29 November 2012

Stickygram!


Phew, so hi, I'm back briefly. This is the first time I've managed to get near the computer, so bear with me! I've got piles and piles of washing, a poorly baby, a broken car, things to sort out and I'm oh so very tired...but bear with me, I'll be back soon hopefully as there's lots I want to write about and to share with you!

But for now I thought I would write a little post about Stickygram. Lots of you have probably seen these amazing little magnets floating around the internet before, but for those of you who haven't let me show you!


 I have a bad addiction to Instagram, and take way too many photos, but there are some I really love and have captured some really nice moments. It makes me sad that they just sit on my phone and I don't really have many photos printed out, let alone framed and hung. So Stickygrams are a great way to print out your Instagram photos, and so easy just to stick up on your fridge (or anywhere else magnetic!), and voila you have an instant photo gallery!

It's so easy to do too, all you have to do is click on the Stickygram button up there on the right, and log in with your Instagram user name, then all the photos you have ever taken will be available for you to make up your own sheets. Each sheet includes 9 instagram pictures, so just choose your favourites (if possible!) click, rearrange and order, it's so easy!

They make perfect Christmas presents for relatives, because who doesn't want to get mini photos of your adorable offspring? Or just a great present to yourself! Make sure you order before the 13th of December for Christmas shipping.

And even better news is that you can get $2 off your first purchase using the code: FRIEND0J2H

be back soon!

This isn't a sponsored post, Stickygram is an affiliate of my blog, but I receieved no money for writing this post!

20 November 2012

our house


It's getting closer and closer to Friday, and I'm getting sad. The last time we moved I wasn't sad, I really wanted to get out of the place we were in and to have our own house. We've been really lucky with our place here, with the landlord and the house in general. But that's not what makes me sad really. Yes the house is lovely, and in good condition and I'm sad about loosing our dishwasher, but I think I'm sad because so much as happened in this house.

Firstly we've been here for a year, which is a MASSIVE achievement for us! And if this house were in the location we are moving too, then it would be perfect. Our new house is pretty much perfect, but when we went to look at it again on Monday it just didn't feel as nice. I was getting worried that the house wouldn't be as nice as this one and that we were making a mistake, but then I realised it wasn't actually about the house itself, it's just that it wasn't our house or home (yet). But it will be. The main reasons I'm sad to leave this place is because of all the memories it holds for us, and I guess those are the things that make a home right?

We've been here a year, and pretty much seen Theo grow from and one year old to a two year old. From a baby to a toddler. We've had his first steps shortly after we moved, his first Christmas, his first birthday (with a LOT of friends crammed in!), his first words. He's moved into his own room, started sleeping at night, we stopped breastfeeding here, he started eating properly here...blah blah. Those have all been memorable things and milestones that he has reached and they all belong to this house, these walls have witnessed these things. Aside from the big things it's just held so much, all the times we laughed at silly things Theo did, all the times we had fights, all the fun things we've done, and it's been here safe and welcoming from our adventures. So it feels weird to leave.

I felt this after we left our first flat, which was for me a big occasion. It was our first home together, just Rob and I, then shortly after we welcomed Theo into our home and saw our lives change forever. It just held so much importance and memory, and will always stay with me, whatever house we move to. I feel like this with this house too, I may not in a few years when all the memories blur into one, but this house, this year has just been such a momentous one.

So I just wanted to say goodbye and thank you for having has. We will miss you!

But on to the next adventure, and making a new house into our humble home.

16 November 2012

I want never gets...

well sometimes it does...

I've seen this idea floating around on pinterest and thought I'd share it here. It's a simple guide to follow when asking or thinking of what you would like for Christmas. When people ask me what I want, I have to think of what I want for my birthday too, and I honestly can never really think of things I want/need (which is why all you summer birthday people have a good deal!) I always need things at other times of the year, but around this time my mind just goes blank! But this idea really helped, and it's been really useful in keeping things simple and not going over board on presents. The idea is to think of one thing you want, you need, you can wear and you can read. I assume that the categories can be mixed, such as I need some knickers to wear as mine all have holes in (this is just hypothetical btw) haha...

