What do you do without a vehicle (and it’s half term!)

When our faithful family fun bus (aka Ford Tourneo Transit) decided to die on us my heart sank.  5 days until the children finished school for Easter and there was no way I wanted to be without a car for half term!

Well we’ve now been without the fun bus for nearly 2 weeks, and I can tell you, it’s no fun.  With the horrible, cold, rainy weather over the Easter weekend it was fine to not be able to go out anywhere.  We managed a few walks to just get some fresh air, and no one was really bothered about doing anything more.  However now nearing the end of the first week of half term, I can tell you that I am really not loving the fact that we cannot all go out together.

There’s been a few trips with Mr H taking his van and me taking our Clio, but that still means that we have to leave someone (it’s always the oldest) at home.  Most of the time he wouldn’t have wanted to come with us anyway but we did have a few family meet ups and days out which we’ve had to cancel.  We’ve

Why is it when you don’t have the means to go out, you want to go out all the more?  I love being at home, as do the children, we’ve done crafts, built dens, had picnics, watched films and walked to the park but there are jobs that need to be done out of the house.

So today is Happy Thursday – according to Mr H – he woke up with a real spring in his step and decided that today we would clear out the garages, make lists and get rid of ‘stuff’.  I can honestly say that we wouldn’t have done that if we’d had the fun bus, so I guess there are some pluses to not being able to go out.   I’m not really sure what the fun bit is yet though, I seem to have just made more piles of ‘stuff’ which need sorting out!

I really hope that we have the bus back before the weekend, because I’m not sure I’m ready for a Happy Friday, Saturday and Sunday!!

What do you do when you can’t get out and about?

And Then There Were None – RIP Bob

This week Bob (the guinea pig) died.  I’ve not always been a big Bob fan as I felt he was a bit of a sex pest, but I was actually quite sad.

You see what I didn’t realise in my ‘oh yes lets put all our pigs together and have baby pigs’ moment was that as soon as the sow has given birth the male pig will get her again (when I say get her, you know I mean impregnate her).  Honestly, I don’t even have any words for this.

So me in my, oh the piggies can live happily every after altogether left Bob with Tabby (who became known as the Wonderpig) when the baby pigs had arrived, not knowing what he was doing.  Tabby then went on to have another two litters and Bob was banished to ‘Camp Boy’ and we had separate hutches.  Poor Tabby could be left alone.  Bob fathered 13 pigs!  Every time I looked at him I felt cross, which is totally ridiculous I know.

Slowly over the last few months our pigs have been moving on (dying) until Bob was the last pig standing.  Clearly he wasn’t very well as he’d lost a lot of weight and he looked lonely, even though he had two rabbits for company.  So I took pity on him and he moved indoors and he became King Pig.  He was four, which in pig terms is pretty good.

Last week when Spring appeared I decided that Bob should have some fresh air and moved him back outside.  That and he was incredibly smelly!  Mr H laughed and said that I had sent Bob outside to die and every morning I was so relieved to hear his squeak when I went outside.

However, on Monday there was no squeak and he was lying on the grass dying, but not dead.  What do you do?? I wrapped him in a towel and brought him indoors.  There was nothing I could do as I had to get the children to school so I put him in a shoe box snuggled up.  I’d always found the pigs dead, so this was unknown territory for me.  I kind of hoped by the time I got home, he would be dead.

I’m a complete sucker for animals, let’s not forget that Bob was an impulse buy along with the rabbit on the way home from my brother’s house.  On school run I’ve come home with a baby pheasant and a kitten, I’m sure they see me as a soft touch.

Thankfully when I got back from school run, Bob had moved to the hotel in the sky.  He had pushed his nose through the hole in the side of the shoe box and was holding on with his teeth.  Poor Bob!

In true child fashion, the children said “oh no poor Bob” and then asked what was for tea.  Clearly I’m more traumatised by having pets than them.

RIP Bob.

 

 

It’s A Snow Day

The Beast from the East has arrived and today has been a Snow Day!  I cannot tell you how happy this has made me (not just because there’s no school run) but because for years all Felix has wished for is snow.  He asks for it for his birthday and it’s always on his Christmas list.  I had even considered getting a snow blower just so I could make his wish come true!

Every time there was “talk” of snow he would get excited and then nothing appeared.  The last time we had enough snow to actually make a snowman he was a small baby, so he’d never actually seen proper snow.  I bought a sledge two years ago, just in case, and it’s sat in the shed waiting to be used.

The squeals this morning were brilliant, and he was out in the garden with the others early (the early when 9 o’clock feels like tea time!).  He spent hours outside and all I could see was happy smiley faces.  It was absolutely freezing, -4 in fact, and they all just kept playing.

