Back To School Resolutions

The summer holidays are well and truly over and normal business is resumed. Every new school year I promise myself I’ll be more organised and be a better mum so this year I decided to make some resolutions.

Like resolutions I’ve made in the past, I’m not sure they’ll last but it’s the thought that counts isn’t it?!

-Laugh more
-Shout less
-Tell them I’m proud
-Give an extra kiss
-Read more books together
-Try to say “yes” instead of “in a minute” more-Meal plan
-Accept that families argue
-Stress less
-Try and drink hot tea
-Be thankful
-Use my expensive make up
-Eat less
-Move more
-Bed hair, don’t care
-Don’t fuss about untidiness
-Spend time snuggled in blankets watching the stars
-Embrace the sand instead of sitting on the stones
-Get uniform out the night before
-Be the mum that rocks!

My Lucky #6

This little fella amazes me, I know every mother thinks and says the same of their baby but seriously, he does!  He is the baby I never thought I’d have after a devestating ectopic pregnancy, and who I  look at everday and am so grateful he is here and healthy.

My pregnancy, like all the others was text book.  I suffered morning sickness for months and never really felt the “glow” but actually out of all my pregnancies this was the most enjoyable.  The days and week flew by and some days we were so busy I almost forgot I was pregnant.   I didn’t have a huge bump and actually enjoyed being pregnant for the first time.

With all my other pregnancies I reached the lovely stage of eating everything, especially anything sweet but with #6, nope I couldn’t eat anything sweet and actually towards the end of the pregnancy I was actually losing weight because I had lost all appetite.

At 32 weeks I was diagnosed with Obstetric Cholestasis (ICP).  Normally, bile acids flow from your liver to your gut to help you digest food.   In ICP, the bile acids don’t flow properly and build up in your body instead.  This put me at a high risk for stillbirth, premature labour and turning yellow!  I also had too much fluid around the baby (Polyhydramnios) which put me at a higher risk of premature labour and a prolapsed umbilical cord.  I was put on medication, vitamin K tablets and cream to ease the itching, had blood tests and monitoring twice a week for the next 4 weeks and was then induced.   The labour was quick (35 mins) just like with the others but unfortunately the placenta didn’t come away and I haemorrhaged, losing just under 2 litres of blood.  I was rushed into surgery and unbeknown to me Milo was taken to NICU because he was having trouble breathing.  I didn’t see or hold him until the following day.

We had the most amazing midwife who took photos of those first precious moments that I missed and I’ll be eternally grateful to her for that – and for the liquid morphine!

Obviously this wasn’t something we had thought was going to happen as all my other labours were quick, straightforward and we were straight home again.  Both me and Milo were very lucky to be alive.  For the next 9 weeks Mr H looked after me and all our 6 children, he was amazing.  I never thought that I could love him anymore, but honestly he was my superman (sorry, a bit gooey).

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Milo was small and fragile and over the following weeks he developed chest, throat and lung infections one after another, and we were back and forth to the hospital.   But today, he is a healthy, happy and unbelievably loved little man; I cannot put into words how much he is loved by his older brothers and sisters.  Seeing the way they are with him really is the most amazing reward as a mother.

My liver has returned to normal and my blood levels are slowly improving.

So you see, Milo really is my lucky #6 .  When I look at him not only do I see a gorgeous baby boy (who I was convinced was a girl all through the pregnancy) who I am so grateful is here and healthy.  But I also feel unbelievable pride in how my older children adore him, I feel an overwhelming love for the most amazing man who really was the glue who held us all together, my superman, and I am reminded that I am incredibly lucky to be here.

 

 

 

Holiday Packing for 8

We’re heading off on our holiday this week and I have to be honest, I haven’t actually started packing yet.  Since the start of the summer holidays I’ve been saying the same thing “I’ll start tomorrow” but it just hasn’t happened.  A bit like the ironing board that has been up in the utility room for weeks waiting for me to do some ironing; I’m not an ironer and things tend to disappear into the basket and when I do get around to ironing them, the children have usually grown out of them.

In my head I have lists of things that I need to buy and pack and I think that makes me feel organised, although I’m not sure how!?!  The older children can pack their own things and I make a list for the younger ones with what they need and they make piles.  I then check through and pack with them so they feel that they are helping.

Children are wonderfully helpful with packing, the suitcases come out and random things begin to pile in; 30 books, toys that they haven’t played with in months but just can’t live without, ornaments from their bedroom, 15 giant teddies, all the useful things they think they are going to need!  No clothes or underwear just a suitcase full of toys, so I usually pack whilst they are at school.   I think that’s why I’m not very organised because it’s the holidays!