So back to Christmas, as it's getting eeeeeeven closer, how on earth did that happen? Isn't only 5 weeks away now? I know it's silly because after all it is just one day, but I have to say I'm so excited this year! Rob for the first time has the WHOLE of Christmas off, which means we can visit family together, spend time together as a family when everyone else is spending time together as a family too, which is very VERY unheard of round here! (f you retail! So glad Rob's not working retail anymore)

I don't know why I'm so excited this year, perhaps it's because it's the first year when Theo will maybe understand a little bit of what is going on and we've got him some pretty good presents that I'm excited for him to play with. We also get to see most of our family over a few days, and we're taking a little trip just before Christmas to visit my dad and my hometown. Every year when we were little we would visit a little miniature railway which runs a little steam train, and we would take it round the track to Santa's grotto! I really want to take Theo on this and relive some of my childhood through him. It's really important to me for him to experience things I did as a child, since we live so far away from where I grew up, and I had a really lovely childhood looking back. We're also going to be visiting London on my birthday on the 23rd which is a little bit of a tradition as we used to go when I was younger to look at the lights on Oxford Street and have a look/play in Hamleys toy shop...I'm so excited to do the same this year!

We're not doing any more travelling than that, and staying put in Bristol. We are spending Christmas day with Rob's parents and grandparents, and the next day my Mum, Andy and one of my sisters and boyf will be coming to us in our new house for a second Christmas. I've got a little bit over excited about this, and am collecting quite a stash of Christmas treats! So basically roll on Christmas!

It's going to be a stressful time running up to it though, as we move next week and have been busy packing and sorting and trying to get our head around all the things we need to do, but I'm ready to move and to relax in our new home.

Sorry it's been a bit quiet over here, I've been busy tipi making (weeeeeeee!) and then getting ill (booooooo). I spent all day yesterday in bed not being able to move with a horrid stomach ache/headache/tiredness and feeling sick which wasn't fun at all. I'm feeling a little better today and even managed to venture outside. And we've been busy packing boxes. I'm sorry if it is a little quiet around here over the next week, as we're going to be super busy, but please hang in there with me and don't forget us! 

p.s on that note, please remember to vote for us on top baby blogs when you can! that would be much appreciated and very Christmassy of you!! (link on side bar....)


12 November 2012

book love

I love finding and being recommended new books, that goes for books for me and for Theo. We have been quite lucky in that my parents saved quite a few books from when I was little, and I have favorites that I remember and can't wait to pass on to Theo. I've also picked up quite a few interesting, 'vintage' books from charity shops with amazing illustrations in them. Theo's got a few classics such as "spot the dog", the "hungry Caterpillar" and "dear zoo" etc and his favourite at the moment is probably the Gruffalo as he has it every night when he goes to bed!

Both Sarah and Fritha have shared quite a few great books, that I have definitely added to my mental want list, which is ever growing! The boy is going to have a better book collection than us!

On my recent trip to London my friend Anna very kindly gifted Theo (and carried it around all day!) this amazing book. Her mum is friends with the illustrator, and as soon as I laid my eyes on it I was in love! Anna was worried that Theo wouldn't enjoy it now, but I reassured her that even if he can't read the words he will still love pointing at all the pictures, which include many of his favoutite things: flowers, birds, bees, chickens, cows, the moon, frogs, trees etc (he really is a lover of nature!) And even better I know that this book will last, and he will find it more and more interesting the older he gets.





 As you can see from the contents page the book follows through the seasons, highlighting different aspects, and explaining what happens in these months. Each section is illustrated with beautiful drawings and collages that are bright and really engaging. Written with them are little poems, ideas and facts that guide you through the pictures. There's no real structure to the pages, and no real pattern of what you'll find in each chapter, and I really like this. Each page is a new discovery, and there is just so much to look at and to learn!





