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Birthdays as a Parent

Pre-kids, Birthdays were somewhat of an exiting affair. In our house, you often got breakfast (of your choice) in bed, presents, and then a meal (of your choice). We usually went out; whether it be for a spot of shopping or just down to the beach. When we were young(er), we may have even ventured out out, like, to an actual bar!

Pregnant, but out out!

Post-kids, birthdays are completely different – or it certainly has been this year! This year has definitely reminded me I am now a parent.

My birthday celebrations started when I came down with some sort of poisoning. It wasn’t pretty. So after leaving work four hours early, I went straight to bed. This would have been the perfect birthday treat if my current company wasn’t a bucket!

By 4am my body had had enough sleep; which wasn’t bad considering I was asleep by 6pm (my body must have been making up for the last 13 months), however it’s likely I was woken by a wailing T who had woken up to his eyes being glued shut thanks to conjunctivitis.
S was wresting with him to not only change his nappy (which he hates right now) but to clean his eyes. T wasn’t having any of it.

After jokingly wishing me a happy birthday, S got on with changing him. S had already prepped a bottle of boob and therefore ordered me back to bed (we still hadn’t confirmed whether my dodgy tummy was food poisoning or a bug, and that’s all we needed – baby vomit).

He woke 2 hours later, his eyes even worse than before so after some breakfast (which I just about stomached) and presents (which T helped me open – wasn’t too blind for that!), we went off to the eye hospital’s A&E department.

As expected, T didn’t nap like he usually does in the car, even though we had timed going out around his nap time. How stupid. Now we had a cranky and poorly baby.

Although the staff were amazing, jumping T ahead of the already forming queue (who knew there’d be so many eye emergencies on a Saturday afternoon!), we were still there for almost 2 hours by the time they found the right equipment and treatment.

Loaded with drops and a baby with bright orange eyes thanks to his fluorescein test, we decided to try and make the most out of the day by visiting a local farm, however the weather got the better of us so we gave up and just went home.

By the time we got home, we just about managed to squeeze in a film before it was dinner time for T and then bed. Once he was asleep, I just about managed a curry (unheard of for me) before it was bedtime for us. How very rock and roll!

Although I seem to have just been unlucky this year, I can’t imagine that future birthdays will be any different (minus the eye gunk and vomit). Long gone are the days of lay ins and meals out, but who cares – I have this as a view now.

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K

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I’m going to #BML16

When started this blog back in 2012 I never thought I’d ever have the desire to attend a blogging conference. I assumed they were for professional bloggers. Not me. If I’m being honest, I guffawed at the thought of sitting in a room to talk ‘blog’. I love(d) blogging, but at the time, not THAT much.

However, over the past few years, I’ve read several wonderful blogs, become friends with these wonderful bloggers, and have really got into blogging. Because of this, I’ve decided to bite the proverbial  bullet and buy a ticket to Britmums Live.

The guys at Britmums have set up a ‘I’m going to Britmums (#BML16)’ linky for attendees as bit of an Ice breaker. Here’s mine:

My name: Kate

My blog: www.lesbemums.com

Find me on Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

How I look:


Is this my first blogging event: Yes! I’m excited, nervous, giddy, apprehensive, you name it. I’ve been reading blogs for years, and so the thought of meeting some of their authors has turned me into bit of a fan-girl.

I’ll be wearing: Most likely jeans, a t-shirt, and my decade old converse that have seen better days!

What I hope to gain from #BML16: Primarily friendships, but if I’m able to learn a few things then that’ll be a bonus!

My tips for a great conference: As this is my first conference, I don’t have many. However, I guess organisation is key. I’ve already started packing my conference bag. It currently contains; my phone/camera, notepad, pens, portable charger, book(s), snacks, a loaded Starbucks card!

K

Are you going to Britmums? What are you looking forward to?

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Days Out: Spring Barn Farm, Lewes

Last week, Sharon and I decided to take some friends to Spring Barn Farm in Lewes. Spring Barn Farm is a local farm and camp site to us, but we’ve never got around to going as we wanted T to be of an age where he’d appreciate it.

It was a lovely day weather wise, which made the experience all the more enjoyable as the majority of the activities are outdoors.

