25 November 2018

Weekend adventures: Dyrham Park in the Autumn

So Winter's suddenly here now right? I've not been very well these past few weeks (hello sinus infection urgh) so my time outside has been pretty limited but on a day when I had to venture out this week I was suddenly struck by how Wintery it was suddenly looking. The trees suddenly felt all bare, the grass and roofs of houses have been covered in a thick layer of frost, and I even heard that allusive word of snow drifting round a few times! That Christmas feeling has started to creep in and the urge to haul all the decorations out of the loft is getting stronger, I need those pretty lights and glitter to lift my spirits a little! But before I fully indulge in the festive season I thought I would share some photos from a little trip to Dyrham Park, a National Trust near us on what was probably our last Autunmal outing (without me knowing gah!)

Theo had been staying with my Mum for the weekend so we met half way to pick him up and this seemed like the perfect place to meet. We had a little late lunch (hello jacket potato with cheese and beans, my favourite!!) before having a walk around the beautiful gardens and grounds. Rohan had a really good go with his walker and walked the furthest he ever has around the grounds, and looked so pleased with himself in the process, as well as some lovely encouragement from Theo! We stayed until the sun started dipping down and made our way back home.

Hope you enjoy the pictures, I really enjoyed taking them!

22 November 2018

A Rohan update

So where to begin...over the past few months I had been slowly adding to a big long update post and was just ready to publish when I did something stupid (when I thought I had the text backed up) but managed to wipe the whole thing. So here we are, back to square one.

I’m so desperate to keep this blog alive, to keep recording but sometimes I do wonder whether it’s dying its own death on its own. Self-sabotage. Maybe that’s something that’s happening to blogs in general. I mean this blog has never had a huge following but I guess it’s had a steady amount of readers who like to check in, and for me it seems like a much more permanent (aside from my most recent error!) form of recording than an Instagram post. I tend to do much shorter updates over there, but I do like being able to expand a little more but perhaps I should try and keep it to shorter sections here as to not make the task of writing a massive post too daunting and therefore taking me MONTHS to complete.

So, let’s talk about Rohan’s development, or really if you want to get technical, his gross motor skills.

I can’t remember really where he was when I last updated but suddenly it seems as though he’s really clicked with walking and wanting to be on his feet. At the beginning of the summer we were given a walking frame by his physio which, like most things with Rohan has taken a little while for him to get used to. It started ok, he was keen and liked being congratulated but we only used it for really sort tester periods at home, but he still preferred to bum shuffle about and even started crawling more often. There were moments where he frightened himself a little when it became unstable when he lent against the back of it and therefore became a little resistant to using it, but we persevered and I started to take it with us to his nursery settings to try and get him used to using it in as many environments as possible. 

I guess I should add that one of the things that changed with his walker was that I became a little more confident in taking it out with us. It's such a massive and bright obvious thing and it screams for attention, and it's not out of embarrassment but me being self conscious. I didn't want an extra thing to make us stand out or to mark us as different so it's really taken me quite a few months to build up that confidence to take it out in public. We started just by taking it to our local park where I know most of the people who go there, and therefore they know Rohan too and whilst I know that else where people would either be curious or well meaning I perhaps wasn't ready to have to have the conversation as to why he needed the walker or what it was for. I spoke a little about this on my instagram and it's so true that sometimes it's just exhausting to always have to have answers prepared, to have a little script that you default to and it just felt like another thing I needed to build up to and add. Sometimes I just dream of going out without feeling like I need to be armed with all these things, sort of just needing an invisibility cloak or a shield to just be able to blend in a little more. But then slowly things shifted and I knew we needed to incorporate Rohan's walker into our everyday to encourage him to use it more and get him used to being on his feet and walking places instead of being carried (also my back will thank me) so it became more important than any of my own hang ups.

And really since then we've not even had to have that many conversations, I've had smiles and comments of how sweet he looks from adults and innocent questions from children, and actually you know what, I'm so proud of Rohan just being able to be around and do things that other kids are doing, with his walker alongside him. I think it's great that perhaps those kids will go home and not think twice about it or the next time they see another child using one, and actually the more open and using it in public the better as the more normal it seems.

We also started to encourage him to walk with us holding his hands, which probably isn’t the best for him to practice balance, but in my head, it was getting him used to the idea of being on his feet and taking steps instead of being on his bottom, and this mixed with him using his walker has hopefully helped him build confidence with being on his feet more. He’s been pulling himself up onto furniture for a while, from kneeling then standing and then experimented with a little cruising. Now he’s fully able to cruise around furniture, and even taking little steps (whilst still holding on) between gaps. I’ve seen him take a few tentative hands off also and balance on his own for a few seconds too! All exciting stuff. He's become a master stair climbing now too, after a month or two of practicing, which I was actually surprised at how quickly he picked it up! We've now had to install a stair gate as he became so ninja like at climbing them that a few times we had no idea he'd got himself up and found him half way up the stairs! Whoops...He's not mastered going back down them yet but I guess we'll figure that one out. He also decided that he doesn't mind crawling on all fours and does a mix between that and bum shuffling, to be honest I'd rather he crawled so he didn't ruin so many pairs of trousers as they all eventually get massive holes in the bum. 

The thing is with Rohan, is that he is developing. Every day he seems to try or gain confidence in his abilities but it’s just at such a slower rate, it’s like everything is protracted or in slow motion, and it’s like viewing things through a magnifying glass. What with Theo may have taken a few weeks takes months and months with Rohan which means we notice every single detail and little change, which is amazing actually as you can really see the process it all goes through.
I feel like we’re heading in the right direction, I just hope that he continues working on his confidence in his abilities and becomes a little more daring at what he’s willing to try.

