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How To Love The Unpredictable British Summer

If there is one thing that’s reliable about the great British summer, it’s the fact that the weather is going to be unreliable.

Mid-April we may all be out in shorts and t-shirts (or just a nappy in the case of my little one) and by mid-August (speaking from experience of how I feel right now) we can be curled up under the worlds fluffiest dressing gown just to avoid shivering whilst watching Dragons Den.

Which can only mean one thing now that my tiny baby has grown into a toddler with a sign attached to his back reading ENTERTAIN ME… NOW!!

Creativity. A creative imagination for spur of the moment activities to get us thinking and moving and making some happy memories together – whatever the weather.

 

OUT OF DOORS!!

There is nowhere better than your own back garden. With a few toys (usually in our house a few buckets of water too) and some suitable seating, any space can be turned into a playground.

In our garden you’ll usually find hubby sitting in the corner ‘blasting out the tunes’, Jay running back and forth with water refusing to wear anything other than a nappy and his shoes which gives me the perfect opportunity for some camera time.

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And when the garden gets too small and they both need a big place to let off some steam there is nothing better than stumbling across the local summer festival by accident.

Spending time together doesn’t have to cost money, the pictures are always worth more, but nothing is as priceless as watching your child experience and learn new things.

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STUCK INSIDE!!

We’re in the UK. It’s inevitable that we’re going to be stuck indoors at some point. That doesn’t mean we can’t make the most of it.

Indoor picnics of my favourite thing of this year. No need to bother with finding Tupperware for everything. As long as you’ve got enough bowls and plates, and don’t forget the picnic blanket to protect the carpet, you’re golden. Bonus – if you forget something, it’s only a few steps back to the kitchen. You can even have an unconventional picnic any day of the week.

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Other adventures after dinner are fun too. Being cooped up can something make toddlers do crazy things and discover something new….. that may even help make their 18th birthday party pictures more interesting.

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And when the rain has stopped you can still go outside and do some good puddle jumping.

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ADVENTURES!!

Spur of the moment adventures can be the best kind and they don’t even have to be far afield. Something as simple as a walk around the block can still be an adventure.

I have lived in my village my whole life but taking this walk on a Sunday afternoon after dinner took me into quiet streets and roads I had never been to before. We had no idea where we were going to end up but seeing amazing and new things along the way, and sharing those with Jay made it the best kind of adventure.

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Until this happened on the way home.

I told you Britain wasn’t the most reliable.

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NEW & EXCITING!!

As Jay is growing up there is always something new and exciting around the corner – but who even knew my exciting thing for this month lay in my own childhood.

This post was inspired by BN biscuits who were kind enough to send me a free packet (or two). Despite being nearly a quarter of a century old I didn’t even dare admit to anyone that I had never tried them before.

All I can say is thank God my local Co-op shop has them on offer. Because every mother needs a new addiction every now and again to something chocolatey.

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Other things we have tried this summer that are now a regular in the Walsh household –

Muller Surprise yogurt

Home-made potato fries

Mummy’s blueberry smoothie

 

 

This post is an entry for 42 Days of Summer Linky Challenge sponsored by McVitie’s BN. Learn more at http://bit.ly/1mRpMCL.

 


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My Husband; The Blogger

Something strange has happened. I’ve yet to decide if it is amazing or awful. Either way, I never thought I would be writing these words;

My husband has started a blog!!

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The man who can barely make it past page 4 of any book I buy for Christmas, even if it’s perfect for him or he’s requested it. The same man who only picks up a pen to write his own name and only voices himself via sarcastic Facebook comments. The man who always says to me ‘I should start a blog’ but when I tell him to do it he wusses out.

Yes – that man!!

He has been trying a new healthier diet and exercise lifestyle for the last two months. It is slowly consuming our household – if I catch him loitering in our kitchen scanning bar codes into his phone for the calorie details one more time I think I’m on solid grounds for divorce – so that is his blog topic of choice.

I’m not sure what he’s planning to say. I don’t think eve he’s quite sure. All I know is, on trying to impart my blogging knowledge to him, I actually has more of that knowledge than I thought.

I have agreed to do my good wifely duty and proof-read all of his posts before he publishes them – mainly because he’s too lazy to make all the I’s into capitals because his iPhone doesn’t do it automatically ‘apparently’. It’s becoming a strange experience though.

I find myself reading things deeper into his mind that he might not voice to me out loud. The thoughts that come to him whilst he’s sitting in his man cave (e.g. that gross amount of time men spend sitting on the toilet doing God knows what). Ideas that he’s made a note of before they’ve even formed properly in his head that he would have usually forgotten by the time he got home from work.

It’s a strange one. To have your other half suddenly step into your world and start talking about views statistics and blog retweets. It’s like me suddenly turning up at the football with a season ticket of my own and quoting what Jeff Stelling said earlier on Sky Sports.