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As well as T, we also had a 15 month old and an 8 year old in our party so I was a little worried that there wouldn’t be enough to entertain everyone, however I was mistaken!

After we bought our tickets we went through to the outdoor main area. This area is huge and consists of several play areas, bouncy pillows, and a pedal go-kart track for the bigger kids (including me). There’s also an indoor feeding and petting area that had everything from rabbits and guinea pigs to Llama!

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I think this was our favourite area (for now) as T got to walk around the barn and interact with the animals. He was most intrigued by the Llama, or more they were with him.

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Outside, the animals continued to appear with an array of enclosures around the main play area including Sheep, Goat, Ducks, fluffy pigs, and, my favourite, Donkeys.

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I really liked how the enclosures were designed, it made it look more interesting and the animals seemed to be really happy.
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After spending 2 very quick hours outside playing on the bouncy pillows and digging in the sand, we then went indoors for a coffee in the soft play area. This area was surprisingly big with a variety of areas play on as well as two large vertical slides. Even on a busy Sunday, we were able to find seating and our friend’s children were able to play without any queuing on the slide.

The only downside to Spring Barn farm is the café area itself. It probably needs a little updating as the serving area was quite cramped, and the menu could probably do with being expanded as although there was a variety of cooked food (burgers, ciabattas, etc.) available, there wasn’t much choice when it came to things like cakes and treats; although this could have been because of the time of day we visited. Apart from that, however, it was really enjoyable and reasonably priced. We got a round of chips and hot drinks, with ice creams all round.

Spring Barn Farm is absolutely stunning with the whole farm being surrounded by 360 degree countryside.

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Attached to the farm is also a campsite, which may come in handy later on this year when we practise our tent building skills. I’d certainly like to wake up to the sound of cows and ducks in the morning.

There’s also a gorgeous farm and gift shop onsite, full of food grown locally. Whilst there, we picked up our dinner for the evening, and a book for T. At the shop you can also buy food for the animals during your visit.

I’d highly recommend giving Spring Barn Farm a visit, especially during lambing season. The kids can really stretch their legs and there’s a huge variety of things to do and see.

K

We were not compensated for this review, we just thought it was great!

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The Breastfeeding Chronicles: Golden Boobs.

This month I received my golden boobie award!

For those of you that don’t know what I’m talking about, there’s a fun award system within the breastfeeding community for every milestone you reach during your breastfeeding journey. It looks something like this:-

community.babycentre.co.uk

community.babycentre.co.uk

And why not? Breastfeeding is hard. So why not have a little fun whilst doing it.

I honestly didn’t know how long I’d last, I didn’t know how long T would want it, but getting to a year has made me feel so proud — especially as I only thought I’d feed until T started teething, but the fact that he started teething at 3 months meant I had to continue, there was no way I was going to stop at 3 months.

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The first few weeks were really hard. It hurt. Every day I told myself to get to the end of the day, but then the ‘end of the day’ turned into ‘the end of the week’. As it got easier, as the pain faded, something kept me going. Maybe it was watching T thrive. Maybe it was because I was/am too tight to pay £10 for a tub of formula when I have all the free food I can get right on my chest. Who knows. Either way, though, I kept going and out of no where I reached a whole year. I couldn’t be happier.

I’m over the moon that I’ve reached this huge milestone, however it has come with an ever approaching downside.

T has started to wean himself off the boob.

It started a few weeks ago when T only took a few sips of milk one morning, but was still moaning as if he was hungry. I offered again, but it didn’t seem to quench his moans. I wondered whether it was me and that I was empty, but after a quick squeeze (big mistake, sorry curtains) I realised that I wasn’t the issue.  It wasn’t until I offered breakfast that he was back to his happy self. T didn’t want milk. This has been going on for a few weeks, on and off, regardless of whether he’s slept through or not.

This week, however, has seen the biggest change of them all when T went a whole day (apart from a little drink before bedtime) without boob. A whole day. This was unheard of. Usually, he’d need a little something before nap time, but no. He just went to sleep. At the moment I wait for him to signal that he wants some boob, it’s only when he’s under the weather or teething (i.e. Requiring a bit more comfort) that I offer, however most of the time it’s up to him to tell me, and this works out great. Since starting nursery he gets a bottle of cows milk in the afternoon before nap time, as I can’t keep up with pumping for S and nursery so I reserve my expressed milk for S and her bedtime routine, and so to stick to this routine, on my days off, I give T a bottle of cows milk in the afternoon. It’s a really nice routine, it gives T the extra calories, and T seems to like it as well. But I can’t help but think that this is the beginning of the end.

