheday

#mentalhealthawareness

There Is Always Time

Having six children people often ask (amongst other things) “how do you have time for them all?”  I am, obviously, only one person and even with Mr H we still have a ratio of 1:3.  There are however an amazing number of opportunities for some quality 1:1 time with each of the children on a daily/weekly basis.

  • An evening trip to the supermarket is one of my favourites and this usually sparks an argument about who gets to come (they keep track of whose turn it is now!)  It usually involves a cheeky McDonalds or Costa or a treat from the supermarket.
  • After dark dog walks – children will talk much more about things when they are walking than if they were in the car.  It’s a great way to find out about their day and walk the dog at the same time.
  • Most evenings we get the munchies and quite often it ends in a bit of cooking.  It’s calm as there’s no pressure on how quickly things need to be ready, perfect!  Don’t forget it’s a great life skill too along with increasing confidence and independence – a parenting win, I think!
  • A trip to see Nanny and Grandad (or a friend) means that not only do they have you all to themselves but also all the fuss from grandparents.
  • Football training/swimming lessons – obviously we don’t all venture out to these (unless we have to).  Me and Mr H try to share this (Mr H does more though) and obviously it will involve getting some food on the way home!
  • Bedtime story – Every night we read to the children and we take it in turns to put the younger ones to bed so they get Mum and Dad.
  • Late night films at home or at the cinema.  It’s not very easy for us to get a babysitter so quite often Mr H will take one of the older children to the cinema if there’s a film they want to watch.
  • Folding the washing, watching EastEnders, gardening, cleaning out the pigs the list is endless.

There are hundreds of every day moments where you can grab time with the children which we often overlook.  Day-to-day life can be hectic and sometimes you find yourself going through the motions and letting these moments pass.  All our children have completely different personalities and need different things from us as parents, especially as they get older.  It’s vital to us that we spend time with each of them on their own as well as all of them together.