Lets be honest, what do we really need?  We’re going to Menorca, not the other side of the world, we will be able to buy things at the local supermarket if we’ve not got them.  It’s really only things for Milo that I am worrying about; baby milk, sterilising tablets, nappies and wipes.  I probably don’t even need to take these, but for my peace of mind, I am.  His skin is very sensitive and he’s had bad reactions to different nappies and wipes so I don’t want to chance it.

I’m also taking one of the powdered baby food boxes, because a hungry baby is an unhappy baby, just add boiling water and job done, it weighs nothing and takes up no room! There also the pop-up play area, sun protective swim suits, swimming nappies, baby sun lotion, the list goes on (can you see why I haven’t packed yet?!)

I bought colouring and activity books for the flight to keep the children occupied and they got them out of their bags and have already started doing them, so I think last minute packing the day before is the way forward.  Mr H will do his usual pack the night before, minimum things in the tiniest bag we have (I really don’t know how he does it) and if I’m lucky I’ll remember a few things for myself.   What we haven’t got we will undoubtedly buy for 5 times the price we would pay at home but we will be on HOLIDAY!

Does anyone else feel the thought of going away is so much nicer than the reality?

 

The Joy of A Teenager

Teenager – A child aged between 13-19 (basically a number ending in “teen”)  that’s the definition, but what it doesn’t say is how joyful a teenager can be to be around.  We’re warned about the terrible 2’s, it’s almost as if a switch is flicked when it starts but no one tells you about the fiesty 5’s, hormonal 8’s and obstinate 10’s and I don’t know where to start with teenagers and we’re lucky to have 2 in our house!

In a lot of ways, it’s great; they can make you a cup of tea, even cook a meal, help around the house, are great company and independent.  The flip side; they live in their room and only come out for food, they leave cups and plates in random places with food to fester away on, they normally have a phone permanently fixed to their hands, they communicate in grunts and groans or texts and they never want to come out with you anymore.  The last one is probably the one I struggle with the most.  Although dragging a grumpy teenager along is no fun for anyone, I have to be honest, I have done it!

But fear not, I have discovered the secret to getting your teenager to come out with you; FOOD.  The amount of food that a teenager can consume is ridiculous.  I’m talking finishing dinner and pudding and then half an hour later hungry again, always in the pantry looking for food and eating twice as much as a grown adult.

I cannot tell you the number of sighs and groans I get when we say we’re going out but today, on the promise of fish and chips and ice cream at the coast we all headed out of the door happy.

 

I’m pretty confident that food is not going to get my teenagers out of the door all the time, but I’ll take it as a win whilst it does.

And just in case you wondered, the best thing about having teenagers is they SLEEP, lots!

Half Way

So here we are at the half way point of the holidays! Does anyone else feel it’s going too fast?

I think as a parent, when you have children at school you feel a pressure to make the most of the holidays and “do things” and we have certainly been “doing” things! Just last week alone we played crazy golf, went to the cinema, bounced at High Altitude, went to the zoo, walked at Blickling and Felbrigg Hall, park ran, went to the dinosaur park and even managed a couple of BBQ’s. I have to be honest – I’m exhausted!

Now I’m not complaining, and it’s nice to do all these things because before we know it we are going to be back to school runs, packed lunches and homework.

So for the second half of the holidays we are going to do a bit more slowing down. We’ve got a holiday booked for the last week so we are officially on wind down, in the hope the holidays will slow down a little.

Does anyone else feel the days are flying by?

A Kind Word

We had to be up and out fairly early this morning to get my daughter to a birthday party. I have to be honest, I literally got up, washed got dressed, sorted children and left and was feeling a little bit rough around the edges!

I think everyone was tired after a busy week and the car journey was full of bickering and tears, coupled with my grogginess after a restless night with my mini dude it wasn’t the calmest of trips.

So when another mum said “you look great, have you been dieting?” I honestly could have cried, I hugged her! I have not been dieting, quite the opposite in fact during the holidays and to be honest I was already having a day when everything seemed hard work and I’d changed three times as the clothes didn’t “look” right. I am still carrying baby weight and was ok with that, but her comment really did make me feel good about myself.

We all have parts of us that we’re not happy with but the truth is we don’t see ourselves how others do.

So lovely mum friend (you know who you are!) thank you for taking time to say something that really did cheer me up in a moment when it was very much needed. You put a spring in my step and a smile on my face.

6 Reasons to have 6 Children

The usual response when people hear I have 6 children is either:-

“Are they all yours?”

“Are you mad?”

“You should get a TV”

“Were they accidents?”

So here are my 6 reasons for having 6 children:-

It’s Cheaper –  When you have your first child it can be expensive buying everything you need.  Number 2, 3, you have all the main things already so no great expense.  I look at our swinging crib and smile because it’s been used for all of our six children (and my niece and nephews) and hopefully it will be home for our grandchildren one day.  The clothes hand-me-downs are fabulous too (if you don’t get rid of everything because  “you’re done!”)