If I’m honest, now that I’ve reached a year, I was hoping to get to at least 15-18 months. Why? No idea. It just felt like a good age to think (not stop) about weaning him off. Before, teeth were my milestone, and then it became weaning, but then we just kept going. If T wanted it, he got it. I guess since hitting a year I assumed we’d keep going until we both felt it was right, however T seems to have reached this point before I have!

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I don’t know how I feel about this, and in a strange way I don’t know whether I’m ready to stop yet. It sounds weird (thanks to society and their damn sexualisation), but I enjoy feeding T.  I enjoy providing for him. I enjoy that moment where everything stops and it’s just us. Deep down, perhaps breastfeeding, to me, signifies that T is still a “baby” and by not wanting to feed anymore he’s no longer a “baby” and is reaching toddlerhood.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to work on the “Don’t offer, don’t refuse” method of feeding as kindly suggested by someone recently. I like this as it means its up to him to lead, and maybe my boobs will get a well deserved rest.

So… Is it up to me to decide? When did you “stop”? How did you feel about it? I’d love to read about your journey.

K

 

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#Photo365 Photo Challenge: April In Pictures.

April was a busy month for us, what with T turning one!

To celebrate, we threw a wonderful birthday party, where we were surrounded by all our closest friends and family. For T’s actual birthday, we visited Marwell Zoo.

In addition to birthday celebrations, I returned to work and S celebrated her birthday!

We’re still really enjoying taking part in this photo challenge, especially now that T is on the move – although this can make photos a little challenging to capture. With this in mind, now that the weather is improving, we’re looking forward to capturing a lot more photos outside!

If you’d like to follow our Photo365 challenge, you can find us over on our Instagram here.

K

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7 Reasons I Love Babywearing (Giveaway). 

If follow us on Instagram, you’ll already know that I love Babywearing. Don’t get me wrong, I love our pram, and often get buggy-envy, but having T close to me is something really special.

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From the first time I went to a sling library, to the moment I got to grips with a woven, it’s been fun (in a sweaty, frustrating, why-won’t-he-go-any-higher kinda way).

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If you’re thinking of Babywearing, whether it’s via a stretchy or a buckle based carrier, here are my top 5 reasons why I choose to carry T.

1. You can multi-task. Cooking? Cleaning? Gardening (OK, maybe not). There have been countless times I’ve needed to keep my Velcro baby calm whilst still trying to get on with stuff, and 9 times out of 10 the cuddle of a wrap has helped. It’s also been there for when Oscar has needed a walk at the same time as T needing a nap!

2. Bonding. Closeness is crucial to a babies’ development, so investing in Babywearing promotes this 100%.

3. Feeding on the go. Although I haven’t quite mastered feeding T on the move, I’ve given it a good go, especially when T’s only needed little top up after waking from a nap.


4. Comfort for T. When being put down wasn’t an option, or when T had a light case of colic, putting T in the carrier gave him comfort.

5. Calories! Regardless of whether I’ve just walked the dog or popped to the shops, it’s likely I would have burnt a extra calories. More cake!


6. It’s cheap. Although there are some exceptions, most stretchy wraps, soft structures carriers, or mei tais will be cheaper than your basic travel system!

7. It’s fun but addictive! Thanks to the different colours and designs, it’s very doubtful that once you find your carrier you’ll stop at one. It’s not helped with the endless Babywearing selling pages that keep popping up!

My first taste of Babywearing was in the form of a stretchy wrap. It’s forgiving fabric meant I could quickly put T into a basic carry and we’d both be comfortable for the duration of cooking dinner.

If, like me, you could do with something similar, the lovely folk over at WeMadeMe are giving away a The Wuti Wrap™ (RRP £49.99) which is a hybrid, two-way stretchy wrap made from a unique, breathable material that stretches both lengthways and crossways. The innovative combination of both woven and stretchy fabrics ensures it is super-strong and flexible – perfect for wrapping baby in!