His fine motor skills are coming along pretty nicely too, he recently discovered his pointing finger and I don’t know why but I find it the cutest thing ever. He’s started to point to things a little and know taps on things like my phone with it, which means perhaps we can start playing a few more games with him like that. He’s got pretty good hand control and can pick up most objects and use a pincer grip, he can also feed himself and knows where his mouth is, he can use a spoon and fork also and is really working hard to load them himself too. 

I think it's all so promising and it seems like only a matter of time before perhaps he will take a few steps and I just can't wait for that day! It's so strange, I've had a few dreams where Rohan has taken steps, or said his first word and it all seemed so natural and normal and the feeling was so joyus. It feels weird to wake up and remember after dreams like that, like I almost have to check that it didn't happen for real. I know he'll get there in his own time but there's still a part of me that is impatient for it, I want him to suddenly one day just get it and start walking and whilst I know that's not our reality I would be lying if I wasn't impatient sometimes. I just have all these moments and pictures in my head that I can't wait for; him to toddle over to my open arms, him to walk by my side holding my hand, him to run around the park or play on the beach. I know it's all there waiting to happen, but sometimes I want it to be now.

But for now we're so proud of how far he's come! 

14 November 2018

Barcelona adventures

I thought it was just about time to share a few photos from our little trip sans children to Barcelona that we took at the beginning on October. We planned it all the way back in June, after finding out that my sister was pregnant and wanting to go and see her before the baby arrives in December. It was also our five year wedding anniversary, Rob's 30th birthday and just in fact an excuse to have a break. We've not been anywhere on holiday just to two of us since our honeymoon and frankly that was a bit shit. Not because of the company but because of where we stayed and in fact we sort of treated this like a little second honeymoon because of that fact.

We arranged for the boys to be looked after at home, so they could keep to their routines and be at school and nursery since we were going away in term time and mid-week. I was pretty anxious about leaving them, more particularly Rohan as we've only been away from him for a night before, and not to another country all together, especially since he was still recovering a little from his surgery, but he was in good hands with Robs parents staying for the whole week. We left on Sunday evening and it just felt so strange to be at the airport just us. No trying to keep them entertained whilst we waited, no having to control them, no million questions, just silence! Then we remembered this is what life is like with no children around!

We were greeted by torrential rain when we finally touched down in Barcelona where we were picked up by my blooming sister and drove back up the windy roads to her village above the city. We stayed up a little while chatting before it was time for bed. The next morning my sister had a hospital scan, so we left Rob in bed recovering from a cold and headed into the city. It was amazing to be able to join my sister and see the baby wriggling around inside her tummy, sometimes it still amazes me that she's going to have a baby and that I'm going to be an aunty for the first time! After her appointments we walked along the seafront back into town, chatting and having a proper catch up, until we reached one of our old favourite areas of El Born and decided to take the opportunity to do what we liked best, which is to walk the old streets looking at all the amazing back allies, tiny independent shops and window shopping. We used to do this years ago, before Theo came along, and it was so nice to relive those memories and really enjoy not being distracted by small people! We got especially excited when we stumbled upon the Tiny Cottons store and pawed and stroked every item of children's clothes saying I want that, I want this - I want it ALL!

The next few days passed like this; visiting different places, chatting, eating food, resting and relaxing in our child free state. Wednesday soon rolled around and that meant it was Rob's 30th birthday! I'd booked a surprise stay in a hotel in Barcelona, something we've never done before, so we packed up our bag for the night to head out to Hotel Brummel, on the other side of the city in Poble Sec, but first we stopped off at Camp Nou as that's what Rob wanted to do on his birthday. We spent a few hours going round the museum, which actually was really interesting as the history of the football club is so interwoven into the social history of Barcelona and the Catalan people. After we'd finished we made our way to the hotel to check in and were given the most amazing room! It had a gigantic roof terrace overlooking Mont Juic one way, the rest of the city the other and complete with an outside bath, which after getting pretty hot and sweaty on our way there, we decided would be a good opportunity to change into our swimmers and have a dip whilst enjoying a beer in the late afternoon. It really was pretty idyllic! The hotel itself is just stunning, it definitely made me want to stay for more than one night. It felt amazingly light and airy but with so many great design features and so much to look at. It definitely had that cool vibe, with lots of art on display, plants, beautiful furniture and products for sale. The staff were really friendly too, and gave us loads of tips of where to go and provide you with maps of loads of cool things to check out. If we were visiting Barcelona for the first time, or didn't have family here it would be such a great resource. There's also an attached yoga space where guests get free classes, but unfortunately they weren't on at the times when we were there, but otherwise I would've loved to go to a class. We really enjoyed our stay and it felt like a proper treat, the space inside and out were beautiful, with a stunning courtyard on the ground floor and a terrace with a small pool on the next floor up.

We spent the rest of the afternoon just relaxing before getting ready to go out for dinner in the evening...again such a novelty! My sister and Borja joined us at their favourite pizza place in Ravel and we got to eat a whole meal without having to leave our seats once or feed anyone else! Afterwards we visited an old bar full of dusty shelves full of old bottles, mirrored walls and heavy old curtains and drank a few beers and Rob sampled the absinthe. Feeling pretty tired we walked the short way back through the city to our hotel, and tucked ourselves up with a cup of herbal tea. We know how to live now that we're in our thirties! 

The next few days passed by much the same, we wandered around the streets, sat in parks, visited cafes, and went to another scan. We decided to take some maternity photos of my sister and Borja and walked up to Tibidabo which is just above where my sister lives. The evening light was perfect and we wandered around that area finding the perfect places to shoot. The next day we headed out again to visit a favourite out of town cafe my sister and Borja discovered for brunch before driving a little way more to a local vintage market, where we stumbled upon yet more amazing places to take a few more maternity shots.

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