Monday, 25 May 2015

Cool summer outfits for my little boys

 We had a lovely April, didn't we?  Lots of sunshine, enough to sit out in the garden and to have a picnic in the park.  The weather inspired me to go out and buy lots of lovely summery clothes for my two little dudes.  I'm frustrated that I haven't been able to dress them in their summery clothes as often as I'd like in this rather rainy and cold May, but I'm planning to make the most of these togs during our holiday at the end of this month.

Here's my pick of my favourite recently bought outfits:

 1. Next jeans with pineapple braces (M LOVES wearing these!).
2. Hello Weekend t-shirt from Zara (bought to go with the shorts with braces).
3. Little Bird towelling playsuit (I splashed out on one of these for each of the boys as I thought they'd be perfect to throw on after the swimming pool on holiday.
4. Zara fish-print baby leggings.  I love Zara leggings, and these look gorgeous on F.
5. Navy blue polo shirt from F&F. Looks great with the fish leggings.
6. Next shorts (2 pack) with boat print.  I love anything nautical, so these were a must buy for M.
7.  And these t shirts from Next are really nice quality.
8. I bought both boys this Next t-shirt, as I really think they are the best brothers in the world!
9. Star jeans from Next.  These are so cool, and have sold out almost immediately, so I was lucky to get hold of a pair for M.
10. H&M short dungarees. I was in two minds about whether these would suit M, but I went for it, and they look so nice on.
11. Last year, M had a pair of Crocs which he lived in all summer. This year, we've gone for this version from Marks and Spencer, which are great value.
12.  Next hoodie for M in a lovely summery Aqua colour.

I really love dressing my two boys; it's turning into quite a hobby searching for lovely clothes for them.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

A Seven Month Update: My Second Boy

My Little F,

You turned seven months a couple of weeks ago and I am a bit late writing your monthly update.  These shots were all taken on 12th May 2015, when you turned 7 months. 

You have the most beautiful blue eyes

Weight and Body

You were weighed when you were 26 weeks old, just after you turned six months, and you'd reached 16lbs.  You really are getting heavy to carry around now. When I carry you in your car seat, it is almost too much for me now, so I am going to have to stop doing that soon.  You're now well and truly out of your 3-6 month clothes and quite a few of the 6-9 clothes are becoming a little tight too!  You're growing so fast. 

The sitting that you'd been practising last month has come on in leaps and bounds, and by the time you were 7 months you were able to sit for a good 20 seconds before toppling backwards.  We were still waiting for you to roll over though.

I was surprised when I discovered that you can stand against something by the time you hit seven months. I wasn't really expecting you to be able to do this until you'd mastered sitting, but you are very sturdy on your chubby little legs, so you may just be a little bit earlier in taking your first steps than your brother.

Looking pretty proud that you can stand up!
Your hand-eye co-ordination really improved this month, and you began to reach for your toys more readily, and to turn them about to examine them.

And your hair!  So cute!  This month it sprouted upwards in a blonde fuzzy crew-cut.  Daddy and I couldn't stop rubbing our hands over the top of it.


This month you learnt how to play Peekaboo, which is just the most adorable thing.  We didn't really teach you how to do it, but one day you picked up a tea towel whilst sitting in your high chair, and you pulled it over your head, then down again, with this cheeky little smile on your face. You knew exactly what you were doing.  You're so funny, and seem to have a real sense of humour.

Just relaxing!

You have a smile for everyone who talks to you. Sometimes it's a shy little smile, with your head lowered and your eyes peering upwards, but mostly, it's a big sunshiney grin.  You chuckle easily, particularly at your big brother, and your giggles always give you the hiccups.  I've noticed that you really like to hear music, and you adore singing songs when I take you to baby groups. 

Feeding and Teething
Weaning went well this month, and by the time you were seven months, you were having three meals a day.  You definitely have a bit of a sweet tooth though, preferring your puddings to your main courses, and you also like anything with cheese in it.  You do like to have your own spoon to dip into your food and wave about while we are feeding you.  It seems like you have an independent streak like your big brother!  Talking of whom, M has helped me to feed you a few times, something which the both of you found absolutely hilarious!  In terms of finger foods, you have very slowly got a little better in handling foods and bringing them up to your mouth, but there is no real interest yet from you in actually eating much.

Again, there is still no tooth on the horizon, and there is still a LOT of dribbling. 

We are still breastfeeding, but this month, the number of feeds has naturally dropped as your solid food intake has increased.  You're still wanting a feed once or twice a night though.


Between turning six and seven months, sleeping has been pretty good really.  You've settled nicely into your cot and bedroom, and although I have to get up to feed you around midnight, and 3am (and sometimes another time) you are sleeping pretty peacefully.  Your naps have definitely assumed more of a pattern this month. You want to go for your first nap two hours after you wake up (usually around 9am) and then you'll want another nap after lunch. Your third nap is very much hit and miss; you will fall asleep if we're out in the car, but otherwise not.