I bailed quite quickly because I have to be honest I’m not a big fan of the white stuff.  I hate being cold and the glare from the snow plays havoc with my eyes.  I end up with pink vision and a blinding headache so in fact I am the Snow Grinch!  Thank goodness that Mr H is a complete child and he was up, dressed (with his Christmas socks on!) and out before the children.  I’m sure if I told him it was Christmas dinner for tea his life would have been complete!

The best things about a Snow Day.

  • Everyone/Everything Stop – you can’t go out, you have to stay at home and relax.
  • The Novelty Factor – The fact we probably won’t get snow for another 5 years makes it even more exciting.
  • Children At Home (not ill) – It’s the weekend, but on a weekday and no one is ill.  The downside is, for the rest of the week you’ll have no idea what day it is!
  • Hot Chocolate tastes so much better when you come in from the snow – snuggling in a blanket, by the fire, watching a film eating popcorn (picture perfect!).  The reality is probably lots of moaning about feeling cold and wet.
  • Doesn’t it look pretty – you suddenly have a new appreciation for the view.

The Worst Bits

  • Spending 20  minutes getting children ready to go outside (waterproofs, wellies, coats, scarf, gloves, hats) for them to go outside for 30 seconds and come back in wet and cold.  Repeated every hour all day.
  • The mess – the numerous amount of wet clothes and hats left all over the place and puddles of wet snow which no matter how many times you clear up, you still stand in.
  • It’s so cold – Obvious, but actually surprising when you go outside.
  • It’s exhausting – once you’ve played in the snow, got wet and come in again, what do you do next?
  • Suddenly you have no food – You realise that you can’t actually get to the supermarket and that you have no food.  Unless of course, you were prepared!!!!

Wherever you are, I hope you’ve had some of the white stuff and been able to get outside and embrace your inner child.  Tomorrow we will probably all be moaning about it, but for today, it’s great!

 

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Not That Fancy

Whilst I like to think of myself as quite trendy (does anyone even say trendy anymore!?) I like shopping and try to keep up to date with fashion, just lately I’ve just not been feeling it.  On a recent school run the children were singing and chatting (arguing and pushing) and they started singing ‘who am I’ (apparently it’s a real song!) and my daughter started to say who I was.

She’s 37, she has her hair tied up, she doesn’t wear make-up ( I do, but not regularly or enough for anyone to really notice) and then she said, and she’s not that fancy – WHAT? What on earth does that mean???? I asked her, and she just said the same, you’re not that fancy.

I’d be lying if I said that this didn’t bother me a bit.  I love the way children can be very black and white about things, and always think they say it as it is.  Well, that means that I’m not that fancy!  What does it mean to be fancy, is it the clothes? shoes? make-up? jewellery? car? Is it all about appearance?

I’m quite a ‘lazy’ person when it comes to make-up, if I have time or can be bothered then I’ll put some on but some days I don’t.  I wear clothes that are comfy, but I like to think not frumpy and quite on trend and if I’m going to be chasing after children then heels aren’t really my first choice!  When I do get dressed up and put on make-up, it makes me feel really lovely and is always noticed, but realistically, I couldn’t do that every day.

Today  I met a dear friend for a long overdue cuppa and catch up.  I’ve know her since my pre-children days and we have children similar ages.  She always looks lovely and today was no different.  She had make-up on -but not loads, clothes right on trend – but not too young, and even though she has 4 children, looks well rested and fresh faced and is always cheery.  If she wasn’t so nice and my friend, I’m pretty sure I’d want to poke her eyes out.

It’s become a bit of a running joke between us, I’ve NEVER seen her in trainers or even flat shoes.  We are completely different people and on any other day, I wouldn’t bat an eyelid but today I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a little meltdown.   I know my body grew a PERSON just over 12 months ago (and 5 previous to that) and that’s amazing BUT you know I think it’s ok to be a bit body stress after having children, because sometimes that the actual reality.

When I left my friend, obviously I went a bought a new jumper, because that’s going to make everything better, and phoned Mr H.  God love him, he is marvellous and did try to say the right things but it doesn’t really matter if you don’t feel it.

So I now have the motivation (after a mini meltdown in Lidl) to completely cull my wardrobe, which is long overdue anyway as I do have an obscene amount of clothes (half of which I’m sure don’t even fit).  I’m going to fall in love all over again with my new mamma body.  I don’t want to be fancy, just happy with what I’ve got!

 

Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP) – Don’t Ignore Itching!

I’ve been very luck with all my pregnancies, they’ve all been text book with no major issues and although I don’t especially enjoy being pregnant, I’ve never really had anything to complain about.

My last pregnancy was probably the most enjoyable of them all.   I had an anterior placenta (when the placenta is attached to the front wall of the uterus, or womb, rather than the more usual position on the back wall nearest the spine) which meant that I didn’t feel as much movement from the baby, and would often go all day without feeling one movement.  but I soon realised what was ‘normal’ movement for this baby.   I didn’t crave sweet things (which I had with the other pregnancies) and was eating a lot less than pre-pregnancy.

