Baby Bear has found his thumb! He joins Fluffy in being the second thumb sucker in my family.
Today is Baby Bear’s half birthday. HALF BIRTHDAY?! How is that even possible? I absolutely cannot believe that he is six months old already. Where on earth has the time gone? This diddy dude is perfect and he has made our lives so happy. I thought today would be the ideal day to do an update on Baby Bear and what his charismatic little personality is like.
Baby Bear is without a doubt, the easiest of my four babies and that’s saying something, because to be honest, they were all easy babies. To my surprise and delight, he has slept through the night from the very day he was born.
He latched onto my breast, not long after he was born. He wiggled his own way there, as we were enjoying some newborn skin-to-skin cuddles. Our breastfeeding journey hasn’t been smooth sailing, we’ve overcome three different breastfeeding complications. But now, at six months old, I am still breastfeeding and I am so very proud of that. I didn’t manage to nurse for this long with any of my other children. I love the look of sheer bliss on his face when he’s feeding and the bond it gives us.
The poor little mite, has already battled a nasty cold, conjunctivitis and oral thrush. Apart from a few grumpy moments at night, when he was poorly, he didn’t really complain much. He is a brave little boy, just like his idol, Mike the Knight (he gets excited when that comes on TV). My twins sometimes call my Mike, “Mike the Knight”, as he was Mummy’s hero (You can read about Mike here).
He LOVES water. At bathtime he goes absolutely nuts, kicking and splashing so that whoever is bathing him, gets soaked. Mummy has to gently tell him off sometimes though, as he tries to drink the bath water.
Baby Bear teethed, with no tears or crying, sometime about a fortnight ago. Now has two dazzling white, razor sharp, little teeth. He loves biting Daddy’s fingers with them, so that his Daddy (Mike) squeals like a little girl.
This little boy, is so easy going, that he is happy wherever we are or whatever we are doing. He’s fine with car journeys, shopping and walks in the pram. He loves his bouncy chair, gym, and playmat. His most recent obsession is his Jumperoo type thing (not an actual Jumperoo, as his is a different brand). We aren’t close to crawling yet, but he does love tummy time and is trying to sit up. Another of his favourite pastimes is sucking his own toes. A bit icky yes, but very cute.
Development wise, he is much more advanced than my twins were (they had a developmental delay due to prematurity). He showed us his first real smile at only 10 days old and I was so lucky to capture it on Instagram. My little smiler, has not only smiled at us every day since, but he smiles constantly. If he’s not smiling, he’s asleep! He learnt to roll over at 3 months old, and decided straight away, that he prefers to sleep on his side, than on his back. Now he can roll from one side of the lounge to the other, in just a few seconds.
Cheeky, is an understatement. Baby Bear knows exactly how to wrap Mummy and Daddy around his little finger. If I pop to the toilet or off to make a cup of tea, he squeals for attention. When I look up at him, he grins from ear to ear. I’m a firm believer that baby laughter is one of the best sounds in the world. We get lots of giggles from him now. He makes us laugh too, so much. I am so very blessed to be his Mummy.
As for weaning… I’ve never seen a baby so greedy! Just like his Mummy, he has a great love of food. In fact, he’s so greedy, that he practically inhales his food. When he sees his bowl, he fidgets his chubby little legs and literally shakes with excitement. Mummy’s cooking is just that good! Between mouthfuls, we have to be lightening quick at reloading the spoon or he screams at us. And when the bowl is empty, we hear a mini-meltdown, as he realises he’s eaten it all. He only started weaning just before Christmas but now he’s on 3 meals a day and refuses to drop a milk feed. I’m still feeding him five (sometimes six) times a day, on top of three large meals. I guess if he’s hungry, he’s hungry! I shan’t worry about it unless he reaches an unhealthy weight (which I don’t think he will).
To celebrate Baby Bear’s half birthday, we’ve bought him some new clothes, new cereal and healthy baby snacks. He is going to love them.
I can’t put into words, the love and happiness that my beautiful boy has brought to all of our lives. He’s my cuddly, greedy, cheeky, smiley, blue-eyed boy. And absolutely can do no wrong in my eyes! So Happy half birthday Baby Bear. We love you SO much!
You don’t get to choose your family, but it’s not always DNA that makes a family. Any man can father a child but it takes someone special to be a Daddy.
Baby Bear… I want to tell you about Mike…
Actually, you know him as Daddy. In the beginning, we called him “Daddy Mike” but now we have dropped the Mike part, because he knows what it really means to be a truly amazing Daddy.
