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Baby Savannah – 6 month Progress Update

I cannot believe the changes since I wrote the last update about my beautiful daughter Savannah at 3 months old. A lot changes in 3 months, in the world of a baby.

6 month old sitting up

Physical Development

This is the area that she has changed the most, at 3 months she  Continue reading

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16 Santa Spectacular reasons to visit Willows Activity Farm

We were super excited when we heard about the truck-load of activities on offer at Willows Activity Farm, as part of their Santa Spectacular, we could tell that this would be no ordinary visit to Santa, and boy were we right! There were so many wonderful all-inclusive activities that I decided to list the top 16, though there were more!

As Dermot O’Leary says every week on X-Factor…in no particular order:

1. Visiting Santa

Of course this is the backbone to any santa visit, although as an aside, in my day (yes I am old) a visit to Santa included a visit to santa, and sometimes you got a cheap toy, that you didn’t choose, so Santa visits have definitely come a long way, they certainly include a lot of bells and whistles now-a-days, but that are much more exciting!

We took a walk through the grotto and enjoyed the winter scenery, had a chat to the elves, answered some Christmas-related trivia questions and then we permitted to see the big man himself. Santa was very good with the kids and asked them a lot of questions, he was even able to name 2 transformers. The elf took professional pictures with Santa, which you could purchase if you wished (that was one of the very few things that were not included) and then the children were given the magic key that when they popped it into the letter box, made a magical sound and allowed entrance into the toy workshop.

santas key hanging next to tree

2. Toy from Santa

And that brings me onto the next reason, Continue reading

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Baby Savannah – 3 Month Progress Update

3 month old baby girl in blanket

An interesting month with half-term in the middle, which made focussing on my little darling hard work. I think things are starting to get a little easier. I think/hope that she is crying less and hope that means her colic is reducing, though her sleep hasn’t improved much.

Sleeping

On average she wakes twice per night, though sometimes I get lucky and she only wakes once. The biggest change this month is that she is now going to bed earlier at around 7pm, which frees up the evenings. Last month it was 10:30pm so it’s a big change.

3 month old baby sleeping

Another milestone is that she has outgrown both the Moses basket and her crib. She is now sleeping in her cot (with rolled up towels to make her feel more enclosed). I was surprised  Continue reading

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Half Term Hell

This is hard to write because I feel guilty about my own feelings but I know I feel better when I read real life posts from other mummy bloggers. It wasn’t all bad, check out my half term heaven post.

It was my first half term and bear in mind I had the addition of an 11 week old baby who is still waking a lot in the night so I am sleep deprived too plus I only had hubby for one of the six days he was off school.

I really struggled…

carved pumpkin

My son has changed so much since he started school. He has so much energy now, so much more than before and he is hyper verbal. He is also going through a stage of following me wherever I go, perhaps due to the baby and being disobedient. All of this added up to a lot of tension and tears (including my own!)

He is very good with the baby in general, he absolutely adores her, but the problem with that is he simply won’t leave her alone. He loves nothing more than to get up into her face, plastering her with kisses, or pulling her arms, poking her etc. He does it all with love but it is too much, sometimes it makes her cry and no matter what I say he will not leave her alone. I don’t want to tell him off too much regarding his sister because I don’t want him to start associating negative feelings with her as in time it could change the way he feels about her. I don’t want him to resent her.

Until he went to school he used to listen to what I said and was very well behaved, he wasn’t perfect but he was a very good and polite little boy. Since he has started school he is grumpy, he sulks more, he shouts and he flat out ignores what I tell him to do. I am not used to him disobeying me so it is a very difficult transition for me.

I think I need to be firmer with him…usually, if he was naughty I would take something he liked away, but would give him the opportunity to earn it back by being good. I think that he now believes he can be bad as long as he is good later, which is obviously unacceptable.

So today, we were in a play centre, he ran off with a toy that someone else was playing with (so not like him!) the child came over and asked for it back (with the parent – how embarrassing, this has never happened before). I told him to give it back, he didn’t, I warned him by counting to 3. I got to three, which he knows should never happen, and therefore I said he is no longer allowed a special drink with his lunch.