I wish I could show you each and every page, as I'm not sure I have favourites yet (other than the den making one!) but there are too many, plus I don't want to spoil it for you when you get the book yourselves, because you will, because it's amazing!

10 November 2012

Sleep


So I've been meaning to write about Theo's sleep for a while, as it's been quite a journey!

(warning this post is long!)

We've had so many ups and down, and I really feel for people such as Fritha who are going through such a similar situation as the one we've struggled through. The fact is, is that Theo has never been a good sleeper. He went through about a week of when he was about three months of only waking up once a night, but that was so short lived and the best it was up until now really. But I'll start at the beginning.


Sorry, just thought I'd make your ovaries hurt, do they? Mine do...

Anyway, since the beginning when Theo was born it was clear that he was a baby who didn't like to be put down, he felt most comfortable sleeping on us, next to us and with us. He did sleep in a moses basket, but since newborns don't really get what night and day are, he'd sleep in it in the day, but at night he would only ever want to sleep with us, and nurse. I got paranoid that we were doing the wrong thing, and we're getting into bad habits so we did try a little sleep training. I hated it, it stills makes me shudder now to think of him crying alone. So it's safe to say, we tried it for one night, and never ever again. From that point really I think we decided not really to listen to what other people thought was right, but to instead listen to our instincts and what Theo was telling us.

So I started researching co-sleeping, and got some great advice (thanks Janet!) and this helped me to realise that we weren't doing the wrong thing by letting him sleep with us, but doing what felt right for us, and worked for us all. So we gave up trying to make him sleep in a crib, and just had him in the bed with us. Of course we followed guidelines to safe co-sleeping, but from that point I feel we just relaxed into it.


For quite a while this worked really well for us, but it wasn't always easy. He still woke up every couple of hours or so, it's all a bit of a blur really, but he definitely wasn't 'sleeping through'. But because I was still breastfeeding him, and feeding him back to sleep, it was so easy just to roll over, let him feed and drift back to sleep.



We he napped in the day he did this on the bed, and I was still feeding him to sleep. There was a period of time when he was about 8 or so months where I couldn't leave him when for the entirety of his nap. It was nice to have a little rest myself, but I felt so useless and couldn't really get anything done. But when we moved house at around 10 months he started to get a bit better and I could eventually just feed him, wait until he was asleep then sneak off to have an hour to myself!



 I'm not sure when (maybe 11 months?), but it started to get a little difficult. He was getting restless and waking up more often, and wasn't going back to sleep easily and would get disturbed by us more and more. Our sweet little situation was going a little bit sour! So we decided it was time something changed, we thought we would see how it would go moving him out of our bed onto his own little bed on the floor. We thought that perhaps he wouldn't be disturbed by us so much, and wake up every time one of us moved. I still got up to nurse him in the night, and he was still waking up quite a lot so that was hard, but having the extra space in the bed was like heaven!


This situation worked for a few months, but after a while the getting up every hour or so to feed him really started to take his toll on me. He was still coming back into the bed with us in the early hours of the morning, and I felt we were back to the early days of sleeping! But by this point I felt Theo was getting to the point where he could understand a lot more, and would be able to deal with change a little better, so we trialed putting him in his own room. We had a double sofa bed in the spare room, so for a time he was on there. I was still feeding him to sleep in the evening, and then whenever he woke up in the night. Most of the time I would try and get up again after he was asleep and go back into my own bed, but sometimes I just ended up falling asleep with him there!

We noticed a change almost immediately really, he started to sleep for longer stretches and would go down at night a lot easier. I think this happened because we waited until the right time to make this transition. We had exhausted all the options with keeping him in the bed and room for us, and I think this was the right time to make this step. Had we tried it when he was younger, or when he wasn't showing us that he needed a change, I don't think it would have worked. It did make me sad that he wasn't in the bed or same room as us, but that sadness wasn't anything compared to how good being able to sleep properly in my own bed felt! We could finally go to bed and not have to creep around trying to be silent as not to wake him, we could talk to each other as we went to sleep, and I could stretch out as much as I wanted (thank goodness we have a king sized bed!)