I’d just reached 32 weeks when I had the most unbearable itching, during the night, mainly on my legs and hands and I couldn’t sleep.  It felt like my skin was alive, I was literally scratching myself silly.   It would become more bearable during the day and I began to question whether or not I was in fact going mad (that’s not unusual during pregnancy!)  It became so bad that I had taken some Piraton to try and ease it and the next morning when I called to check with my Midwife that it was safe.  The Midwife wanted to take some bloods and also monitor the baby’s movement as it had decreased.  By the end of the day I had been diagnosed with Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy –   which until then, I’d never heard of.

ICP is a liver disorder unique to pregnancy and is also known as Obstetric Cholestasis (OC).  Normally bile acids flow from  your liver to your gut to help you digest your food.  In ICP bile acids don’t flow properly and build up in your body instead.  There is no cure, but should disappear once your baby is born.   It affects 1 in 140 pregnant women in the UK,  I’m not lucky enough to win anything but apparently I am lucky enough to get this!

Although the symptoms of ICP were frustrating for me, especially the itching, they were essentially harmless.  However for the baby the main complication with ICP is stillbirth.  It’s not actually known why but is thought to be because of the increased bile acids.  I had blood tests twice a week to test my liver function and measure bile acids, scans to check the baby and monitoring of the movements.  I was given Vitamin K supplements (because ICP can affect your absorbtion of Vitamin K which is important for blood clotting) medication to reduce the bile acids and aqueous cream with menthol to ease the itching.

I had completely lost my appetite and had actually started to lose weight instead of putting it on (I would’ve seen this as a plus, if I wasn’t growing a baby!) I wasn’t ill as such, I just felt a bit unwell but more than that, there was the worry of whether I would actually get this baby here safely.  At every scan or appointment I would just think “the baby is ok right now, let’s deliver now, just in case”.

As soon as I reached 37 weeks  (the baby would be considered full term) I was induced as this was the safest option for the baby.  I had to be in hospital with an IV and constantly monitored.  I had a liver scan to check that no permanent damage had been done, which it hadn’t and would need no further treatment once I’d had the baby.

The birth was fast and uncomplicated but afterwards my mini man was taken to the NICU because of breathing complications, which was to be expected as he was premature.  I haemorrhaged and needed surgery.

The itching did continue for a few weeks, but nothing like what I had experienced when pregnant.  Six weeks after birth I had my bloods rechecked and my liver function was back up and rolling.

Once you’ve had ICP there’s a high chance of getting it again in subsequent pregnancies (between 60-90%) although it’s thought not to be so severe as the first time.  Research has shown that with medication, monitoring, blood tests and induction pregnancy with ICP carries no higher risk than a non-ICP pregnancy.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has more information about obstetric cholestasis, including what it means for you and your baby, and the treatment that’s available. You can also get information from the British Liver Trust.

The charity ICP Support provides information about ICP. You can also watch their video about ICP (OC) featuring mums and clinical experts.

Do Not Ignore The Itching!

 

 

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

 

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.

 

My Baby Is One!

I’ve been in denial about Milo turning one for the last few weeks, but at the weekend the day arrived and I couldn’t ignore it anymore.  My baby is one!

Over the last seven days he has changed dramatically, taking his first steps, learning to climb on to the sofa and even managed to climb onto the table!  He is growing and changing every day, right before my eyes.   It’s a huge milestone to reach and I know everyone says it, but where has it gone?!?

I spent the day saying “this time last year…” and replayed the whole day over and over again.  I feel amazed that the year has gone so fast, happy that he is healthy and happy, proud and equally sad that he is already one, it really was quite an emotional day for me.

Needless to say that he (unsurprisingly) had absolutely no idea what was going on!  The children were so excited, there were balloons, party hats and banners everywhere.  To be honest, it was as much for the others as it was for him.  He needed help to open his presents and there was no short supply of willing siblings!

 

 

We decided to have a go at the popular “cake smash”.  Now anyone who knows me well, will know that I am not a great fan of any kind of food mess.  I find feeding Milo enough so the thought of letting him lose with a whole cake did make me a bit panicky.  However in the spirit of “yeah I’m chilled” I thought, well he will only be one once!

So, we put down a table cloth on the kitchen floor, put on his party hat and gave him his birthday cake.  I had made a simple Victoria Sponge and thinking that he’d never eaten much cake before I thought he would dive in.  Nope, he crawled straight past it!

He looked at it, took a finger lick of icing and wasn’t interested.

 

 

I thought maybe if he was in his highchair, he’d understand that the cake was to eat, but nope again not interested.

 

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Considering that he only ate a small piece of the icing, he still managed to get it in his hair and ears.

The whole day was in fact a bit overwhelming for him and his big (little) brother

 

 

So now, Milo is one heading fast to toddlerville.  I plan on grabbing and enjoying every single minute of the adventure that is my baby before he’s off to school!

Have you tried the cake smash and was it more successful for you?