He got very upset and asked how he could earn it back…that is very telling, I think I realised at that point what he was doing. I told him that he was not going to get the special drink and that he couldn’t earn it back because he took a toy from another child but if he started being good then he wouldn’t lose other things that he liked, and I gave him some examples like the Ipad or dessert.

I hope this new way of disciplining him will work, as I want my lovely well-behaved boy back…I miss him!

Since he is now back at school it has gotten a little easier as I don’t have to try to entertain him all day long whilst trying to keep his baby sister happy, fed and rested. But, I feel terrible that I wanted him to go back to school, I have never felt that way before and I am sure it will pass and that future school holidays will get easier as I get more used to them, well I really hope so.

 

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Half-Term Heaven

I’m going to start positive but I also have a half term hell post ready to go. I have to be honest, if only to make other mums feel better because honestly we are way to hard on ourselves.

But on to the heaven part…

I have just spent the last 8 days straight with my son, who is 4 years old, just started school and this is the most amount of time we have spent together alone (well except for baby sis) since he was born. I know that sounds sad but I work full time and family holidays have always included hubby so this was just me and them. My first half term and I had high expectations. I was excited and put together a fun week for us so we didn’t get cabin fever.

It was a heavenly week for these reasons:
1. I got to spend quality time with my boy (which as I said above is unusual)
2. He had his very first swimming lesson and loved it!
4 year old stage 1 swimming
3. We got to visit Grandad (who is not very well) in the day time.
4. Both kids got to go trick or treating for the first time.
4 year old and baby skeletons
5. They were super cute in matching skeleton outfits.
6. Halloween Afternoon tea at frosts mmmmm
halloween afternoon tea frosts
7. Chestnut hunting and eating.
8. We all went (as a family) pumpkin hunting at Castle Ashby, lots of fun!
mum and boy on pumpkin hunt
9. Nate got to go back to nursery for a day and see some of his old friends and teachers.
10. I got to spend a few uninterrupted hours reading at Whittlebury Hall thanks to hubby.

11. Bestie came over and the kids played lovely together. At one point Nate ran into the kitchen to grab some tomatoes and cheese and declared they were having a “Midnight Snack” (at 11am!)

Good to know that there were some high points looking back.

To see the full rounded picture of my week and not the glossed over version check out part two, next…

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Bye Bye Newborn – Baby Savannah 2 Month Progress Update

Ok, so I missed out on the 1 month update, I plead sleep deprivation as well as some family stuff, so I thought I would start Savannah’s baby update’s with 2 months instead.

Baby Savannah, my daughter, came into the world via planned c-section on 11th August, and this is how we are doing after 2 months…

Sleeping

She sleeps a lot! Well at least in the day time, let me count the ways:

2 month old napping6 week old baby naps1 month old napping

Actually night time sleeping has improved over the last couple of weeks. She is currently only waking twice at night (for the most part. Usually around 1pm and 5pm. I never had that with my son Nate, if you look back to my early blog posts you will see that I was terribly sleep deprived with him up until 5 months because he slept for 2-3 hour stretches through the night, all the way until he slept through the night at 5 months, there was no gentle progression, so I thought it would never happen. Perhaps Savannah will be different and make progress each week? Who knows.

Eating

Savannah is not at all patient when it comes to receiving her milk, not at all, and she is not shy about letting you know about it. Her routine, thus far, has been to sleep, then wake up for milk, cry scream very loudly until she receives said milk, guzzles it down like we have starved her for 3 days and then falls back asleep.

formula feeding 2 month old

Of course that is a slight exaggeration as she does stay awake for short periods to stare at the lights or our faces. She often wakes up just as I am about to take my first bite of lunch or dinner – literally I think she can smell the food or something and thinks, not so fast mummy!

I managed to breastfeed on and off for about 4 weeks but my milk has dried up now and she gets frustrated when I try so we are now exclusively on the bottle. Sometimes she takes the 4/5 ounces she is supposed to have, but she is a bit of snacker and prefers 1-2 ounces every couple of hours.