Co-sleeping really worked for us, and I'm glad we saw it through until it had run it's course, and I really believe in trusting in our instincts and doing things when we felt they were right, and not when other people told us we should be doing things. We did and do still have the occasional co-sleep, in the morning there is always a little stow away hogging all the room!


When we found the Theo sleeping in his own room was working we decided to make his room fully his room, and give him his own little bed. I know that for many people the transition into a 'big bed' is a major step, and I can see how it is, but seeing as Theo has never slept in a cot, and always in a bed with us there wasn't really any step to take. He learnt how to climb off and on the bed pretty early, and once he's in bed he doesn't get up and wander off. We put a stair gate on his room, just in case he did get up as we can't fit one at the top of our stairs, but it wasn't really needed.


Around the same time as changing his room around I made the step to stop feeding him at night. Even though he was sleeping for longer periods of time he was still waking up to be fed three or four times a night, and after 16 or so months of broken sleep and getting up in the night I finally realised enough was enough. He wasn't waking because he was hungry, he was waking like babies naturally do, but he just didn't know how to put himself to sleep again. I got some really good advice from Annie (thank goodness for the internet and friends!)

To stop feeding him at night I knew it would be tough for the first few days, but it was something that was necessary. I fed him to sleep in the evening like normal, but when he woke up in the night to want to feed I didn't offer it to him, but instead tried to soothe him by singing, cuddling and repeating phrases like 'time to sleep' to him. This was hard, he cried for an hour or so, but I didn't leave him. I stayed with him until he eventually gave up. I slept in the bed all night with him, and eventually he didn't cry as much. The next few nights I did the same thing, and we saw dramatic changes again in his sleeping. He definitely started to wake less, and he could go to sleep without me feeding him. This carried on for a while, until I went away for the first ever time. I knew that this would probably be the end of our breastfeeding, but it felt like the right time. Since that point Rob has been able to put Theo to sleep at night, and he started to sleep through the night. Other people can now put him to sleep too, which gives me such a sense of relief and freedom.


I was scared for nap times though, this was the biggest thing to get over for me, as it was completely down to me, and I felt like I had lost my magic power! For the first week or so after stopping breastfeeding I only took Theo out when he needed to nap, so that he could sleep in the buggy, but one day he was too tired, and had a little melt down before I had chance to get out, so I put him in bed, read him a story and sang to him and he fell asleep! I was so proud of myself! Since then he still has a mix, he'll sleep when we go out (and I try and arrange things like going to shops around his nap otherwise it's impossible to go when he's awake!) or we'll have a nap at home.

So that's about how it is now. We finally have a bedtime routine, that occurred completely organically and wasn't forced. He usually goes to sleep around 7.30pm and wakes between 5-6am. Sometimes he goes back to sleep after some yoghurt, and sometimes not! But for now this is the best it's ever been, so I can't really complain!

I'll leave you with one of my favourite photos of the boy asleep! 




Ps just wanted to add that this is in no way saying what we did is the best way. It's just what worked for us. Every baby and family are different, and what works best for one might not work for another! I respect other people's methods, if that's what works best for them.

06 November 2012

adventuritous


sorry it's been a little quiet around here lately, I've took an unintended small break from le internet. My phone has been sent away for repair, so it's a little weird not being able to check my emails, or more importantly instagram!!

Over the weekend I visited the big smoke, by myself. I have definitely found a slight sense of freedom, knowing I can confidently leave Theo for a night or two and know that he is perfectly fine, and doesn't love me any less. This means I can hop on a bus, travel to London and spend some time with my dear friends. I do miss him so much whilst I'm away, and wish he was there so I could show him off to my friends with all the funny things he does, but my god, it's nice to have so breathing space!

Ever since I was a teenager I've had quite a longing for adventure and travel, and would often trek to London and beyond to go to gigs, travel the country to see friends who lived in different places and just generally have a lot of fun seeing and discovering new places. Thanks to my parents who let me do all this (or maybe didn't know what I was really up to some of the time!?) I have developed a deep sense of wanderlust.