It’s something else for us to share though. Another way for us to nerd out together (rather than just watching creepy Channel 5 documentaries) and is just far enough apart in subject matter that we aren’t in direct competition. Although he has dragged me in to this whole fitness world, and that’s just enough competition for us.

He can blog away, hit writers block, let me continue to capitalise all his I’s and drag me to some fitness conventions he has planned for next year. I will make the most supportive blog wife because I know what it’s like to share your thought with the world, whether they make sense or not or whether his opinions tally up with mine.

It is making me a better blogger, noticing grammar errors in his work that I know are there in my own but don’t have to outside view to correct. I have learnt to correct my own mistakes. I have learnt to keep my fingers to myself and not change any of his writing to make it sounds like I would write it. I have left him with his own unique voice, just with better punctuation.

The most important thing for both of us to learn is it’s okay when our opinions don’t tally up. A few weeks ago, whilst reading through a post, I realised that what he had written was nowhere near my view on the subject (our opinions don’t differ very often). This shocked him more than me and he wanted to change everything, but that isn’t the point. It’s a blog – a blog for his opinions, not mine. As long as they are not grossly offensive or inappropriate, it’s okay that we wouldn’t write the same post. In fact, it’s best that we don’t.

Life would be very boring if we verbalised exactly the same sentences all of the time.

I’ll put my stake in the ground now though – no way is that man sharing my office. I was here first.

:P :P

Is your husband in your world? How do you find it?

You can find him on Twitter @JamesWalshBlog or his blog at Do You Even WordPress, Bro?

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Bump Poke

baby bump My teeny baby bump at 38+1 weeks pregnant

What it is about Dad’s that makes them almost scared of baby bumps?

I don’t just mean those of the woman at the desk next to them at work. After all, men are not like women or mothers who are instantly attracted to any baby bump within 100 yards for cooing over.

I mean their own wives and partners. Their own babies growing in their little capsule.

When the baby is so small that there is barely an inch on your waist and the whole Daddy idea is brand new, expectant fathers can’t wait to tickle your tummy and dream about what is to come. But as soon as that bump starts showing it’s a different matter. It’s the first real sign to them that this is real – things are changing.

During my pregnancy as I grew bigger, especially once the kicking started, I found myself poking bump on a daily basis. Whether to encourage him to move, push my bump back into the right shape after he’d decided to shift his whole body to one side or the other (or completely diagonally) or to get him back for kicking me in a tender rib I was always poking and prodding that little bump.

My husband hated it. He would get genuinely annoyed and upset when I’d have a good old shuffle or push his foot back in.

To him it was a delicate little baby.

To me it was the strong fighter who was tough enough to bruise ribs and stretch my skin to its limits.

I think as mothers we can sense what our babies we can take. Our husbands will never understand how strong those tiny internal people are and how protected they are. We can feel that protection. All that can see is us pushing that protection to its limits.

Maybe we have to get used to them being strong because, if as mothers, we saw that little baby as totally fragile and treated them like glass as soon as they arrived we’d never get all that poo wiped up without crying about possibly hurting them.

As long as my husband lives I don’t know if he will ever touch a baby bump that isn’t mine. I don’t know if he would dare, but I would not be surprised if he took a sharp intake of breath when watching me touch another growing baby and thinking I would poke it just the same. I wouldn’t – for the record.

If I am blessed enough to have another I’ll keep poking that bump. Even though I have felt very few other bumps in my time I am not scared to do so. I know that they are one of the toughest things known to (wo)mankind and are not only protected by the body that nature intended but by the lioness that is carrying them.

Poke away ladies, especially if they poke you first.

 

This post was written in conjunction with BumpFest2014 with MumsNet. <3<3


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“You Can’t Breastfeed Forever”

“You can’t breastfeed forever”

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I’ve been hearing this sentence a lot lately – which is strange because I exclusively pump so I’m usually excluded from being referred to by the word ‘breastfeeding’.

My son is just over 27 months old whilst thinking he is 17 and he is a milk monster. Since he turned a year old we have tried him with cows milk, oat milk, coconut milk, almond milk, even hot chocolate. You name an alternative, we’ve tried it. No matter how much chocolate, sugar, fruit, anything appealing you add to it, he just doesn’t think it’s as good as Mummy’s milk.

Which I think is a compliment.

There are some days that even I (with my standard low supply anyway and reduction to 3 pumps a day) don’t make everything he needs, but he just has to deal with it. On average this is still 20oz a day of milk alone. Besides that he is a dairy fiend consuming as much cheese and any kind of yogurt going. They still don’t make his craving for my milk any less.

Once in a while I’ll want to quit or have a day off and you’d think those days would be more often the closer I get to cutting down, but they’re actually less frequent now my nipples are generally on display for 2 hours a day rather than 5 or 6.