Mike is the man who talked to you through my belly when I was pregnant and he simply couldn’t wait for you to be born. He was desperate to meet you and hold you and see how much you look like me. He was at the hospital early, eagerly waiting for the first glimpse of you. And when he saw you… oh my… you looked into each others eyes and it was love at first sight. Mike was so overwhelmed by love for you that happy tears sprung from his eyes. He cuddled you and you fell asleep in the warmth and safety of his arms.
Each day since then I’ve watched fondly as the father-son bond between you has flourished. When you hear his voice, you quickly scan the room until your eyes find his and then you light up the whole house with the biggest beaming smile I’ve ever seen.
Mike was the first person besides me, that you smiled at. Mike was the first person besides me, that fed you. Mikes hand was the very first thing you reached out to touch with your hands. He is the only person besides me who knows your every smile, noise and cry and exactly how to comfort you when you need it. He has changed as many of your nappies as me, helped with most of your baths and bought many of your clothes.
He’s the man who wakes up in the middle of the night to cuddle you back to sleep if you wake. He’s the man who changed his job to spend more time with you. He’s the man who misses you when he is at work and would never say he was too busy to see you. Because you come first. The love between you and Mike is unconditional and so strong that it’s visible.
Mike bought you your first pair of Converse (that’s a big deal… I’m 30 and still not had my first pair). When you cry, he picks you up and your cry turns to a smile. We call you “our liccle man” and he tells you over and over again how much he loves you. Not that you can put it into words.
Mike is the man who will teach you how to ride a bicycle and then bandage your knee if you fall off it. He’s the man who will get emotional at the school gate when you start school. He is the man who will teach you how to respect women and give you advice if a girl breaks your heart. And because he loves you as if you were his own son, he’ll feel sad when you feel sad and happy when you feel happy. And all your achievements will make him proud. It won’t ever matter that you don’t share his DNA because not only is he EVERYTHING that a Daddy should be, but he chose to be your family. He chose to love us all.
Daddy is the man you’ll find standing next to mummy, with his arms outstretched ready for a hug.
I thought it was about time I blogged about life after thyroid cancer. I’ve not really blogged much about Thyroid Cancer since I announced I’d been given the all-clear from my consultant back in December 2013. I’m now 3 years cancer free and every December I share the video I made on YouTube about my cancer story. Every cancer is different and so are the long term effects and the impacts on everyday life, after cure. A lot of people found my blog after getting their own thyroid cancer diagnosis and many contacted me for support. I still chat to a few of them via private message on my Facebook page. Many of them are months or years behind me in their recovery, so this post might be particularly insightful to those people.
Once you receive the all-clear from Thyroid cancer, they tell you that you will have 6 monthly blood tests and appointments for the first year and then you will move to annual appointments. They don’t give you much information beyond that. The truth is, the first year clear is difficult. Your body has to adjust to taking the thyroxine hormone by tablet and if you aren’t on the correct dose, it affects your health, wellbeing and energy levels. You have to also be slightly overdosed to prevent the cancer from returning. Any changes in dose take weeks to take effect.
Being overdosed (hyperthyroid) gives you headaches, palpitations, raises your blood pressure, causes weightloss and makes you feel hot, restless and jumpy. In rare and extreme cases after a long period of being hyper without treatment, you could suffer a stroke. Being underdosed (hypothyroid), which is much more common, causes weightgain, low blood pressure, dizziness and makes you feel extremely tired, slow and unmotivated. Hypothyroidism causes you to feel depressed and tearful, weak, cold all the time , your body aches and quite simply, you don’t have the energy to get through an ordinary day. In rare and extreme cases which go untreated, you could suffer a heart attack or go into a myxoedema coma.
I spent my first six months post-treatment feeling hyper. I persuaded my consultant to drop my dosage slightly as I couldn’t cope with the headaches. Within a few months I felt a lot better but it took a while to adjust to the tiredness of not being hyper after so long. My second year post-treatment, was smooth sailing. I had just the one consultant appointment. I felt great. Normal. Healthy. And then at the end of 2015 I fell pregnant.
The first trimester of pregnancy is difficult anyway, but my GP and midwife didn’t think to check my thyroxine levels. In pregnancy, you need more thyroxine and without a thyroid to produce it, my dose should have been increased. It wasn’t. I really really struggled and suffered through my first trimester, with no clue that I was dangerously hypo. It was no wonder that there were days when I found myself sitting on my kitchen floor sobbing because I didn’t have the energy to stand up. I found my way to the doctor and they said I should be having monthly tests during pregnancy to prevent this happening. I had my bloods tested and my dose swiftly increased, but it took a few weeks to recover to a normal level.