Play mates – You can’t play a decent board game with just 2 people but 4 or 6? brilliant!  They always have someone to play with and often disappear in the garden playing games together for hours.  Yes, of course they argue and fight but they are outweighed by the good times.

You’re Not Sleeping Anyway – Once you are a parent you don’t sleep, have a social life or sometimes enough energy to function.   If you’ve gone from 1 to 2 children then the hard part is done, another 2 or 3 children is not going to change your life drastically as you’re already in parenting land.

It’s Nearly Impossible to Spoil Them – I’m not saying that only children are spoilt but it’s quite a challenge to spoil a child when you’re looking after 5 others as well.  I won’t buy the same toys for different children and everything they have they share.  They have learnt to get snacks and drinks for themselves and each other and in turn I think this makes them independent, kind children (sometimes).

You Grow In Confidence – Yes, all children are different but I feel that by number 6 I have some clue about what I’m doing.  I’m certainly more confident in myself and what I’m doing than I was when I had my first and surely that means happier children?

No Old People’s Home for Me! – Between the six of them, surely one of them will take me in or they can just pass me around from house to house (I don’t mind). The odds are surely in my favour!

I blinked….

We’ve all said “how time flies” and how the weeks turn into months, suddenly we are nearly into August!  But today I was completely smacked in the face by how fast time has passed.  I was asked by my oldest daughter whether she could get her eyebrows tinted and then by my middle daughter if she could shave her legs!  When did that happen

At times it seems that day to day life is endless and things are never ending but before you know it here you are with children old enough to want to colour their hair and make their own plans with friends and you just being the taxi!

I will never forget when I was out shopping not long after the arrival of my first child.  I was exhausted, the nights were endless and I’d just been hit with the new mum train.  I was in a lift and a lady said to me “enjoy him, it will be gone in a flash”.  I remember thinking she has got to be joking, the days are so long and it felt like it was always going to be like that.  This year my “baby” turns 15!

Moments like today force me to remember that in fact the lady was right, and that I need to get another razor!

Parent Bingo In The Park

While the children were playing in the park and I sat with Milo, I got to spend time doing one of my favourite things, people watching! There were lots of parents all over the park, obviously as it’s the holidays, and I found myself playing spot the parent!

The Hands on parent, dressed in walking shoes and a waterproof jacket – Right in there with their child climbing and having fun.  Very organised with their coffee in a thermos cup!

Parenting from the bench – shouting to get their child’s attention, on their phone glancing up occasionally to check that their child is still in the park.

The one that would be your friend – The one that you’d have a cuppa and a gossip with.  They have things under control and look good doing it.  Oh and “where did you get your dress from?”.

The Over protector – Shadowing their child, not letting them out of their sight and cautious about their every move because they might get mud on their hands.

The one that’s not dressed at all for the park – ready for date night!  There’s absolutely no way they could chase after their child if they needed to, but I would love to see them try!

The “I have no control over my child and have given up” parent.  Chasing around after their child who is running rings around them, looking like they may burst into tears at any moment.  We’ve all been there, haven’t we?!?

Just the free sprit parent and the loud talker and I would have had a full house! We all parent differently and no way is right or wrong, it’s whatever works for you and yours.  I’m pretty sure that at some point I’ve been all of these types of parents, depending on what day it is!

What’s For Dinner?

This has to be the most time consuming and challenging parts of my day – what to cook for dinner?  By the time everyone is home from school they are absolutely ravenous.  It can be hectic trying to prepare a half decent and healthy meal, and not just for my lot as normally we have at least one extra child round.  There’s only a very small window between getting in and chaos breaking out because of hunger.

I tried a meal planner for a few weeks and felt really organised knowing exactly what we were going to eat for the week and what I needed to buy.  Somehow though when it came to cooking it I never seemed to have the ingredients that I needed so I’d have a mad dash to the supermarket or I didn’t really fancy Tuesday’s spag bol!

I’m not a bad cook but I seem to be stuck in a rut of cooking the same things.  Now with Mr H previously being a chef, you’d think some of his culinary magic would have rubbed off on me.  I seem to look in the fridge, see what we have and then still have no idea what to cook, whereas he can rustle up something delicious from nothing!  I love the nights that he cooks.  I’ve become bored with food, well the food I cook.

I’m being inspired, so once a week I’m going to cook something new (a main and a pudding). There are thousands and thousands of recipes and so many exciting things to make and eat.  So armed with a new cookery book, I’m going to be organised, a least for one night of the week and I bet the children will refuse to eat it!