One little gadget that appears to be the big thing these days is the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep machine, it is seriously one of the best little baby gadgets we have bought, well that and our video baby monitor. The perfect prep machine is pretty expensive, at around £70-£100 at full price, but if you have a mum to mum Facebook group to buy from, I suggest you use that instead, which is what we did and got a second hand machine for £20, and we love it! My husband calls it a cappuccino machine for babies as that is what it looks and sounds like! Basically, the machine prepares the perfect bottle in less than 2 minutes, at the correct temperature.

The WHO guidelines state that you should boil the water and let it cool down for 30 minutes before giving to baby, that is officially how you are supposed to prepare formula, but I have yet to meet a baby patient enough to wait 30 minutes, so we have never really been able to do that. However, this machine is magic…you choose how many ounces you want, place a bottle under the spout and press the button, it pours a little boiled water in, you then scoop in the formula and shake, then press the button again and it fills up the rest of the bottle with cold water (bare in mind you have 2 minutes to enter the formula and shake before it switches off, and yes beads of sweat sometimes start to form if I get distracted mid-cycle!), and voila you have the perfectly prepared bottle ready to go in less than 2 minutes – I highly recommend and no I have not been sponsored I just love this machine! Only downside is that it only starts at 4oz which means you cannot use for a newborn (unless you want to waste a lot of milk).

Development

We got our very first, no windy, smile right on the 6 week target, it was magic, and just what I needed after a bad night.

6 week old baby smile

She is doing well with her tummy time, another aspect of babyhood that has changed since Nate was a baby is that health visitors are encouraging tummy time right from birth, I believe this is to help with head and neck control and strength, and to avoid a flattened head, which happens due to babies spending so long on their backs. Savannah actually likes being on her tummy and will often fall asleep as such (I only let her do that in full view of me on a play mat, not over night).

newborn baby tummy time

Colic

We think that Savannah may have Colic as she is very unhappy in the evenings, I know that the witching hours are the time when most babies become unsettled (about 5-11pm) but Savvy gets particularly upset and cries a lot, and it is next to impossible to calm her. This happens approximately 4 times a week, and my poor husband has to deal with the brunt of it as I go to bed about 8pm, so that I can get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep before he brings her up at 11pm. I intend to write a separate post about ways of calming a baby, as we have a lot of tricks up our sleeve by now, which some of you may find useful, but I would really appreciate more, so if you have any neat ideas of how to calm a crying baby please comment below.

Basically we cycle through different tricks until one of them settles her, we have tried different medication such as Infacol and Colief, Infacol works well for wind. She likes the carrier, being rocked, especially in the fisherprice vibrating, rocking chair, being pushed in the pram, going for a drive, having her tummy rubbed (clock-wise), looking at the lights on her play mat etc. The latest thing we are trying, as recommended by a couple of friends is a Cranial Osteopath, I will feed back if this helps.

2 month old on playmat

Me

This time round I had a planned c-section due to a very difficult birth with my son. It was much calmer this time, and they talked me through everything that was happening so I found it much more peaceful. The midwives were amazing this time too, Milton Keynes hospital have definitely improved their post-natal care since my last birth, I felt very well cared for this time.

My recovery was much quicker this time, and I was able to drive (on medical advice) after 4 weeks, instead of the usual 6 weeks. C-sections are not easy though, to be clear, the first couple of weeks were hard, I was not able to lie on my side or lay flat for a week, and since I sleep on my side I got very little sleep that first week. I had to have 10 days of injections, which my husband had to administer, that was not fun. Going over speed-bumps in the car for the first week was interesting, and by interesting I mean painful, you cannot exercise, drive, or lift anything heavier than the baby – which made me feel useless whilst waiting for my husband to carry things, but as I said it was easier this time and I felt like I healed more quickly.

2 month old baby

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Jamie’s Italian – Family Review

I have to admit that I haven’t been to Jamie’s Italian for a couple of years, mostly because I, stupidly, thought they didn’t have a kids menu, how wrong I was!