Now it’s coming towards the time to start nursery, we’re meeting new people who are being introduced to the uncommon idea of how I feed my child, it’s starting to become more common for other people to voice their ideas about me stopping. When I voice my concerns to friends or family about how people are going to perceive my situation they usually have the response as the strangers – “well, you can’t breastfeed forever.”

I know I can’t. I never planned to. One day I want to be ‘free’ because sometimes that’s the way I see it. I don’t want to be a slave to the pump for the rest of my life. I never said I did.

However, as soon as somebody tells me I can’t my instant response is – “Who says? Of course I can.”

It’s a debate I know I’d be having regardless of how I feed. I am aware that we are well into the regions of breastfeeding a child who is of an age that society is not comfortable with me feeding any longer.

But if I fed him directly from my breasts would I feel any different? No. I’d still be feeding, even in public if I had to and all for one reason – I know that is what my child wants and needs. Not what society wants, not what anyone else’s child wants or needs, just my child.

He can’t understand the comments from strangers and even healthcare professionals on how much harder we should try in giving him ‘normal milk’ or how he doesn’t need Mummy’s milk anymore. He wants what he wants because it brings him comfort. It bonds us and it’s still doing him health some good (despite there being lack of sufficient study I see the difference it makes to my child on a day to day basis).

So, I may not be able to pump forever but cutting down actually hindered my health more than never starting in the first place.

At this point it is my sacrifice and no matter how much of a pain in the arse it can be sometimes (I’d really like to get to bed before 10.30pm for once, which sounds like an old lady but remember pumping NEVER has a day off – NEVER!!) I get a kick out of it every time Jay brings his milk to me and cuddles on my knee. It has taught me determination and perseverance, enabling me to educate and support a whole other world of women and make friends along the way.

So, for now, I will pump forever!! I will produce milk forever!!

For my toddler, for myself and the lessons I learn and because… well, what the hell would I do if I suddenly had all that extra time to cause mischief.

#Support #Educate #PumpOn

 


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If I Could Breastfeed in Public…..

This is a post that I originally wrote for Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt in 2013.

Just because I express does not mean that I am not breastfeeding, that I have failed, that I am not doing the best thing for my child but also that I do not still wish at times that I could do it all ‘the regular way’. I have accepted that it is not going to be this time but I hope to have another chance in the future. Until then…..

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I didn’t originally plan a post for today’s breastfeeding awareness theme – Positing Nursing in Public & Funny Breastfeeding Memories. I only fed Dodger directly for the first 13 days of his life and during these days the only places we visited were the local breastfeeding support group & the clinic for (more than one) Frenulotomy.

Even though I know it never would have been possible for us, I do sometimes reflect on what I would be doing now if our breastfeeding experience had been a normal one.

>  I would be lounging in a breastfeeding chair, looking out at our local shop having their middle of the night bread delivery whilst Dodger was dream feeding.

>  I would be harassing Facebook breastfeeding support communities with latching photos (I never got a picture of Dodger feeding which I now wish I had more than anything).

>  I would be standing in the queue at Asda, feeding Dodger in his sling without even having to think about it.

>  I would be smiling in cafes at other breastfeeding mothers, knowing we share a common bond and a warm feeling inside at that very moment.

>  I would be lounging in the back of the car in a service station car park on the way to a wonderful family holiday without being surrounded by bags full of pumps and bottles and sterilisers.

These are the things that one day I dream I will be able to do without a second thought. These are the things I will not take for granted the next time around.

So to all you breastfeeding mummies who have the confidence to do what you’ve got to do in public – you go girl, I salute you. I will be one of you, one day.


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7 (Selfish) Reason Why Breastmilk is Better

In honour of World Breastfeeding Week, here is a post I originally published for Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt in 2013. It doesn’t matter what your reason are for breastfeeding, selfish or otherwise, as long as those beautiful new babies are getting the best they can.

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We’ve all heard the talk about how breast is best, the nutritional benefits for baby and for you, but when you’re tired out from a new-born these facts might not always be at the front of your mind (especially with formula companies taking advantage of advertising space to rave about new advancements in their products).

While no mother would admit to being selfish, we’re still human and sometimes a little bit of thinking about ourselves is a good thing. So through those tough times remember these, selfish reasons why producing breast milk for your baby is beneficial:

 

It will help you lose the baby weight – all while still eating chocolate

Okay, so maybe you can’t go crazy with the chocolate cake for every meal but producing breast milk can burn over 500 calories a day. When else will you have the perfect excuse to indulge in that extra round of jam on toast or piece of Terry’s chocolate orange (hey, it has fruit in the title). A balanced diet should always be advised when breastfeeding but you’re thinking about chocolate orange now, aren’t you?