During my pregnancy, I had three more phonecalls telling me I was hypo and needed to increase my dose. After giving birth to Baby Bear I was told to return to my original dose. A few months later I was told I’m hypo again and to increase my dose again. The problem is, that my GP isn’t actually allowed to alter my dose without the consent of my consultant, due to dose changes affecting my chances of cancer returning. This requires phonecalls and letters back and forth between the two of them. This means delays for me.
In the last year, I’ve had numerous blood tests and my dose has been changed about 5 times. Each time taking about a week to get the consent to the pharmacy. Then another two to three weeks for my body to adjust.
In July I changed doctors. In September my Consultant changed my dose. Now, in January, I am still arguing with my doctor and pharmacy because they’ve not actioned the consultants letter and updated my prescription. I keep running out of thyroxine. I’m struggling with my energy levels from where I keep running out. I get achey and tired and can’t drive very far. When I am finally on the correct dose, I will have to continue with three monthly blood tests until my levels are stable again.
In reality, my previous thyroid cancer will affect me for the rest of my life. Even if I’m lucky enough to never have the cancer return, I will have to always be conscious of what my body is telling me. I have to take tablets every day for the rest of my life. I have learnt to know when I need a blood test and when my levels aren’t quite right. Things that I didn’t expect to make a difference, do make a difference. When I have a really active, busy, chaotic week, I get hit very hard by tiredness for a few days afterwards. Weight loss and weight gain affect my levels and dose. Age can also affect my levels. I will have to be mindful of hypothyroidism when planning any future pregnancies too. Missing even one dose affects how I feel.
In the grand scheme of things though, despite the above, I feel good. I feel healthy. I know I am cancer free and I am so very blessed for that. Psychologically, thyroid cancer made me a much stronger person. It gave me perspective. I no longer worry about trivial things or allow myself to get stressed. It’s made me more chilled out, more understanding, more lenient. Above all it’s made me more appreciative of my life and all the people in it. Every day spent healthy and with my beautiful children, is a day to celebrate life.
Usually in the winter, I hibernate. I don’t like the cold at all. I used to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder and winter made me quite depressed and I’d just stay indoors. Since Bunny started school in 2011, I’ve not been affected and I strongly believe that the reason is because the school run made me get outside in the fresh air and daylight. SAD is caused by not enough daylight or vitamin D (from sunlight) and staying indoors made my depression worse. So now, I try to make sure I get outside, even in winter.
Yesterday we decided we all needed some fresh air. Mike has been off work poorly and I’ve had a few days solidly working on my blog, rather than leaving the house. Cabin fever was starting to set in and make us all feel a bit grumpy. I suggested we all go for a walk, but somewhere different to usual.
We drove out into the Forest of Dean to Cannop Ponds. I’ve never actually been to the Forest of Dean before, despite living nearby. We were looking for somewhere that Mike has been to for walks in the past, but he couldn’t remember where it was. We ended up at Cannop Ponds, but it wasn’t the place he’d been looking for.
Cannop Ponds is a very small area with a few picnic tables and a bridge over the water, but it’s very pretty. We fed the ducks, who were part swimming, part walking as most of the pond was frozen solid. We had a good giggle at the ducks walking across the ice as they looked like they were ice skating. The combination of the icy ponds, our misty breath, the tall wintery trees and the thick blanket of fog surrounding us, made for a beautiful atmospheric scene around us. I only had my phone with me, not my DSLR but we still took some great photos. Most of these I am going to share over on my travel blog next week, as I re-launch my scenic photo linky known as #CheckOutThatView.
We only walked about 1km in the end, as we were short on time, but we certainly got adequately caked in mud in that time. Mike and I need to go out an buy some wellies before our next walk as Mr OCD wasn’t too pleased about getting mud on his trainers (but I enjoyed teasing him about it)!
Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. I can honestly say mine was the best I’ve had in many years. I don’t usually set new years resolutions, but this year, I do have some. Not so much resolutions, as there (for once) aren’t many things about my life that I want to change. These are more like new years goals, than resolutions. In no particular order:
Lose weight and tone up
Lose 7lbs. For the first time in my life (excluding pregnancy), my weight (in stones) has reached double figures. My mum and a few other people have made comment on my weight gain and this has made me very self conscious and unhappy with my body. In addition to other people noticing, I quite literally split my favourite jeans right open the other day when I bent over. I’m glad I was at home and not out in public. I’ve also gone up from a size 8-10 to a size 14. I know don’t need to lose loads, but half a stone will get me back to my usual weight, at which I am much more comfortable. I can’t actually blame the baby for my weight, as I didn’t gain it during my pregnancy. My weight gain is due to an abundance of cake, pastry and takeaways, which I’ve consumed since he was born. The plan is to lose 7lbs and tone up my tummy.