This was our first restaurant experience as a family of four, and it was such a lovely treat to get out of the house (which we have been cooped up in since my daughter’s birth). 10 day old Savannah happily slept through the entire experience, but not because she was bored by the food or the atmosphere!

baby girl sleeping

We decided to try out the super lunch deal, which is £10.95 for 2 courses or £12.95 for 3 courses, which is super reasonable considering we spent far more than that in a department store restaurant (a couple of weeks ago for far less interesting food). Plus they serve the “lunch” menu and pricing all the way from 12-6pm and in August the kids menu is absolutely free, which considering how great the kids menu was, I could not have been more impressed.

So let’s start with the kids menu; now being completely honest, I made a big faux-pas by letting my 4 year old choose something I knew he would never eat – why did I do that? Because I have a newborn and all the sleep deprivation that comes along with that! I wish that I had encouraged him to choose the hamburgers, because they looked so great (on the other table), and I know he would have eaten them, but never mind.

Nate ordered the “Jamie’s Proper Picnic Box” which consisted of a chicken wrap, a salad, some vegetable crisps and an apple. My 4 year old does not have a sophisticated palette enough to cope with a chicken wrap, though I wish he did, so he left that, but he did eat most of the salad, a few crisps and the apple. It was such a shame because it looked amazing, and the presentation was clever, with a real lunch box and pieces of comic book paper added a cute touch.

jamie's proper lunch box

The whole kids menu was amazing, from a parent’s point of view, it is the kind of food you want your children to eat, rather than the traditional fish fingers/pizza/chicken nuggets and chips that most restaurants offer. I think when Nate is a few years older he will really appreciate this rather mature menu.

For dessert Nate had the chocolate brownie and icecream, which I had the adult version of, and we can both categorically say it was sublime, though Nate can say this most confidently as he ate about a third of mine in addition to his own! This was my 4 year old’s assessment of the brownie:

It tasted like a chocolate sandwich and was my favouritist I have ever had.

4 year old eating brownieepic brownie

I have two suggestions for improvements to the kids menu though:

  1. Add some starters, they didn’t have any, and my son had to wait while we ate our starters – and no, kids are not patient!
  2. Include a couple of options for the younger audience that are smaller, cheaper and accessible to the fussy toddler/pre-schooler market. I am sure Jamie’s Italian could do a clever healthy twist on a pizza or some sausages, let’s face it, what toddler doesn’t love pizza? In terms of the pricing, it was free this time, but I would not have been happy to pay £6.50 for a meal for my 4 year old, at lunch time, mostly because (like this time) you never know if it will be eaten or not.

Super Lunch Menu

My husband and I both chose the Truffle Pasta for our starter – can anyone tell me if there is anything in this world more delicious than black truffles? No? I didn’t think so.  And as my husband said, it is not often that you find truffles on the menu of a high-street chain restaurant, it is a little touch of elegance. It was very simple, literally just the pasta and the truffles in butter, but wow what an impact. The only downside for me was that it was slightly more al dente than I prefer, but I tend to overcook my pasta so that is just personal preference really.

truffle tagliatelle pasta

My husband had the chicken club for his main meal, he said that it was succulent, the brioche bun was a nice touch. It was a big burger but didn’t come with any chips however he suggested chips were not necessary. Personally, if I had ordered the burger, I would have been disappointed that it did not come with chips, but I am a bit of a piggy!

gennaro's chicken club

The one disappointment for my husband, and his pet peeve whenever we eat out is that they ran out of the dessert he really wanted, so he ended up with just ice-cream. However, it was honeycomb ice-cream with cherry topping and it was gorgeous, simple and he loved it, he said it was special to be able to share with our son.

The prices were really good for the food you get and we cannot wait to go back as there were loads on the menu we wanted to try. The waitresses at the Milton Keynes restaurant cared, knew their stuff,  and they  even knocked up truffle chips for us, which is no longer on the menu. We will definitely be going back again, and soon.

*Our meals were provided for free for the purpose of this review, but all thoughts and images are my own, we genuinely loved it.