 

Baby poo smells so much better

There still isn’t going to be an air freshener in there but with breast milk being far easier to digest than formula not only will your baby be able to pass it easier, but you might not be able to smell it from the next room. It should also be of a – how can we put this – more pleasing consistency than the sometimes ‘sweet corny’ type poo babies can produce with formula milks. And from birth, with up to 8 poos a day, you might be happier to get away with just holding your breath, rather than a permanent nose peg.

 

Amenorrhoea – no periods!!

You may have already gotten away with 40 weeks away from Mother Natures’ gift but with breastfeeding you could get away with them for well over a year or more (depending on how long you feed for). Sadly you’ll still have to deal with the post-delivery bleeding but for the first 6 months of baby’s life Amenorrhoea from breastfeeding can also be used as a form of contraception (just be careful, one missed feed and you could be pregnant before your periods have even returned). Sadly, we cannot promise this benefit as it does not happen for every woman, but the odds are pretty good so why not give it a go.

 

More money for post baby body clothes

Giving your baby exclusive breast milk could save you between £350-£450 in the first year, based on baby being weaned at 6 months of age. Think of all the things that money could be better spent on – nursing bras, cute little baby clothes, a new outfit to suit your newly changed mummy body, Terry’s chocolate orange.

 

Perfect excuse to put your feet up and watch the Sky+

Your fella is starting to get grouchy wondering what’s for tea, about to flip a coin on whose turn it is to do the dishes. Baby chooses that exact moment to cry for their next feed and save you from the coin tossing. ‘Sorry, I’ve got to go feed the baby, how about you crack on with those dishes.’ Time to get comfortable on the sofa, hold baby close to you and get started on that Kardashians marathon you’ve been storing for the last week. Because what other chore could you do with your feet up and while having special baby cuddles.

 

Less chance of cleaning up sick

Babies fed with breast milk are less likely to suffer from upset stomachs and sickness bugs. They’re also less likely to catch colds, suffer with food allergies or be obese as adults. If you happen to catch a dreaded bug then baby will already be receiving the protective antibodies through your milk and is therefore less likely to catch it from you. Because, really, who has the time to be mopping up sick and wiping runny noses every other week.

 

Okay, it’s good for baby and you too – and it is pretty cool

The smile you can wear and the personal sense of accomplishment you can carry from knowing that your baby is growing solely from what you are giving them is pretty unique. Your body is a truly amazing thing and as well as occasionally feeling like a cow you will also feel like Superwoman. Plus the extra protection from breast cancer and osteoporosis that will carry you through to later life isn’t too bad either.


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August Monthly Update

There has been quite a lot going on recently so I thought I would put together a regular monthly update to keep up with my goals and what to look out for soon on the blog.

Here’s to August!!

 

As per last month’s update, I had several targets concerning social media. Unfortunately I did not quite meet these targets for July (so close that it hurts) so I am just upping my game for August which includes;

Twitter – 350 Followers

Facebook – 100 Likers

Instagram – 100 Followers

Some may say this is whoring myself out a little and it’s not the quantity but the relevancy of the followers that matters (no point in a million followers who might not speak your language compared to 50 avid readers of your work). But I’m focusing more of the hard work of it all. The learning experience of experimenting with new ideas to see if they can expand my audience. An adventure into what may or may not keep viewers interested.

I don’t intend to stress or throw my toys if I don’t reach the goals, but I don’t see anything wrong with a specific target and encouraging myself to network and learn as much as I can.

I’ve also had some exciting new inspiration for a redesign on the blog so look out for that in the next few weeks.

 

This Month’s Diary

1st-7th August is World Breastfeeding Week. Obviously with anything breastfeeding related I always have to put my two cents in along with a few re-blogs from the UK’s breastfeeding week from back in June.

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I will also be taking part in the ’42 Days of Summer Challenge’ with BritMums and BN Biscuits. I don’t think I’d ever tried one in my life but those smiley little faces are now a new favourite in the Walsh household.

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My husband is still trying to push on with his blog (poor thing has fallen in to writers block already) so you can give him a little stalk at Do You Even WordPress, Bro or @JamesWalshBlog where he’s documenting his weight lose and fitness journey.

Following on from the #3positives that was making its way around Facebook last month and the fact I have been spending way too much time on Pinterest looking at fitness motivation, I have decided to make August on Facebook into #MotiviationalMonth. There is a new inspirational picture/quote every day for the rest of the month so pop over and have a kick up the backside. :) :D

 

In my personal diary I have appointments at university, settling in at Jays nursery ready for his start in September and his first speech therapy assessment. It looks like the Walsh household are still going to continue on this health kick and that means more tweets about my daily workout routine (which still isn’t much to brag about) and my weekly Sunday weigh in.

That means it’s today – Uh-Oh!!

 

So stay in contact, hit me up (isn’t that what the cool kids say now) on whatever social media takes your fancy, look out for the things to come and I will be back with another update next month. *scuttles off to weigh self*

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