Get some sunshine
Travel somewhere sunny. I’ve been very grateful to have had some wonderful short breaks over the last two years, but the last time I actually had a full weeks holiday, somewhere hot and sunny, was May 2015. It’s time for some warmth. This year I hope to travel to at least one sunshine destination.
Write a book
I’d love to start writing my book. I’ve been planning to start writing my first book for the last two years. I’d love to have finished my book and sold it to a publisher by this time next year, but I’m trying to set smaller, more achievable goals and anything I achieve on top is a bonus. So this year, I want to make a good solid start on my book.
Be a better blogger
I want to catch up with my blogs and interact more. I’ve got more than 100 blog posts in my draft folder and more on my to-do list. I want to catch up with all of those, make sure I post at least 3 times per week on each blog and restart my linky on my travel blog. I also want to interact more with other bloggers and there’s a special month long project I am working on and hoping to share very soon.
Become debt free
I need to pay off my overdrafts. I did really well to pay off a lot of debts last year and this year I’d love to pay off my overdrafts. It’s going to take some willpower and I’ll have to cut back on a few things, but I’d like to think it’s achievable.
The plan is to redecorate three rooms in my house. When I moved into this house, almost a year ago, it was a mess. I saw it as potential. Myself, my boyfriend, my ex husband and a few friends have between us, done an awful lot of work to improve this house already. There’s still a long way to go, so I’d like to finish off the four rooms which I started and do up at least another three rooms.
Create a garden paradise
The garden. My garden needs a LOT of work, but I’m looking forward to completely transforming it in the spring. Hopefully.
A lot of people don’t like to make new years resolutions or set new goals, because it can be disheartening if you do not achieve them. But in the last few years I’ve become an optimist and I like to have challenges to work towards. Having goals motivates me. So these are mine and with a bit of luck and a lot of hard work, hopefully I can achieve them.
Pregnancy is hard enough on its own. You’re tired, uncomfortable, you can’t stop either being sick or eating. Then there are the endless trips to the toilet. But for most of us, unfortunately, we don’t get to just be pregnant. We have to manage to look after other children and carry on working or studying until the very end. If you’ve decided to continue studying (and there is no reason you shouldn’t) or even start a new course during your pregnancy, here are some tips to help you get through.
There are some great online study programs available now, whether it’s an undergraduate program, or something like a nurse practitioner doctorate degree you are after. Some universities might even give an in-school student the option to complete some of their study online. Studying online gives you the chance to be more flexible. You’ll get a lot more rest, and even chance to study in your pyjamas with your feet up if you need to.
Part Time Study
Part time is also a great option for getting extra rest. Again, even courses like a BSN to DNP online could be available part time. Speak to someone at your school to find out if this option could be available to you.
Remember to take regular rest breaks. Even if you are just sat in front of a computer, pregnancy is unbelievably tiring. Take some time out for a break every hour or so. Stretch your legs and have a drink.
As well as short breaks from study, you need some proper time out. Try and get a weekend away if you can, and leave it all behind. Just concentrate on yourself and your baby. Let someone else look after you, and enjoy it. Visiting family is a great idea, as they will all want to look after you as much as they can.
Exercise is really important while you are pregnant. It’ll keep you fit and healthy, help you avoid gaining too much weight, and could even make labour easier. When studying, its often easy to forget to exercise, or not have time. Make sure you at least go for a walk every day to keep active. Getting some fresh air will also help reduce stress and get a good night’s sleep.
You may feel like eating everything, but try to eat the right things. No one is going to deny a pregnant woman a few treats, but try to generally keep them healthy. If you are lacking in energy, try some energy boosting snacks, like fruit and nuts, to keep you going. Also, make sure you are getting loads of water. It’s more important than ever that you keep hydrated. Drink a full glass with meals, and keep a bottle with you when you are studying to sip from throughout the day.
There is no reason why both can’t be wonderfully exciting. Always remember to listen to your body and rest when you need to, and always speak to your doctor or midwife if you have any concerns.
My 9 year old daughter loves Num Noms and as a parent, at first, I didn’t really understand what they were. So to all the other clueless parents out there… Num Noms are small collectible toys, each with their own name and scent… yes… scent! Num Noms all smell like different food items. Each Num Nom also comes with either an ink stamp or a lip gloss (also referred to as a gloss-up). The stamp or gloss is known as a “Num” and the scented character is known as the “Nom”.