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Water Wars at Hatton Adventure World

Recently we were invited to one of our favourite places for a family day out, Hatton Adventure World we went three times last year and was very happy to return to test their new water attractions – Water Wars and Water Battles.

We went not knowing what to expect, so we took a change clothes and a towel for our son, just in case. In the end we didn’t need it, but my husband did, and was not so happy to have gotten wet.

Water Wars

The water wars game is only run a couple of times throughout the day, so make sure you find out the timing so you don’t miss it. I have to admit that I was disappointed it wasn’t running all day, but once my son had a chance to play I didn’t mind anymore.

Water Wars is a big inflatable contraption where 4 teams of 4 people fire water balloons at each other using a big catapult. There is quite a lot of protection from the bunkers so you don’t get excessively wet, but wet enough for it to be fun.

water wars at hatton park

My son and husband teamed up with another father and son, who were very nice and they had great fun. Both young boys had trouble firing the water balloons at first so they kept bouncing back into their bunker and getting themselves wet, which they all found hilarious. I was sat on a bench right nearby and hearing my little boy laugh his little heart out – well there is nothing better than that -so I deem that a success!

water wars

I was impressed by the staff members who ran the attraction, they made it very fair, ensuring each team had a go each at firing before it was go, go, go. Since 16 people get to play all at once the queue was not too long, and they had benches all around for people watching to sit on – which as a heavily pregnant lady I really appreciated!

Water Battles

Unfortunately this activity needs a lot of work, especially if younger children are able to play it. In theory it looks and could be a lot of fun, the idea is to grab a water gun and run around hiding behind the defences shooting people at random.

water battles game

The problems we encountered were as follows:

  1. There were two types of water gun, there were about 3 of the easy type and about 10 of the harder type. The harder pump type water guns could not be used by my 4 year old, who is very strong. They were too stiff, and since there were only three of the easier guns he never really got a chance to shoot and was upset.
  2. The bales of hay for hiding behind and climbing on were mostly too big for younger children, but more importantly were wrapped in some sort of cellophane which became very hot in the sun.
  3. There was no supervision or attendants on this feature, which would have been helpful and would have ensured a fair distribution of the guns.

Aside from the few issues above they still enjoyed it, though my husband less so as he got very wet trying to protect our 4 year old who didn’t have a gun. The water wars, was definitely our favourite of the two, and if they make some tweaks, water battles could be great too.

Of course, Hatton is not just about water wars, there are so many things to do here, I could not even begin to list them. But I did try in my previous post “22 things I love about Hatton Adventure World“.

goat crossing a bridge

My son got such a kick out of watching the goat climb up and over the bridge!

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Mums don’t have to be girly (to raise a girl) – I hope

I was so excited when I found out I was having a girl, but I have to admit, I am not a girly girl, like at all. Sometimes I wonder if I really am a girl, but I think the fact that I am pregnant is proof positive that I am.

When I was growing up, I had a brother and lots of male cousins, so I climbed trees, played football and basketball, watched wrestling (go Hulk Hogan!), I collected football stickers and had memorised the name of every premier league football ground.

lady dangling off of grand canyon

Now that I am an adult let me count the ways where I don’t feel like I’m like other women:

  1. I don’t like wine
  2. I don’t love shopping
  3. I don’t decorate or know how to
  4. I don’t garden and cannot even keep a plant alive
  5. I am not good at cleaning and definitely don’t enjoy it
  6. I rarely iron anything (not because I am scruffy but because I buy things that don’t need ironing)
  7. I don’t sew, crotchet or knit (though I don’t necessarily dislike them)
  8. I cannot bake (which is probably a good thing for my waist-line)
  9. I love action/super-hero and horror movies
  10. I love playing computer games

So my daughter is about to come into a very male-orientated family, with not just a daddy and a big brother but a mother who is a tom-boy at heart. I wonder how she will cope, and us for that matter? Maybe she will influence me and bring out my feminine side?

What I do know though is that, I may not be girly, but I am still a mummy, and I absolutely love being one, so I am thoroughly looking forward to taking on the new role of a mummy to a daughter. Not long to go now…