You are the most adorable baby there ever was.  Part of me wants you to stay this age forever, so I can always keep you close to me, and so I can always kiss the top of your head and hold you to me in the middle of the night. x

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

9 lessons learnt during the pre-school year

We are approaching the end of my big boy's days at pre-school.  As one of the youngest in his year group, turning four in July, he has only been there since September, so it's a stage in his life that seems to have gone by very quickly.

Here are my nine lessons learnt by being mummy to a pre-schooler:

1. If there is a uniform, buy it.  And buy more of it than you think you're going to need.  You want to send your little angel out into the big wide world dressed in something half decent, but trust me, it's going to come back (even after a half-session) with green paint up the sleeves, snot on the cuffs, and yogurt spattered down the front.  I wave goodbye to a dapper little chap in the morning and invariably collect a street urchin at 2.45pm.

2. That your pre-schooler will spend much of their pre-school year being poorly.  No sooner do they finally get rid of that lingering snail-trail of a cold than they fall prey to another bout of the lurgy.  They're mixing with a group of children with various combinations of germs, and it's inevitable that they'll spend more time poorly than well.  And you will get these germs too.  Wider members of your family will also join the infected.  This year, I've had about three colds, one horrendous dose of the flu, and an episode of laryngitis.  One particular nasty virus did the rounds of M, F, me, my mum, my sister, my nan and my mother and father in law. Stock up on Calpol for them and paracetamol for you.

3. That, even if your child is fortunate enough to escape the dreaded nits, you will spend much of your free time sitting on the floor with your child's head clamped between your knees, inspecting their scalp like a mother orang-utan.

4. You will make very many journeys home from pre-school, (hoods up against the gales and the rain) holding your child's sticky hand, pushing the pram with the other, with enough pre-school art wedged under your arm to start a new Tate Modern.  It usually comes in the guise of a loo roll inner tube stuck precariously with sticky tape to an empty tissue box stuck even more precariously with sticky tape to a cereal box, all daubed in yet-to-dry paint.  'Look at my rocket, Mummy!'  Then, when you get home, you have the dilemma of how long you have to keep the thing on display before moving it closer and closer towards the recycling bin and then finally judging the best moment to ditch it.  'Mummy, where's my rocket?'

5. At the beginning of the pre-school days, much like the first few weeks of a new school term when you couldn't wait to write in your pristine exercise book and use your sharp new pencils, the first few weeks of preparing lunchboxes for your child is a real novelty.  Visions of lovingly prepared mini salads, wraps and sliced tropical fruits give way to the same rotation of three bog standard sarnies, yogurt, apple/banana/Satsuma and maybe a little treat like a cake or Freddo frog.  Make friends with kitchen foil and sealable sandwich bags, because those mini Tupperware containers ain't coming back home!  And plastic spoons are a necessity, otherwise your cutlery drawer will soon become rather bereft of teaspoons.

6. Don't stress about the Accident Book.  The first couple of times that M's key worker informed me that he was wearing a wristband (theme-park style) because he had had a 'little accident' I went into a mini panic.  It turns out that he stubbed his toe.  One particular day, I collected him and he was sporting two accident bands (a badge of honour?) but it's never been anything more than a little bump on the head or a knock on the knee.

7. Getting out of the house and to pre-school punctually, and at the same time as the entire area's workforce, the local primary school kids, and the local secondary school kids, is a bit of a skill to master.  I've learnt this year exactly how much of a time buffer I have to build in to our departure to take account of the following:

  • a point-blank refusal to get dressed/brush his teeth/get in the car
  • a little brother nappy explosion
  • getting stuck behind the school bus
  • being unable to park within a mile of pre-school
  • a last-minute breastfeed for little brother
Still, however long I leave, I always seem to cut it fine.

8. You will receive invitations to a LOT of birthday parties of children you don't know.  You're not even sure whether your child knows the birthday boy/girl.  I've tested M by asking him if he knows certain kids in his pre-school, and then by making up names. He always says that he knows the made-up child.  You begin to realise that it doesn't matter whose party it is; as far as your little one is concerned, there's a bouncy castle, and sausages on sticks and fairy cakes, so who cares?  The time then comes for your own child's party and you feel the temptation to do something different to the tried and tested party in the sports centre with the bouncy castle and the sausages and the cakes, but come to the realisation that it's a popular format for a reason.  Chiefly, that (a) it's not in your house, and (b) you don't have to supervise pass the parcel for 30 four year olds.

9.  But all of this comes with some good parts.  As well as a bit of a break from the constant Lego, trips to the park, and at-home crafting sessions, you will also get to see that look of absolute adoration when you arrive to collect your grubby, yogurt-spattered, wristband-wearing, paint-daubed cherub, and feel your heart swell as they squeal,  'It's MY Mummy!!!  Can you carry this rocket, Mummy?'

You Baby Me Mummy

Monday, 18 May 2015

I Love You to the Moon and Back

Every family has their own traditions and funny little rituals, and one that I share with my big boy, M,  is the 'I Love You to the Moon and Back' thing that we do at bedtime.