After I finished college I took a gap year, worked three jobs to save the money to travel. I went interailling around eastern Europe for a month, came back, worked some more then went traveling on my own to Scotland and Norway. Each trip I made taught me something, but none more than my solo trip to the Northern lands, where I spent much of it in solitude with only the mountains and the fjords as company.




 (Sarajevo/ Busdapest/ Berlin)




 Scotland/ Norway

In my second year of Uni I decided to sack it all in and go traveling around India and Nepal for six months. I wish I had gone under different circumstances, and for different reasons, but none of that matters right now. As even though I might have made bad decisions at the time, they all worked out for a reason, and had they not, then perhaps our dear little Theo might not exist! Anyway, that trip really opened my eyes to so very much, and gave me the opportunity to travel with one of my best friends, Jonny, too. Which to this day makes me so happy to think of the memories we made and share together. Like our little secret of the amazing things we saw. And I did return to University to finish my course, but probably with a little bit of a different perspective.


This post has gone off at a slight tangent, and I'm not really sure what it was supposed to be in the first place, but sometimes I like a good old ramble, and to show you some photos!

I feared that when I had a baby that it would put an end to my adventures, but on the contrary, really. Trying to plan your days with a little one makes you be more adventurous, by creating fun outings and showing them all the things that you find special or remember from your own childhood. I'm not the type of person to sit around indoors, I can't while away my hours on the internet, (I never have been able to, even if I had that luxury now!) and I just get a bit crazy if I don't go out and do something once a day. This blog hopefully documents the little adventures we go on, and I try and provide Theo with rich experiences (that doesn't mean we don't occasionally take a trip to Ikea just to waste a rainy afternoon, but sssh) that hopefully he'll start remembering! We try and do things that are free most of the time, or things that cost very little to do, with the occasional treat of things that cost more, but are worth it.

When we go on holidays or bigger trips away, we try and save as much as possible, and do things cheaply. We've been so lucky so far that we have family and friends we can stay with whilst we go away, because without this we certainly wouldn't be able to afford to go away! We plan in advance and try and get the cheapest travel possible, because I need to do these things. It's in my bones, I need adventure, it makes my heart so happy to have a change from normal life, and funnily enough it makes me glad of my normal life when I return. I don't know what all this is trying to prove, but for me I think it's just step in the right direction to making me think long and hard about the things that make me happy. When I wrote about motivation here, I got some great advice, and Jo said to me to think about a time when you feel really happy, energized and motivated, and this is that. I feel happiest when I'm planning a trip, going on the trip, dealing with the extra struggles that may happen whilst we are on the trip, and returning home to my own bed from that trip. It makes me feel excited.

When an opportunity to go away on a little adventure by myself arises, I jump at the chance. I've written many time before about how time with my friends alone really helps and I know I have to try and do this when I can. I booked cheap bus tickets to London, left early on Saturday morning, and returned Sunday evening. We walked the streets of London, visiting the Photographers gallery, eating Japanese food in Soho, record shopping, stumbling across more free art exhibitions, one in a warehouse used as a squat, with art installations, music and good ale. In the evening we went back to the amazing Turkish restaurant in Harringay, then to the pub, then back home for wine and merriment. The next day we lounged, cooked up a huge brunch and enjoyed the company of good friends. It was such a great mini adventure, and good to be in London again, I love it, but it makes me so glad to return to small, quiet (in comparison) Bristol to my two loves.

So in conclusion, even though I may not be able to work to save and afford to pack up and go off on a huge adventure like the ones I've been lucky enough to already go on, (even though I would love to do one big trip as  a family before Theo starts school...maybe a trip to visit my friend in New Zealand! (If we win the lottery...)) I can still satisfy my traveling needs by planning and going on mini adventures, such as Berlin, or just staying local and visiting beautiful places in the UK.

All is well once again, and I'm planning our next adventure!


p.s here's some little photos of Theo, so you can see what they get up to whilst I'm away!




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