Right, so now that the explanation is out of the way…
Num Noms don’t actually do an advent calendar, but the lovely people who work in the PR department sent Bunny a Num Noms advent box. In it was 24 different gifts; mostly Num Noms, but also a few other little treats too. You could actually make one of these yourself, if you have a child as obsessed with them as mine. The Num Noms advent box has shown us all the different types of products available, from mystery boxes and blind bags, to deluxe sets with accessories.
During the first ten days of December, Bunny has opened a few mystery boxes, some Haribo, some popcorn, some Num Noms scented erasers, a starter pack and a deluxe set. The Num Noms are all from Season 2 of the collectibles, but I believe Season 3 may have also just launched too.
Bunny gets ridiculously excited about opening her Num Noms advent box and because she also loves making videos, we have filmed every single day. So if you’d like to see what was in her Num Noms advent box and see some of the current Num Noms products (which would make great Christmas presents), here’s her video of the first ten days of advent…
Bunny has always loved the mystery boxes and blind bags but from her Advent box so far, the thing she has liked most, is the Brunch Bunch Deluxe Set. She loved this set because it contained 6 Noms (including a mystery Nom), 2 motors and 2 accessories. This set would make a great Christmas gift for a child who is starting their Num Noms collection or who wants to give it a boost.
This Christmas is special because it is Baby Bear’s first Christmas, but also it is our first Christmas with Mike in our lives. Mike and I first met (on Tinder) when I was 6 months pregnant and Baby Bear is now four and a half months old (he was born 16 days overdue). We wanted to celebrate that by abandoning my usual red and gold themed Christmas tree decorations and doing away with my usual (slightly tacky and old) foil ceiling décor. This year we have gone for understated elegance. We went to the shops and bought all new Christmas tree decorations in a new colour scheme. We decided to go for silver and white, with a hint of baby blue. The tree is our only decoration this year, but we are looking for some cute light up penguins to go on my sideboard. Next year, we are planning to save up and go all out, illuminating the street by decorating the outside of our house and raising money for charity.
Just for fun, we made a little timelapse video so you can see us putting up our tree…
And here is some of my favourite bauble swag…
So we’ve got a mixture of baby blue, silver, clear, white and wood on our Christmas tree and somehow seem to have accrued quite a few animal decorations and there’s a few hearts in there too – a symbol of our love perhaps?! It wouldn’t be Christmas without reindeer though would it and Mike and I have quite a love for penguins too. We stuck with my old traditional white chaser fairy lights and we added some oversized fat silver tinsel. I’m really happy with our tree this year, I think it mixes traditional with modern and I love the colours. A newly decorated Christmas tree for a newly together family.
Bunny (9 years old) has always been a big fan of homemade food. She loves baking cakes and making nutritious smoothies. Yoghurt, was not something we had previously thought of making, until we were contacted by EasiYo. On being asked to test out the EasiYo yoghurt maker, we were intrigued and thought we’d give it a go.
We decided to make a little video too, which you can watch here:
We were given two different flavours of yoghurt to choose from… greek style yoghurt with rhubarb and summer fruits. Bunny chose to make summer fruits. There are many different flavours available to buy from £2.75 per packet. If you usually spend this price or more on yoghurt, then this is definitely a worthwhile investment. However, if like me, you usually only spend about £1 per week on yoghurt, this sounds startling at first. I think it’s worth mentioning that this does make 1kg of yoghurt and you are getting the benefits of a homemade taste. There are also different toppings and different styles of yoghurt available to buy.
The great thing about EasiYo yoghurt, is that as well as a homemade taste, all the yoghurts are free from artificial colours or flavours. It’s also a good source of calcium and protein, which helps promote healthy teeth and bones.
The yoghurt only takes a couple of minutes to make, as you simply add water to the packet mix, shake and put into the yoghurt maker along with boiling water. However, you do need to leave it 8-12 hours to set. Once made, the yoghurt has quite a long shelf life and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Another positive of the EasiYo yoghurt maker is the price. It can be bought for around £16.75 (current price at time of publishing this article) from EasiYo, which is very inexpensive. We found the yoghurt really tasted quite nice. I personally found the texture a little thick, but I think that might have been our fault for not reading the instructions properly before we made it… you are supposed to put the water in BEFORE the powder!
This yoghurt was so easy to make, that it’d be ideal to make with children of any age and a nice way to encourage children to eat more yoghurt. I think in future I’d serve it with fruit, to also encourage my children to eat more fruit.