The first nine months of baby’s life is when they crave the most comfort and security. The wrap, therefore, enables baby to make a gentle transition from womb to wearer with as little separation as possible.

It is so comfy and the best bit of all it is so lightweight and fits in a teeny pouch so you can have it with you always!

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To enter, follow the link below (T&C’s in link). Good Luck!

Enter Competition

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Days Out: Marwell Zoo

For T’s birthday, we decided to take him to Marwell Zoo for the day.

Marwell Zoo is based in Winchester and is a whopping 140 acres in size.

We’ve never been before as its not exactly local to us, however as we wanted to go somewhere that felt like a real trip for T’s birthday, we decided to give the 90 minute journey a go.

Marwell is based in stunning woodland and as soon as you arrive you feel like you’re in a different world. They’ve even built a hotel within the complex recently, which may be an option for us later on as there are a few attractions nearby that we’d also like to visit.

From smaller animals such as Penguins, marmosets, and lemur, to larger animals such as Giraffe, Rhino, and Zebra, it really has it all.


The zoo also houses several play areas for when little ones need a break from all the sight seeing as well as a restaurant, cafe area, and several picnic sites. The zoo is also really pretty, which makes walking between enclosures enjoyable. 

For lunch we decided to treat ourselves and buy something from the restaurant. Although there was a huge selection of hot and cold food, it was a little pricey. Our two sandwiches, two packets of crisps, and two brownies cost us just over £15! T was sadly asleep, but that didn’t stop us picking him up some herb potatoes for when he eventually woke up. It was HIS birthday after all. 


We were at Marwell all day – there was no way we could have left any earlier without missing out on animals. There was a small train that travelled around the park throughout the day as well as a tractor bus that did pick up and drop offs (which is also buggy friendly!) this may be an option later when T is walking so we don’t miss the talks. 


Marwell is a really impressive zoo and although it may not have a huge population of animals in comparison to other zoos, because they have animals on the larger side of things, they make up for the quantity with the quality. 

 

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12 Month Update

I’m The big ONE. T is now a full 12 months old.


Starting this update with a bang, T had an amazing first birthday and got spoilt rotten by friends and family.

We decided to go to Marwell zoo on his actual birthday and then have a party on the Saturday.

Marwell was wonderful. Despite the on and off rain, we still had a lovely day. T was awake for the giraffes; which are at the beginning, but then promptly fell asleep! He then woke in time to see an emu, which he enjoyed immensly.

At least this way it meant S and I got to spend some quiet time with each other; reminiscing about the past twelve months.

We’ll write more about our day trip later, but the day itself was brilliant. T actually woke up on time, meaning we got to do everything and leave the house on time. I’m also pretty sure he woke up taller.  

The party on Saturday was so much fun. The house was full of colour and as usual we did enough food to feed a small army. S did all the cooking and I was left to get creative with banners and bunting!

As expected, we made sure T looked as dapper as ever. Suprisingly, that white shirt remained white throughout the whole day!


Within a few minutes of everyone arriving, there was a wonderful hum coming from all the chatter and play. It was lovely to finally watch all our friends children play together.
Despite only having a 30 minute nap, T lasted the whole day without getting crabby. The food he gorged on probably helped though!Because of the size of our house, we were unfortunately limited to inviting only family and close friends, however we’re hoping to organise another social gathering in a few weeks at a local park for his other friends.

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In other news, T’s movement is coming on leaps and bounds, literally. When he’s using his walker, or us as balance, he can pick up quite a decent speed if his path is free.


He really enjoys walking, especially when he’s outside. I’m impressed how quickly he’s picked it up since he started less than a month ago. He loves the “freedom” (as does his gut, which moves a lot more freely now) but his head is often faster than his feet (and us). I can’t wait to be able to chase him or him chase us.


Weaning went back a few weeks at the start of the month thanks to a sickness bug that he picked up from somewhere (no idea where, but I was pretty angry about it as it messed up his nursery settling in sessions). One night, he just woke at 1am, had a feed, and then just threw that and his dinner back up and then proceeded to do so until he just fell asleep through exhaustion at 4am. The next day wasn’t any better as he continued to be sick after most feeds – it was like a game of roulette as to whether he’d be sick on me. Thankfully, everything calmed down by lunchtime the following day, however he’s only just got his appetite back now.