This little bedtime tradition spun out of reading a special book to him, 'Guess How Much I Love You' by Sam McBratney with illustrations by Anita Jeram.  Every Christmas, I've given M a special, classic book, and I've written a little message inside the cover for him.  For his first Christmas, in December 2011, the book was 'Guess How Much I Love You'.  We began reading it when he was three.

It's such a sweet little story, with gorgeous illustrations, about Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare, who try to demonstrate just how much they love each other; the book ending with Big Nutbrown Hare telling his little one that he loves him 'right up to the Moon -  and back'. 

I read this story to M one night, and as I tucked him in I was overcome with a wave of love for him. I snuggled up next to him and told him that I loved him to the Moon and back. He listened, entranced, interested as only a three year old boy can be, in concepts involving measurements, journeys and space.  The next time I put him to bed, I told him again that I loved him, not just to the Moon and back, but also to the stars and back. And so it began. 

Our little ritual has now developed a life of its own, involving more and more outlandish journeys to exciting and dangerous places, but always ending up with building a rocket and flying up to the Moon.  After his bedtime stories, M will say, "Mummy, do the 'I Love Yous!' "  Here's a typical night's 'I Love Yous'.

I love you ...
through the dark forest,
around the swamp,
over the stile,
into the sweet shop (buy a big bag of sweets) [M always giggles when I put this in],
across the meadow,
into the village,
ride our bikes very fast down the hill,
build a big rocket, and fly up to the Moon and back.
Now my turn!
I love you
over the field,
ride on the rollercoaster,
get on the aeroplane to our holiday,
make a BIG sandcastle on the beach,
into the toy shop,
build a rocket,
up to the Moon and back

Then I usually have to do one more before I insist on bedtime.

It's a lovely little thing we share together.  When I  hear him add adventures into his version, it gives me small insights into the way he thinks.  It's a special way we have of taking some quiet time at the end of the day to giggle and snuggle up together, to bond and connect.

And, for me, the sense of the inability to truly explain the depth of your love for your child that's portrayed in 'Guess How Much I Love You', is something I often think about.  It's a love that has physical manifestations: I wince with pain and fear when I imagine anything bad happening to my two boys; I dissolve into tears of joy often, at the most simple things they say or do; and I carry within my heart such unfathomable feeling for them that there is nothing I can write that will really capture it. 

So I kiss his beautiful face and tell him that I love him to the Moon and back.  But I know that it's much, much more than that.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

My Two Little Brothers {Siblings: May 2015}

Well another month has passed and it's time once again to document the growing relationship between these two little chaps with the Siblings project.
Since last month's post, I have noticed a real development in the interaction between my two little boys.  It's mostly due to the fact that F is now able to sit independently.  Just being on the same eye level as his big brother has opened up the opportunity for many more bonding moments between them.
Here they both are in M's room, relaxing after M's day at pre-school, with The Jolly Postman book.  M was proudly 'reading' it to F, insisting that he look at each page, and that he listen to every single one of the letters that form part of the book.  He's a bossy little man (think he gets that from me!).

Last month I wrote about a kind of hero-worship that I often see in F's face when he watches M, and I promised myself I would try to capture that in an image.  I think I've done it below.  It makes me smile so much to see this. 

Both of these little boys adore having a sibling.  The love between them is unmistakeable.  M is always telling me not to forget F when we're getting ready to leave the house (!) and the grin that spreads over F's face when M comes home from pre-school is utterly heart-warming.

I think their personalities are going to be quite different. M is quite serious, single-minded, and always on the look out for the next thing to do, whereas his little brother is calmer, happier to watch the world go by, and seems to be developing an early sense of humour.  My wish for them is that, despite these differences in character, they are able to remain close, and to learn from each other.

dear beautiful

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Me and Mine {April 2015}

We have a last minute family portrait of the four of us this month.  Blogging has definitely been on the backburner!

In April:
I have:
*loved having some warm sunshine so that the boys and I could play in the garden
*enjoyed indulging in two new Boden dresses for summer
*relished spending Easter Sunday with my family
*been glad to make the decision to go a bit blonder for the summer
*had fun meeting up with the NCT gang for a picnic and walk in the forest
*not enjoyed having the flu in the first part of the month
Two Boy Daddy has:
*enjoyed the chance to see a Saturday afternoon football match again
*been doing well on the 5:2 diet
*enjoyed watching 'Banished' on the TV
*had a rare night out with the lads
The First Boy has:
*become a little obsessed with Shaun the Sheep episodes!
*learnt a new word: 'Magnificent!'
*been enjoying junk modelling at pre-school
*loved feeding the goats and sheep at Ash End Farm
*sat on a pony for the first time
*decided that he will eat burgers, meatballs and salmon
*learnt how to twist spaghetti round his fork
*developed a real love of cleaning (especially using spray polish and kitchen spray cleaner)
The Second Boy has:
*learnt how to sit up independently
*started to put out his hands to be picked up
*started to eat lots of different foods, with pureed fruit as his favourite
*sat on the grass for the first time
*loved Mummy singing 'Tickly Rain' to him

dear beautiful