 
Staying on the subject of appetite, I got my golden boobs award as soon as T hit 12 months. I’ll probably write more about this later, as I don’t think I can do it justice here, but for now I just want to say that I’m incredibly proud of myself (which isn’t something I say often!). I remember T’s first feed like it was yesterday, and although it’s been tough at times and exhausting both mentally and physically, I’m glad I stuck at it.


As mentioned, T started nursery this month. The first day went surprisingly well. I dropped him off and despite him watching me leave, he didn’t cry once. Instead, he made his way to the table ready for lunch. He then proceeded to play until pick up. What’s more is that he’s also started napping at nursery! This is huge as not only does he usually need boob to nap, but the nap has to be on someone (unless we only want a 30 minute nap) – nursery has quashed both these factors as he’s slept in their crib a few times now AND without milk – I’m still trying to find out their secret! Saying that, I’m in no rush to move away from baby snuggles.

 
My first day back at work once T was dropped off went, again, surprisingly well. It felt like I’d never left and apart from the phone systems, I carried on where I’d left off. It was great. Deep down I was glad to be back. Jokes aside, I enjoyed being “me” again.

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So this is going to be my last official update until T hits 18 months. Thanks to work, I now have less time to blog, and to be honest, there won’t be as many milestones anyway. I will continue to write where I can, especially when the big milestones happen, but I’m afraid I won’t be doing the monthly ones. If you’ve followed from the start, thank you! I’d love to know what your favourite month was! I think mine was…

At this point, I’d like to thank Lauren for hosting our monthly #whatmykiddid linky. Like me, Lauren has also returned to work following maternity leave, so the reigns for the monthly linky have now been passed over.

I’ve really enjoyed linking up as its not only encouraged me to write the updates, but I’ve been able to read about other growing little ones. If you’d like to join in with any updates about your little one(s), feel free to follow the link with instructions.

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As we enter a new chapter, I have no idea what it’s going to bring us. Fingers crossed for independent steps, and within the next 12 months, maybe even words! I’m still saddened when I think T is moving further and further away from being a baby, but it’s now becoming really exciting.


K

#WhatMyKidDid
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My Son… Thank You

My Dearest,

As you snuggle deeper into my arms for what feels like the last time I want to take this time to thank you. To thank you for the most amazing year. It’s been incredible. 

Part of me knew it would be, I’ve been waiting for you for so long, but the other part of me was quite anxious. Will I be good enough? Will I know what to do once we’re left alone? Will you know what to do? 

I’m still learning. We’re still learning. 

It wasn’t long before we got into the swing of things. By 7am most days we were alone. Alone for 12 hours some days. We shared everything together. We went everywhere together. It was very rare for us to be apart. You wouldn’t allow it. But that was fine. I learnt that that’s what you needed, and who was I tell you otherwise?

It’s been a journey and a half, son. We’ve been through a lot. I’ve fed you. I’ve carried you in more ways than one. Loved you unconditionally. The latter was easy. 

Over the past year you’ve proved I had so much more love to give when I thought all of it was already given to your mama. You’ve proved I had more strength, more energy. More everything. I don’t know how or where, but you found it. You’ve pushed me past limits no one has ever taken me, and at times broken me. Thank you.

Now the more difficult part begins. We have to go our separate ways for a while. It won’t be for long. Trust me. I won’t allow it. My head will be at work, sometimes, but my heart will be with you, always. 

No matter how long this stage lasts remember this, I will never forget this past year and I hope you feel the same. 

Thank you, sweetheart. I love you. 

Mummy. 

  

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#Photo365 Photo Challenge: March in Pictures.

Another busy one this month as I’ve really pushed to make sure we’ve made the most out of our last few weeks together before I return to work and T heads off to nursery.

If you follow us on Twitter, you’ll know I’ve shared my fair few gripes with a teething baby, therefore I’m surprised we have so many pictures with genuine smiles in them!

As usual, you can follow us on Instagram, but in the meantime, here’s what our March looked like: